July 30, 2005


Hello, my name is Suzanne and I'm a binge-a-holic.

"Hello Suzanne!" the crowd calls out.

It's been two months since my last confession.

"Gasp!" says the crowd.

Over the course of those two months, I've ingested a ton of the target of my current binge. Well. Maybe not an entire ton. Let's see. Five containers, each containing 21 ounces. So like 6.5 pounds. May as well be a ton.

It started out innocently enough. Wendy and I were shopping at Trader Joe's. While perusing the displays of nuts, candies and other luscious snack options tantalizingly lining the aisles, my eyes were drawn to a neat stack of square plastic containers filled with brightly colored candies.

Ah-ha! My brain snapped to attention. Those candies appeared to be the little fruity jelly disks I so adore but rarely see in stores! I felt that familiar tingle run up my spine. I looked around furtively to see if anyone was watching. The coast was clear. I made a beeline to the display for a closer look.

Sure enough, there they were: the delectable delights of my fantasies! Soft. Sweet. Fruity. Round. I wiped the thread of drool off my chin as I loving placed a container of them in our cart.

These candies come in an assortment of five colors and flavors: red is cherry, orange is orange, green is lime, white is grapefruit, yellow is lemon. Their centers are soft and smooth, ever-so-slightly sticky. Their exteriors are crusted with sugar creating a tasty delight unsuitable for carrying around loose in one's pocket or purse. Each one is a little larger than a quarter but about five times as thick.

One of each color constitutes a Suzanne Serving. Those five candies equal a perfect Suzanne Snack for a quick pick-me-up any time of day. I have favored flavors but not a favorite flavor. I don't always eat them in the same color order, but I always eat a white or yellow one first. Sometimes I bite them in halves but usually in thirds. I never eat them whole.

Don't look at me like that. It's not like I'm some obsessed freak or something.

I should have known right away that first box was the beginning of something, shall we say, untoward? I think I did know, but I jumped off the cliff anyway. Self-indulgence personified, that's me. The next week found me schlepping off to the Traitor Trader Joe's near my office to replenish my supply. I bought two containers on that trip. Two weeks after that I was back again for two more. I've half a box left and think it'll carry me through the weekend.

But after that? Then what?
Somebody help me.


July 28, 2005


Turns out Cosine got another bath after all! Well, it was more like a quasi-bath.

Since she'd been acting so odd over the weekend, Monday found us on our way to the vet for a check-up.

We had her leashed mostly out of habit. She moves with such an unsteady gait, we've mostly been carrying her around like a sack of potatoes. Actually we carry her more like a baby. A 40 pound furry baby. Neither potatoes nor babies typically require a leash.

I set her down to open the car door and she tottered away a few steps. Then she assumed that familiar universal doggie squat and started to poop right there on the driveway. For some reason the idea of her pooping on the driveway alarmed me. I squawked and spasmodically jerked the leash.

Cosine startled, lost her balance and fell over right into her neat pile of shit.

I do believe it would have been considerably easier to clean shit off a potato. I know it was easier to clean it off a baby.


July 27, 2005

Pick a Date, Any Date

Heterosexual couples have it easy. Their anniversary date is defined by long-standing tradition: the date of their marriage. Along the path to said wedding, they may have other "special" days they celebrate. Afterward, the daily grind of life as a married couple with an "official" anniversary may wear out the novelty and romance of those other "special" days. But they'll always have their anniversary, their real anniversary, the anniversary of their wedding date.

Wendy and I have discussed what date constitutes our anniversary. Since our union has not been blessed by any religious rite or government recognition, we have no standing tradition upon which to define our special day. Our ideas encompass the far-out silly to more socially conformed choices.

We get hung up on what "traditional" means for homosexual couples. Is there such a thing? If so, we have not yet been made privy to the secret. And that, my friends, is a major freaking oversight. We have been inner sanctum homosexuals for a long long time. We've actually written a chapter in the Official Guide to Homosexual Relationships (wanna guess the title of our chapter?).

I so don't want to use our first date, because it was just that, a date. Oh sure, it was a very significant date. Despite my usually poor memory, I can recall just about every minute of it. But it was like a week before my birthday. Heaven forbid special occasions, particularly occasions that tend to the gift-giving variety, are scheduled too close together.

How about the date of our first kiss? Believe it or not, we didn't kiss for quite a while after we started dating. Oh yes. We were quite chaste and proper. It just about killed us. And because I was so distracted with the concentration required to NOT rush into that first kiss, I truly cannot remember the exact date our lips first met. I do, however, remember the most recent time our lips met and it was just as enticing as the first. Ain't love grand?

The first time we slept together? That seems too personal a date to use. The day we started living together? That's got potential, but it cuts almost a year off the time I really feel we have been a couple. Well. I think it cuts off almost a year but since we can't figure out when our anniversary is, I don't know for sure. Perhaps the day we knew we'd be a couple forever? That presents an interesting puzzle. I feel like I've always known we'd be a couple forever.

Maybe none of this matters.
Maybe every day is our anniversary.

PS: Two things got me thinking about anniversaries and dates and other such trivia: Max and Elizabeth's ceremony and Weese and her wife celebrating twenty years together. Congrats to all of them with wishes for many more to follow!

I got an email from my dad yesterday. This excerpt made me smile for more reasons than one:
"The time grows nigh for the great trek to Montana. I'm really looking forward to this little venture. I feel like coming from the east and west we should drive a golden spike or something."

Ah, yes!
The time grows nigh for the great trek to Montana!

I couldn't have said it better myself.


July 26, 2005

Rolling In It

Last evening we were porch-sitting. We glided noiselessly in our gliding chairs, the conversation lazy as we caught each other up on the news of the day. The air was heavy but not oppressive. Today's not supposed to be as pleasant.

Cosine was asleep on the doggie bed in the living room. Dudley was playing junior explorer as he made the rounds of the yard. He was spending quite a bit of time investigating the area of the yard formerly referred to as the wildlife refuge. Wendy mowed it Sunday and evidently revealed some interesting fresh scents.

I recognized The Posture and knew what he was about to do before he actually did it. His hind end rose and his front legs slid down, his nose aquiver. Sure enough, he started rubbing his long basset snout along the ground, slowly and deliberately. I shouted half-heartedly, "Dud! Stop that!" He just casually flopped his head and rubbed the other side of his face firmly in the dirt. Gotta love the obedient basset hound, oh yeah.

We used to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Not the "we" that makes up our "we" now, rather the "we" that made up my "we" then. Back then, I was single so "we" was Cosine, Detail and The Boy. Some friends owned a house on the beach. The same friends owned Cosine and Detail's mother, Kate, and their brother, T-Square. The week between Christmas and New Year's was all about hanging out at the beach with a houseful of dogs and friends. Ten years we all rang in the New Year together. Good times, good times.

(Yo, Meg-O, still with us?
Quiz at eleven.

Beach week had rituals attached, not the least of which were long walks on the beach. First thing each morning, before we'd had even a smoke or a cup of coffee, no matter what the weather, my friend Kerry and I would round up the dogs and head out to the sand. Neither one of us was a morning person so we wouldn't talk to each other, we'd just walk and absorb the morning.

The wonderful thing about visiting the Outer Banks in winter, back then anyway, was the lack of other people around. We could walk the beach, dogs off-leash, and not see another human being. Sometimes we'd pass another walker or a jogger, but they were few and far between.

Each of the four dogs had a different beach-walking style. Kate would romp in the surf, catching shells that she noisily demanded her mom toss up in the air. T-Square would get wet too, splashing in the shallow water, running wide circles around us. Detail did not like the crashing waves. He trotted along the dune line, joining us on the wet sand only occasionally and then but briefly.

Cosine stayed out of the water but on the wet sand. She ran way out ahead, but I never worried because with just a single sharp whistle, she'd turn around and race back to my side. Detail, on the other hand, would hear me whistle and start running a little faster forward. He so loved to be free.

We'd walk along until we mutually decided we'd gone far enough. By then my friend and I were more awake, perhaps even conversing a bit.

Cosine sprinted by as we changed direction and she resumed her lead. Every so often she'd pause to sniff at something or dig a little hole.

She was the one who taught me to recognize The Posture. The Posture that joyfully screams, "Score! I'm about to roll in something wonderful!"

It is not uncommon for all matter of dead and/or half-dead creatures and vegetation in various stages of decay to wash up on the beach. It could be a batch of seaweed, a fragrant shell, or a spot of sand that looked innocent but held something intriguing that Cosine decided she must, absolutely must, without any further delay, perfume herself with!

She'd assume The Posture, start rubbing her face, then ecstatically roll onto her back, wriggling frantically, joyfully, in some nirvana achieved only by dogs. While she was rolling in it, whatever "it" might be, my whistles mattered not. The rapture of the roll was her entire world.

I'll always believe it's those little things. Little things like a walk on the beach and a dead fish just waiting to be rolled on.

Oh yeah baby.
That's what it's all about.


July 25, 2005

Working On It

I'm feeling some pressure from the Younger Set. Self-imposed for certain, but pressure nonetheless.

The pressure goes something like this: "I think you should write about this!"

Don't they know that merely by saying those words out loud, the pressure squashes my imagination and leaves me like a fish gasping for air on the beach? The slow trickle of the creative stream that occasionally leaks out of my body completely dries up, not a mist remains.

Evidently, they don't.
The Younger Set.

Why would they?


July 23, 2005

Doggie Bath Day

Oh yes indeedy, it's always cause for great celebration in our home.

If you yourself are not a dog person or if you are not related to a dog person or if you do not have a friend who is a dog person, you may not actually be aware of this important doggie factoid: dogs are not naturally squeaky clean and sweet smelling. Then, as a bonus of sorts, to enhance their natural odors, they spend time outdoors where they pick up other fine odors that cling to their fur and add to the distinct aroma of the Suburban-Dwelling Dog.

While it is wonderful to have squeaky clean dogs, it can take quite a bit of effort. Particularly if you have a medium or large dog. Or more than one. When we had three dogs, bathing them was an effort requiring many hours, much backbending labor, and a stack of towels as high as my thigh. Now that we are down to two beasts, we've been celebrating Doggie Bath Day about every two weeks.

So anyhoo. For the past several months, every time I give Cosine a bath I wonder if it is the last bath I will give her. How's that for an upbeat and positive thought? I actually try to interpret it as such, being the upbeat and positive thinker I am. Unfortunately when I apply the bright side to that particular thought, it doesn't inspire upbeat and positive feelings.

I really do think today was the day I gave Cosine her last bath.
I'm still working on how to spin it.


July 21, 2005

Thursday Rocked

Pretty please.
Pretty please with sugar on top.

If anyone reads this who can profess an affection for the movie Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, if anyone can share anything remotely redeeming about that movie, if anyone can share any reason why anyone should watch said film, please stand up and tell us all about it here. Yes yes, and please sign your name. It's important in ways you'll never understand.

Outside of an interesting cast and a few irresistible chuckles, I'm all like "WTF is up with that movie?" So someone help me.

Pretty please?
Pretty please with sugar on top?
WTF is up with that movie?

Our cable was out tonight. Don't know why. Should it matter? Hell no. We can survive without television for an evening. There was no baseball on anyway. So who needs TV?

Evidently we do. Because we watched that movie. It had been sitting in its Netflix wrapper for months. We don't watch many movies during baseball season. We watch baseball. Duh.

Baseball, being a game of a slower variety, allows significant multi-tasking while watching. There are a plethora of breaks: between innings, between batters, with pitching changes, etc., that allow, nay, require, a viewer with an active mind to occupy their attention elsewhere, but only in spurts and starts.

There are some activities which lend themselves well to multi-tasking in spurts and starts. I've not been doing enough of those. Instead I've been trying to do other activities which do not lend themselves well to random starts and spurts. This leads me to not accomplish anything with any great rate of success.

For that reason I am glad the cable was out. The only things I'm tasking this evening are in a linear progression. I think I'll sleep better tonight. Maybe my mind will slow down.

I didn't even touch on why Thursday rocked. That would require blogging about work and I only blog about work to discuss our annual company picnic and, even then, it is more about me than work. Too bad, too. Because I could weave a tale about today to rival any other tale I've ever told because today was a unique Thursday.

This Thursday rocked.
Hope yours did too.


July 20, 2005

40 Questions

A meme. Seen everywhere, swiped from here: Jennifer's Open Book.
  1. My uncle once: was a figment of my imagination when I pretended to actually have an uncle.

  2. Never in my life: have I seen a long-legged sailor and his long-legged wife.

  3. When I was five: I was much more adorable than my sister. She wore cateye glasses and had plain brown hair. I was a Shirley Temple look-a-like, except cuter.

  4. High School was: a blur.

  5. I will never forget: anything, as long as I remember to write it down.

  6. I once met: a strange old man on a city street who predicted, because of the way my shadow fell on the sidewalk, that my life would be filled with joy and good fortune. So far, he's been right on the mark.

  7. There's this girl I know who: captured my heart.

  8. Once, at a bar: my friends and I did so many lemon drop shooters, the only thing I remember about the whole night is laughing hysterically while we carried a toilet down the stairs and out to the curb. (Don't ask.)

  9. By noon, I'm usually: ready for my afternoon nap.

  10. Last night: I watched baseball and ate popcorn with my girlfriend. We adore quiet evenings like that.

  11. If I only had: a few more children...

  12. Next time I go to church: it'll be for a wedding or a funeral, guaranteed.

  13. Terry Shiavo: a goddamn shame.

  14. What worries me most: is that something tragic may happen to The Boy and I'll be powerless to fix it.

  15. When I turn my head left, I see: the textured wall, several of those hard-to-kill houseplants I adore and several other houseplants that have also proven hard-to-kill, my sister's painting of Mother Tara, the goddess of compassion.

  16. When I turn my head right, I see: the inside of our new front door (have I mentioned I'm in love with our new front door?), several more of those hard-to-kill houseplants I adore, The Boy's framed headshot beside a lamp on a side table.

  17. You know I'm lying when: my mouth is moving.

  18. What I miss most about the eighties: The Boy as a toddler.

  19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I'd be: the First Witch in MacBeth.

  20. By this time next year: I'll have lugged sixteen more tons.

  21. A better name for me would be: Patience. Mwah.

  22. I have a hard time understanding: religious fanatics.

  23. If I ever go back to school, I'll: study literature and English.

  24. You know I like you if: I tease you.

  25. If I ever won an award, the first person I'd thank would be: the presenter of the award.

  26. Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro: Einstein, Beethoven, Kathryn Hepburn & Hillary Clinton.

  27. Take my advice, never: judge a book by its cover.

  28. My ideal breakfast is: sourdough toast, spread thickly with margarine and apricot jam, topped with a sausage patty.

  29. A song I love, but do not own is: Dream On by Aerosmith.

  30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest: doing it in April or October.

  31. Tulips, character flaws, microchips & track stars: white roses, sensitivity, remote controls & female tennis players

  32. Why won't people: respect other people's right to be different?

  33. If you spend the night at my house: I'll set up the coffee so you can turn it on when you wake up. Don't expect to see me before 9 a.m.

  34. I'd stop my wedding for: my sister's inevitable late arrival (love you, SK!).

  35. The world could do without: greed and suffering.

  36. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: go bluewater sailing. I like my feet on solid dry land or, at a minimum, to have land in sight.

  37. My favorite blonde is: Heather Locklear. Meow. I don't care if she's a natural blonde or not.

  38. Paper clips are more useful than: toenails, among other things.

  39. If I do anything well, it's: behaving self-indulgently.

  40. And by the way: if you are paying attention, you'll notice we really are everywhere.


July 19, 2005

Too Darn Hot

It is so fucking hot. And y'all know I would never use the word "fucking" in such a vulgar way without good reason. Man oh man. It's just been so fucking hot. I don't mean a nice dry heat like Phoenix is basking in of late. I mean serious heat, oppressive heat, sweltering weather so hot it doesn't make a difference if the sun is down or if the sky is cloud-covered, which is how it has mostly been the past week or so.

I've lived in the DC area for nigh on 38 years. I know what to expect from summer weather. The outdoors transforms into a sauna, supersized. It's not the heat, dontcha know, it's the humidity. Thunderstorms typically come through and bring fresh air. But not this year. The thunderstorms this year just add more moisture to the air and bring no sweet clean relief at all.

Day or night, step outside an air conditioned space and poof! Your entire body immediately glistens and oozes moisture from every pore. It's like you're melting from the outside in. Clothing, no matter how light, clings and chafes. The thick heavy air must be pushed out of the way during the strenuous trek from one air conditioned space to the next. It saps your strength and threatens to ruin the best of moods. Stand still and it presses down as if trying to force you to your knees. It's hard to breathe. The stagnant air is undisturbed by even a hint of a breeze. Don't even get me started on what it does to my curly hair. This year even Cosine is bitching about how unmanageable her hair is.

Motivation is nil. I want to do nothing but lay naked in bed with the air conditioning cranked to the max and lick a popsicle.

Meanwhile, Mel enjoys her cool evening breeze. If she keeps talking about it, she may find us on her doorstep. She has a history of adopting people after all. What's two more with her houseful?


July 18, 2005

Flying High

Have you ever puked on an airplane?

I have. Only once. Well. I puked more than once but it was all on the same flight.

I still to this day do not know what upset my poor wittle tummy. Wendy and I had just spent three days in Las Vegas eating and drinking and not sleeping enough. Maybe it was that. Or it could have had something to do with the Bloody Marys we swilled at the airport prior to boarding our flight. I suppose it could have been a bug. Cause was irrelevant. It was the puking that counted.

Thankfully the flight was not crowded. I didn't have to worry about not finding an open bathroom when I needed one. I sat there wretchedly in my seat, moaning softly, rocking back and forth, my arms clutched to my stomach. Wendy periodically patted my head, looking sympathetic. The lady in the row across the aisle kept glancing at me, not so surreptitiously. When the mood struck (and you know what I mean by mood), I raced down the aisle uncontested and closeted myself in one of those tiny little bathrooms.

Last week I was reminded of that experience upon reading that National Airport... oh wait, excuse me, I mean Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport... will be eliminating a rule instituted after 9/11. You may or may not be aware that post-9/11, passengers flying out of or into National Airport were not allowed to leave their seats during the first or last 30 minutes of the flight.

My puking experience was post-9/11. Therefore as we hit that 30 minute boundary, the announcement was made that under no circumstance was anyone to leave their seat until the plane landed.

Uh oh.
Uh oh?
Heck no!
The airline provides those theretofore useless to me Barf Bags at every seat!

Right then, right when the ray of realization dawned that I was going to have to vomit in public, it suddenly felt as it the plane was completely full. There was a person in every seat and even others standing in the aisles. In my peripheral view was a stewardess, her eyes boring a hole in my head. Where the fuck did all those people come from? They were all staring at me, their eyes bugged. I looked over at Wendy to find her staring at me too. Sweat popped out in beads on my forehead. I did the only thing I could do. I dropped my face into the Barf Bag and heaved.

The thing that bothers me most about that experience is I cannot for the life of me recall what we did with the used Barf Bags. Did I shove them into the pocket on the seat back in front of me? Did I tuck them into my carry on and carry them off? Did Wendy put them in the trash? Did the stewardess take them away? Are they still in the trunk of my car??

Of course they are not still in the trunk of my car.
That's one place I'm sure they did not end up.

We put my parents on an airplane out of National this morning. They are heading for Alaska to take a cruise. I advised them both to steer clear of airport Bloody Marys. They don't taste nearly as good coming up as they do going down.


July 17, 2005

Simple Pleasures

Clean sheets and freshly shaved legs.


July 13, 2005

Let's Talk Crazy

I've heard time and time again how everything is bigger in Texas. These news bites I'm about to share, however, tell a different tale.

This first story focuses on a home about a mile from my own. In suburban Northern Virginia. It's a different genre of suburbia than my own, though, being situated in an area I fondly refer to as "The Land of the Big House" due to the size of the less-than-modest homes in the vicinity. This crazy fucking family had over 300 cats in their house. 86 of them dead.

And then I came across this tale in the news today. I thought, "Well. There ya go! Texans aren't all that after all. Their crazy lady only had 22% of the number of cats our crazy family here in Virginia had living with them! And what a wimp that Texas woman is! She lived in her yard and slept in her car while that herd of felines had run of her house. Pshaw! That hardly qualifies as crazy!"

Say it out loud.
It tickles if you say it right.


I'm Too Common For My Blog

Jen feels guilty, but I'm mature enough to pretend it is normal.

If, as you live your life, you find yourself mentally composing blog entries about it, post this exact same sentence in your weblog.


July 12, 2005

Friends in High Places

Some of us have interesting, fun and stimulating jobs. Some of us don't. After a recent conversation with my friend Tina, I'm not sure into which category her job falls.

Tina is a teacher. Specifically a Montessori teacher. Teachers work hard. Especially Tina.

Her class is comprised of little ones, the Diaper Crowd. I could call them the Potty Training Crowd. I could call them many things. She was telling me about a continuing ed thingamajig she attended last week. For some reason, and I really don't want to know more than I already know, part of the conference included a lesson on potty training. This potty training lesson utilized props: a plastic milk jug, peanut butter, and toilet paper! Yes, yes, yes! The instructor gave a lesson on how to teach a toddler to wipe their ass effectively. Mmmm. PBJ anyone?

I'm pretty sure after raising four children of her own that Tina already figured out how to teach a kid to wipe their ass. At least I hope she did. Perhaps I will initiate a survey of her own children to see if she used proper Montessori technique to train them. A question like that could ignite a evening filled with enlightening conversation. Indeed.

But I digress. Tina is not only a teacher, she is also a shopper extraordinaire. When I say extraordinare, I mean supercalifragalisticexpialidociously extraordinare. If there was an Olympic event in shopping, Tina would take the gold medal. If the Mall of America had royalty, Tina would be the Queen. I swear I think she shops in her sleep.

I've talked about rehabilitating our porch. I've talked about vacationing on our porch. Some would think I have a porch obsession, to which I would reply, "And? Is there anything wrong with that?" Truly. Anyone who has hung out on a screened-in porch on a lazy summer morning, afternoon, or evening can attest to the joy, the bliss, the absolute ecstacy to be attained by merely occupying such a wondiferous space.

So. We had worked on it. We needed to furnish and decorate it.

Enter our Personal Shopper. She showed up Saturday morning, notepad in hand. On the front sheet was a list, numbered one to ten. This list represented not only stores, but also the route we would be taking to visit them all. Wendy and I snuck a look at each other, our eyes wide. We hoped we'd be able to keep her pace.

Tina shops with great organization and purpose. She knows where to find things I never knew I needed in stores I never knew existed. "No buying anything until we've seen everything," she patiently instructed. "If you see something you like, I'll write down what, where and how much. We can go back later after we've seen the options." Wendy and I made eye contact again, this time grinning.

Shopping with Tina meant turning over the reins. We were down with that. Down deep. She whisked us from store to store, herding us from department to department, making suggestions and asking questions. Masterfully she narrowed things down and helped us eliminate options until we had selected a few items.

Wendy and I were tired long before she showed any signs of slowing down. She chauffeured us home, we unloaded our purchases and waved farewell. Wendy and I slept like logs after putting together furniture and then sitting for hours on the porch, sipping cheap beer and talking. Talking is another something for which porches are well suited.

The next day, Tina had already been shopping before she picked us up at noon. She had a list of stores, this time with items of interest under each store name. A stack of catalogs, I kid you not, like 30 of them, had pages marked showing things Wendy and I had shown interest in or determined were needs the day before.

Magical. It was like having a Fairy Shopping Godmother. I could get very used to such luxury. Thanks to Tina's energy and, yes, I'm going to say it, it's really no exaggeration, her expertise in how and where to shop, our porch is shaping up quite nicely indeed.

If I could bottle her, I'd share.
But since I can't, you're on your own.


July 11, 2005

Mother Nature Decorates?

We had a big storm blow through here last Thursday night.
I found this on the roof of my car the next morning.


July 10, 2005


I never used to think about my weight. I was one of "those" who could eat as much of whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and I didn't gain a pound. Yeah yeah. Go ahead, hate me. I'm paying my dues now.

I had to start thinking about weight for the first time while I was pregnant. In my first trimester, I ate everything that came within reach. With both hands. Every calorie stuck. When my doctor started bitching constantly lecturing me, I paid attention. For the last five months of my pregnancy, I primarily subsisted on small portions of cantelope, tomatoes and cottage cheese. I still gained weight. Lots of it. My doctor still bitched. He made me cry on a regular basis, the bastard.

I firmly believe my pregnancy weight gain was due to genetics. When my mother was pregnant with my sister, her doctor recommended she start smoking to curb her weight gain. No shit. The cigarettes didn't help her any more than my doctor's bitching helped me. We were genetically engineered to gain weight no matter what we did.

Fortunately, genetics worked in both directions. As soon as I expelled The Boy from my womb, I started losing all the weight I'd gained. That extra 70 pounds (yes you read that right---I gained 70 pounds to create a baby that weighed little over seven pounds) melted away in the same amount of time it took me to gain them: nine months. With a few notable, inevitable exceptions, things were mostly back to normal with my body.

Then somewhere in my late 30s, the shift began again. Sudden may not be the right word to describe the change, perhaps realization and acknowledgement is really what was sudden. Since then, I have had to be aware of my weight and how it relates to what I swallow. I find it rather irritating as self-discipline has never been my strongest suit.

I recently came across this equation. I don't recall exactly where. It was an article about body mass index and how to tell just how overweight one may or may not be. I can't resist a calculation, dontcha know. Here, you try it.
Divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared. Multiply the result by 704.5.
An index of less than 18.5 is underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 is normal; 25 to 29.9 is overweight; 30 to 39.9 is obese; 40 or more is severely obese.

So? Where do you fall?
I'll tell ya mine if you tell me yours.


July 8, 2005

Turn Turn Turn

She paces. Most of her waking hours. Incessantly. In circles. Usually clockwise. Sometimes wide, hugging the edges of the room and bumping her head a lot. Sometimes tight, as if she's trying to catch up to her own bitty tail. Other times, nice even circles in the open part of the room where she doesn't bump into or trip over anything.

Those last circles are, in my opinion, the best circles and the only ones worth turning, but she seems to prefer variety. Variety is, some say, the spice of life. Her life is evidently still spicy in some regard.

You've heard of seeing eye dogs? She has seeing eye humans. We guide her outside and, with a gentle nudge, send her floating into the yard. She moves like a magnolia leaf in a puddle, circling outside too. We retrieve her from the corner behind the woodpile where she inexplicably gravitates.

She startles wildly if touched unexpectedly so I talk to her as I approach. Not that she hears me. I touch her gently with one hand and allow her to get a scent of me. Then she waggles as I guide her inside. She anticipates the step up into the house by high-stepping all the way through the porch.

We sweeten her kibble. She gets a generous dollop of milk or broth or some leftover tidbits crumbled and mixed in with her meal. Usually something that softens it up a bit. She likes variety here too, not wanting to eat the same thing more than two or so days in a row.

Pills administered via a bit of peanut butter on a small piece of a crispy sesame bagel chip are her pre-breakfast treat. A pre-breakfast treat? Why yes. Why not? It's her "It's morning, I'm alive, and here I am wag-wag-waggling my stubby little tail" treat. Yeah, that one. We celebrate the small things.

She'll stand there wagging madly, facing the corner, staring blankly, attentive, expectant, her back to me. It's that blank rapt look into nowhere, off into the distance where, in her imagination, who knows what she's looking at. That stare freaks me out a bit. The looking without seeing. Yet her tail goes a mile a minute, the expression on her face speaking of the eagerness of her younger years.

Meanwhile her circling.
It's driving us mad.
Utterly, completely, certifiably.


July 7, 2005


When I read one of the abundant news stories about some horrific thing that happened to a child, my first thought is, "Oh no how awful, so young, only fill-in-the-blank years old!"

Then I feel a palatable sense of relief, thinking, "Whew. The Boy made it safely past that age."

I wonder what that says about me.


July 6, 2005


I work with a fellow who I'm pretty sure reads this blog on occasion although I suppose it's possible he may have become bored following my pathetic little life and given up on reading it at all. But I don't think so. I gave him an opportunity to fess up once after he made a comment about something specific I'd posted about myself, but he didn't bite. Eh. I don't really want to know.

Anyway, he shared with me the link I'm about to share with you so I thought I'd give him credit in case he still does poke around here. It's a fascinating concept, albeit not a new one, that of anonymous confession. Some of the submissions are heartwrenching while others are laugh-out-loud funny.




July 5, 2005

Stepping Up

So what do Suburban Lesbians do over a three-day holiday weekend? Pretty much the same things other people do over a three-day holiday weekend. Or maybe not?

Saturday: Road trip to historic Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia, home of the Heritage Summer Repertory Theatre to see The Boy's girlfriend in their production of Damn Yankees. Hellish traffic, fine show, excellent conversation over an early dinner afterward. This was the inaugural road trip for the Subaru Baja that now calls our house its home. It passed with flying colors.

Sunday: Trip to Lowe's for supplies for the inevitable weekend house projects. Two jobs: replacing the rickety folding stairs to the attic and installing a new door on the shed. Another first for the Baja as we made use of it's truckish nature to transport said supplies.

Then, ah then! Then we undertook pet-related chores. Dog beds were washed as well as dogs themselves, nails cut, ears cleaned, hair trimmed. Ah! Shiny, fresh and neat! Time to reward ourselves by doing nothing except reading and watching baseball. We sucked down a few brews in honor of the anniversary of Detail's death. How morbid? How festive!

Monday: Time for those house projects! Wendy and I hate hanging doors so we started with the stairs. Others may have tackled the least favorite job first, but not us. We are nothing if not grand procrastinators.

This photo isn't worth 1,000 words. Those stairs swayed, creaked and crackled when climbed. I always told myself, "Self, it's not that far to fall should these rickety stairs fail and you plummet like a stone to the concrete surface below. Really. Worry not. It's just not that far down. Crumpling will be at a minimum." Dig the groovy angle kicking out at the bottom.

Old style stairs have huge springs as the closing mechanism. New stairs have hydraulics. Huge springs really sproing when they are released. Is there a safe way to remove those springs? We musta used an unsafe way. One sprang all the way into our neighbor's yard. We don't know what happened to the other one. Seriously. It just disappeared. We think it sproinged into the attic somewhere. We hope it did. Maybe we'll come across it when we dig out the holiday decorations.

When we unpacked the new ladder, we discovered a block of styrofoam with a protruding handle. Sword in the Stone, anyone? Around Step 10 or so in the installation process, the instructions spoke of a special tool required to prime the hydraulics: the Wrench in the Foam!

There are many home repair tasks where having brute strength is an asset. Or at least having access to brute strength. Oh sure, brains can overcome the need for brawn in many instances, but there remain jobs where muscle is a true necessity. Turns out it is a serious benefit to be very strong if one is attempting to install an attic ladder. Wendy and I are strong enough to fake it when necessary. We had to really fake it for this endeavor.

Well. We didn't have to fake it to extract that tool from that block of styrofoam. It slid right outta there.

This ladder may not look like it weighs much. Somewhere between a bread basket and an automobile depending on how perceptive you are. Let's say two Cosines and a Figero. A week's worth of groceries and a large bucket of cat litter. Six cases of cheap beer and enough ice to chill it for a weekend. We held it over our heads. While we balanced on ladders. Wielding power tools attaching brackets and bolts. Ug.

Yeah. So even with a dearth of muscle, the job gets done anyway. Booyah. Or something like that.

It's great when what should be Monday morning is actually Tuesday morning.


July 3, 2005

Heads Up

Something shiny on the console of my car caught my eye as I fastened my seatbelt this morning. Eagerly I reached for it, unable to resist the attraction. When it comes to shiny objects, I'm like a raccoon. Or a crow. Shiny objects grab my attention and hold me entranced.

It was a penny. A bright shiny new copper-colored penny. I say copper-colored because I don't think there is much actual copper in pennies these days. I saw Lincoln's profile so I picked it up. It was minted in 2005. I thought to myself, "Why the hell do we still manufacture this irritating coin?"

Thankfully that penny was laying there heads-up on the console. Otherwise I would have just left it there untouched until it either magically disappeared like it had magically appeared or magically flipped over to be heads-up, thereby freeing it from the ranks of the untouchable.

Some folks would say I'm superstitious. But some superstitions are so deeply ingrained they aren't even superstitions any more. They become second nature. Not picking up coins that are tails-up is second nature to me. It's how it's always been.

"Pop" is what I called my father's father. Now I call my father that at times. I can close my eyes and picture something Pop once gave me. It was a penny on a piece of green string. The string was tied through a hole someone, perhaps my Pop, drilled through that penny. I kept it tied it to a belt loop on pair of blue jean shorts, that penny on a string. I called them my penny shorts. So imaginative!

Pop told me it was a lucky penny. He said he'd found that penny heads-up in a pig's track, which is what imbued it with luck. He continued by saying, "Now young'un, if you ever see a coin that is face-down in pig's track, well you need to leave it right where it lays. There's not much unluckier than picking up a coin that's tails-up, but if it's tails-up in a pig's track, well, sugar, it's a heap a trouble to mess with something like that."

He nodded wisely as I stared up at him, and he back at me, my eyes rapt with interest. This was good stuff he was sharing. He so sounded like he knew what he was talking about. At my tender age, I was still blissfully unaware that adults ever even told lies. He probably didn't consider that 36-odd years later I'd still believe his words to be the god's honest truth.

My father once told me a lie. Well truth be told he told me many lies, couched as education, but with my dad it is all in fun. Of course, I forgave my dad immediately for his subterfuges. The glee he derived from my youthful confusion was contagious.

So now when I deadpan outrageous bald-faced lies just for the fun of it, which is quite the hobby of mine, I tell myself it's not that I'm a compulsive liar, it's just my genetics shining through.

But that stuff about the tales-up coins, well, that's no lie as long as I believe it.

Better safe than sorry.