Saturday, February 28, 2009

Alone Again (or Always), Naturally

A couple of recent conversations have been roiling around in my brain for the past few weeks. They have to do with single versus partnered and alone versus lonely.

I like being part of a couple. You would have to just assume that someone who has been married four times for a total of twenty years (plus four years in a committed—at least on my part—relationship) likes being part of a couple.

Conversation A:
On my first podiatrist visit for my sprained ankle three weeks ago, the receptionist (who is four years older than I) was talking about how happy she was to be single and how nice it was not to need or have to bother with a man in her life. One of the patients sitting in the waiting room with me was "Amen, Sister"-ing her.

Conversation B:
When I got home very late from work on Thursday night, knowing I'd have to return very early the next morning, I wrote in my Facebook status that I was curled up in bed with my laptop and a cat. I closed that post with, "I know. I have a sad life." A man I know in Akron, whom I have gone out with three times, stated he thought it was a pretty good position to be in, and wrote "Think how much more complicated your life would be having to have a man in bed, next to your laptop & cat." (Trust me: if I had a man, I wouldn't have the laptop in bed!) (BTW, this man is a textbook example for Greg Behrendt's "He Just Not That Into You." So don't be thinking that three dates a possibility make.)

Conversation C:
I stopped by my kids' house last night to pick up collected mail, and asked what time I can pick up the babes today for our sleepover. Ty asked if 4:00 p.m. was okay, and I responded, "Sure. I have nothing else. I have no life." Then I paused and corrected myself, "Y'all are my life."

I look around me at women and men my age. I look at the men on Match, and just don't see possibilities. I look at the women who are alone at almost-60 or beyond. I have to be realistic and say, as much as I hold out hope for someone wonderful to enhance my life, the likelihood of finding someone compatible is diminishing. And is doing so at an accelerating pace with each passing month.

Who do I want?

Who don't I want? I don't want someone who's never been married. I don't want someone who has no children. I don't want someone who is averse to spending time with his family. I don't want someone with only a high school education. I don't want a sloth. I don't want someone who doesn't share my interests in and love for "the finer things"—classical music, theatre, art, travel. I don't want someone who doesn't know how to dress himself. I don't want a religious (read: Christianity) zealot who will try to cram his beliefs down my throat. And I don't want someone who wants to be joined at the hip.

Admit it. That narrows the field—enormously. I'm sure there are men on the faculty at the university who are single and meet these criteria, but how to meet them is another matter entirely. I spend my time sitting at a desk in Akron or driving between Youngstown and Akron.

So, if I were to adopt the position that I'm going to be alone for the rest of my life, how will I fashion that life? Find ways to make more friends. (I joined a knitting Meet-Up this week. That's step one.) I guess just slowly, step-by-step, make mid-course corrections in my line of thought. Get out of my shell. Develop the courage to ask other women to have dinner or go to a movie.

Just waiting for the times I can spend with the grandbabies is not fulfilling. There's got to be a way to be alone and not be so damned lonely.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kimono as Art

Among my long list of interests, I include silk. I dye silk, paint silk, quilt silk, sew silk, bead silk, stencil silk, and just generally love silk. I take classes in all sorts of techniques for working with silk. In a class I took three years ago, I met Karen Miller, an incredible artist who works in silk.

Karen flew to Cleveland from Oregon yesterday to take in the Canton Museum of Art's current exhibition, "Kimono as Art." She had e-mailed and suggested I join her. I almost begged off, as work has been just horrific. But I needed to get some art in my life and escape from the work stress for a couple of hours, so I agreed to meet her.

What an incredible exhibition of a master's work. I could pull every superlative from my vocabulary, and still not have sufficient words to tell you how awestruck I was to view these silk pieces of art this evening.

If you live within a 4-5 hour drive from Canton, it would be worth your while to travel and take in this exhibition. You may never again have the opportunity to see any fiberart quite as special as Itchiku Kubota’s life-long body of work.

Photo Credit

In My Dreams

As I woke up (late) this morning, I was dreaming I lived back in D.C. and had been hired by a big law firm as the secretary to one of the top partners. I loved it, I was happy, and I planned to buy a bike and ride from home to work each day.

Boy, those are a lot of lines to read between regarding work and commute, aren't they?

By the way, I started at IBM as a secretary 28 years ago, so there is precedent. I've been a secretary and did it very well.

I'm a helper, a pleaser. I'm an accompanist rather than a soloist. And I'm only minimally fulfilled at my job, as this dream shows. Oh, yeah, the commute? Well, I don't like that either.

But I do love it when our attorney refers to me as co-counsel.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Growing Accustomed to One's Environment

I've been very frustrated with the snail's-pace of my settling into the new house. First I sprained my ankle the night before the movers arrived. I was in a lot of pain the first two weeks, hobbling around, leery of navigating the basement steps to move boxes down there. Then I finally went to the doctor and learned I had developed tendonitis and, on the second visit, bursitis in compensating for the pain.

I've been working six-day weeks this month. And with my commute, when I get home at night I hardly have the energy to find my pajamas, much less work on unpacking boxes.

And then there's the painting, which goes on and on and on and … . The workmanship is impeccable, but the pace is slower than slow.

And there's the enormous piece of art leaning against the living room wall. I can hardly make any moves on the living room until I resolve what to do about "The King and the Queen of the Prom."

Today I communicated with a woman who may find a home for the painting. She may come by the house on Sunday to see it in person. Eek. My house is in no shape for strangers to come by, people who don't know me and will form first impressions of me based on the maze of boxes that populate my house.

So when I left work tonight, I determined that when I got home, I would quickly eat my supper and then work on straightening and organizing the kitchen. I bought a microwave last week and needed to get it out of its box.

I brought down my laptop, stuck a movie in the DVD drive, and peripherally watched (listened to) "As Good As It Gets" while moving back and forth between the kitchen and the computer room.

Imagine my surprise as I came back into the kitchen and looked up. Rudi seems to know his place and have no problem settling right in there. Remind me never to leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


*Same snow, different day
(Taken from my bathroom window)

Comparative Religions

I'm reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I am fascinated by her explanation of the various religions she was exposed to growing up in Kenya and Somalia and Mogadishu and Saudi Arabia.

There were so many restrictions when she was in elementary and high school: Don't let your feet be seen—it will turn the boys on. Don't let your shoulders be seen. Don't. Don't. Don't.

Her descriptions of all the proscriptions reminded me of growing up Adventist. We were prohibited from wearing sandals or sleeveless dresses to school, as it would excite the boys. We had to wear our dresses long enough that, when we knelt down, they would touch the floor. We couldn't wear makeup or color our hair or wear jewelry. We couldn't drink caffeinated beverages or eat meat. Some of the proscriptions were to avoid exciting the boys; some were taken from Old Testament verses about adorning oneself; some were health tenets taken from the writings of Ellen G. White, the prophet of the Adventist church. "Be in the world but not of the world" was a frequently-heard admonishment.

As I grew older and started attending non-Adventist educational institutions, I met more and more people who held other beliefs. I had been instructed during my years in Adventist schools that Adventism was the only religion that had it right. Those who didn't accept the Third Angel's Message were going to hell. Especially Roman Catholics.

My favorite boyfriend from college, GMP, (Yes, if he called me today and asked me to come to Orlando to see him, I'd be on the next plane!) was Catholic. I remember going with him to his brother's wedding and loving the rituals of the Catholic church. Similarly, when my brother got married, he and my sister-in-law began attending an Episcopal church. I loved visiting there with them. There was something comforting about the rituals of these historic religions—something very unlike a religion founded in 1844 that was so intent on forcing "Saturday is the Sabbath" and "we're right and everybody else is wrong" down one's throat.

Listening to Hirsi Ali describe the various religions, the religions founded not on Christ but on other now-historical figures, I am struck by the element of control that is integral in all these religions.

In my thirties, my therapist offered that the reason I had become a programmer was that the computer was the only thing in my life I had been able to control.

Why must there be so many "don't"s? I know with Adventist kids, there were so many things we weren't allowed to do, we looked for every little thing that wasn't specifically banned and did it to the max. We never talked about sex, so we did it as much as possible. There was much promiscuity and many babies conceived out of wedlock. (Thankfully, not by me!) And there was an enormous exodus from the church as those of us brought up in the 50s and 60s got to adulthood and started thinking for ourselves, an activity that had been totally discouraged throughout our school years.

I've long held that kindness, if substituted for all the religions of the world, would solve all the ills. Let's think: What if Bernie Madoff thought about kindness instead of greed when dealing with his clients? What if Scott Peterson was driven by kindness instead of anger? And a million other examples.

I know I'm being simplistic. I know that many criminals are driven by mental illness to perform their egregious acts. And many "bad actors", as we referred to them in law school, are driven by selfishness. (There are a lot of tax non-payers in the news lately—is that greed or selfishness? Or are those two words synonymous?)

I just think, if we could run the world on kindness, selflessness, self-restraint, accountability and good ol' common sense, we wouldn't need all this religious bullshit that divides people and tears countries apart with holy wars.

Oh, the self-restraint and accountability part? With those, we wouldn't be in this economic mess we're in.

Just my opinion.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Are You Reading?

I'm overwhelmed with work right now. We're launching a new release of the software on March 2, so my department is working six-day weeks. And the house is still Box Central. And I still have a soft cast on my right ankle. So I get home at night and quickly collapse onto a chair to elevate my foot.

Last week I downloaded Nicholas Sparks's True Believer from Audible. This is the kind of book I love for commuting. I want to know what happens on the next page, and the next page, and so on. It makes me enjoy the drive, rather than dreading it. I like Sparks's style and enjoyed the book immensely.

Now I'm listening to Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This is a selected book for my book group—I probably wouldn't have even heard of it otherwise. It's narrated by the author, and is very well and thoughtfully written. But its subject content is hard to listen to. Each time she talks about her mother yelling and hitting the children, I cringe. When she told of her genital mutilation at age 5 or 6, I wanted to turn the player off and not pick it up again. I am heartsick that this brutal practice continues anywhere in the world in 2009.

Here's the review from Publisher's Weekly, as included on Amazon:
Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, bigoted, [and] fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed—like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion.

I think this will be a very thought-provoking book, regarding both religion and political events.

And what are you reading?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You Are What You Eat

Or, Mom's Microwave Pizza

I heard the most fascinating piece on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday. The correspondent was discussing the hot meals that are created on site in Parisian day care facilities.

Leg of lamb? Warm apples and clementines? Cauliflower au gratin? I've never prepared any of those dishes. I can boil water. I can put together a casserole given a recipe and shopping list.

I loved that they quoted a Parisian woman who now lives in Alexandria, VA. She is appalled that her child is served Crustables peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The stunning fact is that they can prepare these meals for $2 per child.

I think we have something to learn here. I think we could do a better of job of feeding our children.

Maybe I'll turn over a new leaf and learn to cook a few dishes. Maybe.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Making Oneself Indispensable

My dear cyberfriend Five Husbands wrote a brilliant post the other day.

She lost her job a year ago and, with a teenage son to support, eked and struggled and fought depression and barely lived through the year. But she survived. And by the grace of the universe and her brilliant résumé and fabulous brain, found a new job just before the holidays.

She and I have a lot in common, not the least of which are a greater-than-the-average number of marriages and a very long daily commute.

I have not been unemployed, except by choice, for 15 years. But I have inordinate financial stresses, directly related to having bought my midtown Tucson house without selling my Continental Ranch house, and then hemorrhaging money to sell both houses. I'm trying to come to grips with the idea that I will be in debt on the day I die. I don't like that idea. I want the pressure to cease.

I have a well-paying job that feels secure. But I work, and—especially—work at that job, because I have bills to pay. If I suddenly came into $150,000 (after taxes, of course), I would quit my job in a heartbeat. I hate the commute. I make it work by enjoying books or learning from podcasts, but—especially in the frequent rain or snow—I hate the commute.

In this day and age, I think everyone who is employed worries about being laid off. And I think what we have to do is figure out how to make ourselves so indispensable to our employers that they can't even fathom the thought of losing us.

It's too danged much pressure!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Archaic Attitudes

Overheard in my Akron office the other day:

Manager: So-and-so just called me. He's got a new job in Youngstown and said he could help us with our website if we want to host it ourselves.
Director: I'd have to know who he's working with. Most of those guys are Mafia.

What? Which century are you living in? Do you keep up with the news, or are you still living in the 80s or the 90s?

We're bringing this city back. We're all working very hard at bringing this city back. And attitudes like yours do nothing to help.

I hear similar attitudes expressed at least once a week, denigrating Youngstown, doubting its ability to be resurrected.

How do we change these attitudes? What will it take to show people that Youngstown is the big city that could?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lovely Music for Lincoln's Birthday

Tonight I will have the honor of singing with the Akron Symphony Chorus behind the Akron Symphony in a concert for Linoln's birthday.

In November, I wrote about the ASC concert which included the Vaughan Williams "Dirge for Two Veterans" from his Dona Nobis Pacem. Tonight we will perform the entire work.

It's the kind of music that singers don't really like when they start rehearsals, but love by the time they get to performance.

In last night's rehearsal, we got to hear Charles Ives' "Decoration Day", which is an incredibly cool work, sort of a collage of music.

Tonight the chorus will also perform "Battle Hymn of the Republic", which never fails to stir my heart.

In the second half of the concert, the chorus will be allowed to sit up in the third balcony so we can experience the photochoreography that ASO has commissioned to accompany this concert.

With our new president's affinity for Lincoln, we Americans have been much more aware lately of this pivotal president. Just reading the program notes for tonight's concert will be a history lesson.

The words for the Dona Nobis Pacem are taken from Walt Whitman's poetry. Whitman admired Lincoln so much that he moved to Washington, DC, after Lincoln's election. While he never met Lincoln, he did see the war from all sides while working as an Army nurse. His poetry was deeply influenced by what he saw and heard in the Army hospitals and tents where he worked.

Conductor Christopher Wilkins told us last night that Whitman said that Lincoln had become the poet of America while he had become the voice of the people, a situation that was the reverse of what he had hoped for and expected when he moved to Washington.

If you are or can be in the Akron area tonight, I urge you to attend this inspiring and memorable concert.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Can't I Just Retire?

This morning I'm thinking about books. On yesterday's "The Writer's Almanac", Garrison Keillor talked about Boris Pasternak and "Dr. Zhivago". Then this morning in my quick blog-scan, I read "A Commonplace Book", who spurred me to read the book.

This morning's "Writer's Almanac" mentioned "Wuthering Heights", another classic I've never read. And there's "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Grapes of Wrath". I've got ten books that I just retrieved from a long-stashed box. They were stacked on my night table in Tucson and now they're stacked on my Youngstown night table. And I think it was the blogger of "A Commonplace Book" who recommended "The Complete Idiot's Guide to American Literature". (I can't remember which of her pen names she uses for "Commonplace", so I'm not naming her, trying not to out her.) Once I can dig into "Complete Idiot", I'll find seventy-three more books I want to read.

(Oooh, and my new house has a lovely library, perfect for long afternoons with a book in my hands, athrow over my legs, a cup of tea by my side, and a cat in my lap.)

My friend Keith, when he was working at my company and very unhappy, would sit at lunch with me and we'd launch the topic, "What would you do if money was no object?" For both of us, education was a major part of that conversation. He would go back to school and study religion and philosophy. I would study English, writing, human-computer interaction (okay, I'm ever-the-geek!), music theory, weaving, pottery, and learn to play the harp. Oh, and I'd sew the stash of fabrics that fill container after container in my basement and sewing room.

I have so many things I want to do that, if someone handed me a million dollars—hell, even a hundred thousand would do—I could stay busy until the end of my life without missing a beat.

I frequently bemoan the fact that there's no significant other in my life. Maybe my significant other is my body of interests. Now if I could just retire so I could have time to pursue them!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Clocks I Hate

I have an extensive collection of antique clocks that my daddy collected during the final fifteen years of his life. I love those clocks, They are an echo of a different, slower culture. And they remind me of my daddy, who will have been gone 25 years in December.

But this is a clock I hate. It hangs on the column outside my director's cubicle, and I pass it everytime I walk from my cube to the kitchen or the restroom. It displays the time in India, where we have a team of workers rewriting thirteen years of code, cleaning it up, making it run cleaner and faster.

The handwritten note under the clock states that the time in the city where these programmers are working is 10½ hours ahead of the time in Akron.

Whenever the director discusses this activity, he refers to it as "offshore". The offshore work, the offshore office. It makes it sound like people are sitting on the beach in Jamaica, laptops at hand. But it's not an island. It's India. It's sending income to India, rather than keeping it in Ohio.

It angers me. Does he not know how many jobs have been lost and not refound in Ohio and adjoining states in the past year? Doesn't he know how many talented, hard-working, dedicated programmers there are—just in Akron alone—who would be so relieved to be contracted to this six month job?

Would it really cost that much more to hire local workers as contractors rather than send the work to India?

I find this action to be unAmerican, unOhioan, thoughtless, and cruel.

There's absolutely nothing I can do about it. The action has been taken and is not changing. My mental cries of "think about Ohio, hire Ohioans, hire Americans" would make no more difference than my mental cries of "think about the environment, let us work remotely one or two days a week".

I believe that America will pull out of this economic crisis—in time, in much time—but not with repeated thoughtless actions like this on the part of American executives.

As we used to see written on the signs hanging on the walls everywhere in IBM sites: "THINK".

Monday, February 09, 2009

Question of the Day - no, Month - no, Year

What do you do when a prized possession no longer fits you or your space or your life? I wrote on moving day about my frustration and astonishment when "The King and the Queen of the Prom" wouldn't fit on its designated wall in the new house.

Let me preface this discussion by reasserting that I love this painting. The bright colors energize and delight me, and the musical elements echo my life.

I've been contemplating options. I offered it on permanent loan to the Butler Institute of American Art, but the director told me they are short on storage space, so declined my offer. The option I mentioned in the previous post is to deframe-destretch-roll-move upstairs-unroll-restretch-reframe-hang in the sitting room. When I look closely at the impeccable construction of the frame, I can't imagine that happening. Yesterday I had an epiphany as I sat in the living room, staring at the painting. What if I had the very large doorway to the living room narrowed 18"-24"? That seems like an inspired solution. But when I e-mailed Tyler to ask his opinion, he responded that he thought I was insane.

Help me out here: What would you do? Is there an association of [art museums, museums of American art, museums of contemporary art] that I could poll to see if anyone wants it? Do I just put it in the unheated garage and pray it doesn't deteriorate too badly. Do I have an "out with the old, in with the new" party and let people take their frustrations out on this canvas? Do I offer it on eBay and say the buyer has to figure out how to ship it to his or her location? The Cedars has similar paintings on their walls—would they want it? Does Dana School of Music have an empty wall they'd like to fill?

This problem is taking up way too much space in my brain. I simply don't know how to solve it.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thoughtfulness in the Young

The babes slept over last night so their parents could attend the gala benefitting the Montessori school. (Jaci was deeply involved in this event and I was happy to see her Tweet last night that it was a successful evening.)

We had gone to Giant Eagle to get breakfast items, and I got them each an activity book. Boston chose a kitten sticker book and Ridley chose a Wall-E water painting book. Boston brought his into bed and placed a few more stickers before we turned out the lights. When he was finished for the evening, he reached across me to place his book on my nightstand. As we was taking his hand away, he said, "Excuse my reach."

I beg your pardon? What seven-and-a-half year old boy says, "Excuse my reach." I mentally saluted his parents as I laid my head on the pillow.

This morning we had ate most of our breakfast in the kitchen, then Ridley brought the rest of her [dry] Frosted Mini-Wheats upstairs to the sitting room so they could continue watching the Pink Panther DVD. When she finished, she turned to me and said, "I want some more Mini-Wheats." I asked, "You're going to make me go clear back downstairs to get those?" She smiled mischievously and said, "Yes."

Before I could put my knitting down and ease my soft-casted foot back into my hard shoe, Boston had paused the Pink Panther, picked up Ridley's bowl, and headed for the kitchen to get her refill. When I thanked him, he said, "I don't want you to have to walk downstairs with your bad leg."

Sweet, sweet, sweet children. And brilliant, consistently vigilant parents.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Universe as Overseer of Packing and Moving

Today I'm hobbling around with a soft cast on my right ankle, wearing a surgical shoe with a steel shank. This lovely attire is the result of my having had my ankle go out from under me Sunday night two weeks ago as I stepped down the two steps in the hallway to my bedroom at Tyler and Jaci's. I somehow turned my ankle and went down, having sprained my ankle.

After two weeks of nursing that ankle, I finally went to the podiatrist yesterday. He x-rayed it and saw severe tendonitis, the result of my walking awkwardly while I favored that ankle. He said if I had not come in when I did, I would have developed stress fractures in a couple of days.

So I'm doing a little work around the house, then sitting down for half an hour with my foot up. It's very frustrating, as I'd like to be getting a lot done around the house and it ain't happening.

But as I move a few boxes around and settle a few things in the kitchen, I remember a story from Memorial Day weekend of 1996.

John and I had just bought our beloved house on Irving Street overlooking the National Zoo. (I always say he bought me a house instead of a big diamond.) We were to move on Monday, and Saturday I had set the day aside to pack up the kitchen and as many other things as I could. John's daughter and son-in-law were coming over to help me with the packing.

On Friday night we walked from his house on Argonne over to our favorite restaurant, Cashion's Eat Place on Columbia Road. As we walked out the front door of the house, we realized it was raining. So we walked a half block over to Harvard, where his car was parked. He opened the trunk, pulled out his golf clubs, extracted his golf umbrella, replaced the clubs, locked the car, and off we went.

The next morning he had his normal oh-dark-thirty tee time. I was not pleased that he was going to the club when his kids were going to be there helping me. He should be right there with us, making this move happen.

He dressed, walked out to the car, and opened the trunk to put something in his golf bag. Oops. It was no longer there. Some greedy thoughtful soul, upon watching us pull the umbrella out of the trunk the night before, decided John needed to be home packing instead of playing golf at the club, and relieved him of his beloved clubs.

Or the Universe decided it was in his best interest to be a good husband for the weekend.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I've been experimenting with ways to stand in the shower to avoid the ice cold drips from the temperature regulator.

I stand with my back to the showerhead, knees bent and locked into position. I push my belly button forward toward the shower curtain, and tilt my head back to get my hair wet.

I look like the letter "C".

Must call the plumber.
- - -
Post Shower Post Script:
This morning's shower—leaned down to pick up tube of face scrub from the step between the shower and the floor. As I stood up, I whacked my head on the soap dish in the wall, and reflexively jerked my foot. Intense pain in my ankle, which still hasn't healed from my fall two weeks ago.

What did I learn from this experience?

Must call the plumber.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Valentine's Hint

I've been hearing a commercial on XMRadio lately that makes me shudder. You hear a conversation between a man and a woman. The man is asking if his Valentine's gift arrived at the lady's office. She goes on and on about this wonderful teddy bear that he sent her, and about how all her office girlfriends are jealous.

The teddy bear is reported to be eight feet tall! Of course I had to visit the advertised site, BigPlush, which is populated with pictures of eight foot tall bears and monkeys.

The underlying message in the commercial is that, if you love someone a lot, you need to give him/her a large gift. The commercial tries to convince the naive and wanting-to-please man that every woman loves these enormous stuffed animals.

No, no, I say. Guys, bigger is not better in gifts—at least in stuffed animals! And really, a person can have too many stuffed animals.

Resist the urge to buy one of these enormous toys that will just be in the way. (You want it sitting on her bed? Where are you going to sit—or lie?)

I offer to you that less is more for your Valentine's gift. A lovely piece of jewelry is always nice and says, "I cherish you." A dinner out at a restaurant where you don't stand in line to place your order says, "I love spending time with you." A scented candle for her bath or bedroom says, "You light up my life."

There are a thousand suitable gifts. The eight-foot teddy bear ain't one of them!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Is this that global warming stuff I keep hearing about?

Snow today. More damned snow.

Basta! Enough already!

I've determined what my most prized possession is. It's my heatedcar seats!

Educkingnough already!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Lonely Gato

When I first moved in with Tyler and Jaci, I posted several times about the rough time Rudi was having settling into the new digs. He was used to ruling the roost, and suddenly he was sharing space with two cats and two [big] dogs. He and Pepper formed a strong love/hate relationship, Smoker ignored him, and he was scared of the dogs.

Now he rules the roost again, and doesn't know what to do with himself. He tails me around the house. If he wanders away from me, he walks around the house meowing, "Where are you, Mom?" If I sit down, he is immediately in my lap. When I'm lying awake in bed, he's right next to me.

Yesterday the painter was here, and Rudi hid someplace until 3:00 in the afternoon.

Poor guy. I'm hoping that somewhere underneath his disorientation is a measure of relief.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Brrr! Ouch! Brrr! Ouch!

The inaugural night in the new house happened on Saturday night, and included my two favorite roommates. Ridley didn't want to sleep in my bed with Boston and me—as we've been doing for the past year in the king bed in the guest room at their house—so I raced to BB&B to pick up a new twin Aerobed just for her. She slept well, happy as a little clam in her little bed.

On Sunday morning, I took my first shower in my new bathroom. I turned on the hot water, waited for it to get to the second floor, then tempered it with a little cold and hopped in. The pressure was fairly low, as the inspector had warned me. What he didn't warn me of, or probably discover, is that the hot/cold regulator drips. So I'd be standing under the shower head, washing or rinsing my hair, and a drop of ice cold water would drip out of the regulator and plop right onto the center of my back. I'd turn up the hot water to warm my body in reaction to the cold water, and 45 seconds later another drop of ice water would plop on my back.

It was an interesting time in the shower! Last night I anticipated the morning by having a relaxing bubble bath, complete with classical music and crossword puzzle. This morning I washed my hair in the sink!

Gotta call the plumber!