Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday Thoughts #2

(Musings based on Colleen's approach to Thursdays. I do have 13 this time and snub my nose at superstition.)

1) Watching the Cavuto show on Fox which I never watch but did this time because I was too lazy to change the channel. Ann Coulter was channeling demons with the 'Culture of Terrorism' speech that she said the Democrats are spreading. Boy after that I really need a Margherita. (Personally I think she needs more s*x.)

2) Walking home in the sun from work and smelling the freshly washed plants and the chocolate earth renews my soul. I am not meant to spend large amounts of time indoors.

3) At my wedding there were only about 20 people and none of them were blood relatives or any type of family relation to either my husband or myself. The youngest was 11 and the oldest was 80.

4) The lady who is doing my house blessing has gotten her chickens in...a bunch of different types.

5) I have started a draft entry for my two year blog. It is getting complicated.

6) Because I live in an apartment above another apartment I cannot exercise in the early morning when I am metabolically ready...exercising in the late afternoon after work is hard for me. I am skipping a lot of afternoons.

7) The first piece of furniture/equipment that is going into the new house this week is the new elliptical machine. I think(?) we have our priorities straight.

8) My daughter is going through a rough time and I don't know quite how to help her although I am full of advice. But right now I am biting my tongue.

9) I always wonder what it is about families that face tragedy and heal together versus families that fall apart.

10) My sweet niece that lost her mother (my middle sister) when she was 13 just graduated from high school. I wish I was more a part of her life.

11) A pair of woodpeckers live in the woods outside our new house. Guess we won't cut down all those dead trees right away. They get really noisy when they are together. I can't tell if they are squabbling or just getting life straightened out.

12) Why are carpenters so hot? I mean there is something really sexy about a well-shaped guy sawing a board. The smell of freshly sawed wood is also an aphrodisiac.

13) Final county permit approved today. Now tomorrow is supposed to be the occupancy permit. I did the Lilliput dance around my office and got people to shake my hand!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Being Stubborn Is Not a Virtue

I have been spending every weekend running errands for the housebuilding, or socializing with my grandson and his family, or trying to get laundry done (the washer is available -- now it's not -- now it is -- dance). Therefore, trying to get a haircut has not been crossed off the list of things I have to do. Each day I have looked witchier than usual when I get ready for work. I have gone through various routines of hair combs, pins, hair ties, etc. to alleviate the situation. I am not into much appearance maintenance stuff as it really is a losing battle, but sometimes one has to make the commitment to develop a put-together look to avoid being confused with someone homeless.

Finally, this morning at work, in frustration while untangling the hair on my neck which was caught in my necklace, I called a hair salon that is about a 20 minute drive from me and asked if I could get a haircut that evening. They didn't know the name of the person I requested but said they could get me in at 4:00 with someone else.

I had a meeting at work until 4:00 but told people at the meeting I would be leaving at 3:30. It was a survey meeting and they were working through the various tedious questions with my colleague and I. With only three questions left and my eye on the clock, I excused myself and hurried back to my office to get my stuff.

What on earth was I thinking? I repeat, WHAT WAS I THINKING! We have been on the weather channel all day. Just getting across the street through the flood caused by the rain should have caused me to pause. The ambulance racing up the hill should have caused pause. The beginning of rush hour should have caused a pause.

I was completely soaked by the time I reached the car in front of the apartment building. I tossed in the umbrella and other items and squeezed myself (like wringing a wet washcloth) behind the steering wheel. While I started the car I glanced at the clock radio---4:15!! What? I suddenly realized that the clock on the wall in our meeting room was over 30 minutes behind. I called the shop and said I would be late and was on my way, and could they still take me? (Of course, what other idiot plans for a hair cut in a monsoon?)

Well, with brilliance slightly short-circuited by rain, I decided to take a shorter route off the main highway. It was definitely an over the river and through the woods trip. Only, I couldn't get over the river as the bridge was flooded and a cop car was turning everyone away. Driving carefully back through another suburb and squinting through the wall of gray rain I saw all of the swales at the sides of the road were becoming rivers. Cars that passed were spraying waves of water on each side.

A normal person would have turned back as it was already 4:45 and I was no where near the mall with the hair shop. As a matter of fact, I wasn't sure where I was.

Damn it, I am getting this haircut. I am not going back.

Through luck and tenacity I made it to the mall by 5:00, but to my surprise (I did say the brain was short-circuiting, didn't I?) all sheltered parking was taken I waded through more water and with the posture and possible smell of a damp dog finally entered the shop. They could still take me, but the stylist had gone for coffee. No duh, I was almost an hour and a half late. I sat damp, limp, and cold thumbing through glossy magazines of those rich New York models who would look good even with a bucket of cold water thrown in their faces.

Finally, the stylist arrived and to shorten this tedious blahog...I got a nice cut and was able to join bumper to bumper traffic getting back home by 7:00. I am still a stubborn old bitch, but now a much better looking one.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wanting Answers Already

Friday Flexing

This work week has been unnaturally long and demanding. I am not a bureaucrat and trying to fake it is killing me. I came from the world of education where there was a goal, a product, a reward. Bureaucrats work for visibility, power and god knows what else! Oh, yes, sometimes a little money. They also lie to your face. I hate working with people like that. Do they think I won't figure it out? I have a graduate degree! I am NOT an idiot. Maybe a little old and a little more passive, but not dumb.

So, I am going to string together my rants and flex my gray matter as therapy from the doldrums I am in so that I have a clean slate for the weekend.

1) Children push your buttons and don't even know they have that power. My son who lives 15 minutes from me and works 10 minutes from me, can manage to see me only once every ten weeks or so and never responds to my emails or phone calls---which actually have become pretty sparce on my part. I don't ask the wrong questions and he doesn't hate us; it is just a personality thing with him. I hate it and maybe I will kill him someday, if I stop loving him.

2) Energy and crazy ideas. I don't have them anymore. I dream but the body and mind ain't as willing as it used to be and that is why I am so thankful I have children. They rope me into lots of stuff. Grandchildren are even better.

3) My husband still has energy and crazy ideas. So, I accept that this is not an aging thing...maybe a menopause thing? Sorry guys. But I do have to rally the energy to put the brakes on him sometimes.

4) Global warming has me scared. I work with people who really understand its power. I used to work with another group of people 20 years ago who predicted this mess. I hate that people are so complacent about this.

5) I have to believe that what goes around comes around. This administration must reap the rewards of its efforts someday along with the rest of us.

6) I am once again living in a room of partially packed boxes. I have been here before. I think when I add it all up, the moves for myself, my children, and my mother-in law, the sum is at the very least 20 household moves. I can pat myself on the back for my resilience if nothing else.

7) Hubby is down at the house today washing the oyster racks and unpacking a few things. Last night was a killer lightning storm which kept us awake for hours, so he wanted to see how the drainage on the property was going.

8) And this just in...for more years than I care to count I have bitten my fingernails. I stopped (no effort on my part) several months ago right after the Hilton Head trip. What gives?

9) Gee, its Friday already. There is a light behind that gray cloud.

Post Script: Saw "Prarie Home Companion" last night. It provides the warm fuzzies you would expect, has outstanding low-keyed acting on the part of everyone, and HOSS would love the bad jokes sequence---all about P*****s, T and A's and bathroom humor. The other jokes were better, but this movie does have something for everyone. Sort of like an Our Town without the puritanical bent. (It helps if you are a Garrison Keillor fan, which I have been for years.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Patience - the Slow Tango

Ask you can see from the photo above, my patience paid off. It took me almost another hour, but once I was down to a few tangles the resolution was fast and easy. I had to be really slow and patient, though, because the necklace wanted to dance itself back into a tango of knots at every time I sighed with frustration and accidentally shuddered. I think it was dancing because of the results of our late meeting with the doctor (proctologist urologist---both sound pretty dismal) last night.

I wore the necklace to work today. It was in celebration of the 94% cure (NOT remission) rate that the doctor promised my husband. These are odds that everyone would wish for. We are going ahead with the 'seed' therapy which has the least side effects and the one day down time. The only drawback (well not the only but the big drawback) and unusual restriction is that he cannot hold his grandson for any length of time for 60-90 days.

I will not write about the process in detail (unless someone needs information for their own journey down this path and lets me know). I am sure there will be some set backs, but we are optimistic because we have a ton of stuff to do in our long lives ahead.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hari Bapa Bahagia

Indonesian Red Cross Society | UNICEF Indonesia | Mercy Corps | Caritas | Save The Children | Direct Relief International | Oxfam | Help Jogja

This is a little late but none-the-less important. If you still have your father on Sunday think about those who didn't get to see their father grow old, and if you can spare a little, send it to one of the links above. It is good karma.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Whitie in the Suburbs

Most handy homeowners have a favorite little one-stop store that they visit on the weekends in the spring. In small towns it is a local hardware store. In larger cities in my area it is usually the one-stop Lowes or the Home Depot. In spring these places are crowded with experts and innocents shoulder to shoulder all in search of something to fix or remodel or enhance on their house or in their yard.

We live rather close to one of the most successful Home Depots in a very affluent home area. Just trying to get a parking place can cause a small altercation. That is why I should not have been surprised at what happened outside my local Home Depot last Saturday.

As usual, I was into elaborate talking mode accompanied by elaborate hand waving mode to explain the type of item we should be looking for as my husband and I descended the stairs from the parking lot to the main entrance. Suddenly, mid-way down the stairs, he placed his hand on the front of my shoulder to stop me from taking the next step. He was looking at the small crowd of people at the bottom of the stairs in front of the primary entrance to the store.

As I focused on the crowd I began to see that this was not a normal milling of people. There was one large man who looked about 40, at least 6'’4"”, his head towering above all the others and standing in an aggressive stance while two smaller men behind him were pulling on his faded red t-shirt and attempting to hold him back. The man was somewhat attractive and maybe Arabic or Asian Indian descent. He reminded me a little of Vincent D'Onofrio, the detective on Law and Order, Criminal Intent.

He was that good looking, but like D'’Onofrio there was something a little creepy about him. Anyway, on the other side of the small circle of the dozen on so people were two much smaller men their faces twisted and arguing back. They also looked middle-eastern or Asian, but were clearly older with gray hair...maybe in their late 50'’s and short in stature. In between this pushing and shoving and shouting were two Home Depot employees with the traditional red aprons trying to keep the peace. One was a heavy-set black man working very hard to calm down the Vincent-look-alike. The black man would no sooner get the '“V-O'” look alike back to the edge of the circle and seemingly calm and then the guy would rise up like a big bear and head for the two men again. This went on for at least five minutes. The big guy was relentless and I thought he might be drunk or on something, even though he seemed pretty coordinated.

Finally, when 'V-O' got on his high horse one final time, the black man lost his patience and gave up the polite and calming approach and started talking loud and using his chest to bump the man back. I got the feeling that he had dealt with this in another life, maybe the military. He seemed very controlled and confident and began ordering the guy to get off the property. This level of confrontation seemed to freeze the crowd momentarily.

I also had lost my patience and ignoring the mess, hurried down the stairs and just around the circle into the doorway hoping that hubby was behind me. As I looked through the automatic glass door, I was surprised to see a line of shocked people inside the door with their purchases and full shopping carts waiting to leave. What a mess!

Well, my husband and I hurried on into the store and headed back to the aisle to get going. We had a long day of errands ahead of us, and this idiot was not going to slow us down anymore. He was gone by the time we made it through the checkout a short time later. All the white suburbanites were pretty much in shock that such a thing could happen in their precious little neighborhood. I ws just very irritated and thankful that no blood had been spilled.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

String Theory?

Sometimes I find that my life is running in a theme. Or perhaps not. Perhaps I just see things with a different skew depending on events.

I spent about an hour trying to untangle this silver necklace above. It is one of those long single strand necklaces---reminded me of the beads we wore back in the 'hippy' days. I bought it at a kiosk about a month ago and placed it carefully in a jewlery bag. When I took it out to wear it for the first time this past week I discovered that it had been impatient to get out and had tied itself in knots. This first hour of trying to untie knots has taken much patience and I have made about 15% progress. So, if I devote a good part of my life to this task, I may actually wear this someday. It is a test of patience.

I went down to the house we are building yesterday and there were lots of loose ends that I wish I could tie up. We had taken the 1,000 pieces of hardware for our masterbedroom closet and were eager to at least begin this task of installation. Unfortunately, we soon realized that there was still too much builders' junk in there to even begin to start an installation. There are lots of other little things still as well. My towel bars are too wide for the small bathrooms with little wall space and I don't know if the builder can return them...are they going to be an ebay entanglement? There are about 4 new holes in the walls as if they were looking for something---maybe something tangled behind the sheetrock? Another test of patience.

And last and certainly not least, my husband's medical report that I had blogged about a while back did not come back benign. It is not an aggressive thing and he is a good candidate for the least invasive procedure (sort of like gardening where they plant seeds (!)) but it is still an entanglement from which we wish to extricate ourselves as soon as possible as well as another test of patience that we have to get through. I am not the type of blogger who feels better blogging about this stuff, so you will not read all the details from here. You all have enough entanglements and tests of patience in your own lives.

Well, I shall disentangle myself from this chair and get another cup of coffee before I start my well-deserved weekend that I have so patiently been waiting for.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Like Sands Through the Hourglass?

Some days it's more like shovels of dirt through the manhole and I am in it. When did this kid get his driver's license?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Are YOU Prepared?

I received a ‘guide’ in the mail yesterday. It was titled “Home Guide to Emergency Preparedness.” Photo above is of the first page. Nothing says preparedness like a cartoon of politically correct people with smiles on their faces. They had everyone represented including the ‘media-geek’, but they forgot the disabled (unless the elder-person represents both.) My first reaction to this mailing was remembering, (chagrin, chagrin,) how the teachers of my youth taught us to cover our heads under our desks if there was a nuclear attack. I am glad to see that preparedness has come so far.

Anyway, since everything in the recent news has been about the feds cutting local terrorist prevention funding and that most local agencies are pretty much saying it is going to be up to the individual to save themselves in an emergency…i.e. “Don’t call us because we will be very busy writing our press releases.” I was pretty interested in how I should proceed to save my butt if the need arose.

So I continued to peruse this missive. The second page consisted of ‘Bioterrorism frequently asked questions.’ After defining bioterrorism the answer to the burning question “What can we do?’ was “Stay alert and stay calm because this helps government agencies control the situation and protect you.” What? Then they went on to describe methods of dispersal and resulting symptoms of a number of biological agents. That was really fun reading, but not much help.

There was a list of useful phone numbers, most of which I am guessing would not be answered during an emergency, but nice to post on the side of the refrigerator for false reassurance purposes. There was a whole page on smallpox (which I was vaccinated against in my twenties when I headed overseas…wonder if that still is effective?).

Then the page on “Preparing Your Home for an Emergency” was finally getting to specifics. They suggested that we store a 3-5 day supply of food, water, vitamins, medicine, etc., planning on one gallon of water per person per day.

And, at last, the best part. Shelter in Place-SIP. If you are a federal employee you hear and test for this several times a year in your office building. This SIP was written for someone who owns and lives in a single-family house. The safest place in my apartment is the bathroom--see this shoebox room below. There is no way to turn off the huge vent fan in this room as that is the only return vent and run by the building itself. I can barely find room to brush my teeth each morning. Storing 3-5 days of supplies in this room would mean we would have to use some one else’s bathroom in this building for the duration. (Yes, I was standing on the toilet when I took this picture.)

And then the very best part was this diagram above of an evacuation plan for my building…I live in such a sophisticated high tech society. Anyway if you come for a visit, I will post this evacuation plan by the door so that you can get out safely.