Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shopping for a new home

I would tell you that working at home is nice, and it is, but I'm stressing out this week and am having some trouble summoning the enthusiasm. The workplace where one is told what to do, and most of one's time is wasted, is emotionally draining. But the stress? Low. Being at home and self-employed is emotionally satisfying, and often intellectually stimulating, but... AAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!

More on that later.

Meanwhile, I have also discovered that my adorable little office, the second room of our little "Master suite" of two small bedrooms with a bathroom between them, with the desk at the window so I can see the daylight and the trees and the squirrels... gets very, very hot from around 2 p.m. onward. Hot like, my hands start sweating on the keyboard. And this is with the A/C going.

As a result, I have now moved to the downstairs den, the disgarded, 2nd-class office space, very nice, visually warm, lots of space, good furniture, TV... but no real window to look out of. One ought to feel cut off in this room. I guess I'll find out, but I now know this:

When we start shopping for houses in Florida, windows ALL the way around the office might not be a workable plan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday morning idiocy

Haven't been blogging. Work is piled up. School started again. But I'm around, and I do take the time to read a little casual news with my morning coffee.

Today's gem: Yet again, the Bush administration is suggesting that it's important to choose your words carefully.

The Bush administration is lecturing others on the importance of words.

One more time: Bush


Is it just me?

It is to shake one's head at in disbelief.

How many morons does it take to elect a president? And then do it again?

From, Carter: Anti-Bush remarks 'careless or misinterpreted", "Deupty White House press secretary Tony Fratto, with Bush at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, said Monday: 'I think it just highlights the importance of being careful in choosing your words.'"

Wow, that's some kind of strategery, eh?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Neighborhood Walk program

You know, when you get a puppy, you should be committed to walking it, right?

If you have children, I think maybe you should be committed to at least that level of commitment to their exercise.

But that's a bit of an aside.

I was thinking about how Wil walks home from school every day. He takes the bus in the morning - which is probably a wise control on his time. And he walks home in the afternoon. I think he's taking some pride in having done this now for three semesters in Georgia. He's now 17.

What if our neighborhoods that say they're so much about families and children were to implement a neighborhood walk program? Volunteer-based, with maybe some assistance from the city or county depending on the need. Two adults, preferably from different families, for each day and each route, to walk children home on a set (and published) route. It could even be one adult volunteer and one High School Junior or Senior volunteer - giving our older teens who AREN'T into sports a chance to participate in something physical. They could even win awards, at least certificates, but certainly could have some volunteer work and responsibility to report when applying for jobs.

The idea would be that people who are uncomfortable with having their kids walk home would be able to allow it (or more likely, mandate it) knowing that the walk was supervised. Even better, the walk would be a community involvement for the child.

There are a lot of kinks to consider. The kid across the road from us is learning to play the trombone. That sucker is more than half her size, and she's not all that physical to begin with. That's where I'd start looking for neighborhood donations and other assistance. Professional musicians can get instrument cases with proper straps for one thing - so they can carry over the shoulder or on the back. But would it be enough to, say... have all the kids in the group take turns carrying the heavy loads? I dunno.

And there are other little things. What if one of your neighborhood walkers wants to read from the Bible while the kids walk? What if another one dares to mention he's an atheist?

Each neighborhood could sort something out. Their ability to do so ought to be a fair indication of their real willingness to invest in their kids.

Just a thought. I like the idea, but would I volunteer? Hmm.

Let me consider that AFTER moving to Florida.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Craving order

I'm really starting to loathe the media. It's sad, because I actually generally think the anti-media hype is stupid. But this thing of constantly shocking people is ridiculous.

I just watched a segment on TV about young women taking vows in a strict religious (christian, not that it matters) order. WHY would they do such a thing? WHAT WOULD DRIVE THEM to sacrifice a future of love and family? WHAT KIND OF RELIGIOUS PASSION goes into such a dedication? Oooh, it's so shocking and weird!


It's not weird.

Any 20 year old ought to be able to tell you it's not weird, actually. I did it. I felt it at 15, but I couldn't face telling my parents, so I did nothing about it. What was I considering? The military.

Yeah, I know, it's weird. But I thought about it. I never figured out there were recruiters to talk to, or it probably would have been a done deal. I had NO IDEA how the military thing worked. But I knew this: Once you join, all the answers are their answers. You no longer have to come up with your own, and in fact, you're not supposed to come up with your own.


I think any sane person who stays in the military finds some reason, some purpose. It might be "I'm supporting my family," and it might be, "well, who else is going to tell me what to wear?" but when push comes to shove, young people who join the military do grow up.

And I think sane people who join a religious order go through something of the same. They develop a sense of purpose. It may be twisted and weird to us, but given they've been living in seclusion, it probably feels like it makes sense.

In both groups, I think quite a number started, by and large, here: Wow, I have no purpose, and I have no power, and my current course of action seems so.... meaningless. If I do this other thing, no matter WHAT I do, people will honor me for the choice I've made. My life will MEAN SOMETHING.

It's seductive, as I've said. Especially since you have to make NO personal sacrifice to have it. Yeah, yeah, the show I was watching talked about how these young women had to "give up" their relationships... and I cry, "bullshit." Relationships are HARD. Show me somebody who doesn't think so. Talking to other people is hard. We all know it. I know people who've totally DITCHED other people just cuz they can't be bothered, cuz it's too difficult, because other people have expectations, ugh. So what do you give up when you join a special little nunnery? Oh that's right. You give up...

...all responsibility.

100% of the time, your decisions are made FOR you, by somebody else. You never decide. God has made your decisions, or the order has chosen for you how to relate to God. You're done. The clothes you put on in the morning. The food you eat. The books you read. The time you have to talk to your parents. Decision made.

The show picked on young women that were educated, like education should somehow negate religious passion. Education doesn't provide security, especially for young women. But a religious order?

All the certainty in the world. There will no longer be questions. You'll be safe forever.

I think there's some of that for the soldiers, especially the young soldiers. I understand the financial decision, and I certainly understand the lure of the culture (a little bit of unabashed socialism in an otherwise capitalist society? shoot, I gotta say, I love the military when I'm here in the States). But for some people, I can't believe they AREN'T swayed by the certainty. Here, the rules are set. You do what they say, and you'll be taken care of.

There are no questions.

No wonder this country is so religious.



As a near-40 woman with no babies of her own, I've reached that special time in my life when I wonder things like, "do I love the cat TOO much?"

Thank goodness I'll (probably) outlive her. Yeesh.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Color me drab

I have pretty much settled on the colors for the exterior of our split-level ranch house. It's been in dire need of paint since before we bought it, and now that we've added some patches of white primer over the baby blue siding, we really are going to have to get it painted fast, before we become permanent "bad neighbors."

I showed my colors to Luther, and he said they were pretty boring.

But here's the thing: A split-level ranch IS BORING.

Quick, try this: Go to your nearest paint supplier and look at all the brochures with pictures of houses. Or if you're lazy, do some web surfing on "how to paint your house," and look at all the pretty photos showing examples of how various color combinations work. And tell me, do you see any ranch houses in the examples?


Because they're BORING.

A long time ago, I decided that a small room should be painted a dark color. White paint is not going to make a small room bigger. It's just going to raise the light levels so that you can really see the clutter of trying to crowd your belongings into such a small space. Dark paint... is cozy. It's right for a small space.

Our house is a split-level ranch in an oddly woodland setting in the middle of town. Let it be simple and calm, with colors that blend inoffensively with the trees and the leaves.

That's it. That's my plan.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Last night I had another super dream in which I was a super spy or cop or something or other. It was clear this morning, but I decided not to blog about it, and now it is unclear. If you read my previous blog entry, please note that there is uncertain and unclear, and the former is okay, but the latter is just plain annoying.

In any case, near to the end of the epic dream, I was walking down my street (not at all Virginia Avenue, not quite Alcina in Toronto, not Grace, not... anyplace, but a combination of all), and it was night time, and the sky was crystal clear, and I was looking up and saw one star blink.

It blinked.

And then, it exploded.

I saw a sphere of red light grow out of the star, and then sharpen, and then pull back inward, and the star faded to a dull red, where before it had been white and bright and large.

Then the star fell. And I caught it. It was a mechanism about a foot in diameter. Later, as I was walking up my walkway at my house, the weird guy from halfway down the street came up in a miniature golf cart and didn't say a word about it, just grabbed the mechanism and handed me a floppy credit card and said, "call that number and give them your bank account," and took off down the sidewalk back to his house.

Luther said he'd go watch TV in the basement, so I could call the number. Obviously it would be classified and he shouldn't listen. I scoffed at the whole thing. But I called the number. I was hoping for a big payoff.

I woke up thinking about the lottery.


And then tonight, upset about something and not quite wanting to go to sleep yet, I read the news.

CNN: Giant exploding star outshines previous supernovas

I'm in my jammies. I'd like nothing more than to go for a walk, especially since I can hear the teenager's voice downstairs and don't have my own TV to drown him out. But... I'm in my jammies. And I'm already sleepy. And it's probably cloudy.

But I'm thinking... my exploded star was talking to me.

My very own exploding star.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Shifting gears

Somtimes I am overwhelmed with the anti-uncertainty movement, everybody so certain that "good" can only be defined as "certain" or "reliable" or "dependable," known versus unknown, expected and even required versus unexpected and completely voluntary or even unnecessary or even arbitrary. I feel like the surprising, the frightening happenstance that is the real world has already slipped away, now out of reach, and if I don't concentrate very hard, I'll lose even the memory of truth.

But the truth is this: Sometimes, when you're driving to work at 7:30 in the morning, the clutch in your little Honda del Sol decides to self-destruct. And it's scary because you're in traffic and your car doesn't exactly not-go, instead making rude noises and behaving quite erratically, if that's even a word. Later, after several nice socket wrenches have bit the dust, and your boyfriend has a bruised rib from where the transmission fell on him, you'll get back into your car to drive to work once again, and you won't feel certain about the clutch.

You'll wonder if it could happen again.

And the movement of your car at 75 mph doesn't seem like quite as good an idea as it had previously.

But you keep driving. And when your brakes fail on the way home from work, you still don't actually crash into anything, but you consider the possibility on several occasions. And the next time you get to drive the car, you put your foot on that brake pedal and cringe inwardly, almost certain that it won't work, and the car will not stop after all, even though it has a brand new (actually, refurbished) brake master cylindar. You're almost certain that there is never a way to stop, ever again.

The truth is this: There is no certainty at all, even about the bad and scary things. The brakes will work most of the time, and sometimes they won't work, and you'll drive to work at 75 mph knowing this. And really, isn't that pretty marvelous? What an adventure!

But I'm surrounded by people who don't want to be on an adventure, you see. And they'll insist, every time something scares them, that the world must be changed to ensure that this something can never, ever happen again. So they close their emotional fists around all the somethings, and they shut out possibility altogether, leaving only a sweaty palm and darkness.

I'm going to put this blog to rest soon. I might start another. Or I might not. I really don't know what will happen.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Semi-live blogging: The GOP debate

8:39 pm

They were all looking surprisingly good for a bit, there. I disagreed with them on several points, but I was impressed with some on several other points. One fellow - I think it was Huckabee, but I'm not sure - actually said what I've been waiting for: "What we did with Iraq was wrong. It was a mistake. But we can't leave, because we have to clean it up." I'm paraphrasing. I'd go further. But I was surprised to hear it.

Sadly, they turned to Roe v. Wade. All but Gulianni made me ill. And Gulianni left it up to States' rights, which I don't believe in.

Made me ill. I can't help it.

Now (8:41) they're talking faith. Ugh.

I'm thinking, could it be that the U.S. shows that I watched as a child were Canadian-version U.S. shows? Because I remember when the U.S. was founded on reason, not faith.

But the GOP says it was otherwise.

8:45 pm

Okay, Gulianni needs to stop talking about what he DID, and start talking about what he thinks and believes. Yes, a record is important, but we can look the record up. The news people will surely do it for us, when they've got some down time. This is an opportunity to respond to some questions, and when you veer away from them, you better have something more to say than, "when I was Mayor of New York..."

8:48 pm

Wow, they're totally losing me now. I mean, I could never embrace a GOP candidate, but now I'm creeping out on them.

Also, let us note that McCain had better be GONE after this. He's been tanking already, but tonight he totally lost it. Yeah, let's attack Iran. Good choice. Way to go.

8:57 pm

One thing I've liked about Gulianni in this debate is that he's at least once said, "it's up to the judges." I am sick to death of these "leaders" failing to recognize the rule of law and the constitutional role of the judiciary. "Activist judges" indeed --it is their JOB to decide how the Constitution applies to present-day matters. You don't like it? Tough.

We just had a break. We left the TV on, but we talked about Obama. He worries me. I'm about ready to buy a t-shirt, and he worries me. I'm not sold. Mainly, I don't think that I can "vote" (support: I can't vote, so it's a virtual thing) for somebody who says we have to get out of Iraq. I agree, yes, we have to get out. But we can't JUST LEAVE. We put them where they are, and we made a mistake. As I said earlier, we need to admit the mistake --as a nation, we ought to apologize to the Iraqi people, actually, and bizarrely I think that would help, at least with the educated population that understands how this representative democracy works. We made a mistake as a nation, but now we're going to stay because we have to help clean it up.

NO democrat has the nerve to do this, yet. But Luther makes this point: There are stages to the nomination and election process. Now is not that time.

That's fine, but Obama better leave that window open if he wants to do something grand. Leave it open just a crack. Say you want our troops home. But say you need to become leader first, before you can get all the intelligence necessary to figure out how to do it best.

Back to the stupid GOP...

9:03 pm

WOW. Mcain, paraphrased: We have to make the tax cuts permanent, and we have to cut some expenditures.

I used to semi-like McCain. That's what started the Obama talk -- Luther and I were talking about how McCain has to win so far before he can show his true colors. And I'm sorry, but no. He's too much of a whore now. It's sickening. Whey would we have any reason to think he wouldn't be like this as a leader?

9:08 pm

Wow. This is actually pretty interesting! But the wine with dinner is hitting my brain to the point that even if you were interested in this topic (which you probably weren't), I wouldn't satisfy you. I shall add links to any pertinent blogs I find.



9:11 pm I CAN'T HELP IT

Is the time oddly freakish?

Are there any of you who don't believe in evolution? Three GOP candidates reased their hands.

McCain said he believed in evolution, but then spouted some nonsense about a sunset in the Grand Canyon.

Expletive expletive expletive.


The question was flawed, of course. One doesn't "believe" in evolution.



Okay, really, I'm done.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I just won $10,000,000! Now I know it's real!

I've been entering Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes lately. Anybody with half a brain knows that the odds of winning are... ridiculous. But then again, it takes 10 seconds to enter.

In today's entry email, PCH reports that they awarded a winner and got a less than satisfying response at the door, and it made it to the television, and they're awfully disappointed. So for this sweepstakes, they've created an acceptance script. If I say the lines when they come to my door to award me $10,000,000, I'll win an extra $5000 on the spot! Woot!

"I just won $10,000,000! Now I know it's real! There's no way in hell I'm going to win anything, but I'm rehearsing my lines JUST IN CASE!"

If I win, I'm giving the $5000 to charity. But I'm keeping the $10,000,000. All of it.