Saturday, March 28, 2009

Keeping Warm and the Butt-Wiping Invention That Changed Our Lives

I find it oddly comforting that pretty much any question you can think of, no matter how bizarre or random, someone somewhere has taken the time to research this odd thought you've had; you know, the one you thought no one else would ever think; and they've posted the answer somewhere on the internet.  And there it sits, just waiting for you to Google it up from wherever it is that sleepy little known facts hibernate. 

WARNING:  Possibly dangerous practices will be discussed in next paragraph.  I'm NOT suggesting this as a solution to anything, I'm just saying that my family does it.  I'm sure we do a lot of things other people should NEVER do (we're risk takers), so...keep that in mind.

Note that the image above, by mrbill of Flickr, shows no setting for "popsicle toes." This is an oversight by the manufacturer, I'm sure.

It's extraordinarily and unseasonably cold today in Missouri.  Yeah, I know...the whole country has whacked out weather right now, we're not special.  Toward the end of last year, we discovered that our electric bill was much lower if we set the oven on about 350 degrees and left the oven door open a bit instead of only running our furnace.  I'm not really sure why that is, being they're both electric, but for some reason it works.  It keeps the furnace from running constantly trying to keep up.  Maybe we just have a really old furnace, and a really efficient stove, I don't know.  What I do know is that it lowered our electric bill...a lot.  So being that my toes were about to fall off and turning blue (I have issues with shoes; I simply don't wear them at home...ever) I walked to the kitchen to do the usual "stove thing."  As I set the stove on pre-heat, it occurred to me that I had no idea why I needed to pre-heat it and not just set it to bake.  Why do I think of things like that?  Seriously, I'd like to know.  Because the next time I sit down on the toilet, I guarantee I'll probably sit there and wonder something equally abstract like...who invented toilet paper? that I've wondered it, I'll have to Google that too. *sigh*

Googlemomma to the rescue!  I shall find our answers!  YAY for Howstuffworks!  And I quote,"The idea of preheating an oven is to get all of the air in the oven up to the proper temperature so that the burner does not have to come on very often or for very long."  Well what the hell?  How could I live 45 years without knowing that?  Also...pre-heating, I come to find out, excelerates the speed of heating, whereas if you just set the oven to bake, the heat rises more slowly.  Pre-heating also keeps things from burning (when you're cooking, not heating your house) because it keeps the infrared radiation from the burner to a minimum.  There's more information on the above linked page about broiling too, because some other strange person wondered about broiling, apparently.

How can a mother cook for 20 years without knowing these things?  I bet everyone else already knew all of this, and as usual, I'm the last to know. 

DISCLAIMER:  Don't try this at home if you have a gas stove, particularly if you have a gas stove and you are a smoker.  I think there's a very good chance that could be...uhm...dangerous.

Sidenote:  If the toilet paper question is really nagging you's the answer.

Note that in this image of our often-taken-for-granted-daily-butt-wiping-invention (by [s e l v i n] of Flickr), someone has managed in blatantly grievous error, to turn the roll the WRONG direction.  Don't even try debating this topic with me, I'm very stubborn about this.


*I'd like to take this moment to thank the Chinese.  For had it not been for you, it might have taken us much longer to have arguments with our spouses about the way the roll goes on the holder.  I have a deep sense of gratitude for this, among other things.  Ni hao.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Who are YOU, and What Have You Done With My Date?

This morning I woke up a bit earlier than usual, and before my usual date with The Best Defense and In Session on CourtTV (or TruTV, whatever stupid name they've given it now), there was an infomercial on.  Now, I'm not usually one for watching informercials.  I think they're generally an insult to our intelligence.  But this one was different.  It was an insult to our intelligence with built in LOLs.

The infomercial was for Kymaro from  Yeah, I know...sounds like a character on World of Warcraft that is working for a Chinese gold farming business selling game currency.  If you're not a PC gamer and that comment makes no sense, I'm sorry, but trust's true.

Anyway, so I proceed to stare at the screen, coffee in hand, as we're "treated" to multiple before and after shots of some rather fluffy women (I don't like the word fat).  So yeah, the full body girdle they're trying to sell...actually appears to work.  But as I'm sitting there thinking it might be nice to have one of these full-body-condom-suit-flab-filter-thingiemajiggers, this scene runs through my mind:


Interior Random Urban Nightclub, 1 am
Neon light drenched, strobe lit, active bar scene. 

VOICE OVER (Handsome Guy at Bar speaking):

"Suddenly I saw her.  She seemed perfect in every way...gently flowing long blonde hair, sun-caressed silky smooth skin, slinky black dress, cherry red lips, and mossy green sparkling eyes that begged attention.  I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.  I had to speak to her, to explore the possibilities..."

POV Handsome Guy at Bar: moves toward Attractive Woman.

CLOSE UP Attractive Woman's eyes as her eyes meet his.

Handsome Guy at Bar:

"Hey, Baby, whatch doin' tonight after you leave this joint?  Wanna come over to my place for a drink, maybe watch a movie, get to know each other, just chill?"

Seemingly Slim Woman at Bar:
(Ignore the apparent lack of common sense in this reply...hey, I mean, it's just what randomly ran through my head, but I'd have probably smacked him, myself, and she...should have...even though this was just my mind's interpretation of the consequences of buying the body-condom-suit-flab-filter-thingiemajigger.)

"Well sure, Baby, that sounds like fun!"


(30 minutes later)

EXTERIOR NIGHT Guy's car pulling into his townhouse drive.

*cut to Guy's living room*

Slim Woman:

"I know why you invited me over, so let's just cut to the chase and get it on, Baby."

Handsome Guy:

"Oh, I knew...I knew you were just what the doctor ordered."

Slim Woman:  (Amused and delighted by this amorous new acquaintance...giggles)

"Well just let me go to the bathroom and freshen up a bit."

Handsome Guy:

"No problem, Sweet Thing.  It's right there. (motions in direction of bathroom)
I'll be waiting, but don't be long."

POV Handsome Guy:  Watches as she gracefully walks to the bathroom and turns once inside, offering him a last little peek at her flirtatious eyes as she peeks around the door while closing it.

Handsome Guy begins to pour himself another drink.

Meanwhile in the bathroom, Slim Woman struggles to get out of full-body-condom-suit-flab-filter-thingiemajigger, in order to surprise him in all her generous glory.

(45 minutes later)

Handsome Guy has fallen asleep from drinking too much whiskey and is snoring on the couch.

Slim Woman quietly walks over to him, naked, and gently nudges him...

He wakes and begins screaming at the top of his lungs. 

Handsome Guy:

"OMG OMG OMG...who  ARE you and what have you done with my date?!  I'm calling the police!"

And the morale of this story is:

Lies, even if they seem like a good idea at the time...always catch up with you.

Think I'll pass on ordering the full-body-condom-suit-flab-filter-thingiemajigger, at least for now.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

I have TURNED into my Mother, not that Mom's boobs are that bad....oh nevermind.

Am I happy about it? Gee, I don't know...would YOU be happy if YOUR boobs were being horrifyingly distorted by gravity, and because they were huge (thanks Mom), you had to wonder if you'd wake up tomorrow with them smacking you in the shins?

Seriously, I remember thinking when I was younger that I didn't want to grow up to be like my parents. Afterall...I was going to be "kewl" (only back then, we spelled that "cool"). Yet here I am at the tender age of 45, grieving the loss of not only my perky boobies, but my perky mind, which has acquired many of Mom's traits, first and foremost that of needing anti-depressants, and a lot of caffeine to even be able to remember my own name.

To Have Big Dreams and Goals, and Be Such a Noob

Most of what we do in life begins with a thought, a decision, and then an action. Granted, some things are ruthlessly thrust upon us not allowing any of the above. Those things, I think we all just stumble through, hoping we've got enough inner fortitude to somehow surf those unexpected waves and come out on the other side intact. But do you ever feel like you've made a conscious decision to do something and yet once you begin to act on that decision, it comes equipped with all of the unpredictable stress of those "unexpected waves" sort of things? Why is that? I had the thought, I made the decision, I took the action, and suddenly I feel like I'm not in control. What the hell?

I read more than a handful of blogs, and over the past year, I've never bothered to comment on most of them or make my presence known in any way. That wasn't because I was trying to be mean, or that I didn't care. These bloggers were (and truthfully, still are) so intimidating to me. Some of them are so ridiculously skilled at writing, that I feel altogether blessed and cursed to be reading them. Now, when I make a comment, I'm sure most of them have no clue how difficult and scary it is for me to leave my thoughts there, for those fantastic writers to read, and perhaps judge.

When I was very young, I had a sixth grade teacher named Miss McKinney. She gave us an assignment to write a story, a "novelette," I believe she called it. I can't remember, it was a very very long time ago. I wrote a suspense story called "Suite 800." It was about a haunted hotel. In sixth grade, I remember it being very scary to even write it. But Miss McKinney loved it (or said she did) and encouraged me to continue writing. She told me she believed that I had discovered a previously hidden talent, and that it was very special.

As the years flew by, I continued to write. I wrote poetry that was published. I wrote songs that were not (I used to play guitar and piano). I wrote letters. I wrote journals. I wrote....all the time. By the time I was in college, I had found other skills that I had some inclination toward, and I majored in graphic design. Yeah, this was a strange choice considering that I had always wanted to be a writer. I can't explain that decision. But to make a very long story a tiny bit shorter...writing began to fall by the wayside for me. After college I started a small business doing CD cover and ebook cover designs. I quit writing, for the most part.

There used to be so many things to write about. Honestly, you could have given me any topic or idea, and it would have streamed from my pen (pen, yes, it was a long time ago) into some semi-brilliant and beautiful thing. Now I'm almost half a century old, and really really want to write. Yet, I feel like the part of me that used to write so eloquently, with such passion and resolve, has somehow been crushed under the weight of just living and raising children, being married and working, and just spending so many years not paying attention to life outside of my own isolated bubble of existence.

At the point of tears I sit here typing, longing to find that part of myself again, and yet, she feels so far away, so disconnected from the woman that sits here today. I don't know her any more. She's gotten lost somewhere in the past; a past that was spent doing and being and fulfilling all kinds of other roles.

There are so many blogs in the blogosphere, all floating about, most unread by anyone other than their writer and perhaps a few close friends or family. I know that most people aren't interested in reading what some 45 year old woman did today, or had for breakfast, or even necessarily her life's "revelations." What do I really have to contribute other than half a century of my own personal life and all of its details? I'm not a comedienne, like The Bloggess or Her Bad Mother, who is also ridiculously gifted at one line Tweets that make you spew coffee out of your nose. All I have to me. And I want to be genuinely me. Yet, I don't really know who that is anymore, so how can I share that with someone else? I'm pretty sure that no one wants to read the story of me rediscovering myself either. That just seems like it would be literary public masterbation. I don't think that sounds very appealing either.

So to get back to the point I was trying to make in the first paragraph...I made this decision to blog. I'm blogging, right now, for me. But I'm not going to lie and say that I don't care if anyone reads it. Of course I do. I think that most everyone that has a blog that they work on, wants people to read it, wants comments, wants that feeling of involvement with a community of other writers and readers, and I love to read other peoples' blogs. I just love it. I know I need to comment more often, because I know that those comments are precious to a writer, and I've begun to do that. But in this state of blogging "infancy," I have to say that I feel very lost, very alone, and very hungry to just write, whether those writings are read or not, I can't determine. I just know...I must write.

The wave is cresting behind me...

I hope I can ride it out.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When it's Time to Start Over

My son, Levi, has been such a catalyst in my life so very many times, and I'm quite sure that he doesn't know that little tidbit of information. It might be best if that stays our little secret. I wouldn't want him to have any more "dirt" on his momma. Generally, parents are teachers, and I do think that I taught my son a few things, although probably not always good things. At the same time, I think we often forget how much we can learn from our children. Levi had a rough beginning to his year, and it got me to thinking about actions, consequences, and being pro-active rather than just letting life happen to you.

I haven't been active at blogging for quite some time now. It's not that my life was without things to blog about, it's just that my head has not been in the blogosphere enough to read or write. I've barely been able to simply think. But life has seasons, and it's been a long winter. In the past my blog entries have been predominantly about things that have inspired or angered me. They were topics that often caused me to reflect on my life, my actions, and reactions. This is where the "ferocious dust bunnies" come into play.

Dust bunnies. We've all had them. They seem innocuous enough, particularly when they're not blatantly obvious and they're just hiding somewhere under the bed. They're easy to forget least for me. Anyone that knows me very well knows that I'm not the tidiest of people. I like housecleaning almost as much as I like a root canal....almost. Oh, don't get me wrong. I love the end result. I just don't love the process. But cleaning, both houses and lives, is a needful thing, and eventually I'll end up having to suck it up and just do it (on both fronts).

Dust bunnies are a funny thing. As a metaphor, they're both a bit gross, and a bit cute. I guess it depends on how you look at them. Real dust bunnies (you know, the kind that actually make homes under your literal bed) can be quite filthy. They can have mites and other non-cute things in them. Ewwww. On the other hand, someone somewhere along the way called them "bunnies" because they can resemble fluffy little...well...bunnies. And there's nothing about a bunny that isn't pretty goshdern cute. I should know, I used to have five Holland Lop rabbits as pets. My house was FULL of bunnies back then (both the dusty kind, and the furry, floppy-earred kind).

My blog has developed the not so cute kind of virtual dust bunnies. I know this because after this long "winter" I came back and "looked under the bed." It's time to sweep them out and start over. So what does that mean for this weblog? It means there's going to be a lot more going on here! It means that I've re-discovered and re-connected with purpose and meaning, and it means that I want to be part of something bigger than myself, a community of dedicated writers. It means I'm making a commitment to deal with dust bunnies, both the "ewww gross" kind and the cute and cuddly caricature kind. I hope you'll join in.