Sunday, July 31, 2005

Meme'd

This is new for me ... I was "tagged" so now I'm required to answer these questions on my blog ... hmmm ... given that the blog audience is so unpredictable, even questioning its very existence at times, I see no need to be candid. I mean really, what ARE you going to do with my answers?
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1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life? (Note: That I will admit to on my blog)
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Hah! There's the all important caveat "That I will admit to on my blog." Yep, like I will admit to ...(1) taking the clothes out of the dryer and dumping them on the folding space and not folding them, therefore leaving a pile of clean but wrinkled clothes from which to choose my outfit for church. Not real smart, and since I do it on a regular basis, as in more than three times, that counts for numbers (2) and (3) as well.
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2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?
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At the current moment, the smallest person in this household is running around naked and yelling, possibly waking the next smallest person, and since he's not wearing a diaper I'm hoping he doesn't have to pee since I hear him in my bedroom right now. That's it, pee has the most influence on my life right now.
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3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up five people to dine with, who would you pick?
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Right now ... hmmm... do they have to be dead? Cause I'd really like to have dinner with Queen Latifah, really. She always has that great big smile on her face, like she's having the most fun with life. OK, four more people have to join us, that's cool ... Thomas Jefferson and Julia Ward Howe, and my grandmother, Ruth Howe, hmmm do we need another guy to balance Mr. Jefferson? How about ... Aristotle. Yep, that would be a fun bunch. Bring plenty of wine.
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4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?
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1. World Peace
2. End World Hunger and Poverty
3. Free Healthcare

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.
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regret: 1. perfect sunny weather year round, and 2. more trees to block out all the house farms
avoid: 1. Home Depot and 2. Target (soon we'll have a Wal Mart to avoid, too!)
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6. Name one event that has changed your life.
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The birth of my first son. Becoming a mother changed everything. And nothing.
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7. Tag 3 people.
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I'm going to have to think about that ... I don't usually comment on the blogs I read too much, so they don't really know how much I read them, unless they check my own links, which I haven't updated in like, forever!
Probably Shirley, Kai, and Heather ... I must make sure I have their links right, first.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Progress Revisited

There has to be a bright side to progress. And there is ... convenience. So convenient that you don't even know it's there, until it's gone.
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I admit, I've fallen into the AC habit. And when there's a storm brewing, and we had a few of them just a couple days ago, the boys like to turn on the Weather Channel. So you might say electricity is important in my household.
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So when the last storm of the day knocked down four electric poles just outside my subdvision, naturally we lost power. These weren't your garden variety bringing-the-power-home poles, no, they were the high-voltage transmission lines that cut a swath between the farms, between the new house farms, that rarely cross any roads. The Big Ones.
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So when they came down, they didn't hit anything. But they did cross the road. And it's still closed. And it will remain closed while they work 24 hours a day to get them back up so they can re-open the road by tomorrow.
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Have you ever lived in an area, particularly a city (oh, like, Chicago?) where the power goes out if everybody uses their AC and someone turns on a hair dryer? And it takes a couple days for it to come back on? And all the neighbors get all ticked off at the smart guy with his own back-up generator?
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Well, I don't live there anymore, and if you do, then just stop reading right now. Because we lost power for a total of ten minutes.
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I will NOT be bitchin about the electric bill this month.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sounds Like Progress To Me

It's 1:30 a.m. No, there's no sick baby to be rocking to sleep, no sleepwalker stomping around to disturb the quiet summer night. The AC works fine, we're all comfy cozy even though it's still about 90 degrees outside. I even turned the thermostat down for awhile, and bundled up in blankets, to keep the AC blasting, trying to drown out the noise outside.

I just can't sleep with ear plugs, so I ran the dishwasher, and mine is pretty loud, but to no avail. Did a load of laundry, which is right outside my bedroom door, and still that incessant whine drowns out all my attempts at peaceful sleep.

So I called the hotel out behind our subdivision. Not directly behind my house, but one of their parking lots is, and that's the problem. A truck, one of those tractor trailers, parked right outside my bedroom window, with the engine running, only it sounds like a VERY LOUD REFRIDGERATOR. You know that high pitched whine when it's trying to get cold after the door was left open too long? This one doesn't even take a breather, it's just boring a hole in my skull while I toss and turn.

Don't think I'm just lying around taking it. No, after a few calls to the hotel and finally the local police, I happily waved bye bye as the truck moved away. Back through the parking lot, back toward the hotel (and their paying guests? I think not), then swinging around, back behind the strip mall, that even though it is a little further away, is still DIRECTLY BEHIND MY BEDROOM WINDOWS.

So, now, instead of a mere 50 feet from my back fence (and it's not a really big yard to start with) it's about 500 feet ... that's being generous. And now we have the benefit of the backdrop, said strip mall, to bounce the sound DIRECTLY at my window.
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But this is what our fine village calls Progress, or more precisely Economic Development, which is always A Good Thing, right Martha? Before my house was here, this was just a useless little cornfield. But the Great Developer filled it in with many houses. And after we moved in, there was still a useless little cornfield behind us, to buffer the street noise. (Oh, so it wasn't so useless after all?) Well, all in the name of Economic Development, a strip mall was built, and then the hotel. We watched the slow construction, we endured the heavy equipment showing up at the crack of dawn. We still have a fairly regular wake-up call by a couple of Really Big Trucks that show up at dawn to move that last pile of dirt around, moving ever closer to the fence. I'm sure one morning I'll wake up to them actually dumping the whole dang thing in my back yard. At least then I'll know they're done.
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OK, I have to get up in 4 hours, so I guess I'll take another stab at those ear plugs ... and I'm glad at least one truck driver out there will have a good night's sleep in his cozy hotel room far from his noisy truck engine.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I've been found ...

Yesterday I found a strange email ...

It was in the email that links from my web site, which is one that I do not regularly use for my everyday correspondence. You pretty much have to go to the web site to get it. So, pretty much, anything in there has come from someone who has actually visited my site (spam is filtered).

So it was a press release, and after reading it, or actually, as I was finishing reading it, I read the last line ... "I hope you will write about us in your blog or other writings" ...

OK, I will. I don't get requests very often, so if anyone is interested, Tony Hawk will be lending his voice to Cyberchase this fall, I think for four episodes. Tony Hawk, the skateboard dude (so how would I know his voice if I heard it?) on Cyberchase, the computer/math mystery cartoon with the voice of Gilbert Godfrey for one of its main characters, I just love that!

At first I was puzzled as to how I got on this publicist's mailing list, but then I figured out it would only take a couple of keyword searches. It was actually pretty long for a press release, and I really only skimmed and deleted, but it serves as a little (small, very small, yet ...) affirmation that yes, I am a writer, and my writing can be used as a service to others, as in publicity. And it confirms that I can be "found", I am definitely on the Grid.
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And its also a nice little reminder that I haven't submitted my site to the search engines in awhile ... so it's about time (but nice to know that I still show up!).
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Anyway, tune in this fall to Cyberchase to hear the voice of Tony Hawk, the skateboard dude who talks. Since we have a little skateboard dude of our own here, we probably will check it out. (This is a paid advertisement, paid with compliments, of course!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Priceless

"OK, now, watch carefully. Sink or Float?"
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"Sink!"
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"Right! Yay! Now this one ... sink or float?"
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"Sink!"
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"No, this one floats, see? Let's try again."
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"Float!"
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"Right! Yay! Let's do this one ... sink or float?"
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"Sink!"
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"Right! Yay! How bout this one?"
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"Sink!"
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"Right! Yay! Let's do the boat, now."
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"Boat floats!"
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"Yay!"
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Two brothers taking a bath together without getting water all over the floor, priceless.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Research, research, research!

I'm suffering from a case of information overload. Thank you dear sweet internet. There is just so much out there, sometimes I feel like a small child in the New York Public Library ... where to start?
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Every morning, I have a list of sites to check, to explore in more detail, culled from the various readings of the day before. I usually have at least three windows open at any given time. And my email usually contains close to a dozen more links that I absolutely must check. Plus there's always a question in my writing somewhere usually marked with
???CHECKINTERNET??? At least I'm saving trips to the library ... down to once a week, these days (ok, sometimes twice).
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Even the library is online: I browse the catalog in the dead of night, note my choices and put them on hold for the library staff to pluck from the stacks for me. That keeps the devil child out of the adult services section, where there are far too many hiding places.
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I've even lowered myself to saving trips out of my chair! Yep, when I need it, I don't have to go looking for my personal copies of the Constitution, or Plato or famous quotes. Nope, just click on a link in my favs and it comes up, exactly what I need, without so much as a squeak of the chair wheels. Copy and paste from one window to another ... saves time, more surfing.
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And this is all done with that ancient internet connection known as dial-up. Just think of what I can accomplish with hi-speed ... oh the thinks I will think!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Girlie Shopping

So I went shopping the other night with a girlfriend. That, in itself, is an event. A huge deal, I mean, Shopping, with another Girl. (There are no girls in my house, just the Queen and her princes, and the big guy himself). But as it happened that I needed a night out, she needed a new outfit, we went shopping.
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And it was tough convincing the Princes that Girlie Shopping would not involve cookies. Donuts, maybe, not cookies.
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And I really enjoyed it, I mean Really Really. Still, I came home with nothing. Didn't even foray into the dressing room, except to bring my friend more stuff to try on. I did closely examine an ENTIRE rack of cute belted capris looking for something that could pass for our size, but NOOOOO. We are either SO AVERAGE that everything is gone, or somebody was trying to tell us that we would not look cute in those cute belted capris.
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Yes, we, as in true friends share the same butt size, going up, going down, with or without chocolate. (She's way taller than me, we could never share those Travelling Pants, ... unless they were capris)
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Now if only I could get out for some shoe shopping ...

Monday, July 11, 2005

To Sleep, To Dream ...

Ahh what a beautiful morning! After a rough night, the sounds of the birds singing signals the end of my struggle for sleep. The little guy will rise and shine, with not even a glimmer of the wailing and sniffling that kept us both up.
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Well, actually, it seems the sniffling is to go on. Indefinitely. My poor child has inherited the nasty allergies that have kept his father's family in decongestants for generations. And it's all up to the weather man to spell relief, as in R-A-I-N (even temporary relief is welcome, all for a good night's sleep!).
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So here I sit, watching the weather channel, cheering on Dennis. C'mon, you can make it, you're big enough, you're strong enough, be the first tropical storm to make it all the way up to Lake Michigan! Apparently I'm not the only one, as anyone can see just by tuning in their local weather report. It seems every midwestern meterologist on air is joining the formation, as if our collective cheering will make it so. RAIN!
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We're just not used to these desert conditions, where it's so dry even Benedryl has been rendered ineffective. OK, so it's not Las Vegas dry, but I don't choose to live in Las Vegas. I choose to live in this pseudo-farm country, where there's supposed to be enough rain to raise crops to feed this great nation of ours. This year, we're going to starve. Cause there's NOTHING coming out of my gardens.
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So I dream of rain, because one night of rain will mean one night of sleep. And that's all I'm asking for.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Measuring up, trading down

I got a new car. I've had it a week, and it's very nice, but ...
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A few days after we traded in the old Jeep Cherokee Sport, known as Bob the Truck in our family (and more often, just "The Truck"), I read the following in my horoscope: "A choice may be required today to respond to either your more materialistic desires or your highly idealistic standards." (too late, it's a done deal) "When it gets down to it, choose behavior that enhances your honor."
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Now what's that supposed to mean? Enhancing my honor? In whose eyes? As far as my kids go, it's a nice ride. We traded up, you see ... 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, and that's as new as it's gonna get around here. Henceforth known as Spot (poor thing is white and perpetually dirty), even my husband likes it, as in "can I drive?" every time he gets near it. He even went out and bought new splat mats for the backseat (heavy duty, for the kiddos) and a sun shade (black interior, was getting way too hot in the sun, problem solved). And looked at seat covers, but was too smart to actually buy them, as it is really MY CAR.
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But there's that nagging little drinking problem. With the last car, with every car I have owned, I have had to do the math to know exactly how bad the mileage was (and I compare every car to my old sainted Blazer, averaged 25mpg for the first 150,000 miles, you can't beat that!). Now I have a nice little computer readout, just push a button, can even monitor it AS I DRIVE. Now, as I run my little errands around town, stopping and going, short little trips, AC blasting, windows open (kids never had power windows before, the novelty should wear off soon, I hope!) I can't even fake good mileage. It's all there at the push of a button. Ever wonder what kind of mileage you're getting while stuck in traffic trying to leave the fireworks? Try not to think about it.
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So while I would like to send letters to Ford about their low-mileage fleet, I just can't be that hypocritical. I'm now right there at the bottom of the barrel with all the other SUV drivers. At this point, I can barely even claim superiority to a Hummer. I don't even measure up to my own idealistic standards.
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But there's another math equation where I do measure up: actual miles driven. Back in the days of the sainted Blazer, I averaged 20,000 a year (some years over 25,000) and that was for eleven years. That's a lot of miles, so even with great gas mileage, that's still a lot of gas. Now I drive maybe 7500 ... yep, for the whole year, and that includes the occasional trip back east (which could eat up nearly 2000 in only two weeks!). Of course, now that my husband actually likes my car, that will increase a bit, but I promise to keep an eye on the odometer.
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I can make all the excuses I want, but family comfort is paramount. And I'm just more confortable in an SUV. I can haul my kids (we can even squeeze in a friend now!) and stuff (I'm always hauling STUFF, even before children populated my vehicle) in comfort, which means no back pain, with a nice stereo.
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All it needs now is my dancing bears.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Constitution in Action

So Happy Independence Day!

I thinks it's fitting that many of us spend a part of this day contemplating our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as we look forward to the process of replacing the first woman justice on the Supreme Court. In a perfect world, another brilliant, moderate jurist will slide into that open spot and begin where Sandra Day O'Connor left off. And since the only ones who can actually vote to confirm the President's choice are US Senators, the rest of us will have to just sit and watch the whole process.
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But in this day of media frenzy over all things which we cannot control, it will be nothing less than a 3-ring circus, with lots of name-calling and mud-slinging. Yes, I've already received a number of inflammatory emails, how my dollars are needed RIGHT NOW to fund the latest ad campaign. Just what do they hope to accomplish? It really doesn't matter what us regular folk think.
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We already made our choice when we elected our Senators (and with this President, we know what we're getting now, don't we?).
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So, at the risk of inviting some nasty labels (how about peacemonger?), I think now is a good time to call for restraint. This is a time to just sit back and watch our government in action, because that is how it is set up in the Constitution. The screamers at Fox and CNN will look all the more ridiculous when everybody else realizes that it's really out of our hands, so just accept it and let's get on with our lives.

Soundtracks

Yesterday I woke to sad news. Sure, I'm going to miss Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, but I'm talking about the loss of Luther Vandross. It's not that I even have the complete collection of his music or anything, it's just ...well, his music really touched me. It must have been the time period ... it was a mainstay of Jr High dances and house parties. Slow dancing to Luther while struggling with adolescence, growing pains, emerging independence.
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Part of the soundtrack of my life. The part that made it a little bit nicer.