Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why I should proofread my clothes, or ERAUQS EMIT

I love clothes that have words on them, possibly because I'm a writer. But I have a terrible history with these clothes.

1. When we went to South Dakota in 1997, it was amazingly hot so I wanted to buy another sleeveless top. Luckily it was right after the Sturgis rally, so there were tshirts of all kinds on sale for practically nothing. I'm not a motorcyclist so I didn't expect to find anything, but lo and behold, there was a lovely burgundy colored sleeveless top with a rose on the front, and it was edged with lace. In my size! For like $2! So I bought it and wore it. And wore it. And wore it. We were in Bismarck, ND, on our way home, and a fellow stopped me in the motel lobby and said something about Sturgis. I was astonished! Was he psychic? No! It turns out that my lovely tshirt had something, well, motorcycle-ish on the back. None of us had noticed it for all that time. As my dh pointed out, considering what some of the other tshirts we saw had on them, we should just consider me lucky on this one.

2. Pajama pants were all the rage when my son was about 10, so I headed off to the local discount store and bought him several pairs with cute pictures of surfboards and popsicles. About 2 weeks later, after my son had worn them to his friends' houses, my dh said to me, "Janet, did you READ those pants?" I won't say here what the words were, but suffice it to say, NOT appropriate for a 10 year old! My son loves that story.

3. My daughter danced in the Nutcracker with an international ballet company and they sold sweatshirts to commemorate the event. I got it, put it on, wore it proudly--Why, yes, my daughter danced with the Moscow Ballet!--until someone said, "Doesn't 'December' have an M in it?" You got it. It was spelled DECEBER. I couldn't wear it after that. And no, they wouldn't reprint or give me my money back. Not everybody appreciates the importance of spelling.

4. I love NYC. I have friends there, and my dh was born there and I have been there many times. So when a certain company came out with a top that celebrated NYC, I bought it. I hadn't worn it, but yesterday was a NYC sort of day in my mind, so I put it on and wore it. At the end of the day, I went in to brush my teeth and saw, in the mirror: ERAUQS EMIT. Yes! ERAUQS EMIT! I was horrified! TIME SQUARE! It is not TIME SQUARE! It's TIMES SQUARE! I cannot wear this thing! It's all over the top: TIME SQUARE. TIME SQUARE. TIME SQUARE. I have emailed the store and asked for my money back.

Sigh. From now on, I'm writing my own clothes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

40 Teal Balloons

I was at an amazing funeral today for an amazing woman. She was young, just over 40 years old, and taken from us entirely too early due to ovarian cancer.

She isn't the first friend I've lost from ovarian cancer. She is the fourth. The fourth. They were four too many.

Ovarian cancer comes quietly. The teal bracelet on my wrist, which I've worn for 3 years, says: It whispers, so listen. It comes to the body quietly, and too often the symptoms are mistaken for other things. Bloated? Blame it on your diet. Pains in your abdomen? Cramps or indigestion. Fatigue? Well, you're tired. Loss of appetite? Aren't you dieting? Need to pee a lot? How much water or coffee are you drinking?

There isn't a screening test like a mammogram or a Pap smear. The CA-125 test can help but it's not perfect.

Many doctors aren't quick to look into the possibility of ovarian cancer. You need to be a pushy broad.

You have to fight like a girl.

Please, take a few moments and look at
Learn the complete list of symptoms, and if you have them and you have your ovaries, get to a doctor right away. Be insistent. It's your body, it's your life.

Today at the end of the funeral, the family released 40 teal balloons in Pam's honor. Teal is the color of ovarian cancer awareness.

Please, please, please. Think of those 40 teal balloons, and the grieving family she leaves behind. If you can financially support research, that's wonderful. If not, there are other things you can do.

You can share what you know about ovarian cancer. It might not be you who needs that information--it might be a mother, a friend, a wife, a sister. Be an advocate.

And, of course, you can pray.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey, turkey

I'll tell you about our Thanksgiving because it's pretty important to realize that it's not the turkey that makes the holiday great. It's the people clustered around the stove with forks.

To put it mildly, we've had better turkeys. Much better. This one was filled with surprise things (a plastic hanger thing wedged inside, a spare pop-up timer inside the cavity, and a huge bag of ooky bits).

Plus the oven either turned itself off or some pan nudged the OFF button on the control panel, and the turkey sat in a cold oven for an hour.

But I noticed that--It should smell like Thanksgiving, and right now it just smells like Thursday--and got things back on track--late, but back on track.

My daughter had to go to work (wrong! wrong! wrong!) so we actually stood right in the kitchen and ate a wonderful dinner.

As I was carving the rest of the turkey after she left, I noticed a piece of paper coming out of the turkey's rear end. *You may supply your own joke here* Yes, there was another bag of ooky bits tucked in there. I took it out, and the turkey just....deflated. Flat, flat, flat.

It's all good, as my daughter is fond of saying. And it is. It is ALL good. We had a nice dinner, made some fun memories, and the kids and I spent a lot of time saying, "I am thankful for you," because that's what matters.

It's not the turkey (luckily!). It's those moments of intense love--and not just knowing that there's love, but saying it.

I used to have a poster in my room that said something like: Not only to love, but to be told that I am loved. The realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.

I don't have that poster up any more, but I don't need it. The words are etched into my heart, and I so sadly know that they're true.

Thanksgiving may have come and gone, and the turkeys have deflated flatter than a used Macy's parade balloon, but don't wait until next November to turn to someone you love and say, "I am thankful for you."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hey, it's NOVEMBER!

Well, guess what sneaked up on me, and tried to creep on past. Yup, my very favorite month of the entire year!

I've been thinking about how such a terrible thing could have happened. I have several outrageous excuses reasonable explanations.

1. I celebrated my birthday for almost an entire week. It's the year before what the card industry humorously calls a "landmark birthday" (i.e., I'll be changing both numbers of my age, like, oh, 19 to 20, or 29 to 30), so when my splendid pals offered me the chance for lotsa fun, I took it. It was great!

2. I had revisions on my last book. I know, I know. You are ever so surprised, aren't you? I had revisions! Well, my darlings, every book has revisions. At least that's what they tell me. *chews fingernails nervously* You don't suppose they'd---LIE to me, do you?

3. There's this NaNoWriMo thing going on that I signed up for. Unless I write like the very wind, there's a very good chance that I won't get to 50,000 words by the end of the month. I also have this thing called a JOB that requires my presence and attention 8 hours every day, and a family that also requires my presence and attention 37 hours a day. I am a bit busy.

4. I had a lot of Halloween candy that had to be eaten. Hey, somebody has to do it, and you know me. I'm a step-up-to-the-plate kind of gal, and although I know the metaphor is baseball, let's face it. Most of us are stepping up to the plate at the table. That's what November is all about!

5. Thanksgiving! I plan to watch tv, write, and eat, not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily all at the same time, although let's face it, I will. I'm all about time management, and the most effective way to proceed through my busy life is to multitask. Thanksgiving is ideal for that.

6. I'm also very busy with counting my blessings. And there are many. Many.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oct. 31 means----

This is the last day of October. It's a wildly important day!

Halloween. I am prepared for it. I bought bags and bags of Halloween candy. Now, a logical person might point out that last year I got 4 trick-or-treaters so this might be a bit of overspending on my part, but last year the porch light wasn't working, and--oh, who am I kidding? I need it because it's also the last day before....

NaNoWriMo. How can I write a book without the proper amount of snackiness? Do you really think that this brain works on broccoli and brown rice? I hardly think so. I have to come up with a plot really quickly, in like *consults clock* 11 hours and 25 minutes! Or maybe not. Maybe I have 12 hours and 25 minutes. Who knows? Because tonight is the start of....

Daylight savings time. Or is it daylight saving time? I never know if there's an s in there, just like I never remember if we spring forward or back, or fall forward or back. Back in my springing day, I could spring forward or back, just like I have fallen forwards or back. This has never helped me with DST. What I need to know is simply this: Do I get an extra hour? I do? Good! I need it because after October 31 comes....

November. I love November. My birthday! Thanksgiving! And NaNoWriMo in full swing!

Let's give Oct. 31 a big hug today. It deserves it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NaNoWriMo preparations

I'm starting to get ready for NaNoWriMo. It starts in ONE WEEK! And here's what I've done:

*I've figured out which book I'm going to write! This isn't as simple as it might seem. My brain is full of shelves and hooks and tables piled full of ideas. Some are noiser and pushier than others, but that doesn't make them better--necessarily. So I have to look at each one separately, and this is where I get in trouble because I fall in love with them all over again. But one persevered, clamored the most, and was pretty cool, so I chose it.

*I've got the beginning! And the ending! Now I just have to figure out that pesky middle stuff, like who does what when and where and why and how. You know, the details. Okay, not the details. The good old basic plot. This book I chose to write had better get busy in my brain and start laying itself out. Sheesh. Do I have to do EVERYTHING myself?

*These characters need names. I am all over the map on naming my heroine. Nothing seems to quite fit her. I will consult a name book. Hopefully something will leap out of the pages and into my brain. I'm choosing Josh for the guy because I am all about Destination Truth, which is an awesome show on SyFy and I think Josh is smart and funny and cute.

There. Pretty productive weekend, wouldn't you say? Plus I shopped like crazycakes at a couple of BIG HUGE MALLS in Minnesota which was fun but now my entryway is filled with shopping bags I have to unpack and laundry that needs to be done. It's always something, isn't it? And thanks to Harry and David, the best store in the world for snacky food, I'm all set for stuff to eat and type my way through November.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Of Hamsters and Hoovers and Nanowrimo

You know those hamster wheels, the ones that the little critters get in and run like crazy and go nowhere?

Cue the metaphor music. Doesn't that kind of seem like LIFE?

But sometimes it's not quite right. Sometimes it *does* go places, and things get accomplished.

My book is done, and the deep copyedits are done. The writers conference I was the head chick for is done, and it went quite well, I think. I'm look ing forward to doing it next year, too.

Things are quite productive at work and I am never bored.

My house looks like monkeys have been living in it, though, and I have to fix that soon. Shouldn't be a problem. I am ROLLING in free time, right?

Here's the deal: Everybody gets exactly the same amount of time in each day. But something happens to mine. Somehow it gets vacuumed up by the big cosmic Hoover and my seconds, minutes, and hours end up in a canister with goldfish crackers, cat hair, and odd dusty things that nobody knows what they are.

(Aside: I really don't understand why, when the massive Hoover is collecting up all my precious time, it can't take a quick tour down the hall and around the couch. Those two places could really use a quick run-over.)

So, finally my life inhales and exhales and all is good. Everything I've been putting off, I can get it done NOW! Soon! YES! Oh, it will be beautiful!

Until my friend Kacie says, ever so sweetly, "Janet, let's do Nanowrimo," and I'm gone.

For those who don't know what Nanowrimo is, let me explain. For one month, you write like crazycakes and get a book done. Now, that's not at all undoable and I know this from--ahem--personal experience. That was a long time ago and I'm a wiser writer now.


Anyway, the goal is to do a book in a month and the deal is that EVERYBODY in the world is doing it. And when I say EVERYBODY I am not exaggerating, not even a tiny bit. EVERYBODY.

Or maybe everybody who's ever thought:
1. This book is dog drivel. I can do better.
2. I have the BEST IDEA EVER for a book!
3. I need to be rich. I will write a novel.

I'm adding one more:
4. Kacie told me to.

I just have to come up with a plot. No problem. I have, like, two weeks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Useful suggestions

I know how much everyone enjoys it when I make suggestions for how to improve things. The universe needs my input, and I have marvelous ideas. So far I've covered ill-fitting sheets, bad drivers, and books in need of copy editors.

Today I'm tackling the very difficult problem of ELECTRICAL CORDS. Before you start emailing, texting, Twittering, or commenting with helpful hints about re-using cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet paper to stow cords, or how a twist tie can tame an unruly bunch of cords, let me explain.

I mean the cords themselves.

Here it is: Why on earth, in a world filled with technological marvels, does almost every electrical appliance that I might MOVE from one spot or another have to have a cord that comes in two parts? The very act of moving anything that has more than one piece almost guarantees that I will lose at least some part of it.

The Kindle was sidelined for a while until we found the missing bit of its two-piece cord. The missing link was the size of a thick matchbook. It might as well be a microdot when it gets loose in my car or slithers down the side of the couch or vanishes under someone's bed.

The laptop's cord is in two pieces, but I always keep it hooked together--am I committing some kind of electrical crime? If I want to tote it with me, I suppose I might want to separate them, but usually I'm not taking it somewhere. Usually I'm, well, using it!

Why must these cords be in two pieces? Why? Okay, okay, okay. Different electricities or something? I'm not buying it. If there is some real reason (*snort*) for the cord to be in two different pieces, can't they put a strip of plastic connecting the two? Do I have to think of everything?

See how easily I've solved this problem with one little suggestion? I am going to go to the store, get myself a roll of packing tape, and tape these suckers together.

How simple the solution!

Now, off to think about how else I can improve this world we live in.

(You're welcome.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hello, September! What do YOU have in store?

My last post concluded with my list of things I wanted to do. Did I get them all accomplished?

Well, um, gee, let's see...NO!

I did get the book done (although that slid into September, thanks to a bout with some tummy bug). My toes are tipped with a lovely shade of purple. Ice cream and I-love-you's to my kids? Done.

Saturday Market--done (although I realized calling it Saturday Market is a remnant of my Oregon days; here it's called the Farmers Market, although it's more than that). Felt the sun on my shoulders, for a minute or two.

Not long enough for a sunburn. No movies although I'm holding out hope that my schedule will exhale long enough for me to get to one.

I didn't get the house cleaned. No garage sale. No knitting. No tv. No strawberries. No French class. No book in the backyard while guzzling iced tea.

Let's see if I can get any of this done in September! You just never know.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summertime blues

Summertime is--well, it's one of those things in life that never seems to quite live up to its hype. It's full of promise but lately it hasn't been coming through at all well.

It seems like summer is when the you-know-what hits the fan, and why wouldn't it be? It's summer! The fans are on!

I haven't blogged in almost 2 months. And here's what's happened:
1. I had surgery that I'm not recovering from the way I'd hoped. I'm giving up.
2. The plumbing in my house--oh, sigh.
3. This is the worst: a woman died. Not just any woman, but one whom I'd known for almost 40 years, one who gave me my husband, one who loved me. My life has a huge hole in it now, with only memories to fill it in.

There's a month left in summer. I'm going to try to redeem those last 31 days. I'm going to go to the Saturday Market. I'm going to feel the sun on my shoulders and get a sunburn. I'm going to sit in the back yard and read a book and drink iced tea. I'm going to see a movie, preferably one with Johnny Depp in it, and I don't care what the reviews are.

I'm going to clean my house, every single room, and then I'm going to have a garage sale. I'm going to knit a scarf. I'm going to watch TV, and I'm going to take my kids out for ice cream, and I'm going to tell them I love them.

I'm going to finish the long-overdue book that I'm writing, and then I'm not going to write for the rest of the month. I'm going to eat a whole thing of strawberries by myself. I'm going to paint my toenails purple. I'm going to sign up for French class.

But here's what I'm NOT going to do: I'm not standing in front of any fan!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's all about me

I have some secret talents that I am about to un-secret by telling you. Be prepared. You will be impressed.

When I was a kid, my career goal was to be a spy or a PI or something like that. That, of course, requires special skills, and the public school system didn't teach them (busy with math and English and history and such), so I had to teach myself. They are:
*I can read upside down.
*I can write upside down.
*I can write backwards with my left hand.
*I can toss a room and you'd never know I was in there.
*I can breathe so shallowly you'd think I wasn't breathing at all.

Nancy Drew would be so jealous.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Going to Rehab

Maybe it's the curse of having teenagers, but when I hear "Rehab" I think Amy Winehouse. Here, though, "Rehab" is the place I go for physical therapy for post-op knee stuff. The only thing I'm in withdrawl from is walking.

Had a good experience there last week. I was sitting outside on a bench, waiting for my ride, when a woman wearing a bright lime green outfit, her head topped with a big puff of white hair, laboriously pushed a walker toward me. She sank gratefully onto the bench and pulled out a cigarette. She lit it, took a big draw from it, and said to me, "Pain sucks."

And there you have it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clean-up on aisle 4!

I just finished a mystery by a favorite writer, and once again I laid it aside at the end with a sigh. And it wasn't a happy sigh, either.

You're all heard my rants on this before: Punctuation errors, POV switches that are baffling to track, people changing names, story threads simply abandoned--what is going on?

In this case, the most startling error was a reference early on to a conversation that I couldn't find, even upon backtracking. Ah, but I found it several chapters later.

As soon as I saw the conversation appear later on, I knew what had happened. She had changed her mind about where something should be (and rightly so--it did belong later in the book) but she hadn't caught all the little threads associated with it when she moved it.

I immediately wanted to send all of my editors HUGE baskets of flowers. They catch my strays. I can't imagine something like this would have slipped past them, and I'm increasingly grateful for their help!

Yes, I imagine them out there with my manuscript, a mop, a roll of paper towels, and some 409, doing their own version of clean-up on aisle 4. Thank you!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Concert YUM!

Elton John and Billy Joel. Together. How much better can it get? The concert was absolutely wonderful. The music was incredible!

I have what I call my "die-happy" moments, those when I can click off another thing that I've always wanted to do. Last night was one. Singing "Piano Man" with both Billy Joel and Elton John and a couple thousand other people was one of those moments. They stopped and let us sing it back to them. Wow. Just wow.

Now I have Jackson Browne in my sights for the next guy to see. I do like Jackson Browne!

But I do have a question for those people who do group seating: Why, oh why, must you link together folding chairs (no arm rests--one just hooks to the next one) and expect us to sit there for 3 hours? Bear in mind, I'm no physics chick but I do know how big a folding chair seat is and how big a human bottom is. They're meant to be approximately the same size.

And in most humans, the shoulders are about the same width, perhaps a bit bigger. See the problem developing?

Plus, my friends, those things hanging off our shoulders? ARMS? They add about six inches to the top area. So you've got people who are sitting, literally cheek-to-cheek, and what on earth are they supposed to do with their shoulders and arms?

We're given 14 inches of concert real-estate and a whole row of sixteen people have to somehow each accomodate the extra six inches of arm per person? That's 96 extra inches that have to somehow find a place to stay for three hours. Squish City!

This also happened at a writers conference I went to. The chairs were hooked together like that. I'm sensing a trend that must be stopped. (Along with wild dancing--an issue not at writers conferences but yowza, last night! To the chick in front of us: You fell several times. You sat on people. You hit people with your waving arms. No more beer for you, please. You way exceeded your given 14 inches. That's why those around you left.)

However, I am delighted that I got to see these two legends. I just won't go to the same venue again, unless I can be sure I have literally better seating.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy new year--really!

I think it might be spring. Finally. At last. And may I say, It's about time. Winter has pretty much worn out its welcome.

So now I have Spring Fever. Time to clean. Time to dump stuff. Time to move forward.

And that's what it's all really about, isn't it? Moving forward. I always think of spring as the first season of the year, which is silly since the year is already three months old--three months of hardcore winter--and the fourth is undecided. Well. So be it.

I feel energized--well, that's a bit strong. I'm not energized. I'm ready. That's the word. Ready. Ready for change. Ready to shed old skin and try on something new.

If I were going to make resolutions, I'd do it now rather than on a nightmarishly cold night in the midst of winter. I'd do it while the world is tilting into something new.

I have some writing goals for this next year, and we'll see how that all goes. I also have some house goals (does it EVER end?)

What about you?

Happy new year! Spring is here!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why I'm not a doctor

Today I decided to roast a turkey. I'm not a big meat-eater. Actually, if it weren't for bacon I'd probably be a vegetarian.

This wasn't the first time I've roasted a turkey. Over the years I've learned that there are surprise packages inside the turkey. Don't ask me why--and please, don't tell me, either. But there are. There's a mysterious paper or plastic wrapped bundle that I suspect contains something people call gizzards--and they're just as dreadful as their name implies. And there's also an icky bit that I think is a neck. It's huge and ugly and disgusting. I throw them all out.

I'll confess: I roasted a lot of turkeys before I remembered to take these things out. It became a family joke that I'd forget about them.

But not today. The little package is right there, and I throw it away pronto. Then, to get that long ooky thing--well, that requires something that usually only a veterinarian should have to do. Sticking my hand up inside the bird.

It's gross. Really, it is. But that's what you've got to do if you're going to roast a turkey, so I grimace and reach inside.

Or try to. I can't get my hand in there. I push and shove and twist, and no go. Finally I give up and decide to roast the turkey with that nasty piece inside of it.

So one last rinse with water--and what do I see? I've been digging in the wrong end of the turkey!

Color me embarrassed. I retrieve the offending bit, add it to the trash, and pop the bird in the oven.

Later, I take it out. I'm irked that this turkey, which comes from a well-known, top-of-the-line turkey company, doesn't have an "I'm done!" pop-up thing on it.

But worse--it just kind of looks odd. There aren't really legs, and it's an odd dark color. I carve into it, and it's dark meat, and not much at all. It's bones!

I'm starting to get steamed now, and, to tell the truth, sort of freaked. What is this thing?

Well, guess what. I have it upside down in the pan. I'm not carving the breast! I'm carving its, well, you know. Its underpinnings, if you get my drift.

I know that some chefs say this is the best way, and honestly, it turned out wonderfully.

And this explains why I'd make a terrible doctor. I can't tell the neck from the (ahem) bottom, and the breast from the back. Someone would come to me with a sore throat and I'd say....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flood Poem

Water should be...

In the river, not in the street.
In the pool, not in your house.
In the sink, not in the basement.
In the bathtub, not on your main floor.

Water, listen to me!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In which I fix something wrong with the world...


What's got me cranked up tonight? Well, let me back up to last night.

I have a cat. She's a stunningly beautiful cat and I love her to absolute pieces. But she has a delicate constitution, the poor princess, and last night she had a teeny tiny upset in her teeny tiny tummy and urped a big gigantic nasty thing on my bed, right by my pillow.

Laundry time.

I usually don't undertake changing my sheets late at night, but it was Absolutely Necessary. Oh, I hate changing my sheets. And why?


A king-sized bed is not a square, but I'll be dipped if I can figure out which is the shorter side of the sheet, especially when it's crinkled up on the ends with the elastic. I started marking the bottoms of the sheets with a big B--I am big big big on saving myself unneeded grief--but of course, the set last night had no such B, or it washed out or something.

Wrestle, wrestle, wrestle the sheet into place, only to see that I have apparently gotten it wrong as one corner pops off and I have to start again. So I do. This time there's a huge wrinkle across the middle, and the corners are poking up like tiny cloth mountains, and I know, I just KNOW, that as soon as I plop onto the bed, they'll snap free and I'll be back at square one--trying to make my bed, still, as dawn's early light creeps over the horizon because no matter how I try, I cannot get it right.

I was not happy. I was sweaty from all that exertion. And why? I have yet to get a mattress pad and sheets that actually fit a real bed--they're all just a teensy bit too small, so they spring off the second you go to the other side to deal with THOSE corners.

Do sheet manufacturers sit in their offices and chuckle all day long, thinking of this as corporate short-sheeting?

There has to be some better way. I mean really, they're sheets! We're not talking about, oh, a Large Hadron Collider or something that has scads of little parts that can go blooey. If a bailout goes to a sheet manufacturer, I want it tied into a promise that they'll clearly mark the bottom of the sheet and give us that extra inch we need to keep the sheets in place.

(And I know about the bed garters--had some. But the point isn't that I can buy something else to fix the sheets. They should make them right the first time!)

Sigh. Sheets. So complicated!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I love this....

I absolutely love this. Sound on, please.

Neil Gaiman is brilliant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your secret's safe with me

I love lists. It doesn't have anything to do with a failing memory, really, it doesn't. I just have a lot of stuff going on and if I don't write it down, well, I don't actually forget it--I just don't remember it exactly when I should.

I see my brain as one big CPU. There are times when I'm out of RAM--which is why I could never make it on Jeopardy. Or at least I could never win. I'd be doing those rabbit trails through my mind:

Janet: I'll take What I Had For Dinner for $500, Alex.
Alex: And the answer is: Sunday night!
Janet: Um, um, um, um...
As my mind goes through what it can piece together from Sunday night--> Sick child. Made food on Saturday, he didn't eat it. I saved it but then he got better and he ate it. So no leftovers. Sunday. Did laundry. Washed dishes. Thinking about what dishes I washed in case there's a clue there. Nope. Back to laundry. No help there. Did the Sunday crossword puzzle. Finished it, too. Brushed the cat. Fed the cat. I know what she ate. What did I eat? Boy, my brain is toast. Toast. Made toast. Peanut butter. AH!
Janet: What is: Toasted peanut butter sandwich!
Alex: Oh, I'm sorry. Too late! The buzzer went off five minutes ago, Janet.

My mind is filled with important things like: The phases of cell division are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telephase. Saki's real name was H.H. Munro. The members of Cream were Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. I lived at 513 E. Court Street when I was seven.

How can I possibly remember to buy more toothpaste? Dry the towels that are in the washing machine? Order more checks?

If you want to commiserate with me, I'd be glad to hear your tale of woe. Just don't expect me to remember it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy birthday

Today's a day filled with memories--if he'd lived, he would have been 59 today.

What love can do to your heart....

Happy birthday, babe.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life's lesson...lost on me

Life keeps trying to teach me One Big Lesson, and I just don't seem to be able to get it. What, you ask, is it?

Is it: Be kind to animals? No. I'm already way too kind to animals. I won't even use the shredder or the vacuum cleaner unless the cat is far away in the house because their sounds upset her. I get up even before dawn has cracked because Behemoth Cat has already eaten the Fancy Feast from the night before, and dry food, my darlings, just will not do it. I use my laptop at a horrible angle because to use it correctly would infringe on her lapspace. I sleep on the edge of the bed because she prefers the good spot, in the middle where the blanket is full around her.

Is it: Be gentle and sweet and all that good stuff? Oh, right. We're talking about me, remember? I'm already gentle and sweet and all that good stuff. Were you not paying attention?

Is it: Think of others first? Well, no. I'm finally learning NOT to do that all the time. So shoot me. It's about time I found a backbone. I'm only a hundred and eighty gazillion years old.

Okay, here's the lesson:


True, true, true.

Driving to work: I always, and I mean ALWAYS, get behind somebody going a nice steady 15 mph, and who cautiously slows down at every green light just in case it plans to turn yellow and then red within the next five minutes. Here's a clue: It will.

Doing laundry/dishes/housework: If I run through it in my brain, all this should be accomplished zippity-quick but it never works out that way. Things have to be sorted and rinsed and stray bits of stuff banished to wastebins and disposals. And there's definitely a good amount of that always engaging game: What Do You Suppose THAT Is?

Paying bills: Here's what slows me down on that. Find the bill. Check the due date. Pass out. Come back up. Try to pay by phone. Learn that's only possible 7 am to 3 pm, Outer Siberian time. I am not in Outer Siberia. Go online. Oh, look at that. Internet is down. Restart router. Whew. Now the site is down. Sigh. Open the checkbook. Out of checks. Get up, find the box of checks. Sit down. Where's that bill? Find the bill. Write the check. Bill has slithered off somewhere. Find it under the chair. Put it with the check. No envelope. Get up, find an envelope. Put the bill in the envelope--uh-oh, where's the check? Ah. On the table by the box of envelopes. Return address label, easy. Stamp? Stamp? Uh-oh. Thirty minutes later I might have paid one bill.

Writing a book. Once upon a time I was an absolute writing dervish. I have even written a book in a single day. And that memory is engraved in my mind. Now, bear in mind that I can't remember most anything else but I do remember that. I wrote a book in a single day! But here's the kicker in that memory: I was a whole lot younger then. I could even, oh, stay up all night! On purpose! (Just as an aside: Getting older speeds up once you hit the mid-50s. Everything that can will sag, wear out, clog up, or wrinkle. And it does it all in one day. You go to bed, looking like you're in your 30s and wake up as your grandma. It's the pits.)

And so this post, which has taken me much longer than I'd anticipated, is over!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

So much for the digital highway, which slowed to a digital traffic jam around 11 am Central time. I missed seeing our new President being sworn in and hearing his address--apparently everybody was online at the same time. I don't know if anyone else got to see it online or if the feeds crashed all over the place. I just know that I didn't get to see it. Sniff. The online world let me down!

But I did read his address online (and loved it!), and tonight I'm sure the news will replay his taking the oath.

Tonight, though, I have to be very very good and not get caught up in the splendid balls that will be going on. I'm sure they'll be covered both online and on cable. I am on deadline, and last night the words were flowing wonderfully, so good that I couldn't sleep, but the sensible part of my brain was saying, You need to get up early and sign up for RWA! And then go to work! You must sleep!

Well, I didn't sleep. And although I was online at 8 am to sign up for RWA and the hotel, THAT took until after 9 am, thanks to el crasheroo at their site. I should have figured it was a sign of things to come--or not to come, as the case may be.

But I did get registered, did get a hotel room, Sen. Obama became Pres. Obama, and life went on. And look at me--back online.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obligatory post about the weather

I had to chuckle last night when I saw that Yahoo! had two news items spotlighted.

One was a newscast about how deadly the cold was and how horrible it was that people were exposed to it in their jobs. The temperature they were talking about? 20 degrees. ABOVE zero.

The other was about the cold that was sweeping the midwest, and yes, even my community was mentioned for its notable freeziness. Our temperature? 37 degrees. BELOW zero.

20 degrees above zero sounds pretty tropical right about now. That's 57 degrees warmer than we are. And no, nothing closes when it's 37 below. I still have to walk from my car to work. That's about a block. Schools are in session, and some children walk home from school. The mall is open. The grocery store is open. Nothing closes.

I like to say that up here, our blood doesn't flow--it chugs. We're a hardy bunch up here. Or a totally nutso bunch???

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cute, cute, cute

A couple of days ago I couldn't find anything on late-night tv to watch (imagine that!) and ended up watching listening to one of those entertainment shows where they revisit celebrity news. The only reason I kept the show on was the lure of "cute things falling asleep." Every commercial break was preceded and ended by the promise that they were going to talk about this wonderful website.

Finally they did, but I had to watch listen to a lot of booooooooring stuff first. However, it was so worth it.

I admit it. I'm a sucker for babies or kittens or puppies anyway. And here's a site where you can watch short videos of children and animals conking out.

Sleepy Baby 10 is by far my favorite.

It's a great site for when you want a quick chuckle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tabula Rasa

Tabula rasa--it's a concept I learned about in philosophy and education, and I really liked it from the moment I first heard of it. We start with a blank slate and experience writes upon it.

Well, theoretically our slates should get fuller as we get older. But you know how it is: some people gets their slates filled faster than others. Some people have a lot of cross-outs on theirs (can't erase on your slate, sorry). Some people seem to have basically empty slates.

The writing on my slate crisscrosses and is edited and re-edited and is marked with lots of doodles. And the ink is probably magenta. I like magenta ink.

Anyway, I've decided I need to learn some more stuff--to get more writing on my slate--so I checked out the offerings in community education.

Oh, WOW!

Knitting! Well, of course I already knit but I am a total inept when it comes to changing skeins. I'd spend my entire life doing one skein projects just to avoid changing skeins. So here's a class in basic knitting. I hope I'll learn how to change skeins. And maybe find a way to do double-pointed needles without looking like a buffoon.

Felting! I love felted things. Here's a class in it. I'll be able to make those cute felted hats and purses!

Plumbing! I know nothing about plumbing but plumbing knows about me. It seems like whenever there's a plumbing emergency, it's at midnight on a holiday weekend. Wouldn't it be nice if I knew how to at least turn the water off? There's a one-night class in the basics of plumbing. The teachers seem to cover it all--in one night. I'm excited!

Pottery! I can't wait to dig my hands in some slimy gooey clay and make a breath-taking pottery masterpiece. I know I have some incredible talent that will be released in this class. Think of all the years I focused on POETRY when it should have been POTTERY. Stupid dyslexia.

So by the time spring rolls around, my tabula will no longer be so rasa. There'll be lots more stuff written on it--in magenta ink, of course.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Caffeinated Janet

I knew it. I knew I shouldn't have. It was after 3 pm--as a matter of fact, it was 7 pm. But the coffee smelled SO good and the company was SO good and the gossip was SO good, I couldn't help myself: Yes, I'd love a cup!

So far I've done this:
1. Wandered hither and yon on the internet.
2. Put new flannel sheets on the bed--wrestled a pillow into a pillowcase clearly meant for, oh, a pair of socks or something.
3. Looked at some stuff that needs to be sorted through, but sorting through is so, you know, inert.
4. Thought about exercising, but the flannel sheets thing was worth a good two hours of cardio. I mean, honestly, what is with new flannel sheets and those teeny tiny pillowcases? Can they make it any more difficult to put clean sheets on a bed?
5. Looked at the dishes. Ick.
6. Folded up old blankets to take to Hugo's for the Humane Society drop.
7. Cracked myself up because I originally typed Human Society drop. If only....
8. Wondered where my knitting project is. Wondered what my knitting project is.
9. Eyed my book. Could I sit long enough to read?
10. Thought about MY book. It's due in 20-something days. Too caffeinated to think about it.

I give up! I need help. What do YOU do when you're caffeinated?