Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Meme A-La-JaneyV

Here's the meme I owe JaneyV over at Whittering On. Janey just celebrated her Blogiversary by having a wisdom tooth extracted - not my idea of a great way to celebrate, but to each her own. So I raise a cuppa to Janey and here's my meme:

"Tagged Bloggers post answers to the questions on their blogs, changing questions as they wish:"

1. What do you do before bedtime? Well, I get up, brush my teeth, go to work...What? Oh, you mean RIGHT before bedtime!!! I usually read a book or play Bubble Breaker on my Treo. Something to quiet my ever-swirling brain.

2. What is your favorite sound? Silence. Is that a sound? Or is it the absence of sound? White Noise will do if silence is unavailable. I KNOW that's a sound. I am very sensitive to "ear pollution" and I like to hear myself think!!

3. What were your childhood fears? My childhood fears were pretty much my adult fears. Heights, death, small spaces, the enormity of space and time...Gee, wonder who Plato takes after? Poor kid!

4. What place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back? Well. I have traveled extensively within the US, but not much outside it. I loved New Orleans, but fear it will never be the same since Katrina. Also loved Seattle and would love to spend more time there. My all-time favorite is St. Mary's glacier just outside of Denver, CO. What a spiritual and scenic place...

5. What has made you unhappy these days? Being away from home so much with my job. Love the job, hate the overnight travel.

6. What websites do you visit daily? My blog, the blogs that are updated from my sidebar, my email accounts, and my company's portal.

7. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? Well, JaneyV and I have only "known" each other for a short time, but she is an Irish woman with a rapier wit and exceptional writing skills. I love her "Irish-isms" that flavor her writing like a sprinkling of gourmet salt flakes on a steaming ear of buttery sweet corn (that's a huge compliment, Janey, coming from a Midwesterner!). The Blogiverse is a better place with Janey in it!

8. What is your favorite item of clothing? My Spanx, of course!

9. What is your dream for the future? For the near future, it would be to find a living situation that allows me to do the job I love, and be home every night with the family I love. Ah, Bliss! For the long term, I want to enjoy raising my kids, see them leave the nest and live happy, productive lives. Grandbabies would be nice. I want to live to a ripe old age with my mind intact, preferably with my body intact too. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, and to have my survivors talk about what a rich life I led. Guess that's about it. Everything else is frosting!!

So that's me. Boring and ordinary, but now you have a deeper insight into my ordinary-ness!!

Who to tag? Well, how about Monnik, Debbielou, and SUV Mama? Totally optional, and if you've done it already, just let me know!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Afternoon Quickie

I'm in the airport, and no, I'm not figuring on joining the Mile High Club.

Just hanging out and figured I'd do a quick Meme. This one's from Travis over at One Word, One Rung, One Day and it's a simple one: grab the book you are currently reading, flip to page 56, and give us 2 - 5 lines. Since page 56 isn't the best for quotes, I am going out of bounds here and going from page 51. This is an excerpt from Dearly Devoted Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay:

(Dexter is meeting his sister, a police officer, for lunch)

'Because I am an inhuman monster, I tend to be logical, and I had thought that her new assignment would end her martyrdom as Our Lady of Perpetual Grumpiness. Alas, even her transfer to homicide had failed to bring a smile to her face. Somewhere along the way she had decided that serious law enforcement personnel must reshape their faces until they look like large, mean-spirited fish, and she was still working very hard to accomplish this....'

'...She called in her location and status and then sat across from me with a frown.

"Well, Sergeant Grouper," I said as we picked up our menus.

"Is that funny Dexter?"

"Yes," I said, "Very funny. And a little sad, too. Like life itself. Especially your life, Deborah." '

If you haven't read the Dexter novels, I would enthusiastically recommend them. The writing is as enjoyable, if not more so, than the story. Now that's my kind of book!

I still owe JaneyV a meme. Hopefully soon, Janey!

The Presidency, Explained

I picked Plato up from school yesterday, which he absolutely loves (so do I). He was bouncy and chatty, telling me all about his day. The highlight of his day was helping his class spell the word "VOTE" with red and blue plastic cups pushed through the holes of a chain-link fence separating their schoolyard from the street.
As we drove by and he proudly showed me his handiwork, he asked, "Mom, are you going to vote?" I told him that of course I would. He replied, "Who are you going to vote for?"

I explained that I hadn't quite decided yet, that I was still listening to the candidates talk and discuss important issues.

Plato informed me that if he were voting, he would vote for Obama. I asked him why. He rolled his eyes and said, "Moooommm! Don't ask me WHY!"

"Well, Plato, you don't just vote for someone because everyone you know is. You vote based on what you think of the candidates. Do you know who else is running besides Obama?" (I was figuring he just liked saying "Barack Obama." It does kind of roll off the tongue...)

"Uhm, John McCain?"

"Yes! Good job, Plato. You've been paying attention!" (as if he has any choice)

Plato thought a moment. ""Well... I would vote for Barack Obama because he talks smarter.

Aannnddd, he LOOKS smarter, too."

"Well. That's a MUCH better reason."

Plato is quiet, mulling something over. Finally he declares, "Mom? I would never want to be president."

"Really? Why not?"

"I think you have to take too many tests, and you probably get really tired."

I agreed, figuring he was talking about the rough campaign schedule and debates.

"Mom? When you run for president do you have to: (pumps arms wildly and pants) RUN for president?"

I stifle a guffaw. Barely. "No, honey, it's just a phrase. Everyone wants to get to the White House, so it's like a race, so they say you're RUNning for office. You don't actually have to run."

"Good, 'cause that didn't make any sense to me."

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Pony Eater (My 100th Post!)

Wow. 100 posts. Crazy goodness!

Put on your hard hats, post ideas are falling from the sky today.

First, a confession. I had a major blonde moment today. I was trying to get cash from an ATM at one of my hospitals. The machine looked ancient. I put my card in, entered my PIN, and then couldn't get the thing to give me any money. I couldn't select the options: there were options in green, red, and black, with buttons on the keypad in corresponding colors. I tried pushing every button, then pulled my card out and tried again. Same deal.

I did this 5 times, then tried a different card. Same thing. Disgusted, I headed off to my case with no cash (and no coffee, grrr...). I asked the folks in the lab if they've ever had troubles with the machine. No, no one else ever had that issue. I figured the damn thing was malfunctioning and someone would probably be fixing it.

6 hours later, I tried one more time before I left the hospital. Same thing. As I pulled out my card to leave, a light bulb went on. I swear, there had to be one above my head!!

I put my card back in, entered the PIN, and USED THE TOUCH SCREEN. Voila!! Money!! (giant forehead slap) Some days I'm just so blonde it hurts.


There I was, commuting (hate it!), warily watching the bumper-riding teenage driver behind me as she held her phone in one hand and twirled her hair with her other. I had my escape route all planned out like a good driver. I pulled up to a stoplight, braced for the impact, and when it didn't come I turned my attention to the car in front of me.

Crud. Why did I do that? I now have one of those brain-eating questions that Lewis Black talks about. The one you will NEVER learn the answer to:

"...when from behind me, a woman of 25 uttered the dumbest thing I'd ever heard in my life ... She said, 'If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.'

I'll repeat that.

I'll repeat that because that's the kind of sentence that when you hear it, your brain comes to a screeching halt. And the left hand side of the brain looks at the right hand side and goes, 'It's dark in here. And we may die.'

She said, 'If it weren't for my horse...' as in, giddy up, giddy up, let's go -

'I wouldn't have spent that year in college...' a degree-granting institution.

Don't! Don't think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood'll shoot out your nose. The American medical profession doesn't know why we get an aneurysm. It's when a blood vessel bursts in our head for no apparent reason.

There's a reason.

You're at the mall one day, and somebody over there says the dumbest thing you've ever heard and it goes in your ear. So you turn around to see if your friends heard it, 'cause if your friends heard it, and you can talk about what the jackass said, then it'll be gone. But your friends are over here, pretending they're gonna buy a cellular phone, and they're not gonna buy a cellular phone, because they don't even understand how the rate structure works.

So you turn back, to find the person who said it, because if you can ask 'em a question like, 'WHAT THE F**K ARE YOU TALKIN' ABOUT?!' ...then it'll go away. But they're gone.

And now those words are in your head. And those words don't go away.

'Cause the way I see it, 7% of our brains functions all the time, because 99% of everything that happens is the same old stuff. We get it. All right. Move on. Get it. Right.

But every so often, somethin' like that happens:

'If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college.'

So your brain goes, 'LET'S FIGURE IT OUT! Son of a Bitch! I wonder what that's about?!!'

I wonder, was she riding the horse to school? No, she wouldn't be riding the horse to school.

Maybe it was a polo pony? She had a Polo Pony Scholarship.

Maybe she sold the horse and that's how she...?

....She was betting on the horse!


And then you realize that anybody who went to college would never SAY anything that stupid in public...and as soon as you have that thought, your eyes close...

And the next morning they find you dead in your bathroom."

(The White Album, 2000)

Pardon Lewis' language, he claims that F**K is his "thinking word;" you know, instead of "like...uhm..." Much more colorful.

Anywho, back to my own personal brain-eating question. The license plate in front of me reads:


No, I did not type that incorrectly. That's what it read. Phonetically, that would be "poh-nee-eet-uhr"

I'll let that eat your brain for a moment.

U crazy yet?

Because I'm going freakin' NUTS.

So my brain is running wild. The car is a recent model Buick LeSabre - and the guy driving is about 75 years old (I can see his white combover through the rear windshield). He's turning into Wal-Mart. So what's with PONYETR? Is it his last name? Unlikely. Is it some kind of vulgarity? That's a long shot.

So does he, literally, eat ponies? Like horse meat? Doesn't seem likely that its something a person would feel the need to advertise on a license plate.

Gathering speed, my mind downshifts and hits the accelerator. Now it's spewing other license plates that follow this theme (for my non-US readers: the standard US license plate is 7 letters and/or numbers):

Jeffrey Dahmer's plate: MANEATR (would also work for Hall & Oates)

Drunken Sot: BEEFETR (or a rampant carnivore)

Lord Voldemort: DETHETR

Dementor: MINDETR

Hunger Striker: NONEATR


Insert your favorite food here: PIG- COW- CHIK- FISH- ETR


Vampire: BLUDETR

Anorexic: UNDRETR


Foot Fanatic: ODORETR

Obese Driver: UBERETR

Always Wrong: CROWETR


I finally got the brakes applied and my brain skidded to a screeching halt. I had to find something that I could accept as reasonable so I could sweep this issue under my mental rug and move on.

So here it is: my backstory to the shiny black LeSabre with grandpa behind the wheel and the license plate proclaiming: PONYETR.

So this old guy saved all his money when he was a young man to buy a muscle car, say a Dodge Charger. He used to drag race the thing, and his biggest competition was a guy driving a Ford Mustang. As a cocky gesture, he went out and got himself a license plate that read PONYETR, and he's never been able to let it go since it makes him feel young.

Either that, or that was his nickname in WWII.

Any thoughts on this one?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Karma, Sweet Karma

So JeepMan got a ticket 3 weeks ago driving my company car: Failure to Obey Traffic Signal; i.e., he ran a red light. Thing is, he swears he didn't. But with only a 4-year-old and 7-year-old as witnesses, he decided he might as well just suck it up and pay. The ticket was a $29 fine, but with all the processing and BS fees, it ended up being $96.

The ticket is due this week and, interestingly, we have found not one, but TWO $50 bills this week, both with no chance of finding owners.

Karma? Seems like a pretty big coincidence to me.

Thanks, K. Won't you stay a while?

****footnote: probably explains the money part of the dream below, huh?****

Monday, October 06, 2008

My All-Nighter

Now before you get all excited, this isn't a post about some raunchy adulterous escapade. Damn (I know!). But after 12 years of wedded bliss life, I'm not about to screw things up in that department!! No, this post is about my recent dream.

I dream a lot. I remember many of my dreams. Mostly I dream in vignettes. Several dreams in a night, but I don't usually remember the stories behind most of them: most often the ones right before I wake.

Occasionally, however, I have one of those marathon you have these? It's like I have the same dream ALL NIGHT LONG. Vivid detail, complicated scenes, and seemingly authentic sensory stimulation. I wake up exhausted from processing (manufacturing?), all this information.
Whenever I have one of these dreams, I think about it obsessively. There is so much to consider, I feel like there must be a deeper meaning. The theory that the dream is simply a massive dump of my brain cheapens the experience. So I analyze, ponder, dissect...and frequently don't come up with much. Some things are just destined to remain mysterious.

So the dream: I am leaving out a lot of the detail since this isn't a novel. I'll try to hit the highlights.

I'm in a floating restaurant with my in-laws, but not my husband (?). We are having a nice dinner, when all of a sudden the restaurant starts pitching and rolling like a yacht. MIL says we have to leave, and quick.

Cut to the escape: we're in a car speeding over a long low bridge. To the left is a low-profile steel-domed building hugging the bank of the river. My MIL is bitching a blue streak about how she has joined a group that's been trying to sue the "nuc-u-ler guy" because his plant is interfering with the environment...blah, blah, blah...and all I'm thinking is: "Nuc-le-ar. Nuclear physicist. GAH!"

The building sends out a large sonic-boom type sound and the bridge starts shaking. I look behind and there is a wall of water rushing at us. The bridge ends on an uphill. FIL floors it, and as we crest the hill the wall of water engulfs the restaurant, bridge, and building below us. We are safe.

Cut to the park. My in-laws are gone, and now I am in a Jeep Cherokee with JeepMan driving. We are cruising through a sodden basin-shaped park, trying to find a way out. There are other vehicles all around us stuck in the mire. JeepMan decides to drive up an incredibly steep hill. I am telling him, then screaming to him, that we can't make it, it's too steep and the grass is too slippery but he floors it and we almost make it...then we are sliding backwards and the Jeep slams sideway against a tree growing out of the hillside, wedging itself there. I'm pissed!! I get out and start stomping away as JeepMan is trying to justify his risky, stupid action. Whatever. I squish through the slippery grass as a group of hippie-kids at the bottom of the hill trying to unstick their van start yelling at me about how cool that was, rock on, far out dude...

Cut to downtown, dusk. Nondescript city, I am walking in a herd of people that I don't know, together but anonymous. We are all heading somewhere, but I don't know where. The concrete is slathered with a thin layer of river mud that sucks weakly at my shoes as I walk. I look down and can hardly believe it but there's a soggy bill. I pick it up, and it's a $20. Sweet. I keep walking, and there's another. And another. Now I'm looking ahead and seeing them scattered all over the place. Others are noticing, so I start scrambling. One of them is a $50. I'm starting to get a stack. The money is soggy but, hey,it'll dry. A money truck must have gotten caught up in the wave or something. More bills. I'm scrapping with the frantic crowd. There's a $100 bill. And holy crap, a $200 bill...

My consciousness comes up for a gasp of air and I think, "Hey. I don't think there's any such thing as a $200 bill. Is this a dream?"

Then I'm pulled back under and I'm in a house with a bunch of people I don't know. I'm going up the stairs with my wad of soggy bills and I overhear someone downstairs say the cops are out on the streets stopping people to recover the money that is all over the street. I can't believe they didn't stop me but here I am with a giant wad of bills, and I'm in a house, and they can't come in here, right? A second disembodied voice says it doesn't matter, the money's worthless, they have the serial numbers and if anyone spends the money they'll be busted anyhow.

I should turn it in, but I can't, just can't. It's so much money!

So I go into a bedroom and there's Leonardo DiCaprio and I'm unfazed, like I expect him to be there. I show him the money and he says we have to hide it, somewhere safe. There is a young woman on the bed, sleeping, and her face is covered with the dew of fever. He glances at her with indifference, saying, "...she's sick. I don't know what's wrong with her." Then we head to the bathroom and he takes the money and melts it down, then pours it, drop by drop, into a big jug of water. Each drop hardens into a sphere of platinum and sinks quickly to the bottom. I am left with a bag of platinum marbles. There. The police can't track the money now.

We head back to the bedroom and the girl looks bad, real bad. In fact, upon closer inspection, she's dead. He face is covered with open seeping wounds and Leo says it was leprosy. Suddenly he's scared; he thinks he gave it to her. He gets twitchy and says we need to hide the body. I tell him no way, I'm in enough trouble already what with the money thing and all. He's wrapped the body in a sheet and is ordering me to help him lift it when I hear the cops break down the door and start raiding the house.

Cut to me running down the stairs, three at a time, four, until I'm leaping from landing to landing. There must be a dozen flights, I don't remember there being that many. I end up in a basement crouching behind a pool table. Others are clamoring in, and I can hear the approaching bootfalls and shouts of the police. Suddenly the room is full and there are dozens of people and the cops are pulling their guns and shouting. It's mass chaos but I stick to the wall and manage to sidle along until I join up with a group of people heading up the stairs and we're moving as one creature up the stairs as cops continue to stream down one by one, ignoring us in favor of the cacophony downstairs.

Then I'm outside in the dark and trying to sneak away. The air is cool and fresh and I inhale deeply before I realize that people are running everywhere. I watch police chase them down one by one, tackling them and cuffing them. I just want to hide. I crouch in the shadowy lee of a garage and try to be small. I'm alone, in the dark, on the lam with no one to reach out to. I know they're going to catch me - it's only a matter of time.

I wake up with my heart pounding and the lingering panic sensation of hiding in the dark being hunted during a police raid.

What the heck?

Analyze that, Jung. Freud. Dr. Phil.

'Cause I don't get it.

***no sleeping drugs were involved in the making of this dream. or bedtime snacks. nope, this is pure, unadulterated brain droppings***