Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yeah, that one just might stick

Son #1 has a nickname. The other three don't, really. Today, though, I think that may have changed.

Son #4, at 13, still loves long soaks in the tub. Really long. He often will bring a big bowl of ravioli in there with him, and basically make an evening of it. TMI, I know, but it's part of the story, so bear with me.

We're on Christmas break, which in our house means we are living in a chaotic, timeless sea. Bedtime is a distant memory. They wake when they wake, sleep when they sleep. And last night, that meant that Son #4 was, presumably, unable to sleep in the middle of the night, and decided to take a bath.

5:30 this morning, Son #1 needs the bathroom but can't get in there, because Son #4 is asleep, in the tub. He bangs on the door, no luck. Son #4 is actually snoring.

He kept knocking and shouting, to no avail. And the majority of the family is taking this in stride. Son #4 has a reputation. We've seen it.

But Hubby is usually not home for this, so to him it is new, and terrifying. He started thinking Son #4 was drowning, in the tub.

Though a sleeping bather no longer will rouse me at 5:30 am, a panicking husband generally will, so I threw on my bathrobe and knocked on the door. That special Mom knock which is, apparently, a lot more rousing than one from your oldest brother. Son #4 stirred, spoke, reassured his father that he was still breathing. And that's when it happened: Son #1 called through the door,


He's been Aquaman all day. It's taking all my strength not to join in, myself. Yeah, I think we have a winner.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Odd thoughts

I went looking for razor blades today, for one of those scraper-dealies. You know, snap an old-fashioned razor blade into the plastic handle. Useful.

The KMart only had safety blades, though: the kind that come in a plastic frame. I looked in the shaving department, I looked in housewares, I looked in auto gear, all over.

I came reeeeally close to just flagging down some staff member and asking for "Razor blades. You know, the kind you slit your wrists with."

I decided that was only hilarious if I asked the right person. Ask the wrong person, and I'd be stuck sitting in KMart until the ambulance arrived to have me committed.

I left for the Food Lion, instead, where I found my razor blades and this fabulous cake wreck: Soul-Searching Santa. I guess he saw some stuff that he's not going to forget right away.

Janet Napolitano, Woman of Faith

Now I get it. Her "system" for preventing terror attacks is to assume that people who say they are part of al Qaeda are not, and that people whose own parents report them to MI6 are not worth keeping on a no-fly list, and then, basically, to hope for the best. Ms. Napolitano got her Christmas Miracle, I guess, and we can all thank God for that.

But the next Nigerian to email me is gonna get a piece of my mind.

UPDATE: Apparently Napolitano has decided that maybe it didn't work all that well after all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What a Christmas!

We have seen all the relatives, opened the presents, eaten ourselves into a satiny stupor and generally enjoyed the living crud out of Christmas.

I think the green sportscoat won the Horrific Gift of 2009 award. Last night, one of the Sons cocked his head and said, "Remember that weird little guy who always showed up to watch tae kwon do class, even though he had no kids in tae kwon do? The one we thought was maybe there just because he liked to watch young boys exercising? That looks just like the kind of thing he would wear." And he was right. Definitely has that "could be a pedophile" vibe to it.

NO idea what we're going to do with it. Can't imagine anyone would want it, except maybe for that guy who looks like a pedophile, but I think it is too large for him anyway.

(To be fair, guy was NOT a pedophile. Just a hard-core tkd fan, for reasons of his own. And a sweet person, if you took the time to talk to him.)

I have quite the stack of stuff I need to return or exchange, but that should be no big deal, especially since I am putting that whole jaunt off for a few days in favor of housecleaning (I basically have a new carpet made of candy wrappers, scotch tape and popcorn) and job applications.

Every few months I see a job which really stands out. Sure, I'm applying for a lot of other things which "may pan out, might be interesting, could be a good career move," but then there are the ones that just seem to sparkle. Found one of those today, in my inbox, and am feeling pretty good just about having applied for it. We'll see.

In the meantime, I need to go load more music onto my shiny new iPod Nano. I may be the last person on the planet to own one, and I do not care. It is hot.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

May the Worst Present WIN!

First, let me just announce to those of you who do not know me personally that I am not really all that materialistic. If Christmas included no presents it would still be Christmasy enough, to me. And I am quick to remind the Sons to thank the person for the thought, no matter what the gift is. Being rememebered by your extended family is sweet, even if that means they sometimes give you gifts you can't really see yourself using.

But. It is only Christmas Eve, and competition for Worst Christmas Present of the Year is already particularly fierce.

Top contenders so far:
Kelly green microfibre sports coat, given to one of the Sons.

Gift with the giver's company logo on them (we always get a few, they never win, but they have to make the finals, don't you think?)

An Executive Desk Puzzle-type thing, given to another one of the Sons. Uhh...they're teenagers. Are you trying to prepare them for the endless disappointment which is Father's Day?

Nothing else really stands out, at this point, but voting is welcome. Just keep in mind, past winners included:

Stuffed Teletubbies for each Son (they were 12, 10, 9 and 8 at the time)
Etiquette for Dummies (Yeah, insult my boy TWICE, why don'tcha!")

And the all-time most spectacular win ever. God, it is something. I wish I could post a photo of it, but photos do not do it justice (and the giver might see it online)...a lucite cube containing a holographic image of my mother-in-law. Given to Hubby and each of his brothers, by her, a few years ago. Just breathtaking. I keep it behind my desk.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let it melt, let it melt, let it melt...

We got about 18 inches of snow, I think, over the course of about 30 hours. It is very pretty, as I have decided I have no need to leave the house.

And a good thing, too, as it's not like I can get my car out of the driveway.

I've been napping, wrapping presents, futzing online, reading Orient Express, and doing the houseworky stuff that is always there anyway. Yes, I am bored silly. I know I should either polish every damn surface of the house to a fine gleam, or dig into one of my larger writing projects, but mostly I'm just wandering the house doing small things, here and there.

My avocado plant has gotten spindly, so in a desperate bid for bushy growth I pruned it. I then put the pruned-off bit in rooting hormone and shoved it back in the pot. At this point, I have a fairly dense avocado community in my kitchen, but it is quite possible they are all about to die. This is the kind of situation that earns gods a reputation for caprice.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Interview view

Had a job interview today. I think I came across well, but who can tell from this side? I am, at this point, one of 3 candidates. Callbacks are after the first of the year.

Getting ready this morning, I caught sight of myself in the mirror: charcoal grey pinstripe pantsuit, understated jewelry, and the stack of writing samples they requested, and I thought, "Holy COW. I remember that woman."

It was interesting.

Also today: an old friend from childhood, whom I had not spoken to since I treated her rather shabbily in college, friended me on Facebook.

Thank God for forgiveness, second chances, and the passage of time.

And Macy's.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The "So This Is It, We're Going to Die" Calendar

We live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. That is not really important, most of the time, excepting the following occasions:

Noon, the first Monday of the month: the holycrap alarm sounds. Don't worry, they're just messin' with ya.

Since 9/11, about every 4 years (I think) we get iodine pills to protect our thyroid, should the holycrap alarm sound when it is NOT the first Monday of the month, at noon.

And just before Christmas, we get the Public Emergency Response Information Calendar. It's full of helpful hints for what to do in the case of a nuclear power plant-related emergency.

I just call it, "So this is it, we're going to die."

Because not only do we live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, we also live on a peninsula with one main road in and out. Should things go to crap, our Calendar suggests we get on the road and head south. But you know what? Everyone else got the Calendar, too. They'll ALL be going south. On the same road. At the same time. With, presumably, iodide pills in their system.

Mom says we should head north, instead, towards her. Every once in a while I explain to her that that would require we drive TOWARDS and PAST the nuclear power plant. And ain't no way I am doing that. Can't blame Mom for thinking even a major nuclear event is reason for us to bring the Grandkids up, I guess.

Eh, in the words of my grandfather, when you're number's up, you're number's up.

On the up side, now I don't need to buy a 2010 calendar.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm pretty sure they're the same guy...

Charles Krauthammer. He is great. Reasoned, reasonable, witty, way smarter than I. But every time I see him, I am reminded of a beloved icon of my childhood.

Yeah, you know it. Count Chocula.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Meme Stolen From Rol

Thanks, Rol, for giving me something interesting to do before soaking up the floodwaters I just discovered have returned to my basement.

List 10 musical artists (or bands) you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below). Really, don’t read the questions below until you pick your ten artists!!!

2 Clapton
3 John Prine
4 Pink Floyd
5 Jethro Tull
6 Amy Winehouse
7 Aretha
8 Allman Brothers
9 Sinatra
10 Little Feat

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?

Rehab. Lynette, who does my hair, sang it to me. I've been hooked ever since (probably not the best word to use around Amy but oh, well)...

What is your favorite song of 8?
Sweet Melissa. But really I would probably just keep their Greatest Hits CD running on a continuous loop. Can I call that entire album one song?

What kind of impact has 1 left on your life?

No impact. He's a musician. But I have enjoyed his music for decades and that is good enough for me.

What is your favorite lyric of 5?

And as you cross the circle line, the ice-wall creaks behind ---
you're a rabbit on the run.
And the silver splinters fly in the corner of your eye ---
shining in the setting sun.
Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's
too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like
you're the only person sitting in the audience?

How many times have you seen 4 live?
Once. With Wayne, I think. Hi, Wayne!

What is your favorite song by 7?


Is there any song by 3 that makes you sad?
Most of them.

What is your favorite song by 9?

The Best Is Yet To Come (I picked that one but really I love a lot of his swingin' stuff)

When did you first get into 2?

I would guess my dad had it on the radio. No idea.

How did you get into 3?

I was dating a guy--really we were just friends and had very little in common but we sorta dated for a while, until he moved away. And one night as he drove me home he sang Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) and it was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. I have loved John Prine ever since. Thanks, Bud!

What is your favorite song by 4?


How many times have you seen 9 live?

None, but my mother-in-law has seen him many times. Does that count?

What is a good memory concerning 2?

Saw him in concert about 15 years ago, with Hubby and Dan and Dan's girlfriend at the time. Great show, and good friends, at the old Capitol Center.

Is there a song by 8 that makes you sad?

No, Allman Brothers always make me happy.

What is your favorite song by 1?

I refuse to choose. It is all awesome. Tell me I'm wrong.

How did you become a fan of 10?
I was dating a very religious man, with an extremely rigid roommate. The roommate (who had no car of his own)insisted that my boyfriend leave all his satan-worshipping rock-n-roll at home, and only keep sermon tapes and Christian music in the truck. The boyfriend smuggled in Waiting for Columbus as his only secular music. So every time we went somewhere, we listened to Waiting for Columbus.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Next year, in Jerusalem?

The other day I bought a container of hummus.


No one in the family will try it and that is FINE even though it is healthy and delicious because that means that no matter what, the entire tub is MINE.

But I had no crackers. I had no celery or string beans or snap peas. I had no pita. I have tried hummus before with tortilla chips, and that does not work. And eating it with a spoon just makes me feel like a total, decadent pig. Then I found: pork rinds.

You know what? Hummus is DELICIOUS on a pork rind.

Sadly, I think 90% of the hummus-buying public is never going to know this, from personal experience. So, Muslim and Jewish hummus fans, trust me. It's good.

Friday, December 04, 2009

It's the little things

Son #4:
"Going to school makes you appreciate the little things, you know? Like, now, I love coming home and eating dinner. Because no one here eats with his mouth open."


Yesterday I had a job interview. Since part of raising children is talking to them about what the adult world is like, I went over it with Sons #1, 2 and 3, in the car. I explained that I do not yet have an offer, but that I have been told I am in the "top 2"--at this point it is down to me, and a young guy just out of school.

All 3 Sons responded, "CAGE MATCH! To the DEATH! YOU CAN TAKE HIM!"

I am so damn proud.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Why is Santa black?

About a decade ago, Hubby went to the hardware store looking for Christmas stuff. He purchased, among other things, a molded plastic Santa for outside the house.

He called in the car. "There were just a few Caucasian Santas, and a whole bunch of black Santas. I felt bad that no one was buying the black Santas, so that's what I bought." Here he is, with Jake* for scale.

Santa's been a regular part of our holiday decor ever since. Yesterday, I pulled our Christmas boxes out of the attic. Son #1 walked in, saw Santa, and asked, "Why's Santa black? Why am I just noticing this NOW?"

I gave him the whole story.

A few minutes later, son #2 walked in, saw Santa, asked, "Why is Santa black?"

Gave him the story.

Half an hour later, Son #3 walked in, saw Santa, asked, "Why is Santa black?"


The next morning, Son #4 woke up, walked into the dining room, noticed Santa, and asked, "Why is Santa black?"

Because you go to public school, Son. He was just Santa, until the public schools taught you to be racist.

*I realize Jake should not be walking on the dining room table. He is 14 and hasn't been feeling well. I'm cutting him some slack.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chad Spicknall Art Sale

Less than a month before Christmas, and everybody's having their post-Thanksgiving sales.

Even interesting people who create art.

I have several of Chad's paintings. Because, holy cow, I asked for them and he gave them to me. He is that kind of cool.

He is also a human being with bills and expenses and a studio to run, so believe it or not he does not ONLY give his stuff away. He sells it. People buy it. YOU could buy it. And for today and tomorrow he is offering a discount.

Ya oughtta go look. Because, honest, most of the stuff under the Christmas tree is going to be forgotten by Valentine's Day. But I still see something new, every time I look at Chad's seascapes hanging over the bedroom TV :) Isn't that what you want to give, something that seems new and interesting every time they see it?

That, and Post-It notes. Those things are great.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Thanksgiving not of sight and sound, but of the mind?


Yesterday, a little before 9, I put the largest turkey I have ever prepared into my oven. I followed the Liturgy of the Joy of Cooking, which said in that case I should turn the oven down lower than usual. I calculated how long it should take to roast. I inserted my meat thermometer. I figured it would be ready in about 6 hours or so, giving it time to "rest" out of oven with just enough time to carve it before the guests arrived.

An hour later, the meat thermometer said the bird was done.

This makes no sense. A 23-lb turkey does not cook in an hour. Not at 325 degrees (Shut up, Rol & Penelope, I'm talking Fahrenheit, and you know it), it doesn't. I opened the oven and touched the foil I had tented over the breast--cold. So I moved the thermometer and closed the oven.

In another half hour or so, the turkey registered "done", again. Still not possible. After some fiddling I decided to ignore the thermometer and just go by the time-in-oven, which is the way I used to do it anyway.

Then I could not find my good china, except for the turkey-serving platter and 2 small pieces.

I have service for a dozen people, ok? I have had it since I was 13. I use it twice a year, and I do not move it from its storage area at any other time. But it was gone. Hubby, Son #4 and I looked all over. Poof. We went with the Christmas plates, instead.

At 2, I pulled my turkey out of the oven. It looked good, although it was sitting in a massive pool of its own juices. Nothing like I have seen before. And when I lifted it out of the pan, it broke in two. Fortunately, it was only kinda dry. But odd, ok?

I put in the usual little bit of cinnamon, the same way I have made my apple pie since high school, and the entire pie came out a deep, mahogany brown. No one could choke it down. Normally my apple pie rocks.

On the other hand, my mother and uncle were here for hours, discussing politics, religion, child rearing, health issues, marriage and divorce, interracial relations, my sons' career and college plans, and everything under the sun, and no one yelled at anyone. No one dropped the F-bomb. No one burst into tears and left, or insisted anyone else leave. We had a lovely evening.

Clearly, we have a poultrygeist.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My own mother warned me not to cook so much

But did I listen? No.
Tomorrow, we shall be having:
Turkey with tons of sage (duh)
turnips from beyond the grave
Richard's carrots
sweet potatoes with the marshmallows
mashed potatoes (Mashed by Hubby)
broccoli in some sort of not-overcooked form
the green bean casserole everyone in America is having
a green salad
mac & cheese (thanks mom!)
asparagus (thanks again!)
stuffing (mom! I thought you said "not too much food!")
acorn squash
artichoke hearts
cheese & crackers & hummus
roasted chestnuts
two kinds of cranberry sauce
stir-fried mustard greens
baked brie
cupcakes (thanks mom!)
chocolate chiffon pie
apple pie

And I actually am sitting here thinking maybe something is missing. That is crazy. Because, you know, it is only going to be 11 people.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Something between a brain game, and dating

The Job Hunt continues. As I approach Month 8, I am starting to feel differently about the whole process: Much to my surprise, I'm starting to enjoy it.

Somehow, carving out the latest, greatest cover letter, learning about the different companies out there, and imagining myself in each of them (wearing this awesome skirt from J.Crew and the equally fabulous blouse from Lord & Taylor, of course) has gotten really interesting. And, when I can keep my mind off the fact that we have real, non-imaginary bills to pay, fun.

Yesterday, I heard from a government agency that I have met their minimum requirements and they will get back to me "in the near future". I asked a bureaucrat friend what "near future" is, in FedLand, and she said about 3 months. So, the sound of that particular agency, though. Oh, yeah. Love just about everything about that particular agency.

Also yesterday, my 3rd and 4th recommendation letters arrived in the mail for That Mysterious Entrepreneurial Guy on Craigslist. So, I have to finalize my package preparations and send those off.

As an aside, I highly recommend asking for recommendation letters. I feel all sniffly and loved. I think I will xerox a couple of these, to keep for when I am feeling crap. Because, darn.

And today I am taking a-friend-of-a-friend out to lunch, so I can pick her brain. I heard a rumor that I may be called, in the next week or two, for an interview with a highly respected company with a local branch. The idea of a job 10 minutes from the house does have its charms, and the company sounds like a good one. So I am glad that I can shovel Mexican food at a fun woman who works there, and find out some details before the call comes, if it is actually coming.

It's all smoke & fairy dust at this point, but I do kinda feel like something good will come together, and soon. It's exciting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I don't know if I can even blog it

Race-tinged violence at the Sons' school yesterday. Horrible. I am considering blogging about it but, ugh. Maybe when I am not so tired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey, baby...whoa.

Last night when I got ready for bed, Son #1 was asleep in my bed, with Hubby. I guess they'd been watching a show together. Son #1 is a very sound sleeper, so I thought, "If I wake him up, by the time he's out of my bed I'll be wide awake again."

So, I just left them both to their snoring, and hit the couch.

I woke up this morning when Hubby laughed.

Apparently he wrapped himself around his wife and then they both realized Things Were Not Right.

I have been chuckling all morning, but I think Hubby and Son #1 need to bleach their brains.

Too funny.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Write me a Recommendation Letter?

Ok, the job hunt gets quirkier. I saw an ad on Craigslist which has me intrigued. Long and the short of it: they want recommendation letters from people OTHER than current and former employers. And they want creativity.

I figure, calling out to all my bloggy people and then sending a stack of letters from y'all in addition to my more traditional stuff might count toward that.

So, hey, if you want to write me a letter of recommendation, comment and I'll send you my address :)

No Pressure, as they say. Just, you know, if ya wanna.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you, veterans and all who currently serve

I wasn't able to fly our flag today, as it's been raining pretty steadily. I like this web site, though, and thought some of you might want to poke around a bit. We can't all serve, but we can support.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A day for mourning, but also for justice

The Ft Hood memorial is today,

and the chief DC Sniper will be executed tonight.

Yes, there is a connection. God help us all.

It's crap like this that makes me glad I named my blog as I did

The job interview yesterday? A Total Waste of Time. Oy. Good God. Hard even to describe. The interviewer and I basically agree on one thing, and one thing only: Career Builder can suck cheese, in some cases.

On the bright side, today is a new day and I can figure out my next plan of attack, career-wise, while taking our friend's advice and being thankful that for now, at least, I can devote the lion's share of my time to caring for my family and the house.

Also, I spent a few minutes fantasyshopping at The Galleria--and saw this skirt, at J.Crew, that Oh yes, it will be mine. You know, eventually, when I'm gainfully employed.

Also good: Sons #1 and 2 tore down the old, busted shed in our back yard. Chez Waste of Time is starting to shape up. And at some point the trees will run out of leaves and we can stop collecting them. I may spend some time on that project today. No guarantees.

Monday, November 09, 2009

It's gonna be a bumpy ride

I have a job interview, today. I am not 100% sure I want this particular job, but I am curious enough to make the drive and learn about it, you know?

Since I got the call to come interview (I won't call it Being Interviewed, as I have plenty of information to gather, myself) I have been thinking more than ever about how things are going to change--how they will have to change--once I am employed, and most likely commuting a far piece every day.

Yesterday, a friend stopped by. He saw me folding laundry and commented, "Be thankful. I have to go home and do that, too! I am so busy, now that I have a job again."

He'd been unemployed for several months. It's great to see him getting back on his feet.

"You're right," I said. "It's good I can do these things for the family, now, because when I get a job they'll have to fold their own laundry."

And that is the truth. If I am gone longer than the rest of the family, it is only logical that they will see that the hours I used to spend cooking and cleaning for them just are gone. They'll have to cut into their leisure time, a little, to care for themselves.

It's not like they don't know how. All of the Sons can do laundry, follow a recipe, run the vacuum, take out the trash, walk the dog, load the dishwasher: stuff like that. It's a natural progression, and will serve them all well when they move out on their own, which isn't all that far from now, either.

Hubby whipped his head around to stare at me, open-mouthed. "What? We'll have to WHAT, now?"

Hooo, boy.

Also, Son #4 is home sick, today. I kinda feel like my job interviews are little miniature chances to see what the New Boondocks are going to be.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The mysteries of being part of a largish family

Last night, son #4 was putting the OJ back in the fridge and talking to his brother. "I'm putting this away because I like OJ and I don't want it to go bad...does OJ go bad?"

Yep, put 6 people in a house and you will never have the opportunity to know if orange juice can go bad. It just goes away.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Actually, I feel pretty good about not doing that.

Today Career Builder sent me a list of job matches for which they thought I was qualified to apply. I get these lists from a wide range of job sites every day. Sometimes the matches they give me send me straight to the pits, thinking, "I only WISH I were qualified to do that job! But nooooo, I have a B.A. in English!"

Today, one of my matches was "gastroenterologist". And I thought, "Well, you know, I am not at all qualified for that one. But I think that is A-OK by me."

So, hey, all you gastro guys out there, enjoy your job. I am not about to compete with you for it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Stuff you learn in public school, these days

Son #1's history teacher: North Korea is not a nuclear power and we have no reason to be concerned about their nuclear weapons program.

Son #2's history teacher: Ronald Reagan was beloved by the American people because he was so liberal.

Son #3's class: Boys are not allowed to express pro-life opinions, because they will never give birth.

Son #4's class: getting pregnant in 7th grade is "awesome," because it means you have already had sex. And using words like "essentially" means your vocabulary is unnecessarily large.

Also: when you tell your parents this stuff? They basically have a stroke.

I should be in North Carolina

Yesterday Son #1 was invited to visit a university, go to a football game there, check out the campus. I drove him: up on the far side of Baltimore.

I got halfway home, when he called to say he'd left his wallet in my car. Because I am a mom (we spell that S.A.P.) I turned around and drove back. Then I drove home.

I drove 305 miles, yesterday. I should be someplace balmy.

But, hey, I get to go pick him up, today.

If I were smart, I would be exercising, this morning, to make up for all the time in the car. As it is, I am eating leftover Halloween candy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Personal Day, and some recommendations for your leisure time

I was discussing, yesterday, with 2 friends who are also looking for work, how the search can become all-consuming.

You find yourself thinking, "I can't take a shower, I need to apply for this job!"

"I don't have time to go to the gym, I need to revamp my resume!"

It is crazy-making, but feels totally logical from the inside, even though in your mind you know the problem is that you have no job.

No job, right? That should mean you have MORE time, not less. But as it is, ya don't.

So, today, I took a Personal Day.

I did not clean up anyone else's messes (although I did put my OWN stuff away). I applied for a few jobs, and then I did the only thing that will keep me from completely losing myself in job hunting and scut: I left the house.

Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics and I spent a big chunk of the day in front of a fireplace at a local restaurant. It's a great book, by the way, if you haven't read it yet.

I came home, did a little more job hunty stuff, and then took a walk around the neighborhood. Here are a few shots of the current state of Fall Color in the Happy Boondocks.

In other news: Hubby is at a band audition, and Son #1 is at band practice: he is now the single white member of a 16-member Christian Go-Go band. The music itself is not exactly his thing, but he's happy to be playing, and to be wanted. He just finished reading the graphic novel version of I Am Legend. He loved it and recommended it to me.

Son #2 has to have his wisdom teeth removed. He is reading Desperation, and so fits "I am going to kill you" into most everyday conversations. Between that and his eternal trench coat, the boy is bucking to get expelled. But he's a sweetheart.

Son #3 is still fascinated by mythology. "You know, Mom, you might have liked Odysseus. He was kind of an engineer. Or, at least, he knew how to build ships." This is the kind of thing he says, while eating dinner. He just finished Of Mice & Men, and I think he loved it almost as much as I do.

And Son #4 came home happy, for once: his Suspense Story was applauded by his entire English class. Hubby and I enjoyed it, too. He recommended The Skin I'm In, by Sharon Flake, and I agree: the dialog is well written.

On the cinematic front, Hubby and I finally got around to watching The Kite Runner. Enjoyed it, although I chose not to watch one particular scene. And Son #2 encourages all to see Paranormal Activities. So, you know, go do that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lotsa hunty, not so much gathery

Yes, I am still devoting my every waking moment (and plenty of my sleep time) to the job hunt. It is humbling.

On the bright side, several of my friends have been very reassuring--they remind me that LOTS of people are looking for work, and that I live in a kind of one-industry town at the end of a quiet peninsula, and that I have spent the past 18 years raising children instead of fostering business contacts, and that my part-time, freelance experiences really DO have some value outside of my own head, and that I will not be looking for work forEVER--my job is out there, I just need to find it, or create it. And I will.

Friends are telling me about jobs they think I might be well-suited for. They're handing out my resume. They're encouraging me to keep writing. One even put out a call on Facebook last night, so HER friends are contacting me with questions and advice.

It's not a job, but it is support from a broad and loving community. And for that I am grateful, today.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My theme song

Woke up, threw on some pants, woke the youngest Son, and fired up the computer for today's applyapalooza. I've been sending resumes all over, with little to show for it, since May. But, hey, the economy tanked right before I decided I was ready to look for a full-time job, so HA on me.

Son #1 saw me, he knows the score. So he started to sing this song...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Yet Another Reason For Sibling Rivalry

Son #2, this morning:

"No one in the world can get as far as Son #1 with just three words: 'Daaaaang! My God!' Set him loose in a room full of chicks, he says that, he'll come back with at least 11 phone numbers."

Monday, October 05, 2009

They Cancel Each Other Out

Yesterday we met my mother in law, Jesus Bill and another of Hubby's brothers for dinner. As I was getting ready to go, Son #2 said, "Some of your blog commenters are really attractive! Like Penelope. I mean, she's a MOM, and she's still very nice looking. I didn't think that was possible."

I gave him The Look. It requires one lifted eyebrow. And he continued, "Oh, I know, but you're not going to get any reassurance from me. You can get that from Son #1."

So, OK, Son #2 has put me in my place. Fine.

So then we met Hubby's family and that went fairly well. And as we left, Hubby's Mom said what she says to almost everyone, almost every time I see her: "Have you lost weight?"

It may be like "Have a Nice Day" or "Aloha" to her, but I'm taking it, OK? Just this once.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Workin' the Pathetic OR Sorry Anne Z, I'm really OK

I took out my contact lenses on Friday. For those of you who do not share a bedroom with me, this is a major life event.

I am laughably near-sighted. I have a hard time identifying my own children, without the lenses in, or at least my back-up glasses. And I hate my back-up glasses. So I tend to wear the lenses until my eyes spontaneously reject them. Then, I leave them out until my eyes stop stinging, or I can't stand it anymore, whichever comes first.

This means that when I do take them out, my eyeballs are in shock. They can't believe I expect them to go back to their original shape. It hurts. I become rather photophobic. And for the next week or so I tear up without warning, even when there is no accompanying pain.

I'm kinda used to it. Damp rag over the eyes in bed at night, kleenex at my elbow during the day, don't even bother with mascara.

All that is background.

Saturday I went to the library to pick up the last few episodes of Mad Men Season 2 (Hubby and I are HOOKED). Walking across the parking lot, I saw a woman I don't know all that well, but we like each other. Nice chick. We stopped in the parking lot for a few minutes to catch up.

As I was telling her that yes, all 4 boys are in school these days and yes, I have been looking for full-time work since May and no, I have not gotten anything remotely like a job offer and yes it is crappy what is going on with the economy at large, my right eyeball started its traditional leaking.

So, you know, I'm having this fairly serious conversation, with someone I haven't seen in months, and I am focused on that. Not so much on the sheet of tears rolling down my face. Because, you know, it's just what happens when I take my lenses out. And then I looked up and Anne was giving me The Look.

You know the one.

The look that says, "You're so brave, speaking so calmly when clearly you are heartbroken by your fruitless job search."

But of course at that point you can't say, "Oh, I'm not CRYING. I'm OK." because EVERYONE says that. It is as good as saying, "I am on the verge of suicide!"

So, I just ignored it, got my DVDs and went home.

Now, though, I feel kinda bad. What if Anne is worried for me?

All you local bloggy people, you know who she is. If you see her, please tell her I am fine. Still job hunting, but fine.

And by the way I wrote this entire blog post with tears, and a smile, on my face. I cannot WAIT to put those lenses back in.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My "best" career match

I've been searching for FT work since May. No dice. But most days I dive back into it for at least a couple hours, and most of the time I can keep a fairly upbeat attitude about the whole thing.

Today I got an email from one of the job search sites I frequent. They give me "best job matches" to pursue.

Today's best job for me? Manager of Sales, for some outfit in Boulder, Colorado.

So I guess I just need to hop on that plane today, huh?

That, or breathe into a paper bag.

"What's the big deal about a speech?"

The big deal is, it is not just a speech. It is a movement by the people entrusted to educate our indoctrinate them, instead.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ask, and it shall be given to you

"I need to think of something to blog about. I haven't written shit, lately."

Yes, that is what I said, day before yesterday, to Knot.

I swear to God, I knew, when this arrived in the mail, that my bloggy prayers were answered. America, you have lost your minds. Know how I know?

Pardon the lousy picture. It is an advertisement that arrived with some coupons. It explains the Cottonelle Ultra 3 Steps to Luxury.

Step 1: Dry---that would be toilet paper, familiar to all you westerners.
Step 2: Flushable Moist Wipes
Step 3: Dry AGAIN. Because apparently those wipes are SO moist, you need to revisit.

I'm sorry. I appreciate the value of a clean and non-stank rear end as much as the next person. But this is ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

George Orwell Saw It Coming, #672

On September 8, President Obama is going to speak to all public school students in the nation.

For those of you from Across the Pond, we've never had a President do this before. And for those of you who haven't read 1984, well, go get a copy.

Yeah, part of me is thinking, "Go get a copy before they wise up and ban it."

Update--I have since read that in 1991, GHWBush did address the nation's schoolchildren.

OK, so sue me: I had no kids at the time, was not in the school system myself, and I was also living overseas. But I stand by my general creeped-out-ness. Not really sold on the President asking my kids what they'll do to help him.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

So, What Do You Do, With All That Extra Time?

That is, apparently, the phrase that pays, this week. Because all 4 kids are in school, all day, for the first time ever.

I have stopped freaking out about it, which is good. Sons #3 and 4 have classes they like and classes they don't and #4 has even befriended someone he described as "the only girl in the entire building who does not curse." Clearly, she is a saint among middle-schoolers. Son #3 has already decided he wants to take German classes over the summer, so he does not lose what he's learning. Initiative, man, he's got it.

Son #2 is settled in, I think, although he tends to brush off most inquiries.

And Son #1 has collected 7 girls' phone numbers, so far. I remind him, on occasion, that he also has some school work he should fit in, while he's there. And he says he'll get to that. Probably. At some point.

As for me? I am carving out a schedule of sorts. Mainly that means I am taking care of stuff around here and searching for work, sending out my resume and making plans to do some more serious writing at some point. I've also managed to go out to lunch with Hubby twice (he is cramming in the Thai food) and get back into yoga, a little, because I need something to counterbalance the cycling class.

And after about 2:30, I am helping w/homework, printing stuff out, and signing rafts of pointless paperwork for the school, while making dinner and absorbing Teen Drama.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the Teen Drama. It is good to have a front row seat on our Sons growing up into strong, young men.

Today, I am pinned to the house until Fedex arrives. Which probably means I'll get a lot done around here.

And yes, for those who are wondering, yesterday I did find myself scrubbing the fireplace grout with a toothbrush. I think I am safe to work on non-houseworky things, huh? My God. I could really obsess.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School starts tomorrow.

Real school. For all 4 Sons.

I think I need to breathe into a paper bag.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Great movies to see without my parents

Hubby and I took the Sons to see District 9 this weekend. It was nothing like the (preachy, campy) movie we expected to see, but we all enjoyed it.

But, um...if no one ever says the F word again, I will not miss it, ok? And the Sons all seemed to think the nature of the violence was very shocking--although I think the previews we sat through before the film started were a lot more scary and gruesome.

Yes, there were some plot holes. And I could not shake the feeling that the entire movie was building up to something which did not arrive. But we liked it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And now, to convince you all I am crazy

Growing up, I did not wear sunscreen.

Suntan lotion, sure. SPF 4, I think, most of the time, when I was laying out or going to a theme park with absolutely zero shade for the day. Tanning oil, just as likely, because that stuff made you look all bronzey and sleek like you lived on the Riviera.

And yes, I am half Italian, but only half. I had a tendency to tan, but never get really dark, and I would burn on occasion, but generally just across the bridge of my nose, once or twice a summer. It was just no big deal.

Then sunscreen became CRUCIAL, according to everyone with any voice at all.

If we weren't using sunscreen we were CRAZY, right? We were going to get all wrinkly, and get skin cancer. Right? And God forbid you not slather your kids in the stuff every hour on the hour.

OK, so I did it. I became a sunscreen fanatic, just like everyone else.

Maybe 7 years ago, I noticed: I was burning EASY. At first I blamed it on a course of antibiotics I took. But then I wasn't on antibiotics anymore, and still burning to a crisp whenever I was in the sun for more than 20 minutes. I switched to SPF 30. No difference.

I blamed it on the famed hole in the ozone layer. I increased my SPF to 45. I continued to burn.

I blamed it on being Over Thirty-Five. I lost the ability to tan in any attractive fashion--any exposure to the sun for more than half an hour meant I would burn, no matter what, and probably get funky, irregular tan patches that looked more like dirt than the Bain de Soleil lady of my youthful memories.

Slather, slather, slather.

Then about 6 months ago my doctor discovered I have a severe Vitamin D deficiency.

Remember Vitamin D? The "sunshine vitamin"? Yeah, that one. My doctor said she is surprised to note that many of her patients are rather deficient.

She put me on prescription levels of Vitamin D. And I started ignoring the sunscreen, for the most part, and going out into the sun. On purpose. For an hour or two, in the middle of the day, with no sunscreen and no hat and no sleeeeeeeeves, even.

And I got a little sunburn, at first.

And then I started to tan. Kinda evenly, even. And I'm not really burning anymore, except, you know, at the edge of my clothes if I wear something closer-cut than usual.

I'm still on the prescription D, because even after all that AND a full course of the stuff I still test out as severely deficient. But I think I have pretty much given up sunscreen. And you know what? I feel better than I have in years.

Going out in the sun feels great. It makes me feel better physically and emotionally. I think I've been starving myself of Vitamin D and it has done me no good, only harm, all these years.

So, hey, maybe you should check your vitamin D levels.

Due dilligence: let me confess that there is no history of skin cancer in my family or hubby's, so I am not worried about any of that for me or the boys (who are thrilled that I no longer nag them to wear more sunscreen than they choose on their own). If I earn myself a few more wrinkles in my later years, I figure it is a worthwhile trade-off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To Be Fair

Today Son #3 and I went back to the registrar and got him registered. And she handled it all, in about 45 minutes, with apparent competence and all that. So maybe she is good, once she puts her "working person" hat on.

Still have to go back next week to schedule him for actual classes, but at least they are expecting him, on some level.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

See, now this is why we didn't want to be with you people

Sons #3 and 4 are entering the school system this year.

A few weeks ago, I realized, "hmmm, it is almost midsummer, I should register the boys." So I called the high school and left a message for the registrar.

"Hi, I have an incoming freshman who has been home-schooled since second grade so I need to make an appointment to register him. Give me a call."

No response.

A week or so later, I called again.

"Hi, I called last week about an incoming freshman who needs to register for school. Here is my home number and my cell number; I will come in with him at your convenience."

No response.

A week later, I called again, this time the main office.

"Hi, I have left two messages for the registrar, and the registrar's office has not returned my calls. Is there someone else I should call to make an appointment to come in and register my son, and make sure I have all his paperwork in order?"

No response.

I called the middle school and they said, "Oh, you don't need an appointment, just drop by." So I did. Got #4 all set up in maybe 15 minutes. Since they are in the same school district, I figured the paperwork the high school would need would be pretty much the same as the middle school. I had gone through this process with Son #1 and Son #2 in years past, as well. So I gathered everything, put it in an envelope, and this morning I said,

"Son #3, they are NOT returning my calls, so I guess we don't need an appointment, or if we do we're not going to get one, since school starts in less than 3 weeks. Let's just go."

So we did.

We went to the counseling department and the registrar was standing in the middle of the office, hand on hip, yakking about personal stuff with her coworkers. She looked up at me and said, "Do you have an appointment?"

"No, I've been calling for the past three weeks to request an appointment and no one has returned my calls."

"Sorry," she said. "I get, like, 20 to 30 calls a day."

(and three of those have been from me, this month, and could have just been ONE call, if you'd handled it the first time around, so I wonder how much of that phone ringing you bring on yourself by not answering the phone)

She said I could have an appointment. So I followed her back to her office, where she asked when I'd like to come in.

"As soon as possible. School starts in a little over 2 weeks."

She handed me a list of all the paperwork I need. Which I had, in my hand. I told her so. She offered to keep my envelope in her office, until our appointment tomorrow. Yeah, like I am going to give her my son's Social Security card and birth certificate to keep. Sure.

She reviewed the list of paperwork, again, and I again stated, "Yes, I have all of that ready for you whenever you are ready to process it."

A third time she pointed to the list, and enumerated the various things which I would need to

Then she asked for transcripts-or-equivalent, and I explained to her twice why I have them in an unfamiliar format, but that I have the information required by the state, and that I would give it to her at our appointment.

So, tomorrow Son #3 and I go back for our appointment, which will probably take all of 15 minutes.

I swear, though, that woman should be ashamed of herself for accepting a paycheck.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

Yes, Hubby and I have been married for 21 years. So, you know, even our marriage is old enough to drink.

Here's the #1 song for August 6, 1988, should you be either old enough to reminisce or young enough to think it interesting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Maybe not racism, but racial attitudes?

About 12 years ago, or so, the Sons visited my parents for a few days.
Yeah, that meant my parents had four children under the age of five in their house at the same time. It was, to say the least, an adventure.

Part of that adventure included the police.

Son #1 dialed the police; my parents had it on speed-dial, so he only had to hit one button. The police called the house, and my dad explained that no, they didn't need to come out, it was just his little scamp of a grandson who did not sit still until he was sound asleep (and even then there was no guarantee, dear God that child did not sit still).

A few minutes later, Son #1 did it again.

This time, the police did not call. They showed up. My father explained, again, that they were just a little overwhelmed with the grandkids, and they were sorry for wasting the police's time, and they'd move that phone up to where a 4-year-old couldn't reach it.

And the police said, basically, that's all fine, but we still need to come in and look around.

So, my Dad invited them in. They looked at the house. They looked at my parents. They looked at the 4 wilding children. They confirmed that all was as my father said it was. Because, well, if my Dad had been held at gunpoint he might have said exactly the same thing.

It is the police's job to take seriously any call they get. Someone reports a crime, the police have to investigate. And my parents, as mortified as they were at the time, were also well aware that the police were there to help them out. That their intentions were noble and honorable. That if things were different, my parents would have been beyond grateful for the prompt and thorough attentions of the police.

So when Henry Louis Gates was asked to step out onto his porch, after neighbors reported a break-in at his house (a second break-in, apparently--the police had been there before while Gates was on vacation) and he shouted, "Why, because I'm a Black man in America?"

Well, it makes me think that it was not the police behaving badly, but the citizen jumping to race-based conclusions.

Racism is real. People get judged because of the color of their skin. I'm not saying that is not true. But I just think that in this case the cops were not the racist ones. They were just trying to protect the home owner from repeated crime.

Yeah, "Mark", I'm talking to you

I've been in Dell Tech Support Hell for the past couple of weeks, trying to fix Son #4's computer. My joy is made even more full with the knowledge that when I finally get this one fixed, I am going to have to move on to Son #3's computer. Basically, I am spending every free moment, and a lot which are NOT free, on the phone with people with hard-to-understand accents and a script which requires I shoot myself or throw the computer off a cliff before they'll honor the return-to-depot warranty we've purchased.

First, I had to convince them it was a hardware issue. That took about 6 hours, over 2 days.

Then, I had to convince them that the part they sent was not compatible with the machine. That took a while.

Now, I am working on convincing them that the second replacement part they sent is STILL not going to fit into the machine. Because it is not built for the machine we own. Because the tech support guys keep sending stuff that is not designed for our system.

I do not need it explained to me. I do not need to run one single minute of diagnostics, or talk to anyone else other than a supervisor--someone who can put an end to this and just get things fixed.

And I keep requesting said supervisor, which gets me put on hold.

Which is a good thing, because I use the time on hold to cook dinner.

Everyone in Tech Support sounds Indian, or something. I swear, they do not make enough curry to reimburse me for my time.

So yesterday, in a desperate bid to SHOW "Mark" that the part he sent is physically different from the part I am trying to replace, I offered to take a photo of the 2 hard drives, side-by-side, and email it to him.

He said I could.

I took the photo.

I saved it in a folder which I then named in a fit of "I am trying to be civil but these people have sent me over the edge and it's not like they'll ever know anyway".

And then he said I could not email it to him. Instead, I had to let him control my computer remotely, and find the photo and look at it that way.

So, yeah, that is when I had to tell "Mark" to look for the photo in the file labeled "Dell Bastards".

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blues Jam

Fun, as always.

Hubby had the camera long enough to snap a few of these pictures, including a couple of me with a Son. Who knew I'd end up the kind of mom to take her kids out to bars on a Saturday night? I'm glad it's working out that way. And yes, those are my feet, in the Shoe of the Day.

Really, if you live within a couple hours of the Happy Boondocks, you should come out, some night. But for the rest of you, here's a taste: not a recording from last night, but a song I enjoy every time they play it:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I sorta won the dead pool

If you don't count all the people who died since we placed our bets (because none of them made it to our little familial list), anyway. Walter Cronkite is dead, and I did pick him.

I have fond (although, these days, vague) memories of Cronkite, but I have to admit that he started our mainstream news industry on a path it seems completely unwilling to leave: ignoring the facts to shape public opinion, so that public opinion would support a liberal cause, no matter what the tragic consequences might be.

RIP, though. Really.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And That's The Difference Between Me & Son #1...

Son #2 explained it, in a moment of exasperation this afternoon:

"Say you needed help with your homework, or something. I would help you with your homework.. He would grab your homework, throw it out on the lawn, and laugh at you. And you would have to go out there and find it, and if you did that much you would be committed to doing your homework. And you'd be a better man for it."

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. It also is a sparkling showcase for the next generation of familial sarcasm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Calvert Cliffs State Park

Yesterday I woke up with an urge to hike to the Cliffs, so Sons #3 and 4 and I spent the morning roaming. Perfect weather, and about 6 or 7 miles of nature walk. Had a good time. We found no sharks' teeth, but then my hopes were not all that high anyway.

Wanna see? Of course you do.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

I don't know him, I'm only driving him and laughing and we look alike

That is what I was thinking today.

Son #2 and I were in the car when we passed a guy in khakis and a dress shirt, biking down the road. He rolled down his window and shouted, "GET SOME SWEATPANTS!"

I just about bust a gut laughing. Because I am a bad mama.

Then tonight Son #1 and I went to the River Concert again (Rogers & Hammerstein) and he beat me in our weekly "how many people do you know here" game, 21 to 18. That was actually pretty impressive, for me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Ya see, Colin, not every one of us can just "keep in touch"

Remember when Colin Powell endorsed Obama, and then got all huffy about it? And couldn't understand why some people thought that endorsing a far-left Democrat might give people the impression that he was, on some level, not really the Republican he might once have been, or perhaps even that he was supporting Obama for racial reasons?

Now, Powell is not talking about Obama's "ease and calm" in decision making. He's concerned, these days, that Obama is easing-and-calming us into gigantic government programs we cannot run or afford.

Lemme 'splain it to you, Mr. Powell: Those of us who were against Obama before the election saw this coming. This is why we did not vote for him.

And maybe Obama can schmooze you, Mr. Powell, because you "keep in touch," but he is not talking to me, or millions of the rest of us. Not listening to us, and not charming the pants off us whenever we pick up the phone.

Maybe Powell was just too close to Obama to see the big picture.

Happy Independence Day

Last night I took Sons #1 and 3 to the River Concert Series. The music was great (50s stuff, Souza marches, the 1812 overture) but it was so crowded that the only place we could fit our 2 chairs was IN a garden bed, about 15 feet from the porta-potties.

We stayed for 2 hours, during which we watched people wait in line for the bathroom. All we could see was the bathroom line.

Son #1 noted that that actually provided a good view, on occasion. For HIM, I say. Not for me.

Then, this morning some friends in the neighborhood organized a parade. How cool is that? It was surprisingly well-attended and ended at the pool, with open swim & free hot dogs.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

To be fair, I thought he was already dead I don't feel ALL that bad that I did not realize Karl Malden was the next to go.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wanna join our Dead Pool?

David Carradine, Farrah, Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays.

OK, let me make a quick confession: unlike everyone in America, I really do not care.

I had no brothers, growing up, so Farrah Faucett's poster was not an important feature. Loved Charlie's Angels, I did, but...that's it.

I did not watch the Tonight Show or Kung Fu. Given the choice between TV and sleep, I almost always pick sleep.

And although I enjoyed the Jackson 5 and Off the Wall and Thriller, once the whole "child molester" stuff came out, I lost interest.

Billy Mays annoyed the living bejebers out of me, but I do buy OxyClean.

Today, the Sons spent a good bit of time Yelling at Each Other as an homage to Mr. Mays.

And then we got to thinking: Who is next?
Hubby picked: Billy Joel
Son #1: David Letterman
Son #2: Samuel L. Jackson
Son #3 George Foreman
Son #4 Billy Joe Armstrong
Me: Walter Cronkite

Clearly, some members of the family take this much less seriously than others. Samuel L. Jackson? Really?

So, what famous individual do you think is next to go?

Oh, and as for Shoe of the Day: I realized upon examination of my closet that the rest of my shoes are either winter-specific or appropriate only for the dance floor. So, y'all will just have to do without images of my fabulous feet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ahhh...sorta orderly

I did what I needed to for work, today, and then spent the rest of the day putting the house back together, with assistance from the Sons, who really should not blow smoke at me when I ask them to hold things together while I'm away.

It is 7pm and things are no worse than any ordinary evening, so I figure I'll reload the dishwasher and head out to a meeting that has intrigued me ever since I saw it in the paper a month or two ago: Free Market Economics Reading Group.

I didn't hear about tonight's meeting until today, and obviously the book everyone read is unavailable at the library (and I was sweeping birds' nests off the garage shelves, and making quiche, in any case) so I am going to the meeting like an ignorant ragamuffin.

But a ragamuffin with Interesting Shoes, anyway. These were just cheapie Wal-Mart clearance shelf shoes, but I have enjoyed them for 3 summers now.

Have you noticed? We Short Chicks enjoy a 4 inch platform, now and then.

Obviously, you are not a golfer

Yesterday I covered a golf tournament in Gainesville, VA.

I am sunburned and tired and the house is a mess, even though the boys assured me it was clean both times I called, yesterday afternoon, but I have to work on my article & the photos today so the house is going to stay a mess and I am going to stay tired and aloe vera is my friend.

And here is yesterday's Shoe of the Day: These, I love.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SOTD reprise: Red Sandals at Night

OK, I looked at the photo of today's shoes and just hate them.

Anyone want them? Worn twice, size 7. I think I have several other colors, worn once, by my mother. Honest, they are all yours...

So I changed into something better, to improve my mood

Hubby Holds a Bass, YOU Decide

Hubby ordered a new bass. UPS lost it.

MUCH wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

He called the company and they sent him a second bass. Then UPS found, and delivered, the original.

The joy has been overwhelming. Trust me. If you have a musician in your life, you know.

So now Hubby has two new basses and has to decide which one he wants to keep.

Musically, they are identical. Sterling by Music Man. He is in love. But does he want the jet black, or the honeyburst?

He asked my opinion and I can't really muster one.


Here they are>Which one should he keep? Which one goes back to the factory?

He has 45 days to decide, so please send all your musically inclined/design oriented/time wastey friends my way, so they can take a gander and vote.

(oh, yeah, and so they can become hooked on my particular style of bloggage. So send your friends with foot fetishes, too, as this is a great time to see shoes).

Speaking of: the SOTD. I do not like these shoes. Maybe I will like them in the fall, when they are not HOT. But as it is, they are not only hot, they are boring. They are another of the "Mom bought shoes she can't wear, so she passed them on to me" collection. We do not generally share taste in shoes, but these are OK for when I want to look boring and professional, right? I need to go someplace nice, so I can put on a cute, strappy sandal. Or maybe I'll just wear some cool shoes anyway...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Napkin Mafia is After Me

Today I went to the library. The parking lot is large (it's a pretty new library) and it was about 2/3 empty.

I turned into the spot I'd chosen; to my left, was a minivan. Its front and rear passenger doors were open, and a woman was standing in the doorway getting children out of the car.

To my right was the last space in the row, occupied by a very small car--like a Mini Cooper. Tiny clown car. It was parked waaaaay to the right side of its space, right near the curb.

So, to make room for the family on my left, and taking advantage of the space left by the tiny car on my right, I parked about 8 inches away from the extended open door to my left. Perfect fit all around, and as I said the parking lot was mostly empty in any case.

I went in to the library...browsed...decided, as I often do, that I probably have something at home to read, instead...picked up the book that was waiting for Hubby...went out to my car.

Where I found a napkin, tucked under my windshield wiper. Written on the napkin, in big capital letters:


I looked around: No one seemed to be watching my car. And, just as it had been when I arrived, the parking lot was mostly empty.

I'm not at all sure what the "warning" means. Should I bring the napkin to the library security guard and ask him to protect me and my car from violent threats?

Just, you know, FYI: Sometimes, when you come across a car parked in a strange position, it is because that was a safer, more courteous position than the traditional. Not everyone is intentionally parking to irritate.

Also FYI: My name is not Asshole. It is Christine.

Nice ta meetcha.

And the SOTD: Mom bought these, can't wear them, handed them off. Not my usual style, but comfy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday: Sneakers and Places One Cannot Sneak

Monday morning, and here are the sneakers:

And where can't you sneak? Lancaster, Penn.

Up until this morning, you said "Lancaster" and I would say "mmmmmm pretzels." Because that is where I went on a tour of a pretzel factory, as a child.

(trust me, "mmmmmmm")

Saw this, though, and thought, "Hmmmmm....Orwell."

I can understand the appeal of faster police response and less low-level street crime. But my concern is, what happens when someone with more, um, Progressive plans for Lancaster decides that other things should be reported?

Like that chick eating a cheeseburger in her car?
Or the guy smoking a cigarette?
(When medical care is run by the state, will those things become crime?)
Are the people of Lancaster opening themselves up to harassment for, say, congregating in a public area for a political rally or a religious meeting?

Right now, the people who run the system and the government officials who contract with them are all saying they only want information on crime. But this technology must be really tempting stuff. If the officials decide they really should be more hands-on about the way citizens live, what's to stop them?

What's to stop them putting those cameras in ever more intrusive places, too?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shoe of the Day: A Personal Challenge

I was talking with a friend the other day and mentioned that I pretty much always wear flip-flops in the house. And then I looked down at my flip-flops and thought, "Those things are tired.

And so, in the interests of happy feet, I am going to wear a different pair of shoes every day and post a photo here. Not that you care. Just because if I have to post a photo, it will encourage me to think about it, instead of just sliding into the shoes next to the bed and leaving it at that.

Here are the Shoes of the Day for Saturday night:

Kinda beat, but they match the stripe in my shirt.

And Sunday:

Also kinda beat, but a comfy, low heel perfect for being barely functional on a lazy Father's Day.

Sometimes, being a woman IS a qualification

Last night was Blues Jam. It was a quiet one, as often happens in summer. And although that disappointed a few people, the musicianship was on a decent level and fun was had by just about everyone. Also, as it turned out, I am very glad the bar was not full by the end of the evening.

I was driving. Since the accident, I am more aware than usual of things on the right-hand side of the car. Yeah, especially big, fast trucks that might want to jump out of the sky and crash into me. That's the only reason I can come up with for noticing the man on the side of the road, when Hubby did not.

He was lying in the ditch, his head resting in the gravel just a few inches from the line marking the edge of the road.

Hubby called 911 even before he reached the man. Fortunately, he was only passed out on the side of the road. He jumped up and started staggering away, arguing with Hubby.

"I'm not passed out, I'm on my way home."

Hubby explained that yeah, he was on his way home, and he should get in our car. But the guy was not having it. He was sure the police were coming, and equally sure that he was not all that drunk, he was just fine, Hubby didn't have to help him, everything was cool, he was not passed out or even sleeping on the side of the road, he was "just pissed off, so I left."

Hubby kept trying to get the guy to get in our car, as I slowly drove behind them with my hazard lights on. And I could tell: this guy was definitely not going to listen to Hubby. You could just see it in him:

"No way is this guy gonna tell ME I'm too drunk to walk home. I'm FINE."

He was oblivious. I don't think he even saw my car, behind him. And that is when it hit me: I have a secret weapon.

I leaned out the window and as sweetly as I could I said, "Hi, hon, can I give you a ride?"

"Sure. OK." And he hopped right in, as fast as Hubby could get the door open for him.

Turns out it was his 32nd birthday, and he'd been drinking since before noon, and had gotten into some sort of tiff at the bar we'd just left. It was a little after 1 a.m. He'd gotten about halfway home before settling, somehow, in the ditch by the side of the road.

Times like that, you don't need a man to help you. You don't need some guy making you feel like a lonely drunk on his birthday. What you need, maybe, is a woman.

I'm glad we were there.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I so needed this headline, a few weeks ago

"Mother fought off cougar..."

Because that is pretty much what I did.

Only I didn't save my toddler. I just deflected some unwanted attention from Son #1.

Honestly, the woman who was all giggly-stupid over him, at the orthodontist's office, is too old for Hubby, ok? She has the oldness. She has no reason to get all up in a 17-year-old's business, especially if said 17-year-old is in her workplace, and got there in his mom's car.

Am I painting a picture, here?

Son #1 was fairly oblivious. He just thought the woman agreed with everything he said, and sat really close to him, and laughed all the time, because he is a genius.

Yeah, Son #1 is a guy, alright. Were things reversed, I am sure a daughter would have, in the car, said, "Ewwww, Mom, that old man was totally hitting on me! Gross!"

Last week, I saw The Cougar again. I resisted the urge to tell her how very unprofessional and pathetic her behavior had been.

Honestly, though, Son #1 is stalked by cougars pretty much all the time. Women of a Certain Age need to get a grip.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yeah, well, so I'm well-rounded

Y'all are used to me raving about the latest blues jam or Hubby's rock bands. And it's true, that is the sort of stuff I listen to most of the time.

But then again.

Last summer I was sent on assignment to a local concert series: classical, opera, stuff I almost never listen to, etc. And I had a great time (although, yeah, I left when the opera started, because I just was not into that).

So, in the interests of Trying New Things Like a Grown-Up, I decided that I would consider returning this summer, if there was anything that piqued my interest.

And this Friday, there is. Dvorak, I like. And live, I think, would be tremendous, as I was much impressed by the sound system.

Now, we just have to hope it doesn't get rained out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pray for me

Today, as Hubby was leaving for work after coming home for lunch, he called to remind me that we have some overgrown vines in the front yard.

Oh, dear.

As you may recall, I got a wicked case of poison ivy a few weeks back. I'm still a tad itchy, even. I've been avoiding the yard like poison BECAUSE IT IS FULL OF POISON.

But he is right. The yard needs help.

And so, I am wearing long pants and long socks and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves, in the heat, hoping to protect myself. I'm only going to stay out there for one hour, to minimize the potential for exposure, because I have proven to myself that I could not identify poison ivy to save my skin. And then I am going to shower with dish soap, because I read that works.

After that I think maybe a sage smudge, and a couple times through the rosary, and I'll donate cash to Benny Hinn, and anything else y'all suggest. Because I hate poison ivy, but I don't need the yard looking like we are bucking for Rednecks of the Week, either.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why we are so darn fat, reason #632:

Two things you need to know about this picture:
The hand belongs to Son #2, who is 6'3" tall. In other words, it's a big hand.

The soda is a size "medium".

For all of you who have lost your jobs...

I'm shocked, really, to see it all over. This is nothing like anything I can remember, ever. I'm pulling for you, all of you.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sometime soon...

Son #1 will graduate, and move on. And I can see it, in the distance, in a way I could not, before. And I feel a little sad. Proud, happy, but sad.

And all that is normal.

But what am I going to do, when I am getting ready to leave the house, and I don't have someone who will give me an honest, gentle evaluation of my outfit?


Get ready, world, Christine is going to look kinda "off" when Son #1 moves on, because none of the other men in the house seem interested.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Presidential Oath of Office has penumbras & emanations too, now?

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

--the Presidential Oath of Office

"I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."

--President Obama, in Cairo this week

I keep looking for "Defender of the Faith" in there, but I just don't see it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Clearly, I need to update my gaming skillz

"Mom, you're the Tetris Wizard. It's sorta like the Pinball Wizard's sister."

Yeah, that is the kind of stuff Son #3 says, on a regular basis. Sad, really, because I have not played Tetris in a very long time.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Is that Ed Asner? Yes, it is.

Hubby spotted Ed Asner's voice yesterday, during UP. It always amazes me how he can identify people by voice, because that is something I almost never can do. Even people I know. Yes, I have had some awkward telephone conversations, over the years. Half of you sound exactly alike, I swear. I'm sorry.

But good grief you should go see UP. It is terrific. The texture of the animation is just precisely right. The characters are fun. There's plenty to think about, genuine emotion and adventure and ohmanthatmoviewasgreat.

Son #2 was intrigued by the inclusion of a couple of Asian characters (who didn't make a big deal about being Asian.)

Hubby was surprised that a Pixar movie could show blood. But, don't let that scare you. They're pretty good about sweetening all the danger so smaller kids don't have to worry.

Gotta warn you, though, about half an hour in, the Sons and I were all in agreement that it was the saddest, most depressing cartoon ever.

Yes, worse than Dumbo.

So, pile all your emotionally fragile friends into the theater and watch. It's a great movie.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Anticipation, Frustration, Obama-Nation

Anticipation: Two weddings, in eight days. e haven't been to a wedding in years (and that one was doomed at the altar, no doubt), and now we've got two. I am looking forward to bringing my camera to both, and also to contributing actual food to the wedding reception for one.

I have received my Food Assignment and I am on it like Paula Deen on a stick of butter. Oooh, yeah.

Frustration: I am NOT getting what I want, on pretty much all fronts, these days. The car is still in the shop, even though they were sure it would be ready yesterday. I keep sending out queries for work and get back, well, the sound of crickets. So far, this week, the dog has peed on my purse, three leather coats, and a carpet. AND YET I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO KILL HIM, or even want to. Hubby's band is defunct, and I have no idea what comes next on that one, so no dancing to slap bass for me anytime soon. I keep telling the Sons to handle their business and my reward is a general sinking feeling that I am becoming an ineffectual nag.

The Beach suggests I get an air horn and striped shirt, for handling all those episodes of Brotherly Love. I think she is a genius. Just gimme that whistle on a string.

About half of our CD collection has been bogarted by a Son, I guess. I keep opening cases and finding nothing. HOW DARE HE MISPLACE GEORGE THOROGOOD? That's just wrong. I may have to toss his room.

On the bright side, the poison ivy seems to be clearing up, Son #1 has been asking my advice on a very sweet project of his own devising, school is almost out and my nail polish is pristine, for once. (Honestly, a successful manicure does lift my mood. I am more girly than I thought, I guess.)

And the Obama-nation?
Well, I just am speechless. We are out of money? Shutting down businesses run by owners who did not contribute to Obama's election? Choosing a Supreme Court justice because she is a Latina? (Hey, maybe she's okay, but her job is to follow the Constitution. Don't need a uterus or a Compelling Personal Story for that.) I haven't been blogging on all this stuff because, well, I don't want to turn into a ranting nutbag, and Dhimmi Carter has that effect on me on a pretty consistent basis.

So, you know, I'll shut up now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Leaves of Three, Let it Be...More Specific

I swear to you, I look for poison ivy. I avoid it. So WHY am I covered in itchy spots?


Every summer, it happens. The weather warms up, I get all ambitious, and then this.

Honestly, poison ivy should have some sort of alarm or something. I want it to shriek when I come near. Clearly, anything short of that is not warning enough for me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day, I'm putting the flag out on the front porch, if it doesn't rain.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds

Or, at least I am to the carpenter bee community.

Son #1 found them in the gazebo this morning and so tonight, as the sun sets, I shall attack them with Raid!

I did give brief consideration to the possibility of letting them live. Carpenter bees are so pudgy and friendly and cute, you know. But by the same token, they are destroying our gazebo, which I love. So, well, tough toenails for the bees.

And, yeah, I figure I can write about the yard all I want, without fear of becoming a Gardening Blog, if I quote the Baghavad Gita.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cooperation, or Extreme Distaste

We have two cats: littermates.

Generally, that means we have one cat outside, and one inside. It is as if they have coordinated a schedule. Often, they will meet in the doorway, one going out, the other coming in. They'll give each other a quick sniff and go their separate ways.

The way I see it, this can mean one of two things.

Either they cannot stand each other (which is possible, as I get the impression that Ellie is kind of a demanding jerk).

Or, they have taken it upon themselves to guard our perimeter against mice, songbirds, squirrels, koi, snakes, baby bunnies, mummies and other things that require killing, 24/7. This is also a strong possibility, as they both seem to take their jobs very seriously.

It's just one of those situations when I wish I could listen in on their little cat conversations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When I die, I am tracking down George Orwell

Because that man was awesome. Truly awesome.

I have always loved Animal Farm and 1984, and recently told Son #2 that he had (HAD! NOW!) to read 1984. I scoured the house because I know we had a copy but it was gone...

Anyway. Found a copy of 1984 on Freecycle, told Son #2 to read it and then promptly holed up in my bedroom with it for the next couple of nights, because I LOVE IT SO MUCH AND I COULD NOT HAND IT OFF.

It's a great book. If you haven't read it yet, please, do not continue suffering. Read it. Love it. Discuss it.

I have probably read it 7 or 8 times, over the past 25 years. And so, well, there are parts of it, the reading of which is almost liturgical, for me. I know what is coming. I relish it. I expect it. It is fulfilling.

But then there is that one scene which sends a chill through me, every time. Did it again, this past week. I am not going to tell you which scene, because Son #2 is still reading.

Yesterday I started reading Burmese Days, another Orwell book but one I'd not read before. I am loving it, too, partially because

(oh geez, here she goes)

it reminds me of Thailand: the scenery, the culture, and the obnoxious attitudes of so many of the foreigners. Can't wait to see how it goes.

Had a great conversation with Fiddlin' Writer, today. She makes me want to write--makes me remember I want to write. Thank God for inspiration.

Oh, and I just fired up the grill for the first time in probably 2 years. Burgers, baby. And char.