Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Swear I'm Not Making This Up

I haven't mentioned it much, but since late November, I've been tutoring an 11-year old girl as a part-time gig. It's been a lot of work, but I tell you what, this little girl has done much to restore my faith in little girls.

Tonight for instance, she asked me, "Have you heard about what that Bush guy wants to do?"

I sort of laughed, and said, "No telling, what's he doing now?"

"Well, he wants to give everybody MONEY. Just GIVE it to 'em. Like a thousand bucks!"

"So do you think that's a good idea?"

She thought for a minute. "Well, I heard it's so people will spend it, but some people aren't going to spend it, they're going to just save it. Like, maybe for college."

"That's true."

"And SOME people, they might buy some crappy toys with it, just because they look cool, then those'll break, and they'll put 'em in a dump somewhere, and before you know it, the whole country will just be one big dump."

"That's possible, too."

"And really, I just think if that Bush guy wants to do this, he must be getting something for it. I don't know what, but I'd like to know; there's got to be something in it for him. Because that Bush guy? He's just sneaky."

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's a Scarf, It's a Shawl . . .

. . . it's Clapotis!

Ooh, I am loving this project. It's the first thing I've done in a long time that turned out exactly as I had hoped. It took me just about a month to knit, but I skipped lots of knitting days, especially in the beginning before it got fun.

I finished it yesterday, and wore it today just tossed around my neck like a scarf. It kept me snuggly warm in my frigid conference room (actually, I got a bit warm, but if you repeat that, I'll deny it to the death), and I got lots of compliments. And I think this Spring, it will be a perfect little shawl over lighter clothes.

We celebrated the finished Clapotis tonight with the first test of a new (to me) pizza dough recipe, which I linked to over in the sidebar. Like the Clapotis, it was lots of trouble, but well worth it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Can I Say, I Feel Random . . .

I had a blessed, state-sanctioned day off on Monday, for Martin Luther King, Jr., and then I took a blessed, my-boss-sanctioned day off on Tuesday for . . . well, just for me. So, that means that today is really Monday, which means it really has only been a few short days since my last blog post. Got it? (I think we've been through this before.)

It being Monday and all, I can only offer you some randomness . . .

Random Thing #1: After some big-time knitting over my long weekend, Clapotis is SO close to being done. I plan to wear it all next weekend with my shiny red quilted vest I got for Christmas. It just seems like a guarantee of a good weekend to go around wearing a red vest with a pink and purple scarf. The only thing that could make it better would be red cowboy boots.

Random Thing #2: I rode the bus to work today for the first time in awhile, and wouldn't you know, I picked the seat right behind the very, very mentally ill woman who kind of freaked me out staring at me and shaking her head and waving her arms. Then, she let out a big SHREWF (sort of a cross between a sneeze and a yell -- it sounded like a "shrewf" to me) on the guy in front her. He was a really uptight-looking dude (who is actually an attorney with my office, he just works in a different location), and he turned around, gave her this ridiculous looking shocked stare, and huffed off to another seat. It was one of the huffiest huff-offs I've ever seen, and quite amusing. I should start filming this stuff, really.

Random Thing #3: Yesterday I had an appointment with a trainer dude at the Y, to "set me up" on their computer program so I can track workouts, set goals, yada, yada, yada. (Or, "whoo, whoo, whoo" in courthouse-speak.) Things were going fine, until he asked me if I knew my current weight. I nodded, and we stared at each other for a minute, until he finally said, "oh, sorry," and turned his back so I could enter it in the computer. He was like, "really, I do this all the time," and I was like, "Dude, there are things even my HUSBAND doesn't know, and if I told you, I'd SO have to kill you and there are lots of big ol' weights around here with which to do so." That shut him right the heck up.

Random Thing #4: I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile, and was going to give it it's own post, but the Academy Award Nominations reminded me of it. If you haven't seen Juno yet, get thee to a movie theater STAT. I mean really. I know it's kind of chick-flicky, but it was so, so good, and if it doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once, well, then, you probably need to go eat a bran muffin or huff off with that guy from random thing #2, because I can't imagine what kind of person you are. I could get over my baby-ambivalence lickety-split if I could have a daughter just like Juno, and I'd want to be just like her parents. I've already invited Ellen Page to come live with us anytime, or just come over for dinner, so I will feel cool. (I'm sure she'll RSVP any time now.)

Random Thing #5: I just finished a terrific book, actually the second of a series, and I desperately want someone to talk to about it. Truthfully, I need someone to explain some of it to me. So if you or anyone you know is a big sci-fi/fantasy geek and has read Elizabeth Bear's Whiskey and Water, please send them my way. I'm a trifle confused.

Here's hoping for a quick return of the weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It Might Be a Question of Religious Tolerance

I lost a jury trial yesterday (because juries are the stupidest thing ever invented by stupid people, not that I'm bitter) and although the judge and I don't always see eye to eye (yes, that is some serious understatement right there), he apparently felt the need to comfort me today, and called me up to the bench to tell me this story.

Judge: I liked your arguments yesterday, and I thought that guy was guilty. I mean, I think you really hit the nail on the head -- it was all about the power for that guy. I think he hit her in the eye, just like you said.

Me: Thanks, Judge.

Judge: I think he wanted her to get religion, and she didn't want to.

Me: Well . . . that's one way of looking at it.

Judge: Reminds me of this friend I had. He was an alcoholic, drank all the time, and he met this woman, and she was an alcoholic, too. They got together and had a baby. Then, he got religion, see, and he wanted her to get religion, too, but she didn't want to, she wanted to keep drinking, so he killed her, see --

Me: He did WHAT?

Judge: Well, he killed her, and now he's in prison, see. He shot her.

Me: He shot her?

Judge: Well, see, she wouldn't stay home with the baby.


Judge: So what I think is, you can't poke somebody in the eye just because they won't stop drinking.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nowhere to Go But Up

I've been working on this quasi-resolution/aspiration/goal thing, mostly the one about acting like a skinny person, exercising and such, and brother, is it hard.

Not the actual working out part, although that goes without saying, really, but just the going-to-the-gym part. Because I don't know if you've noticed, but mostly, at the gym?

It's all fucking skinny people. Even the not-quite-skinny people are kind of mean, like the gray-haired lady in the water aerobics class on Saturday who rolled her eyes at her friend, and said, (loudly), "I give all these people until March."

Seriously. I have to really work myself up for it, telling myself, "You have as much right to be here as anyone. You paid your $50. You are working on improving yourself. You have as much right to be here as anyone."

All the while, I am scanning the room for someone fatter than me. Come on, you know you do it, too. The quick I'm-just-seeing-if-there's-anyone-here-I-know routine, when really, you're mentally doing a guess the weight game in your head. And after a week of doing this scan, I can attest that no, there isn't, in fact, ANYONE FATTER THAN ME. Sheesh.

Today, after I finished the 25 minutes of PURE HELL that others refer to as the "elliptical machine," I went down the pool to do some laps, where at least I am submerged during my workout. And as I'm going up and down, up and down, I see out of the corner of my eye, in the next lane over, a girl who, if not larger than me, is at least about my size. We smile at each other. It's a moment. I feel better about the Y in general.

Then, she dusted my ass.

Mind you, I have no illusions about the speed at which I swim. At my former pool, I was routinely dusted by both the 80-year-old man ordered to swim to improve his circulation, and the girl with one leg. (No, I am not kidding. One leg. And I first noticed her because she was swimming AT A SPEED WHICH I ASPIRED TO.)

Even so, today, it hurt me to be beaten by my size-twin. I can now attest that, no, there isn't in fact, ANYONE SLOWER THAN ME.


I tell you what. Next week? I am so moving to that other resolution, the one in which I get to sit at a coffee shop and write bad poetry because DAMMIT, it's creative.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

When Presbyterians Have Children

So, I was at my Young Presbyterian Women's group the other night (which is way more fun than it sounds, honestly) and one of the women mentioned that her son, who goes to a highly academic Christian school, has been reading a lot of books about dinosaurs.

Apparently, came to her with some concerns: "Mom, how can God have created the earth in seven days like it says in the Bible? This book says that the dinosaurs didn't live at the same time as people."

My friend, put on the spot, could only come up with: "I think the original earth blew up, and God had to start over."


Friday, January 4, 2008

You Just Know Hillary is Blaming Poor Bill

So, who was surprised by the outcome of the Iowa Caucus?

First, let me say this: I really have no understanding whatsoever of what the Iowa Caucus is or how it works. And, I haven't really made much of an effort to gain said understanding. I've heard explanations ranging from "it's just their priimary" to "everyone sits in a room until one person convinces everyone else." And as to why it's so important and news-worthy, well, those answers have included "because they're always right," but also, "just because they're first."

Last night at dinner, I decided it was time for me to do some research on the subject -- i.e., ask Todd. To my surprise, he couldn't tell me much. His confessed, "there have been some stories on NPR, but every time they come on I kind of tune out."

Anyway, the sum total of my knowledge about this is that Obama won, Edwards was second, and Clinton third. And now I have to consider, who the heck do I intend to vote for? For me, the short answer is this: whoever wins the Democratic primary gets my vote for President. It's that simple. If a Republican wins, I'm going to have to move to Canada, and it's going to be really hard for me to find a job there, so I'm voting for the Democrat.

But between these three candidates? Man, that's a tough one. None inspires the blind loyalty that I enjoyed giving to Clinton -- Bill, that is. None makes me as excited as Howard Dean did back in the day. I'm just beat down.

Interestingly enough, in the last presidential election, when I was all gung-ho Howard Dean, Todd was acting as the voice of reason, talking about how we need someone electable, how we shouldn't go for someone "on the fringe." Kerry wasn't his first choice, but he was a much stronger supporter for him than I was.

When John Yarmuth ran for Congress last year, I slapped a yard sign in front of our house lickety-split, while Todd smiled indulgently. You really couldn't get more "on the fringe" than Yarmuth.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Northup victory party. Yarmuth won. He kicked her high-falutin' Republican ass. And suddenly, the "fringe" was heading to Washington.

I think in a way, this restored the faith of a lot of down-trodden Democrats who were trying to convince themselves that the Kerry types were all we could ever expect to win an election. There are still, however, some Democrats like me. Democrats who were happily hanging out on the fringe for years, ever-hopeful that the people of the United States would finally do the right thing. Democrats who were eternally disappointed when it didn't happen.

I want to be excited about this election. I WANT to throw myself into it, behind one of three great candidates. But I can't stop myself from that feeling. That feeling that I'm going to find myself in the same spot I was for the last Presidential election -- sitting on my couch with a bottle of vodka in front of me, drowning my sorrows and preparing for the morning-after with a stash of migraine pills. And I am SO not kidding about the Canada thing.

Oh, and there's always the fact that I live in a Red state, and as long as we have the outdated electoral college system, I could write in Buffy the Vampire Slayer for President, and it wouldn't matter beans.

Hey! There's someone I can get behind! Holy crap, yeah -- Buffy for freakin' President!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Family . . . Again

A few minutes ago, Todd and I were sitting here at the dining room table, getting ready to go to bed. I had just given both dogs a hug and said to them, "You guys can't run away, you're all we have left."

Then . . . very faintly . . . "mrow."

I looked up at Todd. "MEOW!"

We sat for a second, stunned, then ran down to the basement door, opened it, and in sauntered Tom, only slightly cold and hungry, with no visible injuries.

Where he's been for the past three days, what adventures he's had . . . the world may never know.

I sure am glad he's home, though!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Who are You Calling Neurotic?

Still no Tom the Cat. Todd and I are both sad, although I'm not quite ready to give up on him yet. Fingers and toes are all crossed, prayers are being sent up, etc., etc.

In other pet news, Penny the Wonder Puppy has suddenly developed a fear of the furnace. Or, maybe not a fear, but definitely a "furnace routine." The furnace comes on, she immediately gets up from her bed and walks into the dining room, where she gets a drink of water. She then comes back, stands next to her bed, and waits for the furnace to go off. THEN, she lays back down and goes to sleep. Weird.

Todd is installing a dog door as we speak, into the garage, in the hopes that Sam the Best Dog Ever will go into the garage through the door, instead of breaking out of his pen and putting himself in the garage (complete with closing the door behind him) EVERY TIME IT FREAKIN' RAINS.

For all you people who wonder why I don't have children, just re-read this post and ponder the possibilities.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Back to Reality

Well, I'll be GOBSMACKED! Christmas is over? One minute I was knee-deep in wrapping paper, with a Snowball (best holiday drink ever) in one hand and a two-inch block of toffee in the other, and the next minute I'm figuring out what the heck I'm going to wear to work tomorrow.

Yeah, that's pretty depressing. But I have to say, I tend to like New Year's. I always feel like I have oodles of free time all of a sudden, what with the not having to bake and/or shop. And I usually have lots and lots of resolutions to fill up that free time . . . for at least the first week.

This year, I'm taking a kinder, gentler approach to resolution-making. We're calling them GOALS this year. Maybe even ASPIRATIONS. They're pretty broad little goals, but each can be broken down to lots of little resolution-like sub-goals.

Aspiration #1: Be more creative. This includes things like trying more new recipes that are more challenging, actually practicing the piano AND the violin, finally learning to sew, and the biggie -- starting the novel I've been meaning to right since I was eight years old.

Aspiration #2: Act like a thin person. I'm really tired of the whole I-Resolve-To-Lose-100-Pounds-By-Next-Year business. And I'm tired of waiting for fun things like getting my nose pierced and learning to belly dance. So I'm going to pretend that I'm already thin and just go ahead and do those things. Of course, most thin people I know eat pretty healthy and exercise, so I'll have to do that, too, but I prefer to focus on "Hey! I can get my nose pierced!"

Now I'm off to eat one last piece of toffee.

(On a more serious-in-the-Lewis-household note, Tom the Cat decided sometime late this afternoon to go for a stroll in the neighborhood and hasn't come home yet. We're a bit concerned because the coldest night of the winter thus far is not the best time for a teeny little grey cat to go for a stroll. Keep your fingers crossed. We are already down one cat and I'm not quite up for losing the second one.)