Comfort and Limitations

It’s dark when the alarm goes off and my husband hits the snooze button to squeeze a few more precious minutes of sleep from his restless night.  I lay there not quite wanting to open my eyes and tentatively move my sore limbs, regretting my decision to tear down a fence in the back only a little, thinking, not bad for an old chick, as I become familiar with each ache.

The sound of the shower motivates me to swing my feet to the chilly floor and shuffle downstairs to turn on the kettle for tea.  One English Breakfast tea bag goes into the stainless travel mug for my husband and I fill the coffee pot to the six line for myself, dumping two mounded scoops of coffee into the basket before remembering to actually turn it on.

The cat is looking at me from her perch on the arm chair and I’m wondering why she isn’t yeowling at me like she normally does at this point in my morning routine, hurrying me along so that she can have a fresh bowl of food.  I glance at the dog’s dish to make sure my son has fed her before heading down to tend to the cat, proceding with caution on the stairs because I know she’ll come barreling down them right as I’m ready to take another step and I don’t want to be a feature story on the 5PM news.  But she doesn’t today, and I look back to see her staring at me, seemingly as uninspired in this routine as I am.  I tap the spoon on the rim of the cat food can and peer around the corner to see her headed down the stairs.  She stretches each hind leg, then looks up at me and yeowls, as if to say, it’s about time.

Continue reading “Comfort and Limitations”

Information you can live without.

How are you doing out there in Bloggsville? Are you getting as slow a start to 2008 as I? No? Great. So how about sending me some of your energy since I have absolutely NONE. Jeez. I could actually take a nap and I never have done that sort of thing. I’ve never been able to figure out how people do that. When I’ve taken a nap — oh, about once or three times in my life, I’m not refreshed. I suck. My butt’s dragging around and I’m cranky. So what else is new, right? Whatever.

So with this incredible lackluster beginning, I’m going to take care of one of your favorite things…a meme. The best thing about this meme is the person who tagged me: Lis of La Mia Cucina. Lis has the knack of being able to brighten my day with the most ridiculous crap. I LOVE it! Jokes, videos, trials and tribulations — you name it. She’s completely hilarious. But she’s also quite the human. The day we arrived in VA, a box of holiday goodness arrived bearing her return address. Home baked cookies (six different kinds?) Christmas decorations and a warm and lovely grey scarf were nestled under the tissue just waiting to be enjoyed. Thanks, Lis!

But you’re going to be pissed at me, Lis, ’cause I’m not tagging anyone. And just so you know you’re not alone, I’ve got awards stacked up from summer to hand out. Think I’m a bit behind? Um…yah. So now that the rest of you are relieved, you can keep reading if you are interested in finding out even more useless information about whom else?


Continue reading “Information you can live without.”

Parts is Parts

What does it say about me when I can admit that I spent most of my morning at work putting labels and stickers on file folders in preparation for this next year of business and L.O.V.E.D. it?

CONTROL. The woman craves CONTROL. (insert wicked and crazed laughter here and clasp your hands near your chin, making sure to rub them as if applying lotion) It’s an office supply problem. You know. Paper, and pencils, envelopes and white out? I’ve always had an issue with office supplies, and I’ve learned there’s no cure.

But wait! There’s more.

I worked a whole extra 90 minutos loving it. I could see a real live finished product that had dimension. And I could carefully pick up all the brightly colored folders, and click them on the desktop to make sure they were PERFECTLY lined up. So. Cool.

About half way through my time, someone brought up New Year’s Resolutions, and I was surprised that I hadn’t even thought of making one. Of course, now, it’s still on my mind. But not so much that it has kept my drawers in a knot or anything. Now that would be quite the conundrum. Call this practiced avoidance.

Why do you need a resolution when you have a list. I made one last night before going to bed so I could hit the ground running when I got home from my J.O.B. Guess what was first on the list? Okay, so you’ll never guess, and although I’m a complete pro at Twenty Questions, I’ll cut to the chase…

…my friends at Best Buy. Or better said if you’ve watched the show on Monday nights, Chuck, which is beyond surprisingly good for television and no, I’ve never watched Boston Legal, or 30 Rock, or…Okay, you get it. Buy More. That’s what the store is called on Chuck. Best Buy is Buy More. Whatever.

Anyway, I called like a gracious and tolerant consumer who has been screwed and dragged over the coals by the capitalist machine that will be the bane of our existence before we know it ahem…has been so patient with an obvious communication problem.

I was less than thrilled when Josh answered the phone after I dealt with the cheerful machine and sitting on hold for 10 minutes. It wasn’t that Josh wasn’t thrilling. He’s been well trained. “Let me verify that the television we’re talking about is at (***) 555-DORK.” I told him that was correct and that there were most likely red flags and unhappy faces stamped around my phone number along with a few Jolly Rogers and a Fickle Finger of Fate for good measure. After a professional pause, he stated that they did not deal with red flags and unhappy faces (bwahahahahahaha!) and then he read me the notes the supervisor wrote on 12-14 after I spoke with her about what could be done.

Poor Josh read, “General Electronics (authorized posers) is having difficulty ordering parts.” I could only gasp delicately and ask him to tell me if that meant the parts to fix our T.V. still had not been ordered before I collected myself to breathe scorching flames through the receiver. He politely responded that,” because I’m not a supervisor, ma’am (wince), I may not be able to access all the information regarding what has transpired.”

So yes I spoke to yet another supervisor whose name I was provided without a request and isn’t that stellar customer service? But after she said hello, she asked to put me on hold so she could review the service notes. Uhhh…what service?

And when she couldn’t tell me whether parts had or hadn’t been ordered, I told her I would take the T.V. to the closest Buy More Sucker Store and stay there until they gave me a new T.V.

And guess what?

She said in her well-trained and pleasant customer type service voice, ” I can submit an authorization for you, if you’d like.”

Huh? “An authorization for what?” I asked.

“An authorization for a replacement T.V. which will take three to five business days.”

Go figure. So I told her I’d prefer the quickest way to ensure the T.V. was totally functional and wasn’t this a lot of horse shit from me.  She said she’d pursue both avenues and ain’t that special. I was smiling, however. And I did NOT raise my voice ONE time. But my eyebrows were very angry.

So next Wednesday, I’ll bring this up again. You will be soooooo over it, but it will be so special to find out whether I’ve been granted a brand spanking new T.V. or parts. And you know what they say about parts.

Parts is parts…OR…the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

What’s that song that says something about being happy if you know it and clapping your hands?

Yah. Like that.

Now, on to the next thing on my list.

Dear Desiree…

Tally-Ho NaBloMoPo on Day 14. So move it. Can you do it? Make it burn…on three…ready? Let’s go. Whatever. But this one will be short, because I have to do a post on my food blog today, too. I was nearly done with a post two days ago, was loading the last photo, and then…Yes. That stoopid message that says something about being reset so the connection was lost came up after I realized things were getting a bit slow and I suspected the inevitable was about to happen. When’s the last time you actually saw mad? You know. Like, really mad.

November 14, 2007

Dear Ms. Bartlett:

I just thought I’d take a moment today to let you know you kicked my butt the other day. Seriously. I should have known better, and that’s what I get for not taking the time to do a bit of research; i.e., look before you leap. I should have channel-surfed a bit. But you looked so harmless. So sweet. It was that smile.

I’m sure you’re far too busy for someone like me, but I’ve been trying to find ways to make sure I get regular exercise. I don’t always look forward to it, but do a fairly good job of getting in some exercise at least four days a week. But I’ve been struggling with the time change since I have a tendency to go out late in the afternoon or early evening to walk — hopefully right before the MoH gets home. One day it was completely dark by the time I’d finished, and although I sort of enjoy that, occasionally, the brush by the side of the road engages my overactive imagination and my constructive pessimistic proclivities begin to map out my defense on the chance the boogey man is hiding in the bushes and is getting ready to jump out to get me. Little does he know that I’m ready to grab the sides of his face in my palms and dig my thumbs into his eyeball sockets, knee him in the nards, and if necessary, ram his nose up into his sinus cavity with the base of my palm. Of course, a lifetime of repressed rage would most likely also be unleashed and there wouldn’t be much left of him.

Yes. Well, um, so I had waited too long to walk and it was already dark, so I decided to take a look at the free On Demand channels on cable. I thought I’d seen something about Exercise on Demand and thought I’d give it a shot. Mind you, it was some time ago (like years) that I’d see this feature of our monthly service to Time Warner, but that’s beside the point.

You would have been proud. I had appropriate exercise clothes on, and my tennies. Hell, even my weights were close by. I have to be honest though — I was a bit worried about my left arm since it’s been so screwed up with tendonitis. But I wasn’t going to use that as an excuse. I was going to suck it up.

Suck dough balls was more like it.

Sheeeeee-it. You smiled the entire time you were kicking my butt. In fact you kept telling me to smile and each time you did, I wasn’t. What’s up with the whole smiling while your tongue’s flapping around your chin? Have you ever tried to do that? But since I’m a team player, I tried, and I did learn that if I smile with my teeth, at least I can get air into my oxygen deprived lungs.

And I did appreciate that you kept telling me that I could take a break any time I wanted. I did notice that you smiled when you said this, like it was some kind of a dare. I’ve got you all figured out, marching in place there and not losing count while you’re smiling and telling me to take it easy. And not sweating. Not a single shiny place on your body.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to hang on to a weight when sweat’s dripping down your arms? Huh? And your your spine? Well, suffice it to say it was a veritable river headed down to my drawers. At least the RT didn’t make any comments when he walked by wondering about this latest project his mother had gotten involved in. And he didn’t laugh when I grunted, either, and I was listening.

I know you know that I knew I’d be doomed after the warm up and before the weights because I was already toast. That you knew that I’d know those repetitions would make my muscles feel like they’d been flopped into a frying pan set on sizzle. You totally knew. And you smiled the entire time. But you also knew I’d feel like *thank gawd I’m done* successful and proud after you ran me through the wringer the routine. I know you’d know that I knew I’d know you knew. Yanno?

So all in all, the beginner’s (ohmygawdwhatmustheregularworkoutbelike?) workout was a freakin’ killer great and because it was an interminable, exhausting only 30 minutes, I switched to a cardio salsa dancing workout that finished the job you started immediately afterward. I’ll have to thank her another time since I couldn’t see the writing on the screen with my face on the floor didn’t catch her name.

But hey! It was so incredibly tortuous and I was so sore the next day fun, that I was thoroughly encouraged to go on my walk again, making sure I got it in before the sun went down — in the drizzling rain.

So thanks, Desiree! The next time I need my butt royally kicked an amazing workout, I know how far and fast to run in the opposite direction you da man.



p.s. Might you be related to Rachael Ray? Just asking. It must be the smile.


Actually, the workout was excellent, and I was surprised that I felt as if I’d gotten more done than twice the time on a vigorous walk. I enjoy getting outside, keeping an eye on my odd neighbors in Paradise breathing, and watching the sunset, but this is something I need to do a couple of times a week. The on demand channels are an included service, and I can exercise whenever I want, which is, well, not a whole lot different that most everything else I do. So…okay. Whatever.

My Dear Doggo…

Day eight-thousand three-hundred ninety two of NaBloPoMo. Or something like that. At this point, I’m wondering if I’ll ever see Tara again.

November 7, 2007

My dear Doggo,

You gave us quite a quiet fright last night. It took a while for us to realize that you hadn’t engaged in your usual routine of staring us down while we ate until someone (me) relented and allowed you to lick the dinner remnants from our plates. That you didn’t get off the couch when I did place my plate on the floor as I normally do (because you do such a great job of getting the stuff off the plates the dishwasher would have to work a bit harder to remove).

And when I finally realized you were just laying there on your spot on the couch (which is really a giant dog bed and we should have realized that’s all it was when we bought it) the RT coaxed you down to the floor where you sat uncomfortably, shaking a bit. Your paws were cold, too. Aren’t dogs’ paws always warm?

Not too long ago the MoH said that he could hear your hip clicking as you walked around the block with him in the quiet of the evening. We’ve known that you have some trouble with your hip because you’re a bit of a plus sized girl, and not quite genetically put together well; your legs are just too short for the bulk of your body. So that’s why we’ve cut back on the distance you walk each day, and have made sure that you get just the right amount of food.


I’m sure the RT won’t mind that you’re snuggling with his old blankey. It’s pretty stinky, so I know you like it.

I encouraged you to lay on your side, and you complied, but seemed afraid and panted a bit. You wouldn’t even eat one of your favorite Milk Bone dog biscuits and it sat just beyond your nose until you nudged it and tried to eat it, giving up after a few seconds. But concern showed in your eyes whenever anyone touched it or moved it, so we knew you were interested in your bone.

I felt so badly for you (because you are always so perky when we’re all home together in the evening) that I went upstairs to get your bed, pushed you gently (which is no mean feat) to lay on it, and then covered you with the rug, watching your eyes close as you gave in to sleep. Watching the rise and fall of your body as you breathed.

I began to wonder how we’d get you in the car if we had to take you to the vet. I know we could, but I can imagine that you’d be quite embarrassed with the idea of it, not being able to do it yourself. I asked the MoH how old you were again, thinking that eight or nine isn’t that old — even in dog years, is it? I probably just don’t want to admit it.

Later in the evening after we’d all gone to bed and I had successfully gotten you to climb the stairs, I watched you sleep in your regular place next to my side of the bed. As I read, I kept watch for the sign of your breathing, just like I used to do with my babies.

This morning you were fine. Not stiff, tail wagging, and ready to eat that bone we gave you last night.

I’m glad you’re feeling better, Biggedy. It was unseasonally chilly last night, and I think that chill coupled with your joint problems just got the best of you. But I’m still unsettled about your health. I think we’re all getting to the point where we are feeling uncomfortable about the fact that our animals just won’t live as long as we will, and that as time goes on, the idea of starting all over again with someone else, is just more than we can bear to think about.

We love you Biggedy (Ann Jones the Third — as the MoH would coo in a falsetto),

Your Doting Family

p.s. I’ll go to the pet store today to look for some glucosamine. Maybe that way, your joints won’t be so sore. Oh, and I’m so glad we replaced the RT’s sheets and comforter. Goodness knows, I wouldn’t want you to have to take your naps on your dog bed while I’m writing. Heavens no.

Loving magazines & Martha Stewart

I have nearly every Martha published… A few people around Bloggsville have been going through their magazines for a variety of reasons. No, don’t run and hide. It’s not another meme. But I’m always fascinated when people are on the same wavelength — especially if it isn’t meme driven.

I’ve been thinking about magazines quite a bit because I’ve gotten to the point where as much as I now have the time to enjoy them (they used to be a decadent distraction in my life I’d indulge myself with) I don’t. Most of my subscriptions have been for cooking magazines, and because much of the content is available on the Internet now, I’m feeling guilty about the paper stuffed in my mailbox each month.

Years and years of them… I’m also feeling a bit uncomfortable about the problem I have throwing magazines away. Of course, they’re recycled in the end, but that isn’t the problem. It’s having to go through each one more time to see if I need to: 1) save the whole edition; 2) tag specific sections; 3) tear out recipes to try; or 4) just get rid of it. And they just sit. Waiting for me. Waiting in baskets, on tables, on bathroom counters, and in stacks mixed with catalogues and mail.

So many possibilities, so little time and energy… For years when each school year ended and I actually had a week or two before special project work began (for school, not my leisure) I’d sit down with my magazines and have quite a bit of fun watching old movies and wallowing in the possibilities that each magazine contained. It was a cathartic process that helped me mentally conclude one year, and sort of erase my hard drive to prepare for the next.

The process helped me plan projects that needed to be done around the house, too. It helped me think about things to organize, get togethers with family to celebrate birthdays, decorations to make for special seasons, and dreams to put on a list of things to do some day when there was more time, less work, more energy, and more money. Ahhh…dreams…

Many of the projects involved gardening because we had quite a large piece of property. There was never a dull moment deciding what type of garden to put where, which seeds to plant or what perennial to become emotionally attached to. Seriously. It’s easier to think of organizing a small piece of the planet instead of the pressing grind of aspects of life that seem beyond our control. The promise of food to cook, a garden to take care of, and a house to decorate and organize has always been my idea of heaven. Truly.

Martha Stewart Living No. 4 So it’s no wonder that I am someone who loves Martha. Yes, The Martha. My family lovingly refers to her as Moth-rah. I think the MoH came up with that one, but I’m not exactly sure. I know what you’re thinking, but yanno? I just don’t care. I don’t care that she was in jail. I don’t care that it’s been said she’s not a nice person. I just don’t care. And for those people who do? Get the hell over it. Because Martha helped me get through some very difficult years. She’s seen me through a new marriage, raise two boys into adulthood and a third into a teen, has inspired me to create two beautiful homes, and fill them with the aroma of something delicious to eat. She’s helped create many days with memories of working with my mom in our yard, planting, clipping, and admiring our hard work. Martha is the reason I was able to hang on to remnants of a life long desire to create anything and everything connected to what the MoH calls “fluffing my nest.” If Martha ran for president, I’d vote for her and I’m not kidding.

It all started with her Weddings book, given to me by an old friend before the MoH and I were married… Or was it her Entertaining book?

My oldest issues of Martha… I have nearly every Martha Stewart Living magazine published. Really. I don’t know how I missed out on the beginning, but my collection goes back to Number 4: Autumn of 1991. That was before the RT was born. You know I’m not the only one who keeps them, right? It’s kind of the same for those who save National Geographic. Every time I decide I’m going to throw them out, I just don’t get around to it. Or can’t bring myself to do it. Anguish at the thought. I have given some to my middle son for school related projects, and he’s *Martha lovers, please cover your eyes…* cut out some of the photos, but he’s returned the magazines. He gets it.

I used to watch her old television show, but it’s been years. And I’m not sure why I don’t watch the new one. I could DVR it, but never think about it. Maybe it’s because all those other people are on now, and it isn’t just Martha and her obsessive compulsive drive on the most minute detail I could spend an entire half hour of time fascinated with. Totally.

When I was very young, my idea of a good time *everyone groans and settles in for yet another maudlin trip down morose memory lane* was to go through the Sears catalogue and make lists of furniture I’d purchase for my some day house. I was fascinated with color and texture, with shape and design. The idea of putting it all together perfectly to suit a mood or a personality or lifestyle is like being able to put together a gigantic puzzle. It’s the same with gardening and cooking.

Ironically, I don’t get the same satisfaction performing the same ritual with fashion. It just doesn’t interest me. It never has. *Oh, really, dear? We couldn’t help but notice…* But the clothes in my closet are organized by colors. That counts, don’t you think? *Yes, as a sign of someone with one foot firmly planted in looney land…*

I miss having my head in the world that kept me from going stark-raving mad with stress from work. And I value more than I can ever say, what I’ve learned from digging in and trying new things, and for having family and friends who’ve indulged me my wannabe obsessions.

They’ve graced me with comments of, “Martha Does Live Here,” and I’ve taken them as a compliment, knowing full well, that Martha’s businesses run due to the creativity and drive of an enormous number of very talented people. So I supposed I should say they saved me. But without Martha, they wouldn’t have had the same opportunity.

At this point in life, if I regret anything — any one thing — painfully, it would be that I did not gain my education in a world filled with textiles and color, design and shape. That I did not choose to immerse myself in an environment organized with samples and cuttings, layouts and portfolios. That I chose instead to keep those passions as hobbies or distractions instead of a livelihood. *very, very heavy sigh*

Okay, so that’s more than one. But still.

It’s that time of year, and the first in so very, very long that I will be able to immerse myself in all the what ifs and begin to wonder instead…


Thanks Martha.



p.s. I’m sorry I don’t even have a Jack-o-lantern on my porch this year. I guess I didn’t rally the guys hard enough. Does it count that we have a few on the dining table with some autumn colored flowers? Just checking.

p.p.s. I’m a NaBloPoMo-Ho (see pink lips above) and that all starts tomorrow. I’m going to focus my writing on letters to people. Which people? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. If you’re interested, send me some ideas of what you’d like me to blather on about. Or would like to challenge me to write about. Keep it clean, though. Okay?

Nearly Wordless on Wednesday

The sunset was interesting last night. IMG_4446.JPG

The troops became even more restless.

And according to the RT, gas alerts were also something to be concerned with. IMG_4435.JPG

But not natural gas.


Thirty-one words. Not bad for a nearly wordless Wednesday.

Okay, so now 41.