Being Cranky


Question from the comments: “Going on a fortnight now. How many assburns did you take?”

Answer: “Not nearly enough!”

 

From Our Department of Too Much Free Time: Please know that I have no bleeding or clotting issues. It’s just something that I think about a lot. I used to stop at least once a day to listen to my own heartbeat so I could tell if I was going to have a heart attack or not. So far so good. Recently, I’ve transferred that health focus to my blood vessels and now I stop to  evaluate if they are about to burst or clog up.

Other than that, I have been very busy being cranky. I spent a year in Denver last week where it was high 90s every day, interrupted by spectacular lightning displays and serious but brief downpours. I do not care to relive that week here – and believe me, you don’t want me to. Many hours were spent debating if the final word selection should be “experince”  or “expertise” –  but I will tell you about the plane trip back to NJ:

#1. My flight was one of those where they use some seats for crew going to their next departure or connecting location. There were at least a dozen United people on this flight. I know how many there were because when I got to the gate, they were all sitting in the handicapped seats near the jetway door. And they did not move when they saw me and subsequently 3 other gimps headed towards them. And they all had feedbags from various airport food places and they stared at all passersby and gimps who were looking for a seat while they chewed their cuds.

#2. I had a good aisle seat and the seat next to me was occupied by a <20 y/o guy who carted on multiple back packs, game systems, food and beverage items and placed them on the floor between his feet. Then he promptly fell asleep and stayed asleep for the whole flight. Somewhere along the line, he slumped against me. I didn’t mind that so much but every now and then he would start twitching  – more like seizing – and then wildly scratch his scalp before going inert again. I was worried that head lice were going to jump onto my brand new Land’s End Supima Cardigan. Or I would have been worried if I didn’t have $17.98 worth of gin in front of me. Fun Fact:  $17.98 worth of gin = (2) 2 oz. bottles on an airplane.

#3. The stew from First Class made regular trips back into the steerage cabin to give things like full unopened bottles of water and warm cookies to her pals among  the crew members seated there. The crew was  scattered all though the plane so it was obvious to all paying fliers what was going on. No pretense was made nor effort to be circumspect about it. Just brazen insider advantage. Check your privilege, United crew with connections to the good stuff! Or at least make some small effort to hide it.

I have other complaints hardly worth mentioning okay I will mention them the TV controller in my seat was broken and I was in the mood to watch trash tv while sipping on $17.98 worth of gin and also there was an entire troop or whatever you call it of Eagle Scouts on the plane who were the very opposite of helpful to mature business women with bad knees.

The end of the evening was remarkable in that I am still alive. My cab driver was a young guy who was in a rush to meet his friend “before the store closed” so the trip down the parkway was done at 85 mph for the most part with bursts up to 95. One minute I was standing at the baggage carousel in Terminal C and 20 minutes later, I was at my own front door. The trip usually takes 35-40 minutes. I had to ask him to slow down, which he kindly did – to about 78. The most exciting part was when he scared himself as we flew over bumpy pavement patches and he confided in me that he thought the tires were going to blow and that’s why he switched lanes back there and if they did blow it wouldn’t have been his fault it would have been the fault of the cab company who gave him a van with tires that could blow.

Anyway, I’m back home working like a dog on a soft chair in an air conditioned room. I also went to a dinner dance on Saturday night where I limped across the dance floor once or twice, made my husband leave early against his will and then grabbed an extra  party favor on my way out the door.

 

First Snow


To me, there’s nothing more lovely than the first snow of the season. To be warm and cozy inside and watching those first gentle flakes fall is something I look forward to every year. It’s hard to get a good photo of my bedroom window view because when the uncovered window panes let in so much brightness, the iphone camera adjusts for that lighting level and then the interior looks dark.

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Oh, did I mention that I bought a rose-covered arm chair that I found on Craigslist for $20? The original listing was for $50 and I contacted the seller then but I guess he didn’t know how to check his mail because the price dropped down to $35 then $20 and finally he wrote back to me to say he’d give it to me for free if I came to pick it up by the weekend.

When I went to see it, it was so perfect for how I envisioned the bedroom that I overlooked my longstanding ban on purchasing used upholstered furniture and went with it. I’m a firm believer – you might even say devotee – of reusing previously owned items but not so much a fan of bed bugs and carpet beetles. But I wanted this so I went with my lustful gut and ignored my own common sense. Whatever! So far, so good.  It felt wrong to take it for free so I gave the guy his last listed Craigslist price and everyone was happy.

The seller was about to get married and was blending furnished households with his fiance so he was in a rush to just get rid of stuff. (He should have just put everything he owned out at curbside because you know she will eventually rid of all of his stuff anyway. Word.) If I had the need, he would have given me some high class wrought iron bar stools and a beautiful barnwood plank and iron console table from Pottery Barn. This chair was from Domain  and its clean, shows no wear and still has the arm covers. I bought it to use as a reading chair in the bedroom because whenever I try to read in bed, I just conk out and keel over to the side.

The chair is big and smooshy and so comfortable that I’ll probably fall asleep in it faster than in bed so I don’t know that I advanced myself here. I brought up a green velvet cushion from the parlor sofa to try and keep myself more upright. Your book suggestions were so good that I’d like to stay awake long enough to actually read them.

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Wasn’t this a great find?

Nature


The Weather Channel app for iPhone is now so cluttered with ads and videos and pollen counts etc that I find it very annoying. I was looking for something much more simple when I came across Yesterday’s Weather.

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It is perfection. At first, I thought it would be perfect for Sami because all he ever wants to know is what kind of jacket should he take with him, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that this is what I’m looking for as well. It’s like finding out about the weather from your mom.

In other nature news, the skies are suddenly full of carnivorous birds. You can hardly look up without spotting a red-tailed hawk. Driving along Rt 80 is like going to The Hawk Show. There was a very big fallen bird on the shoulder of the road when I was winding my way through the Delaware Water Gap last weekend and a band of about 8 red tails kept diving down to snatch off pieces of it despite the stream of cars right next to it. I even saw two turkey buzzards flapping up from the road side farther into NJ.

My most frequently spotted birds, though are the stupid Canada Geese that hang around my office parking lot. I wouldn’t be opposed to witnessing a little blood and guts if they were hawks instead. At least you’d see some good air shows. 

On second thought, maybe not.

Weather Reports for the Left and Right Sides of the Brain


The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. The right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks and expressing emotion.

It wasn’t enough that The Weather Channel on TV could get you all riled up about Canadian air masses and areas of turbulence over Oklahoma, now you can get upset on your smart phone, too. I used to lean towards not believing weathermen in general but ya know that little thing called Hurricane Sandy when I had no power for 13 days kind of ruined my peace of mind.

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Also, my Gmail background just turned from dark rain clouds to deceptively inviting snow.

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Read along as a sweetly naive California native plans an evening and then smacks up against the reality of winter.

I made a big pot of chili today to keep us warm. Remember when I used to complain that I made myself sick by eating 2 big bowls of cabbage soup? Well now I do it with chili. No longer an isolated food craving – now a trend. One is not enough and two is too many. True for martinis; true for your hearty winter soups.

Wintry Mix


Last night the DIL said to me that this is one more thing about NJ that is crap – “wintry mix” sounds like its going to be something good. When you first hear it, it’s like “Oh -something sweet and tasty?” but no -it’s crap. NJ better wise up – we keep telling her that it’s worth sticking it out through the non-SoCal-ish times but I’m afraid a few more hurricanes, floods, blizzards, droughts or heat waves might just prove us wrong.

Hey, did I read this right? Petula Clark is 80? If yes, then that means that she was 75ish in this video. I stopped saying that I hope I’m in as good a shape as [insert name here] because i’m already halfway to the glue factory. Whatever happened to that Riverdance guy?

I’m working from home today. Whenever I have a big WebEx day, I set up both my work laptop and my home PC s I can skim blogs and mail and still be able to know what we’re talking about if they call my name (although I am far less smooth about that than I used to be). Now I’ve added my iPhone so I can watch you tube videos at the same time.

just imagine an iPhone at the end of that white cord

Of course, if I signed into the WebEx on my iPhone, then I could turn around and wrap Christmas presents on the daybed while the phone was propped up on pillows. I am enjoying the hell out of this phone so far.

This was a very thrilling twitter interaction for me this week:

I don’t really like to drop names but I happen to be a pal of the Vlasic Stork.

Over and out.

Hunkered Down And Holed Up


Hurricanes! Amirite?

Day 8 still no power at our house but half an hour away, our son is back on the grid so we bugged out and headed for heat and lights. They say that we might have power back in our house on Wednesday or Thursday.

What have I been up to all this time? Lots of closet cleaning, lots of napping and lots of reading about LBJ. Hal K. Rothman’s “LBJ’s Texas White House – Our Heart’s Home” makes me want to live in the Hill Country of east Texas, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream” made me wish she wasn’t so clipped and cold about a man she had a close and complicated relationship with and Robert Dallek’s “Lone Star Rising – Lyndon Johnson and His Times” clearly laid out the opposing forces that made the man’s personality what it was.

One thing that comes through loud and clear in any book you read about LBJ is that no matter what kind of finagling it took to make things happen,  he sincerely believed in the causes he championed. He was a long -term thinker and deeply aware of how his words and actions would affect his legacy. I read and reread the speech in which he announced that he would not seek reelection in 1968 and could not help but compare his principles and motivation to those of America’s current president. this came at the end of 30 minutes updating details and changes in strategy about the Vietnam war:

“For 37 years in the service of our Nation, first as a Congressman, as a Senator, and as Vice President, and now as your President, I have put the unity of the people first. I have put it ahead of any divisive partisanship. And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.

There is division in the American house now. There is divisiveness among us all tonight. And holding the trust that is mine, as President of all the people, I cannot disregard the peril to the progress of the American people and the hope and the prospect of peace for all peoples. So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal interests or concern, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.

Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead. What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America’s sons in the fields far away, with America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office–the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

Can any one anywhere in this country imagine Barack Obama putting the country ahead of himself?

Lyndon Johnson remains as unpopular now as he was at the time of this speech. Although he carefully crafted and controlled his public image at every moment, in the end he donated 100% of his papers to his library in Austin without censor for “history to be his judge.” His library is the only one with no fee charged for admission and the papers are open to all who seek them. Can anyone anywhere in this country imagine Barack Obama doing that?