Thursday, January 31, 2008

For those who have forgotten

This is what winter looks like, at least from Greg T's perspective.

(Thanks Dude!)

Isn't his back yard pretty? I think so. It's the kind of scene that makes me wish for some cross-country skis and a large block of unscheduled time to go 'round schussing through quiet white woods, watching for squirrel prints and spying the occasional red holly berry clump or flash of blue jay.

If I could cross-country ski. In my fantasy life I'm ever so much more talented than I am in reallife, don'tcha know.

I like winter in many respects. There's nothing at all like a good snowfall to ramp down the mind's whirl, because something happens to sound and light in the snow to mute the brashness of a regular day while giving the world a sparkle of the unusual. Snowy landscapes, when pristine, are some of the prettiest things around. I like cold-reddened cheeks, sledding, skiing, snowmen, snow angels, the way dogs look when they run through new snow. I like the blue light of early evening in the woods, the thud of clumps of snow falling from tree branches, the shimmer of icicles in the morning light.

Doesn't last though. When the snow turns gray with road salt and dirt, when slush comes, when the driveway becomes impacted with ice, when the snowshovels become as familiar as your own two hands, I get sick of winter. I like the notion of winter. I do not care for its practicalities.

Just thought you'd like to know.


My dryer tried to learn how to walk this morning.

This dryer is a "it came with the house" item, just like the washing machine (with little sparkle heart stickers permanetly stuck to the tub - how cute!) and the refrigerator (that counds like it's going to come apart when the compressor kicks off - how worrysome!). The dryer too has "issues"; in this case, that it makes godawful squeaking noises when it's in operation.

No, really, they're horrible. Like a gigantic mouse caught in a trap kind of awful. Like fingernails on a chalkboard for the ENTIRE CYCLE kind of awful. Like Fran Drescher's voice kind of awful.

And it's getting worse. At first, the squeak was intermittant and bearble, and would go away for periods of time. Then the squeak became more constant, but could be largely ignored if the door to the laundry room was closed.

But now. NOW, the dryer always squeaks. It always squeaks loudly. It squeals, actually, squeals in protest of being asked to do its JOB, and I for one am nigh well tired of it.

A little online research seemed to indicate that perhaps the belt needed a lube. SO, the belt was lubed (oh yeah baby). The plastic guides at the top of the drum were also lubed, just for good measure. The whole works was put back together, a load of laundry inserted, and OMG - no squeaks! I thought a miracle had been worked, until it became apparent that the thing was squeaking because, in fact, the drum wasn't MOVING.

Too much lube can be a bad thing, apparently. Who knew?

Once the excess WD40 was wiped away, the drum did in fact turn again, but recommenced the squeaking at a volume slightly louder than before.

I'm afraid to use it now. I hung a whole load of laundry all over the kitchen and laundry room last night because I was certain that at any moment that complaining beeyotch of a dryer was going to burst into raging flame.

It certainly made for a festive look, what with the tee shirts over the backs of chairs and underwear draped all over the washing machine. Why, the Queen could have come for a visit and I couldn't have ben prouder to have her in. Come in, Queen! Come see my undies, my workout wear, some sox and bras - it's all here for your enjoyment and perusal, just no touching or I'll have to chuck you out on your royal ass. Thanks ever so much.

However. Even tho the tees and sox dried just FINE overnight in the Sahara-dry air of the Tiny House, there was one pair of jeans that needed to be dried this morning before demanded a quick trip in the monstrous hotbed of anger that is the dryer. Damp jeans = chafing, and that's just not acceptable. There was nothing for it. The dryer must be activated.

So, I braved turning on the dryer, heaving the one pair of jeans in, slamming the door abruptly, and snapping the "start" button smartly as if to show the machine that I meant BUSINESS and it had better cooperate and play nice.

At which point it began to shudder violently and make a noise somewhat akin to a drag racer's engine firing up. Now, because I am a woman of great wit and quick thinking, I forgot all about opening the dryer door to turn off the Great Animation of the Hotpoint, and instead twisted the "start" button on to "start" again. What I thought that would accomplish, I don't know, but whether it was coincidence or whether that action fixed something, all at once the shuddering stopped and the dryer.ran.quiet.

No, really. Perfectly quiet.

"I am a worker of miracles!" I thought. I had vanquished my foe! Success!

For one minute. At which point the squeaking began again. However, the squeaking came sans shaking and airplane noises, so that was a bonus. Still, gah! The problem remains. My godlike powers of communication with and healing of household appliances was just a bit of ephemera. How disappointing.

So, I come to you, wonderful internets. Any idears on what the problem is? Do I need a whole new dryer, or can I take apart this one and lube something else and that should fix the problem?

Or, hey - anybody need a slightly used and possibly possessed large appliance? I've got one - cheap!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


For the Wordsmiths.


The low mountains were brilliant in the setting sun, the long roots of the enip trees swayed a greeting. Niarb inhaled through the carbon face filter, enjoying the scent of hot wood and dense earth. It had been a very long time since he’d been out here; he’d missed the cool water-rises, the way the enip shadows played in the air, the sounds of nibors and worcs calling out in the green light of night.

If only he hadn’t been on the run, he’d have enjoyed it all the more. However, once he’d skewered the captain with an enip pike, he’d had to make a decision to leave in a big hurry. Not that running the captain through was really a bad idea, but the military frowned on that kind of behavior even if the skeweree was an abusive bastard. Niarb had had time only to yank the pike from the captain’s oozing body, toss it on the breakfast fire, grab his pack, and run like hell.

But even the most fleet can’t outrun the Thirty-First Riders for very long. The Thirty-First were straightforward assassins, dispatched only when situations required heavy doses of murder done on the hush-hush. Apparently, the captain had friends in high places. Looking behind him, Niarb could see the clouds of dust raised by their horses, and men peering through long-glasses over the muscled rumps of their steeds.

He was, to put it mildly, in a bind.

Niarb’s only real hope was to get to the water-rise on New Mountain, a distance of some 4 miles. From childhood experience he knew the rise would carry him to the top if he survived the jump into the inflow. He figured the riders were still 15 miles back across the dry Plains of Sasnak, which didn’t thrill him. Those horses were fast. He needed to get going.

He turned toward the mountain, shucked off his pack, and started to run.

After about 2 miles he took stock. The Riders were probably only 6 miles behind him, but he might just make it. New Mountain was close enough that he could hear the boiling waterrise’s rush over the thumping of hemolymph in his ears. A dust cloud rose behind him, the snort of horses combined with the pounding of hooves and the shouts of buzzcocked riders. Time to get running again. Niarb pushed harder, breath coming harsh through spiracles and open mouth, hindlegs burning.

They were closing on him. He could hear the rider’s shouts and curses. Niarb lowered his head and gave the run all he had, all six legs pistoning madly. The spray of water on his face was a sudden shock, he’d reached the waterrise. Niarb leapt headlong over the caldera wall, just as the Riders topped the last rise. They lost sight of him and assumed he was dead, then left.

He watched them go from the top of New Mountain while water cascaded from his carapace. It had been a very good flight indeed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nevermore? Pshaw.

On this day in 1845, "The Raven," by good ol' EA Poe, was published. It was an instant sensation, so it is said.

EA went to UVa. His rooms are still revered, and open to public viewing. I used to walk past them on my way around campus when I worked there almost 20 years ago, and I thought is deliciously creepy that THIS was where Poe the younger spent his days in scholarly pursuits.

For even then I had a strange love for creepy things, and expecially the people who create creepy things. Poe? Poe is a master. In "The Raven" he uses references to gods of learning, to verses in the Bible, sets the poem in the darkest month, and creates a work of plodding tension, if such a thing is possible.

But still, "The Telltake Heart" has GOT to be my favorite work by him. What's not to like about an independently beating heart hidden beneath floorboards, mocking the murderer of its former body, driving him into utter madness? Nothing, I tell you. There is NOTHING to not like about that.

I also like all those awful old movies with lopped-off hands that skitter around looking for their attackers and throttling them good n' dead, and the "brain inna jar" kinds of movies, or the decapitated head flicks where the heads still can speak and plot and do horrible things. Delicious!

(this ---> is also wonderful stuff. Really, an entire HEAD museum? Sweeeeeet)

But the ONE scary movie that totally creeped me out was one that featured a murderer who would spy on people he felt were deformed prior to offing them. All you'd see of this dude was ONE EYE peeking out from behind a curtain or closet or hedge, and when you'd see his next victim from HIS perspective, that person wouldn't have the bits that Mr Murderer thought was defective. The freaking creepiest one was this mute chick, who appeared to him as though she had no mouth. I think I was about 8 when I saw that, and the nightmares that followed were beyond frightening, waking me up in a cold sweat. I made my Dad check my closet every daggone night for hatchet men, and even though he never ever did find one I still made him check, because, after all, tonight could be the night that an evil floating eyeball could choose to inhabit my closet and see me in ways I didn't want to see myself.

Face it, for a young girl with vision issues, a speech impediment, freckles, and precocious adolescence, there was rather a long list of things a random levitating orbit could find wrong with me.

This whole "gotta shut the closet door" thing stuck with me for years. There was one closet in a creaky old apartment that I truly believe was was a walk-in type in a building from the 20's. It faced my bed. It didn't really latch properly. The door swung outward. When I would get up in the middle of the night to do whatever, if I walked on certain floorboards (which were unavoidable, really, because the place was so small), the door would sloowly swing outward a few inches, creaking nefariously under its breath, WAITING for me. There were many times when I believe I leapt straight from the bathroom door into my bed, a distance of some 12 feet, because, as we all know, if you don't touch the floor then the bad guys can't get you, and if you're in you BED, then they're contractually obligated to not harm you. Also? You can’t see them in the daytime.

Let's not even mention the storage area tucked into the knee wall which was right NEXT to my bed. To this day I have no idea how big it was or what stuff was really in there; all I know is that it was plenty big enough for a herd of monsters or bloodthirsty criminals to gather in, and so I blocked it off with boxes of books, never to investigate further.

Is it any wonder I spent a whole lot of time over at the "boyfriend of the month's" house?


Dag. I didn't mean to spend so much time on this one thing, but there you go. A gobsmack of words on how I can efficiently creep myself out and love it.

Oh, hey! Don’t forget the
Wordsmiths thang. I've got a really weird idea for mine, and will probably post it tomorrow. Kingfisher picked a cool picture for our inspiration this time; looks like it could be a whole heck of a lot of fun. Join us, won't you?


Have a super day y'all. Get outside if you can. If not, think of me around noon, when I plan to go on a walk in the 60-some degree outdoors and relish the whole idea of Spring's imminent arrival. Mwuah!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tiffitness, anyone?

The racquetball, she is kicking my butt.

And my arms. And, from time to time, my back.

Getting smashed in the knees by hurtling rubber balls doesn’t help either.

I love it.


Played Frisbee for the first time in ages yesterday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day, just begging for something to be done out in it, and so the flying disc was hauled out to a local park and I, once again, proved that grace and speed are not my fortes. Neither, of course, is THROWING the disc, but I did learn how to throw overhand, which is really cool, and so that’s something.

Plus which, at this local park there’s a DOG PARK, and watching doggies run around enjoying the heck out of their freedom can’t help but make a person feel good.

(the woman below is not me...just so you know. I'm a redhead)

Also on the fitness front, a new exercise ball has been purchased for use at the Tiny House. The exer-ball is a torture device, as you all well know, but somehow it’s a torture device that’s fun to use and a challenge to conquer.

A few years ago I was a true devotee of the exer-ball and all the wonderful things it can do. Strength, balance, cardio work are all possible, and kind of fun, once you get over the humiliation of being out of shape and not very physically talented. Sit-ups are HARD, y’all, and made harder still the closer together your ankles get to one another. There’s this quadriceps exercise that will make grown men weak with exertion that is made almost impossible to perform if it’s done with one leg only.

Therefore, I plan to work up to the one-legged quad thang, and hope that the butt-saggage that’s occurring to my hind end will be abrogated somewhat through my efforts. It would be cool to be 45 and have a great ass, don’t you think? Might make me forget about the distressing southward movement of the D-sisters, who are increasingly sulky and downcast.

Also, what’s not to like about a piece of exercise equipment that you can BOUNCE on? Nothing, I say, nothing at all.


Yes, recapturing physical fitness is once again on my to-do list for ’08. Last year I had a goal to lose 35 pounds. I got close to that through the addition of daily doses of exercise. I didn’t change the way I ate, I didn’t diet or starve or pop pills or take supplements or anything else but get my fat butt out of the office chair and into some sweat pants (The natural extension that of course is to SWEAT in the sweat pants. It doesn't work if you just sit around in them. Believe me, I've tried).

Losing that weight felt great, but I didn’t sustain it, and now am facing the same battle all over again. I know I’m no good at diet restrictions, so my only option is to BURN the fat off through self-torture.

Fortunately for me, I’m very good at competing with myself, so this ought to be a fun year. There will be no ‘before and after” pictures though. I’m simply not ready for the world to see just how curvy I am right now. The horror of it would force me into far too much self-knowledge, and I’m a firm believer that ignorance CAN be bliss. I’ll let my wardrobe speak to any change that might occur.

Can’t wait for those jeans to get loose again.


It’s going to be a busy busy week around these parts. Much to do at work (actually, a little TOO much to do), and so my nose is meeting the grindstone once again. If I can churn out all the stuff I’m supposed to by the end of this week, I will have been far more productive in these last few weeks than I think I have been since I left the lab.

Like I said, it’s a good thing I’m good at competing with myself. Let’s see if I can beat this workload into submission AND keep up with the fitness stuff. If I can do that, then, my friends, I think I can do just about anything.


Question for you: How big a lottery jackpot would it take for you to be able to quit your job and live contentedly for the rest of your life? I figured it out for myself, and given a 20-year payout and some wise investment choices, it’s not as much as I thought it would be.

Y’all, I’m not talking about living like royalty here; I’m talking about living like you do now, or maybe a touch better, without having to slave for a paycheck. Figure in health insurance and all that as you think about this, because you don’t want to risk getting sick or anything and having to spend all your hard-won winnings on taking care of ill health, do you? Also, don’t forget about the tax chunk that’s going to get taken out, which I estimate at about 35% for the annuity payout, or about half for a lump sum.

Oh, and my estimate is 4 million dollars. TOTAL. For the rest of my life. I plan to live a very long time too. What about you?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gassy, Sassy, Klassy

My new cubemate burped this morning.

Three times.

Didn't say "excuse me," not even once.

I think I hate him.


Anyone ever have an epic fart? The kind that you'd LOVE to share with someone because it was so damned awesome that people should KNOW about it?

Well friends, that was my experience this morning. I experienced 15 seconds of fart, people. Fifteen SECONDS! Yes, I counted, don't you when in the throes of a whopper-toot? To say I felt deflated by the end would not do it justice, for it was a gaseous emission of monstrous proportion, and I am very proud of myself.

Plus which, my pants fit better after. Whee!!


Got semi-lost on the way to work this morning. Yeah. I THOUGHT I had looked at the map correctly when I was scoping out a new way to get to work (being as how I'm the kind of person who gets BORED with driving the same way, every day) and I guess I forgot to take a left turn someplace, because I would up rather far north of where I expected to be.

It worked out fine though, because I managed to get to Route 70 after a little while, and found out a new (albeit slightly longer) way to get to work.

Plus which, I got to see a roadside farm stand sign advertising "ternips" for sale. I was tempted for a moment to stop Tinkerbell and take the little plastic "e" out of the sign in protest of poor spelling, but then was too far down the road to turn around and make it so. I have fits of momentary primness, or so it would appear, but the prim is no match for the lazy, and so I moved on.


A plethora of snarkopps today on Yahoo headlines. Sweet relief, an outlet for my anger!

Shanghai worker fired over kissing video

Kissing videos, a shocking gateway to the naughtiness that is DVD fondling. Technophilia gone mad, I say!

Schools shuffle on table today

Will do a two-step in the courtyard as an encore.

Gates gives Forum optimism

Starts by saying "I never thought this would happen to me..."

Probe launched over Detroit mayor texts

Last seen orbiting Chapter 4.

Scottish & Newcastle agrees to takeover

Takeover .......what?

Asteroid will swing by, but won't stop

Earth is apparently not cool enough for any larger commitment from the smoking hot celestial body.

Researchers looking at coral threats

Will investigate maroon slanders next.

Golf Channel anchor apologizes for gaffe

Should have used a net instead.


And that's it folks. I'm off to buy some headphones, I think, so that if Mister Burpy McBorbyrigmi next door here decides to let fly with some post-prandial gut rumblings, at least I won't hear it.

Be well, keep safe, and have a lovely weekend. I'm flinging hugs in your general direction, so WATCH OUT!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Kids will eat carrots if they're chopped up really fine and put into spaghetti sauce.

Until you tell them that there are carrots in the sauce. Then they become Junior Executive Detectives First Class, and ferret out each and every last piece of vitamin-packed carrot from their meal, allowing both the sauce and the spaghetti to go cold while they eradicate all vestiges of Mom-installed veggies from possible ingestion.

Same goes for onions.

Next time? I'm telling them that the orange stuff is Oompah Loompa chips, and the white stuff is unicorn horn. Or giant's toenails; pick your color. This honesty thing simply isn't working out.


I have a new neighbor in the cube farm. He breathes really loudly. Also? He gets a LOT of phone calls, and this is only his second day on the job. What's it going to be like when he's here LONGER?

Oops! There he goes, sighing again.

I think I can hear him chewing, or maybe he's thinking about chewing, or pondering the possibility of swallowing, or, god help me, he's going to burp.

This, my friends, is why I miss having an office. Dear Lord, where are my headphones???


I had a lovely conversation with a coworker this morning. If I was any guess of human nature at all, I'd say we are bonding.

More news as events warrant.


Dear Moron in the HUGE-Ass car in front of me this morning who was driving 10 miles an hour UNDER the speed limit, with occasional forays into very nearly stopping altogether or swerving into incoming traffic:

Get off the fucking phone and DRIVE, goddamit.

Yes, I SAW you. I SAW you hunched over the steering wheel with your ball cap jammed over your ears, driving with the right hand while the left held the phone up to your RIGHT ear (and really, WTF is up with that? You deaf in the left ear?), swiveling your head between the drver's side window and the giant MAP you had over the windshield. I SAW you. I made sure to be able to recognize you and your car, and if I see you driving like this again I swear I'm going to wait for you to stop at a light, then I'm going to snatch open your door, rip the phone out of your hand, tear up the friggin big-ass map, and bellow big words of scorn at you until you get the message that you sir are a menace, not just to other drivers, but to all the kids getting on the BUS that you almost hit because you are clueless, and to your own safety for riling up so many of us who were caught behind you as you inched your aggravating way up Route 1A at peak morning commute time.

I am JUST the woman to teach you a lesson, and if I catch you doing it again, prepare to be schooled.

Sincerely, and I DO mean sincerely,



Does anybody really care that the money found in Heath Ledger's apartment isn't filthy with illicit drugs? ANYBODY?

Here's my take on the matter: the guy died. The End. I don't really care how, or when, or why, or with whom. Really! I don't!

Just like I don't care who Britney is hanging out with, or what Nicole named the baby, or whether Tara Reid's stomach looks like a chenille bedspread or who has the nicest ass in Hollywood.

OK, that last one? Might be Brad Pitt, but I'm not making a study of it, because I just don't CARE that much.

Leave Heath alone, oh gossip rags and paparazzi and cable teevee and Entertainment Right Now and all the other zillion outlets for brain candy.

Leave Britney alone. Leave Lindsey L alone, and all the other celebrities, celebuties, celebutantes, D-listers, A-listers, and all the listers in between. They're NOT THAT INTERESTING! We do not need to see that they drink SBux, just like us, or pick their noses, just like us, or have bad hair days, just like us. We KNOW this. We, by and large, do not care.

We especially do not care to hear all the most infinitesimal details of the way in which someone so young, so gilded by stardom, so iconic, died. Think about his kid, for God's sake. Step off.

Think about real news. Think about starvation and senseless violence and genocide and futile battlefields full of youthful cannon fodder. Think about global economy or telecommuting or whale hunts or tort reform or interest rates and the world market. Think about atrophysics or prosthetics or staphylococci; think about gardening or sustainable agriculture or housing for the homeless. Think about a million other things than the obvious lowest-common-denominator of airing the dirty laundry of people who are simply not that INTERESTING.

Then go do something about it. I, for one, have had enough. Enough stupid gossip, enough reality teevee, enough backstabbing and rumor-mogering and hatespeech to last me a lifetime.

Give me something else.

Until you do, I'll be over here, listening to NPR and trying not to hear my cubemate breathe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cop Out Post

This is close to a copout post, because I'm including a forwarded joke and a shill for a new product. Hey, at least it's not a Meeemee!

Also, before we get started, I have no IDEA what the heck is going on with Haloscan. Something's wonky in comment-town, but if you refresh the comment screen it's likely you'll see comments left by those before you,even if it appears that nobody has commented yet. Technology - sheesh!


First, the shill.

At the WalMart the other day, I bought me some new kind of face powder. This is rather big news here, because for years and years I've been a Cover Girl girl. However, I was losing faith in the Cover Girl because, well, I was not looking so much like a cover girl as I'd like to, and the makeup had a distinct lack of coverage and staying power.

(Let it be said right here that I do not wear "foundation" of any kind. Even the concealer I use for the effing dark under-eye circles I've got going on is rather a stretch for me. Therefore, before I even set foot in the beauty products aisle I've got condundra heaped on conundra as to possible makeup choices. Whatever.)

The WalMart carries rather a wide selection of beauty aides, particularly for someone like me who frequents that section of the store on a very limited basis ("limited frequenting"? Huh). It was nearly mind-boggling. The Physician's Formula display caught my eye. I'd been toying with the idea of 'mineral' makeup for some time, because the infomercials sure make it look like it can work miracles. I bit the ten dollar bullet and bought some loose powder (for sensitive skin, no less!) that looked fun and promising.

Can I just say that I'm now kicking my own ass for WAITING SO LONG TO TRY THIS STUFF?????? My goodness, the coverage is super, the color is perfect, the feel is sheer and light, the look is glowy and natural.

I'm a big fan.


Now for the joke:

Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering.

Finally fed up, God said, "THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job."

So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.

They moused.
They faxed.
They e-mailed.
They e-mailed with attachments.
They downloaded.
They did spreadsheets.
They wrote reports.
They created labels and cards.
They created charts and graphs.

Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell.

Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off.

Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld.

Jesus just sighed.

Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: "It's gone! It's all GONE! "I lost everything when the power went out!"

Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.

Satan observed this and became irate. "Wait!" he screamed. "That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"

God just shrugged and said,



Finally, today is THE BIG DAY over at Kaplyinc. Tracy's birthday is today, and it's a very exciting time! Yay Tracy Lynn! Congratulations!

Y'all go on over there and ask for cake, OK?

See you back here tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is 655 in roman numerals?

CXV? Is that is?

Whatever it is, this is that numbered post. Who the HELL (or for that matter, heaven?) would have thought that I'd ever have had this much to say on an ongoing basis? I suppose that once the ball got rolling it was pretty much all downhill, which doesn't really say much for the overall quality of what's going on here at NAY, but it is what it is, and that's all that it is.

Thus endeth the philosophy lesson for the day.


Tinkerbell's windshield wiper juice shooter machine doesn't work. This is a problem at this time of year, when the salty leavings of last weeks storm preparations get enmisceled (is that a word? It ought to be) in a slow drizzle, creating a soupy gak that, when sprayed onto the windshield from the whizzing tires of leading cars or those passing by creates a hazy schmear that doesn't wipe clean without generous applications of the stuff that comes from properly-working windshield wiper juice shooters.

Let us just say that it is very very difficult to drive under such conditions. I can't imagine having to do it in the dark. At one point during my drive this morning I was tempted to pour out my bottled water onto the window while driving, just to get a tiny bit better peek at what lay ahead of me, traffic-wise.

I suspect that it was something like that course of action that led to SOMEONE having a very bad accident indeed on one of the beltways around these here parts. An onramp was closed down this morning. Pity that it was the onramp I wanted to use to get onto 540. Oh, I should have known something was amiss when I spotted the helicopter hanging stationary in the air just about smack dab above where I knew the onramp would be, but I motored on, hoping that the 'something' would not involve an impedance to my progress.

Alas, it did. There were police cars aplenty, and flashy lights, and what looked like about a ton of sand strewn on the ramp, but I couldn't get a really decent look at what was going on up there. Not even when I U-turned and went under the ramp could I see much except a big ol' SUV sitting crosswise on the ramp and a number of be-hatted Troopers looking very deep in thought indeed.

When I go past scenes like this, I almost always think "well, I guess my day is going better than theirs," and in many ways that's a soothing thought.


Saw a really weird accident this weekend while going to Roanoke. To understand the scene you'd have to understand that Roanoke and environs are in a very hilly area, mountainous, even, and that the habit of the residents and builders of towns has been to put things where there is a smidge of flat ground. Entire towns are slotted neatly into a few acres of semi-level surface area, houses climb the sides of hills above the old mills, and the railroad tracks that couple together the hamlets and such are set against the slopes in such manner that they frequently have a very long dropoffs to one side of the tracks.

So, occasionally, I guess , it is the practice of the locals to park cars alongside the tracks. Why, I don't know, maybe there's a party nearby and that's the best spot they could get. Whatever the reason, on this day there was more than one car parked way the heck up a steep hill, right next to the tracks, and right on the gravel trackbed.

It seems as though the gravel must have given way under one car, for it had tumbled DOWN the hill. Oops. Tumbled down with people in it. Oopsier. Tumbled down with people in it, who were standing next to the car scratching their heads and chatting up the Troopers. Oopsiest. The passenger doors were flung wide and crumpled, the driver's side I would imagine received similar treatment though I couldn't see it as I drove past. There was quite the crowd surrounding the scene; it was big excitement, for sure. As a matter of fact, there were people at the top of the hill in a second car looking WAAAY down at their buddies, and no doubt wondering if their car was next to go over the edge.

If I was an imaginative type, I would think that maybe something naughty was going on that morning, because on the way back the next day that second car was still next to the tracks. Abandoned? Hmmm. Methinks maybe some folks got carted of to the hoosegow for dangerous practices, or maybe they scuttled FAST when Mr Trooper Man started up the hill after them, looking for more information.

There are a lot of places to get lost in those mountains. I wonder if the Trooper found his prey.

The long and short of this is that twice in three days I've had the chance to think that my day was going far better than someone else's. Is that selfish, or just self-aware?


One last thing about cars: Tinkerbell has enough clearance to pass safely over a newly-dead deer.

This, I believe, MORE than makes up for the windshield wiper juice problem.


Make it a great afternoon, if you don't mind. See you around these parts tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Arabic, Hebre, and Persian

Blogger is now offering three new languages! Yippee The WDP (world domination plan) can be swung into high gear for folks using those languages now.

But, how to get the word out? Hmm...


Snow! We had snow! There was snow!

I was out of town!


Driving back into NC last night, I pointed out to the Things that there was an appreciable amount of snow on the ground that they weren't seeing because they were too busy watching "Futurama" on the portable DeeVeeDee player (Thank you God for the PDVDP, for it is the maker of quiet trips).

Thing 1 obediently looked out the window, tore off his headphones, and exclaimed "Snow in North Carolina? I feel so disoriented! It's not supposed to snow here!"

There was much rejoicing over the snow, which up Hillsborough way was at least an inch thick and promised much happy happy playtime. By the time we reached Durham though the snow was all gone, and the rejoicing faded to a thin whisper of faint hope that somehow, SOMEHOW, it would be different once we got home.

The dusting of snow on the yard of the Tiny House was enough for him. First thing he did when he got out of the car was to go over to the snow, pick up a bit, and eat it. Yes, he's 12, what of it? The boy loves snow.

Up in Roanoke there was a fair bit of snow left over from a storm they'd gotten earlier in the week. The snow saucers were broken out and hills were slid down, the snowman with the unbelievably large head was recapitated several times, the icy balls of snowplow leavings were smashed into the clean roadways, and just about anything that could be appreciated about snow was appreciated, and heartily.

I have the distinct feeling that being born in Connecticut, and having spent most of their youth there amongst the long winters and many feets of snow, has moulded the Things' winter predilections more toward having snow and 'weather' than not. Can't say as I blamed them....I liked seeing it too, walking in the frigid air, watching the snowballs shatter in the street, the way the snow-smoothed fields up Route 86 glowed nerf-orange in the late sunset, the wintryness of an unusual happenstance in the old north state.

It might not only be the boys that miss snow. For all my proclamations of loving the south (which I do) they're still a touch short on winter around here for my tastes. A few more wee snowfalls like this last one, and I'd be satisfied. An inch, max. Maybe once a week. That melts off the roads in about an hour. Something to make actually buying mittens a worthwhile endeavor.


I have today off of work. In celebration, I slept until 10:08.

Not surprisingly, I look well-rested today.


ANYBODY else think the Giants were going to win?

In a break with my usual teevee watching mien, I turned on the game last night and kept it on. I was fascinated by the plumes of vapor coming from the players. That's it, really. I liked watching them breathe.

Fell asleep during the OT.

Apparently I'm not THAT MUCH of a fan. Heh.

So it's the Pats and the Giants. Who's going to take it, and by how much?


Hope y'all enjoy the rest of your day. I'm out to go shop with and for the Things, to get a breath of fresh air, and to enjoy the fact that for the first time in years I have MLK day off. Might even take a moment or two to ponder on what it is he achieved in this world. Seems only fair.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The excessive drinking program worked! I got almost very nearly a full night's sleep last night, only waking at my favorite MotN (Middle of the Night) time of 3 a.m. for a brief moment, at which time I could already feel the hangover coming on and so went promptly back to sleep.

It should not surpise anyone that I do not care for hangovers. Who does, really? My recently-drastically cut alcohol intake has lowered my tolerance, apparently, and now even the least little bit too much brings on a noticeable reminder of the fun I had the night before. I now have to be CAREFUL of how much I imbibe, and at what time, and be careful to drink tons of water, or risk feeling (and possibly smelling) like the everted ass end of a geriatric rhino in the morning.

This "being mature" shit sucks, and I can clearly see that I'm going to have to try some other mode of getting the sleepy-train to run for 8 hours. Tiffy no can drinky the likker like she used to. Are arch supports and Metamucil far behind?


Spinach and feta cheese were born to be together.

And at the risk of making NCP's head explode, the spinach and feta cheese side dish goes extremely well with knishes.

What other things would knish well?
Colcanon, I think. And mild italian sausage mixed with the mashies. Beef and corn, for a little shepard's pie in a pocket! Tukey burger and wild mushrooms! OMG, I'm knishy! Knish me quick, as ToD said the other day. The knish is teh shit, y'all. The knish is da total bomb; it's yummy, easy to make, and highly portable.

Next up on foods I want to make? The German delicacy called
kartoffelklosse. Because really, who would say no to a mashed potato and FRIED BREAD dumpling? My German grandma used to make these, only we called them "potato bombs." She's bring 'em out all steamy and pale, and we'd cut 'em open, pour some sauerbraten juice on them, and go to freaking TOWN with the eatin' thereof.

Oh! Rolladen. Oh! Spaetzle! Yum! Pfefferneuse, liebkuchen; my brain is speaking german right now and I'm getting all dirndle-y (or, if you prefer, lederhosen-y) in the head. It may well be time to spend some time in the kitchen exploring the gastonomic delicacies of half my heritage.

Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemutlichkeit!
Eins! Zwei! Drei! Zoo-fah!

No headlines today. People are still being asses to each other, there are still battles being fought, some people are still campaigning for some goverment office or another, and nothing seems to change.

Except the stock market is up.

ONE DAY after I cash out a 401K.



Have yerselfes a terrifical weekend, y'all. I'm going to be travelling to The Valley for a little family time and gift exchange for the under-40 set. I fully expect to be completely exhausted by Sunday afternoon after having been the object of attention for my very energetic niece...let's hope I can keep up.

XO to all!


(PS - next week
Tracy Lynn is having a birthday. Whyn't y'all go on over to her place and comment profusely about it, mmkay?)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sleepus interruptus, dude-us obvious, buttus pickus

'Tis a cold and rainy morning in in North Carolina. Reports have it that snow was spotted in the area of the Triangle in the wee small hours.

That must have been what woke me up at three in the morning.


THIS time there was no excessive drinking, no spicy dinner, NO Robot Chicken before bed, not even any bad dreams, and STILL I woke at promptly at 2:51 a.m., as wide awake as if an elephant had been dropped into my living room. This, dear friends, is simply not fair. I am a woman who loves her sleep. LOVEZ IT! And lately I cannot get the full 9 hours I so enjoy. I went to bed at 10 last night like a good little Tiff for a bit....drifted peacefully off to sleep with high hopes of dreams involving fluffy white clouds and gentle music and maybe a little George Clooney, but noooOOooo. I get kicked out of a perfectly USEFUL sleep by the thunderous kerplunk of snow on the roof of the Tiny House. Stoopid snow.

It might be time to commence the heavy drinking again. Maybe a 9-hour pass-out is just what I need.


In other news, who DIDN'T see this coming??

You are a Hippie

You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie.
You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular.

You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures.
You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you.

Well, ARE YOU?


In other-other news,
this entry by Johnny Virgil is about the funniest thing I've ever read. I was in tears in my cubicle yesterday, people, and it's the rare bit of writing that can make me shed water at work.

Go on, go over there and read. It will be worth your while, I promise. Hey, at the very least you'll learn how to hunt sperm whales.


So, now to the topic of underwear. See,
Tammie mentioned the other day that she's throwing away all her thongs because of the misery known as 'oatmeal-jello butt,' and because she mentioned underwear I thought it would be OK for me to, because whatever Tammie does is good for the interwebs, right?

I thought as much.

Anywho, the underwear thing. A while back I bought some underthingies for the first time in AGES, because, well, I didn't HAVE any, I might have NEEDED some, and, well, just because I also WANTED some. I really shouldn't have to explain.....and yet, just did.

Moving on then.

One of the pairs I got was really really cute, totally unlike anything I've ever gotten before (think: not granny panties), and as a bonus it looked like it was going to be reasonably comfortable. Who doesn't like comfy undies? NOBODY, that's who.

Except....well, I didn't look closely enough at the label, and heaven KNOWS I didn't try them on before I left the store. I THOUGHT I was buying bikinis, but this pair is something called a "
tanga," which I now know translates into 'very pretty, but will crawl lickety split up between your ass cheeks.'

Let it be said right now that I am generally not a fan of things in my ass crack.

The tanga, therefore, takes some getting used to. I persevere in the toleration program because the tanga, she is wicked cute all up in front; I like the way the lacy part kind drapes (because, let's face it, I could use drapery to cover the girly bits. Heh, instead of 'window treatments" I've got "cootchie treatments"! Whee!), but the behinder part is what troubles me. Do I keep trying to pick the perma-wedgie out of my buttal regions, or do I let the tanga tango it's merry way to a nuzzly warm spot, where it does tend to stay rather happily as long as I don't mess with it?

What is the proper tanga-wearing etiquette? I'm at a loss, but don't want to give up on them because, as I mentioned, they're hella cute, and sometimes I like to know I've got cute underwear on. Just so you know, even hippie girls like to express their inner diva from time to time, y'all.


With that, I bid you good day. It's past time to go get a cup of coffee and adjust the friggin' tanga. I've simply got too much rectal flossing going on down there. Who wants to bet that by luncthime the tanga will be in the my shocking pink backpack and the twin cheeks will once again be free of the yoke of adorable underwear?


I thought as much. ;)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Transliterate THIS Futha Mucka

Blogger says it has a Hindi transliteration tool, and I'm intrigued....

Hindi transliteration? Anybody use it? If so, how does it work for YOU?

I feel like there's a huge audience out there just drooling over themselves with the desire to read the posts here at NAY, but because I'm not literate enough to transliterate, I'm missing out on what COULD be the next big thing.

Also, anybody know how to translate into Cyrillic? Kanji? Click language? Austrialian?

My plan to dominate the worldwide interwebs is back ON, and I need your help. Thanks.


I'm feeling ornery today. A night's worth of nightmares will do that to a girl. I woke up this morning feeling very cranky indeed that I had been gifted with visions of yard-long albino millipedes pouring from cave openings into my stalled vehicle, cranky parents who are determined to drive over the side of a cliff with me and the Things in the car, random appearances of old boyfriends with new girlfriends, a mysterious brass band playing Christmas carols while shadow puppets played out against a cardboard wall, and a thwarted attempt at participating in a parade with Oldfriend whilst wearing some odd black medieval costume.

Then there was the pocketful of Legos that I had to hang onto. And the run-in with an irritable STBX. And the disappointed children, the car mechanic who accidentally ATE one of the millipedes and subsequently let forth a torrent of purplish arthropod goo from his foaming mouth.

All of it in full color, with sound and feel and anxiety and frustration aplenty.

I blame the cats. Certainly it can't be the extra cocktail I had after dinner. Couldn't be the three full episodes of "Robot Chicken" I watched right before bed.



It takes me exactly 37 minutes to get to work on a good day. This morning, that was 5 minutes too long.

Don't you hate it when you remember you have a 9 a.m. meeting and it's 8:26 and you're just NOW pulling out of the driveway? Don't you? I know I do. The entire commute was spent perma-mantra-ing "hurry hurry hurry" whilst DARING the traffic lights to turn red and keeping the corner of one eye on the ol' speed-o-meter. I was careful to not break the law any more than any of my fellow commuters were's safest that way, don't you find?

Tinkerbell and I skidded into a parking spot at 9:02. So damned close to being on time.

Thank fully, the meeting was a one-on-one with someone who is understanding and flexible and said "eh, call me when you get settled in and I'll come see you." I LOVE meetings like that.

Still, it would have been totally sweet to have made it right on time. I would have loved to have had that victory under my belt to start the day. My life is small, isn't it?


Leftover buffalo wings taste GREAT in burritos. Just take out the bones first.


Lastly , don't forget to check out the Wordsmiths, mmkay?


That's it for right now. I'm on a telecon listening to someone with a terribly posh Brit accent go on and on about something that I should be paying attention to, mostly because they're getting to my bit and I might have to talk in a mo.

(this post brought to you without benefit of editing....I'm living DANGEROUSLY, y'all!)

See you tomorrow, and if you don't mind, tell someone to turn up the HEAT around these parts. It's freaking COLD here, and I don't care for that one tiny bit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Do you sometimes wish that you could go to a place where nothing ever happens, just so that you could be at peace with doing nothing? Think about it – if there was a such a place, then doing something would upset the balance of nature, and you as a thinking person don’t want to do that, so you’d be obligated to do nothing, which would be kind of sweet.

As you might expect, I do not live in such a place. There’s always SOMETHING to be done, whether it’s something mundane like dishes or laundry or cleaning or bathing or cooking, or something important like paying bills or working or spending time with the kids or bleaching the whites of my eyes. Truly, one can not do “nothing” if you consider that doing nothing means the absence of doing anything. Aren’t we all consistently doing something, like breathing or digesting or metabolizing or existing? We’re verbing all OVER the place!

In the past, I was guilty of being a wanna-be multitasker, all awhirl with activity, some of which was frenetic enough to undo what it was I was trying to do in the first place. I’d be doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, cooking dinner, and trying to entertain the kids, ALL AT ONCE. I thought that having it all meant DOING it all, all at the same time, and that if I couldn’t multi-task my way to a perfect home, a perfect life, perfect wee children, and perfect job, that I wasn’t a success.

Just so you know, nobody TOLD me I had to do this. I just figured that as a person who was historically a fairly high achiever, I should be ABLE to do it, and do it well.

As you can imagine, this was not a good thing. I lost myself in the whirl of activity, of always having SOMETHING on the list to do, and more often that not having several somethings on the list that I felt needed to be done, and done right now. I sucked at delegating, expected people to read my mind, got irritated when the help that was offered didn’t live up to my expectations, and grew a perma-scowl. I did not do much of anything well, became a panicky control freak, exhausted myself, and grew a huge self-esteem problem.

I may have anger issues, along with a touch of passive-aggressive tendencies.

But no more. This year I embrace the zen of doing one thing at a time. If I’m washing the dishes, then that’s what I’m doing. I’m not washing the dishes while running a load of laundry while trying to help with homework and feed the pets. That way lies madness. If I’m helping with homework, then that’s what I’m doing, not stirring a pot of something for dinner while trying to balance the checkbook and talk on the phone. That way lie mistakes, forgetfulness, confusion.

(Um, wait. Maybe I’ll do TWO things, because the laundry can chug along on its own for most of the cleaning cycle. Yeah, two, max)

This new goal of being able to FOCUS on one thing at a time might seem to be a step backward to some people. I understand. We're taught that doing lots of things all at once is the sign of a being powerful person who’s in control of their lives and is “going places.” Well, after TRYING that for many years I have to call bullshit on the idea. Maybe I’m not a big enough stress puppy for that. Maybe I’m just not built that way, but I would submit that when we focus on what we’re doing, we can’t help but do that one thing better than if we tried to do other things at the same time.

OK, so maybe by scaling back my activity level I’m not going to have as much time for hobbies, but that’s OK. Hobbies can get to be an obligation too, a driver when they should be a passenger... If I can get to the end of the day and be satisfied that I’ve done the best I can with the day that was given to me, then that will be good enough for me.

So tell me, is this maturity finally making a house call, or am I on to something here?

More tomorrow, when we can all hope that this introspective mood will have passed.

Monday, January 14, 2008

If you see any of these people, none of them are me.

So, I google'd my name today.


There are a lot of people out there with my legal name.

In case you're interested, none of these people are me:

Equal distribution of boys and girls, so that's pretty cool. As I've mentioned before, my folks gave me a very androgynous name, so much so that I continue to get mail addressed "Mr." Tiff. It all started way back when I was in high school, when the Marines wanted to recruit me.

I almost joined, just for fun. Imagine showing up at boot camp (or whatever the jarheads do call their horrifical indoctrinal period, during which pasty-faced boys go in and well-muscled young men come out) as a girl, waving my invitation papers around, and demanding to be let in. Heh.

"Hey y'all MARINES! You want a piece of THIS, huh? Well here I am, suit me up, darlin's, because I've got civilians to intimidate! Wooo!"

The trend toward addressing me in the masculine continues to this day. and I have to say that for a lady of my stature, it's a touch irritating. Let's face it folks - I'm 5 feet 10 (anna half) inches tall, weigh about 200 pounds, and have fairly broad shoulders, so my size is already against me, but neither would you confuse me for a man because the boobs and long hair and overall curviness of the Tiff-bod are pretty much dead giveaways that I'm not a candidate for Viagra.

So, how do I get the nameless"them" to stop mailing me stuff addressed to "Mister" Tiff?

Slash a bold sharpie line through the name and declare "no such person at this address"? Contact the senders in person and let them know nicely that even though I'm a perimenopausal woman and therefore might have more chin whiskers that I used to I am by NO MEANS so very hirsute as to possibly be mistaken for a dude of ANY age except perhaps one who is oh-so-slightly preadolescent? Take pictures of my girl parts and provide them to the senders to PROVE that I'm a female and not a man in need of their tree-cutting services and power washes and legal aid and gutters and metal roofs (rooves? hoof/hooves? I don't know) and lawn moving and credit cards and welding and blacksmithing and witch-detecting and such?


The more I think about this, the more pissed off I get. I'm a GIRL, dammit, and want to be addressed as such. "Ms" is just fine with me. It's one letter different from what some folks are currently using as an honorific, and I don't think it's so much to ask that that ONE LETTER be changed so that I'm not experiencing this regular besmirching of my utter fantabulous womanhood. Why, I can besmirch it on my OWN, thanks so very much, and do not need the help of some random faceless machine to tear asunder my gender identification.


Bacon knishes.

Does anyone but me think this is funny?


As it so happens, knishes are easy to make. Fun to make too. I made ones with bacon innem last night. My cooking buddy declared as to how that might make sense to me, but is probably causing many ancient rabbis to spin in their graves at such a speed as to possibly cause time to flow backward or spark a spontaneous fire in the torah of the nearest synagogue (or words to that effect. I might be paraphrasing).

I don't care. They tasted freaking fabulous. Who wouldn't like a potato-dough pastry STUFFED with mashed taters, sauteed onions, cheese, and possibly BACON, then brushed with beaten egg and baked until they're such a lovely shade of golden brown that you kind of wish your hair was that color, or maybe your skin? Really now, I submit that almost nobody could turn down a gorgeous knish the very color of an alluring invitation that is filled to lush tautness with creamy cheesy (and bacony) silken warm potatoey goodness. Why that visual plus the scent of butter and onions that slips out the steamy seams is enough to make any sane person's mouth set to waterin'.

Don't you kind of want one right now??

I do.

Perhaps I rhapsodize, but damn. They were good. And there are leftovers. Oh my yes.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Today's headlines are being explored in a slightly different fashion from other weeks. I actually found stuff that I thought was interesting enough to READ on the Yahoo news site today, and so will link to them here in hopes that maybe you'll want to go read them to, and in the process get a little bit edified and also realize what a truly hopeless geek I am.

Not that there's anything WRONG with me being a geek, of course. Nor you either. I heart geeks, fo sho!


I so totally want one of these things. Really, the name alone is awesome, plus it's Linux system so you can say 'buh-bye' to Windows? Yes ma'am, I'll take one.

Oh, and it's cheap? OK, sell me another.

Honestly, how can you say no to a computer that fits in your purse and has a ridiculously cute name?


This is kind of cool news on first read. However, if one spends the time to read it all, it becomes clear that this new finding isn't the ur-key to autism that so many people hope and pray will work to unlock their children.

That being said, if a child of mine has the odd genetic recombination, I think it would be nice to know about it so that maybe some interventions or therapies could be started earlier than when the first signs of the syndrome appear, so hey, any small advance is a good advance! Watching a child become immersed in autism is frightening and frustrating. It's very good to know that this work is being done so that a kid who might be affected can get as much help as early as they can to stem the tide of whatever it is that happens to them as they mature into this isolating 'label.'

So, rock on, you scientists who continue to search for ways to untangle the mysteries of why we are the ways we are. Doing so takes immense patience, dedicated passion, and the ability to persevere in the face of many a roadblock.


Anyone who's ever been to the Big Apple knows how exciting this bit of news is. Oh, y'all who live in accommodating places like, um, anywhere BUT NYC probably wouldn't understand what the big deal is about getting a public TOILET, for Pete's sake, but I'll just bet that if you're one of those people who has spent some time doing the pee-pee dance in Times Square looking for someplace to relieve the bladder pressure and getting frustrated at every daggone TURN, then you know how sweet it would be to see one of these toilet kiosks shining like a beacon on the street corner.

And only a quarter to use? Cheap at twice the price.




OK, this is cool. Not only are historic trees in NYC (again with "The City"! Oy!) being cloned in an effort to repopulate the boroughs with arboreal splendor, but the effort involves agriculture students from a Queens high school.

All two of them, I'm guessing.

Still, cool. Cloning trees is cool, and getting kids involved in cloning trees is even MORE cool.


Yet another thing to be grateful for that I didn't even realize I should be worried about in the first place.

Way to go, wayward asteroid!


Um, what happened HERE?

Here's a before pic.


Anyhow, that's it from here for today. I got all involved in READING the news today (le shock! quel surprise!), being careful of course to not expose myself to anything beyond the headlines for stories that involves war or (horrifyingly) children being thrown off of BRIDGES (WTF is WRONG with people?), and I even learned a thing or two.

Hope y'all did too, and that you're looking forward to a weekend full of fun and frolic and forni...