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What's on the Nightstand for Reading

This for book club:

I've started it. It's funny and weird, like us Southerners.

And this:

Someone, (sorry - forgotten who), told me about this book. I wish it had been out three years ago (and I would have had the good sense to read it).

So far it's been her journey with her mother, but crammed in there are all kinds of things I didn't know I didn't know back then.

Like "assisted living" is for a population that doesn't exist. Looking ahead to see the big picture. Stay away from the ER if at all possible.
Keep an extra pair of glasses and a phone charger in the car.

When you're in those first few weeks of realization - you feel desperate. Get her somewhere where she'll be taken care of. We fall prey to the marketing ploys of assisted living - which are directed towards us, the children, not the parents. Frankly, Mom probably should have gone from Hillcrest straight into the memory care unit.

If anyone out there is in the beginning of this journey, first, I'm so sorry and second, you might find this book helpful.
There are probably others out there with a different way of explaining things, but so far I'm appreciating that someone else's path looked a little like mine - right down to the denial and the guilt.


Anon CP, Bo, and I watch shows together separately and text back and forth: OMG - Wu! Swegen! pigs! Bullock! Trixie!, etc. We are done with Deadwood (sadly) and moving on to The Wire.

Being as how I miscalculated on the returning of my Netflix stash, (Justified, can't get enough of Timothy Olyphant), last night I was sans movie. I stopped by the library and picked up two.
The thing about [our] library - they put the code type sticker stuff all over the back so you really can't read the description, making choosing a movie a crap shoot.

One I will not even tell you about.

The other was a movie called Rumba and it was utterly charming. The minimal talking and physical comedy is very Jacques Tati-ish, in a slightly darker humoured, (but not mean spirited), way.

Here's a wee clip:

Tonight I have some catching up to do on The Wire.


Fall's A'comin'!

Anon CP the sun worshiper is not happy about this. I however, am ecstatic! Something for everyone, as she says.

It would seem to go against my many generational Florida nativeness that I prefer cooler weather, except that I was born in the fall (in NORTHERN Florida) and when I was about three months old, we, (my mother and I, my father had been there since July the previous year), moved to Sitka, AlaskaAlaska was still a territory. (Statehood happened on January 3, 1959.)

This is the house we lived in:

We arrived on one of these:
Float plane

Someone told my mother small babies do not get air sick, so she didn't take a change of clothes for me. Turns out that person was wrong.
She missed her connecting plane in Chicago, (she may have been trying to make me presentable), but a kind porter helped her get on the next flight. I cannot imagine her flying from Florida to Alaska by herself with a three month old baby. The only other time she'd been out of the state was to go to Tennessee.

My father was on the CGC (Coast Guard Cutter) Sorrel, which meant he was out to sea oftenMy mother was so bored, (okay, that's my take), she ironed dishtowels, bed linens, diapers. 

Anyway, that's why I like colder weather better. It's what I knew first.

Here's more Sitka pictures, taken by my mother. 


Things My Mother Told Me - Part II

My anam cara's mother said burnt toast made for a better singing voice. That one might be Norwegian. :)

She also reminded me of the clean underwear one (in case you're in an accident - as if that's the only good reason).

Anon CP had why buy cow/ free milk.

How could I have forgotten either of those!?

If dinner was late, my mom always reassured us by telling us rich people ate late. 

When the sun shone while it was raining - the devil was beating his wife. 
I cannot tell you how many hours I pondered over this saying. (If the devil was in hell, what was his wife doing in heaven? What was HE doing in heaven beating her? What the heck was God doing - watching TV in the other room?!)

If her nose itched - someone was coming with a hole in their britches.
If her palm itched - money was coming.

If you walked around one side of an object and she walked around the other, (and she went out of her way to make sure that didn't happen), you both had to say something that went together - like ham and eggs, bread and butter. I don't know what that one was about, one of my grandfather's probably.

Did boys get all these homilies or is this a girls only club? 

How about you? What did your mother tell you?


In reference to the 5.9 earthquake on Tuesday, this is going around:

My Kentucky friend said a 5.9 just stirs their coffee in California. (Being from Cantuckee, he's an honest Southern gentleman and told me he stole that.)

Post Irene

The Outer Banks got smacked pretty hard and people died. The other folks in her path that aren't quite as used to hurricanes are having a tough time. 

We were lucky, minimal damage here in the Piedmont. In fact, yesterday we had a birthday party sitting outside Foster's Market, just like any other Saturday. Save for gusty winds and dark clouds scuttling past at a high rate of speed, you'd not have known there was anything going on.

The down side is we had very little rain from Irene. The catch-22 with this area is no hurricane = drought; we get most of our rainfall from hurricanes. 

Today the sky is a beautiful Carolina blue. 

May Irene live up to her name (derived from the Greek word εἰρήνη (eiréné) meaning "peace") and not her hype the rest of the way up the coast.


Things My Mother Told Me

You know what? I got very little.

Anon CP has great Things-My-Mother-Told-Me stories. Real southern lady things - like how to handle yourself on those tricky subjects of age and men.

Now that's not to say my mother didn't tell me how to act - I just didn't pay attention.

Here's what I do remember:
Never wear white before Easter or after Labor Day. Never mind why. No-one knows. It is THE RULE.

Ladies didn't swear. (anyone who's around me for about three seconds knows that went right over my head).

Never return a dish empty. Even though this doesn't always happen, I always think about it when I don't.

Always tell people to come back anytime - even when you're praying to sweet baby Jesus they never darken your door again.

If you can't say anything nice - don't say anything at all.

On my self esteem:
When some stupid boy told me my eyes bugged out, she told me I had bedroom eyes - like Elvis Presley.
Ha ha stupid boy!

My legs were a harder sell.
I have large calves. Knee socks and boots were out of the question. (Knee socks only came to half calf, boots needed an elastic gore the size of Texas). I didn't go to my eighth grade graduation because it meant wearing a dress, on stage, with my ham sized calves on full display to accept an award.
My mother valiantly tried to save the day by telling me they were "athletic looking". And believe me...she did some searching for the word "athletic".
(My brother inherited my mother's thin legs, while my sister and I got the Scottish peasant legs. Proof positive life is not fair.)

On comforting:
During thunderstorms in Miami, she would sit in the bathroom with all three of us with the lights off and write our names in the air with her lit cigarette. (In retrospect, this seems more along the lines of a bad idea/child abuse.)

On boys:
She didn't like me hanging around certain friends because they were "boy crazy". Confession: I am still unclear what that means and how them being that way impacted me. Good thing I didn't have girl children.

Wish I had known she wasn't going to be around to remind me of my faux pas later on. I'd have paid more attention.


Know What I've Done All Day?

Mostly nothing, 'cause I'm on PTO time. Read just about every one of my old blog posts and took a shower.

Thinking about going to Kohl's - have coupon, will shop.

No Irene symptoms yet.

Doing what I call the "meat" diet. Basically Atkins. No bread, pasta, starch, sugar (mostly no sugar); I'm the one with the shopping cart full of cheese, bacon, full fat whipped cream  - and sugar free Jell-o.
The plus side - no headaches in the AM and fitting into pants I haven't fit into in a while.
The minus side - I'm cranky (more so than usual) and tired. It's-3PM-get-out-of-my-way-I-need-a-nap tired.


Went to Kohl's with my 20% off coupon in hand, found some things for Mom and a couple for me.
When I came out of the store at 8:00 PM, this was the sky to the left:

Then I cheated on my hairdresser. Because standing in the dressing room at Kohl's, the thing happened.

The thing being I looked in the mirror and there, before me, was...

(cue Psycho music)...

my grandmother.

I had been letting my hair grow out a bit, but when it gets to a certain point, the thing happens and I HAVE to cut it - STAT. So I ran over to Great Clips. I KNOW. Cheating on JP with Great Clips.

When my cheatin' heart finished with the tawdry chore, the first bit of rain from Irene was falling; lasted about five minutes.
More to come probably.

A Couple of New Blogs

If you look to the left at My Blog List, in addition to the tried and true, there are a couple of newbies.

Wonder in Aliceland -  I found this just last night at Anon CP's blog, Land of Cotton, by clicking "Random Blog" on the top header. She is a twenty-something English girl who is recovering from a brain tumor. She is a lovely writer and a talented painter as well.

Thoughts From Thicket House - From Debra's blog list.

There's several new food oriented blogs:

Gourmet Kitchen - This is my dear friend Roy, who I've known for close to thirty years. Roy, in addition to being a wonderful chef, is also an amazing painter and photographer. Our sons have the same name and same birthday (month/day) - how cool is that?!

Gluten Free Girl and The Chef - Discovered by Googling for the kale chip recipe.

Biscuits and Such - This is the step-daughter of a former colleague; as well as being a passionate chef, she is also an excellent photographer.

Two that aren't linked, but I like:

A Moon Worn As If It Were A Shell - Don't remember how I got here.

Burning Down The House - Same as above.

There's a lot of great writers out there. And isn't it astonishing how people just crack open their lives for us anonymous readers? And how sometimes we become friends?


Fair Verona - Dan Mangan
Turn the bars into cars
And wait for the lights to change
And take shape of people we used to know
'Til they grow less fond of knowing

And we can ride in the night
And discard all the facts on our backs
Remembering the thoughts we thought
Since we got over our parents

And if we go where we go
And don't tell anyone where we're from
We can cut and paste the stars to our hearts
And understand their language

And we won't spit with our mouths
Or draw lines in the dirt with our heels
And every single day we'll just wait
And hope to see the next one

If we go down too easy my dear
We'll still be the heart of envy of all our friends and peers

So I get home to my home
The thoughts are in my head
And my bed is full of things I left
When I left her here

And the light through the blinds
And through the windowpane in the lane
Where the fire is getting cold
For they have burned all of their belongings

And up the stairs there's a pair
Who like to be made sure
That they were everything they are
For they are sadly mistaken

Now I forget how we met
Those days have all passed
Now the cast is filing to the stage
In a rage and taking their places

If we go down too easy my dear
We'll still be the heart of envy of all our peers and friends my dear
To them we'll be has-beens
To them be throwaways
To them be lost trains
Just posers posing

We'll leave with our eyes
And wave our goodbyes
And if that's what it takes
We'll both drink the Kool-Aid again

'Til we've forgotten where our hearts have been
'Til we've forgotten where our hearts have been
'Til we forget just where our hearts have been



PTO = paid time off. Taking most of my ten days from OJ (old job - no, wait, New Job, almost Old Job).

Today, several of us went to the NC Museum of Art to catch the 30 Americans exhibit before it exits (stage right) on September 4.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Kehinde Wiley

Iona Rozeal Brown

Hank Willis Thomas

Afterward we wandered over to the new building for lunch at Iris. These flowers were on the table:

Our waiter K*^e, who spent most of our time together acting like he was in a zombie movie, got a little (key word) animated when he asked us if we knew what they were called. We did not.

"Billy Balls", he informed us.

Score one for zombie K*^e! (The real name is Craspedia.) 

While we are on the subject of host/wait staff, one of the aforementioned had the Amish beard-only thing going on.  
I don't get it and as a Libra, the distinctly unbalanced look disturbs me.  
Gah - do both or nothing! When this person came over to ask if everything was okay - we all starred in horror at his empty upper lip. 
Or maybe that was just me. 
I mean, a 'stache sans beard is fine, but a beard alone is a thing to be shorn. 

AND - another male facial hair thing I don't get - the semi-beard, or what I call the George Michael look. 

Again, no halfway with me - grow the beard (and the mustache) already or shave. It takes just as long to manicure that stubble, maybe longer. Do women like this?! 

And don't EVEN get me started on the soul patch. Good lord. 

ANYWAY...from there we drifted to on-line dating and the hilarity of profile surfing, as one will. 

Here's one: if you [a woman] are "sassy mouthed and hard-headed - move on." 

You know what - I AM sassy mouthed, hard headed, and proud of it. And you sir, probably have an Amish beard.  



This is kudzu:
Photo: James H. Miller, USDA, Forest Service
I imagine this is what it looks like inside my mother's demented brain - rapidly being overgrown.

We hung out some today, after I got a couple of estimates on getting my car fixed ($1800 & $1400).
She wanted to go outside in the courtyard; it was hot and we didn't stay long, instead we went to her room and watched some TV.
Dog the Bounty Hunter, Mom made funny comments about Beth's rather substantial cleavage and Dog's hair.
"She has a lot of them."
More in that vein.

I had to fill in most of the blanks. Lots of nonsense words and gibberish today, repeats and uncompleted thoughts.

Then we watched a little Bonanza. She got excited about seeing horses, but couldn't remember what they were called.

We (okay, I) flipped to TCM, a movie with Joan Crawford was on. Mom seemed bored, so we looked at an old photo album from Juneau.
"That's not me!" She pointed to a picture of my sister.
But then she was more concerned with the pages coming out of the album than looking at the pictures.
And she wanted to go out and roam the halls with the rest of her pack.


Know What Else I Hate?

Coming back to my car today after a lovely brunch at Weaver Street Market to find this:

Best of all - surprise! no note. Man, am I pissed - for all the good it does. Arrgggghhhh.

It would be impossible to not know you did this - there's pieces of your light there, you eejit.
There's a bit of karma (ha) - you have to get something fixed too.

Here's hoping most of it will come off with a Mister Clean Magic Eraser. I'll have to break out the touch up paint; it won't fix the dings and slight dent, but I can't afford my $500 deducible right now.

This is the second time in two years this has happened to me in a parking lot. The other time was at the Q-Shack, but it was much worse. Involved a rental car and about a week at the body shop. No note then either.
I haven't been back to Q-Shack since.

To take my mind off the infuriatingly stupid people out there who screw up other people's cars with apparently no thought, I offer you this: an "Epic Rap Battle of History" between William Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss.
I found it hilarious.


Long Ways

The video on my last post reminded me of Long Way Round  and Long Way Down. 
I've mentioned them before; just finished watching them again for the second time and they were just as enjoyable. I'm kinda sad when they're over.

Long Way Round is first:

Then  Long Way Down:

Even if you don't know who Ewan McGregor is, (actually these made me a fan), and don't ride motorcycles, give these a try, I think you'll enjoy them.

Note: Being English and Scottish boys, they do a bit of garden variety swearing, (in fact, you won't even notice if you watched Deadwood).

If you just fell off your massively heavy BMW bike for the twentieth time in the space of five minutes in the sand of some Mongolian "road", I'm betting you'd swear too.

Know What I Hate?

I mean, besides shopping carts left in a parking space when the cart return is two inches away.

And cars without the turn signal upgrade - wait...what? What's that you say?!
ALL cars come equipped with turn signals standard?! It's not extra?!
You mean people JUST DON"T USE THEM?! Well, now I'm really pissed off.

Okay, enough sarcasm - for now.

Sooooo, I get this mailer from My Cable Company regarding my blazing (cough, cough) fast interwebz.

On the outside it says, "We Appreciate Your Business".
I open it, thinking it's going to tell me they're reducing my rate or giving me a month for free or something - because they appreciate me!
Yes, I am that naive sometimes, in spite of how it appears sounds.

No, instead it tells me they're jacking up my rate by $11 a month, but that I'm still getting such a great deal that I will enjoy paying that extra $132 this coming year. Oh, AND because they are so wonderful - I don't have to do anything - the change will happen automatically.

YOU'RE WELCOME Treasured and Appreciated Customer
Your Cable Company [who has you by the short hairs and knows it]

As Wu [Deadwood]would say, "c0$6s^85er".


What else? Mom got a collection notice from the phone company for $162.10 - it's been almost two years since she's had a phone company. Now I need to do research, it seems random.
What are they going to do if it isn't paid - shut off her phone? HA!

Things I don't hate: this song. (This is not "official" video, but I like it.)

Especially Me by Low

Cry me a river
So I can float over to you
The bearer to deliver the news
I'm over the moon
And underfoot
All these elixirs would be moot

'Cause if we knew where we belong
There'd be no doubt where we're from
But as it stands, we don't have a clue
Especially me and probably you

You've fallen in a slumber
Just wake one more time
To miss or put asunder
Would be a crime
Some songs feel like butter
Some songs sound like cake
This little number is for your sake
'Cause if we knew where we belong
There'd be no doubt where we're from
But as it stands, we don't have a clue
Especially me and probably you

'Cause if we knew where we belong
There'd be no doubt where we're from
But as it stands, we all need the truth
Especially me and probably you
Definitely you


Some Semi-Big News

I'm going back to my old company.

I know, right?

We had parted amicably after eleven and a half years. People would ask if there was any possibility of going back and I would say no, it's done, next chapter please. (Readers, I am a closer - let's move along.)

So there I sat on July 28 at New Job (NJ) minding my own business, doing some spreadsheet or other, when I received a text from Old Job (OJ) asking if I would consider coming back.

Hmmmm, I thought.
I thought and I thought and I thought:

Am I a loser for only sticking it out here for seven months? (no)
Is this like going back to a boyfriend after the relationship ends? (no)
Am I going back to what's comfortable? (yes, and what's wrong with that?)
What about job security? (no guarantees anywhere)

Then I consulted with several trusted advisers (Anon CP, Pam, and Fawn for three) and I thought some more.

And decided to go back. Even though it's the same amount I make now (less than I made there before) and a different job than I did before.

Debra's postings over at As I See It Now have lately been about learning about yourself.
I have discovered a few things about myself in these past seven months.

What are those things you may ask. (then again, you may not)

There is a difference between an administrative assistant and an office manager. In this company, being an administrative assistant involves HR stuff that I am not fond of doing. Like having to ask someone for proof that their day old baby died so they can get bereavement leave. Sorry, just hate that. (granted, it doesn't happen everyday, but once is enough, ya know?)

Corporate life = Hello, welcome. Here's your box, please stay in it. If you would like to leave your box, you must first request permission from these twenty-seven people and have the form XYZ12345678-b Revision 207 filled out by your supervisor(s).
I'm exaggerating a bit, actually everyone is very nice, but there are forms and people to ask about EVERYTHING.

Oh the drama that happens with a bigger staff. I HATE IT. It upsets my Libra peace-love-and-tie-dye sensibilities. Really, can't we all just do our jobs and get along?

I felt myself give a little sigh of relief when I decided.

So there you have it.


Black Cat Appreciation Day

Facebook (or someone on Facebook) is having a Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17.
Lillie will be in virtual attendance.

Did you know that black cats (and dogs) are the last to be adopted at the animal shelter?

I have seen people actually step back from a cage containing a black cat; my own very superstitious Irish grandfather would turn around and go home if he saw one.
When volunteering at the Durham shelter, I would make sure the black cats had light colored bedding so they would stand out (often they would be on the bottom row of cages, making them extra hard to be seen, which was perhaps a coincidence.)

My little black cat LOVES to be brushed - which is good because she is a hair manufacturing machine.
She knows the word "brushing" and will run to the ottoman:
Assuming the position

Tummy brushing position

I 'll give you thirty minutes to stop

Sleek and silky

I love this song because the accordion reminds me of Amelie, which is the happiest movie I know. 


Windows of the Soul

Yearly eye exam today.
Thank goodness my prescription hadn't changed or those new glasses I got last month would have been for naught. (Don't you love the word naught? I do but I know naught why.)

Then I went to drop off that pesky modem of Mom's at the Time Warner location given to me by Chrystal with a silent "H".

Even with my eyes dilated I couldn't find this place. Google Maps said it would be after this street, right before this street. The only thing there was trees and a sidewalk. Oh Google, Google, why hast thou forsaken me?!

Finally after a lovely trip down Burning somethingorother Drive, I thought, "Ah-HA! I'll bet Google Maps is WRONG." (Although it pained me to think such a thing.)
Sure enough, in a tiny strip mall - waaaaaay after the street it wasn't supposed to be after, was the TW location.
You know what - they knew the map was wrong in there. And if I had been able to call them directly, they could have told me that.

But never mind that now. The modem is returned, my eyes are back to normal, Chipotle was had for dinner (right by the eye doc) and Deadwood  is queued in the DVD player. All's right with the world.

Please enjoy Tiger Darrow's Mr. Gingerbread.