Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Email To My Step Daughter

I don't know if she'll ever read it. It's been months since she's last responded to emails I've sent her. But, I don't know why; it just struck me tonight to send her this message. For her dad's sake, for her sake; hell, for my sake.
Mrs. B
Dear C:
It is late on a Monday evening. Normally (although there really is no "normal" in our family situation) you might have been here with us for the night. I'm sure your dad would have been pleased to see you. I know that he misses you, constantly. It never goes away; the love a parent has for a child. Ever.

You are in a tough situation. I so very much feel for you, although, I can't begin to understand how hard it has probably been for you. I was lucky; my parents decided long ago (upon divorcing; I was four) to never speak ill of the other. I'm sure it was hard on them at times because people are people and love is love and breaking up is hard to do. But, they never did speak ill of one another. The entire time I grew up. So, for me, to try to put myself in your place; in a situation where I'm sure that hasn't been true, well, it's hard for me.

So, I have to go to what I do know. Which is this. Your dad loves your more than anything. It breaks his heart that he cannot see you more than he does. He wants nothing but the very most best for you. He is willing to spend as much time as you need and want talking about whatever. He WILL do what is right by you, to the best of his ability and to the best of what is fair and reasonable. It is most unfortunate that your mom will not talk to him about important things regarding your life and your future. But, no one can change that, except your mom.

I know, from what he's told me, that the two of you had a very special bond when you were younger. I know that things might be confusing to you now about why he left your mom and all; but, you must know he did not, could not, would not, ever, ever, ever, leave you. He has not. He thinks about you every single day.

You are growing into a young woman now. Lots of things have changed since you were little but certainly what has not changed is that both your mom and dad love you very much. And, now, you have a step-mother who loves you as well. Not to mention your B grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins and your new step-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

My request of you, to a smart young lady, is to think about how to include all of these folks in your life; not to the exclusion of your mom's family, rather, as an inclusion.

In this world, sweetheart, we all need as many people as possible in our lives to be there for us, love us, and watch our backs.


Your Stepmother

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yesterday's Hearty Laugh

And it came from an unexpected source, too. I've been reading for my book discussion group a book called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. As with several of the other books I'm reading for this group, this one is certainly not something I would have selected to read on my own (although I have read at least one of Kingsolver's fiction novels).
Basically, this tale is about Kingsolver and her family moving from Tucson to somewhere in the Appalachians (in Virginia) where her husband has a farm that's been in his family for generations. They resolve themselves to spend one year eating only a) things they have grown themselves (including meat) and/or b) things that are from other local farmers/neighbors.
Although interesting at times (and well written), it is a bit preachy. I was struggling through it Friday night and gave up to try and finish reading "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" (I'm ALMOST done with that one!) Yesterday, though, I opted to give "the farm book" (my pet name for it) another whirl.
I was out in the sun room stretched on the couch with Lucy at my feet, Lily on my chest and Pete curled up in one of the rocking chairs. It was raining like heck outside; a good day to be INSIDE reading, I thought to myself as I read about Kingsolver and her family picking wild mushrooms (that, if not cooked, can kill you). Good to know!
Anyway, the story moved on to a scene with Kingsolver and her youngest daughter (probably 10 or so) named Lily. Lily, who loves chickens and raises them (and doesn't like her family to eat them) and who also has a pretty decent head for business for her age, has decided she wants a horse. Kingsolver realizes the best thing to do is not say no, but, rather, strike a deal with her.
And thus follows the passage that had me laughing so damn hard I couldn't stop for well over ten minutes, tears streaming down my face. I tell you, it has been a very long time since I've laughed this hard. I hope y'all get a kick out of it, too!
When I was a kid, I would have accepted these incalculable vagaries without a second thought, understanding that maybe a horse was out there for me but I'd just have to wait and see. The entrepreneurial gene apparently skips generations. Lily got out her notebook and started asking questions.
"How much does a horse cost?"
"Oh, it depends," I hedged.
"Just a regular mare, or a gelding," she insisted. When it comes to mares and geldings, she knows the score. I'd recently overheard her explaining this to some of her friends. "A stallion is a boy that's really fierce and bossy," she told them. "But they can give them an operation that makes them gentle and nice and helpful. You know. Like our daddies."
Mrs. B

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Going Green? They Wish!

I know that I've blogged about this before. Our local newspaper, The News and Observer, publishes a free supplement called The Durham News. Up until this week, they delivered it to every single house in our neighborhood (and I'm sure many other neighborhoods in Durham) each and every Saturday. The problem is, most people (apparently), are not interested in reading this (which I'm sure is the newspaper's hope; that someone will read it and decide to subscribe to the paper itself). In fact, the majority of the people that live in my neighborhood simply ignore the supplement, leaving it wherever the carrier threw it (sometimes in driveways but more often than not on the sidewalk, in lawns, or in the street). After a good rain (and we've had our share of rain) and being run over many times by the lazy residents, these supplements evolve into moldering, soggy messes. Quite the eyesore. So, it's become our mission (me, Mr. B and Lucy) to pick up these papers while out on our walks and toss them high up onto driveways where it is more likely the resident might actually pick them up. Sometimes, if one has been in a driveway for a long period of time, I'll pick it up and throw it onto their front porch. Yes, there are a few houses that, despite these efforts, NEVER pick them up and they'll probably be there in 100 years.
Anyway, several months ago, I wrote a letter to the editor complaining about this; not just the eyesore but the general waste (this after reading they were laying off people at the newspaper). At that point in time, we were getting the supplement twice; as part of our normal subscription (tucked inside the Saturday paper) and then also an extra supplement thrown by itself onto our driveway. I did receive an email back from the paper apologizing for the duplication and, since then, they have not delivered the extra supplement. However, my broader point to them had been they shouldn't be delivering these supplements, period, given the tough economic times.
This week, they started to deliver the supplement on Wednesdays as well. So, now we've got two days per week of these damn things to contend with. And, as usual, our neighbors, for the most part, ignore them and leave them laying where they fell.
Now, here is the ironic part of the whole thing. In today's supplement, they introduced a new columnist, who, apparently, is going to write about things Durham can do to "Go Green". Additionally, in the Home and Garden section of the regular paper, there was a focus on "Green" activities, and, I kid you not, one of articles talked about how to "eliminate the paper trail". Seriously!
So, I decided to try sending yet another letter to the editor. This is what I sent:
Going Green? You Wish!
I find it extremely ironic that you've introduced the new "Green Durham" column AND your Home and Garden section today focused on going Green in the same week that you began to deliver The Durham News supplement on both Wednesdays and Saturdays. As if one day of unwanted newspapers cluttering up driveways, sidewalks and streets (your carriers have zero aim) isn't enough, now there are two days a week to contend with!

How many carbon footprints is your organization leaving on the Earth while delivering these UNWANTED newspapers?
If you don't believe that they are unwanted, take a gander through any neighborhood where you deliver them and check out how many of them are moldering away outside in wet, sloppy, mounds.
Thanks for contributing to the general unsightliness of our city's neighborhoods.
And you think you are going Green? Give me a break!
We'll see if it does any good. I'm sure it won't, but, you never know (and at least I felt better after sending it).
Tomorrow, it's back to throwing papers at people's front doors
Mrs. B

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pete and Lily Update

I have obviously posted quite a bit of late about Lucy (since she was my erstwhile travel companion). Here are a few pictures and items about Pete and Lily!
I thought Lily might have ear mites but, upon further reading and investigation, I don't think she does; especially as they are highly contagious to other animals (and humans) and none of the rest of us are exhibiting signs. I guess she just has itchy ears.
The dumb-dumb cleaning people left one of their feather dusters when they were here yesterday. I put it on the washer in the utility room. A bit later, I was sitting at the kitchen table blogging about the maids ineptitude and heard a noise and a scramble. I turned around to see Lily dragging the feather duster across the floor. Seriously funny, especially since it was almost as big as she was! I posted a video of her carrying it up the stairs plus another one of her and Pete playing with it on my You Tube page, which you can access by clicking under the link under Mrs. B's Stuff (it takes too long to upload videos onto this sight!)
Yesterday was Pete's follow up visit with Uncle Chuck to check on his heart murmur. Unfortunately, he still has it but fortunately, it has not increased past Level 2. Chuck explained the whole thing to me and said, basically, not to freak out about it. Many animals live for 15 or more years with a Level 2 or more. However, IF it gets worse, we will probably have to put him on daily medication. Unlike flow heart murmurs (which a lot of children are born with and ultimately grow out of), Pete will not grow out of this. So, we'll just hope it doesn't get any worse. That's all we can do. In the meantime, Chuck said not to change ANYTHING about how we're treating Pete. Good news, too; Pete gained THREE pounds (apparently side effects of troublesome murmurs can be weight LOSS). Our boy now weights 11.25 pounds. At 8 months. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say Lily weighs somewhere around 7 - 7.5.
Anyway, I'll take Pete back to see Uncle Chuck in six months (not three) so he can continue to monitor the situation.
Here is a great picture of Mr. B and Pete drinking martinis and playing cards (actually taken 3.1.09, I forgot to post it what with all of the excitement of the snow we got that night) and one of Mr. B and his girl a few days earlier.

Mrs. B

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Want Something Done Right? Do It Yourself!

Someone needs to give this book to all the idiots who have attempted to clean my house

This old adage certainly appears to hold true regarding my experience with cleaning people. I bet my sister in law Shannon can chime in here with stories of her own! Still, despite the fact that I KNEW this, I kept giving it the old college try (mostly because I didn't feel like going back to cleaning my house after not doing it, really, since August; however, given the slip-shod workmanship (which I'll describe in a second) it probably wasn't all that clean, anyway!)
Here is how the drama unfolded:
I started doing more than 20 hours per week of consulting work. I really did not want to spend my off time cleaning the house. So, we agreed to try out Merry Maids as I'd used them with some success in California and also we used them to clean up the townhouse after we moved out and they did a pretty good job. I had given some consideration to using a smaller outfit but, after listening to my sister in law Shannon's tales of HER house cleaner, I decided against it.
If you've never used a professional house cleaner (maid company, cleaning company; same thing), here is how it usually works:
They come and give you a "free" (as if you'd pay for it) in-home estimate. This is when you walk them through your house, room by room, explaining everything you do/don't want done. They also provide you with some sort of check list at this point which details everything they do each and every time they come to clean (dust blinds, dust everything, clean sinks, microwaves until "sparkling" (they all like to use this word), vacuum, mop, etc., etc., etc.)
After this is over, they tell you how much they'll charge for a) once a week (as if) b) every two weeks (most people do this) and c) every month.
When the Merry Maid rep was here, I explicitly told her that NOTHING was to be done to the wood floors except mopping with a dry mop (we'd finally gotten the wood floors replaced in June; another long tale of woe that was!) I saw her write it down. She also told me that since my house was already in great condition (this was just after the big family reunion and we'd cleaned it from top to bottom), she'd waive the first time extra cleaning fee of $55 (I guess some houses are pretty disgusting). BTW, they charged us for that, anyway, and I had to get AMEX in on the action in order to get it reimbursed.
We signed up for the every two week schedule and the first time the crew came (we were told we'd get the same crew each time), they did a wonderful job. I was so happy!
Then, the next time, disaster struck. I know I already blogged about this so I won't belabor the point here except to say they used Murphy's Oil Soap on the wood floor which really wasn't good, was it? Not for them. They ended up paying us enough money to replace the floor again (which we've yet to do since Mr. B can, when he works at it, get the floor clean enough so we figure we'll live with it for now).
I decided to try Molly Maid (whom I'd also used in California and was relatively satisfied with).
Same drill. A rep came out, we walked around the house, etc. In addition to the strict instructions about the wood floor, I told him the cleaning people had to make sure they kept the front door shut at all times since we'd just gotten Pete and Lily (and Pete, in particular, appeared to be an escape artist).
No problem!
The first time they came, they did an okay job. At least they didn't screw up the floors. But, there were some small things that I emailed to complain about. I didn't receive a follow up email or call but the next time they came (January), things seemed a bit better (although I noticed we were getting different crews each time when they, too, had told me we'd get the same crew).
Along comes February and apparently someone didn't tell this new crew (obviously not the same crew, huh?) about what to do with the floors and the doors as they mopped the wood floor with water (and something else) and left the front door wide open. They also left all of our pictures askew, blinds every which way, no liners in the trash cans and a big glob of tomato sauce on the kitchen island (boobie trap courtesy of sneaky Mrs. B).
This time I exchanged emails with the General Manager who assured me the next time (if I gave them a next time, he sure hoped that I would), he'd send out his BEST crew and they'd be our crew from now on. I told him he was lucky the other crew hadn't appeared to have screwed up the wood floor (he doesn't know how lucky he was; hmmm....did I just blow a steady income stream concept?) Anyway, we finally decided to have them come out 3/2.
Then, it snowed 3/1 so we rescheduled for 3/24. He told me he'd waive the extra charge (since it would have been almost two months since the February cleaning). Nice dude, huh? Yeah, right.
Ok, so, this morning. Sure enough, a new crew (three of them) shows up at 9:00. I spoke briefly to them and left for my dentist appointment.
When I got home, they were gone. This is what I found:
1. Dirty kitchen sinks, both sides. One side had gunk in the drain and the other had food in the rubber flaps (leading down into the garbage disposal).
2. Streaks and spots on the granite counters.
3. Dirty stove top. They didn't clean it at all.
4. No liners in the bathroom trashcans.
5. One broken crystal cat figurine (with a note from one of the crew apologizing and telling me it was "ok" if I wanted to call the office about it (as if I needed her permission to do so!))
Of course I called! I talked with the owner this time (after first talking to the office manager).
Here is a summary of that conversation:
Him: I understand from Kathleen (the office manager) that the crew missed some things and that maybe a figurine was broken.
Me: Not MAYBE, it WAS broken, one of your employees left me a note explaining how she'd broken it.
Him: Oh. Well, ok, so, they didn't leave a trash liner? That happens sometimes.
Me: Yes, apparently it does since it's happened here before. Also, they didn't clean the sink or the stove top.
Him: I'm sorry. We can send out another crew to fix it.
Me: No thank you. I'd rather you send me my key back and provide me some sort of reimbursement for my figurine and the fact I'm not happy with the service.
Him: Ok. Yes, I see Ken (the GM) had left many notes here on your account. I'm really sorry they didn't do a good job. How is the floor?
Me: It appears that it is fine.
Him: I see, well, I'm sorry we couldn't satisfy you.
Me: It looks like no one there is capable of cleaning my house better than I can.
Him: I will send you a check and your key later this week.
So, I'm back to cleaning my own house. Frankly, after all of this aggravation, it probably won't bother me so much now, especially if I go back to my MIL's suggestion of having a schedule and sticking with it (not too much every day; a little something a few days a week, etc.)
I doubt, after this, that I will ever engage cleaners again UNLESS it is for a one time deal (whatever that might be, maybe similar to the move out clean we had done on Saratoga).
I'll wrap this up with one of my most favorite stories of (mis-guided) cleaning people.
Torrance, California. I was living in my condo with my cats Nigel and Clyde. I had the service come once a month (we were not terribly dirty inhabitants!)
One night (after the maids had been there that day), I was laying in bed reading. I happened to look up at my dresser and noticed on of my figurines (a shepherdess) looked cock-eyed; namely, her body was pointed frontward but her head was pointed backwards.
I got out of bed and, upon further investigation, realized she'd been broken roughly in half, the obvious culprit being the cleaning people, who, for whatever reason, decided to try and hide the fact they'd broken her (not very well, I might add, since they put her head on backwards).
The next day, I called the cleaning company and spoke with the manager about getting reimbursed for the damage:
Me: I'd like to report that one of my figurines was broken during yesterday's cleaning and want to know how to file a damage claim.
Her: Well, let me see. Hmmm (rustling through papers). Oh, I see here that you have two cats. Are you sure one of your cats didn't break it?
Me: Look, lady, are you suggesting one or both of my cats knocked over the figurine, broke it, and then put the head back on top of it?
Her: Uh....
Me: And, anyway, believe me; IF my cats were physically capable of even doing this, you can rest assured they would have been smart enough to point the head in the right direction!
Her: Ok, ok, how much is it worth....
Obviously, I fired them, too.
Ok, onward, upward; back to Swiffering, vacuuming, cleaning toilets and the like.
Works for me.
Mrs. B

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Few Cool Links

Thanks to my buddy Bob for telling me about this one, The Daily Plate. Whether you need/want to lose a lot of weight, some weight, maintain your weight or even (if you are so lucky) GAIN weight, this is a terrific site to help you out. Check it out!
The other, Hulu, comes courtesy of my FIL Jack. Here you can watch (for free) a variety of TV shows (including currently running episodes), movies and the like. Some are full episodes/movies, others are clips or excerpts. In any case, there are very few commercials (if you can even call them commercials since they are less than 30 seconds).
So, if you're stuck somewhere with your computer and have Internet access, tune in to Hulu!
Mrs. B

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Reason NOT To Like T.V.

I got suckered again by a product which touted "As Seen On T.V.". As if that, in and of itself, is a reason to believe that whatever it was it said it did would work. Why, simply because it advertised on some T.V. infomercial, would we assume it did the trick?
Hey, I don't even WATCH T.V. now and I STILL let that slogan sway me into buying another worthless piece of you know what.
And, what is it with everything being $9.99?
Anyway, my most recent folly was a product called Smooth Away. I'm not (too) ashamed to admit here that, over the past few (maybe 10) years, facial hair has popped up where I'd just assume it not make an appearance. Luckily for me, said hair is light (I've known women who have had to deal with dark facial hair all their lives) but, still, I'm forever on a quest (short of laser hair removal) to get rid of it a) easily b) cheaply c) painlessly and d) non-stinky (anyone who has ever used Nair or some other facial creme remover knows it smells like rotten eggs).

Smooth Away promised to painlessly smooth away (meaning off) hair as follows:
1. Buy their product at $9.99 plus tax.
2. Adhere the hair removal pad to the special applicator. BTW, the pad has a peel off backing that reads "3M"...hmmm.
3. Gently press the pad (which, frankly, sort of reminded me of sandpaper) to the hair to be removed and rub three times first clockwise, then, counter-clockwise.
4. And, e voila! The hair is gone AND your face (or wherever) is exfoliated as well; an added bonus!
My result:
1. I bought their damn product at $9.99 plus tax thinking even as I did so that I was pouring the money down the drain (memories of the Bikini Bare product disaster, another "As Seen On T.V." product, floating through my brain).
2. I might better have bought a pile of stickee notes from 3M...at least they would have been useful in leaving Honey Do notes for Mr. B.
3. Or, I could have gone out to Mr. B's shop, selected some sandpaper, cut it to the size of the applicator (a funky little pink thing that could sub as a plastic sandal for a baby doll) and ended up with a similar result. Also, pressing gently? Yeah, right. Clockwise three times and then counter-clockwise three times? Try rubbing the damn thing every which way to Tuesday about a million times, all the while thinking I might as well be doing the Hokey Poky while I was at it. Who comes up with these instructions?
4. E voila; the hair was still pretty much there AND my face looked as though I'd had an amorous encounter with Grizzly Adams.
So, looks like it's back to the rotten egg stuff and tweezers until I save up sufficient pennies for laser hair removal.
It's either that or strive to become The Bearded Lady and join the circus. Wait, there really ISN'T a circus like that any more, is there?

Anyway, NEVER AGAIN while I buy one of these silly products. NEVER EVER EVER!
If any one out there has ever bought a "As Seen On T.V." product and had even the least bit of success with it, I'd like to know!
Mrs. B

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Home Again

Just a quickie post here. Lucy and I made it home safely around 6:15 last night. It took us one hour longer to get home than it did to get to Mom and Dad B's two weeks ago. There were a lot of cars heading North (snow birds heading home) plus there was some road paving in both SC and NC which slowed things down. I also stopped several times because, despite the fact I had just experienced a delightful two week vacation, I was EXHAUSTED! I caught myself nodding off at one point so pulled over to get a strong iced coffee. As for the required license plate sighting game, we ended up with 44 out of 50; not bad. I'm sure I missed a few but figured it was not a good idea to crane my head around trying to see what someone's license plate was (in the hopes of getting: Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Hawaii!)
Everything seems fine at home. Lily came running over to see me the moment I walked in. Pete was a tad stand-offish at first but is back to his usual affectionate self (he's on my lap as I type this insistent on getting petted). Both have obviously been having LOTS and LOTS of fun playing with their toys while I've been gone! Mr. B reports that their new favorite thing to do is drag them all into the bathroom, make toy soup (putting toys into their water bowl) and romping in the (empty) bathtub (Lily in particular).
I'm happy to relay that neither appear to be upset with the return of The Goose. If anything, they seem to care less that she's here. I suppose they feel now this is their house and will stop running away from her and, rather, make a stand. They haven't scratched her yet but Lily did swipe at my toe and draw blood last night. Sharp little claws.
Anyway, my mind's a whirl as I try to get organized. I felt this morning as though I was going around and around in circles BUT now, at 3:20, I'm feeling like I'll be sure to get everything under control within a day or so.
We sure had a wonderful, wonderful trip! Many thanks to Mom and Dad B, Father and Margot and Mom and Dad T for their hospitality!
Mrs. B (and Lucy)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


One of the carved animals at the circus museum

After more than thirty-five years, I returned to the Ringling circus museum (the actual name is “The Ringling Museum of the American Circus”) yesterday! I have to say, it was nothing like it was the first time I went but, back then, it was still an operating circus. Today, in addition to the circus museum, there is a wonderful art museum and tours of the mansion Ca d’Zan (which, they say, roughly translates to “John’s House”; I’m not so sure I believe that, though, since I think John in Italian is Giovanni, not Zan!)

Anyway, the house was obviously there 35 years ago (since it was built in 1926 or so for John and Mable Ringling; John being one of the five Ringling Brothers who founded the Ringling Brothers Circus (there were two other brothers who helped out with the circus but did not technically partake in the founding of it) and Mable (his wife). Unfortunately for poor Mable, she passed away a few years after the house was completed so she didn’t get to enjoy it very much. Really, quite unfortunate, as the house is spectacular. We were able to tour some rooms on the lower level and the grounds.
Stunning; and, it reminded me A LOT of the huge mansions on the canals in Venice.

We wandered around the art museum for a bit; HUGE! Not as large as the Uffizi in Florence but certainly one could spend at least three hours in there plus the grounds were also lovely. One thing for sure; John Ringling was kick-ass RICH and had one hell of a collection (which he donated to the state of Florida, I think). The art museum may have been there as well 35 years ago, however, if it was, I don’t remember it. Here is a link to the compound's site.

For me, the best part was the circus museum; mostly because I read “Water for Elephants” not long ago (a great novel which is about a circus in the 1930s). It seemed to us (mom and dad also read the book) that the author must have spent a great deal of time at the Ringling compound conducting research.
In addition to the museum (which housed many of the original circus cars

Band car (was drawn by 40 horses!)
Yep...they shot people out of this cannon at about 120 MPH!

Lion carved on one of the cars
and the Ringling’s private Pullman car (quite fancy),

there is also a huge exhibition hall where there is a model of a circus complex from the 1930s or so. Apparently the man who made the model did so over a period of FIFTY years. As dad noted, someone would have to be REALLY obsessed about something to keep at it for 50 years!

The model

Pictures in The Secret Garden (not sure why it was a secret, but, John and Mabel are buried in this garden)
35 years ago they had an actual big top erected in which were contained the museum’s exhibits. There were also random performers roaming around the grounds. I vividly recall wandering off from my father, step-mom and sister and going outside of the big top. I obviously ended up somewhere that I was not supposed to be. As I was poking about, a male midget of about some advanced years came around the corner wearing a muscle shirt, suspenders, a battered old Fedora and smoking a huge stogie. He looked at me and growled, “Where ya going, little girl?” My reaction (I’m embarrassed to say) was to shriek and run back into the big top.

I didn’t see any midgets yesterday (other than in old pictures), however there were a goodly number of snow birds in motored wheel chairs.
All in all it was a lovely day! We topped it off by going out to a nice restaurant for dinner (where we ended up eating several appetizers and indulging in the two for one drink Happy Hour special rather than actually eating dinner).
As I’ve said several times since I’ve been gone, I sure can’t complain about this vacation (who complains about vacation, anyway?) It’s been a lot of fun!
We head back to Weeki Wachee for a few days tomorrow, then on to Ocala for St. Pat’s day and home on the 18th where I’m sure a very tired and busy Mr. B and energetic (and bored) Pete and Lily will be waiting to welcome us home.
Mrs. B

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mom and Lucy

Ya just don't get pix like this every day!
Mrs. B

Florida Update

Sorry that I have not posted a lot of late; I've been distracted lazing about! Seriously, although this has been a wonderful trip/vacation, there hasn't been much to blog about; mostly because I usually blog when I'm pissed off or something (which has certainly not been the case these days!)
How can I complain about going for a leisurely bike ride or down to Venice for lunch or going shopping? I found three pairs of shoes! Yes, three. I guess this is what I collect these days; shoes and books.
Today we're headed off to the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum (I'll post more on this later) and to Total Wine (they sell liquor in Total Wine stores here in FL) so I can get Mr. B some Bombay Sapphire Gin and some sort of decent scotch (at roughly 45% LESS than what I'd pay for it in NC).
Lucy continues to do well although she won't sleep with me on the bed here since it's a bit short on one side and I'm continually kicking her.
She's quite taken with Grandpa T who has been walking her (along with Brook) every morning. She's gotten to the point where, if he leaves the RV, she looks out the window watching for him.
The bad news for her (so to speak) is that she now has two good behavior Nazi's to contend with (Grammy's still the soft touch, ever on hand with the box of chewies or a special treat (even if it's just a carrot)).
Back in NC, Mr. B is in the groove of working LONG days and not much else. He does, however, think to send me occasional pictures of my kids back home. Here is Lily helping him get ready for work (at 4:49 am, ugh!)

Mrs. B

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trip Update: In Sarasota!!!

We're now in Sarasota; arrived yesterday safe and sound. Lucy was very excited to be back in the RV!

Mom and I hung out at the pool for a few hours while Grandpa T dog-sat. Here's a picture of Lucy taken at sunset last evening.

All's fine...one thing about being on a nice, relaxing vacation; there is not always a lot to report but...sleep, eat, have fun, talk, sleep, eat, have fun, talk...repeat!
Mr. B reports that life's ok back home; he's busy working long days and the cats are into mischief but doing ok. Thanks to brother Jon for stopping by the other evening and hanging out with them for a while; I'm sure they appreciated the company!
Here's a picture of the two of them helping Mr. B get ready for work this morning:

Until next time!

Mrs. B

Dumb thing posted itself before I had the pictures uploaded. Hopefully they are there now!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lucy Goes Swimming

Well, sort of.
After several attempts to get her into the pool yesterday, I was finally successful, but, as you'll see from this video, she really did not want to be in the water!
I am also posting a video of her trying to figure out how to get her ball out of the water without getting INTO the water. She eventually realized that, if she waited long enough, the ball would drift over to the side and she could snatch it out.
Life's great here in sunny FL...can't complain, y'all!
Mrs. B

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Trip Update

So far, all's been well on our trip. The only frustrating thing (and, really, only a mild frustration) has been I've not been able to hook up wirelessly to my step-mom's network. We had a time of it last year and finally got it figured out. We sat down yesterday (with the instructions we'd written down last year (thinking we were so smart to do so)) and, crap. It won't work. We called the router company (Linksys) and they were zero help since, apparently the warranty on the router has expired and they don't offer free technical support after that. Since I am able to plug into the router via a cable and at least get to the Internet (and email and Facebook and My Blog), no sense in paying money for me for a few days, right?
Anyway. We had a nice time in Ocala with Mom and Dad B and Fritz (although Fritz and Lucy got into a bit one day while Lucy was on her leash and he got too close to her; no harm, though). We never saw the cats Snoopy and Peanut (other than in pictures Dad B took of them sitting outside our bedroom door at 5:00 am). We had lots of talk time, went out to lunch, went on a long walk, had a nice dinner at home when I arrived, etc. We'll be stopping back there on our way home, I believe that will be St. Pat's Day!
We drove down to Weeki Wachi (home of the famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids) Thursday. Margot made a fantastic standing rib roast for our welcome dinner. Yum (although Lucy did not get any). Yesterday we went to a Thai place for lunch, sat around a played games and chatted. Today has been laid-back as well (other than the wireless connection frustration noted above; this, as my Father pointed out, begs a Blog entry of its own). Tonight, we're going to a dinner theater to see "Thoroughly Modern Millie". I've never seen it, so, it will be a lot of fun.
I'm hoping the pool water will warm up sufficiently so that I can get into the pool and see if I can't lure The Goose in there as well. I think she'll go for it this year.
Oh, and, in general, Lucy is doing quite well with resident cats Timmy Timmy and Porter. They are both very handsome boys; Timmy Timmy has been a bit shyer (likely because Lucy took off after him the first night we were here) than Porter (who talks up a blue streak and has already swiped Lucy once across the nose when she got too close).
Hopefully I'll get some good pictures of all the action here in Weeki Wachee!
We'll be here until Tuesday when we'll drive further south to spend some time with Mom and Dad and Brook in Sarasota.
Ciao for now.
Mrs. B (and Lucy)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Love My Dog

I wish I had a good pix to post of me and my Goose (a recent one), but, I don't. Maybe we can remedy this on our road trip together this year.

This was actually taken yesterday during our walk in the snow at home

Anyway. I love my dog. Yeah, sometimes (at home) she is a royal pain in the butt. She gets too excited, she hates most other dogs, she constantly has her nose up Pete and/or Lily's butt, she eats their toys, she drives me nuts.

But, on the road today, I've been reminded how wonderful dogs can be. And, Lucy is a real trooper in the car. Seriously! I can put her in the back of the SUV on her bed and she'll stay put sleeping for hours and hours. We left at 7:09. I stopped in SC (just past the South of the Border place) just after 9. I did not let her out then. Around 11 or so, we stopped at the tail end of SC (the same rest area we were at last year). She was really happy to get out and do her business. I stopped a few other times to get food, gas, use facilities, etc. Lucy just hung out on her bed and kept an eye out for "mom".

Finally, we pulled into Mom and Dad B's around 5:30. Oh boy! Lucy has behaved exceptionally well. As has Fritz. Lucy got lots of hugs and kisses from her grandparents and dug out all of Fritz's toys and ran around with them (she's angling for Hedgehog II). Now, she's on the bed with me, sleeping away.

Oh, I forgot. Two people today approached me and said, "What a lovely dog!"

Ok, she's not always perfect. But, she's mine and I'm so happy to have her with me on this trip!

Mrs. B.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A to Z

Another Facebook note that's going onto my Blog since 2/3 of the people on Facebook ignore them, anyway :-) From Analee.
Mrs. B
A - Age: Older than I was last year at this time
B - Beer of Choice: This changes on a frequent basis. Right now I'm partial to Arrogant Bastard Ale
C - Chore You Hate: Cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer
D - Dog's Name: Lucy
E - Essential Item I Use Everyday: Toilet paper
F - Favorite TV Show: No real one favorite; I like I Love Lucy, The Tudors, Dexter and 24. I did like The Office but sort of got burned out on it
G - Gold or Silver: I like both but I look better in gold
H - Hometown: San Diego, CA
I - Instruments You Play(ed): Piano
J - Favorite Juice: Again, this changes. Right now it's Ruby Red Light
K - Whose Butt You'd Like to Kick: Pleading the 5th...
L - Last Place You Ate: As in anything? Sitting right here at the kitchen table noshing on some nuts a few minutes ago. As in out, I believe that was...uh...freak! I can't remember the last restaurant we ate out at! It's been a while. I guess that's good...
M - Mom: Dina and Margot (yes I am lucky enough to have two!) and MIL Roberta
N - Nicknames: Christina (technically my middle name), Framus, Amos, Mousie, E
O - Overnight Hospital Stays: Thankfully only one (when I had my tonsils out at age 4 or 5)
P - Pet Peeve: Dishonesty (see previous post), illogical thinking, disorganization
Q - Quotes You Like: Way way way too many to write down here!
R - Right or Left Handed: Left
S - Siblings: Two sisters (one older, one younger) and two younger brothers
T - Time You Wake Up: Depends on the day and time of year. Now that Mr. B is leaving for work earlier, I'm up earlier
U- Underwear: What about it? I've got a lot of it and wear it frequently :-)
V - Vegetable You Dislike: I don't really care for yellow squash
W - Ways You Run Late: I am hardly ever late and if I am, it's usually due to something out of my control
X-Rays You've Had: Teeth. Maybe my collar bone when I broke it as a child. My hips (bone density screening)
Y – Yummy Food(s) You Make: Burritos, lasagna, white chicken chili, Cajun beans, on and on and on
Z - Zodiac: Sagittarius (but closet Capricorn)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Remembering Clyde

Clyde left us a year ago today (well, technically it was 2/29 but since there is not 2/29 this year, we figured 3/1 would be the remembrance day on off-leap years).
I finished his album many months ago but have yet to write his poem. I wanted to have it done by this point in time, but, it's just not coming to me. And, you can't rush these things.
So, for now, I'll content myself with thinking about Our Sweet Pal while I look at Pete and Lily and see their future spread out ahead of them. Hopefully, many many years; and, just as hopefully, as wonderful as ours were with Clyde.
Mrs. B