I missed a very imporant anniversary earlier this year.
April 6, 2003, a date I couldn't remember, but a day I will never forget.
It was the day the stars aligned and I met two of the most important people in my life. Mike and Lesley.
Yeah, I'm going to get mushy, so if you don't want read any more, buzz off. (And I mean that in the nicest way possible)
It was kind of a miserable day outside, chilly and a bit damp in Massachusetts, but a fellow by the name of "Blackstone Val" was running a meet in Uxbridge, MA for geocachers. I decided to go, since I was pretty new to geocaching and didn't have a freakin' clue what to do with my GPS. Michael decided to stay home and continue on with his job hunt, geocaching being a "Cookies thing" so I headed out on my own.
I distinctly remember roaring into the visitors' center in my old Grand Marquis. I was running a bit late and I hate being late. I pulled in next to a little VW and as I was getting out, so were the couple in the VW next to me. I gave the female half what I hoped was a fairly friendly smile despite how harried I was feeling and made tracks to the center, where attendees were being given a lecture on how to use a compass. And I thought, "Jeez, have I made a huge mistake? A compass seems kind of low tech. Am I in the wrong place?"
And at the very moment I was considering cutting and running, Lesley strolled over to me, looking as confused as I felt and said, "Is this the geomeet?" and I think I replied with, "I thought so, but they seem to be using compasses."
So we hung around for a while listening and then eventually the coordinators handed out some worksheets with some instructions for where to find caches, but I think you were supposed to use the compass to find them, not the GPS. Well, it was now or never, sink or swim, fish or cut bait.
I had come to the meet hoping to meet people. First of all, geocaching is a lot of fun, but I don't like going myself. I got lost in the woods once for an hour and a half while geocaching solo, and I was so freaked out that I was like, "Uh, never again." Secondly, New Englanders are famously stoic and reserved and it's very difficult to meet people there. Sure, I knew Michael's family and a couple of his friends, but other than that, the only people I knew were people from work. So as the party was breaking up and everyone was heading out to find the caches, I knew I had not come to stomp the marshes of Uxbridge solo. So, having already exchanged 14 words between us, and them looking as lost as I felt, I screwed up my courage, stepped out of my happy little shell, and asked if they'd mind if I hung out with them.
Happily, the answer was yes, they would be happy to have me along. And we spent the afternoon together, having fun, finding stuff with a compass, being fairly grossed out by the dead fish, making jokes about the PCPs in the water, etc. And Mike snapped the above picture of Lesley and me standing near one of the polluted streams. :-)
We exchanged emails and AIM names and said farewell.
When I got home that night, I couldn't stop talking about them. I was so excited to have made some friends after 3 years. We all got in touch again via AIM and three weeks later, they travelled to Acton so we could go geocaching again, this time in the pouring rain for hours. Then they came over to our place to meet Michael. The date was April 26th.
It turned out we all had a whole lot in common and spent that time traveling between Acton and Providence and other exotic ports of call. My two favorites were Rockport, where we had 17 dollar lobsters at the Lobster Pool restaurant and Plymouth, where we inadvertantly had lunch in a restaurant my grandparents had taken me to when they had taken my sister and I to Boston as teenagers. The drinks were not free refills and the 2 Mikes were going through soda like, well, water, and the tab was nice and hefty when we finished up. We still laugh about finding a place with free refills when we go out together.
(Can you guess from this picture who are the Yankees and who's from down south?)
Well, we moved to Virginia shortly thereafter, and then Mike and Lesley moved to North Carolina and then again to Atlanta. The days when we were but an hour apart... Maybe someday...
But it's been a hell of a five years for all of us since we first met. And they have made the bad times not seem so bad and the good times seem even better.
Lauren recently blogged about how it sucks that her best friend is so far away and how it's hard to not have any close girlfriends and it got me to thinking about just how much I miss having Mike and Lesley nearby. Lesley gave me someone to share my love of England and high tea with, the two Mikes can share their love of the 99 Restaurant and chicken wings. Lesley and I read, the two Mikes do computer stuff. And I will always remember Mike W. as being the one guy who loved that Grand Marquis as much as I did.
Just wanted to say "Thanks" publicly. You guys are the best. Can't wait till we get together again soon. Miss you and love you both.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I've been tagged by Melissa to do a book-related meme this morning, and it's a tough one!
Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the bible, what would that be and why?
Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!
*And it cannot be an entire series of something, that’s cheating.
Man, this is a tough one. I started looking at my shelves when I was thinking how to answer this question. I only keep the books I really, really love and would read again, so fortunately, I've already pared it down. However, how to pare it down even further?
It was a tough choice and it came down to two different books: Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley and Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. I have read both books multiple times and loved them both for different reasons, but ultimately I've decided to let Harmony burn and save Charlie and Joey.
Why? Well, basically because story is so rich emotionally, historically, humorously (or is that humorfully?), and touches on so many different themes that I can't imagine life without it. I read it twice last year, will definitely be reading it again this year, and have given it to tons of people to read and they've all loved it. Should we someday find ourselves in a Fahrenheit 451 type situation, it would probably be a radical choice, but I don't care about that. I love this book and all it has meant to me. And I love Harmony and all it has meant to me, and I would do my best to conceal it somehow otherwise for save keeping until I could come back for it. :-)
A quote from the book... This is kind of a challenge. There are a couple that stand out, one of which I won't include here because it is a spoiler if you have any plans to read it. I'll include one serious one and one funny one here for your edification.
"Janet: Bear in mind the following:
1. When pushed to the wall, our allies consist of the Board of Education and, in a pinch, Superintendent Meylan.
2. The boy's personal arsenal includes the National League, the entire Democratic Party, and God only knows who else.
In other words, dear, he's got us by the balls.
Send it to Washington. Let them handle it. If we're lucky, maybe they'll draft him."
"Everyone has something worth it inside of them, even if it doesn't show. Sometimes you have to look a little harder but don't give up. Otherwise all your going to see is a sorehead who plays 3d base."
Who to tag...
I'm going to tag my reading peeps: Manda, Lauren, Nicole, Cindy, and Amy.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Last night, Melissa and I returned to Wolf Trap in triumph to see Eric Idle perform his new oratorio, Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy), based on the Monty Python film, The Life of Brian. I can now say I've sung Always Look On the Bright Side of Life with Eric Idle, although there are thousands of other people who can say the same thing :-)
The show was fantastic. The soprano in particular could really sing the hell out of a song. It was witty, it was hilarious, it was inspired.
I took a couple of pictures which I will post tomorrow when I remember to bring my camera out of the car. But mostly I was just totally captivated. I am going to pop in my VHS of The Life of Brian this weekend and watch it again--Melissa already has.
For what other show are you going to see singing sheep, bagpipers, and a musical leaf blower in one place?
Here is a recent article about the piece: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080717/ap_en_ot/people_eric_idle_2
I really hope they turn it into a full out Broadway show. Melissa and I going to have to make it a point to see Spamalot now. We're going to keep our eyes out for it to come to DC again... I thought about seeing it in Las Vegas last year, but just ran out of time.
Interesting Python-related tidbits about me:
1. The first time I ever saw anything Monty Python, I was 22 years old. I rented Monty Python and the Holy Grail while I was living in Connecticut and working as a nanny. My computer was on the blink and in for repair and so I needed something to do and got a Blockbuster membership. I was prowling the shelves and decided that since I'd never seen Holy Grail, I'd take a crack at it. I nearly fell off the couch and wet my pants, I was laughing so hard.
2. When I lived in Little Rock, in order to economize, I didn't have cable, and I didn't even have rabbit ears for my TV. So I went to Suncoast Motion Picture to get some tapes to watch, and I wanted to get something that would give me a little bang for my buck. So I picked up one season of Flying Circus. It was a lovely little box set. And I fell in love. It was uproarious, no matter how many times I watched it.
Soon that one set turned to two, and then two to three. I would love to have the whole set on DVD. They were definitely awesome.
One of my favorite sketches was the one where Michael Palin is reporting on deja vu. "That most extraordinary feeling..." hehe
Seeing Eric Idle live, in person, was such a thrill. And he was HILARIOUS. I will share one little joke. He said, "If any of you acts up tonight and gets a bit naughty, I will jump off this stage and slap you, just like Amy Winehouse. Did you see that three weeks ago? She literally jumped off stage and hit someone in the audience. It was a literal case of the shit hitting the fan." :-)
And with that, I've completed a triple threat, posting on all 3 blogs in one night. I am good. :-)
I can take criticism, and realize some memories of me might not be the nicest. Sometimes the truth hurts. Hopefully one or two people have a fond memory of me.
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don’t want to play on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, I’ll leave my memory of you in my comments.
So there you go. What do you remember about me (whether in real life or on-line since many people reading this live exclusively in my computer)?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Well, it turns out I have something called patellar-femural syndrome and I'm developing arthritis. Years of extra weight, plus overcompensating for my weaker leg, plus driving have worn down my knee's cartilage and now my kneecap is trying to find itself a new home by sliding. It would also appear I may have been overdoing it slightly with my workout routine...
I saw the folks over at the clinic where I had my leg repaired, and I would seriously trust them with my life after the great job they did on my leg. I saw someone new today, and I really liked him, although it's clear that Sunshine is the star of the show. This guy looked just slightly beleaguered, kind of like "I dare you to be disappointed that I'm not Sunshine." But I was a good patient and let him poke around, even when I thought he was trying to kill me. Seriously? It HURT. Joe (the PA) even said, "You've got a lot of movement going on in there."
They took some x-rays to confirm it, showed me some diagrams that I really didn't understand very well, and then sent me across the hall to the physical therapy department. Fortunately, the place where I'm going to have my PT is only 2 streets over from here. Unfortunately, the earliest they can see me is a week from now. And until then, the most activity I'm allowed to engage in is to walk and possibly do water aerobics (fat chance, the Y here is too expensive to join if I'm not sure I'm going to stick with it). Otherwise, I have a few exercises to do daily to strengthen my knee, and I just have to wait for PT.
The good thing about doing WW is that they were very encouraged with my losing weight and taking some of the pressure off my knees. So an added benefit of all this is that my health, even though I'm in pain, is improving. Cool.
(Cross posted to Kate's Weight Blog)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I was writing up my autobiography last night and I thought you all might like to see this.
This is the hospital where I was born almost 33 years ago. It is the smallest hospital in New York State, with a whopping 17 beds. My sister was one of the last babies born there. I had my tonsils out there, but by the time I was in high school they had quit doing surgeries there and it was mainly an emergency room, X-ray lab, and you could go in if you had pneumonia or something like that.
I was out taking a few pictures the day after The Wedding, so I thought I'd throw this one up here.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I just got home from seeing Mamma Mia and I must say, it was much, much worse than expected. Since I expected it to be great, I have to say that I am totally and completely disappointed.
It has been so long since a movie has come out that I actually wanted to see. And this summer, there are quite a few out that I'm suddenly excited to see--one of which was Mamma Mia.
We got home and Lucas asked for a rundown of what was wrong with it. In a nutshell:
* The singing (Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan should never, ever open their mouths again)
* The acting (Colin Firth looked distinctly uncomfortable in his role at the end and at other times you could clearly see him thinking, "What am I doing? I'm one of the premiere actors in Britain!")
* The dancing
* The choreography
* The sets (apart from the fact that it was built into a hill, I can't honestly tell you what the place looked like, and at one point I leaned over and said, "I thought they were in Sweden?" to which Judy replied, "No, I think they're in Greece." Tell you anything?)
* The lighting
* The cinematography (during a scene in which some people are looking at old photos, the photos get cut off and are shown only for seconds once they are framed properly)
* The lip synching (several times, everyone was basically like "Screw the lip synching, let's just dance!" and let the music do the talking)
* It was quite raunchy, and not in a good way
The only thing that saved it was the audience. Two gay men in front of us were having the absolute time of our lives. After a particularly supposed-to-be-poignant seen where Meryl is singing "The Winner Takes It All" to Pierce, some people behind me actually started crying, and I just totally lost it. I busted out laughing and then tried to stifle my laughter and wound up laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my cheeks. So, I guess I can say it moved me to tears too.
There was a reviewer who said something about it being like a train wreck--gruesome and horrifying and you know you shouldn't be watching, but you can't tear yourself away. I'll liken our experience to that.
It was a round stinker. I am hoping and praying that The Dark Knight, The X Files, Swing Vote and Get Smart are better. Oh and I saw the preview for the new Ricky Gervais movie, which I don't know what exactly the title is, but it's about a dentist, and I am really looking forward to seeing that one. Nothing can be worse than this one, seriously.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
In plain English, there is no other word for him.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It seems rather hot on the heels of the last season... But oh well, I don't care. I am SO EXCITED! I've just watched 2 previews and read through the description of this season--it's gonna be hot. Can't wait to watch what happens!
Friday, July 11, 2008
The General and I attended an adoption 101 seminar in Richmond in June. We wanted to learn about the different types of adoption and hopefully meet some other people that were in the same boat as us.
It was a really great seminar, sponsored by RESOLVE, a national infertility resource center. We met other couples, social workers, an attorney, etc. and got tons of information and were able to make some decisions about how to proceed.
Ultimately, we've decided on a domestic adoption. The tides are turning against the US internationally, for reasons that I can't necessarily say I disagree with. Add in the fact that we're overweight and one of us has a disability, and it seemed like domestic adoption was the way to go. I spoke with a social worker while we were at the seminar, and got her card. I emailed her when we got back about getting the ball rolling when we got back from The Wedding, and we spoke on the phone this morning.
In other words, we're getting started. She's sending us some documentation to get ready and she'll be here to visit us on July 25th. Lara has sent me a copy of her homestudy and some books to read--one of which I devoured already--and it helped us understand what to expect and what to have prepared.
So, there are some things to do before Beth arrives.
The main one is to totally and completely gut the bunny room. TomTom on his own is a very clean rabbit. He's litter trained for peeing in a litter box, he keeps his food in his cage, etc. However, at one point, we were housing 5 rabbits in there, and he got a little territorial. And before I had the bunnies trained, they laid waste to the room. The carpet needs to be torn up. The walls need a good scrubbing. We need new flooring and to touch up the trim and closet doors.
We're starting this weekend.
If anyone out there has any experience installing laminate flooring or is interested in helping with painting, I'd love to hear from you :-) I will happily offer you compensation in the form of pizza and beer. You can drop me an email at s u s a n k ( a t ) m k o s i o r ( d o t ) c o m.
I am excited and terrified... But after 6 years of uncertainty, it feels so good to take a step forward.
I don't think I have it within me to start another new blog, so this blog will be your chief source of information for the latest. And thank you so much to all who have lent their ears, tissues, and support over the past 3 months. It has really meant the world to me.
I bought it Wednesday and finished it this morning...
I'll be honest. When it was done, I wept. I actually shed tears. The book really got back to the fun and fabulousness of Stephanie Plum and Janet Evanovich (I was not a big fan of Plum Lucky). And now I'm sad because it's over and done with and I won't have another one for however long it takes her to write 15.
With the conclusion of this book, I've now read 63 books this year. In addition to the 44 already listed in my previous post (click reading selections to the right if you want to see those), I've completed:
- Jesus Land by Julia Scheres
- The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
- The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
- The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi
- If I Am Missing or Dead by Jeanne Latus
- Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
- Take It Back by James Carville and Paul Begala
- Come Back: A Mother's Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine
- Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing up in the 1970's by Margaret Sartor
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
- Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
- The Broker by John Grisham
- R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
- Secret Thoughs of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff
- Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
This year I seem to be reading A LOT of memoirs. So far, I've read 20 memoirs or autobiographies. I've also been reading some classics, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Bell Jar, neither of which I had read before and both of which I loved.
It's been a great year for reading. The only downside is that I have not kept up with my book club reading 100%, but I've been reading enough of each book that I'm able to participate in the discussions and enjoy the meetings. It's summer, and I don't want to read anything heavy, although right now I'm reading Persian Girls by Nahid Rachlin and it's a very good, very fast read, but not exactly light.
So that's where I'm at... I haven't been keeping strict track of the numbers, and I've only been doing little reviews on my Good Reads, but they are good enough to make me remember why I liked or didn't like certain books.
And for the record, if you're hungry, do not read Playing for Pizza. Honestly, I wanted to hop a plane to Italy and eat until I exploded.
Happy page turning!
Labels: reading selections
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
The joke was kinda not that interesting, but here it is...
My husband refuses to smile on command. He says he can't. And for some reason, he REALLY couldn't on Friday. We have certain cutesy words that usually make him smile, but even that wasn't working. So I finally said, "Will you just smile already!?" and he bared his teeth like a rabid dog. We all started laughing and even he cracked a smile.
So that's it... But it's such a happy picture, probably one of my three favorites from the entire event. If you want to see more, go to my flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/katekosior