Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Is it a sign?

Because I'm a terribly lazy person by nature,  I sometimes find out interesting things while wasting time on the internet.  To wit: So many hairstyling videos!!!

Today, as I was 'driving' Google street view around the town in NY where I spent some growing up time, I was pleased to see that the Google car has made it around my old block and thus I could drive right past my former home (previously it was only viewable from a nearby road).  Imagine my surprise to see my car in the driveway! 

Really, it's right there in the picture!  Dodge Grand Caravan, dark blue, 2005-ish, just like Jiminy!  What are the chances of that sort of thing happening?

Well, because being lazy can mean 'avoid all things you're supposed to do in favor of something you'd rather be doing,' I am going to make and attempt to figure out the probability associated with this happenstance.

According to an estimate I'm making based on more current numbers found on Wikipedia, between 100,000 and 200,000 of these vehicles were sold in the United States and Canada.  According to Kelley Blue Book dot com, about 11% of minivans are medium or dark blue.  Doing the math, that means between 11K and 22K dark blue Dodge Grand Caravans were sold in the US and Canada.

Let's assume that there's a population-equivalent distribution of Dodge Grand Caravans to make things a little easier.  New York state has an estimated population of 19,651,127 for calendar year 2013 (source), but we'll take out the population of NYC because the chances of someone who lives in the city driving a  Dodge Grand Caravan up to Vestal to park in in my old house's driveway are pretty remote, wouldn't you agree? Using the same estimation practices, the 2013 estimated population of NYC was 8,405,837.  That puts everything above NYC at a population of 11,245,290.  North Carolina has only 9,848,060 people estimated to be living here in 2013.

Still with me?  OK - the total estimated number of people living in the US in 2013 is 315 million.   Taking the lower estimate of 11,000 dark blue 2005 Dodge Grand Caravans made in 2005, there is ONE dark blue 2005 dodge grand caravan per every 28636 people. That means that there are 383 2005DBDGCs in NY and 344 of them in NC.  

To be more specific, the population of Vestal in 2010 was 28,043, which means that, with the maths we have done, there's less than 1 2005DBDGC in the whole town!

The population of Wake Forest in 2010 was 30,117, which indicates, given the assumptions made above, that there's slightly more than 1 (but let's call it 1) 2005DBDGC in town.  That one is Jiminy!  Science works!

Note: Even if the upper estimate was used, there would only be 1.9-ish 2005DBDGCs in Vestal and a smidge over 2 in Ye Olde Wake Foreste.  This means of course that (keeping in mind that because human beings basically move around in a semi-predictable Brownian fashion we have to work in an inconstant parameter for estimates of instability) the chances of that ONE 2005DBDGC being in the very specific location that it was when the Google car drove by on that sunny day in 2012 are something like one in  a BILLIONZILLION and that, my friends, is why you should pay attention in school.

So, given that the chances of that particular car being in that particular driveway at that VERY particular time are so very infinitesimal, is this the Universe trying to tell me something about OUR car?

Do you think there's a heap of cash stuffed in a seat or something?  A giant diamond wedged into a corner of a Stow'n'Go crevice?  A black hole in the coolant system?  Some Whos in the glove compartment?  What is the profound message in this circumstantial fleeting parallelism!?!  It can't all just be random chance, can it?

Can it?


I'm off to ponder the Universe and maybe go look for that hidden wad of cash - - Tiff out.


PS - I have made an error in my calculations.  Forgive me, Canada, for leaving you out of  the people/2005DBDGCs estimate.  But note my statement about being lazy?  I'm not going back to recalculate.  Just be aware that the one in a billionzillion chance is now about one in 1.3 billionzillion.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Apocacabinet, plus many parentheticals

The Tiny House's kitchen is small.  Not tiny, because it's 15' x 15' in dimension, but really only one wall of that space has countertops or cabinets.   There is also a short run of cabinets on another wall, but that's built for linens and candles and game storage so I'm not counting it as purely 'kitchen' because it's the stuff you might find in a living room or family room in larger homes.  In the middle of the room is our kitchen table, in a corner is Biff's office space, and there are 4 doorways (!) so this one 15' wall is about all the space we have to work with, kitcheny things wise.

Because of the relative dearth of places to put normal kitchen stuff, a lot of our small appliances live on a shelf in the laundry/garbage/cat box (AKA 'pantry') room, which is fine because it's 2 steps to the left of the stove and therefore convenient (as are most things in Tiny Houses, which is a huge plus of living in one).  We keep all the baking items there too, as well as all cooking oils, vinegars, pasta (well, most of it), onions, potatoes, pet food, ...you get the drift.  Stuff we need routinely, which, as it turns out, is a lot of stuff!

Canned foods, which do NOT live in the pantry, have a wall cabinet to the right of the sink that we use to pull from first.  This puppy holds a LOT of canned goods; however, as a family that cooks at home nearly every day (and wants to be prepared if the Big One Drops), we run through a lot of this stuff fast (and want to have nice radiation-free grub for the Big One, obviously).  So, in the design of the kitchen reno a few years ago, we introduced a large cabinet above the refrigerator that we call 'The Apocacabinet.'

The Apocacabinet holds all the things that the pantry/other cabinet don't, as you might expect given its name and what I just explained to you.  But how much had been a mystery.  Stuff just  went in and got fished out.

Well, we went to the BJs today to do a $400 shop, and as a result the shelves and cabinets had to have stock switched to get the older stuff readily at hand and the newer duplicates/replacements into the Apocacabinet.  I got the bright idea to (finally) catalog everything that is IN the Apocacabinet, primarily to know what's in there so we don't overbuy something we already have (a glaring example of which is below), and I wanted to see what would fit into a reasonably stocked, but not full, Apocacabinet.  Because, science!

The real deal!
This, then, is what's in there:

10 pounds dry black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 large can light red kidney beans
6 cans black beans

1 box Malt o' Meal (plain)
1 box Cheese-Its

3 pounds angel hair pasta
4 pounds elbow noodles

10 cans Rotel tomatoes
3 cans diced tomatoes
5 jars diced tomatoes
26 (!) small cans tomato paste
8 cans corn
3 cans french-style green beans

8 cans tuna

1 bag granola
2 bags Life cereal
1 bag Frosted Mini Wheats

1 large bag Pretzel crisps

A purty good haul, wouldn't you say?  It's clear that I can't keep inventory control over the tomato paste (26 cans?  Good grief, we'll need to rush out and buy more in a month!), but everything else is at a satisfying level of 'we have it if we need it,' which will be helpful in the event of a zombie attack or, more likely, crap weather that keeps us at home for a while (or the Big One!).  We'll not be starving, that's for sure, and are able to take advantage of sales and bargains because we have a place to put them.

Maybe that's what some folks use their garages for, but we don't have one of those either so we just have to make do.

Does that seem like a lot of food to keep on hand to you, or do you like to also have that cushion of 'oh no we don't need to go to the store yet, we have plenty!' like me?  Because I care, you'll share!

And with that,  Tiff out.

Friday, December 05, 2014


Flash fiction isn't dead, it would appear.  There's THIS running through tomorrow that y'all might want to be a part of.  Come on, you can do 150 words on what's the best way to orient your toilet paper (over!) so you can certainly write 150 on a vivid prompt, right?  It'll be like WordsmithsUnlimited 'lite'!

Go to the comment section to read the entries AFTER you've written your piece so that other folks' take on teh prompt won't bleed over into your own writing or dissuade you from even trying.

You're good enough, and people like you, so go.  Don't wait, just go.



There was an announcement this week at work that is very upsetting.  It affects thousands of people here in North Carolina in ways that are the Most Profound They Could Be short of just shuttering the whole works and throwing the company off a bridge.  Lives are being turned upside down in the name of....I don't even know what.  The decisions made make NO sense to me, but somehow they must to someone.

Sure hope the shareholders are happy.

Nobody around here is.

Which is why I didn't go to the group Holiday Celebration today.  I just don't have it in me.

But hey, if you know of anyone in the Triangle looking for a medical writer, I'm your gal.


As a result of the business news, I have found out one very unflattering thing about myself:  I can really sulk, HARD.  Spent the day yesterday avoiding doing any but the most necessary work and using the rest of that time to have a god fret about what the hell is going to happen to my life now.  To accede to the demanding plans for next steps as outlined by the company, we would have to pull up roots and I just not prepared to do that.  Oh, sure, if I decide NOT to follow the job there will be some monetary remuneration for me, but is that enough to wait until the company decides when that's going to happen or do I just strike out looking on my own NOW to lock down something 'sure'?

So hard to know what to do.  Perhaps  I should slink back to my corner and sulk some more.  It seems the only thing  I really want to do right now.

That, and hunt down whatever team of nincompoops came up with their brilliant plan to ruin my life and strangle them with their own Rolexes.  I also want to do that.  A lot.


Hope y'all are faring well and rolling with the punches.

Tiff out.

Friday, November 21, 2014

This thing could really take off!

Also this.
Currently I am wearing a pair of men's lounge pants in a festive flannel tartan.  It is 4 in the afternoon.  These are the same pants I slept in last night. 

This is why I love to work at home (WAH).

Every day can be pajama party day!

From time to time I am contacted by headhunters recruiters about possible new opportunities that involve 'home based contracts,' and I must confess here and now that the biggest draw for me to enter into that situation is the whole pajama thing.  Also, not having to drive to an office or talk to people, but the pajama thing ranks right up there.  If I wasn't so fearful of going into a contract situation and giving up my sweet benefits package, I might make the leap, but I'm not quite there yet.  I'm a creature of comfort, and part of that comfort comes from having a full-time job with a 401K and insurance.

I live about as far from 'the edge' as a person can, and having accepted that I can focus on important issues, like optimizing the temperature in the house while wearing pajamas in the middle of the day!!

Another bonus of WAH-ing: the food is free.  And good.  Also, the coffee is excellent.  The bathroom is private, which is terrific.  The commute is short, and my coworkers are fluffy and cute.  Heck, I can even get some chores done if I felt like it, which I rarely do, but I COULD and that's something to take to the bank, eh?


Yes, I know how lucky I am.  I used to work in a lab, where working from home was obviously NOT an option.

I used to be a waitress, and bartender, and radio announcer, and teacher, and McDonald's counter girl too, so I know how to show up for work and put in my time.  This is why I know how lucky I am.  I worked for 25+ years before I got a job that allowed this flexibility, so I am WELL aware of how soft the spot is on which I've landed.  Am grateful every dang day for it too.

Did you know that some kids coming out of college now are demanding that they  be allowed to work at home right from the get-go, even in positions that are better suited to co-working in an office space?  I take umbrage at this - those little snots haven't put in their TIME yet, they won't know the sweetly deep satisfaction of the 'special' days when pajamas and hoodies are the work outfit of the day instead of grown-up clothes that require things like shoes, and accessories, and makeup.  How, when they become older, will they enjoy achieving a position that allows them to cast off the shackles of the cubicle?  No no, I say, make them report to the office for at least 10 years, so they can develop the skills needed to get up each and every day to face the yoke of responsibility (and match their shoes to it)!!  Don't let them get away with it! 

Or at least, make them keep their webcam on at all times for monitoring.  Count the keystrokes!  Filter their web-browsing capabilities!  Lock down all other devices remotely until their spirits are squashed and they perform like the drones they were born to be, just like I was!!!

YES!!!  AMEN!!!



All right, 5 years, and they can be released on their own recognizance.

I think we have a plan.


Tiff out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What happened to fall?

Pinkies up!
This time last week?  70 degrees.

Today?  35, tops.

Bring fall back, whoever stole it from us.  This winter garbage is too much, too soon.


We bore the dog to utter death, I'm sure.  All we do is sit around doing our thing on teh glowy boxes, and hardly spend ANY time with him at all.  He gets in as much trouble as he does because I'm sure he's begging for attention, but how much attention can one dog gets while the human is trying to get work and stuff done?

So, he rips up used tissues and chases cats.

A dog does what he has to do to stay entertained in the waking hours.


Let's get back to this Winter thing for a mo, along a slight tangent, to wit:

How it is already the middle of November?

How is it almost time to haul out the Christmas stuff (ALMOST, I must note)?

How did this happen?  Wasn't Hallowe'en just last week?  Wasn't Independence day just a month before that?

The end of the year, that vaunted 'sell by' date for many of my work projects, is rushing hither at a fearful clip.  I'm afraid to  count the actual number of working days that are available to get everything done I said I would.  Shhh!  Don't tell me, either.  I don't want to know.  Really, I do NOT want to know.

It won't be enough, is all I'm saying.


Did you know that Will Smith's daughter has control over time?

Rich kids.  Sheesh.  They get whatever they ask for.


Thing 1 started working last week.  He's a tea-rista at the pinkies-out store in the local mall.  Fancy Schmancy!  For a first job, this one's pretty dang sweet, I think.  No deep frying required, no bagging groceries or fetching carts or washing cars for that boy, oh no.  Straight to the indoor retail customer service experience!

Hope he knows how good he's got it.  Because compared to closing a McDonald's at 2:30 a.m. while angry drunk people fight in the parking lot and your hair smells like grease and you've been on your feet for 8+ hours wearing a horrible uniform, his first job seems positively peachy.


Also, Happy Anniversary to my parents.  Number 58, though they only got to celebrate 35 of those together.  Time is short for all of us, for my Dad way too short.  Still miss him, 23 years later.

Man, time does indeed fly. 

We'll talk soon,
Tiff out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Two in a row!

So, maybe the floodgates have opened.  Let's liveblog a moment, this one.

Wish it was my quote...
-I am at the kitchen table, facing away from the window and toward wonderful new art.  The art makes me happy in a way I can't describe, though it's much akin to the warmth felt when a baby is lying peacefully on one's chest, napping, and the day is sunny and the temps are balmy and dinner's already on the stove.  Like I maybe somehow birthed these things that are beautiful and peaceful and still allow me to make dinner.

Love the arts. (Check is on the way, Ms. Artist!)

-Wern just gave a big-boy growl at the front door, because a dog was out there, being walked.  This is the first time he's shown any 'warning' about dogs, or people, but probably that's because it's dark now and maybe he's beginning to know he's a separate being with Jobs To Do.  I don't know; it was an admirable effort on his part and I was glad when a simple 'hey Wern, whatcha doin'?' took him off his wag-tail alarm,

-Today was about as beautiful as day as there will ever be.  High autumn color, warm temps, golden sunshine, high wispy clouds that nobody could possibly walk on, no matter how ethereal their being.  Pretty sure God designed this day just for himself, so he could maybe play a round of golf without the slightest chance of being rained on.  Good going, God!

-I haven't really cooked since Sunday.  This might be a record.  'Pretend' Thanksgiving was Sunday, leftovers casserole Monday, NOTHING last night.  Not a pot was sullied, not an onion pierced 'round, not a dish warmed except by the microwave.  It was kind of nice, but I'm ready to cook again.  Two nights off is enough to fill my Energy Bars for another night in kitchen central.

-We are now about to stuff a puzzle ball for Wern, so he can cavort and I can sizzle up some dinner ideas while the crickets chirp outside and night descends even more deeply on this tiny nugget of Earth.

Let's talk soon,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Girl Trouble (for ladies and sympathetic men)

(I suspect I've posted about this before, so apologies in advance.  I'm just...so over this)


Bodies are wonderful things, mysterious and unpredictable, wouldn't you agree?

Like, sometimes, my body forgets how to swallow and I wind up aspirating a spit bubble or coffee or whatever isn't supposed to be in my lungs, and BOOM!  Instant highly troubling splutter session.  Much fun trying to gasp around that bolus of liquid that, if the body remembered properly what it was supposed to do, would already by in the stomach where it belongs.

Or, sometimes, intestines can play beautiful music, rather loudly and in a disturbing fashion much resembling a badger or active bubbling tar pit.  Usually when in meetings or when the cube farm is aggravatingly quiet.

Or, like when the brain decides to stop remembering the names of super-important movie characters during a conversation and then coughs it up in the middle of a dream cycle so that Alan Rickman is your cab driver in Puffy City, where you're about to purchase a new hotel only you forgot to get dressed and the towel you're still wearing from your shower just keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller, then you're in a parade on a float and the towel is now a washcloth so you're glad you've been named Grand Marchall so at least you can use the sash to cover up one boob and you still have one hand free to wave.

Note: quote not by an actual old lady
Or, as happened today, old lady lady-parts that should have gone quiescent long ago decide to behave like it's 1989 again and issue forth proof that uterine lining does still exist and wants you to look at it!  LOOK!  Still there, or, more properly, HERE.  Surprise!!

It's said that menopause can take between 5 and 10 years to complete.  My body?  A trickster, and at 8 years into the process I can with certainty say that it is pulling some fast ones wit this latest incident.  Good grief, the whole monthly shebang completely STOPPED for 2 years a couple of years ago, and there was much relieved breathing throughout the land.

But no.

It's back.

What started is extremely uneven pacing when I was 44, with bursts of extreme over-production followed by long gaps in between times turned into a slowly decreasing frequency, which was nice, then full stop.  For a year.  Then things got going again for about 6 months, then full stop.  For 2 years.  Now this.

I would like to state that this is NOT going according to plan.  This should have been done and over with that first time the production line shut down, can I get an Amen on that?  All this crazy dang off and on is aggravating, and sheesh.  Come ON.  I am 52, it's time for me to sprout some (more) chin whiskers and begin the transformation into a little old man, isn't it?

Stupid estrogen, anyhow.

If you are lady of a certain ago, does all this sound normal to you or is my body an overachiever in the 'longest menopause EVER' category?  Because, really, isn't 8 years enough??

Well, at least I know why I've been so irritable the last couple of days.  There's the bright side, I suppose.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pig ears and haystacks

Himself, the Werninator
We have had the Wernstrom for just over 3 weeks now, and I'd have to say it's going pretty well.  He's not yet chewed up any piece of furniture to the point of irretrievability, hasn't had an accident in the house in more than 2 weeks, sleeps pretty well at night, and has met very rarely with the pointy end of either cat.

Probably because he's 1) supervised at all times that he's out of his crate and 2) crated when we're not around.  Left to his own devices, he'd likely have chewed a hole through the back door and eaten all the decorative mulch and firepit leavin's.

He's a dear, that one.

And just got $50 of new toys today, for Biff is a softie and Wern is a teething mess of puppy that needed a trip to the PetSmart this afternoon to distract him (Wern) from all the luscious not-puppy toys there are to play with at the Tiny House.

Which is why dried pig ears are such a blessing.  We should really purchase them in bulk, they are so perfect for him.  One will keep him gnawing away for over an HOUR, which means his sharp pupster teeth aren't on 1) us, 2) the cats, 3) our shoes, 4) the furniture, 5) the kitchen cabinets, 6) the carpet, 7) the gel mat in the kitchen ,8) ohyougettheidea,

Pigs to whom those ears used to belong, I salute and thank you.


Yahoo concerts last night sucked me in with visions of a human haystack trilling as nicely as a Hagridded-up Geddy Lee, and thus I watched, amazed, for fully 20 minutes before trying to figure out what on Earth I was watching besides perhaps Snuffeluppagus' human cousin IN A BAND.

Well, it was in fact good ol' Coheed and Cambria, who are it seems a rather popular band among certain segments of the population who are oh, about half my age.  Who'd a thunk it?  Here is a picture of their very talented lead singer:

I am not at all kidding.

Out of this wall o' fuzz came a Very Good Voice Indeed, an the band seemed to be having fun as did the audience who knew the words to songs I've never heard of and it seemed a jolly good time.

Some people know this band, or their progeny do, and because progeny treat this group as small gods, I will have to say they are worth a listen, even if you're not into their genre.  I was impressed by the haystack up there, and what shouldn't be too surprising a turn of events, he's actually kind of cute and approachable looking when not Cousin It'ing it up.

And cute, it never hurt a soul.


Lastly, I tied my hair in a knot today, because I did not think ahead and bring something with me to help keep it out of my face.  It might be my new go-to 'do, as the lack of clips/pins/elastics = no pulling/tugging/pain and that is a good dang thing, y'all.

Twist the hair, make a loop, shove the end through the center, pull tight.  Done.

Best for hair with 'texture,' which is to say at least wavy.  My lovely niece, for example, wouldn't be able to do this, for Asian hair is lush and thick and strong and slippery as all get out.  That knot would fall out lickety split, which is a curly girl's revenge for never being able to really fully comb out their hair due to insta-tangling and that haystack thing that's going on up there (^) if we DARE run a comb through it when dry.

Silver linings, people.

Tiff out.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A few short things

Almost exactly Eric, not at all Wern.
Wern the puppy has much more success playing with Eric the cat than he does with Mutzi the cat.  At least Eric doesn’t start OUT a play session with claws and hissing.  We’ll see how it goes once Wern loses the puppy teeth and get those big chompers; sure hope he learns to temper this enthusiasm a little bit too, or he’s going to get 13 pounds of kitty fury right in the face.

Been hanging out at home in the morning with the puppy, just to 1) bond and 2) not leave him to seriously long periods of time that puppy bladders just can’t handle.  He’s been really good about not doing his stuff in the house, and I want to keep it that way.  He’s crated, so the mess potential is confined, but I don’t want him to suffer needlessly.  Fortunately, my meeting load at work is minimal at this point, so me being at home ad not putting in 8 hours of face time a day isn’t really an issue.

More of an issue is the workload I DO have, which involves me working with a a group in India to process a metric buttload of documents through compliance checking and upload to our document repository.  Currently I’m handling the processing of 16 study reports, 13 of which contain only 4 documents for processing, the others are ‘legacy’ documents that need to be prepped for regulatory submission.  EACH document goes through a separate compliance and upload process, with individual emails sent for each stage of the process.  This morning, I received 13 review requests or requests for more information, which gets me all itchy and wanting to head for the hills.  Clearly I have a very low tolerance for this kind of thing, and I can hear many of you laughing at what I consider to be an onerous load, but I don’t care, this is ME I’m talking about and my perfect world involves me, alone, doing my thing and just handing it off at the end of the day.  All these people wanting me to actually do stuff is offputting, I say.

I’m going to a memorial service tomorrow for a former teacher.  Her husband was in the Fairfax County school system too, and used to judge solo and ensemble festivals and auditions for regional band.  He and I go back a loooong way, and they, coincidentally, happen to be good friends with one of my college roommates and her husband.  It is a small small world people, you just never know when your circles will cross and Venn diagram the heck right out of you.

In closing, let me wish you all a wonderful weekend.  Go out and do something terrific with it, even if that means lying around on your couch drinking iced coffee and reading the latest trashy novel you picked up from the dollar bin at your local used bookstore.  Because that does sound pretty terrific, doesn’t it?

Tiff out.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Well, how about weekly?

Let's try this again this week, since it was reasonably painless last week.

Microblog Mondays!


Currently I am at the 'office' listening to the following:

  • people at the coffee machine
  • someone's teleconference regarding developing future research plans
  • a 1-on-1 as to how to move forward with a series of lab experiments
  • numerous other people typing
  • toilets flushing
  • clicky-clacky high heels zipping down the 'hallway' between my cube and the 'call center' room that's in the middle of our building

As opposed to most other times when I would complain about all that noise, noise, noise, noise, I will not today because it masks the noises that my GI tract is making.

And that's all I shall say about that.

Wern pics tomorrow.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

An idea I can get behind

So, Neil posted something on Facebook that made me go read his blog that was started by Melissa that  I think is a pretty keen idea, so I'm going to do it to, right here in front of you.

(drum roll, please!)

I'm microblogging.

The idea, and it's revolutionary in its potential to scene shift online interaction, might I add, is thusly: post something once a week on our blogs that we would normally do on social media.

The idea, naturally, is to get BLOGGING going again, which I'm totally behind.  More specifically, get personal blogging going again, which I can really really get behind.  I very much miss reading the rounds on a daily basis, and do miss the days of long lists of entries to pore over before hitting the day's work.  

So, I'm doing it.  Like this:

Wern has placed his wee fuzzy body (21.5 pounds as of today!)  under the table where I'm working in such a way that I can have my feet only exactly where they are and noplace else.  I love that.

See?  A tiny post!  I love this idea also.

If you choose to do this as well, do it fast and you can get your name on the blogroll of participants, and maybe a few new readers.  Who doesn't need more of THAT?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The invitation

Good times...
Hello There Fellow Bloggers!
Here's how the blog tour works. You answer the four basic questions.
1) What are you currently working on?
2) How does your work differ from others in the same genre?
3) Why do you write what you write?
4) Describe your writing process.
When you've answered them--how does this week look?--you post them on your blog with an explanation of the blog tour. I will take a day--maybe this Thursday?--and write an intro for each of you. If you could send me a picture and a short bio, that would help out in the introduction.
If this week isn't good, just let me know when is.
I'm looking forward to reading your responses.
And thanks for participating!




This kind of thing is SO 2006, and the invite came from SUCH a lovely and talented person, how could I NOT participate? A chance to turn back time at the request of someone who is lovely and talented? Heck yes I'll give it a shot!

Let's dive in then, shall we?

1) Currently I am not working on any writing project except what I get paid to do at work. But that's kind of boring stuff, so let's just say I've been letting an idea kick around for a while now that, when written, could either be a) a horror novel or b) a YA fantasy story. While I'm comfortable with horror, as those of you who have been around a while know (checkout Wordsmiths Unlimited for samples. (Good grief it's been more that 5 years since we updated that site!)), the YA thing would be much more of a challenge but I think that's where this idea is going. When I dreamed it, it wasn't scary, even though there's strong potential for it to be. So, just letting that one simmer, and bemoaning that fact that a pretty detailed outline I did of it disappeared in a BSOD episode a few years back. You can tell I'm into this idea because I actually wrote an outline, which is unusual for me because normally the things I write aren't long enough to require one (500 words = basic plots and little in the way of twisting them).

2) How does my work differ from others in the same genre? Genre? Hmmm. Do I have one of those? I'd have to go back and look at some of my old stuff, but right off the bat I'd say that my better writing has kind of a dreamlike quality in which odd things can happen that seem plausible at the moment of reading. Taking a dive fully clothed into a Russian swimming pool, for one, or that story with the novice nun and the sun ceiling. When I let my mind go wandering, I'm often surprised by what it comes up with. I usually have to force myself to NOT kill someone off, which isn't necessarily a very flattering thing to say about myself. So, deadly and dreamlike, I guess. Also sometimes more adult themes, that tend to be on the dark side. I sound like a horrible person now.

Moving on.

3) I write what I write (or DID write what I wrote, more particularly), because it's the one creative outlet I have besides cooking. I'm not good and handicrafts or other arts, and I felt like the company of other people willing to participate in a writing challenge and participate in critiquing our collective outputs was helping me write better in so many ways. Have what was a weekly challenge was a fantastic way to spend some time immersed in creativity, and even my worst efforts were generally useful exercises. I miss that. Might have to air it out and see if anyone else wants to play.

4) Writing process was alluded to earlier, but that's for really long work (which I never completed). In general, for the shorter pieces, it's cogitate, write write write like crazy for as long as it takes the story to get out, then walk away. Leave for a day, go back and editeditedit. If I'm happy with the piece, if it says what I want it to, then I might just leave it there, but typically I'll go back for a second round of editing before releasing it into the wild. If it's poetry (which I love to do but don't think I'm really all that good at), then the editing can take a heck of a lot longer or may not ever happen, because poetry is like that - sometimes what comes out first is really what you meant to say and nothing can or should change that.

All this being said, it's been a long time since I wrote creatively. If you look at the number of blog posts I've done recently it's evident that my writing has fallen off drastically in the last couple of years, which I'm trying to rectify by just pulling up Blogger and starting something. I suppose that's why I was happy to be invited to do this blog tour; it's a reason to start thinking about writing again and how good it feels to have the words flowing, becoming something that wasn't before. That's the goal of creativity, isn't it?

So, at some future point this entry will be linked from The Talented and Lovely Person's blog along with entries from other people who write things. It will be interesting to see who they are and how they work and what they produce. It's beyond time to open up the Big Box of Ideas and get creatively cracking again!

Let me know if you'd like to play along - I might just root around and find the key to wordsmiths and see if it starts up again!

Tiff out.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Before noon today

Lordy it's been a morning.  What have we done so far at the Tiny House?

Well, I made biscuits and eggs and sausage for us all after waking up the kids at the unholy hour of 10 a.m.

Cleaned that up, put way the clean dishes from yesterday, washed the dirties.

Biff and I poisoned the cats (AKA - flea treated them)

Folded 4 loads of laundry while the kids mowed the yard.

Cleared off my bedside shelf, decided I need to dust more.

Biff got rid of all the spiderwebs from the front porch and powerwashed it.

CAJ installed a clean shower curtain,  I laundered the gross one and the dishmat.

MLJ and I took out the recycling.

Scrubbed down the stovetop.

Bleached the kitchen sink to brand-new shinyness.

Now, to take a shower before heading out on college tours this afternoon.

And it's only just past noon.

What a day!

Hope your is fine and dandy - Tiff out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I don't need this, take it back

Comfier than it looks.
Hey guys,

Whoever ordered a case of abdominal cramps with a side of chills and nausea - it came to my house and your should feel free to come pick it up any old time.  Like, how about now?  Sure, I'm in my PJs and the house is a mess, but I really want to give this to you because I DID NOT ORDER IT!

Oh, and could you please stop and pick up a pack of TP?  I've used so much of it that we must nearly be out.  Spent so much time on the throne today that I've read almost all the way through the latest issue of the "Experimental Aircraft Association's" magazine, and while I'm learning a lot it's not how I'd envisioned my day going.  However, I can point you to an interesting article about how one man learned to fly powered paragliders if you like.

Did you also order up that one serving of vomiting?  That was a nice challenge as I was already seated, but thankfully the trash can was right next to me and, when one is pressed for options, one does what one must.  I think I used up all the vomiting, but please do take that with you as well if you'd been expecting more than one dose.

SO done with this.

Tiff (*bleah) out.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Maybe I'll just go back to bed


Those are the headlines from WRAL.com a the moment.  Personal information in jeopardy, but yay for steakhouse nommies IF you happen to survive the dreaded blue-green (why not just call it teal?) algae or possible rabies or rampaging 12-year-olds brandishing a shiv or freaking EBOLA.

Never mind about those gigantic sinkholes opening up in Siberia as a result of the Earth getting the burps.

It's getting so I don't want to leave the house anymore.  At least in here I'm pretty sure we don't have rabies, algae, murderous tweens, or sinkholes.  Don't have a steakhouse, either, which is kind of sad.


Played 'Cards Against Humanity' with a young couple the other night after we fed them dinner.

He used to be my pastor.

Should we have played Bridge instead?


I have a friend who is very active in dog rescue, and she keeps putting pictures of adorable lab puppies (her organization of choice is geared toward Labs) on her FB page.  It's a terrible thing to do, wouldn't you agree?  All those people who are her friends see these cute lil' puppies and read the pleadings to help foster them and have to live with the GUILT of not doing so.  Mean trick to play on some one you call 'friend,' right?

(Truth - It's so tempting to foster a puppy.  The committment is short-term, generally, so none of this 'watching them grow old' garbage that's such a pain.  Very tempting indeed.  But still a nefarious method of introducing the possibility, I'm sure you would agree.)

So.  Word of warning.  If you and I are FB buddies, do NOT get involved with rescues or other noble pursuits and them start putting up pictures of the cuteness that needs a little love, because I will then think you are a meanie too, and you don't want that, do you?

Glad we had this little talk.  Tiff out.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Here we go again

We're headed out once more to try to finish up Oldfriend's kitchen reno that's been keeping us (mostly Biff) occupied every weekend since late May, except for the last three weekends (because, vacation and other stuff to do).  Really hoping that this is it, because I'm sure she wants us out of her hair and I'm sure Biff wants to know what it's like to sleep in, mosey, relax, or catch up on the things around here that we've let slide.

Like, our garden.

Oh, we had high hopes in March that our little seeds would flourish into strong healthy, well-bearing plants, that we'd be canning fools and swimming in homemade salsa by now, that we'd have a bonus of squash so large our neighbors would hide when we came laden down to ring their doorbells.  Such hope.  So wrong.

Two weeks ago I had the kids rip out the zucchini and squash because their fruits were small, rotting on the vine before they could be picked, and sparse.  The strawberrys came out too, as the rabbits were eating most of them.  I left the volunteer pumpkin, and the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, but that's all that's out there now.  It's sad, really.  It was supposed to have borne spinach and broccoli and lettuce and peas as well, but that just didn't happen.

Hopes, adjusted.  We'll try for some fall crops I suppose, and see if that yields anything of interest.

If not, it all gets plowed under and we start again next spring.

AFTER I find some way to dye my thumbs green.

How does YOUR garden grow??

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In other news

I wore a skirt today.

First time in years.

It was, and is, very comfortable.

Except for the chub rub on the inner thigh.

Which resulted in a less-than-feminine walking stance.

I need to work on this skirt thing some more, obviously.

Still, it's pretty and swooshy and I love it and it's not too see-through.  Will wear again.

Thanks, Ruth, for letting me shop in your closet.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Seven years ago


Been a long time.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Those good old fashioned days

It looks bigger when you're 6,
and it's the 60's.
Lately I've been posting images of places in my memory of my yout' on FB as cover images or 'my' picture.  Why?  Simply put - it's gotten to the point in life where there are a whole lot more memories in the rearview mirror than might be made through the windshield, and I want to honor some of them by going through the heroic measures of posting a crappy picture on FB, with no explanation.


This started with an old-timey cover picture of the beach at the lake where my folks took us for vacation several summers when we lived in NY. Scott's Oquaga Lake House, was awesome and the best place ever, as far as my lil' self was concerned.  There was a kids' camp so Mom and Dad could go do adult things during the day like waterski and canoodle, there was a 'Show Boat' that would putter around the lake at night with the on-board band (!) playing Your Favorite Tunes from the 30's and 40's to which you could sing and were encouraged to do so, there were shows on the main hall stage with singers and dancers and occasionally the Scott family putting their best feet forward (they owned the resort where we stayed).  There was plenty of sun n' fun, even if a child might be laid low with swimmer's ear and be in Big Pain for part of the trip.  Good memories, there.  I recommend that sort of vacation for folks with younger kids, and hope all-inclusive places like that do still exist.

In 1976, or right about the time
I started band camping there.
Today sees the advent of a new cover pic, this time of another resort (how tres snobby!) at which our high school used to hold band camp and which is now an Episcopalian retreat - Orkney Springs.  When we were going there to learn about all things 8-to-the-5 and ankle-to-knee, much of the grand old building (behind the cabins in this pic) was in serious disrepair, and if memory serves had 'condemned' signs on doors leading to the extra-scary bits.  Very exciting.  Also exciting was getting smashed in the face with a shaving cream-loaded pie plate my freshman year by a Rather Handsome junior (so mature!), which was, I suppose, the entirety of the hazing we were forced to undergo (ignore the hours and hours of ankle-to-knee, that was conditioning!).  We slept in terrible unairconditioned cottages (^) on rickety metal-frame beds, we ate together, marched together, learned show music together, and then at night because we were young and our director was certifiable from the heat, we practiced concert music together to prepare for the week-ending sit-down concert that was normally very well attended by family, friends, and townies alike.  More great memories.

All this was so long ago, those memories are almost all in black and white.  :)

It's my intent to chronicle this kind of stuff, because there is the potential for so much more to come, so much good to look back on, and so much that I KNOW I've forgotten or didn't fully appreciate at the time or remembered wrongly and need the help of people who lived it with me so I get it right.  Some I can't even provide pictures of, because how can I present a photo of me and Jeannie screaming our heads off in my car pretending to be Frank Langella's new vampire victim while riding to....McDonald's?  Or dancing with Libby in the driveway to our undoubtedly grand vocal rendition of the Cantina Bar theme song from Star Wars (at 14 years old, this was waaay crazy fun)?  Or hanging out behind Dingledine Residence Hall with the suitemates at the first breath of Spring, in our bikinis, slathered with baby oil, hoping to catch some rays and a glimpse of the varsity baseball team on their way to the practice field?  Making out with a boy in the basement of the not-yet-completed new library on campus?  Lots of stuff to unpack and examine, a real narcissistic pursuit that I'm undertaking for the good of the Younger Generations who can't remember a time of leaded gas, leisure suits, and land lines.

So, this blog may turn into a memoir.  Please feel free to chide me if it gets too boring.  Or hey, send me a random picture and I'll invent a memory to go with it - because creativity ain't nothin' unless you use it to confuse and bamboozle!

Until then, Tiff out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An admirable man

Father’s Day has come and gone once more, and while my own Dad has been gone over 22 years now, I still take some time to reflect and thank him for the positive impact he had on my life and the lives of so many others.

It’s a tremendous shame that he never met most of his grandchildren, and in fact passed away only a few months after his older grandchild was born.  He didn’t get to know the other 3 grandsons and two granddaughters, which is a huge loss for them because I know he would have significantly enriched their lives.  When a hardworking, funny inventive, kind, smart, talented, humble, loving man is in the lives of children, it’s such a bonus for them.

Yes, all these years later, I miss him.

Fortunately for me, the Biffster is also such a man, for which I am truly genuinely grateful.  Day after day he demonstrates humor, integrity, intelligence, perseverance, and patience that’s sometimes beyond fathom (I can be rather a jerk and/or irresponsible from time to time, for example).  He is generous with his time and talents, a natural leader, adventurous and energetic, open to change.  Life with him is amazing and rich, full, joyous, and rewarding.

It’s good to have that kind of person around in life, the big bonus for me is being married to one. 

It's therefore not hard to see why I wish my Dad could have met him in life, certainly there would have been a strong bond between men of such worth and wit.  Ah well, something to look forward to in the next life, right?


Once again, I will be travelling north this next weekend with The Admirable Man to do some more work on Oldfriend’s kitchen reno.  There are boxes of cabinets aplenty in her dining room that need to be 1) emptied, then 2) the contents hung on the walls or attached otherwise to nonmoving surfaces.  Exciting stuff, and more exciting because in general the cabinet install means the messiest work is officially in the rear-view mirror with the road to a sparkly new kitchen wide open with no traffic ahead.  We shall make it so, and continue the transformation of her home into the space of her dream (to the extent possible given the size of her bank account!).


And in case you might be wondering, people still don’t know how to modulate their voices in the workplace.  Holy cats – try yelling louder about your new study designs/ interpersonal greetings/ meeting plans/ baby’s bowel habits, maybe the people on the next floor up want to hear too!

Time to slap on the headphones and pretend to be in training, it would appear.  Either that or sequester myself in some small meeting room tucked away in the windowless center of the building until such time as it’s seemly to escape to the confines of a van that’s been parked in a blacktop parking lots in the 95F-degree heat for 8+ hours.  Mmmm, lip sweat, here I come!

Tiff out.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Head to head and home alone

As previously mentioned, we’ve attended a couple of top-notch comedy shows in the past couple of weeks.  Both were fantastic in their own way, but because the styles of Eddie Izzard and Mike Birbiglia are so different there’s really no way to compare them.  Eddie Izzard is big on history and imaginative storytelling, Mike Birbiglia is big on self-deprecating real-life humor and snappy jokes.  On the LOL scale, Mike wins, on the broad sweep and chicken jokes, Eddie gets it.  Bottom line: I’m pleased with the money we spent on each show and am happy to have gone.  Makes me wonder what great talent is out there struggling to ‘make it’ as there two guys have.  Surely there’s a gem waiting to be found on the local scene, right?

Now I need Kathleen Madigan to come to town.  That would be a serious comedy trifecta!


The MB show was on Saturday, which was also my birthday.  I had felt a little guilty about not getting tickets for the Things to come along with, but as it turns out they each had their own social things to do that night so it all worked out.  Thing 1 was hanging out with his HS buddy down Cary way, Thing 2 hung out with his group of friends locally.  It was a fabulous coincidence, really, and we were back in town right about on time to get the younger kiddo (movie/game night normally wraps up at about 11 p.m.).  Way better than just leaving them at home to stare at the small screens and irradiate their retinas (even more).


Along those lines, A Famous Blogger recently asked his readership if it’s reasonable to leave two teen fellows aged 18 and 16 at home by themselves for a few days while the ‘rents go out of town.  The general consensus was 'NO WAY, ARE YOU CRAZY?,'  but I was not in that majority.  To be honest, 3 years ago I would have been riding that train, but now I’m not at all convinced that it’s a dangerous idea.  A LOT can happen with teenagers in a short period of time, and I’ve seen our guys mature so much in the last 2-3 years that I would have minimal hesitation leaving them alone for a weekend.  OK, so that MAY be because the Things are pretty well adjusted and have been in minimal to no trouble, ever, so it’s easier to think “it's possible” than if they’d been hellions since birth.  We could probably throw some pizza money on the table and leave on a Friday reasonably sure they’ll still be alive on Sunday.

Some of my attitude is helped by what my ex-SIL did with her kids last fall when her Mom passed away and she and her husband both went to SC to attend to “things,” that I thought was pretty bold.  She just up and left the kids at home.  Boom, done.  Nobody there to stare over their shoulders, and, shock and surprise, nobody was seriously injured.  At the time they were 18 and 14, so any trepidation I might have at leaving kids of 18 and 17 isn’t really warranted.  Gotta trust they won’t catch a sudden case of Moron and will generally make the right decisions.

I’ll let you know how it goes if I ever decide to take that rash step.  ;)


Oh, and in completely unrelated new that's designed to make you happy for me, not only was there shrimp salad (Woot!) on the salad bar here at work today, but they’re also giving away free peach and/or cherry cobbler in the cafĂ© downstairs.  Sometimes it’s a good idea to come on-site instead of staying at home, hunched over the laptop, staring into the middle distance between trips to the refrigerator.

Best wishes for a day of shrimp salad and free desserts to all of you – Tiff out.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Another one bites the dust

probably almost enough candles
So, my birthday is tomorrow.


Seems like ever year gets shorter and shorter until I’m having birthdays like every other month or something.  Is the Earth accelerating its sunly revolutions or something?  Sheesh.

I'm so old now that half a lifetime ago I was in grad school already, pretending to be an adult and having a marvelous time waiting tables at a fancy-dan restaurant, teaching microbiology to nursing students, writing up my thesis, and otherwise have a great time with a superior group of friends.  Ah, the Little Grill/Calhoun’s crowd - - good ol’ times.  HALF A LIFETIME AGO!  What has happened to the next 20-some years, anyhow?  Good grief, in another 20-some years I’ll be solidly in my ‘70’s wondering how I got to be THAT old, I’m sure.

What a kick in the chops.

To celebrate the ignominious occasion, Biff and I are going to see Mike Birbiglia at the Carolina Theater tomorrow evening.  Should be a good time.  It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Eddie Izzard, who we saw last week.  Totally different performers, obviously; maybe I should do a ‘compare and contrast’ entry, like we used to do in high school.  I wonder if I even remember how to do a compare and contrast…I’m old, you see, and stuff like that gets ousted in favor or retaining the proper scientific nomenclature for stinkbugs (it's Pentatomidae).

Of course, my memory sucks anyhow under regular circumstances.  It takes me a minute to even remember what was for dinner the night before, so you can forget (heh) about me remembering stuff from childhood.  When I’m in the old folks’ home I’m going to be the one who is perpetually please at anything that happens day-to-day, even if it’s the same thing I’ve been doing every day for years, because I won’t remember it and it will all be fresh and new.  I’m OK with that, especially if I have this site and my old-school harcdopy journals to refresh my memory of what used to pass for a full and satisfying life.  Because it has been full and satisfying, you know, even if I don’t remember lots of it.  J

Hope you’re planning on having some fun this weekend, or at least not planning on hating every minute of it.  Chin up, folks, and let’s talk soon.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I don't hurt as much as I thought I would

Ah, Memorial Day weekend, a luscious long weekend full of the promise of summery things like camping, or parades, certainly cookouts, and languid long afternoons spent relaxing and reflecting on the reason for the break from the daily grind.

Unless you're me and Biff.

Instead of relaxing and reflecting or doing any of those other marvelous normal things that Memorial Day weekend involves, we built at deck.  In Richmond.  Virginia.

"But why?" I can hear you say.  "Why give up a long weekend during which you could lounge and play to build a deck 120 miles away from the comfort of your own fully-stocked bar?"

One word: Friendship.  FRIENDSHIP.  (And some spendin' money, but friendship first and foremost)

You see, one of my dearest friends of long-term duration is doing a kitchen remodel, and hired Biff to do it.  "Hang on," you might also be saying (while interrupting the flow of my storytelling). "Kitchen does not equal deck, so what's the story here?"

The story is that first things must be first, and the First Thing in the kitchen remodel plan was to replace the charmingly rickety deck out back so that when the remodel time arrives the workfolk won't have to be toting large amounts of heavy and unwieldy stuff up carnival-ride steps and delightfully bouncy probably semi-rotten decking.  It's about safety, really, both for the workfolk and for my buddy and her daughter.  Can't have someone falling through unexpectedly!!  That's lawsuit territory!

And thus we began our work, confident that by Monday we would have conquered this initial task on the path to her new kitchen.  It's not a very big deck, so how hard could it be, after all?

Famous last words, of course.  Highly amusing, in retrospect, that level of innocence.

It wasn't unexpected that there was going to be some repair work done on part of the deck, as it was rather bouncy and in some places outright squishy.  That was on the radar going in.  What WAS kind of cute to discover that the original deck served as the ceiling for part of her basement, allowing moisture and dirt right into her house.  Isn't that adorable?  Just whang down some deck boards and who cares about little things like being weather-tight, right?  Pish-tosh on your notions of ensuring the boards don't rot out from accumulated years of exposure to moisture, that's something for future generations to address! That bit, the deck-as-ceiling-is-not-ideal issue, was primo on the list of things that needed fixing as you might imagine.  Good thing Biff is kind of a genius and came up with what should be a nicely elegant solution to the problem that will keep her basement from the elements for many years to come.  It just took some extra time devising the scheme, then figuring out how to best deploy said clever solution.  Nothing is ever as simple as it should be.

Throughout the weekend's process I tried to be as helpful as possible, but all I'm really good for is fetching things, holding a tape measure, and using an impact driver.  OK, I did also prepare meals, which is a strong positive on a jobsite.   I also learned how to use a post-hole digger (the clampy kind, not the spinny kind), which is not as much fun as you might think and involves lots of upper-body work, which I apparently desperately need given my staggeringly weak performance digging said holes.  It would likely have gone faster if I'd hired a troupe of trained squirrels to remove the dirt tiny handful by tiny handful.  A humbling experience.  Even so, I did give it my best, and thought for SURE I'd be very sore today between wrangling that awkward piece of equipment and using the very heavy smashy stick (tech speak, yo) to bust up the clumps of brick and concrete that were in the space here we wanted our new hole to be, but nope, apparently I wasn't trying hard enough because there's not as much pain as I'd imagined there would be in the shoulder region.  The bits that are talking more loudly are my hips and knees - because of all the stairs involved in getting up and down for fetchery or screwery (the deck-ish sort!) or cookery or bathroomery (they're on the top floor of her house) or simply to get into the house.  We are very much not used to all those stairs, which is another point to consider improving upon in my newly-evolving Get Thee Back Into Shape Plan, version eleventy-hundred.  And also - my thumbs hurt.  There is no clear explanation for this, and no way to work it into the GTBISP.

Achery aside, in the end it feels good to build things, to improve in a tangible way something that needed improvement, and when it's for a very good friend who appreciates the work and lets you sleep in her very own personal bed while she takes a mattress on the floor of her daughter's room, well it's a pretty good gig to have.  Even with the sore thumbs.

How did y'all spend YOUR holiday weekend?

Tiff out.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


Things I've Done Since Arriving Home Tonight:

  • watered the garden
  • watered the porch plants
  • washed the dishes
  • unloaded the dishwasher
  • decided what's for dinner
  • started thawing the necessaries
  • fed cats
  • washed down kitchen countertops
  • poisoned ants.

I'm pretty proud of that last one, which is evil and wrong from a 'live and let live' perspective, but ants in my house are Uninvited Guests and thus must be fed a delicious, delicious last meal of homemade Terro before sending them off to their dreadful lairs to pass along the gift of DEATH to their colony-mates.

They love the homemade Terro (recipe below).

It was kind of cute, really, to see the upsurge in interest once the scouts had had their fill and gone back (not very far, evidently) to the colony to alert them that sweet death was theirs for the having if only they'd come out from that crack between the kitchen window and the moulding for a taste.  Little antennae kept popping out of the crack, waving around excitedly.

'Woo, Terro!  I've heard this stuff is RAD!' at least one of them must have said.  'I've heard about this stuff and it will MESS YOU UP!!  Woo!!'

Woo, indeed, tiny ant.  Woo, indeed.


Homemade Terro:

a shake of Borax (1/4 - 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp warm water

Mix, then set out where you see the lil' darlins.

If it looks like they're croaking before leaving the bait, use less Borax.  If they don't go away after a couple of days, use more Borax.  Be prepared to have MEGA ANTS for a while until they get the message and skedaddle/die en masse.

Now I'm off to watch them drink up eternity, and cook dinner.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy and sad

 Had a very weird thing happen to me this morning, completely (or so I thought) out of the blue:  I missed my 'little' kids.

Like, my kids when they were little-er.  Preschool age to about 8 years old, to be specific.  Like this:

Photos by  Brucejohnsonstudios.com

I missed their boundless love, their sweetness, their sense of wonder.  I missed their cute faces and watching them become who they were meant to be, I missed the enthusiasm for fire trucks and dinosaurs and I missed their affection and I missed reading to them and I missed doing fun projects and just, well, the experience of being a Mom to 2 wonderful little boys.

And I sat at my kitchen table and cried, then slapped myself upside the head (figuratively) to get my act together because WHO DOES THAT KIND OF THING??  Who cries for that past children that were, when there are 2 strong healthy bright young men in the house to wonder at and be thankful for?

It can't just be me, can it?


My Aunt passed away over the weekend.  My Mom's oldest sister hadn't been in good shape for a while, she was unable to see or hear, for example, and that's no kind of life to live.  It was therefore not unexpected, but still, even when you know it's a blessing to be released from suffering it's still hard to know that the last breath has been taken, that last act of so many has been reached.  From now on her presence will be only ripples where she used to paddle.

Time marches on and takes us all.   I don't think I care for that all that much, to be perfectly honest.


On a happy note, we did have a nice visit with my Mom over the weekend (yes, she got that call while frolicking at the Tiny House), with chatting, a play, card games, cooking, and brunch among the activities.  She's getting along great, it was fun to hang out with her, and I'm grateful that she came down to participate in the grandkids' 'things.'

The 'thing' in question was a theater production of 'Hairspray' at the local high school; Thing 2 was in the pit orchestra as 1 of 3 trombone players among a very strong group of instrumentalists.  The pit did great, the actors did great too - it was a fun production.  As I've said before, I am so SO happy that the Things have chosen music as their deal; they have had so many great experiences already and will have a lot of skills under their belts by graduation that a lot of kids don't understand.

So, a happy thing, for sure.


And lastly - we've had tornadoes around here the past few days. Sneaky things, those tornadoes, and the cause for serious alarms going off at 4:30 in the morning telling folks to 'find shelter!' and 'stay away from doors and windows!' and such.

Which of course, for some people, mean they run to the front porch with the camcorder (OK, phone) and start snapping pictures of funnel clouds.

Wait, what?

You heard it here first, y'all.  You wouldn't BELIEVE the number of contributors to the local teevee station were providing photos they'd taken themselves of various tornadic activity.  Really.  Their first reaction was to go 'oh, hey, there's a tornado!  Let's take pictures of it until the winds rip the phones from our hands and our heads from our necks!   That's a great idea!!'

That's a special kind of stupid, or am I being too harsh on the neighborhood stormchaser?

One wonders.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pump up the volume!

Every week on Tuesday at 2:30 a dude here at work goes into a small room right next to my cube, shuts the door, and initiates a teleconference.  He then proceeds to shout at the phone for an hour, making every word he speaks completely crystal clear to those of us who sit within a 20-foot radius.  I know this is the correct distance, because I just went and asked a collegue who sits further away if he could hear the call, and the answer was a firm 'Yes.' 

Dude is in a room, with a shut heavy wood door, talking to a phone that is 1 foot from his mouth.  We can still hear him.

Worryingly, he’s not necessarily talking about mundane stuff!  Sometimes dollar amounts come up, sometimes future plans sometimes personnel changes  This could be important, and I don’t need to hear it, but how does one get that message across that he’s being really rude without meaning to?

(Whoa - Holy smokes – it’s getting LOUDER.)

Do I knock on his door and give him the stink eye, or slip an anonymous note under the door, or email him later on with the details of his call?

I think I’ll go with the email.  Minus the call deets.  Just tell him, nicely, that if he wants to use his outdoor voice there’s a place for that, AND IT’S OUTSIDE!!

(Walks off to think on it and escape the clamor)

Oh, joy, I have returned, and the call has ended early!  Yes!  Sometime during that 10 minutes of laps I just walked around the building he ended the call.  Peace has returned.  I can think again.

Until next week…


Just so you know, I'm wearing a new shirt.  I am not sure if I like it yet, because it's not made of knit material and I forgot to cut the tag out of it this morning.  The arms are too tight for me (which mean they actually fit properly and I'm not swimming in the shirt) and I'm not sure I look all that good in red.  It's not the same shirt I usually get, in other words, but I'll give it a shot.

It's not the most horrible shirt I've ever put on - that honor goes to the dreadful bodysuits of the '70's that never stayed snapped up all the way and were made to make the wearer sweat and were itchy as all get out.  *Shudder*  Yuck.  This shirt is nothing like that, and yet I know as soon as I get home I'm taking it off to put on something baggy, knit, and soft.

Totally looking forward to that moment.

Tiff out.