Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Happy Week

It doesn't take a lot to give me a general feeling of well-being these days. If the sun is shining in a blue sky, the scent of some blooming thing is in the air and my cats are watching me like I am about to make magic happen, I am having a good day. Knowing Sweet Charlie will be home for dinner, that I have an interesting task on deck at work and that there are blackberries in the refrigerator on top of that, bliss.
This week was a week of work to look forward to doing. We are getting our work study (I'll call her ""Sweetie" here) ready to move to Tallahassee for school. The fine people at Goodwill gave us carte blanch as a professional courtesy in kitting our girl's apartment out and we found fabulous things. Word to the wise - next time you need to redecorate/refurnish, find out what day the Goodwills in good (well-to-do) areas do furniture pick up so you can shop them. We found such pretty things that our Sweetie will have a living room that I envy. And I am glad - she is an Aged out of Foster Care youth which means she turned 18 and was put on the street. We've gotten her into the Independent Living program but she still needs love and guidance and protection. The women of my office have been trying to cram 18 years of love and life-teaching into 8 weeks. I am praying we've done enough to keep our lessons in her mind and her heart attached to us so we can "mother" her from afar. We are building a safety net for her in Tallahassee, but she's our baby so letting go is hard.

Today was also a happy day. I rambled through a few yard sales and got some non-essentials for Sweetie and a scrap-booking tool for the kids in one of our youth programs. Big Lots yielded skeins of one of my favorite yarns for a dollar each and some tomato cages. When I got home, the mail had run and it was time to check for treats. I love mail.

I received two cool mail items - a shipment from BzzzAgent for my latest campaign:
Covergirl is our Bzz campaign right now for their new NatureLuxe foundation and lipbalm. Note that I posed it with my L'Occitane Divine products. That stuff is bottled so prettily and works so well that it inspired a massive clean-up in the make-up nook:)
Anyway,I hope I like it, I have coupons to share and am in need of another inexpensive weekend makeup.  Updates will be coming:)

My other treat through the USPS was a bottle of an energy-diet supplement I bought from a friend. The samples seemed to work well so I'll see how the bottle does. At this price, though, prescription diet pills are cheaper.
That's 30 days' worth of V3 for $62. I had thought it was a 60-pill bottle. Well, if it works it's worth it. Another "updates will be coming" issue!

My husband is home from North Alabama now; he had gone up to help get some radio stations back on the air. During emergencies, terrestrial radio gets vital information out to people moreso than TV since people generally have battery powered radios.
I'm going to make him something good to eat right now and watch kittens on Animal Planet:)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

I have been working crazy busy stressy for the past few weeks. The big stress has been needing to depend on other people to make my plans happen. I can do anything - but I can't always get the other people to cooperate so I can get my magic done. THAT is what is stressful. And some times there are parts of a plan that look easy-peasy but can be screwed up if you don't do them yourself.
And that's why I was on the Hathaway Bridge heading east on Thursday when my BRAND EFFING NEW SORRENTO crapped out on me. I was heading for Gulf County to measure a room for some equipment we need for a project when the SUV started hesitating. It smoothed out for a moment, then started up again and an amber warning light that I couldn't translate lit up. I pulled into the breakdown lane to think, put the vehicle in park and then every light on the dash lit up and the Kia shut down.

It was hot and I was mad. I was even angrier when I couldn't find the info I needed in my owner's handbook in what I thought was a reasonable amount of time.

All I wanted to know was what the damn light on the dash meant as it related to the reason my BRAND NEW EFFING KIA SORRENTO crapped out on the bridge.
Oh, and I wanted to know where the emergency flashers were since I was in the accident lane of a bridge frequented by tourists and my chances of being rear-ended were pretty high.The owner's manual of this model sucks. ALL owner's manuals should have emergency information in the FRONT. When you open the cover of the booklet, you should see the list of what all of the warning lights on the goddam dash mean and where the control for the emergency flashers is. You would not believe how poorly the index on that manual is laid out. I was only slightly panicked and couldn't find what I wanted. Humpf!                                                                                                         
So after 2 hours the tow truck came, allowing the DOT cop who had kindly pulled in behind the Sorrento to leave. I had worn a floaty skirt, the day was hot and without being able to run the AC in the Sorrento my choices were to stand in the wind on the bridge and risk my skirt flying up around my ears or die of sweatage.  My skirt got away from me when I was getting into the tow truck but by that point I didn't care anymore. 
Several hours later I learned that the Sorrento was in the ICU and I would be getting a very likely shitty tiny rental car.  I am sunburned and grumpy because a BRAND NEW GODDAM KIA crapped out on me on the bridge and I spent TWO hours sweating and fighting with a skirt to stay decent and/or cool and they were going to give my princess self a Ford Escort?                                                                                                   
I am naturally inclined towards being a sweetie. Snarling and threatening seems to make my face dry and just worries me later. I will admit to capitalizing on looking scary by threatening new hires with tales of my temper and I have been known to verbally swat miscreants but I would prefer to get what I want through kindness.
The fates smiled on me this afternoon and instead of a crappy compact death machine the lovely young man at the rental place handed me the key to a Kia Borego.
I WANT MY OWN BOREGO. I called the dealership and talked to the guy handling the sick Sorrento and told him to keep it, I'd just take the Borego. She's a beauty, a big black beast with tan leather seats and 3-rows of them, built so a lady can hop into the driver's seat without a stepladder and still sit high enough off the ground to feel safe.
So at the end of this stressful week my SUV is at the fix-it, I am sun-burned from standing on top of a white bridge above the reflective bay, I didn't get the measurements I needed and I still only have one site for my project. But - I have a beautiful, cool loaner to drive, the weather is encouraging my little food garden to thrive, and I got a good story to tell. Oh, and the sun on my face has settled into a pink glow:)


Friday, April 22, 2011


That cool little word, "nattering," just means surface chatter, shooting the breeze; but I always think of it as having an undercurrent of comfort. As in being comfortable enough with the people around you to talk of inconsequential things, to let words of no particular significance flow and oil the rope that binds you together as friends, keeping the relationships flexible and thriving.
That's a close up of Tea Olive blooms, which smell like all of the best green things about spring. That's the kind of thing I natter about, along with music and yappy dogs who eat catfood and upchuck. There was natter about old days when friend Lorne and I were young and still building our careers, the odd attraction law enforcement and radio people have for each other, and how we fit that paradigm. Lornie's eyes are the color of a Hershey Bar wrapper and she still fixes them on her husband's face with the same attention and intensity a she did when they first married. 
Then Charlie and I were the chatty audience as Ingrid insouciantly concocted the perfect fruity shot for the guy at table 17 while we sang bits of 40-year-old songs across the bar to each other. She looks like a cool blond sophisticate until she speaks. Her inner Italian then emerges with waving hands, eyes that can shoot sparks and personality that defies stereotyping.

I have no great epiphany to offer here, no clever joke to tell. Just a reminder to talk to your friends, even about nothing, just a flight of fancy or a re-telling of an old story. Watch their faces and remember their expressions. When you get right down to it, the stuff that enriches your life is the stuff that lives - your friends, whether human or furry, finny/feathery, the growing living environment that hosts you, and the thoughts that decorate the space between your ears. Keeping your bank full of those things only costs your attention. Pay it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Things That Make Us

Way back in the distant mists of my teenage-hood I met a really sweet, goofy boy named Bill. He was smart, funny, and good-looking with blue eyes and curly red hair. He was tall, too.
We dated for several years and lived through times that changed me, probably him as well, and eventually parted. I don't remember why; I lost big pieces (apparantly, I don't really know how much) of my memory after a car accident. So if you knew me in high school and you say "Oh, do you remember?" and proceed to tell a story and I just nod and smile vaguely it means that was one of the memories that landed in the Fiero-shaped vortex on Mahan Drive in 1994.
So, on Facebook tonight my old beau Bill sent me some photos of my late dad from a scanned newspaper. Daddy was a forest ranger and for many years the guy the head dude sent to do PR stuff.
That's my pop. It's odd to see how much my brother looks like Daddy. I think of them as being so different; my calm and measured brother and my hot-headed dad.
Timing is an odd thing.
We got our tickets in today's mail to the Steely Dan show we're in going to in August.
My first album was their first album - Can't Buy A Thrill. The Dan have been the soundtrack of my life; from pre-pubescence through existential twenties and to the now of what feels like a second chapter of the energy and social indignation of my early thirties. Only I'm 50. Just the same, only different (old joke).
Friends and boyfriends and jobs and pop culture filled some of the record slots on my mental jukebox but the one constant has always been Steely Dan. I was a fantasy and science fiction-reading kid and identified with heroes like Corwin from Nine Princes in Amber and anything else Roger Zelazny ever wrote; the dark loner with a wry sense of humor and an over-developed vocabulary. I knew where the places were and what the words meant in any Dan song that hit the air around my ears. Guadalajara, William and Mary, The Quarter, the Washington Zoo, Dean and DeLuca, Scarsdale, the City of St. John, Barrytown - I knew them all. I even learned about Bodhisattva, piasters and the Santa Anna Winds.
I wanted to be Josie or Peg but these days I'd settle for being Security Joan.
So as much as people and places and books and visions and years have shaped me, so have odder things. Like Star Trek. And the smell of hot sun. And Steely Dan.

Sorry for all of the Steely Dan references but I think I write this more for me than anyone else based on the stats for this scribble.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Everything was nice -- except for the lack of Charlie

My sweetheart left yesterday for Las Vegas. He is attending the National Association of Broadcasters convention as he has every year since we first set up house together so I should be used to it by now - unfortunately, it is just long enough after the end of hunting season for me to have gotten used to having him around again!
I spent the day doing laundry, napping and watching HGTV. I am addicted to House Hunters, especially the International version. I am especially keen on kitchens and bathrooms and when there is an indoor courtyard, whee!
I will be growing some of my very own blackberries now, so bowls like this one won't cost two day's worth of grocery budget.
My son came over with his post-hole diggers, dug holes and planted the berry bushes, my mimosa tree and two hydrangeas. I tended my little garden and added Japanese Eggplant, more cucumber, yellow squash and zuchinni. I am going to put my bell peppers into pots since I don't think there is enough room in the raised bed for them.
The meowies helped, naturally enough. Pojr led the black cat brigade of himself, Tip and Fang as they frolicked around the bed while I worked. Tip invited himself into the middle of the little garden, jeopardizing the future of a newly-planted cucumber and I shoo'd him away. The boys have sweet, very tiny voices so when they complain it sounds more like a chirp than a kvetch.
They quickly lost interest in the garden since I wouldn't let them dig and began running as hard as they could back and forth across the yard. My golden boys, Cabrillo and George, used to like to do that when they were younger. They also engaged in Matrix-like mid-air collision avoidance, leaping 3 or 4 feet up and twisting their bodies to insure a feet-first landing. The sheer joy they have in breathing fast while running, feeling the sun on their fur, and watching the little world that is my backyard reminds me to enjoy these things as well.
Which I did, until the damned mosquitos began gnawing on me like I was crab legs on the Chinese buffet and they were tourists. GAH!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Can I Get a Tan, Man?

Last year at this time I was attending a tanning salon, getting nice and brown and enjoying the periodic escape into a warm, humming capsule. Then I got a skin cancer on my chest, had to listen to "I told you so" from husband, mother, best friend and doctor and get the dratted thing hacked out. It was so big/deep there was no hope for a pretty scar but the plastic surgeon really tried.
I got out of the membership and resigned myself to selfless tanner since my last experience with salon spray tan had been Mystic Tan which was a mess.
My boss popped into my office Monday morning with "HEY! Have you heard about Zoom Tan?"
A bit of research and a few days later we arranged to go get a tan. My boss is also my best friend which really makes things nice. I can't be a screw-up because she trusts me and also because it isn't in my nature but sometimes, when we have both been working like demons after hours, we play hooky.
Friday afternoon about 2 we showed up at the salon and got the sales spiel and then the tan. We both opted for the medium level tan. You strip down, put on a hair net, put barrier cream on palms, toe and finger nails. I put a towel down in the booth to stand on to avoid any tan soles. It takes longer to get undressed and then dressed than it does to be sprayed. This will tell you about the booth experience:

Zoom Tan with video

Now, the results. The attendant told us we would look freckled until we showered. I felt like I was a pointillism experiment in golden brown. After the shower, I was lovely and tan!
I didn't pose properly so the web of my hand didn't get tan. The pink you see is me:)

That is my smooth, brown leg!

The leg you see if the biggest reason I wanted to be tan. I want to be able to wear short and dresses and not look pale, not have my varicose veins in stark relief to my paleness. An added benefit is a nice facial glow that eliminates all but a need for bronzer, brow pencil,lipstick and mascara.
You can't tell here but my eyes are blue. This is a makeup-free moment.

I am very pleased with the outcome. If you're looking to tan, try the technology from Versa-Spa and go to a Zoom Tan salon if you can. The cost for a sample tan is $10 there ($19.95 at a non-Zoom salon nearby) and the monthly unlimited sunless tanning is $39.99 plus tax.  I'll post more interesting stuff tomorrow  night:)                                                                                                               

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Beautiful Weekend of Normal - How Weird!

Sunday night and we are winding down from a lovely, productive, happy weekend - the kind I never dreamed I'd have with a spouse. Never thought I'd have a spouse that I'd have long enough to WANT lovely weekends with. I adore my husband.
Anyway, with that as the backdrop, let me paint my weekend for you:
Saturday morning my sweet husband got outside and built a raised garden bed for me.I had already bought some heirloom tomatoes to plant there and went to Lowe's to get more.
                                           These are my blackberry bushes.
I got Blackberries, eggplant, zuchinni and yellow squash along with another cucmber plant. I also had to get some flowers!
                                          Lantana and begonias having a drink in the sink.
We went to dinner Saturday night at the world'd finest Italian restaurant, Ferrucci, with our friend Dan. He was in town to dismantle an amateur radio tower. He lives near Sarasota and reminds me of a Koala bear. He loves going to Ferrooch (our nickname for the restaurant) as much as we do. If you are ever in Panama City, do yourself a favor and go downtown to Ferrucci. Have the handmade mozzerella appetizer and a bowl of God's own Tomato Soup.

Today we met our son, lovely daughter-in-law and granddaughter for brunch.
                      Decisions, decisions! Do I eat the lemon slice or another cheese cube?
Her hair is long enough to hang in her face but not long enough to tuck behind her ears so the Cindy Lou Hoo look is the coiffure of choice these days. I love that Dr. Seuss is the Vogue magazine for the under 3 set:)
She likes to eat and walk and have faces made at her. I think I have taught her to bat her eyelashes. I fluttered mine at her to see if I could get a giggle and instead got a stern look followed by a very deliberate blink. She is a very attentive child; the people around her aren't just occasionally amusing flesh-trees but creatures to be studied. There are new tricks to learn, new things to teach her body to do - like eyelash-fluttering:)
           This is her "I am most displeased that you have taken the bag of cheese cubes, Mommy" look.
We ate on the outdoor patio-like area so we could see the bay. Jacque wanted to walk without an adult holding her hand so her Granddaddy and I obliged her. This meant, of course, that we were bent over nearly double so that we could be sure her little feet didn't encounter any dangers that might lead to skint knees and sobs.
The kids are really good, calm parents. Heather (my DIL) has given her curly-lipped smile to Jacque and her whole face changes when she grins. She smiles that smile herself when she tells Jacque to "sit on your bottom, you know you're not supposed to walk on the table."
Chad, like his daddy, is a big bear of a man and when he holds Jacque she looks like a doll. When Charlie holds her the non-verbal communication begins. They look into each others' eyes and nod and then begin making raspberry noises.

After brunch we drove back to town and did the necessary errands for dinner to happen, watched the rest of a movie, and I planted some of my vegetables in the garden. We had Greek Spaghetti for dinner. I was feeling so happy and geeky about being so goofily happy that I looked at my husband and said "I think this was a very good weekend."
He raised his eyebrows, his "really? why?" face in place and I looked into his light blue-green eyes and said "I am happy. Not about just one particular thing, just happy."
He said "Good. You're supposed to be happy."

Isn't that a nice thing to be told by someone you love, who loves you?