Monday, September 29, 2008

Our Charactecture

News on Wall Street is grim. I'm sitting here trying to comprehend an almost 780 point drop in the Dow and how that's impacted the B's. And the rest of the nation.
But, I'm not going to pontificate now on that matter; gotta think it over some.
In the meantime, Mr. B and I went to a fund raiser for the Durham Symphony Orchestra last night. A nice surprise was that they had a charactecture artists there who drew charactectures for free for any who wanted one for (tips welcomed, of course!)
Here is ours. Mr. B thinks his face looks fat; I am not really sure it looks all the much like me. But, it was fun AND the first time I've ever done this. I told Mr. B that charactectures are supposed to emphasize in an over the top way something about a person's face/style. So, of course his face is not that wide (nor are his glasses that big). What about me? I'm not really sure what the "over the top" emphasis was on me.
Any thoughts?
Mrs. B

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Somewhat of a Surprise

So, y'all know I've been doing some consulting work with a company down in Greensboro since mid-August. So far, it's been going pretty well; I've settled in to a routine with them that works for all of us. And, of course, it was certainly exciting receiving my first payment from them a few weeks ago; the first time I've earned money (my own choice, of course) since August 2003.
Anyway, the guy that I'm working with there, Dave, who I used to know in a past life, asks me this past week while I was there if we could talk. This in and of itself posed a dilemma since, as the company culture there is "bull pen" (cubicles) conference room space is at a real premium. So, we ended up in the mail room (I kid you not) with him basically blocking the door (he's a big guy) and shooing away persistent employees who felt a need to come in and collect their mail.
The bottom line is, he is going to leave HR and go into sales (for this same company). He seemed very excited about it and I don't blame him; being more of a recruiter than a generalist, I'm sure his current position has caused nothing but headaches and stress for him. Sales is a perfect option and, in reality, that is somewhat what recruiting is; he'll just be selling the company's product as opposed to selling the company.
Anyway, as I was standing there wondering how much longer they'd be needing me (the new HR person might not really want to pay my rate or have someone else in mind), he asked me if I'd considering taking his job. I was a bit taken a back by this.
He went on to say that he really needed to have a slate of candidates to put before his boss. I'd be one of them and they already knew me (or of me) and I already knew something of the organization and plus I had a lot more generalist background then he did, etc.
He also said, somewhat sheepishly, "Hey, I know you're just now getting back into this, but, I have to ask you and if you'd at least consider it, I'd be grateful". He's no idiot. He knows that I really don't have a desire to drive to and from Greensboro every day (about an hour and ten minutes each way), nor, after basically retiring 5 years ago, would I really want to jump back into this? And, this would be a huge leap, folks. We're talking a lot of hours, a lot of politics, a lot of stress; frankly, a lot of you-know-what that this chickie doesn't want.
Not to mention, I really don't think they could pay me enough to entice me, despite the promise of a company car and company paid gas (in this day and age, that would probably lure me more than a bonus plan!)
I gave it the thought it deserved, though. To be fair. I weighed the pros and the cons. Mr. B said, "If you really want to do this, we could move to Greensboro". Yeah, that would make his commute a hoot! I don't think so. Besides, the most important thing here is, "How does this make me FEEL?" And, really, it makes me feel FREAKED OUT!
I was also asked to think if I knew anyone else that might be interested. Actually, this is a lot more fun to think about! Yeah, I do know some folks, one person in particular, who would be great for this position (although I don't know if he could be lured from Southern California to North Carolina).
So, when I go back down to the office next week, I'll have to see if I can secure the mail room so I can tell Dave that it's not for me, but, I'll work on a list of names for him.
And, hey, it WAS flattering to be asked.
Mrs. B

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Lacking anything of real significance to blog about today, I'm gonna write about Velveeta.
Really, what I mean is, how ironic it is that, in my life, I've known two people whose name seem to be some sort of derivitate of Velveeta.
Many years ago, a good friend of mine's mother in law's name was VELTA So, Velveeta minus the "vee".
She was sort of an odd person and my friend didn't really get on with her all that well. Although not one to complain a lot, she did grouse about her MIL from time to time such that, on occassion, I'd ask her how things were going with her. The thing was, I had a hard time remembering what exactly her name was so, the first time I asked, I said something like, "Hey, how's it going with Bob's mom Velveeta or whatever the heck her name is?" My friend thought that was hysterically funny and from then on out, we always referred to her (now ex ) MIL as "Velveeta".
Yesterday, down at "the office" in Greensboro, I was sitting in my cube working on a project. A few weeks ago, a new gal moved in "next door" (also in HR). She's real friendly. Anyway, she spends a lot of her time calling prospective employees to follow up on missing paperwork and/or checking their references. As such, I hear her announce her name A LOT. "This is Veeta (so and so) from (so and so company)".
Someone else in "the office" said to her, "Hey, how exactly do you pronounce your name?"
To which she replied,
"It sounds like Velveeta except without the VEL but I'm just as smooth and creamy".
That just cracked me up! And, I suppose it was a good thing she didn't say instead, "...but I'm just as quick and easy!" (see the picture above).
Mrs. B

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Thoughts for a Monday (Mostly Rambling About Halloween)

I usually write, "Random (fill in the day of the week) Thoughts" but I realized as I was typing that out that the sentence structure is not correct! Although it may sometimes feel that way, the day of the week ITSELF is not random!
Anyway, here goes:
Ah, today is the first day of Fall, and it's a beauty of a day here in North Carolina. The weather report originally said it was going to be 80 or so today but I doubt it'll get that warm. Mid-70s, perhaps? Absolutely delightful weather!
In honor of Fall, I got out my Fall decor and placed it around the house. I didn't, however, bother to get out the Halloween Tree since we won't be here on Halloween this year. We'll be celebrating at the Welk resort in Escondido. My friend Peri was wondering if they had a costume party where everyone had to come dressed up like a "character" from the old Lawrence Welk TV show. And, would a bubble machine be set up? There would have to be bubbles!
Frankly, Halloween is not my favorite "holiday"; after I turned 12 or 13 and stopped Trick Or Treating, it sort of became a drag. Although, I will admit, I have gone to a few rocking Halloween parties.
Writing about Halloween has set me to trying to remember the various costumes I've had over the years. Hmmm. I know when I was a kid, I "went" as various princesses and fairies and the like. One year, I was a Genie (as in "I Dream of Jeannie",
not the big blue thing from the Disney movie "Aladdin" (which didn't even exist then, anyway).
I think I was likely a cat once, or a mouse. One year, lacking creative skills, I wore my Girl Scout uniform and went as, guess what? That was in 6th grade when we were living in Kentucky. I think just being in that state sapped my mental abilities.
As I grew older and into high school, it became quite important to go as something "cute". Sexy wasn't allowed, but cute was. So, one year I went as a little girl. Boy, I thought I was something.
Another year, I dressed up as Ace Freely (from Kiss) and, along with three other people, we went as, well, duh, Kiss! That was fun; I still remember my mom wrapping my boots in tin foil.
One year during college, my friend Peri had a costume party. This was the year that the movie "Mommie Dearest" (a rag on Joan Crawford's maternal abilities) came out. So, I dressed up in a 40s suit, pulled my (then very long hair) up into a very severe bun, slathered on a lot of heavy make-up and smeared bright red lip stick haphazardly around my mouth. I carried a baby doll in one hand and a wire coat hanger in the other and walked around the party beating the doll with it shrieking (in my best Joan Crawford/Faye Dunaway imitation), "No more wire hangers EVER!"
Another year, my ex husband and I plus two other girlfriends of mine dressed up like punk rockers and went to a party. Us three girls spent the entire night following him around, fawning sex slave/groupie attitudes. He ate it up, until some drunk guy told him he looked "queer". That ended our attendance at that party.
The last costume that I remember was going as Julia Roberts' character from "Pretty Woman" while my ex dressed up in a business suit and went as a lawyer. That was pretty funny.
Like I said, I don't really like Halloween and it's been ages since I've dressed up. But, if I ever did again, I'd want to go as Queen Elizabeth I.
Do y'all remember any of your costumes? Which was your favorite? I bet there will be a lot of Sarah Palin costumers at parties this year, or pigs with lip stick on, or Obama, or McCain. I hope, though, that people will figure out something a bit more original!
Mrs. B

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wine Thief

Nah, no one's been stealing our wine. I just wanted to blog about this fantastic Cabernet Franc we tasted at Chatham Hill Winery a few months ago
So, this past June, Mr. B and I went to a new members reception and dinner at Chatham Hill Winery. I may have mentioned this place before but it's in a real unusual location; a commercial building near the airport. Believe it or not, though, their wine is quite good. They use grapes mainly from the Yadkin Valley (where a lot of other very decent North Carolina wineries are located) but they also import some in from California.
Anyway, at this event, they were doing what is called a barrel tasting. This is usually done when a wine is just about ready to be bottled. The wine maker decides to let folks sample it; probably to see if they fall over and die (an obvious indication that something is seriously wrong with the wine). All kidding aside, I'm sure, similar to movie studios that show their movie to test audiences to decide what ending to use, the wine maker is likely gauging the reaction of the tasters to determine what, if anything, should be done to modify the wine. Say it's a bit too bold and full of tannins; add some soothing and mellow Merlot. Or, it's too watery. Blend in some Cabernet Sauvignon that's been aged in oak for a few years.
At least this is what I suppose they are doing; it's what I'D do if I made wine!
So, after dinner was over, all present trooped into the back of the building where they have the wine in vats and barrels and where they do the bottling. On this particular occasion, they were barrel tasting a red wine, the Cabernet Franc I mentioned.
Picking up a fresh glass and moving in a line towards the barrel, we all listened to the wine maker discuss this particular wine and what he'd done to it so far. For those of you who don't know, a Cabernet Franc is a fairly mellow wine but it can have considerable depth to it. It's a bit fruity, a bit peppery, but not too much of either. For lack of a better description, it's somewhere between a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape is more common to this region of the United States (I don't even think they can grow the grapes in California). It's probably the grape Thomas Jefferson used to make the majority of his wine. This makes sense, and perhaps he even brought some grapes back with him from France (where it is quite popular).

Cabernet Franc Grapes

In order to dole out the tastings, the wine maker used a device call a Wine Thief.

In essence, it's a fancy glass turkey baster. Each person held their glass near the barrel opening, tilted, and the wine maker shot the sample into the glass using the thief.
Mr. B and I swirled and sniffer and observed color (a very nice ruby red) and slowly sipped. Our eyes probably rolled back into our heads in ecstasy. While we were near orgasmic over the wine, others were looking like they were going to hurl. Now, why would that be, do you wonder? Because you have to understand that most North Carolina wineries are forced to make sweetie wines because that is what most people from North Carolina like to drink (they grew up on sweet cloying grapes like the Muscadine). Hey, some of those sweetie wines are not bad (as I've blogged about before) but some of them, well, you may as well drink Strawberry Hill from Boone's Farm or Annie Green Springs or the like (it would be cheaper, anyway).
Chatham Hill Winery is no different; they offer a variety of very sweet fruit wines like Blueberry, Peach, Raspberry and Pomegranate (this one actually isn't too bad; it'd take pretty good mixed with a bit of Prosecco or Champagne).
So, many of the people in that room with us that evening were NOT fans of dry red wine.
So much the better, we said to ourselves, as this meant they wouldn't be rushing in to buy up the Cabernet Franc if it ever got bottled. More for us!
A week later, we took Mr. B's parents to the winery. Yey! They were barrel tasting the Cabernet Franc again! Mrs. Senior B enjoyed it but Mr. Senior B is more into Rieslings and the like. But, he nicely got a sample of the wine so that we could split it, which meant almost a full glass each of this beauty!
Ok, I'm rambling. The point to all of this is, when Mr. B went to pick up our wine club shipment the other night, lo and behold in the package was a bottle of 2006 Cabernet Franc.
So, tomorrow, we're gonna head over to Chatham Hill Winery and buy as much of it as they'll let us (they have limited quantities) while it's at its discounted price.
Mrs. B

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Adventures In Italy: The Passing of Grandpa T

Grandpa T and me in happy times

I meant to post this earlier (but my current life is "getting in the way") to coincide with the five year anniversary of Grandpa T's passing. He died while I was in Italy (the last week I was in Verona). Following is my accounting and thoughts plus the poem I eventually managed to get written (a few days later while in Sienna) and sent off for his memorial service (which I missed being that I was on a plane en route/coming home to the States).

I was truly lucky to share a wonderful relationship with Grandpa T. I am thankful I was (I hope) able to make his life a bit better during those final years he lived in California.

Hey, Grandpa!


Love ya and miss you.

Mrs. B

11 September 2003
A sad day for me; got word from Dad that Grandpa T died on Tuesday. Although it wasn’t unexpected, and, as is often the case when folks get very old (91), almost a relief, it still shook me up a bit. Memories came flooding back; especially of the times we spent together in 2000-2002 in Escondido playing cards, talking and going out to eat. I am very sorry that I can’t be there for his (and a belated one for Grandma T) memorial service on 9/28.

Today I felt very very far away from home. I wish I could be with my family.

I’d like very much to be able to send a poem or something to be read for me at the service since I can’t be there. I hope I can get something out. I really did love him and I’d like to be able to honor him, somehow. I need to think about what type of poem.

Death always brings about a hodge-podge of emotions. Sadness, concern for others, realization that, in the end, death will eventually come for even me; fear, and sometimes even some amusement as fond memories are remembered. I don’t have any bad emotions; no remorse, guilt, shame or anger; when I think about Grandpa T.

I am pretty sure that he was ready to go. I hope, wherever he is, he’s playing cards with Grandma, puffing away on his pipe with his eye half on the Reds game while anticipating the chocolate cake he’s going to get his fill of now.

Because of this news, all of my earlier problems don’t seem like such a huge deal now. Somehow I have faith everything will be ok.

I went to St. Anastasia this afternoon to think and to reflect. It was peaceful.

St. Anastasia. I walked by this church every day on my way to school; it seemed fitting to go into it when I needed some peace

Just One More Time

I knew that it was coming
The day when you’d be gone
I thought I was ready
To receive the news
But in this, of course,
I was wrong

I am far away in Italy
I’m mixed up and feeling strange
And as I wonder
If I told you good-bye
I keep hearing
This refrain…

Just one more time
To see you
To visit you again
Just one more time
To play Gin Rummy
Even though you always win

Just one more time
To drive you through
The town of Escondido
Just one more time
To your favorite restaurant
For a margarita and a shrimp burrito

Just one more time
To eat M&Ms
Out of your mushroom candy jar
Just one more time
To smell your pipe
The essence of who you are

Just one more time
To watch you devour
A big piece of chocolate cake
Just one more time
To hear you tell me
“You’re a good kid, when you’re awake!”

Just one more time
To walk behind you
To make sure that you don’t fall
Just one more time
To tell you I love you
Just one more time, that’s all

Dedicated to Carroll L. T
My Grandpa
And my friend

Amy C. H
16 September ‘03
Sienna, Italy

Me outside the hotel where I wrote the poem in Sienna, Italy

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Debbie's In REMISSION!

My good pal Debbie

Yey! She called me and left a message today to say, although she's still feeling sorta punk, she's officially in remission (lymphoma).
So, for all of you who know my great pal Debbie and have been pulling for her and sending positive thoughts her way, thank you thank you thank you.
You know, news like this makes everything else that might trouble one fade away.
Oh, and Mr. B and I will see her at the end of October when we're in California for our fall get-away.
Now, we can really celebrate!
Mrs. B

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Moment Of Silence

I posted this entry on my old Blog two years ago today. I re-post it here now because it continues to represent how I feel about 9/11/2001 and its aftermath. My flag is out today; I hope that yours is, too!

This morning, I made sure I was up and lucid well before 8:46a so that I could reflect, during the requested moment of silence, on what happened five years ago.

A moment’s not really enough, of course, to think all of the thoughts that should be thought. To honor all of the people, those that died for nothing more than going to work or getting on a plane that morning, those that died trying to save them, and those that survived to carry on. This would be all of us.

I suppose it’s an amazing ability of the human race, and perhaps, in particular, Americans, to pick themselves up and go on after great tragedy. And, sometimes over the course of the past five years, I’ve felt that one could almost pretend that 9/11 didn’t happen at all, because so many other awful things have occurred to take its place.

Over the past several days leading up to this day, we’ve been bombarded by journalistic attempts to remind us that we must remember this day; all that happened on it, and everything that has changed as a result. One article talked about how 9/11 would never have occurred had our government been more competent. Another discussed the differences between physical memorials to tragic events and memory memorials. Several articles reiterated the sentiment that America “lost her innocence” on 9/11, and that we, the collective we, finally woke up to the realization that we are not beloved all over the world and that we are not invincible. And yes, that we are in danger.

The most poignant article I read relayed many of the final phone conversations between 9/11 victims and their loved ones; those that they chose to call in the last minutes of their lives; spouses, fathers, mothers, children, before they succumbed to their fate. This article impacted me the most because it addressed that, in the end, what is most important to us are the people that we love.

At 8:43a this morning, I turned off the washer and sat at the bistro table in my kitchen looking out onto Saratoga Drive. I could hear the slight, distant rumble of the ever-present sounds of construction work going on nearby. I watched the flag my husband put out this morning flutter slightly in the breeze and was pleased to see that, because the morning was grey and gloomy, the vibrancy of its colors were noteworthy.

I became aware that the construction noises had stopped. The only sound was Clyde crunching away on his dry food (and I can hardly blame a cat for not being silent during this time). Although I was saddened to see that no one else on our street was flying a flag this morning, I was pleased that, apparently, the construction workers, all likely illegal immigrants, had paused in their work out of respect for those that died and for a country that they feel they are a part of.

A few days ago, I forwarded an email I’d received, one requesting everyone to fly an American flag on 9/11, to several family members and friends. One friend wrote back in a quiet grouchy manner that, in essence, flying a flag was a worthless gesture and that, by the way, 9/11 wasn’t this nation’s worst tragedy, The Civil War had that dubious honor.

When I read this response, I was irritated. I thought about sending back a curt reply about this person’s insensitivity. But, I didn’t, first, because he is a decent person and also because I know he tends to explore different “perspectives” on a routine basis (Socialism, Communism, now something called Objectivism) which is all his right to do and it is also his right to have a different opinion than mine (imagine that!) I figured the best way to respond was with a gentle, “I simply thought this was a nice way to remember all of those who died on 9/11”.

He almost immediately wrote back and apologized for being cranky. He also sent me a link to a site one of his web buddies had created to memorialize 9/11.

As I ramble on and on regarding this subject this morning, now well over an hour after the moment of silence, I am blessed in that I am here to do so, and, that no one I knew (that I know of) died on that day. At one point, a few weeks after 9/11 when they started to publish the names of people in the paper that had been killed, I read the name of my ex husband. I read it again. I wondered if it could be him as his name was fairly common (someone with his name actually signed the Declaration of Independence, too!) Although we were not speaking to one another then (for he’d done something yet again to really anger me), I worried about him enough to talk to my mom; she then called his mom, and he, a few days later, sent me an email telling me that he was fine.

My point in all of this is that, obviously, no one should have died that day, including those that we did not like.

All of this is what ran through my head in the time I sat here silently thinking. In total, about 5 minutes.

5 minutes. I could say that I should have thought more, that I should do more, than I have done. But, I think that I have in that I, and all of the rest of us, have accomplished the most important thing we could do in the past five years to honor the people that died and to thwart the organizations that killed them, and that is to refuse to be cowed in fear and to continue to live.

Mrs. B

Monday, September 8, 2008


I've had this "condition" off and on now for over 10 years. I'll never be completely sure how I "got it" in the first place other than it has to do, most of the time, with the mid to inner ear. I've had issues with my ears for a long time; mostly infections but now that I've moved to Durham, allergies as well.
Anyway, apparently my version of vertigo is subjective, which means it feels like I am moving when I'm not. In my head is a very heavy dizzy feeling; like a big wave of fog. It can sometimes make me feel slightly ill and usually it happens if I'm moving my head up and down or side to side (like, turning around in bed at night or dropping my head down to look at something at waist level or lower). If I for some reason tip my head back, watch out, I'll probably topple over.
So, ten years or so ago, when I first noticed this, I went to the doctor. I was told then, when I asked how the heck did I get this, that it was likely due to all of the air travel I'd been doing (during this period of time in my life, I was taking many business trips a month). Heck, it could have also been because I was living in the higher altitude of Colorado Springs. In any case, the doctor put me on something called Antivert (catchy, huh?) and, after a time it went away.
However, I think my ears have been permanently damaged. Whenever I have any sort of "trauma" to them, meaning, drainage, allergies, infection, cold, etc., these damn symptoms return.
My doctor in LA didn't believe in drugs for this, rather, she did some bizarre treatment in her office where she turned me this way and that until I thought I was going to puke. She said this was to get the "ball bearings" in my ears back into the right position. Then, I had to sleep sitting up for several nights.
Since then, the vertigo comes and goes. Usually it goes away on its own after a few days.
Why it popped up this morning I have no clue. But, it is here. And, I had a few dizzy and sickening moments earlier today. After taking an Aleve, it got better. But, now, 12+ hours later, it's starting to bother me again. I told Mr. B it feels like I have to stretch my brain; sort of like when you get a Charley Horse in your leg. Plus, my ears are throbbing and ache.
Crap! Thankfully, it's not so bad that I can't drive or work or anything. Still, it is ANNOYING!
If I went back to LA my doctor there could do her ka-booki dance over me and maybe it'd go away. But, for now, I'll just stick it out and hope it goes away, for now.
Mrs. B

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rainy and Random

Saturday morning around 9:20 here in Durham. We're in full-fledged rain and wind mode (from Hanna); it's been raining steadily since the middle of the night and the wind's picked up. But, Mr. B checked on-line and found that Hanna should be moving out of the area by this afternoon. Ike's on tap to go towards LA so, other than some rain and storms perhaps Tuesday, we might squeak out of being pommeled by Ike. I'm not sure what Josephine is up to right now; probably too far out yet to know.
Lucy is pouting because she can't go outside. Well, she CAN, but, each time she goes out means someone has to dry her off with a towel. This must be real torture for her, though; rain usually brings out the frogs.
There is a flock of geese grounded in the backyard a few doors down. There is no landscaping in that yard, so, that translates to a ton of muddy puddles. Mr. B says the geese can't fly in this wind.
So, it appears that we'll have a weekend of being stuck indoors. This means while Mr. B works on various projects in the garage, I will have to otherwise occupy myself. Hmmm....might be a good time to update our investments? Nah, too depressing. Maybe I'll try to work on Clyde's album.
Lucy keeps staring at me quite intently. "Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"
Last night we went to a restaurant in Chapel Hill called 411 West. It's an Italian cafe type place; the sister restaurant to a similar one in Raleigh called 518 West. Anyway, we were in Chapel Hill dropping the BMW off for service (inspection). So, we decided to eat out.
I used Open Table to make the reservation, that's sort of a cool and easy process. Here's their web site
Anyway, 411 West was okay. No great shakes but ok. The food was decent enough but I didn't much care for the atmosphere (nowhere near as neat as 518 West). We were stuck in this room that seemed to be an add-on. As it got darker, it became very difficult to see (very little lighting). Also, the service was too fast. Say what? Yeah, too fast! We wanted to relax over our cocktails but the salads were brought almost immediately after we ordered them. I'm sorry; Caesar Salad and Manhattan's don't go that well together. We should have said we wanted to enjoy our drink, but, I guess we've been spoiled by the likes of Magnolia Grill where they simply don't bring your food (unless you ask) until you've finished up with your cocktail.
When the waitress brought our salads, Mr. B asked her to hold on bringing our entrees until we'd finished our salad. I asked for the wine list. She came back about five minutes after she'd brought the list and wanted to know if we wanted to order wine. Not yet, still drinking this Manhattan!
Anyway, the entrees were good (she brought them almost immediately after the salad plates were taken away). I had pan seared scallops with gnocchi, arugula and caramelized shallots. It was listed as a "small plate" and it was. I thought at first, "What a rip!" but, it turned out the food was more than sufficient; it was also extremely rich. But, good enough to try and duplicate at home. Mr. B had the black pepper linguine with salmon which he said was good enough but he wished they'd flaked the salmon and mixed it in with the pasta rather than just laying big blogs of salmon on the top.
We did end up ordering a glass of wine (which came AFTER the entrees).
So, all in all, I doubt we'll ever go back there.
Onto another subject. For whatever reason, every time I go into the dry cleaners, I forget something. I wonder if it is the chemicals in the building? Usually I try to leave without picking up my clothes (that are hanging there right next to me). Or, I leave my tote bag on the counter. The other day, I actually left my credit card. Luckily, Jackie (the manager) knows I tend to forget things so is prepared to be on the alert. Seriously, 1/2 the time I go there, I hear, "Miz B, Miz B!" as I am climbing back into my car. I don't get it! I don't usually leave anything behind anywhere else and certainly not plastic!
We've been watching the miniseries "John Adams" (via NetFlix). We're on the final episode. I've really been enjoying it and would highly recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested in that period of time. Boy, what a difference between now and then, politically. The cast is fantastic. I never would have pictured Paul Giamatti (from "Sideways" fame) as John Adams but, he's pulling it off. There is a lot of red wine drinking in this miniseries; Mr. B said he keeps expecting "John Adams" to take a sip, look at the glass, make a face, and say, "Is this MERLOT? I don't want any stinking MERLOT!" Ha ha. I really dig the music from this series; it's real catchy and seems to make one want to stand up tall and be proud
BTW, I finally let Lucy out and now she's pacing on the patio; back and forth, back and forth, wanting back IN. But of course you silly Goose, it's RAINING out there!
Mrs. B

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mrs. B Babysits Baby Girls

My new nieces, to be exact; Sophie and Jacqueline.
Now, it's been SOME time since I've been left alone with a baby, let alone TWO babies! But, I was up to the challenge, and, in fact, was really looking forward to getting some bonding time with the girls.
I arrived at Jon and Shannon's around 9; Shannon was ready for me. We talked a bit, she showed me a few things, and, she was off (but not before Jacqueline started to fuss a bit; oh no!) I discovered that she felt pretty comfortable laying on my lap.

Jacqueline comfy on my lap

Actually, both of the girls were REALLY REALLY good for me. Yeah, Jacqueline wanted to be held and rocked; I needed to pick her up a few times until she finally got to sleep, but, she didn't make too much of a to-do. Sophie, what a trooper! She basically sat in her bounce chair and entertained herself until she fell asleep. And she slept. And she slept. And she slept.

Sleeping Sophie

In the meantime, Jacqueline woke up and and started to smile at me. She really got into it; in fact, she was almost coy about it (ok, I know babies are not coy, but, she just looked like she was flirting with me!)

Jacqueline the Flirt

Finally, Jacqueline went out. About 10 minutes before their mommy came home, Sophie woke up. She didn't really fuss but I wanted to pick her up, anyway; wanted to get to hold her some, too!

I changed her diaper (not bad but I'm sure Jon and Shannon might get a kick on how I closed the tabs; darn, diapers HAVE changed since that last baby I diapered; but, at least it stayed on her!)

So, Shannon came home; we chatted a while, each of us holding a baby. Cozy. And, while Shannon was feeding the girls, Raven and I chased off the Jehovas Witnesses that came to the door.

Finally, it was time for Shannon and the girls to go to a class and for Mrs. B to do some errands.

Man, Auntie Mrs. B Tired Us OUT!

All in all, this was a good foray into the realm of babies for me. Now, if they'd both screamed bloody hell for the entire hour or so Shannon was gone, I might have written quite a different entry :-)

Mrs. B

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Adventures In Italy: Labor Day 2003

Here's what I was doing 5 years ago on this day in Italy (well, I actually wrote about it the following day, but, close enough!) Now, obviously, nothing ever came from meeting "the other" Austrian (definitely nicer looking than Ernst; can't figure out what happened to my picture of Ernst) but it/he made for a nice diversion for a few days! Actually, we DID end up corresponding via email for a few months, but, like a lot of things, it just sort of petered out. Obviously, just as well!

Mrs. B

2 September 2003
It’s been a busy past few days.
Yesterday Luigi asked me to go with him and his two friends (Annabelle (English) and Nicholaus (Austrian)) to Lago di Garda (Lake Garda) after school (yes, school on Labor Day; the Italians do not celebrate US Holidays any more than the Brits celebrate the 4th of July!) Why not? We left around 5p; it took an hour ½ to get there; lots of traffic.
We didn’t do much; walked around the town (called San Sirmione; just one of the several towns around Lago di Garda which is a huge lake; we were at the southern point of it).
Lago di Garda

San Sirmione
Pretty flowers climb a building in San Sirmione

Ok, I have to say I really liked Luigi’s friend Nicholaus (not sure how his name is spelled, don’t even know his last name or much about him at all except he is single and Austrian).
I know I do this often; meet some guy and think “He’s the one!” Maybe I just want there to be “The One” here in Italy? In any case, I enjoyed talking to him, maybe there was a “connection”; not enough time! He’s now gone back to Austria. I could have gone to Venice with the three of them this afternoon but I felt I should stay at school. Now I am kicking myself. Life is too short and once again I let responsibility/duty guide me! I think he wanted me to go; he said as much last night and then again today (when I met him and Annabelle quite by chance outside of school after class).
Annabelle and Nicholaus

But, in addition to responsibility, I let insecurity get the best of me. “Oh, he was just being nice”.
So now he’s gone and here I sit still alone in Verona. But, I told him today I’d get his email from Luigi and write him. So, I will. Maybe I can tell by email if there was “something” there.
Hope springs eternal, in my heart, anyway.
Amy, Luigi and Annabelle eating dinner in San Sirmione; Nicholaus obviously took the picture as I've got on my best "flirt face"!

All else is ok. There is a new batch of students at school, all Americans. I don’t really want to be with them. I much prefer my international buddies!
Zelia (from Portugal) told me tonight she was worried I’d rather be with the Americans. She also told me I was different from other Americans. I think she meant much nicer.
Hisaka and I will talk Thursday regarding our travel plans once school is over. Now maybe Austria? Ha. Well, stranger things have happened, right?

Lucy Goes Swimming!

Saturday, we all went out to my mom and dad's for the day so that Mr. B and my dad could finish up working on bookcases.
Mom suggested we take "the girls" (meaning their dog Brook and our dog Lucy) for a walk on the boat dock (they live close to a river/lake).
So, we did.

On the way to the boat dock; Lucy's pouting because I told her to lie down!

Hurry up, Grammy!

Being that Lucy is part Lab, I was interested to see if her Lab instincts would kick in near natural water (they definitely did not at my Father and step-mom's house in FL; although she was intrigued by the pool, she never tried to jump in and swim).

She was so excited when she saw that we were headed towards the water. We walked out onto the dock (a fairly short one); her body was tense and rigid; basically, EXCITED!

We walked off the dock and down by the boat ramp where the water lapped up to the underside of the boat dock. Lucy did not hesitate; she walked right into the pool of water and kept on going, splashing around. It must have felt great since it was really hot and humid that afternoon. She was on her leash (I did not want to risk letting her off leash) so she couldn't get out too far (or else risk dragging me into the water with her).

I walked up onto a small bank and drew her back out into the water. It was deep enough there for her to actually swim! It sure was a neat sight to see her paddling away; no worries, no cares in the world. We repeated this process a few times (Brook wanted nothing to do with the water). It would have been cool to let her off leash to see her really go at it, but, I wasn't willing to jump into the muddy water to get her if she swam too far away. So, we'll have to find a nice water hole somewhere that we can take her to swim (and where we can control her). Maybe she'll be more interested in the pool at Father and Margot's now, too!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Lucy's big swim. I had my cell phone but didn't want to risk loosing balance and falling into the water.

I did, though, get a few shots of her and Brook in the back of the car.

Big grin!

Bigger grin!

Mrs. B