Monday, June 30, 2008

Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

I know I promised you guys some cute Camp stories, and they're eventually going to get written, but I've been in some kind of blog rut for over a week now. I have no idea what's up with me. I'm happy enough, really. Husband's fine, pets are good. Job's going well. But I just feel sort of dull and uninspired lately. I'll promise myself that tonight's the night that I'm going to write something good, something meaningful or funny, but then I get home and the house is covered in dog hair and must be swept. Or I fall asleep in front of the TV at like 9:45 PM because I am OLD, y'all. OLD.

I've been getting twitchy almost-ideas for stories lately, which hasn't happened in a long time, but I'm so out of practice that I'm having trouble snagging them and putting words on a page. It's frustrating because I used to be able to practically draw fiction out of the air. Now I'm getting snatches of stuff, but nothing substantial. Suckage.

Then on Sunday there was a semi-big drama on my beloved message board, and even though it's all worked out now, there were some things said that left me feeling really hurt and crappy. That stuff's getting cleared up now, but I'm still a bit mopey and drained.

And yet, my stats this last week or so have been crazy (For me, anyway...don't laugh!). Who are all of you people and where are you coming from?

No, scratch that...only tell me if you want to. But in the meantime, would you maybe consider delurking and helping me get out of this funk? Pretty please? Ask me anything, anything you want. I need some material, people!

Friday, June 27, 2008


Antonia at Whoopee did a great post today with a list of the nicest things people have ever said to her, and suggested that others write their own. Here are mine:

"You don't throw like a girl."

(Boy in my 10th grade gym class who incidentally picked me NOT LAST for his team. I did have a crappy football throw, but I tried really hard and I guess it counted for something.)

"You're way prettier than Uma Thurman. She's ugly compared to you!"

(MB, when drunk, which means he was being absolutely honest.)

"She's a good writer. You need to keep an eye on her."

(One of the most respected English professors at my university, to my advisor. One of my mentors told me that having him say you're a good writer is like having the Pope say you're a good Catholic. Too bad I never made anything of myself.)

"Ah. You're the girl with the funny jokes!"

(Tim Cahill, at a writers' retreat where I met him and shot the shit around a campfire one night. ZOMG. I still can't believe this one.)

"You're not like a regular grownup. You're cool. You're kind of like a kid, like us!"

(a girl at my old Girl Scout Camp on Thursday, where the bibliophile and I were serving as guest nature counselors, an adventure which I hope to have time to write about tomorrow night :P)

lolkitters of the week

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View the collected weekly lolkitters on Flickr.

(P.S. Does anyone know how to set up tabs on a Blogger template? Plz email me if u do kthxbai.)

Photo Friday

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

You've got red on you

Kickass zombie meme stolen from the fabulous kerrianne:

You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:

1. One weapon.
2. One song blasting on the speakers.
3. One famous person to fight alongside you.

Weapon can be real or fictional; you may assume endless ammo if applicable. Person can be real or fictional.

1. I want a baseball bat. Blunt, heavy, little finesse required.

2. "The Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails

3. Unless BoMB counts as a famous person, I'll take Clive Owen's character from Shoot 'Em Up.

Tagging:  anyone who wants to be prepared when the zombie apocalypse comes

Quite possibly the best Flickr set ever: Stormtroopin'

Reading:  The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Playing:  Disc One:  All Their Greatest Hits by Barenaked Ladies

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Maybe it's the English geek in me...

...but I'm kind of horrified that Sony has appropriated the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V for a freaking Playstation 3 commercial.

Is nothing sacred? *shakes fist*

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

I don't care who you are, that's funny. *

If you can't read it, the sign says "HOUSE OF JERKY:
beef, buffalo, venison, ostrich, turkey, alligator."

New photos at the garden blog and a new (short) post up at the book blog!

Reading:  The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

(an Early Reviewer book from Library Thing. Woot! Also, you know this book is good so far, because I was only a few chapters into it when my copies of Odd Hours and Fearless Fourteen came in at the library, and I didn't put it aside to finish later.)

Playing:  a mix I made for Heather Feather

*something my dear friend Chick likes to say, which makes me laugh every time

Photo Friday

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lolkitters of the week

This week's caption provided by basscomm. Click the photo to vote for Kitters!

View the collected weekly lolkitters on Flickr.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am become Indy, the destroyer of toys

VBG:  Hey, Indy! I got you a ball that's too big for you to bite! Here you go!

Indy:  Nom!

ball:  pfffffffffff

VBG:  oh.

"Throw the ball!"

"PLEASE throw the ball?"

"Bear? What stuffed bear?"

Monday, June 16, 2008


Last Friday morning I walked the dog over to my parents' house so I could use my mom's sewing machine to make some pillows for a friend's little boy. I chatted a bit with my mom and sister, and solicited lots of advice since I haven't made much of anything on a sewing machine since college.

I was both surprised and pleased at how easy it was to use the machine. As happens when I sit down at a piano, my hands just sort of knew what to do and didn't really need much help from my brain. All the little things you must remember to do, like holding the loose threads to the side so they don't get pulled under the foot at the beginning of a seam, like pressing the button on the side of the machine to reverse the direction and backstitch, I just kind of did them without thinking. Until the day I die, the sound of a sewing machine whirring away will be the sound of home. Mom made most of our clothes when we were kids, made her own clothes, and for several years made completely amazing "busy books" to sell at craft shows.

Mom left for work and Sis went to the last day of her volunteer daycamp counselor gig, and I was alone within the comfort of my mom's sewing room, in the peace of the house where I grew up. At some point I looked around and noticed a sheet of lined paper taped to a cabinet door, covered in my mom's handwriting, the arches and loops of it as familiar as my own face in the mirror. At first I didn't think much of it, assuming it detailed instructions of some craft idea or sewing technique. But as I got to the less-exciting stage of stuffing pillow forms into the cases I'd sewn, I had time to let my eyes wander. They returned to the handwritten sheet, and I realized it was a verse of some kind.

Maybe it was the thunderstorm that was rumbling outside. Maybe it was the cocoon-like quiet of the home that held me safe for most of my life. Maybe it was feeling sappy about sewing and seeing lovely words in my mom's writing. Maybe I'm just a drippy girl. But the words on that page? They were beautiful. I have no idea where Mom found them. Google, for once, wasn't super helpful, other than an indication that they come from an old African verse. If I could, I'd pull that sheet down from the cabinet door, frame it, and hang it in my house. Maybe someday I will.

Each thing that goes away, returns, and nothing in the end is lost. The great friend throws all things apart and brings all things together again. That is the way everything goes and turns around. That is how all living things come back after long absences, and in the whole great world all things are living things. All that goes returns.

Where you are going, go softly.

Aananom, you who have gone before, see that his body does not lead him into snares made for the death of spirits. You who are going now, do not let your mind become persuaded that you walk alone. There are no humans born alone.

You are a piece of us, of those gone before and who will come again. A piece of us go, and come a piece of us. You will not be coming, when you come, the way you went away. You will come stronger to make us stronger, wiser to guide us with your wisdom. Gain much from this going. Gain the wisdom to turn your back on the wisdom of Ananse. Do not be persuaded you will fill your stomach faster if you do not have others' to fill.

There are no humans who walk this earth alone.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Watch your back

That ninja squirrel picture that my friend Dawnabon sent me reminded me of a squirrel story. When I was a kid, I'd often ride my bike around the block. I had a Huffy Desert Rose one-speed with coaster brakes. It was my first real big-kid bike, and I'd bought it with my own money after saving up First Communion and birthday money. When I picked it out (used) at the bike shop, I didn't have quite enough, and I remember the sales guy telling my mom and me to wait a few minutes, that he'd ask his manager if it was okay to lower the price a little since I'd saved up for it myself.

Anyhoodle, if you had a bike with coaster brakes, you know that they weren't the most responsive piece of equipment you could ask for. One day I was pedaling along at top speed, and a squirrel rocketed across my path. I slammed on the coaster brakes and just missed the squirrel, which launched itself at the telephone pole beside me for a last-minute escape. Relief!

Except the squirrel? Apparently not so bright. Instead of clinging to the pole or, I don't know, CLIMBING IT, the squirrel hit the pole and pushed off. It landed directly in front of my still-skidding bicycle. The tire just barely hit the squirrel, who let out a squeak, leapt straight up into the air, and then shot across the street and up a tree.

My dad has been known to forget how old I am and my sister's birth date, but he still remembers and tells the story of the time I hit the squirrel with my bike. Perhaps I really should be on my guard against squirrels. They may be nurturing an unfulfilled vendetta.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Photo Friday

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lolkitters of the week

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View the collected weekly lolkitters on Flickr.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I read a semi-sad article on MSN today about "black dog syndrome", the slightly awkward nickname for the trend that shelters across the country have observed -- black dogs (and cats) tend to be overlooked more and adopted less often than their colorfully-coated counterparts. Sometimes it's because they blend in with the shadows in their kennels. Sometimes it's because they don't photograph very well, so people cruising animal shelter websites pass over them. Sometimes people say they can't see or read the dog's face that well because he's so dark. Sometimes people may have underlying or even unconscious superstitions about dark-colored animals. But no matter what the reasons are, it's still heartbreaking to think of all the wonderful dogs in the world who aren't given a chance, simply because of their black coats.

When MB and I decided to get a dog, he very quickly settled on a Lab mix as the type of dog to seek. I'd told him about the black dog syndrome, and so we were doubly committed to find a black Lab mix. MB even dismissed some potentials I showed him on the local humane society's webpage because they weren't black (reverse discrimination!).

I admit, Indy is sort of hard to photograph. He can blend in when he's in the shadows. He's also the best dog we ever, ever could've hoped to find, and we are so very lucky to have him in our lives. I know I probably talk about him too much, could I not, especially after reading about how dogs just like him are being left behind in shelters all over the country?

MB and Indy on our very first walk around Petsmart. Right after this,
MB sent me to the ATM to get cash to pay the adoption fee
while he stayed at the store. We didn't want to put Indy back into
his cage and risk someone else coming along and picking him while we were gone.

On Tuesday I bagged up all the debris from the bushes
MB cut down last weekend, and Indy watched me the whole time
with the most scandalized expression. He was absolutely horrified that
I was throwing away perfectly good sticks.

Hanging out in the basement the last day the air conditioner was broken.
The photo doesn't show his ears flapping gently in the breeze from the fan.

Last night after obedience class, we had to stop by Sam's Club.
Indy waited ever so patiently for MB to come back.

He had this ball for less than a minute before he popped it.
I felt really awful for buying him such a wimpy toy, but damned
if he didn't play with the sad, flat thing for the rest of the evening.

He was also pretty pleased with his new bargain bin bear.
He spent a few minutes trying really hard to figure out
a way to hold both toys in his mouth at once.

"Hey, everybody! Black is beautiful!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Wait, what?

MB had a sudden and important errand related to a very part-time job he's starting this weekend come up after he'd already settled in for the night and had a few glasses of wine. I suggested we bring the dog along, since I'd just be waiting outside MB's destination anyway and since Indy seems to enjoy car rides. MB agreed, so at the risk of becoming Those People, the ones who take their dog everywhere, we loaded Indy into the car and set off. MB's part-time workplace is way out on the edge of town, and it's surrounded by a pretty good patch of grassy land. I let Indy (on his leash, of course) decide where we were going, and he seemed to be having a pretty fine time following his nose around.

After about 20 minutes, I could tell Indy was getting really thirsty, but there was no sign of MB. All the puddles in the parking lot had oil slick rainbows, so they were out of the question. Finally, after trying to text and call MB and getting no answer, I had to do something. I put Indy back into the car and told him I'd be right back, then took the small plastic banana split dish we keep in the door up to the building. I could see a water fountain from outside, so I knew I could get to the water if I kept my cool and hurried.

As I was filling up Indy's dish, a woman came out of one of the offices. "Hey, what's going on?" she said. It took me a second to realize she meant, "What's up?" and not "What are you doing here? I'm calling security." Since the secret to not getting questioned is often simply acting like you belong, I said, "Hi, how's it going?" right back to her.

"Let me ask you something, honey," she said, starting toward me. "Do you like white chocolate?"

"Uh...yes?" Okay, this is getting a bit strange. I'm stealing water in a small plastic ice cream dish and you're asking me about my chocolate preferences?

Then she walked over and handed me a box of some kind of soy meal replacement bars. "You can have these, then."

What could I do? I thanked her as if I had a fucking clue why someone I'd never met was handing me health food, and she wished me a good night and breezed off out the door. I'm still utterly mystified.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

"Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration." -- Lou Erickson

We worked out in the yard for most of the day, and damn it was hot. I love having a yard and a garden, but this was not a day of cute gardening. There were no sassy hats or twee little garden clogs, no pretty glasses of lemonade. It wasn't sexy gardening, either, unless you like your garden chicks pouring sweat and wearing an old ratty baseball cap.

I did some stuff in the garden while MB and R trimmed down the bushes along the fence that MB hates.

When I took this photo, I was sort of sad that the bushes would be gone by the end of the day. Then the guys spent about an hour chopping and chainsawing them, and I spent another almost two hours hacking what they'd cut into pieces that would fit in the trashcans. Some of the pieces resembled that thing that comes out of the lake in the first Lord of the Rings movie, and some of them had inch-long thorns. It was not a nice way to spend an afternoon, but I suppose it'll be worth it to not hear MB bitch about the bushes every time he mows the grass.

The guys also went out with my dad to fetch a truckload of firewood from one of MB's coworkers. I felt sort of like we belonged in a Little House book, laying in wood for the long winter.

"Is it bedtime yet?"

New post up at the garden blog!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Photo Friday

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lolkitters of the week

Click the photo to vote for Kitters!

View the collected weekly lolkitters on Flickr.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I'm bringing sexy back

The air conditioner is getting fixed today, ya'll. It's sort of being fixed right now, except not really since the guys had to leave to go get some parts. I thought it would be a quick in-and-out thing, so I came home from work with every intention of going back this afternoon. Since then, however, I have sweated (sweat? swat? nothing looks right) through my bra in this 82-degree humid-ass house (Whoo! Sex-ay!), and have given up jeans and dignity for an old T-shirt and a pair of boxers. Indy and I are down in the basement (thank the good Lord for wireless) trying to halt the melting process. Unless things get fixed and cooled down pretty damn quick, I may be out for the day. Which would be a good thing, except I actually did have quite a few things to do at work today, and of course I'll have to make up an entire day later or burn 8 personal hours. I have to admit, it's probably worth it to get our AC back up and running before the weekend.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to try and catch up on the completely out-of-control blog backlog sitting in my reader.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dear Top Chef

No spoilers, but you can fuck off. As if making me watch people butcher whole dead pigs wasn't bad enough. FUCK OFF AND DIE.

(See, I told you I get cranky by the end of the day. Working AC, I needz it.)

Reading:  Bottlemania:  How Bottled Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It by Elizabeth Royte

Playing:  Bringing Down the Horse by the Wallflowers

Not dead yet

I am totally sucking at blog updates this week. Apologies! The air conditioner is still broken, which means I'm both angry and wilted by the end of the day, for I am a delicate flower. Indy is back to his old sassy self and Kitters seems to be doing fine, but it's still getting old really fast.

I called the home warranty company yesterday, since it had been a week since the order was placed for our new compressor. The new part isn't due to arrive until Friday. I'm wondering where the hell it's shipping from...Alaska? Siberia? Outer Mongolia?