Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dream Girls Is Da Bomb, Dawg!

My hat's off to Jennifer Hudson, my girl from Season 3; she blew it out the box, to coin a phrase. I got the DVD for my dad for Father's Day and made him promise he'd watch it with me. I knew he'd enjoy the movie because he is a total Motown fan (among other things). One of the cool things about my Dad is his love of music. He's turned me on to a lot of great music (Buddy Holly, The Beatles, B.B. King). But then, he's let me turn him on to a few things too (Violent Femmes, Daughtry, Early American Christmas music). He never takes the attitude that he knows best, though he certainly could. He never stopped me from listening to any music of any kind. In fact, he let me buy my very own copy of Get Lucky when I was 13, even though letting my buy an album with a guy's butt gave him pause.




I blame him for my eclectic taste in music; I'll never forgive him for waking me up one morning in high school by blasting "Weclome to the Jungle". Ever since then, I tried to like music that bugged him and then insisted he give it a listen. I found some pretty cool stuff that way. Eventually I quit with that bullshit, but I've always tried to keep an open mind about music.

Anyway, that's why I wanted to share this movie with my dad. The movie seemed like it would be a serindipitous meeting of his thing (Motown) and my thing (American Idol). It was, to a point. After a while, Lucy had a meltdown, then Uncle Charlie arrived, then Dad nodded off (to be fair, the movie was loooooong). But I was glad we watched it together.

I was really touched, to be honest, that he heeded my wishes and waited three months till we had the time to see it togther. Even though we live in the same town now, I still don't see him as often as I thought I would. But that will change, now, since I'm working so close to home. Even though car show season is winding down, we do have Halloween coming up and Dad and I will probably take the girls around. I just have to make sure I keep up with what's going on and keep ahead of his busy schedule.


And we all need to say a rousing chourus of "You go, girl!" for my Mom. She got a contract on their old house and the sale is probably 21 days away. She was patient and competent with the buyers, whom she represents. So, when it comes time to pay up, Mom won't have to split the comission with anyone. She rocked that deal!

God, you guys; I'm so happy these days. I've got a sane job, I've got great family, and I'm all better...the cold's gone, the stomach dragon left, and I am no longer suffering from depression. Halleluia.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tomorrow Is The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

Not a real dragon

The dragons have been banished. We are not sick anymore. But we are still repairing the damage to our huts. There was, however, a Christmas Miracle. Doc found almost a whole box of Immodium in the desk drawer when we thought we were out. I'll tell you this folks, if you live with more than one person, go ahead and splurge on the 24 pack, if you don't need it now, you will soon.

Tonight, the girls and I walked to the ice cream stand. This is the last week, you know. Next week is October and that means cool weather, windbreakers and hot cider. Well, that's what it means traditionally. It's been 80 degrees all week. I found myself wondering while I read their sign and waited for the girls' cones, that maybe they should stay open indefinately. Nah. It's time to close the ice cream stands.

Not in Florida, though. I hear tell those ice cream stands are open all year round down there. Big Orange was taunting me with that fact just today. "Well," I said, "That's fine and all, but how can you miss ice cream if it never goes away?"

It was a typical midwestern response and I nailed him with it. Part of the wonder of living in the midwest is brought about by all the suffering and deprivation. The cool breezes of October (Mother Nature, I'm talking to you), immediately lift all the oppressive humidity that hijacks our souls all summer. There's a snap in the air...that then leads to dry skin and sniffles. But December comes and there's snow! Some mosture to soothe the skin. And eveyone is so friendly in the spirit of the season.

And then, in January, those people who were so friendly in December use up the rest of your hand cream and you just want to pound them on the head with your snow shovel. You've blown your hand cream budget with the latest outrageous, nay fantastic gas bill and know you're going to have to deal with cracking and chafing for at least two more months, probably three.

But just as you're ready to lay a roundhouse with your ergonomically correct snow shovel to the head of this lotion hog, you remember: Hey, at least it's not humid. And you return to your work, satisfied that there are thankfully no mosquitos at the moment. So you can coast the rest of the season out with a self-satisfied smugness, but not enough to quench the need to see daffodils.

And there they are! Lovely. The rain and the mud and the tornado warnings...tornado warnings. Well, at least I'm not paying for gas this month! You stroll through the grocery and see the cook-out gear on display. Oh, you can't wait to taste something grilled. Is there any propane in the tank? Yeah...oooh! Corn on the cob. And you rush headlong into summer thinking, hey, it doesn't get humid for another two months, right? By then, you'll be acclimated.

Sure.

But that's a year away. For now we are in the honeymoon of winter. Drag out those halloween decorations and dust off those pregnant nun costumes (I know one of you has one...Dale?) and live it up. Afterall, in the midwest, things are always changing; you've got to be ready for it.

Netflix...

I'm sitting here in the Lodge and my eye keeps wandering over to that lovely red envelope luring me back to Netflix. What do you think...should I go for it?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing!

Friday: Got home from work and spent 9:00 p.m. to 1:35 a.m. finishing editing the group paper for my local history class.

Saturday: Went to local history class from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Cleveland. Picked up the kids and waited and waited and waited for Doc to get home from work (eta: 8:45 p.m...actual arrival time: 10:45 p.m.).

Meanwhile, in Doc's world...5:00 p.m. threw up and passed out at work. Taken to the hospital on an ambulance. Left his phone in the jeep and couldn't remember my number. 10:30 p.m. walked home (!) from the hospital after taking 3 bags full of fluids for dehydration from stomach virus.

Saturday night to Sunday morning: worried Doc would lose his job for too much time off work...but manager has heart afterall and does not dismiss him.

Sunday Morning: Cleaned out Mr. Lawrence, went to Wal-mart, got the oil changed, did the grocery shopping, came home, cooked chili, ate chilli and went down with the devil's own heart burn.

Sunday night: The whole clan fell asleep watching Avatar...except for Doc who had been sleeping most of the day.

Monday morning: Woke up feeling like I'd been bludgeoned in my bed by Morrissey. Conjestion is back in full force. Dragged my sorry ass to work and tried to keep up.

Hopefully, I'll be able to write complete sentences tomorrow. However, I think you can now consider youself caught up. Sniffle.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Status Report

I'm so busy learning these days, my brain doesn't have time to wander or contemplate anything. Right now I'm sitting at the kitchen table and the girls are playing with a plastic dinosaur and a plastic rooster. Doc's out getting milk and nosedrops as we are out of both. We are out of milk because we are always running out of milk. I swear, these kids keep the local dairies in business. We are out of nose drops because Lucy put them on her knee. It was itchy. You know.

I spent most of last night in a mouth-breathing haze. I will admit it: I'm addicted to nose drops. The former owners of this house had a dog (I'm allergic) and I believe that the carpet is saturated with dog dander. My sinuses are just fine until I go into the bedroom and they slam shut. It's got to be the dog detrius. Anyway, when Doc asked if I needed anything from the store, I barked, "NOSE DROPS." He was taken aback by the forcefulness of my request, nay, demand. Hey, I'm a junkie for the stuff. What can I say? I like to breath...

Doc's fixing Jambalaya on the stove. It smells good, but I'll pass on it. I don't like rice. Go ahead and laugh at me; I can take it. It's resemblence to maggots is too close for comfort. I can't eat the stuff.

Riley is off to find the Sit and Spin. I pray she doesn't find it. It plays tunes just like the Barbie Guitar does. Loud and obnoxious. Only, it's worse: The manufacturer didn't want to shell out the big bucks for tunes like "Everybody Dance Now" and instead created a song that was almost just like the original but not enough that they would get sued. Fortunately, the dinner bell rang so she was distracted.

I'm off to feed the heathens. I hope you've had a nice day. Wish me luck as I try to hold the universe together.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Mind of a Three Year Old

Today, Lucy made a path from our bedroom to the foot of Riley's bed. With books. Seriously, there must be 100 of them laid neatly end to end. I'll post a picture when I can find the dang camera.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cold Comfort: A Poem

The sun scorches my retinas
As I dig for my shades
In the vast depths of
My Fossil handbag.

I climb in the car
And start her up
I back out of the drive
Every motion disrupting my equilibrium

I try to take comfort
That there is no traffic
In the near future
But I stop and buy Kleenex

No amount of gale force
I can muster
will dislodge the obstacles
In my sinus cavities

I sit in my cube
I listen to a trainer
I read about HIPAA
I sniffle

Curses! This cold...
Why now? Why me?
The snot in my head
Blocks my brain from learning

Thank God they all think I'm stupid.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ahhh...Time!

I got home over an hour earlier than usual. Today went very well, all things considered. I caught Doc's cold on Saturday and spent most of Sunday in a cold-medicine induced stupor. I worried about looking like a strung out n'er-do-well on my first day at work, but nobody seemed to notice.

Everyone was very nice and they kept telling me, "You'll think you know what you're doing and then you'll realize you know nothing at all!" They've obviously underestimated my genius. So far, I'm keeping up. But there's a lot of reading and a lot of listening.

Thanks to all of you for your well-wishes. I really appreciate your support during this transition. I look forward to packing this place full of whimsy.

Love and kisses,
Flannery

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Beginnings


It's over. I'm finally done with my job in Cleveland. No more commute. No more nonsense. Well, no more of that brand of nonsense. Summer is over and fall is here. No more lawn mowing. No more mosquito bites.

Fresh crisp air and a dissipation of the strangling humidity. New job, new friends and a bright shiny new set of 15 hours I've regained in my weekly schedule by working closer to home. That also means about 3k saved a year in gas and that much less greenhouse emissions. I may even be able to quit taking antidepressants.
Now I have time to sit and watch the grass grow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Twas A Dream I Had

I was on the phone with Matt, our friend from the country.

"You guys weren't here, but it happened anyway," he said, in mock-martyred tones.

"What happened?" I said.

"It's a girl!" he said.

"What?!? Oh, my God, congratulations!" I squealed, thinking, when the hell did he get married? Why didn't we know? Who is having his baby?

"I'll be right down," I said, looking at the clock. It was 9:00 a.m. I could drive down there, visit for a bit, see the baby, then return home in time to meet Riley's bus at 3:30. So, I drove through the country and arrived in the valley. I pulled into his driveway, but it wasn't his driveway, it was the driveway to a farmhouse. He walked out with his arms outstretched like Jesus or Bono. I ran up to him and gave him a bear hug that he returned. The skin at his collar bone was starting to look old, I noticed.

"Come on in," he said. I followed him into the house, which was his house, or rather his parent's house.

"We have two guest rooms now," he said, indicating his old bedroom as one of them. I cocked my head to the side and looked at him, quizzically. His parents stepped into the room.

"Yeah, I finished working on the little house (a nearly 10-year project) and they decided to move in there and let me and Connie live here with the baby," he explained.

"Wow," I said, amazed at how things worked out.

We headed downstairs, not his downstairs, but my sister-in-law's downstairs, and I looked into the living room and saw Matt's parents and the back of Connie's head. She was blonde. Matt picked up the infant and handed her to me. The cape of tension I was wearing slinked off my back. She was pink and lovely. Sleeping.

"Oh, Matt," I said through tears, "She's beautiful."

"Yeah, I know," he said in that swaggering way he has. Pride and love were pouring out of him.

I looked at the clock in the kitchen and saw it was 3:00 p.m. I would never make it back in time to meet the bus. Well, Doc would be there, I thought. When I looked toward the coffee pot, there was Doc, pouring a cup.

"Oh, hello!" I said. "I didn't know you were here!"

Doc smiled and handed Matt the cup of coffee. While Matt stirred his coffee, he told us that he was studying to get his license in somthing or other, indicating that it would help him get ahead. He went on to describe who was doing what lately in the valley. Everything was so different; everyone had changed. It's funny how life goes on in a place after you leave.

I told Matt I'd better be getting back, mentally preparing a list of phone calls I would need to make.

"You can leave, but walk with me to the reception," he said to both of us. We exited the farmhouse into the night. There were stars scattered thickly across the sky, as they always are in the valley. I looked to the southwest and pointed.

"There's the Big Dipper," I said. This is probably one of three constellations I can recognize in the night sky.

Doc and Matt looked up with me. We watched as each star in the Big Dipper simultaneously burst into red flames and began to fall to the earth and it began to gently hail. Quarter inch balls of ice fell on us as we raced to the reception hall, laughing.

It looked like a Holiday Inn from the early 90's. It wasn't new, but it was still in good shape. There were many old ladies there. I don't know what the reception was for, but it felt like a wedding reception. Matt and I made our way down a long hallway. I was lingering. I knew I had to leave, but I didn't want to. Finally, I gave him a hug and said, "Congratulations, Matt; You make beautiful babies."

He laughed and said, "Yeah, what am I studying for? I should put myself out to stud." He then popped his colar and strutted a bit. I laughed too and reached for the steel handle across the glass door. I saw my car in the distance and then I woke up.

Edited to add the interpretation:

Here's the interpretation using the Dream Moods Dream Dictionary:

Baby
To see a baby in your dream, signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings. Babies may symbolize something in your own inner nature which is pure, vulnerable, and/or uncorrupted.

Jesus
To see Jesus in your dream, foretells that your greatest desires and goals will be realized. This dream serves to console and strengthen you in your times of adversity, hardship and struggle. You will rise above any situation and circumstance and become victorious. To dream that Jesus speaks to you or that you are praying with Him, signifies that you will be blessed with true peace of mind, joy and contentment.

Coffee Pot
To see a coffee pot in your dream, signifies hospitality and sharing of knowledge, hopes, concerns and/or ideas. It may also represent neighborliness, comfort, and companionship. ReceptionTo dream that you are attending a reception, signifies many pleasant engagements and social gatherings.

Constellation
To see a constellation in your dream, indicates that something in your life is coming together in a complex way. It represents a mental process. Consider what the constellation is depicting.

I think the Big Dipper represents the kind of disappointing and unethical practices I've been a witness to recently. I think that the fact that it blows up and falls to the earth signifies that that kind of thing will no longer be hanging over my head.

Hail
To dream that you are caught in a hail storm, suggests that you are emotionally withdrawn. Some situation beyond your control is causing you to shut down emotionally.

This is exactly what happened to me while under the Big Dipper so to speak.

Hugging
To dream that you are hugging someone, symbolizes your loving and caring nature. You are holding someone or something close to your heart. Alternatively, it may indicate your need to be more affectionate.

Overall, a pretty awesome dream. This interpretation explains why I feel so good right now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Consumer Question

I'm thinking of having one of these installed at my desk:

Anyone have any tips? What's the best brand, price point? What options should I insist on and which can I live without? Should I spring for the warantee? Should I have it installed or can I install it myself?

I'll probably do some comparison reports, but I always try to get real people's opinions before I make a final decision.

BeckEye Spills It

Read all about it here. There's haiku...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

Face Melter


Thank you, Barbie Guitar, for truly melting my face and causing my brain to misfire. Your combination microphone/built-in amp creates feedback that only Yoko Ono would dearly covet. Your interminable fuzzy playback of "Survivor" by Destiny's Child has nearly killed my love for that song. Seriously, I've never gone from mildly irritated to balls-to-the-wall migrane this fast.


Without you, Barbie Guitar, I would have no reason to take Xanax.


Thanks. No really, I mean it.

Skyler's Dad Wants To Know...

Recently, Skyler's Dad offered to interview me to help me get through this little slump I'm in. I gladly took him up on the offer.


  1. Do you still have the picture of tongue disorders, and did you ever put it up on your refrigerator?

    Yes, I do still have those pictures that David Sedaris gave me. And, no, I never put them on my fridge. They are safely ensconced within my signed copy of Dress Your Family in Courduroy and Denim, which has a home on the top shelf of my closet. Man, that was three years ago. Time flies, doesn't it?
  2. Where are all of the towns you have called home?

    Well, I'm an Ohio girl through and through. I've never lived in any other state. However I have scooted here and there over the years. In particular, I have lived in Canton, Cleveland, Lakewood, University Heights, Newark, New Albany and Columbus.

    Some may scoff at Ohio, but I think it is a very beautiful state and full of variety. It is urban and Appalachian. It's farmland and forest. At least five presidents were born here and one was born in my home town. We've got Amish, too, so there's aways "home cooking" to be had and hand-crafted furniture.
  3. If you could change one habit about Doc, what would it be?

    OK, here we go. He has this habit of saying, "I'll be back in twenty minutes." As you may have read here, he went to great lengths to define what he means when he says certain things, especially when he talks about time. You may not have noticed (but I sure did) that "twenty minutes" remains undefined. If I could change one habit of his, I wish that when he said he'd be back/done in twenty minutes, he meant a span of time resembling 18-23 minutes, rather than a nebulous 25 minutes to 4 hours.
  4. I loved your open letter to your daughters. If you were to write it again today, would it still read the same?

    Thank you. Yes it most definately would read the same. As I re-read it, I was glad to note that I still stand behind that statement just as much as when I wrote it, if not more.
  5. Can you somehow, someway explain the allure of American Idol to me? I will reciprocate by attempting to explain anything you ask of me...

    For me, the allure of American Idol lies in its potential for magical moments. While I do enjoy the trainwreck it can be, I much prefer the times when humanity shines through it. There is so much manufactured drama/emotion/magic in the world today, it's rare to see something authentically transcendent. There have been moments on that show when I know I've been a witness to art in action on so many levels.

    For example, in this past season, I thought the talent was about the best ever, but I hadn't really connected personally with any of the artists. This is hardly surprising; I'm not sure I fall into the target audience. Anyway, it was country night and I was watching out of duty to the process rather than any real excitement about the prospects. And Blake Lewis busted out with the song When the Skies Go Blue...



    Maybe it was the combination of the argyle sweater and this dreamy song, but he delivered it and I felt a connection. I got goosebumps. I felt the magic of the music, which, for some reason, becomes more elusive the older I get.

    So, in a nutshell: I watch American Idol to mine for new music gold. And I love Ryan Seacrest.

    Can you explain the appeal of Desparate Housewives?
  6. Are you ever going to post a picture of the new do?

    Yes. I'll post it here tonight when I get home. I promise. I had lost my camera for a couple of weeks, then my hair needed cut and colored. I've done that and I think I'm ready for my close-up.
  7. Has your hate for Mel Gibson subsided any?

    I don't think I ever hated him. I'm angry with him. As a Christian, I think he represents the worst of us and actually does damage to our image, so to speak, especially in the eyes of people who aren't Christian. He violates rule number one: Do no harm.
  8. How long have you known Big Orange?

    I have known him for 18 years. Jesus, that's a long time.
  9. How has blogging changed you?

    I see the world a bit differently. I start noticing the little things and instead of letting them flee by, I capture them here for my blog. For example, today, at lunch, I saw a poseur punk girl in a dress length black tee (with jeans, natch). Written upon this tee in purple, 250 pt Arial letters was the proverb: Rehab is the New Black. Gag me. It was reminiscent of those "Choose Life" tees that Wham! used to wear. I knew I had to tell you all about it because I know you would mock her with me. And I need partners in mocking.

    Blogging has made the minute relevant for me. I can capture the minutia, bring it here, blow it up and use it to entertain you. I am an entertainer at heart. And an attention whore. Plus blogging has helped me hone my writing. By making all this nonsense public, especially to a bunch of other writers, I've really learned how to mind my p's and q's and also how to shape my message so that it is communicated well.

    Blogging has also removed the stigma of online relationships in my mind. I feel like the people I know online are perceptive, intelligent, hip and free-thinking people, the kind of people that I want to populate my life with. So what if we may never meet face to face? I still feel like we're friends. And when I read blogs written by people I know in person, I feel like I get to know them much better than if we didn't exchange written ideas.
  10. How has losing your grandfather changed you?

    I'm not sure. I kind of feel like he's still with me, so I haven't really lost him. But his passing has taught me that I can go on, but not without a few break-downs every now and then. I've learned how to grieve.

Thank you so much for the questions!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two Weeks Notice: A Midterm Update


I'm sitting here at my desk, racking my brains trying to find something to write about. Lately, everything that pops into my head that then makes it to my blog seems to be as fluffy and insubstantial as a cheese puff. Maybe it's because my life is in limbo. I have one more week after this one until I start my new job and there's nothing really for me to do, except clean out my desk.


I'm really mentally gone from this place. I don't even want to gather my stuff up. I just want to flip everyone the bird and flee. I've been trying to find other work for years with no luck and finally, finally, this new job drops out of the sky and into my lap, just in time. So, now I have six more days of long-distance commuting, six more days of blinking through the tears, six more days of repressed anger, six more days of looking busy.


How did I do it for so long, you wonder. Anti-depressants and a will to survive. For over four years now, I've sacrificed my autonomy and my identity. I've shut up and done what I was told. I've learned how to keep my distance from my work and take criticism like a man. I've discovered how to do things without caring about getting the credit. One thing I'm wondering is this: Is the only path to humility paved with humiliation? That was the path I've been on and it would be nice to know of another way.


I've been subordinated and exploited, then crumpled up and tossed out. But, they say, it's nothing personal, just business. I should dust myself off and move on, either by accepting the crumbs and sloppy seconds they offer me or turn away towards a new endeavor. Should it be the devil you know or the devil you don't know? I'll always opt for the devil I don't know and that's what makes me different from the people I work for. I'm willing to rock the boat. They are not. And that's a sad statement for many reasons.


So much the better that I can escape with my soul intact. I outlasted this job. I did not run away from adversity. I learned how to survive Theory X management. I've developed a nose for politics and a healthy respect for the power politics has to destroy. I've learned never to underestimate the cunning of those in power; how else did they get to the top? I have not been broken.


It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. I used to think that, at least in education, people's intentions were good. Not true. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I would urge you to keep an eye on education in your neck of the woods. There's a lot of money, a lot of power concentrated in the very few, and some wolves in sheep's clothing.


For now, I've hit the pause button in my lizard brain to numb myself to the indignity of it all. But, I swear, as God as my witness, I shall never be powerless again. I won't panic and take a job just because it's there. I won't blindly do what I am told in order to keep the peace. I will continue to accept feedback on my work, but I will also expect appropriate recognition and compensation. And I will get out of this pink collar world for a while.


But I haven't let myself dream about my next job. I don't want to create a set of expectations about my new work that will end up tripping me in the future. I want to go in with a clean slate and build my expectations based on reality. I don't want to make any assumptions, if I can help it. I want to take my time and feel my way around. But I can't think about that right now.


For now, I need to sort through the random items I've collected at my desk: piles of paystubs representing years of my life, old post cards, 3.5" floppy disks, FISH Philosophy goo-gahs, marbles (don't ask), a black thermal mug with flames on it, Christmas cards, ancient cup-a-soup, and a barrel of monkeys (sans barell). To tell the truth, I didn't bring a lot of personal stuff to work; I've had one foot out the door since I got here. So, packing up shouldn't be a lot of work.


But, having all this time on my hands, I'll be able to look around here and see what you all are doing and hear what you're thinking about. It's good to see that there are so many like-minded people out there with good hearts and good intentions. It gives me hope for humanity to know it, frankly. Maybe, while I'm in limbo, it might be a good idea to have someone else take over here for a while. With all the dark and thundery thoughts I have, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up the froth.


Who's game?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I'm About To Go Into A Meeting...


...Where they will lay me off. I love how long it takes a bureacracy to catch up to reality.

Things That Make Me Cry



  1. Other people crying

  2. Frustration

  3. Concerts

  4. Stubbing my toe and/or barking my knuckles or shins

  5. Lonliness

  6. Exhaustion

  7. Traffic jams

  8. Triumph

  9. Laughing

  10. Beauty

I'll pass you a tissue if you tell me something that makes you cry...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Resolutions


  1. I promise to comment more.


  2. I plan on sticking it to the man.


  3. I will harass republican candidates tomorrow at the fair by leaving dirty napkins on their displays.


  4. I will spend more time with Doc, planning the revolution.


  5. I'll only eat the red M&M's.


  6. I'll make a list of the first people against the wall when the revolution comes: Mel Gibson (natch), John Mayer, Citibankers, etc.


  7. I'll try to grow a beard.


  8. I'll stop picking scabs.


  9. I'll consider picking up hitchikers.


  10. I'll let someone guest-host my blog. Maybe.