Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Don't Want to Jinx It, But...

I am healthy
+ Michael is healthy
+ The car is healthy
+ Our host and hostess are ready for us
+ NettieMac got 2 days off work
+ I got 2 days off from work

It's all adding up to one thing: Our trip this weekend to "Meet the Glecks" will happen.

Knock wood. I'm going upstairs to rub Tom's lucky paws.

Can't wait!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

If This is a Disease, We Don't Want No Cure

Yesterday, my Fredericksburg book club met. Jacalyn is the group leader, and her husband and sons were going to come over here to see The General while her husband helped Michael put new memory in his computer and finish rebuilding the ole battleaxe downstairs.

Book club lasted a couple of hours, and then Jacalyn asked if I thought her man was still with my man, to which I replied "Probably!" so she decided to come back to our house.

In fact, her boys had only arrived 15 minutes prior.

So the kids were on the Wii and Mike and D (I don't know if he wants his name used on line) were working on computer stuff. D asked me what I thought about moving the cable modem and routers into our crawlspace. Uh, heck yeah!? I'm tired of looking at the stuff and we might now actually be able to get a decent cabinet for our stereo? So he moved everything, reconnected it all in the crawlspace, and I was all "My hero!" (D used to be a cable installer. He knows his stuff.)

So this past week I've been going through my cookbooks trying to winnow out the good recipes and getting rid of everything else that I don't use, because I am T-I-R-E-D tired of clutter. So I had left one I got for Christmas out downstairs because I was going through it, and Jacalyn picked it up and noticed some fondue recipes... And the more we got talking, the better it was sounding. And apparently, her boys were very upset that they didn't get to go to the Melting Pot last night.

So, while Michael and D were working away on the computers, Jacalyn and I snuck out and hit the grocery store to get fixings for pizza and chocolate fondues.

Man, oh man, was it good. We had a beautiful array of bread and vegetables for the pizza fondue, and it was really fast and easy to cook (I'll put my recipe down below). Her boys loved it and forgave their parents for leaving them home. I love making pizza fondue, it's sooooo good and easy.

So, we let our stomach's settle for a bit, I hired Jacalyn's son to do the dishes (he's trying to earn money to buy his own Wii lest you think I'm a slave driver) and then Jacalyn and I started tackling the chocolate fondue. We had to tweak the recipe a bit, since it was a little peanut buttery at first, but we wound up with a delicious chocolate peanut butter fondue for berries, pretzels, pound cake, brownies, and Rice Krispie treats.

By the time they left, I wanted to wallow. I don't think I'll have any more fondue for a while, but it was so, so good. It was a fun impromptu get together, hopefully there'll be more!


K/S's Pizza Fondue Recipe

In a large pan, brown up 1/2 lb of ground beef, 1/2 lb of italian sausage (or 1 lb of whichever you prefer), 2 cloves of garlic, a handful of Italian seasoning, and a half an onion. Drain. Return to pan. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce (20 oz or so) of your choice, and 4 cups of cheese (we used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella). Stir over medium heat until smooth. Enjoy!

This took us literally 5 minutes and fed 6 very hungry people.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tragedy and the Learning Curve

Tragedy struck today when the motherboard of my computer downstairs shot itself in the butt and died a painful death. I was chatting with Jacalyn (blog linked to the right) and all of a sudden, my computer froze. Ok, so I restart the thing, and it runs for 2 minutes and then the mouse quits. So the General gets in on the act and says we should restart, back everything up, and then we'll rebuild it.

But we can't do it until the mouse works. So, I restart. And then, I am confronted with...THE BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH. So The General comes over and starts jiggling some wires, he gets it to come back on, but the mouse still won't work. So we restart and get...THE BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH. And this time, it won't budge.

I called Jacalyn to let her know that I was not dissing her on AIM but that in fact my machine was totally dead and she said, "No problem, I build computers, is that why you're calling!?" Um, no, I didn't even know that you were a computer builder, but now that you mention it...

So she and her boys came by and while the boys were playing on the Wii, she and Mike and I were in the basement dissecting computer parts. When all was said and done, my stuff got transferred over to the old box that Michael had stashed in the closet and the evil Jacalyn MADE ME DO IT! Yes folks, today I learned the ins and outs of installing computer hardware. And I have to say, it didn't seem that scary after all.

So tomorrow Jacalyn's hubby is coming over to help the General with reinstalling Windows and all that rot while Jacalyn and I are at book club.

So, the boys were busy playing Wii and one of them who is raising his own funds for a Wii was hitting us up for cash in exchange for performing my 2 least favorite tasks (cleaning the bunny room and vacuuming), and Jacalyn's hubby suggested we all have dinner together at THE MELTING POT. Uh, heck yeah!?

So this evening we spent time at The Melting Pot, eating Melting Pot food, and I'll add another Melting Pot for good measure.

It was a wonderful time at the Melting Pot. (Ok, I'll stop now, I promise.) The four of us really spent time together, kidless, other people-less, getting to know each other, chatting, and having fun. It went by so quickly, it's amazing how quick 3 hours can go by. I'm so happy to have met such wonderful people here in town and be able to call them friends.

Ok, if I keep going, I'll get all wishy-washy. But it sure is nice to have some friends.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


So, I haven't been posting many book reviews this year, but I found a book that was noteworthy, and I'm putting it here as a YOU MUST READ THIS. Especially, if you want to laugh and feel somewhat embarrassed by your own lack of coolness as a teen.

So, I signed up for and it is an amazing site--totally addicting and I like to comb through my friends' booklists and see what they've got posted. Recently, I came across a posting for David Nadelberg's Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic. I knew just from the title, I had to have it. I put it on my PBS list and I was 40th in line to get it free. This weekend, with Judy on down, we were going to Borders to take advantage of her 33% discount and I decided if they had it, I was getting it. By some stroke of luck, I got it.

David Nadelberg started collecting people's diary entries from when they were teens and turned them into a cult-favorite stage show. I've never seen it, never even heard of it. But apparently, he decided to compile some of these things into a book. The book spans the 70's, 80's, and 90's and shows the lives of teens from their eyes, everything from "My mom's a bitch" to "I want Jimmy to fall madly in love with me" to "Duran Duran is awesome"... Well, you get the idea. The typical teen angst.

I had a feeling this book was going to be funny, but I don't think I quite grasped how funny it would be. I read the introducion to Jacalyn while we were in the Borders cafe and the two of us were cracking up. When even the introduction is awesome, you know it's going to be a great book.

That night, I was literally laying in bed having trouble catching my breath, tears streaming down my face. I was trying to read some of the passages to Michael, but I was literally screaming with laughter as I read Lori Fowler's accounts of being a maverick cotton judge in the FFA. The next night, I lost it over "The Know It All", a girl who at age 12 thought she knew so much she'd be a prophet for the ages and wrote a little handbook to remind her of her own brilliance.

Not only was it funny, it was a little poignant. There were parts of it that really reminded me of what I'd written in my own diaries and journals as a teen, all of which I recently read after bringing them home from my dad's house. (And yes, I was mortified to read them!)

So of course, when Borders emailed me a 40% off coupon on Monday, you know I went out and got Mortified 2: Love is a Battlefield. I've only started reading it, but I'm sure it's going to be amazing.

Check these books out!! Oh yeah, and quit snooping in my diary!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Super Freak Out

So, this weekend, Judy came down and we had a nice time. Most importantly, perhaps, I got 3 new games for the Wii. One of those was Super Mario Galaxy, which has been generating the most buzz since I got the Wii, at least among people I speak to about such things.

Well, it definitely lives up to the hype. Lucas and I played it all weekend. It was a blast.

Monday afternoon, Judy is cooking, we're all sitting around gabbing and there was a little flash in the power. We were all like, "Huh, that's kind of weird" but then we had to eat and leave.

I come home on Tuesday, and I'm thinking, "Yea! I can play some Mario!" and I go in and the light on the Wii is off. "Ok, that's a little weird." It won't turn on. So I get under the table and unplug it from the surge protector, reset the surge protector. Nothing. Hmmm. Even stranger, the TV the Wii is attached to is turning on just fine and dandy.

So now, I'm starting to freak out just a little bit. I go downstairs and check the breakers. Everything is fine. So I go upstairs to the computer and read through the troubleshooting stuff on the Nintendo site. I follow through on all steps and nothing happens. Then, I happen to turn around and see my laptop sitting there, the screen completely black, despite the fact that it was on and plugged into the wall. So now, I'm really starting to wonder. I go over to it, hit the power button, and nothing. It won't turn on. Holy crap!

Ok, so I do the only thing I can possibly do: I call my dad. Unfortunately for my current crisis, he's at my mom's and he and my mom are very busy with company. Since everyone is so distracted, I start to cry. My father finds this a bit sobering. He suggests that I take everything into the kitchen and plug it in there, to see if it's working or not. I start with the laptop. By some miracle it turns on. Feeling emboldened, I take in the Wii and plug it in. Nothing. Dead as a doornail. So now, I'm really bawling, "Michael's going to hate me, I blew up the Wii, the NICEST thing I've EVER owned!" (a little flair for the dramatic never hurts) and my dad is trying the old, "Calm down, it's not like you crashed the car or anything, you're not hurt, you can get another one.." Finally he says, "Leave it unplugged for a half hour and I'll call you back."

So I go upstairs and I go on the Wii site again and submit a ticket. I can't bear calling them until Michael gets home, since I figure I better give him the bad news, and we'll see what he has to say and I don't want to call him and tell him while he's stuck on I95 in a van.

So I'm talking to Jacalyn on AIM and 20 minutes goes by, and I'm like, "Start praying, I'm going in." I go downstairs, plug the Wii in, and it comes on. It was like a freakin' miracle. Jacalyn so happens to be writing a zombie romance, so we decided I own the Zombie Wii.

I played Mario last night and it's working just fine and dandy. Go figure!!!! That is the craziest thing I've ever seen or heard of. Technology, huh?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Can't Get Away!

So, I'm trying to use up my BookMooch points, like crazy, right? But after a week's time with no response, I have to cancel my requests because I mean, seriously, can't you get it together within a week's time to at least say "Yeah, I'll send your book"?

So yesterday I cancelled a pile more and left honest feedback, and last night I got 2 nasty emails. One was somewhat legitimate in that the person had emailed me, but had never hit the "accept" button on the BookMooch site, and how am I supposed to remember that she had accepted the mooch? Especially in light of the fact that I have requested no fewer than 26 books from that stupid site in the last two weeks.

The other lady was mysteriously "out of town" and "had a good reason" why she did not respond. Um, hello. It's called a vacation hold. Use it.

So, I WAS down to only 2 credits left on this site, and now I'm back up to 9. Figures. I'm tenacious, though. I'm determined to use them. The bitch of it is is that every time you leave feedback, the stupid site gives you another 1/10th of a credit. So I may never get down to the end.

Anyone need any books?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I've never really been able to adequately put into words the special person my grandfather was. Every year on February 13th, the anniversary of the day he died, I spend time thinking of him and missing him and wishing he was here. It was the first time my heart was well and truly broken. And this February 13th marks 15 years since he's been gone. I have lived nearly half my life without him.

Today was a busy day. Family and friends kept me busy and kept me from thinking about it too much. As I sit here crying, I think that I am mainly crying for myself and not for him. I feel as if I could have gained a great deal from his wisdom as I became an adult and that I could have asked him if I was making mistakes or if I was doing things right. He would have been a pillar of strength that I could have leaned upon in my darkest days, and he would have shared my joy with all that has gone so wonderfully right. I hope he has found the peace he so richly deserved.

And I don't want to hear that he still is there for me in some mystical afterlife, urging me on in those dark times or cheering for me through my every success. Even now after all these years, I would gladly give up that sure knowledge (if it existed) for just one more hour to talk with him again. I hate the people I know who still have their grandparents alive--the jealousy they inspire in me is outrageous. I hate that he didn't make it to my wedding. I hate that he didn't even see me graduate high school. I hate that he never met my husband, or saw my house, or knew what I chose to do with my life. I hate that he died so young and so sick and that my last memory of him is not him as the hale and hearty man he was, but rather as the shadow of himself I saw in the funeral home. I hate not hearing his voice or his wonderful laugh, I miss smelling the comforting mix of tobacco and Old Spice. I miss his stories, his humor, his advice, and his wisdom.

He was a hero, my hero, and I was and am proud to be his granddaughter.

Traffic in DC

Yesterday, DC was hit with a mixture of rain and sleet right at rush hour time.

I heard on the radio a few weeks ago that part of our problem with traffic is that on any normal day at rush hour, the highways are filled to 120% capacity. One little thing goes wrong, and it's all over.

Yesterday, one big thing went wrong.

Anyone who has been to DC during the highway construction mess in the Springfield area has seen "the Mixing Bowl" in various stages of construction. It was finally completed last year and hailed as a marvel of construction, efficiency, and common sense. (If that's the case, please tell me why every time I drive to my sister's house, some idiot invariably cuts me off while he's trying to decide which of 3 exits that are smack on top of each other he wants to take?)

What the people who built it failed to contend with was freezing weather. And as we all know, when it freezes, bridges and overpasses freeze before any other parts of the roadway. And what is the Mixing Bowl? A huge collection of overpasses and underpasses and elevated highways. And what is the negative of living in this area when it freezes? These assholes don't know how to drive in bad weather, much less freezing weather. And so everyone started crashing. And Michael's vanpool got stuck in the mess.

The General left base at 3:30pm yesterday afternoon and strolled in our door at 10:00 last night. And I thought I was having a bad day. But they were actually in pretty jovial spirits considering. They were able to use an obliging bus nearby to go to the bathroom, once they broke free, they made a run for the border at Taco Hell, and when he rolled in, we laughed about how it's one he'll tell his grandchildren about. He called in sick for today, ate some dinner and hit the sack.

Thank God, I wasn't stuck in that nightmare. DRIVE SAFE, YOU DC IDIOTS! There ought to be a law against stupid drivers. Oh wait, there probably are.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

What's New...

Well, here we are in February already. It's hard to believe. I've come a long way in a short month of 2008.

For starters, I've already read 15 books this year. I know, I know, I was going to take it easy. But it's like an addiction. I can't seem to slow down. I don't know what to do with myself any more when I don't have a book in my hand. I've, of course, stopped and started several books, which haven't counted towards my total. But unfortunately it hasn't done much to clear off my bookshelves. My books keep on coming from PaperbackSwap and friends loaning books to me. And of course, when people hear you're a reader, they immediately have to recommend books to you! So... Yeah. I've been making a list and posting reviews for what I've read on, my new book-related web addiction, so check me out over there.

Fortunately, I suppose, I've decided to close my account. The site sucks. The minute someone requests your book, you get a credit for it, and if it's never marked "received", you as the sender can mark it lost. So you don't actually have to mail a book at all. I've spent the last week trying to clean up the account, because tons of books I've requested have either never been replied to or have never been sent. So I cancelled all my old requests, put in a pile of new requests and am trying to spend down my credits. If all goes well, which I'm not counting on, I should be over and out within the next couple of weeks. I still have 4 credits left, but I plan to donate them to charity on there. I had 26 credits, so I've done a good job using them, but still, there is a lot of junk to clean up.

On PaperbackSwap, I have 22 credits and should, by the end of the week, have nearly 30. It's a far superior site, and I've signed up for its sister site, SwapADVD, and gotten 2 DVD's so far of movies that I totally enjoyed and haven't seen in a while. I've sent out a number of DVD's and it's been fun. Last night Michael and I had movie night for the first time in quite a long time and we snuggled up and watched "That Old Feeling" together. It was great.

Work is the same. Family is the same. My sister and I are speaking again after going 8 days without speaking--this is the first time in a long time we've had that kind of argument, but I think we both just needed a break, and we were able to understand each other a bit better, so that's all good. Lent has started, I haven't given anything up. While I've been so sick in January, I started drinking soda again because the bubbles felt good going up my nose, but hopefully I'll be able to stop shortly. We bought some for our Superbowl party and as soon as it is gone, we've agreed not to buy any more.

Plan for today is the book sale, and then starting on the spring cleaning. Baseboards need a good cleaning. Ugh, what a job. And the tiles in the bathroom. Yuck. But I have one of those steam shark cleaners and I've never used it, so I'm going to play with that today.

The writing club is going strong. We've actually met someone new in Fredericksburg and she stopped by to say hello and meet us while we were meeting over there. A casualty of the club was my laptop adapter, which I left over at the coffee shop and is now long gone, sadly. A new one is on its way which will allow me to charge the new battery which will hopefully last longer than 45 minutes. I've started copying and pasting my 2 books together into one cohesive novel, but it's all VERY confusing. We have 2 different back up hard drives with files, and then I have 6 or 8 files open at once and I'm ready to tear my hair out. But it has to be done so I "don't have a stinky product" as Christopher Guest once said.

And of course, NKOTB is still getting back together :-)

Happy Saturday everyone!

It's Looking Official...

I was just on and it's looking mighty good!

Who's going with me!?

Hot damn!

(Oh, and Bolivar, I'm waiting...)

PS I went on MySpace and looked up Tommy Page, who opened for New Kids for forever. WOW! He's so hot.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hot Topics

So I was sitting around thinking today about how funny it is that my NKOTB post has become a hot topic--comments in the double digits! I was wondering what other posts might be as hot for conversation as that one, and so I went through quickly and looked at the number of comments I'd gotten on each post. My arbitrary number for "a lot" of comments was 7 or more, because I've actually got a fair number with 5or 6 replies.

So, what were my hottest topics?

*New Kids on the Block
*Mariah Carey screeching Christmas carols
*Painting my mom's dining room/going to Steak N Shake
*How cute my husband is
*Finding a decent sub sandwich
*Staying friends with people you've known forever
*Going to Las Vegas
*Protesting the war

To follow up on the sub sandwich topic, the current sandwich in the lead is WaWa's Italian sub. It's very good and flavorful, it's only flaw is a paucity of vegetables. You can get extra meat or extra cheese, but you can't order extra veggies. Bad WaWa! We've got another place on the list to try, but it's pretty far from the house, so I suspect it'll have to be AWESOME before we make it a regular stop. There's also a new sub shop going in next to the closest Starbucks, so it's possible that one might be an option.

So I'm figuring since I listed all the hot topics, this should be a pretty swingin' post. The closest I've gotten to breaking 20 comments was the NKOTB post which is up to 14. Several other posts have hit 13. It's just funny what captures our interest!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pleasures from the Past

Lately, I've been eating grapefruit for breakfast. When I was little, my dad would start our mornings off with a grapefruit. He would cut it in half, cut each little section, and sprinkle it with a little powdered sugar. I loved that. The other day, I was in the grocery store and they had a bag of Florida grapefruit on sale, and I bought it. I've been eating a grapefruit every morning, cutting it in half, cutting the sections, and sprinkling it with a little sugar (it's still a little too bitter for me without). Then I squeeze out all the juice and drink it up. It's been a nice way to start the morning.

The other day, I started seeing rumors flying that NKOTB, the original boy band, is getting back together. And I have to confess: my fifteen-year-old heart is all a-flutter. I've joined a couple of mailing lists to keep abreast of the situation, but you can bet if they go on tour again, I will have tickets and I may have to dig out my old Jonathan Knight t-shirts, which believe it or not, I have here in the house with me.

The other day to celebrate the news, I was thinking I must have an NKOTB CD in the house somewhere, and I discovered one in our CD book. It was "Hangin' Tough" and I figured, what the hell, I'll listen to it while I'm hot rodding around for work. What a gas! I was cruising down Route 3, singing along--I still know most of the words--and having a grand old time. Man, the 80's were the best.

To be honest, listening to it once was plenty. If I'd had "Step By Step", I might have listened a couple more times, but once was enough of "Hangin' Tough". Man I hope they get back together for a tour, that'd be really fun.

Ahh, the simple days.