Friday, September 30, 2005

Junk mail

I'm so tired of junk mail. I wouldn't care so much if the whole identity fraud thing hadn't reared its ugly head in this generation. Why is it some people's nature to try to get something for nothing, or to find fortune at someone else's expense? Today I received a platinum equity card with the promise of bazillions of dollars. The card enclosed looks like a credit card. It's plastic, has my name and a number stamped on it, and an 800 number to call for activation. I cut it up, but this looks dangerous to me, should it fall into the wrong hands. How easy would it be? It's sickening. I get these almost every day.

[Rambling, possibly or probably selfish and very lengthy whine deleted, but off the chest now, after an hour of writing. Phew.] Suffice it to say that I just think people need to understand there are consequences for choices made in life, and they should be responsible for those consequences, whether they're seven or seventy. [The selfish part: it shouldn't be my burden, to shoulder the damage control. Like that guy on Survivor said, Sometimes you just have to man up. I man up (when needed).]

If I read another LOL...

I'm going to scream! I have a pet peeve. (One of many.) That text message shorthand crap annoys the hell out of me. I'm guilty of some, like the smiley faces. I can live with those. But the LOLs are driving me nuts. Like fingernails on a chalkboard. Those and the URs. Those are the worst. And anything that uses a numeral for phonetic equivalence. GR8. H8. B4. U2. (Okay, as a band, Yeah Baby! In lieu of 'you too', no thanks.)

LOL is the absolute worst. Laugh out loud or lots of laughs or something like that. The first thing I notice is that almost everywhere I've seen it used, the preceding expression wasn't funny enough to warrant a chuckle, let alone a laugh. NOT FUNNY.

OK is okay. It's been around a long time. SOS is OK too, but I wouldn't use it unless stranded on a desert island, and that's not likely to happen any time soon. SOL. Now that one is fine. As with CYA, they come up frequently, especially at work. I'm actually tempted to use BTW and WRT, although I always reconsider and type the full phrases out, just in case the recipient isn't prepared to translate.

Phonetic equivalence in other use is often annoying to me as well. Karpet King. Kwik Kleen. What is UP with that? Not clever. Not clever at all.

Okay, the root of the problem is that I'm sleep deprived, as usual, and today have junk in my throat that's making me cough. It won't come up, it won't go down. I hate that. My throat is raw and my bottle of Robitussin has an expiration date of 12/03 stamped on the label. I took a double dose, but I don't think it did anything.

Friday show and tell

Today's theme - What you're wearing

I was going to cheat and wear something reasonably nice today, but I was actually called in to the office, so I donned something other than the stay-home-sloppy clothes that I usually end up in. I planned on a nice combo with a silk blouse and a skirt -- even costume jewelery. But I decided that I'd get too many questions at work about who I'm interviewing with and when I'm planning to leave. Fridays are casual at the office. So I went with the old standby that I usually wear when I go to the office, as every office day is casual for me. Things have slid in the last several years, and we can get away with much with regard to wardrobe. Shall we begin?
My wardrobe consists of black basics and a colorful coverup of some sort. Here we have the turquoise microsuede jacket. I love microsuede because it has a nice suede-like texture, comes in vibrant colors and can be thrown in the wash with no special handling or ironing. Hooray, no ironing!

I wear black boots almost every day. My last pair were Redbacks from Australia. Not the best looking, but very comfortable and very durable. I wore them every day for three years, and now the sole is compromised. I just got these, and they're a bit clunky. I clod along in them. They're alright. Not optimal, but they'll do.

This is the fall lineup. On the left are several black turtlenecks. On the right are microsuede shirts in a variety of colors. Most are plain shirt style and I wear them like jackets. They cover my many lumps nicely. Only a couple are more fitted, like the turquoise one featured today. I was feeling bold.

This is more realistic to my present lifestyle, working from my home office. I was wearing this until I got the call that my attendance was needed in person.

And of course the comfy fuzzy fucschia socks. They're sort of like a chenille. Very soft. Very comfy. But they attract fuzzballs.

This is what I wish I were wearing. I kiped this from my sister's giveaway stash. I am two of her, so this is a fantasy skirt. Pleats! I envision myself wearing a form fitting black turtleneck with this skirt, along with black tights and some funky black ankle boots or shoes.

I have these shoes, and they would work. They used to fit, before I got pregnant. They might fit again, in the unlikely event that I can fit the rest of me into that skirt.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Neighborhood Bounty

The doorbell just rang. It's not UPS delivery time. The Jehova's Witness ladies and the Mormon boys haven't been around in a while. But I don't see two forms through the blinds (they usually come in pairs). Who could it be? My sweet neighbor L, bearing a plate filled with bounty from her garden. Not too long ago she appeared with a freshly baked cobbler made with more bounty from her garden. I returned her dish with a pumpkin loaf (from a mix, how lame of me, but my garden is not bountiful, and I probably wouldn't grow pumpkins anyway, and it's all I had on hand). It was a yummy pumpkin loaf, though! This is so wonderfully June Cleaver! In all the years I've lived in Suburbia, I've had very little to do with my neighbors. It's a sad thing, the neighborhood dynamic in much of this area. How refreshing to be neighborly! I put the beautiful vegetables on a cobalt blue plate, and decided to break out the rattan chargers that I'd gotten years ago while dreaming of entertaining and how nice they would look with my blue plates and colorful food. Alas, most of my family members moved away, the cool one's family doesn't live in convenient driving range, and we have no friends. (Okay, we have a few, but none live nearby.) Pathetic. So we don't entertain. So the chargers have been in their boxes, sealed until this moment.

Isn't that a unique finish on my dining table? I nearly sold the set this summer, while I was on a simplify-my-house rampage. I'm glad I didn't though. I'm not ready to part with it. It is spawned from an attempted tortoise shell faux finish, and it's quite stunning. My sister, who had much to do with its final appearance, affectionally calls the finish malignant barnacle. She, I, a niece, and a nephew wrought this masterpiece several summers ago. Same nephew has since destroyed one of the chairs, leaning back, leaning back, leaning back, Crack! Irreparable damage.

My neighoborhood consists of a handful of houses on a culdesac adjacent to a busy street. On the corner lives a registered sex offender, level 2. Yesterday I saw him. He's a very good looking young man. A charmer. He looks harmless. He looks friendly. He might well be. He might not be. Children were riding bikes in the culdesac. He was sitting on the edge of his retaining wall, watching them. It creeped me out. I hope, I hope, I pray, that all the parents in our neighborhood have had a talk with their children about him. Stranger Danger. That's what one of the mothers in my daycare has taught her child. She uses the phrase and her child instantly attaches close to her mother's side. We will move before my child can play in the culdesac. And I will teach him Stranger Danger.

In another house lives an Indian family. They are very nice. Hello, hello, we exchange friendly hellos. They have nice cars. The old man, the grandfather I presume, told me he works at McDonald's, not because he needs the job, but to improve his English and get him out of the house. It's an interesting picture - old Indian man with a turban driving a new Lexus SUV to work at McDonald's for minimum wage. I recently learned that the family owns a couple or a few of the local Indian restaurants. I was also recently lamenting to the cool one that we never get to have Indian food. Would you like some cheese with that whine, he says. He only wants to have Mexican food or American food if we go out. I miss Indian food! Some things I miss about being single... But since our neighbors own these restaurants, maybe we can go. It would be very neighborly of us, after all.

Next door is a Chinese family. Grandma speaks no English. Papa sometimes mows our front lawn. Once the cool one mowed his front lawn - our lawns are so small, it's no trouble at all. Since then, the neighbor gets to his lawn more often than we get to ours, so he has mown (is that even a word?) our lawn a couple of times. I baked some banana walnut bread - from scratch! - and wrapped it up nicely with foil and ribbons, and presented it to them with a thank you card. They don't like nuts, it turns out. Or banana bread. But it turned out delish! I made a double batch, which is how I know it turned out well. Yogurt is the trick. They appreciated the gesture, though.

L had a yard sale the other day. I took Boo over and chatted for a couple of hours. I bought him a giant floppy stuffed horse and dog. Children played in the culdesac. It was a beautiful day. L knows all the kids, and they all like her. I envy this. Prolonged neighborly interaction. It was a first. I like this neighborly stuff.

Word for the day

\Kipe\, n. [Cf. OE. kipen to catch, Icel. kippa to pull, snatch. Cf. Kipper.] An osier basket used for catching fish. [Prov. Eng.]

I was just pondering what I plan to post when I show and tell what I'm wearing tomorrow, when the word kipe surfaced. I had no idea how to spell it. Or where it came from. All I knew was that I grew up with this word as a part of my family's common vocabulary. It stands to reason that we learned this word from my eccentric anglophile dad. Kippers, are, after all, very Brit. And delish. I have a vague recollection of kippers wrapped in newspaper, piping hot and tasting very good. That was a very long time ago. I was eight. We lived in Cambridge. What a glorious place! But that's another story.

Usage: Mo-ommmmmm, he kiped my _________. Didchu kipe my __________? Who kiped my ________?

From kipper to snatch to take to steal. Mystery solved. I think.

Six hours

He didn't wake up at 4! He slept until 7. SIX HOURS! (I still had to get up at 6, but that's beside the point.) I was alarmed to see him sleeping on his belly with his face nearly flattened into the mattress. He had a little bit of nostril exposed, through which he was breathing. He insists on sleeping on his side or his belly. This distresses me. I keep a night light on so that I can look at him during the night to see if his face is buried. His mattress is a firm foam, and it is directly on the floor next to mine. He can see me so he feels safe. If he rolls off the mattress, since he is now such a squirmer, he may startle himself, but he won't hurt himself. Last night was his first night on this new mattress. When we tried the crib, he couldn't see over the bumpers so I removed them. He likes to be able to see me, and I'm okay with that. Then he got his feet stuck between the rails, and could have hurt himself trying to get unstuck, so I decided I don't want him sleeping in the crib. It's baby jail anyway. The feng shui of those vertical bars can't be good. We have a play pen cot that we used for a little while, but he is so long that he barely has any room to maneuver. Sometimes he feels cold when I pick him up, too, and I can't put him into snuggly blankets for the suffocation hazard. I think the thin mattress and airspace beneath it contribute to the cold. I know that when I've been camping and slept on a raised cot with a thin mattress, I got too cold myself. We also tried the crib mattress on the floor, but it isn't much surface area and he rolled off and scared himself. It's also slippery since it's vinyl covered, and with all his squirming, the mattress can move and open up a gap for him to get wedged in, potentially. All these sleep hazards. I gave up on the Amby hammock when he started squirming so much. He would roll nearly over and wedge his face into the hammock sides, which alarmed me. I emailed Amby about this and they assured me he would be fine and able to breathe, and they've never had a baby suffocate in their hammock. Even so, I wasn't comfortable with the idea, and he is so long that he nearly pokes out the end of the hammock anyway. My Boo is a supersized baby. He is off the charts in length and weight. He's more the size of a normal two year old; not an 8 month old. He's spent many nights in between us, since he's been demanding food at 1 and 4 for so long. Sometimes I'm too exhausted to put him back in his own bed-space. He likes sleeping with us. But he's a bed hog! He kicks and pokes and seems to jab my aching boobs with such precision as to inflict the most discomfort, like an expert marksman. How he manages this, I do not know. I love snuggling with him, I admit. But I think that it will be good for him to become accustomed to sleeping on his own mattress. This new arrangement may work. Hopefully, once I'm through the paranoia of him suffocating in the night, which may be when he's mastered rolling over and back again and sitting himself up and possibly crawling, and when I've gotten him to sleep consistently without needing to be fed at 1 a.m., then I will gently encourage him to learn to sleep in his own room. I want him to learn independence, but I also want him to know that he can trust me completely for all things at all times. This will be very important later in his life, when he's a teenager or preteen and faced with making some choices that might not be in his best interest. I want him to know that I am here for him, no matter what. I would have liked to have had that trust in and with my parents.

A bright idea

Boo has a schedule. He wakes up around 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. every night. Give or take half an hour. Every night. I've read that babies will do this for attention more than for hunger, at this stage. So I've tried to let him cry it out. But I think he is genuinely hungry, because it's a different cry and squirm. He squirms and writhes and twists and cries in a semi-sleep state, like he's so uncomfortable. When I finally cave and give him the bottle, he latches right onto it, sucks it down, and settles back to sleep.

He usually falls asleep for the night around 8 p.m. Tonight he woke up around 9 because we were out and about and we disrupted him. So I decided to seize the moment and try feeding him some solid food, to fill his tummy and see if it would keep him from waking up hungry at 1 a.m. He ate all the food, which actually surprised me. I sort of expected him to purse his lips and shake his head, which he has recently learned to do when he doesn't want to have any more. Off to bed, but he went into his writhing contorting squirm and wouldn't settle into sleep. So I gave him the remains of a bottle, thinking he couldn't possibly want it for anything but comfort. He drained it and wanted more. He had a couple more ounces and then settled down to sleep. It was 11 p.m. Great, I can sleep one hour before I have to get back to the milking station.

I overslept and was wakened at 1 a.m. by the sound of my baby crying. There he was, squirming, writhing, crying. I gave him the pacifier. No luck. So I snuggled him into my lap and fed him a bottle, which he proceeded to drain. He seemed genuinely hungry. Again. Already. He finished feeding and went back to sleep. When I put him down on his mattress, I realized that I was (and still am) soaking wet, as I'm way overdue at the milking station. It's not a pleasant sensation, and my mood is sour. I stumble downstairs to gather up my milking supplies and fumble around in the dark, getting myself locked and loaded. It's 1:38 a.m. I am so hoping that he doesn't wake up hungry at 4. All that extra food at 9 didn't seem to make a difference at all. So much for that bright idea.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

In lieu of football

The boys enjoyed the game. They were boisterous with enthusiasm. The seats were good, in the sense that they were close to the action, but directly behind the camera crews, so details were sometimes blocked. They were especially pleased with the proximity to the cheerleading constituent, however, and immensely enjoyed the scenery. A good time was had by all, and as an added benefit, the home team trounced the opponent. It was nice to see such happy smiles on my brothers' faces.

Sports spectatorship is not for me. Shopping used to be my sport, back in the day. These days I'm much more focused on building my nest (and wishfully the nestegg to go with it). But I decided to treat myself to a little sumpin-sumpin, in lieu of the pro sports outing(s). I did tell the cool one that I bought a bracelet, and I showed it to him. I just didn't tell him it was in lieu of the game or how much it cost. Shhhhh! It cost more than his ticket. He is going to another game in the near future, however, so the two combined probably come out about the same.
It's a simple little bracelet, with a puffy heart charm. I've been sort of thinking I might like to have a charm bracelet for a little while.
Isn't this the cutest clasp? And clever too. Now I can plant seeds in the cool one's mind that describe the kinds of charms I might like to add in future. Like a diamond encrusted initial. Right. Like he'd ever find one that meets with my approval. I would like to find some picture frames that I can fill with tiny photos of my Boo. I've seen some on eBay, but only made of sterling silver or unnamed metal. I'd like to have white gold so it won't tarnish or flake or turn green. I'd like a puffy cross too, but I've never seen one that I like.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TV Addictions

I'm addicted to TV. I admit it. There have been times in my life when I've gone without TV for months and even years. But in the last several years, I've grown to use TV as my relaxing agent. I don't drink (okay, the occasional glass of wine - I've had about 3 glasses in the last 17 months), I don't do drugs (except lots of ibuprofen). I do TV. Right now I'm particularly fond of House, starring Hugh Laurie as a sarcastic genius of a doctor - diagnostics are his thing. I am vastly entertained by this role. I love the sense of humor, the dialog, the intellect. All of it. He cracks me up. He tortures his student doctors. Especially the young rich one. Love it!
The other main addiction is Prison Break, starring the beautiful Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, both very delicious. More of that steely blue eyes/green eyes thing, and of course the dark hair and receding hairlines. WM is Michael Scofield, a very smart engineer (I'm partial to engineers, especially when they look like that) who has a master plan to break his brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic) out of prison. First he has to get himself sent to prison, the same prison, where LB is sentenced to death in a few short weeks. Who can resist pretty boys, smart boys, and bad boys. What a combo.

The good thing for me is that the cool cat likes these shows too, because they have plenty of action, and of course the female constituent is well-represented with good specimens.

One more show I get a kick out of is Boston Legal. I don't find any of the actors attractive, but James Spader is hilarious. And William Shatner plays a buffoon, which I also find quite funny, in a pathetic and ridiculous way. The role James Spader plays has a very sarcastic and off-the-wall wit, which I enjoy.

Disclaimer. From the paranoid. None of these photos are used with permission. I googled them and don't remember where I found them. I might have kept the same name, but might not have. I don't remember. I acted before I thought. I hope it's okay. It's all positive advertising, at any rate. Will try to stick to my own photos from here on out. Or take a little time to show where they came from. I don't recall seeing any copyright info anywhere though. But I wasn't really looking. Fox and ABC are probably the rightful owners. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

Self Portrait Tuesday

Theme: Body Parts
I don't have time to be too creative. Before special effects, the background was actually a murky purple.

Foreground hand. Background screensaver with 4D ultrasound photo of my Boo.
This is much more true to life, however. The caption here is,

Mommy, stop taking stupid pictures of your body parts and pay attention to me!!

For Crying Out Loud.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ed and Acorn

The cool cat is having a ball with this one. We've seen previews for a new film starring none other than Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. Both men in the same film. Ed, also known as 'your man', ever since Enemy at the Gates, and Viggo, aka 'Acorn', because the cool one thinks it's much more memorable, and funny, than 'Aragorn'. Okay, what can I say. There's something about steel blue eyes. Or deep green. And a receding hairline. And a uniform (regarding Ed, oh Ed). It's a good thing the cool one wasn't around in the days of the Last of the Mohicans, because there would be no end to the teasing about the oh-so-very-fine Daniel Day-Lewis. Sigh...... What woman wouldn't want a man of men like Nathaniel Hawkeye to swoop in and protect. And just. be. such. a. man. Ummmmhmmm. I've drifted off... Where was I?

The new film is called A History of Violence, and just by its title, we probably won't be seeing it. The reviews aren't half bad though. Maybe when Boo's 18 or so. Or asleep.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Quote for the day

If girls don't dress dogs in pink tutus, who will?

I was browsing through the Sunday paper and came across this quote. I thought it was cute. The ad took up nearly an entire page, and was a simple pink dot that said Save Girlhood.

It was a bit intriguing, so I took a peek. I haven't browsed through much of the site, but it looks generally positive. It's a refreshing concept.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A benign request, or so it seemed

The other day B2 stated, I'm thinking of cruising over to the city to watch a football game on the 25th. Anybody else feel like goin? He lives 'in the sticks' hundreds of miles away. We live in said city. Or, at least, a suburb thereof.

I'm not much of a sports enthusiast. Okay, not at all. But the cool cat got right on it. We didn't really talk about it. He just casually mentioned he wouldn't mind going. Fine, I said, not thinking much of it at the time. I like when he has opportunities to mingle with my brothers. A coordination effort ensued. I still didn't pay much attention. Will B6 be able to make it? Don't know. The cool one said he got three tickets. That's nice, said I. B6 not being certain, he invited his sister. She apparently loves football. Maybe L would like to go too, mused the cool cat. Yep, L thinks it would be fun. Oh, now B6 decides he can make it after all. Suddenly short a ticket. Or two. How hard is it to get another ticket or two?

A fragmented conversation unfolds and I learn that a single ticket runs in the neighborhood of THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Did I hear that right? THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Holy guacamole, what in the heck? I'm all ears now. And he already bought three tickets? And wanted two more? Funny, how this little matter of price sort of slipped past the radar. Oh, that? Yeah. Well. Don't worry, the cool one says. I found tickets on eBay for only $300 for all three, plus free parking. Woo hoo! Woo hoo, my @$$. It takes some effort to check prices via the normal means (like Ticketmaster), and then ultimately research, bid, and win on eBay. All this without a peep to me.

Not being a sports enthusiast, I had NO IDEA that pro football costs this much. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise. Those insane salaries they get have to come from somewhere. But golly-oh-molly, what is the cool cat thinking? We don't spend that kind of money on entertainment. I wouldn't cough up $60 to sit in the nosebleed section behind the stage to see my soul brother in concert, and here this man I married is coordinating this sporting event like we're the Van Gotrocks. It's highly unlikely that he can find two more tickets seated next to the three he has, says I, assuming they're legit, since they're coming from parts unknown via eBay.

So we begin to gently bicker. I suggest that he stick with the three original tickets and take B2 and B6, since they are coming from opposite directions and hundreds of miles. It's a big deal to them. He thinks I'm shafting his family and friends and giving mine preference, not seeing the logic that the Bs are taking time off from work, driving hundreds of miles, and his family and friends live here, and they're only interested as an afterthought spawned from B2's original request. Somehow I've become the bad guy.

Being the peacemaker that I am, I ask him to try and plan an event with his sister and friend at a later date, when maybe they can choose which opposing team they'd also like to see. So now I've basically authorized not one, but two pro games for the cool cat. He is SO shrewd. He played me well.

I'm looking forward to seeing my brothers. And oh yes. I will be thinking of how the cool cat can make it up to me.

Friday show and tell

Blackbird's show and tell theme this week is chosen by Pea Soup - Favorite Piece of Art From Your Home.

How to choose?! I have so many artsy things in my home. Most are things that family members or I have done, some are copies of famous things, some are prints, but two are the real deal. Original oils by a fabulous artist named De Leva. Well, I think he's fabulous. He's still alive, so the paintings aren't worth what, say, a Van Gogh or a Dali are worth, but one day, they just might be! So. Here we go.
This painting is enttitled, Dripping Will. It is oil on wood. Now, abstract is generally not my thing, but I absolutely love the way this artist handles color and depth. There are so many things going on in his paintings. This one reminds me of Winged Victory.
Here is a closeup of the 'wing'.
And a closeup of the middle part. Now, this particular piece doesn't showcase color quite so much as others in his portfolio, but there is something about the exquisite details. It's a small painting, with quite alot of texture and detail.
Another closeup. See the spooky eyes peering out? There are other organic things like bones and teeth lurking beneath the surface in various parts of the piece. All in all, very interesting.
This painting lives in a nook above the fireplace in my family room, along with a trio of bronze ballerinas, a bronze girl with lute, and a cast Rodin. (Excuse the poor lighting. The nook has a spotlight but my photography skills are sorely lacking and I'm too lazy to set up a tripod to get a good photo with no blur or flash glare.)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

An American Dream

Someday.... ...I'm going to build my dream house (after I design it and when I can afford it)... ....And this will be the magical view that I will savor... ...Mountains drifting into the horizon... ...a ribbon of blue water...
...a big sky, full of clouds...
...and Trees! Glorious Trees!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday

Body Parts - The Ear
I remember poring through the pages of the Great Western catalog's jewelry section, dreaming of the perfect pair of earrings that I would buy, if only I could have my ears pierced. I was probably around 12 years old. There were hundreds of styles. So many choices. But there weren't any clip-ons that I recall at all, and if there were, they were dowdy globs of colored pearls that somebody old and rickety like Great Aunt Edith would wear, but certainly not a fashionable young girl like me. Earrings were limited to those who had the good fortune to be counted among the pierced. How I yearned to have pierced ears. It was strictly forbidden. I'd plead with my mom. Why? Why? Why can I not have my ears pierced? Everybody has pierced ears. Aside from the fact that I'd have to face my tyrannical father, my mother would give me her story about how disrespectful it would be to put holes in the perfectly good pair of ears that God me. I don't know how many times I pleaded and begged.

In a moment of wild pre-teen rebellion, my sister and I took to the clandestine act of piercing our own ears. We smuggled ice and sewing needles up to our rooms and did the deed. I had planned ahead and purchased some dot earrings in a multi-pack from the local drugstore. They used to sell these cards of earrings with 10-12 pairs of colored dots for $2 or so. What a bargain, twelve pairs of earrings! I selected a card that had some tan colored dots, thinking that if they were skin colored, my parents wouldn't notice. Furthermore, I carefully pinned my hair in front of my ears so that they'd be concealed. I got away with it for about a day, but somehow my dad noticed. How, I'll never know, since he had so very little interest in me in the first place. He must have sensed my worry. I'm sure I was radiating guilt waves. He was furious. He sputtered like a volcano and shouted at me with fire in his eyes, but that was the sum of it, and it wasn't that bad, all in all. I survived. No physical violence took place. My mother gave me the I'm disappointed in you comment, but that was about it. Not long after that, I figured the damage was already done, so I double pierced my ears. Nobody noticed.

As luck would have it, I turned out to be allergic to the metals used in most of the cute costume jewelry, and ended up with infections if I wore earrings longer than a day or so. I also found that I couldn't wear posts, as the part of the earring in contact with my lobe would irritate and infect. They were uncomfortable anyway, because they would poke my neck. My dreams of accessorizing and making fashion statements with my impressive wardrobe of earrings fizzled away.

Some time later, when I was a bit more mature, in a moment of self contemplation, I realized that I have perfect earlobes. Or, rather, had perfect earlobes. Women can be so self-critical and find almost nothing to be pleased about when considering their physical selves. I will join the bandwagon and blame it on the media, with all those seemingly perfect examples of female-ness plastered on the covers of magazines. Forms that we aspire to be, but can never be.

I can find fault with almost any part of my physique, but my earlobes are nice. They would be even nicer if they hadn't been defaced. If I cared to share the sentiment with my mother, she would revel in a victorious I told you so.

These days, I wear a simple set of earrings to fill the holes. They stay in for months, even years.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Shall wonders never cease

I was just coming back to my office from the kitchen when I spotted something gross and ugly from the corner of my eye. Upon closer inspection, I saw this pasty brownish slimy stuff smeared on the lid of my chest freezer. I'm not going to get into why I have a chest freezer in my living room. It's a small freezer. It's mostly inconspicuous. And it's black. It actually takes me more than a few seconds of pondering, in grossed out wonder, what on earth happened to the lid of my freezer. And then it came to me. Peanut butter. It's peanut butter, and I put it there. Moreover, I planned to remove it before the cool cat got home last night, because I was sure he would give me a hard time for doing such a ridiculous thing as that. Phew, I'm glad he didn't notice it! However, I'm somewhat disturbed that it took me so long to find the memory lodged in my brain that I had done this thing. Honestly, I had no recollection at all.

Originally, there was a warning label on the freezer lid. I peeled it off, but most of it stayed in place. Oh crap, now he's going to ask me why I had to mess with it in the first place. So I tried some Greased Lightning from a sample I got at a home show a few years ago. I used a cotton ball to apply it. All it did was add cotton fibers to the gum. I peeled off as much of the cotton fiber as I could. Next came the windex, because it has ammonia in it, and I thought ammonia was supposed to do a good job with sticky things like that. Nope. Same result as before. What about hot hot water. Melt that sucker. Nope, wouldn't budge. Acetone? At the risk of dulling the surface of my freezer, I went ahead with reckless abandon. No luck. Dish detergent? Nope. But Dawn gets the grease out. It's supposed to work wonders on things like this.

Last resort. The old wive's tale (from my mother's best friend). Peanut butter. I got out the JIF (choosy mothers choose it, you know). (Okay, it's cheap because it comes from Costco.) Then I forgot about it. Until just a few minutes ago. And wouldn't you know, that label gooey gummy crap came right off. Right off! I'm a believer now.

Friday show and tell

I'm ready for a show and tell, as evidenced by the multitude of photos. The subject? My bathroom. Specifically, the hall bath, which has no bath. I guess it is therefore a powder room, but lazy Americans like me just call them all bathrooms.

Shall we begin?
It's a teeny tiny room, with oh, so much going on.
The room is dominated by my blue lady mosaic. I did the mosaic years ago. It's a self portrait, with much artistic license taken.
I painted the entire room, ceiling included. I love the name of the color: Splendid Cornelius. It's a sort of cornflower blue. Yes, I know, a light bulb needs replacing.
Incense and pottery. A must.
I replaced the original towel rack with a set of drapery holdback thingies and made custom hand towels by cutting a bath towel in two and binding with a lightly contrasting bias tape. Although the colors don't show it in the photo, I was fortunate enough to find a towel in almost the exact shade as the wall. I like the swirly fixture theme, so the tissue holder got an upgrade as well.
The trash can is so very high class. It's thick cobalt blue glass. Yes, glass. Although it doesn't look like cobalt matches well with Splendid Cornelius, it actually does. My photography skills are lacking. And about glass trash cans-- who has glass trash cans? Me! Okay, there was this sale. At Costco. $7. What use could I possibly have for an enormous (ENORMOUS) glass vase? None. But it's only $7. Seven Dollars! Think, think, think. No! Wait! It's just the right size for a bathroom trash can (photo doesn't properly capture the scale). I bought 3. Thinking outside the can.
I strung some low voltage art lights to showcase a whimsical collage.
Sixteen works of art in miniature jeweled frames arranged in a square, but a bit askew. Is it laziness or artistic license? The latter sounds better. I'm goin' with it.
The subject matter? Nebulae. Photos from the Hubble. I love these photos! To think there can be so much beauty in gas. And how oddly but artistically appropos for a bathroom. Ha!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

100 things about me

I keep seeing these '100 things' lists, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Here goes... no particular order...

  1. I am a half breed.
  2. I have six brothers.
  3. I have two sisters.
  4. I am the oldest girl.
  5. I am second of nine.
  6. Just before I started Jr. High, I moved to a rural town and our well ran dry. The only water we had was dark dark dark silty putrid orange. Our pipes froze every winter, too, so we didn't even have access to the orange water for months. We hauled drinking water from town in 5 gallon jugs and sometimes melted snow to wash dishes and take sponge baths. It was so embarrassing for a teenage girl. After I left home and went to college, my parents were able to afford to have a new well drilled. Crystal clear delicious water.
  7. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering.
  8. I graduated 'Cum Laude'.
  9. I'm quite certain I would have done much much better had I not convinced myself that it was much harder than it was.
  10. I only chose engineering because that major had the best hiring stats at the time.
  11. I minored in Computer Science because I liked computers/computing/programming.
  12. I used to think that CS was for people who weren't smart enough for engineering. You know... idiots. So I didn't take it very seriously, and I didn't go work for Microsoft in the 80s because it was beneath me. See who's the idiot (me) and see who's basking in their cashed in stock options (not me).
  13. I am sometimes a snob (see 12).
  14. I love broccoli.
  15. I can't stand the taste, texture, or smell of most squash.
  16. I'm deathly afraid of and disgusted by stink bugs.
  17. I love gadgets. Especially kitchen gadgets.
  18. I love tools, so I don't give my husband too much trouble when he buys tools, because secretly I plan to take advantage of his stash some day.
  19. I met my husband on the internet ( in December of 2001.
  20. I'm embarrassed to tell people how we met.
  21. We've lived together since the day we met in person, three days later.
  22. I'm embarrassed to tell people we've lived together since the day we met in person.
  23. We got engaged ten days later.
  24. He proposed via email.
  25. I'm embarrassed to tell people how he proposed.
  26. We got married 01 April 2003. I chose April Fool's day so I'd always remember our anniversary.
  27. I love my husband.
  28. I love him even more, now that we have a baby.
  29. I take most things way too seriously.
  30. When I was in second grade, some of the boys called me fat.
  31. I wasn't very fat at all. I had a little bit of a blubber belly, is all.
  32. More than 30 years later, one of those boys works down the hall from me, in a giant company that is located over 350 miles from where we went to grade school. I don't consider him my arch-enemy any more.
  33. I am 'morbidly obese' by the text book standards.
  34. I don't think I am morbidly obese.
  35. I used to be 'drop dead gorgeous' (according to a few people, myself not included).
  36. When I was a teenager and obsessed with the size of my waist, I told my sister that her waist would never be smaller than mine. (Teenagers can be so cruel.)
  37. I now weigh twice as much as my sister.
  38. I didn't get a car until after I graduated from college.
  39. I've always wanted to have children. Two boys and a girl.
  40. I'm 40.
  41. I don't ovulate (much).
  42. I got pregnant the first month that I started fertility treatment.
  43. I miscarried my twins on my 38th birthday.
  44. I took a break from fertility treatments (gave up) and started taking classes for foster parenting certification with the option for adoption.
  45. I had to plow through alot of HMO bureaucracy before I started fertility treatments again. When I finally got the authorization to proceed, I took a precautionary pregnancy test. It was positive.
  46. I believe in miracles.
  47. I've had a life prayer that I've prayed for most of my life, to become a mother before I'm 40. (I know not to bargain with God, and impose time limits, but I did it just the same.)
  48. I gave birth to a beautiful healthy boy 2 months and 2 weeks before I turned 40.
  49. I believe what the bible says about the holy spirit.
  50. I believe the bible is God's word.
  51. I don't go to church.
  52. I love to sing.
  53. I don't sing very well, but sometimes it seems like I do.
  54. I think Bono is my soul-brother.
  55. I love alot of music by the Who, the Moody Blues, and Pink Floyd.
  56. I loathe the marijuana culture.
  57. I was involved in long-term (non-consecutive) relationships with not one, but two, marijuana addicts.
  58. Almost every boyfriend I've ever had was a drummer.
  59. I freaked out when my husband expressed interest in playing the drums.
  60. I used to be in love with Barry Manilow.
  61. And Johnny from Emergency 1.
  62. And Luke Skywalker. In fact, I used to daydream that I had a horrible life threatening disease like leukemia, and he (Mark Hamill) would be moved by that, come to my bedside, and fall deeply in love with me. Such drama. Acccckkkk, how embarrassing to admit that, and even to have ever thought such a thing! AAcccccckkkkk!!!!
  63. Shortly thereafter, I switched my infatuation to Harrison Ford, who remained hot until the Calista Flockhart mid-life crisis incident.
  64. I think Ed Harris is hot. My husband never lets that one rest; he is very amused by it.
  65. I don't like blondes. (Not that I don't like them, but given the preference, and if I were that superficial, I'd choose a dark-haired man over a blonde.)
  66. I married a blonde man.
  67. I have a blonde baby. So I LOVE blondes!! He is so beautiful.
  68. I like to design and make things. All kinds of things. Like fountains, furniture, toys, costumes, gadgets, gizmos, web sites.
  69. I don't actually complete many of said designs/projects.
  70. I like to paint.
  71. I like to write.
  72. I like to go outside in a torrential downpour and turn my face toward the sky.
  73. I'm a leather snob. It doesn't have to be name brand, but it has to have just the right weight, texture, sheen, etc. for its given application.
  74. I love hot hot hot spicy food.
  75. I want to write a book some day. And have it be a bestseller.
  76. I'm designing my next home, which I plan to participate heavily in the construction thereof.
  77. I want to start my own business and have it be wildly successful.
  78. I love TV shows and films. They calm me down because I get too stressed out over too many things.
  79. I get too stressed out over too many things.
  80. I cry during tv shows and movies when sad things happen.
  81. Especially the news. I don't like to watch the news. I don't like to see people's babies washed away by tsunamis and hurricanes and such.
  82. I intentionally ate half a piece of spice cake laced with hashish in Amsterdam, for the 'full Amsterdam experience' and also in retaliation to my then-boyfriend's accusations of my hypocrisy for passing judgement against the recreational use of mind altering substances when I'd never walked a mile in those shoes, so to speak.
  83. I'll never do that again, and my opinion about mind-altering substance use remains intact. But the blue spaghetti that I had for supper that evening was the best ever. I don't remember what turned it blue, but it had nothing to do with the hash. Honestly.
  84. On a camping trip once, in a beautiful forest by a crystal clear stream, I danced naked in the pouring rain by a blazing bonfire in the middle of the night with my face lifted up to heaven. It was bliss. Later the rain stopped and the stars came out. It was magical.
  85. I climbed a mountain (a small one) once.
  86. I've seen signs and wonders when I was paying attention.
  87. I sang an Ode to Joy in the tongue of angels, standing alone under a marbled dome in the cemetary where Beethoven is buried (Vienna). It was ethereal.
  88. I don't know anything about wine, but I love cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and merlot.
  89. I'm a coffee and tea snob. Not by name brand, but the flavor, smoothness, color, etc. are of utmost importance to me. Rich and smooth, not bitter. I'm very particular that way.
  90. With regard to cars and things mechanical. I used to change my own oil. I even changed out a starter. Twice.
  91. My name is on a patent as a co-inventor. (Not because of my own initiative, but my lead began the submission process on a project which he, I, and one other person worked together on.)
  92. It made the top ten inventions list that year. At the award ceremony, the vice-president, not knowing me from Jack, introduced me as Mister Squished Piggy. I was the only woman honored at that event.
  93. I secretly enjoyed the smug feeling I experienced when his face turned beet red as he realized his faux pas.
  94. I don't like wastefulness.
  95. I am very frugal. Most of the time. Except when I buy my husband things like a hot tub, a new truck, and an obscene big screen tv*. Call me sugar mama. Why is it that I can put out thousands of 'crazy dollahs' for something he wants with barely a blink of the eye, but I'll interrogate him if he wants to order something that's not on the dollar menu if we go through the McDonald's drive thru? And I'll hmm and haw about buying myself anything, and research it to death, then feel guilty if I buy it, especially if it costs more than twenty bucks. What is wrong with me? Puh-leeeeeeeze. *Okay. Those are all one time deals. Hot tub in lieu of honeymoon, which I regret getting, as I realize that I don't like hottubs... Why? Standing water, stagnating, all manner of who knows what lurking, growing in it. Sure, there are chemicals and treatments, but it's still the same water. Ewwwwww. Not to mention the whole getting wet thing. Sometimes I don't feel like getting wet. Hard to explain. The rest? All part of my master plan to build the dream home in the state of my youth. He gets his wish list. I get mine. It's all fair.
  96. I recycle.
  97. I compost.
  98. I love books. The look, the smell, the feel. Hardbound is best. Leather hardbound is bestest.
  99. I have the complete Oxford English Dictionary, 12 volumes plus supplement, first edition, second printing.
  100. I like disco. (Who ever admits to that one?!) It's fun!!

A mother's bias

Originally uploaded by Squished Piggy.

He is so beautiful. He takes my breath away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday

Self Portrait Tuesday - September Body Challenge
Feet, Candid

I am the baby paparazzi. I stalk my child and take thousands of pictures of him. This has been going on for quite some time*. He's been looking more and more like a little boy, rather than a baby, and I was hoping to capture that during this particular session. I didn't capture what I wanted**, but I noticed my feet appeared in a couple of shots. Uncontrived. Natural. Candid***.

See how he blows drooly raspberries? He's teething, working on his sixth tooth, with more lurking just beneath the surface.

*Even before he was born, I had to see him. I couldn't wait. I just couldn't. He is so beautiful.

**This is more what I had in mind. He's growing up so fast.

***As opposed to this. This is a much nicer self portrait of my feet, but it is completely contrived. For one thing, I generally don't hang out on a beach, so it is so not me. But I sort of like the shape of my feet, in a macro sense. Upon detailed inspection the callouses and cracked skin are none too attractive.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I caught my reflection in the mirror last night as I carried my sleeping babe to bed. A peaceful sleeping child in my arms. My arms. I saw that familiar reflection that I've not paid much heed to over the years, other than a simple acknowledgement - oh, that's 'me'. That person that is familiar, yet a stranger. And now, a child in her arms. How foreign that reflection looked. I looked upon it with thoughts and feelings of awe and wonder and gratitude. How could I, this 'me' that I am, be worthy of such an honor and a blessing? How could I be entrusted with such a responsibility? Another human life. I can hardly comprehend the largeness of it. I've 'mothered' most of my life, but I've not been a mother until now. It seems so foreign now, where I can still recall how natural it was in my youth. I expected it, then, and took it for granted. It was my path, my destiny. I knew it with all that I was. That was then. But it didn't happen. Time passed. More time passed. I ached and yearned and somewhere along the line I became a foreigner. I lost that part of me. I cried so many tears. I grieved. But perhaps I have really gained, rather than lost. Perhaps I wouldn't have had as much respect for the importance of the job, had I taken the opportunity in my youth. Perhaps I would have been more selfish in my immaturity and unwittingly and unpreparedly transferred my emotional downfalls to my own chidren as my mother so adeptly transferred hers to me, and as I see my siblings have transferred to their children, and as I see some of their children transferring to their own children. It's tragic, to pass on the worst of ourselves, and be blind to it in the process. I pray, I pray that I don't pass my issues on. How I want to be wide eyed and aware of all that I'm teaching my child, in my words, in my actions, in my attitudes, in my expressions. He deserves a clean slate. He came into this world in perfection. It's my responsibility to protect him from me, the part of me that hasn't found herself, the part of me who hasn't arrived, who hasn't come to terms with herself, who hasn't embraced herself for all that she is, who hasn't learned to honor herself as a worthy human being, as an equal in this world. I've heard it said that with wisdom comes sorrow. If you climb a mountain to gain wisdom, to see all that you can see, suddenly you are aware of how much more you do not know, and you find that you are less satisfied now than you were before, in your ignorance. Hence the phrase, ignorance is bliss. I saw myself last night, a mother, with a babe in her arms. I'm humbled by the responsibility of the task before me, and terrified. I don't want to screw him up.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Myrna Loy

It's 4 a.m. and I've been blogsurfing. Normally I'd be sleeping. I was falling over with exhaustion and the cool cat said, go to bed, I'll wash up your bottles and put the leftovers away (and wake you up at midnight when it's time to pump). 3 a.m., I see the clock, oh s#!t my boobs hurt, scowl at the cool cat sleeping peacefully and stumble downstairs. Into the kitchen to put together the bottle apparatus. But where are my bottles? Soaking in the sink where I left them. Scowl in the direction of the bedroom. Notice the leftovers still on the counter. Roll eyes and scowl again, shaking head. Wash up the bottles, gather the gear, dripping milk all over my t-shirt, make my way to the pumping station, get locked and loaded, and commence blogsurfing. Normally I'm not so crabby, but I get so irritated when someone makes empty claims. If I quizz him on it in the morning he'll just say he forgot. Being the stubborn @$$ that I am, I'll not let it go, and still harp on why would he go to all the trouble of telling me he'd do this, that, and the other thing, and then not do any of them? It would be better not to make a claim at all, rather than make one and not follow through. Arggggghhhhh!

I stumbled upon The Classic Dames Test. Don't feel a bit classy. Only crabby. And now my schedule is all hosed up. So I'm like Myrna Loy. I agree that I don't have much wit, per se, but I thought I had a bit more than that!

Myrna Loy
You scored 26% grit, 4% wit, 33% flair, and 47% class!
You are class itself, the calm, confident "perfect woman." Men turn and look at you admiringly as you walk down the street, and even your rivals have a grudging respect for you. You always know the right thing to say, do and, of course, wear. You can take charge of a situation when things get out of hand, and you're a great help to your partner even if they don't immediately see or know it. You are one classy dame. Your screen partners include William Powell and Cary Grant, you little simmerpot, you.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 71% on grit
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You scored higher than 0% on wit
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You scored higher than 42% on flair
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You scored higher than 85% on class