Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Not a meme in sight!

I figured John Edwards would be dropping out soon, but I'm sorry to see it's this soon. He was a gentlemanly candidate, and I believe he's sincere about issues such as poverty and health care. I'll miss him in debates--and with him gone, who's going to keep Hillary and Barack from coming to blows? (Kidding. I know they'll save slap fights for a more private venue.)


Patricia Cornwell is going to do me in. To be more precise, her inept writing is going to kill me. I read a few of her early books because I'm twisted enough to be fascinated by serial killers and forensics procedures; oddly enough, I don't watch any of the CSI shows, though. Anyway, those books were fast-paced and had enough plot twists to keep my interest. I picked up a more recent book of hers at the grocery store the other day. Is it just me, or is she churning out so many books that she's given up on even attempting to write well? I'm going to quote a passage from this book as an example:

"Nice of you to let me know," Marino says angrily as he angrily digs through a saddlebag for his tire-plug kit as he angrily thinks of Joe Amos, getting angrier with each thought."

Just a guess, but do you think Marino was upset about something? Gah. I don't know whether I can finish this book because I want to throw it across it the room. I hate not finishing a book I've started, but she's driving me to thoughts of homicide. "Angry thoughts," I think angrily.


Last night proved to me that Indiana has the most bizarre weather in the entire country. Here's what happened: Yesterday afternoon, the temperature was a balmy 54 degrees. Around 8:30 p.m., there was a bad thunderstorm with heavy rain. By 9:00, there was a tornado warning followed by hail. An hour later? It was snowing with near-blizzard-force winds! Needless to say, the temperature plummeted like a rock; I think it was around zero this morning. I'm changing outfits as often as a chorus girl in a musical revue here. Maybe I'll go read some more of that damn Cornwell book. My anger will keep me warm.

Monday, January 28, 2008

More questions! Now with pictures!

Man, Janet wasn't kidding when she said this meme is time consuming! I did have fun seeing what images popped up, though. The instructions said to use Photobucket to search for images, but I don't have an account, so I used Google Image. Anyway, here are the instructions:
  1. Type your answer to each question into Photobucket's (or Google Image's) search box.
  2. Choose a picture from the first page of results and post it with the answer.
  3. You can't copy the pictures the person who posted before you used.

1. The age you will be on your next birthday:

2. A place you'd like to travel to:


3. Your favorite place:

Right now? My couch.

4. Your favorite object:

I have so many, so I picked a little piece of rough opal Daniel gave me for Christmas. Opal is my birthstone, and I was amazed he remembered that!

5. Your favorite food:

Chocolate (but then I saw this picture of a chocolate cake and thought "Ooooo, cake!")

6. Your favorite animal:


7. Your favorite color:


8. Your hometown:

I don't have a "real" hometown. I was born in Macon, Georgia.

9. The state in which you live:


10. The name of a past pet:


11. A dream come true:

I wouldn't call this a dream exactly, but my first thought was "a clean house."

12. Your nickname:

I've never had many nicknames, but sometimes Kevin calls me "Daisy Mae" because of my habit of running around barefoot.

13. Your middle name:

Michelle (a picture of Hurricane Michelle--ha!)

14. Your last name:

I felt a little odd answering this question (even though almost everyone who reads here probably knows it). Most of the image results I got were related to a famous movie trilogy, though.

15. Your bad habit:

16. Your first job:

I painted ceramic Christmas tree ornaments in a woman's basement, which was less like a sweatshop than it sounds, really. After some dithering, I came up with "ceramic painter" as a job title of sorts.

17. Your grandmother's name:


Thursday, January 24, 2008

AI chatter and some questions

Oh, my God. A Freecycle message I got this morning offered "2 Small miniature full blooded datsun's (weiner dogs)." Good thing she clarified in parentheses--for a second, my poor brain almost exploded trying to figure out what a full-blooded Datsun might be. And "small miniature" wins the Department of Redundancy Department prize.


I have a pile o' work waiting for me, so I'm talking a little American Idol, throwing up a questionnaire, and calling it an entry. So, AI first. I think I've detected this season's theme: chastity. So far in auditions, I've seen the Boy Who's Never Been Kissed (because he made a pledge to his creepy father, and the two of them wear matching lockets as a symbol of his pledge, aaaaaaand it was exactly as disturbing as you think it seems); Nanny Who's Never Seen an R-Rated Movie (and she's married and in her 20s); a crazed-looking man who sang his own composition, "No Sex Allowed"; and Abstinence "Whatevs!" Chick, a 17-year-old girl who preaches perkily and annoyingly to her classmates about the benefits of waiting for marriage to have sex. (Meanwhile, she's captain of the dance team and shakes her booty in an extremely short skirt. Uh, a little more consistency, please?)


I saw this questionnaire at Sasha's:

When you walk in your front door, which room do you enter?

I refer to it as the "entryway," but it's more room-sized than that term implies. I have two big bookcases in there, and in the corner, between two windows, is Daniel's reading chair and a lamp.

Do you have a dishwasher?

Yes, thank the Lord.

Is your living room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors?

Hardwood, after I ripped up the hideous beige carpet several years ago.

Do you keep your kitchen knives on the counter or in a drawer?

On the counter in a block, but I'm slowly the replacing the not-very-good knives that came with the block.

House, apartment, duplex, or trailer?


How many bedrooms?

Three upstairs, but one is the art room/music room/Kevin's cave.

Gas or electric stove?


Do you have a yard?

Yes, but I wish it were fenced. I'd love to be able to open the back door and turn the dogs loose out there.

What size TV is in the living room?

30-something inches? I think?

Are your plates in the same cupboard as your cups?

Nope. I don't have cups that match my dishes; I keep all the coffee mugs in a cabinet above the coffeemaker.

Is there a coffeemaker sitting on your kitchen counter?

Have we met? Of course!

What room is your computer in?

In my office, which was intended as this house's dining room. It's midway between the bathroom and the kitchen, so it's placed perfectly for me.

Are there pictures hanging in your living room?

Yes, and probably too many. One of my favorites, I actually found in the trash! The man who lived across the alley from my apartment in Oak Park died, and his children threw out an enormous pile of perfectly good stuff. This picture is a watercolor, possibly Victorian era, of a young woman sitting in a rowboat with her head bowed. She could be melancholy or just tired, but I like imagining what she's thinking about.

Are there any themes found in your home?

I don't go for obsessive themes, I guess. I have a few things with pictures of chubby chefs on them in my kitchen, but I wouldn't say it's a theme. Other than that, I'd have to echo Sasha's answer: "Yeah, that would be the Dogs and Cats Own This House We Just Live Here theme."

What kind of laundry detergent do you use?

I have no idea because Kevin does the laundry.

Do you use dryer sheets?

As a matter of fact, I think he switched from fabric softener to dryer sheets recently.

Do you have any curtains in your home?

Yes, because I'm too lazy to dust blinds as often as they need it.

What color is your fridge?


Is your house clean?

I intended to lie like a rug when answering this question, but I feel guilty doing that. I'd say my house is reasonably clean but cluttered, with pockets of chaos (my office, the basement, etc.)

What room is the most neglected?

Usually, it's my office, but I'm slowly making progress on straightening it up. I guess Daniel's room is the most neglected now because he isn't living in it.

Are the dishes in your sink/dishwasher clean or dirty?

I have clean dishes in my dishwasher waiting to be put away so that I can load the dirty dishes in the sink.

How long have you lived in your home?

Since 1995. (Please do the math for me. Thank you.)

Where did you live before?

In a duplex in Indianapolis.

Do you have one of those fluffy toilet lid covers on your toilet?

No (shudder).

Do you have a scale anywhere in your house?

Yes, in the bathroom. It's dusty, if that tells you anything.

How many mirrors are in your house?

Seven: an antique mirror propped up on a kitchen counter, a candle sconce in the living room with a mirror behind the candle, downstairs bathroom mirror, an antique black-framed mirror in the entryway, two in the upstairs bathroom, and the round mirror attached to my antique vanity in the bedroom. Could I say "antique" more in this answer? I think not.

Look up. What do you see?

On top of the hutch over my desk: a Magic-8 ball, my dictionary, a cardboard standing Einstein, a little statue of John Lennon, two small red-and-black silk Japanese boxes, and assorted framed photos and pictures.

Do you have a garage?

Yes, a detached garage at the far end of the back yard.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Everyone needs a sludge hammer

After the responses to my plea for dinner ideas ("Yeah, dinner. Whatever. A bowl of cereal is filling! Can we talk about American Idol now?" Heh.), I think I know what my problem is. It's not hatred of cooking; actually, I love to cook--occasionally. What I hate is the daily-ness of cooking dinner. You do it one day, and damn it, you have to do it again the next day, and the next, and the next, etc., etc. Bring on the Soylent Green tablets!

I do get inspired by watching the Food Network, however, and searching the Web site always gives me ideas, especially if I have an ingredient and don't know what the hell to do with it, too--a pack of chicken breasts, for example. What I should do is make a regular-sized recipe and freeze half of it, right? But that involves having freezer containers with matching lids. Oy. Face it: Dinner is just a pain in the ass. That bowl of cereal is sounding better all the time.


About a month ago, I joined my local Freecycle group. My first experience making an offer wasn't a good one because the woman who claimed she was "so excited" about getting my book of knitting patterns never showed up and wouldn't reply to my e-mails. I was discouraged, but I've been keeping a box of items to give away, and I'll give it another go soon.

I get the group e-mails in a daily digest, and I have to say that I'm dismayed (and snottily amused) at the near-illiterate messages. Isn't there a spell-check feature for messages to Yahoo groups? Clearly, no one uses it. The grammar and punctuation are just as appalling. I sound overly picky, don't I? Because I'm hateful, I'm copying a few here to show you I'm really NOT that picky. Some are unintentionally funny, too:

"i have over 50 jars of baby food that need gone to day!!"

"Im in need of a sweeper if you have one you no longer use please let me know. i Can pick up anytime."


"I'm Looking for an outdoor fire pit for next summer my fiance gets really cold easy and I like to sit outside with the kids during the evening and I figured since it was the winter someone may be getting a new one next year and I could take the old one off there hands!"


"Offer: A sack full of paring knifes."

"As it seems my very comfy office chair that I have for my computer chair. Has seen its better days, my hubby gotta love him tried to fix it..Its broke on the bottom of the arm. Now if you happen to not to know and lean back it will come apart or just throw you out of the chair." (Maybe her husband meant to make the chair throw her out?)

Her next message: " I forgotten to put down that I live in [next town over] and that I can pick up..Goodness I forgotten to put that in."

"These chairs are metal, kind of have a roth iron look to them. They are from the 70's or 80's not sure. They still have some good life left in them. And they do swivel."


Sasha has seen requests for some unusual items on her Freecycle list: "wemens clothes" and a "sludge hammer," for example. Sasha, what was the other one that was so funny?

Friday, January 18, 2008

I saw this CD Cover Meme at Alicia's and had to try it. Here are the instructions:

1. Go here. The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Go here. The last four words of the last quote are the title of your album.

3. Go here. The third picture, no matter what it is, is your album cover.

Here are my results:

"Applying the Wrong Remedy" is a great album title, isn't it?


I need dinner help. Since Kevin started working full-time again, I offered to make dinner during the week. I'm at home all day, so it should be no big deal, right? Kevin cooks on the weekends, which gives me a break, but I'm stymied by cooking for only two people. I don't think it's the math of cutting recipes in half that bugs me. I might be a math moron, but even I can do that. I could make full-size recipes, too, because leftovers are handy for Kevin to take to work for lunch and for me to heat up the next day.

I guess I got used to cooking for three, and I haven't adjusted to the notion that Daniel isn't here for dinner? Whatever. I'm feeling decidedly UNcreative, and I'm bored to tears with making the same thing over and over. Suggestions?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What's next??

I called Daniel late this afternoon. My main reason for calling was that my mom called me earlier today, saying "Do you think Daniel got the package I sent UPS on Monday? It was supposed to get there Tuesday. Maybe it got lost! I put a loaf of banana bread in there, and it's going to get stale."
You're probably thinking "Why didn't she simply call Daniel to find out?" Wait, let me pause here . . . Bwah! Oh, that's a good one. You're so funny. Silly, if she'd called Daniel, she'd have missed an opportunity to subtly make me realize I've raised a rude, ungrateful son, and IT'S ALL MY FAULT. You think my mom would pass up a chance like that? Please.
Also, I'm sure she knows I don't have nearly enough to do to keep me busy, and she was kind enough to devise a little task that would occupy some of my empty day. Bless her heart.
Anyway, as you might have guessed, he's been busy this week and hadn't checked his mailbox until today. The package, of course, was there, and he was happily munching on banana bread while we talked. I did chide him for not calling my mom right away to thank her, but he said he'd planned to call her tonight. Sure, he could be giving me the party line, but he's been doing better about remembering niceties without my reminders lately. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here.
We chatted about his classes, and then he confessed that he's developed a new interest. This new interest--it's so unlike him! I've been thinking about what it means ever since I talked to him. I hardly know where to begin . . . I mean, it involves changing partners frequently. Daniel claimed it's good exercise, but I don't know; that sounds like an excuse to me. I would have felt hypocritical discouraging him because I have to admit--embarrassing as it is--that I engaged in this same practice in my younger days.

Well, I guess the only thing to do is just blurt it out: My son has . . .

. . . taken up swing dancing.

Try not to judge him too harshly?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lifetime movies! Can Harlequin romances be far behind??

I'm in a quandary. For the first time in my life, I'm considering watching . . . I can barely bring myself to type it . . . a Lifetime movie tonight. Before you gasp in horror, I am not becoming my mother (yet). The only reason I'm considering it is because that adorable Nikki Blonsky from Hairspray is starring in the movie. I don't think she sings in it, however, so I probably won't watch it. Also, I'm worried she's going to get stuck in roles about chubby girls who heroically manage to overcome fat prejudice and triumph in the end, you know? Still, she's awfully cute, and seeing her makes me smile.

Miz S, I hope you didn't get the wrong impression about my attitude or anyone else's attitude toward the younger generation. I was irritated beyond belief at Daniel's irresponsibility, but in general, I consider myself lucky to have him for a son. Except for losing any object not attached to him with a cord and occasional bouts of moodiness, he's a great kid who's never given me a minute's worry about the drinking or the drugs or the inappropriate friends or anything. (I do enough drinking and carousing with inappropriate friends for both of us! Well, in my younger days, anyway.) I'm sure lrw7 didn't mean Daniel when she mentioned entitled, overprotected kids, either; she's actually met him and knows he's a good boy . . . er, young man. After hearing some stories about the people she deals with every day at the college's financial aid office, I can understand where she's coming from, though.
Since I wrote that entry yesterday, I've been thinking, and it's probably true that Daniel's been overprotected somewhat. He's an only child, and it was just the two of us for several years, and I'm sure I made some mistakes in not letting him handle his own problems enough. To be honest, sometimes I'm amazed he turned out as well as he did. It was so hard for me to suppress my urge to do things for him instead of letting him do it himself and learn from his own mistakes occasionally. Even now, when he's out of my maternal grasp about 90% of the time, I have to bite my tongue to keep myself from exclaiming "I can do that for you!" Good thing he had a healthy independent streak--I think it prevented him from turning out completely helpless.
Eh, maybe I'm being too hard on myself. He'll probably always be a little absent-minded and forgetful, and that's not necessarily my fault, right? Some people just are that way. As a matter of fact, there's a chance he inherited that tendency (cough). I know plenty of mature adults who lose their phones and debit cards, and they manage to survive. As Rizzo said in Grease, "There are worse things I could do."
Why, yes, I can sum up everything in life with a song from a musical! Heh.

Edited to add: Guess who called me earlier this evening? My mom, to tell me Nikki Blonsky's in a Lifetime movie tonight. Ha!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Death by absent-mindedness

My dad's home from the hospital and driving my mom crazy already. Oh, I guess he's not behaving too badly for a stubborn, 78-year-old man. However, the doctor doesn't want him to drive for the next couple of months until he's had a chance to adjust to his new blood pressure meds. You can imagine my dad's reaction to THAT advice. My mom and I have explained ad nauseum that these medications can cause dizziness and lightheadedness--not conditions you want to experience behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle, right? (Um, I don't know how much cars weigh, but "two-ton" is more euphonious than "800-pound" or whatever, so just go with it.) He's not eager to go back to the hospital anytime soon, so I suspect he's more willing to listen and follow instructions than he might be otherwise.


I certainly don't want my son to have to go to the hospital to make him more biddable, but he's going to send me to the loony bin if he doesn't stop acting like a senile, dotty old man. Daniel's always been a tad absent-minded, but when he was 6 and couldn't find his Lego pirate, it wasn't such a big deal. Now he's 18, and when he can't find his freaking cellphone, it's a slightly bigger deal. He lost the damn thing not once, not twice, but three times while he was home for Christmas. That's roughly once a week. One time he left it at his dad's, and his dad discovered it under the covers of Daniel's (unmade) bed.

Misplacing a cellphone, by itself, isn't that bad, I'll grant you, but here's a short list of other things he's misplaced or lost recently: He left his debit card at a game store in Indianapolis (when he was home for Thanksgiving), he left his iPod in a girl's car, he left a T-shirt at a friend's house, he lost the Purdue hat Kevin gave him for Christmas, and he lost his room key 5 minutes after he'd unlocked his dorm room Sunday when we were moving his stuff back in. (He finally found the key on his desk, but if you could see his desk, you'd understand how something could get lost on it.)

I've saved the worst for last. Sunday I'd taken him to the bookstore to get his books for the semester and used my card to buy them (400-something-dollars, yikes). Monday, he decided to change two classes, so on Wednesday, he took the books he no longer needed back to the bookstore to return them and buy books for his new classes. However, he couldn't get a refund unless the cashier had my card. Being the lovely, helpful person I am (and, of course, I had no objections to any excuse to drive up to Purdue to see Daniel), I agreed to come up Thursday after his botany lab. I pulled up to his dorm, and he came out looking upset. He got in the car and said, "Mom, I can't find the receipt."

People, I almost fainted. The books he was returning added up to $240! We searched his room: no receipt. I asked him where the bookstore bag was, and he said he threw it out, and then added, "Uh, I think the receipt was in the bag." And of course he threw the bag in the trashcan out in the hall that's emptied every night, not in the wastebasket in his room.

I was feeling slightly sick by this time, but I suggested we go to the bookstore anyway and see whether we could persuade the cashier to get a refund. Two of the books had "Used" stickers on them with the bookstore's name, so I thought there was a chance the cashier would believe the books came from there, not from another bookstore. The first cashier we approached--a harried-looking young woman--snapped "No receipt, no refund!" but grudgingly agreed to find the manager for us.

The manager, thank God, was a bookish, middle-aged man, and I'm very good with people of the bookish male persuasion. I'm not embarrassed at all to confess that I went into full-on Southern belle, sweet-talking mode. I flattered him shamelessly and flirted mildly. I threw my own son under the bus without a second thought and bemoaned his typical freshman carelessness, and the manager and I commiserated over the tribulations of dealing with college-age children. The whole time, however, I was thinking impatiently that this idiot had a computer record of my transaction and could easily pull it up, compare it to the number on my card, and verify the books against the record. Finally, I worked around to suggesting gently that he do just that. He pontificated about the unreliability of computer records and said condescendingly, "Well, you know technology is a wonderful thing--when it works." Christ on a biscuit, buddy. JUST GO LOOK. I swallowed my vitriol and smiled sweetly, however, and finally, finally he pulled up the damn record and lo and behold, found the transaction.

I managed to hang on to my smile until I had the new receipt in my hands and the refund credited to my card. The second we were done, however, I grabbed Daniel by the sleeve and marched him out of the store, hissing "And you hang onto THIS receipt, kiddo, or I'll come up here and wait outside your dorm, holding a hat and gloves and fretting over how my baby never dresses properly for the weather IN FRONT OF YOUR ROOMMATE AND FRIENDS."

That damn kid is going to kill me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Even Blogger is chortling about "erectus"

Despite the writer's strike, a new episode of The Daily Show was on last night! All is right in my world again. I am, I realize, a wee bit obsessed with Jon Stewart, but the past six weeks or so, I can't tell you many times, while watching the news, I'd think "I bet Jon is dying to comment on that story!" Hey, he knew I was thinking about him. Primary season is going to be much more enjoyable now.


Last night, Kevin and I were watching a show on Discovery Channel about the "human hobbit," which is a skeleton of a tiny human found on an island near Indonesia that's sparked fervent debate among bearded scientists about whether it's an example of a new species of human ancestors. I was feeling rather smug and faux-intellectual about us watching a science-y show, and then Kevin, who's normally a fairly mature person, snickered unexpectedly when an Australian anthropologist suggested the "hobbit" was related to Homo erectus. I, who am fairly immature and always eager to join in on 14-year-old humor, said "Homo erectus is also the mascot of the Viagra race car team!" Oh, how quick I am to throw the benefits of intelligent TV out the window.


My dad's improving, but more slowly than he'll admit. The doctor is taking the temporary pacemaker out today, so he can finally get up and walk around a little. When I talked to him this morning, he claimed he's going home tomorrow morning. Uh, according to my mom, that's unlikely--it's more like Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed she can bully him into accepting he's not leaving tomorrow as easily as she bossed him back to life, will you? I have a lot of faith in the Power of Bossiness, but my dad is the King of Stubbornness. The nurses had better be cautious entering Room 1103 of that hospital to avoid my parents, Scylla and Charybdis.


I did some Christmas shopping at Half Price Books about a month ago and got a free calendar that included several 15% off coupons to use throughout 2008. The other day, I pulled the calendar out to clip the coupons and stick them on my refrigerator. Before I threw the calendar away, I flipped through it to check what famous literary people were born on certain days and noticed the calendar also had "green" tips for each month. I was a little horrified to see how much power I'm wasting by leaving my cellphone charger plugged in all the time instead of only when I'm recharging my phone. So sure, I can unplug my charger when I'm not using it. That's simple enough, but reading green tips always makes me feel guilty and wasteful, as though I'm stomping around leaving a giant Ugg-sized ecological footprint instead of a small, dainty, uh, thong sandal of a footprint. (One day I'll be able to complete an analogy skillfully.) My anti-guilt immune system is practically nonfunctional, I know, but why don't I feel all motivated and charged up when I read about simple things everyone can do to have an impact?

(By the way, Blogger flagged "erectus" in this entry with a red underline. I know it's a spell-check thing, but I like to think Blogger is giggling childishly.)

Monday, January 7, 2008

No more hospitals!

I have an announcement: If you're a friend or related to me, you're not allowed to be admitted to the hospital this week. Thank you.

Why the bossiness, you ask? Well, first, my friend Janet's lung collapsed last Thursday, and she's been in the hospital since, getting transfusions and God knows what-all, and bless her heart, she's been freaking me out. Her pitiful little voice on the phone makes me want to cry. Second, after having Daniel home for almost a month, I had to take him back to school yesterday, and the combination of saying good-bye and spending $400 on his books did have me in tears. (OK, that event has nothing to do with a hospital, except that my wallet might need to be put in the ICU.)

Then this morning, my mom called at 8:00. That's early for her to call, so I knew something was up. And it was something, all right: My dad almost died yesterday afternoon. He's been on a slew of medications for his kidneys and blood pressure and has had several spells of dizziness and weakness the past few months. He had another one yesterday afternoon, but he passed out and stopped breathing. My mom had already called 911 and still had the operator on the phone, so she yanked him out of his recliner, got him down on the floor, took his top teeth out, and gave him mouth-to-mouth. My frail, weak, full-of-aches-and-pains mom! She said, "Lisa, you know how bad my knees are--I haven't kneeled on the floor in 10 years. But I got down on the floor to give him CPR, and in between breaths, I kept screaming at him that he's NOT ALLOWED to die on me now." Only my mother could boss someone back to life, I swear.

He started having a seizure while my mom was giving him CPR, but she said his eyes were wide-open the entire time, which scared the crap out of her. Right as the EMTs got there, he started coughing a little, so she figured he was breathing again. However, his blood pressure wasn't even registering, and his heart rate was down to 25. After they got him to the hospital, the doctor had to put a temporary pacemaker in. I don't know yet whether he'll need a permanent one. If his medications get adjusted better, he might be able to avoid that. One medication he's on, Coreg (I think), does tend to slow the heart rate; it's helped quite a bit to control his blood pressure, but its side effects seem too strong for him.

I talked to him this morning for a few minutes, and he's already feeling well enough to grumble about going home. He thinks he's just fine, and everyone's overreacting. Oy. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the doctor is probably going to keep him there at least another night. I did tell him I have the number to the nurses' station (which I do), and if he gives them a hard time, they have my permission to duct-tape him to the bed. It made him laugh, but I was only half-kidding. He's a sweetheart, but I know he's going to pester those nurses to death about going home. Actually, I wouldn't put it past him to get up and try to get dressed and walk out of there. He's just that stubborn. Good thing I didn't inherit that quality, right? I'd appreciate any good thoughts you can send his way (perhaps thoughts about the value of patience!)--and maybe a few for my mom in dealing with him.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I've been on an archaeological dig in my office for the past month or so in an attempt to get this space clean and organized. Oy, the papers and books and mementos and just plain crap I have to wade through! Some days I get a lot done. If need be, I can be ruthless about getting rid of useless items. Why, earlier today I even tossed a pile of old computer books I'd edited 10 years ago. (Of course, first I tore out the acknowledgements pages where the authors waxed poetic about working with me and saved them in a folder. I'm not embarrassed to admit I reread them occasionally as a ego boost.)

Other days, I unearth an envelope of photos--a six-year-old Daniel dressed up in his homemade wizard Halloween costume; the white rabbit we named Runaway Bunny after one of his favorite books, who ate a good chunk out of the dining room table leg, nibbled his way through an entire folder of important papers, and shortly afterward went to live on a farm (seriously, a real farm, not the "farm" parents use as a euphemism); cast photos of the play I was producing when I met Kevin. I can't just throw them all in a box to await their final resting place in an album, which should happen by the time I'm approximately 72, I figure. No, I have to go through them and reminisce, snort at pictures of me on bad hair days, and get maudlin over Daniel's gap-toothed grin. Needless to say, I don't get much organizing and cleaning done then.

However, I was making some progress this evening until I came across a pile of old letters and cards. Not many people write letters now, do they? Maybe that's why I've saved most of the letters I've received, especially my grandma's because she wrote exactly the way she talked. Getting a letter from her was like sitting down at her kitchen table and chatting while she shelled peas. One thing about her letters used to crack my Aunt Joan and me up, though. Grandma had a martyr streak in her, so she always managed to work in a heavy-handed hint about her children and grandchildren not visiting her lately or a description of some ailment, but she always assured us she'd get through it, thankyouJesus, and maybe we could remember her in our prayers, if we had the time? Bless her heart.

Anyway, I found this letter tonight, and I felt as though Grandma was here for a short visit. I've retyped a little of it, with her own grammar and punctuation. I'd written her a letter for her 83rd birthday in October, 1994, a few months after I moved to Indianapolis from Chicago. Here's her reply with a few comments from me:



Tues Morn

Dear Baby,

I was so surprised to get the sweet letter from you, I was real happy to get it. So glad you moved closer to your Dad & Mom, I just know they are thrilled too.

I had a very nice birthday, I did not feel like I would since I knew that none of my children would be here with me. [Subtle hint, huh? Heh.] Then I get this call from Italy with the familiar voices [I think my aunt and uncle were in Italy on vacation and called her. Or maybe Grandma was just hearing Italian voices, but ones she'd heard before--that's reassuring!] Joan and Buddy called me too and I got a lot of nice gifts. I was real happy, it's not so hard being 83, is it? Ha ha.

Honey, I hope you can read this but since I cut my hand 2 years ago, I just don't write very good (wasn't too good before).

It sounds like Daniel is some boy. How I wish I could see him. Why don't you and Daniel come down for a visit? Tell Daniel I'll cook him some peas and cornbread. Remember when he was real little, I don't think he could walk, we were at Jerry's, and I cooked him some peas and cornbread. I'm still doing most all my work at 83. However, Eddie [her third husband--Grandma was a hussy] do help a lot. If he did not help as much as he do, I could not get along as well as I do.

I think I better hang it up. I have a headache. [Ha! Love this closing.]

Let me hear,



This picture of her with Daniel, when he was about five months old (I think), is one of my favorites. She had the magic touch with babies. Give her a fussy, colicky baby, and in less than two minutes, she'd have him or her cooing and smiling angelically.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What? It's 2008 already?

Long time, I know. I don't want to bore you with a long-winded explanation of why I haven't written, so I'll just say "Depression, blah, busy work schedule, blah blah, assorted problems, yadda yadda, major empty nest syndrome, etc., etc." and let it go at that.

I don't do New Year's resolutions; instead, I have two Stupid People stories I'm dying to tell. (If I made resolutions, my first one would be vowing to reduce the number of idiots in the world.)

1. The other day, I was checking out at the grocery and noticed a display of lighters at the counter. They had cartoons of current presidential candidates, and the one of Barack Obama was a particularly funny drawing, so I decided to buy it. The cashier made a disgusted face and sniped "I've been trying to persuade people to buy this lighter and then crush it!" Taken aback, I asked "Why?" (And yes, I should have known better.) She said "Well, I'm no racist or nothing, but I'm not gonna have a Muslim for a president."

Uh. I tried to be polite, but I told her he's not a Muslim and asked what made her think that. She claimed he "took an oath on the Muslim Bible." I said "First, it's called the Koran, and second, I don't know what your source of information is, but that NEVER happened." Unfazed, she went on to call Hillary Clinton "a raving bitch," and I threw up my hands and walked out, clutching my Barack Obama lighter. I swear, I have to get the hell out of Mayberry one of these days.

2. New Year's Eve afternoon, Kevin, Daniel, and I went to see Sweeney Todd, which I've been dying to see. My favorite musical ever, plus two of my boyfriends are in it (Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman). When the credits rolled, the row of people in front of us got up immediately, and one guy said to another, in a disgusted tone, "Well, that was no Pirates of the Caribbean, that's for sure!" ARRRGGGHHH. Yes, Pirates is the standard by which all other movies must be judged. Help me.