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Thursday, December 1, 2005

today was good.

y'know when you have one of those days, where you Accomplish Things and Cross Items Off The List, and feel a righteous sense of exhaustion at about 4:00, but choose not to nap so you can Do More Things?

today was one of those days for me. and it's been a while since i've had a whole day like that, so it was good.

(i have had some bits and pieces of days that felt productive - it's not bad - it's just... there's a difference between having 20 minutes of 'go, me!' and having 12 hours of that.)

got up, got Little Man off to school more or less on time with minimal fuss (and hubby even got his coffee before leaving to drive him). puttered on the 'puter for a bit, then ran many productive errands, including refilling a few prescriptions and getting a bath mat for the downstairs bathroom. (have i mentioned how much i hate that bathroom? i hate it, and it hates me. but at least i'll no longer have cold feet in there.)

on the way home, i stopped to refill Penny. doing a lot of highway driving this past weekend kinda screwed with the Gas Algorithm, wherein i fill the tank and drive 300 miles by the tripmeter (the gas gauge is fucked). this morning, i was at 300 miles, and either had a quarter tank of gas or was shit out of luck. turns out, it was option A. anyway, i stopped at El Cheapo Gasso, where they only take cash, and filled the tank. (listening to radio, sorting things in the purse, tapping the wheel...)

lo and behold, a tank of gas cost me less that $20! $19.97, to be precise. how sad is it that i got all kinds of jazzed about spending less than $20 on a tank of gas? it doesn't seem all that long ago that $10 would get me to Philly. yeah, fine, i never drove to Philly, but you see my point.

all the while, running errands, i kept half an eye on the weather. seems like this was going to be the last half decent day for some time, if not the season. and i've been trying to get gardening things done for ages. but i've either had other things to attend to, been too tired/lazy, or the ground has been too wet because we haven't had too many consecutive dry days recently. plus, i've been making myself clean up the leaves first, because i wanted to get that out of the way before doing the fun stuff. only lately have i realized that leaves can be raked on any cold, dry day, but bulbs can only be planted while you can still get a shovel in the ground.

so, finished errands, came home and had lunch (clam chowder, which i've been craving), and headed down to the gardens. oh, what a very different character each spot has... the front garden is relatively unchallenging, other than me remembering not to fall off the wall. the garden by the front walk, same thing. the garden along the downhill side of the house - parts are very forgiving, others are like digging thru concrete. the gardens in our driveway... yeach. the strip along the wall, i haven't even tackled properly. sometime in the spring, i hope to reseat the retaining wall and make it a proper Garden Space. and the two spots in the back by the stairs? the uphill one is all good, and i left it alone. the downhill one is home of the Shrub That Would Not Die, as well as many, many trash dumps, so there's no easy way to tackle a large part of the space; it all has to be dealt with in foot square increments.

eyeing the sky, hoping that the rain would hold off, and hoping that i got in under the wire for planting bulbs... and got much work done. cleaned up a few spots, transplanted a shrub, got all 300-400 bulbs in the ground, and found a spot to reuse the extra soil.

yup. 400 or so bulbs.

other things that have felt productive lately: putting together the sales pitch/display for the book fair at LM's school. having a parent call me to tell me how immensely kickass the display looks.

creating a wonderful centerpiece for our dining table for Thanksgiving #2. i mean, it's not Picasso, but it looks pretty nice:

Thanksgiving centerpiece

getting myself a betta fish for the upstairs bathroom. Bertram Yojimbo keeps me company in the morning... and i only feel a little bit badly about his name. ;)

bertram yojimbo

unfortunate side effect of fish photos: a mirror shot of me. :)

happenstance mirror shot whilst photographing fish

even nicer thing that happened today, altho it won't sound it at first - i ordered a wreath and some garland thru LM's school, as part of the annual fundraiser for the grounds committee. and i forgot to pick up my order today. more than forgot, wrote it down in my calendar for the wrong day, based on faulty info. so i found a message today, asking me to come get my stuff. and how psyched was i to get my wreath and greenery two days early?? i had gone out the other day to do several things, among them get stuff to decorate the wreath. and i've been ohsoantsy to get to doing that!

oh, it was so much fun... not nearly as challenging as i'd thought to get all the details down, very much fun to plan the layout... and man, oh man, there is something about owning a house, a home, and decorating it to represent who you are. having rented for so long, this an all new experience for me. herewith, The Wreath! (very first one, ever, for the first home hubby and i have owned together)

other nice things that have happened: The Detente is still in effect - working with the exwife is far, far easier than i thought it would ever be. in fact, i wish i could take her out for a cup of coffee and just listen for her, because her situation is much messier, and my heart goes out to her.

LM is starting basketball this weekend, and is verrrry excited about it. he knows the coach, and several kids on his team. the funniest thing, for me, about getting team info, is that, after several months of trying to get blood from a stone when it comes to details (the season was supposed to start three weeks ago), we got a call from a parent we know.

hubby: hey, i got the basketball call!
me: so, who's the coach?
hubby: joe. Joe, joe? the parent from school? (description ensues)
me: yeah! Joe! life is good!

and LM is quite pleased about it all, as well he should be.

meh. okay. thanks for listening, y'all. and, as a reward for reading all the way down: drop me a note if you'd like a care package. :)

:: scribbled at 11:35 PM ... ... o

Monday, November 28, 2005

two words: gingerbread latté.

(side note: yes, i've been quiet here. doesn't mean it's been quiet in my head or my life, but sitting down to write it out seems to have been beyond me lately.)

mmmm... went to a library meeting this morning, and Our Esteemed Chairwoman treated everyone to breakfast. i got a chocolate biscotti and a gingerbread latté, which may have been a tactical error, altho it was mighty tasty.

see, coffee and my stomach have not agreed for ages (ref: IBS). add to that, the last few days have been gut wrenchingly stressful... perhaps i should have gone for mint tea.

on the other hand, the aroma was enticing, and the taste was fantastic.

on the other other hand, ordering a large was certainly a mistake. about halfway thru the 28 ounce mug, i started to get a bit hypercaffeinated queasy. and i'm fairly certain i lost a few filters between brain and mouth.

on the fourth hand, the biscotti was wonderful. :)

*sigh* speaking of food, i'm still thinking about Thanksgiving.

the actual day was an unmitigated disaster. i woke up a little late, was ready in some semblance of time, tried to motivate hubby to be ready, and found myself sitting behind the wheel of the car, an hour after we should have left, watching him check the mail and fish things out of his car in preparation for the drive. we were a full hour and a half late to my parents.

to his credit, my dad (who did the cooking and chauffeuring for my gram) didn't throttle me. we were miserably late, which i see as an affront to their hospitality, and hurtful to my gram, who only has so much time in a day to visit. as it turned out, dinner worked out to be pretty nice. but walking in, apologizing to everyone, hugging gram, and trying not to snivel all over the place, then fishing out the calming drugs... bleach. (i also think i may have been overly forward in talking with mum after talking the calming drugs, but that remains to be seen.)


then there was Turkey Day #2. Little Man was with us for this one, and i had all day to cook at home. we also had a friend of hubby's over, someone who deeply appreciates home cooking, and whom LM loves visting. (best comment: 'oh, man... a meal that doesn't involve paper bags and speakers!') so. i had Happy Cooking Time, hubby had a friend over, LM got to perform an entire magic show for an appreciative audience as well as show off all the hamsters, and our guest was pleased as punch. that, to my mind, was a great day.

and while i'm on a food binge, so to speak, we recently went to Frank Guiffrida's Hilltop Steakhouse. now, i've lived here for years. but for much of the time, i was a vegetarian, so the Hilltop wasn't much of an option. sure, i'd heard about how good the steaks were. and every so often, i was amused by stories of people stealing the cows from out front. (note: not real cows.)

the triggering event was this: we got tenants that we like. and they moved in. and now we have a Small Amount of Income. so hubby and i decided to splurge a bit, with money we didn't really have, but it still seemed like the right thing to do to celebrate.

oh. mi. lord. what a huge ol' slice of 1972 that place is! drive up Route 1 in Saugus, turn around and pull into the parking lot (past the huge plastic cattle), and walk into an utterly, fantastically, wonderfully time-bound place.

the aroma of cigarettes still lingers. (as an ex-smoker, this isn't a selling point, but certainly emphasizes the 'time out of place' atmosphere.) the seats are naugahyde. (do you know how many naugas died for this? sez my dad...) the panelling is... well, panelling. and the waitresses seem to have been working there for generations.

you don't have to wear a sports coat, but it wouldn't hurt. and the sound track? ay yi yi.

we had a complete and utter throw-back, indulgence dinner. rolls with real butter. chopped salad with thick, rich dressing. French onion soup! i don't think i've ever had it before (see above, vegetarianism), and as an introduction, it couldn't have been better - thick, rich, beefy, oniony, crunchy croutons, stringy, melty cheese... ummmm. i had a small steak, rare, with a baked potato (sour cream, of course, and scallions) on the side. hubby had a larger steak, with fries. and if we thought we could have had dessert without imploding, we would have. :)

*sigh* given my battle with the waistline, food isn't always my best friend. but sometimes, a good dinner like that is just what the doctor ordered.

remind me to tell you about the Chinese food escapade in the middle of the whiteout snowstorm this past weekend. ;)

:: scribbled at 10:36 PM ... ... o