Friday, August 31, 2007

Riley's First Day of School

Riley woke me up at 7:00 a.m. "It's time for school!"

"Not just yet, baby," I replied, "Let's snuggle for a little bit."

So we did. At 7:30 we got up and I fixed Riley a bowl of Trix. As she ate, she complained of being sleepy.

"We'll get a bath; that will wake you up."

"OK."

So, Riley got a bath and then she got dressed. She's wearing a Chococat glitter tee and a plaid skort, very punk. While we were gathering up odds and ends, Lucy woke up.

"Do you want to go to the bus stop with sister?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said, rubbing her eyes.

"Well let's get you dressed."

I got Lucy ready and it was getting close to the time Riley needed to be at the bus stop. We made our way outside, as I called Lisa. Her daughter Taylor is starting kindergarten today too. I heard Riley and Taylor yelling to each other across the street and gave up the phone call. They were already on the way.

We made our way to the bus stop on the most perfect of mornings. It was cool, sunny and dewy. After a few moments, Riley's other friend Brittney joined us. She's going into the second grade. We took pictures and the kids watched the garbage truck backing up.

And before you knew it, there was the bus. The girls got on the bus and all three of them took a seat together at the front of the bus and waved back at us. Lisa and I waved back and immediately started tearing up.

"I was so sentimental last night, I was looking for Taylor's baby book!" she said.

"You know, it didn't hit me until just now," I said, wiping my eyes.

Lucy looked up at me and stretched her arms up. "I want sister!" she said.

"Me too, baby," I said as I picked her up.

"God, they are in someone else's hands now!" Lisa said. "My baby's gone!"

"Yes, they are starting their independence for real." I said,

"Yep," she said.

"So, margaritas?" I asked.

"No doubt." she replied.

We agreed to get together later. I'm taking Lucy to meet her nursery school teacher today (sniffle). We'll then go to the library and out to lunch, I think.

Wow. I've been dreaming of this day for a long time. Riley is going to soar in school, I know it. She needs it. But godammit, she's growing up. From this point on, she's going to need me less and less. She probably won't want to sit on my lap much longer. Last night, she and I snuggled in her room and watched Grease for about a half an hour. She leaned her head against me and said, "The best times I have are with you." For now, I thought.

"Will you stay this age forever, Lucy?" I asked Lucy as I pulled her face toward mine.

"Uh-huh," she said, smiling.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"And I'm so tired of tryin' to stand against it all alone..."



I've been offered a new job!!!

I'm celebrating with the song above. Please listen to it but ignore the stupid pictures. The people who made that video obviously didn't ever listen to the words, other than "This is the last morning." Idiots.

I will be working as a software trainer and my commute will be about 15 minutes instead of an hour and 15 minutes. There will also be some travel and a HELLOVA LOT LESS BULLSHIT. I hope.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Update on Chicago

I'm such a flake. I have class the proposed weekend of our trip to Chicago. So we've moved it up a week to Octobmer 13-14. Sorry about the changes.

Any new suggestions?

Enough About Me, Why Don't You Tell Me About What You Think Of Me...

My pal Splotchy offered to interview people and I took him up on it. Here's what he wanted to know:

1. I see that back in June you were readying a large number of socks for puppethood. Have you mounted a large-scale sock puppet production as of yet? If so, please summarize the plot, characters and themes.

Alas, Splotchy, the basket of socks are sitting in my garage, covered in grass clippings and motor oil and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have a commitment problem. I can only continue to do things that end up being bad for me (watching TV, swearing, shopping). Most altruistic efforts I undertake are sacrificed at the alter of the PlayStation. We are also recycling cans now and that's not going so well. We fill up plastic bags of cans and those bags are shuffled to the shed, instead of the back of the Jeep, where they can be driven .1 mile to the fire station that accepts them. I don't know what to say, other than when I say I am "prone to whimsy," I mean it.

2. While we're on the subject of appendages and clothing, which is it? Gloves or mittens?

It's gloves. I can't drive well in mittens. I need to have form fitting leather or Isotoner gloves so that my driving is not impared. Though I think mittens are cute, they are meant for others.

3. If you could be resurrected as any animal, what would it be, and why?

I would be an owl. I like to stay up all night and I would love to be able to turn my head completely around.

4. Does this look infected to you?

It kind of does. See how it's red and inflamed? Why don't you help yourself to some of my bactine and have this Veggie Tales band-aid? Take an aspirin and watch some General Hospital. You'll feel better soon. And for God's sake, don't pick at it!

5. What's your favorite font?

Palatino Linotype is in vogue with me these days:




Thanks, Splotchy, for the interview. If anyone would like me to interview you, you can:

Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."and... I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

then...

You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.and you can optionally

...include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same postand if you do...

When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Snotty-Ass Rock N Roll Mix


I volunteered to put together eight songs (plus one bonus track) for Volume 2 of the Green Monkey Music Project over at Splotchy's Joint. I and four others, including Splotchy himself, Chris, Big Shoulders, and Bubs put together our best set of f-you music. I felt I was an authority on this kind of music (not anymore! these guys are the professors of snot...and I say that with affection) and I'm proud to bring a feminine element to the project. Below is my rationale for choosing the eight plus one. There is a thread going through them all and the order is important. It's kind of like a snotty-ass sound track for growing up.


Track 1: Welcome to the Jungle, GNR

I chose this song because it represents a free-for-all of partying, posturing, and aggression. Its title may seem polite to the uninitiated, but I believe it is ironic. Afterall, do you truly welcome someone somewhere by telling them you hope to watch them bleed and scream? It is a classic rock song and one that always makes me feel tough when I listen to it. It also represents a time in one's life when it's all about the party and the hunt.
Track 2: Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
Here we are now, entertain us. Now that we're in the jungle, we're bored and disillusioned. We've brought our guns and we really can't be bothered to shoot them off at the sky anymore. Oh well, whatever, nevermind...This song defined an era and it still makes me feel like a badass when I listen to it, even though it went mainstream. I have nothing against the main stream per se, but I prefer the fringe.
Track 3: Smile, Lily Allen
So now we've broken up. And you're calling me up on the phone so you can have a little whine and a moan, it's only because you're feeling alone. At first when I see you cry, yeah, it makes me smile Yeah, it makes me smile. At worst I feel bad for a while but then I just smile. Yes the best revenge is a life well-lived. This song's sweetly mocking tone is delighfully skewering.
Track 4: You Outta Know, Alanis Morissette
And now we've broken up and this time it's rougher. And I'm not going to be able to sweetly mock. I'm actually going to tell you off and blame you for everything. This tune is very liberating, for the ladies. It also rocks.
Track 5: Union Maid, The Old Crow Medicine Show
So, we've found ourselves a union man and we're no longer fighting with men, rather fighting The Man. Cause married life ain't hard, when you've got a union card. A union man has a happy life when he's got a union wife. Oh, you can't scare me, I'm sticking to the union 'til the day I die. You don't know how much this song has been going through my mind recently. I'm in a union and I'm married to a union man. Life is sweet when you can flip The Man the bird.
Track 6: SexyBack, Justin Timberlake
OK, I know I'm gonna get some shit for picking this song. But I don't care and neither does JT. He really throws down:
I'm bringing sexy back
Them other fuckers wait till I attack
If that's your girl you better watch your back
Cause she'll burn it up for me and that's a fact
Besides, he did bring sexy back. This song is a prowler and intense. I love the attitude. Besides its got a great beat you can dance to.
Track 7: Survivor, Destiny's Child
So, now we've broken up again and you left saying some pretty mean things, but they never stuck, jerk. Now that you are out of my life, I'm so much better. You thought that I'd be weak without ya, but I'm stronger. I'm a survivor (what). I'm not gonna give up (what). I'm not gon' stop (what). I'm gonna work harder (what). I'm a survivor (what). I'm gonna make it (what). I will survive (what). Keep on survivin'. Once again, we remember that living well is the best revenge. And this time, we're going to rise above petty games. You know I'm not gonna diss you on the Internet. Cause my momma told me better than that.
Track 8: Married with Children, Oasis
So, now we're married. And I hate the way that even though you know you're wrong you say you're right. I hate the books you read and all your friends. Your music's shite it keeps me up all night. There's no need for you to say you're sorry. Goodbye I'm going home. I don't care no more so don't you worry. Goodbye I'm going home. And it will be nice to be alone for a week or two. But I know that I will be right back here with you. This song captures the unique kind of snotty-assedness felt between married people. Sometimes, you just can't wait to get that other person out of your hair, and when they're gone and reason returns, you realize you've got to pull it together again for the sake of your love, your vows and your children. It's amazing what a cumulative effect a long-term shared history does for the strength of a marriage. Doc's Pass System is nice too.
Super Secret Bonus Track: Add It Up, Violent Femmes
And we're back to free-for-all. I first heard this song on a bootleg copy of a bootleg copy I got from a super cool friend of my older cousin when I was about 13. I listened to it in secret; it was the first song I'd ever heard that used the f-word. It's delicious and malicious because I wait my whole life for just one...DAY after day I get angry and I will say that the day is in my sight when Ill take a bow and say goodnight.
Goodnight!
Many thanks to Splotcy for the opportunity to participate!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday's Medicine

Recently, I have been reminded of the brilliance of Shakespeare. I know. Of course, he's a genius, right? But having just watched a brilliant production of The Merchant of Venice, I'm reminded of the power of his art. He is a rock star. So, in an effort not to forget again, I'm going to use Wednesdays to post a bit of Shakespeare or some other genius' work, lest we forget art under the press of the humdrum.

Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2.

I have of late--but wherefore I know not--lost my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestic roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god--the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Dick Feagler And Here's A List Of Things I Hate*

I hate Christmas. All those twinkling lights and obnoxious shoppers sparkling with Christmas spirit.

I hate liars. They assume I'm stupid and that I can't tell they're yanking my chain. On the rare occaision that I'm caught by surprise by a lie, I feel like a chump. And no one makes Dick Feagler feel like a chump and gets away with it.

I hate people who undo hard work I've done. Why am I busting my ass, if everything is just going to end up worse than if I'd done nothing at all? I might as well give it all up, grow a beard and head for a cave.

I hate puppies. All that slobber and neediness. And they pee everywhere.

*Not actually written by Dick Feagler, a cranky but well intentioned journalist whom I adore. As far as I know, he has nothing against Christmas or puppies.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's Sad...

I still have eight of these suckers left out of 20 from last Christmas, even after using them two at a time to mail letters (after the rate went up) on the rare occaision that I had no other means of communication. These stamps will probably hold out until it's time to buy my next batch of Christmas stamps. I feel like such a punk, putting 78 cents on a thank you card, but I'd spend at least that driving myself to the post office to get a set of "Liberty" stamps. Maybe next year I should buy Christmas stamps that are a bit more secular, seeing as how I always overestimate how many Christmas cards I can write. Or maybe I should get started now...where's my quill?

Slinky!


I can't think without my slinky. I have two on my desk and one on my bookshelf. That way, if my colleagues stop by, we can each have one. I don't know what it is about this funny little spring, but I always am able to think things through when I've got one in my hands.

What helps you think?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Adopt-An-Actor: Did You Know?


Here are some fun facts about my precious little adoptee, Tony Hale:

  • He attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated in 1992. Their motto is "For God, For Learning, Forever," which is a bit creepy.
  • He is a devout Christian and he founded a Christian ministry, The Haven, in New York City for artists.
  • He's got a daughter, Loy Ann, and was unprepared for how much having a child would change his life.
  • He says that Will Ferrell is a cool, level-headed guy.
  • He's a huge Dustin Hoffman fan.
  • He's a huge folk music fan.
  • He is quoted as saying, "Great joy comes out of great pain."

Here is a video of his breakthrough performance (we're so proud):


Friday, August 17, 2007

What Is It About Feta Cheese?


Yesterday, Sarah, Martha, Ron and I went to lunch at Aladdin's Bakery, a lovely little hole-in-the-wall about 15 minutes' walk from our office. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, but the sun was very bright. Unfortunatly, for me, the only sunglasses I had were Riley's Strawbery Shortcake glasses, which are pink, glittery and cat-eyed. The glare was so strong, I was forced to wear them, though Ron said they looked good.
*
When we arrived at Aladdin's, the place was filling up. It's a lunch counter attached to a small Middle Eastern grocery and they bake their own pita's in a small factory at the back of the bakery. Actually, they bake enough pitas to stock stores all around the region. We scanned the menu and placed our orders. There were tables, but they were pub height and there were no chairs. Sarah had set sights on one of the four tables and laid claim. We gathered over there and began taking in our surroundings.
*

On one wall was a refrigerated case with all the things you'd expect to find at a Middle Eastern grocery: hummus, milk made from incomprehensible sources, chick peas, etc. Toward the back was a separate room for dried goods and behind us was a bakery with pitas in every variety you could think of.

*

We hovered near the table trying to absorb it all, while trying to hear our names called, announcing our food to be ready. At one point, Ron, Sarah, and I were inexplicably and simultaniously drawn to a refrigerated display case near the bakery. It contained three large, clear plastic bins, about double the size of the bin at the airport that you put your stuff in to be X-rayed. These bins were half-full of water and sitting in the water were giant bricks of feta cheese, one in each bin.

*

The three of us were transfixed. I'm not sure what the others were thinking, but I was staring in horror. Because the cheese was sitting in water, it kind of wobbled a bit when the guy behind the counter reached in. I felt a swoon of nausea as this brick of goo shook menacingly at me, like it was a mad scientists experiement gone bad and planned to slink off the counter and begin consuming us.

*

"Uh, what are y'all lookin' at?" Martha asked, mystified, thinking maybe there was something truly exotic in the case. As she peered over our shoulders and saw blocks of cheese, she gave us the stink eye.

*

"That's it? Feta cheese?" She wrinkled her nose at us, disappointed.

*
We sheepishly returned to the table as she mocked us goodnaturedly for our fascination. Ron had admitted being overcome by seeing so much feta. He's a big fan and claimed the display "a thing of wonder and joy." Sarah was equally impressed by the amount of feta before her. Of course, I told them that it looked like an experiement gone bad and they all agreed that only I would see feta cheese in that way.

*
As we ate our lunch we continued to examine the foodstuffs around us, peeking with avid curiousity at the exotic cookies on display at the bakery counter, many of which included pistachio...mmm...pistachio. One of the owners noticed and went behind the counter to fix up a plate of samples.

*
"Here," he said, "sliding the plate onto our table. There were four different cookies and pistachio date roll of some kind. "I noticed you looking at the cookies and I though you might like to sample some." We always get free stuff when Martha is with us; she's could be a supermodel, if she wasn't so nice.

*
We must have looked like a bunch of star-struck tweens at a Justin Timberlake appearance as we thanked him and began breaking off pieces and sampling the goods. Oh. My. God. There was one cookie that was just like a shortbread, only much sweeter and it was accented with three pistachios on top. It was heavenly. We immediately rued that we had taken so long to try this place out and vowed to return often.

*
Ron and Sarah began buying pitas and Ron got a dozen of the shortbreads to take to his grandma's birthday party that night. I told him his cookies would be a hit. By the way, the food was also very good and very fresh. I recommend it, if you ever find yourself in Cleveland, craving a meat pie and falafel.

*

We made our way back to the office slowly. Ron and I discussed the evils of Strawberry Shortcake and why the creaters of Veggie Tales chose vegetables as God's spokespeople (we agreed that no Bible-thumpers would ever want fruits advocating God). It was bittersweet. Such a lovely lunch, but it marks about the half-way point until Sarah departs us. There are very few lunches for us at Aladdin's in our future.

*

But nevermind. Nothing so wonderful can't be savored again in memory.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rossi's Law

The expected value for any measured effect of a social program is zero.


...Kind of makes me want to chuck it all join the circus.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Proud Moment In Parenting


Riley: Hey, Brittney, we're going to watch M.A.S.H!

Brittney: Oh, OK.

Riley: It's really funny. There's a man who dresses up like a woman. That's called being "in drag."

Brittney: That's funny. How do you know so much, Riley?

Riley: I don't know...my Mom, I guess.

Me: [heart swells with pride]

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Have Been Bludgeoned By The Frying Pan Of Talent


Blake Lewis, Love Child of Bono and Morrissey

I have just returned home from seeing Idols Live! at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. It was three hours long and I survived it. I went with Elizabeth and Sarah and Melissa. It was a dream come true, or so I thought. Sarah and Elizabeth are my Idol buddies and I wouldn't have wanted to see this concert with anyone else. We spent many hours deconstructing the show when it was on the air and examining theories.

I would like to say that the whole thing was a blast, and it was, but not in the way you may think. The glory notes hit us square in the face over and over again, like some blood thirsty Viking with a grudge and a wedgie. Sure there was talent and there were some great moments, but overall, the show had the sad feeling of yesterday's news. Honestly, it's been months since the finale and to rehash the entire last thirteen weeks in three hours left the stink of desparation in the air. Also, the top ten Idols seemed tossed to the lions by the producers. I swear, the amount of money that show made, they could have thrown more dough at this production. The set looked like a high school production of American Idol; it seemed to be made of posterboard and tempra paints.

The light show was fantastic and there were some great moments. Here are the highlights:

  • Anytime Blake Lewis was on the stage. He was confident and entertaining. His first number was "Time of the Season," and by the time he sang, "What's your name, Who's your daddy?" I was saying, "Flannery Alden and Your My Daddy." He was generous with the other Idols and the band and back up singers. He even tried to teach the audience how to beat box, which was nice of him, if ill advised.
  • Lakisha blew the roof off the joint, dawg. I swear, I had goose bumps. I've never heard anything like it. She sang Whitney's I Will Always Love You with none of the cloying sincerity of its original. Also, she sang it better than Dolly, and if you know me at all, you know that NO ONE could ever top Dolly in my mind. Until today, that is.
  • Chris Richardson has really grown. His voice was superb and when he and Jordan sang a duet it was magical. Also, he and Blake are obviously good friends now and had a beat-boxing showdown that was so charming I wanted to take them both home and have them for dinner.
  • Sanjaya was love. He was truly entertaining and his duet with Melinda was wonderful.
  • Gina Glockson was fantastic. Better than she was on the show. That girl has chops.

And now the bad and the ugly:

  • Phil Fucking Stacy. I swear, the things you see when you haven't got your gun. This asshat appointed himself Ryan Seacrest and tried to hoist the show on his shoulders with the power of the love that radiates from his very center. Oh, barf. At one point he sang, in his sailor suit, no less, the most indulgent version of America the Beautiful I've ever heard. It was even worse than fucking Proud to be an American.
  • Haley Scarnato has embraced her inner skank and showed off the movies she'd obviously picked up from the stripper pole workout she's been doing. Honestly, I didn't have an opinion of her one way or the other before the live show. Now, I loathe her. It was gross.
  • Melinda Doolittle did not live up to expectations, not that I had many for her. I think she's a good singer, but tonight: meh.
  • Chris Sligh. Shiver. When he came on stage, the lines in the bathroom were longer than they were during intermission. He is still the same asshole he was during the show.
  • Jordan Sparks was absent from the first half of the show and then was featured at the end doing an endless run of the songs she did during the season. Booooooring.
  • Every number the girls did together was terrible. They did Lady Marmalade and they all wore hooker gear. It was stupid and pointless. Then they did another song, where they tromped around in more hooker gear. It was sad and lacked imagination. Though, during all these numbers, it was obvious that Lakisha was over it. Good for her, I say.
  • The Idol Band. The guys formed their own band and it was pathetic. Phil Stacy overdid it and the only one who looked like he belonged there was my boy Blake.
  • The absence of Ryan Seacrest left the burden of MC'ing and ad-libbing to these poor dolts who have lived in a vaccuum. Without his charm and leadership, this ship sunk.
  • At no time was "Idols Gives Back" mentioned. There was no update on the progress.
  • At the end of the show, as Jordan was belting that awful Idol "single," a large portion of the stage opened up and the remaining nine slinked out from underground. Phil Stacy was the first one out and I started looking for a wooden stake to drive through his heart, thinking he had just risen from the dead. Really, who planned this farce? Why would any producer think that watching the Idols emerge from the earth was a good idea? It was funny for all the wrong reasons.

The worst thing about this production was that it was done on the cheap. It's like the producers cut these kids loose with no support. The costumes were community-theater quality, the choreography was stupid and lame, and, again, no words from Ryan or the judges. It was shameful.

One of the best parts of the experience, though, was the people sitting around us. They were all 50 plus and hilarious. One guy said to us as we took our seats, "I hope you don't mind, but I plan on singing along." Later, when we were all delerious from the endless parade of hopeful pluck, the guys behind us kept screaming "Sanjaya!" in their best girly voices.

And the very best part was when Elizabeth was absolutely gob-smacked by the horror of Phil Stacy on the stage. I couldn't stop laughing; this was cruise-ship entertainment at its very worst. Of course I was losing it during the patriotic part of the show, which was delightfully inappropriate.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I never have to go to another one, though. But I would pay money to see Chris Richardson, Blake Lewis and Sanjaya if they ever went on tour. Brilliant.

Seacrest, out.

Please Remain Calm

I am now in charge of Evil Genius' blog indefinately as he whisks himself away to an undisclosed location.


Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!


Edited to add: I've just been informed by a reliable source that this resignation is not about remorse and redemption. I guess the rules are, that if you don't leave the administration by September 1st, you are stuck there until the president's term ends. So, Rove is probably disengaging his Borg hardware, only to do some preventative maintainance to prepare to asssimilate the next victim...I mean candidate. Resistance is futile.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dancing Queen

I tried this work out this morning and it was really great. It was about 45 minutes of dance/aerobics and 15 minutes of toning. I felt really good afterwards, and really enjoyed the workout. Paula was charming and I could keep up with most of the moves. The only drawback was listening to an hour's worth of Paula Abdul's music.

How did I not see that coming?






Thursday, August 09, 2007

Grandpa C.I.




It's been just a smidge over two years since my Grandpa died. Man, do I miss him. He was funny, smart, charming and I loved him like crazy. I try not to dwell on his passing too much, though, or grief would choke me. But in my day to day life, I occaisionally find him drifting into my mind or in my dreams like a benevolent breeze and I'm transfixed by a memory, like the way his pencil-thin moustache scraped when he kissed me in greeting whenever he saw me.

Recently, I've been helping my parents and my Grandma move into their new home and it's been stirring up a lot of dust and ghosts. It's strange to see my Grandma's house in a state of dishevelment; she's lived there for 47 years and it's always been neat as a pin, except for Grandpa's workshop, of course. When we started the move, I volunteered to pack up his workshop, but I was coaxed away to pack the more essential items first. But I did take some time to document his workshop, which remains pretty much as he left it.

As I took the following photos, I was overcome by an eerieness, a chill. I was certain he would pop out from behind the stairs in the basement, his hair dishevelled and his fingers smudged with grease. It was so strong, that I was relieved I wasn't taken up on the offer to pack up his stuff. Firstly, I wouldn't know where to begin.



What was I to do with all of those cables, strewn like cobwebs? This labyrinth of electric potentiality hangs twisted on the back wall behind the basement stairs. It's volume seems sinister to me. But it's just a bunch of wires, I tell myself.


And what about his workbench? How does one even begin to classify this stuff? Paint, soldering wire, random screws, a geiger counter or whatever that is. It boggles my mind and I am known in my family as a gifted organizer.


Besides, his coffee mug is still sitting on the shelf, like he just left the room to go find some duct tape. I dare not touch anything here, lest I anger his spirit and am attacked by this monstrosity:



I'm not a superstitious person, by nature, but I can't help feeling that disturbing the things in this room would cause some handyman's curse to fall on my head, if not an ancient drill which dangles from the ceiling. Perhaps if we had gone through this stuff very soon after he passed, this room wouldn't seem so heavy with the dust of pall.

But who could face this room that was so much his so soon after he left us? It's too much to bear. I had had quite a few starts while we moved box after lamp after couch after box. My Dad, who was unloading the truck by handing us boxes, turned around with a clear tupperware container that had my Grandpa's burial flag standing up on it's point against the transparent plastic. I wasn't prepared to see that flag in such a casual position, as if it were one of so many towels. As we moved a vanity from my Grandma's spare room, I nearly jumped out of my skin as I caught my own reflection in a mirror, thinking it was an angry ghost.

Though this task of moving was arduous and full of emotional peril, I'm glad I was there to help. I learned that my Grandpa's favorite song was "Somewhere, My Love," from the movie Dr. Zhivago. I saw momentos of his life with my Grandma: 25th anniversary plate, 35th anniversary plate, 50th anniversary clock. And I studied a handmade music box in the shape of a grand piano that tinkled out his favorite song.

A few days later, when we had my Grandma, Mom and Dad settled into their new home, I sat on the couch in the living room, as my family were gathered around the breakfast bar, talking about the new washer and dryer. I saw a glow on my Grandma's face that I haven't seen in years. She was talking about how the dryer worked and what her plans were for vacuuming (she would use her favorite vacuum to spot clean and the house vacuum system for weekly and thorough cleaning. She was lit from within.

We are all so much happier, back in one place. It's different but better. Sure, we miss Grandpa. We miss Gail. But we're together, at last, whole again, home.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Takin' A Trip To Lullabye Land

It's late. Let's face it. 11:00 p.m. and the girls are still up. Too wound up for bed.
"Ok, girls," I said, "Finish your milk and prepare for a trip to Lullabye Land."
"Oooh! Lullabye Land!" said Riley, "I love to go to Lullabye Land!"
"What's in Lullabye Land?" I asked.
"Unicorns!" Riley cheered.
"Horses!" said Lucy.
"Unicorns are horses," Riley explained.
"No," I corrected, "horses don't have horns."
"Oh."
"What else is in Lullabye Land?"
Riley says: "The sidewalks are made of chocolate and you can't walk on it. You have to lick your way down the street! And the street is made of bubble gum and you chomp it!"
"Chocolate sidewalk! I'm tiptoeing through the goo!" said Lucy, as she tiptoed around the kitchen.
Eventually, I corralled them in bed. Riley said sleepily, "Do you want me to tell you the story of Lullabye Land?"
"No, I want you to dream about it and tell me what you saw in the morning."
"Ok," she said.
"Good-night, Sweetie, I love you." I said as I closed the door.
"I love you too."

Adopt An Actor

After the heart-rending plea Splotchy gave, I have decided to adopt-an-actor: Tony Hale




I first discovered and fell in love with Tony while watching him being the gentle but goofy brother on TV's Arrested Development. His voice has a tone of chocolatey smoothness and his mannerisms reminded me of an ex-boyfriend, which isn't as bad as it sounds. Although I found Gob (Will Arnett) to be the sexier of the two brothers, Tony Hale's portrayal of Buster in love with Lucille 2 (Liza Minelli) won me over.

Since the tragic cancellation before its time of Arrested Development, I have seen Tony popping up here and there, most notably in the short-lived, but also fun Andy Richter, P.I. He plays neverous nellies in many movies. Look for him as the Social Worker in the upcoming Buster's Class Project, which, alas, is not about Buster Bluth's class project, but rather a film that promises to deliver a portrait of "21st Century high schoolers in an amazingly revealing light." Sigh.

I will be updating you regularly on his career progress. If you are looking for an actor to adopt, why not browse The J.T. Walsh Memorial "Hey! It's That Guy!" sight for a struggling actor to promote?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dog Days of August




It's the first weekend of August and it's time once again for the Pro Football Hall of Fame festival, parade, and game. It's the beginning of football season and the harbinger of autumn and it hall happens practically in my back yard.





What's fun about it is that it's the one time of the year that celebrities and derelicts alike gather around in the sunshine to celebrate the game that was invented here. I think I saw some retired pros today at Denny's where Elizabeth, the girls, and I went for a pick-me-up lunch. There were also plenty of derelicts as well. Of course, my camera only has eyes for the derelicts. See below:





Note the lovely lady in front. That's Elizabeth and she's no derelict. However, the lady behind her is. You really can't tell from this picture so let's take a better look...




Yes, that's a skin tight, sheer cap sleeved tee. With the back cut out. I know. Derelict, right? Oh, and they are Steeler's fans too, which is a bigger tip-off than the tee.


But it takes one to know one. Afterall, I took her picture. And my daughter, getting it honest, added to the derelict mystique by spearing her chicken tender on her straw and chomping on it like a crow after carrion. Sigh. We are so proud.

Edited to add: We had a good time at Denny's dispite the fact that they shorted us about 3 chicken tenders. They comped us a free order of tenders and then proceeded to double-charge me for our meal on my bank card, as I discovered just this morning. Grr...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And Then There Were Three...

The layoffs have begun. And they started with the person I least suspected. I am so struck with grief right now. It's weird, I knew they were coming; I knew we would part ways. I thought I was OK with everything. Hell, I even celebrated it! What happened?

In actuality, we are all going to end up in a better place. This transition should be a celebration. We are very fortunate to have so many people up and down the line who are going to help us move along. I still can't help feeling sad...depressed, actually. Heartbroken. Pulled-asunder. Up-ended. Drawn and quartered.

What do I say about this? I don't even know how to describe my colleagues. To call us a "team" seems to cheapen what we were. We were a group of like-minded professionals, called to a cause. We put our heart into our work, but left our emotions out of it. We put our heads together and dug out of problems. We put our heads together and dreamed up some marvelous things. Our director had high expectations and we didn't balk. We were a force.

Even while we knew this was coming, It is unthinkable that we won't be working together anymore. How will I be able to accomplish feats like this again without them by my side? Maybe I shouldn't aim so high in the future. Everytime I do, there is always someone waiting to stop me. I remember back to my first job, folding boxes. I was hustling through them, trying to get through a skid-full of them, when my co-worker said, "Slow down; you'll make us look bad."

"Slow down; you'll make us look bad."
There's a motto for you. This motto represents the status quo and the status quo is my enemy. And wouldn't you know it? It has bested me again.
God dammit. Now I've got to start all over...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Father of the Year?




And K-Fed has Britney's madness to thank for it. Thank God one of them grew up, even if it is just a little bit. Progress is progress, after all.