30 May 2008


Gabbing online to some friends the other night, I mentioned how I was having trouble finding the specific yarn my sister wants me to use to make this, a lovely shrug. She wants a silvery grey bamboo, and I've had no luck on Ravelry or on any one of the (count them) fifteen knitting supply sites I have bookmarked.

"Have you tried Etsy?" asks Stef.

"No, never heard of it," says Lucy.

"Linkage: www.etsy.com" says Stef.

Eeep. Not that I needed another online knitting community to look at/participate in/spend money on. But I've seldom had bad recommendations for websites from my online peeps, so I trundled over to check it out.

Bad move.

Immediately, I found 3 suppliers of hand-spun bamboo yarns that have silvery-grey hand-dyed hanks of goodness.

Expensive, because the process is labor-intensive. Pretty, too. Only trouble, as I saw it....well, there were two. One, the lack of funds? We remember this part, yeah? Where I was job-hunting because I wasn't making ANY money? Two, most of the yarn-makers I found on Etsy specialize in sock yarn, much too small of a gauge for what I want to make. 8-9 stitches to the inch on size 2.5mm needles? I'd take me the rest of my life to make a shrug on needles that small.

The patience, Lucy has not so much.

But as I paged through 22 pages of bamboo yarn, I found this lovely-ness.

The freak part comes here: the yarn-maker has called this Battlestar Gallactica yarn, and in the description of the properties of the yarn is a paragraph about why the hell she named it thusly: she's a fan of BSG, and the colors correspond to things in the show. She's not the freak, though, you must understand that. I am, because not only did I read and understand the explanation, I agree with it. Dude, I don't even watch that show. There is no Jensen, therefore there is no point.

Here's the geek part: it isn't even close to enough yarn to make the shrug, being about 120 yards less than what I would need. Doesn't really matter, I wanted it. Even if she hadn't made the pop culture reference, I would have thought the colors were uber-cool anyway. And I'm fascinated by the blend of materials, bamboo, alpaca, and wool. I'm full of questions about how'd they do that? Did it take a long time? Was it a plan, or did the design just end up working this way?

Total dork. Or, y'know, just enthusiastic. Take your pick.

29 May 2008

Delete, delete, de-lete

Good luck movin' up, 'cause I'm movin' out!
~Billy Joel, Movin Out, The Stranger

My G-Mail account had 596 contacts. 'Had' is the operative word there, but still. Do I even know 596 people? Sweet Goddess, how did that happen?

G-Mail has a bunch of features that are amazing; it was the first searchable e-mail, it stores e-mail as 'conversations' so that when you exchange 33 e-mails with your boss, there are not 33 new e-mails in your in-box, and it saves every single e-mail address you ever enter, every e-mail address that is on a distribution list when you receive a mass e-mail from one of your friends.

That last one is something I love to hate, because that, my friends, is how I ended up with 596 contacts.

Looking at that contacts list gave me a headache, because except for the folks that I imported originally from Hotmail when I switched, the names weren't entered properly, some e-mail addresses didn't have names attached to them at all, it wasn't in alphabetical order. (Gasp!)

It needed cleaned up, but I really didn't want to spend precious online time doing that. But I couldn't stand looking at it.

I use Evites for event invitations when and where I can, and I was cleaning up my e-vite address book after doing an import contacts, and that's when I noticed that the contacts list was so out of control that something needed done about it.

Who were these people? I didn't even recognize a handful of names. For a while at the non-profit job, HQ sent out mass e-mails to every director of a chapter in the United States. Oy. The directors loved it so much that they often had 3-5 e-mail exchanges going on, asking each other how to handle issues from unruly board members to PITA staff. While it made for fascinating reading most of the time, it got out of control, and eventually it calmed down as the novelty wore off, and as HQ set up a blog/message board where these conversations could take place.

That was the first batch of people that had to go. Except for the ones in this region, those whom I still exchange the occasional e-mail, delete, delete, delete. You, you, you, and you, gone! I selected about 80 addresses right off the bat but when I hit delete, G-Mail says, "Sorry. We can only delete 20 contacts at a time. Please select fewer contacts and try again." Grrrr! That's annoying.

Little by little, though, I got it cleaned up. After the initial mass deletions, there were 175 people left. Still, I'm not sure I know and more importantly, like 175 people. Cleaning up the list means it has to be done right and proper, names entered as lastname, firstname and if that person has multiple e-mail addresses, they need stored under ONE contact listing.

Which, of course, took hours to fix.

Hours as in it was ONE AM when I shut off the computer and went to bed.

When I went to bed, though, I had the list down to 139.

Perfect for a clean slate, a new start.


Well, I start a new job on Monday. Movin' up indeed.

28 May 2008


Someone that I work with has the same first name as the Auntie who passed away last fall. Over the months that I've worked there, surprisingly, I've never exchanged e-mails with this person until recently.

I get most of my e-mail on the crackberry, but the manner in which it displays on the crackberry is different from the way it looks in your in-box on the big computer. So when I signed in to the e-mail on the big computer at the end of that day, I had a quick shot to the gut when I saw the name in my inbox.

My Auntie never had e-mail, that I know of. I can still recite her telephone number from memory, but never exchanged e-mails with her.

More than six months have passed since she died. Time, they say, heals grief. Bullshit, I say.

Bull, because it still hurt when I realized (just a quick second after seeing the name) that the e-mail couldn't be from her. C'est impossible. Even if she had an e-mail account that I was unaware of, sending an e-mail gets a little bit tougher after you're dead. It hurt a little less than it did six months ago, but it still hurts.

I see dearies pushing their shopping trolleys (so much cooler than calling it a grocery cart or buggy, no?) in stores and think it is her. She didn't drive for at least the last 5 years of her life, and maybe longer, but I saw a car the other day and thought, 'oh, there's Auntie.' It wasn't.

Oooh boy, that tells you what a small place I live in, doesn't it?

I wrote the other day about waiting for something to happen, and how my tummy was doing involuntary rolls while I was waiting, sometimes happy swoops, sometimes oh-my-goddess-I'm-going-to-toss-my-cookies swoops.

These jolts of sudden grief are more like what I think a stab wound might feel like. Or what I know getting zapped with electricity feels like. Short, startling, sudden. Painful. Leaving me a bit breathless, and then it is gone.

I wonder if everyone thinks that they see a dearly departed from time to time, only to look again, and realize that there is no resemblance at all between the stranger in front of you and the person you're missing. I do, all the time. That second glance is enough to assure you it isn't them; I almost always roll my eyes at my own insanity and move on. And I hear the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffett song, which isn't even about grief...or isn't exactly about grief. It is about Hurricane Katrina, but regardless, it is good advice.

I bought a cheap watch from the crazy man
Floating down Canal
It doesn't use numbers or moving hands
It always just says "now"

Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And if I had trouble the warranty said:
Breathe in, breathe out, move on

I'm trying.

27 May 2008


Other than as an excuse to casually mention how cute Jared and Jensen are, I don't normally write or talk about paranormal activities, or ghosts, or psychic phenomena. People already think I'm crazy, y'all; I don't need to help them out by treating them to chapter and verse about ESP. Right?

I also don't like to write about my dreams. While sometimes it is fascinating to have a peek into someone else's psyche by reading about their dreams, sometimes it is less interesting than watching paint dry, too. So I tend to think that unless the dreams relate to something that is going on in my life, I don't give a daily run-down of what I dreamed about last night.

But I'm breaking both of those rules today. And most likely, when my mother reads this post (Hi Mom!) she will call DH on the sly and perhaps suggest that I ought to be committed. I already know how completely insane this is going to sound, but I need to get it out of my head and into some semblance of order so that I can deal with it, or explain it.

Going back as far as my elementary school days, I've had dreams that have happened. Not "dreams come true" like you always wanted Barbie's Mini-Camper and you got it. Dreams like drinking coffee with a relative and having a conversation that subsequently takes place.

Freaky, right? I've always thought so. It doesn't happen often, but it makes me sit up and take notice when it does happen.

These aren't life-changing events; I didn't dream about my wedding day, or graduating from college, finding that all-important first job. I dream about finding something out of order, or picking things up, or small chance conversations. Then, when that instance does happen, I get a shot of ice down my spine and a deja vu moment.

I've never really talked to anyone about this; I had a teacher in middle school who told the class that very intelligent people sometimes dream about how to handle a particular situation in advance. This was a class of high-IQ kids, and I just sort of shrugged my shoulders and went on, because these were never stressful situations that I'd dreamed about.

It hasn't come up in therapy because, hello, about 300 other things that need worked on first before we start talking about some fringe pseudo-science.

Getting ready to leave the house today, I was winding up a few balls of yarn that I am carrying around as I work on my next knitting project. I'm using a very vividly coloured ombre yarn that shifts from a flame orange to a dark maroon. (Don't ask me how, but it works, it is very pretty. Just go with it, ok?) I frogged out a scarf that I didn't like the finished project to add that yarn to my current project, and whilst ripping out the old project, I ended up with 3 or 4 balls of the ombre. I quit knitting late last night, and left it all in a mess. When I was getting ready to go this morning, I wound one section of the yarn, red, orange, maroon, green, and bam! there was that deja vu again.

(N.B. frogged: knit-speak for tearing out knitted rows, ripping back to before a mistake, or to unravel completely the finished product. Frogged because you have to 'rip-it, rip-it, rip-it')

Now you could say, c'mon, Luce, how often do you wind up balls of yarn that have gotten all messy, and you've used this particular stuff before, so clearly, this is something that you've got yourself all psyched out over for nothing.

And I would agree with you, except for the fact that I always wind yarn the same way, but this morning I was doing it in a different manner, and it was that configuration of the yarn twined around my fingers that sparked the 'oh, I've been here before' sensation.

For many years, I tried to keep track of these events to see if something "important" happened that same day that I had the deja vu, or if there was some pivotal moment in the weeks afterward. I never did discover a pattern.

So I am left with a vague sense of foreboding, that there's some event on the horizon.

Or that could just be the crazy talking.

24 May 2008

Unanserable Questions

I'm in a mood today. Not a good one. More......like.....massively pissed off for no reason whatsoever. I found myself yelling at people on the freeway, irked beyond all measure at about a thousand other little things.

Being as medicated as I am, the little things like that don't usually bother me too much. If no one died today, then hey, it was a decent day, y'know? Everything else is a fixable situation. (More or less.)

So why is it that when I'm driving on the highway, I get stuck behind the idiot in the passing lane with their left turn signal going blink blink blink blink driving at 50 miles an hour, instead of the speed limit of 65? They're usually backing up traffic for at least 3 miles.

How come whenever I'm minding my own business, in a store or at a cafe, sitting by myself in an empty spot, some loon comes along and starts a conversation with me? Like in the movies when there's an empty bus, just one passenger, and someone else gets on and chooses to sit next to the only passenger, rather than any of the other 65 open seats. Do I have "talk to me if you're strange" tattooed on my forehead in invisible ink?

Why do men talk to my boobs?

Why is it the end of May and still bloody freezing here? I had to turn the furnace back on, ffs, because it was 58 in my house. Hello?

Why is it that our nearest and dearest know exactly which buttons to push to rile us up, and then why do they push those buttons?

Why do people get facial piercings? I saw two kids yesterday with their lips pierced at the corners of their mouths, each of them with 2 lip piercings. What the hell? Who is going to hire them? Is that a decision that you end up looking in the mirror at 45 and thinking, hmmm, maybe that doesn't look so hot? Imagine walking into a doctor's office, or an accounting firm, and having your CFP certified CPA introduced to you with an eyebrow ring, a nose ring and a lip ring? I'm guessing that unless you run a tattoo parlor, that look isn't going to inspire confidence in your tax professional. Or in your physician.

Why do people get up to give a speech and then say, "Before we begin, I'd like to....."? You've ALREADY started, jackass.

Why can't I knit faster? There are about 36 knitting projects I want to be working on, from this to this to this and this. I'm still searching for a shawl pattern that I will want to make over and over again, in different colors and textures. (Ed. note: good luck with that.)

Why do people say, "I don't want to be an asshole about this, but...." and then proceed to be assholes?

Why do I make so many things more difficult than they need to be?

Why do we call public toilets "restrooms"? I can't think of anyplace where I would want to rest in less than a public toilet. Ew.

Why do people think it is cute to intentionally misspell things, and name their businesses with those misspelled words? Word to the wise: It just makes ya look stupid. Kiddie Kollege. Kountry Kurls. Granny's Kountry Kitchen. Urgh.

23 May 2008

We don't every really grow up. I have proof.

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, my mother purchased Tupperware Ice Tup molds. Like these.Except that ours were all white plastic.

My mum made ice pops (popsicle is a trademark of Good Humor, and I am not infringing copyrights, y'see) with Jell-o, Kool-Aide, and I don't know what else, and they were good. Really good.

A news item in last Sunday's paper suggested updating classic cocktails for summer by freezing them in ice-pop molds, and serving them as frozen-on-a-stick rather than blended in the blender with ice to make a slushie.

Excellent idea.

So I asked my mother: did she still have those ice-pop molds? Unfortunately, the answer was no. Bummer. But she did suggest that she had seen the molds at Target et cetera, in the store's patio furniture/summer celebration sections. Sweet, that shouldn't be so hard to track down, then.

I decided that the first experiment should be with my good for you protein smoothie, due entirely to my bad eating habits of late. The smoothie recipe is as follows:

1 c pureed strawberries
1 banana, cut into chunks
1/4 to 1/2 c organic lowfat vanilla yogurt (I am partial to this brand)
2-3 scoops whey protein, based on volume of smoothie; 1 scoop per 8 oz.

Blend all until desired consistency in blender.

I found some molds of my own at a local bargain outlet, intended, I think, as accessories to a smoothie-maker that has been discontinued by the manufacturer. Bonus for me, because I got 2 sets of 4 molds for $0.99. They are conjoined, so to get just one ice-pop out is a pain in the keister, but not an insurmountable problem.

Accordingly, I poured the smoothie recipe into the molds and waited 10+ hours. They're delish as a frozen treat, satisfying the sweet-tooth and making you feel full, thanks to the protein.

Amazon has a bunch of ice-pop molds for sale. IKEA also supposedly has some cool ones, but they're not for sale on-line, and the closest IKEA store to me is going through some huge re-vamp, or something, and they can't tell me for certain if they have any. With gas at $4 a gallon, I do not intend to take a random drive over an hour away just to see if maybe they have some.

But I want these from Amazon, because I think they're way cool.

Not that I need more plastic "stuff" in my life, but I do think that my annual summer party (which is coming soon!) needs the addition of alcoholic ice-pops. C'mon, who ISN'T going to think those are cool?

I am a grown up! I am! ! !

The question remains, can a Mojito Pop be made? Or a Southern Comfort Punch Pop? (I have to make those just because of the name alone, don't I? Say that 5 times fast...) I'd love to locate the recipe my mother used for the cherry pops she made using a powdered drink mix and an instant dessert. Or better yet, perhaps the powdered drink mix I'm currently a fan of, with vanilla vodka....oooooooo.

Sorry to leave you hanging on this one, but for now we'll let the question stand. Possible? Yup, I think so. Can we wait around long enough in this house for the alcohol-pops to freeze? Ummmm.....I'll get back to ya on that one.

22 May 2008


My sis in New York introduced me to Pandora, well named indeed for its addictive properties. Once opened, you can't put it back in the box and ignore it. Pandora is Internet Radio, done finally the way that all of this technology we have at our fingertips should have long allowed us to do.

You create your own radio stations on Pandora. Like an artist or genre? Tell Pandora, and she will find like-minded (or -sounded) things. If the song she pulls up wasn't what you were seeking, give her a thumbs-down, and she moves on to the next thing.

My sister has also been nagging me to find my old cassette tapes, where I had such diverse things as Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 to Poison's big 80s album, whatever that was called. They're around somewhere, and sis wants me to get the assorted Janet Jackson stuff I have on to a digital format and share it with her.

Of course, this nagging has reminded me that I loved Miss Jackson back in the day, and as I have no desire to spend a fortune on iTunes buying back her catalogue when I've got it somewhere 'round here, just not in a digital format, to Pandora I went to give a listen to some of that old stuff.

Is it any surprise that I can still sing every single song that Pandora plays? No, I suppose it isn't. Music was a fundamental part of my teen years, and as I ran around in both high school and college with a bunch of music geeks, it is no surprise, really, that each bit of music evokes a time, a place, a memory.

As much fun as that is, wouldn't be nice if we could do a memory purge and get rid of some of the clutter running around in our heads? I don't need the lyrics to every single top 40 song from 1986 until the mid-90s running around in my head. At some point, I stopped paying attention to top 40 radio, and expanded my already schizophrenic music collection to the "eclectic" level where it currently resides, adding music from small indie labels, stuff I heard on reviewed on NPR, (which tended to be world beats) opera, jazz, (for which I can thank my ex, a die-hard jazz-lover) and then along came the sugar-pop revolution with Britney et al, and I stopped paying any attention to popular music, instead seeking stuff outside of the mainstream.

I think it would be better, for example, if I could remember more html coding and less En Vogue. Or maybe the ability to remember my other sister's phone number, she who is first in my alphabetical phone book listing on the phone. Since she changed her phone number in 1999, I've never bothered to remember it, because clicking the phone book button on any phone I've had since then brings up her name. I'm just sayin. There's got to be room up there for stuff other than "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

On the other hand, if you're playing 80s/90s music trivia, you want me on your team.

And let's not even talk about the clutter in the house that I'd have to dig through to find those old tapes.....

Listening to: my Janet Jackson Pandora station

20 May 2008


I had been avoiding my bathroom scale. Tossing dirty clothes and towels on top of it to cover it up, so I'd forget it was there. Except that didn't work; whenever I got up to use the potty in the middle of the night, the glass disc where you stand would be glinting out from under all the dirty clothes in the light of the night-light. "I'm still heeeeeeerreee!" it would whisper to me at 2 AM. "I know you're avoiding meeee!"

For good reason, too. I have gotten out of the habit of daily gym, run on the treadmill, stretch, do crunches, do push-ups (getting rid of that flabby upper arm was priority #1, and push-ups are the only way I know to do it), do some yoga, and then move on with my day. Out of that habit for a handful of reasons, absolutely not one of them a 'good' reason, they're all excuses.

In the dark part of the winter, when the snow and the cold and the dark began to seriously wear on me, there just wasn't much point to my depressed mind, in getting out of bed. Then starting the Lexapro in addition to the Wellbutrin, in an effort to pull me out of one of the darkest periods of my life *ever,* the Lex made me tired. Really, really, really tired. I took the Lex for two months, during which time it seems to have managed to completely change my internal clock/diurnal rhythms to no longer an early morning person.

No, I did not consult with my doc or the shrink about discontinuing the Lex. The simple fact is that it was too expensive to add to my med regimen, and since it was making me sleep more and be even more reluctant to get out of bed, it seemed to me the better part of wisdom to give it up. I'm doing all right without it. I think that's mostly because the days are longer and the weather is better, not because I no longer need it. I'd be trying to fool both you and myself should I claim otherwise.

So not a single one of those is a good reason for being out of the habit of working out. Let's call a spade a spade, then, and call it what it really is: laziness, and my usual self-defeatist principals working against something good happening. The fact that I can recognize this for what it is, though, shows that therapy = progress.

When I did finally bite the bullet, and step on the scale (first thing in the morning, after using the restroom, not a single bite to eat beforehand, and not wearing a stitch of clothing) I thought I was prepared for it to show a higher number. The clothes that had been loose are fitting fine or in some cases are snug, so I knew I'd gained some weight. 5-6 pounds, I thought, no big.


The number on the scale was nearly 10 pounds more than what it had been. Eeep. Eeeeeeeeeeppppp!!!!

Then I was angry. I've worked too damn hard to get healthy and thin, and I refuse to gain all of that weight back. I've come too far, and I am NOT going backwards. Hell, I refuse to gain an ounce of it back, so obviously, the scale is wrong. Uh-huh. What was that we used to say in the early 90s? Not!!!

I've allowed some of my old eating habits to creep back, too. A conversation with my mother reminded me that we share an addiction that can be as lethal, as deadly, as any narcotic: food. I have replaced my processed sugar addiction with more natural sweeteners, which are fine in moderation, but there are other temptations. There is no longer granular (white) sugar in my house. When I'm craving a bad 'sweet' fix, I take a swig of apple cider, or make a cup of herbal tea with a generous spoonful of a spectacular find: Really Raw Honey. (yum! I could write a whole post about that stuff, but I shall admirably restrain myself. Buy some, do!)

But there are other food addictions in that bunch: carbs, carbs, carbs, bread rice and pasta are all large weaknesses of mine. We've been eating out more than is smart, and I've allowed myself to mostly eat exactly what I want at restaurants, instead of being a pain in the ass to wait staff and specifying exactly how something should be prepared for me. That started on our vacation in Florida, where I allowed myself to eat a whole lot of a south Florida/Caribbean regional specialty: conch fritters. Deep fried conch fritters. Plus the temptation of trying all sorts of things unavailable here in Oh-hi-ia: Caffe Cubano (an espresso-esque coffee with PURE CANE SUGAR, the liquid from a stalk of sugarcane, added served hot and super-sweet, woooo what a a caffeine fix!) and all sorts of other Cuban foods, along with booze, booze, booze! We were on vacation, why not?

Well, because then your clothes don't fit, dumbass!

Getting back into the habit of the gym has been tough. I managed to make it two times last week. Today being Tuesday and all, I wish I could say I'd been there two times THIS week, but I made it this morning, so that's one. My work schedule has been interfering with my Pilates classes, which is very annoying. I made it to a Pilates class a week or so ago, and OUCH! I've lost a whole lot of strength and muscle tone that I had from Pilates. I won't make it to both classes this week either, which is frustrating.

I wish I could pinpoint when exactly I quit the daily gym routine, because then I'd be able to figure out how much weight I'd gained each month. Which is a silly thing to obsess about, anyway....I didn't put on 10 pounds in one month, there is nothing seriously wrong with me that could contribute to the weight gain, this is laziness and sloppiness and nothing else.

But remind me of that tomorrow morning at 5, will you, please? Because I still can't figure out a way to be dragging my ass out of bed at a normal time. (Yeah, 5 AM was normal for me, until very recently.) I find that unless I get to the gym when I first get out of bed, and preferably when they open their doors, I'm unlikely to go at all. The place is so darned busy any other time of the day that it irritates the hell out of me. I pay them almost $600 a year for a membership; I don't think they should allow so many people to join that there are no parking spaces available. Ugh, that's a rant for another day. And another excuse: I don't want to go because it is too busy, whaaaaa.

Multiple alarms haven't worked; having coffee brewed and waiting when I would get out of bed has also not worked; my clothes fitting tighter hasn't been motivation either. And yes, I have tried heading to bed earlier, too. I'm sleeping (knock on wood) with no sleeping pills right now, not over the counter, not prescription, nothing, so curtailing the sleepy pills isn't a suggestion either. I'm not sleeping well, waking at least once every hour, but I'm hoping that evens out and that I only need to use the Ambien when my anxiety levels are particularly high. Sleeping, for the moment, isn't the problem; waking is.

Questions, comments, suggestions?

19 May 2008

Lack Thereof

Patience has never ever been my strong suit. I'm pretty stubborn, too. My parents tell a hilarious story about 2 or 3 year old me taking a pair of kiddie scissors to puzzle pieces, in an effort to make them fit the way I thought that they ought to.

In the world outside of teh interweb, I'm waiting for something to happen or not happen. Anxiously awaiting news, one way or the other. Which is dammed annoying, frankly. Tom Petty sang, "waaaaaiiiitttinnnng is haaaaaaardest part" in a pop song in the 80s, and true dat, folks.

One of my favorite Sci-Fi authors, Anne McCaffrey, writes about a system of belief (I don't know what else you could really call it) that has vaguely Eastern overtones, and one of the basic statements is 'Never hurry, never wait.'

Far easier said than done.

{I must point out that I neither subscribe to this system of belief, nor do I completely understand it, because she never bothers to explain more than the most basic sorts of things about this faith, or whatever it is. See: Sassinak, Dinosaur Planet, The Planet Pirates, etc.}

We spend a lot of our lives rushing around, from one appointment to the next, or from one task to the next, and a whole lotta time waiting in queues for all kinds of things.

We've become mostly convinced as a society that unless we're multi-tasking, we're wasting time. Standing on line at the post office? Check your e-mail from your phone. Or write a grocery list, but be doing something other than just waiting. Goddess forbid.

The reason you end up rushing around then sometimes becomes that you were too busy multi-tasking to stay on schedule.

As I've waited (a seeming eternity, too, I must say) I sometimes get a little swoop in my stomach, like when the car is going fast over a little unexpected hill, a swoop of excitement, and other times it is a swoop of dread. I woke up this morning feeling like a ton of bricks had taken up residence in my tummy, along with about 300 butterflies. Does that even make sense? But I had hoped so that today would be THE DAY, and alas, no. The phone did not stay silent, instead it rang all day with other calls, and each time I'd look at the screen hoping that big important number would be popping up, and bummer, no. (Yes, I know what number will be calling me with THE NEWS, or at least I know the area code and the prefix, if not the last digits. I'm a geek. Of course I know the number that will be calling.)

Stomping my feet and fussing hasn't helped either. What a surprise.

I've tried to focus on other "stuff" and during the weekend, that's not so hard. But during the workdays, when you know everyone in the world is in their office, and freaking NOT CALLING ME, it is harder.

I'm fond of many curse words for the forcefulness of expression they provide sometimes. I've been trying to decrease the number of them that I use here and in the world unless I'm trying to make a particular point, because they tend to make people sit up and listen. But none of the American slang or curse words I could come up with are as expressive in this situation as is a Brit word, one that the average Yank wouldn't even recognize as a curse word.

No phone call today: Bugger! BUGGER!

16 May 2008

He Went Back To Ohio

...but his city was gone.

Ohio's Attorney General, Mark Dann, resigned this week. Amid a giant sexual harassment scandal. Two women have filed suit against staffers of Dann's, who were fired earlier in the month. In true mafioso style, one of the women's offices was tossed as an intimidation tactic after the two were fired. (Something the organized crime folks love to do.)

Kind of a bitter irony that Dann entered the AG's office promising to clean up corruption in Columbus. Cronyism, giving jobs to old buddies, remains alive and well. The old boys network is still viable and intact.

Governor Strickland made a statement to the press which said that whomever he appoints to serve out the remainder of Dann's term will be someone, "mature." Read that as old white dude, folks. Because that's what he means.

I don't know which irritates me more, the fact that Dann's youth and inexperience worked against him, that he gave important jobs to buddies who weren't qualified, or that he overstayed his welcome by leaps and bounds. He should have stepped down before it got this far. In my ever so humble, that is.

The local news has been having a field day with this, doing a big "I told you so!" I've had a gutload of it, enough already, which is why I haven't written about this before. It has been going on since April, when the Columbus Dispatch wrote an expose` about the lawsuits.

I get despondent from time-to-time about politics, hopeless that it will ever change. The same terrible cycle gets repeated over and over, as the band Carbon Leaf says, love, loss, hope, repeat.

I went to a Rotary club lunch a week or so ago, with some friends. Around the table, the Dann scandal was the topic du jour, along with a discussion of pushing someone at my table to run for a township trustee position.

"Hell, no." She said. "Why would I want to get involved with that mess?"

Someone else at the table joked that those who should run, never do, and the conversation turned to other things.

There is a lot of truth in that. I think you've got to be a pretty big sociopath to run for President, and that there is a good chance that people who could truly change things never stand for election. That's a shame; but the ultimate beauty of the system is that anyone can run for a local office. The downside is that you've got to get your hands dirty and raise some money to do so.

Dann's parting shot (besides not shaking the gov's hand and stalking out of the press conference, immaturely and rudely) was that he was going to help his wife sell dishes on the internet. Good luck with that.

13 May 2008

Trouble in Shangri-La

and you, you got in my way
stood between me and my friends
It was my sin, it was my shame
You were unconscious to the pain I was in

~Stevie Nicks, "Trouble in Shangri-La", from the album of the same name, 2001

I just finished reading Storms by Carol Ann Harris, former consort to Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham. Carol Ann and Lindsey were together through the Mac's Rumours tour until 1983/1984.

My parents listened to Fleetwood Mac, and then I spent a lot of time listening to classic rock in my late teens. Fleetwood wasn't quite the same as zoning out to Led Zepplin, but I always loved the way the band harmonized, how Stevie Nicks sounded so different from Christine McVie, and yet their combined voices rival any opera duetta by any great duo of opera singers you care to name.

When Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency in 1992, I was in Sweden, and paying no attention at all to the ruckus surrounding the election. I was not legal to vote. It wasn't that I was apathetic to politics, it was that I was apathetic to anything that was happening in the United States; the world stage was opened to me for the first time, and the nightly news in Sweden was more about the unrest in Yugoslavia than it was about what was going on in America. Which was far more "real" to me, the fact that people were dying in the cities and towns that my host parents grew up in than Gennifer Flowers and poll numbers.

(If I've never mentioned it before: my Swedish Mama and Papa emigrated to Sweden in the 1960s from Croatia. Yes, its a bit confusing.)

So when the band reunited to play Don't Stop at one of his inauguration balls, MTV Europe said *yawn*. When they released The Dance later in the decade, though, I loved it, and played it a lot. The songs didn't hold deep meaning for me as some other artists that I admire, I just loved singing along to it.

Carol Ann's book has an old picture of the band on the dust cover, and I picked it up on one of my periodic ramblings through the bookstore. I will read almost anything, and biographies have held an interest for me since I was about 9. Quickly, I was sucked in to the backstory of the end of the Rumours album recordings and the subsequent world tour. After I finished reading it, I went searching for reviews of the book, and I discovered that many book critics find all sorts of fault with her delivery, her prose, and her side of the story.

I can't agree. This is the story of a woman, like so many of us, with almost no self esteem, fragile, beautiful. Her twist is that she was living in the public eye, and caught up in a vortex of drugs, rock & roll excess and an abusive relationship.

She did a fair degree of foreshadowing that I found annoying, but that is one of my personal kvetches; I don't approve of foreshadowing as a literary device.

I was struck over and over how she was living in such a different era. Lindsey wouldn't "let" her work, something that baffles me. She felt it her obligation to just be there for him, even when he spent weeks at a time during their relationship locked in his home recording studios, that she would subsume all that was Carol so that Lindsey could be Lindsey.

The time period can't explain all of this away this for me, though. Women's lib began in the 60s, and by the mid-70s, there were plenty of women balancing career and family. By the time the two split up in the early 80s, the idea of the career/family superwoman was a part of the dominant culture. Lindsey was not at all supportive of Carol's modeling in the late 70s. When she began acting classes, and then studied costume design with folks who were on the cutting edge of music video production in the 80s, he was nasty, demeaning, sarcastic about her excitement about what she was learning.

The book brought a deeper understanding of many of the Fleetwood Mac songs I've loved over the years, given me insight here and there to the music that I wouldn't have had otherwise, but the end of the book left me hurting, physically aching for this girl who had no idea, at least until the bitter end, that being the muse for this tortured musical genius and class-A asshole was going to be the death of her unless she walked away.

There are very few "unforgivables" when it comes to the relationship between two partners, no matter the sexual preference, in my book. Things that might be able to be overcome, given enough time and counseling, but that are deal-breakers for me. Number one is infidelity. Once a cheater, always a cheater. I think that if someone gets away with cheating the first time, they're only going to do it again and again, a cycle of heartbreak-in-waiting for the person being cheated upon. Number two in my list is abuse, be it psychological, physical, emotional, what ever. When that happens, walk away. Don't look back. Don't make excuses for the abuser. Don't blame yourself. Just walk away.

She did eventually walk away, but not before he'd nearly killed her at least three times, strangling her, and once even punching her in the face in a Los Angeles nightclub.


My parents, over the years, have often pointed out as friends parents got divorced, or other long term relationships crumbled, that there are two sides to every story. Sometimes there are more than two sides. I don't know Buckingham's side of the story. I've never read so much as an interview with him, and so I don't know his twist or take on it. I don't care to, either, but I sincerely hope that he's gotten some therapy.

I also think about how in this age of cel-phone cameras and Perez Hilton, there's a good chance that Buckingham's behavior just might have been noticed by the paparazzi.

Harris paints a fairly unflattering portrait of Stevie Nicks as well, but ultimately, Nicks comes off as far more sympathetic a character than Buckingham.

You know how sometimes we read more into something than is reality? I think that perhaps I'm hearing more into Nicks's Trouble in Shangri-La album after reading the book. Seems to me the title track is about the demise of Buckingham and Harris's relationship, about a lost little girl. The last line of the song, show me the way back, speaks to me of finding yourself again after coming out of a particularly difficult time.

Even though the ending of the book isn't particularly "happy," as the focus of the story is the relationship which ultimately dies, Harris is a survivor. I think it took incredible courage and strength to tell this story. I'm sure she knew when she was writing it that the blame-the-victim mentality of the popular press was going to be excruciatingly painful for her. I admire her grace and restraint; she never denigrates into name-calling or finger-pointing throughout the entire book.


The following post brought to you in lieu of a post that would require some actual brainpower.

On the way to Key West, we stopped outside of Homestead, Florida, in a very agricultural area. Palm trees for developments all over the state are grown in acres upon acres of fields, along with tomatoes, and I don't even know what else.

There was a nursery that grew strictly orchids, and I took dozens of pictures of the flowers. If you look at them for long enough, they start to look like animal faces, or if you've an overabundance of imagination, as I do, one even looks like a scholarly cartoon figure, reading a book.

I am particularly proud of many of these shots, as I took them myself with our so-so digital camera. Using macro settings, and trying my best to hold my hands steady, because they still shake from my daily dose of Wellbutrin XL.

I am NOT a botanist, nor was I a biology major, therefore I can not even begin to tell you what species these are. So please don't ask. I just know that I like 'em. And that they're ex-spen-sive; we have a picture of me standing next to one that was $372. For a houseplant. No, it isn't among the pictures I've chosen to share, but take my word for it, these beauties come at a premium price.

12 May 2008


mardrömmar, noun, Swedish: nightmare. Every time I hear the word, I think of the line from "Lord of the Rings" where Legolas says, "Dark have been my dreams of late." Because I used word association a lot when learning Swedish, and in English, to mar something is to disfigure, to damage. Marred dreams, then, would be nightmares.

For more than twenty years, I've had the same recurring nightmare. The setting changes; the basic facts do not change. I'm somewhere crowded. A mall, an amusement park, a city street. Hordes of people surround me. I run, ducking and dodging through the crowd, because some one or some thing is chasing me. I'm in terrible danger, of what, I don't know. Dying? Being kidnapped? Somehow being harmed. As I run through the crowd, I'm screaming at the top of my lungs for someone, anyone to help me. Not a single soul ever so much as looks my way. I often wake after stumbling in the dream, just as "they" are about to catch me. Nearly always, I'm gasping for breath when I wake, just on the verge of an asthma attack.

When DH and I first moved in together, he noticed this pattern of me suddenly becoming restless in my sleep, then a small sound would begin to emerge from me; he describes it as akin to a puppy crying. I've never heard it, so I would hardly know; I've figured out that this is usually the point in the dream where I'm yelling. And then a full-blown asthma attack emerges. Eventually, once, during this sequence, he woke me, and it was then that I explained the nightmare. He would then recognize the signs, and often since then, he has woken me up before it became terrifying.

Whilst taking the Ambien, I don't have nightmares. Oddly vivid dreams, strange dreams, but never scary.

I haven't missed them.

But I am trying to slowly curtail my Ambien intake, and thus have tried to sleep without it quite a bit recently. The first night I attempted this, I had nightmare after nightmare, eventually turning into night terrors; so frightening that you're afraid to go back to sleep, and lie in bed utterly terrified of any and all noises you might hear.

I've often thought that the recurring nightmare is a sign of a fear of abandonment, which is completely unfounded, because I've never been abandoned by any one in my life, ever. Fears tend to not be so rational, though, and I've long since given up trying to figure out an explanation for that one.

The nightmares of the more recent nights, though, did not follow any pattern at all. Instead, the one I remember most vividly could have come from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel. In the dream, I awoke in our old apartment (n.b., I hated, HATED that place) and climbed out of bed after noticing guys in fatigues outside of our bedroom window. The military was TAKING OVER, see, and they were hiding in trees in my suburban neighborhood in the middle of a coup d'etat. Riiiight. Anyway, after hearing the rat-tat-tat of semi-automatic gunfire, I decided the smart thing to do would be to check and see if the apartment door was locked. Because a locked doorknob and short dead-bolt are certainly going to keep out guys with AK-47s. Yeah. I walked down the hall, with every detail in the apartment as it was when we lived there. Ugly brown carpeting, kitchen the size of a postage stamp (with avocado green appliances, natch) and the big TV cabinet by the front door. As I reached for the deadbolt, I thought, "Wait a minute. You don't live here anymore. This isn't your front door." And I woke immediately, frightened beyond any measure of reasonableness.

Each time I managed to coax myself back to sleep, another nightmare. Something different, each time, and something as non-nonsensical as the nightmare above, and each time, I'd be just as terrified.

Each nightmare involved someplace I've been before, someplace I know well. Our old apartment. A school I attended. A route I drive frequently. As if my subconscious was taking a long look back, at past experiences, and adding something new and terrifying to each one.

The day before all of this, I had met a person who does hypnosis, and "past-life regression therapy," which I view as a whole lotta hooey. Hypnosis, fine, I'm good with that. Past life regression therapy, not so much. I listened to what she had to say, and uncharacteristically, didn't argue with her about a bit of it. Didn't say, "dude, sign me the hell up," either, just for once kept quiet. There were a whole lot of things I wanted to say, and a whole lot of spots where I wanted to unleash my loud cackle at some of the more outre' ideas, but I was polite. While I am rarely downright rude in public, it is also rare for me to remain quiet in a situation like this. I'm opinionated, smart, and not ashamed of it. (Nah, you'd have never guessed that, right?)

I wonder, then, if somewhere in my mind, I wanted to really unleash my opinion and instead, by keeping quiet, I somehow enforced this little stroll down memory (nightmare) lane.

09 May 2008


For more than a week, my home has been the haven for a most unwelcome species of guest.


My dislike of all things buggy has been well-documented on this site.

In the climate here, when the weather warms up, many people find themselves infested with ants. It isn't a reflection on cleanliness or the lack thereof. They smell food, sugar, whatever, and are attracted to it.

DH and I noticed them about a week ago, and spent last weekend scrubbing every inch of our kitchen, cleaning out the cabinets, getting rid of stuff the ants had gotten in to (both granular and turbinado sugars) and then we sprayed the outside of the house with a broad spectrum pesticide.

Yes, Miss Organic-Hippy-Tree-Hugger used pesticide.

Well, to be precise, DH used it, but I didn't stop him, or insist that he use something more earth-friendly. I do not share my home with bugs. Of any sort. Any method that is going to definitively kill them, and keep them from coming back, is fair game.

The ants were gone for a few days after that weekend kitchen-scrubbing-and-pesticide-spraying fest.

As I was preparing dinner midweek, however, DH noticed one on the floor. Much like deer that jump out in front of your car on a lonely stretch of road, there is never ever just one ant. DH was very irritated. I fluffed it off, saying, nah, we're done with 'em.

After dinner, with the dishes loaded in to the dishwasher, the stray glasses of water from around the house gathered, I took apart our fancy-schmancy coffee pot that grinds the beans and brews the coffee without human intervention, so long as it is set up properly and the timer set. It must be completely cleaned, not a stray speck of grounds from the previous day, not because it won't work if that's not done, but rather because I'm an obsessive-compulsive, and it is part of my evening routine, to clean the coffee pot and set it up for the morning.

When I tossed the grounds from this morning, there were a lot of ants in the cabinet where the trash can lives. (Another rule of my OCD: NO VISIBLE TRASH. The trash can is stowed away under the sink. That's where it belongs, and no amount of argument is ever going to convince me otherwise.) I pulled the trash can out, and ants scattered from the light in all directions. I shrieked at the top of my lungs, summoning DH from upstairs to show him where the tiny bastards were hiding.

DH fetched the remainder of the pesticide from the garage, and we dumped everything else that lives under the sink on to the floor below.

Another round of pesticide application followed, both inside AND outside of the house. I threw a fit when he suggested spraying that shiz in the house, but he pointed out that it is designed for that application, both inside and out, and he'd not detected a whiff of any unpleasant smells when spraying it outside. Grudgingly, I agreed that unless the stuff was sprayed where the ants were hanging out, we were going to play the game of "let's kill the stray ants running around on the kitchen floor" for weeks to come. Not a game that I'd care to spend my leisure time playing, truthfully.

For the remainder of the evening, each time I went back to the kitchen, there were ants on the counter-top. Two or three each time. I'd kill them, bitch about them (loudly enough for DH to hear) and go about my business, only to find more the next time I walked through the kitchen on my way someplace else.

What, the pesticide wasn't enough of a hint for you guys? Freaking die already, geez.

In perhaps an ironic twist of fate, or just happenstance, one of my customers that day had been an exterminator.

Attention, all ants still attempting to roam my house: I have the guy's business card. His e-mail address. His phone number. If you little pests don't make your home elsewhere, I'm so calling him.

08 May 2008

Goddess of Laughter

Laughter is the sunshine of sounds. That elusive (sometimes) goal: to make us laugh. An addiction for some ---who become comedians, humor essayists, comedy writers.

I wasn't a class clown growing up. No, I was a wallflower, painfully, p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y shy. The first and maybe only time I ever managed to crack up a roomful of my school mates, I wasn't even sure why they thought what I'd said was funny. So that wasn't a life-changing event.

I think that among my group of friends as we grew older, I managed to make people laugh from time to time, but I really don't remember all that well who was the "funny" one, or even if there was ONE. We all laughed a lot, all the time.

There's a lot to be said for having a cadre of friends who get you. Friends that don't require a long-winded explanation about why something is funny.

The web has expanded those circles for some of us, allowed small groups of people scattered across the globe to get the inside joke, to have their own lexicons of in-jokes.

I read a very, very silly number of blogs on a daily or near-daily basis. Some of them I discovered before I began blogging myself, others discovered through fandom or friends of friends. Overwhelmingly, the ones I continue to read are the ones that make me laugh or are are particularly thought-provoking. Over time, blogs that have dropped from my list are those who either update too infrequently, or are never funny at all.

No, I don't use bloglines. I'm a complete luddite when it comes to RSS feeds. Not a priority to learn how to do it, set it up....nah, I'd rather wait eternities while the 30-odd pages load.

Usually, checking the blogs is a part of my morning ritual. On days when it doesn't happen that way, then I read them after I have finished my work for the day, after I have sent out the required work-related e-mails. If that's the time of day that I'm catching up, DH is usually fast asleep. Thank goodness I have a laptop and can move to another room so that the clicky-click of the keyboard isn't disturbing him when I'm leaving my own clever commentary on blogs, but more than that, I need to be in another room because I often burst out laughing over something I'm reading.

Since personally, I hate, despise, and detest when someone wakes me up, I do my best to not disturb his sleep. I have a large, loud laugh, the kind of laugh that you hear in a grocery store and recognize, you know it is your great Aunty Clarice, or your mother's strange friend Bea because of the distinctive cackle. A head thrown back, full-on ab-muscle action recognizable ha-ha-ha-ha.

DH makes fun of me for my witchy cackle. I, on the other hand, like it.

We should all be so lucky to have such a belly-roll laugh each day.

07 May 2008

Tearin' it up

Tuesday passed without me getting a chance to write my usual Tuesday post this week. Sorry about that. I've actually written about 8 posts in the last three days and not a one has made it to the Publish button. Mostly because they're still in my head, but there is a draft or two on my dashboard that just aren't ready.

Therefore, I declare today that this post of Wednesday May 7th is really a Tuesday Brain Dump.

I like to write letters. Long, handwritten missives, on real stationery. I buy stationery whenever the urge strikes me, and there are boxes of them stored with all of my letter-writing supplies. I also own several sets of personalized stationery, that I use for formal occasions; some of which, when written out, are going to sound beyond bizarre, but I already know that I'm strange.

I use the formal stationery for thank-you letters to potential employers after a job interview, something that few people bother to do, but you should do that for EVERY. SINGLE. JOB. INTERVIEW. YOU. HAVE.

(Uh-oh, wait a tic while I shove the manners queen back in her box.)

I also have used my formal stationery to write letters to people I have met at a few events; once, when working for the non-profit, I met a man who owns not one, but two race car teams, and his philanthropy of choice was literacy and education. He spoke to the entire assemblage; but before he got up and spoke, he had been sitting next to me, and we'd had a congenial chat. I had no idea who he was, and when they announced him, he was shuffling papers and his briefcase like he was going to leave before the speaker started. Imagine my surprise when instead he walked to the microphone and took over. His ideas about the ways that the educational system in this country should be fixed made a big impression on me. Before he left, he handed me one of his business cards, and after the event, I wrote him a letter to tell him how much I enjoyed his speech, and to ask for clarification on how he would fund some of his ideas. He sent me back a book, a nice letter, and a scholarly journal about education. Not a bad contact to have, y'know?

Another time, around Veteran's Day, I heard a speech given by a man who is the director of a veteran's organization. Another speech I enjoyed, and when I spoke to him after the event was over, he handed me a business card too. I wrote him a letter because I'd love to work for him someday, and believe me, that one took me a while to figure out what to say other than, "Hey, buddy, gimme a job!" He's based in Washington DC, so heaven only knows if I'll ever see him again here in my little bit of suburbia, but I bet that if I do run into him again, he will remember me.

The formal stationery is a heavy white paper, smaller than a sheet of paper you use in your printer. I believe the paper size is called 'executive.' My full name is spelled out at the top in a curly cursive, in a dark blue ink. The envelopes are half the size of the paper, so a sheet is folded in half only once to fit inside the envelopes, which are lined with gold foil. I ordered it the year DH and I got married, and have used it sparingly and when the time calls for it in the nearly eight years since.

I'd been running low on the formal stuff; not to worry, for thank-you notes of other varieties (gifts, hostess thank-yous, whatev) I have lots of other stationery I could use. Last week, though, after another job interview, I used the last two pieces of the paper that were usable in the box. Accordingly, I took myself off to the same store where I'd purchased it in the first place, along with the last sheet in the box. That last sheet is creased oddly, and has a few marks on it from Goddess only knows what, and thus could never be used for a potential employer thank-you note.

Being the obsessive that I am, I wanted something similar to what I had previously. The last go-round with stationery ordering, I'd only wanted my name on it, and not my address. Because we were living in an apartment that was supposed to be temporary. It turned out to be a temporary of the FOUR FREAKING YEARS variety. This time, I want the address. Dammed to the consequences if we end up moving.

I puzzled over font styles (in the end, choosing one that looks a hellava lot like the one I had before) and worried about what color ink (a subtle, subdued grey that shimmers a bit when the light hits it right was the final decision, soy-based, of course) and debated about how many pages of "second sheets" I should order. I hadn't had second sheets last time around, because I foolishly didn't think that I'd ever need to use the formals for any letters that would be more than one page. Live and learn.

The clerk and I chose a design for the first sheets, with my name gracefully down the left side of the paper, and the address scrolling across the top of the page in a smaller type. I thought it looked elegant, and signed the order form, after making sure my odd street name was spelled correctly, and that my long first name didn't have the addition of a letter "s" which happens all the time for some reason. I'd blame poor diction, but we all know that it ain't me who's got poor diction!

Order placed and paid for, I waited for the store to call me and let me know it was in.

When they called me yesterday (yes, that would be TUESDAY) I wasted no time in getting there to pick it up. The clerk opened the box, and there was the sprarkly grey ink, the envelopes with the return address, boxed nicely into gold boxes, orderly and neat. Beautiful, until I noticed that DH's last name, which I have taken as the hyphenated part of my last name eg., Smith-Jones, DH's part of the last name was spelled wrong. Missing a letter. The clerk pulled out the order form, and sure enough, there's my signature, and there's DH's last name spelled incorrectly. I never noticed when I proofed the order form.

Essentially, the store said, "Sorry, sweetie. Your fault. You signed it." And that's true. I had, however, handed her the piece of the old stationery, and she copied it from there. The old stationery isn't spelled wrong. They asked me what I wanted to do, by which they meant, "Give us another $90 and we will order you some more and try to not fuck it up this time."

Well, I don't have another $90 to spare right this instant, and I wouldn't have spent the money to order it in the first place if it was not for the fact that I'm trying to find another job, and I like using that formal stationery for the interview thank-yous. My current employer told me that I was the only one of 30+ people they interviewed who sent any acknowledgment of thanks for the interview.

I say all the time, you can teach manners, but you can't teach style and class. I think those notes make the proper impression. "Need," of course, is a relative term. I don't 'need' that paper to continue job hunting. I don't 'need' that paper to get another job. I certainly didn't 'need' to spend $90 when one of the reasons I'm job-hunting is that I'm not making enough money.

I wanted to scream and rage and cry in the store. But I couldn't. Didn't. I told the clerk I'd take the blank second sheets, and all of the envelopes with the address properly printed on them, but I certainly wasn't going to use stationery with my name spelled wrong, nor was I taking it with me. I also snidely remarked that I did not have another $90 to spend. The store is a little boutique, they specialize in wedding invitations, sell greeting cards and other tchokes, dust collectors like frames, knick-knacks, figurines. They're used to snooty and snide, I promise. So they bagged up the second sheets and the envelopes and handed them to me, and I stormed out.

I'm angry at myself for not noticing. I'm angry at the store for not caring, and being unwilling to work with me on a solution, like perhaps paying shipping themselves for the new (correct) stuff, instead of charging me. Although, why should they eat the costs for MY mistake? (As they pointed out to me, of course.) There are other stores in the area that carry the line of stationery, and what I will probably end up doing is going to another store, replicating the order minus the second sheets and envelopes. Next time, though, they're sending the old stationery with the new order, along with a copy of my driver's license and anything else I can think of with my freaking name spelled correctly.

Didn't I say a few weeks ago that dumb blonde sorts of things weren't happening to me so much any more? Joke's on me.

02 May 2008


I am not a dog lover. Lately, seems as if I'm announcing that I'm anti-apple pie, anti-baseball, and anti-American when I say I don't like dogs. *roll eyes* Yeesh, you'd think that people's dogs are ranked right up there with baby Jesus.

I don't like anything with more legs than me, truth be told. Dogs, cats, ants, spiders, hamsters, squirrels, DEER... Animals just aren't my thing. They're OK, but I chose not to share my home with one.

I was terrorized by a neighbor's dog as a young child, a dog that had been bred for protection. I can never remember if it was a German Shepard or a Doberman, but I learned how to climb the trees in my yard to get away from that dog. Neighborhood kids had what we called a "Dog Alert;" we'd shout the words at the top of our lungs whenever a strange dog came in to the neighborhood, due to our experiences with the guard dog. And we'd all scramble for the trees.

More than 25 years later, I'm still very, very skittish around dogs especially. People say to me all the time,

"Oh, you'd LOVE my dog."

No. No, I wouldn't. I. Don't. Like. Dogs. It has nothing to do with your dog; it is about my irrational fear.

I've worked on it over the years, trying to not react with unadulterated terror when confronted with a dog. Just when I think I'm getter better with it....last week a neighbor's dog attacked me. If I hadn't had on a baggy sweatshirt, I would have a nice wound on my stomach from where he tried to bite me. Instead, he got a bite of my polar fleece pullover. Scared the crap outta me, obviously. He's a little bitty bit of a thing, a miniature something or other. I could step on him and crush him. But that terror still exists. My neighbor was horrified, and scolded the dog, apologized profusely. It wasn't anyone's 'fault' and I'm not angry or anything. Just frightened.

On Ravelry this week, in the weekly newsletter, there's a question to the agony aunt about what a knitter should do about a yarn store owner who has started bringing her dogs into the yarn store. I'd link to it, but if you're not a member of Ravelry, you can't see the newsletter. If you are a Raveler, check out TWIR, issue 13, the Aunt Bobopants column.

The agony aunt gave great advice, but IMHO, she missed one small point. Both the letter-writer and the agony aunt are doggy people, they have dogs themselves.

Those of us who are NOT doggy people see this from another angle. I would stop patronizing any local business that allowed their dogs to freely roam their business. Period. And I'd tell the store owner the true reason for no longer stopping by for whatever the product or service might be. I don't want to browse the yarn bins with a dog sniffing at my heels. Ew. When I lug my vacuum cleaner to the repair shop for its annual check-up, I don't want a dog checking me out, sniffing my crotch, yapping at me. No. Thank. You. I support local businesses whenever and wherever I can, but if you bring your puppy to your office, you're going to lose my patronage.

If you own your own business, and you want to bring your pets to work, go ahead; it is your business. Allow me to be clear: I am not suggesting that business owners do not have the right to run their businesses in any manner that they see fit. Knock yourself out, dude. It is my considered opinion that unless you're running a pet store, there just isn't a really good reason to have your kitty-cat, puppy, or pet iguana roaming the aisles and climbing on the shelves.

Nor do I think pets have any place in professional environments. Law firms, accounting firms, doctor's offices, temp agencies. When I worked for the non-profit, I was frequently in a hospital as part of my job, and I was horrified the first time I encountered therapy dogs. Besides overweening terror, my first thought was, "ugh, how unsanitary." But as time went on, I discovered two things. One, hospitals are all absolutely filthy places. Even with a top-notch cleaning staff, they're still very dirty. Two, the therapy dogs helped people. They didn't cure cancer, or fix a broken leg, but they did bring smiles to people's faces, made them laugh. Intangible sorts of things. And the trainers handled them well. They'd go into the patient's room without the dogs, and ask if the patient wanted a visit from the dogs. If the patient did not, they'd go on to the next room. No harm, no foul. I respected the dog handlers for that.

But puppies in a yarn store? Ick.

01 May 2008


During football games at the Ohio State University, the marching band will play "Hang on Sloopy" and the crowd will chant the state's letters during the chorus...which herre, sounds completely ridiculous when I type that out. I guess you'd have to hear it to understand, if you've never heard it, but it goes something like this

Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on
Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy, hang on

and wow, it looks even sillier with the words typed out.

(If that's not enough of a visual for you, check out the YouTube version, and you will see what insane nutcases most of the state of Ohio's residents are; there's a dance that goes along with that o-h-i-o chant.)

It has been running though my head this week (and now it will be running though YOUR head, too, you're welcome) as Ohio residents have been treated to typically heartbreaking early spring Ohio weather. Yes, end of April/beginning of May counts as early spring here. March is still winter, any way you care to look at it.

I've planted some seeds in yet another (probably vain) attempt to grow some vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I was not smart enough to plant them inside the house during the month of February as any gardener worth her salt in Ohio would have done. Expert gardener I am most assuredly NOT. No, no, instead I planted them outside on my side porch a few weekends ago, and have kept very close daily tabs on them, watching most anxiously for seedlings to appear.

Seedlings astonishingly have appeared, often in between my checking them each morning and returning from work to check them again each evening. It is beyond cool to see those little tiny things sprout. I think of everything I planted, I'm most enjoying watching the sunflowers. Because they pop out of the ground with the seed casing still attached, shedding it when the leaves begin to grow, and if it isn't the most obvious 'hey, this plant came from THAT seed' example I've ever seen, then I don't know what I would put in that category.

I even have proof!

Aren't they cute? Just so tiny, it is hard to believe that will turn in to a huge and very unusual colored sunflower. The name on the seed packet was "Chianti Hybrid" and I chose them out of all the other sunflowers (and I lurves me some sunflowers) because I've never seen any this color before, a deep burgundy wine-y sort of color. There were somewhere around 24 seeds in the packet, and they've all sprouted. Of course, that's too many for the spot I alloted to the sunflowers, so I'll have a few left over. I've got some ideas about where to stash them, but I'll probably write about that at some future point, when I am able to put the plants in the ground.

Then there's the salad mix; mesclun greens that are of a very mixed variety, and there were thousands of seeds in that packet. So many that after harvesting the first batch, I have enough to have a second crop of them. I like my mixed greens as baby greens, so they won't be in the ground long once they are planted. They need to be a bit bigger before I can do that, though.

And the happy little daisies. I choose painted daisies because they're all kinds of colors. I love shasta daises, but they're only white. These are a full spectrum of colors.

So I planted these all several weeks ago, and then...what happens? It gets cold again. We go from 70 degree days (21C) to a frost advisory for two nights in a row. The novice gardener could lose absolutely every-freaking-thing. The first night, I covered all the baby seedlings with a huge sheet, folded in half, that has been banned from my bed for having holes in it. (I guess it didn't like being washed in hot water with a lot of bleach....all of my bed linens are white, and I use bleach to kill the dust mites and other creepy-crawlies that are in EVERYONE'S bed.) The sheet protected the seedlings, even when it got wet from a typical spring heavy rain.

The next night, though, the temp was supposed to dip down even further, and as I've never managed to keep anything alive for an entire growing season, I was very worried that a sheet just wasn't going to cut it when it came to frost protection.

Not long after I planted everything, I broke the seed trays down into little individual 4-packs, because I am a complete moron. Had I left them in their original state, they would be far easier to move, but nooooo, I thought the little 4-packs were easier to handle and cute. *headdesk*

When the bitter cold weather threatened, my choices for saving the seedlings were pretty limited. I could 1) bring them inside the house or 2) take them into the garage. Bringing them in the house would mean that any little 6 or 8-legged things that had attached themselves to the plastic trays would be sharing my home. I hate bugs. Anything that has more legs than I do, I am not a fan. A huge amount of soil would be tracked through my house. Not that I'd mind cleaning it up, but it was also raining when I was doing this, and there's a good chance I would have ruined the wooden floor that DH put into the house last year as I tracked in water, the clay-like muddy soil we have in the ground and the potting soil I purchased, because of course there's potting soil spilled on the side patio, where the seedlings live.

Garage it was. Thirty trips or so later, the seedlings were lined up in a spot in the garage where they wouldn't be stepped on (or run over with the cars) and where they'd stay warm. They survived the night unscathed. (Big sigh of relief.) Score one for the girl without the green thumbs.

Then it was time to move them back outside.

Those little white sticks that identify the seedlings, because you need them until the plants are large enough to identify? I don't have one of those in every single 4-pack of plants. Which means what? The ones that haven't sprouted yet are unidentifiable if they get separated from their fellows. Of course I have them lined up in neat little rows, with the markers at the beginning and ending of each section of plants, but what happens if they get out of their orderly little rows? I'd be guessing what was in each one.

Not a disaster, unless you have OCD.

If you have OCD, then your NICE NEAT PLAN is messed up if one goes stray and it makes you want to CURL UP IN THE CORNER AND POUT.

Not that I'd know. Really.