Friday, July 30, 2010

I've never been to Butner

Raleigh Wide Open is this weekend, which is cool because it involves free things like music and shopportunities and people-gawking galore, but also because the Barenaked Ladies are going to be playing! Is that sweet or what? Who doesn't like them? Anyone? Because seriously, Canadian rockers are almost always awesome. What is it aboot that, anyways, eh? Must be the Tim Horton's and poutine diet, which can make even the most dour character soften up to the point of amicability.

Are there any mean Canadians? Anywhere? I've never met one. I'm sure there must be Canadian criminals, but I'll just bet they're immigrants or something, or possibly French Canadians, as they have the tendency to do that werid 'hoh hoh hoh' laugh and glance sidelong at things, which is pretty shifty behavior if you ask me. But the regular Mountie-type Canadian seems cheery and content, hardly ripe for bank robbery or shoplifting. I could be wrong about this, of course, but evidence collected through personal experience = Canadians are happy folks with really cute accents.

I just hope that TBNL are prepared for the heat. It's going to be in the mid 90's again, and possibly rainy or at the least oppressively humid. Not sure if the boys from the North are able to adjust to those conditions. Maybe I should volunteer to apply cool towels to their sweaty foreheads during breaks, or fetch them cold beverages, or offer to mist them down with spring water while they're playing one of their many hits. Oh, I could do some misting, all right. All's I'd have to do is fight through about a thousand Hooters chicks and their gym-rat boyfriends to get backstage, then strong-arm the green room guard with some exotic cheeses and a bottle of good wine, THEN steal his ID badge, and then I'd have free access to the boys and their Canadianness. To quote the Kool-Aide guy: Oh Yeah.

Oh, yeah.

Clearly, I have a rich inner life. In truth it'd be a small miracle if we even got our butts downtown to go to the afternoon part of Raleigh Wide Open, much less stay out amongst the masses to see TBNL. Because, despite the huge draw they are, my terminal case of lazy is probably stronger than the desire to gawk.

Further reports as events warrant.


So, at the middle school 'fetch your schedule' event last night, a weird thing happened. Well, 2 weird things.

1) The 8th-grade teachers almost didn't recognize Thing 1, who had been in their classrooms just a year earlier. Apparently the interval between the end of 8th grade and the almost-beginning of 10th has seen some dramatic changes in the boy. According to the marks on the door frame, he's grown 3 inches, so that's something. His voice has also changed, so that's something 2. He wears glasses now, which is a something 3, and I do think I detect a hint of peach fuzz on the upper lip, which would be thing 4. But something else has changed; I think it's called 'confidence.' He's not a little kid anymore; he has bearing and style. To think that such a thing could cause people who spent every day with him for an entire school year to not recognize him though is kind of odd. To see them obviously impressed with who he is becoming is most gratifying indeed.

2) While in the gym picking up new gym shorts and an agenda for Thing 2, one of the Dads there gave me and the kids a weird look, like he was thrilled to see us. It was more a 'hey look, CLOWNS!' thing instead of a 'hey, nice to see you!' thing, so it made me a tad nervous that perhaps something was coming out my nose or one of the kids had a 'kick me' sticker attached to them, but no. Eventually he came right up to us and asked the Things 'so, what grades are you guys in?' with a look of amazement on his smiley face. Turns out dude was awestruck by the Things' height, and murmured something about 'oh, so still growing!' when they responded to his first question. Now, please understand - I get it that my kids are tall. They're both around 6'1", and at 13 and 14 that means they're clearly not yet done growing, but dang. If you're going to comment on their size so brashly, then at least offer them a free ticket to basketball camp or something. Just marveling at their height makes us all out to be sort of freakshowy, and that's not really a good thing.

So, I'm pretty much waiting for the offers of football or basketball camps to come rolling in any day now. Better brush up on my negotiating skills, just in case there's a bidding war for Thing 2's superhumanness.


And that's all I have for today. Oh, except my Mom allowed yesterday during a phone conversation as how she's all caught up on my blog, which is nice, and she didn't mention anything about cussing or TMI, so thanks for reading, Mom! I love you!

Y'all have a good one. Tiff out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Update from the front, Thursday edition

After spending much of Tuesday in a funk due to the untimely passing of Albert the Cat, Wednesday was time to get back to earth and enjoy. Please don't think me callous to not spend more time mourning, but it's kind of my style to do the big ugly cry for a day or so then pull on the big girl panties and move on. Life is way too short to DWELL.

So, in celebration of it being a new day and having another chance to ride the big blue ball around the sun, I went into work late and left early. Then I took the kids to the pool. Where we played until the whistles blew and they kicked us out. It was grand. We had handstand contests and somersaulted, the kids went off the diving board, we had breath-holding contests and etc etc acted like a bunch of kids. In a pool. On a glorious summer afternoon. Which we were. And probably still are, but we're not in a pool. YOU get the idea.

We were thwarted in finding ice cream though, which stunk. I bet them an ice cream they couldn't swim across the pool without touching bottom. Might I just say right now that I think my children have been putting me on re: the swimming thing? Because Thing 1 did a marvelous crawl stroke and Thing 2 zoomed across like he was jet-propelled. Stinkers. So, they won the ice cream, but the concession stand didn't have any, and our local stop-n-go's ice cream freezer is down so everything in the case was the consistency of pudding. Ew. Thank goodness there are popsicles in the freezer at home...but you just KNOW they will remind me that popsicles do not equal ice cream and thus I still owe 'em one. They would be right to do so. There are rules about this sort of thing.


I get to go out for sushi today at lunch, which is pretty dang awesome. Mmmmmmmm, futomaki.

Tasted sushi for the first time over 20 years ago when I was dating a man with an adventurous palate. He liked Korean, Thai, Japanese, as long as it was HOT. So, it should go without saying, that 'more wasabi please' was a common refrain when we'd hit the sushi places. While I dig the wasabi, I never learned to like the really exotic sushi, so I take mine without quail egg or octopus, thank you very much.

I introduced The Biffster to sushi a while back. He'd been on this earth 40 years and had never had any, can you believe it? We started off slow, with grocery-store veggie rolls (almost always a safe bet, provided it's fresh) and he was an instant fan. I can't recall if we've gone OUT to get sushi, but you can bet that those little platters in the grocery's deli case have been disappeared on a regular basis by us. Once in the car on the way back from the store. Ahem.

Today a bunch of us from work going to a place that's new to me. If something exotic catches my eye, I might just go for it. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with California Roll....


Must dash - lunch is in an hour and I'm not ever showered yet!

Tiff out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

kind of consuming

All day long I've been fretting and worrisome. Of course the angst is explainable, and once again it comes in the form of a 6-pound furball.

This same furball came into my life a little over three years ago. I was not in the market for a pet, but the Things insisted we look at the rescue place's offerings, and there was Albert, hanging out in a wire cage, chillaxin' like a mofo.

Who could say no?

The kittenish tuxedo cat came home with us soon after, with promises to love, honor, obey, and feed for as long as ye shall live.

And so it was.

But today there's one less bowl to fill at 8 and 5. One less friendly black and white body hopping up on the glider rocker when tired folk want to take a break in the afternoon, one less sleek body surfing the grass in search of voles or a patch of sun.

One less, because our buddy Albert the Cat has died.

Two days ago he stopped showing up for mealtimes. Stopped showing up to greet whoever was coming home. Stopped taking sand baths in the driveway. His absence was immediately noted. Something about this house changes when we thought he was gone, forever. When you notice something ISN'T there, that is the start of worry.

When what you thought wouldn't ever be there again shows up ragged, sunken-eyed, and starved in the driveway at 9 o'clock at night, that is the jumpstart of mourning.

When you pick up a bundle of what you know to be your faithful friend that looks as though the of the fuse of death has already been lit and he purrs contentedly against your chest even though you're sopping wet from a pool party and he's obviously as weak as skimmed milk, that is the beginning of grief.

It was instantly clear he something was terribly wrong. The huge flashes of pupil reflecting the car's headlights were a bright harbinger of a miserable evening. His limp body, resting tensionless against my heart, was no help for hope. Dude was done for. Whether injured and heat-struck, poisoned or hit by a car, whatever had him in its grips was as powerful as a tsunami. When we found him he was clearly flat on the ground, crawling toward home, maybe hoping we could help rid him of whatever it was that was working to eradicate who he had been.

But no. Not much help to be had.

A few licks of water were all the effort he could muster. A few steps across the floor was all the strength he had. Even after being settled into the bathroom with bed, food, and water, the only comfort he could find was to wrap himself around the scale on the cold floor, perhaps to protect against the terrible pains that caused him to yowl like a banshee every hour or so.

Our lad was dying in a terrible bad way. And I couldn't go help him. I had wiped up the drool, checked the gums, stroked the back, and said my prayers. To hover over him would have, I think, been to interfere with whatever comfort the quiet might bring or whatever process he needed to go through in order to meet his maker once it was over.

At some point between 1 and 6, the process was complete. This morning told the tale.

Biff took care of the mess that was part of dying. I can only assume it was awful, as his reticence to speak of it tells the tale in exactly no words. Albert found a temporary resting place in a Tupperware tub out back, until such time as we could dig him a good hole in the front garden to plant him under a butterfly bush. At 2+ feet deep we stopped digging, wrapped poor stiff Albert in an airplane blanket, and lowered him into the ground. Well, Biff lowered him. I stood stupidly by and watched from some other body. I was no help at all, except to water the ground with unexpectedly copious tears.

He was, after all, just a cat. They die all the time. So much grief seemed necessary but ...unseemly?

But, as Biff said tonight, even though he was a cat we might have spent only a few minutes a day with, he was a constant. A greeter, a companion, a source of continuous purr, a dashing friend for evening visits. To not have him there trotting happily toward us, tail up, when the car rolls into the yard is all wrong. To know he's resting just to the right of the front walk, a couple of feet under, with a dead baby robin as his guide to whatever is beyond, is heartwrenching.

Again, to quote Biff: "I'm tired of death." Enough already. Give us a few months off, OK?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Slurping galoshes, the internet bane

Where the heck did the weekend go? Seriously. I'm sure there WAS one, but an jiggered as to where it went. Much like Albert, the disappearing outdoor cat, the weekend just went 'poof' and now here we are on Monday, which is almost over but for the shouting and there's still a huge pile of clean laundry that needs to be folded, I have no idea what for dinner (HellOO, leftovers!), and it seems I'm owed a few hours of sleep.

This is alarming. I may have actually DONE something with my weekend, therefore disappearing it all on my own.

Friday - work. Biff had a gig, so I didn't see him. I think I spent way too much time online. Who knows?

Saturday - what happened to make it go so fast? Ah yes, bathing cats as a start. I began with Lola, as she is small and dainty and would likely not put up much of a fight. Then there was Eric, who is at least twice as big as Lola and has a real true heartfelt aversion to water. It was a struggle, but in the end the human won. Yes, it took 2 of us. Then I recall something about helping out the Biffster with some remodeling work, wherein I relearned how to grout, and then scrubbed away at the shower he'd tiled and grouted to get rid of the EXTRA grout, then there was a bit of lunch and then we wrestled some bigass mirrors into place, at which time there certainly was some cussing (mine), but creativity and dogged determination (his) got the job finally done, after which there was the matter of faucets and cleanup and then it was 7 p.m. and we drove home. Stopped at Petsmart for anti-flea ammo, then bathed the remaining cat. While Biff sprinkled the carpet with magic fairy dust, I believe I made chili. Too tired to use more than one pot. Then we stayed up WAY too late watching stupid crap. The rule is that any less than 3 hours spent 'relaxing' just won't cut it, and anything leading up to couch time doesn't count as relaxing if you're doing anything constructive.

So, Sunday came too soon.

Biff was out the door early to go play drums at church, I went to the second service. We left to go to his gig. He played for 4 hours in deathly heat on a blacktop parking lot outside a biker bar. They almost lost the lead guitar player to heat stroke. He did not stroke, so they finished all three sets. They packed up. We were home by 8. I made chicken soup. We collapsed.

And then it was over. No languid afternoons spent reading or dreaming up outrageous vacation plans. No lounging of nearly any sort during times when lounging isn't normally an option. No laying about, no lollygagging AT ALL!

Silver linig time: The bestest thing was that nearly every minute was spent with Darling Biff, so that's a big plus. On the minus side - what happened to the lollygagging and languid lounging???

I think I'd like a do-over.

What'd y'all do this weekend? Do brag on your good times in the comments, won't you? I promise not to leave stalkerly comments on your blogs if you gush about perfect days on beaches or that wonderful nap you took. Really, I'm interested, much in the same way an urchin peers through the wrought-iron bars of a mansion's yard as the carriages begin to arrive at a ball. I might not have the chance to go in, but I can live vicariously through YOU.

Tiff out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

half a can of refried beans does NOT equal dinner

Came home from work this evening, hungry as Lindsay Lohan for Red Bull. Oh, it's not a pretty thing when I get that way, for in the blink of an eye you can be sure I'll concoct something along the lines of a bread heel and pickle samlich (with mayo) and wolf it down in two bites, just to be civil. There's a certain glint in my eye, I think, that when I was younger would warn my folks to throw a slab of meat my direction so I'd stop being Miss Cranky McPanterson and commence to being the little ray of sunshine I am when well fed.

Come to think of it, our whole family is like that. Hunger = silence, with a hint of testiness. How divine.

Anyhow. This afternoon, there was about no time to say hey to Biff as I was coming and he was going, then I got involved in vacuuming and feeding the pets, so some time went past during which I was going to wash the dishes when a voice from on high said "NO. Thou must eat something or thou might just fall down go boom, hitting thine head on that there counter, splitting it wide as the Red Sea, which would then gusheth forth, which is no way to go through life."

And I said 'OK' then went to the fridge to see what there is to see. Or eat. YOU KNOW.

Which is why I was eating cold store-brand refried beans from the can about an hour ago. And lo, they were tasty. Totally worth the 120 calories in flavah and belly-fillin' action.

Now I loves me some beans, but sometimes enough is enough, because dang y'all - that's 3 days in a row that beans have featured prominently on the menu. I'm pretty sure my intestines wonder if I hate them or love them enough to give them extra fiber-related responsibility. For sure at least one coworker thinks I'm harboring a badger under my blouse, for the questioning eyebrows of corporate civility were in full play earlier this afternoon.

Eh. Let 'em think I'm going to lose control at any moment. It does tend to lend an air of excitement to an otherwise boring training session. And even though I have sphincters of steel (TMI?) there's just no working that into a conversation as a way to alleviate gastrointestinally -related fears, ya know?

'Ah, Distressed coworker, I see you glancing with concern at my abdomen. Fear not, for even though immense pressure is building, you have it good authority that I can, and have, held back near cataclysms of effluent. Years of practice, don't you know. Ah ha. Now, be a good fellow and go get me a cup of coffee. I do believe I'll test the system stress this afternoon. Jolly good!'

I don't see it working out well, for anyone.


I have been known to make a meal out of a can of green beans and not much else. Of course, that was in my skinny-as-a-rail days, and also my poor-as-a-church-mouse days, so you do that math. Meat was expensive. Dented cans of generic beans were not. Mixed with an egg and some bread crumbs, and sometimes even cooked afterwards, those beans saved my bellybutton from shaking hands with my spine.

So to see me eating cold refrieds isn't much of a stretch, I suppose. The stretch might just be if I stopped to cook them first.

What are your secret odd foods to eat, usually while NOBODY ELSE is watching? DO tell, and then have a lovely evening. Tiff out.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

my lips are burning to the beat of a drum

Fresh jalapenos from the garden plus an innattentive cook = many many minutes of fun mouth burn.

yep - only needed half of that sucker for the bean salad. None needed to rub my lips while reading a book. Eeeyow.


For the past several months, Tinkerbell has been having issues with a vibrator, by which I MEAN that one or some of her wheels were either flat or out of alignment or working on their last shreds of tread.

Well, NO MORE.

Today saw the advent of one new wheel, sans big ol' flat spot where I or someone else must have run the car up onto something hard real fast, as well as the addition of a whole new tire without bald or bulgy bits.

Ye Gods. It's like driving a new car. Smooooove, like buttah, with nothing keeping time for you while you accelerate to driving speed.

And it only cost me 53 bucks to get what seems like a whole new car.



Came home tonight after running some errands (hello, new vacuum belt!) to a schweaty husband who'd just arrived home himself.

When he asked why I'd parked him in (we have no garage, this is a driveway thing), I answered 'because I am planning to mow the yard' as it's about a yard high and ugly as original sin, which includes part of our trashy driveway that was probably at one point gravel but has since given over to earthly pleasures of the monocot variety.

Therefore the parking in.

No explanation, though, of why it was that while I was putting away the groceries I'd procured he took it upon himself to start up the mower and shave an inch or three from the 'bomb zone' of a backyard, for that is where the doggie poop is deployed.

And this? Is why I love that man. He's not asked, not guilted, not cajoled, but just DOES.

So of course it was only fair that the mower was left out front when he was done, waiting for me to get my candyass out there to hack off my half of the botanicals we laughingly call a lawn.

Which I did, and it was good.


One day, when someone (probably with a big head an exoskeleton who is trying to suss out what we're all about) digs into the eArchives of the world, they're going to come across this blog and fall instantly, and deeply, asleep.

At which point the rebels will have ample time to defend themselves against the vicious arachnid overlords if they don't first fall asleep themselves.

World, in advance, you're welcome.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

wet dogs and ranibows

Skeeter the dog (STD for short) is many things: itchy, scratchy, hairy, whiny, afraid of thunder, loving, adorable, energetic, protective. She is, in short, a real Aussie. One thing she is NOT is a lover of water. She will walk around puddles, thinks what comes out of the hose is meant to be destroyed in a frenzied wharrrrgrbl, and has historically been very very naughty in the bathtub.

However, things seemed to have turned a corner on the lattermost lately. For the past few months, when I say 'come on, it's time for a tubbie,' she walks calmly into the bathroom with me, hops in the tub by herself, and waits for the next instruction. She sits when told, and once I get her front feet out from under her she'll lie there quietly while one or the other of us lathers her up, lets her soak in a nice tub full of bubbles, rinses her, and then she will continue to sit patiently while the tub is refilled with clear water for her rinse.

She'll even shake dry when prompted. Its almost enjoyable, the dog washing.

Sure beats the old days of sweating, cursing, struggling, and muttering that were sure to accompany any of her forays into the smallest room in the house. So hey. Come on over and feel free to bathe her any ol' time. She's partial to Head and Shoulders dry skin care, if you're interested. She finds it....delicious.


Driving eastward home tonight Tink and I caught up with the tail end of a seaward-bound thunderboomer. A combination of the lowering sun, the spray from the cars ahead of us, and a gently falling rain created a most awesome rainbow right across the road. It hung about 50 feet off the road, and remained a tantalizing 100 feet or so ahead of us as we sped into the guts of a horrific toad strangler.

A little beauty before the beast, I suppose.

I've never seen the like of it, and enjoyed each little second of the serendipitous swish.

Later this evening, after the last of the storms had almost passed, I went out in Lurch the van to run a couple of errands. Don't you know that in the eastern sky, flung large, was an enormous rainbow that must have had ends 5 or so miles apart. It only lasted a few minutes, so I'm glad the truck got to see it. Wouldn't be fair to have Tink lording her brush with nature over him all night while they're parked side by side in the driveway, now would it? Now he has his own story to tell.

(shut up, they do TOO talk to each other while we're inside)


All that rain quashed my plans for lawnmowing and weeding, so therefore the dog bathing, which is now to be followed up with a chaser of dish-doing, vacuuming, and laundry folding.

It's nothing but a ding-dang rockstar's life at the Tiny House, is what it is.

Hope y'all are keeping well these hot summer days. We're motoring along, putting one foot in front of the other and are glad to not be losing ground. It's all a little bit of a letdown after bacashun, but we'll manage.

Tiff out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

back to earth, with furry bits

Came back to the office today and instantly got a wonderful gift: no phone messages.


Also not-so-bad was the email tally: 68 unread messages, fully 2/3rds of which were auto-notifications for things I could easily delete.

BLISS x 2.

Normally it takes me about a day to go through all the messages and emails and crap that accumulates during a week+ off, but within an hour I was caught up, responded to outstanding issues, and arranged a couple of meetings to discuss some issues further with key players.

Then I was tired, so went on FB and wasted some time while recuperating from the burst of productivity. It’s all about pacing, you see.


Last night, after plopping down in the loveseat with a plate full of dinner at 9 p.m. (how continental!) a perfect storm of teevee presented itself for our viewing pleasure –“American Prison” and “Spider People” were playing at the same time! Awesome. There’s nothing quite like flipping back and forth between a show about sad wrecks of miscreants and a show about conjoined twins while eating spicy chicken stir fry, wouldn’t you agree?

For the record, I wanted the conjoined twin show. Seriously, there was a segment on a kid with a parasitic twin! Who wouldn’t want to watch every second of that glorious fare? Oooh, and there were these 40-year-old women who were about the size of 4-year olds who are joined at the hip, quite literally, and COULD be separated except that then each of them would only have one working leg (the third one being just a fleshy appendage that sticks out their bumside) and one of them would have to get a colostomy (only one exit for both of them, as it were) so they decided to NOT get separated. Probably a good thing, as I detected a strong whiff of codependency between them and being separate might just make the more passive one murderize her rather whiny sister, and that would be sad. Sad, sad one-legged former conjoined twin. Who will you be mad at now?

Yeah, I maybe have a little thing about conjoined twins. OK, a BIG thing. They’re pretty fascinating. Especially the parasitic ones. They’re my favorite kind. So it was a good night, all in all. For one, we weren't in jail, and for 2, neither of us is conjoined. Pretty sweet.


Getting back to real life after a vacation is an exhausting business. It doesn’t seem to matter that we did laundry ALL WEEK LONG while at the lake, upon arriving back home a pile the size of a bull mastiff appeared on the bed, needing to be folded and put away. And th DISHES, holy heck! They’re reproducing on their own, probably due to a combination of sun spots and my laziness. One of them grew a sticky coating that was taking the scubby stuff off the Scotch-Brite sponginator-thingie, so a nuclear option for the mysterious reproduction isn’t out of the question either. That plate, mysterious goo and all, is now in the trash. Can’t have it coming into contact with the other plates and flatware, as we’re not in the market for new dishes right now and so can’t afford to risk the spread of contagion. Best to sequester the funky one than tempt fate, I always say.

And then there was the animal hair on the carpet. Let’s just say I had to empty the dirt cup after only vacuuming HALF of it. Utterly filthy. Disgusting, even. And yet we keep the dog, and the cats, surrounding ourselves with hairy monsters who like nothing more than to slobber on our stuff, shed basketloads, knock crap off horizontal surfaces, and whine about how hungry they are.

Clearly we're nuts, and there's not much chance of changing.


That’s it. Must get back to doing what I’m paid for instead of doing what I like. Bacashun = over.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


9:11 p.m. Agent Tiff reports from the front lines that all is quiet.

Distractingly so.

This time last night there was a family band (and chorus) concert, followed up by a killer domino competition. Bedtime = about midnight? I simply don't know.

Tonight it's been vacation hangover. Might be that the sensation of floating will be gone by tomorrow, but I'm on no rush to feel it go. The longer it persists, the longer I can recall just what it was like to recline on a speedboat that's anchored against the soft flanks of a state park, in order to spot satellites and parse out just which stars belong to which constellation.

Sometimes the velvet-soft dark reaches of night, in the company of like-minded family, are a salve to what you don't even know ails you.

Plus which, Thing 1 jumped of the party dock. 6 times. Boy's got schteel in his trunks, is what I'm sayin'. Heh.


Hope y'all had a great week. More soon.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The post of lists!

To do before vacation (TOMORROW!):
  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Oil change
  • Pay bills
  • Mow yard
  • Print out directions (shut up - I don't have a GPS!)
  • Pack:
  1. towels
  2. bed linens
  3. COFFEE!
  4. bathroom stuff
  5. clothes
  6. spices
  7. cereal
  8. beer
  9. tennis stuff
  10. frisbee
  11. ski vests
  12. sunscreen
  13. hats
  14. phone charger
  15. computer?
  • Get new bathing suit
  • Buy new beachy cover-up thingie
  • Do some work for work
  • Pick up kids
  • Clean out car
  • Copy music
I think I can I think I can I think I can....


Lately I've been downing water like a hydroholic, and you know what? I think it's doing something to my body! The goal is to drink 3 liters a day, which doesn't sound like much, but believe you me that because I used to not even drink ONE liter a day, the extra 2 has caused quite a stir 'round these parts.

Benefits (note: read no further if you have a delicate sensibility as some of these are probably TMI):

  • More moving around. Water in, water out, you know.
  • My skin looks better than it has in a long time.
  • Weight loss = 8 pounds in 4 weeks. Booyah!
  • It's easier to eat better foods. No, I don't know why.
  • My tongue used to get all coated and gross. No more; it's shiny and PINK.
  • Who knew pooping could be an Olympic-caliber sport? I do, now.
  • Perhaps the best one - when I wake up in the mornin' I'm not nearly as sluggish. Used to be it took an act of Congress to get me going, but no more. Life changing!

So, yeah. Me and the water bottle are pretty much going steady now.


There something wrong with the way I think, as just now the thought popped into my brain: 'This time next week will be the last day of vacation.'

And then I got a little sad.

How wrong that THAT, when a person isn't even ON vacation yet and they're already mopey about it being over?

My thoughts exactly.


That'll do it for now. Y'all have a fantastic week, y'heah?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

here's some salt water dear - go feed the weeds

Way back in the olden days, Tiff here was a bona fide scientist, with a master's degree and everything. She played with dangerous chemicals, breathed deeply of various and sundry carcinogens (oh, the sweet smell of beta mercaptoethanol in the morning), got to manipulate genes and watch plasmids glow under UV light. It was all so fascinating and rewarding, the search for snippets of truth among the vast muddle of genetics.

But after spending the day doing the hard work splicing and dicing double helices of mystery, a body does get tired of the intense thinkiness, and so was born the '4 o'clock behavior.' Admission - it wasn't ME who invented it, rather it was a meme among the UVA med center microbiology unit research staff; but still, I take claim for introducing YOU to the concept.

4 o'clock behaviors are those things you do to keep busy at the end of the day, after all the gut work has been done and your samples are slowly migrating down giant sequencing gels (hahaha! Dinosaur! Me!) or the bugs you've transfected have been swabbed onto agar and nestled nicely in the incubator for the night, or when you've read sequence until your eyes are dry (again - hi Tiffosaurus! Nobody READS those things, machines all do it now!). 4 o'clock behaviors were normally chose from among the following:

  • stacking tips back into empty tip boxes to prep them for sterilization
  • cleaning off the bench and laying out fresh Chucks and supplies for the morning
  • getting glassware to the autoclave room
  • feeding cells
  • putting away fresh new chemicals

The 4 o'clock behaviors were a gentler way to end the day then by simply dashing off once the last nugget of sciencing needed to be done. Because we were the lab techs and post-docs, there was pretty much none lower than us on the research food chain, and so we did our scut work at the stroke of 4, knowing that a half an hour of prep work would allow us to dive right in the next day to the excitement of exploratory science!

How very eager we were. Cute, eh?

Sometimes I wish there were 4 o'clock behaviors here that included a sense of preparation for the coming day. However, beyond reviewing my calendar for the next morning there's not a whole lot of wrapping up that's needed when the entire extent of the mess you make in one day is the sandwich wrapper in the trash can, and when 'wrap up' is still at the far end of a 3-month timeline.

What are YOUR 4 o'clock behaviors, if any? Do share, won't you?

(And note what time I posted this. 4:07. Heh. I might be onto something)

Monday, July 05, 2010

blankety blank blank

It's hot again. SURPRISE!

Welcome to summer in NC. As I hide in the confines of the Tiny House, shades drawn, like a convict on the run, I marvel that people could live through this abominable heat without benefit of air conditioning.

Example - at 6 p.m. it's 95 degrees. That's officially too hot to do the following:

  • Sow,
  • Reap,
  • Fetch warter from that thar well
  • Knit,
  • Mend,
  • Shuck anything but clothes,
  • Churn,
  • Walk,
  • Breathe deeply.

At 6 p.m. it's 95 degrees outside, so I can only imagine how hot it was a few hours ago. I can also imagine what it must have been like to navigate those hellish temperatures in pantaloons, petticoats, and pinafores. No WONDER Southern belles were forever fainting, what with the air gettin' all caught up under them skirts and corsets, restricting 'flow' and breathing. Why, just ONE layer of clothing is plenty for me when I go out - the thought of several layers of womanly fussery piled on is enough to make me start panting like a porch hound in August.

Dear me, no. How happy I am to have been born in an age after Mr. Carrier made his miraculous discovery.

And Mr. Edison. And Mr. Franklin. Can't forget them.


We had a lovely Independence Day, thanks for asking. The ennui of deciding what to do with the day was hsattered once it was discovered that the only fireworks game in town was down in Souf Raleigh, would take 40 minutes to get to, probably an equivalent amount of time just to find parking, tix were 5 bucks each, there was no guarantee of getting home before 2 a.m. in the crush of humanity that was sure to be there, and one of us had to be leaving at 7:30 a.m. for work.

Not to mention - July in NC. Just sayin'.

Next best thing was of course to hit up a fireworks stand, procure some 70 bucks worth of entertainment, light up a bonfire and the grill, and commence to chillin'.

Did you know a blowtorch makes a handy firework lighter? And that roasted marshmallows are as delicious now as they were 30 years ago? And that boys turn overnight into young men who, when viewed in the orange glow of a well-stoked fire, will appear to be terribly grown up? So much so that it just might have happened that the torch was handed over, so to speak, making it perhaps the Best Day Ever for the under-21 set, what with the 'power to light' and whatnot.

5 years ago there was no way I'd have let that happen. 5 years from now it'll be old hat. It's satisfying seeing them move toward their own Independence Days, ya know?


Today was a day off. I have done nothing except read a book. A WHOLE book. Oh, and I took a nap.

My kind of vacation day.

Thought you should know.

Tiff out.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Seriously though

Well, the A/C works again, thanks to the powers that be (which in this case include 3 repair dudes, one sales dude, and one shiny new compressor). Folks, this unit is only about a year old, and yet it was so very farked that many interesting and important parts needed to be replaced. As the repair dude yesterday said "I haven't seen this kind of thing happen in a long time." GRRRRRRREAT! It's just us that gets the lemon, from which we can not even make lemonade in order to cool ourselves down.

Illustration of just how miserable it was in the Tiny House earlier this week: temps reached 100F outside, and 86F inside. Plus which - High humidity. No perceptible breeze, even with the windows open. Fortunately, each room in the TH has a ceiling fan, but even then all that was on offer was a hot air blast, and even THEN, the office area in the kitchen seems to be an air flow dead zone. When just SITTING is enough to cause active sweating.....people can get a little crabby.

On Wednesday Biff (bless him!) went out and got a little window unit for our bedroom. Just getting one room down to 80 degrees was a huge improvement. Now that the A/C is working again, I have a conundrum; I'm torn between returning the wee humbox or keeping it as a 'just in case' item. We could use the money back, but if the unit blows again we still have 3 more months of summer in NC and no guarantee that whatever is borked will be covered under warranty, as all the work up to this point has been.

*sigh *

Sometime this whole 'being an adult' thing is for the birds.


So, that's why I haven't had much energy to write lately. Seems that stuff has just been piling up and up, so much so that just to claw a tiny hole in the pile to get a breath of fresh air or ray of sun takes a much energy as I have. This shouldn't happen in summer, ya know? We should get summers off from bills and taxes and jobs and responsibility. We should vacate from all of reality, promising to catch up and get back on track when the leaves start to turn colors.

Can I get a woot woot on this?


Because it's clear that THAT ain't gonna happen today, I'm off to pay bills, go to the DMV, hit up the bank for some cash, and generally act like an adult. BONUS = it's beautiful outside. BONUS BONUS = I'm working at home today, and so haven't even taken a shower yet.

Gotta take the little bits of awesome and make the most out of 'em you can, ya know?