Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peace, love and getting baked in Denver

I spent the weekend in Colorado visiting family.  We had two totally Denver days. We ate vegetarian food. We drove around downtown Denver in a Subaru Outback 4-wheel-drive and passed other Subaru Outback 4-wheel drives. We went to a used bookstore and bought used books. Guess which one is for Jim.

We went to an independent bookstore and bought un-used books. We went to the REI flagship store. I bought woolie socks and tried on this hat.

I had my tarot cards read. My outcome was the Fool. Read into that what you will. We went to a funky shop and looked at sock monkeys.

I bought a pretty journal, some soap and dark chocolate.

At dinner time, we interrupted our meal to catch moths in our hands and let them go outside, unharmed. And remember how I said my Rocky Mountain high was completely natural. Not entirely. I had another one of my famous migraines so I was a little (a lot) stoned on Vicodin. But I fit right in.

We're already plotting a return trip wherein I bring the whole family. My uncle Jay is a serious mountaineer and Jim and I are wannabee mountaineers but in reality would probably get lost in a cereal bowl, so Jay has agreed to take us out on an overnight trek to make sure we don't accidentally fall in a crevice or off a cliff or under an avalanche. And Kathy, who is an art teacher, is going to stay with the kids and let them go wild with temperas and sparkles and beads and they will think they have died and gone to heaven. Win, win, win.

I wonder when Colorado day is? I'd like to know. It's a fine place and I would celebrate by getting just a little high on Vicodin and wearing the state flag.

* * * * *

January stats:

blog posts: 21
most popular: my big Australian crush
new flags: 7
migraines: 3
Vicodin consumed: still no idea
coyote sightings: sadly, none
trips to Denver: 1
pounds lost: inverse of goal

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ad astra bleeding Kansas

We celebrated a couple of special days while I was asleep at the wheel. Yesterday was Kansas Day. 149 years ago yesterday Kansas entered the union as a free state. But hey, it's not too late to celebrate. Run through a field of sunflowers, tip a cow, huddle in a basement, be flat, thresh wheat, vote Republican, conjecture the price of milo, outlaw evolution, be sincere, close your mind, kiss a Kansan.  Live baby!

And three days before that was Australia Day. Now how did I miss that? I even won a special Australia Day award. Thanks for that. Anyway, 222 years ago on January 26th someone on a convict ship docked in a bay of what is now called Australia and pretended to discover it. But hey, it's not too late to celebrate. Run through a field of red dirt, tip a koala, wrestle a crocodile, wear a flag, import some rabbits, toast your mate, mate, surf, drive on the other side of the road, drink too much, didgeridoo, talk wrong, kiss an Australian.  Live baby!

Guess where I am? Hint: not Kansas. No, not Australia either, dammit. I'm experiencing a little Rocky Mountain high (of the natural variety). I'm visiting my wonderful aunt Kathy in Denver.  When I was packing for this trip yesterday I was looking for a soft-sided bag that I would be able to shove in the overhead compartment, because nowadays if you have to check a bag it pretty much doubles the price of your ticket. I went snooping through Jim's closet looking for a duffel bag, because men excel at things like having duffel bags. I was sure he would have a nice neutral navy or black bag but after looking through everything this was all I could find:

When Jim picked me up he tossed the bag in the back of the car and as we were pulling out of the garage he said, “I'm surprised you picked that duffel bag. I have several, you know.” Really? I wonder where he keeps them. Let me tell you, I felt real butcherific toting that through Denver International. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And Jim. The next time we take a trip somewhere and you forget your razor, feel free to borrow mine.

They really need to do something to make air travel more palatable. And by more palatable, I'm not referring to Southwest flight attendants slapping their backsides and saying “Hi Ho Silver Away” into the intercom as the plane starts off down the runway. The nose of our plane had no more than lifted off the ground when the man in front of me fully reclined his seat and the woman next to me snapped down her tray table, lay her head down upon it and fell asleep. Essentially, I was trapped. Being a rule-follower, I had tucked my belongings, including my portable electronic device, underneath the seat in front of me, until we were fully airborne. But now I couldn't retrieve it. I couldn't bend down to the side because of tray-table-sleeper and couldn't bend forward because the man in front of me had his head comfortably nestled between my breasts. After about 15 minutes of serious toe work I managed to work my purse up my leg and into my left hand, only to discover that my mp3 player had somehow been activated in my purse and the battery had died. So I was left with nothing to do but stare out the window at the night and ponder where Jim hid his duffel bags.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pardon me while I pull something out of my...

My son Daniel is in preschool during the day and I signed him up to participate in something called All Star Sports, because its apparently not enough for kids to run around and play at recess, but we need to pay additional money for them to be taken from one room to another room to kick a ball around in an organized manner. Anyway, they sent me a note saying that my account was in arrears and I owed them for three weeks. I wrote back and let them know I was paid up according to my records and if they thought I owed them money they needed to let me know which three weeks I owed money for. They wrote back and told me December. I told them I had paid and gave them a check number. They wrote back and told me June. I told them Daniel hadn't even been in preschool in June, that he was in summer camp. They wrote back and told me July. I told them Daniel wasn't enrolled in All Star Sports in July and by the way, I was pulling him out as I was a little tired of this exercise. Next they suggested November. I told them I didn't think the Magic 8 Ball worked well for accounting and they might want to try Quickbooks.

Similarly, we recently ordered some checks at work. We tried a new vendor, one recommended by a new bank we are using. They were supposed to have a quick turnaround time (2 days) and were going to save us a whopping $12 so I thought I'd give them a try. When they emailed the proof back to me addressed to Ms. Krumm, I should have taken that as a warning. Now, a check proof consists of about 5 lines of text. Our address, phone number and a brief slogan beneath that. They had the address correct. I sent it back, noting the phone number and slogan were missing. Three days later they sent it back with the phone number added. Once again, I responded saying they had omitted the slogan. Several days elapsed without any word. The owner, each time I spoke with him, blamed snafus on a mysterious “they” who kept botching his commands. In the meantime, we had run out of checks. Our financial assistant was in a panic and wanted to know what to do. I suggested she consult a Magic 8 Ball. Long story short, after three weeks, a complaint to the bank and one more proof (this one correct!) we got our checks, along with a long and defensive email from the vendor stating how he had worked so hard on our order and not even charged us for all the extra proofs he had sent, etc. (What a bargain.) When I forwarded this email to my boss, he responded with: but you saved $12!

I work in finance so I know that when you combine (a) work that involves lots of piddly detail with (b) being human, you are bound to make mistakes. I make them all the time and so do the people I work with. I don't expect perfection and I'm willing to forgive just about anything as long as someone is willing to cop to their mistakes. A little accountability people. Is that too much to ask? My sources say yes.

On a more positive note, last weekend I went to an ugly sweater party thrown by Seroj, he of I-still-haven't-conjured-up-an-Armenian-flag-for-you fame. He gave away prizes for ugliest sweater. This dude won.

Then they entertained us with some music.

And while he totally underperformed in the ugly sweater department, you have to give Seroj points for (a) wearing a sweater vest and (b) having a band set-up in his living room. While they were busy performing I snooped around to see if he had a flag tucked away somewhere but sadly, nothing I could steal and paste onto my widget. He tells me he's working his connections (re: flag) but I've been hearing that for a while now. I don't know. I hate to pull out the big guns, but I may have to request that his paychecks start being printed by, uh, a certain vendor I know.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

An open letter to American retirees

I was reading an article in the New York Times on Sunday about the Tea Party movement here in America. This movement is comprised largely of conservative, slightly overweight women in the 65-80 age bracket with questionable fashion sense. At least that is what I gathered by the picture that accompanied the article. These women apparently have a fair bit of time to kill between doctor’s appointments and have chosen to focus it on protesting big government and the exploding national debt, both of which grew excessively under the Bush administration, and protecting the Constitution, which also came under attack during the Bush administration, all of which they are understandably pinning on President Obama.

The previous evening we had dinner at a diner in a country town just south of us and a couple of elderly women shared the next booth and had a loud and lengthy conversation about who it was that paid for their hearing aids, Medicare or Medigap. At the end of the meal it was still undetermined but whichever it was, I decided that they hadn't paid nearly enough. These two experiences, the dinner and article, converged to remind me that I’ve been meaning to compose an open letter to American retirees.

Dear aging Americans,

Retirement is a cherished gift. It's a bit like that super-deluxe racing bike you lusted after as a kid in the department store window. Only this is something you had to save up for your entire life and now that you've bought it your body's gone wonky so you can't properly enjoy it. Nevertheless, you want to make the most of it. So, honestly, paint-by-number? Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul? And tea parties?

I have done some traveling in my time and have noted that not all aging world citizens spend their retirement in the same manner. In case your choices of activities reflect a failure of imagination, I have included below some ways that retirees in other countries are spending their golden years:

New Zealand: Hiking the Milford Track.

Australia: Passing me at a clip on the climb up Ayer’s Rock (20 years ago -- they are too culturally sensitive to do the climb today). Today they are lobbying to save the pig-footed bandicoot.

Tibet: Fighting for human rights and democracy.

Bolivia: Roping alpacas.

Italy: Being president.

Finland: Winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Brazil: Tanning.

United Arab Emirates: Buying islands (2008).  Going bankrupt (2009).

Swaziland: Dying

Perhaps that last one was a poor example. Here are some additional tips on things of a more general nature.

On perfume: a little dab will do ya.

Your gastro-esophageal reflux: don’t need to hear about it.

Medicare Part D: I feel your pain. I don’t get it either. Sadly, neither may your physician.

On driving: If you’re confused, you should really pull over to the side of the road before stopping to think things through.

Express lanes at the grocery store: apply to you.

Childlike voices: are for children.

Tipping: 15-20% is standard.

Your children: really do love you.

Obama: is American (Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959).

Muslin: is a fabric.

African-Americans: vote.

God bless: us all.

It won't be all that long before I am joining your ranks so please, pave a nice path for me and set up some road signs. I may not remember any of this by the time I get there.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Boom boom cha cha Sigmas are the best. Whatever.

I posted something on Facebook the other day about the fact that a small but significant percentage of visitors to my blog are the result of people doing raunchy google searches and mused about how this reflected upon the content of my blog, and of course the response from my friends was that I needed to drive this percentage higher along with some suggestions as to how best to do this. And while this was all very amusing and gave me a good laugh, I'm not sure that's the kind of readership I want to attract.

But it did remind me of a funny story. When I was a coed in college I once got into a pillow fight with my sorority sisters and then we realized the place was a real mess so we decided to pick up skirts and tops and slips everywhere! Then I heard something outside so I set down my blouse so I could see-through the window and it was just some of the girls going to apply for a job at Hooters. Come to think of it, it wasn't a very interesting story. Never mind.

Despite all their new Christmas toys and Daniel's birthday gifts, the kids chose to be bored today and were quite antsy so we decided to pile them into the Big Ugly and go for a drive and we were out in the country turning this way and that and ended up at a lake. Even though the snow is gone the lake was still mostly frozen over and was just beautiful. While I remembered to grab a warm winter coat for myself before heading out the door, guess who forgot to remind the kids to take theirs? Bad mom. We didn't stay long as they were pretty chilled. But we got some lovely shots.

Have you voted for Kim yet? Remember, you have until January 31st. But what are you waiting for? Vote early, vote often. Well, maybe not often. You can only vote once. Per email address. But shhhh, you didn't hear that here. To make it easy for you I've even checked out the competition. While all the blogs are special, Kim's is the specialest. And if you vote for Kim and she wins I'm willing to pose again under dwindling Australian paraphernalia. Of course, I'm not sure whether that will attract or scare away votes, but never mind, just go vote. Click here. Go to Best Australian/NZ blog. Click on Frog Ponds Rock. Enter your email.  Submit.  So simple!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Yay freaking yay Kim!! and an award

Did you hear the news?! Kim at Frog Ponds Rock, my Kim, is one of the finalists for best Australian blog for the 2010 Bloggies! That's right! I'm so psyched! That's her on the right.  I blatantly copied her picture from Facebook without asking.  Do you think she'll mind?  I hope not.  I think she's pretty cute.  So hop on over to her site and blow her some kisses. And, more importantly, hop on over to the Bloggies and vote for her. You have until January 31st. Rah Kim!! I'm so proud of you! xoxo

I was over at Mummytime this morning because Brenda is back from her vacation. She posted the most adorable picture of her daughter, looking slightly miserable because she was suffering from constipation. Apparently it was so bad that Brenda had to, um, manually help her along. That's all I'm going to say. It reminded me of a long road trip we took when Anna was about to turn two. I was hugely pregnant with Daniel at the time. It was late fall and we drove up through Pennsylvania and New York into Canada and then headed back west across the trans-Canadian highway. It was gorgeous. But apparently long-road trips don't mesh well with toddler digestive systems because Anna became constipated too. We had to stop along the way because she was so terribly miserable. Jim took this picture.

Do you know what I'm eating right now? As I write this? Jello. I must be mad. Also, I think we have a friendly Aussie vs. Brit war going on in the comments section of my blog. I've heard about this but it's rather thrilling to watch up close. I'm wondering what I can do to stir it up quell it.

Do you know what Celeste told me? She said she didn't think my Aussie flag tooth-brushing picture was quite as provocative as my first flag pose. Implying that I was going for provocative as opposed to underscoring my awareness-raising public service announcement. Besides, I told her, it all depends on your fetish.

Finally, AV at Nether Regions of the Earth was kind enough to pass along an award to me. I have to tell you about AV. He lives in Rio de Janiero and has 12 kids and so many blogs that I can't keep track of them all (the blogs, I trust he's keeping track of the kids). As you can see if you look at the world map thingy on my sidebar, AV is my sole So. American reader. He is my continent. And while I love AV, I don't want this to go to his head, so I need to drum up some more So. American flag. But thank you my dear AV for thinking of me. Smooch, smooch!

Here is the award and it works like this:

1.Link to where the award came from.

2.Make a list of 10 things that make you happy.

3.Pass the award along to 10 fellow bloggers.

Here's my list of things that make me happy:

1. Your flag. Did you need me to tell you this?

2. Australia. Sigh.

3. People who keep their word. Thank you people. You have no idea.

4. Hiking in the mountains or the desert, far away from the crowds, surrounded by silence, pure bliss.

5. Pretty bras. I'm not sure why, but them make me happy.

6. My friends. I have the most wonderful friends in the world. Intelligent, funny, kind, loyal. They are my lifeline. I would be lost without them.

7. Watching an agile mind at work. It makes me happy in ways I can't quite articulate. Add wit, I'm breathless.

8. My imagination. So much of my life is lived in my head and a very rich life it is. Sometimes Jim will look at me and ask where I've gone and it's always somewhere fantastic.

9. All the sensual delights. Yes, yes, the obvious ones. But the not so obvious ones, too. Like the smell of coq au vin when I take the lid off the pot. Or the softness of my daughter's cheek when I kiss her goodnight. Or the sound of snow beneath my boot, crunch, crunch.

10. Jim, Anna and Daniel, because they adore me just as I am and I'm not sure why, but I'm only grateful.

And now for the 10 people I'm passing the award along to. You are welcome to accept the award or graciously decline, as I know some of you may not do awards and I've chosen to skip one or two people that I've thought might not care to participate, though I won't mention any names (Badger). You can save the jpg image of the award from my site. Without further ado, here are my awardees:

Kim at Frog Ponds Rock because she ROCKS!!!!

Glen at Glen's Life because he has a son named Daniel and a new found appreciation for mathematics and pi.

Barbara at JoBart because I'm crushin' on her adorable kids (and her wit).

Veronica at Sleepless Nights because she's going to the BlogHer conference (she doesn't know it yet but I'm psychic).

Chris at Thermal Blog because he loves his moggies.

Brenda at Mummy Time because my god, once you've done the constipation thing, you deserve an award.

Anne at Anne Nahm because she's a nipple revolutionary!

Matthew at AbodeOneThree because when it comes to the battle of the Aussies vs. the Poms, he knows which side of the divide to fall on.

Heather at Azure Islands Designs because I love her gorgeous jewelry (I do).

Badger at Vienna for Dummies (ha, fooled you!) because I thrive on rejection. (Pssst, Badger, if you don't want to play you can always pass it on to Dr. James at the Living Church of Jesus is Love. I hear he has lots of friends.)

That's it you crazy people. Enjoy your weekend, vote for Kim (Kim!!!) and keep slogging it out in the comments.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh god, not more Jello

Jim and I had a little quarrel respectful disagreement. When he read the post about my pi shirt he claims I got the story all wrong, that he didn't even know I had ordered the shirt, but I told him absolutely not, that that was exactly how my creative license remembered it happening. That in fact, he had to translate the shirt for me. Glen from London wrote and told me he didn't think it was a sexual reference. And while I appreciate the support, Glen, I think the problem is that in London pi looks like this:

while in America it looks like this:

And if you still don't understand the reference, well, never mind. At the very least, I know that when I go to Scotland this summer I can pack that T-shirt and wear it with abandon.

Barbara from the UK tells me that in Britain they also have dark chocolate Kit Kats, the original fcuk, and a dry, understated wit and perhaps it's them I'm really crushing on. I suppose I'll find out when I go. And come to think of it, their capitol, London, is a large metropolitan city that people actually enjoy visiting (sorry Bill the poet, nothing personal, you know I adore both you and your accent). Though, Barbara, animals with pockets?

We had a new visitor to our back porch the other night.

Jim put out some leftover ham and waited to see who would show up. We've had several raccoons, a couple of skunks, squirrels, rabbits, a fox and of course my gorgeous coyote, but this is the first possum. Isn't he something?

Have you ever had an oscopy of some sort? You wouldn't think that would be something fun to blog about, would you? How wrong you are. We have a history in our family of cancer in the GI tract at a young age, so my doctor was pretty adamant that I get oscopied from both ends, so to speak, and that is what I spent my morning doing. I will spare you the gory details and tell you only the fun bits.

As you may know you are put on a liquid diet the day before and given some medicinal help to clean out your system, if you know what I mean. Your doctor wants your colon to be sparkling clean. So if you've ever wanted a chance to go wild with Jello, this is your big opportunity. Second, after an entire day and night of said cleansing, you'll want to get up in the morning, hop on the scale and say, “Yay, this is my new weight!” And then don't weigh yourself again for months.

Since I was getting the double scope treatment, including an EGD which goes down the throat, Jim mused whether they would just keep going until the two cameras could see each other. Dr. Livingstone I presume? This led me to wonder if they would plant little flags in my innards and, if not, whether I could request it. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to ask before the morphine completely knocked me out so I'm left not knowing.  Though I won't have the final results for another week, all appears to be where it belongs and nothing out of order.

Honestly, it wasn't all that awful. So if your doctor recommends this for you, please know that it's really just a piece of cake. Or bowl of Jello. And then you don't have to do it again for a long, long time. Because colon cancer is a silent killer. It can grow inside your body for years and metastasize to other organs without you even knowing it. A colonoscopy is one of those annoying exams that no one wants to do, like a mammogram, but we do it because the risks of not doing it are just too great. Just think of it as another self-care ritual, kind of like flossing or brushing your teeth.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

My big Australian crush

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you've noticed that I make a lot of references to Australia. In fact, I'm mildly, no ridiculously obsessed with it. I've already written about it here, but since I know you're probably too lazy busy to take the time to go back and read it, I'll just say that both times I've been (spent six months there in my 20's and three weeks last fall) I've experienced an incredible sense of connection with the place. As in, electric.

Australia is a unique spot on the planet and has a myriad of temptacious delights to recommend it.

Animals with pockets, for instance.

dark chocolate Kit Kats

a store called fcuk

and a seriously sexy flag.

I have lots of Australian flag on my widget. I want more.

When trying to find a suitable picture for this post, Jim proposed I wrap up in an Australian flag for a flag hussy pose. He was willing to take the photographs and even suggested I throw in some accidental/artsy nipple and rock my revolution. However, I'm too busy full of integrity to do a photo shoot right now so I settled on a kangaroo sign.

I'm not interested in all things Australian. For instance, politics. I understand their political system, that it's different from ours, that they have a monarchy that's really a democracy, whereas we have a democracy that's really a theocracy. Way back when, Sydney and Melbourne fought over which city would be the capital, so to be fair they decided it wouldn't be either, that they would build a third city out in the middle of nowhere (Alice Springs?). I know they have a Prime Minister instead of a President, that he's much better than the last guy, who was kind of a wanker, though not nearly as hot as Obama. He looks like he needs to get out in the sun more and given that he lives in Alice Springs, I don't know why he can't make that happen.

Nor am I that interested in Australian culture, though as a whole I've thoroughly enjoyed my brief immersions therein. And while we're on the topic, Australians have the most wonderful sense of humor. It's a dry wit and they can crack a joke with a perfectly straight face, which is something I've never been able to pull off. When I was over there I would be talking with someone and they would say something that would strike me as a bit odd and I would be in the next room or shop or territory before I realized they were having a go at me. I loved that. Where Australians are masters of understatement, Americans are masters of the obvious. We drive a punch line home like a Mac truck. And then we'll repeat it a couple of times just to make sure you get it. It won't occur to us that the reason you're not laughing is, well, it's just not that funny.

I love the accents. Specifically the male accents. I've been known to lock myself in the bedroom with a glass of shiraz and a dark chocolate Kit Kat to watch Australian(ish) movies. Like A Town Like Alice (Bryan Brown plays the Prime Minister) or Gorillas in the Mist (Bryan Brown plays a naked photographer). Muriel's Wedding (though, sadly, a dearth of male accents) and Blood Oath (Bryan Brown kicks Japanese war criminal ass). Or the first half of Jurassic Park, until the Australian game warden gets eaten by the raptor, right after he says, “You clever girl.” Except that I watched it the other night and realized he was British, not Australian. WTF?

Jim puts up with all of this because (a) he has his own irrational crushes, though in fairness to him I won't reveal them here (pssst: think est-bray an-may, hot for Irish girls, into brunettes, I think, maybe, honestly no idea, he tells me nothing) and (b) he understands that really, despite how it may look, I'm not fixating on hunka homo Australis, but on terra Australis. Ultimately, I'm crushin' on the land.

Have you ever stumbled upon some place new, perhaps while on holiday, perhaps when you were younger and had the leisure to do some trekking with a backpack and a few dollars in your pocket, and you set foot upon this new place and felt an instant soul-smacking and inexplicable sense of connection? As if you'd been there before? As if the memory of this place was buried in the deepest recesses of your cells? As if you'd found your way back to a home you didn't know you had? This was my experience of Australia. It was an experience that completely circumvented the entire logic-centered part of my brain and went straight to my heart, so I can't explain it to you in any way that makes sense.

But life is a magnificent adventure, the point of which I've yet to work out, but which I doubt is to make sense. So I sit here in Kansas, which is filled with the people I love, though in my heart, it feels like a temporary way station, and crush on Australia, which is 9,000 miles away, but makes my spirit come alive.

Maybe someday I'll sort it all out. In the mean time I'll continue to drink Australian wine and watch B grade movies and collect Australian flag. Maybe one day I'll work up enough enthusiasm to give a rip about the politics, but probably not. I didn't much care for Alice, anyway.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things I don't get

This stimulating piece of code is brought to you by the techwits at Technorati: DNETQBGGYJNX. Ignore it.

Chris from Scotland told me about a comic called XKCD (when he was leaving a comment to tell me that he enjoyed my cat post and found it thoroughly non-offensive, thank you very much Chris, even though he had lived with moggies all his life, and I have no idea what moggies are but I'm going to assume boots). Anyway, I didn't understand 50% of the comedic material therein because it relied heavily on techno/sciencey knowledge, which is part of what Jim agreed to take on in our marriage vows, but I did get this one:

But anyway, this comic site that I didn't understand reminded me of this T-shirt that I bought online last year. It looks like this:

Get it? i 8 sum pi. On the back it says: and it was good. I thought it was very clever because, you see, I work in finance. And while Jim had to explain the i part of the equation to me I thought it would make me look all mathematical to wear it into work on our casual days. So I ordered the shirt and wore it on March 14, because that's pi day, right. And I work in finance. Ha ha. And then when I came home Jim said, you know that's a sexual reference, don't you? Then I felt like a total ass.

On Facebook and drama: I hate drama. I mean, I'm seriously annoyed by drama and the people who wield it. Amy and I were having a conversation about this the other night as we were working our way to the bottom of that bottle of Marbec.

My emetic of choice is the uber-bleeding heart. Post after hairshirt post about one's soul-rending inadequacy for not being able to personally solve the crisis in Haiti. “If only I could provide warmth and safety and a soft bed for every person left homeless, etc, etc.” Jim's comment: They're probably warm enough.

Amy's favorite attention whore? People who post cryptic status updates like this: “I had to rush Bill to the emergency room but he seems to be recovering from his amputation.” And you're left thinking, what? Finger? Penis? And you found time to stop and post on Facebook? Must be dire.

I love Amy. She was on a real tear the other night about the men in Lawrence. She was in her kitchen, puffing away on a cigarette and I was in the living room hiding (taking notes, really). She said: they'll write a poem about your menstrual cycle but can't change a fucking alternator. I want a man who will just be happy I get my period. People in Lawrence buy their underwear at a garage sale. People, go to Target and buy new underwear. Jesus wept!

For most of you who live outside the Midwest, thoughts of Kansas probably conjure up rolling plains and golden fields of wheat and gaybashing and low IQ's. And for 98% of the state that is largely true. But Lawrence is something else all together. Lawrence is to Kansas what Michael Moore is to the Conservative Film Festival. Drive over the border into Lawrence and people are sitting on the corner sipping organic wheatgrass, braiding their goatees and lobbying for the legalization of marijuana. When we were in college, it was our mecca. Fifteen years later, it's all getting a little tiresome.

So anyway, that T-shirt still sits in my closet and I wear it occasionally when I go to the gym, but I do feel a little self-conscious now as opposed to clever. I asked Jim if he really thought that was true, about it being sexual. Because it's a pink shirt and why would they sell it in pink if that were so. And he just looks at me and smiles. And further, if he knew it was a sexual reference, why didn't he say so before I ordered it? I still haven't gotten a satisfactory answer from him.

Bloody techno/science geeks.

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Great joy abounding

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chap. 2, Pg 6, On plastic frippery giveaways

A few quick things. I'm headed over to Lawrence tonight for a much needed bottle of Marbec and some decompression time with my girl Amy Leigh, so I'm going to make this short.

First, to whomever wrote the manual on how to throw a suburban middle-class birthday party, I don't much like you. Did you know that there is a requirement to give out gift bags to all the attendees? It's true. It's right there under “thou shalt not make thy own cake unless thou art gifted in the art of making elaborate fondant doo dads.” Jim and I both forgot about the gift bag clause until yesterday afternoon (Dan's party was today). I called him in a panic and we both decided to run out after work and scoop up whatever candy and plastic crappery we could find. We arrived home and dumped out our loot and realized we had both overcompensated and ended up with the preschool equivalent of an Oprah giveaway.

We had also missed the part in the manual about putting an RSVP on the invites so we had no idea how many bags to assemble. As unprepared as I felt, however, I think I can place myself higher on the momness scale than the harried parents who did a drop and run, leaving their children blinking in the doorway clasping an envelope with a $10 bill tucked inside.

Do you like the cake? I made the dinosaur entirely out of fondant.

Thing #2: In insensitive bastard news, Rush Limbaugh has accused the earthquake in Haiti of playing into the hands of President Obama, helping him to look compassionate and further bolstering his image among minorities. I hate it when natural disasters take sides. Rush seems fearful that Obama will use the situation to score political points. Celeste pointed out that Rush would never do something so crass as to exploit human suffering for his own ends. Rush has also discouraged his listeners from participating in Haitian relief efforts, saying "We've already donated to Haiti.  It's called the U.S. Income Tax."  Really?  First Robertson, now Limbaugh. I'm just waiting for Ann Coulter to pop off something brilliant and then the grand trifecta of arseholiness will have spoken.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Hey Pat Robertson. I have a donation for your 700 Club. It's right over here. But watch the ice on my porch steps. It's pretty slippery. Careful now. Careful.... AHHH. Shit. Oh well. Guess I'll give it to the Red Cross. I hear they really need it.

Kim from Tasmania, who is now my Facebook friend, asked me yesterday who is Pat Robertson, so it occurred to me that perhaps most people outside the U.S. don't know (lucky you). He's one of these evangelical windbags that we seem to breed like flies in the States and for some unknown reason they keep getting air time, thanks in no small part to outlets like Fox (it's not) News. He has his own show called the 700 Club and if you ever accidentally swallow a zipper or something and need an immediate purgative just google him or his club and you'll get more information than you can process. He and his ilk believe that all things remotely non-middle-class-white-Christian are caused by devil worship (obviously), aka gayness, poorness or, in the case of Haiti, I'm assuming blackness. They are a scabey hate-mongering plague on our planet. I keep sending money into his church and praying that the whole lot of them get sucked into middle earth, but apparently my prayers haven't achieved critical mass yet.

Did you see that as of yesterday, over $5 million had been raised for the Red Cross through cell phone text donations in the U.S.? This was from people texting the word Haiti on their mobile devices to donate in $10 increments. So while we breed a lot of wankers we make up for it in other ways. Just thought I'd point that out.

Okay. The other day I was cruising the blogosphere looking for flag seeing what new sites where out there and I came across Nadezhda's blog. Nadezhda lives in the Ukraine and is learning English. She is collecting English phrases and I thought we could help her out. I'm always impressed when anyone speaks a language other than their own. I'm 39-ish and I'm still learning to speak American. And Nadezhda, I wrote a post awhile back on the horrors of learning English as a second language, what with all of our idioms and slang. If you're not already thoroughly confused, you can go read it.

So pop on over and say hello to Nadezhda. She just wrote about how she went to play bowling the other day with a friend but didn't have a cash. Stopped to get money, took an hour trip and ARRGH, was told they didn't booked! Give her some blog love. If you do, chances are good she'll return the favor and leave you some Ukraine flag (she did me – and it's a mighty sexy flag).

I was reading an article the other day on subliminal messages that are used in advertising. I thought I would try it for myself. I emailed Jim today about picking up some journals at a bookstore that is going out of business. I knew that he would have to pass by another store that sells bulk candy on the way to the bookstore so I signed off my email with this: “I hope you're having a SWEDISH great day. I'll see you when you FISH get home. Love you!”

It worked.

In news of the adorable, someone I love turned five.

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