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Archive for August, 2009

book blogging

Last year I faithfully kept track of every book I read.  And then it turned into a crazy goal to average at least one book per day. Hey, I’m a fast reader, I could do it. And I did. But the last few weeks turned out to be more about the goal than about the books. So this year when I started keeping my list of books read, I stopped fairly early on because I didn’t want to end up doing the same thing. The net result is that I’ve read far fewer books, and amused myself with other time wasters (facebook, anyone?). Not to imply that reading is a time waster. It’s not.

Anyway, Soleil left a comment on my 2009 page, and after thinking about things I decided she was right. I need to go back to keeping track of the books I read. That 2008 list was awfully handy when I want to recommend a book to someone, or an author, or want to know if I’ve read something or not. Lacking the scratch to pay my library fine just now, I slipped into Half Price Books this afternoon and bought a selection from the clearance rack. And it’s my hotel weekend, so I’m getting ready to take my medicine and flop into a nice soft bed with lots of nice soft pillows, and read until I fall asleep.

So look on Monday for my 2009 page to be updated. I can’t go back and remember everything I’ve read so far, but I can start where I am and go forward.  And if you’ve got any recommendations for me, check my 2008 page, and leave me a note here or on the 2009 page. I’ll get it. Thanks!

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Live & Learn

Remember this post, where I talked about the Warhol tote bag and the wrath of the purse gods?  I’m telling you, those purse gods do not kid around.

Tonight I went to Ross to get a baby outfit for a co-worker’s eagerly anticipated arrival. I found an absolutely darling dark blue onesie with the Cat in the Hat on the front. Really cute.

And, well, I can’t go to Ross without going through the clothes racks. Fortunately, tonight I was out of luck, and only ended up with a pair of blue jeans on clearance for $10. I think I bought them as much for the fact that they’re 2 sizes smaller than I was wearing 6 months ago as for the fact that they are really flattering.

And a trip to Ross would be totally wasted without going through the housewares and home decor aisles, where I found the perfect housewarming gift for Jehara and Pasta Man’s new home they haven’t found yet, and a squat little vase that was definitely made with my living room in mind.

As I was going through the housewares aisles, I saw a handbag someone had abandoned. It was beautiful. Gunmetal grey, large, made with my personality in mind. I recalled the curse the purse gods had placed upon my head for not purchasing the Warhol tote, and then and there decided that I would buy that purse if the Warhol tote was not there.

Lo and behold, the Warhol tote *was* there, and it was on clearance for half-price. Of course the moment I saw it I wrenched it from its little hanger thingie and put it in my cart.  The dilemma: dare I risk the purse gods’ wrath and buy only the Warhol tote? Would the gunmetal grey bag then become the new “I should have bought that when I saw it” purse?   I suppose I need not tell you that the gunmetal grey purse is in my living room with my wallet & keys inside.

My Grannie once told me that I could stretch a dollar further than anyone else she knew. I don’t think she meant it as a compliment, but I’ll take it as one. I spent as much money on the vase, the jeans, the cat-in-the-hat onesie, the housewarming gift, the Warhol tote, AND the gunmetal grey handbag as I would have if I’d bought the handbag at full price.  (If you want a personal shopper, send me an e-mail. I’m a great decorator and love to shop.)

Tonight’s sleep will be sweet.

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Revenge Is Sweet

My brother, LunaticWriter, is finally getting even with me. He bided his time, remembered things he knew I’d forget, and then began commenting on my blog.

I’m a klutz. I’m also very open to experimentation. And I like to eat.

  • when i was a wee thing, i ate (a) my mother’s birth control pills and my aunt’s morning sickness pills one day. got my stomach pumped. (b) some paste floor wax that my grandfather had melted to make it easier to work with. got my stomach pumped. (c) ate some blue paint that was left in the garbage cans by our next-door neighbours when they moved out. gave my mother a heart attack when i told her the phisohex tasted funny. why i thought blue plaint was phisohex,and why i thought either option was edible, i’ll never know. fortunately she detected the tale-tell signs of blue paint on my teeth and gums and took me to the hospital. i had my stomach pumped. As far as I know, i have not had my stomach pumped since that time.
  • fortunately one doesn’t get one’s stomach pumped for tasting the vanilla extract (it smelled so good, and tasted so horrible) or the crisco (it looked so thick and creamy and beautiful and tasted terrible) or accidentally swallowing a whole small gherkin when mom came into the kitchen at the very moment i was sneaking said gherkin. that hurt so much i don’t know how to describe it, but if you want to know, nibble the end off a small gherkin and have someone walk into the room and scare you. on second thought, don’t. it’s no fun.  i also swallowed an ice cube whole, and it got stuck in my throat until it melted. i don’t remember if i consciously decided to drink some warm water in an effort to assist the melting process, or if i stupidly just stood there whinging until it melted.  and in the olden days we used metal ice trays, and one day i licked it. don’t ask me why. it was another of those impulses that can’t be explained. fortunately i had the brilliant idea to run some warm water over it so that it would release my tongue, so i didn’t have any scars. i did, however, treat the metal ice tray with a lot more respect until we got the nice plastic ones that don’t stick to your tongue if you lick them. not that i’ve tried lately, and although my curiosity is whetted, we don’t have any plastic ice cube trays in the refrigerator right now.
  • i had a really bad fall at home one night while my parents & siblings were away, and i got all ambitious and decided to clean the kitchen. i slipped and fell on some tuna juice that somehow eluded our cats, and landed on my butt so hard i couldn’t get up. diagnosis: bruised tailbone. i didn’t know before then that people had tailbones, but decided they were extremely inconvenient. it meant i couldn’t jump on the trampoline across the street, and when i snuck and jumped on the trampoline before i was supposed to, i fell all wrong and landed on the coils on my tailbone.
  • we lived at the bottom of what i recall to be a very steep hill. the cool thing was to walk your bike to the top of the hill and ride down with no arms no legs. but if you didn’t want to crash through the picture window of the house at the base of the hill, you had to grab the handlebars and make a mad turn left, missing the gravel patch and coming to a triumphant stop. well, once i didn’t turn in time, skidded in the gravel patch and ended up with gravel embedded in my knees and elbows, ruined my clothes, and had the insult to injury thing by my mother stoically digging out the gravel and painting my elbows and knees with gravel, thus ensuring that i would not be so foolish again. (of course i was, because it was a matter of honour; however, i never landed in the gravel patch again.)
  • okay. yes, i did roller-skate over my wrist, and still have no idea how i managed that, particularly considering i’d forgotten it. i never learned how to roller-skate well, and those were in the days we had two wheels side by side front and back, instead of four wheels in one neat row. no, i never managed to even stand up on a pair of roller blades, and i have no idea how anyone can.  back to the wrist, i probably wracked up and tried to untangle myself, skating over the wrist in the process. it hurt like billy blue blazes, which is probably why i made myself forget that particular injury.
  • we’ve already mentioned the broken toes.
  • i sprained my ankles on various occasions, including slipping and falling at the swimming pool.
  • i sprained my wrists on various occasions, none of which strike me as particularly memorable.
  • i burned the crap out of my hand when i was transporting a pot of boiling chicken (sorry chicken, i wouldn’t do that now–it would be a pot of boiling veggie) broth and lost my balance. the broth ended up pouring itself over my right hand. it was a serious burn, and had i known what i know now, i’d have gone to the emergency room. i’ve also burned my hand a time or two by accidentally picking up a cookie sheet before i realized it was still oven-hot.
  • i  cut the crap out of my hand because instead of doing the sensible thing and using a glass brush i forced my too big hand with a dish rag down the too narrow glass which of course shattered and cut my hand. i did have to go to the e/r for that one, but fortunately they were able to use butterfly bandage on it so i didn’t have to get stitches.
  • and yes, the day before my mother’s second wedding, i superglued an earring to my thumb. when i realized what had happened, i just sat at my desk numbly repeating, “how can i play the piano tomorrow with an earring superglued to my thumb?” i worked at UTMB in the media department, so the guys got some acetone thinking that it would loosen the bond. but the bond didn’t take kindly to the acetone, so i reluctantly went to the e/r. they were very nice at triage, and only twitched a little every time they looked at my thumb. i ended up in a little room all by myself with my left hand immersed in grease release. do they even make grease release anymore? because that’s some seriously good stuff.  it slowly began lifting the earring from my thumb and started getting all dissolvey with the fake plastic earring and the skin and everything.  every so often a different doctor/nurse/intern/med student would come in, gravely examine my thumb, try hard not to laugh, and solemnly leave the room. i think all but one of them managed not laugh until they got into the hall, and i realized that i’d have been laughing too, but still! was it so unusual that everyone within earshot had to come examine my stupidglued thumb earring?  i did play the piano the next day withOUT an earring glued to my thumb, and from then on, if an earring breaks, i throw it away.
  • i slammed my thumb in the car door  numerous times. i did not, like freaky angel’s mother, slam my head in the car door, and she has my sympathies because i know how badly the thumb hurt. i have also slammed my fingers in the refrigerator door, which hurt like a sonuvagun.
  • i’ve clocked myself good and thoroughly getting in and out of the car, just misjudging the amount of space i had, and those hurt quite badly.
  • i’ve twice, within a week, walked head on into a clear glass window, at the post office the first time, and at work the second time.  nasty bruises, lots of pain, and lots of mockery from my sister.
  • i slammed my breasts between two pieces of cold steel and stood there while the compression got more and more strong. oh, wait–that was a mammogram. never mind.
  • i’ve fallen both up the stairs and down the stairs with a multitude of injuries issuing therefrom. my most recent trip down the stairs was  or 3 weeks ago, and i thought i was going to die. seriously.
  • i’ve slipped on icy patches, and i’ve slipped on rainy patches, and i’ve slipped on patches that were just there. one of my more memorable tumbles which was thankfully unwitnessed by anyone took place at work before we moved into the new location. i was walking into the copy room, standing confidently on my feet one moment and landing hard on my back the next moment. as i lay unceremoniously on the floor, trying to catch my breath, i was praying that no one would see me and drag me off to HR to report an injury, because what was i supposed to say? employee is terminally klutzy?

so is it any wonder that i have all sorts of deliciously painful ailments like soft tissue injuries in the back and patello-femoral pain syndrome? heck, any day that i don’t have to hobble on crutches or wheel along in a wheelchair is one more day i don’t have to confess my klutziness. (but i will confess that with the way my knee’s been hurting, i wouldn’t mind a pair of crutches.)

okay, lunatic, have i omitted anything else?

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Oatmeal?

Before you read the remainder of this post, bear in mind the following disclosure:

I, Chauceriangirl, bear the right to disagree with anything contained in this post, specifically and to it, the statement that I have learned to love oatmeal. I may revoke that statement at any time.

Clears throat.

For yummy easy fast oatmeal for one, combine 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats with 1 cup water and a dash of salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Pop that into your microwave and nuke it for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. While it’s cooking, pare & dice a smallish apple and mix with some turbinado sugar and cinnamon to taste. When you pull the oatmeal out, put the apple in and nuke it for about a minute. While it’s nuking, put a little Earth Balance and some rice milk into the bowl of oatmeal and stir it all up. Stir in the apple mixture and sit down for a good hearty supper. (okay, okay, you can have it for breakfast if you prefer.)

I’ve voluntarily and with no coercion had this twice in two days, breakfast on Sunday and dinner on Monday. It’s good stuff.

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I was 15 years old. We lived in a townhome and I didn’t wear shoes in the house. My feet are claustrophobic, like to feel the air. I was careering around a corner and the little toe of my right foot slammed into the piano bench with a sickening crunch. Yep. Broken toe. Nothing to do for it but wear protective shoes.

Seems like for several years it was always broken, because it was swollen and I was–nay, am–clumsy as they come so it just never healed all the way.  But eventually I grew less clumsy and the toe healed. funnily, but it healed. Every now and then, though, I have to break that toe just t0 prove to myself that I’m a klutz who needs to wear shoes in the house.

You know what’s funniest about the current breakage? I somehow managed to slam it up against one of Joe’s guitar cases. So my first broken toe was on my piano bench and my most recent breakage was on a guitar case. Romantic way to tie myself and my husband together through our mutual love for music and my silly small toe on the right foot.

Tried episkey.

didn’t work.

haven’t tried whiskey, but doubt it would work either.

stinkin’ toe.

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smells

as in aromas. When I was a teenager, all of my perfume came from the drug store. Jontue, Windsong, Charlie, Love’s Baby Soft, and, okay, Avon’s Sweet Honesty.

When I was in my 20’s, I was too sophisticated (ha!) for drug store perfumes, but I couldn’t afford the good stuff. So I compromised with the designer imposters. You remember them, don’t you? “If you like THIS NAME BRAND OF PERFUME, then you’ll love OUR IMITATION BRAND.

Then I met my husband. He thought that if I liked a perfume, I should get the good stuff.  He got me my first bottle of Giorgio perfume. While we were dating and for at least the first 3 or 4 years of our marriage, that was the only scent I wore. Then I moved on, tried all kinds of different perfumes, liked some, hated others (for the record, Gauthier smells really awful on me). I don’t think I’ve worn any particular perfume with any degree of regularity (although I’ll confess a fondness for Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil and wish it didn’t cost $90 a bottle) (and I never had a bottle of it, just a sample bottle that I stretched out as long as humanly possible).

Lately for some reason I’ve been craving Giorgio again. It’s no longer the perfume of the moment, so I don’t have to worry about smelling like everyone else. I asked Joe to get me a bottle the last time he was perfume shopping, but he forgot.  Tonight when I took myself on a consolatory mini shopping binge at Ross, I saw the familiar yellow striped box locked up in their little perfume box, and decided to splurge. It was only $20 (all told I spent $77, which for a bottle of perfume, two shirts, a totally awesome blue and black buffalo print jacket, a small framed piece of artwork for my living room, and a shabby chic holder for my mail is seriously not bad at all).  When I got to the car, I ripped the shrink wrap off the box, eagerly pulled the bottle out, admired the neat beauty of the bottle, spritzed some on—-and I smell like myself. It’s a smell that I just love, and feel a little sad that I let so much time go by.  So while I may still wear my Urban Decay or Armani or Bulgari or Hermes (in my dreams), the Giorgio will be my daily go-to.

Next thought–seize the moment.  The last several times I’ve gone to Ross, they’ve had a totally excellent Warhol tote bag that I didn’t get even though I was in love with it. I broke my own rule: when you find the perfect bag, get it, because chances are it won’t be there the next time you go.   Tonight while I was in the dressing room admiring my new jacket, I decided then and there that I was going to go buy that bag no matter how much it cost. And lo, it was nowhere to be found. Some other woman with fantastic taste is walking around with that Warhol tote hanging from her shoulder because she was smart and bought it.

And the last thought–My New York trip got canceled. Instead of Joe being there 3 weeks or 3 months, he’s coming home this weekend. I will confess to being devastated when I got the news. I cried, and if you know what I’m like on Seroquel et al., you’ll know I don’t cry anymore. But I suggested that if Joe’s actually in town next weekend, we could take a short weekend trip to San Antonio or Galveston or somewhere, and he agreed. And if he’s not in town next weekend, I’m still going to take the dogs to the kennel and enjoy a weekend all to myself, no one waking me up every half hour during the night, doing whatever I want whenever I want.

I looked at my mail, and I had a letter from Amnesty International that made me feel a little petty for being so upset about not getting to take a vacation I wanted to take. And some of my friends are losing their jobs. And John Hughes passed away today. And I’ve got friends with major health issues. Etc. etc.  So I’m asking the universe to please forgive my few moments of selfishness, and thank you for sending me some reminders of real priorities.

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