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.

Coffee With Megan

This is my very dear niece, Megan. She stopped by on Sunday afternoon. We had a lovely visit. And went out for coffee. Isn't she adorable? If I had a daughter, I'd want one just like her. Auntie is an easier job, though, and a great deal of fun. Oh, and the raspberry cream cheese croissant at The Cottonwood is to die for. It was the best Sunday afternoon in ages.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sorting the Sordid

Minding my own business on a Saturday morning, drinking coffee, sorting the laundry. I always check the pockets, I absolutely hate when a stray kleenex in a pocket, invariably in a dark load, leaves its shredded aftermath all over the inside of the washing machine. So I check. This morning I found kleenex, two shopping lists, a dime, a worksheet, five bucks and a condom. The kleenex and lists I tossed in the trash, the $5.10 I pocketed in the pants I was wearing, the worksheet I set aside to ask the 17yo about, and the condom...the condom!. From the jeans pocket of the 21yo. He claims it was forced on him by some liberals in Nebraska. I decided to keep it. I felt a little racy all day carrying it about in my purse. It's kind of cute in its crinkly little package. Oh, and it's a friendly shade of bright green. The package is stamped with an expiration date of May, 2013. With any luck, maybe I'll get to use it before it goes bad. Until then, if you see a woman with a wild gleam in her eye, it might just be me. Just your average condom-packing goddess.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Isn't it silly how we label and measure and quantify things? Illusary and comforting at the same time. Then again, many illusions are comforting. This morning at 9:09:09, on 09/09/09, I looked up to see if a lightening bolt might pierce the roof and smite me. Nope. Do people get nine lives like cats? I wasn't dressed to the nines nor did I feel as if I were on cloud nine. If something magical or miraculous took place, it was beyond the range of my senses and I was not aware of it. On a completely different note, Garrison Keillor is in the hospital after suffering what was said to be a minor stroke. I hope he is well, I cannot imagine a world without A Prairie Home Companion. Nor do I want to. I would like him to be around until well into his nineties, if only just to entertain all of us. And it may be presumptuous of me, but I would guess that he's happy to be here, too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The 17yo's bedroom is now a lovely shade of red. Olympic Satin Apple-a-Day red. One more coat of black spray paint to the curtain rods, wait an hour, and, voila!, the curtains will be up. Then if someone will pick up all the drop cloths and put the switch and electrical plate covers on, shove the bed back in place and make it up, he'll be able to sleep in there tonight. And I accomplished the job with only minor injuries, all to my right hand. Two blisters from the paint roller ratchet and one major skinned area from finding the corner of his headboard with my index finger whilst rolling on paint in a confined area. Several colorful epithets and metaphors and a band-aid later I was back on the job. It took five coats of paint!!! The first I brushed on to get into all the nooks and crannies of wall texture, the following four rolled on. I was warned about the translucent quality of red pigments and how it takes more coats, but did I listen? I did not! I wanted pretty red walls in the family room two years ago. I ended up buying an extra can of paint because I didn't listen. Then when the 17yo expressed interest in having his room painted the same color, I foolishly said, sure! And now that the job is completed and is absolutely gorgeous, all I have to say is, they don't call it Labor Day Weekend in jest.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I've been immersed in Thirtysomething. It's funny the things I remember, like complete lines of dialog. And the things I forgot, like how beautifully the scenes are lit and composed. Then there are the new revelations, things that stand out to me in light of my own life experiences since I last eavesdropped on the lives of Hope and Michael, et al. One striking realization is how much Michael Steadman, played by Ken Olin, reminds me of my brother Cullen. At the time, twenty years ago, Cullen was a twentysomething, and I never saw a resemblance. The passage of time, though, allowed me to experience my brother as a thirtysomething, and it is in that retrospective view that I see the similarities. Startling as well, since Cullen died not quite four months ago. It's oddly reassuring at the same time, in a way I can't quite explain. In watching the episode where troubled married couple Nancy and Elliot go to therapy, there was something that I found very interesting. There were three therapy sessions, and in the first two, they sat in the same chairs. In the final one, their positions were reversed. This detail sent a little chill up my spine. As a veteran of couples counseling prior to the end of my own marriage, a very similar situation occurred. We had been to a number of sessions over the period of a couple of months, and each time we followed our therapist down the winding hallways to her office, we went directly to the same chairs. Never varying the routine. For what would turn out to be our final session, I very deliberately headed for and occupied the other chair. I don't know why I did it. But I do remember a frown and a bit of a pout from my husband as he settled into the chair I had resided in up to that point. At that moment I felt something akin to exhilaration. Freedom. Some little crick that had resided in my neck for maybe as long as ten years loosened up and melted away. I didn't know anything else for sure, really even if that defining moment represented anything greater. Except maybe that I was ready to move on and he was still focused on staying precisely and rigidly where he was. Was switching up Nancy and Elliot's seating a visual cue for us to interpret? I only know that I noticed it tonight for the first time. What they did twenty years ago was captured on film and remains the same. That scene both echoes and foreshadows an event in my own life. Like Billy Pilgrim, I feel a little unstuck in time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Playing House

Houseguests are like fish, after three days they begin to smell. Is that how that goes? And what kind of fish? What sort of houseguest? There would seem to be more variables here than tuna and the occupant of the extra bedroom. What about three weeks rather than three days? Because that's what I experienced this summer. A houseguest. For one week in July and nearly half of August, which would add up to three weeks. And if he began to smell like fish, well, that would explain why the cats took to him. John was here doing archival research at the library at SDSU. Which means for hours each day he was delving into near-century-old periodicals mining them for information for a book he is writing. He is pretty low maintenance, and he showers daily. Meaning that he did not begin to smell, at least not in a literal sense. And in the two weeks since he has returned home, I have realized something. That I miss having another adult in the house. The companionable presence of a grown-up. To watch a movie with, share a bottle of wine. Go out for dinner, or to visit friends, or meet other adults for over-21 beverages. I had forgotten what that is like. Nothing fills up your life quite like a significant other. Not kids, not work, not girlfriends. Not pets, not hobbies, not even fabulous shoes. For three weeks I had a glimpse into a world that had become foreign to me. I have wondered of late if I have become less generous or if I have simply been single too long to tolerate the near constant proximity of a man. The anticipation of so much time together made me feel a little ambivalent. I've grown into solitary new habits and I like having my space and quiet. But it turned out to be fun. Enjoyable even. But as much as I enjoyed it, I realize I'm not desperate enough to jump into being a couple with just anybody. Not that jumping into it with John would be desperate, he's not just anybody. We dated a couple of years ago and for various reasons, it didn't work out. But in the process we discovered we really do like each other and have remained friends. And friendship is valuable. Especially when it still smells good after spending three weeks together. What did you do this summer?