May 31, 2005

I know you've got questions

And the answers are:
1. Yes, I'm still very much enjoying my time off.
2. No, I just haven't really felt that much like blogging for some reason.
3. 18.
4. Purple, of course.
5. I leave for Las Vegas with April in just over two days.
6. Yes, she's going to have to bribe me to go to the Barry Manilow store at the Las Vegas Hilton.
7. Always bet black.
8. Right now I am petsitting two lovely dogs for a little mad money to blow while there.
9. No, on bingo and nickel slots.
10. The picture over there won't be changing while I'm away, so if you have any requests, please let me know!

May 27, 2005

Guest Posting

I've got a guest post up over here today, for your reading enjoyment, so I hope you'll stop by. That's me, GWF-4.

Have a great weekend!

May 24, 2005

Episode 247: Return of the Ping

That's right, kiddos, I'm back. They seemed like the shortest two and a half weeks ever, but I went, I saw, I photographed, and I made it back in one piece. I can't exactly say I'm glad to be home because it was fantastic and I wasn't really ready to return, but that's the way it goes, I guess.

I can't even tell you how much catching up I have to do: family, friends, mail, e-mail, blogs, TV on TiVo, laundry, you name it. The upside is that I still have another 5 1/2 weeks left off from work in which to do it! Woo-hoo! (I can see those dirty looks you're giving the screen right now, you know...)

Until I get back into the swing of things I don't know how frequent updates here will be, but if you peer over there to the right -- or, at least, that's where it should be if your browser is set up like mine -- you'll see a rotating gallery of some of the over one thousand pictures I took on my trip. It says "du jour" but I make no promises.

Many thanks to all of you who left comments over the last few weeks. Internet connection turned out to be more elusive than I expected, which I'll probably explain at some point. As a matter of fact, I never managed to connect once with my own laptop and if it weren't for The Best Brother in the Whole Wide World, I wouldn't have managed to post or read at all while I was gone.

Even with the ability to do it, though, I don't know how much more I would have logged on -- it just wasn't a priority while I was out there. The fact that any of you are still coming by tells me that I had my priorities in order, though. Sometimes it really is best to stoppo and smell the pine trees.

May 15, 2005

Greetings from Yellowstone!

At long last, I've got more than five minutes of Internet access! I am having such a great time and I have seen so much wildlife that I could spend a whole post just going on about that. (And, at some point, I will, along with pictures.) It's kind of like a mini-safari; animals and birds everywhere you look.

I hope to have some more time soon to do a more lengthy and hopefully interesting post to share with you. I hope things are going well in your individual worlds and that you'll come by again soon.

May 06, 2005

Free at last, free at last!

I'm still having a hard time believing it, but it is finally here. Today was my last day at work for two full months, paid time off. After seven long years, I get my reward for hanging in there.

Of course, the last day was crazy and busy and long, so it made it kind of hard to appreciate it while I was still banging it out.

All day long, people kept asking me if I was excited and of course the answer was "yes," but the real answer was "yes...but I've got so many things on my mind that I can't even focus on it enough to be truly excited...yet." But who wants to hear all that? No one, really.

Thank you to all of me who have sent your well wishes and congratulations -- even though I think that, like Norman, you really want to call me names for being so lucky.

So, here's the skinny. Tomorrow I leave for a two and a half week trip, the highlight of which is a week-long stay in Yellowstone or, as it is more popularly known around my house, Jellystone Park.

At this point I do plan on taking the laptop with me, though whether or not I'll be able to connect anywhere may be another thing entirely. So, assuming I can, I do plan to blog from time to time while I'm away. But if there are gaps, or if I don't poke my nose over in your blog for a little while, that's why.

Since there are a couple of things I'm probably going to miss, let me cover some of them here right now: Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all the mothers out there -- you're all much appreciated, but my mom is the Best Mom in the Whole Wide World (how else do you think I got the Best Brother in the Whole Wide World?); I hope that your horse wins in the Derby; Please enjoy the season finales of Amazing Race and Survivor -- may your favorite player(s) win their million dollars; and Happy Victoria Day to my Canadian friends. (If someone could tell me what that is, exactly, that would be swell.)

Okay, so I'm out of here. I hope you'll stop by and let me know how the rest of my little blog world is getting along without me even if I can't post as often as normal, or just to say hi once in a while. When I get back, I'm sure there'll be pictures and stories galore!

May 04, 2005

How am I?

It's raining. No, it's pouring. No, no, I've got it, it's teeming out there. I like rain, really I do, but it can stop any time now. I'm feeling a bit soggy, thanks for asking.

May 03, 2005

"She's doing way better with my mouth shut."

Doesn't it seem like we were just talking about the start of this race, and here it is, the penultimate episode already? Time can actually fly while you're waiting for your sabbatical to start! (Yes, I'm sure that some of you are either: a) tired of hearing about my stupid sabbatical already; or b) don't know what I'm talking about anyway. But that's just tough, because it's my time off and I'll beat it into the ground if I want to!)

So, tonight's episode found us back in Istanbul, waiting to see which of the remaining four teams was going to get Philiminated. To acclimate the teams to once again hearing their native tongue before returning home for the finale, they found themselves heading off to London. But first they had a cultural encounter of the Turkish kind by going to the train station to find a room full of dervishes. In a truly Bolo-worthy moment, Rob managed to mispronounce that, not once but twice, while reading the clue and of course had no idea what it was. It was an eerie but interesting spectacle, though the racers had no contact with the dancers whatsoever and just edged around them to get to the clue box.

We then had the usual airport hijinks, where although Joychenna and Gretchedith got to the airport first, they settled for the first direct flight they found and didn't look for any connections that would get them in to London earlier. RA/RK were having none of that, however, after coming in at the end of the pack the previous leg. RA were very proactive and started researching alternatives immediately, booking something through Frankfurt, then going to the ticketing booth for the direct flight and booking that flight as well, playing it off as though that was the flight they were on. (Does anyone else wonder what kind of arrangement the show has with all these airlines in order to make that work without costing them a fortune?) RK, on the other hand, more or less stumbled onto the connection option and they both managed to get an hour and a half lead on the other two teams, much to Rob's consternation.

Eventually, all the teams were on their way to merry olde England, where the teams started off by having to find the famous crosswalk on Abbey Road from the Beatles album cover, though not a single team took so much as a moment to appreciate where they were. Heathens! Then it was more or less a subway-a-thon for the rest of the race. RA found a local (and cute) guy to help direct them through the maze that is the London Underground, and this was a real boon to them because he stayed with them for quite a while playing guide.

The Detour, found from on high in a giant Ferris wheel, was a choice between Brains and Brawn, with RA/RK taking Brains and having to solve riddles and take the subway to various places connected with Sherlock Holmes, and the other two tackling Brawn and hauling boats around then stacking them up. This was a real physical challenge for Gretchedith and they lost a lot of time.

Then it was on to the Millenium Dome (did anyone else think that the London Tourist Bureau gave the show some sort of discount for them to hit these less-popular tourist attractions instead of places like the Tower of London or Big Ben and the like?) where both the Roadblock and a Yield awaited. Not surprisingly, RA were determined to get there first because they knew RK would Yield them if they didn't, and they had a pretty good lead after their guide expertly navigated the subway for them, so they were able to yield RK instead. That stopped Kelly in her makeup-less tracks and she spent much of the time doodling horns and the like on RA's picture. Thankfully for RA, they finished the Roadblock and got out of there to finish first before RK even showed up. I'll bet there were some cold looks at the Pit Stop that night, though.

The Roadblock required one racer to drive a double-decker bus through a course without so much as touching any of the cones or they had to start all over. Easier said than done and, except for Rob (believe it or not), all those doing the driving were flipping out with frustration. But even with the Yield, RK had enough of a lead over the others that they were a solid second place.

It was down to Joyce's and Meredith's driving skills then and, as much as many of us have enjoyed watching Gretchedith bumble along this far, I was glad to see Joyce pull it off...once Uchenna stopped trying to "help" her from the sidelines, as illustrated by today's title, that is. In a complete flip-flop of the previous leg's result, they came in third and Meredith and Gretchen brought up the rear and were eliminated from the Race.

Next week is, of course, the big two-hour finale. (After which the person who has been dying to tell me who wins because he knows can stop feeling tortured.) However, I do not know for sure whether I will have Internet access at that point because I'll be on the road. I'm just hoping I get to watch it that night as one of the places I'm staying doesn't have a TV. (Yikes.) So if there is no final recap here next Tuesday night, please, no spoilers in the comments! Believe me, once I've seen it and can post, I'll be here to talk about it.

May 02, 2005

Am I there yet?

Let's clarify and clear up a few things here:

1. There are not, repeat not, 310 grams of fat in a Krispy Kreme doughnut. For crying out loud, that's more than ten times the grams of fat in a Big Mac! There are, on average, a little more than 15 grams of fat per doughnut. (I did actual math in order to figure that out. Please appreciate it.) Now calories, yes, those are in the hundreds. But even I might abstain from the delightful KKs if they were that bad for you.

2. With apologies, Patty is a he, not a she. I've fixed that in the post below. I didn't read your blog closely enough -- sorry about that. And congratulations on your recent nuptuals.

3. I had a really, really crappy day, for reasons that I am not going to go into here. But, trust me, it sucked and it left me feeling as though I'd been kicked in the metaphorical nuts and hung out to dry. Therefore, I'm not really in the mood to come up with much else to say at the moment. I will say, though, that my upcoming time off could not be more welcome for many, many reasons.