mellicious: "I have nothing significant to say" (in a thought bubble) (nothing significant)
 I mentioned yesterday that I was feeling a little sick. Well, we are both sick - pretty mildly sick, I think it's just a cold - and furthermore, my sister and her husband are too. So I guess maybe somebody that waited on us earlier this week was sick, because meals were mostly when all four of us were together. (I believe one server on Christmas Eve mentioned that they were sending her home because she was sick, in fact.) But anyway, I'd rather have a cold than a severe allergy attack, because the cold will go away in a few days. With allergies you just don't know.

Rob went off to see the Halloween movie at the dollar theater. I just stayed home. I'm watching the MSNBC shows from earlier today (what the heck is the stock market doing?) and futzing around on the computer. I bought two more candles from Bath & Body Works (I always want to say Bed Bath & Beyond, but that's wrong) because they have the 3-wick candles on half-price sale again. I bought another Fresh Balsam candle and a non-holiday one that was Eucalyptus Mint or something like that. I thought that sounded like it was pretty safely something I would like.

I'm obsessing about Zoya polishes at the moment - not the new ones, but the old ones - like, the ones so old you can't figure out all the information on them. I suppose this is a stupid thing to obsess about, but I am just the same. (I have this spreadsheet with a lot of holes in it and I was trying to figure out some of the missing ones. I have names and Zoya's polish numbers and I'm trying to match those up, basically.)

Last night I finished the book that I was reading - one of the series that I didn't get around to talking about earlier, the October Daye books - one of Seanan McGuire's urban fantasy series - so then I had to decide what was next. I have unread stuff that I could have read without spending more money, but I really wanted to either get the next book in that series or the next Expanse book. That was book 9 of 12 on the October Daye books and I've only read the first Expanse book (Leviathan Wakes) - there are a bunch of those too, at least 8 of them, I think, from what I saw when I looked on Amazon. I like both series and I'm not in any particular hurry to finish one or the other. If the October Daye books seemed to be heading towards some particular ending, I would probably be wanting to finish, but as far as I can tell, they're mostly just serials and could possibly go on forever. I'm not far enough into the Expanse series to have any idea about that - it did have an ending to the first book, they're not just cliffhangers like, say, Lord of the Rings, where it's really just one book divided up. But there's plenty of plot to go on with, too. Anyway, I bought the second Expanse book, which is Caliban's War. It seems to pick up maybe a couple of months after the first one ends, from what I've read so far.
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
We actually went to the mall tonight. Rob was off and I needed to return something to Sephora (or pack it up to return by mail, which would have been even worse), so we went. I figure if you're going to go to a shopping mall in December, Monday is usually your best bet. And it wasn't bad. The mall near us is usually pretty crowded, but we found a parking place right near the front of Dillard's, and then walked down to Sephora. Sephora wasn't mobbed either. It took a while for me and the clerk to get the return figured out, but we got that done eventually, and then we walked around the mall in a big loop, the way we used to do years ago. Rob saw something shiny in the window of Hot Topic that pulled him in - honestly I don't think I'd ever been inside the physical store, although I did buy a limited edition Funko from them online a few years ago. Rob didn't end up buying anything, but I decided to buy some nail polish since I always liked those skull bottles they have - they were buy one get one free so I got two. I'll swatch them and I might even wear them at some point but really I just bought them to sit around on the top of my little acrylic cabinet and look cool. Both of them together only cost about half of what one of the NailsInc polishes I had just returned did.

So we farted around the mall for a while longer - we went in Paper Source, we looked at the stuff in the window of the Lego store, as one does - and then we went across the freeway to Fuddruckers and had hamburgers for dinner. You can't even really say that we were holiday shopping because we didn't buy any gifts. We've bought what we euphemistically refer to as "our presents to each other"** already, and we're having an atypical Christmas this year - I'll get around to talking about that later, I'm sure - and I'm not really sure I actually need to buy anybody anything at all. (I have my usual assortment of leftovers from mystery boxes and stuff that I will give to somebody - that will probably get divided between several people as usual. But I don't really have to worry about some of the other stuff I usually do, this time.)

**Regarding the above-mentioned presents to each other that we actually buy ourselves:
His - a new leather jacket. He picks these out, always because he's very picky about them (although after all these years I probably could make a pretty good guess at it). He buys about one a decade - or actually not even that often, because he's only starting on his third one and we've been married for thirty years. I think we'd been married a couple of years before he got the first one, but we discussed this and neither one of us really remembers clearly where we got the first one, much less when, exactly - although we decided eventually that it must have come from JCPenney. (And actually he sold that first one for almost as much as he paid for it, that was maybe in the early 00s. It had cat scritches on it but the person who bought it wanted it anyway.) The second one came from Target of all places, and it certainly isn't in any shape to sell 15 years or so in - the lining is all torn out, etc. I told Rob to put it in the hall closet for emergency back-up. Anyway, he how has a third one which he is very happy with and is already wearing so there's certainly no use in pretending to unwrap it on the 25th.
Mine - nail polish, of course. All that stuff I've been going on about on the nail blog lately? That's my present. (I haven't even posted swatches for it all yet, much less worn it. I really need to slow my nail-polish purchases down so I can at least wear most of it before I buy more!)

(If you've noticed what I titled this - I thought "holiday horrors" sounded funny but nothing here is really horrible except maybe the amount that I spent on nail polish - which I haven't added up because I don't actually want to know the answer. But I'm leaving the title anyway because it amuses me.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
I believe I used the phrase "up in the air" regarding our holiday plans before, and well, now they're really up in the air, because barring weather problems, Rob is going to be in Ohio on Christmas morning, and is coming back home later that day. Rob's mom is apparently sliding downhill fast (she has Alzheimer's) and Rob's brother is worried about it enough that he thinks Rob should make another trip up. So he's going on the 20th and coming back on the 25th. We made the reservations tonight and the plane fares really weren't as outrageous as I was afraid they might be. I'm not sure how much of an emergency it really is but if it was my mom, I wouldn't want to take chances with that. It works out pretty well because he only has to take a couple of days off work, and then he's still got the whole week off after that to be on holiday. I can still do... whatever it is we end up doing with my side of the family, and I don't kid myself that Rob is going to care that much about missing that. And then I can go pick him up on Christmas night.

(We had a string of years starting in 1999 when my uncle was in the hospital over Christmas, and ending, I guess, in 2006 before my mother died, where just about every holiday season got disrupted by somebody's serious illness. That's why I wrote that in the title. But, y'know, there's not much to be done about that.)

So Rob was off today and I had a doctor's appointment, and I started to offer to change the appointment, and then I realized that the doctor's office is right by our favorite little Chinese restaurant, and so instead I kept my appointment and Rob met me at the restaurant afterwards. And then we actually went to the mall, which we hardly ever do, especially in December when it's so crowded. We figured a Monday would be the least-crowded you could get this time of year, and I think that was true, in that we actually were able to find a decent parking space, but it was still pretty crowded. We picked the end away from the brand-new wing, but there were still lots of people around. (The new two-level parking garage was already open, which probably helped with the parking. I had had some vague idea that it wasn't finished yet.) We wandered through H&M and into Sephora, and a friendly Sephora employee saw us looking at Nest perfumes and showed me the last remaining Black Friday Nest gift set, which was three small rollerballs of three different Nest fragrances for $10. I snapped it up without even worrying about which fragrances were in it, because if I don't want them for myself, I can always use them for stocking stuffers.

But that was the only thing we bought other than coffee. We browsed Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works and I heroically refrained from buying any more candles, which are always one of my weaknesses. I do want to see the new expansion eventually, but I can stand to wait til the holiday rush is over for that, and we didn't venture down that far today. It was a big mall already, even before this last expansion. (They were building this mall when I was in high school. I could pretty much name you the expansions and the changes in the major tenants over the years. It started with Joske's, Montgomery Ward, and Sears - Sears is the only one still there. Joske's got bought up by Dillard's, and M.Ward went bankrupt, what, years ago now.)

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mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
Huh, well, apparently the Galveston (County) Buc-ee's that's currently under construction is not going to be the biggest one ever. Darn. Well, we just went in the brand-new Waller location this afternoon, and I think a little smaller might actually be better. It was a LONG way (from the side door where we came in) to the restrooms. I assume that this newer one is not going to actually be small by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm sure it'll be plenty big to suit me.

Buc-ee's is a thing in Texas. I wasn't sure, but looking at their website, apparently they are still confined to Texas. They started out as just normal convenience stores that were maybe a little on the large side. They were in mostly rural areas around here - the first one I ever remember seeing was at Highway 646 and Highway 3, which is in League City nowadays, and maybe it always was, technically, but 20 years ago was totally the middle of nowhere. I'm not sure if that Buc-ees is still there - I guess it is. I also remember seeing one down around Brazosport, which actually could have been the original one, or one of the original ones, because apparently they started in Lake Jackson, and that's another one of those areas where the city limits are amorphous - Lake Jackson/Freeport, which is down across San Luis Pass, just south of Galveston. (Big Bang Theory fans may know that that's where Sheldon is said to be from.)

Anyway, we went in the Cypress location yesterday - which is smallish, by Buc-ee's standards - and got fudge, because I've had it before and knew it was really good. (Buy 4 chunks, get 2 free - the chunks are about a quarter pound, I was told, and they're 3.50, so you end up with a pound and a half for $14 and change, which is not cheap, but heck, it was Christmas Eve.) I also got gas - I've already forgotten how much the gas was, exactly, but it was pretty reasonable. Then we got about 15 or 20 miles down the road and found the new one in Waller, that they have built since we last came through there last year. We didn't stop there yesterday, but today on the way back, it happened to fall about right coming home from Bryan, since I'd had a lot of tea at lunch, and after about an hour of driving, I was absolutely ready for a bathroom break. So we took care of that at the giant Waller store, and I bought more tea to go in my refillable mug that I bought yesterday (I think it was $3.99, if you want to know, and refills are 99 cents), and Rob got a Coke, and we poked around the t-shirts and such a bit on the way out, too. Want a Duck Commander shirt? Buc-ee's has lots.

(I don't even know what Duck Commander is. I assume it's different from Duck Dynasty, right?)
mellicious: pink manicure (xmas - merry & bright)
I had the most lovely dream about my mother the other day, that's kind of stuck with me. Half the time when I dream about my mother she's fussing at me, in that way that mothers do. But this was a dream about wandering around a museum. I think she just kind of turned up halfway through it, and we wandered around the museum and then went shopping. My mom was always big on shopping, and we did a lot of that, in real life. And we also did a lot of touristy things like museums. And this dream was kind of the best of that, and it was kind of holiday-themed, too, like there were Christmas lights everywhere. Really that was the best of my relationship with my mother, right there.

I've been kind of slacking on Holidailies. Actually I've been slacking on the holidays in general. I've got to do something about Christmas cards. I should probably do that tomorrow, because I don't have the work computer so I have sort of an unexpected day off. I should probably take advantage of that while I can! Other than cards, I'm basically ok on Christmas - I have the gifts I need to get and so forth. I talked to my aunt today and we're all set on the family stuff, so it's just cards that are an issue. We'll see what I manage to get done tomorrow.

(Also, if you're interested, you can hear all about my big box of nail polish that I got in the mail today!)

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Shopping

Dec. 2nd, 2013 10:43 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (ST - bones)
I had something-or-other (other than this) that I was intending to talk about, and of course now I've forgotten what it was. Middle-age is hell. Oh well, it'll come back to me eventually.

We went to the outlet stores today, more just to see what's there than intending to do our holiday shopping, but actually we managed to get a good bit of it done anyway. Rob needed a new wallet, and we had been looking at some pretty expensive ones online, and we looked at a bunch at the Fossil store at the mall when we were there a couple of weeks ago. (Don't get the impression from this that either one of us spend a lot of time shopping - I used to love to shop, but these days I've lost interest to a great extent, and I haven't been in a mall in a couple of years, I think.) Anyway, Rob decided he didn't like the looks of the Fossil wallets at the outlet store, for some reason, but we poked around and eventually found one he liked at Perry Ellis, for less than $20. (The ones we had been looking at before were, like, $40-75.) So he's getting a new wallet and he's happy with that, but it was so inexpensive that now I have to think of something else I can get him for Christmas. I'll manage, though.

We've done our Christmas gifts this way for so long that I forget that it's not the way other people do it, but basically, we pick out our own Christmas gifts. He picked out his own wallet, because he's picky about them. Typically over the years, his gifts have primarily been books and movies, and he tells me a bunch of things he's interested in and I go order them on Amazon, mostly. He's into horror movies and stuff like that, and I wouldn't be able to pick the right things out on my own. I know some of the things he wants, but he always manages to come up with at least one or two that I never would have thought of. And well, I am equally picky about what I want. Usually he buys me a couple of surprises and I buy him a couple, too, but the bulk of the money is spent on the stuff that we have picked out ourselves. Is that weird? I think it started because we were poor and didn't want to waste money on things we didn't want. But we've been married so long now that I barely remember.

(Actually, it occurs to me that I'm saying I didn't want to pick out a wallet for him because he's picky about them, and it's true, but actually I picked out the last one, the one that he loved and which held up for more than five years. It was from Levenger and I bought it on clearance for maybe about what we paid for this one, $20 or so. But I think I got lucky on that one.)

(Also, I already talked some about my own gifts and other shopping issues on the nail blog, so I'm not going to repeat myself. But it's safe to say I'm mostly getting nail polish for Christmas.)

The other thing we bought was some stuff at the Disney Outlet, for some small relatives. Princess dolls and cars, about what you would imagine.

holi13badge-snowflake
holidailies.org
mellicious: pink manicure (lotus)
Presented without comment: A girl - young, but not a kid, maybe 18 or so - asked me in the store today where to find the onions. "Um, I imagine up front with the vegetables," I said (thinking that it's possible she might be talking about minced onions or something like that). "Oh ok - I've been all over the store," she said, and turned around and went toward the produce section.

(Note that I WOULD comment, but I can't really think of anything funny and/or clever, or even just particularly interesting, to say about it. So I'll let it stand on its own.)

But now I am looking at Wikipedia trying to decide if onions are actually a vegetable or not. I think not, but I don't see that that (long) article says so one way or the other. (Although it does mention "vegetables" at one point rather than "other vegetables" so I suppose that's a clue.) Genus Allium, I knew that part, and allium is a flowering plant, so I guess... not a vegetable? Feel free to weigh in!

Aaand... in that way that tends to happen with Wikipedia, I went from the onion article to the one about Asparagales. That's an order name I haven't heard before; I think back a few years ago when I got on my big plant-cultivating kick, they were still putting onions in Liliales. So that's interesting - to me at least!

By "the store" I mean Wal-Mart, as it happens - not where I usually buy my groceries or where I shop often at all, these days. But I needed paper and that was the closest place I could think of that was likely to sell it to me at a not-utterly-ridiculous price. And come to think of it, given that, I hope the poor girl didn't mean "all over the store" literally - I was just imagining her looking in, y'know, the bread aisle or something, not hardware. That would be very sad.

(Yeah, ok, so that may be a comment after all. Hush.)


(And come to think of it, why have I never considered the topic of onions/vegetables before? Whether tomatoes are a vegetable comes up all the time (no) - so why does nobody ever mention onions?)
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
I mentioned back before Thanksgiving that I had volunteered to drive Anthea (aka [livejournal.com profile] antheap ) to Austin. That has now formally fallen through, which is a bit of a relief because the logistics were rather complicated. Only the other hand I am sorry, too, because I love hanging around with her and I always love an excuse to go to Austin. She does report that she expects to be back in May for a conference, so maybe we'll be able to try again then.

I did get to hang out with her for a couple of hours tonight, though. We had talked about making a pilgrimagevisit to Sephora, because we both really enjoyed that when we went before, but before we got around to it, she mentioned in passing that she was looking for a certain kind of salt (which I misheard as "sauce" for quite some time) so I had the bright idea of going to Central Market. Actually, first we tried to go to the University Co-op - because it's right down the street from her Houston workplace and I thought it would be entertaining - but we couldn't even find a parking place at Uptown Park where the store is, so we had to abandon that idea. I suspect that she would have been highly amused by it, but I guess we will never know (unless of course we go to Austin and I can drag her into the real one on the Drag, which would be even better). I don't know what was going on at Uptown Park, but whatever it was, seemingly everybody was there. But Central Market worked out quite well, even though we didn't find the item she was looking for. Anth and I sort of have the same sort of "ooh! shiny!" attitude towards shopping, which I guess is why we always end up shopping when she comes. Anyway, she seemed to really enjoy it (Central Market, I mean), and I always do, too. And as I always do, I came out with pomegranates (photographic evidence!) and sourdough bread and pie and other such odds and ends. Never fails.

After that we went across the street to Highland Village and went in a couple of places - PaperSource was a big hit. (Anth bought several of the items on this page. Well, or maybe just this one. Plus Jesus and his Magnetic Wardrobe, which does not seem to be there although several other versions are.) And we also went into Williams-Sonoma and sampled the peppermint bark. And then everything was closing and that was all the shopping we could do, darnit.

(There were tons of parking places at Central Market and even at Highland, which can sometimes be crowded. I have no idea what was going on at that other shopping center, but apparently it was the hot place to be.)


(I am listening to the Nerdist podcast with Matt Smith, which I know many of you will already know about, but it's very entertaining. Just thought I'd mention it.)

Ikea love

Dec. 1st, 2010 09:54 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
I got Twitter-mocked a bit yesterday for saying that going to Ikea puts me in the holiday spirit, but it sorta does, ok? Don't judge. Possibly it's true that practically any shopping at all does the same thing - but anyway, I did go to Ikea. I didn't buy much that had anything to do with Christmas, but still, Ikea has cute holiday stuff and it did sort of help put me in the mood.

It occurs to me that some people may think of Ikea differently than I do - i.e., you may think of it as a furniture store. And while I do buy furniture there from time to time, it's the non-furniture part of Ikea that I'm fond of. I think of it more as a really big housewares store, I guess you'd say. I came out of there today with batteries and spoons (for some reason we're always short on spoons) and toys - and frozen meatballs, because I love those darn things, and a couple of other things that I don't recall right now. (Also, Tuesday is apparently a good day to go to Ikea, because they were as close to not being busy as the Houston Ikea ever gets - meaning, near as I could tell, that there were several hundred people there instead of the usual several thousand.)


Let's see, we had a nice Thanksgiving but I don't have all that much to say about it. Nobody got on anybody's nerves to speak of, or got into a fight or anything, and that's what usually makes for a more memorable day, let's face it, so it's a good thing when it's not memorable. I love my relatives, but it's a pretty rare holiday when nobody's fighting.

I'm signed up for the new-version Holidailies, so I should be posting regularly in December. That doesn't start officially until next week, though. (And like last year, I'm going to be in Dallas the day it starts, so whether I'll actually be able to post that day is iffy.)


mellicious: pink manicure (Up)
Hobby Airport, Houston, Monday morning
I parked in the main airport lot just because it's easy and not all that expensive, so I didn't have to ride a van, but I noticed on the way in that the Parking Spot vans have changed their color scheme - they've always been painted with spots, as long as I remember them being around, but the ones here are now maroon with white spots, and they say "Proud Partner of Texas A&M Athletics." Ah, yet another moving billboard. At least it's a mildly amusing one, I guess.

It's 9:45 or so - my plane's at 11 - and I am sitting inside the security perimeter eating a breakfast burrito. I didn't leave the house until 8:50. I forget how conveniently near the airport we live nowadays. I went the "back way" (meaning west up 518 to Hwy 35 rather than east to the freeway) and it took 20 minutes flat. I think the other way is about the same, normally, but I was worried about rush hour traffic on the freeway. No rush hour to speak of in Pearland and on Telephone Road!

Security pulled out the man right in front of me and a teenage girl behind me for further searches, but I don't think either of them was a purely random search. The guy set the alarm off on the walkthrough and they seemed to have seen something in the girl's (pink) duffle bag that they didn't like. I am always tempted to hang around and see how these things turn out but I guess that would be considered odd, huh?

Continued over here )
mellicious: pink manicure (Halloween kitten)
You gotta watch out for those Canadians. (via [livejournal.com profile] iainpj )

(This was written yesterday - I'm telling you that so I don't have to fix all the references to what day it is!)

We just got back from a field trip to Target and Office Depot. Amazingly, I spent more at OD than I did at Target. (Usually I walk in the door at Target and $60 or so is gone. Boom.) That was mostly because I bought printer ink, though. I am still printing out those pdf's for class so I'm still going through black ink like crazy. All we got at Target was a few things we actually needed, like PowerBars and trash bags, and some Halloween paper goods - paper towels and napkins - because I am a sucker for such things and Target always has them this time of year to enable me with. (With Skelanimals on them, this year! I may die from the cute.) (Also, I'm really embarrassed to admit that I like anything you can buy at Hot Topic, as is apparently the case with Skelanimals, but there it is. It's really not the first time that's happened, either, to tell you the truth.)

Speaking of Halloween, the skull necklace is finished, I'm pretty sure for real this time:
Another necklace picture... )


I'm eating leftover pesto pasta from yesterday - we took Art out to dinner for his birthday (which was last week, but he has children who actually expect to see him on his birthday and everything) and he always wants to go to the same Italian place so he can have his baked ziti. Since it's also my favorite Italian place and maybe Rob's 2nd favorite or something - he thinks their marinara sauce is a bit too sweet - we had no objection whatsoever to that. (I did not, however, order the World's Best Calzone, because I've actually lost a tiny bit of weight and I'd like to continue that. The pesto pasta is not exactly terribly low-cal but I figured it was better than the calzone there.) (I didn't think of this at the time I ordered it, but that pesto pasta was also my mother's favorite entree - I took it to her in the rehab hospital a couple of times, even - and yesterday, as it happens, was also my mother's birthday.) I didn't ask Art how old he is, and I have trouble keeping track, but I think he's 87.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - purple star)
I am in the middle of printing a 73-page PDF, which is the reading assignment for module 4 of my class. I finished module 2 yesterday and got started on  module 3. I am mostly finished with it, except that I haven't actually taken the test yet - I've already taken an Ambien, just now, so I think it would be best to wait until later for that. I hope the 73 pages are interesting, at least. They are about diagnosis codes, which interests me in theory, at least. Did you know that diagnosis codes (the official name is ICD-9, for International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition) were developed by the World Health Organization to track mortality statistics? They are used these days for morbidity (disease) as well, but cause of death was where they started.

Anyway, my class has no pre-printed textbook, it is all PDFs. Luckily I have figured out how to do front-and-back printing on my printer and it's not too terribly time-consuming. I'm just eating up ink like crazy, that's all.

So one of our assignments is to make up multiple-choice test questions for the other students to answer. (Some people canNOT write a decent test question to save their lives but that is another topic.) Here's one of the two I made up. I was rather proud of myself for coming up with several perfectly reasonable alternate answers for this.

The abbreviation "US" in a medical record is most likely to mean:
A. United States
B. Urine sample
C. Ultrasound
D. Under sedation

The correct answer, per the textbook, is C. I phrased the question rather carefully since really the answers would all be perfectly legit as far as I'm concerned.


In other news, I have decided I need to record what catalogs come in the mail. It's that time of year.
Today's haul:
Levenger (a dangerous one, that - I have a thing for leather goods)
Woman Within (which is what used to be Lane Bryant)
Land's End Men
another Land's End which is unspecified but which seems to mostly be women's clothes
Connecting Threads (quilt fabric)
The Land of Nod

That last one annoys me somewhat - I ordered some gifts from them ONCE, a couple of years ago, and they won't go away. I occasionally want to scream, "I don't have children! I don't have grandchildren!" at them until they give up on me. On the other hand, I do end up perusing the things from time to time; they have some cute stuff.

Yesterday I got a Crate and Barrel Best Buys catalog, always one of my favorites. It made me contemplate a trip into Houston to go to the big C&B "uptown". But that's probably best saved until closer to Christmas.



Alright, my printing is finished, I am going to bed.
mellicious: pink manicure (WoW - shiny)
My monitor finally died, so I have a new 20" Acer widescreen. I am pouting slightly because it doesn't seem near as big as the old one (which was a 22" Samsung) but on the other hand it only cost $99, and we had several small gift cards that we used so it only came out $72 in the end. To replace the Samsung would have been $299, which is ridiculous so I decided I could bear to sacrifice the size. The picture quality seems fine.

We went up to Houston this afternoon expressly to go to the Half-Price Books on Montrose, because I wanted more Aubrey-Maturin books and I knew they had them - or they did a couple of weeks ago, at least! They were having a 20% off sale for Memorial Day, too. We came out of there with two more of the A-M books and assorted other stuff, and only $35 or so the worse for wear, which isn't too bad. (I restrained myself once again from buying the hardback Lord of the Rings set that they have, although I was sorely tempted.)

(Note to Col, because we were discussing it: there are apparently at least 16 of the Aubrey-Maturin books, because the Norton trade pback editions are numbered and that was the highest number I saw.)

I posted some more odds and ends of cameraphone pictures on Flickr, including a picture of our balcony and some blurry-but-interesting ones from the wedding, and also a couple I found forgotten on the phone that I took of the Astrodome in January. The camera-phone takes pretty good pictures, on the whole, if the lighting is decent. (All of the pictures I posted from the wedding were taken on it.)

We are still squabblingdiscussing whether to go see Terminator: Salvation tomorrow. The reviews are bad, but a couple of random people who saw it seem to like it. On the other hand, Rob is surprisingly not so set on going as I expected, so we might wait a week or two, at least.


Also:
Today's Doonesbury is brilliant.
mellicious: pink manicure (dragon)
So I spent the evening yesterday hanging out with Anthea in Houston. She is in for a week for work. We had a fun time - we went to Galleria and messed around for several hours - we let a really over-enthusiastic Benefit saleslady in Macy's do our eyebrows (I have dark eyebrows to begin with so it never occurred to me to put any further color on them, but I have to admit that it really didn't look bad) and we oohed and aahed over the overpriced but really cute stuff in the Ed Hardy boutique, and we wandered around the various designer boutiques mostly window-shopping but occasionally wandering inside. (The results of this were usually jawdropping. The really cute embroidered leather Fendi purse I liked? $2700. A cute sort of peasant-style dress Anthea liked? $3500.) We also did a lot of talking, of course, and coffee-drinking, and later there was dinner, although both of us ended up eating breakfast food, at IHOP. Anthea had never had chicken-fried steak, and I had to attempt to explain it ("it's fried the same way chicken is fried" was the gist of it) and so she tried it, and somewhat to my surprise, liked it. We decided that we had both grown up on fairly similar red-meat-based diets in Queensland and Texas. And we are discussing trying to do something else on Saturday before she leaves.

In other news, I am taking a Medical Terminology class online, and will probably take a certification class on medical coding after that. (I'm hoping to be able to zoom through the terminology part pretty quickly.) The job market is really bad right now, as everybody knows, and I can't seem to work up any enthusiasm for going back to doing anything secretarial, anyway. Coding is supposed to be a really growing field and is something I can get into with just a few months of training, apparently, so it seems like a good alternative. And since I've already been working in a hospital, the experience I already have will help, somewhat.

Also, we went to see The Wrestler on Sunday, and as often tends to happen with movies that have hugely favorable reviews, I was just a bit disappointed. ("I expected more there there," was what I said to Rob.) It was good but somehow I felt like something was lacking. Practically every scene with Marisa Tomei was in the trailer - except for the ones where she was topless, and there weren't even really that much of those. It seemed to me that about half of the movie was in the trailer, although of course it wasn't, really. The part that wasn't was the wrestling part, mostly, and I actually liked a lot of that - we used to watch some wrestling back when we were first married, and in fact we went to a WWF thing in Houston once (a "Royal Rumble" along about 1988). I especially liked the backstage bits where they were working out what they were going to do, because of course that's something that you normally don't see. Like I said, it was good, and Mickey Rourke's performance was excellent, of course. I just think I was expecting something that didn't turn out to be there.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - Mr Darcy)
I haven't been specifically doing the "happy things" list the last few days, but I was aware of it, and all my entries have contained something that made me happy. The pictures I've been scanning make me happy. The idea of going to Las Vegas next month (and mostly for free!) makes me happy. That picture of me wearing a crown made me particularly happy - it's funny, I remembered that picture but I had completely forgotten about the crown. (I suspect that it was a Sunday School thing - it might have been regular school, too, but Sunday School was particularly prone to resort to the silly arts and crafts projects.) The thing we did this afternoon made me happy, too - fighting the crowds to go shopping, even though we didn't have anything we particularly had to buy. I don't know why, but it's not Christmas if I don't get shoved around in Macy's (or some department store, it doesn't have to be Macy's) for a bit.

It also feels pretty Christmassy. A white Christmas isn't what I expect, after all - the only one I've ever seen is once when we spent a Christmas in Telluride. And it didn't actually snow that day, even; there was just snow already on the ground. But it's plenty cold here, for my taste. Yesterday it was 80 but today we were wearing our heavy coats. We are suppposed to have a near-freeze tonight.


We were discussing the concept of a "Jewish Christmas" in my comments a couple of days ago, and actually that Christmas in Telluride was the closest I've ever come to one - we had to eat Chinese that day because it was the only restaurant that was open. I don't think we got the movie, though! We were staying in a condo but I guess my mother didn't want to cook. Maybe they didn't realize everything would be closed. (I don't remember what I ate, exactly, but I think it might have been the first time I ever had Chinese food, even though I was already in college at the time. I grew up in Alvin, Texas, remember. We hardly had any restaurants at all, and certainly not Chinese.)

I also remember that my mother had dragged toothbrushes - among other things - all the way from Texas to put in our stockings, and my sister and I were really indignant about it. She had a different idea than we did of what constituted a reasonable stocking-stuffer - I think she was a child of the Depression when it came to things like that. (Although she was too young to remember the Depression; she was born in 1938.) We weren't all that well-off when I was growing up, but we weren't nearly poor enough to think that a new toothbrush was a special treat.

In fact, the kind of affluence that let us spend the holidays skiing in Colorado was a pretty new thing to us, at that time. Both of my parents always worked and that in itself made us better off financially than a lot of people, back in those days when it was still pretty unusual - but it wasn't until my dad quit teaching school and became a commercial fisherman that there was really money for luxuries like ski trips. (I'm not recommending commercial fishing as a secret path to financial freedom, though. I hear it ain't what it used to be. Just ask my dad.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
Things that made me happy today:
-- coffee
-- the necklace I made to give my mother-in-law (blue and green Czech glass)
-- reading So You Want to Be a Wizard (more A Wrinkle In Time than Harry Potter, but good)
-- shopping, even though I didn't buy much
-- the holiday decorations on the gigantic houses in the River Oaks area in Houston
-- sourdough bread from Central Market


So I made my more-or-less annual trip into the horror that is Houston traffic today to go shopping. The traffic wasn't really too too horrible, and in fact I drove around considerably more than I really needed to, just to look around. In fact, I think it's fair to say that the purpose of these trips is as much to get in the holiday mood as much as it is to actually shop. I generally do get some shopping done, just the same. (See last year's entry for actual numbers, although I didn't spend anything like that amount today.)

I usually do this on a Thursday or Friday, and so I was trying to decide how much of the reduced foot-traffic I saw today was the economy, and how much was just that it was Tuesday. I suspect it was both. There were a lot of parking spaces at Highland Village, but the stores I went in mostly seemed to be doing decent business - except for West Elm, which was almost deserted. There were a lot of people in Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel - particularly the latter. There was an exceptional number of very fashionably-dressed women in Pottery Barn, but that may just be that women like that don't work and so they're free to wander around shopping on weekdays. Or maybe it has something to do with that this particular Pottery Barn is about two doors down from Tootsie's, a very chi-chi women's clothing store. I don't know. Usually I buy some ornaments and stuff like that at one place or another, but today I didn't. That might have partly had to do with the economy, too - or it might just be that I can't really justify buying ornaments for the tree I haven't bothered to put up.

I spent the most money in Central Market, actually. I don't think I'd been in there in a couple of years, and I'd forgotten how much stuff they keep around this time of year that's gift-able. We are supposed to be holding down our gift-giving to the minimum this year, more or less, but I sabotaged that by buying, among other things, a big jug of maple syrup for Rob. (Is that a weird gift? He had expressed interest in having some, and it's very expensive. [livejournal.com profile] columbina has already informed me that giving my father-in-law apples is a rather odd choice, but Rob came up with that idea so I don't take any responsibility. I just bought some nice organic apples that looked like they might survive the trip, and I added some locally-grown honey to it, that seemed like something most people would like.) (Also, I pointed out to Col that if the apples came from Harry and David and cost about three times as much, nobody would think it was odd at all. Which he agreed was a valid point.)


Something I noticed on the tollway coming home - and to a certain extent in Houston proper - is the number of roofs still held together by blue tarps. There are still quite a lot of them, three months after the storm.


Today's Holidailies prompt was "Write the annual holiday card/brag letter for your family." but I have already done that. (And I wouldn't exactly call it a "brag letter" except in the sense of "Can you top this?" -- Which, come to think of it, is one reason I didn't send it to people who are local - because many of them can.)
mellicious: pink manicure (breathe)

I am typing on the laptop, which we have installed on a folding table, and I'm sitting on a folding chair, both of which we bought at Wal-Mart earlier. The chair is quite comfortable, actually. We are watching Titanic - I think it's on TNT - just because we flipped by a few minutes ago right when the boat was sinking. (Actually it was already on before we left for Wal-Mart. Long damn movie.) The TV is still sitting on the floor even though it's sitting right next to the new "media center" thing we bought. We're still figuring out where we want to put it exactly, and the TV is damn heavy. Rob carried it into the house and he's really strong but he barely made it, I think. If I'd known it was that bad I wouldn't've let him do it. Anyway, internet and cable, the things that matter. And our new mattress is on the floor, with new sheets on it and my mom's pretty batik quilt. We only bought a sheet set instead of a bed-in-a-bag because I decided we didn't really need a comforter that badly when we had the quilt, anyway. I'll wait til I find something I really like a lot.

The guy is coming to assemble the bed on Monday. No way I was doing it myself when we have to sleep on it for years.

We played WoW for a while this afternoon, but it was hardly the anticipated marathon. Oh well - life is just not quite back to normal yet. We met the cable guy and bought masses of groceries (at HEB) and then went and made a run by Wal-Mart too, for more pillows and the chair and things like that. I had bought a couple of pillows at Ikea the other day, but I am a multiple-pillow sort of person and I decided we needed more. There are some kind of asthma and allergy-friendly ones, I thought that sounded promising. We could have tried to salvage the old ones - they were dry, after all - but that seemed like asking for trouble. I did salvage the couch cushions (which were scotchguarded and completely unmoldy as far as I can tell) but I draw the line at something that goes right under my head.

I feel a bit guilty about not having gone to Galveston today but we were exhausted and I think we needed the day away. Tomorrow we are doing marathon packing to make up for it. If we both end up working all week it might be the last we can do before the movers come on Thursday. Whatever's not done then we will just have to get them to help us with. Hopefully we can knock a lot of it out, though.

They were supposed to come pick up my car today - I guess we will see in the morning if it's gone or not. State Farm has a "facility" somewhere around here where they are taking all the non-driveable cars until they can be evaluated. Then they will let me know. I anticipate it being totalled - as somebody said in comments, it's hard for the electrical system to ever be reliable again after that much water.

mellicious: pink manicure (brain leaking)
I have no results for the "How Texas are you?" quiz, because I am apparently not Texas enough to check a box that says "Forget driving a Porsche, you'd rather have a brand new truck." Aargh. I got annoyed by the stereotyping and didn't answer at all. (Not annoyed enough to refuse to link to it, though, you notice.) However, for some reason, the one about how the only spices you know are salt, pepper, ketchup, bbq sauce, and Ranch dressing amused me instead of annoying me, even though I've heard variations on it before. It's still very Texas. Nevermind that I loathe ranch dressing and am not really all that big on BBQ sauce, the stuff is inescapable around here. So are pickups, actually - although everybody that doesn't actually own a ranch or something is suddenly scrambling to get rid of theirs. Anyway, the silly quiz as a whole was mildly amusing, I just didn't think you could really get anything resembling meaningful results out of the thing. (Although I suppose expecting meaningful results out of a Blogthing is probably ridiculous, in any case!) (And besides, if you think about it too hard, the part about ranch dressing being a spice will break your brain.)

Well, anyway. What else? I have been shopping on Etsy again - this time I bought these lampwork earrings, which I have been eyeing for a couple of days. In semi-related news, you may have noticed that I have mostly stopped babbling about jewelry lately - I think there's a definite connection between the lack of bead-talk and the increase in WoW talk. If I spend all my time on the latter, there's no time to make jewelry. However, there are still beads and findings all over my dining room table and I have no doubt that I will pick it up again eventually. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I was thinking about the carmine glass beads I bought a while back and wishing I had a bracelet made of them to wear - unfortunately I didn't think about it early enough to be able to actually do anything about that. Mostly I have been staying away from the beads and the shopping online, which is probably a good thing, on the whole.

I had the afternoon off yesterday because I was supposed to do financial-type things because this afternoon I have my long-delayed appointment with Mom's accountant and I was supposed to be preparing. And I actually did do some financial-type things, and an awful lot of sorting through papers and things like that, but unfortunately I am still not prepared. I just decided that I am going to have to do that annoying thing that people do (annoying if you're an accountant, anyway) where you take all the papers and dump them on the accountant's desk and let him sort it out. Or let him help me sort it out, at least, or something like that. Because otherwise it's clearly never going to get done. I seem to only be able to deal with one piece of the estate business at a time - lately it's been the house, and everything else has been on hold. The good news, of course, is that with the house selling (knock on wood - I have this fear that something will still go horribly wrong with it), there is light at the end of the tunnel there, and we can look at getting everything all closed out and done before too too long.
mellicious: pink manicure (WoW - feminine)
I don't know what this says about me, but at age 48 I have just purchased my first washer and dryer. Well, actually we purchased our first washer and dryer, of course, since half of the tax rebate money was definitely Rob's. Rob wanted to just buy the cheapest ones, but I was determined to have a front-loader, and we are now the proud owners of a Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer. (I'm not at all sure that's our exact model, but it looks just like that one, anyway.) Although we won't actually be getting them until next weekend.

(I got my way on the front-loader when it developed that Sears had them on sale. They would have been a couple of hundred more at Best Buy.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Speaking of Las Vegas (well, we haven't spoken of it lately but it's still my default icon!), I think I have created a monster. Rob said yesterday that he wants to go back to Las Vegas - luckily he wasn't specific as to when - and furthermore, that we have to stay at TI again so that he can play his favorite set of slot machines, which are, as it happens, right by the elevators at TI. (I have this theory that they put slot machines which pay off slightly better in prominent places so you'll get hooked. No idea if that's really true.) Oh well, could be worse. I like Las Vegas anyway, and it's not like he's given to gambling indiscriminately. We'd probably better not wait 5 years or anything to go back, though, or his favorite slot machines might have been replaced, and then where will we be?

The University is restructuring again. At least it's not layoffs this time. (There are rumors of a possible hiring freeze, actually, but nothing official on that front yet.) Our division (Finance) is getting moved yet again - the last time around, they split us up into Hospital Finance, Academic Finance, and so forth, but now we are all getting rolled back into one big division again. We suspect that our division head is sort of getting left out in the cold in the process, although theoretically he got new employees out of the deal. But he would be the logical person for that third EVP position, and his name is pointedly not mentioned even though he does seem to be performing those duties on an interim basis. (It's not in this article, either.)

Also discussed in the Town Meeting was new dormitories, which affects my husband since the old ones are where he works. (The presentation from the meeting, which I think you should be able to access, has a drawing of the new building on page 5.) We don't know what sort of job changes will shake out of this, but our theory is that we have at least a couple of years to let it sort itself out, since it's highly unlikely that the building will actually be finished by December 2009, as it says there, considering that UTMB never does anything very fast and work hasn't even started on it yet. (It took them three years to build a two-story parking garage, after all. And you'd think that would be a much simpler thing than a regular building.)

I'm wearing my pink plaid shoes again, which I love unabashedly. I do seem to sort of have a thing for pink, don't I? (There are also these beads, which came in my Fire Mountain order yesterday, and which will probably be a bracelet - and possibly matching earrings - before the weekend is over, if not today.) (The pink shoes don't seem to be available on Target's website, but Target is where they came from - they're Keds knock-offs, branded Merona. Keds usually calls this type of shoe "skimmers" - sort of ballet-flat shaped, but with a white tennis-shoe type bottom. Just in case you're interested!)

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