melaniesuzanne: (Mucha: The Seasons Spring)
An unexpected boon arrived in the mail towards the end of last week in the form of a check from my mother-in-law. In the accompanying note, she said that she'd read my post on Facebook about having cleaned out my closet and having only a few garments left which fit. I was incredibly touched and put that fun money to use on Sunday when [livejournal.com profile] courtney_d_h took me to Unique in Faifax for a full-on thrifting spree. I've never enjoyed thrift shopping for clothing because, well, nothing fit. But now that I'm a standard size, it was an absolute blast! She'd suggested wearing a loose skirt and leggings and a tank top. All I had in the way of skirts, though, are my exercise skirts (which I am thrilled to bits about them actually fitting now!) and I showed up at her place looking like I was ready for a bike ride.

Anyway, she is physically smaller than I in every direction and much more hour-glassy, plus we have much different coloring in that she is blonde/blue-eyed/pink-skinned and I am blonde/brown-eyed/warm-toned-in-summer (and pale blue in winter). So, when she found a top that too big/too long/too muted for her, she tossed it my way and I reciprocated when I found garments that were more suited to her. I came out of store with half a dozen capris, four skirts, and eight work-appropriate blouses all for $100+tax. We'll be doing that again when it's time for cold-weather clothes.

We also spent a couple of hours catching up on each others' lives over a barely-nibbled-at bowl of queso which, we would have devoured in milliseconds back in the hold days. The way things change...

Saturday was full of home-repair (Hubbyfink) and cleaning (me). Slowly but surely we're getting the minor repairs taken care of and may actually finish the basement this fall. I'm so excited about that prospect. [livejournal.com profile] psalite came over late in the afternoon and we spent a couple of hours paddling about the pool catching up with each others' and friends' lives. My goodness. It wasn't until this weekend that I realized what a hermit I'd become. Must force myself out of the house and enjoy all those friendships I've cultivated before they wither away.

Friday night, Hubbyfink and I finished "Sherlock". OMG. I am soooo glad that we only just got into that program otherwise I would be crawling the freaking walls. I'm also shipping FreemanWatson/CumberbathHolmes like whoa. I haven't started down the fanfic path just yet, but it's only a matter of time.
melaniesuzanne: (Rat)
It was really and truly wonderful, and one of those weekends you hope will never end. Friday night was full of laziness and then flailing about the new Sherlock series. (After having viewed an additional three episodes, I have developed impure feelings for Benedict Cumberbatch's sociopathic Holmes. Unf.)

Saturday was even lazier with me not rolling out of bed until the crack of noon. I spent a good portion of the afternoon catching up with a college friend whom I haven't seen in, oh, seventeen years? Good gravy. Then there was shopping which resulted in additional organization tools for the bathroom cabinet, cosmetics and fuchsia and purple hair dyes, a slinky dress, and the most adorable tankinis I've ever worn. And BONUS on the swimsuits: I got them from the REGULAR MISSES SIDE OF THE STORE. Boo-yah! (In fact, I think the tops are only XL instead of XXL and they may not carry me to the Outer Banks vacation in October. But, they'll get me through next week's dips in Mom's pool and excursions on the lake.)

Sunday was bittersweet in that we attended a going-away party for [livejournal.com profile] chargirlgenius and family who are moving to Colorado. [livejournal.com profile] snolan generously opened his house to us and we all spent the afternoon swimming, noshing on yummy foodstuffs, and visiting with far- and near-flung friends. Snolan even pulled out some port that was older than the majority of us for sipping. OMG. I had only a sip and it made me cross-eyed. More ports and a sweet wine came out and, again, I had only sips of each but I declared Scott the driver for the return trip home. It was terribly sad saying good-bye to Char and Jeff, but we'll get to see them in a couple of months when we visit Colorado. They'll have to show us their favorite hang-outs.

This morning's alarm was a harsh return to reality. I wanted very much to call in a mental health day, but that was more laziness speaking. Work is being gentle with me thus far and for that I am grateful. I'm sure things will get hairy as Bossman realizes that I'll be out of the office next week...
melaniesuzanne: (Spring)
Saturday was absolutely lovely. I practiced my uke a bit and learned a few more chords. The transitions to and from G are coming along except for my middle finger trying to jump onto the ring finger's string. There was some cursing, but no tears. I also worked on learning the bluegrass and Calypso strums. Fun!

In the early afternoon, I cajoled Hubbyfink into going on a quick (for us) bike trip to the post office and grocery store which ended up with us cruising through neighborhoods and along the bike trail. I met girlfriends for dinner and was flattered by the flirting of an adorable waiter/bartender. My single girlfriends were less than enthused about the smug-married getting all the attention, but I guess it's easier to flirt when you know there's nothing to come out of it. After dinner, we indulged in shopping therapy at Ulta (yay, makeup!) and Target (yay, everything else!). I grabbed a spring headband for each of us to wear as we cruised up and down the aisles. We looked like a bunch of lunatics, I'm sure.


[livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee, LJ-less Kim, moi, and [livejournal.com profile] psalite


Sunday was not so great, unfortunately. I awoke with Scott's cold, bleagh. I spent the day on the red sofa of AWESOMENESS and burned through back episodes of "Enlightened" via HBO On-Demand and introduced Hubbyfink to "The Jerk". He questions my taste in movies, and this one was the absolute cherry on the cake of what he calls "effed-up movies". I blame my parents.

Bedtime was super early for me. In fact, I almost crashed half way through "The Walking Dead", thinking I'd watch it later this week on the DVR. But I soldiered through and crawled into bed, fortified with a healthy dose of Nyquil, for a not-as-fitful-as-expected night. I still feel like crap, but I'm upright crap and have gotten quite a lot accomplished in the office. I lament that I'm too unwell to bike commute, but warmer days are ahead and I can go two-wheeled again before too much longer.
melaniesuzanne: (Born to shop)
Despite working in the telecommunications industry for just shy of sixteen years (holy crap, where did the time go??), I haven't been one to jump on the leading -- much less bleeding -- edge of technology except for being an early adopter when the HTC Droid Incredible debuted. So, it was with trepidation and a lot of angst that I finally plunged into the tablet market. I researched and pros and cons of the Kindle offerings and the Droid offerings and the various generations of iPads. I resisted the iPad because of the way Apple locks you into doing things their way and because of my affection and affinity for Droid products. Unfortunately, the current generation of Droid tablets have received low marks across the board and the big brothers of my darling basic Kindle rated even more poorly. So when I spied a good deal on a refurbed 3rd generation iPad, I leapt.

The retina display makes it a beautiful gadget, there's no doubt about that. The difference in quality of the display between Hubbyfink's 2 and my 3 is stark. But when it was time to start transferring data to it I became less and less enchanted with the device. I won't say I was in a rage last night, but I was definitely put out by the ways I couldn't organize my data and files without sweat and tears, but thankfully no blood. Hubbyfink, who is an Apple aficionado, patted me on the head and made sympathetic noises as I ranted "why can't I make this act like a Droid system??" (Don't answer that: it's a rhetorical question.) Don't even get me started on iCloud. I'm sure it's lovely and wonderful, but the Amazon cloud already has my music and book purchases and there's no Amazon Cloud app for the iPad. Of course, there's probably no iTunes app for my Droid phone, but I haven't gone looking for it since the only reason I use iTunes is to update my ancient iPod.

Oh, what problems to have, eh?

I told Hubbyfink last night that I'd begun regretting the purchase Sunday night and very nearly woke him to tell him that I didn't want the iPad anymore and I'd give it to him and he could sell his. He gave me a who-the-what-now face and nodded sagely when I realized that it was day three of my owning the device and my inevitable buyer's remorse had set in. Some of it was the realization that I have a perfectly functional laptop and smart phone and e-reader and music player and I didn't need yet another gadget. Oof. Typing out that list makes me feel like even more of a consumer whore.

AAAANYWAY, I'll eventually get used to and appreciate/enjoy my pretty new toy. In the meantime, it makes playing Cut the Rope a lot easier than on my phone's small screen. ;)
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
...when I shop, that is.

This is Beatrix loaded down after work and a quickish stop at my favorite boutique, a.k.a Target. In addition to my lunch bag, the basket holds a bag of groceries, the bike lock, and a bottle of water. Pannier is holding a few more groceries, my personal effects, junk mail, and the sweater I wore at work. Strapped to the rack are two Lego Monster Hunter sets.

Bea on Friday. )

Accessories and bicycles aren't the only items to which I'm addicted.

This is Beatrix loaded down after a not-so quick trip to Safeway. The basket holds a 6lb bag of cat food, a 1/2 gallon of milk, a box of trash bags, and a bunch of bananas. The pannier is full of frozen lunches, fruits & veggies, and some other groceries. Strapped to the rack is a 14lb container of cat litter. I never thought I'd be so grateful for the rat trap thingies integrated into the rack, but they have been SO helpful for unconventional loads. The double bungee from Public has been a fantastic tool as well. Also? While I had to brace the front tire to keep the front end from swinging around while loading up the bike, the double kickstand kept Bea balanced and upright. I am SO happy with that purchase. Oh, and the little bag attached to the "wrong" side of the handlebar is my Po Campo wristlet which, thanks to its novel strap system, kept my wallet, phone, and keys safely contained to and from the store (although, it was in the basket on the outbound trip...).

Bea today. )

Cat litter was one of those items I didn't think I'd be able to haul on a bike. And, to be perfectly honest, I did carry the smallest container but I couldn't remember the rack's weight limit. (It's 55lbs according to the Public website.) Next up, the 21lb container! And then landscaping goods! One of these days I might even get up to a Christmas tree. Muahahaha!
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
On Saturday morning, one of Scott's facebook buddies posted about the Virginia Scottish Games and the hubs proposed we take a looksee and let him get back in touch with, as he calls it, "the home country". I'd never been to a Highland Games event and was keen to see what the hoopla was about. With that, we headed down to The Plains, VA, for an afternoon of fun.

My first impression, as we hiked from our parking spot in BFE to the gate, was this event felt like Renaissance Faire meets a ball game. I could see tents with pennons flying in the distance and hear bagpipers plying their trade as we passed people tailgating in the parking area. Oookay. Plus, there were a lot of dogs. The volume of dogs seemed greater than the volume of children, actually. And then we passed through the gate into a little piece of Scotland with Virginia weather.

Kilts! Kilts everywhere! And pipers. Good ones, thankfully. Scott spied the antique and vintage automobiles on the hillside and we windowshopped. He wanted Roger Moore's Volvo from "The Saint". I was perfectly happy to settle for the powder blue Austin Healey 3000.

Ummm. )
My stomach decided that it was lunchtime -- because it was -- and I followed my nose to a vendor of meat pies. No, I did not try the haggis. Scott didn't eat the haggis, either. He said he wasn't hungry and that he'd eaten enough as a child. My beef meat pie was seriously delicious and I savored every last crumbly bit as we watched the professional division of the caber toss competition.

No idea... )
Apparently, the bout had been held up because the first caber broke. How embarrassing. Luckily, a stunt caber was located and the first competitor to the field threw a perfect 180 degree toss. The next closest competitor threw 80%. After the pros, the amateurs were let on the field. We left when a first timer nearly squashed the judge by losing control of the (much lighter) pole.

The next tent over was full of young girls participating in a dance competition. Scott says he can remember some of the steps but, out of respect to the girls, didn't dance along. When I could no longer stand baking in the sun, we moved on to the vendor area.

Oh, the luck we had there! I've been searching for the perfect red purse for AGES and, wouldn't you know it, I found it there. Perfect size, drop, color, shape, and price. I could've walked on air. We also found a pretty silver thistle brooch as a gift for Scott's mom. Scott's score of the day was a new kilt from The Kilted Nation. He has several Utilikilts -- and I was surprised that he didn't wear one to the event -- but none of them fit at the moment. Plus, I think his olive Utilikilt is too long. So now he's got a knee-length olive Kilted Nation utility kilt. And, uh, I have a khaki one. Scott said that I'd look good in a kilt and I didn't want to get the wrong tartan...

It didn't happen. )
We continued down to the race track for the sheep herding demonstration. The lady running the demo had three sheep and two border collies. Because the weather was so hot and humid, she didn't want to stress out the animals with a high energy demo but it was still an interesting watch. Every time she'd call off the dog with "that'll do", someone in the audience would coo, "That's just like the movie!" I wonder if that grates or pleases sheep herders.

As we made our way towards the exit, Scott ran across a couple of his historical martial arts buddies from the Virginia Academy of Fencing. We watched their demo for a bit and chatted a while. Scott was happy to play with some of their swords and show me the sword he wants next: a montante (I'm going on faith that this is the actual sword; work is blocking this site because its content categorization is "Weapons").

Our very last stop was at the Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue tent so I could pick up a brochure. We've been thinking about getting a smallish dog and Shelties are high on my list of possibilities. With that, we bid Scotland adieu and hiked back into the real world.

So.

Jul. 14th, 2012 04:02 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
This happened. )
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
(I neglected to copy over yesterday's bike blog post so y'all get a two-fer.)

Wednesday

I am >this< close to clicking the BUY button on PUBLIC Bikes C8 page. If I pull the trigger before the 18th, I'll get free shipping. If I do it today or tomorrow, the bike will arrive before we go to Memphis. I wouldn't want our cat sitter to have to lug a six foot long box into the house: that's what Scott is for!

Peekture. )

The powder blue appeals to me more than the cream because I love color -- the orange is a bit too colorful -- and the bike I'm absolutely going to keep -- Circe -- is mostly white. Yes, Kate is blue but she's first on the sales chopping block. And yes, she's super fun and adorable beyond compare but she is impractical for my needs and wants. I will most likely sell Lily -- which is white -- but she might also stick around. Scott doesn't think I'll be able to let her go even if she and the C8 fill a similar niche. I mean, it's not like I'm going to take up mountain biking. I'll most likely wind up with broken bones rather than skinned knees! But... well, we'll see what happens with the hybrid.



Thursday

I did it. I bought the C8 in powder blue -- with matching rack and bell -- last night. It should be in my hot little hands before the end of the month. Mmmm... loop frame-y goodness. Scott, a.k.a. the Honey Badger in response to my shopping, said nothing except "Did you just buy it?" when he noticed me hyperventilating with excitement.

This morning friends are both congratulating me on the new baby and suggesting an intervention. I don't have a problem; I can quit any time. Ahem.
melaniesuzanne: (Born to shop)
In my hunt for a way to carry belongings on my road bike on solo journeys, I overlooked the most obvious and universal portage solution: the humble bike jersey. My main reason for not considering this garment is that, up until very recently, I had only one jersey.

It's a cute jersey and does a fairly good job of fitting my non-standard cyclist body. But it's so specific to a certain time of year that I didn't even consider wearing it in winter and spring. Which is weird since I wear Halloween-themed PJs year round; my deeply-closeted goth must be extremely closeted when it comes to jerseys. At the time I wore this garment, I didn't really use it for holding stuff since I had a trunk bag on the back rack so the pockets were kind of superfluous.


Looking like a pumpkin at last October's "Great Pumpkin Ride".

My typical road bike ensemble has been a Ruu-Muu with a long sleeved shirt or windbreaker. The Ruu's back pockets are good for holding a hankie, my iPod, and a camera. I could probably stuff more in there, but it would start getting uncomfortable and bulky underneath the overshirt/windbreaker.

Yesterday, though, I decided to wear my new jersey from HillKiller Apparel for a short ride and I discovered the joys of honest-to-goodness cycling jersey pockets. Hankie, ID, cash (you never know...), phone, iPod, and keys all fit comfortably with lots of room to spare. I could stuff extra powdered drink packs and waffles and a banana back there if I'd wanted, plus my camera. So this is how it's done...

Post ride, front.
Zombie Girls do have more fun.

My deeply-closeted goth is beyond delighted with both the form and function of my adorable purple jersey. Their plus size actually FITS which is not always the case. I'm going to contact the HillKiller guys and ask if they'll make some of their men's designs in a women's cut because I want more of their jerseys. In the meantime, I'm champing at the bit for my jerseys from Scudo Sports Wear (they made the Halloween jersey) to arrive.

Saturation

Apr. 11th, 2012 11:33 am
melaniesuzanne: (Kermit on a bike)
I believe that I have reached my personal saturation point for bicycle acquisition. The hubs and I stopped by REI last night and I didn't gaze longingly at the adorable Electras. I did give a sideways glance at a mixte-esque bike but then continued on to the accessories aisles for replacement gloves -- my original pair bit the dust during Sunday's ride, ouch -- and Smartwool ankle socks.

The other saturation I've noticed is how many cyclists have come out of the woodwork since the calendar officially proclaimed that it's spring. Some days have felt chillier than the weather we had this winter and yet there are still more cyclists out and about on the trails now. I'm seeing a LOT more cyclists on surface streets as well. I don't know if that's a function of being more cognizant of cyclists due to my own time in the saddle or if there really has been an explosion of folks eschewing their vehicles for bikes. I'm certainly more likely to spot bike racks than I was even six weeks ago.
melaniesuzanne: (Top Gear: DT & Stig by 04nbod)
I test drove a Jeep Patriot today. The interior was pretty nice, the exterior was a comfortable size, the power was less than satisfactory being that the vehicle has only four cylinders. I then tried the six cylinder Jeep Liberty. The interior was unsatisfactory, the exterior was too big, and the power was fantastic. If only the Patriot came with those two extra cylinders! The sales guy and manager were disappointed that they couldn't provide what I wanted simply because the company doesn't make it. As we pulled out of the dealership, I told Scott that driving those two Jeeps actually made me appreciate the Highlander. How bizarre is that??

On a whim, I headed down to the Kia dealership. We ran into the type of car salesman who is reason why people hate car shopping. ) Happily, the sleazeball handed us off to a brand-new-as-of-Monday salesman named Carl.

Carl saved that dealership from a hypercritical review. Yes, he was wet behind the ears, but he was so enthusiastic and paid attention to my list of demands and when he didn't know an answer, he checked in with another salesperson rather than BS his way through a response. We took out a not-quite base model Sorento with all wheel drive that had a wide array of bells and whistles and comfy seats. Everything about it was perfect except for the lack of power that comes with only four cylinders. Carl said that a six cylinder model was available; they just didn't have any on the lot at the time.

We went back to the dealership and I could feel the high pressure sale about to start. Happily, that storm never came. Mostly, I think, because nobody locally has the exact vehicle that I want in stock. Kia doesn't do factory orders: they make cars in various configurations and ship those out to the dealers. That's annoying. But, because the dealership quoted a VERY satisfactory price I said that it was okay for them to check inventories every few days or so and give me a call when a vehicle matches my requirements list.

Tomorrow I may see what's available at Carmax...
melaniesuzanne: (Kermit on a bike)
Back in January, I test rode a Specialized Dolce Comp Compact and fell in love. I had decided that my next bike would be of the road variety so I could increase my mileage and participate in metric and actual centuries. When my bonus hit the bank account on Friday, I knew this was the weekend that I would make that bike mine.

Since I was already at the bike shop and learned from the manager that all branches of Spokes give club discounts on bikes and accessories -- Bike Me DC counts as a club, whoo hoo! -- I had Max pull the 54cm Dolce down and prep it for a test ride. Despite the gorgeous weather, the test was a short ride because 1) I'd already ridden the same style of bike and I wanted to make sure this one felt the same and 2) I needed to save my legs for the (uphill) ride back home. I carried the bike back into the store and declared, "SOLD!" I then phoned Scott and asked him to drive over and carry the new bike home. I think everyone was shocked that I wasn't going to ride it home, but I want to get used to the new bike in my own neighborhood rather than the open road and trail. After all, I'm used to a flat handlebar and a fairly upright position. The horns, drop bars, and brake/shifter combo levers are going to take some time to learn.

Dolce handlebars

I still haven't ridden her, mostly due to lack of time. It's looking like the weather will be fairly mild, for February, on Sunday and I will be able to make friends with my new ride and figure out a proper name for her. "Nancy" is still stuck in my head despite not sounding "fast". Mom suggested that spelling the name as "Nanci" sounds racier. I think she's right.

Rawr

Feb. 16th, 2012 03:43 pm
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
Every now and then I talk Hubbyfink into meeting me along the trail as I ride home from work. On Wednesday he decided he didn't want to deal with the gym and said he'd meet me for the ride home. I warned him that I needed to do a little shopping as well, but those stops would be mostly surgical strikes.

I wound up leaving the office later than planned thanks to a last minute IM from the Bossman and met Hubbyfink just before the blind curve on Smiths Switch. He turned around and fell in line behind me before a FedEx truck rumbled up behind us and then passed us with a WIDE berth. Heh heh heh.

Shopping and banking happened. The test run of my Avenir Softside shopping pannier happened (successfully). Not running down pedestrians happened. Seeing another cyclist in the shopping center happened ("He just left Eastern Mountain Sports so that doesn't count," said Hubbyfink). We headed for home and something new and exciting-to-me happened.

We rode up the blasted incline to the Route 28 overpass and I stayed in front of Hubbyfink the entire freaking time. I not only stayed ahead of him, I pulled away from him. Dude! Plus, I was loaded down with shopping bags, a tote, and my purse. I didn't need to gear down: I was in my middle gears the whole way up. I was breathing heavily when we got to the bridge, but I wasn't wheezing or jelly-legged.

There was a small amount of gloating and smugness when we got home. Hee!
melaniesuzanne: (Internet Homer by sparklypoof)
I couldn't wait. As soon as I got home -- okay, maybe not as soon: I did carry the recycling bin to the basement and garbage can to the back yard and retrieve the mail and pet the cats -- I rescued all packing material from the paper recycling bag, wiped the Razr of my personal information with a factory reset, configured the Incredible enough so the phone function would work, and hightailed it to the Verizon store. The salesperson who assisted me Friday night was surprised to see me back so soon. After sufficient fondling of the HTC phones -- in addition to all the research I did yesterday -- I pronounced the Rezound as the phone for me.

I have been a happy camper ever since.

It's still bigger and heavier than the Incredible, but it's definitely smaller than the Razr and fits more comfortably in my hand. Plus, I know where everything is located and the buttons, except for the power button, are in the correct places. The mini USB plugs in upside down, but since I tend to aim the plug incorrectly more times than not, now I may actually get it correct more often than not.

I've got my apps where I want them and my contacts are all synced. The settings are to my liking. Tonight I shall go nuts with personalized ringtones and all will be right in my little technological world. For a minute, anyway, according to Hubbyfink.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm in ur tubes)
Buyer's remorse: I haz it. The only things I haven't regretted purchasing are the Jeep, Hubbyfink, an HTC Incredible, my bike, and the green laundry basket I purchased my freshman year of college. Seriously. That laundry basket is just as sound as it was the day I bought it twenty years ago! Why can't everything be that sturdy?? Granted, I didn't purchase Hubbyfink, but I haven't regretted hooking up with him.

The latest object of my scorn is the smart phone I purchased Friday night. My Incredible has been a dependable and useful tool for the past two years. Unfortunately, it's been showing its age (see above lament about sturdiness) and it seems that the phone is end-of-support since newer and whizz-bangier phones are what people want. I know: wah, wah, wah; my phone is old and buggy; poor me.

I spent last week researching and decided that the phone which would do everything that my current old phone could do and more was the Motorola Droid Razr. It had glowing reviews from amazed tech geeks AND was vaunted to have superior call sound quality. I raced to the Verizon store when the paycheck hit Friday and made a beeline for the Razrs. I was slightly put off by how BIG the phone was, but it seems like every smart phone now is large to support humongous screens. Oh well. The Razr was supposed to do everything I wanted and I purchased it and some accessories without a second thought. I then spent most of Friday night, all of Saturday night (until 1am), and a small portion of last night trying to bend the phone to my will.

We're mostly there, but Hubbyfink has noticed and commented that I'm not having fun playing with my new tool toy phone. The buttons are in the wrong place. I miss the HTC Sense and other "look and feel" things. Plus, the phone is too big for my hands. I can't comfortably hold it and type. I figured I'd be stuck until I thought, just before slipping into blissful sleep last night, that I should check the return/exchange policy.

Hot diggity darn. I read on the website and then verified with an actual human that there's a fourteen day window for returns/exchanges. WHOO HOO! I'm rescuing the boxes from the recycling bag tonight and packing everything back up for a trip to the store tomorrow. On paper, it looks like the HTC Rezound might be a good replacement for the Incredible, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I'll make phone size a top priority as I feel up phones in the store.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
The 'fink and I hit the trail on New Year's Day to return a few items to Tarzhay. The weather was sunny and warm when we left and I wore fingerless gloves and left the windbreaker at home. Hubbyfink runs colder than I do and wore more (and warmer) layers, but was still comfy on the ride over. When we got rolling, I had a ball updating him on how fast my cycling computer said we were going. I'm thrilled to bits that I'm a lot faster than I thought I was.

The trail wasn't choked with people, but there were more than the usual number of winter folks enjoying the mild weather. We got to the shopping center without issue, returned items, and then purchased a few more. We left the store and noticed the sky had clouded, the wind had picked up, and it was starting to drizzle. Hubbyfink suggested we seek refuge at Eastern Mountain Sports so he could browse sale items. He wound up not buying a thing while I picked up four pair (buy three, get one free!) of Smartwool snowboarding socks (because thick wool socks are a winter cyclist's best friend) and a Bern helmet. I've been lusting after the women's Berkeley model, but every one I tried at REI hurt my head. The men's Brentwood, on the other hand, fit beautifully and I walked out with the matte red with black visor version.

When we left EMS, I definitely regretted leaving my windbreaker and full finger gloves at home. The rain was heavier and with all the car traffic, Hubbyfink and I put our headlights on blink mode. I had to tell him to put the light on steady when we hit the trail, though. Blinky lights on a MUP are unnecessary and rude, I think.

The rain starting pounding down after we crossed 28 and we passed a few other cold and wet cyclists. Hubbyfink asked if we could skip our planned ride to the recycling center. Oh my, yes, that was off the table. And, of course, after warm showers and dry clothes, the sun came back out. Unfortunately, I'd broken a spoke somewhere along the way home and I wasn't going to ride anywhere until that got fixed (which it was yesterday when my bike shop was again open).

Good buys

Dec. 8th, 2011 11:09 am
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
My toes have been chilly on rides to work despite wearing two pairs of Smartwool socks inside my boots. I'd ordered a new pair of brown fashion booties from DSW.com which arrived Monday and were way too small for even one pair of Smartwool. Off to DSW they went last night and I exchanged them for a pair of waterproof, insulated rain/snow boots (by Totes, the umbrella people) that aren't nearly so bulky as my real snow boots. They even sort of look like fashion boots when my jeans aren't tucked in. And my toes (and ankles!) stayed toasty warm with only one pair of Smartwool on this morning's windy commute.

While I was in the shopping center, I was morally obligated to stop by Target to look for navy and dark brown cardigans. No love there, but I did find a pair of wind- and water-proof ski gloves by Champion. The bike-specific gloves I purchased in October are less wind-proof than I'd like and the ski gloves also had wicking material inside. My hands felt FANTASTIC this morning despite the icy wind. I am super duper pleased with that impulse purchase.

"You rode TODAY??" exclaimed a colleague as I passed his cube.
"It's a gorgeous day aside from the wind," I replied. "The only cold parts are my knees."

The fluorescent jacket/wind-breaker and an UnderArmor shirt kept my core warm, long johns and jeans did a fair job for my legs (need to add leg warmers for my knees tomorrow), and my elbow-length fingerless gloves kept my forearms comfy. Wool cap and helmuffs did the trick for my head and ears and the wool cap kept my sweat-soaked hair covered during the exposed-to-elements walk from the garage to my building (and then kept the messy hair covered until I could sneak into the ladies room with my hair dryer). I had to remove my scarf after I got off the trail because my back was finally to the wind and I began to overheat, but it did a very good job when I was out in the open and getting blasted by gusts.

Oh, and the best part about today's commute? No icy patches left over from yesterday's torrential rains. I guess the wind blew everything dry.
melaniesuzanne: (device)
My teeth hurt. My jaw hurts. My inside lip hurts. Obviously, I went to the orthodontist on Friday. My upper teeth are moving nicely, he said, and now it's time to focus on the bottom teeth again. He's got an activator chain on the tooth next to the tooth which needs to move and the entire bottom right side of my mouth is howling in pain. I also have to wear a rubber band between upper and lower teeth on that side to add to the chorus of misery. I haven't been popping Advil like candy, but I'm getting close to that.

Owie.

Saturday was good, though. Hubbyfink was pitifully sick and I made him stay home from Holiday Faire. I am a big, strong girl and I was able to set up my booth (The Ermine Mouse) by my lonesome and have open spaces on the table and shelves ready for [livejournal.com profile] psalite's and [livejournal.com profile] reasdream's items when they arrived. I had items priced to MOVE (maybe priced too well, but I was more interested in clearing out space than making money) and clothes and fabric flew out of my shop. Hooray! I didn't make quite as much money as I did five years ago when I was able to pay for movers AND the speeding ticket I got en route to the event, but it was pretty close. I did a bit of shopping as well and came home with lovely Thai silk, an adorable white mouse puppet, nommy potpourri, earrings, and a few other trinkets. Dinner with friends at the Japanese steakhouse afterward was the cherry on top of a pretty fantastic day.

For Sunday, Hubbyfink and I ventured into DC to see a revival of Cirque du Soliel's "Quidam" at the Verizon Center. Quidam was my first experience with Cirque twelve or thirteen years ago. I think I've become jaded since then because the acts weren't as spectacular, but I suppose that Cirque and I have both grown. I'm glad that we left home pretty early because my phone's navigation system did NOT want us to take I-66 in and then it didn't want us to take Constitution through town. I did drive I-66, but I couldn't get into the lane for Constitution and wound up taking E to a numbered street and made a series of left and right turns until we happened upon Gallery Place. Leaving the event was just as exploratory since construction on Constitution had it closed down to one lane. Yeah, no. We cruised around the mall, passed the recently renovated DC war memorial, found the recently opened Martin Luther King, Jr memorial, made a (probably illegal U-turn) after being passed by an ambulance and seeing traffic stacked up ahead, and finally escaped from DC via the 14th Street Bridge.

Hubbyfink spent the evening glued to "House Hunters International" (dear Lord, what hath I wrought??) while I organized the craft room within an inch of its anthropomorphic life. The reduction in SCA clothing, accessories, and fabric allowed me to reorg the fabric shelves and I can, for the first time in nearly five years, see exactly what I own. It turns out that I have no plain brown wool, but I'm mostly okay with that right now. I have lots and lots and LOTS of grey wool. Huh.

Tonight there will be a manicure and packing and then a mad frenzy of house cleaning before we hit the road at oh-dark-thirty to go over the mountains and through the woods to Aunt Trisha's cabin in the Smokies.
melaniesuzanne: (Embroidered M & mouse by strawberrykaren)
Dental appointment on Wednesday. Teeth look good, but I could be doing a better job of flossing. Well, sure I could except for the braces getting in the way. The hygienist showed me how to work around the wires and porcelain. I'm having some sensitivity to sweet on a back, and luckily non-braced, tooth. I go back in early December to have my filling replaced. Good times.

Last night I finally kept an appointment with my hairdresser after cancelling appointments for the past two months. My roots and ends and everything in between was in DIRE need of attention. She applied highlights and lowlights and I'm back to attractively blonde rather than a horrific combo of brassy and mousy. Thank goodness. The also took two inches off the front and three off the back. My cute little asymmetrical bob which isn't quite a pixie cut is back. I was a little alarmed when she started styling my hair and had curled up and pulled out the sides. I looked like a freaking cartoon character. After the teasing and flipping, she tamed my hair into something fairly attractive. Hubbyfink liked it a lot. I'm grateful he wasn't home when I got out of bed this morning and discovered my hair going in every direction like it was trying to escape my head. That look would put most people off their morning coffee.

I also pulled clothes and hats and accessories out of the garb closet and stuck price tags on everything that's going to Holiday Faire with me tomorrow. I think I have everything priced to fly off the clothing rack and tables. I hope so anyway. It's not that I need the money; I want the space! Seriously, I've got 1/2 to 2/3 of my dresses that are up for grab. I couldn't bear to go through my stocking/sock drawer although that could use a good weeding, too. Long story, short: If you're going to Holiday Faire in Stierbach on Saturday, stop by The Ermine Mouse for gently (and not so gently) used hats and plus size dresses and ~stuff~. A couple other ladies are adding their items to my emporium and you should check out their offerings as well!

My teeth get tightened by the orthodontist in a little over an hour from now. I may stop by the nail place for a quick manicure before loading the truck tonight. We shall see.

Tomorrow is Holiday Faire, as I mentioned above, and Sunday is Cirque du Soliel's "Quidam" at the Verizon Center. That was my first Cirque show and Hubbyfink's never seen it. We're both looking forward to the show.
melaniesuzanne: (Spring)
Mom visited our happy home for a long weekend. She got in Wednesday evening after a harrowing and much-too-adventurous flight from Memphis to Dulles via Chicago. Her trip included a late flight out of Memphis, sitting on the tarmac at O'hare and watching her Chi-DC flight take off, and waiting at O'hare as her new Chi-DC flight kept getting delayed further and further into the afternoon. Poor Mom. She was exhausted when I greeted her at bag claim and was VERY happy to get to my house. We spent the evening doing a house tour and acquainting her with His Floppy Fluffiness Oreo. She was charmed by both.

On Thursday morning we dined on bananas and water before heading out to walk my three mile neighborhood loop. Mom did a fairly good job of keeping up and I tried not to get too far ahead of her on the hills. It was so much fun walking with a buddy instead of my ipod. I could get used to that. After a proper breakfast and showers, we hit the stores and shopped like, well, like we usually do when we're together. We bought clothes and shoes and paint for the bathroom and a firepit for the backyard and toiletries. I took her to the campus so she could see my cube and meet a few coworkers. We continued shopping until Hubbyfink got home from work. We picked him up and headed out for our Mexican feast at Don Pablo's. Because we'd shopped through lunch and had fairly empty stomachs, I got pretty drunk off my one Slender-rita. Mom blamed my sucking up the margarita through a straw. She sipped hers and was juuuust fine.

On Friday morning we dressed in some grubby, paint-stained clothes and set to work painting the full bath. Mom said, "Oh! This will take no time at all!" She didn't factor in the spackling, sanding, and priming with Killz. Six hours later, the bathroom looked great with its fresh coat of "Renoir Bisque" (a goldeny-peachy wheat/sand color) on the walls and crisp white on the trim, door, and mirror. Something happened to the light switch, though, and Hubbyfink replaced the dimmer switch with a standard switch so I could put CFLs above the mirror. I am in love with the wall color and with having lights that don't put out so much heat that I feel like I'm roasting when I put on my makeup. We got cleaned up and met [livejournal.com profile] psalite and [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee for dinner at Amphora. Much fun (and food!) was had.

Saturday was Mom's last full day in town. We took another walk: this time to the trail and up through Hannah's neighborhood. It was a little too long a walk for Mom, but she hung in there and wouldn't let me race ahead to get the car and pick her up. What a champ! We breakfasted, cleaned up, and headed out for a little more shopping before catching a matinee of "The Adjustment Bureau". What a lovely movie. I was expecting something like "The Matrix" and got that plus a sweet love story. A little more shopping and we were ready for an evening at home. I tortured Mom with "Lake Mungo", an Australian ghost movie I really like but she found dreadful and dull. We stayed up late watching "Say Yes to the Dress".

Mom was up before us chickens on Sunday and managed to get all of her new purchases in her already overfull suitcase and the rolling duffel I lent her. I got her to Dulles over an hour before her flight's departure and she just barely made it to the gate because security took FOREVER. She got delayed in Chicago again thanks to terrible weather and eventually made it safely back to Memphis. We're sending her through Atlanta next time.

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Mary F'ing Sunshine

August 2015

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