Tuesday, January 31, 2012

UPS Logic/Case Logic

Why did my notebook case leave Addison, Illinois to spend the weekend in Hodgkins, Illinois only to return to Addison before departing for Sioux Falls, SD? Maybe Hodgkins is a way shiny place to spend a weekend. I've never been there so I really can't say.


According to the U.S. & World Population Clock, today's title is how many people are sharing the Earth with me at this moment. I expect I'm included, so I suppose it's more accurate to say 6,991,376,478. Although it's also likely more than one child has been born in the three minutes or so since I started this post. At any rate, I'm in the ballpark since the clock does say (Est + 5). My point is, that is a very large number. And I am personally acquainted with a tiny percentage of that very large number. So why does it regularly surprise me that given there are only 365 possible birth dates, 366 this year as it's leap year, that I know several people who share the same birthday? Today, January 31st, is the birthday of four people I know. My father, my cousin Kris, my Darling DIL's friend Catherine, and my ex's older brother. The interesting thing is that my Uncle Ken's birthday, Kris's father, is tomorrow, February 1st. Now consider the post-divorce rancor my mother held toward my father. So she mentioned to her brother that it would have been nice if Louise, his wife, could have waited to give birth for a few more hours so Kris would share his birthday with his dad instead of her former husband. Ken smiled and said that in the moment, he wasn't about to bring up the subject of prolonging the birth process with his wife. My Uncle Ken was a smart man.

Monday, January 30, 2012

If You Cantaloupe...

I've been thinking about the various applications of a safe word. Other than the bondage variety, which is where my pottybrain has a tendency to immediately go. When choosing a safe word, the more obscure the better. Makes it less likely that it would crop up in casual conversation. But there's a fine line if you must employ the word when others are present, you need to be able to work it in without being obvious. I must credit Jacquelineand for dislodging this story from wherever it was hiding in my brain, because it's funny and ought to be shared. Even if you weren't there. But particularly so if you know the women involved. It went something like this...my friends Jeany and Lee Ann are sisters. They were invited to a family function, a baby shower or something, that they weren't thrilled about attending. They need to at least show up for a while and agreed that when one of them mentioned the word cantaloupe, they would make their apologies and be on their way. To complicate the matter, there was a table with quite a spread of goodies on display. A decorated cake, cookies, fresh fruit. Including cantaloupe! At this point in the story, depending upon which sister is relating it, the roles become disputed as to who said what and when. This is what's really funny if you hear them tell the story, how they argue back and forth about the details. Right up there with Englishmen and croquet. But I digress. One sister becomes involved in chatting with the other guests and completely forgets about the significance of saying the word cantaloupe. This goes on for close to an hour, and the other sister is more than ready to vacate the party. After casually mentioning cantaloupe several times without the desired reaction, she employs an improvised Plan B. Loading up a plate with cantaloupe, she sticks it right under her sister's nose, asking her with much more volume than necessary if she wouldn't like some damn cantaloupe! To which she replies, no thanks, you know I don't care for cantaloupe. Then makes a face like, you're my sister, you know I don't like cantaloupe, how could you not remember that!...then laughs uproariously because she remembers their plan. Safe words. Choose them carefully.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Esther's Grandchildren

Esther, my maternal grandmother, had two daughters and two sons. To those four children were born eleven grandchildren, seven boys and four girls. I'm not certain how far she was into the grandma game when this charm bracelet was a gift. One charm for each child engraved with their name and date of birth. I am just as uncertain as to whose idea it was to present Grandma with such a gift. It doesn't seem likely that Grandpa would have, my best guess is that my Aunt Mamie, mother of Clay, Cory, and Sara, is responsible. She lived in the same town as the grandparents while her siblings were scattered across the country, and it just seems like the kind of thing she would do. I chose it from among Grandma's remaining belongings that were stored in Aunt Mamie's basement. I was surprised it was still there, it isn't a valuable piece of jewelry, except in the sentimental sense. It still annoys me just a little that my sister Martine's charm is etched with the name Marty! She was never called Marty, and if she was, she didn't answer. My mother wasn't happy about this either, and I remember her discussing it in hushed tones with Mamie. The excuse I heard was that the jeweler said her name was too long to fit on the charm. I find it odd that two years later Sara Kay was made to fit on a narrower charm! It would be so interesting to know that particular story but I expect it followed Mom and my aunt to their graves. I have worn it a few times and my wrist was left with a greenish brown smudge, I suspect it doesn't agree with my particular body chemistry. So I hung it on the twig shelf in my bedroom that is home to all sorts of memorabilia. In a sense the twig shelf is an altar. The photos, jewelry and trinkets represent people and things I'm keeping in my thoughts for one reason or another. To help me hold those I love and special memories of them close. When my cousin Chris died I tied a tiny black ribbon on his charm. When my brothers Scott and Cullen passed I did the same with theirs. Eight of us survive and there are at least ten great-grandchildren I know of, the most recent addition in just this last week. Sometimes I wonder who will cherish and possibly wear this bracelet long after I'm gone. I can envision a young girl finding it in a basket of costume jewelry in a second hand store. She makes up fanciful stories surrounding the names on the charms. And enjoys the tinkling sound it makes when clasped on her wrist. She places it carefully on her nightstand before she turns out the light at bedtime. This makes me smile.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crush of the Week

Given my recent torrid watching of the Fox series Firefly and viewing its big screen follow-up, Serenity, I with no hesitation whatsoever cop to a major crush on actor Nathan Fillion. And by torrid, I mean less than three days for all fourteen episodes plus one two hour film. Which likely means that I have gazed upon Nathan's handsome visage for more collective time than the last guy I dated. I have no idea what that means. At any rate, he is gorgeous whether all cleaned up as in the photo at left, or whether he is an absolute bloody, staggering mess after having survived an entanglement with some arch villain or other. I do have a weakness for pretty boys who make me laugh. At any rate, I may have a chance with him as he has been described as a notorious bachelor. Although it is more likely I will have, in my inimitable fickle way, moved on to some other crush by the time he reads this. Nathan, sweetie, leave a comment anyway.


As in the movie based on the tv series Firefly. I know I'll have much, much more to say about this in the future. But all I have to say for now is, the phrase safe word has a whole new meaning for me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Case Logic 11.6" Netbook Sleeve Model QNS-111, In Magenta

Naturally, the first thing I had to buy for my Chromebook was a case. In this case (hahaha), a pink one. So I can take her with me to WiFi coffee shops. Or lurk out on the street in my car skating off an unsuspecting resident's wireless signal. It's all about the accessories, that's what I always say. I love New Egg!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Never Again!

This is my mantra....never again shall I engage in internet dating...never again shall I engage in internet dating. And so on. I felt myself nearly getting pulled back into the vortex with this little bit of flawed thinking. That perhaps Internet Dating Website XYZ is actually better than Internet Dating Website PQR because of the interesting questions they ask that will reveal your true personality/nature/sexy beast that will in turn have you booked up with amazing and wonderful dates for weeks! Well, a pig in a dress is still a pig. Meaning that internet dating is, in essence, hanging out in a virtual bar. Except that you don't have to dress up and leave the house to do it. Immersed in the comforts of home you can sit in front of your computer in your pajamas and have meaningless conversations with men while you're perusing their profiles. You find out what they are interested in letting you find out and really nothing more. I have discovered that the local electronic pool just isn't large or diverse enough to be interesting or worth the effort. Not that I expect to find a suitable man sitting on the actual barstool next to me. While I enjoy the electronic neighborhoods of Facebook, Google+, and this blogging community, there is really nothing more satisfying than rubbing elbows with real people in the real world. Eventually, you have to do that anyway.

Mystery Package

Einstein checking out the mystery package

Oh! I suspect this is an electronic toy!

It is! It is!

This is so cool!

I wish I could tell you that I'm blogging from my new toy, but I still need to establish a cloud account to store photos. I have posted to Facebook! Sometimes when Santa shows up a month late, it's most definitely worth the wait! Thanks to Michael and Liz, my Beamish Boy and Darling DIL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aurora Forecast

Powerful storm activity on our sun = pretty lights in our northern skies. If it had been one of those near zero frigid sort of days we likely would have had a clear night. Alas, temperatures warmed a bit leaving us with horizon to horizon overcast. I've observed the Aurora Borealis here in SD only a couple of times before and really hoped to camp out in my backyard to watch for the lights. Maybe drag my son out to witness the Goddess's fireworks. Even the moon cooperated! But the clouds did not.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ginger Peachy

A gorgeous catalog that shows up in the mail with a free tea bag! I ask you, what's not to love about that! Thank you, Republic of Tea. My favorite is British Breakfast with two sugars and cream. Makes winter bearable.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hoya carnosa

Just in case you might be interested, this is what the blossoms on my hoya look like. They range in size from just under half an inch like these are to giant varieties where the individual flowers are nearly the size of your hand. Most commonly they are from pink to purple in color, but there are also white, orange, green and yellow varieties. There is even a hoya with red, heart shaped flowers! The flowers are interesting in that they look fake, like someone snuck into your house and hot glued some little plastic fuzzy flowers onto your plant. I must admit that I swiped this photo from a horticulture website. You can be sure I'll post pics of my own when a bloomin' miracle occurs!

The Little Hoya That Could

It's been nearly six years since I disposed of my mite-infested hoya plant. This is what has grown from the small cutting that started out with fewer than ten leaves on a couple of twining stems. She hasn't bloomed again, not yet, but maybe this spring she will. That is, if she thinks she can.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Look! Something Shiny!

How does this thing work? Have I exposed myself to some horrible, toxic, gene-altering chemicals? Just to have pretty nails? As if I wasn't with the nail polish and acetone laced remover.......which brings us back to the beginning. After years of wearing latex and nytril gloves at work, my nails had become rather dull and listless looking. I resorted to a coat or two of natural toned nail polish a couple of times a week. A bonus was that my nails were somewhat protected by the polish, they didn't wear down as quickly from certain tasks, the polish wore down instead. Then I was locked into this cycle of remover-polish-remover-polish-remover, well, you get the idea. Then last week, I picked up one of these four-sided nail buffing blocks. For just a couple bucks. Each side is one step of a finer-than-the-last mildly abrasive surface. The fourth side is totally smooth, sort of like vinyl flooring. That final surface renders the nails shiny! Amazingly shiny as if a coat of clear polish has been applied. All for about a 15 minute effort while watching a movie. Almost magical. Though I don't know how long it will last. The shine or the buffing block. But if using it can get me out of the polish/remover cycle for a while that would be nice. The one I purchased is the brand pictured, Ms. Manicure. It's easy to grip and the medium firm foam conforms to the curve of the nail. Even my cranky hands didn't protest too much. One more little step in my quest to be just a little lower maintenance.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Long and Short of It

It's a stay inside day. Do laundry. Trim your toenails and apply a new color. As I was walking about with my jeans rolled up, so as not to interfere with the nail polish drying process, my brain wandered off to warmer days when the pants are always shorter. Then I considered how many names there are for those below the knee, above the ankle casual pants that I favor when it isn't winter. I do realize that fashionistas, in whose realm I do not claim membership, will insist that these different names entail minute differences in style and length. If there is a regional term I have missed, please leave a comment. This list deserves to grow.

* Capris
* Pedal pushers
* Clam diggers
* Gauchos
* Crop(ped) pants
* Floods
* High-waters
* Three-quarter shorts

Meet SO & PI, the PA Sisters

SOPA and PIPA were in the news pretty much all day yesterday. I was plugged into NPR while I was variously engaging in and avoiding housework. This isn't a word for word quote, but I enjoyed it:

Suing Google for a user that engages in piracy makes about as much sense as suing Ford when the bank robber's getaway car is a Mustang.

I imagine we haven't seen the last of SO and PI. Instead of tackling real issues in this election year, our esteemed lawmakers in Washington will likely engage in more distractions of this ilk. It's funny how they decried any sort of Internet censorship in China and Iran, yet introduced such a law themselves. I guess if it's under the veil of greed, aka protection of intellectual property, it's okay.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


That's my son, Reid, on the left, at approximately one year of age. And on the right, moi, at about the same age. Just thirty-five years apart. Those eyes! Those chins! All that wacky hair! It's like looking in the mirror.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wine List. Sort of.

Extension cords required for this year's Christmas lights -- 7

Inches of snow outside -- 2 and counting...

Pairs of black boots I have -- 6

Framed items on the wall in my office -- 12

Framed items sitting on shelves in my office -- 19

Penguins in my office -- 16

Polar bears in my office -- 15

Other assorted bears -- 8

Barbie dolls -- 11

Dirty coffee cups -- 1, from this morning

Wine bottles -- 1 empty, 1 full, 2 total, yes, we're still in my office

About the wine bottles. In May of 2009, my friend Deanna introduced me to Layer Cake malbec, a very wonderful red wine. Later on that summer, Colleen showed up with a bottle of merlot. The brand was Cupcake. I wondered it this was a trend, wine bottlers giving themselves bakery item names, so I hung onto them thinking a collection would be amusing. They gathered dust. No other pastry-monikered wine bottles joined them. I recycled the bottles. Then, in October, Colleen dropped by with a bottle of Lust. Really. From the Michael & David winery, it's a very special appellation of zinfandel. So I'm saving it to share with someone worthy of Lust. It seemed a little lonely up on the shelf in my office, so I put an empty Menage a Trois bottle up there to keep it company. It may be a while til someone who is truly Lust-worthy comes along. Now it really feels like there ought to be three bottles up there...

Now that I have put away the heaping pile of stuff that had amassed on the dining room table, the number of extension cords required has increased to 9.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Movie Music

Soundtracks ought to fade into the background, if you ask me. The music should enhance the story, really the entire viewing experience, but never overwhelm or distract from it. Since I tend to view favorite movies multiple times, the music emerges a little more and I'm more aware of the connection between the songs and the story. Sometimes I know I want the soundtrack after the first time I see the movie. I just realized this morning that I own three movie soundtrack cd's as well as the movies from which they are taken. Oddly, none of them are musicals. Interesting in that each soundtrack contains a song performed by a character in the movie. I highly recommend all of them.

* Michael (1996)

1.Through Your Hands - Don Henley [4:18]
2.I Don't Care If You Love Me Anymore - The Mavericks [3:07]
3.Chain Of Fools - Aretha Franklin [2:46]
4.Bright Side Of The Road - Van Morrison [3:45]
5.Heaven Is My Home - Randy Newman/Valerie Carter [3:07]
6.The Spider And The Fly - Kenny Wayne Shepherd/James Cotton [3:50]
7.Feels Like Home - Bonnie Raitt [4:36]
8.What A Wonderful World - Willie Nelson [2:14]
9.Love God (And Everyone Else) - Al Green [4:16]
10.Sittin' By The Side Of The Road - Andie MacDowell [2:18]
11.Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum [3:59]

* High Fidelity (2000)

1.You're Gonna Miss Me - 13th Floor Elevators [2:28]
2.Everybody's Gonna Be Happy - The Kinks [2:18]
3.I'm Wrong About Everything - John Wesley Harding [3:36]
4.Oh Sweet Nuthin - Velvet Underground [7:27]
5.Always See Your Face - Love [3:21]
6.Most Of The Time - Bob Dylan [5:03]
7.Fallen For You - Sheila Nicholls [3:16]
8.Dry The Rain - Beta Band [6:05]
9.Ship Building - Elvis Costello [4:53]
10.Cold Blooded Old Times - Smog [4:12]
11.Let's Get It On - Jack Black [4:27]
12.Lo Boob Oscillator - Stereolab [6:36]
13.Inside Game - Royal Trux [3:42]
14.Who Loves The Sun - Velvet Underground [2:46]
15.I Believe (When I Fall In Love) - Stevie Wonder [4:51]

* Love Actually (2003)

1.Jump (For My Love) - Girls Aloud [3:40]
2.Too Lost In You - Sugababes [5:45]
3.The Trouble With Love Is - Kelly Clarkson [3:06]
4.Here With Me - Dido [4:17]
5.Christmas Is All Around - Billy Mack [3:27]
6.Turn Me On - Norah Jones [2:53]
7.Songbird - Eva Cassidy [3:29]
8.Sweetest Goodbye/Sunday Morning - Maroon 5 [3:54]
9.I'll See It Through - Texas [2:16]
10.Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell [4:11]
11.White Christmas - Otis Redding [3:40]
12.Take Me As I Am - Wyclef Jean/Sharissa [4:13]
13.All I Want For Christmas Is You - Olivia Olson [3:49]
14.God Only Knows - The Beach Boys [2:34]
15.All You Need Is Love - Lynden David Hall [3:43]
16.Sometimes - Gabrielle [4:29]
17.Glasgow Love Theme - Craig Armstrong [4:05]
18.Pms Love Theme - Craig Armstrong [2:15]

Friday, January 13, 2012

For Triskaidekaphobics Only

In honor of Friday the Thirteenth, I give you a photo of Einstein. Black cats, thirteen, it's a theme. I'm not throwing caution entirely to the wind, mind you. No hats tossed casually upon beds nor salt spilled without tossing a bit over my left shoulder. Fear not, Saturday the Fourteenth isn't far away.


It took its time getting here. For which I'm grateful. An ideal day, in my estimation, to remain indoors and do something productive. Like laundry. Or packing away the Christmas decorations. That are still hanging around like uninvited houseguests that refuse to leave. Alas, I have errands to run. Due to the cold, I shall opt to drive rather than run them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food + Wine = Bliss!

Jessup Cellars produces some pretty darn tasty wines. And I should know. I got to sample some of their product last night at the Old Market. If you look closely at the photo from the event, you can see part of the back of my head and part of my left shoulder. I love it when a random photographer gets my good side. Since I neglected to grab one of the menu cards I can't share with you which wines went with what foods. I can tell you that I was very surprised to discover that a zin goes remarkably well with pickled things! I was also surprised that my favorite wine of the evening was a cabernet, I tend to lean towards zins and shiraz/syrahs or a malbec when it comes to red wine. I imagine I tend to lean after I've had a few glasses, particularly if I'm wearing heels. But I digress. The food was just as beautiful as it was delicious, my favorite being a melt-in-your-mouth scallop wrapped in bacon. I must say I showed tremendous self control not knocking over the waiter with a trayful of them. As I fell asleep last night I dreamed of doing just that. Grabbing the tray and sneaking off to a corner to have a dozen of those little beauties all to myself. I behaved and limited myself to two. It was great fun meeting the owners of Jessup Cellars and hear them speak with such enthusiasm over their involvement in the crafting of fine wines. All I have to say is, making the world a tastier place has got to be a good thing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The view outside my patio door this afternoon. The interesting photographic effect on the first pic is due to the rather low tech presence of the cat-clawed screen. Which wouldn't move due to the fact that it is frozen in place. This has been only the second snow this winter that has required shoveling. I do hope shoveling remains a novelty.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Purging a Plague

Belated thanks to my brilliant Noogler son, Michael, who so very patiently set up a long-distance-technical-something-or-other-thingy last night so he could de-virus and reload crucial programs to my nearly ancient laptop. This took over an hour and a half. It's a good thing I'm his mom because I probably couldn't afford his hourly rate. We were on the phone as well so chatting with him and hearing about the dog's antics were most enjoyable. I am also grateful to my local brilliant son, Reid, who saw that something bad was happening a week ago and supplied me with something called RKill that made my computer operable again, though we weren't certain it was completely fixed. Finally, I am grateful that we age at a different rate than electronic contraptions. Leaving me, at 54, mellowed like a fine wine, while at 6.5, my computer is doddering at the edge of obsolescence.


I do love The Writer's Almanac. It shows up on a daily basis in my email inbox. Inspiring, entertaining, educational. You can even click on a button to hear it out loud in the voice of Garrison Keillor. He relates a story or two on the significance of the day in history and literature. Like whose birthday it is or what may have been published or celebrated or occurred on this very day. Then he reads a poem. Sometimes a poem written by one of the day's birthday honorees. For some reason, The Writer's Almanac has been showing up not once but twice the last three days. This makes me feel special even though I'm sure it's happening to more than just moi. Even though I really only require one of them. Twofers! Welcome to the happy hour, or day, of writing!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Just when you think you've seen everything, one of the girls brings a coloring book and crayons to the bar. So we colored! In the quasi-darkness semi-illuminated by red and gold tinted lights. Skewing our color sense in ways that alcohol further enhanced. As Emma established, there is only one rule concerning what sort of coloring book is bar appropriate. An overly cutesy one. Explaining the adorable kitties.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Coaster Cool

Aren't these great? Also funny. Occasionally disturbing, but in a good way. If that's possible. They were also beautifully wrapped, as only Colleen can do. I'm considering another purpose for these lovely coasters...devise a small frame that will hold one and affix it to my office door. Then choose one that conveys my mood of the moment and slip it into the frame. Some days I feel I ought to come with a warning.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Betty Sighting!

How many times have I seen Body Heat? I've lost count. Many, many times. And swore up and down that housekeeper/glasses thief Betty did not appear on screen at any point during the film! I just completed my quasi-annual viewing of my fave film noir. And there she was. About half an hour into the movie, dinner is served at casa del Walker. As niece Heather is explaining to Uncle Edmund and Aunt Matty just what the rover position is in baseball, Betty is busy quietly serving in the background. Like all good help, she is seen but not heard. For I'm thinking a grand total of ten seconds screen time, tops. I apologize, Mr. Kasdan. Betty does exist. I will never doubt you again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wining is Preferable to Whining

One week from this very moment, this is where I'll be. Here. You should be there, too. It's probably going to be fun. Excuse me while I begin obsessing over what I'll wear.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bon Appetit!

Christmas decorations are still strewn about. The lights outside are still glowing, though I promise I'll unplug them before I go to bed. I did thaw the salmon and make a lovely pasta dish for supper. And then I watched Julie & Julia. So much to love! Meryl Streep! Julia Child! Julie Powell! Amy Adams! Food! Butter! Nora Ephron! An unexpected and very touching love story. Cooking and blogging. Writing about cooking. The enormous satisfaction and joy in completing a labor of love. As Paul Child said of Julia, the wife that he held so dear, you are the butter to my bread, the breath to my life. It just doesn't get more delicious than that.

Einstein & Me

Feeling a little crazy today. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Ta-da! New profile picture! I'm not saying I've crossed the line over into crazy-old-cat-lady land. I just like this picture of me with Einstein. Besides, I don't think I qualify with just two cats. I cropped out the champagne bottle and the new year's headgear for use here to make it less seasonal. And I truly enjoy the fact that I am wearing flannel pajamas. My fifth anniversary as a blogger is coming up at the end of the month so I thought I'd shake things up a bit.

Getting Right on That...

Things I should be doing instead of watching Julie & Julia...

1. Pack away the Christmas decorations.

2. Unplug the outside Christmas lights.

3. Pack away the Christmas decorations.

4. Buy some 40w equivalent cfls cuz the bathroom light is blinding!

5. Pack away the Christmas decorations.

6. Do the load of laundry that involved cleaning up a hairball..oh, wait!..did that!

7. Pack away the Christmas decorations.

8. Take salmon out of the freezer for supper tonight!

9. Pack away the Christmas decorations.

10. Pack away the Christmas decorations!!

Monday, January 2, 2012


I love the stripped-down minimalist look to the decor when the holiday decorations come down. That's what I'm up to today. What you see in the photo is about half of what needs putting away. And since I have restrained myself and avoided post-Christmas bargain hunting, I can comfort myself with the knowledge that, indeed, all of this will fit back into the space from which it came. Unless, like most of the rest of us, it has gained some girth in the last six weeks.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I love Neil Gaiman. But, alas, he belongs to another. It's less complicated to love his words, so I'll just do that.