Thursday, August 31, 2006

I get so irritated by slow service. I wasn't even in a rush, but it seemed that these two women were just trying to go slow.

I took a stack of lovely new underthings to the two women at the register of macy's and excused myself to the bathroom. There was no one in their department when I left or when I returned. I thought she might remove hangers or organize the pile so the tags all faced out.
So while Pokey was beginning to ring me up, I noticed a pair of undies on the half-manquin behind her was that matched a bra I was purchasing. There was only one of that design on the rack and I wanted those. I asked for them. She told me that I could get it.
So I had to get them myself.
The same lady had taken half of my try-ons because I had exceeded the limit. I was hoping she'd bring them to me in a few minutes so I wouldn't have to dress to go get them. I was wrong.

I guess the "upgrade" to macy's in my hometown did not include an upgrade in service. Am I expecting too much? Maybe I'm still cruising on my bitchy ride lately.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I have been brushing up on my very rusty math skills to prepare for the GRE in November. The GRE is the test required to begin my Master's program. I can't start my Master's until next year because I had to have my GRE scores submitted in January. Anyway, it has been a long time since I had to determine the length of a hypotenuse.

Here are two questions from the review of Basic Arithmetic. That means these are a couple of the easy questions. I'll post the answers in the comments and you can tell me if you are smarter that I am. I bet you are!

1.How many positive integers less than 100 have a remainder of 3 when divided by 7?

2.What is the circumference of a circle whose area is 10π?
a. 5π b. 10π c. π√10 d. 2π√10 e. π√20

I was riding in my van with Anne's daughter, Fern, and we were trading “What did you learn today” stories. When it was my turn, I said that I learned that zero was meaningless, as in 7 divided by 0 is meaningless.

Fern said, “Yeah, try telling that to your mom when you bring a zero home on a test.”

So true! I wonder if the GRE people know this?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What are you planning to cook for dinner tonight, or am I incorrect to assume you have planned ahead that far? I don’t usually plan dinner very far in advance. I am most ambitious at the grocery store, particularly in the produce department. All those pretty colored veggies make me think of healthy recipe ideas and devious tricks for sneaking vegetables into my children. So I buy more than I prepare.

Several obstacles thwart my dinner plans. Although I’m getting better at accounting for it, my children eat dinner with their father twice a week. So there go two nights of cooking. Then my children’s evening activities interfere with a sit down family meal – so I might take a short-cut on the cooking. Ragu and pasta always please. Then it is just one regular week night left and I have all those veggies to prepare. The amount of chopping and sautéing involved sometimes doesn’t balance the various irritations and activities of my day, so I order out or go out.

On the nights my children eat with their dad, I usually opt for a simple dinner, like popcorn and wine, or Cheerios, or Triscuits with cheese. I do try to cook a healthy meal for my kids at least once a week. If I cook more than that, it probably means I’ve had company.

So I have really enjoyed the Ex’s new hobby of gourmet cooking. If he is in town twice during the week for dinner with the kids, he tries to cook one meal at my house for them. (He lives too far for a weeknight at his place.) So I make myself scarce and often return to a lovely dinner, fed kids, and a clean kitchen. Last week it was pecan & panko encrusted chicken, fresh corn sautéed in olive oil and garlic, basmati rice, and steamed broccoli. Wow, huh? Usually “encrusted” food in my house means something else. I think my divorce is stranger than my marriage.

So when the salesman knocked on my door today offering to sell me the best in frozen steaks and fish, I assured him he was at the wrong house.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I saw a headline on a women's magazine in the grocery store that got me thinking. It read, “How To Get Everything You've Ever Wanted: a fabulous house, a flat stomach, longer foreplay, the perfect lipstick, and a better price on everything.”

How shallow are we now?
Not that I don't want those things – actually some I have, and they're not all they are cracked up to be. (I'll let you draw your own conclusions about which ones.)

So are those things the key to happiness? If you have everything you want, will you be happy? What happens if you aren't sure what you want? What if what you want changes?

I thought I wanted pet cats. I thought I wanted four children until I had three. I used to think I wanted to be adored; however, when I got that, it was totally creepy. For a while I was praying for strength for me and my family. When things got worse, I decided I didn't want that any more either. I was thrilled to get this house, but now it is an endless source of debt and work.

I want to have a loving relationship with my children – even my thirteen year old. I actually do have that, it's just not always obvious. I want world peace. I want someone else to do the laundry. I want a good night's sleep. I want to be a writer. I want to be both relaxed and alert.

Is it just the human condition to be unsatisfied? If you were truly content and had everything you wanted, would you be happy? Would you be bored? Do we really want everything we've ever wanted?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

An ominous number.
13 is fun to observe, so much roiling of hormones, the pendulum swinging wide from child to adult, crashing into whatever is in the path of the swing.

I attended my second ever bat mitzvah this year as my daughter’s friends enter the adult community of their faiths. I have found the rituals, the ancient words and language comforting and fascinating. The community of this temple is welcoming to those of us who are other faiths. My daughter was even asked to participate in one of her friend’s ceremonies.

What I enjoy as much as the connection of the modern to the ancient and the passing of the faith from one generation to the next, is the rows of thirteen year olds in the audience. They sit way up front in support of their friend. It is an occasion for festive clothing. When the row of thirteen year old girls stands, the cushions on the chairs are dusted in glitter. Their lips are slick with shimmer, hair curled to perfection, shoes precariously adult for their limited experience at such heights. They can’t quite manage poise with their bra straps annoying them and needing adjusting, the knots on their halter dresses needing periodically re-tied during the long ceremony. One boy in a suit jacket was wearing a yarmulke decorated with Boston Red Sox patches. The candidate is often seen smiling back at the faces her friends must be making at her. One of the Hebrew songs, no doubt a favorite from summer camp, inspires the kids to stand and twirl on a certain word, causing the adults in the audience to smile and chuckle. Solemnity can only be sustained for so long.

The reception was also delightful. I loved watching my daughter with her gang of friends add the Horah to their repertoire of Cha-cha and Electric Slides and Macarena. The after-party in a suite in the hotel that hosted the reception went into the wee hours. I understand an officer had to knock on the door and explain the purpose of a hotel to most of its other guests. He apparently came in and sat on the sofa to deliver his lecture of the proper use of luggage carts and the decibel rating of hotel walls.

While I am enjoying watching this group of thirteens, living with one is not always as delightful. I like watching the adorable monkeys at the zoo too, but I don’t want to necessarily live with one. I love my daughter on the brink of thirteen. I try to keep the eye rolling and sighs to myself. I try to give space and also be available. Tonight, however, I didn’t get much right.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I have a fun assignment for you this weekend: handwriting analysis. When I was at the beach this summer, I bought a card with handwriting analysis information on it. We tried it one evening back at the beach house and I felt it was fairly accurate. There are so many aspects to analyze. Since I can't display the samples, I'll just mention a few of the categories for your consideration. Write in and tell me if it seems to match who you are.

First, before you read more, sign your full name and write a sentence before you know anything to interfere with your natural handwriting. Or find something you already wrote. I have notes everywhere. Try the sentence with all the letters in it: “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

If your handwriting is upright you are self-controlled, reserved, able, and even aloof.
A moderately leftward slant indicates you are a cautious introvert.
A strong leftward slants says you are antisocial, fearful, and defiant.
Slant your words moderately to the right and you are probably an extrovert that is sensitive and artistic.
Extremely rightward slanting shows a proclivity (isn't “proclivity” a great word?) toward psychotic, emotionally unstable behavior.

The “i” dot
Directly above – precise mind for detail
Slightly to the right – forward thinking
Slightly to the left – regressive and circumspect
As a dash- impatient, short-tempered
As a circle - deceptive, pedantic, vain
Up high – sensitive, good humored
Down low – practical realistic
Thick & heavy – passionate, sensual
As a vertical dash – narrow-minded, petty

Capital Letters
Joined to the next letter – confident, able to plan the future
Not joined to the next letter – spiritual, intuitive, inspirational
Embellished, elaborate – pretentious, vain
Straight lines, blocked - accurate, precise, ambitious

OK, that's enough for a glimpse. There are so many other components. If you have an unusual feature you can ask me and I'll look it up. It also tells about the significance of what you doodle. So if you always doodle the dame design, let meknow what it is.

My self-analysis shows that I am a sensitive, artistic extrovert (duh.) I am forward thinking and spiritual. I suppose if it revealed that I was psychotic, vain and short-tempered I wouldn't have told you.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I picked up Peggy to go to the gym while the dads had our kids for dinner last night. We decided to run into Borders to pick up a book before working out so we didn't look all sweaty in the store. While I was looking, Peggy said she was getting a coffee. I ordered unsweetened iced tea. I have been eating pretty healthy lately. I was on a roll.

My reluctant reader requested the book. I'm happy if she's willing to read anything, so I jumped on buying it. When I found the books, I was a bit surprised by the style that intrigued my daughter: kind of an adolescent soap opera/Harlequin romance. I guess not that surprised really, but I wanted a closer look. So I found Peggy and asked her if she'd mind checking them out with me to see if they were appropriate. So we sat down and I realized Peggy had also bought two of those giant cookies. I had the chewy sugar cookie with white chocolate chips. It was probably made with a whole stick of butter and refined whie sugar and flour. It was fabulous. We sat there and checked out the books, yakked about the books we read in high school and ate those cookies.

Oh well. You can't diet all the time.
Kinda the opposite of going to the gym though.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Have you ever checked out the personal ads in the paper or on-line? I was recently reading the Washingtonian Magazine which has in the back a couple pages of personal ads. Sometimes I think it would be an adventure to respond to one of these. At the least I would get something to write about, right? So I took a closer look. Honestly, the following ads are for real.

Matriarchal Destiny – Sought by male worshipper of female supremacy, 46, handsome, healthy, athletic, romantic, passionate, chivalrous, multi-talented, articulate, devoted, eager to please, ISO similar thinking female for LTR/fulfillment.”

If he’s all those things, why is he single? Psycho? Annoying?

Little Boy – now 61, seeks a warm, attractive, younger mom who loves her kids like crazy, may have love to spare, and still hasn’t lost the child in herself

Pedophile or looking for a retirement plan?

“Curious? - Handsome, successful, fit, 30’s SWPM seeks unique LTR with lovely, slender, sexy, intelligent, open-minded 20’s-30’s woman. Does exploration of lifestyle relationship activities intrigue/stimulate you? Let’s explore together.”

Do any of those activities entail me dressing up as Little Bo Peep?

SEPPWM – Well-traveled academic/author, risible, trustworthy, future-oriented, penetrating, generous, pragmatic, tolerant. I’m ‘gratis” (my 5 year old lives w/her mum). You’re peri-45, equable, perhaps a painter/writer/composer or ‘constitutional’ atty. Somatype N/A. Cap Hill/DC/Inner Ring.

Wow. You can’t be that overtly pretentious and not enclose your period in a closing parenthesis. Penetrating? Ha.

“Slightly Skeptical SWPM – seeking S/DWF who’s equally paranoid about personal ads. I’m 53, 6’3”, 195, financially secure, college educated, attractive, nice hair, good listener, worth a gamble on the call!

Hhmm… this is from the June issue, so I’m probably too late.

You wouldn’t believe how many of these ads are from married men looking for “discreet relationships.” Yuck.

I keep coming back to this question,
What would I do if it worked out? Do I really want a boyfriend? Am I ready for such a complication?

Have any of you ever done the personal ad thing? Should I? Maybe if this next guy doesn’t work out I’ll give it a try. Multiple dating can be exhausting.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Do you think about events in your day now according to their blogability? (or would that be bloggability?)
I was considering a back-up blog or discussion topic for today’s post until I rammed my foot in my mouth at least up to my knee. I thought, well, at least I have a blog topic for today. I guess there is a silver lining on every cloud.

I totally embarrassed myself in one keystroke. Do you know which key? The devastating “Reply to All.”

I feigned enthusiasm when I volunteered to sleepover on a Brownie campout this Saturday night. I’m sure you could tick off a dozen things you would enjoy more than this activity – especially if you knew the Brownie leader who, mercifully, doesn’t know about this blog.
My dear friend, Peggy, teased me about volunteering. I was hoping the trip would get cancelled because of lack of attendance. I was right! The leader e-mailed a “Sorry, but we have to cancel” note to me. I forwarded it to Peggy, whose daughter is in the same troop, with a personal message attached.
I said,
“Yippee! Now I get credit for volunteering without having to go. When it’s rescheduled, I’ll be busy and you’ll have to go.”
Then I said some other personal stuff which I hope she didn’t make any sense to her.

The leader responded a couple minutes before Peggy who followed with “I didn’t realize you sent that to both of us!” I saw Peggy’s first e-mail and my heart sank.

Do you know that feeling?

I immediately e-mailed a crow-eating apology and she was very gracious. Of course, tonight was the first meeting, so I had to apologize in person again. I felt like a scolded child and I swear I could hear my mother’s voice pointing out the obvious lesson. I know it could have been worse. At least I didn’t call the leader any derogatory names. Still, it sucks to be caught being bitchy. On the upside, now she knows I am not really excited about volunteering for the overnights.

Can you tell a story on yourself that will make me feel better?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hooray! School's in!

My kids all popped out of bed excited for the first day. Something felt different about this first day of school. They seemed more independent, more hopeful and excited. No one complained about anything, least of all me.

My self-imposed work schedule already had to be flexible, but I accomplished a fair amount of the tasks on my list. Using my graphite palm pilot, I made my list the night before, making sure "morning walk" and "shower" were on there so I would have something to cross off early. I guess what didn't get finished goes on tomorrow's list. I just hoped for more hours in the day.

What throws off your work schedule? What throws me off are not necessarily bad things. For example, I often get side-tracked on laundry. Since it is endless, I have to just plan to skip a few days or else I'm always sorting and folding. Lately iTunes is slowing me down. I just need to ignore it for a while. E-mail can be distracting, but again, it is a distraction I enjoy. And then there's coffee and lunch. I'd get more done if I had no friends and never ate or slept, but I don't suppose I want that life. I'd rather feel behind.

How do you force yourself to focus? How to you stick to your schedules? Do you find you get more accomplished when you are already busy or when you only have a couple things that HAVE to be done today?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Aren't the bills more pleasant to pull out of the mailbox when there is a handwritten, personal note for you in the stack? Most of my mail is junk that I try to throw out in the garage trash can. I don't want to have it in my house at all if I can avoid it. I also get a ton of catalogs, which is my own fault for Christmas shopping with them.
I love getting personal mail.

In these days of e-mail and blogs and text messaging and cell phones, letter writing is a dying art. I enjoy e-mailing with friends. It is easier, but it isn't quite the same, is it?

I love buying greeting cards. I buy good ones even if I don't have an occasion for it yet. I have a funny getting married one, but haven't known any newlyweds for a while. I have some thoughtful sympathy ones that I guess I'm not really eager to use. Some of the funny ones are for birthdays, so I have to hold onto them.
When was the last time you handwrote a note to someone? When was the last time you received one?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sake anyone?
Although far from an expert in Japanese wines, I am enjoying sake. Tonight I split a bottle with a friend in the old Beijing Cafe in a sixties' plaza in the DC suburbs. One cool thing about Asian cuisine is that they give their entrees and beverages fun names. I had "Happiness Lamb." Happiness sizzles. However, when the sizzle is gone, it tastes kinda like beef. Nothing special. hhmm. The sake definitely enhanced the meal.

I don't understand the sake cups. By splitting the bottle, I had somewhere around 15 cups of sake. Good thing I had a movie theater to go to next door. The best sake cups I ever employed were in Annapolis. The sake focused the picture under the little convex glass on the bottom of the cup: pornographic sake.

I once ate at a fancy restaurant with a list of sakes and a little description of each. My favorite was call "The Root of Innocence." We had a second bottle after "The Root of Innocence," but I don't recall it's name. That's probably because of the sake-tini I had first. Maybe it has to do with where the root of innocence lies. Does it grow deep in the fields where the Happiness Lambs graze?

Anyway, the movie I saw was "Little Miss Sunshine." I recommend that everyone sees it as soon as possible - with or without sake.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Dontcha just love that commercial about buying school supplies?

The members of this household are eager for school to start. We have had enough of the idle time of summer. We are all getting on each other's nerves and our summer entertainment choices are beginning to bore.

My oldest will be in 8th grade and is looking forward to being superior. She has a fashionable new back pack and a new mirror for her locker. What more could she need?

My son is starting middle school. Since he's discovered girls this summer he is eager for the field of potential new romances. I am on alert about this, although he has been charming.

My youngest is happy to be the only member of our family in elementary school, although she has some concerns about not having her brother's protection on the school bus. She is obediently taking fashion advice from her older sister.

Should I be emphasizing academics more?

I have several projects that I am eager to devote regular time to this fall. This is the first school year I will officially NOT be doing any after-care or day care in years. I am the entire neighborhood's emergency back-up, which provides enough interruption. I am planning to Organize an Accomplish this fall.

Are you looking forward to the change of season?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I finally got a comment on my skydiving necklace! I really like the necklace partly because if its secret code quality and partly because it looks kinda hippyish. I saw others on fellow jumpers on the day of my first jump that were fancy and gold, so they don't have to look as sixties as mine.

Anyway, I was returning to my seat at the bar in DuClaw's with my free glass for new beer release night when I heard a voice say, "Nice necklace."

When I was newly single again, the first book I bought about getting out there again was about flirting. One of its helpful hints was to look for something the person is wearing and comment on it, saying, "I bet there's a story behind that necklace"...t-shirt...ring...or whatever. The point it to unravel a story and avoid yes/no answers. For the most part I have found that guys haven't read that book. So I was surprised when someone actually had the nerve to comment. We immediately dove into an animated converstation about skydiving. It was cool.

Of course I recieved the inevitable razzing from my friends when I returned to the table. Even so, I was happy to know that the secret code worked. I think skydivers are, for the most part, a fun adventurous sort.

I'll have to take a picture of my necklace to post. I think I mentioned before that the charm is the closing pin of a parachute. When I first saw it I wondered if it was supposed to look like a parachute because it looked a bit more like a sperm. When I learned what it was, it seemed like an excellent conversation piece, much cooler than a t-shirt.

When you go skydiving with me in the spring, you'll have to get one for yourself.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Excuse me while I hang out in the shallow end of the discussions for a while. I’m not in the mood for diving into too much seriousness right now. Instead…
…One more thing about summer drinks…

I’m enjoying the blueberry cooler. I had intended it for my beach drink, but it didn’t work out. In order to maximize packing space in my requisite soccer-mom van, I opted to make a liquor store run once I got to the beach rather than pack from home. Unfortunately, blueberry schnapps in not standard stock in all liquor stores. dern.

Lucky for me, my friends from Idaho brought their summer drink recipe with them to my house. Absolute makes a Ruby Red vodka that, when chilled and mixed with club soda, tastes similar to Fresca, but with a lovely relaxant. So my disappointment was fleeting.

I love recipes I can remember without writing them down.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My favorite beach house dilemma this year was about appropriate places to eat cherries. One of the great things about summer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – or Delaware, is the delicious produce. The cherries were craving inspiring.

So my son and his beach week buddy, David, had been playing an elaborate game with the two younger girls for hours when David approached my mom on the porch to ask,
“Where can the girls eat cherries?”
“The kitchen, front porch, or outside.”
“Is there any place else?”
Curious now, Mom asked “No. Why? Where do they want to eat the cherries?”
“Well,” David sighed before he explained, “The girls are being held captive in the closet under the stairs and they want cherries. We weren’t sure if we should let them eat cherries in captivity.”
Understanding perfectly now, Mom clarified the boundaries for cherry pit spitting and told him he would have to figure out a solution.

On the Boardwalk, the boys had conned my mom, the happily indulgent grandma, into a set of rubberband guns. They were diligent about playing within the rules of no aiming above the neck. However, since the girls didn’t have a set of guns and had each partnered with a boy as his scout, they were allotted super powers. My daughter’s first power was a paralyzing shriek which we quickly replaced with a hissing stun poison. Her friend, Dawn, had the power to freeze anyone for a few seconds. This allowed them to get away from the other team and their ammo. In some new twist, both the scouts had been placed in captivity.

The solution was obvious. The girls were permitted a brief parole to feast on cherries after which they willingly and cooperatively returned to captivity in the closet.

I wish that all captors were so compassionate.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Summer is coming to an end. I hope you had some time to get away from it all for a few days. If you didn't get to, I hope you can make some time for yourself in the fall. Even good things seem better when you come back to them after taking a break. Do you find that is true?

I had a great time catching up with friends I've known for over 20 years who have moved away. It was great to have them all here. If we weren't busy at the beach or sightseeing, we were sitting up with a blueberry martini or a glass of wine until way too late to blog. So humbly excuse my few skipped posts. I had a few drinks with old friends. I hope you got the chance to do the same.

But now I have all these fresh new experiences to set down on “paper.” (I don't think any of my blog has ever been on actual foldable paper.) I want to tell you about flying kites on the beach at moonrise, or the wonderful dilemmas that developed with eleven people in a beach house for a week. Aren't dilemmas the most fun to discuss on a blog anyway? I have another delicious summer drink recipe I learned from my Idaho friends. I had an interesting experience at the internet cafe at the beach.

Of course, I can't tell you about it all now. However, I now have a backlog of ideas to combat any future writer's block. I'm sure other things will happen before I can post it all.

It is so refreshing to be rejuvenated in my writing by taking a break from it to visit with old friends.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I got the coolest shoes at the beach this summer. They beat the gold sandals in utility. They are sporty flip flops, white with blue accents. The cool part is on the bottom of each shoe has a bottle opener! I feel like Maxwell Smart, but cooler. They are even comfy.

What would be some other interesting combos with shoes? I don't think I'd want to use a toothpick attachment. Maybe a secret compartment for a key.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

“I’m trying to figure out what flavor my burp is,” seven year old Dawn explained on the porch to her mother who just scolded her for burping. Dawn is the daughter of my friend Peggy and the friend of my 8 year old daughter. Peggy & I had been enjoying a few quiet moments on my front porch when the little girls joined us. My daughter announced that she could taste corn now because she just had a bowl of Kix for a snack.

So we all tried to figure out our burp flavors. In a couple of burps, Dawn determined hers was taco meat. Peggy quickly identified Doritos. Mine was overpowered by beer – Modelos to be exact.

It was a lovely bonding moment watching moths divebomb the citronella candles in the early darkness of a summer night.

What flavor is your burp?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another knocking on the window at night story…

When I was 14, I dated a boy who was 19 who lived in the country about 45 minutes away from me. The age difference wasn’t so shocking to my parents because he was a good boy from a good Christian family. Mostly we went on group dates or hung out at each others’ houses or went to church functions together. We were both still very innocent.

He had grown up on a chicken farm, but his family was mostly running a farm supply store now. Once he stopped by my house with a truckload of pigs on their way to the Eskay factory in Baltimore. He had to park in front of my suburban home facing downhill so the pigshit didn’t drip out onto the street.

I shared a bedroom with my sister, Kay and we had our own private phone line in our bedroom. My parents got tired of the phone always being busy in those days before IM, texting, e-mail, call waiting, and cell phones. Kay was trying to continue a relationship with a forbidden boyfriend and was talking on the phone in the middle of the night. (Aren’t the forbidden ones the most alluring?) She’s the sister that I slept with for at least a month after watching the first “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” movies, which might explain the wrong conclusion to which she jumped that made the whole incident turn crazy.

I woke up to Kay vigorously shaking me, her voice shaking with urgency. She hissed, “Someone is trying to break into our room right now!” Of course I believed her. It was probably a psychopathic killer with a hockey mask and a hatchet. We were moments from grisly murder. We crawled out of the room and into our parents’ room. Kay reported the incident to our suddenly alert parents. My dad looked out of his window, saw something that confirmed the report, and called the police. I was terrified.

My sister and I were huddled with my mother on the bed while my dad dressed and paced while waiting for the police to arrive. He kept looking out the window, checking for the psycho who had threatened his family.

The phone in our bedroom started ringing. I was not about to answer it and hear the taunts of the crazed, would-be murdered. Kay was not about to answer it because she was afraid it was her boyfriend that she had been talking to when she saw the mysterious hand reach around and knock on one bedroom window and then the other. The incessant bell-ring of the phone added to the tension of the moment.

Remarkably, the police arrived. I went out on the driveway with my dad and heard him describe, for the first time, the van he saw pulled away when he first looked out the window.
“It was a white utility van with a Purina symbol on the side,” he reported.

I blanched. I felt weak with instant nausea. I didn’t want to speak, but knew I had to and quickly. I took a step closer to my dad and the officer and sheepishly admitted,
“My boyfriend’s family owns a Purina store. They have a van that matches that description.”

The officer looked from me to my father and, in an act of great mercy, did not yell at me and did not laugh. His facial expression did change as he was trying to subdue his amusement.
“I think I’ll leave this to you, sir,” the officer nodded to my father and put his notebook away. He was shaking his head as he got back in his black and white patrol car and drove away.
My dad followed me into the house. I can’t remember if I called or he called, but my boyfriend’s parents were called. They thought their son was sleeping at the firehouse where he was a volunteer.
The phone in my bedroom started ringing again.
“Answer it!” my mother urged, still too close to the incident to find it amusing yet.

“Hi Sweetie. It’s Dale,” he started right away. “Hey, don’t tell anybody, but I was just over at your house. I thought maybe you could sneak out and meet me, but I couldn’t wake you by knocking on the window.”
“Dale,” gheez, what a terrible night this was turning into. “My parents know, your parents know, and the police are looking for you.” I had visions of police cars surrounding him at the pay phone.

His parents were so humiliated; they didn’t want him to ever show his face in my town again. He had to apologize to my parents. I don’t remember what punishments were meted out for the incident. We did date for another year after that. He never knocked on my window in the night again.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Do you know the moves to the Sprinkler Dance? In my neighborhood, many of the residents have the sophisticated in-ground sprinklers. They also have lush green lawns. Mine looks like shredded wheat.

When my daughter was in kindergarten, she strayed barefooted into the neighbor’s yard and came back over to me wide-eyed.
“Mommy, have you ever walked on Bob’s grass? I didn’t know grass could be soft.”

I don’t have in ground sprinklers. I don’t have a lush green lawn. Once when I was married, my husband was bemoaning the embarrassing state of our yard. I insisted that ours was not the worst grass in the neighborhood. He begged to differ. On almost a dare, we went on a walk through the neighborhood in search of a yard in worse shape than ours. He was right. I was wrong.

My lawn mower guy says his crews refer to my yard as the “dust bowl.”

So I try to use the sprinkler, but I always have to do the Sprinkler Dance. Do you know it? It might only be for those of us who have the oscillating old fashioned sprinkler like I have. I selected that model because it is the most fun to run through. First, I place it on the far edge of my yard – as far as the hose will reach. I turn on the water and watch. Inevitably, the water is falling too much into the street or too much on the porch. So I have to time my dash in with the oscillation to reposition it before it oscillates back into me. Then I watch the water pattern and repeat as necessary. After a few minutes I have to reposition the sprinkler to get the other parts of the yard. I could turn off the water, but how boring would that be?

Have you seen those huge farm crop sprinklers? When I was driving to the airfield in Laurel, Delaware, I had to pass a cornfield being watered with one of those giant suckers. I had my window down and was talking on the cell phone. I realized that the spray of water exceeded the edge of the field. I couldn’t react fast enough to avoid a pretty good douse. I guess farmers don’t do the Sprinkler Dance.

In these hot mornings when Anne & I walk, we sometimes lean through the spray of our neighbor’s fancy sprinkler systems. Now and then I catch another neighbor standing, usually with hands on hips watching the sprinkler. I know they are planning their next move. The Sprinkler Dance is not so difficult that it warrants the investment of a sprinkler system. My lawn is better than is has been in the past, but no one would accuse me of having the nicest lawn in the neighborhood.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I have been making some changes that you may have noticed. There is a new link on my sidebar to my commercial site. We have a bit more tweaking to do, but would love your feedback. I haven't had time for it lately with all my guests in town, but I need more great short quotes if you want to pass any my way.

I've also begun to drop the CG, although I will always keep part of her with me.

In addition to mt other irons in the fire, I will be starting an additional blog for an upcoming project. Right now it isn't really going. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for hanging out while I molt!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tonight is gold shoe night.
I'm having dinner with friends in one of my favorite pubs, Oliver's. My friend Terry is playing guitar for a couple hours there too.

At my 4th of July party, I noticed my friend Jeanie had on shiny gold sandals. I recently bought a pair of sparkly gold heels too, but often felt they were too dressy for my mostly casual life. So Jeanie called and designated tonight as gold sandal night. Makes dinner sound much more fun, huh? We'll look like WonderWomen.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I have been on a quest since July 15th when I read Greeny’s blog entry entitled “I’m a Blueberry Martini.”

I thought she had posted a recipe that sounded unique and I was eager to read on. Instead it was the results of a silly, but fun, personality quiz that compares you to a drink. Greeny came up as a Blueberry Martini. I took the quiz and came up the same. So I began to look for some ingredients.

Guess what? They make blueberry Schnapps! Today I made an excellent blueberry martini that will be my Summer of ‘06 Beach Drink.
I’ve never been one to measure, so for a large single martini,
Pour over ice in a shaker:
A couple of gurgles of blueberry Schnapps
A couple gurgles more than that of plain vodka

Let chill and strain into a martini glass.

Now I tried that and it was very refreshing, and very strong. Since I knew I had more responsibilities this evening, I ended up putting it back on the rocks with an equal amount of club soda. It was a delightful summer cooler.

If you try it, let me know how you like it.
What drink are you enjoying lately?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

As a midpoint to exchange the kids for the “Daddy Weekends,” the Ex and I arranged to meet in the parking lot of our favorite wine super store. Although enjoyed on different scales, affection for a good glass of wine is a pleasure we share. The rendezvous spot had definite perks.

So I was walking in with my three children and I said to them,
“When I was your age, my mother never took me into a wine store. I hope this doesn’t ruin you.”
Without missing a beat, my 12 year old said, “Don’t worry, Mom. We’re already ruined.” I think she winked at me.
“Well at least that’s out of the way,” I smiled back. “Now we can relax.”

It reminded me of the odd calm I felt once I jumped out of the plane. I was certainly at greater risk than in the plane. Once out, however, the only choice was to freak out or enjoy it. I totally enjoyed it.

Have you ever felt more relaxed once things were “ruined?” Like once you get the first dent in your new car you can finally relax about people shutting and opening the doors. Is striving for perfection behind you? Were you ever in control in the first place? How many times do we have to learn this?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We were falling.
I couldn’t hear anything. I know the wind was rushing, but I only remember silence. If Mike was saying anything, I didn’t hear it.
My panic was gone. The point of no return had passed. Oddly I felt safe, although I’m not sure how much my eyes were opened.

At one point I could tell we were head down. I think we somersaulted at least once before we arrived at the position with Mike above me and my face and stomach facing the ground.

He reached under to me and pulled my arms out of the crossed position that I had faithfully held up to that point. I became more aware of my surroundings, or lack thereof. Then I was delighted. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but I was no longer scared as I plummeted 2 ½ miles toward the earth.

Mike pointed out the videographer and I smiled and waved for the pictures. I yahooed like you might as a face-painted football fan. There were no appropriate words to scream, but screaming was appropriate. At one point it occurred to me that I should keep my mouth shut – bugs, or those fattening clouds. The wind reminded me of riding on a motorcycle where it is a good idea to keep your mouth shut. I think we were way above any bugs though.

Up in the plane I had asked Mike if I could pull the pin to release the chute. Of course I could, but I had to do it at 5,000 feet. He would draw my attention to the altimeter at 6,000 feet which would mean I would have about 5 seconds to find the ripcord and pull it. I told him that, although I really wanted to pull it, I would not be mad at all if he beat me to it. I wanted the cord pulled at the right time more than I cared if I did it myself.

It’s a good thing I clarified that, because I was totally not paying attention to the altimeter. I don’t remember the ground looking 9,000 feet closer. It seemed like we had been falling and falling without going anywhere. It was probably only a minute or less of free fall.

I don’t remember if Mike tried to get my attention or warn me that the chute was about to open, but the sudden change in speed was startling. The harness strap across my chest was now across my neck, which was a bit uncomfortable. My feet went flying up in front of me. You can see in the picture that one of my sneakers had come untied. Can you imagine if you lived near this skydive place? I bet you do get random shoes and stuff dropped down in your yard.

The videographer continued to freefall so he could beat me to the ground. He vanished from sight. Now that I was floating, I could look around more and see the other chutes blossoming against the blue around me. This part was so cool. Mike helped me lift my goggles for a clearer view for the rest of the drop.

Mike gave me the looped lanyards that steer the chute, one for each wrist. He was higher than I and kept his hands on the lanyards above the loops. To demonstrate how they worked, Mike yanked down on the right lanyard. We quickly turned into a psychotic spin. Mike yelled, “Look at the horizon!” I tried, but it wasn’t really horizontal. It was kind of teetering and I was suddenly aware of my stomach again.

He yanked the left cord and “unwound” us in the opposite direction. Cool! When I do it again, I definitely want to spin. It was way cooler than any ride I’ve ever been on. There is none of the jarring rattling, only smooth, very fast movements. The rest of the fall with the chute opened probably took 5 more minutes, for about a 6 minute “ride.” How long have you waited at an amusement park for a shorter ride that left you feeling like you had been in a car accident?

I saw the landing bullseye on the ground as we closed in. After the chute was open, Mike instructed me about the landing maneuvers and we practiced. I was still so excited that it was hard to concentrate on the simplest instructions. The lanyards take a lot of arm strength to control. Perhaps I should have been more afraid, but I was not nervous of the landing. We seemed to just step down onto the ground, even though I did pull my lanyards too soon. We landed on our feet, took off our helmets and loosened the harnesses.

Somehow Jeff, who jumped out before me, landed after me. I walked over to him to see how thrilled he was. You can’t skydive and be unimpressed. We immediately decided that we wanted to do it again, although not today. He is planning on trying the next jump not tandem. I guess being harnessed to another guy is different for a guy than a girl. He asked me if I wanted to do an independent jump.

“Hell no,” I immediately responded. I might not have exited the airplane if I wasn’t tandem. I might not have pulled my cord in time. The lanyards were difficult to pull and I’m not sure how well I could have steered into the landing zone. I wanted to go again, but like riding a motorcycle, I am content to be the passenger. That way I can relax more and enjoy the scenery.