Thursday, January 29, 2009


I’m too lazy to look up how to say goodbye in Italian, so I just cheated and had Mr. W tell me how to say it in Greek. Yes readers, I am bidding you adieu because I’m leaving for the Mediterranean tomorrow.

We’ll start out at 4 a.m. to make our 6:30 flight to New York. Then we’ll catch another flight to Athens, and yet another to Santorini. By this time, we will probably be muttering gibberish and bumping into walls. We’ll have two nights in Santorini then hop a ferry to Naxos.

I’ve heard mixed reviews of Naxos. My Lonely Planet book described it as the most fertile and lush of the Greek Isles, but a friend at work said it was an ugly port-town-filled island. If it’s ugly, I’ll just have to stare into Mr. W’s eyes the whole time. Or bury my face in Angels and Demons, which is quite good so far.

From Naxos, we’ll head to Paros via ferry. And after a night there, we’ll go back to Athens. I’m already preparing myself for a letdown in that city. Everyone says it’s dirty and not that cool and there’s construction around the Acropolis. But it’s Mr. W’s homeland (sort of) and I think our hotel is pretty nice.

We’ll catch a flight the following day and head to Venice, where it could be down to 37°. I’m prepared to freeze there, but also extremely excited to visit—especially after watching Giada DeLaurentiis go there on the Food Network. We will definitely be hitting Harry’s Bar, where Hemingway used to hang out.

Next we’ll take a train to Florence, where I suspect we will stuff ourselves on pasta and gelato and art and romance. I’m hoping my adoration for Mr. W grows more than my waistline on this trip.

We may try to take a trip out to Pisa for a quick glimpse of the tower, then we’ll travel to Arezzo, which is sort of nestled in the heart of Tuscany. I’m hoping for some nice sweeping hillside landscapes and some good wine there.

From Arezzo, we’ll catch another train to our final destination: Rome. I read Eat, Pray, Love last year and almost licked the pages when she wrote about Rome. Everything about the city just sounds decadent. It will be perfect that our last day of the trip—Valentine’s Day—will take place in Rome. I’m sure I’ll be ruined forever after that.

I’m going to try to post pictures and write a bit if I can. Mr. W is taking his laptop, so I should have blog access. But I won’t likely read anything you all are writing. I’ll check in on all of you when I return on the 15th.

So long!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Work Gripes

I'm hungover and cranky today. Had a little too much wine last night and not quite enough water, so not only am I dehydrated, my sleep was riddled with all sorts of funky drunky dreams. I turned my Prius into a succulent at one point; I couldn't find where to take a test in my high school and I didn't have a #2 pencil or a Scan-tron. So I'm tired from thinking too much all night and although I leave for vacation in 4 days, I just want to complain about some things that have been building up lately.

Guys with ponytails. I don't know what it is about this recently, but it makes my skin crawl. I want nothing more than to sneak up behind them with a big pair of scissors and emancipate them from Dungeons and Dragons world and thrust them into the 21st century. My work is crawling with these guys.

People who don't flush. Okay seriously, this should not ever, ever be an issue unless there is a problem with the plumbing. Even if you're missing both of your arms, you could at least kick the handle with your foot. But see, I know you have arms because you leave evidence behind of your ability to wipe. Bathroom bastard.

Morning chitchat. Call me whatever mean name you want, but I don't really even like to say good morning to anyone until I've had some time to get settled at my desk and wake up a bit. This usually means I'd prefer radio silence until about 1 p.m.

The arsehats who open the blinds in the conference room by my cube. People, I know the view of the traintracks and Fry's is nice, but when you open the blinds in there, it sends a stream of blinding sunlight across my desk—right in the middle of my laptop screen. You are the reason I can no longer read street signs when driving at night.

To go boxes in the cafeteria. If I say "it's for here" that means I want a plate. Not everyone enjoys unnecesarily filling landfills with plastic containers.

Okay, I'm done. I promise my next post will be all happy happy joy joy about Italy and Greece. In the meantime, why don't you tell me what's bugging you?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Relief, Part II

As if the bouncy, bubbling, ecstatic feelings I was overflowing with yesterday weren't enough, today I found out that Mr. Wonderful is coming home on Saturday. We thought he might not get let go until Monday, so this is a huge treat.

Now that I know when he's returning, the last two and a half weeks don't seem nearly as torturous as they were. Yesterday, I would've told you it felt like he'd been gone six weeks. But today? Merely ten days, maybe eleven.

In the time that he's been gone, I've learned how to use Skype. I've learned that sometimes being in other people's company just makes you miss the company of the person who's away even more. I've relearned that I can get a lot of chores and hobby work done on the weekends when no one else is around. I've learned that I would probably be a crazier lady sans-cats than I am with cats. I've learned that I can cook chicken on the bone. I've learned how to use my new DVR. I've learned that sometimes it feels good to sleep on the other side of the bed. And I've learned that the year I had sketched out in my head will probably be nothing like the one that actually takes place in '09.

I have no idea what to expect over the next few months and that terrifies and excites me all in the same. What I do know is that I will be traveling to Greece and Italy in 9 days. I will likely be taking a trip to London—possibly with a visit to the wine country of France—in April. I may be meeting Mr. W in Florida in June. And in July, I will hopefully be taking a huge leap and going to live with him in London.

I can't even fully comprehend that last part yet. Living abroad. Living with Mr. W. Getting to travel around Europe on the weekends. It's just too good. So good that I can't indulge the thoughts too much because you never know what will happen tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sighing With Relief

The week after Christmas, my sister's family went to New York and D.C. What an amazing time to be on the east coast.

In D.C., they were staying a mere 6 blocks from the Obama family's hotel and as they sat gathered around the TV on the night Barack landed in the city, they decided to bundle up and go stalk him as he arrived. They mingled with the press outside his hotel, and as his motorcade approached, they could see the President-elect inside his limo, waving to the crowd. I was so jealous when they told me this story.

In my lifetime, I have voted in 5 presidential elections. And with each passing election, I have felt my passion for politics steadily grow. Because with each one, it seemed there was more at stake. Particularly this time, it seemed our country's fate was weighing in the balance—would we continue down the same road we'd been treading for 8 years, or would we take a new path?

This morning, as I listened to the inauguration on the radio in the way into work, I felt like my heart was going to explode. I was so filled with joy and hope. I feel so ready to roll up my sleeves and do whatever our new commander deems necessary to fix our country. I am overwhelmed with excitement to be led by this man.

Although I didn't get to see him in person, waving from his limo, my nieces were nice enough to pick up a Barack Obama t-shirt for me while they were in D.C. I put it on this morning with great pride and unwaivering optimism that we are on a path to changing for the better.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Idea What in the Worm I'm Doing

I think I mentioned on here that Mr. Wonderful made me a worm composter for Christmas. Now, let's get something straight: I don't like worms. I've never liked worms. They're creepy and icky. But when I began researching composting options, worms seemed like my best bet. They can be contained in a receptacle, which is great given that I live in an apartment, and they create compost a lot faster than dry, bacteria-based composting.

Mr. W researched designs online before constructing this, but as you can see, it's just a plastic garden pot. (With a charcoal filter in the lid, of course, because he's attentive to details like that...)

Two of the inner tiers are drilled to enable worm travel between layers. In theory, the worms will eat through the food and shredded newspaper in the middle tier, then crawl up to the top tier for more vittles. This is when I will rotate them and move the little red wigglers back down to the middle so I can fill the top with kitchen scraps, and repeat. The bottom tier is solid, and meant to catch the worm poop, or castings.

Here are the pass-between holes in the middle and top layer. Hopefully nobody will accidentally fall through there...

Tonight when I got home from dinner and drinks with some coworkers, my worms were waiting on the front porch. I felt like a mother in labor. Although I'd studied up and prepared myself for their arrival, when it finally happened, I felt rather panicked about the process. And completely afraid to open the bag.

That's my bag of worms. From Uncle Jim's Worm Farm.

Protecting my hands from worm cooties with gardening gloves, I opened the bag and began dumping my wigglers onto the middle level of damp newspaper. I have no idea if I put them in there right. I then layered some of my saved kitchen scraps in between the dirt and newspaper. I won't lie...the process was a little bit gross. The veggies were a little putrid and the worms were creeping me out.

However, I was able to tuck them in and bid them goodnight soon after that. I put my second layer on top of the worm layer, then covered that with some damp newspaper. Although I had planned to try keeping the composter in the house, I was too worried that all 500 worms would crawl out in the middle of the night and be scattered on the carpet. So it's on my front porch. I hope I don't kill anyone. And I hope I feed them good stuff and that in turn, they give me lots of poop to fertilize the plants with. I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Uhhh Who's the Biggest Loser?

Do any of you watch The Biggest Loser? Seriously, it is one of the most touching, inspiring shows I've ever seen on TV. I'm totally crying watching it right now.

And the theatrics one of the trainers put on tonight? Such good stuff. He cussed the crap out of one of the lazy contestants. It was fantastic.

Brookem over at Skrinkering Hearts knows what I'm talkin' about...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Making Peace with Change

When Mr. Wonderful told me he might be moving to London for 6 months, my initial reaction was one of…well…horror. How was I possibly going to make it through a stretch like that? I cried and cried and cried and then turned to my friends for insight.

My friend K, a gem, is the wife of a military man. She sent me a great, very practical list of what to do to ease the pain of his absence.

My friend C, the brilliant voice of reason, reminded me that this is not about me. This is Mr. W’s life path and I need to support him on it—even if that means giving up on the little dreams I had for our life together this year. Camping and wine tasting can wait. An opportunity to work with Ridley Scott cannot.

Then there are all of you. My readers. You all commented on my sad post with uplifting messages about visiting Mr. W or even going with him.

This got me thinking. A lot.

And I’ve realized that if he does go, I would regret it forever if I didn’t go with him at least part of the time. In college, I remember thinking it would be so cool to do a semester abroad. But the thought of that also terrified me. So I stayed put. I’ve always regretted that.

Now I may have the chance to go live in London (easy peasy London where they speak English) for free. FREE. How could I not take advantage of that?

So I crunched the numbers. And I thought about different scenarios. And I’ve decided that I will do everything in my power to take a 2-month unpaid leave of absence from work. If I had mono, they’d have to give me the time off. If I were pregnant, I’d get even more time off. If I were to quit, it would likely take them 2+ months to replace me, so why not let me go and come back? This is the question I’ll be asking my boss when I find out for sure what Mr. W’s plan is.

He, of course, wants me to go the entire 6 months. But I don’t think the cats or the soon-to-be-delivered composting worms would appreciate my being gone that long. Two months seems reasonable.

I’m shooting for June and July. Please wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Clan

Mr. W emailed me a bunch of interesting tidbits he found today about his last name. Apparently he typed it into Wikipedia and learned all sorts of things about his possible ancestry...and possibly why he loves Italy so much. (He's Greek and Irish, but according to Wikipedia, he may have some very ancient ties to an Etruscan civilization).

After hearing this, I of course had to go on the site and type in my own name.

Have you ever done that?

It was surprisingly satisfying. I knew that I had a Scottish clan somewhere across the pond but I now know that my family was named for a clan that lived near the banks of the River Hether in Scotland. Pretty cool.

There was also a list on there of a bunch of famous Hetheringtons. Several Aussies, which I also found interesting.

If you're bored at work at 5:00 one day, I highly suggest looking up your own lineage. You might learn something fun.

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Love

It’s a vintage copy of Sonnets from the Portuguese, with How Do I Love Thee? marked.

It’s rubbing of temples when he has a headache.

It’s scraping dog poop out of her bicycle tires with an allen wrench and a rag. Then telling her he usually uses her toothbrush when cleaning something with poop on it.

It’s two visits in one day to Home Depot.

It’s helping him fold his clean underwear.

It’s a bottle of scented lotion on the nightstand because he knows she can’t stand going to sleep with dry hands.

It’s a garbled “I love you” while wearing his anti-teeth-grinding mouth guard.

It’s a love note slipped into the novel she’s taking way too long to read.

It’s a pillow she keeps in the cupboard over her closet so it’s protected from cat hair contamination when he’s not there.

It’s a handful of quarters dropped into her purse because he knows she pays for her laundry.

It’s the mix she made him that has taken up permanent residence in his alarm clock CD player.

It’s a Saturday night of Tivo-ed cooking shows from under his grandma’s afghan on the couch.

It’s an espresso on a Sunday morning, delivered in bed.

It’s a Google Earth image cut up and given to her as a puzzle so she can figure out where her surprise birthday trip will be.

It’s the only midnight kiss on New Year’s.

It’s two Advil and a big glass of water when she has a hangover.

It’s helping her pick out her Christmas tree and stealing kisses from him in between ornament hanging.

It’s a stolen glance across the elevator at Target.

It’s an apology for accidentally drooling into his mouth when she kisses him from a funny angle.

It’s a yoga class where she reaches across the floor and holds his hand during one of the stretches.

It’s five kissy faces in a row on an IM message.

It’s not wanting to say goodbye.

It’s a promise that we can make it work, no matter the distance or varying time zones. That we can keep this intact even if it’s turned upside-down until the end of July.

It’s the best I’ve ever had.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Conflicting New Year’s Wishes

Happy 2009, right? I had been planning to write about the awesome worm composter Mr. Wonderful made me for Christmas. Or the fact that we’ve booked a 2-week trip to Greece and Italy at the end of this month. I wanted to be excited about all the things we were going to do together this year.

But instead I find myself waiting, wondering, and fearing how the future is going to pan out. Remember all those changes I was hypothesizing about? Well they may be upon me soon. Mr. W is leaving Monday to do a 2-3 week assignment in London…which could lead to a 6-month stint over there. The longest I’ve been away from him in the past year is 8 days.

There is a part of me that is fascinated by the prospect of this. Living abroad is something I always wanted to do but never seemed to get around to. Or, more accurately, never seemed to get the guts to do. If he went across the pond for 6 months, I could live vicariously through him. I could visit him and enjoy a free place to stay. But he’d be gone from me every day in between visits. And that’s a hard one to stomach.

I find myself caught now—waiting to find out whether he’ll get put on the film—hoping maybe it doesn’t happen. Hoping that maybe a local shoot will come up and entice him in the meantime. Hoping that my spring and summer weekends won’t be a string of Skype messages and tears.

But there’s also a part of me that wishes he would get the job and I’d lose my own. That I could go over and live with him a couple months while he wraps up filming. We could take the train to Paris and the ferry to Ireland. It could be a disaster…I could end up like Charlotte in Lost in Translation, wandering the city alone—or Carrie Bradshaw eating croissants all day solo in Paris. I don’t know how it would turn out.

I don’t know what to expect. But I know this is an opportunity he cannot afford to pass up.

So for now I just have to wait.