Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Call for Prayers

This is Small One.

We very nearly lost him a few Christmases ago due to a kidney infection that caused partial organ failure.

He's sick again.

He's not AS sick as he was last time - I think we may have caught it earlier - but I can tell he's not well. He was vomiting earlier, and my Mother's Intuition tells me that it wasn't normal, hairball sort of vomiting. Plus, he'd taken to hiding out under the bed. He's NEVER under the bed - he's always front and center, where all the good lovin' can be had.

I called the vet. At eleven o'clock at night. She heard his history, heard his symptoms, and told us to bring him in.

Not first thing tomorrow. Now.

Husband - kind, loving, insomniac Husband - is driving him to the clinic as I write this.

Could you clear a spot in your prayers for my kitten, please? I understand that he's 14 and that cats don't live forever, but I'm not ready to let him go yet.

Farewell, Fair Lady

I feel the need to recognize the passing of Coretta Scott King, yet I find I am quite without sufficient expression.

I am the beneficiary of so much of the work she and her husband did. I got to grow up in an era where racial violence didn't touch my environment, where I could recognize and embrace my cousin (whose father was a strong, proud black man) and where I get to raise my children in the belief that we ARE all created equal.

I live in a very, VERY white part of the United States. All my neighbors are caucasian. With the exception of one or two kids of Asian descent, all my students are caucasian. I understand, in an intellectual way, that there is still much work to be done.

I honor those who began the process.

Wouldja Just LOOK at THAT!!

Isn't that GORGEOUS!?

We finished putting up the wall cabinets last night. Isn't it fabulous? Husband wants to take the corner cabinet off again and do something to the wall so that it sits more evenly, but the big point is that they're all put together, they're all up, and they all FIT!


We have to wait for the electrician to come and move the outlet that's not quite behind the oven cabinet - that may not happen until next week. After that happens, if I understand the sequence right (which I'm not guaranteeing) base cabinets get assembled. The one that goes to the left of the oven cabinet has to be put together first, I gather, so that a wooden face plate can be screwed to it to box in the fridge. Once all the base cabinets are put together, we put together the island, then buy a stovetop and get someone in to measure for counters.

I'll post more pictures by this weekend - things are humming right along now.



I have a lot to post - pictures, even - but no time to do it right now. Writing here is on my list of things to do when I get home from work this afternoon (along with laundry and some light grocery shoppping), so come back tonight and see if I managed...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

This Superhero Stuff is Hard Work...

I've been reading about, and have experienced first hand, the dangers of "blogging naked." It's been pointed out by numerous people who have suffered fates far worse than mine that allowing the zillions of potential readers out there to know your secret identity is baaaad. Verrrry baaaaad.

Still, I'm not good at the split personality thing.

I have two blogging identities - one for here and one for a blog I keep about work. I started out blogging completely naked - I mean, my name was on my profile and everything - until I realized how amazingly stupid and naive such wrecklessness was. On the advice of a much smarter blogger than me (thanks, Kizz!), I split the blogs apart and registered a new username for the work blog. Only a select few of my most trusted know of the work blog, and I'm trying to keep it that way. Burned once, shame on you - burned twice, shame on me.

A technical error on my part led someone to find my work blog, though, and to figure out who I really am. It's not a fatal error - this person doesn't actually KNOW me (and may I just say here how cool it is to have an unknown reader?) and even if he did, I get the feeling that he wouldn't be the type to tattle on me. Still, I have to delete his comment connecting my blogs, and I hate having to delete readers' comments.

So sorry, Vanx. Please continue to read (everything) and to comment, but understand that I must preserve the superhero identity. It's nothing personal.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Love Personified

This is my grandmother. I had the good fortune to be adopted into her family when I was a teenager, and I've been grateful to the Universe for that ever since.

We went to see her today - I make it a point to see my grandparents once a week and to keep them prominant in my girls' lives - and I watched as my children, who are six and eight, climbed into her lap. I'm not sure I've ever seen her so content. The girls each had a book and were reading to themselves, and there Gramma sat, one child in each arm, with a glow about her that was almost holy.

I'm not sure there are words sufficient enough to describe the loving, generous soul that resides in this woman. She is kind, gracious, and quick to laugh, and I love her very, very much.

And I am lucky that she loves me.


Okay, so here's the scene:

I'm sitting in an office, having an interview. We're talking about the nuts and bolts of the job, my philosophy on this or that, then the interviewer turns to me and says "So, is this a change of career for you?"

Sorry, WHAT!?

Then it occurs to me - the people this man interviews for positions like the one I'm gunning for are likely about fifteen years younger than I am.

I made haste to explain that I've been busy over the last decade raising two children, and that there was nothing else I could do at the time that was more important than that. I'm hoping that my even tone and total belief in the truth of that statement worked in my favor. I'm also hoping that my "maturity" gives me some credibility here.

Still, it gave me pause. I'm 37, people. That's not "old". Though I may be a little late to the party, I haven't missed the best parts yet.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Today's Discovery

Her name is K. T. Tunstall, and I gather she's been pretty popular in the UK for quite some time. I only heard of her today.

Go here and hit "play". Her album, Eye to the Telescope, is being released in the US on Febuary 7th. I know I'LL be visiting iTunes to download it as soon as it's available. I love discoveries like this...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm Beginning to Think it's ME!

Okay, now. Enough is enough!

Today is the second day in a row that I've learned that something I use is being DISCONTINUED. Yesterday, it was the chantico at Starbucks. Today, it's my contact lens disinfecting solution

I am cursed. My perfume is no longer being produced. My favorite variety of pasta salad was pulled off the shelves last year. I can only get my lip gloss through the internet (and goodness only knows how long THAT will continue to be available). It's starting to annoy the crap out of me.

What does it say about me that I love the products that don't sell enough to keep on the market?

That Guy's a Goner

This is one of my (many) favorites. You may have to click on it to get the full effect.

Yet again, it's snowing here in New England. Luckily, though, the girls are in school. Not that I would mind having them home - snow days are fun around here and usually involve popcorn, hot cocoa and a Disney movie - but we're grateful that we don't have to tack an extra day on at the end of the school year. I'm trying to decide whether to venture out to run some not-so-urgent errands, though. I may wait until post-lunch to give the plows a chance to roll around for a bit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Well, it's sure not Oz, but it is home.

BoBo sent me this picture this afternoon. It is of a town very near to where I live, one that I consider part of the larger "home" that is home. Though I consistently gripe about the weather here from about November until, oh, May, I really don't think I'd want to live anywhere else. Nearly everyone I love is here, I have a Yankee sensibility that probably wouldn't fly anywhere else, and, well, I'm comfortable here.

That's really what home should be, isn't it?

Grass Roots Effort

I found out today that there are rumblings that Starbucks may be discontinuing their chantico drink. I'm here to ask - nay, to BEG - you to help me try to put a stop to that nonsense. Please go here and tell them that no good can come from taking such unmitigated loveliness off their menu. Then, the next time you're in the vicinity of a Starbucks and have an extra four bucks burning through your pocket, go in and order one. You SO won't be sorry.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Fitting Gift

This (hysterical) birthday gift arrived in the mail for me today from Geisha. I love it.

The last time we were together (on Boxing Day, as is our families' tradition), her elder daughter was playing with one of these, and I thought it was perhaps the funniest thing I'd seen in a long time. Think about it - a Shakespeare action figure. They had recently returned from a trip to England and Elder Daughter was obsessed with the Bard, so much so that she needed to have this - let me say it again, just because it's so funny - this Shakespeare ACTION FIGURE. Keep in mind, please, that Elder Daughter is four.

The note on the box said "No English teacher should be without one of these" and now this one won't be.

Thank you, Geisha!!

p.s. - Susanna Shakespeare, there was an extra one in the package for you - I'll get it to the post office this week, I promise!!

p.p.s. - check out the complete line of action figures at Accoutrements.com

Installation. Sort of...

Check it out!!

I'm not getting too excited about it just yet, but I'm pretty excited about it. We decided, after much measuring and leveling and drilling and cursing, that we want more space over the counters, so we are going to take these two down, move the mounting rail and try again.

But we're that much closer!!!

Ooo, Baby!

It's COLD outside!

This is Small One. He was all excited about going out a few minutes ago. Once he realized that the snow was up to his chest, though, he changed his mind. Now he, his brother, sister and mother are all curled up in various soft spots in the house.

These guys know how to spend a snow day.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blog For Choice

Today is National Blog for Choice Day.

I'm not a huge activist-type. My leanings are definitely lefty-humanist, but I'm not one to go on long, politically motivated tirades, attend marches or even plaster the back of my car with bumper stickers (for the record, my car sports rear window clings representing Gallaudet, my university, the Chinese symbol for gratitude, and the gay pride flag).

I do, however, pay attention. And I vote.

Here's my take on the whole abortion thing: it's nobody's business but the woman's. My opinion on the "issue" matters exactly zip-point-nothing, and neither does anyone else's who's not in the crisis of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy.

Too bad the government doesn't realize this.

Think about it for a minute; for as much as we may try to be sympathetic and considered, there is really no way that we can truly walk the proverbial mile in another's shoes. We cannot know what another is thinking or feeling; we cannot fully appreciate what it means to live another's life. We certainly have no right to decide what's "best" for anyone but our own little selves.

The decision to have a child or not is, without question, one of the most life-altering choices a woman can make. It is a profoundly complex decision stuffed to bursting with long-reaching implications. No one should be allowed to make that decision for her.

And no one should be allowed to limit her options, either.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Words to Live By

"You can only see as far as your headlights,
but you can make the whole trip that way."

El Doctorow

Friday, January 20, 2006

One Down...

...and many, many more to go.

It went together pretty easily; of course, we haven't put the drawers or doors on the thing yet, so I don't want to get too cocky about the whole process.

But I'm thrilled that it's begun!!

Should I Call a Doctor?

Okay, people - I need some advice.

Remember how I spent Sunday? Shivering, shaking, hallucinating? Well, in that respect I'm better than I was, but I'm still most definitely sick. I'm not going to get into the gory details, just suffice to say that I'm still only eating white food (and even then with great caution and trepidation) and it's very obvious I'm still not well. I'm worried that whatever nasty started this whole thing has decided to set up residency somewhere underneath my belly button.

I'm not exactly debilitated, but I'm certainly not comfortable, either.

Should I tough it out over the weekend or should I call a doctor today? Given that it's Friday and the liklihood of my being able to see anyone over the weekend is pretty slim (and I HATE ERs), my Practical Yankee says to call today, just in case. Then again, the Tough Yankee says it's nothing serious and they'll probably tell me to down some Pepto or Immodium and call it a day anyway, so why bother the nice doctors? (And yes, Yankee is a decidedly split personality, with such characters as Cheap Yankee and Stubborn Yankee and Skeptical Yankee rounding out the team).

What do you think I should do?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One Step Closer

We made a trip to our friendly neighborhood IKEA yesterday and picked up our kitchen cabinets.


Every single bit has to be put together. By us. And some willing friends, whom I will bribe with beer and delivery pizza.

I'll post updates as we go. Stick around, it's going to be beautiful.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Wow! Let's Not Do THAT Again!

My birthday was quite a bit less fun than I'd hoped.

I spent the day in bed. I wasn't in bed with my husband, or snuggling with my girls, or even curled up with a good book. Nope, my companion for the day was an intestinal yucky that turned my insides to liquid and reduced me to an alternately sweating and shivering, hallucinating mass.

I want a do-over.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

I turn 37 today.

I'm not at all freaked out about the number. So far, my thirties have been pretty darned good; I even thought that turning 35 lent me some legitimacy as a grown-up. I can't promise that I'll feel the same way about 40, but I've got a few more years to get used to the idea of changing the first number of my age.

Today will likely be kind of low-key. Of course, it's snowing (there's a long and reliable trend of snow on my birthday). I'm getting ready to leave the house to teach my Sunday morning fitness classes, then we have a lunch date with my in-laws at the Olive Garden this afternoon, and I know that the girls were busy wrapping presents in their room yesterday, so there will be gifting.

I think it's gonna be good.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

To Be Filed Under "You Learn Something New Every Day"

I went to the library the other day, and checked out Velocity by Dean Koontz. It's a moderately entertaining read, though I fear it's going to dissolve into nightmare-fodder sometime fairly soon.

Anyway, I came across the word "recondite", which I am not sure I'd ever encountered before. It turns out that it means:

1. Not easily understood; abstruse. See Synonyms at ambiguous.
2. Concerned with or treating something abstruse or obscure: recondite scholarship.
3. Concealed; hidden.

I LOVE learning new vocabulary in books I'm reading for fun. You want a really serious language-booster? Go read Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I had to go to the dictionary about forty times while reading that...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Who Knew He Could Move Like That?

My step dad was in the bank yesterday, making a deposit, when the bank was robbed. I haven't actually spoken to my mom since that happened, but she told me in an email that it was a full-fledged, guns out, get-on-the-floor-and-gimme-all-yer-dough sort of robbery. Step dad is okay - he did what he was told and there were no injuries, though I suspect that not stepping up and making things right for the terrified tellers behind the counter was a profoundly difficult thing for him. He's like that.

Anyway, reading mom's story made me think about my own days working as a teller. I worked in banks for about five years and, thank God, was lucky enough to never have been in a branch during a robbery, though I covered for a branch after it was robbed at gunpoint, but I figured the likelihood of its being hit twice in one week was pretty slim. Another time, I had my finger on the button when a shady looking guy showed up in the empty branch with a duffle bag, but he came and went without incident.

There was this time, though, when I got a very interesting look at how things could have gone down if ONE TINY LITTLE DETAIL had been different.

I was working as a teller in a large, downtown branch. The office had just been renovated so that the entire front wall was taken out and replaced with glass. Sleek glass doors, a vast expanse of windows along the front - it was lovely. Anyway, twice a week, our branch received a visit from the armored car service. The routine was that one guy stayed with the truck and two guys came into the branch - one stayed in the lobby while the other went into the vault with the teller manager to execute whatever transactions were on the boards for the visit.

Our guys were Tim and Chico. Tim was a scrawny little white boy, about five seven or so, and maybe a hundred and twenty if he was lucky (that included the boots and the cute little badge they wore). He was quiet and polite, and it was usually he who went to the vault. Chico was a reasonably handsome hunk of latin man; just under six feet, chocolate brown skin and a charming smile to go along with his charming manner. He always stayed in the lobby so he could flirt with the tellers. The point that's important to remember for the purposes of this story is that Chico was AT LEAST 220 if he was an ounce.

One particular afternoon, Chico was leaning against my teller window chatting me up. I don't remember what we were talking about, but I'm sure it was something to do with begging me to go out with him (he tried to get everyone to go out with him - even the married ones among us. We expected nothing less). While he was running his smooth latin thang, a little old lady made her way into the otherwise empty bank. She came through the door and, as it swung shut behind her, we heard a loud CRACK! and the door turned to liquid and fell, in a zillion tiny, shiny pieces, to the floor.

Before I realized what had happened, I noticed that Chico had disappeared. A few seconds later, I saw that he had launched himself to the floor and was in a perfect three point stance, gun firmly trained on the bewildered lady now standing in a pool of glass shards. I mean it, in less time than it took to blink, he had registered the sound of the door's integrity breaking down, un-holstered his gun and was ready to react.

I later found out that mousy little Tim had heard the same sound, roughly shoved the teller manager into the farthest reaches of the vault and had emerged at the half door between the vault lobby and the teller line - his gun was pointed into the lobby from behind us, ready to confront whatever threat might have been behind the bang he'd just heard.

I felt much safer whenever those boys were around.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Politically Speaking

I've been thinking a lot about politics lately. I'm not sure that this is entirely a good or fruitful exercise for me; I think that this is an instance where a little knowledge is a terribly dangerous thing.

Before I say anything else, let me ask this: What is it about politicians that they can NEVER, and I mean NEVER, answer a yes or no question with “yes” or “no”???


Most of my thinking has centered around the Alito hearings, most of which I'm hearing on NPR as I go about the business of being a SAHM (albeit a temporary one). (Just as an aside? I'm not sure what it is about the way my energy is aligned in the Universe, but it seems that I've been hearing more of Edward Kennedy's questioning than anyone else's. I swear to God - even though I grew up in Massachusetts and I understand the accent, I can't for the life of me understand about a third of what that man says. It's not that I don't understand the WORDS, mind you, it's that I don't understand why he puts them together in the way that he does.)

I like to consider myself a mostly fair and open-minded individual. I want to give most people the benefit of whatever doubt I might have, especially considering that I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know more than I do (get it?).

Anyway, I have a lot of respect for people who are accomplished in their professions. I’m figuring that Alito has to have had some pretty impressive credentials to get to where he is now. I may not agree with a lot of his decisions, hell, I may not UNDERSTAND a lot of the cases he’s judged, but I know that there’s a fair bit of oversight and checks and balances and such that there’s no way this guy could be a renegade jurist. One of the things I find particularly comforting is knowing that a lot of the really big decisions are made by a panel of judges and not just one lone guy (or gal) with an agenda.

The thing is, though? I’m pretty certain that this Alito guy has an agenda.

This morning’s conversations on NPR were about questions of “settled law.” The senators and congress people on the panel were discussing the issue of Brown v. Board of Education, which effectively overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. Plessy was the law of the land for a stupidly long time; something like 58 years and, for at least a hundred years before that, the practice of discrimination was just simple common practice that most Americans didn’t see the need to legislate. Alito agreed that Plessy was wrong and that it SHOULD have been overturned and that, even though Brown has only been law for 52 years (six years, at this point, fewer than Plessy stood), Brown is “settled law.”

Then he was asked about Roe v Wade and whether that could be considered “settled law”. He made some comments about the fact that it’s been challenged several times and has, to this point, successfully withstood those challenges but he wouldn’t say whether he felt it was a done deal.

This is, perhaps, the biggest issue that people like me are watching the confirmation hearings for (or listening to them for, in my case). We know for a fact that the Bush Administration (shudder) has been gunning for this issue for almost as long as they’ve been gunning to get into Iraq. As a matter of fact, my humble, uneducated opinion is that the only reason we’re hearing a lot about Roe v. Wade right now is that September 11th took precedence in Ashcroft’s agenda. We also know that Alito is all about this whole “abortion notification” law - don’t even get me STARTED on that. It’s bad enough that the government is trying to interfere in how a woman manages her body, now they’re trying to legislate how she manages her relationships as well?!? It’s all too horrifying to be true.

The upshot of all of this is that I have an inherent distrust for the man. I’m not sure whether that’s because of what little I know about him or because of the people who recommended him for the job, but either way I’m not loving this. I do know that I’ll continue to keep track of what’s going on, keep trying desperately to understand it all, and keep hoping that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel that isn’t actually a train coming to squash us all flat.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

National De-Lurking Week

One of my best and dearest informed me that it's National De-Lurking Week. Since I had no idea what that meant, she kindly and patiently informed me that a "lurker" is someone who reads a blog, but who doesn't comment (thus, lurking about without making oneself known). National De-Lurking Week is intended to smoke all those people out, so that we writers know that we're not just talking to ourselves.

So, if you read, but don't comment, say hello. Let me know what you think, tell me a funny story; I'll take just about anything.

Oh, and say "lurk" about six times and see if it doesn't start to sound funny....

An Actual Conversation...

I had this conversation with my youngest daughter (six, almost seven) the other day:

Me: HEY, You!!

She: Hey, Mommy!

Me: Ya know what?

She: What?

Me: You're WICKED CUTE!!

She: (casually) Yeah, I know.

Me: (incredulously) You DO?! HOW do you know that?!

She: Because you tell me all the time.

Me: Well, whaddya know! Cute, AND smart!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Someone I love very much turned 37 today. Kizz has been celebrating all week (I DIG that about here - she doesn't have a birth DAY, she has a birth WEEK).

I'm wishing her happy today, more happy tomorrow, and cumulative happy all through her 37th year!

I'll Give You This Much...

...winter in my part of the world really CAN be pretty.

This is the view I see from my bed. As a matter of fact, I actually got INTO bed to take this picture (though I turned it around so you wouldn't be looking at it upside down).

Now, if we could just convince the morons in SUVs that the laws of physics really DO apply to them....

I Hope It's Not a Message

I had this dream this morning before I woke up:

I was in my house (though it wasn't THIS house, it was still my house) and I was trying to get the sequence right in order to fire a special kind of gun - a sort of energy-pulse thing that could go through walls. It turns out, I was preparing for my home to be invaded by aliens who were coming in through the roof, and I wanted to be able to shoot them through the ceiling.

When the aliens came, though, there were far too many for me to handle alone, and I was alone - very, very alone. I got one, maybe two before the gun jammed or malfunctioned in some way - I couldn't tell what happened, I just knew no more aliens were going down and I was completely powerless without that weapon.

I spent the last few minutes of the dream trying to get the gun to work one last time so I could off myself before the aliens figured out how to work the stairs.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Sometimes, these things scare me. Check out today's offering:

Ready for some fireworks? Good -- because there's a whole bunch on the way. Today's heavenly menu will urge you to make some changes with regard to your goals for the future -- and this certainly could mean that you'll feel the need to begin associating with a whole new peer group. If that's the case, try to ease away from the usual suspects gently -- or at least offer to take the ones along who'll know how to act.

And it gets better! My "quote of the day":

Life is not holding a good hand; Life is playing a poor hand well.
- Danish proverb

And There It Is...

A very big chunk of my life just imploded, and I wasn't even there to see it happen. I can't give you any details at this point - mostly because I don't really HAVE any - but I wanted to point out that I told you so.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Temporary - though fully functioning - sink and dishwasher... Fridge is plugged in to a room to the right in the picture, along with a microwave and a testy toaster oven (which is prone to catching fire, even though I've cleaned all the crumbs and detritus out of it). No stove, though.

Isn't the floor PRETTY?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Does It Mean I'm a Terrible Friend?

I am in the midst of a schizophrenic attack.

I was just up to visit WeedWoman in her new house! I'm very excited for her; it's a lovely place in a lovely corner of the world. There's plenty of dirt around for her to play in (when the snow melts), and there's a stream out back where Mr. W can go fishin'. The house is brand new-never-been-lived-in, has three bedrooms, two baths, a full basement and an ENORMOUS garage, and my best friend is very, very happy to be there.

So, what's my problem?

It's a freaking HOUR AWAY! I left there at two fifty one and arrived home at three forty eight. And I know for a FACT that I never once obeyed a speed limit. She says she's going to see me every Thursday (she attends a Tai Ch'i class nearby) and I know that I'll make several treks up there, but it's going to be a lot different now that she's so far away. No more spontaneous, "wanna go shopping or come over for tea?" phone calls. No more dropping in, just because I was nearby. And I'm going to have to take her name and phone number off the emergency phone list at the girls' elementary school.

I'm feeling the effects of best-friend withdrawal already.