December 26, 2008

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

Happy New Year!
As usual, I'll be celebrating with sand betwixt my toes.
Wish you were here!

December 4, 2008

I Broke a Tooth Today

That is never a good thing.

It began as a delightful outing with Lunch Friend Lisa on Thursday instead of our usual Monday. I chomped, in a most lady-like fashion, a moderate bite of a roast beef sandwich. The beef, ever so tender, was sliced paper thin on a soft onion roll, its flavor enhanced by a layer of red onion marmalade and almost-but-not-quite-enough horseradish mayo. Tasty.

The sandwich is not to blame. But it set off a miserable chain reaction of events. As the headline announces, a tooth broke. In my mouth.

When I break something, I don't do it halfway. Oh no. This is not a simple break. This break is complex. This break had the dentist saying, "Oh why did you have to do this on a Thursday?!"

Restoration of my tooth will require three separate phases, the first of which will begin tomorrow. My gum line will be reshaped. Doesn't that sound pleasant? This break is going to cost us a small fortune. Yes, this tooth is that important.

The incident inspired dialogue with friends about why dental work is so damned expensive. We debated. We did not resolve. We did, however, commiserate.

Before this broken tooth debacle a friend recently queried, "I love living in a modern world, don't you?" I agreed with her then and it applies here too. Imagine being a pioneer and breaking a tooth? Let's not even go there.

Oh yeah, I'm digging.
Digging deep to find the bright side for my current condition.
I think I'm doing a damned fine job.


November 18, 2008

Time. It Marches On.

I am 46 years old. My birthday was on Election Day this year. I gave myself the day off work, despite knowing I'd have to scramble to make up the time later. The Boy was home to vote and spend the day with me, a holiday made to order! (May I say for the record how much I adore that he is currently only a $20 bus ride away?)

Our family, the three of us, watched the election returns together, feasting on chicken and dumplings, a fire dancing in the fireplace, our spirits high as the numbers rolled in. Nice day. Great night. Good times.

But then I awoke Wednesday and read how the vote on Proposition 8 in California and the exclusionary "marriage" measures in other states turned out. My stomach turned sour.

We attended the rally in DC last Saturday, one of many held in cities around our nation protesting the outcome of Prop 8. It did not uplift my spirits as expected but I'm glad we went. The Boy attended the march in NYC---that makes me proud.

Where does the rest of my family stand on the issue of same-sex marriage? My co-workers? Neighbors? Friends? The supportive ones make themselves clear, some leave me guessing, and others I'm not sure I want to know. Do they even think about it? I feel naked. It is just that personal.

Wendy and I marked our tenth anniversary last month. I'm going to marry her someday and it's not going to matter where others stand. We will get there. I believe.

I also feel terribly dramatic.
I'm grateful it doesn't always show.


October 29, 2008

I'm a Political News Junkie

It's an especially odious pastime for a resident of the DC area during the run-up to yet another contentious Presidential election.

We traveled a bit this October. I managed to avoid news on those amazing excursions, but then eagerly and hungrily re-immersed myself upon returning home. It's a hard habit to break.

Politicians are spending large amounts for TV commercials in this area. I hate them all. Sports broadcasts are heavily peppered and, frankly, they intrude on my enjoyment of the games. How rude. Yet I'm not-so-secretly excited that Virginia is leaning blue. Could it be?

My chest is heavy with anticipation. Not-news-junkie friends of mine feel it too. That's the sense I get anyway. One discusses politics with delicacy in my world. But oh, it's in the air.

I just hope we get it right this time.


October 8, 2008

One Day Last Summer

I greet her saying, "Sherab Khandro, you look fabulous!" She smiles and strikes a pose which only enhances her fabulousness.

"And you, sister!" she croons as we embrace. "You are three times as beautiful as I remember!"

I smile and try to believe. She makes it easy.


September 30, 2008

What Are the Odds?

Now that's sticking the landing.


September 25, 2008

Have You Heard This One?

A princess is walking in the desert and sees an injured snake on the ground, very close to death. She carefully picks it up, puts it in her basket and takes it home.

She nurses the snake back to health, giving it the best food, spending money on the best doctors, tending to it for hours every day.

One day she opens the snake's basket to give it some food and it bites her on the hand. As she lay dying from the poison, she cries out, "My beloved snake! I have fed and nursed you, brought you back to health from certain death in the desert! Why have you stricken me so?!"

And the snake replies, "Bitch you knew I was a snake."

The moral of the story?
What do you think?


September 22, 2008

September 17, 2008


My parents are from Alabama. Their parents are from Alabama too, except for my mother's mother who somehow transplanted to Alabama from upstate New York. I never asked her how or why and it's way too late to ask her now. That makes me one quarter Yankee, yet my heart belongs to the South.

My sister and I were both born in San Diego. I don't know what my sister answers when someone inquires where she is from, but I claim Alexandria, Virginia as my hometown. My nuclear family migrated here when I was four. They have long since moved elsewhere. But me, well, I have spent the bulk of the ensuing decades living within a twelve-mile geographic radius. Yes. It's my hometown.

Home for my family spans the USA. I have siblings in California, Oregon, Florida, New Jersey and Arizona. I have a set of parents in Washington state and my mom here in Virginia, a few hours southeast. Wendy's siblings and parents all live within spitting distance of each other in southeast Texas. Our son lives in New York. Our nuclear families are split like an atom.

Why do some families stay close and others scatter? I envy people with family in close geographic proximity. I completely understand Wendy's mother's pique at her beautiful daughter settling in a distant land. Perhaps I relate because I didn't move away from my family, they moved away from me. Yet I take no issue with The Boy's transiency. It's whacky. My emotional double standards run rampant.

Still. To be able to just drop in to my sister's house on a Saturday afternoon. To bump into my father at the grocery store. To attend my niece's ballet recital without packing a suitcase. To babysit for my sisters' children or grab a beer with my brothers. To make a monthly run to the library with my mom. I'd like to do those things, among others. It would be such a delight to take a vacation to get away from our families rather than taking one to see them. Or not seeing them at all.

This rattles in my mind of late as Wendy and I plan a future move of our own. No matter where we choose to relocate, we'll always be distant from large branches of our family. The only one our plan brings us geographically closer to is The Boy. If he stays put. Which he may well not.

And therein lies both the beauty and the beast. The move will be for us, me and my girl. Just us. That kind of thinking takes some getting used to.


September 15, 2008

I'm Back and You Know What That Means

It means hair talk. See, I got a really bad haircut last week. I mean a Really Bad Haircut. This RBH ruined my luscious pony tail. I am bitter.

I bumped into my neighbor that afternoon. We pulled into our parallel driveways at the exact same time. She was backing in, her truck loaded with tree rounds scavenged from two streets over where a large oak had recently been felled. As I oogled her bounty and exclaimed over her good fortune, she glanced at me and did a double take.

I caught the question in her eyes, "What the hell did you do to your hair?!" Louder than words, I tell you, louder than words. She quickly looked away.

There is a two block walk between the parking lot and my office. A scruffy gaggle of Brothers frequently hangs out near an alleyway I pass on the way. Typically I'm greeted with a friendly "hey baaaaab-beee, looking good!" or some other such brotherly babble. I respond with a polite nod, a smile and/or a perky "good morning!"

The morning after my haircut? Yeah. I heard, "WHOA girl! What happened to your hair!?" Awkward.

Wendy insists I look fine. While I value her opinion, she's almost required to reassure me. It's a relationship law or something.

Meanwhile, I had lunch today with my Lunch Friend Lisa. LFL has gorgeous hair. She has, on occasion, offered a merciless opinion of my hairstyle, or lack thereof as the case may be. Friends are called on to play that role at times. At least with someone as hair insecure as yours truly they are. I was sure to get an honest assessment from her.

And what did she have to say? Nothing. Not one goddamned thing. The silence. Oh how it burns. I kept it to myself.

I've discovered a Trader Joe's bag fits me quite nicely. It has a style, a panache, a certain je ne sais quoi all its own. Trust me. It's a vast improvement.


September 13, 2008

I Like Music Theatre

And I adore this video.


July 7, 2008

I'm 45 Years Old

I thought I knew myself. I thought I had an understanding of, and yes, even an appreciation for, my body and its womanly ways. It's been a pretty good body as bodies go, serving me well without demanding an extravagant price.

But I'm aging. Strange and bizarre things happen to women as they age. Strange and bizarre things are happening to ME. Oh the ignominy, the horror, the downright inconvenience of it all. (My mother never warned me. Did yours?)

Who hasn't laughed at a joke about women having hot flashes? I have, heartily. I'm not having hot flashes (yet), but I am no longer laughing. Recently I began recognizing manifestations of perimenopause, the precursor to menopause, in myself. A woman needs to know these years can be fraught with symptoms even more odious than hot flashes.

My memory, never stellar, balks. My ability to concentrate, really focus, is questionable and at times non-existent. Attention to detail? Forget it. Multi-tasking? Not today! All that effort I made to get through the empty nest trauma phase? At times it feels like The Boy departed yesterday rather than six years ago. And all I want to do is sleep, even if it is a sweat-soaked sleep. Am I depressed? Am I losing my mind? Why no, I'm perimenopausal! So nice to meet you.

A new pattern has emerged. No longer is my cycle as regular as clockwork, oh no no no. Now it turns in some twisted dysfunction of its former self, crippling me with inventive hormonal agony until my body decides to give me a break.

A friend nods and says with a caring tone in her voice, "Oh dear, someone needs to bleed."

Yes. Please?


June 29, 2008

We've Grown Something Wild and Unruly

Friends visited in early May. As we communed on our screened porch, Lee opined, "Ah think that would be a good place for a butterfly garden." She pointed.

My previous gardening efforts were uninventive: soldierly rows of matching plants, geometrically arranged, evenly spaced, frequently pruned. I sensed a butterfly garden might be different. Before our friends departed, I knew it was different. Under their tutelage, we visited local nurseries and selected from the abundance of spring offerings.

Planting ensued. Hands were dirtied, tools employed, sweat exuded, soil turned, roots lovingly set in their new environs. It merited the name "Garden of Forgiveness" for reasons unrelated to its creation.

Pixie approves. Most evenings find the two of us meeting at the garden to investigate what changes the day brought. As we oogle the new growth, a lovefest invariably ensues.

There was no predicting the continuing joy this garden would bring. Perhaps surprising only to me, it flourishes. It's wild. It grows willy-nilly. Stems stretch up and over and out all in all directions. Others hug the ground popping out brilliant multi-colored blossoms. They bloom! Repeatedly! With vibrant colors and varied shapes. It's unlike any other garden I have ever called mine.

I absolutely adore it.


June 9, 2008

Eye Candy

A recent Tuesday found me heading into DC on the Metro. The day was beautiful, a hint of summer in the air, blue sky, sunshine, warm breeze, the works. Everything felt crisp, clean and fresh. I arrived at my client's office in good spirits.

I queried my co-worker, "You know what I adore the most about springtime in the city?"

He looked up from the stack of papers he was sorting, his eyebrows raised inquiringly.

"Sundresses!" I announced happily.

He chuckled and said, "Why they're a favorite of mine, too!"

We grinned and exchanged a high-five.


June 5, 2008

Continuing Education

I've often felt less than adequately prepared to advise my son in how to best pursue his career of choice. What I know about his field would barely fill a thimble; I learn as he goes.

It is a recurring jest for him to inquire why, when he was obviously such an adorable and precocious child, I did not whore him out for commercials or appearances in other media where adorable and even not-so-adorable children can accumulate a resume and financial portfolio before they can even count.

Alas I did not know then where his heart would lead, not that it would have made a difference. I was am merely a parent trying to not screw my kid up too badly. We laugh every time.

He really was a cute youngster. Maybe I should have whored him out.

This Asian tour has been an education for me. Lesson 1,340,223: Everything is subject to change. The schedule is not firm until it is. Lesson 1,340,223A: This may result in downtime, perhaps lengthy. Lesson 1,340,233B: If the employer is reputable, they will: 1) Fly you home then back when the tour resumes, or 2) Give you cash instead of airfare so you can do something else until the tour resumes. Your choice.

So it is that The Boy spent the month of May free-form in a foreign land, exploring and experiencing a part of the world in a manner I cannot even begin to imagine. He's still there. And he's doing it on someone else's dime.

When I shared his situation with a dear friend, she replied, "Your son officially sucks." I totally knew what she meant. Who couldn't use a month on the beach? As it turned out, the break in the tour couldn't have happened at a better time: the earthquakes hit China ten days after he left.

Lesson 654,503, courtesy of Sir Elton John: Just allow a fragment of your life to wander free.

I gotta get around to that myself someday.


May 8, 2008

Who Goes There?

First it was a lone voice I heard in the storm. Then it mingled with another.

Neighbors congregate with binoculars in hand, clamoring for a glimpse of our newest suburban wildlife. Our yard is in the center of the action.

The neighbor behind us revealed he had seen a trio. I asked where and he said, "On the tall tree in the crack house yard." We laughed. The crack house is another neighbor. It's not really a crack house but it does a fair impression.

We ourselves have wasted spent a fair amount of time gazing into the trees. Owl watching. We've learned to recognize their hunched sleeping posture as they doze among the leaves. They swoop. They perch. They stare. Their heads swivel. Their voices carry. Their cries end with a purr as the volume fades.

The other local birds vigorously defend their territory when an owl nears their nests. What a ruckus those smaller birds make, chirping wildly and dive bombing the intruder. The little birds recognize him for the predator he is.

Our neighbor came over holding out her hand, "Look at this!" she offered. I looked. It was a blob of dry stringy gray matter entwined around small bones. I donned my glasses for closer scrutiny. "It's an owl pellet!" she exclaimed. She pointed out a tiny claw in the mass. Together we marveled.

Curious, I consulted the internet and found an excellent quick primer on owl digestion, including this explanation of owl pellets:
"Several hours after eating, the indigestible parts (fur, bones, teeth & feathers that are still in the gizzard) are compressed into a pellet the same shape as the gizzard. This pellet travels up from the gizzard back to the proventriculus. It will remain there for up to 10 hours before being regurgitated. Because the stored pellet partially blocks the Owl's digestive system, new prey cannot be swallowed until the pellet is ejected. Regurgitation often signifies that an Owl is ready to eat again. When the Owl eats more than one prey item within several hours, the various remains are consolidated into one pellet."
Huh. Now there's something I didn't know.

Later, Wendy found one in our yard too. Have a look-see.

Part of me hopes that was one of the mice who commandeered our shed this past winter and feasted on a stored sack of grass seed while leaving mouse shit everywhere.

The circle of life. It turns.


May 4, 2008

Wish You Were Here

When we visited North Carolina recently, azaleas were in full bloom. Now it's our turn! Vibrant colors are bursting forth from the legions of azaleas that grace our landscapes here in Northern Virginia.

Some folks manicure their azaleas into boring bush blobs or awkward hedge-like formations. What is up with that? Personally I think they look best when left to their own devices, to grow as nature intended. Azaleas aren't meant to be controlled!

Last spring, we began working in earnest on our landscape. One project was to relocate several mature azalea bushes whose existing locations did not fit in with Our Grand Plan. We did, however, have a barren corner of the backyard screaming for embellishment.

Digging up a mature bush is no small feat, but my woman is nothing if not determined. An afternoon's labor resulted in the first subject out of the ground, into the wheelbarrow and gently replanted in its new home. Love love love that pink, I do.

A few weeks later, The Boy tackled one from the front yard. It blooms white. A smaller pink one from the backyard and a fourth procured from a local nursery (vibrant red blossoms), supplemented our new azalea garden.

Perhaps you remember last summer and the drought parts of the East Coast experienced. We babied those transplants, watering them lovingly throughout the long, dry, hot summer. We endured an outbreak of lace bugs, which Wendy diagnosed and eradicated. Those bushes stayed alive... somehow (which is more than I can say for the rhododendron we also planted that spring. I've got shitty rhododendron karma).

Throughout the winter, I daydreamed about the coming spring and those azaleas, imagining the beautiful blooms set against the backdrop of the fence, contrasting with the greens of spring above and below, the flowers mingling in and around each other to present a blast of color perfect for enjoying while relaxing on our screened porch. My mind's eye, she is active.

As spring arrived, I inspected our azalea garden periodically, watching for new growth and being rewarded by delicate new leaves sprouting energetically. Soon, I thrilled! Soon they will bud then bloom into the riot of color I have anticipated!

In my fantasy, all the bushes bloom at the same time. Riot of color and all. Seems our corner azaleas have a different plan. It troubles me not. They are pleasing all the same.


April 28, 2008

I've Got a Food Theme Going On

Who: Me. Wendy. Jackie. Emily. Pixie. Dudley. Oliver.
What: hanging out
When: a recent rainy and cool Saturday evening
Where: our screened porch
Why: because we can

When it rains, as it was that evening, suburban slugs occasionally slip in for a visit. Emily joyously appointed herself chief-in-charge of porch slug removal. Seems she has a karmic debt to repay due to slug abuse as a youngster. We are happy to indulge her. She busily relocated the few who popped by that evening.

I don't understand why someone who casually picks up slugs with her fingers and gently carries them in the palm of her hand while singing happily can turn into a quivering mass of fear when it comes to other icky buggy things. Like spiders.

See all hell broke loose when, while on slug patrol, Emily spied The Spider. I slouched in my chair and acted disinterested. Soon Jackie and Wendy had joined her in prancing anxiously around the general vicinity of the The Spider, who by then was defiantly crouched in the corner under the bright beam of a flashlight. They all called for me to GET UP! and LOOK! at the SIZE! of this SPIDER!!!

Nope, no way. I wasn't going to get dragged into that spider adventure. He was all the way across the porch from where I sat. I had no interest whatsoever in that spider.

Cameras appeared. Pictures were taken. Oh wait! Something for scale! A Bic was tossed into the corner amid renewed girlie screeches and prancing. More pictures were taken. Still I sat relaxed in my chair. That spider had nothing to do with me. I was Zen.

My eyebrow quirked when Oliver got involved. As the weather has warmed, Oliver has become a regular occupant of our porch. He likes it out there. I've seen him chase crawling things. He eats them.

Oh what a deadly game was set into motion that night. The Spider was doomed to be an Ollie snack. I leaped out of my chair in horror as the others cringed and groaned and cheered. Oliver batted, snatched, crunched, swallowed then licked his lips as he sauntered away.

I looked at the pictures later.
It really was a big spider.


April 24, 2008

He Did Eat It

The food pictured in the previous post was my very first attempt at making chicken and dumplings. We ate it, a bit hesitantly at first then with greater gusto. Kudos to those who guessed correctly! The mushrooms were an afterthought and I'll probably leave them out next time. Yes, there will be a next time. The dumplings were just as delicious as the ones my mother used to make. Yummy.

The Boy is having decidedly different culinary experiences on his travels:

This proves to me once again that The Boy will try anything. Even the foot of a chicken.

I think I'll stick with my ugly dumplings.


April 13, 2008

Did We Eat It?

I spent some creative time in the kitchen this afternoon. Imagine my dismay alarm horror surprise when it manifested this way:

So give me your best guess, folks.
What is it?


April 2, 2008

Time Passages

I've only attended one RenFaire and it was when The Boy was this size:

Recognize him? Of course you do. Yes, it's been awhile. Wendy and I are going to another one this weekend. In North Carolina. With people we've not yet met but already know. Sans youngsters, it's bound to be a different experience on a number of levels. I shall swill beer and call it mead. I shall resist the temptation of cheesecake-on-a-stick. There will be jousting. And cleavage. Huzzah? Huzzah!

Carolina is gorgeous this time of year. I sort-of-but-not- really-because-time-passes-for-a-reason miss our periodic travels there while The Boy was in college. This trip is something else altogether.

But some things shouldn't change.
Here's to North Carolina barbeque.
And getting while the getting's good.


March 26, 2008

Break's Over

They say the way to get something done is to ask a busy person to do it. It's so true, yet irrelevant to this post. I just find it a fascinating truth in human behavior.

We gave ourselves the winter off from house projects. A small kindness, a personal gift perhaps? I like to think of it as such. It beats thinking of ourselves as slothful. More than likely it's a combination. I'm okay with that.

But now it's Spring. Days are longer, things are blooming, an urge to "do" buds within us.

I wasn't feeling particularly inspired when we awoke Friday morning. A three day weekend stretched out before us, filled with possibility. I contemplated rolling back over and taking a nap. But that urge nagged. That urge to "do".

I was laying there teetering on the edge of whatever when the Tornado hit, the Tornado I affectionately call "Wendy".

This is where good couples dynamics pays off. Knowing when to lead, when to follow, when to step in and when to stand back. I have learned when the Tornado hits to just ride it. She's a purposeful whirlwind, my Wendy.

Over the next several months, we'll be creating useful, hopefully beautiful, living space in the lower level of our house. (Yes, there will be pictures.)

First up, whole house (re)organization. Our home is not large. Renovating an entire level requires optimal organization elsewhere. In our case it took on the added benefit of spring cleansing.

Before I had even downed my second cup of coffee, Wendy had three closets emptied and had started on a fourth. Then she disappeared into the attic. Piles of "stuff" appeared everywhere. (Where did it all come from?! ) I sorted, purged and neatly repacked as assigned.

She blew by me at intervals, here there and everywhere, pointing, soliciting opinions, answering questions, solving problems. By Saturday evening, the work was almost complete. We retired to the fort for s'mores.

See, not only did Wendy re-organize our closets, basement and attic, she found time to set up a firepit in the fort. I heart my Tornado.

Next up, a laundry list of projects and events-to-come: plumbers with jackhammers, shower layout and construction, floor coverings, lighting design, power tools, problem-solving, electricians, Kerdi and tile, drywall dust, fresh paint, trim work, and a budget we'll try not to blow too badly.

Yes indeed, our break is over. The game is afoot!


March 17, 2008

Spring Fever. We Have It.

We've got a cat. He's not our cat, but he comes to visit often enough that we keep a bag of his food in the cabinet. I haven't slipped and called him Figero yet, but I'm certain I will eventually, much in the same way I occasionally slip and refer to Pixie as Cosine.

Oliver is an indoor cat. He thinks he is an outdoor cat, consequently one must be very careful when opening exterior doors. Oliver is quite skilled at slipping by those not paying close attention. His quick escapes are followed by wild chases through the neighborhood. I'm not sure what he thinks he's running from or where he thinks he's running to, but he's definitely in a hurry.

I'm of the opinion that a cat who wants out that badly should go on out. Maybe he needs to get his ass kicked by the neighborhood menagerie in order to develop an appreciation for the safety of an interior perch on a windowsill. Maybe he'd kick their asses. Maybe he just wants some fresh air or has a hankering for some fresh squirrel meat. But his mother knows him better than I do and she makes the rules. An indoor cat he is.

As has become a loose routine, Oliver arrived this weekend in company of the Next Generation, Emily and Jackie. Emily bubbled over with enthusiasm born of Spring. She twisted her sneakered toe into the ground and blurted, "Can we build a fort in the backyard this weekend?!"

I will leave to you to decide what it says of us that we hesitated not at all to undertake such an endeavor. And so it was we enjoyed the Spring weekend somewhat frivolously yet with great purpose. Tools and imaginations were employed, good humor abounded. Evening found us, all of us, Oliver included (secure on a leash to his mild disdain that in no apparent way diminished his obvious delight at being outdoors), grouped together in our newly constructed fort, swilling sipping beers and swapping tales while reveling in the suburban delights of Spring.

Forts. I highly recommend them.


March 12, 2008

"Don't You Fret"

I stared blankly at my computer screen as my mind wandered off as my mind tends to do. Worrying I was, as wont I am, this time contemplating whether The Boy will pack enough Immodium AD to last his entire trip. It's the one medication everyone agrees is essential for traveling in Asia. But how much is enough? I repeatedly attempted to devise a reasonable equation. The variables are too many and I obsessed with no success.

I thought of my sister. She offers a strategy for anxiety management I call the bubble technique. When something is worrying me, I imagine it tucked comfy-cozy inside a buoyant bubble. My bubbles are translucent with shimmery changing colors, prismatic soap bubbles on steroids. Often the size of my fist and never smaller than the average green grape, the bubble, once burdened with my worries, is imagined floating off into the netherland. I wave farewell. The worries, along with the bubble, disappear in the distance.

I've sent a lot of worries floating off via bubbles this week. The title of the post is advice from my son. I'm working on taking it.


March 6, 2008

A Dark and Stormy Night

Tuesday evening I retired to our bedroom early after a particularly trying day of work. One window was wide open, the temperature moderate. Wearing only my Longhorn t-shirt I stood in the dark leaning on the sill, enthralled by the action in the backyard.

The tops of the tall trees swayed and bowed their heads, the branches creaking loudly in response to the howling gusts of wind. Soon torrents of rain cascaded through the trees and drubbed on the roof. The tensions of the day washed away in the resultant cacophony.

For the past few weeks, an owl has serenaded us intermittantly from somewhere way up high in the treetops, his rich voice echoing eerily. In the midst of last night's storm, his voice again rang out crisp and clear. Do owls not seek shelter in a storm?

I slept like a rock that night.
I wonder how the owl fared.


February 29, 2008

BlogFriends '08

Oh yes. We were there.
If you weren't, we may have talked about you.
You're just that special.

A series of photos is omitted from this collection. A baby is involved, one who prefers to remain incognito. His agents demand it. We cooperate without question because we're not like "Alice" on the L Word who signs a non-disclosure agreement and then outs a minor sports figure when it suits her. (Alice, what were you thinking?!)

Imagine, if you will, a large room containing a dozen or so convivial women, when in, astride one of his mothers' hips, struts an adorable six-month-old beautiful bouncing baby boy with a wide toothless grin. The delight was palpable, the infant amazingly compliant and seemingly equally as enamored of being passed from arm to arm and cooed over incessantly. Good times.

On to the photos then. Enjoy?


February 19, 2008

I Ate My Weight in Asparagus

It all started with a note left on our door last Thursday. A bright yellow 3x3 Post-It at eye-level on the carport door greeted me when I arrived home: "Would you like some fresh asparagus?"

I perked. Why yes, yes I would love some fresh asparagus! I did a little happy dance right there in the carport. Our benefactor arrived with the bounty, at least as excited as I was. I perked again. She gently handed over a large bundle; the stalks firm and fresh and thin, just the way we like them. She had found a great sale and purchased a ton (her unit of measure). I understood the impulse.

My mind immediately began listing things to make with that asparagus. Shall I just steam them? I pondered. Asparagus quiche is delicious. How about a bisque, a la that zucchini soup Wendy adored? Or maybe an asparagus and feta frittata for Sunday brunch! Or my grandmother's asparagus and cheddar casserole.... oh nom nom nom!

Friday afternoon I tripped down to Sam's Club to stock up on a few staples. I pushed my cart past the produce section and lo! There I came upon large quantities of asparagus bundled into humongous Sam's Club-sized portions! Oh yes, they were as lovely and fresh and thin as the stalks our neighbor had gifted us! And cheap! Resistance was futile and a mega-bundle soon topped my cart, my culinary imagination joyously on overload.

It became our asparagus challenge. Fortunately I had hungry stomachs to help me out. It took company over the three-day weekend and leftovers for dinner tonight, but every stalk has been devoured.

It's the reason for the season.


February 11, 2008

♪♫ Ground Control to Major Tom.... ♫♪

Travel preparation has long inspired anxiety in me. Precious routines are interrupted and timeliness looms even larger than usual. It's serious business. At least that's how I see it, even when I'm not the one traveling.

Inefficient packing makes me crazy, but if it's not my suitcase, why do I care? Forgetting to pack stuff doesn't have to be a big deal, yet for some reason I anticipate the potential act of forgetting something as a horror to be avoided at all costs (perhaps an explanation for why I consistently over-pack). My anxiety immediately dissipates once travel has begun.

Friday evening The Boy prepared for an o'dark thirty flight out of town. Rarely have I felt as blessed as when Wendy said, "I'll take him to the airport." Which explains why she was already asleep beside me and I was wide awake. Listening to him pack.

Into the kitchen, then out to the carport. Up the stairs to his room. The dryer buzzed. Down to the basement. Back up to the landing and into the bathroom. Footsteps, doors, cabinets, stairs, floors, drawers: each sound distinct, repetitive and comforting in their familiarity. Packing progress.

It's easier now that he's grown. Through the years I've gone from packing for him to helping him pack to trying to mind my own business and let him mind his. He'll let me know if he needs me. He's independent with proven competence; I don't need to worry. But I do it anyway. Old habits and such.

I lay there under the covers, Pixie stretched along the length of my left leg, Wendy cuddling my right side, Dudley curled along her back. The house got very quiet and I drifted off to sleep.

The Boy will be home again in two weeks. Three weeks later he'll board another plane, off to Asia for nine months touring as "Rolf" in The Sound of Music.

China. Thailand. The Philippines. Holy shit. I don't even want to consider the anxiety I'll be squashing while he's packing for that trip.

Meanwhile, my heart swells with pride at his accomplishments as my head tries to tell me it's just another job (albeit a really cool one!). Still. He's come a long way since playing "Romeo" in elementary school.


January 26, 2008

Caturday & Coffee

Many who know me are painfully aware I thrive on silliness. Be that a blessing or curse (and let me assure you it can be both), I am compelled to jump on the silly train more often than not. It is a force not to be denied.

It has become a routine, a favorite habit, a Saturday morning coffee ritual: Caturday! Perusing cat pictures. Cat pictures with captions: lolcats, internet silliness at its finest. My current favorites, let me show you them.

Enjoyment of cat-speak can require putting aside one's grammar-nazi ways. I've learned to roll with it on Caturday.

Let's try some kitten-speak:

Did you giggle? Say "awwwwww"? The cute factor gets me every time. I'm a sucker for cute. (My girlfriend, have you met her?)

Some kitties are more literate.

This next photo has made the rounds with many different captions, but this one, well, I consider it near lolcat perfection:

So what's the point? They make me laugh. Felines exude personality and are endlessly photogenic. The folks who caption them add icing to cake. Kudos to the creators! The sheer silliness pleases me greatly.

Last Caturday, fresh off a dose of lolcats with the chuckles still reverberating, I chanced to peruse a set of childhood pictures a friend posted online. I came across a photo that instantly reminded me of this:

I was compelled to create this.

It just couldn't be helped.
I'm certain the featured child will understand.


January 19, 2008

January 9, 2008

Every Day is Christmas

We've been away. We're back now. I hope I didn't completely miss Teresa's White Elephant Party.

How excited I was when she proposed a blogging White Elephant exchange! How many different items I considered! How many mental blog posts I wrote and dismissed!

A whole herd of them, that's how many.

Then we got a box in the mail. It was a cool box with interesting things inside. I am fascinated by one item in particular. Fascinated and repulsed at the same time. It's an interesting sensation.

It's an ashtray. Normally I don't take issue (outside of guilt for smoking to begin with) with using an ashtray for its intended purpose. But this ashtray is different. Take a look:

One may think a woman such as myself with seemingly slight potential of being non-atheist, decidedly undecided yet somewhat superstitious, could get a kick out of that ashtray and indeed I have. I have laughed, paused, laughed again, pondered, shared with others, and done it all over again.

Still. It kinda creeps me out. There is no way in hell I can ever put a cigarette out on Jesus' face. In fact I can't even bring myself to use it as a change holder or a place to store my paper clips or any number of other things an ashtray can be used for besides stubbing out a cigarette. I can't explain why. I just can't do it.

So, gentle readers, the line forms to the left. Be the first to call dibs on this uniquely spiritual and practical item. Perhaps you have a collection of Jesus memorabilia. Perhaps you need something on your dresser to corral pennies. Maybe you just need an ashtray. (Can a smoker have too many? I think not.)

Postage is on me. Privately send me your address, which I will use once then shred in my brand new Holiday Shredder. It cross-cuts even.

Please. Somebody. Anybody.
Consider taking custody of this item.

Jesus saves, or so I've heard.