Monday, May 30, 2005

Question for Twenty-somethings

This post may be a little racy for not THAT way. I found an extra bathroom rug at my house and took it to my son's place and decided to store it under his sink in the bathroom while he was helping his dad with the AC unit. (As background he has slept in the house one night thus far.)
As further background there were some of his things, like TP under the sink already.

I had to move somethings to squeeze the rug in the back and saw a small strange box. Being the curious snooper, I turned it around as I placed the rug behind it. It was a box of tampons. Any ideas? Is this something I don't want to know?

Two Women Driving in a Car with a Baby in the Backseat

"Hey, Mom, how would you like to go to St. Kitts in November?"

"I don't know, Hon, I am taking two weeks off in August to babysit your boy."

"It could be fun at that time of the year."

"Yes, dear, but, on top of that, we will be in the middle of building our house and need to be nearby for construction issues."


"Also, it costs money. We just don't have that to spend right now with the house and all."

"But it would be for free."

Thought crosses Mom's mind that someone else will be paying for this babysitting...?

"We will be staying at a Marriott and you have all those Marriott points and Dad has a lot of United miles for travel, right?"

Right, have fun at your friend's wedding, Honey.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Things I will Miss and not Miss

I will miss those spontaneous conversations in the late afternoon when our paths crossed before he headed out to work at night.

I will miss his help in lifting, moving, mowing.

I will miss the young people who occasionally dropped by to go somewhere with him.

I will miss the smell of his aftershave.

I will miss his hugs.


I will not miss scattered pennies on every floor of the house.

I will not miss turning lights off that have been left on all night or the refrigerator or microwave or dryer door that gets left ajar.

I will not miss two months of laundry piled high on the floor.

I will not miss dirty glasses EVERYWHERE.

I will not miss dirty dishes in the sink.

I will not miss having to be quiet on Saturday mornings until noon.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Saturday May 28

4:45 awake--can't exercise because basement is full of son's junk
5:30 need coffee so I get up and make some
6:00 do some blogging waiting for others to get up so I can make some noise
7:00 hubby is up, change sheets (son is taking our bed to his condo--long story) and take apart bed frame as quietly as possible
7:30 breakfast
8:00 start laundry and fold son's clothes from the pile on the sofa and the pile in the dryer
8:30 Husband backs out trailer and starts to work on connecting to car--lights don't work since this is a new car--requires getting electrical cord son threw out and splicing and taping.
9:00 Son's friend shows up to help (son still in bed, of course)
9:05 wake up son and remind him he has reserved condo elevator from 9:00 to 1:00
9:15 crazy people moving furniture, boxes, yelling at each other
10:00 start loading car and trailer, I make some iced tea for everyone
11:30 hubby, son and his friend head to the condo--twenty minutes away
11:45 I start to finish cleaning carpets in sons bedroom and living room (have to return carpet cleaner by 1:00!
12:45 I head out to the supermarket to return carpet machine
1:00 I take package to post office to mail gift for dad on father's day--dozens of little children running around, people from Asia and Africa trying to communicate in English
1:30 Starving, heat up some leftover Cornish game hen and eat two chocolate covered graham crackers and drink a quart of sparkling water--now feeling very full
1:35 Big ugly storm clouds forming--hope they get the stuff inside!

My son is moving out this weekend. Can you tell?

Friday, May 27, 2005

One for the Books

I work with books everyday since I deal in information, education, and outreach with my webwork. In addition, I love books. They are an addiction for me. I never travel without one or two in my backpack. I keep one in my purse to read while waiting for people. I have the hardest time weeding my book collections each time we move.

I grew up with a mother who read to us each night. We were not well off in terms of money, so sometimes she had to read adult books to us for entertainment. I am sure that she cleaned them up as she read them to us, we as children would never know. I remember a time when I was about six and we were in transitional living status while my dad was changing jobs. We were in this cute little house in a small mountain town with very little to keep us (me and my brother and sister) entertained. On the shelf were some books that the prior owner/renter had left behind. One was a western about a cowboy named Red Ryder. My Iinternet research found at least one book written by S.S. Stevens that has Red Ryder in the title. Well, each night my mother would read us a chapter from this book before bedtime. I am not a big fan of westerns and I actually cannot remember the story at all today, but at the time we sat on the floor glued to her knees to get every word.

Yesterday, my daughter called half laughing and half crying. She said her newborn son was just like his father. When I asked her to explain, she said that every time she picked up one of the many childrens books that she had in the baby room and started to read to him, he would cry. She tried reading while looking at him, while looking at the book, with expression, without expression, soto voce, etc. Each time he would crinkle his face up and cry. She could sing to him, listen to all kinds of music with him, dance with him, and all of these activities brought him joy…but the open book thing he did not like. Her husband does not read so that is why she compared the baby to him.

“What are we going to do, mom?”

I answered that we would keep on trying and just wait until he can start to understand words, focus on pictures, etc. Her response was, “I want you to come down to the house this weekend and try to read to him. I want to see what he will do.”

I just couldn’t help laughing. What a joy he is going to be.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The hyper spazz society I live in

I headed to the office kitchen today for a break and saw someone was there ahead of me using the microwave. I wanted to heat some tea water and waited. Below her (the someone) and in front of her on the floor were two crumbled paper towels that had missed the wastebasket which is tucked beneath the counter under the microwave.

She proceeded to avoid them and after removing her food, I bent over and picked up the paper towels, tossed them in the basket and then put my cup in the microwave.

She looked at me a little horrified and said she hadn't wanted to touch the towels and that is why she left them there. I explained to her that I planned to wash my hands, which I did. Now, please note, these paper towels had no visible food or stains on them. They were just white crumpled paper towels.

Someone help the American people. They are not long for this world!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Don't Get Dooced.

Yes I am blogging at work, but it is now my lunch hour. I have been working 6 hours straight and I am wiped or whipped or whatever. Too many meetings and too many small projects and programs to justify my existence. That is another story, but probably not for blogging because of the following reason: I sent some advice (unsolicited which is what I always provide) to Hedwig-the-Owl regarding her job interviews and then I found more support for my advice. Urban Dictionary actually has the definition of this phenomenon where your blog can cost you your job! Poor Heather B. Armstrong.

Bloggers talk about their family and work relationships, this personal stuff goes out to the Web where potentially millions can read it and then it will be archived somewhere will be baaack to haunt them someday. It is amazing what people will share with the world, myself included.

This parallels another phenomenon. Celebraties willing to share intimate details of their lives with their fans and virtual strangers. I remember an interview Oprah had with Sting's wife where she talked about them trying Tantric sex to strengthen their marriage. I mean get a grip!. You are telling all of these strangers in Oprah's audience about your married sex life. And she is not the only celebrity. What about that nightmare hodge-podge of homemade videos from Brittany and her husband? (I'll admit I haven't seen it...I really have no interest in her life. And, yes, I realize the money machine was behind this.)

Is this a reflection on the isolation we all are feeling due to the busy structure of our lives? Does it reflect something else in the culture that we need to share this stuff with people we don't know and says something about our inability to communicate with people we do know? Or is this just a byproduct of our high technology society?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Condo mania

This is the condo that I spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday painting. This photo was taken before we started. What is shown is the wall between the dining room and the bedroom--I think the bedroom was a sunroom porch at one time. There are three open window frames and some weird gauze curtains for privacy. Clearly the prior owner didn't know how to sew or they would have hemmed the curtains. They even put some elaborate valance in navy blue on the dining room side! Something really heavy and totally inappropriate for the space. This picture was taken looking out from the small bedroom looking out into the living area. 600 square feet and all this luxury at a price you wouldn't believe!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Early Sunday Morning

I think I will have to change the Weekly Wino to Monthly Wine Musings since I haven't entered anything since mid-April. I've been putting away the wine, but not contemplatively. Just squeezing in a nice respite at days end before the million things I do before and after dinner. I now have 4 (yes 4) plastic bags filled with my clothes to donate or throw out. This is surprising since I have already done this same exercise twice before and cleaned out closets. I guess I have a lot more stained, torn, out-of style-clothes than I thought.

I am sitting here waiting for my spouse and son to drag themselves out of bed so that we can go painting again. H. and I put in 8 hours yesterday on walls and trim in the boy's condo. C. (the boy) stayed about 6 hours later to continue the project. Floors are being sanded and refinished on Monday so we are on very strict timeline here. Wish those males would get up...we all went to bed about the same time...!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Decorating Da Vinci style??

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What makes life so great is NOTHING stays the same

It is an interesting time in my life and the lives of my children. About two to three years ago when my son was too busy with college and friends and my daughter was too busy with a weekend social life and her husband, my husband and I made a conscious decision that we had to go forward with our lives. We would have to fill our weekends with our own interests and hobbies because our children were busy with their lives and could not fill ours. We knew that we would have to settle for seeing them every few months, even though they lived very close.

Therefore, on weekends our project was to find a quiet country place to which we could retire. It had to be on the water for my husband’s comfort. I only needed a view…mountain, stream, valley…didn’t make a huge difference to me. Waterfront property on the other hand is very, very, very expensive…even if found in remote areas of the East Coast. So it took many weekends to find something. With some compromise we found a narrow, very expensive lot and decided that this would be our retirement home. It was a little more than an hour from where our children might be living, but we wouldn’t get to see them much anyway with their busy social lives.

Well, here is my warning to all of you who have very social children in their early twenties. When they reach their mid-twenties to late twenties, they suddenly need you. They need your expertise on financial matters; your free time for babysitting; your weekends for socializing when their spouse is gone and baby is the only company. And, perhaps most interesting, your male child will suddenly want your opinion on furniture, wall colors, floor refinishing, and kitchen cabinets! It seems as if my entire life has changed its focus in a matter of weeks.

My weekend—THIS weekend—I am probably going to be keeping my daughter company shopping for something…don’t know what the errand is yet. I have also learned that I will be helping my son paint his condo as well as check out a furniture module he wants to purchase. I sat with my son just now discussing a “da Vinci theme” with warm colors. We were learning how to pick and match and discussing whether a natural floor stain would look better rather than a walnut stain after he refinishes his condo floors. My free time on the weekend is gone. And, of course, since I love them both and want to spend time with them, I will find another way to get my errands done. I know that this ability to spend time with each of them can change in the blink of an eye.

By the way, you would have to know my son to realize how outstandingly strange this is to be discussing ‘da Vinci decorating themes”.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Brittany Spears Look-Alikes

I have often felt that our culture is in demise in terms of art and style. The one commodity that we export in surplus to the global economy is our entertainment industry. They gobble it up in spite of the fact that it has become mediocre and thus lacks uniqueness, lacks depth, lacks introspection, lacks surprise, lacks insight and of course lacks truth.

I do firmly believe this. We will eventually find much greater art emerging from India, Afghanistan, and wherever else it is encouraged to flourish and wherever money does not drive it to death.

And even though I believe all of the above is true, we still have those cultures that are in love with our culture. They are fascinated with us.

I was reminded of this today when I got on the elevator with two young Asian girls. They were in their 20's and dressed casually as girls dress in this country. Yet something about their body language, their smiles, told me they were visiting foreigners to our campus. The real give away was evident as I turned to face the mirrored elevator door. I clearly saw them check out my new shoes and slacks and evaluate my clothing style. Only girls this age from another country would be checking American styles this closely. I am too old for our American girls to care what I wear.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

God is Truth

Well, I learned my lesson a few days ago and am composing this blog in MSWord…instead of online. I did several blogs which disappeared into thin air with a Blogger response something like…’Houston, we have a problem, we know it, we are working on it, we won’t get back to you on it…so try again later.” I was so irritated having spent so much time on the blogs. Then I saw that most of my posts to other sites also never made it…although I got no such error message! It is sort of like being in parallel worlds, but we don’t know when the lines converge.

I was reading on of manababies blogs regarding her relationships with close and distant relatives and the death of her grandfather. I have had so many of the same feelings. I am the one blood relative of my immediate family (now that my younger sister passed away) that lives on the East Coast, all the rest of them live in Colorado. They have gone through various stages of their relationships with each other. I have missed it all being out here living my life. I miss that, and while I have tried to keep my children close to them through expensive plane visits over the years and picture exchanges, etc., it is not the same thing as living within driving distance. I often wonder what I have missed and how my feelings for them would be different if we shared more of our lives.

I do know that the death of my sister a few years back really brought us all much closer together. It was the big neon sign on the wall that said ‘Time is passing…How are you living out YOUR life?’ We started emailing more often and trying to make plans together. Then the recent death of my mother brought my sister and I much closer as we went through the process of obituaries, dinners, etc. I began to realize that my sister is a very unspiritual person. She gets irritated by religious myth and really irritated by people who practice religion on holidays and family funerals only. She got into a little spat with my sister-in-law who was raised as a Catholic but doesn’t attend church anymore and hasn’t for decades. My sister-in-law at the last minute wanted to have us ‘light a candle’ for mom at a church in downtown Denver. She clearly wanted us to go with her. I am pretty anti-Catholic…but only for myself. What others believe, what ‘myth’ they follow, that is their choice. Clearly my sister felt this was very hypocritical of my sister-in-law and said she was going to stay home and finish the obituary for the newspaper. This was not a word fight—just subtle tension one notices under the service. I saw my sister-in-law’s request a little differently. I didn’t see it as my sister-in-law trying to take control of stuff or being hypocritical, just maybe a calling deep inside her from a prior Catholic life to do something symbolic. I went with her and actually felt it might be good for me in some spiritual way. Unfortunately it was Sunday with back to back masses and so we sat through a mass and didn’t get to light a candle as we had to leave early. (The sermon was on the ‘dictatorial relativism’ that was pervading our society…the priest was clearly talking to all the liberals such as I at the service.)

My brother (the conservative one) was with Mom when she died. She passed in a matter of an hour or so, he and Dad were the only ones there. He says that she squeezed his hand and looked up at him, briefly and smiled just be fore she died. I am assuming that she actually did that, as I don’t think he would be trying to make it easy for us. Mom was cremated at her request. We had a small viewing at the funeral home for immediate family but no funeral or memorial service. The big family dinner was mostly people looking at pictures and reminiscing. It was not a formal sit-down but a buffet at my brother’s home. There was no real opportunity for words to be spoken in memory of my mother. Clearly some of the old Italian relatives there were confused about the informality of it all. My dad was probably relieved as he hates ceremony of any kind. I wished there had been an opportunity which forced me to say something…but I am getting more Buddhist and realize that the center of me is at peace and what surrounds me and what decisions are made outside do not need to be fought over. Not in this instance anyway. My mom knows I loved her, my family saw me give six weeks to her care and they know I loved her, I spent many hours with her, so I am at peace and do not need symbolism to solidify it. On the other hand, if we would have had a funeral Mass, I could have dealt with that process also. The priest would have called my views here dictatorial relativism…nope, it is truth. An as Ghandi said, God is truth.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Man and the Center of the Universe

I am currently reading "Ismael: An adventure of the mind and spirit" by Daniel Quinn. It was featured in book stores back in 1992 when I bought it and I am just now getting around to reading it after finding it on the bottom of a book shelf. (Amazing what packing your household belongings will unearth.)

The story premise is sophisticated, but the dialogue between the two characters and the character development is not, so I am a little disappointed. The theme appears to be all about Man seeing himself as the Center of the Universe and the problem with that premise.

Along these lines, I attended a lecture today by a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution who works with dingoflagellates and other small stuff in the marine environment. His research is all about the algae that causes algal blooms (i.e. red tides, etc.) in the bays and oceans. This research has uncovered through the years new knowledge that what was once thought as cellular parts of an algal organism is in reality a parasite that later emerges (Alien style) and takes over the algal organism. The speaker showed an actual video on this process and it does emerge exactly like the Alien did from the human gut!! (This is, of course, an oversimplification of his decades of research, as he has discovered lots more interesting stuff...but my point and I do have a point...)

Ok, what is my point here? Well, one of the questions from the audience was 'how can we use this information on algal parasites to control the growth of the "bad" algal blooms' and this question was coupled with another question about the new research on non-indigenous oysters also being introduced to the Chesapeake Bay for much of the same reason--control of algal growth. This scientist, in spite of his love of research and desire to culture the parasites and watch them interact with the algae, made a clear and important point. This control approach was all about treating the symptoms of the disease in our oceans and not preventing the disease.

And I guess my statement here is that mankind causes much of the earth's problems and then spends much intellectual effort trying to control the universe to fix these problems which he alone has caused. All he has to do is stop causing the problem in the first place.

(For those of you not into science, we need to control the agriculture runoff, cattle allowed to wade into streams, building and development inland, toilet flushing, car driving, global warming etc. and the algal problem in our oceans will diminish greatly. Of course, this does mean some economic sacrifice on our part--duh.)

The Bible says that man was put in dominion over the plants and the animals. I don't think so. They seem to get the rhythm of life without our interference. We are the ones that keep screwing up!

OK. Enough blogging. Just glad to get access back after days.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Just a sleepy smile.

It is a weakness, I know.

Ok, only one little story. Daughter, C, called this evening to tell me that Xman was smiling in his sleep, which he sometimes does, only this time he 'giggled, chuckled' a little. He is only four weeks old, now. He definitely has the personality of my daughters mother-in-law. She is such a sweet upbeat person! I will post a smiling shot soon. I will also keep these cute stories under control. Think back to that first love affair where you doodled in your notebook, you paced in your room and if you were driving you had to drive by his/her house whenever possible. (Unless you were a really lost soul and your first love affair was with a celebrity.) Anyway, you can forgive me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

(Thought I would share this from my office email)

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby .........

Somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "normal," is history.

Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ...

Somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

Somebody said being a mother is boring ......

Somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your child will "turn out good."

Somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices .....

Somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball through the neighbor's kitchen window.

Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother.

Somebody never helped a fourth grader with her math.

Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as much as you love the first.

Somebody doesn't have five children.

Somebody said a mother can find all the answers to her child-rearing questions in the books ......

Somebody never had a child stuff beans up his nose or in his ears.

Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery ....
Somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten.

or on a plane headed for military "boot camp."

Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back .....

Somebody never organized four giggling Brownies to sell cookies.

Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married ....

Somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.

Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home ...

Somebody never had grandchildren.

Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her ......

Somebody isn't a mother.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Constant Traveler

Full Fathom Five’'s recent post was about travel. She was ‘looking back’ sort of freeze-framing her life before her travel to England to visit a sister. She was reviewing all the negatives and positives about travel. I have traveled so much in my lifetime and to many different countries, sometimes for a short business trip or vacation, sometimes for a longer stay (a month) and sometimes to live (years). In each instance there was some negative and some positive experiences. Even today I will still get a little concerned about missing the flight, getting a seat, finding my destination when I arrive. But if I have traveled within a few months, this concern is very small and at the back of my mind.

If it has been almost a year or longer since I traveled, my concerns do have a tendency to grow. If I travel with my husband, the concern lessens greatly, because there are two minds on the details.

Travel in some ways is easier and some ways more difficult than it used to be. The new security measures where you have to remove jackets, shoes, handbags is a hassle. Those of us who are older try to get the shoes and jackets back on speedily - but it is with some effort. In addition, having to keep a boarding pass and ID out and ready increases greatly the chance that you will drop it or leave it somewhere. (Several times I have actually put the damn things in my mouth in order to put on shoes or jacket. This is something the security people just love to see, as you can imagine.)

The easier part of travel has to do with the technology. I actually made my recent reservation to visit my family after my mother’'s death by talking to a computer at United via telephone. I was able to get a ticket and give it my membership number and VISA, etc. without much problem! When I arrived at the airport passengers now check in at an electronic kiosk and don'’t get to a human being unless you have to check bags (as some of you now know). The only other time you talk to an airline person before boarding is if you need to get a seat assignment or if someone frisks you. I envision a future where we deal with NO staff until the stewardess appears at our seat.

The travel process changes so often that I am amazed people seem to get through it as easily as they do.

My boss just returned from a conference in Belgium. She was delayed by weather to New York and missed her international flight along with a number of other people and had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. She told me about an Arabic woman (elderly) that traveled from Florida and was heading back to her home in Saudi Arabia. She spoke no English. A young man from Africa took sympathy with her, seeing her struggling with the flight changes and the lack of Delta Airlines support, and actually got her bags at another area, rechecked them and her into another flight and sat with her until she could board, before he headed off for a hotel since his flight was also delayed! I guess this little story shows that in spite of the technology, human citizenship is still an important element.

Travel is always an "Alice in Wonderland" experience. The stress either makes you grow or shrink. Remember that!