Sunday, December 28, 2008


I was insanely spoiled by friends and family this year--I got clothes, linens, candles and the softest scarf ever from Mom & Dad, Lush from my brother's family in Texas, Julphia bath stuff from friends, good coffee, homemade treats, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, cute fuzzy pants, books and a screwdriver set.

A word about the screwdriver set: every time Jay & Sherri visit, when Jay needs a screwdriver, he is always aghast at my extremely limited selection. Each time, I remind him that my screwdrivers tend to be annexed by my father, who sticks them in his toolbox and takes them home with him. So this year for Christmas, Jay and Sherri got me a mini tool set, which includes a handle and various screwdriver heads, all in black and hot pink!

Up at the lake, I told my folks about this, and said to Dad, "I know that you aren't going to walk off with a set of pink tools."

Dad looked at me and said, "Watch me." :)

Post-Christmas lassitude

Christmas was, as planned, just me and the folks and the dogs at the lake.

Unplanned was Bigfoot's reaction to being spoiled on Christmas--two attacks of diarrhea and one of vomiting.

On the plus side, Mom and I got in two lovely long walks and finished an accounting that has been bugging us. Mom & Dad both seemed happy with their gifts, and I was outrageously spoiled.

Littlefoot took the opportunity of our walks to dirty himself up so that he no longer looked as pretty as he did right after his bath. He's still wearing his "bandana," though, and smells pretty good for a dog.

On Christmas morning, Mom had put out stockings for Dad, myself and the 'Foots. While I was in the bathroom, Littlefoot strolled right up to his stocking and lifted out the rawhide chew. There's always one who can't wait for presents!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Solstice!

It's nice to know that the days are once more getting longer. Of course, so are the lines leaving the shopping center nearest me, where I had to go buy a new tie-out chain for the 'Foots. *rolls eyes* I do wish people wouldn't make left-hand turns out of the back parking lot--I spent eleven minutes waiting for idiots who only thought that they'd skip a light and not about the fact that ALL of the traffic at two lights was against them.

Work was tiring today, even though it was entirely sedentary. I'm still not 100% over this chest cold, and it was a long day. By the time I got to PetSmart, I was doing a pretty good job of feeling sorry for myself. As the cashier rang me up, she asked, "So how are you doing today?" and I nearly said, "Crappy, thanks." Then a tiny bit of empathy poked its way out of the rocks in my head, and I thought, "I may have been sick, but I'm not working freaking retail three days before Christmas!"

Of course, at the speed it takes me to think these days, the chain had been rung up, my cash tendered and the change handed back to me.

So to Sharon, at the Chapel Hill PetSmart, thank you for asking, thank you for being cheerful, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. I wasn't being surly, I'm just slow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pity party

I'm seeck. I have a nasty chest cold that I am trying to keep from becoming bronchitis. As part of my effort to do this, I am giving up the two vacation days I was trying to hoard for next year in order to stay home the rest of this week. That means no visit to Sherri next March or April. :(

Here at Casa de Jammies, there is much misery and even more grossness, so I will spare my three or four readers and just say that I shall see you when I am better.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh no! Timmy's down the well!

Apparently, Timmy never actually fell down into a well. Nonetheless, it's so much a part of pop culture, that when Bigfoot starts running back and forth from me to something else, whining, I call it his "Lassie" act. I typically check the water bowl, the food bowl, and then see if he needs to go outside (unless it's past 11 o'clock, in which case I know he's nagging me to go to bed).

The night before I took lunch in to my team, Bigfoot did his act running between me and the bags of bread I had gotten for the lunch. I laughed and told him, "I don't care how far down the well Timmy is, you're not taking him any bread."

The other night, he did it again, but this time when I followed him, he nosed the doors to the freestanding cabinet in the kitchen where the dog stuff is. Apparently, Timmy needed a pig ear, and Bigfoot was going to be noble and eat it for him. It was so cute (and he does it so infrequently) that I opened the cupboard, got both 'Foots a pig ear and handed them out.

I'm such a well-trained human. ;)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

O The Huge Mango!

Christmas cards have started to arrive, despite the fact that I am lame and haven't sent any out since the beginning of this century. I got a really cute picture from JP and The Heather. Not having seen The Mango for a while, I was surprised at how huge he has gotten. He is not fat, but he is certainly tall (I guess it's "long" for babies, since they're not standing up much). He is definitely a huge mango, and adorable to boot.

I also got a very sweet card from my aunt and uncle in Florida (one set of them), wishing me "happy fireplace time at Lakeside with your parents." I am looking forward to a very different and quiet type of Christmas this year, as it will just be me, my folks and the dogs up at the lake.

In today's mail, I got a card from the Pickypants family. It was a picture of my nephews on the Disney island last February. I love the picture, and I love my nephews. That said, having spent a large amount of time with them over the weekend, I'm seriously over the whole little boy experience. Little boys sort of smell, even when they're clean, they like to grunt and belch and say "butt" and "fart" a lot, and they're much too energetic for this old crab.

Still, I think we all had fun over the weekend. Friday night, we went to Blossom Music Center for a drive-through holiday light show, which was really neat. Saturday night, we went to see The Nutcracker at the Akron Civic Theater, then out for ice cream afterwards at Mary Coyle's, which is both an Akron institution and a family tradition.

Sunday morning, the boys and I decorated gingerbread houses, and then I came home and reveled in the quiet and some girly scents. I would have been a lousy mom, but I think I'm a pretty good aunt.

Edited to add pictures of said gingerbread houses:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Seasonal Snobservations

To the lady walking out of the theater before us last night: First of all, the white belt with three rows of grommets was ugly in the '80s and it's uglier now, when we know better. Your pleather jacket with the fake fur trim was as much too short as your white jeans were too tight, and my nephews didn't really need to see your muffin top and your tramp stamp. For future reference, the ballet is The Nutcracker, not The Slutcracker. Next time, bring the class you must have left at home.

To the three houses in a row on Ghent Road on my way home: Okay, this is Northeast Ohio. I totally get why you took advantage of a warmish day in November to put up your Christmas lights. You didn't need to turn them on the day after Halloween. Do you do this just to be irritating, or do you believe Santa is going to be fooled into visiting you early?

To all the nouveau riche who've moved into my old hometown: I checked, and there's no ordinance saying that all outdoor lights have to be white. I'm sure all of you think it's all restrained and elegant, but I have to tell you, that shit is boring.

To Walmart: We know you're the actual Outpost of Hell on Earth, doing Satan's bidding. You don't need to rub our noses in it with that horrible commercial with the toddler who spends all his days asking for STUFF and his deluded mother who's going to get it all for him thanks to Walmart. We need to add a new deadly sin just for Walmart executives.

To my neighbors with the huge amount of yard lights and the inflatable Santa, penguin and nativity: Everyone appreciates that you turn off the lights when you go to bed. And we understand that the inflatables need power for the fans, so they deflate until you turn the lights back on after dark. But could you please put the nativity on a separate circuit and just leave that one up? 'Cos really, not only is it creepy when Baby Jesus deflates, I think it might be blasphemous, too.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A talk with Doc

What happens when you are friends for 30+ years:

Me: Lush or Skindecent

Her: Can't decide. Queen size or full size bed?

Me: Queen. Blackberry or spearmint?

Her: Blackberry. Wait. No, blackberry, definitely. Flannel or cotton?

Me: Cotton. Thick socks or thin socks?

Her: Either, because it depends on the circumstances. Are we done?

Me: Yes.

Her: Then we never had this conversation, we're just really good at picking out presents.

Me: Yup.

Friday, November 28, 2008

GobbleFest and run

Yesterday started off well. It was a lovely sunny day, Imp gave me the easiest way to get to her little corner of heaven, and I made it there just fine. I collected hugs and kisses from everyone, handed out the presents I'd remembered to bring and lamented the ones I'd forgotten and started nibbling. Sherri & Jay gave me a huge grocery bag full of dog toys and a Sherri-made cuddle wrap in deep red, Imp & Bel gave me Imp-made candles and a GobbleFest apron and coffee mug.

I should back up here and say that I'd been trying to call my dogsitter since Monday just to double-check on the arrangements and timing and not getting an answer. I finally left a message on her husband's phone. After dinner (which was fantastic), I saw that he'd sent me a text message saying she was in the hospital, her sister should have called me, and no one would be taking care of the dogs. I called my friend Doc and she went over to the house, let the dogs out and fed them at 7 last night, and then I left Imp's for home at 9 this morning.

The dogs forgave me the moment I dumped the bag o'toys on the breezeway floor. The multi-squeaker toys lasted about twenty minutes before the squeakerectomies were completed. I've made three circuits of the living room to clean up toy fluff since 1 p.m., and tomorrow morning I'm sure I'll have to clean less-pleasant things off the basement floor. I'm sad that I didn't get to stay longer, but so happy to have had my day with loved ones.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A pome

'Twas the night before GobbleFest, and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, except Jammies' mouse.
The puppehs were nestled all snug on her bed,
while visions of Nylabones danced through their heads.
The pound cake was made, and cooling just fine.
The bacon was packed, and so was the plum wine.
Jammies' outfit was chosen, her heart was athrill.
Tomorrow she'd see Imp and Mallie, and Jay and Will!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

From Hellidays* to Holidays

Lunch went well today. The big boss said I overdid it with the large deli tray, pita chips, pretzel crisps, fancy coffee etc., but everyone loved lunch and there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. I built a two-volume pocket part, and got my copy of the Kentucky Tort Law book today. Tomorrow I will build one pocket part and one softcover book, and do a boatload of CDs.

Right now, it's just nice to be home with the snow falling outside and warm dogs inside.

*(© Mallie)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Almost there!

Five working days until our fourth quarter hell is over.

Eight calendar days until ImpBelTurkeyFest.

I ran around like the proverbial headless chicken (shut UP, Mike) after work tonight, gathering items for the lunch I'm bringing in for my team tomorrow. I did this last year and it went over well, and I think it helps ease the stress a little bit. Since most of our books have to be built by Friday, I'd have done lunch then, but three of my colleagues have Fridays off or work from home, so I'm doing it on Thursday. I've got a giant deli platter from BJ's, four kinds of bread from what my dad insists on calling "the used bread store," pretzel crisps and pita chips and a salad.

Hopefully, I won't leave for work in the morning and forget the food!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Another big meeting today. Turns out Hyphenated Corp is going to ask for seventy voluntary terminations from three sites (Cleveland being one of them) in the first half of 2009.

I have a mental picture of me clinging to my cube with my fingernails. :(

Friday, November 14, 2008

Freudian shirt

Yesterday, we had a company-wide teleconference wherein we heard phrases like "Opening new facilities in India and Asia," "We're not outsourcing jobs" and "We hope to avoid involuntary job loss."


This morning at work, I was a little chilly, so I grabbed the wrap I keep at work. As I threw it around my shoulders, I thought, "This does not go with my shirt."




Ohmydog, I'm wearing a red shirt!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Fleeting, but much to be savored.

Sunday evening, and even though I lost all of yesterday to a migraine, right now, life is good.

I worked at Mom's office this morning, vacuumed the living room, got all the plants in from the garage, did all the laundry, did my weekly long shower with girly stuff, my lunch is packed for tomorrow and the coffeepot is set up for the morning. Even with a slight headache, the house is warm and cozy, the puppymonsters are snoozing and percolating, and I have the entire interwebinetz at my fingertips, along with a good book I haven't re-read in a while.

*happy sigh*

Friday, November 07, 2008

Random randomosity

Best quote today, from Girlygirl on the Lush forum: "I think my butt is broken. There is a big crack in it." (The poor child fell down the stairs yesterday and is recuperating with Vicodin today)

Most disturbing vanity license plate: EX2BATE.

Weird epiphany in the shower this morning: I love sugar scrubs because they're authorized scratching.

I would like to do something unspecified but evil to all the people honking at the poor lost driver the other night. Not only is that just making someone who's already sad and scared feel worse, it's hard on the ears of innocent bystanders like myself.

It's been so long since I polished my nails that all my nail polish has dried up.

This was a totally pointless blog entry, thank you for reading it.


Jammies, wasting your time since 2006.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Still alive

although it doesn't feel much like living. I go to work, try not to make mistakes, come home, look around on the interwebbinetz, take a bath and go to bed. *sigh*

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A day just for me

Mom & I worked yesterday morning, then went Christmas shopping. We got a ton of good stuff, and I'm now done with presents for my nephews, my nieces and my brothers.

Today, I am free to clean, pressure-wash the east wall of the garage, get my houseplants inside and take a long nap.

*contented sigh*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

*sigh* A little envy

Every time I turn someone else on to a book, I get a wistful little pang. I share books that I know and love, and when I talk someone else into reading them, I know that he or she is going to have an experience I can't ever have again.

While I love to read, and frequently re-read favorites, there is nothing like reading a wonderful book for the very first time. Watching someone else fall in love with a book or a series is fulfilling in the sense of sharing joy, but sad because for me, the joy and wonder of the first time reading that book are part of my past. There will always be other loves to come, of course, but still, I feel a pang for that first sight of something wonderful, knowing that particular moment is gone forever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Does this SUV make my butt look fat?

No, I'm not really going to buy one, but I've been thinking idly that it might be getting to be about time for a new car. I love my Saturn, but it's 11 years old, and sooner or later it will need work that costs more than it's worth. I've ruled out the Dodge Caliber, which would have been my first choice, because it doesn't come with an automatic transmission and I'm too old to learn how to drive a stick. The Passat wagon is too pricy for me, and Saturn, damn their eyes, doesn't make wagons anymore.

I wouldn't get a sport utility vehicle anyway, but the ones I've seen on the road recently look terribly pear-shaped. I've noticed a number of models that seem to swell at the middle. They resemble a bench full of heavy-hipped people seen from the back. I don't care what pretty colors they come in, I can't imagine driving a car that makes my butt look that fat and my head look even fatter for buying the damn thing. :P

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vocabulary test

Inspired by Sherri, who is getting ready for the GRE, I decided to test myself with her vocabulary list. Original words are in bold, my guesses are italicized, definitions are plain text, and the ones I've gotten wrong are bolded and italicized. All definitions are from Onelook.

adjective: demanding attention

Complain strongly
verb: criticize severely

noun: the act of inventing a word or phrase

Something which negates
adjective: of no real value

To make disappear, make irrelevant
verb: do away with

precipitate (alternative definitions here)
Too hurried
adjective: done with very great haste and without due deliberation

Make better, especially after harm has been done.
verb: to make better

adjective: having the power to influence or convince

noun: (law) a formal objection to an opponent's pleadings
verb: take exception to

Strongly lecturing, bossy
adjective: instructive (especially excessively)

adjective: not capable of being swayed or diverted from a course; unsusceptible to persuasion

adjective: excessively unwilling to spend

Constantly present
noun: a disease that is constantly present to a greater or lesser degree in people of a certain class or in people living in a particular location

evanescent (no, not the rock group!)
adjective: tending to vanish like vapor

A cohesive group
noun: the domination of one state over its allies

Defying description
adjective: only partly in existence; imperfectly formed

verb: block passage through

noun: the profession of a teacher

Miserably poor
noun: a state of extreme poverty or destitution

Strongly biased
adjective: of or involving dispute or controversy

Not speaking much
adjective: brief and to the point; effectively cut short

noun: complete and confirmed integrity

Complicated, hard to understand
adjective: difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge

Glowing brightly
adjective: radiating or as if radiating light

adjective: marked by care and persistent effort

Deeply held
adjective: having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought, expression, or intellect
adjective: characterized by or full of force and vigor
adjective: clearly or sharply defined to the mind

Viciously critical
adjective: marked by harshly abusive criticism

fell (alternative definition)
Dark and evil
adjective: (of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering

guy (alternative definition)
UK slang: a fool
verb: subject to laughter or ridicule

obtain (alternative definition)
Get (don't know an alternate definition)
verb: come into possession of

occult (alternative definition)
Spiritual, magical, specifically non-religious (don't know an alternate definition)
verb: hide from view

scurvy (alternative definition)
A disease caused by malnutrition or Low, contemptible
noun: a condition caused by deficiency of ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
adjective: of the most contemptible kind

To give up, refrain from using
verb: formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure

verb: give to understand
verb: describe roughly or briefly or give the main points or summary of

noun: a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.
adjective: not faithful to religion or party or cause

Declaim, aver
verb: state categorically

To say untrue, bad things about
verb: charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

adjective: tending to find and call attention to faults

noun: a rate that is rapid

Argumentative, pugnacious
adjective: wilfully obstinate; stubbornly disobedient

See, pick out
verb: catch sight of

noun: a state of inactivity or disuse

noun: a formal expression of praise

SWAG: has its beginnings outside the body
noun: an explanation or critical interpretation (especially of the Bible)

To make up for, make amends, repair
verb: make amends for

Completely destroy
verb: surgically remove (an organ)
verb: pull up by or as if by the roots
verb: destroy completely, as if down to the roots

The opposite of orthodox?
adjective: characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards

Lewd or oily or sometimes both
adjective: characterized by lust
adjective: having a smooth or slippery quality

False, untruthful
adjective: like or relating to a prostitute
adjective: based on pretense; deceptively pleasing
adjective: tastelessly showy

adjective: threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments

A long, boring lecture or speech
noun: (rhetoric) the concluding section of an oration
noun: a flowery and highly rhetorical oration

Directly to the point
adjective: loud and resounding

adjective: lacking in courage and manly strength and resolution; contemptibly fearful

adjective: abounding in or given to pompous or aphoristic moralizing

adjective: having or marked by a strong tendency especially a controversial one

noun: someone new to a field or activity

To make weak
verb: take away the legal force of or render ineffective
verb: make imperfect
verb: corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality

Not bad results. I learned a few words, learned the right meaning of some others, and learned that I know a lot of words!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who needs coffee?

Really, why bother with two cups of coffee in the morning when you can start your day with a quarter-sized dark brown spider on your white shower curtain, leading to an adrenalin-filled chase with an old Skindecent lotion container?

Eventually, I got the sucker outside and twitched until noon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy, happy, joy, joy

On November 13th (unless I'm building a book that day or the day after), I get to go have seven hours of neuropsych testing. Then I can either move up my January appointment to December, go see the doc both in December and January, or wait until January to get my test results and suggestions.

Right now, I'm writing everything down, making lists and checking them more obsessively than Santa, and just trying like mad to hold on to my sanity.

I did drink all of my water today out of my beautiful Kogimug.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Out of the closet

I finally told my boss and the other members of my team that I have MS. I've been having some memory problems lately, and they've affected my work. I've got a call into my neuro's office to ask about ALCAR or a prescription alternative. Everyone on my team has been very supportive. It turns out to be a good thing I 'fessed up--one of my co-workers was thinking that because the mistakes I made aren't understandable for someone "as smart as you are," she thought I had a drinking problem.

Coping with all of this lately has been hard, and last weekend, I allowed myself a good long wallow in depression and self-pity. That's pretty much over, but in today's mail there was one more reason to be grateful for all of the love and support I get from friends and family.

The back story:

Earlier this year, my friend Kogi did a gorgeous mug for a customer that was black and covered with roses. The pics were beautiful, and at some point after I saw them, I was on the phone with Kogi, and said that I wanted a rug with moses on it for myself. She said I might get one for Christmas and we kept talking. A minute or two later, the penny dropped, and I interrupted Kogi to ask "Did I just say I wanted a rug with moses? I meant a mug with roses!" Kogi had to stop and think about it, because she'd heard what I meant to say, not what I actually said.

Today, when I got home from work, there was a box from Colorado on my doorstep, containing the most beautiful rug with moses that I have ever seen. I'll take a picture and post it at some point, but right now, I just have to cuddle my present and think again how very lucky I am.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dear Snickers,

Damn you, you horrible man. Okay, granted, I lent you some of my Terry Pratchett books, the ones about Death, but that did not call for such an extreme level of retaliation!

I have been pretty much safe from reading science fiction since Ender's Game and its sequels. I adored those books, but I thought there wasn't much new out there.

Did you really need to send me a copy of Hyperion? It was so good that not only did I finish it today, I did something I am not supposed to do under any circumstances.

I went to Borders.

Yes, I went to an actual brick and mortar bookstore, and worse, I paid retail! *gasp of horror*

To make matters worse, I couldn't just buy the two books that complete the Hyperion series. *bitter laugh* No, I bought four other books.

Why did you do this to me, Snickers, WHYYYYY?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Technical difficulties

We're sorry, the Jammies you are attempting to reach is experiencing a shortage of goodmoodedness. If you wish to reach the grumpypuss bitchy Jammies, please leave a message after the beep.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Yes, I'm lucky to still have them and to have a good relationship with both of them.

However, sometimes they are, in a lovely Regency phrase, the outside of enough.

Flannel Jammies decided back in August that she and I needed to power-wash my house. Plaid Jammies agreed to let us use the little electric pressure-washer and come over long enough to show us how to use it. After thinking it over for a while, he decided that it wasn't powerful enough and would take to long, so he needed to come along and bring the big gas-powered washer. They were supposed to arrive Saturday morning at 10. At 9:30, FJ called and said there was an oil leak in the pressure-washer, and they'd be coming on Sunday. There followed a short discussion about scheduling, owing to the fact that I had to work Sunday morning at FJ's office.

I spent Saturday under the influence of large amounts of Benadrool, and didn't manage to do any laundry or cleaning because I discovered after I had taken said Benadrool that I was out of salt for the water softener (and was unable to drive to the store and get any). Sunday morning I was up at 6:30, dropped off some boxes at the house Mom & I are slowly cleaning out, went to her office and worked, hit Home Depot for softener salt, mulch and spray paint, and got home about three minutes before my folks arrived.

Pressure-washing is fun but it's work. The worst area of mold and yuck was on the west wall of the house, which gets almost no sunshine. Cleaning that wall took about an hour, after which Plaid Jammies decreed it was time for a lunch break. Over lunch, he just happened to mention that he's having hernia surgery on Thursday.

Hello? Surgery in four days? Were you PLANNING to tell me at all? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I refrained from smacking him and just ate my Sun Chips, but seriously. My parents' secrecy about medical matters drives me bonkers sometimes. Anyone who would care to send some good vibes to the curmudgeon who sired me, the surgery is Thursday morning, outpatient with a sedative and local anesthetic. They can't do it laparoscopically because they need to insert a piece of mesh, apparently, so it's going to be done via incision.

After casually dropping this bombshell, the folks were ready to go back to work. Dad actually let Mom & I do any washing that didn't involve being up on a ladder, and although it is immodest for me to say it, I was much better than Mom. She's too slow and she doesn't get up under the folds in the siding. After hearing about her insufficiences from Dad, she took my ladder and started cleaning the outside of the windows on the walls we had washed. I discovered this morning that she had also washed all the windows of my car--no more dog snot (or as Zayrina prefers to call it, puppy kisses).

We ran out of time owing to the late start, so Dad agreed to leave the little electric washer with me. I did the front of the house all by myself (yay me!) and then had a quick lesson about how to use the little washer, complete with instructions on not getting the plug wet. Right, Dad, I was gonna wash that, too. *eye roll*

Overall, the house looks great (the one wall that didn't get done was the east wall, which no one but me can see anyway), I found out about Dad's upcoming surgery, and we mostly had fun and didn't kill each other.

I will say that as miserable as I was this morning, I would not recommend that anyone with a sinus infection pressure-wash her house on a cold autumn day. I wound up leaving work slightly early to go to the doctor and get a 'script for a Z-pack.


Friday, October 03, 2008

*kicks universe*

I am so sick of lousy scary things happening to people I care about. Khover getting fired, my dad being diagnosed with diverticulitis, and now some news from a friend that is just horrible on top of what has been a lousy fifteen months without the recent news. I can't help anyone, can't do anything, can't even suffer for them.

*kicks universe again*

Edited to respond to Sherri's comment:

I hope I didn't come off as thinking this was about me, because it's not. In fact, I'd rather this was happening to me as opposed to the people it IS happening to. I know that I have wonderful, loving friends, and my thanks go out to all of you for all the support over the miles and the years. Sherri, thank you for the practical suggestion about how I can help at least one friend.

And the universe continues to be shitty--another forum friend just found out her husband has a tumor in his lung, and a former co-worker was finally diagnosed with MS after two years of doctors' visits, tests and whatnot. Oddly enough, the latter is actually semi-good news, because the penultimate diagnosis was Parkinson's, which is harder to deal with at 46 than MS. I need to pack up all of my "first year with MS" books and things and take them to her when I take the pups in for their 12,000 mile tuneup in two weeks.

It helps to take refuge in the practical things.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


One of my very first work friends, someone who became a friend friend, was fired today. I don't know why and I didn't get to see her--apparently she did a whirlwind imitation in cleaning out her cube and left. :(

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Very belated JammiesFest Photo Album

But first, a quick thanks to anyone or anything who may be watching over my friends, as Zayrina came through her surgery just fine today and called to talk to me while under the influence of good drugs.

On to the pictures!

Cantina de Jammies:

Bikini Chicken:

Mariachi Coco, home of the white chili con queso Imp dreams of:

Final group picture on the last day of JammiesFest:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Project Walk

is going well. Tonight, Mom & I walked part of a trail at Sand Run Metro Park. Dampy, that's the park we went through on the way to lunch during JammiesFest. We walked for almost an hour, and wore both dogs out. Bigfoot was extra tired, but bless his little heart, he did his best to keep up. Littlefoot will be wearing his Gentle Leader on the next walk, as he about pulled my arm out of the socket trying to play with every dog he saw, and the one he did start to play with, he was going to play rough the way he does with Bigfoot.

I always enjoy talking with Mom, and tonight was no different. She told me about her weekend up at the lake with her group of female attorneys, asked how work was going, and we chatted as we walked. She did say one heretical thing to me--she said (appropos a purchase made by middle little brother) that nobody needs four new books.

Ahem. Everyone needs new books!

When we were done walking, Mom was disappointed that I wouldn't let her hand out puppymonster treats, but as Littlefoot had a soft stool while we were walking and Bigfoot hadn't finished his dinner, I was firm with her. We are definitely going back to Sand Run for our next walk on Monday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Vehicular Snobservations

To the idiot in the grey car with the Starfleet Academy bumper sticker: Yes, when you drive a grey car in the morning rain and fog with no lights on, it's like your own personal cloaking device. I-77 is a lot smaller than space, however, and on this planet, the Klingons drive great big semi-trucks which will squish you if you invisibly enter their space. Turn your lights on, numbnuts.

To the guy in the Outback wagon: It's just precious that your car is the same color as your little waiter's polo shirt. You're so cute we can't stand you. It was bad enough when you slowed down traffic onto the interstate because you were looking in the rearview mirror and patting your cute little hair. It's inexcusable when you did that in the left lane. Get a damn alarm clock, set it, and get up five minutes earlier so you can groom before you get in the car.

To the elderly couple in the white land yacht with Florida plates: I don't know if you were visiting or moving back to Ohio or what, but if you can afford that car, there are a few other things you should think about buying or renting. First, a U-Haul or your own trailer so you don't overstuff said land yacht with your personal possessions to the point where the rear window is completely blocked. Second, a GPS. It's more than a bit irritating to be stuck behind you as you creep along at 10 MPH, constantly changing your mind about which side street you need to turn left on. Finally, buy a clue. You're too damn old to be trucking a carfull of crap around. Give it all to Starfleet geek or waiter dude, go back to Florida, and stay there!

Finally, to the guy riding shotgun in the pickup truck. This is Akron, not New Orleans or Indianapolis, so there's really no situation where yelling "Show us your tits!" is appropriate. If you were serious, you're a little scary, and if that was meant as humor, you're lame. Oh, and btw--yes, I was wearing a camisole under a half-buttoned shirt, but that one inch of cleavage you could see was really all the good bits. Trust me, if I take off the clothes and the architecturally-structured undergarments, you wouldn't like the result. Go browse the interwebbinetz for boobs to look at, mmkay?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dayumm, Jammies!

I may not have gotten promoted, but I certainly made my co-workers happy today. Maresche's work baby shower was today, and even though she's on another team, I was invited. I made Jan Hegel cookies as my contribution to the potluck lunch.

Mom's recipe makes a huge cookie sheet full of cookies, so I brought the leftovers upstairs and let my team know to come have some. Everyone liked them, several people had seconds, and three people said, "Dayummm, these are GOOD!" in tones of reverence.

I may have to take some to ImpFest 2008.

ETA: The admin assistant who took a cookie up to her third floor desk yesterday stopped down to see me today and said, "It's too bad you can't bake at all, and may I have the recipe?" *grin*

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

*insert bad language here*

The co-worker who started two weeks after I did and is 18 years younger than I am got promoted.

I didn't.

*looks for something to kick*

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Some women bond over martinis"

said Flannel Jammies to me as we stood in the rain in my driveway. "Not us!"

We spent most of the day together, from 8:30 this morning until 3:00 this afternoon, cleaning out a Ward's house. We made three trips to Goodwill, donating about $600 worth of clothing and household items, filled two trash cans, and filled my car up with things that might sell (costume jewelry, fur-collared wool coats, handbags and scarves and such). We talked while we worked, got the giggles a lot, and got grossed out once or twice--why do old ladies keep partials in with their jewelry? ICK! In the bathroom, I found a one-liter bottle of old liniment, which was pure isopropyl alcohol mixed with wintergreen oil. Mom poured it down the drain and put the bottle in the recycling bag, and when we left, the house still smelled like a breath mint explosion in a distillery.

It poured all day and gas is back up to $4/gallon, both of which seem to be the effects of Gustav and Ike on Ohio. Since I don't have the Weather Channel (or any cable, for that matter), I am relying on info I pick up on the Internet and from friends. My heart goes out to the people who've had to evacuate, and to the people who should have but didn't.

It's entirely possible that I am too tired for a bath tonight.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Okay, the troll thing

Yes, I have referred to myself as "photographing like a troll."

Yes, I sometimes would like to be a troll and hide under my bridge and let the world go by (an occasional tribute of gold would be nice, but no goats, please).

No, this does not mean I go around thinking of myself as ugly and made of stone. It means that I know that I am not photogenic. I can look in the mirror and think I look nice, or good, or some days, even pretty, and then that's not what the camera sees. To me, it is a fact of life. It's also genetic. My paternal grandmother was a bubbly, giggly, loving person who was a flapper in her youth and in her sixties liked to sprawl on the sofa and watch football while keeping her granddaughter from tickling her feet. In all but one picture we have of her, she looks cold and forgiving, and the two trenches on either side of her mouth don't seem to come from smiling as much as she did.

So to some extent, when I use the words "troll" or "trollish" about how I come across on film (or digital media, whichever), I am identifying myself with a woman I'd have loved to get to know as an adult and who left a marvelous legacy.

And I'm also acknowledging my own tendency to retreat from time to time.

That said, apparently the words offend or upset some of my friends, so I shall make a conscious effort not to use them.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ahhhhhhhh, now I feel like fall is here!

Okay, so it's still in the 80s every day and I still have to water my tomatoes. Nonetheless, when I went to the grocery store this weekend, they had my beloved girly Harmony Bay Autumn Spice coffee. I know most people think flavored coffee is rubbish, but I love the maple-cinnamon flavor of this coffee, and I spend most of the fall buying 3 times as much as I need so that I can drink it all year.

Tonight, I was thinking about Becs' touching entry about her kitty Dylan. Bigfoot was crying for something, and when letting him out for twenty minutes and refilling the water bowl didn't quiet him, I tried petting him and then giving him a second dinner. It was food that he wanted, and he snarfed it all down, and then came up to lean on me. I ruffled his ears and laid my cheek on the top of his head, then said, "Are you happy? Happy puppies make me happy."

He burped at me. *chortle* Damn, I love that dog.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Late Lunch with Lioness

Very much on the spur of the moment, Fiery Lioness arranged a mini meet & sniff as she was returning to Michigan from Columbus. We met at the Rte. 18 exit from 71N, and headed for Miss Molly's Tearoom in Medina. We got lost on the square with its silly one-way streets and had to call Kogi, who got us the actual address, directions and the phone number.

We made it to the tearoom just as they were closing down the kitchen, so we quickly ordered lunch. Then we could open presents. FL got me an adorable otter and made me a very professional-looking book of otter pictures from her recent zoo visit (Imp, she reminded me of you--she went to a zoo on her honeymoon).

I got her assorted bath products and a very creepy BPAL version of Neil Gaiman's short story "Snow, Glass, Apples." As a side note, that's got to be the perviest version of Snow White I've run across, and not the good kind of pervy, either.

There was much perfoom on the table, and much sniffing was done as we talked.

I found out that Sea of Tranquility, a discontinued scent, is FL's Holy Grail and she doesn't have a bottle. Happily, I remembered that Tangoing Owls has a bottle for sale at a very reasonable price. I felt like a BPAL matchmaker, and was sorry I hadn't worn black with a head scarf. *grin*

As we were finishing our sandwiches, a group of women filed past us to line up for picture-taking in front of the fireplace. We offered to take pictures so that they could all be in them, and it was easy to see that FL has recently experienced a wedding photographer, as she herded the ladies into just the right position for me to take 2 pictures with each camera.

After that, all that remained was for us to pack up the precious and have our picture taken. As usual, I photograph like a troll, but we were having so much fun I'm thrilled to have the picture as a reminder.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thanks, I needed that.

Work was just peachy until about 2 p.m. when Manufacturing exploded at me and got my boss involved. When everything was fixed up and done, I was just thrilled to get the heck outta Dodge and go walk with my mom and my dogs.

We went to the same park, but tried some different routes on the trail and got in a good forty or forty-five minutes of walking and climbing. I fell once, but thankfully I landed on my fat ass, so no damage was done. Bigfoot lost his footing once and sat down hard, but after Tuesday evening's walk, he was the only one not limping, so I think he's in better shape than I am.

Now that I'm home, I'm debating whether or not tonight calls for one of my hoarded Lush Marathon bubble bars. They're a little stinky, but a lot effective for sore muscles, and stupid Lush is discontinuing them. I have six left, which is twelve baths, and I'm campaigning like mad to get Lush to put them on the Retro menu. That's where they offer small amounts of discontinued items and I definitely will always need my Marathon!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Chuckery" ≠ "Oxbow"

It has now been over a year since I started at Hyphenated Corp, and while I've settled in well, I do miss my pretty much daily interaction with my mom and friend, Flannel Jammies. About ten days ago, she called with a suggestion that she expected me to dismiss out of hand--we should get together twice a week and exercise. I surprised her by responding to "Don't say anything, just think about it," with "Well, I was going to say yes, but if you want me to wait a week before I do..."


We agreed that we would start with walking before we lose the warm weather and the late-day sunlight, and that we would start the day after Labor Day. After several phone calls on Saturday and Monday, I was certain that we were meeting at the Oxbow area of the Summit County Metro Parks promptly at 5:15.

I came home from work, changed into shorts and a t-shirt, loaded the dogs into the car and was in the parking lot by 5:14. At 5:23, I did a quick drive through the other two parking lots in the Oxbow section and didn't see Mom. I returned to the parking lot nearest the trail and the 'Foots and I got out of the car. I walked them around a bit, trying to stay within sight of the parking lot. At ten minutes to six, I stuffed the dogs back in the car and told myself I would do one more circuit of the other two parking lots and then give up and go home.

As I was coming out of the second parking lot, Mom pulled in. She'd been sitting at the Chuckery Area since 5:15, because it was the first branch of the park she saw as she was coming from work. She admitted she hadn't even looked at the sign, just pulled in and waited. It took her 2 phone calls to my house and half an hour before she wondered if she was in the wrong place, and she was actually heading for my house when she saw the Oxbow sign and pulled in.

So we were a little late, but we had a great walk. The trail is 1.2 miles long, edges the Cuyahoga River in a couple of places and is pretty much always within earshot. It did have one stretch that was essentially "Climb this here big hill and we'll put in some railroad ties you can't really pretend are steps," but hey, that's good for the calf muscles!

Mom and I talked as we walked, and laughed a lot, and she kept apologizing until I wanted to smack her (she stopped when I told her that!) and generally had a great time. I'm looking forward to doing it again Thursday night, but without the bit where I drive around parking lots in a car full of panting, smelly 'Foots.

Oh, and both of them drank a bowlful of water each and then crashed out for the rest of the night. I still had to water the plants, bathe, set up the coffeepot and make my lunch for today. Rough life those dogs have...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anxiety dreams

Friday night: dreamed that I had giant zits in five different places on my face.

Saturday night: dreamed that the waterline into the house was broken and flooding the basement and when I finally got it shut off, I had no water for days.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Note to self

Idea for work pumpkin-carving contest: "I got a rock."

It's about time

I am so ready for this holiday weekend it's not even funny. Work has been full-tilt for the last three weeks, and while the overtime is good for my wallet, it's not so good for the rest of me. I ache everywhere and I'm hideously short on sleep.

My current book is my first ever looseleaf product, and it's difficult and different from the pocket parts and softbounds I've been doing for the last year. The difficulty has not been lessened by the fact that it's authored by a firm of lawyers who have taken for-bloody-ever to get their work in. Not only were they a month late with their first draft, they got their final changes in less than 48 hours before I was supposed to build the book.

My team coordinator did the senior editor review for me today, and she found so many little things that needed to be changed that she called Manufacturing and told them the book wouldn't be ready until Tuesday. So I get the weekend to catch up on my housecleaning and my sleep, and then first thing next week I get this monster finished and out of my hair for a week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


And hooray for that. It's 63° F right now, and I am happy to have a leetle cold front visiting. Plus, it's raining, so I don't have to go water my plants. The less I have to do at home, the better, because I am swamped at work.

My very first looseleaf publication builds on Friday, and of course, the idiot lawyers who are authoring it didn't get their final pages to me until mid-day today. It's four volumes with a CD, and I have to get it all done tomorrow so I can put it together on Friday. I'm seriously tempted to go smack these guys!

*deep breath*

Instead of thinking about work, I'm going to think about fall, which has always been my favorite season. I've always loved the look of the Harvest Moon, so I ordered the 2008 version of that scent from BPAL. As my darling Kogi always says, "It could smell like accord of ass and I'd still buy it" just for the associations with autumn. I want to smell like a fat round gold thing on a cold night!

Speaking of BPAL and associations, I keep running into phoenixes. I love BPAL (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab) perfumes, my current favorite bath & body product scent is Phoenix from Julphia, our proprietary software at work is called Phoenix, I pass an office or something for the University of Phoenix every day on my way to work, and a new second-hand car dealership just opened up down the street from me called Phoenix Auto Sales. I can hear my little brother saying it's just coincidence (Hi, Captain Crossword!), but I can't shake the feeling that maybe it's more than that...

Friday, August 22, 2008

My brother, Billy Chapman

I promised I would write this story up, so here goes:

A decade or so ago, my middle brother and his wife had bought and moved into their first house. At the time, they had no kids, a cute little grey tiger cat and a cute big yellow Lab. The house was in a brand new development, so they had very few neighbors.

It was December, and cold. The big cute yellow Lab hadn't adjusted to the move very well and had had a number of accidents in the house (shut up Scott, lol). My sister-in-law left the Friday before Christmas to spend some time in New York with her family, and my brother remained in Columbus because he had to work.

On December 23rd, Billy came home from work, parked the car in the garage, opened the door to the kitchen and was immediately confronted with the results of the loss of canine self-control. He threw his keys on the kitchen table, grabbed the dog and hauled him outside. He was fairly upset at this point, but he really got mad when he discovered that he'd just locked himself out of the house.

So it's near Christmas, what few houses exist in their development are empty, and Billy is outside in the freezing December weather with an incontinent dog and no cell phone. He looks around the garage, grabs his wood axe, winds up and smashes it into the door frame so hard that he can hear the strike plate crash into the sliding glass doors on the other side of the kitchen. The door pops open, he goes in, cleans up the floor, calms down and has a quiet evening.

Around bedtime, he realizes he hasn't seen the cat all evening, and goes looking. He finds the poor thing wedged in the bathroom corner behind the toilet, trembling like mad. Little brother figures that Kitty was probably in the kitchen when he killed the doorframe, and spends a fair amount of time petting and soothing the poor little guy.

On Christmas Eve, Billy drives up to my folks' house, Annabel comes in from New York, we have a lovely Christmas and they leave a day or so later. A week after they get home, they wake up one morning to find giant clumps of fur everywhere, and a cat who is one-half to three-quarters bald.

So they rush Kitty to the vet, and three doctors, two techs and a student intern all rush around looking things up in books, doing blood tests, asking questions until finally my brother says, in a very very small voice,

"Erm, if something scared him really badly, could that cause this?"

"Oh, of course, stress-related alopecia" says the vet. "Why, did something scare him?"

"Maybe." says little brother, still in that small voice.

So that is the story of how my younger brother literally scared the fur off his cat (who did go on to live a pretty long and full life).

Oh, and the name Billy Chapman is from Silent Night, Deadly Night

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Snobservations

To my friend Doc:

You have spent entirely too much time with nuns. A grouping of objects, such as my rubber ducks in my fountain, is not a "shrine to duckies." Similarly, the arrangement of photos on my credenze is not a "shrine to nieces and nephews" and the four bookcases together in the library is not a "book altar." Get out more and add some more secular words to your vocabulary.

And while we are on the subject of my duck collection, I don't care if you don't like my Dead Duck. Ordinarily, I would take "sick" and "nasty" as compliments, but I did not like the tone with which you used those words. He's sick in an adorable fashion, so there!

To Darth CS at my pharmacy:

Dude, if you've got some sort of medical condition that makes you a mouth-breather, I'm of the opinion that you need to re-think the whole headset and microphone idea. About fifteen different times during the phone call today I expected to hear "Jammies. I am your...pharmacist."

Second, just because you are a pharmacy does not mean that you are immune from the federal regulations requiring that you not charge someone's card until the merchandise is ready to ship. I will dispute this both under The Fair Credit Billing Act and The Electronic Funds Transfer Act and expect your company to behave towards your customers as any merchant is required to behave.

To my co-workers:

I understand being reserved, I really do. When I'm not online, I'm really rather shy. But when someone who has been on our team for years is going to another team, is it so much to ask that we take her to lunch? Suck it up and donate 90 minutes of your precious time and $15 and we'll all go to Applebee's. Sheesh.

There. I feel much better.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

R.I.P. Congresswoman Jones

Family, hospital confirm congresswoman's death
Posted by Plain Dealer staff August 20, 2008 19:03PM

• Plain Dealer comment: Remembering Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an editorial | Jeff Darcy's view
• 2007 profile: Great expectations for Tubbs Jones
• Brain aneurysms are particularly risky
• Her career and legacy
• Tributes: Blog comments
• Photo gallery from the news conference
• Send your condolences

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones' family and officials at Huron Hospital have announced that the five-term congresswoman has died.
She was 58.

This is the statement:

Tubbs Jones Family, Huron Hospital and Cleveland Clinic
August 20, 2008 - 6:40 p.m.

"Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones' medical condition declined. Medical doctors and neurosurgeons from Huron Hospital and Cleveland Clinic sadly report that at 6:12 p.m. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones died.

She dedicated her life in public service to helping others and will continue to do so through organ donations.

Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time."

Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died after suffering a burst brain aneurysm.

Tubbs Jones, 58, served as a Cuyahoga County judge and prosecutor before succeeding U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes. She served five terms in Congress and was expected to easily win her sixth in November.

Ohio has lost one of our true shining lights.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Littlefoot, my eternal puppy

It's hard to believe Littlefoot will be twelve years old in October. From the moment I met him as an abandoned fifteen-month-old puppy, he has been a warm-hearted, cuddly, playful fuzzball. My brother described him once as "all blonde, no brains," and a former boyfriend gifted him with the name "Jiffy Pop Butt."

He's part Chow, part German Shepard, all puppy. He likes to catch soap bubbles, tries to eat bees, loves dissecting squeaky toys and will follow anyone who seems as if they might pet him some time in the next year.

He's got a digestive system that can take the same exact food Bigfoot eats and turn it into fishy breath and weapons-grade farts. He sheds constantly and profusely. Not only does he refuse to allow me to trim his nails, one time at the vet's he came out of anesthesia when the nail clippers touched the first toenail.

He's the only dog I know who watches tv with fierce concentration when there is a dog on the screen. He even reacts to cartoon dogs like Lady & the Tramp or Santa's Little Helper from "The Simpsons."

When I am sad, he's always there to ask for petting, chase a toy, catch bubbles or just lie next to my chair. In fact, he is never far from me.

His sweetness of face is matched only by his sweetness of heart.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bigfoot, my heart dog

My apologies--the dogs are fine, this is me trying to be foresighted.

With surprising prescience, Zayrina asked me last night if I had any pre-need funeral arrangements made for the 'Foots. I do, sort of. I haven't pre-paid for cremation, but I've talked with Kogi about custom urns for their ashes. I'll provide the words and pictures, and she'll make them for me.

I keep coming back to this window, writing something, letting Blogger save it, and then backspacing over it. For all of my education, all of my reading, all of the talking that comes so easily to me, I can't seem to find the right words to describe my dogs, and to some extent, I can't make it real that they will need these words written someday.

Bigfoot has been with me since he was five months old. He was rejected by the family that adopted him from a shelter on the grounds of being "too big." He was fifty pounds and in that gangly teenage stage when I adopted him. His legs were so long and his feet so large that he looked like half a spider. From the first, he slept on my bed. When he was fussing, I'd sing to him--Jimmy Buffett's "Death of an Unpopular Poet." I still sing that to him on the nights when he can't seem to settle down to sleep and is pacing restlessly around my room crying.

He tried to bite my ex on our first date and I didn't listen to him--silly me. I could have saved myself a few years of hurt had I taken my dog's advice. All the times the jackass abused me (never physically), Bigfoot was there for me. I've soaked his fur with tears and never once has he let me down.

He's done two MS walks with me, pulling me through my first one in a freezing rain back when I weighed well over three hundred pounds. He's lightened my heart with a million silly antics, and made me crazy with his genius for opening things like cabinets, closets, cupboards and the refrigerator.

I can say all of this, and I can't properly describe the soul in Bigfoot, my heart dog, the one who is so much a part of me that I will miss him forever when he is gone. I am exasperated and miserable that I can't seem to sum up what a perfect dog he is even when he isn't being perfect.

Eight hours later, I give up. This will have to do for now, and tomorrow I shall endeavor to describe Littlefoot.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Every time I think I've got my Giant List Of Greed complete, Erin comes up with something new and wonderful. So far, she's made a pirate sock zombie, a samurai sock zombie and now sock zombie puppets, all available on her Etsy store.

This one was a custom order, but I seriously want her to sell them on Etsy now:

A cat zombie. How freaking adorable is that?

I wonder if I could get a discount for referring all my crazy BPALz?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I'm still struggling with my book and my deadline, but tonight I can't seem to focus on any one thing. If I start to read, I get bored within ten pages. If I'm on the Lush forum, I'm bored within half a thread. I don't even know what kind of bath I want.


Monday, August 11, 2008

I am so tired of the drama.

Not people, the weather. In the last week, four thunderstorms have come through my little city. There has been enough thunder to scare Littlefoot into trying to live inside my right pant leg, enough lightning to fry every piece of electronics on my street, and less than one inch of rain. It's frustrating when I think I'm going to get a night off of watering, but after all the sound and fury I still have to get outside with the hose.

Stupid global weirding.

On the other hand, my tomatoes are coming along nicely, and when they are ripe, it will be time to take the last pound of thick-cut peppered bacon out of the freezer and cook it up for sammiches.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Skindecent saved my life last night


I'll tell the story in a moment, but I have to preface it by telling Scott that if he makes one freaking comment about inside dogs, I will burst into tears and kick him sharply on the ankles. Stuff happens, I need to vent about it, and I don't want any extra grief. So there!

This has been a difficult and draining week at work. I've got one book that is the first revised edition in seven years, and another where the authors wanted an extra month to get us really lame content revisions and the head office wants us to still have it out by August 30th. Add to that my night-of-not-sleeping thanks to Ophelia's canine soulmate, and it's been hard.

Last night, I came home, had coffee, let the dogs in & out and fed them, ate dinner myself and went to water the plants. To do that, I have to bypass my fancypants new water softener, which involves a trip to the basement.

Down in the front half of the basement, aka the dogs' half, there are two room-sized pieces of carpet from when Mom & I re-did the bedrooms. They are down there because I felt guilty locking my dogs up on concrete floors all day. In the last 3 or so years, there have been some accidents, but I've cleaned up right away and it hasn't been too awful.

That is, until yesterday. When I went downstairs, I could both smell and see that someone had been very sick on both pieces of carpet. I switched the water over, zipped out and watered the tomatoes, then went back downstairs to deal with the mess.

On closer examination, it was very clear that the carpet was unsalvageable this time. Back upstairs I went, and then I returned to the basement with my good snips. I grabbed a couple of rags, cleaned up what I could, and then cut both pieces of carpet in half. Then came the bad part.

I had to get the carpet upstairs and out last night, because my trash pickup was early this morning, my city will only take one room's worth of carpet per pickup, and I didn't want all of it sitting around until next week. Not only was the carpet disgusting, it hadn't aged well--years in the basement had cause the backing to dry up into thoroughly rough and scratchy burlap.

By the time I had wrestled three of the four pieces upstairs, I was filthy, sodden with sweat, itching from head to toes and still had to get the blue pieces out to the curb. After I'd done so, all I wanted to do was remove all of my skin and hair from my body and grow in new stuff.

There was no way I was taking a bath in that condition, so I rummaged around in my bathroom cupboard, found a sugar scrub and bath cream in Pillow Fight scent from Skindecent, used it in a cool shower, and finally felt clean and human.

Then my dad called. When I told him what I'd been up to, he said in a very sweet and slightly chiding voice that he would have come over to help. I told him I knew that, but it needed to be done right away, and I wasn't going to haul him out of the house just to help me deal with something that was the fault of my dogs. He said he'd try to recover from the hurt feelings. ;)

We had a lot of thunder, lightning and wind last night, plus a teensy amount of rain. My plants didn't get any extra water, but my trash can got knocked over, the cardboard I had out for the recycling truck got wet, and the carpet got unrolled and wet. Bless them, the trash guys picked everything up anyway, and next week I will be securing the carpet with duct tape.

I'll get the last piece out of the basement after I duct tape it first so it doesn't unroll on the stairs, and then all I have to worry about is Kentucky tort law!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Separated at birth...

My Littlefoot and Mallie's Ophelia. Nevermind that one is a brown dog and the other is a tuxedo cat. They both have the ability to transform ordinary pet food into fumes which violate the Geneva Convention, they both have too much fur, and both of them get to sleep after keeping their owners up all night.

Whatever made Bigfoot sick last week, he got better (no, he wasn't a newt). Littlefoot is the sick one this week, and last night, he woke me up every ninety minutes wanting to go out. Because there's a certain amount of adrenalin involved in having a dog bark in your ear in the middle of the night and knowing it's going to be a race to make it to the back door before said dog explodes, every time it happened I lost about 30 minutes of sleep.

Like his spiritual twin, Littlefoot slept all day. I had to wrestle with civil jury instructions and coding of same.

Monday, August 04, 2008

JammiesFest Day Four: Sunday, July 20th

Also known as "The Day Jammies is Sad Because Everyone Leaves."


I've been putting off writing this entry because just remembering the day everyone left is enough to make me sad. Plus, with the exception of a quick webcam view of The Mango, not much happened beyond everyone packing and leaving.

Things were taken, things were forgotten, hugs were exchanged and pictures were taken, and after I dropped the last guest off at the bus station, it was a very quiet and sober evening.

I still miss everyone, but I'm already making plans for JammiesFest '09.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

JammiesFest Day Three: Saturday, July 19th

(this is for Zayrina, who's drugged out of her little post-surgical mind)

When the dogs woke me up, Rob was already up and had started the coffee and retreated to the back yard with coffee, book and pipe. Imp was up not long after me, as was Jay. Mallie & Dampy were up but being non-morning people, needed some quiet time to caffeinate. Jay & Imp went for a walk, and while they were gone, I cleaned up the kitchen, got dressed and had more coffee than was good for me. I decided just to cook the pound of bacon that was in the fridge all at once in the oven, and Jay & Imp returned from their power walk just as it was done.

At one point that morning, Bigfoot got itchy and decided he needed to carpet-surf. That's a fairly ordinary part of any day, but it was a little different that Saturday. The spot of carpet Bigfoot picked for his all-over bodyscritch was already occupied. He flopped down on top of the bikini'd chicken and went to town with the rolling around. I thought Littlefoot's head was going to explode as he tried to figure out why he could hear the chicken but couldn't find it anywhere. I'd loved to have gotten it on video, but my camera was nowhere near.

After breakfast, people showered, dressed, we discussed what we were going to do for the day, and then got the caravan moving. Jay needed to mail a check for a parking ticket he'd gotten the night before (they just missed the expiration on their parking meter!) and I was out of stamps, so he & Mallie were going to go to the post office and meet Imp, Dampy, Rob & I at the West Point Market. Rob noted the fancy tobacco store across the street from the market, and said he'd be putting that on his "To-Do" list for JammiesFest 2009. We had fun bipping around the market looking at things, tasting things and buying things.

When Imp was stocked up on Choya plum wine (careful, Imp, the website talks :P) and the rest of us were stocked up on all sorts of yummy things, we loaded it all in the cooler Jay had put in the car (smart man!) and headed off to Mariachi Coco for lunch. We had the white cheese dip that Imp was having dreams about and a lovely lunch. Imp was sweet enough to treat everyone as her birthday present to me, and after lunch Dampy gave me a gorgeous collection of bath products from Thymes. I've been drooling over their stuff since Mallie discovered them in Tahoe last year, but couldn't afford any of it. Now I've got lovely smellies to try!

Jay & Imp had another long walk after lunch, and I got the lemon pound cake and green bean salad made for dinner. When Jay & Imp got back, Imp played the "Adjectives" song from School House Rock that Mallie & I were singing because of my grumpy father, and somehow this led to a discussion and the finding of YouTube videos for "Fish Heads." Ack! Now I've got the damn earworm again!

After Jay had cleaned up (and was looking SEX-AY in his Utilikilt), he headed outside to start up the grills. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I'd taken the steaks out of the freezer the night before and out of the refrigerator that morning, they weren't completely thawed, so cooking them took a little longer than we'd planned. Jay earned himself a ton of good karma for being out there slaving over two hot grills in the almost 90º heat, that's for sure.

Mallie had made tiaras for the ladies, and everyone looked amazing all dressed up. Maresche and Khover were a bit late, but that worked out well with the meat taking some extra time. When they did arrive, they looked lovely as well, and both of them brought me great presents. Maresche actually got two Lush products that make her nauseous (Aura Suavis and Marathon) for me, and Khover got me an Ice Hotel and three adorable little bunnies from Squishable.

Khover liked the Kir Royale, but loved the May Wine, and Maresche said that next year, she'll have a beer and Khover can drive. The dinner was a success, both foodwise and in terms of my friends liking one another. The only minor failure was that we didn't get a group shot of everyone dressed up, because Imp & Mallie got out of their finery while I was out saying goodbye to Maresche & Khover. Brats! On the other hand, they did both compliment me on my dress, so they're forgiven. *blush*

Next year, though, we are definitely doing the dinner again.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

JammiesFest Day Two: Friday, July 18th

The dogs woke me up at six again, but Rob and Jay weren't far behind me. We all had coffee, then Jay went on his walk, Rob went out back with his pipe and his book, and I tidied up the kitchen a bit and then took my shower and got dressed. When Mallie woke up, she agreed to come out to my parents' house with me and pick up Dad's little propane grill. We talked about nearly everything on the way there, and when we got to the house, Mallie spent a few minutes admiring Flannel Jammies' gardening skills.

Mind you, it was somewhere between eleven and eleven-fifteen in the morning when we got there. The grill was on the porch as promised, but I knocked and then unlocked the front door. I knew Mom was up at the lake, but Dad was still there. I called his name, and received a growl from upstairs in return. "I'm still in bed!" I closed the door, re-locked it, grabbed the grille and told Mallie she wouldn't get to say hi to Plaid Jammies on this trip.

Once in the car, Mallie agreed with me that it was not too early in the morning to be knocking on family doors, and somehow, in our ensuing conversation, I wound up singing three lines from my favorite School House Rock cartoon.

"He was a hairy bear. He was a scary bear. We beat a hasty retreat from his lair."

All true!

At lunch, Bigfoot demonstrated to Jay that not only do dogs eat tomatoes, they also eat cucumbers. After lunch, Rob was on his way out to the smoking area with one of my books in his hand, and he said something about enjoying it. When asked which book it was, he replied that it was "Proven Guilty," which is the eighth book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Three voices spoke as one to tell him to put it back and start with book one, but Rob had already started and he is stubborn. ;)

Mallie & Jay were having dinner with a friend in Cleveland Heights, so after some showering and primping (they both looked gorgeous, sexy and wonderful), they headed out around three o'clock. Forty minutes later, Imp and Dampy arrived. After finding out that Imp's air mattress is a twin, I made an executive decision and told Imp that she & Dampy would share my bed and I would sleep on the air mattress in the living room where Mallie & Jay's mattress was. After some discussion, we decided to graze for dinner rather than going out, and I put together the green bean salad and showed Imp & Dampy where everything was.

Because I had informed Imp about the Barefoot Formal dinner at a time when she had a lot going on, she hadn't processed the information and so hadn't packed a dress for Saturday night. After dinner, she & Dampy & I zipped up the street to the local Goodwill, where we looked at prom dresses, wedding dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, etc. Imp found a neat dress--a slim column of black velvet, with a diamond pattern in lines of raspberry glitter and satin trim and crossover straps. Joy of joys, it fit her and the sign said the formals were $10. When we got to the register, the cashier said that the green tag items were half off, so the dress would cost "half of ten." Finding what you're looking for when you are shopping is good, finding it at a reasonable price is better, and being surprised at the register by finding out it's half of ten is best of all!

For the rest of the evening, the four of us hung out around the house. Jay & Mallie got home around elevenish, and not only had they had a good time, they'd found a bookstore they liked in Cleveland Heights. In addition to books, they got the most obnoxious dog toy ever. It's a rubber chicken wearing a purple & white polka-dot bikini, and it makes a noise which sounds as if the chicken had swallowed a kazoo and was now attempting to fart it out.

Littlefoot adores it.

Friday night ended with wine, laughter, odd chicken noises and good companionship.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JammiesFest Day One: Thursday, July 17th

Mallie and Jay arrived in the wee hours Thursday morning, and insisted on giving me my birthday presents right away. After the presentness and much petting of spoiled puppehs, they set up their air mattress and went to sleep.

Said spoiled puppehs woke me at six, so I let them out and fed them, then snagged a book and a cup of coffee and retired to the breezeway, where I remained until Jay was up and around. Jay had some coffee and then set out on one of his power walks. Mallie & I went to my favorite nursery, which was having an end-of-season sale. I got three butterfly bushes, two tricolor sweet potato vines and two lavender petunias, and Mallie got two Munstead lavender, two ruffled double petunias bicolored in red & white and two dark purple violas.

After showers, we blitzed through two office supply stores, Mallie & I drooling and Jay shopping quite seriously for something-or-other. We then had Thai food for lunch and headed off to the West Point Market. We got booze, snacks, chocolate and lots and lots of cheese.

When we got home, I took a short nap, then headed out to get Rob at the bus station. When we got back to the house, Jay was cooking thick-cut peppered bacon and slicing tomatoes for BLTs. I sliced the dill bread, washed & dried the lettuce and then went to sit and chat with Rob & Mallie while Jay cooked. As we were sitting there, I heard Jay say, "Dogs don't eat tomatoes." I grinned and asked "Which one ya got there?"

It was, of course, Bigfoot, who demonstrated that some dogs do eat tomatoes by snarfing down a slice of the big tomatoes Jay & Mallie had brought and then following up with two of the grape tomatoes I had for the green bean salad. The BLTs were splendid, even if Jay's world view was a little shocked. ;)

After a little bit of yakking, we all had an early bedtime. Three of us were short on sleep and one had spent nine hours on a bus, so we were pretty ready to chill out. Jay & Mallie moved their air mattress into the living room so Rob could have the guest bed, and after a final let out of the dogs, everyone could sleep in peace.

It's hard for me to explain how truly wonderful it is for me to go to sleep knowing that some of my favorite people in the whole world are under the same roof. I slept very well, and Friday was even better than Thursday...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The JammiesFest Cookbook

Flannel Jammies' Dill Bread

5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Dill--6 tablespoons if fresh, 3 if dried
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
16 ounces cottage cheese
2 large or 3 small eggs
½ cup warm water
½ teaspoon sugar
2 packets yeast

Sift 4½ cups flour with baking soda, salt & dill.

Heat the cottage cheese in microwave until just warm enough to melt the butter. Stir butter into margarine, allow mixture to cool.

Add eggs to cooled cottage cheese mixture and stir well.

Rinse a one cup measure with warm water, then add the ½ cup very warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water and immediately add sugar. Stir so yeast dissolves, then add to cottage cheese mixture.

Add yeast/cottage cheese mixture to dry ingredients. Let rise for one hour. Grease & flour two standard loaf pans. Spread remaining ½ cup flour on work surface. Remove bread dough from bowl and knead thoroughly. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a loaf and place in prepared pans. Allow to rise for another hour, then bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.

Lemon Pound Cake

1 lemon cake mix
1 instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
½ cup cold water
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
Confectioner's sugar

Grease & flour a bundt or angel food cake pan. Combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, water & oil in a large bowl. Mix on low speed until ingredients are blended, then on high speed for two minutes (450 strokes by hand). Pour cake batter into pan, bake at 325º for 45 minutes.

Remove cake from pan, and cool slightly on wire rack. Pour lemon juice into a small mixing bowl, and stir in confectioner's sugar until you have a thick glaze.

When cake is no longer hot but still warm, transfer to cake plate and drizzle glaze over top of cake. Serve with sliced strawberries or blueberries or raspberries.

Italian Green Bean Salad

2 pounds fresh green beans
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
12 ounces fresh ciliegne mozzarella or feta cheese
5-6 large fresh basil leaves
1-2 cups Italian salad dressing

Wash and trim green beans, add to pot of boiling water and cook five minutes or until bright green and still crisp. Drain beans and run cold water over them until they are completely cooled.

In large salad bowl, toss beans, cheese & tomatoes. Chop or snip basil leaves into mixture. Add salad dressing and toss until everything is coated. Add salt & pepper to taste, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Picnic Potatoes

1 bag frozen hash browns, southern style (cubed potatoes)
1 family-sized can cream of anything soup
2 cups cheddar cheese
16 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons onion powder or dried chopped onions
1 tablespoon garlic powder
5-6 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine (if using garlic chives, omit the garlic powder)
Parmesan cheese (the only time you'll want the cheap stuff in the cardboard container)

Combine all ingredients except the Parmesan in a large mixing bowl. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan, pour in potato mixture. Shake Parmesan over the top until it is evenly covered. Bake at 350º for one hour or until Parmesan has formed a golden-brown crust.

Kir Royales

Creme de Cassis (black currant liqueur) or black raspberry liqueur
Champagne or Asti Spumante

Chill champagne or asti thoroughly. Pour ½ shot glass of liqueur into champagne flute. Tilt flute and slowly pour in champagne. Repeat as necessary. ;)

Maibowle (May Wine) (Courtesy of Jay)

2 bottles riesling
1 pint fresh/ripe strawberries - sliced
big handful of fresh sweet-woodruff

Put berries and woodruff into a pitcher
Pour in both bottles of wine
Let sit overnight or 24 hours

Serve Chilled

(note, if strawberries aren't -very- ripe, they can be prepped after slicing with powdered sugar and let to sit for a few hours before making May Wine)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mean ol' Scott

has tagged me.

The meme:

* Write a six-word memoir.

* Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.

* Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere.

* Tag 5 more blogs with links.

* Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

The memoir:

I painted my brothers with lipstick.

The visual:

I am tagging Zayrina, Fluffykins, Becs, Queen Mediocretia and the Alpaca.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Et tu, Rooter?

*sigh* Today was going well--the guest bedroom and the living room are both clean, and I have time still to tackle the kitchen, bathroom and study. Unfortunately, I cracked the pretty glass pitcher I was saving for Jay's Riesling conconcoction, so it looks as if he'll be making that in my tacky plastic pitcher again. :(

When I sat down on the breezeway for a break, I happened to look out the windows to the front yard, and saw a sleek brown head. I stood up, and Rooter, my resident groundhog, gallumphed away and flowed down into the culvert.

I should mention I've been losing lavender plants, and now I know who the culprit is.

*double sigh*

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Three grocery stores, two liquor stores and

one convenience store and I have most of the necessary items for JammiesFest 2008. I've stopped using the ticker because it's dated for Monday and JammiesFest won't actually start until Wednesday and I'm too lazy to make a new one and change all the old blog entries. :P

Supplies laid in:

A bottle of Creme de Cassis
A bottle of Creme de Black Raspberry
A big bottle of Asti Spumante
Four pounds of flank steak, resting comfortably in the freezer, one rubbed with black pepper and pesto and the other with black pepper and garlic
Five pounds of thick-cut, peppered bacon
The ingredients for two loaves of dill bread
The ingredients for a lemon pound cake
One bag salt & pepper kettle-cooked potato chips
One bag Tuscan cheddar potato chips
One large case of Diet Pepsi
One bag garlic bagel chips
English muffins

Supplies to be bought on Wednesday:


The cleaning will commence tomorrow, and possibly even a B A T H for Bigfoot. On Monday, I plan to take it easy, maybe do a craft project or play mad scientist. On Tuesday I'm going to finish up the cleaning & laundry, and on Wednesday I'll shop for perishables and vacuum and put the final touches on Casa de Jammies. :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

No more relying on Snopes

A while back, Snopes ran a badly-researched article on the book & movie versions of The Golden Compass. I wrote to them about it (actually, I sent them a thoughtful and amazing post written at the Lush message board by a poster named Shelby), and while they didn't precisely fix the entire article, they did remove some of the more blatant errors and the proof that they had relied on abstracts as opposed to reading the books.

Today, when I was reading about the Kitty Genovese event, I ran across an article from Snopes about an urban legend about a rape during Scream Session week.

I was surprised and dismayed to find that Snopes reiterates the Kitty Genovese urban legend, and really upset to get an e-mail in response to my comment which basically said, "Look up the references if you don't believe us." Upon taking another look at the article, I note that the only reference is to the scream session legend, they have nothing cited to back up their figure on the Genovese case.

You'd think they'd try to not propagate more urban legends.