27 December 2007

A Very Merry Day

I wasn't much in the Christmas spirit this year. A couple big changes in my life in 2007 meant things were going to be a little different, and I'm afraid part of me was dwelling too much on those changes. Also, one of my biggest joys of the season is singing along to Christmas songs while driving in the car (madrigal Christmas music, anyone?)...but due to a lingering bronchial infection, my voice wasn't up to it. I sounded pitiful, when I was able to make any sound at all.

In the end, the season was very merry and bright, however. Going to worship on Sunday morning and again on Monday night really catapulted my mood in the right direction, even though my voice started acting up again by the time I got to the third hymn on Christmas Eve. Mom and I left church and met our friends (family, really) for the annual Christmas Eve dinner. Mom and I have participated in this dinner out since I was in elementary school, and it's been going on a little longer than that. For probably 30 years it was always at a restaurant in a hotel in downtown Louisville, but that ended a few years ago. Since then we've been a wandering group in search of a restaurant. This year we ended up at a Chinese buffet! But we still had a great time. I look forward to that meal every year.

Christmas day was equally magical, though it was just Mom and I celebrating at her house. You might think two people wouldn't make it very merry, but it does make it very relaxing...none of the stress of lots of family with different ideas of what should be done when. We lounged or slept until late morning, opened gifts, had Christmas brunch at 1 p.m. (including green eggs and ham...literally), and then decided on a marathon DVD session with "Nero Wolfe."

Earlier in the day Mom and I had talked about Christmas memories that stand out in our minds, and reminisced together. As I stumbled home that evening, laden with so many wonderful gifts and good food, I realized that this Christmas was one that will stand out too...full of surprises and reassurance that all is merry and bright in my little corner of the world. May it be so with you as well!

14 December 2007


folderol \FAHL-duh-rahl\ noun
1 : a useless ornament or accessory : trifle *2 : nonsense
Example sentence: Cherie dismissed the tabloid article as useless folderol.

Did you know? Hogwash. Claptrap. Hooey. Drivel. Malarkey. English is rife with words that mean "nonsense," and "folderol" is one of the many. Though not the most common of the words for nonsense, it's been around since 1820 and is still heard today. "Folderol" comes from "fol-de-rol" (or "fal-de-ral"), which used to be a nonsense refrain in songs, much like "tra-la-la." The oldest recorded instance of someone "singing folderol" occurs in Irish dramatist George Farquhar’s 1701 play Sir Harry Wildair, in which a character sings, "Fal, al, deral!"

********** ********** ********** **********

Every day I get a "Word of the Day" email from Merriam-Webster. Today's is listed above. Most days I read it, even when I know the word's meaning, just to read about the etymology of words. I mean, I did take Latin for 3 years, and this is one of the few times that I'm likely to use that learning directly!

Today's word really hit home, however. It's getting close to Christmas (I'm no longer panicking, as I've made a significant dent in purchasing presents in the past few days), and there's certainly a lot of of ornamentation and accessorizing going on these days.

More importantly, there's a lot of nonsense around me recently. Mostly this is work-related. Our long legislative session starts on Jan. 8 and we're in full bill drafting mode right now. Sometimes being a bill drafter is a thankless job. There are a lot of bills that we draft that never see the light of day because the legislator decides he or she doesn't want to file it and make it public. That happens a lot. Then there are those bills that the sponsor is very enthusiastic about but you know for political or practical reasons that the bill won't ever be heard in committee. For those raised on Schoolhouse Rock ditties, and you know who you are, you know that getting out of committee is the first step on a Bill's journey to becoming a Law. So you get this assignment to draft some complicated piece of legislation and you know that this bill will never make that journey.

But just in case we get too cocky about knowing what's going to happen, each session it seems that some piece of legislation that you never in a million years thought was going to go anywhere, much less become a law, actually moves through the process and gets enacted. So despite the sometimes thanklessness of the job, you also always do your best job you know how, no matter what the odds seem on that document ever seeing the light of day, much less ending up codified in the statutes. (And trust me, even some of those are hogwash, malarkey, or folderol!

So tra-la-la and fol-de-rol and Merry Christmas to all!

10 December 2007

What Do You Mean There's Only 15 Days Left?!?!

Surely it can't be December 10th. I'm still wondering what happened to October, much less November! I can't already have missed 1/3 of December. It's just not possible.

Life has been just way too busy recently. I vaguely remember it being mid-November I I was telling myself to just get through December 1st. By that time Mom and I would have travelled to Arizona over the Thanksgiving weekend, I would have attended my conference at the Arizona Biltmore (and finished my small speaking role), and hosted a slew of my friends at my house for an after-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving meal, turkey and all.

All of that happened. Mom and I had a great time traipsing around Arizona (Phoenix to Jerome to Sedona to Flagstaff, back to Sedona and Phoenix, to Tucson and Tombstone, and again back to Phoenix to drop Mom at the airport). Jerome is a great little town literally sticking off the side of a mountain. Sedona is beautiful and ritzy. The drive between Sedona and Flagstaff is breathtaking. Flagstaff brought back good memories of when we were there 22 years ago or so. Tombstone is stuck in its O.K. Corral past and proud of it. Tucson is the perfect size city, I think...while very Southwestern, it also reminded me of Louisville - very user-friendly. And that's despite all of the downtown interstate exits being closed for construction. Phoenix is just big, and bigger. But after dropping Mom off I did go and enjoy Taliesin West, which was the perfect preview for staying at the Biltmore, since Frank Lloyd Wright was a consultant on the project and his influence is evident throughout the facility. The conference went really well, too.

Less than 24 hours after my plane landed, the turkey was ready (there's a very funny story about the bird, but I'm not going to humiliate myself to all of the web, even if only about 4 people ever read this), and Lisa and I welcomed people in for a formal dinner. Thankfully it was a potluck, because we got to eat a lot of very good food and have a lot of laughs. The house hasn't quite recovered yet, but it was well worth it. What started out as me whining about wanting a real Thanksgiving meal (all the way back in July) turned out to be a great night of fun and food. Thanks to all who came and made the evening so much fun.

So things were supposed to slow down once the party was over. Except that I forgot that I had to organize an out-of-town meeting for my legislative committee members. So before I had a chance to do all of my laundry, I was repacking my bag on Tuesday to go to Fort Campbell U.S. Army Base on Wednesday and Thursday. My staff and I didn't roll into Frankfort until 9 p.m. Thursday night...UGH! It was a long trip for being less than 36 hours long. And I promptly came down with the crud in time to spend most of the weekend trying to recuperate from it all.

And now it's December 10th. I'm going to try to not stress (too much). I'm thinking Christmas cards are just not going to happen this year. Lisa's already decided not to put up a tree this year, so at least I'm not the only one going "Oh well, maybe next year." Tomorrow is the gubernatorial inauguration here, so I get the day off from work (having all those parking spaces is more valuable than having us try to work while festivities surround the capitol building). I'm going shopping and hope that I manage to take care of several people's gifts. I've got to, because with session starting on Jan. 8th, I'm finding it hard to find another good time to take off work and get more shopping done.

For all of you who are feeling a little stressed out there, my sympathies. Who knew there were only 15 days left until Christmas. I certainly didn't! Good luck!

13 November 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays

Okay, so today's actually Tuesday, but it's a rainy day, so the title still applies. And even though I had yesterday off of work to celebrate Veterans' Day (Thanks, all of you who have served our country in the military, regardless of what I might think about the various wars that have been fought.), yesterday still managed to get me down because I've been struggling with a vicious cold all weekend (and on through today with no end in sight).

It's been awhile since I blogged but that's mostly due to the fact that when I was on the computer I was too busy to stop and write, and when I could tear myself away from working on the computer, the last thing I wanted to do was be back on the computer, even just to check in.

A few weekends ago I took a pastel drawing/painting workshop, which was a great deal of fun. When I was in 6th grade I won a county-wide art competition with a pastel drawing I did in art class, but that's really the last time I ever used any artistic ability I have. Mom's always said I had it in me (and she would know), but for various reasons I've never pursued it until now. I'm still not sure how much I'll do on my own...I really need to take more classes to learn techniques and the basics of drawing. That's on my to-do list for next spring once the legislature adjourns and I have some free time.

The next weekend was the annual Pigeon Forge Shopping Extravaganza event, and I trundled off with Mom and the other moms and daughters from church for yet another shop-til-you-drop weekend at the outlet malls near Gatlinburg, TN. We leave on a Thursday night and come back on Sunday, and in between we ignore the beautiful Smoky Mountains, the colorful leaves and/or Christmas decorations, the variety of shows, and all other possible distractions and just eat, sleep and shop. Actually, we're slowing down a bit and resting more, and this year we even played several games together. Mostly, though, the shopping is a great excuse for a lot of laughter, story telling, and good conversations. I love these women, most of whom I've known my whole life, so it's great to get away and just be together for awhile.

Last week we had an election for governor and other constitutional officers. There will be a new governor inaugurated on Dec. 11th, and lots of things will change around Frankfort. No election has a direct impact on my job (even legislative elections, which we didn't have this year), so that's not a worry. But I was just beginning to think that I'd met all of the "big wigs" associated with the committee for which I'm the lead staff person, and now many or all of those people will be moving on and new people will fill those roles. So here goes the "meet and greet" merry-go-round again. Fun, fun!

Now, if I could only shake this cold, the rainy days wouldn't seem quite so bad.

15 October 2007

The Life and Times of a Slug

I admit it, I was a slug this weekend. I made it out of the house every day, but that's not saying too much, to tell the truth. The past month has been a busy one, and I still felt like I hadn't caught up from last weekend, so I intentionally kept my weekend clear of much activity.

While it doesn't speak highly of my social life, I spent Friday night finishing a book Maria had lent me on Tuesday and working on a knitting project that I have to have done by next week. "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Julia Spencer-Fleming is an interesting and entertaining murder mystery set in the New York Adirondacks, and of all things, the main character is a female Episcopalian priest. Finishing the book was part of what got me out and about a bit on Saturday...to return it to the library and pick up some lunch. But before and after that, I was simply knitting, sleeping, watching TV, and reading.

Saturday evening I did venture out to Judy and Scott's house in rural Kentucky (south of Frankfort). Judy had invited me to come and enjoy their dinner and bonfire. Two of her sons were there with their friends, as were two couples of friends closer to Judy and Scott's age. We all collectively painted a chair, watched UK beat LSU in football (Go Cats!), ate lots of good food, and laughed together. I did finally get to go for a walk back in their woods, which was so peaceful, and allowed another chance for Judy and I to have a few good conversations. It was a fun evening!

On Sunday I decided to skip church, mostly because Lisa's cat thought that it was time to wake up at 5 a.m., when I'd only been asleep for about 3 hours, and I just didn't want to try to stay awake through the service. Despite that lack of structure I did go out briefly again on Sunday...to the knitting store for needles and yarn and back to the library, this time to pick up the next 2 books by the same author.

So, you can see the theme of my sluggish weekend...sleep, knit, read, sleep, eat, knit, read...and the worst of it is, I'm still sleepy!

08 October 2007

A Disturbing Development

I got a call from my mother a few minutes ago, asking me why I hadn't posted a new blog yet. Good grief, it's only been 5 days! I posted all of 2 blog entries in the entire month of September. My response was that I've been a little busy, which is true. The other part of it is that I hadn't even thought about a new entry.

But here I am, feeling pressure from Mom to put something down. With my work travels, I was in 5 different airports over the course of about 38 hours between Thursday and Friday. I spent most of Saturday trying to sleep off the dregs of the traveling. I don't know how people travel for work, week in and week out. They must find a well of stamina somewhere that I've never tapped.

Saturday night I met my friends Pam, (Kim, but we never call her that) Crady, Gina & her husband Nick and their two boys, Jackson and Charlie, for dinner at the corner Mexican restaurant, and then the girls and I headed to the movie theater. We saw "In the Valley of Elah," which is by far the best performance by Tommy Lee Jones I've ever seen. But it is also one very sad, depressing, and tense movie. We all walked out in total silence, and didn't speak for over a minute. I found myself thinking about the movie later that night and again on Sunday, which is always the mark of a good movie. Next time, though, I think we'll seek out a comedy.

Sunday I met Mom at church and was glad to see Nancy and Davis Gray visiting St. Paul, too. Then Mom and I headed down to the St. James Art Fair, which I look forward to every year. Of course, it's not over 90 degrees every year, either, and the heat and humidity took it's toll. We didn't stay nearly as long as we have in past years. But I did find some beautiful pieces of pewter, and even have a pewter nativity to look forward to as a Christmas gift (thanks, Mom!). The rest of Sunday was pretty quiet, at least for me. Lisa was running around like crazy getting ready to leave for her chorus competition in Calgary. I dropped her off at the airport on my way to work this morning. I hope the competition goes well and that they place at least as high as they did 2 years ago, if not even higher!

So, Mom, I hope you're happy. I've caught everyone up on the excitement of my weekend, and have spent some time today just trying to catch myself up.

03 October 2007

A Quickie

(Oh, if it were only so! Hahaha!) Anyway, I'm getting ready to head off on a little adventure including a work meeting in Eastern Kentucky and then a quick one-night trip to D.C. for another work related meeting. There's nothing like meeting the expectation of legislators away from the office and trying to coordinate all of that. And since this is my first time at this, it's been an eye-opening experience.

Besides all of that, it's been a busy few weeks. I've gotten a chance to catch up with some friends over coffee or knitting, got to shop at some funky stores I don't visit often enough, and found a few moments to hole up in my bedroom and just veg. I finished my first official knitting project, a cool little hat (I'll put up a picture whenever I get a chance). Woo hoo! I'm so proud of myself and it just whets my appetite for learning more.

Gotta run, time to load up the van with a cooler, water, soft drinks, US and state flags, meeting folder, gavels, name plates, coffee cups, a state seal....now you see what I mean!

24 September 2007

Dog Days of Autumn

Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox (and my mom's birthday, by the way)...and it is 97 degrees in Louisville today. Somebody forgot to mention the change of seasons to Mother Nature. It's hard enough in the early days of fall to find clothes appropriate for the season, but even more so when all you want to wear are shorts and a tank top and you don't want to move too much because you'll start sweating and never stop.

Mom and I celebrated her birthday by driving to Paris (Kentucky, unfortunately) and having a lovely dinner at Migdalia's in the heart of the small downtown district. We walked around just a little bit and enjoyed some of the very old buildings, but it was just too hot to do much sight-seeing, so instead we went to the bar and had a leisurely drink and interesting conversation with the bartender before sitting down for a great meal. Paris is a neat little town smack dab in the middle of horse country. It's very quaint to drive along and see all of the yearlings frolicking in the pasture, and then see mares with babies behind the black wooden fences.

We listened to the University of Kentucky football game on the way home from dinner. The Bluegrass state has slipped into some kind of alternate universe when the University of Louisville slips to 2-2 after losing to Syracuse (Syracuse?? In football???), and UK goes 4-0 in a comeback win over Arkansas. Mom and I made it back to her house in time to see the final few plays of that game. UofL drops out of the top 25, and UK is ranked 14th. It's a strange, strange, strange, strange world.

But then, it's also supposed to be fall, and it surely isn't that, either!

13 September 2007

On a Wing and a Prayer

My first difficult moment in my new job as head of the staff for the Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection committee was to take care of some miscommunication about the committee flying on a C-130 to Fort Knox. With a grandfather who retired as a colonel from the Air Force and a boyfriend who is into all thing military, I knew what a C-130 looked like, and didn't think it would be a particularly comfortable ride, no matter how short it was. Of course, I may have just delayed the inevitable...we may be riding on a C-130 next year instead. I'm already plotting how I can get out of actually having to be on the plane.

On the other hand, my committee's going to a regional airport in October and some of the owners of the planes housed at the airport are reportedly going to be giving rides, including one who does loops and other "showy" moves. That I would love to participate in (though I don't think I'll be able to). I think flying is in my family's blood. My grandfather was a pilot, my uncle took lessons and passeed his solo flight before never piloting again, and both Mom and I have always said we'd love to learn. There are bi-plane rides advertised at Louisville Bowman Field, and every time I pass by I say I'm going to treat myself to a ride on one someday. I haven't done it yet...but there's always my birthday next year! Maybe that will be my present to myself.

Otherwise, the new job is going well. I really like the staff I'm working on, and I'm doing my best to not forget all the little details that I am now responsible for that I've never had to do before. So far I don't think I've messed up too badly! I'm certainly doing my best to quickly mount the massive learning curve.

Life is settling into the fall routine, which sounds odd since I don't have children, so the whole back-to-school thing shouldn't really apply. Somehow, though, fall always seems to mean a shift back into a slightly higher gear, as work picks up and other activitie start, too. I'm still loving my knitting classes that I'm taking, which got a head start on the back-to-school time period. And my young adult group has moved into a new phase where we're meeting away from the church we originally formed at. Last week the group met at my house and then we went on a field trip to the Chartres style labyrinth right inside the grounds of the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, which is just a couple miles from my house. Also, as I've already mentioned, I'm back at Weight Watchers weekly, which is going well (though Lisa's lost more than I have so far - and she much deserves credit for her diligence)!

So as the temperature has *finally* dropped around here and there is just the slightest chill in the air when I leave for work in the mornings, I know my favorite time of year is here. Time to get busy, enjoy the weather, enjoy the football, and know how lucky I am to have such a full life!

28 August 2007

Me and Linda Blair

It's been so crazy these past few weeks that my head's spinning. Thankfully, I'm not throwing up green pea baby food, too!

It's been fun, and "interesting," trying to finish up all the work I have for the Elections committee and trying desperately to catch up with a very active Seniors, Military Affairs & Public Safety committee (SMAPS, for short). Officially I start next Tuesday. Of course, I was so busy trying to figure out what I was doing that I completely spaced the fact that Monday is a holiday. Normally I would be thrilled with an extra weekend day. But not this next Monday, which is 4 days before my new committee has a meeting. Nothing like hitting the ground running! Guess that's why I'm planning on unpacking in my new office on Saturday. So much for that extra weekend day, after all. Despite the stress, I'm really excited.

Last week the General Assembly was called back into special session, so that just added to the fun last week. It actually only really meant a few extra work hours for me, which I managed to fill just fine.

On top of all the changes at work (and moving the office is just one of them), I've been a little busy in other areas, too. I'm still knitting, and learned how to purl this weekend, so now my teacher says I know everything I need to know. I'm not so sure I believe that, but it's still exciting. I also went back to Weight Watchers with Lisa last week. It's not news that I need to lose weight, and at least for awhile I feel the need to have some accountability while getting in the groove. Lisa's been really into it, trying new recipes and checking out the website. I've been a little slower getting everything online, but I'm still following the program and that's what counts.

Oh, and Lisa...Linda Blair says "Hi!" Sorry...I couldn't resist!

19 August 2007

I'm Hooked!

It's all Kat's fault, really. Me, who has never in my life been a crafty person...there I was today, taking a craft class. And I loved it. I can see myself becoming obsessed.

Kat has always been Mrs. Crafty woman, and recently she's been into knitting big time. Predictably, when she came to visit in July, she wanted to visit our one dedicated knit shop in Louisville, The Knit Nook. And that's where the bug bit me. As I walked around with Kat, looking at the various examples hanging around the shop and feeling the different yarns, it occurred to me that this was a craft I might actually like. And so I started looking around and seeing where I might take knitting lessons, if I could learn on my own over the internet or through a book, and in general yearning for a time when I actually got my hands on some yarn!

This was a new thing for me. I always liked art class, no matter the project, but I never liked doing crafts. Maybe that's because the only one I knew well was cross stitching, and I never really liked the finished products enough to get into it seriously.

Today I finally got my hands on some yarn. And to do it, I returned to the scene of the crime...to The Knit Nook, where Kristin spent 2 hours teaching me and 3 other women of all ages and types how to do the simple acts of casting on and the first basic stitch. Maybe next week I'll learn purling...Kristin offered to teach me today, but I didn't want to get confused when I picked up my knitting later in the week. My muscle memory isn't developed yet, so I knew I wouldn't be able to remember which is which!

Scarves and hats and felted purses, here I come!

18 August 2007

Fast Times

It's been a doozy of a week, but in a good way for the most part. I was sort of in slow motion when I got back from Boston. Truthfully, I still have a suitcase of laundry that needs to be done (and soon, too). But I was just lazy last weekend.

Which is why on Tuesday I got an email from my friend Crady, asking me if I was ever, ever, ever going to do any scrapbook pages for the book that many of us were putting together in appreciation for everything that our friend Maria had done in leading our Affirmation Group (young adult small group started at my old church). We had to get it done by Wednesday because that was when Maria was officially stepping down as group leader and when we as a group really had to start making concrete decisions on what we are going to do as we move forward. Most likely we'll still be meeting, but just somewhere else and probably at some other time. And we'll definitely be splitting up the responsibilities of the group.

I've been distracted all week, though, because there was a potential that I might get a promotion at work. I knew this was a possibility 3 weeks ago, but nothing else had happened since, so I wasn't sure what was happening. A committee staff administrator (CSA) of another committee is retiring at the end of the month. Finally, they decided to hold interviews late this week, so on Thursday morning I got to talk with my agency's director about the position.

Well, I found out about 26 hours later that I got the job! Starting September 1 I will be the CSA of the Seniors, Military Affairs, & Public Safety committee. There are 2 other full-time analysts on the committee, along with a committee assistant (secretary of the committee), and a part-time analyst who is the retired former CSA of the committee. Even before the announcement was made that I was getting the job, one of the chairwomen of the committee had already given me a few things to do for her. And even when I officially start, there won't be much of a grace period because the first committee meeting will be 4 days later. Whew!!! The only downside to the whole thing is that one of my friends was also in the running for the position, and I hated that me getting it meant she didn't. That's just a tough situation.

As a bonus from out of the blue, Mom gave me the emerald and diamond ring she'd bought in Philadelphia two years ago and that I've coveted ever since. She told me that she was planning on giving it to me at Christmas, but decided that my promotion was an excellent opportunity. I love this ring! And I may not be taking it off any time soon.

13 August 2007

Boston Commons

All last week I was in Boston for the National Conference of State Legislatures. It's the second time I've been in Boston this year, though the first time was only for a day. I like Boston a lot...much like I like Philadelphia. I think it's cool being in a city that is so old. But the traffic stresses me out. I'm a pretty aggressive driver (by Midwest standards), but watching our bus drivers slide through "lanes" with less that six inches on either side made my heart race. I don't know how any cars in Boston maintain their side-view mirrors.

In addition to the informative topical sessions I went to in order to hopefully serve the legislature better, we were treated to a tour of Fenway, including seeing the dugout and locker room of the Red Sox. I'm not a big baseball fan, but it was still cool to stand next to the field and hear my guy friends talk about the Green Monster. And Bostonians are pretty rabid about their BoSox, much like Kentuckians are about Big Blue Basketball.

One afternoon I went with a few other co-workers to visit the JFK Library. I'd never been to a presidential library, but it was fascinating. I think my favorite part is the room you come into at the very end of the museum. It is a huge, 3 story concrete floor & glass wall room in the shape of the front of a boat. It sits on a peninsula, just a few feet from Boston Harbor. When we had entered the museum it was bright and sunny, but by the time I got to that room, the fog had rolled in and I felt enveloped in a cocoon. I felt very, very small in that room.

Our last night in Boston included a concert by the Boston Pops in an open-air auditorium on the harbor. We got to sample lots of New England food specialties, and enjoyed the performance. It was a perfect day for being outside, too, with temperatures in the low 80s and little humidity. I felt even more fortunate because I knew it was around 100 degrees in Louisville and as muggy as it gets!

There were several things I wanted to do while in Boston, but didn't get a chance to do: dim sum, the U.S.S. Constitution, Mike's Bakery, and Spectacle Island all come to mind. But what I was really bummed about is that during my entire stay, I never saw a Boston Terrier! Lisa will tell you that I'm somewhat obsessed with these little dogs. It will be several years before I ever have the ability to adopt a dog, but this is definitely the breed I will get. I love these guys. :-) At least I did come home from Boston with a small stuffed BT.

31 July 2007

TB or not TB, that is the question!

Kudos to Lisa for coming up with the title of this blog. I give her all the punny credit she deserves!

Yep, I received a notice from my physical therapist's office in the mail over the weekend that I'd been exposed to tuberculosis and needed to go get tested. Now, if this notice had come a year ago, I have to admit I probably would have blown it off. But after the furor earlier this year when a man who had tested positive flew internationally, I must admit I decided to go today and get the shot and will go back on Thursday so my doctor's office can read the test to see if I'm positive for TB. I certainly hope not, because I'm set to fly to Boston on Sunday for a conference4!

Not to mention the horror of trying to think about all the places I've been over the past several days (and possibly weeks).

Scott was notified through work yesterday that he, too, has been exposed. Not surprising that it's all over Frankfort, at the very least, and probably Louisville and Lexington, too, given how many state workers commute.

I'm just thankful that so far I haven't been shunned from the community as an unclean leper!

29 July 2007

Two Ways to Rest

Last weekend I headed to the woods with 7 other good friends for a weekend retreat. Maria had organized a large contingency of the girls of the Affirmation Group to go to a friend's family's weekend home several miles outside Louisville. We met and carpooled together on Friday night to the Hyde's wonderful "Hyde-away," which we were all ready to take over the minute we saw the place. We had a great time, staying up until after 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, playing games and talking, eating, talking, talking, eating.

Most of us didn't sleep in as much as we would have liked (Thanks, again, Corrie for the kitchen work early Saturday morning!)! :-) Of course, Gina was the exception, since she slept until well after noon. We lounged all day on the deck, enjoying the wonderful weather and peaceful locale. We had a few devotions, a few games, lots and lots more food, and plenty of laughs. While I drove back to Louisville and my home late Saturday night, it was a wonderful way to rest and relax with women who mean so much to me. Thanks, ladies!

This weekend has been nice, too, because everything that I've done has been at my own time and my own place. Other than going out with Scott at some point (which happened today), and going to church tomorrow, the rest I've made up as I went along. It's been nice to relax around the house, hanging out with Lisa some. And I'm looking forward to a scheduled brunch tomorrow after church, and then some shopping.

28 July 2007

It's about time...

I guess I'm ready to move on. Or at least, I know it's time to move on, even if I'm not really ready for it. Kat left to go home a week and a half ago. But I'm still grumpy about it and keep thinking any moment I can call her up and suggest we meet at Heine Bros. Coffee (yep, that's their real last name they used, pronounced like a synonym for your bum). SIGH...so needless to say, I'm still in mourning, but I know I have to accept the fact that it will be awhile before we get together for coffee again.

I had a great time with her, from the first moment to the last. We took it easy the first day she was there because Kat had taken the red-eye across the country and had had a stressful few days before that. We met Scott for lunch at the Bristol and enjoyed the unseasonably good weather by sitting outside on the patio. The led to Scott and I sharing our "urban chic" story of the first time we'd sat outside at the Bristol and got more of a show than we bargained for. That evening Kat and I went to see the latest Harry Potter movie and critiqued what we liked and disliked about it. Overall, we both gave it thumbs up!

On Friday Kat and I drove to Frankfort and met some of my work friends for lunch at the Glenn Willis tea room, again eating outside on the back porch, which overlooks the Kentucky River. I was glad Kat got to meet the women from work that she hears about so much, and vice versa. Then we moseyed down the road to Woodford Reserve Distillery and took their tour. For the first time I actually go to see them in production, including sending barrels down the barrel run. We ended the tour with a small tasting and a healthy sampling of the bourbon balls they provide. Yum! On the way out we drove past several horse farms and got some great pictures of a mare and her colt standing next to the fence. Very sweet! That night we dined at one of my favorite Louisville restaurants, Napa River Grill. Despite all the good food, we felt compelled to stop at the Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen on our way home!

Saturday, once we both woke up (which was way late in the morning) we hit Heine Bros. again and then did some window shopping along Frankfort Avenue, which Kat compared to Portland's North Mississippi area. Funky shops, funky restaurants, lots of people enjoying the beautiful weather. Since Kat and I hadn't really eaten a proper meal, we headed to a local Indian restaurant and had lots of yummy food before heading back to my place and watching movies. Kat talked me into watching the most recent version of "Pride and Prejudice" (with Keira Knightley). It still doesn't top my beloved A&E version, but it was pretty good.

On Sunday Mom picked Kat and I up, then we stopped to get our friend Linda Pursell, and we all headed to Lynn's Paradise Cafe for brunch. Yummy!!! Lynn's is still *the* funky place to have a hearty breakfast in Louisville. Kat and I then hit the local yarn shop, the Knit Knook, along with the Swanson Reed Gallery along Bardstown Road, our version of Hawthorne Street. The rain showers that started put us into a bit of a funk, so we headed home early and watched TV and ate bad-for-us food. A fun, relaxing day!

We treated ourselves to pedicures on Monday, along with yummy sandwiches at the Lotsa Pasta grocery store/deli. As I had promised, Kat and I checked out the 4th Street Live! complex downtown, including having a Bourbon Ball Martini at the Maker's Mark Lounge. Those martinis are scary good! Thankfully, one was more than plenty. Then we met Scott for a quick dinner at the Tumbleweed restaurant that overlooks the Ohio River. It's a very popular spot these days, with the great views of the city and river and the blessed breezes that you can only find next to the Ohio River.

Tuesday was the last day we had together, as I had to take Kat to the airport that evening and say goodbye. We definitely made the most of it, that's for sure. Unlike the other days when we were lazy in the mornings and relaxed whenever we were tired, we packed the fun in on Tuesday. Although we'd hit a spot here and there on Bardstown Road, I kept promising that we'd do some window shopping there, and Tuesday was the day. We ate lunch at Ditto's, hit Kizito for a cookie dessert, fell in love with the Edenside Gallery's offerings, and hit plenty of other shops. We worked up such a sweat that we stopped for ice cream before going home. Before packing up, Kat showed me some way cool things to add onto my blog. Unfortunately we couldn't get the Library thing to work, but she did show me the whole picture thing, as seen in the last post.

It really sucked to have to hug Kat goodbye at the airport. When she called to say she was worried that she hadn't checked in early enough for her delayed flight, I was almost glad for the opportunity to go back and pick her up! Unfortunately, she was able to get her bags packed and eventually made it back to Portland. Too bad! I wads really getting used to having her around.

So, Josh, what do you think about Derby 2008????? I'd love an excuse to host both of you again, soon!

17 July 2007

Scott and Me at the Park

Kat 030, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

Kat took this pic of Scott and me at Waterfront Park when she was visiting with me. So Chrissie, now you know what Scott looks like! We actually have ver few pictures of ourselves, so it's nice to have a few to choose from now. Thanks, Kat!

P.S. Kat hasn't even left yet and I'm already missing her!!!

10 July 2007

They're "in" but they're "out."

You know it's bad when you get onto the elevator in the capitol building and someone who works for the same agency you do, and even works in the director's office, asks "So is the legislature still in session?" Last night I got my wish, sort of. The Governor finally announced around 8 p.m. last night that he was adjourning the special session until July 30 for a cooling off period. Apparently he's hoping to come to some sort of agreement between now and then and jump-start the session again at the end of the month. But the Senate didn't sine die like the House did last week, so we're all a little confused - still - about what is really going on.

Regardless of whether or not the legislature is in session (Apparently they are, technically, because there are reports that they are still going to be paid. And other reports saying the legislators will refuse or refund their pay. Who knows.), my wish as stated in my last blog was that the legislature wouldn't be actually gavelling in on Thursday, Friday, or next Monday or Tuesday, because I didn't want Kat to have to sit in my office with me the whole time she's visiting. Now that won't be a problem! Yea! We'll probably stop off in Frankfort for lunch on our way to do a bourbon tasting at the Woodford Reserve distillery sometime this week, but that's as close as we'll get to my office!

09 July 2007

She's coming!!! Are they going???

It's been awhile since I posted anything. Life's been a little strange of late, but I've also been focused on this coming Thursday.

My friend, Kat, who I shared 3 different apartments with over the course of our 3 years in law school, is coming to visit me for the first time since the 2000 Ky. Derby! I was last out in Portland in August of 2005 and I declared at that time that I wasn't coming back to visit until she came to Louisville to visit me. I don't think she believed me at first, and then she and her husband Josh started pleading with me to cave, but I stood firm. And finally, she's coming. We'll have a blast, even if we don't do anything very exciting. But don't worry, Kat, we'll do plenty of fun things!

Josh got the ball rolling with a series of emails trying to figure out when was a good time in my schedule, and her work schedule (which is always hellish), and even in his own schedule. (As a side-note, Josh, good luck with work move #1. Don't kill anyone, it's not worth it!) As I said then, the only possible problem I had at any time during July was the potential for the governor to call a special session.

Well, guess what? The governor didn't disappoint. He issued the call on July 2, for a session to start July 5th. Mentally I started cringing, thinking that Kat would have to spend hours and hours sitting in my office with me, watching the legislative process up close and personal. Don't get me wrong, I love working for the legislature, but I also firmly believe the old saying by Otto Von Bismarck: "Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made."

There has, however, been a development which may mean Kat and I won't being spending all of our time in Frankfort. I'm not sure. You see, the House of Representatives chose to adjourn sine die (permanently) on Thursday, the first day of the special session. There's a great deal of debate over the constitutionality of that move, and since then the various sides (House, Senate, and Governor) have been negotiating and holding press conferences and issuing statements. The Senate has continued to meet and consider legislation, but has nowhere to send it if they do pass the bills that have been introduced.

Kat and I talked last night and she asked me what this all meant. Honestly, I had to tell her that I didn't know, and no one else did, either. It's certainly an interesting constitutional question, but I don't have a dog in that fight. The Senate may adjourn sine die before Thursday rolls around, too. The Governor could issue another call and a new special session to start. Who knows? There have been too many surprises already about this session for anyone to be able to predict.

Personally, because my friend's coming into town to visit, I'd love for this session to be over with by Thursday. I'd rather be showing her all the many cool things there are to do in Louisville instead of sitting in my office watching bills be debated. But no matter what, Kat's going to be in Kentucky in 72 hours, so I'm a happy girl!

28 June 2007

Summer Doldrums

It's not that I haven't thought about blogging in the past week and a half. It's just that nothing really sparked my interest to talk about. Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty going on...besides work and physical therapy (which seems to be taking up more and more time!). It's just that no one thing inspired an entire post. So this will be a grab-bag of comments.

Last Saturday I had lunch with 3 ladies from my former church. As a group, we ranged in ages from 80-something to me, the youngest, at 34. Missing was an even older woman who is currently sick and rather frail. It was wonderful to see them again, as we had originally gotten to know each other very well by doing a series of small group studies about 2 years ago. I facilitated those studies, and it was so gratifying to share experiences across different ages and life experiences. All in all we spent every Thursday night together for about a year, not counting the "breaks" we took between studies. After we finished having lunch we all went to visit the other member who couldn't get out of the house to join us. It was a special afternoon, and they are special women I will always cherish.

Last Thursday Lisa and I went to see "Hello Dolly" at the Iroquois Amphitheater. The show was one of the productions put on by Music Theater Louisville. Even though I've seen the musical on larger stages (with Carol Channing in her final run), MTL did a fabulous job. As always, I was impressed with the quality of the performers, the costumes, choreography, and staging. But there was one staging distraction...all throughout the first act there was a door that actors were supposed to go through multiple times, and it kept sticking! I'm not sure how many of the "blue hairs" around us noticed this, but Lisa and I were giggling mightily as the actors would yank and yank on the door, and then try to slide through the very small gap provided once they were able to get the door to open at all. It was fixed by the second act, but by that time the door wasn't nearly as central to the staging!

Yesterday I took the day off of work so that Scott and I could spend a little more time together. He's now working Fridays through Tuesdays, and our conflicting schedules mean that most weeks we get together for a couple of quick dinners and that's it. We went to the Frazier International History Museum and enjoyed delving into history, especially the history or armor and weaponry. I never thought I'd really enjoy the museum, but Scott and I went there shortly after we started dating, and it's fascinating. It was fun to go back. As always, Scott's knowledge of history amazes me. After a quick stop for ice cream, because it's awfully hot and muggy in Louisville these days, we headed back to my house. Scott wasn't planning on staying, but then he decided to help me out by putting together an etarge' I'd purchased at Target several weeks ago. He kindly admitted that even I could have probably gotten it together, but there's no way I could have lifted it on my own! Thanks, Hon!

Well, that brings you up to date. Today's my friend Stephen's birthday, so I need to send him an email wishing him an enjoyable day.

19 June 2007

"Oh How I Want to Be in That Number!"

This past weekend I went to the funeral of a 95 year old woman who I knew from my former church. For many years, Mom and I would sit in front of or behind this wonderful woman and her extensive family during the worship service. Beryl was a neat lady. She would tell you exactly what she thought, she had a firm hand on her 3 sons, 2 of whom were my high school Sunday School teachers and mentors, and she loved life. She listened to opera, watched sports, rode on motorcycles and 4-wheelers, shot firearms, and loved her church.

She had had to raise her boys without her husband, who was killed when the boys were young, but she raised them well. The two I know, Larry and Alvin, are highly successful professionally and wonderful fathers and men. They used to ride their motorcycles to church and exchange bike magazines once they got to our classroom. I remember Larry once answering the question, "What did the kitchen of your childhood smell like," with the succinct answer, "Scotch." As I said, Beryl lived life to the fullest! Thankfully, knowing Beryl and her sons, I knew that Larry's answer was surely true, but not an indication of a difficult home environment.

Beryl's funeral service was very thoughtful, and a reflection of her. We sang many hymns, some of the great hymns of faith, and we said an affirmation of faith that includes the lines, "We are not alone. We live in God's world. ... In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us, we are not alone." How fitting. And finally, after songs were sung and words were spoken, we concluded the service with a rousing send-off: "Oh when the saints go marching in!" Perfect for the woman from New Orleans who lived life to the fullest.

I told Larry that if, by the end of my life, I was half the woman Beryl was, I would know that I had lived a successful and full life. God bless her!

14 June 2007

Waiting for The Call

The morning that my friends and I were packing up to leave Cape Cod and head home, Scott sent me a text message telling me that the governor had "called a special session." After saying a few choice words, I called Lisa to get the scoop. Not so fast, she said. All the governor has said is that he's going to call a special session. *Big* difference!

I know that sounds like semantics to all normal people whose lives aren't affected by 138 legislators meeting in Frankfort, but for those of us in the business, we know one doesn't equate the other. You see, there's a difference between "calling a special session" and "issuing the call for a special session." The "call" is the actual piece of paper that the governor must file with the secretary of state on which the governor spells out the day the special session will start and the specific topics that the legislature is allowed to consider. The "call" is what's really important to those of us who work here, because up until that piece of paper is filed, everything is open to change and compromise.

I've been back for 14 days now, and guess what? No call has been issued yet. Rumors are running rampant about when the special session will start. Co-workers are holding their collective breaths, hoping that their summer vacation will miraculously not be ruined by the requirements of their jobs. That's right, if there's a special session, people end up usually having to cancel all of their plans. And the worst part of that is, unless the area of law you work with is directly being considered by the legislature during the session, you really don't have much work that relates to the session at all. Needless to say, we know it's part of the job, and most of us really like our jobs (as I do), but the possibility of a special session is probably our least favorite part of the job because you just never know when one will pop up.

So I'm still holding my breath, too, because although I don't have another vacation planned, my friend Kat is *finally* coming to visit me in July (for the first time in 7 years!). And of all the things I've thought we might do while she's here, sitting in my office watching the legislature debate a new law was not one of them!

Oh, the joys of politics!!!

11 June 2007

"Where's Your Pastor?"

My weekend started off slowly and gained speed as the days flew by. I was a homebody on Friday night and most of Saturday during the day. I was ok with that, as it gave me time to recuperate from the week and also allowed me to purchase and figure out the wireless router for my laptop. Woo Hoo!!! This should be considered a pretty major accomplishment for me, since I still don't understand how to download a CD onto my computer. If this blog service didn't give step-by-step instructions, I would still only be thinking about blogging because I never would have figured it out on my own.

Saturday night I did venture out to meet Scott for dinner downtown at the BBC on Theatre Square. Even though Scott was a tired boy after working that day, we did enjoy the lovely non-humid weather by taking a short walk around the blocks and seeing the progress, or lack thereof, of some downtown redevelopment projects. Scott and I both have a big affinity for the downtown area and are excited about a lot of the things that are happening down there.

But Sunday was the big day, in several ways. The Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church started that afternoon down at the Galt House. The past two times Louisville has hosted the conference my Mom was in charge of all of the volunteers and making sure all of the "behind-the-scenes" non-business related things were taken care of. It's a huge job and I and many others were drafted into service. While you sleep very little and have 300 different questions asked of you each day, it's also a lot of fun (or at least I think so). Well, this year Mom has a slightly different role at the conference, which means I'm not living down there for the next 4 days, but I'm still volunteering. I was there from about 1:45 until 9:45 last night. Ugh! And I'll be back there this evening, too, for our Ordination and Commissioning service.

Anyway, my volunteer spot is the information booth, and I had just taken up my post and was trying to get oriented when an older minister came up to me and said "Where's your pastor?" He knew what church I belonged to because it was on my name tag. Well, I was dumbfounded, at least for a good 10 seconds. You see, I had joined a new church Sunday morning - the first church other than the one I grew up in and was a member of for 34 years. While I'd been going to my new church for over 6 months, I guess I still hadn't quite thought of the minister there as "my pastor" just yet. It probably doesn't help that I've known my pastor for 20 years, and know him in many different roles other than as the minister at St. Paul UMC. So when the gentleman asked, I was slow on my feet and had to consider exactly who the man was asking about. Eventually my brain caught up with his question and I was able to give him the correct answer: "I don't know, I haven't seen him here yet." But it made me realize that I have a long way to go still in wrapping my mind around the reality of my new church family and the pain I went through in leaving my other one.

08 June 2007

Highlights and Lowlights

It's been a pretty quiet week, despite my birthday celebrations. Mostly that's because I haven't felt great since Wednesday. I think I've finally narrowed it down to one of the medications I'm supposed to be taking. Physical therapy has been good so far. And if I get my appetite back, I'll be a happy camper.

I did have a great birthday, despite everything. Scott and I went out on Tuesday night (his "Friday" since he has Wed. and Thurs. off work) and celebrated with a dinner. He bought me this beautiful brown felt hat with black piping. The brown is a reddish-brown, so it looks great with my hair and skin. Of course, it's a winter hat, so I won't be wearing it just yet, but it definitely gives me a reason to look forward to those cold days to come. He also found this great old hat box from a milliner in Lexington. He did very well!

My upset stomach blew my Mom's plans for an impromptu surprise party on Wednesday night at my small group's gathering. She had brought little cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches for us to have as we started our next study, but alas, I wasn't there! She kindly saved me a few of each, and brought those along with my gifts over to my house. Mom was very generous, giving me an iPod, 3 DVDs, and a Best Buy gift card! I can't wait to hook up the new wireless router Lisa and I are going to get and test all my new toys.

My friends at work have spread my birthday out a bit. I was taken out to lunch on Tuesday, had a birthday breakfast on Thursday, and on Wednesday Judy brought me a beautiful linen jacket and a mesmerizing abalone ring. I have the best boss, and a wonderful friend!

So that about sums it up. My birthday was certainly better than Derby Day, but this herniated disk sure is mucking up life in several different ways! I just hope the PT keeps helping me make progress. I guess there's nothing to do for that but do the exercises they give me and wait and see.

05 June 2007

Awesome Trip!

Even though it's taken me a few days to jump back on the blog and write about my trip to Cape Cod, don't take that as a sign that it wasn't a lot of fun. Even with my back problems keeping me from doing a couple things, I had a blast. Going with Pam, Maria and Crady was so much fun!

Maria picked an awesome place for us to stay in Falmouth. We were right across the street from the beach - one of the 5 top beaches on the cape, according to Frommer's. The town itself was very pretty and quaint, but big enough to offer the necessities.

We spent a good amount of time just lounging on the beach, but by no means were we sedentary! One day we drove to Provincetown on the far end of the cape. We definitely enjoyed the interesting stores and art galleries, and the food was great. The great number of gay and lesbian couples was an interesting phenomenon to some of our group. The best part of the day was the whale-watching trip we took. We saw 15 different humpback whales, and the entertained us with lots of activity. We probably entertained them, too, as we rushed back and forth across the boat, trying to all see and get the best shot.

We also spent one day in Boston, walking the Freedom Trail, or in my case, part of it! I let the others walk the last part while I backtracked to Quincy Market where I rested and people-watched. Then we met up and went to dinner at this very cool Chinese restaurant that the Frommer's guide suggested. When we got there, we were the only Caucasians in the place, and all of the Asian guests watched us walk in and sit down. But we had some good dim sum and other foods. Yum!

Our last day was spent on Martha's Vineyard, which we could see at night from our balcony. Apparently the Vineyard is the "lower class cousin" to Nantucket, but I think I like it better because it's more laid-back. Even a short shower didn't stop us from walking around the towns, shopping, and enjoying the day.

There's too many stories to tell: the vortex that is Providence, R.I., the Hooty, the sailing trip that never happened, and on and on. Anyway, I had a blast!

Medical Update

The back/leg problems continue. I've not felt most of my left foot since Derby Day (one month ago today). After the ER visit, my regular doctor sent me for an MRI and a visit with a neurosurgeon who specializes in back problems. As for the MRI, that is a hellish experience that I hope I never have to repeat. If so, I want some Xanax or some other drug to keep me from hyperventilating, because it was not fun and I didn't think I was going to survive.

Anyway, the neurosurgeon tells me that I have a herniated disk. Thankfully, most of the pain is gone, most of the time. If I do too much it comes back, but I have plenty of drugs to take care of it: pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers. He also prescribed physical therapy. Apparently either PT or epidural shots (Yuck!) work for about 80% of patients. I intend to be one of that 80% because I definitely don't want surgery.

Because the doc gave me the go-ahead to go to Cape Cod, the PT didn't start until yesterday. Before I went I grilled everyone I knew who had used PT so I knew what to expect. And I was pleasantly surprised. The therapist said that unlike some patients that have to go through pain to get better, his goal was to keep me out of pain and to get relief for my leg, first and foremost. Then we'd see if there was a way to lessen the impact of the herniated disk. I will do whatever they prescribe, including the exercises. Speaking of which, I need to close the door to my office and do those here in a minute!

Anyway, just wanted to let you all (all 4 of you! Ha!) know what's going on.

25 May 2007

Cape-ward Bound

I'm headed out of town tonight with three good friends. We're going to Cape Cod to enjoy the ocean, seafood, and lots of laughter. The doctor said I could go, and gave me some good drugs to make the travel a little easier on my gimpy leg. I warned my friends that I will do what I can to keep up with them, but if we have to run to catch a plane, I'm going to be left behind!

I can't wait to smell the ocean, taste some lobster, and play "Pit" for hours. While I've been to Cape Cod for a brief day and a half, it will be nice to be there for an entire week and to really have a chance to enjoy the cape.

Maybe once I get back I'll actually figure out how to upload pictures to the blog and show you how much fun Maria, Pam, (Kim) Crady, and I had! Until then, enjoy yourselves!

The Sound of Silence

I'm a typical redhead, at least when it comes to my temper. I don't suffer fools gladly, but usually I don't blow up at them, either. I generally try to stick with logic and reasonableness, but if pushed far enough, watch out! My anger is loud and explosive, the typical fiery temper of a true redhead. Be afraid, be very afraid. Of course, if you can stand to stay in the same place as I am when I'm angry, you'll also find out that I don't stay mad very long after I've had my say, and am ready for equilibrium to return.

Oh, if everyone else reacted the same way I do, how happy I would be! I grew up in a household where silence reigned whenever my Mom got mad at me. And my Mom can sustain that silence for a very long time. Maybe that's why I hate it so much whenever someone reacts to anger with silence. I feel like a little kid again, being punished with that oppressive, distainful lack of conversation. As a kid it never occurred to me to lash out and say my mind. Instead I would go into my room or outside and have conversations in my head where I yelled everything I wanted to say in response to the silent treatment. Eventually I would calm down again and just have to wait the silence out, most of the time even feeling guilty enough to apologize, even when I didn't think I was in the wrong.

Mom was surprised, and not in a pleasant way, when I grew up and went to law school and stopped letting her get away with giving me that silent treatment. While law school played a part, because if it did anything, it taught me how to argue a point into the ground, for the most part this change simply coincided with my going to law school rather than being a consequence of it. In college I had experienced the anger and silence of someone who had been a friend, and this person was so passive-aggressive that I never knew what caused the rift. I still don't. When I moved across the country and started a new phase of my life in a place where I knew no one, I also decided that I didn't want to have any more passive-aggressive relationships with people. I would tell people when they angered or hurt me. If it meant I lost the friendship, that would be the price I paid. But I was going to be true to my feelings.

I still try to do that, even with people in my life who prefer going silent when they are angry about something. Now on those few occassions when Mom and I are angry with each other, even if she won't talk, I will make sure she hears what I have to say. It drives her crazy.

Of course, there are times when the petty side of me rears its ugly little head, and my thoughts tend to be, "To heck with her. If she doesn't want to talk to me, fine. I can outlast her!" I know that doesn't do either person any good, and I end up going over and what I'd like to say in my head, just like when I was a kid. Today I've been feeling like this. Which means I need to get a few things off my chest with someone. So I'm going to try to live up to that decision I made so long ago, and try to not be passive-aggressive.

Instead of the sound of silence, let freedom (and words) ring!

21 May 2007

What's that smell?

Last Friday Scott and I headed to the Honda dealership after work and he bought a new car. The whole experience was as good as I guess one can ask for when dealing with a car salesman. We were in and out of the dealership within 2 hours, and he drove home with a shiny new car, "new car smell" and all!

Since he's started working in Frankfort we've been car pooling, but we've had to use my car. Scott's was 10 years old and on it's last leg. Given the miles, and the fear of having anything go wrong with the new job, he's been anxious to a new car and not have to worry about the potential that the car would die somewhere between his house and mine. No more worries now. And getting the car in Frankfort also had the added bonus that Frankfort is essentially a company town, the "company" being state government. So the dealership knows how secure those jobs are, and the way the pay structure works. They were able to give Scott some extra time before his first payment is due, since a new state employee has to work a month before getting a paycheck.

As tired as we both were, we had to go out and celebrate a little after successfully purchasing his new Honda Civic. Of course, since we'd both been up at 5:30 a.m., even our celebration wasn't much more than dinner and good conversation. But all around, it was a great night!

Good to Be Surprised Sometimes

I'm a planner. I've mentioned that before, and it's as true today as it was when I was a child. As Mom and I were relating to Scott during lunch yesterday, when I was a kid I wanted to know the timetable for everything: when I could get my ears pierced, wear makeup, go on a date, stop taking piano lessons, etc. What I never figured out was that my Mom hadn't mapped out my life like I seemed to insist upon, and was instead making spur-of-the-moment decisions when I posed these questions. Decisions she then felt like she had to abide by in order that I knew she didn't go back on her word. The other thing I was really slow in figuring out was that I should carefully pick and choose when I asked Mom about this weighty issues. Laying one on her when she was on a step ladder, searching for something in the back of the hall closet, was probably not the prime time. Oh well, I still asked, and I still planned.

Even today, I try to map out my life in big and small ways. Thank goodness I also try to stay somewhat flexible. If not, I would have despaired long ago, because I certainly haven't lived up to all of my personal timelines. Scott may say I'm not quite as flexible as I think I am, but I think that's a matter of perception. Whenever he suggests that we do something other than what I had planned, I'm usually receptive, but I pause before answering and he generally takes that to mean I'm not pleased with the change of plans. Typically that's not the case. It's just that I'm such a planner that I have to take a moment to reorder my brain, then I'm ready to say "Sure, let's go!"

But as I have also said, I'm a fan of whimsy. Whimsy often takes the form of surprises, at least the good variety of surprises. Thankfully, I count myself blessed that most of the big surprises in my life have been good ones. Scott certainly falls into that category. I wasn't necessarily looking for what I found, but I am ever thankful for the surprises our two-year relationship has offered to me so far.

In fact, Scott's been surprising me quite a lot recently, and it's been interesting. Some of the things I learn fall under stories he thought I already knew, some stories he specifically hasn't told me until now, and some are just creative thoughts rattling around in his head. I'm glad to have learned everything, even the more interesting of the tidbits.

"Interesting" is one of those words Southerners have appropriated to mean more than simply "of interest." "Interesting," in the Southern connotation, is a way of politely delivering a negative judgment or impression instead of bluntly pointing out your disapproval. Examples: "That's an interesting color combination you've chosen for your living room" or "My cousin's had some interesting experiences in his lifetime."

I'm glad Scott's surprised me with all of these tales and thoughts, even if all of the stories haven't been pleasant ones. I know everyone has secrets and thoughts that they keep hidden. But the fewer the secret stories and thoughts, the more two people who care about each other can continue to care about one another, and grow into more than they were.

So even when life springs interesting events upon us, it can be good to be surprised sometimes.

17 May 2007

A Kink in All My Plans

I was so looking forward to Derby Day. I love the race, and I was going to enjoy the company of lots of friends at two different parties. Earlier in the day I was going to plant the herbs I bought the Friday before the big race. And then everything changed.

Going home Friday afternoon I tried to relieve the nagging ache I'd been experiencing in my right hip by sitting more on my left side. I could barely get out of the car once Scott and I made it to my house. I'd screwed up my back. GRRRR! My back went out last September and while I wasn't in pain all the time, everything wasn't completely back to normal, either, because every once in awhile I'd have sciatic nerve pain down my left or right leg, or my back muscles would tighten up. But it was fleeting and I tried to ignore it. There was no ignoring it that evening.

So I spent Friday night and Saturday morning in bed, taking muscle relaxers and using a heating pad. Talk about making me feel old! Then I called my friends and told them I wouldn't be making it to either party. I was grumpy and frustrated and thought it was a bad Derby Day for me. Little did I know!

By 6 p.m., when the horses were called to the post for the big race, I was writhing in pain and crying. My left leg was screaming in pain, from my hip down to my toes. I vaguely was aware of the race itself, mostly because no matter how much pain I was in, I would be a huge social faux pas to call someone in Louisville right before the race. So I waited all of 5 minutes after Street Sense blew the other vaulted horses away and called Mom to take me to the emergency room.

That's right, folks! I spent Derby night at the hospital, and didn't even have any fun (and alcohol) to blame it on. By the time Mom got me back in my bed, my leg was still killing me, but I had good drugs in my system. Unfortunately, the problem persists, even a week and a half later (and on my first day back at work). My left foot is still numb, sitting is uncomfortable and requires pain medication to ease the worst of it, my herbs are still in their little plastic cups (but are hanging on so far), and there's no end in sight. I missed my cousin's graduation in California (sorry, Cole!!!!), and the trip Mom and I had planned on taking to Yosemite and San Francisco after our stop in L.A. Last night I had an MRI (that was Hell!), and there is apparently enough to go by that the doctor wants to send me to a neuro- or orthopedic surgeon to discuss treatment options. Not fun.

So, this is the reason for a lack of posts recently, and for a lack of much else of interest to talk about. I've been couped up in bed confirming my opinion of daytime television (worse than TV in general!) and going rather stir crazy. I'm back at work, but am wiped out by the effort. And the immediate future isn't looking too bright, either. But, by gum, I'm going on my trip to Cape Cod next week, unless some doctor specifically tells me it will induce permanent and unfixable damage!

04 May 2007

Herbal Remedies

It's going to happen this year. Last year I did all the planning, but none of the follow through (How many times will I have to say that about myself in this lifetime?)...I bought books, I bought soil, I checked out inventories around town, I even figured out where I'd put them. But what I didn't do was actually go out and buy all of the herbs (and tomatoes and peppers) that I wanted to plant. I'm in love with the idea of growing herbs and gardening. I'm not nearly as excited about the reality. I'm not particularly fond of being sweaty and insect bitten, which I am whenever I walk outside into the Ohio Valley heat and humidity that we affectionately call "summer."

I've grown some herbs before, and enjoyed using them. Unfortunately, my only desire is to use the herbs in cooking, and as much as I really like to cook, I don't cook nearly as much as I always plan to. Sounds like a familiar pattern in my life, doesn't it? It is. The books I bought last year that are all about herbs also include lots of other uses for herbs other than cooking. But if living in Portland, Oregon, didn't make me into a natural-homeopathic-vegan-carbon neutral-earthy-crunchy girl, then it's just not meant to be who I am. I can't see myself making sachet for teas or nice smelling baths.

But I started taking the plunge again today. Actually, I acquired a rosemary plant several months ago and haven't killed it yet (though I've also not used it much, either). Today a local school was selling plants and herbs as a fundraiser, and I got suckered in. I bought lots of cilantro, because I love it, basil, oregano, flat and curly parsley, and dill, as well as 4 Roma tomato plants. They'd already run out of the pepper plants I wanted, so I'll have to go elsewhere for those and for a few more herbs and tomatoes.

Heaven help me! With this latest endeavor, I'd better start cooking every night! At least that will be an herbal remedy for my bank balance, which shows way too much take out and restaurant food. No matter what, I think I'll be digging in some dirt this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

03 May 2007

The Stuff of Nightmares

It's been a weird work-week, and Friday probably won't bring any relief.

On the good side, Scott started his state job on Tuesday, and things looked promising. He's doing security work, meaning he will patrol the facility and oversee visitors to various state buildings. As part of his training, he was sent to shadow an officer at the state crime lab yesterday. That's when things stopped looking so great. Apparently they don't just check in visitors at the crime lab; they also check in the recently deceased. Yuck! Especially when you think that bodies being sent to the crime lab don't die of peaceful deaths. Just within the first few hours there Scott reported he'd seen enough to know his dreams would be haunted. I guess it's a lot easier looking at dead bodies on "CSI" than it is seeing a gunshot victim roll through the door (with the body bag open for all to see)! I told him it must be a hazing ritual that they put all of the officers through. He's just hoping he's not permanently assigned there.

Then there's my job. I love my job. I work for the state legislature, doing research and drafting bills. I love my issue area. I've always liked constitutional issues, but I also found that I like elections and campaign finance law. I love my boss, Judy. She's one of the coolest women I have ever known, and she's smart and fair. She's my friend, not just my boss. But don't get me wrong, I don't always like working for the legislature, or more specifically, for a particular legislator. I have to do stuff for people even when I think their ideas are the worst things I've ever heard of. However, I know this is what I was meant to do and I'm very thankful that I've got this job.

Unfortunately, every job has "stuff" that goes on that just is no fun at all, and people that you have to work with that make life annoying or miserable. Let's just say that at this point there's a lot of that going on around here, and my little corner of this job is directly involved. Wish it wasn't, that's for sure! Especially since no matter what, these things never end well. I'm not particularly worried about my own job, but this whole thing won't shake out for some time to come. We're all in the midst of the storm.

It's really the stuff of nightmares.

01 May 2007

Margaritas Rather Than Mint Julips

It's a busy time to be in Louisville, KY. Derby fever has taken us all for a spin. The Kentucky Derby is 4 days away! Do you have your horses yet? What? You say you don't even know what horses are running? What's wrong with you people!?!?! Time to get on the ball and go place your bets. (Kat and Josh: Your Pegasus Pins will be in the mail tomorrow...hope you get them by Saturday!)

I'll be spending Derby Day working in my yard, in the morning at least, and then over at my friends' Emily and John's house for a party and the big race. I think I'm even going to bring the big bucket of margarita mix. Yum! Bourbon-based Mint Julips are the drink du jour for Derby, but I'd rather drink my bourbon neat, or in the yummy Maker's Mark Bourbon Ball Martini concoction. Those are actually too dangerous for me to have around, as they taste like an adult milk shake and are just as quickly consumed. So instead I'll stick with my margaritas. Thankfully, Emily and John only live about 4 blocks from me, so if I have too much fun with the horses and the margaritas, I can probably get home without breaking any laws.

Louisville's been enjoying the festivities for the past week and a half. Last night were the bed races. Really. It's a fundraiser for a local charity. We've also had balloon glows and races, and a mini-Marathon (Good job, Lisa!). Actually, picking Lisa up from the mini-Marathon and trying to get her to her car was like experiencing the 5th circle of Hell, but that's not a story I want to relive. Tomorrow night is a boat race between paddle boats, and Thursday is the parade. Friday is Oaks Day, where fillies (i.e., female) horses only race.

Needless to say, it's been one big party in Louisville recently. We'll all wake up on Sunday and feel the letdown of another Derby gone by. Many will trek to Lynn's Paradise Cafe for the post-Derby breakfast party. And everyone will be talking about the next possible Triple Crown winner. Fans of the Derby and of horse racing keep waiting for some horse to be special enough to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. It's been a long, long time. Maybe we'll have another special horse to fall in love with, just as we all did with Barbaro last year (God rest his big-horse soul!). No matter what, you can be sure there will be some poignant and fun stories to revel in on Sunday.

Happy Kentucky Derby to all!

24 April 2007

My Terabithia

Did you have a magical place when you were a child? I had a few. The first was in my backyard, where a huge forsythia bush (actually, bushes, I think) created pockets underneath its branches. Those became rooms for playing house, places to hide from other neighborhood kids, and a spot to tell secrets to my best friend Heather.

My other two spots were both at my grandparents' place. I've been thinking of one of them for a month now, ever since my family went back to the small town of Palmersville, Tennessee, to bury my grandmother next to my grandfather, near the farm where he was raised and which he farmed after his retirement from the Air Force. I used to spend several weeks each summer with my grandparents...a city girl plopped down in the middle of the country with fields and woods galore to explore. For several years there was a small "island" formed by the diverted water of the creek that ran across the road from my grandparents' house. That island became all sorts of adventurous places for me, as I considered myself "Peter Pan." I knew every inch of that little piece of land, before time and water, and I'm pretty sure some ditch digging on the part of a neighbor farmer, took that little island away.

The next year I set about finding my next "spot," and soon came upon a place that truly did give me a feeling of awe and magic. On the edge of a field behind my grandparents' house I found a locust grove surrounding a small pond. Even in the heat of a summer afternoon it was cool under those trees. And unlike most of the woods, there was little brush under the branches, making it a perfect place to sit and think, throw stones into the pond, or have a picnic lunch. I remember one spring break I shared my spot with a friend, and we played up there for days. I had named it "Terabithia," after the book Bridge to Terabithia, by Katharine Patterson, because this was my place for imaginary creatures and daring stories.

Even after I outgrew those imaginary adventures, that locust grove held a spell over me. While I began spending more time at my grandparents' house riding the four-wheeler and racing across the fields rather than tromping through the woods, I would still always stop and wander through my Terabithia, and smile. Sadly, I can't remember if I stopped by that magical spot when I was last visiting my grandparents' house in 2001, helping them pack up their few belongings and move to Louisville. What I do know is that when Mom and I drove past the farm last month, the locust grove had been cut down by that neighbor who now owns my grandfather's old farm.

A little spot of magic, gone. Except in my memory and imagination, where Terabithia, and places like it, can flourish forever.

23 April 2007

Blast Off to Derby!

The 2007 Kentucky Derby Festival has officially started. This past Saturday was "Thunder Over Louisville," an all-day airshow followed by a 30 minute fireworks extravaganza. For the first time ever, I experienced Thunder live and in-person, and Scott and I had a blast!

I'm not much of one for huge crowds, so the idea of spending an entire day with 800,000 other individuals watching an air show and fireworks has always had a downside for me. Particularly the idea of port-a-pots without toilet paper! But for the last 2 years Scott and I have been talking about doing Thunder the "right" way, i.e. paying to go somewhere with access to real bathrooms and a roof over our heads in case it's rainy or cold. It was fitting that we'd go to Thunder together because we actually starting dating the night before Thunder in 2005, so this was our 2nd anniversary. So we paid for the right to park in the Kentucky Center for the Arts and have use of that facility. Behind the KCA is the old Belvedere lawn, and we set ourselves up out there, enjoying the 75+ degree temperatures and nice breeze off of the river.

The airshow was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It was over 5 hours long, so we were entertained the entire afternoon. Scott knows a great deal about planes and helicopters, too, which certainly helped make it interesting. In fact, hearing him talk made me wish I'd paid more attention and asked more questions of my maternal grandfather, a career Air Force pilot, when he was alive. We ran into several friends of mine, and Scott "texted" with one of his friends that was somewhere in the crowd. But mostly we just enjoyed the show. It was a good way to celebrate two years together.

So in two weeks Louisville will be in the spotlight as the Run for the Roses captivates our attention on that beautiful first Saturday in May. Lots of native Louisvillians sort of roll their eyes at the Derby, because the actual day is really for all the visitors and fancy horse people who can afford the luxury suites on Millionaires Row. It's the two weeks leading up to the Derby that are for us local folks. But I've always loved the Derby, from the silly pre-Derby "bed races" for charity to the actual race itself. It's a beautiful time of the year to be in my city (as some friends who haven't visited in years may have a distant memory of the beautiful weather and the taste of the mint julips), no matter how you take in the race itself.

Anyway, check out the website, read up on the horses who may be in the race of their lifetime, and let me know who you'll be placing a bet on (whether real or imaginary).

19 April 2007

Hannibal Lecter would be proud

"Whimsy" is one of my favorite words, both the way it sounds and the definition. I first fell in love with the word while reading Thomas Harris's Hannibal, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs. Harris must have had a thing for the word, too, because "whimsy" showed up everywhere in the book (which, considering the story, is rather remarkable)! I remember discussing that odd circumstance with my friend Brad, and saying that it was about the best thing I got from the story, because I didn't like the way Harris developed the relationship between Clarice Starling and Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

But I digress. My point is, ever since then, I've been on the look out for whimsy, both the word and the experience. Maybe that's because I'm not naturally a very whimsical person. I'm very grounded, very logical, very predictable. I'm a natural born planner...tell me a deadline and watch me go at it. When you're organizing your calendar months in advance and setting one year and five year goals (which I have), that doesn't leave a lot of room for whimsy to wander in and shake things up.

I think my love of e.e. cummings's poetry is a bit of whimsy, for cummings is by his very nature whimsical. I think that's why I find so much humor in a clever bumper sticker, too, even if I don't agree with the message. And the whimsical nature of it is one of the extra bonuses of taking belly dancing - it's so out of character for me. You could have knocked my Mom over when she found out I was taking these lessons. Scott didn't quite know what to say when I first told him I was thinking about signing up for classes.

Whimsy came again today and surprised me with an opportunity to spend some time with dear friends in an interesting and relaxing place. Completely out of the blue. So for my friend who extended the invitation, thank you!

It's amazing how much whimsy you can find in the day to day if you are just looking for it.

17 April 2007

An Egyptian Shimmy

Despite a chronic shortage of sleep, I woke up feeling pretty darn good this morning. The reason for this is that last night I had my first belly dancing class in 4 months or more. I took a 6-week series last fall with my housemate Lisa and we both really liked it. But then a combination of finances (i.e., Christmas) and the legislative session meant that I couldn't take any more classes for awhile. But there I was last night, shimmying away and loving it.

I'd wanted to take belly dancing classes for awhile, and I'm so glad I finally signed up for them. I know those of you who know me well are finding it a very funny (and possibly frightening) image. I mean, I definitely don't have a dancer's body, and then there's the fact that I'm the biggest klutz I know. "Grace" is not my middle name! But I really love it. It makes me move my body in ways I never dreamed I could. It's a good work out too - I'm always sweating at the end and I wake up the next morning feeling muscles ache in a good way.

But don't worry, you won't see me someday with a hip scarf on and zills on my fingertips, dancing away in front of people. This is just for me and just for fun!

16 April 2007

Job Joys

Scott just called me and gave me the good news that he's accepted a job offer with the Kentucky State Police doing facility security work. This has been a 4 month process from the time he took the state test to qualify even to be considered for the job, through a short interview about the actual job, to a state background check, then a very long interview where he was grilled about his background (financial, personal, legal, military, etc.) and including an FBI background check, and finally, an offer. Whew! What fun.

I tried to warn him that getting a job with state government takes forever. I don't think he believed me at first, but he did by the end of the process. The good thing is that once you're in the system, it's remarkably easy to move around if you choose to do so. I'm just glad Scott will be able to do a less physical job than he has, and one that has lots of potential for future advancement. It doesn't hurt that he'll be working in Frankfort with me, either!

13 April 2007

New Frontiers

Well now, I think I'm just a little freaked out by this blog thing. I've been pondering the idea of starting one for a couple months now, and asked for the thoughts of my boyfriend and a friend. But I still didn't expect to actually set up a blog today, much less writing a blog post. I've no real purpose for this blog other than to let friends of mine know what's going on in my small world. I regularly check the blogs of a couple of friends, one of whom I never actually talk to on the phone, and very rarely even email. But I get to find out what's going on in her world by reading her posts, and it makes it easy when I do see her every couple of years to know what she's been up to.

Though I really like politics and spiritual issues, neither are meant to be the focus of this website. For one thing, writing too much about politics (at least from a partisan perspective) could very well get me fired. But also because I'm not really interested in writing a blog and expounding upon some of my "Deep Thoughts." I mean, really, I don't think my thoughts on political, social, ore religious issues are all that interesting to the larger public, assuming anyone who doesn't know me personally ever wanders upon this blog. Not to say I'll never mention any of these things, just that they aren't the purpose of this little spot on the Internet.

So here I am, trying to figure out what exactly to write about, instead. Talk about intimidating! I guess I'll talk about my life, my friends and family, my great city and state (Louisville, KY), and anything else that comes to mind. Bear with me as I figure all of this out. I promise, there will be more stuff on here, eventually (like a picture or two). In the meantime, thanks for paying attention!