Hump day!

It’s my virtual Friday. I have a conference tomorrow, which is almost like not being at work, and then a vacation day Friday. Of course I feel sort of bowled over by the amount of work I have today, but it’s all good, right? (nod to my CIO – that’s his catchphrase and he’s proving to me that hearing something enough times makes it feel true even if it doesn’t actually become true).

Today is the first day I made a smoothie in my brand-new smoothie maker. We went and bought one of these at Walmart last night, despite my shuddery dislike of all things Walmart. I was tired, and Target is all the way on the other end of town, okay? So I made up my typical smoothie, or the current typical one anyway. If you’re curious, it’s been a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a cup of low fat vanilla Greek yogurt, and a cup of frozen fruit (current selection is the cherry-berry-blend from Giant). Well. The new cups are just not that big. And I made a bit of a mess, because my how-much-more-will-it-hold eye is quite inaccurate. Tomorrow I think I’ll try it with 1/2 cup of yogurt.

While I was drinking my still very delicious if rather messy breakfast, I discovered two quite interesting things on Facebook. I don’t spend a ton of time on there anymore, I sort of check in once a week or so. I treat it like I treat Twitter, basically. Jump on if I have something to share, but mostly try to consume chunks when I don’t have enough time to get into my current book but have too much time for something like daydreaming. So anyway!

The first very interesting thing was a message from an old friend with whom I had a falling out almost four years ago. I think maybe we have been un-friends longer now than we were friends, but that has no effect at all on how much I’ve missed her. She’s a pretty awesome person in general, and she really hurt me there at the end, and then this out of the blue missive. I started replying but realized I couldn’t just reel something off like it was nothing because it is so much more to me than nothing. I asked Wayne what he thought about it and he suggested I sit on it. Sitting I am. Hopefully I will compose something worthy of what we shared but not too weird and pushy and not too push-over-y, and compose it soon, because if nothing else she deserves my answer.

The second thing was less shattering but still interesting. My sister, who seems to be a different person now than she was a year or two ago (not my story, not sharing it), posted an update that said she’s glad she doesn’t look like all she’s been through. Wow, did that resonate. And it set my brain scurrying off on a list of what I’ve been through, and what I’ve done to others, because I am far from blameless in my personal drama. Are any of us, really? But still. My mind took me in a curious direction, and brought a few thoughts to the fore. For example:

  • I told someone recently that I write every day, and didn’t realize when I said it that I was lying. I stopped writing every day some time ago, but did it for so long that it still feels like it’s part of me. I felt a twang of guilt for this unintentional lie, and then I got out one of the journals Wayne gave me for our first (paper!) anniversary and I wrote and it felt good.
  • I thought about the fact that I now spend more time with non-readers than I do with readers (the former friend was a reader). Part of what attracted me to Husband One and Husband Two was that they read some, more than most men do. Wayne is not a reader. I don’t think he’s read the book I wrote, and I’m his wife. He reads news articles and sometimes he reads my blog posts, but he’s not anything like the type of reader I am. And you know what? He’s making me think that being a reader is really not as important as I thought it was. Readers hurt me, and he does not. Thanks for tossing yet another long-held belief on its head, dear and darling husband.

Thinking big thoughts in the morning is sort of fun, you know? I bet, though, that the “it’s all good” guy, and my actual boss, would prefer me to do work rather than think, so to work it is.

Happy VF, everyone!



4-ish, Sunday afternoon, end of a three day weekend. The house is clean, the shopping done. My clothes are laid out for tomorrow. Between now and when I go to bed all I have to do is make my lunch and ask Wayne (a.k.a. my human alarm clock) to get me up early enough to spend some time at the gym before work. It’s been a weekend, for sure.

I am finding myself in a place where I am not doing anywhere hear as much as I normally do. Mostly, I’m sleeping a lot and reading a ton. But I’m not getting much knitting done, I haven’t exercised since Thursday, I haven’t tracked my food, I’ve been eating like I’m carrying sextuplets and they’re all destined to become sumo wrestlers. There have been times in my life where this combination of things represented a real problem, a need to get my meds adjusted or the beginning of a slow roll downward into one of those nasty depressions. But I feel okay, actually I feel pretty good. I’ve made the decision not to worry.

Some things that have happened this weekend:

  • I watched 5 Flights Up, loved it, cried so much I couldn’t knit.
  • I watched If I Stay with the Squirrel. I started out bashing how it wasn’t 100% accurate (I read the book not too long ago). But then… I loved it and cried so much I couldn’t knit. Seeing a theme here?
  • I watched the 2013 Carrie with the hubs & the Squirrel. I may have gotten a little snippety at all the questions – I was the only one in the room who had read the book and seen the original movie. It was okay and I’m glad I watched it. I didn’t cry. I got about 20 rows of the grandbaby’s blanket knitted.
  • I fixed my Goodreads account so it has my name on it and not Wayne’s (long story short, he got my Kindle for me as a birthday gift and it was pre-configured on his Amazon account…)
  • I finished Gangsterland, read Empire Falls, read Water for Elephants, worked on A History of Loneliness, started The Things They Carried. All of it amazing. It’s been a rather good reading week all in all.
  • I had a dream about a way to take feelings from one person and give them to another and started writing a story (book?) about it.

Tomorrow it’s back to the real world, the world of counting calories and eating salad, of sweating like a pig and not eating Edie’s Butterfinger, a world of the job that still feels new (and is still kicking my ass) and apps to build and meetings to attend and drama-attitudes-etc. Tomorrow is shoes that aren’t flip flops and no afternoon nap and answering emails. Tomorrow it’s being that other Karen, the one who isn’t told “That’s okay hon, just get your read on, I can take care of this myself.” Love that man.

Speaking of loving him, Tuesday is our first anniversary. I’ve purchased a suitable gift, one made of paper, that I really hope he loves. We both took the day off. We have a half-made plan to ride our bikes to Cambridge and split an order of seafood nachos at Jimmie & Sooks, then ride back. It would be about a 70 mile ride round trip so we would totally swing a second meal out – maybe Plaza? All I know for sure is that we’ll spend the whole day together, just like we did last year. I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂

Oh wait, is this non-book thing becoming a THING?

Perhaps it is…

First: some random facts:

  • It’s been cold. I’m clumsy. Add those things together and you get ice-slippage, landing on my bum, and several days of back pain. Hopefully I’m past the worst of it.
  • I’ve been spending less time than I like on things that aren’t related to playing silly games on electronic devices. And a corollary fact: Trivia Crack is extraordinarily well named.
  • And oh yeah – I totally got my acceptance letter (OMG OMG OMG). Graduate school? Possible mid-life career change? Looks like it might be happening. (OMG OMG OMG)

As per the norm, I am all but wrapped up in all things fiber. Wayne and I went to the Ocean City Fiber Festival on Saturday (this is pre-slippage). I was a very good fiber-a-holic. I got enough upcycled merino in this crazy awesome pink color to make a Vitamin D. I got some really pretty wool-acrylic blend that’s destined to be a Now in a Minute. There was also some cloud-soft, hand-spun, undyed cotton that I have no plans for but could not leave there. It was $5.00 for 600 yards! I know!

I saw a good portion of my knit-crochet group at the festival, which made me very happy. My favorite pizelle maker even gave Wayne a great big hug! He looked a little like he was on stage and had never seen a script, but he lived through it. Poor guy – since he met me he has pretty much taken up residence outside his comfort zone. He does indeed love me to bits. 🙂

Plans are in the works for a weekend trip rather soon. We’re talking about going to Maryland Sheep and Wool this year (SQUEE!). Tentative plan is to leave here before sunup on Saturday and drive across the Bay to the festival, and then spend most of the day there. When we leave, we’ll drive up to Gettysburg, where we will spend the night and then wander around the battlegrounds on Sunday morning. We’ll drive back home after lunch on Sunday. In case you missed it, that’s a Saturday of fiber and a Sunday of history – two of my very favorite things. I’m wicked excited.

There’s not a lot to report on the actual construction of items made from yarn this week. I finished one small project but I’m going to wait until I try it out to talk about it – maybe next week if I remember to do this again. I have four things in progress: a baby blanket, a sock, a shawl, and a sweater-vest-thingee. I’m planning to whip up a baby hat as soon as I finish the blanket and get them off to their new home soon – hopefully they will have moved on by this weekend. I’m also putting the sock in my travel project bag so it will go places with me and perhaps receive some love. I mean, seriously – it’s a sock, I cast it on like 2 weeks ago. That’s crazy, right?

In case you’re interested, these are the lovely vendors from whom I purchased awesome fiber at the OC Fiber Festival:

I just hope Wayne understands that MSW will be about 1000 times as awesome, so I’ll have to spend a bunch more money. I mean, seriously? It’s MARYLAND SHEEP AND WOOL. I may possibly be more excited about a wool festival than I am about the whole master’s degree thing. Odd, that. 😉

Knitting group!

I’ve been strongly encouraged by my dear and loving husband to get out of the house more. I was fighting it, let me tell you. There is little I like more than curling up on the couch with a book and my knitting (super easy if the book is on the Kindle) for an evening. But then…

A couple months ago, I talked Wayne into joining me at a program at the library. He was miserable but he hid it well and did it for me. I, however, felt that I had found my people. The lady sitting next to me commented on my knitting and asked if I was part of the knitting group that meets at the library. I said no, but the question sort of layered itself on top of Wayne’s encouragements and I thought this might be the thing. I could knit with others, right? Surely the knitting would not suffer from being done at the library?

Well yesterday, I went. And I am over the moon! I thought the book people were my people; I was wrong. The knitters are my people (to be clear, it’s a knit and crochet group – I don’t want to denigrate any of my fellow fiberistas!). They welcomed me with open arms. About two minutes after I sat down, I felt as if I’d been hanging out with those women for months. The stories! The yarn! The patterns! The jokes!

The pizelles!

I copied down the address for the next meeting. I put it on my calendar. I squeed and shook hands and barely restrained myself from hugging every one one them. I’m a hugger, what can I say? But even I know better than to hug people I met two hours earlier. I’m saving that for next time.

This morning, I woke early and refreshed, still feeling a bit of the warm-and-fuzziness from yesterday. I did some yoga and a bit of meditation. I wrote in my journal. And then I went upstairs, pulled out the plastic tub that holds my yarn stash, sorted, and dreamed. Noel followed me up and sat on a box across the room, watching me and making the little cheep-purr noise that she makes to remind us that she’s there and happy. I re-rolled balls and thought about what I want to make next (a pair of toe-up socks, a pencil skirt made from granny squares, a toy for Breccan, baby booties, fingerless gloves – all of them at once!).

Sometimes I just need to feel my fingers plunging into yarn, what can I say?

I closed up the tub and put it in a new spot; front and center so I can see all that yummy yarn waiting to be made into beautiful and warm things. I picked Noel up (she butted her nose against my chin – kitteh kisses), and carried her downstairs. I got ready for work, feeling this wonderful combination of excitement and calm, sort of like I have my feet so well grounded that my head is able to go exploring. I’m catching myself smiling, thinking about the yarn, the knitting group, and how smart my husband is. Life really is good.

Lazy Sunday mornings

We had planned a bike ride today, forty or more miles. We only have a few weeks left before the Century to train. But life and weather decided not so much. 

It started earlier this week, when Wayne picked up a particularly nasty cold. He’s one of those people (bless them) who goes to work sick unless he is really too sick to work. I am not. Of course he passed his illness to me. We really do share everything. I started feeling bad on Wednesday and when I woke up Thursday morning with the simultaneous feelings that I could not catch my breath and that my throat had been cheese-grated in my sleep, I called off work. Wayne was still sick; he called off as well. I spent the day either snoozing on the couch or curled under a blanket with my Kindle. No exercise of any sort happened.

On Friday, I woke feeling a little better but far from good so I called out again. When Wayne left to go to work, I went back to bed and slept until he got off at 11. There was lunch and there was more resting and the consumption of copious amounts of ibuprofen. I propped myself up well enough to take a shower (you’re welcome) and get dressed so I could go with Wayne to his eldest daughter’s wedding rehearsal. I cried, a lot. I could blame it on still being a bit under the weather but that would not be entirely true. I’m just a crier, plain and simple. We went to the groom’s parents’ house for a little buffet dinner party, where we met a lot of their family, most of whom I won’t remember – I am terrible with names – and then it was home and bed, pretty early for a Friday.

Saturday I lazed around in my jammies for hours before deciding I needed to do something outside of the house. I trekked to Goodwill and picked up some stunningly cute dresses (I did a super job choosing them if I do say so myself). Then I picked up my son to have some mama-mama’s boy time. I took him to the mall to help me pick a couple pairs of shoes. I took him to Barne’s and Noble where I got iced coffee and he got a Frappaccino. We went to a drug store and he helped pick a card for the wedding and we picked up some random stuff. Then I dropped him home, went home myself, and got ready for the rest of the day.

And then it was time for the wedding. My husband looked amazing in his suit, and he did his job of giving his daughter to one of his close friends with grace and humor – basically as he does most things. I got to meet some of his relatives for the first time. I gushed over his beautiful daughters; the bride was stunning and her sisters/bridesmaids were heart-breakingly lovely. I drank beer and champagne and wine. I danced a little bit and gave out hugs. I ate amazingly good food and talked to a bartender who reminded me of my daughter. I snapped pictures, first with one of the girls’ digital camera and then with my phone. I smiled so much my face ached. I drank so much that I started stealing cigarettes. I had a wonderfully good time.

When we got home, we barely managed to get into jammies before falling into bed and sleep. I have no idea what time it was. I woke at 2 AM with a dry mouth and a pounding head. I got a glass of water and a handful of ibuprofen and went back to bed. After lying there for a few minutes, feeling the pain pulse in my temples in time with my heartbeat, I realized that I would not be quickly going back to sleep and got out my Kindle to start reading. A couple hours later (I saw 3:45 when I went to get my third glass of water), I went back to sleep to the sounds of thunder and the the steady drum of rain falling.

And that brings us to today. I slept in and woke up with the headache gone but still feeling oddly shaky and uncoordinated. Wayne said we weren’t going to do the 40 miles; it is too wet out there. We may do a short ride later today. I’m fine with all of that, really. I have a lot to do today: working out, cleaning, preparing for the upcoming work week. But not just yet. I’m going to enjoy this feeling of being languid and slow for a little while longer. I’ll write a bit, read a bit, and maybe look at pictures of cats. For a little while longer, I will let myself be lazy.

Almost September

Was it just a week ago that I was complaining about how hot it is? It’s still hot, but my brain has caught up with my body and reminded me that summer is oh so fleeting. The mornings are getting cooler – I wore a cardigan yesterday and was not overly warm. The afternoons are still in the 80’s but they are breezy, as if the warm air is scurrying around and packing up, ready to move south to make room for the chilly dryness that is winter on Delmarva. Part of me is already mourning sandals and flowing skirts, sundresses and tank tops. Another part of me is eager for afternoons in front of the fire, hand-knit hats and scarves, the smell of autumn that poofs up when I walk on crunchy leaves.

Now that I am in no way involved in back to school, well beyond avoiding stores like Kohl’s from mid-August till early September, I am looking forward to this wonderful transition month. There’s something fascinating to me about wearing a warm sweater in the morning and running around in short sleeves in the afternoon. September exists, I think, to remind us that change is not really a bad thing.

This September is shaping up to be bigger than many (any?) that have come before. It starts with my oldest step-daughter’s wedding and ends with my first ever Century bike ride. I don’t know yet what will happen in between but I am ready for whatever change September chooses to bring.


Have I mentioned the problems I’ve been having with my eyes? Oh, I remember now. There was that rant about The Man, in the guise of the insurance company, sticking it to me. Well, it turns out that the new glasses are so amazing that it just might have been worth it, the whole getting it stuck to me or however that works. The frames are the best compromise I’ve ever worn between my desire to be flashy (Wayne used a great word to describe me that we can’t pull out of our heads right now, flashy is a poor substitute but it’s the best I can do) and my abnormally small nose. My nose loves those little nose pad things that you get on wire framed glasses, but my showiness longs for fat, plastic frames. The new frames are a gorgeous dark red color, not quite maroon, with red tortoise shell arms, that sit in the right place on my nose.

And then the lenses – WOW. They are the size of a normally nearsighted person, and believe me my nearsightedness didn’t improve that much. I am pretty sure they aren’t any sort of plastic, rather they are hardened unicorn tears, or maybe fairy sweat – magical. They’re light and wonderfully clear and so thin. Is it possible to fall madly in love with a pair of lenses? If you’re me, yes it is.

But the very best part is I CAN SEE. Yes, I know, it’s amazing and awesome and wonderful. I don’t have to strain. My eyes don’t feel like they’re bulging out of my head when I switch from looking at a monitor to something over there (you can see where I’m pointing, right?). The joy that comes from seeing clearly when you haven’t been is something I don’t have the words to explain, and it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve felt it. Suddenly things are clear again. The world has detail again. Black letters on a white page are little soldiers standing at attention rather than fussy, wobbly toddlers who are still getting their legs under them. Roofs have shingles, trees have leaves (or pine needles, of course). Gravel is made up of little, distinct pieces. The very best part is switching from close to far vision. It’s effortless, perfect, no strain at all.

I am considering sending flowers to the eye doctor.


I am planning, and expecting, a wonderful weekend. I have to do some work, but I don’t have to wear a bra to do it so it’s not so bad. I am going to be creative. I’m going to move and sweat. I’m going to see my parents and get Mom and Dad hugs (and hopefully a hug from my baby brother, he has the best hugs in the world). I’m going to do some cleaning, scratch Noel’s ears, talk to Wayne. I’ll write some, read a lot, walk fabric under the presser foot, go gaga over how gorgeous this man who chose to marry me is in a suit. I’m going to call my children and remind them that their Mom loves them. And maybe, if I am feeling particularly daring and chichi, I’ll get a pedicure. I am suffering from a deep and pronounced longing for dark orange toenails to hurry the next season along.

Change is good.


My special eyes versus my frugal husband

People, I am pretty sure poor Wayne had about thirty-seven tiny heart attacks yesterday.

With my infrequent blogging, I am sure you remember the post where I discussed the freaky stuff happening with my vision. Well, it started happening more often, and one day I actually caught myself driving when my vision was blurry and my eyes refused to focus. In the manner that such things normally happen, I was driving to a doctor’s appointment. I asked her about it, thinking it might be a reaction to my medication. I was told to go to the eye doctor.

I called the good eye doctor (not the guy behind the glasses place in the mall) and they had a cancellation in two days, so I snatched it up. And then…

There are a few things that I might need to clear up before I go forward. My eyes are really bad. I was told by one optometrist that I am the “second most near-sighted person” she had ever met, and I was really close to first. I have astigmatisms in both eyes, and I recently developed a need for bifocals. What’s funny is that I needed bifocals as a kid but outgrew them, and spent a good twenty years without them. There was a time when I could not go over a year without new glasses because my eyes were getting worse so quickly. I learned how eye charts work when I was in high school (that’s a story for another day). I know what it’s like when my prescription changes, in other words. I am very aware of what’s going on with my eyes because they are so crappy… I mean special.

Now Wayne is blessed with excellent vision, better than 20/20. He’s had one eye exam in his life. Most of his daughters are nearsighted, but in the way of normal people. They can do things without their glasses, even driving. The only thing I can do without my glasses is call Wayne to help me find my glasses, because without them my world is some sort of weird modern art-like place of two-dimensional, blurry blobs of colors that bleed into each other.

So I am sure that you can imagine my “pshaw” when the eye doctor told me it was probably that my prescription needed to be changed. I offered my best arguments: my eyes haven’t gotten worse in years (barring the bifocal thing of course), I would certainly know if it was that because I’ve dealt with this nonsense for most of my life. Yeah. She was right. And I was fooled because I am now less near-sighted! Yay for my forties! I am less tall and less near-sighted! Now if I could only figure out how to be less tired, less in love with cotton candy, less a fan of high-calorie beers…. I could go on forever.

I decided that with the prescription change and all of the problems I’ve been having, I needed to order my glasses at the eye doctor’s little optical store. I called Wayne and told him I couldn’t drive myself home and I wanted to get glasses there. He said he would help me pick frames when he came to pick me up and take me home on his lunch break. And then, I tried to kill him.

I have to have the thinnest, most light-weight plastic they make lenses out of. Back when they only had glass and normal plastic lenses, the sides of my lenses were more then half an inch thick and they were so heavy that they bruised my nose (yes, even plastic lenses). It’s not vanity, it’s need. I have to have bifocals. Add those together and you come up with the most expensive lenses in the universe. Because they are so expensive, I need to pay a little extra for scratch and smudge-proof coatings. And I really need anti-glare, because one of my problems (and the reason I can’t do anything after getting my eyes dilated at the eye doctor) is that my eyes react slowly to changes in light levels. Glare is a demon to me. I was once told that if I had lived before plastic lenses were invented, I would be legally blind. That’s how special my eyes are.

I am crippled, dysfunctional without glasses.They are a necessity.

Add all of this up and you come up with thousand dollar glasses that I cannot live without. Insurance covers $120 on one pair of glasses a year. That’s barely a dent in the cost of my glasses. And I totally forgot to warn Wayne. I could order them online for a little less, but with these changes and the eye doctor not being 100% sure that she’d gotten everything right because I was already dilated when she checked, I needed to do it locally, and in a place where I would have real and fast assistance if I needed it. I forgot to warn poor Wayne, and the price tag punched him in the gut with a giant fist.

Later, he told me that he finds the whole thing wrong. I need them. If I needed a walker, would insurance make me pay almost $900 to get one? How about a cast? Or surgery? He sees my glasses in the same light, and the more I need them, the more they cost. The system is broken.

I think it would be excellent (and the right thing to do) for insurance to cover the full cost of my lenses and I pay for the frames. That way if I want to be vain and shi-shi, it’s on me. But the part that I have to have just to make it to the bathroom without giant bruises? That part should be covered.

Me, and my special eyes

After a week or two spent staring at glowing rectangles, my eyes like to just sort of give up, and force me into an out of focus day. So far, thankfully, this has happened only on weekends, but these “episodes” are coming more frequently so it’s a safe bet they will happen on a day I need to drive to work, sooner of later. It’s scary, and Wayne thinks it may be scarier for me than it would be for “normal” people (not sure why I put that in quotes, considering I am quite in tune with my abnormality). The eye doctor said it’s just a lovely side effect of aging (I added the lovely in there, he’s not real fond of adjectives in general). And so…

Yesterday, I lost most of the day. When I got up in the morning, my eyes were focusing slowly and painfully. The struggle to force them to make sense of what was around me, to squirrel through the blurry fog, made them ache, and the ache transferred to my head. I am on call so I had to look at the computer to do on call checks. To see the screen, to focus on it, I had to take my glasses off and lean in really closely. The strain made them water and burn. Wayne noticed and sent me to bed.

I laid in the darkened bedroom with my glasses off and let my brain do its worst. When I was a kid and my eyesight first started heading south, it wasn’t particularly scary. I think it was just a thing until an eye doctor told me that if they hadn’t invented some particular sort of lens, I would be legally blind. I think I was in fifth or sixth grade at the time. His words have never faded; I can still hear them in his voice, I can still picture his office and feel his oddly moist breath on my cheek as he did his eye-doctor-y stuff. His words led me to practice blindness. I would take off my glasses, blindfold myself, and try to make my way around the house. I’d try to do things like get a glass of water and find the bathroom. It was a pretty morbid game, if you think about it.

It is also a fear that stayed with me.

On the days that my eyes choose to not work right, that fear comes back. Wayne knows about it and understands. He takes care of me, perhaps too well. He won’t let me drive and he urges me away from the computer. He keeps the bedroom dark, visits me, brings me coffee or tea. If it lasts longer than a few hours and I start getting scared, he talks me down and lets me cry. We discuss how long ago it happened before, we talk about what we will do if it happens on a weekday (which, sooner or later, it will). And he lets me rest.

Sometimes, it clears up in an hour. Sometimes, it takes most of the day. Yesterday was the second type. I didn’t feel steady until well into the afternoon. I missed my brand-new step-daughter’s bridal shower because of it. I was going to try to do it, and Wayne had offered to drive me, but the idea of being in a strange place, with people I did not know, and eyes that weren’t working scared me. My mind reading husband got that and called his mom to tell her I couldn’t go, and then had one of the girls take my contribution with her. And I rested.

They are fine this morning, thankfully. Not perfect, because they are my eyes, but I don’t expect perfection. I can focus without straining. I can look from one thing to another without trails of light or foggy auras that I can only make sense of because I am in my kitchen and know everything in here. The headache is almost gone and the fear that this time it won’t stop has calmed, because it’s obviously stopped. I will be able to write, to do my on-call checks, to go grocery shopping. And of course, I will be able to spend some more time asking Google for a cure that probably doesn’t exist. I wonder if it is finally time for Lasik?

Sweet summertime

One of the many things I love to do is playing a game where I try to come up with a title for something random. This morning could be titled “Down Twenty-five” because that’s what the scale told me (happy Friday, Karen!). This is one of the things that cause me to wander around inside of my head and wile away time that would be better spent on reading or working, but it’s fun. All work and no wandering lost inside of her own head makes Karen a dull girl.

Even though it’s not over yet and something big could still happen to throw everything out of whack, title-wise, I am playing around with a descriptive name for this summer. Some options:

  • The Summer of New Names: I married Wayne and took his name, and his eldest daughter is marrying an awesome guy and, I think, taking his name.
  • Walk A Million Miles: Maybe not a million, but certainly enough to walk a hole through the sole of my shoes. Perhaps a subtitle: Buy New Shoes.
  • Whole New Wardrobe Season, because twenty-five pounds is a lot to lose and my clothes are too big. Many of them, anyway. I am not complaining!

I think, though, at least for this morning, the choice is simply Sweet Summer. It encapsulates so much of our lives right now. From the joy of being newlyweds to the visit to Hershey, it fits.

We have a bunny who got accidentally trapped in the back yard. We’ve named him “Honey” because, while I like titling days and seasons and meals, I am the queen of boring when it comes to naming living, furry creatures. Honey Bunny is an endless source of amusement. He hangs out under Wayne’s ramp and comes out to nosh on wild strawberries and the just-born bell peppers in the garden. He loves (note – sarcasm) playing with Noel, our cat. From his name to his favorite foods, everything about him qualifies as “sweet.”

And then there’s the overabundance of cherry tomatoes. They are little spheres of juicy sweetness and I love them, but I am picking them at a much faster rate than we can consume them. Yesterday I picked twenty-three, as an example. There are two bowls full of them in the fridge right now that will become something this weekend. Perhaps I will roast them with some fresh garlic, olive oil, and kosher salt. I could make some salsa – chop them coarsely and mix in some diced peppers (bell peppers from the store, thanks to Honey, and Serrano peppers from the garden) and red onion. I’ll mix it into my salads and scrambled eggs. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

Of course, the sweetest thing about this summer, for me anyway, is us. We are so wonderfully happy that we would give you a mental toothache from the sweetness. Yes, even after living together for a couple years. Being newlyweds is an amazing thing. Not that we needed this, but it’s like a spark of newness that sort of ups the highs even higher. I look at him doing some random thing like changing brakes on a car and see his wedding band sparkling and my heart goes “SQUEE! that’s my husband!” Without him putting it into words, I know that it happens to him, too; I can see it in the way he looks at me, feel it when he hugs me.

There’s a reason why there are so many songs about summer, and I am living it this year. The sand under my toes at Ocean City is warmer. My legs are powerful when I pump the pedals on my bike. Food tastes better because I am seeking out new flavors, a necessity when one is trying to train themselves to eat less. I feel good, from my center out, and I am surrounded by sweetness and sunshine. Indeed.

Oh, the places we will go

Wayne and I are preparing (note I do not use the word “training”) for our first Century. We are planning to ride our hybrids, in our street clothes, 100 km in late September. I have every intention of wearing my Chuck Taylors and my pink Chocolate World tee-shirt, which matches my pink helmet that I have bedazzled with Hello Kitty heads, plastic gems, and bits of ribbon sporting such things as pink panda bears. I am on the lookout for pom-pom socks to complete the look.

We are riders, not racers.

We both try to move at least seventy miles a week. For Wayne, all of the movement is in the form of bike riding. Mine includes my Leslie Sansone workouts and my walks. We are in pretty good shape and we have good attitudes and decent bikes that are well-maintained. But, 100 km? 62 miles? That’s a long ride. I might need some padded shorts.

Today, we did twenty miles. We’ve discussed doing at least one 20+ mile ride each week until the race. We had an excellent ride today and did it in a decent (for us) time. We talked, laughed, and enjoyed the scenery. We are blessed to live in a beautiful area that is quite flat, basically a bicycler’s dream. It’s a warm and wet summer so everywhere we look around here we see lushly verdant greenery, wildflowers, generously full gardens. 

Today’s ride was on the main north-south highway, the same route I take to work. And we didn’t just see maples, hummingbirds, and Queen Anne’s lace. We were also confronted with what I consider to be a great big lack of respect. Consider:

  • Boxes that originally held fried chicken
  • Bags and wrappers from McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Wawa
  • Empty cups: coffee, Slurpee, soda
  • Empty bottles: water, soda, beer

I don’t understand the need people have to toss their trash out of the window of a moving vehicle. If everyone would key into the fact that this world is a gift, and it’s one we have to share with everyone else, maybe they could discover a bit of respect for what they’ve been given. Maybe they would find in themselves a feeling of stewardship. Maybe they would wait until they got to where they were going and put their trash in a trash can (it may actually be rocket science, the whole trash can being made for trash thing).

But then… I saw the first thing that made me think I was being too hard on my fellow Delmarvans, that indicated that at least some of the dumping was accidental: a towel. Not a beach towel, which I would almost expect to see since we were on one of the major routes, therefore an artery leading to the beach. No, it was a normal old bath towel, a pretty grayish-green color. And seeing the towel opened up a sort of door to the world of Strange Things on the Side of the Road (queue creepy music):

  • A green gingham baby dress
  • A shoe, the kind that kids who play sports wear when they take their cleats off, sans sock or second shoe
  • A tee-shirt, blue, I suspect men’s (I caught a hint of a pocket)
  • A second towel, smaller than the first, originally white and now very dirty
  • An entire case of Nip-Chee

I gotta say, the item most likely to be accidentally lost is a toss up between the Nip-Chee and the baby dress. It was an extremely cute dress and any little girl, say six to twelve months, would look like a wee princess in it. But Nip-Chee? Who throws away an entire case of seriously good crackers and doesn’t mourn their loss?

We’ll have to go in the other direction next time and see what there is to see that way. We could turn it into a little bit of cultural anthropology.