Thursday, March 31, 2011

Well, I don't know, IS my blog public with feeds enabled?

A cupla quick things here today, in no particular order:

1) Jeff Kay, of the fabulous and romantic (only one of those is really true) West Virginia Surf Report has made his new comic novel, Crossroads Road, available for sale on Kindle or Nook. Even though the book was only released, like, 6 hours ago, some people have already FINISHED the dang thing and posted reviews. Who has TIME for that? Only the very fortunate, I would submit.

Better than the advent of a humorous novel by a very funny guy on instantly available media is the fact that it's priced at just $3.99, a bargain for sure. Who can resist that?

Well, actually, I can, as I do not have a KindleNook or other eReading device, and so will have to wait until the HC version is available. Sometimes being a Luddite means not getting to play with the cool kids, or read their books first out of the gate. There's nobody to blame but myself for this most unsatisfying turn of events.

But hey - don't let me be the example you live by - go show the man some love (like he needs me to shill for him, because he doesn't), and order ye up a debut comic novel by a man who deserves your dollars and guffaws. If you read it, please don't give away the ending, mmk?

2) Thing 1 is starting to get slews and slews of college junk mail. And also the random invitation to go to Boys State.

When I was in HS, getting nominated to go to Boys State was kind of a big deal, but Thing 1 seems utterly nonplussed. How do I get him to see that being nominated for stuff like this is an honor and also could be a pathway to bigger and better things? He's so freaking laid-back about this whole 'future' thing, and doesn't seem to understand that grabbing a hold of opportunities like this are once in a lifetime and could change your life if only for the experience of having them.

OK, I know Boys State is run by the American Legion and was originally a reaction to the 'socialist' Pioneer Camp and so some might scoff at its possibly shaded purpose, but who's ever heard of Pioneer Camp anymore? Nobody, that's who, but folks know about Boys State and if you say you went there might just be some doors open for you.

My fear is that unless those doors open to a glorious computer-filled room chock full to the brim of the coolest new games, that he's just not going to be interested.

So, somehow, I need to MAKE him interested, or simply force him to apply/go/whatnot.

Because really. I skipped way too many of these opportunities in my youth, and now I could totally kick the teenaged me's ass for doing so. There are very few times in your life you're invited to lead...each time you should grab that chance and hold on tight, right?

Sometimes this Mom thing is a tricky business to navigate.

3) Biff is away for the next couple of days, and the Things are with their Dad. This is obviously a good time for me to be productive, start an exercise program, organize the paperwork, and generally conquer the Earth.


Who wants to bet that instead the evening is spent surfing too much web, playing too much Bejeweled, chastising myself for being lazy, experiencing a burst of productivity at around 10, then falling into bed feeling slightly guilty at having wasted a fair chunk of otherwise good time?


Fine. I'll go put on my walking shoes.

But I don't have to like it.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

taking it loose on the horsey train to whatsis

To both my real-life friends who live in the 'Quay area, let me just say this: I'm glad it wasn't your dead body the cops found on the side on the road this morning.

That would have sucked if it was you.

To the family of the person who WAS found on the side of the road this morning: I'm sorry. That is no way to have a Tuesday. Or any day.


Speaking of, a friend's daughter just had some repair work done on her back, and this girl and her siblings are under the age of majority it falls to their Mom and Dad to 'be there' as the strong examples of 'how to do major surgery when we've never done it before' that most parents dread having to be because it is foreign, exhausting, and expensive.

Nobody teaches you how to do that, in case you didn't know. You just go by feel.

Nobody really knows how to parent two younger siblings wile trying to help your oldest learn how to SIT again. There are, quite simply, no classes for that shit. That particular shit is exhausting, totally absorbing, and all-encompassing.

Which is why tonight I cooked enough food for 20 people. The way I figure it, if I'm cooking for 4 I can cook for 10, and if I'm cooking for that many I can cook another whole meal because dang, I'm not in the position to have to try to 'adjust her meds' to 'deal with pain', so I'm a-cooking like a madwoman to help out those who are going through just such a thing. I believe it is the least I can do. Plus which, I got the Things to make meatballs with me, which is a highly family bonding experience for the 5 minutes it takes for 3 people to make 36 meatballs approximately the size of golfballs. Or perhaps more. It was 3 pounds of meat, is what I'm getting at. A good whack of beef, I think is what they call it in England.

Or is that Prince William? I don't know.

Be that as it may, the bonus is that we have dinner for tomorrow sewn up tight. The downside - the meal I prepped for us tonight, that should have served 6? Nah. Somehow the 'knowledge and power training' class at tae kwon do the Things took tonight just broke out the hunger in 'em and I basically had to stop them from chipping off pieces of cheese-bedecked Pyrex and popping it in their mouths once the real food was gone.

Heck - for a dish that had no added salt, it sure went down easy.

So, there's the one thing I did today that makes me proud to be me. Could have just gotten by with a 'we'll be praying for ya' but sometimes circumstances scream at you to do something more. All you ever really have to do is listen.

And now it's late, and I need to get my butt in bed. Sweet dreams to all, and see you soon. Tiff out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

whiny mcwhinterson here.

Dang, y'all. Today has been a butt-kicker. Guess that's what waking up with a splitting headache, nauseous tummy, and runny eyeballs will do for a person. Normally I try to be stoic about such things and stiff-upper-lip stuff as much as possible, but this most recently-acquired crud was so vomitocious that I couldn't even take the one semi-well kid to school this morning. Thank goodness the Biffster hadn't left for work yet and could take the boy while I shuffled around trying not to urp in inappropriate places and to keep the snot production well dammed with 'facial tissues.'

Due to the advent of ick, so far today I've accomplished the following: a 3-hour nap, quaffage of 2 liters of water, a quick shower, the making and eating of 1 PB sammlich (with banana and raisins!), and a bit of light cleaning before the dudes from the furniture store showed up with our gorgeous new kitchen chairs that are probably made of platinum because that's how much money they cost, approximately. All that activity flat-out exhausted me, and thus I am on the couch again, not even ashamed that my butt is starting to go numb because the rest of me still needs to sit, dang it, and I might just go ahead and take another nap here soon.

Ah well, that's in the past. Now I'm just waiting for the next burst of energy to see if it's possible to finish making the pea soup I started last night.


What's most weird is I didn't feel ANY of this coming on last night. Felt great, as a matter of fact. Thing 2 had a headache and a little throat thing in the evening, and took himself a couch nap for a while, but I thought it was just allergies.

Well, if allergies are contagious, that's what kept Thing 1 and me home today.

Here's hoping we're the last to get it. While it's seemingly a fast-moving bug, it's not fun to live through those first 8 hours. It's been a long time since I wished I could just barf and get it over with; this morning saw the reincarnation of that sentiment.

And I hate barfing.

Well - I think I feel that burst coming along, so here's to good health for all of you and a basket of fluffy bunnies too if you want 'em - Tiff out.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Biff and I were given tickets to go see 'Yes' last night at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC, for short). Is that not spectacularly lucky of us? I submit that it is. We were GIVEN tickets to a show we might actually enjoy!. Folks, tickets started at $35 for the nosebleed seats, so we saved at least 70 bucks.

Which we then pretty much then turned around and spent on giant beers. At 10 bucks a pop you can swallow a whole lot of simoleans in a hurry.

Being an experienced concert-goer (like, I've totally been to one before!) I thought it would be super-smart to visit the ladies' room before heading into the show for maximum listening time prior to the onset of beer recycling. Even smarter of me was to take the very FIRST stall because nobody ever uses the very first stall, right? It should be clean and free of germs and stuff! Smart, See?

Also smart was the courtesy flush I performed to mask certain noises I really didn't even want a group of strangers to hear, because I'm very conscientious about the public bodily noises. Nobody wants to listen to someone else doing 'that,' if you know what I mean (by which I mean flatulate, and there I said it).

Courtesy flush is almost always a good idea. Not so much last night, as it appears I picked a rogue toilet. One push of the little black button and HOLY CRAP! The nice clean toilet in the very first stall of the ladies bathroom on the third floor of DPAC shot a gallon of water OUT of the bowl, directly onto my back.

Yes, at 'Yes' I got toilet-geysered. Somewhere that's a security camera with footage of a chubby middle-aged half-neekid white chick getting hosed, quite literally, by a commode with a vendetta and LEAPING off the seat in a vain attempt to not get any wetter.

The leaping, my friends, was a bust. The damage had totally been done. And of course I was wearing clothes that blatantly showed off that I was soaked from the neck down. Cotton will do that. Nice green cotton, light green in the front, deep-woods green in the back. Also? Dripping. From shirt, pants, HAIR, dripping. Oy.

Let it be said right now that I am glad that I discovered this little plumbing peculiarity on the courtesy flush, and not after any real use had been undertaken. Because, wow, that would have been a short concert. Being blasted by crapper-cannon is only bearable if the water is clean; under any other circumstances we would have, rather understandably, might I add, been heading right back home.

As it was, I borrowed a handful of paper towels from the concessions boof, asked Biff to help me mop up the worst of the damage, and then waited until most folks were in the theater before hiking up, up, up to our seats, whereupon I pressed my soaked back and netherbits into the plush chair, hoping the foam would sponge up overflow, and proceeded to get my groove on.

Because, seriously, we were there for the groove-getting, and a little surprise douchery wasn't going to hinder that, ya know?

This is the point at which I say I'm glad I'm not one of those women who have fancy architectural hairstyles (not that there's anything wrong with that) or super-nice dry-clean-only clothes (or that) or no sense of humor (there IS something wrong with that), because last night was an evening that could have gone very differently indeed. As it was, all's I could do is laugh and be grateful I wasn't rocketing anything up my shirt other than regular ol' cold water.

Silver lining, y'all. Sometimes you have to look hard for one, but it's always there. Amirite? Of course I am. Everybody has those moments - if you'd care to share in the comments, please do. We would all love to roll around in your misery for a while. It smells like cookies and bacon from here.

Which reminds me - someone brought Kielbasa into the theater last night. Unmistakably kielbasa. There was no kielbasa on sale at the DPAC. Where did the kielbasa come from, why did it smell so good, and why was someone bringing it into the theater? Why kielbasa at all? Is it someone's pre-Yes concert go-to food? Why is Yes associated with kielbasa then, when I think pretty much all of them are vegans? Is that some cruel/ironic twist that a sick sociopath is playing on the artists? WHY KIELBASA? WHY?

And now I have to go to work - y'all help with that kielbasa thing, then have a great day, mmk?

Tiff out.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An outline of the full report, due date forthcoming.

Here are some of the things in which I was involved this weekend, in case you wanted to know how a glamorous internet blogger and wanna-be real estate novelist (heh) spends her time:
  • Cleaned the fridge
  • Watched skydivers
  • Walked a runway-length and back while Biff flew around in an airplane
  • Made brownies and spicy steak and a sandwich that required a cinderblock to fix properly.
  • Did massive amounts of laundry
  • Opened all the windows and aired out the house
  • Let in a fly.
  • A FLY! It’s MARCH!
  • Brushed out the dog, who, it seems, was hiding an extra dog’sworth (that’s about a pound) of fur in her fur.
  • Learned about massive changes at our church, which are all good, but no more sermons in a movie theater for us. That’s kind of sad. I like the movie theater idea. The seats are comfy. And there are cup holders. And it smells like popcorn after the 10:30 service. Somehow this is not enough of a benefit to keep us from actually getting our own building. Hrmph.
  • Had one of the best naps EVER yesterday afternoon. 3 hours of cozy bliss with windows open (even though it was a little chilly) snuggled up with a rock star = awesome. Of course, for the rest of the day my internal clock was way off, but that’s a minor point where NAP is concerned.
  • Butlered for the cats far more times than I care to admit.
  • Edited, edited, edited. Still not done with it. There’s a writer in Tennessee who is getting impatient with me. Sorry, WiT – I am working on it. 50 more pages is all.
And that’s about it.

Also, Saturday was as gorgeous as it gets, but, sadly, it couldn’t coax the daffodils to bloom. This is just not their year, and are withering without fully emerging. It’s not just the ones in our yard, either – the ones in the lot next door (from whence ours came) are puny this year too. However, in the median of North Main Street in Wake Forest there is an absolute riot of Spring color happening, from daffs and jonquils to cherries and Bradford pear, it’s as picturesque as it can be and make me smile each time I drive to and from. Yay Spring!

I do hope you had a satisfactory weekend, and that this Monday is shaking your hand in a very polite way and insinuating itself into your reality with deference and respect. If so, life is as it should be. If not, welcome to my boat. Now get rowing.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clearly, not thinking clearly

So last week I invited some friends over for dinner.

For tonight.

That’s right, I’m all contra-societal norms and such, and I invited people to dinner on a WORK NIGHT! That, right there, is a rock star move, ain't it? I thought it was at the time - so devil-may-care, so bon vivant! SO far in the future it all seemed totally do-able!

Of course, today is also the day the abscess cat has a follow-up visit with the vet, but that’s at 4:30 so surely that will be over and done with by the slated 6:30 arrival time of our guests, and I can get home by 5 to make a dinner by 6:30 if Biff takes the cat, and I can get the homework part of the day done by 5:30 if the Things are done with it so I can check, and I’ll bet I can find a table cloth to put out for dinner so that we’re not eating off the bare table (because nothing says “I don’t give a crap about hosting niceties” like not having the table dressed at all. Because, we could serve McDonald’s for dinner off a nice set of plates and table linen and it’d be OK, but if we’re putting out filet mignons on paper plates and bare wood then I’m feeling pretty bad about it. It's my issue, I know, and i"m sure most people don't feel the same way, but how hard is it to put out a tablecloth? Not hard. So there. The end.). The only thing I’m wondering is: what are we having for dinner?

That's Right, friends – I invited people over, and as of this time (10:44 a.m.) I have no idea what to serve them. I am maybe not the best party planner ever.

One bright point, we’ll have salad, for sure, because I asked them to bring it.

Beyond that…well. Ahem. I got nothin’.

All right, that’s a little lie. I have about 1.5 pounds of hamburger mix in the fridge (ground beef and chicken mixed with egg, ketchup, S&P, and breadcrumbs) that’s leftover from making “Enormaburgers” (trademark pending) last night, so I could do a meatloaf. There are russet ‘taters in the pantry so I could do an au gratin. There’s that salad coming, so the veg is taken care of. And? AND? There’s most of an apple pie and some homemade brownies left over from small group the other night.

Is that enough? Is it fancy enough? Is it wholesome enough? Should I care, or is a mid-week dinner with friends supposed to be ‘family style’ and not totally over-the-top? Does Rachel Ray do this, or Martha (no last name required), just have a cheery little dinner party in the middle of the workweek? If they do, I’m just betting they don’t have to run to the Target for a tablecloth, but then again they probably KNOW where their tablecloths are at all times and places, and have them organized by fabric, season, and size in wicker baskets that neatly stack inside their backyard accessories warehouse, plus which they probably have a personal forklift driver to fetch the tablecloth and related items (Candlesticks! Charming ceramic figurines! A centerpiece! Napkin rings! Cloth napkins in adorably contrasting colors!) so that with a single phone call (or Tweet!) the minions will be on the move and once Rachtha arrives home from a day at the office she can immediately begin taking advantage of the fully decked-out home and a kitchen full of already-chopped veg.

At the Tiny House? Not so much, what with the vet appointment and homework and the dreadful lack of ceramic figurines...

Question then: if you were invited to someone’s home for dinner on a Wednesday evening, would meatloaf, potatoes au gratin, salad, and 2 desserts (plus coffee!) be appropriate, or would you maybe hope for something fancier from your clearly mental hosts?


OK – I’m off to online shop the linens at Target to cut my browsing time this afternoon. Time is of the essence!

Y’all have a good one Tiff out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

She needs it more than me.

If you don’t know Kaply Inc., the home of the inimitable Tracy Kaply, why then you’re missing a stream-of consciousness experience that only super-good goofballs could normally produce. However, Kap’s recent consciousness is having some rough patches (equivalnt not to goofballs but rather more to Lemonheads), and so you should go over there and tell her you’re sending good thoughts her way and won’t that stupid graft heal up already so we can get back to the stories about Los Gatos and hair color?

I mean really.



Heard around the Tiny House this weekend:

“I just shaved off my mustache.”

Said by Thing 1.

Yes, he’s finally shaving. For a while now the peach fuzz has been gaining ground on his upper lip, and the sideburns were creeping down his cheeks. Things on Thing 1 were looking rather unkempt, so after I gave him a haircut this Sunday I offered to shave the sideburns and his neck for him. After showing him how to work the razor, he took over for the second sideburn, and then a day later took the new razor I bought for him and zipped off the rest.

So, yeah. My baby is shaving.

Heck – he’s 15, so it’s time, right?

One more step taken toward adulthood, and I'm still not convinced I approve of this whole 'growing up' thing.


Also, we got brave and painted the kitchen the Beach Glass shade our Little Miss Color Wheel #2 helped us pick out. And, well, it’s taking some getting used to. The change from DARK BROWN to very pale gray-green is a shocker, as there’s a whole LOT of very pale gray green to get used to.

What’s nice is that it brightens up the room immensely. Also the color matches the occasional green glass tile in the accent on the backsplash. The color contrasts nicely with the wood and tile work.

But…it’s taking some getting used to. As is our wont, as soon as it went up both Biff and I were all like ‘uh oh’ and ‘um’ and other ho-hummy things. Change clearly is not easy for either of us as far as decorating goes. But after a couple of days, the color is growing on me. By next week I’ll be totally ga-ga over it and wonder why I hesitated falling instantly in love with it.

I suspect though that we’ll never convince Thing 1 of the positives of the Beach Glass. He, quite vociferously, has voiced his distaste for the Beach Glass.

Good thing he’s going to college in about 2 years.


One last thing. Young men look really good in tuxes. Teen boys look nearly all grown us in tuxes, to be more specific. Our teen boys looks especially good and grown up in dress clothes, as I’ve been reminded this past week and again this morning, as it’s band concert and Festival season, wherein band kids dress up in fancy clothes and play music for audiences and judges. Why, even at 7 a.m. young men look great in tux shirts and fancy dress pants as they’re being dropped off at school by a bleary mom (me) who had to spend 30 stupid minutes that morning ironing the fancy tux shirt and dress pants so that her Thing 2 wouldn’t be a mess of wrinkles for the judges and audience at Festival.

Sadly, I didn’t think to take a picture. Couldn’t actually, because of the dark that is 7 a.m. and a certain lack of focus on my part. Still – I’ll keep the memory. That’s good enough, right?

Dang, I hope so.


Y’all have a great day, I’m out.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Complaint department, third floor

Woke up this morning in an absolutely foul mood. I blame the post-alarm dreams for that, as they featured the following, though not necessarily in the order in which they appear:
  • Chicago
  • Lots of snow
  • Walking barefoot through snow
  • A steamroller-type machine that could dry out the snow, which was probably the coolest thing about the dream
  • My mom, though NOT my Mom, as this mom was disheveled, kept a dirty home, and hoarded keepsake trinkets like engraved glass tumblers with the names of amusement parks. Shelves and shelves of trinkets, reaching 12 feet high in the overstuffed (but well-organized) closets, along with boxes and boxes of old slides and home movies. Lots and LOTS of boxes.
  • The high-school class reunion that was unexpectedly held at my not-a-Mom’s bare and dusty home, plus that fact that nobody told me about it, we all had to wear white shirts and I only had green, and there was some mysterious’ boyfriend’ who rode a motorcycle and liked to wear long flowing skirts. I did not care for this boyfriend at all and did not know why he was there. He looked like Russell Brand, which made things even worse. Because, ew.
  • Children making snow forts in precarious mounds near heavily trafficked sidewalks, pushing out blocks of sandy snow toward where I was walking
  • Having to get to the airport on time to drop off the Things so they could take a flight to an unknown place, and we were running super late because I’d had to walk barefoot in the snow back home after a farm party with the reunion crew and mysterious boyfriend over mushy earth and steaming sidewalks that the steam-roller thingie had just cleared, and then my not-a-mom wanted to DRIVE but she didn’t have her glasses and it was my rental car anyhow…

Which is when I woke up, grumpy and late.

And then, before I’d had as a SIP of coffee, Thing 1 is pestering me about getting back on Runescape (I said, and I quote: “don’t even talk to me right now” because he’s not yet done doing the housepainting that got him MineCraft 3 weeks ago, and I’m not about to start paying for stupid Runescape again until at least the painting is done, and does that kid need a J-O-B or what?), the cat with an ass abscess zips into our bedroom (where she’s NOT allowed) and hides under one of the recliners, making Biff and I have to clear off all the crap that’s on it as a result of the many house projects that are ongoing in fore to tip up the chair to get to her, at which point she slinks under the OTHER chair, so that one gets cleared off and tipped, so she can scoot under the first chair, at which point I want to sharpen a stick and commence with the random acts of pokery, but instead growl and cuss.


Then Thing 2 forgot to take his trombone out of the trunk this morning at school drop off, so I had to backtrack to the school to drop that off, then I’m held up 10 minutes waiting for a road crews to let us past the re-surfacing work they’re doing on the road I need to take to get to work, and


You know what?

There was a huge freaking earthquake in Japan this morning, and hundreds of people lost their lives. There are protests in the streets of numerous countries by people who want democracy, there are starving hordes in too many places to count. The petty stupid issues I face in my comfortable home with healthy kids and the ability to pay the vets bill – INCONSEQUENTIAL.

I’m going to shut up now, go fix a nice cup of tea, and take deep cleansing breaths while chanting "my life does not suck, my life does not suck."

Y’all have a good day, and a better weekend. Tiff out.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Someone could have told me I had ‘sign here’ flags in my hair.

Today is my first day in the second new cube I’ve had in the past month.

Yes, victory - for I have moved!

I was told on Friday morning that I would be able to move that afternoon and, what's more, I NEEDED to be out by Monday morning as there is a new person moving into my first new cube Monday. Convenient? Not so much, because I was working at home on Friday and wasn’t planning to come in. More less-convenient was that an entire cascade of moves had to take place before mine, as we’re playing cube dominoes in order to consolidate groups and make room for new folks. Also even least-more convenient, Biff and I were headed out of town Friday afternoon at about 3, which was, of course, when I was told I could move the cube.

So, I didn’t.

I figured I could just go in Sunday afternoon, pack up my few things, and move at my leisure without having to sidestep around people and cart my personal belongings around the halls.

Except that, after a very early Sunday morning departure from Oldfriend’s house in VA, I’d neglected to put my backpack in the truck. My backpack that contains my work ID. The work ID that is also a door key, which would have allowed me to get into the stupid building on Sunday afternoon. But, no matter, there’s always a guard on duty. I figured they could just buzz me in and Bob’s your Uncle.

But, would there be a guard on duty? There ought to be, I thought, but caved into the pressure Biff placed on me with the question 'have you ever gone in on the weekend and know for SURE there's a guard?' and called the office to ensure that our soon-to-be 40-minute commute to move my stuffed E. coli and computer equipment and various other toys and knickknacks wouldn't be in vain.

The first general number I called told me to call the new general number, which I did and got a ‘this number is not functioning right now’ autoreply.Naturally I dialed again to ensure I did it right the first time, and whaddaya know, I got the same results. So, there was noway to know for sure if there was a guard on duty but to drive the 24 miles to work to see. 24 miles. On a Sunday afternoon. To, quite possibly, be turned away at the door if there was no guard.

Which we were. There was no guard. I had no ID to let us in, so no move.


HOWEVER, instead of being disheartened, we instead went shopping. It was decided that we’d zip up to a furniture store to see if there were any kitchen chairs that leaped out of their collection and begged us to take them home as companion to the kitchen table that’s being built. One trip around the showroom yielded some promising, but pricey, options. Another trip around yielded a salesman, who filled us in on things like ‘options’ and ‘upholstering’ and tempting nuggets of custom woodcraftery that, by 5:30 yesterday afternoon, we were putting pen to paper and buying us some dang chairs. OK, putting a deposit on some dang chairs. Sticker shock set in and I went for the quasi layaway option.

To be buck-nekkid honest, they are embarrassingly expansive chairs. They are perhaps the most expensive chairs I’ve ever bought. Why, just one of these chairs is as much as I would have thought a whole dining set should go for a few years ago. They are sort of showpiecey in a very understated way.

And they are worth it. Totally worth the price tag, the sticker shock, the grimacing, the bleed-out of the bonus money, because they are COMFORTABLE. They are the most comfy of the billion different chairs we sat in. They are nice and wide (key for well-padded people), have a remarkably supportive back for a wooden chair, and they suit both Biff and I both in style and fit.

Yes, I’m waxing rhapsodic about stupid CHAIRS. Shush. This is the first new furniture I’ve had, except beds, in years and years. Finding a great chair that works for us instead of just picking something cheap and ‘it’ll do’ is huge for me. Yes, I’m nearly 50, what of it?

So, in 6 to 8 weeks, for the equivalent of what’s about 10 days worth of paycheck, we will be delivered of 4 new, ‘05M’ stained Mission-style kitchen chairs. We shall sit in them and love them very much, all the days of our lives, because manohman, with a cash outlay like that I’m thinking I’ll never need to buy more. I feel, well, like an adult, and it feels kind of good.


And that’s part of what we did this past weekend. How about YOU?

Friday, March 04, 2011

victory, she is mine

Lest ye forget, for the past several weeks I've been assigned to the Worst Cube in the Building, a nickname that suits far too well for my taste and that has been verified by everyone who just happens to pop 'round to it while waiting for their coffee to brew.

For the record, I don't care for being 'popped in on.' We won't go into all the other things I hate about this new workspace, because enough time and verbiage has been spent on that already.

Well folks, the squeaky wheel does, it seems, get the grease, because as of Monday I'm being MOVED! Woohoo! Now, it's not back to where I WANT to go, my former cubicle with the privacy and quiet and access to natural light, but that would be like me asking to be put in an office at this point - ain't gonna happen. The new spot is a few rows away from the hub of office social life that is the space right outside my cubicle, and if you don't think that could make a big difference in atmosphere, I'm here to tell you you're wrong, wrong, wrong. The whoosh of the coffee machine, the whirr of the printer, the almost never-ending chatter of coworkers as they take breaks, the flush of the bathroom toilets 10 feet away, all will be much more muted once I move 30 feet farther away from them.

It's sunk to this then. I'm happy about being in a middle cube in the middle of a farm o' cubes.

Just call me Dilbert.


Made some kickass chicken chili last night and some peanut butter/banana/chocolate chip/raisin muffins. Neither of them involved me pulling out a recipe book, so kickass could have easily been 'barely digestible' given the free-formness of the cookery. Sometimes the plan comes together, don't it?

Anyhow, here's the chili recipe, mostly because it actually turned out and I need to write it down before forgetting it:

The thing you need to pour:

2 Tbsp olive oil
Things you need to chop up:

2 boneless skinless chicken ta-tas, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 diced onion
1 cloves garlic, diced
1 chopped bell pepper
Things you need to use a can opener on:

2 15-oz can black beans, drained
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15-oz can kernel corn, undrained
Things you need to 'measure' and sprinkle:

2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground red pepper
S&P to taste
1/4 c corn meal (or corn muffin mix)
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese

What you need to do:
  1. In soup pot heat oil over medium-high flame, sautee chicken until just light brown.
  2. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp cumin and some S&P on chicken pieces.
  3. Add chopped veg and sautee until onions are starting to turn translucent.
  4. Dump in the canned veggies and spices, stir well, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer on low for at least a half an hour. Chili will be thin at this point.
  5. 10 minutes before you're ready to serve, stir in corn meal and cheese, turn heat to medium, and let cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Cool for a few minutes, then serve with more cheeze on top and maybe, if you're super fancy, a little chopped coriander (which I did not because we were out of it and it was 11 p.m. as I was making this, so no I wasn't going out to the store).

Really super-easy, and pretty danged yummy. Oh, just do not leave out the smoked paprika, as I think it's key. Also cumin. Don't make this without it, mmkay?

Thanks, and have a great weekend. Tiff out.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

There's nothing a little money can't fix, right?

Currently, there's a an imprint on our couch that resembles my rear-end. When I, on occasion, stand up to do something important like rub some feeling back into the netherbits or go get another glass of water, the imprint stays there in the green velour-y nap, a perfect picture of a recent occupant, right down to and lounge pant wrinkles.

However, the imprint is, it seems, a fair bit wider than my actual butt should be.

This means only one thing: we need a new couch.

It would be a rare universe in which I'd really want to know just how big my butt is courtesy of the furniture. That universe would probably be someplace made entirely of funhouse mirrors and shades, where restaurants only served celery and guilt, and where everyone else was bigger than me. After all, feeling thin and petite is better than being thin and petite, which is why every bride has a chubby bridesmaid (in case you didn't know).

Let's be frank: I need a couch that doesn't mock me. I also need a couch that is comfortable, doesn't have 18-million stupid pillows to arrange, is clean, and looks like it was made sometime in this century. Instead, our couch is made of lies (see: butt imprint), saggy foam, worn-out fabric, and cat hair.

It is, to be frank, a very ugly couch. The love seat is no better. Well, not 'love seat,' but rather 'big chair,' because I would hope that Biff and I could actually sit next to one another on a love seat without having to carefully arrange body parts while sitting down so to achieve a minimum amount of overlap as well as comfort, because once we're IN the chair it's fairly rough sailing to adjust. ANYTHING (see: velour). So, it's a 'big chair,' certainly not a 'love seat,' for I do not love it so much as I tolerate it because up until this week I was to damned cheap to do anything about replacing the heinous furniture I got 4 years ago from a used furniture store that, with the purchase of a kitchen table and 8 chairs still ran, in total, under 900 bucks.

That's right, 900 clams for a couch, BIG CHAIR, table, 4 parson's chairs, and 4 kitchen chairs. You can probably guess at the state of each of these items at this point, being that I didn't even get the best used furniture in the store due to 1) severe cheapness and 2) limited supply of actual attractive furniture at the used furniture store. I am not one for bold floral prints or plaids, clearly.

So, what's changed? Why new furniture now now NOW?

Well, we had 'bonus day' at work this week. I KNOW! A freaking BONUS DAY! Where we get extra money as a reward for meeting things like 'targets' and 'goals'! It's amazing, right?

Note: it would be way MORE amazing if the bonus wasn't taxed to Kingdom Come (and back!), but that's not a point I'm willing to argue with the bean-counters and folks at the IRS who make up stupid rules drive regular people like me and you crazy with dread and confusion. Oh, no. I'm taking my half-a-bonus and doing the following with it:

Being grateful for it
Shift some money to savings
Give some money to church (a real tithe on this one, as it's totally an 'increase' and not at all slated for anything like bills.)
Pay Biff back for the new kitchen table
And throw the rest at credit card and other debt.

See how that works? I can get stuff with the crazy bonus money. Oh, yes, it's a sad truth that with the half-a-bonus I'm giving up in taxes and 401K contributions I could have done other stuff like 'pay OFF credit card' or 'purchase CAR,' but no. Not this time. I'll have to do things like budget and save for those; however, I am NOT waiting for new furniture.

Because? The couch is a LIE, and I can't have that in my house. It's simply not a good role model for the Things.


I'm going to go look at pictures of leather couches now and try to contain the drooling. Y'all have a good day - Tiff out.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Two days ago I was on vacation.

Three days ago I was just limping out to the parking lot of a ski area.

Four days ago we were setting out for the mountains.

One day ago I was, sadly, back at work.

Methinks we’re doing this vacation thing wrong, as it went by much too quickly and seems already far in the past.

So, let's recap what happened during those couple of fun-filled days in that glorious land known as 'away.'

While we were on vacation we did many things, like hang out at Appalachian Ski Mountain. OK, we skii’ed too, which, when one hasn’t skii’ed for over 20 years is an activity that carries with it a fair amount of initial trepidation. Like, ‘oh my Lord how did I get suckered into this?’ trepidation. However, if one can have refreshable ski legs (much like their aqueous brother, ‘sea legs’), than by about hour 4 mine were coming back. Unfortch, Thing 2 never really GOT ski legs, quit afterr about 3 hours of good solid trying, and so didn’t enjoy as much time on the slopes and Thing 1, Biff and I.

Which is why Thing 2 isn’t sunburned. Perhaps he is the smartest of us all in this regard, and I forgot that hey! It can be sunny in winter, and there’s all that snow that acts as a dadgum reflector, and when you’re in the outdoors on a giant effing MIRROR for 6 hours you are, most likely, going to suffer some ill effects therefrom.

Like, sandpaper lips. And reverse raccoon eyes. We've raced far beyond attractive, and are currently veering straight into 'stunning,' I know.

Still, fun. And tiring. And, 3 days later, it might just be that my calves don’t hurt anymore.


As I expected, Thing 1 is a complete and total daredevil on the slopes. At 15 years old he is a the typical adolescent boy, barreling downhill as fast as possible and using the technique of ‘fall down’ to stop when things get going a touch too fast for comfort. It is fortunate that he is a bouncy limber thing.

After 15 years as his Mom, I’m finally learning how to simply not care about this need for speed and overall level of crazyheadedness, as the continuous state of terror I’d otherwise be in would have cause the ol’ ticker to stop in horror by now.

So, hooray for learning to let go.


We had lots of other cool experiences too, including hitting up a few tourist traps and historical sites, soaking in zee Tubo’ Hotness (awesome invention. Every home should have one), and lunching at a really cool place in Boone called Our Daily Bread that has apparently been around for 25 years but because this was our first time I’m going to pretend like we discovered it. I recommend the chili. The meat kind. They have vegetarian chili too, but that’s not what I had. I had the meat kind, and it was good.

Anyhow, one really really cool thing that happened is what I want to tell you about before I let you go, because it’s almost the end of the work day and I know you have other things to do, but this is cool so give me a minute.

The hot tub at the cabin faces Broadstone Road, which leads to Valle Crucis. The road twists around, following the path of a creek that is, as you might imagine, at the low point among folds of hills. On Sunday afternoon I was soaking in the hot tub by myself and watching the sunlight fade from a ridge opposite. It was peaceful, for sure, but the cool part was that from the west the valley was starting to fill with super low-hanging clouds. At first it seemed like they were only over the Watauga River, but slowly it because apparent that the fog was coming up our little valley along the creek path. If I shut my eyes for a count of 60 seconds, I could see just how far along the road the fog had come.

Eventually, the trees on the ridge opposite lost definition and the air got moist and very cool. The road below, normally very visible, disappeared. The ridge disappeared. The driveway disappeared. The world had, in the space of 10 minutes, shut itself out for me. For a period of time there was true and utter solitude. The air was blue in the twilight, shapes of near trees were muted, car headlights down below crept slowly along the fogged-in roadway, and I floated, alone, in a hot tub made for 4, with glorious steam rising gently into the cool evening.

I stared at it all, committing it to memory, so that someday I’ll have it to live all over again. The peace, the marvelous encroachment of low-slung clouds, the muffled sounds, all entered into a space in my brain I hope is one of the last to go, because it’s not every day we’re treated to such wonder, is it?


Seems I’ve used up all my words for today. If you have a moment of sublimity (word!), share in the comments, won’t you?

Tiff out.