Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I didn't forget that today is All Hallow's Eve, the eve of 2 of my very favoritest days on the calendar, All Saints and All Souls. Ah, the time when my Celtic ancestors believed that the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest, allowing for easier travel, if you will, between the two.

I've already told you my one and only ghost story so I'll suffice with this, my favorite ghosty song. Plus, there's an added creep factor if you happen to be one of those weird people who finds Kate Bush scary:

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On Second Thought

The Hat and I had many interesting conversations yesterday. There were themes. It all owed to the fact that both of us wrote posts yesterday about which we felt awkward. She deigned to step outside of her light and fluffy box and comment on politics. I confessed to hating a kid.

Hat and I have talked before about our tendency to "self-censor" on our blogs and sometimes even our comments on other folks blogs. There are things I choose not to discuss in my blog. That's one thing. But there are other things that I sometimes want to say but don't because of what I'll call the Kerfuffle Factor. It's not that I'm so insecure in my nuanced views of some issues that I couldn't debate them, but I'm disinclined to debate. I'm afraid of a smackdown if someone disagrees with me (well, maybe a little I am, but just a little). Rather, it's that I find the forum of bloggy comments to sometimes be limiting in regards to real, authentic debate. What happens is this: you write something on your blog. I don't agree. Am I really going to come over to your house and tell you that I think you're a fundamentalist atheist or a wild-eyed liberal or a neanderthal wing-nut neo-con? Of course not. It's your blog. You have a right to your opinion. But the fact is, if I read your blog every day, it's because I like you. I enjoy your presence in this bloggy little community of ours. I'm not very often inclined to challenge your stated views because I don't want to rile up anyone. What's the point?

Discourse in Blogtopia is, I think, a different beast than in real life. If we were sitting in my living room having wine and you said something to which I took exception I'd be more inclined to offer a different view. But that's because we could look each other in the face, hear each other's tone, access all those physical clues that make it possible to disagree and still like each other. The black and white of the comment section makes that all a little more difficult. For me, anyway. And for The Hat, too. Which is what we talked about.

There was some rousing conversation on her blog post yesterday. None of it was mean or ill-intentioned (although I did take exception to the accusation that all Americans drive Hummers. I so don't. And neither do you). But it was rousing. A good bit of back and forth. And it made The Hat edgy. Because she likes everyone to be happy and get along. And again, people were getting along, but the mere fact that she'd opened things up to debate made her uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, over here, I vented about a horrible little girl. You all came along for the ride, imagining with me her deserved and bleak future, pledging to join a bitch slap party. It was gratifying. Until I started feeling bad about it. I mean, yeah, she probably isn't going to amount to much if she keeps this up but holy cow. I'm a grown up, allegedly. I'm a Christian. I'm supposed to be all about the tolerance and forgiveness and peacemaking. And I didn't do a very good job of that yesterday. Which started making me feel bad.

I am, I admit, a bit excitable. I can rant and rave with the best of them. I've never liked that about myself, but it isn't something I've been able to get much of a handle on even as I've gotten older and supposedly know better. Self-restraint, calm in the face of agitation, I admire that in a person. Being able to not get kerfuffled is an art. It doesn't mean one doesn't care or isn't passionate. But it is possible to feel deeply and still act and speak in a way that is thoughtful and has the power to ameliorate, to pour fragrant oil on troubled waters.

Two people did that yesterday. On Hat's blog it was Sling, who said:

Great post Hat! An Edwards/Obama ticket would be great way to bring this country around to the idea that the status quo needs to change....However..I'm too damn old to wait!I would love to see an in your face, break all the rules, flush the whole damn thing and start over, Hillary/Obama ticket...Really. I agree with you that fear breeds fear, which is why I think electing those two would get the people of this country back on the offensive where we belong. A statement that says that maybe we actually practice all that tolerance and equal rights rhetoric we preach. (any room for me behind that curtain?).

On my blog, it was Iwanski, who had this completely humbling thing to say:

Don't worry about slapping the princess. The universe will slap her around plenty. Hopefully, she will take her slaps and learn from them, becoming a great person and one of the Child's future best friends in the 12th grade.

Now be clear: I love all of you. I love what each of you offers, whether it is passion, support, edge, humor, recipes and/or outrage. I learn from it, am challenged by it and think you should all just keep keeping on with whatever you are doing in your bloggy world. I'll bring pie. But that said, I have to give snaps to those two guys for their roles here in Blogtopia.

Sling strikes me as a very calm fellow. He thinks plenty deeply and a strong sense of right and wrong. He'd kick your butt if you truly deserved it. But he has a way of expressing his views that is not confrontational or arrogant or self-righteous or any of those other sorts of things. With love and quiet humor he respectfully says what he thinks and then blithely moves on.

Iwanski is one of those rare folks who manages to always see the side that no one else bothers to mention. His perspective is unique. He can get his Irish up as much as the next guy but he is so kind-hearted, so self-deprecating, so humble that he rarely ever makes you feel a fool. Or rather, I felt like a complete fool after reading his comment yesterday but only because I had the good sense to see the error of my ways, not because he was pulling some holier-than-thou schtick on me.

So Hat and I were discussing all this last night and going on for some minutes about how much we love and respect these two guys and then it hit me. We live in such a bitterly divided society right now. Everyone is right, everyone is wrong, the vitriol flies and the vast majority of us in the middle sit quietly on our hands because it seems impossible to engage in a meaningful way. We are desperate for leadership, desperate for truth telling, tired of feeling horrible and embarrassed by what our nation has become. We are exhausted and a little sad. We need someone to lift us up out of that and push us on to being better than we've become.

There are good candidates on the Democratic side and I suppose the Republicans in the group feel equally confident about the worthiness of some of the folks on their slate. But there is still plenty of time between now and the first primaries. I would like to propose a new ticket, a ticket composed of good men, well-intentioned men, men who drink beer, make people laugh and have sweet, shiny eyes. Ladies and gentleman:

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Wanna Slap Somebody

Have I mentioned that I hate other people's kids?

Maybe hate is too strong a word. Although I admit that I do sometimes hate them. "Disinterest" in other people's kids is probably better. There are those I can tolerate, mostly because I like their parents enough to tolerate them. There are some that I like pretty fine because they show signs of eventually amounting to interesting adults. And I've even loved one or two. But then there are those others....

There's a girl in The Child's class. She's an archetype. You all had one in your class, too. She's pretty and shallow. All that is sloshing around in the inch or so of her shallowness is her murky ego. She thinks, as the kids like to say, that she is "all that". And she's mean. Stupid mean. Unnecessarily mean. Mean because she can be. She's followed around by her slavish little minions (this week's word, apparently), who don't really like her but who tolerate her because in their tiny little minds hanging around with her gives them some sort of (questionable) cache.

I hate this simpering little fake of a princess. I'd as soon knock the smirk off her face as look at her.

She's on the volleyball team with The Child and of course, she thinks she's the greatest volleyball player known to humankind. Once upon a time she might have been. However, she is one of Bad Coach's pets. In his mind she can do no wrong, even when she does. If The Child misses a ball he yells at her from the sidelines. If Princess Smirk spikes a ball into the net (which she does with alarming frequency) he laughs. She's gotten very sloppy because Bad Coach doesn't coach. I digress.

Yesterday at practise they were playing against the 7th grade team. A ball was coming at The Child. The standard in volleyball is that if the ball is coming at you and you don't have to move, it's your ball. Another girl played up, however, and hit it instead of letting The Child go for it. Now the girl in question is a perfectly nice kid. I like her fine. I suspect she wasn't playing up for any reason except she saw the ball coming and figured she'd go for it. But after this little incident Princess Smirk apparently yelled, "I don't care if you have to knock her out of the way. Pretend this is football. But GET THAT BALL!"


Not the first time she's displayed that sort of attitude. There are only 2 other people on the team that Princess Smirk doesn't play up on. Because she's an egotistical little creep like that. But because she actually put that attitude into words last night it really wounded The Child.

This morning I gave her a little pep talk. I told her that unfortunately there are always people like that in the world but that the difference between her and Princess Smirk is the fact that The Child, despite some of the rocky and painful things that have happened to her at the hands of other kids, has a good, strong sense of self. I told her that fundamentally Princess Smirk didn't have that kind of confidence because if she did she wouldn't have to act like that. I told her that as long as she believes in herself it doesn't matter what the Princesses of the world do and that, in fact, the reason Princess is like that to her probably owes in some part to her recognizing that The Child does feel good about herself and Princess is jealous. I also mentioned that if you believe in yourself you can do anything and that consequently, unless she gets over her bad self, Princess isn't going to amount to much. (Between you and me, I predict she's knocked up by a football player before she's 21 but I didn't say that to The Child).

All I got from The Child was the requisite "I know". But I hope what I said resonated in some part of her little heart and helped.

Stupid Princess. I want to slap her.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Party, Party, Party

Friday was the school Halloween carnival.

I was a goth witch.
I had a minion.
The party was fun, especially the Hall of Horrors, wherein I was the Swamp Witch and made kids cry. But my favorite part of the evening was when I went outside to yell at all the kids who were too cool to be inside at the carnival. I adore yelling at other people's kids. I really do.

Saturday was all about The Spouse's 50th birthday party, which was a Rat Pack theme. The food was plates full of retro yumminess like Chex mix, relish tray (huzzah for baby gherkins), mixed nuts (which could also apply to the guests), and the things I took pictures of:

Cheese Ball with Triscuits

Stuffed Mushrooms

Devilled Ham Pinwheels (the Neighbor made these).
Pigs in a BlanketRumaki (the kind with water chestnuts because I'm not a fan of the chicken liver unless someone else has reduced it to a nice little pate with good mouth feel). Credit where credit is due, this was The Child's contribution.We had apple pie because The Spouse is not a huge fan of the cake and he does love him some apple pie.I made 3 pies. What a shame. There was 1 1/2 left over. Shame, shame. Or as I like to call it, "breakfast".
Because it was a Rat Pack-y theme, The Neighbor and I wore lacquered do's:
Sometimes I think we are just the cutest things on God's green earth.

Also, as history has long borne out, an upswept do is the perfect perch for a tiara.

There were gifts. Mostly single malt scotch, because when in doubt with The Spouse, that's the way to go. The key exception to this gift-giving theme came from The Boys, who are now The Spouse's favorite people in the world EVER. They gave him an iPod nano. He almost cried.

You know what stinks? Aside from the fact that he is now using possession of same to torture The Child? The stinkiest part of the stench is that I had been desperately casting about from some grand gesture, like the one he'd pulled off for my birthday, and I couldn't come up with anything. So when The Boys asked me if he'd like an iPod I should have said, "Oh, darn, I'm already giving him one. Get him some scotch" and stolen the idea but I am apparently not that devious as I only figured this out last night. Dammit.

I gave him scotch.

Anyway, a pleasant time was had by all. There was the requisite blowing out of candles

and midnight toasting

and now I'm just very thankful that we don't have to have 2 big back-to-back blow out celebrations for another 10 years.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Oh, So Poetic

If you've heard this song before it's probably because it's used in a commercial. But they play it on the pop station The Child listens to and I like it. I especially like the lyrics of the chorus. It's all inspirational and crap but sometimes that message about living your life to the fullest and how you are the only one accountable for your life, well, it just can't be heard often enough.

This has actually been a hell of a week, people. I've been faced, in a number of ways, with the fact that my priorities have gotten completely outta whack, with the resulting stress and unhappiness that comes with that. Plus I found out that my BIL (Martha's husband), who had surgery for a melanoma a few months ago, was found to have a tumor in his lymph nodes. Which basically puts a big giant question mark on how much longer he'll be with us. (Never mind that we're all born with a death sentence...he's only 50). It's been a week of reckoning with largish issues and while I've still not re-prioritized 100%, I know what needs to happen. This tune fits my mood perfectly and it's my jukebox so I'm a'gonna play it. Hope you enjoy it, too.

Natasha Bedingfield: "Unwritten"

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Place Holder

There are 2 people in the world who count on my posting first thing in the morning. One is The Spouse, who has specifically requested I post by 8 a.m. because then reading me is one of the first things he can do after settling in at the office. (Isn't that sweet and supportive of him? Really? Because I'm sure there are many people who are connected to bloggers who think it's all a little silly or a waste of time or whatever and The Spouse totally gets why I do this, what I get out of it and furthermore, has very much enjoyed the Blogtopians he has met along with me. And yeah, he blogs, too, but we all know he doesn't do it with the same sort of regularity he expects of moi but that's ok because he's out winning bread and making movies. Digressing here).

The other person clearly wishes to remain anonymous because he/she (I'm super good at protecting identities) has been reading for some time now but he/she never leaves a comment. He/she instead just emails me. Which I rather like because I wouldn't have my email on my blog if I didn't want people to email me. Point is, I have recently learned that he/she reads at around the same time in his/her day, each day, because he/she emailed to make sure I was ok the other day when I had posted somewhat tardily.

Oh, those people, you say. Telling you what to do like that.

Au contraire, mon ami. That is EXACTLY what I was hoping for when I first started this blog. After two years of writing a regular column for the school newsletter with deadlines and an editor and everything (except, you know, money, fame and syndication) I moved The Child to a new school, the gig went away and there I was, just getting started on a "body of work" and then left to my own devices. Which is not a good thing because my devices are rather like the clockwork of a toy you found in your grandmother's attic; all the bits may be intact but unless someone is there to wind it up, it just sits collecting dust.

I need to be wound up. Not in a "Holy crap, did you see this in the Times today?" sort of way. Although sometimes that works.

What I mean is that no matter how much desire or vision I can possess, I am a procrastinator of the worst order. Don't believe me? Ask The Hat. Ask The Neighbor. I procrastinate about things I don't love but I also procrastinate about things I do love. So knowing that there are people who count on having a little "Here's the Thing" with their morning coffee or whatever they are having at the time, gets me motivated to write instead of spending the first hour of my day cruising the interwebs and generally fiddling around. I am very grateful for that motivation and accountability. Thank you, Spouse and Person Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous.

Now if I could just figure out how to wind myself up for every other area of my life that seems to be sitting stalled at the moment. Creak. Creak.

(I am amused right now because I was just going to write a quick "hey, I know you're expecting something but the morning is a little busy and I might not get to it right away so don't worry 'I sneezed'" sort of post....hence the title... but then I actually got inspired to write something. I'm not saying it's a profound something, but it's mine and it goes to the heart of something that has been weighing on me in unique ways lately).

This is the smallest sort of example of the phenomenon but I've noticed that about can start out with an idea but once you get going you may end up in places completely other than you intended or expected.

Anyway, seriously, I've got too much to do this a.m. Deep thoughts must wait until later)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How Amusing

As a family we're a fairly amusing lot. When we're not heaving crockery at each other and slamming doors, we can be pretty darned funny. Certainly, we find ourselves entertaining. I can only assume that most of the laughter that comes from our friends is a sincere "golly, gosh that was funny" laughter as opposed to pained "heavens, if it wasn't for the fact that they ply us with food and drink..."

One thing I've figured out about my own humor is that it's more reactive than proactive; which is to say, I don't walk around dripping with bon mot (not to be confused with bon bons, which I sometimes do drip) or instigating high hilarity. I'm not a comedian. But if you say something funny, I'll probably be able to keep the merriment going, a call and response sort of humor, if you will. And, I suspect, if I'm being really, really funny it's because you were funnier to begin with.

I wish I had what it takes to write something like that Colbert thing I linked the other day. Or this bloggy piece by Dick Cavett (who, btw, I just adore with all adoration). Cavett writes like he talks and this piece is classic Cavett: funny, subtle and brilliant.

But to be able to write like that I would have to have a writing partner who started me off and to whom I could respond. Which, let's face it, worked for Nichols and May, for Buddy and Sally. (Hi, this is me, dating myself).

How funny are you? (I know the answer to this; I just want to see what you think).


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A True Story

The best elementary teacher I had was Mr. Yoder, 6th grade. He was an institution, a legend. Students looked forward to being in his class. He was kind and firm. He was innovative. He loved teaching. He loved kids.

It was Mr. Yoder who opened my eyes to art. Every week he'd hang a print in the back of the classroom. Throughout the week, when we had some free time, we were to go spend time with the painting and fill out a questionnaire. Some of the questions required looking up information in the art books he kept beside the painting. But other questions were subjective: "How does this painting make you feel?" "Do you like it? Why or why not?" Then on Friday we'd talk about the painting. Heady stuff for a classroom full of framer's kids, illegal migrants and Russian immigrants.

(My favorite painting that year was Van Gogh's "Starry Night'. When I finally saw it for real at MoMa, many years later, I stood in front of it and cried, partly out of gratitude to Mr. Yoder).

Mr. Yoder also believed that Friday afternoons were worthless for teaching so after lunch, we'd play. Trix tops were big that year (anyone remember those?) We'd have races to see whose could spin the longest or travel the farthest. We'd do art projects. We listened to music. (You could bring in your own 45s to play. "Crimson and Clover". Over and over).

Every Monday we were given a creative writing assignment, due on Friday, when we'd read them aloud to the class. If I'm ever published, Mr. Yoder will get a dedication. Under his tutelage I realized how much I loved to write. He gave me so much encouragement, praising my work, urging me to keep it up.

He also never gave us homework on Wednesdays because he knew most of us attended one of two Mennonite churches in the area and he didn't want homework ot interfere with our attendance at Bible Study and choir practise.

He never yelled, laughed a lot and always had time to explain, listen, encourage.

I loved Mr. Yoder.

The next year he took the dramatic step of switching to 3rd grade. He was getting on in years and thought the younger kids would be easier on him. My sister, Martha Stewart, was in his class. Halfway through the school year, he was out golfing one day, laid down on the green and died of a heart attack.

He was the first person I'd ever lost. It was a shock. He was only 60. He had grown children, one who had gone to Canada to dodge the draft. (He could have claimed CO status because Mennonites are pacifists but he felt so strongly about the war in Viet Nam that he didn't want to take the easy way out). He couldn't come to the funeral, of course, but someone read a letter he'd written, praising his father.

One night, maybe a week or so later, I had a dream about Mr. Yoder. In the dream, he was standing outside of the gym. A pep rally was going on. My friend Sharon and I were trying to get in but he wouldn't let us because we hadn't been excused yet. We were laughing and joking with him, trying to inveigle our way past him but he wasn't having any of it. At one point I said, "Hey, you can't keep us out of there. You're dead".

He gave me a really funny look, a look that, in my dream, scared me. I woke up with a start. I looked at the foot of my bed, and Mr. Yoder was sitting there. He was looking out my window. He looked just like himself except that he was, well, ghostly white and transparent. I could see the wall on the other side of him.

Needless to say, I was freaked out. I was horrified to think he might try to address me. I closed my eyes tight and rolled over, casually, pretending I was still asleep. I'd just moved into this particular room, which had been inhabited by my brother and had wall paper coverd with medallions that featured Revolutionary War soldiers. I opened my eyes and looked hard at one of the soldiers and stayed that way until dawn. Once the light crept into my room I was sure Mr. Yoder would be gone and I could fall back asleep.

I didn't tell anyone about this experience, for the longest time. Usually, I'd only tell it if someone else told a ghost story first. I knew it was real, knew I hadn't been dreaming it, but who's going to believe me, right?

The only thing was, I could never figure out why he'd come to me. He didn't say anything (thank God), didn't look at me. He'd lived a pure and blameless life. My theory about ghosts was something on the lines of them having unfinished business and I couldn't make that fit with Mr. Yoder. It always bugged me a little that I couldn't figure that out.

Over 10 years ago I was sitting with my mom and sisters at Thanksgiving. We started talking about angels and telling angel stories. (There are a surprising lot of them in our family history). I didn't have any of my own but I finally decided that it was time to tell them about Mr. Yoder's visitation. I told the story, just as I've told it to you and Martha Stewart said, "Oh, you've told that to me before".

I was sure I hadn't because I could pretty much count on one hand the number of people to whom I'd told it so I said, "No, I'm sure I haven't".

"Sure you have," she said, "I remember you telling me how he was sitting on the end of your bed and how he looked...." Her face turned white and her eyes got big. "Oh!" she said, "It wasn't you! It was Betsy".

Betsy had been her best friend in third grade and Mr. Yoder was Betsy's godfather. And then I started to cry a little because I finally understood why Mr. Yoder had come to me. He was making the rounds of all the kids he'd loved the best, the ones he thought might have had the hardest time with his death. He was just checking in. Which was a very nice, if unsettling, thing for him to do.


Monday, October 22, 2007

My Evil Plan

This has been in the works for thirteen years now and I'm happy to announce that it's ready to launch. I am going to ruin The Child's life. These are the steps by which I will endeavor to do this:

1) I will insist on honesty. Sneakiness, lying and omission of key information will be punished.

2) I will make her do her homework, make up missing assignments and study, EVERY DAY (bwahahaha) for her high school entrance exams. Not only will I make her do all this, I will not allow her to watch television, play on the computer or talk on the phone until she has done so.

3) I will feed her 3 healthy meals a day and allow her to snack on nothing but fruits, veggies and cheese.

4) Bedtime will be strictly enforced. I don't care if she decides that there is a project she simply must finish, a phone call that just has to be made or a television program that she'll just die if she doesn't watch.

5) Not only will I insist that she put away her clean laundry, I'm going to make sure she lays out her clothes for school. Every day.

6) I do not listen to her and I never understand. This is intentional.

7) Even though she is the only teenager in America without a cell phone, I will not give her one until she is in high school. It's not just that she doesn't need one, it's because I'm mean like that.

8) My guiding principle, in all of the above and anything not herein covered, is this: I'm the worst mother in the world. I do not want her to be happy. I do not want her to succeed. I don't care. I don't love her. Being unfair is my modus operendi. Everything I do, from chauffering her everywhere to demanding respect, is predicated on the simple fact that it is my job to make her life miserable and by God, I'm going to do it. Don't believe me? Just ask The Child. She'll back me up.

Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Ed Sullivan!

You know that song from "Bye Bye Birdie"? Well you should.

Ed Sullivan is so venerable he should be a koihead. But I must beg to differ with him. Much as I love them, calling these guys a "rock group" is quite a stretch.

Anyhoodles, this is for The Hat. And it's awesome.

And I'm still crushing on the bass player.

And that is all the time I'm going to spend on YouTube today because I have to start prepping for the Autumnal Feast tomorrow night which is, as you know, no small undertaking.

The Association "Never My Love"

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Thank heaven for The Neighbor. I was really tempted to play another song by The Association but didn't want to be accused of YouTube overload. But she pretty much requested this. What am I going to do, right? Who'd I have cocktails with if I ticked her off?

I suspect this performance was lip synched because it sounds EXACTLY like the record (but not because they mess up, like Britney Spears).

Also, for the record, I now officially have a crush on the bass player.

The Association "Cherish"

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Take Me Back

There was a plan. A good plan. A good song. A completely different direction than what you are about to see. But as it happens, this was the song on my mind this morning and since there was in fact a video clip of this classic on the vastness that is YouTube, up it goes.

Just a few notes:

We had this album when it first came out & I loved this song.

I have always been, and suspect will always will be, a sucker for harmonies.

There may be those of you who have never heard of this group or this song. If so, I feel a little sorry for you.

Also, you must be REALLY young.

The bass player is yum-mee.

The Association "Windy"

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just 'Cause I'm Completely Self-Indulgent

A blustery morning turned into a rather windy afternoon.

We lost power at about 3 o'clock.

I followed all the necessary steps, learned after the Big Blow:

Turn off computer.
Get out flashlights and candles.
Keep refrigerator closed.
Call Neighbor so she makes sure to come right home after work so we can start drinking.
Call Hat.
Call JP.
Instruct aforementioned bloggers to please post something on my behalf tomorrow if I haven't posted by 9am. (Because between the 2 of them I think everyone on my blogroll is covered).
Imagine self in cold and dark for days.
Put perky face on situation for Child.

The power came back on at about 6:30. The house is warm, the fridge is humming, nothing in the fridge/freezer went bad and I'll be able to watch "The Office" tonight.

Life is good.

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Smelly Cat. Everybody!

The official video:

Phoebe's real voice:

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Batten Down the Hatches

Predictions abound for a big wind storm today. Usually, I ignore the weather people. Especially weather people on the local news (which also sucks) because they have a tendency to be, oh, what's the word? Hysterical. "Snow in the forecast! How will it affect your commute!?!" (Translation: there will be a normal snowfall of 1 inch. In the mountains. It might rain where we are. Maybe. But hey, this is Seattle. Predicting rain is like drinking coffee. We do it all the time. What's sexy about that?)

But after the Big Blow, I gotta admit, this makes me nervous.

There is good ground coffee in the freezer. I know where the can opener is. The corkscrew is still manually operated.

I'm hoping that by saying this out loud it'll all, uh, blow over. 'Cause I'm practical like that.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Begging the Question

Alright, so a number of you commented on this morning's post about the NY Times. But not a single one of you made any reference to the link within. Maybe I was too subtle. Lord knows, I'm accused of that all the time. So just in case you missed the fact that my entire post was just a run up to getting you to read something fabulous, let me run it again.

Please. Go read THIS.

You can thank me later.

And btw, "this" is actually a very funny looking word.

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A Not So Personal Note to JP

Since "the dog" ate your keyboard, I thought I would illustrate the profound point I made on your blog earlier today. Which is that the opening credits of "Friends" did, in fact, change over the years. Thank you.

Season 1

Please note, goofy dancing in fountain. No clips.

Season 6

Goofy dancing, interspersed with clips. Different clips than you'll see in the next video, which for reasons known only to myself, is out of order chronologically.

Season 3

Note, sweeping shot of NYC BEFORE goofy fountain dancing commences.

If only I could have found the clip where everyone was an Arquette. Good times.

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A Not So Personal Message to Kimberly Ann

Darling, I love your blog. But you new template doesn't seem to like me and freezes up my computer. That's why I haven't been commenting this week. Just thought you should know.


All The News That's Fit to Print

I started my day, as I frequently do, with a cuppa coffee and the NY Times, which I read online.

(We subscribe to the Seattle Times, which I don't read except maybe on Sunday, sometimes. The Spouse reads it on the bus. Then he brings it home and gives us "the quiz"...some goofy little "test your knowledge" thing. It's a dinner time game. And then he tosses it into a big basket behind his chair that eventually freaks me out so I dump it in the recycling. My point is that I sometimes advocate for dropping our subscription but he won't hear of it because he likes the comics. Even though I'm pretty sure he could find every one of them on line, for free).

Reading the NY Times isn't something I do to feel superior to my Seattle Times reading husband. It's just that the local paper doesn't do much of a job of international issues or national politics and that's the stuff in which I'm interested (even though blah blah, all politics is local, blah blah). Plus, the NY Times does reviews of plays and musicals that I'll get to see in 3-5 years when they finally get around to touring all the way out here. And the NY Times has really good columnists.

For a while there, you may be aware, the NY Times was trying this thing called "Times Select", wherein if you wanted to read Maureen Dowd or Paul Krugman or David Brooks you had to sign up, pay money and then and only then could read them online.


I was furious. So furious that I almost cancelled my subscription, for which I pay $0.00. I flirted with the Washington Post. [Actually, more than flirted. We get together at least a couple times a week. And the BBC. We're not even going to count NPR because that's the radio. Totally different.]

I wouldn't have objected, theoretically, to them charging a small annual fee for an on-line subscription. I probably wouldn't have paid it, but in theory it would not have been offensive. What bugged me was the suggestions that parts of the website were sooooo special and soooooo fabulous that not everyone was worthy to read them unless they proved their worthiness by paying.

I tend to think of myself as 'specially fabulous but I don't need to pay to prove it, thankyouverymuch.

So for months I'd look at that stupid red "Times Select" button and quietly seethe.

But the Times just recently abandoned their stupid little buttons. I forget why. Perhaps because they realized they earn their website money from ad revenue just like everybody else. Maybe it's because hardly anyone was clicking on those little buttons yet the editorials were still getting out there. [People silly enough to pay were doubtless emailing columns to friends. Folks could still pick up the print copy of the Times, for free, in a coffee shop and reading whatever they wanted].

Maybe, just maybe, people like Mo and Paul and Dave saw a significant drop off in their mail and went to their editors and said, "Hey! No one is reading us anymore".

I don't know. I don't care. I just needed something to write about this morning that didn't have anything to do with the 10+ and still counting hours I've spent on the school directory. But I'm glad the NY Times got rid of those silly little buttons because it meant that I could enjoy this with my morning coffee.

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Monday, October 15, 2007


I was tidying up the family room because The Spouse had someone coming over to watch the rough cut of the movie and I wanted the room to be less sticky. Plus, I lost an earring recently and needed to find it. So I opened up the couch. And dammit! My sugar whore of a child had secreted about 412 pounds of dead candy wrappers in all the hidey bits of the sofa. Oh, sure, she's got the metabolism of a hummingbird right now but one of these days she's just going to expand and be one of those people on TLC "World's Largest Human" shows. Which is to say, a person simply cannot live on sugar alone!

Not to mention, but I will, it was easier to get her to go to bed when she was 2 than it is these days.

Dammit, dammit, dammit!

When things like that happen, it's very important for a parent to try to remain calm, to remember that she does in fact love her child.

I am Smilebox's bitch. I'm checking into rehab tomorrow.

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No. Really. I've Been Doing Things.

I've also been fooling around just a little. Because I didn't yesterday.

(After you hit play and the first screen comes up you need to hit the littler play button to watch the show. Or, you know, just TiVo it for later).

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Day of Rest. Ha.

I got up yesterday at 6am because I had to go help out with the PTA Pumpkin Patch before retrieving The Child to go to church so I could deliver the homily for the youth liturgy and then come home and work on the school phone directory which is going out this week. If it hadn't been for the absolute autumnal perfection of the weather, an afternoon glass of vin rouge with The Neighbor (who is finally done gallivanting), meatloaf for dinner and "Brothers and Sisters", I might have found the day a bit too too.

All those things I wanted to get done last week got done and so now I can focus my energies on more exciting things, like writing projects and the upcoming Autumnal Feast. I came up with a menu last night. Have to run it by The Spouse before executing the plan but it is, in my humble estimation, killer.

The Spouse finished a rough cut assembly of the movie. It looks pretty darned good. Once the rough bits are smoothed out and Buck's orchestration gets laid down, I think it will be a fine little film. If you are dying of curiosity, you can g o look at some stills from the movie over at The Spouse's blog.

The Child is home with a stomach thing that has been going around. Blast. Blast about the stomach thing, not so much the her staying home thing. I'm making her stay in bed so it's not like she's in my way or anything.

That is all.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Girl Can't Help It

I'm about to finish off a little French dish called "bourride"...white fish and shrimp swimming in aioli sauce, which we will enjoy while watching "My Brilliant Career" because The Child has never seen it and it's about time don'tcha think?

I played videos all day and I have a bucketload to do tomorrow (most of which I'm not prepared for, btw). And all I can think about is the fact that I love it when people say "SHAH"!

Big Country: "In a Big Country"

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Whenever I post on the weekends I always feel like I'm tapping a mike and saying, "Is this thing on?" only to be greeted by a "skqueeeeek" of feedback. Most of Blogtopia takes the weekend off, myself included, and usually anything I write doesn't get read until Monday anyway.

But there are usually a few hits on the weekend so I wanted to just say, to any of you who may come by today or tomorrow, that JP and I are sneaking into the club, even though we've lost our liquor licence and we're going to play a few videos that we still have stockpiled in the storeroom.

Feel free to stop by and say "hi" and pat the crickets on their little tiny heads.



Friday, October 12, 2007


As The Child and I drove home from her volleyball game last night (oh, and she made the game point in the 3rd and decisive game with a terrific serve - just saying) we played a game wherein you are asked "yes" and "no" questions which must be answered without using "yes" or "no".

"Do you like being 50?"

"It's da bomb".

Uncontrolled giggling.

"What? I said 'it's da bomb'. That's true".

"It's not that," she chortled, "You said 'da bomb'".


"Oh, mom, if the volleyball team was here right now they'd all be laughing at you".

"Because I'm so hip"?

Unrestrained howls of laughter. "Oh, Mu-ommmm. No one says 'da bomb' anymore".

"Really? What do they say?"

"'That's tight' or 'beefin'".



"Geez. Is 'cool' still cool?"

"Oh, yeah".

"Thank God".

Kids, you are never going to hear me say that something is beefin'. If I do, please slap me.

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Bees and Tulle

Friday Jukebox. That doesn't sound nearly as fun as the Superfantastic All Duran-Duran All The Time Celebration of All Things 80s Extravaganza or whatever it was called. But last week JP said he thought everyone should play music videos on Fridays and I think he's right.

I thought for a while that I would play nothing but Scottish bands (because last week I played Travis and Belle & Sebastian...hi! "Funny Little Frog"...favorite new song of all time and it's right over there on the side bar if you missed it last week and don't wanna go scrolling for it).

But as much as I like Scottish things (the deed for my land arrived this week, btw. You may refer to me henceforth as "my lady") and as fun as it would be to explore the surprisingly vast world of Scottish artists (SHAH!) I don't want to limit myself.

Even playing exclusively 80s videos for a while there, while superfantastic, was limiting. Especially once we opened the club and I'd discover "new" bands but then couldn't play certain songs because they came out in the 90s.

Point is, it's my blog, I'm going to play what I want. This is not Scottish. It came out in '91. Note: this band is the reason/inspiration behind my desire to wear a poofy tulle skirt to my birthday party.

Voice of the Beehive: Monsters and Angels

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bestowing Honors

I suspect that it is very exciting to win things. I once put my business card in a drawing and won an Easter basket full of Godiva chocolate. That was pretty thrilling so I can only imagine how these folks (and personal heroes) must be feeling:

Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature

I'm particularly fond of Lessing's short stories because that's how I first discovered her and also because as hard as it is for me to write any sort of fiction at all (to the point of, you know, not even bothering), I am in awe of those who can create poignant, amusing, ironic or even somewhat twisted tales with an economy of language in a very few pages.

Al Gore, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

Never mind that Al Gore has helped millions of regular people understand the problem of global warming or that he is a fiercely committed and passionate kinda guy. He is also really funny. I love me some funny guys.
(I detect a faint bee-like sound around this Nobel...that it will induce him into the Democratic race. Hello? Really? Why would he do that? Seriously. He's got a frakking Oscar and now a Nobel to place on his mantel. Why in the world would he want to be President of the United States now? He can do far more good in his current situation and I think he knows that.)

The Neighbor, most recent inductee into the Exalted Order of the Koihead.

Maker of Italian ice tea, sounding board, cheerleader, prayer partner, bringer- home- to- me- of- little- presents- just- because, Best Friend. I believe that merits a koihead. At least.

(For the record, she has been jet-setting entirely too much lately and if she doesn't stay put for a while I'm going to get seriously cranky).

Congratulations Doris, Al and Neighb. Well done. I salute you.

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Fact: being your party's front runner 13 months before the election doesn't mean squat.

Fact: punditry is fun.

Fact: I wanna play.

One Thing Democrats Do Not Seem to Understand and Neglect at Their Peril

Evangelicals, as a voting bloc, hate Hillary Clinton. (They also hate Bill and still blame him for everything they don't like. Including the New Deal).

We're not talking a benign shrug of "I never vote for Democrats" or even firm and impassioned "I am a values voter and consequently will never vote for someone who is pro-choice". We are talking about wild-eyed, fire-breathing loathing. While most evangelicals wouldn't be thrilled with a Democrat in the White House, the specter of Hillary as President makes their blood boil.

Please note that the evangelical bloc is ticked at the GOP. They feel betrayed. (Well they should). Rove/Bush Co. totally played them. They know that now and they aren't going to settle for lip service from the GOP. While the GOP is in a tad bit of disarray at the moment, there is no single candidate on the Dem roster with the potential to galvanize this angry, disenfranchise "base" like Hillary.

I don't care how many Dems love Hillary. I don't care how good a President she'd have the potential to be. If she is the candidate, this election will be ugly with a capital U.G.L.Y. It's going to make the swift boating of Kerry look like a coronation.

Not to mention that if she were elected she's looking at 4 years of brick walls, even with a Democratically controlled Congress. Period.

A Couple of Things the Republicans Do Not Seem to Understand and Ignore at Their Peril

Word is that the evangelicals don't like the idea of Rudy Giuliani as the GOP candidate (he's pro-choice, pro-gay and anti-gun). They talk of running a third party candidate should he be the nominee. That works for the Dem side of the equation. If the evangelicals get behind someone else (eyes on Mike Huckabee, people) or stay home on election day, that makes things easier for the Democrats. It is possibly the only scenario which benefits a Clinton candidacy (although come election day I could see them abandoning Huckabee or whoever just to insure Hillary doesn't win).

Please understand that when I talk about evangelicals I know whereof I speak. I used to be one. My family is full of them (and they are all very lovely, thoughtful people. Just saying. Obviously, we don't talk much about politics).

Based on my knowledge of evangelicals I must point out that while they don't like Giuliani for political reasons, they are never going to get behind Mitt Romney, either.

1) He's a flip-flopper. Evangelicals hate that. What they are looking for in a candidate - GOP or 3rd party- is someone with convictions and a consistent record on their issues. Romney was pro-choice when it suited him and now he's pro-life. The evangelicals aren't buying it.

b) He's a Mormon. Evangelicals do not regard Mormons as just another Christian denomination. They regard it as a cult. No way they are getting behind Romney.

The GOP also doesn't get that the majority of Americans, red and blue, do not support the Iraq war. While we continue to be divided as to how and when, we agree that America needs to leave Iraq. A candidate who fails to run with an exit strategy of some kind is going to miss out on a lot of votes.

Look at John McCain. By all rights he should have been the heir apparent for the GOP. It's my belief that his insistence on the righteousness of the Iraq war is why he is so far behind in the pack.

Here's where I move from plain facts ('k, my facts but still) to pure conjecture.

Americans need a moderate in the White House. Historically, we careen from left to right and we've done so to our detriment. We are bitterly divided on a great deal. We are, I think, the closest we've ever come to abandoning democracy in favor of fascism. Our next president needs to be someone who can work the purple, so to speak, the purple in all of us. There's plenty of purple on issues both domestic and foreign and the next President needs to be someone who gets that, speaks to it and works to unify us.

I don't know what that ticket looks like on the GOP side. For the Dems, and I've been saying this for a long time now, the perfect ticket is Edwards/Obama.

That won't likely be the bumper sticker that'll wind up on my car. But it should be.


Astonishing Fact

In spite of the (random, unplanned and completely hysterical (at least to Hat and moi)) Day of Hundreds of Comments and all it entailed, I got a ton accomplished yesterday. Accomplished in that "Finally, this is no longer hanging over my head" sort of accomplished.

Which is proof that I am not as addicted to my computer as I think I am.

Who am I kidding.

'Course I am.

But I am obviously functional.

No interventions, please.

I like my sweet little bloggery addiction.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Desperate Measures

The Child's computer has been acting up and it's stressing her out because she needs it for homework. The Spouse hasn't gotten around to looking at it, usually because he's tired when he gets home plus he's busy editing the movie and The Child doesn't usually think to complain about it until a thoroughly inappropriate time; like after she's been sent to bed.

The other night The Spouse decided he'd try and help her out. Only her room was such a sty that he couldn't move things to see what was going on. So he left, telling her that if she cleaned her room he'd fix the computer.

I don't know what it is about kids and squalor but dang it. It truly is heinous. And it's not for want of trying to keep it under control. Stuff gets flung out of her room all the time. Good lord, there's a rummage sale the first weekend of November and she's packed up 4 wine boxes full of stuff to sell. Plus every once in a while I'll go in there and fling garbage and recycling and too- small clothes. But no matter what anyone does, I swear, that crap breeds in the night.

Add to that the fact that The Child never met a flat surface she didn't like. Dirty laundry? That's what the floor is for. It's also a swell place to store CDs, books, magazines, posters and oh, yeah, assignments that should have been turned in. What's more, she hordes sugar products in her room. I know, because I'm always finding stashes of it. I don't even know where she gets this stuff.

Of course, I understand what it is to be overwhelmed. She creates this mess but then when told to clean her room, has no idea where to start. (Hint: pick up all the dirty laundry and you're half way there). And when she's in her room dancing to HSMII or writing acceptance letters to Hogwarts for her friends, she just ignores it: dances on top of it, adds a layer of letters to the madness.

I went in there yesterday and despaired. Then I came up with a Brilliant Idea. I would clear all the junk out into the living room; make a giant pile so that maybe, in the cool green calm of the tidy and dusted living room she'd actually see it. Sure, this plan had the potential to backfire. Maybe, once seen, there'd be a total freak out. But maybe, just maybe....

It was nasty work. 2 pails of garbage. Not to mention the fact that somewhere along the way she managed to spill cocoa on a bunch of stuff. Cocoa stained clothes (including formerly clean laundry that she had dumped out of the basket onto the floor rather than putting away because she apparently needed the basket for a project). Cocoa stained pillows. A CD liner for HMSII that had been welded to the floor by smelly, sticky cocoa. (Hi. I catch her with anything other than water in her room ever again and she moves into the garage). I flung the garbage, removed the candy, threw the cocoa stuff in the laundry and moved everything, including all the dirty laundry, into the living room.

Then The Dog threw up.

I don't think one was related to the other.

FYI: The swatches of Mayfair blue? That would be her school sweater. The one she couldn't find yesterday morning. Actually, there were three of them. Oh, and Buck, can you identify a particular species of stuffed animal in there?

Moving on. I made her bed, cleaned up all the stickiness with yummy smelling cleaning agents (mmmm...cucumber), swept, organized her books and waited to see her reaction.

"I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!" she chanted upon returning home.

"And why do you love me, lass"? (She hadn't noticed the living room, just her spotless bedroom).

"Because you cleaned my room! Thank you, Mommy! Thank you!
Thank you!"

"Ah. But I didn't clean your room". This was met with one of those tilted-head-with-a-curious-expression-like-a-puppy things.

"I just moved everything out of your room. You still have to deal with it".


But you know what? She was still happy. And even though I had to take a cattle prod to her to sort the mess, she did it before The Spouse returned home. Plus she laid out her clothes for today.

And the dirty laundry crack I made earlier? Yeah. Easily half of it.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Isn't Ironic? Don't You Think?

In the midst of trying to reduce the mounds of paper clutter in my desky area, I found a multi-pocketed envelope folder that was sent to me after I joined the National Association of Professional Organizers. It was full of stuff. I kept 5 pieces of paper, not counting my membership card.

Decluttering material from an organizing organization? It's like rain on your wedding day.

I dreamed I was in Blogtopia. Well, first, actually, I was in Chicago, in Buck's flat (only it wasn't his actual flat, it was bigger but it was still in the Marina Towers) and the wind started blowing and the tower was pitching quite a bit but we knew we were going to be OK. The Hat came to clean the apartment and suddenly I was asleep on The Neighbor's lawn and a big black dog came and stood over me and announced "The Iwanski's are here". But I couldn't get up because the dog was standing over me so the Iwanski's left because they thought I was too tired for a party. The good news is that the party wasn't until the next day and they came back. with the dog. Which they claimed was a husky but I'm sorry, huskies aren't black and shaggy. The dog in my dream was, in fact, a very large schnoodle, probably because my dream kept being interrupted by The Dog, who really is a schnoodle, chewing on himself. Which he's been doing to the point of giving himself a bald spot on his right haunch. Yes, we have a vet appointment this afternoon.

Anywhoo, JP was there, but I don't remember what he was doing. Standing on my deck drinking champangya and smoking, probably. Sling was there. Mouse wasn't there, which was ironic in a good-advice-that-you-just-didn't-take sort of way because in the dream she was the one who had organized the party in the first place. This probably owes to the fact that she has been wanting to come out but has to win the lottery first and I know that and am keeping my fingers crossed.

The Child is giving me fits with frequent Drama-Queen-Teenager-with-'Tude performances. Everything is such a big, bloody deal. There is a veneer of perky calm that, with very little pressure gives way. (An example of little pressure would be, say, a request to unload the dishwasher...especially if it's the 3rd time I've asked so I say it like "Will you please get out here and unload the bloody dishwasher?"). Once cracked, there gushes forth a tsunami of doubt, fear and inadequacy. Then, when asked to calm down and talk about it she wails, "You just wouldn't understand!!!!"

Seriously, when those words came from her lips the other day I almost laughed, it was so typical. But I didn't, of course, because I wanted her to try me. Because if there is one thing I know, it is that there isn't a mote, smidgen or scintilla of teenaged angst that I am not going to understand. Been there, done that, bought the matching hat and shoes.

She's freaking out, naturally, because High School is a'looming. Applications are due by December/January. Entrance exams (one takes entrance exams for Catholic high school) are the first part of December. Applicants are notified by February. She's overwhelmed, she's worried about the tests, she's worried about the fact that up until the last trimester of last year her grades sucked.

Don't tell her this, but it's all freaking me out, too. What I did tell her is that I truly do understand (never mind that my understanding derived more from my getting-into-college-phase than high school) and that the looming, forbidding feelings owe to worrying and not doing; that once she begins studying for the exams and filling out applications and such, she'll start feeling like it is all a smidge more manageable.

She sat down to study yesterday after home work. For half an hour. Good girl.

Except she's still giving me fits about other stuff. Because basically it is all about her and anything that disrupts the perfect little orbit about her is cause for Chernobylesque meltdowns, accompanied by impressive door slammings and stompings. Although, really, she needs fresh material. At one performance this weekend she gave The Spouse a good dose of "I hate you! I hate you! I really, really hate you!", which I found to be predictable and derivative, though it was delivered with passion and verve.

(Note for the record and apropos of nothing: when I write the word "weekend" I pronounce it in my head like a British person, with the emphasis on "end", even though I hardly ever actually say it that way when talking to actual people, given that most of the people in my immediate circle are Americans).

It's Tuesday and that means nothing anymore. There is still a hole in my life where the "Gilmore girls" used to be. It's like that phantom limb syndrome, where amputees still "feel"the leg or arm that has been removed. I know "Gilmore girls" is gone. I know there is nothing on television at 8pm tonight. But the feeling lingers. Damn you, Lauren Graham!


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Manic Monday

Just finished up what was more or less a cat weekend. The Spouse was pretty focused on editing the movie and he spent all day yesterday out making a movie with friends. But The Child and I didn't do much. Until yesterday. Yesterday we went to church, which was especially nice because it's October, which means a Marian hymn after mass which in this case was Biebl and I love me some Biebl. Then I did my monthly stint in the church bookstore, which was nice because I really like the woman I work with plus it wasn't too busy and a man came in looking for music from our choir and they just happen to have a CD and I mentioned that the Biebl was on it and it made him happy because he had really enjoyed that piece.

This isn't our choir singing the hymn but it's a pretty good version. Gives me chills. In a good way.

What didn't give me good chills was the frakking 8th grade fundraising trip meeting that I had to attend afterwards. It was all I could do to not chew off my own arm. 2 hours that I am NEVER getting back. 2 hours going over the same old ground, making very little headway toward anything new and generally just making me feel stressed out. I want to fall into a bucket of money, preferably today, so that I can just pay for The Child's trip and everyone else's and then I never have to sit through a meeting with those very well-intentioned and sweet people again. Really, they are all seriously nice but HMOG. We spent 1 hour talking about the flyers for a frakking rummage sale. ONE HOUR.

Have I mentioned that I hate meetings? Yes, I give thanks every day that mine is not a life that involves large quantities of meetings. (The PTA board stuff doesn't really count because we actually get things done, they are held in the a.m., which is just a really civilized time for a meeting, and part of the reason we are really productive in the meetings is because we use email with mind-bending efficiency).

The good news is that there is very little on my calendar this week...first time since school started...and I think this is the week that will be "normal", that will allow me to finally finish up all the projects that have been weighing on me. And that's my goal because pretty much after this weekend everything starts ramping up again and looks to be rather insane up through, well, the new year.

Things that make me feel like I'm not completely out of control:

Bills were paid this weekend. On time.

I ordered a birthday present for a friend. For a birthday that is in November.

I pulled weeds in my front garden. Only for about 15 minutes but it made a difference.

And in the category of "Things That are Really Super Exciting", Buck is joining us for Thanksgiving. He was supposed to come for my birthday and his boss made him go to Disneyworld instead. Then he was going to come for The Spouse's birthday but he has to go to some other stupid place so I invited him for Thanksgiving. Well, actually, he invited himself but I readily agreed. This is the first year that we aren't doing Thanksgiving with my family and it will be nice to have the other sort of family around the table. Like Buck. And The Neighbor. The Spouse and I already planned the menu. The Child is making the pumpkin pie. See? Organized.

I fell asleep during "Brothers and Sisters" last night so I have to go online and see if I can find what I missed. And I need to thaw some chicken breasts. And get rolling on my list of projects.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

I Need to Feel Like I've Done Something Worthwhile Today

Kindly take a peek at Doralong's post for today for an action you can take regarding healthy school lunches and the feds. Unless, like Mr. Bush, you don't give a rat's patootie about having healthy American children.

It's not like they are the future or anything.

Thanks Mon!

Per Monica's suggestion I went to check out Belle and Sebastian. Just getting started but this video gave me a big goofy smile that sustained for the entire run time. A. Dor. A. Ble.

Belle and Sebastian "Funny Little Frog"


Friday Frenzy

Can't chat. Tons to do. Could go for a cute Scottish boy singing. Oh, here's one:

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No Small Parts

Captain's Log, Stardate, uh, today:

Mr. Sulu has had an asteroid named for him.

There is also an asteroid named for Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura.

There is nothing in the article about an asteroid named Shatner or Nimoy.

Just saying.


We Interrupt the Festivities for this Announcement

Bush just vetoed SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program. This will result in 6.6 million children losing health care coverage beginning November 16 and millions more who need health care coverage won't get it at all. This legislation had bi-partisan support and while there are enough votes in the Senate to over-ride the veto, there need to be about 20 more votes on the House side to do the same thing. Might be a good time to call your representative and see where he or she is on that.

Personally, I have a really hard time with someone giving lip service to "family values" and then vetoing a bill like this.

Just a few talking points, should you make that all important call:

*12% of American children don't have any insurance coverage at all

* The U.S. Ranks 37th in the world for infant mortality

* One-in-five U.S. jobs does not provide health insurance, a pension, or wages high enough to support a family

* For a family of 4, one year of health insurance costs an average of $11,000.

* Over 1/2 of all bankruptcy filings in 2001 were a result of medical expenses

Now, back to the party. Red, I hope you brought a lot of salsa...we need another batch of that bisque-y stuff....



Last night, as I lay in bed, I thought up about 3 different blog posts. None of which I'm ready to commit to the "Publish Post" button. Guess that's what drafts are for, huh?

Sometimes I can take a half-formed idea and get rolling with it just in the writing. Sometimes not. Today is a not day. Plus I have to go downtown. I have to get a copy of MacBeth for The Child plus a study guide thingy for the entrance exam for high school. (You wouldn't believe how motivated this kid is to do well on that test. Crazy). Plus I want to look for a little statue of Mary. Because it's October, which is one of her months. (May is the other one).

But sometimes you need to roll ideas around with friends, talk about things, see where it takes you. So instead of tormenting with you with something that isn't ready yet, let's have a potluck instead. It's been a while. So come on over. It's a coldish, rainyish day so I think I'm going to make a pot of minestrone and bake a big ol' apple pie.

What are you bringing? Besides YOB?

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

By the Way

I've been saying all along that I wasn't going to declare for any candidate until the convention. Because really, what's the point? Everyone knows I'll vote for the Democrat, whoever it is, and I know full well that my first, second and probably third choice won't be the candidate. But all bets are off now. I've made up my mind and I know who should be president of these great United States:

Lou Pinella for President.

Look at what he's done for the Cubs. Think what he could do for America.


Things I Do Every Day

Unload the dishwasher.

Load the dishwasher.


Wipe down the bathroom.

Make the bed.

Something related to money: buying, writing a check, paying a bill, checking the balance online, setting up a payment, entering an ATM slip in Quicken, etc. etc. etc.

Wipe up something sticky.

Cook something.

Think about things to be done for school or church or home.

Pick up and put away something that doesn't belong to me.


Feed the animals.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I was transferring a load of laundry to the dryer. There's a lot of stuff to do every day that isn't particularly gratifying but I have to do it. Not only are these things not always particularly gratifying but they never end. Thankless tasks, one would say. Why, when there are so many more interesting things to do in the world, is a portion of my everyday life spent on that which is routine, boring, thankless, neverending?

The short answer is because I don't like squalor, can't think in squalor and I'd have to do this stuff even if I lived alone so whatever.

But there's more to it than that. Once upon a time I had a friend who went to jail for something she didn't do. (Don't get me started on the problems with the "justice" system in this country. That's a whole other blog). This was an ordinary woman. A woman like me. A woman with a husband and a home, who gardened and cooked and decorated and watched "Martha Stewart" on television. And then she went to jail. For over a year.

But I learned something from her experience. Because while she was incarcerated, the things she missed were the ordinary things. She missed cooking. She missed unloading the dishwasher. Because all of a sudden, those things mattered. She missed them because she used to do them all the time and suddenly she couldn't. Being able to do them meant her life was her own, she was in control. It meant she was free to do them. When that freedom went away, she missed them; even yearned for them. In her phone calls and letters she'd ask me to tell her about my day. She'd ask what I was cooking. Because she missed that stuff.

Ever since that time, I've been able to stop myself from whining much about my "to dos" because I understand the intrinsic value of the ordinary. It's mine. I get to do it. No one tells me when to get up, what I can do all day, when I have to go to bed. Add to that the fact that while I'm free to get up, do and go to bed as I please, I'm not doing it with bombs dropping on my street or with militias roaming the 'hood or my child starving to death. I'm not dying of AIDS or washing my clothes in a river or carrying the days supply of water from a dicey well along a dirt road.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by my daily list. Sometimes it feels kinda boring or pointless. But I'm thankful every day that I get to be bored. Those routines might seem pointless but they are my precious routines and no one is taking them away from me (knock wood). And when I think like that, even sweeping up the persistent detritus of life with two other people and their pets is a blessing.

Here are some other things I do every day:

Drink coffee.
Read blogs.
Pray some more.
Talk to someone who loves me.
Admire my lavender.

Life is good.


Monday, October 01, 2007


I need bacon. Specifically, I need bacon fat. Oh, yes I do. Because I have 4 tomatoes in my garden that are never going to ripen and they need to be fried.

I sit so wrong on my desk chair that it isn't even funny. I'm going to cripple myself. My friend Julie says I should get one of those big balls to sit on because it would force me to sit properly. But then I couldn't pull one leg under myself and stick the other one up on my desk when I play SimCity. Apparently I'm not overly concerned about the cripple thing.

I miss JP. I want him to move to Seattle.

The Child is playing volleyball with Bad Coach. Last week only 6 girls showed up for the game so he had to play everyone. It must have killed him. It probably bugged him even more that The Child pretty much single handedly scored every point in their first game, got all her serves over and was generally not making any mistakes. And his 3 favorite players were largely useless. Hi, the ball is at the net. It's called spiking.

My kitchen is clean.

My cold makes me snore. Last night The Spouse hit me. Then I was afraid to fall back asleep. Even though he was snoring. I need my own room.

The season premiere of "Brothers and Sisters" was really good. I think there's a Cindy Sheehan storyline coming up for Sally Field. The Hat thinks I look like Rachael Griffiths. I wish.

I miss Chicago. I coul really go for the view from the Balcony of Terror about now.

I'm going to go see my baby tomorrow. He misses me. I love him.

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