Jul. 10th, 2017 05:37 pm
malinaldarose: (Default)
So...last week turned out to be a Very Busy Week, Indeed, even with Tuesday off. I spent days teaching the new girl at work. She is smart and a good student. Bonus: she was looking forward to working with me, because she thinks I'm a good teacher. (I also trained her for the other portion of our caseload.) So...bit of an ego boost there.

In the evenings, I was getting things organized at home in order to leave for my vacation. I spent all night Thursday getting my suitcase packed, among other things, then spent a large portion of Friday night loading the car so that Saturday, all I really had to do was get the dog's stuff into the van, walk the dog, brush my teeth, and get on the road. As it was, I was awake at 3:00 and managed to stay in bed until 3:30. The alarm was set for 4:00. I still only just managed to be on the road by 5:00 a.m.

The trip out wasn't too bad. There was rain close to home; as I was going over the Chautauqua Ridge, there was a godawful deluge -- I wasn't sure whether I was going to have to pull over or not. It rained so hard that it completely scoured the bug guts off my windshield. Getting around Cleveland -- the usual worst part of the trip -- wasn't too bad, but I got there around 8:00 a.m. I think I may have figured out the work around for Cleveland and may try it on the way back home. Of course, if it's not raining, I shouldn't have any trouble following I-90.

And then I got to about LaGrange, Indiana, driving down the road, singing along with my tunes (filk and musicals for road trips), and with a bright bong! the idiot light for my tires came on. It blinked at me for a bit, then settled into a steady light. As I had just passed a rest stop (next rest stop 58 miles, or some such), I wasn't quite sure what to do. I still had about an hour and a half to I turned off the tunes so I could concentrate and just...drove. I had no idea whether I had an actual tire problem or not. I should have stopped, but....

So I got to South Bend, got off I-90 and when I pulled out of the toll plaza, the idiot light was off. MyNuncle has since checked my tires for me and found them all to be slightly over-inflated, so...I dunno.

It was almost exactly 1:00 p.m. when I pulled into Auntie and Nuncle's driveway. Auntie and I talked for a bit, I had some lunch, and then we went uptown to the art show. I do love that art show, and there was some gorgeous work. There was also some work that you could only shake your head at and say, "Art." I bought a beautiful photograph of bare trees in mist, printed on...ginwashi? paper. Rice paper, anyway. Beautiful. And I know exactly where I'm going to hang it when I get it home.

Speaking of art, Auntie gave me a gorgeous parquet frame that my great great grandfather made, and which currently holds his centenary portrait. I thought about putting my new photo in that frame, but I think it wants a plain black frame.

Yesterday, we didn't do anything. We talked a lot, and we were going to go to the ice cream social attached to the art show, but just never made it. It was actually nice, because we're usually running around like crazy when I come out here.

Today, we went to a huge rummage sale and bought a paper box full of books, mostly biographies for Grama. She really likes biographies. For myself, though, I bought a 1932 edition of Nancy's Mysterious Letter, one of the early Nancy Drew novels, in pretty good condition, a French phrase book (just because), The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen, and Bringing Tuscany Home by Frances Mayes. That latter has been on my wishlist for a while, so I was pleased to find it.

It looks like the weather for this week is supposed to be rainy (it's raining right now), so I'm not sure how much of our usual stuff we will actually do, since a lot of it is outside stuff, but we shall see. But just now, dinner is nearly ready, so I need to get my laptop off the table.
malinaldarose: (Default)
Friday's garage sale was not encouraging, but the weather wasn't great. Mom said that she watched the folks across the street constantly carrying the furniture they had for sale into and out of the garage as the rain began or passed. It was also pretty chilly. Saturday was a different story almost entirely. It was still coolish, but brightly sunny, and there were a lot of people out. We had more people stop by in the couple of hours before BFT picked me up for our trip to Buffalo than had stopped by in all of the day before, according to Mom.

The highlight of the weekend was the trip to Buffalo with BFT and J1 to see Wicked at Shea's. J2 didn't go because she's going to be seeing it on Broadway with students in a couple of weeks. BFT and I drove to J1's parents' house and J1 drove into Buffalo, as she is okay with driving right downtown (and Shea's is on Main Street). We ended up getting there an hour early, so we basically had our pick of parking. Every other time I've been to Shea's we've parked in a largish fenced lot about a block away from the theater. It's relatively inexpensive (only $3), but it's a nightmare to get out of. I spotted the lot, though, and thought J1 was going to turn into it, but she went right on by, and we found a much smaller lot on the other end of the block. It was $5, but as it was basically a wide alley, getting in and out was much, much simpler, so it worked out very well.

The show was excellent. We were in the eleventh row from the stage, in the center section, on the right-hand end of the row. (BFT prefers an aisle seat.) The sound was much better than the last time, and we were close enough to see the actors' expressions and to make out details of the costumes. The last time we were there (the first time we'd seen the show), we were three rows from the back of the auditorium and it was like watching something without glasses when you're near-sighted. (Which I am, so I know whereof I speak.)

Although BFT and J1 expressed preferences for the first Glinda and this Elphaba, I didn't really remember that many details of that previous performance. I just enjoyed being there. My only niggle is that I constantly spotted the actors who were responsible for rigging safety catches (for Glinda's bubble, for instance) or other bits and pieces of stage maneuvering. Oh, and the chorus member who also played Elphaba's father was tall and broad and had a shaved head so that when he retired into the chorus, he was still rather obvious and distracting.

After the show, we went to the nearest mall because BFT and J1 wanted to get dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I have to agree that the food was very, very good -- and the portions were huge; I will end up with three meals out of what I brought home -- but I was actually underwhelmed by the cheesecake. Really, I've had better cheesecake from Wal-Mart.

It ended up being a loooong day: BFT dropped me off at my house around 8:20, and then I had to walk the dog and clean up the bits of the garage sale that Mom had left in the driveway, so I missed the first few minutes of Doctor Who, and didn't pay too close attention to the rest of the episode as a consequence. That's all right, though; I taped it and I'll watch it later this week.

For some weird reason, I've been watching the...sixth? seventh? series of DW this week -- the series with Madame Kovarian and the Silence as the Big Bads. I think I had wanted to watch the first two episodes of the season, and then I realized that "The Doctor's Wife" was coming up, so I just kept plowing through them, and now I'm up to "Let's Kill Hitler," which I will probably watch this evening.

So...other things....

Oh! On the way home Saturday night, BFT and I spotted the kittens! They are definitely at the house up the block. Mama was lounging in their front yard and the kittens were tumbling around on their front steps. I saw the little grey one. I have also seen kittens -- three black ones -- over on the next street closer to where the colony hangs out because that's where they get fed. So now there are at least seven new members....
malinaldarose: (Default)
Now that the clocks have been turned back, I am finding I have little trouble getting up at 5:00 a.m. -- whether I want to or not -- so I have been up since a little after 5:00. It is now just before 9:00. Normally by now on a Saturday, I have been out to the stores and foraged for my week's groceries. This morning...I just didn't feel like it. Besides, I have milk and bread and cheese and dog food, so I'm good. (Plus, I'm just about flat broke.)

That means I haven't really accomplished much this morning, but since I intend to go out and Deal With The Leaves later, I'm not too worried about that. I have brushed the dog, and he is now hiding under my desk. He really hates being brushed; he's convinced he's being punished for something. Unfortunately for him, it was more than past time. With his coat, he really should be brushed at least once a week, and I only do it about once a month -- and I didn't do it last month. Plus, it was time for his flea-stuff, and after Teh Infestationing, we will be religious about the flea stuff.

That does make me a little nervous about going out for a bit this morning, though. I need to get out to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, and even though I'll only be gone twenty minutes or so.... *shrug*

His anxiety does seem to be leveling out a bit. He's still stressed about something -- still coming up beside me and either panting in my face or trying to get in bed with me, and then panting in my face -- but the clawing at the door when I exclude him from the bedroom has ceased. I wish I knew what was going on in his fuzzy little brain.

In other non-Jack news, despite my brokedness, BFT and I went for my birthday shopping trip yesterday. The results were mixed. We were both disappointed by the selection at Pier 1; where we both normally spend nearly $200, neither of us broke $100 yesterday, and everything BFT bought was for other people. My plastic didn't even start to smoke, let alone melt.

The store was so pretty when we first got there, though. The Pier 1 store is at the western edge of the mall complex, and the sun was a slanting into the front windows and the Christmas displays were all sparkling in that gorgeous light -- bits of it were even blinding, it was so bright. By the time we left, the sun had moved on, and it was so much duller. Still pretty, just not...winter wonderlandy. (The red displays were in the corner, but the white and silver displays were right by the door.)

Barnes & Noble was a slightly different story, of course, but we both had lots of coupons and I had a gift card, too, so.... I bought six or seven books, a set of dual-tipped markers, and a set of notecards, and got tips on what to get BFT for either Christmas or her graduation (she will be completing her second masters degree next month).

After shopping, we headed for the Olive Garden (chocolate lasagna!) only to find that there were no parking spots, indicating that the wait for lunch would be upwards of forty-five minutes, so we went to TGI Fridays instead.

We should've stuck it out at the Olive Garden.

We didn't have to wait long to get a table, but after our waitress took our orders, she disappeared. Completely. We had this happen to us once at Friendly's, and it turned out that the waitress either quit or ended her shift after taking our orders, and we just never got our food. (Well, we did, eventually, but it was about three-quarters of an hour later). Anyway, our food did come, and it was good (though it wasn't chocolate lasagna, and I really wanted zuppe toscana yesterday), but when we finished, we waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and finally flagged down another waitress and asked where our waitress had gotten to because we really wanted dessert.... Turned out she had been assigned to a table with eleven diners and had been so monopolized by them that she had completely neglected all of her other assigned tables, not just us. So first she brought us the check, babbling apologies at us, then when we pointed out that we wanted desserts, she brought a single dessert menu, then hovered while we made our choices, then someone else brought our desserts. And then we waited some more; she had brought an updated check right after taking our orders, so we had that, but no one came to take the payment. I was just about to suggest that we just tuck the appropriate amount of cash -- with no tip -- into the folder and leave, but I had to use the restroom and while I was gone, BFT got someone to take the credit card payment. So a tip was given, after all.

But jeez. I understand having a bad day at work. I get that. And I get being monopolized by customers. But if you can't handle everything, then get someone else to do it, or talk to your manager. Don't make the customers come looking for you. Eh, whatever. (I was also not impressed by her hair falling into her face and her pony tail coming undone.) We were there for more than two hours, and too much of that time was spent waiting for her.

Ah, well. That's our shopping trips for this year. We probably won't go again until BFT's birthday in May.
malinaldarose: (Default)
We reached Skagway, the third stop on our Alaska cruise, about 6:30 a.m. on Friday. The weather had been fine -- if cooler than we were used to for August -- but it had changed overnight. We were up early enough that the ship wasn't quite at the dock yet, and it was foggy and cool. J2 knocked at our door a little earlier than BFT and I had expected, but she was summoning us to go down to the Promenade Deck with her and J1 who had seen a seal from their window and wanted a closer look. So we all went down and watched the seal for a while before heading out in search of breakfast.

We discovered, when we disembarked, that it was not only cool and foggy, it was drizzly, too. I was glad that I'd packed a rain coat, and glad that I wore it over the fleece jacket that I'd purchased aboard ship. The excursion we had booked for Friday was a White Pass Summit bus tour, but we couldn't find the bus, and eventually J1 called the charter company, only to find that the bus was on its way. It was a small bus with only about a dozen seats driven by an elderly fellow named Joe...who actually told the Italian couple up front to keep their kid quiet so that the people in the back of the bus could hear his commentary without him switching on his microphone. I wasn't sure whether to be impressed or appalled.

Joe drove us through Skagway, pointing out various sites of interest -- including the small camper he lived in during the tourist season before he headed back home to...Montana, I think he said. Our first stop was a Gold Rush-era cemetery built into the side of a hill. It was damp and muddy and Joe told stories about a couple of the residents, then sent those of us who were interested on a trail up the hill a little way (a steep trail, I might add) to see a waterfall. We were the first tour group to get to the graveyard, despite being picked up late (or maybe we got there in a lull), so the waterfall wasn't crowded, and I didn't have to wait long to get decent photographs. I also got photos of very picturesque red and orange mushrooms with white spots on the way down; I looked them up later and found that they were fly agaric, which is quite poisonous.

We then drove up over White Pass, stopping in a couple of overlook-type spots for photographs, but not for very long. It was a pretty miserable day for photos -- the fog got thicker and the rain went from mist in Skagway to drizzle the higher up the mountain we got. When we got to the summit, the fog pretty much closed in and we couldn't really see anything at all. On the way back down, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls...which was extremely unimpressive, really, being just a small waterfall at the edge of the road. I seem to recall that there is a section of Niagara Falls called the Bridal Veil Falls, too.

When Joe dropped us back off in Skagway, we hit a couple of gift shops, then checked out the Red Onion Saloon, which is apparently haunted and was featured on one or another of those ghost-watching reality shows. Both BFT and J1 had wanted to have lunch there, but the place was packed, and J-Mother really didn't want to stay there. (The place was so packed that I loitered outside and took street photographs, waiting for everyone else to make up their minds about whether or not we were staying or going.) Eventually, we wandered on to a souvenir shop, then walked the mile or so back to the ship.

One of the interesting things about Skagway is that there is a cliffside along the dock that hosts a lot of graffiti, and ship captains commission bits of it themselves to commemorate the first time their ships stop there. We found the marker for Ruby Princess, which was kind of cool, and then we hustled to get back aboard her because we were all chilly and damp by that point.
malinaldarose: (Default)
The morning after we stopped in Ketchikan, we were supposed to go up Tracey Arm Fjord to see the glacier there, but it was calving and there was too much ice in the water -- or so I gather -- so we went up Edward Arm to the Dawes Glacier. I wasn't on deck for the maneuver (because we got there Really Early), but apparently the ship went up one way, then delicately turned on a dime to present her aft end to the glacier. In any case, BFT and I got dressed and were out on deck early enough that we didn't feel we could knock on the others' door(s). We got a little lost, I think, wandering the top decks, but we had some spectacular views of the glacier, and we saw...not the sunrise itself, really, but the sun clearing the mountain behind the glacier. We'd gone up around 6:00 a.m., so around 7:00 a.m., we went in search of breakfast, then wandered up top to take some more photos. Eventually, we met up with the others, and found that J1 and J2 had been up just about as long as we had and had apparently witnessed the ship's turning.

That was the morning. About noon, we reached Juneau, which is huge. If I understood correctly, what is considered "Juneau" covers a vast area, with lots of wilderness interspersed with pockets of civilization. We drove through the city (and the governor's mansion was pointed out to us; Sarah Palin clearly didn't see Russia from that building as it faces a mountain directly across the [narrow] channel) to the Mendenhall Glacier, which, according to Wikipedia, is twelve miles from the city center. It's a beautiful area; there is a lake at the foot of the glacier, and a waterfall sort of around the bend. There's a park on the opposite shore of the lake with a visitors center (and the all-important bathrooms) and walking paths. It's really pretty.

I missed the bears. Apparently, there was a mother bear with three cubs. J2 saw them, but I was busy fiddling with my camera and looking up at the visitors center and hoping for bathrooms. I did see some ducks and some salmon, but that's not quite the same thing.

The one thing I noticed about the glacier was the deep blue in some pockets of the ice. It's a glorious color, and it's apparently produced by minerals in the ice. We walked around the paths to the shore of the lake where I picked up a pebble (to join the bit of rock I picked up in Avebury). We did not walk around to Nugget Falls, which is apparently farther away than it looks. We only had a couple of hours there, anyway, then we had to get back aboard the bus and head out to for the highlight of the cruise (for J1, anyway, whose bucket list trip this was): the whale watch.

We booked the whale watch with the same company that did the Mystic Fjords tour in Ketchikan, so we were aboard the same type of jet boat. Because we were not going as far, though, the boat never got going as fast (so it was much warmer). We also got seats in the enclosed cabin on the top deck, where it was pretty warm because of all the glass.

As we headed out, we could see where a whole bunch of boats were basically sitting in a circle around a group of humpbacks, and were somewhat surprised when our boat just headed on past them, but then the captain announced that we were headed out a little farther to see if we could find the pod of orcas that had been sighted earlier, and we'd get back to the humpbacks.

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but J2 and I ended up in the bow of the boat on the upper deck, leaning over, and an orca surfaced practically under our noses, and probably only six feet away from the boat. The captain jigged to the side pretty quickly, then brought the boat back around. I didn't get a photo, though I think J2 got a bit of a black and white blur. After that, we couldn't have left our spots if we'd wanted to because there were so many people standing around us.

We circled the pod for a while, but they were just doing their thing, so all we ever really saw were backs and dorsal fins. After perhaps half an hour, the captain circled the boat back toward the humpbacks. There were at least a dozen other tour boats of varying sizes around them. I can't believe all the motors running basically over their heads didn't bother them, but apparently not.

Humpbacks do not, apparently, travel in family pods, but they will come together in unrelated groups to hunt, and that's what we were watching. There were twenty-one whales in the group -- though we never saw more than six or seven at a time. (Heh. Only six or seven at a boring it all sounds....) What they do is to herd the fish they're interested in into a ball (scare them into a ball, probably), then they dive and blow bubbles and force the fish-ball to the surface, and follow it up. What we saw was a flock of gulls sitting on the water -- because the gulls know what's going on and want their share -- then the gulls would fly, and shortly thereafter, this group of huge mouths would break the surface, looking rather like sandworms surfacing in Dune. Then the whales would mill about for a bit (all dorsal fins and tail flukes) then they'd start over. We saw them break the surface twice. It's more exciting than it sounds.

J1 was a bit disappointed, I think, that we didn't see a breach, which would certainly have been spectacular. We did see one small whale-watching boat that looked like it was in danger of capsizing; it was a ponton-style boat and one pontoon was up out of the water as everyone aboard crowded to the opposite side....

After the boat docked, we did a bit of souvenir shopping in Juneau proper. I had been sort of hoping to buy a matroyshka for my mother as I'd seen a couple in the ship's gift shop. On the way out to our excursions, I'd spotted a Russian gift shop, so we went in there. I adore Russian lacquerware, but the only piece I inquired about (a small box with the firebird painted on it) was $250, which was just a little out of my range. I ended up buying some small brooches with flowers for my female relatives and a really pretty Madonna icon for myself (not for any religious reason, but because I liked the style and colors).

Our next stop was a shop selling jade. I have never particularly cared for jade -- never really thought about it, actually -- but I'd bought a small pendant on the ship, which I really love, and BFT wanted to buy something, so in we went. Holy cow -- jade is expensive! I'd had no idea. BFT bought a pair of earrings, but I didn't buy anything, though I looked at a few pieces.

This past weekend, after I showed her my pendant, MyAuntie told me that she really, really, really likes jade, and that many years ago, she gave up getting a piece for herself to buy one for my asshole brother, instead -- a move she now regrets. Now she tells me? (Which just meant that I spent a chunk of Sunday shopping for jade pieces for her for Christmas and ended up ordering her a small jade heart this morning because a) it can sit next to her computer or ride around in a pocket, and b) it was more affordable than, say, a jade buddha.

Anyway, after that, we reboarded the ship....
malinaldarose: (Default)
Today is the last day of my vacation...though I warned my supervisor that I might just take tomorrow and Friday off, anyway. Actually, I may end up calling in sick tomorrow, as I came home sick. Not dreadfully so, but I have a very sore throat and a cough. And since I'm supposed to spend half the day on Friday training the new Co-Conspirator M, this does not seem like a good combination.

The trip was good. Amazing vistas -- starting with seeing Mount Rainier from the air at sunset as we flew from Vancouver to Seattle. I do wish I'd had the window seat for that, but I had aisle seats on all the flights. Which did make getting up and going to the bathroom easier, but also meant that I got jostled a lot by other people getting up and going to the bathroom. Our flights were all on smaller planes (737s), which was nice. The outbound trip did have one more stop than I had thought at first; it was Toronto to Calgary to Vancouver to Seattle, and that did turn out to be a problem.

Here's what I posted on Facebook: "Arrived in Seattle more or less on time. Our luggage, not so much." And here's what actually happened: We got to Toronto nearly three hours early for our flight, and sat at our gate, waiting. It was quiet enough that there were airport workers there taking breaks. Apparently, there were no flights expected until our plane arrived from wherever it was flying in from. So we sat there, noodled around on our phones (I finally learned how to do a number of things with my phone this trip), read books, ate snacks, and watched weather roll across the field. There were supposed to be severe storms in Toronto that day (I had checked the forecast), and we got to watch the rain coming and going. A couple of times it was so heavy that there was actually surf on the tarmac. Not much, mind you. Tiny surfers. Smurfs, maybe. Smurfers.

Anyway, our plane arrived, we boarded, and then we sat because another storm rolled through, and this time, there was apparently a lightning strike on the field, and the airport ordered all outdoor workers to get their asses indoors and stay there for the duration, and so we had to also. So our plane took off from Toronto a little over an hour late. Our first stop was Calgary, where we had expected to have an hour and a half layover. Instead, we got there with just enough time to go to the bathrooms and find the gate for our connection to Vancouver. By the time we got out of the bathroom, they were already boarding. Fortunately, the outgoing gate was right next to the inbound one -- the two planes were side by side -- and the bathrooms were right nearby, so there was no problem there, and we got settled onto the Vancouver flight with no problems.

Our luggage, though, didn't make the flight. Because, I am told, luggage can't just be moved from one plane to another, but has to be unloaded from the first plane, processed through the terminal, and then reloaded onto the next plane...and there simply wasn't time. Our connection took off within twenty minutes of our landing. The pilot even let us know -- in quite the jaunty tone -- that we were leaving fifteen minutes early.

So we landed in Vancouver, where we had another hour and a half layover, and where we had planned to eat dinner. Because this flight was taking us back into the States, we had to go through Customs and back through Security (and take our shoes off this time; Canada is much more civilized about this). So we got through Security, got our shoes back on, headed to Customs, where we had to use automated kiosks, and then got pulled aside and shunted into a little side room. We were told to wait there until our names came up on a board, then go to Customs. Only our names never came up. We had been sitting there for well over half and hour when J1, who was getting both anxious and angry -- because it was getting closer and closer to time to board our flight to Seattle -- finally went out to see what was going on, and found out that we had been pulled aside for "special screening" because we had no checked bags, only carry-ons.

'Scuse me? (Because at that point, we didn't yet know that our luggage hadn't been loaded in Calgary.)

J1 explained what must have happened, but no one was willing to take any action until she put on her lawyer voice. The time for boarding our flight came and went. We were offered water, and eventually pointed in the direction of a bathroom (thank goodness!), and finally, after our flight had been boarding for fifteen minutes, we were sent to Customs, where we got hauled aside again. We were pretty sure rubber gloves were in our futures, when they finally just escorted us out of Customs and sent us off to catch our flight -- which we did, but we were nearly the last ones on the plane. "I didn't think you were going to make it," the gate agent said. "The computer shows that you just cleared Customs."

So we did make the plane, but we didn't have time for dinner. By the time we landed in Seattle, we were ravenous; we had been going since before 7:00 a.m. on nothing more than a couple of cookies and a package of snack crackers, and it was now...let's call it midnight our time. We still had to go to the baggage claim area to make a claim for missing luggage, but we stopped on the way and got food; we ended up munching fries in front of the baggage claim people.

We had been flying WestJet in Canada, but were handed off to Delta for the last leg of the trip. Delta's computers had no record of our bags at all, and they couldn't access WestJet's systems. We explained that the bags must still be in Calgary. Eventually it was decided that we'd go to the hotel; if the bags were delivered before we were set to board the ship the next day, then we'd come to the airport and claim them. So away we went.

The next morning, there was still no sign of our bags, so after breakfast (where we met up with J2 and the J-Parents, who had been in Seattle for a couple of days already), the three of us headed back to the airport. There was still no record of our bags in Delta's systems. Great. But, they told us, they would allow us to go shopping on their dime: just keep our receipts, and please don't go overboard; just get a few things to tide you over. (We all, of course, had at least one change of clothing in our carry-ons, and J1 and I had also packed our jammies.) J1 wanted to know if we could also get suitcases, since we had nothing to carry new clothing in (our carry-ons being full), and they wheeled out pretty hard-sided carry-on size suitcases like the flight attendants carry. Very snazzy, and very nice -- and they hold a metric fuckton of stuff. Seriously. It's amazing how much stuff can be crammed into one of these bags, and that's without using the expander. This will be my carry-on of choice from now on.

So we called a cab, asked to be taken to the nearest mall...and were told that it wouldn't open for at least another hour, so we went back to the hotel instead. Then we called another cab and got taken to the mall in time for opening...only to find that it didn't open until 11:00, not 10:00. After some investigation, we discovered that Kohl's opened early, so had our cabdriver (a really nice German guy called Chester, who wouldn't charge us for waiting because it was Sunday, and thus the Lord's Day) take us to Kohl's where we all bought stuff to stuff into our new suitcases.

And we earned Kohl's Cash, too, though it expired on the day we got back.

We got back to the hotel and got packed and still had half an hour until our transfer to the port, so we were actually in good shape at that point. J1 checked for our luggage again (she had the claim number), but there was still no sign of it. We headed to the port, boarded the ship (and that was an interesting experience), had lunch at one of the buffets, then went back to our staterooms to unpack (our meager possessions) and collapse. I didn't even notice when the ship started to move.

And twenty minutes after the ship sailed, BFT got a phone call: Our luggage was at the Delta baggage claim area and we could come get it any time.

"Well," she said, "our ship sailed twenty minutes ago. You'll have to forward it to Ketchikan...."
malinaldarose: (Default)
Tomorrow is the day. J1 will be picking BFT and me up around 7:00 a.m., and we'll be on our way. I am not actually certain what time our flight is, but we have to be in Toronto by 11:00 a.m., so I'm thinking it must be around 1:00 p.m. I just googled the flight time, and it looks like it will take about five hours to get to Vancouver, then we'll catch another plane to Seattle, where we will hopefully be met by J2 and/or the J-Parents.

I am so glad that I scheduled a day off today, and even more pleased that I took it instead of giving it back (as I had originally thought to do). I was much less ready than I thought; it took me nearly the whole day to get everything finished and get my packing done; I was just writing down instructions for my sister at 7:00 p.m., and that was the last thing I needed to do. I probably should not have packed without a list, but I thought I'd try winging it. Probably won't do that again. Still, it's all done, and my suitcase is sitting in the breezeway (I didn't want to be lugging it out in the morning and leaving Jack here, because I think he knows that the suitcase means the Long Ride With Spotted Dogs At The End Of It. My carry-on is in the laundry room, though.

I'm not sure how it happened; for packing as lightly as I thought I did, my suitcase still weighs 36.5 pounds. It's probably toiletries, actually. A full bottle of saline solution weighs a bit, and I couldn't find a travel size of just plain saline, and since it's supposed to be sterile, I wasn't going to decant it into something smaller. I did toss the shoes out that I packed for the formal nights. I'll just have to make do with my slightly grotty work shoes; it's not like my black skirt and airy-fairy tops are actually formal, anyway.

In other news, there has not -- knock wood -- been another Bat Event. I am still jumpy, though, and still sleeping downstairs. Normally, I move right back into my bedroom after a Bat Event, but the fact that it has been so very hot this week has helped persuade me to stay downstairs. Even if I were upstairs tonight, I probably wouldn't sleep, anyway; I generally don't before a trip, and I need to make sure I'm up on time tomorrow so I can get Jack walked and get showered and ready to go by 7:00.

I'm not going to finish my book as I had hoped, so I have to decide whether or not to take it with me. I probably won't; I'll have my tablet and the Kindle app is loaded.

Right. It's 9:00 p.m.; I think I'll go brush my teeth....
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On Friday morning, Auntie and Nuncle and I went to the beach for a tour of the newly-refurbished St. Joseph lighthouse. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 70s, bright and breezy. We got up to Tiscornia Beach, signed in for the tour (and signed our waivers so that if we fell off the pier and drowned, we wouldn't then sue the city of St. Joe), then wandered off to snap a few shots and watch the sailing class in the channel (cute itty-bitty two-seater sailboats and one larger motorized boat, sailing back and forth like ducklings after their mother) while waiting the twenty minutes until the start of the tour. The lake was a bit choppy, and Auntie made the comment that she wouldn't want to be taking a sailing class that day. A few minutes later, someone wandered past us complaining bitterly about their lighthouse tour being cancelled. "Say what?!?" the three of us said.

Yup. Turns out that just about the time we signed in, whoever does such things had issued a swimming ban for Silver Beach (Auntie spotted the red flags) and a small craft warning (oh, look at all the ducklings!). Waves were, in fact, breaking on the pier, and even the raised walkway in the center was wet, though the waves were nowhere near that high. Now on the previous Saturday, when we were at the art show on the bluff, the waves were that high; I tried to get shots of water breaking over the pier. Anyway, they cancelled the tour at the last minute, so we didn't get to see inside the lighthouse. We did walk out the pier a ways; while Auntie and I waited at the spot where the safety railings end, Nuncle walked all the way out to the inner light, then vanished around the side to check out the outer light, as well. He says that they've put hand rails on the sides of the inner light, now, so you're not entirely taking your life in your hands when you walk around it. (I walked out there the last time we visited the lighthouse, but the lake was much, much calmer that day.) Still, I decided not to walk all the way out there this time, so my lighthouse photos are strictly of the eastern side of the inner light. I haven't looked at them yet, so I don't know if any of them are even any good, and I'm probably not going to today, either, since I'm meeting J1 and BFT in a couple of hours for Ghostbusters.

The rest of Friday was spent pretty much at home. We had lunch late because of going up to the beach, then walkies was extended because Auntie and Nuncle stopped twice to converse with neighbors. One of them was the father of one of the two deputies who killed the courthouse shooter on Monday afternoon, so we got more details about the whole thing from him. The various news services really had the story all messed up. Anyway, turns out he really wasn't a particularly nice human being; he was originally arrested back in April for something or other and they discovered that he had been holding a teenage girl in his shed for two weeks.

When we got back to the house, Nuncle went into the family room with his book, but Auntie and I ended up sitting at the dining room table and talking for the entire rest of the afternoon. It was nice, though my butt wasn't happy about it -- those dining room chairs aren't the comfiest things around.

Yesterday I have already complained about.

This morning, I was dreadfully tired, but still got up and went out for groceries, and have since done all my Saturday chores since I wasn't home for them yesterday. It threatened to be a "nibbled to death by ducks" day, but the nibbling stopped when I got home -- which probably means that I shouldn't go back out, but it's getting a bit late to cancel. I may go take a nap for an hour or so, though....

So. Tired.

Jul. 16th, 2016 09:33 pm
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I am so tired right now. I got to bed around 11:15 last night and woke up at 1:00 a.m. My alarm was set for 4:00 a.m., but from 3:00 a.m. onward, I was basically just counting minutes until the alarm was due to go off -- and staying in bed because it would've been really rude to be packing and making noise when my aunt and uncle were trying to sleep. As it was, they were up at 4:30 with me. (I think Auntie was up and got Nuncle up.)

I got onto the road a smidge after 5:00 a.m. -- just as I did to go out there. The drive was okay, though Cleveland tried to kill me. There was no rain anywhere except in the Cleveland metro area. In the suburbs, there were sprinkles, but the worst, hardest, heaviest rain was on the part of the road where I really needed to be able to see and interpret the road signs and see the rest of the traffic. I nearly missed my exit, and as it was, ended up sitting in the hatched area between two ramps waiting until I could get on the right one and I nearly caused an accident because there was another car in my blind spot when I dove for the wrong one. My watery, watery blind spot. Which might not have been a blind spot had it not been raining so hard.

The rain got lighter and lighter as I climbed away from Cleveland -- and if you've never driven through Cleveland on I-90, as you're driving west, you descend from the remains of Appalachia into the city, and as you're going east, the road starts rising immediately. You literally climb out of Cleveland like ascending from the depths of... Yeah, I'm not going there.

But. I got home around 1:15 p.m. and we survived the trip, so I guess it's all good. I really need to figure out the way around Cleveland, though. MyNuncle can't remember the route unless he's actually driving it. I suspect that I want to take 271 when it diverges from 90, but then I need to meet back up with 90 on the other side of the city. I'm sure I have a map somewhere. Nuncle says that the bypass ends up being only five miles longer.

I puttered around for a couple of hours after I got home, then went to see Grama and deliver all the stuff I had for her. Dinner was from McDonald's, then I unpacked my suitcase and put everything away. Now, it is finally late enough that I can justify going to bed....
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There was a shooting here yesterday afternoon. Well, not here. Uptown at the courthouse. I know it's been all over the news because when MyAuntie talked to Gram last night, the first thing she asked was about it. Auntie was kind of hoping that it wouldn't make the national news, but of course it did. Anyway. Apparently what happened is that a prisoner being moved from a jail cell to a courtroom got hold of a deputy's gun and started shooting. The deputy is in the hospital, as is another person. Two bailiffs and the shooter were killed. I see that they've released their names this morning; they hadn't last night. That'll make Gram happy -- she was obsessing about not having enough details last night.

I also learned this morning that my office building was evacuated last Friday morning for a couple of hours because of a suspicious package (which turned out to be misplaced mail). When I saw the headline, I was confused because I was there on Friday and certainly didn't remember being evacuated, but then I remembered that I actually had a doctor appointment Friday morning and then took an extra hour to get a start on packing, and by the time I went in, the building had been cleared. Funny that no one mentioned it.

Anyway. Yesterday, we were planning to go uptown early to take the dogs to the Dog Bakery, but the guy that MyNuncle is working with on a software project called and didn't let him off the phone until almost noon. MyAuntie and I ended up taking the dogs for a quick walk by ourselves around 11:00 before it got to be too terribly hot.

Saturday when I got here, it was lovely, but it has been getting steadily hotter. It was 90° yesterday and extremely humid. My aunt and uncle have air conditioning, which I normally can't stand, but for which I was very happy last evening. The back part of the house gets especially warm because they leave the back door open so the dogs can come and go as they please. (And that also explains why I just had a mosquito try to bite my freakin' eye. Little bitch is dead now. (No, I did not squish her into my eye. Ugh.))

Anyway. There is a huge rummage sale to benefit a private school and we went out there yesterday afternoon. I spent nearly $20 on books and some bracelets, and Auntie spent nearly $20 on books for Grama. It occurred to me this morning that I want to go back out there to clean out their Sci Fi books (they had most of the Darkover books, a good chunk of Piers Anthony, and lots of other good stuff) for Niece. She is going to be 16 this year, so I think she is finally old enough for Darkover and Xanth and Earthsea. Well, I think Earthsea is YA, anyway, but....

Nuncle is already on the phone with the Software Guy. Auntie isn't up yet, but probably will be soon, as it is just after 9:00. I've been up for two hours, and will probably switch from noodling on my laptop to reading on my tablet. I finished Season 1 of Shadow Unit yesterday evening, other than the last few deleted scenes. I will probably start Season 2 today. I did bring a book to read, but probably will stick with Shadow Unit.

I'm not certain what our plan is for today. We would still like to take the dogs up to Fuzzy Butz, but I see that there's going to be some sort of memorial walk for the bailiffs that were killed yesterday, so getting uptown might be problematic. Maybe we'll do stuff in the opposite direction, like going back to the rummage sale or out to the used book store. (I never buy a lot there; they have terrible prices for used books.)

It's supposed to be hot again today. I let my hair air-dry yesterday (which meant it was still slightly damp at bedtime), and I straightened it this morning because even if it's hotter than sin out there, if my hair is straight, it somehow feels cooler....


Jul. 10th, 2016 09:24 am
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So, here I am at my desk away from home: the far end of my aunt and uncle's dining room table. I am about to have to go scrounge up an adapter for the outlet under the table so I can plug in my laptop. (I'm not certain when this house was built, but all of the outlets are for two-pronged cords.) Hopefully, MyAuntie will be appearing soon (she's always the last to get up in the morning), so that I don't have to disturb MyNuncle down in his Evil Computer Genius Lair...though I did disturb him once this morning when I took Jack down to investigate.

After spending Friday evening in a sweaty, sweaty swivet (it was so humid; I was just going to rewear Friday's clothes for the trip, but I got so disgustingly sweaty that I had to rethink that) getting packed and ready to leave first thing Saturday morning, I managed to get out only seven minutes behind schedule, and made it here by 1:00 p.m. Not too bad. It is an eight-hour trip, but I always delude myself into thinking it's only seven, and that it's the two stops (for no longer than twenty minutes each) that make it so much longer. We did only stop twice, at the usual places (the first and last rest stops in Ohio; interestingly, on the way home, I sometimes stop three times; by the time I hit Ohio, I generally need to stop, then I have to get gas before hitting Cleveland, then I stop just outside Erie).

The trip was relatively easy; traffic wasn't too bad, and it occurred to me after I got here that they have finally finished the couple of long-term reconstruction projects between Erie and Cleveland; I had sailed through without even noticing. There was, of course, construction; there always is. And, in fact, a new project started on Thursday (according to the signs) around South Bend which is where I exit 90.

Jack was wonderfully behaved the whole trip. He got up onto his seat and pretty much stayed there. He did get a bit restless around the time we crossed into Indiana, but I promised him that we were nearly here and he settled down again. (Though, in fact, we still had a couple of hours to go.)

We arrived at 1:00 p.m. (almost precisely), and the first thing Jack did was go looking for Wishbone, who died in February. Ah, well. Jesse was enthusiastic about having another dog in the house and they settled right in with one another so well that we weren't in the last nervous about leaving them in the house to go uptown to the art show -- the whole reason I always pick this weekend to come out here.

The art show is held in the park on the bluff overlooking the lake. The park is half a mile long, and the sidewalk is lined with artists. Where the sidewalk splits at one end of the park, there are artists on both sides of both tines. It's fabulous, and it can be almost as much fun just watching the people, as seeing the art.

I've already spent Entirely Too Much Money -- half of the cash I brought went to tolls and art. There was an artist with wonderful Indian-styled art from whom I bought two small prints (a mandala in purple and gold and a phoenix in flame colors; they will look surprisingly nice paired in black frames). I also bought a 3-D print of Mr. Eiffel's Tower from an artist who is actually from Rochester (NY, not MN or wherever the other one is), only two hours from me. "Western New York, represent," I said to him. It was a little pricey at $60, but for the work...not so much. He takes the photographs, then cuts them out and layers them into 3-D images. It's gorgeous work.

Speaking of Mr. Eiffel's Tower, I sent MyNuncle a copy of one of my own photos for his birthday last September...and apparently I framed it upside down without realizing it. So it is displayed that way. They thought it was funny. do I, really. The photo I bought is from pretty much the same spot, as near as I can tell.

It turned into a beautiful day on the bluff yesterday. It was cloudy when we got there, but it was also just on the border between breezy and windy and the clouds blew through and it became sunny. The temp was in the low 70s (I actually wore a jacket and I'm glad I did). There was surf breaking on the pier, and MyAuntie looked at the lake and said, "It's a rip current day." And then we got home later and the news said the same thing.

Last night, we didn't even walk the dogs because everyone's feet were hurting -- which will probably mean extra-long walkies this afternoon after lunch and before we go back uptown.

Today's plan is to go back up to the bluff and try to catch a band concert, either this afternoon or this evening. I'm not especially keen on that; I'm expecting that no matter how talented they are, they'll be playing music I don't care for. Ah, well. I'll take my camera.
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I am already having a shitty day and it's not yet 6:30 a.m. I dreamed about HTWIWM again. He was warm and there and loving and I was happy...and then I woke up alone with the other side of the bed still shoved against the wall, because you don't need two sides when there's only one person sleeping in it. It has been seven years since he came home...and looking at the calendar makes me think that's why I was dreaming about him because it was February that he came back, right before Valentine's Day, because I made a point of not celebrating because it seemed too much like gloating -- ha! You're here with me, not there with her! Ha ha!

Stupid me, right? She ranted at the time that he only left her because they couldn't get by on what the two of them were making, and I have to think she was right, since he left me again and went back to her the week after he got a full-time job. (Of course, he lost the job again the week or so after that, but he never came back again, and I haven't seen him in seven years...except in dreams, yay.)

Apparently, it's never going to not hurt, and when it flares up like this, no amount of telling myself that I'd have never gone to Italy or Montreal or London or Paris if he were still here really helps.

Wallow. Wallow, wallow, wallow, wallow.

At least I don't have to go to work today, which is good because there is currently freezing rain out there on top of two or three or four inches of snow that wasn't there when I got home last evening. And boy, was Jack full of piss and vinegar when we attempted walkies this morning. He was straining at the leash, following rabbit tracks all over the place and when I was trying to get us out of the way of the plow, he was extremely non-cooperative. We walked half a block, then I got pissed and brought us home. It's still raining; I'm rather hoping it'll warm up enough to just turn to rain and wash it all away again so that I don't have to try to wrestle the snowblower out of the garage later.

I am so tired, and I didn't accomplish anything I was planning to during this extra-long weekend.

On the plus side, I went out to dinner with BFT and J1 last evening, and we had a good time. The Mexican place we had planned to go to was closed, so we went up the street to My Favorite Place. We talked a bit about the cruise this summer (we are apparently going in August), and the trip next year for which we really need to start planning in the next month or so. J1 is going to Hawaii this coming weekend, lucky thing. Amusingly, she is flying out of Toronto rather than Buffalo. Apparently the trip from Toronto has a layover in Vancouver (and is nonstop on the way back from Honolulu to Toronto), but the trip from Buffalo goes all over the place. We will also be flying from Toronto to Seattle for the cruise, and of course flying from Toronto next summer.

BFT had told me that Jo-Ann's has a new line of Paris-themed items for spring, so I stopped in on my way uptown last night. I really like the stuff. Most of it has the Eiffel Tower on it, and while I used to really dislike the Tower, now that I have seen it in person, I like Tower-themed stuff -- as long as it's a well-done depiction. I don't do cute, and I don't do impressionistic. I actually had a couple of items in hand -- a tea towel that I had vague thoughts of framing and a photo box -- but after standing in line for several minutes I realized I was going to be late for dinner, so put the stuff back and left. We were later than I expected at dinner (because BFT's evening class was cancelled), so I didn't stop back in on the way home. I had vague thoughts of going back today, especially when I found that they don't have the stuff online, but I'm not going anywhere today unless it does warm up enough to clean up some of the mess out there. I shouldn't spend any money now, but I'm depressed, and when I'm depressed, that's immediately where my thoughts go.
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My birthday celebration is finally over. BFT and I went to Not-Quite-Buffalo yesterday to go shopping and lunching; we go north for my birthday (in November) and west (in May) for hers. (Samhain and Beltaine, that's us.) I picked up a few things in Pier 1, including a collage picture frame that was on clearance. A lot of things caught my eye, but I was relatively restrained; usually, I spend entirely too much while I'm there, but yesterday, I only spent more than I should have. I do rather wish I'd picked up the two sari-fabric patchwork curtains, though, especially as I need to replace a pair of curtains in my office again.

We had lunch at the Olive Garden. The Olive Garden at McKinley burned down a couple of years ago; we were quite shocked the first time we went up after the fire, as we hadn't heard about it. The building had already been demolished, so there was just an empty spot. The replacement was built to a new design; neither of us like it. It's dimly-lit, and rather labyrinthine. Plus, I'm not sure where they stuck the bathrooms, but they weren't right near the exit. The food was good, though, and my dessert came with a little birthday candle and the cook had written "happy birthday" in fudge sauce.

B&N was packed, but they were having a mini-Makers Faire, which mainly consisted of having someone explain how Nooks work (or maybe they were just using the Nook display desk as a lectern) tables full of Lego blocks in the magazine section. I was surprised to not find very many books; I usually come out with an armload, and only bought a few.

I do wish I'd had a chance to buy something without BFT watching, though. She had pointed out a leather folio that she wanted, but thought was too expensive. As I've been stumped for what to give her for Christmas, I decided to order one for her when I got home...except that I couldn't find it on the website, and when I finally called the store to inquire, I found out it was a store-only item. Dammit. I've spent a couple of hours searching online to see if I can find one elsewhere, but my apparently only B&N sells them. I actually considered tossing Jack into the van and making a three-hour round trip for the sole purpose of buying this folio as a gift. Perhaps I'll make a quick trip next weekend -- and get those curtains while I'm at it...

...because Jack didn't do so well while I was gone yesterday. According to my sister, things were fine when she stopped around noon, but when I got home, the office curtains had been pulled down. That curtain rod had already been bent, but wasn't bent so badly that it needed to be immediately replaced. Last night, I had to replace it. Fortunately, I had a spare on hand (and now I will have to go out and replenish my supply) and was able to put the curtains right back up, but discovered, in the process, a great length-wise tear in one of them. I am actually considering just going to Jo-Ann's and getting a couple of iron-on patches to repair it. The pair came from a garage sale, anyway, so it's not like I paid a huge sum for them, but dammit.

I also found claw damage on a previously undamaged window. I think I missed having to replace those curtains by that much; I had opened one of them; if I hadn't, they would have come down, too, judging by where I found the damage.

As for the jumping in the bed thing.... I laid awake for a good portion of the night waiting for him to make the attempt, and he stayed on the floor until nearly 4:00 a.m. before he tried it. I foresee a nap in my future.

He is also not eating; BFT suggested that perhaps he has a bad tooth, as he'll eat if I put something else on the food. I wonder if he'd let me peel his lips back and take a look....
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Yesterday's trip to Erie was a lot of fun, though disappointing in spots (for more, see earlier post). I picked BFT up a bit early, before I dropped Jack off at Gram's house, so she got to coo over how cute he is (and, indeed, posted a photo to FB before we even got to Gram's). The weather was okay for driving, though it was cold. Since we got out of town about half an hour later than planned, we decided to have lunch first, then go to the bookstore. Normally, we hit the bookstore first to really work up a good hunger, then we walk uphill a bit to get to the Olive Garden that's two doors up from the bookstore.

Getting lunch first wasn't a bad idea, as the place filled up quickly. The waiter was ridiculously happy to be our waiter. I have to wonder if he's still that bouncy at the other end of his shift....

We acquired manymanymany books, then went across the highway to the mall. We really only intended to hit Sears and Eddie Bauer, so we parked outside the nearest Sears entrance, which proved to be perfect. Unfortunately, we weren't at the mall as long as we had planned, and had no other places we needed to go, so we were on the road home again by 2:30 in the afternoon, which is a record for us. We don't normally leave Erie until closer to 5:00 p.m.

I have to say, though, that traffic on Peach Street in Erie is ridiciulously intimidating. It's six lanes, and it was pretty much bumper to bumper. You get off I-90 and the land slopes downward toward Lake Erie. Which means that I pretty much didn't need my brakes to stop at the lights on the way back to 90. I don't like city traffic at all, and this was a bit nerve-wracking, because if you got in the wrong lane, you were pretty much stuck with it. Fortunately, we were okay.

I had hoped to spend the evening relaxing, but instead spent the entire evening making one last editing pass on my Rarely Written entry, before posting it at 10:00 p.m. Ouch.

And so, I had hoped to spend all day today doing Not Much, but I have already been out for groceries, and I have to balance my checkbook and write checks, then balance Gram's checkbook and write checks, then do the dishes and the laundry. (Actually, I should probably go get the laundry started.) I should also vacuum and probably brush Jack, but I rather think those activities are going to go on the FukkitI'lldoitlater list. And just about the time I surface from the library desk (which is where the Financial Stuff happens), my parents will probably barge in unannounced and stay for two hours, like they did last week. Last week, in fact, they barged in around dinner time, and when the timer went off on my dinner, they still didn't leave for half an hour. I find it annoying when they do that on a weekend, but goddammitall, Sunday is my time -- No Pants Time, as BFT says -- and I find it absolutely infuriating when they do it on Sundays. But if I'm short and rude with them, my mother just puts on her Minister Voice and says, "Do you feel all right? You act like you're going to cry."

I hate the Minister Voice.

I shouldn't have to leave my own house to get some peace and quiet....

Oh, look at the time. I've been rambling for Quite Long Enough.
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It is Monday again. And the equinox, according to my calendar. Today's weather is certainly supposed to be autumnal: sunny, but only in the mid-50s. On the other hand, it's supposed to be back up into the high 70s by the weekend...when I will definitely have to patch the foundation and paint the ramp.

I have been thinking about home improvement projects this morning. I really, really, really (no, really!) want to pain the kitchen, and maybe change the hardware on the cabinets. And maybe paint the cabinets, though I'm not certain about that. My kitchen is ugly; there are no two ways about it. Panelling (and we know how I feel about that!) and brickface under the cabinets. Now, I like the brickface enough not to keep it. But I want to paint the panelling a cream color to match the "mortar" in the brickface, add a shelf (or two) over the stove and decorate with a sunflowery motif. Moving the stove and fridge has always been a sticking point, though. I suppose I could just shove a paint brush as far back beside the fridge as I could reach (it's in a recessed alcove) then maybe get my dad to help me move the stove out a bit so I can paint behind it and go from there.

I also considered painting my bookshelves this coming weekend and putting them back not in my office. My beloved bookshelves are basically just a bunch of inch-thick boards banged together (well, screwed together, actually, because someone is excessively fond of three-inch drywall screws). HTWIWM made them for me the first year we were together, when I lived in a tiny apartment in a duplex that had clearly been a single-family home until someone decided to wall off one of the upstairs bedrooms and put in a second kitchen and bathroom. Really. It was bathroom, kitchen, and living room downstairs, then the whole upstairs was a single room and when you went up the stairs, you could see where the door to the hallway (or possibly a closet) to the rest of the house used to be. Anyway. I love my bookshelves, because they hold hundreds of books. But they're still just boards. I never even stained them, let alone painted them. I dunno. That might be a too spur-of-the-moment project for me; I need time to plan.
In other news, the trip to Stony Brook was enjoyable, though the sun didn't come out until well after we got there. It's always interesting hiking in a place like that because you get stuck in with the same bunch of people. There was the guy with the tripod who, we later found out, was from Ohio and practicing waterfall photographs. (We got to talking at one of the waterfalls.) There was the family group where one of the young women was taking photos of the family at all of the prime photo locations (every bridge, each waterfall, etc.). There was the two women with the lab and three cane corsos (two pups). We talked a bit and I got a lovely shot of the lab (Luna), but couldn't get good shots of the puppies. There was the deaf group. As we were starting up the gorge, a group of Amish folk (probaby an extended family) was coming back down. There's nothing like an Amish family to make one acutely aware of one's bare legs when wearing shorts. I was setting up a TeenyTinyTARDIS shot as they were passing me, and their young girl-child was interested in the TARDIS, but her father (presumably) spoke rather sharply to her and pulled her on by. An older woman in the group did say hello to me when I politely greeted them. Eh, whatever.

Got lots of TeenyTinyTARDIS shots, enough to keep my Tumblr site busy for a couple of weeks, anyway. The rest of the photos are very disappointing, though. Most of them are blurry, and I should have realized at the time that they would be, since I could hear the slow shutter very well. I did get a couple of decent waterfall shots with the monopod, and most of my detail shots of plants and so on are okay, but otherwise? Bleah.

I am quite envious of BFT's new camera. It's a Fuji Finepix, and it has a 40X zoom, not all of which is digital. She was surprised to find that it weighs just as much as Marcello does, though it's slightly smaller. It has a lot of nice in-camera tricks, though, and it cost about the same price as my Tamron lens would have cost to replace. I am tempted.... After all, serious photographers have more than one camera, right? I can be serious. Look, here's my serious face. :-|
Yesterday, I had planned to make a quick run to McKinley, but when I went out for gas it was raining so hard that I changed my mind and came back home. The next time I looked out, the rain had let up. I waffled a bit, finally decided (fukkit!) to go...and the van wouldn't start. Completely dead. Didn't even hiccup. W, quoth I, TF?

Came back inside, dropped my purse off, sat down at my desk to think about whether to call my dad or AAA, decided, after about fifteen minutes, to gry it again...and it started right up. W, quoth I again, TF? At that point, though, I decided I didn't want to drive it out of town, so I went uptown to our pathetic excuse for a mall and just wandered around there.

My whole reason for going to McKinley, though, is that I have a $40 gift certificate for Pier 1 which cannot be used online and which expires in a couple of weeks. I am hoping to be able to run up this weekend. I may go on Saturday as things open earlier than on Sunday, and I just want to go up and back, not spend the day.

Though, as MyAuntie suggested, I should probably look and see if there was some disastrous occurrence yesterday between here and there that would account for the van's capricious-seeming behavior....
And, finally, I am worried about Sheila. Again. Some more. I have had to lift her three times this weekend to help her get her feet under her when it was time for her to get up. I have a band for that, but still. If she is unable to get up on her own.... *sigh*
malinaldarose: (Default)
We talked some in the car yesterday about next summer's trip. It is definitely London and Paris rather than the loopy-style tour that we took in Italy. I asked J1 (who is organizing the whole thing) to price a day-trip to Stonehenge which I have wanted to see all my life and if we're going to be that close to it....

Anyway. Right now, it's going to be three days in London and four or five days (probably five) in Paris in early July.

It's going to be fun....

(Now I need to change my tag.)

Home Again

Aug. 16th, 2014 07:03 pm
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I am Home From The Fair. It was.... Well, it was a disappointment, to be honest, even though I didn't have any expectations to begin with. The weather was (is) too cool and it was (is) overcast. I dressed for last weekend (when it was beautiful) because according to the last forecast I read, today was supposed to be similar. Fortunately, J2 gets cold as easily as I do, and before we entered the fairgrounds, she ran back to the car to get her sweatshirt and brought my sweater.

We watched some Native American dancers for a bit, then wandered farther in and father up (there are a couple of slopes, and there might even have been a lion in the live animal display). BFT wanted to see the Stars of the Peking Acrobats, so we headed in that direction, noting all the various vendors of deep-fried foods and foods on a stick and deep-fried, chocolate-covered, stick-impaled foods...and good for you gelato. Hm. (BFT bought a deep-fried cheesecake which she said was totally worth the $9 she paid for it.)

The acrobats were marvelous, though they were all very, very young, except for one fellow from whom I got a distinctly Faginish vibe, which is almost certainly my own imagination, but he appeared to be ten to fifteen years older than the rest, seemed to be in charge, and just reminded me of all of those episodes of my favorite television shows when I was a kid where the Russian gymnast defects and must be protected by Steve Austin or Jaime Somers or Diana Prince or Thomas Magnum or whomever.

BFT wanted to go mainly for the shopping; there is a purveyor of sterling-and-semi-precious-gemstone jewelry from whom she purchases pieces (!) every year. She kept pointing me to earrings and telling me I totally needed to buy them. When she pointed me at one pair, the vendor tried to get me to buy them, too, and I made a joke about how BFT was spending my money and we weren't even married yet...and the vendor actually thought I was serious. Which amused all of us.

Sometimes I open my mouth and things fly out that should probably not....

Anyway. I didn't buy any jewelry because I didn't have the cash and I didn't want to charge anything. I actually showed restraint! Go, me! (There were at least three pairs of earrings and several necklaces that I wanted.)

We had lunch (pizza), wandered through the historical display, got BFT's mom the required bag of kettle corn, and found ourselves wandering back toward the gate. A quick trip through the rabbit and sheep buildings, a few bites of J2's funnel cake, and we headed on out. I was home by 4:00 p.m.

So, I didn't buy anything other than a ticket and lunch and had no deep-fried anything. So when I got home, I went to WickedMart and bought a pile of junk food. And now I'm going to go munch on some of it while watching a movie.
malinaldarose: (Default)
Yesterday, I picked BFT and J1 up at 6:30 in the morning and we went to the Sterling Renaissance Festival (site auto-plays music). BFT hadn't been there in nearly twenty years, and it had been about four years since my last trip. J1 had never been to a ren faire before, so we had to warn her that therein she would see terrible sights that could never be unseen...mostly involving improperly worn corsets and cinchers. Before we even got in the gate BFT saw one woman hit herself in the face with her own cleavage when she bent down to pick something up off the ground. And one poor unfortunate looked like she had two water balloons bobbling away atop her cincher (made worse because she was wearing it over a sky-blue t-shirt). What else? Oh, there was the overweight couple in their late 50s (or so) dressed in black robes (for certain values of "robe"); he had a collar and chain 'round his neck, and she had the other end of the chain. There was a tallish teenager in an excellent faun costume. There was a guy dressed all in black with a skull-face mask who was apparently just practicing his lurking. (We laughed at him because he was kind of ridiculous.) There was a guy we thought was Sauron, at first, but BFT said that the character was from a video game. There was a Danaerys (sp?) that I recognized from photos. (I haven't seen the show.) There was an Eleventh Doctor, who, if I hadn't been chatting with someone at the time I saw him, I'd've asked to pose with my TeenyTinyTARDIS.

Well, it was fantasy weekend, so there were a lot more costumes even than usual.

We got there about fifteen minutes before the gates opened, though we didn't manage to get our tickes until after the Queen had led the company inside. That worked out, though, because it meant that we didn't have to stand in the crowd to get in. They don't stamp hands anymore, just mark your ticket and hand it back to you, so don't lose it.... (There were a few changes since the last time I was there.)

First stop, as always, was the privies. Yay?

When we were planning the trip, I told BFT that my only stipulation for the day was that I wanted to see Don Juan & Miguel. I have seen their act every time I have gone to Sterling, and though there are portions of it I can quote, I still love to see it. So we headed down the hill to the Chessboard Stage (now called the Court Pavilion or some such; the first change that I noticed) to get seats. Don Juan actually passed us on the way down; he was saying something about red and black burlap denoting "renaissance" to him, and since he was right next to me (even though he was talking to someone else (or himself)), I said something back about it being more early-modern-Colonial. He laughed. Anyway, it was a hoot, as always, though I managed to pick a bench that was lower than the others, so I couldn't see very well, despite being relatively close to the stage.

Next up, J1 decided she wanted to see what was listed in the schedule as "Filthy Irish Stories," but turned out to be Crannog playing tunes that were anything but filthy. Fun, but hardly filthy. (Filthy came later in the day.) I have to say that of the two groups I've seen at Sterling whose names begin with C, I prefer Crannog. After that, since we were already down at that end of the grounds, we stayed for the glass-blowing demonstration, though there is a new glassblower since the last time I was there. She's a tiny thing, but muscley. I couldn't tell if her assistant was the same person as assisted the last fellow (indicating that they might be related) or not.

After the glassblowing, we decided it was, perhaps, time for lunch. (And we missed the noon joust, too, which was disappointing, as I wanted to see it. Well. I wanted to take pictures of it.) As we were wandering in the general direction of food, I felt a tap on my arm, and there was My Twin and her husband! "I wondered if we'd see you here today," she said. We chatted for a bit, then they went off in one direction and we went in another.

Lunch was accomplished and then it was getting on toward time for the Queen's parade, so we located seats near the parade route. While we were sitting there, a fellow advertising "wildly inappropriate" poetry came along handing out cards. He stopped pretty much in front of where we were sitting and started accosting people, talking about his poetry including the hit "I Built My Love A Menstrual Hut." He was pretty funny, so we decided we'd see his show later. Anyway, while all this was going on, I noticed a pair of stuff falcons sitting on the wall not five feet from where I was sitting, so I snapped a couple of photos...and then one of them shook its head and ruffled its feathers.... I hadn't seen the falconer, but she was sitting there (in a wheelchair with a boot on one foot, poor thing). Someone came up and asked her about the birds, so she coaxed one up onto her glove, unhooded it, and started to give a small demonstration. I hope my photos turn out. (I was having trouble with my camera.)

After the parade, we did some shopping, then went back down to the Grotto Stage for Arthur Greenleaf Holmes and his Wildly Inappropriate Poetry. He had attracted a lot of people with his cards; by the time we got down there, the benches were filled and we had to stand through the show (which was not pleasant for me, let me tell you). The poetry was not just wildly inappropriate, it was downright filthy. He did make a point of mentioning that it probably wasn't right for kids, but there appeared to be only one in the audience and he was there with his father who declared that he'd heard worse at school. I don't think he really had...and Dad was pretty red a couple of times.

That was the last show of the day for us. We had already determined that we'd leave around 4:00, and that show ended just then. The Grotto Stage is nearly at the opposite end of the grounds and down the hill from the gate, though, and I really had to sit down for a bit before making the trek up to the van, so it was closer to 4:20 before we left, and just after 8:00 p.m. that we got home because we stopped at another McDonald's to get a bite for supper.

And then I got home and found out that my parents hadn't picked up the food I'd left in the breezeway for Nick or the books I'd left for Nephew, so I had to get back in the van and drive back across town to drop them off. The food wasn't so urgent, but the books were, as Bird and Nephew will be currently sitting in a NYC airport (don't know which) waiting for a flight to Germany. (They left town at 2:30 a.m. to get to Buffalo in time to check in for their 6:30 flight to NYC.)

Last Day

Jul. 21st, 2014 07:43 am
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Today is the last day of my vacation, an extra day that I built in in case I decided to stay at my aunt and uncle's house until Sunday (because I like to have a day to decompress from the drive before I return to work). None of my family know that I am off today, though my sister will figure it out when she gets to work and I'm not there. I have to visit my grandmother later, but I'll do it when I normally do. I don't have any special plans for the day, other than to do the laundry and mow at least part of the backyard. I can't mow all of it, of course, because I don't want my laundry to smell like exhaust.

Sheila is doing better this morning, though I'm pretty sure her UTI has recurred (she was tromping all over the yard yesterday squatting, as she did before, and peed in the house overnight). I have to refill her Rimadyl, so I'll be asking the vet's office for another run of amoxicillin. The fact that she did get up to pee in the house overnight is actually encouraging, as it means that her hindquarters are doing better. I am beginning to think that perhaps the hill in my grandmother's backyard may have strained her legs too much, as well as trying to keep up with Nick who is about half her age.

I know her time is coming, but I guess it's not here quite yet.

Maybe this afternoon, I will start working on the photos that I took last week. The few that I have uploaded to FB were all that I could stand to edit while I was working with only a touchpad -- which is a pain in the ass. I think I will also put GIMP on my desktop; it does some things slightly better than Photoshop, in my humble opinion.

Oh, and check out this guy's photo art. He was set up at the art show on the bluff last weekend. I loved his work, and it amused me greatly that he's from Rochester. We ran into another person with ties to the local area at the art show: her son or nephew or friend's son (some young male to whom she had ties) had come here to go to The University. We also ran into someone from Syracuse. None of these instances were the first time we'd run into someone from NY in MI. It's like New Yorkers head west and stop in Michigan.
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We made it to the beach yesterday. While there was rain in the morning, the rest of the day turned pretty. Cooler than I liked (I was wearing a sweatshirt over my t-shirt, and with my hair pulled back to keep it out of my face, had to twist a light-weight scarf around my neck), but pretty. So I have many photos of the lighthouse. I even walked all the way out to the end of the pier, so I have photos of the lighthouse from both sides. The walkway along the side of the inner light is not as narrow as I was remembering it, but I would definitely not want to be out there in bad weather.

I was also, unfortunately, a bit sick. Not in any way that interfered with going out and doing things (other than I didn't go for walkies after lunch yesterday), but in an intermittent sort of way. Hopefully, it's better today. I just had breakfast, so we'll see....


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