Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beware the ides

I missed it! Somehow I managed to blow right past March 15th without celebrating the Ides of Meatloaf.

Evil Twin, ever the pious one, celebrated in fine style this past weekend and sent this recap:
We had so much more fun this year! We eliminated the people who didn't "get it" (many of my sister's friends), and we had a blast.

This year's contributions:
  • Large bag Ruffles potato chips with big tub of french onion dip

  • Little wieners in grape jelly/yellow mustard sauce

  • Wispride cheese ball

First course:
  • Tomato soup (Campbell's condensed) w/oyster crackers

Main event:
  • Meat Cake

  • Green bean casserole

  • Mashed potatoes

  • Macaroni and cheese

  • Pear/lime jello salad

  • Biscuits in a tube

  • Carrot cake

  • Boston Cream pie

  • Peanut butter pie (THIS was awesome!)

The men got to watch basketball, the ladies got to kvetch, and a good time was had by all.

Oh. We had Hubby mix Manhattans for all. Some couldn't dump them into the sink fast enough, but one attendee had three. We didn't make the mistake we made last year, though, when we served Mateus rosé. No one could drink that shit. It was awful!

I have been well and truly shamed. I'd best dig out my cake decorating tools -- looks like I'm making meatcake this weekend. I'll probably pass on the wieners in jelly-mustard sauce, although I'm sure they're (gulp!) delicious.

ET sent some pix, but I'm holding them to post with pix of my offerings next week. Don't lie -- you know you'll be back to check! In the meantime, here's last year's recap to whet your appetites.

Mmmmm... meatcake!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Top o'th' morning

You know, I'm starting to think that scheduling a PT session for 8:00 am every Monday morning may not be such a good idea. There's something inherently suspect about starting one's work week being manipulated by a strong young sailor almost to the point of tears*. Not real tears, of course; more like, "yeah, there's fluid pooling in the corners of my eyes but I'm not really crying or anything" tears.

Shit, no wonder I'm having mood issues.

So this marks the start of my seventh week of PT. Seventh of... who knows? I have been making measurable progress but it's slow going. I've been trying to figure out why I haven't been doing my stretches at home, and I think I've found the answer. Picture this: End of a long day, dinner is cooked and eaten, other chores completed. I can finally sit on the couch and stare at something mindless and amusing on the TV... or I can go upstairs and hurt myself because I'm supposed to.

I don't know about you, but that's not much of a choice in my book. Or is it just me? Don't answer that.

* Sounds much more fun than is it, unfortunately.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is there anyone at home?

Fridays Rock! We all know this to be true. This week, I'm feeling the need to approach it from a slightly altered state of mind. Since I can't employ, ahem, chemical aids at work, I'll have to do it musically.

I was late to the Pink Floyd party, having gone straight from Top 40s pop into the whole disco thing. Finally, in the mid 80s I started coming to and listening to stuff in more rock-ish vein.

I remember hearing this one for the first time. It was in the mid eighties, although I can't remember the exact year. I was in the car, probably driving to work, and it completely blew me away. I was feeling pretty numb at that point in my life (and not in a good way) so it really struck home.

So here you go. Kick your feet up, grab your mood-altering substance of choice, and enjoy the tasty extended guitar solo at the end.

That's some good shit.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The blues


Looks like Mr. B won't be home from his business trip tonight after all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just as I am

Why, yes, I am. Thanks for noticing.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Close enough

I feel bad -- in hindsight it seems like I was picking on Mr. Adequate in yesterday's post. I'm not, really, because he is like me. I am one of him. Giving one hundred and ten percent is something I have never, ever been accused of. Ever. Except maybe during childbirth, and that was under duress. My guiding philosophy is best described as 'do what it takes to satisfy the requirement, and even then, only if it makes sense and/or someone might notice.' I'm guessing Mr. Adequate is much the same way, except maybe when it comes to playing Guitar Hero.

Apparently there are people who feel otherwise. I think they do it just to make me feel bad.

For example, yesterday I was reading one of my favorite food blogs. Carol is cooking her way through the 'Alinea Cookbook' by Grant Achatz. I find her blog fascinating because I have absolutely no desire to make any recipe that requires that level of rigor. And she's doing The Whole Thing!

Here's what Carol wrote:
...I sliced three cloves of elephant garlic into 1/8" slices, milk-blanched and rinsed them three times, then let them cool....

Three times? Heat milk in pan, blanch garlic slices in milk, pull them out, rinse them, toss the milk, and repeat twice more?

No. Fucking. Way. I don't care if they taste like Zeus's left nipple smeared with foie gras. It ain't happening.

In the final dish, would anyone notice if those garlic slices were blanched only twice? If not, would anyone* be able to discern between twice-blanched and singly-blanched slices? What if you blanched them for 10 (20, 30) extra seconds the first time, or used more milk? Are you sure?

If you want me to thrice-blanch garlic slices, you need to tell me why three is the magic number and how absolutely unacceptable the mono-blanched slices are. And then you have to prove that the average consumer of recipes containing milk-blanched garlic slices would notice, much less care. What? You serve mere twice-milk-blanched elephant garlic slices? Inconceivable! Grab your coat, Pilar, we're leaving.

Known as the Bay Leaf Principle, the formal version of my 'close enough' philosophy was developed in response to the question: Given an otherwise fully-flavored soup or stew, would anyone notice if the single bay leaf was left out?

The short answer is "No."

That, my friends, is why I have never achieved any level beyond basic competence in my endeavors.

And that's why Carol is my hero, in the way the members of Cirque du Soleil are heroes. They achieve things requiring a level of precision I have no desire to strive toward, but I sure do appreciate it when they do it. Hey, that sounds like the Scrubbing Bubbles Method of Management: They do it so you don't have to.

Works for me.

* Other than Grant Achatz, and other culinary geniuses. I'm sure they could tell. Right? Please tell me they aren't sitting back laughing their asses off....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's get physical

Today marks the start of my sixth week of PT. I've cycled through most of the technicians so I think it's time to introduce the characters who are going to be part of my world three times per week for the next six months.

First was The Professional. I'm guessing he's in his early thirties. No time wasted on chit-chat and not much in the way of sense of humor -- he was all business. Man, was he tough! I had him for my first two weeks and I was having a hard time dealing with the thought of six more months of that. It was a rough ride. He was very lax about managing his schedule, though; I spent a lot of waiting around for him. That pissed me off.

The third week was the week of the fucked up appointments, the one where I missed two sessions, both with The Professional. I whined about it but secretly I was relieved. That Friday I managed to snag a last minute appointment with Mr. Conscientious so the week wasn't a total loss.

Mr. Conscientious is junior to The Professional, maybe mid/late twenties. Slightly more personable, he always measured my range of motion before and after each session, and explained what he was doing and why. I really appreciated that. He pushed, but not quite as far as The Professional.

The next week I had one appointment with The Caregiver. She was very personable and had that great bedside manner. Not sure how rigorous she'd be on a regular basis, but I can't seem to get another appointment with her so the point is moot. It was nice to have some idle conversation along with my pain that day.

End of that week I saw Mr. Adequate for the first time. He's probably the youngest of the lot, maybe early/mid-twenties, and he acts it, but I happen to speak fluent 'Young Sailor' so we got on just fine. He seemed to hit all the important points during my sessions, but just barely. Let's just say the lad doesn't appear to be itching to give 110%, IYKWIM. I can say that with confidence because it takes one to know one. It was fun to see him all hungover after St. Pat's Day, though.

Since I had to schedule that week's appointments before I'd met him, I ended up with a whole 'nother week of Mr. Adequate. It was an easy week but I'm guessing I didn't make a lot of progress.

Today I saw The Professional again for the first time in three weeks. And yes, it was just as tough as I remembered. Given a choice, one appointment a week with him is about all I can take. The rest of this week I see Mr. Conscientious. I'm thinking that's just about an optimal balance.

So there you go. These young Navy petty officers are going to make me pay for blowing off that sore shoulder I had last fall, bless their little hearts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What's old is new

In honor of Mr. B and I successfully navigating our first two years together, I've decided to bring it down all romantical-like this week. Besides, it's a great excuse to post this amazing song. It has something for just about everyone: a new artist groovin' to the old-school sound.

So shut me up and let's Rock this Friday!

Th first time I heard this on the radio I almost passed out. It was probably the best-written song I'd heard in ages... but it sounded so familiar, somehow.

Well, no wonder, it's Bob Dylan! Here's the original (it starts about 25 secs in) and it's been covered by Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Joan Osborne, Kelly Clarkson, and of course me in the car. I'm sure you've seen me at the stoplight. Yeah, that was me.

So it's old, but it's been made new. Just like me and Mr. B.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fair game

I've been in a slight slump, which makes it tough to conjure up entertaining things to write about. Oh, you've noticed? Sorry.

As the primary symptom of a slump is low energy, rants are pretty much out of the question, and I am way too lame to pull randomly hilarious shit out of the air in any sort of consistent manner.

Which leaves... uh... yeah. You see my problem.

So I've been cruising my favorite blogs for inspiration. I've noticed that the ones I enjoy the most are simply funny people posting about their everyday lives.

That got me thinking that there are huge chunks of my life that I keep off-limits in my blogging; not out of the kindness of my heart or a sense of propriety (snort!), but rather because I think they all read this blog and I am a major pussy. Seriously, I only have about three readers that I don't know IRL.

Sure, I occasionally post about my regular cast of characters, but nothing that I wouldn't want them to read*. And it's too bad, really, because some of what I wouldn't want them to read is pure comedic gold. But I don't seem to be able to go there. Yet, anyway.

So mostly that means I post about... me. As fascinating as I am, I'm feeling I've just about milked that cow dry, IYKWIM**. And did I mention that slump thing?

So here I sit, pretending to work, waiting for the time I get to leave to go to the oral surgeon to get a "thing" cut off the inside of my cheek, pondering whether to entertain y'all with a picture of my crappy desk or this whiny post.

Being a pussy is so limiting.

* Except for Lovely Daughter's Irish-French thing. I might yet catch shit for that one.

** Management assumes no responsibility for any uncomfortable visuals resulting from that metaphor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


There are no words to describe how I feel about this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck o' th' Irish

As far as I know, my ancestors were primarily English, Scotch-Irish, and German. If I remember correctly, the Ex's ancestors were French-Canadian, Polish, Danish, and German. Since we're pretty much generic Americans, you'd think it would be a sure thing that we'd produce pretty much American kids with a standard Heinz 57 trans-European heritage, like a lot of other Americans. And we did.

Except for Lovely Daughter.

As a young teen, she latched on to the words "Irish" and "French" and decided that's what she was. I think the primary factor was that she looks Irish, and what young teen girl wouldn't want to be French? Très romantique!

It didn't matter that she is half as (Scotch-)Irish as I am and half as French(-Canadian) as her father. Nor did it matter that 'Scotch-Irish' refers to primarily Scottish and English folks who migrated to Ireland then to America, so there may be little to no actual Irish-ness involved.

She declared herself Irish, and it was so. And now, every March 17th I wonder how many green beers are bought for my wee Irish-ish lass.

Sláinte! Éirinn go Brách!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Foolproof method

I have found a way to make Mondays even less enjoyable: Sunday evening, go out to dinner at a really expensive restaurant. Ask for decaf with dessert. Realize at midnight that that was no decaf.


Friday, March 13, 2009

You got it

Hey, wow, it's that time again! This week has been a particularly long one and if I cup my hand behind my ear and cock* my head just so, I can hear it calling for a good hard rockin'. Because, as we all know, Fridays Rock! If Cheap Trick can't satisfy, then we're all fucked.

If You Want My Love, Cheap Trick

Another video from my early 20s, forever imprinted on my DNA.

* Tee hee!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Better stubborn than smart?

OK, I'm doing it again -- I'm thinking about... things. I'm not sure how I got to this point, but in the past week I've watched two videos that have made me sit up, brush the Fig Newton crumbs off my belly, and pay attention.

Firstly, this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) in which she talks about creativity and genius, and how to get yourself one.

B of all, from Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Tipping Point), this talk about genius*, and what it takes to git 'r done.

Yeah, they're not what one might call hilarious, but they've got me thinking that I just might be able to fashion myself into a writer of sorts eventually, if I hack away at it long enough.

Got stubborn?

* Couldn't find a way to embed it - sorry!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Five more things

Five things I'd still like to do before it's all over:

5. Produce one or more works of fiction worth publishing*

4. Run a half-marathon

3. Get off the Perpetual Weight Gain/Loss Rollercoaster for good**

2. Find a challenging, rewarding career that could last me 20 years

1. Shave my right armpit

Some are much more feasible than others, although on any given day I'm unsure which ones they might be.

* Note I didn't say 'get published'.

** I think I'm getting closer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Drug of Choice


I can pass on the donuts. I can pass on the Snickers. I can even pass on the Black Pepper Kettle Chips, sometimes. But wave one of these in front of me and I'll collapse in a heap at your feet.

I only buy them maybe once every other week. (OK, more like once a week.) They come two to a pack - can you believe that much goodness can be crammed into one small packet? If I'm feeling strong and virtuous, I'll eat one bittersweet rectangle of the gods on the day of purchase and save the other for the next day. But that doesn't happen very often.

I'm wishing Sbux would catch wind of my completely unsolicited endorsement and shower me with the dark chocolate graham-y love. But, as they say, wish in one hand...

Monday, March 9, 2009


That's what I get for trying to do the Right Things.

I spent a goodly chunk of time this weekend in the garage at my old house, sorting though boxes of mixed crap and old household records. Yes, it was every bit as exciting as it sounds.

Some of these boxes were aging piles of crap cleared from countertops while preparing for a kitchen remodel. In 2004. Some were filled with household records so old that I didn't recognize my own handwriting. I mean, it was almost... legible!

Over the course of the two days I sorted each and every of those fuckers boxes. I filled up my big recycling can and my slightly smaller garbage can with stuff I didn't even remember I had. I felt the flush of pride one feels only after tackling a chore one has blown off for over a year: the pride only a true procrastinator can experience.

I tackled the fucker and it was mine.

Once that nightmare task was complete, we went for an accidental four mile walk. The walk wasn't accidental but the distance surely was. It was more physical effort than I'd expended in months but I figured it was good for me, and other than the light sunburn I suffered (In Washington? In March?!? WTF??) no harm done.

Or so I thought.

Today I went in for PT, anticipating an uncomfortable but therapeutic 'stretching' session, as they so euphemistically put it. The tech starting moving my arm and...

Oh HELL no.

My shoulder was having none of it. Not even a little. The tech tried, very gently, to stretch it out for about 15 minutes as I tried to bite through my tongue while doing a horizontal butt-crawl off the table. Finally she admitted defeat, strapped on the ice pack, and told me we'd best wait till next time.

So what in the hell did I do, anyway? Sorting boxes? Yeah, I picked up a few to put them on the table, but so what. I carry groceries all the time. The walk? I can't even fucking walk any more without screwing myself up? I just don't get it.

Whatever the cause, I am pissed. And sore. To add insult to injury, I wasted a perfectly good hour of sick time this morning on it, too.

Oh, there will be chocolate this afternoon. Count on it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Like you I like you

Hellooo! You're just in time for another song that I like like like. I've almost posted it a couple of times but have always chickened out because, um, well, OK, there are two brief moments of full-frontal nudity, male and female, in the first few minutes.

But, you know what? The kids young and cute, and it's totally not obscene, I promise.

Just be prepared, is all.

So with that disclaimer safe out of the way, let's get this Friday Rockin'!

I don't know about you, but my mind is now officially right for the weekend. Bring it on!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Five things

Five things I secretly wanted to do when I was younger but knew weren't going to happen:
5. Dance really cool

4. Play drums

3. Look good in a swimsuit

2. Sing in a small, highly regarded a cappella group
(not barbershop!)

1. Be a backup singer

Impressive, huh?

'Follow your dreams', my ass -- thank the universe I didn't fall for that line of shit. Dreams are one thing, talent and drive are something else altogether.

Which, I suppose, is why I sit in front of a computer all day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mad as hell

OK, now I'm pissed.

I had a couple of PT appointments scheduled this week. PT had been going OK and I was anticipating making some good, if painful, progress.

Monday I showed up only to learn that my appointments for this week had been canceled - the tech was 'out this week' - and the other providers were booked solid. I was invited to keep calling the appointment desk to see if there were any cancellations.

I called Monday afternoon. I called Tuesday afternoon. I called this morning and was told that I had been marked as a 'No Show' for my 8:30 appointment.


I called the clinic directly and learned that just because they told me the tech was out all week and both my appointments were canceled in no way implied that I should believe them. He was in today after all, and it was apparently my fault that I didn't know that.

I've been a participant in the military health care system for a long time -- almost 30 years now -- with mostly satisfactory results, but I think I've finally reached my limit. It's been very difficult to schedule the appointments I need for this course of treatment, and facing untold months of less-than-pleasant PT is hard enough without having to stress over whether I can even get in to be treated. Losing my only chance at an appointment this week was just too much.

I'm, old, tired, cranky, stressed, and can't raise my right arm high enough to shave my armpit. I don't appreciate being jerked around by a twelve-year-old Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class who has been at his post at the front desk a whole month and is apparently incapable of forming the words "Call the clinic Wednesday morning to see whether your provider is available."

I may actually have to consider Plan B, an option that would cost me out of pocket but would give me access to civilian providers. Providers who, from what I hear, rarely cancel all of your appointments then blame you for not showing up for them.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daft Hands, three ways

OK, it's not Friday. I know I have no call to be rocking on a Tuesday -- it's downright inappropriate.

Fuck propriety. You have to see this:

And this:

And, for the sake of authenticity, this:

You can see the original video here.

Isn't that just the most fun thing ever? I can't think of a more productive way to spend a Tuesday. Isn't that rather sad?

Thanks to Mikie P for showing me the light.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sign of the times

This morning on the way to day care, Young Son was reading his Sonic Adventures comic book. I was helping him with some of the words, wincing at the really bad puns. There were many.

It's all kinds of fun, explaining puns to a 9 year old. Especially first thing in the morning. Especially bad ones.

Ha ha. Ha.

But I was stopped short when I had to explain the concept of 'double prints', as in 'ordering double prints'.

My son had no idea what that was all about, those strange, ancient concepts of 'film' and 'developing' and 'ordering prints'.

It was one of those moments when the reality of how much our culture has changed since I was a kid reared up on its hind legs and bitch-slapped me upside the head.

Ever have one of those?