Monday, March 31, 2014

Packing Procrastination

This stuff isn't going to pack itself. If only it would. And if somehow each item could intuitively know if I will actually need/wear/miss it while I am gone and just jump on in, that would be a tremendous help. I can only guess what Newton's thoughts on the matter might be. I have much too much to do to attempt the leap into his feline brain. I'll guess that he thinks there is too much pink. There can never be too much pink!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Sunday Ritual

I love Sunday. I love the Sunday paper. I love the fact that the Sunday paper contains a big, medium-difficulty crossword puzzle and a cryptogram. Most Sunday mornings my ritual is to accompany the working of these puzzles with wonderful coffee and a musical backdrop. Sometimes a little chocolate goes with the coffee. If the weather is fair, which it was not today, I go out on the deck or out by the backyard firepit and enjoy the outdoors with my coffee. And I don't want to talk to anyone. I want to veg and caffeinate in my pajamas without being disturbed. Sometimes I awaken knowing what music I want to listen to. This morning it was Eric Clapton's Unplugged. While searching through the cd's to locate this desired recording a memory washed over me. I sat for a moment to soak it up before pulling the cd out of its sleeve and placing it in the stereo. My copy of Unplugged, you see, is a copy. Bearing my ex's tiny, perfectly clear engineer's printing in Sharpie with its characteristic lefty slant. Years ago, when it became inevitable that we would part, we went through our music collection and divided the cd's into four piles. Mine, his, mine that he wanted a copy of and his that I wanted a copy of. Unplugged was in the fourth category. I had purchased it for him for his birthday soon after its release. I recalled listening to it on other Sunday mornings when we were still together. Music can be such a personal thing in the way that it infiltrates and describes and becomes a part of the soundtrack of our lives. Just those few, instantly identifiable opening notes of a familiar song can grab you and pull you into a long past moment. Perhaps inspire you to get up and dance. I close my eyes and hear myself singing along softly to one of my baby boys nestled sleepily in my arms. Or bellering along enthusiastically in a crowded concert hall. Pulled back into the present by the finishing-up-the-brewing-process gurgle emitted by the coffee maker, I closed the cd player and hit play. Good morning, Sunday. Nice to be with you again.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Geeky Musical Rant

The younger son has just played a version of Foggy Mountain Breakdown for me that he sequenced in WarioWare DIY. He plugged his Nintendo DS into the stereo and hit play. He then went on to entertain me with various instrument samples used in the game's music editor. He then went on a bit of a tirade regarding one of the samples. According to his musical ear the game's creators are attempting to pass off a shamisen for a banjo. Bastards!* The sample is labeled banjo but sounds like a shamisen. He's the banjo player so I defer to his expertise. I smile and nod. He leaves. I'm pretty sure he was speaking English. Maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet.

* This is my reaction to such a subversive ploy. Reid did not utter it. Remarkably, this perennially potty-mouth mom has raised two children who rarely epithize**.

** If epithize is not a word it ought to be. A word.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I feel hopeful. About the possibilities. It may be a bubble that bursts in short order but it's entirely possible that this could be very, very good. Yes, I am deliberately being vague. No, even if you beg pretty please I'm not going to give you any more information. You can be sure that if this does, indeed, develop into a good thing that I won't be able to contain it. And you will be the first one I tell. Promise.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Winter Be Gone!

I do enjoy a lovely spring day. The calendar says it has been spring for a week. 

Winter appears to be alive and well according to the view from my living room window.

Fortunately I have a tiny bit of spring to look at inside the house. Maybe if we all play Vivaldi's La Primavera, and I'm talking seriously loud here, Mother Nature will respond appropriately. Seriously loud. With the windows open.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Horror

For your entertainment, my photo organization project, the before view. Really, it's not as bad as it looks. 

The four boxes to the right are empty! And the bright pink tote just behind them is only about half full. Yes, the rest of them are full. And I haven't fully thought out precisely how these will eventually be organized. Some combination of sorting, dating, scanning, sharing, and dumping a whole crapload of them on my children.

Oh, and this, too. Four and a half feet of shelf space crammed full of sticky-page albums! Albums loaded with acids and other nasty chemicals that are slowly eating away at the memories contained within. Okay, it's worse than it looks. If you see me out and about doing anything, anything, you can be certain that this right here is what I'm avoiding.

The Things You Find...

...when you're not looking. Pirate themed temporary tattoos! They arrived in a 2008 calendar and promptly disappeared, only to reappear a couple of weeks ago when I was going through boxes stashed under the stairs. Though I hadn't missed them these past six years I was delighted to run across them. The ship is my favorite with the flag depicting the pink (red?) skeleton coming in second. Though I wouldn't trade any of these temps for any of my perms*. A tattoo, children, is earned. Paid for in sweat and aaarrrrgg! pain. I suspect a genuine pirate would scoff at a tattoo applied with water rather than needles.

*Ooooh! The words temps and perms share all but one letter! Swap the aaarrrrgg for the t or the other way 'round and they have all the same letters! I apologize for the geeky language footnote.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Requisite Cute Cat Pic For the Day

Newton. Appearing mildly perplexed upon waking, perhaps because his sunbeam has moved.

Today's Rationalization

If I were a better person, I wouldn't enjoy this so much. Wait. If I were a better person I wouldn't do this at all. But where's the fun in that? If a man is getting friendly with me, I look deep into his eyes and say very earnestly, I need a man who is in excellent cardiovascular condition. Then I smile. And continue with, I do hate it when they die on me. I trail off wistfully as if I have a great deal of regrettable experience in this area. Brings a whole new meaning to the word deathbed. I really get a kick out of it if they excuse themselves to smoke after hearing my little confession. It seems this is an actual phenomenon! I hadn't considered that. Ask me if I'm still tossing out this repartee in ten to fifteen years. When you think about it, dying in the midst of post-coital ecstasy is overrated. Particularly from the viewpoint of the survivor. Further information is generally not available from the other party involved. All I know is, from my personal perspective this simply reinforces the whole younger man thing.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I have been comprehensively evaluated. In the vocational sense. I don't feel any different. I do have a twenty-six page document to prove it. It's written in a style specific to the discipline, so even though it mentions me by name a whole bunch of times it's not terribly interesting. Twenty pages of the report are careers divided into zones and associated with a code. I can look up this code on a website and find out if this career choice is suitable for me! Whoa! As if I wouldn't have known if a career interested me and meshed with my skill set without this information! While I was undergoing the testing in January I was hopeful that the results would point me in a direction for a future job that might be a good fit with the functional limitations of my hands. And maybe recommend further education or training to render me more employable. I have come away from the evaluation with these interpretations from my evaluator. That I am suspicious. Because I asked numerous questions during the testing. Funny, I thought that indicated my curiosity, not paranoia. Curiosity is a function of intelligence. And as we all know, I proudly identify as a subgenius*. That I am resistant to working with new technologies. Patently false. I sometimes struggle with newfangled thingys but I am interested in and fascinated by them. I also realize that many of these fancy new devices are out of my reach in a dollar sense and I honestly wondered why an employer would invest in them to put compromised-potential-employee-me on the payroll. I think he misunderstood my explanation of the idiosyncratic writer's process that for me entails certain details that put me in a brain space and comfort space to help the ideas flow. Part of that process for me is the keyboard and my association with the words appearing on the screen. From my brain through my fingers. Even though that process is made more difficult with my six finger typing style and much more visual contact with the keyboard than I would prefer. Just the same, I did question how voice-to-text software might affect my creative process. He praised my adaptive behavior. During the hands-on phase of testing, I often had to approach the work in a way that accommodated my hands. Sometimes this merely appears awkward, often it is awkward but how I must do it in order to do it at all. Most of the time these accommodations result in pain and strain because human hands and wrists were simply not designed to be used in this manner. Because I'm gritty and stubborn I pushed through despite the pain in order to complete the testing. And for the two days following completion of testing I accomplished little at home due to the rebound pain effect I experience following overdoing it. Counseling was recommended to help with anxiety and low self esteem. I owned up to experiencing a certain level of anxiety concerning my work comp lawsuit and my current financial situation. The anxiety is most likely due to the fact that uncertainty has ruled my life for so long it almost feels normal. I expect this will be alleviated to a greater degree when the lawsuit is settled. The self esteem issue came up when I expressed the opinion that I felt I had done worse time-wise on the second run-through of a particular fine motor skills test. I had actually done better the second time around. The thing is, it felt longer to me. I was pushing to work through the pain due to my adaptive approach to the task. Has he perhaps heard of that hot stove vs kissing analogy and how it relates to how we interpret the passage of time? Unless I'm missing the elephant in the room I don't see an association with self esteem in this scenario. While I have been through counseling and appreciate its value, I can't agree with his interpretation here. Anyone who wants to work can work. He illustrated this statement with a man he evaluated who is in a wheelchair and drives a truck. Indicating that someone who is clearly more disabled than me is working. Is this meant to shame me? To make me feel better about my level of impairment? Does he also judge those with handicapped parking stickers for appearing too spry when they exit their vehicles? My evaluator might be a trained professional who is in the business of administering tests and interpreting their results. But I seriously question his level of empathetic intelligence and his ability to assess character and attitude.

* I classify myself as a subgenius due to the fact that my IQ is not high enough to qualify me for Mensa membership. While mildly self-deprecating, I find the term humorous. Please do not misconstrue this as poor self-esteem and send me to counseling.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


My newest favorite drink is the Cosmopolitan. Before that my newest favorite drink was the Mojito. So I got to thinking, could we exponentially increase the deliciousness by combining them? We could call it the CosMojito. It would either be the most amazing cocktail known to mankind or disrupt the space/time continuum in such a way that would end life as we know it. Perhaps both. My newest hobby is now mixing adult beverages with physics and attaining a whole new cosmos. I'll be in the lab if you need me.

In a Word

He finds me compelling. Or that I seem that way. Let's not quibble about semantics. It seems I am compelling. I can live with that.

Ignorance is Bliss Dept.

Seriously, all I wanted to do was log onto the clinic's website and pay my bill. As you can see in the second item from the bottom of the list, a chart is available to see how you size up compared to the rest of the fellows. I did not click on it. I paid my clinic bill. Size isn't everything but it does make you wonder. About size. 

One For The Fridge

Sunday is off to a splendid start with the acing of the crossword and the cryptoquip. It's a gold star day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Earwax, Who Knew?

Suddenly it all makes sense. My cat, Einstein, enjoys shoes. He also enjoys sticking his chilly little nose into my ear and licking away with his sandpaper tongue. Leave it to NPR to explain this phenomenon. Check out the quiz here and take note of the answer F. Sometimes cats are logical.

For All of Us

If you are among the politically apathetic, this movie may prompt you into action. Sign a petition. Bend the ear of your Washington representatives and senators. This isn't about redistributing wealth or socialism or stealing from the rich to give to the poor. It's about reestablishing economic health in this country. Watch the movie!

At Wiley's

Uncle Lee with his bevy of Irish beauties. This was after the parade but before a couple of hours of dancing. Establishing that people of a certain age know how to have fun. After all, we invented it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spy Planes and Poker and Eggs, Oh My

Happy Spring! And if you want to know what happens with CJ and the egg balancing thing, watch Episode 20 from Season Four of The West Wing, Evidence of Things Not Seen. Aside from the egg, watch because this is the snappiest dialog in television history. Seriously.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ready! Set! Wait....

Yesterday was an odd sort of day. Not just because it was the seventeenth and seventeen is an odd number and all. But because it was St. Patrick's Day and I had already celebrated the day when everyone is Irish on Saturday. And because it was my ex's wedding anniversary. There's nothing odd about that except for the fact that it reminded me that it has been two entire years since I have seen Michael and Liz! My firstborn and Darling Dilly live just too far away. And while I am in the midst of planning a move closer, I no longer have a timeline for it. I simply have a list of to-do's that must be accomplished before I can move. Odd because it marked the ninth anniversary of the beginning of the darkest, bleakest stretch of time I have ever experienced. For six months I would live inside a well of depression that required counseling and some serious self-examination to extricate myself from. I find myself feeling grateful that I can't truly recall how awful I felt. Like physical pain, emotional pain takes its toll at the time, but cannot be summoned back through memory alone. At the same time, even though I still feel as though I'm living in limbo, I'm happy to say that my life is most definitely not on hold. I make plans! Like getting together with my dear sisters Martine and Pam next month. I continue to work as much as my limiting hands will tolerate on small home projects. It's slow but sure progress as I go through and pare down belongings to a more manageable for moving purposes volume. Today feels much less odd. My kitchen has finally returned to a normal, all cleaned up state after Pi(e) Day festivities. For the most part I have recovered from the nasty cold that had me in its evil clutches for well over a week. After the last week of springlike weather where I even washed my car, winter has returned with a vengeance of wind and snow that has traffic at a standstill just north of here. On the plus side, it's Emma's birthday and she will be bringing treats to trivia tonight. And I noted last evening at 7:30 that it was still light outside. The day after tomorrow Spring officially arrives. I am ready! For sandal weather. Hammock weather. Mojitos on the deck weather. But mostly I am ready for a break from this limbo. Until then, I remain my spunky, ornery self. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Shriner Guy

I have no idea who this handsome, twinkly-eyed fellow is. We met briefly in a bar setting during the St. Paddy's celebration on Saturday.

As you can see, he let me hold his sword. I am not certain as to the greater implications of this action. Those Shriners. They have fun outfits and get to drive tiny cars in parades. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


On a scale of meh to d'awwwww I'd call that a hmm. Hnnnngggg! is the equivalent of eleven, or mild heart attack level, on the cute scale. This information was bestowed on me by the younger son when I reacted, in his opinion, in a manner he deemed an overly positive interpretation of the relative cuteness of a cat sneeze. I stand corrected.

Sunday so Far

A quick morning run to WalMart with slightly rearranged bed-head, no makeup and sunglasses. Yes, I was wearing pants. No, I didn't see anyone I know. Whew.

Friday, March 14, 2014

In Praise of Pi

It was your, or more correctly, my, usual Friday afternoon. Doing stuff about the house, listening to Science Friday on public radio, and then the doorbell rings. So I holler at my son to answer the door because I'm still in my jammies. Don't judge me! A plaid flannel night shirt is a very comfy thing to wear while doing housework. Then I heard voices and laughter. I peeked around the corner.

And who do I see but my AndiGirlz! With pie baking supplies! Here to help me celebrate Pi day as well as playing hooky from work. I was so totally and completely surprised! Seriously, if I know people are showing up I get dressed.

AndiBean doing her best Martha Stewart in a skeleton apron while showing off her kickass apple pie filling.

Andrea doing crust prep for her mixed berry pie. So much deliciousness, so little time.

Our veritable pie smorgasbord. From left we have pecan, apple, fresh strawberry, mixed berry, and lemon.

Tart cherries, sweet cherries, red and white raspberries, and blueberries ready to be topped and tossed in the oven! This one was to die for! They were all so very delish, but if I had to choose a favorite this was probably it.

Closeup on the lemon with AndiBean's apple creation in the background.

Closeup on the pecan.

Then other people dropped by and we were all transported to pi nirvana. Then we played Cards Against Humanity. I have laughed so hard today I hurt. Best Pi Day ever.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Twas a Week Before The Equinox

Spring hasn't quite sprung but the onions in the kitchen have. Sprouted. Not necessarily sprung. I suppose I could have written a whole poem that riffs on the Christmas one. This is just occurring to me now. So never mind. Also, I'm hearing Green Onions in my head right now. And now so are you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Rant #1

How is it fair, I ask you, or even reasonable, when opposing council procures and hires a service, thereby incurring a cost, and then expects me to pay for this service? Without prior notice! Without my permission! Methinks old Bill Shakespeare was right when he suggested we should kill all the lawyers. Bleah!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Newton, King of All He Surveys

Newt looking down on me. Now that I think about it, this angle makes it look like I have an adult-human-sized cat hanging out in my bedroom. This is a frightening thought. With any luck, I will have forgotten about it before bedtime. If I should happen to post here in the middle of the night you'll understand why.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Evil Cheesy Things

It all started last week when I was in the waiting room at the Subaru dealership. They were fixing my tire. What kind of idiot goes to the dealership to get a tire fixed? you might be wondering. This kind of idiot, it would seem. I thought I was going there to get them to make that little inflation problem dash light to go away and stop bothering me. This has happened before during very cold weather but then corrected itself once it warmed up again. Not this time because apparently when there is a nail in your tire this is an actual problem with keeping it properly inflated. So I'm in the waiting room. All alone with the tv remote and baskets of wonderful snacky things! Like serving size bags of those evil little cheesy crackers. And candy bars. And chips! And little spicy meat sticks! Even a glass-doored refrigerator with chilled water bottles and soft drinks! So I hadn't had lunch yet and the cheesy crackers spoke to me. As did one of those tiny Almond Joys. I was sliding down the snacky slippery slope, people. To the point where I bought a full size box to bring home. I have just vowed that I must munch these evil little things no more. I feel crappy. And they repeat on me in ways that cannot be discussed in polite company. Sorry, little cheesy and perfectly square crackers, I'm going back to the almonds with sea salt. From now on I'll take my cheese in cheese form. 

Little Black Dress Dilemma

Way back in December, Tami had a fancy party to attend. So naturally she gathered the girls to weigh in on which of these little black dresses should get to go along with her. This was not easy. She looked fabulous in all of them. For your consideration, then, the final four.

LBD #1 -- Nice! Tami doesn't accessorize heavily so the built-in jewelry at the shoulders was a nice touch. Overall my second choice. You mean this one didn't win?

Yes, those were the winning shoes with LBD #2. Lovely detail on the front of the skirt! Eventually this dress was ruled out because the light colored lining in the bodice just didn't look right. 

Tami is a walking advertisement for doing the gym thing regularly. LBD #3 was never a serious contender, she said, because it was just too short for her comfort. I say, who cares about comfort when you look this amazing!

Saving the best for last, LBD #4 was the clear winner. Gorgeous. Sophisticated. Sexy. Yes.

Closeup of the beading detail at the waistline. The little black dress. Don't leave home without one. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Frosty the Butt Print

A long, long time ago during a Christmas party at my house, three sets of butt prints mysteriously appeared in the frost on this bench. One of them is mine, I think the center pair. Okay, so I guess knowing that makes it less mysterious. This, children, was what we were reduced to doing when there was no snow to flop down and make angels in. I believe this falls under the heading of making your own fun.

What He Said

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Happy birthday to my darling DiL! She is beautiful, talented and sassy. And looks fab in blue teacher-like reading glasses. Can't wait to visit her and the elder son. It's been too long!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Love Movies, But...

I generally don't put a whole lot of stock in the Academy Awards. Sure, the work and people who are nominated deserve recognition. But mostly it seems like a pretty self-congratulatory fancy dress party. There was one small difference this year that made me a little more interested. I was fortunate enough a month ago to attend a screening of all the nominated shorts, animated as well as live action. And I fell in love with this adorable little OCD-afflicted steam punk fellow called Mr. Hublot. 

The first among you who presents me with a Mr. Hublot doll or action figure will win my undying adoration and perhaps own a small portion of my soul. Oh, I forgot to mention that messieurs Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares did, indeed, win the Oscar for their animated short bearing this little guy's name. Sometimes, it is neither beauty nor a glittery red carpet appearance that wins the day.

First Monday in March

Some days the featured poem in The Writer's Almanac just kills me. And I find myself going back to reread it multiple times. With today being one of those days, it's always interesting to start out like this.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sick, Day Three

This isn't a real post. I just hate to miss getting something up here on the first of the month. And as you can see by the calendar, March has arrived. I feel slightly less crappy than yesterday, am totally in a decongestant funk and believe that a bear slipped in here while I was sleeping and took a dump in my mouth. The only bright side to this nasty cold is Netflix. So I spent the last two hours in bed with Richard Gere. Don't worry, I'm breaking up with him just as soon as I'm better. John Cusack is really the only one for me.