Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy birthday, CP Cavafy

What can you say about a man who died over seventy-five years ago, was probably gay, and wrote primarily in Greek? Well, that he was an absolute genius, that his poetry holds up remarkably to translation, and, he was a genius! All hail Constantine P. Cavafy, who wrote poems with historical, sensual, and philosophical themes. Unless you are made of stone, The God Abandons Antony will speak to your heart. It is Cavafy's natal day today. Bless the day he was born!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Excellent Twos

Two years ago today I drove the Subaru home from the dealership. My first brand new car. I still like it! I have driven through some nasty winter weather in it and stayed on the road. Staying on the road is good. The car talk guys say that girls name their cars. I haven't felt any inspiration toward hanging a moniker on this car. I did name one vehicle, but in an uncomplimentary vein. For five years I drove a Ford Aerostar minivan which we christened the Antichrist. In homage to The Gods Must be Crazy and due to the fact that we were certain it was demonically possessed. It just did strange things and for no apparent reason. It coughed, sputtered, leaked, smelled weird, fogged up, died, lost power and stranded us more than once. Navigating it down the road in a high wind, which is most of the time in South Dakota, was more like herding a big, fat cow between the ditch and the center line than actual driving. When it wasn't doing those things, we got a lot of miles out of it and got it really, really cheap. And it was pretty comfortable for road trips. In fact, between the tiny price we paid for it and how much we got for it when it was traded in, we may have actually made money on owning it. Which is a very strange and almost unAmerican concept. Or the most American. I don't recall naming any other cars. My first car was a Chevy Nova. And eventually it did just that. From there I drove a Ford Fiesta, Ford LTD, Ford Escort Station Wagon, the Antichrist, Mercury Villager minivan, and now, the Subaru Outback. Name suggestions, anyone?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Play Date

Kiara came over tonight. She brought her mom, Nancy, along, probably because Mom drives. Kiara brought me flowers. She played dress-up while Nancy and I drank beer and talked about work and stuff. I should probably mention that Kiara is five and she really enjoyed the gloves, hats and jewelry. Also the boots. Especially the boots. Nancy and I really enjoyed the beer. I like play dates. We really ought to have more of them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feline Filchery

I would like to ride my new bike home today, but there is crunchy rainfall on the ground this morning. I suspect that my cats have figured out how to get into the wine. Otherwise, there is no reasonable explanation as to why that bottle was emptied so quickly last night. Just think of the mischief they would be capable of if they had opposable thumbs. My goal, one of them, for today is to get the dining room furniture back where it belongs. The table and chairs have been in the garage for over two weeks. I really need to get them back in the house before I accidentally park on top of them. And in support of one of my physics theories, that an empty, flat space has a tendency to attract piles of stuff that mysteriously appear there from out of freaking nowhere, it is going to be a monumental task to clear off the table before I can move it back into the house. It's interesting to have a child living locally, but not with you, who has a key to the house. Yesterday I found a note on the counter from the 20yo saying that he popped home to grab some clothing and ate lunch while he was here. He hopes I can forgive him for stealing a Coke and some ketchup. I was ready to blame the missing ketchup on the cats. Which makes me think I ought to do a quick cookie inventory...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I was waiting in line at a department store check-out. Next to me is a display of fuzzy slippers in a rainbow of springy colors. Two women walk by. A moment later they burst into laughter. The taller one carrying a large, lime green handbag says to the other, I knew you couldn't walk past those without givin' 'em a feel! They appear sixty-ish but behave as if they're fourteen. They walk on, elbows crooked together, laughing. They remind me of antics when I'm with my sister. I smile for a good half-hour.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Isn't it though! After ten days of inconvenience and toil, ta-da, here is my new and improved bedroom. I'm still moving in bit by bit, weeding through things and striving for a less cluttered look. Overall I'm very pleased with the results. The carpet installer guys, who you wouldn't necessarily think of as fashion conscious, complimented me on the palette of my decor. Very dramatic, one of them said, different from what he usually sees. I said thank you. I then proceeded to shout obscenities at the bi-fold closet doors while I was coaxing them back into their spots. They're so easy to remove! And so tricky to replace.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April Rebuke #2

Tobin, sweetie. Grow some balls and post a comment under your own name. It was mildly amusing and did plant a very funny visual in my head. Oh, and I figured out that it was you almost immediately. I still love you but play nice!

Food for Thought

I know this woman. She's around my age, she's a wife and mother. I like her a lot. She's funny and sincere and kind. And she does something that I just don't understand! She eats and drinks things that she believes, and is probably right about, are healthy for her. I understand that part, be patient. The thing is, she doesn't enjoy many of the healthy things that she consumes. She drinks green tea every day, it took a while for her to get used to the taste, and she still doesn't like it all that well, she's just become accustomed to drinking it. She chokes down a glass of milk most nights with dinner. But she doesn't like it, she drinks it because of the calcium and protein it provides. And she eats bananas even though if she thinks about the texture of the fruit while she's eating it, she's not likely to enjoy it and it almost makes her feel a little sick. I have this theory that whatever you eat, you should consume it with joy and gusto. You know, feed your soul and spirit as well as your physical self. It seems to me that if you eat healthy foods, but you don't enjoy the process, that somehow the nutritious aspect is somewhat diminished. I don't think that you should eat crap and enjoy it and lull yourself into thinking it's good for you! Like this guy I know who is classified as being morbidly obese and yet joyfully pokes frosting slathered cake into his mouth while he laughs about his corpulence. I do believe that joy is a factor that should not be discounted in all the ways it can impact our lives. I'm lucky that most of the things I like to eat are pretty healthy. I love vegetables and olive oil and yogurt and whole grains and salmon. I also love coffee and chocolate and red meat and chips and wine and cream and butter and beer, and, yes, cake. But for the most part I consume these things in moderation. The only edible substance that I feel is truly evil is the trans-fat, which I avoid. I'm also not a big fan of artificial sweeteners or the "lite" version of anything. And I ignore the latest breaking news concerning what is good/bad for you to eat. Inevitably that information has a habit of turning on itself over time. I eat what I love and love what I eat. And I think I'm healthier for it. I'd rather have a small portion of something wonderful that I'll absolutely savor than a bucket full of healthy that I'll have to choke down. It's all about the joy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Elvis

My bedroom is painted. Elvis Costello is singing on A Prairie Home Companion at this very second whilst I type. I am swooning. I am swilling a celebretory Corona. With lime, naturally. I would love to take a long, steaming, soaky bath. But the bathtub is full of stuff from my closet. Like shoes and luggage and my stash of Bath & Body Works products. Earlier, Mr. Costello sang one of my absolute favorite songs, Indoor Fireworks. I know he was singing directly to me. I swooned. And, at least I think, it wasn't the paint fumes. Definitely not the paint fumes.

Project Progress

And this is how my bedroom looks! With any luck, the painting will be completed today. The new carpeting goes in Monday morning. Check in Tuesday for the fabulous results!

April Rebuke #1

I cast my net at the 250 mile mark on the internet dating site. They make you set a mile limit to search for matches, as if it should be obvious how far away Mr. NPbPfM dwells in ignorance of my existance. Arbitrary, yes. My thought was, hey, I'd drive 125 miles for love, if he'd meet me halfway, at least for a while. Until I became jaded or bored or gas goes up to four bucks a gallon, whichever comes first. Also, I've been living in this town of 18,000 or so for thirty years and haven't met any likely locals recently. So I thought (there I go thinking again) I should cast the net far enough to include some nearby urban centers where there would just have to be a few interesting, intelligent, lonely but not desperate men. I am astonished when my weekly matches arrive via email notification, that there are anywhere from 751 to a thousand guys who qualify for potential boyfriending! A thousand! Could this be possible! One explanation is that roughly twenty-five percent of these fellows are invisible. They post no photo but say that their friends describe them as handsome or attractive or good-looking. Hey, Buddy, I don't know these trusted friends of yours, so post a damn photo already! Ahem. Last week I believe three potentials popped up who live locally. One of them seems interesting. But in a hostile, judgemental, holier-than-thou, exasperated, humorless sort of way. He did post a photo, actually three of them. And this is my response to him. I wish you good luck in your quest for a mate, but I feel the need to inform you that your angry attitude coupled with the comb-over-that-fools-nobody disqualifies you from copping a superior attitude.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tobin's Not My Boyfriend

You heard it here first. Unless you were seated at one of the adjacent tables at Cubby's this evening. Tobin is not my boyfriend. Although it is an amusing and entertaining thought. Granted, he was my pretend boyfriend for a while, but that really doesn't count. The first time I met Tobin was twelve years ago. In my bedroom. He was there with his father. Is this a dirty mind test? They were there installing carpeting. His dad called him "Tobe". I wondered if he'd had that five o'clock shadow since kindergarden. Then I didn't see him again until he became a co-worker two and a half years ago. He's funny. And smart. And handsome. I like him. He's also in that gray age area where he could possibly be my son if I'd jumped on the mothership while I was still in high school. As a co-worker and a smoker, he had two dealbreakers against him from the very beginning. At least as far as actually becoming my boyfriend. Last month he left the seed lab for a wonderful job opportunity. So currently he has just one dealbreaker holding up his possible advancement into the boyfriend arena, he still smokes. So there's this guy I used to work with who I met for the first time in my bedroom twelve years ago. He's funny, handsome and smart. And we've tossed so much bullshit back and forth at one another over the last two years that I'm not entirely certain that we could ever have a serious conversation with each other about what we are to each other. Or if there are future possibilities for something more. He's not my boyfriend. But he is my friend. And a terrific kisser. And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ides of April

From April through September last year I had a six month stretch where I managed to work fewer than forty hours per week. Between vacation hours and holidays and going part-time during the summer I managed to still get paid enough to get by. And since I'm such a trendsetter that people feel the need to pick up my cast-off stuff from the curb, I am once again embarking on six months of semi-slothfulness. Meaning that I am taking a day off and am still in my jammies. My home projects are progressing nicely! The gaping hole in the roof has been repaired. Ignorance is truly blissful in that I have suffered greater anxiety since the hole was fixed pondering what disaster might have befallen than I did for the two months idly wondering what that horrible metallic scraping sound could possibly be. What it possibly was turned out to be the prevailing prairie winds ripping the cap for the ridge vent off its moorings! The garage door once again opens and closes quietly and efficiently at the touch of a button. The bottom half of the closets still needs a coat or two of stain-blocking primer and some paint and then the bedroom itself gets painted! I would like to personally thank whoever it was that invented this ceiling paint that goes on purple and dries white! You can actually see where you've painted! I hesitate to call it miraculous but it most certainly was a stroke of genius.

Friday, April 10, 2009

If You Put it Out to the Curb, They Will Come

And there it goes. After a mere fifteen hours on the curb, my circa 1981 plaid sofa is gone.


Home Improvement

Have I told you before how much I adore my sons? And what wonderful human beings they are? I ran their fannies off yesterday with furniture moving and hauling fifty pound bags of water softener salt and carpet ripping up and carpet installing and computer tear-down and set-up. The cats are not happy about my bedroom furniture in the dining room and living room. They haven't done anything specific thus far to express their displeasure. It could be that I simply have not found their little statement of protestation because I have not yet stepped in it. The best defense would be to give them treats. Now. At this very moment the guy who installs garage door openers is finishing up installing mine. Go figure. I thought I might catch him doing the windows or raking the lawn. About an hour ago the roof guy showed up and his estimate was around a hundred bucks to fix the ridge vent. Yesss!! And with any luck, before it rains. Maybe I should wait to paint the ceiling in my bedroom, which is directly under the roof breach, just in case that twenty percent turns suddenly into a deluge. At least I don't have to worry about whether my attic is properly ventilated.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Airing My Dirty Laundry Room

Oh, the shame. The last room left in the house that needs a serious cleaning.

Colorful, isn't it?

From left to right, meet the furnace, water heater, and water softener.

Ladies and gentlemen, the washer and dryer. Well, this is the laundry room, where else would they be?

The view from the hallway as you back out, turn out the light, and slam the door so none of the mess escapes to besmirch the rest of the house.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Duck Nibble for Today

In my favorite department store this afternoon I was told by the woman behind the counter, you may be eligible for our senior citizen discount that we offer on Wednesdays. Nonplussed, I replied, well, how old would I have to be? Sixty-two, she said. Without blinking. Mustering the inborn grace of a Southern woman and summoning the spirit of Julia Sugarbaker, I smiled effortlessly and purred, darlin', I won't be there for quite some time, but when I arrive, I'll take you up on that discount!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bag of Keys

Ten or so years ago, we came into the possession of an antique secretary cabinet. Not just any antique secretary cabinet, but the one that had belonged to my husband's maternal grandfather. The cabinet had been languishing in the abandoned farmhouse across from his uncle's home for twenty years. How we came to possess it is a story in itself, so I'll save that for another time. Once we had the secretary home and cleaned up and situated in the guest bedroom, it was discovered that we didn't have a key for it. I don't remember how that came to be, but without a key, there was no opening any of its doors. The key acted as a knob once it was turned in the lock to the unlocked position. I visited a local antiques shop and was told that furniture of that era was built with one of three standard locks, which could be opened with one of three standard keys. My name was placed on the waiting list for the coveted Bag of Keys. Which turned out to be a large ziploc bag containing dozens of antique keys. Keys both fancy and plain, shiny and dull, and of varying size. I took the bag home, tried keys in the locks on my shut-tight cabinet until I found one that worked and I liked the looks of. I then returned the bag to the store and paid one dollar for the key I had chosen. What a great system! A bag of keys that was sure to contain one that worked for me. The secretary left this house with my soon-to-be ex-husband when he moved out three years ago. The key went with it. I'd like to get on a waiting list for a different bag of keys. A mystical bag of keys that unlocks the unknown and provides answers to the large and small questions of life. Anyone know where it might be?

Monday, Monday

As Mondays go, this one was eventful. Not in a bang! pow! wow! sort of way, more like a continuous barrage of white noise that had to be searched for bits of information and possible insight.

*I was told I was predictable. Predictable. I really must work up a new routine of funny remarks. I may begin with randomly lapsing into a bad British accent. Wait...I already do that. OMG, I am predictable.

*May have frightened Ed with the boyfriend remark. Sorry, Ed, I'll try to show more restraint in the future.

*Discovered, much to my dismay, that Stephanie, who has cut my hair for the last year with fabulous results, has left the salon business to return to school and pursue some other endeavor. Which would explain why I trimmed it myself an hour or so ago. I may need to seek professional help later this week. For my hair, I mean, not to explore the deeper psychological implications of why I whacked my hair myself.

*The 16yo has just appeared at the door singing to me in Spanish. With a big fat grin on his face. Translation: llamas are larger than frogs. Then he's gone. Boys are strange.

*It would seem certain that the garage door opener is kaput. When I press the button to activate it, a horrible noise and shaking occurs, accompanied by an overheated motor sort of smell. The door doesn't budge amidst all of this commotion. When disconnected from the opener, the door opens and closes with little effort. Leading me to believe it's the opener. Sigh. Another appliance bites the dust.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm Crazy...

....crazy for feelin' so lonely...Okay. Did you know that when Willie Nelson was writing his iconic song, Crazy, that the original word was stupid? And mere minutes before he recorded it as a demo he changed the word to crazy. Crazy, stupid, toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe. At any rate, either because I'm crazy or stupid, or substitute adjective of your choice here, I have once again signed up for three months with an on-line dating service. Despite the less than lackluster results the first time. Maybe it was the reduced rate they offered. Maybe it was the compelling profile of some guy named Paul. If that is his real name. Now all I have to do today is grocery shop, get the younger son to a birthday party, and needle the elder son if he has not yet completed his income tax return. And begin the cleaning of the laundry room. Or maybe just close the door. I think before and after pictures are in order. Who wants to see how truly disgusting my laundry room has become? I don't. Which is why I close the door.

Friday, April 3, 2009

ExQ'z Me!

We have a new strip mall. It features two new chain restaurants. Oh, joy, more assembly line cuisine! The odd thing is, they both start with the letter Q. Qdoba Mexican Grill and Quizno's Subs. What are the odds, do you suppose? Of two food establishments starting with the second least often used letter in the alphabet opening in the same strip mall in the same month in a midwestern college town with a population of 18,504 people? I do not wish to do the math. Also, I am three days into the three month period where I might possibly be called for jury duty. Shhhhh. I'm not available. I'm sure I'll come up with a good ex-q'ss...