“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


A Few Random Things

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Share The Love Blog Awards are complete. None of the winners are blogs I normally read before the contest, but there are some really good ones in there. Go check them out!


The kitties are still safe and happy here with us. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have the privilege of holding on to them until Saturday. I get three more days. Not sure if that makes it easier or harder.


When I was looking for a picture of our cats earlier, I ran across these and had to share the cuteness.
YoYo and Beethoven

Maestro and YoYo

YoYo and Mozart


Feeling Sad Today

The house won't quite be on the market yet tomorrow as we had hoped, but it should be within a few days. Thursday, the realtor comes and we sign papers. The problem with selling a house when you have pets, as some of you may know, is that you can't have pets in the house when your house is susceptible to showing at any moment of any day. Plus, apparently people get all freaked out if they find out there's been a pet (or two or three or five) in the house.

Thus, today is a very sad day in the Geek household.

Yes, you counted right. There are five of them.
From left to right: Maestro, Mozart, YoYo, Diva, and Beethoven's butt.

Today, we send our kitties away for a while. My parents have generously offered their basement as a home for our pets for the next couple months or so. We will make it as comfy as possible and will visit them every day, but they will be sorely missed. There will be no Mozart greeting us cheerfully when we come home each night; no YoYo laying on my chest as I fall asleep or Beethoven softly snoring above my head; no Maestro to curl up next to me as I wake up in the morning; and no Diva to greet us with happy meows and purrs when we come downstairs each morning.

We will miss them, but soon the house will sell, we will begin building our new home, and then they can come back to live with us again.


I'm Back, And So Is My Favorite Ice Cream!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I'm back. Our living room carpet is sparkly clean and life is back to normal...well, relatively normal since the house is going on the market this week.

You'd think that would be important right? WRONG! If you had asked me five minutes ago, I would have said that it was one of the most important things in my life at the moment, but not any more, for I have found the most amazing creation ever imagined. There is nothing so wondrous as this that has ever been created by man. It will change your life. I know it's about to change mine. I have found...

Yes, dear readers, you too can search for your favorite flavor of ice cream. It's sold at a store near you, but do you know which store that is? If not, the Flavor Finder is your friend! I am living proof to this fact and I have a testimony to share today dear people.

See, in the not-too-distant past, I found the most delectable flavor of ice cream. Everyone has a favorite, am I right? We are all different and therefore our favorites are different, but I found that mine was Haagen Daaz Creme Brulee. Smooth, creamy, sweet, carmelized sugar, rich, velvety, yummy heaven on a spoon. For many moons, my ultimate evening of indulgence included a pint of Haagen Daaz Creme Brulee while curled up on the couch in my favorite flannel jammies watching Pride and Prejudice. (The A&E mini-series version, of course!) What could possibly be better?

My ice cream world was complete, until one day when it all came crashing down around me. I went to my usual supplier of that sweet creamy goodness, and when I reached for the pint on it's regular shelf in the freezer was gone! Horror of all horrors! What shall I do? I took a pint of Dulce De Leche instead, but it was just not the same. It simply could not measure up.

I returned the following week, hoping to find that it was just a fluke, but it was not. My dealer had cut me off. I tried other stores in hopes of finding it elsewhere. I had always been faithful to my original supplier, but if they would not give me what I wanted, I would find it elsewhere! Alas, I could not, though I searched and searched.

But today...yes, today I finally found what I have been looking for. It has been many months since I have partaken of that ice cream dream, but very soon now the nightmare will be over. The Flavor Finder showed me the way. All I had to do was type in my zip code and it told me where I could find what I needed. The best part? It's right on my way to work. I've been driving within a block of my favorite ice cream every day for four months now, and I never knew it.

Yes, very soon now I will be stopping at that store. I will not be able to stay away for long. When I do, I cannot promise that the cover will remain sealed until I get home, for I have sincerely missed my dear sweet yummy Creme Brulee.


I Have Left The Building

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Carpet cleaners are coming tomorrow.

Computer is going away for a day or two...or three or so.

No posting, reading posts, email or anything else for a day or two...or three or so.

See y'all later!


Keys To A Successful Marriage

Jeana started a new meme for Valentine's Day, and while I am a bit late (what's new?), I do like a good meme, so here goes. If you like it, consider yourself tagged. Just let me know please, so I can come read yours.

The Rules
What's one thing you have learned to do differently to make your marriage better? or one thing you think is important to a good marriage?
If you're not married, look at your parents or a couple you know that has a good marriage and tell something you admire about their relationship. And no pressure to tell the most important thing; in fact try to write something different than what's already been written, if you get tagged after several other people have already done it. If you get tagged, link back to whoever tagged you, so we can follow the trail and see what others have said.

From the very beginning of our marriage, which has lasted over 13 years now, the Geek and I have always had a date night. Friday nights are sacred and all of our friends and family know it. It takes a seriously major event to make us reschedule our weekly date. See that? Reschedule. Not cancel. If we can't have our date on Friday, then we will make it Saturday, but like I said, it must be extremely important to make us change it.

It was actually kind of funny to watch our friends try to convince us occasionally to cancel or postpone our date for the week. Notice I say "was". They don't bother trying anymore.

Date night doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. For a short time we even just cooked dinner together and spent the night at home. Most often we go out for dinner. We have some favorite places that don't cost too much like the little mom-n-pop Greek cafe down the road. Perkins has always served us well too. After dinner, we may go to a bookstore and browse for a while or we may go home and watch a movie together.

Whatever we may do, the point is to be together. I believe that, as simple as this sounds, it is one of the key factors to the success of our marriage. The reason for this is that it is one way we show each other how important the other is. If I were to continuously cancel date night with my husband to go on a girl's night out or even to some church event, it would show that my friends and my church are more important to me than my husband.

We do not break date night because there is simply no one in the world more important to us than each other. After 13 years, it's still true, and I fully expect to still be having Friday night dates when we are very old and gray.


Reading Is Fun!

It's 5 am and since my brain flat-out refuses to allow me any more sleep tonight, my day has now begun. I'm stubborn, though. I refuse to be productive before 6 am, so instead I found a completely useless way to waste my time – well, unless you consider freaking out friends, relatives, co-workers and strangers a good use of your time.

Introducing, FlapArt. No, I didn't create it. I'm not that creative or that fast. I just found it and think it's hilarious. Imagine sitting in the lunch room at work reading "Fast Track to Prison - Exploring the Many Benefits of Life Behind Bars"; or better yet, "How to Steal From Your Employer and Get Away With It". Sitting on a park bench reading "How to Murder a Complete Stranger and Get Away With It" while casting suspicious looks over the top of your book at passers-by would be sure to help them get a better workout by quickening their pace a bit.

Personally, I think I'll bring my copy of "Laser Eye Surgery at Home" to our next family gathering. They all think we're crazy do-it-yourselfers anyway. I might as well complete the illusion. The Geek? I think he'd want this one.

So, how about you? Which of these books is next on your "reading" list?


Ground Rules

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

After the day I had at work yesterday, I feel that some ground rules need to be established, so here goes...

1) Temporary employees should not be made to work on a holiday when no one else in the department is working.

2) A boss should not be allowed to inform you that you can take a particular holiday off, only to change his mind at the last minute.

3) When speaking with an employee on a holiday, a customer should not be stubborn, obstinate, stupid, beligerent, cranky, incompetent, rude, slow, indecisive, distracted, or otherwise annoying.

Thank you for your attention. That will be all for now.


Sleeping Beauty? More Like The Sleeping Beast

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm a little scared this morning. Yup. I'm a bit freaked out. Before I tell you why, there's something you need to know about me: I am a heavy sleeper. It's a bit embarassing since most women I know are light sleepers and most men I know are heavy sleepers. Makes a girl feel a bit unfeminine. Nonetheless, it's what I am.

On weekday mornings, my Geek gets up at about 6:15 am. He takes a shower and then calls up the stairs to wake me at about 6:30. I usually don't hear him get up unless he shakes me to tell me so. When he calls, he sometimes has to call twice before I hear him.

This morning was even worse. I woke up at 6:15, my bladder complaining that it was time to get up. I took care of that problem and went straight back to bed. It's Sunday and church doesn't start until 10 am. There's no good reason for me to be up at 6:15.

A while later I woke up again. The Geek was gone and I could hear his video game playing downstairs. I put on my glasses and looked at the clock. It was 9:58!!! Holy cow!!

I made my way down the stairs and immediately complained to the Geek that he had not called to wake me up.

"I did," he replied, "but you didn't wake up."

"Well then, you should have come up to wake me!" I figured he had just called up the stairs as usual.

"I did."

"You did?"

"Mm hmm. I called up several times at about 8:00 and you didn't wake up, so I came upstairs at about 9:00 to wake you and you still didn't wake up."

"Well, did you touch me or just call me?"

"I touched you and called your name and the cats were walking all over you, but you didn't wake up. I figured if you were that tired you must need the sleep, so I just let you sleep."

I'm so embarassed. How does a person sleep through all that?
Needless to say, we didn't go to church today. Oh well. It's really cold out there anyway.

P.S. Don't forget! The Share the Love Blog Awards polls close tomorrow! Go vote, people!


Your Lessons For The Day

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I live in Minnesota. This is about as far north as you can go in the US without running into Canada. It's also nearly perfectly centered in the US which means it is as far as possible from either ocean. This means that, even though Canada is north of Minnesota, some places there are warmer than here because they are closer to temperature-regulating large bodies of water.

Despite all this, and contrary to popular belief among those south who live south of Rochester, MN; I do not live in a frozen tundra. I would like to be perfectly clear on this point as I have spoken to people who either thought that it never reached any temperature above 15 degrees farenheit here, or thought that it must be at least 40 in the winter because no one could possibly survive anything colder than that. If you have ever believed either of these two statements, you were misinformed. It often gets into the 90's in the summer, and the human body can survive well below 40 degree temperatures as long as it has a warm house in which to spend most of it's time.

We have had a lovely warm winter here in Minnesota nice country. I don't think we've seen much less than 20 all winter – until yesterday, that is. Yesterday it suddenly plunged into "real" Minnesota winter weather with a predicted high today of -6. Yes, that is a minus sign before the six.

My Geek went out to meet a friend at a coffee shop this afternoon – proof positive that humankind can survive this cold, though that doesn't mean we have to like it.


I found this fun website today and made a little of my own art. The first two are for my Geek. The third is for my blog. There was another for the Geek, but it was of the kind I could only let his eyes see.
Geek Love My Geek Love to Blog


The post previous to this one was my 150th post! Happy 150th to me!!


If the Share the Love Blog Awards end at midnight Central time on Monday, February 20th and there are eleven categories to vote for, how soon should you get your little tushy over to the STL website?

Answer: NOW!! Go vote for goodness sake! I don't care if it's for me or not, just go vote!


The Price Of Clean Bed Clothes

Friday, February 17, 2006

All right. Enough talk about me being crazy. It's Friday, and Fridays, with their promise of the weekend to come, tend to to wonders for my sanity. Today, instead, I would like to rant a bit about the outrageous price of cleaning linens.

Last year, I finally purchased our first down comforter. The Geek and I have been married for 13 years, and we have never had a comforter. We're still using the old worn blankets people gave us for our wedding and they're about 75% thinner than when they were new, so it takes three or four of them to keep me warm. I've always just been too cheap to plunk down $200 for a new down comforter, so I never got around to buying one.

That changed when my very favorite fabric outlet had an amazing sale last year on down comforters. I got a king size comforter for $50. I saw the coupon in the paper and I simply had to have one. I knew I would never get another chance to get a new comforter for this price.

One thing I knew from the beginning was that I would eventually have to have the thing cleaned. See, we have cats, and anyone who has ever had cats knows what they do on beds, or floors, or furniture, or wherever they might happen to be at the moment their finicky stomachs decide not to continue to hold their contents. It's a fact of life when you have a cat (or two, or three or...). I knew it was only a matter of time.

We put the comforter on the bed in the fall. I was waiting in dreadful anticipation, nearly every day expecting to find a mess on our beloved new comforter. Every day I was blessed with the discovery that they had not made my nightmare come true. I still expected the inevitable. I knew that it could not continue this way, so I asked Blond Girl about how to clean a comforter. I had no idea what water would do to the down and I knew my washer was much too small anyway.

She explained to me that the best way to do this is to take it to a laundromat, wash it in one of those big giant washers, and dry it with six tennis balls to make it nice and fluffy. (Great advice by the way for anyone who didn't already know this little tidbit.)

As fate would have it, when I arrived home that very day, a (not so) lovely surprise was awaiting me. Actually, my Geek had found it first and taken it off the bed. The only reason he ever takes linens off the bed is if they need cleaning due to feline regurgitation (what a horribly ugly word!), so I knew immediately what had happened.

Blond Girl warned me that I would need to have plenty of quarters on hand, since it would likely take a while to dry, so I loaded myself up with a roll of quarters and headed to the laundromat, figuring I would have plenty of quarters left when I was done.
Arriving at the laundromat, I took a look at the big, beautiful stainless steel washer (serious appliance lust here people!) and tried to figure out how to use it.

The little LCD screen had the number 20 in it. "20?", I thought. "20 what?" It's been a while since I've been to a laundromat, so you must understand the shock I suffered when I discovered that it meant 20 quarters. It would cost me $5.00 to simply wash the thing! That's
just to wash it! BG hadn't warned me about the price of washing. Ugg.

I popped in my precious quarters, one by one (do you have any idea how long it takes to put 20 quarters into a machine?!), and settled in to read Sense and Sensibility for a while. I've discovered Jane Austen makes a lovely laundry companion.

By the time the comforter was clean and dry, I was out about $8.00. Well, at least it was less than $10.00. Yes, that's my feeble attempt to look on the bright side.

A few days ago, one of the cats decided to once again empty their stomach contents onto my nice cozy comforter. I wasn't overly thrilled with the idea of spending another evening waiting at the laundromat for my comforter to wash. I had some dry cleaning to pick up, so after paying my $15 for having a tweed blazer and a cashmere sweater (which I will be posting about soon) cleaned, I asked. "Oh, by the way, what would it cost me to get a king size comforter cleaned?" I was thinking maybe somewhere between $15 and $20. Highway robbery, sure, but possibly worth the price to not have to spend my evening at a laundromat again. the clerk checked her computer and the looked at me with a professional smile. "That would be $40.00."

$40.00?????!!!!! You have got to be kidding me!!!!!

Of course, I didn't say this out loud. I didn't even let my face say it. I simply thanked her for the helpful information and left the building.

Last night, I spent a lovely evening with Miss Austen again at the laundromat. She does make the time go much faster. Shortly before I left, a couple came in looking much different from your typical laundromat fare. They were young, good looking, well groomed and very well dressed and I just knew, even though I'd only been there twice myself, that they did not spend much time at laundromats. I heard the young man catch his breath behind me as he approached one of the smaller washers. I waited for it, and I was not disappointed.

"Miss," he called, and I knew he was talking to me since I was the only one nearby. I turned around. With a look of shock on his face and disbelief in his voice he asked, "Is it really $2.00 just to wash a load of clothes?"

I gave him a sympathetic smile and answered simply, "Yes, it is."


Addenda To The Crazy Post

Thursday, February 16, 2006

1. I decided that perhaps yesterday's post should rightfully have been called "Am I Crazy, Or Is It Just Me?". It made me laugh when I thought about it. Now that it's written down, though, it doesn't look nearly so funny.

2. More revelation has regarding the state of my sanity which I discussed in yesterday's post.
a. I discovered that the walls of all the hallways are covered in that same fabric. Is that good or bad? I can't decide. Perhaps it's neutral, much like the color of the walls. Seriously, it's the most neutral color I've ever seen. It's not gray, and it's not beige. It's definitely not taupe. It's just neutral. It's like the anti-color.
b. I realized that if I am truly spending my days in a "special place", then all the people I work with are "special" too. Hmm. That does explain a lot.


Just Sharing the Looooove

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Did you see it? On the right side there? Look, to the right. See it now? I've been nominated for a "Share the Love" blog award! Woo hoo! (Thanks, HolyMama!) Actually I was nominated for three of them – that is, in three different categories. I'm pretty sure I can only win in one though.

Anyway, you should all go vote! No, not for me...well, you can vote for me if you want, but there are tons of other really good bloggers nominated too! Two of my favorites, Blond Girl and Holy Mama, are in there! Just go vote for your favorite. It's all anonymous so I'll have no way of knowing if you didn't vote for me. In fact, I'll just assume pretend that you all do vote for me and that way we'll all be happy shiny people!!!

(Yes, I'm on Sudafed. Why do you ask?)


Proof Positive That I've Lost It (Whatever "It" Is)

Yesterday, I was confronted with a startling revelation.

I am truly insane. I know, I've joked about it before, but this time I have solid proof!

It all started when I realized that every time I hung up the phone, I would start talking to myself. I would say things like, "Oh dear lord you have got to stop running!" (spoken to my nose, which is part of me and therefore qualifies as talking to myself), or "Oh, my head hurts and I really need a nap."

Now, on a normal day I do tend to talk to myself after phone calls, but there is a subtle difference, so I never noticed it before. See, I work in an office with one co-worker who is also a temp like me. (Let's call her CW from here on, shall we?) Actually it's more of a small conference room where they tossed a couple of old rickety metal desks (mine actually has a hole in it's fake wooden top – you could drop a pencil through and it would land in the drawer below!) and a couple of broken office chairs (mine slowly sinks throughout the day until, by noon, I'm almost sitting on the floor at which point I raise it up and start the process all over again) and then sent us with our few meager belongings when they needed the cubical space for "real" employees.

After a phone call, I might make a comment about the utter incompetence of the agent I just trained, or the utter incompetence of the tech I just spoke with, or (oftentimes) my own utter incompetence. There's a lot of utter incompetence around my office. CW makes similar comments after her phone calls and we joke about how we sit around and talk to ourselves, but I know the truth.

The truth is, we're not really talking to ourselves. We're actually, secretly hoping that the other will hear us and want to know more. Then we can proceed to elaborate on the utter incompetence of various people. This usually leads to more pleasant conversations about gardening or eating or books – things we actually care to talk about.

The difference today was that she was not there. This means I was not speaking with the intention of being heard. There was no one to hear me and strike up a conversation. No, it was just me. I was sitting in a small room, by myself, complaining about my own discomfort.

See? I told you. Insane.

Then, after all of this, I had that startling revelation. I turned to my right and noticed that the wall next to me was padded. Yes, it is actually covered in fabric...padded, I tell you. I work in a small room with neutral colored walls which are padded.

So, this is the conclusion I have come to. The place I go every day is not actually an office. It is an elaborate scheme to get me to, special place for people like me...with padded walls. See, my husband isn't home during the day, being at work and all, so he needed someplace for me to go during the day – someplace safe. I was duped into thinking this place was a place of business, but it's not.

I spend my days in a padded cell.

And if you don't believe I'm insane on grounds of the talking to myself and the padded walls, just go back and read this post again. I think you'll understand. Yes, I am a bit crazy.


An Update, An Explanation, And The 1st Installment Of A Prize

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Update

I have finally crawled out of my blanket covered shelter where I've been hiding for the past several days. I ended up coming home from work early on Wednesday (as indicated in part 3 of the crazy Nyquil-induced poem), and calling in sick on Thursday and Friday. Tomorrow promises to be a day of many phone calls, apologies for the dozen or so appointments I missed, and much catching up on paperwork. Hopefully I'll be able to do all this without launching myself into a fit of coughing, which tends to happen when I attempt to talk. Lying down does the same, which has made sleeping a challenge the last few nights.

The happy part is, though, that I am still alive and breathing better and I begin to see the light at the end of this tunnel.

The Explanation

For anyone who may not have been reading my blog back in November, and as a refresher to those who have, I submit the following explanation which must preceed the last portion of this post.

Back in November, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. Rather than spend a lot of time explaining what this is, and how I decided to get involved, I will refer you to the following links.

The post where I announce my participation and briefly describe the event

My November posts, which are mostly about NaNoWriMo

The official NaNoWriMo website

As far as I can tell, I have never really explained on my blog what my novel was about. It may be in a comment somewhere, but since it's not in any post I can find, I will explain here.

In 1983, about 20 years before she passed away, my grandma wrote her autobiography. I was short (approximately 70 pages), and I assume she meant it for the family, not for publishing. The autobiography is made up of many small stories, mostly one or two paragraphs each, and I thought I would take some of her stories, expand upon them using my own imagination, and make a novel out of it.

In the midst of writing I told a few (very few) people that I may share the novel with them once it was done and I had a chance to edit it, but I would not make any absolute promises. I have not yet had that chance. I have not even read it since I completed it, but I know that it needs a lot of work.

After expanding on the stories, I only managed to get through her childhood in the 50,000 words required by NaNoWriMo. What I would like to do is write a novel based on a later part of her life, inserting some select exerpts from the NaNoWriMo novel as flashbacks in appropriate places. (I know, using flashbacks is risky business and I may fail miserably, but it is my tentative plan at the moment.) This probably won't happen for a while since we are beginning the process of building our home which will take up most of this year.

In the meantime, Hot Rod Mama (my mom, for those who don't know her by "name") won the "Guess My Bowling Score" contest and asked that I post the novel in its entirety as her prize. I refused to post the whole thing (for your own safety and comfort, trust me), but agreed to post a few exerpts. Now I am here to begin to make good on that promise.

The first exerpt has been posted. (Follow the link below.) This was the opening of the novel. I don't know if it will be used in the future or not, but I thought it was worthy of posting here. Those of you who call yourself writers or who write professionally, please have mercy on me. This is my very first attempt at writing fiction.

To Hot Rod Mama, congratulations, here is the first installment of your prize!


Vs. 3 of the Continuing Ode to the Day

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday, Ah Wednesday
Be blessed or be thou cursed?
But hours ago determined I
To hate thee from the first,
Yet fortitude could not prevail.
This sickness must be nursed.
So home I go and hope I may
Soon overcome the worst.
(see below for vs. 1&2)


Another Ode to Another Day

Wednesday, Black Wednesday
I view thee with disdain,
A money-seeking dagger
Plunging deep into my veins.
No matter what my state of health
Of body or of brain,
Black Wednesday demands
That I return to work again.
(be sure to see below for vs. 1)


An Ode to the Day Before

Saturday, Ah Saturday
Remembrance serves thee well.
Thou wert the day before the day
The minions of all hell
Broke loose within my sinuses
And cast their evil spell
Ensuring I could scarce draw breath
Nor roses could I smell.


It's Hard To Think Positive When You Can't Breathe

Monday, February 06, 2006

I scheduled two days off from work this week (today and tomorrow) so that I could have a long weekend to get the house ready to sell (again). We're meeting with the realtor on Thursday, and I want to have this place ready to go by then, even if it's not on the market for another week or two after that. (I have no idea how long it takes a realtor to get a house on the market.)

Saturday I got the kitchen and it's adjoining closet sparkly clean. I had grand plans for Sunday, today, and tomorrow, but on Saturday night my head decided to conspire against me as it allowed a raging headcold to infest it. Nice timing, head.

Yesterday was largely unproductive except for a few loads of laundry, so today I have to catch up with that laundry and get the entire first floor decluttered and clean as a whistle. Tomorrow my plan is to do the same upstairs. Of course, all I really want to do is take Nyquil and curl up in a ball on the couch and sleep until this thing goes away, but instead I get to be on my feet all day today and tomorrow. Fun.

Debra over at "As I See It Now" has a much better attitude about this whole "cold" thing. I'm trying, I really am. Anyone have a needle with a quick dose of energy for me? I could use it. A little oxygen would be nice too. It's hard to come by when your nose and throat are clogged with snot and swollen shut.

So for now, I'm going to wait for the Sudafed to kick in, and then it's back to work. Sudafed is my friend.

I'll try to remember to let you know how it went when it's all done; and Hot Rod Mama, I have not forgotten you, but it may still be a bit before I get those exerpts posted for you. I've got to get this house done first.