Thursday, December 31, 2009

I like my passport photo because it makes me look like an international spy or at least a drug dealer.

Unfortunately, the title of this post has nothing to do with what I'm about to write. I know you're surprised, because who among us couldn't write an entire blog post about their own passport photo?

No, the reason I'm here is to chisel in internet stone my resolutions for the coming year.

Wait! Don't go!

I'll keep it brief. And simple.

1. Walk every day
2. Blog every day

Actually, I hadn't really given it much thought before this very moment, and now I'm drawing a blank.

The good (or bad) news is that I really mean #2, and I think I can stick to it because I installed a wireless router yesterday, which means I can blog in bed. Maybe I'll change the name of my blog to "Blogging in Bed" or even "Blogging in Bed Every Day." Okay, no I won't.

See you tomorrow, and have a very safe but irresponsible New Year's Eve.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Light at the End of the Tunnel

For the past few months, my husband and I have been remodeling what was previously my mother-in-law's home, located on the 43 acres we have owned for about ten years. It seems rather strange, having owned that kind of acreage, that we have rented the home we live in for the past 22 years, but that's just the way it was...because the agreement was that my mother-in-law could live in the house until she passed away, and my husband was either too cheap or too busy to build a new house on the property.

In the last two years, my mother-in-law began to show signs of dementia. We didn't know how much longer she could continue to care for herself, and the strain of helping care for her was becoming too much for my husband and me. But mostly my husband, since "the farm" is where he works every day. There were some pretty strange things we had to deal with; for instance, my mother-in-law claimed that I told her I wanted to cut her head off, she imagined that people were stealing from her (particularly telephones, which we later found stuffed in closets). Then in July, she fell and broke her hip, which made the decision for us. She is now in an assisted living facility, where she is well cared for 24 hours a day, which had been impossible for us.

So the house remodeling thing: I'm worn out. I have no time to color my hair, or read a book, or keep up on housework, because I've been so busy trying to help get the "new" place liveable. And basically, it's only been three rooms that we've redone. Our bedroom, a living/dining area, and kitchen. The rest will have to wait until we're living there, and even the exterior won't be finished until who-knows-when.

I guess I'm just trying to explain why I haven't been blogging. It took until this morning to realize how much I miss it, and I'm hoping the colder weather, the move, and the advent of Winter will all remedy that.

Maybe I'll even have time to color my hair.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Word About Flavo(u)r

Those of you who have read me for a while might know that I am on a very silent, lazy, and fruitless campaign to eradicate Monosodium Glutamate from the planet. Let's set aside the fact that MSG causes me and two of my sons to have migraine headaches, and focus instead on a radical concept: that humans don't really need that much flavor [flavour, if you are reading this in English].

For a while now, I've felt as if my taste buds are dead. I think they've been numbed by too much manmade flavor. It doesn't matter that I've stopped using table salt because of my high blood pressure. Or that, because I'm a smoker, I've slaughtered all the senses in my nose and mouth. No, it has to be all the crap they put in (and take out of) our food, and here's why:

One of the best things about living in the country is that you have access to meat. Like, actual livestock that you can take to the meat processor to have cut up and frozen in little packages that in no way resemble a live animal. Recently, we had a hog butchered, and it was my job to let the meat processor know how I wanted my unrecognizable meat packaged. When we got to the sausage, I was asked what kind of seasoning I wanted. I asked, "Does your seasoning have MSG in it?" They had to check, and the answer was yes. So the woman on the phone suggested something radical - "Do you want us to season it with just salt, pepper, and sage?" "YES!!!" I shouted, as if I had just discovered electricity.

So that's what I got. Sausage, flavored with salt, pepper, and sage. And honestly, it's the best sausage I've ever had. And do you know why?

Because it's full of TRANS FAT.

Monday, August 31, 2009

An Ethics Question

Suppose you hired a local mechanic/alcoholic (though you weren't aware at the time he was an alcoholic) to work on your car. Suppose you gave him $900 in advance of the work, and he proceeded to be in possession of your vehicle for 5 months. Then he never returned your calls, but when your husband finally stopped by and caught him at home, he told the tragic story about how his 94-year-old father was tortured and murdered by drug dealers in some completely freakish scenario, and when you looked it up on the internet it turned out to be true, so you felt a little sorry for him and understood why he might be stinking drunk all the time and not able to work on your car - not to mention that he was in a terrible truck accident about 10 years before and is in constant pain. So you let it go on a little longer until you've finally had enough, and you go pick up your car, only to find out he didn't do a damn thing to fix it.

What do you do then? Do you let it go, out of compassion, and consider it a lesson learned? Or do you stand up to be the one who stops enabling this person to be an alcoholic who is screwing people over (since you find out you aren't the only one he's done it to)?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, but keep in mind this guy is an alcoholic who carries a handgun.

By the way, I missed you all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Expect the worst and get it.

I've been gone a while. I'm not even sure why, except that the internet holds little appeal for me right now. (No offense.)

I was experiencing those few, terrible days which occur after the full moon begins to wane, trying to reverse my bad mood by convincing myself that my brain chemistry and thought patterns were completely responsible. It didn't work. On Sunday I went to church, something I rarely do. When I left the house, my kitty was happily dashing about the yard. It occurred to me to put her back inside, but everyone deserves a little freedom, even cats.

It wasn't until later in the day while cleaning house that I realized I hadn't seen her since that morning. I went outside and called for her. No response. This was unusual, since she usually stays very close to the house. I knew that my sons had been in and out of the driveway in their trucks, and I had visions of my cat splattered all over an engine, or, alternatively, a bold coyote having snatched her up by the spine. It sure didn't take long to convince myself that she was gone forever. I decided to take a break to visit the pond, and by the time I got there, I was in tears. My husband asked what was wrong, and I told him I was sure my cat was gone forever. I said it figured, as bad as everything else had gone for me lately. Story of my life, just my luck, God hates me, why would I expect anything different than to get attached to something and have it die. Yep, 'bad luck' has been my training program for years.

So it was pretty humbling when I got home about an hour or so later, and my cat greeted me at the door. On the inside of the house. Apparently she'd found an excellent place to nap.

There is a chapter in Norman Vincent Peale's book The Power of Positive Thinking called "Expect the Best and Get it." I know it's a stretch, but I'm going to work on rethinking my thinking. Of course then I'll have to deal with the agony of dashed hopes all the time, but hell. It's worth a try. I can always go back to the way things were.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Son, the Cowboy

My son was walking out the door this morning when I convinced him to let me take some shots of him. Here are two:

I love and hate him for being so photogenic, even in work clothes.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ben Stiller: the best time I never had.

It wasn't until I was drying my hair this morning that I remembered being with actor Ben Stiller last night - in my dreams. Though I can't recall any details, we were living it up. And he was incredibly funny; so funny that I woke myself up, laughing, at least 3 times. But was it Ben Stiller that was funny, or was it his comedy writer (me)?

The dream only illustrates to me how important humor is in my life. I've always considered myself more of a 'straight man' than a comedian, but I love to laugh, and I think people always appreciate you when you think they are funny.

Which reminds me of my inappropriate behavior this past Monday night.

My youngest son's high school baseball team played in their Sectional tourney and lost. On the way home, we stopped at a restaurant to eat. One of my son's teammates made it clear to everyone that he would be sitting next to me. Ronnie was a Junior this year, and he doesn't have any trouble growing facial hair. Let's just say it would be easy to forget that he's only 17. Plus, he's very funny.

So Ronnie and I sat together in the booth, with my hubby sitting across from us, and my son at a table nearby. I think it was one of those deals where teenage boys like to go on about "your mom is hot," only Ronnie had the added intent of harrassing my husband, too. The problem is that Ronnie is so funny and so engaging that it may have eventually appeared that I was flirting with him. In an innocent way, of course.

But I still feel like a perv.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Change" You Can Believe In?

A cashier handed me this twenty yesterday after I bought groceries for my mother-in-law.

Obviously, the handwritten message brings up all sorts of questions. Where did it come from? Who wrote it? And why? Is someone trying to tell me something? And doesn't it look like a man's handwriting?

I've always been intrigued by the things people write on money. For a while, my oldest son collected dollar bills on which someone had stamped one of those cartoon dialogue bubbles with "I grew hemp" just above George Washington's head.

There's also a website where a person can track exactly where their money has traveled, as long as it is encoded with the link, and the serial number has been registered, and other people have actually submitted notes on its progress.

What's the most interesting thing you've ever seen on money?

Friday, May 29, 2009

finally, something to look forward to

On Tuesday next (that's Old English for those of you not in the know) Survivalist Bear Grylls will be accompanied by comedian and actor Will Ferrell on an adventure in some "ice-bound Swedish mountain ranges" on Man vs. Wild. (Discovery Channel, 10 p.m. EDT)

I think it's sad that the only thing I have to look forward to in life is a television program where I can watch Will Ferrell drink urine and eat reindeer eyeballs. But there it is.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Star of the Sea

The name Maurita Mason came to me when I thought I was going to be a romance writer, and would therefore need a name that no one could possibly connect to me. I didn't know at the time that an author's real name is usually located next to the date on the copyright page.

For a while I considered Vicki Stone, a shake-up of letters from my maiden name. My dad invented that one, and I might still use it someday. You know...if I ever finish a manuscript. And get it published.

But I've come to identify myself with Maurita. She is me, and I am her. If I were walking down the street, and someone yelled, "Maurita!" I would turn and look, in exactly the same way I still respond to "mom" in public. In the same way I nearly panicked when a co-worker called me "Chickie" one time - my Yahoo Chat incarnation.

So where did I get Maurita? From my given name, Laura, and from a friend who was very dear to me at my first job. Her name was Marita. And Mason is a family surname from my mother's side, and merged magnificently into the Margaret Mitchell-esque author's name I was trying to create. I'm very fond of the initials MM (salute to Lermie), and I also used them previously at Journalspace when I was Moira McGartland and not yet gossamer.

I Googled Maurita Mason earlier, to see if it was safe to give out an email address of that name to someone from work. It isn't. But it led me to discover that Maurita means "star of the sea," which I think is the loveliest thing ever.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poem Without Permission

Crash landings and small craft warnings
seeds and grasses in
the cross wind of the plains.
This defiance is perilous:
darting in and out
a ground skirmish
with a young buffalo, the size of a continent,
who seems not to notice
but who avoids stepping on any of us.

Huge and tiny

(copyright 1999 Rick Smith)

I discovered a wren's nest in one of the blackberry bushes last week. I think these are some of the most beautiful bird nests in nature because they are as well constructed as a woven basket, so small and tidy, and they're often built using hair from local animals. In this case, the mama bird used hair from my horse's mane or tail (the black). I'm not sure where the white hair came from - possibly a neighbor's horse - or maybe a long-forgotten artifact from a white horse I used to own. (How long does it take horse hair to biodegrade?)

The eggs are smaller than my thumbnail; the nest no more than two and a half inches across.

I'm sure I'll claim the nest when it's been abandoned, to add to my weird collection. At least I don't pin dead butterflies to cardboard, or something equally morbid.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Unwilling to be a conduit for negative energy, the writer fed all her thoughts into the shredder located at the base of her skull, until absolutely nothing would come out.

Except this.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

When I say "Where in the world is my son?" I really mean it.

Having a son in transit is almost as bad as having a son in Iraq.

The last message I got from my son the soldier was on April 22nd. He said the Army was "80% sure" he would be flying out of Iraq on May 2nd for his mid-tour leave. If not then, it would be the next day.

So here I am, never far from a telephone, waiting for a call from my world traveler.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Putting it into Perspective

The population of the world is 6,776,304,630.

The number of people sickened with pneumonia in Mexico is 1,995 (of which 152 have died), and none of these illnesses have been confirmed as being caused by "swine flu."

50 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the US, and no one has died as a result of the illness.

Confirmed cases of swine flu elsewhere:

Canada - 6
New Zealand - 11
Spain - 2
Israel - 1

for a total of 70 confirmed cases, or .00000001033 of the total world population.

Would the media please shut the hell up.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


My niece graciously asked me to help her photograph a wedding yesterday. You may not think so, but holding a camera for seven hours in various positions is pretty exhausting work - especially when the weather suddenly decides to warm up and you forget to drink any water.

I'll leave all the glory to my niece, but just wanted to share this photo I shot of one of the flower girls -


Monday, April 20, 2009

Where have I been for the last 17 years?

His role in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman won Al Pacino the only Oscar of his career, for Best Actor.

And would you believe in all the years since 1992, I had never seen this movie? Not even parts of it.

It wasn't until I saw the title on my oldest son's list of favorites on Myspace that I decided to rent it from Netflix. I trust my son's opinions about films more than I do that Ebert guy.

If you've seen Scent of a Woman, I'd like to hear what you think of the film. And I leave you with this:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Still Life

New Shoes and Cat

Please don't take it too seriously.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dire Prediction #1,684

By the year 2023, McDonald's Corporation will have single-handedly exhausted the world's supply of salt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm Melting! and other random stuff.

Since it's going to be at least 67 degrees tomorrow, I've already decided to wear a dress to work. It's a slim little black shift dress I bought last week, and I've been dying to wear it, but I don't like exposing myself to the cold and I didn't have exactly the right shoes to wear.

So, during lunch, I solved the second problem by going shoe shopping. I found the perfect shoes, but they weren't available in a size 8. So I decided to try a 7 1/2, even though I've never been able to fit my gargantuan feet in anything that small. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that they fit, since everything else about me is shrinking too. Who knows how long I've been wearing shoes that are too big for me?


I was eating spaghetti at this little place called Bellacino's when Kurt Cobain appeared on the speakers singing Smells Like Teen Spirit. I don't know when I became old and passed over the threshold upon which lies the inability to listen to Nirvana, but I suspect it may have been the exact same moment when my feet got smaller.


There's a robin nesting in a small tree in my smoking area here at work. She has decorated her nest with brightly-colored items from the hangar. I may have to steal the nest when she's done with it. When I get home, I'll add to this post a photo of a wren's nest made of hair from my dog and horses, many of whom have passed on. I consider that gift from nature one of my most priceless treasures.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

For the Record

I've been instructed to never again write about the man who lives in my house. So please stop me if I do.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A sweet little hidden gem of a movie.

Last night, I forced my husband to watch a movie called Penelope, starring Christina Ricci and James McAvoy (who played Tom Lefroy in Becoming Jane). To be honest, I wasn't even sure if the film was worth watching, but we were soon captivated by the comical little fairy tale.

Ricci plays Penelope Wilhern, who was born under a curse placed upon her wealthy family by a witch seeking revenge for the death of her daughter. Penelope lives out her young life hidden away by parents who are ashamed of her pig snout, until the time comes when her parents seek to break the curse by finding Penelope "one of her own kind" to love her for who she is.

I won't reveal any more of the plot in case you want to see the movie for yourself. And I think you ought to, because a little magic is always fun, and it never hurts to be reminded that it's okay to like yourself the way you are.

7 things

I wanted my 100th post here at Blogger to be something brilliant and unique, which is one of the reasons I haven't posted. The other reason is that I haven't been feeling well, and I may have finally figured out why. Remember the mechanical bull I rode about 3 weeks ago? Whiplash, maybe. So all the pressure and pain I've been feeling in my head, neck and shoulders probably isn't stress at all, but a consequence of my stupidity.

So instead of the brilliant, unique post I meant to bring you, here is a meme I was tagged with by my very talented and witty niece, Marchelle:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Share 7 things that people may not know about you
3. Tag 7 people to share 7 things and link to them
4. Let them know they have been tagged

I'm too lazy to play tag, but feel free to play if you want.

1. RUN, FORREST! I was born with crooked feet. For the first year of my life, I wore my shoes on the wrong feet and was shackled with Forrest Gump leg braces.

Seriously. Check out the shoes. Also note that I'm throwing up gang symbols.

2. I'm still convinced that the lyrics to Blinded by the Light really do contain the phrase "wrapped up like a douche." Do not defy me.

3. I would rather hear a man's voice than a woman's. Probably 99 percent of the songs I listen to are by male artists.

4. I want to state, for the record, that chili with pasta in it is not real chili. You people need to get over it. Freaks.

5. I'm pissed off about the PLANET Pluto. I even joined a group at Facebook called "When I was your age, Pluto was a planet."

6. Sometimes when I'm in pain, I sound exactly like I sound right now. Only it's worse when you can actually hear my voice. My voice will cut you.

7. I've developed short-term memory loss, which may result in me saying the same things over and over in this blog. And I only think of really interesting things about me while I'm driving, but they never get written down and I'm not able to remember them the next time I have to do one of these things. Also, the older I get, the more I want to type phonetically. Like won instead of one.

BONUS (because I cheated a little on some of those) - When I was very young, my dad swore pretty often. Most of the time he would say, "Pardon my French." I remember thinking that I wanted to grow up and learn French, too - and I'll be damned if I haven't!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Farm Boys on a Friday Night

One of the things that isn't a shock after raising three boys is middle-of-the-night phone calls.

This morning at 2:45, I looked at the caller ID on my phone with blurry eyes and felt the last name register in the back of my brain as exactly the same one as the former county sheriff. I answered anyway.

And not surprisingly, my sixteen-year-old son was on the other end.

"Mom?" he said, "Me and Zach were out driving around and ran off the road. We're okay, but the truck's a little messed up. The sheriff wanted me to call and let you know what was going on."

To be honest, I don't remember what I said. I was calm, and very very quiet, because I was already debating the idea of whether to let my husband in on it. I asked if there had been any drinking, and my son said no. My extrasensory skills must have been working earlier in the evening when my son said he was going to his brother's house for a party, and I reviewed with him all the possible consequences of getting caught drinking, as a high school athlete and a 16 year old. Being the youngest of three boys apparently has its advantages - one of the things my son likes to say is "I've learned from my brothers' mistakes." This covers a lot of territory, including girls.

I was glad the boys were unharmed. But I was worried about the truck, because it used to belong to my dad. So after I roused my husband with the news and we showed up on the scene of the accident (both of us - I was told I was there to keep my husband "from killing our son"), imagine my relief when we realized it had been the other kid that was driving, in his own truck. It was pretty banged up, on both sides, and it appears to be skewed a little. They hit the trunk of a blue spruce on one side, flipped around, and hit a mail box on the other side. And then a trash bin.

The owners were standing out in the yard, hugging themselves against the cold and looking angry, along with another homeless-looking guy who had apparently been sleeping in a van outside. I share this information to perhaps shed a little light on the caliber of the residents. The boys had already discussed with the owners their plans to clean up the damage, including replacing the mailbox and cleaning up the trash.

Both of the boys were just here after going to pick up the trash, which my husband says "has been laying all over the yard all week." He knows this because he drives his school bus past their house twice a day. And the 25-foot blue spruce they hit? Well, the lady who lives there must love that tree an awful lot. She says it is worth two thousand dollars, and she'd like to have the money to replace it, even though only a few branches are missing from the bottom.

This irritates me just a little. Here's a situation where the boys are willing to do the right thing to rectify what they've done, and the "victims" have to be assholes about it.

But, you could be Karma biting them in the ass. Because here's what they'd done to Zach's sister's car just before the accident. She'd left it parked in the school parking lot to go somewhere with a friend, with whom she was spending the night.

I like the plastic wrap, and the two bars of soap skewered onto the antenna the best.

Maybe I'm a terrible mother, but it's hard for me to be angry or stern about any of this. I see it as a character-building experience, and all a part of growing up. And the truth is, no matter how many things we learn from others' mistakes, we always learn best from the ones we make on our own.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

OMG, Srsly?

I got the urge to Google "Martha Stewart Turkey Hill" for images of her former home - even though I have a book with photos of it - and I ran across this photo of Martha and some asses:

Not only is this barn more beautiful than the house I live in, it would also be accurate to say it's much cleaner.

I'm gonna go cry until I throw up.

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

That's what my dad's mother used to say, and it is the prevailing theme of my life in this house.

There was a time when I at least tried to make my house look presentable. But when the home you live in is nearly 100 years old, and someone else owns it, you tend to not want to throw cash into the money pit.

However - when the vinyl flooring in your kitchen is about to have its 22nd birthday, and has been gouged by boots and heels and a million objects falling on the floor, and the top layer has begun to peel off leaving actual holes so that sweeping with a broom allows all the dirt to collect in the holes and you can't even mop anymore, it is perhaps time to do something about it.

Maybe it's time to confess that I'm not very good at decorating. I know what looks good, but can never copy it. My taste runs anywhere between traditional/American Colonial (something like Martha Stewart's Turkey Hill house) to cottage style to Swedish design to Zen minimalism. If any of that makes sense. I was also raised two miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so, traditional style + Indy 500 would equal a passion for a black and white tiled floor. I've always wanted one. Always. And now I have it, such as it is.

Please don't point out any flaws in craftsmanship. I did it mostly by myself, despite a couple of attempts by hubby to finish the edges. And do you know why he couldn't finish it? Two reasons, really. One: he spent too much time complaining about the stupidity of laying the tiles diagonally, and refusing to understand the aesthetic appeal. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I would never have a diagonally-layed floor ever again. And two: it's Spring, which means he doesn't have time to do anything not related to farming. If I hadn't finished this project by myself, it wouldn't have been done until next Winter.

There's also some controversy about the wall color. All the males in the family think the red has to go. I think it's okay, and frankly, don't feel like painting again. So, be honest. Is my decorating sense really THAT whacked?

Oh. And the other reason I wanted a black and white floor? To match my cat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?

Have I mentioned Sense and Sensibility lately? If not, forgive me for the lapse.

I just wanted to show off my autographed copy of the screenplay, which was written by the brilliant Emma Thompson. I haven't taken very good care of it. In fact, it's been thumbed through like a pay telephone book. There's even a small, cigarette scorch mark. Ack. Let's just say I believe in using things.

At the top left, we have Tom Wilkinson, who played the father of the Dashwood girls (for about 30 seconds at the beginning of the film); just above the title, my beloved Kate Winslet (Marianne Dashwood); in the center, Gemma Jones (Mrs. Dashwood); below that, the talented Alan Rickman (Col. Brandon); and then from left to right - James Fleet (John Dashwood), Hugh Grant (Edward Ferrars), and Emma Thompson (Elinor Dashwood).

If my house were on fire, I do believe I'd run back in for this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Apparently my doctor thinks I'm a street dealer.

I could see it in his eyes while he talked about the street value of Xanax, about why he didn't like to prescribe it, and why he was only giving me 30 of them.

And the only argument I could make was "but it makes me feel better."

What it boils down to is that the doctor believes my blood pressure fluctuates so much (yesterday it was 115/78; today in his office it was 160/100) because I suffer from "situational stress," a condition that would probably go away if I would just agree to take a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. In other words, an anti-depressant, which I swore I would never take again.

What I really need is to not have a job, but money, and lots of chickens and horses and time for art. And then I wouldn't need a doctor or Xanax at all.

That's how life was meant to be. I feel as if I've spent half of mine doing all the things I don't want to do.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cowgirl Up!

Last night when hubby got home, he mentioned that our new 21-year-old was going to a place called The 8 Seconds Saloon. He thought it would be humorous if we showed up and crashed the party.

So the cowgirl in me rose up and hollered "YES!"

I also warned him that I planned to ride the mechanical bull. In return, he tried to warn me that, well, I'm not as young as I used to be, and I could break a hip or something.

But I ain't skeered. I even rode before my 21-year-old did, presumably because he wanted me to wear the bull out before he got on.

I rode that bull, yessiree. For at least 8 seconds, but it's hard to count seconds when adrenaline is rushing through your body, you can't breathe, and you are focused on not falling off of a moving object. Determined not to be thrown, I was also focused on my dismount, and during a quiet moment from the bull, I seized my opportunity, dismounting on the right the way you're supposed to, so your left hand won't get caught up in the rigging. I stuck that dismount without even a bobble. Almost threw my hands up like a 13-year-old gymnast, but figured I'd already made enough of a fool of myself.

Fortunately for you, there are no photos. I did a search on youtube for "old lady riding mechanical bull" and I wasn't there. But through the magic that is youtube, I give you what I would have looked like if I had ridden a mechanical bull 29 years ago:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Benny Hill: Alive and Well and Living in Iraq

Chatted with my soldier on Yahoo Messenger yesterday. As usual, I asked him how things were going, and he answered, "Same as usual, just being an extra on the Benny Hill Show."

I laughed out loud.

He told me to go to youtube and search for the Benny Hill theme song to get a mental picture of what life is like for him in Iraq, serving under a bunch of alleged idiots. I told him I didn't have to, because the song was already playing in my head. Apparently he plays the theme song repeatedly for his buddies to remind them of their roles.

For those of you who don't know it, here is the new theme song for my son's battallion:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just wanted you to know.

Last night, in that quiet, dreamy place between wakefulness and sleep, I came up with the phrase "Chinese Nipples." It just flashed before my eyes like a neon sign. I'm willing to give it up, pro bono, to whoever can use it.

Sorta makes me wonder if I'm getting Tourette's, though.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thought for the day

It's possible that President Obama signed his Stimulus Package at the same desk where President Clinton had his package stimulated.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

US Government: Still Bending the Truth

Just because George W. Bush is out of Washington, doesn't mean the government isn't still bending the truth to make themselves look good. According to Yahoo News, the US military announced today that 12,000 US troops will leave Iraq by September.

I could have told you that. Most of them are called the 4th Infantry Division, and their one-year tour of duty will be finished by then. Whether they'll be replaced or not is the part of the story we can't be certain about.

In other news:

I will again be staging a tax revolt, and will start buying Russian cigarettes online. Until I can stop smoking, that is. Because the representatives in our State government, who no longer represent me, have decided that it's necessary to raise the tax on cigarettes again, and I feel it my duty as an American to be a revolutionary. It's also my duty as an American to be revolting. And if I can get cigarettes for one-third the cost, isn't it fiscally responsible for me to do so?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

In keeping with a theme

Johnny Depp is starring in a film about John Dillinger (one of my lifelong anti-heroes). The film is scheduled to open in theaters on July 1, 2009, and is called Public Enemies.

For those of you who don't know, I live very near John Dillinger's old stomping grounds. Unfortunately, Johnny Depp has never stomped anywhere near me.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My son got hammered on his 21st birthday.

Yesterday was J-Dub's 21st birthday. I called him on my way home from work to see if I could drop off a cake and a card (with cash), thinking he may have left work early. I asked if he was at home. He said, "No, I'm at the hospital."

Those of you who followed me at Journalspace may remember that I have a phobia of March. March is when all the bad things happen. Last year, my youngest son had emergency surgery to have a blood clot removed from his spine at midnight on February 29th. The year before, my father passed away in March, and in years before that we lost my father-in-law and my husband's favorite uncle.

So it wasn't really unexpected that somebody I know would end up in the hospital. The cause couldn't really be predicted, though - while at work, my son was banging on a piece of equipment with a hammer when the hammer shattered, embedding a piece of steel into his thumb.

I didn't go to the hospital to hold his other hand, because I had the youngest son's sectional basketball game to go to (they lost), and J-Dub wouldn't have wanted me there anyway. When I called later to check on him, he said, "I'm in surgery right now."

Words every mother secretly wishes to hear from her son, but only if he's a doctor.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

It's true. I'm 10 percent white trash.

I'm just guessing at the 10 percent. It could be more or less, but somehow I'm just not as elegant and cultured as I'd like to be. And it isn't just because at this very moment I have a cow leg complete with hoof lying in my front yard.

Yesterday it was planned that I would meet my mom, sister-in-law and niece for lunch and then shopping at a big discount/decorating store called Old Time Pottery. I still wasn't feeling well, so I lollygagged, which sounds not attractive at all and is pretty much my worst trait. I think. Please don't tell me I have a worse one.

To make a long story short, I missed my shopping date entirely. But I shopped anyway, finding myself attracted on this particular day to blue things, which reflected my mood. I loved the bluish-lavender Thomas O'Brien plates, but they were $2.49 each. That didn't seem discounted enough for me. I loved the goblets shot through with streaks of blue glass, and some wreaths with silk violets. I could have left the store empty-handed...if I hadn't been in the mood for summer. And, well, for summertime rednecky things to clutter up the outdoors. So I bought a chicken and a birdhouse.

But I didn't buy just any chicken. No, I bought faux copper SuperChicken, with action wings. Seriously. His wings are attached to little metal springs, which make them flap a little. And he has big googly eyes.

Tell me YOU could have passed him up. Really? You could have? Then what is WRONG with me???

Then I picked up this birdhouse. I don't know. I really don't. It was something about the red, white and blue. Something about the fake '58 license plate. Something about birds.

Is it kind of cute? A little fitting for the side of my garage which needs to be painted? No birds will ever nest there, of course. It's just for show. I'm so pretentious.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Laura is the face in the misty light. Footsteps that you hear down the hall.

I just read Simon's latest post, which is a listing of definitions of his name from Urban Dictionary.

Since Maurita hasn't been defined yet, I'll share some definitions of my real name.

1. Laura
-Sex on legs
-Tiger in the bedroom
-Waiscoast is TEH SEX
-Possibly the rudest person you will EVER meet
-Cute. END OF.

Michelle: "Did you meet up with Laura last night?"
Hannah: "Yeh, she was a tiger in the bedroom!"
(Laura walks past...)
Michelle: "Aye up, sex on legs.."

2. Laura
meaning 'from the laurel flower'
a beautiful name, in fact one of the best names ever.

hey laura, you're soo fly

3. Laura
a young woman, typically associated with romantic themes. Though the name originally came from the Roman tradition of placing a wreath of laurels on victors' heads, it has developed more emotional ties in recent years.

The most famous Laura is from Dr. Zhivago in which she is a star-crossed lover who leaves her true love to marry another man.

4. Laura
A really really cool person;
guys want her and girls want to be her.
Has many friends.
Everyone likes her,
they dont only pretend to like her.

Guy 1: Why can we never get a Laura?
Guy 2: They all already have great boyfriends.

Girl 1: Lauras so cool, I want to be her.
Girl 2: Your just lucky your her friend.

5. Laura
The person with this name is the most amazing person you will ever meet. After you say hi to her, magic fairy dust will sprinkle on your head and then you'll be able to FLY! OMG! Who WOULDN'T want to fly?

That girl is so cool. Her name must be Laura! *begins to fly*

6. Laura
a laura is a being, typically female, with an overall good personality
-lauras generally listen to good music and lack their own form of transportation
-one major flaw some lauras possess is their failure to watch donnie darko as often as they should
-although lauras have some faults, they are typically above average intelligence and liked by most

"dude, did you just see that laura over there?"

"i so did man, i so didddddddd"

7. laura
A really great girl either in the bed or on the floor. Also one of the kindest most beautiful chicks you'll ever meet. The kind you never let go of.

Man, I met a laura last night. I'm not gonna let this one get away!

8. Laura
A girl who is awesome in every way, can be shy at times and crazy (especially when she is sugar high) the next, but is always a fun person to be around. She likes to make lists and keep everything in order. She loves to be creative with her stories she writes, and takes too many photos on her camera. She loves to hang out with a group of friends at all times. Reading is her favorite pastime, and she barely ever misses a tv show. You will never regret ever meeting a Laura. She likes to keep everything in order, and makes sure everythings in its place, except not really :). She loves to make up one syllable words and languages out of these words. Her favorite number is 4 and she is really good at remembering numbers. Best Traits: can keep secrets when she wants to, can always cheer people and friends up, knows the right moment when a friends in need.

You cant live life without a Laura there to cheer you up.

9. Laura
-sex on a stick
-at times quiet
-doesn't talk to people she thinks aren't worth her time
-loves photography
-one of the most BEAUTIFUL girls you will ever meet!
-the most intelligent person ever!
-great taste in music
-f*&%ing great! the end.

"dude, do you see that laura over there?"

"totally dude, she is one suga' I'd open my bakery to"

10. laura
A beautiful sexy woman that should be treated like a princess at all times.

Dammmnn what a laura, I'd do anything for her

Friday, February 27, 2009

Human guinea pig is unwell and slightly paranoid.

Since first developing allergies at the age of 12, and because of my inherited hypochondriac tendencies, I've always thought of myself as a human guinea pig. I prefer this term over "laboratory rat."

Let me see if I can lay this out for you without sounding totally crazy.

Here is a list of chemicals/food ingredients I've learned that my body can't handle:

1. Food dye Red No. 40 - turns me (and my oldest son) into the Incredible Hulk.

2. Monosodium glutamate - gives me (and my 1st and 3rd sons) migraine headaches. These are true migraines which include visual disturbances, headache, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and damage to brain cells (a scientific fact).

3. Aspartame, Splenda, sucralose, and any other artificial sweetener - make the skin on my face go numb. When I've had enough of one of these sugar substitutes, I can run a sharp fingernail down my cheek and not feel it.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup - extended use or overingestion makes my heart feel like it's going to explode out of my chest. (Coincidentally, a study among actual laboratory rats resulted in female rats having their hearts enlarge until they exploded, and male rats not developing testicles.) So, could also say it makes me feel like I have no balls. Just kidding!! And I notice a feeling of numbness around the joints in my fingers, wrists and knees.

5. Sulfites - found in every bottle of wine sold in America (unless someone can tell me otherwise). Again with the heart pounding and elevated blood pressure.

6. Common table salt and pure cane sugar - not sure about these, but I seem to be finding out that when I have too much of either, my blood pressure numbers skyrocket. It's well known that sodium levels affect blood pressure, but I wasn't sure about the effect of high blood sugar levels on blood pressure. Last night I found some info on the internet (yay) which may support that. And while I really don't eat a lot of sweets, I do occasionally have a lemonade, or make my own barbecue sauce out of catsup and brown sugar, or any number of other things that allow sugar to sneak its way into my body...

including chewing gum. And guess what ALL chewing gums on the market contain now, including Wrigley's? Aspartame. Which has probably been unleashing all kinds of weird chemical reactions in my body every time I pop a piece of gum in my mouth, all day long at work. Which may be why I can't get my blood pressure under control, despite my doctor having doubled the strength of my prescription. (In case you're wondering, two nights this week, the numbers were 140/100.)

So now I won't even chew gum. I hope someone steals all of it out of my desk this weekend.

And white bread? Pfft. Fuggeddaboutit. Not after what I read last night. In fact, I may just stop eating altogether. Because guess what? After not eating at all, my blood pressure is perfectly normal.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Songs That Make Me Uncomfortable

It first happened when I was a teenager. I was on a road trip with my dad and my sister, presumably to take her back to college in Iowa, when we walked into a truck stop to eat. The song that was playing rather loudly when we entered the restaurant was Bad Company's Feel Like Making Love. It might not have been so bad if my dad wasn't there. I might not have been uncomfortable at all if it didn't feel like I was a place for 50,000 truckers to park their eyes.

The same thing has happened a few times over the years, usually when I'm eating alone in a restaurant, or when I'm the only woman in a gas station, etc.

I also have a slight phobia of police officers. It might have something to do with them always being assholes when I'm speeding, which of course I have never done. What I mean is they were assholes in the past when I was allegedly speeding and they erroneously gave me tickets.

So imagine my discomfort today when I was peacefully sitting at Long John Silver's, eating some possibly fake grilled tilapia, when Donna Summer's Love to Love You Baby started moaning and writhing out of the speakers like a cat in heat, and one of the two police officers sharing the restaurant was getting catsup about 2 feet away from me, whistling the love to love you baby part. Officer, please don't love to love me. Don't even love me. Don't even think about loving to love me. And then some other guy (perhaps a construction worker) came over to refill his drink, and kept positioning his body sideways so he could stare at me. I would have bent over a little to allow my hair to fall in my face, but I was afraid that might give the guy an unimpeded view down my top. Instead, I just kept shoveling food in my face. I ate my breadstick so that it would in no way resemble a sex act of any kind, hoping that I could either finish eating before Donna Summer ran out of breathlessness, or that the song would end along with the crawly feeling moving up and down my back.

As it turns out, Donna finished before I did, but my relief was short-lived. Because whoever created this 70's strip club playlist moved right into I Was Made for Loving You by KISS.

The Temperature of Hell

This was forwarded to me by a co-worker:


The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid term. The answer by one student was so 'profound' that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed)or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls
are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct......leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting 'Oh my God.'


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quotes by Maurita

Quotes I would like to have attributed to me:

"Arguing with a New Yorker is like spitting into a hurricane."

"I've never been surprised by the similarity between the words marital and martial."

"Old people don't think stuff's funny."

Slips of the tongue that can fade away into oblivion:

Thirty minutes after telling a guy that I would like to kick his ass, I said, "You're just standing around waiting for an ass kissing, aren't you?"

Upon losing it when my kids refused to take no for an answer:
"From now on, when I say No, I MEAN YES!"

I'm sure there are more, because I'm quite brilliant, you know.

*eye roll*

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back to the Dark Ages!

Astounding, is what it is. Perhaps embarrassing. Certainly a health hazard. But the sight of one little sign this morning caused me to cackle.

Due to the current company trend of cost cutting, my employer is no longer buying bottled water for its employees. Instead, they've installed a few reverse osmosis water dispensers throughout the hangar. And this morning, on my walk to the office, I did a double-take when I saw these words (printed on paper) on the side of one of them:

Please wash hands
before using and do not
tongue ladle!

And a white plastic ladle was lying there in the trough that catches water. It's true. We've gone back in time 200 years.

And I really want to know who's been tonguing the ladle.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

T-Mobile Subway Event

No doubt my (three?) British readers have already been inundated with this video, but it's possible the rest of you haven't.

What follows is a commercial shot for T-Mobile, in Liverpool Street Station on January 15, 2009. I'm not sure anyone who was there could've had a bad day after seeing this.

quivering with each moment like a drop of mercury

On days like this, when the sun taunts us with a warm but faraway smile, I like to dust off my garden books and look at the pictures.

These (rephotographed and cropped) photos are by Richard W. Brown, from the book Tasha Tudor's Garden:

I love the striped, red parrot tulips.

Peach ruffles.

I'm wishing I'd planted tulips in the Fall!

I've always thought peonies were underrated. Fortunately, there's a cemetery full of them just down the road from me.

Ahhh, peaches. But I won't wish the summer away by looking at them too long, or too longingly.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Outside In

Outside my window

including screen

Inside my window

a little bird - a gift to me from my niece.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rick Santelli - Revolutionary?

I love this guy! Make sure you pay attention to the comment about the '54 Chevy.

The Extent of My Practicality

Because of the current economy, I've been told precisely fifteen times in the last month to "buy only what is necessary." This would be pretty straightforward for most people, but I have something wrong with my brain. I may even have a mental illness.

Case in point: the first full year I had a job. I was only 19, single, and still living with my parents. But that doesn't excuse how I spent my $1000 Christmas bonus. Actually, I can't tell you how I spent all of it. But I remember buying my brother a Jackalope. I bought my oldest brother something equally useless and expensive, and snowshoes for my dad. (The snowshoes are mine now, just to stir up some jealousy among those in my family who read me.)

Not practical. At all.

On my lunch hour, I went to Dollar General to buy laundry soap. While there, I was forced to decide whether some disposable window cleaners were "necessary" or not. I really need to clean the inside of the windshield in the truck, so, practical = check. Having paper towels and Windex at home already = not necessary. So I didn't buy this $2 freaking item. I was kind of proud of myself. Then I went to McDonald's, which I hate, and spent only $3 for lunch. Very conflicting, since I know how unhealthy that kind of food makes me. But spending only $3 meant I could drive over to the bookstore and browse -- and maybe even buy a book since I saved so much money on lunch and not buying window cleaner.

You may be wondering, Dear Reader, if I was able to escape the clutches of Barnes and Noble unscathed. Of course not. As soon as I hit the entryway, a book caught my eye. The Knitting Directory. Have I ever mentioned that I don't know how to knit? That's why I needed the book. Have I mentioned that I don't have knitting needles? Have I mentioned that I don't have yarn? These are minor hurdles along my path to learning how to knit. I prefer to think of these stumbling blocks as opportunities - because now that I have a book about how to knit, it becomes necessary for me to have knitting needles and yarn.

Do you see how it works?

And how could I pass up a piece of literature like the one titled When the Duke Returns? Of course I want the Duke to return. Maybe he's coming back from Waterloo, having single-handedly defeated Napoleon. Maybe he went to America to escape a huge gambling debt, leaving a younger brother to clean up the mess he made of his entire Estate. It was simply necessary for me to know why the Duke is returning, and what will happen to him when he gets here. There.

But I promise I won't spend any more money. Today.

Farm Wife Blues

When I was a 7-year-old horse crazy girl, the quickest way to get me in the car when my parents were going to visit another set of boring old friends was to tell me that they had horses. Invariably, the boring old friends would have sold their horses five or ten years before that, which rendered them extra boring.

But my dad knew a couple of people with real farms - his cousin Mary in Missouri, and a church member who had moved out of the city to settle on a place he called Storybook Farm, where the wide variety of animals were named after characters from books. We visited the Missouri place only once while it was still a working farm with a milk cow, two mules, chickens, and probably cats and a dog, though I can't remember for sure. I was more impressed by the mules and cow, and that trip was the first and last time I milked a cow. I loved that place, and I still have dreams about (of all things) the house's attic.

It's probably no surprise, then, that I grew up dreaming that I would have a farm of my own someday. And the only way my feeble mind could imagine accomplishing this was to marry a farmer. If I married a farmer, I could have ALL the animals I wanted!


I think my husband hates animals. It's possible he does, since he's made it pretty clear that any animals I've had since we've been married were/are incredible, expensive nuisances. He may have privately rejoiced when two of my horses died in December. Just last night I finally figured out that he has been secretly live-trapping my cats, as part of a kitty relocation program.

My dream of having all the animals I ever wanted is now dead. Rest in Peace, dream.

Could it be Karma that the last thing caught in the live trap was a skunk?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Strikes My Fancy Today

Staying indoors

Am I the only one who can hear this cat making a raspberry sound?

A bearskin rug

Destructive to the environment, good for the soul.

A fireplace

Get one now, before your infrastructure fails.

A russian hat and coat

I don't know why I don't have one of these hats. I've always loved them, and apparently you can buy them from Russia in fox, sable, rabbit, or possum for $100 or less.

Playing dress up

What can I say. I love feathers. I must have been a burlesque dancer in a former life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Author Bio

Maurita Mason was born in 1962 in Indianapolis, the daughter of an Aquarian with a million hobbies and an accomplished artist. She is a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, where she earned degrees in non-classical "literature," baby raising, and poultry. Maurita is the author of one-half a novel titled Untitled in which the reader is expected to finish the story and give the book a title. She is a complete and utter fake, as illustrated here by this poorly airbrushed photo. Blah blah blah, filler filler, blah blah blah, so I can get the text to wrap around the picture like it's supposed to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Today would have been my dad's 81st birthday. I thought about him all day, of course, and decided it would be a good day to go visit my mom, since I rarely take the time to do that.

My son and I also seized the opportunity to bring home my dad's '93 Chevy truck, which my mom graciously said CW could have, since he turned 16 last August and we aren't rich enough to buy him a vehicle of his own.

My mom handed over the title and a "bill of sale," and after starting the truck with jumper cables, cleaning it out, and removing the abandoned mouse nest from under the seat, we began the 30 mile trip back home, with me in the lead. I thought about how happy it would make my dad to know that one of his grandkids would enjoy his truck and take care of it.

And all the way home, I got little jolts of bittersweetness every time I looked in the rear view mirror, because it was almost like seeing my dad back there, following me home.

Thanks for everything, Dad, and Happy Birthday.

Bad Housekeeping

All working mothers know what it's like to be short on time and energy. Over the past two decades, I've discovered a few tricks to save on money, time and effort.

Are there any clean towels?

After a bath or shower, it's possible to towel off with only a small, dry wash cloth. This will eliminate larger loads of laundry, and perhaps save the environment!

Under the Rug

Buy only reversible throw rugs. Simply flip the rug over when one side gets dirty.

Write On!

Allowing dust to accumulate on furniture surfaces will provide a handy place to write notes to yourself or the family. Encourage everyone to have fun by playing hangman or tic-tac-toe!

This Really Sucks!

Do you own a Dyson or any other canister type vacuum? Letting dirt gather for up to 3 weeks in your carpets will make your sweeper seem even more powerful as you watch the canister fill up!

Go Green!

Leaving leftovers in the refrigerator for an extended period of time will speed up the decomposition process when moldy food items are added to compost. Also, isn't it possible your garden will be healthier if it has been on antibiotics?

The New Tie Dye

Boring white shirt? Leave it in the bottom of a damp clothes hamper for at least a week to give the shirt a permanent, speckled effect.

Community Sock Basket

Tired of matching socks? Just throw all the clean socks in one laundry basket, and let the family hunt for their own socks. Your children and possibly your husband will feel as if they are doing their share to help around the house.

I may add to this list over time. Feel free to share your own hints in the comment section!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Save Joaquin!! Or not...

Joaquin Phoenix appeared on David Letterman last night. Did you see it? Have you seen the clip? There are five possible explanations for this humorous/sad/painful interview:

a) Joaquin has gone completely batshit;
b) Joaquin is painfully shy and was forced to be on the show by his publicist;
c) Joaquin is on something bad;
d) Joaquin became possessed by the ghost of Johnny Cash during the filming of Walk the Line, thus opening a portal for other dead celebrities to enter his body, including Anna Nicole Smith and perhaps Kurt Cobain;
e) Joaquin is embracing his bad press and exploiting it.

I tend to believe the explanation is e, because the guy is just too brilliant for it to be anything else. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vacation Day!

Son #3 has a dental appointment shortly after noon, so I'm taking this opportunity to use one of my 13 vacation days left before June 1st. (I'm saving the rest for when my soldier is home on mid-tour leave in May.) It's windy out there, but warmer (about 53 degrees F, moving up to 64 in the afternoon), with a chance for thunderstorms and tornadoes tonight! In case I haven't mentioned it, I embrace bad weather, but only if it's warm.

I'm biorhythmically moving into one of my introspective periods, which means fewer posts and comments. At least I understand my own patterns and can predict them, even if I haven't yet managed to figure out prevention. I may be on to something, though: a co-worker invited me yesterday to walk the six flights of stairs that flank the interior of the hangar and lead to a catwalk at the ceiling. If I lead up to doing this every day, five days a week, I'll be well on my way to restructuring my bird legs, having thighs and calves, and maybe preventing a fluctuation in mood. And if I end up looking like the lower half of Beyonce, who am I to complain?

One of the things I've been thinking about lately is how painful self-restraint is for me. And not just self-restraint, but being forced by other people or by circumstances to refrain from doing something - especially spending money. It's bad enough that I live with a tightwad at home, but now I'm faced with a tightwad employer. Since I started my current job, I've been in charge of ordering office supplies for my department. Because of the current economy, the only thing I can order is paper, and even that has to go through the approval of four managers. This means no Post-It notes! No pens! No multi-colored miniature legal notepads! Do you know how much that hurts me? It's a good thing I have my purple, refillable Dr. Grip gel pen, with the dozen-or-so black ink refills I ordered a while back just in case. I may have stumbled upon an entrepeneurial opportunity, though. While I still have staples, I'm going to take discarded printer paper, cut it into quarters, and staple it (blank side up) into small note pads and sell them to my co-workers.
(Note: While I understand that if you "take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves," it seems a bit laughable when you consider that the top five executives of my company are pulling in a total of 44 million dollars. I say slice from the top of the cake first. I'll bet the top of the cake has Post-It notes!)

So that's it. I'm spoiled rotten, and never would have survived The Great Depression. Especially since Post-It Notes weren't invented yet.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Without a Trace

It really shouldn't come as a shock to me that I've lost nearly all of my Journalspace posts. Google got tired of holding them for me. The important ones, I mean. I also failed to download the zip file that was sent to me, before the new owners took over the Journalspace domain. (Stupid, stupid stupid!!)

I'm trying to remember one very short poem I placed there. It isn't even a good poem, but I liked it because it reminded me of my human frailty. It said very loudly that I'm not a saint, and that being married doesn't make me immune to the appeal of men.

It went something like this:

I know the way my eyes glide over you
like a pair of ice dancers.
If they linger in one spot too long
(your lower lip)
I'll burn.

Friday, February 06, 2009

these boots aren't made for walking

If I had known what a stir my new boots would cause, I would have photographed them before I left home this morning so I could show them to you. I guess it isn't saying much to write that the heads of a few aircraft mechanics were turned by one pair of off-white boots with jeans tucked into them, but allow me my illusions. Apparently they "look good all the way across the hangar." I could air traffic control with these boots, or I could perhaps cause a disaster the likes of which haven't been seen since the movie Airplane.

But seriously. These boots are so hot that I almost can't stand my own hotness. It's like when you were a kid, and somebody had a woodburning stove, and you couldn't stop yourself from touching it, so you licked your finger and touched the stove. And it really was hot and your finger made a sizzling sound. That kind of hot.

The downside is that the boots weren't made for snow. In snow, I take one step forward and three steps back. It's like I'm doing the moon walk, but in white boots, and in the snow. And without a glove, because I left mine in the truck.

So, anyway, please tell me how much you like my boots. Because all the cool people are doing it.

That fuzzy stuff along the bottom of the photo is smoke, of course.

Wow, more smoke!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Shut it off at the thingie/keep it somewhere warm.

I'm such a mom. Really. I always considered myself very hands-off where the lives of other people are concerned - especially when those other people are my children. But, apparently not.

My almost-21-year-old son moved out for the second time on Sunday, into an old house which is, presumably, in need of repair. The owner has agreed to trade work on the house for rent, and J-dub is naturally gung-ho about that. So just now he came home to check his Facebook and Myspace, and asked where I'd stored a gallon of wall primer he knew I had. I found the paint and handed it over, because God knows my lazy ass won't be using it any time in the near future, then I began asking him if he needed dishwasher soap, toilet paper, floor cleaner, carpet shampoo.

"No, Mom, we're going to the store to get all that, and a ceiling light, because the living room has no lights in it." He said something about an exhaust fan in the middle of the ceiling (???), and he was going to put a light there.

I said, "Do you know how to do wiring? Do you know you have to shut it off at the thingie?"

He laughed, of course. Silly me; he might still be a little bit blonde, but he'll never be as blonde as his mother.

After I filled his arms with a baggie full of dishwasher soap, a bottle of Dawn dish detergent, and assorted other necessities, I said, "Don't forget your paint can." As he leaned over to pick it up I added, "Keep it somewhere warm!"

The only reason I could see him smiling as he walked out the door was because he was shaking his head from side to side.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Beer for My Soldiers

I chatted on instant messenger with my son briefly today. He said that his entire base got beer for the Superbowl -- except for the infantry platoons, because they're required to drive. I call bullshit, and so did my son's buddies. They stole some and took it back their rooms. I'm pretty sure the stolen beer amounted to about one each, so there's no danger of camels being struck by Humvees or anything.

*edit - I just realized that allowing soldiers in a war zone to have only one or two beers is akin to taking Anna Kournikova to Iraq to entertain the troops, but dressing her in a burkah.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ready, Set, Action

It seems to me that the more popular blogs on the internet are the ones that deal with doing. They are the action verbs of the blog world - more powerful, efficient, exciting. This blog, like its owner, is a passive verb. It doesn't accelerate, leap, flutter, grind, or even splash. It is told, not shown.

And here's why.

On the evening of my birthday, I grabbed my camera on the way out as we were leaving for dinner. I was going to blog about my birthday dinner.

It was a beautiful late January evening, about 6 p.m. Almost dusk, with snow flurries and a hushed blanket of snow over everything. We took the most scenic route to the restaurant - a winding, paved road through the woods, past hills and creeks and a river.

As I was admiring the black and white landscape, I suddenly exclaimed, "I should be taking pictures!"

This photo was taken from the moving vehicle, because my cry of "I should be taking pictures" didn't slow my husband down a bit. I love this little farmstead, that has probably been on this hillside for over a hundred years. I don't even know if anyone lives there anymore.

Hubby may have nearly stopped for this photo, but only because he had just rounded a 90-degree curve.

And here we are, flying over a bridge which crosses the White River. Definitely no stopping here, with traffic in front of and behind us. This is when hubby said, "It really makes me nervous when you do that," meaning, take a photo from a moving vehicle with the camera hanging precariously outside the window with just my two clumsy hands holding it.

After we arrived at the restaurant, and keeping in mind that I hadn't eaten for 24 hours because of my illness, I chose to drink a strawberry daquiri. It was a deliberate decision to have something with rum in it, because sailors drank rum, and it couldn't be too awful on an iffy stomach. I forgot to photograph the daquiri. And the next one.

But I remembered to shoot the first course of the meal: the restaurant's signature beef and onion soup, complete with a bit of french bread and some mozzarella cheese in the bottom.

Looks delicious, doesn't it? DOESN'T IT? Maybe it's just me, but it seems their bowls are getting smaller. Damn the American economy!

I only remembered to get a pic of my salad when I was halfway done. This just looks gross.

I swear the french dressing is amazing, though. But again with the smaller portions.

Then the main course - a 10 ounce New York Strip, grilled medium well, with a baked potato rubbed with butter and sea salt. Yes, it's out of focus. The rum made me not care.

Simple fare, to be sure, but the best, most flavorful steaks anywhere close to home.

And that, my darlings, is why I don't show you where I go and what I do.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why I'm not Brilliant

Too many details clutter my brain. If I'm out getting Subway sandwiches for everyone, I know that hubby wants a six inch Philly Cheese Steak on white bread, with American cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise. CW (#3 son) wants his Philly Cheese Steak on twelve inches of Italian herbs and cheese bread, toasted, with American cheese, lettuce, onions, and yellow and green peppers. Then slathered with mayo. And J-dub (#2 son) will eat whatever I get for him...if he is even around to eat. And no one but me and J-dub will eat tomatoes.

Then we have everyone's social security numbers, account numbers, cell phone numbers, Army Brigade designation, and clothing sizes. With the exception of J-dub, the men in my family rarely buy clothing for themselves. Soldier buys the occasional t-shirt, but each time I see him, you can bet he's going to be wearing something I bought for him 4 or 5 Christmases ago. I don't know what he's going to do when he comes home for mid-tour leave in May, since all of his civilian clothes are in storage somewhere in Colorado Springs. Shoe sizes? From hubby to youngest son - 10 1/2, 10, 11, and 13. (Each time I grew a baby in my tummy, I figured out how to make it larger.)

On top of all that, I have to know that a #2 Engine Boroscope goes in the 2-4 hour block of an MD-10 B-check, and about a thousand other things.

So is it any wonder that I don't have room for Shakespeare, or Nietzche, or HTML?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Please acknowledge me.

I think it's human nature to want to be noticed. Acknowledged. To matter, somehow.

So today, on my birthday, please notice me. Please acknowledge that I survived not only birth, but another 47 years on top of that horrible experience, which I barely remember. In fact, I don't remember a lot of the 47 years that followed the horrid birth experience, but I remember that today is my birthday.

I had big plans for today! I took a vacation day so I could accomplish a huge list of things. Like, I don't know...really, I didn't write any of it down...but I was going to do, you know, stuff. A painting, maybe. Some photography. A little writing. Shopping. But then, precisely at sometime in the afternoon yesterday, a virus entered my bowels, and the virus has left me feeling weak, empty, and unaccomplished.

I did get to chat with my son in Iraq for quite a while, though, and that's a pretty good birthday gift.

When's YOUR birthday, so I can acknowledge your survival too?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Etsy Discovery: D. Prizzi

I've been downhearted baby
Ever since the day we met
Our love is nothin' but the blues
Baby how blue can you get...

My new favorite artist at etsy is D. Prizzi. While it may have been her blues that first attracted me, it was her skill as an artist that made me fall in love.

Do you not want to gobble up this delectable tart? Is your mouth watering? Look at the light reflected in the berries, that hint of gold around the rim of the plate. Just beautiful.

This painting makes me want to be British and drink more tea.

I love the juxtaposition of colors here. The Granny Smith green with the turquoise of the plate. And that warmth of red beneath. There's a great deal to be said about the composition, too, if I really knew anything about composition. I only know that it looks exactly right.

The artist appears to be quite beautiful, herself. You may see more of her work on her lovely blog.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On My Toes

I just hopped over to etsy to see what people are selling these days, and one of the featured items comes from genepierson's shop.

I've always had a secret thing for ballet dancers, probably since the time I was five years old and tried to discover a way to dance on my toes.

Anyway, there's something I love about this photo, and the others that can be found at the link above.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Movies That Almost Slipped Through the Cracks

In between all the stuff I didn't do this weekend, I managed to squeeze in one book and two movies.

The thing about being a Netflix subscriber is that you feel compelled to return movies as quickly as possible so you feel you're getting your money's worth, which means more movies coming back to you, which means you really have to stay on top of your queue and not let it get empty like I did once, leaving me drumming my fingers wondering what the hell was wrong with Netflix that they weren't getting my movies out to me. Until I pulled up their website and saw that, oops, my queue was empty.

However, when you're watching as many movies in a month as I am, while trying to choose what will please the men in the household, it can start to be a bit of a crap shoot. Sometimes I don't have the knack for picking good films, and sometimes I let good ones get away entirely.

I hit the jackpot this weekend, though. Two films I would give five out of five stars:

The Brave One, 2007

Jodie Foster brilliantly portrays a New York radio personality who loses her fiance when they are both beaten in a brutal attack. The film explores the astonishing (and almost gratifying) way her character deals with the feelings of fear and victimization that are left behind, culminating in revenge on the thugs responsible for the attack. It's vigilante justice at its finest. Last line: There is no going back, to that other person, that other place. This thing, this stranger, she is all you are now.

Eagle Eye, 2008

Shia LaBeouf (Transformers and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is Jerry Shaw, the unmotivated and underachieving twin of an Air Force officer who dies suddenly in a car accident. Jerry's life shifts suddenly into high gear when, shortly after burying his brother, he discovers a checking account balance of $571,000, and subsequently goes to his apartment to discover an arsenal has been shipped to him box by box. A phone call from a mysterious woman unleashes a series of events that will keep YOU away from the bathroom and glued to the screen, because "you have been activated. Your compliance is vital."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Novel Idea

This morning on the way home from buying my Saturday morning cup of coffee, two characters found their way into my head as if they had just arrived by train and I was meeting them at the station. This happened to me about ten years ago (before The Internet took over my life), and the story of those two characters burned inside of me until I had to write it halfway down. Then, like ignored guests, they hopped back on the train and went somewhere else.

I've never really discussed story ideas with anyone, ever since I read that it interrupts the flow of creative energy to do so. But I will say that this will be a love story, set in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl Era.

And guess what? Just as a survivor of the Great Depression was distrustful of banks, I'll be writing my story on paper. I have no faith in electronics.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kate Winslet: A Photographic Tribute

Kate Winslet. Is it weird that I love her so much? Is it odd that I have watched Sense and Sensibility 500 times? She was 19 when she played the role of Marianne Dashwood in that film. Nineteen. I can't even recall what I was doing when I was nineteen, and, thankfully, it wasn't filmed.

I like that she doesn't consider herself a movie star. "Please don't call me [a movie star]. I don’t feel like a movie star in my life at all, and I don’t particularly think I behave like one."

With her son, Joe. I never look that good when going to Wal-Mart. Or, well, anywhere, for that matter.

Ah, the fair skin. If I had known how beautiful fair skin is, I never would have tanned like everyone else I knew.

One for the guys.

I don't know. From the set of Revolutionary Road, maybe? I love the dress. And the gloves. It would be worth it to be an actress, just to play dress-up.

By the way, I used to HATE Leonardo DiCaprio. Hate, hate, hate. Like, Tom Cruise hate. But I find I like him quite a lot now that he's a man. It's like someone took sandpaper and roughed up his edges.