I haven’t had the energy to deal with the amazing amount of words spinning through my head, lately, as I’ve been unnaturally tired. Today, I was up at nine, but then went back to bed until noon, and I only now feel human.

As I write this, my favorite comforter is being laundered, so that as soon as I finish dinner I can change the bedding on our bed. What I really want to do is go shopping for new stuff, but I’m going to be good and not do that til after my conference in August, especially since I just ordered a second headset, thinking the one I bought in Feb was having vista issues.

It turned out that I was having Vista issues, but since this one identifies itself correctly, it’s still a better choice.

And now I have a backup. Backups are good.

The rice cooker just flashed from “cook” to warm, so it’s time to but my turkey burger on the grill, so I can eat, finish the laundry and go to bed.

Ah, cool sheets.
I might have to squeeze in a bath first, so I can enjoy them properly.


There are times when, no matter how patient you want to be, little things just annoy you far more than they should. This week, partly due to funky, indecisive weather and an abundance of eye-hurting overcast days, and partly due to not sleeping well, and partly because I’m stressing about Fuzzy’s trip, and my parents’ arrival in a couple weeks, I’m cranky and peevish.

I was going to do a Thursday Thirteen list of “things that have been irking me lately,” but instead I’m going to list a few as a sort of purging measure. Many of these will be related to use of language.

Video Tutorials. Hate them. I am not a visual learner. I NEED words. I can follow the most convoluted written directions with ease, but if you throw pictures at me, my brain explodes. Also, if I’m doing something I require instructions in order to complete, I need to be able to flip back and forth, and video just isn’t a good choice for that – at least, not for me.

The phrase “return back to.” By definition, if returning is reverting to a prior state (of being, of ownership, whatever). The use of “back” in this phrase is unnecessary, and sounds really stupid. “I returned the book to the library.” “Let’s return to simpler times.” I realize that language evolves, but why are the stupid people in charge of the evolution?

Using IM instead of Email. Unless we’re in the middle of a conversation, chances are that even if my computer says I’m online, I’m really not. IM is for immediate chatting. I don’t like it when people use it as an off-line messaging service. I use three different computers all of which use different multi-chat software, on a regular basis, so chances are I won’t see your message anyway. At least five different people have left me messages on IM in this fashion in the last three days. If you know me well enough to be IMing me, you should have my email address.

“People that.” And general that/which/who issues. WHO is for people. THAT is for things and groups. “People who have blogs…” “Blogs that are about language.” (For a really good explanation of this issue (that/which/who) check out this page at GrammarBook.com

Websites, especially blogs, that require one to register in order to comment. With one exception, I refuse. If you’re so afraid of what people might write in your comments, why are you publishing your writing to the web?

“Engage with.” Again, it’s just clunky awkward phrasing. Bad: He didn’t engage the audience. Good: He didn’t engage the audience. (Not that not engaging your audience is ever good, but…)

I reserve the right to add to this list as more things occur to me, but right now I’m tired so I’m going to bed.

If it’s Wednesday it Must be Storming

If there was an investor relations department for weather, I’d totally want my seed money back. Why? Because weather drama has become predictable to the point where, when I asked if the rumbling I heard during dinner was thunder, Fuzzy’s response was, “Yes, lovey. It’s Wednesday, so we’re having a storm.”

Texas weather must have been designed by Lerner and Loewe, because, just as in their musical version of Camelot, the rain here never falls til after sundown, or at least, it never seems to. Why can’t we have a lovely afternoon storm, when there’s natural light to use in case of power outages.

I still love storms.
I just don’t much care for the scheduling.
I wanted to take a bath tonight.


A close friend of our family, someone who was very much a surrogate grandmother to me when we were new in California and my own grandparents were on the other end of the country, died over the weekend. We got the news this morning.

I tweeted it, but haven’t written anything. In fact, I haven’t done much of anything today but cry and sleep. I’m not one given to crying, and I blame the elevated hormones that come with a certain time of the month as much as grief itself.

I haven’t had words all day. I haven’t had focus. I miss her, and in missing her I miss my own grandparents even more.

And yet…

She was being kept alive by machines, at the end, and was without the strength to end things herself, and would not let her children accept that burden. Her son was with her when she died. She has been released from pain.

Tomorrow, maybe, I’ll have the words for a proper post. Tonight. Tea. And rest. And escaping into fantasy literature.

Basil and Earth

When I went to bed last night, before midnight, I was tired from working with garden plants, and my hands smelled like rich earth and two kinds of basil. Yesterday was an odd day for me, especially for a weekend:

– I woke around 5:30, because the sky was calling my name, and I needed to watch the sun. A little bit groggy, I made some orange/grapefruit juice, then took the dogs for a walk. We returned home just after the sun’s golden light was warming our front yard, and I watched the triangle of light creep across the dewy grass while I drank my coffee.

– Around eight or nine, I went back to bed, inexplicably tired, and COLD. I slept until about noon, read a bit, and slept some more. Finally tumbled out of bed around two. Made an omelet while Fuzzy showered, and we ate at the kitchen table while watching birds visit the feeder in the back yard.

– At 3:30, we left the house, and went to the pound, because our recycling bin blew away in a major storm and we never bothered to replace it. We were initially told we needed to pay $5 for any but the first bin, but when we got there, the women at the desk said, “Naaah, just take one.” So we did…

– … but first we walked through the kennels, and fell in love with every dog and a litter of black and charcoal kittens (is it a litter, if it’s kittens? I know it is for dogs, but I’m not a Cat Person). There was a mama Rottie ferociously defending her puppies – they’d been brought in earlier that day and she was traumatized, poor thing. I want a Rottie puppy! Fuzzy is afraid of Rotties though, and any of the breeds on the List of Seven (Akita, Rottie, Staffie, Pit Bull, Chow Chow, Dobie, Boxer) mean special insurance. Also, unless you get them as puppies most of those breeds are not chi-friendly, and Zorro is old, and sick, and it wouldn’t be fair to bring another animal into his house. (For the record, I have no problem with big dogs. Rotties and Dobies are sweet creatures, and most behavior issues are related to treatment and training, not genetics.) My dream dog is still a Manchester Terrier or a Basenji. Fuzzy wants a Chow mix.

– From the pound, we went to Home Depot, because I wanted to do some container gardening. Our yard is not set up for a proper garden, and the soil here is mainly clay and fire ants, so containers are easier. I bought four large pots, soil to fill them, and an array of plants: tomatoes, cucumbers, crook-neck squash, purple basil, sweet basil and lavender. I also bought a new wand for the front hose, so I can keep the flower bed watered.

– A quick trip to Starbucks netted me an iced vanilla latte. (I wish they hadn’t discontinued almond) and I sipped it while Fuzzy was in Radio Shack looking for some telecom device to tweak our cabling situation.

– We then went to Tom Thumb for light groceries (razor blades, toilet paper, cheese) and, because I like to do special dinners on Sundays, and they had Cornish game hens, already dressed, I bought two. (We’ll cook both tonight, probably share one, and turn the other into soup.) Irises were $6 for 10 stems, so I bought two bunches, because I like to have fresh flowers in the house.

– We came home, put the groceries away, and fed the dogs, and Fuzzy went upstairs to putter on his computer, and I went out into the cool of the evening to plant my vegetables. I saved the basil for last, and put the lavender under our bedroom window. When I went inside, covered in dirt, and happily exhausted, my hands smelled like loamy soil and basil leaves.

– A hot shower soothed away the aches from bending over pots, and washed away the dirt, and then I made a “peasant” dinner of hot dogs, baked beans, and potato salad. We watched a DVR’d episode of John Amsterdam as we ate. We have one more waiting, the season finale. Is anyone else watching this show?

– We had fresh raspberries and chocolate ice cream for dessert.

– I went to bed with decaf vanilla chai tea and a thick book, finished the tea, fell asleep reading, woke up enough to tell Fuzzy three am was late enough, and please come to bed, and then tumbled back into sleep, until Zorro woke me by scratching on the door (his signal that he needs to go out) about half an hour ago. And now? I’m going to step outside, grab the Sunday paper, and then crawl into bed for a while longer.

It strikes me, however, that “Basil” would be a good name for a dog.


The fact that both of us now have shiny new Vista-running laptops meant that we needed new Office software. Well, Fuzzy NEEDED it, I was doing fine with Office XP. I mean, it’s friendly, and comfortable like an old pair of sneakers or blue jeans that faded from wear and not some designer’s vision.

But I’m all about the shiny. We looked at the prices of the seventeen million versions of Office currently on sale (for those values of seventeen million roughly equal to four) and determined that a) we’re cheap, sometimes; b) we pretty much only use Word and Excel; c)We only needed to install software on three machines; and d) we were kinda curious about what OneNote was. We therefore decided that $150 (rounding) for the Home/Student version, which is licensed for three machines, was perfect.

(As an aside, I’ve been running XP in Crossover on my MacBook, because NeoOffice just isn’t pretty enough for me, and it works fine, but I can’t access my network drives from within Word within Crossover, so I splurged and ordered the Mac version of Home/Student last night.)

I’ve been using the new version of Word for about a week now, and…I’m not sure I like it. It seems that whoever designed Vista and Office 2007 sat down and said, “Let’s make software that is as UN-intuitive as possible, charge more for it, and call it an improvement.”

In order to get a simple word count, something I need on almost every piece I write for work, you have to go through seventy thousand (or three) levels of menus. Also, I cannot find the UNDO option. UNDO was totally my best friend in previous incarnations of Word.

Unrelated: don’t you live my universe where 17 million = 4 but 70,000 = 3?


We just got back from our tour of the neighborhood, in which Zorro marked every tree and Miss Cleo, in her unerring clumsiness, managed to tromp through every fire ant mound in the mile-circuit we generally take. This was the shorter of our two mid-length routes: around the corner, through the park, across the street, around another corner, and down the long block home. I’m not sure what messages the dogs got this morning, but I noticed a few things:

  • – The neighbors who share our back fence, and thus face the park, were in their driveway (all four of them) staring at their SUV and their boat, as if there was a telekinetic element to hitching the former to the latter. I noticed they have a shiny new (unstained) fence around the boat, separating it from the rest of the back yard. Of course, they hired someone to build the fence. I’m thinking they should have hired someone to teach them how to hitch up a trailer. I’m a city girl and even I know how to do this.
  • – The neighborhood teens are being sloppy. The bench at the far end of the park had a pile of Dr. Pepper cans sitting on it. I realize the only trash can is at the play area, on “our” end, but still, we’re talking a length of maybe half a block. (Of course, we really should have trash cans at both ends.)
  • – The people at the opposite end of the part from our back-fence neighbors have added one of those fire-pit tables to their front courtyard. It’s not a porch – our neighborhood doesn’t have them – but they’ve made a lovely outdoor courtyard in front of their main window. It’s a little too chi-chi even for me, though, with the gnomes and the fake parrot and such, but, whatever. It’s nice to see people sitting outside in lawn chairs on balmy evenings, and not in laz-e-boy recliners in the garage, which will forever strike me as tacky and weird.
  • – The people with the cement dog that Miss Cleo barks at have new flowers – they look like Gerberas but they’re so perfect I suspect they’re fakes. We didn’t cross their lawn to confirm.
  • – The people a few doors down from us who are trying to sell their house had some lovely wine racks in their always-open, apparently unattended garage. They also had something that looks like a lemonade stand sitting on the driveway. It was red.
    It made me want lemonade.
  • – Our peach tree is still peaching. We lost some peachlets in the storm the other night, but the birds and bugs are feasting on those, and I think we’ll have a decent amount of peaches. I think they’ll be about ripe when my parents arrive in 2.5 weeks, but it might take a little longer. Also, the flowers in front of our main window? Are cheery and bright, and I’m glad we planted them.

And on that note, time to make coffee. and maybe a mushroom and dill havarti omelet.


It’s Saturday morning, and I use the term loosely because the sun won’t rise for more than an hour in this timezone, but something was calling me to get up, get moving. I haven’t felt well for a long while, it seems, not so much sick but out of tune with myself, and this morning, I’m foggy but definitely awake.

My skin itches, and I think it’s psychological as much as physical. I’m sloughing something off, forming new surfaces of body and brain.

I bought business cards a few weeks ago that identify me as a writer, and even though we owe the Feds a small amount, I’m actually happy about that because, as I posted somewhere, I actually had paper profits from writing. In my first year of freelancing. Was it a book contract? No. But that will come.

I’m thirsty, but the words needed to tumble out first, and now they have, a little, and I’m about to go make, not coffee, but fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice and then perhaps take the dogs out for a pre-dawn jaunt through the neighborhood.

A chocolate cat has replaced the giant orange tabby as the stray on our front lawn. It’s beautiful, so graceful…and it seems to offend Miss Cleo less than the other.

I’m preparing my very first podcast.
More on that later.

Getting the Hang of Thursdays

Outside, while it isn’t particularly cold, it is windy and gray, and a storm is threatening to form. In the house, my ear/throat still hurt, especially when I swallow, and I think I still have a low-grade fever. It’s the kind of day that makes you want to put on a ratty old bathrobe and frumpy slippers and spend a lot of time getting to know your tea kettle.

My tea kettle is currently in the dishwasher, and anyway, I’m a morning coffee sort of person. My DeLonghi machine decided that it did not wish to be thrown under a bus, which was yesterday’s threat, and actually brewed coffee today, which is lucky for this because I was one click away from ordering a Capresso ST600, and may, still.

After I finish this post, my very lofty plans for the day include actually drinking said coffee, and perhaps making some oatmeal to go with it, and then retreating to either the bedroom or my office to write about the latest news in car insurance. (Note to self: it’s also time to pay the premium.)

I’m in a good mood, but I feel kind of blechy (see the bit about my ear) so putting on actual clothes instead of my fetching blue, green and white pajamas and the t-shirt that goes with them may not happen.

But that’s okay, because it’s Thursday, and loungewear is completely appropriate for Thursdays.
Trust me on this.