Monday, June 30, 2008

One in the hand

Commuter alert:

There’s a truck on the roads of Wake County that is a stone-cold bird killer. I know this because I followed it into work today. Not one, but two brilliant-red cardinals were left for dead by the reaper van today, tossed to the side of the road (in one case, in the other pretty much thrown under the bus, as it were) as bright dead things.

This truck, in odd coincidence, is a radon remediation vehicle. Saving the lives of us and our families from the unseen spectre of radon, only to go out and wreak havoc on the avian population.

Oooooh, spooky.


In a conversation with a friend over the weekend, a question arose that I think needs some internetly follow-up.

That is: is anything OTHER than havoc ever wreaked?

Can you wreak happiness, for example?

This seems to indicate that you can. So, my entreaty to you is to go on out and wreak something other than havoc for today. I plan to wreak some productivity, some contentment, and some buzz, in that order.


Side note: I suppose one can wreak reek, given enough days without showering.


Speaking of showering….the lone bathtub/shower combo in the Tiny House now sports anew coat of ‘almond’ paint. This makes me happy in a rather delirious fashion, for the old color was that horrific shade of bile yellow commonly known as ‘harvest gold’

But not just the garden variety harvest gold, oh no. This tub wsa harvest gold with chips. And cracks! And a glue line where the shower door used to be! It was not a pretty thing, not at all.

But now? NOW it is a lovely pale tan, it matches the sole Tiny House toilet, it goes with the new vinyl tile, and thanks to some judicious use of Bondo prior to painting, it no longer has the chips.

One problem though – the refinishing paint said not to use bathmats that have suction cups on them, because the suction cups could undo that hard-wrought work done in the refinishing process (wash with TSP and then scour with steel wool, THREE TIMES! Gah!), which would of course be a very sad (not to mention aggravating) thing.


Well, do you?

At this point, after having checked a variety of stores, I question whether cupless bathmats even exist. Is this something that my friends at the tub refinishing paint company put on their labelling to drive Harry and Harriet homeowners like me stark raving MAD? If so, they’ve done a fine job. FYI: Those nice foam mats that are designed to be placed by your kitchen sink for cushy underfootedness whilst doing dishes LOOK like a fine option for tubly safety, but, without the daggone SUCTION CUPS, they slip when wet, rather defeating the purpose of the mat. If I want to slip,. I’ll just use the bath tub floor, thanks very much.

I’m loath to put down those abrasive little daisy things, because they’re kitschy and I’m notsomuch with the kitsch. Strips of adhesive/abrasive things are OK, but not very pretty OR cushy. I want cushy safety, and I want it now, but I fear that a bathmatty cush is right out, now that the harvest gold is gone and harmony of a hue-y nature is close to being achieved.

Nothing is simple, my friends, nothing at all.


Final note: go see “WALL-E.” You will NOT be disappointed.


Wreak like a mofo y'all - it's MONDAY!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Liveblogging through schmutz

I just kicked a Thing off the 'puter to say a word or two, and have discovered that when Things have the run of the 'puter for more than a moment, it become besmirched with all manner of crustal material.

The Things are, in large part, very good boys, but they are BOYS, and as such do not see the crustal material as their mama does.



Living in the Souf is great, except for the fleas.

Hole shit, I've never felt this tawdry and trashy before....but the fucking FLEAS are doing me in. Animals in the house = fleas. who SUCK, and suck big time.....and not just on our BLOOD.

I'm rooting for a very cold winter this year.

VERY cold. You hear me God? VERY COLD. Hell freezin' over kind of cold. I can bundle up - you just go ahead and kill all them ticks and fleas eggs and spiders and other pestilences, and I'll stand back with my cold fingers and runny nose and say "thanks so much, can I have anuther, because my goodness, those fleas of yours, God, don't have a PURPOSE on this earth except to remind us how miserable life would be if not for the petrochemical-based anti-pestilence meds that are available to us now here in this modern age."

Otherwise, God, please just commend them to hell.....cold or hot, it's the place for a plague like fleas.


Yeah - fleas.

Frigging pets and their delicious flea-feasty hairs.

Collars don't work. Drops don't work. Sprays don't work. Baths don't work.

They're a misery, pure and simple.

I am not at all comfy with misery, which is why the decision was made today to BOMB the house tomorrow. I am the exterminator, the reaper of flea-y souls, the commander of their deaths, and I LIKE IT!!



Fekking fleas. Hates them.

Loves y'all. XO - Tiff

Friday, June 27, 2008

Home again, home again

Boston is groovy
Boston is great
There is so much to like there
And so little to hate

Boston is vibrant
Boston is swell
The T is terrific
The prices are hell

Boston is neat
Boston is fun
But if you're going to visit
Have cash by the ton.

Boston is old
Boston is cool
Just bring lots of money
So you don't look like a tool

Boston is awesome
Boston is yummy
And when you do go there
Take gobs of ka-CHING with you because by God when a lobster roll costs 18 bucks you're going to need a lot of dough to feed your tummy.

So there. It does TOO rhyme.


Four days and over 100 work e-mails later, I'm home. It's good to be back. See y'all next week at the usual places!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You got it.

Hello my treacherous friends!

This early post is brought to you by the a cup of SBux java and the bright sunny day that started about 2.5 hours ago.

Yes, it's 7 a.m., and yes, I've been mostly awake since about 5, which is apparently when the sun rises here in Boston, directly into my HOTEL WINDOW.

(I checked, and ol' Sol was up at 5:09 this morning. I thought as much!)

Does not the sun know that I was out until after midnight last night? Can not the sun tell that I'm trying to enjoy the daggone heavenly bed that is so vauntedly touted here in the hotel of my choosing? Yes, I know - I could close the drapes, but let's recall that I was out past midnight, and after midnight it's dark here, at which point the early arrival of the sun in the morning isn't a thing of substance or consideration, now IS it? No, it is not.

Also? The trucks and commuters do like to get up and at 'em in this town. 5:30 was the last peaceful moment, I think. Shutting the window helps a bit, but there's a city down there and by gosh it's going to go about it's business!

So, I grab my cuppa joe and look out onto the world down there scurrying to its work, running its errands, accomplishing its daily tasks, and try to commit to memory this bright sunny morning many floors above Back Bay Boston. It's likely that I'll never be here again and it'd be a shame to miss the show.


Today is packed with convention stuff, cruising the Hall o' Vendors (and I'll take pics, prolly), meeting the co-panelists for a drink, and once again searching the greater Boston area for fun stuff to do and new/old places to see (can you say Freedom Trail? I sure can).

Last night it was some fancy-dan fish place in the Faneuil Hall area with an awesome waitron and gigantic desserts....with a city-sized bill to go along with it. Did I check to see what the per diem for my company is before GONG to the fancy-dan fish place? No I did not. That, my friends, is a concern for tomorrow.

Today is all about living. Tomorrow can darn well take care of itself.

Have a great one, y'all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This is where that hail was about 20 minutes ago

Yes, hail. What fun to be on the 24th floor and to have the lighting and thunder and hail and such! Hurrah! Hail, hail, the storm's all here, making hell of the roads, pouring over your clothes, hail, hail, the storms all here, what the hail do we do now???

I bet though that the merchants at the farmer's market down in Copley Square didn't think it was fun though. Poor farmers, with the soggy goat cheese and such.

Thanks for the suggestions on Bahston things to do - last night we almost made it to Faneuil Hall, but were stopped short by the music coming out of Paddy O's Bar, where there were lobster rolls (not the best I've ever had, but the bartender's accent WAY more than made up for that shortfall. Norm Abram has NOTHING on that dood. (As an aside, the best lopster rolls I've ever had were at a place called Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in CT. Thought you'd like to know)).

The sky is now clearing, and so once again a venture out is being made, this time with some old friends with whom to share good times. But first, a trip to the pool is necessary, in order to wipe out the vestiges of nap-brain I've got going on....

(author's LIVEBLOGGING note (7 p.m.): the pool was a huge mistake. Murky green and tasted like piss and sweat. Not coincidentally, it was next to the gym. Ew. Even the 99.6 F hot tub (NOT HOT ENOUGH!) couldn't scour off the itchy crystals that are at this moment causing me to think the pool was filled with poison ivy juice and monster snot. The pair of undersupervised noisy (but friendly) little kids kicking water in my face was a charming touch. The fitness room looks nice though. Good thing I brought my tennies and jog bra along....END liveblogging note)

Ah, and one of you is a clever bunny for guessing nearly perfectly as to where I am at the DIA. Those of you who know my name will of course be able to use the search function on their website to find me and where I'm SUPPOSED to be at one moment in time, but if you had to find me in the actual sea of humanity that is swelling 'round the pilings of the BCEC, you'd have a most difficult time indeed. This is one of the most popular conferences around. Tomorrow I'd get some pics of the vendor's floor so you have some appreciation for just how much business might be getting done at this thang.

Until then, keep your drawers dry. I'm off to swim (ew!)/shower/go out/drink.

Work trips are kind of awesome.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Where's Tiffdo?

If you can spot me amongst the sea of humanity here, I will give you a smooch on the cheek.

I haven't time for much more than this meagre post right now. Busy is the life of the PHARMACEUTICAL EXECUTIVE, particularly if you (they? me??) have spent the day trying to catch up on what is it is you (they? I??) are supposed to be offering a TRAINING on three days from now.

Or two days.



But still....LOBSTER ROLLS!!!!!!!! Fanueil Hall! It's frigging BOSTON!!!!!


I really LOVE this town.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Right then, Friday

It’s almost never a good thing when, on the morning commute, you hear a metallic BAM coming from your near vicinity.

This morning’s metallic bam was brought about by two cars colliding not but 100 feet ahead of me.

The collision was a t-bone. A little red car smashed into a bigger dark blue car. No telling who had the ROW, because I wasn’t looking that direction when it happened. I suspect though that the little red car had the right of way, because it looked like it was coming from the same direction I was when it was trying to turn left.

The OTHER car also wanted to turn left, but probably didn’t have a green light. Almost CERTAINLY didn’t have a green.

(<---- a handy schematic for reference)

By the time I passed the scene of the accident, the driver of the dark blue car was out of the vehicle, and was tottering around the back of it to inspect the damage.

That’s right, TOTTERING.

She couldn’t have been any less than 90 years old, was about as tall as the trunk of the car, leaned heavily on it for support, and was as wrinkled as a shar pei.

The driver of the other car was not yet out of their vehicle. I suspect that the ramming headlong into a car that to all appearances was not supposed to have been there was a bit more of a shock to the system than being the ram-ee was. Otherwise, why should it be that the pint-sized and likely very FRAGILE old lady was up and about and the driver of the little red car was not?

It’s stuff like this that puts me solidly in the camp of those who call for mandatory road testing each and every time your license comes up for renewal. If I get to the point where I really can’t drive safely anymore, I want to know. Heaven knows I’m not about to admit to myself…because we humans are very adept at fooling ourselves into thinking that we’re more capable than we really are. Shoot, it surprises me every morning when I look in the mirror that I’m not 25 anymore and thin as a rail with a flat stomach and a wrinkle-free face, so why would it be that when I become significantly older I’ll be willing to make the call that I can’t DRIVE anymore?

I won’t. I’ll drive until someone says I can’t. That’s just how it goes.

For the old lady behind the wheel of the blue sedan this morning, I hope that the accident serves as a wake-up call. If she can still HEAR, that is.


Reminds me of a joke:

When I die, I want to go in my sleep, like my grandpa did, not screaming in fear like his passengers.


I should like to be very old when I die. I should like it if I could die of something sudden, right in the middle of sexing up some young dude. I should very much like it if after I die people take all the bits that could be of use to other people and burn the rest. I’ll have no more use of it, and the thought of being buried freaks me out.

Ways NOT to die:

2) Being mauled by wild animals
3) Burn-related injuries (my God, just put a bullet in me if I’m horribly burned)
4) Something degenerative. I’m no Steven Hawking, people. There’d be no reason to keep me around if all I am is a vocoding head. A nice triple shot of morphine would do nicely if I get to the point at which all I can do is blink.
5) Did I mention drowning?
6) Anything at all to do with spiders

What about y’all? Do you have some death goal in mind? Some “oh hell NO” ways to go?

Tell us about them, won’t you?


Lastly, one for the chefs out there, a nice little Asian peanut sauce for grilled chicken, as made by Tiff.

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp sesame oil

Heat in micro for 30 seconds, stir. Dip yo’ chix in the sauce and feel the burn, baby.

If you grill yo chix after marinating in a mix of oil, vinegar, cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, and a teetiny touch of mustard, your taste buds will probably send you a thank you note later. Spicy-lisushness!


That’s it for today. No headline Friday, because that, apparently is how I rollz (or, NOT rollz. mmmm, rollz).

Have a good ‘un, y’all. I’m going to go celebrate the arrival of Jamie Lynn Spears’ baby by not thinking about her for the rest of the day. Won't you join me?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

There’s no business like show business

Does anybody watch So You Think you Can Dance?

(<------zombie dancers think they can...)

How about Survivor (is that even ON anymore)?

The Amazing Race?

Dancing With The Stars?

Or any one of the myriad other ‘reality’ teevee shows that are on the air nowadays?

I don’t. Well, technically that’s a lie, because I do watch the cop shows that largely feature drunk people doing stupid shit, but the competition-type shows are so far off my radar that I have a hard time working up the energy to say ‘meh’ when someone mentions them. Why is this, I wonder? Would I get so invested in the outcome of each show that I would become a nervous wreck awaiting the outcome of the show every week? Probably. Would I become so attached to a particular cast member that I’d become outraged if they should get cut from the show, even if they DIDN’T deserve to win? Also probably. Would I become so enraptured of the ebb and flow and dynamic of the show that I’d lose grip with reality and supplant my real world with the glitz of the show, forgoing other pursuits in favor of following the competition? In all likelihood, yes.

I watched “The Amazing Race” for a while several years back, when we had only one teevee station to watch (long story, some other time), and I did indeed get to the point that I looked forward to the show, sat on the edge of my seat during each race, felt my blood boil when the ‘wrong’ team won, shared in the frustrations of the teams that couldn’t get out of their won way to make it to a goal. The level to which one might become involved in the onscreen lives of heretofore nameless strangers is amazing, and I did become very involved.

It made me a nervous mess to watch the shows, so I quit. I am not by nature competitive, unless I’m winning, and trying to guess which team was going to win so I didn’t have to be nervous and tense was killing me. Heck, I’m the kind of person who reads ahead in murder mysteries to find out ‘who done it’ so I can go back and read the book in peace, the outcome assured, and the story therefore able to be focused on. I do not at all care for the stress that come with an unknown outcome.

For this reason I also do not watch a lost of sports. Waiting for the end of the game is killer.

What am I missing by NOT watching these shows, and instead filling my meager teevee watching time with “How it’s Made” or “Mythbusters” or “Most Extreme Car Chases”? Can anyone sell me on the notion of reality teevee?

I’d like to see you try.


Note to self: before the next middle school band concert, invest in some black shoes and sox for the Things. Those athletic sox Thing 1 was wearing stood out like a nerd flag against the well-shod hooves of his bandmates, and that boy doesn't need any further ID in the nerd department.


You would think that if someone poops at work, they’d at least have the courtesy to not leave the evidence thereof besmirching the bowl, wouldn’t you?

It’s obvious they flushed, but…..the flushing wasn’t all that needed to be done.

I think I’ll petition the facilities group to purchase toilet brushes for our shared facilities. Somehow, peeing in a toilet that someone else just pooped in creeps me out. They could learn a few lessons from this guy (who apparently thinks cleaning toilets is both necessary AND funny!).

And they used the nice big handicapped stall too, which is even more irksome. Don’t they know that stall is MINE?


Went out last night for wings n’ beer. Fekking yum. Hanging out at the local bar, such as it is, isn’t something I do on a regular basis, but the occasional night out is fun.

12 wings is twice too many though. Especially after the spinach dip and beer. And Galaga (which I’ve lost my touch at in the long time since I played it regularly. I blame the beer. Certainly it can’t be diminished reaction time due to age and the resultant injuries I’ve heaped on my brain since I was a 20-year-old video game queen.).
If that bar had Tempest, I’d be there far more regularly. Never was a better video game invented, IMHO. The trackball was an innovation, the fire key was much more responsive than other games, and there was absolute MAYHEM to be wreaked on the enemy craft coming up the wormhole. Much fun. Maybe I should petition the new bar owners to get Tempest, since I’m in such a petition-y mood. I’m sure they’d listen to ME, their twice-a-year customer….right?


Hey y’all, it’s been great, but I’ve got to go now and follow up some meetingly stuff from this morning, get ready for this afternoon while eating lunch, try to finish up research for next week’s presentation, and not go stark-raving mad about the fact that today is a perfect day to go play outside and I can't because all of the above.

Hope you have a souper day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I was right

Yesterday was a great day. Probably better than yours, because I won the lottery!

Woohoo! The lottery! The ol' pick 5 came in and I'm the happy recipient of a cool 190K bucks!


I'm Rich!

Gotta take the lump sum and pay off the debts first, of course, THEN I'll blow invest half the rest and blow the remaining cash on something fun. A vacation!

Ooooh, I could go to Hawaii. Or Rome. Or over to Europe to see some friends and soak in the history. The Things want to travel, so of course they'll go too. Oh man, this is going to be great! A couple of weeks in Europe, taking the trains places, eating in little bistros and pastiserries, lounging by many an ornate fountain in the squares of small European towns watching impeccably dressed people glide by speaking undecipherable languages. I could lean French before I go....that can't cost too much money.

Provence. Milan. Prague. London. Paris. Frankfurt. Lisbon. All laid out there, waiting for me and my money. OMG I'm so excited.

OK, so if I pay off all my debts, including car loan and credit cards and 401K loan I just took to help pay down my debts, that will leave me with about...................shit.

Oh crap.

If I pay off all the revolving debt and loans, I'll have eaten through much of my winnings. There's no way I could pay off the mortgage too, and then there's the half of the remainder to invest, and I don't know WHAT to do about that because really, if I was honest, ALL of it should be put into a short-term high-yield vehicle so I can make good on the promise to save 20K for each Things' college fund by the time they're 18 (which I KNOW won't cover the cost of school, but a more realistic goal would have caused my head to explode).

I should invest all of it. Almost all of it. OK, MOST of it.

Rome, Paris, Lisbon? Can you wait? For some other day? Some other windfall?


Y'all, I didn't really win the lottery.

From time to time I think about what it would take to get me completely debt-free, and as it turns out if I'd won yesterday's cash 5 it just about would have gotten me there, save for the mortgage.

Sobering thought, that one. My home and investments (401K is about it, y'all) are solid financial worth, but in the past year or so my debts have skyrocketed, what with putting a whole new life on credit cards. I did take a loan against the 401K in order to pay off the cards, and in 5 years will have paid that back with 8% myself (saving me thousands in interest to Banco Conglomo). Nothing not to like about that. It saves me several percentage points not being paid to the CC companies, and my goal of having one of them completely paid off by the end of the year seems doable if I really crunch. The other card is at an interest level that's about what the 401K loan payback is, so I have paid that down a little bit to improve the ol' credit score. There are some stocks I might to sell to get enough to pay off the car loan, which'll net me 150 bucks a month in extra cash to save or invest, or I might just take the next year of payments and then the loan will be fully serviced and I won't have to take the windfall tax on the proceeds of the stock sale...


Chipping away at the mountain of reality is a monumental task, but because I plan to be debt-free within three years (401K loan and mortgage being taken out of the equation) it's something that finds me taking the hammer and chisel in hand most days. While I don't wake up at night in a sweat over bills and how to pay them (thanks, new job!), neither am I at the point at which I have the mythical '6 months of income as liquidity' either, and there's no money in the Things' college fund, and if I should come up against a significant medical or personal issue I'd have nothing to fund recovery from that.

I'm probably like a lot of other people, which bugs me. This living on the financial edge is uncomfortable. I listen to far too much NPR to be able to ignore the global credit crunch, and I think it's only a matter of time before the lenders starts calling in their markers, ans it were, and I'll be left in the street because I don't have the wherewithall to fully pay off my debts right NOW. Your creditors can do that, you know. Just call you up and say "hey, is this my problem, is this my fault? Not it is not, and we want the gazillion dollars you owe us on your debt, RIGHT NOW."

That, my friends, should make anyone nervous.

This whole topic makes me nervous, but because I've been a card-carrying adult now for 25 years of so, I guess it's time to look at the bylaws to see what it is that adults are expected to so.

Something tells me that 'being expected to pay off my debts and help my kids through school' is in there somewhere. I could smack the bastards that put those in there, I really could.


Also, I've figured out that a lottery winning of about 4 million bucks would support me in the style to which I' grown accustomed for the rest of my life.

That's it.

4 mill.

That's not a lot of money, people, if you're a movie star or pro bassetball player. Put into their contexts, it's 1/5th of a film or a month of play. What on earth do they DO with all that cash?

And how do I apply to the National Bank of George Clooney for a loan?


Enjoy your day, this depressing post notwithstanding. I'mma head out to work now, and try to enjoy those little gifts of cooler temps and plenty of sunshine on the ride.

XO, Tiff

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

(Insert Title of your choosing here)

When you’re irritated at life in general, what do you do?

Apparently, I cook.

My frustrations are meted out on the pots and pans, and what comes out (at least last night) is macaroni salad, brats and Italian sausage and sautéed peppers n’ onions, and some nice steamed broccoli.

I was feeling out of sorts yesterday, ticked off at myself for having too much party the night before and feeling like crap for most of the day. It’s not a pretty thing to experience, this self-loathing, you know? Why do I even bother? I’m the one who chose to WHEE it up, and so I should be OK with paying the price, but yesterday was just one of those days when the little Puritan in my head was on a major soapbox, and the other voices chose to listen to her babble on and on about things like ‘responsibility’ and “maturity.”

Being afmiliar with the Puritan, I know what to do. I shut her up with 2 ibuprofen and a drink. Then I got to cooking. And washing dishes, and clearing the clutter off the kitchen table (can’t STAND clutter). When my snit was exorcized, there was a nice meal on the table, a clean kitchen, and some semblance of organization in one of the four rooms of the Tiny House.

OK, 1.5 rooms, because I also cleaned the litterbox and swept the laundry room.

(An aside: why can’t cats keep the litter IN the box? Why do they find it necessary to track little bits of litter all over the floor? Were they raised in a BARN or something? Also, who tells them that the box is clean, so that 5 seconds after it’s put it down all scooped out with some nice fresh litter added in, they come barreling into the zone to lay a steamer right on top? Fuckers.)

So dinner was good. I was over my snit. The headache was gone. Life improved steadily from there. I actually stayed awake until some godawful time last night, playing around on the intertubez and waiting for the rain to start. Late-night thunderstorms rolled through the area, lighting up the sky and cooling down the temps. Glorious. Made sleeping a thing of great depth, with nary a dream to sully the perfect blankness.

It’s rare that I don’t dream. Some nights I begin dreaming before I’m actually asleep. That’s kind of freaky, isn’t it? Last night though – no dreams. I woke up when the alarm went off, completely refreshed. That doesn’t usually happen either. Normally I’m batting at the snooze for a good half an hour, willing the sun to go retrograde and give me back another couple of hours of sweet sweet slumber. Does a snitty day normally precede a good one? I hope so. Maybe the mood swings are self-leveling, and this good day will be followed by a stretch of the normal “I’m doing just fine” kinds of days I like to have and have gotten so very used to of late. Being happy rocks. Being happy and well rested is like feeding jet fuel to a Studebaker (if that’s possible). What has been perfectly serviceable becomes thrilling, what was comfortable becomes notable. It's a nice change.

Anyhow. I’m not angry anymore. I can talk in my regular voice, not the low growl I affect when out of sorts, the Mama Bear kind of tone that is recognizable the world over by children and astute friends as a clear “hands-off.” It’s not anything that I can control (to a large extent), but being as how I don’t much care for ‘that voice,’ am glad it’s gone.

Maybe the rain did it. Who knows?


This is Day Three of the Goodwill countdown. Thought you’d like to know. The clothes are still in the kitchen.

But I did pile them neatly on an unused chair. Progress is being made.


Thing 1 made a request to me yesterday when I was in Mama Bear mode. It was simple, really. He wanted one of the recliners that came out of my bedroom for HIS room. He’d pulled aside the armchair that was in the Things’ room, showing me where he wanted to put the new one, proud of his planning.

And what did I do?

I turned him down, brusquely saying “there’s no room for another chair in here. Certainly not.”

He, understandably, was disappointed, but began moving the first chair back in place as ordered. He's a good boy like that.

Later, as I was working in/stomping around the kitchen, I heard him telling a friend who was over for dinner that he wanted the chair because it’s one that his Grandfather sat in when he was alive.

If you guessed that my heart cracked a little at those words, you'd be right.

So, the ratty old chair I got for free last year fell victim to last night's thunderstorms. The new-to-them Grandpa recliner is now ensconced in the Things’ room. I’d like to think that maybe my Dad would come down from time to time and set a spell with the boys, checking in on them, seeing how they grow. He’d like the chair they now have in their room, of that much I’m sure.


That’s it from here today. I’m off to make something of the Tuesday before me, and hope you have a great one.


Monday, June 16, 2008

The age-old question….in technnicolor!

What’s the age-old question, you ask?

Today, it’s “why do I not know that three cocktails is not necessarily better than two?”

I should know this by now, but at a certain point the WHEE factor takes over and by golly if two was good then three, and possibly four, would be way better, and then if you think that maybe the four was enough but you’re still thirsty, then maybe a beer would cap off the night perfectly, which works for about 8 hours, after which time you wake up and realize the WHEE factor has transmogrified into the “OMG where’s the ibuprofen and a bucket” factor, which isn’t nearly as fun but is the price to be paid for all the WHEE.

I’m 46 years old, and still don’t know how to party properly, even if I DO have the answer to the age-old question. More practice, obviously, is needed.


There’s a guy in Cedar Rapids who has two cats. Their names are Fry and Bender. This is a guy I could totally hang out with.

How do I KNOW there’s a guy in Cedar Rapids with cats by those names? There was a picture of him on Yahoo today evacuating them from this flooded home. (that last one is a sentence that needs reworking. Feel free to do so; my brain hurts too much to try it)

If he should meet a girl who has two cats named Leela and Amy, they should get married.

The people, not the cats.


There’s a bookcase in my bedroom now. I think it holds about half the books in the Tiny House. That is the half of the books that were piled on the armoire in the kitchen, on one of the kitchen chairs, the end table that is not an end of anything in the bedroom, and on the floor of the bedroom.

There are many many books in the Tiny House, some of which now have a home.

This is a good thing, a mature thing, an “I live here” thing, and it makes me happy. In addition, gone are a good quarter of my clothes, which is ALSO a good thing. Those clothes are the clothes I don’t wear, can’t fit into, are outdated, or are those “I think I might wear that….someday” kinds of things that were part of the reason my closet broke last week. It feels good to have them out of there.

I’m taking bets of when I actually get them out of the kitchen and out to the Goodwill dropoff.


I could go on and on about nothing much in particular (y'all know), but it's meeting time, I’m out of here to go… Have a terrific day, mmkay? XO, Tiff.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The one without a point, or a title.

A new admin was hired in my department a few months ago. Nice enough woman, cute lil’ hairdo, lots of experience. Vibrantly colored clothing with perfectly matching shoes and jewelry. Lots of outfits, very well decked out in an early 80’s kind of color palette. She seemed kind of interesting in her sweet ol’ Southern gal kinda way.

Then she started to move into her cube.

The cat pictures were first. Then more pictures of cats. HER cats. Lots of cats.

Then the cat figurines. Lots of little figurines. Silly little cat figurines. Did I mention there were lots of them?

Then the plants. Many many plants.

Then, the kiss of death. A picture of herself in full clown makeup. Hung on the OUTSIDE of her cube, not in the private inside corner where only the person sitting the ‘guest’ chair could see and be scared by, oh no. Right out on the outer wall, where anyone walking by is able, nay, FORCED, to see it.

I’m pretty sure now that she’s off the potential friends list. It’s strictly business from this point on. You just never know what a clown in drag might be capable of.



Black widows.





Someone tell me again why I moved to North Carolina?


I have a friend who says something ‘blows’ when most people would say it sucks. I find this highly amusing, and endlessly charming. She’s also not afraid to drop the F-bomb in regular conversation. Also part of her charm. I get to see her for the first time in a year in a half when I go to a conference in a couple of weeks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Speakinnawhich, I got that preseantation done a full 45 minutes ahead of schedule. Actually, I got it done 4 hours ahead, but then my boss called in with a few (hundred) minor changes in the slide deck, and so because I am a good employee I incorporated those few (hundred) changes and then uploaded again.

I’m a fan of the uploading. Technology is neat.

Sometime in the next two weeks I need to learn about the subject matter I made a presentation of. Just in case anyone wants to get smart and start asking questions.


Upper Midwest flooding forces evacuations, floods roads

Guess they'll have to Field and Stream to get out, being as how it appears as though only the roads are flooded.

NASA: Metal clip fell off shuttle but not problem

Would have been nice if the problem fell off instead.

Woman arrested in cold case has other dead spouses

It's the three LIVE ones that are causing her trouble.

Study sees discrepancies in VA care for men, women

The men weren't getting their yearly Pap smears, and that's troubling.

And one just for the freak factor:

CORRECTED: Leader of body parts ring apologizes in court

He desecrated Alistair Cooke's body. Kill him now.


Gott go y'all. the phone's been ringing vivaciously as I've written this, and I must go see what people want of me. All this work is interefering with my playtime, and I don't care for it one tiny bit.

Have youselves a terrific weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Enzination of the Nation, hemmy ham HO!

Smooooooke, from a distant Fiiiiiiiire!

That’s what’s over-glazing the Triangle today. Wildfires from down the shore are filling the air with luscious barbequeueueue-scented smoke, and a wind from the east is bringing it right over us. Every time I go outside I get hungry. Mmmm, BBQ. A nice hunk of meat slowly sizzling on a wood fire, fat dripping lazily into the flames, shooting up sparks when it immolates, the coals charring meat to perfection, imbuing the flesh and air with the primal smell of smoke, the scent of danger…

The air is actually GRAY, people. It looks like LA on a smog alert day, only we ain’t in LA and we don’t (as a rule) get schmoggy.

Even with the gray notsmog air that smells like Busters House of Ribs, there were walkers and joggers aplenty out this morning. Must be the 10-degree cooler air that brought them out. Why, it’s only supposed to be in the upper 80’s today instead of tripping toward the triple digits. That’s something to write home about.

Dear Mom.

It’s not going to be as hot as the gates to the seventh circle of hell today (which, according to Dante, was for The Violent). Yay! In other news, did you know that Satan is actually buried up to his waist in ice at the bottom of hell, and that he keeps the ice freezing by flapping his wings, and that he’s eating three guys names Judas, Brutus, and Cassius? He has three faces and three mouths. I just learned that. Also? Hell is encased in a mountain named Purgatory. Cool, huh? I KNOW! The internet told me, and so it is true.

Your Daughter Tiff

Because seriously, if you can’t write to Mom about an ancient Italian poet’s vision of Hell, then you need to rethink the scope of your interaction with the matriarch. Sure, she might LOOK all mild mannered and Mrs Beaseley-ish on the OUTSIDE, but inside I’ll just bet your mom is making a really careful study of the works of renaissance poets from Romance-language speaking areas, and positing theora about their motivations toward apostacy or recidivist agnosticism.

And if they are, I think you should talk with them about it. Beats discussing which batteries run the longest in her choice of artificial men.

Which I don’t recommend you EVER doing.


This is a quick-hit Thursday. I was without the interwebs for much of the day, and now that I have it back I also have managed to generate the desire to work, and so am going to go do just that.

After lunch.
Y’all rock it like a supahschtar today. See you around!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Made me laugh

This did.

From, of course.

There's a pretty good crop of them there today. Go check it out, have a bit of a laugh, and get back to work, you buncha crazy kids!


But before you do, these few tidbittles:

There is such a thing as archetypical British teeth. I saw them yesterday.


Combine those teeth with some Alfred E Newman ears and a bobbling Adam's apple, and it's hard to know where to look when you're having a 1-on-1 (or F2F in biznazz speak)meeting with the possessor of such physical points of interest.

It's a darned good thing the afflicted gentleman is very nice and has lovely eyes. Made the question of where to focus pretty much a no-brainer. But still....those teeth.

God I hope nobody at my company reads this blog.


When half your closet falls off the wall, you have the chance to see what the previous homeowners, who put UP the closet system, believed was adequate handyness.

I have done the evaluation and it is apparent that the previous homeowners of the Tiny House must have believed a Smidge is plenty enough handyness to go around, because anyone who puts up a closet rail and shelves by firmly anchoring them in nothing but DRYWALL has their head shoved halfway up their nether regions and are huffing ass gas.

Anyone who has moved knows that clothes are heavy. By correlation then, a fully laden closet rail is extremely heavy. This 'heavy' needs to be supported by something other then a 5/8" sheet of drywall, even if you DO use mollies (drywall anchors, whatever), which they did not. All the heavy is eventually going to impinge mightily on the ability of the bottom screws of the brackets holding up the closet rod, forcing them further into the drywall, until the sheer force exerted by the weight of the clothes on those screws proves too much for the TOP screws to hold up against, and that's the point at which things go "sproing!" and the brackets, rod, shelves and all your clothes come a-tumblin' down.

It's a surprising noise to hear at at 6 a.m.



One other thing before I go - the same homeowner mentioned above is the one who must have ascribed to the aphorism "there no hole too big to be caulked."

Forget fine carpentry. Forget plumb and level. Forget screwing something into place tightly, just slop a great huge gob of caulk in the hole and walk away.

This is the same man whose wife was so proud of his handy skillz that she couldn't stop gushing about them as I was doing the prepurchase walkthrough. The same man, I'm sure, who designed a set of deck stairs with rises of 3 inches, then 6, then another 6, then 8 or so, then another 3. The same man who believed that toenailing the deck posts into the decking was solid enough construction (it's not), and that no bathroom really NEEDS a fan or a window that can open (they do, for obvious reasons).

So I'm not surprised at the whole closet thing. Miffed, but not surprised. Not really.


All rightie kids, with that little peek into the gut-wrenchingly unenviable life of Tiff, I leave you to go fend to myself in the corporate jungle. Watch your backs, and have a great day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How divine, this post 777 of mine.

The portion of the post in which I come very very close to ranting:

Why does it piss me off to always have to shut down the little “help” pane in Word whenever I open the program? It’s a 1-second procedure to click the “X,” and yet I get ticked off to HAVE to do it each and every time. The program should be smart enough to know I don’t need that stupid pane, and that I like to open a blank document, and that no I don’t need it to babysit me and offer me the option to open a new template or wizard or whatever the hell it’s offering up. Just let me open Word, put a nice clean sheet of e-paper in front of me, and leave me the heck alone already.

Another thing: people who drive 45 in a 60 MPH zone, only speeding up when people try to pass them, giving hope to those in line behind them that at last they might choose to go the speed limit and so don’t pass in their turn, should be taken to the side of the road and beaten about the head and neck with a tire iron, or maybe with one of those ladders they had on top of their ancient hulk of a station wagon that kept threatening to wobble off every time said slowpoke had to veer from side to side to see if perhaps THIS was the road they wanted to take. Two words, Mr. Slowpoke: GOOGLE MAPS. And get off my lawn.


The part in which I almost cast aspersions, then balk:

New people are moving in a cross the street. It’s a rental, so I can’t wait to see what kind of neighbors they prove to be. Rental people come in all types, some of which are more worrisome than others. You all know what I mean.

If the huge black trailer they just installed in their driveway is any indication, I can expect to see racecars being worked on at some near future point. Nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s nice to have a hobby, but I’m not sure what racecar people are like. From all appearances they’re fine, if a little heavily tattooed about the calves and forearms, but I have tats and purport to not have any prejudice against people who have tats, except of course for those folks who have prison tats and scary shit on their eyebrows or necks, so that’s a mental hurdle I need to clear out right now. They cleaned the house for at least a day, so I suspect they’re tidy, which is a happy thing. Tidy people rock.

There are numerous rentals in the Tiny House’s neighborhood, some of which are fodder for much amusement and sometimes amazement. The next-newest people down the street are latino/hispanic/mexican, and they spend a lot of time on their front porch just talking and visiting and listening to music, which is kind of nice. The next-next newest people are a puzzlement to me, being as how I almost never see them out and about, but from time to time they haul out a BBQ and spend time in their side yard hanging out, Big Mama chasing down the puddin’ head child in a squirt gun battle, the stick-thin Dad chatting over a Bud with his buds, nothing major or even the slightest bit disruptive, but I see them infrequently enough to make me wonder if this is somehow a vacation home for the mystery neighbors. The Tiny House’s neighborhood, it must be said, is nobody’s idea of a vacation destination. SRSLY. It’s just a bunch of little houses, neat on their quarter acres, full of working people and artists. So, I wonder about the next-next newest neighbors, and try not to weave stories of great tawdriness about them in my head.

It's an ongoing battle, y'all.


The bit in which I hate myself a little:

Thing 2 has friend who lives a couple of blocks away from us, and who comes over every single day the boys are with me. For dinner. I suspect that this friend gets little to no supervision at home, in fact he’s said that he’s alone all the time at his house, and so enjoys the company at my house. This is OK, I guess. The Tiny House is meant to be open to all, but I’m fighting what I’d LIKE to have happen with my hermitic nature. Yesterday I actually told the boys that the friend, if he showed up, could come in for half an hour, but had to leave after that. Well, he stayed for dinner. I invited him. Then asked if he needed a ride home. Yes, I felt guilty. Didn’t help that Thing 2 said “go away!” to friend when he showed up, then explained that friend shouldn’t come over every day, at which point I heard my own mean little words coming back at me through the lack of filter of an 11-year-old boy, and felt worse about that than I have about many things. He’s a little boy. He wants company. He apparently needs to be fed. I shouldn’t be so paltry, so protective of my little cave, so stingy with whatever it is I have to offer. So, dinner for 4 became dinner for 5, and it all worked out just fine. There was a ‘whistling through matzoh’ contest and scary videos after dinner to boot. This getting used to being in a neighborhood thing might take a while, but I think it’s going to be OK.



And the closing salutation:

It’s Tuesday. You know what that means. Time to TOOOZE it, people! And have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 09, 2008


It’s an enjoyable weekend when you are invited to other people’s houses two nights in a row for dinner. Why, it almost feels like an actual social life is emerging! Woo-hoot!

Went to Kenju’s house on Saturday night for a bitofanosh. OMG, she served some kind of spinach and strawberry salad that I could have just kep’ on eating, but then there was the cherry-glazed pork roast and minted asparagus and mac n’ cheez, THEN the lemon pound cake with vanilla ice cream, and THAT, my friends, is something worth stopping eating salad for.

The Things were along for the ride, and seemed to enjoy themselves. They made the living room their lair, and watched teevee while the adults talked and drank wine in the front room. I got so comfy that it was almost 11 p.m. before I shut up. Heh – pour a little wine down my throat and watch me go! Whee! Thing 2 had by then fallen HARD asleep on the comfy couch, so it was for sure time to go home.

Also? We got to see their bees. Well, not THEIR bees in the sense that the Kenjus want the bees, but more in the sense that the bees really like the Kenjuses house and so have taken up residence between floors, as it were. Crowds of bees a buzzin’ around one corner of the house, trying oh so hard to get in. Scary and fascinating.

Then last night we trooped over to the BriarCreek area, which is now the home of an old friend from CT who has moved down to the promised land…her apartment complex has a fantastic swimming pool, nice and warm, with cool underwater benches on which to perch while drinking an adult beverage and watching the Things play with the new supersoaker that Thing 1 bought with some money he earned helping a friend haul fenceposts out of the woods on Saturday afternoon (now that my friends is how to build a run-on sentence!). After the swimming there was the beer brats and fruit sallit and pasta sallit and more WINE, which by now you should know leads to verbosity aplenty, and so it was that at 9:30 last night the yawning began by everyone there but me (oopsie!) and it was time once again to go home.

I could get used to a social life, especially if it involves Yellowtail Shiraz.


We’re breaking more heat records today. The forecast from Wunderground said it was going to be 99.9 degrees today.

99.9? That’s some precise forecasting. No rounding off for those folks, oh no. They’re busy keeping us in denial about the double digit temps; that remaining 0.1 degree being the difference between complacency and OMG WTF kind of HOT is this?

Just give me the 100 degrees, people. The 99.9 ain’t fooling me.


And with that I end this rather uninteresting post. Y’all have a wonderful Monday, whether you be roasting or not (LL? I’m looking at YOU).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Me n' freon, togethah 4evah.

It’s hot as the gates of Hades out there. Even a motorcycle ride can’t cool things down. Pockets of hot air blast past, countering the meager wind chill created by zooming at 55 MPH down baking country roads. It’s hot enough to raise a sweat on a warm beer glass, to melt asphalt, to curl the edges of the hydrangeas in whatever self defense they have against nature.

It’s hot enough that 74 degrees inside feels like an icebox, a welcome respite from the furnace of the outdoors.

There’s a Ray Bradbury story about the temperature at which people go crazy. At least I THINK it’s by Bradbury, though I can’t find a reference for it right now. The theorem is that above something like 104 degrees, all semblance of societal niceties dissolve in a puddle of anger and violence. People start killing people, robbing, looting; domestic incidences flash and burn, higher functions give way to reptilian ‘me first-ism.”

If this is true, I’m surprised that more people didn’t resort to outright murder on a more regular basis before the advent of freon and all its marvels. No AC to me would be the worst thing imaginable right now. Sweltering hot, perspiring quiet desperation into clinging cotton shifts, moving steaming air fruitlessly with a jauntily painted paper fan in hopes of finding a cool spot, I’d be up for a little murder to quell the rising anger at circumstances. Oh, I’d be a damp angry mess of a woman, and heaven help whoever would have the audacity ask me to do anything more than simply exist.

Petticots would come off. Long sleeves? Never. Shoes? Fugeddaboudit. I’d be the slattern on the back porch in her chemise, damp, wilted, exhausted, waiting for night to do something worth doing except trying to escape the heat, a wet towel over my head dripping gently onto my shoulders, cooling ever so slightly before steaming away. It would be ice cream for dinner; the kids would have to turn the crank. It would be card games in the root cellar, hair tied high up on my head, a bottle of ginger ale brought up from the cooling waters of the creek by my side as we wait for nightfall.

And even if night was only a few degrees cooler than the misery of day was, it would be something worth having, a chance to rest and restore in order to gird for the next day’s battle against the heat and the urge toward murder.

If I didn’t win that battle, then at least I’d hope for a nice cool dungeon in which to spend my sentence. It wouldn’t be so bad then.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Basic black...

I'm bored with the blog layout. I'm in mourning for the loss of excitement I felt when the template was shiny and new. I tried to turn the background into something interesting, but I think now it's not the background that bores me, it's the general overall nature of it.

Therefore, be prepared to see some changes 'round here, iff'n I can figure out how to make 'em.

(And apparently it's talk like a gold miner day, what with all the 'iff'ns' n' shizz. Yee haw!)

What do I have in mind, you ax? Well, how about wider columns? How about cool lil' gadgets and widgets? How about archives that roll up? How about permalinking the entries?

Anybody know how to do this stuff? Some of y'all have designed your own very cool sites, and I'm beseeching you to give a girl a hand here.

No, not the APPLAUDING type of hand! The "helping hand" kind of hand.

No, not the kind of helping hand that requires a happy sock for after. Quit being so purposefully dense!

I'm talking about webpage design assistance here! I'm talking about getting code handouts! I'm talking about being a beggar for internetly halp! Charity! Pity! Sanctuary!

Anyone? Please?


Question: If Barack Obama is half white and half black, why is he being called an African American candidate? Should he not more properly be called biracial?

Follow-on question: What's the cutoff for African Americanness? Is it quantifiable or is it qualitative? If you're of mixed race, do you decide what your label is? I'm looking for understanding here people, and welcome your input if you have some to give.

How does he describe himself, I wonder? Certainly he doesn't shun the white half of his heritage, but does he think of himself as black or biracial?

None of this really matters, of course. The color of one's skin does not determine anything more than the color of one's skin, after all. Whether you're white as snow, black as night, red as dawn, or yellow as a buttercup (to borrow those old awkward skin hue categories) really matters not one whit. Race shouldn't play a big part of how we view people, because it's what under the dermis that determines our worth, but we do feel the need to label ourselves to have an identity with some kind of group that shares at least some of what we believe we are.

The African bit is rather elegant in its directness, being as how his Dad is from Kenya and all, but that label ignores the biracialness of his parentage. I wonder, what part of his identity resonates with the caucasian parts of his genetics? Does he enjoy those typically white activities of eating Mayo and Wonder Bread sammiches, of playing badminton, of trouncing opponents in a rubber of bridge, of quaffing MGD on a hot summer afternoon while flame-grilling brats on the Weber? If those things DID resonate, would that then make him more acceptable to those people who say 'they'd never vote for a black man'?

And if so, WHY? Why would that make him more palatable to the people who believe that the color of one's skin determines your acceptability as a human being or your capability to lead, to make informed decisions, to reason, to work?

Well, maybe because he's then got something in common with them too. Maybe they'd be forced into recognizing him as a PERSON, not a threat.

This puzzles me, the labeling. I'd like to see the blend of his heritage be reflected in the label he's being assigned. I'd like to have that possibly divisive issue of race be blended into 'biracial,' forcing haters and lovers alike to acknowledge that he's a man of diverse background, of rich heritage, of drive and intelligence. I'd love to see the race card put down for good and all, so we can see the man instead of his skin.

Then again, I'm a white girl, and probably just don't 'get it.' I'm willing to accept that.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that. What say YOU?


I know, it's Friday, and there should be headlines, but go look yourself! They suck! They're all pretty much understandable, there seems to be no errors in grammar or spelling, there are no incomprehensibles in the lot, and so I am defeated for this Friday.

The is one pretty cool 'gee whiz' story that you should go read. It's cool what we humans can do. Sure wish we'd choose to do more of the cool and less of the uncool, ya know?

With that, I'm out. Have yourselves a great day, a wonderful weekend, and a beer for me.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Zing ba-ding

Crouton Dugong - that's my new spy name. No, I don't know why.

As a spy, I speak with a terrible French accent (some might say "outrageous") and wear slick tailored clothing with just enough 'give' to allow me to slither and sidle, to leap and slink.

I am a very good imaginary pseudo-French spy, complete with wisecracks, a long cigarette holder, platinum hair done in a fantastic 40's do, and stiletto pumps that double as weapons (detachable heels kitted with a few 22 caliber rounds, safety's engaged whenever they're attached to the shoe. Had a few missteps with the design, but Cato the lab guy only lost the end of one toe in the development phase due to premature firing. He's fine now).

But don't let the name fool you, for as a quasi-gallic agent of espionage I do not so much resemble the endangered rotund aquatic critter (the 'dugong' bit, obvs) as I do a leopard or python. Smooth, powerful, calm, and deadly.

Crouton Dugong, at your service.


Y'all. It's going to be in the upper 90's today. Heat index of 100 or so.

Gads. That's hot enough to melt even the frostiest of foreign (or domestic) spies. 100 degrees Fahrenheit...that's a touch over 37C, which sounds cooler, perhaps even frosty, but when you consider that normal room temp is about 22C, you get the idea that 37 is fekking HOT.

Pavement begins to soften at 100 degrees. Birds cease chirping, preferring instead to pant worm-scented breaths in a desperate attempt to keep cool. Dogs find porches under which to pant their pants (whatever scent they may be), and cats stay indoors, for cats are smart like that.

Humboxes of all sizes and types kick on, creating a chorus of consumption to accompany the sizzle of baking sidewalks. When it gets hot like this, it takes no effort to sweat; the slightest motion pops out a sheen of perspiration, irritatingly slick against office wear.

And yet, the landscapers are out. In long sleeve shirts and long pants, hats and vests. The landscapers know no heat, they are not intimidated by the triple digits, they forge on, mowing and whacking and edging so that we in our corporate rat maze can gaze out from out air-conditioned work spaces at perfectly manicured greenery brought to us by the sweat of the landscaper's back and brow.

Unfair, you say? Perhaps. But hell, the company yard was looking ratty, and I sure as heck am not going to go out there and sweat my sizable butt off just to ensure each blade of grass gets a manicure. That's just crazy talk. It's HOT out there!


I just learned that the guy the US Gubmint suspects of being the ringleader of the 9/11 attacks went to school at 'a small Baptist college in North Carolina.'

Then he went to school at the NC school of agriculture and something.

Then he joins al Qaeda.

SOMEWHERE in there is a huge disconnect for me. He went to school here, got the benefit of what I can only imagine was a decent education, and then joins a terrorist group. Oh sure, he started out by wanting to evict the Russians from Afghanistan, and so woot for that I guess (leaving aside the US's role in the whole affair (because there was one)); but somewhere along the line that desire for change morphed into a religious zealotry aimed against some of the very people who afforded him the education that made him so valuable to the jihadists, and isn't he just the little bit chagrined by that?

Isn't he the least little bit ashamed that he plotted a plot that killed several thousand people who live in the country in which he lived and learned for years? Or has the indoctrination of al Qaeda been so thorough that it all seemed fair to him to kill the infidels that introduced him to another way of life, another way of being, an alternate reality to his own?

One wonders, and one scratches one's head, but not too vigorously, because my goodness it's hot out.


Over'n out for now, my friends.

Oh, and for all y'all who were busy planning a dinner party in the comments yesterday - come on over around 7. We'll have the grill going by then. ;)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

In which I declare that I miss people, and am uncharacteristically serious.

It has come to my attention lately that I'm far more nomadic than many people I know.

Nomadic? Me?

Well yes, if you consider that in my lifetime I've lived in the following places:

  • 4 years on Long Island - 1 house
  • 7 years in upstate New York - 1 house
  • 7 years or so in Northern Virginia - 1 house
  • 8 years in the Shenandoah Valley - 3 dorms, one house with ten females, one apartment with just me, one shared townhouse, a second shared townhouse.
  • 6 months in Charlottesville - 1 house all by myself that I'm pretty sure was haunted with someone who was extremely unhappy about being dead.
  • 18 months in Tampa - one small apartment
  • 15 years in Connecticut - 1 small rented farmhouse, another rental house, yet another rental house after we got kicked out of the second rental house, a small house that we built, yet another rental house, 1 motel (you read that right), then one huge house that we built.
  • 3 years in North Carolina - 1 apartment, 1 rental house, 1 boughten house, another apartment, and now the Tiny House.

That's a metric assload of moving around, don't you think? Pretty farking nomadic, really...

It's been years since I lived anywhere near the rest of my family, if by 'near' you mean 'within an hour's drive from where I live.' I simply don't have that history. Heck, my folks moved away from the ancestral home (NYC and environs) when I was 4, and since then it's been a slog to see any family member.

But some people I know aren't like that. Some people have lived in much the same place for their entire lives. They are FROM somewhere. They have history, family, a regional accent, a knowledge of how things have changed in their hometown, where the department store used to be downtown before the mall came, who got arrested for senior prank and is now mayor, when the row of big oaks on Main Street were planted, and why the DiOrios always have the best fireworks displays in town. They have a PLACE, an identity, a 'home,' complete with family that's also stayed put, friends who never left, a circle of familiarity that grounds them.

I, on the other hand, have places, and multiple personalities to fit them. I have no family around. When the school permission slips say "name an emergency contact who does not live with you," I have nothing to put there. When the petsitter says "maybe you could ask one of your neighbors to come let the dog out at lunchtime," I have to confess that I don't know my neighbors well enough to even ask them that kind of favor. When I think "it would be nice to have someone over for dinner," there is an agonizingly small number of people I could call; very few of whom live in my town.

I do have friends, and they're great people, but mostly they live very far away (almost beyond the "nearby" boundary stated above) and so the casual get-together is not so much casual as an event to organize. Nobody drops by. I don't do any dropping by. There is no middle-of-the-street conversation with locals, no recognition of friends at the grocery store, no causal chat at the CVS with someone you know.

And so, here I am - 46 years years old with no 'home.' This saddens me, because part of the lack is of my own making. Have I truly reached out? No. Have I been a catalyst for friendship? No. Have I gone out on a limb, seeking closeness and camaraderie with acquaintances, hoping to turn them into friends given enough time and understanding? Not nearly as much as I should have. Joined the PTO/church/gym? No. I've isolated myself, been stingy with my time, been hiding in my little corner of the world, hoping someone will invite me to dance (as it were), waiting people out to see who wants ME enough, and that's kind of backassward, isn't it?

With time I'm sure that Wake Forest, at least my little corner of it, will be where 'home' becomes. Of course my house is there, and I love the town, but I'm still a little rootless, still a little ungrounded. I've wandered around my whole life, brushing the edges of the local societies, always moving on to the next big thing, moving in and out of other people's lives pretty much at my own whim.

It's time to stop that. The friends I have now are loving, accepting, wonderful, admirable, and I'm lucky to call them friend (hi guys! LOVE YOU!). It's time to rekindle closeness with them, to seek THEM out and not wait until they get in touch, to rebuild, and then to reach out farther, to establish a presence, to root myself, to come to ground with the wanderlust, to make a home for my little family that we can look on with pride and a sense of place.

Maybe I'm done looking for the 'next big thing.' Maybe I've reached a point at which it's time to focus on the little things.

Like finding home.


This post brought to you by mood swings, and the letter I.

Y'all please have a great day, wherever you are.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

771 onna bun

It's possible to listen to a telecon and not hear what's being said. AAMOF, I'm doing it right now. Face time is ever so important in the hurly-burly corporate world. Say your name at logon, then go read your e-mail, play a game, type a blog post, and basically get paid to goof off.



So. In a couple of weeks I'm due to give a presentation at a national meeting of thousands of people who are involved in my personal area of employ (the pharmaceutical biz, if you're playing along at home).

The presentation is due tomorrow.

FACT THAT SHOULD SURPRISE NOBODY: I have not yet started it.

How long do you think it will take to rett up a 20-minute presentation on a topic with which one is only marginally familiar? I'm budgeting about 2 hours. We'll see. 20-some slides, not a few of which will be filled with some of the most dry topical information known to all mankind (and perhaps a few alien species who might be listening in), with perhaps some sort of cool slide transitions and zooming bullets to keep interest...and we're done. The content is pretty much copy and paste, but because I'm an inveterate underestimator of time required to produce a final product, I can envision me slaving away in the wee hours to tweak and massage a presentation that is one of hundreds to be given at the meeting, sweating over the small details, memorizing every nuance of guidance from several different geographic areas.

Part of my charm y'all - the ability develop OCD at the drop of a hat.


Speaking of hats:

Why don't people wear hats anymore? When did folks, by and large, STOP wearing hats?

Where did all the milliners go? What are they doing now? Who's looking after the poor out-of-work cranial sartorial specialists?

How many questions can I ask about hat-wearing?

I would like hat-wearing to make a comeback. Hats could do so much for a girl like me who has hair that does what it will, often doing a fair imitation of 'straw in a windstorm.' I look good in hats too; I suspect it has something to do with that hat covering one or more of the acres of fivehead I've got going on, thereby focusing more attention to the remaining half of my face...

(Yes, I know that bangs could do the same thing, but I'm not a fan of bangs, being as how they require tending to. I'm not a huge fan of the tending-to, if you hadn't guessed by now.)

A nice little hat perched on top of my gigantic cranium might indeed feminize my head. Something with a jaunty feather, or sweet little daisies, or sequins! SEQUINS!!! YES! A nice pink straw hat with sequins....maybe STREAMERS of sequins that cascade down the back like a sparkly ponytail. A princess hat, shiny and distracting! Nobody would notice my split ends! I could french twist my hair and tuck it up under the princess hat (which of course would also have to come in black to match most of my wardrobe), glamming up my style with the addition of this miraculous chapeau.

(<----See? Jaunty! Adorable! )

But then, I'd have to uptick my wardrobe to match the sparkly twinkly princess hat of miracles. Maybe buy shoes with a heel. Skirts....tailored trousers....actual BLOUSES, not just fancy tee-shirts. Bedjackets and feathered mules. Lipstick and dramatic eyeliner.



This is getting expensive.

Baseball cap it is then. They go with everything, right?


Whelp - This telecon is wrapping up, and I'm due to start workly work at any moment. All y'all have a great day. "Tues it" like you MEAN it, yo!

Monday, June 02, 2008

He's been holding out

Apparently Nibbler the puppy DOES know how to wag his tail.

We haven't seen much of this behavior, because it occurs at approximately 2:30 a.m. each and every day, when he's determined that it's his designated time to play.

THIS morning, his internal alarm went off as per schedule, and because there was nobody awake to play with him, he decided to rectify that situation by shoving a small wet cold nose up my personal BUTT, which is certainly a most novel way to wake up. Not immediately unpleasant, but quickly becomes so once the grogginess clears and what one might dreamily have thought to be the ardent hands of an imaginary George Clooney instead turns out to be the nasal region of a small dog. THAT smacks of bestiality, and I draw the line of "things that might interest me" somewhere far north of there.

Be that as it may, it was hard to turn down the entreaties of one small dog. There he was, paws up on the mattress, tail a-waggin', happy as he could be to have someone up and responding. So cute. I let him nibble on my hand a while, petted him, then told him to go lie down, Mommy wanted to sleep.

Nibbler, it must be said right now, does not understand English. It is far and away his second language, the first being dog, at which he's only marginally familiar. Really - I think I've heard him bark ONCE. Therefore, my request to be allowed to return to somnolence was greeted with a hearty "Wha?" by the Nibs, and a resurgence of finger-gnawing, which was quickly losing its charm as a means of bonding.

Thus is was that Nibs was evacuated from the bedroom to find amusement elsewhere. I hope the feline population of the house appreciated that.

His other favorite time to play is when a human is using the smallest room to do a little offloading, if you get my drift. It clear he prefers a captive audience. Or maybe he just likes the smell of butt groceries, who knows?


I think I had the healthiest brefess evar this morning. Really! Blueberry smoothie and some kind of cereal with nuts and husks in. With blueberries on top. Healthy, right?

Good thing too, because something good was needed to counterbalance the 20 gazillion Gobstoppers I ate last night while watching the first half of "Ocean's Eleven." Mmm, Gobstoppers. Impossible to eat the way Willie Wonka intended, because once the first layer of yummy goodness is sucked off, it's CRUNCHING TIME!

I have no patience for sucking ALL the layers off, you see. I want ALL FLAVORS AT ONCE ,and I want them now. Veruca Salt's got nothing on me and the Gobstoppers. Or mints, Lifesavers, lollipops, etc etc. Also ice, though I do a lot less ice crunching now that my gums have decided it's time to begin seceding from my teef. The getting old cannot be stopped; only my approach to life can change. Therefore, not so much with the ice.

QoTD then: Are you a sucker or a cruncher? Tell us about it, won't you?

And have a wonderful day.