Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's all about being in the Christmas spirit

Last night Aaron & I hosted many of our family & friends at a Christmas party at our house. It was a great time for the 2 of us & we hope all of our guests were able to share in the spirit of the season.

While I admit the preparation & clean-up for a party of this size is a lot of work, to me, it's worth it. I love being able to open my home to friends & family, offering good food & great company. The relaxing environment, the chance to have some laughs, make new friends & catch up with the old ones - that's the best part of throwing these big shin-digs!

I realized last night as i was mingling with the guests that I had, under the same roof, connections to my job history. I had Juli there from my Circuit City days (I've known Juli since i started CC in 1994); Sabina was there from my days at Transmarx (that ended in 2007); & then there was Mia, from my current job. It was nice to be able to mingle all the people from my life together. They each know a different side of me, though i suspect they all know the 'real' Amie.

We were able to have members of our families with us - my sisters were there; my parents arrived later in the evening. Aaron's parents & brother & sister-in-law were there as well. It's always good to get your family together for the fun times. Plus, it doesn't hurt to show them you can be sociable in these busy times =)

One of the activities for the evening was the 'ice breaker' idea i had. We were combining people from all over our lives, so they definitely needed an 'introduction' of sorts. Instead of the usual 'name tags', we offered 'What if..." questions to all the guests that they had to give their answer to & then put the sticker on their shirt. It made for some interesting conversation points... not to mention seeing people staring at a lot of chests =)

The other activity i had planned for the evening was the 'gift exchange game'. This wasn't the usual white elephant exchange though. Everyone stood in a circle with the gift they brought in their hand. Melissa (my sis-in-law) read a story i'd put together about the Christmas party, etc. The trick of the story was that there were several mentions of the words "right" & "left". Whenever you heard one of those words, you had to hand your gift in that direction. It got down to the end of the story & people were back to holding their own gifts again. The very last sentence moved the gifts to the right... so, no, they didn't end up with their own gift. There were lots of laughs as we tried to work out the direction, listened to the story & wondered if we were REALLY going to get our own gifts back in our hands.

There was one stand-out star of the party. As he walked through the house, cries of "I want to eat him up", "let me hold him"; "I'm taking him home with me" and "He's just like a little baby!" were heard. He took all the admiration in style, doing what he usually does - follow people around. By the end of the night, Orion had been adored by many women, sleep with some of the guests & worked the room better than the hosts!

The guests eventually left & the party ended... i cleaned up the party leftovers with a little help from Aaron & Antoni and went to bed not a moment too soon. I was wiped out.

As i laid in bed, waiting for sleep to overtake me, i reflected on a great night & stored away lots of memories of being with people that i cared about... i fell asleep with thoughts of the New Year's Eve party i heard we were throwing in 14 days...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dawn of a New Day

For those of you who don't know, I voted for Obama in what has become one of the most exciting elections in history. And though not everyone agrees with my choice (including someone who I am married to!), I'm proud of the chance to make a decision like this one. To touch a piece of the event that is making its way into history books as i type this.

i watched the election coverage, teetering on the edge of "will he" or "won't he", as Virginia slowly decided to follow the lead of others & vote Democrat. It was touch & go in the beginning, but more & more i could see the momentum building throughout the other states in the Union.

It was a inspiring moment to hear the first announcement that Barack Obama was going to be the next President of the United States. I was even more moved to hear McCain graciously offer is support & to observe the first speech from Obama after the outcome.

It was something in his words, or in his tone... maybe it was the calm confidence he disolayed... or the obvious love for his family... whatever it was, it gave me a renewed sense of hope.

Somewhere between the wars, the failing economy, the healthcare crisis... the hope started to fade. How did the most powerful country in the world get to this place? I'm not trying to point the finger or place blame on anyone - the damage is done. But last night we saw the first glimmer of hope we've had to grab onto in a long time. And it felt good to reach out for it.

Do i think Obama is perfect? Is he the answer to all the problems in the US? I honestly don't know... what i do know is that he is the person who is going to point us in the right direction - becoming the UNITED States again.

After Obama's speech last night, i started to wonder just how many great things are ahead of us in the coming years. I'm excited to find out...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Been away for a while…

I know you must have missed me. It’s only natural. I’ve had lots going on. Well, maybe that was just last weekend.
I was off on Friday b/c Aaron & I bought new furniture & it was being delivered between 11 – 2pm. Now, I don’t think I have to tell you how INCONVENIENT that timeframe is. Come on, that’s RIGHT in the middle of the day. Too early to go to work before, too late to go to work after. The funny thing – they showed up BEFORE 11am. It didn’t matter though, we’d scheduled the day off…

& boy did we need it.

Little did we know what a job it was going to be to switch over the old furniture in the bedroom to the new stuff. You know, no sense in just picking up piles & shoving them in the dresser or chest. You need to organize & weed out stuff you don’t need/want anymore. I managed to get the dresser to myself & Aaron took over the chest. Believe it or not, I haven’t even filled all the drawers or cubbies in there!

The furniture in the bedroom is nice – light wood color, VERY tall (it makes our high bed look much shorter). For the first it looks like adults live in the room! I think that buying expensive bedroom furniture that’s not going to fall apart in 5 years is the sign of actual adulthood. No more of that mix & match stuff or the cheap stuff Aaron had (the bottoms of the drawers were falling out!). We’ve sold our souls to The RoomStore for this grand advancement in maturity.

We also got new furniture for the den. Aaron’s reclining sofa was on its last leg, no doubt from constant use from him. We bought a new sofa, oversized chair & ottoman in an oatmeal color. I think right about now some of you might be thinking – uh oh, what about the dogs! Yeah, I know the feeling. I’m not sure there is enough in Aaron & I to monitor the time they spend sleeping by him, so we got them all their own little blankets. They have to sleep on the blankets or they can’t get on the sofa. It’s working out so far… I just have to keep on Aaron about it too!

Right now the den is nothing but furniture. We still have the recliner in there with the new stuff. It looks like we got a little crazy… but we didn’t. The recliner is going up in the ‘man cave’ & Aaron is threatening to use it for his new computer chair (MEN!).

While this new furniture doesn’t recline, it’s very squishy & has lots of pillows. ‘Somehow’ the dogs aren’t the only ones to have fallen asleep on it (No, not me… Aaron).

After spending the day cleaning, rearranging, vacuuming, organizing, etc, we played some mini golf with our friend, Matt. That was fun! I love mini golf & I have this running contest with Aaron about who’s going to win. You’d think that with the golf skills he brings to the table, he’d out-putt me… he doesn’t. I have won somewhere along the lines of the last 10 games we’ve played together. Every time we got to play again, he starts off strong, pipes up with the talking “smack” & then ends up losing. I try to tell him that’s his downfall – he lets it go to his head that he’s “winning” when we are only on hole #2.

Matt actually beat both Aaron & me, but that’s not really the point. In the scheme of things, I still beat Aaron. I don’t know if it has to do with the 2 holes-in-one that I got or not (hehe). What I do know, my streak remains unbroken.

Saturday we went to the wedding of my uncle & his fiancé. It was held in Moseley, so we had quite a little trek out there. The weather was great – not too hot, not too cold - and it was sunny as well. It was definitely a fall-like day for this September wedding.

They got married without a hitch (or so it seemed to those of us in roles of observation) & celebrated with a lunch & small reception.

After the wedding & festivities we were able to go back to my parents’ house for some more fun with the family. Since all my cousins & their kids were in town for the wedding, it was a good way to see them & spend time together. We don’t get to see them often enough with all the lives that are required to be on the same schedule. We had lots of good food, great conversation & laughs provided by the smaller members of the family – they do say some crazy things!

After those 2 days, it took all day Sunday for Aaron & I to recover!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Close Call

It was "predicted" that we'd get a hefty amount of rain from Tropical Storm Hanna. Hanna was a letdown.

I know what you are thinking - that's a good thing. What you don't know is that i had BIG plans for the full day of rain. i was looking forward to chilling out, reading & nodding off to that constant pitter patter of angry rainrops on the windows.

Instead, it rained this morning up until a little after midday. Then, not only did it stop raining, but the sun came out. By 6pm, you would never have known that a tropical storm rolled through today.

You just can't get a good rainy storm on the weekend anymore. I guess this means tomorrow I won't be able to use the flooding as a reason to stay home?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Baby is Growing Up

My little pup,Orion, had a growth spurt while i was out of town! I didn't think it was possible, but he's gained weight & gotten longer! They say they don't stay babies forever & now i can see what they mean! Small Fry is going to be 14 weeks old tomorrow!

We have been teaching O-town (as i like to call him) a few things all dogs need to know to make it in this big bad world. Obviously, the potty is outside. He's done really well with this. I think he might grow to teach some other OLDER dogs a thing or two.

He's also been learning a "trick"... sit. I think he has a real grasp on that. If he can perform the command in the midst of chaos with the other dogs running around for treats, i think he's doing well. He does know where the treats are kept, but he hasn't become a "Jake" (always barking for moremoremore).

One of the harder challenges we have with Orion is climbing stairs in the house. He mastered going up the steps on the deck & front porch, but hasn't gone down them. In the house, he hadn't gone up or down the stairs at all. He would just stand at each platform & whine to be picked up. If we didn't carry him along with us, he'd just find a place to lay on that floor & sleep.

Today we had a breakthrough! He climbed the steps without Aaron & I even being around. We had been trying to get him to climb a few at the top when the other dogs were upstairs so he'd do anything to play with them. It finally paid off! All of the sudden, he was there playing at our feet. Aaron looks at me & asks if i brought him upstairs.

HUH? i didn't even know he was downstairs.

So, he climbed up all by himself. It's a big day for this little tyke. Now if only i could figure out how he's going to learn the going down part. He has yet to tackle that anywhere... i think he has a fear of heights. It's a long way down the little guy!

And for those of you about to suggest a trail of treats down the stairs, it won't work. I tried that one... he's a smart cookie!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hotlanta... in the rearview mirror

Well, i have been back from Hotlanta for a couple of days now. I was there for work - my organization puts on an annual conference & this year's was in GA.

The conference went really well. As usually there were people who loved it & people who thought it was a waste of their time. What's that saying - you can't please all the people all of the time - yeah, we have that problem :)

We worked a lot, but i had more downtime than when i worked for Snakey Snake. That was a nice change from what i am used to. Who would have thought a little extra rest at night would be good for the next day?

We didn't have a chance to see many of the 'big' attractions while in Atlanta, but we did see the mall right behind the hotel. We tried Ted's Montana Grill & PF Changs. Ted's Montana Grill is owned by Ted Turner (for those of you who didn't know) and it's just another way he's trying to take over Atlanta. You can't go anywhere without seeing Ted Turner this, Ted Turner that.

There is a PF Chang's in Richmond, but none of us had been there before, so we tried it while we were in Atlanta. I thought the food was really yummy & the prices weren't too bad either.

We left Atlanta Sunday morning to arrive in Richmond around 2:15pm. The journey through the Atlanta airport took forever! So those of you who have to fly out of there, make sure you heed the warnings on how much time you need. It was a little over an hour for us to get from checking our bags, through security to the actual gate where our flight was leaving. That's a far cry from what it's like to fly out of Richmond!

I started sneezing on Sunday & haven't stopped. i think it's safe to say my allergies/sinuses have gone haywire. This is why it's great to be home, right? Speaking of home, i would have stayed home today with my ills, except that while the big kahuna is on vacation this week, I am 'in charge'. I don't know exactly what that means... i tried to get us out of the office early, but that didn't go over very well. Guess i'll know by the end of the week if the title is going to bring anything exciting for me :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Whole New World… (& it’s not the Disney kind, kids)

The saga of my love/hate relationship has ended. The outcome was not as I would have wished, but I guess that big car heaven in the sky was beckoning the Mighty Sebring Convertible home.

We got the call on Tuesday of last week that there would be no surgery or band-aid fixes for damage from the accident earlier the previous week. I believe all involved thought it was such a lost cause that not even the body shop was willing to tow it across the street for the claims adjuster to look it over!

Aaron & I saw the car for the last time the same day we got the news. We went over to the lot it was sitting in, took a few pics for memories’ sake & then cleaned it out. I bemoaned the thought of having to drive Aaron’s Acura for ‘my’ car again. (Sure, the Acura’s not bad if you have to drive someone else’s car, but it’s not MY car).

After the news sank in about the tragic end of the convertible, Aaron & I sat down for a REAL discussion about what we were going to do about wheels for me. Now, let me preface this with saying Aaron hasn’t been batting too well in the buying of used cars. All 3 used cars either have needed or are still in need of $$$ work. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I look for when I buy a car. Granted, these were paid off, but in my book, if you are still paying for fixes, then it’s not really paid off.

I finally got Aaron around to my way of thinking… we needed something reliable, &, for us, that was going to equate to a car payment. Notice I didn’t say NEW, I only said ‘car payment’. We could have easily ended up finding a nice, used car in our price range.

What we did find though was lots of car dealerships & car manufacturers ready to give us great financing options or rebates. This made looking for a car even better b/c it meant – Amie was getting a NEW car!!!!

I went into this whole search thing with no idea what I was looking for. I really just wanted something that got good gas mileage. You think that’d be easy right? Well, there are lots out there with respectable gas usage… there are lots without that little perk… Aaron & I talked about an SUV – with the above mentioned ‘perk’ needed, of course.

We test drove the Ford Escape (4-cylinder) & actually really liked it. What we didn’t like was the 2-toned interior with tan & grey together. If there is one thing that’s a make or break feature for me – it’s tan interior. Yuck. I guess it’s just as well b/c the one we test drove was the only one in the area Ford could get their hands on (rumor has it that demand is much more than what they have to offer!). Though we liked that SUV, we moved on & trained our thoughts on other SUV models we might like.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Independence Day isn’t a big day for car dealerships to be open. We could only test drive the Escape on our first day out. It did give us a chance to look at a few cars, read their info & decide if we’d bother coming back for a drive when they were open (sorry, Saturn Vue, you were axed in this process – gas mileage not so good).

We went back out on Saturday (picture this: rainy morning, sun comes out in the afternoon – what’s it feel like? NASTY!) and hit the Hyundai dealership. We were interested in the Santa Fe & Aaron wanted to drive the Tucson (lower end model of the 2).

Our salesperson was actually rather annoying. I guess he was hard-up for sales, or he was just in a pushy mood. Whatever the reason, he rubbed me the wrong way. We drove the Tucson first. It was just ok. & I mean… JUST OK. There wasn’t even much in the inside to look at. If you know me, you know that I like me some gadgets, gizmos & buttons! If it could look any more pared down than it did, I would be surprised.

We drove the Santa Fe next and both liked it much more than the Tucson. However, we weren’t sold on it. I was especially put off when the salesdude looks at me & says that I haven’t told him yet what I liked. Hey, I’m sorry, Mr. Salesdude, but if I knew what I liked I would certainly be there getting it!

Come on… it’s been 14 yrs since I had to look at BRAND NEW CARS!!!!

Needless to say, we booked out of that place almost as fast as the salesdude took our number down.

Next on the list of visits was something completely different – Pontiac, to test drive a G6. I had seen the G6 in the lot at the Carmax dealership, so I knew what it looked like and the ‘going rate’. (Aaron & I had also driven out to the dealership [on the outskirts of ‘the boonies’] the day before when they were closed to see what they offered).

We were greeted by a wonderful salesman named Jim. He wasn’t pushy at all and listened to the things I was looking for in a car. Jim rode along with us as we drove the G6 sedan down the country road & back. I think I remember him saying something about keeping it at 45mph, but I found that to be next to impossible. That is one slick car for a 4-cyclinder!!

Even though it didn’t have a sunroof… or come in blue with the black interior anywhere in the city… the price was right; the gas mileage was right and I loved it!

I drove home my new 2008 Pontiac G6 in cranberry red with ebony interior that evening! Pictures to come.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blame it all on a traffic cone

As some of you know, i have a love/hate relationship with my Sebring Convertible. I happen to LOVE it; it happens to HATE being driven.

Now, i say that last part b/c of the amount of time it's spent in the shop since i got it last fall. There was a time when the days with Joe, the mechanic, far outweighed the days in my (crowded) driveway. I used to long for a sunny spring day when i'd have the car in MY possession so i could ride with the top down & the cliched wind in my hair.

Since i finally got it back for good (~ 6wks ago), the temperature has been way too hot for any top-down driving. It might shock some of you that a convertible lover like myself actually has a high when it's too hot for the hair to blow around. Nothing like the wind feeling like it's been sent straight from Hades!

Today, started out as a normal day in life with the convertible. We went to work, top up, a/c on. When it was time to leave for my doctor's appointment this afternoon, everything was good. We were tooling along Interstate 295 as we usually do when we head into Mechanicsville.

Suddenly, things changed forever.

I was in the far left lane, slowing as i noticed the unmarked state trooper with lights on stopped at the shoulder. As a matter of fact, this was no normal police car pulled over to the side of the road. The trooper was out, standing there as though he was waiting for a moment to shoot across the 3 lanes.

What the heck does he want to run across the street for? Is he suicidal or what?

Well, ask my car. It knows what was going on. There was an orange traffic cone in the middle lane. Oh good... middle lane. i'm safe!

Before i could exhale, the little orange booger was in MY lane. What the??????

The car ahead of me managed to avoid it. He moved on down the road safe & happy.

I know what you are all thinking now... you are thinking that i ran over it. That my CAR just raced straight ahead for it.

WRONG... we were on our way around the cone (laying on its side in the middle of my lane!) going a respectable 30mph or so. That's right, car, slowly, around the cone, into the left shoulder area. Good, take it slow...


uh yeah, that would be the noise i heard when the green minivan left it's mark on my right rear panel & bumper. hmmm... i guess that would imply that the bumper still looked like a bumper. I think it looked more like shredded wheat. How many of you knew that there was STYROFOAM under that bumper????

In addition to the visible damage, there was one sign that meant BIG PROBLEMS... that was the right rear tire sitting at a angle. Now, granted, i'm no mechanic or car expert, but i know THOSE tires aren't supposed to move in that direction. Can you say axle all messed up? hmph.

Since there was a cop right there, it was a convenient way to garner an eyewitness. (yeah... now that's what i'm talking about.) It happens that this Trooper wasn't even from the area. He was driving through town on his way back to West Point where he works. Obviously the good guy in him decided to try & help us poor motorists out & move that cone. Too bad it didn't work out that way for all of us. double hmph.

The green minivan actually hit me, bounced off me, crossed 2 lanes of traffic & clipped another car on its way over to the right side of the interstate. (uh huh - got some good damage on that little green monster too!)

I spent the next hour or so waiting for a trooper from the area, watching the troopers run across the street while we all melted in the 95+ heat!

The tow truck was called (thanks AAA!) They showed up & drove my car to the shop. We left before they did & i couldn't even look back. It's just sad when you see your little car on that big truck!

Of course the insurance company was called. They asked about 100 questions, but they are on the case to determinne who was at fault. Luckily for me, the trooper who saw the whole thing happen offered to tell what he saw should the need arise.

i guess we'll wait & see what happens with the decision to fix or call it quits. I hope it's fixable. I still LOVE the car... & i am going to make it see things my way!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Open for Business - FINALLY

As most of you know, the road to a clean, sparkling pool has been long, winding & full of potholes for the Graysons since inheriting it with the house. Possibly the #1 reason for Aaron & i to argue during the summer, it has been a bone of contention since the day we first took the pool cover off in 2006.

We've run the gamut of things to do with the pool from adding unknown amounts of chemicals, whose real purpose i couldn't tell you, to emptying the pool completely after the episode of runaway tadpoles invading the less-than-ideal water conditions of Spring 2007. (I know all of you in Hanover would like to thank us of the start of the county drought conditions last year!)

There can't be anything more frustrating than having a nice big pool right outside your door & it never being clean enough to get in (well, that's the most frustrating until you start to talk about cars!). So... this year we decided it was make or break time. I couldn't listen to anymore threats about cutting down all the trees in the back or bulldozing the pool into the ground. Action had to be taken before it was too late! (Or before the pool was used for much more sinister purposes!)

That's right, we made some changes this year. First we switched to a chlorine pool. It's MUCH easier to maintain & so far hasn't caused us to take out a loan to pay for the chemicals. Then, probably the BEST decision we made - we HIRED someone to maintain our pool all summer. I have to say it's quite a deal. She (sorry, it's not a 'pool boy') comes once a week to check the chemical levels and to vacuum anything that might have fallen in. All i have to do is don a bathing suit & hop in whenever i want - assuming the water temp is up to my standards. Yeah, it's a rough life!

So... all of you who have asked about the pool & when you could come over in the past 2 years, WE'RE OPEN! Bring your bathing suit & come on over! We are ready for guests!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We have a new baby!

I know this is going to come as a shock to some of you, but Aaron & I have our first baby!

He was born 7 weeks ago in the country (Goochland County) to a pair of star-crossed lovers - rat terrier and schnauzer. The last of his siblings to finalize the adoption paperwork, he, nevertheless, found his way into our mixed family (or should i say - mixed up family).
It's been a learning experience for the parents & the siblings with late nights, early mornings and baby noises that just don't give away much in the area of what's going on. His siblings are on the fence about the newest addition to the Grayson family. Sydney & Jake go between ignoring him & giving him a lesson in the household rules; Roxy & Schmoo, well, what can i say, they have never been that fond of change. As lots of siblings think when their baby brother/sister is brought home, he's just another mouth to feed, someone to steal their toys & their parents' attentions. I'd say they are ready to send him back! :)

Mom & Dad are doing ok. One of us isn't too keen on the 5am potty & feeding time, but i guess that's the price you pay. We have to practice some restraint & let him cry himself to sleep. There has been a lot of tiptoeing around the house after bedtime! Though it's been challenging with a new baby in the house, we are committed to not making the same mistakes that were made with Jake and Sydney. There are big plans in the littlest one's future!

He's cute as can be & very funny to watch. He's learned how to jump up the little step from the Florida room to the den already. He's better at using the potty than Jake. And he doesn't mind sharing his toys with the others. He's not found of thunderstorms and just today he found his voice. Scared the 2 older ones when it came out; Roxy and Schmoo said they thought it was similar to a squeaky toy. & yes, that is a noise that can get annoying after a while!

I have high hopes for the youngest Grayson. First he needs to master potty time... he'll be the pride & joy of the family when that happens.

Oh, by the way, we named him 'Orion' --- like the constellation. It's a nice name, but knowing how this house is, it's going to be shorten to something sing-songy soon :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Last of this trip down Creativity Rd.


The sun came up
slowly over the landscape of decay
no smell or stench
no movement or life
but you knew... something lived there once.
There was no "western" moment -
no tumbleweeds racing by with dust clouds for a backdrop.
The air was stagnant
as if it wasn't really air at all
but possibly a lack of air
breathing still, but without meaning.
If it was once alive, this place showed no memory.
More like an alien horizon than any seen on earth.
Muted colors - a sky you knew was blue
but only because you knew - not because it was.
The ground was dirt-colored,
brown shades that crunched under foot
but left no footprints...
This should have been a place to frighten me
i felt nothing
i was in a watercolor dream, some past-life memory
it had no meaning or message
it simply was.
The canvas I'd created of my own feelings
once painted, gone
& dreamt of, forgotten.

Still tripping down Creativity Road

Welcome to My Heart

The darkness penetrated every drop of light there was
it absorbed, it smothered, it devoured
arms outstretched, blind to everything familiar
i couldn't take a step
frozen by fear, unmoving in a place where stillness is not forgiven
a place where peace does not reign
Slowly i inch along what i recall - memories like flashes of the life I never knew
of the dreams i never held
of the love i never felt
the darkness was complete - in me, of me, for me
dawn would not chance to meet a black as desolate as this.
Welcome to my heart...

Another down Creativity Road

The Day We Met

When your arrival was announced, I was caught off-guard.
where would you fit into my life?
what would your life be to me?
i loved around you
i spoke of you
i dreamt for you
Before i knew what the dreams were, they were falling apart
i never told you all that i held in my heart
how would you know that for the briefest of times - you were mine...
The end came too quickly - i never saw it
it was poison to the purest flower
& the pain in the end wasn't only for me
it was also for you
your tomorrows & mine would no longer be the same
you would travel your own road
& i would stumble down mine
at times i have glanced back
to see if you were there, still walking
i didn't see you
your footprints had long disappeared
& the last i have of you in my life are the memories
seared into my heart...I will never forget the day we met
or the love that brought us together.

Off we go with something creative...

(I'm moving some of my creative writing/poetry over here...)

She couldnt remember how they got to this place - outside, under a full moon, dressed for Halloween or at least she was. All she knew was one thing, him.

There he was, hands shoved in pockets, talking about his new car. She made small talk as though she might be interested in the fact that it was sporty and new and... forget it. Talk about something else.

(Did he know what she was doing? Why were her hands shaking? God, it was more than just her hands shaking.)

Look at me you know me! You know my heart...

Whether she willed that silent thought to him, she never knew. The only thing she remembers from the moonlight-covered memories is the magic. Take away the sorceress costume, the blond hair and she was in that moment alive - like she had never been before. Alive - like she might never be again.

One kiss was all it took for him to find a place in her heart. One night. One memory. One kiss.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Has Sprung...

...The grass has 'ris.
I wonder where the birdies is...

Now, before all you people with your dictionaries come a'calling me out on the misspellings... I didn't WRITE that. I am merely repeating something my mom had recited throughout my life.

Blame her! =)

That's right... we have a very severe case of SPRING FEVER. I can't decide if it's better or worse to have a convertible in this weather. Is it better to have the top down & get all that 'spring air' in one drive home? Or could it be like adding fuel to the fire?

I guess my boss (who, by the way, is also stricken with this illness) can at least rest easier knowing spring fever will end before we know it. It's likely to be 90 degrees in about 3 weeks. (You're right... I'm no meteorologist, but then again, neither are they!) By that time I'll be glad to stay inside & soak up the a/c.

I've noticed spring fever also brings out that rare feeling of wanting to do additional projects to/at the house. The only one i really want done is floors put down in the den, carperting removed. However, the issue with that is how much it costs to get it installed - VERY PRICEY! So, aaron (aka "i like to get things done, even if that means i cut corners") wants to do this job. Ok, i can get behind that --- as long as he's got someone to help him. It's not going to be me for the simple reason that i think it would get done faster if i wasn't there holding my OCD over his head =)

I bet you are asking who is going to help him with this... i have that same question. He's thrown a few names out there. I'm ok with anyone who can keep him on track. But as of right now, he hasn't done anything about it. I know you aren't surprised. All i know - getting the floors done will be the project of the season. Now, if i could only get aaron to shift his focus from gardening to this, we'd be good!

For those of you curious about where "pool cleanliness" falls in the projects we have to do... come back in a few more weeks. I haven't gotten aaron to pick up the phone & make the call he needs to. (& don't go jump on aaron's bandwagon about why I didn't do it. Do i have to do everything? i called the pool service to get this person's number!)

i'll make sure to let you know how these projects (do or don't) progress. Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Havoc in Heavy Winds

Today as the winds topped out with gusts up to 60mph, I had a little adventure. Now, let's talk about the wind. It's not sustained at 60mph, those are the gusts - all day. It's so strong that the wind is creeping in the window cracks enough to feel it and blow the window shades (Yeah, i think we need better windows - energy saver, anyone? We'll be happy to take donations for that upgrade).

I was on my way back from a little shopping excursion in my just-recently-brought-home-it-cost-a-fortune-to-fix-convertible. Just a few hours earlier when we had been together we'd decided that my car was the definition of Murphy's Law - anything that can happen would have to THAT car. At this point I'd left Aaron at home, as he'd had too much "top down action" (No, it doesn't mean THAT). Just

So I take a little detour on my way home b/c the church down the street has built this HUGE transmission tower in their partking lot. It really looks more like they are drilling for oil, but what do i know about such things? I had to see just how big it really was since it was looming large over the trees in MY neighborhood too!

The church is off the main road and butts up to a neighborhood that actually joins mine. I have never been back there, so i decided after investigating the tower I'd find where our areas met. I also know there is a lake back there & wanted to see that.

I'm tooling along down the road, checking out the sights in this area & see a firetruck turn in behind me.

hmm... wonder where they are going. I was a little ways in front of them, so i didn't need to worry about pulling over at the point, but kept my eyes on my mirror just in case.

A minute or so later i turn down a few streets & see the lake! It's pretty! Plus, i still think i can find the road that joins to my neighborhood.

just around the bend of a small curve, i see something in the road ahead. It looked like the 60mph winds knocked down someone's tree. However, upon closer inspection, i see that it was ONCE a tree, but it's most recent life had been a utility pole. The whole pole had fallen into the road, glass from the light on the street & power,cable, phone lines all draped in the trees. This has effectively blocked the way out to my neighborhood.

I wasn't crazy enough to get too close, so i turned the car around in someone's driveway and headed back the way i came. That's when i saw the firetruck stopped in the middle of the road ahead of me. All of the sudden a firefighter jumps in front of my path (death wish?) with his hand raised in the "stop" gesture. He's motioning for me to turn around & go back the other way. There's a small, thin (in the scheme of things) wire laying across the road in between his truck & my car. He doesn't want me to come back that way b/c it could be "hot" (I guess this ISN'T the point i tell him that's the way i came?). So he wants me to turn aroud & go back. I mean, he REALLY wants me to go back. As a matter of fact, he looks at me like i am the densest person he's come across in some time.

hmmm... he doesn't seem to know going the other way isn't an option. i roll down my window & yell that fact out to him.

He doesn't hear - the wind swallows my words.

i said it again.

He still wants me to turn around... i'm just a batty woman. I'm sure he thought i was just whining...

finally, i put the car in park, unbuckle my seatbelt & literally get out of my car to tell him that I CAN'T GO BACK THAT WAY B/C THE POLE IS DOWN ACROSS THE WHOLE ROAD!!!! (ok, i didn't yell - don't bust my chops on that).

at last... he understands what i'm saying. His answer to that "well, ma'am, i guess you're stuck then."

Now, mind you, i have no problem with authority in these situations. I know they are doing what they should to keep people safe. I have friends who are in such positions (Hi Matt!) and respect that it's their job to do it. But this guy... he had a little attitude. I wasn't arguing about following his directions. I was merely telling him i COULDN'T do what he was asking. No need to get all testy with me.

I told him that was fine. I'd just get back in my car & chill until they deemed it safe for me to go back.

it was at this time that a neighbor, whose house i was right outside, came out & said i could use her driveway to get around the mess. She happened to live on a corner & her drive was from one street across her yard to another street. That saved me from sitting there looking like a dork, so i used the escape route & laughed myself home.

i know it was b/c i was in THAT car. It seems to attract adventures like the one i had today. Oddly, i think i am in for a very interesting summer =)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Home sweet home

Well weary travelers, I have returned from my time in California. I went to visit my best friend, Betsy, and her new baby boy, Jeff. Ok I did see her husband while i was there, but i can't talk about that (wink, wink, Betsy) :)

I flew to CA on a Thursday & came home the following Tuesday. It was my first time flying solo. I know, you thought i was more worldly than that. I have flown lots of places, but all with other people. Luckily those experiences taught me how to manuever through the Houston airport with only 35 minutes to make my connecting flight. (Did i mention the Houston airport is the 9th largest in the US?)

There was a close call... & it's a good thing i didn't check any bags. I might have been wearing the same clothes for the 6 days i was gone! Or... i could have had to wait as long as we did for the package sent via UPS BEFORE I LEFT (& scheduled for delivery on the day i arrived in CA!)

but i guess that's another story, now isn't it?

My time in CA was split between observing the habits of this little 2-month old and seeing some of the sights around the area. I have been to Monterey before, but it was a quick trip through the 17-mile drive area & some dinner. (yes, you didn't think aaron & i had been near Pebble Beach & not checked it out, did you?)

This time i got to see lots more views of the Pacific. They had a storm while i was there & when we went to see the ocean afterwards, the waves were big, loud & gorgeous. There is just something about the ocean... ahhh... I had to use some serious patience in getting the perfect wave photo. you know the one - with the wave crashing on the rocks & sending up the spray... i got that one!

We also went to Monterey Bay & attempted to take a whale watching tour - something we were all excited about - but luck was not ours. Seems jeff was more of a liability than an asset to Mr. Whale Watching Captain. What does he know? We had to make due with the restaurant that overlooked the harbor seals out in the bay & finish off the sad experience with ice cream & a little shopping in the souvenir store for me :)

That wasn't the end of the day for me though... it was my luck that Josh was off & he, Betsy & Jeff wanted me to see some more sights. We drove to Big Sur via Highway One (aka Pacific Coast highway). The scenery was some of the most breathtaking i have ever seen. I have some pictures of those sights that i am pretty proud of. I'll let you see them when they get off my computer...

i ended my visit there by babysitting jeff (who, graciously, slept the whole time i was "watching" him) and allowing his parents to remember what it was like to go out BEFORE they had him. I asked what they did on their night out, but they didn't mention anything other than the backseat of josh's car... hmmmm...

So now i am home, back in my bed, though it's smaller now that i have to share it again (hey, a bed to yourself should not be taken for granted those of you who are still single!). I'm also back at work and back to loving on the kitties. strange thing happened though while i was gone - Moodles McDoodles has started to sleep with Aaron in the bed now!!!!

That does it... i can never leave again!

Ha... who am i kidding? I'm outta here! =)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Did I forget to Mention This?

To make going on vacation even better, the last day I was at work before we left... I got a raise & a promotion!!

For those of you who are keeping track, I did get that promotion before my 90-day probation was up & before my review of that time was completed.

I am THAT good!

Needless to say, Aaron was happy about that news & Pops bought me a celebratory drink on the cruise.

Of course, now that I am back in the real world, it's work all the time. Ahhh... price we pay for fame & glory...

WOW - I've been busy!

I have been keeping myself busy with lots of things recently. I think most of you know I went on a 9-day cruise to the Caribbean. It was delicious!

Above, Marigot Bay in St. Lucia

Again, I really don't understand those people who think they wouldn't like a cruise when it's so easy to travel that way!

Aaron & I went with my folks & we've all managed to come back in one piece, still talking & i am still an heir to their estate =) With 3 days at sea & 5 back-to-back days in port we had our share of activities. Here's a few of the highlights:

  • hours in the spa lounging in the whirlpools and on the thermal beds
  • reading & napping in the shady, breezy comfort of the outside decks
  • shows in the theater ranging from comedy to musical-style
  • dinner in several different restaurants over the course of the cruise (italian, tex-mex, french, buffet-style, 4-course meals, japanese, steakhouse)
  • trivia contests
  • casino (though aaron is the best to ask about this - he won the Texas Hold 'Em Tournament on the last day)
  • Dancing
  • Improv
  • Sleeping very well (ok, i did add that from my point of view)

We went sailing on catamarans while in Barbados and Antigua. We had never done that before & it was a really smooth, relaxing ride (not counting when my mom's camera was visciously snatched by the sea!). There was a definite fill of sun & sea for those 2 days.

Part of the catamaran trip was for snorkeling. The stop in Antigua allowed us to walk into the water off the beach. There really wasn't too much to see, though the further out (& cooler, by the way) you could see a few fish & coral things swaying under water.

In Barbados, we were to see TURTLES!!! That sounded exciting to me, a little different than the usual coral with an occasional fish swimming by. The catamaran for this trip drops their ladder into the water & allows you to snorkle from that point. Sounds easy... walk out & see some turtles. First, it was a MOVING ladder; up & down with the waves, so you had to just jump into the CHILLY water. Putting my head underwater, camera ready on my wrist, i'm looking all over for the turtles. I'd like to see how big they are! I wanna see babies! i want to see whole families!

I saw ONE! ONE TURTLE!!!!!

& then we moved onto the next snorkling sight. I know it sounds good, but this also had different issues. They dropped the ladder again & this time i know what to expect. What i didn't expect was this unbelievably strong current. We weren't given flippers, so you were on your own in trying to move around. Normally, going without flippers isn't THAT big of a hinderance. With the addition of the strong current, it was rough going! But I was determined to see real fish!!! After the disappointment of only spying one turtle, i had to find something to use all my film on while i was underwater!

Though the current was rough, it was rewarding once you finally got to where the fish were. There were all kinds of colorful ones under the water & they were everywhere. I was snap-snap-snapping away...

Then they said there's a shipwreck to see!

BUT... I used all my film on those fish!!!! :(

I know you are all curious how these pics underwater turned out, but that roll hasn't been developed yet. You'll just have to stay there on the edge of your seat waiting.

We managed to do some shopping while we were in port (but not in every port) & packing the luggage back for our trip home proved to be a challenge for some of us. (Good thing Aaron & packed an empty piece of luggage for just that reason!).

The ship docked back in Miami on Sunday the 20th (Happy Birthday, Mom!) & we spent that day in Miami. The weather was very bizarre for Miami. I didn't know it rained there, but on our arrival & departure day there was rain. The day we docked back there, it was cool, rainy & VERY windy. I thought we might have to call in Horatio Cane (CSI:Miami) to evacuate the city for the incoming hurricane!

Aaron said he could have flown home that day, but i wasn't up for a long day of traveling. Sometimes that's worse than taking an extra day. I never found flights suitable for leaving that day (for time or $), hence the extra night in Miami. We flew home the following morning & had no problems with flights. Arriving in Richmond around 2:30, we were home before dinner & able to relax & ready ourselves for going back to work the next day. Oh & did i mention it was FREEZING COLD when we landed??? Snow remnants on the ground??? Talk about a change in attitude/change in latitude!!!

Aaron & i are already thinking about our next trip... Of course, i have one - flying to CA in less than 2 weeks!!!