Wednesday, December 31, 2008

OMG, I Have Bangs!!

Me. And Gin. Having a lovely time on New Year's Eve...hmmm...I think 2002. Or maybe '03. At Bob & Cindy's house. Has it been that long since I wore bangs? And why did I ever think bangs were a good idea? 2008 has been a long, strange trip with some prayers and questions answered, others sidelined, and new ones popping up here and there. Here's to 2009 and all the prayers and questions and answers it will surely encompass.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hypnotic Dirty Girl Scouts, etc.

So many rainbow colored shots, so little time. And as I opened my door and realized it's already tomorrow and crept off to bed, these song lyrics popped into my head.

Self-contained and self-content
No promises to keep
I've got things so together
That I just can't fall asleep
Walked the night and drank the moon
Got home at half-past four,
And I knew that no-one marked my time
As I unlocked my door.
It's really lovely to discover
That you like to be alone
Not to owe your man an answer
When he gets you on the phone
Not to share a pair of porkchops
When you crave champagne and cheese
And your aim becomes to please yourself
And not to aim to please
Oh they sold me when they told me
Two can live as cheap as one
But I'm learning twice you're earning
Doesn't mean it's twice the fun
If you spend your each dime and all your time
On someone else's schemes
I'm not needy but I'm greedy
And I live my deepest dreams
Take an hour in the shower
Use the water while it's hot
In the tub a hand to scrub my back
Is all I haven't got.
Self-aware with self-esteem
Is selfishness a crime?
I take the day for quite a ride
And I take my own sweet time
Time to spare and time to share
And grateful I would be
If just one damn man would share the need
To be alone with me.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twas the Saturday After Christmas

It's fifteen minutes til A Prairie Home Companion. I'm still in my pajamas even though I got up a little after eight this morning. A couple of hours ago I considered getting dressed. I would have put on sweats, so I thought, why bother? I just made a grilled cheese for the 16yo who claimed to be too stupid to do it himself. I like to reward creative excuse conjuring. I pulled the new microwave out of its box and set it up on the counter. The final arrangement of counter items is not complete since I need to get one of those tilted plug-in thingys to facilitate plugging it and the toaster into the outlet behind the microwave. The previous model is over 22 years old and was no longer up to many culinary tasks and took up too much space for its use as a kitchen clock and timer. So far I've made popcorn and heated up chili conqueso. Suddenly it makes complete and perfect sense to me that the fattening up of America has taken place along with the popularization of the microwave oven. Food! Hot! Eat! Now! Instant gratification eating. All those leftovers that used to get thrown out are now being consumed. No wonder we're fat! I also removed the small TV from the counter. I may miss the company in the kitchen so we'll see if it eventually returns at a later date. Other than that I've primarily been dinking around. Isn't that what Saturday is for?

December Deep Questions #1 & #2

If freak show is an accurate description of the dating world out there, since I am participating in it, does that make me a freak? Which reminds me of a line from a Hank Harris song, Piece of Light...

sometimes it feels like a freak show
nobody's rowing in your boat

Maybe I'm just a lone woman in a boat, rowing away in a sea of freaks. How far is it to shore?

Friday, December 26, 2008

From Santa's Bag to my Ears

My boys came through for me! All I wanted for Christmas were pink earbuds. And there they are. In all their pink, shiny glory. Does anyone else love the smell of new plastic?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

I love Christmas morning! Cinnamon rolls in the oven. Pachelbel's Canon in D playing. Boys still sleeping. I'm in my jammies and may still be in them well into Christmas afternoon. It's definitely a white one here, but I see only incriminating bunny tracks in the snow, no reindeer hoof prints. Santa-Mom did visit, however, stockings aren't just stuffed, they are overflowing. The oven timer calls! There are boys to rouse, rolls to gobble and trinkets to check out. I love Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cat's Pajamas


I can't believe how lost I am without a Sunday morning newspaper! I am going through crossword withdrawal! Due to the locally, regionally actually, foul weather the Sunday paper did not arrive today. So I'm baking banana walnut bread and taking pictures. From a couple of days ago, my goofy green-haired son with Einstein the cat.




An orange scone from Panera. One of the loveliest edibles on the face of this Earth.









Okay, so they're not really the cat's pajamas, they're my pajamas with cats on them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

December Rant #4

Stop telling me what a great sense of humor you have! Amuse me already!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December Rant #3

At the risk of seeming not grateful, even though I am grateful, I must get this out of my system. First off, I will admit that my snow removal efforts are minimal. I chip away at it and eventually do a passable job. My ex brought over his snow blower and cleared the snow off of my driveway. Which was a very nice thing to do. I thanked him. He said he had to. That picking up and dropping off our son was just too difficult and annoying with the mostly unshoveled state of my driveway. He couldn't do it just to be nice! In the process he found it necessary to belittle my snow removal ethic! If such a thing can be ethical. Passive-aggressive snow blowing. That's why I divorced him.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Tea



Nancy just wanted a little glass of wine. I'm so happy I could accommodate her wishes. The polar bear mug has become my favorite this season. I like his fancy necklace. I also like the fact that the cup holds nearly half a pot of coffee. Wine? Coffee? I thought this was a tea party! There was tea available! English Breakfast, Cinnamon Stick and Orange Spice, to be precise. So in addition to offering the appropriate size and type of container, I also like to provide a selection of beverages to go inside. It's all in an afternoon of being the (perfect) hostess.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Countdown

In approximately 40 hours, I'm hosting a Christmas Tea. Here. In my disastrously messy, only partially decorated home. And what have I done about it? Well, tonight I brought home take-out Chinese and sat around with the green-haired son and ate, yakked and listened to music and discussed many random and fascinating things. Right smack in the middle of this disastrously messy, only partially holiday decorated house. When in approximately 40 hours I'll have guests. And when you consider that I'll need something on the order of 16 of those hours for sleeping and nine of those hours for working, that leaves 15 hours for cleaning, decorating, and food preparation. Not to mention the time involved to clean, decorate, and dress ME! This is much too complex and difficult to consider right now. Think I'll have to sleep on it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So Proud

What can you expect from the son of a pierced and tattooed mother? Up until today he has been perfectly normal. At least from outward appearances. I was beginning to worry. Isn't it festive?








Sunday, December 7, 2008

!oH !oH !oH

Message observed from the backside of a local Santa themed holiday flag. This phrase could be used as a universal response to many seasonal situations.

* Only eighteen shopping days left!

* The in-laws will be spending an entire two weeks with us!

* That pink slip in my mailbox isn't an invite to the office holiday party?

* Mom, Santa's hands are cold!

* The family dog/cat/hamster tries to distract you from the mess under the tree by acting all affectionate by the back door when you get home.

*Mom, we baked cookies while you were gone! The smoke alarm really works!

*How Mrs. Claus reacts to the head elf's amorous advances when Mr. Claus flies off with the reindeer.

Make up your own! It's holiday fun for everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

December Rant #2

I've been sick all week. I ran my butt off for over 45 hours at work. Two evenings this week I only had tea and toast for supper. I have not been feeding my cold. I have not been overindulging, or even indulging, in treats of any kind. And yet I gained a pound and a half this week. At the very least, I'd think any weight gain should be offset by what I'm blowing out of my nose.

The Plan

You've got to have a plan, that's what I always say. It doesn't have to be a brilliant one. Not even a particularly good one. And if it's not working, having a back-up, or Plan B, is usually a good idea. Actually, I'm more of a winging it, seat of the pants kind of girl. I know what I want, more importantly I know what I don't want, but mostly I'm bewildered over how exactly to go about attaining what I desire. That must be why I enjoy shopping. I almost always have a list but at heart I'm a gatherer who peruses with interest whatever catches my eye. I wander about, sometimes aimlessly, until I stumble across, spot, or have fortuitously dropped into my lap precisely what I'm looking for. But with the deadline looming for the lab holiday party replies, I needed at least a facsimile of a plan. So not-my-daughter Nancy and I came up with one. We decided to turn in our invites requesting reservations for ourselves plus a guest! With nary a guest/date in mind. Hey, the party isn't until January! Anything could happen in the next month. After all, the season of miracles is upon us, right? Here is where the plan comes in. If we haven't secured a guest/date by the weekend prior to the party, we hang out on a downtown street corner with a sign.


Free Meal at the Shamrock!
Apply Here!
Must own a (clean) shirt with buttons
and shoes other than
the white athletic variety.
Must be willing to wear these items
for the duration of the evening.

If we don't get any bites, we'll attend together and eat one meal and doggy-bag the other. Another good thing is that the Shamrock is only four blocks from my home. Which means I can drink as much as I want and not worry about driving! No matter what the weather might be, I can walk, crawl, or slide those four blocks home. And it's mostly downhill. Like I said, you've got to have a plan. If you have a better one, please submit for my consideration.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Rant #1


Did you see that gorgeous crescent moon with Jupiter and Venus last night? It was an astonishing and beautiful sight in the southwestern sky. Gave me chills. Won't happen again until 2052, they say. Might be worth sticking around for. I can't believe the 16yo ate the ENTIRE bag of Lay's Classic potato chips! I am so annoyed! Can't eat just one indeed! Did they mean one chip or one whole bag? I had a Nyquil hangover til just after lunch today. The stuff clears up my ear congestion and helps me sleep but I seem to process it verrrrry sllooowwwly, making me feel slightly air-heady and disconnected for well over the twelve hours it is supposed to last. Alas, the pie is no more. One of the most wonderful things about holidays is having pie around for breakfast. If everyone could have pie for breakfast the world would be a much better place. It's snowing! Haven't caught a glimpse of the new neighbors yet but there are signs of activity. Various vehicles and trailers arrive and depart. There is a very tacky doghouse sitting on the strip of lawn between my driveway and theirs. They are painting the interior of the sunporch. White! How disappointing. Loved that dark red that's being covered up. And, no, I'm not window peeping, my patio door faces their patio door and I couldn't help but casually observe in the glaring light the ladder and stripe of white paint over the red. No people, though. Very mysterious. Yes, I mostly enjoy my job. But for crying out loud (-er than necessary) I am sick of planting test samples of seed corn!! And finally, I am not enjoying one little bit encountering those creepy, crawly, thousand-legged, inch or so long critters in my basement and having to dispose of them! Thank you for your kind indulgence, I'll be having my hot chocolate and heading off for bed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

End Times

Last night I was sitting at Lattitude 44 in Sioux Falls sipping a lovely glass of Shiraz and listening to Hank Harris. Through the tall window on the other side of the room the night was cut by the glare of neon from across the street. I leaned a bit on my barstool to see if I could see the source of the light. It was a twenty foot tall neon cross with the words Jesus Saves Sinners right smack in the center. I sat back and waited patiently for the lightening bolt.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thoughts


When I think about what I'm thankful for, what comes to mind often feels too obscure for words. Or maybe not profound enough to mention. But I'm mentioning them anyway. When I pick up the newspaper or listen to the news on the radio, I'm grateful to live in a peaceful little midwestern town. When I hear of the plights of the homeless, near or far away, I feel so fortunate to have a comfortable, cozy house to come home to. I'm thankful that even though I'm alone, meaning that I'm not in a relationship with a significant other, I'm not the least bit lonely. I'm happy about as well as grateful for the health and well-being of my two sons, and the mostly wonderful relationships I have with them. I'm thankful that I have a comfortable relationship with their father so their lives can be easier. In this time of economic hardship I'm thankful for my job. It's mostly tolerable, pays the bills and I spend my days with some pretty terrific people. Most days, despite the fact that I'm over fifty, I wake up feeling well and generally happy. With a little time, coffee and minimal grooming effort, I'm fit to be among others for the day. Little things are important. Chocolate. Hearing a favorite song. Hugs. Words via phone or email from loved ones near and far away. Noting that gas is well under two bucks a gallon. Hot bubble baths. Pie! Snuggling with a cat. Smiles from a child. I'm spending a quiet day alone at home. The boys are across town with their father and assorted relatives. I have slept in, assembled and foofed a new holiday tree, done some laundry, taken a leisurely bath, perused the paper for shopping bargains for tomorrow, and will soon head into the kitchen to bake pumpkin pies. Then there is a movie to watch, not sure which one yet, toenails to polish and most likely a glass or two of wine to drink. A thoughtful thanks for this day of contemplation and rest. Let's all pray (or meditate or whatever your chosen method is of tapping into a higher power) for world peace.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Corn-Utopia


It would seem that there is an overabundance of candy corn around here. Last week it was on clearance for a quarter a bag. I joked that by this week, they'd be giving you a free bag of the stuff with any purchase. Today as I drove past the local dollar store, their sign read, Free Bag of Candy Corn With $10 Purchase! I am now able to predict retail trends! Next week, no doubt they will be paying us to take a complimetary bag home with us if all we do is show up to browse the merchandise. If only they would do that with the Dove chocolates...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Week Ahead...

It has been a lovely, relaxing weekend. The 20 yo was around this afternoon for a cooking lesson. He has a brain the size of a planet but seems to just now be figuring out that eating in is much more economical than eating out, and real, homecooked food is vastly preferable to frozen and canned heat-in-the-microwave options. He can now confidently prepare a dish from his childhood, pasta with Italian sausage. If he learns a new dish a couple of times a month, soon he will be culinarily competent. His kitchen facilities are not up to gourmet feast preparations but they'll do nicely for now. Yesterday I shoveled snow all alone, yes, it was only an inch or so, while the 16 yo slept away the day with cold symptoms. He is much better today and didn't whine too much before focusing on his homework. Stuffing him full of buttermilk scones and bacon first was a good idea. Feed that cold! I'm presently storing up energy for what will likely be an eleven hour workday tomorrow. Visions of seed corn may dance through my head whilst I sleep tonight. I must go prepare clothing so all I have to do is sleepwalk toward them in the morning and pack up some snacks to take along to sustain me through the long day tomorrow. And I need to remember to pick up my license tabs at the courthouse before my current ones expire. I am so looking forward to a day off this Thursday and only a half-day of work on Friday. I just need to get through a seriously long Monday first.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Extra Plate


Last Saturday evening the 16yo and I ventured downtown for dinner. Cubby's was our destination, their succulent burgers and sweet potato fries were beckoning. I love going out to eat with the younger son. I no longer allow him to bring along his GameBoy DS for entertainment, he is forced into captive conversation with Mom. What horror of horrors is this? Talk to his mother? For an hour, maybe even more! Plus travel time! This is no problem for my boy. Unlike many other mothers (dads, too) who lament that all they can pry from their teenagers are monosyballic retorts, I sometimes have to ask my sons to hush! too much information! you're speaking too quickly for the language speed my ears are equipped to process! They wish to overwhelm my brain with more information about school, friends, the last thing they ate, video game music, video game trivia, the video game characters they currently have in various stages of development, the gross unidentifiable thing that one of the cats has coughed up (with any luck, on a hard, wipeable surface rather than an upholstered or carpeted one), some other programming thing they are working on, ad infinitum than I can possibly take in. But I digress. When our cheerful waitress brought the basket of boneless buffalo wings, she brought cutlery wrapped in napkins and plates. Three plates for just us two. Which made me think. About who might be there with us in spirit but not physically. I set the extra plate at the end of the table. For some reason I liked how it looked there, an unspoken, open invitation, ready to be claimed and filled. I thought about the Jewish holiday, I can't remember the specific one, where an extra place is set at the table just in case someone should appear at the door and be wanting. A reminder that in the midst of plenty, there is often a less fortunate soul nearby who doesn't have what they need. Eventually our waitress whisked away the extra plate along with the ones that we had used. But I liked the idea of the possibility of an unexpected guest joining us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Patient vs Stubborn

I have frequently described myself as stubborn rather than patient. While from the outside these qualities may appear to be similar, the internal is very different. The following is a list of synonyms for stubborn.

• hardheaded
• willful
• adamant
• adamantine
• headstrong
• inflexible
• intractable
• intransigent
• inveterate
• obdurate
• obstinate
• relentless
• unflagging
• unmoving
• unyielding
• resistant
• renitent
• cantankerous
• recalcitrant
• ornery
• resistive
• hardheaded
• willful
• dogmatic
• headstrong
• inflexible
• intractable
• intransigent
• inveterate
• obdurate
• obstinate
• perverse
• pigheaded (colloquial)

In contrast, these words are synonymous with patience.

• endurance
• forbearance
• fortitude
• imperturbability
• patience of Job
• resignation
• stoicism
• sufferance

Just as I thought. Patience is a virtue. Being stubborn is competitive patience. And I thought I confined my competitive nature to finding a great parking place and backgammon.





Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Process

I am a process sort of girl. I'm not goal oriented by nature. I love the process of accomplishing a goal whether it's mundane or sublime. Doing housework is right up there for winning the Pulitzer for the mundane, if such a prize exists, but I love the no-mindedness of the process. And I do appreciate a clean house. Road trips. I love road trips! Not just the arrival at the destination part, but all of the miles along the way. Is there an exception to prove this rule, you might be wondering. Oh, yeah, a big fat one. It's a particularly significant exception considering the fact that I am single. Dating!!! I don't enjoy the process! I just want to fast forward through all the dating process and land smack into a comfortable and passionate relationship! For my own amusement, I have been keeping a dating diary for the last three years chronicling this second foray into finding that someone I want to be with. It includes all sorts of juicy stuff like fantasies, crushes, reflections on getting over past loves, poetry inspired by such things, observations and even actual relationships I've pursued. At some point, either when I give up or actually find Mr. NPBPFM*, I'll turn the diary into a fabulous best-seller examining my personal process in the dating world. Unless Sex and the City already did that. At the current rate, publishing this tome looks to be years hence. Maybe long enough for SatC to be long forgotten. Or at least ready for fresh contemplation.

*Not Perfect But Perfect For Me

Friday, November 14, 2008

Being the Mom

This past week has been merely tiring, not exhausting like the previous week. There is finally a new lock on the back door, installed by yours truly. The furnace is working beautifully without all those nagging little clicking sounds. The 16 yo and his parents survived parent/teacher conferences. And I learned where the parent/child boundaries are drawn with the 20 yo son. Which is a good thing. For months I had felt as if he had drifted away from me and I recognized him less and less. I can very happily say now that our relationship is as solid and healthy as it can be. One of the hardest things for a parent to do is stand by and let their nearly adult children learn the lessons of life without interfering. It seems it was only yesterday that he learned the lessons of immediate danger, the hot stove, cars on the street, the basement steps. You want them to learn without being too traumatized. It's just that as they get older that line becomes less easy to identify. The evolution of the parenting process isn't always clear, but showing up when you're needed is key. Whether you're needed or just interfering is a tough call to make. Bringing love, no judgement and a friendly, open ear can solve most anything that used to be cured with a bandaid, a cookie or a kiss.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fill 'er Up!

I have to wait another fifteen minutes til bathtime so I thought I'd spend it with you. Now you must be wondering why I have a countdown. Why, you're thinking, if she wants to take a bath, she should just go on in there and get to it! Unless, there might be someone else in the tub, which would make it awkward. Especially because the only other occupant of the house is a 16yo boy. And I normally don't invite people over for a bath. Just seems a little forward. Or maybe just weird. The fact is I have something of a disparity between the size of my bathtub and how many gallons of hot water are available from my water heater at any given time. Why doesn't she crank up that water heater to maximum output, might be your next question. Because she's cheap! is the resounding reply! It just costs too much to keep that much water hot and ready at all times. Plus, the temperature of the water coming out of the tap is much too hot for human contact. To overcome this hot water quandary, I simply fill the tub about half full with just the hot tap on. Then I wait about half an hour, climb in to the just-right water, and add hot water from the now recovered water heater until it's up to my chin. Add a little white tea & ginger bubble bath, light a few candles and, ahhhh, it's steamy, fragrant bliss until my toes take on an appearance similar to what I imagine bleached prunes might look like. A nice long soak in the tub and flannel pajamas, maybe a big mug of hot chocolate. That's how we survive winter here on the prairie.

Friday, November 7, 2008

These Eyes & Mind Reading

Sometimes a song says it the way you would if only you were a brilliant and talented songwriter. And the oldies station we listen to in my department at work dredges up some songs that echo in a much different way in my head now than they did when I heard them their first time around. Before I had lived the experiences that give them a whole new connotation. There are two songs in my head in the last week or so that resonate for me emotionally not because I associate a particular live event with them. But because they now express precisely how I felt when my marriage was falling apart. Maybe because I have enough emotional and chronological distance from that painful time to understand what was going on. For both of us. Thanks to Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman of the Guess Who and Mr. Gordon Lightfoot for shining some light into one of the darkest periods of my life. Excerpts from These Eyes and If You Could Read My Mind follow.



These eyes watched you bring my world to an end

This heart could not accept and pretend
The hurtin's on me yeah
That I will never be free no no no
You took a vow with me yeah
You spoke it you spoke it babe

If you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie, 'bout a ghost from a wishing well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong with chains upon my feet
But stories always end
And if you read between the lines you'll know that I'm just trying to understand
The feelings that you lack
I never thought I could feel this way and I've got to say that I just don't get it
I don't know where we went wrong but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Burger King, Gordon Lightfoot & Dilbert

The furnace is working again. Well, sort of. It is creating heat but with an assortment of odd clunking and clicking noises. I have left yet another message for Brian the Furnace Guy and hope he can silence the clanking while preserving the heat. So far this week I have survived parent/teacher conferences with the 16yo, snow, slush, paying the second half of my property taxes, being seriously annoyed with a co-worker, and finally, consuming a Burger King hamburger for the first time in twenty years. A Whopper Jr. Which, if memory serves me correctly, was the same burger I ate last time. Not the same, burger, but, you know, the same kind of burger. Is it okay to use four commas in a sentence? Oh, yeah, and Barack Obama is going to be our next president!!! Why did I just think of Gordon Lightfoot? I remember years ago buying a Gordon Lightfoot album for my boyfriend for Christmas. A vinyl album! One of those big, round, flat discs that you spin on a turntable and apply a needle to in order to reproduce the music. That you have to turn over and dust off and be careful not to scratch or warp or it won't play correctly any more. Oh, and these items were very difficult to wrap in a way that would properly disguise what was inside. So I found a box, a pretty big box in which to wrap the record. It was a box that a pair of boots had originally been packaged in. And the boyfriend's brother-in-law got the biggest hoot out of a Gordon Lightfoot record being all wrapped up in a boot box. That was a long way to go for a not particularly amusing pun. This is an excellent example of the random stuff that rattles about in my brain. The 16yo and I have taken to referring to the funnies in the newspaper, which often actually aren't all that funny, as the mildly amusings. Although Dilbert was truly laugh-out-loudable today, so I will leave you with Catbert, Evil Director of Human Resources.

...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Must be Monday

I ate cookies for breakfast. Not because there wasn't better breakfast fare, and they weren't even cookies I'm particularly fond of. The furnace isn't working. Not that it's an enormous problem when we're experiencing temps in the upper sixties. But the furnace guy hasn't called back and it's bound to get colder sooner than later. The 16yo called me at work this afternoon to inform me that his key broke off in the lock when he got home. So he was calling me from Zack's house. Upon arrival home the remote did not work to open the garage door. I knew it wouldn't work. It hasn't worked since last Thursday. But I keep forgetting to bring it into the house and put new batteries in it. I examined the aformentioned lock. With a screwdriver, vice grips, and a section of the broken blade of a coping saw I extricated the key from the lock and got the door open with my key. Moments later the 16yo arrived from his walk around the block and was overjoyed that Mom had triumphed over the broken off key. He was walking around the block because his crabby Mom suggested that if all he was going to do was pace about and sigh deeply, he should go for a walk while Mom was busy swearing. He fetched the mail from across the street and the newspaper from the front deck, too. He really is a very wonderful boy. Could it be possible that I packed a week's worth of aggravation into just one day and the rest of this week will be smooth sailing? One could only hope.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Who'da Thunk It?

To start off November on a seriously weird note, here is a link to ponder. From my seriously weird and very dear friend Erik, take or leave this decorating tip. For some of us, Halloween isn't just one day a year, it's more of a lifestyle.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


Some people get dressed and go to work. In their normal clothes. Even on Halloween! How dull! Given my propensity to stretch out a celebration just as long as I possibly can, I started dressing for today on October one. Just a festive t-shirt or Halloween-themed earrings or socks for the first three weeks of the month. Since Monday I've been building up to today with a greater concentration of costume pieces, arriving at today fully garbed as the mistress of the underworld. Some speculated as to what color my underwear might be since I have a reputation for a certain degree of (some say obsession with) coordinating my clothing. Another thought that perhaps I was wearing no underwear at all. I'll deal with her later, maybe by having her sign a little contract involving ownership of her soul after a few glasses of wine...I was greeted by a coworker with a joyous "go to Hell!" soon after my arrival. Had a few costume malfunctions with occasionally losing my tail since it was only tucked, not pinned. When I found myself carrying rather than swishing my tail this afternoon, I handed it over to a cute guy who held it for a moment and looked at me quizzically as he wasn't sure what he should do with it. I held out my hand and took it back, smiled, and said that he could go and tell all of his friends he got a little tail at work today. He grinned and blushed just a teensy bit. Leave 'em grinning and blushing, that's what I always say. I love that our sexual harrassment policy contains the key word unwelcome. I did win the vote for best costume just a few minutes later and was presented with a ten dollar gift card for our local Dairy Queen. Leaving visions of Blizzards (with peanut butter cups and Reese's Pieces) and footlongs smothered with chili and cheese dancing in my head. Which (witch?) isn't a bad way to start out the weekend, if you ask me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stay Tuned...

I'm experiencing technical difficulties with the Viking Warrior Princess costume. For one thing, a fur and flannel outfit with tights, boots and a long skirt is going to be much too warm to wear to work. Normally it's a little chilly this late in the fall so I thought Nordic attire would be appropriate! But no! And with the weather forecast for tomorrow being quite similar to today, I have found it necessary to rummage through the costume closet and come up with something more suitable for the relative temperature. Just think warm. Very, very warm. And, well...south, so to speak. Photos tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Geometry, Baby!

The Most Famous Fractal
I'm not much of a mathematician. I can do the important stuff like keep my checkbook in order and estimate how much wallpaper I need. But I leave the theoretical stuff to the experts who are trained in that discipline. Like people who have an enormous dry erase board in their living room that's covered with indecipherable squiggles and numbers that they will occasionally experience some sort of epiphany over and erase a tiny area and substitute some other symbols that for some reason known only to them, seem more appropriate. I have always approached math from a more aesthetic point of view. I enjoy the interesting intricacies such as the powers of two and perfect squares. The Fibonacci sequence I find particularly fascinating, a string of numbers in which any number is the sum of the previous two numbers. And now, I am in love with fractal geometry. At last, a branch of mathematics that can measure and explain nature. It's no surprise that the man who first described fractals was considered a nut case and was shunned and ridiculed by his colleagues. But we have Benoit Mandelbrot to thank for inventing fractal geometry. This, in my opinion, qualifies the man for sainthood, or at least my personal reverence. I would bet that at a dinner party, he's the most interesting guy at the table.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Checking Out

I remember reading a science fiction short story a number of years ago. I don't really remember much about it except there were two teenage characters, one a boy and one a girl. I suppose they were a couple, they were certainly friends who hung out together nearly constantly and had too much time on their hands to ponder the state of their futuristic lives and because of that became involved in some sort of adventure or were caught up in some kind of predicament. But I don't remember any of that. What I do remember is one odd little fact. The teenage girl's father didn't worry about all of the time his daughter spent alone with the teenage boy. It wasn't that he trusted them, he had taken her to some kind of genetic doctor mad scientist practitioner where they had done a procedure that "shut off" the part of her brain that was interested in having sex. When she became older or her parents deemed her responsible enough to make the decision on her own, they would make another appointment with the doc and have her sex drive turned back on again. How convenient! And lately I've thought how practical that could be. Just turn off those pesky hormones that addle the thought process and get on with the business of life without that particular distraction. I have a friend who takes an anti-anxiety drug that she says does that trick for her, and for many others. One of those side effects that take three pages of tiny print in a magazine to disclaim after the photo of pure bliss and happiness in the ad touting the drug. But then I think about another friend who has so much of himself shut off with various pharmaceuticals to get his personal demons under control that he's not really there any more. Which makes me think that I'd rather keep all of my channels up and running. So to type. The monkeys in my head are pretty well-behaved most of the time. Not completely under control, but then, that's when things get interesting. Sometimes fun. And what would I have to write about if life ceased to be interesting. And what would life hold for me if I could no longer recognize fun. This girl is not going to shut off parts of herself! Bring on the interesting, bring on the fun, throw in some endocrine cocktails! For today, at least, I'm grateful for the ability to deal with my demons without intervention.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who Says It's Better The Second Time Around!!

There are no coincidences, there are no coincidences...everyone, repeat after me...there are no coincidences. It is pretty interesting how I observed a video on the mall sign on my way home from work yesterday that caused me to consider relationships and romance and what is genuine and real and good versus that which is manufactured and false and unfulfilling. Then upon arriving home I got a phone call that held the possibility of not spending the evening alone. Then I experienced a fair amount of anxiety, which I later determined was not the butterflies of anticipation sort of anxiousness, but the the sort of unsettledness that comes from feeling pressure and fear. I did slip into a nice, hot bath and sipped a couple of glasses of wine. Picked out something to wear. Wandered around in my bathrobe. Had an interesting discussion of the current political news with the ex when he dropped our son off. I looked outside at the chilly, rainy evening and retired to my bedroom to change into my jammies rather than the cute sweater and jeans and very, very nice underwear I had painstakingly chosen an hour earlier. My phone rang. I let it go to voice mail and then shut it off. Then something occurred to me that made the knot in my stomach fade and disappear. I don't think I'm too good for this guy but I do know that I want and deserve something much better than what we could ever possibly have had together. And while I don't like the idea of being alone for the rest of my life, I have learned that there are many and much worse things than being alone. I learned way back in my twenties that casual sex just doesn't work for me. It seems I'm learning all over again the lessons of dating. And I have to say that it isn't any easier the second time around. I didn't know that there would be a second time around, but here I am in the midst of it.

Just Say Nay

I believe that it is frequently just as important to know what you don't want as it is to know what you do want. Something that I definitely don't want is a long distance fuck-buddy relationship with nothing real and substantive in sight. And I believe this is what I have been offered. No, thank you. You seem like a nice guy who might be fun to spend some time with and I am flattered that you find me attractive. Maybe what I want is the frosting but what I need is a cake. And I just don't have the energy to put into something that's going nowhere.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Slipping Into Cynicism

When I take the usual direct route home, I go down twenty-second avenue past our local mall. Which has recently been updated with a full color video capable ostentatiosly large sign out front. Which was flashing a mushy presenting-a-fabulous-piece-of-jewelry video to lure customers into the jewelry store. I suppose. This video starred a very pretty young woman and a perhaps even prettier young man which ended with a very rehearsed kiss. I took in all of this in something less than ten seconds. My reaction was eeeuuuuu!!!! Yes, I have stepped out onto that slippery slope of cynicism. And I don't really want to be here. But there it is, my initial reaction to manufactured romance was disdainful. Wait a minute! Of course! It was manufactured romance not the real thing! I prefer to think of myself as pragmatic as well as a poetess. And now that I have ascertained that I'm still very much capable of discerning the difference between the live and the memorex, I feel ever so much better. Thank you for bearing with me through this agonizing moment. This isn't at all what I sat down intending to write, but gratefully I am still able to be spontaneous. As well as learn.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nancy!!!


Welcome to Club Fifty!!!

Home Improvement


How can the weekend possibly be over? I don't feel rested! I don't feel restored! I'm pooped from cooking and shopping and errands and my obsession with completing a household project that I maybe shouldn't have even started. But sometimes, once I get an idea in my head I just can't sit until it's completed. Last June, tired of the closet space in the entryway near the patio door, I removed the door and all the hooks and shelves inside the closet. I patched and painted the little niche but didn't quite know what to do with the space til today. The old tv cabinet had been sitting out in the garage waiting for a new purpose. And now, after removing moldings and trim pieces and lining everything up juuuuust right and pushing, the old tv cabinet has become part of the house. There are upper shelves for decor and books, a curtained-off area for storage, and almost the very best of all, the bottom shelf is a spot to park wet, sloppy shoes! Just in time for snow and the inevitable months of wet, sloppy shoes. And the best part is I didn't break a nail. Actually, the best part is that all it cost was the four bucks for a spring rod to hold the curtain in place. Could Martha Stewart accomplish so much for so little? Not without at least two assistants and a cameraman, she couldn't!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Top Ten Things...

...that I find endearing, attractive, cute, or all of the previously mentioned in a guy on first sight.

1. eyes that smile

2. dimples. oh yeah, dimples

3. looking all confident and comfortable even while holding his significant other's purse.

4. those smile crinkles near his eyes

5. not-too-neat-hair

6. an ear piercing with maybe a tiny hoop earring

7. nice arms

8. the edge of a tattoo peeking out from under his clothing

9. dressed in black

10. opening a door, car or building entrance, and holding it open, especially for a child or elderly person or anyone too encumbered to manage alone

Cartoony Me


Thanks for the link, La Guera! This is the new me. Makes me wonder how someone else would cartoonify yours truly. Pretty sure I got the hair right. I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't get the earrings to show, but all in all, I like the rendering. Anyone who knows me knows I never leave the house with naked ears.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Real Estate Update

This afternoon there was a Sale Pending red banner stuck across the realtor's yard sign in front of the house next door. My idle ponderings about becoming a landlady are no more. Soon we shall see who moves in. Will there be obnoxious pets? Children? Eye candy? Federal witness protection program relocatees? A kind fellow with an enormous snow blower who will feel a neighborly obligation to remove the snow from my driveway? The cute, single, heterosexual guy in my age range that I've mantraed about for the last six months? OMG!!! What if it's Jeremy from the street dance with his wife, eight kids, two dogs, gerbil and parakeet from Utah? As if my life isn't weird enough already. You never can tell what a full moon might bring.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ponderings PostScript

Oh, and I've been home from my trip for two weeks and I put the suitcase away today. And I fought the urge to buy Tinkerbell floormats for my car. They still have three sets and are marked down to $15. I plan on snagging the last set when they plummet to five bucks.

Sunday PM Ponderings

*I baked cinnamon rolls this morning. I just thawed out frozen dough overnight to make them, but I think that still counts as real baking. They were yummy, and were is the operative word, they have been long gone for hours.

*Soup weather has arrived and yesterday I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup. Which turned out to be a good thing, I just hauled some across town to the 20yo son who is suffering from a cold.

*One of my favorite bands, Abby SomeOne, has had their website go missing for a week now. What's up with that, Ed?

*The 16yo is something of a literalist linguistics pain in the butt. For the most part he is polite and refrains from correcting others' grammar and he frequently comes up with funny stuff. He recently suggested that handball should more appropriately be called wallball, freeing up handball to be used as the name for American football, leaving football as the name for soccer. He had no suggestion for a new application for the word soccer. I think soccer would be an excellent name for a new drink. Something alcohol based, you know, something that has a real kick.

*I have decided on a Halloween costume. I'm calling her Viking Warrior Princess. Basic black skirt and top with a belted tunic over the top. Somewhere around here there is a plastic sword with matching plastic breastplate. To complete the look I have some yellow yarn braids that reach down to my knees but I need a new horned hat and some fun fur sort of fabric to make the tunic. Last time I did this type of costume I had a little tape recorder with Ride of the Valkyries on it so I had theme music, too. That was fun.

*Finally carried the little step-stool out onto the front deck so I would be tall enough to deal with the light fixture that has been not lighting up for a couple of weeks. Figured out how to disassemble the darn thing, determine what sort of bulbs were needed, and then went out to purchase replacement light bulbs. This is the sort of thing that is best accomplished during the light of day. But I've been forgetting to do it because it's dark when I find out, for the nth time, that the bulbs are burned out when flipping the switch when I need some light in the front yard! For anyone who might be interested, I needed two 60 watt, flame shaped bulbs with a candelabra base. Let there be light.

*The neighbors with the yappy dogs moved out yesterday. There has been a realtor's sign in the yard for over six months. Attention all single, heterosexual, attractive guys between the ages of 35 and 55!! Buy the house next door to me! You'll notice I didn't say employed. I'm assuming that in the current economy if you can qualify for a mortgage, you have a job or family money or something. Maybe I should buy it and become a landlady. If anyone is going to buy it, the owners are going to have to drop the price considerably. Several other homes have sold in days in this neighborhood over the last few months. So it's not just location, location, location...it's price tag, price tag, price tag. Plus you'd get to live next door to me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Barbie!!

Yes, I am appalled at the way feminine images and expectations have been warped by the Barbie doll. But somehow, I still adore Barbie and all her friends and the clothes and accessories. Maybe just a childhood association, I really have never examined it too deeply. Knowing this, imagine how I could not have possibly known that a Halloween edition of Barbie, marketed exclusively through Target stores, has existed since 1997! I became aware of this a year ago, only a week or so prior to Halloween, so naturally Target was completely sold out of the 2007 edition. But I scored one this year! And I have vowed to collect every single one from this year forward! And just as I suspected, my tiny little cauldron and broom are ever so proportionally correct for Halloween Barbie 2008. I do love Halloween. On a completely different note, I do believe that this evening I prepared perhaps the finest alfredo I have ever made. With chicken and served rather inappropriately over rotini rather than fettucini. The 16yo barely had opportunity to voice his approval because he was so busy devouring it. And speaking of the 16yo, he has recently revealed to me how low his level of deceit can reach. He kept secreted from me for nearly a full week the fact that he possessed M & M's! A very large bag of them! In his room! For six full days! Without sharing with his mother! He did earn them, they were part of a gift to him for participating in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure. But still, he didn't share, at least, not until I knew of their existance. And they were those pretty pink ones, too. Now I suppose I'll have to go out and buy a bag of them. But not until the cute purple, black, orange and bright green Halloween theme M & M's are gone. It can be dangerous to have too many M & M's in the house. And then there are those three blue Tootsie Pops lurking about in the pantry since last Halloween...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Photo Fetching

I love it when I go in to update my profile, and when I'm finished, I scroll to the bottom of the page to click on the save button, and for just a second or so, blue letters flash on the screen just above the button. It says,...fetching profile photo. I know, I know, I know what it means, but if I choose to think I'm being complimented, I reserve the right to do so. In fact, whenever I'm having a bad day, I should go in and edit my profile. Just for the pseudo compliment. Thank you ever so much.

Slacker

The last week that I worked a full forty hours was March 31-April 4. In the ensuing twenty-six weeks, vacation and holidays have aided and abetted a growing slacker ethic within me. My normal shorter hours during the summer months did contribute, but that still leaves three months worth of time that I managed to actually work fewer than forty hours every single week! And while I still have Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, plus a floating holiday that has been assigned for all employees to use on December 26th, plus the four and a half days of vacation I still must use-or-lose before the end of this calendar year, I just can't see a way out of putting in a full forty hours this upcoming week. I do have sick days unused, but I neither wish to use them for their intended purpose nor call in feigning illness. I don't want to be sick! And I hope to maintain my morally superior stance of not using sick days unless I actually am. Still, I find it rather remarkable that I have spent half of a year slightly less than fully employed yet enjoying all the benefits of a fully employed person, completely complying to the rules. Yet I still feel like I've been getting away with something. Like the grown-ups will come home after a long absence and force me to make my bed and vacuum and unload the dishwasher. It's been a pretty good run. One for the record books. And as we all know, a record set is a record begging to be broken.

Friday, October 3, 2008

tgif


It's Friday. I got off work two hours early. That almost makes up for having gone in two hours late due to the dentist appointment this morning. Just a cleaning and check up, no cavities, no problems. It is a beautiful fall day out here. Sunny. With a mild breeze and 72 degrees on the thermometer. I am out on the deck with my laptop and a freshly opened Beck's Dark. My feet are shoeless and my toes are happy. Grilled burgers are on the menu for this evening. And an evening by the fire in the backyard. Life is good. And sometimes staying home is as good as it gets. If you're in the neighborhood, stop on by, the beer is cold and the party lights are on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Excruciatingly Correct

When I left the artisan bakery this morning, with my handmade goodies wrapped up in their environmentally correct, high percentage post-consumer recycled content containers, and my fair trade coffee, I hopped into the Subaru and started it up and NPR came on the radio. Had I been wearing Birkenstocks I would have been a walking cliche. I felt like hugging a tree, adopting a Sudanese orphan, and making a greater effort to live greener than I currently try.

Cosmo or Mango?

The really great thing about all the bars here is that they are smoke-free. State law, if I am not mistaken. There's something nostalgic to me about a heap of bar-stinky clothes that have been lying on the floor overnight. When you wake up to that distinctive aroma you know you had a good time the night before. I always wondered how anyone, smokers included, could bear working in that atmospheric environment. Which brings us to bartenders. Whenever I walk into a bar alone, something I still am not entirely comfortable with, I normally stake out a spot at the bar rather than at a table. This way I am able to mostly avoid unwanted eye contact, which for me often starts up a bizarre conversation with a complete stranger. I chat up the bartender instead. Which is fun and harmless. When you sit at the bar you have the opportunity to observe the mixology craft up close and personal. I am amazed at how many drinks there are and at the variety of stuff in the array of bottles behind the bar. Last night I was in downtown St. Cloud at the famed Red Carpet. They claim to have nine bars under one roof. When entering the establishment, I asked the nice young man at the door which bar was attended mostly by old people. He replied the martini bar, out the door I had just come in through, take a right and up the stairs. The old people, I observed, all appeared to be in their mid-thirties. I claimed my spot at the bar. Behind the bar a half dozen young women bustled about engaged in the business of making martinis. I was fascinated by the process. Icing the glasses. Shaking up as many as 10 various ingredients. Straining out the contents into the chilled glass. Sometimes pouring in one or two festively colored liquors along the side of the glass so they come to a swirling rest at the bottom, making the martini appear as a microcosm of a brewing storm front. And finally, garnishing with one edible bauble or another. As the waitress lined the martinis up around the perimeter of her tray, a veritable rainbow of potable potions, I felt sorry for the very plain Bud Light in the center of the tray. Like a guy in sweats surrounded by pretty girls in cotillion dresses. On one tray were two nearly identicle pink martinis. The waitress asked which was the cosmo and which was the mango. The bartender matched her eye level with the glasses and scowled slightly. She shrugged, grabbed a straw and dipped it in one of the glasses and transferred a drop of the liquid into her mouth. That's the mango, she declared, and plopped a skewered sliver of pineapple into the glass and the waitress whisked the tray away. I considered ordering my first martini but stuck to the wine instead. This time, just watching the process was entertaining enough.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mmmm...Ciatti's

If you are ever told there is no such thing as perfection, simply inform them that they have never eaten at Ciatti's. I did not want my fabulous meal to end! Grilled salmon on a bed of spinach, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Accompanied by an absolutely indescribable sauce. I may as well stop eating because it's all downhill from here, gastronomically speaking. Sigh. From the warm, toothy bread dipped in fragrant, fruity olive oil to the raspberry creme brulee, it was one tasebud tickler followed by another. A familiar glass of pinot grigio and coffee worth lingering over. Michelle, a delighful charmer, waited on me cheerfully and expertly. Her only failure was in not being able to find a cute guy to seat opposite me. She even directed me to a live music spot for later in the evening. Thank you, Michelle! Alimento meraviglioso!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good Morning, Minnesota



Nothing makes you happier to NOT be camping than to wake up to the sounds of thunder and heavy rain in the warmth and comfort of a bed indoors. That happened yesterday morning. Which means that yesterday was outlet mall day! Today the sun is shining and I have woken up to the sounds of about fifty semis starting up out in the parking lot. I could open the window and enjoy the deisel fumes as well but think I'll pass. I need coffee. And Froot Loops. And they have real butter for your toast here. Wisconsin may be America's dairyland but Minnesota has so many Norwegians I would think oleo is simply against the law. The stave church was cool. A little haunted and quiet and sacred. Cable tv is evil. And despite the fact that I watched part of HBO's vampire series last night, I slept very well with nary a fang-infested dream dancing in my head. Directly after breakfast I am puttin' on my sneakers and grabbing my camera and heading for a local park area with hiking trails.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gary for President


My computer is better! All the weird stuff is gone! I wonder what this would have cost me if I didn't have a geek in the family. In other news, Ed and I are spearheading a campaign to launch the best bass player in the midwest as a presidential candidate. Click here for campaign updates. Officially, of course, I'll be supporting the Obama/Biden ticket because I believe Gary missed all of the filing deadlines. So I'll be supporting Gary in a more spiritual sense.

Electronic Exorcism

What was up with my blog postings seems to have been demonic or otherwise possession of my very own computer. I blamed it on Blogger, I blamed it on Open Office, I blamed it on the new version of Firefox (which I still don't like, I'm going back to a previous version), and now my laptop is in the the very capable hands of my 20yo. He loaded all the important stuff onto my cute little pink 2G flash drive and wiped the hard drive clean. I wanted him to don my swami hat with the big red jewel and wave a wand around but he claimed that wasn't necessary. Although I suspect when he packed the laptop up and took it home yesterday afternoon to finish the process that he just might have some wizard garb just for medicinal purposes at his apartment. He's such a secure guy that he didn't mind the hot pink bag the laptop travels in. I hope to have it back some time today, I am currently posting from the 16yo's computer in his dungeon computer lab. I know it's a lab because there is a sign on the door that says so. There is also a quote on a piece of paper taped to the door:

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first
place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible,
you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
-Brian W. Kernighan

I am so accustomed to the laptop keyboard that these sticky-uppy keys are very weird to my fingers. The 20yo has just called with an update on my computer's overhaul. I should have it back tonight. And because I am nearly as good a mother as he is a son, I may have to bake him a little something to take home. Maybe an Irish Soda Bread from Baking With Julia. Until then, on this first day of my week off, I have laundry to catch up and a hair appointment to get to. Happy Mabon to all you pagans out there.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Playing the Race Card

Though I am loathe to admit it, I must say that I am not as colorblind as I had hoped. The race of the presidential candidates is playing a role in how I have decided to vote in November. Yup. I'm sick and tired of old, white guys. Oops. I'm also showing age prejudice. Let's put a young, black guy in the White House!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Four, That I Know Of...

...things I am blowing off right here in East Coast South Dakota by running off to Minnesota next week.

1. In Sioux Falls, the esteemed Hal Holbrook (particularly special in that he's married to former Designing Woman Dixie Carter) is doing his take on Mark Twain, next Wednesday, September 24th.

2. Also in Sioux Falls, the 6th Annual Festival of Books, September 26-28, at various locations. I love this festival! I enjoy it more when I attend as a reader, I have twice attended as a writer and found it stressful! Many wonderful, informative sessions either way you go.

3. In Vermillion, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday, September 28th. A very big thing for a very, very good cause. To assuage my guilt, I did register and donate for a neat thing called "sleep in for the cure". A novel idea. I'm also sending the 16yo with his father. His father is a breast cancer survivor, yes, one percent of breast cancer cases are in men! The 16yo will use this day of volunteering as his Junior Service Project. Through his English class, he, and all other juniors at BHS, must complete 8 hours of community service work, and then document it in pictures and words as an English class project. A good idea for so many reasons.

4. One of my favorite NPR programs is Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! They are doing the show live Thursday night, September 25th, in Sioux Falls. I heard about this months ago and never did call for tickets. Part of me still really wants to go but I can listen on Sunday afternoon. This time, that will have to suffice.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Copy/Paste Fiasco

I have no idea what could possibly be causing this. La Guera says things look fine from her end of cyberspace. And they look fine from the dungeon on my son's computer. My laptop must be haunted or demonically possessed. At least that seems like the most rational explanation to me. I went through the mess and bother of deleting and reposting an earlier post so it looks right from this end. Sorry, SJ, I lost your lovely comment in the process. Maybe this is just another instance of me seeing something differently due to my skewed point of view. That seems a little more reasonable than demonic possession even to me. I'm going to put a hold on copy/pasting my poetry for the time being. Cross your fingers for me, I have submitted a few of my poems to a very well-regarded poetry magazine. They consider even me posting my poems on this teeny little blog an instance of previous publication, and they are interested in only new material. I'm not quitting my day job, but who knows, getting published in this calendar year may be closer to happening than I think. Not to mention how much fun it would be!

Can I Be You?

Just to solidify Ed's assessment of me as a passionate woman...this is a sonnet I wrote five years ago.





Can I Be You?

Can I be you, my sweet? Then we could see
With you, as me, our love in the extreme.
To experience me, as you, would be
This; the ultimate narcissistic dream.

The pleasure of our bodies when as one
We join together, heaven within reach
As we climb, rapture building til we're done.
Secrets unfold, you'll learn, I'll learn, we'll teach.

Awakening in me sensual bliss,
Our blending souls alchemy defining.
To feel as the other each lasting kiss
Would be revealing. Naked. Divining.

I long, my love, to know you, how you feel.
The we of us combined, this way, surreal.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Anyone?

What the hell is up with my blog postings? There is some sort of palimpsest phenomenon going on with postings wherein I have used the copy/paste function. How do I fix this? Better question, am I responsible for fixing it? If not, who do I report this annoying malfunction to so they can fix it? I am not a geek, I have merely given birth to a couple of them. And sometimes I pretend to be one at work. Well, at least I toss the jargon about correctly. And finally, is this some sort of cruel hoax to force me to type more? I love the copy/paste function. And even more, I love the keyboard shortcut, control c, control v. Right after I control a. I'm not a control freak! I'm more of a control stylist.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NPR

I am an unabashed and enthusiastic fan of National Public Radio. And, yes, I am a member, I do send them money. I have the radio in my car tuned in and often am one of those people who look a little silly when I park somewhere and remain in the car to hear the end of a segment. Sometimes I'm in the privacy of my garage when this happens. Other times I'm in public and forget that the windows I see out through work both ways and that passersby can see me listening attentively or laughing like an idiot. I remember listening to Michael Feldman's Whad 'Ya Know Quiz Show while going for a walk, headset on, radio tucked into my pocket. When the host referred to the migrating geese in his neighborhood as flying bags of excrement, I not only laughed out loud at his description that only I could hear, I seem to remember doing that surprised snort-laugh as well. Yes, humiliation and embarrassment can be yours as a proud NPR listener. There are programs I listen to almost without fail, among them A Prairie Home Companion, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, This American Life, and Speaking of Faith. This afternoon yoga instructor Seane Corn was interviewed on Speaking of Faith and she spoke on a wide range of life, health and spiritual issues that can be addressed through yoga. I consider myself to be on something of a spiritual journey in this life on Earth. I have a few things figured out but many things remain a mystery. Something I have learned to understand and practice is the concept of forgiveness, but the yoga teacher described it in a way that I had never heard before. Her description was so clear and concise and at the same time conveyed why it is so important to forgive.

Unforgiveness is a poison you take hoping that someone else will die.

Now, who can argue with that.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Moonlight & Alchemy

Why this sudden desire to slather my poetry across the electronic universe? Am I too lazy or uninspired to write something pithy about the day's happenings? I could just take a picture and toss that up here for your entertainment. Maybe it's the nearly full moon outside my open window tonight. I've felt just a little haunted these past few days, by dreams and memories called toward the front of my brain. Brought forward by the shortness of light and the evening chill in the air. I'm trying to purge this ghost of lover's past. Then maybe I can move on to a lover in the present. So I can have hope for one in the future.




Alchemist's Touch


The blinds
Break the moonlight
Into zebra-like stripes.
They fall across my breast and neck,
Decorating the night.
Just enough illumination
Shows your beauty,
Hides the scars.
Blurs the lines that separate us,
Becoming one,
Joined as we are.
Feral. Primal. Savage.
I feel your flesh beneath my teeth.
Very nearly tasting blood,
My lust for flesh is made complete.
Your skin to mine,
Potent anodyne.
Turns my anger into passion,
Fear to desire,
Tears to wine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Prophecy

When I last saw my friend Gary he said something to me. Something simple yet prophetic. Things change. That's all, two words, things change. And though he's ususally quick to smile, he wasn't smiling when he said it, he seemed very intent and serious. In the nearly five months since then, indeed things have changed. In my world as well as in his. At least, from what I'm able to observe from afar. The thing about change is that you're not always aware of it when it's actually taking place. And even if you are aware, you're often not able to see the far-reaching effects. Like ripples from a stone tossed into a pond. I've heard it said that pain comes not from the changes in our lives but that it comes from our stubborn resistance to the very changes which are unpredictable and inevitable. To resist change for resistance's sake is testament to the fact that we are habit-driven creatures. We bind ourselves to uncomfortable ruts because that which is familiar is preferable to the unknown. The unknown is interpreted as the change that we fear and we remain bound, often in pain, the result of our resistance. Welcome back, Sarah Jane, it sounds as if you've been through some changes lately, too. If you see Gary, give him a hug for me. I have a feeling that he needs one.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Poetry Corner

I've written a whole lot of poetry. Some of it is actually pretty good. Some of it is painful and difficult to reread years later. Sometimes due to the subject matter, sometimes due to the fact that it's lousy. The air outside the last few mornings has contained a fallish coolness, a feeling that resurrected from my memory a line from the following poem. One of the highly enjoyable perks of writing a blog is content control. Bwa ha ha!!...I can inflict my poetry on the world from the comfort of home.


Tree Shadow Thoughts


One other Sunday I sat in this spot,
Not so long ago,
Though now it's fall.
If you could listen carefully enough,
Quietly enough,
You'd hear the chlorophyll life-giving green
Leaking slowly away from the leaves
As they die and drop to the still velvety grass.
In June, late spring blossoming lurid fertility,
The cottonwoods bursting seeds to the breeze,
Snowy floaty fuzzlets filled the air.
The sky now just as then,
A perfect azure backdrop.
The air is light, now,
Crisp and clear from colder nights.
Summer gone though it lingers in my heart
As sultry kisses, fervent wishes, fevered dreams.
You may pass through my life like a season.
You may turn out to be evergreen.
When I sit here next, if ever,
Maybe spring again, or winter,
I'm certain I'll still love you.
Ephemeral cycles, eternity.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Not Your Wife!

Honey, I'm home. From the bar. It's three in the morning. And with me are twenty seven of my old army buddies and you're going to cook breakfast for all of us! I brought some eggs. Not quite, but close. One of the annual tasks our HR specialist takes on is the equivalent of tossing all employee names into a hat, dividing by six, and coming up with a list of people who will serve as employee committee members for the coming year. Each group serves for two months, each stint with a different leader. Yours truly popped up as leader for the month of September. Duties of this committee are to plan a lunch at some point during the month, themed pot lucks and ordering in pizza or subs are common fare for this activity. We also provide birthday treats and plan special activities for holidays that fall during the month of our tenure. As leader, it is my duty to call meetings and delegate jobs to other committee members. I even get to set up a calendar assigning the lunch room clean-up which includes taking out the garbage. We met last Wednesday afternoon and planned a lunch near the end of the month and chose dates to bring birthday treats and have bagels and spreads for everyone to enjoy. I felt sooo efficient and on top of things. Thursday morning I arrived at work and saw a sticky note attached to my time card. See Camille, it read. So I clocked in and turned around. There she was, at her desk. She smiled and informed me that our esteemed boss had procured six dozen ears of sweet corn. For me. And that it was now my responsibility to plan a barbecue party sort of lunch for over fifty people. For the next day! Since I've thrown a party or two in my day, I possess expertise in job delegation, the gathering of items necessary for such a meal, preparing the food and pulling it off in just over 24 hours. This included menu determination, shopping, set-up and clean-up, and the husking and cooking of seventy two ears of sweet corn, fifty five burgers and two dozen hot dogs. Amazingly, the lunch came off with nary a hitch and was a hit for all who attended. I had a great bunch of people who helped, even a couple who weren't on the committee for this month, but it came down to me orchestrating the whole thing and I actually had fun. I received many compliments, including one from the boss who laid all that corn at my feet the day before. The thing is, I don't think he's ever had primary responsibility for organizing and preparing such a meal for that many people. Which makes me think I made it look way too easy on such short notice. Which makes me wonder how often, if ever, he's pulled such a ruse on his wife.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just Wondering...

...what other names could have possibly been on the list from which was gleaned the current teen sensation Hannah Montana?

Rhoda Minnesota?
Iona Arizona?
Alexis Texas?
Ariana Louisiana?
Pippi Mississippi?
Diana Indiana?
Corey Missouri?
Jessie Tennessee?
Octavia Pennsylvania?
Zooey Hawaii?
Amanda Nevada?
Virginia Virginia?
Suzette Massachusetts?
Jane Maine?
Mariska Alaska?
Lorna California?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Real Deal

I have got to stop watching Sex and the City reruns on the CW network. First of all, the reception is crappy. I have been cable-free for nearly six years and plan to stay that way. Well, we'll see how I feel when analog broadcast ends next February. And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I really don't like watching the watered down, overly edited, commercial interrupted version that the CW offers. Indeed, when I ran across the theme music playing earlier this summer, I got hooked on hanging out with the girls. But now I find I must make a trip to a local video rental establishment and bring home the real deal. I've only seen about half of the episodes overall, and only the first season without cuts and commercials. Ah. It is so very noble to pursue a quest.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tradition!

When I was growing up, you didn't get the camera out for just anything, you waited for an occasion. Film was expensive! And processing didn't grow on trees! Sort of like long distance phone calls in my formative years. You waited until you had some very big news before you dialed more than seven digits. With the advent of modern technology and taking pictures without the complications of film and cell phone plans with unlimited minutes, well, most of us don't think twice before snapping or speed dialing. Of course the camera appeared for family gatherings, particularly if there were out-of-town relatives in attendance. In my family, taking pictures at Christmas and to capture the blowing out of birthday candles was traditional, as was the first day of school snapshot. I'm not sure why my mother wanted to preserve how the four of us looked at the beginning of the school year, but I remember very clearly posing with my new lunch box and carefully chosen outfit for the first day of school. So it's a tradition I continued with my own children. Even if the start of a new school year is somewhat dreaded, maybe because the start of school means summer is definitely over, and none of us look forward to homework and class projects, my sons have over the years dutifully smiled for me with their new backpacks in tow. And except for the few times the weather didn't cooperate, we took the pictures outside. There's something about the optimism of starting anything anew, even if it's something you have mixed feelings about. I don't know why I adopted this tradition from my family of origin, but I'm so glad that I did. Looking back over fifteen years of this milestone day in the lives of my boys, it is a gift to see how they've changed and grown. Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Tent

There it is, the aforementioned tent that I pulled out of the garage and pitched last Saturday. I am contemplating a fall camping trip. What kind of lunatic makes plans to go camping in northern Minnesota the last week in September? Since you asked I would have to answer, this kind. As in, me. Since Minnesota is well known for two things, the enormous size of its mosquitoes and lots of snow and cold, I'm aiming for the sweet spot between the bug season and winter. There is some rhyme to my reason after all! And on my way to the vacation destination is something my Norwegian half is demanding to see. Something of a spiritual quest for this Nordic/Pagan girl is to visit the stave church in Moorhead, MN. At any rate, the stave church is a must-see and if indeed it is too chilly or damp to camp, other accommodations will be found and the tent will just have to wait till next summer. I'm getting excited just thinking about crisp fall air and fat socks and hiking boots. Building a chill-chasing campfire and taking pictures of loons and trees in their fall-colored jackets. And now I have a tent that is tall enough on the inside for me to stand up in! What a treat!