Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lucky You!

Since I'm hanging in bloggy land today, I thought I would re-share this one from a year's not like I'm sharing Thanksgiving leftovers or anything....think of it more like putting on your winter coat on the first cold day and finding out you left a $20 bill in the pocket.  Oh yeah!  I forgot about that!  Awesome!  Now I can buy a latte!"  See?  So much better.

Here's Looking At Me, Kid

Saturday, October 9, 2010

While looking at my blog stats, I noticed that someone visited the blog after finding it by doing a Google search for the word "Shelly".

Please allow me to introduce you to the odds of finding a blog with low readership and virtually no advertising by searching the un-famous author's not-entirely-unique first name.  

Because I'm here for you, I did the research.

Of the 17 million results, the bulk of the first several pages consisted of web sites for a bunch of people most of us have never heard of, with verbiage stating that "This is the OFFICIAL Shelly _(last name)_ web site!" like it means something.   There were the "Shelly, Inc," sites and the Shellys who are actors/TV hosts/authors, and the Shellys who are wacky stay at home moms with "crazy" lives (Tip: if you own a mini-van, your activities are immediately excluded from being considered "crazy".  Driving your kids around and making it home just in time to make dinner is not "crazy"--that's just a Tuesday), and that's all very entertaining reading for a bitch like me, BUT...

I think my personal favorite was the description under, which states "Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here."

I would like to apply that last statement to all of the self-important Shellys on the web, myself included.  I would especially like to say that very thing to the Shellys I found who spoke about themselves in the third person, or peppered their pages with performance reviews declaring them to be the only Shellys we should care about, or those Shellys who appear to be taking themselves too seriously (talking to you, Lowenkopf--you're lucky you're a man, is all I can say. Wait--I would also like to say, Mars, you're cool, so just ignore all that negative shit I just said about all those other Shellys).

There are a lot of singer Shellys, photographer and writer Shellys and, oddly, realtor Shellys on the web.  I'm sure they are all lovely people.  Then again, if they are anything like me, maybe not.

I found a web site for the 2008 Shelly Awards, OK?  The friggin' Shelly AWARDS. point is that I never did find this blog while searching for Shelly.  I didn't even find anyone named Shelly Payne in the first 30 or 40 pages, so, wow, and also, I didn't know Zac Brown's wife was named Shelly!  Cool!

OK, forget that last part.  My real point is...we all get so wrapped up in our little "thing" that we forget that there are hundreds of other Shellys out there, waiting to be found.  

Except for Zac Brown's wife--clearly, she has already been located.  

Many are, like me, in various stages of desperation, depending on what day of the week it is, and whether or not anybody said anything nice about them that day.  Because you've never heard of most of them, you might be safe in assuming that they have more love than "talent" or "luck"--those two wildly subjective things that determine whether or not people take you seriously enough to throw piles of money at you and adore and/or loathe everything you do, regardless of whether you think they should.

But they keep trying, those Shellys...I like that.  I like the fact that there are a bunch of schmo's like me, getting up every day and doing something, and feeling good enough about it to share.  Even better?  There's somebody willing to power through hundreds of pages of search results to find even the most obscure of them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five Minutes Ago Dot Com

If I ask for something, it's because I wanted it five minutes ago and couldn't do it myself.
Personality quirk.  Sorry.
But, seriously.  I don't ask for things unless I feel that they are needed.  And by needed, I mean, we've been doing without, and having it will make things better, so, the best time to have that thing that I'm asking for would have been five minutes ago, because the sooner things can be better, the better.. 
To me, a delay is the same as a "no".  If I ask for something and you don't say "no" but also don't say "yes"?  That means you're trying to think of a good excuse to say "no", and just haven't thought of one, yet.
Or, maybe you're a passive aggressive piece of crap.
So when I make a proposal at work, and it's November, and the person I'm proposing it to says that they can set up a meeting some time in January to talk about maybe doing it, guess what?  I've already labeled them a slow-moving do-nothing zero and moved on.  I'm looking elsewhere for my yes, because that person clearly sucks.
Here's the thing....I work for a massive corporation, and part of the reason this corporation is, in fact, massive, is that the culture of the organization is the very opposite of "slow-moving do-nothing".  You succeed, achieve, change and grow by being quick on your feet.  Our executive leadership is yammering on about it all the time:  Innovation!  Change!  Forward Movement!  Bring us your ideas!  Go!  Go!  Go!
All of this begs the do slow-moving do-nothing zeros even have jobs here? 
How do they have jobs anywhere?
But most importantly....why do they have jobs that suck the life out of other people's jobs? 

Monday, November 14, 2011


I don't know if I would go so far as to call this the official portrait--the mitten on the right hasn't been blocked, yet, so it's like the other one's slow cousin, or something.

Anyway...That is Knit Picks Woodland Winter Mittens "October". They are a gift for a friend who has promised large quantities of chocolate in exchange--how could I say no?

Regardless of future chocolate offers, I will be taking a pass on all Woodland Winter Mittens requests for a while, though. They are all very pretty, of course, and interesting to knit, as well. I've just been making these for a loooooong time. I want to do a thing or two in (mostly) solid colors for a while. I also inherited a large box of yarn from a friend of my mother's, and most of it is slated to become charity items--hats, blankets, and yes, more mittens. I have a stack of animal print charts that I have been itching to try (thank you Debbie Bliss!) and what could be more fun than tiger mittens?

You don't have to answer that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Forget That Other Wrinkle-y Looking Shot You Might Have Seen Elsewhere

What possessed me to snap a picture without bothering to get up from my desk, walk over to the water source, get the stupid thing wet and block it, I do not know.

This is sooo much better than the Facebook pic I posted, so if you're a friend of FB, please feel free to disregard that wrinkled nastiness.  Blech.

Behold, the smooth and....leafy.

OK...truth be told I was on a phone meeting when I snapped that other picture and if I had walked away from the phone, the other people on the call might have gotten the impression that I wasn't paying attention, and, well...we don't want them getting that impression, even though it may be accurate.

This is Woodland Winter Mitten, "October"(right hand), knit up in Palette. Pattern and yarn from our friends at Knit Picks....DOT COM!*

*Yeah, I always say "DOT COM!" like it's an Expedia commercial. Double points if you picked up on that obscure pop reference.  Carry on.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Like Pulling Teeth

Finishing the last six rows of these was torture. I had no problem starting the second one, no problem getting almost entirely done, just...


And I am sick of mittens. Truly. And perhaps because I am so dreadfully sick of them, a friend has asked for the going rate on a pair.  She is a lovely person, so, whatareyougonnado, right?

I told her to pay me in chocolate.

The next pair--her pair--will be the Woodland Winter Mittens "October" pattern, which is my personal favorite and the one I've been wanting to make this entire time, while everybody asked me for everything but October.  All I wanted to do was get done with all the others so I could make a pair of October!  And now I'm making October, but they're not for me.

*Le  sigh*

So October will be coming some time in November.

Hey, I just finished January, don't rush me.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Weird doings over the weekend.  One of my high school classmates that I don't see regularly (haven't seen for years), but talk to sometimes on Facebook, told me (via internet chat) that he had feelings for me, that he has had dreams about me (he didn't describe the dreams but hinted they were of illicit nature...) and that he has pictured us together.
I started off with "It's never gonna happen," figuring that would be enough.  I mean, in a normal situation, you would think a firm, "no thanks" would do, right?
Oh, gosh no...he kept going.
After a couple of "I don't feel that way about you" style comments from me, and a final, "hey, don't worry about it, just, please for the love of all that is right and holy, stop talking," he finally stopped.
And he was mortified.  Said he wished he had never told me, etc. weekend was super uncomfortable.  You?
I've been on the other side of that coin--I've confessed feelings for someone who didn't feel the same.  Do I regret it?  Absolutely not.  It was actually one of the best things I've ever done.  It needed to be done--you MUST do these things, because your life gets all mucked up and stalled in those areas if you have that roadblock of feelings just sitting there, not being received by anyone.  You need to put that energy to work on something good, not just save it up for the day when that person might start to care.
What is truly weird, to me, anyway, is knowing as I do that this person's values are so dramatically different from mine--I mean I know where he's from, I know what it's like there, and I know he's never left there--If I had pretended to want to give it a go and asked who he voted for in the last election, or how he feels about gay people, or when's the last time he used the N word, instead of just saying I wasn't interested, probably the conversation would have ended with him thinking I'm a hideous liberal pinko commie and WOW did he just dodge a bullet or what? 
Instead, he was embarrassed.
Which is better?  Neither.
But the whole thing made me wonder:  How could anyone know me, or claim to know me even a little, or claim to be attracted to me, and not take my core values into consideration?  Do I hide them so well that he just didn't notice?  I mean, I've posted plenty of "M*chele B*chmann is a dipshit" links on FB--it should be fairly obvious to anyone with whom I've reconnected there.  I am a long time supporter of gay marriage and have made no attempt to hide that fact.  Do people just choose to ignore that and assume that my being nice to them is the same as my agreeing with them? isn't.
I'm just nice because I'm nice, that's all.  I'm nice and I'm also very serious about people being treated fairly in this country.  Why can't I be both?  I mean was that just some wildly sexist thing that just happened, where this person, who is a conservative, could see my values pasted on the internet for all to see and think, "oh, she's just being a silly girl who doesn't know any better..." and hit on me like I should drop everything and move back to the small town?  Was THAT what that was?
As much as might I think, wow, I should be flattered that someone thinks of me and wants to be with me, I see now that it's not so flattering after all.  Not always.  Certainly not in this case, anyway.  It wasn't me he was dreaming about, anyway.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yay Me!

I feel so ahead of the game finishing mittens in early October.

Who are you, strange woman? And where the hell is Shelly?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As Anyone's Mother Might Say, I'd Forget My Head If It Wasn't Attached

Finished these. Forgot to post them.

It might have been sort of on purpose that I forgot, because I was mad at the left hand mitten most of the way through it--my fault.  My tension was a bit too much and you can see the pulls there, on the larger color patches near the thumb.

Oh, stranded color work, you picky, picky thing, you...

Teenage recipient didn't notice, so we are going to pretend it didn't happen.

And now for the very good news: This pattern is back! Knit Picks sold the Woodland Winter Mittens kits for a while, then stopped, to the disappointment of many. Well, I just got my Knit Picks catalog in the mail today and I'm happy to report that the Woodland Winter Mittens kits are on Page TWO.  Plus they have added a new "Bright" color option, and they look great as well.

So go nuts!  Try these--they are a huge hit with everyone, trust me.  I have people lined up, asking me to make them a pair.  I'll be busy for a while....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Denial Isn't Just A River In Egypt

My daughter turned 18 on Monday.  



A couple of things come to mind upon repeating this, the first being how incredibly stupid I was, those 18 years and 9 months ago.  Yes, I got to meet this fabulous kid as a result, but seriously, I was out there 18-odd years ago, doing the stuff that I am now utterly horrified about my own children doing.  It is "do as I say, not as I did" in every sense of the expression.  I should also add that I was aged 27 at the time my Brand New Adult was born.  27 should be plenty old, and for most people I suppose it is.  I think maybe I was just stupider (yeah, I'm using "stupider") than a lot of other 27 year olds.  Oh well....the past is the past, and all that.

The other thing that comes to mind, the thing that your mother fails to tell you is that nothing, and I do mean nothing erases "stupider" faster than, yes, raising a child.  With apologies to both of my daughters, yes, I'm a lot smarter than the both of you, combined--I've been in school for ages.  Soon I will graduate, and unlike you, will get a new car for a commencement gift.  

If you care at all, and apply the same work ethic you would if it was a paid gig, being a parent allows you to develop executive-level organization/delegation and negotiation/diplomacy skills.  

Of course, you don't get to put that on your resume.  

Terribly unfair, I think.

Having a grown child hasn't made me feel old--I have yet to meet the life event that could do that.  Michael Jackson once stated that he didn't "feel any age".  He said that during an interview he gave when I was a child, and he was at least 20 years younger than I am right now.  I wonder if he ever felt any age?  Or did he, as I expect, decide for himself what 30, or 40 felt like?  

I don't feel any age, either, MJ.

The only place I have felt the slightest bit of my own mortality is in my career, but that's not me, that's just other people having their own limiting ideas of the value of a 45 year old woman.  Yes, right around the age when men are starting to run the company, women begin to be harshly judged by the age stick.  In case anyone ever wonders why my bathroom cupboard is full of concoctions, that's why.  In case anyone wonders why I'm lifting weights and working out and hoping to give the outward appearance of a somewhat hot chick, that's why--to compete with the actual hot chicks.  Does this make sense, considering that most or all of those hot chicks are at the level of "stupider" that I abandoned for an executive level education?  Of course not.  Men are idiots.  

Unfortunately, then run everything.

Having a child turn 18 on the same year that I reach an age that can be divided by 5 might be a crushing blow to a lesser person, but I've never been a lesser person, so I'm not going to worry about it.  In the idiot-fee zone I'm continuously working to create for myself, there is no room to think less of yourself or anyone else just because of the number of years their body has been on the planet.  

Now, if they get to be this age and they're still "stupider", then yes, by all means, judge...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Archive Dive

Originally posted in November, 2009, it was called "Growing Up To Be A Girl"

You know how this happens, right?  When I look at blog stats and see someone had been archive diving, and I have to review the materials to make sure I'm not about to get sued/fired/etc., I occasionally find some writing that I genuinely enjoyed. 

This was inspired by a historical book about Mexican immigrants living in the Midwest, and it showed a very civilized slice of life for which I instantly became nostalgic.  I was not alive in the 40's or 50's, but suddenly I wished I had been, when things were supposedly simpler for a girl--as much as it sucked that we were expected to know our place back then, it sure seemed a lot nicer than having to go it alone today, and definitely seemed easier than having to go it alone, despite the fact that you have people in your life.  I guess the most important lesson is to make sure that the people in your life are the right people.  Not only should they be near you, but, they should also be with you, and you with them.  If you need them, they are there, and if they need you, you are there.  Those people are the real deal, and the only ones worth keeping.  So here it is....

I know that you are used to deep, insight-filled posts about important things like, How can there possibly be toilet paper all over the bathroom floor in the office? What person with a job is that lazy that they can't hit either a garbage can or the toilet? (and it's not used toilet paper, just...random strips of TP all over the floor. What the hell is that all about?)

But today, we're going to talk about something entirely different.

I was looking at a book of historical photos about families coming to the Midwest and was struck by a particular photo of three sisters walking together, on their way to an afternoon of shopping or a movie or whatever. The picture was from the 1940's or 50's, and these were grown, married women, all dressed in nice skirts and shoes, nylons, hair done, etc. Then there was a picture, taken 50-odd years later, same three sisters, now in their 70's or 80's, in which they are all wearing T-Shirts and casual pants, comfortable shoes.

Got me to thinking...

When I was a younger person, right after high school (and, obviously this was in the 80's and not the 40's), I stuck to jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and any variety of "There's not really a girl under here" wear that I could find. I wore baseball caps. A lot. If I wasn't at work, and, sometimes when I was at work, I threw my hair under a cap. Working nights in radio was a beautiful thing--oh, I was supposed to get there before 5PM, but I rarely did, because that would mean that I would have to dress in "office casual", and I was having no part of that. I even had a weekend shift "uniform" that consisted of jeans, T-shirt under a hoodie, and favored cap d'jour. I delighted in the opportunity to wear that stuff into the office while the sun was still shining. Shortly after I met my husband, who worked in the same office as me, he admitted to me that he hadn't been sure if I was a woman, just based on the clothes.

Yes, I was hiding out. Duh.

When I was younger, lot of...being female...also meant, to me, anyway, being a victim. Sometimes it meant that in a literal sense, as some things were wrought upon me that would have never happened if I was male, but largely, it was just the time, and the family dynamic--four brothers pretty much had a lock on the place, not that my mother let them do whatever they wanted, but I don't recall them ever doing the dishes...that was for my sister and me. To my mind, the boys got away with more, without falling out of the good graces of my mom. I remember my brother coming home from a friend's house one Christmas Eve, completely stoned out of his mind, and my mother laughing and saying that there probably weren't any munchies in any of his gifts. That same woman literally kicked me in the butt one time when I was 24 years old and was smoking a cigarette in her presence. I smoke this stuff, it's better than if I smoke this other stuff? Huh...who knew? And my brother (same brother) also drank himself a lot of booze (still does) and got maybe an eye roll or two from mom for that, but I get picked up on a minor with a bunch of friends on graduation night? I got the silence thing for about a month. I realize that my mother was probably very concerned about the fact that (insert Elayne Boosler joke) I had a vagina with me and could potentially get into all kinds of trouble--of course, that didn't mean she would ever speak to me about that sort of thing. No, dirty whore-ness was only strongly implied--never spoken aloud. Awesome.

Not that growing up was any uglier for me than it was for a lot of other people, but, something about all of those implications made me uncomfortable with girlness, like it was a bad thing, hence the tom-boy-ness. All of that not-so-girly stuff oozed into my radio career, as well, because I tended to take the same stance on things as the men and was just as aggressive when driving toward the punch line. Most of the men in the business would tell me "I hate female announcers--except for you. You don't sound like any girl I've ever heard." Good. That's what I wanted to hear. There was a reason why none of them liked women announcers: Women announcers sucked. A lot of them still do. I got me to thinking. There were the three sisters, in their dresses and hats and shiny shoes--what I would consider a uniform of vulnerability--doing some girly thing, like, getting their hair done. Yes, it was a different time, but I didn't get the impression that these women were as un-nerved about being female as I was. They seemed very strong, and, quite confident, walking along. They had each other, and, probably a husband or family member who would step in and makes things very, very clear, were there any questions about their honor.

I, on the other hand, grew up with a group of people that would more likely side with the questioner, believing me capable of just about anything. My response to that become capable of just about anything.

Oh, I HAD honor, very much so, but I was also juuuuust off-kilter enough so that it wouldn't take much to convince anyone that I was up to no good.

If I only had a dollar for all of the strange, strange, untrue things that have been said about me...Funny, how, in my quest to not be a victim, I actually became one, many times over, because my own unconventional behavior laid the groundwork for a lot of character assassinations. Co-workers, step-children, etc, all had very receptive audiences when the topic was me and their made-up stories of my "bad" behavior. Might as well have tattooed the words "Easy Target" right across my forehead.

Which brings us to today. One of the reasons why I ended up leaving my husband was simply that he didn't have my back. To be fair, it's not something I ever asked of him for the first five years of us being together--I mean, send a man in to defend me? Not a chance in hell I would ever do that--I would put up my own dukes and take all the punches myself before I would ever ask anyone to fight my battles for me. Then, something changed. At some point, I noticed that, well, he didn't stand up for me, and at some point, it started to bother me. Other girls have guys who stand up for them and defend their honor. I have honor. Why can't I get some honor defending over here? Sure, it's possible that I had him fairly well trained not to, but what I was seeing was that he didn't even want to. The end came when I asked him to, and he wouldn't. I mean...he actually refused, even though helping me meant zero physical or economic danger to him.

Really? Refusing to defend a GIRL? A girl who is asking her man for help? Isn't NOT defending me, especially when I ask you to, the same things as agreeing with all the bad things being said?

That was when things fell completely and hopeless to pieces. I left.

For all intents and purposes, that was also when I grew up to become a girl.

Most women, the three sisters included, as they get older, they push a lot of girlish things to the side. They dress in comfortable shoes instead of high-heeled shiny ones. Or maybe they don't wear earrings anymore, or they don't pretty themselves up or wear a skirt to go shopping. I've gone a bit of the opposite direction. I look at my pre-break-up wardrobe and wonder what the hell I was even thinking. Huge, huge, huge clothes, chosen for my ability to disappear in them. 57 million sweatshirts (my gawd, I loved sweatshirts). An entire dresser-full of t-shirts, which are now an entire dresser of not terribly attractive pajama shirts. Yes, I might occasionally still leave the house in a baseball cap and hoodie--did it just this morning, as a matter of fact, to drive my kid to school--but it's pretty rare for me to want to hide anymore. My shoes are less comfortable and more shiny, and not only do my clothes fit, but most of them imply "female" without even hinting at the "easy" thing my mom was so afraid of.

Kind of a miracle.

It took me this long to be OK with my ability to walk around looking, well, like a girl, with my hair and make-up done most of the time, and curve hugging clothes on, and not think of it as inviting trouble. It is truly incredible what a parent, or anyone else, can do to your head if you let them, but much more incredible are the ways the universe shows you how much bullshit all that negativity is. All of those unexpected lessons about things to which you were barely conscious, but they ended up meaning so much. I'm truly thankful, every day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aaah! Open Windows and Air and Stuff

That air conditioning was running for a long time. It's one thing going to an air-conditioned office five days a week for your 40 hours, and quite another not being able to breathe normally without it, in your own room.


I was as happy to throw open the windows as the boys were to return to the windowsills.

But they are much cuter.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

POW! Orange!

I don't know why I don't do more stripey stuff, especially since there are so many great color combos just floating around out there, waiting to be joined.

Since it's Summer and arms are being bared, and since I've spent the last several weeks making my arms bare-able, why not?

Hey, at least I have better arms than that mannequin...

The pattern is "Layout Tank" from, and the yarn is Knit Picks Shine Puma cotton blend in various ka-pow colors.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seriously, Universe?

I pride myself in being someone who never asks anyone for anything--I'm not a leech or a hanger-on or any of that. I make my own money and pay my own bills and probably if I keep talking about my singular awesomeness much longer I'll start singing Beyonce and/or Destiny's Child songs and I think we all know how quickly that will clear the room.

When the time comes where I do have to ask for something from a person, I make sure that it's a small something and I make sure that I do all the leg work and that the person I'm asking just needs to do one small part of it that I can't personally do--for example, if I'm applying for a job and need someone other than me to put in a good word about me. As much as I would love to be able to do that myself, I really can't. And I do try to make it worth their while. Shooting for a win-win, always.

You should know that at this very moment I am thinking of ways to disguise my voice and be my own reference...I would do that for me, because I freaking LOVE me. I'm my guy. I'll do whatever I ask, no problem. This I say after my boss was supposedly going to put in a good word for me, once, and ended up convincing a hiring manager that I wasn't qualified for the job I was applying for.

Although, come to think of it, I don't think I have nearly enough insincerity in my voice to pass for my boss, but if it came right down to it, for me, I'd do it.


The girls and I are taking a short trip out of town for a family reunion. We have two cats, and I didn't want to leave them entirely to fend for themselves for the duration of the trip, so I thought I would see if someone would check in on them, as in, maybe someone could come over, check their food and water levels, refill as needed, love up the kittehs, make sure the house hasn't blown over and/or been robbed, and then leave again. No big deal. I figured all of 15 minutes each visit, two visits, tops. Lest anyone should think, "yeah, but pet sitting is still a hassle," please know that I was also planning to pay for this 30 minutes of work, and pay what would amount to a pretty hefty hourly wage to the person who stepped up.

And...NOBODY stepped up.

For real.

I mean, people with other plans, I get that, and I wouldn't fault anyone who was on the way to the lake cabin or whatever, but...not taking what amounts to free money because you'd rather sit on your couch? Seriously?

I had one person who led me to believe that she would do it but when I texted her yesterday to ask when I could get her the keys, she gave me one of those, "Yeah, I meant to tell you..." lines and proceeded to tell me how it would be "too difficult" for her, even though she is an able bodied grown up with two functioning automobiles who has no other plans during that time, who's workplace is within 5 blocks of my house.

And to think I had asked her specifically because I know she's hurting for cash right now and I thought that would be an easy and dignified way for me to help HER.


I guess we know why she's hurting for cash right now, huh?

So that's my Monday "Why?" of the day. Why would you not say "yes" to a simple thing in which all the legwork has been done, and everybody benefits? Is it so hard? When I say that I guess we know why she's hurting for cash right now, it's because I believe that there is a direct connection between your willingness and your results. Are you willing to get up and do something? If so, great! Here's your reward. It really is just that simple, and it applies to literally everything in life.

I expect that somewhere in the middle of my trip, when it's too late for her to do anything about it, my financially challenged friend will text me to ask if I found someone to watch the boys while we're gone. I've been rehearsing my responses, which currently vary from Straight Up Guilt Trip all the way to the Big "Screw You". Some of the responses are wordy and some are just "whatever...". I guess when you are disappointed, you want the people who caused the disappointment to feel bad, too. That's normal.

Rest assured, no matter what I tell her, I'll leave out the part about how my other friends, who live way far away from me and don't need the money, agreed to stop by in exchange for me picking up a bar tab, which, remarkably, is a lot cheaper than what I was going to pay her. That's what you call a win-win-win-win. My cats get a babysitter, I get to leave without worry, I get to guilt the hell out of someone and we all end up at Happy Hour. Wooo!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Cab Ride

At the tender age of One Hundred Seventeen, I'm not so much for standing through 4-5 hours of entertainment, but, if nothing else, I am a trooper.  The fact that you are reading this right now means that I survived the standing!  Woo!  It also means that I missed the tweet from @firstavenue offering up a table seat to anyone would could answer the name of Panic! At The Disco's latest album.  DOH!

I went to First Avenue to see Panic! At The Disco last night because I am a fan of theirs.  Conveniently, my 17-year-old is also a fan of theirs, so I had an automatic date.  This worked out perfectly because all night long people were confusing me for a parent who got hooked into taking their kid to a concert.  The truth was, she was a kid who got hooked into going through her parent's treachery.  Don't tell.

I'm just going to come right out and say it:  She's not a fun date, my daughter.  I mean I'm sure she's a fun date for people her own age, and I know that she's a fun person in general, but for me?  Meh...there was nobody with me to make, or listen to, commentary about other audience members, or have a drink, or, if enough drinks were had, sneak a cigarette break.  My kids are not the biggest fans of my humor (remember?) and would throw me down and step on my head for smoking.  Freaking buzz kills.

The evening started a little like last year's June 11th concert (Justin Currie) with my companion having mixed feelings about taking a taxi to the venue.  Last year, my best friend's girlfriend almost didn't let her go because of it!  To no one's surprise, the cab ride was uneventful, then.  This year, my daughter told me a story about how a friend of hers was driven to a secluded area and mugged by a taxi India. 


Not interested in driving downtown or attempting to find parking on a game night, I said if it bothers you that much, as soon as you get into the cab, text the name of the cab company and the guy's license number to everyone in your phone book so they'll know who to go after if you don't show up where and when you're supposed to.

"Oh, mother..."

Needless to say, the transportation was uneventful.  Again.

We arrived to the longest line I have ever seen outside of First Avenue, and, it was not just one line, but two--one going down 1st Avenue and the other doing down 7th Street.  Was I glad I bought tickets on the day they went on sale?  Yes.

And...for those of you just joining me who have never read one of my concert "reviews" before, I should disclose at this time that I don't actually write concert reviews.  I can tell you about the uber gross couple that was hanging out in our general area, doing their best to breathe only each other's exhales, with their faces never more than an inch away from each other.  I can tell you a lot about them.  But I don't remember what anybody on stage was wearing or if they hit an off note or anything like that.  It was a very good show.  Sorry.  When I go to see professional musicians, I expect them to be...well...professional.  And they were.  And I don't know it that's wildly newsworthy.

Now more about the uber gross couple.  Seriously?  Ew.  I'd say that they were between the ages of 16 and 20, and I'm not kidding--their faces were never more than an inch apart.  He kept sniffing her hair around her ear and lilting up his nose like he was sniffing some other dog's ass and she kept one leg wrapped around him the entire time.  I'm sure the after-show sex was awesome for them, but everyone in their vicinity suffered for it during the four hours of foreplay--and now that I mention it, four hours of foreplay can only really lead to some anti-climactic sex, not matter how, er, climactic, it was.  I kept telling myself that one day, they would be grown up enough to exercise a little decorum, but then I'd catch sight of them out of the corner of my eye and think, no, they're just revolting, and at their age it's too late to smack it out of them.  A future tragic love story in the making.  

But enough about them...

At one point in the evening, my daughter asked me what the venue was used for when not holding concerts.  I drew a bit of a blank.

"I....I mean...what?  You're asking me what First Avenue is used for?"  

I opted out of the history lesson.  "Music," I replied.  "That's all that happens here."

Because of the venue's history, I half expected somebody in one of the bands to bust out a Prince song last night, since it wouldn't be too much of a musical stretch for any of them.  The cover that Panic! opted for instead was completely, and awesomely, unexpected: Carry On My Wayward Son.  Yeah, yeah....sorta lame that it was dedicated to the parents, cuz it's an old song, but that song is way the hell older than me, darling, so you can keep your dedication.  A damn good cover, nonetheless.

Not far from me, a dad who ate that Kansas dedication right up, kept snapping pictures and video of his kids enjoying the concert in between taping and photographing most of the show and marveling, yes marveling at the fact that large groups of people knew all the words to the songs by one of the openers, Fun.  I'll admit to never having seen or heard them before last night.  I'll admit that here.  However, I would have never have shown any astonishment that other people have heard of them while everyone around me was belting out all of their songs at the top of their lungs.  That's just nerdy, and not the good kind of nerdy.

We wrapped up the evening with the obligatory stop at the merch table, and, t-shirt procured, spilled out onto the street, grabbed the first cab with an empty back seat and were home before 10:30.  Wow, kid concerts end early!  Crazy.

Oh, and I lied.  I will mention a thing or two about what actually happened on stage.  Fun (The band, I mean...) is truly excellent.  Truly.  I mean it.  I don't care if you're 14 or 44 like me.  Well worth the price of admission if you get a chance.  I kept thinking how I would describe them to my best friend who wasn't there with me, and all I could think was a cool, modern, Queen, but that doesn't necessarily do them any justice, so forgive my limited reference.  I thought Scissor Sisters, a little, too, but that's not really it, either.  They're just...Fun.  Duh.

Lastly, regarding the (noticeable, by me anyway) lack of material from PATD's previous album in the set...I get it, I get it.  It was a slight bummer that it was like they went from their first album straight to their third and Pretty.Odd almost never happened, but honestly that album was fairly different from the other two and not a lot of those things would have fit so neatly into the set we saw.  Not one bad song was played.  I'm not going to lie--the first time I heard the new album, I was worried, because I loved Pretty. Odd soooooo much and thought, what have they done?  That sound is gone!  But hearing songs from albums 1 and 3 snuggled up together really illustrated a continuation of a Panic! At The Disco sound, and I'm not about to begrudge them that.

And now, I'm off to do the 2 hours of yoga and hot bath soaking that it will take to erase the pain that 4 hours of concrete floor standing causes to an ancient body.  Maybe next June 11th I will have recovered enough to take another cab ride downtown.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


I do love digging and plunking stuff in the little holes and then seeing what beautiful things happen.

I planted Orientals because the smell is intoxicating, but this Asiatic won the First Bloom prize this season.

I live in an old brownstone with neglected gardens that, until this year, I neglected, too.  The quiet joy one gets in hanging with plants and making them do things, sometimes against their will, is very satisfying.  I can't believe I put it off so long.  Happy Summer, y'all.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nothing To See Here...

It is quite true that after knitting for the entire month of May I have nothing to show for it except a pair of acrylic slippers (though the colors are lovely), one garter stich scarf (65 inches of the softest and most luxurious garter stitch, ever), and this semi-sad lace headband made with leftover sock yarn.

It's like back to beginning knitting school around here.

But I would like to take this opportunity to say, "Thank you, knitting.  Thank you."  Thank you for pulling my mind away from those things in my life that cause me pain and hurt that I cannot change, and allowing me to focus on creating a thing that is useful, and hopefully beautiful, from that energy. I could not have made it through this past year without you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Snark Is Always On The Calendar

Do you know what I did yesterday that was good? 
I mailed my Netflix movies back. 
I know that doesn't sound like such a big deal, and maybe to some people it isn't. 
(insert moaning, aching, oh-my-gawd-the-drama sound)
Mailing movies back has become the biggest of the big deals, ever.  I blame myself.  We get a couple movies, maybe watch one right away, but not everybody is home, so they ask to hang on to it for a bit longer so they can watch it sometime on the weekend, then the next thing you know, 6 weekends have gone by and we've had the movies so long we forgot all about them until I notice them while dusting** and declare THESE WILL BE MAILED BY TOMORROW, SO WATCH THEM NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE!
7 times out of 10, I end up watching them alone because the children are just not in the mood to watch movies at the same time I'm in the mood to purge myself of month old rentals, and may I just say right now that I am so glad that they were not in the mood to watch Love And Other Drugs last night, because holy shit there's a lot of ass in that movie.  Not that I mind my almost-grown teenagers seeing adultish situations in movies, but I'm sure we would have all been squirming at the sheer level of OH-MY-GOD-THERE'S-HIS/HER-ASS/TITS-AGAIN.
(Movie advertising is funny, isn't it?  That one gave all the signs of being a semi-light-hearted love story, which I think it was in the end, but everything leading up to the last 20 minutes was fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck...)
I once again made a big show of walking to the corner mail box at 9PM to deposit two movies (the other was Inception, which did not produce any squirming at all...) that I'd been sitting on for a month and a half.  Will I do any better with the next two that are coming in the mail this week?  Hell, I don't know...
My ex used to say that if it's not in the day-timer, it isn't happening, and, this is what it's come to.  My entertainment is now on a calendar.  How very spontaneous of me.  I have to set a reminder on my phone to watch movies before I stop being excited about them being in the house.  Enter Lamesville.
I'll put the "Enjoy your Netflix movies!" notation right next to the "Take out the recycling, stupid!" reminder on my calendar.  Perhaps I can find a special ring-tone for that alarm-the 20th Century Fox fanfare comes to mind.  I'm sure I'll have better luck getting the children to participate in movie night than I do getting them to help with the recycling.
**HA!  That's a funny.  Did you catch that?  For dramatic purposes, I pretended that I actually dust.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Honest Living

My brother posted pictures of himself and some co-workers on Facebook.  The pictures were just like any other pictures of office hi-jinx except that he and his co-workers were all dressed in camo and carrying very large, scary-looking rifles in virtually every shot.

For the better part of the last 23 years, my brother has been in the Army.  In those 23 years, he's gone to virtually every country that was dangerous for an American to go to, and through luck and good training, has returned unscathed.  By the virtue of longevity, he has now assumed the role of helping younger soldiers stay alive out there--he's currently instructing them in how to dismantle/disable IED's.

You would think that by now, he'd be doing something that would keep him out of harm's way, but I guess that's not his style.  Besides, if not him, then who?

I guess that's what it all boils down to now, isn't it?  If not him, then who?

When I complain about how I think my boss is a scary narcissist, I blissfully forget that at least he's not a scary narcissist with no qualms about shooting me in the head for no other reason than they don't like the geographical region where fate landed me.  Those are the kinds of evil people who's actions garner the response of the United States military.  That's who we're up against.  That's who we're always up against.  Would you assume that role?  Would you take on a bully in a truly dangerous situation?

Soldiers are to be admired not just for their courage, but for the strong sense of right and wrong that compels them to stand up to the scary people.  I've been around that aspect of military mentality my entire life and I can tell you that it is almost completely the same from one soldier to the next.  They may complain about the pay from time to time, or about how a particular officer acts like a jerk, but those honest soldiers who lay it on the line every day, would do it anyway, because it needs to be done.  

My father and all four brothers are/were military.  Growing up, and still today, we hardly give it a thought--of course you serve.  Of course you do.  And that sense of service remains past the time that they are wearing the uniform.  It is in all areas of their lives.  Bottom line: Soldiers are good people.

It's hard to put a price on that kind of employee.  Someone on Wall Street would get paid big bucks to defend their company's way of doing things from a rival's threats.  Our nation only sets aside one day a year to officially recognize their sacrifice, but please, don't feel like you have to refrain from being grateful at other times of the year.  Thanks to them, you have a lot less to worry about every day, and that is priceless.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Stupid Stacks Up

You can almost count on The Crazy escalating in the Spring, can't you?
The things I've witnessed in the last couple of weeks....makes you wonder if it's been a full moom every day.
Rather than talking about stupidity at my office or sheer lunacy at a certain State Representative's office (...talking about you, Tony Cornish...), I'm going to get, well....a little personal.
No, we're not going to talk about my weight--it's not gonna be Oprah-personal, but I will be discussing a couple of local institutions with which one of my children is involved.
I'm not excited about publishing identifiers for my children online, so you can tell that the stupid thing that happened pissed me off.  A lot.  Enough to make me want to name names and write a letter to the editor and such.
My daughter plays fast-pitch softball at Edina schools.  The team she is on is not what I would call a hard-driving, championship winning team--they are just starting out, and honestly, they tend to lose more games than win, but, it's skill building so most of the time they are not discouraged by losses.  If they put in enough work, hopefully they will be the varsity athletes of tomorrow.  Right now, they're not there yet.  It's not a big deal to any of them--softball is fun for them, they enjoy the team time and they enjoy learning new skills.
About a week ago, my daughter's team played a team from Minnetonka, and, frankly, they had their butts handed to them.  They outplayed us, period--better pitching, better fielding, better hitting.
So we lost.
But, like I said, not a big deal to my daughter and her team mates.  Sure it's a disappointment, but....oh well.
After the game, both teams retreated to separate areas in the outfield for post-game wrap-ups with their coaches.  I was not privy to those conversations--well, most of those conversations, anyway. 
At the end of the pep talk, the kids from Edina put their hands together in classic sports huddle style and shouted "Edina!" on the break.  From all the way across the field, in their own huddle behind first base, the coach from Minnetonka had paused for a moment while this happened and was heard to say, in a mocking tone, "Edina!.....Sucks!"
Now, before I go any further, I do want to say that the letter I sent to this woman's boss was incredibly polite.  She should not expect the same courtesy here. 
I don't think it's terribly Mother Hen of me to want to punch her lights out for saying hurtful things to my child, is it?  That's a normal reaction, right?
Anyway...I'll start by saying, simply, "Grow up", and follow that up with a "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Your team played well and they won, and with your single bitchy comment, you erased all of their pride.  You took away their win and put the emphasis on our loss.  So not only are you unsportsmanlike to other teams, you're a thoughtless bitch to your own team, too.
Did you notice how your team reacted to your bitchy comment?  Nervous laughter.  Like, they probably couldn't believe you would say shit like that, either.
High school is an important time.  Kids need good examples, because at that age, literally, it can go either way.  They can grow up to be good and thoughtful people, or.... 
You, lady, are not a good example, and I would appreciate it if you would stay away from children until you are ready to be one.
Now, Representative Cornish--speaking of "not a good example...." (click here to read all about it)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Kitteh Cuteness

Moments like this one help you forget that time he got into your freshly planted windowsill herb garden and spread potting soil footprints all over the kitchen counter top...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

With Apologies To Sally Melville

I don't dislike the knit stitch, or garter stitch, if you prefer. I like it just fine. Hell, Sally wrote an entire, incredibly beautiful, book about it and I loved every article of clothing she produced while using only knit stitches.

I just had other plans for this yarn.

It is probably the softest, most luxurious yarn I have ever owned--100% Suri alpaca, shaved, cleaned and spun by hand by a lovely person right here in Minnesota--so I started off with visions of laci-ness, grabbed a pattern and got busy.

It was going so well until I realized that I was accidentally adding stitches up one side and the scarf was twice as wide at one end than it was at the other.



Begin again. 


Fourth attempt in, and a dozen other projects completed, I decide to let the yarn speak for itself. 

Yes, it's garter stitch. 

Worse yet, it's a garter stitch scarf.

Don't get me wrong--it is an incredibly soft and luxurious garter stitch scarf.  It's so soft and nice, in fact, that even a seasoned knitter couldn't possibly be put off by the beginner-ness of this garter stitch scarf. 


Sure, "garter stitch scarf" is what you make before you know how to read a pattern, or purl for that matter, but....this is different. 

Isn't it?

Am I sure this the appropriate thing to do with 25 bucks worth of lovingly hand-crafted yarn?

No, I am not.

Luckily, it is going to be given away, so as long as the person is good at feigning excitement at the time she receives it, I will be able to use the usual mind tricks to convince myself that it is getting near constant use in her possession. 

Truth is, I have to give it away.  Let's face it, if it stayed here, I would just keep ripping it apart and starting over again until there was nothing left but bits of alpaca fuzz.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Only In Small Doses

Most lace, which requires much more thought than I care to give, I can only do in small this little jobby.

It is going to be a headband.

Oh,  by the way, did I mention I'm growing my hair out?  It should only be truly ugly for the duration of the summer, so I'm developing a series of hats and other head coverings to make it disappear during the awkward stage.

Happy Anniversary.....Jerk

Just a year ago today, I picked up the kids from school and drove to Faribault to meet a little boy named "Tiny".

He was an absolute mad man from the very start, which worked out well when we changed his name to Napoleon.

Yeah, yeah...I should't generalize with the "jerk" commentary...he's not really like that all the time. Sometimes, like after he has spent literally five minutes compulsively scratching at the side of the litter box because he just can't seem to get that poo covered to his liking, I feel a little bad for him.

Then, when he steps out of the box and announces with a fearsome wail that he has, in fact, finished both pooping and scratching, you sort of want the celebrate right along with him--maybe like you would if you were to potty train a toddler.

On more than a dozen occasions, he has brazenly approached the yarn bowl, looking for a toy. He'll pick up a ball in his mouth and with a devilish glance at me, try to walk away. There are only 756,398,915 special playthings in the toybox, you know...a guy gets bored.

Because he is much more young and agile than his brother, none of their wrestling matches are fair. This fact does not, however, prevent him from starting them. That's the jerk part. The rest of the time, though, he's as sweet as any other adolescent boy you would ever meet.

In time, he'll be less distracted and want to hang out more (right now, he'll voluntarily sit with a with a person for just a little while before it's back to play time) but I doubt he'll ever lose his taste for yarn. I might worry if he did.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Don't Know Anyone Who Doesn't Need This

Sure, maybe some don't know they need it, but...10% Camel!

10% Camel! Come on! Of course I bought it.

Anyway...Shepherd's Harvest was fun. Lots of alpaca yarn, but sadly none of the beasts showed up in person for a photo op, so you get a picture of yarn instead.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Get A Job!

I have been on a quest to rid myself of the little balls of Yarn Without Jobs.  

Those lazy freeloaders!

They sit around, taking up space, and generally being jerks about it because they are not big enough to do any heavy lifting on a real project.

I decided to recruit them to be "extras", and am powering through a few pairs of slippers to clean out the inventory.

In all honesty, I don't actually know how to make slippers, though I can recite a sock recipe even before I've had my coffee, so what I'm calling "slippers" is actually a sock formula, only knit with acrylic worsted weight on an almost-too-small needle to make a stiffer, and crazy durable fabric.

The picture above is a toe-up Sockipper, 2nd of a pair, made in what has been my favorite color combo for the last few years, dark brown and torquoise.  

I swear, this is the last dark brown and torquoise yarn in the house.


Of course, this sets me up to buy more dark brown and torquoise yarn...but I'm thinking of switching to orange as my new weird obsession. Who's with me?

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Finally finished, the gorgeous Swing Dress from Vogue Knitting Spring 2011 Edition, which I thought was a standout piece in that issue.  I knit it in Knit Picks CotLin--the color is called "Surf".

A couple of executive decisions were made on this project, the first being that I didn't go with the prescribed jute straps.  I think on the original rose color of the pattern, they were nice, but with the darker blue that I used, it may have been too much contrast.  Instead, I opted to knit the straps, thus adding about three weeks to the project!  I tried numerous stitches and widths--everything from wide and lacey to an i-cord.  My concern was that too much of that dark color too close to her face would visually distract from the face, or, if the straps were too intricate, they might take away from the lace on the bottom.  I backed down to about an inch wide, like the original, knit in plain stockinette, and as you can see in the picture, somehow managed to attach them cleanly--really happy with that.

The other executive decision was made by my daughter, who insisted upon threading a cord through the yarnover row below the bodice so that she could adjust the width and tie it with a bow.  So smart!

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mental Health Via The Internet

When doing "strange" things, or things that I think that I'm not so sure I should be sharing the fact that I'm doing them, I often check into Twitter, put the strange thing that I'm doing into the search and see if anybody else is doing that same strange thing.

Shut up--it makes me feel better.

Take last night for example:  Last night, I sat in front of my television (project in hand, so it wasn't entirely wasted time) and watched, swear-to-gawd, a Pop-Up Videos style replay of the televised broadcast of Charles and Diana's wedding from 1981.

Uh-huh.  Sat and watched the whole damn thing.


Hey, The Sound of Music wasn't on in the evening like it was supposed to be, OK?  Stupid ABC Family made Sound of Music the opener for Titanic!  Gag....that's just so wrong.  Titanic had the prime time slot on Easter, and The Sound of Music, which was SUPPOSED TO come on six-ish (because it is the right and holy thing to do) started at around 3 in the afternoon.  I missed all but the very end.

Please don't talk to me about DVR's and Tivo--I'm not talking about convenience, here--talking about right and wrong!



There I was, alone, pouting, Julia Andrews-less, when what should I happen to see but this show which was essentially running Charles and Diana's wedding video, the same one we all got up at 4AM to watch back in 1981, with no announcer voice, just little thought bubbles, like, "Diana's dress took 80 bazillion yards of silk to construct" or, "Doesn't Andrew look bored out of his mind?" or whatever.

And I watched it.

I watched it and kept watching it.

About 40 minutes into it, I did a Twitter check, just to make sure that, A) I wasn't the only person watching it, and B) That the people watching it who were on Twitter talking about watching it didn't appear to be total loons and/or otherwise ghastly.

They all checked out OK.

I then backed up and did a baseline check of people who are on Twitter who had watched The Sound of Music (miraculously, as they clearly have the television schedule tattooed on their cerebral cortex and knew when it was going to be on, unlike me...).

Those people all seemed relatively normal as well.

I think I'm OK.

I mean, I'm as OK as I'm going to be, as someone who watched the Charles and Diana wedding video and squinted to see pop-up factoids about the bridesmaids.  There's really only so much "OK" that they can attribute to you after something like that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More Stuff I Finished

I'm gonna be so clean slate by the time I get all these UFO's finished up, that I'll practically have my virginity back.

Or...probably not.

I knit one of these slippers about a year ago.  

OK, actually it was two years ago.  Shut up.

Then about a year ago, I knit the first half of the second.

What was extra lame was that I was able to finish the second half of the second slipper in one afternoon last week, which serves as a reminder that there really was no excuse not to just finish the damn project in the first place, two years ago.

What's most cool about these slippers is that I just steam-cleaned the harwood floor in the hall, so it's slipper.  Sometimes I get to see the teen who wears the slippers sliding past my office door on the slippery floor.

Sometimes she does it on purpose.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stash Reduction

The stash reduction project moves forward with these giant balls and cones of cotton (which my camera flash has distorted to look like Christmas colors...hmmm....the real colors are butter-cream, an orange-pinkish-melon-y color and a pale green.  Gorgeous and summery.).

I'm making this mass quantity of yarn into a throw blanket for the car/beach/tent.  Just a little something for the summer, unlike most of our knitting projects.  I didn't go with the GIGANTO needles this time, just a small (compared to Speed Stix size 50, anyway) size 35 needle and straight garter stitch--I'll let you know if I like it in one week.

Also, in case you thought I may have given up on the lace, not to worry--the main body of the top is complete, and I am knitting the straps for it.  I should be done shortly and will post pictures of my child wearing the top, with her back turned to the camera to avoid any boob lust.  Don't worry, it's the same shirt on both sides...

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There's Always Some New Low

I have taken to trying to get my kids' friends to laugh these days.  My children no longer find me amusing, so, I crack wise with their friends in the hopes that if my children are ever talking to said friend and claim that their mother is a Lame-O, that the friend will stick up for me and stay something like, "Oh, I like your mom!  I think she's funny!"

I'm not entirely sure, but I believe that this is the height of pathetic.

Late last night, at the corner of Lake and Lyndale, while waiting for pedestrians to clear the intersection, the comment, "OK children, count the drunk hipsters!" was given a healthy guffaw by my daughter's boyfriend.  That sort of thing is important to me, since if he wasn't in the car, my daughter would have likely rolled her eyes and muttered one of those "Oh-my-gawd-mother" things that she does to show how utterly retarded she thinks I am.

The boyfriend is also especially fond of my not-really-road-rage commentary involving other drivers being, ahem, assholes, morons, and/or idiots.  

My daughter finds this kind of talk annoying.


On the same car ride, different daughter, after being picked up from a party, commented that the hostess had a friend visiting from France and that the two of them spent most of the evening speaking to one another in French, a language not shared by any of the other party-goers.

Since I happen know the hostess and think the girl is the one of the most down-to-earth kids I've ever seen in a high school, the line, "Pretentious bitches!" was meant to be funny.

Sadly, none of that daughter's friends were in the car, so, that one fell flat.

The knife in the heart moment of the drive, after the boyfriend had been dropped off and it was just the siblings and me headed home, was when one daughter commented that she thought Top 40 disc jockeys on the radio were so mean compared to the jocks on the rock station.

Here, finally, was my undeniable area of expertise.  After all, I spent 14 years in the radio business, during half of which I was a night time jock on Top 40 stations.  I knew, without a doubt, the real answer to that question--hell, I'd been mean to at least a billion teenagers in those seven years, and I knew exactly why they did that: Because kids eat that shit up.  That's the truth, y'all.  The truth.

I waited for the children to look to me for an answer, thinking, any minute now they're going to turn to the expert, the one who used to do that for a living, and ask, "Mom, why are they like that?".

They never asked.


I would not be denied.  I volunteered my answer.  

Somehow, they were not impressed.  

How could that be?  14 years of my LIFE in that business, and I don't get to speak in defense of the craft of giving teenagers crap on the radio?

Now, somebody please explain to me why I'm so hell-bent on getting my kids acknowledgement, when if it were anybody else who didn't think I was interesting/amusing, I would have blown them off a long time ago?  Maybe I am as lame as they say.  I think I'll stick with the (easy) business of making their friends laugh and give up on these two deadbeats, entirely.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Brain Needs Spring

There is one dumb thing about smoking that I truly miss, and that is going outside.

Sure, I could go outside now, as a person who no longer smokes, but...I'm weirdly purpose-driven and feel like if I'm going to be outside, I should be doing something.  I don't like wasting time.  Time is the only thing I have that's worth anything.

Anyway, back to the outside.  Smoking gave me something to do, outside.

In the winter time, as a non-smoker, it makes absolutely no sense to put on your coat and shoes and go outside and stand around for 5 minutes.  Hell, that activity makes no sense in the Spring either.  The difference is, in the Spring/Summer, the warmth makes the reasons to go outside so much more abundant.  Almost every day, there is something, like, I'm sunning myself on this rock, or I'm raking the yard, or I'm planting/maintaining the flower bed, or I'm stirring the compost.  Whatever it might be, it's easy to think of a reason--projects practically scream your name--and it's easy to put on flip-flops (or not) and just walk outside.

As I'm throwing my windows open to air temperatures that would make me slam those same windows shut in the Fall, my brain re-awakens to the infinite possibilities of the Spring.  You can feel the potential.  It's a beautiful thing.

Here is my little pledge for Spring, and it's not that I'm going to be better at maintaining the flower bed, or that I'll commit to getting out and taking walks every day.  Those things are good and I will most certainly be keeping them in mind.  Instead I just want to keep this feeling in my head--this fresh start feeling, where you know that things will get growing, literally and figuratively, as soon as you take an action--and I want to apply it to everything.  That's the brain I want for the rest of 2011--kind of a gardener brain, who's willing to plant things and tend them and share a great big harvest when it's all grown tall at the end.  THAT is what "outside" means to me--doing the work and seeing the results.

Cheers to leaving "just surviving" behind, if only for a little while, and getting back to thriving. Viva Spring! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Have I Mentioned That I Have One Good Cat And One Bratty Cat?

The nice, crisp, in-focus photo features the "good" cat doing his Vanna White impression with my work in progress, nearing completion.

The other, blurry photo is what we'll call an "action shot" of the Bratty Cat ripping the knitting out from under the good cat's watchful gaze. Do you see the look of shock and horror in Jack's (good cat) eyes? You should have seen mine...

The shirt, and the Bratty Cat, both survived to show off another day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Six Degrees of "Screw You"

There is a lady at my office who quit her job last week.  She quit, among other reasons, because she can't stand our boss.
The same day she told me about it, my best friend's partner also quit her job. 
She was pissed at her boss.
Aren't we all?
Neither of those ladies had any work lined up, or anything to fall back on, like, say, Powerball winnings.  They just said "Fuck this" and quit.
I want to admire these women.  I do.  I mean that takes some balls. 
Now...unlike me, both women have partners who are employed and with whom they share household expenses, so it's not like there's no money coming in.  Unfortunately, there is no conceivable way I could give my boss the gigantic "Screw You" that he so richly deserves without ending up living in a cardboard box somewhere (and if I did, I can assure you that I would refuse a crust of bread from that loathing runs that deep...).
I think that having that kind of faith, that things will be OK, even with little or no money, is a good thing.  I have a similar kind of faith.  I really forge my own way in a workplace, which is why I've been so fortunate in work situations in my life--managers (normal ones) really love those self-starting types.  Within the confines of the job description, I really do whatever the hell I want to do to get to a goal and virtually never ask permission unless it's one of those this-is-dicey-I-might-get-sued/fired kind of things.  The wrong kind of manager--like the one I have, for example--is threatened by that kind of go-getter, because they think they might make them look bad.  This type of manager might react by making life miserable--or trying to, anyway.  Here's an example: 
In our office right now, there is a written policy that says people have to ask permission before they get up and use the bathroom.  Seriously.  We're all perfectly grown up there--no school children on the premises, and yet we are expected, on the occasion when we might need to pee, to seek out a member of leadership and ask to be excused. 
That's the kind of rule that a truly fearful manager makes, to try to control every movement (bowel movements, included) that takes place in the office.
Have I ever, even once, asked permission?  Oh hell no.  I'm forty-fucking-four years old, and perfectly capable of assessing the need for my presence at the computer versus my need to relieve myself.  Most grown-ups are, and, ALL grown ups who work in my department are well advanced in that etiquette.
Still, I'm directly disobeying, and if he ever got excited about anything, my boss could probably hang me out to dry on that one rule alone.
That kind of "Screw You", I have no problem with.  I'm involved in several of those right now, and I'm probably not setting a good example to the new people, but, like I said, I don't need a parent, because I'm forty-fucking-four years old.  Having said all of that, I'll be damned if I'm going to walk away from money because my boss goes out of his way to be a jackass.  No...I think you're gonna have to push me away if that's the deal.  Unless it's for the sole purpose of grabbing another, larger paycheck, then I will remain in the receiving line as long as they'll have me.  I think that's a more impressive "Screw you" than just quitting.  Doing well by ignoring idiots is really the best revenge.  Besides, this is serious on-the-job training for how to deal with complete pricks--might come in handy later.
I am 100% certain that there will never, ever be a time in my life where I will feel like I can or should reach out to my current boss for any kind of help.  After all, this is the same guy who promised me he could make a few phone calls on a job I was looking at within the company, and instead of doing that, he just sent me an email that said I wasn't qualified for the job, anyway.  He's an asshole like that.  He's not Team Shelly--not a nice person, and since he's so UN helpful, he's really of no use to me, anyway.  So I'm not worried about burning that bridge--I could care less. 
Because I am smugly certain that the shit he inflicts on others comes back to smack him in the face on a regular basis--could be his car doesn't start, or maybe his kid never calls him...whatever...I believe that no dramatic scene involving me telling him off while I walk out the door could ever be as good as what he brings upon himself.  In fact, it's those dramatic scenes that allow these jerks to continue to play the victim and illicit sympathy when what they should really be getting is....that shit in the face thing.  Also, that's how I know he won't fire me....there's no way for him to be a victim if I'm the one getting fired...
Anyway, I say bring it.  I'll stand here and take it, and maybe I'll whine about it sometimes but mostly, after I've left here (and I will leave here, soon enough, and forget all of this stupidity) I'll be a better, stronger person for not having just run away when it first started to suck--before I had my legs back under me..  And years from now, when he's burned his last bridge and comes to me for help, it will be the most delicious laughter, ever.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And More Of The Same

This might be the part where someone could make a comment about how this week's progress shot looks a lot like last week's progress shot.

But wait! There's more!

OK, not much more...just some.

Consider, if you will, just how much of this work was actually done on a broken circ! much for knitting being a stress reliever--I take it out on the needles.  I snapped a cord this morning and it's being held together by some carefully woven Scotch tape and my utter terror of screwing this thing up. I will be switching to a shorter needle soon. Until then, stubbornness keeps me from buying a new one in this length.

I promise no more pictures of the same dumb lace panel from here on out--next pic, hopefully, she'll be wearing it.

Can Somebody Please Explain The Cats And Can Openers Thing...?

I'm working.
The house is mostly silent.  Kids are home on Spring Break and hanging out three rooms away from me, watching TV, goofing off online, etc.  I've got a cat snoring next to me and the sound of his breathing and my thinking are the only sounds I hear.
Suddenly, Jack jumps up, hops off the love seat and heads for the office door in a very big hurry.  I stand to open it, thinking he must have been having a wet dream or something and I don't want to be the one keeping him from the toilet.
But instead of running to the litter box, he runs to the kitchen...
...where my daughter is just starting to open a can of mandarin oranges.
Not tuna fish, or delicious wet cat food....mandarin oranges. 
Not an electric can opener, either, I might add.  We have an old twister model, because we don't eat a whole lot of food out of cans.
So...what just happened?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Quite Like Progress

More like five inches of knitted buffoonery.

You didn't know there was such a thing as knitted buffoonery, did you?

Here's me, measuring my daughter's chest size so I can decide what size to make this top:

Me: How big are Punky's boobs?
Punky's Sister: They're freaking HUGE!
Me: I know, right? Oh-mah-gawd...

And so, I cast on approximately 800 million stitches and got started on The Shirt Of Huge Boobness. 

A couple of inches into it, I start thinking "what exactly constitutes 'freaking HUGE', anyway? I mean I know her bra size, but when the nearest pattern size is actually 3 inches larger than that, even allowing for the probability that she'll wear a bra and a tank top under might not be the boobs that are huge, but the shirt.

Luckily, there are plenty of places in this pattern to make huge-ness disappear.  Like everything else in life, we're winging it. I post the completed picture with my kid wearing the top, can you do me a favor and act like we've never had this conversation about her boobs? Thanks--you're a peach.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Any Excuse To Stay In My Jammies

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  Oh, Sorry--there was a piece of lint stuck between the Z and the shift key.

Come to think of it, the food particles hiding in this keyboard are enough to horrify all but the laziest of housekeepers...funny how I treat my most-used possessions with such disdain.  My car practically has to beg me for an oil change, the computer keyboard crackles under the influence of toast crumbs and it's been years since the vagina was in for maintenance.



Some of that is true.

This week we had St. Patrick's Day, or, Rookie Night at the bar, as we like to call it.  A friend of mine posted some wacky St. Pat's pics on their FB account which consisted of some drunk guys in kilts and some drunk guys mooning the camera to reveal that they were wearing boxer shorts with the word "Irish" written across the ass.  In the background of the the photos (and this is priceless), my father, sitting at the bar, with the "What a couple of idiots" look on his face.  

He received a patent for that look in 1978.

My St. Patrick"s Day celebration was a lot like my Saturday, March 19th at 11:30 in the morning celebration.  Me, at home, thinking, "I should probably take a shower and get out and do something..."

As I understand it, and I am certainly no historian, the only reason I would be considered Irish is because James VI didn't like my bad-ass family stomping around near the northern border of England so he shuffled us out of Scotland and into Northern Ireland, where we continued our "Piss On You ALL!!" battle cry until famine forced us to America, where someone decided that anyone who had ever set foot on the Emerald Isle must consume mass quantities of crappy beer at least once a year.  

We figured that was as good an excuse as any.

Thinking of it now, I wonder if that ancient event sparked my current loathing of "tradition":

King James: You and your people are annoying the hell out of me.  I'm sending you to Ireland.
Clan Kerr:  What?  Fuck that!
King James:  You'll eat the same food and wear the same clothes.
Clan Kerr:  You're not serious!
King James:  Oh, and one more thing--they're Catholic, so behave yourselves.
Clan Kerr:  Catholic?  Bloody hell...

I've been all "don't tell me what to do" my whole life.  Could it be that it's just in the blood?  Even if it isn't, I'm making that my new excuse.

As I am writing this, my 15-year-old is scolding me because I am still wearing pajamas.  Scolding, from the child who usually doesn't see daylight until well past noon on any day in which school is not in session.  Today she's awake, and dressed.  Today.

Don't tell me what to do...I'm pulling the Northern Border Warrior Clan card.

Pajamas for all!  On to battle!

Sure, the "Don't tell me what to do" thing gets me into some uncomfortable situations here and there.  Ever tried to explain to your mom why you don't "do" church, without hurting her feelings?  Tough gig.  And being one of those people who would rather live on the street than accept a hand-out from a certified asshole has led to a few lean times.  

Better hungry than fat with strings attached, I say.

Hopefully I will turn out the way my father did:  70-odd years old, a seat with his name on it at the local watering hole, and allowed to call an idiot an idiot without being lectured by some PC drama-squad.

What else do you really need?