Oh I get it...like humor...but different.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Boz, you wanna take this one?

I was just looking at Andy Kaufman's blog (apparently he's back, and he has a blog, got it? Yeah, right) because, yes, it IS that boring at work today, and I ran across this comment by one of his intelligent and articulate readers:

Pokadotteardrop said...

a 55 year old man knows how to work one?knows how to start a computer at that?
plus why would someone famouse have a damn blog. maby andy is back but this site definetly isnt him. its some dumb ass being funny but immature cuz blogs are for 16 year olds and there is no reason why hed have one.
smart one. blew up your own spot.

Since I am only twenty-thirty one and not twenty-thirty five, I don't have to be offended on the basis of age. And since I am (wait, let me check, yup) female, I don't have to be offended on the basis of gender. But I think someone who IS, um, older and male should probably look to kick some ass.

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Thought du Jour

This is for you. You know who you are.

"Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing." - William Feather, (1888-1981) author

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Professional driver. Closed course. Do not attempt.

PU2 told me that my last post was "morose." Morose. I have been called morose by a not-yet-16-year-old. The same one who congratulates me on not being afraid of death, seeing as how I am so freaking old. How much worse can it get? Surely my teeth will be in a glass soon.

Of course, PU2 has very high standards. She is, without a doubt, the funniest person in my life. When we are alone together (for example, we go for a drive every evening for her to practice her driving), things happen that result in pee-in-my-pants hilarity. I was thinking about this last night. We started out for a drive with me....well, let's just say NOT in a good mood. She made a few tentative tries to cheer me up, then just gave me some time. Then, I truly don't know how it happened, I found myself laughing at something she said. Then guffawing. Then we were both off, laughing hysterically. She finally told me that I had to stop as I was putting both of us at risk, since she was driving in a state of hysteria. So much fun. So I am thinking, "I have to remember this. I have to write about this in my blog."

The problem is, most of what sets us off isn't easily written down. It has to do with things said at the same time, expressions, references to things in the past....it's really "you had to be there" humor.

It also has to do with Volkswagens. You know the old game "slug bug"? When you see a VW, you get to hit the person you are with? We long ago quit with the hitting (or else we would both be black and blue all the time), but we still call them....and we have added to the rules. You have to call them by color, first of all. And if they are old rather than recent, you have to call them as old. And if they are old AND a convertible, you get three points, but you have to call them as, for example, "Old! Blue! Covertible!" Any time there is a bug on the road, we race to see who can spit all that out first. What do we win? Nothing. Not a damn thing. But if you are riding around with a not-yet-16-year-old for a half hour every night, why not?

So then the game grew. First of all I tried calling a "proximity bug," meaning I advance-called all the bugs in the area. For some reason that didn't fly. Don't know why. They PU2 introduced the concept of the "mercy bug." I called one, and she said she "let" me have that one, it was a "mercy bug." Uh-huh. Oh, and then there are the times that she can't quite get her mouth to spit out a color, or she sees green and says "blue," so there are also "rainbow bugs."

I just reread that. You guys are going to shake your heads in pity that this is the sort of thing that makes me laugh, but it does.

But last night we were driving, almost home. A Suburban pulls up next to us at a light. A young man is driving it, his dad in the seat next to him. "Look," I say to PU2. "There is a guy driving with his dad just like you are driving with your mom." I try to make myself invisible so it will look like she is some cool blonde alone in a Jeep. She looks at him and then at me and says, in the most scathing tone imaginable, "Oh, yeah. We are twinkies." *giggle*

Speaking of a cool blonde in a Jeep, it is a HOOT to ride with her and watch the guy drivers practically run off the road when they see her. PU2 is a VERY pretty girl with long blonde hair. Boy, does she get checked out! All the time! And she doesn't even see it. She could care less.

Wait a minute. In four months she will be able to drive alone. Out there. With those guys. Hey. It's not so funny now!

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Hush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry

It is, perhaps, a little-known fact that most editors like to work in a very quiet workplace. If one is concentrating on word management, it can be very distracting to have voices speaking other words in the area. Makes sense, no? Consider, for example, the time one of my fellow editors was designing a cover for a publication by someone named Honeycutt and got a call from someone named Humphries...and the publication came out weeks later with the name Humphries on it. It can be hard to shut out the auditory stimuli.

So what is my workplace like at this time? A nice, though small, private office in a quiet corner of the company? Hell, no. No way. I am in a cube farm. And not only am I in a cube farm, I am in a cube farm next to the customer service reps...you know, the people who talk on the phone all freakin' day long.

Directly in front of my cube is the nice, private office of the (multilingual) director of consumer service. He rarely closes his door, though, and he takes all his phone calls on speaker phone, so I get to hear BOTH sides of his conversations. And the CSR guy next to me used to be in radio, so his voice carries for several zip codes. And my own boss, next to the CSR boss, loves to debate minutiae at great length and high volume.

So here I sit, trying to concentrate on an item to be edited.
CSR boss is trying to get his speaker phone to work..."Hello? Hello? Hello?"
My boss is waxing eloquent in discussion..."Agreed! Agreed! Agreed!"
The radio/CSR guy is saying, for the umpteenth time this day, "Just ask for me. My last name is Bass, like the fish."
A crow is screeching in the tree outside my window.
Someone is running down the hall.
Two cubes over another CSR rep is talking about her dating life.
Two cubes the other direction two writers are discussing word choice for an item.
Down the hall the president of the company is laughing that laugh of his that sounds like he is chewing each "ha" into a bunch of pieces.
Now the CSR boss is speaking Russian, loudly, into his speaker phone.
My boss is exclaiming, "It's classic! Classic! Look at this!!!"
Car alarm in the parking lot
Another CSR, with the patience of a saint, is saying, "Do you have a firewall?"
A voice from somewhere out over the cubes says, "Oh, shit!"

I put on my headphones and crank up the CD--60 minutes of the sound of a storm rolling in as waves crash onto a beach. I close my eyes for a moment and try to feel the ocean breeze against my face. I can't feel it, but at least I can't hear the other noises either.

Ah, technology.

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An abysmal attitude about alliteration

If you haven't already seen it, check out Mo's post entitled "Alliteration." What IS the protocol for dealing with the slack-jawed masses on matters like this? Does Emily Post address how best to say to someone, "You are an idiot and a blustering fool"? I applaud Mo's efforts to be polite (and I am sure her tongue will heal eventually), but would it have been so wrong to have politely pointed out to the dumbass that he IS a dumbass? No, I know the answer. You can't tell someone he is a dumbass (unless you are The Daily WTF, bless her heart, I love that woman.) And, as Mo said, company is company. But Christ on a cracker! What kind of company is that for a college-edjumakated woman?

Here is what I want to know. With the educational system the way it is, will Trivial Pursuit be a thing of the past in 20 years? Will there be anyone left to answer the questions? God forbid you need a triangular chip for your brown pie! Holy shit, Wanda. Literature? OMG. Or a yellow chip. Or a green chip. Science? Don't be silly.


But back to The Daily WTF. That woman writes the way I would write if my inner monologue ever started surfacing through my fingers. She writes the way I would write if I had the big ol' hairy ones to do it. She writes the way I would write if I ever stabbed my self-editing feature in the back and tossed its lifeless corpse in a lava flow.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

This is the kind of people I work with

--Time flies.
--I can't; they're too fast!

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What a lovely way of saying how much you love me

This woman is only 37 and has 15 kids? And may have more? Good grief, Hildy! And note that this is not some backwoods hillbilly family. This guy was a state representative. You would think they would figure out what is causing it.....

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Monday, May 24, 2004

Everybody comes to Hollywood

I called in sick Friday *cough*faker!*cough*, and PU2 and I went up to Hollywood with tickets for a taping of "On Air with Ryan Seacrest." Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that we were there over an hour early, we didn't get it. Apparently they don't count their tickets very carefully. No matter. PU2 has the utmost contempt for Ryan Seacrest anyway (she just wanted to see Nelly Furtado)...so we shopped Melrose instead.

I say "we." That is incorrect. "She." I just carried the parcels and handed over the credit card when necessary. PU2 did a great job of shopping, though. She bought only two things (although we must have tramped up and down a good 10 blocks' worth of Melrose).

She loves to go into the vintage stores, and it is a hoot to look through the merchandise...she ended up buying a Riverside County Sheriff's Department jacket but passed on a Ford repairman's uniform shirt with the name "Willie" on it. I think she will regret that.

We also ate at a pleasant sidewalk cafe called "Indigo's." It was something of a necessity; one had to be a customer to use the restroom, and, well, you know....but the food was good, and the people watching was even better. We sat next to a photographer who was showing his portfolio to an aspiring actress. She was looking for someone to take her head shots. That was a fun conversation to overhear...and we both got cricks in our necks trying to catch a glimpse of his work (good, from what I could see).

While we were sitting at the cafe, a man walked by. He was at least 6 feet tall and very thin. His hair was up in high pigtails (think Jim Carrey in "In Living Color"), and he had on a miniskirt and fishnet stockings. Now, I thought he said, "Have a nice day, I love you." But PU2 heard, "How's Satan, I love you." We'll never know, I guess....But I like my version better.

The highlight of the day: PU2 (who has possessed a driving permit for two months now) drove home from Hollywood to Irvine during 5 p.m. traffic. That girl. I swear. She is GOOD. If your learning-to-drive experience is in SoCal, I don't think there is much that the U.S. is going to throw at you in the way of driving challenges thereafter. I personally learned to drive in a town with a population of under 5,000, and my first experience was driving around and around the high school football stadium. I really didn't drive in true freeway traffic until I moved out here. I can't conceive of learning to drive the way PU2 has learned to drive. Ai chihuahua. On day two of her official three-day driving school she drove the 5 in the rain. Just shoot me. Kill me now. I could never have done that.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mama Don't Preach

Not to sound like an old mother, but…..

What is it with people who are in such a rush to get married?

Now I am not talking about the “I can’t live without her/him another minute” kind of marriages. I am talking about the “I’m [fill in the blank with an age], it’s time” or the “Well, what else am I gonna do?” or the “Why not?” kind of marriage.

Allow me to expound.

In a past job, I worked with two men, both of whom I liked a great deal. One of them, V., turned 35 and decided it was time to get married. At least, that is how it seemed to me. He had a very specific idea about what kind of woman he should marry (based on cultural traditions), and he found her and married her. One month he is the happy-go-lucky surfing Peter Pan bachelor Lothario, and the next month he is Mr. Domestic. I do think he loved her. He probably still loves her. But, what the heck? The clock on the clubhouse wall says it’s time to get married? Please, no one ever do that for me.

A bigger concern is my other friend, P., who is 40-something and has been married before. I don’t think his clock is telling him to get married. I really don’t know WHAT is. But he has a date picked out and a reception hall booked. I really think he is being carried forward by inertia. His friends think he should be married. His fiancé thinks he should be married. The waves in the ocean are pushing him toward marriage. But is he “in love”? Does he want this more than anything else? Lordie, no. Not at all. I doubt that the woman enters his mind for hours at a time. So why? Why make that kind of commitment?

IMHO, the only reason one should get married or make a commitment to a relationship is if one has found a person without whom life will never be the same. If there is someone in your life who is always on your mind, someone about whom you think “Oh, I wish ___ was here to see this/hear this/experience this,” someone without whom no experience is as vibrant or enjoyable, then think about committing to that person. If there is someone for whom you would restructure your life (but chances are that someone would never ask you to) and be glad that you did, then think about it. If there is someone who is your intellectual, sexual, and emotional equal, then think about it. [Don’t underestimate the importance of sexual compatibility, by the way. Try a relationship without it for a few years and see what you think. On the other hand, ask yourself if your relationship would still be strong if sex was no longer possible for the two of you, due to injury, disease, or other calamity.] If you can see yourself being 60 years old with that person and still having things in common, experiences that you share and enjoy, then think about it.

But if there is someone to whom you are committed and you find yourself saying to yourself, as P does, “I like spending time with _____, but it takes time away from my [fill in the blank with a hobby],” then you might want to think again. If you find yourself looking forward to the times when that person is out of town because you can do what you want to do, then think carefully about your choice. If you could walk away from that person tomorrow without it being a wrenching, saddening experience that would leave your life forever much darker, then do it.

The real test is not “If you set something free and it comes back to you, it was meant to be.” The real test is “If you free yourself from something and you want to go back to it, then it was meant to be.”

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And speaking of traveshamockeries....

We have been rating commercials at our house recently. My favorites are the Citi identify theft commercials (see three of them here). PU2 likes the Miller commercial that coined the term traveshamockery. Those are the top and get 10 or nearly 10. Oh, and the one where the guy is eating a spicy sandwich and sets his desk on fire. That last scream of his is classic. [But since I can't remember what the fast food place is that is being advertised, I can't give that one a 10--if it doesn't make the product memorable, it isn't working.]

The bottom of the ranking is reserved for Old Navy (though their most recent ones didn't totally suck). The takeoff on "Green Acres" was a traveshamockery indeed. Ack. Ptooie! And the disco one? "You boys are a 20!" Puhleeeezzzzz! Who is going to see that and say, "I gotta get me some Old Navy, yes sir!"

As the season of "West Wing" ended last night, there may be nothing much to watch for the next few weeks EXCEPT commercials. *sigh*

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Do people really think this way?

So I am loading the dishwasher this morning, getting ready to pour in my Palmolive liquid dishwasher detergent, and I notice that the dishwasher's detergent receptacle says "Cascade." Right there, on the cup. Stamped into the plastic. I had never noticed it before. Oh, my. I have been making SUCH a mistake. I haven't been using Cascade, even though the dishwasher has clearly been telling me that I must. Of course, I put the Palmolive up. I wouldn't THINK of crossing my dishwasher. If it says use Cascade, then Cascade it is. I always do as I am told. I wonder if I need to disinfect the dishwasher or anything? Clear all traces of the proscribed product from its crevices? Do you think an apology is needed? And if so, written? Or will oral do?
I am so ashamed. Ignorance is no excuse. I hope no one finds out about this traveshamockery.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Spring-loaded in the pissed-off position

That's how this day is going.

Any questions?

I didn't think so.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Good things that have happened to me today:

1 Hubcap sent me flowers - sunflowers. If you have seen Calendar Girls, you know why that was a perfect choice.
2. Hubcap also left two perfect birthday cards lying around for me to find last night. I'm going to hang on to that boy.
3. PU2 drew me a picture and made me a card for my birthday...and all this after saying a very sleeping "happy birthday" to me as I left for work this morning.
4. PU1 called me last night to wish me a happy birthday.
5. Two of my coworkers showered me with torn up bits of paper---their interpretation of confetti. My cubicle looks like someone took a weedwhacker to a TPS report.
6. Mo sent me an e-card featuring the meatwad of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force because she KNOWS how much I love that cartoon (Ralph! Earl!).
7. Cin sent me a singing e-card.
8. Hubcap is taking me out to eat tonight at a very nice restaurant. I think he will even spring for supersizing my meal this time! (j/k, Hubcap)

I am feeling the lub!

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Wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door

An IM from PU2:
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Nancifras
Happy Birthday to you
And many more, on channel 4
With scooby-doo on channel 2
With ugums the man/lady on channel 80

I think she is trying to make up for her comment last night, as we walked the dog. We were talking about my birthday, and she mused, "Well, it's a good thing you aren't afraid of death."
Ouch! *giggle*

Thanks, PU2. Just remember: old age happens to everyone who lives long enough.

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Monday, May 17, 2004

You Say It's Your Birthday

Hey! I almost forgot! Tomorrow is my twenty-thirty-first birthday. If anyone needs an address to which to send gold jewelry, just let me know.

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I got nuthin

It was a rather dull weekend. We didn't really go anywhere or do anything. I can't even make any interesting stuff up. Let's see....nope. Nothing.

We are in a holding pattern at my house as Hubcap interviews for a new job. He isn't unemployed, so there is no rush, but we are ready to move on to the next step in life. Consequently, we are in limbo. We COULD get to know those new neighbors, but why bother? We won't be here that long. We COULD get more involved in church, but why bother? We won't be here that long. I COULD wash the windows, but why bother? I will have to wash them when we get ready to sell the house.

When the call finally comes for me to get the house ready to sell, I am going to be a happy camper and it is going to be, as Hubcap says, "Assholes and elbows." But until then....la di da, la di da. *yawn* *drumming fingers*

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Friday, May 14, 2004


My daughter, sometimes called K, more often referred to as PU2 (for Pod Unit 2) lives here in Cali with Hubcap and me. She appears in my posts all the time, and will continue to do so. Love ya, babygirl!

But for the moment here, we are going to acknowledge the birthday of her brother, PU1, who lives in Arkansas. He turns 20 years old this day (or will at about 10:45 p.m. Central time). So everyone join me in wishing PU1 a very happy birthday, and many more, and a pinch to grown an inch. Love ya, babyboy!

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Mother May I

I am sure I have broken some unwritten rules of blog decorum by adding to my list of blogs without getting written permission from all blogowners, so I apologize to anyone who would rather NOT be linked here. Just let me know if you want me to take you off the list. But it is easier to me to remember what blogs I like to check out regularly if I have them listed, so I am starting to work on adding to the list when I can (and when I want to do ANYTHING rather than the work I am supposed to be doing).

Everyone have a great weekend!

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Sorry, Hubcap

My husband, whom I shall call Hubcap, commented after the posting about earthquakes that I make myself sound like a dork. He is going to REALLY roll his eyes over the iceman post below. :-)

But I am really not like my mother. Really. No kidding. Not at all.

Check out iserenity for some pleasant, soothing sounds.

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The Iceman Cometh

I am going to rant about my work now. Please feel free to skip this. It will get ugly.

I work with a passle of PhDs, highly educated, mostly male, techie nerdy types. They have been referred to as "walking brain cells." So why the HELL is it that they can't handle ice cube trays? Huh? Why?

We have a great kitchen here, fully stocked, very nice. For a while we had only two ice cube trays in the freezer and 30 people in the company, so I was used to finding empty trays in the freezer. I could deal with that. I mean, you can't really expect someone with multiple degrees to walk the four steps from the freezer to the sink to refill the trays.

Recently, though, Angela bought an extra two trays and an ice bin. Heaven. Sheer heaven. I dump and make ice once a day, and there seems to be enough in the bin to keep everyone happy. I didn't expect anyone else to make the ice; I am the iced tea lover, so I am good with that.

However, this week, a new perfidy has emerged. Some techie nerdy type is taking his ice from the trays, ignoring my carefully filled bin, and leaving the empty trays on the rack. So when I go to make new ice, I have empty trays and no ice to dump. Now, mind you, there IS ice in the bin. It's not that the ice is all gone and techie nerdy is desperate for a cube to cool his coffee. No. He is IGNORING it and going to the source. Needless to say, this totally throws off my ice-making rhythm and results in an inadequate supply of ice in the bin.

Oh, the humanity!!!

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

The word for the day is acceptance

"You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today"

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

There are a few people in my life who are not particularly good at acceptance. I am not great at it myself, but I am certainly better than I was before I married D. He has been a very strong force in helping me with that particular skill. Having just spent three days with my mother, though, I am acutely aware that some people could use some in-service training in acceptance.

If you are not happy with your life, ask yourself why.
Is there something that you can change?
If you aren't going to change it, then quit bitching about it.
If you can't change it, then quit bitching about it.
If you have chosen NOT to change it, ask yourself why. Dr. Phil would say (and in this he would be right) that although you feel like the situation is undesirable, it must be working for you on some level or else you would change it. What is the level on which it is working for you? Do you like the attention it brings you? Do you like the sympathy? Do you like the drama? Some people just like to be miserable.
If you CAN'T change it (you are old, ill, handicapped, ugly, a Republican), then for God's sake quit worrying about it. What good does it do to stew and pout about those things that you can't change? I don't get it. Does it in any way make your situation better if you tell every single living soul what is wrong with you? Tell those people who can actually HELP in some way (doctors, caregivers), and leave the waitresses and check-out people alone. They can't help you.

Now I am obviously reacting to my visit with my mom here, and she is the queen of the complaint. However, this applies to many, many people (myself included) on a less obvious level. It is always good to have someone you can vent to when you have ongoing concerns in your life (hate your job, worried about kids/parents/car/toenails). But ask yourself, "Is my telling this person about this helping me in any way whatsoever? Is this someone who can give me advice? Steer me toward help? Play the role of a therapist?" If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, have pity.

D. used to give me a set period of time to wring my hands and vent after something happened. He was patient and attentive and gave me excellent feedback. When that time was up, though, he "suggested" that I put that concern out of my mind and move on. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I did, and it is a great process. I think of it as the "egg-timer" process. Turn over the egg timer. Stew, wallow, vent, whine, complain, seethe, stomp, shout, cry, storm. Time is up. Move on. Gradually I was able to make that time shorter and shorter. Now I am able to do a blitz-vent in under a half an hour most of the time. D. is grateful. I am grateful.

Time is up. Egg timer is empty. I'm moving on.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A brazen and pathetic cry for attention

I need comments, people! Comments! I need to feel the love! If it weren't for Mo, bless her heart, I'd be alone in the world here....

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Retirement living

My mom and dad are currently living in a "cottage," actually a two-bedroom apartment in a fourplex, at a very nice retirement community in Arkansas. I spent the weekend with them there.

What is remarkable about this community (and I know it's remarkable because here I am remarking on it!):

1. Electric scooters and wheel chairs. People spend as much money on electric conveyances to get them to the dining room as I spent on my first car. Some of them are spiffy to the max. There is a retired quarterback who buzzes into the dining room on a scooter that allows him to back up to the table and rotate his seat so he can eat from it without ever stirring. Now, there is a down side to this. Speedy electronic things that weigh hundreds of pounds in the hands of elderly people. Need I say more? :-)

My mom's scooter is not high dollar, but it hauls butt in a major way. She is as funny as hell on it....She's about as big as a twig, and slightly bent, and she gets on that thing and opens it up and people scurry for sure! She motors down to get the mail, puts it in her basket, and roars back. She has been threatened with speeding tickets. :-)

2. People dress for dinner. And for lunch. I guess that retirement communities like that are only affordable for people who have had a decent income in their lives, and these are the fine people of the South, so you see people who are what I consider "dressed up." Jewelry, nice clothes. I didn't expect that. Don't know why.

3. Friendly, friendly people.

4. Among the couples, it is almost always the women taking care of the men, fussing over them in the dining room, scooting their chairs up, straightening their place mats. My mom has a five-minute ritual for situating dad for a meal...He just sits there and grins. Could he do it himself? Absolutely. Does he? Why would he? She just flutters.... And at the next table, I watched a woman named Margaret do the same thing for her husband, Sam. She worked for a good three minutes to try to get him to "raise up his butt" so she could move his chair forward. He didn't even try. She finally said, "I give up" and left him eight inches out.

5. A caste system. The people in the two-story apartment building eat in a different dining room from the people in the cottages, and they frown on "cottagers" trying to eat with them. Come to think of it, that is where most of the jewelry ate. Hmmmm.....

6. The residents vary in ability, as you would expect. You have people who never leave their apartments, with day caregivers and lunches delivered. Then you have people like the woman across from Mom and Dad who is gone most of the time, tearing around town in her Lincoln, going from bridge game to bridge game, with a different wig for each day of the week. The people in mom and dad's fourplex are all mobile and social. In fact, the man next door helps other people with their computer problems and walks his dog five or six times a day.

7. Pets. Nearly everyone in the cottages has a pet (not sure about the jewelry in the two-story apartment building). Next door to mom and dad you will find Duffy the Bichon, Pookie the teacup poodle, and Sheba the...well, I'm not sure. Mutt. Mom and Dad would like to have a cat themselves. I hope that will happen soon. Oh, and then there was the guy catty-corner from them who was completely mobile but bought an expensive electric wheel chair to ride to exercise the dog because the dog liked to run.

8. When you ask, "How are you today," you get an honest answer. Pull up a chair. This may take a while.

9. Everyone knows everything about everyone. By the time the U-Haul backs up to unload a new resident, the person's life history is passing from lip to ear to lip to ear in the dining room. Talk about neighborhood watch!

to be continued....

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I flew back to Arkansas this weekend to visit my parents, flying into Tulsa late Friday night and driving to Bentonville. I knew I was back in Arkansas when I noticed the following.....

1. I actually had to use my bright lights.
2. I couldn't see out of the windshield for all the bug juice (no bugs in Cali)
3. I wished I knew where the cruise control buttons were on my rental car (I haven't used cruise control in three years in Cali; that feature is provided free here compliments of the bumper of the car in front of you)
4. I smelled skunk. A lot. Often. And chickens. And cows.
5. The guy checking out in front of me at Wal-mart bought three things: Tide, beef jerkey, and Winchester cartridges for his hand gun.
6. Wal-mart. Bentonville is the home town and main office for Wal-mart. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Walmart millionaire, many of them old ladies who used to be check-out clerks in Waltons 5 and dime. Oh, and the largest warehouse under one roof in the U.S. or the universe or something like that.
7. Worsh. That's what people do there. They do it to their hair and their clothes.
8. Green. Oh my God. It is so freakin GREEN there! And after the manicured and sprinkled semigreen of Irvine, California, it seemed wild and untamed and lush. Beautiful.
9. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is so nice. Nice nice nice.
10. A very high ratio of automobiles to available pavement.
11. Sonic!!!!!!!!! Woo hooo!!!! Vanilla diet cokes rule!
12. Glascows. You would not think that a restaurant named "Glascows" would be a Mexican restaurant, but you would be wrong. And the guacamole at Glascows is the best I have ever had. It is the gold standard against which all guac is measured. Get there as soon as you can and get some. I don't think they will be around much longer. Everything around them has been bulldozed for some huge hotel, and they are the lone holdout, sitting in the middle of the driveway-to-be, still making great guac. Hurry.

Ah, Bentonville. I remember when it was 3,000 people and got its water from Ford Springs, the best, coldest water ever. Now it is over 20,000 and growing (along with neighboring small towns) by 2,000 people per month. It was a great place to grow up.

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Friday, May 07, 2004


You are not. Rolling on the floor. You are not. And your ass? Securely attached. I bet you aren't even laughing. Chortling? No. Snickering? Could be. But Rolling? Uh-uh. Most likely there was a momentary grin that flickered across your face. No, wait. It was gas. Never mind.

By the way....in case there is any misunderstanding about my intention in the posts below (and in any that may later appear above), I am trying to be entertaining here, people! These are not great social commentaries. There is no deep meaning here. I am going for a grin, a snicker if I can get it. K? Thanks.

Seacrest out.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Earthquake Killer

I am a killer of earthquakes. Allow me to explain.

When I was a junior in college, and well on my way to completing a degree in English (and a useful and practical degree it is, too!), I took geology as one of my you-mean-I-have-to-take-three-sciences? sciences. In a word (or three), I loved it. If I had discovered it sooner, I would be sitting on the rim of a volcano somewhere right now rather than editing precalculus items. But no matter. Geology became my avocation.

Living in Arkansas all those years, there wasn't a lot to do with that avocation. Yes, the bootheel of Missouri is seismically active and was, in fact, the site of the largest earthquake recorded in the contiguous states, blah blah blah. In fact, there was a scare in the 1980s when a scientist predicted another big one there, and people even as far away as northwest Arkansas were flocking to their insurance agents for earthquake insurance. But the big one didn't come, and there is a paucity of volcanoes in the Ozarks, so my love of geology had to be satisfied by occasional drives through Colorado armed with The Roadside Geology of Colorado.

Then in 2001, we moved to California. Swimming pools. Movie stars. The San Andreas Fault. Woo, baby....I was a pig in slop. Finally I was going to be able to experience an earthquake. Yeah, baby!

D moved out here almost a month before K and I did; we stayed behind to finalize the sale of our home. My daily fear was that he was going to get all the earthquakes before I got out here. Isn't that cute? I was thinking they must occur daily, weekly at the longest interval. How funny. How naive. How DUMB.

Yes, there ARE earthquakes out here daily. You can click on the link to the right there to see the map. See all those squares? Yeah? Lots of them. But can you FEEL them? Not where I am, I can tell you that! Since I have lived here, which is nearly three years now, I have felt only one tiny little bumper of an earthquake. That's it.

Oh, they happen. I see the crawls on the tv screen and hear the news reports. San Simeon. Near the Civic Center. Out in the ocean near Catalina (there are no geology nuts in the ocean near Catalina, people. Let's work harder on location here!!!). But in Irvine, USA? No, thanks.

I know, I know....those of you who have experienced "the big one" are thinking, "You just THINK you want to be in an earthquake, you silly girl! One will be one too many for you." Maybe you are right. But I was hoping to have the chance to make that judgment for myself. Alas, it is not to be, I fear.

But as for the one I did feel. I must tell you the story. No, it's not the kind of story Mrs. Pyles told us when I was in her fourth grade class. She told a story about sitting at a table getting ready to eat some soup and then suddenly finding her FACE in the soup. She told about the venetian blinds bang bang banging against the windows. No, that's not my story. Here is my story. My one and only earthquake. Pull your chair closer.

D and I were in bed for the night. In fact, we had already dozed off. (Exciting start, no?) K came in to ask a question or a favor or something. She was standing beside the bed talking to us when she said, "What was that?" I had thought that D had shifted slightly in the bed. It was nothing more than a little nudge. But K felt it through the floor.

"Wow," I said. "I think that was an earthquake."

K and I went downstairs to watch for the "news." D rolled his eyes in the darkness (he's used to me, bless his heart) and went back to sleep. When I saw the crawl, within about 10 minutes, that it had, in fact, been an earthquake, I was thrilled.

How pitiful is that?

D and I went to Palm Springs last summer for a short vacation. Among the other things that we did (and the high point of the trip for me) was to take a jeep tour of the San Andreas Fault. We saw the oases that grow along the fault, the rocks buckled and folded, the cracks and such, the powder-like soil. At one point, I was even able to stand astraddle the "fault" (which isn't a surface feature at all, but don't get me started). Our guide took us up a very narrow chasm, a slot canyon, between two huge rocks and recalled the tour group that was in there at the time the area had its last earthquake. Could that happen for me? No way. But it did happen the week after we left.

So, here is my thinking. I believe I am going to hire myself out as an earthquake killer. I would think that Mexico City or Japan would be happy to pay me big bucks just to come live there. I could pretty much guarantee to quiet the most seismically active area with my mere presence. This could be a good gig, no?

How long has Kilaeau been erupting now? It's probably a good thing that the vacation that D and I had planned to Hawaii this January had to be cancelled. I probably would have plugged that sucker up like sticking a cork in a bottle.

And on a side note....

You have to feel sorry for my poor daughter, K. Going to the beach with a geology nut is not the same as going with a "normal" person.

Me: *scooping up a handful of sand* K, see this sand?
K: *rolling eyes and sighing in exasperation* Yeah?
Me: *looking in awe at the tiny grains* Isn't it marvelous to think that this sand used to be part of a mountain somewhere?
K: *looking up and down the beach, judging how far she would have to run for help* Yeah.
Me: *waxing enthusiastic* I mean, just think....this may have been part of a mountain and then beach and then mountain and then beach untold times.
K: *turning catatonic* Yeah.
Me: *eyes beginning to tear up* It is amazing to think of the regenerative power of the earth.
K: *snore*

On the OTHER hand....

On a recent trip to Temecula, K and I were pondering what the heck had caused the boulders that are all over the mountains there. I am not talking pebbles here, people....I am talking chunks of rock the size of houses. And K didn't snore. In fact, she didn't even get catatonic. I am thinking there may be hope for that girl yet.....

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Did you know that Slim Fast is much better with potato chips? At least that is what my husband says. I don't know. I prefer to chase mine with Oreos.

Why do people have hands-free thingies for their cell phones and then hold the little microphone bud close to their mouths? Doesn't that kinda defeat the "hands free" idea?

Do you regularly get up in the middle of the night to eat? Have you ever awakened with chocolate chips melted onto your body?

Why do people who drive SUVs with off-road capability slow down to a crawl to go over the railroad tracks? Is their SUV "trail tested" but not "track tested"?

Why are there fiercely independent people who would never allow themselves to be told what to do who say, "I can't do that/go there/fly because I can't smoke there"?

Aren't there more people in the U.S. with wide feet than there are wide shoes in the stores?

Why do women need their initials on their handbags, shirts, etc.? Does this trend remind anyone else of Laverne?

Regarding the cartoon "Aqua Teen Hunger Force": why? Just, why?

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Monday, May 03, 2004


It was about two months ago that K and I first became aware of UGUMS (unknown gender, unknown mental stability) as we walked our dog. UGUMS lives a block from us in our small neighborhood, and we walk by his/her house at least three times a day.

On the night of that first sighting, we were doing our last walk of the evening at about 10 p.m. I was letting Dog roam a bit more than I should have, and he was sniffing in the plantings in front of this neighbor's house. K looked up to see UGUMS looking out at us through the vertical blinds. Now, mind you, this was not an eye peeping between the slats. This was an entire face, staring, motionless, expressionless. K mouthed the well-mannered "Ooops, sorry!" as I drug the dog out of the plants. The face didn't move or change expression. We scurried on.

Since that night, we have watched for the face, and we usually find it. The house is always dark. The face is always framed by a hood. Always is it expressionless and motionless. At first I was freaked out by it. Then K suggested that perhaps s/he was lonely or sad or whatever. We started waving and mouthing "hello." No response. No nothing. Just watching, watching, watching.

Sometimes the face is in the laundry room window. Sometimes it is in the living room window. Sometimes it is even upstairs. The vertical blinds are always closed, so it is easy to see when the face is there. I see him/her at 7 in the morning, at 10 at night, at noon.

I have seen UGUMS outside his/her house about six times. Usually s/he comes out early in the morning, walks about 10 feet from the front door, and stands looking at the house. When s/he sees me coming, s/he goes back inside and watches me pass. Once last week, I saw him/her in the back of the house, outside the open garage door. However, s/he scurried in rapidly at my approach. Only one time, very early in our "relationship," did s/he actually stay outside when we walked by...standing motionless in front of his/her front door, staring, watching.

There is only one pair of shoes outside the door, flip flops with flowers on them. This would seem to indicate that UGUMS is female. However, s/he moves more like a man. And since s/he always has his/her hood up, I can't tell anything about his/her hair. S/he usually wears a gray fleece hoodie with the hood up under a black coat (yes, inside too), though recently s/he has been sporting a new black and gray striped woven coat instead. [Keep in mind that it has been over 100 degrees here for the past three days.]

One night last week, when K and I walked by, we heard a child crying, and the sound seemed to be coming from UGUMS' house. I had never seen any sign of a child, and I hope it was sound bouncing from somewhere else, because it troubles me to think about a child in there....

I think I have been watching too many scarey movies....

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