Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Week Of Nothing

I am sorry.  I feel like I'm being boring with nothing to write about.  My days this past week have been spent:
1. Trying to get over my cough
2. Getting ready to go to Scottsdale on Friday for my big business meeting
3. Recovering from the Yoga Class From Hell, which almost made me cry while I was doing it, and now my muscles are just crying.
4. Watching the Republican Debates from Arizona

The cough is, for all intents and purposes, gone.  I have stopped coughing in the night (as has L) and I thing the bug is gone.  L still doesn't feel 100% and will go back to the doctor tomorrow.  He is on his 2nd round of inhalers, so I'm a little worried about him.  I'm always the first one to get better - I have my dad to thank for a semi-healthy immune system.  Semi because, while I have an auto-immune disease (RA) I still don't really get any other sicknesses or viruses very often.  And if I do, they're over with quickly.  Weird, huh?  Conversely, L never has anything that requires major medical intervention, but he gets cold after cold that always turn into sinus infections and then (lately) asthma.  So I feel like he's the sicky and I'm healthy one most of the time - although our health insurance company would probably disagree.

I hate getting ready for a trip - especially if I'm going by myself.  I stress, and fuss, and worry about what to wear.  I usually end up getting a new outfit to calm my nerves.  This time, though, I realized that my stomach is going to be a little bit tubby no matter what I wear, so I saved myself the dollars and the aggravation of shopping, and am taking what I already have.  I'm growing up, friends.  I no longer need new clothes to bolster my self confidence, I guess.  Because I'm smart, I'm capable, and darn it - people like me.  (I hope)  This trip is a meeting for Cardiology Fellows at the W Hotel in Scottsdale.  I'm hoping I'll be largely behind the scenes as it's not my forte to talk to awkward young doctors.  They won't really speak my language, and I know I don't speak theirs - which is cardiology in all of its forms, so we'd just end up shuffling our feet and looking at the ground a lot.   It's not so bad if there are spouses that come - someone who isn't involved in medicine - but that won't be the case this weekend.  At least it's only a couple of days, arriving Friday morning, and then I'm outta there and home by 6:30 Saturday night.  I am being trained on what it takes to put on one of these meetings, and they're letting me make my debut at a small one, thankfully!

Yoga Class From Hell: I should have known to go easier on myself Tuesday.  I hadn't been to a class in several days (due to the aforementioned cold) and the Tuesday class is the most challenging one all week.  And it killed me.  I was sweating bullets, and we were twisted into pretzel shapes that my back and neck muscles are still complaining about.  But everyone else in the class was doing it and I can't stand to be the one person who can't.  But I should have known better.  I haven't slept well in 2 nights because my neck is so sore.  Surely this will let up soon?  GAH!

Republican Debates in Arizona - this was the best debate yet!  I was getting excited and encouraged by what most of them were saying. Mittens did pretty well, I think, Gingrich was in his usual great debating form, Santorum (who still seems a little arrogant to me) even got in some fairly inspirational statements.  Even Ron Paul seemed a little saner than usual.  And it was the first time I got a good feeling that, come what may, I could absolutely back whichever one of them wins the primary.  It was all good, but admittedly, I'm no pundit, and I'm probably easily pleased.  But none of them terrified me, I'll put it that way.  I was pleased that Mitt (we fondly call him Mittens at our house) made some good points on the economy and sounded like he knew exactly what to do.

And that has been my week.  No ball of fire there, my friends.  I've tried to gather funny stories or interesting data, but nothing came to mind.  It's been a week of Nothing Special.  I hope I'll have a funny thing or two to tell you once I come back from my wild weekend at the W Hotel.  Couldn't be any more boring than my life right now.  And conversely, while I'm spending my wild days drinking juice and rubbing Icy Hot on my neck, my daughter and granddaughters are sunning themselves in Puerto Rico for a week.  A whole week on white sand next to blue, blue water.  Jealous is what I am.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pondering the Scrub

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?  One of the most time consuming things I have to do is blow dry my hair after I wash it.  So I make sure I don't wash it every single day.  I time the washings carefully so that they never occur, say, on Sunday morning.  I'd NEVER make it to 9am church if I had to wash and blow dry my hair.  Part of it is that I have a lot of hair to blow dry, and its partly because I've never mastered the art of the blow dry.  It do it once, and it's still a little pouffy and frizzy, with  layered ends that stick out, signaling "OOh here - here I am.  WOOT!  Look at me!"  To get all of that under control I either have to a) use a curling iron b) use a flat iron or c) ignore it.  But it doesn't look very good ignored.  It takes a few hours for it to settle down and behave, so if I have somewhere to go it's really easier to brandish a flat iron and force it into submission.  It's a tedious process.  Too much attention and it goes too flat.  Too little, and its still a little too bushy and willful, like a sassy child.
But I've learned to live with it, and make the best of the hair type I've been given. (For the record, I would have loved heavy straight hair, or hair that is curly and wild.)  It's like my creator couldn't decide.  I've got hair with lots of body and wave, but curls don't really stay in and it tends to be frizzy.  I can flat iron it to be straight, but it isn't that heavy glossy kind of straight hair.  Mine is more like hundreds of excited little exclamation points that like to fly all around rather than falling neatly and heavily into place.

But that's ok - I've long since made peace with it.  And rather than fight it and try to have it do something it would rather not do, we've come to an understanding.  I get it mostly straight, or somewhat curly, using a lightweight styling product that we can all agree on.  It's light enough that it doesn't make my hair feel dirty, but it carries enough heft to do the job.  And then I let it go.  I don't get upset when waves creep into straightened hair.  I don't despair when ringlets fade into waves.  It is what it is.  It's saved me countless hours of restyling and frustration.  It's allowed me the freedom to stop looking in every mirror I pass, and to stop fussing with it.  It's a fait accompli.
Strangely enough, I'm liking it.  Even on the most humid, breezy beach day, with salt air whipping through it, I kind of like those sticky waves that are produced.  I like that fact that, unlike 14 year old me, I don't need to have a brush with me every minute of the day.  After yoga, I can just let it down from the makeshift bun.  Jumbled up hair can actually look good.

Now what started this whole thought process was this little cartoon that a Facebook friend had on his page.  It got me thinking about what is the most time consuming thing for me when getting ready.  I used to think it was my hair.  I've pared it down, and refined the routine.  Then I thought maybe my makeup was taking up too much time.  That, too, is almost nonexistent these days.  So I've come to the conclusion that this cartoon was meant for me.  Because this is EXACTLY what I do in the shower.  I ponder.  I wonder.  I do yoga stretches.  I worry.  I think some more.  Deep, deep thoughts.  Sometimes I plan menus or, at holiday time, think about gifts I need to buy.  And then - oh yeah.  I lather up, maybe shave, and then get out.  The actual purpose of being in the shower (the scrub a dub) takes me maybe 5 minutes of the 30 minutes I'm languishing.  It made me laugh so much it was hard to stop.  I used to think that I was the only one who thought deep thoughts for a half an hour while showering.  But this little cartoon has made me realize that I'm not the only one.  So c'mon - stop pretending like you don't do it too. (Except nurses.  For some reason, nurses seem to take really fast showers.  I guess they are correctly focused on saving lives?)  But the rest of you?   *eyebrow cocked*  We're all guilty of trying to figure it all out in 25 minutes worth of hot water.  And then when we're fully awake, we realize it's an impossible dream and we lather up and move on to what's for breakfast.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All The Single Ladies

Ladies (and gentlemen, if you're so inclined) - I have such a good recipe to share with you!  I made it for L on Valentine's Day - ok, I made it for me too - and it's so easy and so good I have to be generous with it.  I'm a giver like that.  To give credit where credit is due, I got it out of Sunset Magazine, who got it from the "Joy the Baker Cookbook."
It's called "Single Girl Melty Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake."  Are you hooked yet?  I doubled the recipe to make both L and me one, but the beauty of this is that you can whip one up anytime you're in the mood for a wicked little dessert for just little old you.  A special prize for working hard.  The perfect accompaniment for your favorite TV show.  And if you happen to make an extra one to share?  Well, oohh lala - that lucky friend will call your name blessed forever more.  Here's all you need:

1/2 tsp plus 1T unsalted butter (for the record, I NEVER use unsalted butter.  It doesn't matter here, either)
About 1tsp unsweetened cocoa (or you can use flour or sugar)
1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips (heck - milk chocolate is good too!)
1 large egg
4 tsp sugar
1T natural peanut butter (better that it doesn't have added sugar in it)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set a baking sheet on rack in center of oven.  Grease a 3/4 cup ramekin (an oven proof mug will do if you don't have a ramekin) with 1/2 tsp butter, then dust with unsweetened cocoa.  Set aside.

2. Put 1 T butter and the chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl set over a small pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring, until chocolate melts; let cool a few minutes.

3. Whisk egg, sugar, and peanut butter in a small bowl to blend.  Whisk in chocolate mixture until well incorporated, then stir in salt and flour just until combined.  Pour batter into ramekin.  Set on baking sheet and bake until as done as you like, 7-10 minutes for a molten center (a 3/4 inch ring around the edge will look dull), or 10-12 minutes for a soft center (cake edge will puff slightly).

4. Let cake cool 2 minutes.  Protecting hands, invert onto a plate.  Eat right away. (I will not have to tell you this twice)

So, so delicious...  Now, if you're allergic to nuts, or just don't like peanut butter, I was thinking that a tablespoon of carmel topping might work just as well.  Or maybe even raspberry jam.  I'm not sure what marshmallow creme would do - it might explode.  The point is that you can - and should - experiment with this and come up with your own variations.  But as is, it's such a naughty little treat - so chocolate-y and satisfying.  Especially on...you know... those days.  And it makes just enough for one, so no need to feel guilty because you've continued on and eaten the whole layer cake, or the entire pie.  (Yes, *shaking head sadly*  I've been there... )  It's a perfect trifecta of easy, quick (think instant gratification) and chocolate.  And if you go for the peanut butter in it, may I suggest you use chunky style - the texture of the nuts is heavenly.  To make it pretty, I dusted the whole inverted loveliness with some confectioner's sugar, but it certainly doesn't need it.

So go - melt, whisk, bake, enjoy.  You are so welcome.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  Unfortunately, I am a little bit sick today: coughy and scratchy throat (thank you L!)  I am not as sick as he was, though, so it diluted itself somewhere in the exchange.  Still, my energy is not what it was when I was planning my Valentine's Day extravaganza, so we'll just do what we can do.

Last year I'd purchased some Valentine labels printed on business card size cardstock that say things like  I <3 U, Better Than Chocolate, or (for some international romance) je t'adore.  There was even one that said I Love You in Morse Code.  I always wake up at some point in the middle of the night, and so I took that opportunity to take some of those cards and plaster them all over the place: on L's bathroom mirror, on his bedside lamp, on his man-purse (yes, that's right: his man-purse.  Do not snicker - it's awesome) and even on his car.  Then I left his 1st Valentine's card by his computer.  (Another to follow at dinner tonight) He was very surprised when he woke up, and he left all of them tacked up wherever they were.  It was kind of a fun, high-school-throwback thing to do.  Made me giggle when I got back in bed after being all over the cold house and out in the garage.  (And I wonder why I'm sick...)

Tonight I have a really nice dinner planned.  IF I can muster up the energy.  Right now I'm just struggling with taking a shower.  (ooooh... how romantic...)  I really don't feel that bad physically - I'm just really tired.  NO evergy at all.  I'm going back and forth between this computer and my work one, getting my work done in between having fun here.  It's a slippery slope.  The dinner plans include: 

Stuffed Mushrooms
Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi 
(four cheese pasta...mmmmmm....)
Grilled Steak
Chocolate Peanut Butter individual molten cakes  
(chocolate and peanut butter being one of L's favorite combinations)

None of it is difficult, but the pasta and steak must be perfectly timed to be finished at the same time.  So, I will probably wait until L is home from work to start cooking those - just have it all shredded and ready to go beforehand.  Gah - I'm tired just thinking about it.  Maybe a nap will help.  (Aaand it's only 10:30am.  I'm doomed.)  NO - I WILL get this done.  It's always better once I stop thinking about it and just start doing it.

L finally went to the doctor yesterday and, as usual, he came home with a couple of inhalers.  The last couple of years it seems his colds always turn into a little bit of asthma.  So maybe my little cough is not so bad - I just like attention and sympathy.  A lot.  Too much.

L also gave me a Valentine card with an iTunes gift card inside.  YAY - there's always more music I want.  With the one he gave me at Christmas I bought Adele's "21" CD/album - whatever you call digital music.  I highly recommend it.  Some of the songs bring back the exquisite heartbreak of a breakup, but it hurts so good.
I also got Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" CD.  Now I can see some of you rolling your eyes and smirking, but I have to tell you that there is not a better bunch of music to get you in a good mood and moving.  Plus, I can't get enough of that song "Edge of Glory."  I watched her Thanksgiving special "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving"  (STOP with the eye rolling...) and she explained her inspiration for that song.  Her grandparents had been married for 50+ years, and her grandmother lay in the hospital dying.    Listen to the lyrics again.  They take on a whole new meaning, and it gives me chills every time I listen to it.  Plus, it makes me draw the shades and bust out my best dance moves.  Yeeaah... try to put that image out of your mind.  Sorry.  But I love that song.

So what to do with this iTunes card?  Chris Isaak has a new CD out of him doing remakes of some oldies: Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, etc.  It's tempting.  I've gotten nostalgic about a few John Denver songs.  And then there's my little list I keep in "Notes" on my iPhone.  That includes The Shins (several selections), Iggy Pop (The Passenger), Eddy Vedder (Society & Rise), Wailin'Jennys (Things That You Know), Shivaree (Goodnight Moon), Band of Horses (On My Way Back Home), The Levelers (Four Winds), Nik Kershaw (Wounded), Timbuk 3 (The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades), Agnes Obel (Down By The Riverside), Guster (The Captain), and Loudon Wainright III (The Swimming Song).  An eclectic mix for sure.  I always have a hard time deciding and end up spending way too much time listening to this and that.  I know this is a red-hot topic with you all, so I'll keep you apprised.

In the meantime, have a lovely, wonderful Valentine's Day.  Be good to those you love, and most of all, be good to yourselves.  Crank up some music (I suggest Lady Gaga *wink*) and hold your own little dance contest.  Good for the soul, good for the waistline (I'm still trying to find mine).  Then later, romance your true love, send love to a friend or family member, or just romance yourself with a wonderful evening filled with the things you love and enjoy.  Recharge your batteries by showing some love to yourself, to a special someone, to many special someones.  I would love to hear about the wonderful things you all did.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Meh Kind of Weekend

Yeah... it was that kind of weekend.  I don't really know why, either - unless it was because L was sick all weekend, and we were kind of housebound.  He had a fever, and needed a lot of aspirin, and I'm just not heartless enough to flee the premises when someone is sick.  I know how much I hate being alone when I'm not feeling well.  

I'd wanted to go shopping, but when it came right down to it, I just knew that nothing would look good. So I saved money instead, that's what I did.  We did make one quick trip out on Saturday night.  We ran to Home Goods and bought some new sheets.  Our old ones had sickness and coughing on them, and I don't think washing them was going to improve them (they were getting old...) so, fortified by Advil and Excedrin, L and I ventured out and bought a new set.  I love Home Goods.  And our new set is so fluffy and cushy.  Cheered me right up.
But that's it.  No extra fun was had by us this weekend.  And now the Grammys are on and I'm going to go watch and feel all sad about Whitney Houston.  I just loved her back in the 80's.  So bouncy and pretty, and what a voice!  How do you get from that to where she ended up?  Bad choices.  Lots of them, I imagine, and that's sad.
On a brighter note, L's Valentine's gift purchased from the Young Women at church has arrived.  A box of See's will lift the somber mood a bit.  And L will be right there to keep me from eating the whole box.  He's helpful like that.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weekend in Seattle

The girl's weekend was a success!  It wasn't successful in terms of activities done, or sights seen (although there was plenty of that) - it was more in the quiet moments and talks from the heart, and listening with your whole spirit.  First of all, I have to be perfectly honest in saying that I still haven't seen the true face of Seattle.  It was gloriously sunny with piercing blue skies the entire time I was there.  Not a rain cloud to be seen.  And I hear that today it's raining again.  So I was lucky, or perhaps I brought the luck - who knows? All I know is that you couldn't find a thing to complain about weather-wise.
Our first night, we stayed in Seattle.  Marion had made reservations at Ivar's, and we dined looking out at the water and a beautiful sunset.  I had salmon, which was perfect.   We talked in that excited, disjointed way we do when we haven't seen one another in awhile, and we're trying to remember all of the things we wanted to tell each other.  After dinner, we got lost trying to get back to the hotel, but we are modern women, and we called upon the almighty iPhone's GPS to guide us safely to our overnight haven.
Safely back in our room for the night (we are such party animals...) we checked out each other's makeup, and skin and hair care.  We are girls, after all.  We bemoaned wrinkles, and rosacea.  Getting old is not so much for us, but we haven't found a way around it yet.  Finally, we were gabbed out and we fell into deliciously soft beds and pillows, and I'm quite sure we both snored.
SATURDAY: Up early - no sleeping in!  The weekend will be gone before we know it.  We ate breakfast at the hotel, and packed up, ready for a day in the city.  First stop: Queen Anne's Hill.  Beautiful homes, gorgeous expansive views of the sound, and cute shops.  How would it be to have a view like this every day?  They're a little far away in the picture, but look at those mountains in the distance!  Breathtaking...

Or how about this view?  Seriously - I could get used to this.

We walked around the neighborhoods, and wound up at a little neighborhood park.  I loved the juxtaposition of these two houses.  One so modern, and the other so traditional and Leave It To Beaver.
And I even caught a little plane streaking across the blue, blue sky.

Right in front of the traditional house, there was a little botanical garden.  Most things were just beginning to wake up in the nice weather that weekend.  I don't know what this tree was, but it was promising some beautiful blooms later on in the spring.
We walked until my feet hurt, (which, sadly, doesn't take all that long) and then we went along the main street that had the cutest little shops.  We stopped last at a cupcake shop and got ourselves a little treat for later that night.  Oddly enough, we are both lemon freaks - lemon over chocolate! - and chose lemon cupcakes that had lemon frosting good enough to eat with a spoon.
On to another park that overlooked the Seattle skyline:
I don't know if you can see it very well, but to the right of the skyline you can just make out Mount Rainier.  It was high noon by this time and it wasn't showing up well in photographs.  Late afternoon is the time to catch it - the setting sun shines on it, and it's a wonder to behold.
On to Pike's Marketplace.  I love this place - so much to take in, so many things to look at and, perchance, to buy.  Today being the amazing blue sky sunny day it was, all of Seattle was out en masse. You could hardly move through the marketplace.  We ended up going across the street to a French bistro and ordering a bread and cheese plate.  And juice - orange for me, grapefruit for Marion.  It was just the thing to revive us.  We talked and talked, and then we trekked off around the corner to Sur le Table.  We shopped the gadgets and kitchen lovelies before walking across the street to the marketplace once again. We bought some crab to take home for dinner, and I had to get 2 cakes of some incredible lavender soap from one of the vendors.
By now, my dogs were whining and barking, and it was time for me to stop walking.  We headed back to the car and headed for home in Lacey.  All the way home I couldn't get enough of the beautiful Washington scenery.  So many trees!  Big ones!  And at last we turned into her driveway, and I saw her huge pine tree in the front yard.  I think she could sell that thing to Rockefeller Center next Christmas.  It's ENORMOUS, and her house is so tiny next to it.  I hadn't seen her house for almost 3 years now, and she has done some beautiful things to it.  New tile throughout the living areas and kitchen, and a new huge flat screen in the living room (!!!!!)  She says her house is too small, but I think it is cute and cozy.  And the shower never runs out of hot water.  Her cat greeted us at the door, and I was able to get to know Mia the Cat.  I am going to send Mia the Girl a picture of Mia the Cat.  And vice versa.  Because they have the same name and they are just about the same color - don't you think?
Mia the Cat
Mia the Girl

After unloading our bags and shopping loot, we set to work making a delicious crab salad.  It was so good, and it was a treat to be in my good friend's home.  We talked and talked some more.  Suffice to say Marion has had a tough year, and I am in awe of the grace with which she carries on.  She talked and I listened.  I talked and she listened.  It was a symphony of two good friends catching up and licking our wounds, encouraging each other forward, and laughing at our silliness.  Two girls who are completely sympatico. Except in politics.  We agreed to disagree there, and avoided that particular hotbed.  Instead, I shared my views of Why We Are Here and Where We Go From Here.  Marion lost someone dear to her recently, and her heart is lonely and in pain.  I hope what I had to say helped.  I love her and wanted to give her something hopeful to think about and consider.  After awhile, I realized that I am allergic to Mia the Cat.  Itchy, itchy eyes and much sneezing.  I took some allergy tablets and we went to bed.
Sunday.  Superbowl Sunday! We had some breakfast, made ourselves beautiful, (I can dream, can't I?) and took ourselves into Olympia.  We did a little shop wandering - there is no end to the interesting nooks and crannies of Olympia.  We stopped at the market and got some vegetables, and various items to make our dinner with.  We stopped at a bakery and got a baguette.  At home we sauteed zuchinni, butternut squash cubes, and mushrooms with butter, garlic and olive oil.  We glazed it all with a balsamic  reduction sauce, and splashed in a little white wine (taking care to cook out the alcohol!) and served the whole mess over pasta.  Bread slices and a wedge of Brie as an appetizer.  We dined like the royalty we are.  We watched Super Bowl commercials, and Madonna's half time show.  (I liked it, didn't you?)  We talked and ate and talked until we were tired.  Tired, but heart healthy from sharing views and opinions with each other.  So satisfying.
Monday.  Time to pack up and head home.  Marion had saved a big treat for the last.  As we made our way back to Seattle, we made a pit stop in Tacoma.  There is a courthouse there that used to be a train station and it houses some amazing blown glass art in it's huge lobby.  I think the artist is the same one who did the blown glass in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.  The courthouse is next to the Museum of Glass.  Sadly, we didn't have time to go to that.  Next time.  But we wandered all through the historical train station that is now a courthouse.  This is what we saw there:
An amazingly intricate piece hung from the center cupola

The cupola with the center hanging artwork, and against the far window, "sticks" of blown glass

Against the back window overlooking the bay, was this blown glass field of poppies
The entire window as a sort of silhouette

Overlooking another side of the lobby was this blown glass "dream catcher..."
...with Marion posing in front of it.  Unwillingly, I might add...

And finally, against the remaining side, a "basket weave" of painted papers.  Gorgeous!

This is coming to an end very soon, I promise.  But I did say I would have pictures, and I aim to share them!  Now, the last thing before leaving Tacoma was to go outside the courthouse to the Bridge of Glass.  This is a structure flanked on each side by a tower of turquoise blown glass nuggets.

And then, as you walk across the bridge, there are shelves encased in glass that have fantastic blown glass vases on two tiers of shelves.  I wish I could have one of these:

As you are passing by these beautiful works of art on the side, you can still look up and be rewarded by even more fanciful shapes and colors of glass encased in the ceiling of the bridge.  The whole thing was absolutely incredible.  Here are just a few sections:

I could spend hours looking at this.  It was like being under the sea.  It was one of the most beautiful works of art I've ever seen.  Too bad - it was time to go to the airport.  We walked to the car, and even though I'd missed L and home, I knew I was going to miss this time with Marion.  I need to be a better friend - a more attentive friend.  We are both getting older, and I don't want to miss out on any more of her life.  As we'd talked over the weekend, I realized how much of her life I'd missed while I was busy raising kids and figuring out my own crazy life.  I don't want that to happen anymore.  I want to be more involved.  Closer.  More available.  We need to be a part of the remaining events in both of our lives.  That's the good thing that comes from weekend epiphanies with dear friends: the desire to improve and be better.  The certainty that we are capable of great things.  The knowledge that we must cheer each other on and encourage those great things to become realities.  We have been given a great gift in the responsibility of our friendship, and I intend to make it grow and blossom.  Because by caring, loving, and nourishing, we both become stronger and better.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Bag Is (almost) Packed

Washing done.  check

Work day done.  check

Camera set aside.  check

All 3 pairs of glasses gathered.  And extra pair of contact lenses.  check

Mini travel size products gathered.  check

Both pairs of sunglasses.  (I know - for Seattle this makes no sense, but I love them both and couldn't decide)  double check

Clothes strewn everywhere, waiting for the selection process.  And it is a process...

Boarding pass printed.  check

Bag out & open, waiting to be packed.  check

It takes me an entire evening to gather my belongings and put them in the suitcase - often pushing and grunting to close it because I usually pack too much.  I would hate to get anywhere and find that the very thing I opted not to bring to save space was the most essential item I could have brought.  I know - it's a little neurotic.  But it's how roll when I leave home: I just take most of it with me.  As luck would have it, most of my journeys are just long weekends, so it hasn't been much of an issue.  Heaven help me if I ever go on a lengthy vacation...  I think it's because I've always gotten a little bit homesick - even if I'm having fun.  Even when I was a kid just spending the night at a friend's house.  So bringing things = bringing home with me.  And then I can rest my crazy little head.
Of course, visiting Marion is pretty much like going home to everything familiar in my life.  There are no secrets, and we pretty much go right back to being giggly girls again.  Of course, we are much more awesome today than we were at 11- I've learned to cook (Marion already knew how), and now we know STUFF - all kinds of stuff - but in our hearts we are the same two girls we were back in the day.  I can't guarantee we'll dance in the living room to the Doors' "Light My Fire (long version)", but it's going to be a great few days, and it even looks as though the sun will be out, making me feel welcome.

Have a great weekend everyone.  See you next week!

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