Monday, November 26, 2007


Weary. Fatigued. Drained. Pooped. How can a person be this tired and still be alive? I actually fell asleep in the bathtub. That's right, I dozed off in a tubfull of hot water scented with white tea and ginger bubbles. And have lived to tell about it. In the last four days I have shopped to the point that a mere human would have dropped, worked 21 hours (ten of them today), visited Colleen and cats for an evening, fed my son leftovers too many times, and put away the Thanksgiving/Fall decorations. I have not yet begun the Christmas decorating madness, that shall have to wait another week or so. Though I'm not annoyed by those who have already begun lighting up the festive seasonal displays outside their homes. Yesterday was a perfect, mild day to do outside decorating and in these parts you must take advantage of such a day. I love this time of year. I love holiday baking. I love how all the various cultures and religions around the world put their own spin on the pagan solstice celebration of old. So many rituals, so many wonderful stories. There is room for them all!! I love all the lights and decorations from the garish to the elegant. But mostly I love the trees, evergreens decorated in every possible imaginable way. I put up as many as a dozen trees in my home, most of them small, only a couple of them large enough to sit on the floor. I wonder if Newton and Einstein will cooperate and leave the large trees alone. Last year I didn't put up the big trees thinking that the cats were really still kittens and would climb and plunder them. One of Steinie's favorite toys is an old tree ornament, a blue plastic faceted ball about the size of a tennis ball. I fear he may have made a generalization from the fact that I allow him to play with this ornament. That perhaps my tacit tolerance extends to all holiday decorations. I believe, however, that this would require a complex thought process even a cat named Einstein is not capable of. And this most definitely is the year that I will go through all of the holiday decorations, throw out the broken ones, give away the ones I'm tired of, and pack them all away at the end of this season in appropriate, labeled totes. At least that's the plan. But first I need to sleep. For a longer stretch and in a drier environment than my little nap in the bathtub.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day of Thanks

Let's see. I'm still in my pajamas. If I'd been thinking, I would have planned my life to never have to be anywhere prior to 10 am, just like one of the characters from Catch-22. I don't mind getting up early, particularly if a nap is anticipated later on in the day, but I love not having to be anywhere but here until a much more respectable hour. And on this national day of gluttony, football and thankfulness, I am thankful that I pretty much have the day off. I am thankful to have woken up in my comfortable, warm bed without the alarm clock screaming at me. I am thankful that despite the fact that I love to cook that I do not have to cook today. Two years ago, my first Thanksgiving as a soon-to-be single person, I looked forward to a day of self indulgence and quiet much like I'm experiencing today. I had several invitations for dinner at friend's homes. They were concerned that I not be alone and potentially depressed on a family holiday. They couldn't quite believe that I craved a day of solitude and quiet and I eventually caved and accepted one of the gracious offers. I did have a pleasant time. And the food was wonderful, the company congenial. But I would have been just fine at home on my own. On the road of adjustment to no longer being half of a married couple, there have been many difficult and lonely days or merely parts of days and nights. But never have these restless, sad hours fallen on a significant day on the calendar. They seem to pop up randomly, triggered by such subtle things as a photo or memory or smell. The late afternoon shadows of trees thrown across the backyard by a lingering sun sometimes has the effect of stirring up mixed feelings of anticipating an evening alone. Opening a bottle of wine that won't be shared, rather solitarily consumed even though out of habit I often pull two glasses out of the cabinet. I haven't spent a Christmas alone yet, eventually that may be the convergence of calendar and a feeling of unsavored solitude. But for now, after twenty years of sometimes a little too much togetherness, I am thankful for occasionally having a day to myself. As long as I choose to be alone I probably will enjoy it. It remains to be seen how I will feel if the seclusion is thrust upon me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Feasting, Etc.

There is nothing like the recent turn of the weather toward chilly that makes me want to cook up a storm. In the summer it's just too hot to cook, much less eat. I like to grill in the summer, and not just for the distinctive savoriness brought out in whatever is being grilled. Grilling keeps the heat out of the house as well as eliminating pesky pot washing after dinner. This time of year I become nearly as domestic as Martha Stewart. Though I do believe I am less anal and certainly funnier than Ms. Stewart. And I am capable of producing remarkable meals on a considerably tinier budget. Not to mention without the support of hundreds of assistants. I do love to bake pies. All kinds of pies. I have never met a pie I did not like. I have thought before if I win the lottery or for some other reason no longer find it necessary to work for a living that I would bake pies. Bake them and give them away. Randomly show up on doorsteps and hand the inhabitants of the house a freshly baked pie. Just for fun. Be the crazy pie lady. Bake pies and write novels. If I don't come into that large amount of money, I'll save it for something to do when I retire. And although I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year I will still bake pies. Pumpkin for my elder son and pecan for the younger one. They will be attending turkey day festivities with their father and his side of the family. Freeing me to have a much needed lazy day at home. I plan to wear my pajamas until well past noon, consume chocolate, pie, and perhaps some wine, watch a movie or two, and construct a shopping list while perusing the ten pound Argus Leader that will arrive early Thursday morning. Anna and I plan to brave the Sioux Falls shopping venues Black Friday afternoon for holiday bargains. Personally, I'm more excited about where we might be eating lunch than the shopping!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I am a .7. That is to say, my waist-hip ratio is .7. Which, according to actual scientific studies, means I am not only highly attractive, I also am intelligent and more likely to produce intelligent offspring. This also sheds light on why I have so frequently been called a smart-ass. While I've never been particularly proud of being curvy, I have always been accepting of it simply because it is the package I am in. Regardless of my weight, which has known major fluctuations in my adult life due to college meal plan food as well as two pregnancies, I have always been hippy. Finding jeans that fit without that gap in the back waistband has always been a challenge. When I find pants that accommodate my rear the waist is frequently too large. I vow from this day forward to take pride in my curviness! To embrace my shape with acceptance and love! And of course, as always, hope that there is a man out there who wants to do the same.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Note to SJ

SJ is Sarah Jane. And while I feel a certain kinship with her, I have never met her face to face. I think we have narrowly missed meeting one another a time or two but that can't be substantiated. We have a few things in common. We know and adore the music and the members of the band AbbySomeOne. We are mothers. We love the Black Hills of South Dakota. Sarah is fortunate enough to make her home there, I yearn for the Hills from four hundred miles east and visit whenever possible. I'm sure we are acquainted with many of the same people. She is sensing something in the air, some kind of movement in an unexpected direction. I've been feeling something similar of late. I often feel as though my senses, especially the sixth and seventh ones, are heightened at this darkest time of year. That somehow the lessening of the sun's light brings my other sensory observations into sharper focus. I'm with SJ, there is something in the air, maybe a breakthrough of sorts. Maybe good news for someone we care about. Maybe a return to a happier place from the past, recaptured for the present. I don't know when, but I do know I will meet Sarah Jane. We'll get to know each other over coffee or a beer and marvel over the degrees of connections that conspired to draw us together. I already know that I like her and I wonder what she will teach me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Been To Spamalot

Where have I been for nearly two weeks!! Omaha, Spamalot, and working too many hours. It is Friday. It is pay day. I get to sleep in tomorrow! The pizza will be here soon. Double pepperoni for my son and Italian sausage and mushroom for me. My cat, Einstein, has an unholy attraction to plastic bottle caps. He wakes me up at 4 am playing bottle cap hockey on the laminate kitchen floor. And, yes, I bought a digital camera. I haven't consulted the owner's manual as of yet but I'm having a great deal of fun playing with it. I also recently purchased a device called the Furminator. It's a tool that removes excess fuzz from the cats, quite well, actually when they are cooperating with the process. With any luck this means I won't have so many clumps of cat hair to vacuum up. And Newt and Steinie should experience fewer expectorant hairballs. A good thing all around for all the inhabitants of this house. There is a beer with my name on it in the refrigerator. Well, it really has Mr. Leinenkugel's name on it, but I get to drink it. A little later I'll drool over Kyle Chandler on the television. If he were to show up on my doorstep bearing a pumpkin muffin with a sinful amount of cream cheese icing on top I would probably let him in. A lovely hot bath would also seem to be in order. I really should set the recyclable materials out to the curb next Friday or soon there will not be enough room to park the Subaru in there. I have a poem brewing in my head about the pitifulness of Friday night singlehood that is filled with beer, pizza, tv, and a bubblebath. I had best go and write it before it escapes.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Film vs Pixels

I should listen to myself when I give words of sage advice to my children. Never speak in absolutes! Which is something of a walking oxymoron all wrapped up in four little words. Never and/or always seldom apply to real life. But was I listening to myself when I said I would never abandon film when it comes to taking pictures? Apparently not. I love my film camera. It's a several years old Canon Sure Shot that takes terrific pictures. It is easy to operate, has just enough features to accommodate most photo-snapping situations, and is small enough to drop in my purse so that I won't miss too many photo ops. But I must now confess that I am flirting with pixels. The slippery slope began nearly two years ago when I lost my cell phone. When I replaced it there were several options available. I went with the latest incarnation of the phone I lost which was, of course, no longer available. I liked the idea of only having to partially learn a new electronic device, the new version being very similar to the old one. But it had a few fancy features. One of which was the best built-in antenna available at the time. Out here on the prairie where cell dead-zones are common, I appreciated this feature. It also had a digital camera. I have never really understood the point of taking pictures with a phone. Understand it or not, I was hooked. The immediacy of being able to immediately see the photo that was snapped was tantalizing. Mega-pixel immediate gratification. It was handy to snap a picture of a craft idea or a pillow design to steal. I took to snapping pictures of beautifully presented restaurant meals and funny personalized license plates. Current snaps of my sons and my cats doing cute things.The antics of friends at social gatherings and stupid human tricks. Pictures of a china cabinet I was trying to sell that I could show to possible buyers. Most of which were eventually deleted and replaced by others. There are a few that are remarkably good that I will eventually email to myself and actually make prints of for posterity or possibly even a local photography contest. I would have missed most of these photo ops with my film camera simply because I didn't have it with me or deemed the situation not worthy of film and developing costs. Digital is environmentally friendly! I have rationalized to myself. I haven't bought a digital camera. Yet. But I'm comparing specs and thinking about it. Naturally, I want a pink one. Probably a 7 megapixel model. Maybe Sony or Nikon or Kodak. There is something that the instant gratification of electronic photography cannot replace. And that is the Christmas morning anticipation of having an envelope of freshly developed prints in your hand, waiting to be opened and examined. Especially if the film has been in the camera for weeks, maybe months. Certainly there are duds and cut-off heads, reluctant and under or overlit subjects. But there are usually a few gems where a moment is captured beautifully and perfectly. Moments you were there for but had forgotten about. Moments that can be revisited and smiled over and shared with others. I hope that I don't abandon film when I ultimately move over into digital. I hope that I won't sacrifice an older but worthy process for convenience. Never say never.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I wandered through a couple of local retail establishments this afternoon. Christmas stuff is out on the shelves. This fact does not offend me, it's more of a source of astonishment. Or curious fascination. Or bafflement. Or something. I am amazed at the sheer and enormous quantities of stuff out there. Most of which I am not the least bit interested in purchasing. Particularly any item with a holidayish theme that requires batteries and has a switch that throws a normally inanimate something or group of somethings into motion. Along with the animation comes noise, sometimes tinny electronic music, or singing or possibly sounds derived from various members of the animal kingdom. You know, the things that kids or men (who are at the moment not under the supervision of their wives or girlfriends) will push the little red button and turn the damn things on! And these devices, ladies and gentlemen, cannot be turned off! Once activated, they go through their little routine and then shut off when they are quite finished, thank you. I suppose one could upend the offending machine and rip out its batteries. I just move to another aisle. I wonder, though, who buys all this stuff. And what compels them to part with their money to obtain the coveted items. And why the items are coveted to begin with. We like our stuff. As well as containers to properly sort and store the stuff. I like my stuff. Sometimes I'm quite amazed at the amount of stuff I've accumulated thus far. I'm currently in a cleaning out and lightening up the load kind of mode. Going through things and passing on what I no longer need or want to someone who might need or want more stuff. The ebb and flow of stuff. I'm keeping the pink flamingos.