Jul. 9th, 2013 01:09 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Rat)
Vacation was absolutely wonderful. I got to visit with people whom I haven't seen in nearly twenty years, spent quality time with my father and stepmom, enjoyed best-friend [livejournal.com profile] zipmeister's new house (which is STUNNING), and lazed about Mom's lake river house. Really, I couldn't have had a much better week off.

Except that the trip from northern Virginia to Germantown, TN and from Cherokee, AL back to NoVA was AWFUL. The 850 mile trek from door to door normally takes between 11.5 and 12 hours. It took fourteen. FOURTEEN. The trip from AL to NoVA should have taken about 12.5 hours. It also took FOURTEEN hours, most of which was in blinding rain. We stopped for the night just inside the Virginia border so as not to fall asleep at the wheel.

I forgot to make a "Post-op month 3" post on the 29th. At that point, I'd shed 50 pounds and was starting to shrink out of the capris I purchased earlier in June. While on vacation, I misplaced another 5 pounds and bought my first size "L" shirts in FOREVER. Talk about a ego boost. I have officially hit the in-betweenie range of pants, unfortunately. I need a 14W to accommodate my baby-makin' hips and I can't find that size in my local Tar-zhay. I'm pretty sure a Lane Bryant 14 would be too big and I REALLY don't want to have to go to LB for ANYTHING anymore. Straight sizes will gap in the waist while pulling across my hips and butt. Allow me to sigh and staple my wrist to my forehead for a bit.

At this point, I'm only a few pounds away from what the WLS forum people call "one-derland". I haven't been under 200 pounds in... oh, I have no idea. At least 15 years. I'm about to bounce out of my skin with excitement and joy.
melaniesuzanne: (Fireworks)
Five more hours and I am OUT OF THE OFFICE FOR WEEK! Yeah, doggies. Tonight, I'm getting a pedicure and then throwing some dirty clothes in the laundry and then packing my suitcase and not succeeding in going to be early. Tomorrow, Hubbyfink and I rising at the crack of dawn and hitting the road for Germantown, TN. WHOO HOO!

Can't wait to see Mom and the rest of the family. Can't wait to see [livejournal.com profile] zipmeister, his beau, and their new house. Looking forward to seeing Daddy. And can't wait to see Mom and Pete's Alabama lakehouse. They've made so much progress since we saw it last year that I probably won't recognize it!

Sadly, we are leaving the bikes behind has 1) neither of us wants to strap them to the back of the Beetle [and I can't drive Hubbyfink's manual Golf which has the trailer hitch and bike rack] and 2) we're going to be in Memphis for only three days and will spend the rest of the week in Alabama where there's a mile and a half [or maybe more] of gravel road between the lake house and the paved road. Yes, you have to "turn off the paved road" to get to Mom's vacation home. Sorry, Zippy.

I'm wrapping up my projects and/or giving my teammates updates on and the locations of my planning documents in case something pops up next week. I've slashed and burned my inbox from 260 to 79 so that the server won't bounce my messages. I've turned off call-forwarding and set up my out of office notice. I've got one more conference call to coast through and I'll spend the rest of the afternoon bouncing in my seat like a kid on the last day of school.

I'm not excited AT ALL in case you couldn't tell.
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.


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: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
We spent the past week with my family in Germantown, TN; Cherokee, AL; and Greers Ferry, AR. It felt like we were constantly on the road, probably because we were. Arrived at Mom's house on the 2nd, spent the day at their lake house -- actually, more time was spent in the lake rather than the house -- in Alabama on the 3rd, and watched my brother [livejournal.com profile] beaznuts nearly set his neighborhood ablaze by shooting fireworks in his side yard on the 4th. On Tuesday, Mimi took me to one of the import warehouses where she she scores the bits and pieces she uses for her jewelry business. Afterwards, I followed Mom on what seemed like a "Policewomen of Memphis" tour to get a hitch installed on the Highlander. Mom and I walked along the Wolf River on the Wolf River Greenway Wednesday morning. I was completely turned around and directionless; thank goodness I had my phone and the MapMyRun app. Aside from feeling lost, I thought it was such a neat trail! I can't wait until next summer when Hubbyfink and I take our bikes on that trail.

After cooling down and cleaning up, Hubbyfink and I headed into deepest, darkest Arkansas to my father's lake house in Greers Ferry which is located in the Ozarks. We spent the evening being eaten alive by bugs on the deck and watching sheet lightning beyond the mountains. After a hearty breakfast on Thursday, Daddy took us out on his boat. I'd wanted him to take us up to the dam, but the water on that side of the lake was way too choppy. After the boat ride, Hubbyfink and I took off to explore Heber Springs and got a good view at the dam from the overlook. I spent the rest of the afternoon unconscious trying to sleep off the chest cold which had plagued me all week. It didn't work.

The 'fink and I were up early on Friday and drove the 3.5 hours back to Memphis to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] zipmeister, his boyfriend John, and our friend Jim for sushi lunch at Sekisue. Nom nom nom. Hubbyfink dropped me off at Mom's house so he could see any new offerings at Outdoors, Inc. and so Mom and I could meet up with Mimi for mani/pedis. After getting pretty toes and fingers, Mom and I met the 'fink and stepdad at Genghis Grill for some Mongolian BBQ goodness.

Sadly, there was no BBQ meal at the Germantown Commissary, a full-contact Scrabble game, much pool time, much visit time with [livejournal.com profile] zipmeister, or much rest during this vacation. There was lots of yummy homemade BBQ, sister time, lake time, and couple time during this vacation. There were also pulled muscles, a wonky eardrum (mine, not the 'fink's), and an unceasing cough. We were pretty beat when we got home Saturday night.

Pictures. )

Didn't get much in the way of photos, but those sum up the trip.
melaniesuzanne: (Vacation)
Hubbyfink and I spent the past week in the company of my SCA household in a gorgeous house on the Corolla/Pine Island section of the Outer Banks. It was exactly what we needed. And happily, unlike last year, the weather was absolutely perfect this time around.

My beach schedule went something pretty much like this: wake at 8:30, breakfast, two-mile walk on the beach, swim for an hour, shower & dress, lunch, shop, snack, play games or fly kites, dinner, play games or watch movies, bedtime around midnight. Pretty fantastic if you ask me. I was happy to see that the anchor was still out in the surf and sad to see the dessicated remains of a sea turtle up near the dune. I adopted a beach bum wardrobe of cargo capris, tee-shirt, and flip-flops. I got a LOT of sun. Kim/Cassie and I finally had our mini golf face-off and she handily beat me. Hubbyfink, Nicole/Sian, and I explored every Sound Feet Shoes from Corolla to Nags Head looking for Vibram Five Fingers shoes for him and Keen sandals for her. [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee and I got an Old-Timey picture of us as pirate wenches with cutlasses and bottles of rum. (Must scan that...)

We also saw lots of dolphins playing and hunting in the surf. As I stepped into the water on Saturday, I saw three dark dorsal fins pop up out of the water about a hundred yards from me. My heart stopped. It restarted when I realized the fins belonged to dolphins. (I mean, yes, I am the one who wants to do a shark dive, but I want to be prepared for the sharks, you know? Also, I don't want to be the only one around the sharks. I don't need to be the fastest swimmer; I just need to be faster than you.)

The stars were absolutely amazing. We could even see the Milky Way. There was no moon and the brightest object in the sky was the conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus. On Saturday night, [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee, [livejournal.com profile] duchesssimone, [livejournal.com profile] francesca_la, and I strolled up the beach as the Big Dipper rose from the horizon. It was HYOOOGE. We couldn't keep our eyes on the stars all the time, though. We needed to watch the beach as well so as not to step on the angry little crabs. When we turned around to go back to the house, we spotted fireworks waaaay down the island. I still don't know if they were in Duck or Kitty Hawk. It was pretty much the perfect way to end vacation.
melaniesuzanne: (Homeowner mouse is home)
We're unloaded, unpacked, and being adored by the kitties who are very happy that we're home and we've brought foreign smells with us. I'm already making a packing list for Ravenstreet Beach Vacation v2010 which will happen a week earlier. Whoo hoo!
melaniesuzanne: (True Blood: Bon Temps by onlysugarcoated)
You know, I have GOT to learn how not to get tied up in knots over work. I've been nauseated and dizzy most of today because of the two India project calls I hosted an hour ago. I seriously considered staying home for those calls because I felt so sick. About halfway through the first call, though, my anxiety cleared up and I've been feeling fine -- aside from allergy ick -- ever since. Easy-peasy, Mel. Chill the eff out.

The trip to Gettysburg with [livejournal.com profile] carthew, [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee, and [livejournal.com profile] psalite was fun. We achieved our objectives of ghost-hunting and procurring fudge. We also poked our heads in lots of little shops downtown, visited the train station museum, drove through a bit of the northern parts of the battlefield and Gettysburg College, dined at the Dobbin House/Springhouse Tavern, and took lots of pictures. Well, the others took lots of pictures; Hubbyfink took our camera to WAMW. It was a very long day and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

I spent most of yesterday on the sofa flipping between the "Doctor Who" marathon on BBC-A and the "True Blood" marathon on HBO2 with brief housecleaning forays. I was fairly happy with the TB finale and I need to find or make an LJ icon with a picture of Sam and text which reads "I'd wear him like a scrunchie."
melaniesuzanne: (Embarrassed / *facepalm*)
I met [livejournal.com profile] wombatgirl and [livejournal.com profile] sskipstress in Arlington for a super yummy dinner at Matuba and then took an impromptu tour of the Pentagon parking lots and Crystal City while trying to get WG back to her hotel in Ballston. Let's just say that I made a LOT of wrong turns on a rainy night in a part of town I don't know.

The locals may commence laughing at our trek from Columbia Pike to Fairfax Drive.

Restaurant is located on Columbia Pike between Walter Reed Dr and (unbeknownst to me until just a minute ago when I looked at a map of Arlington) Glebe Road. WG's hotel is near the Ballston metro stop on Fairfax Dr. Since I didn't know that Glebe was the next street up from the hotel, I tried to retrace our path back to Washington Blvd, but missed the exit and somehow wound up in a Pentagon parking lot. We escaped onto Army Navy Drive and followed alongside I-395 until we spotted an exit sign for Glebe. Hooray! A street I recognize! Unfortunately, I turned the wrong way on Glebe and became extremely perplexed when it dumped us on Route 1. I made yet another wrong turn and quickly realized my mistake when I recognized the BMW dealership which I used to pass en route to [livejournal.com profile] azpapillon's and [livejournal.com profile] flonzy's old home.

At this point I pulled over and whipped out my map. [livejournal.com profile] wombatgirl giggled merrily when I showed her "this is where we started" (middle of map), "this is where we are" (bottom of map), and "this is where we want to be" (top of map). I finally had my bearings. We turned around on Route 1, turned back onto Glebe, passed back under 395, ignored Walter Reed Dr, ignored Columbia Pike, ignored Arlington Blvd, got a little confused at Wilson Blvd but bravely soldiered on, and finally made a correct turn onto Fairfax Drive.

I swear, I do actually have a sense of direction! It just doesn't work on rainy nights. On the up side, we got nearly an additional hour of visiting while driving all over creation. That'll have to hold me until I see her again at Pennsic.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
...and it was grand.

Friday night the 'fink and I met [livejournal.com profile] dmn4nr and spouseling and K & J for dinner at Ted's Montana Grill. Mmmm... steaky and lemondroppy goodness. And for once they actually had key lime pie when I was ready for dessert. Got home about 10 minutes after the BSG premiere but caught up quickly with the DVR.

Saturday morning I took off for the not-quite-wilds of Pennsylvania to retrieve [livejournal.com profile] danabren and meet [livejournal.com profile] woodwindy at the east coast BPAL mecca. I had a couple of false starts, though. Since the air temp in Sterling was a mere 3 degree farenheit (the coldest I've ever been), both the Prius and Jeepfink were cranky. The Prius wouldn't stay in gear; it kept slipping from drive into neutral. When I couldn't make it to the end of the street without it slipping three times, I decided I shouldn't take that particular vehicle on my three-and-a-half-hour sojourn. Blessedly, Jeepfink started but the brake light stayed on through much of northward trip. The brakes were fine, if a little mushy; I made sure to keep extra braking distance between myself and other vehicles.

But! The meat of the trip: BPAL! Shelly had prototypes of the new Lupercalia blends and I fell in love with only a few of them. I was disappointed with the Ode to Aphrodite line and surprised to like many of the Shunga line. Shelly didn't have any of the Lupercalias in stock so I managed to escape the shop with dropping a fairly small chunk of change instead of the significant chunk I'd planned upon. We wound up hanging around the shop for several hours as it seemed that Shelly really needed some folks to talk with. She was in bright spirits when we finally headed out for our late Sonic lunch.

[livejournal.com profile] woodwindy and her friend headed home after our quick lunch with everyone piled in the Jeepfink, and [livejournal.com profile] danabren and I hit the kitchen stores at the local outlet mall. She talked me into a set of three springform pans for $10. I don't know what I'll do with them, but I'll be ready when the day I need them comes around. I got her a light-up, burbling goldfish; she got me a mouse-shaped cookie cutter.

Our enthusiasm for shopping finally waned and we rushed back to [livejournal.com profile] danabren's neighborhood for sushi. Post roll, million dollar roll, and godzilla roll, ahoy! And lots and lots of hot tea. [livejournal.com profile] danabren said she'd turn me into a geisha yet. I lamented that I should've picked up those chopsticks at the kitchen store for my hair. She gave me a look. I laughed and said, "Oh don't worry. I know that only maiko wear chopsticks in their hair." She rolled her eyes.

We parted company after dinner, and my drive home through the countryside (I decided to forgo the interstates and beltways) was uneventful. Did you know that "Ski Roundtop" is the Gettysburg Round Top? I hadn't put the proverbial two and two together until I passed the visitors center exit and then saw the ski routes all lit up on the mountain. Neat!

Yesterday, I was mostly sluglike. I did a little bit of straightening around the house and Hubbyfink and I put away the laundry which has been languishing in baskets for over a week, but that was it. It was delightful.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
We left Germantown at 7am CT Sunday and opened our front door at 9pm ET. Surprisingly, neither Hubbyfink nor I were particularly ragged out by the drive. I slept much of the way to Nashville and slept much of the way between Knoxville and Virginia. He had sneaked a couple of podcasts on his ipod and listening to spoken word, rather than music, definitely helped to keep the road hypnosis at bay. We'll remember that trick for next summer's visit.

The four-leggeds were VERY happy for us to be home and wasted no time being mad for leaving them for so long. Thanks, Hannah and [livejournal.com profile] dmn4nr for taking such good care of the kitties. Kit and Margie slept with their little bodies pressed against Hubbyfink and me while Basil slept in the catbed in the windowsill with the open window (yay, smell-o-vision).

Today the cube farm is very quiet, if not deserted. I still haven't talked with my manager. I think I want to take Friday off and enjoy a long weekend without a thirteen hour drive.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
A quiet turkeyless Thanksgiving day with the Hubbyfink was followed by a busy Black Friday where I did my part to shore up the US economy. Thanks to an award from work, I was able to get Hubbyfink an Xbox360 as an early Christmas gift and scored an 8Gig Nano for myself.

[livejournal.com profile] psalite, [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee, and I visited Colonial Williamsburg on Saturday, with an obligatory stop at the Williamsburg Sonic for good measure. We were smart and parked at the visitor center and caught a bus over to Colonial Williamsburg. We met a delightful lady in Mistress Dickerson's shop with whom we discussed things Regency while purchasing yummy soaps. We oohed and aahed at the decorations (I want to make a pomegranate and pineapple wreath), shopped 'til we very nearly dropped, and dined like kings at the Kings Arms Tavern. The whole day we kept saying to each other: "This is SO much fun!" And it was.

So, between Friday and Saturday's expeditions, I have just about finished my Christmas shopping. Need one more item for my father and something for my brothers and I'm done. Yay!

No, the Daily Ornament Report hasn't cranked up. It might not run at all this year. Since we're going to Memphis for Christmas, I'm debating even putting up the tree. Plus, weekends are full: this weekend is Unevent, next weekend is Ponte Alto's Winter's Welcome Revel (which I'm autocratting), and the following weekend we leave for Memphis. We may do what we did our first Christmas in the house and just put presents under the tabletop tree.

La la la

Nov. 25th, 2008 12:53 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
You know, I'm not even going to go there. Instead, I'll revel in my ability to work from the comfort of my own sofa. Plus, there are many BPAL decants winging their way towards my greedy clutches. So, a couple of good things.

We're still trying to nail down Thanksgiving plans with Hubbyfink's family. Mom, Mimi, Chris and Charlie Bear are already at Aunt Trisha's cabin in North Carolina. Pete, David and John are heading down tomorrow. I kind of wish we were going down, too, but I'm happy to miss the long drive. Plus I get to see everybody in less than a month. Yay! And there's the trip down to Williamsburg I'm making with some girlfriends this weekend. I've heard how beautifully historic Williamsburg is dressed for the holidays; I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself.

Oh em gee

Nov. 16th, 2008 11:41 am
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
If everyday could be like yesterday, I would be very happy, if broke and slightly damp, woman.

[livejournal.com profile] dawnhutchings and I retrieved [livejournal.com profile] danabren just before noon and arrived at the East Coast BPAL Mecca about an hour later where we met [livejournal.com profile] woodwindy and her friend (whose name escapes me). We browsed, we sniffed, we bought. A lot. Scents I expected to love disappointed me, but perfumes I expected to feel meh about made me fall head-over-heels. I was smart this time and brought little dot stickers so everyone could map out on their arms which scents they had tried and, most importantly, where they had tried them. Like a doofus, I didn't use my own stickers and as I huffed the crook of my elbow I lamented not knowing what perfume I'd applied there because it smelled SO GOOD. Next time.

It still amuses me how large a role personal body chemistry plays in whether or not certain oils "work". [livejournal.com profile] woodwindy and I must have similar chemistry because we both make grabby hands at the amber scents. And [livejournal.com profile] dawnhutchings and [livejournal.com profile] danabren are similar; one perfume that made me wrinkle my nose and cry, "Dirty ashtray!" made both of them say, "OM NOM NOM!"

Next on the agenda was Sonic. We arrived at the height of a hurricane, and like idjits, we actually ran around in that incredible wind and rain trying to figure out how best to enjoy our Sonic experience. We finally found the lee side of the building, parked cars next to one another, and then everyone piled into Jeepfink. Cheese coneys, poppers, mozarella sticks, ocean waters, shakes and cherry limeades were the orders of the day. Mmmm... Sonic. We continued trading and swapping perfumes with each other.

We parted company with [livejournal.com profile] woodwindy and her friend, and met up with [livejournal.com profile] danabren's mom at the local gem show. With only an hour until closing, we snapped up some pretty good deals. I was able to cross three family members off my Christmas list with that trip. Whoo hoo!

Back to [livejournal.com profile] danabren's house where we decanted bottles of the Yule scents for the decant circle as well as some of our personal stashes for one another. Aside from my not realizing the rectangular labels I'd brought were clear ("I can't read!"), the process went smoothly and was actually pretty fun. Although, I'm glad we weren't trying to decant the entire Yule line. Crazy-making that would have been.

And then, there was sushi. We feasted upon Sakura roll (I don't remember the ingredients), another roll (I don't remember the ingredients), Godzilla roll (crunchy crab meat roll topped with eel -- I made my O face a few times), and Scorpion roll (half spider roll, half something roll, topped with eel). Oh yeah, baby, YEAH. Red Bean, Green Tea, and Mango ice creams rounded out the most amazing and delicious meal. We thanked the chef profusely.

[livejournal.com profile] dawnhutchings and I retrieved our belongings from [livejournal.com profile] danabren's and hit the road towards home. We can't wait to do it all again in either February or March.
melaniesuzanne: (Autumn)
[livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee and I trekked up to Gettysburg, PA for sight-seeing and ghost hunting Saturday, October 18, 2008. Here's the picture-heavy account of what we found. )


melaniesuzanne: (Default)
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