Little Sister, All Grown Up.

Okay, so part of the reason I have been conspicuously absent from my blog is that my little sister came and stayed with Bryan and me for the last few weeks before she set off for college. She was about to turn 18, and was incredibly anxious to get out of tiny little Bath County, so we agreed that she could come squat in Chesterfield for a bit.

We agreed before she came that this visit wouldn't be like the normal visits she and our brother had made to our house, which generally consisted of lots of shopping and lots of eating out. We would want her to act like she lived there if she was going to be there that long, with household duties and hopefully with a job to earn some spending money. As it turned out, I have some awesome friends who employed her while she was here. Maia and Sue gave her babysitting work, and Leslie somehow finagled an actual full-ish-time gig at her own workplace for Victoria doing clerical stuff. This was awesome, even though it did mean she would not be sitting at my house cataloging the assloads of clothes and such we need to take to the Goodwill. :) (Seriously, use the It's Deductible! software by TurboTax. You will thank me when you get your tax return.)

Anyway, we had an extra car Vic could drive, but since she'd be working downtown and I work downtown, I suggested she, too, take the bus in to the city. She liked this idea, because that meant she didn't have to drive in big scary Richmond city traffic. :) Of course, it also meant that she had to take a *real* city bus from MCV to near the Science Museum. Oh, lord, did that girl have some stories to tell about those buses. :)

The first day she went to work, I rode the bus with her and was trying to make sure she was going to remember where to get off the bus the next day, because I come to work way earlier than she would be coming. I looked at her after asking if she thought she had all of what I was telling her, and she said, "Lydia, you don't understand, it's like country mouse/city mouse!"

And then I got it. I mean, I know the girl grew up in the middle of nowhere, but I guess I hadn't quite realized how overwhelming functioning in a city could be. Things I take for granted (like, for example, walking on concrete?) were basically foreign to her. That day I knew that while she had her own reasons for coming to stay with us, it was really fortunate that she had chosen to do so--the girl needed a transition period before she was plopped down in Newport News to fend for herself!

(She bought herself a cigar on her 18th birthday, just because she could. :) )

So we had a very nice three and a half week transitional visit. :) The time she was here was hectic (sometimes I wonder when my life is *not* hectic), but I really enjoyed it. The three of us became a nice little family unit, with Bryan as brotherdad and me as sistermom... since we still felt like we needed to "parent" her to some degree, but really we're her siblings and she has two parents, so it was an interesting line. Personally I think it worked out pretty well, I think she'd say the same?

She was here to celebrate her birthday and mom's birthday, and then it was time for Bryan and I to pack her back up and drive her to college. Victoria's going to Christopher Newport University, and lemme tell you, I don't know if all colleges are doing this now, but EASIEST COLLEGE MOVE IN EVER!!!! You pull up in a line of cars, then wait your turn until the move-in volunteer students are ready with their rolly hotel carts and big plastic bins on wheels, then they unload your car and take everything up to the student's room, and unload it there. Uh, seriously. Didn't lift a finger from the time we finished packing up the car (although that was finger-lifting enough!) until we had to put things in their place in Victoria's dorm room. Excellent!

It was bittersweet to leave Victoria at school, but she's in good hands--she's rooming with her best friend since elementary school, whose name is also Victoria. I'm hoping they take very good care of each other. :)


Milestone Birthday Celebration

Two Saturdays ago, we celebrated my mom turning 50 and my little turning 18 at our house. Somehow we managed to get a good representation of my mom's side of the family there, and we had a blast! As my cousin Cassandra always says, it's nice to get the family together for something besides a funeral or a wedding. :)

Cassandra and her mom, my Aunt Brenda (really my mom's aunt, but that's what I call her, too) came up from North Carolina. My Aunt Jean (again, mom's aunt) and her daughter Jill and her daughter Caroline came over (from Hopewell and Chester), and my Papa and step-grandmother Sandra came too! I can't tell you how long it's been since these people were together for something happy. Our friend Leslie also came, since she's practically family. :)

We had tons of good laughs, some decent eats, and way too much cake and fire for one birthday party. Since my birthday was just the weekend before, I somehow got included in this celebration, even though I had my big party last year... 31 doesn't count as a milestone! :)

Mom welcomed 50 with a smile, Vic couldn't stop grinning about finally being 18, and we had a great time! :)


New air filter

If you ask for a new air filter in your office here, this is the kind of ridiculousness you get. Looks kinda like cotton candy to me. Also looks kind of half-assed, but maybe that's the only way they can do it?

Posted by ShoZu


Partying like it's 1999.

So this past weekend, I turned 31. Woohoo! Luckily my husband is two years older than me so he goes through these ages before I do, so I know what I'm getting myself into. ;-)

A few months ago, my friend Traci sent me an email she had gotten announcing concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. Lo and behold, one of my all-time favorite bands was scheduled to play there ON MY BIRTHDAY! So of course I began dropping major hints to Bryan, along the lines of "Honey, this is what I want for my birthday," or "Honey, don't forget how awesome it would be for me to see Incubus on my birthday." (One of the most important lessons I've learned about being married: Subtlety doesn't work. Be direct. :) )

And what did he get me for my birthday? Transformer foot rests for the motorcycle! Yes, seriously. But IN the box was the other birthday present--two tickets to Incubus!! And they were FLOOR TICKETS! I was naturally so excited about the tickets that were in the box that I neglected to realize that the foot rests were actually a gift, but I think Bryan forgave me for that. Especially because even once he told me that I was still kind of unsure what the hell they were. Once he put them on the bike though, I was pleased to be able to have two options for where to put my tootsies on long rides. He's so considerate--they really do make a huge difference! :)

But anyway, let's get back to Incubus.

So like I said, they were floor tickets. If you're not the rock concert type, this basically means we were going to be in the mosh pit... the standing room only area. We had the option to go back to the lawn and sit down if it got to be too much or if I got tired, though, so it's not like we were going to be forced to stand all night. I was a little nervous about this, because it has been YEARS since I went to a concert and stood for the whole thing, and in the past few years my arthritis doesn't take kindly to being made to stand for long periods of time. But there's one thing I haven't told you yet that made me SO not worry about any of this.

You see, I have an insane crush on the lead singer of this band. And the thing that makes my husband even MORE awesome for buying me those tickets is that HE KNOWS THIS. He knows I drool over Brandon Boyd, and yet he still indulges me! :) Oh, how I love that man. :)

I should have known when I also got footrest transformers for my birthday that this meant Bryan had figured out that we'd be taking the motorcycle to Maryland, but somehow I had a brief delusion that the 100 degree heat would encourage him to opt for an enclosed, air conditioned vehicle. Yeah, not so much. I whined a little bit about it, but ultimately decided that it was kind of a fair trade off... you know, I'd be free to openly lust for Brandon Boyd and he'd be free to scorch the both of us on the back of the motorcycle for a few hours. :)

After a birthday visit from my dad and stepmom, we hit the road. The ride up was alright until we got to Maryland, where I'm convinced traffic sucks 24/7, 365 days a year. Bryan had also booked us a hotel room near the concert venue, so originally I thought we'd go there first so I could freshen up and look cute for Brandon--I mean, Bryan--but by the time we got close, we would have missed part of the show if we did that.

So we changed in the parking lot. This was a little dodgy, since we didn't have a car to do it in, but we made it work. Thankfully I had decided to wear rather modest undergarments that day, so no one saw any of my bits and pieces. :) And once we got into the concert, I laughed at myself for thinking it would have made any difference to shower before coming there--it was so hot and humid that I would have been a sweaty mess immediately anyway.

The concert was amazing. I said earlier that it has been a long time since my concert going days, and this show made me remember why I used to do it so often. About halfway through, Bryan started checking to see if I wanted to go up and sit on the lawn. I may have said "no thanks" once or twice, but I think my primary response to this question was to look at Brandon then look back at Bryan with a face that said, "Are you crazy?"

Yep, I spent my 2009 birthday much like I would have spent it in 1999--standing in a group of sweaty people, groovin' to some kick ass music. The main difference was that in 1999 I turned 21, so I would have been drunk. This time, I was too afraid I'd pass out from heat and dehydration if I had even a beer--plus I'm too cheap to pay $8 for a tiny little alcoholic drink! :)

The next morning, we left our hotel and went into Baltimore to check out the aquarium rather than drive home in mid-day heat. Neither of us had ever been to the aquarium (although Bryan says he *may* have been), and we enjoyed seeing all of the sea life. The only bad thing is that it was PACKED to the GILLS (pun intended!), what with all of the family vacations and whatnot. So some parts we zipped through, but we did enjoy the 4D show and the dolphin show in particular! And Bryan took this awesome picture of a jellyfish:

It was a great birthday, and after that reminder of how much I love live music, I'm ready for my next concert! :)