Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Wordsmiths

Ebenezer Gormland had a seed in his teeth. As his mama would have said (had she been alive) it was a real trial to him, being as how it was stuck between two back teeth, wedged in a crack that had formed a few years back when he bit down on the knob-end of a chicken wing and found bone instead of gristle.

He should have known better than to order the burger on a sesame-seed bun, but oh, they were tasty. Sadlacks knew how to do ‘em, and on a hot summer night a burger and beer were just about the best things to take the heat from the day and the cares from his mind.

That seed though. It was trouble. He’d been working at it for a little while when the waitress came out. She was a new girl, fresh as a daisy even in the hot damp Carolina summer evening. Pretty thing, long hair swinging with each step. Not the kind of girl you want notcing your dental excavations. Eb stopped sucking and picking as she approached.

“Hey, everything OK here?”

“Sure, sure.”

“That burger OK?”

“Sure is.”

“You done with it? Want me to wrap it?”

“Naw. I’m not finished yet.”

“Why’d you stop eating?”

“I had to think on something for a while.”

“Oh. OK.”

She refilled his water glass and went back inside, a puff of air conditioning from the dark bar whooshed out, ruffling his paper napkin.

Eb recommenced picking. Plastic fork tines and his credit card were too thick. Pinkie fingernail was not good either, it just rammed the seed toward the middle of the gap. That seed got wedged further and further down, mashing his gum sore. Swishes of water didn’t do any good, even when he let the water warm in his mouth so it wouldn’t zing the nerves of his two sensitive teeth.
Stupid seed. Stupid bun. Five dollars of good burger rendered inedible while he struggled with this one small invader. Eb was sure he was making faces that wouldn't invite other diners in, and didn’t much care. That damn seed needed to be evicted.

She came out again. He stopped picking.

“Hey. You still thinking?”

“Yep. Got something on my mind.”

“Can I help you with it?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Ha! Think so! Good one!”

“I suppose it was. What’s your name, young lady?”

“Amy. What’s yours?”


“Well Eb, I’ll come back and check on you in a little bit. It’s slow tonight so you can have the table as long as you need a space for thinking.”

“Thanks Amy.”

She slid the bill folder across the table to him and left.

Inside was the expected slip of paper, which was wrapped around a flat plastic toothpick. She’d written “Penny for your thoughts” at the bottom, with a big smiley face trailing off the “s.”

He left more than a penny, kept his thoughts to himself, and smiled the two blocks home.


For the Wordsmiths.

Monday, September 29, 2008

860, on the nose

Sunday, ah. A day of rest. A day to spend in quiet reflection of the week's events, to pour (pore?) over the thick Sunday paper in quiet repose, a day to gather loved ones about to occupy a few serene hours in pleasant conversation.

Or, if "you" are me and the people who live in the Tiny House, you can instead choose to spend your Sunday breaking up a dozen fights between adolescent boys, digging out the front garden on a half a lark and a long-term goal of turning the whole front yard into a real 'garden,' making several trips out to local shopportunities for garden plants and birthday presents and mulch and milk, then going back out when the mums and mulch run out before the new garden bed does. You can spend it dousing yourself in mosquito repellant, sweating through two sets of gardening duds, breaking up a half-dozen more bickering sessions between two young men who really ought to be out looking for jobs or something, and putting in edging around the just-made new garden.

Later in the day, you might set those two young men out to chopping up kindling for firewood just to give them something to do to keep them from killing one another while you take yet another shower to wash off the last of the "Off" (and yes, I know they could have done bad things to each other with the loppers, but it was a risk that needed to be taken), after which you decide to make homemade vanilla pudding but see that you have no eggs left which is a momentary setback until the interwebs comes to your rescue with this:

(adapted from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball)

  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 C low-far vanilla yogurt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine dry ingredients in saucepan. Mix milk and yogurt together in medium bowl, add half to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add remaining liquid to saucepan and whick again until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. (Thing 1 asked "when will I know it's thickened?" and didn't believe me when I said "you'll know." He now knows that this is a perfectly accurate answer.)
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook until the mix starts to bubble, sitrring continuously.
  4. Cook 1 minute without stirring.
  5. Fold in vanilla and pur into individual serving dishes OR a medium bowl lined with banana slices. Chill for at least an hour.
(Note: original recipe calls for half and half instead of the milk and yogurt. Wow - that some rich-ass pudding, right there!)

So you make it and have Thing 2 chop up bananas for this nascent dessert while Thing 1 stirs and stirs so that the bottom of this milk-white delicacy doesn't burn, and something happens to the day that seemed fraught with too much "to do" and "he did it" - it settles. The boys start to look forward to 'having a burn' in the firepit and maybe cooking some weenies over the open flame. They're glad to help in the kitchen, they do what they're asked. The fighting stops.

Fire and food as tranquilizers for teens n' tweens. Years of summer camp should have taught me that lesson. Maybe it just takes a long and somewhat challenging day to fall back on what instinct would do a facepalm over as the obvious cure.


If you don't have a firepit, I would suggest you consider adding one to your backyard. The one at the TH is three courses of dry-fit architectural brick (those ones with rounded fronts on 'em that are designed to use in building retaining walls and such) that took one (admittedly very strong so therefore not me) person less than an hour to lay out and put together. It's maybe 4 feet across, and is wonderful to gather around when the sun's gone down but it's too early to go inside and veg out to teevee or whatever. Also? People look really neat in firelight.

The Things are learning the fine art of "fire poking," which isn't as easy as it sounds. Seriously! If you don't want to put the fire OUT, you have to know where to poke, otherwise the whole thing could collapse on itself, killing your source of entertainment, and nobody wants that, now do they?


Had yet another in what is developing to be a rather nice series of "Dinner At Judy's" on Saturday. The Things went swimming in the rapidly cooling off pool (it is almost October, after all) while the adults had cheese and crackers and wine on the back deck - how VERY cosmopolitan of us! Then it was dinner and conversation and dessert and more conversation. There is never a shortage of things to talk about with Kenju and Mr Kenju, and that? Is a wonderful thing. Such great hosts, and such enjoyable people. Thanks y'all!!


Hair update: Going swimmingly. No shampoo or brushing since Friday, and already I can see a difference. The bar of Indigo Wild almond soap and a wide-toothed comb are far more gentle on this old head of hair than the daily shampooing and manic brushing were, and so I'm being treated (by my own hair!) to loose ringlets in back and gentle waves in front. Plus which, the ends of the hair are SOFT, a thing that I thought wasn't possible. So, yay!

Might have to go back here (Honeywine, there's your link) now to find out how to STYLE this new hair. I'm thinking the "yank it back in a ponytail" thing I've been doing isn't the best way to showcase what's going on "up there."


That's a bit of what happened on my weekend (I left out the trip to Adventure Landing - but LASER tag is FUN!!!). More news as events warrant.

Tiff out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ain't THIS enough to make your brain hurt.

Well now. I missed the chance yesterday to post a couple of science-y things and naming the post "Thinking Thursday" or some other twee name, but no matter. Today can be a day to think, can't it?

Yes, yes it can.

And so, let me take this opportunity to introduce you to a few new-to-me websites that might just make your brain hurt in a good way as it fires off synapses that in all likelihood you haven't revved up since Hector was a pup.

First - Seedmagazine.com. This is a find sent to me by the STBX, who is a thinking-type person and who, I'm sure, understands the contents of this site far better than I ever could. The article of self-replicating machines is enough of a head-scratcher for me for one day, but this site is getting bookmarked for future perusal.

Second - Pharyngula, This guy is a college professor who is unabashed in his disdain for creationism (or at least the restrictive timelines imposed on creationism by some hard-liners (I, for one, believe in a form of creationism, because if I didn't my already-aching head would explode into a thick mist of gore from the implication that were just an accident of evolution, which would then mean that there really IS no purpose to life and we're simple parasites on a randomly-formed world, and that's too awful a thought to entertain for very long. I like to think that we are here for a reason, if only to be part of God's big experiment. I can live with the idea that I'm a data point, perhaps even an outlier. That would be cool. When I get to heaven (please?) I'd love to look a big chart of human experience and see that my existence skewed some normal distribution.)), so those of you who hold to the 10,000-year-old earth theory might not want to touch this one, but I find him brash and amusing. He's a favorite of Farkers, if that's any indication.

Third - Scienceblogs.com. It seems to be nearly boundless in scope, and very likely a real weekend-swallower for the so-inclined. I can't wait to have a few random off hours to dig around in the pile of 70-some-odd blogs that contribute to this site, and to get my rusty middle-aged mind wrapped around some insights, facts, and theories. Yummy.

I rather like to read things that make me feel a little stupid. It means that I can still learn, but perhaps more importantly it means that greater minds than mine are out there doing the heavy thinking, that they're out there sweating over the hard questions, which leaves people like me ample time to goof off, something that I'm very good it. Because really? If I had to devote my time to thinking about stuff, when would I ever get to play Chuzzle?


Brace yourselves for a precipitous topic change!

Strapped in? Good. Engage.

I'm trying a new thing to bring my thatch of head-hair into some kind of silky wonderfulness. I'm not washing it anymore.

Wait! Before you go all 'ew!' and start thanking your lucky stars (and clovers! in marshmallow!) that you don't live close to me for fear my stanky ol' head would make you want to visit the elephant enclosure at some local zoo to get a breath of fresh air, I should tell you that I'm not washing it with shampoo anymore.

Apparently, most kinds of shampoo are death to curly hair, being as how they strip the sparse oils from it, drying it out most horrifically. I happen to be the proud owner of a half-head of curly hair (everything from the crown on back), and can attest that keeping it under control is a soul-sapping bitch to do, which is why mine's usually pulled back into a frizzy bun or french-braided somehow. The frizzidness and dryness bug me, because I just KNOW that my hair can look much better, and so, after doing some reading on a website for people with curly hair (my god, there's a website for everything now, isn't there?), I've decided to do their 'no poo' regimen for a week to see if that might be the answer to the question 'oh WHY won't my hair behave?'

No shampoo? Then what does I do? I can clean my hair with conditioner, apparently. It's got sodium lauryl sulphate in it, which is what does the cleaning in shampoo, but the conditioner just has a lot less of it. The tricky bit is going to be getting the wavy hair in front to play nicely with the super-curly hair in back...which might take a bit of experimenting.

Hey - If you know how to treat long curly/wavy hair so that it goes from an unruly mop to a glistening flowing mane of feminine awesomeness, please let me know. I'm on a mission here.

Thanks, and have a great day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Seems like I write a poem every autumn, so why not this one too?

Sudden Onset

This morning
Autumn blew in
Through half-open windows.

Breezy leaves skirr
Gray skies skud
Geese vee south

Summer left
In an instant
Or so it seems

Jackets go on
No more AC
Dark at dinner

Welcome fall
The best season
Sleep under two blankets

Hot griddle cakes
High school football
Pumpkins to buy

Hello gorgeous
Leaves turn color
Drink some hot cider

Oh happy day!
Fall is here
Finally, and again.


I love fall. I do. I love the chill, the darker evenings, the excitement of wind-touseled leaves, the way the air seems fresher. I love waking up to sunrises that slowly color the neighborhood in a golden light unlike the glaring yellow of summer. I love sunsets watched from the front porch, feeling the warmth leak from the day while swallows circle overhead looking for that last meal. I love the the mosquitos think it's too cold to come out for any meal at all.

Fall, after the blistering heat of a Southern summer, is a welcome turn of events. It's wonderful to think about digging out the crockpot from where it's been stashed since May; to decorate in seasonal shades of red and orange, brown and yellow; to draw a deep breath and feel coolness in your nose and throat. Isn't it great to pull out those sweaters, to slide into those jeans, to feel a nip in the air in the mornings, to see steam rise from a cup of coffee as it sits on the picnic table while the dog chases after her ball? I think so.

The harvest is being brought in, tractors turn the earth for the last fruits, apple-picking commences, the home-time of winter is just around the corner so it's time to get out and party while it's good weather. It's the time of Oktoberfest and country fairs, and there's nothing to not like about that. Buxom women serving gigantic steins of beer, shouts of 'hoi hoi hoi' punctuating oom-pah bandbeats, fresh-faced future farmers parading yearling cattle, fancy chickens on display in long lines of wire cages, the smell of fried dough and hot chocolate mingling with earthy scents of animals. The best is displayed, judged, and celebrated as summer and its hard work is brought to a close. A new season is beginning, the change is always welcome.

Who's with me in the autumnal lub-fest? And who would suggest an alternate favorite? Tell us about, won't you?

And have a great day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What th'?

So, I log into blogger just now, and on the dashboard there's this thing that says I have 1 follower.

What does that mean? Who is stalking me?

And, perhaps more importantly, why aren't there MORE people doing it?


Someone near and dear to me, who also happens to have the good taste to read this blog, mentioned that I haven't had any rants here lately. Seems that this person LIKES it when I get all riled up about some triviality and go off spouting like a surfacing blue whale.

Naturally, I then began to think about what has been pissing me off recently in order that I could provide some kind of rantyness here, because that's the kind of friend I am. I thought, and I thought, then took a break to pee, then thought some more, and came up with this:


Nothing has been pissing me off. Nothing at least that I can blame on anything but nature or other immutable forces. Complain about the weather? What for? Bitch about gas prices? Why bother, when there's nothing to be done about them anyhow, being as major oil companies wouldn't really notice if I stopped buying their product. Rave on about the stupidly insane wars in which we are engaging on the worldwide stage while the nations we've sworn to protect, as well as some others that outright hate us, work to undermine our efforts by means of suicide bombings, treaty-breakings, position reversals, incursions, invasions, kidnappings, beheadings? Been that way since the United States decided to go beyond the boundaries of simple protectionism to become the world's policemen, and so backing off that position is not only inadvisable for the near term but dangerous to boot.

It's not that there's not anything rave about, it's more like the things that are rave-worthy are already being covered by greater minds than mine who also have a larger audience to listen to the rantings. The notion that adding to the din with is noble or worthy of the effort would be like thinking that it's possible to hear a whisper in a middle-school cafeteria at lunchtime; the simple answer is "it's not worth trying."

So have I become more content, or have I given up? Is it worth bunching my undies for things of merit, even if the effort has no possibility of rippling the vast oceans of the world-wide intertubez? Why should I take the time to ramp up a good froth over things that are well beyond my control, that are very likely far beyond my capability to understand (Fed buyout of investment banks, anyone?), or are out of reach of my grasp of implications (all of politics, and the mucky, slanderous nature of it as it's practiced in this country today)? It's certainly not as if anything I would have to say would make any difference at all, and I'm not an able enough debater to turn anyone's mind to whatever point I choose to support, so it's best in the end to leave the big issues alone.

And yet.....

That leaves the little issues as fair game, doesn't it? That leaves the inane, miniscule, niggling little things to get het up about. Oh, sweet relief! There IS a platform on which to build a pyre that will fuel a roiling boil of indignation! There is a crucible into which I can pour my middle-aged ire, hoping to forge an argument built on pissy little details.

Itchy clothes, grating teeth, shopping carts with wobbly wheels, gas pains, spilled milk - these can be the raw materials from which a solid rant can be concocted! Sweet merciful saints of rationalization, I'm saved!!!

But, you know what? I'm simply not in the mood. It's a beautiful day, there's coffee in the pot, and I'm tired out from not ranting. Maybe another day, eh?


Jumping rope is harder than it looks. 10 minutes of that shit is killer hard.

10 minutes done in 30-second bursts with 30-second recovery periods, that is. This old heart can't take much more than that at a time. Isn't that just the most pathetic thing ever?

And thus is born a new obsession.


I'm off to find a sweater to put over my work clothes, then it's off to a fine day in the cube farm for me. Have a good Wednesday, y'all, and don't let the sandworms get you down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things I cannot do

Ten things I cannot do:

  • Whistle and hum at the same time
  • Grow an extra arm
  • This (probably NSFW, but watch it anyhow. She's got a future with Cirque du Soleil)
  • Play the guitar
  • Run a mile
  • Shoot laserbeams out my butthole
  • Drive a combine
  • See in 3D
  • Understand Andy Warhol
  • Get up the first time the alarm goes off

The possibilities are endless, really. The things I can't do could fill a lifetime of trying to get them done. I also cannot do a gainer off a diving board, I cannot put my left leg behind my head, I can't wash the spot between my shoulderblades on my own without some aides, I cannot make my Dad come back to life, I cannot understand the concept of the Big Bang.

Some things I cannot do I've chalked up to fate or my physiology. I simply wasn't MEANT to be a runner, for example, and as much as I've tried to run for health and fitness, it was never, ever enjoyable. Oh, I could go a cupla too-tree miles before total boredom set in, and would often do that over a lunch hour, but running was not, nor will it ever be, easy (or enjoyable, but enjoying something isn't the point here).

I'm still working on the whistling/humming thing though. That seems like it would be a fun thing to do.

That's it for now. Let's finish this one up with a FAIL video to make us all feel better:

Have a great day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

All in all, a fine kettle of toads

While doing a bit of Farking this morning, I had the happy chance to read this article about words that may be in danger of being ousted dictionarily. Happy chance, because the writer actually uses the words in the article, and the putting-in-context of words I've never even heard of made it a slightly giddy read.

Words I've never heard of. What a wonderful notion.

However wonderful, there's precious little chance of these words staying in the dictionary because, face it, there are better words around that have supplanted them. Language evolves, and one long word is dropped in favor of two smaller ones. The lexicon shrinks, 'superfluous' becomes 'extra,' and the concatenation of language from linguistic 12-course bloaters into verbal tapas moves on.

That's sad, really, because sometimes we need words like 'caliginosity' to fit a line in a poem or a column of a crossword, don't we.


If ever you have the chance to go to a play 'reading,' take up the offer. Instead of having the customary drinks and dinner and MythBusters last night, instead 7 p.m. found me in a semi-comfortable chair at The Theater In The Park down at Pullen Park, watching and listening to several actors bring to life a play one of my former colleagues (and still friend) has written.

The play was on subject matter of which I knew little, and so in addition to being entertained, I learned something. It's almost never a bad day when you can learn something, ya know?

Also? Any presentation that has as one of its central characters someone who wrote one of the most pivotal works of gothic horror ever has pretty much got to rock. Add to that the desolation of multiple deaths, the presence of a great poet as love interest, several hints at infidelity, and a spiral into the awful depths of depression, and you've got yourself one humdinger of a play.

A very very cool part was that after the reading, those of us in the audience (all 12 of us; hey, Sunday nights are tough!), as well as the actors were ASKED by the author for our input, particularly on issues that the author was unsure of herself. Amazing. Being asked for input, given the chance to workshop a piece that has been the fruit of a lifetime of interest in the main character, the outcome of a period of intense research used as a coping mechanism in the face of personal tragedy, the result of weeks of intensive writing once the research and outlining and preparation were complete. You'd think that someone would want to cradle their literary baby closely, to keep it unmolested by the world, but no, the author sought to mold this creative offspring into something better, and wanted our help doing it.

Is that cool, or what?

It was kind of fun getting to have some back and forth with the other audience members and the cast, who had fantastic ideas of their own. What started out as an engaging play with a very interesting story is, I think, going to become a very good play with a compelling tale to tell.

Especially for those of us who weren't English majors, and who therefore don't know how it all is going to end anyhow.


In other news briefs - painting the Tiny House is almost off the 'to-do' list. I know, I can't believe it either. Yesterday saw the second half of the trim being painted through a glorious midday of bright sun and perfect temperatures. In addition, the second round of priming was completed, as was the scraping and priming of a battered bedroom windowframe. When the weather cooperates, working outside is a pleasure, isn't it?

Anyhow, it's almost done. Also - there's a new fire pit in the backyard, and the old one is now a crumbling heap of bricks, just waiting to be hauled off to the dump. Y'all, it took no more that a couple of blows with a sledgehammer to take down the back wall of that monstrosity, and once that was in a pile a gentle shove on either of the two remaining sides brought the house down. The hardest part was bashing the mortar and concrete base to break it up, but even that was done in just a few minutes. It helps to have extra hands around to get the job done - especially a neighbor with some anger issues. Gives 'physical therapy' a whole new meaning.

Next up? Tiling the front porch.

What can I say - it keeps me from getting in the liquor cabinet before 5.


I hope you had a terrific weekend. Mine went too daggone fast, but now there are good memories to store and a perfect new mirror from a local artist on the living room wall, procured during this weekend's artists' studio tour, to serve as a reminder of what was.

Rock on, y'all.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Firstly, let's all take a moment to celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Ar, mateys, there seems tae be more than ONE home page! Blast it all! Visit 'em both, say I, fer Ol' Chumbucket is featured on both, and ye don't want tae arouse the ire of a man thusly named.

If you're in the dark about how to start, go here for a lesson in just what it takes to speak akin to a ravaging menace of th' sea, ye scallywags! Then heave ho on down to yer local for a pint 'er six o' grog with a rum backer, and "ARRR" yer day away!


If you're not the pirate-y type, then perhaps you'd like to have a bit o' fun with this little test of skill. It'll take a few minutes of your time to discern if you are a champion color whiz, and it might leave you with a variety of eyestrain I like to call "the squinties," but it's fun and I'll give you a prize of some kind if you can do better than my score of 8.

I'll bet you can't do it.

No, I double-dog butt-bet you can't. Neener neener neener!!!! And a nyah nyah too!

Oh, and Puff? Thanks for the URL and the subsequent challenge. Also for the squinties, and the perseverant bands of sparkly colors that embossed themselves on my retinas for a period of no less than 20 minutes. Almost exactly like a visual migraine, without the headache and inability to speak clearly!


Campaign cash cows are put out to pasture

Identifiable by their distinct calls of "Moooo-ney"

Oil rises above $100 a barrel

Because somewhere in outer Slobovia a gnat farted. Everybody panic!

Cable, led by Cablevision, mulls network DVR

Secret recipe includes cloves and a touch of red pepper.

Hacker: impersonated Palin, stole e-mail password

Because no-one suspects a hacker politician!

(wow - tell me if you get that one. It's a pretty far reach.)

China's tainted formula shows risks of dairy boom

First, cash cows, now, exploding bovines? What's with the ruminant-oriented headlines today?


Don't drink it please, you will not stay very healtheeeee!! Tainted formula (oh whoa whoa whoa), tainted formula!

Longoria hits 3 homers but Twins rally past Rays

And you thought she was just an actress.

Transformer breaks on world's largest atom smasher

Oops - they should have know not to hire Wheeljack for this mission. Jeez.


Hey y'all, that's it for today. I had a lovely mid-year review this morning already and thus an happy enough to go do some real work while I've got the giddy on.

Have a wonderful afternoon and a fantastic weekend, won't you?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is it too late to become Amish?

Y'all, can we band together to form a coalition that could force these United States to have the elections for Prez NOW instead of having to wait another 6 weeks for them to occur?

Because I, like a fair number of folks out there, am officially sick and tired of watching what should be a process of fair exchange of ideas or debate over worthy matters of policy go straight down the shitter. I'm tired of hearing facts get twisted, of reading inflammatory headlines, of suffering through smugness on both parties' sides as they or their hired mouthpieces blow enough putrid hot air to fill a blimp.

Maybe it's just that I dislike politics. In general, I dislike any conflict, so this political season of douchebaggery is a trying time indeed. The preening, the mockery, the ads positioning one person over another, the glossing over of facts or the libelistic yanking about of pseudofacts in order to gain purchase with some heretofore 'unimportant' demographic are not my mental fodder of choice, but the shouting and jingoism can't be shut out, it's simply too far soaked into our 'hooked in' lives to ignore completely.

Perhaps that's the problem. Perhaps being 'hooked in' is the issue. Perhaps creating an atmosphere of complete and total isolation from the influences of electronic society would be the brain-clearing world I crave and so fervently desire.

And so, think I perhaps I should convert to Amishism.

The Amish are a gentlefolk, are they not? They are simple, toil-based, faith-ridden, and solid. They might wear some funny-ass clothes, but hey, I'm getting older now and maybe a caped dress and apron might be a good look for this ol' bod. Plus which? Those snoody things are awesome for bad hair days, from which I suffer on such a regular basis that 'good hair' days are the exception rather than the rule. And who doesn't like a man in suspenders? Really now.

The Amish, at least the sparkly-clean ones that live in my imagination, speak softly and with measure, they tread purposefully through their days, they take pleasure in their chores and in their connection with the earth and their community.

The Amish are, above all, separated from the influences of a constantly available barrage of quips, sound bites, 24-hours 'news,' pabloid glops of political information spooned out by handlers and talking heads. The Amish don't concern themselves with such things, for there is the corn to bring in an a barn to raise with Jakob from down the road. There is bread to bake and children to raise and a baby to feed and the cows to milk, by hand. Then there are the horses to curry-comb and their hooves need shodding (if such a word exists) and there's honey in the hive that needs boiled down (for that is how they say such thing in Amishland, 'boiled down.' They are sparse with their words and so delete the infinitive in favor of a more terse linguistic code).

There are things to do. Work that needs to be completed. There is precious little time left over for fripperies like teevee (which they don't have) or radio (which they probably also don't have, unless it's the hand-cranked kind) or (gasp!) the internet.


Wait just a mo. Is there maybe such a thing as hand-cranked internet?


Gah! Plans foiled.

Perhaps some earplugs would work just as well as converting. That way, I'd get to keep my plaid Vans. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be allowed in Amishia anyhow.


"Hand-Cranked Internet" would be a pretty good band name. I'mma add it to my list.


I'm on page 6 of the Dem platform document. It's pretty slow reading, what with all the ire-venting and unnecessary fiddling about on blogs I'm doing.

And how YOU doin'?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And yet, my love can be shared


Oh my.

Oh my goodness.

It's a geek's dream.

Someone, hold me, for I lust after things best left alone, like strange new supervoae and geeky electronics and devolvations into the minutiae of spaces best left unexplored.


A letter of love to one without whom I would be nothing, nothing at all.

To my brain,

I love you. I think you're totally awesome, what with the crenellations and indurations and foldy gyri of memory-holding and whatnot. You sit inside my skull, cradled in cerebrospinal fluidy goodness and command the body, MY body (and also yours, isn't that weird?) to do marvelous things like walk and chew gum at the same time.

How do you do that?

Also, how do you know when to get sleepy, and when to tell me I'm hungry, and how to make my hands hold the mascara wand in such a way as to get the outer tips of the lashes done at the same time as the rest of them? Because that right there is fairly amazing stuff.

There's a lot to like about you, dear brain. How you hold memories for dozens of years (though really? You could do a way better job, because I'd think you'd remember things like the time I went to a sushi party in grad school where the sushi was full of WORMS, and how I was the only-ever 4th grader on the library squad in elementary school, but no, my Mom had to tell me about those things), how you recall phone numbers easily, how you provide terrific dreams on such a regular basis that I'm convinced at this point that I'm actually being transported to another world every night. For a 3-pound wrinkly lump of jello-like parynchema, you really really rock.

One thing though: could you maybe do a touch better with helping me remember the little things, like the fact that we DID actually print out Thing 1's school project last night, and that a last-minute panic this morning really wasn't necessary? Honestly brain, I have a need to keep these kinds of things in line or the possibility of me flying completely off whatever handle I'm precariously clinging to is heightened ten-fold. Never mind that I had to ask twice if we'd really done that last night, never mind that I was in the act of e-mailing it from my work laptop to the home computer YET AGAIN so we could print it out while the first half of that first cup of coffee wasn't even finished, never mind that (and this is arguably the most important point) it's really not my responsibility to ensure that the kid has his schoolwork; I would think (or YOU would, I guess!) that something like the fact that the printing out had already been DONE would have turned a tumbler in your lockbox of important items so that the assurance of completion would have made its way into memory and I wouldn't have to embarrass us (yes, US. We're a team. Without you I'd be nothing, and with me, you'd be a rapidly desiccating lump of unidentifiable goo on the sidewalk) in front of the children.

It's a little thing, but an important one. Tell me/us you'll work on it, mmkay?

All My Love,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What you might not think of is often the most amazing thing ever

Saw this pic on Yahoo news today.

Fish. In a fence! What the Sam Hill?

This is a type of natural disaster aftermath that I would never have thought of. Would you? Oh sure, I'd think of the floodwaters receding and having to clean up mud and debris, but fish? In the chain link? Never.

Another picture from Texas shows THOUSANDS of fish in a highway median. At first I thought they were paving stones or something brick-like, but nope - them was fish. It must stink to high heaven 'round those parts right about now, what with the fishies doing their decompositiony thing there in the middle of the road. And the flies, oh my, they must be awful. Seagulls, buzzards, crows must be having a field day, but alls I'm thinking of is the icky stank of those thousands of fish baking under the hot Texan sun.

Mmmm, fish.


Speaking of decomposition, there was a bit of dinner conversation last night that revolved around that very topic. After Thing 1 proclaimed that upon dying most people either pee or poop, a door was opened into what other amazing things supposedly dead bodies can do. The Things were much surprised to learn that bodies can burp and fart after the dearly departed has left the building.

More specifically, or rather more correctly, a decomposing body will undergo a liquefaction process as tissue breaks down by a combination of bacteria and enzyme action. These liquefied substances of a decaying body can be highly volatile. They can create gases. Under the right circumstances, these gases can cause a small explosion.

Explosions! Way more cool than burping after your time to go has come and gone.

So, now you know what to expect from casual banter if you ever come over for dinner at my house.

We save discussions of politics and the warlike nature of modern man for brunch.


And just then? I got caught up in looking at the pictoral descriptors of death that can be found on Google images. Fascinating, but I have to get back to work. Or, TO work, because it's a slow morning, what with the clouds and rain and general feeling like I've done this all before and just for once can't my day start with something unusual like a unicorn making rainbow-colored whole wheat flapjacks while gnomes clean the baseboards with cotton-candy scented bleach so that the Queen of Cartoons won't be appalled when she comes over to give me a footrub and watch bad daytime teevee starring a pack of anthropomorphized monkeys bathing chipmunks in tuxedos?

How hard would THAT be, universe?


Monday, September 15, 2008

Hey Monday!

I just love Mondays, don't you?

They're so full of fresh promise, so turgid with potential, so ripe with anticipation of the wonderful things that could possibly happen.

Mondays speak of an 'anything goes' attitude, don't they? The week stretches out before you like a red carpet toward extraordinary achievements, with Friday the shining long-term goal. Ah yes, Mondays are just about the very best day of the week.

Until it's time to get out of bed, at which point the grind begins anew and there's never enough coffee to lubricate creaky brain joints, never enough time to get truly well-ready for work or the daily chore list, never enough 'want-to' to make it through the end of the 'to-do' list. Best to stay in bed, really, but of course as adults we can't just stay in bed, can we? We have Things To Do! Expectations to meet!

Stupid, stupid adulthood.


Mom came down over the weekend for a short visit. Too short, really. Isn't THAT a nice thing to say? That you'd like your Mom to stay longer? Well, there. I said it, and it's true.

Shoot, she was only here for about a day and a half. Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. We spent time tofgether doing 'regular life' stuff mostly, except on Satruday afternoon she took the Things to her hotel, where they swam in the indoor pool while she read a book and gave me some free time to run errands and such. Grandmas are good like that.

She also was a witness to The Great Shearing of '08, in which each of the Things lost several inches of hair. It was either that or risk being 'chromed' by their Dad, who has issues with the length of their hair.

To be honest, it was really getting critical. I cut at least three inches of hair off the back of Thing 1's head, just as a start. That boy has some gorgeous hair, thick and wavy, it was a shame to chop it off. A shame, yes, but now? He looks fantastic, and older than he did on Friday. Even Thing 2 was complimenting him on his new look. Thing 1, of course, dislikes it intensely, but given the option of having preppy-short hair (with bangs! because bangs are in for boys!) or having NO hair, the Mom cut wins, hands down. He's smart, that kid, and kept the whining to a minimum. Hey, for a kid who laments haircuts because, as he says, 'you're cutting off my personality!' he has adjusted remarkably well.

Thing 2 didn't need as much cut off for length, but his hair required MUCH shaping about the temple area so that the cut he got didn't make his melon look huge and round, which it is, but that's not a good look no matter how you slice it. Much time was spent on the layering, the estimation of how his perfectly straight hair is going to move, how much to take off to accent his features and not at the same time detract from the overall adherence to 'look,' which means that some length needs to be preserved as is stated in The Middle School Boys' Book of Style. Of course, this is a kid that has nothing but disdain for anyone who chooses to tease him about such things as pants that are a little bit short, so why I care about what his hair looks like would probably be lost on him. He has great self-esteem; he'd prolly go to school with braids in his hair and a barrel around his waist and not care tuppence what anyone else thought. Still, no need to tempt the acid tongues of the 6th-grade wags, is there?

My thoughts exactly, which is why I spent an hour on the back porch shaping and layering and cuttting in the insane hotness of a mid-September North Carolina day, while sweat rolled off my back and into my butt crack, while snippets of their hair blanketed my damp arms and face in prickly bits, while they twisted and turned and fidgeted and moaned, because I'm their MOM, and aim to keep them looking good enough to escape outright mocking at school.

I've been a middle schooler, I know how bad it can be.


There's a new tree in the front yard of the Tiny House. It is a magnolia. MagNOHleeyah! Come here, boy! Say it like Foghorn Leghorn, won't you?

The MagNOlia is gorgeous, but has had some serious side effects. Side effects like "oh my goodness, that looks so nice there, but don't you think some flowers around it would enhance the landscaping? what about mulch? And did you know that the Home Despot is selling flower bulbs now? What about doing demo on the concrete walk and putting in a lovely two-pronged stone walk so that the iris don't get trod on? And how about relocating the iris to around the Bradford Pear, then making half the front yard one whole big planting bed? Wouldn't THAT be a great idea?"

One tree can have an enormous knock-on effect, is what I'm saying. Thus begins a whole new set of dreams and plans. For later. After the house is painted. And the front porch is tiled. And a color is picked out for the shutters and foundation paint.

And, and, and. There's that 'adult' thing again. Always a full set of 'ands' to enhance your life, isn't there?


Ah Monday. Best to go get something done with which to bash down the wall of responsibilities that are threatening to eat my lunch hour.

Y'all have a good one! I'm out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Heh. (updated...with more pics)



This one made me LOL - probably because I was realy HOPING someone would link the Republican Veep candidate with a Bristish sketch artist. Poor Bucky.

This? True. Painfully so.

And this? Not sure which is worse - the giganta-bag big enough to stuff a body into, or the fact that if this woman was any more thin you'd be able to see through her. Your thoughts?


That's all I have for today.

Oh, except that it pays to be cautious when eatin' a candy that came in a gift bag. That first unpleasant crack as what you thought was a nice squishy gumball identifies itself as instead a hard ball of stale tasteless jawbreaker is really something.

Ow. The disappointment is nothing compared with the spectre of sudden toothal death.


Y'all have yourselves a nice day, mmkay? See you around the interwebs.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So! Not! Grouchy!

After yesterday's long plunge off the gloom dive (and I'm SO sorry about that), there was a rebound. By the time I got home from work I was practically giddy.

There's a medication for that, isn't there? ;)


A very nice lady at work sent around a cute lil' slide show of the Office Summer Olympics that were helda week or so ago. Looks like it was fun. I did not go, even tho' I was in the building. Things like that make me feel uncomfortable. I also do not go to the monthly birthday celebrations; not because I'm antisocial (well, maybe I am, a tiny touchworth), but the thought of standing around eating cake with people I barely know seems so very New Years Eve, all false jocularity and such. No, I'd prefer to stay holed up in my wee taupe cubicle with the knocked-out back wall (so very Office Space of me, I know), safe in the knowledge that if I don't attend these get-togethers, there's precious little chance I might put my foot in my mouth or knock a glass of punch over onto a CEO or something.

Not that the CEO would have any clue who I am, of course, but we do all wear ID badges while at work and so a quick glance at my proximal chestal area would tell him all he needed to know about the malfeasor who'd drenched him in sticky liquid. Which he, in one way or another, paid for. Nope, better off to stay firmly planted in my rut, thanks, than to risk being IDed as THAT kind of employee.

Back to the slide show! Yes, the photos were fun, and I very much appreciated the thought that went into the making of the summary o' fun and games, but something on the cover page made my jaw clench hard enough to crack a walnut:

RTP Enjoy's The Office Summer Olympics.



It makes my brain hurt to know that some people can't tell when to apostrophize and when to NOT. Enjoys isn't a concatentation of 'enjoy' and 'is,' you know? That doesn't even make sense! You don't say "the flock of sheep run's to the fence," now do you? You wouldn't write "the millionaire's club feast's on white rice and wine at nine," WOULD YOU?

I know you wouldn't, and good on you for that, but at least ONE person at my place of business did.

So, I did what any good writer-for-hire would do,; I forwarded a snarky e-mail to my boss, with exclamations of pain and high disappointment. Who else was I going to complain to/feel superior with?

He wrote back this morning, saying : It is time to don your superhero mask, red Shapie, and bottle of Liquid Paper. Apostro to the rescue!!

Have I mentioned lately how cool my boss is?


Walked a little over two miles last night after getting home from work (all part of my 'can't drinkity-drink until I workity-out' program). I think I should have stopped at 1.5. It's just SO not fun when butt muscles hurt.

Sheesh. From WALKING, no less. That's just embarassing. So, of course - I have to tell EVERYONE all about it.


Hey y'all, that's all. Gotta go make the dough, yo. Heave Ho!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Start here.

OK. I started reading the Dems party platform, and was at once stirred and disturbed by just the preamble. Stirred, because the ideas and ideals reflected in those few short paragraphs made me want to stand up and shout "This Makes Sense!" and disturbed by some purposefully divisive language against the Republicans. It's my opinion that fingerpointing does not belong in the ideologic layout of a political party, but rather that the platform should be an expression of the goals of that party for the upcoming term. Perhaps I'm an idealist in this, or perhaps I'm woefully ignorant of the machinations that are involved in hammering together a platform that is broad enough to support all manner of people who call themselves Democrats.

Here's a quick read from the NY Times outlining what some of the differences are between the Republican and Democratic party platforms. Please note that this is a comparison of hot-button issues, and does not necessarily reflect what the Dems actually adopted in Chicago. Nevertheless, it's a good jumping-off point for discussion. Probably HEATED discussion, because wow, did they ever pick some doozies for comparison.

Obviously, much more research is needed before any decisions are made, but I can already feel 1) my hackles raising, and 2) a certain sensation pushing me over the left of the midline. We'll see what happens as I delve deeper into the platforms and do more reading.


Rain here again in the Triangle. This is good. Rain is good. Good rain, good. I like seeing the reservoir full to the brim. It'd be nice to have the groundwater supplies replenished. It'd be great to see the overflow shunt out of Falls Lake be called into action so that the downstream areas can get a bit of a cleanout. It'd be wonderful to go into winter knowing that we're secure in our water supply. And It'd be great if, because of the water supply surfeit, we could all let loose with a big ol' sigh of relief.

Yeah, that'd be great.

I'm not counting on this one more rain to do it, but compared with several months ago, things are indeed looking up.

Maybe just a little sigh, after all.


Do you ever get into a life period when introspection and ferocity seem to be your constant companions? Seems I'm in one now. Words race around my brain, but not at all like the glib silliness that normally occupies most of my waking moments. Instead, there are thoughts colliding with theorems that are mashing up against dreams which in turn are stepping on the toes of memories. The jumble is colorful and confusing, all-encompassing and distracting.

What will it take to turn off the mental noise makers? In which direction should the energy created by that mental maelstrom be fired?

And when, oh WHEN, will I be able to return to being engaging, amusing, entertaining? This sudden seriousness is periodic, I recognize that, and from experience I know it is momentary. Heh - theses are the times I need to stay away from writing a Wordsmiths story, because for sure all the characters in it will either be horrifically deformed or will be brutally murdered by the end of the 500 words.

With the sense of weltschmetrz come the dreams. Vivid, real, epic, troubling. My brain would be a terrific arthouse film director, if only we could transcribe its visions onto film. What are they telling me? Is there a message? Should I let go of the twisted visions they present, and instead skim along the surface of this deep and murky world as is my regular MO?

Maybe, but I kind of like being infused with a fire for something that is beyond me. I simply wonder what it's a fire FOR.


And with that, this humpday post of doom and gloom and cynical drivelling is ovah.

Aren't you glad?

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

After a bump in the night comes the fluttering beat of an anxious heart

You know what? I think that it's a shame the major networks aren't carrying the Paralympics. Or any network. Is there some high-number cable station maybe that's covering these games?

The last half an hour of my life has been spent combing through this site, reading up on what the US Paralympic team has been up to, learning about the folks on the team, and then scooting over and around the online news sites being more and more amazed at what people can do despite having every reason not to.

There are people who have had terrible accidents, been born with significant disabilities, who have had their vision taken from them by hereditary misfortunes, the list goes on and on. These people are world record setting athletes in some of the most improbable sports imaginable. For example, a male swimmer with no arms just won the 200m backstroke.

Is that not spectacularly amazing? I submit that it is.

Also inspiring. And shaming, if I stopped to consider that I have full use of all my appendages and don't feel the drive to utilize them to anything even close to their full extent.

Except...I have once again started a workout program. This takes me one step back from the precipice of 'so lazy as to be a source of embarrassment' toward 'might one day be able to touch her toes.' It's only 30 minutes a day, so I'm not shooting for any world records, but it's something. Getting older has seen the advent of a flabby gut, which I despise because I had always had a nice firm stomach (and let's not even mention the backfat, mmkay?), and I'm not helping matters any by NOT doing anything about it, so I can up with what I thought was a brilliant plan:

Each night, before I have that first cocktail, I have to exercise for a half an hour.

That's it.

While it might be sad to say that I do have my drinkies every night, this malleation of my daily habit is really the only sure way I'm going to do something for fitness every day. Why NOT link one habit with another? Why NOT delay the first sips of sweet happymaking liquor in order to get the ol' heart rate up and tone the muscles I know are lurking underneath that fluffy cozy blanket of fat?

Why not indeed, and so, it is done. At least for the past three days in a row. Because, damn, I'm not NOT drinking just because I'm too lazy to exercise!


Now, to politics.....

I have downloaded a link to the Democratic National Party platform onto my computer desktop. The document is a shade less than 60 pages long, so it's not an onerous task to read it all. It is therefore my intent to read it all, then move on to the Republican National Party platform document. Once both are read, it is my FURTHER intent to compare and contrast the two items in order that I might make a somewhat more informed decision about for whom I'm going to vote this November than I ever have before.

Might I invite you to do the same?

Because remember, it's not necessarily that WHO you vote for is the sum total of what's going to happen in their administration, it's what their party stands for that counts just about as much. Being black, white, male, female, two-headed (but, I hope, not two-faced), abled, disabled, should only be a part of informed vote-casting. Just because one person is charismatic or pretty or different or a war hero doesn't make that one person the total package. The foundation on which they build their candidacy matters too. One thing balances the other. I would urge all of us to not make a decision based solely on a book's cover; look inside to find out what all the fuss is about. At least ONE chapter of that book has got to be what the party to which they belong has as their goals for the next 4 years and beyond.

And that's all I have to say about THAT.


With the sermon over, and with this broadly unfunny post about to go straight into the crapper, I have this to offer you as a token of my affection for those who made it this far:

Cake Wrecks.

You can (probably) get through the entire site in less then an hour. I did. Caution: this site may make you really and truly LOL. You've been warned.


Have a wonderful Tuesday, if you would. For me?

And thanks for reading.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Behold - a blight through yonder brindow wakes!

In case you're interested, I've decided to like Fall Out Boy now. Every time I hear Pete Wentz howling about this n' that I like them more.

So, there's several months of indecision taken care of.


You can buy a cat fancy toys to play with, but it will never fail that what will hold their attention longest is the plastic ring from the cap of a gallon of milk.

Cats are maybe not as smart as they'd like us to think they are.

Also? Some dogs really REALLY like to chase laser pointer lights. Skeeter would be one of them. Gotta LOVE not having to wing a dog-spitty ball around the yard, and it has the added bonus of being a safe indoor toy as well. Dogs do not have a sense of wanting us to think they are smart, and so don't mind us laughing at them when they ram their snouts into a wall trying to eat a spot of red light. That is one more reason I love dogs.


You know what the definition of 'disheartening' is?

It's when you go outside on a warm Sunday morning, determined to put the trim paint on the house you've been scraping and sanding and taping and masking and cutting in for over a month, so as to finally finish the job, only to discover that the paint on half of one whole side of the house, the paint that you just put on LAST WEEK, is bubbling up, and, get this, taking the old paint off the house much like an actual paint stripper would.

Almost makes a strong woman want to sit down and have herself a good ol' crying spell. Certainly it will makes the shoulders slump and the day seem a whole LOT longer than it did before the discovery was made.

Doesn't help that after doing some research I found out that, not only is this a common problem for owners of old houses, and in addition that putting latex over old oil paint is a particularly dicey proposal on the best of days, and that the recommended procedure is to strip ALL the old paint off down to bare wood before repainting, but that one of the alternate 'fixes' for this problem is to keep a bucket of paint around and just scrape and sand and prime and repaint the spots as they come up, so that eventually you have a wall covered in ONLY latex. Which could take years. Or, in the case of the Tiny House, maybe only another couple of weeks if the bubbling continues at its current pace.

On the positive side, the trim paint is SPECTACULAR with the 'undercool blue' of the housepaint. I think it's called 'lemon chiffon,' and it makes the TH happy.

Having a happy house is at least as important as stacking your dishes properly so they're comfortable. It is too. Oh be quiet.


Also happy-making? Beers and a few games of pool at the local sports bar after showering off a sticky layer of sweat and paint spatters. Even though I stink at pool, the occasional shot goes in just how I want it to, which is satisfying in a Joe Cool kind of way. I'm no pool shark, oh no. If there was such a thing as pool krill, then that would be more my ability level...but it doesn't keep me from enjoying the game.


Oh - update. The cat has successfully killed the milk-cap ring, and is carrying it around the house mighty proud of herself. See? Not so smart.

That's it for today. Hope y'all have a great Montag!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

If I had an iPod

This would be play-ay-ing:

Leave it

It won't get out of my head.

Why don't people make this kind of music anymore? Have we gotten too stupid to appreciate it? Am I looking in the wrong places? Are we too impatient to wait for the delivery of the next most perfect line?

If that tune doesn't do it for you, go back and really LISTEN to "Owner of a Lonely Heart." It's on 90125, and was a favorite of dance teams everywhere in the early '80s. SRSLY, Yes. I'm on a gurge. Weeeeee!!!

(Also? This. It might LOOK stupid, but man, it's fun to listen to).

Friday, September 05, 2008

A bad taste in my mouth

It’s been an hour and a half since my last meeting ended, and I haven’t done anything except waste time on the internet. It is, indeed, one of those days. There was a brief thought in my noggin that I should just take the afternoon off, go home and nap/read/do dishes/be in my own space with the peace that home affords, but I know I won’t do that and will instead grind through the remaining 4 hours of work time until the pterodactyl crows. That long slide down the dinosaur’s neck is going to feel so good.


Speaking of which, I had an argument the other day about what the lyrics to the Flintstones theme song are. I know. My life - exciting and new.

The first result that comes up on a Google search is this:

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They're the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They're a page right out of history.

Let's ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet.

When you're with the Flintstones
you'll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You'll have a gay old time.

Those words in italics? Those were the one's aI took issue with. In my world, they’re this :

One day, maybe Fred will win a fight
Then the (beat) gang will stay out for the night

Needless to say, I got uppity ’bout dat. How could it be that I INVENTED lyrics to a cartoon I hadn’t watched in 35 years? What would be the purpose? Furthermore, why would I make up something about FIGHTS, when anyone with half a synapse can see that I’m a huge ol’ marshmallow-soft pacifist?

Further research was warranted, and soon sweet vindication was mine. For you see, the words to the theme song were slightly different for the closing credits, and I quote:

Some day, maybe Fred will win the fight
And that cat will stay out for the night

(Found here, so there’s proof I’m not going Oldtimer’s Crazy..)

Close enough to prove my point. And how very like me, to remember the details of the ass-end of everything but not have the slightest clue how something starts.

Pretty much describes my single life, right there….


Making the barest tangent of similar thought into a segue of most astonishing dexterity, I give you this:

I dated a lot when I was younger.

A LOTalot. I remember how all the more-than-casual-dating (read: more than two month) relationships ended. Most of the breakups were not my idea. Many times I didn’t see them coming, and had the rug pulled out from under me in a most disagreeable fashion.

Oh, sometimes I’d do the breaking up, but remember that pacifist thing from just before? Worked for relationships too. Also? I was lazy. Very very lazy. I’d stick with some boy for convenience’s sake, and because I was of the opinion that I was lucky to be dating ANYONE, because sheesh, had anyone looked at me to see the fraud that lurked therein? Who’d want to date that except he poor schmuck who was currently doing it?

Really, that’s how I thought. Amazing. I had absolutely NO self-awareness, no self-esteem, no belief in myself. I was the one who SHOULD have had those things, but somehow I came up short on the confidence scale, every damned time I weighed myself against someone else or the perfect vision of who I ought to be.

As it so happens, I’ve been feeling lately much like that unsure young girl, and for this I blame Sarah Palin.

Y'all, Sarah Palin has ruined my life. How now can I ever again feel good about being a middle-aged woman who owns her own home, has a good job, manages to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs, who doesn’t let the pets starve or the laundry go undone (for too long) when SARAH PALIN has gone and gotten herself nominated to be ViCE-Freaking-PRESIDENT of the United Daggone States while having a litter of kids, perfecting her fucking MOOSESHOOTING SKILLS, applying makeup with one hand while holding her special needs baby in the other, talking smack about the Dems in the exhale and whistling at supersonic pitches to the team of sled dogs she’s specially trained to go rescue accident victims on the inhale?

I hate Sarah Palin for these things. Hate her. I hate that she makes me feel like the world’s biggest underachiever. I hate the she’s so perky and pretty and perfectly coiffed. I hate that she’s a frigging Republican the most of all, because not only is she a perfect pretty perky politician, but underneath it all she’s a haute-couture, top-of-the-line uber-ur-ultra-super-dee-dooper conservative pit bull (and yes, I’ve heard the hockey mom joke. About a thousand times now. Haha).


Bitch can’t be content making me feel bad for underachieving, she’s got to be all up in my face with the her stinky-cheese faced life views.


John McCain? You suck too.

Seethe. Grumble. Invent new ways to hate.

Check sundial watch to see if it’s even CLOSE to dinosaur-neck sliding time yet.


I’m going to go see if the coffee machine has, through some miracle of wonderments, begun dispensing shots of bourbon.

Y’all have a nice day.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

High heels and underwear

Something weird happened to me this morning.

I dressed up for work.

I'm wearing clicky-on-the-floor high heels, which make me feel like a noob trannie when I walk, and for some reason I put on UNDERWEAR under my skirt.

Skirt? Undies? Heels?!?!?

What can this mean? This is so not like me that the people who know me in real life should probably stage some kind of intervention. Because - Heels? Really? High heeled PUMPS with a tiny bow on the front, no less. It's still a mystery to me as to why I bought them in the first place, and now they're on my feet, forcing me to take care how I walk, and adding the extra bonus of making your truly an honest 6 feet tall.

Nothing like a gigantic galumphing coworker clacking around to scare my colleagues into hushed silence. I can see the fear in their eyes.

There is no identifiable explanation for the underwear. Y'all, I had to dig around for a pair in the totes-glam plastic tub I use to store such things (along with all my swimsuits and....winter scarves. Don't judge). This was on purpose, people, and it's making me nervous.

The next thing you know I'll be doing my hair on a regular basis, and caring about things like manicures.

Oh shit. I pumiced (spelling?) my feet today too. This can't be good.


On the plus side, the part of my legs that are showing 'neath the skirt look pretty good. That varicose vein surgery continues to pay off. Best 5000 bucks my insurance company ever spent on me.


Teeth whitening. Anyone had it?

Thing 1 told me the other day that my teeth are yellow. Such a nice boy. He's also the one that likes to play with the loose skin on my elbow, and poke me in the back fat as I'm driving. He says he loves me, but I'm wondering about that.

So. Yellow teeth. So very much NOT on my list of 'things to admire about me.' But how to eradicate the stain? Shall I ZOOM! it (yes, the exclamation point is part of the tradename), or do it myself with those Crest things, or what? This must go. I will NOT have yellow teeth. It's not what I want people to notice about me, and by damn if MY kid sees it then other people do too. Can't have that. People might think I'm British or something.

(that was for you, A-M. Heh)


God, I'm shallow as a southern river today. Forgive me. Something's wrong in Tiffville, it appears.

Just so you know, I'm blaming it on the shoes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What color is 'chagrined'?

On the topic of my distaste for the apparent instigation of a rehash of the "For Better or For Worse" saga (and also? it's apparent that I really need to get a life), this from Malach:

Lynn Johnston has health issues, thought about retiring, but changes her mind and is doing this for the time being. Also, her and her husband are getting divorced, so she is dealing with that also.

Oh. Well then. Ahem.

Sorry to be all ranty then. A little. But you know, Farrago brought up a good point, in that "Bloom County" and "The Far Side" and "Calvin and Hobbes" all just shut down, without a reworking of old stories. Woudl it have been preferable to just say goodbye to the Pattersons, or is a revisiting of the old days a good idea?


It's National Payroll Professionals Week.

Thought you ought to know. The leftist pinko liberals at NPR brought me this PSA, and because I am pretty much one of the LPL crowd I bring it to you as well, in case, you know, you don't listen to NPR, in which case I'd have to ask you 'why not'? Just remember to thank your payroll professional this week, because as they say, they're 'paying America, one paycheck at a time.'

And also maybe suggest they fix their LAME tagline. Sheesh.


A Case Of Serendipity Striking, unless it was mere conicidence:

The Things forgot to take their trombone with them to school this morning. Yes, THEIR trombone - they share, at least until Thing 2 auditions for drums later in the fall, at which point, if he makes it in, he'll switch out to become a once and future persussionist.


Being a Mom, I chose to save thier collective bacon by going back home (where I needed to take a shower before going to work anyways (it was one of those mornings)) and fetching the horn, knowing that I had a limited amount of time to make the turnaround, and hoping I'd be able to get back to their school by 8:45 or so in order to be able to drop it off at the front desk so Thing 1 could have it by 8:50, which is when band starts.

Wow, what a sentence.

By 8:49 I was at the school, opening the front door, wondering if I could simply plow through the herd of kids crossing my path as they changed classes, when what to my wondering eyes did appear but Thing 1 himself! The Universe aligned at just that moment, and in a fit of serendipity he and I were in the same place at the same time making a handoff that would save him from a big ol' goose egg in band.

It's moments like that when I feel like sometimes I have all the luck in the world.


This for Tracy Lynn: Thing 1 is reading "The Colour of Magic" right now, and is loving it. Thing 2 has finished "The Wee Free Men" and had a similar reaction.

The next gen of Pratchett lovers is assured. Thought you'd like to know.


Also? Check it out - a new Wordsmiths Unlimited prompt is up!

Thanks to Mojo for the picture, and permission to use it. The Wordsmiths have been rather lazy over the summer, but with the advent of a certain crispness n the air and the onrush of dark evenings, they've decided to resurrect the challenges just in time for back to school. Break out the thinking caps, and take a peek at what's on tap this month, mmkay?


With that, I end this link-heavy post to return to the regularly scheduled program of life. I wish you all a wonderful day.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I'm ticked.

The rumors were true. "For Better or For Worse" is starting OVER, in the clunky old style I don't care for as much as the sleek newer drawing style.

I'm going to be truthful here - I'm not really interested in the lives of the Pattersons 30 years ago. Really, I'm not! I wanted to see if April was going to stay with Gerald (apparently NOT), and when Elizabeth and Anthony were going to have kids, and if Grandpa Jim was going to learn to talk again, but NoooOOOoo, all that's been shot down in favor of rehashing ancient history.

Not that it matters one gray little hoot, but I'm not happy about this turn of events. Much like when Karen Montague-Reyes decided to give the "Clear Blue Water" family their makeovers early this year - the whole look changed, and it wasn't an improvement, to my way of thinking. It's like if someone decided Charlie Brown would look better with a chin....unthinkable! Some of the old look has crept back into that particular comic, because Eve has decided to NOT do her hair so the long wavy lines signifying 'hair' are back, and she decided to go back to her old nose when given the choice.

Perhaps I have way too much invested in the comic strips, but daggone it! Nobody does Mary Worth in anime! Dilbert would be way less funny if Prince Valiant's artist drew it! Revisiting old storylines is not as interesting as keeping a good thing going!

Is anyone listening to the crazy woman rant? ANYONE?


I'm not even going to mention that whole Bristol Palin thing, except to say I wish that young woman a whole lot of luck. Being preggers at 17, when your MOM is running for Veep of the United States has got to suck major hot ass.


Spent a good portion of the weekend doing random 'stuff,' like painting the house (now, to the TRIM!), and mowing a friend's yard (bonus? getting a free dinner out of it), and hanging out with the Things while they frittered away major chunks of time playing Runescape.

By 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon I was tired of the frittering, and so called a halt to the electronics and a 'go' decision for the pool. Oh, there was groaning and sudden proclamations of overwhelming tiredness, there was moaning and declaration that no water would touch a certain Thing's body, there was the grabbing of books to read in order that full-on sullen lounging poolside in a funk of irritation could occur....

None of which swayed me one tee-tiny iota from my plan to go.have.fun. FUN!

Let me just say here that one ride down the water slide got the funk out, and a grand time was had by all. Handstand contests, underwater somersault competitions, the 'bucking bronc' (AKA "me") and many other small enjoyments were had, including a trip to the snack machine as a reward for proving that each Thing can tread water for at least a minute. I know, I'm an easy mark, but hell, the pool closed yesterday, it was the big end-of-season blowout, so what's a dollar each among family members, eh?

Bonus - finding out that caramel Bugles are delicious.

Extra bonus - a trip to the pool seems to wash away general malaise, poor spirits, and a vague sense of unease among the under-21 set. THIS is why I can't give up the Y membership....they have an indoor pool, which means that this particular brand of magic can be had year-round. It'd be flat-out stoopid to give that up, now wouldn't it?


It's September already, and right on time a chill is on the mornings. I love it. After experiencing swampy-hot weather throughout major portions of the summer, being able to open some windows is a grand thing indeed. Of course it doesn't last, and by noon we're full-shuttered and the AC is back on, but for a few wonderful hours the fresh air can creep in through open windows, the sound of the world seeps in, the connection is remade with what's outside the walls. Isolation is obliterated, community forces its way in.



Oh, and one last thing. Cats do NOT care for having their temperatures taken. At ALL.

Something about the anal probing, methinks.


Hey y'all - have a terrific day. It's not Monday, so there's that bit to celebrate!