Thursday, March 29, 2007

So much for that

Nix on the faux finish.

Maybe I have the wrong color combination. Perhaps it's my technique.

But I started the faux finish (the desired effect was "distressed leather") and basically, it looks like a different color of green.

Could my already textured walls be the culprit? Hard to say.

Bottom line: The ultimate color is fine, but I could have achieved that look by choosing that color of paint to begin with and skipping a time-consuming - and expensive - step.

So I am going to paint over my attempts at glazing with my original paint and be done.

Once again, chalk it up to lessons learned.

But you never know these things til you try, huh?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Half done

I painted my bathroom today.

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably clarify that I painted our half bath. Not a huge room, for sure, but there is a lot to paint around. It's a lot of work - but oooh, it will be worth it.

I spent the bulk of my time taping off the sink, removing the mirror. (The convex curved wall was a minor complicatioin.) Then I painted trim - man, there is so much to maneuver around - toilet connections, sink, light fixture. I rolled the entire room in about an hour.

So that part is done. Now we move on to the faux finish. The room is, at present, an avocado green. But I will be adding a glaze tomorrow to give the walls a distressed look. I've never done this before. Nor did I know how much it would all cost; total bill for all the nonsense I had to buy was $85. Egads.

Tomorrow I shall glaze. My neighbor gave me some advice ... she's done a fair amount of this, so let's hope she's right. I'll let you know how it goes ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

I love these ...

SCATTERGORIES ... it's harder than it looks!
Rules: Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following... They MUST be real places, names, things...NOTHING made up! If you can't think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same first initial.
You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question ... Now, Go!

(I got them all - I looove this game in real life)

1. Famous singer: Costello, Elvis
2. 4 letter word: care
3. Street name: Cypress Springs
4. Color: cerulean
5. Gifts/presents: candle
6. Vehicle: Chevy
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: cards
8. Boy Names: Craig
9. Girl Names: Claire
10. Movie Title: Catch-22
11. Drink: Cosmopolitan
12. Occupation: chemist
13. Flower: carnation
14. Celebrity: Christopher Reeve
15. Magazine: City Magazine
16. U.S. City: Chicago
17. Pro Sports Teams: Cincinnati Reds
18. Something found in a Kitchen: cutlery
19. Reason for Being Late for Work: car trouble
20. Something You Throw Away: clutter
21. Things You Shout: cut it out
22. Cartoon Character: Cathy

The cinema

Saturday night, without warning, we found ourselves alone. Alison was away for the weekend at a YRUU rally in Dallas; Maddie got a phone call around 5.30 to spend the night with a friend, and Sylvia got invited by a friend next door.

Suddenly, we were by ourselves. Just the two of us. Dinner was already started, so we ate at home, then decided to go to the movies.

The movies are a rarity for us - well, movies in the theatre, anyway. Or, to be more preciese, movies in the theatre that are not animated or that don't star the current teen queen. Our film of choice? The 2006 Oscar-winner for best foreign film, Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others). It's a German film, set in East Berlin in 1984, revolving around the corrupt government and secret surveillance of artists, in particular a writer and his artist girlfriend.

It was excellent - one of the best movies I've seen in a while. Highly recommend it.

We saw the version with subtitles, and it's a good thing - my German is OK, but I think some (some? who am I kidding? Let's try all) of the subtleties of language would have been lost on me. I can watch children's movies, read at about a sixth-grade level. But I couldn't possibly follow a movie of this complexity. However, I could catch when I would have done a translation differently - or the same. Kind of fun.

Gary left Sunday morning, so I was alone on Sunday morning for more than an hour - unthinkable. The girls came home, took Sylvia to her soccer match (they won! yay!), went to lunch, then came home, read my book til it was time to go pick up Alison. Watched Catherine of Aragon on PBS. Read more (Never Let You Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, author of Remains of the Day - amazing book. Very strange, but wow - he's a great writer, and the story is quite compelling).

On the agenda for this week: Plant some flowers, maybe paint the half bath, do some reading. Some writing. Get an estimate for getting the rest of the downstairs painted. Look at sunroom furniture. Look for drapes. Fun stuff. Tickets for the Glass Menagerie Friday; I'm taking Alison since Gary will arrive home Friday afternoon.

What's on your agenda?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Survey says ...

Had a call the other night, a phone survey by a student at the University of Houston . Why not, I thought - I was sitting watching American Idol, so I figured I could answer a few questions.

It was a general opinion survey, with questions on everything from employment to the environment to the death penalty. Some of the questions were worded awkwardly and it was hard to select a response.

Mostly, I laughed at his reactions to my answers. Is it appropriate for our pollsters to comment on answers? Example:

I said yes, I support the availability of emergency contraception over the counter for women over 18. "All the women are answering yes to that one," he said.

Yes, I would favor public transportation. "That's just great," he said.

When I had to give our household income level (it was an anonymous poll - I answered it), he said, "Wow - that's just great. Good for you."


Then - this is the best one - he asked my age. When I told him (I'm 40) he said, "That's how old my mom is."

Wow. It kind of cracked me up. On another level, I wanted to know what class he was in, who wrote these survey questions, how the information would be used. No wonder you can get survey results to say exactly what you want - it's all in the questions.

Our next generation - get ready.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

Or, as Conan O'Brien said it should be renamed, Dancing with People Whose Names Sound Vaguely Familiar. Tee hee hee.

I wanted to hate that Heather Mills from the very beginning. Who is she anyway, monkeying around with Sir Paul? Screwing him over? He's the cute Beatle! What could he possibly have done wrong? We all know she is entirely in the wrong. (Even though it was just stupid of him to get married without a prenup - what was he thinking? A man of his wealth? Bad move.) Still, I am a true Beatle fan, and the blame is all on her. I mean, he is Paul McCartney.

And she showed up last night, looking so uncomfortable. Her hair made her look ancient. And I didn't need the not-so-subtle vying for the sympathy vote - over and over. We get it, you're missing a leg. You're just a selfless champion for the disabled. Please.

(Gary was concerned that he might have to take the girls out of the room, to get away from my loathing ... then the girls wanted to know if I was going to vote against her. But she hadn't even danced yet, so that really didn't seem sporting.)

After all that ... her dance wasn't too bad. Sigh.

Fair is fair. She did OK. But the best were Joey Fatone and Apolo Anton Ono (Alison's favorite). I also liked Laila Ali, Ian Ziering (Steve Sanders - loved 90210). And I confess to a soft spot for Paulina P. - I'm just hoping to catch a glimpse of Rik Ocasek in the stands, I think. Plus she's very pretty, and my age.

Not a big fan of Billy Ray Cyrus, mullet man. And you should not be allowed to dance to your own song. He'll be the first to go, I predict. After that is anyone's guess. Though the NBA guy (I think) was sort of lame, and I was disappointed in Cliff Clavin. (Though he looks pretty good, other than the gut. And as you know it ain't over til it's over.)

I tried to vote, but all the phone circuits were busy. Too bad. And you can't really vote against someone, only for them. It would be hard to choose at this point.

Hardly wait to see what happens - is this what my life has come to? Dancing with the Has-Beens?

Silly. But fun.

Life List

i've been contemplating my life's "to-do" list, having the read the one posted by fellow blogger, my friend Anne.

(I am feeling almost naughty referring to Anne as a friend - for those of you who know who she is - but hey, I'm over 40 now, and relationships change, huh?)

She published a list of goals she wanted to achieve in her life, along with a list of additional accomplishments. I'm big on lists - i keep lists of things to do around the house, books I've read, books I want to read, movies to see, projects to complete around the house, a general list of tasks. (When I taught, I used to write down what I wore to work each day - the class only me twice a week and I didn't want to wear the same things every week ...)

But I've never actually documented what I'd like to do in my life - it seems a bit daunting. But today I've made a stab at it. First, though, I am going to publish the list of things I've done. It's a list in progress, and the list you see may have been edited from its original - some items may be too personal to share.

It's interesting to read what some people find significant. For example, Anne published being proud of having a letter to the editor published. Someone I know in Lafayette clipped hers and carried it around, showing it to people. I found that interesting because my job at the newspaper was to catalogue and edit all the letters to the editor, place them on the opinions page. So to me, getting a letter published seemed almost un-noteworthy.

But things change: I had a letter to the editor published in the Houston Chronicle last week. It's a city of 4 million people - can you guess what their volume of mail is? In Lafayette we got more than 100 letters a week and published seven or eight a day. Here, they must get 10 times that number. And mine was published - virtually unedited - yay for me!

But I digress. Here is my (edited) list of accomplishments:

1. Lived in Europe (three times)
2. Learned a foreign language (Ich habe eine Fremdsprache gelernt. Ich kann noch Deutsch.)
3. Published commentary in the newspaper
4. Pitched, wrote, and published the newspaper’s editorial on Roe v. Wade
5. Marched on Washington (two times)
6. Lived in two of four time zones
7. Graduated from college; had more than one 4.0 semester
8. Earned my master’s degree
9. Had three children
10. Went through one birth without drugs
11. Drove in Europe
12. Drove in rush hour in Houston
13. Had a letter to the editor published in the Houston Chronicle
14. Saw a show on Broadway (five and counting, plus more than I can remember in the West End in London)
15. Spent a semester abroad (that sounds more glamorous than “studied in London”)
16. Been to Disneyworld ... in Paris
17. Traveled alone
18. Saw the Olympic torch
19. Saw presidential candidates campaigning (two in one year)
20. Built a house (well, contracted it out, but still ...)
21. Hung wallpaper
22. Restored a historic home, with very little help from contractors
23. Flew first class
24. Visited the Soviet Union
25. Vacationed in Greece
26. Paris, Rome, London, Munich, Berlin, Athens, Madrid, Moscow, Leningrad, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco – seen them all
27. Vacationed in Jamaica
28. Delivered a Sunday service (at the UU in Lafayette) on a controversial topic that was (reasonably) well-accepted
29. Took my children to Europe, New York, Washington DC, a third of the states
30. Found a church that supports what I believe
31. Kept a secret that would be worth telling
32. Been a bridesmaid (but only once … interesting)
33. Took ballroom dancing lessons
34. Learned to knit
35. Married my soul mate, my best friend
36. Quit a job that was unsatisfying, even without another job on the horizon
37. Humbled myself in another employment situation, admitting I'd made a mistake
38. Photographed an event attended by the Vice President (the only journalist allowed in, by the way)
39. Had my picture taken with Sen. Paul Simon and with VP Dan Quayle
40. Won an editorial award from the Hoosier Press Association
41. Planned a successful major fund-raiser
42. Lived in five states, two foreign countries.
43. Purchased four houses (and counting ...)

I'll stop there. For now. But there's so much left to do, so I'll share that another time.

What's on your list?

Location, location

Gary came home yesterday and had done some career chatting with his boss. He had some thoughts on possible future jobs, including possiblel future locations.

We could stay here - there will always be options for him - but there are better possibilities in store. Not this year, maybe not next year. But in a few, some positions will be open for Gary.

And I won't be stuck here anymore. I am excited. Like is looking up.

I am going to get a Continental credit card (like Gary has) and start using it exclusively. I like to see those miles add up. I have lots of travel in my future (!)

Monday, March 19, 2007

On rudeness

I love to travel. For some inexplicable reason, I've always liked airports and train stations. I like using public transportation; I like flying as opposed to driving. I like staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, seeing the sights (sites?).

However, traveling means dealing with people. And some people, as we all know, are jackasses. It's just how it is. For example:

In line at the Houston airport (I refuse to say its official name, as it's named after a president. The one before Clinton, whose son currently occupies the White House. Idiots): The check-in line for Continental was long. Very long. We were looking for the end of the elite line, and it was long enough - the regular check-in line was out the door. But it was spring break, and we were plenty early for our 10.30 a.m. flight. The guy behind us in line asked the Continental woman: We have a 9.30 flight. Can we move ahead? It's spring break rush, sir, she answered. Well, sometimes you let people do that, he responded; we have a 9.30 flight. Sir, she said again, it's spring break rush. I would have to ask all these people in front of you to let you move ahead. Sometimes you let people do that, he mumbled.

For the record, I would not have let him move ahead. Who hasn't heard about long lines at airports these days? Two hours before a domestic flight, they say. Lines are long. Be prepared. Liquids in a Ziploc bag. Shoes off. (Where have you people been?) Why should I let him move ahead when he came late? Too bad. I mean, maybe if he were going to miss his flight, but he got through.

At the National Archives: The historic documents are lined up around the perimeter of the rotunda. You have to queue up, go around the room in order to see everything. Which most people do. We got up nearly to the Declaration of Independence, and some people come up behind us, try to squeeze in. The line's back there, I said. They told us we didn't have to wait in line, the woman said. Well, you need to have a little respect for those who are waiting in line, I said. Which happened to be the other 50 people behind me - why should these people get to push ahead of all those other people who patiently waited the 15 minutes to see the displays? Why is their time somehow more valuable than the rest of ours?

On the return flight: The 8-year-old reaches down to get something out of her backpack - stowed neatly under the seat in front of her, per airline regulations - and the woman in front of her whips around to complain that she is bumping her seat. Not the first time on this trip; every time Sylvia makes a move and bumps the seat, she turns around to complain. I'm sorry, I said, she's just getting something out of her backpack. Well, she says, she keeps doing it. I'm sorry, I said again. She keeps on: You know, I think I'm being very patient. She's only 8, I said. She's trying. She says something again, and I can't hear her very well, but her point is, do something with your kid. She's trying, I said again. She's 8. She says something yet again, and finally I said, What do you want me to tell her? She finally turns around, and I told Sylvia to try not to knock into her seat.

And I'm thinking, you know, if you didn't want to be jostled around, you should have purchased a seat in first class. Here in coach, these things happen. Travel isn't always easy and convenient. Now that we are no longer part of the jet-set elite, sometimes lines are long, things are crowded. (Though I could point out that we do have Continental Elite status - it gets you the short line for check in, security and boarding - and I have to say, it is nice ...) Every time the people behind me got up out of their seats, they pulled on my seat as they rested their arms there. And you know what? There was nowhere else for them to put their arms. So I just dealt with it - it was momentary, not a big deal. The guy in front of me reclined his seat into my knees. You just have to suck it up and stay calm.

Patience. A sense of humility. A little compassion for others. It goes a long way.

Home again, home again ...

Jiggety jog. Or something like that.

(I'm a whiz at nursery rhymes. That's a weird thing to know about me.)

I shouldn't be so off-handed about the fact that we're home; many airline passengers were waylaid by the storm in the east, which just missed us. We had some sleet, barely measurable amounts of snow, and some c-o-l-d temps. We considered going to the anti-war march, but it was just too cold for us - we were not dressed properly to be outside in 20-degree windchills. And we wanted to meet some friends, so we spent the day in museums; not a bad choice. We're from Houston now, so temps around 35 are freeeeezing.

It was a good trip. I've been up since 4 am local time today, so I am beat; no sleeping on the plane for me. I'll spare you too many more ruminations on travel in DC. It's amazing - period. Lots to see, historical relevance everywhere, and many of the museums are free since they're part of the Smithsonian system. It's a fantastic trip, with or without kids.

But I have many thoughts on travel, on rude people, on those who figure their time is somehow more important than the rest of ours (one of my pet peeves).

(Another pet peeve is people who act as if their children are more special, or seem to think that somehow they love their children just a little more than the rest of us do. Give me a break - we all think our children are wonderful. I worked with someone who fell into this category - you know the type.)

For now, I'm tired. We've been home since noon - six hours - and I've accomplished little. I'm just in recovery mode.

Later ...

***These are from more than a day ago - technical difficulties. Stupid Internet.***

What happened to the weather?

Our lovely spring days are over; yesterday was bright and sunnny and 70, and today is 35, windy, and sleety. It was beautiful while it lasted.

We've done tons more touristic things here in our nation's capital: Ford's Theatre, Washington Monument, Natl. Portrait Gallery, Museum of American Art (or some name like that), and on and on. Today we visited Mount Vernon and drove past the Pentagon and Arlington - it was just too cold and wet to get motivated to walk around. I seem to remember driving through back in the 70s ...

Yesterday we visited the House of Representatives. We sat in the gallery and watched them vote on some small appropriations bill. There were - I kid you not - about 12 people on the House floor when we got there. I as underwhelmed and hoped the girls wouldn't leave with the wrong idea. However, as the vote went on, the place filled up. Biggest disappointment: Nancy Pelosi was not in the speaker's chair. I had wanted the girls to see her, but it wasn't going to happen. But it was fun, anyway, to see the Chamber, see where the state of the union is made each year, see the big electronic voting scoreboard.

My feet hurt less today, but everyone is chilly. I checked the weather before we left and knew what to expect; we all packed properly and I made sure everyone brought gloves. But after a year in Texas, 35 and sleeting is cold. Damn cold.

One more day ... I don't want to go home!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Things I've learned this week

Where to begin - I suppose I should start with, oh, say, ... I'm loving it here. The weather is fabulous, the sites amazing, the lines short, the admission free. Everything is going well - a fantastic vacation.

I love Washington. I think I've said that already, gushed about my adoration of the architecture, the very urbanity of it all. I love it. Love it. I want to relocate here. Sadly, there are no job opportunities for the mister, at the moment. But I guess you never know, huh? It's good to dream big, and big things can happen.

Yesterday we walked. And walked. Went to the zoo - it's a very nice zoo, and we loved seeing the pandas. But enough was enough - I am not here to look at animals. So we headed off to the memorials. And we walked all the way through the city: from the Smithsonian, up to the Washington Monument, up the Mall to the World War II memorial, to the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial. Stopped for a snack, then crossed the mall to the Roosevelt Memorial then around to the Jefferson, back up the Mall to the Smithsonian Metro.

It's a lot of walking. But first things first: The memorials are amazing. I loved them all, for different reasons. Vietnam was moving - I'd never seen it, as my last visit here was in 1972 (except for visits to demonstrate, when there is no time for sight seeing). All those names ... and people had left mementoes along the wall, were making rubbings of names. At the Lincoln they have the spot marked where Martin Luther King stood as he made the I Have a Dream speech - wow. The FDR is done very well; critics love it, and I can see why. And the Jefferson - I'm a big fan of Jefferson and the amazing fortitude he had when writing the Declaration of Independence. Plus he was a Unitarian - gotta love that. In short, it was a very moving day.

But my feet hurt. I very wisely only packed two pair of shoes. But they're boots, with a bit of a heel, and while they look chic and stylish and go with all my outfits, they hurt my feet. I was actually prepared to buy some tennis shoes, but the shops had closed by the time we got back last night. However - joy of joys - I discovered that my middle daughter's extra pair of shoes fit me. She was sweet enough to lend them to me, and the eldest lent me some white socks (not a big fan of the dark socks with tennis shoes look - I have to maintain some fashion integrity).

So today my feet feel much better, even though we did not walk as much. Went to the Capitol, took the tour, and even scored tickets for the House gallery, which we'll go back and visit tomorrow. Today we wanted to be at the Holocaust Museum by 1 p.m. so we could see the speaker. It was good. The museum itself? Yes, it's good, but I'll be honest - it's really not that much better than the Houston museum. Just bigger. They did have a nice children's section, but the Houston museum is actually done very well for being as small as it is. Just my personal opinion ... we spent way too long there, and there wasn't a ton of time to see much else today.

So we headed over to Georgetown for dinner. Another fantastic area - once again, judging by the upscale shopping, it's pricey. But charming. We found the Kennedy's house from his time in the Senate - you know the one, the house Joe used to buy off Jackie so she wouldn't leave Jack and thwart his political ambitions. And - now this is exciting - we saw the steps from the Exorcist! It's been so long since I've seen it I can't remember the context they're in, but I remember the steps. If someone can fill me in, please do ...

I'm exhausted. But having such fun. As a family vacation, I highly recommend DC. And we still have three whole days left! Yay!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Day One in DC

Now I remember why I hate the suburbs; I am definitely an urban kind of gal. I am completely reveling in all that is Washington DC. It is one of my top five cities in the world; they're not ranked, but they include New York, London, Paris and San Francisco.

So, needless to say, it's been a good trip thus far. We arrived yesterday - despite the very early wake-up (thanks, daylight-saving time) we all got up and were ready to go plenty early. Flight was delayed briefly, but we arrived at the hotel before 4 pm. We're staying in Chevy Chase (and you're not - tee hee), which, judging from the local retail is quite the tony address: Tiffany, Cartier, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vera Wang, and Brooks Brothers are all just up the road (as are the Gap and Cheesecake Factory ...). And the metro is just a couple blocks.

Today was just sight-seeing: walked up the Mall, checking out the Capital, Washington Monument, ellipse, White House; we spent some time at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum - not really my first choice, as aviation history isn't necessarily my thing, but it houses the temporary collection from the American History Museum, which includes Archie Bunker's chair, Seinfeld's puffy shirt, the Woolworth's lunch counter from Greensboro, Thomas Jefferson's desk, Abraham Lincoln's hat and - the piece de resistance for my girls - the ruby slippers. You know - THE ruby slippers, along with the Scarecrow's costume. Then we went to the National Archives, where we waited in a long line, but it was well worth it to see the actual Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I'd never been before on previous trips - not sure why - and I tell you, it was truly moving. Sadly, the Bill of Rights is not currently on display .... but hey, the rest was worth it.

I've become a more aggressive traveler in major urban areas. When the woman on the very full Metro car had her bags taking up a seat, I told her I wanted to sit. And the couple trying to cut in line at the museum, they were told to get back in line. The people trying to push in front of us at the Declaration of Independence? I told them where the line was. Everyone else queued up to see it - why should these people get to push ahead? I cannnot stand it when people act as if their time is somehow more valuable than the rest of ours.

Maddie and I were entertained by the woman wearing the very bad capri pants ensemble - you know the kind, with the icky embroidered flowers on the hem. Worn with short socks and running shoes, it is quite a look. Where are the fashion police when you need them? We may start writing our own citations.

Ate dinner at a charming diner near DuPont Circle. Fun area. It is full of delightful little brownstones, cool shopping, lots of ethnic restaurants. Kinda cool and funky.

I must move away from the suburbs. Must. Must.

I'm beat - night night.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


We leave on vacation first thing in the morning. Today has been about laundry, running some errands. Went to the library, to CVS. But the kids played outside, and I read a book. So it's not been all work and no play.

And tomorrow we're headed to the nation's capital for a week of sight-seeing and relaxing. We'll get to see some friends, enjoy Gary being off work.

I'm all packed. We have to get up at 6, but it will really be 5. Urgh. I'm not a big fan of DST, especially when it starts this early in March. But it's a small thing, really.

For now, I'm loading up some tunes on the ol' iPod. I've packed some paperbacks, some magazines.

Have a fun week!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Movies not to see

Where to begin? There are so many. Today's top not-recommendation is the remake of Poseidon - very bad. I confess, I'm a fan of that 1972 disaster flick (along with The Towering Inferno - you have to love watching the "all-star" cast and wondering who will or won't make it out alive) but the remake, even though it boasts Richard Dreyfuss among its "stars," is a true dud.

I should note that I DID NOT expend any funds to see this clunker, unless you count my HBO subscription. I caught it on a sick day. Bad dialogue, predictable action (you see the first two deaths coming from a mile away), and less-than-impressive story line - in short, not worthy of a remake if you're not going to improve on the original.

(And the kid is really annoying ...)

Another thanks-to-HBO movie I wouldn't recommend? The Family Stone. Hated it.

The only reason we have HBO is for The Sopranos. New season - the final season - starts April 8. After it's over, we'll have to rethink whether or not to keep HBO. I'm not involved at the moment with any of their other series. And even if I were, they come out on DVD and I can watch them that way (I never watched Curb Your Enthusiasm even with HBO, so I'll be resorting to DVD for it, anyway).

For the five weeks I did Junior Achievement for Sylvia's class, movies were showing that I would have loved to see on a Friday afternoon. Letters from Iwo Jima. Pursuit of Happyness. Now? A bunch of movies I wouldn't even watch for free on HBO. Surely Factory Girl will find its way out here. Hate Sienna Miller, but I'm intrigued with the way she channels Edie Sedgwick.

When I see it, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Better at last

I haven't been sick since ... well, now, since this week. Tuesday was the worst, as I didn't have time to be sick, but had to run Maddie to the doctor. Gary was busy with a trade show in Galveston, so no rest for me. But after that was over I got to come home and go to bed. And my girls are wonderful - Alison fixed dinner, Maddie and Sylvia helped clean up. I was too sick to tidy up, but not so ill that I didn't notice the clutter. My girls have their faults, but they can step up to the plate when needed.

So yesterday morning Gary did stay home and get the girls off to school so I could sleep. It was wonderful. Once I got up and took some Excedrin, to get rid of that killer headache, I felt OK. Not great, but OK. I got dressed, made a run to CVS, and changed sheets. Even washed all the blankets. But that was it. I needed - desperately - to go grocery shopping, but it was not going to happen; no dealing with food and smells.

So. Today? No idea. Tidy up a bit, try to figure out why the year-old refrigerator doesn't appear to be working, pick up my library book, start packing for vacation.

The thrills never cease around here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lessons learned

Among other things, I learned, today, Monday, that all the shops in Old Town Spring are, on Monday, closed.


A friend and I took the day to go check out one of the few areas around here that has actual charm. "Charm" is, naturally, an elusive quality - difficult to define, even more difficult to achieve in such a way that we, the public, are all sufficiently "charmed."

However, I doubt many people would disagree that a strip mall - even a lovely strip mall (and there are some) - encompasses "charm" to any degree. Nor a mall. We have shopping malls here in Houston that are elegant, glamorous. Very high-end. But shopping malls they are; they all retain that rather sterile quality that comes from housing chain stores. Whether they are very ordinary mall stores, or very high-end stores, they all possess a ubiquitous property, one of sameness: they have no desire for variety.

Old Town Spring is a hodgepodge of antique stores, of trinkety shops. Not somewhere I'd recommend if you need a pair of socks or some jeans. But it's a fun place to browse, to look for gifts or kitsch. And the shops are outdoors, under the tress. On a perfect March spring day, it was just the place to be. We were all set to spend our day browsing, looking for artwork, for decorative accessories.

Alas - there were none to be had. Nor lunch. So, in an ironic turn, we ended up at the Woodlands Mall. It is one of the nicer malls in Houston - full of the afore-mentioned medium-end mall stores - and we enjoyed our time in Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma. Didn't even make it to the Apple store or any clothing stores, we spent so much time in the kitchen wares.

All in all, the day wasn't really about shopping, anyway. It was about spending the day with a friend, visiting, browsing, catching up. And now we've had to keep the trip to Spring on the agenda.

Not a bad day after all.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Welcome to March

Our neighborhood has signs that say, "Drive slowly. We love our children."

Of course. As if other people in other neighborhoods don't love theirs.

Sigh. Kicked off Welcome to March with a shopping trip. Went to Macy's because it's convenient, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I liked it better when it was Famous Barr/ Ayres/Foley's. Currently, in order to find clothes, you must be either 18 or over 70. Lucky for me, I found the one tiny little corner of the store that has clothes not designed for either of those demographics.

And that ... well, that is about the highlight of my day. I have to pick up from Brownies, go to soccer. Fun.

I'm reading one of those Jennifer Weiner books. They're entertaining enough, a quick read. She's a decent writer. But I'm growing bored of the amazing fat girl as heroine. We get it: Heavy women can be smart, funny, beautiful, and charming. This I know - two of my best friends fit this profile. One, a friend since grade school, was voted most popular girl in our senior class, was our valedictorian. So, enough. And why must all the skinny women be stupid and superficial? Doesn't seem quite fair; once again, we're applying stereotypes ... but it's an entertaining enough read.

And now, the carpooling begins.