Back Home Again

I changed my default phone number in LiveJournal’s phone-post setup, and finished setting up AudioBlog for this site, in preparation for today’s little adventure, but did I use either one? No.

Fuzzy and I spent the day trekking half way across Texas, and back, to help a guy named Tank get home. Tank’s a one-year-old Rottweiller who’s been in foster-care here in the DFW area for a month (he was in a shelter before that), but he’s been adopted by a woman who lives in Alambama, and we were part of the group of volunteers that got him there.

Pet transports aren’t new to me, though this is the first one I’ve done in Texas. And Tank is a very sweet dog, but he was large – 97 pounds – and I’d forgotten how much Rotties drool. Sometimes I think they perceive all humans as napkins with hands.

In any case, our original leg of Tank’s transport was supposed to be from Dallas to Tyler, which is about 95 miles. NOt a bad way to spend a spring afternoon, really, especially since LadyBird Johnson’s legacy of wildflowers makes itself known in every highway median in the state. I mean, I am still dazzled by the amount of forested greenspace there is here, as I expected all of Texas to be indistinguishable from…oh, I don’t know…Nevada, or the Mohave Desert. Scrub and cactus.

But anyway…the woman who was supposed to take over at Tyler fell and broke her ankle this morning, which must be pretty painful as even just spraining an ankle turns me into a sobbing mess, so we said, “Ok, we’ll drive all the way to Shreveport.”

It’s still not a bad drive. 185 miles through lush greenery, past a camel farm, lots of horses and cows, and a place where they sell – and I am not making this up – Lavender tractors. I had to wonder if this color choice was in response to pink razors aimed at woman, and if the marketing was something like, “Lady CAT, for the woman who loves the purr of machinery.”

Anyway, we left 40 minutes late because Tank was still being groomed at 3:15, and then his foster human wanted pictures taken – which is fine, but we were already late. Then, outside of Tyler – *just* outside of Tyler, there was an accident that stopped traffic on I-20, and it took us forty minutes to get to the exit for 271 so that we could go around the accident, and loop back to I-20.

We ended up being almost an hour late to the rendezvous point, but the woman who has Tank overnight was late also, and only had to wait about 20 minutes.

I hate being late.

So we transferred the dog, had dinner, and headed home, and I’m now practically comatose but felt guilty about not blogging.

I’m sitting here in bed, about to turn out the light, appreciating the fact that I have tiny, spry dogs, who don’t have to be lifted into the back of the car, and weigh nothing, so that even if I had to lift them, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Because, yeah, Tank had never seen an SUV before, and didn’t know how to jump into the back.

On (Hand) Writing

My penmanship has slowly decomposed from bold calligraphic writing with strong downstrokes and true horizontals to a wobbly, childish scrawl. I blame carpal tunnel, but in truth, I think it’s just that I’ve become used to composing at the keyboard. After all, holding a pen and using chopsticks use similar muscle movements, and no one’s ever caught me asking for a fork in a Japanese restaurant.

A blogger I read mentioned handwriting in his blog recently, and an exchange of comments and emails has me musing. I know that my ‘voice’ differs greatly when I’m using pen and ink. My keyboard compositions tend to be breezy, fast, and use one line paragraphs for emphasis or just for cadence.

On the rare occasions when I do things more organically, my words come slowly, with more introspection and consideration.

I ask, therefore, that people share their answers to the following:
1) Do you keep a handwritten journal in addition to your online writing?
2) Do you compose journal or blog entries at the keyboard, or do you create them on paper first?
3) Do you find that your voice changes with the medium in which you write?
4) If you do other writing (fiction, essays, etc.) that is not in your blog/diary/journal, do you approach it the same way?

This entry crossposted to OpenDiary and to LiveJournal. Apologies to those who encounter it more than once.

Ten Stupid Things

I found this at The Zero Boss‘s blog, but he attributes it to Aurora.

* * * * *

Ten Stupid Things I Did as a Kid

Not in chronological order.

Drove my Fisher-Price car down the steps. Repeatedly.
Granted, I was a toddler at the time, and there were only three steps, but they ended on a very shiny, very HARD polished brick floor.

Dumped a tuna sandwich into my mother’s bathwater.
She was using the bath beads that turn the water blue, and I think I wanted to see if the sandwich would also turn blue. Or I wanted to feed the imaginary crab. And yes, mom was IN the bath at the time.

Went sledding down the switchbacks above Georgetown, CO.
Because playing on a freeway that consists of a string of blind curves isn’t enough. To make it really stupid, one must do it when the surface of the road is three feet thick with packed snow and ice.

Ate an entire stash of Communion wafers.
I blame my cousin Joey for this one (also, he helped with the eating). And Uncle Eugene, who should have had more sense than to leave his door unlocked. Having the fear of God put into you takes on a whole new dimension when your uncle is a priest who works at the Vatican.

Carved my initials into an antique table.
I had just learned how to write the letter “M”, and I was practicing, by using car keys to trace M’s on the leaf of my grandmother’s drop-leaf table. There’s a reason it was against the wall for most of my life.

Picked every petal off a candle that was either a bird or a flower, and smeared them onto the surface of another table.
Wax and unfinished wood really do NOT mix well.

Hid all the wooden spoons in my grandmother’s house.
Perfect child logic. She cannot threaten to hit you with something she cannot find. However, this only increased the Italian curses hurled in my direction.

Used magic-marker to give a doll eye-liner.
And then used Windex to remove it, thus removing all traces of said doll’s painted-on eyes and lips. Faceless dolls are really kind of creepy.

Crossed a creek by walking across ice.
Yes, it was a fast-moving creek. Yes, the water would have been over my head. No, the ice was NOT always thick enough to support three ten year olds. But really, who wanted to go fifty feet farther just to use a bridge? And having cold wet feet all day was punishment enough. Well, that and the falling through the ice right at the bank that caused the wet feet.

Hired hit-men in fourth grade.
Okay, they were only sixth-graders, but they were sixth-graders who were on track for time in Juvenile Hall anyway. And it only cost $5. And the kid they beat up on my behalf was REALLY annoying.

* * * * *
Anyone else wanna play?

Rob Brezsny is my Higher Power

Well, actually, he’s really not. And in truth, I don’t believe in horoscopes, as much as I find them amusing to consider, and fun to play with.

Sometimes though, horoscopes offer timely advice, or cautionary wisdom. The italicized stuff below is exactly what I needed to hear today. (Thanks to Clay for posting his ‘scope and thus reminding me that Brezsny existed.)

You’ve been given a prophetic glimpse of the great victory that’s possible. You’re very close to neutralizing an old bugaboo and making sure that the past will no longer hold you back. Now comes the hardest part: Will you be able to sustain your concentration until the triumphs are actually accomplished? Or will you be lulled into lazy complacency by the sense of security that your partial breakthroughs have provided? Personally, I believe you will summon the dogged ingenuity necessary to finish the job; you will turn almost into completely.

Cheeseburger in Paradise

We went to TGI Fridays for dinner, because the chicken I’d planned to cook was still mostly ice, and because I’m bored with chicken. Mostly the latter.

Fuzzy ordered his usual, Jack Daniel’s Chicken – apparently he isn’t bored with the stuff – and I indulged in a cheeseburger.

Cheeseburgers are really my idea of the perfect food. I like them grilled, medium rare, with mustard, lettuce and tomato – no pickle ON the burger – and sometimes a splash of ketchup. I love the combination of meat that is faintly pink and cheese that is one step from being liquid. They’re completely unhealthy, and completely satisfying.

As we were eating, a song came over the sound system that made me laugh. It was a female singer, which I mention because Googling the only distinguishable lyric came up with only male artists. And I laughed because when I heard it my response was, “Oh God, this should totally be the track for a burger joint commercial.”

Imagine taking the first bite of your hot, juicy, cheeseburger. The first perfect bite. And hearing over the radio, “Give me something to sink my teeth in.”

Yeah, you’d be laughing, too.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Late this afternoon, I sat at my green glass desk and watched the sky growing darker, the clouds pregnant with rain, and the trees blowing back and forth in the wind. I wanted music to match the weather, and the mood of the writing I’d planned to do, and settled on Loreena McKennitt’s Book of Secrets, a long-time favorite of mine, and I was lost in listening to “The Highwayman” when the eerie keening sound began.

As we’d watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, my first thought was “Air Raid,” and when I looked out the front window, I was half convinced I would see vintage planes in a dogfight over suburbia.

Instead, I saw rain, and then the phone rang – Fuzzy calling me to tell me to expect hail. I turned on the television to see a tornado warning (just south of us, at that time), went to the back yard to cover the glass picnic table with a thick blanket, because hail and glass really shouldn’t come into direct contact with each other.

And then the storm came, dropping pea- and marble-sized bits of ice all over the yard, and down the chimney (the latter made a clanging sound that caused much dog barkage), and rain. It was over too soon, and we had sun for several minutes, before the sky turned grey again.

I didn’t get any writing done, but I got to watch hail.
It’s all good.

Unconscious Mutterings, and Other Things

From Unconscious Mutterings

Week 116

I say… And you think… ?

  1. Detachment:: apathy
  2. Regard:: esteem
  3. Community:: service
  4. Strike three:: you’re out
  5. Congregation:: church
  6. Generous:: to a fault
  7. Pretention:: “An ounce of pretention is worth a pound of manure”
  8. Pregnant:: pause
  9. Drinking:: game
  10. Brilliance:: unparalleled

* * * * *
And other stuff…
We were up at seven for choir practice and church today, which would have been lovely, except that I didn’t fall asleep til four. And I hadn’t had caffeine late at night, either.

After church, we went to Panera, where I picked all of the chicken out of my grilled chicken caesar salad (I didn’t like the dressing. It was NOT caesar, more like a spicy ranch), and then to a music store. I’m now the proud owner of an actual stand for my cello, a new music stand, and a spiffy electronic tuner, as well as a new rock-stop and some stuff that is the stringed-instrument equivalent of Mr. Sticky – basically, it helps keep the pegs from slipping. Useful, useful stuff.

Since Half Price Books is right next door to the music store, we went there as well. I looked at a bunch of things, but I just don’t LIKE used books – the smell funny – kind of musty and mildewed and old, and sometimes the previous owners were smokers, so that odor permeates the pages. UGH! (This is also part of the reason I don’t really like libraries, the other being my inability to return books on time, thus racking up enormous fines.) I did buy one book though, a dictionary of “phrases and fables” – it was under $6 and looked interesting.

We came home and took a nap, and then I got up and made chilli and we had chilli and chips and queso while we watched the rain fall on the deck outside, and laughed at the way the smokeless, dripless candles dripped and made smoke. (“I know!” I told Fuzzy. “They’re smokeless and dripless when they aren’t LIT!”)

Laundry’s on hold til tomorrow – I’m just not in the mood for further domestic goddess behavior.

I’m thinking of taking the online writing class at Zoetrope. Has anyone gone through it? Is it any good?

I’m not feeling very creative tonight, so I think it’s time to make another mug of mint tea and settle down with the Laurell K. Hamilton’s latest offering, A Stroke of Midnight.

Waffles with a Side of Snark, Please

Sometimes you’ve just gotta have a waffle. I’ve been craving them for weeks, actually, but kept putting off the inevitable. “They give me carb crash,” I told Fuzzy. “They’re too sweet, they’re not healthy, there’s no protein in them.”

Tonight, the cravings won out, however, and at eight-thirty at night, we left the house and went to the local IHOP. Now, IHOP is convenient and cheap, but let’s be honest – the amount of actual recognizable food they serve is pretty minimal. I mean, the fruit is all canned or frozen, the orange juice is from concentrate, I’m pretty sure the cheese comes in individually wrapped slices, and no one – NO ONE – can get perfect grill lines on sausage patties without an airbrush.

Also, I associate the place with one of Dennis Miller’s old (old, old) bits. “Does anyone ever expect to see anyone International in once of these places?” he riffed, going on to make snarky comments about imaginary syrup stewards, “I chose a very dry maple. It was busy, but never precocious.”

On the other hand, I don’t like keeping ant-inducing substances like maple syrup in my house, and while I make a fabulous beer-basted beef roast, I only learned to made decent hamburgers this year. So, when I refused to cook on the grounds of it being that time of the month as well as the fact that I’m tired and crabby and having a crisis of self-esteem, and then said, “I want waffles,” Fuzzy’s response was, “Get in the car.”

As dinner invitations go, I’ve had better. Nevertheless, ten minutes later we were holding hands across a formica table that featured a syrup caddy bolted to its edge (which, really, is pretty funny – can you imagine some old lady slipping syrup containers into her purse? Honestly – they never take anything larger than half-and-half containers!)

Now, I’m prone to arriving at a restaurant craving one thing, and then being perverse and ordering something completely different, which is great for ending hunger, but not so productive when it comes to killing a craving. Tonight, however, I reminded myself, “You always get distracted by things like cheese blintzes, and then you bitch because they make them with whipped cream and frozen fruit. Stick to the thing you want. It’s hard to ruin a waffle.” And so, I did.

I had my waffle, and I had some sausage with it. I don’t really like breakfast sausage all that much, but there’s something really comforting in the combination of salty spicy sausage coated in the remnants of the maple syrup that was poured over the waffle.

About forty-five minutes later, we were back home, with happy dogs, and sated cravings, and I hadn’t even commented that if I don’t go back to IHOP for another year, that wouldn’t be a tragedy or anything.

Well, I hadn’t commented out loud.

Story Help?

Something about the clock flipping to a new hour, a new day, has me fiddling with a story in my head. I have images of the ocean, fog, the sound of foghorns the searching light of an old-style lighthouse light (I know the word for the lense I mean, but I can’t recall it this second).

Once, I heard some myth about mixing your blood to the sea and being tied to it thereafter. Or I think I did. If ANYONE knows ANYTHING like this, please point me toward it. The notion is integral to the tale I want to spin.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: This is loosely related to something I mused about in November, but not really. That story was never written. I need to focus more. Or be accountable to someone.

Earphones (The Sequel)

Thanks to all of the folks who suggested different sorts of headphones and earphones, especially Rana, who even manages to out-geek me, when it comes to cool electronic toys.

Ultimately, I went with an updated version of one of her suggestions – these: Sony Fontopia MDR-EX71SL/WK, which are even white, and therefore match my Zen Micro.

They’re super comfortable, and really light, and even when I’m boogying around the house, they stay in my ears.

Also, the meter-long extension cable is great for when we plug the Zen into the cassette converter to play it through the car speakers – it gives me enough length to hold the player and control it, without having taut cords everywhere.