The Hellhole

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

There are two questions that I ask one or another of the dogs nearly every day.  I don't know why, because I am reasonably certain that I don't want to know the answer to either, but I ask:

What is that in your mouth?


Why are you moist???

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've been pretty bummed out lately.  Around my birthday, I had three minor disappointments - trivial pleasures I hoped we could do which didn't work out for one reason or another, but now three major things to which I've been greatly looking forward for months and months aren't going to happen.

Last year, for our anniversary in May we spent a long weekend at the Ritz Carlton downtown. It was so relaxing and luxurious, and the food on club level is simply amazing.  We spent a day at the Georgia Aquarium and had a wonderful time.  We talked several times about wanting to repeat this activity every year for our anniversary (even if not on the actual date) and kinda have the Ritz/Aquarium be our "thing".  This May, however, we weren't able to go: the month was crazy busy, we both had car repairs (mine majorly upsetting and disruptive) and the weekend obligations continued such that we weren't able to reschedule for anytime in the near future.

At some point we decided to do the mini-trip toward the end of September, ostensibly for my birthday present, which falls in mid-September but it is much easier and less stressful for me to be away from work at the very end or beginning of a month instead of midway through; too many reports and billing and whatnot due then.  I consoled myself with putting off the break by thinking things like, "Oh, the weather will be cooler at the end of September, much better for walking around downtown,", "The kids will all be back in school; maybe it will be less crowded."

Last November, we went to Upstate Steampunk in South Carolina and had a blast. This year, my brother is one of the organizers, it's going to be in Greenville instead of Anderson and it has been renamed "Gaslight Fantasia" which I think is a lovely, lyrical name.  It is going to be November 7 - 8 and I was so very excited about going.  I hoped to stay a couple of days after the con to spend time with Bo and Sarah.

Now we're not going to get to do either.

A year ago or so, I thought Mister Fusspot was getting a cataract in one eye.  Dr. Mike confirmed this and we were instructed to monitor it closely, especially if one started in the other;  he could get by with vision in one eye so he might not need surgery, but it would be better, if he has to have surgery, to do both eyes at once instead of two separate operations/recoveries.  Things were getting worse and after his annual checkup, we took him to a veterinary ophthalmologist for a consult and tests.  His surgery is set for mid-November, but he needs pre-surgery treatment in the meantime. We have friends nearby with whom we reciprocate pet care when one or the other of us goes out of town, but it's one thing to have them check on the pups for a couple days, monitor their food and water supply, change pee pads if needed, but giving him a pill every day and drops in his eyes three times a day? That's too much to ask, and even if it weren't, they couldn't do it as both work outside the home.

Don't get me wrong:  I will be the first to say, and truly honestly mean from the bottom of my heart, that that little fellow and his health are far, far more important than my weekend jaunts.  Making sure he has the best care and the best chance of a successful surgery outweigh my social life and I would never make a different choice. But the thing is, that doesn't mean I'm not still disappointed that those trips aren't going to happen.

His appointment with the specialist was on September 8, and for little while I tried to bolster my spirits with the thought that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra season would soon be starting.  My mom and I have season tickets; we arrive early to have wine and a light dinner at this cozy little bistro attached to the Woodruff Arts Center prior to the performance.  We usually share a fruit, cheese and cracker plate but sometimes split a sandwich or other appetizers, have a glass of wine and chat.  It's so nice to have some time to do "just the two of us" outings, and we both enjoy the symphony so.

Yeah, not so much.  The orchestra players and management are in a contract dispute and the musicians have been locked out.  Opening night was supposed to be September 24, but concerts have been cancelled through mid-November (at least - more will be cancelled if they can't reach an accord soon).  The President and CEO resigned yesterday, so who knows if or when they'll be able to resume any of the season? Aaaand, to rub a little salt and lemon juice into the wound, when I looked at the schedule to see which performances we'd be missing, among them are Beethoven 9 and Debussy's La Mer - two of my absolute favorites.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I hold Alan accountable for not only the things he does in reality, but the things he does in my dreams.  I can't afford to make exceptions; once word leaks out that a pirate has gone soft, people begin to disobey you and then it's nothing but work, work, work all the time.

Last Friday night, among other things in the midst of a strange and disjointed dream, I dreamt that I wanted a snack and so ate some Pringles potato chips.  When I woke up, I had a serious craving for Pringles.  We didn't have any in the house; that's not something I usually keep on hand and generally try to aim for healthier snacks, but once the idea was implanted, I could not rid myself of the craving.  It had to be Pringles, too - Lay's or Ruffles need not apply.

When Alan came home from Tai Chi, I had already started the grocery list.  Besides our normal staples like Syfo, apples and yogurt, I had written "PRINGLES" in all caps at the top of the list.

"Pringles, eh?" Alan queried.  I explained about the dream and the resulting craving.

"But you know the weird part?"  I added.  "When I went to the kitchen to get the Pringles in my dream, they were in the refrigerator."

"What?  Why would they be in the refrigerator?"

"I don't know - why did you put them there?"

"What makes you think it was me who put them there?"

"Because I'd never put potato chips in the refrigerator.  It's a mad thing to do."

Every now and then since, I've asked him why he put the Pringles in the refrigerator.  He has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for himself.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We sometimes go literally years without going out to hear live music, but starting with X last Monday (the 18th) at Center Stage, we have one concert a month until November - even longer if you count going to the Atlanta Symphony with my mom (I have season tickets).  We hadn't seen X since 2008 at House of Blues in Las Vegas so it was great to hear them again.  They were in great form and did many of my favorites.

There was an opening act of which I'd not previously heard, Not In The Face out of Austin, TX.  Many times at concerts, I'm just sitting there waiting for the opening band to STFU so I can hear the band I paid for, but these guys were great - straightforward rock and roll.  We enjoyed their set immensely and stopped by the swag table after the show to buy their CDs.  They have two and we purchased both.  I was listening to the latest one on my morning commute, in fact.

This weekend is DragonCon but it looks like we won't be attending any Con events.  I still get to see my brother and his wife, though - they're staying an extra day and everyone is hanging out at my mom's house on Tuesday.  I have that day off in addition to Labor Day (and 14 more vacation days I have to use before year-end - where did the summer go???) so that will be fun.

The other upcoming shows:

Jeff Tweedy, Georgia Theatre, 09/19/14 - I'm a little disappointed by this one - not the concert, I'm sure that will be great and I'm excited to hear Jeff's new material.  But I'd wanted to stay in Athens overnight, at this nice hotel downtown within walking distance, have a nice breakfast, hit Wuxtry and maybe a couple of other stores, then meet up with Mark and Nancy for lunch.  UGA Football had other ideas, however, and there are no hotel vacancies anywhere for miles.  The concert will still be fun, though.

Gaslight Anthem, Buckhead Theatre, 10/07/14 - Really looking forward to hearing them live for the first time.

The New Pornographers, Buckhead Theatre, 11/06/14 - I need to familiarize myself with their stuff.  Alan is a fan of Nico Case, who plays with The New Pornographers when she's not busy with solo material, so we want to check them out.

I really need to find something awesome to attend in December, so we can have a concert a month until year-end...not a Christmas concert, though - not a big fan of Christmas music. 

It's not a concert, but I'm also looking forward to the Atlanta Cheese Festival on October 3, 2014.  I love me some cheese!  In addition to samples, they sell the products (over 100 vendors!) so I'm gonna need a bigger backpack - a much bigger backpack.  I paid extra for VIP tickets so I could attend a wine tasting/cheese pairing event during the show.  Drooling on keyboard...

So, lots of fun things coming up!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Thank all the gods there was a Wilco disc in the CD player.  Alt Nation was playing Coldplay, there was Linkin Park on Octane and Boneyard was playing W.A.S.P.  It was a veritable trifecta of suck.

Monday, August 04, 2014

The second half of our weekend trip to Greenville:  it was raining when Alan got up Sunday morning, but by the time I got up a couple of hours later, it had stopped, the clouds were breaking up and it was promising to be a lovely summer day: sunny and warm, but not humid.  As windy, chilly and rainy as Saturday night had been, Sunday was picture perfect.

I was also pleased to debut a new outfit featuring a white cotton top with lace and my new turquoise-and-white skorts.

They are Jones of New York, $54 retail but I got them on clearance for $12!!!  First score!  Also, they were a size smaller than anything I've been able to wear in quite some time.  Of course, stretchy material and drawstring waist, but still! Second score!  Lastly, as I mentioned it was a new outfit and, while intellectually I know that I look exactly the same as I did yesterday, and exactly the same as I will tomorrow, still, I am certain that I'm very cute when wearing a new outfit.  Third score!

We had a wonderful time roaming around downtown Greenville.  We stopped at House of Jerky to buy some treats for the doggies, then went to The Spice & Tea Exchange for teas for Alan, and several rubs to use when grilling or roasting meat.  We've had the Tuscany rub on grilled chicken so far, and it is exceedingly yummy.  We walked around for a while, then decided to stop at Port City Java.  Alan got a hot Earl Grey, I had a caramel latte and we split an asiago cheese bagel - it was SO good.

We had such a pleasant time sitting at a little sidewalk bistro table having our bagel and drinks, chatting and people-watching. The weather was lovely, lots of people were out walking their pooches and (unlike Atlanta) not a single person came up to attempt to panhandle us, no one was passed out/sleeping/living on the benches scattered around the area, no one was rummaging through garbage - it was utterly idyllic.

After a while, Bo and Sarah were finished at the con at which they were appearing, so we met for lunch at Carolina Ale House.  Upstairs, the pub has a retractable roof which they open in nice weather, so that was gorgeous and it's always such fun to hang out with Bo and Sarah.  We had a leisurely lunch, some good conversation and because it's an ale house, we all had beers, except Alan.  Eventually nature took her course and because I'd been drinking beer, I had to use the restroom.

Are you familiar with those pieces of clear plastic tape that stores put on garments, about half an inch wide and 6 to 8 inches long, with the size repeating downward?  Mainly I see them on jeans but I've also seen them on mens' polo shirts and tee shirts.  So a piece of clear tape stuck somewhere on the garment with the size in black, like:

M          or         34

M                      34

M                      34

M                      34

M                      34

M                      34 that?  Well, I had walked ALL OVER downtown Greenville, in and out of shops, up and down streets, secure in and certain of my new-outfit cuteness, and the WHOLE TIME I'd been sporting a piece of tape with







running down the front center of my skorts, a series of 10s right on my crotch!  AAAAAAAAGH!  I don't know why I didn't notice when I got dressed, or when I used the bathroom right before leaving the hotel.  Still, as Nancy pointed out when I told her this story, "At least it was a good number; your crotch was a ten!" and Mark added, "Wait until you go back to Greenville and see everyone doing it.  It'll be the new hipster thing."

Yep - I'm a trendsetter, me.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Behind on blogging yet again.  It's been a couple of busy weekends in a row.  The weekend before last, I had to go to a funeral.  The deceased was the sister of one of my closest friends and even though I'd met her only a handful of times (the sister, not the closest friend), I needed to be there for my bud, so that Saturday we were road-tripping to Pendleton, South Carolina.  I hope this doesn't sound ghoulish, but I see my brother and his wife so seldom, we were already of necessity going to be about 18 minutes away from them, so we decided that instead of going home after the funeral, we would instead head up to Greenville, SC, spend the night at a hotel and spend time with Bo and Sarah.

The hotel we'd stayed at when last in Greenville, the Poinsett, was full this time so we were at the Marriott.  A junior suite was only $10 more than a room, so you can guess what I did.  The suite turned out to be quite spacious and the hotel itself was quiet and spotlessly clean, so high marks in my books.  I think the next time we go, we'll stay at the other hotel downtown, a Hyatt, and decide which of the three will be our regular hangout.

I seem to have a weather curse when it comes to Greenville.  Last time we went was in November so I took sweaters and jeans, and the day dawned so sunny and perfect that a sweater was far too hot for a walk in the park and I wound up going out in my pajama shirt.  It wasn't obviously pajamas, though; it was not a striped, double-lapel oversized shirt but looked more like a t-shirt, pale purple soft cotton with an artistically rendered dove on the front.  Still, I knew I'd been out in public in my pajamas, even if no one else did.  Don't tell my Gramma Helen.  Yes, yes, she is dead, but don't tell her or she'll rise up righteous and the knowledge of my transgression will kill us both.

This time, I took skorts, capri pants and t-shirts in addition to the longish skirt and top I wore to the funeral.  Well, it rained all through the funeral and they nevertheless had part of the ceremony outside, on sodden ground.  Between checking in, unloading bags and then walking everywhere once in downtown Greenville, to dinner and exploring afterward, my flats and skirt got soaked.  The only other shoes I had were sandals, which would be worse.  Great - overheated in November and now I didn't even want to go back out to enjoy Saturday night in Greenville unless we could find a sweater for me.

Luckily, we could!  Downtown Greenville has the wonderful Mast General Store!  And their website says they sell outerwear and there are sweaters!  We headed back out to Mast but on the way there, the wind kicked up and the rain blew under the umbrella all over me, so by the time we went into the store, my feet, pants and legs were soaking wet.  I'd wanted this to be a pleasant end to an unhappy occasion, but I was beginning to get miserable.  At the store, it turned out that they were serious about their clothing:  the sweaters and jackets were Gore-Tex, North Face and Patagonia.  I paid over $100 for a hot pink fuzzy Patagonia sweater; I'd have been okay with a $10 sweatshirt from Target, but that wasn't among my choices and there was no way even the allure of a snack with Bo and Sarah could have lured me back outside without obtaining warmer clothing.  So I bought it.  Then I discovered their Candy Barrel!  I bought lots of candy buttons and Teaberry gum and giant Smarties and all sorts of things!
Serious sugar high.  "Cheerwine" is not wine at all but cherry cola, sooo much better than cherry Coke.  And I can write that; I live in Atlanta, the city that Coke built.

Once Bo and Sarah were done with their gig, we met at Barley's for snacks and drinks.  This was most important as the secondary purpose of the trip was to present Bo with a little giftie we'd picked up for him in our travels.  Not really, we got it from ThinkGeek, but doesn't "in our travels" sound more glamourous?  Maybe not, since the only place we'd traveled lately was to a funeral, but never mind that.  I give you (drum roll)............


Picture is out of focus, sorry, but I loved his expression too much not to use it.

RAAAAR, and stuff!

He explained to our server that he'd been gifted this marvelous drinking horn of uber capacity (seriously, it says that on the box) and asked if they'd help him christen it.

It holds rather more than a pint, but the dude said, "Hell yeah we will!" and then he and Bo busied themselves searching the beer selection for something worthy of


They chose Victory Storm King Imperial Stout.

Which is as it should be.

Bo haz a smug.

People kept stopping by to ask him about it, compliment him on it and express their admiration.

They all wish they had a sister who would buy them


But they don't.

It comes with a stand and a neck strap (not pictured) for when, you know, you need both hands free for smiting and pillaging, but you still might get thirsty.

You may not know this, but smiting is a thirsty business.

Bo is prepared.