Tuesday, April 29, 2008

George Clooney and Isaac Demme; separated at birth.

On a whim, I decided to search Facebook for famous people. A name popped into my mind and I typed in George Clooney, just for giggles. Several pages popped up, mostly with the actor's picture. ( One side of me says, Foolish imposters. The other side says, How unfortunate to be named the same name as a celebrity.) As I looked at the page, I was STUNNED. There, amidst half a dozen George Clooneys, was ISAAC DEMME'S name and likeness.

*shocked silence gives way to sputterings*


I have no idea how you showed up on a search for George Clooney, Isaac, but it made my day! Now, can anyone tell me why this happened? Is there some obvious link that I'm missing? Like Isaac's nearest and dearest use "George Clooney" as his nickname? If I search for Oprah, will I find Fritha's page?

Oh. False alarm. I figured it out. I just looked at his page and under his musical interests he has "George Handel" and later on, "Rosemary Clooney." Sigh. Rats. It's all due to eclectic taste.

Facebook weirds me out.

But, even though the mystery is solved, I still want to post this. Just for giggles.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In other news this week...

...I went to Philip's I.E.P. meeting on Thursday. ( Individualized Education Plan, for those of you who are not up on the latest alphabet soup of the Special Ed world. It's a meeting for parents and teachers to evaluate progress and set goals for the next year.) I did not have anyone to take care of Aiden for me as Brad had to work overtime that day, and my mother, mother-in-law, and Penny were all out of town, so I told Philip's mom about my dilemma and she was fine with me bringing Aiden with me... I told her that as soon as he started to fuss, I would leave. There were six or eight people there besides Philip and his parents, and all of them were women; you should have seen the commotion that Aiden caused. Everyone had to see him and coo over him and touch his toes and make him smile and they all wanted to sit next to him. He put everyone in a good mood from the get-go, and someone said, "We should bring babies to every I.E.P. meeting!" We didn't last the whole meeting, but I got to stay for a good part of it anyway.

Changing the subject completely... The other day I was thinking, What are we going to do when Aiden gets too big for his cradle swing? It's his primary residence when we're downstairs and he's not being held by someone, but he's fast outgrowing it. I saw this picture in Liane's Flickr account of Adam in this thing called an exersaucer - kind of like a walker but without wheels. It's pretty much a seat in the midst of a big, round plastic play station type of thing. I thought, hey, I should look for one of those when I go yardsaling.

The next morning was Friday and I had a couple errands to do... and I knew of a few yardsales in the area. At the first one I went to, there was an exersaucer. YES! I hit the jackpot! It was a little more money than I wanted to spend but I figured it was too early in the day to start seriously haggling. Plus, as I thought about it, I realized I was being stingy. Here I'd just said I wanted one of these, and I knew that it would cost three times as much to get a brand new one, and now I'm complaining that this one, right in front of me in great condition, is too expensive? There is a line between wise frugality and pinchy miserliness... and I dance on that line on a regular basis. ( I pictured God heaving an exasperated sigh if I passed it up- Hello! You asked, and I provided, even if it isn't a rock bottom price... it's still a pretty good deal. ) So I decided to throw stinginess to the winds and cheerfully forked over the cash and bought the thing. And proceeded to douse it with Lysol and wash the cloth seat. I'm very happy with it. He probably won't be able to really use it for another month or two, until he has better trunk control etc.

I was a little stunned at my good fortune. I was hoping to find this very specific thing and I found it right away! Okay, I'm going to have to set my mind on something else and try this on next week's foray. I really want to find a nice big mirror for my dining room wall. It has been bare of any wall decoration for nigh onto three years. Mirror, mirror, mirror. I need a mirror. I'll let you know how my bargain hunting goes. ( Don't I always?)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wash your hands, people!

The other day I went to a required training session for my company. (That sounds weird - like I own my own company, but I couldn't very well say "the company I work for" because that would end the sentence with a preposition, which, as we all know, is wrong. Oh, the quandaries of trying to be grammatically correct.)

I had to get up early and drive up through the city, both things of which I am not fond.

I got there and found that it was a session on "Universal Precautions." My heart sank. Just thinking about the words 'bloodborne pathogens' is enough to make me feel weak. I found temporary salvation in the annoying jaw clicking noise coming from the girl sitting to my left. I was so close to telling her to stop chewing her gum but I realized that the distraction and irritation was saving me from thinking too much about the grossness of bloodborne pathogens.

Basically, the class was an OCD person's worst nightmare, confirming the need to be paranoid about the unseen perils lurking in our midst. There was a long lecture on the dangers that we all face as we live in this germy world... and what is the thing that will save us all? Handwashing! Regular, thorough, extended washing of the hands. Under the nails, up the wrists, for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday...

The lecturer reminded us that germs, bacteria and viruses are everywhere. "When was the last time you cleaned your lightswitches? Doorknobs? Cell phone? TV remote?" Now I knew she could find no fault with my handwashing; I'm really crazy when it comes to that. But cleaning my lightswitches...? She had me there. Guilt assailed me. I've really let my housekeeping slip - especially after Aiden's birth. In fact, I think the only reason my kitchen floor is as clean as it is, lies largely to my mother's credit. Today I bought some Lysol and cleaned every lightswitch I could find. And more. A NEW outlet for my blossoming obsession with cleanliness! ( I say that with a fair degree of sarcasm because if you could see my house, you would know that my obsession with cleanliness is pretty selective. There are certain zones in the house that have been settled exclusively with clutter. In fact, this clutter thinks it has squatter's rights.)

Now, whenever I touch anything, I envision little squirmy, evil looking germs transferring themselves from the item I have touched and clinging to my hands. I feel like I'm living in an ad for Purell.

She also mentioned another thing I already knew - that the bacteria, germs and viruses that survive all this manic cleaning will become freakishly strong and resistant to cleansing. So we must remain vigilant and continue to take the battle to these evil baddies. "This Present Darkness" meets Flylady. ( I was going to put links up to both those things but this computer's being weird... and if you don't know what either of those things are, Wikipedia has EVERYTHING you EVER need to know about ANYthing. Trust me. The internet is a brilliant miracle.)

So pretty much, all this stuff was stuff I already knew. Stuff EVERYONE already knows, if they had a halfway decent mother. But hey, I got paid for listening. I got paid to have someone tell me to wash my hands. I got paid to have someone validate my OCDness. So I'm not complaining too much.

I wonder what kind of nastiness lives on this keyboard? On this mouse? Ew! I'm off to go wash my hands! You should too! Right Now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Poor Stan

This evening, Aiden and I were returning home from the neighbor's house where we had gone to deliver a big pile of their mail which the mailman left in our box. ( Either that or we have mail-elves in the neighborhood who are making mischief.) We spied Stan on the front lawn as we returned... and as we watched, a horrifying little scene unfolded. Stan heard something and stood up on his hind legs, meerkat style. ( Not exactly like this meerkat, but pretty close.)

Suddenly, up from the back yard, the (other) neighbor's dog rushed at Stan and they both raced toward me. In a split second, I thought, " I hope I can get to the front door in time to let Stan in and get in myself and keep the dog outside..." It was like I was moving in slow motion...There was no way I could get there in time. Stan and the dog plunged into the underbrush amid frightening noises. I zoomed in the house, put Aiden down in his swing and went outside to see if I could rescue my poor kitty. There were no more noises...the neighbors, who had been walking through the backyard with their dog, had removed their offending creature...I called Stan from the front door and the back porch... but there was no sign of him.

And then I heard an odd sound. A scritching, scraping sound. I looked across the back yard and there was Stan, slowly letting himself down the trunk of one of the larger trees. It's a good thing we didn't declaw him, that's all I can say. I don't know how far he had made it up that tree but when I saw him on the way down, he was probably a good eight feet off the ground...When he got down to the ground, I went over almost to where he was and he was just frozen in place- I think he was afraid that the dog might come back, because he could still hear him, barking from the neighbor's porch. I finally convinced him to come through the weeds to me - I didn't want to risk any poison ivy- and I carried him up to the house; I could feel his poor little heart beating like mad. He has definitely lost weight since we converted him to an outdoor/indoor kitty. Poor thing.

He had another wound. Sadness.

I don't think I would do very well making any nature documentaries. The harsh realities of nature, including seeing animals fight and/or chase each other, and/or, heaven forbid, EAT each other, are not my cup of tea.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Daddy, My Hero

I've been meditating recently on the verse in Philippians that says, " Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I keep coming back to it because my thoughts tend to wander off track into negative paths.

This morning, my "whatsoever things" filter brought my father into my thoughts. I thought about his lifelong process of pouring out his life for others in the ministry, following Jesus to the ends of the earth along a difficult, and darkening path. He has faced setbacks, wounds, and discouragements; some of these trials have been apparent to all, such as the loss of my brother, but many more sadnesses have been borne without outward indication to the world. Without indication to me, even. I have seen the circumstances of these sorrows play out before my eyes, but I have not heard my father complain about them. I thought this morning, Daddy is the personification of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. For those who may be unfamiliar with this poem, I've pasted it below. For those of you who ARE familiar with it, and also familiar with my father, don't you agree? And the last few lines which say, "...yours is the earth and everything in it..." reminded me of the verse in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says that the meek shall inherit the earth. So, get ready, Daddy. You're going to inherit the earth.

And then a strange word picture popped into my head. Daddy is like those little packets of silica pellets that you find in new shoes that are put there to absorb moisture. Daddy absorbs discouragement. Now, wait a minute- I know that probably sounds terrible. Hear me out. I'm not saying what you THINK I'm saying. ( He's certainly not Tigger, but he's not Eeyore, either. Or Rabbit. Maybe more of a Piglet or a Pooh. ) He encounters PLENTY of discouragement, possibly more than a typical person because of his sensitive soul. And it may make him sad, but it does not make him bitter. But even more importantly, and really the whole point of this bizarre analogy ( HERE IT IS, PEOPLE! THE WHOLE PAYOFF OF THE PACKETS IN THE SHOE ANALOGY), he does not let discouragement seep out of him and poison other people. Even legitimate discouragement! ( As opposed to just " in-your-head-discouragement.") Instead of Harry Truman's motto of "the buck stops here", he could have a plaque on his desk that says: "The discouragement stops here."

( Me, I'm more of a discouragement aqueduct; it comes in and I let it spill over and pass it along to the next person, under the guise of "venting.")

( Speaking of discouragement, today has been a doozy and I'm afraid I haven't handled it very well. It's 10:30 and I'm just now recovering my equilibrium thanks to baking therapy. Gingersnaps were the order of the day and I had none. So I made them. I figure, what's the point of being an adult if you can't drop everything and bake up a batch of cookies at 9:30 at night? And I just want you to know, I did not eat them all in one fell swoop. No, not even half.)

BACK ON TRACK HERE. In perhaps an even more incongruous analogy, he might be compared to a wastewater treatment center; yucky, negative gray water of dingy circumstances goes in- the sweet, positive, clear water of faithfulness comes out. What a testimony to the power of the Spirit of God working within the yielded human heart. ( I TOLD you it was incongruous. Proverbs talks about the worthy woman's children rising up and calling her blessed. Here we have a child rising up and calling her father a waste water treatment center. All for the glory of God.)

For those of you familiar with the Old Testament, Daddy's the anti-Gehazi. For those of you familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien, he's the anti-Denethor. ( For those of you not familiar with the Old Testament OR J.R.R. Tolkien... GET familiar, you cultural barbarians! I can't paste the Old Testament or the Ring Trilogy at the bottom of this entry, you know...) ( For those of you who ARE familiar with the O.T. and are still scratching your heads trying to remember Gehazi: think...Elisha's servant... Or was it Elijah? Hmmmm. Who's the cultural barbarian now?) Yes, he sees darkness and gloom, but he also sees the glorious end that will eventually shatter the darkness.

He inspires me.

I thought about storing this away for his eulogy, or Father's Day, whichever comes first. ( JUST KIDDING!) But then I thought, there's no time like the present. I love you, Daddy!

Here's the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring has sprung...

...and the little frogs in the neighbors' fountain pond have started to raise a ruckus. Most of the time I don't hear them because in the summer I usually have all the doors and windows closed against the oppressive heat. But we have not turned on the AC yet... and it's VERY warm today... and so I have my windows open towards... the neighbors... and their screeching froglets. Really! These are not your typical friendly neighborhood peepers. These are not the melodious, cute-sounding little froggies of the Fairwood swamp. These are the terrorists, the divas, the rock stars, the gangsters, the nasty brats of the frog world. When I hear them, all I picture is a big mouth, Charlie Brown style, opened wide in a raspy roar, little tears spouting from eyes that are squeezed shut. The sound they make leads me to believe there is a baby somewhere in the neighborhood who has been left on someone's front doorstep and is howling in dire distress. Or a wailing little child whose malicious older sibling is repeatedly pulling their hair... for hours. I keep doing a double take thinking that Aiden is upstairs awaking from a nap, and calling me to come feed him, but then I see him in his swing, sleeping peacefully.

In other spring news... yardsale season has officially begun. Today was not the first day I went to a yardsale this year - that happened over a month ago- but today was the day of the annual big neighborhood yardsale in my in-law's subdivision. I heard it might rain in the afternoon and I was pathetically afraid that it might mean the cancellation of the event, but the day dawned bright and it turned out VERY WARM... It's raining now, but so what? My yardsaling hunger has been, temporarily, quenched. Until next week.

This is the third year in a row that I have gone to this particular subdivision yardsale and it proved to be another fun success in the chronicles of The Friday Morning Treasure Hunt. Although less fun because my good old yardsaling buddy, Penny, had to work today. ( MASSIVE POUT and General Protests of Outrage.) I didn't get any hugely spectacular finds, but I did get a modest haul of various delightful and useful objects, and all for under $15. CHEAP FUN and THE THRILL OF THE HUNT! It doesn't get any better than that.

So glad we bought a station wagon!

I am adding to my list of yardsale weaknesses. Besides books, blue glass objects, and black T-shirts, I have come to realize that straw purses/bags are also among the things I cannot resist. ( Well, purses and handbags of all kinds, to be honest. I think this is the natural result of resisting carrying a purse for the better part of my life. Now, it's suddenly all catching up with me. The womanly purse fetish, so long dormant, is making up for lost time!) This is... I think... my third straw bag that I've bought in the last few years. But it's WONDERFUL! It's not a purse. It's not a diaper bag. It's both! At the same time! My weird little heart rejoices. Stan almost lost his life when I caught him scratching The New Bag this afternoon.

Last year at this time, I had just discovered that I was pregnant but hadn't told anyone -except Brad, of course. And the produce man. And I was yardsaling at the same big annual subdivision-wide yardsale with Katie and Penny, and found all these nice baby clothes... and wondered how I could buy them in a casual, yet surreptitious manner, so as not to arouse suspicion. This year, I was carrying Aiden outside of me. Still slightly awkwardly, as he was in his carseat the whole time... but it was fun to bring him around with me and initiate him in the exciting ritual of yardsaling. He has already definitely influenced how I do yardsaling: I look much faster. So many yardsales - so little time between feedings. But it all went...mostly smoothly. Everyone cooed over him and tried to get him to smile and asked how old he was and what his name was and how much he weighed when he was born and how long his toenails were....Okay- I just made up that last part. You get the picture. I like to talk about him, naturally; it's fun! But at one point, I thought it might be easier to make and wear one of those sandwich message boards, listing his vital statistics. It's just funny how babies make everyone all soft and squishy and smiley and nosy and generally lose their inhibitions. In fact, I think babies are like alcohol in that regard - they make people out-going and happy. ( I don't think there are any "mean drunks" in the world of my baby-alcohol analogy. ) I mean, normal, sober adults would never just smile idiotically at another passing adult stranger and make babbling noises and inquire how old they are and what their name is and how much they WEIGH! Can you imagine?! I think the world would be a more interesting place if that DID happen.

Overheard in phone conversations at the jail:

"Yes ma'am; pot is marijuana."

"Yes ma'am; p.m. means the evening."

"Yes, ma'm; your letter was returned because you put the return address in the middle and the recipient's address in the top left."

"Yes, ma'am, even though your nephew goes to church and prays, he still was caught doing drugs and is in our jail."

"No, you're not a bad mother to not bond out your daughter. Sometimes people need to be punished."

Not all the same person, thankfully.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Who has wounds without cause?

Recently, we decided to make Stan an outside cat. Well, more precisely speaking, we decided to make him an outside AND inside cat. Call me paranoid, but I was getting a little nervous about his relationship with Aiden. So if I have to put Aiden down for a nap and know that I'm not going to be in the same room for a while, I make sure Stan is outside.

I think it was quite the culture shock for Stan at first. We had made such a big deal of keeping him inside for so long that I think our about-face on this issue weirded him out. ( Wait- first you told me I couldn't go outside? Now you're telling me I can't come INSIDE?) He used to sit at the front door and look out the little side-window... now he sits on the doorstep looking in. I think he has made some friends in the neighborhood, but he's also made some enemies. Or maybe they're just friends with poor boundaries and odd ways of showing affection; he came home the other day bearing the scars of battle. There was this big ol' chunk of fur missing and a wound in his side. Oh my word, my stomach felt weak just looking at it. My innards quiver. I felt SO BAD. It was as if my child had returned home from school with a black eye. Here I had dumped this poor, innocent creature out into the wild and now he's been persecuted.

I feel like it's my fault. When I told this to Brad, he agreed with me. Yes- it is your fault, he said serenely. It's as if YOU had attacked him and gouged his flesh. Sigh. I know he meant this to illustrate the absurdity of my thoughts, but the mental image of me being in a snarling, biting altercation with my own pet was unsettling.

Brad grew up having outdoor cats and didn't think that the wound was anything serious. The only cat we ever had growing up wasn't mine- it was Liane's- and I think he had some fights too, but I don't remember much besides one ear being sort of bedraggled.

So now I face a dilemma. Should I keep tossing Stan out to face unknown, cruel beasts...? I think it has sort of mellowed him out, so he's not so hyper when he is inside...Maybe these wilderness ( and I use the word lightly because our subdivision is hardly a wildlife preserve) experiences will toughen him up and be the making of him...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yes indeedy.

Brad and I went to the dentist last week - or was it two weeks ago? ( Time blurs in my mind these days...)

Neither of us had been to a dentist since moving to Georgia in the fall of 2005. ( Tsk, tsk, I know.)

I floss and brush almost obsessively. Brad brushes about ten seconds a day and almost never flosses.

One of us had a cavity.

Guess who?