Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm Two!

At the point when I become fully menopausal, must I change the title of my blog? Oh, my, it has just occurred to me that today is my blogiversary! For two years I have been casting my thoughts and questions and ponderings out there for anyone to read. I'm not quite famous but I do have some regular readers. Most of you are silent readers who have never commented but have let me know via other channels that you enjoyed something you read here. Thanks to La Guera and Ed who comment frequently, I like and appreciate the conversation. Writing in one way or another has been a part of my life for a long time, and I was reminded of that this afternoon. I've been cleaning out the former computer lab downstairs and am in the process of turning it into my office. The 16yo and his computer have been kicked out to another room and I am left in the midst of piles of stuff and dust bunnies. Figuring out what to keep, what is trash, what can be recycled, what belongs elsewhere. I found the original first manuscript of my novel and found it hard to believe that I printed it out nearly ten years ago. I saved my daily writing on a floppy disc! I have years and years worth of journals that I can't decide what to do with. I'll finally have all my writing efforts, including poetry and notes and character development ideas for possible future novels, all organized in one place. In a week or so, my computer will be at home in another room! I'm going through a teensy bit of separation anxiety, but I need for my bedroom to be a room for just sleeping, reading, and relaxing. Perhaps even entertaining. Well, I figure I ought to not just wait for my ship to come in, I should be prepared for when it arrives! So all the office stuff and notebooks and the cute little desk are moving to another room. Leaving just a journal and a pen on the nightstand. Now that I'm two, I think I'm ready to give the writing a room of its own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bellona's Belly

What makes an otherwise mostly normal woman get her navel pierced? Particularly when she's reached an age, for me it was 47, where she's beyond wearing midriff-baring tops. Why? I can only answer for myself. When I was in my twenties, I had a fabulous looking tummy. Flat. Firm. Not an ounce of flab peeped out over the waistband of my jeans. Then I had two babies, which involved gaining over 45 lbs each time, ballooning my previously 26 inch waist to over 40 inches. Both of my sons were born ceasarian, leaving me with a ridge of scar tissue at my bikini line. Even when I got back down to an acceptable, comfortable weight range my tummy never was quite the same again. And let's face it, there was no way I was motivated enough to do the ab crunches or sit-ups to regain a semblance of my earlier abdominal glory. I pouted a little. And mourned the loss of a physical attribute I didn't quite appreciate enough when I had it. Then I would look at my two handsome, bright and wonderful sons. And I'd think, what a tiny price to pay. In order to truly accept my now less-than-perfect belly, it was obvious what needed to be done. Decorate it! Poke a hole in that navel and dangle something bright and shiny on it! So I did. And today, after four and a half years of living as a belly-pierced woman, that reign came to an end. To my great surprise, the ring fell out this morning. I was at work, concentrating on putting retest stickers in numerical order, and plink!, there it was, my cute little 22k white gold ring on the counter in front of me. I self-consciously raised my shirt and peeked at my navel. Nothing dramatic, no blood or riven flesh, just a little pink area where the piercing used to be. I expect in a few days my navel will appear pretty much as it did before. I feel less exotic. Sigh.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

At Least It's Not On The Floor

Isn't this lovely? It's the back of my bedroom door. If you put up hooks, stuff will appear and ask to be hung. If I can't locate a purse or an article of clothing, this is where I look. I usually don't look for the pink feather boa, I know where it is and haven't felt the need to use it since my 50th birthday party. If anyone has creative suggestions for using a pink feather boa, I'd like to hear them. I may even be willing to loan it to the right person. A fashion archaeologist might find this interesting, there are layers dating back to perhaps the Cenozoic Era. Now that's what I call retro.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 44th President of the United States of America!

Does anyone else feel inspired? We watched the entire inaugural ceremony while we worked this morning. On the big tv screen that normally displays our barcode scanning and watering table temperature. I must say that it was not even close to being there, but it was warmer and more convenient. I was inspired, moved, and hopeful. The absolute best moment was daughter Sasha's thumbs up for her Dad with her little, orange gloved hand. And may I say that it is truly wonderful to have a president who can speak English in complete and correct sentences! And, yes, I voted for him. The Obama/Biden ticket did not prevail in SD but I'm still taking credit for my part in it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reader's Digest Redux

Summer of 1968. My mother had packed up us four kids and moved us back to North Dakota, leaving her husband and our father behind in Las Vegas. Purportedly to sell the house, tie up loose ends, take care of other business, and would soon follow us back up north. I didn't expect to see him again, I had learned to have few expectations where my family of origin was concerned. The funny thing is, it didn't feel dismal, it just felt normal. Trading the blistering heat and sand of the Nevada desert for the bitter cold of the northern plains. The five of us moved in with her parents, the duration of these living conditions unknown. My brothers occupied the basement bedroom. It was musty and smelled of moth balls. I'm not sure, but I think my mother slept on the couch in the living room. My sister and I took up residence in the upstairs bedroom. It was bright and sunny with slanted walls that echoed the roofline. I was ten going on eleven and my sister had just turned six. We had shared a bedroom in our house in Nevada but we slept in twin beds, here we were obliged to sleep in the same bed as well as the same room. I didn't mind, I felt safe and above the growing household tensions below. If we had been in twin beds, I think I might have crawled in with my sister just for the comfort of not feeling alone. We had lived in Williston twice before, when I was a baby and when I was in second grade, but to me it was just another new town, another new school where I would have to start all over again. In the fall I would begin sixth grade, but it would be my fifth elementary school in six years. To escape the current state of my life, I read. Anything and everything I could get my hands on, and the upstairs bedroom at Grandma's house was lined by years of back issues of Reader's Digest. I think in the two months we lived there I read them all, six or seven years' worth. And I don't think I picked one up since then. Until last month. My friend Sandy gave me a gift subscription, and the first issue arrived in December. The magazine looks different, brighter and thinner than the sixties version, but the cartoon on the last page looks somehow familiar. And the Word Power feature is just as much fun as I remember. I never would have thought of subscribing to Reader's Digest again, but I'm enjoying having it on my nightstand. Thanks, Sandy, for teleporting me back to an earlier self, to that sunny upstairs bedroom at Grandma's house, where I first realized that reading was fun.

Cat & Mouse

My cat, Einstein, has taken a fancy to my wireless mouse.

Friday, January 16, 2009

January Doldrums

I am considering rearranging some furniture. And cleaning. And finishing packing away the Christmas decorations. Once they make it down to that room in the basement it's anyone's guess how long it will actually take until they are properly put away. And shoveling that crusted over pile of chunky snow off of the end of my driveway that the freaking snowplow deposits there! Is there a specific word for that crusty pile of snow? I have four decrepit bananas that would make some lovely banana walnut bread if I could just get inspired to bake. The 16yo just sneezed quite vociferously. I would prefer that he does not share his cold with me. At any rate, I have probably already been exposed. He likely thinks his sniffles will get him off snow shoveling duty. He's probably right. And I'll probably make him chicken soup to boot. And knocking me out of my winter doldrums, there he was, the scowling yet gorgeous Kyle Chandler in the return of Friday Night Lights just an hour ago. He almost makes me care about football.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If There Was Any Doubt...

...yes, indeed, it is winter around here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bowling at the Shamrock

Hello, and, why, yes, I am so happy the furnace is working. Unopened for three days on the kitchen table, the bill taunted me silently. What does a silent taunt sound like? It sounds like $275, that's what! The fan was kaput. Brian the Furnace Guy left the old one there on the utility room floor. I picked it up and shook it. It sounded like a very large baby rattle, only less tinkly and more expensive. Also a little mocking, as in, there goes that little bit of a float you were eyeing in the checkbook balance! But I'm grateful for a warm house once more. The holiday party last night wasn't so bad. And yes, no miracle occurred to supply me with a hot date for the occasion. I'll save that miracle for later. An interesting thing happened as I was waiting in line at the bar. The young man behind the bar looked familiar, and as I was perusing the wine list, it became clear to me why. I heard my name, looked up, and the young man's mother was grinning and heading toward me and gave me a big, fat hug. Being a fan of big, fat hugs, I reciprocated. LeAnne Bailey and her husband, Mike, own the place. And Mike the younger was behind the bar. LeAnne and Mike the elder and my boyfriend at the time and I comprised a bowling team over 25 years ago. When Mike the younger was just a tot in diapers, which I changed a time or two, his parents and my boyfriend and I tore up the lanes at the local bowling alley and won a couple of league awards for it. If I were to brave the cobwebs on top of the bookcase down in the family room, I'd know why.* And possibly even experience a flood of warm memories associated with that era of my life, though not about the boyfriend at the time. From whom I learned a few substantial things during the time we were together, among them the oral contraceptive and mastery of the manual transmission. But I digress. I knew the Baileys had built the Shamrock, but was not aware they were in charge of the place as owners, but it seems to be something of a family affair running the place. The food was quite good, and I've been meaning to show up for their last Friday of the month seafood buffet which I have heard people rave about. I lose track sometimes of how long I have lived here and the many circles of people I have been a part of. My memory creates compartments of these different eras as if they existed in completely separate and different places, the only common thread being me. But even as I have been busily weaving the fabric of my life, the others that I have known continue with theirs. I wonder if they were just as surprised to see me as I was to see them. Mostly I was surprised to see a bartender whose diaper I had changed. And to my credit, I didn't bring it up. I just ordered the Chardonnay.

*2nd Place Team, Friday Night Twilight League, 1982-83

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kiss Candy Cane Goodbye

There is only one Hershey's Candy Cane Kiss left. I'll probaly cave and eat it sometime before I go to bed. The trouble is, there won't be any more until NEXT Christmas. Candy Cane is a seasonal flavor. I can deal with this. I'll be fine. I may go through a teensy little mourning period. Some mild withdrawal. Meanwhile, the Valentine candy has been in the stores for over a week. Like I said, I'll be fine.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January List #1

* At first it was cute, but I'm beginning to find the 16yo's habit of remarking, "this is my first breakfast of the year", or "this is my first quesadilla of the year", or "this is my first shower of the year", or "this is my first pair of clean socks of the year", much more than a little annoying.

* I don't know how much snow fell over the course of yesterday, but most of it fell in my driveway. The 16yo and I were out shoveling, he didn't complain all that much, it was pleasant. A neighbor came by with his snowblower and assisted, which was also very pleasant. He took care of that pesky pile near the street that is deposited by the snowplow and quite a bit more. Thanks, neighbor! This act of kindness on your part completely makes up for fifteen years ago when your son, who was three years older and nearly twice the size of my son, tackled him and smeared the remains of a very large, mostly dead caterpillar all over his back. Not that I ever hold a grudge or anything.

* I don't make New Year's resolutions, so I have no report as to how I'm managing them. If I have made progress toward becoming that much better human being that I just know I can be, at this point it would just be dumb luck, not effort.

* Today ends the holiday break for the local public schools. The 16yo isn't moping all that much, also to his credit. Could he have made some sort of resolution involving attitude improvement? Hmmm.

* The entire main floor of the house has been denuded of Christmas decorations. They're not all packed away yet, but they are confined to one room and are patiently awaiting the packing process. As much as I love putting up the decorations, I also love the bare-bones, uncluttered appearance of the house after the holidays. To my pleasant surprise, my brain feels the same way.

* This enormous new tree, now stripped of ornaments, lights, tinsel and beads, was proving a challenge for storage. I wandered the aisles of Wal-Mart in search of a solution. Plastic totes...too bulky and expensive. I was ready to resort to garbage bags and duct tape, which the cats would have found much too interesting. I finally was struck with inspiration in the 75% off clearance aisle where I found two enormous, obnoxiously holiday patterned vinyl tablecloths! I will stitch them together to create a humongous drawstring bag to store the tree in! for two and a half bucks, I'm feeling pretty brilliant.

* For those of you who might be mildly interested, neither not-my-daughter Nancy nor I have secured a date for the Christmas party. Which is this upcoming Friday night. We did not stand on a street corner downtown this weekend to see what might be available. We were not dedicated enough to our plan. A miracle could still occur, but at this point if I'm going to get a miracle, I'd hate to waste it on a date for a dull party, even though the food at the Shamrock is reputed to be quite good and there is a rumor that the prizes, that you must be present to win, are choice. On the plus side, I have a pretty cute outfit to wear.

* Something both of my sons find astonishing is that I write for, gasp, fun. I enjoy writing! No one forces me to sit down and write as some bizarre form of punishment. I do it voluntarily. And no one pays me. Not yet, anyway.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Looking for Mr. Good-Wit

I like to think that I'm highly evolved enough to not cling to stereotypes. Even though I have this nagging thought that there is a reason stereotypes exist to begin with. That somewhere in there exists a tiny kernal of truth. Kind of like a nice big fat juicy piece of gossip. What people are saying isn't entirely true but there is a teeny, tiny fact at the core of the story. And I hate to apply generalities where they don't belong. That said, allow me to plunge into the pit of stereotypical generalizations. It has dawned on me that often when a man claims to appreciate a great sense of humor in a woman, he doesn't really mean that he likes a clever, funny, witty sort of personality. What he really means is that he truly expects you to laugh when he farts! As proof of your great sense of humor! And all I have to say about that is, I can pull my own finger. My apologies to all of the great guys out there who expect more, who do have a great sense of humor and who appreciate the same in a woman.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Really, Mr. Cadbury!

For what ungodly, dark, sick and twisted reason do you place the key to the cookie flavors on the bottom side of the tin?!?!?! You, your associates, underlings, immediate family and staff should be publicly flogged! This is an outrage!

W(h)ine Time

I have arriven home and it is warm! Hooray! Is arriven a word? It looks funny although it seemed correct when I thought it a moment ago. Thinking a word and then viewing it on the screen seem to sometimes have a bit of a disconnect. I have a preposterously messy house to neaten up, as Brian the Furnace Guy could confirm were he asked. Preposterously looks funny, but I expected it to. Did someone say wine? Thank you, I believe I shall have a glass or two, there is a bottle of Black Opal cabernet/merlot open and will certainly go bad if left to its own devices. Better that I should enjoy it now rather than as salad dressing or marinade later. Did anyone notice that Black Opal now comes with a screw top rather than a cork? Not that I'm snooty about such things, it tastes just as dandy in its current packaging. I do draw the line, however, should wine begin to be marketed in serving size bags with straws attached. That would have to be a sign of impending doom for life as we know it. I would hope that if there is a hereafter involving eternal reward, that a lovely wine from a corked bottle would be served. Eternal punishment would be where the individual wine bags are served, along with stale crackers and spray-cheese-in-a-can.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Okay, it's not below zero, the photo is from last week. I have a call in to Brian the Furnace Guy and I hope he gets back to me soon! For the second time this winter the furnace is on the fritz! The last frustrating furnace fiasco cost $140!! And the horrible, loud rattling when the heat kicked in this morning sounded expensive. Ah, the joys of being a homeowner in South Dakota in January! Until the furnace is back on line I have sweaters, blankets, fat fuzzy socks, hot water and a large bathtub and two cuddly cats. Maybe I should bake something. What a great rationalization to prolong the Christmas pudge that has set in! Crank up the oven and bake because the furnace isn't working! Happy 2009 to all of you and I hope you're keeping warm.