Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Canned vs. Fresh

This is a MySpace Blog I wrote a while back that seems appropriate today. I had a consult with the dental-implant doctor today and am overwhelmed with how much the whole project will cost. I have no choice, I need to have my teeth repaired. I am looking for avenues to finance all this but most feel like grave robbing. I just want to rest my head on the table and think about something else. I'm going to go scrub floors, as befits my washerwoman tax bracket. And my plan is to scare up some cheer before I write again (we're going to go see Sex and the City 2 which should help).

Blog Redux (I'll probably pull out a few others at some point):

" So I don't have a lot of regrets about my past. Except: I regret that I chickened out and didn't become a medical technologist. I remember looking at the books I'd need in the university bookstore and believing I couldn't do it; it was too hard. I was an idiot to think that, and I've regretted it ever since. Bad decision based on flimsy facts. I had no idea then what hard was all about..

Financial independence would be so wonderful. Phlebotomists do all right, we get by, but there is no extra money when my car makes dreadful noises or I want to fix up my home or help out my kids. When we were wretchedly poor and lived with my mother and got AFDC and food stamps I had a stomach ache every day. Those days are few and far between now, but there's always a stomach ache crouching around the corner when the car needs big repairs (it does) or I realize there's a few grand in dental work ahead (there is)...ouch, literally.

The love of money may be the root of all evil, but oh man...I wish I were rich. I promise I'd be the least evil rich person you'd ever want to meet. "

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

those greeks had hard jobs too

I like to think of myself as reasonably resilient. I have a challenging job which is hell bent on pounding the life right of me, so it's always a horserace to see who will win each round--sometimes the factory comes out on top, and sometimes, by the skin of my teeth, I triumph. Triumph is probably a little flowery; just ending the week with a pulse is enough. My brain is so tired that I'm surprised I wake up every morning.

An old friend mentioned that he wants to have the meditation-group guy lead a group at his house, by invitation which will keep out people who are, shall we say, counter to the process. Aside from one college why-not attempt at organized meditation, I have no experience with it. The people I know (all both of them) who are brave enough to admit they meditate are the ones who are, you know, the kind of folks who WOULD meditate. Yes. Well. Hmmm. But in my silvery wisdom (I decided about that, too) I wonder if meditation might help. Remember Sisyphus? I don't mean personally, he was in a Greek myth predating even me. Poor Sisyphus, as you recall from school, was condemned forever to push a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again, over and over. Good old Greek mythology, rife with characters with whom we can identify.

Anyway my point is, if I want to stop pushing the ball up the hill, I need something not currently present in my arsenal of coping skills. I don't know what will happen with this, but I'll let you know. Lillie says the best way to end a story with no real focus is to say, and then I found five dollars. I'll try that: And then I found five dollars!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

knock knock

My house is a mess. I know everybody says that sometimes. We all have a level of messiness that we can live with--for some, NO mess is ok, for others, the zoo's the limit. Do you watch "Hoarders"? Yes you do. I think we like it because we say to ourselves, I am not THAT BAD. But it makes me look around uneasily during the commercials.

In a few weeks, I will be living here alone, which is weird enough. When Lillie moves to Chicago the mess will be all mine. The cats shed but are not otherwise messy, except for the litterbox and their buffet in the kitchen, and I can't point a finger at them. At this point I have tentative ideas about clearing out the clutter, sorting, tossing, painting...I won't have any more time than I do now so it won't happen overnight, but I am excited about the prospect. I imagine how it might look (just like the DIY websites of course). I do not think about how living alone will feel.

Perhaps it's my thoughts that are the messiest rooms in the house.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The better to bite you with

So I'm back in town, working long hours just like I never left. Without too many dreary details, let's just say that I think I may have been unfairly railroaded into working in Sacramento last week. I really did try to put whipped cream and a strawberry on the situation and learn as much as possible while I was there. It was, however, almost impossible not to think about revenge, so I did THINK about it; but I prefer to hope that justice will prevail and not have my fingerprints on it. Anyway--I'm back.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my sprinklers are still puddly and brain-damaged. I have to call the nice sprinkler guy, B, and ask him to come fix them back like new, and find a way to pay him. In the bigger picture, the money I save by releasing my current landscaper (see how I make it sound like I am letting a captive dove fly home to her babies?) can pay for sprinkler repairs. I'm saving the sprinkler-guy call as dessert to the unpleasant taste of telling P (via a nice note and a month's pay) that I don't want him to mow my lawn anymore. I do not enjoy the role of Big Boss. Did anyone see "Up in the Air?" The guy who is a professional firer? That movie gave me an enormous anxiety attack that comes back if I even type the words.

Also back at the ranch are my teeth. No mistake--I love my dentist but he is unfortunately not able, although he likes me just fine, to do my dental work for free. Once upon a time when I was a tiny little child with great big brand new front teeth I crashed my bike face first into the asphalt and broke those teeth. Ever since, I have had some sort of compromise dental situation--fake front teeth--which are in the afternoon of my life, failing. I have had several bridges but that ship has sailed over the horizon. I need dental implants. A wonderful invention, generally very successful, but crushingly expensive. Even with dental insurance, which will throw down a little, even stretching the process over two calendar years, I'll have to pull thousands of dollars out of my hat. Figuratively speaking. There is no money in my hat.

If I thought my job was stressful and being a landowner was uncomfortable, I was right, but nothing keeps me awake like this one. Some survey determined that people would turn down a million dollars before they'd give up a front tooth. Don't you have dental nightmares, too? That your teeth fall out or break off? The frosting on my anxiety cake is that no matter WHAT the doctors have ever promised, I have NEVER awakened from anesthesia without a whole lotta vomiting. I put off every procedure where I have to be "asleep" as long as possible because vomiting is so gruesome. Here are the rungs on the ladder of happiness: Thousands of dollars I do not have; Surgery that PULLS MY FRONT TEETH OUT; and then I get to vomit. And the top step? A denture over the obvious hole for a few months while it heals enough to screw new teeth onto the implanted posts. Say, now there's a picnic!

Sorry for sounding hysterical, and sorry if I gave your nightmares some fresh new ideas. I'll be looking around for something more cheerful to discuss. I think my 35th high school reunion is coming up...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Elena, Carly and Joan

This is not a political post, because I like you all the the way you are regardless of your political affiliation. This is a post about hair, including my hair. And little bit about mascara. Oh God, another disclaimer is in order. I like you all the way you are, again, regardless of your stand on mascara. Can we continue?

Today the news is filled with footage of supreme court nominee Elena Kagan. I happen to be kind of excited about the prospect of her becoming a justice but, poor dear, she is going to hear far to much about her eyebrows and eyelashes than about her take on higher court decisions. Call me shallow (go ahead, I'm ready) but if she had groomed brows and maybe a dash of lipstick, as though she were generally too busy to do the whole regimen, but not so personally careless that we wonder if her armpits are hairy, mainstream America would have fewer details to snipe about. We MIGHT subconsciously like her just a little better. As with any focus group; we trust the ones who look a little better put together. Its not just me. Two words: Susan Boyle.

Case in point: Carly Fiorina. I may disagree with her on principle but she looks marvelous; not like an anchorwoman but like she worked her way to the top, which she did, and also has a pedicure, which I bet she does. Also important because I so recently cut my hair short--she has great hair. She probably cut it like that JUST SO I would feel ashamed to disagree with her. I'm not sure what she looks like on a Sunday morning but her TV ads look great; which makes me WISH we had the same values.

My brother said I look like Joan Baez. I honestly admired Joan when she had long stringy folksinger hair and I like her still with cropped gray hair, and I'm sure I look nothing like her but I still didn't mind the comparison. In truth, I probably look more like Judi Dench, or--oh dear--Julie Andrews. Just in case, though, I don't leave the barn without filling in all the blank parts of my face. There's always a focus group out there, or you, or me. Marketing: it works.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thank you, Anna Jarvis

I'm sitting on my couch watching Sam show Lillie around Chicago on the laptop. Googlemaps, we love you. What's cool about that is being able to see their new street, yard, neighborhood, manhole covers, ad infinitum. Six weeks and she's outta this town, on to the adventure that is her future. The cats and I are a little uneasy about that. Well, actually, the cats are untroubled by the prospect of her leaving, indeed about anything on the horizon. Cats have no agenda and anticipate nothing. I, on the other hand, fret about tomorrow and next month and next year. Not to the point of ulcer but enough to awaken me in the night...

Friday I had a leaking sprinkler, or so I thought, but things got better after that. L's nice yard guy arrived and dug down further in the mud than I had, determined the problem originated in the sprinkler's brain on the other side of the house; called HIS sprinkler savvy friend who immediately appeared and established which of the ten-year-old sprinkler brain parts needed replacing. It was like a crime show where the murder and the trial fit into the same one hour episode. Apparently fate started feeling a little guilty about heaping crap on my plate and so L's nice yard guy offered to maintain my lawn for $30 a month instead of $100 which is what I give P to do it. Now I have to break up with P, essentially, which will make me feel like the Ugly American, but hey, I really need that $70. P does a lot of yards and probably makes more than I do, and it's all in cash.

Today is Mothers Day. My mom came which made it acceptable for me, the daughter, to bake the shortcake, whip the cream, and cut up the berries while the kids wandered around with their coffee cups. My gift to myself was a darling pair of Rocketdog zebra print silk flats. I can't moan about payback for long dreadful labors because I got them all out in a few hours each, but that's worth at least a pair of marked-down shoes.

Next week I'll be in Sacramento, living in a hotel without a magnifying mirror. I am far too blind and vain to live without a magnifying mirror. Worse, I also have to be snappy and attentive because they will be trying to teach me things --see previous sentence--so all I can say is this hotel better have internet and room service. Could be worth another pair of shoes.

You don't have to google it. Anna invented Mothers Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fix it

Whee, my first post. I wish I had something charming to discuss but I fear that most of my posts will be, primarily, me whining about something. OH, don't pretend you don't whine about things. Yes you do, you're just not writing it down. If your problems are less distressing than mine, you get to feel better (why, you're welcome!) and if mine are less awful than yours, you get to wallow a little more, which we both know is what you were going to do anyway.

Where was I? My sprinklers...remember when it froze so hard in January? I think some of my sprinklers took it on the chin; because first one and then another are in some secretive way, leaking or gushing or being otherwise all f*****d up. Last week I replaced the first leaky one but that didn't help at all. Today (it is Friday of course) there was a serious swamp: evidence of a broken pipe, further down than my shovel could reach [although I didn't go down that far because then what?].

As my followers (all three of you) know, I am reasonably resourceful, thanks to my mother and grandmother who always figured out and solved their own property-owner type problems. But I know when I'm in over my head (figuratively speaking--I only dug down about 6 inches) so I called my friend L to see who fixes HIS sprinklers; called THAT guy, and HE promised to appear tomorrow and diagnose my problems. My sprinkler problems. He knows when he's in over HIS head, too, no doubt.

The whiny subtext in this is, how am I going to pay for this? I earn just about enough to get by but no more. I'm sadly aware that my sprinklers will break and my dental work will crumble and my car would like to--but cannot--last forever. I don't have any generous, but failing, relatives. I can't rob a bank because they have security cameras and I'm kind of self conscious about my hair right now. So tonight, instead of reading a soothing novel, I'm going to look online for information about refinancing my house.

This Sunday is Mothers Day. My son Sam will be in California on business and is driving up for a very quick hit-and-run visit, and then I have to travel out of town (work not pleasure) all next week. I'd whine about living out of a suitcase but that's a whole post of its own, so I'll save that one for later.

I'll let you know what happens; and thanks for joining me here...