February 28, 2005

Is it Friday yet?

Still sick. Sick to the tune of "took a sick day from Big Al" sick. I have a call into the doctor to see if it is something to worry about that I have had a cold for 2 weeks straight now. Yes, I know this whining has become quite tedious, but I am a big, big baby when I get sick because it is fairly unusual for me to be sick - particularly this long. When I was a kid, I was rarely sick and so my mom would let me play hooky one day per year because "it wasn't fair that we had to go to school every day of the year when others didn't". I never questioned her lack of logic because I was a smart little kid and never, ever looked a gift horse in the mouth. Welcome to my childhood. I could devote a blog entirely to the idiosyncrasies of my mother's childrearing efforts (and my Grandma's game attempts to dispel the damage).

Anyway, surprisingly, the weekend was still very productive because I have a System. I lay down until I feel somewhat human, then I roll off the couch, get my lame A$$ moving and scurry like a beaver. When I feel creppy again, I lay back down and start the process over. In this manner, I got quite a few things accomplished! I washed 2 weeks worth of laundry. I imported all of my classical and piano CDs into iTunes and am now ready to start on Big Band and Jazz (I am so loving that extra hard drive space on the new iPod). I replaced my bedroom curtains and started on replacing the master bathroom curtains. I replaced a set of blinds that were broken. I finished one book, completely read another short one, and have started a new one - A Suitable Boy. I finished all the pieces to the Sweater - I am ready to block and seam them together! I was very disappointed because I had to cancel some social outings, but at least I can feel good that I got so many things accomplished.

I watched the Oscars last night, which is something I don't normally do. I do rush to get the celebrity rags for the fashion covereage but the show itself is pretty tiresome. However, despite the fact that last year I saw only a handful of movies ironically, most of them were up some kind of Oscar or another. Therefore, I did decide to watch this year's show. Um, how the HELL did we watch these shows before DVRs? I got so weary of all the crep that I finally just paused the show, went about my business, then came back an hour later to fast forward to the good parts. I won't go into much detail because there are professionals out there writing much more entertaining commentary than I can, but I will say I was so glad that Million Dollar Baby swept the major titles. The movie was absolutely beautiful and it was nice to see it honored as such. I knew that Sideways wouldn't win much of anything (my favorite movie of last year), but Million Dollar Baby winning so many awards made up for it. I also liked how the Actor/Actress nominations seemed to really come from great performances and not just the "hit" movies. For example, Maria Full of Grace was an excellent movie and it was so cool to see it get a nod for Best Actress even though it didn't make the Best Foreign Film category. Anyway, it was fun watching the Oscars, but I can't say I will watch them every year.

Oof. Ready to go lay down again.

February 25, 2005

Ultimately, aren’t we all just road kill in the Mouth of Life?

Road kill is the theme for today because that is the way I am feeling. Would I be a fluffy bunny or a squishy squirrel? Or would I be a crunchy turtle?

Really, although I have been yucky for nearly 2 weeks now, in a way it has been quite freeing. I don’t feel any pressure to keep the house spotless or to cook healthy meals. We are wearing the last pieces of our acceptable clothing because Laundry Day last Sunday was skipped (horrors!). I crawl into bed at 9pm, read until 10pm and get a full night’s sleep. I WAS guilt-free about skipping the gym, but that has been changing this week and I am very itchy to go now. Besides, the iPods are pulling at their "leashes".

So, even though it sucks to be sick, it has been quite nice to take life’s pace down a notch. Maybe there is a lesson to be had in all this somewhere.

Rancid Update: I realized I should have included the reference from which the title was spawned: Road kill candy angers animal rights activists

February 24, 2005

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve heard lately?

Overheard in a meeting:
Co-Worker, trying to appear intelligent and philosophical, says seriously “My father used to always say the definition of insanity was when you do the same thing over and over even though you keep getting the same result”. Obviously, this guy's father had never tested software before.

Oh, and what were we discussing? Yeah, you guessed it.

February 23, 2005

Do you read Throwing Things?

If not, then you are missing SUPER cool links like this:
The Cubes® - Cubicle Playsets

I MUST have one of these!

or all five............

Is my funny bone fractured?

I have absolutely nothing of interest going on. Vacation is over and I’m back to the Grind. Get up in the morning, go to work, labor for Big Al, go home, enjoy a few peaceful hours, and collapse into bed. Repeat.

Don’t get me wrong. Life is pretty good right now. I’m feeling human again and am able to get back to puttering around the house. I’m almost done with The Sweater and should be able to seam it together by this weekend. I’m going to get back into my gym routine this week. I’m reading an excellent book, A Very Long Engagement. My jewelry partner and I picked up 2 new stores bringing us to a total of 5 stores now – VERY cool.

Yes, life is good right now. But sometimes, just sometimes, good is boring. And I suppose that sometimes, just sometimes, that’s okay.

Why do I love this title so?

I'm not even a Korn fan. The best part is that CNN felt it was compelling enough to present the link on its front page.

Because, you know, it must have been a slow news day.

Korn guitarist finds God, leaves band

February 22, 2005

How do you indulge your pets?

Our three cats are spoiled rotten. Hands down. X has been working so often from home these days, the 2 inside/outside cats have X working the front door more industriously than any bellman at a 5 star hotel. For the most part, the cats only eat their cat food, but yes, I am ashamed to admit that one of them does enjoy a tablespoon of frozen custard every time we bring some home. These cats receive top quality food the vet recommends and expensive shots and flea treatments throughout the year. However, we generally don’t go all out with toys. If you are a cat owner, you know why. Cats are easily entertained by cheap things such as strings (or yarn. GRRR), shadows on the walls, each other’s tails, a foot under a blanket, etc. Furthermore, the current cat toys around the house were bequeathed about 4 cats ago and there has been no urgency to invest any more for feline entertainment in the Rancid Raves household.

This all changed yesterday. I went to Sharper Image, that bastion of overpriced gadgetry, to get a birthday gift for X . The directionally deficient love of my life is now the proud owner of a cool clock/compass/temperature gauge thingamabob for his car. Ah! The disagreements this beauty is going to prevent in our newly assured future together was well worth the purchase price. Believe you me. However, I did not come out of Sharper Image as easily as I had hoped. I found myself playing with their cat toy Feline Frolic. I managed to suppress the self-loathing as I slapped my credit card down, feebly mentioning some excuse for such a ridiculous purchase. X was far more supportive when I got it home, I’ll grant him that. After eagerly emptying various remotes of their batteries, we put the damned thing together. My regrets were quickly dispelled – this thing is FUN. It has already paid for itself in entertainment value – not just for the cats, but for US. If you like playing with remote controlled devices of any sort, this contraption is for YOU. I can report that it works equally well on tile, hardwood, and carpet.

The best part? The volume on our TV remote is the same frequency as the toy. The cats get an extra boost every time we turn the volume on the TV up and down. That element of surprise, you know?

February 21, 2005

What have you got?

I've got nothin' but Tales from the Couch. From the Couch, I am able to reflect upon the fact that I just burned 40 hours of vacation so that I could comfortably be SICK. I had about 25 items on my To Do list - only 1 item was completed. I didn't play the piano. I didn't read any of a Very Long Engagement (the book club meeting for it is THIS SUNDAY). I didn't play any of my games on the computer. I didn't finish my sweater (I have the neck and shoulder left) and I didn't finish the mittens (I only have a cuff) - which pi$$es me off the most because I purposely scheduled this vacation in the middle of the Knitting Jamboree in hopes I would complete all the projects. I did squeak in the Nephew Visit, thank goodness, because disappointing a 3 year old is a bit of a DOWNER. I did squeak in a single visit to the gym, but could only do the weights because I was pretty sure I would hurl if I got near the elliptical machine.

I have an extremely bad attitude today. Which, of course, means I am primed and ready to go back to work for Big Al tomorrow.

No more whining.

February 19, 2005

How fresh do you like your food?

Previous Owners Update: I did defrost the freezer and threw out the food - there really wasn't that much of it, so it wasn't such a big deal. I did NOT clean out the other fridge, though. However, when the POs tried to get the fridge out of the basement it WOULD NOT FIT THROUGH THE DOORWAY. We are talking a single inch of difference. The PO couldn't remember how they got the darn thing down there in the first place. Of course, the PO was trying to foist the fridge onto us, but we are Fresh Food People. X is from an area of the world where 1) his family didn't have a fridge when he was a kid and 2) the fish monger would come daily to his back door to deliver and clean the fish on the spot. As a result, X is very picky about the freshness of his food, so we simply do not stock up on food. I tried to convert him to my Kansas Ways (aka buy a side of cow for the entire WINTER, pick strawberries to store for a YEAR, take advantage of that sale at Costco or ELSE), but he was not having any of it. In the end, he converted ME. But I digress......

SO, I told the PO that we have no use for a 2nd fridge and that he would have to figure out how to get rid of it. He looked at me like I was a crazy women for turning down a FREE fridge, but at that point I didn't care and was bolstered by my decreasing level of patience urged on by the Cold from Hell. Basically, he will need to take the doors off and potentially ruin the damn thing. I DON'T CARE. You see, the burning point of all the dealings with the POs comes down to this. We started discussing the house offer last January and officially made an offer last April. We closed on the house last August, then moved in last September. In short, the POs have had a year to consider all these things and they just used up the last bit of sympathy I had Saturday morning as they left that damned fridge in my basement plugged in.

I did go down, snorting and hacking in the throes of the Cold from Hell and UNPLUGGED it, although I did leave the doors cracked. I am not that heartless, after all.

February 16, 2005

How wrong is it?

My day with Older Nephew, B, went swimmingly, he may only be 3 and a half, but he's chock full of personality. On the way to the Rainforest Cafe for our overpriced, tiresome, yet creatively monikered food, we had some fun conversation. B informed me he wants a tow truck bed (I didn't have the heart to tell him that while there is a firetruck bed and a race car bed available, I just found it hard to believe there was truly a market for a tow truck bed. One must have must have dreams, I suppose.) B also kept saying that he just loved playing with "the big Jeep" toy at my house (the marketing folks over at Hummer would gnash their teeth at this kid. H2 -- my a$$.....hee, hee.). While on the way to restaurant, I told him the basics of highway safety, the purposes of speed limits and why our good police officers write tickets (had B been able to peer at my speedometer from his backseat perch, he would have gotten a glimpse into the delightful world of Hypocrisy).

The Rainforest Cafe was what I expected, but B LOVED it and it made it all the worth while for eating their $hitty food. He particularly got a kick out of the elephants. He also has a newfound appreciation for Uncle X as I told B that X had lived in a place as a little boy where there were tons of elephants (I left out the parts where elephants are mean as hell and extremely dangerous unless encountered while in water). We left the restaurant and spent a good 15 minutes just watching the animatronic alligator at the entrance. I mean, come on, this was a really quite a cheap outing, overall. I suspect our activities will only get more expensive as the kid ages. Finally, as we passed a merry-go-round, B asked if he could "ride the carousel". Come on, folks. How do you resist a 3 year old that says CAROUSEL? Well, you don't. Anyway, it was a nice day. We capped it off by going back to my place, lounging on the couch to the ways of the claymation duo, Wallace and Gromit (I just adore a dog that KNITS. How can you not?)

Now, regarding the subject title. I received a call from the Previous Owners (POs) of the New House. As mentioned before, we knew the POs before purchasing the house. They have been storing some things in the New House for nearly 5 months now while they were awaiting completion of THEIR New House. Anyway, in the meantime, we have not been able to park in our garage (think ice and snow. Grrr...), have had to step over their crep in our basement, are paying for electricity for 2 refrigerators, 1 freezer AND their ugly a$$ hot tub in our backyard (please don't tell me how great hot tubs are. blah, blah. Sorry, just not a fan of a tub in which I can't use bubble bath). I get a voice mail yesterday from PO saying that they will be moving their stuff (except for the f&*kng hot tub, of course) on Saturday (YEAH!) BUT could I please defrost the freezer and throw out the old food (sputtering now....W....H....A....T???). Yes, we did save some bucks buying this house through the owners and not using a realtor. However, they saved bucks by doing this AND MANAGED TO GET 5 MONTHS OF FREE STORAGE FROM US. Even that, I could stomach. However, I am pissed beyond words at the request for defrosting and food removal.

February 15, 2005

How does it feel to felt?

I am on vacation this week. I am also feeling under the weather this week. I am sure Big Al is scheming some method for docking both leave balances in my absence.

The Knitting Jamoree is in full swing now. I finished my felted Booga Bag. Please note the color in the linked example is horrendous - my color selection was less bright. If you are a knitter and you have never felted, what are you waiting for? I admit I did not see what the big attraction to felting was, but WOW - was it FUN. It was so freaky to put it through the washing machine FOUR times in HOT water to see the magic that is Felting. I loved working this bag so much (it was knit in the round, which is my favorite), that I have already purchased more Noro to make another one.

My First Sweater is progressing quite nicely. Unfortunately, I have no hopes of looking as cute in it as that model in the linked example does, but hey, I AM BETTING SHE DIDN'T KNIT THE DAMN THING. Bitch. Anyway, I have finished the front piece, one sleeve and I almost done with the 2nd sleeve. The great thing about being sick on the couch like a monkey, is that the monkey can still knit. The sweater is such a joy to knit that I am already planning a 2nd one since learning that Lamb's Pride Bulky is a perfect substitute. I don't care for the Needful Yarns, but the thought of getting to knit another one in Lamb's Pride is an incentive.

Finally, I am working on a set of mittens. I am not very far on them because of the Sweater, but seriously, knitting on double points is SO COOL. It's like working a puzzle while knitting.

Unfortunately, I did have to drop the Felted Slippers class since I realized that I should focus my attention on the sweater, mittens, and the Booga Bag. I also have some very special projects in the works that I will be sharing in the coming months. There is some cool knitting to be had out there.

Tonight my sister is coming with Older Nephew and Younger Nephew to spend the night. Tomorrow, I am taking Older Nephew to lunch and to do one of those "build a teddy bear" thingies. I should be able to pluck myself off the couch long enough to enough his little mass of cuteness. This is the same goofy kid that the minute he could string 2 words together, he started telling jokes ("Eat car??" Nooooo! giggle giggle). When he could form complete sentences, the dirty ones started coming (Mommy has a penis?? Nooooo! giggle giggle). Hopefully, the little twerp will provide my current Sahara of a blog with some interesting material.

February 11, 2005

Is it cultured or just plain shocking?

Indians are different than Americans. I bet you didn’t know that – what with us living in this land of the Melting Pot where “people are just people”. I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to melt anything – be it cheese or chocolate, I always end up with lumps that JUST WON’T MELT. In a similar vein, sometimes, just sometimes, people JUST WON’T MELT.

As you probably know, X is Indian. Indian as in “came across the ocean” rather than the “sorry about stealing your land” kind (or that would be the British apologizing). I should also probably explain that well before meeting X, I had already been actively involved in the Indian/Pakistani community in college. I have been to Pakistan (Rancid Tangent: Contrary to popular belief Pakistan is so much more like India than an Arab country. I guess it could be due to the fact that Pakistanis AREN’T ARABS). Finally, I grew up being fascinated with my step-grandmother, whom my grandpa met and married in India well before I was born. Therefore, the sub-continent of Asia has always been a part of my tiny existence. It’s not entirely unusual that I would marry an Indian (hey, it was good enough for Gramps). I like to remind X that by the time I met him, I was already trained - I knew how to cook, knew how to act in Indian social situations, and often, knew what to expect. Despite this prior training, really for the most part our home is primarily American accented with Indian “touches”. No, we will never be the “brisket, cheeseburger and steak” eating kind of family, but really – beef is bad for your heart anyway. We do watch sports, so hope is not entirely lost for our future children.

This being said, every now and then, I am still tickled by those little differences between the cultures. One that particularly amuses me is the brazen questioning regarding MONEY. Indians are very frank in this matter – they openly ask each other about salaries, cars, houses, furniture, etc. Last weekend, while visiting some Indian friends, this came up. I, the American, delicately inquired where our friends got their furniture. X, the Indian, jumped right to the chase and asked how much they spent. However, it is not considered bad taste to ask someone how much they spend on things. AND contrary to what an American would think, for the most part, it really isn’t about bragging but rather, it’s about comparing so that everyone can figure out where a good deal is. Our friends eagerly told us where they got their good deal and encouraged us to do the same. I think it’s safe to say that Indians do enjoy a good deal, but honestly, people – WHO DOESN’T?

One of the more interesting (and entertaining) aspects of this Indian Comparison is how irritated employers get with it. During the Internet Boom, I worked at a small start-up and we had hired a hefty amount of Indians. My American manager was distressed that the Indians quickly figured out who was getting paid more than the other. The manager became disturbed when the said Indian legitimately requested similar pay raises. This brought back memories of working for Ernst and Young where we were given stern warnings to NOT discuss our salaries. After seeing what happened with Indians at the Internet start-up, it became crystal clear why EY would require this of us. This is when I started to reconsider my previous policy of silence regarding financial matters. Even lately, I have found myself wishing my friends and family WOULD ask how much our house cost. Last fall, I was dismayed when my close friend C discovered my house cost loads LESS than what she thought it had. I’d like all my friends and family to know that our house was NOT expensive. For some reason, I am mortified to think that people would think we would spend such a silly amount of money on a house as expensive as C thought we had. Is it my own personal issue with guilty and humility? Yes. But it would certainly be allayed somewhat if Americans were more open about money matters.

So, the next time someone does something that is particularly shocking or surprising to you, think about it for a minute. Give it a whirl. Consider whether it could actually be an advantage to you if you were able to shift your proverbial paradigm for a minute.

February 10, 2005

Do you think?

Dear Manager,

Just a few follow-up items that I have been thinking about since our meeting last week regarding the upcoming Board of Governor's visit. While cubicle tidiness and dress guidelines are definitely items that should be noted and dealt with, I’d like to propose a few other things:

1. Smokers should not be allowed to wear sweaters EVER and should be tied down and forcibly given breath mints. I used to be a smoker and was always conscientious of the need for mints. You would think that oral hygiene is common sense, but unfortunately that skill must be inversely related to nicotine levels. Would it be uncouth of me to heave in the next smoker's lap who has the nerve to breathe his/her nasty a$$ breath in my face? Do you think the Board would mind? Really?

2. Extended personal conversations should be kept at a minimum. I don't care how my co-worker's weekend went. I am not concerned about little Johnny's eating habits. If I did care, I would actually spend time with these people at moments other than those in which I am compensated monetarily. Even then, the rate of pay I am eligible for is quite questionable in light of the company I am required to keep. People should be going to the cafeteria for said conversations (or if a smoker, to the Pit). Personal phone conversations should also be kept at a minimum or taken someplace other than a person’s cubicle. I don't care that my co-worker's mother does not have access to email and must have all cyber jokes read out loud to her.

Thank you,
Your heartless, disgusted employee

February 8, 2005

Who says blogging doesn't pay?

Today was terrible. I didn't feel well anyway and then had to endure a long, creeping hour and a half commute home through a heavy snowstorm (normal commute is 30-45 minutes). I saw a car do a 360 spin(plus a few degrees) forcing the car in front of me to pull to the shoulder. I have never had my anti-lock brakes come on so HARD and FURIOUS, yet still not work. No, this is not the worse snowstorm ever, but the poor snowplow dudes just can't keep up.

So, I pull into my driveway feeling slightly queasy from all the adrenaline rushes. I sit in my car for a few minutes, enjoying the newfound safety of SITTING STILL, the silence and the huge, fluffy snowflakes melting on my still warm windshield. I schlep my things into the house and think, "what the hell, I should get the mail and stretch my legs". This is hardly as daring as it would seem, since my house is in front of the neighborhood mail center. I take my time, though so I can enjoy the silence and the mere act of BEING.

And what is in my mailbox? A prize! One I had forgotten about! Rozanne at Is There Anything of Interest? had offered a small prize to anyone who would use her "Forgotten English" words in a sentence. I didn't hesitate to provide my snail mail address for my loot - why not?? It's certainly no worse than all the stupid marketing surveys asking for my particulars. Besides, I have been reading her blog for MONTHS, so that's equivalent to KNOWING her - at least in the blogosphere, right? Regardless, it was FREE STUFF and my mama taught me RIGHT. Anyway, what did Rozanne so kindly send my way? Chocolate, my friends. Not just any old chocolate, but rather a DARK TRUFFLE confection by Terra Nostra. It's even organic!

What a dreamy end to a crummy day. The bonus? X doesn't read my blog, which is quite convenient since I suspect there will be nary a wrapper left when he returns tomorrow..................

So here's a shout-out to Rozanne, for not only offering free goodies, but also for having a cunning discernment for chocolate.

February 7, 2005

Are you a hoarder?

One of the gals in my Clandestine Canasta group, K, is quite adept at holding onto cards and then playing them at the most opportune of moments (at least for her and her partner). Many instances of raging Pile Envy have occurred as she picks up the entire discard pile after one of these swift moves. We refer to K as the “hoarder” (usually in naughty terms, of course). Regardless, I think she is secretly proud.

In life, as in cards, it can serve you well to hold onto things. But how much is too much? I have a few family members in this predicament. One of my great-aunts, quite simply, has inherited everything her family owned for the past TWO generations – she was an only child of divorced parents, was close to her grandparents, and had an unmarried aunt to boot. On the other hand, I have another relative who has a hoarding problem in addition to a shopping “issue”. Hoarding left unfettered has left these two relatives with rooms they can’t enter and narrow junk-free trails running throughout the rest. Imagine my shock when I tuned into my recording of Oprah a few weeks ago and discovered THERE ARE OTHERS. It’s not just MY family! A bit of relief mixed with horror swelled as I watched this episode.

The problem with the hoarders in my life is that they have scarred me so irreparably that I now yearn desperately to be a thrower*. For example, I am embarrassed that while the previous owners of the house are storing THEIR junk in our garage temporarily, the rest of the neighborhood thinks WE are the hoarders. Now, I admit that I used to be a hoarder. However, as the years passed and I saw the growing mounds of junk my family members collected, I began to see the error of my ways. I started by going through every box I owned about every 12-18 months which is easily done while living in an apartment. Now it is turning into every 6 months and I live in a house. I just went through my boxes last summer and am already getting the urge to go through my things again. I simply haven’t pared down enough – I really haven’t. The problem is that I HAVE thrown out some things that I did eventually need. Where do I stop? How do I distinguish a mere keepsake from an actual heirloom? Much of what lurks in my neatly organized tote boxes are such items. Then, you have what I like to call the "Where is it?" Factor. The last time I had a garage sale, we had to hastily hide things from my grandma when she pulled up to the house for fear she would discover that the 1970s plastic set of bowls from KMart hadn't made the cut for Keepsake or Heirloom. Last year, an auntgave me a beautiful, but MASSIVE silver tea service - she hasn't questioned why it isn't being given a place of honor in my dining room yet, but let's face it - the clock is ticking.

I discovered the true horror of this issue last Saturday when I went to great-aunt P's house to help her with laundry, dishes, etc. Afterwards, I walked to my car, the proud new owner of a 1950s physical globe (it's so COOL, people. I HAD to have it. Really!) AND a fine piece of 1930s Weller pottery (it IS gorgeous and she INSISTED I take it. Really!) Hell's bells -- I even had interesting Antiques Roadshow-worthy stories to boot. Then, as I opened my car trunk, it dawned on me.

Hoarders are akin to drug pushers.

*”Throwing” can mean many things such as 1)”putting in the trash” 2)”donating to charity” 3)”relegating for garage sale” or 4) “pawning off on friends and other family members”.

February 4, 2005

Is this lame, or what?

I am TAPPED OUT. I have depleted most of my sarcastic reserves for my family this week (and yes, most of what I posted the other day has already been shared with my sister and a few trusted cousins who nodded knowingly. The daugher of the Aunt Who Asks Loaded Questions (and incidently drives a GERMAN car), swung her head the hardest, let me tell you. Can you dislocate your head????).

Anyway, I will use this boring post to wrap up my iPod trials and tribulations. First, I had an excellent experience with iPod ResQ. Hands down, I would use them again. I love my Shuffle – on a scale of 1-10 (10 highest), I give it a 9. I still wish there was some sort of display or at minimum, an option to have two different Playlists on one Shuffle (a little toggle button labeled 1 and 2, perhaps?). Regardless, for a new product coming out of the gate it completely rocks. Why the 9? Well, no one is perfect (except for X, of course. He’s a 10.)

Finally, fortunately for me, April came early! After I pleaded my case with X and gave compelling evidence as to why a regular iPod was still useful in the RR household, he decided that I could get an early birthday present. While I am still not thrilled at having forked over the money, I am glad to have a bigger iPod than the old one. I now have space for converting my entire classical collection to MP3 and can start doing audio books as well.

Well, that’s it for this long and tedious week. Tomorrow commences my 2 week whirlwind Knitting Jamboree in which I will learn to do slippers, mittens, and a sweater. I have made mittens before, but they were fingerless. Since I actually HAVE fingers, I thought learning how to knit them might be useful to learn. Yes, folks, my joys are puerile.

Have a great weekend!

(Rancid Tangent: Who else would like to see Martha Stewart's tagline for the firings on her new Apprentice spin-off be something like "Your goose is cooked!" ??)

February 3, 2005

Are you a leader?

Unfortunately, I am not much of one. Now that I am seeing Haloscan commenting more and more, I am following the pack - which is par for the course of my life.


Special thanks to Rozanne, who demonstrated how easy it was to install. For a long time, I thought Haloscan was something particular to Throwing Things.....

February 2, 2005

Where is that damn pie?

My youngest great-uncle passed away over the weekend and today was his funeral. He has 6 siblings, plus their spouses, plus all the resulting progeny from all those connections. Therefore, I have a fairly large family. I have spent the past day and half with this family. I love my family and really get a kick out of being with them - although, I do get a tad weary of hearing about their locked stools and other various ailments. In addition, I have had to provide several reports on my Fertility Status and had to answer a variety of questions that nearly always have dual meanings. Since vocal inflections don't appear well in print, I will provide the appropriate translation.

How do you like your New House? (Translation: Why did you buy such a large house? You don't have children.)

And so, what does X do again? (Translation: How can you afford that house?)

You drive a Toyota? (Translation: How can you drive that piece of crep? Don't you know the Japanese attacked us in 1941?)

Are you sure you don't want to ride to the funeral with us? (Translation: Although you have been driving since you were almost 14, you still don't do it right.)

Are you still working for Big Al? (Translation: You haven't left this job already? Isn't it about time, you Chronic Job Hopper?)

Where is X? (Translation: I don't really care which is evidenced by how badly I just pronounced his name, but I am sitting here next to the Aunt Who Asks Loaded Questions and I am afraid she will start talking to me so it is really best that I start a conversation with you since I drive a Honda.)

Thankfully, my family drowns their grief in food, relentless teasing and recounting of fond memories. Dishes containing beef and pies containing REAL cream are such a rare treat for me, that I was able to overlook many comments passed today. Besides, I adore my family. Truly, I do. It saddens me to see my Grandma's generation getting smaller. If I don't hurry up with the DNA Project, I will never have to shield my children's ears from the racy jokes that the remaining great-uncles still relish in telling. My children may not get to experience the complicated game of Avoiding the Aunt and her Loaded Questions (it takes a certain skill). They may miss out on Uncle F's magic tricks. And they wouldn't get to experience Uncle T's prowess at tickling.

So, I got in my traitorous automobile and headed towards my oversized house that contained my husband with the funny-sounding name. When I arrived, I gave him a big, HUGE hug and said that I loved him. He looked at me like I was crazy.

Why was he surprised? He's met my family.

February 1, 2005

Where do you pinch your pennies?

Over the past year, I have been on a quest to get myself in a lifestyle that would allow me to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I have done the university thing (under-grad and grad), I have done the career thing (travel and excessive over-time), I have done the travel thing (US, Italy, Pakistan), I have done the singles thing (nice guys, a$$holes, dullards), the bar thing (wine, martini, beer) and I have done the hobby thing (raku, jewelry, knitting, books, community-college type classes). Now, I am ready to chuck a bit (not all) of it and just focus on the mom thing, when the time comes.

In preparation for this, I have started using the library, buying drugstore makeup, purchasing cheap shampoo, etc. The next that needed to go was the expensive hair salon, but I just couldn’t the paradigm out of my head that “a good haircut must be expensive”. I needed to accept the situation for what it was. This was a multi-step process and required a few weaning steps. First, my current hair stylist just wasn’t doing it for me. I felt bad switching and had really stuck with her because she is a small business – I like to support local whenever I can. However, I had to face the truth – I was not enjoying my time with her and it was best to part ways. Last fall, I tried hair stylist #2. She was a very nice lady and was definitely an improvement to #1. The first cut with her was okay but was such a VAST improvement over #1 that I couldn’t see straight . However, something was off after the second cut and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It didn’t “feel” right when I tried to style my hair and I could never get it to do what I wanted. Also, #2 was a “nervous talker” and therefore made ME nervous just being around her. I hate forced conversations. My time with her was not relaxing. I knew I needed to move on. At our last Clandestine Canasta gathering, we got to talking about hair stylists and one of the gals, K, admitted she goes to Great Clips – a place well-known for their cheap and quick haircuts. I was shocked, but inspired. K’s hair always looks perfect. I realized that I had to try this place – her recommendation cinched the deal.

Last night, I nervously walked into Great Clips. It was very disconcerting to not have an appointment, but I brought a book with me, just in case. I was in luck! Not only did I not have to wait, but I got the manager of the place. A flood of relief came over me when hair stylist #3 noticed something very funky about my layers – it wasn’t just me, after all! She showed me the problem and fixed it. This morning, I noticed a huge difference in styling my hair. I wasn’t frustrated. It wasn’t a struggle.

And it was over $30 cheaper.