Thursday, November 15, 2007


Julie and her sister Glory met in the entrance to their Grandmother's Assisted Living Facility promptly at 1pm on Saturday. It was time for their weekly visit with their favorite maternal grandmother.

Julie noticed that Glory had gotten a new purse since last week. She loved her little sister's sense of style, and wondered if she could find the same purse at Target. (She inherited her grandma's aversion to paying more than $20 for a purse.)

The elevator to the 6th floor felt as rickety and worn down as some of the residents who passed quietly through the halls, clutching walkers and canes and talking quietly to themselves. The sisters shared worried looks. The elevator managed to glide smoothly to a stop on her floor.

"Right on time" exclaimed Benita Torkelson, grandma's next door neighbor, as she stepped out into the hall. She had her cloth shopping bags in hand, and was struggling to find her keys in her gigantic purse. She was a shrewd, spry little woman, and Glory and Julie towered over her. She moved in to her apartment the same day as Grandma, and the two had become fast friends. "Jane just got back from the mall!"

Glory took Benita's purse and quickly located her keys for her and locked her door. She smiled warmly at the small woman, who chuckled softly and snatched her purse back. "Benny, how do you ever find anything in that old carpet bag of yours?"

Benny winked at her and started down the hall. "Magic, my girl. Have a good visit!"

Julie knocked on Grandma's door. She heard a voice, and the sound of a cane and heavy footsteps nearing the door. "Who is it?" a voice queried from behind the lock.

Julie and Glory answered "It's Julie and Glory. Let us in" in unison.

Slowly, they heard the sound of several bolts, chains and locks being opened, and the door cracked open.

Grandma peeked out, and having satisfied herself that her visitors were, in fact, her granddaughters, swung the door wide and welcomed them into her suite.

"I didn't know you were visiting. How long are you going to be in town?," Grandma asked Julie.

Julie and Glory smiled at each other quickly.

"We moved, Grandma. Ben and I live here now."

Grandma was delighted.

She was tall and plump. She only wore polyester pants with creases permanently woven into the fabric, and sweatshirts emblazoned with flowers. She wore Keds, or the knockoffs you could get at the drugstore for under $5, and knee-high nylon socks. Today's ensemble was in varying shades of pink, one of her favorite colors.

She was setting out a new pattern on a piece of fabric on her bed. It was a dress for toddler girls, which she was laying out on a piece of blue gingham. Julie noticed a pile of similar dresses in varying sizes sitting in the corner. She donated them to a missions organization every month. Judging from the size of the stack, it had been a few weeks.

Following their normal routine, Glory commented on the fabrics. "That's going to be darling, Grandma."

Julie grabbed Grandma's pink sweater from her closet.

"I picked it up at the fabric store yesterday. Can you believe how much fabric is these days? Harold would roll over in his grave if he knew I spent more than $3 on a yard of fabric!"

They visited for a few minutes, then convinced grandma that it was time to go to the mall.

Julie's tummy was growling by the time they made it to the parking lot. They decided to start at the Food Court and shop afterwards.

The girls were in the mood for Chinese, and Panda Express was the closest thing to it at the Food Court. (Julie's husband was actually Chinese, and regarded Panda Express with utmost disdain.) They threaded their way through the crowd and placed their orders. Grandma tasted everything in the trays before settling on what she always got...the Orange Chicken. Today, however, she got the egg rolls.

They picked a table and sat down in the quasi-comfortable chairs. They chatted about the weather reminded Grandma that it was Easter, not Christmas coming next month, and Glory attempted to eat with chopsticks, which was highly entertaining to Julie.

Suddenly, Grandma opened the container of Sweet and Sour Sauce provided for her egg rolls. "Is this Jello?"

The girls exchanged panicked looks.

Before they could react, she dipped her fork into the red sauce and put a little on her tongue. Her face scrunched into an expression of complete sourness.

"Ew. That's the worst Jello I've ever tasted!"

Glory caught Julie's eye and quickly turned away.

"That's the dipping sauce for your egg rolls," Julie explained in an oddly strangled voice. "It's not Jello."

"Oh. That was awful. I don't think I'll be putting it on my egg rolls, either."

"You don't have to, Grandma." Glory winked at Julie and they resumed eating.

Grandma asked Julie again how long she was planning to stay in town, and how soon she had to be back. Julie explained again that she had moved and would not be going back to California. With each repeated question, Julie and Glory would smile and patiently answer her.

Grandma opened the container of Sweet and Sour Sauce provided for her egg rolls. "Is this Jello?"

She dipped her fork into the red sauce and put a little on her tongue. Her face scrunched into an expression of complete sourness.

"Ew. That's the worst Jello I've ever tasted!"

"It's not Jello," Glory explained. She put the lid back on the sauce for her, and told her, again, that it was for the egg rolls. Grandma eyed the little container doubtfully and exclaimed she would not be putting that anywhere near her food.

Conversation resumed, and Glory explained that the girls parents had moved to the other side of the State, and she was in college now. Grandma reminisced, again, about both of her granddaughters as babies, toddlers and school girls. The girls smiled through the stories they had heard so many times.

Grandma opened the container of Sweet and Sour Sauce provided for her egg rolls. "Is this Jello?"

She dipped her fork into the red sauce and put a little on her tongue. Her face scrunched into an expression of complete sourness.

"Ew. That's the worst Jello I've ever tasted!"

"It's not Jello."

The three women finished their meal and Glory offered to bus the table. Grandma got out a napkin and wrapped up the last egg roll and put it in her purse. Glory noticed a dinner roll from Dennys peeking out of another napkin, and several containers of jam stuffed into the purse already. Grandma grabbed the Sweet and Sour sauce before either of them could grab the tray and popped it into her purse too.

"I love Jello!"

The girls walked their grandmother around the mall and did some shopping. Soon, it was time to get her back to her apartment for dinner. The facility where she lived served dinner from 4 to 6pm, and Grandma didn't like being late.

The girls rode the rickety elevator back to Grandma's apartment, answering questions about how long they planned to be in town, and where their parents lived now.

Grandma came out of the elevator and dug through her purse for her keys. Benny opened her door and stepped out into the hall.

"Going to dinner, Jane?"

"Yes, Bennie. I'll be out in a minute. I have to put my purchases away. You wouldn't believe what they charge for fabric these days."

Grandma pulled the napkin-wrapped food out of her purse and handed it to Glory. The container of sweet and sour sauce was still intact, and she handed that to Julie as she finally located her keys and opened her door. She took the food from Glory and grabbed her bags. They shuffled into her entryway and dropped the bags. Grandma headed to her refrigerator.

Benny eyed the container in Julie's hand suspiciously. "Don't forget your Jello!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You can't expect a Drama Major NOT to dress up on Halloween!

I'm working at a company that "Business Casual," especially when we have visitors. Most of the time, I'm in jeans, Scott is in shorts, and Melissa wears PJ's since she's working from home for now...

So we had visitors today.

This is what happens when I don't get the memo:

Oh well...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Secure in the knowledge of my own geeky-ness, I walked to my car, head held high. Perched atop my head was a pointed black hat, which was threatening to fly off in the breeze.

My shoes were making a terrible racket on the concrete that forms the interior walkway of our apartments, and my husband was asking me questions in a vain attempt to cover the noise.

Two of our neighbors saw us in the parking lot, and we nodded as we walked past.
I could feel their smirks burning into the back of my head.

I reached the relative safety of the car, and hopped into the drivers seat.

Keeping busy is the key to avoiding embarrassment.

The looks followed us as we drove to the bookstore, although the closer we got, the looks became more appreciative.

My sister met us at the doors, and I handed her a plastic wand and her own hat.
She would be a third-year now. A Ravenclaw, most likely.

She took us to the food court and found the table that her friend’s mother was using as a home base. One of our group stayed at the table to watch the paraphernalia as it accumulated while the others were out accumulating.

My sister and I headed off to find the guy that was selling “Butterbeer.” It is something she always wanted to try, so we bought some. It turned out to be butterscotch syrup in Ginger Ale. It was so sweet, we could hardly finish it.

We found the area where a person that was trying to pass himself off as one of the Weasley’s was asking trivia questions. If you got the question right, you won a tiny bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. We quickly determined the flavors were limited to “Grass,” “Dirt,” and “Sardines” and decided to skip the prize.

We had three hours until the book was released, and we were trying to figure out what to do, when the costume contest started.

The girl dressed like Dobby won the kids contest, despite my sister’s costume: “Hogwarts Student of Undetermined Age and House.”

A woman dressed like Trelawney won the adults contest. I didn’t enter partly because I didn’t want to, but also because I didn’t see where the sign up was until it was already underway.

After the contest, a group from the Medeival Village outside of town came and re-enacted some kind of battle using swords and long metal finger extensions. Unfortunately, only the people in the front row could hear any of them, and the rest of us quickly lost interest. We explored other areas of the bookstore.

One of the private rooms near the food court was occupied by a palm reader. My sister and I were both told that we have very long heart and life lines. However, our head lines do not connect to our life lines. The palm reader said this means we are tempermental. Given that we had known the woman socially for ten or more years, I’m almost positive she made that up.

For the last hour, a magician took the stage. He had the good sense to use a microphone so we could all hear him, and he proceeded to dazzle the audience with several illusions. Toward the end, he held up a book - the very book we were waiting for! He cautioned not to skip to the end and demonstrated the dire consequences if his advice went unheeded – snakes on springs jumped out when he opened the back cover. He admonished not to think you got away clean if you survive the snakes. He re-opened the back of the book and a small fireball erupted!

He then led a countdown to the release, and as we stood in line, we all counted down to midnight. “3….2….1….” My husband and I shouted “Happy New Year” trying to be funny, while cheers and shouts erupted throughout the store.

Finally, the wait was over, and the line went very quickly. Soon, we were left with the dilemma of reading it as soon as we got home, or in the morning.

My sister stayed overnight with her friends, who attempted to read the book, but ended up falling asleep.

I decided the best course of action was to get some sleep and have fresh eyes for the book in the morning.

Saturday morning, I got my husband off to work, finished a few chores, and settled down to read. I cried several times, laughed several times. I took a short break to make dinner before my husband came home. Then I laughed and cried some more. When the book was done, I immediately wanted to start it again.

Instead I went to bed and had dreams strong-willed girls, half-giants, redeemed villains, and the boy who lived.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I recently had dinner with a few friends, and we talked about the brilliance of Rowan Atkinson.

One of my favorite episodes of Blackadder, was the movie called Blackadder: Back and Forth, where he invents an time machine.

He makes fun of the French in this clip, and I laugh every time I see it.

More blogging to come, I promise. I've been doing some reading and writing. I'll start blogging again in a few days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Harry Potter, Dave Barry and Teaching a 7th Grader about Kingdom Hearts

As many of you know (or have gathered from the short story below), I am a fan of Harry Potter. The cover art for the new book was revealed today.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it's kinda obvious...There was always going to be a showdown between Voldemort and Harry...

Two questions immediately came to mind, however; "What is he reaching for?" and "Where is his wand?"

In the meantime, I am waiting for Lady Lupin or Brandon Ford to comment on their editorials at Mugglenet. Lady Lupin writes the Spinner's End; and Brandon writes The Underground Lake.

I am also a huge Peter Pan fan, and have always wanted to do a Peter Pan themed baby's room. We plan to skew it to Tinkerbell if we have a girl, and Peter Pan if we have a boy. But it's impossible to find Disney baby stuff that's not Winnie the Pooh. (I love Tigger and Pooh as much as the next girl my age, but come on!) Well, with the release of the Peter Pan movie on DVD, Disney has started selling baby play yards with a map of Neverland painted on the bottom of it! Could a Neverland themed crib set be far behind? This blogger hopes not!

Anyway, I was roaming through the Children's Books section of Barnes and Noble and discovered that Dave Barry has co-authored two stories about how Peter met Captain Hook; Peter and the Starcatchers and Peter and the Shadow Theives. I bought and finished both of them in short order, and tried to discover if there were more on the way. I found the Escape from the Carnivale, which was a fun little read.

In the meantime, I've given up Scott Adams blog for Dave Barry's (mostly due to the Peter Pan books) and have thoroughly enjoyed the posts in the blog, and the comments his other fans make keep me in stitches. His blog mostly consists of news articles of wierd news from around the world. (Is it wrong that this is my only source of news?)

I, only today, discovered that Dave's taking time away from his column to write the next in the Peter Pan series! I feel that Harry Potter-esqe obsession creeping up on me. It's giving me something to look forward to in the fall, besides the release of the next HP movie on DVD...

Speaking of Disney, my little sister is staying with me and my husband while she finishes her 7th grade year. (My parents moved to the other side of the state the week after we moved up from Cali. Thanks guys!) I logged 70 (yes you read it right) hours on Kingdom Hearts a few years ago (before I started dating my husband...or anyone else for that matter), and my little sister wanted to know what it was like. We started it two weeks ago, and are going through it together. We take turns fighting the bad guys, and we switch when we die, or when the dog jumps on the person holding the controller. We're stuck fighting Ursula at the moment, but a few more try's should do it. (She's harder to beat than the guy at the end of the game. Then again, I didn't fight him until I leveled up to 99 and had the Ultima Weapons for all of the characters...)

My husband shakes his head, but I told him that I only have a few more weeks with her, and the rest of my life with him! And it's not like we're going to rush right into KH2 when we're done. Or are we?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Wow! I'm listening to U2's "In A Little While" and he's at that part where he repeats "It's Been Ahwhile" over and over, and I'm thinking, "Irony!"

It HAS been awhile!

Let's catch up!

The vacation was fantastic! We met some great people, and had a fantastic time. I'll have skin cancer for sure from the snorkeling and the resulting sunburn, but it was worth it!. The CrapCam broke on the first day of the vacation, but our friend offered to send some of his pictures.

I took the job I was flown out to Scottsdale to interview for. It's a great company, and I'm glad to be here.

The move went fairly smooth. We punched a hole in one of our IKEA bookcase ends, but it's barely noticeable...thanks to the potted topiary I have sitting in front of it!

Anyway, I've been reading Dave Barry's blog on my lunch breaks. It's an addiction...I find myself thinking about the "Wooden Dialogue Generator" during almost every TV Show I watch now. And WBAGNFARB has become a regular pastime now...I'll post my list sometime.

Now that I'm back in a regular "9-5" situation, I'll be updating my blog a little more regularly...

Glad to be back!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

No More Quiet Weekends

The cry of a newborn baby boy filled the birthing room at Evergreen Medical Center at 4:30 pm. Doctor Arleta Lewis handed the baby to a nurse, who very quickly whisked him away to be cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket. Doug’s worried face watched her attend to his son, until I squeezed his hand as another contraction wracked my body. The other one was coming!

We sat in a hot tub, with the jets pointed firmly at my lower back, and waited. One more contraction, and I could feel the baby moving. Three contractions later, our daughter was born.

Dr Lewis pulled the baby from the tub, and the nurse handed our son to Doug. She took our daughter from Dr. Lewis. Arleta delivered the placenta, and declared that I was doing wonderfully. The nurse returned with the baby, and placed her in my arms. Doug and I cried and kissed and said hello to our new little ones.

Eventually, I had to get out of the tub, and it took two nurses to help me out of the tub and into my bed. When I was settled in, Doug handed me my son, grabbed his daughter and scooted next to me on the bed.

Molly Lynn was 5 lbs, 7 oz and 18 inches long. Ryan Douglas was 5 lbs, 9 oz and 18 1/2 inches long. Ten little fingers and toes on each child, and two perfect little noses and four rosy cheeks. Molly had my mouth, and Ryan had his daddy’s eyes.

Doug called everyone we knew and announced the babies weights and measurements like they were Easter hams to our family and friends.

Jack asked why they weren’t named “Arwen” and “Legolas.” Truth is, I suggested “Eowyn” as a middle name, but when Doug didn’t know who she was, I stopped suggesting names from the Lord of the Rings. Molly is a fairly common name, but also was my little homage to Harry Potter.

We spent the rest of the night learning to feed twins, sleeping, and talking to family and friends. Molly and Ryan ate and cried and we tried to figure out what was wrong. When they finally fell asleep, we stared in wonder at the new little miracles that had been bestowed upon us. I fell into an exhausted, but contented sleep that night.

The next day, after a thorough examination from the doctor, Doug and I were escorted to the parking lot with our babies, and we headed home. They were so tiny in their little car seats.

Chris met us at the door. She had been watching Pugsley and Wednesday. Pugsley was now full
grown, but not grown up…he bolted out the door and attempted to climb into the car as we detached the car seats from their frames. I blocked him from jumping up, and he hopped up and down and ran between the front steps and the car in smaller and smaller circles, until he had led us to the front door. We stepped inside, where Chris was barely managing to constrain a wiggling Wednesday. We put the babies on the dining room table, and Chris put the pug down.

I gave Chris a hug and introduced her to her neice and nephew. She said Jack was going to be so jealous that she got to see them first!

The dogs ran and yipped and chased each other through the entry and dining room, until Wednesday stopped short, sniffing. She barked, a short warning bark, to let us know something had changed. Chris jumped. Doug and I laughed. Molly cried. Wednesday and Pugsley tilted their heads.

I picked up Wednesday and scratched her ears. She sniffed the air over the babies. We had been introducing smells of baby lotion and shampoos for several months now, and making sure that Pugsley and Wednesday did not cross into the twin's room. She knew the scent and started backing up. Molly cried again, and Wednesday wiggled her way out of my arms and ran into the kitchen, peeking through the door and barking. Pugsley followed her into the kitchen before we could get our hands on him!

Chris stayed for a couple of days and helped out until we got a good routine going with the babies. Pugsley and Wednesday finally learned to sleep in their crates again. They would bark when the babies cried and more than one early morning was spent trying to calm the twin that had been sleeping until the dog barked at them.

Doug went back to work a few days after the twins were born. He worked half days for awhile, and I was really grateful when he walked in the door! We each were in charge of a kid, and handled the feeding, diapering and napping until bedtime.

The pugs were not so cooperative. Once, Wednesday jumped on the couch and tried to sit between me and the baby when I was changing diapers. The resulting mess was disgusting, and made me very glad that I had tile floors in the living room. We changed the babies in their room from then on.

We also made sure we spent time with the dogs without the babies around.

One night, Doug and I laid in bed with our babies sleeping between us, Wednesday and Pugsley snoring in their crates. He looked me deep in the eyes and said, "I guess this will have to pass for quiet weekends now!"

Ryan inhaled stiffly and we braced ourselves for a scream, but he only sighed and drifted back to sleep. I said, "We'll take as much quiet as we can get!"

The Announcement

My father’s surprise birthday party was going to be starting in twenty minutes. My cell phone rang, and my dad was on the line complaining that my mother was trying to get him to go out, when he wanted to stay in and watch football.

The horror!

Wednesday barked at Pugsley.

Dad asked why the dogs were with me, and I told him we were on our way to a friend’s house. I explained to him, again, the wonders of TiVO and sensing that he was not going to get any sympathy from me, he unenthusiastically agreed to record the game and go to lunch with Mom.

As soon as I stepped out of the car at my brother’s place, Jack spotted me. He ran up, threw his arms around me, and asked if it was a boy or girl. I told him we would find out next week. Then I told him to keep it quiet.

“Quiet-er. It’s part of dad’s birthday present. I’m giving him baby booties.”

“Why? They aren’t gonna fit him.”

“They’re not for him to wear, smarty.”

“He’s gonna do cartwheels!”

“Then we better tell the waitress to clear out some tables. And somebody go get me a video camera. America’s Funniest Home Videos won’t be able to pass this one up!”

“Oh, ha-ha. He’ll be at the restaurant in twenty minutes.”

“Thirty. I just got off the phone with him. He’s complaining that mom want’s to go to lunch, so I walked him through recording the Seahawks game.”

“Gotta love TivO.”

“Best Christmas present we ever gave Mom!”

We unloaded the dogs and said our hellos to my niece and nephew. Taylor was almost three and Patrick was 11 months old. Taylor and I had invented a game where we squished each other’s noses, so most of our time was spent squishing and making squishing noises. Patrick wanted in on the fun, so we included him in the game too.

Chris came out from the bedroom, and said, “You’ll have to do better than that if you don’t want anybody to know.”

I threw a furious glare at Jack, but he shook his head. “If you want to keep this quiet, Loony, you better show up after dinner! That sweater doesn’t hide anything!”

Jack and Chris played with Wednesday for a few minutes, then I introduced our latest four-legged family member, Pugsley. Jack rolled his eyes and made me promise that I would only do this to the pets, not the kids.

“You named your son after our great aunt. You have no room to speak.”

“Patrick. Not Patricia.”

“Yeah, okay. He’s still gonna be called Pat. Just like her.”

“Not if Auntie Lynn wants to live.”

“Alright, you two,” Chris interjected. “Don’t make me turn this car around!”

“Speaking of cars,” Doug said, checking his watch, “we have five minutes to get to the restaurant if we wanted to get there ahead of your parents.” We locked up the dogs, piled in our respective cars and Doug followed Jack through town to Frankie Doodles.

Our great aunt Pat had decorated one whole wall of the restaurant, with the brightest, flashiest decorations she could find. A mylar banner sprawled across the wall above our bright fuschia table, boldly announcing my father’s age to the world in fluorescent orange. “Happy 60th Birthday!” Brightly colored hats and noise makers littered the table, and bouquets of balloons flanked the seating area. Floyd was pleading with his wife to stop spraying confetti everywhere. Pat told him to mind his own beeswax. He just shook his head and shrugged as he picked his seat.

“Holy shitake mushrooms!” Jack stopped dead in front of the table and declared it to be the gaudiest thing he ever saw in his life. Doug, Chris and I nodded in agreement. It was perfect!

Dad and Mom arrived ten minutes later, and he pretended to be dismayed by all the fuss, but we all knew better. Everyone kissed their hellos, and we found our places at the table and started eating.

Chris handed Patrick to me and said I should start practicing. My mother looked at me funny, but I busied myself with opening a jar of strained carrots for my nephew. He sat in his high-chair with his mouth open like a baby bird. Soon enough his face was covered with strained carrots and bits of chicken sticks. Chris just shook her head.

When dinner was barely finished, Jack announced that it was time to open gifts, and shoved my gift into dad’s hand.

“Kinda wide, don’t ya think? Did you pack each one in its own box?” Jack spoke in that low voice he gets when he wants to talk quietly. Naturally, everyone at the table heard him.

Dad pulled two little white baby booties from the box and the whole table erupted with congratulations and squeals of joy. Doug announced that we were due in March or April, and that we’d find out next month if we were having boys or girls. At this, Dad looked back into the package, and pulled a second pair of booties from the wrapping.

Gasps of “Twins!” ran around the table, and my mother started snapping pictures. She does that when she get’s emotional and there’s a camera around. I rather deftly diverted attention back to my father and said, “Next present!”

Our audience swerved their heads back to my dad, who gleefully opened the large, flat package from my brother; a custom built dashboard for his 1953 International TravelAll. “Brushed aluminum!” We girls rolled our eyes at each other, while the boys ogled the car parts. For several years now, my father has been restoring old International private passenger trucks and Scouts, but he was having a hard time finding just the right dash board for his own truck. His perfectionism had given him a good reputation and his restored trucks were keeping him busy. When Jack told me what he was getting for Dad, I had no idea what he was talking about, but seeing it in person, I had to admit, it really was beautiful.

After the presents were opened, my mom gave me a big hug and told me she was so happy for me and Doug. “But,” she said, “I’m really happy for your Dad and me. We’re going to be grandparents again!”

She asked if we had picked names, and with a straight face, I told her that if we had boys, we’d name them “Gomez” and “Fester.”

Quiet Weekends

It was a warm Saturday night in Seattle, and Pugsley was in a ball, snoring loudly on my lap as I sat reading. Curled up on the couch reading the final Harry Potter with growing excitement and dread, I stopped every few pages to quietly mourn that this would be the last book, and chastise myself for being such a nerd.

My husband had gone upstairs to bed hours before, shaking his head and muttering about losing his 35 year old wife to a 17 year old who doesn’t even exist. I love my husband heart and soul, but he married me knowing full well how obsessed I was with the Boy Who Lived. He thinks it’s because the young man who plays Harry in the movies is cute. Truth is I lost my heart to Harry long before Master Radcliffe was even considered for the role!

At 3am, I finished the final Harry Potter book, weeping with loss. I always feel a little sad when I finish a new book. There was an especial sadness this time, knowing this was end of the series. I said a silent prayer for Jo in her time of loss, and then blew my nose.

Pugsley jolted upright at the sound, and nearly fell off my lap. He stretched his little puppy legs and yawned. I gently snuggled him for a second, and he licked my face. I carried him upstairs to the bedroom, and he had almost fallen back to sleep when I put him down in front of his crate. He hopped in reluctantly, but soon settled down and began snoring again.

I woke Wednesday up to get her off my pillow, and she staggered to the foot of the bed, collapsing dramatically in a heap and promptly started snoring again. I joined my husband under the covers, and dreamed all night about a dark wizard, and a boy with bright green eyes.

The next day, I went to the various Harry Potter fan sites on the internet. I read the editorials, the message boards and found solace in the grieving community of fans who had spent the better part of the last two years anticipating what would happen next. Of course, we all want more, but out of respect for Jo, the consensus was that we would not ask.

My husband peeked in the office to check on me, and I noticed he had his waders and fly rod.

“I love you!” I yelled.

“I love you too, Babe. Be back in an hour or so.”

“Okay. Have fun! Did you take the camera?”

“Yes. I’m taking the dogs.”

“Great. Don’t let Wednesday teach Pugsley any bad habits out there!”

“Yeah, right. See you later!”

The sound of felt wading boots receded, accompanied by the unmistakable sound of two sets of dog claws scrabbling on slate tile. The door shut quietly and the house was silent again. I finished checking the editorials on Mugglenet for new entries, and commented on a few message board threads before shutting down the computer and heading into the kitchen.

I put a pork roast in the slow cooker with a packet of onion soup mix and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Then I pulled a shallot, two yellow squash and two zucchini out of the fridge and sliced them into a bowl. I minced three cloves of garlic, and tossed them with the vegetables and a tablespoon of olive oil.

I happened to look out the window to our backyard where my husband was standing 10 feet out in the river, our pugs cavorting along the shore line and digging holes in the dirt. Our fawn colored pug, Wednesday, was turning a dark shade of brown as she splashed in the river bank, and then rolled in the dirt. The black puppy, Pugsley, was quickly fading to brown as he copied everything she did. I opened the back porch door and they came bounding up the hill like excited pre-schoolers showing their mommy a new discovery.

Doug waived at me from the river and I waived back. It was our signal that the dogs had scared away all his fish, and he’s going a little way upstream to try elsewhere. The evening hatch would be starting soon, and I didn’t have much time. I put the bowl of veggies into the fridge, donned my waders and vest, and locked the dogs in the mud room. I walked down the steep hill to join my husband in the river.

I picked a nice fat Hemmingway and clamped down the barb. Doug gave me an amused look when he saw the fly. He knew it was my favorite. I walked upstream about 10 feet, and observed the hatch in action. Large stone flies were landing on the water, depositing their eggs. The lucky ones flew off again. The not so lucky ones were sucked under. I watched the stretch of river for a few seconds and made my cast. My fly drifted along lazily on top of the water where I had just seen a rise. Two casts later, a 15 inch trout sipped it, and I called out to my husband to show him my catch. He took a picture, and I let the fish back into the water.

Doug handed me the camera. He walked upstream from me about 5 feet, cast once, and caught a 22- incher. The show off.

He has been fishing since he was four years old. He is a fish magnet. On charter boats, he is always the first to catch a fish, and he always catches more fish than anyone else. He took up fly fishing in his twenties to give himself a challenge. Any fly fisher will tell you that there are going to be days when you will not catch anything. For Doug, those days were when he was teaching me, and only got to demonstrate techniques. Even then, the line was tapped…

We caught several more fish, dutifully captured them on memory card, and spent the rest of the twilight hours trying to keep from inhaling swarms of stone fly hatchlings. Just after sunset, we began the long walk downstream, then up the hill to the house. Thankfully, I put the porch light on before I walked down. Many a Sunday evening has been spent walking up that hill in the dark, trampling the ferns and tripping over gnarled tree roots.

When we opened the back door, the pork roast had filled the house with a delicious aroma, and both of us felt our stomachs growling. The roast was not quite done yet, so we gave the dogs their weekly bath. We had a dog shower installed in our mud room during the remodel last year. The look on the contractor’s face when we told him our idea was worth the price of the installation. Basically, it has all the features of a regular shower enclosure, but three feet high. Finding the door was the hard part.

The dogs love shower time. Wednesday runs in little laps around the floor, and we have to try to keep them from licking the soap suds off each other. We each grabbed a towel and I grabbed Wednesday. We dried the wigglers as best we could, and I stuffed both of them into their pajamas to finish the drying process, while Doug sautéed the vegetables I had prepped for him. Pugsley immediately started chewing on the left-front sleeve of his pj’s. I sprayed some bitter apple on the sleeve. He took a bite, shook his head and started smacking his lips. He sneezed, sniffed the sleeve and gave it an experimental lick. He shook his head and sneezed again. Out of compulsion, he sniffed the sleeve again. I sprayed the right sleeve before he discovered the other side tastes better. Wednesday sniffed the air, wrinkled her nose and trotted over to the door.

The dogs followed me into the kitchen and I set out the plates and silverware. Then I grabbed their food bowls. Pugsley ran in excited little circles until I said, “Down.” He dropped down and stayed very still. As soon as I touched the bowls, Wednesday ran into the other room. She sat on the other side of the door and peeked around the corner. I set the full bowls in their crates and called them. Pugsley ran straight in and started chomping away. I closed his door and called for Wednesday again.

She had her head turned resolutely away from me, but had her ears cocked back toward me, and then would sneak quick little sideways glances to see where I was. I called her again, and she grudgingly turned around and laid down. I pointed at her crate and said “Come.” She licked her chops and sat up. I snapped my fingers, and she seemed to resign herself to eating in her crate and reluctantly hopped in. By the time we were done, Pugsley was already finished and was rooting around to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Serenaded by two snoring pugs, Doug and I enjoyed a romantic dinner where I regaled him with the fantastic events of the book, we talked about the fish we caught, and discussed what we were going to do with the leftover pork roast for the rest of the week.

I did the dishes, and Doug updated his fishing blog and uploaded some pictures. We got done around the same time. I let the dogs out of their crates in the kitchen, and they scrambled up the stairs. I took Doug’s hand, and led him upstairs to our room.

“My temperature is at 98.7 tonight,” I romantically whispered in his ear.

“You’re hot,” he whispered back in a teasing whisper as he nibbled my ear.

We tried again.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Ghost in the Office

I gave my company WAY TOO MUCH notice that I was leaving. Now I sit in a closet with the marketing items, wondering if I can sell them on eBay, or if they're really useless to anyone outside the business...

The other half of my day is spent wondering if I can just shut the door to the marking closet and sleep, or if anyone would notice if I did.

My contribution to the company now is limited to sorting mail. But soon, that will be taken away from me too.

The only person that has spoken to me so far today is the receptionist when I arrived this morning and we both mumbled hello. Now, when I pass through the lobby, we nod and smile at each other.

One person, who I thought I was friends with, came by with her new baby last week. I found out from someone who asked that afternoon if I had seen the baby. I hadn't. I didn't even know she had been in the office!

I take days off to interview for other companies. Just yesterday, I was flown out to Scottsdale for an interview with a company that has an opening where I'm moving. It felt more like an interrogation than an interview. I still don't know what to think about the job, but I told them I was interested. I've still got a month to generate some excitement or feeling about it.

In the meantime, I linger in this office like a ghost. The ghost of Kristie past...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Three more weeks

It's amazing how things in the not too distant future will initiate a countdown calendar.

A vacation
A move
A new job

It also amuses me how things that would set me over the edge are made insignificant in light of said countdown calendar.

My husband and I are taking a vacation in three weeks and moving to another state in four. Our tolerance for life's little annoyances has become supremely high, thanks to the countdown calendar.

Something annoys me at work? I tell myself "Three weeks."

Someone pesters my husband four times in 15 minutes? He says to me "Three weeks."

We are very excited about our move. I'm moving closer to my family. My husband is moving closer to blue-ribbon fly-fishing rivers. So we both win!

It will be sad to leave behind his family. They really are great people. But it's not like we'll never visit again. We're leaving the state, not the planet...

So far, we have packed way too many boxes of dvds, cds and books. I am convinced that we'll need nothing but bookcases in our next apartment. How did we acquire so many books?
My husband used to work at a cd store, so that's why we have so many cd's. I, personally, would not have chosen to have so much reggae, but it wasn't my collection. Unfortunately, I have to take the credit (blame?) for a lot of the books. I've been an avid reader since grade school.

I'm worried that just the items we have in our bedroom at my father-in-law's house will take the entire space we have reserved on the freight, we have about half the items we are bringing with us in a storage unit. This is going to be interesting!

Three more weeks...

Friday, January 12, 2007

What to expect when you're reading

I've been doing a lot of reading of Scott Adams blog on lately. I enjoy his sense of humor and observations about life, even if I don't agree with his views about God, atheism and free-will. (I've skimmed a lot of those posts, because, frankly, they don't interest me. Sorry, Scott. Let's just say I was pre-programmed that way...) I also enjoy the fact that he spends a lot of his time asking his readers to help him solve the problems in the Middle East. If he wins a Nobel Prize, I want partial credit...

In his blog, he states that he is a cynical optimist. I immediately understood what he meant by that. I, too, am generally optimistic that things will work out, but at the same time, I understand that the average person will shove me in front of a bus for a free Big Mac.

The posts that I enjoy the most are the ones where he comments on things that happen to him personally. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who injures themselves reaching for items in the back seat of the car, doesn't like people who talk on the phone to keep themselves entertained in waiting areas, and cannot think clearly if both feet are not firmly planted on the floor.

I also really enjoy his comments on funny news items. He has some priceless observations about the ridiculous situations that we, as human beings, get ourselves into on a regular basis. More than once, I have been dangerously close to becoming a human spray bottle, reading his posts. The man knows funny.

My blog will probably be along that same vein. A blatant attempt to make you spray your beverage on your computer through your face.

However, I will post occasional works of fiction. I continue to suffer under the delusion that there is a novel somewhere inside me that is struggling to get out, and the only way to let it emerge is with practice. I'm sorry to inflict this on you. (But not really or I wouldn't be doing it, now would I?)