Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Elegia, Remembered

The following is an attempt at horror writing for the Wordsmiths monthly challenge. It contains depictions of violence, sex, violent sex, nudity, death, revenge, and more death. The faint of heart or the easily offended should stop reading right now and come back tomorrow.

For the rest of you, read on.


Elegia, Remembered.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
(Photo courtesy of www.Opacity.us)

Elegia, once called Caoimhe, remembered it all. She remembered the knock on the door in the middle of the night. She remembered the shouted “witch” and her wrists being bound behind her and the Our Fathers her terrified mother whispered. She remembered the damp cold of the fall night as the moon shone on the frosty Scottish highlands.

Elegia remembered being shoved through the chapel door by the butcher and the leer of the priest as she fell, skirts rising to her knees. She remembered being hauled to her feet as the priest loomed near, his fingers tearing at her bodice and blouse. She remembered how the cold air made her nipples hard, and how her breasts shook as he slapped them, exhorting her to call out her sins in repentance.

She remembered his anger when she did not seek the Lord’s succor. The holy water he threw at her belly chilled as he made her kneel on the stone cobbles of the chapel floor. He raised her skirts over her haunches and pressed her forward; his stiffness pushed into her unwilling virginity as the butcher filled her mouth. The slap of priestly skin against her thighs and the bulk of butcher in her throat as they grunted and thrust shocked her silent, until the priest pulled free, re-entering her most rudely, ripping screams of pain and outrage out around the gag of the butcher’s thick flesh.

Elegia remembered the butcher throwing the rope over the rafter. They stripped her skirts away; she was naked in the chapel with her hands fixed behind her. They bound her to the rope, slapping her naked flanks and shouting “whore” and “witch.” The butcher yanked, the rope pulled her arms up behind her, each vicious tug tearing sinew from bone. Her feet left the floor, her body’s weight tore armbones from shoulders. Elegia howled and kicked; tears, snot, and sweat comingling as she struggled against the final awful wrench. When it was finished she hung high from the rafters; broken and sobbing as blood and the priest’s seed dripped down her legs.

She remembered dying, her last bitter exhalation accompanied by a vengeful prayer, a final secret marking of the murderous pair.

The ascension, the forgiveness, the charge, the permission, the return, she remembered.

Clearest of all, she remembered the haunting. The butcher, caught in self-abuse, falling backward in terror onto a long knife when she appeared, blazing, before him. The ghastly whiteness of the priest’s shocked face as she materialized through the confessional door, her hair blowing in the wind stirred by her blood-red wings. His begging for mercy, her acid laugh, his long years of torture at her unexpected apparitions. Watching him fade over the years, his own guilt killing him as sure as her haunting did.

The funerals she remembered, knowing she’d escorted their souls to Hell after dipping a wingtip in their still-warm blood.

Elegia remembered all of it as she flew through the crumbling chapel walls, and smiled.


My heartfelt thanks to Q for valuable insights and opinions. Your input made this story far better than it would have otherwise been.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Titratia lives

My redundant uvula sucks ass.

Wait, no. that's not it.

My redundant uvula and soft palate suck major ass.

Stupid snoring. Stupid sleep test. Insanely stupid CPAP machine with the unbelievably stupid mask made of some godawful mystery material that, get ready for it: I'M ALLERGIC TO! Ass suckage! Major!!

OK, for the record, I know I'm allergic to the paper tape stuff that hospitals use to attach IV lines and to hold down surgical dressings. I know this because after I had a c-section I had a line for IV fluids and a line for drugs as well as a large swath of gauze on my belly, all held in place by the paper tape, and on the second day when I said that those tape places were itching and burning I was told that it was normal and on the third day when the burning was more like SEARING and any slight tug on any of those areas made me well up in tears I told them that this was NOT at all normal and so they agreed to take off the tapes, pulling away some of my blistered flesh with it at which point the nursing staff allowed as to how I might indeed be allergic to that stuff and not to use it in future, and so I didn't.

So, because of that little episode I was prepared to have a touch of discomfort from the tape that's used to hold down all the skin-based electrodes applied in the follow-up sleep study I underwent this weekend, and was again rewarded with raw places on my throat and chest.


What I was not prepared for, and could not have anticipated, was that I am apparently allergic, and mightily so, to the material from which the CPAP machine mask is fashioned. Oh yes! I am!

(An aside - The mask, in addition to being hyperallergenic, is ugly. Just needed to say that. It looks like something a water-dwelling creature (with a nose!) might use if it were required to do business on land and needed to remain hydrated in a manner that would allow communication through speech....like a tiny nose-mask in which water from a bubblah-tank strapped to its back would be drawn in through the "nose" and into book lungs (or somesuch alternate oxygen-scavenging apparatus similar to what lungfish probably have). Aside over.)

In the middle of the long night, on, oh, perhaps my 10th random awakening, I noted to myself that the places where the mask was touching hurt. A lot. I chalked this up to how tightly it was seated on my face and, if I was to use this contraption of the rest of my life, I'd eventually get used to the tightness, much like I had to get used to wearing glasses.

On the 12th awakening, I noticed a burning sensation.

On the 15th, there was actual searing, and a distinct twinge of real pain.

At 5:30 a.m., when the nice monitor lady came in to "wake me up" (the assumption being that I had actually ever been asleep), I lifted that mask free of my nose as fast as I could, and winced, because I think a little bit of skin went with it.

As I was cleaning the gel and sticky cream (mind out of the gutter, y'all!) from the electrode spots off my face, the deep red patches on either side of my nose and a marked ridge underneath of it were more than readily apparent. These were no ordinary pressure points, no run-of-the-mill temporary irritations. They all hurt. A lot. And were hot. And raised.

When I expressed concern over their appearance, I was told to "put some lotion on them spots" when I got home, and so I did. Nice, regular, everday face lotion. Which hurt. A lot. (another aside - Face lotion doesn't usually hurt.)

Hmmm, something's wrong, I thought.

Boy, howdy, was I right. The "something wrong" turned out to be a localized wheal and flare reaction that turned icky and zitty and hella painful on Day 2. Friends, I have never had acne, per se, and now I feel ever so badly for those of y'all who did, because if it is anything like what I am experiencing that shit HURTS! Holy God!

And is, you won't be surprised to learn, so, so attractive. Why, who would NOT want thickened cardinal-red skin surrounding their nose? Who would NOT want every.single.damned.pore. to fill with pus? Who would NOT want to have bright red zitty freaking SKIN on their FACE ? Who would NOT want the thickened zitty skin to crust over and scab?

Anyone? Hmmmm?

I swear, surgery is looking good right now. Even WITH only a 50% sucess rate, it would be worth the risk to avoid that damned mask and rash. Plus, even though the surgery would involve pain during recuperation, I'm pretty sure it WON'T involve acne.

Sounds like a deal to me.


Tomorrow - spooky story, for adults only. Don't let your kids surf to Auntie Tiff's on Hallowe'en, for they might learn a few things best not learned by anyone under 21.


Oh, and before I forget - this weekend was perhaps the most perfect weekend, weather-wise. that I have experienced in my entire life. I love fall afternoons when the temps are in the upper 60's and the sky is that insane blue and the puffy clouds are scattered over the horizon. The moon was out during the day, a waxing crescent hanging in the sky. The trees are finally getting their fall colors, albeit a tad muted, and the smell of freshly-cut grass mingled with the scent of woodsmoke. Ah, fall!

Thing 1 and Thing 2 accompanied me on a little trip to our local town park to do some exploring, and were surprised that there is a fitness trail within it. I thought those things went out with the 80's, but no. What a little gem to find this place, right on the way home from work and school, with picnic pavilions and a large grassy field, and actual TOILETS and a big playground and a paved trail. Somebody in that town had their thinking cap on when they put aside that land for park use, because in not very many more years the rampant development that's taking over Wake County is going to find our tiny town, and without some finely honed preservation skillz the land there won't be anything but house farms for miles and miles around.

Just not on those particular 35 acres. Thank goodness.

Friday, October 27, 2006

As if I care

Word of the day:

pococurante (po-ko-koo-RAN-tee, -kyoo-)

adjective - Indifferent, apathetic, nonchalant.

noun - A careless or indifferent person.

[From Italian poco (little) + curante, present participle of curare, (to care), from Latin curare (cure, care).]

Use: Tiff was entrenched in a self-made rut so deep she gave herself the indian name "Princess Pococurante," which, though very lame indeed, made her smile.


Have you written your spooky story for the Wordsmiths yet?


And now, to the meat of the matter, which today resembles not so much a beef roast or loin of mutton, but more appears to be ground chuck of high fat content that when cooked shrinks to a mere shade of its former meaty glory.

'Cause today, we talk about, well, um, my life, which is not so meaty, and not so juicy and really really not so spicy!

Just like my meatloaf, actually, and if we were to create a real meataphor (hee!) I'd have to say that my life right now is like a slightly over done meatlof without the tomato sauce topping.

I mean, I was actually thinking about tell y'all about how I'm still trying to UNPACK, when we've been in our house for 5 months.

I was also maybe going to talk about our dogs again.

There was even a brief notion to introduce you to my morning routine, of which the lunch-making decisions would have been the most entertaining part (or, maybe, for you perves out there, the description of which shampoo I used and what soap I chose, because, yes, there is MORE THAN ONE kind of shampoo and soap in my shower. Do I want to smell like apples or patchouli? Do I want lustrous silky hair or wild cave-girl curls? Gotta mix it up for variety, oh yes we do!).

Or, maybe I could write about doing laundry, and how the neatly folded piles I lovingly create, sorted by clothing type in drawer-friendly sizes, don't seem to be able to move from dryer-top to dresser? It's as through the stacks of shirts are welded down by a horrendous force of nature until one Thing or the other breaks the treamendous force field to rifle through the pile, disrupting it and, presumably, the awesome power of the pile that prohibits it from being moved in toto to an EMPTY dresser drawer. Amazing! Behold the power of the pile!

Which brings me to another topic....how is it that, if by some miracle of nature, the pile somehow does get moved from the dryer top to the actual bedroom (largely as a result of the dark matter known as "nagging"), it does not get put into the dresser drawer? What awesome force is it that keeps that from happening? What part of the universal sphere is ringing more happily with the clothes on a desk, or floor, or chair? How is it that this happens with such consistency that I've now accepted that this is the way of nature and should not be muddled with?

And why, oh why, do I care?


Later, I shall add a cupla tee-shirt ideas that amuse me, but for now, with Blogger going pear-shaped and my lunch dates waiting, I must leave you....

Have a lovely weekend, y'all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Weird Al scared my children

A life lesson:

Just because YOU think something is hilariously funny, does not mean your children do.

Case in point - Weird Al's "Weasel Stomping Day."

Rennratt first played it for me, and it left me gapsing for air only a minute or so into it. Freaking hilarious, the stuff of ridiculousity supreme. I could not wait to play it for my children.

10 seconds into it, one started to cry, and one got very angry with me. They HATED it. They resent me even mentioning it now.

Mmmmm-kay. Must re-prioritize the funny. Move back to Monty Python and go on from there.

Being a parent is hard work sometimes.


Who's better - Shakespeare or Henry Miller?


Today I wear the second tee-shirt of happiness, and all is well. Still happy.


The scary stuff continues at the MonkeyBarn. Today finds Seraph in a great deal of trouble and Joel revived in Candyland. Wonder what will happen next?

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusions of both stories.


Question you may be asking yourself - what's with all the random here lately?

I blame it on fall. I also blame it on being done with a couple of projects at work that were planning to kill me. The good news is that I killed them first, and now my mind is free to roam where it usually does when left to its own devices. Q, or Renn, or even Wordnerd can tell you that conversations with me are often things of tangent and nonsequitor; this is simply the way my brain works and if you can't keep up, then don't stand in line to get on the ride.

There are often times, during a conversation, that I pause and try to reconstruct the path that led from point A to point Z, and cannot do it. Anybody else do that? The ol' "how did I get here?" thing?

While IMing with the faboo Wordnerd a few days ago, we covered quite the range of topics, from kids to work to sex to other bloggers to, oh, I don't know, I think a coupla two tree dozen other things, all in the space of about an hour. Amazing! The ping-pongy interchange is so much more satisfying to me than beating a topic to death and not knowing where to go from there.

Anyhow, the random, it appears, is here for a while, or at least until next Tuesday, because on Hallowe'en I've got a little story to tell you (as part of the wordsmiths monthly challenge) that might make you wonder why you even bother to come around here. It's pretty intense, as all good ghost stories should be.

Don't say I didn't warn you, 'kay?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Breaking news, and other stuff

Just when you think you've heard it all, along comes something like eyelash transplants to make you take a step back and ponder your own sense of omniscience.


Thanks to all y'all who stopped over at Renn's to offer words of condolence after the unexpected death of her Mom. You guys rock.


The Monkeybarn stories are up to part 3, and are totally shaping up into something fine indeed. Check 'em out!


We had a little scare at Casa Teef last night. Not to worry, peeps, not to worry,for all is well.

It's just that at 2:30 a.m., when you smell something on fire, it's a little unnerving. Oh yes, the scent of something burning, some dusty thing in the throes of incineration, wafted through the second floor of our home as we slept sweetly in our beds, waking us parental units right the heck on up and bouncing us straight into "frightened detective" mode. The husband in his baggy drawers and me in my baggy nightie searched the premises, fueled by a mighty surge of adrenaline - where was the smell coming from? Which child was playing with matches? Was the roof on fire? Had squirrels chewed through some electrical wiring, setting the house ablaze (and, perhaps roasting themselves to a furry crisp in the process)?

As luck would have it, after our brief frenzied search no flames were found, no smoke alarms sounded, no fried rodentia were identified, and the mutual decision was that the inaugural engagement of the heating system for the second floor had cleaned out the system, so to speak, by immolating all and sundry stray objects that were in the way of providing the human inhabitants with warm goodness.

Within a few minutes the smell had dissipated (or, we had grown tolerant to it), and we all awoke this morning none the worse for the experience.

It was pretty exciting while it lasted. Thanks heavens it didn't last that long.


Word for Wednesday:

oscitant (OS-i-tant) adjective

1. Yawning, gaping from drowsiness.
2. Inattentive, dull, negligent.

[From Latin oscitant, present participle of oscitare (to yawn), from os (mouth) + citare (to move).]

Use: I should have been oscitant this morning after last night's shenanigans, but instead awoke alert and vivacious.


Today is my blogversary. One year ago today I started in on this foolishness.

Read all about it here. Hoo-boy, I started out all serious, didn't I?


This post is all OVAH the place, bespeaking my current mood (and yes, I can use "bespeaking" if I want to - it's my blog).

Here's the closer, a little thing to make you go "hmmm," and a small shout-out to Lady Jane Scarlett, who wanted some serious quotey action yesterday and did not get it. This is not the quote I was going to use yesterday (for its time has passed), but it's one just as good.

"Even in the worm that crawls in the earth there glows a divine spark. When you slaughter a creature, you slaughter God. "

-Isaac Bashevis Singer, Writer, Nobel laureate (1904-1991)

Think on that one for a little while, and just how miraculous any life is. It's a wonderment to me on a regular basis. Is it to you?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One of our own

Is dealing with a sudden loss. Please visit Rennratt, who is dealing with the death of her mom today and could use your upport.

Maturity is overrated

Today I was in the mood to write something insightful and thought-provoking, something that would provide food for thought and fodder for conversation.

I was going to quote Thoreau as a starter, and riff on the quote, creating a sermon of sorts on my beliefs and life mottoes, thereafter castigating all mankind for not recognizing the evil that is in all of us and admonishing us all to rise to the occasion of goodness and mercy that is within us all to effect.

Then, after one or two false starts at sermonizing, a blinding flash of insight seared into my consciousness, rendering my fingers unable to restart my self-important preachifying, and speaking thusly to me: "People don't want to read that crap! People want to read about farts and burps and things you did that caused you embarrassment! People want to know what it is about YOU that makes them feel better about themselves!"

And so, I threw Henry out the virtual window of my virtual bedroom (an aside: he was there because he's a sexy sexy man with all the quoting and whatnot, and who doesn't like a man with brains AND publications and a sense of moral indignance?) and turned myself 180 degrees toward you, gentle readers.

Herewith, then, is a story of yet another of my quirks, another example of just how much real life is a discomfiting place for me to live. Sit back, and enjoy, for you could have been subject to much higher moralification than this, and thus you should thank your lucky stars I'm always thinking of you.


When I was in my fifth year of college, I was dating a fellow I'll call Marc (because that's what his name was, and he doesn't read this, and so ha-ha I can too if I want to call him by his real name).

Marc was a tad younger than me, by, oh, about 3 years. No matter, he was tall and had a moustache, which met many of my criteria the time for a likely bed partner. We'd started dating the previous year, and had lived in the same apartment over the summer while we both attended summer school (me to get my organic chem classes out of the way; him to, um, I don't remember).

Over the year or so that we had dated I had met his family - Italian Catholics from Connecticut who looked askance at me, the blond Protestant, very likely despairing for their son's soul should he keep on with my particular brand of heathen. I had visited his grandmother in the old-folks' home, during which visit I was instructed not to speak directly to her lest she get upset. I had listened to his music (John Prine and The Grateful Dead, which was a sacrifice because I was more a Laurie Anderson/Prince/Syrogyra kind of girl) and coached him through a lip-synch contest and loved him as best I could.

But I was clueless, and as the relationship began to fall apart I hung on much too tightly.

I hung on when we didn't see one another for days.

I hung on when he didn't call me to go out.

I hung on when someone told me he was becoming "really good friends" with another girl (a girl I later despised with the power of a thousand rabid ferrets).

And then, one day, I cornered him in the science building stairwell and told him we needed to talk.

About what? He asked.

About us, I said.

I don't think we should be seeing one anymore, I said.

I didn't realize we were seeing one another at all, he said.

Oh, I said. I don't recall us breaking up or anything.

Well, I thought you'd get the message when I stopped calling you, he said.

At which point my heart sunk straight to the bottom of the earth, my soul cracked open, and I think I may have experienced a moment or two of hysterical blindness (or was that blinding fury? One wonders).

I had been so very stupid. I had thought that the breakup signals would have been more clear. Maybe a fight, maybe a note, maybe a phone call? I hadn't read between the lines to see that he'd left me behind already, and had started in with another girl.

So very very stupid. Put me off men altogether for a couple of months, it did.

Several months later, when I was working at JM's (now closed) as the deli manager, we got a takeout order from Marc and the girl (who looked a great deal like a mole, complete with squinty eyes and protruding nose. Why he dumped me for her I'll never know, except to suspect that she must have given extraordinarily good head or something). Well well, I thought, well well. Here is my chance to get back at Marc-with-a-"c", the fiend, the cad, for making me feel so foolish!

And so, in addition to the lettuce and tomato and jalapenos on his "Rat" (a sandwich made with 4 kinds of cheese and herb mayo, then toased), he also got a big ol' honking gob of my spit.

"Eat frrrraish, you bastard!" could have been my cry, but instead I quietly wrapped up the cheese and spit sammich in white butcher paper, handed it to the delivery guy, and felt very very good indeed.

So.Awfully.Mature, don't you think?

And yet, so very satisfying.


What would YOU have done, in the same circumstance?

Monday, October 23, 2006

In which I declare almost complete happiness

Over at the Monkeybarn, there are some spooky things happening! Not one, but TWO awesome starts to serialized stories.

Check out the first part of "Nighty Nightmare" here

Check out the first part of "The Celery Stalks at Midnight" here.

One installment a day for each of these stories will be issued throughout this week as a run-up to Hallowe'en. You don't want to miss them, because they shall make you pleased indeed if you've got any kind of appreciation for the creativity and mad writing skillz of others!

(And, you know you should...so get over the jealous/envy/sloth thing and click over there and be HAPPY that these people love you enough to write spooky stories for you!)


Here's he thing that prompted the title of this post:

Some of you who know me know that I have "issues" with clothing.

Issues like, I HATE the following: tags in the neckline, tight collars, turtlenecks, polyester, tight sleeves, tight shoulder seams, waistbands that cut into soft belly flesh, capris, wool, pantyhose, pinchy shoes, sleeveless shirts, anything crepe, etc. etc.

These issues have pretty much left me way out in left field when it comes to fashion. (Notice I did not say style, because style and fashion are 2 verrrry different things. I have style, plenty of it, but it's not very fashionable).

My issues with clothing afford me a limited range of options when it comes to what lands in my cloest, and even fewer options when it comes to those items that STAY in my closet.

To wit:I can fit all of my clothing, all seasons of it, in my half of our closet, all at once (granted, it's a wl-in, but it ain't palatial). I do not need to rotate my clothing, for what's there is worn almost all year. I have 5 pairs of pants, only one of which is exclusively for cooler weather. I have about 12 shirts that I like enough to continue wearing. I have several skirts, none of which I've worn in the last 4 months (and most of them are for summer only because they're gauzy and light and look better than shorts if I have to go out when it's hot and don't want to look like "Ropy, the Varicose Girl." Plus, the canklage.....oy.)

So it is with pleasure that I announce 2 new additions to my wardrobe. Yes, 2! Woo-hoo!

I am the PROUD owner of 2 long-sleeved mini-rib scoop-neck tees; one in brick red and one turquiose. Tees so soft and supple that they feel like I'm not wearing anything at all. Tees with a generous neck opening and sleeves long enough for my gorrilla-length arms and shoulders that fit my Valkyrie-esque proportions and enough "fit" to show off the fantasy-inspiring boobage without being so tight it looks like I'm a desperate former starlet whose only remaining assests come in a D-cup and by God you better look at them right now because I'm overdue for that second facelift and it's not so pretty above the neck like it used to be!

What's better than that?

I'll tell you what.

They were 5 dollars each.

Freaking sweet. I cannot belive I hesitated, even for one MOMENT, in buying them. I almost didn't, thinking they would be "right." What a shame that would have been.

Now I'm planning to hit the OTHER WalMarts in the area (oh yes, I did buy clothes at Wally World! Don't hate.) to scoop up whatever colors they might have, because y'all, the sad fact is that I bought the LAST TWO of these tees at my local mega-merchandizer and lord, I need more than just those 2. Many many more.

If I find more, I may never wear anything else again.


Oh, and the baking frenzy continues!!!!! Yes, the Tiff stood firm in her autumn-inspired baking efforts (and the additional effort of using up all the apples we picked on vacation), and turned out two luscious homemade apple pies yesterday afternoon.

Plus a roast chicken.

And sauteed yellow squash with fresh basil.

But, back to the pies - my goodness, the things I learned! I found out that putting in TWICE the amount of sugar necessary into a "regular" apple crumb pie (oopsie!) will cause it to overflow a tremendous molten stream of apple syrup, which is hella difficult to clean up if you're not smart enough to line the baking sheet you've put the pie on with foil (did that make sense?). So, don't do that. I also learned that the recipe for "sour cream apple crumb pie" that I scarfed up from "allrecipes.com" makes a pie so damned good it's, it's, it's, well, I don't know what it is except that it's sensual goodness in a tender crust that makes one wonder if this is the kind of food that gets served in heaven instead of that Philly stuff those teevee angels keep slathering all over their toast. 'Cause manohman, I was feeling mighty angelic after just one tiny slice.

Oh yes, it is that good.

(Extra bonus happy family fun points for Thing 2, who peeled and chopped apples, measured and mixed ingredients, and kept me company by telling me all things Pokemon while this ultra-domestic bakerification was happening. That little dude totally rawks.)


Lastly, I did NOT know that young men of 9 and 11 knew the term "hoodies!," or that receipt of said hoodies would cause a clamor of gratefulness.

Now, I do.

Ain't it nice there's always something new to learn in this world?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I DARE you.

What does this picture make you think of?

(Courtesy of Opacity.us)

Is it spooky, or scary, or very very sad indeed? Does your mind wander through dark alleys of doom, or around misty moors of melancholy, or down the long halls of horror?

Hmmm? Does it?
If it does, I have a little dare for you.

C'mon, I know you want to.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Kitchen throwdown

OK - let's do something different today here at NAY. Let's forget that on Fridays there used to be funny stuff here about news headlines and shizz, and just turn the tables ENTIRELY and talk about one of my favorite subjects:


You may not believe this, but your Tiff is a pretty darned good cook. Why just last weekend I made banana nut bread and apple cake, from scratch! And people ate them! My word, it was exciting.

Yesterday was the occasion of another culinary triumph at Casa Teef, in that I used a crock pot to good advantage to make the whole house smell good all day and to provide a deelish dinner to the denizens of my domecile. Because even the youngsters liked what came out of said pot, I offer up here the recipe, so that YOU can boldy stride into the kitchen your OWN daggone self and emerge a victorious crock-pot wunderkind.

"Crock pot chuck roast"

1 3-pound chuck roast
1 cup baby carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup whilte wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

(My crock pot is actually an oblong slow cooker......if yours is a crock, just stand the roast up and proceed as directed).

In the morning:

  1. place frozen roast in slow cooker (y'all, it's fine, trust me)
  2. dump in veggies
  3. dump in liquids
  4. sprinkle with S&P
  5. cover tightly and turn on low
  6. cook for 10-12 hours

In the evening:

  1. walk in house and begin salivating beccause damn, it smells fine in here, just like Grandma's house on Sundays after church
  2. pour self a cocktail and tell everybody to get out of the kitchen, because "it's magic time"
  3. turn off cooker
  4. start some water boiling and preheat the oven to 375, peel and cube a few potatos (and why not try combining sweet with white?), throw 'em in the boiling water
  5. uncover roast and remove it to a serving plate using a couple of spatulas (be careful becausae the roast will be like buttah!)
  6. stick some biscuits in the oven
  7. using an immersion mixer or a blender, whiz up the veggies and liquids into a coulee (fancy-pants cooking term for "whizzed up stiff") to use as gravy
  8. turn off potatos, drain, mash
  9. take biscuits out of oven
  10. serve

Not hard. Not time-consuming, really. I think everything was ready within 40 minutes of me walking through the door.

Nutritionally, it's a reasonably robust meal, because of all the veggies in the gravy and the protein in the meat, and the beta-carotene from the sweet potatos. One could improve on that by adding maybe a salad, but, really, enough is enough, don't you think? We shouldn't like to go overboard and actaully climb the entire food pyramid all in the space of one meal, after all.


Anybody know anything about raising goats?


Today, in direct opposition to yesterday, my job does NOT suck. You know why? Because the project that was sapping my will to live was taken away from me.

OH! The gnashing of the teeth and the moaning and wailing that did NOT occur were wondrous NOT to hear! The breast beating that did NOT happen was wonderful NOT to undergo! The joy was palapable, the "yippee!!" was audible, the albatross around my neck and the monkey on my back found new homes, and all was well in Mudville.

Hells, yes, do I feel GOOD today! (anybody else remember that old Coast Soap ad?)


The boiling oil thing back in the day must have hurt a lot. A lotalotalot. Shoot, I got some super-heated oil on my THUMB this morning and it almost made me cry.


Or, maybe, sheep? Anybody know anything about raising sheep?

Or chickens?

The best way to lay out a barn?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wha'd you say?

The results of the sleep test are in! I have "slight sleep apnea." Lemme just say now that this is likely the only thing "slight" about me besides my attention span, so I'll take what I can get.

Huzzah! Another sleep test looms large on the horizon! This time with a MASK!

Ooooh, I'll be in disguise! I shall call myself "Mistress SeePAP", or perhaps "Titratia"! You shall not recognize me behind my O2 mask of power and energy! The mask shall suffuse me with ebullient energy, I'll be ready to conquer the world with my newly replenished stores of FOCUS and ALERTNESS!

Huzzah, once more, for the possibility of the inception of Titratia, queen of SLEEP!


Also, I have a new grunge band name. "Redundant uvula."

Cool, huh?

(oh, and it's not something I made up. It's something I have. Aren't I the lucky one? Who knew one lone uvula could be redundant? And yet, it is.......because "redundant" in this case means "really big," which is a curious thing, when you think of it. Is there a size limit? Apparently so.)


Today, I hate my job. Today, my job is the suckiest suck-tastic job ever in the panoply of suckage that ever sucked.

Today, my job is a soul-sapping wasteland of suckification, in which I find myself mired in the opinions of others; others who do not believe I am swell and terrific, but instead believe that I suck with the force of a class 5 tornado.

(an aside - I can suck like a class5 tornado, if I want to, but didn't want to at work. There's a place and a time for sucking, and it is most certainly not at work.)

That is all I'm saying about THAT.


Also, I enjoy being awakened at 4 a.m. Really, it's great. It's so great to be kicked out of bed by a hallucinating partner (thanks, Chantix!) who claims that YOUR side of the bed is HIS side and you must get out now so he can go back to sleep.

It's awesome to be up that early! So dark!

It's like being a cop, or a morning newscaster! Early, early! Darkety-dark-dark!

I awarded myself some gold stars for turning on the computer and working for a couple of hours, then sending out a few e-mails at oh-dark-thirty to people who might be impressed by that kind of thing. Never miss a chance to make it appear like you've slaving away in the wee hours, kiddies!

Once the sky was brightening (in the east! imagine!), I was done with the immediate tasks at hand, and so took a nap in the recliner. And ohboyohboy, the dreams! Oy! Not so much with the restful! But also not so much with the shoulder pain and the snoring and the being kicked out of bed, so, whatever.

By 8 p.m. this evening, the combination of job suck and lack of sleep should be evident. I cannot wait to find out how this day is going to end.

At least there's a roast in the crock pot.

Now, did I turn it ON?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Many things, all at once

First - have you ever wanted to write a spooky story? Have you? HAve you ever wanted to write a spooky SHORT story? Have you? Hmmmm?

Well, NOW'S your chance! The
Wordsmiths have struck again with a writing challenge for November! It's a good 'un for all y'all with an eerie bone.


Next - newsflash - the brain MRI came up clean.

Begin celebrating now.


Question for ya - what was you favorite Hallowe'en costume of ALL TIME?????

As a kid, I was a clown a lot of the time. I think we just had the costumes lying around, and Mom would do up our faces with her makeup, and that was it.

One year, when I was 12, I dressed up in some antebellum thing my mother had from a church show she was in, and paraded myself around as quite the grand lady. I think that was the last year I went trick-or-treating, because young ladies with curves, even if they ARE only young teenagers, should probably NOT be flouncing around in the dark begging for candy from strangers.

If I recall correctly, that last Hallowe'en I went out with my friend Bonnie. Just the 2 of us. No parents! We were so grown up! It was scary! There were boys! I was thrilled! I don't recall we did much door-to-door work; rather, we spent a lot of time walking along busier streets waiting for people (boys! teenagers!) to honk at us or yell something sexy.

Remember, I was 12. Hormone-induced stupidity started early.

Anyhow, I think that one was my favorite costume, because it's almost the only one I remember that wasn't a clown.


One last thing - does Starbuck's coffe make you fee like you're head is spinning if you drink it on an empty stomach? It does to me. Good God, I'm buzzing! Woo!

I don't normally "do" the Bux, but the local upscale coffee place has closed (for lack of business, apparently, because it was in a craptabulous location), and this morning after getting the "all clear" on the tumor thing I was in the mood for a little caffeinated bucking up. So, I ordered my a Grande Breakfast Blend with room (I'm lingo-tastic! Lookit me over here with the fancy bux-speak!), and tossed that sucker down in about a half an hour. And hour later, and I'm ready to levitate. That's some good sheeyit right there, that is!

It's probably a good thing I didn't get the high-test rocket fuel, or I'd be having palpiations or be on the ceiling right about now.


That's it for today, y'all! I've got work to do!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gray Marble Stories

It's time, once again, for story time. Yes, the exiled Hyperion has been in touch with yours truly, and has pitched yet another co-writing experience. Who am I to say no?

As always, we picked out a picture for inspiration and wrote a story of our own choosing from it. We had something like 24 hours to turn the stories around, a small luxury all things considered.

Hyperion's story (which I have not yet read) is posted here. I'm intrigued by the title, because it's all Latin-y and demi-obscure. For sure his story is better than mine, just on that alone.

My story is below, and while it may not be a thing of wonder, it is, at least, a thing. I did NOT adhere to my heretofore self-inflicted 500-word limit, so get ready for the wordy. Feel free to leave your comments, particularly those of a constructive nature, because, well, I said you could.


"Getting an Answer"

Ah, God, the pain. Tight muscles loosening, uncramping, stretching, stinging with the force of a posture too long held. The fire of the nerves coming alive, a pop of joint and crack of ligament as the pose is allowed to relax. So hard to just let go, to let the earth take her down to the resting place, to not fight to weight of her body.

Sharon focused her breathing on her gut, on a low chakra, the seat of her warmth, forcing herself to believe that opening her personal vivid red spot would actually draw strength to her sexual self. Hell, she’s take drawing strength to her gosh-darned bladder if it would take the pain away from the pose release. Stupid yoga.

Even after a year of practicing the art, Sharon knew she had a lifetime of "practice" before she got even nearly close to good. The teacher, plump and limber, could crow and crane at the drop of a hat, and yet Sharon was struggling with a perfect down dog and still swayed when in mountain pose. Something to do with her disease, with the stiff joints of arthritis that plagued her like cement in her elbows and knees. She longed to be supple, to bend like a willow in a breeze, to sway like a reed. But no, she was stuck fast to the earth, fighting her own creaking body’s arc toward rigidity.

No matter, the thrice-weekly sessions kept her one step ahead of her disease, and that was good enough. After the OM-ing that always ended the class, Sharon showered, blotted her wet hair, and walked back out into the noisy streets of the city, feeling more limber than when she entered the gym, grateful for the change.

Breathing the fumes of buses and cars and people and hot dog carts and street vendors, she smiled deeply, striding toward her office. Her office was one block up and one block over from the gym, a short distance that took her past the church with the tiny grotto, an incongruous landmark in this modern place. Sharon loved to pause at the hidden well and watch the last of the city’s artesian springs drip its mysteries into the shallow shell-shaped pool, above which the Holy Mother floated as beatifically as the Venus did on arising from the ocean. So damp and cool, so feminine and private, it was a place of luxurious secrecy in the anxious bustle only a few feet away. Sharon would breathe her few regular prayers and cross herself furtively as she observed her personal church. The wet air suffused her with an ancient energy, or so she liked to think.

Church over, and the office gained, the work of the day took her thoughts and mind far from the peace of the morning. The regular cycle was launched. Coffee, headache. Lunchtime, stiff joints. 2 o’clock meeting, creaking spine. 5 o’clock, popping neck, aching feet. Just like usual.

Sharon pushed the file drawers shut, locked them, dropped the key into the top drawer of the desk, shut off her computer, pressed herself out of her chair with a groan, and was headed toward the door by 5:15. Her mind was racing far ahead of her body while she plodded down the four flights of stairs, thinking about her date. What does one order at a wine bar? What does one DO at a wine bar? How does on tell one’s date that one is so very much hoping it works out with him because every other man one has dated has cut and run when they leared of one’s disease?

It wasn’t like she wasn’t pretty or smart or successful, because looking at herself she could tell she was almost beautiful, and knew the degrees she’d earned from Brown were proof of her intelligence, and certainly having a job that paid enough to support all her needs was a measure of success. No, until the men found out about the arthritis, and its projected course, they were plenty interested. Sharon wondered when she was going to meet someone who would accept her for her, and not for what might possibly someday be.

She’d met tonight’s “wine bar guy” online, on a dating service for people with disabilities. At first Sharon had balked at the idea that she had a disability, but what could she do? For sure all the men who’d run from her were an indication that something was indeed wrong with her; her own creaking body was reminder enough that she wasn’t exactly in the pink of health. A few more years and her joints would become even more immobile, and she’d be disabled for real. This evening’s fellow had accepted her explanation of her disease readily, countering that his case of mild cerebral palsy would make them quite the odd pair. CP notwithstanding, he seemed almost too good to be real; their IM chats were long and full of good humor, his phone voice was rich and deep. He had an archaic way of expressing himself that she thought sexy; he blamed it on learning English from elderly nuns. Sharon was more excited about this date than she’d been in a good long while, and held out hope that her fervent prayers at the grotto would be answered.

During the cab ride over, she fixed up her lipstick and finger-combed her thick dark hair, loosening it little for a romantic effect. A quick spritz of scent and she was there in sprirt and in flesh. The bar was dark, cave-like, with smoky jazz playing quietly under the clink of glasses and the occasional outburst of laughter from the groups of well-dressed young people lounging in leather club chairs and long banquettes. Sharon seated herself at the long copper bar, and very quickly felt a tap on her shoulder and a low mention of her name. To say her spine tingled at his voice would have been an understatement, for the resulting bolt of electricity started deep at its base and shot through her brain in an instant, a fine sensation if ever there was one. She turned to him, meeting his eyes and falling instantly in love.

Throughout the long evening they talked and ate, first stealing glances, then offering a touch of the hand, then sliding close to one another in a back booth, sharing their dreams and politics and religion and opinions, not able to get enough of one another, not wanting the night to end. They closed the bar, both a little drunk, caught a taxi back to his apartment, and made supple sweaty love on his enormous bed. After, he brought her ice water and rubbed her hands, whispering of all the things they would do together, of the mysterious great good fortune that had brought them together, of the future they had, of his instant deep love and need for her. As he drifted off to sleep, she studied him, memorizing him, and she wept quietly, thankfully, to the Virgin of the Grotto for hearing her prayers at last.

Long years went by, which they spent in a rich exhaustion of life. They traveled, married, got a dog, read great books, bought art, drank fine wines, learned the crow and crane together, and fought growing old before their time. He was the first to go; a mere 30 years after they’d first met. Sharon’s grief was immense, earth-shattering. She was bereaved and helpless. The void was tremendous.

Her sisters moved her out of the apartment and into a rest home to quiet her nerves and help heal her mourning mind. There was no consoling her until the day she found the spring at the back edge of the lawn. Cool water, a statue of the Virgin, a small sunny place hidden among overgrown boxwoods, easy to get to in the wheelchair. She went there every morning, crossed herself shakily and said her few prayers.

The nurse found her there a year later, kneeling by a section of low wall that had been uncovered when an ancient boxwood had died. Sharon’s lifeless body was rigid, her eyes toward heaven, a smile on her face, her fingers on a marble plaque of two adoring lovers. As the orderlies removed Sharon’s body, the nurse remarked to them that she had never seen that plaque before, and thought it strange and a little tasteless that it should be right next to the Holy Mother. One of the orderlies said she should read the inscription, and take her faith more gently. Leaning close, she touched the loose stone hair of the female figure, warm in the afternoon sun, and read:

“Prayers are answered for those who truly believe.”

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Matrix - NC style

Y'all, I have firm evidence that the scenarios played out in the "Matrix" flicks are real.

Yes, you heard me, REAL.

How do I know? From where does this evidence come? It's nothing more than first-hand personal experience, my friends. RECENT personal experience.

Oh, sure, they SAID I was participating in a so-called "sleep study," but you can't fool me, I KNOW that once fully kitted out I was hooked up to a central respository of nightmares and lost hopes, taking my place in the vast dreamscape playland of imagination-starved plutocrats and demigods of industry.

Why ELSE would all those wires Friday night have been necessary? If I recall correctly there were:

5 on the scalp
1 on the forehead
1 on the cheekbone
1 on the jaw
1 on the chin
1 on the throat
3 on the chest
2 on the legs
15 altogether!

Not to mention the 2 elastic bands that went around my chest, to "monitor my breathing" (or so it was told to me), but could just as easily have been there to force my breathing into an unnatural pattern based on a series of mild electrical stimuli intended to harmonize my respiration with all the others around the globe similarly attached during that period of time.

Well, they COULD have, you know.

Oh, and there was an oxygen sensor on my finger, and air flow cannulas in my nose and mouth.

Sweet freaking dreams, my ass! Who can dream when bedecked in so many POUNDS of electronic finery? I had an actual DREADLOCK of wires snaking out the back of my head, and if you've ever had an IV line and felt like any small movement might tear that sucker right out of you arm, then you'll know how I felt when I say I didn't feel like I could move my head one INCH for fear of detaching any of the lines that was undoubtedly channeling my dreams into a vast network of virtual reality for the uber-rich to use as a wildly varying backdrop for their salcious and vivid nocturnal role-playing games.

Oh, sure, the bed was comfy enough, and the "sleep lab" lady was the most pleasant thing this side of a slab of warm apple pie, but who can sleep when there are wires attaching you to a monitoring system, and the sensor on your throat is adhered tightly with some kind of tape that itches and pulls when you turn your head, and you're afraid to breathe because then you might SNORE and that would be bad because if you do that means you might have to get a stupid-ass CPAP machine to help you breathe at night so you don't die in your sleep, all unknowing? Who, I ask you, can sleep under those conditions? What god-awful freak of nature can SLEEP under those conditions???

Um, well, apparently I can.

Not very well, mind you, and I had dreams of sharks and drowning and airplane crashes and losing my children and having my fingers chopped off and tremendous cities of sharp-spired buildings belching yellow smoke over a blasted-out husk of prairie, but I did indeed sleep, in between visits from Miss Monitor, who, even though she tried to be quiet when reattaching my electrodes to the monitoring unit, did have that soft sneaker-squeek on the linoleum floor that was enough to alert my semi-alert brain to "wake up! intruder!"

(As a short aside, someone shold tell that hospital that having one of those insta-squirt electronic air freshener thingies in the sleep lab room is NOT such a hot idea, because of the "CLICK CCCHHHHH" sound it makes every, oh, 10 MINUTES or so that, if they're not used to it, could maybe wake a person right the heck up from a shallow restless sleep.)

Needless to say, the Matrix got their money's worth out of me. I hope they're happy, I hope my discomfort and suffering was worth it.

But, dear friends, be aware that a truly nefarious turn of events may be about to take place, in that it looks likely that I'll have to go back for another "study." It's been hinted that I have sleep apnea in addition to the snoring.

Sure, I do. SURE I have apnea AND snoring. That's what they SAY.

If you ask me, I suspect that their lame-ass "apnea" is an excuse to get me strapped back down so they can get another dose of the nocturnal Tiff-scape to greatly enrich the hive-mind of the NC Matrix.

It's the only thing that makes any sense to me.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Not always what you think

Much like this lovely lady's hairstyle, things aren't always what they appear to be.

For example, those aren't just ANY balloons.

I know, it took me a minute too, to move away from the "bubblehead" joke and "head" toward something more "potent."

If you get my drift, and I think you do.

Because you are a bunch of clever bunnies, I offer you a chance to provide your own caption to this lovely photo of this air- bukakke sweetie - leave 'em in the comments.

Now, for MORE things that may not be what they seem:

Bush gives Hastert boost in time of need

Dennis was having trouble leaping over the high moral ground, I guess.

Bush to sign security, Internet bill

If Bush is signing the bill, does this mean I can ignore Embarq this month?

UM study: Meth may lessen stroke damage

So look for a bunch of scabby strung-out geriatrics to appear on YOUR street corners soon!

Troops battle 10-foot marijuana plants

Is it too late for me to volunteer in the Army, 'cause dude, I'd like me some of that action! Break out the flamethrowers!!!!!

Probe sought of breast implant maker

"Sir, wer'e going to need records, including photographs, of all the women who have used your product. Yessir, all of them. Befores and afters. Also, you need to ask a couple hundred of them to appear in person at the Hilton at 3 p.m. on the 6th for a hands-on examination of your product. Oh, and one last thing - bend over, it's time for your probing."


Have a lovely weekend y'all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Virtual reality

Lie down here please.

OK, lift your legs and I'll put this pillow under them to make you more comfortable, because this will take a while.

Would you like headphones?

I'm just going to use this strap to keep you still so you don't move.

Now, close your eyes while I slide you into position.


If you need me for anything, just press this button; be careful though because it's really sensitive.

OK, here we go.

(pause pause pause pause pause)

Sorry, had to get warmed up first.

Here we go.


(Jesus! What the hell was THAT? Must.Hold.Still)



(Holy crap that's loud. Must. Hold. Still!!!)






OK, I have to slide you back out and find a vein. You're doing great.

Yeah, that last one is for finding strokes. It's new. Pretty loud though, I know.

(the tourniquet is applied, the hand slapping begins, the vein is found, and the needle slips in)

You'll want to apply pressure to that so you don't bruise.

I'll turn the fan down, it's really cold in here.

(no duh - the shivering is making it hard to hold still!)

All right, back in you go.


(God, I'm hearing in colors now. That is some good shit in that syringe!)



(Why am I hearing salsa music and tasting bananas? Must. Hold. Still)





All right, you're done.

Just lie there until you can get up.

You did great.

Yep, that's your brain allright.

No, I can't tell you if there's anything wrong with it.


Here's a survey, would you please fill it out and send back to the hospital? Thanks a lot.


Thus endeth the inaugural MRI of my brain. Results next week.