Saturday, April 30, 2011

Here's what I've been doing.

I don't have anything good to write about, so I'll just write about all of it.

The sun came out on Thursday and it made everything better.

Jimi and I met up with a friend for dinner that night - we tried a new-to-us place that we've for years heard our friends rave about.  I was less than impressed.  First, I strongly believe that the chips and salsa portion of a Mexican meal is a vital component, and shitty chips or bad salsa can ruin the entire experience.  There's a delicious, authentic Mexican joint up the street from my office - Jimi and Steve love the place, but I refuse to eat there.  Why?  They have shitty chips; they serve those round yellow corn stale salty discs that are at the peak of their taste-ability when coated with that gross yellow nacho cheese you can find at any high-school sporting event concession stand.  They have their place, I suppose, but it ain't on my table when I'm looking for chips and salsa while waiting for my enchilada and refried beans.  I insist on homemade, warm, barely-salted, triangle-shaped tortillas.  And homemade salsa, preferably the consistency of crushed tomatoes with no big chunks of anything.  And if you make me pay $2 for chips and salsa, and then present me with those bullshit round yellow discs, I will say bad things about you to all of my friends, El Mundo.

(Then again, I didn't spot a single Hispanic working at the place.  When it comes to Mexican food, this is a bad omen.)

To be fair, the entrees were pretty good.  The enchiladas were different from any enchilada I've had before, but they weren't bad.  And the beans weren't refried, but rather black beans cooked with some sort of meatfat and spices - they were probably the best part of the meal.

Friday was Administrative Professionals Day, and after being reminded by a customer that he has a pretty awesome office staff, our boss took Kimmie and I to the Cheesecake Factory for a long lunch that left us all feeling fat and near-comatose.  Why on Earth did we think it'd be a good idea to order pasta and follow it up with a huge hunk of rich cheesecake?  (Probably because we thought it'd be delicious, which it was.)  We suffered for hours afterward, though.  Too many foods.

After work, I met Kimmie and Alicia and Dot over at Kimmie's and we cackled like hens for hours under the guise of getting together to watch the Royal Wedding on the DVR, but the wedding was mostly forgotten until it was getting late.  We fast-forwarded through the three and a half hours of footage, stopping for the highlights, like the crazy hats and every scene featuring the new Princess's sister's ass...because we'd heard tale of how someone's boyfriend was being a complete cockbag and stated Pippa's ass was big.  (Seriously?  What lens are you using, dude?  I think it's broken.)

Jimi and I got up early today to check out a "HUGE 4-family Yard Sale/Estate Sale" that turned out to be a half a driveway worth of wicker furniture, old shoes, old purses, and a $50 framed picture of George Costanza in his underwear.

Then we drove around for an hour in search of a breakfast place that would please my discriminating palate without forcing me to wait in a lobby full of old people and screaming children for 15-20 minutes.  At 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning.  In the East End of Louisville.  (In other words, yeah fucking right.)  We finally settled on Wendy's because it was there and their breakfast is pretty damned good and because if I didn't eat NOW I was probably going to morph any second into a crazyhungry version of Medusa with hungry snakes popping out of my head.  Jimi turned into the parking lot just in the knick of time, and I'm pretty sure he knew it.

After breakfast we ventured to Lowe's so I could pick up one of those manual stick-tiller things so I could get the flower beds in front of the porch ready for planting.  Not that I have a plan of any sort, but Kimmie gave me a bunch of lamb's ear and it had to be in the ground before the end of the day today so I had to do something.  In addition to the tiller, we picked up a few bags of shit (I mean, manure/compost/dirt), a rose bush (!!!), a couple of lilies, and two orchids that were on clearance and told me they NEEDED to come home with me.  (Of course I couldn't deny their request.)

The tiller thing was awesome until I was like a third of the way through the first bed and realized I was growing a nickel-sized blister in the middle of the pad of my left palm.  I decided to ignore it, and managed to do so quite well - I got one entire bed dug out, the rose bush planted and I was trucking right along.  I was well into the planting of the lamb's ear - I looked down at my right palm and realized the much-smaller blister there had burst and there was dirt caked all up underneath the flap of skin that hung there.  And it hurt.

I'm a big ol' wuss, so I dug a big hole in the corner of the bed and planted the hunk of lamb's ear that was left, figuring I can always move it later.  I was done with gardening, at least for the day.  I put away my things and called it a day.

The rest of my day has been spent playing Sims 3 and watching Extreme Couponing.  Not bad for a Saturday.

I really need you to go enter my giveaway.  I need to send you some of these things and some of this stuff.  Just do it.

What was your favorite part about this week?  Did you have a turning point - like the sun coming out?  Are you and your families safe after the horribly scary weather of the last week?

Happy Weekend!  I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.

Enter my Giveaway - please?

C'mon, guys.  Please don't make me put this stuff back in my basement.  You need some new-to-you things, right?  And some more stuff?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who needs some formula?

Similac didn't get the "remove me from your mailing list" memo.  

They've got good timing, though - if I hadn't miscarried, I'd be ready to deliver any day now.  I'm sure I'd be super appreciative of this and the $5 off coupon...if things were different.  

I don't feel punched in the gut, though.  Had this arrived a few months back, I'd be pissed off and wanting blood.  Now I'm thinking, "Hmm - I wonder if Kari's planning to bottle-feed?"  (Are you?  I'll send you this, and the coupon!)

Huh.  It's kinda funny.

The sun is shining today, friends.  Work wasn't so hard today.  I've got some energy.  I feel pretty dang good, even with two reminders of the worst thing ever sitting right next to me. 

See, Jimi?  I told you I was coming out on the other side.  Told Ya!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You ever just not feel like writing, or reading, or doing much of anything?

Work is exhausting and stressful.

The weather is dreary and wet and sad.

I'm tired.

I don't feel like I have anything to say.

I have things to say, I just don't want to make the effort to say them.  It's too hard to put the thoughts together.

I'm tired.

It'll get better.  It'll all be fine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New ____ Day

New ____ Day is the best day of the week.  

Or the best one day out of ten, depending on how long the last supply survived.  

I like having enough, knowing that I'm not going to run out.  I imagine it's very much the way Mormons feel about their food storage - just knowing that you've got the basics covered.  It's that feeling you get when you get a surprise bonus and don't have a bill you have to pay with it - that "I'm Rich!" feeling that comes from knowing everything's taken care of and, for a moment, at least, you have plenty.  

I shit you not, I woke up this morning and thought "Ugh, I don't want to go to work today", immediately followed by "OH WAIT!  Yesterday was New ____ Day!  Today will be fine!"  It has that sort of power - New ____ Day is awesome even the day after New ____ Day.  

Yesterday at work?  Stressful.  The boss was back after a week's vacation; to start the day off on the right foot, he asked me about some invoices that had been brought to his attention by his boss - the owner of our national company.  I'll tell ya what, nothing gets a Monday started right like having your boss's boss find your fuckups.  Meanwhile, we're short our admin. assistant until we find a new one; it's always hard when you're trying to fill a position.  And we found a blind German Shepherd roaming our property; I can't pretend I did a whole lot about that - mostly it was Kim who made the phone calls and such, but I helped a bit.  The dog part was more emotionally draining than anything else.  

And then after work, I had to drive through the dumb ol' rain that won't stop to go try on bridesmaid dresses*.  

But you know what got me through my day?  Knowing it was New ____ Day.  Knowing that later that evening, I'd be able to go to the grocery and get my stash.  The anticipation of that "Ahh" after the purchase is finalized - that "I'm set" feeling.  

Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?  Do you have a New ____ Day you celebrate with regularity?  Something small to the world but big to you?  Tell me about it. 

*I'll be honest, the dress thing? - that experience was so much better than I'd anticipated.  We tried on two dresses and chose the second - we were finished in under an hour.  And the dresses are pretty!  And affordable!  And black!  (I mean, not like I go to formals or anything, but I would totally wear this dress to prom if some poor misled hot high school senior asked me to prom.  You know, if he was my cousin.) 

Monday, April 25, 2011

If you could...

do anything in the world RIGHT THIS MINUTE, what would you do?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Somethings

I'm not Catholic, but I went to Mass this morning.  I'm 99% certain today is the first time I've gone to church on Easter Sunday - any church.  Counting that wedding I went to in 2001 and the funeral we went to a few weeks ago, this Mass was the third I've attended in my life.  I expected waving palm fronds and lots of Hosanna singing - like in Jesus Christ Superstar.  It doesn't really go down like that, turns out.  (I've got a sudden urge to pop in that DVD.  Love that movie!)

Jimi and I had a bit of a cometoJesus this morning as we drove to his brother's house before church.  He's worried about me, folks.  He's concerned that I read too much sad - blogs about infertility, about multiple losses, about children who've died, about cancer patients.  He's worried that I'm not happy, or that my grieving is overwhelming me.  "I'm coming out on the other side of it, baby," I assured him.  "I had a lot to work through, but I'm coming through it."  I guess I don't talk to him much about where I'm at in this process.  I don't talk to him much about where he is, either.  We've sorta been dealing with things on our own, in our own heads. I come here and spill my guts; to say the same words to him out loud would feel like repeating myself.  (Have I mentioned he doesn't read my blog?  No wonder he doesn't know where I'm at.)

He said the thing I've been thinking of but afraid to say - the due date approaches.  May 4th, May 5th - something like that.  "I've thought of it," I told him. "But I don't feel any real significance or connection with the date, honestly.  If we'd heard a heartbeat, if a doctor had given us a date to mark on our calendars, then it would be harder.  Now, it's more like 'Huh.  If things had worked out differently, how different would my world be right now!'"  But of course I've thought about it.

It's been a roller coaster of emotions and hormones for the last several months.  I don't feel the urgency I felt.  I don't feel the confusion or so lost.  I'm not empty; I felt empty there for a while, but I don't feel that anymore.  I don't feel betrayed by fate, or cheated, or punished.  I don't feel like a failure as a woman.  I don't feel like I've failed Jimi.  I know grieving is a process, and I'm glad that the veil is lifting.  I never would've thought I could grieve so hard for someone I never met.

Brew day ended with an interesting twist yesterday - the cooling system the boys use, a large coil of copper pipe that's immersed into the brew keg full of raw beer and flushed with cold water to cool the boiling liquid, it sprang a leak.  The leak wasn't discovered until they had introduced something like 5 gallons of unfiltered water to their brew.  shitfucksonofabitch.  The BBC brewmaster was on hand, and he suggested an attempted save involving removing three gallons of the tainted brew, bringing the rest to a hard boil for an hour or so to kill off any bacteria, then adding an extra pound or so of honey to keep up flavor and gravity.  I'll let you know in 8 weeks or so if it worked.  (I hope it worked; a batch of beer isn't inexpensive to make.  Beyond the cost, though, they put so much of themselves into this stuff - it's tear-jerking to think of their efforts and hours of work all being for naught.)

Maria generously volunteered to pick up for dinner a selection of delicious yums from her brother's Argentinian restaurant.  I've never been to Palermo Viejo, mostly because I'm a picky eater and new things scare me, but dude.  If you're ever in Louisville, and you're in the mood for some out-of-this-world food, this would be a good place to start - Empanadas in four varieties, all of which were unbelievably tasty, a 10 oz. filet served with a vinegar based spicy sauce that her father makes, some breaded chicken/ham/cheese/tomato dish that almost made me cry, the mashed potatoes, the bread - Oh, it was all so freaking awesome.  I will be visiting the restaurant to sample his other wares, I assure you.  

Jimi said he's going to send me for a massage this week.  And that was before he discovered the golf-ball-sized knot of tensed up muscle in my shoulder that I woke up with this morning.  Very much looking forward to that.  Also on the list of things to look forward to this week:  folding, stuffing, and stamping my own invoices; doing my own filing; screening my own phone calls.  That's right, friends, I'm once again on the hunt for a new administrative assistant.  If it wouldn't mean an extra 20 hours of work for me each week, I'd say fuck it and petition my boss for a small raise and do the shit myself.  But I don't want to work 55 hours a week.  And I refuse to believe finding someone to fill that job long-term is impossible.

Is Easter candy on sale today, or do I have to wait until tomorrow?  And why is everything open today?  Even the Book & Music Exchange was open.  I remember way back in 1998, Kat and I tried to find some shit to get into on Easter Sunday and it was like this town was on lockdown.  Even Wal-Mart and Meijer were closed.  I told Jimi, "It's a sign of the times, yo.  We're all a bunch of Godless heathens nowadays."

I'm leaving the giveaway up for another week.  I really want to send you all of this shit from my house, so you really should go enter.  :)  

And I'm obviously the worst blogger ever.  I've been awarded the Versatile Blogger award four times (4?!) in the last few weeks, and I've not made the time yet to accept or acknowledge any of them.  Ixy (at Illusion), Carlia (at The Stork Drop Zone), LJB (at CrankyMonkeys In London), and Crystal (at Never In One Place) - Ladies, thank you, and I have no excuse other than it feels like life has been really hectic and crazy and I'm way far behind on everything.  (Over 1000 things to read in my Google Reader right now.  1000!!!  Like that'll ever happen.)  Anyhow, I'm sorry for being lame-o.  I'll fix it, promise.   

I think that's all I've got.  Happy Easter, Friends.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brew Day!

Jimi and Steve are downtown at the BBC for the Annual Brew Day celebration.  Well, I guess it's not really a celebration, per se - it's really a bunch of amateur beer makers getting together in one place to brew up their wares and trade info and maybe learn a few things from the professionals.  It's pretty neat.  Jimi's been gone since 9, but after a week of waking nightly from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., I decided last night I was going to get some good sleep, so I popped two sleeping pills instead of one and I was out like a light from 11 until Jimi woke me at 7:30 saying he'd slept through the alarm.  I did too, I guess.  I went back to sleep till noon.

I was supposed to be there at noon.  Did I mention that?  It's 12:35.  I don't have any clothes on.  Guess I'm going to be late.

Steve gave me a bonsai tree for my birthday.  I love it so much.  He said if I take care of it, it will still be alive when I die.  That's a goal, huh?  Guess I'm going to have to learn about bonsai and how to take care of them.

Yesterday was SO much better than Thursday.  I knew it would be.  It had to be.  I made it to the weekend.  YAY!

I should go get dressed and get on with my day.  (Though, to be honest, it's dreary and rainy and depressing outside and all I really want to do it try to catch up on my reading and my Sims 3ing and my sitting in my chairing.)

That's all I've got for now.  Except that you should go enter my giveaway.  C'mon.  You know you need more useless crap around your house.  Right?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Worst. Day. Evar.

Warning:  I use the word "fuck" a lot in the following post.  If you're offended by the word "fuck", or the excessive use thereof, you're probably in the wrong place anyhow.  I'm sorry in advance for being such a classless whore.

Today has been the suckiest, hardest, worst day evar.  I told Kim, "Today is the day of FUCK.  Not  the good fuck, either, the bad FUCK.  Today is the FUCKiest day of them all."

And you know what the bitch of it is?  It was so much worse for other people.  At least one.

One of my employees (S) was arrested last night.  S got an equipment citation back in December.  The fine wasn't paid and the court date wasn't observed, and a bench warrant was issued.  At some point after midnight last night, the sheriff's office attempted to serve that warrant - at S's parents' house.  You see, the permanent address S uses, the one listed on his commercial driver's license, belongs to his parents.  When told S wasn't there, the sheriffs searched the premises.  Can you fucking imagine?  (Should I mention now that the citation was for a grand total of $192?)  Eventually convinced S wasn't there, the sheriffs left and headed to the correct address, where they woke S and his wife and their children at the ungodly hour of 1 a.m.   To serve a bench warrant for a commercial equipment violation.  For a total of $192 in fines.

I can't even explain the clusterfuck that ensued.  I was confused.  And scared.  Yes, I had a copy of the inspection, but no citation!  I pay citations immediately!  I give the drivers a copy back, for their personal records!  There was a lot of nearly vomit-inducing fear that maybe I'd lost the citation.  Oh fuck, can I even begin to explain what that feels like?  Like I told Kim, as I sobbed into my paperwork, "It's one thing if I fuck up and someone doesn't get their fucking order.  It's another thing entirely if I fuck up and someone's entire fucking life is ripped upside down.  A man is in jail!!!  Oh my god, what if I've done this?!"

I got in contact with a very nice lady in the county clerk's office where the citation was issued.  She put me on hold for a long time, but was kind enough to come back halfway through to ask me to bare with her, that she was working with a new system and taking longer than it should and she was sorry.  I love calling people in small towns - they're always so nice.  She told me that yes, he was being detained for the $192 citation, and yes, we'd be able to bail him out today.  Yes, she was happy to fax me a copy of the citation.

I've never seen it before today.  I swear to you, oh lords of the internet, today was the first day I've laid eyes on that ticket.  I didn't throw it away erroneously, I didn't lose it.  I've never seen it before - it never came to me.  I can't take full responsibility for the complete and total FUCK that this is/was.  As a manager, of course, I still carry responsibility.  There was an associated inspection report that listed a citation number - obviously, I never noticed it or paid it any mind, because I wasn't immediately on S's ass to get me the documentation so I could get the ticket paid.  But still.

I had to tell my boss.  My boss is a pretty fucking awesome.  (I'm using "Fuck" a lot already, what's a few more, right?  And I might be a little drunk.  That makes it easier to say fuck.)  Anyhow.  So I had to tell him.  I sent an email.  "I need to you to call me, please.  Call me on my cell when you have a moment."  I sat there, with a rock in my stomach, jumping every time I got a fucking email because my fucking blackberry is set up to vibrate every time i get an email AND/OR a phone call.  He called on the office line.  I started pacing immediately.  I do that when I'm on the phone - I pace.  I can't help it. He was having lunch at Arby's.  He didn't believe the one $192 citation could be the only reason S had been arrested.  "There has to be something more to the story, I've been doing this a long time, and I've never heard anything like this."  "I talked to the clerks in both counties," I reminded him. "They both say it's only this ticket.  I can't help but feel like I've fucked this up somehow."  "Did you ignore a citation and not pay it, Natalie?"  "No!  Of course not!  I'm certain I never even saw it!"  "Exactly,"  he said, always the voice of reason. That's why they pay him the big bucks, I guess.

Long story short, C and I spent our afternoon at the courthouse paying the bond.  S was released some time around 7 tonight.  Poor fucking guy.

But wait.  It's not over yet.

S was scheduled to deliver a critical load tomorrow morning.  His wife put the smackdown on him running the load.  I've spent three hours tonight trying to find an alternative, because I get it.  If I were her, I wouldn't want my man leaving me in the wee hours of Good Friday a.m either.  And I wouldn't stand for him leaving out only a handful of hours after being arrested, needlessly, for a $192 citation incurred while operating under the employ of the company now asking me to give up a large chunk of my weekend.

Fuck.  I didn't have any options, though.  I called a dozen carriers; no one can help me.  I called S.  "If I offer an extra $100, can you make the trip?"  I'm not above bribery when in a desperate situation.  I don't want to get the man beat by his woman, but he's all I've got - he's got the hours available to make the trip.  Any other driver would have to spend the entire weekend three states away - on Easter weekend.

S agreed to take the load.  He'll still be home for Easter Sunday, and I've agreed to give him a short run on Monday.  And to leave an extra $100 in his box tomorrow night.  And I think I'm going to send his wife flowers tomorrow.  Bless her heart.

Work is so fucking dumb sometimes.  I'm grateful for my job, I am.  Days like this are few and far between, but holy FUCK they're hard.

And seriously.  We're in a fucking budget crises, and our county is expending - what? - $1500 to serve a warrant for a $192 DOT citation?!  When the entire issue could've been solved and paid and all said and done with a simple $0.44 letter saying "YO! Bitches!  Pay your fucking fine!!"  I would've put that shit in the mail the same day, I fucking promise you.

Ugh.  It makes me sick.  I only recently stopped feeling like I was going to vomit in response to this entire fucking situation, which has managed to drag on for 14 hours now.

S spent something like 18 hours in jail, so I'm going to shut the fuck up and stop bitching and drink the rest of my beer.

Sweet dreams, friends.  I sure hope your day was better than mine.  And S's.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gag me with a spoon.

That'll probably be your reaction to this post.  I apologize in advance, and I hope you didn't pay a lot for your last meal.  

On with the show...

"Together, they're an exceptional couple."

That's what Kimmie said about me and Jimi today, trying to explain the particular nuances of our (mine and Jimi's) relationship.  It gives me butterflies when I hear people say things like that about us.  I think our relationship is exceptional; it's cool that our friends can see it too.  Cause, you know, love is blind and all.

Kim says it's not that Jimi's exceptional, necessarily, but that together we make a great team.  I really believe that Jimi's exceptional and that our success is in thanks largely to the fact that he's the most patient, tolerant, understanding, and kindest man in the whole wide world.

The whole conversation got started because the married ladies in the office were having a "my husband sucks" session.  It happens, you know?  C peeked her head into my office and said, "I know why you're being so quiet in there, because you have a Jimi."

"It's funny you say that, actually," I replied.  I was glad she'd brought it up. "We had this very conversation last week.  I asked Jimi, 'Do you complain about me at work?'  He said 'No, why would I do that?'  So I said 'the women at work complain about what jackasses their husbands are sometimes, and I can't say anything, because in our house, I'm the one who does the jackass things their husbands are doing.  I can commiserate with the husbands.'"

"Exactly," says C.  "Jimi's just a hell of a guy and an exception to the rule."

"I agree," I agreed.  I really do agree.  It's the truth.

And that's when Kim gave me butterflies.

I said something not too long ago about how relationships have highs and lows; we climb pretty steady in this house.  If we were a line graph of business profits, our investors would be happy to see us.  If we were blog stats, you'd want to be the author of that blog.

Four and a half years after that night I made out with him for three and a half hours in the front seats of his truck in that nightclub parking garage - (how's that for a "how I met your mom" story?!) - four and a half years into this thing, this love, this life - oh, I'm just so happy.  I'm so thankful.  I feel so blessed, smiled upon, touched.  Once upon a time, I was a woman who cried her drunk ass to sleep every night thinking "Is this all there is?  Is this all I'll ever have?  Please say this isn't all of it."  Now I'm a woman who gets two birthday cakes and makes the same wish - "Please let this be my life forever.  Please let me have this much happiness every day for the rest of my life."  And it's not just Jimi that makes me feel that way, of course - I've got happiness in spades in just about every way.  But do you remember that movie Pleasantville?  The one that was black and white but then slowly things start to turn to color?  Jimi brought my world from black and white and gray to vibrant and full of life and beautiful.

And I don't know why I've got this urge to gush so much about that man o' mine.  I feel like I love him more every single day and that to not talk about it is doing him and myself a disservice.  It's like that pregnancy/TTC thing - you know how once it's in your head, it's all you can think about night and day, day and night?  That's how I've felt for the last few weeks about how much I love him.  I can't get enough.

And I promise I won't do this regularly.  But every now and then, you've got to expect it.  :)

Oh, and enter my giveaway.  Because, you know, well, just because.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love. I has it in spades.

Kim said:
"I heard you telling the boss the other day about how you didn't get a cake this year,
and didn't have any candles to blow out. 
I was in the other room and I thought
'Ah Ha!  I'll make her a cake!'" 

And she did. 
And it is delicious.
And beautiful.

And the sweetness of it (the cake and the gesture) is enough to make me cry.

I love you, Kimmie.

P.S.  Want to win some Shit From My House?  Go enter my giveaway.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Louisville Geographic - South End Style

Last night, Jimi told my parents about the bunnies that live in our 'hood.  We were standing on the porch at dusk one night last week, and suddenly, three little brown and white bunnies darted across our lawn, lined up one after the other, with about five feet between each of them.  They made it through our yard, across the street, into the neighbor's yard.  As they ran, the distance between them lengthened.  The first one darted out into the street, and into the far yard without trouble - he was quickly out of sight into another neighbor's back yard.  Bunny number 2 also made it, but bunny number 3 nearly bit the dust when he tried to brave it and cross in front of a car.  He turned back at the last minute.  "Oh no," I said to Jimi, "He lost his friends!"  And then I saw.  "No he didn't," Jimi replied, laughing and pointing, "Look - they're waiting for him."  They were.  The first one, who'd disappeared into the back yard, he was waiting at the far end of the driveway, looking back to see where his buddies had gone.  Bunny number 2 was waiting at the foot of the drive - I could almost hear him calling to his friend "C'mon, buddy!  It's clear now!  Let's go!"  Bunny number 3 hopped his way across, met up with first one friend then the other and they were gone.

Aww.  So sweet.

This morning, as I was checking my Facebook and getting ready for work, Finn started barking at the recessed light in the center of the ceiling here in our cozy little TV nook.  Jimi circled it with a string of LEDs last night - at first I thought the dog was voicing his displeasure at the new design.  Then I heard.  The raccoon is back.  And fucking huge, from the sound of him.  I could hear him walking on the other side of my ceiling.  20 years of scary movies flashed through my head as I slapped my flat palm against the drywall - I knew that bastard was going to come through the ceiling and eat my face any minute.  He didn't though.


This afternoon, when I got home from work, I decided Finn needed a walk.  I needed a walk too.  So we went for a walk.  It was uneventful, until we got home and I noticed Finn was spending a lot of time sniffing a smell over on the side of the house.

The raccoon killed one of the bunnies.  And left it at the base of my chimney before retiring to my attic for the evening.

Fuck.  Jimi just told me raccoons don't kill rabbits.  That raccoons are scavengers.  I know this.  Fuck.  So there's something else killing rabbits in my neighborhood and the raccoon is bringing his dinner home and eating part of it and then going to sleep?

I don't care what Jimi says, these incidences are related in my head, therefore they must be related in reality.  Right?

Or tell me what you think?  Lover's triangle between the rabbits gone awry?  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Okay, now that I've found 100 things...

Today, a week and a day after my 31st birthday, I'm finally getting my cake and ice cream.  I've requested my favorite, strawberry cake with fun-fetti icing and vanilla ice cream. (Very grown up, Momma says.)  For my 13th birthday, my Momma made me a strawberry cake and decorated it to look like a pink boom box.  My friend James made me a strawberry cake and decorated it with tiaras and princess castles last year.  Strawberry cake really is my favorite.

Momma asked me if I had any input on what I'd like for dinner.  The only thing I could come up with was grilled asparagus.

31 feels like a turning point, a crossroads.  Like I'm going through some sort of awkward phase, a growth spurt. Maybe I am.  Maybe I'll come out on the other side, 32 and a full-fledged adult.  One who does a load of laundry every night instead of letting it pile up for two and a half weeks and then only breaking down and sorting and washing because clean panties are nowhere to be found.  One who immediately does the dinner dishes when the meal is finished.  One who vacuums and dusts every Sunday.

I'm not saying it's likely, just that it COULD happen.  You know, miracles happen every day.

31 does feel weird, though.  Not old, I'd never dare use that word in relation to that number.  Wiser?  More aware?  More appreciative?  Something.

So far, though, aside from feeling a little odd, 31 is pretty cool.  I'm happy, healthy, loved.  I've got a job and a home and a car that just rolled over 70K miles Friday night.

That's pretty cool, actually.  My little Honda Civic, the one I bought all by myself with my very own credit in September of 2004, the one I didn't need my (ex)husband's income to qualify for, the one I drove from Nebraska to El Paso and then back home to good ol' Kentucky, has just rolled over 70,000 miles.  I can probably get 70,000 miles out of this car three more times before it shits the bed and has to be replaced.  Of all the decisions I've made in my life, buying that car was probably the most sound financial one.  (Well, as long as you don't take into consideration the fact that my OLD Civic was paid off and in good shape and had only 145,000 miles on it and probably could've been driven (for free) for another 150,000 without much more than basic preventative maintenance.  But whatever.)

I'm so glad the sun is out today - the weekend's been kind of a bust and the sun makes everything seem happier, doesn't it?  Yesterday was Thunder Over Louisville - a huge air show and fireworks display that kicks off the official Kentucky Derby Festival festivities.  Every year, my boss gets us tickets to the Bats (local AAA baseball team) game, and we hang out together all day and watch the game, watch the air show, watch the rednecks, watch the fireworks.  And drink beer and booze we smuggled in and eat fried foods and complain about the heat or the cold or the sun or the clouds.  Yesterday, though, the weather sucked.  It was cold and windy and drizzling and gray.  Everyone backed out, and then I did too.  I think the only tickets that were used belonged to C and her family - so 5 out of 20?  That sucks.  I'm going to have to offer to reimburse the company for the four I requested and didn't use.  Suck.

Did you know Haagen Dazs makes Sweet Chai Latte ice cream?  Holy shit, it's to die for.  Go get some now.  I'll wait.  Delicious, right?  I told you.  Haagen Dazs just has it like that, though.  They make everything delicious.  I'll never forget the night Kat and I got that banana split from their store in the Crystal City Mall in D.C. - cherry vanilla ice cream, a banana, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, nuts.  God, my mouth is watering just remembering it.  We drove around the Ft. Belvoir area for much longer than we should've, running in and out of Targets and Food Lions, darting to their frozen foods sections in search of that never-before-heard-of-but-now-must-have-it flavor - Cherry Vanilla.  No one carried it.  No one had it.  We gave up and hung our heads and stopped at the gas station to fill up her car and get some snacks.  Guess who had Haagen Dazs Cherry Vanilla ice cream?  That's right, the gas station did.  Grocery stores didn't, but the gas station did.  For years after that, I felt as if I had to buy 2 pints every time I found the flavor in stores - it was like a rare gem!  I'm kinda over it now, though.  Maybe it's guilt by association.  But this sweet chai latte is delish.

Jimi's going to take me to "breakfast" (it's noon already), and then we'll go find some fun until it's time to head to Momma & Daddy's for my birthday dinner.  It's kinda like "Natalie's 31st Birthday, take 2".  That's what I'm doing today.  What are your plans?  May I make some suggestions?  First, go enter my giveaway.  I'll mail you some shit from my house.  Fun, right?  Then, go join in on the Comment Love Day over at FTLOB.  Everyone loves comments.

Happy Sunday, Friends!

Want to win some Shit From My House?

I've posted the one hundred things I'm giving away in honor of the One Hundred (and Three?!) Awesome people who are following my blog.  I've put together 55 "prize packages", some big, some small - and I'm really hoping to mail them out to 55 different people, though I'm not above dividing every one of those 100+ things among three entrants.  

Tell your friends.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't mind me...

One Hundred Things?  WTF was I thinking?  It's a lot.  I'm up to like 37.  Lori?  Where's your shit, and how much will it cost to ship it?


Bare with me till Sunday, will ya?  Sunday is the day.  I need time, people.  One Hundred things is a lot.

We can talk about other stuff until then, right?  Like how I've gotten like 3 blog awards that I've yet to acknowledge beyond a lame "I know I got it and I'll do it in a minute, okay?" comments.  God, I suck. I'm sorry.  If it makes you feel any better, I owe my brother a letter or a dozen, also, and I've not done that yet, either.  I'm so far behind.  On everything.

I feel like I need a reset.  Like if I could just start fresh, updated and current, everything would be great.  But we don't have reset buttons.  I just have to make the time to make it all happen.

And then I read those words I wrote and I'm like, "Oh, Natalie, you're such a lazy bitch."  It's true.  My "busy" is like everyone else's "relaxing".  I'm just a princess.

So, I have no excuse for anything and I'm going to go work on that giveaway thing some more so you don't all end up thinking I'm a big fat asshole.  :)

And you're all still WAY awesome.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You people are so freakin' awesome.

All 100 of you!

That's right, folks, I've hit 100 followers/people who don't think I'm boring/awesome people/readers!

Giveaway details are coming.  I thought I had at least a week before I'd have to get my shit together (literally), but I only had a day and of course, I'm not prepared.  Color me surprised.

Jimi doesn't get the giveaway thing.  "You're going to send strangers 100 things that you find around the house?"  Yes.  "Do you know how much that's going to cost in postage?"  What's a few hundred bucks between friends? "Why would anyone want anything you find around the house?"  I have no idea, other than a deep conviction that if someone else was hosting this giveaway, I'd want to win something.  "You should call it Natalie's Absurd Found Household Item Giveaway."  It already has a name, Jimi.  It's called Shit From My House.  "Must you always cuss?"  Yes.

Stay tuned.  Good shit is coming.  And some really awful shit too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I have some things to tell you.

My computer is back!  Okay, it was barely gone.  I dropped it off after work today with Britney Robinson of Robinson Technology & Financial Management Services - within 30 minutes she called to say she'd restored all of my photos YAY!!!  In less than 3 hours, she called to say she'd cleared 5 viruses and restored all documents (including tax returns) and our machine was ready to be picked up.  It's running like new and the cost was much less than I would've expected - a third of what I paid to repair my ex-husband's machine when he made the same mistake years ago.

Do I have to say how good it feels to know my pictures are safe?  Or that I'm going to back those bitches up post haste?

Other things I want to talk to you about:

~  I've got this ridiculously bad habit of accidentally buying Christian Fiction books.  I don't pay much attention when I'm buying books, mostly because I don't spend a lot of money when I buy books and if you're only spending a quarter or fifty cents, how bad could it really be, you know?  Speaking sign language gorilla bad.  My five year old died and now I'm going to clone him except OH WAIT that opens the door for late-term abortions bad.  No, really.  Those are the story-lines for two of the books I picked up at that neighborhood yard sale last Spring - a REALLY Catholic neighborhood, turns out.  The Encyclopedia of the Saints I picked up should've tipped me off maybe.  Or the "Women of Faith in Fiction" badge on the cover that I barely glanced at before my purchase was complete.

I never know these books are Christian fiction until I'm like 10 pages in, and by then, I'm officially "Reading" the book.  I've got this rule, you see - once I start reading a book, I have to finish it.  That piece of shit called "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" or something like that?  Stephen King?  It's like 150 pages and it took me 10 months to finish it, but I read every page of that pile of poop.  So I start reading these books, and I have to finish them, even though it involves lots of eye rolling and soapbox preaching and loud exclaiming.  

~  I love Jimi so much.  I say it all the time, I know, but my God, I love that man like I love breathing air.  You know how when you're in a long term relationship that feeling of awe, that overwhelming ILOVEYOU feeling, it ebbs and flows, right?  It does with us too, sure, but we flow a lot more than we ebb.  And our highs are so much higher than our lows are low.  And he continues to amaze me every day with his ability and willingness to bend, to shift, to move with me, even when I'm unpredictable and nonsensical and crazy.  He's a lesson in patience, goodness, kindness, generosity.  Every moment I spend with him makes me a better person - he makes me want to do more, to be more.

~  I need to go see if I can play my Sims 3 game again - the restore fucked it all up and I'm hoping the magic fix fixed that too.  Fingers crossed!

~  There are two blogging award thingies hanging out there with my name on them that I've yet to acknowledge. I haven't not noticed - I've been busy, and I'm sorry.  Give me a few more days, ladies, please?

~  I'm really going to have a giveaway and give away shit from my house.  100 things.  No shit.  100.  Tell your friends.  No more details until I have 100 followers.  Yes, I'm trying to lure more people to my blog with the promise of mailing them things I don't want anymore.  You know you're going to enter.

I think that's a good place for an ending, eh?  Happy (almost) Tuesday!

Lunch with Friends


Ha!  That reminded me of Clerks.  (You know what scene I'm talking about, don't you?  Of course you do.)

I'm creeping up on 100 friends/readers/followers/awesome people.  That's pretty freakin' special, folks.  To me, it is.  You guys are so cool.  As soon as I hit a hundred, I'm totally going to do a giveaway of some sort.  But I'm not crafty or anything, so likely the "prizes" will be shit that I found around my house and stuck in a box to mail to you.  Cool, huh?  I know, you're hardly able to contain your excitement.

Until then, though, let's talk about lunch.  Food is one of my favorite things.  Eating makes me happy.  But I'm a picky eater, oh yes I am.  I'm very finicky and difficult, and one of the reasons I love Jimi so much is that he's managed to somehow memorize my very long list of dislikes and I'm-not-a-fan-of's and uses that information to (accurately, most of the time) help find new food and flavor combinations I'd never consider without him standing over me and saying "Try it Natalie.  I think you'll really like it.  Come on, just a bite.  Please?  For me?"  Who does that?  Well, Moms do that, but boyfriends typically don't.

I can turn any topic around to talk about how awesome Jimi is.  Have you noticed that?  I'm sorry - I'm sure it's annoying as hell.

Anyhow, back to the foods.

Since I was a small child, my favorite lunch in the whole entire world is this:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich  (these days its made on low sugar, low carb, whole grain whole wheat bread.  That, I assure you, was not the case back in the day.)
Kosher Dill Pickle (or three)
Chips (any variety will do, but good ol' regular potato chips or corn chips are really the best.  Today I'm having Veggie Straws - they're "eh")
A big glass of cold milk

Cookies or yogurt or carrots or some other sort of sweet something can be added, but the meal is complete with just those four main ingredients.

This is the lunch I'd come home to in the summertime, after spending my morning and afternoon swimming, swimming, swimming until my fingers and toes were all pruny and my freckles had turned dark brown and multiplied several times over, feeling that deep physical hunger that makes it feel like even your arms are hungry - the sort of hunger that comes after completely exhausting yourself.  Peanut Butter & Jelly is forever in my mind merged with pickles and milk and swimming and happy childhood thoughts.

And it's so freakin' easy.  It's the epitome of a perfect "I'm hungry and I'm lazy and what can I fix that isn't hard?" meal.

Kimmie says it's weird.  She says that peanut butter and pickles don't go together unless you're weird or pregnant.  I'm not pregnant, and I wasn't pregnant when I was 9 and decided this was the best lunch evar, better even than Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli with a side of buttered bread.  Weird?  Maybe.  But not because this is my favorite lunch.

I swear I can smell the chlorine by the time I'm halfway through my sandwich.

Peanut butter & jelly with a pickle on the side.  Not so weird, right?

What's your favorite lunch?  Has it always be the same, or did you like something as a kid that now you're all like "EWW!!! Gross!  I can't believe I ate that!!!"? (Mini ravioli and buttered bread, anyone?)


Edit to add:  I just, for the first time that I can remember in my whole life, coughed while taking a drink and the milk came out my nose.  You know that feeling when you're swimming and you get dunked without warning and you suck the water up your nose and it makes you feel like you're going to die?  Yeah, my visceral memory is now complete.

Edit #2:  And now my jeans are covered in pickle juice.  No, that's not a euphemism.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday blah blah blah

31 years before I attended a funeral ON my birthday.  That happens to most people at least once in a lifetime, right?  The shittiest part of life, I say.

Jimi, bless his heart.  He was willing to do anything for me yesterday. He's so fucking good to me.

I called my Momma yesterday morning.  She said, "Natalie, what are you doing?  It's before 8 o'clock and it's Saturday morning."  She, of course, was up - I refuse to believe that woman ever sleeps past 5 a.m., except for that one time when she slept till 9:30, but I'm pretty sure she called the Courier-Journal to announce that.  I called her to thank her for being such an awesome, wonderful Momma for the last 31 years.  "Yeah, some Mom I am, I haven't even bought you a card yet," she replied.  She's in Northern Kentucky with her Choral group, practicing.  Last night, she called me and her group sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  I felt so special and loved. Then she said she had to go because they had other birthday calls to make.  What?!  No one else can have my birthday Happy Birthdays!!!  (Daddy called me too, of course.  I didn't know when he'd be up, so I didn't call him first thing, but Momma called him after she got off the phone with me and told him I was up so he called me.)

We did family/funeral things until 2 or so, then had lunch at Toast on Market (Lemon Souffle pancakes with blueberry compote and vanilla custard for me), then caught up with our friends for the Ale Club meeting downtown, where Steve bought me a beer and the lovely Maria and I had discussions about religion and how much my strawberry shortcake martini smelled like the Strawberry Shortcake dolls we played with as children.  Stacy and Jessie came over late last night to hang out for a few hours, and I talked to my Aunt Pam for over an hour while I waited for them to arrive.

It wasn't the blowout badass party I had last year, but it was full of love, and that's all I need.

We're having Jimi's family over for dinner tonight.  Of course, that means cleaning in the meantime.  And laundry; our laundry situation is getting bad again.

I ordered a couple of photo collages from Snapfish using DC pics that I'd uploaded here - I had my fingers crossed that not having the original files wouldn't affect the print value too horribly.  They showed up yesterday, they look great, and I'm very excited - I can't wait to frame them and hang them on the walls.  I've got 5x7s and 8x10s coming too - oh boy!  Between birthday and funeral stuff I've not yet gotten the computer over to my friend to have it repaired and my photos re-found; today's the day for that too.

It's only 9:34 a.m.; I want a nap already.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I gave Jimi the camera.

We were on vacation.  Camera-happy.  He took lots of pictures of me.

Today's my 31st birthday.  It seemed like a good day to post a bunch of pictures of myself.

Even if I was 30 when they were taken.

Happy.  Lucky.  Loved.  Words that describe me, my life.


Friday, April 8, 2011

In the City.

April 3, 2011
Washington, D.C. Trip
Day 3

We drove the 60 miles to the Park 'N Ride again and caught the train Metro Center, 
where I intended to get coffee and souvenirs.  
I believe I've mentioned how my coffee quest ended; the souvenir shopping had a similar outcome.  
It wasn't anyone's fault; I was so distraught over coffee, I forgot to buy postcards.
And I thought we'd be back the next day.
All my friends are getting postcards and trinkets from Monticello 
(home of Thomas Jefferson, and en route from DC to Louisville)
instead of Washington, D.C.  
Let's not talk about it, okay?  
   So we walked to the Mall.

It was windy.

 Lots of people were flying kites.
If I lived there, I'd get the biggest, coolest kite and I'd fly it on the Mall all day long.
And then I'd ride my bike from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and back 10 times.
And then I'd catch the Metro and go home.

This is the only non-orchid picture I took at the Natural History Museum.
I love elephants.

 We walked over by the Washington Monument - I actually touched it for the first time.  Of all the times I've been to DC before, I'd never bothered to walk up to the Washington Monument and touch it.  

Jimi's brother headed for the Jefferson Memorial and the thick of the Cherry Blossom Festival, but we hung back and did some serious people watching.

Oh, the cherry blossoms were past their peak, said the professionals.

I think they were still beautiful.

Like cotton.

The reflecting pool was gone.  WTF?

 We ate dinner at the restaurant where the old man was making the fresh noodles in the window.  The noodles were very yummy.

 When we'd had our fill of sight-seeing, we took the Metro to Rosslyn and found a quiet spot along the Potomac.
It was covered in trash.  
Every piece of trash was an alcoholic beverage container of some sort.
Someone needs to organize an Operation Brightside cleanup.
This reminds me of blood vessels.  

I love this.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fuck you, Mr. Grim Reaper

My house is sad tonight.


Well, Steve stopped by earlier, and that was good and it was great to see our friend again.

But there was sad hanging all over the fucking place.

I left work late tonight; of course, because I've been gone for 5 days and there was lots of work, right?  Not really.  I was bullshitting with my boss because I had to pick Jimi up because his truck battery was dead and he didn't even get off work till 5:30 which meant it was pointless for me to leave the office before 20 after.

Right on cue, at 20 after, I was gathering my things and glanced at my phone.  I'd missed a call from Jimi's sister.  Hmm.  That's odd.

I called her back.  She  I fucking knew it.

It took me literally a minute to process the words she was saying - I was very confused.  "Laura Jo" "Husband" "died"  huh?

Eventually, I understood.  Jimi's cousin, Laura Jo, whose father hosts our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners every year, her husband, Rick, had a massive heart attack Tuesday.  There was an issue with finding contact information for Jimi's side of the family, everyone was only just notified today - everyone being Jimi's sister, then his younger brother, then me, and I was to tell Jimi.

I did.

Jimi's dealt with a lot of death and loss in his life - his whole family has.  I guess that's what you say about a family when the parents are both gone, victims of that bastard cancer and its horrible wrath.  I don't know that sort of loss - to me it seems insurmountable, the ultimate loss, unless you're talking the loss of a spouse or child, and both of those also seem insurmountable and unreal to me.  I'm kinda hoping they all always do appear that way in my view.  I'll be happy if me and mine could just work out a way to live forever.


Jimi's on the phone with his brother (younger brother, not the brother we visited this weekend).  There is sad hanging over my house and I can't fix it.

I want to hug it all better.  I can't fix this and it sucks.

And Laura Jo.  I can't put myself where she is.  I ache for her, and I will hold Jimi closer to me tonight.  Even if he has onion breath.

I hate this part.

Giving money to homeless people, Take Two.

April 1, 2011
Washington, D.C. Trip
Day 1, Part 3

We left the garden and walked along.  Things were starting to close. 
 Jimi loved this building.
His father was a bricklayer, a Mason.  His father would've loved this building.

It's beginning to LOOK like Spring.
It felt like cold.

I love these shots, and I'm going to blow them up and hang them on my walls.

 This picture, though.
This picture tells a story.

Okay, so I confess - since our Metro ride I'd felt like a jerk for not giving the homeless dude some money.  I know Jimi gave the guy five bucks, but I felt like I should've probably done something more than just limply say (cue high-pitched whiny voice) "I don't have any change" like a bitch.  It was weighing on my conscience. Heavy.

We'd walked back Mall-side and come upon this recessed sculpture garden.  On our way in, we passed the man you may have spotted in the upper right-hand corner of the picture up there.  Do you see him at the top of the stairs?

 Can you see him now?

He's the sort of guy that sticks out like a sore thumb, but manages to blend in so completely with the scenery that most walk right past him, not seeing or refusing to see, not looking but staring out of the corner of their eyes, giving a wide berth without slowing, lest he feel inclined to speak to them.  

He was eating out of a styrofoam to-go container, but I got the impression maybe he'd pulled it from the trash can that served as his dining table this evening.  He was wearing two different shoes, one a sneaker, one a man's dress loafer.  His clothes were filthy and layered and torn, but there were a lot of them and he seemed warm enough.  Warmer than I felt, at least.  He had at least two coats, the outer one a long trench.  

We walked past him and down the stairs as he was having his meal, and my heart clenched in my chest.  We looked at a statue, a sculpture that represented humanity, and the ridiculousness of THAT, in the face of HIM, it punched me in the face.  I turned and looked back up at the homeless man.  He was pulling newspaper out of the garbage, smoothing them, folding them, settling down again at his makeshift table to read his evening news.

I couldn't do this.

I hollered ahead at Jimi, who hadn't noticed my angst and had continued on, and I trotted up the stairs, a wad of bills clenched in my hand in my pocket.  

He was huddled over top of the paper, a pile of standing rags hiding skin so weathered and worn it blended right in with the fabric.  

"Excuse me," I nearly whispered.  Nothing.  No movement.  
A little louder "Excuse me?"  Again, nothing.  I cleared my throat and repeated my query.  More of the same.

This is dumb, I thought.  "Excuse me, sir."  I spoke clearly and firmly, but not unkindly.  The man startled, and his eyes met mine - he was ageless, with lines and scars that could've made him 35 or 300.  Immediately, before I spoke another word, before I'd made my intentions clear, he returned my tentative smile with a wide-mouthed gaping grin, spread from ear to ear, and those eyes that were still on mine lit up with a kind light.  I counted three teeth, each in a different stage of decay.  Still, his smile was so good, so sweet, so trusting.  

"If I'm not being too presumptuous," I said, pulling my hand out of my pocket to offer him the bills, "May I please offer you a few dollars toward your next meal?"  

He continued to smile at me, and as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a stranger to approach him with cash, he said, "Yes, you may.  Thank you," and met my hand for the exchange and the moment was over. 

I walked back down the stairs to meet Jimi, and by the time I'd turned back, the man was gone.  

I hope he had something made-to-order.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh, the Art you will see! SQUIRREL!!!

April 1, 2011
Washington, D.C Trip
Day 1, Part 2

We rode the Metro to the Smithsonian exit, which drops you out right in the middle of the Mall - Capitol on one end, Washington Monument on the other, Museums to the front and back.  Art galleries were on our agenda for this trip - we missed them last time in favor of Natural and American History.  The Freer Gallery had a large Asian Art exhibit on display, and it was close, so we went there first.  

I only took this picture for the elephants.

Obviously, there was a lot more, but I'm just learning how to use this here camera of mine in low-light settings, so a lot of the pics came out blurry and that makes me sad.  But hey, if you really wanted to see this stuff, you'd go and see it for yourself, right?  It's not like you're relying on my words and images alone to know that there's good art to be seen in Washington, D.C.  You didn't come here for picture or art anyhow, did you?  

Oh, but wait.  There are more pictures.  I'll get to those in a minute.  

 So we left the Freer Gallery, and just off to the side was an entrance to a park, in behind the Smithsonian Institution castle-like building.  (I think maybe it used to be the Natural History Museum?  Or something.  Now it serves as the Information Center but I'm certain it was an actual museum at some point.)  Anyhow, the  garden.  (Here come the pictures!)

Next time, I'm taking my tent and camping under the cherry tree.  

We had lunch at a concession stand on the Mall - $6.55 for a dried out "all beef" hot dog, but they served beer and that sorta made it okay.  

And I fed a squirrel by hand:
 (That's him, taking a chip out of my hand.)

I swear, I didn't see the sign until we were gathering our trash.
(Well, I saw it, but I didn't read it.  Oops.)

And now I'm concerned my new little friend may have had a belly ache that night or some homicidal shits and it's all my fault.  

And I hope I don't go to jail for posting on the internet about how I broke a Federal law, cause that would sure suck.  


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