Friday, July 30, 2010

Testing, Testing

The gods, or someone, are seriously against me in this trying-to-be-a-better person agenda.

After a great start, yesterday rapidly went downhill, with the annoying sinus cold sapping every last dose of energy. I managed to finish up the one bit of work I had, and then proceeded to sag onto the couch, too tired to read, watch movies, or even knit. By the end of the night, said sinus cold had migrated into just one ear so that it felt like someone was stabbing an invisible ice pick into my eardrum. I was not exactly a vision of cheerfulness. In fact, I was so whiny and miserable that Nurse Mr. J pretty much ignored me in exasperation. Rightfully so! (Though he did go out at about 10 to get me decongestants and nasal spray. That's true love.)

Today the ear pain has mostly subsided, and I'm down to a miserable drippy nose. But at least I feel a little more energetic. However, I woke up to a notice from my bank saying that my business account was down to $0. Remember that check I was so happy to receive yesterday? Yeah, it sure would have been nice if I had actually deposited it. Oops!

But there is a silver lining to all this woe and misery in my little world: I miraculously did not overdraw my account. The two checks that went out yesterday added up to exactly the amount I had had in my account two days ago. So when it said a balance of $0, it wasn't hiding some negative amount. So first thing this morning, in went the check, and all is right with the world. No returned checks. No annoying bank fees.

I love it when a non-plan comes together.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life and Stuff

I think there is a cosmic message out there, trying to get through to me. Blogs I read, posts on Facebook I see, movies I watch, and books I read all seem to have a theme of live life and enjoy. There is all sorts of crazy crap going on in this little world of ours. It's downright overwhelming, not to mention frightening. And it is so easy to get caught up in it all and to feel weighted down with woes of "How will we ever get through all this?"

But thanks to that cosmic message (plus a little pushing and prodding from Mr. J), I am slowly beginning to remember that there isn't much I can do about anything on a global scale.

What I can do is live the best life possible in my own little world and hope that it has the butterfly effect on those around me, which in turn works on those around them, and slowly makes its way around the world.

Of course, not having CNN or Fox or MSNBC in the house makes this goal all the more realizable.

So after my brief relapse into whining and moaning, courtesy of Las Vegas Airport, I am back to working on my don't-sweat-the-small-stuff attitude and my "look for the good things in everyday life" goal.

Today's good things so far: Walking with Mr. J and The Dog downtown to grab a 99-cent cafe au lait from Cafe de Paris; checking the PO box to find a check (yay!); running into a neighbor and chatting about river trips for 15 minutes, while our dogs lazed about in the shade; meeting another neighbor and getting lupine and spinach seedlings from her garden, as well as some basil starts; doing a walkabout through our own yard, planning where to plant the seedlings and what other things we want to do this weekend.

All in all, not a bad start to a Thursday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stuck in Vegas, Baby

I have the worst luck with this annoying airport, with it's blinking blaring jackpot machines and people all so happy to be in this weird, wacky place.

I am now on hour 3 of my extended layover, with at least 2 more to go, thanks to some kind of air traffic control delay or something. Perfect weather outside everywhere I look on the USA Today map. Gorgeous sunset lingering on for hours outside the airport windows. So why the delay??


I just want to get home to my Mr. J, my The Dog, my bed. Vacations are wonderful, but I swear I am going to need three days to recover from the 12+-hour jaunt from one home to the other.

It doesn't help that my head is completely congested from a week and a half of air-conditioned air. My poor little sinuses are not used to all this forced air.

Can I gripe a little more?

Ya sure, you betcha ...

After shelling out $20 for a mediocre airport dinner of enchildas verdes and a corona, I asked the bartender to fill my water bottle with water. His reply, "We can't do that." I am mystified as to why this is. I've been wracking my brains to figure out why, and then decided that it probably isn't worth the effort. Nor was it worth the effort to fume and steam and stamp around the airport while I searched for a soda fountain machine where I could just fill it up myself (which I did find ... and no one complained ... apparently the water from a measly soda fountain is not as precious as the water from the bartender's little area of the world). Grrrr.

So now I'm looking for bright sides.

The sunset was gorgeous and it did last for quite a long time. And now the lights of Burger King, Sbarro, and Starbucks are reflecting in the glass, blending with the bright lights of Vegas, continuing a sunset of sorts.

So there's that.

Oh, and I get a chance to catch up on my blog. Aren't you just so thrilled to read this cheery post?

And I get to charge my iPod, though, truthfully, I could do that on the plane just as easily.

Oh, and in one of those weird quirks of air travel, during dinner, I ended up sitting next to the same woman I sat next to on the plane, and we had a lovely conversation that helped while (wile?) away the first hour of my 5-hour layover. It was an absolute pleasure and the highlight of my day.

I'm trying to come up with some kind of lesson learned or something ... the art of being patient, perhaps? But I really am having no luck. So, no words of wisdom from me. Just words of whining.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life's a Beach

Aaaah, a week in the Outer Banks with most of those I love best. I am utterly relaxed and happy, but also so thrilled to be going home tomorrow. I miss Mr. J and The Dog terribly! The trip would have been a totally different experience with him (Mr. J, that is). He's absolutely tireless when it comes to playing with three beautiful, but clingy, nieces in the pool, and he would have been so patient and calm with them in the ocean.

Lil' Sis and her gorgeous family

But he was in my heart and my mind the entire trip, and it was his presence that kept me calm and cool on Day 3 or 4, when everyone was a little overtired (especially me) and sensitive to the quirks in others that drive us a little batty.

And maybe this is a sign that I am finally growing up. From Mr. J, I have (slowly) learned to smile through the little annoyances, laugh away the occasional snarky comments, keep my mouth shut regarding my sister's sometimes odd relationship with her husband, and mainly not sweat the small stuff. Now I just need to remember this lesson when I get home and apply it to my own relationship. (See Whimsy's post today, as it perfectly encapsulates the rough treatment I give my own husband more often than I would ever care to admit.)

And miracle of miracles, the trip was without a major blowup or storming off to separate corners -- and I'm not talking about outbursts between the kids. I love my sister dearly. Growing up, we were like best friends. But we are completely different people in many respects (obviously), and I think I am finally realizing that that is OK.

It's only taken me 38 years.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things I Like

The other day we covered two things I don't like.

So I'll balance it out with two things I do like.

One is a given: The Dog. When Mr. J is out of town, The Dog will treat me as the Alpha Dog, which basically means he'll give me the big hug when I walk in the door. I love it! When Mr. J is in town, I don't even get a second glance, though he does seem to like the group hug. But when it's just me, I am the queen bee and I get all the lovin'. Who wouldn't love this face:

The other is a special treat for today. Our fridge is bare. All we have are some scratched up river beers, a ton of oranges and grapefruits (tonight's project: fresh juice), and some questionable things in Tupperware. But our freezer had a little treat that I had forgotten all about: frozen watermelon. Into the blender it went, with a little lime and club soda (and, yes, a splash of vodka). Et voila ... ice cold, refreshing watermelon juice to cool my parched throat after mowing the lawn. Hooray!!
photo courtesy of Appon's Thai Food

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

Random Thought 1: I hate bad renters.

I think I have mentioned how much I love our little house here in Boise. I mean, it even has a white picket fence. How All-American of us.

Our House; Their House (I'll let you guess which is which.)

What I don't love is our oddball renter neighbors. Their house is a small box, probably a former miner's home built in the early 1900s. It has the potential to be a charming little box, but it is owned by some old crotchety man and his even older brother. They rent it out dirt cheap and seem to think that maintenance is some kind of new-fangled idea that doesn't apply to old, historic homes. The roof is in serious disrepair, and we know from the former renter that the walls literally crumbled from rot when she tried to repair some tiles in the shower. She (the quiet, well-intentioned renter) moved out as soon as she could get out of her $500-a-month lease.

Now it's rented to God knows how many 20-somethings (though I think maybe they aren't even 20). They parked a school bus, which probably has more square footage than the actual house, in the backyard. And they loaded the house with all sorts of instruments, including an organ and an old upright piano (the latter of which I am seriously coveting, even though it is ridiculously out of tune). I would call the gang of kids grunge, but I don't think that's the right term. I actually think Circus Carney is more appropriate, especially as the music we hear most often coming from the house and bus sounds an awful lot like a cross between Big Top music and the horrid music played by the ice cream truck. Wonderful.

And last night, I looked out my bedroom window (as I adjusted the fan for maximum coolness as well as maximum noise-deadening) to see two lanky, white, scrawny guys dressed in bras and undies, one with a black fishnet dress, the other with high heels. I'm really not sure what this was about. Some kind of theme party perhaps? Maybe it's their band costumes? Maybe they were heading out to The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Or maybe it's just the norm over there. I don't know.

At least it's never boring.


Random Thought 2: There's something I hate more than my neighbors.

So, confession time: My skin hates me. I actually sometimes think I am allergic to myself. My scalp has this condition called sebborheic dermatitis, which can result in scaly, dandruff-like ickiness, especially if I am not totally diligent about washing it every day (as can happen after 6 days on a river trip). I have a tendency to get cold sores if I spend too much time in the sun (as can happen after 6 days on a river trip). I get rashes under my arms, along my belly button, beneath my bra line whenever I get too hot and sweaty or dirty (as can happen after 6 days on a river trip). Oh, did I mention I just got back from a fantastic 6-day river trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon? Well, I did. And it was a great trip with a wonderful group of people. But now we are home, and I am paying the price.

River Self-Portrait

Friday night, I realized there was still this one little patch of scaliness on my scalp, in a place where it often gets scaly. I thought it was because it was right where my visor sat all week, so it was persistent and wouldn't go away. But by Saturday morning, it was actually tender and sore. I tried to scrub it with shampoo, but I hate inflicting pain on myself, so I stopped. Then it occurred to me that I better get Mr. J to take a look, just in case it wasn't a scale. He picked at it and pulled it out, as I often do with the icky scaliness. Then he stepped away and told me calmly that it was a tick.

I immediately proceeded to completely and utterly freak out (in the shower, mind you). So very grown-up of me.

All I can say is, thank God this happened Saturday a.m., as an hour later, I was dropping off Mr. J at the airport for a 10-day trip to the Netherlands. And there is no way in Hades that I would have ever been able to remove that stupid thing on my own. I would have ended up in a puddle of tears, naked and wet in the shower, too freaked out to do a damned thing.