Sunday, October 31, 2004

Picture Sunday

So it all hit me this morning around 11:30, when I was crunching over the fallen leaves in Mr M's yard, trying to decide if I was nursing the world's worst hangover or in fact still dog-ass drunk, and walking back from my vehicle carrying 2 beer steins, a clarinet case, a backpack full of stuff, a "Warning: Clarinets" sign, and a pair of lederhosen.

Oktoberfest is over. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

We'd left all the stuff in my car because frankly neither of us were in any shape to be walking last night. Mine was voluntary - a major display of public drunkenness. Mr M's was not - a particularly wicked case of gout.

The odd thing is, I'm not nearly as sad about it all being over as I thought I was going to be. I don't know if it's because the two shows this weekend were so, well, so just plain fuckin' weird (it's not explainable, so I won't try), or if I'm losing my sentimentality, or if it's just simply something I need to leave behind for now. I know one thing I did need to leave behind for now, and I did. In a symbolic gesture of sobriety, I left my remaining Goldschlager on the mountain. I'm going teetotaler for a good while. (And in a stunning move, I ditched my clove cigarettes today as well.)

Now, if you'll bear with me through one more set of Oktoberfest related photos for Picture Sunday, I'll be forever in your debt. And I'll thank you by having something different for you for the whole next year to come.

The first picture is of Jude. For those of you who read my "It was hot, and I got drunk" blog of a year or so ago, you probably know Jude as "Jude the Corruptor." This is because I gave him that name, for his special talent of getting other people incredibly drunk while not doing so himself. Friday night Jude had a face-to-face, or rather a nose-to-nose, with Mr P. Was he trying to corrupt him? One does not know.

OK, now here's where things get fun. Remember a couple of weeks ago I told you I was working on a little art project, and that if it worked out I'd tell yall about it? Well, it did, I think, and so now I am. But it needs a little background.

Every night at Oktoberfest we do (with the help of some poor schmoe in the audience) The Schnitzelbank. This is some sort of really dumb German sing-along game about The Schnitzelbank, which is a cutting board. You sing about the schnitzelbank (and get to sing what has to be one of the most bizarre lines of songdom, "Oh, the beauty on the wall, yes, it is the schnitzelbank"), and repeat over and over lines like "here and there," "curvy and straight," "wagon wheel," well, it goes on forever and makes no sense at all to anyone. Here's The Schnitzelbank as it appears on the poster and in your little wordbooks at Mt Lake:

OK, that explained, there'd been talk amongst the Sauerkrauters that we needed our own Schnitzelbank, a Schnitzelbank we could all identify with. Well, it just so happens that we have a Schnitzelbank of sorts in the form of EddieT's Jagerbench. See, EddieT is the keeper of the Jagermeister (he's the Jager Master), the shotglasses we give to audience participants (and ourselves), and ice, bottles, etc. And he carries a little fold-up bench with him to spread his wares (so to speak) out on. The Jager Bench.

And so I took it upon myself to make The Jagerbench. And when we say, "Oh, the beauty on the wall, yes, it is the Jagerbench, we mean it!"

The rhymes are, of course, pertaining to the band. And as an added bonus, that's Mr M getting blasted by the trumpets.

And our last picture of Oktoberfest - yes, last night, after all was said and done and the tearing apart of the equipment began, who was sitting there all alone? Yep, our little Jagerbench in earnest.

Wow. What a six weeks.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for - no, not the end. The recipe du jour! I give you Saucy Barbecued Spare Ribs:

Now, other than the fact that this looks a lot like chicken, I really don't have a gripe with this dish at all. I just have a little hump at the fact that 1) these people obviously bought the Easy Bake Oven version of a grill, and 2) They're grilling their damn food in a forest of pine trees! I wonder how many times this family has caught their yard on fire? It has to be at least a couple, because if you look over to the side there (by the watermelon no one thought to put on a plate), you'll see they have plastic plates instead of paper ones. The paper ones all burned up.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Wonder who owns the Who's catalog of songs and how hard up they are. Not only do we hear their music as the themes for those CSI shows, but you can't flip the remote these days without hearing a Who song used on a commercial.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I Knew I Liked You, I Just Didn't Know I Liked You That Much

Life is just a little too hectic for me nowadays.

This is the last weekend of Oktoberfest, which is hard to believe. It all went so fast this year. And I'm really going to miss it. I doubt yall will, either miss me talking about it or miss it taking up Picture Sunday every week.

Tomorrow night will be graced by my sister, brother-in-law, and Mr Taytie. Then Saturday night, the last night, will be a whirlwind of liquor-fueled sightreading (Ed always calls audibles from the playbook the last night), serious partying - and then tearing down the whole setup, the wires, speakers, lights, everything. Then it'll be down the mountain one last time. And yes, I'll have a designated driver.

I had to go get shorn tonight after work, same style only shorter, and came home with a new leave-in conditioner. It's really nice that my hair isn't falling out as much anymore, but its texture is something akin to a Brillo Pad heated up in a cast iron skillet. I used to worry about the fact that after running my fingers through my hair I had a handful of hair. Now I worry because my fingers get stuck in there and I can't get them out.

Then I went by the folks' for dinner (and a little Hokie football watching), since they're leaving for Florida on the weekend.

Then it was back here and CD burning. Seems I've become DTFP's (from Sauerkraut Band) musical heroine, because I saw the Smiths live back in the 80s. Turns out I promised her I'd make her some Smiths/Morrissey CDs, which I found out a week later, seeing as how we were both extremely drunk when the first conversation took place. She remembered it, though, and so I'm working on stuff.

Funny thing is, today when I went and unearthed the Smiths stuff I have on CD, I knew I also had a Morrissey solo CD as well. Well, imagine my surprise - in my "old CDs I don't really listen to" drawer I found not one, not two, not three, but six Morrissey solo CDs. Six! Just count 'em, I know you won't. There are Morrisseys I didn't know I had. There are Morrisseys I'd never listened to. There were Morrisseys I didn't know existed!

I'm awash in Morrissey CDs!

So I've finished the first, and have everything lined up for the second.

Then tomorrow it's work, well, work after I go by the bank and clear up the fact that my house payment, which I sent in 10 days ago, never got to the bank, and I'm going to have to stop payment on that check and write them another one lest I be late on my payment. That sucks mightily, not so much that the Post Office can't get a bill from their office to the bank, which has a PO Box less than 2 miles away, but that I'm going to have to pay to stop payment on a check at the bank where my loan is anyway. Geez, shouldn't they give me a little break?

Then it's getting ready for tomorrow night during lunch, getting packed, clothes ready, horn ready, S & P ready - well, you know the drill.

However - I'm happy to announce that next week...I'm on vacation! I'm not going anywhere, but I don't care. I just know I'm not going to work.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Things have been so hectic, in fact, that I forgot to put up the Olympic Update last night.
* Did I mention that I do in fact have six Morrissey CDs?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Wind Has Blown

So anyway. On the first of this month, I came into a windfall of sorts. $400, all in eight crisp $50 bills. This happens, well, very rarely, but on occasion. It's always a more than welcome occurrence.

I put the $400 away in a separate part of my wallet. Not that I wasn't going to spend it. I just wanted it segregated from my "everyday money."

I almost immediately spent about $75 of it on a spree at Target, getting some stuff for the house, a really nice lamp for the Mantrap, a little stand with drawers for my convenience at Oktoberfest, a dvd of "Farenheit 911," and a few other knicks and knacks. I mean, if a girl has a windfall, she should at least buy a couple of things for herself with it, right?

A few days later I made a WallyWorld run. This was not fun stuff for myself, but staples, like contact lens solution, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc etc ad nauseum. I'm sure the amount of that little foray was somewhere around $60. It's a long-running joke in Betland. I never get out of the Wal-Mart for less than $60. I could go in for the express purpose of buying a pencil, but somewhere between the pencil aisle and the way out the door, they're going to find a way to charge me at least $60.

And finally, somewhere in all that was at least one dinner for me and Mr M. Let's call that $20 to be on the safe side. And after all that was spent as "mad money," I stopped.

So let's see, $75, and $60, and $20. That left me roughly $245. Which I earmarked all of for one thing and one thing only: gas.

I don't think it's any big secret how much I hate buying gas. I hate gasoline. I hate it, and I even live in a section of the world with some of the lower prices on the stuff. But it just seems like I'm on the damn road all the time. Driving 65 miles, back and forth, back and forth, up the mountain and down, I could do it in my sleep.

And so I have to buy gas. All the time. I usually put it on the gas credit cards and pay it all off on the first of the month, but when your bill gets to be $110, $130, $150 a month, well, it gets a little - a little, infuriating, I guess I'd call it. It's like, I know the bill is right, I know I've used that much gas - I mean, I see the entries right down there on the bottom of the bill - but just thinking about the cost that builds up makes me write so hard I tend to poke a hole in the check as I'm dotting the i in "Elizabeth."

Add to that the fact that Oktoberfest is this month - double the driving. So I really needed some gas relief, and I don't mean Tums.

I guess the Spending of the Gas Money would have started around October 4. It's now October 27. I have exactly $20 of the original $245 left. And - I'll have to have gas to fill me up to get to B'burg for band tonight, and get me home, and back up and down the mountain two more times, then back home. That's probably around $30, if not more.

$245 on nothing but gas in less than one month!

I'm hoping I'll get over the stomach-grinding hatred of oil companies when I get my two gas card bills this month and they both say "$0.00 due." But I doubt it.

I'm going electric. Anyone know Ed Begley, Jr's phone number?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Hello, hello, hello. The time has drawn nigh and I'm donning my black robe as we speak. I don't do the powdered wig thing though. It's not me.

Our topic for Acrochallenge this week was "Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?" The letters were H A S D S E. The entries:

*He ate some diuretic swill. Emergency!
*Hen appeared. She danced. She ensnared.
*He's apparently seed-deposited someone's eggs.
*He ate some dank Swiss “endive.”
*Hardly alone, Salmonella desired sudden exclusivity.
*Hallucinating and salivating, drugged Salmonella escaped.
*Had Ants. Silly Dancing Seen. Egads!
*He Answered Sales Demonstration. Silly Edgar.
*Harry Asked. Sam Didn't Saunter, Either.
*Heard a second ditch succored everyone.
*Had a sexy dude, seductiveky enticing.
*Heeded asphalt-splattered duck, sought eternity.

It's a sparse turnout. I found that out only after I got all excited to see a whopping 13 comments in my comments section, only to find that someone entered acro nine times. I won't mention any names, but we all know who I'm talking about, don't we, Kellie?

Well, since she was so keen to play, Kellie gets an Honorable Mention with her "Harry asked. Sam didn't saunter, either." That's a very film noir answer to "why did the chicken cross the road."

Flipsy's chicky, however, was less fortunate. "He ate some dank Swiss "endive." Isn't all Swiss endive dank? Anyway, it gets an Honorable Mention.

Our runner-up this week is LilyG, who got right to the heart (well, of sorts) of the matter with her reason: "He ate some diuretic swill. Emergency!"

And leave it to the our winner this week, DeepFatFriar, to have a spiritual answer for us - "Heeded asphalt-splattered duck, sought eternity." I never knew it was for a higher cause.

Thanks to all who played. And played, and played, and played, and played.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Did you know I have a fake Prada bag? I do.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Hello, world, it's Monday and time for another hasn't-this-phenomenon-died-yet-she-keeps-saying-she's-killing-it-but-it-never-goes-away round of Acromania.

I am the judge this week. I almost called a "free round," meaning no topic, then I thought of a topic. And after you hear it, you'll be wishing I called the free round, because it's a really dumb topic. This week's topic is "Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road." Sure, it's the oldest joke in the world. And my personal answer is "To see his friend Gregory Peck." But unless we're ultra lucky, I doubt all those letters will come up in order.

Rules are the same, everyone gets three tries to come up with the best acronym they can that fits the topic and matches the letters below, which I do believe last week I forgot to say are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. Then around 9pm tomorrow night est, I'll be judging. Praising the winners, damning the losers. And all will fear me yet again.

So this week's topic is "Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road." The letters are:


Now everyone start acroing.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, today must be the day. Seeing absolutely nothing beforehand, starting today I've seen three, count 'em, three, Christmas commercials. Exactly 2 months before the day. Disgusting.

(A Tardy) Picture Sunday

Well! Ahoy there, mateys, I'm a little late. Sunday night Sauerkraut Band gig. It was an interesting one, to say the least. A little Oktoberfest celebration at a hotel in the town of B'burg. A very small (but appreciative) crowd, a rather sedate band, and possibly the worst conglomeration of "German" (more like Germanoid) food I've ever put onto a plate at one time.

And, might I add, a Sauerkraut Band moment so wonderful and rare it will surely go down in the annals of band history. During Seth's euphonium solo piece he hit a note that - get ready for it - broke a glass candleholder at the table in front of him. It was an honest to God Memorex play! I've never seen it before, and may never again.

Had a great day yesterday - spent it at the Virginia State Band Competition watching Taytie and his bandmates march. About six hours there on the concrete bleachers, the damp concrete bleachers, but I loved every minute of it, terminal band geek that I am. And I'm proud to say that the band earned a Superior rating (which is the highest they give). They were only one of five bands on the day to do so. So go, Taytie and friends.

So of course, let's begin Picture Sunday with a picture of them in action:

Their show was music from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean." And if you'll look up there on the bleachers you'll see sitting their rival band. They're sitting there trying to stare our guys down, but the joke was on them because they only got an Excellent rating. (Yes, I know that last remark was childish, but this is the band whose drummers told my very own nephew that his drumline "sucked" when he went over to say hello to them in a gesture of goodwill a few weeks back. So there.)

So, anyway, you know, a couple of weeks ago I got my wall hanging I was telling you about. Well, it didn't work and I replaced it (I think I told you that, if you were paying attention). I replaced it with a wreath I'd bought some weeks ago but didn't really want to use. But use it I did, and here it is:

Now, see the sad thing about this is that I took this picture with a flash. However, in real life my door doesn't have a flash, so from the road you can't even see the damn wreath because my door's too dark. Looks kinda nice in the picture though. Maybe I should have the picture blown up and stick that on my door.

Also from the "things you should have learned from me had you been paying attention." Boots! Boots! Ah, yes, the boots I bought at the QVC Bigass Shoe Sale For Charity several years ago (probably about five), and wouldn't wear because for some reason I thought they were too green, too loud, and not me. See these boots? These are nice boots! These are a mother's angel! What could I possibly have had against these boots?

I like my old new boots.

And now, for this week's installment of the recipe du jour. I'm not quite sure what to say about it except, "Here it is, hope you have Maalox," the ever-popular Curried Shrimp:

Wow, just take a look at that. If you dare. We have us some shrimp, and rice, just covered to the nth degree with some Godawful yellow stuff. Now, I kept looking on the back of the card for cauliflower as an ingredient, because I was sure that was a head of cauliflower in the middle of all that. But since it's not listed, I guess maybe that's just a really big pile of shrimp screaming for its life underneath all that sauce. Then for good measure sitting around us are some nuts, limes, brown junk, bananas (because nothing makes me think of Indian food like bananas), and a bowl of meal worms. Oh, sorry. This says it's toasted coconut. According to the Recipe People, we're supposed to have this culinary delight along with some tomato and onion salad, and topped off with some Chocolate Chiffon cake for dessert, if we dare. Go on - dare!


Betland's Olympic Update:
* There's something very disconcerting to me about driving in the fog, especially at night. It's the not being able to see what's coming up next. Even when I drive a road I know by heart, like the road to B'burg and back, it's like I'm driving it for the first time.
* Note to self: two jumbo cups of coffee at 10pm on an empty stomach isn't necessarily a good idea. I feel like I'm going to be up till next Wednesday.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Always Trust In The Beauty Shop

You know, I'm a big fan of "The Andy Griffith Show." And one of the main reasons, well, one of the main reasons is because it's funny. It's just funny, and people say funny things in a way that real people would say them in conversation.

But the other main reason I was thinking of is that the show is set in a small town in the south. Just like I'm set in a small town in the south. And no show ever has captured more about small-town living like Andy.

There's a great episode that happens very early on called "Those Gossipin' Women." It's about how the much-maligned gossipin' women of Mayberry play a little prank on the men and catch them their share of gossip too, thank you very much.

The episode begins with Barney cutting his finger while cleaning his gun. It draws blood, so he puts some mercurochrome on it. and a little bandage. Within five minutes of this being passed around the women of Mayberry, Barney is dead, and the undertaker comes to ask Andy where to pick up Barney's body.

Yesterday, we heard that the band director of TaytieMac's high school band was in the hospital. We didn't know what was going on, that's all we heard. Last night, my sister got the scoop from TM: Mr Director got something in his eye, a doctor couldn't remove it, and so he had to go to the emergency room.

This morning my mom walked into my office and said, "Did you hear about Mr Director? He's had a stroke."

And we at TheCompanyIWorkFor fell about the room laughing.

We'd heard that this news had come directly from the beauty shop, and therefore must be true.

"Oh, my Lord. It's Mayberry," we said, wiping our eyes.

About noon, Mr Director's mother came into our office. She told us that Mr Director had apparently had a stroke. Or a mini-stroke, at some time in the past. The symptom was the eye problem, he was having trouble focusing.

Mr Director is the same age as TM's dad; in fact, they graduated together. He's a little, skinny guy. A healthy guy. He's not stroke material.

He's still in the hospital, and will probably miss the big State Band Competition on Saturday (where I'll be instead of Oktoberfest). And I'm worried. About him, about myself, about everybody in my age range.

Anyway, I guess those gossipin' women sometimes know their stuff. I'm sure Barney Fife didn't actually die, though.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Thinking about my shoe-fiasco last night, I remembered the last pair of shoes I bought on the QVC Bigass Shoe Sale For Charity. It was about five years ago. A pair of boots by Bass. I liked them because they were green, and something I'd never normally buy for myself. When they came, I liked them, but they were too green, too loud, and too not me. I was, for want of a better word, afraid to wear them, for some reason. So I put them away. I decided I had to go find them and unearth them and wear them, just for a change. So I found them during my lunch hour - they still had the paper in the toes. Oddly enough, though, they're not all that green and they're not all that loud. So I took the paper out of those toes and wore them the second half of the work day.
* I hope everyone's gone to CNN to view Fidel Castro breaking his kneecap. There's something in that fall that makes me want to crack a joke about the Domino Theory.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Catching Up

Thank you friends, for your concern. I am feeling better today, moreso now than during the workday, but I went into work nonetheless. I blew off band tonight because I didn't feel like traveling again, knowing I'll be doing a lot of traveling this weekend.

Instead, I spent most of the evening watching the big QVC shoe sale - that was disappointing. I mean, I know it's for a great cause, and I should be happy for every pair of shoes they sell, but I couldn't dial their friggin' number before the shoe I wanted sold out!

And so I ended up empty-handed. Or empty-footed, as the case may be.

One thing I've really been needing - and wanting - to do is some major catching up. All this being gone, going up the mountain, going to Mr M's, going for pedicures, going for haircuts, going to band practice, going to concerts.... Well, if you have a blog and you've noticed a distinct lack of comments from me in it, it's simply because I never get to read you anymore!

I've just been really behind in things. First of all, our dear Jellybean has reinstated her blog, in the form of a 'zine of her creative writing. It's now linked over there on my Blogroll. And though I've had her on my Blogroll, I don't know if I ever made the announcement that Flipsycab has also revived her once-dead blog (and her latest entry, about the use of "gay" as an adjective, is something we all need to read). Michelle, Ms Dishy, has changed her website address, and I finally updated that link on my Blogroll. (She now has her own domain name - - oooh!) And finally, a site I pop into now and then and get tremendous laughs out of, 5ives, has now been added to the Blogroll.

And to LilyG and Bitterspice, I'm finally gonna catch up on your work. Between tonight and tomorrow night, I surely am.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I've actually been working on something artistic. If it all comes together, I might show you.
* Wanna hear something embarrassing? I seem to have gotten hooked on the British version of "The Weakest Link." Yeah, I know. I hate Anne Robinson too, but the game itself fascinates me. I like the mechanics of it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Acro (*cough cough*) Winners!

Helloooooo. Well, what an interesting 24 hours I've just suffered through. I saw my fever go from 98.7 to 101.8 in less than two hours, then stay there all night. I couldn't swallow, I couldn't sleep. Sick, sick, sick. This morning I made a perfectly innocent and honest call to my mom to bring me some Tylenol since I had none, and she took it upon herself to come over and "take care of me," which entailed ensconcing herself in my house, watching soap operas, and washing my clothes, even though I pleaded with her to please not do so because 1) the noise was making my head explode and 2) now I'll have to search all over creation when I want to wear something. (I guess I should explain that I'm very anal about my laundry, what's washed with what, and what goes where once its done.)

Anyway, once the soap operas began, I harbored myself away in the bedroom and got some really quality sleeping done. I think that helped me more than anything else.

So, let's get right to the acrothingie.

This week's topic was "Ode To Mowing Boy." And boy, did we get some good odes. I laughed, I cried, my life was changed. The letters were N I E T A Q F. The entries:

*Navy, I entreat thee, a quiet front.
*Niftily I embeautied turf, and quite fast.
*Navy! I eschew those Army queer fucks!
*Now I escape these ants. Quite fun!
*Naval inseams evoke tight asses -- quelle frisson!
*Now is Elizabeth's terminal appointment. Quite forlorn. :-(
*Newly itinerant, ever tireless, a quiet fighter.
*Never in ever trimming again quaint flowers.
*Navy is enlisted, to avoid queer friends.
*No imbicile, even tallented - alas, queasy farewell
*No innocent, Elizabeth taunted adolescent, quick farmboy.
*Never Ignored Elizabeth. Tight Ass. Quite fabulous.
*Neat in every trim. Always quietly faithful.
*Never, I expounded, truer athlete. Quick feet.
*Naval instructions engage; time allows quick fallow.
*Now I end trimming and quietly follow.
*Nimble in edging, trees ache, quiet fellow.
*Newly inducted ensign to abdicate quelling fescues.
*Neat, ideal edges; Toro; A quirky father.
*Never inadvertently, Elizabeth's towel always quickly fell.

Wow. Now there are some awesome odes. Let's get right to the winners.

Two Honorable Mentions this week: a very true one, DeepFatFriar's "Navy, I entreat thee, a quiet front." Amen to that. And a very untrue one, Mike's "Never inadvertently, Elizabeth's towel always quickly fell." No way. It was always inadvertently, and there was always a goodly amount of time before the falling.

This week's runner-up goes to Flipsy with "Now I end trimming and quietly follow." You know, that's way sadder and sadder the more I think about it.

And this week's winner I feel encapsulated all to me that is Mowing Boy. Dear, sweet, brave, stalwart, valiant Mowing Boy. The winner is Kellie, with "Neat in every trim. Always quietly faithful." That he was. That he was.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go weep and take my temperature.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You know, I must have been sick last night because I found myself at some point watching the football game. I hate pro football, and last night's game pretty much summed up why. Fucking instant replay. Instant replay is for losers and crybabies. It's like getting a call then suing your way out of it. I'm so glad the game-ending instant replay wasn't overturned. Nyah.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Hey dudes. And dudettes. There wasn't going to be an acro tonight because your Humble Moderator is not feeling well. I think the traveling and the weather is getting the better of me and I'm achy and have a cold, sore throat, and slight fever. And pneumonia. And appendicitis and the plague. But for you, I'll soldier on.

The life-changing event that caused me to go on with acro was a tremendous happening at my house last night. Last night, for the last time ever, the Poderosa was graced by - yes, Mowing Boy. Brave, valiant, stalwart Mowing Boy, my rock for the past three years, has mowed his last mow.

When I pulled into the driveway last night I knew he'd been there; my leaf-covered yard was closely and neatly clipped. Later in the evening he came by to collect and say goodbye. Well, probably to collect, but he said goodbye in the process. I guess you all knew that Mowing Boy is getting ready to go off and join the Navy, where he can sail the seven seas. Yes, the Navy, where he can put his mind at ease.

I grew all misty standing there saying goodbye. I could suddenly hear Andy Williams singing "The Shadow of Your Smile," and things blurred. I saw my first lunging towards a then-tiny Mowing Boy when he came to my house to ask if he could mow for me. I saw him then learn to bring his dad along on occasion. I saw him finding Mr Snake, and enduring my coming to the door to pay him wrapped in a towel. I saw him killing nasty hornets' nests for me. I saw the many times he mistakenly forgot to ring my doorbell when the door was already open, opening the screen instead and heading right in, only to be frought with embarrassment when he'd realized what he did.

Goodbye, Mowing Boy. I'll miss you terribly.

This week's acro will be "Ode To Mowing Boy."

Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best Mowing Boy ode they can. I'll be judging around 9pm est tomorrow night.

And now, "Ode to Mowing Boy," starring the following letters:


Let the oding begin.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I now have a new door hanging. Not the one I bought in B'burg last week, it didn't look good on the door. I might put it on the inside of the door though, because I think it's much better suited for the inside. The new outside one is something I ordered a while back and didn't like. I still don't know if I like it, but I'm officially giving up. So there.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Picture Sunday

It was a very very short weekend. I don't think it actually lasted two days. Nah, it can't have.

Oktoberfest Friday, all was fun - but cold - and I drank when I shouldn't have (I had to drive back to Mr M's).

Saturday was interesting. During the afternoon the Community Band gathered at the studios of the NPR station in R'noke for a live gig during their pledge drive. Yeah, go ahead and make that joke you're thinking of. Believe me, we all have too. Anyway, we got there, over 40 of us, crammed into their tiny studio, did some warming up, then started on our set of around 8 songs. After three, they told us, "Thank you." They said we were too loud for their mics and they were getting distorton.

Now, a few things spring to mind. First of all, they put all of us in that room, trumpets and trombones and drums, and didn't think we might be a tad loud? And if we were in fact too loud, wouldn't they have noticed it during our warm up? Of course, they would have. Also, a couple of people who had nearest and dearest listening at home said there didn't seem to be any distortion.

So the inevitable rumor started to float that the local personality who was the announcer for our part of the pledge drive didn't really cotton to us too well, and we got the cane. Have no idea whether or not it was true, but I can't say it would surprise me if it were. In a way, I'd kind of feel like a part of history in some weird way. I've been kicked off the air.

Then it was up the mountain one more night for the Oktoberfest, the one night of Oktoberfest feared by musicians far and wide. There's always one night where the stars align in a very screwy fashion and we have, instead of our usual four, seven trumpet players. Last night was it.

After dreading it all week, it turned out to be - well, not very bad at all. In fact, I had a pretty damn good time. I think they were working extra hard not to be as obnoxious as trumpets generally are, and the crowd was great (it was packed). Last night's festivities bring us our first picture for Picture Sunday. It's called "I'm Doing My Impersonation Of A Box Of Chicken In A Biskit Crackers."

And before you even ask, yes I was. Very. OK?

Our second picture comes from later that evening when I decided to model my new gray hat. It's called "I Want YOU To Join Me In This New Gray Hat."

And before you ask, yes I was. Even moreso than when I was in the chicken hat.

(By the way, I have realized they aren't going to run out of liquor before I get my fill, and next week will be going completely sober for an entire weekend.)

And now to a little nature. I've been waiting for the trees to explode with color all along the roads from here to B'burg. As of yet, not much exploding. Seems all the best color is right here in my little neighborhood. So I snapped this picture a mere 100 yards or so from the Poderosa. Pretty, no? It's called "No. 1: The Larch. The Larch."

Actually I couldn't tell you what kind of a tree this is. I just like saying "The Larch."

And now it's time for this week's recipe du jour. And it is with great pride and pleasure and more than a little confusion that I present to you - A Bowl of Stuff!

Sadly enough, the "With Helpful Guides" cards don't tell you anything about the foods they've pictured. They just give you, well, helpful guides. Like measurements. So here's a perfectly generic picture of a bowl of stuff. Could be cabbage, carrots, onions, meat. And a salad with what appears to be wallpaper paste on top, and a lovely bowl of yellow stuff I've yet to decipher. And may I just say, some damn fine canned biscuits there in the corner.

It's very odd. I actually want to taste that bowl of stuff. Just to see.

Betland's Olympic Update:
*May I take this opportunity to just say that cancer still sucks and we still need to kick its ass? I came home tonight only to read that Stennie's beloved kitty Rimsey passed away on Friday from this shitheel of a disease. Cancer likes to take our friends and family away, and now he's horning in on our pets. Let's kick his ass, OK? And everybody send a good thought Stennie's way tonight.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Hello, lads and lasses, and welcome to another thrilling installment of...

Bet For A Day

Today was shaping up to be pretty good because I had the afternoon off, then a Sauerkraut Band benefit performance tonight.

I left work promptly at 1pm, headed to a the last local store remaining in which I'd not looked for a nice fall door hanging for the Poderosa. Didn't find one there either. Came back home via the fueling station (again), and had lunch about 2. Soup.

Mr Pouchy, who liked Packet One of this soup a couple of days ago, wasn't at all fond of Packet Two. I started feeling quite ill almost immediately, and spent a good deal of my afternoon in the Comfy Chair trying to feel better. Finally 4pm came and I knew I had to start getting ready for the trip to B'burg and the band concert. Oddly enough, that was the precise time (or maybe it was the standing up, I don't know) The Pouchster picked to start rejecting the soup.

I spent about 20 minutes in the bathroom heaving and retching over the bowl and losing what little was still in my system. My sides and stomach were sore from all the heaving. My eyes were watering, my face was red. My hair was standing on end. And now I had to get dressed to go!

Which I did, after a fashion, anyway. I didn't want to wear my normal Oktoberfest outfit because it was all newly cleaned and pressed, so I picked the red jumper and white turtleneck I wore last year. It hung on me like a sack, but I felt like I belonged in a sack, so I didn't really care.

I drove to B'burg, knowing I needed some water because all the heaving dehydrated me, but the thought of water was just nauseating.

So of course, once I was there at the concert, every time I stood up I got dizzy (my main dehydration symptom). I played, well, not great, I couldn't see the music because the lighting in the room was glaring on the plastic coverings on the music pages. Yeah. That's the excuse I'm going with, anyway. Also, the concert being in a retirement home, it was relatively ten degrees hotter than it should have been and I was in a massive sweat.

So then came time for "The Clarinet Polka." Ed introduced the clarinets, then went to introduce - Sherman. And he looked at me. "Did you bring Sherman?" he asked. I was stunned.

I'd forgotten to bring Sherman to the concert!

And to make matters worse, he asked again. "You didn't bring Sherman? Well, did you bring Peabody?" Like if I'd have forgotten Sherman I wouldn't have forgotten Peabody?

Well, this development still has me floored. I must have been sick when I left here.

The only good thing that came out of all that was that on my way into B'burg I stopped at the store I was at last weekend where I found a fairly acceptable door hanging, and they still had it, so I bought it. Well, that and the fact that the folks seemed to really enjoy us tonight.

Of course, Sherman wasn't there to see that.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Oh, and after the concert I went by Mr M's. He had pizza. I was wary, but I was also starving, so I took a piece and ate it, but not before dropping it topping side down on my white turtleneck and red jumper. I'm so graceful.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I Want A Baby!

(Made you look, made you look.)

Well, actually I do want a baby; of sorts, anyway.

As I've mentioned several times already, the DeepFatFriar was in B'burg this past weekend, visiting Mr M, attending Oktoberfest, and generally having a really bad head cold.

He arrived via automobile. His automobile, which is a 2003 Forester. He's owned his Forester right at 1 year, and it has 7400 miles on it. He filled the tank up with gas before leaving, and noticed that before that filling his last fuel stop was on August 18th.

I, on the other hand, have the podmobile. I've owned my 1999 Forester right at 6 years, and it has almost 105,000 miles on it. The last time I fueled up was Sunday. Then Friday before that, Wednesday before that, Sunday before that, Friday before that, Wednesday before that, and Monday before that. I fuel up a lot.

(Mr M, by the way, has a 1996 Celica with approximately 2,349,938,745 miles on it. I don't know when he last fueled up. His car will never die.)

So, to continue the story. I pulled into the driveway at Mr M's Saturday morning, zipping in right beside DFF's white friarmobile. Once I was inside and TheFriar was telling me the above statistics about his vehicle, and I was envying him, he came up with a great idea: Why don't we park them real close together tonight and maybe we'll get a baby!

Well, I thought it was a capital idea, and so we were off. DFF was wondering what year model the baby would be, would it split the difference and be a 2001? No, I answered. I'm sure it would be a 2005. After all, no matter how old or young the parents are, the baby's always born the same age, right? Newborn.

We did agree, though, on its features. TheFriar's car is white, and the podmobile is dark green, so the baby should be a light green in color. And it will share its features between the two vehicles. This is a good thing - I'm seriously hoping it'll be born with the 1999-era cupholder, the one that slides out from the dash, that serves as the perfect child seat for Sherman. This is a defunct feature on the friarmobile.

We also agreed to DFF's suggestion that if I don't sue him for support, he'll never sue me for custody. This seems fair and reasonable to me.

We then got down to brass tacks, as they say. Optimum positioning for fertilization. It came to be tailpipe to tailpipe, much to the chagrin of Mr M, who by this time was growing very weary of hearing this conversation continue. Then again, he may have been jealous his assholemobile wasn't getting in on the action.

Saturday night when we arrived back from Oktoberfest (the head cold kept TheFriar home on Saturday), I had Mr M back the podmobile into the driveway adjacent to the friarmobile. The next morning when I had to venture out for a few things, I checked her out. She looked happy and radiant.

I'm not sure exactly what the gestation period would be for a vehicle, but I'll keep you posted. A new baby for the new year would certainly rock.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* There was an article in yesterday's paper I loved. It was the story about the girl who went missing, and come to find out, she'd been in a car accident, trapped in her car for eight days. Here is a direct quote from the girl's mother - remember, she'd been missing eight days: "We had already given her up and let her be dead in our hearts." Gee, thanks, Mom. Do you think now that I've been found you could get rid of the man you rented my room to?
* This follows on the heels of another great article from R'noke paper, one Mr M gave to me. It's about some apparently very destructive construction going on in a certain area of the city. A woman who lives in the area is quoted as saying, "I'm seven months and I'm worried about all this noise harming my baby." The article is accompanied by a picture of the woman - who's smoking a cigarette.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Well, dammit, I've done it again. Or should I say you've done it again. I created a topic that invited such good acros I'm never going to be able to choose.

But choose I must.

This week's topic was, "So, Why Were You Late For Work?" The letters were L D N. The entries:

*Latter Day Nuns.
*Late? Didn’t notice.
*Locked door! Nuts!
*Large Deer. Nimble.
*Loving Danny Nakedly.
*'Larm Didn't Neee-Neeep.
*Long, dyspeptic night.
*Look, don't nag.
*Lily's darned necking.
*Lopsided, dirty necktie
*Leaping doberman nearby
*Lacerated, drooping nads
*Lost, drunk, naked.
*Lybians deployed nukes.
*Lustily deflowering Nancy.
*Lazy. Did nap.
*Lousy damn night...
*Lamentably, divorcing Ned.
*Loaded diapers. Nasty.
*Licking David's...nevermind.
*Little diarrhea, nosy.

There's not a single one of you here that doesn't deserve to be a winner, folks.

OK, I'm going to start now. Our first Honorable Mention goes to the soon-to-be-famous (after she plays her oboe solo on the radio Saturday) Kellie, with "'Larm Didn't Neee-Neeep." That one's great because 1) it's my #1 excuse for being late for work, and 2) that's the exact sound my alarm clock makes. Good one, Kel.

Another honorable mention goes to DeepFatFriar, whose excuse for (I guess one would be stumbling) stumbling in late would be "Lost, drunk, naked." I haven't used that one before, although I'm not saying it hasn't happened.

This week's runner-up is Mike with another I've used. "Long, dyspeptic night." (Even though Mike once gave me the coolest ever excuse to miss work: "Just tell them, 'I'm too cool to come in today,'" he said.)

But our winner this week - LilyG, who I can actually in my mind see breezing into work at about 10am, waving a dismissive hand, and saying, Licking David's...nevermind. I would say I dream of being able to use that one one morning, but since my dad's name is David, I guess it would be kinda creepy. Hmmm, maybe David Strathairn....

Anyway, thanks to all who played for making this one of the more fun acros we've had. *sniff* All my clever and witty friends.... Excuse me while I go get misty-eyed.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My movie watching has officially come to a damn standstill. I'm doing way too much at the moment and weekends, normally optimal movie-watching time, are completely taken up with all things musical. I only watched two movies in September! Lord have mercy. DFF brought a movie with him to B'burg this weekend, "The Dreamers," and we were going to watch it, but the time never materialized. So I think I'm going to officially blow off band tomorrow night (which would save me 2 trips to B'burg and 1 to R'noke in four days), and rent that movie and have a relaxing night.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Hello to all! It's late, I know, but Blogger's been very disagreeable with me today. Never mind - it's now time for Acromania!

I shall be this week's judge. This week's topic is, "So Why Were You Late For Work?" Everybody has to think on their feet when caught sneaking in an hour or so late.

The other rules are the same - everyone has 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches the topic and fits the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. Then around 9pm est tomorrow night I'll pick the winners and there will be laughter and dancing in the streets.

So, this week's topic is "So Why Were You Late For Work?" The letters are:


So start thinking up your excuses now.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* In a truly Olympic moment, tonight I became a passenger in the podmobile, being driven around town by - my very own nephster, Taytie. The boy likes speed. I'm worried.
* I had a lovely piece of fish tonight for dinner. It wasn't halibut, but it was still good enough for Jehovah.
* A shout out to my brother-in-law, The Brainiac, Taytie's dad, on his birthday today. Arrrrrgh.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Picture Sunday

Hello to all my tens of readers out there. This weekend was jam-packed for me, and it went way too quickly.

We all know about Friday, well we do if we read below, then Saturday it was up early to get to B'burg in time for a Sauerkraut Band benefit concert at Wheatland Hills Retirement home. We played a few songs and met a lot of really nice people, some of whom were friends to Mr M himself. Marvin, Vance, Winston, and Virginia were all total sweeties.

Then it was up the mountain for the Saturday edition of Oktoberfest. It was packed to the rafters with drunken rowdy fun people. Myself being one of them, because - (drum roll) - I had my first alcohol in six months last night. Drank 2 beers, and in a totally foolhardy move, downed a healthy shot of Jägermeister. Which put me over the edge and I was well and truly drunk. So it's true what they say, you get drunk quicker, but that's fine, quicker is good. What I wasn't prepared for is the massive - and I mean massive - hangover I had this morning. I tell you, it makes you want to stick with drugs for your buzzes.

It's funny though - the shot of Jäger: had I not been controlling myself very well, I could have easily projectile vomited across the entire audience from the taste alone. I've always thought it tasted roughly like paragoric, but post-surgery when taste buds can change, it was just ghastly. In fact, sitting here, I can think about that taste and almost wretch. If I'm going to be foolhardy again later on, I'm going to do it with Goldschlager. (Amazing though that I had no effects from that other than general drunkenness and hangover.)

One particular fun fact of Saturday night was that we had a brand new bride and groom at the proceedings, just married that afternoon - still in their wedding clothes. Thing of it was, they'd eloped up to Mountain Lake (the bride was apparently a "Dirty Dancing" fan), so they were totally sans any friends and family. So the whole rowdy crowd became their wedding party. And the bride was possibly even drunker than I at the end of the night. She came up for a picture with the SK Band girls, and the two of us ended up holding each other upright.

And as you might guess, this week's pictures are of the Oktoberfest variety. Hey, when that's what your weekend consists of, that's what your pictures are about, OK?

First of all, in another stunning I-have-way-too-much-time-on-my-hands move, I got to working this past week on something Mr M and I had been lamenting about for some time. That was that Shermoid and His Peaness had lederhosen, hats, pins, feathers, and instruments - and yet had no beer mugs to "Ein Prosit" with.

So this week I went into action on the sly for a little weekend surprise. I couldn't find (and I was totally surprised by this fact) any miniature beer mugs. However, I did find miniature watering cans. I got two, pried the spouts off them, painted over their metal exteriors with a stoneware colored paint, manipulated the handles around, gave them each a decal, then covered them with a clear coat to make them shiny. Now they can toast during "Ein Prosit" - and in fact, we got people in the crowd last night toasting them as well! These boys just spread sunshine wherever they go....

(Yes, they're toasting in my kitchen because I forgot to take a picture of them in action this weekend. Seems it was the only picture I didn't get.)

Our next picture may not mean much to you, but it means a great deal to three certain people. We're a small section - we few, we happy few, we band of clarinet brothers. We get drowned out on many occasions, but if provoked, we can be quite dangerous - ask any trumpet player who's ever tangled with Mr M. The below was his idea, and Ed thought it was great and got it made for us, and it made its premiere with the band above our precious little heads Friday night:

Yes, please keep a good two feet away from us at all times. We get testy.

And now to tonight's recipe du jour. For me, this is just weird. Tonight's dish for your enjoyment is Steak Diana (With Curried Pears):

This is weird for me because one of my favorite dishes is Steak Dianne. And to quote a now-forgotten Vice Presidential candidate, I know Steak Dianne. I've eaten Steak Dianne, and I've lovingly smelled the aroma of Steak Dianne as it was lit aflame at my table. And you, dish, are no Steak Dianne.

Apparently Steak Diana is some home-cooked knockoff where you use cube steak (I can't even imagine), and several different fruits, and brown sugar. And you don't light it on fire. Well, I never. I hope Steak Dianne sues for copyright infringement and defamation of character. I don't even know where the curried pears come into it, but since this dish asks to be served with lemon pie for dessert, I'll stick around.

Have a good week - stay tuned for acro tomorrow.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* DeepFatFriar was at Mr M's this weekend, and attended the Friday Oktoberfest - he was asked by a drunken patron if he was the bouncer. The two of us had a headrush of excitement and emotion which I'll expound upon later in the week.
* The Director of Betland Security has changed the alert back to yellow, or giggly. However, be advised that she's still awfully grouchy about W, whom she fuckin' hates.
* Favorite verbal exchange heard this weekend: Seth - "My weenie's cold." Kevin (entering the conversation about a minute later) - "My weenie's so hot it burned my hand."

Friday, October 08, 2004


Boy, did I make a big mistake tonight. I got in my car at about 10:15 and turned the radio on to NPR.

The debates were on.

I only watched the first debate in 4-second intervals. This is because I fucking hate fucking George Bush so much I can't watch him for longer than that without going into a blood-pressure spewing against the wall fit.

It's unhealthy. I hate him so much I dwell on it. I sit there and think, God, how do I hate this man, let me count the ways. And I count. Instead of counting sheep at night I count how many ways I hate George Bush.

And here I was, rolling down the mountain from Oktoberfest - sober, no less - listening to the end of the debates. Bush is a fucking idiot! I was tearing down the mountain, hanging curves, hitting brakes, screaming at my radio. I gave myself a sore throat.

I can't believe they let this man roam free on the streets, and he's the president. Jesus Christ. And I mean that: Jesus Christ, please relieve us of this man.

Hate. Hate hate hate. See, I told you it was unhealty.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Oktoberfest was brutal. The clarinets basically got trumpeted to death. My left ear is still ringing. Everyone sucked, myself included. The crowd was rowdy, but not in a good way. And I wasn't feeling well. Mr Pouch didn't seem to want to hold any food tonight without become very nauseous.
* Did I mention I fucking hate George W Fucking Bush?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

(Warning: this is a surgery blog. I've tried to stay away from them, but I'm running out of other things in my life to write about.)


Well, I got slapped around yesterday. Twice.

Once was by my own mother. Then K, my co-worker, joined in.

See, I've got this problem. Slippage, I guess it could be called. Slippage of the "slipping back into old weird stuff I thought my brain had stopped doing but apparently since I wasn't thinking about and/or worrying about it anymore it sneaked up on me and has started doing it all over again" variety.

See, I seem to have settled back down into my boring rut of a life now, the only change being that (hopefully) every few weeks I lose a couple of pounds. It's not falling off me, as I was assured would happen by very many people. It's more, well ... meandering off me. Therefore, I don't see it happening.

But what's more, a strange and weird thing is happening. And I don't mean strange and weird as in Rudolph running away and sprouting antlers and suddenly discovering he's a full-fledged red-nosed adult. I mean strange and weird as in I may be starting to hate myself again.

I decided before I had surgery that I was going to take my picture the day before, then take it again every three months. So pictures April 4, then pictures July 4, and this week it was pictures October 4. I took a set, front and side. I hated them so much I took another set later in the day. I hated those so much I took a third set the next morning. And I hated those so much I realized things were never going to make me happy and I stopped taking pictures.

I just couldn't tell a difference. I saw the same thing on October 4 I was seeing on April 4. And I made the fatal mistake of mentioning it out loud.

My mom had taken some pictures from their heady foray to Oktoberfest last weekend, and, being of the undigitally inclined, had to have the film developed. (remember film?) She brought the pictures by the office yesterday, of Oktoberfest and some she'd taken on October 4.

Only she slipped me a mickey of sorts. She included a couple of pre-surgery pictures in the stack. Just to "show" me the difference.

I still wasn't seeing it.

So by then K, who had gotten into the act, started on me. "How can you not see a difference?!" she was ranting. Then my mom chimed in as well, ending her rant with a pantomime of slapping me about the head and shoulders repeatedly. She got perilously close to my face, too. I don't know if that was intended or not.

The sad part though is that it didn't really help. Maybe I'm just still looking at the world with really fat eyes.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Yesterday I went to Kroger (the one that's going out of business) to buy some wine so I could practice drinking. (Yes, I need to practice to see what it might do to me now.) I took my wine up to the counter to pay and the lady (remember, they have the rudest staff in town) yanked it away from me and told me they wouldn't sell it to me. Apparently the ABC has already taken their liquor license away. I wanted to ask why in the holy fuck it was still on the shelves, but I didn't. I also wanted to ask, since she'd so curtly told me she couldn't sell it to me, if she'd consider giving it to me as a goodwill gesture. But somehow I think the remark wouldn't have taken well with her.
* The Betland Security Alert is back up to Orange. Hinky. Are you surprised?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Picture Monday

No, I haven't permanently moved Picture Sunday up a day, it's just that a temporary change of scenery got in the way. It'll be back to Sunday next week, and just in case you're wondering, there'll be a new Acrochallenge next Monday. I already have the topic figured out.

Boy, haven't I had quite the weekend.

It all started on Friday night. It was the first Friday night edition of Oktoberfest, and not only that, but I had two special guests in the audience in the form of my mom and dad. They've never been to an Oktoberfest before - I'd been mulling over bringing them along for some time now. I was kind of torn between thinking they'd enjoy seeing what I actually do up there and thinking they'd have the most miserable night of their senior existences.

Turns out they had a really good time. I don't know if they had anything in mind to expect, but they seemed surprised by the whole thing. Mainly that the other Sauerkrauters were so "nice." And how hard Ed works. And that we were "great." (That last beer must have put them over the edge.)

Flew down the mountain Friday and got home just in time to get everything ready for a repeat performance on Saturday. Saturday was a blast, it was a great crowd, and everything was fun. Except for the fact that I forgot to take my camera (and since I'm trying to put together a Sauerkraut Band Scrapbook, that's not a move I need to repeat anytime soon).

After Saturday's performance it was back down the mountain to Mr M's for what's becoming my favorite weekend ritual - jammies and coffee. Then Mr M invited me to go to Richmond with him on Sunday to meet up with good old Dave, his clarinet teacher, at the University of Richmond. So I called and got the day off Monday (and no, I did not grovel, and what if I did?), and accepted the invite. There's something so incredibly heady about only half the weekend being gone and knowing you don't have to go to work Monday. I highly recommend it.

We left about 10:00 and arrived in Richmond by early afternoon. Headed to campus and met up with Dave and from there on it was clarinets clarinets clarinets. I won't bore you with that (except to tell you I was validated by Dave when he complimented me on my horn and mouthpiece - I'll accept a compliment of any kind, you know), but I'll show you a picture from the visit.

To get to the practice room Dave was at, we had to go through the Modlin Center for the Arts. It was a beautiful building - so beautiful in fact that I had to snap a picture of their main hallway:

After the Clarinet Summit we had lots of time to kill, so Mr M and I took a drive through Richmond and ended up Downtown. He took me to the River Area and we took a nice sightseeing walk. Along with a cute little red-headed tagalong. Here he is taking a little rest on some rocks by the James River:

Which reminds me - several more pictures, including some more from Richmond, have been added to the Galerie de Chien et Garcon. Go check them out. I'll wait.

We also walked over the Civil War-era Tredegar Ironworks. It was cool. How's that for a ringing endorsement! Old buildings, train cars, smokestacks, a cool statue of Abraham Lincoln, and - cogs! Big cogs, everywhere. I like cogs. Here's the main building, with a water wheel, but no cog:

We got back from our trip into B'burg last night. Then this morning I took a lazy day. Spent some time shopping, then came back and zipped by the folks' house to visit my dad, who had cataract surgery this morning (shout-out to Dad - he's doing well, btw). On the way home, however, I took a photo of one of my very favorite spots between B'field and B'burg. The New River (which is finally down a little from the recent rains, but still fairly swollen):

Ah. A great weekend.

And now, a not-so-great recipe du jour. How do you spell "boring?" T-U-R-K-E-Y L-O-A-F.

I don't know, maybe when these cards were made Turkey Loaf was a big deal, but we're inundated on all fronts by it now. And it's a bland dish. To look at and to eat. So I'll concentrate on the "little things." Like how the parsley is so lovingly geometrically placed atop the loaf. And how the family's dog apparently puked on the green beans. And how, even though they're trying to have us believe it's "golden rice pilaf," there on the table is a bowl of - Your Own Granola!

I like turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I don't want it to look like a meat loaf.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Saturday I saw a man riding a unicycle through B'burg. It wasn't in a circusy kind of way, either. It was for transportation. That's just something you don't see every day.
* Coming home from Richmond Sunday night, we caught an NPR show called "New Dimensions." It's some sort of extremely touchy-feely granola-type talk show. The guest was the woman who invented the "T-Touch" for animals. It's a massage that apparently sends them into waves of orgasmic bliss and makes them very emotionally happy. The woman is basically a fruitcake, but the thing that got me was that the host of the show kept using the term "animal companions." "Our animal companions," she kept saying. When did "pets" become politically incorrect? Is it degrading to call your pet a pet? Anyway, the T-Touch fruitcake was telling the story of a wild and unruly horse she brought to a happy submission with her massage therapy and what a miraculously happy and healthy "animal companion" it became. Mr M turned to me and said, "That horse later got his Ph.D. and wrote a book. He's now in India working with sick children."