Monday, December 31, 2007

Route 28 is a hungry beast

A couple of weeks ago the Things and I were making a trip up to my Mom’s house for a family Christmas. It’s not a bad drive, clocking in at just under 4.5 hours. For most of the way I can take major highways, and indeed I could take major highways ALL the way if I really wanted to get involved in the hell that is the 495/66 corridor through Northern Virginia.

Not surprisingly, I do not want to get involved in that breed of idiocy and mind-bendingly crappy traffic, and so routinely veer OFF 95 in Fredericksburg and make my way northwesterlyy via 2-lane highways and such.

This last trip, I decided to utilize Route 28, which is a lovely scenic road that winds its way through the farmlands of Fauquier County. I like me some country roads and farmland, y’all, and will take a few extra minutes of travel time to see what’s off the beaten path.

At about the time I was only 30 minutes away from our destination, I became distracted while driving and went off the “shoulder” of the road. “Shoulder” is in quotes here, because this particular portion of Route 28 has not the broad shoulders of a mighty lumberjack, but rather possesses the narrow shoulders of a pygmy herdsman or maybe even a gnat.

Gnat shoulders, you may have gathered, and almost non-existent. So too with the shoulders of this part of Route 28.

Much to my consternation, this vanishingly small nubbin of shoulder more than made up for its lack of breadth by an astonishing depth. The whump of tires OFF the road were deafened by the BLAM of tires coming back ON the road as I slightly overcorrected the drive path. The car skittered halfway into the other lane of traffic (no one was approaching, thank goodness), a few bad words escaped my lips, the Things were rudely shaken from their DVD-watching reverie, and I had the nauseating feeling that “something” had gone more wrong than right in the return to pavement.

Fairly soon, the oh-so-subtle drifty response of Tinkerbell became more pronounced. Handling started to get spongy. A certain rhythmic beat started, then intensified, and by the time we were getting into Nokesville the slapping from the right rear was a clear indication that Route 28 had taken a tire for its own.

Burning rubber…mmmmm.

I eased Tinkerbell into the parking lot of a 7-11 (sanctuary!), and began to ponder on my options. First things first though, I called Mom to let her know I’d be late to the party. HOW late was going to be anyone’s guess. I know how to change a tire, but hesitated a moment while thinking about if I should call my insurance company (because I pay them a fee every month for roadside assistance) and quite possibly wait two hours for them to show up to help me, or if I should just unpack the trunk and start a-changing on my own. It’s not HARD to do, after all. I just didn’t really want to do it.

And then a beat-up white pickup truck pulled in right next to me as I was hauling boxes and gifts and such out of Tinkerbell’s trunk. The driver stepped out, asked me if I had a flat, and on the affirmative response he said “I’ll change it for you. I’m going to go get a cup of coffee and I’ll be right back.”

On his return he told me that he’s a mechanic, that he does this stuff for a living, that he figgered I’d got this down on south Route 28 where the shoulders are in really bad shape, that this happens a lot, and then he just set to work. In 5 minutes the tire was changed, he’d put the busted one in the trunk, told me not to drive over 50 MPH or more than 50 miles on the toy-sized spare, and he bid me a Merry Christmas before driving off. I barely had time to say “thank you.”

People? I tell you right now that that ball-capped grimy-fingered blue-eyed fellow was my angel that day. Really now – what are the chances he’d be by that particular spot on that particular day with that particular skill set and the time to help me out?

Whether he was angel in fact or just in my imagination, I’m grateful that there are still people like that in this world. You never know where you’re going to find them. You never EVER know what they’re going to look like, or who they might be to the rest of the world, or what’s going on in their lives, except for that at some point in time they’re going to be there for you, paying it forward.

My goal for the next year is to be more like the angel in the beat up truck.

What’s yours?

Friday, December 28, 2007

The more things change...

When I first moved to the South, it was hard to believe it was the "holiday season." Oh sure, the decorations were up, the lights twinkled, the trees smelled as fresh (if you have a live one, that is. The ones people haul out of the garages or attics might not smell so very fresh. Do they sell tree scented spray that you can perfume your petroleum-based tree product with? I wonder) as they did anyplace ELSE, but the cold and snow/ice that I for so long equated with Christmas simply did NOT make an appearance. It was disconcerting for a while, because Christmas and the New Year are SUPPOSED to be ushered in with frigid temps and gobs of snow, right?

Well, after just a few years here below the Mason-Dixon line, I can safely say that I’m over the need for icy meteorological phenomena to accompany any "ho-ho-ho-ing" I might do. Moving south was the last nail in the coffin of THAT particular expectation.

(Cue windchimes and wavy screen; we are going to the flashback!)

The first many years of my life I lived in upstate New York, right in the Binghamtom area. There were hills upon hills, and snow on snow on SNOW from October through May. We kids knew from snow; we knew which snow was good for sledding and which was good for making snowmen and having snowball fights. We knew how to ice down the toboggan run, zip between trees on the sledding hill, dig caves in the snow hills thrown up by the plows, and how to quickly de-ice those metal clasps on the galoshes our Moms made us wear. We were hardy little souls, with frosty soggy mittens, red noses, chapped cheeks, and perma-frozen toes. It was a grand time.

When I was 11 we moved to Virginia, where there just wasn’t as much snow. Go figure. Not so much snow, and plenty of sun. Also? No hills. Why, a person could see around them without a mountain getting in the way! It was big sky country, for sure. Every one in a while that big sky would drop a load of snow on the unsuspecting populace, at which point all activity stopped. Once we were snowed into our house for three days before the plow trucks made it up onto our court.We had ICE on many occasions, and enough snow to keep hoping that we’d always have a white Christmas, but it never came often enough that we would expect it.

I lived in Florida for two holiday seasons. No snow. Imagine that. It was nigh onto surreal to see Santas in shorts. I felt vaguely uncomfortable, like I was sinning. Against what I didn’t know. The Christmas spirit? How it ‘ought’ to be? Maybe.

Fifteen years in Connecticut very nearly got me back in the white Christmas groove, but even then there were the occasional green holidays. One year I sipped cocktails on the back deck on Christmas afternoon. No parka. No snow shovel. Just sun and short sleeves and the smell of damp earth. Oh, we knew from COLD, and for sure there were many White Christmases, and it was the snow that finally starting making us think seriously about moving away from the great white northeast, but somehow I’d lost the expectation of a perfect glinting blanket of white on the ground on the most holy morning of the year.

That lack of expectation was the beginning of the end. I started to WANT a warm Christmas. I started to LONG for a holiday that involved an invigorating walk, and that didn’t involve shivering through a cold dark afternoon. I began to think about the South. I began to believe that those people featured in the Southern Living magazine really had it made with their magnolia-leaf wreaths and their tangerine-laden garlands and their sweater-clad outdoor selves serving up hot cider to their pretty friends while their perfect children romped about in the freedom allowed by the absence of snowsuits. There was something alluring, beguiling, attractive about taking a hike through a crisp brown forest on Christmas afternoon, about the absence of snow shovels, about open front doors and hanging bird seed and peanut butter-smeared pine cones out on the bare pecan trees for the hungry birds on Christmas morning.

“I can DO those things,” I thought. "I can do them if I live where those people do."

And, now that I live in the south, I will do them. Someday. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in ’08. Maybe I will.

Knowing I CAN makes all the difference. Whether or not Christmas is white matters very little anymore. Those long-held notions of “ought to” are melting away in the southern heat, revealing the structure of what always lay beneath.

Snow isn’t what makes the season bright, after all.


Here's hoping that your weekend is merry, that your New Year celebrations are shiny and safe, and that '08 brings you more good things than you could have dreamed possible. Take it from me; a lot can happen in a year's time...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Milquetoast and white cheese.

Hey y’all!

I’m still here! NO ceilings fell in on my head, and the sun is out, and the Things are here at the office with me while I download stuff off the shared drive. We just had lunch at the company cafeteria, I ran into someone I know who is married to someone who works here, and my goodness but it’s nice to not get a zillion e-mails every day.

Everybody but me and a few other folks have taken this week off.

They must have vacation accrued, is what I’m thinking.

Me? Not so much. Eh, no matter. I can park the boys in the empty cube next to me, they can play their new handheld gaming devices, and I can actually get some stuff done before utter and complete boredom sets in for the under-20 crowd.

I happen to know from prior experience that utter boredom takes about 30 minutes to fully develop, but utter and COMPLETE boredom takes far longer. At least 90 minutes. If you consider that we just took a 45 minute lunch break after being here for only 45 minutes, then I figure that I have at most an hour to get stuff down off the shared drives before needing to distract the youngins with something shiny.

Hey! A trip to the game store might work. They each got a HUGE freaking gift card for Christmas, and it’s burning a hole in their pockets.

(OK, before the semantics cops arrive, let me just say that the gift card itself isn’t huge. The amount on it is. You know what? If I’d gotten a gift card worth 50 bucks back in the day I’d have thought I’d died and gone to heaven; except I’m pretty old and so adjusting for inflation I’m thinking that their 50 would be worth a tenner of my youth, which might explain why their heads didn’t explode when they opened that particular prezzie, but 10 bucks in my youth was STILL a lot of money and so there my argument still holds that it’s huge. Just not in size. Moving on.)

As I’ve grown accustomed to saying lately, I have not generated a whole lot of news today. I try to think of things to write about here, but unless you’d like a free-for-all brain dump, things are going to be fairly thin at NAY for the next little while I’m afraid. I should change that. I should generate some news, or have some drama, or go on a big trip, or win the lottery, or, oh, I don’t know, do SOMETHING so that I hold y’all’s interest.

But….what? I’m a pretty boring old broad. I mean, it’s not like I experienced any huge life changes this year. It’s not like I left a marriage, moved out, bought a house, and got a new JOB or anything. THAT shit happens to people who are exciting and who are living life on the ragged edge of disaster!

Heh. I crack me up sometimes. Whee!


Not sure what to think about the assassination of Bhuto. It's important, of that there is no doubt, but I can't help but wonder if she KNEW this was going to happen once she set foot on home soil again. Her time there has NOT been easy. Could she have seen this coming? Would she have shied away from the challenge? How did she hope to lead the opposition in a country and region so rife with danger and extremism?

54 years old. Former Prime Minister. Exile. Repatriated. Opposition leader.

That woman knew how to generate news.


Have a great rest-o-the-day folks. I’m out, and headed to the game store, no doubt. I hear rumblings of ‘boy’ in the next cube over….and that's almost never a good thing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Again with the crazy-making!


It’s raining again. Yay!!!

See? SEE?



Work today is very very quiet. Why, you could hunt rabbits in here it’s so quiet. Whatever people who are here are walking around in weekend wear, the jeans and flannel shirts of comfort are in full force.

Coming into work when almost nobody else is around is a favorite thing of mine to do. Call me wacky, but I get more done when nobody else is around than when there are people around having conversations and calling and wanting to do silly silly things like ‘have meetings.’ Really, it’s almost too much for my highly distractable brain to take. For some reason, when I’m in the office at a nonstandard time, my productivity goes way the heck up.

Anyone have a theory why?


Speaking of distractable, I think there’s a leak in the ceiling right behind my cube. I put my umbrella there to dry out, and every once in a while there a distinct percussive ‘bonk’ of a drop hitting the tight fabric.

Because I am so curious, and also very helpy, I have decided to turn the umbrella upside down to CATCH the drops, thereby being more able to pinpoint the exact spot of drippage, which I will them mark with some tape or something. Once I’ve triangulated the area of interest, I shall call facilities and report my findings.

Ah, there’s another drop.

Oops! And another!

Say now, it appears as though there is a dual drop dispersal pattern going on. Huh. Now that I look more closely, I do believe that there is some suspicious bulging of the ceiling tiles right in the area behind my cube, from whence cometh the interior precipitation.

Hmm, I also spy several areas of water staining on the ceiling, though not in the places from whence arise “my” issues. I can see two right near the windows, aamof.

Dear me. This is disconcerting.

How much time do I have before the whole shebang gives way and washes me in a cold musty rain of leakage and spongy-wet drop ceiling? How much water can your average acoustical ceiling tile absorb before its structural integrity is overwhelmed and it becomes a soggy hazard to life and limb?

This is terrifically distracting. Why, there could be a thousand gallons of cold rainwater above my head, just WAITING for the right moment to come cascading through the roof and onto poor unsuspecting me. Yes, it’s highly worrying. I should call someone. Report my findings. Let them know of my concerns.

The stress is growing. I mean, I do NOT want it to stop raining (rain = hot showers and flushable toilets in this drought-stricken part of the world), but if the rain causes my overall comfort level to plummet from “yay, I’m working and nobody is around to bother me” to “oh shit, at any moment I could be doused in a chilly cataclysm of precipitation that’s been filtered through architecture,” then I don’t think that being HERE is going to do my powers of concentration any good.

My God! It’s like the Chinese water torture! It’s inhumane! They’re testing me, right? The upper management wants to see me crack! Yes? When’s the next drip going to come? At what point will they begin to drop someplace that I can’t catch them? Where’s a bucket?

Ack! There’s another one. When’s the second drop going to fall? Do they come in twos or was I imagining things earlier? Is there a pattern? What microorganisms are breeding in the stanky-ass water than’s falling through this building? I feel a cough coming on…is it Legionnaire’s Disease? Can I get time off for that? Can I get time off for braving the THREAT of Legionnaire’s Disease?

I’m torn here, people. Should I pray for the rain to stop, or suck it up and be glad that it’s raining inside as well as outside?

Gah! From the looks of the weather map, it could be HOURS before the rain stops. I could be quite over the edge by then. If, indeed, I’m not there already.

Oh, and the first one to tell me “you should be glad it’s not snow” gets a kick in the sit-upon. I’d far RATHER the snow. Then I coulda stood at home, y’all. Coulda stood that REAL good.


Oh, and Happy Boxing Day! Go put some gloves on a beat the tar out of someone! You KNOW you want to.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And to all

A very Merry Christmas indeed.


It's noon here at the Tiny House, and the stockings have been disemboweled, the presents unwrapped, the great breakfast eaten, the toys and games examined, and the festive paper and ribbons disposed of.

We save the bows.

It only took an hour to gift out what took many hours to select, purchase, wrap, hide, and arrange under the tree. The hour, though brief, was well spent, with each gift opened in turn, exclaimed over, appreciated. When that hour was over there was the trying on, the reading of, the familiarization with, the exploration of all new things.

New music on the surround sound. New games on the new XBox. New ringtoneson the new phones. New organization of the new spice rack. New movies to place on the new teevee shelves. Things made and bought, sought for and happened upon, given and received in eager anticipation.

The peaceful absorption of all the generosity is ongoing. The sifting of piles, the immersion in the gifts of the season, the appreciation of the largesse of the worldwide party is a quiet affair at the Tiny House.

Merry Christmas to all. The generous spirit of this season is extended to everyone, whether or not you celebrate the day itself. May the remainder of this joyful Tuesday find you surrounded by peace and goodwill, and might 2008 and all coming years bring you joy.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Special Edition "Not the News" Break!

Sometimes I'm puzzled as to why time and space were even thrown into writing certain stories that pass as news.


Torture chamber found in Iraq

Bush says Congress wasting time, money

Consumer spending surges in November

Study: Insured cancer patients do better

To all four of these "headline" stories I say a resounding "DUH"!

DUH there is a torture chamber in Iraq. Holy schnikes, y'all, have you seen the SIZE of that country? I'd guess, and this is just a guess, that there are several MORE torture chambers in the country, because there are freaks in every crowd wanting to have Mistress A'Kana spank their naughty bottoms or thumb screw them for wanting some pork. I mean, really. Duh.

And DUH Bush says Congress is wasting time and money. We did not need the POTUS to tell us this, nor to make a statement about it. We need him to tell us things we do not know, like when the Whole Iraq thing is going to end, or how we're going to balance the budget or how to pronounce "nuclear." Shoot, any third-rate coffee shop hack could tell us that Congress is wasting time and money; it's a Greek Chorus as old as time itself. Why, I'll just bet that in prehistoric times the first semi-organized tribal councils were accused of wasting time and resources as they sat around chewing the fat (perhaps even literally). This.Is.Nothing.New. Get back to work, Mr. President, and let the obvious lines fall from the mouths of those who have nothing better to do with their time.

And Supah-DUH that consumer spending would surge in November. Just, really. DUH.

Lastly, a monstrous DUH that insured patients who have cancer would "do better" than those who don't. Did anyone out there think that the folks with no insurance would somehow have the upper hand in this? Anyone? Also, what are they doing better IN, exactly? Survival? Yahtzee? Math class? Please, duh.


And sometimes the headlines are completely nonsensical.


For Scots, hogmanay took season's top spot

Which season? What's hogmanay? And WHY is this showing up in my "local" news?

Va. Tech to put peace program in Norris

Does Chuck know this?

Stocks rise on RIM, Merrill reports

So, Captain Steubing is now a Wall Street expert, eh? (and kids? You do not know how BADLY I wanted to make a joke about "rimming" and "rising" and such....but it's a family-friendly blog, daggone it)

Iraqi Shiite cautions on armed groups

The armless, of course, are not liable to get cautions shiite upon them.


Some days it's a mystery why I get out of bed in the morning...

This morning, for example was tough, because after last night's extravapalooza of a TSO concert I was feeling the need to lay abed. Oh, not because I was all partied out, but because after getting home at 11:30 I was too wired to sleep, so stayed up until 1:30 doing putter-y things, like wrapping Christmas presents, and getting a bloody nose, and trying to regain my hearing. When the alarm went off at 6, I shut it off and went back to sleep with the sort of prowess only a dyed-in-the-wool alarm clock ignorer can.

90 minutes later....I woke up for real.

And I think I have most of my hearing back. At least now I can hear my tinnitus again. Who KNEW I'd miss it?

The concert was unlike any I've ever experienced. The first half was some kinda Christmas story thing, in which a lot of carols were welded together around an angel's search for...something. I don't know what. Somehow a lost young girl was involved, and a bar, and liquor, which doesn't exactly scream Christmas, but in the end it all worked.


With lots and lots of lights. And fake snow, and fog machines, and mist and girl dancers and a sound system that packed such a wallop I'm sure it could turn charcoal into diamonds and laser lights and long haired guitar players and over-the-top narration and shout-singing and every single thing that every hair band of the '80's could ever have wanted to pack into a show.

All about Christmas. Wow.

Heh - after a few songs a couple of ladies a few rows ahead of us left. I'm pretty sure that the "orchestra" in TSO's name had them fooled. Ah well, their loss.

After the "Christmas part" of the show a bunch more people left, because I'm sure they thought the big doin's were over. But they would have been so very very wrong, for the band was just getting started.

OMG. "Proud Mary," y'all? Awesome. A whole buncha other LOUD tunes too, with FLAMES and elevated stages and gyrating dancers and well well well this isn't the family part of the show now IS it? By this time I was bedazzled and captivated. The drum solo frigging floored me. I let go of all pretense of propriety and started head-banging (in a modest middle-aged white chick kind of way)...and had a ball.

Yep -wired for at LEAST two hours after I got home. Simply excellent.

Thanks for inviting me Renn. And yes, I'm still your friend, you nut.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The midmorning smorgasbord

Dudes – I’m having green tea and toffee for my 10 a.m. (‘not-quite-elevenses’) snack.

I happen to think that this combination is just about perfect. Why, the sugar is a little energy boost, the antioxidants in BOTH the chocolate and the tea are going to help me reverse the all-too-apparent effects of aging, and the ‘cachectins’ in the tea are going to keep residual hunger at bay.

Mmm, cachectins.


Kingfisher is on a roll. Check out his ‘
9 Christmas Facts’ post, y’all, and tell him I sent you!

It’s just about perfect, is what it is.


Tracy Lynn has been running some guests posts at KaplyInc as a build-up to the Big C, and they have all been excellent. Go on over THERE, read some posts by folks with whom you might not be familiar (grammar Nazis, back off!), and comment your little hearts out.

The Christmas Haiku by Mr Fab alone is worth the visit, but scroll down through all the recent posts, and you’ll find our buddy
Renn there too! Her Chachi’s got a snarky bone, y’all.


Despite my enthusiasm for cachectins, I must say that green tea tastes like swampwater. Not only THAT, but it’s cloudy, and therefore LOOKS like swampwater too. Maybe the cloudiness is all them there cachectins floatings around, or maybe the cachectins are actually just floccing that the green tea people put in the green tea to make it as unappetizing as possible, thereby turning off your hunger mechanisms because it looks for all the world like you’re drinking swampwater, which as we all know is not something that normal people do if they’re not on ‘Fear Factor’ or ‘Jackass.’

Plus which, it’s HOT swampwater.

I feel younger and thinner already.


Going to go see TSO tonight. Renn made me.

There will be stories tomorrow, of that you can be sure.


Also? I am a curling ribbon and shiny bow MAVEN! Every single daggone present I’ve wrapped thus far has had some kind of glittery decoration applied thereto, except for the stocking stuffer gifts (which, contrary to one of Kingfisher’s 9 truths did NOT come from the 99 cent store), because the stocking gifts get ripped open before breakfast, when vision is blue and blurry and the proper appreciation for a well-wrapped gift is not possible.

I like the shiny bows and such. I’m even color-coordinating the gift tags to the wrapping paper, AND giving each person in my immediate family their OWN roll of paper in which I am wrapping their gifts, so iff’n they’re smart they’ll be able to tell which ones are theirs just by looking at the paper.

Me so clevah.

Which leads me to ask a question: are y’all the highly organized Christmas morning kind of people or are you the ‘free-for-all’ tear-it-up kind of folks?

If you know me even the least little bit you won't be surprised to find out that I’m from a highly organized family. The long-standing tradition was that we would get up, gather together in a bedroom (so nobody could sneak downstairs before anyone else), go out to the tree as a group to oooh and aaah, and THEN go open stockings.

Then have a big breakfast.

THEN open gifts. One.At.A.Time.

As a kid, the present opening could easily take until mid-afternoon to finish. My Mom was and is a terrific gift-getter, and usually wound up with lots more than she thought she’d bought. “An embarrassment of riches” was typical….. We’d have to break for eggnog, open more gifts, go have lunch, open more gifts, and then be ready for dessert before it was all over with and the giant piles of cast-off paper were gathered up, the mounds of gifts arranged under the tree, and the afternoon nap contemplated.

That’s a little much for me, so I’ve kept the organizational bit to the big day, but pared down the actual NUMBER of gifts. Our Christmas morning tends to be over sometime in the actual morning itself, which is about as much jolly as I can stand without wanting a cocktail.

How about y’all? Do tell, won't you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tiff go "oooogh!"

Yesterday noontime found me on a semi-frantic search for a tuxedo shirt.

Why? Might you ask.

Well, I would answer, because Thing 1 had a band concert last night and decided to inform his Dad yesterday morning that he needed a tuxedo shirt for his band uniform.

And with that simple statement, gone are the days of “wear your Dad’s white dress shirt and some old tie” as uniforms. Gone are the days when any sartorial requirement could be cobbled together from someone else’s closet, because you just KNOW that I’m not going to be having a tux shirt lying around just any old place.

Not anymore. I got rid of MY tux shirt a few years ago. It was a holdover from my
Wilton House days, and was never going to fit again, and was stained, and even though I had a lot of good memories associated with it, it was really JUST a shirt.

When the call came in that a shirt was needed, I volunteered to fetch one, because I am closer to shopportunities than the boys’ Dad is. Plus which, helLO! Shopping? I hate it less than he does, and in the spirit of continued co-parenting and cooperation I said I’d find one.

Sure I did. That’s what the internet is for, right?

Amazingly, there are TWO formal wear places in “
The Streets at Southpoint,” which turns out to be this mega fancy-schmancy mall that’s only about 10 minutes from my new office. Right. Sure, I can go to a gigantic Mall I’ve never been to before, find the formal wear place, buy a tux shirt for a 12-year-old, and be back before the lunch hour is over. Yes. I can DO this, for I MUST.


Little did I know…..

This particular mall is one of those “don’t put all the Mall in one place” kinds of malls, in which a LOT of the stores are in the covered-up bit, but SOME stores are in that nouveau “Main Street” layout that’s ever more popular down here in the temperate south. I wound in and out of those main streets looking for David’s Bridal, because right NEXT to the David’s Bridal would be the After Hours formal wear store.

Right. Yes.

I couldn’t find it.

As frustration mounted, I recalled from a brief conversation I had with the store clerk (who nicely verified to me that they did have the size and style shirt I wanted, because by GOD I was not going to go to this new mall without some guarantee that I was going to get what I went there for!) that there was ANOTHER After Hours store in the Mall proper. Giving up my search for David’s, I girded my mental loins, I parked in the hinterlands by Sears, and hiked my way in.

And then my jaw dropped.

This mall? This mall is awesome. This mall is gorgeous. This mall
looks like a town, with a very strong overwhiff of Harry Potter-ish magical streets of wares. The aisles are NOT terribly wide, the store fronts all looks like individual buildings, the upper level is set back from the lower so it’s bright and welcoming looking, and there is plenty of natural light. To say I was bowled over would have been an understatement. THIS is a Mall I can get into. To add to the gee whiz factor, the stores were the hoity-toity kind that I LOVE to browse – Williams-Sonoma, Sephora, Macy’s, Nordstroms! OMG. It’s not like I would ever BUY anything in those places, for I am a cheapskate to the very core, but oh wow can I browse.

However!There was no time for browsing! I had to put me blinders on and find the formal wear store.

Which, as you may have already guessed, was alllll the way at the other end of the Mall from where I entered. Ah well. Call it exercise. The mall-length purposeful hike took me past tantalizing shops of tempting goodies, but there was not time to stop. No time. Must get the shirt! Must. Get! Don’t stop to look at the life-sized mechanized skating scene. Don’t look to the left or right at the kiosks of good-smelling, pretty-looking, beguilingly beeping things, just do not. Indeed, in my haste and because of my pinpoint focus on the goal, I may have looked a little scary, maybe a little "Neo-on-a-mission" kind of way….and I really really wished I had some kind of cool coat to billow out behind me as I strode on down the mall.

Never let it be said that I don’t have an active inner life, y’all.

After several daydreamy moments thinking about how awesome it would be to ride a huge motorcycle through this mall or to be able to fight all “Matrixy” through its side alleys and over its parapets, I found the store, found the shirt, and found out that it was 20% off. Sweet. I had hunted and gathered, I was the victor! Woot!

(Success can be found in small things, people. Feel free to celebrate with me.)

Oh, you can be sure I’ll be going back there. THIS time to idly wander, maybe let the gals at Sephora give me a makeover, maybe wander around stores that sell expensive chocolate, maybe get me a shoulder massage from the lovely woman who has her shop set up right in the middle of the Mall. Who knows? That place seems positively RIFE with opportunities to treat myself to something nice. You know, as soon as I pay off those credit card bills...which should be sometime in 2010. Sigh.

Oh, the shirt fit Thing 1 perfectly. My boy, in tux shit, bow tie, cummerbund, and his Daddy’s pants. So freaking cute.

And the band wasn’t half bad either.


Hugs all around, for I am feeling festive today! Have a good ‘un, y’all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When only PopTarts will do

Hey friends! Is everyone feeling good today?

I could be better. Oopsie! Leettle too much party with C and P last night. Sigh. It was fun while it lasted, and it was so VERY good to see them again. Well, to see 2/3rds of them. Both of them have lost a significant amount of weight this year; fully one-third of their former body mass has disappeared. Astrounding what a difference that can make. P doesn’t even LOOK like himself, really. I’d heard that he had to have a new driver’s license picture taken because his old rotund self wasn’t a fair or accurate representation of the new thin self. The folks at the DMV were right...and his new goatee changes the look even more. Dude's got hisself a nice set of chin whiskers, he does. ;)

The chili was tasty, the bourbon more so, but the absolute best part was getting to reconnect with an old friend and to catch up on the happenings in her life. Oh, and there are happenings. The stories went on for hours until we all started yawning. Me being the good hostess that I am finally asked ‘what time did y’all get up this morning to fly?’ and when the answer came as ‘4:30’ I pretty quickly decided that I’d kept them up quite long enough. Of course, the fact that I’d also been up since early morning had nothing to do with my hostal generosity, you understand? Nor that fact that I’d had rather a lot of likker and a tummy full of supper…..nope, that had nothing at all to do with any decision to leap up and announce I was tired and was going to bed.

Why, all hostessess should be so accommodating! That’s right, you heard me, everyone should have permission from their host to just go to bed already because she’s also tired and maybe a little tiny wee bit drinkified and wants to get some shuteye before the world starts spinning. Again.

So, today it’s all about the water water water, and maybe a trip to the vending machine to see if they stock PopTarts here, because PopTarts are the alltime best hangover food.


Do hangovers usually involve chills? Mine is.

Of course the chills could also be coming from the ‘wet hair’ look I’ve got going on today, or the fact that it’s about 50 degrees in the building, or that winter temps fell upon our fair land with a thunderous PLOP last night and it’s frigging COLD out now.

Last week – 75.

This week? 35.

Where’s the justice in that?


Also, there's somthing about the area underneath a Christmas tree that cats seems to love. Is it the tinsel streaming down from above? Is it the cave-like space? Is it the cushy red velvet tree skirt that coddles their little underbellies?

Whatever it is, it’s powerful, for never has there been a more favortie ‘go-to’ spot in the Tiny House than right UNDER the tree. Why, I’m having ot put the wrapped presents on the mantel out of respect for the ultra-mega kitty-fu that the new feline hideout has. No sense disrupting the zone of cat-dom before it’s necessary, right?

Plus which, cats under Christmas trees? Hella cute.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sleepy, Cleany, and not-so-Meany

Do you know what it’s like to take a nap in the afternoon of a gray Sunday?

It’s freaking GLORIOUS, is what it is. Man, I love my naps.


This evening I’m expecting to be in the company of some old friends from New England, who might just be making the move down here to the promised land. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

It’s not everyone that gets me to clean the baseboards, y’all.

I met C and her husband a number of years ago at the large pharmaceutical company for which I then worked. Well, OK,. I met C there, because she joined my group as a new writer. Over time I got to know her pretty darned well, and eventually was allowed to meet her husband, the effervescent P, and was invited to their home on many an occasion. They are wonderful people, and though we have not stayed in constant contact with one another over the almost three years I’ve been gone, talking with her was like falling off the proverbial log into warm water.

C is interviewing for a job down here. After a lifetime in New England she and Mr. P are ready for a change. The kids are grown, one is out of the house and one nearly so, and it’s time to think about the rest of their lives.

Plus which, the large pharmaceutical company for which we both worked is, once again, changing. Downsizing, laying off, whatever you might call it, the smell of blood is in the air and C has decided it’s time to look for greener pastures.

If I didn’t mention it before, she’s a pretty smart cookie.

So, tonight I’ll be hosting she and Mr. P. There’s homemade chili and good brown bread on the menu, the 12-pack is chilling and a large bottle of merlot has been procured, and the guest bed is airing out in preparation for clean sheets and new pillows.

And, or course, the baseboards are clean.

The things I do for friends. Oh my yes.


I am nearly finished with Christmas shopping. 2 days is all it took. I suppose I COULD have completely finished yesterday afternoon, but I didn’t feel like it. After experiencing the absolute wreck of a store that was Kohl’s I'd really had quite enough.

Which leads me to ask this question: what IS it with people? The men’s section at Kohl’s looked like a hurricane had swept through it, and everywhere I looked there were piles of stuff draped over clothes rods, on the floor, where they didn’t belong, etc.

Why can’t people just put the shit away neatly if they don’t want it, or at least give it to an employee to put away? Why do they just throw it back in the general vicinity of the correct place or drop it on the floor or just leave it wherever? It’s disrespectful, lazy, and rude.

Perhaps as a former department store worker I get my gruntle on a little more than the ordinary bear would at this kind of stuff, but daggone it, where’s a little common courtesy? The folks who work at stores don’t make a lot of money, and they sure as HECK don’t want to be standing around refolding shit they’re folded once before, and finding where the stuff goes, and sorting through rack after rack of clothing and other goods looking for misplaced items. It’s boring, tedious, maddening work, and yet customers by the score must believe that it’s their RIGHT to make the underpaid store workers do their dirty work for them.

As if just putting things back where you found them is dirty work.

Some people….jeez.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Something to chew on.

So, were you expecting a blog update today?

Me too!

Is late better than never, I wonder? If so, great, and if not, I don’t want to know, because I’m updating anyhow and really don’t want anybody telling me that they simply do not care and that I shouldn’t have bothered, because that would be hurtful and it’s almost Christmas and we should all be wonderful and loving and giving and receptive to the little gifts that others offer.

Like nasty cookies.

Yes, there's a story. See, a client company sent my company a “thank you” box o’ goodies for the holidays. It was pretty, with lots of little individually wrapped boxes, festive holographic excelsior, a lovely basket, and a glittery greeting card. I was invited to pick a box from the remaining few – there was a paperback-sized black one, a purple one, and a larger silvery one.

Naturally, I took the black one. With great anticipation I ripped open the paper, unhinged the box, tore open the bag inside, and was grateful to see COOKIES! Woo! Cookies! Chocolate with white chocolate chips innem, which made me forget myself and dig right into one (but not before offering one to my boss, who was the one who made me pick a prezzie in the first place).

Ah, how my lips did long for the sweet reward of a good cookie. How my tummy did yearn for a choice morsel of cookiegrandeur on which to churn, how my senses did suddenly WANT to embrace the delectability of a yummy nummy cookie.

Alas, the cookie was icky. Too salty, not enough chocolate, and dry as an anthill. Bleah.

Because of the ick, I won’t eat any more of them. Bad cookies are a waste of time. But what to do with the ones that remain? I don’t believe in just throwing food away, even if it IS icky. Do you think that birds and squirrels would like them? Should I chuck ‘em out in the yard when I get home and hope that the neighborhood isn’t full of rampaging skunks looking for a sweet treat and finding my wee backyard a place of wonderment?

Your thoughts are welcome.


This one is short, for I have a very boring life and thus am reduced to talking about gross cookies.

It was either that or chat about the McDonald’s Southern Style Ranch Chicken samlich I had for lunch, which was lovely. Even without the bun it was lovely.

Hey, I had to save room for the cookie. ;)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Someone wanted pictures….

Today’s post is a multimedia presentation! Yay!

First off, there was a call for pictures of the Christmas tree once it was done. Not being one to shun the requests of others (well, not on a REGULAR basis anyhow), I am hereby obliging.

Note the fuzzy image of Thing 2. An action shot of a Christmas tree, you don’t see THAT every day, now do you?


Then, because I’m one who likes to share, I give you a song that can only be classified as “Earwormus malignus.” Believe me when I say that it I tried save y’all from this by sharing it with local folk (because as we all know the only way to get rid of an earworm is to make someone ELSE start singing it), but it kept bouncing around in my head, refusing to vacate the space I need for things like “grocery lists” and “taking care of children.” Therefore, the only logical and merciful thing to do is to share with the global community in order to dissipate the intensity with which it lives in MY head. Think of the children, and click on the link, won’t you?

The Thing that's in my Head. (that must get out lest I go completely bananas!)

As a bonus, it stars a few of your favorite wizards.

As if THAT wasn’t enough, I give you this thought for the day:

When you’re stopped in traffic next to the relatively fresh corpse of a raccoon, and it looks like the panel truck coming up in the raccoon’s lane isn’t going to swerve to miss the poor critter, it’s probably best that you don’t watch what’s going to happen.

Put it this way: I never expected ol’ Rocky to leave the pavement as if being reanimated by each tire strike. Also? Thing 1 said “I can see LIVER CHUNKS!”

So gross it was funny.

You’re welcome, and have a nice day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Walkin' on Sunshine

The weather forecast for my bit of NC is calling for rain tonight and on Saturday. This is terrific news!

See, the lack of water around these parts used to be a HUGE issue, but recently and, I believe mistakenly, the drought has gone from full-on top-of-the newshour emergency to back-of-the-mind “I’ll think about this tomorrow” for most of the folks here in the Triangle. A mere few weeks ago the imminent danger of actually running OUT of water was splashed across teevee news shows and the front page of the local papers. The drought was all that people were talking about, or so it seemed.

And then? Summer ended, the weather turned cooler, lawns didn’t need to be watered, it rained a cupla few times, and the drought slipped off the hivemind radar like an oiled cat off a plexiglass table.

This is wrong thinking. The drought shouldn’t have slipped, not one tiny iota, because look y’all, just LOOK at this map of NC’s current drought conditions. It’s freaking frightening.


entire southeast is about the same, with ‘exceptional’ drought conditions spreading across most of 4 states. There are almost no spots of the southeast from Virginia on down that aren’t at least ‘abnormally dry.’

So you can understand why I’m happy to see rain in the forecast. Oh, I know it won’t do much long-term good, and if I’m any judge of anything at all I’d bet that the ground is so thirsty that it will soak up the rain and leave not much of anything to dribble into the reservoirs, but by gosh I’ll take whatever the frontal systems are willing to drain out. We need it more now than ever.


Speaking of water; a month ago I got a bill from the City of Raleigh for my water and sewer use. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that it was for approximately 4 times the amount I normally pay. Of course I called the City offices and asked why this was so, and if the drought was having some impact on the fees assessed, and they said no, and so I asked how this could be.

The woman told me that in the preceding month I’d used 17 ‘units’ of water in a month, and allowed as to how this amount was just about 4 TIMES as much as I’d used per month in the several months I’d been in the house. Naturally I expressed some shock at this, because around this time was when I seriously started paying attention to water use and conservation. If anything, I’d expected my water bill to go DOWN that month.

I asked for the meter to be read to ensure that what they were saying was in fact, the facts. I mean, really, how could I have used that much MORE? I was hoping for a meter mis-read, to be honest, and hoping that my hopes would be vindicated once a live body got out to my meter and read it.

Alas, it was not to be. A week later I received a note in the mail from the City of Raleigh stating that (and I paraphrase) “there was no misread and that the meter was working properly. Oh, and by the way, you might want to check for leaks.”

As the god of irony would have it, the same that day I got the note from the city I got my next water bill. Can you see where this is going? That’s right – I was back to using 3 units of water a month. Amazing! The leak must have fixed itself!

Now how do you suppose THAT happened?


Quick update to yesterday’s question about where the heck one can procure some tinsel and garland this time of year, being as how most stores look like they’re getting ready for Valentine’s day already (I exaggerate for effect. Y’all understand).

Well, once again it’s Target to the rescue. Aisles and aisles of yuletide fripperies are still extant therein. Baubles and bangles and beads of all kinds, nutcrackers and Santas and yard art and such are still in full and ready supply. So.Very.Tempting.

It is for that reason that two red velvet stockings and one red velvet tree skirt found their way into my cart alongside the garland and tinsel that were the original objects of my search. Dudes, the stockings were already MONOGRAMMED. Who can pass THAT up?

Nobody, that’s who.


Here’s hoping y’all have a fabulous day. Send wet thoughts my way if you would, for I’m praying for a LOT of rain to come from the next weather system…

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Phasing in an out

It’s in the 70’s in NC today. It’s like Spring outside, and Christmas is two weeks from today.

How much do I LOVE this? Very much, I will answer.

The air smelled of damp earth this morning. The dew on the windshield was cool. Sunlight shone gold on bare oaks and shaggy pines. The lake shimmered, glittering in its too-shallow confines. A pebble of unusual color guarded the yellow stripe at the side of the road, the flecks of mica within it reflecting the morning light, tiny mirrors of warmth.

Yes, it seemed as though that moment would last forever.

And it almost did, or seemed to, because this morning I was once again stuck in traffic. Oh yes, I had TIME to examine random cast-off pebbles, I had TIME to notice the lake level, I had TIME to watch beads of dew gather and puddle, to smell the damp air, to marvel at the way the sun rose.

All because of one stop light. This light on Route 98 is capable of holding up traffic for MILES, and this morning was a doozy. 4.6 miles (yes, I clocked it) of stop n’ go from the first point of slow-down to passing the green. In that 4.6 miles I not only was able to marvel at the scenic beauty and majesty of nature, enjoy the fresh warm air, and listen to an entire Mahler Symphony (you get the idea), I also was witness to 3 near-hits by people who felt like today was not the day to obey traffic laws or even take notice of the other people on the road.

One of those near-hits involved me, but only because the right turn I made didn’t occur FAST enough for the asswipe who roared up behind me (in a school zone, people) after swinging wide around a turning bus. This butt-munch then proceeded to drink mightily from a tall can of something that might have been beer or might have been an energy drink, simultaneously managing to swerve all OVER the daggone road (in the school zone, let’s recall) before overcorrecting, then veered into oncoming traffic, gesticulated wildly, then settled into a more considered routine of hugging my bumper until such point as he could roar around me, only to be stopped by the same rope of traffic that snarled all bajillion of the rest of us who were on Route 98.

The other two near-misses involved 1) a motorcycle and someone who turned right in front of him, even though he had what is quite possibly the brightest headlight ever on his bike, and 2) a school bus and a minivan, who apparently wanted to both be in the same place at the same time, which is really very difficult to do without intimate personal knowledge of one another or a willingness to undergo a tremendous amount of pain.

I’m happy to report that there were no actual accidents, but there was certainly enough muzzy-headed driving going on for one day. I was glad to get to the office.


Two dentists appointments, 4 sealants, two sets of X-rays, one referral to an orthodontist.

Anybody want to guess how much that cost me yesterday, even WITH insurance?


No further development on the Christmas tree. Still haven’t found a good source of decent garland. There are no ornament hangars to be had either. Or tinsel.

Can it be that I’m shopping too LATE for these things?


Update on the finger laceration: it’s fine.

Y’all have a nice day – y’hear?

Monday, December 10, 2007

If you cut me, do I not bleed?

Apparently the answer to that question is yes, yes I do. Quite copiously.

I was washing the dishes this morning (after balancing my checkbook and paying the bills; it was an unusually organized way to start the day), and whilst giving a cocktail glass the first swipe of suds it disintegrated in my hands and slashed right into the back of my left pointer.

The cut, at first , didn’t seem so bad. As a matter of fact, it didn’t even bleed for 10 seconds or so, and I thought I might have gotten away with a near miss.

Oh, how wrong I was. Once that sucker got going with the gory emissions, it very much did not want to stop. Even applying pressure to the wound didn’t stop the leaking. This cut was trying to impress me with its exuberance, for it was perseverance itself in the ooze.

Application of a Band-Aid and Neosporin occurred, and not 5 seconds later the first bead of escaped blood made its appearance. Seriously, this was one enthusiastic cut. Not deep, not anywhere threatening enough to need stitching, but it was ready to gush like it was much worse.

Half an hour later, I ripped off the bandage to survey the damage underneath, and my goodness it did look icky. Once I licked-wiped off the dried gak, I could see the full extent of my little boo-boo. Yummy little disengaged skin flaps covering bubbles what will be scabs tomorrow, a thin slice going all the way across the back of the finger. Delish!

But hardly bad enough to have warranted all that bleeding. Sheesh!


Rode a bike for the first time in a long time yesterday afternoon. The downhills were as glorious as I remember them to be. The uphills, which hardly really qualify as “hills” but let’s just call them that for right now, were not so much with the glorious.

My GOD I’m feeble. Felt great though. Especially once I got OFF the bike.

I need to do a lot more “seat training” before attempting anything more than a 20-minute lollygag around the neighborhood. Even my amply-padded buttal regions couldn’t stave off the ouch for much longer than a short ride.


There is a Christmas tree in the living room of the Tiny House. It smells like I hope heaven will smell, all woodsy and fresh. All the decorations on it are new; the fallout of this year’s big life reorganization continues. The Things did their Mama proud and strung ALL the lights on the wee (a mere 6.5 feet) tree. One less job for me to do, and I’m happy to let it go.

As they were stringing the lights, and then hanging the new ornaments on the tree, I realized that I might have some OCD thing with Christmas trees and how they are decorated. Let’s just say that I started to piss MYSELF off with all the edicts I was handing down. It’s not my general habit to sound like a total bitchnag, but holy cats was I trumpeting out the instructions last night. Through a test of will and imbibation of 2 doses of bourbon I managed to just STFU about it and let things be as they were going to be.

I only had to move ONE ornament after the Things went to bed. We’ll see what happens after we get the last of the ornaments on, hang the garland, and perch our new angel up on top. This might be the year I learn to just let things be.

Then again, it might not. More news as events warrant.

Friday, December 07, 2007

If I ever lose my way

Doods! How is it possible that after one week at a new job I have three projects to work on, and two of them are due next week? Yeesh. You’d think a new person would know to just take a few days to review the SOPs, hang out and get familiar with the company, become conversant with the rules, and suchlike, bo noOOOoo, THIS new person just went right ahead and got all helpy and stuff.

I think it was the 6-page list of current projects that this group has going on that did it to me.

"This group" meaning the TWO of us. My new boss has been slaving away on this entire list all by himself for the last year, and boy HOWDY but I got the guilts real BAD after seeing that. So, instead of doing all the requisite training I’m supposed to be doing (no official time set aside for that, my dears, oh NOES), I put on my corporate Tiff hat and dug right in.

Now I need to remember how to juggle. I think it’s called “prioritizing” in the business world, but juggling works for me too.

Oh! Hey!!

In case you haven’t seen the headlines at Yahoo today, here are a few that I thought worthy of further explanation:

Trumpet player killed in southern Mexico

Someone finally had enough of the out-of-tune blaring of Salazar “Salutay” O’Rodriguez and put the town of Nescobal out of their collective misery. “We just couldn’t stand it anymore” said a townsperson who refused to be named “He was so very bad that even that biggest guitar in the mariachi band couldn’t drown him out.” O’Rodriguez was found Tuesday morning with his beloved trumpet stuck where you’d least expect a trumpet to be. Foul play is not only suspected, it’s almost a certainty, but here in the now-peaceful town you won’t find anyone investigating the COD.

Rice seeks Russian backing on Iran

“After we pound Iran flat like the pasty veal cutlet it is, we plan to apply a nice thin layer of the finest caviar to it and eat it WHOLE” the Cabinet member was heard saying at a White House party Friday night. Alcohol may have been involved.

Scientists cure mice with sickle cell

Just think of it folks! One single cell can cure a mouse of whatever ails it, imagine what a few thousand can do for YOU! Come on down to Rodney’s house of Sickle Cells and order YOURS today for a lifetime of good health!

WWF says warming puts Amazon at risk

The World Wrestling Federation today announced that “The Amazon” will not be participating in this week’s “RAW IS WAR” match because of previously undiagnosed perimenopausal symptoms including hot flashes, which could increase the chances of her breaking down in tears, or ripping the head off an opponent, particularly if he’s male and resembles her ex-husband “The Shaft.” The WWF apologizes for this late withdrawal.

Supreme Court allows women to serve drinks in Delhi

But they can’t serve drinks on the patio.

(wocka wocka!)


Enjoy your weekends, folks. I’m going to be hanging holiday lights and feschtooning my house with lovely lovely Christmas decorations. Oh yes, the mojo is here, and it’s calling out for a Christmas tree.

Bring it on.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Goodness, Cold, and the Christmas Mojo

I'm wondering: What makes a good person?

Is it that they do everything right? Is it that they do everything well? Is it that they love everyone? Is it that they are fully accepting? Is it that they are able to hold themselves above the crowd of sinners as a paragon of virtue?

Do you think so? I don't.

A good person is, I believe, someone who is flawed and knows it, works on the flaws, accepts them in others, strives to be better than they used to be, is kind when kindness is called for, is reasonable and balanced, is truthful and sincere.


How many of us can say that we are fully sincere in how we live our lives?

Just wondering.


Still so very cold in NC. This cold is far too reminiscent of winter. I cannot have this state of affairs continue for much longer. Why, it’s insufferable that I had to put on a coat this morning!


It might as well just start snowing and complete my misery.

Oh, wait, that would mean that we would be getting PRECIPITATION, and because it appears although the weather gods have decided that this is not the year for that sort of tomfoolery in NC, we can’t even get a little snow.

Daggone weather gods. Don’t they KNOW I want an excuse to just work at home (or, better yet, lounge around at home with a cup of hot tea and HGTV)? Don’t they KNOW that maybe once a year, when it’s unhealthfully cold, it should at least snow so that we can all grumble wholeheartedly about the weather and how it’s such a drag to get that inch of bother on the ground?

Who do I have to pray to to get a little SNOW around here?


I have bought exactly 3 Christmas gifts. Two of them are for my Mom. Hi Mom!

Christmas, that most important annual festivity, is almost upon us, and I am not prepared. Oh, yes, I have the lights, and the wreaths, and the ribbons, and the wrapping paper, and all the good intentions and cookie recipes in the whole world, but I am simply not yet in the MOOD for it to be time to get ready for Christmas.

Mood, you see, is highly important.

Once that first box of holiday do-dads is opened, the mood comes upon me. I become holly-jolly and merry and bright. I get an urge to simmer something with cinnamon, and to start softening butter. I become hyperaware of holly berries and twinkling lights. I submerge myself in the joy that is the spirit of the season, falling under the sway of powerful mojo of all that goodwill toward men (and women, I should add).

The mojo was almost accidentally let free not too long ago. That would have been bad, for the mojo has an active shelf life of about three weeks and then I’m over it. It’s precious, is the mojo, and needs to be released with extreme caution.

The accidental release into the wild of a smidge of Christmas mojo happened because in doing some unpacking last weekend I opened a box of Christmas stuff. The instant I espied the homemade ornaments inside, the mood began creeping up on me. You can believe me when I say I shut that box again quickly, for no Pandora of holiday mojo am I. But the box, the holder of holiday happiness, is calling to me to open it up, pull out the memories, start decking the halls and fal-la-la-ing myself into a holiday whirl.

You know what? Maybe it’s a good thing that there isn’t any snow. Otherwise I’d be up to my princess parts in ribbons and rope lights by now.


Y'all please have a wonderful day. I'm going to go pretend it's snowing. Brrrr.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Junk drawer, much?

I like the work “irksome.” It describes a feeling that isn’t properly captured by “irritating” or “annoying.”

Don’t know why I thought of that just now. Well, OK, maybe I DO know. Maybe it’s because I have to go through an irksome process to get this new company to recognize that the account numbers I provided for direct deposit really ARE my account numbers. Apparently credit unions have quaint ways of maintaining databases and use a couple of different numbers for accounts, and the one on the check isn’t the one on the account (WTH?) so accounting doesn’t really know which number to use, so please provide written verification of both the address of the credit union and also your account numbers, and oh bytheway, please have it done today or you’ll be juggling live checks for longer than you care to. Kthnxbai.

For the last 2.75 years I’ve juggled live checks, but no more. I’m much more interested in knowing the cash is there, on time, particularly after being told that this company’s check-cutting and finance folks are down in Mickeyland, which is prone to little things called hurricanes, and if there’s a hurricane evacuation of the site on check cutting day, then we don’t get our checks on time, and I can’t have that. I NEED that money to be there, on time, every time. So, the direct deposit.

Irksome to establish, elegant in its execution.


If I was to get a dog, it would have to have long floppy ears and like to lie around. It would also have to have a big ol’ bark (or bellow), and pretend to be a watch dog. It would have to be good on a leash, friendly to other dogs, and not too stinky.

What kind of a dog would that be?

Rhodesian Ridgeback? Red Tick hound? Viszla? Some combination of doggies such that the intermingling of breed predilections matches my “made to order” pooch?

Also, it can’t be small. Small dogs are cute, but I’m just not a small dog person. Except of course there was the miniature dachshund puppy I saw a while back that was possibly the most adorable thing I’ve seen in the canine world. Then it peed on my foot. So no, no small dogs.

Something trainable, not hyper, loving, good with cats, and goofy. Goofy dogs rule.

Y’all have any suggestions?


Lastly, I need to know: who turned off the heat in North Carolina? It’s daggone COLD here! I am not a fan.

Just thought you should know.


Have a super day folks. I’m off to do SOP training. Joy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Nocturnal commision

It’s a wonderment to me how much can be done between the hours of 2:30 and 5 a.m.

Why, in just that slight amount of time last night, I washed all the dishes, cleaned up the bathroom, went through all my mail, prioritized bills, pet Albert. and read.

It was one of “those” nights. My eyes flew upon at 2:30 and I was uh-WAKE. Totally.

Normally I can fall back to sleep with very little trouble, but it wasn’t to be so last night/this morning. My mind was RACING, and I do think that y’all know of which I speak. All the stuff I’ve been letting slip was now slipping me up, and I was about to fall headlong into some very sticky life messes if I didn’t get some order put, and soon.

So, up I got. I thought for a moment about brewing a pot of coffee and just calling it morning (as I used to do when the Things were babies), but I held out some small hope that I would be able to salvage a little more sleep before the sun rose, and so stayed uncaffeinated. I then began working around the house in a tack-sharp frenzy, sifting through the detritus that I’d allowed to settle in around me.

I hate detritus.

In my perfect world, there would be no piling of papers allowed, no corners of desks gone missing under the weight of a month’s worth of unopened mail, no unknown or forgotten quantities of information or financial obligations left to sullenly squat on any random horizontal surface, because that would simply be too much “stuff” left undone and the clamor for my attention from the silent envelopes would start to drive me a little batty.

True to form, it did. I could not ignore that the “pile” on my desk was reaching a height of 4-inches, which in my variety of organization approaches the dangerous level. Really, even with reasonably careful daily culling of the mail, there are still “things” that I put off until another day, and that pile represented all the things I’d been putting off.

So, OUT with the old bill stubs. OUT with the non-significant schoolwork. OUT with the old weekly teacher’s notes, OUT with the offers for things I thought I might want but realize I really don’t, OUT with paper copies of bills I get online, Out with the guilt associated with not having done all this much earlier.

And hel-LO bills.


Part of the beauty of ignoring “the pile” is also ignoring the bills. There were a month’s worth of them, and they’re all due next week. It took two thumbtacks to get them all fixed to the bulletin board I keep above my desk in the Tiny House’s kitchen. Two FULL thumbtacks.

Having done THAT onerous chore (note that I did not PAY any of the bills. That would simply be too much like real work for that time of day), I celebrated by cleaning off the kitchen table of wrapping paper, a couple of “to-do” crafty things, and some cat hair, then I laid out a table runner, placed a big fat ol’ candle in the middle and admired the effect.

The dishes were next. I had to set and think a spell on whether or not I wanted to do them or if I was tired enough by that point to call it quits and try to sleep. The answer was a most definite “nah!” Soon they were all resting comfortably on the dish drainer thingie, sparkly clean and ready to be repatriated to the cabinet. Ah, I LOVE it when the plates are happy.

With the kitchen straightened out, I briefly pondered moving onto the laundry, then thought better of it. Laundry is a long-term commitment, after all, and because my dryer squeaks like a sumbee it would have been a markedly disruptive commitment to boot. Besides which, I’m out of hangars. Again. I settled for petting the cat for a while, then laying down on the couch to “rest,” which is where I found myself 90 minutes later, with drool on the pillow and a cat on my head.

For it being a very odd night, it gave me peace of mind. I’m back in control of one small chunk of my life, and it feels darned good.

Tonight I want to sleep well, so I’m doing the laundry and bills in order to completely still my mind. There’s only so much of this nocturnal meandering a girl can take, you know.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Murderous Holiday Cheer


This is “no update Monday,” I’m thinking.

Except I’m posting. Which isn’t REALLY updating, but there you go. There’s new content, and that should make you content.


Cripes, y’all.

OK – I was almost killed for a parking spot at Michael’s crafts yesterday afternoon. A Sunday afternoon, on which all the good Christian ladies of the Triangle should be in their speical clothes and spooning brown gravy over Smithfield hams for their famished and pious families, and NOT battling me for plastic wreaths and decorative ribbon in the Isles of Mike.

Holee cats. I was in the left-most of two left-hand turn lanes, and the yellow light caught me in plenty of time to stop. The female behind me was rather irked by my decision to drive safely and to not endanger the lives of other folks who thronged Capitol Boulevard at 3 in the afternoon on that gray Sunday. Why, she was so very irked that she POUNDED the steering wheel with both hands, then threw them up in the air like she did most certainly care, then ran BOTH hands through her hair at how unfair I dared to be to no endanger the lives of me, her, the school bus full of children from the crippled orhpan's home that was a-turning in front of where it was I WOULD have been if I’d driven like the total maniac she wanted me to be, and the pod of baby harp seal that had fallen from the sky right in that spot, right at that moment.

OK, the seals and crippled children? Not so much. The rest of it? Totally true.

I watched the madwoman in the car behind me shout “Oh for God’s sake!” at me while the ends of her flippy little rich-girl coif bobbed in self-indulgent indignation. She grabbed her comically oversized bottle of water and took a few pulls at it like she’d not had hydration in days, then flipped open her wee pink cell phone with more force that was strictly necessary, hands waving all the time.

Oh, she was HOT at me.

And I laughed. I laughed partly because it was ridiculous to think that ANYTHING short of being in labor could be so important that you’d want someone to break the law just to save yourself a few minutes sittign in traffic, and partly because I’ve BEEN that woman. Highly embarrassing to admit. PMS does weird freaky schtuff, y’all.

I allowed myself to be amused by her, then when it was safe to do so completed the U-turn that would take me towards Michaels.

As did she.

I pulled inot the right-turn lane. As did she.

I had a quick “oh shit” moment, thinking she was bout to leap out of her car and brain me with the comcially oversized water bottle, and so took a circuitous path to an OK parking spot. She turned the other way, DARING anyone to beat her to the most plum spot she could find.

My circuitous route landed me a spot three closer to the store than hers.

And, inside, I laughed again.

This poor woman got all lathered up over getting to freaking MICHAEL’S CRAFTS a few minutes earlier! Holy carp! What the heck could have been so important? Was there a run on twig trees? Did someone announce over the super-secret Michaelphone that the last of the tinsel was about to be sold at half off? Did she somehow KNOW that the “right” size plastic wreaths were just about cleaned out and she NEEDED THEM WREATHS, dagnabbit!! Needed ‘em NOW!

Who knows? Certainly not me. I assiduously avoided making eye contact with ANYONE in the store for the half hour I was there.

Well, anyone except the cashier. She needed to see my lips to understand what I was saying. She must have been the happiest person in that place, because she, at least, couldn’t hear the horrifically bad psychoholiday music that was being blared out of many a “hidden tree speaker” thing. Lord, ya’ll. What ever happened to Silent Night?

So, anyhow, there will be no update today.

Except, of course, for THAT one.

Hope your day is going well.