Monday, October 25, 2010


We just returned from a somewhat unexpected trip to Florida; meaning, we’d hadn’t planned on going but a few things have arisen which prompted us to go. There ARE some changes a-foot in the B household, but, more on that later.

In the meantime, here are a few (a very few; kept forgetting I had the camera) pictures and some commentary about our recent Floridian adventure.

We left Durham mid-afternoon on the 15th with Lucy in the back of the SUV and the five cats remaining home to keep an eye on the place (ha ha, not really; “Uncle” Jon came over daily to see what havoc they’d wrecked on the joint!)

We got stuck in the state fair traffic heading out (and, come to that, we also got trapped in it yesterday on the way back home). Regardless, we were on our way South towards Hardeeville, South Carolina (where we had a room booked at a Red Roof Inn) in good time.

We stopped at a Mexican restaurant that we’d visited three years ago (on our way to Savannah that time) off I-95 at exit 119. Nice place; right off the ramp, next to a gas station, decent food at more than reasonable prices and really tasty margaritas.

We arrived at the Red Roof Inn around 9:30 pm. We’d booked a business King room at a great rate ($49 + tax). All in all, no issues with our stay. As an aside, this is our favorite place to stay when we’re traveling with pets. They NEVER charge extra for pets! And, they now have free in-room Wi-Fi, too.

Lucy at the Red Roof Inn (dad enjoying the free Wi-Fi in
the background!)

We got up relatively early the next morning and drove on to our first Florida stop to Mr. and Mrs. Senior B’s abode in Ocala. As always, we were warmly welcomed and settled in for a pleasant afternoon/evening of good conversation and a nice dinner. Oh, and wine, Scotch, and cigars out on the lanai later!

We left around 11:00 am on Sunday to go on to our 2nd stop in Weeki Wachee (leaving Lucy behind with her grandparents). We spent several days visiting with my Father and step-mom thoroughly enjoying good company, yummy food (courtesy of Chef B), titillating talk, a rousting game of Spades with Father, and just good Q-time. Oh…and this is where the changes I referenced earlier comes in but, again, more on this later!

Cute monkey slippers courtesy of Margot!

We took a side trip to Orlando Tuesday-Wednesday so that we could spend a day at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival (something we ALWAYS enjoy). Turns out it was the 15th festival, too. Cool.

We’d booked a room in the Holiday Inn at Downtown Disney and were quite pleased with both the room and the location. Because it was in Downtown Disney, we were able to avail ourselves of the free transport that travels to the various parks in Walt Disney World.

Tuesday night we simply walked to Downtown Disney and had dinner at Portabella, one of the many restaurants there. NOT CHEAP! But, the food was fine.

15th International Food and Wine Festival!

Wednesday we spent the entire day at Epcot! We “went around the world” three times (each time takes roughly two hours). We sampled many tasty tid-bits and indulged in an abundance of drink (why not; taking the bus back so we had our built in DD). This time, we also stopped several times while wandering around the world to see a show (in America), listen to a Canadian-Celtic band (Off-Kilter; very fun), relax in a few different quiet areas and sit in a beer garden in Germany where we met/talked to a fun group from Chicago at Disney to celebrate one couple’s daughter’s 21st birthday (I advised her to head over to England to try the Strongbow hard cider!)

Just staring out. My tradition is to have a margarita from
Mexico for my first drink.

Sometime later...I have no idea where we were at this
point :-)

So, yeah; after three times around the world and tons of food and drink, we wandered out to the bus area to catch our transport back to our hotel. This was a bit of a trick; what seemed quite simple at 10:30 am when dropped off was more complicated after sampling the culinary delights of the world!

Anyway, we thoroughly had a blast, as always at the festival. I must say, though, it is NOT cheap to spend just one day at any Disney park. Get this. Admission is now $82 per person! So, we paid somewhat less than $200 in order to walk around and spend another few hundred (on the food and drink). Does this make sense? Well, it’s Disney.

Thursday found us driving back over to Weeki Wachee for a brief visit with Margot, then, on to Ocala to see how our Goose had fared (or, rather, how Grandpa and Grandma had fared; not to mention their poor pets!)

Turns out all was well; Lucy minded her Ps and Qs and didn’t cause much disruption. Ok, she didn’t really cause any. The one thing that made my heart wrench a bit was hearing how Lucy had stayed on the rug by the garage door after we left for almost all of Sunday/Sunday night. Dogs sure are loyal. Thankfully, by Monday, she was well into her newly established Grandma B routine.

We spent Thursday and Friday with the Senior B’s. Out to a Mexican restaurant Friday evening; the food was good (and the margarita I had was awesome) but, there was a Mariachi band playing and it was LOUD LOUD LOUD in there! Seriously, a bit difficult to have much of a conversation. Also, this was the first time I’d ever seen a female Mariachi!

We left for home Saturday morning; had a long but uneventful drive up to Durham, listening to “Innocent” by Scott Turrow on CD (got about ½ way through it). Arrived home safely to all five cats milling around us as we entered (hungry). A Kitty Swarm, as I call it.

Now, back to our version of reality while planning for the future.

Mrs. B

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I got the camera out to take a few pictures of the pets. Although I did get one of each, I ended up with a slew of Pete. I'm posting them because he's usually difficult to catch on camera.
Mrs. B

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ramble Write

Ok, I should be mopping the floor right now but, in the true spirit of procrastination, I'm gonna ramble write for a bit.
We saw The Kid this past Sunday; she came over for a few hours on her way back to college. She told her dad, "I'm looking forward to a good meal". So, we made a few of her favorites (chicken salad in pitas and junior mint brownies (she took about 1/2 the pan back to school with her)) and a new recipe, "Loaded Potato Soup", which is, in essence, what it sounds like; a fairly basic warm potato soup with crispy bacon bits, green onions and cheddar cheese provided as toppings. It was good to see her and hear all about how school is going. So far, so-so; she is not getting along too great with her roommate and she's struggling a bit with trying to figure out how to take tests (she never really took tests at Waldorf). On the positive side, she's making friends, enjoying some of her classes, and is working one afternoon a week at her nearby Irish dance school helping teach classes for younger students.
She is looking forward to her upcoming week-long fall break (I don't recall ever getting one of these when I was in college). 
After The Kid left, we went to the local Friends of the Library sale but all the books had been fairly well picked over. So, instead, we went to have a few pints at a new local brewery, Fullsteam. Mr. B loves their basil ale (I can't seem to wrap my taste buds around that, even given how much I adore basil). I satisfied myself with their cream ale and an IPA. BTW, as a ha-ha aside; they offer full pints and half-pints. On their price list for half-pint is a picture of Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm not going to explain this; you either get it, or, you don't.
Last night was my book club discussion group. We read "Candy Freak" by Steve Almond. What a rolicking time we had! My SIL bought a ton of candy for us to share. So, we were sugar buzzing and wine buzzing; in general, having a blast. Here is my review of "Candy Freak".
Two of the ladies had recently returned from a two week trip they took together to Italy. Hearing them talk about their adventures made me nostalgic for the time I went with my friend Pam to Italy; also for two weeks. This was eight years ago. Holy moly. Anyway, this thought processes sent me down the path of considering how different a person's life is when they are living alone vs. living with a significant other. And, don't get me wrong, as much as I ADORE my life with Mr. B (and wouldn't trade it for anything), I got a bit sad because there are some aspects of "that" life that I do miss. This is probably fodder for another entry, though.

Mrs. B in Italy 2002

Speaking of past lives, I married my first (ex) husband 19 years ago today. All in all, it wasn't a bad day (it's what came afterwards that eventually took a downturn into true "suckdom"). Although, in all honesty, I should have called off the wedding that morning after he called me (I was at my mom and dad's, he was at our apartment with his family). I thought he was calling to tell me something sweet and romantic, you know, like "Honey, I just wanted to call you and let you know how much I am looking forward to becoming your husband later on this afternoon". No, what he DID say was, "Where's the fu$$ing coffee?"
Oh well. Live and learn. And this I have.

Mrs. B 19 Years Ago Today

On a happier note, this is also my mom and dad's wedding anniversary; #42. Thinking back again to my first wedding, one lovely memory is of the two of them dancing to "The Anniversary Waltz" during the reception.
The weather has begun to cool down so it's definitely time to start wearing jeans again. I have a lot of pairs of jeans, but only one that I truly love. I bought them maybe 8-10 years ago. They are Levi 518 Super Low Junior Size 7 M. For whatever reason, this particular style is da-bomb on me. I should have bought more than one pair at the time, but, I didn't (I've since learned if you find something you love that looks great on you on top of it, buy more than one). My original pair got a huge hole in the seat several years ago. I sewed a patch on (an old Girl Scout Cookie patch circa 1973; Mr. B now refers to the jeans as "Your Girl Scout Jeans") so that I could at least still wear them without showing the world my undies (or...) I went through a stage where I was too fat to wear them. Not so any longer. Anyway, this is a long way in saying that, they don't make this style any longer. They still make 518 Super Low jeans, but, they've added 1% stretch material. Believe me, that 1% stretch has completely ruined the look and fit. I know, because I bought a pair. They are ok for the first few hours, but, then they start to stretch and bag and I'm forever yanking them up. So, I've been on a hunt to find the non-stretch variety, which means eBay. I finally found two or three people selling them. I asked all three of them to go look at the label and make sure it read "100% Cotton". Two got back to me and assured me that they did, so, I bought one pair that is supposedly in "excellent" shape. For not a lot of money. Assuming they fit the way I'm hoping they will, I'm going to go back onto eBay and find a few more pairs and buy 'em up. Of course this means I'll need to stay around my same size. Good incentive.
Anyway, I'm excited about a pair of used blue jeans. What does that tell you?
Seriously, I'm also jazzed about the upcoming World Beer Festival here in Durham on Saturday. Always a good time (although we're really gonna miss my step-mom, who usually goes with us but can't make it this year).

I have well over 200 comments now on my post (from two years ago) about Microsoft Hearts "cheating". There are a few regulars who routinely post new comments. One person has been attempting to reference my Blog on Wiki, but, Wiki won't allow it/keeps deleting the reference. I commented that this is likely because my Blog is NOT about Hearts, just that one entry was. And, hey, by the way, I do appreciate all of your visits, but, why not read some of my other posts while you're at it?
The posts that continue to get a lot of hits (in addition to the Hearts one) are: the one about Henry VIII wives, the one about Facebook being a time suck and, for whatever weird reason, the one that I simply entitled "February 2009".
Ok, I guess this has been a long enough diversion from responsibility. The floor is calling.
Mrs. B

Friday, October 1, 2010

What Dreams May Come

Dreams. Boy, do I ever have ‘em. I’m talking now about the ones that visit when you are asleep. It’s amazing to me how many people have told me that they either hardly ever dream or, even, NEVER dream. I must be getting all of their dreams, then.

Sometimes, I will have one extremely long dream that seems to last the entire time I’m asleep; even if I wake up and then fall back to sleep, the dream will pick up. Other times, I have a slew of seemingly random dreams, one after another after another. If I were to think about each one (assuming I could remember them all), I might be able to piece together a theme of sorts but usually there are a few that go by the wayside once I’ve regained consciousness and I can barely remember snippets (if that).

I have had dreams that I’ve never forgotten. I, like many people, have dreams of the reoccurring variety. I dream in color and my dreams have sound (e.g., I can hear people talking, music, birds chirping, water running, etc.) For the most part, my dreams are filled with people and places that I know/am familiar with, however, at times, I’ll dream of people I’ve never met in places I’ve never been. These are always fascinating to me; how did my mind make them up? Although, I did read once that your mind remembers every single person you’ve ever encountered in your life, whether that encounter be real (e.g., someone you passed walking down the street or a person standing behind you in a checkout line that you may have glimpsed if you turned your head around to look behind you) or through some sort of media (a secondary character in a movie or a guest star in a TV show). As for the places you dream of to which you’ve never actually been, I suppose that could be just good old fashioned imagination (or, scenes and/or sets from movies or T.V. shows).

I know that dreams can sometimes be nothing more than data dumps of things actually going on (if represented in an odder way than reality) in one’s life. Also, of course, there are symbolic dreams (these are the ones that are sometimes a challenge to figure out while other times, it’s pretty darn obvious).

My favorite dreams are when Nigel and Clyde “visit” me. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen so much now; I suppose it’s mostly because I don’t need their visits as often as I did when they first passed away.

Anyway, to illustrate, here is a synopsis of the dreams (those that I can remember) from last night (which happened to be one of the “slew of dreams” evenings) and my attempt at analysis (in bold):

  1. I’m standing in a barber shop watching a tall, pale extremely handsome (in a Nordic way) blond man getting his hair cut. At the moment, his hair is longish and somewhat shapeless. He is telling the barber that he wants it cut off just so (he illustrates by gather up his hair at the nape of his neck). Someone else in the shop says to him, “Are you really sure you want to….” just as the barber lops of the hank of hair. I say, “Well, I certainly hope that is what you wanted; too late now!” He laughs and I realize it’s the character of Eric from the HBO show “True Blood”. This one’s easy. Mr. B and I watched an episode of “True Blood” last night. The character of Eric has been figuring prominently the last few episodes.

  1. We get the check for the rent of our townhouse minus $61.00. Enclosed with the check is an invoice for shelves built out on the back deck. The invoice indicates that the tenants had the work done and paid for it but wanted the amount they’d paid deducted from their monthly rent. I hit the roof and call the management company. They say, “Oh, we’re happy that you called because the tenants are doing some landscaping, which means they’ll have to increase the watering time and they want you to donate some money to the cause”. I fume. This dream probably because a) we’re in the midst of arranging to have new flooring installed in the upstairs bathroom in the townhouse and b) we recently had a run-around with the PMC for not doing more due diligence when the tenant wanted something done.

  1. I’m with my (ex) husband in a big meeting hall. He keeps asking me if I will go do “something” that I think he should be doing, not me. We sit down and he starts counting the number of people in the room, as well as everyone’s gender, race, age group, etc. I have no idea why he’s doing this and it’s irritating me. He counts the people in our row, including us, and says to me, “Remember your number!” He assigns 16 to him and 17 to me and then goes on counting down the row. When he’s done, he says, “What is your number?” and I tell him. He gets mad at me and says, “No! You are 22!” We argue a bit but I realize he’s an idiot so I give up and stop paying attention to him. For whatever reason, I occasionally dream that I am still married to my ex husband. Almost always, the situations we are in are irritating and/or upsetting. I haven’t quite been able to figure out why these dreams occur, especially since it’s been over 10 years since we were divorced/I’ve seen him. The only possibility I can arrive at is he may pop up in my dreams after Mr. B and I have had a disagreement.
  1. I am at some sort of cocktail reception. It is outside. There are many people I know there; many that I do not. I get a glass of dry rose from the cash bar. Someone tells me that this is an excellent rose. I walk away and arrive at a table full of people I know; my friend Peri, a few ex co-workers from TRW, and a few that I don’t. Someone is asking someone else how they ever managed the change of climate from city A to city B. I want to chime in about how different the weather in Colorado Springs was from Los Angeles. But, no one will let me get a word in edgewise. At one point, I’ve set my glass of wine on the ground. Peri accidentally knocks it over. I say, “Peri, you knocked over my wine!” She sort of shrugs at me (she’s in the midst of the conversation). I wander back over to the cash bar to get another glass of the dry rose. When I get there, the bottle they’d poured my first glass from is nowhere in sight. I ask about it; the person behind the bar looks like she has no clue what I’m talking about. I look behind her and see a different variety of dry rose. Pointing at it, I say, “I’ll take a glass of that”. She nods. I look around me while she’s getting my glass of wine, taking in all of the people milling around and talking to one another. When I turn back, there is a man there opening up a bottle of white wine; it’s actually one of those cheap “jug o’ wine” types. I’m not sure who would want that wine. As I’m watching him, he pushes it towards me and says, “That’ll be $45”. I stare at him. “For what?” “For this bottle of wine you ordered”. “I didn’t want that”, I say. “I told her”, I look behind him and see the original bar person and point at her, “I told her that I wanted dry rose”. He looks perplexed. “Well, I opened up this bottle so you have to take it”. I am getting mad and say with no little irritation, “That is NOT a bottle of wine; that is a jug of cheap crap. I would never have asked for that, and, anyway, no way is it worth $45!” The woman sidles up next to him and says to him in a lowered voice, “She’s lying! She drank her other glass of wine so fast that she’s decided she wants a jug of it now. She’s lying!” I shriek at her some exploitative and lunge at her in a threatening way. I have absolutely no idea what this one means, other than I am perhaps angry about something so had to find an outlet (yelling/lunging at the woman bar tender). I’ve been talking to Peri rather frequently of late, which is probably why she makes a cameo.

  1. I’m in a car driving through a parking garage. It’s quite dark and I can barely see where I am going. For whatever reason, I start to back up but then find that I cannot stop. Then, the car starts spinning around in circles and all I can do is sit there and hope I don’t hit something. This is one of my reoccurring dreams and I know damn well what it means; that there is something going on in my life that I cannot control and I’m helpless to do anything about it.

  1. I’m sitting in a dentist’s chair. I am explaining to the dentist, who happens to be someone I’ve never seen before in my life, which doesn’t help with my anxiety, that one particular tooth , my far back right bottom molar, has a huge, old filling in it that is about to come out. I’m telling him so that he won’t use that damn scraping tool on it. He leans close to my face, I think so that he can look at it, but instead of looking at it, he kisses me. As he’s kissing me, I wake up to find it’s morning; and Mr. B is leaning over me to give me a kiss before he gets out of bed. Easy one. I had to go to the dentist and I was worried about that tooth being prodded. Added bonus, though, of having the end of the dream morph into reality!

By the way, I do keep a dream journal; or, at least, a record of some of the more interesting dreams I’ve had. I keep thinking one of these days, they may be fodder for a story, or a series of short stories, or, a scene in a story. Who knows? They say dream are a vehicle for your subconscious mind to tell you conscious mind something important.


Mrs. B