Thursday, December 15, 2011


10 things I dislike (if you care or were wondering):

The sound of people typing on super-clicky keyboards
When stuff explodes in the microwave
The funk on laundry left in the washer too long
Canned asparagus
Shirts with too-small neck openings
My double chin
The sound a dog makes when it's licking itself

In truth, I could go on and on about the 'noises that bother me,' because it seems I have very little ability to sift unimportant sounds out and also I have a medically proven issue with sound dampening (if you hear a loud sound in one ear your body (not mine) protects against damage by tightening up BOTH tympanic membranes, keeping them from slamming your middle-ear bones around. It's helpful, that function, and yet I do not have that particular bit of wiring) that makes everything just a little more exciting when things go BOOM. Or click. Or wheeze, whistle, snap, rustle, yadda yadda.

The beets speak for themselves.


Biffster and I will be winging our way to the left coast next week. I'd normally be excited, but on this trip I'm a-havin' to be dragging my computer along with me and, well, actually do WORK while there. A little research shows that a reliable wifi signal is readily available, so I'll be spending some (a lot) of time at the local library trying to get caught up. Again.

It's a never-ending cycle. Runrunrunrun to try to catch up while folks throw more stuff on the pile. Getting out from under is a continual effort, Sysiphussian in scope and near-impossibility.

Job.Security. THERE'S the positive spin.


I hope all y'all are keeping well, and that you've carved out a nice big hole in the end of your year to stuff in some relaxation.

Tiff out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Now I'm only a week behind

If all goes well, by the end of today I'll only be about a week behind in stuff for work. This is, shockingly, an improvement from last week when I was about a month behind. Delivering initial drafts of large projects has been an issue of late, as little, more urgent, things keep popping up and taking time away from the big-ticket projects that of course are important and urgent as well, just not AS important and urgent at that exact moment.

Once I get today's items off into the ether for people to take a gander at, I shall begin doing work that might actually be on TIME, and maybe even a little AHEAD of time, just in time to take back possession of the late work and do the second round of edits and updates.

Don't you wish you were me right now, all glamour and glitz and high-living? Why, it's almost criminal how deeply satisfying this is, the working. It's like creating fine art from human hair and grass clippings, or writing the best poem about spinach and grits that was ever written, or crafting a sonata in 6/4 time to be played by sackbutts and ocarinas, it's that good.

In other news, the Christmas tree is up!! We went out last night and fetched us a 6-foot Charlie Brown tree, with one smooshed side and a low price tag (less than 40 bucks around here is considered cheap). The smooshed side fits nicely into the old fireplace wall, which allows us to keep the furniture arranged in its usual place instead of moving stuff around so we can walk into the kitchen. So far the cats have not interacted with the tree at all, and do no have a history of being really pesky with the pines, so I'm hopeful this year will be more of the same. That being said, most of our ornaments aren't fancy-dan things of high value, so I'm not concerned if things get busted, mostly. Some of what we hang are things the Things and I have made over the years, and I do try to hang them in spots that seem less vulnerable, and there are a few sentimental items that I'd be sad to see broken, but overall they're just 'things' and can be replaced. We'll decorate it tomorrow night, I'll make some garland from the boughs we picked up at the tree lot for free, the Nativity will be installed, and then we'll be ready for Santa to come, for the baby Jesus to be moved into the manger, and for us to avoid the Krampus.

Whew - busy busy busy!

Hope y'all are keeping well and that your holiday season is gearing up nicely. Tiff out.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Shake up the tastebuds

Tonight's dinner was pretty good. So good, in fact, that I'm posting the recipe here so at some point, if I want it, and remember I've posted it here, I can find it again.

Apologies to those who wanted something of more substance. This one's all about me and my for-crap memory.


Tiny House orange sesame chicken (or pork, or tofu)(and not that breaded deep-fried crap that supposed to be 'Chinese food,' because, bleah), serves 4.

This is a step-by-step recipe, so read through if you want the full ingredient list before starting.

Start 1 cup Basmati rice to cook according to package instructions.

While rice is cooking, cut up 1 chicken breast (or 8 ounces pork, or tofu), in thin 1" long pieces.

In a medium bowl, mix 3 Tbsp sherry, 2 Tbsp low-salt soy sauce, and 1/2" ginger root, chopped fine. Add chopped chicken (or pork, or tofu), stir and let sit.

Cut 1 onion in 1/4-round thin slices, 2 carrots in 1/4" dice, and 2 cloves garlic in tiny dice. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup Tahini (if you don't have Tahini (and WHYEVERNOT? It's great stuff!) then combine 1/4 cup peanut butter with enough warm water to make a pourable liquid), 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp warm water, and 1 Tbsp corn starch. Mix well with whisk until smooth.

In a large pan or wok, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over very hot fire until shimmering. Add onions and carrots, stir, add 1 tsp cilantro if you have it, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Return to bowl.

Heat pan over very hot fire again, add 1 Tbsp oil, heat until shimmering, then add chicken (or pork, or tofu) and marinade. Be careful, this might spatter. Stir constantly until liquid is reduced by half.

Add onion/carrot/garlic mix and 1/2 cup frozen peas, cook for 2 minutes until heated through.

Add marinade, cook for 2 more minutes until almost absorbed, then add tahini sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Plate out rice, then top with some chicken goo, and eat. Goes well with a dash of Sriracha!

About 530 calories a serving. Very low sodium, high in niacin, high in Vitamin A. Just about 1/3rd your daily recommended fat intake, as you might expect.


I found that this dish starts with a great orange note, mellows in a second to the sesame, and finishes really smooth. I think kids would like it, even with all the veg, because it's not hot or sour, especially if you don't add the Sriracha.

So, yeah. That was dinner. And it was good.

What'd YOU have?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

it's been that kind of a time

Tonight I drove home, in the dark, through a vicious rainstorm.

It was 64 degrees here this morning at 8 a.m., and it is now 48 degrees at almost 10 p.m. Can you chant me Cold Front, Cold Front? Yeah, baby, I thought you could. Meteorological serendipity, thy name is 5 p, TODAY!!

As it became all too soon all too clear, the cold front and I were commuting partners. It swept the streets of debris and dust, poured gouts of rain to clean the streets of distracting flotsam, wiped leaves from the surface in tumults of blinding scree, apparently trying to be helpful. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, THE WHOLE TIME.

Well, no. Not so helpful.

The windshield wipers on RED ALERT did nearly nothing to unobfuscate the wretched scrim of droplets pushed against the glass almost immediately after every pass of the blade. The road markings were visible only because they're made of tape and therefore stick up enough to divert water from its naturally falling path enough to provide some miniature dam-like, and therefore topographical, effect. Approaching cars blared headlights over the flopping greasy efforts of the wipers, blazing smears of unwelcome lights across the entire view like a blast of sun under a visor in late afternoon. Seen, known, but unexpected and tremendously irksome (and dangerous).

Dear God how I hate driving in the rainy dark.

Even more so when there is a passenger in the car.

Which, there was.

On the plus side, he is a GOOD passenger, and only made note of his discomfort ONCE when I may or may not have almost not stopped in time at the new crazy-assed intersection at that bridge over that main highway not far from here, so it's cool. We'd come so far in the deluge up to that point that missing the stop by 1.5 car lengths could be forgiven, so hey it's OK.

Crazy stupid cold front. Racing through here like you have a RIGHT to change this weather, impact my ride, endanger my life, and douse this bit of world with sloppy wet.

If it weren't for the dangerous nutso life-threatening commute, I might love you a little. You're just THAT wicked.

Now blow me a breeze to take me to morning, and we're all set.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Staring into space

Once again, me plus copious time alone proves that I am the most boring person on the planet. I fall asleep early, talk with nobody, do almost nothing, and can't even be bothered to cook anything. It's as though I just go on 'hold' until something or someone comes along to jump-start the life engine. Otherwise, I get stuck on idle (metaphor, beware!), just gently reverberating while waiting for something to push me forward.

Shoot, the past 2 nights I didn't even bother going to BED to get my night's sleep. That recliner is proving far too comfy, particularly when there's a blanket and a cuddly cat at hand. It's a rule that once a cat falls asleep in your lap, you're not allowed to move, right? You're stuck there until the cat decides it's time to get up. Cats are like that, the little tyrants.

Today's the day though that things will get done, as Biff returns home tonight (at nearly midnight. I might have to take a nap before then!) and I really ought to vacuum up the potato chip crumbs in the living room, do some laundry, wash the dishes, take a shower, sort the mail, and follow-up on all the little things I've not done in the past couple of days while I was practicing being a flesh statue. It's just that bad, folks.

It's always been this way. When I was single and living alone I would let things go a dreadfully long time. There were weeks when I couldn't find the time or energy to even put sheets on my bed. I'd just sleep right on the mattress with a comforter or 2, and usually more than 1 book. I'd eat apples and cheese and bagels almost exclusively because they required no dishes. I wouldn't even use a knife on the block of cheese; I'd just tear off a hunk and go at it peasant style. Housekeeping was similarly spare - it was only when there were, say, more leaves in the living room that on the ground outside that I'd break out the broom and tidy up. I'd just spend a lot of time hanging out, reading, watching the sunbeams move across the room, waiting for something to happen.

I am a person who needs outside influence in my life. Self-motivation and me don't really even have a nodding relationship. Without pressure to perform, I simply don't. It would be nice to think that I'm not alone in this, and that when y'all are on your own with not much to do you don't go whizzing around creating chores or hyper-dialing friends to do stuff like 'go out' or 'get together' or whatnot. Maybe if I was single I would do that, because I'd be forced to make my own entertainment, but for me, right now, a couple of days of nobody around equals me being ultra-boring.

I have, however, paid the bills today, so that's something. And I'm about to get all crafty and holiday-ish with wreaths and lights and whatnot, and then I have to crank out a bunch of stuff for work, not to mention the aforementioned housework and showering, so today's shaping up to be The Day I Should Have Been Having All Along.

What are YOU planning on accomplishing today?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear Bank that just cut my credit limit by 75%


I thought I knew you. I thought that, because I've dealt with you and you many fine offerings of loans, mortgages, and insurance over the years and have happily availed myself of them for a very long time to what I would like to think is our mutual benefit, you would at least give a sister a shout-out before pulling the financial noose a little too snug for comfort.

I thought that because I didn't carry a balance on your credit card, and because, in fact, you right now OWE ME 20 bucks because I overpaid a month or so ago, that you would look kindly upon me as a responsible citizen and one of your best customers, who should be allowed access to a certain amount of credit if something should go horribly wrong, and not like someone who needs to have their hand slapped because of what some bimbo reporting agency has to say about me and who doesn't even know me.

I do, after all, hold a mortgage with you that I pay EXTRA on every month. I do, after all, insure my home with you. I do, after all, hold a credit card account with you that, as mentioned, carries a zero balance and has done for at least a year.

I thought that meant something.

But no.

I was wrong.

Because, based on what some BITCH named Experian told you, you no longer hold me in as high regard as you did. No matter that what that bitch told you is wrong on at least 2 of the 4 counts (what the fuck is 'level of delinquency on accounts' mean? I'm current on everything that I know of! And seriously, 'time since delinquency is 'too recent' or 'unknown' '? WHAT? If you don't know something for a fact, then you're just spreading rumors.).

Never mind that 'amounts owed on revolving accounts is too high.' Did you not notice that in the last year I've paid down that debt over 12 THOUSAND dollars? Did you? Do you now know how much sweat and sacrifice has gone into that paydown? Just look at my paltry savings account to know where my financial cushion has gone, it's right under your bloated corporate ass!

Never mind that 'proportion of balances to credit limits on bank/national revolving or other revolving accounts is too high' - do you know why this is? I do - It's because another bank last year dropped my credit limit to exactly what I owed on it, therefore making it look like I was 100% in debt to them. No fighting that one either. Just nose to the grindstone, and pay out, pay out, pay out.

OK, bank. I know I owe too much on credit cards. I know I did it to myself. I know that financing not 1, but THREE moves and new households on you and your kin was a lot to ask. At the time there was no choice. At the time I was in dire straights and needed to use you, and for that I suppose I should be sorry. Nobody should ever feel like they've been used, I suppose. I know that carrying a LOT of debt on those cards isn't a good idea, and you can believe right now that I have woken up in a cold sweat more than once under the weight of that obligation, and even CHANGED JOBS to get more dough to hand back to you to get out from under, but you clearly haven't taken that into account nor have you noticed that YOUR card is at a zero balance and the others were decreased by 1) HALF and 2) a THIRD from last year.

By the way, assholes, I now make about 30K more a year than I did when you were handing out all that debt. I'd think that that, coupled with my decreased debt load overall, would make me a more attractive target for your cards, not a less attractive one. Also, notice just how much I've charged on you in the last 2 years. That's right, a big fat fucking nearly NOTHING. I have, in fact, paid down the debt on your revolving merry-go-round of grim despair, while also paying off 2 cars and buying another, WITH CASH (thanks to my wonderful husband Biff for the help with the car thing. You, I love). Irresponsible to do those things? That doesn't seem to be the case to me.

I have played your game, took the interest rate hits when I knew I deserved them, coughed up the cash time after time, and now you tell me that it wasn't enough, not nearly enough, not by a long shot, and you're through with me.

Thanks to you, my credit rating just took a nosedive. Thanks to you, I probably can't get a loan on a bad idea, much less anything of worth. Thanks to you, and that other bank that robbed me of creditworthiness, I now look like a total no-bill-paying douchenozzle who games the system and steals candy from babies.

I hate you, I hate all of you, I hate feeling powerless, I hate being stomped on like this.

So thanks for nothing, you soul-sucking beast. I thought I knew you, we had some respect, and that no matter what, that whole 'respect' thing you tout as a draw to your company was a real thing, and not just some wisp of advertising meant to what the appetite of the people hungry for a decent relationship with their bank.

Guess not.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There was something about flying monkeys, and then it got weird

Hey! So it's been a while since I posted anything, eh? Over 2 weeks, which is something of a record for me, but of course I'm far too lazy to look up my previous all-time high posting gap.

What's been happening in your world since a few days before Hallowe'en? Doesn't Hallowe'en seem like a long time ago already? It does for me. The candy was gone within days, thanks to the hard work and effort put in by the Things, who didn't even go trick-or-treating (too old for that sort of nonsense anyhow I guess) but did find the bag stash and applied themselves to ridding the Tiny House of candy, one handful at a time.

I think I was something like 14 the last time I trick-or-treated. Is that too old? It didn't seem too old at the time. Certainly 15 was too old, but 14 seemed OK. Thing 2, who is 14 this year, hasn't made the rounds in like 3 years. We had parties in '08 and '09 but not last year, and if memory serves we MIGHT have gone door-to-door in 08, when he was 11, but I can't remember.

This was an off Hallowe'en to be sure. Oh, we decorated and put up the giant spider and such, but I didn't have a costume (no reason for one) and very few kids came by the house. Biff did dress up to hand out the treats, which did make the evening somewhat more festive, but the drizzling rain and the early dark just took the wind out of my sails, and I normally LOVE Hallowe'en.

Maybe I'm saving energy for Thanksgiving? Don't know. We are travelling ot NoVa this weekend for a quick family visit, as my older brother is going to be up there and my younger borther lives there near Mom and so my Mom wanted to see if we'd like to come up for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. We, naturally, said yes. Then we realized that Biff is playing out on Friday night, so the quick trip turned even quicker, with possibly just a one-night-stay at Mom's. So, OK, fine, that's cool, because that will be a nice time and with the turkey and all we'll be coma-ed out and time will pass more slowly thereby making it feel like we'd been there much longer.

Then Monday I put Biff on a plane so he can go eat turkey with the MI family. The Things and I will turkey it up here Thursday, then I send them back to their Dad's and I come home to sit and stare at walls until Saturday when Biff comes home again.

I'm sure he's rather be flying his own airplane, but as he doesn't HAVE one yet it still makes more fiscal sense to buy a ticket to fly on someone else's plane. Too bad, really, as when you fly your own plane you can do exciting things like play 'spot the airport!' on dark nights.

Like so - Spot the airport in this picture I took coming back from Richmond Sunday evening (hint: this is Louisburg, NC)!

Did you see it?


How about now?

See? Fun game! You'll have to take my word for it, I suppose, that not only IS there an airport down there, but it's in approximately the position circled and that it is remarkably visible the closer to you get to it. From about 15 miles out though it can be tricky to spot, even in the daytime. And this airport is reasonably sizable, compared with some others we've flown into! :)

Flying at night is great. The air is way less bumpy, it's so much easier to spot other aircraft, and the little yellow blobs on the maps signifying where towns are really DO look like that at night. Very helpful navigation aid, that. I'm a fan of the umbumpy air, which was a very lovely perq and really helped me, after a while, to not feel like I was about barf from sheer terror. This was, you see, my very first night flight, and I had no idea what to expect. Shit, I don't even like driving a CAR at night, and Biff's talking about being 4500 feet in the air at night, for over an HOUR? Someone hand me the Ativan! As it was, once I shook off the 'ohshitohshitohshit'-edness of it all and talked myself out of the crazy tree, everything went great. I'd do it again, is what I'm saying.

Now, some of y'all are probably thinking I'm nuts to get in a small aircraft in the first place (Hi Mom!), and you might be partially right, but here's the thing: I do NOT intend on being in the old folks home and not having interesting things to look back on. In other words, as I told Biff the other night: "I'm not going to look back on raking the yard in 30 years and think 'Oh, what a special moment that was.' " I will, however, look back on a semi-spontaneous trip to Richmond to have dinner with one of my oldest friends VERY fondly, and be proud of myself for conquering something that had caught me in a mental rictus of fear. We need to keep challenging ourselves in this life, I think, or we just kind of fade away, becoming a very uninteresting obituary at the end. While my being a passenger in a small aircraft on a short night flight won't likely make it into any memorials that might be had for me after I'm gone, at the very least it keeps the adrenaline flowing and opened up a new experience, one I found I liked and would do again.

Can't say THAT about raking the yard.

Tiff out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

mouth-lookers, rant topics, and cluelessness

I was talking with someone the other day and while I was talking this person looked at my mouth. The whole time. Every time I spoke.

Freaked me out a little.


Sometimes, when I'm in the car or otherwise alone, I like to give a verbal smackdown to everybody I know who deserves it. My commute is about 45 minutes, so there's plenty of room for quite a number of topics.

Another rant is on the near horizon, I can just feel it. Topics (right of this moment) to include are: headaches, that idiot driver, upper management, and political knuckleheads.

If you would like anyone or thing in particular to be part of the next smackdown, feel free to leave a description in the comments. THere is no charge for this service, I simply do it because I care.


And now a word or two from someone who has potential to be perhaps the least-informed about what this blog is all about (transcript of actual email received):


Apologies for contacting you out of the blue like this however I recently came across your website via the Publishing Network and absolutely love it.

I’m currently working on behalf of a number of large, online retailers who are looking increase their on-line web exposure and would like to supply you with a piece of content tailored for your sites audience.

This piece of content will be useful and offer value to your subscribers and if you have any particular topic you’d like covering we can cater for this too as our team of content writers fully research and write informative articles based on pretty much any subject. All that we ask is that you allow us to include a couple of links back to my clients website, that’s it.

If this is something you’d be interested in then please reply back to me with your website or a list of websites you own and we can discuss this further. If you’re not interested than I thank you for taking the time to read this email and wish you all the best and keep up with the awesome site you own.

Kind regards,
Somewhat clueless

Dear SC -

First, I'm flattered that you LOVE my AWESOME site that I OWN. Does make the ol' heart swell with pride to have so many accolades heaped upon me.

Second, might I recommend a good proofreader? Found some things in your message (I bolded them in case you're interested) that you'd do well to fix if you plan to send it out to any more awesome bloggers. Things like grammar and punctuation are important to many of us.

Third, you've no doubt notices that my site is not monetized in any way and that I have a following that wouldn't full a bus. There'd really be nothing in this site for your clients, no matter how focused and germane their content writing might be. Seriously, have you looked at my stats? If they represented a spider, that spider would be one of those tiny ones that you don't want to get in your hair because you can't feel it or find it. Tarantula, NAY ain't.

So,thanks but no thanks to your kind offer of assistance (and back-linking) to my AWESOME blog. We'll just leave it the tiny-spider backwater of the internet that it's always been.



(pic o' the day courtesy of this site. You should go, look at the background for this pic's page, and be prepared to have nightmares.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

postprandial perturbations and WINNING!

Like most of you reading this, I am an adult. Unlike some of you young-uns, I have reached a nearly-august number of years, amassing experiences (forgetting most of them, sadly), friendships, and lessons along the way.

Usually, I'm pretty good at learning things the first or second time they're taught.

There's one lesson though that I keep having to relearn - the dreaded 'how to eat when you work in a cube farm' lesson. And not just HOW, but when, and what.

It's harder than you think. Just look at all this stuff you have to keep in mind if you're to do it properly!

HOW - quietly.

WHEN - you're hungry. Preferably when other people are eating, so your mouth noises are masked somewhat by the masticatory efforts of those around you. You might not be eating together, but you are eating with them. It's all about community, baby.

WHAT - Low-smell, low-side-effect foods are absolutely KEY. If you have stinky food, take it to the cafeteria. Salads and bland cold cuts are fine. Cauliflower and garlic bisque, nice and hot, is not. Chili is OK, because everyone likes chili, but whatever that is you just brought back from the microwave that smells like boiled tires and look about as appetizing? No. Also, bear in mind that after you've eaten, your innards are going to be active, so don't gulp your food, chew thoughtfully so to lessen the churning, and keep the liquid intake low so that you're not sloshing while digesting.

These should all be common sense, right? A little 'love your neighbor as yourself' goes a long way when you're breathing the same air.

Which, of course, is why I just downed a cup of chili, a nice big green salad, and a huge glass of water. Let's now deconstruct the ways in which I've broken the 'how to eat in a cube farm' rules, shall we?

Lunch at 11:30 - not many other people eating right then. Also, not too much in the way of collegial banter being tossed around. 'Cover noise' therefore low.

Chili - fragrant, so breaks the 'stinky' rule but not by much (see previous 'everyone loves chili' factoid). Real downside is the beany fiber goodness that's sure to get the gut a 'churning in a little while.

Salad - stupidly crunchy, so breaks the 'low noise' rule. Also, more fiber. I feel like I should start apologizing to my workmates now, but wait, it gets better!

500 mL water - currently, if I were to jump up and down, I'd sound like an anchored Criscraft on Lake Michigan. Little waves of liquid lapping up, burbling, bubbling, sloshing and slapping. All that water doing its thing, hydrating and mixing, heaving around in peristalic glee. That, combined with the beans and the greens will no doubt cause me many a moment of embarrassment in an hour or so, when people get back to work, the chit-chat fades, and the gentle sounds of my intestinal action permeate the air in ever-more-worryingly urgent tones.

All because I'm a doofus and ate and drank what I wanted instead of what it would be nice for my coworkers to have me eat. You know, something like a piece of melba toast (no wait, too crunchy) or a can of tuna (too stinky!) or maybe just a nice bag of parenteral nutrition. Quiet, non-stinky, parenteral nutrition, fed through an IV line, no chewing involved, no cooking, no stink, and no borbyrigmous efflux as an after-effect.

I'll have to look into that. Wonder how much a bag-o-nutrients costs, and if one of the nurses in the safety group mind hooking a sistah up around noon every day?

Could catch on, you never know.


I won something from Lisa. So it's a good day.


Oh, and I have declared that it's 'go bug a lapsed blogger' day today. You can pick from almost any one of the blogs on my sidebar there, click through, and leave a nice long comment on a blog post that's 1) the most recent and 2) at least a month old. Tell 'em I sent you and I'm sick and TIRED of looking at the same post and they'd best get their fannies and fingers in gear and post something dang soon.

I'd be grateful if you would.

Tiff out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roaming gangs of hooligans

A beautiful day is turning into the perfect fall night. Temps are dropping, the air is crisping, the football team is playing, and bands of young men are wandering our neighborhood shouting and being generally rambunctious.

Now, I'm all for the rambunctious, but these fellows are like those dudes who show up at 8:30 on Hallowe'en night with NO costume and a look on their faces that say 'gimme ALL the candy and nobody gets hurt.' You know the type. A little thuggy, I suppose. I'm not a real huge fan of the thuggy.

What makes the gang of young men a little more concerning is that they've been through the neighborhood a few times now. OK, so our neighborhood is kind of cute, but I'm pretty sure the young men aren't admiring the architecture, unless such admiration is normally accompanied by lots of cussing. Is it? If so, I've been doing it all wrong.

So there's that. Which is why I'll be picking up Thing 1 at school after the football game is over. Yes, I'm an overprotective Mom, I GET THAT. Just hush up. I can so be overprotective if I want to. Do you know how big a challenge it is to let him go to the game ALONE? Sheesh. Baby steps, people. Can't let the Big Bad Thugs get my boy.

(as though I, a firmly middle-aged, chubby, out-of-shape woman could do ANYTHING with thugs except give them the verbal smackdown of their lives. But hoo boy, would I try.

While looking for a stout branch to wave around. Or flicking a lighter menacingly.

I really have no idea what to do with thugs, is what I guess I'm saying)


Had a weird experience 3 times today. I was at the kitchen table, being rather productive and using what small dab of focus I had within my powers, and 3 times random phrases popped into my head like they were being spoken to me.

It would have been great if they'd been this week's winning lottery numbers, but no. Nothing that insightful. More like 'peanut butter wasp wings' and 'delicious affirmation bottletop.'

Where's the sense in THAT? What am I supposed to do with that kind of information? It's as stupid and useless as the time I saw a temporary license plate with the numbers 18234458 and started singing them (all notes fit on an octave, if you want to try this at home). And then I couldn't stop playing with those notes, like if I did them just right something great would happen and maybe I'd lose 30 pounds overnight or suddenly find a few thousand extra dollars in my bank account. The notes! They HAUNTED ME!

And these weird snips of phrases do too. Why such nonsense? What neurons misfired to make that happen?

It should come to you as no surprise that this is not the first time something like this has happened.

But we won't go into that right now.


Hey - Y'all have your Hallowe'en decorations up yet, or are you shooting straight to Christmas like the retail facilities?

We have yet to hang the giant spider, shop for pumpkins, carve our jack-o-lanterns, or otherwise festive up the place. This is the first time in 4 years we're not planning some party or another, and the time and pressure to perform just sort of sauntered off, dozily nodding at neighbors and wishing for a Cheerwine.

But I don't think it's too late to get in the haunted mood, do you? There's plenty of time to spook up the joint and visit haunted corn mazes (or whatever) and bake something delicious and horrifying.

John Wayne Gacy cookies, maybe! Or witch fingers! Slimy-gut spiders (bread bowls with spinach dip in...)!

Your ideas for utterly horrifying yet delicious holiday fare are welcome in the comments. And ALSO = feel free to answer any of the other queries posted in this question-heavy missive.

Then have a lovely weekend. Tiff out.

(***image courtesy HERE. I'm as amazed as you are that a GIS for 'thug spider' turned up anything, let along something s awesome as this costume idea***)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

sometimes it's enough to make music

Our boys were in a band concert tonight.

Thing 1, the junior, is in Wind Ensemble, the 'higher' of the 2 HS bands. Thing 2, as a freshman, is in Concert Band. They both play trombone.

Tonight, as it has happened for many of their performances, I got chills listening to what they are a part of. It's lovely to hear them grow as musicians, and I celebrate each step they take on that journey. Chills are mostly a pride thing on their behalf.

Tonight though, kicked the chills up a notch. Something had changed in what they were a part of. That something caused distinct moments of such musical beauty that I was hard-pressed to think of those kids in the bands as mere teenagers playing instruments, but had to admit that at some points they and their bandmates were actually practicing the elusive art of musicianship. Nuance, tonality, tuning, phrasing, all were in evidence and sometimes masterfully done.

Seems their new band director is teaching them to play MUSIC instead of just notes, and it shows.

Happy happy joy joy, to experience these 2 young men be part of something bigger than them that produces a 'something' many people can enjoy. The transport back to my playing days was swift, and for a moment I was jealous of them and their connection with a group of like-minded people doing one thing all together to make art.

Back in the day, when I was an active musician, a moment of perfection while playing was capable of sending me, however briefly, into a wonderful fugue state of absentia from my body, when the body played and I could enjoy what 'we' were doing while it was happening. Sounds odd, doesn't it? Felt odd as well, but as time went on and the music and I became more accustomed to one another, the moments came more frequently, though always too briefly. A measure there, a few beats here, would slip past in a moment while body and mind and breath worked together to be one with the group in pursuit of music. Always stunning, always a goal and always a happy accident.

My hope is that the Things will have those moments aplenty as they are engaged in the pursuit of music, and that they can take those moments and encase them in a memory, clear and distinct, of what it's like to be one with many in performance of a true pure thing. There is nothing like it in this world, and I won't have anyone arguing otherwise.

But hey, maybe that's just me. I might be the only one captivated by mere seconds of time in which perfection seemed to be the very air I breathed. Could be I'm just prone to hallucinations, but I hope not. I ask you then - if you ever were, where were you when you caught the tail wind of a beautiful moment and captured it in memory?

Curious minds want to know...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's all this rubbish then?

Clicked into the Blogger dashboard this morning (first time in a week, I know...) and apparently now it's possible to allow your readers to have a more interactive experience by utilizing something called 'dynamic views.'

True to my ever-strengthening Luddite nature, I didn't do any more than glance at this new offering before I closed out the pop-up window while grumbling about how this is MY blog and you'll look at it how I want and not allow you all to go willy-nilly though its bits and bobs, picking from here and there as you choose. I like y'all, Lord knows I do, but you can't be trusted to pick the right picture to go with what you're reading, and goodness knows what would happen if you get to reading things all in the wrong order!

Dynamic views, my liver spots. There will be none of that foolishness around here. I'm still getting used to the new Facebook look, for heaven's sake.


Did you know that my dear Thing 1 turned 16 earlier this week?


I was going to write a super-mushy post about how great he is and how I'm so happy to be his mom and how he changed my life with his arrival and how long we waited for him, etc etc blahblah, but then I got tired and didn't. And then did something that kept me busy. And then read Fark for a while and played about a million games of Bejeweled Blitz and time just slipped away from me like an oiled toddler.

So, this is the part of the post where I say that I'm the proud mom of a 16-year old now. My baby, gettin' so grown up.


Is anyone else out there really ready for it to be the middle of October?

I am so NOT.

Wasn't it the beginning of September a week ago or so?

The sun goes down far too early and rises far too late. The mums are blooming like crazy in the garden out front, flopping around on their leggy stalks (despite my strict adherence to a pruning program!) and the weeping willow is shedding leaves at an astounding rate.

There's not been a frost, yet, but the other night is was down in the 40's. The windows have been open for days (except for that muggy spell yesterday afternoon). The folks at work have turned on their space heaters.

Yes all the signs of it being the middle of October are here, so clearly it's appropriate for it to BE the middle of October, but I am not ready for it.

There are no grinning pumpkins on our front porch, no scary spider decorations hanging. There are no decorative gourds bedecking the kitchen table, nor are there plans for Hallowe'en costumes. There aren't corn stalks tied to the porch posts or scarecrows amidst the mums.

The only thing I HAVE done that's sort-of October-ish to to put a gallon of apple cider in the basket at the BJs last weekend. Pathetic, ain't it?

So, yeah. I'm fighting October, and it's kicking my butt. That lil' punkin over there looks about like I feel half the time, and if thought balloons were real that's what you'd see hovering above my head. Only it'd be gnashing its goopy green teeth and rolling its streaming eyes while expelling semi-rotten pumpkin breath in a hissing scream.

Because that is how I roll, is why.


Got to dash - work awaits. Have a good one!

Tiff out.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Webcams and a sad bit

Recently I opened up a new email account for professional contacts and such. Like all iGoogle accounts, this one has the potential to be personalized. You can chose from thousands of gadgets and widgets to plop onto your home page, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Because I have the news and how-tos of the day and weather on my other email, this new one got some fun stuff on it just to change things up. My favorite so far is the Worldwide Webcam feed.

I love the Worldwide Webcam feed. It changes every minute or so, and is about as random as you can get. One minute it’s projecting the utter blackness of a Figiian night, the next minute you could be getting an awesome shot of the Idaho mountains or be staring directly at a piece of sidewalk in Ann Arbor (both of which just happened). There’s a webcam hooked up in some hubcap shop in Tampa, one in Belgrade showing a gorgeous cathedral, there are TONS from Japan but normally they don’t look like much when I’m online (it’s night there!).

A nice feature of the WWWC is that you don’t have to wait to get your next taste of the world. Nope – just click the ‘next,’ wait a sec, and BINGO – you’re someplace new! Yay!

Now, it might be that I’m really easily amused, but you do have to admit that the WWWC roulette does have a certain addictive charm, no? It could be that one day that hubcap shop will show up again (I’ve seen it 3 times so far!) and someone will be buying something! Or maybe there will be a wedding at the cathedral, or one of the Japancams will catch a suited businessman waiting patiently for the last train home. At some point a little personal slice of life will present itself, like maybe that soccer field in Wendago NY will have a game on it, or that little airport in Idaho will have a plane landing, or that slab of concrete in MI will be occupied by a little kid drawing with chalk.

It’s a fun little diversion; a wee vacation away from the cube to exotic (HUBCAP SHOP!) locations, one minute at a time.


For those of you who do not do the FB and so would not have seen my announcement of 2 days ago, some sad news: Skeeter the dog has passed on.

Those bone spurs on her spine or whatever it was that was making her almost completely lame in the back legs got worse and worse until she just didn’t want to get up most of the time. Even with tramadol and prednisone she was still uncomfortable. She’d have bursts of energy, and on Monday was doing well enough to stand up on her own (a huge improvement!), but by Tuesday morning she was down again and looking bad.

By Tuesday afternoon she was gone. Thing 2 found her by the back door, exactly where she plopped down after going out that morning. It was clear she hadn't moved more than a few inches all day. The food I put down for her that morning was still untouched, and she'd not even had any water. After 12.5 years of living, it just got too much to do. I think she may have just laid down to die.

The most sad part to me is that she died alone. The least sad part is she did it on her own time, and spared us a very painful decision that neither of us wanted to make. Those bursts of energy were providing touches of hope, perhaps too much.

We took her out to the back porch, resting her on her doggie bed, in preparation for the boys and my ex to come and say their ‘goodbyes.’ After that, we (mostly Biff) dug a big ol’ hole in the backyard, wrapped her in an old sheet, placed a tennis ball (her favorite toy ever) near her head, and buried her. In true Viking fashion we then had a bonfire, sitting mostly in silence watching the flames and enjoying the crackle of burning pine.

Tonight I plan to dig a slightly smaller hole next to her spot and plant the maple tree Thing 2 and I bought Tuesday afternoon while running made-up errands to avoid being in the house with her. That maple tree will be a nice spot to go sit someday, to think and relax and maybe have a chat with an old friend who is lying several feet underground.

Good girl, Skeeter. Good girl.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

In which I need your input.

Over a week now since the last post. Starting to see auras and mirages. Can feel the creativity backing up in my head and distorting my vision. Hearing's gone wonky, with small voices whispering 'write, write, write' (or 'right, right, right,' I suppose). Can't think clearly, the thirst for an outlet is becoming all I can think of. Won't be long now before I lose what's left of my mind...


Clearly I’m out of the habit of writing here anymore.

I started this blog almost 6 years ago, thinking I’d have about a year’s run before the stream of consciousness ran dry. Well, add 5 years to that and it seems like we are at last out of Things to Write About That Aren’t Terribly Boring.

The well seems to be running dry because all I tap into lately is the daily life stuff. I don’t have the power of observational wit like some, and haven’t gone and changed my life radically like others, and don’t have a one-topic blog like so many others (which allows them room to repeat themes over and over because, well, that’s what you do when you’re a topical blogger). It’s just me, and Biff, and the Things, and the pets, and the house and the jobandtheeverythingyoualreadyknowabout.

Which, sometimes, is not so exciting as you might think.

Lately though, and I blame this on the advent of cooler weather, thoughts of fiction have been bubbling up inside, splashing about phrases and ideas and I think ‘a-ha! A thing to write about!’ but I don’t. I then blame THIS lack of alacrity on the whole “networked blogs" thing on Facebook, that pushes each post here to everyone I know there. Some of those people might really really not want to read everything that goes on in my head, and some might be downright shocked. Perhaps I care too deeply...

Signing up for NetworkedBlogs seemed like a good idea at the time, but more and more I’m thinking it would be nice for people to come to me instead of me advertising to them. Shoot, all y’all who still read and comment here do it mostly (as far as I can tell) on your own accord and don’t rely on FB to wave things in front of your noses, so why should I be trepidatious about pulling the Networked blogs? I mean, seriously, if it frees me up from my recent habit of writing to meet (or at least not really offend) people’s expectations of who they think I am, then I’m thinking that’s the way to go. Because, I miss the pre-2010-ish Tiff. I’d love to write some really creepy-ass fiction, or spout off on topics both arcane and odd, but this FB thing….I don’t know. The question really is: Is knowing I'm writing for a potential audience of everyone I know on FB making me a more considerate writer, a more careful picker of topics, or is it strangling me here in my dusty corner of the internets?

At this point I’m going for strangle.

So, with the strangling comes a decision*: 1) keep NAY a NetworkedBlog and allow it to post the family-friendly mostly unoffensive stuff to FB AND have a secret-er blog where the ‘good stuff’ (creepy, dark, more adult, mind-bending) goes, or 2) just shut off Networked Blogs and switch NAY back over to its old ‘it’s on my mind so I’m sharing with YOU’ format?

I know which one I prefer – what about you?

(*you'll note there's no option for 'don't write the weird stuff.' If you know me at all you'll know why.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

There's nothing nutritious about a snickerdoodle

But that doesn't matter. Not everything life can be good for you.

Note: these cookies were rolled into little balls and then dusted with a cinammon-sugar mix, as it customary for snickerdoodles. My recipe says just put these lil' ball of empty calories on a baking sheet and cook.

Biff, in a shocking turn of events, insists that snickerdoodles are to be MASHED WITH A FORK and patterned up like a standard-issue peanut-butter cookie.


This is heresy! No! Snickerdoodles are to be allowed to develop their crackly tops naturally, not be FORCED into the MAN'S idea of delicious cookiedom! Snickerdoodles are the free hippie sister of the cookie family, dusted in exotic spices and allowed to find their own way, not pressed into some plaid shadow of potential perfection

Why, I think the man would want to lay out tie-dye on a grid. Pressed snickdoodles, indeed.


OK, fine. I'll fess up here now about something SD (snickerdoodle - I'm getting tired of typing that word)-related, an the 'fork 'em or not?' quandry.

The pressed bow-to-the-man ones are just as good as the hippie ones, and, in an odd turn, are more satisfyingly 'crunchy.'

(Hippie joke! Woot!)

Tasty, yes, but they just look wrong. Like mini little manhole covers, grids of tiny eager cinammon-dusted plinths rising from pale mashed plains of body surface area. No swirls or natural crackles in sight.

And I think that's just wrong.

Do you have a dog in this hunt? Are your SDs allowed to roam free or are they smashed with metal implements until they obey to the form YOU want, like a toothless caged lion in a terrible Baltic-region zoo?

Curious minds want to know.

Tiff out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's not so bad until you pull a giant shard of glass out of your foot

If you're new here (and I don't really think anyone is, but hope is a stoic beast), you need to know that we started remodeling the kitchen a little under a year ago. It's still not QUITE all the way done, so there are still gripping and heartwrenching tales to tell.

Part of the kitchen remodel process was to design and build 4 stained glass panels for the hutch area over the appliance/buffet area. There are 4 cabinet doors, each with a 9-inch 'reveal' for the glass work, and about 5 inches between panels.

For about 6 months those panels have been bare of accoutrement, and still are.

But things are a-changing.

As of last Sunday, there are a hundred bucks or so of new glass in the house, the kitchen table is stretched out, covered in cardboard, and is templated. There are designs sketched. Some of those designs have made it onto corrugated plastic backing, and even more miraculous, ONE WHOLE PANEL has been cut out and pieced.

FYI - My contribution thus far has been in the design process. Biff is the layout and cutting artist. Because, the cutting thing? Sharp edges and all. Best I not be involved so much.

Anyway, last night, after having a wonderful time with a good friend here talking about stupid Xerxes and poor Vashti, drinking coffee and eating cake (CAKE!), it was decided that at least one whole panel would be cut and placed in order to make some sense of headway in the stained glass project. It was not me who decided this, as I am lazy to a fault and would have sunk gladly into the couch with a big glass of adult beverage and not moved until ennui did its job.

Biff, however, was more moved, and did a wonderful job of piecing the 'farmland' panel. Snip snip went the snippers, and tap tap went the tappers, and oh carp went the craftsman when something didn't go his way, and merrily along it went for an hour or so. Small pins of glass from edge rounding and 'uh-oh' cuts were carefully deposited in the scrap pile, though some errant few went sailing and then were swept up so that nobody would be impaled.

And lo, it was beautiful.

We finally retired to the couches with our adult beverages, and in not too long a time Biff succumbed to the soul-sucking ick that is the cold he was rapidly developing, and thus he 1) fell asleep on the couch and then 2) went to bed. I professed that I was not yet tired as he shambled off to dreamland, and so stayed awake for a massive 2.5 more minutes after his departure.

At 2:08 in the morning I woke up on the recliner. Comfy, but not as comfy as our bed, so I shuffled off toward it with a single pit stop at the kitchen sink to put away my snack dish.

Which, coincidentally, is where a rogue shard of glass was.

More specifically, on careful inspection, that shard was right under my left foot, between between my second and third toes, jammed in a good 3/4 of an inch.

Shuffling, it appears, is a very effective way to insert sharp things into your meat.

Happily, I was still mostly asleep, and so simply reached down, grabbed the offending article, and yanked. Oh, it did a little 'goopy' slide out (that you can really feel in your back teeth, I swear), but not so bad and nothing to scream about. Just a flesh wound!

And then I bled. And bled and bled and bled and bled, like I was the Olympic FREAKING CHAMPION of BLEEDING, and nothing would stop me from giving my frelling ALL in the bleeding arena.

Let it just be said that the sure cure for fountains of blood gushing forth from the pedal region involves a wad of paper towels and elevation of the wounded bit. You can, and should, leave the mop-up of the trail of gore for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. Word to the wise.

Good thing about all that blood - almost no chance of any shard retention.

Bad thing - I'm fairly sure I'm very retentive. SOMETHING is still in there. Clearly, kitchen wants to kill me.

So, because now we now seem to have a homocidal cookspace, when at last we post photos of the beautiful new stained glass project that will bring us almost all the way to done with the kitchen remodel job we started almost a year ago, please nod to the third panel from the left and thank it for not killing me dead with its sharp shards of glassy death. I'm pretty sure only your thoughts will keep it from jumping out at me now or 30 years from now and cutting me to utter bits in absolute bloodlust.

Alls I can say to that is here's to sloth and unfinished business - Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fetch Granny her shawl, wouldya?

So see? I can too go for over a week without posting anything on this dark backwater eddy of the internet. It's not like I forgot, or didn't want to, or couldn't make the time, oh no. I CHOSE to not post as a test of my fortitude, and lo it was good and I won.

A bet with myself!

Which I just now made up to cover my lazy sit-upon. Seriously, over a WEEK? It's like I don't even care anymore, and that's simply not true.


In case you were wondering then, what has been going on in my world since I last sprinkled jewels of pithy wisdom and wisdomy pith about like so much animal dander, here goes:

- Thing 1 is now in Driver's Ed. Not a moment too soon, as he turns 16 in LESS THAN A MONTH and wants to get a job which will require him to get a license (as you do), but in NC the provisional licenses mean he won't be fully-fledged as a driver until he's almost 18, so yeah. Maybe we should have gotten into the classroom about a year ago.

- Skeeter the Dog is on pain meds and prednisone in an attempt to get her up and walking again. About a week ago she just went 'down' and wasn't getting back up. Oh, she's been stiff in the back end for a while, but at 12.5 years old (which is old for an Aussie) I thought it was a touch of chronology getting to her, and then she went completely lame. Hmmm, not at all like arthritis. More like paralysis. An X-ray or 2 later told the tale of The Bone Spurs, which is a cool name for a band but a really really sucky thing to happen to a dog's vertebrae. Therefore the meds. And the special prescription food. And for a moment, some hope that she would get better. A week into treatment and she's wobbling almost as bad as she was before starting, but at least now she can stand up on her own and, if there's carpet or yard under her, can walk and take care of her own business. I hate that she's crippled up; Aussies are hyperactive dogs, even into their old age, and Skeeter perhaps Queen among them for that attribute. Big ol sigh on that.

- This week is a weird one - I will be spending 3 nights in a row doing churchy stuff. I almost said churchy crap right there, but remembered that I'm churchy now and need to be a little more respectful. Also, it's not really crap at all, it's interesting stuff and some of it is instructional, some relational, some devotional, all useful. It's just seriously eating into my evening hang-out time!! I'll admit that yes, I was the one to sign up for the Bible study on Mondays (it's all-Esther, all the time for the next 9 weeks!) knowing full well that small group now meets on Wednesdays, so double-up was a given, but throw in a leader's meeting tonight and this is starting to feel like...habit. Oh, and toss in one band practice of Biff on Thursday, and by Friday you'd think we'd be glowing like Seraphim, right? Sadly, it doesn't work like that, but I suppose there's benefit in the TRYING. And I signed up to work both services again on Sunday, and thus will be standing on the hard floors of the Lincoln Theater in downtown Raleigh for another 4+ hours, answering questions, handing out pens, directing traffic, and doing whatever else is needed to make a go of the new site we just opened up. Folks, do not fear for me: I might be getting all churchy, but I promise to not be preachy. I'd probably get it wrong anyhow, and then risk being shamed on the internets for my vast stupidity. Can't have that, nossir. Shaming is right out.

- You'll notice that there's a whole lot less cussing here than there used to be. It's because I gave my share to Tracy Lynn, who needed more than were being deposited in her personal accounts. I do not begrudge her. She has a hell of a lot more shit to bitch about that I do. So, Tracy, you're welcome. Oh, and take 3 out of your pile for those ones I just used. Sorry.

- This is taking way longer than it should. Serves me right for fact-checking that Seraphim thing. SIX WINGS! GLOWS AS BRIGHT AS THE SUN! CAN STRIKE YOU BLIND WITH ONE LOOK! Seraphim, clearly, are awesome and require further research, and yet it's all I can do to not break my arm patting myself on the back for getting the reference right the first time. Seraphim. Woohoo!! (this is one example of a seraphim --> Another is the first pic of the post. Covered.In.Eyes. Still awesome)

For now, that's about it. I'll leave out my serious feelings on politics (nothing new), my anxiety over the global economy (nothing new), how getting a decent night's sleep is about the best thing ever (nothing new), and other stuff. Y'all don't need a novel, and I have to get moving before my butt grows into this seat.

Be well, Tiff out.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Between the mirrors

Some random kid I barely recognized came knocking at the door tonight.

"What time is Thing 1 going to the game?" he wanted to know.

"IDK," I said in real words. "Let me go get him."

As it's happening all over the United States lately, so it happens in Wake Forest - football season is here. Our son is a junior, and this year friends are coming by wanting him to go to the game. Friends are, apparently, also waiting for him to come to the game. Some of them with grills and tailgating plans. His friend are legion, it seems.

Oh dear - Friends are becoming his world.

Oh dear - He's not just 'mine' anymore. Pause for breath. Square shoulders. Move ahead.

As a parent will, I gave him and his neighborhood buddy a lift to the game, telling them to call me when they were ready to come home. They slid out of the van with 20 bucks in their pockets and a night full of possibility. Freedom. No parents, no siblings, no agenda. FREEDOM.

His lanky frame was quick to disappear into the crowds, but I had only the merest smidge of time to watch him go, the traffic was circling like a pack of hungry sharks and I needed to get going home. One, two, three, they're gone. Four, five, six, you wonder how this day came so fast, when they're now as old as I was when I thought I pretty much Had It All Figured Out. It doesn't take too many years for someone to go from helpless baby to strolling confident teenager, and seven eight, nine, you're getting closer every day to them flying the coop.

By 10, as it happened, I got the text - 'we're ready to be picked up.'

Bus loop, it's dark. Two tall young men side-by-side make an 11 in the shadows, gangly and lean. They slide into the work truck, we bump on home, dropping the friend off at his house a block away (I can walk from your house to mine; he said, but THIS mama bear won't have that, not while he's with ME). Once home, Thing 1, my gorgeous baby, dived into the leftover pizza, escaped to his room to play something online with people he's probably never met, and left his mama to wonder how he got this far, so fast.

A dozen years ago he was my baby, a snug towheaded bug in footie pajamas. A dozen years from now he'll be an adult, on his own, probably married. Watching him, and helping him, make those slow moves away from us and 'home' is the most excruciating work I've ever had to do as a parent.

I miss my baby boy sometimes, but I would never hold him back from his new work of becoming a man. Each time he comes home, having put a little more distance between us, I know he's doing what has to be done. He's growing up.

And I almost can't stand it.

Parenthood. It's not for sissies.