Friday, August 28, 2009

Nap Time

Lily takes a cat nap as only a cat can!

Mrs. B

Up and Coming "Haps"

Ok, so, my last entry was a tad bitchy and negative. So, let's go for a happy, positive entry, shall we?
I am always enthused when I get to thinking about fun upcoming events! Here are a few of 'em:
Tomorrow Night
3rd Annual Cask Ale Tasting. Well, we're a month (or so) out from the World Beer Festival, may as well start training. Seriously, this sounded like a pretty interesting event, here's the description:
"These (the casks, I assume) are coming from some of North Carolina's finest breweries -- Highland, Triangle, Duck Rabbit, Foothills, Aviator, Top of the Hill, French Broad, and Lone Rider. (I've also got one from Rogue.) Triangle, as with past years, is the host of the event handling the storage and stilage. We'll be using state of the art equipment to make sure the casks "drop bright" and get served at the correct temperature, setting them up a day and a half before the event. It's as close to real ale as you'll get!".
Plus, there will be food and live music.
September 1st (or 2nd)
Mom and dad get home from their 2 month trip to Alaska! Yes, I am SO looking forward to seeing them again; mom and I have missed quite of our weekly get-togethers plus it's about time to go hang out in dad's pub (which, as far as I know, has yet to be officially named).
September 10th
The DSO and The Nasher Museum of Art (at Duke) are teaming up to do a fundraiser. Admission price includes a reception with our new conductor and a ticket into the Picasso exhibit.
September 12th
Nephew Kendal's 2nd birthday party. My, how time is a-flying by. Anyway, always great to have a reason to get together with family and even better if it's a celebration!
September 25th
We're doing something with our friends John and Marilyn; going to the DPAC to see a comedian (can't remember his name but it's a surprise for John so I won't be posting this on Facebook) plus likely having dinner somewhere.
End of September/Early October
Step-mom MCH arrives for her annual Fall visit; we ALWAYS have a great time!
October 3rd
The World Beer Festival in Durham. Back at its "home" location, the old (now newly restored) Durham Bulls baseball park.
October 17 - October 26
Our trip to Florida, which will include visits with Mr. and Mrs. Sr. B (on both ends of our trip), hopefully seeing MCH and Father and, of course, a week in Orlando with good friends Peri and Michael hanging out at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.
Lots to look forward to (and I didn't even include everything!)
Mrs. B

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blowing Off Some Steam

I know it's not a great thing to be negative, but, there have been a few instances lately where I've found myself really annoyed at the stupidity of people. I'll admit, I've sort of been saving them up for an entry. I've borrowed a couple from Mr. B's list, too.
What's The Hurry, Mack?
I've noticed recently that I've felt really, really crowded (people in my space) at check-out lines. Also, there have been people with fewer items than I have giving me the stink-eye for not letting them go ahead of me. Well, too freaking bad; if you were in such a hurry, maybe you could have arrived at the store 2 minutes before I did, then, you would have been ahead of me, not behind me. Twice last week there were people standing so close to me (in the self check-out lane) that I really wanted to turn around and do the chest-thrusting, finger pointing, shrieking "Get out of my PERSONAL space!" maneuver. Of course, I didn't, even though I would have been well in my right.
The worst, though, was at Lowes Foods. I was in the bagging area and the guy behind me (with one item, a bottle of tonic water) started checking out even though I was still bagging my groceries! And, there were OTHER check-out lanes open with no people there! So, here comes this bottle of tonic water bumping and crashing its way into my delicate containers of yogurt and my sensitive tomatoes. I mean, my receipt had not even printed (it apparently got stuck in the machine, which is the only reason he was allowed to start checking out). I had to WAIT for HIM to finish his transaction before the customer service person could get my receipt to print.
I gave HIM the stink-eye, but, of course, he could care less. Mr. B told me later that I what I should have done was pick up the bottle of tonic, bag it, and say, "Thanks, how did you know I had a hankering for a Gin and tonic?" Damn, I wish I'd done that!
What The FU$$ Are You DOING?
I'm at Food Lion pulling out of a parking lane into the main "road" of the parking lot (the one that runs in front of the grocery store). I start to go forward when a car pulls out right in front of me from the next parking lane over. The car then STOPS in the middle of the "road". I can't go around it. I can see the woman in the car pull out her phone and start to TEXT! I laid on the horn and did not let up. Everyone around was staring at ME. She didn't budge; just kept on texting. I finally managed to go around her, giving her the universal sign for "Fu$$ You" while doing so. She never looked up from her cell phone.
Mr. B's:
Driving down 70 coming home from work is usually no fun for Mr. B. There is almost always an accident because morons are going back and forth between the two lanes trying to get one or two cars ahead of the pack. Then, there are the folks that drive 45 mph in the left hand lane, slowing everything down. Anyway, he was on his way home the other night, stuck behind one of these slow pokes, when the car behind him came right up on his rear bumper and stayed there, even though it should have been obvious he couldn't go any faster, couldn't move over, etc. When the person had just barely enough space, they zipped around Mr. B on the right and then forced their way back in front of him, nearly taking off the front bumper. And then, slammed on their breaks.
These two examples are reasons why it's a good idea not to carry a concealed weapon. I could think of countless others in the driving milieu. A general question, folks; is it just me? Has anyone else noticed how people seem to drive like CRAP these days?

I've vented now, thanks. Maybe I'll get to feeling better!
Mrs. B

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dinner Last Night at Magnolia Grill

As always, yum. Really, not much to add. Except it was sorta weird to have a woman who looked like an aged Roseanne Roseanna-Danna sitting at the table behind Mr. B. Even stranger when it turned out he knew who she was (a teacher at The Kid's school). She's in this picture behind Mr. B's shoulder.

Anyway, the food was fab, the wine was excellent and the company was absolutely wonderful! We are never disappointed at Magnolia Grill!
Here are a few more pictures from last night plus some recent pictures from The B's Zoo.

Mrs. B

Friday, August 21, 2009

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Project Cookbook

I'm working on compiling a cookbook which will contain recipes from a variety of sources. The general rule for inclusion is the recipe has to be something we either routinely make, it's considered a family classic, or it's a Mrs. or Mr. B original. I will, of course, give appropriate credit to the recipe's source.
This sounds like an easy enough project, but, really, it's been a challenge! First, narrowing down what will go into it (which I've not really finished doing yet) and then making sure the format is consistent for each recipe. Then, I've also decided to add sections to each recipe such as "Tips" and "Goes Well With". This means more thought but I think the end result will be a lot nicer. Finally, I was thinking of having several pages of "Suggested Menus", which might even include ideas for wine pairings.
The germ for this idea came when I realized The Kid will be heading off to college next year. Yeah, she'll be chowing on dorm food most likely for a few years, but, I thought it would be nice to give her a book with some of the recipes her dad and I routinely make that she enjoys. Then I got to thinking if I was going to go through all that trouble, I may as well expand it somewhat and, perhaps, offer it as a gift to other family members. Likely what I will end up doing is uploading everything to (this is where I made my "Best of Mrs. B's Blogs" book).
All of this takes TIME, however, and, concentration. As I get older, I've not been known for sticking with projects, either. At any given time, I may have five or six going on. But, I do really want to finish this one by Christmas!
I'm still searching for a name for the cookbook, too. I did get a few good ideas from my Facebook pals, but, nothing quite right yet.
I'll entertain suggestions for recipes that should be included, too!
Mrs. B

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Random Muggy Musings

So, it's been muggy of late. Finally, summer has arrived in NC and that is too bad. Seriously, I'm gunning for Fall weather now.
I've realized that I HATE running the A/C. Not just because it gets fairly expensive, but, I get tired of hearing it run, run, run (even with it set at 78 or even 80, it just seems to constantly run).
Mr. B finally got tired of my complaining that something must be wrong with it and had someone come check it out. Well, there isn't anything wrong with it (other than it was low on Freon). I told him last night, no, I PROMISED him last night that I would now shut up about it. But, every time I hear it click on, I still grate my teeth a little. Especially when it is 11:00 at night and not THAT hot out (but no breeze so no sense opening the windows and stifling).
Our kitten Athena continues to chew on cords. Monday night, she chewed through both the modem adapter cord AND the phone cord. Therefore, we had NO Internet access yesterday (other than me doing a quick jump onto an unsecured network so I could send an email to the guy I continue to do some consulting work for). I went to Petsmart and found this flexible plastic cord that you can wrap around electrical cords, cables and wires. It was in the hamster section but there was also a picture of a rabbit, dog, and cat on the container. I had read on-line that this usually does the trick (either that or the culprit gets a bit of a shock or electrical mouth burn but we didn't really want that to happen; she's so tiny, it might have done her some serious harm).

The Chomper

The stuff smells; it's supposed to be an added deterrent, I guess. It says it's a citrus aroma; to me, it smells more like, well, cat piss. We'll see. Hopefully, we can get her to stop doing this and then (similar to the tape we had on all of our furniture with Pete and Lily), remove it.

BTW, neither Ares or Athena appear to be furniture scratchers and Pete and Lily are routinely using their scratching boxes so that's good news.
Life is sorta ho-hum of late. Not necessarily bad, just, well, nothing exciting, really. The week days follow a similar pattern (sort of like when I used to work) and the weekends might bring some fun stuff to do. Such as going to outdoor (free) blues concerts or Durham Bulls games. This Saturday we are going to our favorite local restaurant, Magnolia Grill, to celebrate Mr. B's birthday. We may try and see the new Harry Potter movie, but, maybe not. We've been saying that every weekend since it came out.
Stuff with the symphony will be picking up in a few weeks. And, my mom and dad will get home from their two month trip to Alaska around 1 September. Woo hoo. Of course, they are turning around and heading to Indiana for Purdue football games less than three weeks after they get home.
Although it is about 2 months away, I am starting to gear up for our trip to Florida in October with Peri and Michael. I know this will be a fantastic time. We'll also be spending time on either end with the Sr. Bs and, hopefully, get to see my Father and step-mom, too.
Well, folks, this is about as rip-roarin' as it gets right now!
Mrs. B

Monday, August 17, 2009

Where I Was Six Years Ago Led Me To Where I Am Now

Mid-August (especially hot and steamy ones) will always call to mind my adventures in Italy six years ago. I know I've posted bits and pieces of this before (an accounting of my first few extremely frustrating days in Italy); yet, I post it again as a reminder to myself (and perhaps others) that your life can take off in a completely new direction if you simply turn away from the way you are heading and go somewhere else, instead.
Mrs. B

My Apartment; Verona, Italy
I made it to Verona…but my suitcase did not. Doesn’t this figure? I’m trying not to panic…yet, or freak out, because there is no phone in this room and the landlady does not speak any English. The airline is supposed to call her before they deliver it. Sigh. I need to go get a phone card and find a phone to use to check up on this. Talk about frustrating, but somehow, I’m really not surprised.
Despite this, I managed to get to the train station then to the apartment. It’s ok, but sort of loud. I’m really glad I brought ear plugs. I hope it’s a safe area because I’m on the first floor and it’s hot, no AC, so, windows have to be open. Oh well. I’m a bit out of sorts right now, mostly because my bag didn’t show up!
I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed. No word on my suitcase and I still don’t know how to get to the school tomorrow! I’m tired of these clothes and I’ve really not done too much to get acclimated to this place. I was so exhausted, I slept until noon. Sigh.
Well, I’ll go out and see what I can find out. Maybe get a bus schedule, at least. If worse comes to worse, I can take a taxi tomorrow to school. Hopefully they will be able to help me. I sure hope I don’t have to buy six weeks worth of clothes, etc. I’ll try and be positive. I’m here to grow, after all; to learn something about myself.
There is a small child wailing away nearby. Guess what? It’s just as annoying here as it would be at home.
No use thinking of home, it just gets me sad.
Random Thoughts Written in Piazza delle Erbe; Verona, Italy
Day One
· It was beautiful flying over the Dolomites. They looked a lot like the Matterhorn at Disneyland, but a countless number of them. It was hard to tell the difference between the clouds and the mountains!
· It really sucks that my suitcase went missing. This threw me for a loop! This, and the fact Signora G. speaks no English! I got sort of sad and took a nap. I felt a bit better, but I still have a lot to figure out for Monday; one sort of stress traded for another, I guess.
· A light bulb went out in my room already! I have tons of questions. Tomorrow, I will try to call the airline regarding my suitcase (I bought a carta telefonica) and also find a TI to get a bus schedule and hopefully directions to Idea Verona (right now, I’m clueless).
· If the luggage situation isn’t resolved by Monday, hopefully Idea Verona can help. I also need to pay them for the room.
· Maybe my room will grow on me. I hope it’s safe.
· I’ll feel better when I have my things!
· I am sitting in Piazza delle Erbe. At least I am finding my way around. There are many, many people out for the stroll. I feel like I look like crap. Thank God I packed my shorts. Everyone else really looks great. I’m trying not to get paranoid that all these lovely, fashionable people are looking down their Romanesque noses at me. I want to shout, “I do clean up nicely!”
· This whole fiasco regarding my suitcase must be one of those adventures my “Gutsy Women” book referred to. I think that little suitcase has some bad Karma (remember Fort Wayne; when it didn’t show up to mom and dad’s for almost SEVEN days one Christmas vacation?)
· But, hey. Here I am. In Italy. I made it, at least! And, it’s as beautiful as I remembered. Verona is a nice place (bel posto).
· It’ll get better.
· Did I mention it’s troppo caldo? Sweltering comes to mind.
· I think once I know what the hell I am doing, I’ll really like it here.
· I’m trying to communicate with people, too. Faltering, but I’ve got to start.
· It’s probably not so hot that I’ve had 2 Campari & sodas. Well, e cosi! It’ll help me sleep, anyway.
· There’s a cool breeze now…yey!
It’s amazing what becomes important when things go awry. Right now, all I care about is getting my suitcase.
I did venture out and found where the school is. At the very least, I will arrive there tomorrow morning (hopefully I’ll wake up as I don’t have the alarm clock) a bit stinky, perhaps, but I’ll get there.
I met a girl from Madrid, Eva, who is also here to study Italian. She is going to another school, though. She spoke good English and was very kind. She helped me to call the airport and I found out that my suitcase is in Verona now and is supposed to be delivered today. I don’t know when and I’m a bit concerned about how it’ll get inside this building.
I went upstairs to talk to the landlady, her name is Renata. I stayed up there about ½ hour or so. I met her husband Renzo, as well. They were both nice to me; offered me beer, some fruit and a cigarette. Unfortunately Renzo doesn’t speak English, either. I think I picked up from our halting attempts to communicate that we have to wait for the suitcase to be delivered, we can’t go to the airport to get it. I think they’re waiting around on my account. I feel badly about that and will have to remember this and get them a gift when I leave.
Even though I don’t know near enough in Italian, I’m glad I know what I do know. Thank God I learned the word for suitcase! I told them in 4 weeks I will know more Italian. Hopefully, we’ll be able to sit down one day and laugh together about this fiasco!
Eva gave me her cell phone number so I may call her too at some point. It sounds as if her apartment is much nicer; AC, a pool, etc. Well, I wanted to live like the locals and I think I’m experiencing this.
I found an Internet Café and also a place to maybe buy a cell phone. It might be worth the expense to get one.
I haven’t done any sightseeing or taken any pictures yet. I’m too out of sorts and I know I’ll have plenty of time to do this over the next four weeks.
So far I’ve learned several things. It pays to reach out to people, even if it’s difficult to communicate. Also, it’s a good idea to pack lightly enough to be able to not have to check baggage!
I’ve also learned I have a hell of a lot to learn. And, here no one cares where I come from, how much money I make, or what type of car I drive. I have to rely on my personality and the kindness of strangers!
I haven’t been eating much; too anxious. I have been drinking a lot of water and smoking way too much. Once I get my stuff, I’ll head to the store.
I’m not as homesick today, mostly because I’ve been too busy trying to figure out my next steps/plan of action. I know things will be different 4 weeks from now.
I’ve taken the tact of keeping a low profile. I look awful; no make-up, hair not done, etc. This way, I figure no one will pay any attention to me. Not that I’d grab attention, given all of the other beautiful women here.
It’s time to nap.
My suitcase did not arrive. I spent a fairly miserable, self-pity filled evening alone. I was afraid to go out lest my suitcase chose to arrive at the moment I left. Because I didn’t go out, it didn’t show up. That’s the way things work.
No matter what today, I have to figure out what’s going on with this. Because of the language barrier, I’m not 100% sure my landlady was telling me they’d deliver it or if she was telling me, “Sorry, too bad, figure it out yourself!”
I hope the people at the school will help me get this taken care of. I don’t think I can manage one more day like this.
I’ll try to think positive but right now I’m starting to wonder if all of this was such a hot idea.
Random Thoughts Written at Caffe al Teatro on Via Roma; Verona, Italy
· Sitting here an hour before I am due at school. This is where I met Eva yesterday. I’m wearing the same stinky clothes. This R&R Hall of Fame tee-shirt is getting a lot of mileage. I am wearing my Tommy Hilfiger blue jean shorts, too. They are probably not appropriate for school,l but I have nothing else. I refuse to wear my sweatpants and swelter to death.
General Observations
· Italians are a bit aloof. I stand out like a sore thumb and they notice and look down at me. Of course, they can’t know this isn’t how I intended to appear!
· No one looks into windows as they walk past. I’ve sat at my window for hours last night, watching. Eyes straight ahead, no glancing up, down, left, right.
· I can’t believe how noisy it is at my apartment at all hours. Street noise. Cars passing, people walking by talking, etc. Except this morning it was quiet. Funny.
· It’s real humid here. In addition to making me a sweaty, icky mess, it’s rendered my appetite to next to nothing. If anything, with this situation and all the walking (Eva said I should rent a bike), I should manage to stay in good shape.
· I used the carta telefonica this morning to call regarding my bag. It worked, amazingly enough. Too bad it hasn’t been so easy to get my bag returned to me.
· It only took me 15 minutes (or less) to walk here. Good to know. Why take the bus (except to learn, I guess)?
Woo-hoo, my suitcase showed up this morning! During the afternoon break, I ran back to my apartment and was able to change clothes! Glorious! Now I feel a bit more “at home” and able to relax.
And school was fine; but when they say “Total Immersion”, that is exactly what they mean! The staff and teachers try not to speak any English. Yikes! I ended up (I think) in a very basic class. I’ll know for sure domaini.
The good news is, everyone is very nice, including most of the other students. The bad news is, I comprehend about ½ of what is being said. Ok, more like ¼!
There was a 2 hour lecture this afternoon on the city of Verona, ancient cities in general, arenas, gladiators, etc. The instructor, Andrea, (a man), speaks very fast Italian, says “va bene” a lot and reminds me of Cesar. Luckily, he also throws in some English so you can somewhat follow what he’s saying. He also gave a 2 hour walking tour of Verona which was good to get oriented. I think I understand, basically, how to get a bus ticket and where they go; also, where to buy groceries (there may be a store closer to my apartment but I haven’t found it yet) and what the best wines in Verona are. He also told us a lot about the Arena di Verona. Maybe I will see if some of the other students would like to see an opera.
I left the tour when we got close to my place. I said, “Parto, abito (the word for “over there”, which I know can’t spell, sounds like “la jew”)
I went home and unpacked/got organized. Now I’m out having dinner (pizza and a beer, I figure I deserve the beer). I’m not too worried about drinking too much over here, it’s too hot to get drunk.
Yes, it’s steamy, steamy, steamy qua. I’ve never sweated so much in my life. I need to buy a fan for my room.
Tomorrow I have to buy a notebook. They haven’t provided me one. My notes are all over the place.
I hope now that school has begun, I will start doing things in the evening with other people. I didn’t come here to hang out by myself.
I’ve made myself go to restaurants, etc., by myself and it’s ok, but, other than Eva, I’ve yet to see any other “single” women.
I would also like to find the gym, but we’ll see. I need to get the Internet thing figured out soon, too.
And, I need to remember that I am here to learn and grow.
Who knows what direction this will take?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

NY Trip: History, Wineries and Restaurants

We spent Monday and Tuesday of our NY visit doing some touristy stuff, which was fun. Monday we headed over to Seneca Falls to visit the Women's Rights Museum. I applaud Mr. B for not being uncomfortable with this :-) It was free to get in (donations accepted). Downstairs were these cool life-sized bronze status of folks who were at the first women's rights conference back in 1848. Upstairs was a mish-mash of displays and artifacts and interactive stations (you could take quizzes, "vote" on issues and watch TV commercials depicting women in various humiliating circumstances). I thought the array was a bit much; hard to follow and somewhat splashy. I think perhaps it was done this way to draw younger women in. Anyway, it was interesting, but I don't think I learned anything that I hadn't already known.
We went back down the other side of Cayuga Lake so we could eat at a place recommended by Denice at our B&B, Pumpkin Hill Bistro. It was pretty much out in the middle of nowhere! Apparently, they'd moved the farmhouse (that houses both the bistro and a small country store) from somewhere else and plopped it right down in the middle of this field. We ate outside and enjoyed a scenic vista of field and flowers. The food was tasty enough and served in unusual venues (my salad came in a bucket; the dessert menus were on rolling pins). Turns out our waitress would soon be moving to Durham! Small world at times, isn't it? Read my review.
After lunch, it was on to the wineries! And, let me say, there are a TON of them in the Finger Lakes. Seneca Lake has the most but as we were on Cayuga Lake, that is where we focused our time.
We first visited Long Point Winery where we were pleasantly surprised to find they had a selection of bold reds (sort of uncommon for the region) such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfindel plus a fun Dry Rose. Us being us, we ended up with a case (and a shirt for Mr. B that says "Not old, just vintage"). Next was King Ferry Winery. They had just released their Dry Rose. They also had a very nice Dry Riesling and an extremely approachable Cabernet Franc. They also had my type of Chardonnay; rich, buttery and full of oak. So, yeah, another case! Since it was a nice sunny afternoon, we decided to hang out in the picnic area and enjoy a glass of the Dry Riesling before heading back to Mike and Kym's.
Tuesday we set out with Mrs. Sr. B to hit a few more wineries and have lunch. The first stop was Thirsty Owl Winery, home of some excellent Pinot Noirs (only 1/2 a case here); then on to Hosmer Winery for a mish-mash mixed case (including another excellent Dry Rose) and finally to Sheldrake Point Winery for one last tasting and lunch. Really, we had no intention of buying more wine, but, alas, they had a show-stopping Gamay, a Gewurztraminer (which I don't usually care for but this one had potential) and another nice Cabernet Franc. So, yeah. ANOTHER case (let's just say we did need to stock up on wine, so, why not?)
We ate lunch at the restaurant at Sheldrake Point, Simply Red Bistro. The location was not as picturesque as the day before but I'd give the food a slight edge. Read my review.
After lunch we went to visit Frank and Betty and then on to Aunt Judy's for the BBQ (events I've already blogged about).
So, when Mr. B and I left Wednesday morning to head back home (another fairly crappy drive but oh well), we were loaded down with good wine, wonderful memories and the hearty desire to not let another four years go past before we returned to Ithaca, and maybe even stay at The Coddington Guest House again. Read my review.
Mrs. B

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Do We Love Cats (When They Don't Care)?

My FIL sent me this real interesting (but not surprising, at least to me) article about how (house) cats have probably got the final laugh on us humans. Here we go, thinking we've tamed them, turned them into these domesticated pets, and, what has actually been going on is they've tamed/trained US.
You can read the article now by clicking here.
Anyone who shares their life with a cat probably knows this to be true.
One of the things that struck me as intriguing is the stuff about what we'll let cats get away with that, in all likelihood, we'd never let our dogs do.
Case in point. Lucy the dog was laying on the rug in front of the kitchen sink yesterday afternoon while I was roasting bell peppers. She lays there all the time, usually when she is hoping the person who is preparing dinner might toss her something (this even though we've not tossed her a damn thing (in the house, other than ice) since she almost bit Lily's head off this past April). I must have told her five times yesterday to get out of my way while nudging her when I went over to do something at the sink.
About an hour later, Ares decided he was going to take a nap on that same rug. Both Mr. B and I were straddling the rug when we needed to go to the sink, God knows we couldn't disturb Little Butt Head (Pete is Big Butt Head). Ok, so, admittedly, our cats can be "Butt Heads" and yet we kow-tow to them. I pointed out to Mr. B that we were trying our hardest to not disturb Ares; he said, "But he's sleeping and he looks so cute".
Up to fairly recently, I always thought Mr. B was a dog person, too :-)
Seriously, he does like dogs, of course he does. He's owned dogs for almost his entire adult life. However, come to find out, he also enjoys cats. It was his ex-wife who hated them; saying they were dirty things (Mr. B said she was afraid of them). One more strike against her, in my opinion (although she did once run over and kill someone's dog (while they were walking it, I might add, so who knows?))
I digress.
Anyway, was Ares manipulating us? Maybe not at that point in time (he was asleep) but, I'm pretty sure all four of them try their best to get what they want by looking cute, sounding sweet, meowing, chirping, purring, etc. The dog, well, she just licks us. Something I can't stand, BTW.
This article points out that we let cats do stuff to us/put up with their antics similar to how we may have let an old boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, etc. (or maybe more than one) walk all over us at one point in our lives.
So, this begs the question of why some people prefer cats to dogs (and vice versa).
Which got me to thinking about the difference in personalities between "dog people" and "cat people" (we all know already what the difference in personalities is, typically, between dogs and cats!)
I've always believed that a person who preferred dogs was the type of person who desired unconditional love and, for the most part, constant companionship. Not to mention dedication, loyalty and a true-hearted friend.
People who prefer cats might not want all that in your face love but, rather, something more subtle, and, yes, maybe challenging. THEY want to be the ones to provide the unconditional love but not all the time. Meaning, cats don't require quite as much attention and care.
Now, what about people who have BOTH cats and dogs? Where do we stand?
Seriously conflicted, I think. But, we've definitely got our bases covered!
Mrs. B

Saturday, August 8, 2009

NY Trip: Family and Friends Part Two

As previously mentioned, Mike and Kym were gracious enough to host a family BBQ the Sunday we were in Ithaca (technically Lansing). Kym out did herself with the food (thanks, Kym!) and it sure was wonderful being with our NY family on such a lovely afternoon!

Before we headed over to Mike and Kym's, Mr. B took me on a tour of his past, including places he'd lived with his ex (certainly sort of an odd feeling to gaze upon residences where your spouse used to live with someone else), where he used to work (now defunct), old bar haunts, and, most special for me to see, where his Grandpa and Grandma W lived (which I've heard so much about). We also took a quick look at the very pretty Ithaca Falls. Let me say it again; this area of the country is so scenic!

We arrived at Mike and Kym's a bit before 2:00 and I was soon introduced to people that, up to know, I'd only know via holiday greetings: Uncle Lyle (Mr. Sr. B's brother in law), his daughter Cousin Kathy and Mrs. Sr. B's sister Judy and her husband John. Michelle, Dave, Chris and Kayla were there, too.

We had such a nice time over at Mike and Kym's that we ended up going back over there Monday night and hanging out for several hours!
After spending the day wine tasting with Mrs. Sr. B on Tuesday (more one the wine tasting days later), we visited with family friends Frank and Betty (Betty is actually Mr. Sr. B's 2nd cousin) for several hours. Have I mentioned yet NY hospitality? EVERYWHERE we went, folks were showering us with food and drink! Betty had made a warm spicy shrimp dip and had a bottle of Dry Riesling chilled and ready (one of the same we'd purchased the day before, as it turned out).

Upon saying good-bye to Betty and Frank, the three of us went over to Aunt Judy and Uncle John's for another family BBQ. They have a lovely house right on Cayuga Lake, which they'd recently renovated. Mike and Kym were there, as well as Michelle and Chris. I met another one of Mr. B's cousins, Sharon, and her SO, Kristen. There was, of course, TONS of food and drink.

I personally couldn't have been more pleased with the amount of time we spent with the NY family. This was exactly what I had in mind when I first broached the subject of going to NY to Mr. B. The only real downside to the trip (other than the traffic/travel delays) was that Mr. B's dad was unable to make the trip; he was missed.
Ok, next up; the final entry in this series: History and Wine Tasting!
Mrs. B
PS Sorry for the crappy formatting! I decided to try pictures on the left rather than in the center and it is word wrapping the text and won't let me fix it. I don't feel like deleting the pictures and re-uploading them, so, there ya have it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Face Will ALWAYS Make Me Laugh!

Pete 8.6.09

I have a few of the rest of the gang, too, but this one simply deserved to stand on its own!

Mrs. B

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The People You Never See Again...?

A few years ago, I blogged about this topic (and speaking of never seeing things again, I can't find that particular posting, must have been on the Yahoo 360 Blog which is long gone now). I'd listed many categories of people you might have known over the course of your life that, when you get to thinking about it, you realize you'll probably never see again.
What dawned on me today (after reconnecting with a former sister-in-law on Facebook) and reflecting on some of my other connections, both on Facebook and LinkedIn, is that people that once would have stayed gone (you never WOULD see them again) can now come back into your life; albeit virtually in most cases.
I have to admit to have become fascinated with finding people, at least the ones I used to care about in some way. No, I'm not going to purposefully seek out folks that I didn't like or did crappy things to me and invite them back into my life (and if they find me and send me a request, I'll either ignore it or deny it). But, in general, don't we all have people from our past that we found ourselves wondering, "I sure hope so and so is doing well. I'd like to know what they are up to. I wonder how their family is doing? Do they still live in...?" etc.
So, thanks to the world we now live in, I've reconnected with childhood friends, former neighbors, people I went to high school and college with, previous co-workers, ex boyfriends, ex in-laws and friends I met in Italy.
Maybe I'm weird for finding this fascinating? But, I'm definitely not alone, if I am, since we're all out there accepting each other's requests! I'm sure there is some reason for this, and, if I think about it long enough, I might be able to figure out what's going on here, not just with "me and mine", but with everyone who is out there finding and reconnecting with their pasts.
Mrs. B


Lying on her back on the kitchen rug. She is taking after Lucy!

Mrs. B

Monday, August 3, 2009

NY Trip: Family and Friends Part One

Although we originally thought there may be a reunion for Mark's high school class (and other classes that went to his same school), we discovered before we even left that there would NOT be a reunion. As it turned out, this was ok because we were SO busy doing various things with Mark's family, we likely would not have had sufficient time for a reunion, anyway!
Friday night, we met Mark's brother Mike, his wife, Kym, their two kids (not really kids now at 25 and 23 but I suppose always kids to their parents) Michelle and Chris, Roberta (Mrs. Sr. B) and Chris's friend Kayla at a local pub/restaurant called The Plantation. As it turned out, the daughter of a couple who Mark went to school with and her SO were the evening's entertainment so he was able to hook up with some high school folk after all!
Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures that night; too busy gabbing and catching up!
The next morning (after a breakfast comprised of coffee, juice, fresh fruit, breakfast breads, cereals (although we didn't eat all of this) and an egg souffle), the majority of us from the night before drove to nearby Binghamton to spend the afternoon with Mark's youngest brother, Kevin. I was especially excited about this as I'd YET to meet Kevin (although we do correspond (he sends me lists of DVDs he wants and he ALWAYS sends me a birthday card) and he calls his brother quite frequently and I've talked to him from time to time). Since it was his birthday that following Monday, the visit was even more timely!
After we arrived and greetings were made, pizza was ordered and we waited in the cafeteria for it to be delivered. This took some time, but, we passed it with Kevin opening up his cards and gifts. Finally, the pizza arrived (we were all starved by then) and, after pizza, there was birthday cake.

I suppose we were there about 2 hours; probably just the right amount of time for Kevin to visit (and with so many people at once, he had 7 of us!)
It was a scenic drive back to the B&B (I love the roads there; they remind me so much of where my Father and step-mom used to own a farm). We decided since it was a pretty nice afternoon (some threat of rain but I was told this shouldn't matter) to go out on Cayuga Lake on Mike and Kym's boat. Yey! Boating! I was jazzed because I always read on their Facebook pages that they are going out on the lake, spending time on the boat, etc., plus, I've seen the pictures.
So, we got out there around 5:00 or so (maybe a bit later) and went up and down the lake, waving to Mark's Aunt Judy as we sailed by their house (is sailing the right term when in a non-sail boat? I don't know!) At one point we were headed into some rain; Mike turned around and we cruised at a fairly rapid speed back up the lake and out ran the rain . That was cool!

Being that we were partaking of adult beverages, yours truly had to use the boat's facilities. I'm pretty sure that this was the smallest bathroom I've ever been in in my life but it was more than functional and the toilet was at a normal height (unlike the pit potties I used from time to time in Italy).
After returning to the dock, we were all hungry again. We went for dinner at a place called The Rose (an interesting set up of a pub like place located in an indoor strip mall (indoor strip mall's are new to me; but, then again, with the winters they must have up there, I'm sure they are this was for practical reasons). The food at The Rose was pretty decent; they certainly had an extensive menu with everything from family favorites like meatloaf to salads to burgers to Mexican food.
By 10 or so, we were winding down. What a full day! And, we were very much looking forward to the BBQ and Mike and Kym's the following afternoon!
Mrs. B

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Peri!

Today is Peri's, one of my best friends, 29th birthday.
Lots of love, dear friend! There will be many, many more!
Mrs. B

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Good-Bye Apollo and Hera

I was at a DSO (now D'sO) retreat this morning with my cell phone on vibrate. Around 9:30, I could hear it buzzing away in my purse. After about 1/2 hour of this, I excused myself to see who was trying to reach me. Turns out it was Dan from Hobbes House (the guy who took Apollo and Hera while we were in NY) with some alarming and potentially very bad news.
Three other kittens he's been fostering who are now 8 weeks just tested positive for Feline Leukemia; a very nasty, nasty disease. Also, it is highly contagious and easily passed between cats/kittens.
Although some people (especially those with no other cats) might keep a cat with this disease, it's usually a death sentence for ones you are fostering/trying to adopt out because not too many people will adopt a cat that already has health issues right off the bat. So, it's very likely these three (and another one who was exposed to them, had already been placed in a home, and also tested positive) will have to be put to sleep.
Needless to say, there is a lot of fallout from this and there are general questions this has brought up for me (the current situation aside) about their testing process which I am hoping to get answered soon to put my mind completely at ease regarding our four (although I will probably have them all tested with Uncle Chuck, anyway, next time they go in for shots).
As for Apollo and Hera, it's highly unlikely that they contracted the disease because a) they were isolated (in a bathroom together) and b) so were the infected cats (no chance there was nose touching going on from underneath a door, for example). There needs to be some sort of fluid transferred involved (e.g., shared food/water bowls, litter boxes, grooming one another, etc.)
The only way they could have become infected is slim and that would be if Dan petted one of the infected kitties in an area where they'd just licked/groomed themselves, went in (without washing his hands) and petted A or H and then A or H licked themselves (or each other) in the exact same spot where he'd petted them.
Still, we have to be safe and keep any future potential exposure to OUR cats limited so Dan came by this afternoon to take Apollo and Hera back to his house where they'll be in isolation for two months or so, at which point, they'll be tested. Actually, he's going to test them in four weeks, and, if they are ok, retest them in another four just to be sure. Why? Apparently, the disease can take up to 12 weeks to manifest such that a cat would test positive (although it's usually much sooner, around 8 weeks, and it also seems to manifest quicker in young kittens (they have no way to fight it off because they have zero immune systems)).
Anyway, the other very important piece to all of this is as follows: In addition to it taking 4-12 weeks for an infected kitten or cat to test positive, it also takes 4-6 weeks for them to start "shedding" the virus (which means be contagious to other cats). So, they were over there at Dan's one week and have been back here one week. That's two weeks. Even if they are infected (which is hopefully NOT the case given the slim possibility), they wouldn't have had it long enough to pose any danger to Pete, Lily, Ares and Athena. Which is obviously a big relief for us.
Let us all hope Apollo and Hera test negative because we hate to think of what it will mean for them if they don't.
If they are given the green light to go back out to Thons, it's likely we won't take them back for fostering. No, not "it's likely we won't"; WE WON'T. For a lot of reasons but the main one is it would be too hard of an adjustment to bring them back after two months. And, to his credit, Dan didn't suggest that. He said, "I'll just keep them and find them good homes, it wouldn't make sense to bring them back to you".
Suffice it to say, The B's are DONE with this fostering experiment!
But, we can always go visit them as we'll know where they will (likely) be on Saturday afternoons, hanging out at Petsmart.
Anyway, a lot of scary drama today and, also, a bit sad. I wasn't expecting to have to let them go today so I wasn't prepared to say good-bye. It WAS hard to watch them go away, even though I know it's for the best. Mostly because I'm worried for them, but also because I'm going to miss them.
Especially my pal Apollo.
Mrs. B