Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Electrical storm

Rage

Nod and I growled at each other like territorial cats last night. Fluffed up and snarly. It wasn't personal. We were just thwarted in various ways and had only each other to howl at. I stomped out into a thunder storm to go grocery shopping. I got to see some cool lightning on the way there. It poured when I got out of the store and unloaded the groceries. I felt dumb for my timing but nonetheless felt much better emotionally after the lightning, thunder and dousing.

Summer

I'm worried about getting Katy into the Boys&Girls Club summer program. I was told yesterday they only have thirty spots. How can that be? What do working parents do?? I've called a chain daycare center. It offers a school age summer program. $140 per week. I don't have a very good impression of them but for the summer I could deal as long as K wasn't miserable. I need options here. Next year we'll have two kiddos to place.

Spent a few minutes fantasizing about quitting my job. But that doesn't seem to get us anywhere we want to be. I'm trying to be patient while Nod starts at this job. But I'm not really feeling patient. I want him settled in a job he can do for three to five years. Like a grown up. And I want steady income dammit.

Farflung blogs

I've had a quiet few days at work and have been reading to the ends of the internet. I am languishing for the next Belgian Waffle update but have been amply consoled by her links list. John Scalzi is answering reader questions this week and I like his 'would you go into space?' response. He's sort of a guy who's famous for being famous on the internet but I still like his brand of palaver. I've read two of his sci fi novels and I would describe them as entertaining but not amazingly well written.

Fringe

I am growing my hair out lately and looking out for possible haircuts that would give me some cute factor. Whoorl has strong opinions and favors nothing but long bangs swept to the side. I don't know if my wavy cow-lick-y bangs will do that. Eventually we will have warm humid weather and I will hie me to the hairdresser for shearing. I'll be sure and issue a report.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Crafty

For your wonderment I give you Antonia's quest for a couple of long lost songs. She had them running through her head and wrote down the musical notes of their hooks. Read the comments to see the responses. They named those tunes right quick. Amazing. And I liked the music too. There's a neighboring post about looking in the mirror after a hard night and resembling Snape as portrayed by Alan Rickman. In the sidebar is an ad: "1 Rule to a Concave Head I can carry onions on my head after following these simple exercises." She's a kick in the pants.

Another first for me: I heard someone texting while on the toilet. Taptaptaptaptaptap. After some consideration I’ve decided that it’s better than talking on the phone on the throne. But that’s still too much multitasking.

Looking at the Christmas 2006 picture of Katy and Lexi. They're so different now -- and not just because they're bigger. Katy had front teeth. And Lexi had long long hair. Katy is wearing pjs and a sweatshirt that fit Lexi now. Both of them are smiling nicely for me under the Christmas tree. I have a desire to see what Katy’s new smile will look like when her other top front tooth decides to mosey on down. (The baby tooth has been gone since December. Should we be worried? I plan to grill the dentist at her appt next month.) Lexi’s hair has grown out almost to her shoulders again. I suspect she’ll want it off her neck during the summer. I hope the bangs that I cut too far back on her head will grow out significantly in the next few months. Right now they are embarrassing but if I cut them again then she'll just have half a head of bangs and that's embarrassing too.

I'm going to my first book club meeting in two weeks. I haven't finished the book yet (but I've read it before so I'll be all right whether I buckle down or no). I thought I should have a couple of titles in my pocket should they be looking for 'to read' suggestions. And I'm blanking. What's burning a hole in your to be read pile? I'll be looking at the Bookslut blog for ideas too.

Bookslut pointed me to a nonfiction book, something I rarely essay. Jennifer Traig's Devil in the Details is a memoir of her girlhood growing up with OCD. It's sidesplitting, really funny. I was shocked at how breezy she is without being insincere. She survived the undiagnosed OCD, presumably treats it successfully and now has a career as a crafts guide writer. Her book contains the only example I've ever seen of the term "loadie" in print. This was what we called druggies in my jr. high and high school. I think she does play fast and loose with some of her set dressing details. (At one point she says that her rural California hick neighbors were busy making meth. But in the late 70s, early 80s it must have been LSD. Nit picked.) I found the book in the Young Adult section of our library. I felt a little self-conscious over there but didn't erupt in flames. It's a quick read. I almost want to track down some of Traig's craft books now...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lips and Pants

For this entry I’m mining a blog comment I made elsewhere today. I am not sure whether that’s pathetic or thrifty.*

The writer alluded to some OCD in her desire to post every single day. And I admitted that I love when my favorite bloggers reveal that they’ve folded their blogging into their OCD routines. It’s a little callous and selfish I know. But it’s practically a guarantee of regularly occurring new blog entries! Fabulous.

She also included the phrase ‘pursed his lips’. Only last night my seven y.o. asked what ‘pursed lips’ were. I floundered a bit but settled on ‘lips pushed together, like when you’re thinking about something.’ Some writers use the phrase to mean a specific facial expression but I think there are many possible. It can’t just be lips bunched as if to kiss. It was fun to question my assumptions.

Then I was busy thinking about lips. And francophones who of course do a lot more with their lips than we English speakers. When I was trying to speak French I found I had a better accent when my lips were more mobile. (That sounds like they were wandering around on my face.) The French exhalation of disdain (often written pah!) is a wonderful mouth exercise.

*Speaking of thrift I made it to the Catholic thrift store at my lunch hour today. I bought oven mitts because I can’t bear to look at ours any longer. I don’t even know if I want to try washing our old ones. With grease and char marks, they are not beautiful things. I found two pairs of pants for me and a shirt each for Nod and youngest child. I never try anything on there, everything is cheap enough to risk it. So I’ll get to see how the pants fit tonight.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grace

A graceful post from Sundry; thinking about death. Just a little day brightener for you there. I feel like I should remember that very English quote she uses as a title but no dice. Probably in the comments if I could be bothered to read through.

Sundry starts with the image of knocking the wind out of herself. I tried to explain this phenomenon to Katy recently and found it hard. She was showing me her flip off the horizontal bar at the school playground. I reminisced about my playground expertise. And described how I’d learned to flip, no-hands, but at the expense of knocking the wind out of myself a couple of times. Have you ever done it? It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never seen or experienced it. I wonder when was the last time I knocked the wind out of myself? I remember when I learned to rollerblade in my 20s and used to zoom about UNM campus sidewalks with Mac. One day I skinned my knee pretty dramatically (cursed electrical cord across the sidewalk). The next day the scab had formed and I was transported back to age eight. I never knew knocking some skin off would remind me so strongly of being a preteen. I think seven or eight is a fabulous age as far as hurling your body through space. Your coordination and muscle tone is better than it’s ever been and your body mass is so small that you can do a lot of cool things. Katy is taking good advantage of this. We watched her climb up a straight pole at the playground. And she’s matched the hand to hand monkey bar transit. Lexi, at almost 5yo, is more cautious. She has been enjoying tooling about on the tricycle that she’s about to outgrow.

We had a gorgeous mild spring weekend. It was awfully nice to be outside again. I got a little bit of yardwork done. I cleared off our driveway and part of one quarter of the yard and filled 9 bags with leaves. It’s sort of killing me how many leaves there are. I was hoping more of them would have blown away or rotted over the winter. Guess there was a reason some of our neighbors picked all theirs up in the fall. Considering our desire to be gone from the house I am not going to make any yardwork promises. Picking up and weeding the contents of the house is probably more urgent at this point. But I did enjoy the outside time and the visible progress made (statistically small though it may be).

I had Nod fetch me a DVD to watch when he went out to see a friend on Saturday night. It was Tropic Thunder. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the opening trailers. OMG – Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire as the star crossed monks! I insisted that Nod watch those with me and we ended up seeing the whole thing. Mr. Cruise’s performance was an entirely unexpected thing of beauty.

Also watched recently Rivers and Tides. And this after seeing a work of Goldsworthy's at the De Young when I was in San Francisco. (Thanks to the Danish for pointing it out!) Nod said that the artist reminded him of Katy, how driven and concentrated they are. I thought he seemed both inspired and loony, but in not in a bad way. His repeated shapes are so cool. And icicle sculpting is just gorgeous -- but I can't see making my hands that cold for my art.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zeitgeist, Stroke and Pole

This Wall Street Journal article gets at some of the unspoken mood of the US. Our assumptions have been shaken. After living in the 80s and 90s and 00s that is what amazes me. There have been plenty of events during the last three decades to shake our assumptions. And none of them have. The market was hot and real estate went through the roof and we would get around to greenhouse gases and the end of fossil fuels later sometime. But here now in 2009, things will not go on as they did before in the financial world. This is probably a good thing in many cases but the result is lots of uncertainty. Also see Bee’s Monopoly post about the feeling of tenseness. We’re all wondering how bad it will get financially. Should we hunker and pinch pennies? Or if you’ve got a comfortable amount, should you spend right along to try and keep local businesses afloat? I hope we will all escape hunger and homelessness and bumble along one way or another.

The WSJ piece also notes an uptick in catholic church attendance. Ha! I’m part of the zeitgeist, like it or not.

Oh lord that reminds me. I have church homework. As part of confirmation class we’re supposed to pick a bible verse or story we find comforting. The cool part of the assignment is that we’re also supposed to pick a verse or story that troubles us or that we don’t understand. That won’t be hard. I’ll just have to decide on my favorite. But one that I find comforting… I suppose I could just get psalmy and pick one that’s read at funerals. I really am insufferable to worry about what my confirmation class will think of me if I pick an obvious bible verse. I guess I want them to see how cool and smart I am by the obscure yet haunting verse I pick. Everyone, all together now, EYEROLL.

That was the end of logical transitions, now I'll just whirl 'round and accost you on the subject of sudden brain injury:

What do you know about stroke? I fear strokes without knowing too much about the phenom. There is an email circulating that my boss forwarded to us today. It contained a quick way to tell whether someone has just had a stroke. It looked both like a commonly forwarded email *and* like good advice (not such a common combination) so I looked for some corroboration. Snopes.com came through for me. It has a nice page on stroke info and endorses this STR test with only slight reservations. The mnemonic is STR, the first three letters in stroke. S Smile – can the person smile? T Talk – Can they repeat a sentence? R Raise – Can they raise both arms over their head? If no to any one of these, get them to a hospital for evaluation asap. The urgency is that treatment within three hours may be much more effective than treatment after that window. I think I can remember this, for a while anyway. Snopes also warns against a different quacky email that encourages you to get all ten fingers of the stroke victim to bleed in order to theoretically relieve the pressure in their brain. Shudder.

This weekend I came up with a new bumper sticker idea that made Nod and I guffaw for a while: I’d Rather Be Pole Dancing. My inspiration was a strange outfit we’d seen at the pizza buffet on Sunday. This woman’s look seemed to be saying: stripper out for Sunday brunch.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hot fudge!

Mother is appeased. She just wanted to see if we were being flung into the streets. And she wanted to make sure I had a credit card in my name to establish my own credit history. Check -- the five years of living in sin before marrying gave me plenty of practice steering my own rickety financial boat. She offered her house if we do get flung into the streets. She said families live together if times get tough. And they grumble and figure a way to get along. I suppose that's true. I'm lucky to have her as backup. She's also talking about possibly relocating to Lawrence after she sells her house in maybe three years. That makes me unhappy about potentially losing my anchor in NM. I will have to think more on this.

Nod's birthday was celebrated. He only scowled for some of it. I did not sing him the Bear in the Big Blue House birthday song but I had it going through my head all evening. I made vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce from scratch. The kids didn't care for hot fudge but we adults found it pretty prime. When we got into bed last night I scritched his head and said happy birthday and that we were glad we could celebrate him. He acknowledged that he could get into the being celebrated rather than celebrating birthdays.

He seems to have a good crop of prospects for his insurance/investment sales. He starts his training in earnest on the 23rd. He's been setting meetings and keeping busy and I want him to succeed and like it. I hope to know more next month. Like whether this job will be a go or whether there will be gnashing of teeth and more job hunting. He is definitely more relaxed and jolly since shaking the WalMart dust from his shoes.

Lexi started a fever and chills last night and was shivering when she came to the table so I gave her a graham cracker instead of ice cream. I insisted she take some tylenol before bed. That child is so easy going except for two things: 1) taking medicine offends her and is always preceded by tears. (Cough medicine makes her barf, I have just given up on that stuff.) 2) blowing her nose. Will not do it. It must tickle or somehow feel intolerable to her. We have a hard time not coaching. I have learned not to watch while she's wiping her nose. She will grow out of it and it's not worth hectoring her about it. So anyway she slept fine last night but still felt a little hot at five am. I hope she can throw it off whatever it is. Nod's got her this morning and I will go home at lunch time and take over. It's fairly quiet at work this week.

I just friended my high school boyfriend on facebook. My reaction to this is Hee! and also Do I have time for this? I will see how the facebooking goes this year. I read yesterday that LiveJournal has lost most of its technical staff and its Russian owners can't figure how to monetize it any better than its former owners.

One link for your reading pleasure: Gore Vidal's article on Sinatra for Esquire in 1966. Esquire has put up free online access to a handful of their "greatest articles." This is a really great read. The phrase "a table of four unaccompanied young ladies" really brought home the different mores to me. I wouldn't go live in that time for nuthin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More than a toe in

Religious Instruction

I’m going whole hog, starting classes in preparation for baptism the Sunday after Easter. I am into it even as I can’t quite believe I’m doing it. This feels like our church home. I wonder what the future will bring. My mother is threatening to come to my baptism. I’ll be happy to see her if so. I've just written to my MIL who will probably also be all over this. She's the motivated Christian among us.

I found out last week that my brother has been going to Catholic classes with his sons. Ry’s first wife was Catholic and they were married with a long mass and all. But they never went afterwards as far as I know. (Did they? I don’t remember hearing about my nephews baptisms or anything.) I don’t think my brother did any other churching besides our family’s Unitarian-ing until now. But here we are, both going to our religious instruction classes. We must all be needing the spiritual dimension now. Seems like the right sort of activity for an economic downturn.

Motherly Concern

Now that I’ve told her a bit about our ignominious money crunch my mother is worried about me. I thought I had explained that we had no money sense and were low on options and so forth. But apparently I had not prepared the ground adequately. So now I get the “it’s hard not to be able to talk to you on the phone” (I guess this is because I didn’t call her over the weekend) and “I’m going to write you a Real letter with a list of questions.” Argh, just what I need - homework. I am calling her tonight to try and head off her armada of concern. (With my fleet of… metaphor turns its toes up and croaks.)

Linkless

Though it feels impolite, I have no links. Sorry.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Quotations and Skin

I was thinking yesterday about the Caterpillar’s advice to Alice: “Keep your temper.” The wonderful thing about it is that Alice has been standing by the mushroom waiting patiently for it to say something. And at long last that’s all it says. How infuriating and petty. And yet also good advice. There’s the question I should keep in mind next time I read Alice in Wonderland: what is the import of keeping and losing one’s temper in that universe?

“The goo is good. I like the goo!” Katy said that over the weekend, I wish I could remember to what she was referring

I’m enjoying Michael Lewis’s article about how Iceland financially imploded. Sorry Icelanders, I don’t mean that I’m enjoying your misfortune.
Here's the quote that made me snort...

Because Iceland is really just one big family, it’s simply annoying to go around asking Icelanders if they’ve met Björk. Of course they’ve met Björk; who hasn’t met Björk? Who, for that matter, didn’t know Björk when she was two? “Yes, I know Björk,” a professor of finance at the University of Iceland says in reply to my question, in a weary tone. “She can’t sing, and I know her mother from childhood, and they were both crazy. That she is so well known outside of Iceland tells me more about the world than it does about Björk.”


I’m sure the Danish will get around to reading this in print as she is a big Vanity Fair fan. I have seen this article linked three times so far in blogs I read. It be popular.

Oh and here’s something from a Nancy Nall comments section:
What is the difference between a pigeon and an investment banker? The pigeon can still make a deposit on a new Mercedes.
Nancy is a freelancing former journalist, one of the two Detroit bloggers I read regularly. She seems to be losing her patience with news in both the political and financial spheres.

I've been treating my rosacea (acne around the nose and mouth) for a couple of years now. And I have found something that helps me besides oral antibiotics. Those work but I don't want to take them for the rest of my days. Azelaic acid is my topical of choice, brand name Finacea. And isn't that a cool name, azelaic acid? Turns out to be a chemical compound that is excreted by beneficial yeast on the surface of the skin. Count me in favor of beneficial excretions. I found out about this from a rosacea website and my (nice but possibly quacky) doctor agreed to prescribe it. My skin is less red and irritated and pustulatory -- I win. My doctor agreed to write me a bunch of refills for me to use it as I choose. And asked me if I needed any other prescriptions at this time. I wondered if I was missing out by not asking for something recreational. But that is not my life.