Thursday, May 31, 2007
I do believe it's best to accept that time marches on, and that getting older beats the snot out of dying. I, for one, appreciate the living thang, and intend to do quite a bit more of it. Hooray!
Had a handy dood come out to the new house yesterday, and was gratified to learn that the BIG HOLE in the floor in the front bedroom (under the carpet, if you'll recall) is "no big deal." Apparently some patching is needed, as well as some test-jumping on the remainder of the hearth area to see if any other weak spots are present.
So far, my weekend activities include jumping around on the floor in the front bedroom and not much else. Wahoo!
Also, the framing is sound so no jacking or shoring up need be done to relieve some of the gentle rolling of the floors (the house is old, y'all. I dare you to find a truly level surface), the bathroom re-do is a go (sure hope I can afford it), the closet switcheroo in the front BR is also a go, and the carpet guy is coming to measure up tomorrow morning.
"Things" are happening. This is exciting and daunting all at the same time.
Oh, and if you're wondering WHY I have a close switcheroo in the works, it's because someone put in a closet (after the house was built with NO closets) that COVERS A WINDOW. I cannot understand this, nor can I understand why they carpeted over an air vent. Nor can I understand why the closet didn't cover up the breaker box instead of a window, nor why they didn't remove the second front door when the closet was put in, nor why they didn't paint the ceiling in the closet when they did the rest of the room.
People puzzle me.
So, I'm having the handy dood rip out the old closet, move it down the wall to cover the breaker box and reveal the window, thereby opening up the room so that the closet door and the bedroom door don't slam into one another. This configuration makes a whole lot more sense to me! I like it that the handy dood agreed with this plan, to the point of SUGGESTING it. Yep - It looks like we'll be able to work together just fine.
Now all that's left for me to do is pick out bathroom fixtures and lino tile, choose new kitchen tile, wait for the carpet to be installed, clean out the kitchen cabinets and paint them, detox the nasty fugging mess left in the fridge by the previous owner, paint the living room floor, get all floracidal on the random skinny trees that the former homeowners planted all over the yard that have since died, and move.
Huh. Not all that much.
Oh, and I have to get the water turned on. And the cable. Also the gas.
Still, not all that much. Right?
You know, I don't talk about work all that often here. There's a reason for that. The reason is: IT'S BORING.
You'll not be hearing any work tales from me, oh no. HOWEVER, I will tell you that when a coworker who also happens to be a friend gifts you with a fancy-schmancy coffee maker for your birthday, and also with FILTERS and a howlingly funny card, it derserves mention.
Thanks JC - you rock. The coffeemaker is just one more reason why.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
What loneliness is more lonely than distrust? -George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist (1819-1880)
Once upon a time, I was a young girl, full of preconceived notions absorbed through exposure to my parents, church, friends, and mid-20th century societal norms. As a result, I took myself very seriously, and thought I knew everything I needed to know about myself by the time I was 18. By the time I graduated high school, I'd been leader of a half-dozen school and civic groups, had gotten into the college of my choice, had sung at the National Cathedral, had been awarded top prizes in music and performance competitions, had rough camped in Wyoming, had learned to waterski, had been inducted into three honor societies, and had been featured in the front windows of a local photographer's shop.
In other words, I thought I had it all.
Except for one thing. I didn't have a boyfriend.
I didn't date in high school. I WANTED to, but had no idea of how to go about attracting a guy to the point that he would ask me out. Heaven forbid that I ask HIM out, because that simply was.not.done, except at Sadie Hawkins time, and the one time I tried to do that and the guy said "yes" I about died of excitement until he called me up and said he couldn't go with me because his girlfriend had asked him to go to THEIR Sadie Hawkins dance (he went to a different HS) and he needed to go with her. I said I understood, then went to my room and cried the bitter tears of the world's biggest loser.
OK, there were other dates. Two of them. In four years. There was the Homecoming Dance my freshman year. Big woop - dood turned out to be gay. Then there was the date AFTER I graduated, with the college boy, but no second date, because I acted like a total moron and got all nervous at the kissing part.
So, with that rich history behind me, I was determined to date once I hit the college campus. It took a week to get the first date, and a week to get dumped. It didn't take long to get more dates, and to get dumped again and again.
I sucked at the dating game. Bottom line? I didn't know how to act. I spent a lot of time trying to be the "perfect" girl. Oh sure, I was tall, blonde, thin, and attractive enough (or so people told me), but I was also pretty harsh and cynical, which I fought hard to hide. Mostly, I didn't succeed for long.
See, the thing is, it was difficult for me to trust that by just being ME, I was going to be "good enough." By extension then, any guy that I dated couldn't be trusted, because he didn't know the real me. Taking that sick mentality further, I was extremely jealous of ANY attention any guy I was seeing paid to any other girl, even if those girls were my buddies, because they might be better than me somehow, which mean I WASN'T perfect.
Those other women were threats to my carefully constructed personna of pretend perfection. That perfection that was supposed to make me everything that the guy could want. That perfection that would blind him to the presence of any other woman. That perfection that kept me trapped inside the shell I'd constructed, the one that was pretty and skinny and nice to everyone. The shell that held back the cynicism and sarcasm and hurt and insecurity and need for approval.
It was, to say the least, a difficult way to live. I was, to say the least, a difficult person to date because of it. All that pretend wound up finding me lonely despite the boyfriends, because I wasn't being me. I didn't trust myself, therefore couldn't trust anyone else. The need to be perfect kept me at arm's length from intimacy, kept me holed up, kept me wishing for real affection and closeness.
If I knew then what I know now, life would have been so very different. If I'd known then that being who I am is enough for some people, that being me might mean that not everyone likes me and I wouldn't perish because of that, that being me might make people like me MORE, I would have been so very different. Most importantly, I know I wouldn't have been so lonely for so long.
Lonely sucks. Being lonely because you can't trust sucks more. Getting over that character flaw is hard work, and scary work. Allowing trust into your life takes faith and hope and a willingness to open your heart. Those things, to someone like I was, are scarier than any number of kinds of horrible deaths or public embarrassments.
Time passed. Many years went by, in which I slowly shed the "perfect" personna." And while it's not fully gone yet, I can say that it's good to grow up. It's good to be the me I am now, It's good to know that I can be goofy or crass or sad or giddy or confused or witty or bitingly insightful or sarcastic, and it's OK. My friends understand all this, and they appreciate the WHOLE person, not some fantasy of perfection and accommodation that I used to try to believe was really me.
The upshot of all this toil and self-discovery is that I'm not lonely anymore, because I trust myself. In that trust and strength I have become more available, more real, more me than ever before. It's been a long time coming, and there's more work yet to do, but at least now there's a chance to spend the next half of my life as myself, fully open and available. Growing up continues to be a grand adventure.
Just thought you ought to know.
Monday, May 28, 2007
In cases like this (read: in cases of headachery accompanied by shitty poetry passing as prose) it's always handy to have a meme (interview, internet game, whatever you want to call them) or three a-waiting to be done so that the brain in pain doesn't have to fan the flame of creativity all so very much. And y'all, even though I'm an avowed pyromaniac and therefore love all things flame-fannery, the thought of fires and hotness and burning right now only serve to remind me of the cinder-belching furnace that is nested firmly somewhere right.behind.my.eyes and is making me wish for a trephanning kit.
Onward then. To something foisted upon me by one sparky duck, a most erudite fowl indeed.
(Stories of being voted leader of the Dork Club (by my children!) and surprise emetic events, as well as furniture moving and the experience of the perfect temperature will have to wait until such time as I can to them what justice they deserve, little as it may be.)
What were you doing 10 years ago?
Recovering from a c-section. Wondering how little sleep I really needed. Nursing a newborn while trying to keep up wtih a toddler. Waiting for post-partum depsression to set it like it did after Thing 1's birth. Wondering why the daggone varicose veins in my left leg HURT so damned much and made it feel like the inside of knee was on fire. Come to find out, I had superficial venous thromboses. Ow. The story of THAT episode is one for another day.
What were you doing 1 year ago?
Getting ready to close on a new house. This was our third house, and was to be our last. Ah well.
Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Tortilla chips
2. Refried beans
3. Peanut M&Ms
5. Reduced-fat Wheat Thins. I suppose it's not that great to eat a whole box at one sitting, but I simply count that as dinner and move on.
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. Mary had a little lamb
2. Beethoven's Seventh Symphony
3. All The Way - Indigo Girls
4. We're in this love together - All Jarreau
5. The Doxology
Frankly, I'm usually more interested in the tune than in the words. I "mis-know" the words to a gazillionty songs, but I suppose that doesn't count.
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Say buh-bye to debt
2. Fund college for the Things
3. Travel travel travel
4. Contribute to mostly any fund that provides small monies for impoverished women to start small businesses as well as any fund that sees to it that war is eradicated for good and all, amen pass the plate.
5. Buy only realllllllllllllllly good bourbon from that point on.
Five bad habits:
1. cheap bourbon
3. hitting "snooze" way too many times
4. conflict avoidance
5. having a biiiiiiiig mouth
Five (g-rated) things you like doing:
2. Reading all sorts of books
(note: items 1 through 3 are tied for first)
4. Visiting a new place or location
5. Hanging out with the Things
Five things you would never wear again:
1. Maternity anything
2. The pink overalls I thought were so cute back in the day
3. Most any underwear
5. Uncomfortable shoes. Life is simply too short.
Five favorite (g-rated) toys:
2. Cell Phone
3. My imaginary motorcycle
4. KitchenAid mixer. Y'all, if you don't have one, you have NO idea
5. Immersion blender
There! Ba-da-BING, a post is done! Don't we all feel better now?
And now for the important stuff...
The blog chain that got this here.........If you participate, remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:
-Dogs Eye View
-Inside Mo's Mind
-One Gal's Musing
- No Accent Yet
THEN! THEN comes the big payoff - the tag.
Apparently it's now a rule that all memes and not-memes have to include a little happy funtime action, which means TAGGING, and not the kind where brightly colored plastic strips are affixed to a body part of the tagged for purposes of tracking and identification. Nope, I'm talking about the "tag you're it" kind of tagging, which shall now commence thusly:
1) You over there in the blue shirt and wrinkly trousers
2) You in the green hat and Carharts
3) um - You there wearing the "PEDRO FOR PRESIDENT" tee and sportin' a mullet
4) The fellow in the back who looks a tiny bit like Garrison Keillor and who is waving frantically at me, yes sir, you too,
5) anyone who dares to comment hereon.
Heh - I predict a dearth of commentitude, just because of number 5 there. Let's see if I earn my Junior Nostradamus badge for THAT little gem.
Friday, May 25, 2007
But y'all, I LURVES me some IM. Sweartogawd I do. I'm kinda lost without the immediate gratification of the instant messaging. It's sad, I know.
I'm THIS CLOSE to getting myself a CrackBerry just so I can do my own thang while at work. They're good for that sort of thing, aren't they? Is there some gizmo that I can use that's JUST for IMing?
A blogger friend let me know that emus run in mobs. Doesn't it just figure?
It's Friday. Already! Amazing.
It's Friday, yes, but also the Friday before a long weekend, which is also a long weekend on which we're getting a visit from my mother, who will no doubt want to see the new house, which still has the big hole in the floor and the mouse poo on the kitchen counters, which means that I will be spending some of SATURDAY cleaning up the poo and erecting police tape across one corner of the front bedroom, then maybe finishing the lawn mowing and also gilding the front steps.
Because my mother, she likes a neat house, and I like to not make my Mom think I've taken a one-way trip to Crackertown. Yes, I'm 44 years old and still want my Mommy to think I'm better than I am. What of it?
Also featured on the weekend dance card is a trip to my boss' house to pick up some free furniture! A loveseat/sleeper sofa, a big teevee watchin' chair, an ottoman, and maybe a cupla end table-y things. There is talk of a desk also at some point in the near future.
To say I'm gratified by this handoff is to commit criminal understatement.
Let's hear it for well-timed interior design re-dos and the designer who demand that old furniture be shed for new! Hear hear!
Now, where can I buy tie-dyed slipcovers?
I'll finish today with a recipe for a dish I had a puppy shower two weeks ago. Yeah, for JC's new doggie. The party was at Purl's house, and she went all-out, as per usual, and fixed her world-fmaous guacamole, a terrific crab dip, "puppy chow for people," and this amazing pickled shrimp. I had to fight to NOT just grab the bowl and run to some hidden corner, so as to have it all for myself. As it was, I believe I ate half of what she put out.
The recipe is from "The Pat Conroy Cookbook," which seems a little odd that a novelist should write a cookbook until you start reading it, at which point you realize that you can't put it down while also risking marking the pages with drops of envy and spashes of drool. The man writes of times and places with utter clarity, then drops a few great recipes in just for good measure. I have no idea how Purl found this book, but if none of the recipes are any good except for this pickled shrimp, it was still worth the money she paid for it.
This, BTW, is in the "funeral food" chapter entitled "Why Dying Down South is More Fun." Believe me when I say that dying down south involves food, and lots of it. Southerners grieve by cooking. Conroy shows his respect for the dead by pickling shrimp.
As Conroy says, "When a good friend dies, I take two pounds of shrimp for the mourners. When a great friend dies, I go to five pounds. WHen I die, I fully expect all the shrimp in Beufort to be pickled that day." This maeks me wish for someone around HERE to pass on, so that I can make 5 pounds of this stuff and take two to the wake. Until then, I'll just make and eat and enjoy the lack of mourning.
Pat Conroy's Pickled Shrimp
Serves 6 to 8 (normal people. Serves about 1 Tiff)
1 cup thinkly sliced yellow onion
4 crushed bay leaves
2-ounces drained capers
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 olive oil
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp coarse or kosher salt
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pounds large (21- 25 count) chrimp, peeled and deveined
1) mix all ingredients except shrimp in a large heatproof glass or ceramic bowl
2) bring a gallon of well-salted water to a boil, add shrimp and cook until pink (about 2 minutes)
3) drain shrimp and toss into the marinade (P.C. says "transfer," but you and I know we'd all toss. perhaps with vigor.)
4) bring to room temp, cover tightly, and let soak overnight in the fridge.
5) serve cold. (I'd suggest with a nice malted and hopped adult beverage)
6) do not expect leftovers if I'm around.
Have a terrific weekend y'all, and enjoy a safe and restful Holiday. I am done here.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I'd tell you why I'm so happy about this (which, in truth, is a moment that normally fills me with great trepidation), but that would be too boring a tale for late in the afternoon when one hasn't had a whole lot of sleep lately anyhow and might still be carrying along the vestiges of that nasty ick-cold one had last week, making one not only sound like a phone sex operator but also feel like one has been trampled by a herd of very ticked-off emu.
Speaking of herds, I was told recently that a bunch of packs make up a herd. I don't believe it. If it were true, we'd buy HERDS of cigarettes rather than cartons, right? Right?
Tangentially, I think emus run in flocks. "A flock of emus" just doesn't sound right though. Is it because mabe "emu" is the plural of "emu"? Maybe?
Let's look it up. Ah, an answer. The plural of emu is emus. Excellent.
Hey, lookit this! At breeding time the male emu's testicles double in size, after which he gets some lady emu lurve action every cupla days until mama lays a big enough clutch, then HE gets broody and starts incubatin' them babies.
You know what? I like the emu more and more. Flexi-testicles! Broody boys! Incubatoria!
Wow, the things one can learn just by following a train of thought. Choo choo!!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
A Donkey Mall? Is that where they serve Donkey Punch? I've heard it has a kick.
For some reason, the term "Rastacrappian" came up in a converzation with a friend this morning. I know, y'all, I know.
Here's where it went in MY mind:
Rastacrappian...... Rastacrappian hairstyles....... Dreadlocks of poop........Lots of different sizes...... All different shades of brown.......
Obviously, the place the Rastacrappians live smells like crap, but they've got the best herb around, so who cares?
By the way, the Rastacrappians live on Senekot 5, in the Gastro System, which is on the rim of the Farfelonus Galaxy.
Sigh. Sometimes I wish my brain didn't live in my head.
Which, of course, got me thinking about OTHER places you wouldn't want to go on vacation, if space travel were possible. Places like:
The planet Borbyrygmus, where the mud flats belch out gases the smell like onions and beer.
The Pedal Galaxy, with destinations like "Lichen Planus" and "Onychomycosia." Also home to some of the universe's finest toe cheese makers, if you don't mind a bit of fuzz with your appetizer.
Themepark Emesis on the planet Ilea, which might SOUND nice, but features such attractions as the "Slurp n' Hurl" and the popular (to some) "Barf Comet." I've heard you should NEVER eat the hot dogs at Emesis, especially the green ones. You'd be better off bringing your own chow.
The sad part is that I could go on all day about stuff like this. Being in the medical field, I see and read my share of really really gross stuff that is named strangely attractively. Like fecoliths, and osteonecrosis, and maculopapular rash, and rhabdolmyolysis, and aspergillosis (not to mention coccidiomycosis, which is really really gross).
To name a few.
After about 10 years of this exposure, I've gotten inured to the shock value inherent in the things that can go horribly wrong with people. A regular exercise I undertake for my job is to sift through piles of data from studies in which everything that DID go wrong with folks is categorized and summarized and analyzed, and wow, the stuff that can happen to people.
Hyperhidrosis, for one (that's excess sweatiness).
Orthostatic hypotension, for another (that's a drop in blood pressure when someone stands up, usually leading to immediate falling down).
Balanitis, for another (that's an infection of the head of the penis. sorry guys)
Hepatomegaly (an increase in the size of the liver, often to shockingly large proportion)
Menorrhagia (abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding. sorry gals)
The list is almost endless. This is what surrounds me, this is what I work with, this is what I KNOW can happen to people far more often than one would think possible. Is it any wonder then that I find "rastacrappians" so daggone hilarious?
I think not.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The grand and glorious tenth b-day of Thing 2 went off swimmingly last night. As a special bonus, I came home with a door prize - Luther the fish now lives in my apartment. He just wasn't gettin' the love at the house; the algae-coated fishbowl attests to that.
(<----- that is not Luther, but is very very close indeed. His house has the plant and similar rocks, but he is a glorious purple color rather than that garish bloo. Well, he WILL be once I clean out the bowl. Poor Luther.)
So, he now resides on my kitchen counter, where tonight he will get a change of water and some talkin' to.
Luther needs the lurve, y'all. Luther is a terribly introspective fish, and can cast a sidelong glance that speaks volumes even though he doesn't say a word. Nobody better think I'm crazy on this, but that little fish and I are buddies. I look forward to him sharing the apartment with me for another month; after which time we'll move to the tiny house together.
Once I get rid of the mice that live there.
The mice that pooped all over the kitchen counters and carpets.
I might also need a cat. Hope Luther doesn't mind sharing my attention.
The carpet tear-out on the house is complete, and might I just say that if I never do THAT again it will be too soon? As gross as I started out thinking it was going to be, it got even worse. There were stains and wet spots all OVER the daggone place. The carpet housed all manner of dirt and crumbs and chips of things I don't even want to think about what they were.
There was carpet covering an air vent, which puzzled me, and also carpet covering up a child's wooden puzzle, which puzzled me even more until I took away the puzzle and found a hole.
A rather large hole. In the floor, yes, but even better, in the floor by the old hearth, which revealed a certain troubling something underneath. That something being a rather sizeable deficit in the support for the chimney that runs up the middle of the house, and COULD be the reason the the floor sags noticeably in that area.
Huh. Ain't that some shizz. There's a big hole in the floor, no support for the fire brick or chimney, some kind of sawdusty ash under the hole....hey, ya think I got a problem here?????
Tellingly, the child's puzzle that was covering UP the hole was marked with the name of the child that used to occupy that room.
Ya think the previous owners KNEW about the hole?
More curiously, perhaps, is the appearance of a subfloor just underneath the hole, which would have kept the inspector from seeing the GAPING ISSUE in the floor as he crawled around in the crawlspace during his inspection.
Ya think this is a cover-up, y'all? Ya think I've got something to bring up with the realtor and the previous homeowner? Do ya?
Also discovered in the house this weekend: A second ceiling about 2 feet above the ones currently visible. These second ceilings are made of beadboard, which would be so cool to uncover, but, troublingly, they are in terrible, awful, no good, very bad shape and that kind of project is for someone with more energy/knowhow/patience than me.
Also for someone who won't mind taking all the CRAP out of the attic that was left there by generations of homeowners before me. Serious. There are piles of stuff up there. Piles of stuff resting on the low ceiling, piles of stuff chucked into the attic, piles of stuff from other people's lives that will no doubt require many trips up and down the attic stair to remove.
Trips into the hot attic. The attic with no real floor. The attic with the funky weird blown-in insulation. But also, the attic that's big enough to stand up in and would make one heck of a great family room. Or yoga studio. Or mama's getaway.
I could almost double the size of my tiny house by finishing that attic. I could form a retreat for myself - a bedroom and study maybe, a wide open light-filled space up under the eaves just for me. Problem is, there's really no place for a stairway right now. But I'm thinking on it.
Sad fact is that it's highly likely that by the time I get done with everything else that needs to be done on the tiny house, I'll be too old, arthritic, and tired to climb those stairs to my personal aerie in the attic. As I see it, there's only one solution to THAT problem. That's right, I'm thinking ELEVATOR.
More than one way to skin a cat, don'tcha know. Now all I have to do is hire some lackeys who don't mind dirty work to clean OUT the attic, and there's nothing left but details. Wonder what lackeys get an hour nowadays? Would they work for beer and cheese sammiches, like they did in the old days?
More research is required.
No QOTD, because this post is peppered with questions. Feel free to chime in on any of 'em in the comments. Laters!
Monday, May 21, 2007
Right about now, at 8:42 (or so) in the morning, an 8-pound 9- (or was it 13? I thought I'd never forget) ounce baby body was being lifted out into the world.
A little brother, another son, a new mystery.
He was born right on time, right on his due date, a punctual finish to a surprise beginning.
He was ready for us to be ready for him. His mama was glad of this, because he was not a comfortable baby to carry; his specialties included the full-body-STRETCH and the foot-to-the-rib kick, now with bonus toe-curling action! Also, he liked to do the head grind-into-the-pelvis and full-body roll, which made this mama just a tiny bit ill every time he did it.
He was a big newborn, with feet too large for baby socks, strong square hands, as a wide chest. His mama's child for sure, he had meat on his bones and felt solid from the start.
Not much of a crier, he preferred to look around, to inspect, to test things out quietly through his big inscrutably blue eyes.
This new mystery child has his tenth birthday today. Ten years of Thing 2, a bold boy, thirsty for the world, impatient to be conceived, ready to be born, all things in their place from the very beginning.
He's grown into being a strong person, physically, emotionally, and mentally, He's smart as a whip, funny as all get-out, proud of his family, protective of his friends, gentle in his manner (mostly), creative, expressive, intense, hilarious, and, I think, a future drummer.
(Heaven help us all)
Thinking on it, to me ten years ago doesn't seem like all that long. I'm just getting to know him. To him, however, ten years is a lifetime.
Happy birthday, Thing 2. I love you more than you could imagine possible. One day, when you're the proud dad of those 13 children you keep saying you're going to have, maybe you'll understand. I pray you do. There's just nothing like a child like you.
Friday, May 18, 2007
A few months ago, when I was sick some OTHER time, I said that "I was so sick, even my FEELINGS hurt." Today is another one of those days.
I do believe I saw my uvula shoot out of my mouth yesterday evening during a particularly vigorous bout of coughing. My ribcage is sore from the effort of expulsing (is that a word?) snot gobs (or what passes for snot gobs - could be little chunks of lung, for all I know).
My nasal passages are doing their best to fulfill the "gallon a day" requirement that all good virulent diseases of the upper respiratory system require. The wheezing is almost musical, really, and quite amusing. Just recently I produced the opening strains of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in my thorax just by drawing breath in preparation for another round of coughing. That's some kind of amazing, right there.
My brain aches. The front part, right over the throbbing sinuses. The rest of my brain has been replaced by fuzz and mucus-storage vesicles, I'm pretty sure.
I have adapted to the watering eyes rather adroitly, I think, by putting the long sleeves of my tee shirt to good use indeed, so much so that the hems of the sleeves are salty to taste. Admittedly, that salt might be some excess snottage that I unthinkingly wiped there while on my way out for coffee this morning, but it's not nice to think about that and so I prefer to believe that the saltiness is tears, at which point I get rather verklempt and tired over the injustice of this illness and maybe produce some more tears.
All those symptoms aside, I have to say that what I REALLY don't much care for are the wholly random bouts of retching. Nope, I could sure do without that. What's worse is that it's retching without production - just enough gagging to cause the hunchback, but not enough to merit a quick run to the loo. That's some nice feature that this virus must have added to its arsenal of humiliation and discomfort. Realllll nice.
You might ask "have you taken anything FOR this snot-producing, head-throbbing, wheeze-engendering ailment of yours, Tiff?", at which point I would start to kick at the ground and whistle softly (perhaps from my lungs, as melodic as they've been lately), because no, I have not taken anything to relieve me of the symptomatology of this most recent invasion of my body by an invisible assailant. Why do THAT? Why TRY to feel better?
Fact is, I don't even have the energy to go out and attempt to open up the package of cold meds I bought for the kids when THEY were sick last week. Those little foil packets bug the bejebus out of me because I can't ever figure out how they're SUPPOSED to open, and I'm THIS CLOSE to crying in frustration over far simpler things, like what kind of cereal I should have for breakfast. I don't need the struggle with the cold medicine package to send me right over the edge, now DO I?
As a matter of fact, I prefer the "nap me" method of recovery, in which I slide into bed, drawing the comforter (so aptly named!) up around my shoulders, and snuggle in for a nice long rest, after which I just KNOW I'll feel tons better. MmmMMMMmmm, naps. Love them. So wonderful.
Except that when I try to take a nap, here's what's going through my poor addled brain:
- If only my head didn't pound when I recline.
- If only my nose didn't leak on the pillow while my sinuses fill with gunk.
- If only my eyes didn't water and drain tears into my ears.
- If only the horizontal position didn't set me up for another round of explosive coughing, threatening to evict another half a lung in one swell foop.
It's time to admit defeat at the hands of a swarm of microscopic enemies. It's time to bring out the big guns, I guess.
It time to get those meds, and a sharp knife with which to cut open the recalcitrant packaging. Sleep won't come if I can't sleep, after all. If I can use a dangerous weapon to achieve my goal, so much the better.
All of which prompts me to ask a question or several:
What are your favorite home remedies for colds and such? Anything ALWAYS work for you?
Tell me about your preferred brand of snake oil, won't you? I'm ready to try anything.
Thanks, in advance, for your help.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
"Lots of people think they're charitable if they give away their old clothes and things they don't want. It isn't charity to give away things you want to get rid of and it isn't a sacrifice to do things you don't mind doing."
-Myrtle Reed, author (1874-1911)
You know? I don't know if I like Myrtle all that much.
Really, what a bitch, to tell me I shouldn't feel good about giving away stuff I don't want anymore. Why, if I hadn't given away things I don't want anymore, I'd be surrounded by the following:
- too-small clothing - approximately 1000 pounds
- too big clothing - approximately 50 pounds
- high chair
- booster seat
- baby clothes - approximately 600 pounds
- shoes - approximately 100 pairs
- several beat-up chairs
- squeaky bedframes
- old mattresses
- magazines from the dark ages
and who needs THAT? Why can't I feel good about giving away this stuff and feeling all noble and gifty and charitable? You know, Myrtle, I could have SOLD that stuff at a yard sale and made TENS of dollars, and instead I GAVE IT AWAY and lost the profits.
(it should be noted that I also lost the headache that would have come with getting ready for a yard sale, and the aggravation of dickering, and the whining from picky customers who want batteries with the "Speak and Spell" and "hideously cackling Elmo," but that's another matter entirely. My opinion about yard sales isn't the point here)
Who IS this Myrtle Reed, anyhow? Why should she have the last word here? Why should I believe her high-and-mightyness anyhow?
Let's do a little research - Wiki first.
Preacher's kid. That figures strongly into the charity and sacrifice bit.
Graduated high school - go Myrtle!
Got married at 32. Huh. That leaves a LOT of years between graduation and marriage to figure out. What was she doing during that time?
Ah - she was writing. Writing books like "Love letters of a musician" and "Later love letters of a musician," along with "Lavender and old lace" and "The spinster book" (the last one I'd love to read because it sounds hilarious). She also wrote cookbooks!
Say, she's a regular renaissance woman!
But, oh dear, what's this? Something's not right in paradise for our prolific author and mistress of the kitchen, because it seems that five years after she married, she died.
Of a drug overdose.
Huh, Myrtle, maybe you should have been CHARITABLE and passed the laudanum without taking that last fatal dose. But what would have been the use of that? You WANTED the last hit, didn't you? See where it got you? If you'd given it away (read: been charitable), even if you DID want it, you'd have lived for longer, quite possibly long enough to take back that silly quote.
So there, you long-dead authoress and kitchen whiz. So.There. You cannot tell me anything.
I'm still going to find that spinster book though. Might learn a thing or six.
The, uh, blog break is over. Apparently I need one day to jump out da funk. Who knew? See y'all tomorrow, I'm sure.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Need one? Just ask - she's got a million of 'em, and all are somehow both relevant and funny. It takes a special someone to come across with that kind of snap this early in the morning.
Any body else feel like taking a day off? Me too. It's beyond gorgeous out in the woods and wilds of NC. I do believe we Old North Staters should all take our summer vacations in May, because that's the month that has warmth, not so much bugs, and green grass. The shade is still cool, the air isn't reminiscent of a blast furnace, the parking lots don't sear bare feet in May.
It's the perfect time to hoist a kayak or canoe onto the car, drive to the lake, and have a paddle and picnic. Once tired from exploring, the beach is a perfect spot to nap and relax, and if you take someone you like with you then maybe you can steal a quick snog as the sun goes down. Ah, bliss.
Long warm days with nothing to do but what you want to do are heavenly.
A minor-league baseball game at night? Let's go. A hike in a state park in the afternoon? I'm there. A late breakfast spent reading the paper and making plans you intend to never pursue? Right up my alley. A long doze in the hammock out back? Count me in, just don't schedule it, because the best days are those without a plan, when the hours flow smoothly past in pursuit of a moment's fancy.
Ah, a summer vacation in May, with nothing to do but what seems right right then. I'm ready.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Life is kinda like that, isn't it?
One day all bright and happy, the next day maybe a little cloudy, with no clear view of the road ahead.
Sometimes those days happen all in the same day.
You just never know what the next minute is going to bring, y'all. You just never know.
As a topic change of "about-face" proportion:
It needs to be mentioned here that 6-year-old girls have a lot of energy. They have enough energy to sap the will to live from an otherwise fairly optimistic middle-aged woman, because giving in to the call of the shroud might be easier than pulling another surge of energy out of her rapidly flagging spirit in order to meet the child's loving demands on her time and attention.
I love that kid, I swear I do, but I am really really not used to being told "you play with me now" a thousand times a day, and not being able to give "no" for an answer. That child is going to be the President one day, I'm sure of it; she's a natural leader, and very very very self-assured. This externally applied inability to turn her down resulted in my eventual coloring a picture of "Roo," then being told to take the picture home with me once I was done (all that work! for nothing!!!). It also resulted in having a small girl body on my lap at church yesterday (where, contrary to what I thought might happen, there were no lightning bolts or smitings applied). It also resulted in having a little girl tell me, over and over, to "not talk with your mouth full," (which I don't do, BTW, but apparently she DOES do, and is now the arbiter of all things full-mouthly).
Those admonitions and demands, along with an overload of SOUND at the house when I spent part of the weekend, almost sent me into a full-on psyche retraction by about 4 p.m. yesterday. My need for peace and quiet and my.own.space. were being trampled under the pounding hooves of my own undeniable popularity with the under-7 set, and the onslaught of sounds the 4 kids, three Gameboys, one teevee, and one stereo system can create. It was too much for Auntie Tiff, and when those physical affronts were combined with the realization that one of the Things was getting ill with some variety of snot-producing virus, it was enough to send Auntie Tiff screeching out of the driveway in her nice quiet car (buh-LISS!) to find some cold meds for the poor afflicted Thing.
I got a chunk of "me time," and he got decongestant and acetaminophen. Win.Win.
It was a nice visit, but I'm kinda glad it's over. There only so much playtime and conversation one person can take, after all.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The one in which I might use too many big words, but with the help of careful editing I might not, in the end.
Anybody notice that the word porn list over there on the right is growing? It is - I have not yet stopped adding new (and old) favorite big words to the pile of vocabulary that needs to be aired out and used more often.
If you've got any favorite big words that you'd like to see added, lemme know in the comments. It's never too late to learn new things or join in on the eggheady goodness that am the big words.
Sometimes, though, the use of big words can go too far. Indeed, I perhaps have been guilty of salting a post with an excess of extravagant phraseology. However, nothing I have written, I hope, even comes close to this attempt at humor. I say "attempt," because I don't understand some of it, and without full knowledge of all the words used I don't know if they're being used correctly and therefore can't get the proper "ha-ha"-to-word count ratio. Even so, they get two points for using multiple words that begin with "v."
Salacious. I like that word. It sounds almost as good as it means.
Rodomontade. A new word to me, sounds nothing like it means.
Termagant. Bet you'd NEVER guess what this one means. Has nothing to do with household pests.
Vituperation is a really good word, and sounds nicer than it means.
Use the four correctly in a sentence, you say? Impossible, you say (after going to read the definitions, of course)?
Not at all, I would counter. Witness:
The termagant, resplendent in an acid-green muu-muu and pink foam curlers, shouted salacious vituperation at her be-t-shirted spouse regarding his amorous proclivities, then launched into a rotomontade of her previous evening's activities, which caused the neighbors to close their windows against the blistering outburst.
See? It's easy! I even threw in another big word just for fun!
A challenge for you, therefore. Take three words (just three, not that tough!) from the current word porn list and post a sentence in the comments using them correctly.
Come on, it's Friday, what ELSE are you going to do with your time?
Well, you COULD go do this. Just don't blame ME if your whole day is shot because of it. It's all Q's fault. Tell HIM about it.
Have a great weekend y'all.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
And knows me all too well. She knew I would cry and whine and pooch out the lower lip if I wasn't tagged to play the latest hot-hott interwebs game, so she PUT ME AT THE TOP OF THE LIST of tagees, and therefore I am in a very good mood indeed, because who doesn't like to be in first place?
Nobody, that's who.
The "game" this time is simple: name 7 songs you're into and why, then tag 7 other people to do the same thing. Easy-peasy. Except for the picking the songs bit. That's not so easy.
I was thinking about this whilst showering this morning, and wondered if I should go a-song-per-life-phase, or the-first-seven-off-the-top-of-my-head, or seven-that-I'm-INTO-but-might-not-really-even-be-me-favorites, or what.
In the end (read: just now, as I was typing this) I chose the lattermost among the three named options. Yes, I've been mulling this over for approximately 2 hours. I like to process, y'all!
My reasoning behind this is as follows: I like music, I like lots of music, some music I like but I'm not really into, while some music that completely takes me away might not be on my top 50 rotation because it can get pretty daggone intense and intense isn't something you want to listen to every single day.
Once again, I do believe I've changed the rules somewhat. Once again, you'll have to deal. I'm nothing if not an "outside the bun" kind of thinker.
Therefore, I present to you my 7 songs I'm "into," and why.
1) "Gray Seal" - Elton John. Struck me, and struck me HARD, as a young girl. Of all the tunes of the incredible "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" double album, this one stood out like a new penny. Every once in a while I'll hear it on some oldies station and it causes me to break out in a smile every time. I love the bass line; the keyboard work; and the bizarre, seemingly meaningless, lyrics.
2) "Thought I Heard Your Voice" - Rory Block. Actually, almost ANYTHING by her - partly because she sings in my key, but mostly because she belts out the blues like nobody ever else who wasn't born black. This tune is a trippy little walkin' beat thang with words that would rip your heart out if the music wasn't so bouncy.
3) "Angry Young Man" - Billy Joel, from "Turnstiles." I once knew how to play this on the piano. It took me MONTHS to get up the proper speed for the Prelude bit, but by God I did it. Lots and lots and lots of notes.....and by learning them I got an education in what someone else's genius can produce. I'm still amazed the someone with such stubby fingers can play so monstrously. (same goes for Sir Elton, truth be known).
4) "Maybe This Time" - OK Go. Love the insistent beat, the surreptitiously snarky lyrics, the feel of the this tune.
5) "Owner of a Lonely Heart" - Yes. Still makes me want to break out in drill-team-like dance moves. The heavy syncopation, the driving beat, the bendy guitar/synth solos of it are tons of fun.
6) "Not Like This" - Al Jarreau. This tune, a heartwrenching ballad that puts the facile singer to tremendous good use, is from a terrifically good album that's now almost 25 years old. Damn, I'm ancient. Still, It's a song that I like to belt out in the car on days when the soul needs a little purging, and that top note (the apex of "well not in MEEEE, 'cuz I still feel you in my soullll") is satisfying to launch right from the pit of whatever despair can be mustered up.
7) "Goodbye Earl" - The Dixie Chicks. Y'all, that's some girlfriend power right there, and even though I don't, as a rule, condone violence, I think you have to agree that sometimes things just have to be done to shake up reality and put life back in order.
Check out the comments to see who I've tagged.
Reading over this list, I begin to realize that most of the songs I'm really into have heartache or violence at their center. What on earth is up with THAT?
Maybe that's why they're not in the Top 50 rotation slots. Listening that THAT kind of stuff all day long would be remarkably depressing.
Oh! And on a com-pah-LEEET-LEE different note, I have been recognized by "The Perfect Rant" website as their first-ever awardee for yesterday's post.
Woohoo! My new blog buddy Chiquita nominated me. Honey? I am in your debt.
What's cool is that you can nominate other bloggers (or yourself, from what I gather) to get a "Rantie" (or whatever they call it) and the moderators of the site will score the rants and do some kind of weekly naming of the best rant of the week or something.
It's just what the web needs - a compendium of anger, with prizes! I'm already a big fan.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
OK Halsocan - we need to talk.
A few months ago I signed you up to handle my comments because of all the cool commenty goodness that is possible through you, and yet you're letting me down by not appearing on the job, not performing up to specs, leaving in the middle of something, not showing up on time.
If my comments don't work, then half the fun of blogging is gone. HALF! I'm no longer satisfied with the mere presence of my words on the internets, I want people to COMMENT ON THE WORDS and play together, exchanging insights and witticisms and maybe sometimes even recipes, and they can't do that if you're not showing up to work, dagnabbit!
Come ON, dude, step up the function here. Juggle the jobs you've said you could do, be consistent, output the product or you're OUT OF HERE. I don't want to keep having this conversation, so buck up, slacker. I am not going to stand for this much longer. There are tons of others just like you waiting in the wings to take your job, and I'm just about to put the "Help Wanted" sign in the window.
This might just be your final final warning.
And now YOU, quickie mart that has crappy coffee cup lids!
BUY SOME THAT SEAL! I'm sick and tired of spilling driblets of coffee down my cleavage in the morning. That shit is hot, and I'm not just braggin' on the rack here!
Holy crow, what would it cost you to get the cool black sippy-cup type lids that fit properly, protect my oh-so-sensual lips from the scald of a wave of hot-ass java, and MATCH THE CUP? Do you not KNOW how important proper coffee cup-to-lid coordination can BE? Jeez!
Damn - I go to your shop because you have 1) good coffee, 2) cheap coffee, 3) a half-and-half dispenser so I don't have to rip open lots of little International Delight whatevers, 4) keep a clean prep area, and 5) have counter help from Nigeria, and I love listening to them talk.
But, for the love of Mike, replace the farking coffee cup lids, or this might be your FIRST final warning.
And finally: Dear Corporate Helpdesk:
You can fire the guy who "helped" me last night. He's an idiot.
Complimenting me on my knowledge of computers simply because I know how to tell if my internet is working is condescending and makes him sounds like a freaking moron.
Telling me to defrag my hard drive because I can't get an internet signal is stupid.
Telling me to schedule my defrags on a monthly basis is idiotic. I simply don't use enough of the hard drive capacity to need to do that JUST TO GET TO THE INTERNET!
Making me do an ipconfig/release/renew six brazilian times is beyond stupid. The IP still said 0.0.0.0, no matter HOW many times I did it.
The whole "restart your computer" thing? Asinine.
The final, incredible, jaw-droppingly vapid suggestion that somehow my MODEM wasn't working correctly and I'd have to call the Cable Company to fix the signal was the dripping clotty icing on the flaccid wet cake of his infinitesimal expertise. Holy crap what a doofus! The daggone modem was working FINE, the signal was getting to the computer (solid yellow light + blinkie green one = SIGNAL, which I TOLD him three separate times). Call the cable company, my ass.
En-oh. NO. The cable was working fine, even I could tell that. The computer I had been working on that morning was fine. The ONLY DIFFERENCE between yesterday morning and last night was that I'd gotten a new computer from the corporate helpdesk (because my old one was starting to sport stripes on the screen, and even though stripes can be slimming they are a big fat pain in the ass when you're trying to use the computer), which I told dood about, and which he obviously ignored as being a potential problem. He OBVIOUSLY thought the problem was with ME, not with the COMPANY'S junk. The fucker.
This new computer, as it turned out I found out, didn't have the correct LAN configuration selected, but which helpless desk dude didn't think to think about nor tell me about, which indicates to me he doesn't KNOW about ,which is really really piss-poor service, if you ask me.
Once I (me, me, and only me!) checked the correct little box in the correct control panel (which I found after a short and reasonably intuitive search), I saw the LAN icons start blinking and sending and receiving.
I danced a little maybe, and also maybe shouted horrible things at your ignoramus of an employee, who'd wasted precious INTERNET TIME on useless switch-flipping and command typing.
It didn't take a freaking genius to figure it out. I did it myself. NOT your guy. NOT your helpless waste of sperm and egg. NOT that condescending slack-jawed yokel down in Texas who thought I was smart because I knew how to push a few buttons and throw a couple of kindergarten-level computer terms around (like "c-prompt"! oooooOOOOOoooooo!).
Fire him. He doesn't know shit about computers.
Hire me instead. I, at least, know how to deliver compliments so as not to sound like a hollow-noggined southern-fried ass-pucker.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
(And y'all? I have sitemeter, so I KNOW who's followed my directions and who patently ignored me. Just do it. You'll feel better, knowing I'm not sending a very hard stare indeed in your general direction).
OK, with that out of the way, we can proceed.
I have a new addiction. It is DMB. I can't help it - it feels like they're aiming STRAIGHT at my demographic. I have "The Best of What's Around" playing on a continuous mental loop, complete with all voices and percussion, and it's near to driving me crazy(er).
If I manage to get that particular song out of my head, then "What Would You Say" comes plowing on in, then "Satellite," then "Ants Marching" then bits and snippets of the other tunes I haven't yet memorized.
The sad fact is that I'm forever going to equate this place and time in my life with a CD that came out 10+ years ago. Nothing like keeping current.
I didn't pull up carpet last night. Call me lazy, call me unmotivated, call me Loretta, I just didn't do it.
Had all good intentions, and then got hit with a powerful wave of ennui, and decided to ride the curl. Hang ten off the long board of lazy, dood!
Thanks to all y'all who very nicely suggested ways to get rid of the gross, disgusting, nausea-inspiring, retch-inducing issue of OLD DOG pee I discovered lurking beneath my master bedroom carpet. Nature's Miracle it is.
Now where do I GET it?
In case you're wondering - this is one of those "random" posts.
I'm still waiting for Dooce to do the ABC meme. Also Jeff Kay. And Arianna Huffington.
I suspect that they're working hard on crafting a list of answers that are worthy of being read by you, gentle readers. More news as events warrant.
Also - do you like the new font?
Also also - it has become apparent to me that I'm not a very good "cook for one" cook. With my new life situation, I cook for only me for a week at a time. Recently, this has found me eating refried beans out of a can or eating the same daggone thing for 4 nights in a row because I cooked it once in a quantity large enough for a family and can't for the life of me throw food out if it's still got a chance at being et without causing intestinal cramping.
I love to cook. I'm reasonably good at it. It's come to my attention that cooking dinner is soothing, rewarding, and a large part of how I like to spend my "middle evenings," pacing around the kitchen, scenting the house with spices and warming it with steam. Putting dinner on the table is greatly satisfying.
Problem is, I don't know how to take pleasure in it if it's just for ME. It seems to be a misplaced effort, this cooking for one. By association, eating seems to be a misplaced effort, though I continue to do it.
When I was young and single, the contents of my fridge were something like this: apples, beer, bagels, and cheese. Sometimes eggs, but not often. I would eat those things and those things only, over and over again until they ran out, then go get more of the same. It's a wonder I didn't die of boredom. The only thing that saved me from that particular C.O.D. (cause of death, doncha know) was the vegetarian place across the street from the med school, where I got my first taste of hummus and never looked back. Variety came in many flavors, all with sprouts.
Recent refrigerator forays reveal that I'm reverting back to that regrettable short list of contents. There's a ham steak in there, from which I've sliced my last two night's dinners. There are apples (of course!) and some milk, bread, OJ, and lettuce. There are condiments, and hot dogs, and that's about it. Oh, and beer.
The pantry fares a little better, with 5 (!) kinds of cereal, granola bars, and peanut butter, but please don't look in the freezer because all you're going to find in there is ice and an echo.
It's clear I need help. I need inspiration. I need recipes. Simple ones. Flexible ones that I can cook in portions for one or many.
Can you help me out of my rut? Please?
Monday, May 07, 2007
Oh yes, it's nothing but excitement and thrills at Casa Tiff, I tell you.
The carpet-ripping was supposed to have occurred almost exactly after the tool-purchasing part of the daily planned program (say, at noon or so), but somehow it got put off for a while so I could take a nap. The tool thing tired me right out. For 4 hours. I am not lying - I lay down at 1:30 for "a quick nap," just because I could (the Things being with their Dad, I could do what I wanted, when I wanted) and woke up KNOWING that a lot of time had gone by.
The sun, for example, was shining through the window blinds at a MUCH more skewed angle than when I'd laid my weary head on down.
For a moment or six I thought about just saying to hell with it to the whole carpet-ripping up thing, but I'd just bought a new utilily knife and pry bar and awesome leather gloves and the pull of demolition was just too strong. I HAD to rip something apart - had to make my mark on the tiny house, and the carpets were to be my first victim. The curiosity to know what's UNDER that carpet was just too strong to put off for milder pursuits.
I started in the "master bedroom." It was easy-peasy to lift the carpet out from under the baseboard; the stuff just came loose with hardly a tug. As a matter of fact, all the stuff that was IN the carpet came up with hardly a tug as well, which was really kinda gross, because when I told the owner to not bother with going crazy cleaning for me I didn't really expect her to take me all THAT seriously.
Dudes, I could tell you what kind of crackers their kids had as a snack the week before, if you catch my drift.
Anyhow, as I round the first lap of heavy lifting and made my way toward the far corner of the room, I noticed that something was starting to smell a little funky. A weird sweet-acrid smell. I wondered if it was the leftovers of the Glade Plug-in thingines that were in the electrical sockets, but the smell wasn't really coming from there.
So, on with the pulling back and cutting and, huh, is the seam tape SUPPOSED to be wet over here, and why is the smell so much stronger here than where the tape DOESN'T look wet, and OMG I just remembered that they had two little peke-a-apsos or something moppy little dogs and I'm now reasonably certain that I'm kneeling in OLD DOG PEE!!!
Took a quick beer break to let THAT one sink in.
There is old dog pee in and under my carpet.
That is disgusting.
I need a new floor. STAT.
Very quickly after that realization my zest for demolition took a nosedive. It was getting on to 7:30 anyhow, I reasoned, and could always take up the gaunlet tomorrow, when perhaps the damp carpet would have had a chance to dry a little.
Tell me that it will have dried a little.
Also tell me that it hasn't seeped through the padding and into whatever lies beneath, because I'm really hoping that what's underneath is hardwood and I'd be sad if the wood was infiltrated with the urine of a couple of "not-a-dogs."
Right now I'm holding out hope that the linoleum I found under the carpet in one corner of the room carries all the way through the room. Isn't that a sick thing to hope for? Linoleum in your bedroom?
There will be pictures. I have the "befores," which are scary and gross. Lets just say that carpet should probably not be waving at you as it lies there. Let's just say that carpet should not CRACK when you pull on it to remove it. Lets just say that carpet should probably not burst into a cloud of dust when you cut into it.
I'm just sayin, is all.
And I get to go finish the job tonight.
Tomorrow's job? Taking out the padding. Thanks goodness I bought the pry bar, because the staples holding THAT shit down are RUSTED. Eesh.
(I have some cool pics of the backyard that I was going to post here, but I left my phone in the car and don't feel like going out to get it right now. Heh - so 21st century; using a phone to take pictures. Amazing amazing world we live in, isn't it?)