Friday, December 31, 2004

Chillin' Out

For New Year's Eve, I c-h-i-double hockey sticked out by going to see some live hockey. I use the term "live" loosely as the game was a bit dull but it was a nice way to spend a few hours tonight and be off the road before all the loonies were out putting the rest of us at risk. The Jacksonville Barracudas had their fins snipped 4-1 by the Huntsville Havoc. I enjoyed seeing the ice and am now celebrating the end of the year with a cold pint. A pint of Cherries Garcia. The picture below looks like frozen cherries... but according to the friend who sent the pic from Minnesota, the are frozen crab apples.

New Years and Numbers

With the big countdown cuttin' around the corner, the issue of numbers comes to mind. Here are some of mine from 2004:

  1. I rolled over 82,000 miles on my 2001 motorcycle.
  2. 32, the number of states I rode in this year.
  3. Since March 11, I've collected 65 national park stamps while riding.
  4. It took me 23 hours to ride 1,500 miles to earn a BunBurner Gold.
  5. 42 hours was how long it took me to earn a 50CC on my motorcycle.
  6. I rode 2,000 miles in 2 days back-to-back to earn a SS2K.
  7. $127 was how much I paid the state of Texas for riding 14 miles over the speed limit.
  8. I stayed in 1 youth hostel but visited 2.
  9. My 3 cats turned 10 years old.
  10. I didn't attend my 20th high school reunion.
  11. To date, I've attended 0 high school reunions.
  12. I am still in contact with 2 friends from high school.
  13. 238 is my current cholesterol level. I learned that by donating 1 pint of blood.
  14. 407 books I've registered on
  15. 236 books released.
  16. 0, the number of reality shows I've watched.
  17. 14, the number of years I've lived in Florida.
  18. 1, the number of trees lost in my yard due to hurricane damage.
  19. Out of the 9 different flavors of Ben & Jerry's I've tried this year, I still have 3 favorites.
  20. I've killed 3 houseplants but have 4 survivors.
  21. 21st of May, my birthday. YUCK! I share a birthdate with Al Franken & Jeffrey Dahmer.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Scavenging for Seacows

Mrs. Engle was my third grade teacher and she was one of the most worldly and eclectic people I can ever recall meeting. She was creative and made learning a most wonderful experience. One of my favorite field trips combined two loves of mine: meeting a pen-pal and exploring her rural acreage on a scavenger hunt. Mrs. Engle arranged a pen-pal program with a child from a school within our district. We wrote back and forth over several months and as the school year came to an end, we had a fun-filled picnic at her property and got to meet the pen-pal we'd met through the mail. We paired up with our pen-pal and scoured the grounds on a scavenger hunt. It was a great day and one that served as a foundation of some of the things I consider "fun" as an adult. I love meeting people, I love corresponding and I love scavenger hunts!

Over the last couple of years, I've participated in scavenger hunts via geocaching and motorcycle rallies. When I first started motorcycle rallying as a sport, I didn't have a GPS which made the challenge much greater. To hunt with gps coordinates can dramatically increase a rallier's effectiveness and speed and ultimately their ranking in the finish. Geocaching has become a sport to some, but I've only participated as a leisure hobbyist. I've trapsed through swarms of mosquitos and muddy woods in the rain and had a blast. As with life, it's all about the journey.

Today I went on a hunt for seacows and only had a map in hand. It was a nice day for a drive and it was a great excuse to go visit my alma mater: The University of North Florida. There were two manatees on campus and I shot 'em both.


Celestial Mooon-A-Tee

Shame On You

Shame on everyone who has anything to say about the crisis in southern Asia other than "my hopes and prayers are with you all" or "I have donated". This is not a time for name-calling or finger-pointing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

So Who Will Be Sophie?

Ok, I'm way late on discussing this but it's only because I've recently started reading the book. It's been all the buzz for what seems like forever: The Da Vinci Code. It's been confirmed that Ron Howard will direct the film version and Tom Hanks will play the lead symbologist, Robert Langdon. But my question is, who will portray the Frenchie cryptologist?? Everything I've read says they want to add authencity to the role and have a French actress, but we'll just see about that. Who WOULD make a good Sophie??

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Journey Notes: Goin' Postal

I enjoy travelling and some would even say I travel a lot. Most, well, nearly all of my travel from the last four years has been by motorcycle. I realize that I seldom write about my trips on my blog. I correspond with many people who will get tidbits of tales from the road and I share in conversation the interesting places I've seen and people I've met yet the blog is bare. I'm going to try to do better about that. I've got hundreds and hundreds of photos and a saddlebag full of stories to share so I'll make a better effort to blog about my excursions.

Today I'll share a little insight into the postal service. I am coo-coo crazy about correspondence and most things associated with the mail. No, I don't work for the USPS and no, I don't think it's a place I should work. My level of focus would be nil as I looked at postmarks, handwriting, mailing addresses... I'd be a failure on the job so I won't even consider employment. Sure, being a post mistress in some rural western town does make my heart skip a beat but that's just a romantic notion that dreams are made of.

I went postal earlier this month--for the second time. On December 1st, I rode to DC. (yeah, I know... who in their right mind rides a motorcycle to DC in December?!) The main purpose for the trip was to visit a friend and visit we did. In addition to that girl time, I went into the District to go to what I commonly call "Utopia." Yes, the National Postal Museum. I just love that place. *sigh* Check out their cool floor tiles:

I still have the mailbox from the house I grew up in. It's much smaller and plainer than these postboxes:

Monday, December 27, 2004

Getchur Wee-nah He-uh!

For the first time in my life, I'm watching the Food Network at home. While flippin' through the predominantly useless programming available on DirectV, I saw "The Secret Life Of..." listed on the FN. I couldn't pass it by since I got my first taste of the show while visiting a friend in DC earlier this month. The episode we watched was The Secret Life of Hamburgers. It was REALLY interesting, REALLY, it was! After I'd given my friend a pound of crap about Tivoing a show about hamburgers I watched the show and was forced to eat my words. I became a fan immediately.

Tonight's episode is about... HOT DOGS. I, like the (cute) host of the show, like my dogs with ketchup only. A big whig at Nathan's Famous told him his taste was not sophisticated. Yeah, whatever. How do you like your dogs??

Snow Envy

Watching the news over the last few days has been heartwrenching for me. I love snow and I rarely see any considering I live in Flori-duh. In fact, I've never seen snow here, shocker, huh?? I'm getting through this heartache of mine so don't y'all worry. *whimper*

One thing that I enjoy, in addition to snow, is to encourage friends to do things that they've never done or rarely do. I asked a friend to take a few minutes to enjoy the snow yesterday by making a snow angel and by golly--he did it AND sent a pic as proof!

Thanks and I hope it was as fun to make as it is for me to see!

I'm An Addict

We all have addictions, some of us have more than one or a few. One of my addictions is movies. I love movies. I love the escape, I love art imitating life, I love cinemaphotography and scenery and I love a well written script. I am especially fond of foreign and independent film, a.k.a. Indies. Here are a few of the favorites that come to mind and I recommend:

The Station Agent
Garden State
Monsoon Wedding
Cinema Paradiso
An Affair of Love
Legend of 1900
Il Postino
Rabbit-Proof Fence
The Red Violin
The Lover

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

A heartfelt happy day to all!

The Peanuts Christmas DVD is in and all is well.
It is the simple things that bring me the most joy.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Well, Everyone Else Is Doing It

Writing a post on Christmas Eve seems to be required if you're a blogger. Well, if all the cool kids are doin' it, I'm going to, too!

I've tried REALLY hard to not be reflective, emotional, irrational, and sentimental today. Doing any or all of those would lead to crying and I'm trying REALLY hard not to have that happen. I'll admit to being on the verge of tears many times though.

The first time was when I drove to a local food bank to help the pantry prepare for afternoon donations. I'd called earlier in the week to inquire about the need for help and the dates and times that were available for volunteering, so there was actual planning involved in this effort of mine. I knew I was REALLY serious about doing this do-gooder gig because I set my alarm today. Keep in mind that I have to talk myself through the instructions of setting my alarm because I don't do it often enough to remember how it works. This is a girl who doesn't wear a watch, so time is something that just keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future. At any rate, I woke up before my natural waking time (which will remain a secret), beautified a little bit, slipped on a festive forest green sweater and jumped in the Jeep for a jaunt to the Jewish Family Services food pantry location. It's a good thing my heart was warm and in the right place because when I got there I quickly learned they were closed today! WTF?!? I couldn't believe it and neither could the three workers who looked at me with a most puzzled look on their faces. They were there to tie up a few loose ends and thanked me for caring enough to come by. I was obviously misinformed when I made my query on Monday. *hmmph* So much for that effort and damnit! What do I do now?, I wondered. I'm not usually out in public at this hour so I felt like an explorer!

I didn't venture in unchartered territory even though that could have been fun. Instead, I headed for a bookstore so I could thumb through a few magazines and read Sabrina Ward Harrison's books. I've had her books on my Amazon Wish List for a while and decided to treat myself to a reading of them all. I had no where to be, no one was waiting on me, especially not the hungry of Jacksonville, so why not claim a cushy chair and read for a while? It was entertaining to overhear the shoppers. I was definitely the only one there without the shopping-at-the-last-minute adrenaline flowing through her veins. I was comfy-cozy, treating myself to inspirational text and visually pleasing illustrations and photographs and felt the tears well up a few times when a particular part of the reading would strike a chord---but I was strong. I fought them back damnit!

After several hours, I'd concluded my browsing and reading and felt the tummy talking so I came home. It took me all of 5 seconds to decide what to cook for my late lunch/early dinner: Mom's Goulash. Christmas Eve has never included that on the menu, but it was calling me. I did think back to the Christmas Eves of my childhood while stirring the tomato sauce and taste testing after the chili powder was added to the pot. It was on CE that my family would celebrate with gifts. No matter how rough the year was for my mom financially, she always provided the perfect presents. My gifts would always include reading material, games that were slightly cerebral, and items I could use in my correspondence. Oh sure, one year there was a ten-speed bicycle, a bean-bag chair for my bedroom and a soft plaid blanket that I'd drape around me when I sang along with the Bay City Rollers! My family always seemed so happy to gather on that evening. My siblings, who were much older than me, would make that night a priority so they'd come home no matter what. Having the four of us kids there with my mom was simply perfect. My brothers and sister would sometimes bring friends home and it always seemed the more, the merrier. I remember falling asleep on the couch, buried deep beneath a billowing hill of winter coats, while the older folks stayed up playing cards or games or just sitting around sharing the evening, being social. That was a comforting time for me. I miss those days and the smell of Mom's Goulash can take me back to my childhood as quick as any kid can unwrap any Christmas present found beneath the tree.

Once the goulash was simmering, I got busy baking a couple loaves of banana nut bread. I wrapped one fresh and hot from the oven for my husband to take to his mom's. He's with his mom and stepdad for the day/evening, so yes, that means I'm home alone. I'm not letting our rapidly digressing situation start the tears a-flowin' tonight. I refuse. Well, ok, I did drop a couple while soaking in the bubble bath I took before I sat down to blog. Crying in a tub full of Christmas tree and holly confetti just seemed too wrong to let any more fall.

I'm now watching Miracle on 34th Street---for the first time. I hope it's not a tear jerker!!
Happy Christmas Eve everyone. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

My envy is strong today as the folks back home in southern Indiana bask in a blanket of snow.

The Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was so important to them; there ought to be as many for love. - Margaret Atwood

I love snow.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What a Whack Job!

A crying me and a pair of scissors led me to a self-induced hair cut. I actually like it. Goodbye 5" of hair...

I'm A Bleeder

I am SO very happy today! I gave the gift of life, blood. FINALLY, I donated and it has made me feel uncontrollably jolly. *is that a normal side effect of blood loss??* Mary, the nurse who pumped a pint outta me was a most beautiful woman and made my hour one of the best I've had in a long time. She made my elbow a present as a thank you for helping my community during the holiday season.

Coloring Books

Thanks to my usual perusal of SuperHero Designs, I found this on December 21 then this. What a beautiful bookshop!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

You Suggest A Headline For THIS Article!

I don't know how I missed this article in October...

Elderly Man Accidentally Cuts Off Penis, Dog Eats It

Oct. 5, 2004 - An elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, according to the state Rompres news agency and reported by Reuters.

As the story goes, 67 year-old Constantin Mocanu, from a village near the southeastern town of Galati, rushed out into his yard in his underwear to kill a noisy chicken keeping him awake at night.

"I confused it with the chicken's neck," Mocanu, who was admitted to the emergency hospital in Galati, was quoted as saying. "I cut it ... and the dog rushed and ate it."

Doctors said the man, who was brought in by an ambulance bleeding heavily, was now out of danger.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Just When You Think You've Seen It All

I'm lazy, but not this lazy: look here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What Was I Thinking?

Hello from DC, well, metro DC. I'm visiting a friend in the area and I'm not sure what I was thinking. I rode the bike up here last Wednesday. When it is winter north of the Mason-Dixon line, it's really winter, not a Florida winter, like what I'm used to. I'm not complaining, really. I like winter. I like it chilly. I like to see leafless trees and the homeless camping on sidewalk grates to absorb the heat from the Metro, no wait, scratch that last part. It is indeed chilly here which is actually quite perfect for walking tours of the District and motorcycling, as long as the electric clothing is plugged in!

As always, my visits here are a perfect mix of things I like to do: tour, walk, visit, lounge, explore. This past weekend was just a typical girl-time weekend. I colored Sylvie's hair and she caught her stove on fire. Needless to say, I'm doing all the cooking for the rest of my stay. Sylvie's hair turned out nice... I'm now qualified to call myself a "hair colorist." I became one as soon as I put on the colorist's gloves. Who knew it was so simple? Does removing an ingrown toenail qualify me as a surgeon??