Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Web of Experience

In November, I went to my 20-year high school reunion. It's really hard to believe it's been 20 years, but, well, it has. The bits I can remember were great fun. I drank way too much -- thanks to a few very generous people who kept refilling my beverage -- and as a result, parts of the two-day event are lost to me. I can say, though, that the parts I remember were fabulous. As a teenager, I was very self-conscious and not very self-assured. The intimidation I felt back then has vanished and it was very nice to experience my former classmates through confident, adult eyes. Most, if not all, have grown into pretty wonderful people and I truly enjoyed getting re-acquainted. I did not attend my ten-year, so this was a very special event for me -- and I highly recommend the experience.

I attended a small private school in Albany, Georgia, because my brother told my parents that I was just too delicate to go to the public high school at the time. That particular school system was one of the last to be desegregated in the nation and there was a lot of tension in the halls. So, off I went to a school where most kids attended to get away from the black folks. I'd like to think that isn't the reason I went, because that certainly doesn't reflect the person I am today. In any event, black students began enrolling in that school, too, by my senior year, and I hope they enjoyed their experiences there.

There were just 44 graduates in my class of 1985, so we all knew each other fairly well. In fact, a couple people from my class are still among my closest friends. But, I hadn't seen the vast majority of former classmates in 20 years. About half showed for the reunion, and all but a couple brought their spouses. Len did not attend with me, which probably contributed to my nervousness, and to my need to drink the entire bar.

We talked, we danced, we had a ball.

In the days and weeks that followed the reunion, I felt this sort of euphoria from having reconnected with my past. Part of me really wanted to go back to those days and relive the experience, only this time with my adult confidence. I felt like I missed out on the opportunity to know some pretty wonderful people and yearned to get a second chance.

But, alas, you can't go back. I'll see them again in 5, 10, or 15 years, and that will do. In the meantime, I've got a wonderful life -- better than most, in fact -- and I look forward to living it with my family and friends around me. Life is full of layers, and school is simply one of those layers. Family, friends, career, travel, heartache, and joy: That's life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Socks Are My Past, Present and Future

I finally finished Len's gigantic socks. Just to show how gigantic those socks are, I include a couple pictures here of said socks. The first shows his sock next to a sock I made for my own self. Big, big, big.

The second image shows Len actually wearing the socks while sweet little Daisy dog looks on.

In the last two images, you'll see the fabulous shipment I received of sock yarns from Knit Picks is a company my knitting sister-in-law tuned me into -- beautiful yarns, cheap prices. I have a lot of sock knitting in my future. Since Betsy sent me my first sock yarn ever for my birthday this year, I knitted almost more socks than I have knitted mittens -- and I'm always finding old pairs of mittens I'd forgotten I'd made.

The last pic shows the lovely merino wool handpainted socks I'm making for myself. So soft! Lovely, lovely stuff.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Moving Units

We've been busy here in our Laurelhurst cottage. Today, we moved my office to the other basement room and moved the guest room into my old office. The result is fantastic! A couple more trips to the dump and to Goodwill, and after a few more people pick up the stuff they bought from us through Craig's List, we'll be ready to paint the basement! We now have every room in the house in use for something other than storage, which will help make the house seem larger and hopefully will help us sell the place for top dollar.

It really is a nice house, so whoever gets it will be pleased, but we need to get it off our hands!

The hardwood floor refinisher guy sent me an estimate to refinish the two main floor bedroom floors and the hall area. $2,300. Yikes! That is a serious chunk of change, but we really need to have it done or potential buyers will be scared off by the paint and scratches and stains on the floor left from a previous owner. Hopefully it will pay off.

We have finished our work for the day and Len is taking me to our favorite beer and pizza joint, Big Time. I'm going to need to get their dough recipe before we leave -- I really love their pizza crust. The beer is good, too!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Why Is My Door Hanging Open?

Merry Christmas!

It was a lovely morning, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. It's raining now -- it was pouring last night! We're having a lazy Christmas. We started out with the gift-opening festivities. I have some nice new buffalo socks and some Seattle-specific ornaments for my tree. Mr. Claus gave Len an i-Tunes gift card and some audio books for our drive across the country.

Now, we are eating, drinking hot chocolate, and playing video games. Life is pretty good.

These last few days I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself what with my long-lasting flu/cold and being so far from friends and family over the holidays. But, I'm feeling better now, mentally and physically. Now, if I could just finish those socks for Len! He has some really big feet -- they take days longer than for normal-sized socks.

Len finally showed me where to upload pictures, so I'm including a picture of three hounds for this entry. Scully, Daisy, and Devon, and all wearing the lovely jester collars that granny Diane made for them. Devon has burrowed his head into the pillow -- look for the brown on the top of the pile -- that's him.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Blue Christmas

It's another dreary day here in Seattle and I can't shake the doldrums. I have no Christmas spirit and it is Christmas Eve. I miss everyone and wish we were with them right now. But, alas, we're here on the other side of the world this day and we aren't going to see a soul. Pity me.

I hope to go scootering today, or maybe we'll finally go and see the new Harry Potter film. Just looking for some distraction today.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Keep Your Motor Running

Finally, I scootered today. It's been almost two whole weeks since I've been on my faithful Honda Metropolitan. I was out of town for a while, and then I was sick and with it raining so much I thought it would be better to travel in covered vehicles. I'm still not well, with a nagging cough and a pounding headache. I've almost forgotten what it's like to feel fine. Anyway, I went out to shop for Len's gift. I finally figured out what to get for him and I think he will be pleased. Nothing big, but very appropriate. My Christmas spirit is building -- I hope to be fully in the holiday mood by the big day.

Clark had his LASIK surgery this week and according to his blog (Greyt Balls of Fire -- see links) he's thrilled. I was surprised how much he said it hurt. I've wanted to do it for years, but haven't had the guts. Now, with his successful entry into the world of 20/20 vision, maybe I'll get the courage. Good going, Clark!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Oh, how I wish I knew where to post my pictures. The hounds are in a particularly adorable position just now, curled all around each other. Even Maggie is close by, partaking in all the cuteness. One of the smaller dogs is ill -- I have found evidence of it the last two days. But, I can't figure out which one it is -- no one is acting uncomfortable. If this continues, we'll be taking a trip to the vet.

The rain let up for a while today and we actually got a few rays of what? Sunshine. Yes, Sunshine. It's back to being dreary Seattle again, though. It's not terrible cold at least -- but the hounds are tracking in all kinds of sand and dirt and other wet stuff. Hard to keep the place clean. When we move we'll have to consider a back yard full of smooth stones -- easy on their feet and they won't track in mud.

I still feel pretty puny. I've all but lost my voice and my throat is on fire from all the hacking and coughing. If I didn't already work from home, I'd have stayed home today. Bummer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An Embarrassment of Riches

I haven't gone over the process of uploading images with Len yet -- that's why my blog is so text heavy. If I were able to, I'd show pictures of the stacks and stacks of stuff we have in our basement and in our dining room -- stuff we don't want and are donating, selling, or throwing out. I can see how people get trapped in their own homes with 37 cats. They are simply unorganized collectors like us, left unchecked too long. The binge era is over. It's now time to purge.

I sound much worse than I feel today. I've got that throaty, scratchy voice that, if I weren't hacking, might be considered sexy. Hopefully I will be myself by Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Miss Manners

Len and I were discussing the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays controversy last night. For me, it's simple: There are several holidays that fall within six or so weeks, so Happy Holidays is a perfectly reasonable approach. According to Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, 85% of Americans are Christian, so we should say Merry Christmas. Fact is, according to the U.S. Census, just 75% percent of Americans consider themselves Christians, but for me the question of how many people believe in Jesus really isn't the issue.

Why would we want to voluntarily exclude people with differing beliefs by only wishing them a Merry Christmas? It's just good manners to consider the possibility that Merry Christmas might exclude a person, so Happy Holidays is a nice, all-inclusive sentiment. There is no war on Christmas. Why can't we all just get along?

Call a duck a duck, though, and correctly refer to specific symbols. Christmas trees are Christmas trees -- they are simply pagan decorations meant to celebrate Christmas. And, don't call them Holiday Menorahs, Holiday Kinaras, or Holiday Sauerkraut (my family's traditional New Year's food).

As individuals, send Christmas cards or holiday cards -- you decide. But, our government represents us all and if we want it to acknowledge the holidays at all, we should want it to wish us all a happy holiday season.

On another note, I'm feeling much better today. I got my first good night's sleep in more than a week and I am finally on the mend. I even put in my contact lenses last night and left the house for dinner with Len at Big Time for some pizza and calzone. Good times.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Work-Avoidance Mode

I have a couple articles due today -- actually they were due on Friday -- but I can't bring myself to start writing. My throat hurts, my body aches, I'm cold and and I'm coughing up all kinds of not-so-lovely... you get the idea. I've been eating mandarin oranges all morning. Maybe the vitamin C contained in the fruit will help me.
I'm looking forward to the big move, but I'm not looking forward to moving. I have nightmares about driving the dogs through the snow-covered mountains and losing control of the car. Probably all the meds I'm taking to make this sickness go away are giving me these crazy dreams.
It's a few days until Christmas and I'm not in the least bit motivated to do anything Christmas related. Shopping? No way. I have no interest in bringing anything new into this house -- we'll just have to move it, too. I hate being a Scrooge.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Going to a party at the beach

I'm sick today.
Last night, I was laying with Maggie on a couple of dog beds to watch T.V. in comfort. I hadn't felt 100 percent all day, but suddenly I got the shakes and my skin was on fire. Seriously. I felt like my bones were cold, but my skin was on fire. I got up to get some OTC meds, and started blubbering. I hurt so bad I cried. I was so pathetic. Len finally caught on that I was in distress and put me on a comfy sofa and covered me up and went off to the kitchen for water and drugs. When relief finally came I went to sleep for the night. I feel pretty rotten today. It's beautiful outside and Len is on the scooter instead of me.

I blame the mean guy next to me on the plane from Atlanta last week. He started some shit as soon as he got on board and had this very mild-mannered nice-seeming gentleman across the aisle from him calling him an asshole. I lucked out with a center seat in the middle row on a packed plane for five hours. I had no where to go but up -- or so I thought. When the mean guy started coughing and hacking up phlegm, I knew I was in for some sickness in a few days. Asshole.

Len has been busy with posting our crap on Craig's List and eBay. I helped clear out several boxes of junk yesterday and we took the best of it to Goodwill to donate. We've learned a valuable lesson: Don't buy crap just because you think it's cool. Let the next guy buy it and store in his basement for five years -- or haul it across the country a couple times (like we have). Len has done pretty well, though. He's had strangers coming to our house for the last several days exchanging a bit of cash for some junk we don't need. He's cleared about $700 thus far and we are almost ready to stage the basement in preparation of the house sale. Not bad.

Speaking of house sales, I was in Atlanta last week for work-related stuff and spent a day with Karen, our very helpful Realtor. Since I'll be the sole bread winner while Len is in law school, I wanted a realistic view of our housing options. I'm pretty pleased. I can actually afford a decent place in Kirkwood or East Lake near public transit. Sure, it's the 'hood, but we don't care. I've never felt like I fit in at these high-falootin' places we've been living these last few years. I look forward to some true urban living. The very best news is Atlanta houses usually feature very large yards. The hounds are going to like it there.