Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Some days just suck

And this one was a lulu. I can't even begin to enumerate all the ways today sucked, so I'm not even going to try and do it justice. I told JF all the suckitude du jour, and that just about took all the rest of my energy.

Hope you all out there had a better Wednesday than I did.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The End.

I have been saving the last episode of "Six Feet Under" on my TiVo for quite a while. I hadn't watched it because I just didn't want the show to end. Not everyone gets all worked up over TV, and my husband thought the show was the worst possible sort of dreck, but I was really going to miss the Fishers.

I watched the show from the very beginning, and I immediately identified with the character of David. David felt very familiar to me. I felt a deep kinship with David right away. This show moved me. It was not only about death and loss, but about life and moving on. About living life, not just watching it go by. Sure, there were story lines I didn't agree with, but if you get so mad that you're yelling at an electronic box, chances are, the writers have you well and truly hooked.

I could rail at Claire for making stupid choices, and I could feel David's palpable pain and anguish over coming out to his family. I could sense Nate's growing fear that he was becoming the thing he wanted most to never be. I empathized with Ruth's loss of control over her family, of her becoming less and less a part of their lives. I grew more and more horrified as Brenda sought to self-destruct.

I finally watched the last episode tonight, and I must say that I was moved to tears more than once. My husband teases me that I'm a big softie, but I could only sit and let the tears roll down as the final few minutes played out. "SFU" was never one of those shows that catered to the mass audience by having the ending all neatly sewn up for you at the end of an hour. I didn't expect that things would end all rosy, and that the Fishers would ride off into the sunset at the end, but -- wow.

I won't spoil anything for anyone who has not yet watched the final episode, "Everybody's Waiting", but those of you who watched, and were moved, as I was, are free to comment. Those of you who don't wish to see anything that could give information away, avoid the comments on this thread.

For those of you who have come to expect weirdity and occasional loopiness when you come here, forgive me. We will soon return you to the regularly scheduled nonsense.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Just doesn't add up.....

So, my school had half-day school today. (We have these periodically so we can do paperwork and attend staff development workshops and what-have-you....) We finish the day with a staff meeting. No sooner are we all back in our classrooms than the principal calls us all back down to our meeting room to tell us that there is an energy crisis, and they've cancelled school Monday and Tuesday.

What in blue blazes?

I mean, it's nice that we'll save our state and our district all that fuel that we'd burn in the buses, and that's a whole lot of electricity that won't be used at all of those sites, but... We aren't one of the states affected directly by Hurricane Rita. While I know that Rita means that there's a high premium (not to mention demand) on fuel right now, I don't see how cancelling school is going to help all that much. Especially at the eleventh hour. Parents have no CLUE that school has been cancelled. Unless they are watching the news or reading the paper, I'll bet we will have quite a few irate parents pounding on the front doors of the school Monday morning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How well they know me....

So, I'm with my Girl Scouts tonight, and we're doing an activity that is meant to showcase and highlight the positive aspects of each girl sitting around the table. We trace the pattern of our hand, and inside our hand, other people around the table have to write something nice about us. Each person passes their hand around, and we all take turns writing down positive comments. I caution the girls before hand (I have eight 9 year olds) that we are not writing down negative stuff -- we are thinking about the things that make us special, and unique.

Girl T's hand says "funny", "loveable", "always smiling", "good boss"...

When my hand goes around the table, one of my girls says. "How do you say "loudmouth" in a positive way?"

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Contribution

As part of my school's effort to help raise money for Katrina, our grade level chairperson (who knows how much I like crafty stuff) asked me to make a little something to be raffled off during our big rundraiser. We will also be raffling off all kinds of other good stuff as well, and all the proceeds will go to an agency to be distributed. This is what I decided to contribute.

It's a paper Christmas centerpiece. All of the items (flowers, pine cones, greenery, holly berries, candles) are all made out of paper. This technique is called quilling, and was (as far as we can tell) introduced by bored French nuns in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. It's also sometimes called paper filigree. I use it a lot in scrapbooking, and for making homemade cards. I find it very relaxing, and people are astonished to find out that all this centerpiece is paper and glue. I did not create the original design, though I have created plenty of designs of my own.

If anyone wants to start quilling in their spare time (what's that?!), the above link, and this one are good tools to help you get started. All I needed to get started was: paper (scrapbook paper works well), glue (I use Alene's Quick-Dry Tacky Glue), and a paperclip to start my coils off with. That's it. No fancy accessories, no major outlay of money.... I did buy a 50-pack of blank greeting cards and envelopes, and I've yet to use them all.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Not Exactly a "Smart Fit"

This is a recent picture of our cat, Lotus. (Also known as "SheWhoAggravates.") Lotus loves boxes. Any kinds of boxes. No matter how small it might be, any box that gets placed on the floor is immediately filled to overflowing with cat.

Offspring had just gotten a new pair of shoes (black Tinkerbell sneakers) and Lotus wedged herself into the box in record time.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Weirdo Magnet

You know -- I'm beginning to think that I just attract all the weird people in my general vicinity. They may not be drawn to precisely me, but there's an energy field or something about me that makes them think they can let go all of their scruples, morals, bodily functions, whatever.

Here are some examples of the weirdity:

*Today at work, I was toodling along, happily, in my classroom, getting ready for the end of the day. There was a knock at the door, and a man wearing a yellow shirt poked his head in the room. He says that he's with a maintenance crew, and they're laying down pellets to kill off the fire ants. He wants us to keep the kids away from the pellets. Okay, good to know, we think. Our head custodian arrives a few minutes later, and we casually mention to him about the guy and the crew finally working on the ant problem. He frowns, and says there's not supposed to be any crew out there today. He finds the guy still wandering around, and asks him who is he, does he have permission to be on campus, has he signed in at the office, etc. Yellow Shirt says, yeah -- his crew is on the other side of the campus with the truck, and the Principal arranged all this, yada, yada, yada... The head custodian, feeling something was not quite kosher here, goes to the main office. He learns no one has signed in as being on campus, the Principal has NO idea what this guy was talking about, and that anyone who ever comes to the school will always be in our school system's uniforms. The uniforms are grey jumpsuit-looking things. Head Custodian and the Principal head out the door, and see Yellow Shirt hauling ass away from the school on a *bicycle.* They give chase, but he cuts through a church parking lot into the woods, and is quickly lost. Was he just some random whackjob? Was he a non-custodial parent, looking for a particular child? Was he some guy looking for an unoccupied classroom to steal things? We may never know. That's the danger of having an open campus. We locked our classroom door for the rest of the day.

*Last night, JF, Offspring, and I went to JF's favorite haunt of late -- a local Mexican restaurant. We went to have a nice, leisurely dinner. At the table behind us, however, a marriage was fracturing. The man, who either has made a lifetime habit of abusing WAY too many drugs or has had some sort of stroke, is at once trying to piss off *and* placate his wife. He keeps daring her to leave, but getting mad when she tries. I hear very little of his side of the conversation, due to the fact that he's facing away from me. The woman is a lot more strident, and walks out twice, only to return both times. She keeps saying the marriage is over, and at one point, even throws food at him. People -- if your marriage is disentegrating, it's probably best if you don't have that discussion in public. That way, other people don't have to hear the horrible things you say to each other, and they don't get spattered with your dinner leavings in the process.

*A student asks me today when I'm going to have my baby. I let the little guy know that there's *not* a baby in there, that Mrs. K is just a little too porky for these pants. He's crushed when he finds out he's made an error. He says that he really wanted to play with my baby when it was borned. I offered him a sticker instead, and that seemed to have resolved the issue. Too bad it doesn't make my hips any less wide.

*(Okay, this didn't happen recently, but it's still proof positive that I'm surrounded by frickin' weirdos...) I once had a boyfriend in college break up with me because he felt his job was suffering. He said that he didn't want to hurt me, but he felt like he really needed to devote more time to his work. That would have been admirable in some circumstances, but he worked at Home Depot. It's not like he was a brain surgeon.

*We just paid off the mortgage on our house in June, but we have yet to receive the deed. I try and try to get an actual human on the phone for days, but it hasn't seemed to pan out yet. Before we paid off the mortgage, we got one last bill that told us that the remaining money in the escrow account would cover the property taxes. Today, we get a bill for the quarterly taxes. Do *we* pay this bill? Does the mortgage company take of this until the end of the year? Should I pay it, or forward the bill to the mortgage company? Will I EVER get a straight answer? Will I ever talk to an actual human who can help me?

*I realized the other day that I may be out $250. I had had to pay this money in advance for a conference I'm attending, but was then granted "financial assistance." I got $225 in assistance. While I'm really glad that I got the assistance because it'll really help with extra costs like gas and meals, do I get reimbursed for the money I've already laid out, or should I just call it even, and not make a big deal out of it? Shouldn't someone from the company have contacted me about this?

My best friend just called (OzChick works with me at my school as well) and was wondering what the deal was with Yellow Shirt. When she went to the office at the end of the day on an errand, she saw the Principal, a police officer, a *campus* Police officer, the Assistant Principal, the teacher who is our official "problem solver", and another teacher all huddled together. They were debating the whole Yellow Shirt fracas, and trying to find out who he might have been, and why he was there. All she was told was that we had an "intruder situation."

*sigh* Weirdness abounds.

UPDATE: I just wanted to add that I thought of another weird thing -- I was commenting to R2K's about JF and his all-pervasive juggling habits. He carries his leather juggling bags with him everywhere we go. They are more appropriately called "bags", but we often refer to them as "balls." He takes the balls with him to work, to the beach, to the grocery store, to the Mall, to restaurants, with us when we go camping.... He will often ask me to put them in my bag, and it freaks people out to hear him in, say -- WalMart -- saying, "Honey, will you put my balls in your purse?" People look at him very shocked, until they see him, with five balls in his outstretched hands, and me with an open pocketbook.

And, if we happen to be in Wal-Mart without his juggling balls (which almost never happens) he entertains people with his stunning Toilet-Plunger Juggling routine.

As I said -- weirdness magnet.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Yet Another Meme

As seen virtually everywhere -- I give you the Question Meme!

1. Name as it appears on birth certificate: Bandit Paradise. (Actually, that’s my Porn Star name…)

2. Nicknames: Whatever you feel like shoutin’… KLee, Ma, Boo…the list is endless.

3. Place of Birth: Richland County

4. Favorite food: Hm… Currently, I would say the egg rolls I learned to make recently.

5. Ever been to Africa: No

6. Love someone so much it hurts: Oh, yeah.

7. Been in a car accident: Several. Lots of fender benders (people here CAN NOT drive for squat.) Hit by a drunk driver about 12 years ago – totaled my car, but we were all right, thank God. He took off from the accident and reported the truck stolen. What a mental giant.

8. Croutons or bacon bits: Both! And some sunflower seeds....

9. Favorite day of the week: Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday because the work week is half over, and Friday because the weekend is just starting.

10. Favorite restaurant: The local Japanese steak house. I like the teriyaki Chicken and the Filet Mignon. Yum!

11. Favorite sport to watch: Ugh. I guess swimming. Have any of you ever seen “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge” on SPIKE TV? If that counts, then that’s my choice. :)

12. Favorite drink for summer: Sweet tea, as long as it’s made right. My family thinks I’m nuts, but tea spoils if you don’t refrigerate it, and it tastes AWFUL if it isn’t fresh. Cherry Limeade if the tea stinks.

13. Favorite ice cream: Chocolate Almond. (Or, Cold Stone’s Cake Batter.)

14. Disney or Warner Bros.: Disney, definitely.

15. Favorite fast food restaurant: Sonic. Mmmmm…chili cheese coneys….

16. What Color is your bedroom carpet: A very, very dirty grey. (yes, the actual color is grey, not just from years of slovenly housekeeping.)

17. How many times did you fail your driver's test: Zero.

18. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: The Disney DVD club. I’m so popular, it hurts.

19. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card: Barnes and Noble or Michael’s.

20. What do you do most often when you are bored: read a book, or work on some sort of craft project.

21. What time is Bedtime: Whenever I turn the light off. I’m a night owl.

22. (There was no question here, so I’ll insert one) Favorite perfume: Victorian Rose. (I buy essential oils, or enfleurage my own rose water, and make my own scent sometimes.)

23. (another blank space, so my own question) Briefs, Boxers, Thongs, or Commando? None of the above. I like Granny Panties, thank you. Call me Granny if you like, I need some coverage for my girth. Plus, Granny Panties help hold all the fat in. Kind of like a poor woman's girdle.

24. Favorite TV shows: Six Feet Under, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire, That 70’s Show, Ballykissangel, Blackadder. ER, and the Sopranos.

25. Last person/s you went to dinner with: JF and Pookiebutt (aka the Offspring.)

26. Ford or Chevy: Ew. Neither! Honda! :)

27. What are you listening to right now: JF juggling. I hear the air conditioning, and the splat of the leather balls hitting his palms. My Siamese, meowing.

28. What is your favorite color: Blue

29. Lake, ocean or river: Ocean. There’s something calming about waves lapping on the shore. For swimming, a pool. The water here is nasty. We have three-headed fish and all kinds of crud in the water.

30. How many tattoos do you have: None. I wanted a very complex one, but it was going to cost me over $500, and I am not trailer-trash enough to *finance* a tattoo.

31. Have you ever run out of gas: Yes. I had an old clunker in high school, and the gas gauge was inhabited by gremlins. The gauge would read however it felt, regardless of the amount of actual gas in the tank.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Ghost From My Past Resurfaces

When I was 15, I had a friend in high school who had an English penpal. It was all the rage at that time to have multiple penpals all over the world. My friend, GirlWithGuineaPigs, had been writing to this English guy whom she was half in love for about a year. They had arranged to meet up at Disney World that year when both of their vacations coincided.

As it happened, my family would be vacationing in Disney World at exactly the same time. (Serendipity, huh?) EnglishGuy was bringing his "mate" along -- his best friend, and GwGP did NOT want MateOfEnglishGuy hanging around as a third wheel. So -- can you all see this coming? -- GwGP decides that she wants me to lure the friend off so she and EnglishGuy can have multiple and frequent chances to snog. ("Kiss", for all you Queen's English-impaired.)

Like the lemming that I am, I follow along with GwGP's plan, thinking "How I *hate* this..." We all get to Orlando, and I meet up with two absolutely scrummy English Guys with accents to kill for, but GwGP is *nowhere* to be found. Mind you, I've never met either of these men (we were 15, they were 22...I know, I know...lecture me later!) before, but we are getting along like a house on fire. We have a great time getting to know each other. We start to branch out beyond the hotels -- going to various eateries, riding rides at the parks.... We finally hear from GwGP, and she had gotten stranded by an unreliable car on the way down to Orlando, but she's now in town, and wants to meet up. We swing by her hotel and pick her up.

Right away, the two supposed "lovebirds" are not hitting it off. I'm not sure what, exactly, the source of the friction is, but GwGP is highly peeved at me that I've been off with the blokes all day, *and* to make matters worse, we've been *gasp!* having fun! I know -- cardinal sin, right? So, we end up breaking off into pairs, me going off with Mate, and GwGP with EG.

Mate and I have a GREAT time. We ride rides, we take pictures, we do all the touristy things, and we start to get to know each other. Mate jokes with me about my accent (says I sound REALLY Southern) and I return the favor (his accent is thick enough to slice leather); and about how he likes tall, blond, American birds. Yay for me! :)

At any rate, GwGP and EG *do not* fare so well together. They've only been together a few hours when GwGP wants to throw in the towel and go back to the hotel. Mate wants to take me to dinner, and then go swimming later that night. (I won't tell all the gory details, but suffice it to say that I'm moonstruck by morning.) Mate says I'm much more adventurous than GwGP, and that EG wishes she were more like me. NOT a good way to get into her good graces, since she's the "pretty" one, and I'm just the tag-along friend.

The vacation ends all too soon. We all have to get back to our homes, and our lives. Mate and I begin a long-distance romance that would continue for years. I fell in love. Deeply. He was my first love, and while it was difficult to foster an overseas flame, I did it because I felt he was worth it.

After almost a year, Mate comes to visit me. He says how much I mean to him, and he gives me an engagement ring. He says it's more like a promise ring at this point, but he fully means it with the intention of our one day being married. I am just shy of 16. He is 23. We know it means problems and hassles. It's also what we both feel we want. We write and telephone, sometimes daily. I miss him desperately, full as I am with the flush of first love. We go on this way for what seems like eternity.

One day, about two years later, out of the clear blue, I get a letter. It's postmarked from France. Mate says he's very sorry, but he got engaged in France that weekend. He doesn't mean to hurt me, but it would have never worked between us. There was too much to stop us. (Yeah, like him dating other people.) I didn't leave my room for days. My first heartbreak. My first real letdown in love.

Mate has a terrible time with this woman he's thrown me over for. She cheats, she's mean to him, and I keep hearing from him, off and on for the next two or so years. They're on again, now they're off... I begin to move on. Fast forward to late summer 1992. I have met JF, and we are about to be married in about 3 weeks' time. I get a phone call from Mate. He wants to know if I'm seeing anyone. He's such an ass -- he realized what he threw away, he's so sorry... Will I entertain the idea of trying again? He hangs up rather quickly when I state that I'm about to be married.

I carry this hurt, this rejection, for years. JF knows the whole story, and says that Mate's loss was his gain. JF is even magnanimous when he hears that Mate has called, sniffing around.

I wanted so badly to send Mate a wedding invitation, just to reinforce what he gave up, but decide not to. When my daughter is born, I again very briefly think of sending a birth announcement his way, as Mate adored children. I, again, think "no...." and don't send it. I often think about Mate for a while there -- what's he doing, is he married, is there any way I can make him wish he'd never left? I feel sort of dishonest about thinking these things, though. I love my husband and I, in no way, shape, or form feel that he's a second choice. I feel bad that I'm wondering what could have been with Mate, even though I know it's a natural human reaction.

JF is wonderful. I never wanted anything more. He gives me all that I ever needed, and I have no wish for anything else. I have a talk with God, and decide to give up all those old feelings and what-might-have-beens into His keeping. I know that I made the right choice in JF, and God does, too. Since having that epiphany years ago, I haven't thought of Mate again. Until yesterday.

I don't know how he tracked me down, and I don't know how he knows my married name, but you can find damn near anything on Google if you work at it diligently enough. I got an email from Mate. I haven't seen this man in almost 20 years. I've long since stopped thinking about him. He wants to know how I am. Am I well? My family? He wants to apologize for all the ways he hurt me, and wants to know if I'm single.

No. No, I'm not. And quite happily so. I deleted his email. I decided my life was too good to dwell in the past a long time ago, and I'm not changing my mind because a ghost from my teens says boo. Now, if you'll all excuse me, I have to go snog my husband.

I Can't Believe that I Just Saw This....

I was at the local grocery store, stocking up on water chesnuts, chow mein noodles, sugar snap peas, and carrots for tonight's dinner (can you tell that we're having stir-fry?) and I saw a girl who was approximately 14 *sucking her thumb.* All I know was that she was almost as tall as me, and she was sucking her thumb.

It's cute when you're two. At 14, I can't begin to imagine the social stigma you would suffer. I never hoped I would be one of those people who stared, but I'm afraid that I did for a minute. Then, I caught myself staring, and had to look away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Song Remains the Same...

I know some of you know my utter fascination (read: dangerous obsession) with a singer called Fish. He's the former frontman of an 80's English/Scottish Progressive rock band called "Marillion." Some of you have heard me wax poetic about the Haddington Bear before. (He's called the Haddington Bear because he's from a town called, coincidentally enough -- Haddington, and he's six foot five.)

He is more than just a singer to me -- he has the soul of a poet. He often writes political songs, and this one of his, "The Pilgrim's Address" is one that I think is relevant, even today. It was originally written about the Gulf War, and Bosnia, but I think it's just as poignant now, even more so with the catastrophe that is the loss of life in the Middle East.

Here are the lyrics. He says what I feel so much better than I can express it.

"The Pilgrim's Address"

Mr President, you don't know my name,
But you could find it if you really cared,
Because I pay my taxes and I pay my dues,
All I ask for in return is the truth.
Can we just be honest, I've heard that speech is free
So please believe me that this address is sincere
I'm no-one special, just a regular guy
But I just can't keep on wondering why
That the shells we fired they now kill our own
And we waste away like shadows in our homes.

I fell from blue skies, fought through desert storms
I froze in firefights, I killed someone,
That had a father who loved him just like mine
Who believed the sacrifice was justified
In the name of freedom and in the name of God
While shifting sands hid all our sins and all the blood
In the wake of glory, I flew back home
I watch videos at night in my uniform
Of those towns and cities being blown apart
By those bombs that fool the people by being smart
As they flew down chimneys, flew along corridors
And explode on film and everyone goes 'aw!'

And you read the stories about how no-one's killed
And I think about the photos that I kept
To remind me that it was all for real
And the ghost that I've become will be released
To the sands still shifting that cover all the lies
About what really happened and who really died.
Was it really worth it?
Was it worth the cost?
Did we really take the high ground or have we lost
all the moral battles, did we lose the war?
Mr President I need to know for sure
That with all this knowledge, all this control
That we were on the right side after all
That we weren't lied to, that we weren't used
And the country that we fought for still upholds the truth.

Mr President you don't know my name
But you can find it if you really cared
It's on a black wall, it's on a cross of stone
In the Balkan States, the Gulf and close to home
On not so foreign islands, out on city streets
Mr President, just tell me why I'm here
This is my question, this is my life, this is my address
Mr President
Mr President, Mr President
This is my address, this is my address, this is my address,
Mr President
Mr President
This is my address.

Or, alternatively, a song directly to Bush:



If you really knew how I felt
You wouldn't need to be here asking
Those questions
Those irritating questions, moving in metaphors
Speaking in tongues

Your gunboat diplomacy
You accuse me of heresy, of being irreverent
My opinions irrelevant, when I smile at your similes
When you're speaking in tongues

As we move to a stalemate
You say a contract's a contract
And this is unnegotiable
I question your morality, you question my reality
You're speaking in tongues

We are speaking in tongues
We are speaking in tongues
Am I deaf because I cannot comprehend?
We're speaking in tongues
We're speaking in tongues
We're speaking in tongues
Though I try I just cannot understand

Your entrenched opinions
On the border of arrogance
Dug in against the compromise
A position indefensible, your actions illogical
You're speaking in tongues

You swear contradictions
Your tedious monologues, wielding authority
Demanding subservience, demanding I make your sense
Demanding speaking in tongues

We are speaking in tongues
We are speaking in tongues
Am I deaf because I cannot comprehend?
We're speaking in tongues
We're speaking in tongues
We're speaking in tongues
Though I try I just cannot understand

I can't imagine a world, especially post 9-11, where I could dislike the leader of our nation so much. I disliked Bill Clinton as a man. I though he was an ass, and any woman who was shackled to him the most unlucky woman alive, but Bush... All Bush seems to inspire in me lately is depression. I think the only thing more depressing than the fact that our nation is run by such a colossal stumblebum is the fact that Americans voted for him a second time.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

101 Things About Me

1) I am the older of 2 children.

2) My brother is 4 years younger than I am.

3) I live in the house I spent my childhood in.

4) We just paid off the mortgage on it.

5) And then we bought a new car. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

6) I *adore* my new car. It’s a Honda Element, and I’m as proud of it as if I’d built it myself.

7) I was not a brilliant student in school, because my math grades brought my GPA down.

8) I was diagnosed with dyscalculia in 11th grade.

9) Dyscalculia is the inability to perform mathematical functions.

10) I’ll be 35 in October, and I still don’t know my times tables.

11) My best friend in high school lived four doors down from my husband – grew up with him – and I never met him.

12) My husband dated a friend of mine when I knew her in high school, and even gave him an audio tape that I had made for her, and I STILL never met him.

13) We were finally set up by a mutual friend when I was in college.

14) The first thing I saw when I met him was JF dancing in circles because our friend had put ice down his pants.

15) I am six feet tall.

16) My daughter was born the day after Elvis.

17) I took French in high school and college.

18) I love doing community theater, and have done about 45 plays.

19) I got my husband into doing them as well.

20) We once played love interests opposite each other (I was Hippolyta and he was Theseus in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.)

21) We had a great make out scene.

22) After the performance, people approached us to make sure that we were husband and wife, not brother and sister.

23) I am very insecure.

24) I often feel like I do not deserve the nice things that I have in life.

25) My right thumb was cut off by my little brother and a car door when I was 12.

26) I have blue eyes, and (currently) blond hair.

27) And very fair skin.

28) Both of my parents are dark completed and dark haired.

29) So is my brother.

30) I am apparently the genetic throwback of the family.

31) I do, however, look like one of my mother’s sisters.

32) My parents divorced when I was 16. It was the best thing for our family.

33) I love to read. I read just about anything.

34) My daughter is my joy.

35) She was born two weeks late.

36) My major in college was English.

37) I had minors in anthropology and theater.

38) I taught myself to sew about eight years ago.

39) I learned how to quilt out of books.

40) I love children, but I don’t want any more of my own.

41) My daughter is an only child, and I hope she’s happy that way.

42) I love to swim, and was on the swim team in college for about 2 weeks before it disbanded.

43) I am a Girl Scout Leader.

44) I am not happy with the way I look.

45) I think my eyes are my best feature.

46) I may not be beautiful, but I try to be the best friend I can be.

47) Blue is my favorite color.

48) One of my favorite parts of my job is creating bulletin boards and art projects.

49) I am a terrible housekeeper. A total slob, in fact.

50) But, I do have times when I have reached my limits, and I have to clean.

51) I do not have enough money (nor is my house clean enough) to hire a cleaning lady.

52) I once apprenticed under a masseuse in college.

53) I do not smoke.

54) In fact, I am allergic to cigarette smoke.

55) Chocolate is my weakness.

56) I love to bake.

57) I am allergic to all kinds of seafood.

58) They think it is an inherent fish oil that I’m allergic to, not the iodine.

59) Even the smell of fish makes me feel ill.

60) I once spent almost a month in Germany. I was visiting a friend whose family was transferred there.

61) I didn’t want to come home. My mother made me get on the plane.

62) I got pickpocketed in Munich.

63) I loved being in Bavaria. Great places to go, wonderful people, and beautiful scenery.

64) I am outspoken.

65) My husband is my best friend, my other half.

66) This will be our 13th year of marriage.

67) My husband proposed on Valentine’s Day.

68) I am fascinated by Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Tudor. I read everything I can find about her.

69) I once belonged to a medieval reenactment society.

70) I do a lot of hand sewing, including Elizabethan blackwork.

71) I love all kinds of fruit.

72) I am a very finicky eater.

73) I don’t like very many vegetables.

74) I live in the South, so if it ain’t fried, we’ll find a way to fry it.

75) I get very motion sick. I get sick looking at a glass of water. I should own stock in Dramamine.

76) I give away almost all of the craft projects I make. I usually make a project with someone in mind.

77) I have a friend who is an award-winning quilter, and I’m in awe of her talent. Also, I’m very jealous.

78) I’m an optimist.

79) I can seriously lose my cool. It’s not pretty.

80) I am fairly liberal in my politics.

81) I support gay rights and women’s reproductive rights.

82) I think the government should not legislate what we do with our bodies, or who we should marry.

83) I have very few friends in real life.

84) I fear that people find me annoying.

85) I’m a Libra, so I crave harmony, and have to mediate situations.

86) I do my best to be a good listener.

87) I sneeze in threes. Usually. I think that’s really weird.

88) I dye my hair, which I keep shorter than most men do.

89) I like my hair blond. It goes better with my fair coloring.

90) Unlike the unremarkable brown it is naturally.

91) I wear glasses.

92) My eyes are too small to get contacts.

93) I’d get the willies about putting something on my eyeballs anyway.

94) I love Mickey Mouse.

95) I collect all kinds of stuff with Mickey on it.

96) I also collect penguins.

97) I wear a lot of pants.

98) Skirts are uncomfortable to me.

99) Corduroy is a fabric of the devil. I once caused a friction fire by my thighs rubbing together from wearing corduroy.

100) Crotch fires are *really* hard to explain.

101) I once gave my husband a sonnet to carry in his wallet.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What I'm up to, other than "no good."

I have been pretty quiet in the past few days, so I wanted to give all of you out there a look into what I'm doing. (Plus, I really need the content. :)

Since starting school and falling ill, I haven't really wanted to do much except come home and fall into the bed. Now that JF has the creeping crud as well, we can't seem to muster the energy to actually *do* much of anything.

I have read three books in the past four days:

1) Blind Alley by Iris Johansen. It combines my love of reading with two other passions -- forensics and archaeology. I won't spoil the book if any of you are interested, but the one of the main characters is a forensic sculptor, and I find that absolutely fascinating.

2) Murder at the Place of Anubis by Lynda S. Robinson. I love her whole Egyptian Mystery series, and I often go back and reread her works. This is about the fourth time I've read this one.

3) Body Double by Tess Gerritsen. It's another mystery/thriller. (Do you all see a pattern here?) Very interesting, and yet another crine book.

I read just about anything, but I'm currently on a mystery/crime fixation. I love books, and just recently told Halloweenlover that I thought we should start up some sort of book exchange. I would go broke buying books. Plus, I'm simply running out of space for all of them.

I also have gotten started on a new cross-stitch project -- this one is of a lighthouse at daybreak, and is destined for my mother at some point.

I have held my first meeting with my Girl Scout parents, and have been to the bank to open a checking account under my new troop number. I have arranged my paperwork for said troop for submission, and plan to maybe take a day off next week to get all that settled. I have laid my plans for my first meeting, and have some games already picked out. I have to venture out of my house sometime today or tomorrow to buy a Hula Hoop for said games.

I have watched a lot of things on my TiVo, including a couple of long-saved episodes of "Six Feet Under" and 1 episode of the new HBO series, "Rome." "Rome" was pretty good. Nice cinematography, but I fear I won't be as drawn to it as I was to "Six Feet Under." I am also watching "Wanted" on TNT. It's very gritty and violent. I like the fact that Lee Tergesen, who formerly starred in my favorite TV show ever, "Homicide: Life on the Street", has joined the cast. I am currently watching a show about the Holy Grail.

I'm spending time with my daughter. She impressed the socks off of me by giving all of the money she had to her school's effort for Katrina relief. It wasn't much money, but the fact that she gave it all from her heart, with no prompting from her father or me, goes to show that I think we're not doing such a bad job as parents. She also has pitched in around the house a lot more lately, spontaneously offering to help with the dishes, and cleaning her room without being asked.

I have been trying to pamper by poor husband a bit. He has gotten the crud, and has suffered with it a bit more than either Offspring or I did. He's being run ragged at work, and hasn't had the opportunity to loll in bed. So, I figure he needs a little TLC.

I hope all of you are well, and I hereby tender my apologies for not having something more witty or pithy to say. I just can't seem to work up my normal wit or vitriol. Everyone stay safe, and I'll see you when I'm feeling more human and less harrassed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The silver lining

As I've stated before, I'm an optimist. I have to find that one, lonely nugget of good that makes any bad situation seem bright. It's both a gift and a curse.

We have six kindergartens at my school. So far (in the past few days) we have one teacher whose father has died, one teacher who is at his dying mother's bedside, and we have another who has broken her foot.

Almost all of my class are ill with the crud that one of them so generously passed around last week.

There has been endless rain, and my classroom is leaking.

All I can say is that I thank God that I'm alive, my family are all safe, happy, and healthy. My home is cluttered, but still standing, and not underwater like some in neighboring states. I have food and water for my family, and I'm not displaced from my home, and living in a shelter.

I have air conditioning, sanitary water for drinking, and working services to my home. I think, at this point, all my worries about sniffly noses and "where are my shoes?" are "small stuff."

I thank God that I'm able to worry about the "small stuff", and not the "big stuff."

For all of the people whose lives were changed forever by Katrina, may you soon be able to worry again about the "small stuff." We wish you love, hope, blessings, and pray that you can put this horrific experience behind you. For those of you that lost family members -- we grieve with you. We will not let them be forgotten. We promise that.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

On the mend, and sore at heart

Now that I've seen the worst of the first illness of the school year, I am wanting to kvetch about other things. I've read a few things over the past few days that make me despair.

CNN had a story about a woman, stranded in a flooded zone from Katrina, who went out to try and get someone to evacuate her ill husband. She was told help would be coming, and in the time that she left her desperately ill husband, he passed away. The help never arrived. She called for someone to come get him again, and was told that she would just have to wait. She had to wrap his body in sheets, place him on a plywood bier and float him down her flooded neighborhood to her local police station. There, she was told to take her husband's body home, and simply wait. The poor woman had to try and return home with her husband's body. She collapsed on the side of the street, partially from grief and partially from exhaustion. She managed to convince a trucker with a flatbed to take them to the nearest hospital.

I understand that these are hard times -- the city is all but destroyed, and the forces normally equipped to help out in times of disaster are overloaded, but really! This woman not only had to endure the death of her spouse, but also had the trauma of not being with him when he died *and* had to lug his body around, trying to find someone, *anyone* to help her.

The saddest part of this is that I'm sure this isn't the only horriffic story like this to come out of the wake of destruction Katrina left. There have been fires, lootings, rapes. How much more do these poor people have to endure? Why? At a time when people should be seeing the best America has to offer -- help, aid, food, whatever it is they need -- why are they getting bound up in red tape? Why are people hurting others? Haven't they all suffered enough? What is it about the human animal that leads some to such acts of barbarism right at times when they need those reserves of hidden strength the most? How can people who have lost *everything* turn around and take *even more* from those who have also lost everything but their lives and the clothes they wear? How can a man who has lost his home, his family,and his livelihood then turn to a woman who is in the same boat and commit rape?

How can so-called humans sink to such depths? I have no idea why I am constantly amazed at the levels of hell people can put each other'd think I would know by now. There's a story that happened here in my town, which has nothing to do with Katrina, but still displays the depths of human depravity: A lady came home to find her home burglarized, her oven turned on to 400 degrees, and all of her faucets on. Once she turned the faucets and oven off, she called the police, and started hunting for the family pets. She found one of their dogs, but couldn't locate the other, a year old puppy. When the police arrived, they smelled a heavy burnt odor. They checked the oven, and found the other dog. The burglar had placed the dog in the oven and roasted it to death.

I don't know why things like this surprise me anymore, but they do. I don't know how people could be so cruel. I consider myself a very upbeat, optimistic person, but stories of this nature make me so sad and angry.

It's no wonder that Bible-thumping preachers are always telling us that the world is going straight to hell in a handbasket. With scenes of devestation such as these, I can hardly doubt them.