Thursday, September 30, 2010

And the sock yarn is...

Soles & More by Sensations, available at Jo-Ann's craft stores. It's a typical 75% wool / 25% nylon blend on the lower end of the sock yarn scale; I believe I got the two balls of it at a local Jo-Ann's on shocking discount a while back.

I think I paid $4 for both balls. Which is why I bought them (and a couple other balls in other colorways too) when I already have so much sock yarn around the Den that I have drawers I can't close, boxes I can't close, Space Bags I can't close, and plastic storage totes I can't close and I'm sorry, but am I sensing a pattern here...?

...but c'mon, four bucks for a pair's would be like walking away from FREE GOLD that was just lying there on the curb...!

I'm finding it to be a perfectly decent sock yarn. Nothing wrong with it, but it isn't spun of unicorn mane or anything. (Which isn't fair. I mean, it's competing with stuff from Lisa Souza and Rabbitch, here, people, it's like throwing me on stage at the Miss America contest and expecting me to do well in the bathing suit competition.) ("Herrrrre she is, Miss OHMYGAH MY EYES!!!!!!!")

It is the ever-so-poetically named color # 1812, or TP/GRN/BLU. (TP? What the heck color is TP? Taupe? Nah, that's boring...maybe it's Trefoil Pasley? Turnip Petals? Toilet Porcelain? Trembling Parsley! Which would also be a great name for a punk band, wouldn't it? And now, the Trembling Parsley! {ROAR! sez the crowd...})

And the thin yellow strips are charming the dickens out of me for some reason. They're just so bright, verging on being jarring but somehow pulling back right as they begin to teeter toward "too much."

I started the heel flap on the first sock on the last leg of the homeward trip. Amazing how fast a sock seems to go, when you've been working on lace for the last stretch of forever...

We interrupt the other 47 works in progress...

..with a sock.

The thing about "on the go" knitting is, there frequently comes a point where they become more pain than pleasure, you know? I spent half an hour trying to do one ear on the anime-inspired hat. Each row on the shawl is now taking twenty minutes or more, and setting it down mid-row is perilous in the extreme. Eldest's Lillehammer is getting too big and awkward to carry and work on in cramped, swaying quarters.

Thus...I am making a sock. You know, real quick.

Because it is fast, easy and light.

And also because crawling around under BART seats trying to find the #2 DPN you just hurled wildly across the train is sooooooo much fun! (You meet the most INTERESTING people that way, too..)

(sent from my Treo)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bright and Beautiful

This, lovely as it is, was NOT a sight I was particularly looking forward to seeing this morning.

I am tired, oh my people. SEE, I was out too late last night, bein' rowdy with mah coworkers at a "team building" event. (It's a burden, having to work with these people...really...don't let the fact that they make me laugh something like every six seconds fool you, working in this team is a ho-hum drag...)

I got home at the stroke of midnight...then had trouble getting to sleep...then the alarm went off at 3:30 because I have a 7:30 meeting "in person" this morning...which makes catching the 4:45 train mandatory.

Needless to say: Feh.

So I made coffee for myself and the husband - who I'm not seeing as much of these days. And I looked at my sleepy-headed mate, in his ratty old robe, yawning hugely, cat already on his lap and glaring at me defiantly, scruffy-bearded and altogether rumpled...and I began missing him before I'd even left.

This is one of those weird "people in love" things, I suppose. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the sort of sight that would make most people want to stick around. (I, on the other hand, am GORGEOUS. All the time. And also elegant. Especially first thing in the morning, in tatty old PJs that are about three years past their expiration. It's my perpetually vampire-red eyes that REALLY make the "look," ya know? Ssssssexy!)

I was settling into a good case of The Melancholy by the time I got on my train. I felt lonely, cut off, tired, pessimistic about my chances for ever feeling content again (because The Melodrama is right next door to The Melancholy).

And I missed my guy.

Really, REALLY badly. (How I would "deal" if either of us traveled a lot is beyond me. But I suspect it would rhyme with "really, REALLY badly.")

Firmly in a funk by now, I jammed my iPod earbuds into my ears and hit 'play' on a random playlist. The Melancholy possessing my body didn't want to talk to anybody about her damned knitting or how freakin' early it is or Measures E, Q or X in the blasted upcoming ballot, or tell you how her garden grows.

..I'll just be over here wallowing in loneliness and sadness, never mind me, just another lost little waif adrift in a sea of nobody-gives-a-damn...

And then, three songs into a new playlist I made at some point then forgot about on my and beautiful and young(er) and husband singing the lead line of a song about (surprise-surprise) beer.

It was an instant blast of Happy, and Gratitude, too.

How many people get to hear their Beloved's voice on-demand like that? Sure, it's not nearly as good as his actual physical presence, but in my mind...I was watching his show, back in the day. Watching him be in his element, happy, confident...

Remembering how beautiful he was, and still is, and how proud I was, and am, that I get to call him my own...

But it gets better, because his voice is not alone.

And of course, other voices summon other faces. Other dear, sweet, beloved faces. Some on the stage, some making merry with me in the audience, some on other stages, in other places.

They were all right there with me in my mind.

Some live (relatively) close at hand and bless us regularly with their presence (and endure our occasional assault on their own peace and quiet). Some live far away and are a seldom treat. Some have largely vanished from our lives...but still we know, if we had a need, they would come to us by one road or another. In person, in spirit, in thought or prayer.

Just a simple song. Kind of a silly one, come right down to it.

But in that gloomy moment of loneliness, when a cloud was trying to form over me and puke darkness all over me, it was like gathering the best-spent days of my youth, the greatest treasures of my present, and my future hopes together in a song.

Hard to keep feeling lonely with so much love, laughter and light all around me.

..happy sigh...

It's a bright and beautiful new day after all.

(sent from my Treo)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red umbrellas and food dye

This red umbrella makes me happy: It represents the impending end of the Umbrella Wars of 2010. SEE, sisters got umbrellas at the Bean Festival. The bother...did not.

War ensues.

So, behold the $3 umbrella, Bringer of Peace.

Also, San Francisco Chinatown tip: this same exact umbrella on the Union Square end of Grant was $6. The further "out" you go, the more the prices tend to drop.

This pork bun, however, is NOT red...and in a development that will cause food purists to blanch, I really miss the obnoxious red food dye that used to make the BBQ pork nestled in that sweet steamed dough a most unlikely red.

It came from the same bakery where The Lady My Mother used to take me, from the time I was too young to do more than gaze raptly at her while SHE had one. Ah, nostalgia...

They're still awfully good, and at just a buck a bargain.

..but still...

I kinda miss that bright, undoubtedly toxic red dye...

(sent from my Treo)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Me:

If you are going to do That Thing where you dab a dollop of facial mud on a developing zit, it would be REALLY helpful if you washed it frickin' off BEFORE you left the house.

Because otherwise, people MAY think you've got an enormous smear of poop on your cheek. And as recently discovered, that makes it rather hard to pull of that "cool, competent" thing we were going for today.

Thanks for your attention to the above.

p.s.: Idiot.

(sent from my Treo)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The IEP of doooooooom…

Today was the second time we’ve gone through a “big” IEP meeting. Every three years, they do the “tri annual” thing; I think the main difference is that they are longer. Much, much longer. Epically longer. Longer in a way that can be a bit mind-boggling. First, we review where we were, now we go over where we are and blah blah this test and yadda yadda that test. The amount of time and energy spent observing and testing Captain Adventure was a bit astounding really, as was the fact that he put up with it – and apparently did so with a relative amount of grace, since everyone who had put the screws to him commented on his “cheerful, cooperative” nature. (Um, wait, are we sure we’re talking about the same kid? Because he kicked me in the face last week when I was trying to transition him off the Wii…and ‘cheerful, cooperative’ are not the words that come to mind, people.)

At some points, it seemed like they were just looking for ways to make me cry. Because you know what can kind of set you off? Things like test results that show your six year old is functioning at < 3 years (or in other words, “falls off the bottom of the chart”) in such-and-so categories.

I don’t care that if you turn your head sideways it’s totally an Internet ‘heart.’ It still kind of breaks mine…in some ways, precisely because I can’t argue with the assessment. There are definitely areas where he is not keeping up with his peers, especially in the social / communication arenas.

Autism is mean that way.

On the other hand, he’s also got things like, scoring 120 on a weighted IQ test,that’s right…my boy? SUPER genius. (In certain categories, when tested in a way that leans heavily on his really keen hand-eye coordination and mathematical tendencies. Terms and conditions may apply. See store for details.) (…wait, what?…OK, possibly? I have been watching too much TV lately…)

He’s also got areas one area where he shines like the sun, and that would be math. He’s doing second grade work. Lemme say that again: My “disabled” son? Kickin’ patookis in the math, baby. He’s doing work that seven year olds do not grok. He can do column math. (Without the ‘carrying a one’ part, though…he’ll add together 27 and 14 and come up with 311. But then he KNOWS that ain’t right, which, I mean, you go, boy! He just doesn’t know what to do about it yet, and so far has resisted my attempts to show him because what do I know, I’m just a mommy, it’s not like I’m a teacher or something…)

They didn’t test for it, but, he can also subtract. I’m just sayin’. (Proud momma syndrome: Check.)

These Official Meetings always make me feel fearful. Irrationally so. I fear both sides of the coin. I’m afraid they’re not going to find that he’s made progress, and I’m also afraid they’re going to find “too much” progress – and cut his services. I’m afraid they’re going to challenge his speech therapy, or tell me (gently, I’m sure) that he’s not nearly as high functioning as we’ve been assuming. Uhhhhhh, yeah, he’s not EVER going to be anywhere NEAR a mainstream classroom, I can’t imagine why you’d ever think he WOULD be…

It’s a constant juggle for me, trying to balance reality and hopes, dreams and limitations. To accept what is without leaving off the therefore that follows it.

To be realistic about things, but nevertheless shoot a little higher than reality suggests is prudent.

Which naturally leads to this IEP anxiety, I guess. I don’t really want to know how far off base I am, when I look at him and try to envision him out on his own in the So-Called Real World…working…laughing with friends…falling in love…mortgage, minivan, Denizens of his own…

I don’t want to know that he’s no, really right smack in the center of average for kids with his diagnosis. I want to believe that he’s not, that he’s barely only sort of possibly MAYBE in the bucket.

But I also don’t want to have him yanked away from the excellent help he’s getting right now, either. I don’t want anybody to actually say, “Oh, no, he’s fine, he could totally just go right on into a mainstream second grade classroom next year, la la la, everything’s awesome!” – because that is so not true, either.

So naturally, I’m not going to be happy either way, right? No matter what they say, pretty much, I’m going to find something in there that makes me some combination of anxious, sad, angry or just plain contrary. Nuh-UH! That’s just STUPID…!

But overall, our news today was good. His speech remains garbled enough that speech services are deemed necessary (whoopee). His track record with post-time-off behavior remains bad enough that he continues to receive inter-session classes (um, yay?) (I mean, really: On the one hand, he needs it and I’m glad they give it to him, but on the other hand it’s like, “Oh yeah, whenever he’s just home with us for any length of time, he goes completely feral and it takes, like, two weeks for his teacher to civilize him up again”? What does this say about my parenting, people?!) (actually, it’s kind of cute how hard they try to make it not sound like that…well, by nature, the home environment is more chaotic, and that’s actually GOOD, because blah blah blah…, and of course I’m thinking, …heh…you people have NO IDEA what kind of chaos goes on at my place…! and then my husband usually jumps in and starts blabbing about what-all kind of crazy goes on around here and I’m kicking him soooooo hard under the table and then I’m wondering why the psychologist is yelping like that, and…oh…ummmmm…)

It’s a bit humbling, really. There are so many people gathered there who are all working with him, one way or another. People who put in hour after hour helping him navigate his way toward a more mainstream life. People who, moreover, have helped him blow his nose, or change out of his pants when he had an unexpected accident, brought on by distraction or, more precisely, intense focus on something other than his body and its signals.

People who go over the same things with him, slowly, again and again, trying a hundred different ways to say the same thing, looking for that elusive key that will open the door for him.

Never giving up. Coming at it again and again and again. Putting up with him when he’s in one of his foul moods. Helping him find better ways to deal with those irritating “emotion” thingees, that so often come at him from nowhere and leave him flailing for a way to express himself, or even understand himself.

It still just amazes me, that other people willingly put up with all the crap our special needs kids will dish out. That we live in a time and a place where we aren’t expected to lock them in a room away from the “regular” people and pretend they don’t exist…or ditch them on a snowy hillside to die of exposure for the good of the tribe.

I’m still so grateful for them, each and every one. I’m aiming unreasonably high for my boy, and they’re right in the court with me saying, “Sure, you could totally make that shot! Just follow through more on the throw, but don’t flick your wrist like that, you’re sending it off to the right a bit…”

It’s good to have so many coaches, and cheerleaders, working with us.

Even if the meetings do occasionally go on (and on, and on, and on) a bit…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do NOT try this

Seriously. I am warning you. Just don’t do it. The results are horrible.

So do not collect together

4 to 5 cups of all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast (4-1/2 teaspoons if using bulk)
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
Another 1 tablespoon sugar

And by all means, don’t put the yeast in about 2 cups of the flour. Don’t mix the 3 tablespoons sugar and the salt into the warm water, for heaven’s sake don’t add it to the flour / yeast combo and stir until it’s all mixed up and slurry-ish. Then don’t mix in as much more flour as you can manage with a spoon, then turn it out and knead it on a lightly floured surface and keep adding a little flour at a time as you knead forever, or until you’ve got a smooth, elastic ball.

Then don’t cover it and let it rest for ten minutes.

Then don’t cut it into twelve portions, shape each portion into a nice, smooth ball, poke a hole in the middle of each one and pull it out smoothly (neatness counts!) until you’ve got a roughly 2” hole in the middle of it.

Don’t set those on a greased cookie sheet and let them rest, covered, for another twenty minutes – firing up your broiler at about the fifteen minute mark and starting a gallon of water in your widest pot boiling with that 1 tablespoon of sugar remaining.

After twenty minutes, don’t broil them 5” from the heat for about 3 minutes, turning once. (They shouldn’t brown at this point, they’re just getting an initial crust going.)

Don’t turn the oven down to 350 at this point.

Then don’t drop them into that pot of boiling sugar-laced water for about seven minutes, turning once. (But if you do, don’t crowd them in there – you’ll have to do only four or so at a time.) (Yeah, it gets tedious. It’s like, really? Because I’d rather do all twelve at once and BE DONE NOW, but if you try you’ll end up with a blog of melded togetherness that will never look quite right after you’ve pried them apart from each other.)

Don’t take them out and let them drain for a second on paper towels or a cookie rack. (I prefer the cookie rack because it doesn’t involve throwing away a paper towel, and also because I don’t mind having to mop up the countertop under the rack afterward. Eh, it’s seen worse…)

Then whatever you do, don’t put them back into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Because this is what happens:


See? That blank space right there? That’s where a picture of twelve bagels should be. Only there isn’t one, you know why?

Gone in under sixty seconds.

Mind you, the facts that a) there are six of us loafing around on a Sunday, and b) that they came out of the oven right at lunch time, and that c), they are nothing, NO NOTHING like what comes out of a plastic bag from the supermarket, probably didn’t help their longevity much.

All sarcasm aside – wow, were these good. And, all fiddly “broil then boil then bake” stuff aside, easy. Simple ingredients, simple steps, and the end result was astounding. Crispy-chewy-salty crust, dense, and remarkably flavorful for something made of only five “in every cupboard in the world” ingredients.

But don’t do it.

I suspect they’re highly addictive.

Like meth.

Only without that whole “getting arrested and spending the rest of your life in jail” part.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pig poop and pearls

We lost our childcare Tuesday morning. Abruptly, and in ugly fashion.

The bridge wasn’t just burned – it was atomized, and the canyon walls blasted another thousand feet apart, and, well.

I think it would be easier to build a car-carrying suspension bridge across the Grand Canyon out of dental floss than it would be to fix this thing.

The husband and I spent the rest of the week working from home so we could deal with the crazy drop off and pick up schedules (four kids, three schools, four different schedules, oy) and start scrambling around for replacement care.


And then of course, since these big chunks came out of the middle of the day for all that, we ended up having to work into the night to make up for them.

It has been a rough, rough week. I feel like I’ve been put through a wringer, twice, and not hung up to dry but hurled into a corner to quietly mildew.

Fortunately, I was already planning some time off today and next week.

Unfortunately, my plans for that time did not include ferrying the Denizens all over the place; and my budget didn’t account for the startup costs of new centers and programs; and my time off is unpaid time off; but, on the bright side, none of my plans were non-refundable.


But just when I was starting to worry that we weren’t going to be able to make this thing work, everything just sort of fell into place.

We found placement for the three younger ones, all at the same center, even Captain Adventure. They didn’t blink, blanch, or bluster about his autism. They just asked for a copy of his IEP and delicately mentioned that they’d need to meet him before enrolling him. Then they showed us the various ways they deal with kids with special needs, and I was all, Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I just need to kiss you right now…

The bus is being rerouted to the new center. Eldest is comfortably settled into the after school tutoring program at her school – which goes until 6:00 and should take some of the heat off us at night. Nothing says “awesome” like getting home at 6:30 at night only to find that your child has spent all her homework time at the sitter’s house doodling unicorns or anime in the margins of her book, but hasn’t actually done line one of her math homework...

And, at the end of the day, we’ll be paying about $140 less a month for all of it. Which I suspect is the Universe’s way of saying, “Ooooooh, did I just totally kick you in the teeth? Wow, sorry about that…here…have a cookie…”

I feel like I fell into a vat of pig poop and came up with a fistful of pearls right now. It was a helluva week. I’m exhausted, strung out, sad when I’m not pissed off, glad that the kids are happy with their new places, wishing The Incident never happened but kind of glad it the same way I guess you’d be happy you got stabbed in a drunken brawl, if the doctor sewing you up happened to notice a cancerous tumor while he was at it and whisked it off your backside for you.

Wow, it was so lucky that that guy slashed my butt with that broken beer bottle…uh, wait…

I can’t wait to put this whole thing into the rearview mirror.

And if I’m really lucky…I’ll actually get one of my three days of personal time off next week, uh, you know…off.

(I know. I’m trying not to get my hopes up. I think it would be just asking for it if I did…)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mold-Free Monday

I cleaned my office desk this afternoon. This is one of those little "housekeeping" details that frequently…eludes me. I'll go through my day sucking down cups of loose-leaf tea (because bags would leave me in grave peril of tea-cup tidiness, and we couldn't have that), or coffee liberally laced with milk and sugar, or even {shudder} instant hot cocoa (sugar-rush desperation, I occasionally haz it…), and then sort of not get around to the part where I rinse it out, preferably with a little soap being involved at some point.

I make toast with butter and jelly (usually in lieu of actually eating lunch, which is a terrible habit I've noticed is extremely prevalent in our group, especially during deploy weeks – which this week was), and as I'm shoving the plate, cup or bowl aside, I make a mental note to make sure I don't, you know, forget to clean that.

And then I totally forget all about it until I need it again. And there is no way in heck I'm going to remember to take a minute at the end of the day to take care of it, because approximately 99.95% of the time, quitting time jumps on me like a mountain lion pouncing on a mouse. SURPRISE! {squeak!!!!}

I don't know why it is that quitting time always seems to sneak up on me. After all, most days it arrives at precisely the same time. I even have reminders set up, a recurring "meeting" I've put on my Outlook calendar that pops up a little window fifteen minutes before I should be leaving.

And yet I almost never leave the office in anything like an orderly fashion. Oh no. It's always a rout. I'm always trying to finish one last email, or just look at the distinct values of this one field in this one (200-million-record) table real quick (there is nothing 'quick' about a table with 200,000,000 records), or I'm embroiled in an argument a vigorous debate about whether or not this line of code is doing what we think it's doing.

And then suddenly, without warning, I've got 28 seconds to be in the elevator or I will miss that train, which means missing the bus, which means missing the second train, which means cooling my heels for an hour at the bus stop waiting for the next blasted shuttle.

I don't like missing my shuttle. It makes me testy.

Half the time, I don't even notice I've still got dirty dishes on my desk. I just start flinging electronics in the general direction of the zippered pockets all over my backpack, and then I run for it. I'm genuinely surprised (and disgusted) when I get in three days later to find my tea cup has applied for a driving permit and the cream cheese from Thursday's bagel has been sneaking off to Planned Parenthood because it's got a thing going with the little bits of burned meat I picked off my sandwich.


Now, much as I'd like to pretend this has only happened once, maybe twice, well.

I'm afraid it's actually all too common an occurrence.

But not today!

Because, before my last meeting of the day, I looked at my desk, noted (and herein is the miracle) that said meeting was going to end precisely at quitting time, and I said to myself, said I, "Self! Deal with that, right-now!"

So I did.

People, you would have thought I had invented penicillin. That is how clever I felt, for having done the impossible, by which I mean knocking the spent tea leaves out of my infuser into the compost (hello, this is San Francisco – of course we separate our refuse into compost, recycling, CRV and {GASP!} landfill…the basket for which is I kid you not the size of a tissue box…), rinsing all the particles off my utensils, and even (in a spasm of cleanliness that defies all tradition) dried them so they won't be all spotty when I get back in Monday morning.

I also cleared off all the (mostly) empty soda cans, used napkins, assortment of wrappers, and other such goo-gahs.

It took me two trips to the kitchen.

And on the second trip, I brought back a damp towel with me and gave the desk itself a quick rub-down, and put all my crap away in my drawer. Tidied up the BRD [business requirements] and FSD [functional specs] and TSD [tech spec] documents sprawled all over every available square centimeter (and quite a few arguably unavailable centimeters). Put away my pens and pencils.

And then I sat through my last meeting of the day feeling so clever that I almost mentioned it when the project manager said, "OK, so, does anybody else have anything they'd like to add?"

Yes, yes I do. I cleaned my desk. Like, FOR REAL.

Fortunately, I managed to rein in my self-congratulations. I wouldn't want to make anybody else on the team feel bad for not being as bad-ass as your faithful correspondent.


I'm going to have a mold-free Monday morning at work, people.

That's right. Bad assery: I haz it.

And now, we shall conveniently overlook the state of my home office, because I am all about focusing on the POSITIVE, people…(besides, as long as I can shove aside the stuff enough to let my mouse move freely, I'm fine, right…?)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Magic Time Tunnel

Dudes. I totally have a time machine in my house!

This morning, I got up at 3:35. And I got ready and left my bedroom at 3:52. (Because I am a glamour queen who spends ever-so-much-time getting her "look" together in the morning.) (I call it the "drowned rat" and any day now, it will totally catch on.)

I went downstairs, walked through my hallway and guess what? Even though it only took me, like, ten seconds to walk through the hallway, it was 4:09 in the kitchen!

Then I left my kitchen at 4:28, walked through the hallway again, and guess what?!

It was 4:38 in the car!! And I was LATE LATE LATE!!!! And I just ever-so-barely as in HAD TO RUN FOR IT made my train!!

Dudes. Obviously? My hallway? Is a mystic time portal!


Tonight when I get home, I'm planning to run backwards from my back door through the hallway, out the front door and around the back to do it again about five thousand times. Give or take. Whatever it takes: My goal is to be thirty-two again.

I think it may just be possible!

Either that, or I'm going to be explaining myself to a psychiatrist because I've thoroughly wigged out my neighbors.


(Working the too-danged-early shift: A leading cause of insanity since 1902.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

…and so it goes…

Last week I was out sick for three days. I think that is the most sick leave I've taken from a job since Eldest was born. And I was none too happy about it, either. I mean, it's one thing to take a "sick" day, you know? Oh ya,ya, I'm soooo sick, *cough-cough*, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the CSI:Anywhere marathon on Spike, if that's what you're thinking…

It's something else entirely to actually be sick – not for three days, but for six.

And counting. Which I didn't realize before about 11:30 this morning when it suddenly occurred to me that I was still doing the hot-cold-hot-cold-hot-cold thing. And that my head was pounding. And my sinuses were throbbing. And that I was beyond tired. And that really, had I been anywhere near my bed or couch, I totally would have crawled onto it for a little late-morning siesta.

Also, I nodded off in a meeting. Briefly, and I think I woke up before I got really busted, but, well, see, what happened was, I was in this phone meeting? And I was dealing with 74 emails (which was what I had left after an initial pass of sort-file-sort-file-fast.answer-sort-file this morning), so I was kind of, uh, multitasking, and then I realized I had absolutely no idea where we were in the conversation so I tried to stop multitasking but I just couldn't seem to tear my eyes off my whackity-majillion open windows sooooo, I sat back and closed my eyes in an attempt to give my brain nothing to do but listen with my ears and suddenly I realized that I was totally falling asleep because startling awake will bring this realization to one.

Thank Dog for the mute button, friends. Because I think I actually did snort a little when I woke up realized I was falling asleep.

And I still had no idea where we were in terms of the meeting agenda. Wait, what project is this again…?

Fortunately (which may not be the right word here), the meetings today went right over and through the lunch hour(s); by the time I finally said, "OK, thanks everybody!" for the last time, it was 1:30.

And my manager recently laid down da law on me when it comes to overtime and lo the law is thus: Do it not.

Which means that I was sitting there asking myself: Do I want to take a lunch half hour and leave at 2:30 like normal, orrrrrrrr, do I want to skip it and leave at 2:00?

In some ways, it makes no difference. I'm still at the mercy of the train system. Leaving earlier doesn't get me home any earlier – I'm still on the same ACE train, arriving back at my home station at the same old time.

But in others, well. If I just sit there staring blankly into space at the bus stop (possibly snoring) (or worse, talking to myself, which I have a bad habit of doing in the best of times and which becomes downright constant when I'm falling asleep while technically wide awake), nobody writes me up for it, ya know?

So I (and my Starbucks card) busted out of there like we were breaking out of a medium security prison, I filled up my trusty Contigo with an extra-hot triple-grand Ambition-in-a-cup, and caught an earlier train out so I could hurry up and wait at the bus stop.

And listened to a lovely couple discuss their most intimate marital problems AT FULL VOLUME BECAUSE WE ALL NEEDED TO KNOW EVERY LAST GORY DETAIL allllllllllll the way to Dublin while a dude I suspect was tweaking sat across from me staring at me and doing this weird rapid blinking/head jerking thing, picking at his forearm and occasionally drawing in a sharp breath like he was about to say something only to shake his head and let it out in a long, drawn-out hiss. Awesome!

I love BART. Truly. When it's light, the crazy people really come out of the woodwork. When it's crowded, it's like a fascinating glimpse into what life would be like post-apocalypse, when it's every man for himself and people will stubbornly sit glaring at the elderly pregnant woman and her walker with an expression that clearly says I will DIE before I give up this seat.

It probably doesn't help my tired/sick/cranky feeling today that I worked like a dog over the weekend. This is something that will happen if one decides that it would be awesome to go all homestead-y on one's bad self, and throws one's self into this massive gardening project, with all kinds of grandiose ideas around how much can be produced on each square foot of ground.

…and then one promptly and after deciding that there is simply no work for one left in the whole entire Universe gets a job in a city far, far away from said homestead but instead of immediately dropping the whole crazy idea like a sensible person would, one says, "No, no, I'll just tone it down a tad, because after all, it's only a twelve fifteen month contract (with possible if not probable extension to eighteen) – it will be gone before you know it and what will you have left? The homestead…" and then one will spend every spare waking moment of one's exhausted, pathetic LIFE dealing with the stupid homesteading crap, and one will wonder if one needs psychiatric evaluation and possibly medication would be nice because NORMAL PEOPLE DO NOT LIVE LIKE THIS, PEOPLE!

Or so I've heard anyway. Ahem. So! This weekend, I got to deal with the produce that has been building up all over my kitchen counters and stacking up in my fridge and starting to wither on the vine while I was busy doing other things like working, or doing laundry, or being sick.

Over the course of the weekend, I put up an awful lot of stuff. Let's see.

6 pints strawberry jelly.
5 pints zucchini relish.
4 pints 'house' salsa (mild-to-moderate spicy)
5 pints green-tomato salsa (Habaneras Edition – kick, it haz it)
4 pints BBQ sweet-tangy sauce
4 quarts Italian-style spaghetti sauce
6 pints cucumber relish
4 pints zucchini marmalade, which is not as disgusting as it sounds. It actually tastes like plain old orange marmalade, but the bulk of the, um, bulk is actually shredded zucchini
5 quarts tomato puree

It's time to start resetting the little fields, too, as we're entering the transition months, shifting away from the heat-lovers to the cold-tolerating. Taking away the current aphid food and planting new goodies for them to devour. (Honestly, if only I could figure out how to harvest and sell aphids, I'd be set for life, y'all.) (maybe I could skin them for hide and tallow…?)

But I can't think about that right now.

Because I'm almost home, after thirteen hours of being gone. It will be noisy at home. There will be messes, old ones and new ones. There is stuff that needs to be put away. Emails that will need to be answered. Homework and questions and what's for dinner and four of us will think bedtime is too soon and two of us will think bedtime will never come, and many somethings won't be finished yet and will simply have to wait for yet another day.

And so it goes, and so it goes, and so it goes…and goes…and goes…

Saturday, September 04, 2010

I swear, it wasn’t what you’re thinking right now…

A little bit ago, I was looking at Regretsy (and laughing myself silly, which was nice because yes, I’m still sick and that pisses me off no end) (three errands today, and I was all like, ohmygah, I’m DYING, no, for REAL this time…).

And then I heard this noise coming from my bathroom and I said to myself, Hmm, what’s that noise? and then I got up to see what it was, and what it was, was, my son getting into my earrings. Spreading them out on the edge of the bathtub and loading up his pockets with the ones he particularly liked.

So I took them away from him and was doing the old, “Blah blah blah mine blah blah blah NOT yours blah blah blah out-out-out!” thing.

And, as I finished putting them back where they actually belong on the counter to be put away, you know, later, and was coming out of the bathroom (shutting the door FIRMLY behind me), still going “…blah blah blah furthermore yap yap yap stay out blah blah blah,” I saw him…staring at my computer screen.

With rapt fascination.

Because naturally, my browser was sitting on a nice if fugly example of someone’s cross-stitched endearments around what a BLESSING children are and how LOVELY it is to be that most sacred of beings, A LOVING MOTHER the enema pin.

Awesome. I can’t wait. “Oh hai, Mrs. Captain’s Mom, this is his very young teacher? Ya, he said something about looking at ‘butts’ on your computer, and I was just wondering, ummmmmmmm…?”


Last week, he told her during a moment of High Drama, that he wanted to killllllll himself. Not because he actually wants to, you know, kill himself, but because he wanted a do-over. His whole world is framed like a video game right now, and to him having a character “die” or “get killed” means they’re going to :ping!: back onto the screen, back at the start of the level. So when things aren’t going his way and he’s pissed off to the point of no return about it, he’ll start saying things like “I want myself to die!” or “I’m going to KILL myself!” in the same way that I might say, “GAH, I wish I could have a do-over on today!!”

Even knowing this, it still creeps me the heck out whenever he says it. And I have to resist grabbing him and delivering an emotional lecture about it – which would, of course, deliver only one message, loud and clear: Heyyyyyy, saying that sure gets a rise out of mom! I should totally do this any time I want to piss her off, which is about forty-seven times an hour!

Fortunately, his teacher being an autism specialist and all, she understood instantly when I explained this to her. (And agreed with me that while he may not mean it in the traditional sense, we do still need to keep an extra vigilant eye on him whenever he starts that, on the off chance that he might throw himself under the bus wheels or something, expecting that he’ll just :ping!: back into his bed and it will be morning again and now he gets to “do the level over” – isn’t special needs parenting awesome?!)

However, I’m not so sure if I can explain an enema pin to her. Especially given my tendency to just really keep going when I get nervous, instead of shutting up like a smart person would do.

“Ya, well, you know how there’s Etsy? You know, Etsy? Etsy? The online art marketplace thing where, ya, well, it’s, you know, art? Ya, well, then there’s this Regretsy blog, ‘where DIY meets WTF’ and, uh, well, there was this…well, a lot of times, it’s like…see, this one time, she found this one where this woman uses her boobs to do paintings? HAHAHAHAHAHA, I mean, heh, yeah, well, ahem. Aaaaaaanyway…it wasn’t what you’re thinking right now, it was just, this…pin…celebrating (I guess, celebrating), uh, enemas, and I mean, heh heh, really, what could be more WTF than that, huh?”

And then she’ll look at me.

And really…I mean…but…

It wasn’t anything like that. It was just, you know…sigh

…is it way too late to take the fifth right about now…?

Then I wonder why he always wants to come with me

You just never know what might be at the farmer's market.


Time allotted for errand: Twenty minutes.

Time actually spent: Forty-five and counting.

Happy, sweaty Denizens expected: 0

Actual happy, sweaty Denizens: 1.

Well played, Captain. Well played.

(sent from my Treo)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Being sick is boring

Yeah, AGAIN. Although I'm doing it right this time: full triple digit fever, dizziness, lung congestion, nausea, sore throat, headache, misery.

Can't sit up, can't move around...just lying here, me and my Treo and my TV remote...nothing on...soooooo boreeeeeeed...soooooooo unable to doooooooo anything...

I can't imagine how I'd survive an actual, long-term illness / disability. But can imagine it would not be pretty.

Also, now the TERRIBLE EXERTION of emailing my blog from my Treo has me all sweaty again. Gah.

Seriously. When I am Queen of the Universe? Germs are SO outta here. (So vote early, vote often! Me for Supreme High Empress! YAY, ME!!!)