Monday, July 31, 2006

Mocha Momma: Blogger Vixen!

Yeah, I'm outting her, the crafty minx. Trifling with my husband's affections, she is. And don't think I don't see what's going on with Margalit, too, while we're on the topic.

You've all seen Alex's intermittent interest in all things blogging. He usually rolls his eyes when I read something to him that I think is HIGHlarious or especially witty, and then goes back to whatever (potato-gun) lofty intellectual pursuit he was absorbed in before I interrupted him.

Now, he will occasionally--well, RARELY--post a comment on someone else's blog, and he will even more rarely post something on his OWN site, and generally treats blogs and blogging as a "little hobby" of mine, one that keeps me sane and probably makes me a bit more pleasant for him to live with, so he encourages it. And every blue moon or so, I write something that makes him proud (but I only find that fact out when I accidentally overhear him asking someone else, "Did you read Belinda's post about so-and-so?) We have a pretty good understanding of each other, and our motivations, and our relationship "currency" so to speak: I know what's important to him, and he thinks he knows what's important to me.

Jealousy? Of him admiring other women? Not really. He doesn't do it in a lascivious, "I gotta git me some a' THAT" way, and never does anything in that regard that would make me insecure or leave me questioning my own attractiveness. I'm pretty comfortable with the way that he can express appreciation for a beautiful, smart, or funny woman, and I usually agree and join in--he has good taste, after all. I mean, come on--the man's ideal of the ultimate woman is not Pamela Anderson Lee Rock Hassenpfeffer Whatever, it's Princess Grace, for crying out loud. And by the same token, when he's looking to score points with me, he will rent all of the Mummy movies, with Brendan Fraser and Oded Fehr, who happen to be two of my big celebrity crushes. And he watches along good-spiritedly with me...although now that I think about it, he does spend a good deal of their steamier scenes trying to convince me of a homoerotic affair between the two...but that's all in good fun, right? Sure. My point is, I've never been one of those women who, catching her husband looking at the Victoria's Secret catalog, would feel threatened and say, "Well, maybe Jill Goodacre can come over and check you for ticks and cook your meatloaf," and then burst from the room crying. Just not my style.

So no, the Green-Eyed Monster rarely raises its ugly head 'round this marriage. Untillllll.......MOCHAAAAAAAHHHHH. He commented on her site. He never comments on ANYONE'S site, especially not my "lady blogs," but he commented for HER. And then he kept checking back to see if she has READ and RESPONDED to his comment. And when I email her, asking about possible vacation times next year when we might all do something together, he asks me every 5 minutes, "Did Mocha write you back?" OH--and that's another thing, this calling her "Mocha." Yes, it has become a nom de pen, and yes, it certainly FITS her Mocha-ness. But her name is Kelly, and when she calls on the phone, it's Kelly, and when I talk to her off-blog at all, it's Kelly....unless I'm talking to my husband, who will say, "Who?" Until I am forced to say, "MOCHAHHHH." To which he repeats, with a sly smile, "Oh, Mochaaaaah."

So there's that. Not much in itself, just enough to annoy me. But then, the other night in bed, after I'd got him to proof my latest blog-entry, he read it through, chuckled obligingly, and then said, "You know, that Mocha, she writes some funny stuff."

Can you see where this is going? All of a sudden I'm WIDE awake, antennae UP, eyebrows arched, eyes wide, neck gettin' loose, steam is coming out of my ears a little...and before I can stop it, I hear my own voice saying, "WELL! Maybe you can just read MOCHA'S blog from now on, and maybe IT will give you the inspiration to finally start posting in yours, since I could never get you to do it." I can't do that for too long, though, because I am beyond caucasian, and it makes my neck kinda achey. It looks like this, only up high, where only the Long Arm of Alex could possibly reach it. Not a pretty color combo:So then I began thinking of other implications of this Mocha-flirtation. If I could get Kelly to post on HER blog something about how ignunt it is to have your entire house repainted in your lovely new colors except for that one patch above the pantry where there is still a jarring swath of DARK PURPLE...well, perhaps my husband, upon reading that wisdom falling from La Mocha's caffeine-soaked lips, would actually GET ON THE LADDER AND PAINT THAT SPOT THAT I'VE BEEN ASKING HIM TO FOR THREE MONTHS BECAUSE I CAN'T REACH IT.

Just sayin'. Aw, I trust them both. Just don't think I won't be a-watching if we do go on this joint vacation toghether, the four of us. Not for stolen glances, lingering touches, hidden smiles...OH, NO NO NO! For too much laughing at her JOKES! Gotta nip THAT right in the BUD. NIPIT. IN. THEBUD.

Oh, and what'll I be watching with Margalit? Well. It seems, if you check the comments from the last post, that Alex is just a weeeeeee bit too excited about Margalit's cooking. I'll be having my eye on these exchanges, as well.

I love you guys.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Plea For Help!

Okay. D-Day approaches. Or, more accurately, H-Day? The Big Surgery. It's not scheduled yet, but if I want to have it while my sister the schoolteacher is out of school and can help me with Bella (and I DO), I need to have it done within the next couple of weeks. Although I haven't blogged about it before, I have a surgery phobia/anxiety that borders on sheer panic and hysteria...and yet, that is not what I am most dreading. What horror, you might wonder, fills my heart with such trepidation? It is the question--The Question--that I know will cause more stress, bickering, and worry in my household than any other question possibly could:

"WHAT'S FOR DINNER?"

Shoot me now. OR, instead, help me out with some recipes. This is where I plead with you, Internets: Send me your easy, preferably one-dish, preferably freezable, recipes! I need dishes that have simple ingredients, are easy to assemble, and easy to clean up after. And if I can prepare them ahead of time and freeze them, even better. I AM NOT KIDDING. This is not my forte, as my cooking tends to be tasty, but complicated and messy. Super-moms and super-cooks, I'm looking to you for HELP in my time of need! Please send at your lifesaving, labor-saving recipes to me at ninjapoodles at gmail dot com, or just post them here in the comments for others to share. I've got to get cracking, and get my pantry and freezer stocked.

And to all my local friends and family--those of you who have asked me often, "Is there anything I can do?" Now's your chance. I will gladly take you up on your kind offer, if you care to make a dish for my freezer that will feed my family during my recuperation, or a treat for Alex and Bella, who will be caring for me lovingly.

Let's see what you've got, Internets. Recipes--GO!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Do Not Even Try To Follow The Twisted Tangle Of Stream-Of-Consciousness Rambling That Is A Marital Conversation In This House

Because you'll only wind up with something like the sentence that just now came out of my husband's mouth:

"So, what you're saying is, you'd like me better if I was a talking dog!"*

*Note: That is absolutely NOT what I was saying, just for the record. I mean, what would be the point of making someone a dog and then giving them the power of speech, for crying out loud?

Friday, July 28, 2006

BUY THIS HOUSE.

You know you want to. Look at it! My husband, all by himself, has done everything short of breaking his back getting it ready to sell. Tricky proposition, when the grass has to be mowed by the time you finish mowing it.It's just a darling little cottage-style house, and I loved it. I lived there for many years, just me and my dogs and my horses, and its 1100 square feet felt just fine. Add the husband and the child and more dogs, though, and it got a little tight--mostly because of all our stuff!And just look at this sweet little shop building, ready to go for a home-based business.Where else are you going to find all this, plus a 5-stall barn, plus a storage building, on 5 grassy acres, fenced and cross-fenced, 22 minutes from the airport, with insanely low utility costs, for $120K? What a bargain! Come buy it today!

Joy of joys, we finally list her on Monday morning. I am sad and sentimental, but it will be a huge relief, a major burden lifted. We expect it to sell immediately. Cross your fingers.

Where I Wish I Was


DSC_0008
Originally uploaded by sweetney.
Seriously. Right there, between them. I'd fit right in, I'd be wearing earth-tones, and I'd be the best audience ever. And if--er, WHEN I started acting goofy, JenB would make it OK.

I AM SO FREAKING SAD RIGHT NOW I MIGHT DIE.

OK, no, I'm not gonna die. In fact, if I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that it's very, very good that I'm safe at home. Because, for instance, that pictured stroll down the promenade with Women-Who-Are-Nearly-Goddesses? I couldn't do it. I've been so violently sick today, and in so much pain, that this event would have been a misery for me, and I'd have missed most of it. So I'd have had the joy of going through exactly what I'm going through now, only feeling MORE miserable because of the wasted airfare and hotel cost. *sigh*

Oh, and I want Mrs. Kennedy's outfit. I'm hoping someone got pictures of the whole thing.

And I would have kissed JenB's whole face by now, multiple times, no doubt.

Anyway, I have to force myself to stop looking at the BlogHer pictures for a while, or I'll just descend into total sadness and despair. Except...one thing that does make me laugh is that, no matter whose flickr set you're looking at, there is bound to be at least one, and probably more, pictures of Mocha in it. I'm imagining her bat-like hearing homing in on the whine of a digital camera's auto-focus, then tossing her hair, and just *materializing* her beautiful self in front of the camera. I can just imagine coming home and unloading my 1G memory stick, and asking, "When did I take SO MANY pictures of Kelly?"

And Mocha? She made me bullets. I love her.

Ladies, I SO wish I were there with you. I am sad.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Indispensable

Alex is talking about a big project in the basement (our dog-grooming/workout room), and I'm feeling guilty due to my, uh, general state of uselessness. I ask him, "What can I do to help?" To which he stammers a bit, then responds, in a voice normally reserved for small children and skittish horses,

"Well, we can carry down a little chair for you, and you can sit there and tell me how handsome I am every few minutes while I work."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Nickelodeon Movies And Steve Oedekerk: Are You Stupid?


Or just tragically ignorant of simple biology? This "Barnyard" movie isn't even OUT yet, and it's already making me crazy, just from the commercials. You don't understand why? Well, first, let me just say that I went to the film's own website, to do a little research and make sure I didn't have you all wrong, before I wrote this. My suspicions were, unfortunately for the soon-to-be-confused children of America, not unfounded. Let's take a look at "Barnyard's" synopsis:
From Steve Oedekerk and Nickelodeon Movies, two of the co-creators of “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” and filmed entirely in CGI, comes this hilarious look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer’s back is turned. “Barnyard” is a lighthearted tale centering around Otis (voiced by Kevin James), a carefree party cow, who enjoys singing, dancing and playing tricks on humans. Unlike his father Ben (voiced by Sam Elliott), the respected patriarch of the farm, and Miles, the wise old mule (voiced by Danny Glover), Otis is unconcerned about keeping the animals’ humanlike talents a secret. But when suddenly put in the position of responsibility, the “udderly” irresponsible cow finds the courage to be a leader.
*takes deep breath* OK. Right off the bat we have a small problem with terminology. But I get that not everyone is from cattle country, or, in fact, any kind of "country," so let me explain one quick thing, City Boys. This story is, in your words, about a young male "cow," Otis, and his father, Ben. What's the problem? Well, it would be the same if you said that the movie was about a "hen" named Otis and his father. You see, the term "cow," by definition, indicates a female of the Bovidae family. Otis and his father would not be "cows," they would be "bulls," or, if involved in an unfortunate auger accident and castrated, "steers."

But hey, I'm not a hard case. Something like that, you not knowing the correct terminology for common domesticated animals, that's not a terribly big deal. I mean, lots of people probably don't realize that the word "cow" is gender-specific. No biggie. I do find the fact that it got all the way from conceptualization to production without being caught by anyone rather annoying, but I'm bigger than that. I can forgive.

But here's where we have a HUGE problem, Nickelodeon Movies and Steve Oedekerk--here's a still shot from "Barnyard," depicting Otis, the main character, defined by you as male, and voiced by Kevin James:Here's another one:These are obviously depictions of a cow. With udders. You took the trouble of having them drawn onto all the "cow" characters (all but one of whom, from what I've been able to gather without seeing the film, are MALE), so you must know what they are. Right? I mean, you know that's where milk comes from, right? That those are mammary glands? Which are a part of female mammalian physiology? I'll break it down for you: Udders are a cow's "boobies." They make milk for calves (and numerous dairy farms). I'll break it down even further: Bulls and steers--in your world, "boy cows"--DO NOT HAVE BOOBIES. Napoleon Dynamite knew it. Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, would know this. Heck, his idiot friends Carl and Sheen would know it. Why don't you?

I'm holding out hope that this abominable biological error is somehow part of the storyline. That the bulls are in drag, hiding their candy in order to avoid being slaughtered or castrated (or both). I'm counting on the parents who see it to let me know. And I'm holding you accountable, Nickelodeon Movies and Steve Oedekerk. You owe us for this gaffe. Big-time. And don't act like it's too much trouble to get the details right, either (although, really--transgendered characters are a pretty significant "detail), because here I have a still from the animated film "Hoodwinked":That's "Red," with "Japeth," the singing mountain goat. You will notice that although Japeth sings and has removable horns, traits which are generally missing from your non-animated goats, he is faithfully depicted with no teeth showing. Why is that significant? Well, because goats, which are ruminants, only have about 8 teeth in the lower jaw, which are not readily visible, and a heavy "dental pad" behind the upper lip, instead of teeth there. That's why ruminants are able to clip grass off so neatly, unlike horses, who rip it out by the roots.

Oh, and so help me, if Miles the Mule has children* in this new movie, I will hunt you down, beat you with an agricultural encyclopedia, and force you to attend an FFA fair at the point of a pitchfork.

*Bonus educational note to Nickelodeon Movies and Steve Oedekerk: Mules are sterile.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

I Have The Maturity Of A Twelve-Year-Old Boy

*snicker, snicker*------------------>>>

OK, apparently the Trojan ad doesn't show up
there every time. But when it does, I giggle.
Because...you know. Sex. Tee-hee.

Station Break

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming to indulge in a picture-post, having finally been able to liberate from their digital prison the pictures from our Tennessee trip, where Bella's flower-girl dreams came true. As I understand it, a couple of people also got married on that day, but you could barely prove it by this mommy's photographs.

We'd barely gotten into Tennessee before Alex and I were both too sick to drive, and had to call in my sister to pinch-hit for us. Meanwhile, Bella demonstrated that us folks from Arkansas literally have class and grace just coming out our noses.The first thing we saw when we finally got to our hotel in Clarksville was this sign. I don't think we ever quite figured out the art of "lingering."Somehow, we managed to get ready and get to the pre-wedding photo session on time and with the flower-girl in costume, every hair in place, and in a great, cooperative mood. She immediately began assessing the situation and looking for weakness she could exploit to her advantage...And obviously hit on something right away. But she wasn't telling.And Mommy got LOTS of keepsake photographs of her baby girl from the outdoor shoot. Oh, and there was a pretty bride, too. This Very Good photo is obviously one of my sister's.
A wedding is often a "hurry up and wait" affair, and I was very pleased and relieved at the little one's patience and quiet attitude. At this point, it had been a couple of hours already, with another left to wait before the ceremony. Look at that posture! That poise! (That handsome cousin!)And when it was time to perform, she went in and did her job impeccably, and took her place among the bridesmaids......where things quickly began to deteriorate. The issue, as I learned while whisking her down the aisle and out into the vestibule, was that she "thought that there would be DANCING," and commenced to get things started along those lines--during the ceremony. I knew trouble was coming when she carefully set down her flower-basket. Do you SEE that look?So this is how we watched the rest of the wedding--on the church's jumbo-tron. Well, it wasn't that huge...a "big-tron?"This exclusion from the remainder of the ceremony did not sit will with Her Highness.But, soon enough, the wedding was done, and the reception was in full swing, and it was party time!Oh, and by the way, this is my Grandmother. I'm not telling her age, but know that I will be 40 years old this year, and realize that this is my Grandmother. Wow.So off we dashed, back home, but not before Bella found her magic wand and turned us all into monkeys for two days.We arrived home safe and sound, but regretting that we never did get a biscuit while we were in Clarksville. Because, for some reason? We really felt like we needed one.Full flickr set here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Update Explosion

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Can I please indulge in a moment of gushing public pride for my husband? Seriously? Because, and everyone should know this, living with a mood disorder absolutely STINKS. It stinks for the person with the disorder, and it stinks for the people who love and live with that person. Bipolar disorder, the Beast we live with, is a real demon. It denies its own existence, it is resistant to treatment, and even when you do manage to hit it with a successful treatment "cocktail," and that (Glory, Hallelujah!) WORKS, guess what? Then it either morphs and changes so that the medication no longer works, OR the medications themselves do something to your body that is so heinous that they must be discontinued.

Many of you already know that Alex has Bipolar Disorder, and that it's not of the "lite" variety. Without continuous medication, he would be unable to function, or enjoy much quality of life at all. It's no laughing matter. At the same time, the medications that save your sanity have some pretty harsh side effects, which further contribute to many bipolar people being resistant to taking them. In fact, it's widely accepted that fewer than 20% of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are even capable of having the insight to recognize that they do, in fact, have a disease--and that is PART OF THE DISEASE, to deny its own existence. Those are some hard statistics, folks. We are very "lucky" (That word is hard for me to write, because this illness is hideous, ugly, and terrible. Understand that I use it only in the context of people with bipolar disorder.) that Alex is one of those "fewer than 20%." Even so, if he happened to somehow hit the manic phase of the cycle without medication, he would quickly lose that insight for the duration of the manic episode. It's just not pretty or EVER easy, is what I'm saying.

And my point? Getting to it. Way back in December, Alex had to discontinue one of the mood stabilizers in his treatment "cocktail"--a cocktail which was working for him very, very well. It was killing his thyroid gland, you see--so much so that he's been on thyroid replacement medication ever since. And since then, his doctor has been unable to hit upon any treatment combination that is comparably successful, and he's been suffering the effects of inadequate medication. He had a very rough spring, and is going through a similarly difficult patch even now. And HERE'S THE POINT: My husband--my smart, strong, capable husband--is not just bearing up bravely under this burden that he never asked for; he is KICKING ITS BUTT. Understand that I am NOT saying "he's doing fine even without proper medication," because I'm NOT. Oh, Lord, no. Bipolar disorder cannot be overcome by sheer force of will--if only. But I am saying that he is holding up to the enormous pressures of me being ill, having a house to work on and sell, picking up my slack in our current household, and just doing the regular 9-to-5, all while suffering the harsh effects of a significant illness himself, and he is not just "holding up," but shining through.

Can you get behind that, people? Give him a high-five, my "stud-muffin" husband. Alex, I love and appreciate you, more than you can imagine. Thank you for being so much tougher than me.

MY HEALTH: Not great. I am in enough pain now that I pretty much stay rolled up in a wad in my bed most of the day. Interesting thing is that now, it's not the regular endo pain that is disabling me; it's G.I. pain. I dread eating, and mostly avoid it, because it just hurts too much. The only way I can eat anything is to have several Lomotil first, and even then I pay a price. The upside of this is that I've lost close to 10 pounds in the last week. And hey, it's not like I'm in any danger of wasting away. I hope to hear soon just what the doctors here think they will be able to do for me. The only thing I know for sure will happen is the hysterectomy. My prayer, and yours, if you're so inclined, is that there's not a bunch of endometrial growth on my bowel, because, honestly? I'm terrified of the risk of incidental colostomization during bowel surgery. So let's avoid that, eh, God? Please.

WEATHER: Good gosh, it's hot. And the Humidity Pods are out in full force. You all know I love Arkansas, but this is the time of year when I could be talked into relocating to British Columbia without much trouble. But we have a huge thunderstorm coming through tonight, which hopefully translates to a much cooler weekend. Like, you know, mid-90's.

BLOGHER: It's official: I can't go. I mean, please--I can't keep myself in an upright position for more than 20 minutes at a time or hold down any appreciable amounts of nourishment, so a cross-country trip and 2 days of revelry and fellowship is just beyond me. And I'm assuming that our tickets are non-refundable (Right? If that's not the case, someone please let me know, because we could really use that money.), so I'll be happy to donate mine to a deserving BlogHer. Just drop me a line at ninjapoodles at gmail dot com. And also important to consider, the considerable folly of the cost of such a trip at a time when we still haven't sold our other house and are making two mortgage payments. Hello, adult responsibilities! You suck!

So, I'm counting on all of you who do get to go: Someone PLEASE get Arianna Huffington's autograph for me, stalk Alice and then throw yourself prostrate at her feet in my honor, sit on JenB's lap, and lick Mocha at least once. And if Erin flashes her boobs, AVERT YOUR EYES. That's what I'd do. And please, PLEASE...keep me updated. I will be curled in a wad, clutching my laptop, looking for live updates from the conference all next weekend. Don't let me down.

DOGS: Can I just say how thrilled I am that so many of the suckers--er, Respected Members of the Impulse Poodles Family who have our puppies are blogging about the experience? It is just such a wonder, this Internet. I love you, Internet! And I'm grateful to have been blessed with such great homes for each one of these pups. I know that the way most breeders do this is to have all their puppies out the door at 8 to 10 weeks of age, but WOW, can I ever not do that. In the first place, it takes me a few months to figure out which ones I want to keep to show for myself. And beyond that, the actual act of letting them go? Excruciating. I've yet to be able to bring myself to advertise, instead relying on word-of-mouth, and of course that slows things down. But honestly, every home we've found so far has just been such an amazing, "meant-to-be" act of Divine Providence, that I do not in ANY way regret hanging onto these furbabies for a longer period of time than is "normal." Now that the adorable "Tate," henceforth to be formally known as "Impulse What About Bob," is in his new digs in Chicago, we're left with only one beautiful black girl to place in a pet home. We won't have any more puppies here until probably late 2007 or early 2008, so it's been kind of nice to take our time placing these three.

ENTERTAINMENT: Having a lot of time in bed means a lot of reading and television and movies. I might as well pass on some finds.

Books--The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, by A. J. Jacobs. Jacobs is not the best writer in the world, but he's not trying to be. If you enjoy the "conversational" way that many blogs are written, you'll appreciate his style well enough. I read a good deal of this book, which chronicles the author's attempt to read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, out loud for Alex's benefit on our trip to Tennessee, and we were cracking up at the intellectual rivalry between A. J. and his overly erudite brother-in-law. This one is just fun, and worth the time, and maybe a nice choice for folks who aren't normally "big readers."

The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life
, by Amy Tan. I'm just a huge fan, and when one of my favorite authors writes some non-fiction that is somewhat autobiographical, I tend to geek out a little. This book is a treasure.

The Well of Lost Plots: A Thursday Next Novel
, by Jasper Fforde. The latest in the series of mystery-stories-set-within-other-books, featuring literary detective Tuesday Next. If you are a "book person," I can't tell you how delightful you'll find these books. They're impossibly difficult to describe, so just trust me and try one. You don't have to read them in order.

And a BIG dishonorable mention to The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger. I could write a huge post all about how terrible this book is. Easily one of the worst books I've ever finished, right up there with The Bridges of Madison County. Why finish it, you ask? Good question. I think that the whole of this novel's appeal lies in the gossipy, roman-a-clef nature of the story. The context of the story is interesting, if that makes sense--who isn't fascinated by, and likely digusted at the excess of, the world of high fashion? There is a voyeuristic appeal to it. But the thing is just SO poorly written. I could waste a LOT of time quoting passages from it, to show you, but take my word for it, this thing sucks eggs. I'm not saying it might not be good for passing the time at the beach or on an airplane or something, just that it is so incredibly badly written that you will be distracted from the bad story BY the bad writing. It's that bad. Did I mention "bad?" Weisberger's syntax and style fall into what I will forevermore refer to, at least inside my head, and the "tilted puppy" style of writing, thanks to promising new blogger (and GOOD writer) Lauren--no relation--and her Epistolary Blog. Heck, I'll even quote Lauren here, writing of her experience attending a reading by author Anthony Rapp:

"You read a passage which leads up to the death of Jonathan Larson, and I knew from the moment you described him as having “his head tilted to one side like a puppy” that I was in for some tardy tingles. Your simile, after all, is not only clich├ęd but also nonsensical, as it implies that puppies in their entirety, and not just their heads, are often tilted to one side."

Check Lauren out; she's worth the time, and don't be surprised if you find yourself adding her to your blogroll, like I did. It's definitely time better spent than if you were reading "Prada."

Movies: Pickings are slim, here. Obviously, I haven't gone OUT to any movies lately, because, hello? OUT? Nope. BUT, here are a couple of gems now available on DVD:

"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer. *sigh* If you love movies, you can't NOT love this one. It breaks the fourth wall in an innovative and delightful manner, and the dialogue is snappy and clever and rapid-fire, like those great old high-pants-fast-talking movies of the 1940's. It's just a fantastically smart film, and one you really have to pay attention to--I love that. And yes, I have a tremendous soft spot for Downey ("Restoration," anyone?). He's a ferocious talent, struggling most of his life with bipolar disorder and addiction (they go hand-in-hand in as many as 65% of patients), and I root for him with all of my being with every film he makes. YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS MOVIE.

"Transamerica". Just good. Felicity Huffman's got some chops.

Television: I know WAY too much about what's on T.V. right now. Way. Too. Much. Try not to be sad for me. But if you have cable, and are bemoaning the lack of fresh network programming during the summer months, you do have some options.

"Psych". USA Network, Fridays. We're getting a kick out of this one, at least so far. It follows "Monk", which is also airing new episodes, and is still managing to keep us around, though it is getting a bit stale around the edges. I'm hoping for some renewed energy in "Monk" this season. Anyway, "Psych" is about a guy who, after being raised by a controlling cop/detective father (Corbin Bernsen), has developed extraordinary powers of observation, but because no one can believe that he's just that observant, he pretends to be psychic in order to solve crimes. Cute.

"Hell's Kitchen". FOX, Monday nights. Yeah, this is a network show, but I have a serious thing for Gordon Ramsay. Not as a sex symbol, as many people obviously see him, but as a chef. If you don't know this about me already, I'll admit to favoring great chefs with the type of adoration normally reserved for rock stars and famous actors. I've watched "Boiling Point" and "Beyond Boiling Point" on BBC America, as well as all the seasons of the fantastic (to me) "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares," in which Gordon takes on failing restaurants, figuring out why they're tanking and trying his best to set them aright before they go under forever. It's a fascinating look behind the scenes of running a restaurant. And every time he's abusing the "Hell's Kitchen" contestants, I can not help but think of our dear, intrepid cooking student at Poodlevania. I really hope she's not going through this kind of treatment! HK is easily my favorite television moment of the entire week right now, and I look forward to it with a near-rabid anticipation.

Eureka. Sci-Fi Channel, Tuesday nights. Only the pilot has aired so far, but it was intriguing enough that we've set our TiVo to record all upcoming episodes. Plot centers around a U.S. Marshall who finds himself assigned to the "secret" town of Eureka, which is home to a cadre of hyper-geek super-genius scientist/inventors who work for a mysterious, apparently government-funded "company," developing incredible machines that do seemingly impossible things...worth a look.

Flip This House. A&E, Sunday nights. This is my second season following the home-remodeling adventures of Richard and Ginger and the rest of the Trademark crew. I have NO idea why I'm so fascinated by this house-flipping, but dang it, I am. I can't look away. I love it when there is negotiating and haggling...the episode in which the landscaping contractor tried to convince Richard that he was paying each of his 20 migrant workers $20 an hour for their services was priceless. If you watch this show, you will most likely, like me, become convinced that you, too, could be a real estate speculating genius. Or not.

And that catches us up, for the most part, for now. *whew* I am so very sad about missing the BlogHer conference, after looking forward to it for almost a year. Please don't forget about me. *sniff, sniff*

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Who IS This Kid?

The other night, we were all piled up in the big bed together, the three of us, and Bella had control of the laptop, working on a computer jigsaw puzzle. There are not enough hours in the day for this child to work puzzles. So she's got a particularly difficult piece, looking for its home, and I ask, by way of encouragement,

"Where in the world does that piece go? Can you find where it belongs?"

To which my THREE-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD replies, in a sassy, smartypants, singsong voice,

"Uh-HUH, Baby!"

as she drops the piece in place and locks it in with a flourished click of the touchpad mouse.

Stunned, and laughing, I look at Alex, who is also laughing, and ask her,

" 'Uh-HUH, Baby?' Where in the world did you get THAT?"

And without hesitating or turning around, this PRESCHOOLER retorts (are you ready?),

"At the 'Uh-HUH, Baby' store!" *

and continues putting her puzzle together. You know, after the "Guess I told YOU" head-snap.



So then? Today? We're driving home from making a ninjapoodle handoff (more on that later), having dropped our latest sucker--er, Respected Member of the Impulse Poodles Family--off at the airport for her return trip, with dog, to Chicago. Alex and I are both tired and a little grumpy.

Me: "We're about to run out of gas. You need to stop and fill up."

Alex: "Well, I want to pick up some food, because I don't feel like cooking and I KNOW you don't." (Can you feel the guilt-waves from where you are?)

Me: "That has nothing to do with the fact that we're about to run out of gas RIGHT NOW. Get gas first."

Alex: "Food."

Me: "Gas."

Alex: "Food."

Me: "Gas."

Alex: "Food!"

Me: "Gas!"

Extremely Loud Isabella-Voice, from backseat: "TOYS!"



So while we're gassing up (AFTER having gotten food, just so you know who the REAL hard-head in this marriage is), we are idly people-watching while the gas-tank sucks up its two-hundred-and-eighty-four-dollars' worth of fuel. The assortment of hairstyles and wardrobe on parade on this occasion are truly eclectic and awe-inspiring. On a Tuesday evening. At an Exxon station on a country highway. In rural Arkansas. When the temperature is 102 degrees (having cooled off from 106, you know).

A well-used, dusty black sedan pulls up in front of us, and a woman of indeterminate age gets out of the car, a little bit at a time. High-heeled, platform sandals first, followed by legs encased in black, patterned, thigh-high, self-gartered stockings, easily identifiable as such due to the hipbone-high slit in the side of her short black skirt, which, like the rest of her outfit, doesn't seem to fit very well or make her feel particularly comfortable. Black blouse, teased and bleached-blonde hair, and an oddly dissonant pale pink pleather clutch-purse follow. While I'm waiting for her to get all the way inside so that I can turn to Alex and hear his speculations as to what sort of Tuesday-night event this gal might be attending, an ear-piercing shriek comes from the backseat--OUR backseat:

"RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!"

She's really funny, this kid. Until she gets us killed by a pimp.


* Best guess on this is that she is channelling my father, whose favorite response to any "Where did you get ________?" question was this one:

"At the gettin' place."


Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Brief Interlude With Lisa Stone


Subtitle: "I'm Not Worthy! I'm Not Worthy!"

Seriously, I'm not. But I'm giving it my best shot. Now, when Mocha first came up with this little gem of an idea, it was cute, cocktail-partyish, and had the potential to let a few of us who already knew each other a little get some laughs and share some goofiness. And then somehow, when it came time to assign us our interviews, I get this message: "Belinda will interview Lisa." As in Lisa Stone. As in BlogHer founder. As in Surfette. As in pedigreed-professional-at-the-thing-I-merely-play-at-doing. As in probably gets spasms in her editor's-red-pencil-muscles just from reading my blog. So for that, thanks, Mocha, and I owe you one. I mean I REALLY owe you. And I WILL pay you back. But being that I am a HUGE fan of Lisa's, and that I know the truth, which is that all the rest of you were skeered, I took a deep breath and dove right in, and Lisa made it all really quite painless and delightful, which, as I've come to find out over the last few months, is rather a gift of hers.

ahem. moving on...

If you don't know Lisa, just stand still and pay attention: If there is a computer and a woman in your life, you will know of her eventually. She's a force of nature in the world of blogging, and her accomplishments in the particular niche of women and the internet are unique and unparallelled. For a great recent example of what she's capable of at a seeming moment's notice, check out this recent post, which had me just shaking my head in wonderment and admiration--all three times I read it. She's kind, gracious, eloquent, smart, accomplished and passionate, and she does not even have the good grace to be unattractive, dorky, or mean. She's a mom, and she's married to a remarkable man of compatible talents. And yet, somehow, rather than inspiring insane jealousy among her peers, she manages to maintain full-to-bursting stores of direct, indirect, and unsolicited whuffie. I proudly give you Ms. Lisa Stone.

Hi, Lisa, and welcome to Ninja Poodles! I am beyond honored to have you here, as you are someone whose work and voice I have admired since long before you ever heard of me...by the way--I found Surfette, originally, through JenB . How did you ever stumble across me, just out of curiosity?

One day you left a comment about feeling censored and how no one can take your words away from you. I'll go find it.... here it is. What can I say? I swooned. The "ninja poodles" would have been tempting, but there's nothing like First Amendment rights to really turn my head! I've been reading you ever since. Thanks for being living proof that it's erroneous to dismiss mothers who blog as people who don't think about the world beyond the edge of their own shopping carts.

You are a journalist by education, training, and vocation, and your blog, Surfette, is very polished and professional. Do you try to incorporate that knowledge and those work habits into your personal blogging, or does it just come naturally, out of habit? Do you ever try to NOT write "like a journalist?" Are there any elements of grammar, syntax, spelling or style that just drive you crazy when you see them in other blogs, and make you want to edit?

Belinda, you mind-reader, stop that. You're right: It's hard to break 20 years of training and habit. Which is why Surfette so often sounds like I do in a newsroom. And I love writing like that on some occasions -- I think me ranting about black spots on the journalism profession like Spin Alley would be much less effective if I didn't do careful research like it I did for Pressthink. I also think it's valuable not to commit the sins of "ain't-it-awful" punditocracy and rave about the risks of Second Life rather than actually having the experience of signing on as a 15-year-old girl and then writing about it.

That said, I'm slowly starting to just...talk. I'm still feeling my way around as a conversational blogger. Right now I think the writing that feels the most natural to me is the BlogHer Mommy & Family newsletter, where I just riff. I'm wrapped pretty tight, so that's been hard for me. I'm glad you asked. I'll be thinking about your question for weeks...

Who do you read every day, rain or shine?

BlogHer.org, Memeorandum, Global Voices Online, independent bloggers on every subject I can find time for..

Are there any topics that you would not feel comfortable writing about, and/or inviting comment on?

My son's biological father, to whom I was married for eight years. I may occasionally make oblique references, likely to share something about myself, but that's it.

What could be listed as one of your favorite posts of your own? Which of your posts got a strong reaction from readers? Links please?

It was really a gift when Mommybloggers.com invited me to guest-post this piece. For so long I've held back from writing about motherhood because of my divorce. This post helped me realize how much I'd moved beyond the pain factor into enjoying life with my son. He's a hoot.

Asking women online whether or not they wanted a conference for women bloggers got a strong reaction: Bloghercon 2005: Is this the way to run with Halley's Comment? and Should Bloghercon be open to men?

Have you written anything controversial? Is blogging controversial?

See the previous answer. And this post raised a few eyebrows. I never thought twice about turning to blogging -- because I've left every medium I've ever reported in out of frustration that the reader/viewer/user was being patronized and mistreated. I left print for broadcast, broadcast for Internet publishing, and Internet publishing for blogging. I love them all, but blogging is the best for us readers.

You are a very open blogger, identity-wise. Do you ever feel a need to put on a cloak of internet anonymity in order to post or comment on a topic?

Never. I would never do that. This is one of the reasons I give no credit to anonymous commenters. This practice makes me belligerent. Be a woman - own your comments or kiss off, I say.

What is your vision for BlogHer over the next year/5 years/10 years/beyond? What would you like to see BlogHer accomplish/become? Of BlogHer's accomplishments to date, of what are you personally most proud?

Wow. The compliment is in the question. Thank you, Belinda.

Now I need to speak in the royal "we" -- because Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins and I lead BlogHer together as completely equal partners.

We want BlogHer to stay true to its mission: To create opportunities for women to gain exposure, education, community and, with the introduction of the BlogHer Ad Network, economic empowerment. BlogHer's community is developing into a media platform that supports those goals for individual women who want to make the most of them -- via conferences, the social network and now advertising.

I'm most proud of the fact that we are delivering on our promises. After BlogHer '05, the community asked us for a two-day conference, a Web network and, later, a business model. Today we're delivering all three. Over the next year we're going to raise the standard by which we continue to do all three. As for five or ten years down the road? The pace of technological innovation, development and consumer adoption makes it foolish for me to respond. But as I've written, women are the power users of Web 2.0. I don't expect that to change. Nor do I expect the three of us will ever find better jobs than working with this community on this mission.

I think this is my favorite question: If you had a super power, what would it be?

My presence would permanently end the abuse of children. From world peace to hunger to parental neglect.

Very good, Lisa! Thank you so much for being here, and I look forward to meeting you in person one day.

Thanks B. Wish I were meeting you in a few days!

BOY, does that make two of us!


If you would like to participate in this little exercise in mutual interviewing, please join right in and play along! Whether you're going to the BlogHer 2006 Conference at the end of this week, wish you were going, or couldn't care less about it, you are welcome and wanted in our virtual pre-conference mixer. And we're supposed to tag, so I'm tagging, out of sheer potential for interestingness and with no expectations whatsoever (see how nice I am? no pressure) Erin, Dave2, Lucinda, Sheryl, Jane, BusyMom, Jess, Kevin and Dixie! The easiest instructions to follow are probably these. Or easiest of all, just click the "BlogMe" button in my sidebar, select a few of your favorite questions, and just answer them YOURSELF, on your own site. Then tag someone else.

To read La Mocha's interview of ME, take yourself HERE.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why Indeed

On seeing a commercial advertising the pilot episode of a T.V. show called "Six Degrees" (except with the number 6 and that little circle that means "degrees"), in which a giddily happy woman appears to be perched atop and at the helm of, a moving fire engine, topless:


Me: "Why is that woman riding the firetruck topless?"

Alex: "Why NOT?"


Mars and Venus, people. Mars and Venus.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Teaser

Because Mocha told me to. And really, isn't that a good enough reason to do just about anything? So, yeah. There's this whole veritable orgy of BlogHer mutual interviewing coming up next week, and it's starting here on Monday. And here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

And you can join in! Come on, you know you want to. It's easy. Just hop over to the BlogMe thread on the BlogHer site, and read the very loosey-goosey guidelines. Or click over from this nifty button,

BlogMe

which will be residing in my sidebar at least all through next week. There's even code posted so you can get your very OWN nifty button. How exciting! How fun! How can you possibly concentrate on anything else?

I won't divulge details yet, but I will say that I am honored and flattered by mere association with both the lady I shall feature in this spot on Monday morning, and the lady who shall feature me on hers. Cryptic, much? Yeah. You gotta buy the cow to get the milk, so stay tuned.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

WHOA.

How'd I miss this? Why didn't someone tell me? And when should I wash this URL again, now that it's been "touched by fame?"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Emptying Of The Spleen

First, in response to numerous and repeated comments about how I never put pictures of myself in this space, I give you my favorite portrait of recent years (even without make-up!), taken by Bella in a hotel room in Nashville a couple of weeks ago.I like it because it's just out-of-focus enough to lend a softening effect, and also because, since I didn't expect her to actually snap anything for real at that moment, I wasn't making any of my myriad extremely-self-conscious photo-op faces, but rather just looking at my daughter like I tend to look at her about 95% of the time. Do you see the unadulterated,wondering adoration displayed there? I'm hoping to have that under control before she's old enough to use it against me.

So, onward. The state of my health is that my uterus is full of fibroids and polyps once again, and judging from the level of pain I'm experiencing, the endometriosis is raging anew, and gaining ground all the time. The only good news here is that a pelvic CAT-Scan did not reveal any abdominal masses, such as endometrial tumors like the one that nearly killed me back in 2000. So while I'm not currently under immediate threat of death-by-perforated-bowel, hope of restoring my reproductive organs to any kind of working order is slim to none, and as long as they are left intact, they will, indeed, hasten and encourage the growth of endometriosis.

The surgeon is reviewing the tapes of my previous surgery (Yup, I have video with surgeon's narration), and evaluating the possibility of incorporating a surgical microscope in a similar way to what is done in the "good" surgery. It appears that even now, 6 years later, there are still only 5 states in the nation where women have the option of surgical excision of endometriosis to a microscopic clearance: Georgia, Louisiana, California, New York, and Illinois. What is sad and tragic is that this type of surgery is the ONLY thing which can offer any reasonably good outcome in removal of endometriosis. Without the micro-laser surgery, even something to drastic, so invasive and final, as a total hysterectomy, offers no assurance of ending the endometriosis (no matter what many, many uninformed doctors might still be telling you). Endometrial tissue simply is not always visible to the naked eye, and if ANY is left, it WILL grow.

Right now, I'm not even facing the They Probably Won't Even Be Able To GET It All angle, and am just trying my best to deal with, to cope with, to accept the I'm Going To Lose My Uterus And Ovary Forever angle. (Yeah, I said "ovary", singular. I only have the one, but it's the one that gave me Bella, so I'm a bit attached to it.)

I have to admit that all signs indicate that no more children are in the cards for Alex and me. We've been trying to conceive for a while now, which has resulted in only one all-too-brief, pregnancy, which was prematurely ended in miscarriage in December of 2004 (that year will really go down in my personal history as one of the worst of my life). Nothing since then. There's that.

Then there's the endometriosis. I knew, after the last surgery, the "good" surgery with Dr. Cook that, if I did not stay on continuous birth control pills or some similar form of hormone therapy, The Beast would be back. That's just its nature--you don't banish The Beast from the body of a woman whose reproductive organs are intact. The best you can do is hold it at bay with various artificial hormonal sleight-of-hand manuevers. And by not hiring the chair-weilding lion-tamer of continuous birth-control pills for the last 6 years, I've held the door wide open for The Beast, and fed it good food with plenty of growth hormones for the duration of its visit. (Geez--is overuse of metaphor a hormonal condition?)

I didn't start back on birth control pills after Bella was born, because I was a nursing mom. And claims of harmlessness to nursing babies aside, having been through the female-hormone-related nightmare that I have since puberty, there was just no way I was going to do ANYTHING that increased my daughter's chances of having to suffer the way I have. Because MY body? My body takes anything hormonal and just mlutiplies its power. You know how they tell you that if you exclusively breastfeed a baby, you won't have menstrual cycles for a while? Yeah? Well, hello! Mine started back up precisely 28 days after Bella was born, and heavens, was she ever exclusively breastfed--this child didn't start eating solid food until well into her eighth month. So, no continuous BCPs while she was nursing. Which she did until she was two and a half. I could have taken up the pills then.

But, you see (and I know you understand), I wanted another baby. SO desperately. (Still do, in fact, but we'll come back to that, I'm sure.) So we tried and tried and tried. We'd actually, by the time Bella was weaned, already been trying for at least 6 months, and had had our miscarriage. No joy. Looking back, I realize that my body was, even then, probably already overrun with endo, that happy fertility-killer. It just hadn't trumpeted its presence and marched in by the front door--it had crept and slithered and oozed in from the shadows, through underground entryways, until it had a good firm foothold, and then poured on the pain so there'd be no doubt.

So that's where we are now. I can't even really tell you where I am in this grieving process, because I run the gamut from accepting to outraged to bereft to a state of near-total denial. No more babies...ever. No chance, ever again, for the rest of my life, of ever having another child. Alex and Bella waited on me in the lobby of the specialist's office the other day during my consultation, and when I came out, Bella ran up to me, hugged my leg, and asked, "Mommy, did the doctor tell you you could have more babies?" I nearly lost it, and don't have any idea what she absorbed that gave her those clues, but it was like she just laid open my secret heart, where I wasn't even admitting to myself that I'd been hoping for...well, just that. That by some miracle the doctor would come out and tell me I could have more babies.

But no one is going to tell me that. IF I could afford to go see him, The Amazing Dr. Cook might be able to go in and clean everything up and give me another shot, but then again, maybe not this time. Probably not. My life as the mother of a baby is over, never to come again. Bella will live out her life without a sibling. All the baby things I've hung onto and treasured, hoping for a chance to pull them out and use them again with my "next one"...they can go. No more use for them here. I'm crying a lot, and imagine I will just about every time Bella innocently talks about wanting a baby brother or sister, or at any one of a vast number of emotional triggers.

This is a depth of self-pity and regret that I haven't quite experienced before, and it's bound up in so many odd, here-and-there emotions and memories and shattered dreams, that I don't know quite what to do with it. I would really love to hear from any of you who have experiences that relate to this in any way, especially in regard to coping mechanisms that help/helped you.

At the end of all this grief, though, I have no inclination but to remain eternally grateful for the gift that is my daughter. It's sometimes hard to remember that I wasn't even "supposed" to have her! Isabella Faith is our little miracle, and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for this most amazing blessing, far, far beyond what I ever could have deserved.

Point illustrated: This morning, I was awake early, just sitting in the middle of my bed and weeping. I just couldn't seem to stop, and every time I started to get it under control, something else would creep in--an "I really want another baby," and a "But Bella won't have any immediate family left after her father and I are gone," and even, like a thunderbolt from the blue, an "I WANT MY DADDY!" And the sobbing just went on and on until my head hurt, my stomach hurt, and I could hardly see straight. And then I heard it. The rapid thump thump thump thump thump thumpTHUMP THUMP of little bare feet on hardwood floors, getting closer and closer. My bedroom door was flung open, and there stood this perfect little angel--a vision of all thing bright and happy--who declared, "Mommy! The sun is up, and so is your DAUGHTER!!"

And then the smiles came.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

How To Nearly Get Us Both Beaten Up At The Radiologist's Office

While waiting for a CAT-Scan at the radiologist, I discreetly point out to my husband what is easily the best-crafted mullet haircut I've seen in years, worn by a 50-ish, large man. It was one of those...I don't know what you call them--"super-mullets?" that form an automatic ponytail. I mean, really--this 'do took some maintenance, not to mention that admirable renegade spirit that I imagine must be shared by all mullet-sporters. All we could get was a bad camera-phone pic from a distance, but if you squint...Anyway, Dear Husband then puts on his best redneck voice and whispers, "Yep. Business in the front, paaaarty in the back."

I could have killed him. I suppose I also could have reminded him that he had just spent a weekend building a homemade potato cannon, even going so far as to NAME it ("The Elimi-'Tater")...but I didn't.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Expressing Herself






Just memorializing a couple of our current favorite phrases of yours, Dear Child--we have no idea from where you pick these things up, but coming, as they do, from someone who still can't properly pronounce the words 'ketchup' (chepup) or 'magic' (magitch, with a hard 'g' sound), they're pretty darn entertaining. You've been using these regularly for the last few days, but here are the contexts in which they were first introduced to us:

After giving me a big hug and a kiss, you place your hand on your hip saucily, look around, and query, "Now. WHERE is that lovely ol' Daddy of mine?"

and

During your nightly woe-is-me, weeping, wailing, teeth-gnashing, conniption-fit angst-fest about having to go to bed, you actually took my face in your hands, looked at me pitiously, and pleaded, "Mommy, I really INSIST, I do NOT want to go to bed now!" Wish I'd 'a thought of that one when I was your age, because I never wanted to go to bed, either. Still don't.

I'm trying to decide whether you're channelling Katherine Hepburn or Lucille Ball.

More car-top silliness from the city fireworks festival on flickr.

Friday, July 07, 2006

It Angries Up The Blood

The news does. Must. Stop. Reading. News.

If you must, be sure to also click the link to the archived story from December.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Places To Go And People To See

I finally have my wireless connection back so that I can lie in bed, medicated, and use my laptop. So I'm cleaning out recent links I've saved, many of which you'll have already seen by now, but if you've been under a rock, OR are related to me, this'll all be new to you.

Best-Kept Blog Secrets:


First, let me introduce one of my Best-Kept Blog Secrets: Poodlevania. This is one of the greatest little blogs you've never read. And despite the title, it is NOT about poodles, nor does it have poodle-heavy content. It reads more as the very interesting journal of a culinary student. You think you have a stressful job? Go to Poodlevania and read of the travails of a Southern gal on her road to epicurean excellence, including the recent sauceapalooza. It ain't easy, folks. I'll tell you what, though, I'll be first in line when the Poodlebugz Bistro opens! Well, assuming that's not actually the name of the restaurant. Because, really, that's a pretty bad restaurant name, isn't it? But the blog, she is magnifique! Go. Read her, love her, blogroll her. Thank me later.

It's the Economy, Stupid.
Two short editorials by local columnists (we have some real talent here in the Natural Sate) that particularly touched me last week--go ahead, they're bite-sized, delicious, and easily digested:

Buffet's Example, by Ernest Dumas

Stop The Hate, by Warwick Sabin


And now that the quality content is out of the way, here's the best of the inane, puzzling, and just plain stupid stuff that amused me recently. Warning: Any or all of these items might be more entertaining if you are, indeed, taking narcotics.

Customer Service Gone Bad:

Comcast Technician Asleep On My Couch, self explanatory.

Cancelling AOL, by blogger Vincent Ferrari. There may be a person or two in the world who hasn't heard this one yet.

Finally, A Real Man's Movie That HAS IT ALL:

The Ultimate Showdown

Obligatory Goofy White Kid Dancing:

But this time with trombone! I am absolutely not endorsing this clip's sponsor, which may or may not be a Spanish-language porn site (I only recognize one word in the URL). And, in case you speak Spanish and are offended, um...my sister sent it to me.

It's Funny Because They're Not YOUR Children:

A Whitewashed Life
, origins unknown.

And Finally, Especially For My Razorback Readers:


My absolute most-favorite version of the U of A fight song EV-ERRRR. Mostly because my dad would play it over and over in his office, laughing that delightfully infectious high-pitched, breathless laugh of his. Enjoy the talent of The Inimitable Ms. Shirley Q. Liquor.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Because We're The Intellectual Sort

Actual bedroom conversations from my home:

(Not a clue how this one began last night):

A: "How come you didn't wanna be a librarian?"

B: "I just hated that darn Dewey Decimal System."

A. "Yeah. Dewwwwey. What a stupid name. Why'd they name it that, anyway?"

B: "Um, I'd guess it's the name of the actual Decimal System guy."

A: "Hmm. Yeah, but still, it woulda been better if he'd named it The Super-Fantastic Decimal System." (pause, then sadly) "There'd be a lot more librarians, I bet."

(And from tonight, upon witnessing the second telelvision show in as many weeks featuring a contortionist firing a bow & arrow with her feet--we have not been watching PBS lately):

B: "Is this a...a thing? I mean, is this a specific sub-genre of live entertainment that we didn't know about? Do we not go to enough circuses?"

A: "I don't know, but there oughta be more of it."

B: "Oh, so you like the female-contortionist-archery-show?"

A: (nodding enthusiastically, grinning)

B: "OK, these acts have obviously been honed in front of an audience SOMEWHERE. Where do you perfect your contortionist-archery act?"

A: "I don't know, but we need to GO THERE."

B: "Because we need to see more of it?"

A: "Because they might have contortionist cotton-candy, and a contortionist hot-dog stand..."(quiet, awestruck voice) "contortionist RING TOSS."

(And, later...)

A: "Personally, I think it's cool when those Japanese guys tie 18-wheelers to their weenies..."


You understand, this was only a little break we took from our simultaneous speed-chess/Sudoko challenge, and before we began our nightly RE-translating of Beowulf.

Monday, July 03, 2006

My Husband, The Hay-Haulin' Hero

Or, Hungry Horses Hanker for Hay. Yesterday was the day for a hay-run, to our favorite farmer out in Ward who grows The Good Stuff that our horses prefer. So we set off at the appointed time, and our farmer friend loaded us up with four giant round-bales of barely-cured, fresh-cut hay and sent us home, lighter in the wallet but much heavier in the flatbed.That's a lot of hay, folks--we figure at least a ton right there.Our pushy horses and ponies didn't even wait for us to start unloading before they began sampling, though. Honestly--with manners like that, you'd think they were raised in a barn. HAHAHAHAAAA!!!! A barn! Get it? Whew, I kill myself with the humor.Once we got home, we unbuckled our ranch operations foreperson from her carseat in the back seat, and began the not-simple process of offloading our precious cargo, under her direction (which consisted mostly of hanging out the window yelling, "What're you DOOOOOOING?").That first bale is always the trickiest to unload, being on there sideways and all, but Alex has these big ol' supersize Arkansas jackrabbit legs, so he just climbed up onto the middle bale and more or less kicked the first one off the trailer. That's my man.With those three bales strategically placed, and horses and ponies happily munching away, we dropped the trailer and headed for the smaller paddock, where Kate and baby Music live, with the last-remaining bale in the bed of the pickup. What we didn't realize is that, with a quarter-ton of hay pressing against the truck's tailgate, said tailgate was not gonna open, no way, no how. My first brilliant, yet unsuccessful, idea was to point the truck downhill so that gravity would be pulling the weight of the bale away from the tailgate, the better to open it, and when that didn't work, I was stumped. It was about this time that Bella had to pee RIGHT NOW, so we headed downhill to the house, and by the time we got back, hero husband had strapped the monster bale to a tree and driven the truck out from under it--no mean trick, since it had to get up over the tailgate to get free!Kate and Music were spooked enough by the ruckus that they were hiding waaaaay down at the bottom of the hill, looking all blurry and out-of-focus, but they were tucked into that hay by the time we got the newly-empty truck parked.

OH--and initial test-firings of the Ridiculously Large Potato Cannon were successful. It was dusk by the time Alex fired it for the first time, so we couldn't really see how far the spuds went, but since one of them HIT THE SIDE OF THE WORKSHOP with an extremely audible "thud," we know it's capable of a trajectory of several hundred feet. He is SO lucky it didn't go through a window. So. Lucky. Personally, the best thing I saw it do in the gathering twilight was, when fired up into the night sky, to horribly confuse the multitude of resident bats who were out hunting. Something with the mass of a potato, travelling through the air at that kind of speed, has GOT to mess with your bat-sonar. JenB said something to me in conversation about her husband being "clearly insane," and I just asked her, "Is he outside in a state of partial undress, shooting potatoes at bats with a 6-foot homemade cannon? No? All right, then, I win." He won't let me post a real picture of the thing until tomorrow, so in the meantime, here's a sneak-peek at it being constucted on my dog-grooming table:I will readily admit that it does make a really cool "FWUMP!" sound when it launches a spud.

Oh, and Alex rented movies for us on the way home tonight. I'm not extremely excited, as they are "Ultraviolet," and something I understood, in Alexspeak, to be "The Three Barrels Of Some Guy." That last one actually looks to have some promise, and I love Tommy Lee Jones. I'll let you know.