Friday, April 30, 2010

Someone needs new glasses

Today, at the local Stop n' Go--

Cashier: I'm going to need to see your identification
Tiff: Really?
C: Yes, anyone who looks like they're under 40 we card them.
T (silently) Bwuahahahaaa!!!
T: uh, OK, here ya go
C: .............(inputting data)
T: I'll be 48 in a month, so thanks.
C: You really don't look 40. At all.
T (silently): RAWK!!

Needless to say, I'll be patronizing THAT establishment again.


One wonders though, is it the cashier's perception of what 40 should look like is a little skewed, or me looking less than 40?

My crow's feet, double chin, jowls, and under-eye circles would indicate the former, but I'm holding out hope that the latter is partially to blame for this happy accident.

Anyhow, here's hoping y'all are having a lovely day and that your weekend has much joy and wonder in store. I'm playing the part of groupie tonight for Biff's band, which is always fun, and then perhaps again tomorrow night as his band is gaining in popularity like mad lately and so the dates are piling up.

Which, of course, is a good time for their lead singer to quit. Gah!!!

Anybody know someone who sounds just like Geddy Lee that lives in the Triangle, plays rhythm guitar, and wants to sing with an established band? Anybody?


Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to make your own bias tape.

The above was featured on my iGoogle page today. EVERYBODY PANIC!

Because, apparently, bias tape is not cheap enough at the store and there's a HUGE clamoring for it that OMG there might be a shortage of bias tape and Henrietta fetch the shotgun we're a-goin' to town to alert the sheriff!

Piffle. PIFFLE!!! I've seen the bias tape, and it is legion!!!

Honestly, people at How-to of the Day (Wiki-powered version that shows up on my iGoogle)? Enough with the derivative silliness! Teach me how to do important things like make my own nuclear-powered Rabid Monkey-bot or create marshmallows out of air and dreams, or ride a unicorn sidesaddle, but these things you've been touting recently as stuff we might want to know how to do?


Bias tape, my shiny pink nether-pucker.


Also, it came as a bit of a surprise to me that some of the nice folks at our church read this here blog.

Oh crap.

Of course it's my own fault for posting via networked blogs and making friends with folks at church (who are awesome and thought-inspiring and great and funny and PRETTY!) but....uh....
sometime I cuss here.

Sorry God. I'm trying. NOT TO. Trying not to. But dang.



Also. Table manners. The figure to the left indicates what might be expected in your normal Victorian House of Mannerly Pain and Redress, but I'm not sure it's altogether that current for this day and age and time and ethos.

So, QotD: What do you insist on at your house? We have a semi-long list (though involving almost no woodland creatures in the depiction or practice thereof) that encompasses the following:

  • No singing during meals
  • No reading during meals
  • all 5 feet on the ground
  • No shovelling of food into mouth.
  • Bite-sized bites, PLEASE. Knives were invented for a reason.

And I think that's it. Are we missing anything? Napkin use or a no iPod ban or something about foot tapping? DO tell us in the comments, won't you?

And have a great next few hours. Or more. Your choice. But don't strain yourselves.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why a limerick? Because, that's why.

The weekend just past was astounding
Forest paths and fairgrounds we were pounding
We hiked and we dressed up
No meals did we mess up
Pretty good all the rounding.


Who wants to know why I like Spring?
Because Spring has a green blooming zing
All the leaves on the tress
And the birds and the bees
Make mere mortals feel like queens and kings!


You know it's a slow day when bloggers
Write limericks about pirates and cloggers
Both she did see
At the renn faire NC
And also some cute lil' doggers!


OK, I'll stop now. It was a pretty dang good weekend. We all have wee sunburns from being outdoors for 5+ hours at the Renn Faire yesterday, but only on the bits that our regalia didn't cover and we forgot to 'screen. Ye Olde SPF 50 is our friend, my mateys. The Things volunteered as well, so it was a family geekfest, which pleases me to no end. They could take a lesson from the Biffster in salesmanship though, as it clear that Biff is a natural busker, getting near hordes of people to boffer sword fight or slay stuffed dragons. It was a pleasure watching him work the crowd. Nobody, it seems, can resist the Dread Pirate Biffberts!

I highly recommend you attend a Renn Faire near you. They're good fun, especially if you just let go of a whole mess o' inhibitions and just let Ye Olde Goode Times Roll. Just be prepared to be very very tired after a few hours of ambling through vendor row, Games Alley (a Tiny House specialty!), the jousting rounds, the MEAD TENT, and other amusements provided for your entertainment.

Your local band o' nerds will appreciate your custom, of that you can be sure.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More fun than a barrel of enraged badgers!

Yesterday evening was going to be fun. After working at home all day (bliss!) I was to meet up with the stellar Biff at a Lebanese eatery on the south side of Raleigh for dinner, because he was 1) working down that way in the afternoon and 2) had band practice in the thereabouts at 6:30. Didn’t make sense for him to come home to Wake Forest, which is approximately a million miles away in Raleigh-think, so to him I did go.

Got my directions to Neomonde, got presentable (in my new tie-dye shirt straight from the Haight!), and with glee started up Tinkerbell.

At which point it started to rain. And then rain harder, and as I got onto Route 1 South the skies decided to open right the hell on UP and dump vast screaming bucketloads of liquid mayhem onto hapless commuters, harried moms, tired landscape guys, and me. Oh, the windshield wipers were going as fast as they possibly could, and even with THAT it was tough to tell where the lane markers were or, perhaps more importantly, where the road was quickly turning into a lake.

Slap slap went the wipers.

Thump thump went my heart.

"Oh crap" went my brain.

Note to the unaware: Me so very much hatey the rainy driving. As a result I drive like a myopic gramma, bolting along at speeds well under the posted limit in an effort to not get dead or even slightly injured. Caution is my middle name when things are less than ideal on the roads, weather-wise. But, sadly, caution was not on the minds of all my fellow travellers, and thus it was that 44o West turned into a goat rope of nearly epic proportion. A accident occurred 3 cars in front of me, which apparently was the last in a chain of spin-outs and crashes that had disabled something like 20 cars, all at once. There were auto corpses all over the shoulders and lanes, sideways, backways, all ways around. Some callous drivers (me included) who had survived drove around the scenes o the crimes and continued on, firm in the belief that getting to where we were going was better than standing out in the rain being some sort of Good Samaritan, which I’m happy to report the UPS dude was already doing.

And then, after navigating through what seemed like a scene for an Armaggeddon-based film, the sun came out. Hooray, SUN! Yay! Rain's over! But what's this? The sun, at 5 p.m. after a good hard rain, can (and did) effectively BLIND all of us driving west into the glare and spray. So, let's go ahead and order up another another 3 or 4 accidents, committed by people who were, I’m sure, happy at the meteorologic turn of events and thus stunned stupid by relief. Newsflash - No matter what, my friends, you cannot SEE through backlit roadspray at 5 in the afternoon! It's...sparkly and pretty and certain death, you know? Especially not when you’re going 50 miles an hour straight into it! Morons! Imbeciles! Oh I was all highfalutin' in my rage. Those morons were clearly the stupidest beings on the planet, and about to kill us all. Highly unacceptable. I could have told them that they should just drive like me! I could have lead them safely home if they'd just.slow.down. But no. Nobody was listing to me, and so? 440 West, once again, became a parking lot.

What is it with people? I simply don’t know.

The long and short of this tale is that all the rain, accidents, and resulting standstill ‘traffic’ made me half an hour late for my date with Biff, which is a something that is not happy news. I like the guy, what can I say?? Plus which we only had an hour to begin with, so there’s a 50% loss of quality time right there. Boo, hiss.

But! Guess what? There were hugs and baklava, so that made it almost all better.

And then we got to meet a lady who makes felted art, and once the thunderboomer rolled through the evening was spectacularly gorgeous in a very moist and green way, so hey. Could have been worse.

How YOU doin’?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random. Just living, I suppose

So, Psapp has become big on the rotation around these parts. If you're interested, y'all can start here and wind up wherever. it's the music that, I just now realized, is the kind of thing that plays in the background when I dream (SHUT UP) so I rather like it, garbage can noises and all.

Or kitty mews. Or rubber chicken squeakies. They has 'em.


So, our yard doesn't have any grass in it anymore.


Apparently ripping up one's yard and replacing it is an every year thing? Because I had no idea.

Dichondra, here we come.


At work, we were supposed to move out of our building at the end of May, and now aren't. Oh sweet cubicle, how I love thee. Thou art so MUCH better than the spectre of thee 'open plan.'

Penthouse, I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of LOVE my cubicle, if what awaits beyond it is the specter of the "OPEN PLAN."


We're having chili tonight. It's on the stove. It has bacon innit. And other stuff. But...BACON!



Have a great night.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A stumbling block on the trip down memory lane

See the house on the corner in this picture? I once lived there. (aside: Don't you just LOVE Google maps for finding stuff like this?)

When I rented space in this house, 9 other college chickies lived there with me. I was the late addition, and a rather unwelcome one at that as far as my roommate seemed to indicate. The problem was this: I was not supposed to be living there, her real roommate I guess either dropped out of school or decided to live someplace else, and because of a certain situation with the place I WAS supposed to be living, I got shoved into ‘her’ room. It was apparent she was not at all happy with this turn of events, and that I was most unwelcome in 'her' room. Yeah, she was a little testy about the whole affair.

For the year I was there, it was quasi misery. There were 5 ladies on our floor sharing ONE bathroom, 1 chick on our floor who was a complete psycho and who regularly populated the kitchen with her townie/bar hag buddies, a roommate who ate nothing but tuna and Combos, and the group of my friends with whom I should have been living having a blast 5 blocks away in the house we’d rented but was in such bad shape my folks thought it would be unsafe for me to live there.

To heap insult on injury, our room was perhaps the worst in the whole house, as far as positioning goes. See that really busy road leading northward? Our room was on that side of the house. See the other busy road going east-west? Yes, our room was on that road too. See the window on the front of that house? Underneath that window was my bed. Next to my bed was the old armoire I bought for 40 bucks at a thrift shop and refinished on this house’s back porch. The armoire, which now sits in our kitchen, has 3 drawers, 1 shelf, and about 18 inches of hangar space. Please note: This was my ENTIRE closet for that year. There was no place else to put stuff, and no place else in that room to hide if roommate and I (and sometimes, her BOYFRIEND!) were in that room together.

In that room I learned to ignore the sound of 18-wheelers furiously downshifting to stop at a red light or make a hard turn. In that room I learned that roommate believed that ‘nobody should have a hairstyle that required the use of a blowdryer or curling iron. You just have to work with what you have.’ Well kids, this was the 80’s for one thing and oh yes, not everyone WANTS to look like frigging Prince Valiant. Weirdo Combo-eating aerobics-doing wannabe sorority girl. In that room I l earned how to creatively escape to many other nooks and crannies around campus.

There were a couple of saving graces about this place though: one was the basement and one was the attic. The basement was creepy, with a cage under the stairs and a dirt floor. It was full of spiders and funky smells, had a huge coal hopper in one corner, and was rife with possibilities of terrible things having happened down there. Naturally, I quite liked it. The attic was locked, but who lets a thing like THAT stop them? Not me and my fellow explorers, oh no! Once in the door (full stairs led upwards), the attic was, and I supposed still is, a multi-roomed light-filled place that had obviously been the haunt of many a young person through the years, if the cartoons on the walls were any indication. Drawings of flappers and dandies covered several of the oddly-shaped walls, inscriptions and humorous poetry were scrawled in corners, and there was an enormous sense of that attic having been the scene of many a wild goings-on. It would have been such a cool place to live, but the owners weren’t all about anyone making a home up there. More’s the pity. I would have LOVED looking out the third-story windows onto those noisy trucks, those busy lanes of highway, the bustling students heading to campus, the tops of old trees. It would have been so much better than where I was put, in that cramped unhappy room on one of the busiest corners in Harrisonburg. But no. I was stuck there, and stuck good.

That 5th year of college, when I was desperately trying to finish a Biology degree and get my teaching certification, kept me so busy I was rarely in that little room into one corner of which I’d stuffed my life, so it wasn’t really all THAT bad. But it could have been so much better, if only I’d had the nerve to make the top floor my unofficial ‘squat.’

Oddly enough, the next year I DID live, alone, in an apartment on the top floor of a building, a little place tucked under the eaves of The GingerBread House. It was…awesome. I suspect it was that place that cemented my love of tiny little homes, for it couldn’t have been more than 300 square feet of nothing but MINE. Even better – one of my best friends lived in the basement in an equally cool and very DARK apartment. Oh, we had those bases covered, and who CARED what happened on the middle floors? Not me, not by a long shot.

Do you have places you’ve lived that you remember fondly? Places that, if you think of them, you can almost feel like the person you were when you lived there? Do tell us about them in the comments, and then have a lovely day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

There’s a half-pound of pound cake in the fridge. Do be a dear and eat a quarter of it.

At Durant Park the other day we walked the Secret Creek Trail and, get ready for THIS, saw a deer. Amazing, I'm sure I hear you saying.

OK fine. Deer are everywhere. But this one was either super-laid back or half blind, because it was right on the trail and smack-dab close to us. CLOSE-close, as in about 10 feet from us, all backlit and Bambi-rific, like mad. This deer clearly didn’t mind us being in its favorite restaurant, because even as we passed by it only ambled a few feet more off the trail and then stood quietly gazing as us as we made fools of ourselves trying to get it to ‘come.’

Deer maybe don’t understand the English so much. Or maybe it was deaf too. No way to tell.

That was one of those moments I was glad to be a part of, and especially glad to have the Things take part in. Of course, they’re boys and didn’t get all teary-eyed like I did at the 'natural beauty of the moment' because they were way too busy leaping from streambank to sandbar, from tree trunk to boulder and back to notice anything but being young and strong and a part of nature. Those boys do love them some creek action, just like their Mama. It reminds ME of growing up in upstate NY, and it reminds THEM of the big house in Connecticut with the stream on the property, and how the first tastes of freedom away from parental view were spent swinging from bendy young trees and ‘accidentally’ getting their feet wet on cold winter afternoons. I’m glad to have helped provide that home for them, even if we only lived there are few years. Those memories ain’t going anyplace.

Just like that deer.


At work things have progressed from “holy crap” to “oh dear GOD!” in the blink of an eye. A month ago things were reasonably under control, and now it’s like the thundering herds have been set free from some vast paddock and are running right at me.

This? Is not a feeling I would wish on anyone. The situation has gotten so bad that I actually punted a couple of projects BACK, finally realizing that there’s no way on this or any other earth I was going to be able to do them and the 5 other (I shit you not) higher-priority projects on my plate (or white board, as it were).

Once again, I’m hoping to just make it through the next 6 weeks, because by the end of June this will all be over, and I’ll let loose that tremendous sigh of relief I know will be waiting to be turned out to pasture.

(herds/paddock/pasture, oh yeah. I’m on a roll!)


Y’all please send some healing thoughts in the direction of the Tiny House. Biffster is pretty dang sick, with a cough and ear infection and snotty head, which all combine to make him feel far less sexy than he is, which is a situation I cannot handle for very much more, because even snotty? Dude is wicked cute.

It’s hard to feel as good as you look though when nights are spent coughing, snotting, coughing, hacking, sneezing, and coughing some more. Apparently his lungs are in some kind of snit over something he did or exposed them to, because they’re trying to exit his body out the throat, a situation which is bothersome as well as troubling and exhausting. I’ve not seen him so ill, ever, and I’m good and sick of him feeling like yesterday’s dog chow. So it’s up to you, internet, to heal him. You start thinking ‘good health’ thoughts this very instant, and make my man better by tomorrow, or I’ll pout and fuss a little.

Or maybe I’ll just start posting every day again about boring as heck work crap, which I’m sure is a torture far worse than random remote crankyness.


And have a lovely day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

pretty much doesn't get any better

If you do not read other Raleigh-area blogs or news sites or weather URLs, then you couldn't possibly know this: IT WAS FREAKING PERFECT WEATHER THIS WEEKEND. Blue-bloo Carolina bleu skies, not a smidge of cloud cover, a very light breeze, and no bugs.

No really, no BUGS!! By which of course I mean no flies/mosquitos/yellowjackets/SPIDERS, because other critters normally associated with bugdom like the inchworms/gnats/carpenter bees are out in full force, but they don't ATTACK me, so I don't make no nevermind about 'em.

Can it get any better? I submit that it cannot, and so made the most possible (I hope) of those 2 days by living it up hiking, cleaning, getting used to life without a dryer, taking in a new exhibit at the natural history museum, and cooking strange new wonderful things. Like, right now the house (once again) smells like garlic and onions in the most satuee-licious possible way. Not to brag on my kitchen skills, because anyone can fry up some sulfurous veg, but dang - he yum is strong on this Spring day.

And speaking of Spring - pollen this year = hellacious mess. The most avowed 'no alleriges please' among us are suffering, and the susceptible are hollering mad at the 3X normal pollen counts that might just keep them pinned up inside on this most gorgeous of Spring weekends. I feel for those folks while I take a Zyrtec and stuff a pack of tissues into my almost-too-small purse, because for 2 days last week I was amongst the sniffling/sneezing/watery eyes crowd and refuse now to give Nature any more of my precious days in observance of the misery that accompanies the yearly mating ritual of all things herbacious and plantacious. Pollen can take a big bite of my white behind, because a little phlegm production will not stand between me and the chance to hike the Secret Creek Trail at Durant Park, oh no.

The LOML, though, doesn't seem so sure. After getting hammered by the change in pressure that accompanies plane rides, his ears are complaining bitterly about anything and everything, to the point that he can't hear much of anything else but their whinging caca-phony. I'd just bet that he'd be glad to hide isnide until this whole Spring thing passes, if only the siren call of perfect weather and the chance to play Ultimate could be denied. But no, they cannot, and thus exposure to all things plant-sensual is a must, Mucinex take the hindermost.


Went to a book reading Friday night at the ex's studio. He's hooked into the local arts scene, and a friend of his is even more plugged in. So, 5 local authors did a reading of their work Friday night under the spread of an ancient tree and the unfortunate accompaniment of traffic zipping by on N Main. The background noise seemed to bother nobody but me, more to their credit. I am a victim of hyperreactive earways disease - any little aberrant sound sets me off and so the traffic noise was about all I could hear for the two authors I heard.

So, I walked home. Left the Things at the studio (their 3rd home, I think) with the admonition to watch traffic coming home. It's 3 blocks between here and there, so I wasn't too worried about their ability to make it home. They do it all the time in the daylight as the local grab-n-go it right next door to the studio.

Still didn't stop me from being relieved when they walked in the door a while later. Thank goodness they remembered to call me before they left the party so that I could obsessively time their trip home. Which, being the little hipsters that they are, happened in about half the time it normally takes, as it seems the complete and utter dark of a well-light urban nighttime makes young men RUN ALL THE WAY HOME.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. They might be giant teens on the outside, but they're still wee little boys in my heart. To have them roaming about, on their own, is a terrific challenge for this admittedly overprotective mama bear. Heaven help us all when college rolls around. Someone's going to have to be handy with the Ativan. Or bourbon.

It's a small matter of a mere three years now, and I'm still so VERY not ready.


Hope y'all are having a grand old time. I'mma go finish the pasta sauce and see about maybe doing the taxes. No pressure though, there's still like 3 days left, right?

Tiff out.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Totally not dead

Holy smurf-scented heck it's been a long time since anything's been posted here. Apparently it's been long enough that some folks are a mite concerned about Ye Olde Tiffe, so of course I need to put all rumors of sudden wealth, precipitous health declines, abrupt changes in overall fortune, or unforseen alien abductions to rest.

The abduction part was a near miss, the other stuff is mere flight of fancy.

We are well, having played Frisbee on a picturesque lawn this evening as part of an overall 'let's get outside' effort and having maintained life functions on a reasonably even keel while traveling this past week to the Left Coast and back.

So much to talk about, but instead I'll leave with one picture that may serve as a jumping-off point for tales of birthdays, family, friends, hippies, cows, bags of plant seeds, a noisy heater, and a horse that would dearly love to moo.

Grandma Millie's backyard - April 2010