December 29, 2004
There are tales to tell of those annual adventures, but I'm not getting into that now. What I am getting into is preparing to depart for this year's annual event. We leave this morning.
Soon after Wendy and I get underway, The Boy will be boarding a train heading in the opposite direction. New York City. The Big Apple! He's off to have adventures of his own.
We, Wendy and I, are not seeking adventure. We are seeking downtime, and the beach in winter is a delightful place for doing nothing or everything or anything in between.
I'm packing a bag full of books, multiple pairs of pajamas, and not much else. Sounds good, doesn't it? Oh yeah baby, it does.
There will be others. Other people, that is. This year, as in other years, Wendy and I will be the token lesbian couple among the people with whom we are traveling. For that matter we will be the only lesbians, period, coupled or not. Perhaps one of our resolutions for the new year should be to make friends with more lesbians. But why? Friends are friends. Does their sexuality matter? Obviously not.
Here's a wish for a Happy New Year, no matter with whom you like to sleep. Y'all behave.
December 28, 2004
The Anchorage Daily News has a large series of photos on their website of the situation. This photo of the remains of the helicopter and this one of the broken ship give a pretty good idea of the desolate geography and harsh weather conditions. And just because my dad is there for his brain rather than his brawn doesn't make those conditions any less miserable. Just less dangerous. I hope.
It is not unusual for my father to be called away at the spur of a moment. Marine casualties don't pay much attention to the calendar and care nothing for holidays or other important family occasions. He does love his work however, including the spontaneous departures to far away places at the drop of a hat.
He is, as we all are, getting older. I would selfishly prefer him to be at his home--warm, safe and dry. Since I have no control over that, I'll send warm wishes his way instead.
Love you, Pop. Be careful out there.
While she's always been my own personal champion, last night she also became the champion of our fantasy football league.
Wendy's team, The Hounds, won the whole shebang.
Take that Tom and Rob and G-Man!
All that trash talking got you nowhere. Mwah.
And there is a pleasing symmetry now that all is said and done: my team is at the very bottom of the league and Wendy's is at the very top!
December 27, 2004
Particularly knowing how I embrace change with such reckless abandon and all.
Maybe my mind just hasn't yet found the right place to begin.
That's probably closer to reality.
I'll get there. I'm just taking the long road.
Why I was reveling in the quiet time! No one else was there and I wasn't even sure if anyone else would be coming in at all. I was fine with that. Fine fine fine fine fine!
I'd have rather been in bed. But circumstances dictated otherwise.
Nothing to complain about anyway. I was treated to a gorgeous sunrise as The Boy chauffeured me up the GW Parkway this morning. Riding in the passenger seat I sipped my coffee and enjoyed the icy vista of the Potomac, a gentle band of pink sky peeking over the horizon growing slowly brighter bit by bit.
There are much worse ways to start the day, after all, and mayhaps not many better.
December 26, 2004
And I don't really mean freaking.
I really mean f**king.
Yeah. That's it.
Substitute it and say it aloud yourself.
Isn't it much better?
I will be a good sport I will be a good sport I will be a good sport I will be a good sport....
To be fair, I should note that for the other 14 games of the season, Wendy is a Redskins supporter right along side of me. I cannot say the same for myself and the Cowboys. But I'm working on it. Sort of but not really.
Things change after all. Sigh.
I learned something about myself. No, not learned. I was reminded of something about myself. Something of which I was already aware yet I hate to acknowledge: three days of hosting company turns me into a frayed bundle of overexposed nerves. For the past twelve hours I have expended a great deal of energy just keeping myself civil, with great success I may add. I don't think anyone even noticed. I hope they didn't.
It's not that I don't enjoy company. It's just that I need my quiet time. Time when no one is asking anything of me. I'm sure at least some of you know what I mean. Maybe there are others out there like me?
My sister understands. When we were passing the phone around last night, I whispered "SK, I really don't feel like talking." And she started to say "Oh but I want to chat with you!" and then she stopped and said "Oh! Well go hide yourself away. Let me talk to The Boy instead. We'll talk another day, okay?"
I still haven't regained my equilibrium despite our company having departed just after lunch today. You see, we've been busily preparing for the next round of company arriving tomorrow.
I can't stop to think about that right now. You see, I'm relaxing and squeezing in a few hours of quiet time with no one asking anything of me.
Don't I sound relaxed?
Oh yeah baby.
Happy holidays, y'all.
But if you need something, ask someone else, okay?
December 24, 2004
December 23, 2004
The mother's haggard eyes caught mine. She said, although I had not asked, "Yes, they are all mine." She shuffled on past, nattering at the children to stop making so much noise and settle down or Santa Claus would not be coming to visit them.
Sometimes having a grown up child is the best feeling the world.
December 22, 2004
Yes, you read that correctly. I've thought quite a bit about it in the last few days. I can't help but think the visitors who will be arriving day after tomorrow would appreciate it too. Just maybe? Plus I really really really don't want to accidently glimpse my mother sitting on the toilet any more than I want my son to accidently glimpse his mother sitting on the toilet. Bathroom doors go a long way in preventing situations like that. Yet now I am chastising myself as I blog for having the nerve to take time out of our
I mean really. There are so many other things I should be doing right now. Such as reviewing the holiday meal plans and inventorying the cupboards to make sure I did not forget anything at the grocery. Prepping some dishes in advance. Baking. Making sure the festive decorations for the table are ready to go. I like feeding people. Truly truly I enjoy it.
Oh! I could be putting up the tree. Which at this point I'm contemplating postponing until next December. Indeed, it's a tempting thought. Maybe I'll just hang a few decorations on our poinsettias. Or I could be wrapping presents and tying them with beautiful bows. My sister always creates the most festive packages. I could go without bows altogether myself. But then I see the gift wrapping she creates and I can't help but try to mimic her artistic flair. Don't think I'll get to that this year.
Or I could be laying in bed watching re-runs of Law and Order and snuggling. Or I'm long overdue for losing myself in a novel. I could be doing that. Or sleeping. Oh yeah, I remember sleeping. It's awesome!
But back to the bathroom. Everything else is done in the bathroom. And oh my goodness, Wendy and I are both aquiver about that. Instead of arm wrestling to see which one of us gets to take the first shower, we've just decided to take the first shower together. It's only fitting. A door would be helpful in that regard also.
Yes, everything is done in the bathroom! Except for the door, that is. But it's not for a lack of effort, no sir indeedy. Therein lies a tale for another day.
PS: My girlfriend rocks.
December 21, 2004
Which beats the hell out of watching her wander around running into walls and tripping over items on the floor. She paces often, never seemingly able to find a comfortable place to settle down. We try to help her. She enjoys massages. We stroke her and speak in soothing tones. But we're not offering what she needs. Because still she paces. Until she finally settles down. And sleeps. At times I watch her. Like last night.
I was thinking about her brother, Detail, who died this past summer. I was thinking about Detail's obituary. I was thinking about how I began writing his obituary months before he actually died. I was thinking how the process of saying goodbye began with me sitting down to write that obituary. And how the simple act of writing about him somehow made it easier to say goodbye.
I'm overdue to start writing hers, I think.
Because writing it will help.
I know it for sure.
December 20, 2004
I am a lesbian!
And this is where I am on the web!
I like Yahoo too.
It's YooHoo I like.
Yahoo is fine, but YooHoo is better.
December 19, 2004
That's pretty cold.
For here, anyway.
Bundle up, snuggle tight.
You can paint a gorgeous overview filled with wonderful glorious images and set a tableau pleasing enough to satisfy the most contentious individual, but if you neglect the details you are sooooo screwed.
Today is a day for the details.
Dotting the "I"s and crossing the "T"s.
A few of my favorite things.
Because it's all in the details.
And I like the details.
December 18, 2004
I first noticed it when I was but a wee gal. Back then I was fascinated with it. Nestled in among the swirls and curls and curves of all those tiny lines on the palm of my hand. It's in the lower left quandrant of my right palm. A rocket ship on my left palm just would be inappropriate, don't you think?
I hadn't thought about that rocket ship in my palm for quite a few years. As an adult, there is so much less time to sit around looking at one's palm and admiring whatever one finds there.
But last weekend I was reminded of the existence of my rocket ship. It pleases me for it to still be there. Forgotten but not gone.
A person needs a few constants in their life.
At least, this person does.
December 17, 2004
So much to do. Only a limited amount of time. Wanting to do it all yet knowing it all can't be done.
I was looking forward to this weekend. Getting our tree, wrapping some presents, finalizing the details of who is going sleep where on what, deciding what to feed everyone, grocery shopping and playing in the kitchen, getting our house and ourselves into the spirit by enjoying the rituals of the season. Creature of habit I am, remember?
I don't know what I expected The Boy to be doing during all this. Just being here I guess. Available for me to say things like "*insert his actual name*, can you please help me lift *insert name of something heavy*?" or "*insert his actual name*, it's time to put the lights on the tree!" or "*insert his actual name*, can I make you a sandwich?"
Instead, he had the nerve to take a job for the weekend. A job that will pay him good money. Actually it will pay him and the fellow who drove him home good money. Yet it's money they'll have to earn by working all weekend.
And isn't that just one more joy of parenthood? Being pleased yet disappointed at the same time? You'd think by now I'd have learned to temper my expectations.
So today. I'll re-organize my expectations. Re-order my thought processes. I'll look forward to this weekend for the same reasons, just in a different way.
It's all good.
December 16, 2004
I was tracking my pocket finds in a previous post. So when I donned my gray wool coat this morning, I anxiously and anticipatorily slid my hands into the pockets and .... was terribly disappointed to find only a wadded up silver gum wrapper and a Jolly Rancher candy, watermelon flavor.
What a letdown after last year!
Obviously I need to get out more.
December 14, 2004
I had to hunt for my mixer. I had to climb up on the counter and dig through the depths of the upper cabinets that store items only occasionally used. Last year when I did our holiday baking, I had only my hand mixer. My big mixer was in storage. Along with much of the rest of our kitchen. My precious boxes of kitchen paraphernalia had been gathering dust in storage since we'd moved in August. There was no place to put anything in our new kitchen. You see, we had no upper cabinets...
Ah fuck it.
I can't write about baking holiday goodies tonight. And we've fully recovered from not having upper cabinets so that's not good blog fodder either, although at another time it may have been.
Instead, I'd like to thank those of you who pop in and read my blog. Despite "lesbian" being part of the title and despite the obvious fact that I, Suzanne, the author of this blog, am a lesbian. Or maybe you pop in because "lesbian" is part of the title and because of the obvious fact that I, Suzanne, author of this blog, am a lesbian. Or maybe you pop in for a reason completely unrelated to "lesbian" anything. Whatever. I appreciate your comments. I appreciate your repeat visits. Thank you for listing me on your blogroll. Thank you for your acceptance of me as a multi-faceted human being.
Thank you for not seeing "lesbian" and deciding that means something other than "worthwhile human being". And thanks for sticking up for me when someone else does decide that. Even if you are really just sticking up for yourself but it bleeds over to me so in essence you are really sticking up for me and it's all good, yes?
Meanwhile the cakes turned out perfect. My big mixer has a comfy home to spend the off-season. The Boy will be home tomorrow and the holidays are upon us.
There is just no time for small minds, you know what I mean?
She had just had her eyebrows waxed. How did I know? Well initially I noticed the area just under her left eyebrow looked a little puffy and pale, a sure sign of recent trauma. I discreetly peeked to see if the right side appeared the same. It did. Then she said "I just had my eyebrows done" as if I needed such confirmation. I obligatorily admired her now perfectly shaped eyebrows. They did look good. I was also reminded it had been too long since I'd tended my own.
My sister, way way back in the day, demonstrated to me the agony of hair removal by waxing. I will never forget the afternoon she waxed her bikini line in my kitchen. Yes, in my kitchen. Sisters share their spaces that way. The vivid memory of her prancing maniacally in a tiny thong, screaming bloody murder as she ripped away the wax and hair leaving pinpoints of blood forming on the surface of her skin---well, that vision has stayed with me for over twenty years. The memory is as fresh today as if it had happened yesterday.
I've never waxed anything. No, no indeed. I saw the prancing, remember? I heard the screams. I will employ other methods to control my body hair, thank you very much.
The Boy, taking after his father, tends to a uni-brow. But, metrosexual that he is, a uni-brow will not do, no way no how. At first he shaved it, but now he plucks. Whatever. I'm glad he keeps them neat. I'm certain, should he ever discover, he would be ever so pleased I mentioned it here.
A good friend, who shall remain nameless to protect the identity of her boy, also has a son who tends to a uni-brow. Her young man, however, doesn't seem to mind. His mother takes him to her salon. They lure him into the back room where they perform the
So last night I evaluated the state of my eyebrows. I contemplated briefly how easy it would be to just shave them off entirely and draw them in with a pencil.
Then I came to my senses and got busy with the tweezers.
December 13, 2004
At least she should not do it at 4:00 in the morning.
Nor 4:30 am.
Nor 5:00 am.
Nor three nights in a row.
The visting dog gets to lay around and sleep all day so she can stay up again tonight and bark at the cat.
Oh the injustice.
December 11, 2004
Bonnie eats like no dog I've ever before known. Think "scarf" as a verb. She attacks food like she's never eaten before and may never eat again. At times I wonder if she's going to eat the bowl too. I timed her this morning. Her breakfast was devoured in exactly 21.37 seconds. There is no way she chews it.
Cosine and Dudley have a different approach to dining. We put the allotted amount of food in their bowls twice a day and they get around to eating it whenever they get around to eating it. When they do get around to eating it, they chew. That doesn't work with Bonnie the Scarfer in the house. Wendy and I have to supervise the Doggie Dining Hall.
Bonnie goes home the same day The Boy arrives home for the holidays. This is an unplanned coincidence. I would not complain if Bonnie had to stay a bit longer and/or if The Boy came home a bit earlier. Maybe I would if vice equaled verse.
Yesterday I woke up and it was one of those gray-raining-misty-going-to-be-that-way-all-day kind of days. I actually remembered that umbrella. And then even remembered to take it with me when I left the house. I was heading downtown. On the subway. Another thing I remembered was to button the hood onto my rain jacket. I was prepared for a misty-rainy-splashy-wet-public-transportation-walking-in-the-city kind of day.
Parked the car, short walk to the station. I used the umbrella. I used my hood too. I like wearing hoods when it's coldish and wet. Hopped the train and took my favorite seat. Ack. Dripping umbrella! I wrapped it up and set it down on the floor of the train between my foot and the exterior wall. I made a mental note to not forget it when I transferred.
Settled in for the ride.
Transferred at L'Enfant Plaza.
Forgot to remember the umbrella at my feet.
Good thing I had my hood.
December 10, 2004
"The Best of Blogs (BoB) Awards seek to recognize the best personal blogs of the year. We strive to recognize the smaller blogs in categories that other competitions would never think to honor. You want political blogs? Sorry, nothing to see here, move along. You want to vote for the Snarkiest Blog? Best Sex Blog? Best Knitting or Crafting Blog? Now you're talking!"Hell yeah! Props for the little guys! They've got some interesting categories, even one for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered bloggers. Which they could have called the "anyone but heterosexual bloggers" category. Rolls more easily off the tongue my way, don't you think? It is cool they included such a category though, no matter what they call it.
Head on over and nominate your favorites.
CVS uses one of those coupon systems where they scan your card and then dispense coupons with your receipt. In recent months, they have made a concerted effort to step up their customer service. One way the improved customer service manifests is that each customer is thanked by name and informed what coupons they are receiving that day.
Last night the clerk was a teenage male. He scanned my card, rang up my items, double-bagged my 12-pack of cheap beer. As he handed me my receipt he said "Thank you, Mrs. Last-Name-Mangled-Beyond-Recognition" and "You have a coupon for...." He stopped speaking, visibly paled, and blurted "Two dollars off! Your coupon is for two dollars off!"
Okay great. Two dollars off is good. But two dollars off what? He hadn't read what item the coupon was for, only the amount. I thanked him and took the receipt. (I keep all of my receipts. I enter them into the computer. I like keeping track of things. No, no. I love keeping track of things.) Before I tucked it into the pocket of my purse with the other receipts, I read that the coupon was indeed for two dollars off. Two dollars off my next purchase of Playtex Gentle Glide Tampons, 40 count.
That poor boy.
I recalled a trip to that same CVS when I actually was there to purchase tampons. This was back in the day when The Boy was in high school. Wendy and I volunteered many hours at the school and consequently we knew a bunch of the students. This particular day, one of the students I knew was the cashier. Oh goodie. I tried not to feel awkward, but didn't completely succeed. There's just something inherently uncomfortable about a friend of your teenage son handling your box of tampons, you know? The student merely smiled and said "Hello Mrs. Last-Name-Pronounced-Perfectly", rang up and bagged my tampons, chatting pleasantly the whole time.
A model of composure indeed.
December 8, 2004
The proclaimed slogan of The United Methodist Church is "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors."
As a lesbian, I am welcome to be a member. I am welcome to fully participate in their religious rituals (with, of course, the exception of committing to the partner of my choice). I am welcome to tithe and donate my time in support of their organization. Yet here is another exception: As a spiritual leader? Well, hell no. She's got to go!
I am so fucking sick of double standards cloaked in acceptance and tolerance. Is it just me? Open doors, my ass.
December 7, 2004
I was amazed by the number of things that were different. It is interesting to observe that some folks are constantly changing the layout of their blogs. Mel even changed her title.
I've vaguely contemplated changing my layout from time to time. But either from sheer laziness or being uninspired or actually liking my current layout, I've changed nothing. And my title, well, it will stay the same. Change, as you may know, I consider evil. Most of the time.
I did change something. Just one little thing.
I've got my eye on you now. My left eye, to be specific. Although my right eye could have worked too. I hope it doesn't feel left out.
Peaches are still my favorite fruit.
Nothing quite like juice running down one's chin, hmm?
You know the one.
December 6, 2004
If I'd have known she needed one,
I'd have offered her one of mine.
Although she may not have realized I even had one to offer.
So now I'll come out.
Does anyone in the universe besides elswhere need a gmail invite?
Drop me a note and I'll send you one.
I remember Detail near the end of his road. I remember hoisting him up on the bed so he could take a nap in a comfortable place. He seemed to sink more deeply into the mattress than before. He weighed less. But he was sinking.
And that is how Cosi sleeps these days. Like she is sinking.
December 5, 2004
We met when his family moved into the house next door to my family. He was around five years old I think, which made me about seven. Our families stayed neighbors while we grew up. We played together in our youth, weren't always close friends over the years, yet did maintain acquaintance. After achieving adulthood we both settled down in the same town where we were raised. We had friends in common and soon found ourselves with a renewed friendship of our own.
He married a woman I knew from high school. She and I became fast friends.
And what a friend she was. She was my rock during a very difficult time in my life. During a time when friends were few and far between. When friends I thought I had suddenly no longer were friends. Either by them shying away because they did not want to deal with the wreck that was my life, or because I could not deal with sharing the pain of the wreck that was my life. Divorce has that effect. It mangles families, it mangles friendships.
But this post isn't about her. It's about him. Since it's his birthday and all.
Our friendship was mangled when he divorced his wife. Friends get split up like household furnishings and automobiles. When he pulled away from our friendship, I was not surprised. I had done the same thing to friends when I got divorced. It wasn't personal, really. It was more an emotional overload thing. There is only so much one person can handle, you know?
But what I don't know and what I'll never know is if he realized I completely understood why he left her. If he could have looked me in the eye, he would have known. He would have known he was not the only one who had done something horrific to people he loved in pursuit of a more idealistic love. Such a lofty concept, idealistic love.
I wonder what I would say were I to run into him today? Well if it were actually today, I'd say "Happy birthday, Frank." Outside of that, I'm just not sure.
December 3, 2004
I have never considered myself a hopeless romantic or anything even close to resembling a romantic at all. Perhaps at times yes. Yet fumblingly so. So I seek safety in words others have written. My own rarely unfumble me.
I'm feeling that. Romantic. Not sex-romantic, but heart-romantic. Which can lead to sex-romantic. Or not. Whatever feels right. Instinctively, I fumble around to grab on to words others have written.
I remember like a lover can,
But I forget it like a leaver will.
It's no place you can get to by yourself.
You've got to love someone and they love you.
Time will stop for nothing else...
It's the first time that you held my hand.
It's the smell and the taste and the fear and the thrill.
It's everything I understand.
And all the things I never will..."
"Where Time Stands Still"
Mary Chapin Carpenter
I learned a very important parenting lesson when The Boy young. Actually I learned a hundred thousand million very important parenting lessons when The Boy was young, but there's one I had to learn several times before it stuck. I made the same mistake more than once. Imagine. Well, calling it a mistake is a bit harsh. Let's go with learning curve.
After The Boy arrived I could not wait to share with him all the exciting wonderful fantabulous marvelous cool incredible things the world has to offer. Of course that meant all the things I thought were exciting wonderful fantabulous marvelous cool and incredible. Because surely if I found them worthy, The Boy would also. Books. Food. Toys. Music. Activities. People. Pets. Games. Life. Oh yeah, we were going to be busy!
But there was that lesson I had to learn and then learn again. Pesky lessons.
I once gave him an Erector Set. I recall being so excited about that Erector Set. It wasn't just about the giving of the gift, rather the anticipation of he and I working together to construct things with it. I envisioned hours spent sitting on the floor with pieces and parts spread out around us as we built something cool that moved. No real vision of what we would build, just me sharing with The Boy something I thought was nifty. Sharing me, if you will.
I've never been particularly good at building things and had never touched an Erector Set before. I had Barbies growing up. But The Boy was, well, a boy. And that Erector Set was a cool boy toy. (Yikes, did I really feel that way?) It also had another appeal. Because I love things with lots of parts with lots of different activities that are packaged in efficient storage containers! For those reasons, that Erector Set really appealed to me. I was so certain he would find it as cool as I did.
When we sold that same Erector Set at the garage sale we had before we moved the summer before last, it had been used... oh, maybe three times. The Boy did not share my fascination with attempting to build things with little parts. And he didn't seem to have a real appreciation for my mild obsession with toys that came in efficient storage containers. Okay fine. No big deal. Hrumph.
Yet there were many things about which he and I were equally enthusiastic. One was the library. Man, we'd kill hours at the library. Reading, browsing, sharing. And of course we'd take books home to read. Some together, some individually. (We still share books. I hope we always do.)
Then there was the whole thing with the Matchbox cars. Actually, this probably came first. The Boy, as many children do, had a few Matchbox cars. He was maybe five or six years old. I decided one year for his birthday to get him a box to keep his cars in. Out to the store I went and picked out this suitcase-style container with racks inside. It was black. I fashioned a cover for it using a plastic transparency, construction paper, an old "Hot Rod" magazine, and a magic marker. (No, it wasn't as bad as it sounds. It turned out okay.)
And it's not that he didn't enjoy his Matchbox cars and carrying case. He did. But it did not inspire the same level of enthusiasm in him as it did in me. I mean I was stoked about that carrying case! Yet it was far from him favorite toy. We did, however, spend many hours with those cars, usually at my suggestion. "Hey, let's play with your Matchbox cars!" And he'd agree. We didn't sell that item at the garage sale. We kept it.
So I began to get a clue. When he and his friends got into Magic: The Gathering, well I was right there with them. We got some of my adult friends into it too. Me and my friends would play cards with him and his friends. Good times good times. (Does he remember it that way?)
By then I understood. It was not just about me sharing my interests with him and expecting him to embrace them as I did. It was about him discovering his own interests. He had things to share with me as well.
And he still does.
How cool is that?
December 2, 2004
Three dollars and seventy-five cents!
Damn. If memory serves, less than a year ago it was but $2.25. Yes I was aware the price had gone up. But every time I see that sign I feel irritation. Plus it used to be if you left the garage before 2:30 in the afternoon or after 10:00 at night, you didn't have to pay. Now if the station is open, you have to pay no matter what time you depart.
Another fairly recent change (which I resisted and moaned about only because change is evil! evil I say!) was the requirement to have a SmartCard to pay for parking. A SmartCard resembles a credit card that a rider can put funds on to pay for Metro fares and parking. With the adventent of the SmartCard, no longer would there be an attendant in the booth to take your cash. Parking lot attendants had evidently been stealing (stealing is bad! bad I say!) and therefore were eliminated from the system.
Metro charges $5 for the actual SmartCard itself. After you pay your $5, then you can load additional funds on it to pay for Metro services. Think about that. You must have one to use the parking facilities, yet the only way to get one is to buy it. So parking for a one-time visitor to a Metro station actually costs $8.75. And this is tourist-country, Our Nation's Capital.
Anyway. I have conformed out of necessity and am now a SmartCard owner. As it turned out, an odd series of events and my personal miscalculation resulted in a very late night educational conversation with the Temporary Roving Metro Parking Lot "Yes It Is Well After Midnight But You Must Pay And No You Can't Use Cash And I Can't Really Help You Go Buy A SmartCard" Fellow. That night Wendy purchased the SmartCard that has since become mine.
And oh oh oh! How I adore my SmartCard! I load my SmartCard up with funds right from my debit card. No more dealing with paper farecards and digging for change to pay for parking. It's actually a fantastic convenience. Why did I ever resist?
* anyone else remember Ace of Base and their song of this title? I liked it when it came out and still do.
December 1, 2004
Happy birthday, Wendy! Je t'aime bien.
We are going out for dinner. Her choice of restaurant. She's leaning toward Taco Lucas, which is as informal as the name sounds and serves a cross of Mexican and El Salvadorian style food. It's good stuff.
If it wasn't for Taco Lucas, I may never have discovered the joy of pupusas served with spicy shredded cabbage. My life would seem so empty without the occasional pupusa to tantalize my tastebuds.
One thing about Taco Lucas: we invariably eat too much. Because it's good. And the portions are generous.
Another thing which could be deemed unrelated but is actually quite relevant: we have both gained weight since we quit smoking. I'm almost comfortable in my regular clothes. Until I eat something. Any something. Even a small something. Then I feel like a sausage stuffed into a casing three sizes too small.
I wonder if I can convince the Birthday Girl it would be perfectly appropriate to wear our pajama pants out to dinner tonight?
November 30, 2004
I really like it. Everything loads faster. The tab feature is cool. Instead of multiple separate windows, multiple windows in a tabbed format. Nice and neat.
But Firefox doesn't seem to like my blog template much. I think it is due to my "imperfect" html.
Imagine. My html is imperfect. I know, I know. Hard to believe.
I have been surfing Blog Explosion using Firefox to see if other blogs have display issues similar to the kind I experience with my own. There are a few that are squirrely, particularly with columns.
So if you've surfed here using Firefox: my sidebar is NOT supposed to look like that! There are things missing. And it looks different every time I load it. If you've got any clues as to what I can tweak to make it appear it does in IE, I'm all ears. Help me!
Does the phrase "help me" cause anyone else to have the image of a fly with a tiny human head pop into their mind?
Or down. Look down.
The flower is celebrating.
And when the flower celebrates, it's always a good thing.
November 29, 2004
Friday morning, I took this picture of the view from the upstairs bathroom window. I could wake up to this view every day and never tire of it. But waking up to that view would necessitate me living with my parents.
The picture will have to suffice.
I reply: Oh?
Wendy says: His first name is Earthwind.
I reply: What? (Thinking I was sure I must have heard her wrong.)
Wendy says: The announcer announced his mother named him after her favorite band, Earth, Wind & Fire.
I reply: WTF?
What, just what, was his mother thinking?
November 28, 2004
Closets are being emptied and reorganized. Bags are being filled with clothing to give away. Winter clothes are being rotated in. Random "stuff" that accumulated in the wrong place is being relocated to the right place.
Wendy is craving order.
It's a beautiful thing indeed.
We ate. We drank. We watched football.
We ate. We drank. We played dominos.
We ate. We drank. We did dishes.
We ate. We drank. We napped.
We ate. We drank. We read books and newspapers.
We ate. We drank. We laughed.
We ate. We drank. We watched "Survivor".
We ate. We drank. We stayed up too late and got up too early.
We ate. We drank. We played with the cats.
We ate. We drank. We chatted.
We ate. We drank. We celebrated my step-father's 69th
birthday and my sister's 44th. We
celebrated Wendy's birthday too. A
few days early.
We also raked leaves. The kind of leaves that fall from trees each Fall. Yeah. Those. We gathered them using a variety of means and stuffed them into large bags. The joy! The rapture! You know what they say after all: The family that rakes together... well... hmmm... what do they say? Aches together?
I thought Wendy and I had stuffed an impressive number of bags full of leaves while cleaning up our own yard. I was mistaken. Impressive is the 89 bags of leaves we stuffed at my parent's house.
This morning, we hugged and waved farewell to The Boy as he hopped into his suitemate's automobile to brave the teeming highways and byways as they return to The Place They Now Belong. He carried with him a mountain of clean and sweet smelling clothing. I'm sure when he gets back to the dorm, it will once again be strewn on the floor and flung in whatever direction it happens to fly. Not my problem! And that's a good thing. He also toted two turkey sandwiches, two Fugi apples and two bottles of water. Boys get hungry in the car. Boys get hungry everywhere.
Do I miss him yet? Silly me.
November 25, 2004
I'll be back after I've digested my share of turkey and pie. Oh, and after I've raked and bagged my share of the leaves in my parent's yard.
PS: Happy Birthday to my dear sister Sherab Khandro. We love you and wish you were here with us!
November 22, 2004
I have the privilege of picking up Jacqueline (ummm... how do you pronounce your name?) at the train station at 9:25 in the morning.
The Boy is getting dropped off tomorrow evening, right on our doorstep, by one of his suitemates. I love delivery.
The restaurant had about 35 televisions, all tuned in to the assortment of NFL games playing that afternoon. It was more than a little frenetic. And noisy. And fun.
I never thought I'd say this. I was grateful for Montgomery County's new regulation banning smoking in all restaurants and bars. Our smoking friends had to go stand outside to smoke.
Wendy and I didn't. Have to go stand outside that is. Because we are non-smokers. :)
November 21, 2004
November 20, 2004
So I am sharing some numbers herein. Because numbers are almost as cool as words. Almost.
My NaNoWri word count has been displayed to the right since I began. But there are so many more interesting numbers to share relating to that endeavor. All statistics are current as of today at 8:00 pm EST.
- Words Behind Schedule: 3,222
- Percentage Complete: 56.89%
- Percentage of Time Used: 63.33%
- Words Left to Write: 21,553
- Days Left to Write Those Words: Ten
Now how about some non-NaNo statistics? How about some bathroom renovation statistics? Oh yeah, baby. Try to contain your enthusiasm.
- Days Since Renovation Began: 173
- Number of Times Wendy and I Have Previously Done This Type of Work: Zero
- Days We've Had to Shower in the Skanky Downstairs Bathroom: 172
- Days Spent on Demolition: One.
- Days Spent (So Far) Putting It Back Together: Oh please. You do the math. But not all of those days were actually spent working on this. We have lives, after all, as pathetic as they may be.
- Pounds of Debris Hauled to the Curb: Unweighable. An f'ing ton.
- Number of Windows Replaced: One
- Rolls of Insulation Used: Two
- Sheets of CBU Installed: Five
- Sheets of Drywall Installed: Seven
- Number of Tiles Set: 700, give or take a half
- Bags of Thinset Used: 2.5
- Cartons of Grout Used: 1.5
- Number of Acetaminophen Tablets Swallowed: Less than 300, but not many less
- Trips to the Hardware Store: Too many to count
- Lunches From Popeyes Picked Up On Our Way Home From the Hardware Store: Too many to count less five or six
- Number of Times We've Used the F-Word During This Project: Many many many f'ing times (Our mothers would be so proud? ha!)
- Number of Times Knuckles Have Been Scraped and Bleeding: Any number greater than zero is too many. We've surpassed that by a large margin.
- Number of Mosquitos Fed By Wendy While Washing the Tile Saw: 50, give or take a few and not counting repeat diners
- Mistakes Made: Get real. Who counts those?
- Amount of Time Spent Contemplating How to Resolve "Issues": Lots. Lots and lots. It's all part of the process, dontcha know.
- Number of Times We've Considered Giving Up and Hiring a Professional: Zero. We're tenacious.
- Number of Times Friends Have Said "You Still Haven't Finished That Project?": Too many to count. (Friends, don't ask questions like that! Have a heart!)
- Number of Times We've Looked at Our Progress and Said "Wow, This Is Going to Be Gorgeous!": A zillion at least. Positive reinforcement is essential.
- Days Until We Can Pee Upstairs Again: ONE! *knock on wood*
- Days Until We Aren't Brushing Our Teeth in the Kitchen Anymore: Approximately eleven.
November 19, 2004
"This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse".
From Reuters.com, 'Cross-Dressing' Out, Camouflage In:
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Camouflage was in and cross-dressing was out at a rural East Texas school district after a Christian legal group complained a long-standing school tradition of reversing social roles for a day would promote homosexuality.
Students in Spurger, Texas were encouraged by school officials to wear camouflage hunting gear to class on Wednesday after they called off their annual "TWIRP Day" in which boys dressed as girls and vice versa.
... Delana Davies, who has two children in the Spurger school, complained this year that the tradition could promote homosexuality and got the Liberty Legal Institute, a right-wing Christian legal group, to take up the cause.
"It might be fun today to dress up like a little girl -- kids think it's cute and things like that. And you start playing around with it and, like drugs, you do a little here and there (and) eventually it gets you," Davies told reporters.
WTF is wrong with people? Do they also believe if their children spend too much time swimming they'll turn into fish?
November 18, 2004
As I poured my second cup of coffee this morning I opened one up. And then I opened up another because the fortune in the first one was more stupid than the typical fortune inside a fortune cookie.
After I cracked all three of them open in search of a decent fortune, all I was left with were crumbled fortune cookies and boring fortunes.
Does anyone really enjoy eating the cookies that hold the fortunes? Nice crunch but not much flavor.
A thrilling time is in your immediate future.
Promote literacy. Buy a box of fortune cookies today.
If you are in need of a fortune, please feel free to help yourself to one of the above.
November 16, 2004
But today I looked at this particular building. A brand new shiny sign out front caught my eye. The sign has two words on it, but I only remember one: Carwash.
A childhood memory of that building relates directly to the old sign. When it was a carwash of a different name. Back then, the sign regularly displayed Christian messages like "Jesus Loves a Clean Car" and "It's a Sin To Drive a Dirty Auto". Who knew?
I'm rather slothful about keeping my car clean. It's never been a priority. I mean, as soon as it gets washed it just gets dirty again. Like immediately. The rain rinses it well enough every so often. I don't feel the same about the interior. I like the interior fairly clean with minimal debris and/or clutter. It's much easier to keep it that way with The Boy away at school.
The Boy tends more after his father when it comes to the interior of the car, yet not to his dad's extreme. His father, BG, has always has the most clutter, the most crap, the most bizarre collection of shit in his car that sometimes there is only room for the driver. Seriously.
BG had an accident many years ago and his only severe injuries were caused by
Way way way way back, I had cause to borrow his car one evening. I was taking two friends out somewhere. It was a cold winter evening, the kind where you can see your breath when you talk. We piled into the old Ford Pinto stationwagon, the three of us. I started the engine and as we sat waiting for it to warm up a bit, we were laughing and yucking it up. Naturally the windows fogged up.
We were ready to roll, but the defroster hadn't geared up enough to clear the windows. I reached over into the passenger foot area to find something to wipe it off with. My searching hand brushed against something soft and I deemed whatever it was to be a good window-wiping-off thing.
As I started rubbing the windshield with it, however, I realized what it was. It was a freaking banana peel. On the floor of the car. Just left there. It had been there a while. On top of a pile of could-be-anything other crap.
We three found it incredibly amusing. Our laughter fogged the windows again.
For reasons unknown, it's one of my favorite stories to tell about BG. I don't tell it in a mean way, more in a "here's an endearing BG story" way. I mean, if you know him, you just have to laugh. Because it's so him. And that's okay. Because I don't have to live with it!
November 15, 2004
When I say "boring little details" I'm mainly referring to my day. My days overflow with boring little details. She probably has some interesting details to share about hers. Oh! I do have one interesting thing to share with her. Something she'll find fascinating because it's medical and she loves medical stuff. It's gross medical too. She'll be in heaven.
But back to the fire.
I was going to start a fire.
But a bird thwarted me.
At least for now.
For the second time in as many months, there is a bird on our screened porch. This time it's a female cardinal. I watched her for a while, as she perched prettily on the edge of the table. She seemed calm. Then. Until Dudley romped out through the open door and onto the porch where he immediately knew something was up! (Alert! Alert! They are coming to kill all us! Dogs can be such drama queens.) So the bird got frantic and started flying all around trying to find the way she came in so she could go out.
The porch is between the house and the firewood. I have to walk through the porch to get to the wood. The bird was flying all around. I thought of this woman and her interesting experiences with birds. I would prefer not to have experiences like that. So I cowered inside the dining room, looking out into the darkness and wondering if the bird had found the door yet.
I know, I know. I should help that poor bird find the door. But it's dark. And I can't see it except when it flies right by my head at like 30 mph. Some help I'd be.
Eh. She found her way in, she'll find her way out.
In the meantime, starting the fire will just have to wait.
November 14, 2004
Actually, Wendy had three full days of laying around. But she has an excuse. She had a bit of a bug. Because I was and have been perfectly healthy, the first day she spent laying around I was at work. Working. Or whatever it is I get paid to do.
Of course, those next two days I could not leave her on her own to lay around. What kind of a partner would I be if I didn't keep her company and bear some of the burden of laying around? Why I'd be a crappy one, that's what.
Today we broke out.
I can't share with you in detail all the productive things we did today because I'm supposed to be working on my NaNo word count, not exalting over all our accomplishments in a blog entry. Suffice to it say the leaves that were once scattered ankle deep all over our yard are now in one of two places: a) stuffed into one of the twenty-two bags bulging leaf bags piled next to the old oak tree, or b) reuniting with relatives whom last year had relocated to the wildlife refuge in our backyard.
We are also this close (picture me holding up my hand, with my thumb and my forefinger positioned just a pinch apart) to putting the toilet back into the upstairs bathroom. It's been residing in the guest room for several months now and with company coming for the holidays, well, someone just might notice.
It's amazing what one can accomplish if one just gets out of bed.
* title of this post shamelessly borrowed from an Alanis song. Can't remember the title, but the words are definitely hers not mine.
It's been cold here. While Dudley has always enjoyed sitting in front of the fireplace, this is new behavior for our old one-eyed cat Figero. Cosine, on the other hand, is not allowed near the fireplace. Her unsteady gait and diminished spacial awareness can be a danger. Several times we've had to jump to catch her from walking right into the fire. I'd call her a dumbass, but I love her. Actually that doesn't stop me from calling her a dumbass. But only as a term of endearment, of course.
November 13, 2004
But then it came time for dinner. All my previous thoughts on dinner had been pushed off into the "I don't need to think about that now because I'm going to the grocery store later" place. I neglected to re-visit the issue after changing my mind about leaving the house. I did know there was not much food-food in the house. We had plenty of snack food on hand. But not dinner-making-food-food. So when dinner time came along, I was stymied. Should we phone out for food? And if not the phone, then what to make for dinner? Suddenly everything fell into place.
Last night we dined on tuna patties. Ayup. Tuna patties.
I don't even know where the idea for tuna patties came from or how such an idea ever made it into my not-so-imaginative mind. The first time I made them was an act born of desperation. It was another situation similar to the one in which I found myself last night. People to feed and no real idea of what to feed them. Down to canned goods and a few odd ball left-over items but not enough left over to be of any real use.
I don't know about your household but in our household invariably there are at least six cans of tuna fish on one of the pantry shelves. It's just one of those things we don't seem to run out of. So I mixed together the same ingredients I use to make meatballs, substituting canned tuna fish for the usual ground beef, omitting the milk and changing the seasonings a little. And then formed patties instead of balls.
You may be thinking, "Oh big deal. I make tuna patties all the time! Why does she think tuna patties are anything special?"
Because in our house, they are special. Turns out Wendy really enjoys them. And they are easy to whip up when there's really no dinner-making-food-food left in the house on those too lazy to go grocery shopping days. So I win despite having been a slug hanging around in my jammies all day.
Yay for tuna.
Yay for jammies.
Yay for rainy days.
November 12, 2004
It is raining like crazy here today.
Like cats and dogs.
Whatever that means.
It's a good day to stay home.
Which I am doing.
Which we are doing.
I slept wrong on my shoulder the other night.
It still hurts.
I feel slightly whiny and hope it will pass.
Did I mention it's raining like crazy here?
Our dogs don't like to poop outside in the rain.
Neither of them.
I don't think I'd much like it either.
Writing dialogue is hard.
I'm procrastinating again.
My enjoyment of that feature may also relate to the whole not having to walk all the way to wherever it is the cashier is to be found. No it’s not really laziness, it has more to do with being in a hurry. Paying via a cashier not only requires walking the extra distance but also standing in line behind other patrons. And mustering more smiles or small talk. Places to go! People to see! Things to do! No time to stop and exude even the tiniest bit of humanity!
While I haven’t seen them up here in Virginia, when we visit The Boy we always get gas at a station where the pumps also take paper money in addition to credit or debit cards. Options are good.
My parents who live in Oregon do not have such options. Oregonians evidently cannot be trusted to pump their own gasoline. Also, although I don’t know if the whole state is like this, when one stops for gas on the New Jersey Turnpike, it is not an option to pump one’s own gas there either. Around here, if I want gas the only way to get it is to pump it myself.
I must now apply self-censorship before I include an off-color comment about pumping it one's self.
November 10, 2004
"When corn is sitting there on the cob, all yellow and squishy, it's a vegetable. However, when corn is taken off the cob and dried out, it's a grain. Cornbread is made with corn meal, which makes it a grain. Popcorn is made with dessicated corn kernels, and so is also a grain. Canned or frozen corn, on the other hand, goes out of its way to retain corn's various ... on-the-cob qualities, and therefore qualifies as a ... vegetable."
Thanks again to The Brown Cow!
(I'd give them a link except s/he is evidently one of the more anonymous types. Bummer.)
And before you say "It's popped corn, dumbass", let me point out that I'm after something deeper than a mere literal definition. I know what popcorn is.
Now I want to know what it is.
As in where does it fit on the food pyramid?
My friend Tina, who was munching popcorn at the time and is therefore responsible for this thought rattling around in my head, opined it's a vegetable. Being that it's corn and all.
But popcorn? A vegetable?
That doesn't seem right.
I looked up the food pyramid. One that I found had a graphic of a little ear of corn tucked amongst the vegetables in the vegetable and fruit section of said pyramid. Confirmation that corn is indeed a vegetable on the food pyramid. Perhaps I am the only one who appreciates visual confirmation of something we all already knew.
But does that mean anything made from corn, such as popcorn, is also a vegetable? Because by that logic, there are many other foods that would be considered vegetables while at the same time cannot logically be considered vegetables. Despite being made from corn.
Like grits. And tortillas. And Fritos. And Corn Pops.
A corn dog could then be considered a well-rounded meal. Even moreso if one eats it with ketchup applied. But that's just wrong in so many ways.
Yet I just cannot escape the logic Tina applied to popcorn. It is corn. Just like you'd get off a cob or out of a can or from a frozen box of Green Giant Niblets Corn & Butter Sauce. And it tastes better with butter and salt, just like grits.
Obviously a vegetable.
Has to be.
November 9, 2004
We, of course, said yes. Poker is fun. Getting out for the evening is fun. We packed up our nickels, dimes and quarters. We made dip, bought chips and were not the first nor last ones to arrive.
The games were fun. I neither won big nor lost big. Wendy came out up a little. However I must admit a small something. There were several games where the winning pot would be split between two players, such as in the case of Low Chicago. One game, she and I were the winners. Instead of splitting the pot as we winners were supposed to, she took her ante and gave me the rest because she knew my pile was low. She's nice like that.
What really fascinated me was the people. Oh the assortment of people our host brought together for that night of poker! Start with Wendy and me, typical suburban lesbians. Mix in a wiseass UPS driver. Add a quiet fellow who makes a living building computer networks (which one could surmise immediately after meeting him... he had that aura, but in a good way). Lavishly sprinkle with high school strings teachers.
Yes. You read correctly. High school strings teachers. As in orchestra. Violin, viola, bass. Yeah, you know. Waving the baton. Tuning the strings. Three of them. At one poker table. What are the odds?
And for icing, one was in his first year of teaching. We think he was maybe, oh, 23 tops. Last year he was a student teacher for the other woman at the table. We called her Pumpkin, because she was wearing a bulky orange sweater and therefore resembled, albeit remotely, a pumpkin. 'Tis the season and such. The young man: good hair, good highlights, two earrings, good shave (or lack thereof), BoSox t-shirt. Good is subjective of course, yet really quite a pleasant young man.
But he teaches strings. Three of them at the table that night do! Yes, Bud's one too! They'd pop out with some orchestra-themed joke every so often and they'd laugh amongst themselves. The rest of us just kind of looked at each other like "WTF did that mean?" Orchestra-themed jokes! Jokes that actually made them laugh!
I ask you.
What are the odds?
November 8, 2004
Here's the obligatory post-show family-in-the-lobby pic. The Boy's required 1885 hairstyle is weird. You can't see it in this picture, but he's sporting some long-ass bushy sideburns too. Much like Hyde (no relation to Edward) on That 70s Show.
(More on our trip and the show later, after I somehow get caught up on my word count. I'm only 3,800 behind schedule. No nagging necessary, I'm on it!)
I have always had the problem of cooking too much. "Oh, gee. That doesn't look like nearly enough pasta!" So I'd dump half the economy-sized package in the boiling water, only to end up either a) eating leftover pasta for a week or b) tossing it out the next time the refrigerator was purged.
Tonight I tried very very hard to properly estimate the amount of penne pasta to cook for our dinner. I did not want leftovers. I had a set amount of meat sauce. I wanted to cook just the right amount of noodles to go with the sauce. I carefully read the box. I even pulled out a measuring cup.
"Two ounces equals one serving," I read. Carefully I measured two ounces of dry pasta. Didn't look like much. I needed two servings anyway, so I added another two ounces. Still didn't look like much. So I doubled it to eight ounces. Still didn't look like much, but oh well. The box said two ounces. I was cooking eight. It should be plenty!
So we had an appetizer-sized dinner tonight. The box lied. I am so confused.
Yes yes, it may be silly to keep changing a team's name. But for me, the only fun I've had so far is changing their name as an indicator of their fortunes as the season progresses. You see, up until now their record, no matter what I called them, stood at a mortifying 0-8.
My team optimistically started out as the Marauders.
Then, in Week 7, their name changed to the Miami Dolphins, when the Dolphins were 0-6 and their record matched that of the former Marauders. But that same week, Miami had the nerve to actually win a game. My team didn't bother. Oh they tried, but their hearts obviously weren't into it. They seemed to feel winning isn't everything. WTF? I fired my coach and hired someone new. Hopefully someone competent.
Along with the new coach came a new name: Could Use An F'ing Break.
And yesterday they got one. A break, that is.
Hell Hath Frozen Over.
PS: We're home! More later.
November 5, 2004
Wendy and I are traveling to see The Boy's show, departing this afternoon. This evening, we'll be joined by my mom and her friend. Saturday, they will depart for home and my step-mother from Oregon will arrive.
Shuffling grandparents. Yippee! Last weekend The Boy was inundated with parents and grandparents from his father's side. Followed by our double-strike this weekend. Mwuha. It's rather like payback for the time he blew out his diaper and used it as fingerpaint back when he was about nineteen months old.
Yet I think he enjoys our visits. I hope he does. I know he enjoys being slipped cash. He is my son, after all. And parents and grandparents are usually good for at least a little of that. Eases the pain and such.
You'll have to do without my
If you need a chuckle, or even if you don't, go read this blog. Unless, of course, you already do. And if you already do, go read it again. You know it's worth it.
November 4, 2004
Now if that's not a sign that today is going to be one rockin' fine day, I don't know what is!
November 3, 2004
While I’m disappointed with the outcome of the presidential race as well as the increased republican control in both the House and the Senate, I am even more distressed by the overwhelming passage of same-sex marriage bans across our nation. Imagine.
Down deep inside of all that is my being, I truly believed in the inherent fairness of the American population. I believed tolerance of the differences in people would eventually equate to acknowledgement that ensuring equal legal rights for all Americans is the proper thing for our country. Tolerance despite differing religious and personal beliefs. Acknowledgement that Americans treasure freedom and equality for all our citizens above all else. But this election has proven how wrong I was.
I have been spoiled I guess. Because I am personally surrounded by people who accept Wendy and me as a couple without imposing their own standards of how they define morality on our lives. People that know me, that know us, that know our Boy. Those people have spoiled me and led me to naively believe that one day our citizens would stand up and allow me and my family equal access to and protection under our laws. For no other reason than because it’s the right thing to do. I am obviously a fool.
I am damned tired of hearing strangers preach about how immoral my relationship is. Of hearing how much of a sinner I am because I am homosexual. I am damned tired of people who don’t know squat about me or my family or my sexuality sitting in moral judgment of who I am. In judgment of who I love. In judgment of the bond of our family. In judgment of the quality of my parenting. In judgment that the structure of my family is a detriment to American society.
What the hell am I missing here?
Why is my sexuality such a threat to so many Americans?
Tomorrow is my 42nd birthday.
And how does that relate to this post?
I thought changing the subject may help me feel better.
It didn’t work.
---Incubus, "Pardon Me"
November 2, 2004
In Amarillo, Texas.
Yet another reason this is an historic day.
Wendy and I just returned from the polls. We waited an hour in a serpentine line to cast our votes. Folks with last names beginning with A-K kept getting pulled out of line and taken to the front. Evidently the people checking their names were more efficient than the folks checking those of us who are L-Z.
There was a family of four in line ahead of us. Both parents were wearing Kerry buttons and the kids had Kerry stickers on their shirts. A polling place person tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to remove the Kerry button affixed to my purse. Evidently it is against the rules to display such things within a certain distance of the polls. Yet the family in front of me was not asked to remove their buttons. What's up with that? I wondered briefly what they were going to do with the big burly guy in line behind us who was wearing a Bush t-shirt. Make him turn it inside out maybe? Or maybe nothing, like was done with the family of Kerry supporters in front of us.
It sure is going to be a long day.
November 1, 2004
Wendy just told me that after I shared with her the fascinating bit of information that October had been National Stamp Collecting Month.
Her bit of news is more relevant. I never have been able to get that excited about stamps. Except when I need one and don't have it. Then I can get excited. But disabled persons? They are everywhere.
You, too, are now aware.
October 31, 2004
I got out of bed when the alarm went off. And although I have gotten out of bed when the alarm has gone off on many other days, I don't ever recall doing so on a Sunday. At least not before today. Sunday is a day of rest after all.
Oh sure. Sure it is. Let's ask the Pastor's Wife shall we? Because if she doesn't get to rest on Sunday, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever the rest of us heathens, godless and not, should get to rest either.
So I got up. Had coffee, showered, dressed, kissed my girlfriend goodbye, got in my car and headed for the Metro.
Riding the Metro is a different experience on Sunday morning. There were some other riders, but not nearly the volume I see on weekdays. It feels calmer, both at the stations and on the trains. There were a smattering of folks carrying signs and such, obviously headed to the same place I was headed.
Today was the 29th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in DC. One of my co-workers was running it. Several of us decided we'd go
Meanwhile the racers started passing by. The wheelchair folks were the first to arrive. Incredible. Some looked like they were quite comfortable and others appeared to be using the last of their energy. The same was true with the runners as they began to pass our position.
It was hot here today. Like 80 degrees of hot. The sun was brutal, even at ten o'clock in the morning. Those poor racers were sweating buckets. One lady stopped near where we were standing, took off her shoe and sock, and wrung out her sock leaving a puddle behind. The she put the sock back on and repeated the procedure for her other foot. Blech.
Most of the runners where in shorts and a shirt. Others, in celebration of Halloween, were wearing costumes. I saw a woman with cape and a Superman logo on her chest and a fellow dressed as a caveman, complete with a wild wig. My favorite odd attire was the man with a huge hat shaped like a foaming beer stein on his head. There were others carrying flags and balloons and many many wearing political messages.
We spied our co-worker approaching. We jumped up and down. We waved our arms. We shouted his name. We screamed "go go go!" and "yeah co-worker!!" among other things.
The expression of pure unadulterated complete and total misery and pain on his face did not waver. He did not turn his head our way, wave or crack a smile. He was not even aware we were there. But his stride was steady and his pace was good. Surely he was enjoying himself somewhere deep down inside?
The Boss and his wife live on Capitol Hill in an old row house in which they raised their family and have had renovated over the years. The house is really quite lovely. We all adjourned there where we breakfasted on pancakes and fruit. Nice, laid back, casual and fun. I'd not spent too much time talking to the boss' wife before and it was nice to get to know her a bit. Plus she makes really good pancakes. Who knew?
As I was on the Metro riding home, I received a text message from my co-worker who had gotten a notification from the website tracking the runners. It said "He finished! He finished!"
Like there was ever any doubt he would.
October 30, 2004
My semi-automatic editor will be taking a nap. A very long nap. At least, that's the plan. Perhaps I should have found her employment elsewhere for the month. Idle hands and devil's workshops being playgrounds and such. It could be downright dangerous to just leave her twiddling her thumbs in the corner. She's not half bad really. Maybe she'll behave.
If you don't possess your own semi-automatic editor, you'll not relate to the molassas effect it has on the whole process of writing anything. My semi-automatic editor requires me to re-read and usually re-structure every paragraph as I write it. It goes something like this. Write. Save. Read. Edit. Save. Read. Edit. Save. Read. Move on. Go back. Read. Edit. Save.
Is it possible for me to write a sentence and 1) not correct a spelling error or 2) not correct an obvious grammatical error or 3) not re-read what has just been written and make adjustments as desired?
Well in the instance of spelling errors, no. It is not possible. I'll continue to correct spelling because while a spelling error may be one of those mistakes that we all make once in a while, if I realize I just misspelled something, frankly it is impossible for me to not to go back and correct it.
But as for the grammar and re-reading? That's history. At least for this exercise. That's A Primary Purpose for Participation.
This post was practice.
Or maybe I didn't.
The only class in school I ever failed was a typing class in high school. A typing class. In high school. This was back when typing was taught on actual typewriters, albeit electric ones. My teacher's name was Mrs. Blake. She pulled me aside one day and recommended I drop the course. I was like "huh?" She said she'd have to give me a failing grade because I looked at the keys while typing.
Turns out Mrs. Blake knew her shit. As long as I looked at the keys while I typed, I never was a passable typist. It took a concentrated effort as a young adult to eradicate that habit. It was a hard habit to break. Maybe even harder than quitting smoking. But I did it. Because I had to. At the time I was attempting to earn a living as a typist. One does not succeed as a typist unless one can type without looking at one's fingers in order to determine which keys should be pressed for whatever letter is in line to be typed next. Hunger is a powerful motivator.
These days I type like the wind.
And I don't smoke either.
Breaking the semi-automatic editing habit should be a breeze.
This post was practice.
Can you tell?
October 29, 2004
It's a program called 360-Degree Feedback. A management review system for the workplace, it provides supervisors with feedback from all sides. Feedback on their job performance and how others perceive the experience of working for and/or with them. Anyone whose position includes a supervisory responsibility is reviewed. Their supervisor, peers, and subordinates complete lengthy questionnaires with section titles including "Conflict Management," "Communication," and "Managing and Measuring Work." The source of the feedback is kept confidential. Or I should say the source of the specifics of the feedback is kept confidential. They'll know it came from a co-worker, just not specifically which one.
Wendy is currently working on the one for her own supervisor. She's going to town on the portion entitled "Examples of Observed Behavior" in the "Communication" section. It's the only section where one doesn't just mark a pre-defined box to rank. It's freeform. Essay style. She evidently has a lot to say.
She was brutally honest when she filled out the form on herself. Ayup, that's right. Supervisor's also have to complete one on themselves. She tackled that one first. Those that know her also know how challenging that was for her. She did herself proud, in my own humble opinion. It's hard to look objectively at oneself. Even harder to put it in writing to then turn over to others who will actually read and analyze your thoughts about yourself and your job performance.
(Or does that sound like fun? Oh sure, it would to you. I'll bet you enjoy going to the dentist also. You are one sick puppy.)
I've never blogged about what Wendy does for a living.
I should, because it's interesting.
October 28, 2004
I'm excited, because I've got all these words waiting to hit the page. I've been suppressing them because once I start it's hard to stop. At least in the past, once I get started writing it's hard to stop. I've got my outline. And my general ideas. And lots of holes which will (hopefully) be fun to fill.
I'm also scared. Yes. Me. Scared. It's true. I'm a big scaredy-cat. Believe it. I'm afraid that all these words that are currently itching to get written will evaporate and dry up the minute November 1 arrives.
The Boy is appearing as "Utterson" in his college's production of Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical. We won't be there tonight. But we will see it next weekend. Twice.
His dad, however, will be there this weekend with a slew of relatives from his side of the family. I'm glad for that.
When I was IM'ing with The Boy yesterday, he was totally wired.
Wired is a typical state for him during tech week. Tech week is when all the different facets of a show are brought together: actors, costumes, lights, set changes, orchestra, etc. It requires longer than usual rehearsals as they iron out any wrinkles in the show and get the timing down.
(And sure, he's getting plenty of other schoolwork done this week. Not. But he is doing what he loves. It's not a bad thing.)
I've been listening to the CD this week, getting familiar with the music. In terms of musicals, the score seems a bit more repetitive than the norm. There are several major melodic themes and choruses that are carried through in a majority of the songs. My favorite (which happens to feature The Boy---shocking, I know) is entitled "Your Work--And Nothing More". It combines four voices and melodic themes from other songs which come together in wonderful soaring harmonies as the song climaxes.
If he were still in high school, I'd be apprehensive. Not of The Boy's performance, but others in the cast. High school theatre can be amazingly good but it can also be amazingly bad. We've seen much of both. But since he's in college and the pool of talent is significantly larger... actually, the talent pool actually is a pool instead of a mere puddle... I'm excited. Almost as excited as The Boy.
When he was at home, he'd sing all the time. We'd hear him in the shower or just puttering around the house. He'd play his guitar. He'd sing. He'd share his music with us. Wendy and I both miss all of that. (I won't even touch on the amount of time we spent supporting the theatre program at his high school. And yes, I miss that too. I am obviously part masochist.)
But I miss hearing his voice the most.
There was a song by the band Dispatch which he played and sang often during his senior year in high school: The General. As ridiculous as it may be, whenever I think of that song I cry. At least few tears.
You've got no time to lose.
You are young men, you must be living."
And so he is. Living!
Here's to The Boy.
Break a leg tonight, my dear.
We're with you in spirit.
October 27, 2004
We all knew she was referring to the election. After she paused briefly, she finished her sentence with "... the election will be over."
Loud-Breathing-Man (that's what I call him because that's what he does during class) laughed and said "Unless it's like the last one. Then it won't be over for weeks."
However true that may be, I find it more alarming than funny. Some of the others laughed, but nervously.
Then the woman said just to me "I've worked so hard on this election!"
I looked at her and had to ask. Because you really can't tell just by looking at someone. "On which side?" I smiled.
"John Kerry, of course!"
I said, "Whew. At times I'm afraid to ask that question."
She nodded knowingly and then handed me a Kerry/Edwards button. "Wear this," she said. "We're going to win next week."
I seriously hope her prophesy comes true.