Please note: This is my last entry ’til January 14th. I know how you fuckers like to skim. Love ya! Mean it! Feel free to celebrate my birthday on the 9th however you see fit. I myself expect I’ll be… cleaning out the litter boxes and probably vacuuming, because I am just that wild. I started Friday morning with my mother, stopping at Target to check out their 90%-off Christmas section. That was a freakin’ bargain, but obviously it doesn’t make sense to buy a bunch of wrapping paper and boxes, only to have to worry about getting them home to Alabama. I suspect by the time I get home, the Christmas sales will pretty much be over. One year I’ll either have to come to Maine later, or go home earlier. I want me some 10-cent rolls of wrapping paper! My mother got a big bag of Christmas stuff for $2.58 and we oohed and ahhed over that, because that was a huge bargain, given the amount of stuff she bought. DSC05063 (flickr) (More personalized license plates seen during this trip so far.) In the parking lot, I had to explain why a license plate reading WTFPWND was so funny (WTF was easy, but PWND a little more difficult – and it turns out that neither my sister nor my brother were familiar with PWND, just my 16 year-old nephew. Who’s the cool auntie?) (Really good explanation of pwn, here. Thanks, Lanna!) When we were done at Target, we picked Debbie up and headed to Freeport to do some shopping. I wanted to hit LL Bean and a few other stores, and my mother wanted to do the same. A sign that we were going to have a good shopping experience came when we pulled into the LL Bean parking lot and ended up with a parking spot about as close as you can possibly get to the store. I don’t believe I’ve ever had that happen, and I was probably a little too thrilled at how close we were parked, but damn! Parking spots like that don’t come around every day! 06DSC05064 If you look to the left, you’ll see the big white vehicle parked butt-out next to the red truck. That was us. SO AWESOME. (flickr) Instead of going into the main store, we went across the parking lot to the outlet store, where we spent a really long time. I ended up spending most of the money I’d gotten from Fred’s parents for Christmas and my birthday, and I don’t regret a single thing I bought. Among other things, I bought a light spring jacket, a new laptop bag, a new Healthy Back Bag (monogrammed with the name A Chen, which just amuses the hell out of me for some reason), socks, and a bunch of shirts. Shirts that fit me and aren’t way too big. I KNOW. Do you feel lightheaded? Do you need to sit down? The funniest part of the trip to the outlet store was when Debbie was looking at the ornaments. She found one inscribed with “Katherline” (we assumed that it was supposed to be “Katherine” though Google informs me that Katherline is actually a name that’s used. Would you pronounce that “Kather-lynn”, or is the “r” silent?), and she started laughing and I started laughing, and we just stood there and laughed for the longest time. 06DSC05066 (flickr) We left the factory outlet store and my mother headed to the Jones of New York store, and Debbie and I headed for Cool as a Moose. We stopped on the way at Crabtree & Evelyn, and I made an ass out of myself by thinking I was holding a bottle of perfume, and spraying it on my wrist to check the scent. Turned out, it was home fragrance spray. Duhr. In Cool as a Moose, I went crazy, buying Life is Good t-shirts and a Maine sweatshirt… and that’s about it, actually. Just clothes. A LOT of clothes. I eyed the Life is Good mugs because they’re invariably cute as hell, but I don’t drink out of mugs and we don’t really have a place to display mugs, so I resisted. We went over to The Mangy Moose and browsed for a while, I bought a few things for the spud and some bath salts (though I don’t take baths all that often anymore, I have a hard time not buying good-smelling bath stuff when I see it), and then we decided that it was time to eat. We walked down to The Corsican and got a table while waiting for my mother (who had gone into the main LL Bean store), and ordered a vegetable and cracker plate to munch on while we were waiting. That vegetable plate really hit the spot. It came with a little dish of boursin cheese and a little dish of hummus, and though the hummus was too cumin-y for my taste (I don’t dislike cumin, but too much of it makes me gag. Cumin smells exactly like stinky armpit to me.) the vegetables and crackers and cheese were just right. I ended up having a cup of clam chowder and a lobster roll, and it was good, though the roll was huge and I ended up picking the lobster out of the roll. We left there and went back to LL Bean. I wanted to look around in there, and after dropping our bags off at the car, we did just that. We were in there for ages. I picked up several shirts and a nightgown, and then I couldn’t decide if the nightgown was cute or grandmotherly, so I tracked Debbie down to get her opinion. (Her verdict: cute!) Debbie had an LL Bean gift card and she wanted to buy shoes, but she was having a hard time finding shoes that fit well. She ended up being helped by a saleswoman who measured her feet and she discovered that there was quite a size difference between her two feet. I mocked Debbie’s feet, telling her that she was deformed and a freak of nature. Then I decided to measure my feet, and found that my right foot is a size 8…. and my left is a size 7 1/2. I guess she’s not the only freak of nature in the family! When we were done looking around, Debbie and my mother went down to the first floor while I went to check out. On the way to the cashier, I stopped and looked at a Berber mock turtleneck (it was less than $20 in the store; I don’t know why the web site has it at $29.50) I’d looked at three or four times during the course of my browsing, each time picking it up, holding it against myself, and ultimately deciding that a large just wouldn’t be comfortable. It was on sale – marked down by 50% – and I really liked the color and the fabric. This time when I picked it up, I once again looked for a size XL, once again didn’t find it, dithered, held it up against myself, then decided that you only live once, and I carried it to the checkout with me. I don’t even know how many shirts I bought in that store, and every damn one of them was on sale. There’s no reason on earth I should ever have to be cold again, given how many warm shirts I bought. We left the LL Bean parking lot, reluctantly giving up our parking space – I said “This is such a good space, I almost want to call Dad to come get us so we don’t have to give it up!” – and headed to the other end of Freeport, where The Pet Pantry is located. We didn’t stay there long, because we were rapidly approaching the too-goddamn-much-shopping line. I got a neat cat bed that’s filled with shredded plastic bottles, and I would provide a link, but it’s already on the way to Alabama, so I don’t have it handy. When I do, I’ll share it with y’all. My mother dropped Debbie and I at Debbie’s house. I was so freakin’ cold from all the walking around and because the insane people in my family keep their houses at sub-zero temperatures, so I kept whining about how cold I was, ’til Debbie gave me her slippers to wear and she and Brian piled me up with blankets and I put on Brian’s hat until I warmed up. 06DSC05088 (flickr) 06DSC05092 (flickr) Liz showed up after she finished work, and while Debbie cooked pancit (which I’d already cut up the steak for, I wasn’t a TOTAL slug) Liz cooked lumpia, and we watched the entertainment channel for information about what was going on with Britney Spears. 06DSC05103 (flickr) In between the cooking and the eating and the watching, we talked and talked and talked and TALKED about everything under the sun. We were talking about someone in particular and Debbie was trying to come up with a word to describe them, and used “self-centered” and “needs to be the center of attention” as descriptors, but the closest we came was “Sucks all the oxygen out of the room”, which was my contribution, as it’s my new favorite phrase. Is there a single word that encompasses that phrase, anyone know? After dinner, we had birthday cake (a joint celebration of my birthday and Liz’s, which was on the 30th), then Liz went out to warm up the car and I did the dishes. Debbie declared that the barn coat I’d bought at Bean’s on Saturday was good for Alabama, but given how frigid the last few days had been, I needed something warmer. She had a Columbia jacket Brian had outgrown, and had me try it on. Though it was marked Men’s size large, it has to be mislabeled, because it fit me like a dream. I say it has to be mislabeled because when we went to Rhode Island on Thursday, my mother lent me her Columbia women’s jacket, size XL, and it was easily two sizes too big for me. So in the course of one week, I bought a $60 barn coat for $45, bought a spring coat marked down from $70 to $38, and was given a $200 jacket for nothing (though Debbie didn’t pay $200 for it, because Debbie doesn’t ever pay full price for ANYTHING, she’s got a nose for excellent sales, that one – she got it for $20 at TJ Maxx). I’d say I’m all set on the outerwear front. Liz dropped me off at my parents’ house, and though I’d intended to go to sleep fairly early, I ended up staying up late, finishing my entry. Saturday morning I got up around 8, showered, greeted my niece Mireya, and then started packing boxes of stuff to mail home. It wasn’t until I had everything laid out on the bed that I realized just how much stuff I’d bought. I ended up with four boxes of stuff to mail home, and a box to send the spud. There’s a UPS store near Debbie’s house, so I borrowed my car and drove over there, then called Debbie to see what she was doing. She was awake and told me to come over, so I did. We ended up going to Target and then to Village Candle, and I ended up making a bunch of impulse purchases and since half of what I was buying was fragile, I had it mailed home.) Debbie was wanting an electric wax potpourri burner, a small one, and she suggested that we run to Yankee Candle in Freeport. She called my mother, and that’s when I realized I’d effectively disappeared with her car for three hours (Target is such a time-suck). RUDE. We ran her car back to Lisbon Falls, talked to her for a few minutes, and then she took Mireya to the fabric store (she’s making pajamas for Mireya) and Debbie and I headed for Yankee Candles, changed our minds when we saw the traffic going that way, and went back to Target instead. The bag I bought at LL Bean on Friday was intended to be my new laptop bag, and there’s a center section where the laptop will fit nicely, but it’s not padded, so I wanted to look for a laptop sleeve. Debbie wanted a mat to put in front of her litter box. We browsed for ages, then went over to the shoe store and then to the dollar store, and then Debbie declared herself to be shopped the fuck out. We went to Debbie’s house for a little while, and I snapped a million pictures of her cats because they are so freakin’ cute. 06DSC05121 Tigger does Tony Soprano. (flickr) 06DSC05105 Debbie holds Punki in a most undignified manner. (flickr) 06DSC05122 “Hellew.” (flickr) 06DSC05140 (flickr) 06DSC05130 Keeping an eye on his sister. (flickr) When Brian got home, we left for my brother Tracy’s house, arriving a little late. The last time I was in Maine, Tracy made carne asada, and it was so damn good, he made it again. We talked and ate chips and salsa (it was habanero salsa and while it was hot, it didn’t burn the skin off the inside of my mouth the way the shit Fred likes to eat does), and then I spied the guacamole and that was it for me. The man makes an amazing guacamole – at the age of almost-40, I’m coming to realize that I actually do like guacamole if it’s made right – and I couldn’t get enough. If there’d been canning equipment available to me, I would have whipped it out, canned that stuff, and brought it home with me. I think I said it before, but I’ll say it again – I really like Tracy’s house a lot. The layout, the overall style. The living room is cozy, I really like the basement, and the upstairs consists of the master bedroom, a well-lit study (with an ocean view), and a bathroom that makes me drool with envy. We didn’t get to see Tracy’s cats, because my parents had brought Benji with them and the cats don’t much care for dogs – or strangers, really. 06DSC05220 (flickr) 06DSC05196 Looks gross, tastes like a little bowl o’ heaven. (flickr) 06DSC05195 (flickr) 06DSC05178 (flickr) 06DSC05176 (flickr) 06DSC05184 (flickr) When Tracy fired up the grill, the flames shot a little high and then the local volunteer fire department showed up in response to a call. They actually seemed a little disappointed to find that the house wasn’t aflame. We ate and talked and ate and talked, and I got cold and put on my formerly-Brian’s-now-mine jacket to warm up, and we talked and watched Mireya, and then we ate a little more for good measure. Benji ran around and then Brian showed off his dog whispering ways. 06DSC05232 (flickr) After a few hours, we headed out, and as I was thanking Tracy profusely for dinner, he said “The last time I made carne asada was when you were here this summer.” and I said “Sounds like a new tradition to me!” Brian and Debbie and I stopped at Coldstone Creamery on our way back to Debbie’s house and picked up ice cream for ourselves and for Liz as well, then I called to let Liz know we were on the way. She met us at Debbie’s, and we sat and ate ice cream and talked about interesting topics such as farting (she has never farted in front of any of her boyfriends, if you must know.) and more Britney. We didn’t stay at Debbie’s for long, because Liz and I were both tired and ready to go home and go to bed. For the first time all week, I was asleep before midnight. I woke up at 3 am having to pee, and as I walked through the house I realized I was feeling chilled, like I was about to come down with something. Since then, I’ve sneezed several times, and I suspect I’m either about to come down with something, or my body’s fighting off a cold or flu. FUN. I got up a little after 8 this morning, took my shower, puttered around, and then my parents and I headed for South Portland. Debbie and Brian were supposed to meet us there, but apparently Debbie had a brainfart and didn’t realize we weren’t picking them up until we were about halfway there. She called to let us know that they’d be a little late, and arrived about fifteen minutes after us. We had breakfast and I opened my birthday present from my parents – socks (don’t laugh, they were really good socks from LL Bean) and money – and then my father and Brian headed for home, and Debbie and my mother and I hit the mall. We went into Best Buy first because the laptop sleeve I’d bought at Target was too big for my laptop (which wouldn’t be a big deal, except it meant that it wouldn’t fit in the new laptop bag I had). I found one, paid for it, and then we went out into the mall to do more shopping. At one point, Debbie and I went into a store – I can’t remember the name, or I’d say it), and saw a misspelled sign that amused us. I got out my camera, took a picture, and we continued browsing. After a couple of minutes, a woman called “Excuse me. EXCUSE ME!”, and I said “Yes?” and she said “We do not ALLOW pictures to be taken in our store!” and I said “Okay.” I was waiting for her to demand my camera so she could erase the picture or confiscate my memory stick, but she just went back to what she was doing. Debbie and I browsed for minute more, Debbie said “Harrumph. That pisses me off. Let’s LEAVE.” and we did, joking about taking her picture in front of the store. 06DSC05237 (flickr) We made a few more stops – I had to visit the book store, of course – and then we left the mall. 06DSC05236 I said to Debbie, “I cannot believe a women’s size large from LL Bean’s fits me!” and Debbie said “That’s because what you REALLY need is a medium!” I might have fit into a medium, I’ll give her that, but I would have been exceedingly uncomfortable wearing it. (flickr) We went to the Curtainshop, because my sister and mother had read of my curtain travails and thought I could look around and get some ideas. I ultimately bought some valances for the bedroom. I like them, but won’t know ’til they’re hung up how I’ll like them. My mother bought some roman shades for their guest bedroom and now that I’ve seen roman shades in person, I kind of like them. We left Portland, dropped Debbie off at home, and then came back to my parents’ house. My mother napped in her recliner, I did some surfing and some reading, and at 4:40 we headed for Brunswick. Dinner at our favorite Chinese buffet, lots of chatting and eating ensued, and we were back home by 6. And now I believe I’ll post a few more pictures and toddle off to the bedroom to read ’til it’s time to talk to Fred. I am now commencing my week off from journaling, and will be back on January 14th. In the interim I’ll turn 40, and if life actually begins at 40, I’m not sure I can handle it. Life at 39 has been pretty fucking cool already. See you on the flip side; y’all behave! 06DSC05169 (flickr) 06DSC05171 Who would keep a watchful eye if not Benji? (flickr) 06DSC05227 I think this is about my favorite picture EVER of my sister. When I get it home, I shall print it out and frame it. (flickr)


Previously 2007: No entry. 2006: “Oh. Were you gone?” 2005: No entry. 2004: No entry. 2003: “Ohhhhh,” I finally said, the light dawning. “It’s a comedy.” 2002: No entry. 2001: No entry. 2000: No entry.]]>