Thursday, February 28, 2013

Still don't care for sock monkeys

My HS yearbook photo*
I was inspired to do something different with my hair today after spending way too much time looking at YouTube videos of how ladies with long hair style it so it looks like something other than a sad mop.  Because, my hair?  She is a sad mop, mostly.

One thing I noticed in these videos is that most of them are for gals with long STRAIGHT hair.  Hair that's easy to brush, doesn't tangle, can have fingers run through it without snagging in some hidden but of follicular turmoil, hair that looks glossy and awesome even when NOT styled.

Again - my hair?  Sad mop.  NOT an awesome glossy cascade, at all.

So, this morning, I did something about it.  Well, I did two things I don't normally do: blow-dry and straighten.  I know, totally going over the top, right?

My goal was to actually wear my hair DOWN, for once.  There are lots of women at work who wear their slightly long hair down, without benefit of a single clip or pin to hold it back, and I wanted a taste of that for my own style today, even though my hair is much longer that 'slightly long.'  For this look to work and not make me look like a big ol' hippie gal straight from 1972, the hair had to be straight.  Therefore, I spent something like 15 whole entire minutes with the heat straightener and went over each section twice, taking time to slowly pull out all the curl and wave in my sad mop.  It took forever!  Then I went back and curled the ends under, for a nice professional finish.  The style was to part it on the left, tuck the hair on the left side behind my ear, and arrange the hair on the right so it didn't get in my face and looked like someone had taken copious amount of their precious morning time when they could have been sleeping to style it.  Then, HAIRSPRAY, and off to work I went.

I felt great, and the hair looked really swell.  SO proud of myself for taking the time to take care of 'my look.'  Surely, this was to be the way of the future!

And that is what I thought, until just now, when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror.

Y'all - The hair on the back of my head has re-sprung its waves, so under a layer of straight hair on top there's a layer of gently undulating hair, which is so much not a good look.  Also, the hair on the left was not cutely tucked behind my ear anymore, the carefully arranged right-hand-side hair had parted into stringy bits, and that curl I so lovingly worked into the ends is so far gone it's over the hill and halfway to Boise by now.  My cute time-sink of a professional-looking hairdo lasted all of about 4 hours and is but a brief and happy memory.

Clearly I'm not destined for sartorial greatness, and so all that hair is now whanged back into the clip I brought with me 'just in case' and I look just like I do every other stinking day.  Like someone who doesn't give a crap about their hair.

This girly thing is hard, y'all.  Is it really worth it?

Tiff out.


*Not really.  Mine was worse.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nose is back in working order

I opted to work from home today; it's something I do as often as possible because there's no commute involved, I don't have to listen to people doing things like eating or gossiping, and we have way better snacks at the Tiny House than in the corporate vending machines.  Oh, and I can hang out in my PJs as long as I want, which is a fabulous productivity booster.

Sometimes, though, working at home has its disadvantages.  As in this tale I'm about to tell you....

I was at home all morning doing my thing, and decided to take a break at lunch to go out and run a few errands.  Again - advantage of working at home.  Happy and feeling good about being productive in such a flexible manner, life was going pretty darned well.  Until I opened the front door. Holy crap!  What the funk happened to the air in our house?  It was so malodorous as to be nearly visible.  Stink waves were everywhere!  It was as though something had up and died and rotted halfway to jelly in the 40 minutes I'd been gone.  What on earth had happened?

But wait - maybe the noxiousness hadn't just happened while I was out.  Perhaps the house smelled that bad all morning and I just didn't notice it!  Oh dear, that was highly likely, because I'd just come back from being out in the fresh air.  Cleansed the nasal palate, if you will, and on breaking the seal on the noxious contents of the house air that palate was more than just a little sullied, it was BESMIRCHED with stink!  Good Lord - it was entirely possible that the house had been stinky all day and I hadn't noticed!  I'd sat for hours surrounded by putrid air!  *Jibblies*

A quick evaluation and look around the house to ensure there wasn't actually anything that got deaded in my absence resulted in the identification of our garbage can as the bearer of ill tidings.  There was nothing for it - I'd have to go into the pantry, get close to that foul bag of funk, close 'er up, and hightail it out of the house.

I cannot hold my breath as long as I used to be able to, more's the pity, so I had to wrestle the garbage bag out of the can while taking tiny little breathlets of air through my nose.  (It probably seems counterintuitive to breathe through my nose when the smell was so bad, but if you've seen Shrek you'll know that bad smells in you mouth are worse than having them just in your nose.  You must agree, surely.)  The issue with breathlets though is that they under-oxygenate the system and at some point (unless you've practiced) the autonomic system kicks in and your body is going to suck in a big ol' lungful of whatever air is available, which in this case was some of the worst I've ever breathed, and I've been to those sulfur pools in Yellowstone!  You know how it smells when you're hiking in the woods on a warm day and you catch a hint of dead thing?  Sort of moist and gray and probably undulating with fly babies?  That's almost what the Tiny House smelled like.   Pure awful, is what I'm saying.

Anyhow, reeking bag in hand I quick-trotted it out to the outside can, glad that it's not summer and hot with the baking sun cooking that trash in the giant barrel not but a few feet from the kitchen window.  That shizz gets really bad, really fast, and I wasn't able to handle much more of the olfactory assault.

The worst part of this stinky affair is that Thing 1 and his buddies were home for lunch, which was prior to the time I ran those errands, and I've no doubt the house smelled just as bad when they walked through the door as when I did.  But, they're teenagers and maybe not so notice-y about smelly oddities as I am?  Let's hope so.  Because it was BAD.

Now, however, I'm happy to report that things are being righted through the use of a pot of water scented with cinnamon and cloves that is bubbling on the stove.  The house once again smells like someone loves it, instead of smelling like an abbatoir at the end of a 12-hour shift.  Thank goodness for happy endings!

You ever experience something like that?  You come home from being out and about and the house just doesn't smell right?  What the usual culprit where you live?  Pets?  Kids?  That chicken wrapper you used 5 days ago and chucked in the trash can?  Do tell us about it; you can use a pseudonym if needed.  Just tell me I'm not the only one...

Thanks for reading!  Tiff out.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I might not really be so brilliant.

I was peering at my blog feed thingie a few moments ago, and had the most amazing epiphany - and it is this: because just about nobody writes personal blogs anymore, that means that the rest of us are competing for readers in a much smaller pond!

Wait - that didn't come out quite right.  What I mean is that with the dearth of personal blogs, and the growing number of internet-capable people in the world, the few of us who still blog (however infrequently) should be inundated with readers hungry to tales from the dusty bits of the web.  Our counts should be astronomical by now due to attrition of competition alone!

So why is this not happening?

Facebook.  It's almost always Facebook by now, isn't it?  If not that, then Pinterest or similar time suck that keeps the masses from getting their read on.  Oh, I know, it's eady to blame Facebook for the lack of readership (rather than, say, blaming my own crappy writing of less-than-compelling content), but as we all know it was Facebook that killed many a promising blog and then, presumably, killed off the desire to go read blogs because all content is all in one place on FB and why go looking for other stuff when there are so many shiny, scroll-y, instantly uploaded things to read and click on all in one spot?

Why indeed.

Well, I'm not giving up!  I'm not going to sink under the crashing waves of information thrown up by Facebook, not going to drown under the torrent of updates and notes and photos and messages.  Not me.  I will continue to read your blogs and comment on them with abandon, to show my support of your efforts and to applaud your good times, laugh at your jokes, mourn with you, or provide feedback if it's invited.  I promise to come visit you and keep connecting, just like the old glory days of down-home bloggery.

And I will do this just as soon as you remind me of what your blog URL is, because the blogroll disappeared in the template change and I am a doofus and didn't think to write 'em down prior to clicking the 'do it NOW' button.

Just a little reminder in the comments would be great.  I'll see about making a tab for them all so that you, gentle reader, can use it in future to visit some of the folks who also come here.  All 6 of 'em, if I'm any good at guessing.  :)

Thanks!  Tiff out.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

An afternoon of firsts


Today was going to include a family activity, dagnabbit!  Something we could all do equally, with some creativity thrown in, and it had better not be outdoors because today's weather featured the word "Miserable" front and center, and we're not talking the musical by almost the same name.

So, the Things were told to be ready to leave the house at 1 p.m., not told where they were being taken, only that it involved arts and crafts.  It wasn't too long before the resulting Q&A session broke through the barrier of secrecy and they guessed that we were going to go paint pottery at a place in Raleigh.  Biff and I had done this once before and found it to be a lot of fun with some really nice results that are useful as well as ornamental (see: "beggebowls," which are big bowls for holding chopped veggies, useful during dinner preps.  They have vegetables painted on the outside to clue in the naive user as to their purpose.).

We trundled the 30-minute ride down to the place, confident that we were well within the 'open 11 to 6 on Saturdays' hours posted on their website.

Imagine our surprise when the shop was dark and sported an "Available" sign on the front window.

Well now,  time to back up and punt.  What to do?

Why, go visit the nearby Whole Foods store, that's what. I've been in a Whole Foods about twice in my life, both time to eat lunch from their stupidly awesome food bars.  This was my first time shopping there, and everyone else's first time, ever.  Well, it didn't take long to come to the conclusion that one kid LOVES the Whole Foods and the other wanted nothing more to get out of there.  Also, we bought small amounts of expensive cheese and meats while the 10 million hipsters in the store pushed around their carts of kombucha tea and organic free-range Captain Crunch (with scary moneys on the box!).  Me, I liked the store, and could have spent a LOT more time there, but half the party was ready to leave and so out we went.

Straight to the nearest (in the same parking lot!) Panera Bread.  Which neither Thing has been to, ever.  Clearly we need to get out more.  Seriously - they've NEVER BEEN to a Panera!  Well, the roast beef and asiago cheese sandwich on sourdough bread convinced them that Panera not such a bad place after all, and this their worldliness quotient increased just a little.

Not content to sit on those laurels and just head home, we hightailed it to the Best Buy so Thing 1 could pick up a game with a gift card that's been burning a hole in his pocket.  Well, next to the BB there's a Mediterranean food market so natch Biff and I headed there to peruse and perhaps purchase.  Kids, the perusing didn't take all that long - the market smelled like a diaper genie (I blame the butchery in the back) but we did score some great mocha wafer cookies and a huge bag of couscous for 6 bucks total.  Being as how couscous in other stores is apparently going for the same money as gold, ounce for ounce, it was worth it to brave the stink for a few minutes.

Not content to let the day end there, we headed toward another place closer to home that I thought MIGHT do the bisque painting thing, but no, that store was not where it should have been either.  Therefore, the only sensible thing to do was to call in technology and have the kids locate the store on their smart phones.

The shop that does bisque painting and then glazes and fires the pieces for you?  FOUR MILES FROM OUR HOUSE.  Not an half an hour - 10 minutes.  We spent 3 hours riding around looking for sh*t-all to do when the dang place of our intent was 4 miles away.  Karma?  Kismet?  Who knows, for surely missing our first place of intent opened us up to several new opportunities, and that's noplace I expected to be today, so either one would explain the upset in plans.

We then did the next sensible thing a rational adult would do after chasing a dream for a fair chunk of the afternoon: we grabbed some substrate, glazes, brushes, and assorted other paraphernalia; sat our butts down; and started painting.  Sure, it was already 4:15, and sure, the place closes at 6, but who CAN'T paint a cereal bowl with glaze in 90 minutes or so?

Half of us, that's who.  I only got mine done because my vision and palette was simple, and I wasn't stymied by the actual process.  Because, you know, I'm a pro having done it once before.  The Things focused on so much on getting the inside of the bowl (our little family's agreed-to 'similar style' area) correct that very little time remained to even think about how to go about finishing the outside.  Fortunately, we can return with their bowls and finish up what are sure to be lasting memories in the form of tableware.

Therefore, tomorrow after I get back from church, the Things and I are going back to the shop so they can finish up their first pottery glazing experience, and then I shall call the weekend good and go back to what I excel most at.


Because really, all this 'making memories' stuff is exhausting. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Notice anything?

I got so freaking sick and tired of dealing with the stupid comments thing that I finally, FINALLY, booted the 7-year-old inscrutable template, replacing it with one of Blogger's 'out of the box' models, which I then promptly started messing with to 'personalize' this page a little.

Bonus - the posts now roll up by year, showing very very clearly just how much I used to post and how much I don't anymore. Ain't nobody got time for that!  OK, that's a lie - because what am I doing right now?  POSTING, that's what.  While being sick, again, and therefore bereft of energy to do anything creative or thinky.  Just trying to breathe here, and work up the energy to go buy some meth precursor to clear the concrete block that is my head.

Along the way I dropped the 'about me' and the blogroll, because nobody comes by here who 1) doesn't already know me and 2) doesn't already read the 2 other people that still post. HOWEVER, if you loved either one, please do let me know and I'll see about reinstating them just as soon as I figure out in Blogger where the 'design' function is so I can start popping in gadgets and widgets and thingies galore.  I could have this thing tarted up like a Fat Tuesday samba dancer in no time!

Also, 'word porn' went away.  *Sigh*  It was time.  Now, can anyone remember any of the words that were ON word porn?  Hmmm?  Abstemious was one.  Rodomontade another.  Pusillanimous should have been on there, but I'm not sure it was.

Next up in blog design - redoing the header image, because it's old, clunky, and doesn't really reflect who I am anymore.  Anyone want to take a shot at that?

Not to change - blog title.  Some things shouldn't ever change.

Is it working for you?  If not, what needs to change?  Because I spent a whopping 10 minutes making the changeover, there is obvious room for improvement.  Your ideas can now be put in the dang comments, so comments, dang it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For the BHE

My heart, fairly predictably, pumps a steady rhythm day in and out, a slow counting out of moments, but for those moments when he draws near and somehow the heart knows and quickens its pace, thrilled by the nearness of his heart to it.  There is no explanation for this phenomenon, except perhaps that the racing pulse is calling out loudly to his heart to hear it and come closer to share a space of love that is closer than mere touching.  When he is around everything about me is stronger and more prone to action, my heart included.

It is a merry race indeed, being in love with him, a lovely striding forward into what is yet to be explored, with an ever-lenghtening history to recall and draw insight from.  Hearts and minds and souls together, better than 2 individuals could be alone, this love is its own being that compels us to gratefulness, joy, and purpose.  This love is transformative and energizing, comforting and soothing, a strength and a miracle.

This heart will love him for as long as it beats, and then forever after.

I'm pretty sure I don't need to ask, but just to be sure, will you Biff, once again, be my Valentine?

*Fingers crossed he says yes*

(Back to the much-less mooshy soon.  Today called for something far more dangerous to your enamel.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This is progress?

Letter came in the mail not too long ago:

'Dear Customer,

Just a lil' FYI, but we, your mortgage servicer, are filing for bankruptcy, so we sold your loan servicing to another company and hope that's OK. Bye!'

Um, OK.  Guess there's not much I can do about it anyhow, right?  Send a sternly worded letter to Giant Corporation telling them how very disgruntled I am and they should not have done that without my permission?  Right.  That'd work. Not.

Then a letter from New Company comes along:

'Dear New Customer.

We are so excited to have you as a new customer!  It's going to be awesome!  Here's the address where you can mail your payment!  OK, Bye!'

Wait, MAIL?  I haven't mailed a mortgage payment in YEARS!  Not going to frelling mail a stupid payment what with the internets and all.  There MUST be an online option.  Let's look at the back of this letter, and ah HA, yes!  Customers who had been making 'at will' payments can register their accounts at  Woohoo!

*type type type*

*wait wait wait*

Blank screen.

Try another browser.

Blank screen.

Call company.

Wait 20 minutes on hold.

Kaitlyn (Kaytlyn? Caitlin?  Katelyn?) picks up the line "what can I help you with today?  Oh, right, the site's been down for 2 days now.  I understand you don't want to pay the 12 dollars we charge to do pay by phone.  But you'd have to pay 12 dollars to do an at will payment anyhow because we're not a bank.  If you wanted to make auto-draft payments then there's no fee.  Don't worry about late fees for the first 60 days as we make this transition.  OK, Bye!"

Did you get that?  I get to pay 12 extra dollars to use the internet to make a mortgage payment if I want to make that payment when I want to.  I pay no money if I let the mortgage servicer yank the money out when THEY want to.  So, if I want to decide when to pay they're 'not a bank' but when they say when my and my money part then there's no fee involved.

Curious, no?

Plus which - a company their size should have anticipated an enormous rush on their website from all the new subjectscustomers rolling in from FormerBigCompany and prepared a little better so that the site isn't down for 2 days.

All this reeks of cheapness and gouging, so I'm going to look into refinancing, TODAY.

But first I gotta mail a stupid check, like it's 1982 or something.


Monday, February 11, 2013

One more for the pizza

what he ought to be able to keep

I feel bad for Joe Rat, I really do.  This whole retirement thing is more than just quitting a job!  Think of it - No more fancy shoes, no more gilded capes, no more tall hats, no more ring kissing and bowing and scraping and general adulation.  No more Popemobile, no more staff of thousands catering your every whim and meal, no more having the ear of God.  Nope – all that will be gone, along with the title.  
So what happens to a Pope that chooses to leave his post?  It’s not happened in a few hundred years, so it’s not very likely that an SOP for this sort of thing has been updated in a while.  Does he get security to guard him?  Maybe a Pope-mo-scooter or something to carry him to the local bodega for cigars and Red Bull?  Can he at least keep the rad shoes that were specially made for his feet only and likely are as buttery soft as a kitten’s tummy?  It’s not like anyone else is looking to get into them, because ew, used shoes.

I’m concerned for JR, I really am.  Eighty-five years old and voluntarily thrusting himself into the cold cruel world with very little in the way of recent experience or exposure.  What knowledge does he have of teevees with remote controls and more than 3 channels?  What can he possibly know about debit cards and self-serve grocery store lines?  Who will teach him about recycling?  What support will there be to walk him through the precise steps in making mac and cheese?

It’s not like he can go get him a wife to do these things, either.  Unless by retiring from Popeliness he’s also retiring from the cloth in toto.  Could that be it?  Could that actually be the reason he’s letting all the pomp and circumstance go?  He’s falling in love with a hot chick and wants to get hitched?  He’s finally ready to make that lifelong commitment to someone and let her have a piece of his holiness, if you know what I mean?  Nothing is impossible, I say.  Who could it be, I wonder?  It’s not like the Papal manse is stuffed full of women, really.  Cook’s aide?  Housekeeper?  Crossdresser in a Cardinal’s costume?  Say, which one of those dudes in the red coats might just be a dudette, staying close by Papa’s side, supporting him through thick and thin?  Find 'him' and I'm betting THAT’S our gal, right there.

Yep – that’s the ticket.  The Pope is in love and is abdicating his throne for a chance at some sweet lurve.  

Either that or the Death Star is up and running again, and he’s being called home.

Nothing else makes sense.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

How things do change

This morning, while idly whiling away a few minutes at the computer before braving the stress that is 'getting ready for work,' I somehow got the notion to look up old Romper Room episodes to reaquaint myself with Miss Nancy/Barbara/whomever and to get a gander at the ol' magic mirror.  I was fascinated with the magic mirror - so groovy!

Turns out?  Magic mirror is kind of lame.  And kids were ill-behaved even 40+ years ago.  

For those of you who do the FaceSpace, you will have seen that I posted a vid of the 'Do Bee' song this morning.  Chorus, "Do be a DoBee all day long!"  *Ahem*  All rightie then.  I won't be a car stander/food fusser/street player if all the Do Bee-ing is happening.  I'll be a Dorito muncher/teevee watcher/nap taker instead, which sounds nice and certainly will keep me off the streets and also likely cleaning my plate! 

To think that a sweet and wholesome show like this was eventually supplanted by the trippy oddness of  HR Pufinstuf is to witness the way adults played with kids' brains back in the day.  And out parents let us watch this bizarre nightmare fodder! 

The 70's were weird, is what I'm saying.  Let's not even get into Lidsville or The Banana Splits.  That's just too much whack for this old woman to nostalgize on!

Feel free to wax poetic about your fave shows from your childhood, and have a wonderful day.

Tiff out.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Utterly astounding

I took this blog off the Networked Blogs feed a couple of weeks ago because I was tired of it auto-posting to FB that a new post was up.  Face it, most of the people who are 'friends' on FB aren't really into blog reading so much anymore, just like 99.5% of all people.  Those people might not appreciate why I still write the occasional post, might think I have some kind of 'agenda' or, more horrifyingly, might read here and get Deathly Bored and begin ruthless  mockery of whatever pathetic leavings I might drop here.

So, pretty much now you have to come here on purpose.  And then try to figure out if you want to leave a comment because I still haven't fixed the commenter-mabob.  Sorry about that one.  I should just migrate the template, I know.

What might this mean for NAY, then?  I don't know, but based on the number of times I've posted lately something needed to give, to break free and let something new rush in.  Writing for the 'masses' (all 200 or so FB 'friends') wasn't bringing in huge crowds, so why push everything out there?  If folks don't see that I've posted, then they'll have to care to come looking.  Just like in the good old days of RSS feeds and reading lists.


Health update: still sick.  Not debilitatingly so, but obviously so.  Sucks.


Had a guy come out and quote some tree work the other week.  His first quote was a thousand dollars more than the other guys, at first.  By the time he was writing up the quote, it was 900 dollars more.  Two days later I get a call from him saying the price had dropped another 400 bucks.

Pretty sure I'm going with the guy who is still cheaper and has a better online presence.  Oh, adulthood, the challenges you present!


Once the trees on the bedroom side of the house are gone, we'll have a spectacular view of the trash lot next door.  It's a vacant lot that isn't maintained.  I'm not sure that getting more sunshine in the bedrooms is a fair trade for the view, but the trees have to come down (too big, too near the house, too near the HVAC unit, blocking access to the backyard) and we might have to start thinking seriously about what to do about that lot.  We have talked with the neighbors a little bit about starting to maintain it so that it's not such an eyesore, and a couple of them agreed to do that with us, but I think we have to be the bandleaders in this instance and just how up with a BobCat one day and start mowing things down.  I've heard tell that if we maintain the property for 7 years we get the right of eminent domain on it and can claim ownership.

Sure would beat staring out at the mess that's there now.  How much do BobCats go for a day, anyhow?  I might just have to go look that up.

Tiff out.

Friday, February 01, 2013

wherever there's a sunbeam...

Have I talked about cats lately?  I could you know.  We have 3 of them.  You'd think there's be something to say about them, but they're so danged lazy that really all that can be said is
  • 1 is fluffy and sheds like it's his job
  • 1 is semi-fluffy and scratches herself like it's her job
  • 1 is not at all fluffy and barfs regularly
They are not playful and full of antics, at all.  They are not particularly cuddly, either.  They demand food twice a day and give back nothing in return except a smidgen of cuteness and the need to go get another paper towel.

Clearly, we need more interesting pets.


All-important new bulletin, right here.


This post is apparently about domesticated animals, which reminds me that I used to want a monkey really really badly.  I am so glad I never got one.  They seem so creepy to me now, with their bony little fingers and staring eyes.  Plus which, they do not brush their teeth and don't appear to be potty-trainable.  Forget that they look adorable in lederhosen and can calculate the circumference of an irregular polyhedron knowing only the length of X-2 sides, they have stinky breath and poop where they want!  Too small an ROI, IMHO.

Hang on.  Forget what I said about needing more interesting pets.  I'll take cat barf over monkey poo any day.


Way back when I co-owned a couple of large snakes with a boyfriend - we had a ball python and a boa.  The boa was nice, the python couldn't be trusted.  Both were far stronger than they looked, and I was sad when they got stolen.  We kept them in the biology building in large cases we built, they were part of the life science 'museum' and the school kids loved them.  Then, right before graduation weekend, someone stole them.  We called all the local pet shops and other places that might be contacted about 'selling some pet snakes,' but nobody'd heard anything and a couple of weeks later the snakes were found, dead, in a sealed cooler out in a field someplace.  That was sad, and no way to end a Friday blog post, but it's all I got.

Except to ask - Have you had any unusual pets?  Spiders or sea monkeys or anything?  Do tell!

Tiff out.