Monday, October 31, 2011

A Tad Tardy

I have just learned that the average life expectancy of a woman in this country is 80.5 years. This means I achieved midlife fourteen years ago. I was planning my midlife crisis for next week. But now it seems a little pointless as I find myself fourteen years late for it!!! At least I hadn't ordered the cake. I love Monday.

Witch Flicks

In honor of Halloween, a short list of my favorite witchy movies. I recommend viewing them any time of year. But especially tonight.

1. Bell, Book & Candle

2. Practical Magic

3. The Witches of Eastwick

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Curious Clay Critters

These little blurry guys were lurking on the dining room table at John & KD's last night. I think they belong to a mysterious cult that worships candy corn. Or they are bearing candy corn gifts to a deity that grants wishes in exchange for colorful HFCS incarnations. You decide.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I do love Mary Chapin Carpenter. I also love the title of her 2001 offering, time*sex*love*. Time is the great gift. Sex is the great equalizer. Love is the great mystery. Amen. Seeing her live, and even better, meeting her, even better, seeing her live with Shawn Colvin, is on my bucket list. Repeat after me, MCC is awesome. Thank you.

Right Up My Ally

Please pardon the mildly vulgar title. Bygones. I adore Ally McBeal and am enjoying rediscovering her on Netflix. Her stammering, her insecurities, that dancing spear-chucking baby. Ally is 27 years old during the inaugural season of the show. Precisely half the age of moi at this very moment. The thing is, dating is just as weird at this point in my life as it is in Ally's. Minus the tick-tick-ticking biological clock. And let's just be clear on one thing. Billy is a dork. Always was, always will be.

Hairy Subject

My hair feels flabby. Out of shape. The ends are dry and a little unruly. I need a trim. A haircut. But I haven't made an appointment. Why. Because I need a new stylist and the process of procuring one is agonizing. Fraught with peril, even. Kim made it too easy, but I recognize this fact only through hindsight. She cut my hair for fifteen years. She could read my head. She gave me variations on a theme that worked well whether left to my hair's natural curly state or blown out and flat-ironed to a straight perfection. She knew the location of my stubborn cowlicks and cut to accommodate them. She knew the curls were tighter and pulled up more length in the crown and cut to allow for the shrinkage. By the third haircut, Kim had it down. She even successfully navigated the changes in texture and curl through what felt like an endless pregnancy. She understood the vagueries of my baby fine curly hair and did a great job suggesting appropriate products to moisturize and tame the frizz. Then she retired from the hair business. I went into mourning. But I didn't expect this period to last five years! During this time I have had my hair cut by at least eight different stylists, none of whom I've been happy with. Most recently, Diane has lasted the longest, but mostly because I was worn out from the process. Nearly every time she's cut my hair, I have either had to go back to have something fixed or evened up or have resorted to whacking at it on my own. Which is almost always a bad idea. So. I'm in the market for a new hair stylist. But what I really want is another Kim.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Layer Cake and Hogging the Bandwidth

I have a lovely photo to share but there seem to be technical difficulties. Drinking my second glass of Layer Cake Malbec. Thanks, Deanna, for reminding me I had a bottle loitering in the pantry! Makes the typing go a little more smoothly. Unfortunately, it seems some of the neurological pain symptoms are sneaking back into my hands. I'm doing what I can to combat it so I'm not going to complain too much. Not yet, anyway. For anyone who is interested, my Halloween costume is pretty much complete and ready to go for Saturday night. One tiny little hint. I'll be handing out Milk Duds. Also, the T. Rowe Price people have classical string quartet hold music. It was soothing and lovely. I almost forgot why I called them. Pardon me, I need to get back to Netflix. It's my evening to hog the bandwidth. Hog the Bandwidth would be an excellent name for a rock band. You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


If you truly wish to be left alone, I recommend snacking on the garlic cheese croutons dipped in the peppercorn ranch dressing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Business as Usual

Let's see, I was fired from my position at the lab thirteen weeks ago. A full quarter of a year! They have stripped me of my medical and life insurance! They have informed me I must take my 401K earnings and roll them over into some other plan! They have locked me out of access to my work email! But UnitedHealthcare still sends me a monthly email outlining my excellent coverage and how to best take advantage of using it in a proactive way! It's like they don't know I'm not covered by them anymore! This is doubly funny since I was made aware last week that UHC has hired an insurance investigation firm to contest having to pay for my pain relief treatments! Conveniently, these pain treatments took place while I was still employed and covered by UHC! This just gets more interesting all the time.

The Shover and the Splasher

Some cats prefer to drink water that is in motion. Not to pretend that I begin to understand the cat brain. This is a documented phenomenon. Moving water is preferable in the wild because it is less likely to contain pathogens or dead stuff or just plain icky infestations that they would rather not ingest. So they splash the water around to imitate this moving water preference even though they live in the veritable lap of modern luxury. I guess Newton and Einstein took exception to their stationary water dish. But just recently. Last summer I began to notice that there was a puddle of water next to their water dish. So I'd wipe it up. Then I started leaving an old towel on the floor so the water wouldn't spread. Then Reid noticed that water had invaded their food dishes, leaving a layer of moldy nasty crusty former cat food at the bottom. Something had to be done. So I relocated their water dish to my shower stall. A place with a drain! Which was when I discovered how the little stinkers animated their H2O. Newton is a splasher. He smacks his front paws into the water with gusto before he drinks. When he leaves my bathroom he has been spotted with dripping whiskers. Not to mention the telltale pawprints on my bath mat. Steinie moves the whole damn dish. He's a shover. You can hear him doing this from the other end of the house. There is this lovely grating sound effect produced by the plastic water dish traveling from one end of the shower stall's textured surface to the other. It even echoes. I'm not entirely sure when he pauses to actually drink. I do know that the water moves significantly, escaping the confines of the bowl. The new dish location seems to please them. And I know I am much happier not stepping in a puddle on the cold basement floor. I do wonder, though, what might happen when they're both thirsty at the same time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Devil's Food

Cake, that is. Cupcakes. With chocolate buttercream frosting. And cutesy Halloween-y sprinkles. I can confirm that they are delish. It's a rough job, but someone has to be the taste tester. And the frosting beater licker-offer. It's all about quality control.

Reg's Rocks

Reg has a rock collection. He has lots of rocks. Lots of pretty rocks. He collects them and polishes them and has them all over the place. Pretty cool.

In bowls. On shelves. He just can't help himself. I think there's a Dr. Suess rhyme lurking in there somewhere. The best part is, he gave me a couple of them to take home with me. I'm not going to show them to you. I want to keep them all to myself. For a while.


Karen brought me some gourds. She grew them in her garden. Aren't they pretty?

They're in a bowl. On my table. Along with a couple of cutesy plush pumpkins. Festive and fallish, don't you think?

And Aren't We

At last. A hair product fit for moi. A moment of silent reflection, please. I won't be available the rest of today. I'll be conditioning my hair.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reg Revealed

Yup. That's him. I kinda like him.

Just for authenticity, here we are together.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


When there are other pressing matters to attend to, I recommend avoiding them by hauling out a jigsaw puzzle and attending to that instead. To coordinate with the Halloween theme around the house, I thought this one entitled The Alchemist would be appropriate.

The going is slow at first....

Eventually recognizable objects take form....

Next thing you know it's a couple days later....

Wait, when was the last time I showered and put on clean clothes....

If there was any doubt in the beginning as to whether all those pieces would form the picture on the container, behold, The Alchemist. Lots of meditative time. Sometimes you need that. I feel ever so much wiser. I wonder how the cats would get along with a tiny pet dragon? Next up, perhaps basket weaving.

Girl Babble

Allow me to introduce Miss Abby! Her mom had an appointment with the dentist on Monday morning, so Abby came over to hang out for a while. It was most enjoyable. After a bottle and a diaper change, we played on the floor on her pink fuzzy blanky. She does all of the standard adorable baby tricks. Gurgling, cooing, excited pre-speech squeaks. The works. I hope she visits again soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pajama Sunday

I'm not going anywhere today! So why put the effort into getting dressed, that's what I say. Realistically, what is the difference between wearing sweats and wearing flannel pajamas? Less than the difference between a cupcake and a muffin in my opinion. Now that October is half over, I'm getting out the Halloween decorations! Conveniently stored in color coded totes, yesssssss, the orange ones with black lids. There are also two sort of rust colored totes with yellow handles that contain generic fall decorations as well as Thanksgiving chotchkies. I am in the midst of working on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle at the same time. In addition to the usual Sunday pastimes involving the paper and the Sunday crossword and remembering to water the hoya. The only remaining houseplant that I actively protect from the cats. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have lazy Sunday stuff to get back to. Otherwise known as multitasking for slackers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Edna Valley

For the life of me I still cannot fathom how Esther and Knut gazed upon the lovely little face of their newborn baby girl and were inspired to name her Edna. I blame this on the fact that they were full-blooded Norwegians. And that it made sense to them to downplay her beauty by christening her with this clunker of a name. Maybe to keep those jealous Norse gods at bay. For beautiful she was. Pardon me for typing whilst mildly pickled, I am on my second glass of Edna Valley chardonnay. I am an equal opportunity imbiber, meaning that I enjoy both the red and white varieties. Martine and I first came upon Edna Valley chardonnay last November and purchased it because it bears our mother's name. To our surprise and delight, it was actually quite tasty. We drank the bottle over the course of an evening in the midst of the week while we were going through Mom's belongings and figuring out what to do with them. I kept that bottle, hauled it home from Tucson even, and a portion of Mom's ashes are sealed in it on the shelf along with photos of her. I didn't know if I'd find that wine again so I wanted that bottle with her name emblazoned on the label. The bottle I'd shared with my dear sister. Because somehow Edna was there with us that week. You may have deduced by now that this wine is available locally. I feel compelled to purchase it on occasion. Because it's tasty. And tastier the more because of the memories attached.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hypothesizing Happiness

I'm reading this book. Heard the author, Jonathan Heidt, on Minnesota Public Radio yesterday. I found his ideas about happiness fascinating so I ran right out and bought his book. I love it when the paperback is out! I have always found the concept of happiness interesting, the whole how and why of its manifestation mysterious and thought-provoking. I'm generally a pretty happy person, even here in my current state of life. Unemployed. Continuing issues with my hands. Unsettledness and uncertainty in many areas. The journey with all its ups and downs and sideways-es, I would say. On the plus side are many things, some of them small but significant as a whole. Good coffee in the morning, good stuff with my sons, friends, a comfortable home and a warm place to sleep at night. And then there's this man whose company is most enjoyable. Time and events unfolding as they will. Happiness despite the fact that half of me comes from a dour people, as Garrison Keillor says. So I'm reading this book. Because for the days when I'm not so happy, if I understand the construct of happiness, maybe I can find my way back to better days a little more quickly. That would be just fine with me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


What a wonderful concept. The benefit of the doubt. Owning up to the fact that you really don't know all the details. That you don't possess supreme knowledge. That there likely is information beyond your ability to assess at this point in time. Extending a certain generosity to another human being that you care about or are interested in or intrigued by. Which brings us to this morning. And Reg. And the possibility that some men may only have a three date limit before their shelf life expires. If today is snapshot day, where we take a representative picture of how this relationship is going to be, then I can confidently say that I'm not in it for the long haul. Enter benefit of the doubt. Where I'm willing to take a longer view. Where the older, wiser, clearer me is aware that this could just be a difficult time for him. Where I still have hope that this could be the real deal. Where I admit that I don't attach easily, but neither do I think of another human being as disposable. Where, at least for a while longer, I can let go of darker thoughts and nagging assumptions. That today may not be snapshot day. So. Yes. I'm still interested in Reg. Because life can be messy. And sometimes gracious acceptance outweighs the demands of understanding.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Word for the Day

I do not believe I had ever run across the word neologism until today. And now I have seen it twice. The first time it was used to describe the term liberal media. Meaning, I expect, a new word, expression or usage. Though I much prefer the psychiatric application, a meaningless word used by a psychotic. I suspect there are those who would describe the liberal media as psychotic. The second time neologism popped into view was in association with the word pronoia. Pronoia is the opposite state of mind of paranoia. Where one senses that there is a conspiracy that exists to help people. Pronoia describes a philosophy wherein lies the belief that the world is actually purposed to secretly benefit people. Spellcheck doesn't like pronoia. Spellcheck doesn't like spellcheck, either. But I like it. In fact, I intend to go about my business for the next few days adopting pronoia as my personal belief system. Indulge me even if it turns out to be just a meaningless word flung about by psychotics. Just don't let that damn liberal media get ahold of it. I may not be pronoid, but that doesn't mean they're not out to help me. Especially if they're from the government.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Three Things

Well, there are likely many, many more than three. Things that I have misplaced. But these three things that I cannot locate anywhere are what I'm talking about today. I am ready to deal with them and they are nowhere to be found. Now that I have purchased a new and functioning hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks, and have them situated in a work area all together, I simply can't put my hands on the big red glass gem-like thingy that used to be attached to the end of the pull chain on the ceiling fan in my bedroom. This is particularly annoying since when it fell out, largely due to the fact that the cats enjoyed batting at it, I know I put it somewhere safe that I would surely remember having stashed it when I got a new glue gun. But no. Second of these things is actually a collection of things, not just a single item. A couple of years ago when I painted the stairwell area and family room, I took down several black and white family photographs and replaced them with a mirror on that wall. I removed the photos from their brass frames and placed them all together in an envelope. I think. With the intention of later placing them in an album, all artfully arranged and identified for posterity. At some point between then and now, I pulled out one of the photos, popped it back into its frame, and hung it up in my office. Then I presumably put the rest of them back. Again, somewhere safe where I would surely remember stashing them. Again, no. Thirdly, while cleaning my office, I ran across a postpaid bag that is to be used to donate your spare but no longer used cell phone. Which I will donate. Just as soon as I find the darn thing. It's probably hanging out with the red glass thingy and the black and white photos. In a quiet corner somewhere. Snickering to itself every time I walk by. What I wonder is whether I'll remember where the donation bag is when the phone turns up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Standing By

In my ongoing quest to expose Reid to quality movies, even if they include scenes containing profanity, barfing and, ew, leeches, last week we watched Rob Reiner's 1986 classic, Stand By Me. Such terrific performances from such young actors! And a terrific story! Based upon Stephen King's novella, The Body, this film represents perhaps the best screen version of any of King's writing. I do love this movie. There's just this one little thing. That bugs me. Are we really supposed to believe that Wil Wheaton eventually grows up into Richard Dreyfuss? Puh-lease! Let's get one thing straight, I have no quarrel with their performances. Both are outstanding actors who do a great job. I think it's asking too much of the audience when we are pulled out of the story telling experience by such enormous physical differences between the twelve year old and fortyish versions of the same character. Casting is vital to bring life to any script, but particularly so when different actors are cast to portray the same character at different ages. If you peruse the credits as I do, it's almost as if Reiner, et al are attempting to wiggle out of this unbelievable transformation by simply calling Dreyfuss' character the writer, instead of Gordie Lachance the elder. An example of this done well is Penny Marshall's 1988 hit Big. It is no stretch to believe that young David Moscow could grow up to be Tom Hanks. Excellent casting for the small and big versions of character Josh Baskin. Could this give us some insight as to why their marriage failed? Um, probably not. But then we have another boy growing up transformation to contend with. Who would have possibly guessed that chubby Jerry O'Connell, who plays feeb Vern Tessio, would grow up into the ripped, tall and handsome Jerry O'Connell who marries the gorgeous model and actress Rebecca Romijn. I don't know about you, but I look just like my baby picture. Dorky hair and everything.


A quality I'm usually pretty sure that I possess. Though I'm learning to be more generous with it. I was married for twenty years, so enough things were working enough of the time that it seemed like a reasonable thing to be doing. If both of us share responsibility for the failure of our marriage, by the same token we should each take credit for our contribution in making it work. In this spirit, then, today I offer a list.

Ten Things Allen Got Right

1. He was, and continues to be, a very good father.

2. After a tumultuous childhood that included sexual and emotional abuse, he made me feel safe for the first time in my life.

3. He dealt well with my extended family, particularly my mom.

4. We agreed on the division of labor for tasks around the house and yard. This is a major bone of contention in most marriages and it seemed effortless for us.

5. Being half Dutch, he was very responsible with money.

6. He quit smoking. Probably as much for me as he did for himself, ten months into our relationship.

7. He appreciated my cooking.

8. He rubbed my feet. Any man who does a great foot massage is a gift from the Goddess.

9. We worked well together on building and remodeling projects. From inception and design to finish we were a great team. Garage, decks, garden shed, complete kitchen remodel, basement finishing and a major addition. The house that I still enjoy living in is testament to this cooperation.

10. I never doubted that he was faithful to me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Feels Like Stealing!

Am I a freaking fabulous shopper or what? Included in this modest tab of $36.42 are three tshirts for Reid, two fun summer dresses for me to find next spring, two pairs of colorful tights for the costume closet and one adorable lavender ruffly top for me, also a nice little surprise for next summer. I do love a bargain.

Number Nine

Way off on the west coast side of South Dakota, the 9th Annual South Dakota Book Festival is in full swing. I'm not there this year, though I've attended three of them. Including the inaugural festival in Deadwood in 2003. Where I had an interview with a real-life literary agent from a New York publishing agency. I waited in line for nearly two hours with twenty or so other writers hoping to get their foot in the mainstream book publishing door. I had a fascinating conversation with two women who were already making a pretty regular income writing for numerous erotica publications. They looked so PTA mommish in their turtleneck sweaters and tweedy blazers and no nonsense sleek bobbed hairstyles. It was astonishing to me that they wrote about naughty bits. Apparently the erotica genre contains numerous sub-categories of content. So you simply find the niche you feel comfortable in, be it bestiality or bodice ripper or whatever may exist in between, let your imagination or practical experience run wild and free, write, write, write and submit. It's likely you'll get published. Erotic writing has a solid base of consumers whose appetite is ever hungry for more, I was assured. The most important thing, they cautioned, was to use an alias. Invent a nom de plume and never, ever divulge that you are associated with it. Use the income to support your real writing endeavors, the writing you wish to be known for. Under your actual name. The thing is, you will never, ever find success in mainstream publishing if you are an acknowledged porn writer. So keep a low profile, write trash under an assumed name, and keep your eyes focused on the literary prize. And wouldn't you like to know if I have.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Cleaning

I know, I know, spring is the traditional time to clean. But I prefer fall. As the daylight hours grow shorter and the days cool I know winter is right around the corner. Which means I'll be inside. In the dark. For months! So it makes more sense to me to clean up indoors when I'll be spending more time there. I certainly don't contemplate how clean the floors are or how deep the dust around the knick-knacks has piled up when I'm out in the hammock enjoying the flowers and trees. So at this very moment, I am typing to you from a clean and organized office! Didn't just chase away the dust bunnies, though, this was a spiritual and emotional cleaning day as well. I poked around deep into that closet where the last bit of unchecked baggage was hanging about. Cobwebs and hoptoads and tears, oh my! Lately I've been inclined toward facing down my demons and doing something about them rather than putting on the blinders and smiling. A few days ago I indulged in a brief foray into old behavior that surprised and horrified me. I apologized. And was warmly forgiven. Ooh, this feels like personal growth! I like how it feels! Maybe even more than my clean office.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Liner Notes

Yes, I admit it. I read them. All that tiny print on record albums. Which, incidentally, has gotten even tinier with the advent of the smaller scale packaging of cd's. Sometimes you find out interesting things. My favorite discovery involves two 1974 releases, Dan Fogelberg's Souvenirs and the Eagles' On The Border. The Eagles give extra special thanks to one Paul Ahern for leaving town. Dan bestows a merely special thanks to Paul Ahern for coming back to town. This could be some kind of inside the music industry joke. And I have no idea who Paul Ahern is. Or, indeed, if they refer to the same Paul Ahern. For all I know there certainly could be two of them. There you have it. Oh, and I'm one of those weirdos who sits in the movie theater til the absolute bitter end reading all those damn credits Andy Rooney gripes about. I read them, Andy gripes about them. Hobbies are fun.

Still Here

Have I really not been here since Sunday? Well, I must have been off doing exciting things with fascinating people. Hmm. Not really. What I have been doing is making phone calls. And sending things off in the mail. And waiting for return phone calls and replies to show up in the mail. And whilst waiting I've been working on little projects around the house and adding programming to my Netflix instant queue. And then negotiating with the 19yo as to whose turn it is to hog the wireless internet bandwidth. Can you say new episodes of Merlin?!?! And I have decided to refer to the man I am keeping company with as Reg in this space. Reg updates will be posted as things develop. If I think it's any of your business. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Had a productive chat with possible legal representation this morning and a pleasant visit with my former physical therapist this afternoon. According to the 19yo I made the best pasta ever last night. Just a little chicken, bacon, red and yellow bell peppers, onion and garlic in an olive oil and white wine sauce. I managed to not injure myself with the mandolin slicer! Which is fortunate because I had a rather painful connection between my right brow area and the edge of my lovely glass top desk yesterday afternoon! Reaching for the pen I had dropped while continuing to look at the computer screen instead of the direction I was moving my head toward. This collision resulted in some swelling and loss of epidermis and blood but so far no bruising. I do try to limit myself to one klutzy episode per day. I generally recommend no injuries as the ideal way to go about the business of the day. But then I think, who will use all those bandaids and disinfectant and antibiotic cream taking up space in the bathroom. I was never a Boy Scout, but I do like to be prepared.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tres Carlas!

To round out random incidences of my name in that most sublime of primes, three, which is also a magic number, at least according to Schoolhouse Rock, please check out one of my favorite daily comics, Jump Start. To recap, I have a namesake kitten, I am a past homecoming queen in Lake Wobegon, and I am now working for the CIA. The rest is on a need-to-know basis.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tasteful, er, Tasty Decorating

My, what a lovely dried fallish arrangement on the dining room table!

Oh, my! Is that a cat munching on the lovely dried fallish arrangement? Bad boy, Einstein! He later adds to the scheme by upchucking in a most colorful manner where I am most likely to step in it. Probably on the carpeting rather than the laminate. If you ask me, the least he could do is keep down the decor if he's insistent on eating it.

Newt and Boots

Not that I was really intent on putting my shoes away, but Newton is clearly not cooperating. He doesn't chew on them, he just cuddles with them. If I can't clean my room, the least I can do is take moderately artistic pictures of the mess.