Ponder this:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rerun: Ten Fun Facts All About Me

 first posted December 31, 2008

My new friend at Bee~Content Ranch has tapped me to reveal/share/impart/offer up ten things you don't know about me.

So. This is a blog game.

I am participating in bloggamy.
Safer than bigamy.

Since nobody I know in Real Life yet knows I have this blog, and none of you Out There knows anything about me, this should be easy. Right?

So why the procrastination? What's the holdup here, Junie Moon?

  1. My income is from tax dollars. Imagine, if you will, my current popularity.
  2. I have three (11/30/2010: only two now) dogs and one cat, all of whom sleep with me,  two of whom need to be lifted into my bed at night at least once. If either of them gets too warm or decides for some other reason to leave the bed and then wants back in, I have to get up and pick them up and replace them in the communal bed.
  3. I have ridden a horse twice. The first time I was so little that my legs stuck out straight and I slid off the side as we walked along. The second time, twenty years later, we went through the woods in April. The horse's hooves filled up with snow. We hit a patch of ice and skated for a while. I do not foresee a third horseride.
  4. I have never known what to do with children. God, in His Infinite Wisdom, gave me none.
  5. I would be ecstatic if I were given permission to hibernate from November until April.
  6. Husband and I built a 1700SF house using credit card money. When it was finished we got a home equity loan and paid off the credit cards.
  7. I left a solid career and waited tables for fourteen years, leaving only because I broke my leg. I think everybody should wait tables as a sole source of income for a year. It teaches excellent lessons in carrying on with a smile despite every difficulty.
  8. I believe animals are smarter, more trustworthy, and more able to meet Life's demands, than are most people.
  9. I know the difference between "comprise" and "compose," and that they are not interchangeable. (11/30/2010:  Upon further reading, I learned that this was an untrue conceit on my part.)
  10. And, from the sublime to the ridiculous....I think apple cider vinegar is the A1 best remedy for acid indigestion.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A book, a bus, and an aqua robe

I began reading a new book last night. 
New to me. You knew that. It's called That Old Cape Magic, and I think I'm going to like it.
It's always in the first few pages that I taste the flavor of the words and catch the mood. After that, I'm all too tied up (one hopes) in the story to remark upon each turn of phrase. 
In this story, something "hove into view." I hardly ever read anybody writing about things heaving, into view or otherwise, and "hove" is a word that caught my eye. I had to stop and think of what it was the past tense; that's how long it's been. 
So that's all about that. 

When I was twelve I rode the school bus every day from the village to the town, to the central school. The last leg of the journey took us through a residential development. At the time the houses were new-ish, certainly newer in style than any house I'd ever lived in. One house in particular, a corner house, with odd exterior angles and irregularly-shaped and -placed windows, interested me. 
And one day, as the bus passed that house, I saw . . . a woman, sitting at the kitchen table, her arms raised to hold a widely-spread newspaper. It was a sunny morning, and the warm September light flowed through the big window onto her table, onto her arms and the paper. The windowsill was low, nearly floor-level, and I saw that she relaxed in her chair, her legs crossed. Here's the detail that has become iconic to me: she wore a long, silky, aqua-colored robe and matching slippers. I made up a whole life for that woman, based on having seen her relaxing at her new house kitchen table at 7:40am on a weekday, having a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper, and wearing a long aqua robe. 
She would be mother to someone my age, wife to a handsome, kind, and financially successful man. She would be in complete comfortable control of her home and her schedule . . . which would not be overly demanding . . . lots of hair appointments. After she finished the newspaper she would swipe a sponge along her spotless kitchen counter, float off to take a bath and dress in tidy tailored casual slacks and sweater, and telephone her friends to laugh lightheartedly over the small news of their days and talk about what they would serve for dinner. She would have a coterie of other similarly wealthy and well-housed and -heeled friends and they would share stories of their family's successes. It was obvious to me that anybody who wore a silky long aqua nightgown in a big window in her kitchen in the broad morning light must be hugely confident and secure in every way, living a perfectly comfortable life. Nothing bad had ever, or would ever, happen to her.
Of course I  never knew the woman, and I can't even remember, now, the name of the road. I could find it again, and I could look at that house again, if I wanted to. I bet it would seem dated and shabby to me now. And now I know that nobody lives a life such as I imagined for her.
But I still want a long, silky, aqua-colored robe and matching slippers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A failure to communicate

Husband continues his communication obfuscation, previously revealed here and here.  He often speaks in code, and I must wait until he finishes speaking, and from the context, try to discern his meaning. 

We've been bringing in wood in preparation for The Cold and Dark Season. He brings tractor bucketloads to the screen porch; I stack it. It's getting close in there, and we were negotiating about where the bucketloads should be dropped so I would have room to stack. He came inside and told me, "I put the wood on that side (arm gesture) of the wall so you can stack it on the other side (arm gesture) of the wall."
Code key:  Wall = Porch

Husband has been buying woodworking tools, and recently found a needed safety part online. He mentioned an email he'd received from the seller, and said to me, "His PayPal address is at the end of the machine."
Code key:  Machine = Message

The language of woodworking leaves me in a swirling fog of confusion, and he's speaking that language now, frequently: jig, and fence, and kerf... 
I know what a jig is: it's a dance.
And I know what a fence is. Or I used to.
A kerf? What?

Pretty soon I think I'll give up and stop trying to  communicate verbally with him at all.  We'll move around each other like two dogs, sending and interpreting our intentions with the set of our ears or eyebrows. 
The tail thing will be a problem.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

21 Names for Your New Baby

Popularity Trend
for Holden
from 1900 to 2009

In the last ten years, only one couple I know has named their son something a little off the beaten track of first names. They named their first born Holden. Refreshing, to hear something other than Michael, Matthew, Zachary, Jeremy, or Sean.  Apparently, though, Holden is on the upswing in popularity.  
Bad news.

I'm tired of the same old names.
In memory, it seems as if every girl in my elementary school years had one of five names: Karen, Barbara, Debbie, Patricia or Linda. Those seem to have gone mildly out of fashion, but they're old standards.  I challenge you to find any group of fifteen females under the age of twenty-five containing fewer than four Jennifers, three Kaylas, and five Amandas. (It seems, may all the saints be praised, that Heather, at long last, has passed from popularity.)

I'm not so much in favor of completely off-the-wall names, either.
I know a woman who was named after a character on a soap opera.  Spicy name, American as apple pie, or French toast, or bread pudding, but odd. Husband thinks it sounds like a  stripper's stage name. It is my belief that a person ought not to be named after a fictional television character.
I worked with a young man who named his child a made up sound that he and his significant other liked. To me, the name sounded like a conglomeration of the name of a racetrack in Florida, Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald's given name, and a primitive percussion instrument.  I wondered how the child would ever get through school without correcting, a hundred times a day, the pronunciation, never mind the spelling, of her appellation. Or maybe it wouldn't matter to her. Maybe she'd continue her parents' laissez-faire attitude and let people pronounce and spell her name however they could. How would she know to what sound she should respond?

I haven't recently looked at those little "100 Names for Your Baby" books displayed for sale next to the supermarket checkout, and I wonder what they're suggesting now. I daresay that whatever's in those books, we'll be seeing a lot of in the next few years.  
If I were in a position to influence the naming of any infants, I'd suggest a return to some of the really old names. 
Make his or her name mean something! 
Provide the child with something up to which to live!
Make the kid stand out when his teacher calls his name: "Aloysius!"
Have you met recently, for example, any infants with these names?
I know you would expect to look into the baby carriage and see a tiny girl with tightly permed hair and plastic-framed glasses, or a baby boy with a comb-over and prominent neck tendons, but you'd get over that, wouldn't you?

Friday, November 5, 2010

“Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness” ~Don Williams, Jr.

Last spring my doctor told me that he had scheduled me for a particular medical screening that we, of a certain age, should have and to which we never look forward with happy anticipation.  You know the one:  It's the one where the doctor sends a television crew in the exit door and travels Where No One Has Gone Before in search of tiny mushrooms that, if found, must be removed.  It's the one where they always say, "Oh, it's nothing. The prep is far worse than the actual procedure."

In my case, others have been there before. Twice. It didn't faze me. A piece of cake. Old hat. 
Unpleasant in the preparation . . . an intense but relatively short process, all things considered, but once everything in there is all nice and clean it's . . . interesting . . . to watch the monitor to see inside of my very own Odessa Catacombs.

So I'd done the prep before; I knew what to do.  I thought.  Until I picked up the prescription from the pharmacy last Tuesday after work. Instead of a small 16-ounce bottle, like the last time I enjoyed this process, the pharmacist handed over a jug the size of my head with a couple of cups of powdery stuff in it. 
All right, I thought. I can do this. It's the same thing. Just more of it. Okay.
I toted my parcel home and opened the envelope that had arrived a week before. I had thought it was simply confirmation of my appointment.  Oh-ho no! The envelope held the instructions for my Prep, the process of which had expanded, in the three years since my last appointment of this nature, from one evening of Lovely Beverage Drink & Drain to a twenty-four hour period during which I had been supposed not to eat. Anything.  
I had eaten lunch, and upon arriving home, while I had unfolded and read the instructions, I snacked on the very tiniest piece of leftover baked sweet potato. Including the lovely crispy . . . skin.
"Oh. Well," I thought. "I know how this goes. There is no chance that anything could be left behind après le déluge."
I dissolved the powder in water. A lot of water, to fill that jug. I added the tiny packet of Delicious Lemon Flavor. And at 6pm commenced to drink, every ten minutes, eight ounces of the stuff. Le déluge followed, as expected, and I grew paler and colder as the hours passed. And cleaner!  You know the crude, rude saying, "He thinks his s__t don't stink?" Mine truly didn't.
I finished off the Gigantic Jug of Lovely Beverage, swallowed the three little tablets that would complete the process, and tottered off to bed, where I slept . . . very lightly. 

Wednesday morning, I had a cup of coffee, black, as permitted, black coffee being a "clear liquid." 
I did not bother with makeup: all the products were too heavy for me to lift to face height. My eyes looked like tiny burned holes in the puffs of eyelid: there's a lot of sodium in that Lovely Beverage. I looked a little like the undead with a head cold. But who cared, really? The object of observation would be nowhere near my face. And off we went, Husband as designated driver to get me home in a couple of hours when, presumably, I would be happily out of it to one degree or another.
I checked in at the clinic, wobbled to the elevator and to the nurses' station and limply handed over the yard of sticky labels. I exchanged my clothing for paper slippers and the easy-access cotton gown and delivered myself to the room where the fantastic voyage would take place.  The blood pressure cuff went on, the IV went in, I answered the thousand questions that must be answered. I signed the paper that said, "If I die, I won't blame you." I admitted that I had not avoided food the previous day
The nurse lowered her clipboard, looked at me, and said, "You didn't." 
I looked at her.
The doctor arrived, said, "I understand that you didn't follow the instructions exactly."
"Yes, that's right. I didn't. But I'm quite sure I'm prepared."
The doctor disagreed, and suggested postponement of the procedure. "With your history, and blah blah blah..."
I looked at her.
She looked at me kindly, but unyielding.
"Oh, poop," I said.
"Exactly," she returned.

Husband brought me home, delivered food to my gaping mouth and sent me to bed. 
I get to do the whole thing over again in January. At which time I'll open the envelope when it arrives. And follow the instructions.

Well, hell. 
It's a day off work.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A few Husband stories

The woodstove has officially been fired up for the season.  With the overnight lows down far enough to kick the furnace into hyperactivity, it is Time. 

Last spring I scooped out most of the ash. I left some in there because I have learned that a little bit of ash helps the fire take hold. I don't know why that's the case, but that's been my experience. 
Husband, by contrast, is anal very conscientious about cleaning things that can't help being dirty; he felt that the firebox needed more preparation for the incoming dusty, bark-falling-off-in-bits-at-the-slightest-touch firewood. He likes to start with a spandy clean firebox.  He cleaned out every last ash; he might have vacuumed and washed it down with soap and water, I'm not sure. It makes him happy. The fire's caught and the house is warm, and I was not present while he did whatever he did, so I'm happy too. 

I slept my usual odd weekend hours last Saturday night, and before I went back to bed at 5:30am I hauled out the industrial size slow cooker and levered in a hunk of beef that had thawed long enough to need cooking soon. When I woke up at 8:30, it smelled to me . . . like Christmas morning . . . with the cozy waft of roasting meat winding tendrils of brown savory goodness up the stairs. Husband had been up for a while, and as I poured my coffee, I asked him, "What did you think when you woke up and smelled beef cooking?" 
I wasn't hoping for extravagant compliments on my housewifely skills, but I expected something along the lines of, perhaps, "It smelled good."
The sensualist to whom I am married thought for a minute, searching his memory for his exact thought upon waking, and answered, "I smell beef cooking."

I am pleased to report that for some time now I have been able to keep control of the laundry. Not even the odd sock has exited the dryer through the invisible portal to the alternate universe where socks go. In the past much larger garments have vanished. For a while every time I did the laundry, another pair of Husband's jeans disappeared.  Less to put away, but puzzling for me to see his stack of jeans dwindling there in the closet. In frustration one day I asked him where his jeans were disappearing to. He paused to consider and murmured, "Let's see . . . what night did I come home without pants on?"

Husband is beginning to remind me of my uncle Red. One morning at breakfast, my aunt offered more coffee, and as she filled his cup, cautioned, "It's the bottom of the pot."  Red tasted, stretched his lips to a flat line and sucked in air at the corners. "Tastes like it," he said.