Thursday, April 30, 2009

I have needs too, y'know

Dear Universe,

Needs? Wants? Whatever. Just make it so, already.

  1. New bras*

  2. A haircut

  3. Shaved legs

  4. Ten fewer pounds

  5. Inspiration

  6. New clothes & shoes*

  7. Energy

  8. A renter for my house

  9. Unpacked & sorted boxes

  10. Time
* And by that I mean someone to shop for them and try them on.

Any time now would be great; the sooner, the better. But no pressure, 'k?

Liz C


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Run for your lives!

Am I the only one who gets twitchy hearing the word 'pandemic' being tossed around on a regular basis?

Maybe I've read too many post-apocalyptic novels*, or maybe it was growing up in the days of Duck and Cover drills -- and let's be frank, 9/11 certainly didn't help -- but this swine flu talk is seriously weirding me out.

So what does one do to 'prepare' for a pandemic? Is it time to start hoarding duct tape and 25 pound bags of pinto beans? Surgical masks? Fifty-five gallon drums of hand sanitizer? What is a freaked-out safety freak to do?

Google it, of course!

First of all, let's see exactly what's going on where and learn about the guy behind the map.

Then we can visit** to see what the Government's up to, and swing by the CDC's Swine Flu page. The latter is pretty terse, but -- according to the tag line at the top of the page -- at least it's credible. I'm glad they made that clear right away, as I prefer my news from official source be more credible than incredible, IYKWIM.

Curious as to what in the hell 'H1N1' means but prefer to read something at least resembling regular people-speak? Well, I enjoyed Wikipedia's entry on the topic.

And finally, for those who like their freak-outs to be prompted by a complete multimedia extravaganza, check out this transcript of an episode of PBS's The American Experience, Influenza 1918. Reading the transcript isn't too bad, but I watched the show a few years back and was on high alert for months. Curious? I dare you to Netflix it and not wash your hands to bloody stumps.

So there you have it. Our AIWJT team of experts is proud to do its part for public health by sharing these results of minutes hours of half-assed Googling exhaustive research. Just remember that when everything goes to hell and zombies start roaming the earth, don't blame us. We tried to warn you.

Speaking of which, uh, best get prepared for that as well, eh?

* If you haven't read The Stand, this is probably not the time to pick it up. Just sayin'.

** I wonder how long they've had that domain name registered and ready to roll. What was there a month ago?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In case you were wondering

There Is No You - There Is Only Me Demotivational Poster

Glad we got that straightened out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No thank you please

Today's PT (Happy Week 10!) was a mixed bag. It was one of the least dis-comfortable sessions I've had in awhile, at least in the shoulder region. But that bit of brightness was utterly offset by the ickyness of the GADAWFUL cold that settled onto my person over the weekend.

It's the kind of cold where the copious amounts of snot pouring from your nose feels like it has itching powder in it. My entire sinus cavity and down my nose feels like what it wants is a good going-to with a handful of them fuzzy pipe cleaners. I swear my eyes are physically bugging out from the pressure behind them. I spent the weekend neti-potting and it's probably forestalled the cavities in my face from completely swelling shut, but CHEEZE LOUEEZ, how many times can one blow one's nose in half an hour?

Maybe it was simply the distraction factor that made the pulling and stretching less traumatizing than usual. I suppose I should be glad. But right now I'm thinking I'd rather have the shoulder pain than have to debride layer after layer of my already screamingly raw under-nose skin, one tissue at a time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wanna do it again

This Friday, we're only going to Rock it back a little bit to the early '90s.

(OK, I know, he's kind of scary-looking. Ya think he coulda have passed a piss test?)

Lovely Daughter and I use to rock out to this when she was about Young Son's age. A mere 16 years later, Young Son and I are still feeling the groove. Now that's staying power.

I really wanted to find an embeddable version of the original, which rocks even harder, but no joy. It's The Man, keeping me down again. Bastages!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's official

All of my crap is now in Mr. B's house. Every last scrap. The best part is that I'm not even there to watch; Mr. B graciously volunteered his vacation time to supervise the movers. I'll get home tonight and voilĂ ! There it will be. Fin.

Even though I've been living there for two months, completing this final stage still feels like A Big Deal. After all, it's been over thirty years since I moved in with a boy. It means something; something significant. I'm sure as hell not moving again for a long, long time, so it's looking like I'm committed to this thing.

Scary, no?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

They tried to warn us

So the math teachers were right after all. Damn!

Time Paradox - I Divided By Zero, OH SHI.. Demotivational Poster


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the wild

Saturday, at nine o'clock in the a. m., Mr B and I found ourselves in line at the U-Haul place. We were behind four other groups of suckers parties. At the U-Haul, that translates to at least a 40 minute wait. Normally that would be enough to set me to hyperventilating and pacing like a... thing that hyperventilates and paces when stressed.

But Saturday it was OK. We were in no rush. All we had to look forward to was emptying the contents of my garage in to the U-Haul then cramming it all in to Mr. B's house. And believe me, we were not looking forward to it much.

It became even more OK when, in line ahead of us, I spotted something rarely seen in these parts: a real, live, honest-to-whatever Joe Dirt mullet! The guy even looked like Joe Dirt; you know, blond and kind of small and weasly. The only things missing were the rockin' sideburns and the facial hair.

It was awesome.

We don't get many mullets in these parts. For one thing I think we're too far north, and, as we're sandwiched in between two naval installations, there's not much space for them to roam. I don't know for sure, but I'm under the impression that large populations of free-range mullets don't thrive in proximity to military installations.

But there he was, a single specimen, flying his freak flag for all to see. It was truly impressive.

Live free, Joe Dirt mullet! You certainly made my day. Party on, sir.

Monday, April 20, 2009

She said

Mr. B is home sick today I'm at work. Mr. B wants to fire up the bread machine. He calls to ask where the whole wheat flour is. It's in the fridge. Ever helpful, I mention that the yeast is in the freezer.

He calls back to say he can't find the yeast in the fridge. That's because it's in the freezer, in that big metal canister that threatens to fall out and break your toe every time you pull something out. Yeah, it's there; it's right in the center of the top shelf, wedged in.

OK, he found it. All is well.

So what's my problem, you ask?

Well, he knows the whole wheat flour is in the fridge; we've actually talked about it because it's a silly habit of mine. I know he's wrestled the canister of yeast while pulling stuff out of the freezer. And I know that in the past week he watched me pull out those very same items to set up a batch of bread.

But apparently those data points are not connected to the 'whole wheat flour' and 'yeast' he was searching for this morning.

As a long-time mom and former wife, I'm trying really hard not to apply the default translation of 'a large proportion of what comes out of your mouth has no impact on me.' I'm trying really hard to look at it as an endearing personality trait.

Yeah, ain't it cute?

Friday, April 17, 2009

This just in!

First webisode of a project Lovely Daughter is doing. She's not in this clip, but she does show up in the teaser at the end.

My Transient Life, ep. 1
NSFW for language and mature themes

I was relieved to find out she's not Candy, although I'm not convinced that's not her voice....

Spread the word -- if it gets popular enough and they get sponsors, she might get paid!

Are you gonna?

Gooo-oood morning, everyone! It's one of those Fridays, and I'm ready to Rock! I'm feeling pretty contrary today, and am therefore compelled to post a song that lends itself to cranking up REALLY LOUD.

So here you go.

Young Son loves this song. It doesn't get too much play around here these days, but when we do hear it in the car, the volume gets cranked and we sing it REALLY LOUD.

That's not weird, is it? Singing this with your mom? Hope not....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What not to do

Things I have actually been paid to do:
  • Count mosquito eggs

  • Make parts for these

  • Make things like this (This one's not mine)

  • Count money (Again, not mine)

  • Make these (Also, not mine)

  • Telephone soliciting (I'm positive some of these are my fault. I'm sorry.)

Yeah, what can I say? It's been a full life.

I don't get paid to blog, but I get paid while blogging. Does that count?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So authentic!

Evil Twin files this report about a recent family visit.

Click the forward arrow near the center of the bar below to move through the slideshow.

What? You don't create Powerpoint presentations of your family photos and send them to your friends to blog about? Well, maybe you should.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Two years ago today, Mr B and I found out we were dating and my life was transformed in ways I had never even imagined.

(Wow, did I really just write that? Don't tell Mr B -- wouldn't want him to get all ego-flated or anything.)

Monday, April 13, 2009


Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns

That was my favorite nursery rhyme from childhood, no shit. Apparently I was a carboholic even then, back when carbs were called 'starchy foods'.

This year I decided I wanted to make hot cross buns for the holiday. I've done some baking -- heck, I've even been paid to bake -- but I've never tackled the HCB. It didn't seem that complicated, and it probably wouldn't have been if I could just once get through a set of instructions as written, without trying to improve the process. Because I know so much more than the PROFESSIONAL BAKERS WHO WROTE THE RECIPE.

The first batch tasted all right, but then again, anything glazed with honey butter is pretty much incapable of sucking. Unfortunately, they resembled not so much hot cross buns as hot cross discs. Oh, and I was too lazy to make the icing for the crosses, so they were just hot discs. And after half an hour they weren't even hot. Just discs.

Since I am nothing if not stubborn, the second batch using my new and improved recipe is already in the works.

How far am I willing to go? How many discs am I willing to eat because I can't bear to throw them away? Well, in the words of Michael Scott, "This is a dream I've had since lunch. I'm not giving up on it now!"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just a boy and his pipe wrench

You can blame Cary for this one. He posted some total 80s awesomeness this week and I can't get this one out of my head. Since it looks like this tune is gonna Rock my Friday whether I want it to or not, I may as well spread the joy.

That is a pipe wrench, right?

So, does anyone remember whether all guys wore their pants this high and tightly belted in the 80s? I mean, I know the women did, but I don't remember this guy's pants looking that goofy back in the day.

Then again, there is a lot I don't remember about the 80s....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Potheads, unite!

April seems to be the month of anniversaries around here. We've already celebrated Ides of Meatloaf (OK, belated) and Room Temperature Day, First Night's coming up, and I just realized that it was about a year ago we started the Cult of the Neti Pot. I've mentioned it before and have threatened to expound upon its virtues. Lucky you, today's the day!

Learning to love the neti pot
(or How My Family Became Potheads)

I'd heard about neti pots for years and they always kind of freaked me out. They were used by people who knew what 'macrobiotic' meant. You know, people who wore long, Indian-print skirts, never shaved, and nursed their kids until they were old enough to drive. I knew that in parts of the world they are part of the daily hygiene routine, as normal as brushing teeth, but that was there, not here. I grew up in the Midwest, the land of chlorinated public pools, and getting water up my nose ranked right up there with stepping on a wasp on the list of things I'd rather not ever do again. Even just thinking about putting water up there on purpose gave me a headache.

Mr. B had a really bad allergy season last spring and his doctor's nurse recommended a neti pot. He dutifully bought it and it sat around for a couple of weeks. I'd open the cabinet and peek at once in awhile, fascinated and repelled, and wonder exactly how in the hell it could possibly not suck. I mean, nasal irrigation sounded good in theory, but eewwww!

After one particularly miserable week, even with the help of our good friends Claritin and Flonase, he watched the instructional DVD (it must be really complicated, to warrant an instructional DVD, right?) and gave it a go. He's a brave, brave man.

He not only pronounced it do-able, but not sucky at all. And it relieved the congestion in his head and resulting post-nasal drip better than any of the medicines.

Well, OK then. Good for him. Glad that worked out for ya, fella.

Right around that time, I had a teacher conference for Young Son. I was shocked at her reports of oddball disruptive behaviors, inattention, and other things that seemed totally out of character and out of the blue. Like any mom of a boy, I wondered if these were signs of some sort of scary behavioral problems. Oh god.

While I frantically searched for explanations, it occurred to me that Young Son also had been having a miserable allergy season. I had been giving him Claritin on top of his usual Flonase. Claritin is supposed to be OK for kids, right? It's sold over-the counter in children's doses, with kites and flowers on the box and everything. But it was the only thing that had changed recently, so stop it I did, the very next day. And the Flonase, too, just for good measure. I'm a huge fan of 'Better living through chemistry' and all, but was time to think outside the chemical box.

Guess what? By the end of the week, Young Son was back to his happy, jolly self. That was a huge relief. But what to do with the allergies?

Enter the neti pot.

I made Mr. B demonstrate it for me to make sure he wasn't secretly writhing in agony, then I tried it. Yeah, it stung for a minute, but it cleared out a whole bunch of crud. Like a scary bunch. Having passed the Mom Test, I decided it was time to try it out on Young Son.

Now Young Son is not one to submit gracefully to something unfamiliar and a bit suspect just because this person who calls herself 'Mom' tells him it's OK. I had visions of having to hold him in a headlock and force the thing up his nose, but it turned out to be no big deal. My boyfriend did his demo thing while I casually remarked how cool it was that the water went in one nostril and out the other! And you can even talk! Wow! Yeah, I sold it hard. It's a gift.

I mixed up a fresh batch of saline, stuck the spout in Young Son's nose, showed him how to turn his head just so, and that's all there was to it. Honest!

I demonstrated it to the Ex so he could help Young Son. He and his wife jumped right on board. A few weeks later I demonstrated it to Evil Twin and her husband Mope when we met Back East. Mope fell in love with it and demonstrated it to their college-age son, who showed it to his frat brothers. Rumor has it their local drugstore couldn't keep the things in stock.

And that, my friends, was how we launched the Cult of the Neti Pot.

We still use it daily, sometimes twice. We take it with us on travel. It doesn't suck, I swear, and that's coming from me, the huge pussy! Call me Billy Mays, but I'm not ashamed to stand tall and proclaim this thing is the shiznit.

Hey, here's a bonus: It cuts way back on the nose-picking.

Wanna see how it works? Go ahead, you know you want to.

Note: Don't use regular table salt! UN-iodized only!

Below are some details for people who care. The rest of you are excused, but be sure to check in tomorrow for Friday's Rock!

Are they gone? OK, here's the scoop.

Here's the brand I bought. Most brands come with little saline packets, and you can get refills. They carry them at Walgreen's in my area. I use picking salt, which is un-iodized (very important!) fine-grain salt. I mix three parts salt to one part baking soda in a container and we use about 1/2 tsp per pot. I keep it in a little sugar bowl with a little spoon. Cute!

Also, the first few times I used it, it did sting a little, but nothing like getting a snoot full of pool water.

I found that plain salt without the baking soda can sting a little, as can using too much salt, or water that is too hot or too cold. They say shoot for body temp water, where you can't really tell what temp it is when you stick your finger in it. I usually go just a hair warmer because my hands are always cold. It won't take long for you to dial it in right where you want it.

So there you go. Yes, it's weird and foreign, but it works, and it's safe for kids. And you can talk while water comes out your nose. Doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

IoM 2009 Wrap-up

We finally did it! We celebrated our belated Ides of Meatloaf 2009 last Saturday. ET definitely wins the prize for Most Authentic Menu; ours was a pale imitation at best. In my defense, it's hard to pull out all the stops when feeding only the three of us. One can only eat so many French Fried Onions, you know.

This year I employed a new traditional element: canned crescent rolls. They performed beautifully, burning on the bottom just as I remember from childhood. As I set them on the table I realized that Young Son had never had canned biscuits! They all disappeared, burned bottoms and all. We lost major points as our other side dishes (stir fried asparagus, roasted baby carrots) were completely inauthentic, although they were tasty.

For dessert, I stole J's (ET's daughter) idea from their 2008 celebration: a Twinkie Jello mold. I decorated with a can of Redi Whip and, may I say, it was awesome. I think it's going to become a staple. The one pic I took came out badly and by the time I got it adjusted it looked just like a bad photo from a 70s women's magazine. Score!

I swear, I'm embarrassed to post my meatcake pic. Just so you know, this is what happens when one starts dinner too late and is too lazy to get out the decorating tools. The worst part was it didn't even taste good! I tried a new recipe -- big mistake. ET's cake looked amazing, as usual. Gee, guess which of us used to get paid as a cake decorator? Hint: It wasn't the one who made the beautiful meatcake.

Mark your calendars for 15 March 2010, OK? I'd love to have y'all play along. It's a wonderful excuse to eat badly, and we all need more of those.

Besides, Twinkie Jello! C'mon, how could that be wrong?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Room Temperature Day!

(Actually it was Sunday the 5th. I'm just behind, as usual.)

Happy... wha?

Why, it's the first day of the year at or above 68 degrees, of course. This is just the second Room Temperature Day we've celebrated -- Young Son made it up only last year. We observed the occasion yesterday in the (now) traditional manner with egg salad sandwiches, although we were missing the Crystal Light. It wasn't the same without it but we soldiered through.

I feel sad that some places never get to celebrate Room Temperature Day. There's something magical about that first day you can leave the front door standing wide open without hearing the furnace kick on. Doesn't even matter that it rarely lasts more than a day or two -- it's simply an amuse-bouche for what's to come.

Or so's I tell myself, anyway.

If you have already experienced Room Temperature Day 2009, I give you permission to hold a belated celebration using your summer comfort food of choice, but don't go getting all cocky now. Rest assured, there's more cold, wet weather on the way.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just the thing

Ah, there's nothing like a brisk, eye-watering PT session followed by a steroid shot in the shoulder to set the tone for the work week. Happy Monday! God, I love my frozen shoulder....

I shouldn't bitch, really -- PT has been going pretty well. Yeah it hurts, but I'm making progress and my day-to-day pain has decreased dramatically. One thing that continues to bug me is this one tendon, the one right there, you know? Whenever the tech pulls my arm out to its limits, that damned tendon is the the first thing to pull and burn and AaaaAAArgh! We figured out it's probably tendinitis, which is not very helpful right now, thank you. Hence the shot. Fingers crossed -- I'd hate to think this big old betadine stain on my shoulder is all for nothing. Good thing I wore white today.

The bad news is that I learned Mr. Conscientious is transferring out next month. I chastised him for leaving me before my therapy is complete, but I guess his so-called career is more important. Selfish bastard.

BTW, I think he's older than I guessed. He's probably early-mid thirties. Now that I'm almost AARP-material, all young men look ridiculously youthful to me. Not that it matters at all, just thought you'd like to know.

Week eight, commencing. Wednesday I see The Professional. Think of me...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fly on

I've been Rockin' the Fridays pretty old-school lately and I feel no particular compulsion to stop. Get in, hang on, and shut up -- here we go!

Jimi Hendrix is another artist I missed the first time around. I was only 11 when this came out on his posthumously-released album. As a middle class white kid, the whole late-sixties thing scared the crap out of me so I missed a lot of the good stuff. But as I got older, I 'got' it, and I came to love Jimi Hendrix.

Even though I am glad I didn't have to go through adolescence in the early-mid sixties*, I am sad that I wasn't old enough to 'get' Hendrix the first time 'round.

But that's why the universe invented YouTube, right?

* Oh yeah, the mid-seventies were so much better!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Well, there's your problem

Today I read a post in which the author discussed inspiration and writing prompts. She asked her readers what they do to get out of a blue period or break a block.

That's when I realized what my problem is. I'm blocked and blue!

Ba-da Bum!

[...insert crickets chirping...]

OK, so maybe you had to be there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Haha... fooled you... ha.

These days I feel left out of the whole April Fool's Day thing. I'm not much of a prankster, partially because I only have five coworkers and they're even older and crabbier than I am, and partially because I'm a pussy and I hate hurting people's feelings.

Although... it wasn't always this way.

Some ten years back, my coworkers and I got it in our heads that it would be really funny to take a screenshot of the supervisor's computer desktop, set it as his wallpaper, remove all of his desktop icons, and hide all the toolbars. So when he returned from lunch his desktop looked exactly as it did before except nothing was clickable -- it was all just an image.

We sat hunched over at our desks with our fists stuffed in our faces to keep from laughing as we heard him in his cubby, mousing and clicking and swearing. He fancied himself quite the sophisticated computer user and he was too damned stubborn to admit he couldn't figure out what in the hell was wrong.

After about half an hour (and at least two cold reboots) he called for help. We, being the helpful types, exploded into hysterical laughter.

As good as it was, unfortunately that prank is effective only once per office.

The Ex used to tell of an awesome prank from when he was teaching Submarine School* in the Navy, but I can't remember if he actually pulled it or has heard about it.

As the story goes, one guy was very proud of his desk by the window -- the only window in the shared space. His coworkers disassembled his desk and reassembled it exactly as it was, down to the last paper clip and coffee mug, on the rocky ledge right outside his precious window.

Remember that email making the rounds about office cubicle pranks? I found some of them on this site. Check it out -- there are some new ones! Even though I believe my pranking days are behind me, I do love the keyboard and mouse jello molds...

Maybe it's a good thing Evil Twin and I live on opposite coasts now.

* Yes, there is such a thing, I swear.