December 31, 2005


Today is New Year's Eve and what better tradition than to construct a list of intended improvements for the year 2006? I've never researched the origin of Resolutions for the New Year or even written a list, because, frankly, I've never been a resolution enthusiast. This year, however, in my new city launching into my second year together with Craig, really together, and as I near my 29th year of life (nevermind the fact that I still have 3 whole months and half of another remaining in my 28th year) I have deemed it a reasonable personal accomplishment to first create a list of pending resolutions and then attempt to carry through with it.*Before all that, I want to send a very warm and sincere thank you to all of the family members and friends who embraced our arrival for the Holidays. Craig's parents picked us up in downtown Chicago last Wednesday evening, where we stood looking like frozen vagabonds at an intersection wearing hoods and scarves and huddling around our luggage in the very chilling winds blown in off the Lake. It was as though we have completely forgotten we are Northerners, after only one brief year in the South. Nevertheless, Craig's parents treated us so well, fed us good food, watched a handful of movies with us in the cozy warmth of their living room, exchanged nice conversation with us and gave us good gifts. We missed Craig's sisters who were both in different zipcodes with their families. Christmas Eve I learned about oplatky and pierogi, and Christmas morning I attended my first ever Catholic mass. Christmas afternoon we drove to Greenwood, IN for the last time ever (my parents leave for Michigan shortly after the start of the New Year) and it snowed, glowing white perfect snow! My parents and brother and nephew hosted an informal yet comforting Christmas day dinner, and we spent the next couple of days there. I pawed through stacks of old paintings, some watercolor from Mr. Jones' class in high school, some oil from intro to painting at Indiana U. I collected a small number of them to carry home with me, more for the sake of sentimental value than anything else. Our last day in Greenwood we visited my long lost friends EL and EL (one female EL and one male, my old CG friends, female EL was my freshman year roommate at IU and I had the pleasure and honor of standing up in their wedding before they moved to Chicago...male EL went to Purdue so they are also a "house divided," as are Craig and me) (duly note that it was discovered long ago that female EL's father is a Craig Edward, too, if memory serves me correctly, and I love things like that, little happy coincidences!) Anyway, these two E's just invited their baby girl into this world and this was my first time meeting her. She's an absolute angel, a precious little wonder. Being with the two E's again reminded me how indescribably nice it is to have friends in this mean life. Friends are what numb the mean part, the way the world can be so harsh. Knowing them as long as I have is so relieving, being able to sit in male EL's parents' home and hold their child and talk to them as if the 3 years we haven't seen each other never even passed.*Following our visit with EL and EL, we traveled to Fishers to visit Craig's younger sister who had returned with her husband to Indianapolis from their visit with his family. Craig had also managed to gather a group of his college friends from around the way, so we all went to a newly opened microbrewery and ate dinner. Craig has this one friend who just positively makes me laugh, not in a joke telling or wry sense of humor sort of way, but in a very random Are we really talking about this? sort of way. He is this big guy, not overweight but tall and thick, and his face, as I tried to explain to Craig, always has this smile playing around his mouth and eyes, like he is ready to smile the minute something that constitutes smiling is said. We were talking about recipes and he described a few soups (were we really talking about soups??) he's been making. His wife is constantly rolling her eyes at him and they are really quite the attractive couple. Anyway, we had a good time, but I felt terrible that we didn't have much time with just KB and BB. They are always so great to be around, and I know they understood that Craig likes to see every single one he can when back in the Midwest, but it still would have been great to see the two of them longer and without the distraction of a big group. KB described to us this very exciting side project she's working on with another woman, involving providing professional nutritionist consultation to companies and individuals. I really hope it goes well for her, but my imagination ran wild with what they're doing and by the time we got on the plane the next morning to return home, I had her consulting Jake Gyllenhal and Josh Hartnett, and introducing me to both.*So anyway, we're back safe and sound, and we've redone our bedroom with the gift cards we received from family. Yesterday I discovered that I had a week's pay lingering about from my previous employment and I believe Craig and I will be putting that toward the new Dell computer we intend to buy. That brings me to the miniature list of resolutions I've been composing in the pocket of my brain I was not using to write this entry. Item one relates to the stack of books I posted above. I've been making much fun of myself for these recently, to friends and to myself, all of my How to Write books, including the Oxford dictionary I was given for high school graduation by my yearbook advisor Mrs. Anthony, the green Practical Stylist grammar book I believe I purchased for Mrs. Davis' honors English class, and the poetry instruction books I purchased for Ms. Bowman's workshops in college. I also added to this stack my journals: the two ontop of the stack are full, the bottom journals are either half begun and abandoned or trailed off midstream, what have you. This stack represents very explicitly my single greatest interest. I have been talking for years about how I can and should write, but what I need to focus on is a small accomplishment, working my way up the accomplishment ladder (instead of trying to write 50,000 words and move from Georgia to Virginia all in one month, which I barely managed to even approach much less complete!) Therefore, one of my resolutions for the New Year is to complete a short story and a poem. That isn't too much to ask of myself, and it may lead me to longer works, but initially, at least, I will start there. I will be looking into fiction classes at the Visual Arts Center down on Main Street; these begin mid-January. Taking a class provides me with a more disciplined approach to the process of writing. Following this resolution is a physical self-improvement one. Craig and I have a fitness center exactly next door to our apartment. I am winded when I climb 3 flights of stairs. I'm 28 and struggle to climb 3 flights of stairs?? My jeans from 3 years ago remain in a neat stack unworn because after going on the pill and gaining that weight last year, I can't stuff my hips or gut into them any longer. Craig has wanted desperately to get on a work out schedule for months, and it hasn't helped him that I make giant dinners and feed him big portions and don't share his desire to hit the gym. Resolution two, therefore, consists of getting into shape, unearthing that semi-decent stomach I used to have without ever trying for it, and developing a better diet for myself and for Craig. I don't want to get too carried away with resolutions, so the final very significant change I need to make is to climb out of financial misery. I was able to make two substantial dents in credit card debt last year, but there are still very troubling issues I face. And now that I have my old job back, my old pay, increased, even, as I noticed yesterday happily, I should be able to really conquer my money matters. I had a very difficult time last year. I didn't even completely acknowledge the troubles I had, so, in an attempt to rectify the situation, I must focus and pay attention to my spending. If I am able to follow through with these things, I will allow myself to turn 30 in 2007. Sounds about right.*Happiest of Happy New Year to every person I know and love. And to those I haven't met yet.

December 21, 2005


I titled a note to AB this same noun. It acts as a double entendre for my recent haircut fiasco as well as, well, the Holidays. Trimmings, as in tree trimmings, or meal trimmings, and bad hair trimmings. The haircut did not fare well whatsoever. To begin with, shoulder length must have a different definition in Virginia than it does in other parts of the country. Or maybe salons vary in what they perceive to be the shoulders of a person, because frankly, when the cape was removed from around my neck, I noticed that my hair, which previously hung several inches past my collar bones, had been sheared to an inch or so below my chin. In other words, nowhere near shoulder length. But I kept my cool and thanked the stylist for her time. A week cruised by and each morning brought a new mysterious flip of hair in whatever direction it wished. By the weekend, actually the morning we departed for our daytrip to our Nation's capital, I concluded my stylist had done quite a number on my head. And so I did what most females feel reluctant and dread to do: called the salon back for a re-cut. To tie a shiny Christmas ribbon on my experience, when the stylist arranged me in her chair for my return visit, and nicely began to ask what she could do for me, she kind of did a double take at my hair and its awkward flips and she said, I cut this? As in, Are you sure I was the person responsible for the mess on your head? It gets boring from there, because basically, she wound up circling my head making grave attempts to repair what had been done, leaving me with now what I like to call, plainly, really short hair. I'm not sure about it, but luckily I've got Craig, who smiles sweetly and reminds me that I'm cute no matter what. Aww. Our trip to D.C. was successful, but I will maintain that D.C. in the winter is ugly. The blossoms and green in the spring really spruce up the place, to be honest. New York City, on the other hand, is never ugly, never. Not even with the current transit union strike which is stranding millions of New Yorkers and resulting in chaotic commuting throughout Manhattan. New Yorkers are amazing, they are a different breed of human. They are strong, they are rocks. They combat adversity in a manner many of us Midwesterners might not reach within our lifetimes. I mean, they are walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in subzero temperatures to get to work. They are riding bikes, rollerblading, standing in lines for cabs! I've read a few mumbles of misery but overall the consensus of the people is Pay the Workers Better Wages, Give Them Medicine. Not, Get Back in That Booth or Bus Seat So That My Comfortable Life is Back to Normal Again. I feel and will forever feel much love for my Midwest upbringing, but people: we're not as strong as New Yorkers. Not in the same way, at least. I admire anyone who has survived anything living in New York. Nevertheless, back to D.C.: we had a brilliant day...toured the monuments (Lincoln is hidden behind scaffolding! Being restored! Sad KB! It's my favorite one...) and shot a handful of images with the new digital (but again, D.C. in the winter is not as attractive as in spring). We wandered through the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art as well as some rooms of the West, but the West Wing is so expansive, it could take months to properly pay respect to that museum. I basically wanted to direct Craig's attention to the magnificence that is Dali's Last Supper. Its location in the museum isn't necessarily prime--alone on a wall across from an elevator. But nevertheless, we beheld its beauty. Craig liked it. He smartly noticed that the disciples on one side mirror the disciples on the other, only one side of the table's guests appear aged and the other more youthful. It's a gorgeous painting, I could admire it for an hour. Dali's paint brush must have been soaked in brilliance and power, I can only imagine. The folds of the table runner are so real, and the broken bread, you want to touch it just to confirm it's actually a painting. Speaking of which, another misfortune is that it's behind glass. Paintings behind glass lose a little. In addition to Dali, we saw Modigliani portraits (see above for reference) and I love Modigliani eyes. They're so haunted. These, for instance, are blacked out, but you can feel the weight held in them. The other portrait I tried to keep in our camera was of Chaim Soutine, with one eye substantially higher than the other. It's an interesting effect. We saw a whole wall of Georgia O'Keefe flowers, several Picasso's, a room of Monet's including two from his Cathedral paintings, and a divine John Singer Sargent painting called "Street in Venice" which was my private favorite (I didn't even tell Craig). I stood there long enough to imagine a brief story of why the woman walks alone. I also noted how she could be walking a street in Venice today in those clothes, despite the fact Sargent painted this in the late 1800's. So anyway, our experience with the National Gallery of Art, while brief, was inspiring. Following that we debated which Smithsonian Museum to see. It was kind of Craig's turn to pick our next stop, so we headed into the Air and Space Museum, which, without being into Howard Hughes, the Wright Brothers or our Solar System, wasn't as thrilling for me, but he enjoyed himself, which mattered to me. By the time we exhausted that museum's resources, well, we were fairly well beat. So, we jumped back on the Metro and rode it back to the car, and battled our way back to Richmond (traffic leaving D.C. wasn't light but we managed). Altogether it was a good day, but we have a lot of return trips planned in our minds. There is an ample amount of learning to be done in D.C. A cute exchange took place between us as we walked along the Reflecting Pool. I spotted squirrels chasing each other and told Craig they were "political squirrels, one's a Republican and one's a Democrat." He corrected me, "One's a president and the other's an intern." He's funny. Now, in an hour or so we will leave for our Holiday travel adventure. My goal is to complete the James Frey book (finally!) because Craig got me the sequel titled My Friend Leonard. We're looking very forward to time with family, good food, conversation and time to just rest.

December 15, 2005


I offer a blurry view from our apartment window through spotted glass. I shot this photograph the evening of the Illumination of Richmond, which consisted of the city flipping the on switch to its skyline, with lights outlining each building. It wasn't as spectacular as we hoped but it woke up Richmond for an evening. This view faces south, but the city was illuminated west of our building.*My dreams in Richmond seem more lucid and epic than ever before. I mention dreams on occasion, and my memory thereof, because it's more unusual to remember them as frequently as I do, at least, from what I've read. And remembering them indicates stress, I've read. But what stress? What caused me to dream last night that Craig and I were scheduled to meet in an airport to fly to Waikiki, only, painted in cursive red across the body of the plane read "Wyki," a shortened name of our destination? And when I arrived at the airport, which was vastly different than any airport I've ever been in (I've been in quite a few in my day, I'd say...Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Hartford, Syracuse, Atlanta, Boston Logan, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Richmond, to name a few...oh, and Barbados, to include International travel...) Craig was not there as planned, and somehow I learned that he had overdosed on illegal drugs. The panic and fear that swept over me upon receipt of this knowledge is unforgivable. I do not forgive my mind for playing these sick subconscious tricks on me. I stood around wondering if I could save him, if I could get to him somehow, or should I just travel on to "Wyki" and wait for him to arrive, sober and clean. This dream coupled with the orange light that pours into our window in the middle of the night from the street lamps (or parking lot lamps) is a dangerous combination, because then I struggle to get back to sleep. When I dream Craig is in danger, I wake abruptly to see if he's breathing, if he is alright. What's strangest about this dream is Craig has never even done illegal drugs, much less come close to an O.D. It must be fragments of James Frey's book (which I anticipate finishing when we travel to see our families next week) and bits of nervous Holiday cheer pooling in my imagination to collide in a nightmarish manifestation.*Aside from the dreams that keep coming, I'm ecstatic about our Holiday travel itinerary. This marks our first Christmas together. Together translates as We're not buying plane tickets to see each other, we're splitting the Holidays between our two families, we shopped for gifts in the same stores in the same city, we get to be that envious couple I always see standing close to one another in an airport with their bags at their feet traveling to identical destinations. Maybe my dream was partially fueled by my overexcitement to get to be with Craig this Christmas. Our arrangement is not getting old to say in the least, not to me. Instead, each new adventure is prompting me to further understand why he is my companion. This weekend we plan to drive to Washington D.C., a short hour and a half drive from Richmond. Spending the day in D.C. with Craig will be indescribable. We love cities together in a way I can't explain. And being there, and here, and everywhere with him makes life much sweeter. For the Holidays, my wish for everyone I love is that he or she can experience the colorful glow of being next to the right person. Our story is long and spans a number of states, a number of regions of the country, even, and includes delirious laughter, exhausting arguments, the occasional stupid mistake and a lot of tight hugs, and I feel increasingly settled with our happy ending as it unfolds. The Holidays present me with an opportune instant to be this sentimental, now, don't they?*The gift shopping is complete; we must wrap and ship. We must pack for a week away from our new home. We depart Richmond next Wednesday the 21st for Chicago. We will spend the days leading up to Christmas with his parents in Whiting, IN. Christmas Day we will leave in a rental car for Indianapolis (Greenwood) to see my parents (for the final time, I suspect, in Greenwood, seeing as they are moving west of Ann Arbor, Michigan after the first of the interesting transition for them after 14 years in Indiana). One night we will also have dinner with Craig's sister and her husband, and mid-week we depart on a plane from Indianapolis. I doubt I will be able to sneak onto any computers and narrate the adventure midstream, but I will return with details, as usual. I'm toting along my journal from AB that reads "Atrocious Grammar and Misspelled Words" across the cover, or something similar. It's hilarious. I admitted to her that it is only a comical gift for someone like one of us who attempts desperately and painstakingly to dodge bad grammar and misusage of they're, their and there, and it's and its, and your and you're. And so on. She agreed. My thoughts are with her today and through the weekend; she lost a grandparent. The Holidays are no good times to lose loved ones (no times are good times for it). So, along with hoping the best for those I love, and fearing dreams and anticipating Christmas and wanting to just shove Craig's gifts under his nose so I can stop with the secrets charade (I hate keeping surprises from him, or from anyone, for that matter!) I am also sympathetic toward my good friend as she and her husband attempt to travel from Georgia to Indiana out of today's ice storm to tend to her family. The Holidays do this thing to all of us: provide our emotions with a light dusting of different kinds, happy, frightened, pleased, loved, loving, sad, tired. It's a matter of just getting through and enjoying the moments that we can.

December 12, 2005


One of my intentions with this journal is to never post images from a source that isn't either my own or a reproduction of a masterful artist, such as previously borrowed Francis Bacon works and miscellaneous quoted authors or songwriters. However, I will make an exception in this entry to better illustrate my morning and mid-morning conversations (including a fine example of the craftmanship of conversation held between Craig and me on our drive into work circa 7.15). Because Craig believes that short hair is attractive on women, and at the same time because I've been craving a cosmetic adventure for roughly a year now, I've decided that cutting my hair before the Holidays is an absolute Must Accomplish on the ever-flowing To Do List. Seeing as Craig and I have not completed our Christmas shopping, and the remaining gifts will be purchased in Short Pump, I developed what I determined to be a fairly decent plan to kill two proverbial birds with one stone. Thus I present KB's and CB's exchange of early Monday morning:
KB: "Do you think it would be inconvenient for you to drop me off at a haircut place while you finish Christmas shopping?" (in a sweet, not bossy tone)
CB: (fired up immediately) "YES, THAT WOULD BE INCREDIBLY INCONVEN..."
KB: (interrupting) "Okay, okay, NEVERMIND."
CB: (huge exasperated sigh) "IT WOULD TAKE ME AN HOUR JUST TO..."
CB: "I told you you don't have to go Christmas shopping, you could just..."
(transcript copied directly from e-mail to AB earlier today)
Now, much later in the day, or with the onset of evening, I have decided that this exchange (albeit slightly exaggerated) was quite comical and indicative of how cranky either of us can be on a Monday before 8 a.m. But I also see absolutely no reason why Craig could not accommodate me and my desires to be dropped at a Short Pump salon while he store hops right there in the same area and I shower myself with some much needed, much needed for the sake of people who have to look at me on a regular basis, beauty treatment...such as a cooler haircut than just lots of hair hanging straight down which is the mousy status quo. (Rather, its typical routine is to be wound in a rubber band and propped somewhere at the back of my head in the manner of a ponytail. Boring and not at all adventurous.) Moving along, after I informed AB of my intentions, she, ever-the-Cosmo-and-Style-Aficionado, lept to my rescue with e-mailed photos of divine hairstyles that I, no offense to AB and her purely innocent and charitable contributions to my cause, could never pull off, not in a million years. There is no amount of product or no highly-enough-paid stylist (hair artist) who could manage to get my hair to any of those places. Nonetheless, I decided to join AB in her Search for the Perfect Cut, and my ambitious detective work produced this woman's hair, which made me laugh heartily because immediately, and I do mean without delay, I copied and pasted this anonymous female's hair art photo into an e-mail to AB and I commented, "Hi, my name is Blonde Model. I just got my hair done like this but now I can't perform day to day duties such as cleaning, driving, working, and just plain seeing. But I look REALLY hot." And, in the spirit of making myself laugh really hard, I felt the urge to record this whole hair dilemma from beginning to end. And its conclusion, while open-ended, is that I did go ahead and set an appointment for tomorrow in Short Pump with a Senior Stylist. We will see how that pans out. PS--AB came up with some pretty good ones today herself, including her response to another haircut image I sent to her consisting of two curtains of hair down either side of the woman's face, which AB believes should come with the warning: "No Peripheral Vision." I literally yelped from attempting to hide the laughter that wanted to spill over.

December 11, 2005


Our weekend is coming to an end and we just finished Craig's spaghetti (makes great leftovers for work lunches the next day). We were actually amazingly productive this weekend, accomplishing a fair amount of Christmas gift shopping in Glen Allen, where the Virginia Commons Center is located. I managed to finish the bedroom, which consisted of unpacking one last miscellaneous box of books, tucking empty Rubbermaid bins into the closet where fitting, rearranging folded clothes of mine in the dresser drawers, and determining how to shove as many boxes as would fit underneath the beds without being able to see them. While I completed that mission, Craig actually went into the office for a couple of hours. Then Saturday evening we invited a couple of the guys from work to our place. I sat in stunned silence for at least one whole minute at the fact that the boys did not coo over how chic our apartment is. (AB, you will be required to make up for their inabilities or blatant unwillingness to gush over our place!) It was a reminder that boys just really could care less about that kind of thing. Anyway, following a few drinks here, we wandered into the heart of Shockoe Bottom where all the bars are located. We experienced 4 different bars: Lucky Lounge, Tobacco Factory, Sine (accent over the e) and Wonderland. I would review them individually but that wouldn't be too thrilling to read. Basically, the highlight for me may have been at Wonderland, where the wall behind the bar bears a life sized painting of the Captain character from the Rob Zombie movies (just his head). Notably, this particular place contains the tougher side of Richmond, the bikers, the pierced. We ended our evening at this place but the whole time there I couldn't stop eyeing that painted face, laughing to myself that if it weren't for Craig I would never have rented a Rob Zombie movie, and if it weren't for the Rob Zombie movie I would not have been able to recognize the spooky clown guy painted on that wall. I also introduced Craig to a Very Pierced-Faced Girl at the bar as "the coolest guy I have ever met." This morning Craig and I woke up and headed on foot to Millie's Diner, which, I confirmed today at our second Millie's breakfast, is the neatest diner I've been in for breakfast maybe ever. Not long ago I read a review somewhere of the place that instructed Wait if you must, implying that there really isn't an alternative to Millie's, so just wait for it. So this morning we experienced the wait while we sipped coffee out front with others waiting. What Craig and I noticed is that everyone was drinking a morning cocktail. In fact, when Craig went to put our names in, the guy at the end of the bar counter asked him, Can I get you a Bloody Mary, Screwdriver or Mimosa? Craig told me he stared at the guy stupidly, which prompted the guy to ask further, Coffee, OJ, water...? (We opted for coffee for the wait). Seemingly, anyway, it must be a Richmond brunch tradition around here that an adult beverage accompanies your eggs. Millie's is, I must go ahead and say so, better than Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta. The wait staff and cooks (chefs in short order cooks' clothing) are out of a movie, they play music during breakfast in the background (who does that?) like this morning's music mix which consisted of varying oldies blended with an occasional White Stripes or Prince song. The place smells incredible, like good food and coffee. The walls are decorated with eclectic art and over the Exit sign hangs Craig's favorite sign, a wooden painted thing that promises "Free Beer Tomorrow." (Funny). And after being seated in a booth, we both went ahead and ordered a single round of Screwdrivers. Hey, when in Rome, right?

December 07, 2005


I knew it would be several days until I was able to return to this, but it's been an eventful several days. Last week was hasty; I finished my job, packed the remaining strewn items in our near-empty Vinings apartment, hurried to Douglasville (if one can do such a thing driving southbound on 285 and westbound on 20) and attended a little adios dinner with the B's and R's. AB gave me this incredible travel cooler complete with various items (all which were listed on a print out that she had composed) to accompany my travels to Richmond. And the R's paid for my steak and beers. I stayed at the R's so that I did not have to return to the shell of an apartment and sleep restlessly on the floor the night before my drive. Then Thursday Craig did not work, rather, the movers arrived in Richmond with Our Things. And I launched into my 9 or 10 hour drive to Richmond from Atlanta. Driving such a distance solo is excruciating. I mean, there are worse things, but certainly driving alone through several states doesn't rank high in my book of Good Things. Nevertheless, after battling out of the city for an hour, several followed hours of lonesome cruising, a brief lunch with old friends in Charlotte, NC, and a continued second leg of a handful of hours, I rolled into Richmond. When I shut off the car and met Craig in the parking lot of our new building, I felt like collapsing into a heap of exhaustion, but Craig's nice smiling greeting lifted me and I felt further motivated to climb the enclosed stairwell to our new apartment. I couldn't contain my relief and excitement...relief that our place was as completely incredible as we remembered it to be, and excitement that our place was as completely incredible as we remembered it to be! I'm still, almost a week later, in disbelief that this is our apartment. I love it (and I know Craig does, also). Anyway, I'm not overly talkative because our days at work (my old job now new job...the company was extremely gracious to take me back after my year with someone else in Atlanta...) are longer made by the sheer fact that it's dark when we leave (we've been riding together...snow has fallen! Craig takes care of me...) and it's dark when we return home. It's the same for everyone who works a normal day during the winter: draining, work fills the whole day. But I did want to record a very classic few moments, moments which lack conclusion, between Craig and me that will live long beyond our stay in this apartment. I've already explained the background of this building. It contains certain levels of nervous energy for us, despite how well we like it (love it). Anyway, our first night we were so tired we slept like rocks. But our second night, after I spent an entire day pawing through 4 feet tall kitchen boxes overstuffed with stiff brown paper wrapped around each individual glass, bowl and spoon, and Craig worked, we went to bed kind of early. At 2.36 or thereabouts, a curiously loud crash woke me from sleep and I froze in stunned fearful silence. Did you hear that? I said out loud, unsure whether the sound had awoken him as well, and with zero delay, and filled with pending doom, Craig replied, Yeah, what was that? Neither of us felt eager to creep down our very long apartment hallway to find the origin of that sound. Actually, we have yet to determine the cause, but I did learn the next day during our shopping spree in Short Pump that Craig had envisioned a masked gentleman stumbling from door to door (our apartment is lined by a hallway filled with various doors leading to rooms, closets, a guest bathroom, and so on) and, in Craig's imagination, because of the number of doors the masked man would encounter before getting to us, we would have just enough time to push a dresser in front of our bedroom door to protect ourselves from the intruder. Thank goodness we have a large dresser sitting by our bedroom door, I say! Anyway, we're looking forward to a happy (and safe) stay here in Richmond. We will look out for each other. Besides, who wouldn't want to spend any number of months hanging around in this den of sophistication? It's not perfect, but it's certainly getting there.