Thursday, January 31, 2008


WTF is this?!?

I clipped this from a piece of Russian spam that ended up in the support mailbox the other day.

I think I need a drink.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to act

I'm dedicating this to Lovely Daughter and other students of the art*.

Here's the secret to your success, straight from Sir Ian's mouth.


Who knew?!?

I so have to watch this series....

* YSD Class of '08, this one's for you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Introverts 101

I know you have questions. These links should help.
See? Introverts* make excellent companions for knowledgeable handlers.
*That's "We introverts," of course.

The Introvert Cafe

I leave the building during my lunch hour. We each have our own offices so I could stay put, but since I am in front of my desk 8 hours a day as it is, I feel compelled to get-the-F-out for that one hour.

Problem is... where to go? Most days I do errands or grocery shopping. I can get a lot done in 45 minutes or so and it saves me from having to do a big shopping trip on the weekends. But what if there's no shopping to be done? Or I'm just plain too wiped out to do anything but stare into space?

I escape to my quiet place.

There's a little parking lot just down the hill and around the corner from my office. It's not attached to a building so there's not a lot of foot traffic. There are lots of trees overhanging the perimeter creating several shady spots on those rare sunny days. Like a little park, only for cars.

I pull in to one of my preferred spots, turn on some tunes, and either make phone calls, eat my lunch, read, nap, or some combination of the above. I can easily spend 55 of my precious 60 minutes there and have just enough time to get back to the office. Sweet.

One day I realized that I wasn't alone -- several of the other cars were occupied by people doing exactly what I was doing. Slowly it dawned on me that only an introvert would think it was a good idea to go sit alone in a parking lot for an hour. I'd found my people!

Yes, I'm coming out: I am an introvert. People who don't know me well are usually surprised to learn that. It took me a while to figure it all out, but from what I understand -- and this is painting with a very broad brush -- extroverts get energized by social interactions while introverts end up drained. That would be me. I can do the social thing, and in the right group I enjoy it, but it costs me. At the end of the night there's nothing left of me.

So there we sit, each in our own little metal cocoon, enjoying the non-camaraderie. That's lunchtime at the Introvert Cafe.
Joke of the Day:
Q: How can you tell an extroverted mathematician?
A: He's the one looking at the other guy's shoes.
As an introvert and former-wanna-be mathematician, I concur.

Want to find out what you are?
It's kinda like astrology, only better 'cause it's true!

(Mr B & I are both INTP. He's pretty much a classic INTP, while I ride the line between T & F and am only slightly more P than J. We enjoy our quiet time.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Time keeps on slippin'

Yesterday I heard from my Ex that a friend had died that morning. Ex had been very close to the family these last few months and was with them in their home when his friend passed. The friend had been ill and failing fast, but even though his death was anticipated, it was still too soon and utterly tragic.

Since Mr. B is still out of town and I had way too much time to think, I started thinking about time. The friend and his wife had been married forty-some years and it still wasn't long enough. Ex and I were together thirty years all told and it was plenty long. Mr. B and I are coming up on one year. Given my morbid state of mind, I couldn't help but wonder how long we'll have. Do we have forty years? Thirty? I can't even let myself think of numbers smaller than that. Let's change the subject.

We aren't living together; we own our own homes. We live less than 10 minutes apart but seeing each other on weeknights is tough -- he gets up way too early for a long commute and my evening schedule is lockstep from the moment I get home with Young Son until I climb into bed a scant 4 hours later*. We manage to do dinner a couple times a week but he's exhausted and I'm weary and often distracted by what still needs to get done.

We do spend every weekend we can together, alternating between houses, but even then we aren't "living together"; we're in some sort of oddball quasi-dating/visiting mode, both separated from our usual routines. One of us is always not "at home".

Sometime I ask myself why.

Always my rational self immediately provides the same answer: Because, you fool, you are still less than 18 months out of an X-treme Long Term Relationship. Any rational person can see that you have no business moving in with anyone any time soon.

But... if there's one thing I've learned since I left my old life, it's that being rational isn't always the right answer. My rational mind is what held me rigidly in place for those last several years of my marriage, because it made sense, at great cost to my emotional self. And I'm still doing the repair work resulting from that course of action.

So does that mean I should throw caution to the wind and just move in with the guy**? Uh... probably not. I have allowed myself to start thinking about it a little more, but whenever I do, I get so bogged down in the logistics*** that I give up. Too many couches! Too many beds! Too many kitchen gadgets! Way too many books! And whose house is the most livable for the three of us? Truth be told, neither. So then what do we do? And that's where I usually give up.

But is that the kind of stuff that really matters when you look back at the story of a relationship? How much does it matter? And if that doesn't matter, then what does?

Our average age is 50, certainly old enough to know that we're neither invincible nor immortal. How sure is sure enough?

* And sometimes even sooner, this time of year!

** The guy who has been single most of his adult life? But that's another story.

*** And we won't even discuss the interpersonal stuff, habits, preferences, and all that... sigh.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Once in a Lifetime

This one's for Mr. B.

He told me recently that his ex said he had the gift of making the Talking Heads come on the radio whenever he's in the car. I haven't done a statistical analysis*, but she may be right.

Once In A Lifetime,Talking Heads, The Best Of Talking Heads

Or... it could just be that the radio station we listen to plays a lot of Talking Heads**.

Anyway, this is my favorite Talking Heads song and video. It was one of the first videos I remember watching on MTV, back in 1982 or so***. I remember dancing around the living room to it while pregnant with Lovely Daughter. I thought it was the coolest video ever.

And you know, over 25 years later, it still retains the capacity to Rock!

p.s. Mr. B's out of town for two weeks. Not liking it.

* (yet)

** Yeah, I know. Occam's Razor, blah, blah, blah.

*** Come to think of it, that was only 3 years before I first met Mr. B.


Thursday, January 24, 2008


I have officially Weirded Myself Out. Actually, I blame Tom Cruise.

I saw a link to this video yesterday while doing some random blog reading. I really don't give a red ripe rat's ass about Tom Cruise and his shenanigans, but for some reason I clicked. And I was appalled! WTF?!? All I knew about Scientology was that it was "invented" by a science fiction writer, which is about as good a qualification as any, I suppose. Unfortunately it doesn't even sound like good science fiction*.

Of course I immediately emailed my sister, who, being a good follower of the media knew all about it and sent me some other fascinating/repelling links in return. That's what really got me going. Wikipedia**,, even an article from MTV translating what Tom was babbling about in that video.

Then my sister emails me:
I'm THIS CLOSE to getting a T-shirt that reads, 'SP (Suppressive Person)'.

Scientology rented space at our local mall last year (right at the main mall entrance). One of their glassy-eyed Sci-bots approached me, and I told him to step back, because I'm an SP. He did... and later I checked my tires in the parking lot to ensure they weren't slashed."
Awesome! That sent me running to the internet to find just such a shirt. I'm afraid I must someday own one.

It's funny until you learn that people actually believe it and will pay for the privilege. WTF, indeed. That's some expensive mediocre sci-fi.

*Yes, I read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy. I told you I was a geek.

**Read LRH's entry, too. In the words of Bugs Bunny, What a maroon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why we live here

Caught this amazing sight on my way to work yesterday:

That's the moon setting behind the Olympic Mountains. The cloud just above the trees is ice fog over the Hood Canal.

The shot I really wanted to get was about 5 minutes earlier, but I was in the car and by the time I fumbled around in my purse for my camera (yeah, that's some safe driving!) the moon was just about to disappear. Luckily, just then I got a red light at a fairly open intersection and was able to catch it before it slipped away.

The weather has been unusually clear for January. Typically we don't see much of the sky in the winter. The downside is that it's been cold, actually below freezing at night. I've had to scrape the windshield, like, 3 mornings in a row. We're all freaking out about it.

Yeah, I know. We're all pussies. But we're pussies with a great view.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We got this real live, no-shitter support email the other day:

I need to kmow if I can write a paragaph on a blank sheep, but some part of this sheep is blank because I have finished a chapter and I have started a nex chapter in a new sheep and then to pass the next sheep with
[the software],

I don't know how to express in english,


Personally, I prefer starting documents on blank sheep. I find the non-blank sheep difficult to read sometimes. But maybe that's just me.

Sometimes I love this job.

p.s. It's still sitting, unanswered, in the communal Inbox. How would one even attempt to answer something like that? I'm so hoping George takes it on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Daily grind, my ass!

Made the switch to full decaf this weekend. Ugh. The transition from quarter-caf to decaf is turning out to be more significant than I anticipated.

All of a sudden the tag "Daily grind" seems like a cruel joke.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dirt Floor

The other night I had a dream where I was backstage after a show with Chris Whitley and he was just about to teach me to play guitar.

When I woke up, I briefly considered that this might be a "sign" and that I should call the local music store immediately to start guitar lessons. Then I remembered that the "receiving-of-signs" is not one of my gifts.

So instead Chris will handle the Rockin' of our Friday this week. Hey, maybe that's what he was trying to tell me!

This is the song he was playing in my dream.

Dirt Floor, Chris Whitley, Dirt Floor

The weird thing was that, in my dream, we kept referring to the song as Scrapyard Lullaby. Which it ain't although both songs are from the Dirt Floor album.

Of course, I woke up just before the lesson actually started. Blast!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alternative lifestyle choice

I've developed my first case of Shiny of the year: I've adopted an alternative lifestyle.

A of all, as Lovely Daughter says, while in NOLA I caught a full-on view of my backside in an unfortunate configuration of hotel room mirrors and was scared straight. B of all, the scale has climbed precipitously over the past 6 months or so* to an all-time non-pregnancy-related high that had me considering buying larger fat pants.

Oh hell no. Something needs to change, and it needs to be drastic.

So I read a book, chatted with a co-worker, saw a few random articles in main-stream national newsmagazines confirming my notions, and my path became clear. Yes, I've become a flexitarian. Long story short, my goal is to cut all animal protein back to less than 10% of my calories.

A Flexitarian Pyramid
based on Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live book.
  • As many leafy greens as I can stuff in my face. Salad is the main dish! Other raw and cooked veggies (no, not fried) make up the rest of the base of the pyramid. Starchy veggies (potatoes, squash, corn) are counted as whole grains, at least until I get most of the weight off.

  • Fruits and beans share the second tier. Also unlimited. I count tofu like beans.

  • Whole grains, raw nuts, and seeds are next, supposedly once a day max**.

  • Fish and fat-free dairy are next, recommended twice a week or less.

  • Then poultry, eggs, and oil***, once a week or less.

  • At the pointy end of the pyramid, beef and other animal protein (including cheese and non-skim milk), sugar in all forms and permutations, and hydrogenated oils. These are labeled RARELY in big, fat letters.

And as we all know, white flour and sugars (including honey, believe it or not!) are the devil.

So why is this Shiny? Well, it is a pretty major project; figuring out new meals, finding workable methods for shopping, prepping, and storing all of that fresh fruit & vegetation, and developing new habits so I can shove the right things in my mouth without having to think too much. That means spending a goodly amount of mental energy, learning things, and doing research. That makes it Shiny!

There are tons of nutritional and health reasons why this pyramid is a Good Thing. But my main reason for making this switch is that horrifying image burned into my brain of my rear in all it's... glory.

Best part is that I've lost 4 lbs in the first week and I haven't even completely make the transition yet. C'mon, veggies!

*I'd like to blame Mr B for this but can't quite figure out how.

**Ha! I'll try....

***Hahahaha! They'll have to pry my bottle of extra-virgin olive oil out of my cold chubby hands.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things that make me...

...pee my pants*.

Here are links to two blog entries that had me practically blowing snot as well as PMP. You might want to a) hit the restroom and/or b) close your office door before clicking.

Awesome Family Portraits from the List of the Day blog

I worked at Olan Mills in the late 70s doing phone sales. It was the longest two weeks of my life. Worse, I can't help but feel that I might be responsible for some of these portraits. Worse still, there are a couple in my photo box at home that would qualify. (cringe!)

Artist Formerly Known As... from the 15-minute Lunch blog

I can't even put into words why this is so freakin' funny. I'm actually afraid to click on the link again because last time I laughed so hard that I couldn't draw breath. Scary funny.

Both of these blogs are well worth checking out regularly. Hours of amusement!

Here's the link that got me hooked on the 15-minute Lunch blog. That was one of the best email forwards I ever got.

How did I ever survive work before the web?

*aka PMP or PIMP -- P(-ing In )MP

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Orange work

Couple of years back, Young Son (age 4 or 5?) cut his finger at school doing the "orange work", where they practice cutting & squeezing oranges. The teacher called and suggested I get it checked since they weren't quite sure whether it needed a stitch.

On the way to the ER, I was trying to gently prepare Young Son for what might transpire, since he was notoriously awful in unexpected situations like that. I gave a brief synopsis of what the doctor might do, including looking at the cut (he wouldn't let me look at it when I picked him up), washing it, maybe some medicine and a stitch, and then the magic bandage which makes all boo-boos better instantaneously. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

He considered what I'd said, and stated
"Mom, I don't want to see a doctor that's toolish."

I asked him what that meant. He replied, dead serious,
"I want to see a doctor that's lookish, not toolish."
How in hell do you keep a straight face at a comment like that?

I sometimes get nostalgic for the days when his command of the language combined with his overactive imagination to produce some amazing blogfodder. Then I remember that now he can wipe his own rear.

Monday, January 14, 2008

For love of the bean

My first challenge of 2008 has presented itself. I'm going to decaffeinate.

My moment of clarity occurred in New Orleans. I was staying at the Very Nice Hotel where the conference was being held. The place was rife with economists, vendors, and Sugar Bowl fans*, and yet there was only one stand in the place serving coffee-to-go.

The third morning that I found myself standing in line for 15 minutes, bleary-eyed and anxious, simply to get a tall drip with room, I realized that this pathetic exercise was completely preventable. Just like that, the lightbulb turned on and I was ready to accept the fact that The Time Had Come.

So over the past week I've been weaning myself from full-caf to half-caf to quarter-caf and I hope to make the final switch to decaf next weekend. We can get really good decaf here in Coffee Country, thankfully.

Plus I'm guessing this can have only a positive effect on my penchant for half-and-half. As we all know, coffee is just an excuse to drink half-and-half because it's rude to drink half-and-half straight.

*It made for some interesting people-watching, fer sure!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hotel Nostalgia

I heard this on my drive home yesterday. I have a strong emotional resonance to it -- senior year of high school and all that -- but you know what? Nostalgia aside, it's still a pretty damned fine song.

I'm not a huge lyrics fan, but the instrumentals are Rockin' my Friday.

Hotel California,Eagles, Hotel California

(And Don Henley really rocks those maracas, doesn't he?)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Way to go

My Pal's dad died on Tuesday. It was kind of sudden, but his health had been failing; he'd been in and out of hospital a lot lately and My Pal had been feeling the pressure that comes from the impending drop of the other shoe. But as we all know, even though you're kind of expecting it, it still sucks when the shoe actually does drop.

But her dad had a pretty good last day. He'd been staying with his son & family since he'd been too weak to stay alone. He felt good enough on Saturday to take a field trip to his house to handle some errands, then back to his son's house for a steak dinner with the family. The last person he spoke with that evening was his grandson, with whom he was very close.

Then he went to bed and didn't wake up. He was alive but unresponsive on Sunday, and never woke up in the hospital before he passed.

You know, if you have to go, I think that's a pretty damned good way to go. Feeling a little better, wrapping up some loose ends, a great dinner with the family, surrounded by love. Then you go to sleep.

I first started thinking about this when my Dear MIL* died some 16 years ago. Her health had been declining steadily for quite a while; she spent most of her last weeks in the hospital as her body continued to fail. My Ex got the call from his brother one night -- it was time to fly back home. Now.

The beautiful thing was that even though she was struggling, she managed to stay until all six of her kids arrived. Once my Ex arrived and each kid had a chance for some private time with her, she went that very afternoon. Even though she wasn't entirely conscious that last day she seemed to know that everyone was there and that it was OK to leave.

Even thinking about it today, I get choked up.

I hope that I manage to live my life so that I can have that kind of passing.

*That's not sarcasm, either. I really liked her.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Five things I hate about automated voice answering systems.

1. When the options presented have no apparent correlation to my question. I'll make a halfhearted attempt to play their little game before I start punching 0. If that doesn't work, I'll push random digits until I reach a human.

2. When it asks me to punch in my really long account number, which I screw up at least once, only to have the human I finally reach ask for it again.

3. When I call late in the day and hack my way through the trees only to learn, at the end, that the office is closed for the day.

4. When I'm confronted with a voice recognition system. Need I say more? I would love to hear a recording of my tone of voice when I'm forced to talk to one of those things. I guarantee that it would make my children (and my Ex) break out in a cold sweat.

5. When it requires more than three responses to reach a human. That's when it officially becomes Too Hard, or even More Trouble Than It's Worth.

I have a sneaking suspicion that in many cases, no matter what we enter, we end up at some randomly assigned desk. Sometimes I think they install those systems simply to stall us -- to wear out the weak of heart who lack the fortitude to soldier on through the maze.

[I'm also convinced that all flavored coffees are actually only one flavor, two max, and that it's all just a marketing scheme. In a blind test, could one really tell from sniffing alone whether beans are "French Vanilla" or "Hazelnut Mocha?" I think not. But I digress....]

I heard that there's a website somewhere that has the secret tricks to bypassing the automated answering systems for many companies. I really need to find it and bookmark it.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


So last week I was getting ready (grudgingly) to head out to NOLA* for a short business trip. I stopped at Ex's -- my ex-house -- the eve before to kiss Young Son good-bye. As I was getting ready to leave, I stepped backwards off the last step onto the landing. My foot hit something unexpected, my ankle said "Fuck it -- you're on your own," and I went down like a well-marbled side of beef. As I fell, I heard the pop of an ankle indicating that something significant had just happened. Shit!

I knew exactly what I had almost-stepped on: One of My Rocks; specifically, the one I used on hot summer days to hold the front door open so the wind wouldn't catch it and slam it shut. Ex used to mock My Rocks. And there he was, watching one of My Rocks bring me down. Shit!

Then Ex's girlfriend asked why that stupid rock was always sitting by the front door. I felt compelled to explain. I felt like an idiot. Shit!

But the good news is that A) My ankle, although swollen and colored like a mood ring, didn't cause me enough grief to negatively impact my travel and B) Ex said I could take the rock home with me.

Maybe that's why it managed to be right there in that particular place that one time. Maybe it just wanted to come with me. I'd just last week finished getting the rest of my stuff out of my ex-house** but somehow that rock got overlooked. Now it's in my new house, poised to hold open my self-closing door to the garage when I need it. It works pretty well***, too.

As for my very first trip to NOLA, I spent most of the time sitting in a windowless exhibit hall talking to economists. But as I walked out of the hotel to the cab back to the airport, I did notice that it was really warm outside. I rode to the airport with the window halfway down, buffeted by the wind but loving the feel of the warm air and the sun.

* See? I'm an insider.

** It only took a year!

*** "Hey, does this rock still work?" Sorry -- inside joke. Watch Ghostbusters, the scene where they first check out the firehouse.