Saturday, December 30, 2006

Childish behavior on my part

I love my sister-in-law. I really do. She is so organized and so sure that her way is the right way. She’s not more than a few years older than i am, but she seems like she’s from another, older generation.

A few years ago she went off on us about how the toilet paper should be positioned such that the paper comes off the back side. I realize that this is a hot button issue for many people, but really, is it important?

She declared that those of us who positioned the roll such that it came off the front would rue the day, because our children would hit the roll until the whole thing was on the floor. I think she opined on this for a good 5 minutes.

I don’t really care how it comes off the damned roll. I just want it to be so that i can get some paper off in the middle of the night with the lights off.

Last time i was at her house i snuck upstairs to the master bathroom and turned the roll around.

I’ll bet my brother got blamed.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

There's no place like home

Home. Safe. Loved visiting my friends. Some of my favorite people. Glad to be home.

Just a quick one to discuss some of the responses to my last post. I view the little regional prejudices that i have seen in my travels with amused affection.

When we moved to Colorado i had an imaginary dialogue in my head that was from all the other cars. "George! Look, there are pretty blinking lights on the side of that car. Wonder what those are for?" George: "Ay-yup."

I found out from my friends, who are new to the Maryland area, that there is a local prejudice against Virginians. I guess they are rude. I dunno.

In California they drive fast. You can be going 70 in a 55 zone and you will get passed so fast that you can feel the wind from the passing car.

In New York jaywalking is as common air. The cars let up for a minute, and the pedestrians will push you off the sidewalk to cross the street. I'm from the Northwest, where we all wait like sheep on the sidewalks with nary a car in sight.

Also in the Northwest we all wear raingear as the height of fashion. In NY or DC you can spot us West Coasters by our lack of make-up and our sensible shoes.

You get the idea. I find these things interesting, but despite what any of us may think, there are many local cultural differences that have no real bearing on our true character.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In which she emerges from a haze of good food and good company

Hi all. We are still in Washington DC. We will be traveling home tomorrow, barring airport closures due to snow and other weather mishaps.

It has been a lovely time with our friends. Now i need to go home and begin my Christmas shopping. No, not for next year. I have purchased exactly 4 presents so far this year, and they were all for people here in DC. I annoyed Em by individually wrapping three pairs of socks as presents. The reason for this is that she arrived here with only the socks she was wearing. A slight packing snafu. It happens to all of us.

Two observations from being here:

We went to the National Portrait Gallery yesterday in downtown DC. It was not crowded, which was lovely. I would be standing, say, two and a half feet from a picture, and someone would come and insert themselves between me and the picture. This happened several times. I mentioned it to my friends and they said, "Welcome to the East Coast."

There are three young people in our party, 11, 15 and 16. They all want so much to be the imparter of information, to be the one who "knows" a fact, to be the center of attention. Some people lose this need as they get older, and some do not. I sometimes have to remind myself that it's okay to say "I don't know."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bell in my belfry

From my lovely Maggie , the word for the day is bell.

I immediately thought of a woman who used to work in the same building. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, she would sport a Santa hat and wear bells on her shoes so that she would have music wherever she went. And we would have jingling bells wherever she went too. She went a lot of places.

I would be at my desk, and the ominous sound of bells would begin ringing faintly in the distance, coming closer, closer. At the sound of the clatter heads would appear around cubicle walls to see what was the matter and then pull back in like turtle heads with a disgusted shake.

By the time it was Christmas i wanted to strangle her. I would have had lots of help.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Traveling is fun!

We got up at 4:15 this morning in order to get to the airport on time. Of course i woke up at 3 and couldn't get back to sleep, but that's just me.

All the lists were crossed off and we got out of the house, only having to back down the driveway once to make sure that the garage door closed. (Sometimes it doesn't. Stop laughing, it could have been left hanging open.)

At the airport we get in the line for people who already have checked in online and have boarding passes. Right as we get to the front of the line, some lady behind the counter tells us that our flight has been cancelled and we need to go and stand in another line to reschedule for a flight that is 3 hours later.

We go and stand in that line for awhile and then another lady looks at us like we are crazy and tells us that the flight has NOT been cancelled and that we need to go back and stand in the line that we were in in the first place.

Back to the first line, and after another half an hour of line standing, we are finally able to check our bags. Sigh.

Lots of worse things could have happened, but why does it always seem that the people working the counter have the worst communication skills in the world? Do they look for people with resumes that say "unable to correctly give out information and will need to take a break if things get busy."

We were in a bit of a rush at that point, and had to scramble to get a quick breakfast at Burger King. I swear that there was some egg-like substance on my sandwich that had never seen the inside of a chicken's ass. Maybe it was polyester, maybe epoxy, who knows.

It good to be here safely and to see my friends. I can't go to sleep yet because my body thinks it's 6:45. So as the Mister snores beside me, i am typing and reading.

Cheers all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

One thing about me i wish wasn't true

I am an anxious pre-traveler. We are flying to Washington DC on Wednesday at o'fuck thirty to visit some good friends over Christmas. This has the advantage that 1) i won't be spending Christmas with my family, and 2) i don't have to do ANY Christmas shopping until we get back after Christmas. HA!

But the down side is that i get anxious before leaving for a trip. I make lists and worry about the cats and worry about the house. Got to remember to run the dishwasher and take out the food scraps and blah blah blah. Like the world will come to an end if i forget to do one of these things. Well, it might! Can't be too sure about these things.

Oh yeah, and the house needs to be locked and the furnace set on away and the cat box cleaned...See, i started up again.

Once we get to the airport i am fine, since i am no longer in charge of my destiny. i can sit back and relax and enjoy the show.

Isn't that silly?

Wonder if i should pack us an edible lunch to take on the plane. I need to buy a new book. Does Em have enough of her medicine?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Silenced by the Force (of nature)

As you might have read, we received a little smackdown around here from nature on Thursday night. I woke up at about 1:00 in the morning to see complete and utter darkness around the entire area.

We were fine. We had no heat, but we have gas water heaters and a gas stove, so we were able to take warm showers and cook. Many of our neighbors were not so lucky.

Here are a few pictures that i took of the many, many trees that were down, all within about a mile of our house.

And here is another one:
and yet another:

And if you can stand it, one more. I'm thinking we should keep this one and advertise it as "The Drive Through Tree." Well, it works in California!

The pictures are a bit crappy, but they were taken as it was getting dark on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday morning, we got up and high-tailed it over to my brother's house in Seattle, so i could charge my toothbrush. (I have certain standards of personal hygiene that i don't care to violate.) My SIL took pity on us and invited us to stay for dinner. I think it was the BSE (Big Sad Eyes) that got to her.

We left their house about 8:00 and drove across Lake Washington to our side of the world. All lighting ceased about halfway across the bridge. There were occassional pockets of light here and there, but mostly dark.

We had to detour around a few closed roads to get home, but as we were 2 houses away, Look! We have power! Hooray! We are in the only pocket of lighted houses that i could see up and down our whole lake.

Today we are dancing naked in our heated home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Uniform

Today i was at my volunteer job, and there was a crew of people there wrapping presents for the adopt-a-family program (bless them.)

They all left at once, it was six little old ladies. Every single one of them was wearing a holiday sweatshirt. Rudolph with a red pom-pom nose, glittery gold and silver stars, a snowman with rolling eyes, a Christmas tree with beaded ornaments, a jolly Santa with a funny red nose and the last one had a wrapped present with a real ribbon adorning the sweatshirt. They were so damned cute. I wish i had stopped them to take a picture.

I felt ill-dressed in my t-shirt and sweater.

Awww. There is a uniform when you get to be that age. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Now what?

I was tagged for this meme by Disgruntled Owl about a week ago. It's the 5 weird things thing. Actually i really don't think i'm weird, but i like the attention of being tagged. So here are 5 things.

1.) When i can’t sleep in the middle of the night i listen to my British friends on the BBC on my bedside radio. I like getting news that’s not so US of A centered. In fact, i cringe when i hear something like “Today there was a plane crash in Uarebatsistan. Two hundred fifty seven people are dead, including two Americans.” What about the other 255 people? Hello? Are we Americans the only ones that matter? It sounds so arrogant to me.

2.) I think that killing yourself can be a viable option. I also think that it is a right that you give up when you have children. I have learned not to tell this to anyone, especially mental health professionals, but i still think it’s true.

3.) I can almost not bear to touch my mother. It gives me a physical reaction like having someone brush a cat’s hair the wrong way. I give her the A-frame hug when we meet, and then stay as far away as possible.

4.) When i am out walking or hiking (which is a lot like walking, except with better shoes) i am much more likely to say hi to the dogs that i meet than the humans. I like dogs.

5.) The only bones i have ever broken were my foot. I broke them falling up the stairs at 5 in the morning while carrying a cat. No, i was not drunk. That sucked as it was my left foot, and my car has a manual transmission. I ended up trading cars with a friend for 6 weeks while i wore that fucking boot. Be nice to people on crutches y’all. It bites the green burrito. (No cat was harmed in the breaking of these bones.)

Because this can be a crazy time of year, I am going to do this as a self-tag. In other words, please tag yourself if you would like.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lunch story the second

The same week i had lunch with the 11 still hungry women, i also went to lunch with another woman i know. At least this woman eats, but there was another problem.

I stopped by her house to pick her up. A minute or so after i got there she comes storming out the door and the first thing she says is, “I am so pissed at my kid right now i could strangle her.”

Um, hello?

“Oh no,” i say, “What’s wrong.”

Long angry story about lack of cat food, responsibility, whose cat is it anyway, she doesn’t have time to get cat food, etc, etc. I listen politely. I’ve been pissed at Em, i know how it goes, although she is pretty vehement.

I helpfully suggest that she call her husband Joe, and ask him to pick up cat food at the store on his way home. “Good idea,” she says and calls him from the car. His response; “Can’t you do it?” Angry words follow and she calls him an asshole and hangs up on him. While sitting in the car next to me.

The really sad, or maybe amusing thing is that she’s not even embarrassed. And i know her well enough by now to know that this is just their standard operating procedure. (For reference, when i call the Mister and ask him to get something on his way home, his response is “sure.”)

Okay, so now what do we talk about? I pick a safe subject.

“I like your glasses,” i say, “are they new?”

“They are. But Joe was mad at me for spending the money.” (They have PLENTY of money.) More reasons why Joe is an asshole are detailed for my enjoyment.

Um, next topic?

As i was driving home i thought about the Mister and how much i appreciate our relationship. A good lesson on how not to behave.

At least she paid for lunch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

One Moon Unit

Here is a good story to tell your child if she ever accuses you of embarrassing her.

"Oh yeah?" you can say, "listen to this!"

When i was 10 or 11, my mother showed her naked ass to my entire girl scout troop. While i was there.

Top that!

Here's the scoop. My mother was at the height of her weight at that point in her life. Which means that she was probably 100 lbs (45 kgs for my friends who are wise enough to live somewhere the metric system is in use) overweight. She had recently fallen down the stairs and landed on her arse. She had a HUGE bruise as a result. It was probably 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter.

She was convinced that the ever changing status of this Rorschach test of a bruise was a fascination to all. The entire troop, maybe 15 girls (no conversion necessary), was on a "campout" in some old lodge building in Virginia. After a night of singing around the flashlight and doing skits, my mother decided that the perfect way to ensure that sweet dreams were had by all was to bare her biggest asset to the crowd so they too could enjoy the current purple fading to greenish hue of her backside.

So she mooned the entire troop, me included.

I remember getting all hot and then wanting to disappear that instant into the ether.

Now it's a great story to tell Em if she ever says i'm embarrassing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A late wedding present

A wedding present for Jen, and many many others. Congratulations

I know there are things that are much more important to humans, but, how we treat those in our care says a lot about us.

I cannot abide mistreatment of animals. This includes ignoring them and not meeting their basic needs for companionship as well as outright abuse.

You do not get a pet unless you are committed to taking care of that pet for its life. They do not understand when you are not interested anymore. They do not understand when you do not have time for them. They do not get it when you are too busy.

I love dogs. I LOVE dogs. I do not have a dog because i do not have the time to devote to a dog. Dogs are pack animals. They need to be where you are and to be doing what you are doing.

I love cats. We have three of them. Em and i clean cat cages at a shelter every Sunday morning. It’s all i can do not to bring more of them home every week. The kittens are no problem, as they will get adopted right away. It’s the 10 year old cat who is shy that i worry about. The one who has been in that same cage for the past 3 weeks. The one who was surrendered because her owners moved to a new apartment that didn’t allow pets. How could they do that? To take a pet that has been part of their house for 10 years and dump her. It makes me sick.

You all know what to do already, because you would never be so callous with an animal in your care. But, get your animals neutered. Get them microchipped. And love them.

The other place i volunteer does counseling for kids from 6 to 20 years of age. The kids who are thrust into foster care are much like the cats in the cages. The cages are bigger and many kids are well taken care of, but they are as puzzled and frightened as the cats are about why they are in this cage. It really tears me apart to talk with these kids. So many of them are hopeful about getting back together with a parent. From what i can see, some of the parents care more about themselves, and the alcohol or drugs or the latest boyfriend.

These kids are as abandoned as the cats.
And as with the cats, i show them what kindness and affection i can when we are together. But what they really need i do not have to give them.

Friday, December 08, 2006

madness meme

I was tagged for this meme by liv at madness, madness i say .

In my case it’s a mother-daughter meme. I am to tell you 5 things about me and 5 things about Em that you don’t know.

I crochet and embroider (not very well). I don’t like to sew on a machine. This surprises many people who know me although i don’t know why.
2.) I have arranged my life so that i have lots of time to do nothing. I get to spend a few hours alone on most days, and i thrive on it. I don’t know how people work 40+ hours a week and still have time to do anything else, even though i did it for years.
3.) I am a wiggly sleeper. The Mister tries to snuggle with me but after a few minutes he gives up and moves to the other side of the bed because i have already turned over 3 times and sighed heavily 5 times.
4.) Most of my life before i had Em, i assumed that i would not have children because the world sucks and it’s no place for an adult, much less a child. In an act of complete selfishness, i had one anyway. I am not sorry, at least not for me.
5.) Politics bore me. I feel badly about saying that, but it’s true.

1.) Em has had a blanket since she was born. His name is Lammie. She still sleeps with Lammie and will come down in the morning wearing him on her head or as a skirt.
2.) Before Em was born, she was scraped on her head with the amniotic hook thing. She had to have 10 stitches right away. I think the doctor was trying to carve her initials on Em’s head.
3.) She is completely crazy about cats. Her first word at nine months was “kee-caa” while she was looking at a little plaster statue of a cat. I felt like Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan in the water scene. Communication! She hasn’t shut up since.
4.) Em can touch type about 120 wpm on a keyboard without looking, and she can type almost as fast without looking on her phone.
5.) On her very first day of school, she looked at me and said “It’s easy to make friends isn’t it mommy?” It broke my heart. I nearly decided to home school her at that point, even though i am completely unsuited for that, both academically and temperamentally.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lunch story the first

What is it with women anyway?

I went to lunch with a group of 11 woman today. Why is it that woman feel they have to hide the fact that they actually eat in front of each other?

"Oh, i'll just have the small cup of soup."

"Just the side salad please, with vinegar."

"Just water. Oh, and may i have a lemon slice for that?"

Believe me when i tell you that some of these women obviously eat SOMETHING other than lettuce and soup.

I knew this was going to happen before i went so i was ready to look like a pig. I ordered an appetizer of bread and olives, and out of 6 women, i was the only one who ate any. Although the woman next to me was having a hard time not drooling on the bread. And then (gasp!) i ordered, and then ATE a FULL SIZED salad, complete with cheese and croutons.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


This last Sunday, the Mister and i drove 5 teenage girls to see Panic! at the Disco.

If you don't know who or what this is, it's because you have no teenager to help you develop your musical tastes. It's a band, complete with lead male singer of ambiguous sexuality wearing more eye liner than Dr. Frankenfurter.

The girls were a riot. The whole way up they were chattering happily. The whole way back, they screamed and squealed at each other. Not a one of them listened, they just talked, all 5 at once.

"He's so cute!"

"I know, right!"

"I almost caught the drumstick!"

"I know, right!"

"I could hardly breathe!"

"I know, right!"

This was the first time that i let Em go to a concert without me. (We saw Green Day (another band complete with lead male singer of ambiguous sexuality wearing more eye liner than Dr. Frankenfurter) last year at the same venue. It was great.) I was nervous about letting her go, but it was time. The girls spent some time on the floor trying to get close to the front and now Em knows what i was worried about. Groping, fighting, moshing, screaming, elbowing, crowd surfing. They got out of there and went to sit on the sides.

I remember my first concert, i was 13 and it was Creedence Clearwater Revival. My mother probably thought that a going to a concert meant like going to see the Nutcracker ballet. Ha!

I was a very naive 13 year old and i was shocked at what i saw. Dope smoking was done openly. (I had never seen that before.) People were flailing around doing what i had to assume was supposed to be dancing. In short, it was a typical rock concert from that era.

Your first concert experience?

Monday, December 04, 2006

She goes running for the shelter of her mothers little helper.

I went to the doctor today. Nothing is wrong, i had thought it was time for my yearly fill-up-my-love-cup-with-KY exam. But no, the insurance company won’t let me get my exam until after exactly one year has elapsed since my last exam. Not 11.5 months, not 11 months and 29 days. One year.

The only reason i’m kinda pissed is because i shaved my legs and did some weed whacking for the event.

So the doctor and i just sat and chatted. She didn’t even want to peek at the temple of my womanhood. All tidied up and no place to go. I feel rejected. Maybe i’ll take advantage of it later tonight.

She asked about menopause symptoms, like hot flashes. Which yes, i get during the week that i am off the birth control pills, so i can enjoy them AND cramps at the same time.

But this is America, and there is a pill for everything. I was told that as soon as i get off the BC pills i can start hormone therapy if i so wish. I was surprised as both my mother and grandmother have had breast cancer. But she explained it all in a way that made sense (which of course i can’t recall exactly.) Lower doses, different drugs, shorter time frame, etc.

The pioneer woman in me says “screw that.” I can take a few moments of warmth at night. For a few years. And some sleeplessness. And a mustache. And a dry gulch.

But should i? Should i accept all that modern medicine has to offer so that i never experience any discomfort? If i am anxious, should i just take a pill? If i can’t sleep should i take another pill?

Full disclosure: I do have sleeping pills that i take when i am traveling. I can NOT sleep in strange places and after a night or two of that i am nauseous and dizzy and a raging whiny ass bitch. So i take my pills and i am a happy traveler.

So why should i be hesitant to accept medication for a natural life process if it can help? It just feels wrong. Maybe i’ll be singing a different tune in a few years. "THE DRUGS, GIVE THEM TO ME NOW!"

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A miracle has occurred

(Just playing with the macro option on my camera.)

Here's some news that will hopefully inspire some of you who are parents to younger children.

The biggest bone of contention in this house has always been Em's access to the internet. There have been tears, screaming, threats, personal insults and never-ending drama over this one issue.

As a parent, you get the crap scared out of you by the newspaper and radio and school. I didn't want Em to end up as the sex slave of a 43 year old white man she met in some chat room, so we have always limited her internet access.

The Mister is a total geek, so he bought a router and then wrote a program that allows us to set her hours of access every day. It has been wonderful to have. But there was always the begging and scheming and cheating by Em in order to scrounge more time.

She has settled down about this in the past year and really accepted that we are doing what we feel is best for her, even if we don't always understand the importance of the internet to her social life. So currently, she gets 3 hours a day on school days, and 4 to midnight on weekends.

Yesterday she sat down with me and calmly, logically, unemotionally yet passionately argued that she is old enough now to control her own internet life. She didn't scream, she didn't tell me she hates me. She did tell me how she feels about us controlling this very important resource for her. She feels like a little girl and wants some freedom. She feels embarrassed when she has to tell her friends that she has to go because her time is up. She told me that she can be trusted. She told me what she spends her time doing when she is on-line. She doesn't understand why midnight is the witching hour for me. She does extremely well in school with no attention or nagging from me.

I listened carefully. I told her that i would think about it and talk it over with the Mister (which is really a formality as he will pretty much give her whatever she wants.) I explained that sometimes for me it's easier to keep doing what we have been doing without really considering her changing maturity level. I praised her for her thoughtful argument that was done without her losing control of her temper. I was impressed.

Where did this child come from?

As a result, she now has internet access from 8 am until midnight every day. I still see no reason why a young girl needs to be on-line after midnight, and i ain't budging on that.

It was really exciting to see and hear. And today Em is quite proud of herself. At breakfast, when we told her the good news she said, "It looks like i actually am gaining some maturity for real, huh?" And then she giggled.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Back to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

I’m not going to do a post today.

Because i don’t have to in order to fulfill some quixotic promise that i made to myself and no one else cares about.

But there are chores that have been left undone. I have several blogs that i need to add to my sidebar and a few to remove. I want my sidebar to reflect blogs that i actually read, and not some “friends” list. Hopefully it’s a constantly evolving entity. But at this point, i haven’t added several places that i found and now read often. Maybe tomorrow. Or else i’ll go hiking.

But for this day i want to be with my family and catch up on my reading.