Monday, August 30, 2010

Hi New Follower!

Y'all, I'm stoked - got a new follower on Blogger sometime in the past few days. Why, if I add 3 times the number of followers I already have, I'll be into triple digits, so you just KNOW that each and every newbie is mucho appreciado in Amurka. Yes, even you. And you, in the back. There's no hiding at NAY, you know, and I can see you making those faces at me as I gush.

From time to time I enjoy a good squee as much as the next person. Today is one of those occasions.



So, everybody here knows, or should know, that I'm hitched up to a fabulous dood that I'm really nuts about. I thinks he's smart, handsome, funny, insightful, blah blah blah to the nth power. It might be that I'm just a little over-the-top in my appreciation of him, but I do really try to keep it on the down-low.

Except....well, I get really worked up and, uh, HUFFY, when I see photos of him playing out with his band and there's some hot chick pushed all up against him, partying with the rock star.

The rock star, who, lately, has taken to playing without his wedding ring on, because it was uncomfortable.

Bad enough when he's sportin' the symbol of lurve everlasting (and clear advertisement that he's TAKEN, which isn't as off putting to some admirers as you might hope it would be), even WORSE when he's not and the telltale tan line makes it look like he's had a recent change of marital heart. "Why, hello, recently separated man - you must be looking for some hot nookie, and I'm your cookie!" say the ladies (I know they do, because he's totally adorable and likes to wander the crowd now that he's all wireless and shizznit, which of course bring him in DIRECT CONTACT with all manner of groupies who might like nothing more than to paw all over a totally adorable and very manly man.)

The photos from this weekend's gig were no exception. Tall blonde with a black little minidress, great legs, and high heels was all over him, him with no ring on, and I Do Not Care For It One Bit.


(That was the sound of my 'cool' shattering under some white-hot jealousy.)

Yes - it's part of the game. Yes, there will always be groupies and tipsy ladies who just want a piece of the high life, but dang - that shit just rips me up.

I should be secure enough to not care. I really should. I really really ought to not care and be HAPPY that the girls thinks he's worthy of their attention, because obviously I think he is and so why should it matter that someone else is attracted to him? Clearly I made the right choice in men, because he is so popular. I should be happy!

And totally grates my cheese.

I believe this speaks to my insecurities, the pervasive feeling of a certain lack of self-worth and/or value that I've toted around with me for far too long. It would be lovely to be so STUFFED with self-esteem that I could do nothing but beam with joy whenever I see photos in which there are some other woman's arms wrapped around him.

So, I'm working on that. The beaming. It looks way more like clenched teeth right now, and has been known to frighten the more sensitive souls among us, so there's much room for improvement.

And, to ensure my journey toward a possible personal Utopia isn't sidetracked by an easily-fixed oversight, I did the only sensible thing and bought him another wedding ring this weekend. Oh yes I did. My self-actualization requires a little bit of emotional insurance, which now comes in a thin titanium band variety that he declares to be 'much more comfortable.'

Hey - it was that or I was going to spring for him to get a tattoo. Of my initials. On his ring finger. Mwuahahahahaaaa!!!

(To his credit - we went shopping together, sort of spur of the moment. It was really romantic. Me in my torn-up 'oh I thought we were only going to Home Depot' clothes and unwashed hair, him looking slightly more dapper in duds that actually buttoned, and the skinny/cute/young salesgirl probably wondering what the heck he sees in me. Not my finest moment, by a looong shot. It was so very bad, actually, that I was really rooting for us to go back to the mall yesterday after church to get his first wedding ring polished up, because by then I had on good clothes and makeup and smelled washed. This trip, sadly, did not happen. Which is why my life is exactly the opposite of a Thomas Kinkade painting.)


For those of you who know me in real life and who may have found the above gut-spill a surprise - SURPRISE!!!

Everyone has their demons. I have just introduced you to one of my flock. Maybe some other day, when I'm feel equally emotionally vulnerable, I'll let another one have a bit of a fly-over. They're really quite fascinating...

Don't tell me YOU don't have any. Let's not forget - there aren't enough of you who hang around here to become invisible. Dish out a good comment and open up your dark corners to a little interwebly sunlight! It's cathartic! And would make me so much better about my bevy of neuroses.

Then have a fabulous day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

look what the cat dragged in

Happy Friday!

So far mine's going about as fast as a Chilean miner rescue. Oy, so slow. It'd be great to ramp it up to bacterial oil-slick gobblin' speeds, but I can't convince the minutes to tick by as fast as all that.

Something about document conversions makes time ooze as though each minute was hanging on for dear life. It's a sure thing that each of us has something that makes time crawl slower than a loaded cement truck - why not share YOUR time suck in the comments? We can whinge and moan together. It'll be fun.


(Skip this next bit if bodily function talk turns you off or grosses you out. I won't mind. MUCH).

I read someplace that the average human bean passes about 4 L of wind a day. FOUR!

Slackers, is what I say to that. Ever since doctors cut out a chunk of my colon 40+ years ago, I pull duty for 2 or 3 people on a regular day. Things get truly impressive if there's, uh, fuel added to that fire. Like, Biff made some of the best chili ever this past weekend, and there was a LOT of it, and I LOVE CHILI, so as a result let's just say that the people at work should thank me for working at home as much as I did this week.

Ahem. Little things amuse me. Just play along.

Which brings me to another work-related AND flatus-related item: the Pharter. Remember him? The dude who would just let 'em rip at his desk whenever he felt like it, no matter who might have been around to hear or otherwise 'experience'? This is the guy who caused me to go to HR and lodge a complaint it was so bad. Seriously. Talk about your tricky work conundrum.

Well, he either changed his diet or installed a butt cork or has learned to CLENCH, because it's been mercifully quiet in the ol' cube farm for many months now. Somehow, someone got the message across that blowing the butt trumpet at work is so not cool.

And now? I actually like the guy. But if he'd continued to play the farfelonial flute at random intervals and VERY audible volume, today would have been a great day to exact revenge.

I am just saying, is all.


(checks watch. is amazed how little times has passed. sighs dramatically.)


The Great Bathroom Remodel of aught ten is alllllmost done. Paint is on the walls, there's an awesome new track lighting setup bedecorating the room with cool industrial-looking fixtures and a ton of light (squee!), and there's talk of actually putting some art on the walls to luxe up the place to a ridiculous level. All that needs doing is to paint the 2 new doors, finish painting the shoe moulding, and install the doorknobs.


By this point we've replaced everything in that room except the sink cabinet, which is too bad because it's ugly, but with a new coat of paint and some new pulls it will get enough of a facelift to be bearable for a few years, until we finally have saved enough to just rip the bathroom off the back of the house and replace it with a whole new one.

Oh yes, we have plans. But for now, I'm thrilled as a toddler in a ball pit.

Except for one thing. Those new lights have caused me to spring a lot more wrinkles than I thought I had. I suspect, therefore, that the lights are defective. That's the most sensible explanation, right?


Y'all rock your weekends. Tiff out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doing the math

I just read a quick news blurb about 2 young men (22 and 18) who were trying to sue their billionaire dad for back child support from the period from 1998 to 2002.

14 years, by my accounting.

Outrageous, right? The man didn't pay child support for 14 YEARS! Of course these boys should get SOME remuneration, I mean, he's their DAD, and should have taken care of them! Shameful!

Except...the article goes on to say that their Mom, an ex-girlfriend of the filthy rich gentleman, received approximately 3 million dollars from her loaded lover over that period.

This is not chicken feed. My calculations indicate that 3 million dollars divided by 14 (number of years) divided by 12 (number of months in a year) = about $17,600 a MONTH. If things averaged out, she get about 215K dollars a year from Daddy Warbucks.

NOT chicken feed. In fact, it's far more than I make on a GROSS basis a year, and yet I'm still paying the bills. If she wasn't taxed on this money, then she would have been living very high on the hog indeed.

So, the jury threw out the case.

And lo, I did chortle.


Took a look into the heart of the felled giant tree yesterday evening. The heart is a black empty space, quite literally, as a great majority of the ground level trunk was completely absent!

It's clear that some sort of bird or bat colony has been living in there, as the walls of the 'cave' are covered with what I'm assuming is poo. Must have been a nice snug haven for them.

Also? There's a tiny tree growing in the rich compost in the center of the downed Goliath's heart. A TREE, growing inside a tree!


(Just think of the odds of that happening, a seed falling inside a tree's rotten core, then getting enough air and sunlight to be able to grow. Nearly impossible, is what I'm thinking, but 'nearly' means there's a chance for success, right? I call it 'daggone astounding.')

Maybe at some point I'll shut up about the stupid tree, but this process fascinates me, especially since in a year or 10 nobody's going to know it was ever there. I counted the rings on a main offshoot of the trunk, a branch that's only about 2 feet across, and I got up to 85 rings. Just imagine how old the entire tree was, with a trunk fully 6 feet across. That tree had been around before our town was born - perhaps before the school down the street (Wake Forest College) was just a few log cabins and Raleigh was a day's ride away. If my estimate of 170 years is even close, then it saw a LOT of history in its time.

Forget the walls, I'd love for that gnarled up husk of a trunk to talk.


Tiff out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

hydrophobic moieties in hydroethanolic copolymers

Mmmm, yeah baby, talk science to me.

Burst release! Lipophilicity! Carbomer and hydroxymethylcelluose and Peppas equations where n corrects for the shape of the phase separator and the mass of the inverse plane of the logP pore size!

Oh, yes, yes, YES!!!

And that's a little window into what I'm doing right now.


No, I don't really understand what I'm doing right now, but I know a whole lot MORE about formulating hydroethanolic gels than I did this morning. Those who have occasion to engage me in conversation should be prepared to hear a 30-second recitation of just how very interesting it is.

Then we can talk about boobs and poop and junk, because I'll be all out of the brain stuff.


That tree next door that I bore y'all about to a perfectly astounding degree? Yeah, they're still working on clearing that monster. For comparison, I'm sure y'all have seen a picture of the "Anne Frank Tree" the just blew over, right?

I'd swear the tree next door was bigger. The stump has to be at least 6 feet in diameter, possibly more. Truckload after truckload of material is coming out of that lot, and a crew of 4 or so guys is consistently spending 8-hour days just cutting and hauling.

I, for one, am very happy that monster didn't fall on our house. We would not have come out on the victor's side in that little battle, I'm sure.

And proving that memories are indeed short, I'm used to a skyline without the tree. I mean jeepers, since it fell, we now have yet ANOTHER street light shining at our house, and you can't ever have too many of those, right? Privacy, schmivacy, the neighbors need to see what we're doing out around that fire pit!



Also, it's clear that the previous post was the Most Boring Post In History, as it got a whopping 5 comments. For that, I am sorry. I'll try to pep things up from this point on.

THIS post notwithstanding.

Monday, August 23, 2010

a dozen simians, well at least they're not bleeding, and that other thing

In an effort to keep up with dozen+-year-old pop culture, we watched (or 'rewatched' for at least one of us) "12 Monkeys" this weekend.

Once again, I was surprised at how good Bruce Willis is, and even more surprised at how effective Brad Pitt is as the insane-in-the-mainframe little rich boy. The woman who played the female lead? Meh - I began wondering how someone who has been abducted, tied up, locked in a car trunk, beaten by a pimp, and suffered other similar indignities could keep her lipstick so fresh. In other words - she's pretty forgettable (though her hair is fabulous).

One moment caught both our attention - In it, the Bruce Willis character, after a particularly nasty fight during which he killed a man, says in response to some hysteria-driven shrive by the female character, 'all I see are dead people.'

Four years later, 'The Sixth Sense' comes out.

Coincidence? Or did M Night Shamalama kype that one nugget and craft an entire marketing scheme around it with the omission of a word?



Also, we painted the bathroom. AGAIN.

Tiny House quote of the Week, uttered by Biff, is as follows: "the more I paint these walls, the more I hate them."

Clearly, the man doesn't see the individualistic beauty in bumpy, pitty, ripply walls. Walls that have seen many a coat of paint, that have the shabby chic elegance of a few sags, a few uneven spots, a bit of 'hard knock' about them.

And, well, I can understand that, because if I was to be astonishingly and brutally honest, those walls have gone beyond 'atmospheric' and dived straight into 'would be nice to rip them down and start over again if we had loads of time and money' pool. Time, of course, we're free to spend, but the money is being actively funneled into other accounts, so for now our compromise is going to be to replace the light fixtures with something that casts a bit more of a diffuse glow than what the current horribly ugly (think 1970's builder grade for one, and 'fart-fan-with-built-in-light' for the other) fixtures offer up.

Because really, why go to all the trouble to replace every stinking thing in the bathroom if all you're going to see when the lights are on is just how very badly you'd like to rip it all apart again? Add to that the danger of being married to a remodeler, and you can see that quick intervention on the 'atmospheric' front is crucial to avoiding demolition.

We'll see how well this course of action works. I can see the gleam in Biff's eye, and it speaks of demo and dust.


A couple of days ago I asked for a few good quotes on FB. Well, it appears that people have these things in virtual literary holsters and are not afraid of firing a few rounds therefrom.

The response was pretty awesome, is what I'm saying.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to start using those quotes to riff on, following whatever Muse comes attached to them down whatever path she might take.

(are muses always girls? Because I'd really like to follow a hot young dude muse if I had the chance. One that looks a lot like Biff would be even more awesome, but then I might not get much musing done and instead occupy my time with more brainstemmy action. But I digress....)

So, yes. Some form of brainiacal pursuits might be in the offing, if I can kickstart that part of my mind into activity after a very long period of somnolence. Might be like waking up a hungry bear, or it might be more like wheedling and pleading with the Fates for just one little spark to ignite a wet mental mass of old newspapers and moldy leaves.

We'll see.

Oh, and if you have any shots of quotiness to hurl at me for possible use and abuse, feel free to leave 'em in the comments section. I'm looking for all the help I can get.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Alfred de Musset was a perve

"He who can lick can bite, he who can kiss can smother."

And that, my friends, is what has been offered up as Google's quote of the day - a seemingly sadistic quote from a dandified alcoholic French poet who has in his resume a 2-year affair with George Sand and a physiologic phenomenon that can tip a physician off to an aortic insufficiency (Musset's sign). My my, what a life.

Among his other quotable moments are these:

Look at the sun! It’s dry, it’s dead, it needs a drink, it wants blood! And I’ll give it blood! (ed note: ???)

How glorious it is – and also how painful – to be an exception (ed note: probably written in a garret someplace)

and, perhaps my favorite,

در عشق اغلب اشتباه می کنیم ، اغلب احساسات ما جریحه دار می شود و احساس بد بختی می کنیم. اما عشق می ورزیم و هنگامی که در آستانه مرگیم به عقب بر می گردیم و به خود می گوییم: خیلی رنج کشیده ام، گاهی به بیراهه رفته ام، اما عشق ورزیده ام. پس من زندگی کرده ام، من یک موجود تصنعی ساخته و پرداخته ی غرور و کسالت نیستم زیرا که عاشق بوده ام.

Look no further for a verse to tattoo on your lower back, for that last one speaks an encyclopedia of insight if you wait long enough for the message to sink in. Glorious, indeed.


So, we're sort of spearheading the planning for a big shindig in late October (no, not Tiffowe'en) that's a community outreach thing for our church. We have some ideas about what sorts of activities or entertainments to provide, but of course everyone has an opinion about what they'd like to have at such an event and we're open to suggestions.

So, food boofs with free hotdogs? Check. Kids' activities? Check. Face painting? Sure! A free concert by a well-known local (and secular) band? Awesome! A portable info booth so if people are interested they can find out more about who these people are who just hand out chow and tunes because they feel like it? Absolutely.

But we nixed the suggestion to get a clown.

Even a FREE one.

Yes, clowns are festive, and colorful, and soemtimes even cheery, but they're also kind of in your face and maybe even a little scary to the wee ones, and when you're throwing a party hoping that people have a genuinely nice time, one of the last things you want to do is scare the children. Imagine the damage that could do: 'doc, when I was a kid my parents took me to this outdoor festival for Jesus and for years I thought that Jesus was 6 feet tall with flaming orange hair and a giant red ball nose who makes balloon animals, smells like feet, and squirted me with water from a giant plastic daisy pin, RIGHT IN MY EYE.'

Clearly, that's not the kind of guy kids would run to, even if he does say 'let the children come to me.'

We simply can't afford that kind of confusion. Much preferable would be to have any of the uninformed thinking God is the dude who is handing out free ice cream. That is a kinder, gentler, loving God, wouldn't you agree? It sure would be the kind of guy I'D run to.

But hey, maybe I'm just prejudiced against clowns. Would you have one if you were throwing our party?


Just so you know, they're not nearly done cutting up that tree next door. It's been, what, 3 days now? And the main trunk is still untouched.

That was one big tree.

The amount of morning light coming in through the kitchen window has probably doubled since that tree came down. This is a good thing, because the kitchen is the darkest room in the house, having only one small window in a 15 x 15 room to provide light. Having that one window get only dappled shade until noon makes the sitch even worse, so in one way having the tree gone is good. Also, I think with the tree gone our backyard might have a fighting chance of drying out, which would be good as right now it's pretty swampy a fair bit of the time and as such a perfect breeding ground for all manner of irritating insects.

Why, we might even have enough light now to do a backyard garden!

So, even though the skyline has lost a bit of interest, we might just have a nice silver lining to our recent loss. No mosquitoes, and possibly a garden that's not in pots for next year. Win, meet win.

:) Y'all have a rockin' weekend - Tiff out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yahoo thinks I live in Philadelphia

The 'local news' feature in Yahoo is a little confused, as today it's offering up news from the greater Philly area. A couple of weeks ago it thought I was in San Jose, California, and before that I was clearly sitting in the vicinity of Miami.

Ah, the great 'server shift' of 2010 is on. As a result of our little company getting bought out by a much larger one, 'things' are going on behind the scenes that affect where the Hivemind at Yahoo thinks I am. Rather cat-and-mousey of me to notice, don't you think?

Yep - Even while I sit in the same cubicle day after day, my address is going global. It's only a matter of time before I'm getting the latest from the Bangalore Bugle or possibly the Shanghai Daily News, which will suck because I pretty much can't read anything but English, and then I'll be horribly uninformed, and I will blame the Powers That Be for my dunceyness and inability to hold a conversation at cocktail parties.

And that is my plan.


Had some novocaine this morning for the first time in forever. Can't say as I care for it all that much. The absence of sensation is rather remarkable, and not a little disturbing. And, while I am getting some sensation back into my lower lip and tongue, progress isn't nearly fast enough to suit my tastes.

Let's just hope I don't chew off a hunk of cheek or bite the side of my tongue off, because that would be messy and, eventually, quite painful.

All this unsensationalism is because I apparently grind my teeth like it's my job while I'm sleeping, and wound up breaking a chunk off tooth 18 a while back. The defect was filled, I bit it off, was filled again, and I ground that one to a powder as well a month or so ago, which meant yet another trip to the DDS for yet another grind n' fill.


If I keep it up, at this rate I should be essentially toothless, like and old Eskimo woman, by the time I'm 60.

I wonder if a little Botox to the masseter would help, or if it would just turn me into a drooling hang-jawed mess, reduced to sipping my meals and wearing a slobber bib?


This one's quick, because I have a meeting to go to in a few minutes, but I wanted to say 'hey' and to fill you in on the Thrilling Life I Have.

Oh yeah.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hello, blue skies

About 2 weeks ago, at the crack of dawn, a sound assaulted our ears very early in the morning. It sounded like a very large angry bee had been trapped in an immense bottle, and it was coming from the lot next door.

What to do in a situation like that but go an investigate? My thoughts exactly.

As it turns out, the Very Large Tree next door had decided to shed a few pounds by dropping an enormous limb a couple of days earlier, and the arborists were busy on the scene doing the chainsaw mambo on what had gone kerthunk.

Three days later, they were still at it. For one limb.

Please understand, when I say 'limb' I'm talking about a piece of wood that was at least 30 feet long and 6 feet in circumference at its base. This one limb was a big as a tree, and took several truckloads to get out of the way. Even the tree folk looked mighty impressed, and allowed as to how they hoped the rest could be saved because it's a might fine tree. I allowed the same, being as that mighty fine tree is a major source of shade for the Tiny House, and in the evening the shape of it is like an 11-fingered (OK, 10-fingered) hand grasping at the dusk. In silhouette, it's a thing of primitive beauty.

Well, it's a good thing I have my memories of it. Turns out that one big limb dropping was the death knell for the grand old pin oak, and the decision had been made to give it up to the ages. This morning when I left for work there was a fellow high up in its branches, lopping off bits of history. This afternoon, there's nothing but a gigantic pile of firewood on the ground and a stump so huge a family of deer could curl up in its base for a nice nap. Turns out the center was rotten clean through, and animals had been burrowing through its base so long there's a network of tunnels through the wood to that nice soft moist spot at the tree's feeble old heart.

The Things and I went over to take a gander at the decapitated titan this evening, and if there had been fewer consarned vampire bugs keeping us company and sampling the ol' hemoglobin, we'd have taken the time to count some tree rings. As it was, I had just enough time to snap off a few shots of my boys playing on the corpse of a being that has probably been alive since the Declaration was signed, and that will have to be enough of a memorial because I suspect that by tomorrow night there won't be much more than a pile of sawdust and a mountain of withering still-leafed branches remaining.

And that makes me rather more sad than it ought to. Or, maybe I'm just sad enough.

Bye bye tree. You'll be missed.

(Neither one of the boys is sitting on the main trunk. Thing 2, in front, is probably 40+ feet 'up' in the tree, and Thing 1, in the back, is on a main tributary, neither of which is as immense as the 'real' trunk. You can well imagine that kind of shade a tree like that affords. I fear for my electric bill next month...)


Also, I don't remember why I wrote this. But, well, I kind of like it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

a whole new world

There was an open house at Thing 1's high school today. HIGH SCHOOL. Yeeesh.

The school has been undergoing extensive remodeling over the past year, and now is shiny and bright throughout. Clean floors, unmarked walls, the fresh smell of new everything. I could tell he was excited to be there, and was gratified to see the reactions of the kids he knew, to the point that 1) some chick literally jumped into his arms, and 2) one of his buddies did the whole 'shove your friend around so he knows you're happy to see him' thing. Such are the complexities of being a teenager - how DOES one adequately express friendship? I suppose direct physical assault is one way; clearly it's the accepted norm at his school.

It took only about 20 minutes of walking around to once again wish that school uniforms were more on trend, because Lord have I seen enough teen girl bottoms clad in extra-teeny shorts. Oh and teen boys are still getting away with wearing super-huge clothes, unless they're on the football team which of course means they wear really tight tees with the team logo so as to better advertise their physical prowess and show off the guns to the girls in the teeny shorts. All those hormones floatin' around were almost enough to make my tired old ovaries perk up a little. One can only imagine what will be going on in the new parking deck after school...which will likely be no different than what went on under the bleachers at MY high school.

I am SO not ready for this.




About a year ago we redid most of the bathroom, from installing a new sinktop, hardware, flooring, toilet, and tub with tile surround. The place was looking pretty sharp, except for the paint. It's not that the paint was old or gross, because we had repainted it after the new floor went in and at the time it pretty much matched the old tub and countertop, but once the new stuff was all in it was clear that paint job is entirely the wrong color.

Guess that's what you get for using whatever you have lying around.

In a fit of "I'm tired of this let's do something about it and oh by that way honey would you please join me on a busman's holiday and replace the trim that's been off for the last 6 months," the Biffster and I went a shoppin' this weekend for supplies to finally git 'er done right.

And lo, I am happy with how it's turning out. We chose a deep rich oxblood ('toasted cinnamon' is what it's called, but oxblood is way more awesome a name, wouldn't you agree?) for the walls above the chair rail, and a bright bone color will go on the trim and the wall below the chair rail. We got the idea from a design website for small bathrooms, so we're being totally fashion-savvy, eh?

Even with only the dark paint on, and only with one coat of that (it will take 2), I'm already loving the change. The old all-wrong buttery yellow (I think that one was called 'eggnog' or something), that looked far too mental institution for comfort, is being overtaken with a color that is as rich as fudge and, as an unexpected bonus, is far more kind to the skin tones.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of the paint go on. The combination of oxblood and bone, while decidedly macabre sounding, is going to make that room as luxurious as a Sunday afternoon nap.

Now, to find the perfect shower curtain...maybe something with an abattoir design just to keep the theme going.

Oh wait, we already have one of these (-->) - that might just do! What do you think? Bold design choice or proof that I've gone completely off the deep end?


And that's it's from here today. It's time to get ready to hit the carpool line at the middle school to rescue Thing 2 from a long bus ride home.

(That rhythmic thumping you hear is the sound of me patting my own back at the Momming skillz I got going on today. If it weren't for the giant pile of dishes in the sink and the even larger pile of laundry on our bed, I might just believe I Have It All Together today!)

Y'all rock on.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

and then, I was 6 feet underwater

If I could do today over, I would.

Never mind that we're Satan's Taint Adjacent around here, as hot as it's been. This is NC in AUGUST, and manohman is it ever hot here. There's never been an unseasonably cool August as long as I've been here, and this is my 6th one in this fair state. Nope, August is nothing but hot hot hot in the Piedmont.

It is a source of regional pride, I think. How many days can we break 100 in the heat index? Let's go for ALL OF THEM! Woohoo! It was 96 today, with a heat index of 110.

110. Breathe that in like a shunt straight out of a dogs mouth...

110. Just like yesterday.

And what, might you ask, does one DO when the heat index is 110 degrees, which is of course the recommended temperature for baking one's brain?

One helps one's spouse build a deck, of course. You LOVE your spouse, right? In sickness and in health, for better or for worse? Well, chickies, 110 degrees on the old heat index is a fair definition of 'worse,' and thus I found myself in a position of performing my marital duties (not that kind, you perve) on 2 of the hottest summer afternoons the Triangle has yet cooked up.

It might be that I am a bit bored at work right now, and welcome even the WORST of diversions. This might explain my alacrity at offering my unable assistance at the job site. Even so, you cannot disclaim my adherence to support of Mah Mayun, boredom take the hindermost. Boredom makes people do dumb stuff, like get married to the wrong person (explains my first go-round, unfortch) or invent elaborate rituals regarding irons and the putting away thereof.


So, I'm all supporty and half crazy, apparently. But, BUT!!! Even though I think the few hours spent in the heat ohmyGODTHEHEAT these past couple of days has probably enriched my chances at premature senility about 10-fold, and even though I felt sick and dizzy and hour into the ordeal today, there were a few bright sides:

  • I got to work at home the majority of the past 2 days. Hello, ratty sweatshirt and holey shorts!!
  • I got to spend time with the Biffster and suffer right along with him in the OHMYGODTHE HEAT and was party to watching this dude sweat and struggle and suffer and create in stoic nature, even when a lesser man might have not shown up to work at all because of, well, you know....
  • I got to use power tools, if by that you mean a drill.
  • I got to go to the most awesome Holding Park Pool after work with Biff and Thing 1 (Thing 2 said he 'had too much homework,' which amazes me but there ya go), the first minute of which was a soul-feed of epic proportion. Hallo, delicious water!! The other 90 minutes was pure floatyness, with a few bouts of diving board and water slide thrown in for good measure. Then, while Biff went to the bank, Mr Thang and I goofed around until the final whistle blew, at which time we started the mile or so walk home, at which time - -
  • I got to explain 401Ks to him. And you know what? He gets it. Asked clarifying questions, put up a couple of 'what ifs,' and hmmm'ed alot as I explained corporate matching, investment vehicles, and loan paybacks. Now, I must be fair, we also talked about what the worst hurt would be if you had to walk a long distance barefoot (because we were), and the going price of houses for sale in the neighborhood, so it wasn't all cerebral crap. But still, those 20 minutes with him before Biff picked us up on his way back home were a lot of fun and really helped put him in new light for me. He's growing up fast, so those little chunks of time here and there mean the world to me. Plus which, with a little coaching, the kid could have a killer backstroke. *Grin*
  • Then, I got to come home, and despite having to once again attempt to eradicate the stupid daggone motherfrumping FLEAS from the house with a dash of vacuuming, a spot of sweeping, and a smidgen of spraying, am now watching Biff at the stove cooking up beans and rice and meat (a three-layer dish, it's complicated) while I write these little inanities to you.

See, I'd bet you'd totally do this day over too. Once you lived through the OHMYGODTHEHEAT part, that is. Pain with the pleasure, is what it is. Or, to put it as previously stated, for better or for worse...110 degree heat index being the 'worse' part, fo sho.

Now it's time for a cocktail, a shower, and a period of family hangout time while we wait until the new Futurama which comes on at 10.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh rhapsody!


The only reason to not own and use a PedEgg is because you have 'people' who do that sort of thing for you. I've gone on about this particular cheap piece of miracle-working before, but feel I MUST say it again - get you one and use it. (Malach, I know you'll agree)

Ten minutes ago my feet were broken-down flaky things of ick, the dry heels and gnarled toes a thing of anti-beauty, and now, here I sit, the proud bearer of size 11 feet that are soft and baby-pink. Why, I can tap on the heels of my feet and it make no sound at all. People. I'm here to tell you that ten minutes ago, if I'd done that, it would have sounded distinctly percussiony, perhaps like a small woodblock in tone and timbre. Reflect on THAT, if you will.

If anyone ever deserved woodblock feet, it's me. I walk around barefoot all the time. I love feeling the ground with my toes, and don't shy way from walking on stones or frost with naked toes. But it does leave a girl in a bit of hardship if a girl doesn't want the sheets to snag on her callused feet. Even the really nice 500-thread-count sheets might not be a match for the cornflake feet thang, is what I'm saying to you. Walking barefoot can leave even the most delicate of flowers with hooves like cardboard if they're left too long to their own devices.

So, yea. PedEgg. I kind of love you. I'm feeling all princessy, and that is a Gift of Rare Proportion.


In a similar domestic vein,

Earlier this evening I'd experienced a crisis of cooking such that in the midst of preparation I had to leave the kitchen and go sit down, such was the ennui.

Ennui us nothing to kid around about, clearly. It can take the most noble of intentions and turn them into a big seeping ooze of 'meh.' Disarming, at the least, and if dinner is concerned, it can be downright troubling.

You'll be happy to know I got over it, and there are now roasted veggies in a balsamic vinegar-rosemary sauce popping merrily along toward doneness in a nice hot oven, and in 10 minutes or so I'm putting in the boneless skinless chicken strips that are currently marinating in an S/P/garlic powder/onion powder/paprika/cinnamon rub.


Clarification time.

Lest y'all think I'm some kind of highfalutin' DINK who gleefully drinks the sweat of a thousand minions as a chaser to a a plate of sushi wrapped in hundred-dollar bills, such is my spendyness, let me make this perfectly clear re: the chicken thing: I do not buy boneless skinless chicken strips, for they are approximately worth their weight in gold-pressed latinum as so purchased. No, no, no way. Down that road lies ruin. Rather, the Tiff method to deliciousness that makes you feel so dandy is to purchase split breasts at 89 cents a pound, then process them emmeffers for the 10 minutes it takes to turn them into BSCS, and then? There's nothing left to do but to howl with delight over how much money I saved. Oh yes, the howling is a part of the ritual.

Honestly. 10 minutes of prep to save 2 bucks a pound or more? I am so there.

Anyhow, now the house smells like somebody loves it, and I'm off to do other girlie things like hot oil treat my hair ( it's otherwise known, 'the haystack') and clip the dog's toenails.

Such is the life of a real-life internet toughgrrrrl.

Tiff out.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Never name a daughter Huldah

As I stroll ever further around the back alleys and byways of the good Book, something has occurred to me:

Those crazy old testament-ers were, I'm convinced, in a some sort of competition to decide who could come up with the weirdest things to name their kids.

You just have to pick a book and dive in to see what I mean. Some of the names are nearly unpronounceable, and yet SOMEONE though they would be great monikers to hang around the neck of an innocent baby. Can you imagine it?

"Aw, sweet little


You're so CUTE!"

Those kids, you can be sure, grew up with nicknames. Not like David and Esther and Dan and Ruth and Simon and all those folks with easy names, oh no - THEIR parents were kind and uninventive and gave their kids names that people could pronounce! Poor Absalom over there has to go by "Abby' because Mom and Dad were gettin' creative in the crib, mixin' it up linguistically until the wine took over and the papers were signed and that's that for ever and ever.

Shadrach, Messhach, Abednigo. Yoiks!!

You know what name is in the Bible that makes me giggle? Rufus. Hyuck Hyuck!! Rufus!

Perhaps not entirely coincidentally it means 'red.' Let that one sink in, would ya? Har Har, Rufus = red! Pert soon y'all be tellin' me that Bubba = neck! Hoo-EE!

A point of cogitation is this: When Rufus came out all red in the head, his Dad must have been struck dumb at the sight (remembering that the Bible stuff happened mostly in the Middle East, where gingers are rarely spotted in the wild) and just started babbling on about the kid's hair color. Hard for mom to explain THAT one, I'm betting, esp if Dad was the typical dude of the times with swarthy good looks and fancy mustaches. "Red hair? RED? Bathsheba, what have you DONE? It was those Kurds, wasn't it? Those dirty Kurds with their blue eyes and fair hair, those mountain men who came to sell their goats last spring, wasn't it? You can't fool me, Missy, I saw you getting cleaned up on the roof, every day, and should have known better than to let you out of the house without an escort!"

So, Rufus must have been a bit of a shocker, is what I'm saying. However, better to be Rufus than being named 'Jael,' which sounds cool but really means 'goat.' What unholy dalliance would cause someone to call a baby that? Must have been one ugly kid.

Heh, kid. Goat, baby, KID. Get it?


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

Thursday, August 05, 2010

shootin' for 100

Some people who blog do so to a very wide audience. Me? Not so much. Oh, at one point this blog was rather more popular than it is now (ah, the good old days), and got double-digit comments on every post, but slowly the audience dribbled away to shinier things (hello, Facebook!).

(Note: I do NOT blame my writing, content, political views, taste in clothing, or overall style for losing readers. That would be to admit cause, which is clearly not an option.)

Losing readers would have made me nuts a couple of years ago, but now the pendulum has swung way over to the other side and I'm not all that bothered. It's nice to have a core group of people who care to come by, read, and comment.

Naturally, I'd love to be adulated more, but it's always been my motto 'quality over quantity' (except, perhaps, where bourbon is concerned) and so I'm taking a moment now to say thank you to all of you who do come, read, and comment.

Thank you. With a big squishy rainbow on the side. Plus sprinkles.

Now, go tell 10 friends about this blog or your computer's RAM will turn into a bleating ewe. I totally swear it will.


For the record, I am a mosquito magnet. Invite me to an outdoor party and I will be the one covered in a cloud of bloodthirsty insects. You'll have little need of any other form of protection, such is my power over any bug wanting a meal.

It comes from my Mom, who can't venture out in the summer with uncovered ankles, ever, unless she's either in a windstorm or coated in bug-off.

And, I'm proud to say, the skill has been passed on to the next generation, as Thing 2 has the same generous nature. Sadly, the boy is also 'atopic,' which means that any bites he DOES get will swell up to a nice marble-sized hard lump and itch like mad for weeks. Way to take it to the next level, dude.

Who among you are magnets for the mosquito? I can't be the only one.



One of these days I think I'll run a little experiment and see how long it takes a post to get 100 comments. My prediction, based on the amount of traffic I get, is that the regulars here will have to comment about 10 times each to get over the hump.

Some folks have gobs of drive-by readers who comment effusively over every little post, no matter how sloppily thrown together, NAY has its dedicated core group who, one can hope, would step up to the plate of slavish behavior and put poofy little hearts and puppy kisses all over my ego-driven offerings.

But, no limits today. So, you're welcome for that one.


Lastly, the new IM tool at work has some really cool features, like a nice assortment of emoticons to spice up your interchanges with similarly bored workmates.

Examples include the regular smiley, the sarcastic smiley, the concerned face, and a slice of pizza.

Also, a sheep (-->). Which, combined with either of the 'hug' emoticons, will put a stop to almost any conversation.

Begs the question - What's the weirdest emoticon YOU have in your arsenal, and would you ever use it for a work-related conversation? Also, what's the SHEEP FOR??

For the record, I've used the sheep/hug combo to good effect, as well as the slice of pizza in a response to a colleague's posting of the 'glass of beer' emoticons. We do have a rollicking good time at the cube farm, oh yes we do.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Life on the cat farm

Normally, there are 3 cats that live inside the Tiny House. That, I'm sure you will agree, is enough for anyone. But wait! There's more! Until last week we ALSO had 2 outdoor cats -Albert our dear departed friend, and a new little gray cat we call Urkel, who adopted us a month or so ago. This, I KNOW you will agree, is plenty of cats to care for.



There's more. For the past few days we've been babysitting a friend's cat while they're on vacation. We did have an option to just go over to the house a couple of times a day and feed/water the little girl kitty, but instead decided to tempt people's opinions of our sanity and brought her over to Maison du Chat to see ho she would do in a house with All Those Cats around.

After 4 days, it's completely safe to say that the Tiny House has a new ruler, and it is NOT one of our cats. New cat sits in the choicest spots, regal in her bearing, utterly comfortable. Even our crabby cat seems fine with her, which is amazing given that Crabby Catty still hisses at Eric and Lola, and they've been here for MONTHS.

Maybe there' s a tipping point among cats once a certain critical mass is reached, where they just stop caring about how many of them there are in the house and start planning the human's demise. That might explain their furtive glances and the Che Geuvara beanies they've taken to wearing.

New cat goes home next Sunday. Let's hope we can hold off any insurrection at least until then.

Monday, August 02, 2010

well THIS turned into a lot of words.

This is my second attempt at writing a post today. The first one was a dreadful rambling mess of uninteresting items. There will be no promises that this attempt will be much better, but you should all thank me right now for not putting up what besmirched this spot just a few moments ago.

It’s almost like I hate you all, such was the suck I almost posted, and because we all know that I do NOT hate all of you, posting that post would have been a lie, and I try very hard to NOT lie anymore because that’s a sin, which is to be avoided because Lord knows I do enough of that on a daily basis. Not posting that post is a step in the right direction, for all of us, I think you’ll agree.

But, in the absence of that Post of Suck, what to put here in its place? Our weekend wasn’t interesting enough to write about, my 401K statement is enough to make Hulk Hogan weep, the fact that school started again today is a newsy point but not much more. This is the point at which most other people would simply not post anything at all, but I’m not that strong. I did manage to miss my high school reunion this weekend, which looks like it was a lot of fun but from the pictures posted on FB seems to have been populated with people NOT in my ‘core group’ of the time, so I probably would have just hung out in a corner making myself feel foolish if I’d gone anyhow, so there’s 125 bucks saved. Plus which, I didn’t have to buy new duds, so even more saved. Good thing about the saving thing, because we DID have to buy new shoes for the Things, as theirs have seen 10 too many lawn mowings to be anything BUT work shoes at this point and because they both wear size 14 clodhoppers we had to go to a big and tall shop, where shoes cost approximately a billion dollars a pair, which is bad news for the thrifty-minded. Good God! At this rate I should start a savings account just to keep them shod, because they are NOT done with them growing and thus we WILL be purchasing new shoes in ever-larger sizes until such time as either there are no bigger shoes to buy at which point they will simply have to go barefoot or their feet agree that it’s time to stop growing while there are still shoes to fit them (my preference, though barefoot would be cheaper). The Big Dood store only stocks wide width shoes, which doesn’t really work for Thing 1 anyhow, and then only up to a size 16, so me and the ‘special online order’ will, no doubt, because best friends where footwear is concerned.

Size 14. Ye gods.


Just in case you were wondering why I don’t write about the slurping sniffling stats girl anymore, it’s because she’s gone. GONE! Sweet mother of Doctor Bones, she’s GONE! The silence is deafening. There’s no grunting, no long personal phone calls from her cube, no croaky-voiced exhortations, no annoying noises of unknown origin or purpose AT ALL. It’s lovely. I almost forget to be happy about that sometimes, but I did just take a moment to soak in all the quiet.

Little things, people.

Now, if I could just convince the colleague with the constant throat-clearing to work at home more often, or seek other employment, life would just be that much sweeter.


Speaking of work, the assimilation of our little company in the Cube of our purchaser is nearly complete. Our old systems and software are being replaced with theirs, even when it would really have made much more sense to go with what we had prior to the purchase as it was, in some case, 1) simpler, 2) more intuitive, or 3) just outright better.

But not the email software. Lotus notes can bite me. Outlook rules. So thanks, New Big Company, that part rocks.

Most of the other stuff though, not so much. As an example, there is one process that now involves the need to provide paper copies of documents, which are then shipped to another country to be scanned, the scans then are emailed to another country to be entered into a database, which is then mined by folks in yet another country to start a process which will, after 60 days have elapsed, initiate a process that will result in a final product. Read that again and marvel at it’s complexity and backwardness. Soak it all in…

This is the replacement for what we used to do, which involved sending an email straight to the person who had the capacity to create the final product. Snappy, huh? All electronic, efficient, and had a rapid response time! So, obviously, why on earth NOT replace it with a process so Byzantine that it takes a flow chart and a 50-page SOP to get through?

Sometimes, I’d like to speak with the people in charge, and give them a piece of my mind, but nowadays that would likely involve having to etch my request on a clay tablet using only stone-age era cuneiform runes, letting it dry, coating it in three layers of masking tape, setting it on fire, dousing it with the blood of a virgin tapeworm, shipping it to a third-world country on the back of a crippled emu, spitting into a northwesterly wind for 3 days at noon to ensure its safe passage, then reading its fate in green tea leaves until such time as notification arrives in the form of cloud-writing that I’ve been summarily denied permission to ever again think I could approach the upper levels of management with something as upstarty as an ‘idea.’

Just like the new SOP says.


I’m out. Got to go get lunch, then think about what to do this afternoon. The thinking requires a full stomach, wouldn’t you agree?