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Today’s prompt was about a piece of music that changed my life forever. Honestly? There’s no one piece of music that changed my life forever. Although I will say that Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the single worst earworm in the history of earworms, and now I’m going to go back to my current earworm which is irritating enough.

It’s always nice to get things in the mail that are neither bills, catalogues, nor junk mail. And yesterday I was really blessed. I got a box of clothes from Coldwater Creek, and I got a fat envelope from Jehara with a truly gorgeous journal in it. Yay! Jehara, in case I haven’t already made this abundantly clear, is one of my very favourite people in the whole world, and anyone who doesn’t know her, well, let’s just say I feel truly sorry for you.  She’s vibrant and loving and creative and quirky. In fact, it was she who started the Quirky Girls Read blog, and I love being a part of it and love getting to know the other quirky girls even better. If you haven’t checked us out, click the link on my sidebar under booky goodness.

So I’m working Wednesday, off Thursday (of course), and working Friday morning. The incomparable Izzybella and I talked for a good while last night planning out Friday afternoon. We’re going to meet at my house, go see breaking dawn, eat somewhere, go to Enchanted Forest, go to World Market, and go to Target. And hang together, because she is the most awesome of sisters. Anyone who doesn’t know her, well, let’s just say I feel truly sorry for you. (That sounds familiar. When have I said that before? Hmmm.)  She’s genuine, a true friend, loving, creative, a brilliantly brilliant actor, creative and–dare I say it–quirky. In fact, she is one of the Quirky Girls.

If you’re one of our facebook buddies, go check out the photos I’ve posted the last couple of days. There’s one of Jehara, Amethyst, Izzybella, and me on opening night of the last Harry Potter movie. And one of me being totally goofy, and one of my husband looking like a rock star, and one of my mom, and a few of the Autrey family being their goofy best.

Have a great hump day! Hump proudly!

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I needs it.

So: Amethyst is coming over tonight for dinner. I’m making nachos. Well, technically, I’m making queso blanco dip and buying guacamole and beans and chips, and she can make her own damn nachos. 🙂  Amethyst is one of the coolest people I know, and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know her awesomeness.

I get to go buy a new doggie bed for Miss Emmylou Who. We used to have 2 beds, but one of them went to the cemetery with Scout. We put the other one on the patio so Emmylou can lounge in cushioned comfort while she watches the world go by and barks at the poodle who lives across the way. That means we need a new one for her to lounge on inside. (Every time I try to type lounge, it comes out lunge. Is that the universe telling me I need some exercise?)

I get to go buy new towels. The temporary housing people arranged for someone to rent us housewares, and a whole bunch of lovely white towels were included in the package.  But almost all of them got ruined in Scout’s final hours. 😦  So I have to buy more. (Question: What do they do with all this stuff that they rented to us once we move back home? Because everything was new and I can’t imagine them taking the dishes we’ve eaten off of for however long and renting them to someone else. Guess I’d better ask the temporary housing people.)

I get to do laundry, but that’s no big deal. One of the benefits of having very little clothing means it doesn’t take long to wash it, dry it, and put it away.

I get to visit with the incomparable Izzybella at some point this weekend.

I get to watch this online seminar I signed up for.

I get to read.

I get to walk Emmylou and watch her play with the other dogs.

I get to sleep.

I get to get a pedicure. (I think I’d better shave my legs first. Just a thought.)

I get to watch scary movies and shows about hoarders that Joe doesn’t like so I don’t watch when he’s in town.

I get to write a book review for Quirky Girls. See, I’m participating in the R.I.P. challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. And I’ve got book reviews of all kinds of scary books going up this month, mostly on the weekends so I don’t butt into the schedules of the other awesome quirky girls. And this book I read just because I love the author so much: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. I met her at a World Fantasy Conference in Austin 5 or 6 years ago, and fell in love with her coolness.  So if you want to know what I think about her latest book, please go visit us at Quirky Girls; I’ll have the post up by Saturday morning.

I get to get up and meet my family for breakfast Saturday morning, if I can get my lazy tuchus out of bed by 6:15 so I have time to drive to Fort Worth and get to the restaurant by 7 because my Dad has to work this weekend, which really sucks because it’s supposed to be his weekend off. And I miss seeing my parents every weekend. I had gotten very used to that before the dang fire, and now it’s all messed up. The alarm will be set. But I make no promises.

And maybe I’ll get to have a nice long chat with Jehara. We talked for like 2 1/2 hours last weekend, and it was lovely. She restores my soul. She loves me so much, so unconditionally, and she’s cool to boot.

Ooh! And maybe I’ll go to Half Price Books! I think I have a 15% off my entire purchase coupon in my desk drawer. Hang on—nah, it’s not there. I have no idea where I put it. Maybe it’s in my other purse.

Do you know how weird that sounds? My other purse? Right now I have 2. Well, okay, I have 4, but one of them got the handle chewed off by one of the dogs, and the other one I accidentally spilled Gatorade in when I stuck a bottle in to bring to work and didn’t check to see if the lid was tightly closed (it wasn’t), and now the brown and tan bag is brown and tan and pink. Not a pretty look. But I did salvage a fair few of my bags from the house, and if I can get the smoke smell out of them, then all will be well. Otherwise, I shall be shopping for handbags, because I change handbags like I change my socks.

But the point I’m trying to make is, I’m going to have a relaxing weekend doing whatever the heck I want. The strain of caring for Scout was so overwhelming, and I think both Joe and I felt completely drained. I need some rest. So does my husband. He’s on an assignment for work; however, he basically just has to be in the town this afternoon and Monday morning. Other than that, his time is his own. So I’m hoping he gets some rest as well, goes and sees some music, eats some good food, and comes home feeling a little better about life.  We’ll miss Scout, just as we miss Molly and Stan, but we’re glad he’s no longer suffering. And I cannot deny I’m guiltily glad that I can rest this weekend.

And yeah, I know I said no more dogs, but I told Joe that I would be willing to talk about it when we’re back in the house. Definitely not as long as we’re in the apartment. But if Joe still wants another dog by the time we move back home, then I’ll consider it. The love they give you is so precious. The sorrow and hurt when they’re gone is agonising. Does the joy outweight the sorrow? Yeah. It does. I mean, it broke my heart when Molly died, but Emmylou just jumped right into the family and took up her own place. And I’m glad that we have her, because being completely alone would seem so empty.

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It does appear as though the direction we’re taking is rebuilding the house. Joe was there yesterday evening with the adjusters and mooring company, and they’re going to be gutting the house either tomorrow or Monday. And instead of it taking 2-3 months, as they originally estimated, it’s now looking more like 4-5 months. In other words, we’ll be lucky to be home by Christmas.

Joe got my wedding ring out for me, as it had been left in my jewelry armoire that will have to be replaced. And he got SGB’s manuscript off my brand new dresser that will have to be replaced. Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, the furniture is going to have to go. Even the brand new stuff that we got last Saturday. Less than a week ago, it was, and yet it seems a lifetime.

On the positive side: the hotel is just 10 minutes from my office. I can only hope the apartment they put us into next will be as close. Another perk of being in the hotel: free breakfast. Someone else doing the linens and making the beds. Clean towels every day. That’s good, right? And we get to have the dogs with us. (Poor babies–they’re so discombobulated they don’t know what to make of things. And how do you explain it to them? I’ve tried, but you know, they’re dogs, probably not understanding anything I say.)

Other positives: I get to go buy new clothes. And shoes. And at least one more handbag. My house on the inside will be all new. I get to buy new furniture. Yes, I’ve already started looking. (Hey! Stop laughing! Yeah, it may be 4 or 5 months until I get to go buy that new furniture, but if I start looking now, I’ll have a good idea what I want and where to find it when the time comes.) And new makeup. Sephora, here I come! And a new piano.

It’s just that when you try to sit down and think of everything that you’ve lost, it can be very overwhelming. I was making lists yesterday, and they only covered the bare minimum of what was in any given room. All my junk jewelry–cheaper to replace than to try to clean. The 3 or 4 fascinators I never got to wear–will the smoke smell ever come out of them? A basketful of scarves. My books. Notes from my Shakespeare & Chaucer classes (just in case I ever decide to teach English). Journals. Blank books. Note cards, stationery, books where I’ve scribbled down favourite recipes. Cookbooks. Beautiful leather-bound very expensive books about the Crusades and various medieval writers. All my numerous copies of The Canterbury Tales. Notes from my Dante class. My grandmother’s journals (which I devoutly hope are in our storage unit but I’m afraid they might not be). Photographs. Holiday decorations. Mostly things that others would attach no value to, but to me are priceless. The clothes that I was planning to pass along to the incomparable Izzybella or Sarah-bear. The clothes I’ve been saving as I’m on my journey to smaller sizes.  All my beautiful shoes–the cream brocade grannie boots, the black lace guess do-me heels, my bitch boots, all the wedges and heels I’ve been purchasing over the last 6 months or so. And my handbags–most of them comparatively inexpensive, but still hard to replace.

Heck, even my bathroom scale! I don’t know how I’m doing weight-wise, because I haven’t been able to weigh myself since last Sunday morning! I know I’ve been doing some stress eating, but compared to what it would have been pre-banding, it’s absolutely nothing. But I like seeing the numbers on the scale every day. It keeps me focused.

The ugliest bridesmaid dress ever, that I was going to take to the cleaners and then sell on e-bay. Now I guess I’ll just stomp on it and let it be thrown away. The most beautiful formal that Izzybella got some years ago, and that I swore I would someday wear. The baby christening gown and blanket made by my grandmother years ago, that I was planning to pass down to my niece when she’s old enough to have children, that my stepsister’s daughter was blessed in, that Izzybella was blessed in. That I won’t throw away, of course. I will make every effort to have it restored because that, too, is priceless.

And the most treasured things of all are the memories. Memories of Molly, when we first brought her home, with her adorable afro, lying on the floor doing the Molly Flop. Stan gnawing my shoe that was bigger than he was. Molly burying full bags of Joe’s Christmas candy in the back yard. Chase putting on Joe’s heavy gloves and heading for the fireplace, startled when he was stopped, and explained, “I Joe!” Chase seeing me pour out the dregs of a milk carton for his brother, and started bellowing, “Milk! Milk!” and not calming down until he saw me take a full milk carton out of the refrigerator. Alannah and Kyle climbing the tree in our back yard. Chase wandering around nakey after his baby pool-soaked diaper fell off. Christmas Eves with Ben & Janine and their kids. Clover coming to give me a shot in the butt when I was doing IVF trying to have kids. Danny and I, staying up all night after watching Blair Witch Project because we were too spooked to turn the lights off. Crying my heart out in the long days after the IVF failed. Molly peeing on an area rug right after we told Joe’s friends from Australia that she was a good dog and never tinkled in the house. Christmas after Christmas after Christmas. Joe making huge pots of mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. Joe making huge pots of mashed potatoes for the two of us, and danged if we didn’t manage to eat every bite. Molly being incensed at Mom’s being allowed in the then-yellow room, when she wasn’t, and defiantly going in there to tinkle the day Mom left. The bathroom door constantly coming out of its hinges. That Christmas morning when I sent Molly in to wake up Izzybella, and she enthusiastically complied, jumping onto Izzy’s stomach and kissing her face. The day I drop-kicked a multi-pack of Wolf chili because I was in a snit, and dang near broke my toe. Joe playing guitar so loudly that I could hear it from the inside of my car as I pulled into the driveway. MoMeNTuM meetings. Jehara bringing me my beautiful awesome wonderful zen box that’s now smoked out. Dancing in the living room with Joe. Dancing in the living room with Molly. Having Molly join me when I was practicing yoga in the living room. Spending three months sleeping on the recliner in the living room after having had knee replacement surgery. Laughter, tears, arguments, hugs, kisses, joy, sorrow–the soon-to-be-torn-down walls of our home are replete with the emotions and events from the past 13 years. Those things can’t be replaced. But the new walls will be erected, and in 13 years, we’ll have 13 years worth of memories to look back on.

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Day 20 – What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? Did you repay the kindness? Did you blog about it?

Read more: 31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1SfZHmM6H

 

There have been many kind things that people have done for me, and I hope I repaid the kindness. I think I did, whether it was to that person or through paying it forward.

There was Clover, who came over to my house when I was doing the IVF, to clean it and give me shots in the fanny every day. Who cried with me when I lost the babies. Who remembered me and my pain weeks after others had stopped commiserating with me. Who shares her kids with me. Who’s been the most amazing friend a girl could ever hope to have.

There’s Jehara, who conspired with my sister Izzybella to get me through the legal mechanics of getting my name changed. Who gave me a chance to act in front of an audience. Who gave me the opportunity to help write a play. Who’s there for me any time I need her.

There’s the incomparable Izzybella, of course, who has been there for me every day of her life since she was the greatest birthday present I ever got.

And I’ve blogged about it all. I am aware of how blessed I am in my family and friends, and hope they always know it.

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Oh grave, where is thy victory?

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Only a wee titch of drama around here. Joe was supposed to take the Grey Lady to the shop yesterday; I haven’t been able to get her started. So I call him at 1 to remind him he was to be there at 1:30. He calls back about 1:30 wondering if I’d seen his keys. I said no, and told him to keep looking for them. I said a prayer. Now you’ve got to understand this; usually when something’s lost, I say a prayer and we find it almost immediately. So I honestly didn’t think much about it again. Then I called him about 3:45 to find out if he had any news on the car, and he hadn’t gone because he still hadn’t found his keys. We tore the place apart last night looking for those dang keys. Now the keys themselves aren’t that big a deal–I can (and will) get duplicates made–but he used as a key chain the collar and tag of our first dog, Stan. So he was heartbroken about losing that. I’m not without hope that they’ll turn up in some exceedingly bizarre place.

And he had to leave today for Minnesota. Usually on flight days we get up at 5:30 and leave at 6. That gives me time to get him to the airport and get to work on time (actually 15 minutes early, which is how I like it). As we got onto the freeway, we saw that there was an accident at the intersection just past our house. As we passed said exit, he suddenly panicked. He’d forgotten his phone. That’s important enough that we had to turn around and go back home. I was 10 minutes late to work, but he was able to get on his plane. He’ll be back for the weekend before leaving for San Francisco next week.

Last night he made his famous mashed potatoes, and I have a nice lovely bowlful in the refrigerator. The question is not whether I will eat them, but rather will I be good and have a chicken breast and some veggies along with them and make them last two days, or whether I will just sit down and have a bowl of mashed potatoes for dinner.  Frankly, I’m inclined toward the latter option.  Fiber schmiber. I can always have a bowl of All-Bran before bedtime.

Still on the Dorothy L. Sayers kick; last night we watched Strong Poison. The actor who plays Harriet Vane reminds us both very strongly of Keira Knightly, so I imdb’d her and was interested to see that she’d played Knightly’s mother in Atonement.

Oh, I didn’t even say much about the new furniture, did I? Shame on me! Our new bedroom furniture was delivered last weekend. I can’t post pictures yet because Izzy still has my camera, but the bedroom looks so nice and warm and cozy now. The bed’s high enough that Molly can’t jump up onto it, so we got some steps. She’s afraid of them and won’t use them, but Scout does, which saves his back a bit. So last night I picked Molly up and put her onto the bed, and we all snuggled up together to watch the show. If anyone has any ideas how to teach a recalcitrant border collie to use the steps to get onto the bed, I’d appreciate hearing about them. We tried treats and coaxing and demonstrating. At one point we got her to put her two front paws on the middle step, but she would go no further.

I have a rip-roaring sore throat. It started yesterday about 3:00. I’ll run out to the drugstore during my lunch break and get some lozenges. The ones I have at work don’t do that great a job at numbing the pain, and they taste absolutely disgusting.

Hey, go send Chicory some love if you get a moment. She’s having her gall bladder out tomorrow. K THX BAI.

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Chase

Meet Chase.

Chase is one of my dearest friends. I’ve known him since, oh, birth (his, not mine). He is known for his toxic farts, his sense of humour, and his incredibly loving kindness. His mother Clover is one of my chosen sisters, and has kindly shared her kids with me, and even more kindly taken them back when I’ve had enough.

He has cystic fibrosis.  Like the the weird little man and his cheese in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (episode: Restless), Chase wears the cystic fibrosis; it does not wear him.  He has spent countless hours in the hospital, endured pain that I can’t imagine, and still manages (most of the time) to laugh at life’s absurdities.

Cystic fibrosis cuts short far too many lives. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is doing ground-breaking research, and now’s a great time for you to take a moment and make a small donation. Although that’s not quite right–there’s no such thing as a small donation. They’ll put anything you can spare to very good use.  If you’re able to help, go visit Clover’s fundraising site. It’s attached directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation site; you can either set up your own page or make a donation there. Either way, you’ll be truly glad you did.

So will Chase and Clover. So will I.

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I’ve been thinking about the Omnivore’s 100 I just posted. And I had so few on there that I had tried, and plenty more than I’ll never try (for various reasons), and plenty also that I have no idea what they are. 

I’m an adventurous eater, willing to try many things at least once. And while that list was high on things I have no intention of sampling (snails, for instance–ugh! I don’t want to touch the nasty things while they’re alive! Why would I want to ingest them? For the yummy garlic butter sauce they’re served with? I’ll have the sauce with some shrimp or lobster! Forget the snails!)

But here are some things I’ve tried that weren’t on the list, things I also think an omnivore should taste at least once:

  • kimchi
  • bulgogi
  • mandu
  • pierogi
  • shark steak
  • swordfish
  • freshly made naan with homemade hummus
  • scones with clotted cream and thick strawberry jam
  • lemon curd
  • matzoh-ball soup
  • kung pao chicken
  • fresh cherries that were only picked a few hours ago
  • a ripe tomato right off the vine
  • boiled peanuts
  • homemade plum jam from wild plums

I guess my point is that the list was an arbitrary one, one person’s opinion of what everyone should taste at least once. My list is just as arbitrary, perhaps a little less snooty (I’m not a wealthy gourmet, just a middle-class gourmand), and I like it because I’ve eaten everything on it at least once, some things every chance I get. And there are memories with all of them.

My first experiences with Korean food (mandu, bulgogi, kimchi, sweet potato noodles) came at the home of some very, very dear friends of mine. I never eat it anymore without thinking of them, and perhaps part of the reason I love it so is because of them. That being said, however, you can’t beat it for flavour.

I never ate Polish food until after meeting my husband. Now I love it. Well, some things, anyway–there are plenty of items in the “I’ll never touch it” category. But kielbasa, kapusta (I’m probably mangling the spelling–sorry), pierogi, and other things that I have even less idea how to spell, baby, I’m there.

Swordfish will always remind me of the hours Joe and I spent at Long Beach, always dining at our favourite seafood restaurant where I ate freshly caught swordfish and calamari.

Things like naan and hummus, clotted cream and scones, remind me irresistibly of Jehara. I’ve loved hummus for years, but never had naan before I met her. And I never had clotted cream before, and that’s one of those things that you can’t believe how good it tastes until you taste it, and the richness just explodes in your mouth.

Newly picked cherries is another Joe memory. While we were on one of our trips up to Buffalo, we went out into the middle of nowhere along the shores of Lake Ontario. On our way back, we stopped at a cherry orchard and got some ice cream and a big bag of cherries. We planted cherry trees from there all the way back to Buffalo. I’ve had plenty of cherries in my day, but those were undeniably the best ever.

Plum jam made from wild plums that we picked ourselves? When I was a kid, living in Georgia, every so often the family would pile into the car and drive out into the country (at least it seemed like the country to me), and pick wild plums. Then Mom would make it into the best jam I’ve ever tasted. Boiled peanuts are a Georgia thing, too. I can’t describe it. You just have to try them. Incredible.

Matzoh-ball soup is a comfort food for me. I want it when I’m sick, and I always think of Dad Farber when I eat it. And I think of him when I’m eating latkes or challah, or when I have a ham and cheese sandwich and remember him slyly offering me a scotch, knowing full well that I wouldn’t drink it. And bridge mix–always the bridge mix.

So food is so much more than just fuel for our bodies. It’s a wealth of flavour and memory pinging our senses with every aroma, every bite, every sip.

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