Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why Did The Tourist Cross The Road?

H@noi Traffic
Okay, so Slater has located a place to buy VN currency here in Texas.  It's become one of my travel rules.  Have local currency in your pocket when you hit the ground, in case the local ATMs are down.  This happened to me on my very first trip to Europe.  All the ATMs in my terminal at the CDG airport in Paris were down and I needed bus fare to get into the city.  I had to go to find my way to other terminals to find a working ATM.

So now, I try to have some in pocket.  I had to scramble to get Turkish Lira, but it sure made it easier when landing.  Just a little bit of security in what can be an overwhelming experience.  I read somewhere and I agree that the first 24 hours sets the tone for the trip.  My brilliant boss always advises to take one of those hop-on-hop-off bus tours first thing upon arriving in a new city.  His theory is that one is jet-lagged and can do as much or as little as possible but the big bonus is just to get the "lay of the land", as it were.  Between that and studying maps, that's a pretty great strategy and let's one ease into the foreignness of the country.

One of my great loves is taking public transportation from the airports into the new city.  I remember dragging Bick onto the upper deck of a double-decker when were landed in Dublin.  He wanted to take a cab, but I insisted on the bus.  We had the whole top floor (it wasn't open-air) to ourselves.  Those top floors really sway when going too fast through a round-about!  Anyway, that led to one of my favorite memories/stories about that trip.  I didn't know EXACTLY where we were going, but close enough, I thought.  I got us off the bus a bit too soon but I didn't know which way to go on the street, so Bick went into a 7-eleven type store to get us a cup of coffee and ask for directions, while I waited outside with our bags.  He was gone for like forever.  When he finally came out of the store, he was grinning and I asked him what had taken so long.  He said he went up to the Irish cashier who spoke English and asked him the question and couldn't understand a word he said.  He then turned to the Asian woman who spoke English as a second language and asked her the question, and he could understand her!

Pebbles and I agreed that we would take the train into the city from Istanbul and we managed that okay.  We didn't have the option of doing a double-decker bus tour, so we just plunged right in.  Right into the The Grand Bazaar where I quickly learned that my daughter doesn't like crowds.  We would have been better served had we just walked around a little bit, just getting a little bit of feel for the city rather than heading right  there.  It was my fault, as that was the first thing I wanted to see and it was at it's absolute busiest - a bright, sunny, Saturday morning.  That experience really put her off of Istanbul and it took her a couple of days to warm back up to it.

All of which brings us to our first stop in H@noi.  We've tried to put together what we've learned about first days and jet lag.  We land at about 8:30 at night and I've arranged for a driver from our hotel to come to the airport to pick us up.  Taxis are notorious for duping visitors in H@noi.  So assuming that plan goes right and we get to our hotel, the next morning after breakfast, we are picked up at our hotel and driven by private car out to the bay  .  When I created our preliminary itinerary, I had this excursion as our last during our north stay.  Pebbles felt like it should be first - we would have someone drive us through the city in the daylight, we wouldn't have to try to find our way to another pick-up point and since we are going to be on a boat for one night and two days, we could better adjust to jet-lag.

One of the things that I wanted was to hire this group upon our return to the city with the primary goal of having them help us learn to cross the street.  Seriously.  Learn to safely cross the street.  And they aren't available the day I need them.  So either we will venture out alone or we will only make right turns and spend our first morning back in the city stuck on the same block!

12 Days Until Departure......




Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Help an old lady cross the street.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cereal Killer

Not the driver
I saw the damndest thing the other morning while driving to work. I looked in my rear view mirror to see a woman eating (what I assume) a bowl of cereal.  Bowl and spoon were a part of the equation.  Could have been oatmeal, I suppose.  But seriously, eating like that while driving?  Craziness.

Doctor's appointment went well.  I've been released to perform light exercise.  Went on a walk with Valerie and Kendra tonight as a part of our Thursday night gathering.  I think I might be over this set-up- or at least cut back from meeting on a  weekly basis.  I find myself getting/feeling cross-ways with Kendra.  So my choices are deal with it or take myself away from the situation.

Oh, and while checking into the docs, I was weighed.  I looked away, but failed to tell the woman not to tell me.  So she did - turns out, I was right on the money in my guess of last week.

I've got an easy ride scheduled for Saturday with the gang, but I think it's going to be rainy.  I hate that, but love the rain, so there's that.

I've been watching Green Wing on Netflix.  Love the Brits.  It is not, however, family fare.

I've got nothing else.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Got Milk?  Stay at home.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Spanx For The Memories

The latest casualty in The Menopause Ate My Mind Wars?  My summer spanx.  These were not the heavy artillery but a lightweight shaper that kept my ass from looking like a bag of cats headed for the river when wearing lightweight, flowy pants.  Just kept things "neater"  ya know?  Well, now they have gone missing.  First the cutting board and now my jiggle-be-gones.

And how in the hell does this happen?  I mean seriously - it's not like I've been dropping trou anywhere but at the CSH micro-mansion.  And if there had been the occasion for me to dispense with my drawers on "foreign" territory, well hell, don't think I'd be keeping that a secret.  Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

Again, I have done a full out pat-down, TSA-approved search of the house and surrounding gardens and they are nowhere to be found.  Sheesh.

This whole forgetting/losing thing is almost driving me crazy.  Take last weekend, Pebbles was over and we were "creating", meaning we were taking one of many trips to Michael Jo Ann's  Lowe Hobby Home.  We had been talking about how the candlestick on each table "still life"  looked unfinished "and wasn't going to have a candle because that was too ordinary" - and as we were walking out of Michael's, I suggested maybe a small birdcage.  She said "Oh, show me!" and we turned around and walked back in.  I told her I couldn't remember exactly where I'd seen them, but they were on the bottom shelf and were $5.99 and we weren't together when I saw them.  And we looked and looked and looked and we couldn't find them.  I was beginning to panic because I was so sure they were there.  Finally, we took a systematic approach and walked together starting in one corner of the store, down and around each aisle and rounder.  And finally, and I do mean finally found them.  I was never so happy to see a damned bird cage!  Oh, and they were on the wedding stuff aisle.  Sheesh.

So speaking of the state of my ass, you may notice that I haven't been posting my weight.  That's because I don't know what it is.  It's been weeks since I've weighed and I haven't missed it.  I've been judging by my clothes (and as ever lifelong dieter knows - I know exactly what I weighed when I bought practically each piece of clothing in my closet).  Linen-ish dress slacks?  Fall of 2008 at 148.  Slacks are loose and baggy in the butt.  Black and white print dress?  Early spring of 2010 at 141.  Dress is fitting as expected.  Vanity size 4 slacks purchased in summer of 2010 at 135.  Even Spanx can't save this.  So, if I were to venture a guess - I'd say I am sitting at 142.  Not ideal, but not bad and the big bonus is that I don't have to "feel" a certain way when I read the scales each day.  BTW, during my recent bout of Doc visits, I just averted my eyes when on the scale.  Easy Peasy.  I'm sure I'll get back to weighing one day, but I'm in no hurry.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Memories, light the corners of my oh-shit-I-used-to-know what went here.


Thursday, September 20, 2012


Love Love Love

A Flock of Seagulls

Birdies on the Ironing Board

22 Days and Counting

I'm getting better at this whole appliqueing thing.  By the time I'm done, I might have learned a thing or three.  I did think I was done with all the birds, but I found a loner hiding out in a bag, so I'll have to load up the orange thread again and finish off the flock.  Next up?  The Dreaded H. 

I've been blessed/surprised/excited/anxious about a friend, her spouse and son coming into town and I think will stay with me for four days/three nights the first weekend in October.  Anyone else see a conflict?  Yea, me too.  That being said, having a break for a few hours from company isn't a bad thing.  She knows her way around town and will have a key to the house and a rental car, so that will be okay - except that my house is torn flat apart with all this wedding paraphernalia.  But it is "clean" underneath, so preparing for guests WILL NOT.  repeating  WILL NOT cause me to go into full blown panic.  It is lovely just as it is.  And I haven't the time to do anything else. 

The logistics of this visit means that I will need to revisit the dreaded air mattress and get it ready (ie back from Pebbles) to set up in the sitting room.  The couple will get my room, and I'll take the barge and the 2nd grader will get the blow up.  Hope he doesn't mind camping out in the same room as me.  Those are the accommodations and I'm not going to stress over it. 

Tonight it's a quick dinner with Valerie and Kendra - the four of them just got back from Vegas - Valerie was on a buying trip and the rest just for fun.  It will good to catch up, but I've got other fish to fry or H's to cuss over, so it won't be a long drawn out deal for me. 

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  A bird in the hand needs to be stitched in time.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Love To Go A-wandering

Along the mountain track,
 And as I go, I love to sing,
 My knapsack on my back.

Here's my new converts-to-backpack ultra-lightweight but strong made-especially-for trips such as this travel bag.  I was hesitant to get one - for all the reasons we already know about me - 1.  Don't want to have another thing   2.  Especially a specialized thing, when I have two suitcases already 3.  Hate to spend the $$ on the thing.  Pebbles is getting pretty darned good (hell, who am I kidding - she's always been good) at manipulating her mother.  One of her tactics this time is "Mom, this won't be the last trip we take where this way of travel is appropriate."   Way to push all the right buttons, Pebbles ;-).  Oh, and she's also taken a page out of her mother's playbook and has purchased for my approval - specialized travel pants (2 pair) and travel shoes.  I'm keeping (and paying her for) one pair of the pants.  The rest, she will have to return. 

And here's the big news:

23 Days Until Departure......




Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Wander and Wonder.


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Sweatshop

The sweatshop at CSH
Remember here when I said I was going to get out my sewing machine and do some sewing?  Well, the universe had a response in a big way.  Pebbles is serving as creative/artistic director/decorator for a friend's wedding on October 6 and is making a few things.  She hauled her projects and her raggedy-ass sewing machine (on left) over here to sew, with Mom's guidance.

Everyone who knows what happens next raise their hand?  Yep, stamped on my forehead.  Seriously, I have had a wonderful time creating with her.  However, I haven't sewn seriously in YEARS.  It is amazing how much one forgets, even if not menopausal.  Oh, and this is a brand-new-to-me sewing machine.  I took it in lieu of money that a friend owed me and have never used it.  (that I can remember!).  Anyway, it is an amazing piece of machinery.  I learned to sew and have always sewn on a early 60's era Singer.  Plain, simple machine.  Nothing fancy.  And I would have continued to use it, except that it's in a big old wooden cabinet and I don't have room for the cabinet.  But I would have never bought a machine like this one.  Boy, howdy is it nice.

But teaching myself to sew again on a brand new fancy-pants machine is daunting.  Plus, I've forgotten so much.  I need to applique this letter to an ready-made pillow cover for the lounge area (did you know it's the THING to have a lounge area?  And chevron graphics/linens?  Me either) with the monogram of the happy couple.  I can't machine applique the letter on because there is only one opening in the pillow cover and I can't manipulate the cover around to go around all of those little "special" blocking on the H.  I stopped into the local quilt shop to figure out what product I needed to buy - something tear away, I think.  Luckily, the owner just told me to use regular notebook paper and rip it off after I'd satin stitched around the H to finish it off.  I may have to sew it/them on by hand.  We'll see.

I appliqued one H on one of the table linens and it took me an hour and a half!  I am going to try this recommended method and if it works okay, then I'll adhere the other Hs to the other table linens.  Should be easier.

Returned to work today.  Things weren't as backed up as I'd expected but I am tired, tired, tired.  I think it's time for bed.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Get Creative.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rx for Relaxation

What it looked like then
Operation Recuperation is still a success.  Honestly, these past couple of days have been some of the most peaceful and mindful that I have spent in a long, long while.  It's like I have been given permission to relax - and I guess I have.  I haven't even looked at work email - I told them if they needed me to call me.

Because I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my recovery, I am very careful with every move - I think about what I'm doing rather than just rushing through this thing to get on to the next thing.  I've puttered around in my yard for several hours each day - not in one long stretch - but for a bit of time here, another bit there.  I'm also decorating (well, technically - I am thinking about decorating my front porch - not much actual decoration has happened) my front porch.  I love the look of a front porch "room", so I've done a teensy bit of shopping for a colored rug to overlay the very functional but not particularly attractive rug that I purchased at Costco some time back.  I found one that fit the bill for less than ten bucks, so I'm a happy camper.

Along with my procedure, it appears that I also had a "shouldectomy" - I had my "should" removed - as in I should be doing this or I should be doing that or I need to finish this because I should be XYZing.  So far, I'm liking the results :-).

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Give yourself an Rx for Relaxation.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Still In Captivity

I'm here.  The surgery itself went well.  Pebbles and Slater took very good care of me for the last four days and I'm now home on Monday morning (at my own insistence).  I've promised to not over do things and to take it easy and rest often.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Allow yourself to be taken care of.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I've Got The Music In Me

I had to do something to wash that Glee-like, tweener-loved (so much squealing at a concert - it must be what a Beiber event is like) concert out of my ears from Sunday night.  So Monday began as a tribute to my favorite men with three names - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Robert Earl Keen - I turned the laptop into a virtual juke box and started my Labor day listening to some beloved music that I hadn't heard in a while.  I saw the above video on one of my favorite local blogs - b@gofn0thing and I really enjoyed it - however, I must admit to getting a bit lost at about 85!

And I won an auction on ebay!  Which is great, except that I flat out do not remember bidding.  Seriously.  I know that I was looking for drawstring linen pants but I absolutely do not remember bidding.  But somewhere in the bowels of the US postal system, there are a pair of such pants winging their way to me via express delivery.  I decided that rather than go to all the trouble of denying that I'd done this or backing out of the deal, I'll just pay the freight on this one.  Sheesh.  Oh, and I still CANNOT FIND my large cutting board.  After four days of looking for it.  How the HELL does one lose a cutting board in this tiny house?  This brain fog is as thick as 80's era fog-machine enhanced arena rock concert.

By this time on Thursday am, I will be in pre-op.  I'm nervous and will be glad to get this over with.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Sing a different tune.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

VooDoo Child

I feel like a voodoo doll - I got all but one of my needed vaccinations yesterday.  Pebbles found a place that would accept theirs/mine insurance, so we walked out of there without so much as a co-pay.  Should be 100 percent covered.  That child of mine will find a way to save a nickel!  We probably will have to go elsewhere to get the encephalitis shot that is recommended, but paying for one is a lot better than paying for six.

Rode with Wendy and Talia and a new person, Christine,  yesterday.  Rode out in Parker county on a new, very hilly and unopened road.  It was awesome, except for the hills part.  It wasn't much mileage, but it was a lot of vertical, for sure.  Followed by breakfast on the square in the county seat.  Great morning.

I then hopped the train(s) and headed over to Dallas to get pin-cushioned and then just had the kids drop me back on the train.  It was a much nicer deal than driving it myself.  I can get to within a half-mile of their house but yesterday they picked me up at the station and we went and took care of business.  Pebbles had already made an appointment for us - easy peasy.

I intended to go to meditation this a.m, but I got involved with yardwork and ended up being outside for nearly three hours this morning.  Things are looking much, much better around here.

Tonight I'm going with friends to see an outdoor concert.  My friend is the aunt of one of the performers.  I need to remember the bug spray - I'm not yet fully immunized!

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  RIP, SRV.