Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sorry, Tom

VBG: *shuffles her top 8 MySpace friends to accomodate the addition of Danger*

MB: *looks up from where he sits nearby, having a late night snack* Wait, I'm not in your top 8 anymore?

VBG: You're never online. You've never even put a picture up.

MB: I don't get to be in your top 8?

VBG: Let's do a little experiment. *clicks through to MB's MySpace page* Look at this! "Last login: 9/1/06." September 2006!

MB: But...I should be in your top 8.

VBG: Fine. FINE.

MB: No,'s okay.

VBG: If it means that much to you, you can be in my top 8.

MB: I don't need to be in the top 8, just put me in front of Tom. I have to at least be ahead of Tom.

Beware the penguins.

It's been nearly three weeks since MB pimped my ride and unveiled this new layout for my blog, and I still really, really love it. I love how he took the elements of my old template that I liked and made them a little more personalized without going overboard. And most of all I love that after I thought but did not say "I think we should try doing something with the egg picture for the banner," he called me in to see what he'd come up with for the banner. Crazy, huh? Anyhow, from the beginning, I've wanted to make it clear that the new look has nothing to do with mad skillz on my part and everything to do with being a victim of circumstance. Specifically, the circumstance of MB meeting up with a very friendly penguin and feeling inspired.

Thanks, penguin!

Reading: Plum Lovin'  by Janet Evanovich

Playing: Sam's Town by The Killers (sound warning)

"Wacky Web Site" of the day: Fun With Grapes: A Case Study I was disappointed that only one experiment was documented, but I still have to give props to any site with this as a thesis statement: "Ordinary grapes, when properly prepared and microwaved, spark impressively in an extremely entertaining manner."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lost: Boring life, early bedtimes. Reward if found.

Over the past year or so, my life has become pretty calm and uneventful. After several years of nearly non-stop activity, it's been kind of nice, even if it does sort of make me feel like an old lady / homebody. Lately, though, the old ways have been back, and I've barely had any nights to sit on my butt in front of the TV and go to bed early. It's been pretty cool, even though I keep wondering why I haven't got around to reading emails or made more progress with my stack of library books. Or, you know, done any yoga since January farking 19th.

I thought I'd spend tonight sitting around doing not much of anything, but then an online conversation with my sister yesterday afternoon resulted in she and me and MB going out for dinner after she got out of class this evening, followed by a trip to the mall (sans MB). It was a lot of fun, and I scored some pretty sweet deals at Old Navy, which I predict will be my new favorite place to go and haunt the clearance section.

Since it's pretty clear now that I'll never get my hands on the green flower print shirt that I so covet, I consoled myself by buying a pink one:

I got a few more shirts, a great pair of black cords (which I'm sure will be entirely covered with cat hair as soon as I get them out of the dryer), and what may be the cutest damn hat ever made (modeled by the smooshy tan bear who lives in our closet):

(check out our rockin' green 70s kitchen chairs!)

Because I'm an impossible dork, I bought two sets, one in toddler size and one in tee-niny size, so that theoretically one day MB and I will be able to put our two hoped-for spawn in matching semi-punk-rock zebra hats.

How cold is it?

Cold enough that Mr. Kitters--who loves to spend his evenings behind the curtains that hide the sliding door, watching for nocturnal wildlife to menace with his atomic glare--has resorted to desperate measures to escape the wicked draft. Tactics include snuggling on the couch and bogarting my side of the bed:

Reading: Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich

Playing: Farewell by Oingo Boingo

Closet bear says "Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

You Tube Fun

because Weird Al's "White & Nerdy" never seems to get old

Maybe this is why the water bill's so high!

Reading: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Playing: Mehndi, an Indian-themed mix from master mixologist evilducky

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Velocibadgergirl's Handy Dandy Guide to the Sky

It's possible I'm the only one who cares at all about this, but since I think it's REALLY spiffy, I'm going to post about it anyway.

If you've looked up in the sky on a non-cloudy night lately, you've maybe noticed something sort of weird off to the Southeast. Before the stars are even all out, there's an insanely bright something up there. If you haven't seen it, look for it soon. It's really cool. It's so bright it doesn't look natural. I half convinced myself it was a plane the other night, and I knew what I was looking at, if that gives you a clue as to how unnaturally bright it is.

Anyhow, the crazy-bright thing is the planet Saturn, dudes! How cool is that?

If you're all, "Sweet! Where the hell is it?" here's a handy dandy guide. First, find the constellation Orion in the South. It's this one:

Imagine that the bottom two stars are a guy's feet. Look back behind his rear foot (to the left), and you'll see a really bright white star. That's the nose / heart of Canis Major, the big dog:

Then, look further left in a straight line across from the dog's nose, and you'll see Saturn. It's the very bright thing above the other bright star, as shown in this super artistic and entirely accurate diagram:

If you're lucky enough to have a good dark sky, you might be able to pick out the C shape of Leo's head behind Saturn (just think "C for Cat"). But even if you can't see Leo, you really can't miss Saturn.

I hope you guys can find it. I'm told if you can hold a pair of binoculars really steady, you can see the rings, but I tried it and couldn't see them.


Friday, January 26, 2007

A for participation, D for dancing skills

I just returned from one of the most surreal parties I think I've ever attended. It was a surprise party for one of my favorite teachers from high school. Now, it makes sense in that one of my close friends from high school now teaches at our alma mater and is friends with the birthday teacher and his wife. But still, it was a strange situation. I mean, what do you write on the card? Mr. So-and-so seems too formal, but first name only seems way weird. (I just left the front of the card blank, figuring no one would be confused as to whom it was intended for.)

I went with the teacher friend, evilducky, and the bibliophile, and we dubbed ourselves the Class of '99 Delegation. The teachers who remembered us seemed really excited that we were there, and the birthday teacher seemed pleasantly surprised. As a whole, the party was nowhere near as awkward as I feared it would be. In fact, it kind of comforted me to know that other people's parties are a lot like ours. My group of friends, we were never the "cool crowd" at school, so I think we always worry a little that our party-style is lame, even though it's always been good enough for us. Mostly people just mingled and had snacks, and then birthday teacher and several other teachers who are in a band together started playing a set. They were pretty good, too. Kind of embarrassing that we're all home now and our teachers are still partying, but that's okay.

It's never been hard to see college professors on a more equal, we're-all-adults level, because at least in my classes, the professors more or less presented themselves that way. It wasn't all that unusual to end up at a cookout having a few beers with your geology prof or going to a bar after a reading with the person who taught your fiction workshop. High school, though, was very much a kid / adult thing (as it should be, of course). It was both hilarious and bizarre to party down with people who used to grade my math homework and supervise my gym classes. In a way, I felt like we were in some kind of National Geographic special. "Quietly, now...let us observe the teacher in its natural habitat."

Edited to add: After I uploaded my last post, I realized I wasn't ready to call it a night quite yet. Luckily, the bibliophile was up for some Nintendo.

Kickin' it old school after kickin' it with people from our old school.
(alas, the cute shoes aren't mine)


I'm not sure about this forced switch to the new Blogger. I hope it doesn't suck. And now that I have labels, I can't think of a single thing that would neatly encapsulate this entry. Bollocks. Better luck next time, I hope.

Five Facts About Me

I've been tagged by the lovely That Chick Over There to do this Five Facts meme. As far as I can tell, the facts don't have to be weird, they just have to be true and about me.

1. I am a compulsive list-maker. I write everything down. I don't always remember to look at my lists, but I always make them. Anything I don't write down probably isn't going to get done. I even had to make a list to make sure I'd remember to do this entry, and to remind myself what I was planning to put in it. (You also get a bonus fact: I have loopy and somewhat erratic but mostly legible handwriting.)

2. I've never been drunk. The few times I've attempted it, I've just ended up dozing off while everyone else got very snockered and shared their deepest darkest secrets. I've concluded that I'm just not one of nature's born drinkers. At least I'm a cheap date!

3. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 12 years old, and have been taking medication for it ever since. While I agree that it may be an overdiagnosed and overmedicated condition in children, I will go to the mat with anyone who tries to tell me that it's not a "real" condition or that no one "needs" to be medicated for it.

4. I am a terrible packrat. I hate to throw things away, because I always think that surely someday I'll have a use for whatever it is I've just decided to keep. I think part of it stems from growing up in a really arts-and-crafts-y household, where you never knew what wacky thing you'd be able to turn into a project somewhere down the line. Part of it undoubtedly also comes from my efforts to minimize what I put into the waste stream. I'm trying to work on this, in the interest of having a less cluttered life. I'll let you know how it goes.

5. I have a deep and abiding love for dinosaurs, which began when I was very small. I don't remember ever not liking them, so I have a feeling I've pretty much been interested in them since I knew they existed. It seems that every kid goes through the dinosaur phase; I just never grew out of mine. I originally planned to go to college to study vertebrate paleontology, and though I have no regrets as to the path my life has taken, I do sometimes wonder if I'd have had a good time digging up dinosaur bones for a living. I always though I was weird until high school, when I met evilducky, who has a similar love for dinos. (She also gets credit for this fact being on the list, since she suggested it when I was stumped for one last thing to add.) Ironically, my favorite dinosaur isn't a dinosaur at all, but the pterosaurs, particularly Pterodactyl and Pteranodon.

I'm tagging these five fabulous ladies:

the bibliophile


Blogapotamus Rex



Google Searches

Google searches that lead people to this blog usually involve desire for egg salad recipes (sorry about that) or info on the Im in ur such-and-such doing this-and-that phenomenon, but lately I've had a few that are much more entertaining. The standouts, by far, are the ones asking about Chris Nunez's apparent impending marriage proposal (sorry, ladies) and someone who wanted to find out if she was alone in feeling "glad I don't have testicles." Whoever you are, sister, I'm with you. Being a girl rocks. And if you're a guy...well...way to embrace the hand fate has dealt. Go on with your bad self.

Reading: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Playing: more mixes

"Wacky Web Site" of the day: The Orphanage of Cast-Off Mascots. It's not the greatest page ever, but the rest of the site is worth a browse, especially since it's from the guy responsible for the hilarious Gallery of Regrettable Food.

Fact or Crap Trivia: Fact or Crap...Leonardo da Vinci could bend horseshoes with his bare hands.

Fact: "Well known as the original Renaissance man--inventor, artist, philosopher, chef, and mathematician--Leonardo da Vinci also had less publicized physical talents. He was a master equestrian and enjoyed swimming and fencing, and his great strength enabled him to bend horseshoes with his bare hands and to stop galloping horses by grabbing their reins."

I wonder if he also shot lightning bolts out of his arse.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Love my Girlie-Bits Doctor

When I was an awkward, self-conscious teenager, I always thought that going to see a gynecologist would be the most awful, embarrassing experience. I put it off as long as possible after turning 18, but finally my desire to be on the pill weighed out my fear of showing my Bits to somebody I'd never met. My mom spotted an ad in the paper for a young, friendly-looking female OBGYN who had just set up a practice at the brand new women's hospital in town and was taking patients. We got appointments, and I've been going to her ever since.

Today as I was waiting around in my non-paper, very nice cloth robe, I heard the following exchange outside the door:

Girlie-Bits Nurse 1: You're getting so close! Were your other kids easy deliveries?

Pregnant Lady: No...

Pregnant Lady's Husband: She's actually still pregnant with our five-year-old.

GBNs, PL: *laughter*

PL: It took about ten days of not much happening before I was ready to have the first one.

Girlie-Bits Nurse 1: helps the cervix to dilate. You know that, right?

Girlie-Bits Nurse 2: Not that I enjoyed it in the least when I was that far along.

PLH: You need to get some men in this office.

GBNs: *hysterical laughter*

GBN 1: This is shop-talk for us.

GBN 2: It's like discussing oil changes.

PLH: Yeah...but I can't believe you just said that out loud. Is there a website where I can lodge a complaint or something?

GBN 1: You can leave it with me.

GBN 2: It'll go really far.

GBN 1: The website's on the card.

PLH: I don't have a card.

GBN 1: That's because you're not a patient! You can be if you want to be, though.

GBN 2: Yeah, just head on back and we'll send the doctor to examine you.

PLH: I think next week we need to have our appointment an hour earlier. It's the witching hour in here or something. *on his way out, to husband of next pregnant couple* Run away while you can, bud! Take it from me!

Then the Girlie-Bits Doctor showed up, and my exam was about 7 minutes long. She makes having Bits so damn easy, I tell you.

After the exam, I was waiting at the counter to make my next appointment, and the nurse took a call from out in the delivery wing of the hospital. Apparently one of the doctor's patients was prepped and ready for her C-section. The doctor finished up quickly with the patient she was examining, and headed out the door, saying, "Let me go take care of this C-section, and I'll be right back." Her tone was like that of someone saying, "Let me run out and get some salad for the unexpected dinner guests. I'll be right back." I have to tell you, it instills confidence to see a Girlie-Bits Doctor that unflappable and calm.

While I'm on the subject of Bits, I would also like to remind all of my Girlie-Bits-possessing friends under the age of 26 who read this to please go get your HPV vaccines. They're recommended for all women of our age, and even though most of you guys are single now, that's not guaranteed to last forever. So please, get thy Bits to a Girlie-Bits doctor and get your vaccine!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Your love is a vaudeville show, so charming and obscene. *

It is disgusting how much I love Target. It's been one of my very favorite stores for years, but tonight, my passion was only intensified. You see, about a month ago, I purchased a pair of shoes* that I planned to wear for the kickboxing class I signed up to take. The class got cancelled, but I'd already started wearing the shoes, so I couldn't take them back. I liked them, besides. But then, about a week or so ago, I noticed that the liner in the right one was completely detached from the shoe. Every time I wore the shoes, the liner would slowly migrate backward, so that by the end of the day it was all hiked up behind my heel.

Since I was heading for Target tonight anyway and wore the shoes to work today, I decided to take a chance and see if I could exchange them for another identical pair. I didn't feel like taking the time to go home in between, so I had to walk up to the customer service counter and explain that I needed to exchange the shoes that were on my feet. The customer service girl didn't even blink, which I guess means either Target is used to weirdass customers, or Target has cool employees. She sent me to get the new pair, and to get back to the customer service desk--which is near the exit doors--I had to mosey through an empty checkout line like a smooth criminal.

When I reached the desk again, I ended up with a second customer service girl, who seemed somewhat amused by my brazen shoe-swapping. She said, "I just need to see your shoes to do the exchange." When I didn't produce them immediately, she hesitated, then asked, "Are you wearing them?" I replied, "Um, yes." She shrugged and said, "Okay." I took them off and handed them over, and she acted like this happens to her all the time while I stood there playing it cool and acting like I stand in my socks at major retailers every day of the week. No sweat, man. It's all good. Nothing to see here!

Then she clipped the tags off and handed over the new shoes, and I put them on and went to buy this:

Since MB has been complaining about the piles of papers all over the desk, uttering such (possibly huffy, slightly melodramatic) statements as, "I just can't work in this mess!" I figure Target may have saved both his sanity and my right foot tonight. An impressive achievement, to be sure.

Because "karstification" is a great word

Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading to Indianapolis for a Project Underground workshop on Wednesday. Being a big huge nerd, I can't wait. I'm going to learn how to teach kids about karst, and that's all right with me.

And finally, stolen from Hollow Squirrel:

(I have visited 72% of the states in the U.S.
(Sort of. The map generator treats DC like a state.)

* And now comes the question of the day: what do you call the kind of shoes you buy to do exercise-y / active-type things whilst wearing? My mom always calls them "gym shoes," but that doesn't seem accurate since I don't spend much time in gyms anymore. "Tennis shoes" is a similarly inaccurate label. "Sneakers" sounds hopelessly goofy, like I should also have a sweater tied about my shoulders by the sleeves. "Running shoes" is not correct since I didn't get them at a running shoe shop, and would probably damage my knees if I tried to run in them. "Athletic shoes" just makes me think of "athletic supporters," and that's not so pleasant. Perhaps "trainers" is the best and safest choice? What do you guys call them?

Reading: Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks

Playing: mixification

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A pretty bargain

I got this shirt for $7 at Target, thanks to the bibliophile bringing it to my attention. I wore it today and got compliments from a customer at work and from the waiter at dinner, who said, "That's a nice tree!" I couldn't agree more.

Oh, yeah...

I realized today that I never got around to summarizing the last installment of the Slate Green Challenge. I've realized it about five times between when I took the quiz and today, and I've forgotten it all over again each time. With no further ado, here it is:

Week Eight:  Paper Tiger

Congratulations--you have taken the Week Eight Action Quiz. Your score is 617, which means you've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.06 cars off the road.

>>Switching to 100 percent recycled paper for your home office can save about 75 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

>>Reducing your garbage by 25 percent saves about 500 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

>>Replacing your home fax machine with an Energy Star-rated one saves about 82 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

>>The manufacturing of paper, one of the six most energy-intensive American industries, accounts for about 35 million tons of CO2 each year.

>>Using virgin wood to make paper helps deforest the planet, a major factor in global CO2 counts.

>>The average American office worker throws out about 150 pounds of office paper per year.

Here are a bunch of ideas, recycling and otherwise, for trimming carbon pounds at work and at home:

>>Save paper--and CO2 emissions--by being selective about what you print out, making double-sided copies and using scrap paper to take notes or print drafts.

>>Use high recycled-content paper.

>>If an office building with 7,000 workers recycled all of its paper waste for a year, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 630 tons. Recycling used aluminum to make cans takes 95 percent less energy than making new aluminum from scratch. If your workplace doesn't recycle paper or cans, could you persuade it to start, or take your cans and scrap paper to the recycling bin at home?

>>Look for office products and packaging made from recycled materials and that are biodegradable or can be composted. (Find green office products that meet these and other criteria here.)

>>Unwanted junk mail wastes loads of precious paper. Click here and here to opt out.

>>Invest in energy-saving fax machines, copiers, scanners, and printers, which use about half as much electricity as standard equipment and also default to a low-power sleep mode. Lobby your employer to do the same.

>>Turn off your screen saver and let your computer sleep, or turn off the monitor completely. Moving-image screen savers consume as much electricity as a computer in active use. A blank screen saver is only slightly better.

>>When it's time to go home, shut your computer down. Don't believe the myth that it's more efficient to leave it on than to reboot the next day. Bonus: You'll extend the life of your machine.

>>From dead batteries to cell phones to copiers, recycle equipment whenever possible. Click here to find electronics and other recycling centers in your area.

>>Ask your workplace to stock break areas with real plates, silverware, and cups instead of paper and plastic. Or bring your own.

>>Many household cleaners are made from petrochemicals, and most come packaged in plastic. Making your own household cleaners from natural ingredients is easy (and they work, we promise). By reusing spray bottles, you'll save plastic, and, hence, more CO2 emissions.

>>If you have a place to do it, composting household waste is pretty simple, helps reduce your landfill contribution, and leaves you with nutrient-rich soil.

>>Yard waste (grass clippings and leaves) accounts for 12 percent of the junk that goes into landfills. Next time you mow the lawn, leave the clippings where they fall. They decompose quickly and return nutrients to the soil, which reduces the need for fertilizers and reduces landfill waste, which in turn reduces CO2 emissions. (Click here for more mowing tips.) You can also mulch leaves and then use them to bed down your garden for winter.

>>Use organic fertilizers, which are made from natural materials, instead of fossil-fuel-intensive synthetics for house plants, gardens, and lawns.

>>Forgo using a leaf blower this fall (and get a good workout from raking by hand)."

I pledged to use 100 percent recycled paper for home use (which we already do), to avoid printing out a document or e-mail whenever possible, and to attempt to reduce my garbage output by 25 percent by recycling more. I'm not sure if this is possible, since we already recycle everything we can, on down to the tiniest scraps of paper.

Also, I pledged to buy an Energy Star-rated computer if we need to replace our PC within the next year. Hopefully that won't happen, but I think our current computer is Energy Star-rated, anyway. If not, it's at least stickered as meeting "MPR II Low Emission Standards.

Then I took the wrap-up quiz:

"Congratulations--you have completed the Slate Green Challenge! Your score is 4157, which means you've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.42 cars off the road.

You have reduced 36.43 percent of the carbon emissions you reported at the start of the challenge. And you've actually reduced 492 percent of the emissions you pledged to cut over the last eight weeks."

And guess what! "Fellow Treehugger, congratulations! You were one of the first 500 challengers to complete the Slate Green Challenge with Treehugger. Because of your hard work and diligence, you will receive a free organic cotton t-shirt from our sponsors at I'm Organic."

Yay! I won! I haven't received my shirt yet, but I figure it'll get here eventually. For the official postmortem from Slate, go here.

Well, damn.

The Colts pulled it off. I'm glad that the first football game I bothered to watch in years turned out to be a good one. Down to the wire, even. Now I have to contain my glee and not crow too much about my home-state team winning, because R (a Pats fan) just trudged down. Heh.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I always told myself I'd never blog about politics, but here I go. Upon hearing that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both announced their intent to run for the Democratic nomination, my first reaction was to wonder if the Democrats would suffer for it. As much as I hope it's not true, I really worry that there are people--potentially lots of people--who are fed up enough with the status quo to vote Democrat, until they're confronted with the choice of aiming to put either a black man with a foreign-sounding name or a woman in the White House. I don't think it's too far out there to assume that some people in this country will vote Republican just so that they don't have to vote for someone biracial or female. I've personally witnessed a sort of casual racism even among people in my somewhat distant family, such as someone saying he was disappointed that his cardiac nurse had the same birthday as his niece, because even though the nurse was really sweet, he didn't want his niece to have the same birthday as a black woman. In a way, this sort of seemingly-innocuous, easy-as-breathing bigotry is more disconcerting than outright nutter-style polemics, because it makes me wonder how many otherwise nice, normal people harbor that kind of back-asswards thinking. It's all sort of depressing, even though I'm really excited about a woman vying for the Presidential nomination and the prospect of Obama in the running.

And now for something completely shallow!

Several somethings, actually.

1. true love

I got this shirt at Old Navy last night, and wore it to work today. It's true love, for reals, yo.

When I tried to find a picture of the shirt, I found out that it comes in green as well, but--tragically--my size is no longer available online. I am weeping for the green shirt awesomeness that will never come to pass.

2. the most amusing $4 I ever spent?

While at the mall with the bibliophile last night, I also spent $4 on this Page-a-Day calendar:

I figure it'll be immensely useful when I'm desperate for blog content. And since I'm 20 days behind, I get to be greedy and go through a lot of pages before I have to start being patient and taking one page at a time.

Some highlights so far:
  • January 5--Virtual Lite Brite

  • January 9--Mail Art ("To test the limits of the post office, the mischief makers at this site threw all sorts of unboxed objects (with mailing labels and stamps directly attached) into the mail to see if they would reach their destinations.")

  • January 11--The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest ("Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.")

As a bonus, the calendar included a code for a free page-a-day email calendar, so I signed up for the Book Lovers one. Then, with possible blog fodder in mind, I dug out the code from MB's Wine Lover's Calendar and signed up for the Fact or Crap daily calendar. Stay tuned for random trivia!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dreams, Baby

I took a long nap this morning after MB went to work, and I dreamed that we had a baby son. He had big blue eyes and MB's dark, dark hair. I don't know how old the kid was supposed to be, but in the dream we were going to the grocery, and I needed to put a coat on the baby. It had been so warm that I hadn't put him in a coat in months, so we didn't have one that fit him. I opened our front closet, and the only coat we had was a size 0-3 months. Whoopsie.

I carried the baby around for most of the dream, and the whole thing was so realistic--his weight in my arms, the softness of his hair, that clean baby smell--that as I woke up I thought, "Well, shit. What did MB and I do with him last week when we went to the grocery without him?" and it was a few minutes before I realized we hadn't done anything with him, because he doesn't exist yet.

I told this to my friend S. at lunch today, and she asked--with a mischievous glint in her eye--"Are you sure you're not ready for kids?" I should've said, "Not when my dreams are telling me that I will forget to buy them coats."

Meanwhile, I am woman; hear me roar.

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Props to Northwoods Baby for the quiz.

Reading: Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks (remember, not the skateboarder)

Playing: mellow mixes on the computer

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

That's going to leave a mark...

Just saw Children of Men. It was excellent, but what a damn heartbreaker. The last big scene was really rough, because it hit me that people really live like that, right now, with soldiers in the streets and militants killing people to further causes and buildings getting shelled almost indiscriminately. As a middle-class, somewhat-entitled white girl living in middle America, it's easy (and probably crucial to the maintenance of my mental well-being) for me to forget the depth of the violence and fucked-up-ness of the world. It was a hard film to watch, but at the same time I couldn't tear my eyes away because even when it was visceral, it was beautiful. It's a pretty brilliant film. I really want to read the book, but I think I need some time to recuperate first.

Their milkshake brings all the deer to the yard

I've had the following saved as a draft since the 5th, and I figure if I don't finish it, I'll probably forget about it, so here goes. I'm not even going to bother coming up with a segue.

This is one of the neatest things I've seen in a long time:  Deer in the Yard

An extended family of deer has befriended a couple that seem really cool (even if they are so hippie that they make me look right wing). They sound like interesting people, and the photos of the deer visits that they posted are pretty fantastic:

Initially, I was torn between wishing I could have that experience with deer and worrying that the deer they befriend will become easy targets for hunters. Then I read the More Deer in the Yard page, where they discuss similar concerns, and I decided to just accept and appreciate the wonder of it all.

I haven't had very many close encounters with the furred kind, really. Not the wild furred (or scaled or feathered) kind, anyway. There was that time when I was twelve and I went out to the backyard without my glasses and a rabbit ran across my foot and I thought it was a rat and screamed my fool head off. Or the time that I had to take a six-foot-long bull snake to the vet. Or the time the cat spotted a broadhead skink in our backyard.

Or the time I got to meet the owlet. A few years back, I did an 11-month term of AmeriCorps service at a nature preserve. One day in May, I heard some of the staff talking about some baby owls that had apparently been abandoned. It was decided that the last living owlet from the clutch of three should be taken to the vet, so I went along. He was about a foot tall, and seeing him up close was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. There was something prickly and cool and slightly unnerving about being so close to a wild predator, even one that could never really harm a human. Unfortunately, the little owl didn't make it. He died a few days after he was found. I did get to hold him with a falconer's glove, though. It was absolutely incredible.

So go see Children of Men, everybody. And kumbaya.

Monday, January 15, 2007

And though she be but little, she is fierce.

Okay, I admit it. I wasn't going to say anything, but it seems like maybe it's time to come clean, once and for all. So I'm ready to admit it. I, velocibadgergirl, have a testosterone problem.

Specifically, I have a problem if there is a lot of manual labor to be done and I have the least testosterone among the assembled. Intellectually, I know that even a man of my own height and weight could probably out-lift, out-carry, and out-sling me, so of course a man 6 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier is going to outclass me even more. I also understand that if there are heavy things to be carried, it makes the most sense to hunt down a strapping young lad. But damn, does it piss me off a little (lot) bit all the same.

Now, when I'm with just one guy--especially one I know pretty well--I don't feel the need to go all out. I still lift and sling and carry with abandon, because I can haul a lot of weight even though I'm pretty much average-sized. But add another guy or two to the mix, or stick me with ones I don't know, and I become nearly incapable of admitting defeat. I will bust my ass, even though it would be acceptable for me to NOT by virtue of being smaller. Once, I tried to carry three huge, heavy-ass boards at once while I was working on a boardwalk project at a park, and I had to look around and make absolutely sure that no one was looking before I reluctantly (but with immense relief) put one board down and proceeded with just two.

Even when I'm staggering around with as much weight as I can bear, I'm still not carrying as much as the guys. But that should be okay, right? Because I'm not that big, you know? If I was a 5'5" out of shape guy, no 6'1" buff guy would expect me to be able to carry what he could carry, right? But in my mind, I think, carrying less reflects not on my smaller size, not on the fact that biology endowed me with less upper-body strength than my similarly-sized male peers, but on the fact that I'm a chick.

I suppose I could learn to exploit this, to wander around carrying, like, a small feather pillow, while the men carry the bedframe, the dresser, and the night table all at one time. I could lounge around reading Cosmo and sipping frou frou beverages while the work is done for me. But homie don't play that. Maybe my competitive streak is to blame. Maybe it's the tomboy streak that runs so deep that I pitched a royal hissy and halted potty training for a week in protest at the age of three when I found out that I would not, in fact, be learning to pee standing up like a boy. Maybe it's my need to prove myself. Maybe it's because I spent so many years in Taekwondo, being stronger than the average chick of my size, that even though I'm soft and wimpy now, I can't really let go of the belief that I'm stronger than I look.

It's not just the heavy lifting, either. I don't call MB to deal with bugs, because that seems so unbelievably girly. I will give myself blisters trying to open a jar or bottle before I admit defeat. I can pee in the woods, ya'll (or in an alley behind a liquor store in Canada, but that's another story for another time).

I don't really know what the deal is, but I have heard that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so I feel good about laying it all out. I have a problem, and I probably need help. So the next time you see me in the kitchen, trying so hard to open the pickles BY MYSELF that I'm about to sprain something, just take the damn jar away. Please. I'm about to get a hernia over here.

Reading: Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks (who is not that skateboarding guy)

Playing: discs I, III, and IV from this Led Zeppelin box set

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Moldy Goldy

On Thursday night, I went into our spare bedroom, planning to spend about an hour shoving boxes and leftover Christmas wrappings and books that have overflowed the bookcases into the closet in order to make the room habitable in time for MoMB's* Friday-evening arrival.

About an hour and a half later, I had just about finished hauling all of the stuff that was in the closet out to check for mold. Yes, mold. Some of you may recall this lovely scene, from last September:

(ominous water bubbles, bathroom ceiling)

It seems that when the upstairs neighbors "destroyed" their toilet (according to the maintenance man; I did not ask for clarifying details) and we had water running down our walls, bubbling our ceiling paint, dripping out of our doorways, and squishing around in our carpet, it was also seeping into the back corner of the spare room closet.

It would be a bit of an understatement to say that I was pissed off. Quite a bit of one. I was composing this entry in my head as I went through all the stuff from the closet, and it was going to be a doozy, too. But I worked off most of my anger, and by the time the closet was re-packed (with the lowest row of boxes wrapped in garbage bags for protection), the room cleaned, and the moldy cardboard boxes hauled to the Dumpster, I decided to just be glad that it wasn't worse.

The mold gods spared our camping gear, a box crammed full of stuffed animals given to me by MB and my parents, and a box of books. The only real casualty was a bit of a heartbreaker, though. In the back corner, we found a box where we'd stashed some of our wedding gifts. (Silly me, I thought they'd be safe, tucked away in the closet. GRRR.) One of them is this really nice photo album / storage box thing with a fancy silver frame as a front cover. It's even engraved with our names and wedding date. I hadn't put anything in it yet, but I'd always planned to fix it up with our favorite photos. When I pulled it out, the end of the box it came in had black mold all over it. I pulled it out, MB and I looked at the wooden back, and it had white dusty stuff all over. I started scrubbing at it and the stuff brushed off, so we thought it would be okay, but then I opened it and the fake velvet inside of the front cover has a patch of nasty ass yellow-orange fuzz on it, and there are spores all down the side where the picture pockets are. Spores, people.

I almost cried. We don't have a whole lot of nice stuff, even from the wedding, and we'd probably never be able to justify the expense of paying to replace it, so if I can't figure out a way to clean it up, that's pretty much it. If anybody knows how to get mold off of fabric, please give me tips. Everything seems dry, now, so I think if we could get it cleaned up it would be okay and the mold wouldn't come back. If we can't clean it up, I figure I'll try to salvage the engraved frame. I'm trying to be mature about it and not spend a lot of time stomping around and whining.

Besides, now I can post a totally gnarly mold photo and freak you guys out! Score!

In the closet, I also found this pair of jeans:

I almost put them back in, with a couple of huge sweaters I never wear and some thermal shirts I bought the year I did a research project for my geomorphology class that involved canoeing in November. After all, these were my first pair of hip-huggers. These were the very jeans that finally got me out of my late-high-school skater pants phase and into my still-enduring hippie phase. In memoriam, my skater pants:

(At Stonehenge, no less. I still wear that jacket.)

They also went with me to 6 1/2 weeks of geologic field camp in Montana. We have a history together, man. A lot of history, involving 8-hour treks up and down scree slopes, 100-degree desert days, cacti, and spear grass, this evil little plant that Google fails to track down. Spear grass had little hooks on the end of each blade. They'd catch in your clothes and slowly work their way in as you moved, so that every now and then you'd feel a sharp poke in your ankle, and you'd have to fish the damn things out of your sock. Anyhow, I really didn't want to throw my trusty, ratty jeans away, but I finally had to face the facts. Fact 1: My poor jeans had become more hole than jean. Fact 2: my ass is probably NEVER going to fit into a size 9 again. Then I remembered some posts from Fussy, in which she photographed clothes that she was donating to the Salvation Army and told their stories, so she didn't have to feel bad about giving them away. Eureka! And so, it was done.

I now present a closet that is finally living up to its potential:

This means that the spare room is clean! Woo-hoo! A New Year's Resolution achieved! (At least until we call the landlord to deal with the mold and have to haul everything back out of the closet again.)

(Also, because I feel compelled to share, this is the actual bed that MB and I shared for two years. TWO YEARS. We were skinnier then, but still...two grown people in a twin bed is a little bit much. Ah, the lean days of college...too big for a little kid bed, but too poor for a grownup one.)

*MoMB = Mother of MB (har har)

Reading: Multiple Choice by Janet Tashjian, the author of the fantastic The Gospel According to Larry and Vote for Larry

Playing: Lay it Down, Black Eyed Man, and Miles From Our Home by the Cowboy Junkies

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pardon the New Salad

Pardon our mess; we're remodeling. We hope to get the last of the bugs worked out soon.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Empty gesture or first ripple of change?

Only time will tell, I guess.

Feds move to protect polar bears:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The federal government on Tuesday took the first step toward listing the polar bear as a threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said protection may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, triggering a review process that could lead to its listing.

The service acted on a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, which said polar bears could become extinct by the end of the century because their sea ice habitat is melting away due to global warming.

Environment: Bears on Thin Ice

US says global warming threatens polar bears

(the tag reads "To: Polar Bears     From: Man")

Now for something that doesn't break my heart:

Have you seen these new Jeep commercials? I saw them both for the first time tonight, and they crack my shit up.

Quote of the day:  "Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." (Drew Carey)*

*Disclaimer:  I don't actually hate my job. I just think the quote's funny.

Monday, January 08, 2007

According to my dear Mrs. Squirrel, this week is De-Lurking Week.

So, if you feel like it, leave a comment. If you don't feel like it, that's okay, too. I promise, even if you just say, "Uh, hi...I'm delurking..." I'll squee about it (and maybe even dance around a little). I'm just pleased that people other than my five friends from college are actually reading this crazy little journal of mine. To all of you who visit and then come back again, thank you! Peace out, my homies! xoxo

(but, you know, only if you want to)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I was working on a long, heartfelt post...

...about nature and animals and kumbaya.

But then I started poking through archives on my online message board, and found some glorious haiku that I wrote in the summer of 2005, and I think this art needs to be shared with the world.

Slimfast Peanut Butter meal bars: a haiku

Oh how I love you
You taste almost like candy
But don't make me fat.

KJ replied:

Carrots suck. They suck.
Cel'ry sticks suck too, so bad.
I want a cupcake.

I advised her to try the following, in honor of her insane, visiting, then-future father-in-law:

My sanity slips
Yes, Father Polonius
It is all your fault

In reply, KJ wrote:

"Where are you going on your honeymoon again? Because I shall bring wreaths of laurels and encircle your doorknob with them."

So I told her:

Down to Tennessee
To have hot hotel sex (Please)
Laurels would be nice

Then That Chick said:

"I would so totally marry you if you didn't just get yourself hitched."

So I told her:

This makes my heart glad
I loudly sing Bee Gees songs
To honor your love

Of course, none of my haiku (haikus?) can compare to the greatest Threadless T-shirt I've ever seen:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Someone's been holding out on us.

It seems that the cat...

...has been doing some modeling work for Hallmark.

Now that he's been found out, he'd better start sharing the wealth. After all, he costs us $10 a month in rent, and that's not even touching what we spend on his chow and kitty crack.

Reading: The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Playing: rock playlists on mpMonster

Thursday, January 04, 2007


an attempt to hold myself accountable by posting about my sad exercise habits

January 2 MTV Yoga

January 4 MTV Yoga

January 6 NYC Ballet Workout (It was disgraceful. I am the worst ballerina EVER. Also, my abs say OUCHIE!)

January 12 The Joy of Yoga--I never should've taken 6 days off, because even downward-facing dog hurt. I didn't really mean to skip 6 days, but a combination of lameassness and extenuating circumstances did me in. Oh, well...back in the saddle! I don't think I've ever actually done this workout, even though I've had the DVD for years. It was really slow starting out, but as soon as the warmup was done and the downward dog splits were busted out, I was happy. (Tip: never EVER do a Google search for "dog split" and click on anything that isn't explicitly about yoga. Trust me on this.) This routine was less of a workout and more of a flexibility exercise, but I did like it a lot.

January 15 The Joy of Yoga

January 16 The Joy of Yoga

January 19 Fat Burning Yoga

February 17 MTV Yoga (Finally back in the game, nearly a month later. How embarrassing.)

February 27 MTV Power Yoga OMG. That was an ass-kicking. (Random side note: adorable stick figure yoga note cards)

March 1 No yoga, but 30 minutes on the exercise bike instead. Yay, cardio! Yay for my attention span not giving out halfway through like it usually does!

March 9 MB and I went around the loop at Asylum Park twice. Next time we go, we're going to take the GPS and get a measurement of how long the loop is in miles.

March 11 Today MB and I went on a 1.5 mile hike. Man, am I out of shape. :P

March 30 I did both 10 minute cardio hip hop workouts from this DVD. It was fun, but it was aerobics and ab work, not dance. Oh, well...still kicked my butt!

April 1 MTV Pilates It was hard, but not as hard as I feared. I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow, but I'm pleased that I could do almost all of the moves without too much trouble.

April 6 I kidsat a 4-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old tonight, and we ended up playing tag at a nearby ballfield for about 40 minutes after the boys ate dinner. If that's not a workout, I don't know what is :P

April 8 MTV Pilates

April 10 MTV Pilates

April 12 Crunch Fat Burning Dance Party This DVD proved two things without a doubt. One, I am still very out of shape. Two, I am deeply, deeply caucasian. Ironically, I did the best during the "Party Funk" section and the worst during the "Retro Dance" disco-inspired section. Go figure.

April 17 MB and I did 3 loops at Asylum Park, which the GPS tells us is 3.58 km / 2.22 miles total. Yay!

April 20 Danger and I canoed 15 miles on the Blue River. It was AWESOME.

May 5 We hiked 4 miles on our camping trip.

May 6 Our two cave tours added up to about 1 1/3 mile.

June 11 Wow, this is embarrassing. Um. Yeah. Anyway, MB and I spent an hour hiking the cross-country trails in the woods on my sister's (and my former) college campus tonight.

June 28 Joy of Yoga. I need to hang onto how good it feels to do this so I will be more motivated to do it more often. Every time I do yoga after a long break, I think to myself, "Holy crap! Why am I not doing this every day?" Good question, self. Work on that.

June 29 canoed on a lake for about 1 1/2 hours with MB

June 30 canoed again for about 1 1/2 hours

July 3 Joy of Yoga

July 18 MTV Pilates

January 2008  After an embarrassingly long time away, I have returned. I signed up for a six-week Pilates class, and so far have rocked two classes. There's a rumor the first class may be followed by an eight-week intermediate class, too. Bring it!

March 9  The eight-week intermediate class starts on Tuesday, and I'm already signed up! Yay!