Monday, December 28, 2009

Crafty Nightmare

There is an epidemic around here, and it's not the flu, swine or otherwise! What we have is a rampant rash of really weird dreams. Today Colleen was sharing her crafting nightmare where she engaged in underwater origami. Which I'm certain will be the next trendy wave in crafts, classes organizing soon at a Hobby Lobby near you. So frustrating, she said, how the paper kept tearing. You just can't achieve a nice, crisp fold with soggy paper. Underwater origami. Hey, that would be an excellent name for a rock band!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

White on White

The cheery, white view through my patio door. There will be no grilling any time soon. Hibernation, anyone?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Big Boys With New Toys

Reid with his DS Lite, probably playing around with Scribblenauts. Michael and his Droid, probably taking over the world. Big boys and their electronic toys. Sometimes Santa brings just what you want. You may get too big to sit on his lap and whisper in his ear, but you never get too big to believe in the possibilities. And, yes, Virginia, that's what it's all about. Unless it's the hokey-pokey. And that would be a great disappointment.


How many people dreaming of a white Christmas are required for a winter storm of this magnitude? You do the math, I'm too full of cookies to think. Listening to James Taylor dueting with Natalie Cole on Baby, It's Cold Outside. How appropriate. The boys and I have all retreated to separate corners to engage in internet activities. We are happy to be inside where it's warm and there are cookies and cinnamon rolls and chocolate and all variety of things that are drinkable. Last night I opened a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins and consumed half of it all by myself. It was yummy. Which means I have half a bottle of yummy to go! We feasted on salmon and basmati rice and broccoli with lemon butter and fresh-baked dinner rolls. We opened gifts and watched a movie and stayed up late. I'm still wearing my new pink penguin jammies. Well, I'm not going anywhere, so I thought I'd be comfy. It's a casual dress Christmas stirring about this house, no ties or pantyhose required. The trees are all lit and the pink flamingo and palm tree in the front yard are peeping out of a massive and still growing snowbank. Next up is home-made pizza and I should think another movie is in order. This has been a quiet and enjoyable holiday. With any luck, I won't have to go anywhere until Monday morning when it's time to go back to work. That will roll around much too quickly. I hear the Zin calling and am unable to ignore it's cry! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Believe in Santa!

At some point yesterday, between 8:30 in the morning and after five in the afternoon, Santa left a little something in my locker at work. I am completely baffled as to who it might be from. I have queried the usual suspects, and nobody is owning up to this lovely little gift. The funny thing about it is that this isn't a random sort of cute thing. The plaque is so me, so how I live, so how I think and feel. And the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares, they just happen to be my favorite seasonal treat. My mystery Santa Claus either knows me very well or reads me very well and has made a couple of right-on choices. I am delighted and perplexed. So thank you, you know who you are. I haven't a single clue to go on, not even a handwriting sample. As you can see, the attached card is blank. I love presents. And surprises. But anonymous gifts make me crazier than I already am!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Serenade

Tis the Solstice night! The longest, darkest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere. I believe a glass of wine and a little holiday music are in order! For those of you who have had your fill of holiday music, you should probably flip over to the sports page. For those of you who just can't get enough of seasonal tunes, read on for my short list of favorites.

The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)

Ian Anderson's take on traditional carols as well as his own material. It just sounds like a classic Dickensian British Christmas. Takes the chill off like a nice cup of warm mead. Makes you want to spend the holiday in a castle, if only one was available.

SheDaisy, Brand New Year (2000)

Sisters Kassidy, Kelsi and Kristyn Osborn do a lovely job on a number of songs. Their signature harmonies are delightful and their takes on the familiar are, well, not so familiar. Which is why I like it so much! They save a beautiful a capella piece for the very end, and they make you wait for it. There is a full three minutes of silence after what you think is the final track, and then dessert.

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio (1988)

This is the original soundtrack for the beloved CBS television special that first aired in 1965. Love, love, love it. I can't stop myself from dancing about, especially with track 4, entitled Linus and Lucy. You know, that odd little dance move where you toss your head from side to side while doing a little shoulder shrug. Go ahead. You know you want to. Nobody's looking.

Amy Grant, Home for Christmas (1992)

I can't say that I'm an Amy Grant fan. I'm just not fond of her music, not the fluffly pop secular stuff, not her contemporary Christian music. I can't properly explain why I like her Christmas album. I just do. Proving that one doesn't have to be a Christian to appreciate the songs.

Patrick Stewart, A Christmas Carol (1991)

Two cd's, nearly two hours. That's right, it's Captain Picard performing Charles Dickens' timeless Christmas story of the transformation of one Ebenezer Scrooge from skinflint to generous soul. This is a studio recording of his critically acclaimed one-man Broadway show. He does a wonderful job with the story which he adapted for the stage, does all the voices, truly makes it come alive. For several years, back in the married days, we would send the boys to the family room on Christmas Eve with a new movie to view. Then pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and feast on smoked salmon and shrimp while listening to this masterful storyteller. I know, it's not music, but it certainly fits the season.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Holiday Jam, that is. I'm a sucker for event tshirts, particularly when the proceeds go to a good cause. In this case, the funds raised through the sale of tshirts as well as actual jam in jars went to the Backpack Project, where food goes home with a child in a backpack for over the weekend. As you can see, my cat Einstein is showing considerable self control in leaving the tree decorations alone. How was Holiday Jam, you ask? It was an amazing, unconventional seasonal smorgasbord of music. It was jazzy, it was rock-n-roll, it was a full tilt, toe-tapping experience. I enjoyed it immensely!

Queen of Trees

The main tree, the blue decorated tree in front of the living room window. The brightly lit snowflake serves as a beacon for me as I attempt to find my house when I come home after dark. At this time of year such a decoration is gaudy as well as useful.

This teensy little tree almost doesn't count, but I'm counting it anyway. On top of a cabinet in the living room, it's a teensy living room waiting for Santa's arrival. If you're curious about scale, the little teddy bear under the tree is about an inch tall.

Tree number three is on a table in the guest bedroom, known to many as the Bunny Room. The name is accurate as the room is decorated in a rabbit centric theme. Professional decorators caution against ever doing a theme room, but I always say, where's the fun in that? Note the fuzzy little bunny ornaments on the tree. I created them myself several years ago when I could not locate appropriate sized rabbit ornaments. It was great fun drilling the holes in their tiny fuzzy heads to accommodate the hanging hardware.

The kitchen tree is pink! The lights are pink, the bows are pink, the skirt is pink.

This golden tree sits atop the dresser in my bedroom. If I forget to unplug it at bedtime, I end up having to get up later to shut it down, it's just too bright to sleep with it on!

The very festive all red tree in the family room. I have a lovely view of it from where I sit typing at this very moment. That makes six trees in all. I could have done more, but stopped at six this year. I have heard about a couple of truly crazy women in the area who put up as many as thirty decorated trees! Six makes me feel festive, as well as relatively sane.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Festive Fashionisto

My son, Michael, who seems a little unsure about what to do with the Christmas tree skirt. Or, perhaps just a little too sure. He's very comfortable with his masculinity. And undoubtedly, Liz will think this is terribly cute. Vogue!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a Tree-vesty!

This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a tree. There is not one little bit of tree-ness about it, except for the fact that it is brown on the outside, just as many tree trunks are. It is, however, oval. Ovoid. Eggish. Have the Hershey people gone round the bend and think it's Easter rather than Christmas!?!? Equinox instead of the Solstice? This is not a tree! It is delicious. Particularly the white chocolate variety. Which I suppose then includes the aspen and birch hue in the bark color spectrum. At the very least, they could have impressed upon the chocolate some semblance of a tree-like indentation. Or hung tiny lights and tinsel ropes upon it. Or outfitted the thing with a Santa hat to firmly associate the confection with the season at hand. Once again, with feeling, this is not a tree! So as a public service, I will eat every last one. I really ought to save one so as to compare it with the actual egg version that will appear this spring. If I possess the self control. On the other hand, I did take a picture. Mr. Hershey will thank me for consuming the evidence.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cold Feet

Sometimes it's hard to find my slippers. So I go looking for my glasses. Which are difficult to find without my glasses. Which is why I almost always put my glasses in the same place when I remove them for the night. Except when I don't. I've considered wearing them all the time but I must say they are not all that comfortable to sleep with. Then they get all bent out of shape and I just don't have time to be running to the Optical Shop to get them expertly bent back into shape. Now that I have my slippers and my glasses, it's time to decorate. And I'm strictly limiting myself to a maximum of seven trees. Or eight, depending. But eight is the definite maximum. Unless putting up nine seems reasonable.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And Closer Yet!

As the plot thickens, I have now abandoned internet dating, perhaps because I met a really cool biker dude on eHarmony, and have relocated to a cave in Utah. Oddly, when I was internet dating, it was remarkable how many men mentioned in the first sentence of their profile how much they loved their Harley. Sometimes they even posted a photo of themselves with their bike. Or sometimes just the motorcycle. Or boat. Or restored automobile. It's not often that I see my name in print, so I'm thinking that it's very odd that the same comic would use my name twice in less than a week. Maybe I'm suddenly trendy. Maybe Mr. John McPherson has taken a liking to it. Maybe he lost a bet. Maybe there's a Carla in his past he's settling some score with. I can't wait until he uses my name in conjunction with pink flamingos. Or faeries in general, Tinkerbell specifically. Maybe Carla will next be a crazy old cat lady living with a dozen or so felines. Three's the charm!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Too Close to Home

I'm just a tad bit confused. Would this be irony or satire? Though for me personally, at five feet, four and a quarter inches tall, a fellow's height has never been much of an issue. Normally I'm only taller than people under the age of twelve or a small percentage of other women. This comic, however, serves as a reminder of why I don't do the internet dating thing any more. There's just too much potential for dishonesty. I remain hopeful, though, and I'm still toting that bright green condom around. Ya gotta have faith. And faith without desperation is much more attractive than, well, with desperation. Which makes me wonder if John McPherson, the author of the above, has some internet dating experience himself. And if he was honest about his height. Or his weight and age. Let's just hope he doesn't have a criminal record, or perhaps, gasp, a comb-over. Why don't we just go with hoping he has a happy marriage. Including kids, a house, a dog and a yard that needs some attention. And perhaps a very attractive, heterosexual, employed single best guy friend who shares with him all his internet dating woes. That he would be happy to introduce me to. I wonder if the man Carla is measuring has a name. Personally, I'd be more concerned about those striped pants than his height.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Where the Heart Is

I've had to consider this one for a few days. On the surface it wouldn't seem so meaningful, but like an Indigo Girl, there I go digging too deep, I always do. Some dreams are so very real in nature and set in such familiar locales that it feels like you have been there in the flesh rather than just the neurons. Thursday morning I woke just a minute or so before the alarm went off. I blinked myopically a couple of times and thought it was odd that the closet doors were closed. Normally, the closet doors are closed! It was the startling electronic beep of the clock that made me realize I had been dreaming. About cleaning out that very closet. Allow me to explain. For four years now, I've been sleeping alone in what is chauvenistically referred to as the master suite. I tried calling it the mistress suite, but somehow that doesn't sound quite right either. But I digress. It is a bedroom built for two with a private bathroom and his and hers closets at either end. The hers closet being just ever so slightly larger. It started out a whole lot larger than the his closet when I was designing the floor plan, but when I decided I needed, yes needed, the larger bathtub separate from the shower, some closet space had to be relinquished. When my soon-to-be ex-husband moved out four years ago, he vacated the his closet. And since nature abhors a vacuum as well as unused closet space, over the ensuing months my stuff migrated over to eventually fill the his as well as the hers closet. In my dream, I wasn't merely purging unwanted clothing and footwear from the his closet space. I was clearing it out, leaving it completely empty. Just before I woke up, I was standing back, pleased with my efforts, the closet doors flung wide open to reveal the available space within. Which was why I was surprised to see the doors closed when I awoke. So I'm left with wondering if I need to actually physically remove my things from that space, or if it's enough to recognize what I now realize. Instead of the full moon madness, full-tilt exhausting dreams that I normally experience, I've had a gentler, more revealing peek within my own head. And I think I just might be telling myself that it's time to receive. This is a blue moon month, and I believe something extraordinary could happen, something I wasn't ready for until now. My heart, and my closet, are open.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sominus Interruptus

The room, a lovely temperate 65 degrees. The pillow is poufed up just right. I am nestled under a billow of comforter with Einstein cuddled in the crook of my knees. My flannel nightshirt is so old and soft from a hundred launderings, it feels as if it almost isn't there. It is dark, save for the bit of moonlight filtering through the black sheers on the window. I am slipping off into unconsciousness. Ahhh, slumber is mine. Then, ffweeee. ffweeee. ffweeee. Damn! There's a whistle in my nose! I try to ignore it. And can't. I do a little rapid in-out, in-out accelerated breathing through my nose, in an effort to dislodge the nasal tweet. ffweee. Aggravated, I abandon my cozy bed-nest in search of a kleenex. I blow and wipe with gusto and thoroughness. The whistle is gone, but so is my dreamy drift-off. I crawl back into bed with a spare tissue in my hand. If the dreaded whistle returns, I am prepared to deal with the miserable little ffweee. Tonight, all I will have to deal with is the full moon madness dreamfest. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cartoony Me, Take 2

Isn't this the ultimate in narcissism? Well, what I always say is, if you can spell it, you can be it. If you would like to be a narcissist, too, go here to create a cartoony alter ego of yourself. It's fun, it's free, it's only as accurate as you want it to be...but it may be habit forming! Think maybe I'll create a dozen or so of them! One could do the holiday baking, one could do the holiday decorating, one could go to work for me. But only the real me gets to wear the Born riding boots. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Night at The Opera

Well, okay, technically it was a night at an opera house, not the opera. But a lovely, restored and historic opera house it is! The Grand Opera House in Dell Rapids, SD, to be exact. Seated in the Grand Theatre, second row center, I was treated to the musical talents of the Hegg Brothers as well as Hank Harris. What an amazing room! What a gorgeous chandelier! What remarkable acoustics! When I have the privilege of listening to wonderful original music in a room that was designed for that purpose, I am reminded of why I staunchly refuse to attend stadium shows. In my older, wiser guise I prefer a comfortable seat, less jostling with hordes of people, and the opportunity to mingle with the musicians and the owners of the venue. I was fortunate enough to meet and chat at length with Joan Rasmussen after the concert. The Grand has been lovingly restored and is now open for business because she realized her dream. I encourage every last one of you to attend shows at the Grand! It's dreamy just to sit in the audience. Show up! I go because I love the music. And if we don't show up, it might disappear. If the music disappears, it will indeed be a very sad day.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shoulda Named Him Ferdinand...

...because he likes to sit (or stand) just quietly and smell the flowers.

Newton doesn't give a flying fig about the pretty flowers, so his name shall remain the same.

There could be yet another alternate name for Einstein, but I can't think of an endearing character from literature, children's or otherwise, that has a shoe fetish.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twas The Night Before Turkey

And here I am waiting for pies to come out of the oven. Not that they do that on their own. But wouldn't it be handy if they did? That would be pie, singular, as the pecan pie was done to perfection when the timer went off. The pumpkin was still a little sloppy and needed another ten minutes or so. I must say that I'm not a fan of custard pie on the rare side. It's something I prefer completely cooked. Probably the egg factor. And speaking of eggs, this holiday feast day's pies have been concocted with locally grown eggs! Courtesy of Tigh's actual mother. Sometimes I pretend to be his mom, and because he delivered these lovely eggs right to my door, at this moment he is my favorite surrogate son. Dinner preparations, you ask? The turkey is thawed, the bread for the stuffing is cubed, pies are in progress. The wine is chilling in the walk-in fridge, otherwise known as the garage. I'd set the pies out there to cool, but now that you know they're out there, they might be gone by morning! I think I'll keep them inside, if it's all the same to you. The turkey goes in the oven around nine tomorrow AM. Until then I expect I should sleep. I can tell I'm tired because I have lapsed into rambling. Where pie and whipped cream shall dance in my head, I expect. Just so long as they're not tap dancing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Want My Mtv!

In a galaxy long ago and far, far away...there was this cable channel that aired nothing but music videos! What a cool idea! I haven't tuned in to Mtv for years, but from what I hear, it has very little to do with music now. Pardon me while I get all nostalgic on you. Just a little over twenty years ago I had a some vacation time built up. And I was in danger of losing several days if I didn't take them within a month. I opted for long weekends, a month's worth of them, by taking a few Mondays off in a row. I was newly married at the time and we had been in our house for less than a year, and the Mondays off seemed like an opportunity to tackle some projects around the house. Oh, I ought to mention that this was also in the primitive days when everything had a cord attaching you to the wall or device and there were no mp3 players. The iPod was just a twinkle in Apple's eye and the home computer and cell phones were huge, clunky things that were neither commonplace nor sleek. Nor attainable at anything approaching a reasonable price. The internet was an experimental stronghold occupied by only the geek elite. Really. Say it ain't so! And, why, you may be asking now, did I choose Mondays? Because in the ancient epoch known as BT (before texting), Mtv did a little programming thing called No Repeat Mondays. Meaning that, during this no repeat day, nearly every music video in existance at that time made a showing. Meaning also that No Repeat Monday was random and eclectic, a little bit of everything. And that was what was what made Monday a wonderful day to be at home and inside. With a musical companion that didn't require tending or flipping. On a channel called Music Television, that sadly, is no more what its name implies.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The View From Here

My relatively uncluttered desk.

My relatively cluttered bulletin board.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Imagine That!

This morning I was out sweeping the garage. Just the seasonal clean-up where the stuff that shouldn't freeze is gathered and brought in the house. I was plugged into my pink iPod and John Lennon's Imagine shuffled up. Just as a couple of nice, young Mormon fellows approached. I paused in my sweeping, pointed to my earbuds, smiled and shook my head to indicate I was not interested in their message. My head was full of Imagine. Could there be anything deeper, more meaningful, or more spiritual? They returned my smile and departed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Merely a Flesh Wound

I thought this might be a top ten list, but my brain doesn't feel organized enough to accomplish such a linear task. A disorganized, uninfluenced by alcohol brain even though it is just past eleven on a Friday night. Is there anyone reading who doesn't know that I got seriously whacked in the head twelve days ago? Well, doubt you not that a facial cut bleeds like the proverbial stuck pig. They glued my forehead back together, yes indeed, taped and glued! I know it probably looked strange, but for a few days I held my forehead when I sneezed, fearing a blowout. They said the bandage would sort of wear off, that the glue would break down and I should just let it fall off on its own. I had nightmarish musings about pulling it off too early resulting in me flying about the room like a deflating balloon, only to end up in a far corner of the room, leaving nothing but a damp little rag. After three days of glue boogers in my hair, I couldn't stand it any more! Just moments ago I encouraged the process along and soon a sticky, gooey, tapelike nasty thing fell off into the bathroom sink. Leaving me with a nearly two centimeter red vertical line on the left side of my forehead. The swelling is all gone and the bruising has been reduced to just a couple of bluish spots beneath my eyes. I still am amazed as well as grateful that my injuries were minimal. Equally remarkable are the healing properties of the body. And I'm wondering if getting whacked in the head could possibly explain away any of my random, oddball behaviors. You know, those endearing quirks that are hallmarks of my personality. Having one's monkeys jostled about could have all sorts of interesting results. Leaving me to paraphrase my dear sister Pam when I observe inappropriate behavior in others. Listen, buddy, I got whacked in the head with a 4 x 6 inch steel plate attached to a steel cable and a really big spring! What's your excuse?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Contempt Breeds Familiarity?

Yes, well, maybe it does. Or could, given certain circumstances. Sort of like annoying someone into adoring you. Aggravated to the point of affection. Pestering toward passion. Like Josh said to me this afternoon, if we were still in fourth grade, pushing me into the mud or throwing a snowball at me would be a sign of genuine smitten-ness. Well, I asked him for the male point of view, and he is a guy, and that's how he replied. Hmmm. Are we grown-ups yet? Even if we are in the chronological sense, it doesn't mean we always behave that way. And if you ask me, that's not only okay, sometimes it's compulsory.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Moon Madness?

The freaks and whackos were out in abundance last night and there was nary a moon in sight. Colleen and I braved the thick and bluish air at Stogeez to enjoy the music of Hank Harris. How many times is it necessary to wash your hair to remove the smoky stench of cigars? I still catch a whiff of eau de saloon when I turn my head despite two consecutive latherings, conditioner, gel and a splash of body spray. Maybe I'll need to shave my head, drink a quart of Febreeze and wait for unstinky locks to grow in. Freaks and whackos, you say? It seemed that way, there were at least three or four psychodramas playing out among the forty or so patrons over the course of the evening. On the way back from the ladies', whom should I encounter but Mr. Shaken Not Stirred! A very friendly crazy man in a leather hat plopped down in the chair next to me and we bellered along with Hank the last chorus or so of T Rex's Bang a Gong. That was fun. Colleen spotted a fellow artsy/designer person just from the way she was dressed! And proceeded to have a lovely conversation with her. At one point during the evening, I stepped over to the bar to set down my empty glass and save the friendly and capable staff from having to collect it off the table. At the moment I was closer to the bar than the table where we had been seated for most of the evening, and, well, it seemed like the right thing to do. As I was performing this amazing feat of courtesy, I was informed by a woman standing nearby to step away from him and mind my own business. I thought I was minding my own business. I get in trouble even when I'm behaving myself! Colleen and Mr. Hank are now best friends, at the end of the evening, I got a smile and a wave and she got a hug, a very friendly exchange, and a second hug. Could this have something to do with the fact that she is a genuine and sweet and wonderful human being whilst yours truly is an acerbic smartass? The thing is, I am also a genuine and sweet and wonderful human being. Some people just bring out the acerbic smartass in me. That sounds like a lousy excuse. Okay, it is a lousy excuse. Do you ever find yourself in a situation where it feels utterly impossible to say or do anything appropriate? So you just accept spiraling into idiot mode? It takes a little effort to scrape off that blustery exterior to find the genuine me. I think I'm worth the effort. The jaded on the outside is just a defense mechanism I seem to employ to weed out the ones who eventually wouldn't be able to deal with my dark side, which would inevitably make an appearance. It's not a game, at least not a deliberate one, it's more of a reflex that fades to the background when I'm comfortable with me. Finding that place isn't always an easy task. I'm very fortunate that Colleen is such a genuine and sweet and caring person. We all need a friend who sees beyond the crusty outside to the good stuff inside. Particularly amidst the madness that at least as far as last night goes, I'm blaming on the new moon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Harlequin Romance

I'm pretty certain that I'm not living in one, and there are clues all around me. It would seem that the thump on my head last Sunday afternoon has not transported me into delirium. For instance, my modest "B" endowment would have ballooned to a "DD", and I'd be showing it off with low cut, filmy tops. There isn't a strapping young fellow named Ethan or Rhys living in the little cabin at the back of my estate. Okay, it's not an estate, it's a ranch-style house with an attached garage. And it's not a cabin, it's a garden shed. But a dandy garden shed, I'll have you know! Anyway, Ethan or Rhys or whatever his name is, I keep him around for chopping firewood and posing half naked and sweaty with various yard implements for my entertainment, hears my scream and runs to my rescue. Ethan or Rhys scoops a limp and injured me up into his powerful arms and carries me all the way to the ER! I feel all safe and reassured as I bury my bleeding face into his burly chest. This is when I get a hearty whiff of his man smell. That mildy ambiguous yet overwhelming combination of sweaty pheromones, a masculine sort of woodsy scent, and I'm sure there must be tobacco in there somewhere. I swoon and swear to myself that I will put aside our class differences, marry him and bear his children. Wait a minute, Ethan or Rhys should have been working on the garage door instead of me!! What a worthless hunk of man flesh! Let's try this, then. Our heroine, Isabella or Layne or Raven, plucky girl that she is, rends her flimsy blouse and binds her massive wound with its rags and drives herself to the ER! When she arrives, she collapses into the gallant arms of the handsome and much younger EMT, who carries her into a trauma area and shouts, bandages! lip gloss! antiseptic! get a tetanus shot ready! STAT! When Isabella or Layne or Raven regains consciousness, her entire head is swaddled in a pressure bandage and she cannot see the gorgeous, single intern who is checking her vitals. Later, she will have to decide between the intern and the EMT. Somehow or other, the smell of lilacs helps her choose which man (how can she choose, they both were instrumental in saving her life!) she truly loves. If this really was a romance novel, I'd have to work in a long, arduous journey, probably on a boat, a mistaken identity of some sort, a cruel stepmother, the return of a priceless family heirloom to its rightful owner, a villainous yet attractive antagonist, a happy ending and a dazzling sunset. Rest assured that you won't confuse a bodice ripper with a bad country song. There might be a faithful hound dog or a train, but there will be a glaring absence of trailer houses, pick-up trucks, banjos and light beer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sibs, Circa 1965

I'm the big sister, with my 7yo front teeth just growing in. The blond cherub next to me is my sister, Martine. The chunky adorable one in my lap is my baby brother, Cullen. I don't remember this photo being taken, I do remember that the camera didn't come out very often. Mostly for birthdays and holidays and if out-of-town relatives were visiting. Maybe that's what feels special about this snapshot. It was just a regular day. And Mom deemed us worthy of exposing some film, of burning a flashbulb. It may have lingered in the Brownie StarMite for months before it was developed. I love this picture. And I wonder why my sister and I have that odd quirk of doing a hitchhiker thing with our big toes. It's got to be genetic.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


That would be today's date. Eleven/ten/nine. One of those numerical oddities that occurs once every century. Use today wisely. I have come to the realization that I'm something of an impulsive, sometimes mildy irrational human female. I am taking a day to contemplate my sore and swollen face and how narrowly I escaped serious injury, possibly blindness, toothlessness, or even death, on Sunday afternoon. I am grateful to be alive, mostly well and just a little achy and bruised. I shudder to consider that my 17yo son would likely have been the one to discover me, unconscious or worse, in a pool of blood on the cold concrete garage floor. But that didn't happen. I'm still here. And I need to think about what I ought to do with that gift.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Revlon 480

I don't know what you do to celebrate being alive, but this girl paints her toenails. The color I selected is Revlon #480, Autumn Berry. I feel much better already.


I have just received confirmation that I am, indeed, an idiot. Guess I'd never changed out the bearings at the very bottom of the garage door and didn't consider that the metal plate I was removing is attached to a cable and a very big spring. And when that last bolt is removed, or nearly removed, all the tension in said cable is turned loose to wreak havoc. Unfortunately, my head was in the way. I have a one and a half centimeter vertical gash in my forehead! It has been properly cleaned, bandaged, and glued back together. I also have a smaller cut a couple of inches below my right eye. I think I bit my tongue at the moment of the plate impacting my head. This would explain why the tip of it is very red and tender, also the nasty metallic taste in my mouth soon after. And for the first time in my life, I have had a tetanus shot. Which was a painless procedure! I'm an idiot, but a very lucky one, it would seem. The four by six inch metal plate attached to the cable flew up and hit my left forehead and right cheek. Completely missing my teeth, my nose, my eyes and my glasses. All the blood freaked out the 17yo, but he got me a washcloth and hugged me despite his unsettled feeling. I don't know if it was out of habit or because he took care of me for twenty years or because at first I wondered if the accident was electrical in nature, but I called my ex-husband. He took me in to the ER where I was treated and sent home with instructions on how to care for my wounds while they heal. I didn't lose consciousness, have not experienced any visual disturbance and may very well have a rather spectacular black eye in a few hours. I've taken three Advil and my head hurts a little. For the most part I seem to be okay. For the moment, the garage door is propped up with a vice-grips and I'll get back to it later. If you are going to be an idiot, remember that it's a good thing if you are on friendly terms with your ex, that you live very close to a modern ER, and that you have medical insurance. At least for today, good luck took care of the rest.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Holy Guacamole, Batman

Avocados were forty cents each last week. I am living in guacammmmmmole heaven. The photo isn't one I took. Though I could have, I can do a lovely presentation if I put my mind to it. Now I'm going to complain about this pic I swiped off of some foodie website. It appears that there are no tomatoes in this dip! I know, some people make it without tomatoes, but as far as I'm concerned, that's just wrong, wrong, wrong. I would have taken a picture myself except I just dove right in and gobbled the batch I whipped up without thinking. Don't overthink guacamole, just enjoy, that's what I always say. And remember the tomatoes. And since you asked, lime, please, rather than lemon. And beer. Preferably a nice Corona or perhaps a Dos Equis amber. What are you waiting for? Dig in!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Aren't we just adorable? Me, Pamela, and Martine. I'm speechless. Well, we are beautiful, but that is not what has stolen my voice. It is the dreaded annual bout with laryngitis. I have some sort of nasty hoptoad lodged in my throat that prevents me from speaking! I'm trying to drown the little bastard with wine but he's not budging. On the other hand, if you spot a handsome man who could return me to the world of speech, send him my way. I'll know just what to do with him.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Kind of Town

Have you ever thought about how many movies are set in Chicago? I hadn't until I embarked upon a Chicagothon of movies sometime last summer, starting with The Blues Brothers. The following is a list of movies that take place in the Windy City, all of which are in my personal film collection. I haven't viewed Adventures in Babysitting for quite a while, but I'm sure I'll dust it off soon. I'm including When Harry Met Sally, even though it takes place primarily in New York. Fans of the movie will know, and I hope indulge my inclusion on the list, because it begins in Chicago. Sadly lacking in my collection are the many John Hughes films that take place in Chicago. I love Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink and would love to own copies of them. Unfortunately, they have yet to make an appearance in the five buck bin at Wal-Mart. As you know, I love a bargain, and resist forking over more than five to seven dollars for a DVD. If you have a fave film set in Chicago, leave a comment and recommend it. I seem to have ten I'm rather fond of.

The Blues Brothers
I, Robot
Prelude to a Kiss
When Harry Met Sally
Adventures in Babysitting
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
High Fidelity
Ordinary People
North by Northwest
Grosse Point Blank

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Costume, Shmostume

In honor of the day, a very lovely and mostly black cat. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Brother

I miss him. And probably always will. I have memories and photos and connections with those he loved. I have a canister of his ashes and his Blues Brothers tshirt. When he married he gave me a sister. I loved him dearly and didn't have nearly enough time with him. This is the hardest goodbye I have ever known.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Sisters

Pamela Jean and Miss Martine

What could possibly be better than comfy jammies, a bottle of Layer Cake Malbec and the company of your sisters? More of all of the above. And just a bit more for dessert. And chocolate. And whipped cream. Yes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Is it Thursday already? And am I cleaning my house? No! I'm having a glass of wine and dinking around on the computer! Just above you will see evidence that it was just a tad chilly in the house when I got home yesterday.

And, no, it's not chilly because I leave the refrigerator standing open all the time. I cleaned it out and it's so sparkly and pretty I just had to show you!

This is why I don't buy expensive kitty treats for Newton and Einstein. They sniff, nibble a bit, and walk away. Not that I blame them, I'd rather have tuna, too. Oh, I had a coupon for a free can. Ungrateful little bastards.

Weekend supplies. And, yes, since you asked, there was a case discount. We shall enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Who Is That Handsome Young Man?

There he is, the younger son. Also known as Reid. We recently went through that painful, character building senior ritual known as, Having The Senior Portrait Taken. I think the results are quite nice. But then, I'm not particularly objective where he's concerned. Goes with the Mom territory. I think I showed some restraint in posting only 5 of 177 images.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beer Flood

For those of you who think poetry is all high-brow and snooty, or that Public Broadcasting is the same, read this. If you were ever wondering what it is that highbrow, snooty, PBS fans talk about in hushed, serious tone, you are now enlightened. They talk about beer. Or other booze. It's all booger and fart jokes, y'all, just with a much better vocabulary. Most of them are English majors, you know, which enables them, with their advanced degrees, to query of you ,if, indeed, you would like fries with that. Or if you would prefer the $1 upgrade to a premium side, such as the onion rings. I don't know about you, but I'm running right out to get a POEM tshirt.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Out of The Anonimity Closet

Ooh, is it easier to breathe out here? Brighter? Less cramped? It was never my intention to write this blog anonymously. It just kind of, well, happened that way. And I wasn't sure how I could write about my life without occasionally mentioning my sons. I began to refer to them by their ages, which can be tricky, since it keeps changing all the time. And I sound so very much more exotic as Bellona of Avalon than as my real name, which as many of you who actually know me, is Carla. Since I blew the elder son's cover on Saturday by referring to him as Michael, all of us may as well step out into the light. The 17yo, when asked if it was okay if Mom named him in her infamous blog, said okay. He shall henceforth be called Reid in this space. Which also happens to be his given name. Sometimes I call him other, less flattering things, which I reserve the right to do at times since he remains a 17yo boy and does things that 17yo boys do. And thereby earns those less-flattering references. To recap, hello, I'm Carla, aka Bellona of Avalon, my goddess name. The elder son is Michael, the younger son is Reid. The cats have always been Newton and Einstein. The various beasties who reside in my anxiety closet have mostly been identified, named, and either banished or tamed. The garden gnomes who live outside in the back yard are Edgar and Vladimir. And I thought it was crowded in the closet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


My back yard this morning. Chicken soup seems in order, Michael and Liz will be here in about an hour. I'm listening to A Prairie Home Companion, sipping shiraz, and making soup, all at the same time. I am the Queen of multi-tasking. Oh, and happy birthday to John. I think brownies for dessert are in order.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr & Tendonitis & Shiraz

I'm wearing a thumb and wrist stablizing splint on my right hand. For my tendonitis and possible carpal tunnel issues. My left hand feels left out, as it's not working at 100%, either. Perhaps that is the fate of the left hand, and why it is so named. It will be interesting to see if I can do anything at work tomorrow while it's on. Gordon Lightfoot was quite amazing. Great back-up band, these guys have been playing together for twenty or so years. Mr. Lightfoot's vocal abilities are somewhat diminished and I wonder if that is related to his life threatening abdominal aortic aneurism burst seven years ago. He was in a coma for several days and had a tracheotomy, makes one wonder how that may have affected his voice. That aside, he is still a commanding stage presence with a twinkle in his eye. I enjoyed the concert immensely. I didn't know that the song, If You Could Read My Mind, was written about his own personal experience with going through a divorce. No wonder it tears me up and reminds me of mine. That's what remarkable artists do, though. Channel their pain through their personal creative filter and come up with magic. Magic accessible to others. Tigh just called and knows I'm drinking at home tonight. I wonder if he'll show up with friends. They'll probably want to try on my splint. I'll allow it, just as long as they don't get between me and the Fish Eye shiraz.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baby Spiders

Aren't they cute? And so appropriate for Halloween's month! Actually, there was a frost warning two nights ago and I wanted to root out some of the baby spiders from the big potted plant in the back yard. And it occurred to me that the ideal container for such a project is, tada!, an ice cube tray! Baby spiders. Halloween. October. And Gordon Lightfoot in less than twenty-four hours! Life is good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


* Not only have I scheduled the 17yo's senior portrait, we have also successfully agreed on and shopped for clothing for said photo shoot. May not seem like much of an accomplishment, but we still like each other and have not inflicted pain and abuse upon each other in the process.

*Five days to Gordon Lightfoot!!!

*Sadly, there will be no bike ride today. Chilly, windy, looks like rainy.

*Am I really such a horrible neighbor? The house next door has a realtor's moving van backed up in the driveway, although there has been nary a for sale sign posted in the yard. This family has been there barely a year, just like the ones before them. We had many friendly chats out in the yard with their two adorable younger daughters bouncing about and demanding attention. And I know that they replaced carpeting and flooring before they moved in, kind of expensive improvements when you don't own the house very long. Wonder what's up.

*As today's title implies, I have a check list of tasks that I really must accomplish before I have a houseful of people in a month. Only a couple of them are terribly time consuming, those being finishing the carpet install in the basement bedroom/office and hemming the "new" living room drapes. As a seamstress and decorator, I recommend that drapes hang for a while before hemming. As a procrastinator, I realize that fifteen months is more than enough of a while.

*The snowball effect has reached its ferocious tendrils into the laundry room. I just knew I shouldn't have purchased that bright pink office chair for use at the sewing machine. I did find it on clearance for about twenty bucks, which was a great bargain. But now I have purchased other pink items, a clock, a storage ottoman, a desk lamp, to go in there as well. I have fully rationalized the acquisition of these things, the clock that is currently in the laundry room hasn't worked for over a year, the desk lamp that is currently in there will be recycled into the 17yo's room and the storage ottoman, well, it was cute! And on clearance! Get out of my way if you are between me and a clearance-priced, hot pink area rug! Don't say I didn't warn you.

*I'm enjoying immensely going about my business with a condom in my purse. I am past the urge to blurt out to attractive strangers that I possess this item and that I know how to use it. I think it lends an aire of mystique to my sometimes lackluster ambience.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dance. Sing. Love. Live.

How is it that I've had so little to say this last week? I've been lipping off and just as opinionated as usual, but typing has become painful. I seem to have some repetitive motion issues with both of my hands, probably caused by tasks I perform on the job. Maybe carpal tunnel, maybe not. Maybe due to an injury at work nearly four years ago, maybe not. A doctor appointment in ten days should shed some light on the problem. Workman's Comp is a touchy subject, I have discovered. Everyone seems to be in agreement that 800 mg of ibuprofin just so I can sleep with the pain is not normal. Sleep with the pain. Better than sleeping with the fishes, I imagine. Fall has arriven on the calendar as well as with the crisp morning air these last few days. Leaves are dropping and the sun is making a shorter appearance each day. Plans are shaping up for my brother's memorial gathering, an event I am experiencing very mixed emotions over. I have something of a reputation as a hostess-with-the-mostess, but I have never hostessed anything remotely like this in the past. My hope is that all who come will share their love and memories, and in that atmosphere of caring we'll all heal from our loss just a little. For me personally, having time with my sisters will be the very best part, even if the reason is tragic. Then again, Cullen had a way of bringing people together. His favorite time of year was fall, so it's only fitting to celebrate his too-short life in this season. The greatest comfort is knowing that Cullen lived how Mark Twain said we ought to:

Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you've never been hurt
and live like it's heaven on Earth.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

226 and Counting

A month ago I added a little gizmo here, you can see it at the bottom of the page. It's called a ClustrMap. It allows me, and you, too, if you care, to see where in the world and how many times people look at this blog. It doesn't have the capability to tell me if anyone actually reads it or enjoys it. The gizmo measures numbers, it's just a toteboard, not an enjoyment or appreciation meter. Still, I find it interesting that someone in Croatia has taken a look. And it would seem that I have a genuine fan in Poland. It took over three weeks to have a dot show up on all six continents, and I don't mean to shortchange Antarctica, but it seems that ClustrMaps only counts the other six. I'm sure there are people, computers, and internet access in Antarctica, so I have placed an imaginary red dot down there. If you are reading this from Antarctica, I want you to know that I still consider you a continent. Pluto is a planet, too, as far as I'm concerned. But I'm a little mystified as to why synchronized swimming is an Olympic event. And as long as we're counting, it's twelve days to Gordon Lightfoot, seventeen days til my next teeth cleaning and about time to get the oil changed in the Subaru. Tell your friends in other, far-flung locales to read this blog. They'll get a little red dot on my ClustrMap. Won't that be special?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Avast there! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! It's also my cousin Emily's birthday. But I don't think she's a pirate. Rum drinks would be in order this evening, I suspect. I can't think of an appropriate dinner menu, nothing that pirates would have consumed on a long sea journey sounds the least bit appetizing. It would be fun to dress Newton and Einstein up in little pirate costumes. Okay, the actual process of dressing them up wouldn't be fun, but getting some photos of the results would be pretty entertaining. It's more likely that the photos would be of me all shredded up and needing a ride to the ER with nary a cat in sight. It's also the last official weekend of summer, the autumnal equinox rolls around next week. The ash tree in the west end of the front yard is a little ahead of schedule, having dropped most of its leaves already. It's almost time to give up my sandals for boots and other closed-toe shoes. But not quite. Not til my toes are chilly. Then bring on the fat socks and sweaters and flannel jammies. Arrrggg, indeed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toga, or Not Toga

It's homecoming week. Every day is a different theme for dressing up. Today was toga day. I informed the 17yo that a crown of laurel is the standard headgear to be worn with the toga. But he prefers his cap. I tried. The sandals, however, were an excellent choice.