April 30, 2006

A Woman, Broken

I arrived home feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally.
I whined to my friend Tina, "I just want my life back."
She chuckled and replied, "This is your life. Now anyway."

Wendy babied me.
I napped.
I snacked.
I napped again.

I'm feeling stronger as each minute passes. Real strength, not the imitation strength I've been running on for the past week.

Positive accomplishments flash in my mind despite the enormous chunks of detritus still cluttering my head and my heart and my schedule. This process looms large and casts a giant shadow over the future so dark I sometimes wonder if (when?) we'll all stand in the sun again. (Why yes, I am feeling a bit dramatic. Runs in the family?)

But right now I'm home and can, albeit briefly, put it all aside and just breath deeply.

How fortunate am I?


April 29, 2006

An Ending and a Beginning

Well, here we are... Saturday night. My last opportunity to fulfill the "guest blogger" role before Suzanne returns tomorrow. (Excuse me while I do a happy dance and repeat: Suzanne comes home tomorrow!!!) Although I did not get to write as often as I would have liked, I did enjoy sharing a little of myself with all of blogdom this week. And who knows? Maybe I'll try to write some more in the future. I did start my own blog back in June 2004, after all. It consists of two entries. I know, I'm pathetic.

Suzanne, on the other hand, is a "real" blogger. 800 posts and counting since she began back in May 2004. Her efforts are not only prolific, but also entertaining and thought-provoking. Everything from The Boy to home improvement to pets to food to family to politics to suburban critters to vacations to computer games to health to gay rights to friends to... well, you get the idea. And once, back in July 2004, she wrote the first installment of the story of how we met. You want Part II? Keep nagging her.

Tonight, my intent is to share my side of the story.

I'd been single for several months following an ugly departure from an extremely unhealthy relationship. It was 1998, and I was just discovering how much fun the Internet could be. I will take a moment to admit that I spent a fair amount of time in a lesbian chat room back then, and considered some of the regulars to be friends. A couple of such friends helped me recognize the need to end my then-relationship. And those same friends encouraged me to seek a new partner when I felt I was ready. One of them sent me a link to the AOL "women to women" personals. Although I read many, many postings I only answered two. The first actually responded and we met for dinner only to find we had very little in common. The second, "UpUpUpUp", wrote a short, sterile "thanks for writing, I'll be in touch when I have more time" type of response and then never wrote again. I recall being a bit disappointed at the blow off, because her post had seemed quite promising. She was obviously literate and I appreciated her values... family and dogs being top priorities, you see. And she didn't seem to take "dating" lightly - she wanted a relationship. But like I said, "Up" blew me off.

So I kept reading the online personals, but none really caught my attention... until "Words Rock" posted. "Words" clearly had a good sense of humor, and was an articulate wordsmith. I also appreciated that she liked dogs, books, baseball, and football. Score! So I viewed her personal profile to see if I could glean any additional information. And that's where I saw it: a rather unusual quote from a Tori Amos song. Unusual, yet naggingly familiar. Ah, yes! It had been included as a tag line from the personal ad of UpUpUpUp all those weeks before. Wheels started turning. Alexandria? Dogs? Family? Clever writing? And suddenly, I knew. This was the same woman that had dismissed my earlier response. I mentally debated my course of action. Feeling somewhat discouraged from "Up's" rebuff, I did not wish to compose another detailed reply. Instead, I opted to simply let her know, in a humorous way, that I knew.

"Up? Is that you? LOL"

She didn't blow me off that time. And she was even more amazing, and just so "right" for me, that I still sometimes can't believe how fortunate I am.

I'll leave the crafting of Part II to she-who-blogs-so-successfully. Feel free to nag her if you're so inclined.

As for guest-blogging... my time has come to an end. It's been fun.




Dogs bathed................................................... check

Clean bed and bath linens................................check

Floors swept and mopped................................check

Dishwasher emptied........................................check

Furniture dusted..............................................check

Lawn mowed...................................................check

Beer in fridge...................................................check

Legs shaved.....................................................check

Suzanne is coming home tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 27, 2006

A Hunerd Thangs

Since many of you have identified my guest-blogger role this week as an opportunity to "get to know" me, I offer you my list of 100 things:

  1. I’m an avid reader and a bit of a computer geek.
  2. I adore football and baseball.
  3. I have many crooked fingers and toes. Thanks, mom.
  4. I wear makeup for work and social occasions.
  5. I often spend way too much time on my hair, yet am rarely satisfied with the results.
  6. I wear heels to work daily.
  7. I’m comfortable in a dress, but prefer wearing jeans when I can.
  8. Although I more often do the dishes, I am perfectly capable of cooking and sometimes even enjoy doing so.
  9. I adore shoes.
  10. I keep my fingernails moderately long.
  11. I just laugh and smirk when friends ask how fingernails are congruent with lesbian sex.
  12. I’m responsible for mowing the yard.
  13. I enjoy using power tools.
  14. In high school, I was both a Band and Choir geek. Saxophones rule! Altos rule!
  15. I typically volunteer to take the heavier/more unwieldy items when we are carrying things.
  16. I don’t mind heights, and routinely assume such tasks as scrambling on the roof to clean the gutters.
  17. I dislike carrying a purse and rarely do.
  18. I love to wear tank tops without a bra… when I can get away with it.
  19. It’s a fun way to give Suzanne a cheap thrill.
  20. I also love to don a baseball cap and pull my ponytail through the back… when I can get away with it.
  21. I’m quite clumsy.
  22. I have never been hospitalized.
  23. I think I’ve cracked my tailbone and maybe some toes once or twice… but I’ve never had a “serious” broken bone.
  24. I taught myself to play the piano.
  25. I’m not very good at it though, because I never actually learned to read bass clef.
  26. Every other member of my immediate family resides within 10 miles of my childhood home in small town Texas.
  27. I live about 1600 miles from them.
  28. I miss them but cannot imagine living there since "escaping" in 1996.
  29. I find self-confidence very sexy.
  30. I find arrogance beyond distasteful.
  31. Intelligence and competence are two other traits I am drawn to.
  32. Therefore, I despise our president.
  33. I also have less respect for people who persist in supporting him. (How can my parents be so blind?)
  34. I drive like a bat out of hell.
  35. I commute at least two hours daily, and have done so for about ten years.
  36. Yes, you could play “connect the dots” with the points on my driving record.
  37. My father has one green eye and one brown eye.
  38. I adore my daddy.
  39. I prefer beer to wine.
  40. It took me years to decipher Suzanne’s family with all of the stepparents and stepsiblings.
  41. I am exceedingly fond of most of them, and am in many ways closer to her family than my own.
  42. I would do anything for her sister.
  43. I think Suzanne is the most amazing parent on the planet.
  44. I’m a fool for my dogs.
  45. My salt intake is ridiculous – and I like it that way.
  46. I tend to prefer sappy ballads and dark (minor key) music.
  47. I love “chick flicks.”
  48. I hate stereotyping – particularly of my lesbianism or the fact that I’m a native Texan.
  49. I cannot two-step. Big fucking deal.
  50. I’ve been blessed with some of the best friends in the world.
  51. I do a lousy job of maintaining contact with most of them.
  52. I tend towards the “a place for everything and everything in its place” philosophy.
  53. That’s one area where Suzanne and I are a bit different.
  54. My mother is a hard-core genealogist and something of a socialite in aforementioned small town Texas.
  55. I have such a terrible sense of direction that I can get lost in my own neighborhood.
  56. I love nuts by themselves but don’t think they have any place in other foods like desserts, Chinese food, etc.
  57. I’m not a big fan of sweets, or of breads.
  58. I do not like to be the center of attention.
  59. I feel badly for people with allergies who cannot know the joys of pet ownership.
  60. I pity those who are not naturally good spellers or struggle with basic grammar concepts.
  61. I am a ridiculous procrastinator.
  62. I print/write in very small letters.
  63. I don’t really speak with a Southern accent, unless I am interacting with someone who does or I’ve been drinking... or I'm trying to be funny (like the title of this post.)
  64. My hometown was populated by WASPs, “southern” blacks, and Mexicans. I now work with Jews, Africans, Asians, Middle Easterners… and Hispanics from Peru, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Spain, but not Mexico.
  65. Not surprisingly, “Mexican” food in Virginia is NOT what I’m accustomed to.
  66. It’s bothering me that I left two sentences with a preposition at the end but I’m not going to change them (“food to which I’m unaccustomed” just sounds too pretentious).
  67. One of my brothers is the definition of “redneck”.
  68. Somehow, he seems to like Suzanne.
  69. And oddly enough, we like him.
  70. One of my brothers is prematurely gray, the other prematurely bald.
  71. I am neither.
  72. I think Suzanne has the most beautiful eyes imaginable.
  73. I also love her silver hair.
  74. And her sense of humor.
  75. And the fact that she can consistently kick my ass in Scrabble.
  76. I have an absolutely awful track record with houseplants.
  77. I’m a bit of a pyromaniac when it comes to our fireplace.
  78. I resemble an excited six-year-old when I get to see snow.
  79. I sometimes get scared in my own home if I’m alone at night.
  80. That’s what I get for watching horror movies for so many years. Thanks, Jamie Lee.
  81. I can sing the melody or the harmony to most Indigo Girls songs.
  82. I love harmony.
  83. I love lesbian-oriented fiction, movies with lesbian characters, and actresses/athletes/celebrities that are “out.”
  84. I have very, very few lesbian friends.
  85. It surprises me how poorly written most lesbian-themed fiction and movie plots are.
  86. I can kill hours on a weekend watching “Law and Order” reruns.
  87. Yes, I think Mariska Hargitay is hot.
  88. And Angie Harmon, of course.
  89. I also really enjoy watching the World Series of Poker.
  90. And women’s college fast-pitch softball on ESPN.
  91. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 19.
  92. I still have the notes he wrote me in high school.
  93. I owned a motorcycle for a couple of years.
  94. I loved riding it, but never actually got a motorcycle license.
  95. I am excited to see where The Boy’s theatre career will take him.
  96. I have worked in human services assisting people with disabilities since I was 19.
  97. I adore lazy Saturday mornings with my girlfriend, my dogs, and a cup of coffee.
  98. Dudley is my second basset hound. Buford was the first.
  99. I think funny-looking dogs need funny names.
  100. I think it’s hilarious that I have AOL to thank for the wonder of sharing my life with Suzanne.


April 26, 2006

A Sign in His Eyes?

I sit and watch the rain,
And see my tears run down the windowpane...
I sit and watch the sky.
And I can hear it breathe a sign...

Okay... so IF you go to any lyric site for the lyrics of the musical Jekyll and Hyde, those words will be the first lines of an incredibly beautiful duet called "In His Eyes." Being ever-so-slightly anal, that's what I did. And I was surprised. Surprised I say, because for months after getting the cd (and seeing The Boy in the show,) I heard the words of the second line as:

I sit and watch the sky.
And I can hear it breathe a sigh...

I've decided I like my way better, damnit.


April 23, 2006

Day One

And now, a message from your guest-blogger Wendy:

Yeegads, do you people have any idea how intimidating it is to fill in for Suzanne???? It's like being a guest host for Johnny Carson. Ah, well. Thank you for your kind comments and for stopping by.

So, Day One of the nine day hiatus has passed. It kinda sucked. Well, I guess that's relative. Normally I would be most pleased to say I spent an entire rainy Saturday indoors playing on the computer, watching baseball, napping, reading, and giving extra special love and attention to the dogs. There were weeks on end when Suzanne and I craved that kind of downtime. But my enjoyment of such a lazy non-productive day was of course compromised by the absence of Suzanne. And even more compromised by the knowledge this was just Day One. But I'm here for the doggies and she's there for her mom, and that's just the way it needed to be this weekend.

I promise I won't spend the week whining about it.


April 22, 2006

April Showers

Outside, it's cold and wet.
Last night we had a fire roaring in the fireplace.

Today marks the start of my nine day hiatus.

Wendy's going to try her hand at this blogging thing while I'm gone.

Come on by and show her some love.


April 21, 2006

Hair Today

I just realized it's been ages since I've blogged about my hair.

Actually, strike that. I've conscienciously avoided mentioning it. I do, however, wrestle with it on a daily basis. I've begun the waffling process between "Should I cut it all off?" and "Oh hell, just let it grow. I can always cut it later."

Sure. Later. After I've wandered around looking like a wild-haired crazy woman for however long it takes me to come to my senses. Still, for some reason I feel this is an experience not to be missed. I had had the same hairstyle for over 20 years before I began letting it grow six months ago.

Over twenty years! If that doesn't qualify as being in a rut, I don't know what does.


April 19, 2006

Gun-Toting Ass-Kicking Chick Flick?

This lesbian adores Mariel Hemingway. In a non-platonic kind of way. I've had an affection for her ever since seeing Personal Best way back in the day. She moves me in ways I'm far too polite to mention in mixed company. No, she's not a lesbian but she plays one convincingly and isn't afraid to take on such roles.

Mariel (I get to call her Mariel since she and I have such an intimate history) has a new movie coming out, In Her Line of Fire. She portrays a lesbian Secret Service agent who must protect the vice president when their plane goes down behind enemy lines. The plot seems a bit... well... let's just say I think it may require more than a modicum of suspension of disbelief. Even so, this movie has the tough girl appeal of GI Jane with the added bonus of lesbian characters.

That woman Mariel's about to kiss? She's Jill Bennett, an out lesbian actress. Her bio indicates she had an ongoing role in the final season of 90210, but neither Wendy nor I recall her from our days of watching zip codes. Napping during episodes can have that effect.

The movie is a product of the here! network which "... offers a wide variety of groundbreaking and acclaimed original movies and series plus the world's largest collection of gay and lesbian films appealing to the broad-based, diverse LGBT audience." It's also being shown in a handful of theatres.

Had you heard of it? The movie or the network? I hadn't. That's one reason I'm posting about it today. Perhaps it will interest you too.

"The here! networks - Gay Television On Demand. Available in many markets as a subscription service. Also available on DISH Network Ch 537 and DirecTV Ch 599 (Tues). For more info, go to heretv.com"


Bedtime Story

Helping one's children make decisions about higher education can be an intensive, multi-faceted experience. First there's the whole decision on whether to even attend college. In The Boy's case, that decision was easy. Of course he was going to college. Then came the fun part.

But I'm not here to write about those experiences right now. I'm here to talk about our dogs.

The tale begins with a trip. See, the whole select-and-apply-to-college game involved many trips. Trips up and down the East Coast, first to visit schools and then, if desired, to return for an audition. Ayup. When your offspring wishes to study music theatre, another layer of acceptance must be earned.

Sometimes all three of us traveled. Other times only The Boy and I went. Practicality dictated. The times Wendy was left holding down the fort, she was kept company by our dogs. Back then we had three: Cosine, Detail and Dudley. They all joined her in bed at night, but Dudley provided special comfort as only a basset hound can. It was during one of those trips that she schooled him on the joys of sleeping under the covers.

I've never minded dogs on the bed. I share their pack mentality and enjoy the snuggles. But Cosine and Detail always slept at the foot of the bed on top of the doggie sheet spread out for their pleasure. Only humans were allowed between the sheets. Dudley played along with the dogs-at-the-foot-of-the-bed routine until he was introduced to the greener pastures found elsewhere. Like under the covers with his head on Wendy's pillow.

As soon as I saw him napping there, overwhelming cuteness exuding from every relaxed basset pore, resistance was futile. As long as he stays on Wendy's side of the bed.

Time passed. Exit Cosine and Detail, enter Pixie. We lucked into Pixie via a rescue group. She's almost a complete physical opposite from our springers: petite and short haired. Somewhere along the roads she traveled before landing with us, she learned the joy of under-the-covers sleeping. She burrows with authority, not bothering to ask permission, just making herself right at home.

I've gone from being a dogs-belong-on-top-of-the-covers person to one who thrills when Pixie crawls under and nestles in the crook of my knees. I am her fool.

Now we sleep bracketed by our dogs, all of us under the covers, a tangled mass of warm bodies asnuggle. King-size beds were made for families like ours.


April 18, 2006

Wherein She Whines Like an Elementary School Orchestra

Things of which I was recently reminded:
  1. The Learning Curve is a stern master, a beast lurking just over my shoulder. Condescending yet well-mannered, she breathes heavily and chuckles in a raspy tone. I am her bitch.

  2. I hated geometry in high school and I hate it even more as an adult.

  3. If one does something well once, it is twice as pleasing to do it over again the right way.

  4. The health insurance industry in America is a joke. But not a funny one.

  5. In four shorts days, my life will be put on hold and I will disappear for nine days.

  6. Balance between duty and desire is a fantasy.

  7. Nine days. I don't even want to mention where I'm going or what I'm going to do when I get there because it sounds self-aggrandizing. The lovely bubble bursts when I reveal the truth: I just want to stay home.

  8. I spent the last three years learning to love my time being my own only to have reality laugh in my face as familial responsibility reminds me such freedom is but a grand illusion.

  9. I feel guilty whining. But does it stop me? Not here it doesn't, no ma'am. Not here.

April 14, 2006


The word "erection" makes me giggle. Say it with me just for fun. It even relates to the content of this post, honest. But not for the reasons I giggle.

One of the major issues we have with our home is lack of storage. Our house has a small attic, a tiny outdoor shed, and even tinier closets.

In and of itself, it's not all bad to have limited space to stash away every little thing we acquire and may or may not have a use for down the road. It forces us to be selective. But obviously a place to efficiently store seasonal items, tools, yard equipment and a selection of sentimental crap is essential. Maybe not as essential as is air to breathe, but it's way up on the list for people like Wendy and me who just don't do clutter. Plus we need room to store The Boy's stuff. Isn't it a parental obligation to stash your children's belongings until they have adequate space of their own?

While renovating other parts of our house, the basement has served double duty as a storage room and a staging area for other projects---it is the lonely place our pool table has gathered dust as our billiard playing skills rust into oblivion.

The basement is almost more daunting a project than the other work we've done. It consists of four spaces: a bathroom desperately in need of complete redesign/redo, a laundry/mechanical room currently resembling a hellish dark dungeon, a room earmarked to be our guest room, and a rec room. But before we can begin working on any of it, we need to clear it out.

This weekend marks the start of our basement renovation with Phase I: The Great Shed Erection Project. (There's that word! Even typing it makes me giggle. Is there something wrong with me?) We have educated ourselves on the theoretical how-to's of the project, the site has been selected and the building kits were delivered yesterday. It's time to grab our tools and tackle the inevitable dichotomy between theory and reality.

Notice I said "kits." We'll be erecting twin 10'x12' sheds, one for yard equipment and the other for stuff too cumbersome to haul up the attic stairs.

Watch this space for an upcoming pictorial documentary of the experience. It's sure to be a hair-raising tale filled with drama and suspense, poignant moments, and more than a few curse words. Certainly there will be a moral to the story and a happy ending with the lesbian laborers high-fiving in celebration of girl power. At least that's the plan.

Can't you just feel the excitement in the air?


April 13, 2006

Whoa Nelly

♪♫ "It's getting hot in here.
So take off all your clothes." ♪♫

Is it a curse?
My own personal curse?

See, it's like this. Every time I hear anyone say anything about being hot, no matter what the context, those lyrics from a song by the rapper Nelly flood my head. Makes me wanna sing, maybe even shake my bootie a bit and wave an arm above my head.

Sheesh. Sometimes it's so bad I have to bite my own tongue to stop myself.


April 12, 2006

Life Is the Fast Lane?

I'm feeling a bit melancholy.

Yesterday found me returning my mom's truck to her with my friend Tina following right behind to transport me home. In the minivan with her were her two youngest children, although neither are exactly young anymore. No car seats, diaper bags or bottles; no plaintive pleas of "Mom, I gotta go to the bathroom!" or "Are we there yet?" from the backseat; no sibling arguments with subsequent whines. They were polite teenagers in good moods. This was not unexpected or unusual yet still a delight.

We had lunch with my mom, did a few simple chores for her and then headed home. Along the way conversation was interspersed with stops to photograph sights her youngest daughter found worthy, sights I take for granted because I've travelled that road so frequently. The weather was spectacular.

The Boy and I played an impromptu travel game the first time we drove that route: Count the Churches. Yes, he was young enough then for such distraction to be entertaining. If memory serves, we counted 42 churches representing numerous denominations on that 130 mile stretch of Route 3. Rural Virginia adores religion. Or something like that.

So. My melancholy. It's not a bad thing. I'm just thinking about how things have changed, are changing, will continue to change. Am I longing for things past? No. It's more about accepting children growing up and parents growing old, and, perhaps moreso, feeling an urgency to share things I need to share with people I care about and not knowing how having finding making the opportunity to do so.

This trip reminded me: we've nothing but time yet not a moment to lose.

I wish I could slow life down.
Just a tad.
Know what I mean?


April 11, 2006

Suburban Lesbian Makes Soup

Don't you just hate it when you visit the grocery store for a very specific, very common item and that very specific, very common item is out of stock? Oh yeah, life can be soooooo hard.

I came across a recipe the other day in a magazine I don't normally read but that somehow ended up in my car. Sitting at a traffic light, I flipped through the pages. (As an aside, I'm seriously looking at how multi-tasking is having a negative effect on my life. How's about doing one thing at a time? I'm working on that concept.)

Anyway, the recipe jumped out at me and screamed, "SUZANNE! You must make this soup!" And what better time to experiment in the kitchen than a rainy weekend day with no commitments? Friday I visited the grocery store to procure the ingredients. Except there was not even the shadow of a zucchini to be found at my usual store. Who ever heard of a produce department with no zucchini? Oh the horror.

But this is suburban America. There are at least five other grocery stores within a few mile radius. My quest for zucchini was not thwarted.

The recipe calls for 3 pounds of zucchini and I was making a batch and a half, enough to share. I was surprised at how many individual squash makes up 4.5 pounds. An armload. And I have long arms. I was not daunted by the prospect of, as the recipe dictates, "thinly slicing" an armload of zucchini. My super duper Pampered Chef slicing thing would even make it fun.

The efficient tool diced a large onion then thinly sliced all 4.5 pounds of squash in a jiffy. I was a bit dismayed by the resultant mountain of zucchini slices threatening to overflow the countertop onto the floor. I began to worry it would not all fit in one pot. It didn't. Soon there were two large pots of onion and zucchini sauteing in butter on the stovetop. It was officially declared bisque after the addition of liquid ingredients and assorted spices followed by a wild ride in the blender. It's a fabulous shade of green.

Good thing it's tasty because I made enough to fill a small swimming pool. Soup anyone?


Edited to share the recipe:
Quick Zucchini Bisque

3 lbs. zucchini, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 Tblsp butter
3/4 - 1 tsp curry powder (to taste)
2 (10-3/4 oz) cans chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion and zucchini. Simmer until almost tender. Add milk, broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and simmer until cooked. Allow to cool slightly before putting in blender. Blend until smooth.

This soup can be served hot or cold, it is delicious either way. If serving cold, allow to chill at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.

(credit to Capt. Jan Robinson in "All At Sea" magazine, November 2005, page 72)

April 10, 2006

Original Spam

How is it that Spam is a viable commercial food product?

I remember my mother serving Spam to my sister and I. She sliced the meat product, topped it with brown sugar and broiled it. It usually was accompanied by a bowl of Spaghettios. With that menu, we always got to eat on TV trays in front of the television. My sister and I considered it a special occasion and we looked forward to Spam nights. Kids are easy to please.

I have never, since moving out of my parent's home at age seventeen, ever eaten Spam. Not even during the lean times when my three roommates and I lived mainly on egg sandwiches. (Yeah. Well. Things got better. Obviously.)

So who still eats that stuff? Someone must because it can be found on just about any grocery store shelf. Right next to the Vienna sausages and potted meat. There is even a festival, Spamarama, dedicated to celebrating the diversity of Spam. And someone created those interesting recipes that show up at the top of gmail's spam in-box. People actually eat the stuff voluntarily! And not just children who are just happy to watch TV while eating because it's Spam night.

Why is it that I can devour a hot dog with enthusiasm but cannot imagine enjoying Spam anymore? It's all just parts in a different form. Parts is parts, yes? Don't even get me started on scrapple. I'm a scrapple virgin and intend to stay that way. How about you?


April 6, 2006

Feel the Rain On Your Skin

It's supposed to rain this weekend. Friday and Saturday. Why does the prospect of a rainy weekend fill me with joy? Why does it make my heart soar and cause my feet to do a happy dance---not once, not twice, but every single time I think of our weekend weather forecast?

This story begins several months ago as we diligently began preparations for my mother's upcoming move to a smaller home. The melancholy and odious task of paring down her possessions took on an even more sinister glow when, as we stood surveying the attic storage room, she said brightly, "Well, obviously we'll need to have a yard sale. Let's do it up at your house. You'll get more traffic there."

Inwardly I cringed. I loathe the very idea of having a yard sale. I focused on maintaining a neutral expression as my mind began to spin. Was there any possibility of escape? Then it came to me. "Hey! Maybe our neighbor will help us!" That thought was selfishly followed by, "Maybe she'll do it for us!"

Our neighbor is what I could call a professional re-seller. She knows good junk from bad junk and can turn both kinds into cash. Plus she enjoys it. When I broached the subject with her, she immediately jumped on board. (See why I bake her a quiche now and then? She's gold. Pure gold.)

Last Sunday evening, she came over and slapped a wad of cash onto the dining room table. "$319 dollars!" she announced gleefully.

That cash was from my mother's items our neighbor had sold at the monthly flea market she attends. She's also moved some things via ebay. The 50/50 split for whatever sells seems unworthy considering the amount of effort she's putting in.

The actual yard sale was scheduled for this Saturday until the weather forecast changed her plan. Oh sure, it's just postponing the inevitable and we'll have to live another week or so with our screen porch piled full of my mother's junk. But that's not much of a price for the prospect of a Saturday at home with no commitments.

A Saturday. At home. With no commitments.
Feel it with me. Ahhhh! It's been a while.

Will I ever understand the cosmic circumstance that surrounds me with people who are so generous in so many ways? Perhaps I'll contemplate that question after we sleep in Saturday then lounge around in bed drinking coffee from our weekend mugs.

Then again, maybe just I'll roll over and go back to sleep.
My feet are twitching their happy dance just thinking about it.


April 5, 2006

Suburban Crime

I mentioned in a recent post the vandalism that occurred in our neighborhood: 15 cars having their windows shot out with a beebee gun. A recent email from our Neighorhood Watch brought more information.
"Fairfax County Crime Solvers is asking for the public’s assistance identifying the person(s) responsible for vandalizing more than 80 vehicles with BB guns this month. The majority of these vandalisms occurred during the overnight hours of Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26. The windows of the vehicles were shot out, causing more than $60,000 in damages."
The email went on to list the 44 residential streets across two police districts that were affected.

I feel rather silly admitting this, but for a brief moment I felt better to hear it was not just our neighborhood. Until I started considering how much more disconcerting it is to have such widespread vandalism occur. There is speculation it was a gang initiation. That's a happy thought, isn't it? It would be better if it had been a more isolated incident, even if it was in our neighborhood, just teenagers being stupid or something comparatively simple.

Eh, I don't know what to think. Except it sucks for people to show such casual disregard and disrespect for the others who share their world. What's up with that?


April 4, 2006

Living Large

The Boy is residing in an off-campus apartment this year with one of his friends. Theirs is a somewhat typical bachelor pad with their personalities adding a unique flair. It's no showplace nor is it a hovel.

When they moved in last August, his girlfriend's mother gave them a microwave she was not using. Then the relationship ended. The ex-girlfriend appeared on his doorstep saying, "My mother wants her microwave back." Alrighty then.

So for the past few months they have been living life sans microwave oven. (Think about that for just a minute. Imagine life without your microwave. Perhaps it would be no big thing as such an appliance in your house sits relatively unused. It is, after all, merely a convenience. But man oh man, I'd surely miss ours if it were gone. Would you miss yours?)

Wendy and I were down visiting him this past weekend. We had it in mind to get them a new microwave oven on this trip. College students don't always have time to cook for themselves. College students are often in a hurry. College students are often hungry and in a hurry at the same time. College students and microwaves go together like wine and cheese, ham and eggs, frick and frack, dungeons and dragons. You get my drift.

But The Boy said, "Mom, I really don't want a microwave. It's been interesting learning to live without it, like us not having cable or a dishwasher or a washing machine. We're getting by just fine."

I've never pegged The Boy as a minimalist, but maybe I underestimate him in that regard. I think back to when I was first out on my own and didn't have many conveniences. It was part of growing up and establishing an independent life. Those were good times. Now The Boy is having good times of his own. I find it a fascinating parental perspective.


April 3, 2006

Doggie Case Note

This past weekend, our usual petsitter was indisposed and we had a trip to take. A co-worker from Wendy's office was recruited to stay at our home to tend the pups.

Wendy works in a social services setting. Simplified, she and her staff assist adults with disabilities to find and maintain employment. We found the following displayed on Wendy's computer screen when we got home:

Pixie and Dudley
April 2, 2006
This writer met with Pixie and Dudley last PM and this AM to engage in social participation, and meal preparation (writer) and consumption (perritos). Upon arrival to the home, Pixie independently attacked writer. This writer is not exaggerating and will provide proof of alleged abuse as well as complete an incident report upon arrival to office 4/3/06. Pixie required verbal and tactile cues to respond appropriately to redirection. As session continued, Pixie appeared more calm and able to maintain behavioral control. Writer also noted that Pixie did not appear eager to eat neither in the PM nor in the AM. She did, however, eventually consume all sustenance provided. Pixie was also observed to demonstrate hyperactive behaviors and verbalizations toward members of the community. These behaviors decreased as session continued.

Dudley demonstrated socially appropriate behaviors for the duration of session. He was able to follow commands and required only verbal prompt when redirected. Redirection was required when he was observed to sit on the back cushions of the sofa. He verbalized complaints only when the situation appeared appropriate to do so. Writer feels confident in stating, “I love Dud,” despite the brief opportunity to serve this consumer.

Writer provided two opportunities for interaction with members of the community. The first consisted of writer’s two compadres attending a pre-dining-in-Old-Town cocktail hour in the consumers’ living room. (Writer apologizes if readers are not in agreement with the treatment plan, but writer wished to show off el bano bellisimo located on the upper level of the dwelling) Pixie and Dudley appeared overjoyed at the addition of these individuals to the session and demonstrated attention-seeking behaviors upon their arrival. The second opportunity for social participation occurred this AM when one compadre returned with an energetic chocolate lab named Bailey. The three appeared to enjoy the pleasant weather, as demonstrated by their desire to remain outdoors for approximately 30 minutes.

Although writer feels Pixie and Dudley benefited from this session, it is obvious that they are awaiting the return of their mommas. This was demonstrated by Pixie frequently being observed to play in the lesbian love nest, as well as by both Pixie and Dudley choosing to sleep on the sofa, despite writer’s encouragement to sleep in el cuarto del huesped.
(insert co-worker's name), MSOT
Doggie Day Program Specialist