Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Had someone told me a year ago that there would be people in my life that I had never met in the flesh that would become so very, very dear to me- and steer me through some rather hard days, I’d have told them they were barking mad. Life’s funny like that, huh?

My love and wishes dears-

Tater Bug- my dear, sweet virtual brother. I wish upon you peace my dear and strength in the days ahead. Take the gift of what reconciliation you have with your daddy honey and cherish it for what it is. Curious how someone I never got to hug in “reality” has found such a place in my heart..

Hat- Whenever I talk to you, I really do have to remind myself we actually haven’t been friends for decades. Crazy, isn’t it? May the coming year give you more outlets for your brilliance dear girl. The Hurricane sends kisses ;)

Cousin Rainey- So, the reunion is in August, we’ll be expecting you dear. Talk about your crazy karmic coincidences, huh??? Steak & Mushroom soup recipe will be en route to you soon. Best to you, and the Spouse and the Child. Generate some good vibes for my heathen ass this season..

Red- You precious thing you- I’m working on finding a husband worthy of you honey. Tall order, to say the least! But I’ll be trekking to Tysons soon so we can sit down and talk about it.. And trust me buddy, to get me into that neck of the woods takes something pretty damn important.

Sling- get on with your bad ass self.. You sir, are a gentleman of the old school, right and proper. And I indeed mean that in the best way possible. Be safe, watch your possessions and much love to you and the Slinglets..

Wills- your sweet and constant good cheer has made many a bad day better my friend. Be well and give Laurent and Reesie baby a little snuggle just for the hell of it from me. Oh, and I hope Laurent’s trip to see his Mamma goes well- though I imagine that will be the proverbial bag of mixed blessings.. bless his heart- wish there was some wise thing I could say to make it all go away..

Cowbell- Every time I want to get a real case of the ass about the universe, I look at how you manage it and feel inspired, and I thank you for that. You are quite an amazing person and seeing the world from your point of view never fails to either expand my little universe, or validate what I already knew. Enjoy your time with the three offspring, and I pray for no unpleasant issues from the OMFH for at least a few weeks!

Jeff- hang in there sugar! If there were words that could make the next few months somehow easier for you, I wish I knew what they were! All I can say is I genuinely know how hard it is to let go dear, just don’t assume you have to all at once.. Actually, don’t even try- you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

EG- You never fail to make me laugh, think, or do both at the same time! You’ve brightened many a day for me and I do thank you sir.. However it does bear repeating that yours truly has a thing for red angora.. just sayin’ And yes, I am actually shameless.

Gavin- Between the hunk, the douche and the pretty pictures you always make a bright spot in my day. And for that, I genuinely am thankful.

Miss Lynette- My blog Mamma.. you actually were the reason I started my very public private diary. Not that my occasional rants hold a candle to your brilliant writing- you were however the spark. May your holiday be bright (as in WITH electricity) and I hope you and Mike enjoy nothing but the best the coming year may bring.

And to anyone I didn’t mention- nothing personal! I’m way behind in the kitchen department since the lights went out yet again today and if this doesn’t get done now, it pretty much won’t get done at all…

May you and yours enjoy peace, the love of one another and all that fills your heart with joy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It wouldn't be Christmas-

Without some Brian Setzer..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Runway Recap


Well I'm more or less not going to bother because Lorraine and Miss Hat both do such a far superior job, why the heck should my lazy ass bother? and Hat, you rock out loud!!!!!! You are just brilliant girl! Lorraine, you're killing me!

That said- Christian annoys the crap out of me. Chris, honey get it together or you're gone again baby. Sweet P, I love ya, and we could go for drinks and have an absolute blast! Sweetie- long sleeves girlfriend, long sleeves..

So my drinking game was every time I wanted to slap Christian back into last week- drink time. I was pushing plowed halfway into it. Plan B time on that one..


But after being ill and cranky and not in the holiday spirit I decided to make all festive- cause over dressing makes me feel better like that. Is there a 12 step program for red?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lovely, Isn't it?





Makes me rather wistful that I had to hang up my toe shoes.. Knees really are a poorly designed part. And yes Lorraine, the half naked Sting is indeed part of the appeal, I grant you.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little frivilous amusement.




I decided to play along with Lorraine and Hat in the dress up for Project Runway game. I also figured the entire universe is tired of me being sick, overwhelmed and whining, I know I am. Frankly I'm annoying the crap out of myself as of yesterday. Yes, I really do totally suck at being sick.





Since getting dressed up always makes me feel better, may as well have something fun on while sipping my glass of Chateau Robisussin '06 and waving at Tim Gunn. You'll have to trust me, works much better on me on than the hanger..

Yes Tate, red doors = bad background choice. Too late now.. Yes Hat, the doors and trim in my bedroom are actually red, but honest, when taken in context it really doesn't scream "bordello"- It's totally Asian modern decor.
I love this crazy, over the top jacket to absolute bits. Keeping in mind that I normally am not a patterns or brocades kind of person- not that they aren't often lovely, but let's be real- on small people you don't generally wear the pattern, it wears you.. Love it, love it, love it and just don't care. The whole assymetrical hem and double collar action.



And equally over the top shoes. Gee, didn't see that coming, did you? Ironically I purchased the shoes three years before I decided on a whim I had to have the jacket. Now the little suede ballet flats do tone the entire thing down, but where the hell is the fun in that?? Yes, yes- ugly dancer feet, now you know why I usually avoid mules..



And can someone please tell me what in the hell was Donna Karan wearing????

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Is this week over yet??

Well this week is starting quite badly. Not that y’all care, but I have to whine to someone after all..

Let’s see, the Beast was ill and passed it on to me. I don’t get sick often, so I really try and overachieve when I do. This my dears is gonna turn ugly- mark my words. Let’s see- fever? Check. Elephant jumping up and down on my chest? Check. Ice pick sensation in the ears? Right. OK, on with the show. And the best part, the Beast is now out of town on business- oh joy. But then again, I do tend to be a leave me alone sort when ill, and the whole nurturing thing really isn’t his bag. The kids however will take care of me, once I pick them up from school that is.. They tend to get mildly freaked when Mom is sick and bless them, do tend to be very sweet.

So since I know it’s about to seriously hit the fan I tried to get some work done today. Hasn’t worked out too well, but hey, I tried.

Yesterday when the hacking and snorting started, guess who showed back up on the doorstep? Yep, the lost children returned. That was a short, but peaceful 24 hours. In theory they were coming back to pick up their stuff. The supposed friend's basement they were to be moving into suddenly wasn’t going to be available for a few weeks as the other folks were having trouble moving out.. Uh, huh.. Well normally I’d have given such a statement some credence. At this point-umm, no. Not buying it. The Hurricane is missing a chunk of cash, my phone bill is going to give me a stroke next month, I guarantee you, and I saw not one single proactive effort to rectify the situation in respect to getting their shit together. Looking at rental properties that take up 95% of the sole working person’s monthly take home whilst the other partner made no effort whatsoever to find gainful employ does not strike me as proactive, productive or even realistic in any way…

So I (meaning we) did the hardest thing I’d ever had to do to another person. I said no. Sorry. Not going to do any more. You’re not family, we’re not even close friends and we have extended ourselves as far as we’re willing and more than we’re capable of managing- you need a qualified social worker to sort this out. Here are the numbers (again) for all the transitional housing programs and shelters in a 60 mile radius.

Yes, I knew full well they’d be sleeping in a car and I did it anyway. And I feel like total shit about it. I mean seriously uncomfortable with myself.. But I know in my bones this is the only way they are going to get any sort of motivation to face and deal with the situation. But I still feel like crap about it either way. And I am in no way trying to make “holier than thou”- but seriously if my kids were facing such a situation Miss Dora would be working 14th Street in a mini skirt in the snow, checking at the 7-11 and two other jobs, if that’s what it took to take care of my kids…

And the ironic thing is, had we really seen genuine effort to get their act together, they’d still be here and they just don’t get that. I’m just a heartless self- centered bitch. Oh well, so be it. This heartless bitch has a family of her own to worry about.

Forget fruitcake..

Beefcake for Christmas and supporting an excellent cause, what more could you want? Did I mention hunky firefighters sans shirts?? Ahh, now I have your attention, don't I?

Over 80% of the firefighters in New Orleans lost their homes and all of their possessions after Hurricane Katrina. The fire stations themselves were also badly damaged. While they now have the basic equipment they need to fight fires, what they don't have are station house uniforms – they've been coming to work in their own jeans and t-shirts.

You can help give their morale a boost by giving a New Orleans Firefighters Look Hot 2008 Calendar. All proceeds are going to purchase station house uniforms for every firefighter in the city. Every red cent goes straight to the effort.

Considering all these guys did, go forth and do a little guilt free gifting, not to mention the whole hot guys in uniforms bonus. Talk about win-win!

And feel free to share this lovely gift idea- hint, hint.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends

don't get high with a little help from my friends anymore, unless the occasional Chardonnay binge counts... However-

I know full well I am one of those people that genuinely needs to be connected in some fashion or another to others. I need my peeps! It's just the way I am. Which is perhaps the reason why my Ohana is so large.. But in truth I'm just lucky to have so many wonderful friends, neighbors and colleagues in my life.

But to tell the truth, I tend not to vent or give the entire unvarnished ugly to many people, and to those few, rarely. Which is probably why my very public, secret blog 'o my life is so precious to me. The friends I have made here are very much a part of my Ohana as well. The fact that we've never met in the flesh really doesn't mean jack, the human spirit can connect without being right next door, or even on the same continent. Kindred spirits find one another. A professor of mine once told me that communities of the heart are created in many different ways, and if you open yourself up to possibilities, your life will be enriched ten fold. So true. Mine sure has been.

I thank you all for letting me whine the past few weeks, and for being a part of my Ohana.. Will, you rock! And cheered me up more than you'll ever know! Very musical, yes? Ironic as hell, isn't it? And I'm not even catholic..

And a special thanks to my virtual brother, and totally non-sexual crush- my one and only Tater bug- you made it all right honey and I love ya! You are the absolute best my sweet, may the Goddess always smile upon you and yours. I'll be wearing something new and red at the Christmas Parade tomorrow just for you! Thanks baby, I really needed that very gentle little kick- love ya!

Thank you all for hanging in there with me and taking care of me! Blessings and peace upon all of your houses.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alex- I'll take 2 points for effort for $500.00.

It’s been a really crazy few days, to say the least. In spite of my hard line intentions, we gave the lost children one more week.. As my grandmother used to say “You can’t teach common sense.” How very true.

Well, best intentions, yada, yada, yada… It’s just painfully obvious that nothing has gotten through- nothing. But they have secured a place to stay as of this coming weekend, so at least I don’t have to feel guilty about that. The problems are just way larger than our capacity to fix. And fixing a problem generally also requires effort, and I’m sad to say I really am seeing none. And the fact that I caught major attitude for asking if there was a departure plan, as the agreement had been they were to be vacating as of Sunday past- you could say I am just done to death with the entire thing. Gratitude I don’t require, civility- why yes, I actually do!

But I can’t help but feel like I’m being an awful person. I want my house back to normal. I no longer wish to cook and clean for a party of eight, thank you very much. My children are pretty well over the 2 and 3 year olds trashing the house and causing a rukus, as am I frankly. I want my space back.. I have work I need to complete, deadlines on the horizon and my clients don’t care if I’m having issues at the moment.

Yeah, I guess I am being a bitch. Well, so be it, I did try, I really did…

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Walk right in, it's around the back..

just a half a mile from the rail road track.

I had to laugh. While watching the turkey fry- yes Baby Sister had to fry the sucker, and it was damn good- Brother #2 said "It's been a lot of years since you sang Alice's Restaurant for me." So I did. As previously noted, my idiot savant thing is lyrics, so there we sat on the porch frying a 20 pound turkey and I sang the whole damn thing for him. Right down to the
twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. Yeah, I'm weird like that.. and it's kind of a family tradition.

Excellent day, I really miss my brother.. and it was awfully nice to have the day with him, especially after the August drama. So enjoy your day too Arlo- and the rest of y'all as well..

Have an excellent day folks-

A blessing upon all your houses and may you enjoy your feast of choice with people you love. And my thanks for all of the virtual love and support the past week or so!

I actually won’t be cooking since some time in the 80’s- Chef Baby Sister and the Cranky Old Fart are doing the honors this year, Brother #2 is in town as well. Which will be lovely, we haven’t had a holiday together in the better part of a decade and change. Which does mean I’ll have to bite my tongue and be pleasant to his she-devil. Oh well, I can manage for a few hours with the help of a glass or four of wine. We made a deal Tater, I will behave, I swear! I'll be downright damn charming..

Well, time to bake a couple of pies, finish the appetizers and make with some breakfast so we can watch the parade.

Be well, be safe and enjoy whatever you may do today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Ohana rocks!

Obviously I was not meant to be a social worker- I’m too damn pragmatic. I expect my “Get your shit together NOW!” mode wouldn’t work real well..

But, that said- my Ohana totally rocks.. As predicted- the situation went south. The only vehicle the lost children have broke down. Crap- well we really don’t have the resources to deal with that situation at the moment. So the calls went out.. This is just more shit than we can manage alone.

Mechanic genius friend/neighbor- I managed to fix a rather large insurance problem for him a while back after kid five was born with heart problems- to the tune of about 40k- he’ll diagnose the car.

Dude I know that owns an independent car rental, I fixed an issue for him in respect to a little coverage situation for his Mom,. In truth, not a big deal, just a knowing who to raise hell with thing. He’s offering up a rental for next to nothing so they can manage getting to work and such for at least two weeks.

Old friend that’s a retired social worker gave me referrals to every resource in the entire damn region for assistance to help me in lighting a fire under their asses..

My Ohana rocks out loud!!!!!!! If nothing else I am reminded that my life has been blessed with some genuinely amazing people. Seriously- I am so damn lucky to have all these amazing people in my life.

And my virtual Ohana is equally exceptional- thank you all for the good karma! I expect we’re going to be needing it the next few days..

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yep- I'm still here..

Sorry dears- no DSL for a few days and it has been terribly difficult to find a moment to compose anything. That is if one can actually refer to me bitching as “composing” anything.. Those few moments of peace I squeeze in have had to be devoted to the paying side gigs- with one or two little forays to check on my bloggy buddies to help maintain my sense of humor.. But thank y’all for checking in, it really means more than you probably know.

I think I must be old and set in my ways.. This has been a lot harder than I thought to deal with. But then again, the dogs and kids are none too thrilled either, so perhaps it’s not just me. Baby sister and her partner lived with us for nearly four months a couple of years back while transitioning from Florida to Virginia and it was pretty easy. Hell, it was downright enjoyable most of the time, even with two extra dogs underfoot. Current situation? Not so much…

I keep telling myself that doing the right thing doesn’t mean it’s the easy thing. Rinse and repeat..

It’s been a zoo more or less. My current universe was not designed for out of control toddlers. While I’m sure not a candidate for mother of the year, I’m pretty certain my kids were never that out of control at those particular ages. And I pretty well draw the line at giving unsolicited parenting advice, as that’s pretty damned overbearing. Especially in light of the fact that I’m trying to give some common sense 101 advice to try and help these two get their act together. I fear this is going nowhere.

It appears that the answer is going to fall from the sky- even though I keep gently preaching proactive kids, get proactive- this is how you got where you are as it is.. Very, very frustrating. And I do not in any way expect guests in my home to labor away, but could you put your dishes in the dishwasher? Wipe the counter off after the cheerios and cereal or juice have gotten all over it?

I keep trying to remember that this has to be as difficult for them as well, being in someone else’s home. The only time it ever happened to me was during a huge ice storm a few years back- the power was out for a week. Boots and her family took us in, as they have doggies and such and a week in a hotel with 2 dogs just wasn’t going to work. It was fairly pleasant, if a little awkward at times, as we were trying not to disrupt their lives too much. Boots hates to cook, so I made dinner every night as a way to say thanks- made the kids help keep things clean and so on. I’m no saint- that’s not what I’m trying to imply, but a wee bit of consideration?

It will be what it will be in the long run.. and good things have come out of it. Miss Thing has had to try and learn how to deal with small humans. We have figured out that the Hurricane should have been born first, he makes an awesome older sibling. I have seen a really sweet, patient and loving side of him with the little ones that is pretty amazing. And I may well have learned that there are some things I can’t fix. But we’ll see, I haven’t given up yet.

And again, thank for thinking of me y’all!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ohana-

Is a word that has always resonated with me, as defined by the following:

’Ohana can actually mean much more than the dictionary definition of family. ’Ohana can describe a community, a circle of friends, who share common goals and values.

Having kids, I also liked the definition in the movie Lilo & Stitch:
“Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.”

We’ve always had an Ohana that spreads well beyond the immediate family unit. Which is generally a delightful thing. Our “adopted” kids are now numbered somewhere around twelve or so. They started numbering themselves, don’t ask me why. But either way, they are always welcome and all know which fridge the juice is in and where to find the extra TP. And any number of stray adults that the kids all refer to as “Aunt” or “Uncle” -in spite of a complete lack of blood relation there.. and it’s all good.

My concept of Ohana got tested today. I got a call from a young woman I worked with many years ago, we’ve stayed in sporadic touch, and I always thought she was a good kid. We get together on occasion, but it’s not like an exceptionally close relationship by any means.

She and her husband and two kids got evicted and have been living in their car for two days.. They have no family near by, no Ohana either.. Left side of the brain would never let a child sleep in a car if I could do anything about it. Right side of the brain realizes- not mine to raise and this could turn in to a long term commitment we’re not necessarily in a position to deal with financially. Crap!!! So, the left and right got together for a conversation and decided to call a family meeting.

The Beast is all for a short term assistance mission, the Hurricane got all sad thinking about little people in such a situation, Miss Thing agreed this was a nasty state of affairs, but wanted some limits set on this situation clearly defined for her prior to any further discussion or agreement. This house is not big enough for 8 people (two of them under 5) to live for anything other than a very short period of time..

Guess who’s coming to dinner?? I spent two hours researching transitional housing programs that are available in their “last county of residence”- which is the defining criteria for such assistance. Have numbers, applications printed and such.

How far do I go here? The mom and compulsive organizer/fixer wants to take charge, but I fear that’s the wrong thing to do on multiple levels.. But conversely I fear without some strong guidance from someone (not necessarily us) this situation is going to go south real damn quick..

If it was just me it would be one thing- but I’m involving my kids and husband in this scenario.. Have I done the right thing? We decided two weeks was about as far as we can afford this either financially or in the space and intrusion department. Have I gone too far? Am I doing too little??? Aw hell- what do I do??

Friday, November 09, 2007

A stroll down memory lane..

So, the quickie reunion was mighty nice.. get your mind out of the gutters people.

A good bottle of wine and a pleasant couple of hours of catch up and recollection is a fine way to spend an afternoon. J-Man came out of the closet about 15 years ago- good for him. I was mildly amused that he was a wee bit put out that I wasn’t shocked. Umm, honey I saw that coming nearly three decades ago? But in truth most people wouldn’t have, I just did for what ever reason. He’s well, happy and living his life, it’s all good. It was a lovely afternoon.

So for Tate and EG, the lurid details of a part of Miss Dora’s tale. Why y’all need the nasty I don’t fathom..

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.. Oops, wrong story. Long, long ago in a small college town- OK, right story. Music was always a large part of my life. Daddy was a frustrated musician, so my early childhood definitely had a sound track. Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Cole Porter and so on and so on.. I’d sit on his lap and close my eyes and just listen and he’d ask “what instrument is that?” I was singing along with Miss Ella at about age three.. One of the parent’s restaurants had a pretty well known blues joint in the basement and I got to hear a lot of really great people that broadened my musical tastes. Then my older brothers got into music and that whole late sixties early seventies rock and folk got thrown into the mix. I loved it all, and still do.

I sang in the church choir- yes it boggles the mind. The only thing that kept me returning to church was choir, plain and simple. There was an amazing director, young, gay and full of excellent ideas. The youth choir at that Methodist church was incredible.. There were indeed people that came to services merely to hear the choir. The only thing that kept me in high school was theater and chorus truthfully, the rest of the time I was bored out of my mind, or getting stoned to try and numb the fact I was bored out of my mind..

So naturally what would Miss Dora do when left to her own devices? Well find a band or four to hang out with naturally. Knees blew out and ballet became a fond “what if” so what the hell, let’s hit the band circuit. Now the fun thing about small college towns is that bands tend to be fluid things, and all tend to party together.. Yep- I was a stage ‘ho. The Blues one night, a rock band the next, and I did Patsy Cline and Emmylou and Waylon more than once as well. And yes, I have been a Do-Wop girl too.

The boys in the bands loved me for three things- I loved music, I have this idiot savant thing with lyrics, and let’s face it, having a chick fronting gets you a little exposure. And oddly enough it really wasn’t an “attention” thing per se for me. It was just a state of joy for me to be on stage, and in truth it was in many respects not “me” on stage- just me, and the music and the other folks just came along for the ride. I was equally as happy just jamming in a living room at some communal house with 10 people that had never played together.

My voice was never anything spectacular- but people were often surprised that voice did come out of a short scrawny white chick.. I’m a natural tenor. Yes- skinny little pale girl can sing the blues. But I had fun with it, and it made me very happy.

As to the sordid drugs, sex and leather pants.. No Hat- thankfully no pictures survive that I am aware of, so don’t start.. Tate and EG, you’ll just have to bloody well call me if you want those nasty bits. And the prior year in New York? Well that would be the real collection of sordid tales. I often look in the mirror and wonder how the hell I made it out alive..

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Never saw that coming-

Busy Tuesday morning.. Had lots of crap to drop at the various offices I’m freelancing for, got a flu shot, did the parent teacher conference for the Hurricane, stopped to vote.. All of which led me back to the gas station/general store at the foot of the mountain to mortgage the house to fill the tank before I head on up.

Heading out of the store I hear someone calling me by a nickname. Warning- major digression ahead- Most of my close friends can be easily marked as to the number of years we’ve been friends by what they call me. If you’ve known me quite some time and we’re close, just my first initial. Just “C”. If you knew me back when raptors roamed the earth (i.e.- before the Beast and I tied the knot) the initials of my first and middle name.. “C.C.”

Imagine my shock as I hear someone calling frantically “C.C.!!!” Huh? I see a man in a beautifully tailored suit standing next to a rather nice looking Mercedes jumping up and down screaming a name reserved only for people I know very, very well.. and I have no fucking clue who the hell this is. As the daughter would say, “Oh my- AWKWARD”

Doing the only thing I could do, I strolled on over, trying like hell to figure out who this could possibly be. No clue.. Zip, zero, nada..

So I get this huge bear hug from some guy that obviously knows me and I’m trying like hell to make a connection.. The second he let go and I looked into his eyes and was really able to really hear his voice it hit me.. JAMES!!!!!!!!! What the hell are you doing here??

James was the bass player in the first band I ever fronted for. So you’ll have to understand da hard core blues scraggly boy had morphed into some dude in a Hugo Boss suit driving a fucking Mercedes.. I wasn’t tracking. Never would have seen that one coming in a million years.

So I’m happy as hell to see this old friend. But I’m like- man, how the hell did you recognize me? Back in the “day” yours truly sported butt length hair, as opposed to the inch and a half length I roll with these days. (Yeah Tate- boggles the mind doesn’t it?) So James laughs his ass off and says “You’re still you bitch” Aren’t old friends the best thing ever??

Invited him up to the casa, but he was heading south to check out a group Blacksburg- he’s an east coast “talent scout” of sorts for a record label these day, go figure- he had obligations. But we’ve made plans for the trip back after seeing the kids play on Thursday, and are already yakking about a reunion for the old crew, just for us. I admit, just once I would like for my kids to see the Mom sing on stage, just once for the hell of it. But more than anything else, just to have a chance to sing with the boys again- they were a wild bunch, but all very, very talented and creative people, and they enriched my life a great deal just by having the chance to hang around with them.

Random chance, karma, whatever you want to call it, can sometimes come back to haunt you in a very happy way.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

So, is everyone having a pleasant weekend?



It was rather a lovely afternoon here yesterday, I must say.




Hope you boys in Boston are enjoying yourselves. You could have at least posted a picture or two last night, really..

Since I'm lazy I'll just resort to some pictures of Old Uncle Bob-




Hard to see, but Bob is a very big fella.. Which is why the pictures are a little fuzzy- it's a long way back to that rock wall he's playing on. And I wasn't traipsing down to request a close up. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid people.



Poor bears- it's been so very dry, I'm afraid we're going to have an awful lot of very skinny hungry critters come spring. Very little in the way of color either this fall. I expect a lot of crashing of limbs when the ice hits..


Hope you all remembered to set your clocks so you got your extra hour of sleep! Have yourselves a lovely Sunday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, as this is the first year I wasn’t rushing home from the office to deal with getting ready- I must say it was far more pleasant..

Pumpkin disemboweled- check..

Costumes ready- check

Chili and cornbread done- check.

I have no idea why chili and cornbread became the traditional meal for Halloween- probably because I could throw it in the crock pot at 5AM and get home to get them fed, dressed and out the door prior to the sugar high.

The Hurricane is a nasty bloody ghoul –he’s going through that 10 year old boy gross stage. Miss Thing is The Pirate Queen. No wench action or such here- as she put it “I’m the bitch in charge”.. I can live with that.

Me I’m the Mom in the car waiting to get home so she can sit down and have a nice glass of wine..

Y’all have a fun an spooky evening!!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

My manifesto-

Cowbell got me to thinking.. She usually does.

So, I stopped to take a little time to examine a few things. Now y’all know (OK- the two of you that read my drivel) that I was indeed raised south of the Mason-Dixon line. My upbringing was full of mixed messages. Sit up straight, act like a lady, you are NOT wearing that Missy! And then there was the “you can do anything you set your mind to” message. And people wonder why I bailed on my Coming Out.. In fairness, the parents did the best they could. The world was changing awfully fast at the time, and to their credit they did try to go with their natural inclinations. But there was an awful lot of ingrained dogma they had to try and let go of.

My Mamma was a tiny little thing, and pretty as a picture, was a state skeet shoot champ and played basketball throughout high school and college. A lot of people never got her. Queen of the Valentine Court one day and practicing her free throws, or toting a gun the next. This was not exactly accepted practice at the time. Daddy was the musician that loved to cook.. go figure..

I stated I have tried to raise my children “gender neutral”.. actually it was more “do what ever makes you happy”. My aim was to give them the option to do whatever their natural inclinations led them to. Seems to have worked out thus far. But I grant you I have beat some old fashioned notions like manners into their heads.

Then I got to thinking about my own particular brand of feminism. Frankly I’m sick and damn tired of the “mommy wars” and the party line. In the seventies when I was reading Gloria and Betty I pretty much got the idea that the entire point was that we were supposed to have choices- finally. I have spent my “mom years” thus far working full time, up until a few months ago. I see both sides of the fence. There are people that downgrade the domestic arts- they’re asshats. There are people that downgrade the working moms- they’re asshats too. It’s all about choice, and often about necessity. Worry about your own life and leave everyone else alone already!

Does the fact that I tend to be a “girly girl”- yes I love my shoes, I am addicted to red lipstick, and love to get dressed up, and I frankly completely enjoy being female- make me a traitor? I think not. And I actually like men, life without them would suck.. I can also do minor electrical work, hang drywall, do general plumbing and I have my own power tools. Which side of the fence does that put me on sisters? I like the work I do, and I'm damn good at it and the fact that I do it "virtually" and not in an actual office doesn't make it any less valuable. I also really like a tidy house and a good meal served at a decent hour..


Should we not be supporting one another?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Such a lovely lunch-

It was a most excellent lunch. And a very happy day. And also a very sad one..

A brilliant meal- beautiful steak and stilton salad, excellent wine pairing as well. Happy chat, big hugs all around. Retired to the back sitting room (we're semi family, as the chef/owners of the favorite place are dear friends) and then started the talking in earnest. I so very much miss ole' Buddyboy. Once in a blue moon, you find that kindred soul that everything just works with.. That's me and the big guy. Many people never got it (ah-screw them, whatever) a rare few did.. The accusations that we'd been separated at birth might not have been that far off. To those of you that refuse to understand that a straight guy and a woman can really be the best of friends, you're morons..

Now I admit the whole having the best job in the universe thing was excellent, no doubt about it. But I'd give damn near anything just to have my best buddy back nearby. You know that one person that always gets you, and requires no explanation, finishes your sentences and always knows what's lurking in your heart- even if you might not have figured it out yet yourself.. Yeah, that's my boy.

So, once upon a time I promised the explanation of the moniker.. I'm a big fan of Robert A. Heinlein. "Time Enough for Love" being a personal favorite. Boss used to joke that I was his Dora- the machine incarnation.. If you haven't read it, it's way too much to explain you'll just have to read the damn book- sorry.. But for those of you that have- he found his Maureen ;) And I was so, so happy for them both! I planned the damn wedding people.. And lucky for us that she always understood our relationship. An amazing woman, he’s a lucky SOB to have her.

So, we stood at the back door and just both tried not to totally break down- just hung on to each other and watched it rain for quite a while. Got the best hug I’ve ever had- and cried all the way home. Not necessarily in a bad way, both happy and sad. Happy for the time together, as always- but sad to miss the just hanging out time together.. I just want my Buddyboy back.

Yes, I really am jut selfish like that.. But it is still good to know that no matter what, my Buddyboy will always be there, no matter how far away he might wander.

I bow to peer pressure..



Actually I think you guys thought I was telling stories.

Yep- purchased in 1979 at some freaky store in the Village, and yes I am pretty sure I was high on something at the time.

I hope you're all happy now? Yes- you Miss Hat.. And Tater Bug- check yer inbox and try not to die laughing!


But the spiked hair really did Pat Benatar it right on outta there.. And yes, I do totally suck at that whole tripod and timer thing, hey photography is just not my thing people.


Gee, I really need to finish getting that damn trim up in that room, huh?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm so lazy

I declared today a mental health day. And instead of feeling guilty about the mile long list ‘o crap that needs doing, I’ve allowed myself to realize it flat out ain’t going anywhere. It may be a bad attitude, but it’s the one I’ve currently got- so there.

Woke up to a dreary, rainy day again. YAY! I swear it’s been so dry I actually heard the woods collectively sign in relief when the rain finally set in the other day. It’s cooled off quite a bit, compared to the 85 degrees just a few days ago, so it’s a soup cooking kind of day. So there’s a nice big pot of steak and mushroom soup simmering. I got the jones for Rosemary Olive bread, so there are a couple of loaves rising. Cool, got dinner covered at least.

I am a little put out that the Thursday rerun of Tim Gunn got preempted for that dumb Housewives of OC show.. that would have indeed been the icing on my little lazy cake.

Humm.. messed around with my MacGourmet files and cleaned out some of the clutter there. Tater Bug- if you don’t have it, you gotta get it!

Moving right along- Boss is coming for a little visit tomorrow! it’s been a long while between visits and I really miss the big lug. While we talk and email, and still tend to finish one another’s sentences and all, I just miss hanging out with him. When someone you’re that close to up and moves, I think the hole in your heart never really goes away. But I’m focusing on the happy happy joy joy of seeing my dear friend bit right now- not the damn you why did you have to up and move part. Lunch at our favorite restaurant is going to be about it, as he’s got other commitments- but it’s awfully dear of him to truck all he way out here from NOVA just for lunch with little ole me.

Took the request for photographic evidence that my ass can still get into a dress I purchased in 1979 under advisement- we’ll see. Much like Cowbell and her preference that the ex not show up on her virtual doorstep, my very public private diary is sort of my place to decompress. Not sure I want my friends and family there in truth. It sometimes feel like 98% of my life consists of dealing with other people’s shit (I know, I know- Duh.. you have kids) it’s the one little space that’s all mine, all the time and I don’t have to concern myself with anything other that what I choose to.


But for the moment I’m going to pour a nice glass of wine and go park my butt in the Jacuzzi before the heathens come charging in. Y’all have a lovely afternoon!

Monday, October 22, 2007

So, how have y'all been?

My it’s been a busy few weeks here at Casa de Locos..

The usual mayhem. The ongoing fight with the school board- more on that later.. The never freaking ending renovations- which somehow seem to have landed all in my lap. Baby Sister took a vacation (finally- YAY!) Which meant me taking care of Daddy. And just stuff.

For my loyal readers, both of you- all is well, thanks for emailing. Let’s see.. renovations. As the job hunt accelerated (46 year old mothers of two with experience smell bad or cost too much I’m not sure which) I realize I best get all the odds and ends finished. Damn, that’s a LOT of odds and ends people. I spent the entire damn summer working on this stuff and there’s still a mile long list.

The getting whatever cash I can via the Virtual Assistant route.. well it is money, I just seem to always land the problem children.. I really need to set my rates higher. Have to check with the Hat and get the website thing cranking on a higher level I guess.

Homecoming- girlie drama and shoe trauma, need I say more?

Humm, let’s see.. the annual Dora cuts loose weekend.. The Beast and I do a big Halloween Costume Ball every year and that tends to be the one weekend my reformed solid citizen self gets her freak on.. Yeah, I go for the costume thing big time. And no, I can’t do out of the box, I have to go crazy.. My personal past favorite was the Trinity costume- hey I was hitting the gym big time then and it looked pretty damn good. I was lost for inspiration this year and happened to be doing a closet clean out when I ran across a black leather dress I bought in 1979 (yes you read that right) and said “Pat Benatar!!” Hey what else would a 5’5” chick with really short black hair do with a black leather dress from the late seventies I ask? Lorraine, you’d have totally loved it! Everyone in the house over 35 got it right away.

So, went forth and had big fun- Sunday brunch did require a Bloody Mary, I must confess. Get home and get everyone together and make with the quiet Sunday- which I really needed. I don’t do that party thing much these days, I’m old it takes me time to recover..

Wake up Monday morning at the usual 6:30- look out the kitchen window and see something white strewn about the right side of the yard. Humm.. well still a bit too dark out, and my ass isn’t traipsing down there during bear breakfast time to investigate. Get the kiddos to school and come back to take a look see. Well, the Hurricane had an archery target stashed under his fort and one (or more) of our teenage boy bears decided it would make a fun toy. A 3x3x1 block of solid Styrofoam mauled by a bear over a three acre perimeter makes one hell of a mess.. Ya can’t rake it and picking it up by hand is a bitch, and a leaf blower just tosses it into the woods and I fear for birds and other small critters ingesting it. Let’s just say it took all damn day and my back hurts like hell.


So, how was your weekend?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Come on out-

For all you lovely people on the left coast and in the middle of the country, on 10/27 you have a chance to let the Shrub know you've had enough!

Be there or be square folks.. Who knows, some news media might actually show up this time!

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm supposed to trust SYSCO to feed them?

In respect to the revolting state of affairs in school lunches-

Congress is currently considering national legislation to improve the nutritional quality of foods and beverages in schools. Please sign the petition below to ask your members of Congress to take junk food out of schools by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update its nutrition standards for foods and beverages offered from vending machines, a la carte in the cafeteria, and in school stores on the whole campus throughout the school day.

USDA’s current school nutrition standards were developed in the 1970’s and are no longer consistent with nutrition science or current concerns regarding children’s nutrition. For example, USDA does not consider candy bars, snack cakes or French fries to be junk foods in schools.

Let's help feed them not only something better, but keep big business from mandating what goes on in our local lunch rooms! My kids pack for a reason, but for some kids this may well be the only thing close to a complete meal they might get in a day.

Now y'all take a minute to go educate yourselves now, and sign the petition while you're in the neighborhood!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

No Child Left Behind??

my ass..

Misguided piece of politics, bad legislation plain and simple. Medicare D and HIPPA ring any bells folks? Another half assed delivery on an election promise. And another that hemorrhaged billions of dollars and ultimately merely ended up making things worse, far worse. I don’t know a single teacher- mainstream, special ED, ESL, any of them that think this is a good piece of legislation. I know parents of special needs kids that literally hiss when they hear those four words..

Why, might you ask do I have such a case of the ass about this? My kids got screwed- once again. Essentially we are dumbing down our best and brightest. Plain and simple.

Unless you happen to live in a county or city with excellent recourses – magnet and charter schools and such, or happen to have the bucks to send your kids to private school- you’re screwed if they’re smart and you actually work for a living.

Ok, your Mom is supposed to brag, right? Whatever, my blog, my life I’m allowed. My kids happen to have been lucky enough to get their Dad’s intelligence. We’re talking border line genius level I.Q here folks. Both have always read at least 5 grade levels ahead (no that was not a misprint peeps) Math- they both scare the crap out of me.. Miss Thing took the SAT at 12 to qualify for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program- her scores freaked us both out.. Would you not think that the school system would be happy to help foster the academic careers of bright kids? Not so much.. Too damn busy worrying about getting accredited and making sure the state scores total up the right way.

Yeah, that NCLB bullshit. No resources, had to take it from somewhere.. So what programs might I ask got hit the hardest??? At least where we are- Arts, Gifted & Talented programs and non sports extracurricular activities. Nothing against the sports crowd- don’t get me wrong, the Hurricane is a major jock. But should there not be some EQUITY here????

I have had to fight tooth and nail to get the credits that Miss Thing earned at JHU on her record (at OUR expense, thank you- and that is not a cheap program people) I’ve had to bitch and complain about access to AP courses, I’ve had to raise hell with any number of principals through the years about the fact that my kids are bored out of their minds.. And this frankly pisses me off.. Why the fuck are my kids being penalized for being smart?????

Why in the hell are we NOT giving the best and brightest equal treatment? Why is there the assumption that because they are bright, they’ll shuffle through and just let the college system deal with stimulating them? This is beyond fucked up..

I see perfectly capable and intelligent kids getting turned off and subsequently tuning out because they’re bored out of their minds.. How many do we lose every year because we fail to engage these children, support their intellect and give them the right tools to let them fly??

Hey Shrub- know what? Those two smart kids will come back to bite the universe in the ass. Be afraid, be very afraid.. Two brilliant humans that have actual compassion and in spite of being dismissed by their government- they’re both going to make a difference and make someone terribly ashamed that they ended up being marginalized. Mom and Dad will sit back at that point and just smile at all the righteous indignation coming down on your ass..

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ah Vanity-

Thy name is Dora..

So, I turned 46 last month.. I have never generally been bothered in the least by birthdays. 16 was great, got that passport to freedom- car keys. 18- passport to beer and the right to vote! 21, hard liquor and credit cards.. But those birthdays that seem to bother other people- never much cared. 30? Whatever.. I was busy. Nice party, lots of good natured jokes and found out I was pregnant with Miss Thing the following day. Drama, yes, but of the happy sort. 35? Well the Hurricane spat forth upon the universe the week before, so again, whatever -other things to do.. 40? Didn’t care in the least. Nice dinner, excellent wine, but again no drama. 45? See 40.. but I got excellent, excellent jewelry.

46? That one slammed me right upside the head. Now I fully admit I can be a vain bitch. I do not depart the house unless I can not be mortified if I actually see someone I know. When I was working full time this indeed meant a proper suit or such, proper hair and makeup. These days, unless I have a meeting it means clean jeans a civilized top and good basic grooming. Don’t laugh, I see what some people stroll out of the house in folks.. Truly mortifying.

The vanity? I looked in the mirror and wondered who this woman looking back at me these days is. I’ll grant you, I’m not saying I suddenly look like the bride of Frankenstein or some such. I just look and wonder what the hell happened here. One of my nasty little secrets happens to be that yours truly does tend to make with the preventive maintenance in a major way. Sunscreen, moisturizer, checking in with the dermatologist often. OK so the good doctor is more a fear of cancer- I was the major sun bunny before we knew it was bad for you, spent every summer of my childhood on the outer banks or on the tennis court or at the farm- all sans sunscreen- and I have a family history of melanoma. I digress, as usual.

My Mamma was a stunning woman. The most repeated comment at Mamma’s memorial was “she was the most beautiful woman I ever knew” - but to her credit, those kind souls appended the statement with “Inside and out”.. I grew up with a very smart woman that spent her entire life being judged by her looks. I often wonder what her life would have been like had she been born plain. But in the time and place she was born, she managed right well for herself. But in spite of, or because of that fact, I was always expected to present myself properly.

So here I sit, at 46.. it could be worse. I got lucky in the big game of genetic lotto- I had good looking parents. But for the first time in my life, I want to go back.. Just a couple of years, doesn’t seem so much to ask.. Boots jokingly asked me the other day if I’d ever go under the knife. Wow- what a fucking hypocrite am I? Until last month I’d have said no way in hell.. Would I do scary Janice Dickerson shit? No way in hell. A wee bit of something- perhaps I would. More like Catherine Deneuve or Michelle Pfeiffer- those guys were freaking geniuses..

Ok- so the why to the problem as a whole? As stated- I’m a hypocrite. I thought I spent most of my life trying to be judged on my brains. I broke my grandmother’s heart and Mamma’s by bailing on my coming out in a very rude (in retrospect) way. But I have used the sorta pretty as a weapon. I’ve blindsided people that were just expecting some dumb debutante. I’ll qualify that- not in some trashy way people.. Folks just sometimes make stupid assumptions- it’s not necessarily incumbent upon me to disabuse them until I care to so, now is it?

Guess I’ll just let nature take it’s course. Aided by some really good sunscreen and moisturizer..

Saturday, September 01, 2007

So, how have y'all been?

Hello boys and girls.. everyone doing OK out there I hope? No I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. Nor did I change my name to Lola and move to Vegas to deal cards, in spite of the frequent threat to do just that. And thanks to you precious dears (you know who you are) that emailed to inquire as to my whereabouts.

Nothing monumental- just been busy, with a recurrence of the ennui as well, I do admit. I took on a contract job that I really didn’t want to deal with, as I knew it was a major mess, and straightening it out would be a royal pain in the ass. Sometimes being right is highly overrated But ‘tis the season for back to school, and kids are not in any way cheap. So between the project, the kiddos and the ongoing renovations, I’ve been a very busy girl.

Granted, the Hurricane entered double digits- requiring a 2 day fest of crazed little boys running through the casa. Baby sister decided to have an existential crisis, and yours truly had to face turning 46.. Yeah, we’ll deal with that later. Had to do the school shopping trip with Miss Thing, which always necessitates one or more of the adopted female children coming along, which I generally don’t mind. This year however, as we are entering high school- much sturm und drang had to accompany said trip. Sigh..

In short- some things never change, do they?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ya think??

All together now boys and girls.... Well DUH!!

Lead paint is toxic when ingested by children and can cause brain damage or death. It's been mostly banned in the United States since the late 1970s, but is permitted in the coating of toys, providing it amounts to less than six parts per million.

Consumer advocates say the Bush administration has hindered regulation on two fronts. It stalled efforts to press for greater inspections of imported children's products, and it altered the focus of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), moving it from aggressive protection of consumers to a more manufacturer-friendly approach.

"The overall philosophy is regulations are bad and they are too large a cost for industry, and the market will take care of it," said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMBWatch, a government watchdog group formed in 1983. "That's been the philosophy of the Bush administration."

Really now, not killing children could be bad for business folks!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Where everybody knows your name-

And they’re usually glad you came…

There are some good points and some bad ones about living in a fairly small place. No one ever asks for ID when you write a check. Car breaks down on the side of the road, someone you know will be along shortly. If you’re in the last gas pump next to the road that’s pre-pay only, yours will get authorized and can still write a check as soon as the clerk looks up and sees it’s you.. Your kids do something dumb, you’ll find out real quick..

There are some bad things as well. For one, running errands can take forever. The Beast doesn’t understand the length of time it takes to get things done. Years of telecommuting or commuting or a combination thereof has left him not so entrenched in the daily routine. Not that he’s anti social, he’s actually quite charming as a rule, he just doesn’t get out there as much as I do. Spending 15 years in the same place and 7 of those working for a popular doctor- you know a LOT of people.

It takes a little while to get shit dealt with when you have to speak to people. And for G.R.I.T.S. it's totally rude not to speak to people.. It's like white shoes after labor day, it's just not done. Again, the Beast doesn’t get it.. case in point, had some stuff to deal with today. Leave the house and head down the mountain, run into the Lord of the Lawn on his way up, stopped to chat for a moment about some plans we’re working on for the front of the house. Get another quarter of a mile and run into a neighbor that wants to chat. On we go..

Hit the gas station and fill up, cashier chats a moment or two and then asks if I can help a very lost couple from Jersey, fine. Get the very lost old folk pointed in the right direction. *Want the scenic route or want to drive back 20 miles or so and then turn left??* On to the dump (oh, the non-stop glamour) say hey to Keith, chat about the weather for a moment and unload the trash. Alrighty then, on to town proper.. Stop at the hardware store- say hey to Charlie chat for a few about his general health and his wife’s- hand over the lumber list and realize I totally forgot to take a piece of baseboard with me to match up. Starting to curse myself when he asks if it’s to finish the Beast’s office, no problem he knows what I need. Run back to pick up a few things and run into a former patient and have to do the twenty questions thing. Finally out of there.

Dry cleaners- you know the story by now. Bank and Post office- ditto.. And the man wonders why this takes time?? Not to mention the whole being about 12 miles from “town” thing, Don’t get me started on how long getting through the grocery store takes..

Funny, three decades ago this would be the last life I’d have ever seen myself in. Living in NYC with a couple of anorexic models and a Drag Queen, this would have been the very last damn life I’d have seen coming. The universe is indeed strange, but it really does have it’s own self leveling mechanisms. I want a dose of city, I’m close enough to get there for a day trip, I don’t want to screw with humanity I can hole up at home and not be bothered with it too much.

The Beast and I, the kids, the dogs and the bears and other assorted critters wandering about the back forty will stay put a while yet I expect. The world is totally strange sometimes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some Random Space-

Welcome to the back yard. In keeping with the no bummer theme..
This would be what I see from the kitchen window. Doesn't suck.

North-east side of the back yard.. No critters- amazing! Usually some sort of creature trotting through.


It's really good to be home..

Silly Boys..


To take a break from all the bummer posts of the last week or so- welcome to my back yard. These would be pictures of last night's fun and games at the back end of Casa de Locos.
Say hello to Ed and Mike folks..
Ed, Mike- say hello to the nice people.
What goobers.. watched these two guys all last summer and fall as cubs, trailing along after their mamma bear. It's nice to see them as healthy teenagers. Next time I'll try and get some pictures of old Uncle Bob. He's been roaming through here for about 15 years, biggest black bear I've ever seen. Kinda cute the way he more or less tolerates the boys, but tries to ignore them at the same time.

I'll try and get some foxes and deer and other assorted critters soon. And apologies to the nice virtual friends that have actual talent when it comes to taking a picture. But then again, my ass wasn't getting down off the deck and into the yard for a closer shot either.. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid people.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Scars

Somewhere around 3AM on Tuesday I remembered something my Grandmother used to say, “Scars are proof of two things- either your own stupidity or good fortune.”

Got the big guy up and out of bed because he was having horrible hot flashes and sweating bullets, and man can I sympathize with that! Anyway, getting him wiped down and into a clean gown I thought about the roadmap of his life that brother dear’s scars represent.

There’s that big one that extends from well above his right ear and snakes down into his neck. I remember the first time I saw it after he came home from having a total neck dissection, an angry ugly thing at the time, that has mellowed through the years. I remember how self conscious he was, being a teenager at the time. Good fortune indeed, that tumor would have killed most people, he was actually in a medical paper somewhere in academia way back then because it was a radical surgery for his type of cancer at the time. Lucky scar indeed.

I see the one at the base of his neck from his disc surgery a few years back. Stupidity for constant abuse of his body and refusing to admit it and slow down.

The large one to the right of his new accessory, that’s where they removed another tumor a decade or so ago that proved to be benign. Good fortune.

The one on the left side of his thick skull? Slipped on a rock fly fishing alone somewhere in BFE and managed to hike his bleeding, dazed ass back to the road and flag down help. Well, we’ll call that a win for both sides I suppose.

His hands and arms, faint scars too numerous to count. Years spent at the forge with an anvil and hammer will give you a lot of burn marks. I see those hands and realize those huge, strong scarred appendages can take a piece of iron and fashion it into something beautiful- a perfect dogwood blossom, a rose, a bouquet of calla lilies. It has always rather amazed me the artistic talent that can take a raw block of iron and make something of such beauty out of it. Or do something more practical and make a pair of corrective shoes for a horse that’s hurting.. “No hoof, no horse” after all. Good fortune.

Thought about my own a bit. The big one on the heel of my right hand where I sliced myself royally one year after Christmas, de-boning a leftover ham for bean soup . Chalk one up for stupidity. Wash the knife stupid!!!

The good sized burn mark on my right forearm- acquired while checking a standing rib roast at the precise moment the Hurricane was playing lets chase the dogs through the kitchen and the big dog collided with me and knocked me forward into the oven rack. Good fortune, a second or two later and I’d have been totally bent over and it would have been my face.

The little half moon scar under my left shoulder blade- yeah chalk that one up to stupid and 20.. Haven’t touched tequila since that night , and we’ll leave it at that.

Those few random stretch marks.. In moments of vanity I consider them bad luck. But they are the best of good fortune. Two very difficult pregnancies, two babies with different, but equally dire issues in infancy that are now healthy people. With any luck they’ll be viable humans with a sense of responsibility and a purpose in life.

Grandma was right.. look at your scars and remember how lucky you really are folks, or how fortunate you were to have survived your own stupidity.

There's no place like home.

It is so, so good to be back in the normal chaos of Casa de Locos! Kids didn’t kill each other, the house didn’t burn down, and every one has all the body parts that were attached when I left still intact.. Props to Miss Thing for keeping the house together for me for a whole week! well the Beast did end up making a trip to the ER, but that's a whole 'nuther story.

What a trip! On every level you care to use the term for.. Brother #2 is a mess, but alive and hopefully will be just as good, or better- provided he behaves himself. Quadruple bypass, he picks now to be an over achiever- OY!

Spent 2 nights taking the overnight shift at the hospital. Yeah, I vowed to wait till he got home.. but became convinced I could be of use the last few days after getting updated on things… Anyhoo- he needed an overnight sitter as he tended to want to do stupid shit like get up in the middle of the night and attempt to go on walkabout- ended up trying to get out of bed and nearly cracked his skull open on night number three of his stay because he went to look for our dead Mamma.. Big fella doesn’t react well to either general anesthesia or painkillers.. No sleep at all, they gave him everything they could think of and he just couldn’t get settled down. I do however now hold the babysitting record of getting him to sleep for 4 hours straight.

So I get there and he’s fairly looped on painkillers and thinks I’m Mamma.. heart wrenching doesn’t even begin to describe it. He was Mamma’s boy, and to have him ask me why it took so long to get there just tore me into more pieces than I imagined possible.. So I petted him and sang to him and settled him down until he came back to the real world, and he looked at me and said “Hey kid, when did you get here?” I had to step outside.

To see the strongest man I know reduced to this mess- I had to take a moment. This huge man, who has spent 30 some odd years as a Blacksmith and a Farrier, a man who spends his life outdoors and is the most physical creature I know now can’t sit up without help. A large piece of my heart broke. And the moment it fell to the floor, I really did hear it shatter, and I’m still not sure how to pick it up and put it back together.

So we spent two very, very long nights getting up and down. Vacillating between reason and insanity, in some strange twilight place that neither of us wanted to be in. Being a gentleman who was raised to be as polite as a person can be, while lucid he’d apologize for wanting to get up or having to move, or go to the bathroom.. and when out of it he was an ornery cuss. He had to try and walk to keep the fluid from settling on his lungs, and he’d still try and hold the door for the nurses and let the little old ladies pass..

My lord, how hard could it be for him to have his little sister have to stand in the bathroom with him so he didn’t fall? We managed to find a relatively dignified way to get around it so he wasn’t mortified- and I wasn’t terrified he was going to get hurt. But those weird twilight times when he’d wake after managing to doze for a few moments were the worst.. he’d wake up in a start and get panicked if he couldn’t see me.

As predicted, he wasn’t home an hour before he had to try and walk out to his shop.. Yeah, that went real well. Part of the reason I got called in for the sitting was just general relief, the other part being I appear to be the only person that tells him when he’s being an asshole. Yep- called him on that one, big time. Had to pull out the “I’m launching your ass back into another time zone” threat All the other concerned parties are treating him like an infant and hovering, which was (is) driving him nuts- I pretty much sat back until he either needed me or was getting ready to do something stupid, talked when he wanted to talk, and shut up otherwise and let him be. Another little chunk of the heart broke off when he asked me when I was leaving if I couldn’t just stay a little longer, because I was the only person not treating him like “someone else”, as he put it. Now I’m not being mean, but taking care of someone and smothering are two different things- and everyone else is smothering big time at the moment, and I just happen to think a stubborn and independent person like him needs a little latitude. I’m in the minority of one it appears..

I did however learn an interesting lesson- siblings often don’t really know one another as actual adult humans. Sure, we love each other and keep up with the general goings on in respect to our lives and such.. But the flood of calls and people dropping by with casseroles and offers to tend the horses and such gave me a view of my brother I expect I may never have had. A good friend of mine once told me that the measure of a life well spent was the love you received, there’s a lot of truth in that. My brilliant brother, a man that had the smarts to do anything he wanted to do chose to follow his heart and his natural inclinations. Given the avalanche of love and concern, it’s a life very well spent. We’ve decided we actually like each other as grown up people and have made a date for a weekend just for the two of us- as soon as he’s allowed to drive.

Wow, that went on forever didn’t it? Processing the experience y’all- just processing it, and I expect I will for quite some time to come...Blame it on acute sleep deprivation- 8 hours of sleep in 5 days makes a person a little crazy. Or in my case crazier than usual.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thanks y'all!

The support has been very helpful as I wrangled with that particular decision, and the repercussions. Brother #2 is sort of like John Wayne in "The Quiet Man"- not one to tell me he wanted me there right then, or say he'd rather I came later.. Still waters do run real deep- but once in a while it would be nice to get some constructive verbalization for crying out loud!

Brother dear spent about five hours on the table, but is out and all went well thankfully! In order not to obsess I spent the day painting the Beast's office so I can lay the new floor before I head south..

So, now all I need to do is sock back enough easy to reheat eats so the kids can watch the Beast for me while I'm gone. For real, the man has actually burned water before. Luckily Miss Thing is a generally responsible person.

Off to make some lasagna to park in the freezer..

Bet you money he's going to try and wander his ass out to his shop and start piddling around with something within 24 hours.. I will have to practice the really stern Mom voice- "Step away from the anvil young man!" or "Get your stupid ass in that house right now before I launch you back into last year!"

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My peculiar logic-

So I've decided to wait till Brother #2 is released to head south.. Bear with me. The rest of the family unit is descending to hover over him- which will drive him totally nuts by the way. I figure it makes a lot more sense for me to get there when he's released so I can give his wife a break, let her get her shit together at work and so forth.

I'm a pretty good substitute for a nurse and a pretty fair cook- this seems to me to be more productive than standing over him, staring at the monitors and trying to make small talk about bullshit while he's on massive painkillers.. I don't sit still well, period. I'd rather be doing something helpful, or at least productive.

So am I completely wrong? I got the 411 on his surgeon- the guy knows his shit. He's a strong fella, if I had any concerns regarding the actual procedure I'd have gotten my ass in the car last night.

So am I being rational or being a bitch? Guess it depends on which family member you ask.. and for the records Brother #2 and the Sister in law are cool with it. Do I allow useless guilt to rule, or practicality?

Aw screw the guilt, I'm going for practical. If the rest of them can't see the logic in it, so be it.

Strange fortune

Baby Sister thinks I'm crazy.... Brother #2 was hospitalized yesterday with chest pain. Guess who's getting a triple bypass tomorrow morning? I say this was most fortunate. I figure better a bypass WITHOUT a heart attack than a heart attack precipitating the need for a cardiac cath to find the blockage.. I'm weird like that. Frankly I think he's awfully lucky.

Brother #2 and I have had a rather complicated relationship the past few years, to put it mildly. No open hostility or anything really, we just ignored one another instead of having a knock down drag out. Personally I think that would have been healthier, but he's too passive (and occasionally passive-aggressive) for that. But he was man enough to make the first move to try and mend that fence, so we have tried to get past it and move on.

So I have to head to Carolina and see my strapping big brother weak as a kitten. Selfishly I really don't think I can handle that on some level. And when I say strapping, I mean big fella, strong as an ox from many years as a farrier. My truck driving, fly fishing, tough good old boy (who reads Kafka) brother, with his chest cracked open and helpless. Having trouble picturing with that.

Wish I could say I was surprised, but I'm not. Been nagging him for years that the train wreck was going to come. Somehow saying "I told you so" isn't going to give me any satisfaction this time. Guess I'll keep my mouth shut for once in my life.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ennui

Which is French for “I don’t currently give a shit”.. Yep that’s the word for it. Here of late I have a severe case of it. Not depressed, life isn’t awful- I just seem to be totally lacking in anything that resembles motivation, which is highly unusual for me. Here of late I look in the mirror and have no earthly idea who that woman is staring back at me. I find this most unsettling. Hell, I haven’t even bought a pair of shoes in four months, and that my friends is a record.

I had hoped it was just the dog days of summer.. not so much. I generally thrive in the heat. I wonder if I didn’t lose a bit of my identity when I ended up doing the part time working at home thing. There’s enough crap to do around the house that I’ve not had time to deal with to keep me occupied for a year easily. Getting my ass motivated to deal with it is another story. Lost my mojo somewhere along the line. Now this is not to say I’m laying about the house in a robe all day sighing deeply. Nope, get up and shower, do all the Mom stuff, house isn’t a wreck by any means.. get the part time stuff dealt with in a timely fashion- life does go on with some order more or less.

It just seems the old me isn’t really here at the moment. Perhaps she just needed a vacation. Perhaps I ought to just go with it for the moment. Or maybe I just have a case of the lazy right now. See, I can justify my way out of damn near anything. Short of working for the Shrub, I wonder if this qualifies as a job skill of some sort? Perhaps I ought to note it on my currently ignored by the hiring entities resume.

Hell- I just need to get out of the house more I expect and get over myself real quick.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Farm Subsidies-

Think about it- and raise some hell.. the farm subsidy programs have had nothing but an adverse impact on small farmers since just post depression.. Personally I rather like knowing the person that grows my food.. And I don't like seeing decent people get screwed. So go and let those asshats know that the individual farmer with a community and a family and a sense of accountability to the earth do matter.. Perhaps I'm biased, coming from farm people..

Go make with the support for the real american farmer, who is not a part of the big agribusiness. Personally I like knowing there's a family down the road with a working farm that can tend the land and not get sucked into the ArcherDanielsMidland scary ass form of what passes for food.

Farm subsidies these days help only big agribusiness, not the individual. So take a moment to let congress know it's a bad piece of legislation that needs to be reformed. Like many good ideas, it got perverted along the way by pork barrel politics and needs serious and lasting reforms.


I'm with dear old Mr. Earl on this one y'all..

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Prognosis..

Well, it’s a mixed diagnosis.. Hauled my happy ass out to the hardware store and fetched a new breaker. Wired the sucker back in, yay! We have a cook top back, now this is progress. Since I have a light again, I take a closer look at the broiler element. Humm, sucker burned completely through. Like 4 or more inches of element no longer there.. dang! Well that would indeed explain the blinding mini explosion and the subsequent fried breaker. Mr. Appliance fixit dude was very impressed, he’s never encountered a vaporized part. Lucky me. He assures me that while we’re waiting on the new element it’s OK to cut the oven on as long as I avoid the broiler. Umm, nah, I think not. Well it’s all good- I have the grill and the stove top I’ll manage. BBQ shrimp and grits, here we come! Hey Tater- we’re having vinegar and pepper cukes too, come on over!

You have to understand, the range to me is rather like Cowbell’s camera. Not the Viking six burner mother I covet- nay, lust after- but it makes me happy. It’s the only outlet for a woman with the artistic talent of a gerbil.. And as 1951 as it may sound, I rather enjoy feeding the family ( and the extra kids that always seem to be around here) something that never saw a box as it’s beginning.. My form of therapy, as it were.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Idiot child-

Meaning my husband..

Love him dearly, 27 years together means something these days I think, I do love him dearly. But some days I could happily wrap my hands around his neck. Not a stupid person at all- has a doctorate, can solve quadric equations half drunk on a cocktail napkin with a pencil.. is highly regarded in his field and has all kinds of fancy people with big titles calling for his advice- Couldn't find his ass with both hands if he tried. I have to check him before he leaves the house. For real.

Love him, I swear I do. Case in point. My day today( other than the very late in the day oven debacle) get him packed for a business trip. Do my usual check list of clothes, meds, computer, cellphone, paperwork and such- check, all good. Get a panicked call from the airport.. "Where's my driver's license?" Umm.. how the hell would I know? Chill out dear- do you have your Federal Employee ID? "Yes" Fine, get your ass on the plane and we'll figure the rest out. "I have to get a rental car!" Repeat, you're getting on a plane- I can only do so much dear.

Call the DMV- 20 minutes ON HOLD (those people whose blogs I hovered on today- I have a valid excuse) get a human- " Hello this is Sara, we are having phone problems and I can't hear anything, please call back." CLICK. WTF??????

Breathe very deeply, dial again. 34 fucking minutes on hold.. but do get an actual person that WILL speak to me. Privacy issues, can't get shit accomplished- but do get some guidance. Now one would not assume this is the first time a person has lost their license, so I presume there is some sort of standard procedure to notify the rental car people of one's status. Hell no.. depends on the rental company. Some will take a verification faxed from the state.. Alamo- not gonna happen.

Well, that's a waste of a day.. tear up the house trying to find the damn thing, hang on infinity hold for a couple of hours, tear up the house again.. field calls from my lost boy.. tear up the damn house again..

Let it suffice to say this is not a first.. Example- heading for a conference in Virgina Beach. I get a call "I think I'm lost- I'm in Elizabeth City". What????? Now that takes some REAL talent..

I swear, every time he walks out that door into the real world alone I have fear.. I love you baby, but lord you worry the hell out of me. Y'all see him coming- be sweet and help him navigate the real world and be kind to his helpless ass- please?

The Magical Mystery Tour- Redux..

The reverse trip.. Travels with the boy are kind of like “Alice, Let’s Eat” with a boy and his Mom instead, and lacking the writing talent part..

The dynamic of the drop off and the pick up are different due to timing.. dropping the lad off on a Sunday between 2 and 4? This affords some flexibility for those coming from the top of the state, thus it is tiring, but do-able for a round trip same day. The pick up deal, not so much. Pick up between 8 and 11 on a Saturday morning? Sorry, not getting my happy ass up at 3AM- not gonna happen. So the Mom goes down Friday, sees the nephew and grand nephews (Oy- I feel so old) chows some blue crabs and heads over the Bay Bridge Tunnel to get the Hurricane bright and early Saturday morning.

The drill goes- haul it up the eastern shore, arrive at camp. Pull up to the cabin. Get a death defying hug from the little dude- it’s sweet that he really could care less if the guys see him jump up and give Mom the death hug. Check 3 times for the stuff he swears is all in the bag - not.. Check out with the counselors. Now little dude generally wishes to introduce the Mom to the semi adults that have been in charge of him, and most of the short people he’s been hanging out with. This is fine, he’s a very social creature, I’m accustomed to this. Myself, I want to verify that he hasn’t behaved like he was raised by wolves.. and to make sure he had a HUGE amount of fun. Now, selfishly I will admit that this camp seems to attract incredibly hot counselors from all over the world. Spending ten minutes inquiring as to the camp experience from an amazingly hot Brazilian guy isn’t torture.. yeah, so sue me.

Then we hit the road..

Mom-

Yes?

Is the Clam Shack open?

Well Buddy it’s 9:00, I don’t know.

Can you have a couple of dozen little necks for breakfast?

I see no reason not- let’s stop and see.

So, after stopping to pick up some shrimp and clams and crab from Tony- the guy that always has the best seafood in his side of the road stand.. Grab some ice, pack the cooler- away we go.

Woo Hoo- the Clam Shack opens at 9:00.. well hell yes we’re having a few dozen steamers for breakfast..

Just prior to Williamsburg..

Mom?

Yes?

We stopping for BBQ?

It’s a little early for lunch son.

Please???

OK-

Pit stop for a little pulled pork- one with, one without, thanks.

Crawling up 95- the highway from hell.. after a million years of cruising at 2 MPH the lad spies the exit sign for Culpeper.

Mom?

Yes Honey?

Culpeper, that’s where the nice Thai place and the good French bakery are, right?

Yep- that’s it.

Can we stop?

No Buddy, way too far out of the way and we’re in traffic hell here as it is.

Long pause..

OK.

Mom. There’s another BBQ place on the way home before Aunt Baby Sister’s isn’t there?

Yes son, there is.

So that would be snack time, right?

Yep- I expect so dear…



Who am I to deny the boy his pulled pork?


Mom?

Yes dear?

Are we stopping for peaches and tomatoes?

I expect so son.

If I don’t make a mess can I eat a few in the back seat?

Sure, just wipe up the mess baby.

Pit stop to see old Mr. Claude.. who was probably farming when Moses was a teenager.. At 84 still runs the stand and has left the farming to the progeny. Holds no truck with “pess-di-sides” unnatural he claims. Oddly he always remembers us and is the sweetest old dude around. Peaches, tomatoes, corn.. It’s all good. The universe is kind sometimes- he pulls out a bit of the Prosciutto of the south- for real country ham. I damn near faint.. No offense to those nice folks in Smithfield- but the real damn deal. Put up old school, by a man with the talent- Not allowed by law to sell it, but for a regular, a little lagniappe.. Oh hell yes! Thank you, thank you thank you!!!!!!!!! Died and gone to heaven, thank you very much.. The mind reels with the thoughts of what the contents of the cooler and the trunk (minus the 2 weeks of the Hurricane's dirty laundry) will bring forth. Oh help me, I feel faint!!!!!!!!

The remaining 40 miles or so are spent plotting what to do with the plunder-

Life is sometimes kind..

It’s good to have my little buddy back.


P.S.- Oh, the injustice..the damn stove completely freaked out on me tonight and is now dead- In the middle of broiling glazed salmon steaks-

ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hysteria commence!!!!!!! I can live without a phone, the TV, the computer.. but no stove?? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.. And the damn thing is a fucking month out of warranty. Breathing deeply, trying not to descend into total hysteria,

Someone up there hates me, I swear..

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My State Representative- the MORON

Doesn’t read the Bills.. Yep- Quoted in the paper.. He doesn’t have time to read all the bills. Well I’m not all that shocked- but I am pissed about one in particular.

The mis-guided Virginia Transportation Bill of 2007- which has turned into a shit storm if there ever was one. It is however highly amusing that a small town lawyer and town councilman from the hinterlands is the one that BROKE THE STORY TO THE LEGISLATURE! Nope, not kidding. And did it in a tiny little local free rag, and from there it spread..

The story, for those of you that don’t given a damn about Virginia politics goes as such. Bad, idiot Republican Governor that put one of the most fiscally conservative states in the union into the red for the first time since the depression screws everything up. Resulting Democratic Governors, fighting an uphill battle with a Republican Legislature moves heaven and earth to balance what prior moron fucked up without taxing us to death. Yes run on after run on, forgive me I’m pissed.. Anyhoo here we are in 2007 facing horrid transportation issues, schools and social services are getting screwed royally and here we are facing a big cluster fuck in the transportation infrastructure that’s been on the horizon for a couple of decades or more.

Humm, then we have a brilliant idea from Fairfax County (who ya thinks getting most of this cash?) Delegate David Albo- wait for it.. yep his firm is one of the largest volume defenders of serious traffic offenses in the state. They quite literally wrote the book- No for real “Defense of Serious Traffic Cases in Virginia”- not kidding. Civil fees. Yep the Civil Remedial Fee Statue that rode in on this piece of shit legislation- drivers in the Commonwealth face fines from $800 - $1050 for infractions from driving on bald tires to exceeding the speed limit. Yep- you aren’t reading wrong. Some poor old dude that is retired and working at McDonald’s to afford his wife’s medication (because we all know how well that Part D thing worked out) faces a fine if his poor old self gets stressed and he’s running late for the breakfast shift and speeds. $1050.00 is a fair amount of money to me- how devastating is it for the old guy???? And get this- judges cannot- CANNOT commute, suspend or amend these fines. But you out of state folks are safe, because it’s a special fine, just for us legal residents of the Commonwealth.

Oh yes boys and girls, it gets more amusing. Our aforementioned small town lawyer gets bent, demands a copy of the “remedial fees” from the VA Supreme Court- and calls every damn delegate he can get on the line- theoretically the legislature claims they had NO access to this document prior to signing this bill and had no idea what the amounts of these fines were.. What? The Tooth Fairy brought it?? Umm.. huh? Small town lawyer busts the news as to what these asshats have foisted on the citizens of the Commonwealth and the universal cry is “WE DIDN’T KNOW!!” Huh, you signed a fucking bill into legislation without having a clue as to the impact? Court clerks are freaking, Judges are mad as hell, and we can’t do shit about it till next session.

Small town lawyer publicly offers to defend any citizen of the town or county that gets nailed with one of these pro-bono.

See, all lawyers aren’t assholes.. You go Tom!

My (Next) Brilliant Career

So, having given this a great deal of thought.. I am good at few things. I am one hell of a cook- but catering takes the joy out of it for me. Line bitch memories perhaps? Growing up in a restaurant, prior catering business? Whatever- it takes the fun out of it. Parties and weddings- now I can throw one hell of a bash. I am quite well known for throwing a hell of a party and a pretty swell wedding. Humm, middle of Ruburbia -yeah well nice idea, but.. Personal shopper- gotcha covered! Yep, see prior great idea. I can run one crackerjack of a medical practice, kinda fried on that actually.

So I realized while finishing up the foyer- there are some very weird names for paint. I mean seriously strange! Smoked Oyster? I have consumed a lot of oysters, smoked and otherwise.. none of which bore any resemblance to the wall shade I chose. Country Club? Been to a few of those, not seeing it as the shade in the upstairs bath. Black Suede? OK it was actually black so why not just call it black? The guest room and Miss Thing’s hole are Parisian Taupe. The French have some special tone all their own? Ah ha! Someone in each of the companies spends their entire working day thinking up silly pseudo prosaic names. I have to get a gig like that! What do they call it? Corporate Vice President of Naming? Prosaic Bullshit Spouter?

Shoes. Shoes have names as well. Someone gets paid to name the shoes! The Carolyne, the Jackie, the Galliano is Crazy.. OK, that job I really, really want. Bags- yep they have someone doing that too.. Is there some special degree track for this? Some specialized form of in-house training one can latch on to at the right company? I presume I could telecommute? It seems pretty obvious there are indeed people out there actually getting paid money for this for crying out loud! I just want to get in on the action.

If any of you brilliant people can shed any light in respect to how I need to go about this, please do drop a line!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Impeach the whole damn lot of them..

So- thus far I have avoided political commentary here, mainly because there are other people out there that do a far superior job than I can.. But I expect that anyone who has read my commentary elsewhere has a pretty good idea of where I stand. This little corner of the virtual world thus far has just been sort of a safe place for me to process all the weird that's been going on in my little universe here of late.. let off some steam as it were. Also, I was accustomed to being around an ongoing parade of people every working day, y'all are way more entertaining, trust me!

Anyhoo.. I find my disgust at the current state of affairs growing to an ulcer inducing point- so even if it happens a month before the Shrub leaves office, it's the principle of the matter. Personally I still feel the International War Crimes Tribunal is more appropriate, but you gotta start somewhere after all-

Y'all go on over and up the count to a million pissed off souls that don't want to take it anymore!

And Tater and Lynette, y'all need a place to stay- you're welcome.. I'm a little ways out, but we'd have fun.