Thursday, September 30, 2010

Takes Pains For Beauty

I had a chance to come up to Lake Tahoe today. My husband suggested I take some time to myself and after kicking and screaming that it was too complicated to pull out of my daily-routine, I did it.

The main purpose of this trip was to relax and I did the opposite of relax by riding my mountain bike up some mountains. It was monumental. It wiped me out. I may have to cut this post short so I can go drive myself to dinner because I really really want a steak.

I rode on the Flume Trail. Only, to ride the Flume Trail you have to ride about five miles to get to it and they're all up hill in sand. Not pleasant. Beautiful, breathtaking and completely peaceful, but a very strenuous ride, for me at least, in sand. The sand makes it feel like you're riding over glue and your bike is struggling to go. Then there's the altitude. And I didn't have coffee this morning. All I know is that it was a struggle and I nearly turned around a few times.

You see, my mind and my body were in collusion. They were telling this cheerful little optimist cheerleader side of me that they couldn't do it. That perky self just kept saying that they can do it! They told her they didn't HAVE to do it, so why bother? This was supposed to be fun and it wasn't fun. The cheerleader can be a real bitch, though, and she won.

When I finally got to the Flume Trail, I wasn't so sure about this either. I used to ride single-track all the time, but since I only ride fire roads any more, I'm not as confident. After rounding a switchback through boulders, I got to the flat part that I had heard about. You know what else I heard about? That the Flume is right on the edge of a cliff. It is.

I was a lot more scared than I would have thought I'd be. Eventually, though, I got used to it and it was the most beautiful ride I've ever done.

The whole ride, start to finish took me four-hours. I drank my entire camelback of water and even fell towards the end. I haven't fallen off my bike in so long I can't remember. But it hurts to go up and down stairs. And I bled but didn't have any bandages. (That skin tear in my knee might look small, but it's deep.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not Launching Rockets Over Here

I never did find anything dead in my house. And the flies disappeared. I'm sure it's another case of me worrying about nothing.

Today I was sewing on the blouse/shirt that I've been sewing for about a week now and I sewed in the sleeves finally. They're a bit puffed and banded at the elbow. I thought they'd be great to cover up my scar. The first one was such a challenge to get in because of the gathers. I'm sure if I had not cut corners when making them, it would have been easier. Who knew that those little triangles aren't just for show on the pattern?

The second sleeve went in very easily. Except that I put in on inside out. I ripped it out and the second time it went in easy, too, which was a relief. Except that I put in on inside out AGAIN. The third time was a charm, but when I tried it on, it looked ridiculous. It looks much better without the darned sleeves at all. At this point, I'm not sure what to do. Do I want to try to make the same sleeves less puffy or make different sleeves altogether? Or damn the sleeves and leave them off?

I like challenges and puzzles most of the time. I'm trying to look at this project as a puzzle to be solved. And I had the realization that if it's totally confusing in the directions, I just need to think about what I want the results to be. It's not rocket science. Though, at this point, I might be able to launch a rocket faster than I can sew a simple pattern.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Did The Cat Drag In?

And speaking of critters. I discovered something accidentally a few years ago. If you kill a mouse in a mouse-trap and forget to check, after it's been dead for a while you might have gigantic flies. There is some kind of fly that hangs around dead things and I've been very wary whenever I've seen them.

While I've been wasting my afternoon on the computer, I've heard a buzzing in the window. Then I went downstairs for something that I honestly can't remember what it was now, I heard it again. I opened our French doors and let out a small bird sized fly - only to discover another one on the wall.

I don't smell anything, but that doesn't mean anything. I need to search my corners and crevices for something my cat may have brought in. As if I don't have enough stuff that I'm avoiding by going onto the Internet - geesh!

Reading, Writing and a Rat

I've been reading more than I've been writing lately. Mostly I'm reading blogs - crafty sewing blogs - but a little bit of this and that, too. I read about Eating and Praying, but I've been distracted from the Loving, so I've got to go back to that.

What I realize is that I love reading the craft blogs, but I don't think this will ever really be one. My craftiness drags out eons before I finish anything and I don't know about you, but my attention span wouldn't last for me so I don't know how yours would.

No, instead, I'm just floundering trying to find a topic. Or a theme. Or a thread of something to write about. I had a big audience when I wrote about feminist topics, but I don't feel like being controversial these days. And it's either confrontational or preaching to the choir anyway. Too much energy. (Though, I have something to say about Katy Perry and Sesame Street.)

The posts that I enjoy writing the most are about my misadventures with critters. Spiders, mostly. I feel like the dad in A Christmas Story who is continually confounded by the neighbor's dogs. Everywhere I turn there is a doggone spider! Like yesterday when I went to walk out my front door and there was one dangling right at eye-level. I didn't have anything to knock it down with so I threw handfuls of pine needles at it until the web came down. Yes, that does mean that I need to sweep.

Is that all? Spiders? And what about the title here? Can't Holder Tongue is like I have something sharp to say that anyone with manners would keep to themselves. I don't say all the catty little things about the goings on in my 'hood because that would be downright rude, wouldn't it. And you never know who's reading, after all.

Well, the identity crisis will have to linger for now. Just like that itty-bitty spider the size of a pin-head that has taken up residence behind my kitchen faucet. I can't bring myself to kill the little guy. (But I did buy glue traps to catch a rat - if its still around.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reggie Bush Part II or Welcome To Heaven

Yeah. I didn't know the whole story. I still stand by all my conceptual arguments but I didn't have the whole story there.

But let me tell you...I'm in heaven sitting next to my husband while he's watching Michigan State playing football - especially if they're winning (right now they're tied), with a beer in my hand and the sound of a violin being played by a rookie child downstairs. And, I might add, with my dog on the floor next to me and my laptop on my lap.

But then again, I'm easy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bummed and Blurred

I'm kind of rough on my glasses. I put them down where I need to and that includes on the seat of my car, on my night table and thrown into my purse if need be. It eventually takes its toll on my glasses - as can be expected. I've owned this pair for about three years now, and if you wear glasses, you know that its one year past replacement time. These glasses are so scratched up that it's a distraction.

I love my frames so I called to see if my place had the same ones. They had one pair left and they were discontinued, but bonus! 50% off. My prescription was overdue (by a year) and I had to get it renewed. This time, instead of correcting to 20/40 as I normally do, I corrected to 20/20 as every else does. (That's a long story that I won't tell right now.) When ordering lenses, they always try to up-sell you on those coatings. I don't normally get them, but given the state of the previous pair, I went ahead and splurged.

It took seven business days to get my new glasses in and when I put them on, I was immediately enamored! They were clean, shiny and everything was CLEAR! I was in bliss for the entire rest of the day. My car windows were super clean, too, so it was like seeing through magic. 

The lady who gave them to me taught me how to care for them and gave me the special wipes and I have been super-duper careful. I haven't been just throwing them down on any old thing to put my sunglasses on or to take them off at night. I've gently placed them on soft things and minded what I'm doing.

Then yesterday, I ran some errands, which included a stop at the grocery store. It was extremely sunny so I did the sunglasses/glasses switch on the way in and on the way out again. I put the glasses on my purse when I got in my car and drove to pick up my kids from school. Only when I got there, I couldn't find my glasses. 

I looked high and low. I cleaned my car twice. Once a half-assed job and once a thorough, no mistake about it cleaning. The glasses were not in there. I put on the old, scratched up, blurry things and cleaned my purse out for the third time. Thinking I didn't put them on my purse from the grocery store as I thought, I finally called the grocery store at 8:00pm. I knew they wouldn't have them, but I had to try. 

They had them. 

I drove down to the store and picked up something I forgot. I ran into my daughter's teacher and met his wife and these young guys were looking at me. They weren't looking at me in a checking-me-out kind of way, but definitely interested in me. I got to the register and realized that I had clipped a giant flower to my hair when I cleaned out my car. I must have looked a bit odd - thus the staring. It made me laugh with embarrassment, which in turn made the cashier think I was flirting with him, which made him misunderstand me that I needed him to page someone to Customer Service, because he didn't. 

I waited and waited and another woman showed up and waited with me. She went to ask - again - for a little help but then she left. Finally, I called the store from my cell phone and the guy walked out from behind the door not five-feet from me to FINALLY help me. And I was reunited with my glasses. 

They have a MASSIVE scratch on them. My lovely new glasses are wrecked. I think that it's just that damn coating mostly, so I'll try to get them fixed. I'm sure it will turn into needing to replace the lenses. And you can bet that I'm never getting that damn coating ever again. The sad part is that I haven't had them a week yet and I have to wear my back up, scratched up, blurry things until I get them fixed. I'm so sad. Even the memory of the flower in my hair isn't cheering me up. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reggie Bush

My husband watches sports and when I pass by the TV, I'll pick up a few bits and bobs of what they're saying but I don't really know what context to put it in. Sometimes I'll let it slide and sometimes I'll investigate further. It is in this manner that I discovered Reggie Bush's Heisman Scandal.

From what I can garner from reading a few other sources, he did not act in a becoming manner during his time at USC where he earned the trophy. Not knowing more than just a little bit about this, it is already a complicated issue for me. Should he be punished for taking gifts and favors offered upon him by his superiors? Does he have the power to say no?

We have Fraternization and Sexual Harassment rules and laws so that those in power don't abuse those beneath them. It is difficult to stand up for yourself when authorities above you are imposing poor morals down to you. Can you walk away and say you don't want to participate? Sure. But what if that is your only chance?

I admit that I don't know the circumstances of Reggie Bush's tale, but if he's just a good high school player - we'll say great - and he is recruited by school A, B and C. He will choose the one that will give him the best deal. He'll choose the one that will give him the best future. What other schools did he turn down to go to USC? Would he have ended up in the NFL had he gone to another school? Would he have won the Heisman if he had been at another school?

Can we expect a young high school student to stand up morally to a huge institution?

And then there is the question that I ponder in so many areas. Does a person's art stand alone or do you need to view it within the context of their lives? Miles Davis was a wife beater. I cannot stand Miles Davis. Axl Rose was also a wife beater. I like his music more than Miles Davis's, but I still cannot disconnect the information. I can't appreciate their art without thinking about their personal lives.

Can we appreciate great accomplishments without acknowledging moral failings?

There are people who stand up to moral dilemmas and make the right choices, even when they are hard, all the time. It should be something we all should strive for in our own lives and we shouldn't idolize cheaters. But when you make mistakes, do they have to follow you around for the rest of your life? Should you be able to make amends? Should Bush have his trophy for what happened on the field taken from him for what took place off the field? Perhaps. What if he showed remorse and performed public service or gave scholarships to less fortunate athletes? Can moral character be improved? Can mistakes be forgiven?

I don't know. It's complicated to me. Is it complicated to you?

Monday, September 13, 2010


I like to celebrate. In fact, I'm going to be celebrating my birthday soon. And we'll be celebrating my youngest daughter's birthday - again - coming up here. I say again because we've had a small immediate family celebration and when they were on vacation, she celebrated again on her birthday. Unfortunately, she missed having a friend-party where here friend's celebrate with her. So we'll do that now. A month late.

I was hoping - like a bad mother - that she would forget so I wouldn't have to throw a party for her, but I just adore my small child and want her to stay out of that proverbial therapist's office, if you know what I mean. So let the planning begin! I think there will be miniature golfing involved and cake and presents.

My own birthday includes a visit to the Oncologist. It seems strange to me to see one now that I'm trying to make a mohill out of my mountain. But if ever there was cause for celebration, being cancer free sure is one of them.

As for yellow now, my favorite color, the celebration is over at Made, one of my new favorite places to spend my Internet time. Check things out over there when you get a chance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today's To Do

I'm sitting in my own personal fog. I didn't get enough sleep last night and my coffee switch hasn't turned on yet. I have a teensy little headache and pain through my neck and shoulders. I think my pillow sucks.

What I do have, however, is the knowledge that my entire day spreads out before me like a blank page. With writing on it. With a To-Do list on it, because I'm going to clean today. Everything on the outside of my house, including my gutters and the two spider egg sacks that I can see outside my kitchen window.

And since I'm a Soccer Mom now, I'm going to take in a soccer game.

Then, like the dessert that you can't wait to finish dinner for, I'm going to sew a blouse. I have the material laundered and ironed and the pattern is waiting patiently for me to finish my chores. It's going to be a great day.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Covered in Spiders

My usually white car has been yellow. As in, yellow from the tree sap that drops on my car and makes it not white anymore. I have been waiting for it to wash itself, but I've been waiting in vain. Clearly, I had to pay someone. Somewhere.

Being a cheapskate, I decided to wash it myself. It's something I've been avoiding for a while because I've got that Marin County Guilt that rears its ugly head whenever I do something environmentally inappropriate. Washing it myself is a no-no because I don't have waste-water collection capabilities here. But screw it. I also don't water my plants and sometimes (shhh! It's a secret...I don't shower every day.) I figure I've got some water use available to me and I'm still ahead of the game. I'll also have you know that I have only washed my car about 4 or 5 times since I've owned it (6-years) so I think I'm good.

I got out the front hose and it sprayed me something fierce from the nozzle malfunction. Then I dragged the newer-nicer back hose to the front and turned it on. I sprayed my car really well and sort of had a moment of craziness where I started spraying everything in the front! I sprayed all the spider webs that polka-dotted our ivy. I sprayed all the webs off the shrubs and the tree in the front and even the trampoline. Somewhere in the middle of this, I realized that I had a (pretty big) orb spider dangling off my arm. I could feel the weigh of the web, which felt strange. I, of course, started my scared screaming that is sort of a ooohhhhaah! sound. I thought I got it off but saw it again. More screaming and shaking and panicking. And then it was off.

I proceeded to soap up my car and scrub and rinse. Then I looked down and saw a giant black spider right on my arm! Another panicked scream and I hit the damn thing off me. Only to discover, as you may already realize, that it was my stitches. That hurt. What an idiot.

The remainder of the car came clean without incident and it now it sparkles in the sun.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Wait is Over!

I realized that I forgot to post that I got an All Clear from my doctor. The lab did not find any melanoma in my lymph nodes. Pretty great, huh? It's the best news I have heard - maybe ever. I meant to write it sooner, but I started getting my brain wrapped around living again and must have gotten distracted.

It's been a pretty productive bout of insomnia, but I'm back to bed. I've got to work in a few hours. (boo hiss!)

Selfish Seamstress Tribute

My oldest daughter likes to check out what I'm doing on my computer. She is curious about the interest I have taken in sewing and wants to know what it is that I'm laughing out loud about. It is because of this, she discovered that I read the Selfish Seamstress blog. Selfish Seamstress is very funny and a fantastic sewer and if you read it, you'll even discover that she makes cakes that make me salivate like a dog.

After showing my daughter pictures of Selfish Seamstress (a.k.a. Elaine) she was inspired to draw this:

Just a little something she whipped out in a few seconds. ;)

And perhaps you might like to read her, too.


It's 5am and the only thing sleeping on me is my foot. When I first woke up there was a "2" at the beginning of the time and when it got into the "4's" I decided to just get up. My lymph node incision is hurting a lot tonight and I wonder if I wrecked something in there by lifting a little too much. And the tape that is acting like a set of stitches is starting to come off. (What's the word I can't spell? Sutcher? Soocher? Ahhh! It's Suture!)  Except that I don't know if it's supposed to and where it lifts, it is incredibly sticky. I just tapped it back down so I don't have to deal with that quite yet.

So you get the ramblings of a bleary-eyed woman at this time of - there is no denying it - morning. My dog is confused and starting to make noises at me. However, I got out of bed to download my photos - or should I say liberate the photos in my camera. I will now illustrate the ideas that I have expounded upon on previous occasions.

It brings to mind a quote from a favorite movie, Beautiful Girls. In it, our hero returns home for a high school reunion and reconnects with old friends. One of them, Stinky, if I recall correctly, is now the proprietor of a bar and he gives his friends free appetizers with the phrase, "I've got apps!" So, old friends, I say to you, "I've got pics!"

First, I would like to share my new scar. Not for the faint of heart. Or is that just me?

And, yes, it really is that big.

And I mentioned creating new space for sewing in my office. I've put some before and after pictures in for you. Mind you, these are in our little crawl space and yes, I'm now aware that I really do need to cover that chair.

The pictures don't really show the space well. It's tight in there, but not really. There is no where to stand to take a shot that represents it all at the same time. But's it's my space. Mine all mine.

That's it for now. I didn't get any shots of that skirt I made, so I'll try to get those up too - eventually.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Old Wives Tale: Eating Spiders

I just heard that old wives tale about how many spiders you eat in your lifetime. It's supposed to be something like 15 spiders or maybe 20. I think it's bunk. I happen to know, from experience, that just because a spider crawls on you in the middle of the night, it's not going to accidentally end up in your mouth. It's going to crawl on your arm. And if you have stitches that poke out, it's going to snuggle right in there and hide when you wipe your hand over your arm in the middle of the night.

But the second time you feel that tickle, you will not miss the spider and will throw it against the wall with an audible (albeit small) thud. So you see, the spider will not even make it into your mouth!

The other dumb part of that tale is that even if it did crawl into your mouth, it's not going to crawl down your throat to its death. I think you would choke first, but the spider would figure out it's in the wrong spot and crawl back out of your mouth again. You wouldn't know, you're sleeping. Kind of like when a spider ends up on a trampoline and it doesn't like all the bouncing and screaming when a couple of girls discover that it's there. The spider high-tails it out of there. And fast, too, if the girls are screaming to their mom to "Smash it!" while handing her a metal water bottle.

I've seen enough spiders to know that they will do what they can for self-preservation just as any human would do, too. ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman.") And staying alive is high on the priority list. In fact, spiders can be just as tenacious about getting what they want as any small child who becomes skilled at nagging desired behavior out of their mom. We have several orb spiders building giant webs in the pathway to our front door this summer. No matter how many times I knock down the web before running into it face first, they insist upon rebuilding in the same spot - though, to their credit, they go higher each time and now they're nearly overhead.

But that eating spiders because they end up in our mouths, that's dumb. And since I'm nearly an old wife, you can believe my tales now.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Me Me Me and a Blind Lady

I'm quite self-absorbed these days. I walked up on a conversation with some friends and I realized they weren't talking about me, but a problem that one of them was having and I thought, I didn't know! I'm hoping to stop feeling this way soon. But I'm not holding my breath. I'm supposed to hear from the doctor today, but rather than wait on pins and needles, I'm distracting myself. And, as it turns out, no news is not necessarily good news.

And I wait.

And while we all wait for me, I'll tell you a story that happened to a friend of mine. I would like it noted somewhere in a Big Book that I'm now going to blog about someone other than myself and a problem that is not my own.

My friend has a child that just started Kindergarten. She wanted to get her kid and other kids in that class together for a play-date at a playground. Someone beat her to the punch and started the play-date before she could get around to doing it. It's not that my friend was slow, but she was concerned about not stepping on anyone's toes and moving outside protocol. She is very thoughtful that way. The person who started the play-date just went ahead and did it.

This Other Person set up the play-date at a playground convenient to her. My friend, however would have chosen a different place for the kids to go and she had some Very Legitimate Reasons. The first Reason is that the kids need to go to afternoon Kindergarten after the play-date and it's hard to get the kids neat and tidy for school after they've been playing in sand. Fortunately, there are other playgrounds around that don't have sand and have been re-finished to nearly-new and would make a better choice of locale. The second Reason is a bathroom.

The Other Person, however, turned out to be Blind. Probably not completely blind, but visually impaired enough to not be able to drive and the location the she chose would enable her to walk. Being politically correct and all, my friend went along with the choice of playgrounds even though there is sand because, of course, how can you go against a blind person? Well, I am sorry to say that this is another case of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

In order to let the Other Person have her way, my friend packed up two kids and their gear and toted them to this playground. There was no parking anywhere close because of street cleaning, so she lugged the kids and stuff several blocks. Upon arrival, her child had to go to the bathroom (because they do that) and the bathrooms at this playground were locked. She made her kid go in the bushes and it caused a - shall we say - mishap on the clothes. This caused a lot of tears and unhappiness in the child and how can you blame the kid? Who wants the wet themselves by the time they get into Kindergarten? The troop had to leave the playground before the play-date even began and lug all the stuff several blocks back to the car.

What is my friend to do? She can't take a stand against a Blind Lady. That's got to be stepping over some line and one or the other is going to have people whispering behind her back for years to come. But should she have to go through major inconveniences to participate? If she doesn't participate will her child be socially stunted for years to come? Perhaps my friend should become a little more self-absorbed like me so that she doesn't go out of her way again, only to become completely put out.

Personally, people who are visually impaired get a lot of breaks. Those of us who can't hear for crap never get any sympathy so I'm a bit jealous. I think tough patooties to the Blind Lady and move the playground to a better location. My oldest daughter agrees with me. My youngest daughter thinks the same thing. Maybe each person that goes can take turns carting the Blind Lady to the better location.

Are we going to talk about me again now?