Log in

No account? Create an account

August 3rd, 2012

Go World! @ 02:40 am

I have to say, Visa nailed it with their “Go World” motto for the games.  I am right there with them.  I SO love the Olympics and even if the USA is miles out of contention, I still get all kinds of twirled up for the other countries in the hunt.

I’m not sure my grin could have been wider at the end of the C2 canoe competition this afternoon – seriously, how could you NOT be happy for GBR in their unadulterated joy of getting medals?

Uchimura KILLED it in the men’s all around in gymnastics, Nguyen earned his silver like a boss, and Levya kicked ass for the USA bronze.  I can’t help but be giddy for all three.  (And I couldn’t help but notice that the guys tend to go high-five their competitors more than the ladies do.  Ladies, take a page.)

Sure, I would love it if it was USA!  24/7.  But we have a whole damn world out there giving it every last thing that they have.

And how can you not congratulate that?

Go World.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

August 2nd, 2012

College Credit: How to Seriously Piss Me Off 101… @ 02:59 am

1.  Say that my friend’s dog is fat after only hearing his breed & weight.  (Bonus asshat points if you have no understanding of the actual breed in question while maintaining that you have breed knowledge superiority and then continue to demonstrate that you have no clue about the breed by railing against his weight.)  If you took the time to listen to the other stats of the dog, you would know that he is taller and longer than you “thought he should be.”  He is a brick-shithouse of a hound that gets more workouts in during a week than I do.  (I should really hit the gym to change that stat.)  Solidly muscled dog with some wrinkly skin <> fat canine.

2.  Tell me that I hate Pit Bulls because I had the audacity to say that “Pit Bull” is an amalgamation of multiple acknowledged breeds and/or a common (and unfortunate) labeling of well-established Bully breeds due to breed intolerance.*

3.  Tell me that I hate Pit Bulls because I do not own one.  WTF?  Well, no, I don’t own a Pit Bull.  Because I already have a dog that I inherited when my Mom died and one dog is my personal dog-owning limit.  And no, he does not fall under the umbrella of Pit Bull by any stretch of the imagination.  This is like saying I hate Black Rhinos because I don’t have one living in my backyard.

4.  Tell me that I hate Pit Bulls because I would not go out of my way to adopt one, because I said, “I would look for a dog with a lower inherent prey-drive.”  What can I say, in my mind knowing what breeds/mixes will work well or not well for you and your family makes you a responsible dog owner and not a hater.

5.  Tell my other friend that you spent as much time on your hair as he did putting on a ballcap.  Talk about LIES!  Your head was a culmination of a good 20+ minutes of styling and product.

6.  This is really the most important part, when my friend is saying, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore because you’re stressing me out,” and you talk about “alleviating the situation” and I tell you, “Yes, by leaving” and you Still Don’t Get It and continue on your bloviating bovine ways…

Then you have achieved a 4.0 in Pissing Me Off 101.

*Friend who has a “Pit Bull” totally agreed with me on this point.  I’m not making this shit up!

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

June 8th, 2012

Oh how I HATE shopping for clothes… @ 02:54 am

And it is not because of any body image issues.  I know I am long-legged and short-waisted and I’ve never had that nifty super-indented waistline.  I’m 95% OK with my current weight, I just need to do a bit of redistribution with what I have, which accounts for the 5% of dissatisfaction.  I know my “problem” spots, aka, “certain dress styles, even with a perfect fit, will look like hell on me.”

So, I’m just looking for a freaking dress that a) fits, b) is a “classic” style, c) is decently-tailored, and d) is understated.

Well, I might as well be looking for the Holy Grail.

I cannot remember the last time I seriously wished I could REALLY sew, but I certainly am wishing that now – I have a crazy good sewing machine that I have no idea how to use, and I have no doubt I could find a pattern that would actually work.  (There was a time where I could do a pair of pants with a set in waist, pockets, and hand-stitched invisible hem.  Those days were a good 25 years ago.)

Everything I laid eyes on today was hideously ugly thanks to horrific color combinations, or “looked spectacular until you decided to glue on flat plastic square “beads” on the neckline” which destroyed a perfect dress.

So, now I am at the point of, I’ll take b) and d) and hit up the amazing alteration gals at Guinea Road Cleaners to make it fit.

I just want an attractive dress that fits.  Why is that too much to ask?

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

May 26th, 2012

In Which I Sing the Praises of an Awesome Local Little Brother @ 02:54 am

Heading home from the Friday evening Farmer’s Market and I’m thinking, “Yeah, I really need to get the car to Shell to get the A/C checked before we hit the beach cause it just ain’t what it used to be” and then looking down at the temperature gauge and seeing it redlining…

Hit “Call Donald” on cell phone.
“Hey, I need a big favor, I need you to meet me at the Shell station, my car is overheating!!  I’m at…umm, hell, I don’t even know exactly where I am*, I’m on Old Keene Mill, but I will meet you at the Shell station!”
“I’m on my way, don’t worry about it.”

And as I talked about moving with a friend tonight and she expressed her reluctance to move somewhere without a family member within a reasonable distance…  When I took a second to think about it, I totally understood her misgivings, after my, “HEEEY, Little Brother, I need some help!!!!!!” experience this afternoon.

Little brothers are awesome, especially when they come to the garage and pick up you and your farmers market haul – all while knowing they will be your transportation for an entire holiday weekend.  I consider myself insanely lucky.

*I was at Springfield Plaza when I called, but my brain simply refused to believe that I knew the name of the shopping center I had just passed.  For the most part, I do know the geography of my very local region.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

April 12th, 2012

End of an era @ 12:00 pm


My grandmother passed away yesterday morning.  After a a Monday, “This may very well be it” phone call.  Followed by a Tuesday morning “Yeah, about that, she’s having breakfast” phone call.  At which point we just figured it was a new baseline/plateau.  Then I got the Wednesday phone call saying she was gone.

The overwhelming emotion in the house is relief.  Dementia is a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and it was her worst nightmare.  I’m glad she is finally free of it.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

March 30th, 2012

$640,000,000 @ 04:46 pm

That’s a nice amount of zeros.

Taking the cash option, then taxes, then splitting it with my brother, I’d be sitting on 80 million dollars.  Of course I bought a few tickets.

Knock off a couple of million for a beach house and some remodeling to this house.  Maybe upgrade the car.  Throw the rest into a CD ladder and even after taxes on that income, the costs of maintaining two households, I’m figuring about 30K a month in disposable income.  I honestly am having a hard time figuring out how I would spend it.  (Though really, I should be given a chance to try.  Really.)

I just can’t see much different in my day to day life.  Maybe more dinners at fancy places in DC, cause I could also afford getting a car & driver to get me to DC.  Some traveling.  Get a suite instead of a cheap room when I go out of town.  No more flying coach, ever.  More champagne.

Even with 4 expensive trips a year, there’s still a lot left over – easily 20K.  I think there would be a LOT of people I could help with that.  Now, THAT would be fun.

ETA: In further fantasy math, the lump sum option is $462M and after all the machinations and if I threw it all into a 7 year CD with my bank at 2.5% instead of a ladder, it’s more like 118K disposable income a month…

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

January 8th, 2012

Well, I’m not sure what to even think of this… @ 02:42 am


If the reports are correct, Beyonce Knowles gave birth to her baby girl this evening, which is wonderful cause babies are awesome.  (Especially when they’re not mine.  Cause I don’t think it’s a spectacular idea to have my DNA scattered about.  One of me is quite enough.)

What bothers me a bit is the rumor that she was able to rent out an entire floor of the hospital for 1.3 million dollars.  I don’t know how many rooms that is at Lenox Hill Hospital, but I don’t like the idea that people who may have needed one of those rooms couldn’t get one because they were basically outbid…  I understand her desire for privacy, but any people who may have actually *needed* a room on that floor probably wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about who may or may not have been down the hallway, because they may have been more concerned with getting medical care.  My other rumination on this is that if you’re THAT concerned about privacy and you’ve got that kind of money to spend, why not just have a birthing room set up at home?

Where I’m especially conflicted is that I’ve essentially done the same thing with my grandmother in the past 17 months, which makes me just as much of an asshole.  And I’d rather not be, but there you go.  Until this month, my grandmother been a single resident in a semi-private room – what the care center bills as a “suite”.  Did she need a suite?  Absofreakinloutely not.  But she landed in  one when she got there, I wasn’t smart enough to tell them to move her to a regular private room immediately, and by the time I figured it out, moving her would have been detrimental to  her mental health.  (She’s now to a point where moving her to the regular room across the hall won’t bother her.  She is now in the room across the hall.)  So, much like Beyonce, I managed to have my grandmother taking up two beds rather than one, and someone might have needed that other bed, especially since it would have been at a semi-private rate.

I’m still mad at myself that my decisions basically took up a bed in the care center that someone else may have needed.  Beyonce pretty much cleared out the entire wing.

If this isn’t a sign that there is something not quite right with health care, I’m not sure what is.  I have no problem with being able to get what you need.  But my grandmother never needed a suite, but because she could pay for it, screw anyone else that may have needed that other bed.  And Beyonce didn’t need the whole floor, but because she could pay for it, screw anyone that may have needed one of those rooms.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

January 2nd, 2012

Welcome 2012! @ 03:51 pm


Still nice and shiny and I’ve done well to not poke it too much lest it get smudged.  I’m counting today as the real New Year’s Day since there is outdoor hockey being played.

Can’t say I’m sitting here thinking, “Gosh, 2011 was so great, I wish it could have been longer!”  (Been a LONG time since that thought was in my head at the turn of a year…)  Perfectly content to have this one in the rear-view mirror.

But, 2011 wasn’t all bad.  Got on the road to being a full fledged history nerd.  Only 1 trip to Phoenix that was “OMG, oh shit gotta find a flight NOW!!”  Not once did my phone ring at 3AM with my grandmother on the other end asking, “Are you sure you did my taxes right?”  I’m sure there were other things, but I can’t think of them right now.

The downsides were many trips to PHX, which while they are getting easier, still wear me out.  My grandmother is in a pretty bad way at this point – general consensus of the nurses is 1-2 months.  Given my grandmother’s adherence to such timelines so far, I’m still planning on being back in April & August.

Though the chances are high that I’ll be making my final trip to PHX this year, there are good things ahead.  Registered for two more classes this semester.  Hitting the beach again!  Lots of resolutions made that will likely be broken in a week.

So, here’s to 2012 going well.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

December 31st, 2011

Culture Clash! @ 03:43 am

And this one has actually has nothing to do with me and my grandmother!

Every other year we’ve been in PHX for Christmas, we leave on the 30th in the morning, and as such, we miss the influx of bowl game fans coming to whatever bowl game is being held at the UoPHX Stadium next to the hotel.  Given that I am not leaving until tomorrow morning and even though the Fiesta Bowl isn’t until the 2nd, there has been a decidedly noticeable increase in hotel guests who have decided to make a long weekend of it with pre-game golfing and such.

Not a shocking development by any means – heck, I’d do the same if GMU somehow found itself in the Fiesta Bowl.  And as such, the college football fans have arrived.  (Has the Fiesta Bowl always been on the 2nd?  I thought it had been a New Year’s Day game – is this the BCS continuing to screw things up or am I just remembering wrong?)

So, there is an influx of fans deciding to make a drinking and golfing weekend of it leading up to the game and staying at the hotel.  Can’t say I blame them, the weather is pretty decent.  I will tell you right now, if there were any Stanford fans staying at the hotel, I couldn’t pick them out of a lineup, cause they’re just quietly enjoying the weekend.  Can’t quite say the same for the Oklahoma State fans – several of which I ran into this evening during my postprandial Cabernet.  The Quote Of The Night goes to the gentleman to my right who said, “We’re from West Texas, you have to grade us on a curve.”

No shit, Sherlock.  Still, no biggie.

However, there was also a wedding reception this evening at the hotel.  A Muslim Ethiopian/Somali wedding reception.  With some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous dresses I have seen in my lifetime.  Seriously – when I headed out for dinner, a half dozen ladies were walking in and I was just stunned by the dresses and I got caught just staring like an idiot and one of the ladies said, “Hi! Happy New Year’s!” and I found most of my voice and (likely sounded like an awed 8 year old) – “You have the most beautiful dresses I have EVER seen!  They’re just… GORGEOUS!”  They were more than happy to tell me that they were traditional Ethiopian dresses (though they really need to add “formalwear” to that “traditional” tag, cause I’m fairly certain these don’t get worn while getting dinner together.)  Seriously, these dresses crossed the lines from “lovely” to “works of art”.  (In talking to some of the younger gals later in the courtyard, I have now discovered that there is a pretty big Somali community in PHX.  Never would have guessed it.)

Now, let’s consider the “grade us on a curve” group and “happy wedding reception”…

Yes, there were some snarky comments from the West Texas contingent as some of the wedding party went back & forth through the lobby.

In a true moment of clarity, I realized going with what would be considered the “Northern Liberal Elite” (of which I am only 2 of the 3) route would do nothing, and my brain said, “It’s time for the ‘Bless Your Heart’ approach*” – cause any southerner knows it means, “You dumbass.”  When the next snarky comment came up, I just went, “Now darlin’, you just need to HUSH!  They are having a wedding and everyone deserves a fun wedding and reception and they’re just all having fun.  So you just hush up now.”

And damned if that didn’t work – if in no small part cause the wives then piled on to boot.  +1 for basically going with “Sheldon Cooper, don’t make me call your mother” maneuver.

Seriously folks, different doesn’t mean anything but different – and if you take the time to talk to people, you’ll find more similarities than you realize, like when I joked with the first ladies I saw this evening that they outclassed my jeans, they said, “But your jeans are more comfortable!”  Or when I was talking to the gals in the courtyard, I was helping them lookout for relatives that would be annoyed that they were hiding out and smoking.

We’re all just people mucking our way through the same mess.  So, be nice.

*While I don’t technically qualify as a Southerner and as such cannot legitimately use the “Bless Your Heart” approach, I spent enough summers with my grandparents in Atlanta to learn how to use it…

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

December 20th, 2011

Writer's Block: Career paths @ 01:34 am

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

Teaching history to college kids. Hopefully convincing them to take another history class for an elective. Maybe even convincing one to change a major to history.

Basically, being a radical subversive type. ;)

December 13th, 2011

May You Live In Interesting Times… @ 01:50 am

Really, there are days I do wonder if someone whispered that curse over my crib in the nursery.

Over the past couple days, I’ve discovered that I am once again jumping every time the phone rings.  Then I remind myself I don’t even know who is calling and I should take a breath – except for the fact that I pretty much have to answer the phone anyway.  The level of consistency in Caller ID numbers with regards to the care center and hospice leaves much to be desired.

So, note to whomever has 410-321-58** – oh for the love of all that is good and holy, I told you that you have a wrong number three times, STOP CALLING ME.  This is why your number goes straight to voicemail every time now.  (Yes, I know that 410 is Maryland, but I also regularly receive phone calls from Phoenix with a Minnesota area code, so area codes are fairly meaningless anymore.)

I have figured out that while the hospice nurses do not always call from a “restricted” number, all “restricted” number calls come from them.  (Do not get me started on this.  HIPPA be damned, I am the MPOA, you should damn well show the number you are calling from.  If you are concerned about calling a wrong number and giving away info, then you need remedial phone dialing training.  If you are worried that I will call when you are not on-duty, put your phone on silent.)

So, the phone rang, I jumped, saw the “restricted”, my heart sank, and I answered the phone.  Yup, hospice nurse manager just giving an update – which was that my grandmother still had pneumonia and that she was seriously tired and no one was even remotely inclined in doing anything but letting her sleep…  I was SO good and resisted the urge to respond with, “Well, DUH, she’s near 89 years old with end-stage dementia and pneumonia, she might not be chomping at the bit to make a badminton match, so yes, LET HER SLEEP.”  I’ve already had to go a few rounds of reassurance in the past of, “If she’s sleepy and you choose to let her sleep, that is OK.  It’s best to not go poking badgers with spoons.”  I have personal experience of waking her up when she wasn’t in the mood to get up.  Trust me, while it was satisfying to finally be able to retaliate for all the times she woke me & my brother up at the crack of dawn for no good reason, it still wasn’t pretty.

The amount of snark I have to contain when it comes to my grandmother convinces me yet again that I am SO not cut out for this.  It is (and has been) a serious situation, and yet I fall back on inappropriate humor pretty much every damn time.  Somehow I cannot help but  think that everyone that is dealing with eldercare issues always has a calm, measured, appropriate response for everything – and I never quite seem to have that – or I have to choke back several completely inappropriate responses while trying to come up with the appropriate one.

That all being said, I have to thank her for holding out until the end of the semester, especially since I nearly dropped my classes when she had her bad spell the week before classes started.  Makes me wonder if Sharyn told her Donald was taking classes and not me. ;)

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

December 9th, 2011

I’d make a lousy doctor @ 03:18 pm


Cause I’m not keen on playing God.

My grandmother has pneumonia.  It does not surprise me that this happened, I have actually been expecting it.

I did not expect that the care center would put her on antibiotics for it.  They say it is pallative, but in an 88 year old woman with end-stage dementia and very clear advance directives, antibiotics are a curative measure.  There is a reason they call pneumonia “the old man’s friend.”

I really would have thought given everything else that managing it rather than trying to cure it would be a no-brainer.  Instead, I had to call the hospice nurse and tell her they need to find another truly pallative treatment for this and to pull the antibiotics.  (Fortunately they do have an absolute boatload of things they can do that will keep her comfortable.)

If my grandmother could have a lucid and rational moment and I told her, “Hey, you’ve got end-stage dementia, and a bout of pneumonia, but don’t worry, they’re gonna clear up the pneumonia so you can just have the dementia that much longer” she would sit up and punch me in the face.  (Advance directives are great, but it’s also good to be able to say I REALLY know what she wants, cause she made it crystal clear over the years.)

It would be one thing if clearing up the pneumonia would give her a normal life again, but it won’t.

Still feel like a bit of a schmuck, though.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

December 2nd, 2011

Wheeee @ 09:30 pm

New laptop!  Probably a good 3x as fast as my old one, at half the price.  Mind you, this wasn’t on my list of things to do today.

My timing is just so impeccable.  The old laptop died today.  2 papers and an exam to write in the next two weeks and it can’t boot up.  Couldn’t have happened on the 15th when time would have been a luxury to figure out if it was the drive, the motherboard, or simply jammed with cat hair.

So, this evening is security patching, installing software and restoring backed up files (yay, Mozy!  Last backup 20 hours ago.  Gotta love it.)

Really old laptop – you couldn’t hold out for 2 more weeks?

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

November 25th, 2011

Maybe it’s time to scale back Black Friday a little… @ 02:21 pm


Honestly, I think just one instance of a pepper spray wielding customer should be enough for stores to say, “You know what, let’s not do this 10PM or midnight opening crap and actually let our employees have the WHOLE day off for Thanksgiving.”  Because guess what?  People will still shop between now and Christmas.

As it is, studies have shown that prices aren’t necessarily the best on Black Friday anyway.

Part of the problem is that we’re a very consumer driven society.  If a store is open at any hour with good deals, then someone will show up.  This gives retailers the only reason they need to open.  Problem is, it also gives retailers the only reason they need to tell their employees that they have to cut their Thanksgiving day short so they can be at the store for the late night opening.

I’d love to see one of two things happen:  1. Consumers say, “No, we’re not going to go shop on Thanksgiving because it’s Thanksgiving.  We can wait until normal opening hours on Friday just like we used to do, and the world certainly didn’t come to an end back then.”  or 2.  Retailers say, “We’re not opening until our regular opening time on Friday because Thanksgiving is a DAY of thanks and doesn’t end just because dinner is over and then everyone can go to work.  That, and it’s not right to expose our employees to lunatics with pepper spray.  We’ll see you on Friday.”

Though I suspect we’re long past the point of no return.

ETA:  I’m not anti-Black Friday.  It makes sense that it’s a big shopping day since so many people have the day off.  I’m anti-midnight-psychosis.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

November 23rd, 2011

A decision made in MY best interests for a change… @ 06:28 pm

We’re staying put for Christmas.

I’ll go out there for a couple days afterwards.  I can do Christmas or her birthday, but not both anymore.  (Lord knows I didn’t manage it with any grace or dignity up until now anyway.)  The stress isn’t even remotely worth it, and she’s to a point where she doesn’t know if we’re there, and on the off chance that she does, she has no idea how long we’ve been there, and certainly doesn’t know what day it is and whether or not we’re there on Christmas or if I’m just there myself a couple days later.  (Nevermind the fact that it costs near 3x as much for both of us to go out there for 8 days vs me there by myself for 4 days.)

I have to say, my attitude towards the holidays has improved immensely since making the decision.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

August 27th, 2011

So, I find myself actively watching the critters @ 03:10 am

Tags: ,

for some sign/indication of the weather to come.  Given that they didn’t have a reaction strong enough to wake up my brother in the moments leading up to the earthquake, they might not be the best indicators of weather-related things that may become reality.  But I’m watching them anyway.

Carmen is getting high off her catnip butterfly I bought for her at the beach.  Lily is testing the specific gravity of every item that lies in her path.

Moxley is (as usual) actively chastising both felines for their behaviour.  (I love him to death, but he is a bit of a narc.)

So, in short, it’s a 110% normal night here.

But hey, we’ve got working flashlights,  3 1/2 days of water, beef jerky & snack pack puddings – so I think we’ll be OK.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

August 26th, 2011

So when we last left our hapless, reluctant and somewhat disgruntled heroine… @ 08:04 pm

Tags: ,

I was in PHX wondering, “Well WTF do I do now?”  I mean, hell, when they said my grandmother was “death imminent” I actually thought, “Well, at least this time I know what to do.  I have INSTRUCTIONS!*”  So, yeah, there has been some emotional whiplash to say the least.

My grandmother is what I would describe in a “very crappy but stable” status. Everyone agreed that there was no harm in heading home – no real sense in standing around watching nothing happen.  Now, whether this “stable” is short, medium or long term is anyone’s guess, but the hospice nurses have assured me they are going to try really hard to make sure I REALLY need to jump on a plane before they say to jump on a plane.  It helps that I know she won’t die alone by any means, and I don’t have an overriding psychological need to say goodbye.  The woman that was my grandmother left a while ago.

Her anxiety was through the roof and we all thought it was the two day gap in her meds, but I finally figured it out – we’d been barking up the wrong tree all week.  Everyone had been focusing on anxiety management, because that has always been a very, very large problem for her.  It hit me that it needed to be about pain management. There had been a couple occasions where you could tell she just couldn’t get comfortable, and the Best Nurse Ever** gave her some morphine – which calmed her down immensely.   She also didn’t want to open her eyes, and tended to have a death grip on the armrests on her chair.  I mistook the closed eyes as light sensitivity (she’s had issues with that for quite some time – figured the episode last week made it worse) and the hands just a manifestation of anxiety.  Until it hit me – they’re both natural responses to pain.

Now, if you ask her if she is in pain, she won’t admit it.  She will not admit a pain of unknown origin – because then  you have to see a doctor!  (I know that is still cemented in her head.)  She also has intermittent aphasia, and likely had a TIA last week, so if you say pain, she may translate it to chartreuse – and no, she’s not chartreuse today, you moron.

So, she’s back on vicodin with a side of morphine when needed, and while she’s tired and kinda quiet – she’s calmer, which is very good.  I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t see it immediately.

Me, I’m dealing with some re-entry issues – mainly trying to figure out what on earth I was doing before I went down the rabbit hole for a week.  Oh, yeah, trying to get ready for classes @GMU to start next week.  Which I’m now wondering if it was overly optimistic to think that things were stable enough with her in the first place to attempt such an endeavour.  If nothing else, I’ve got until September 30th to drop them.  I still need to pickup my books & parking pass – that was something that was going to happen at the beginning of this week…  Ah well.

And to top it all off, we’ve got a bit of weather headed our way, so today I was out getting supplies.  Figure if I have water & non-perishable snacks, it should help guarantee that we have power & water service.  3 1/2 days of water, Slim Jims and 3/4 of a tank of gas – should be good to go.  (Nice thing I realized tonight – if the power goes out, we will still have hot water.  Gas hot water heaters FTW.)  It’s just a bit of stuff I don’t really need right now as I’m trying to concentrate on getting my brain back in “home” mode and losing a weekend to weather wasn’t on the agenda.

* Quite literally, written instructions.  We call it the Big Book of Death.
** She really is.  I absolutely adore her.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

August 20th, 2011

It would seem my grandmother has been watching some Monty Python lately… @ 09:08 pm


The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead. [a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here’s one.
The Dead Collector: That’ll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There’s your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not dead.
The Dead Collector: ‘Ere, he says he’s not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not.
The Dead Collector: He isn’t.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can’t take him like that. It’s against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I don’t want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don’t be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can’t take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I feel fine.

Got in last night.  Talk to nurse at care center.  Grandma is sleeping.  Ate like a horse at dinner.  Interacting with people.  Decidedly not on the “dead in 24 hours” list.

Mind you, she’s tired as all get out (the aneurysm-rupture-that-wasn’t did take her down a few notches) and her meds are all kinds of farked up because the MD discontinued everything but Xanax Thursday night*, assuming she was on her way off this mortal coil, but she’s definitely not dead, or actively dying.  It’s undoubtedly shaved a few years off her lifespan, but she is decidedly still among the living.

*This is a good object lesson for the next time I get this call.  If she still has a pulse, leave her damn medication regimen intact.


August 18th, 2011

How did I get named MPOA again?? @ 10:04 pm

Tags: ,

Got a call this afternoon, “Your grandmother is not doing well, do you want her to go to the hospital?”  Insert string of unprintable language here.

Push for a slightly more comprehensive version of “not doing well” and the symptoms line up perfectly with her aneurysm finally rupturing/leaking, which is something that we certainly saw coming.  Doctor is talking 24 hours.  Hospice nurse called in.  Discover upon having the paperwork faxed to me that of course, the care center doesn’t use the hospice services that are in the building they share. (Of course not, that would make sense.)  Regardless, she will not be going to the hospital – her wishes have been made exceptionally clear over the years.

Booked a flight for tomorrow.  Sharyn is a bona fide wreck – she doesn’t want to admit at all that this could be the aneurysm, and keeps insisting that it’s not that bad.  (While not even remotely arguing with my coming out west less than a week after I left, so it ain’t good.)

So, I’m flashing back to this time last year where I was headed out to PHX on 24 hours notice with two versions of what is going on, with reality likely falling somewhere smack in the middle of things.

So, tomorrow I head out and probably move her to the hospice center just down the hallway and wait.  Now, knowing my grandmother, I’ll probably walk in and she’ll be sitting up in bed asking, “Why the hell is everyone hovering over me?”

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 22nd, 2011

Tanned, Rested, and Ready @ 12:20 am


Ready for what, I can’t say I’m exactly sure, but I feel like whatever it is, damned if I’m not ready for it.

I truly cannot remember a year when I have been packing up from the oceanside sojourn feeling more recharged and ready to take on whatever nonsense Karma, the Fates, the Universe, et al decide to chuck at me.  Granted, saying this out loud probably sets me up for a shitstorm of magnitudes I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams, but I’m feeling pretty chilled out regardless.  Truly chilled out is a state of existence that I can honestly say I haven’t felt in a good, long time, and I am certainly enjoying the hell out of it.

I’ve got some seriously busy times ahead of me, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I’m ever so slightly ready for it.  Damned nice feeling if you ask me.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 19th, 2011

Death By A Thousand Administrative Paper Cuts @ 06:55 pm


Having a local advocate for my grandmother is A Good Thing.  However, it can get interesting at times because she is very hyper-sensitive to nursing home issues, and I am utterly numb to it.  (There may be a touch of residual caregiver fatigue.  Just a little.)  With these sensitivities at the opposite ends of the spectrum, there are bound to be times where we view things a little differently.

The care center where my grandmother resides is certainly good enough, but they do have some left hand/right hand issues on the administrative side, which annoys me to no end, but they have not impacted my grandmother’s care, so I pick my battles.  As long as she gets her meds on time, it’s all good – and trust me, it is in their best interest to get her the meds on time.  You don’t want to be around her if she hasn’t gotten her Xanax.

So, this weekend she sustained a minor injury to her arm, including a small cut that someone mended with a couple little butterfly bandages.  Unfortunately, there was no corresponding paperwork, so all we know is that the band-aid fairy came around.  When Sharyn called me last night about it, she was seriously spooled up about it, and frankly it sounded more like my grandmother had managed to get into a fight with a weed-whacker.  When she gets spooled up, then I get spooled up, because I’m thinking, “Crap, now I have to go all MPOA militant granddaughter on them, and that isn’t going to solve anything either.”  Fortunately, I have a rule:  If it isn’t life threatening, I ignore the situation for 6 to 18 hours so I can cool off before calling and asking, “OK, what’s the story?” knowing it will end up being somewhere in between what I’ve already heard and what they tell me.

So today I call the charge nurse – she still has no info on what happened, but the butterfly bandages are already off and the cut is closed up and it was in fact, a very minor injury.  The Assistant DoN is investigating to see why no incident report was done, and I’ll call her back in a day or two to get the details.  I have my own suspicions that my grandmother likely whacked her arm on the night table, someone came in and patched it up and then got caught up with another resident and flat out forgot the paperwork, or it’s in someone else’s chart.  (I’ll not comment on the fact that there are only 9 people on her wing over the course of a weekend and it shouldn’t take that long to make 9 calls of, “Did you bandage Vynne’s arm?”)

But this is the type of stuff that is just going to be the death of me.  I’m going to be out there next month for a couple days and I am going to have to have a Very Serious conversation with them that will pretty much only consist of this:  Stop pissing off the advocate. Seriously, she gets pissed off, I get an earful and am left feeling like yet again, I am not quite measuring up to the herculean task that is being my grandmother’s granddaughter in her declining years.

Additionally, Phase II of “Cindy gets her life back” (yes, it’s just like Stella & her groove) is kicking off once I get back home, and I am going to be incredibly busy for the foreseeable future, not even remotely as instantly available as I have been, and certainly not at all inclined to have to be the voice of reason over administrative cock-ups.  I cannot put my life back on hold again.  I made that mistake for 3 years, and I will not repeat it.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 12th, 2011

Insert witty title here @ 01:49 pm

I know I shouldn’t be mucking around on the internet while on vacation, but it looks like its fixing to rain, so it’s a good day to putter around and read rather than having to make a mad dash from the beach when the skies open up.

Once again, we are not being failed in the food department.  Did our usual Friday night outing for Awful Arthur’s so I could get my crab & lobster bisque and clams casino fix.  Saturday we tried the Cafe & Wine Bar at Coastal Provisions – another great meal.  I had seared scallops with linguini that was just perfect and Donald got the surf & turf and I believe he might have left the pattern on the plate.  They are now on the “definitely going again” list.  It’s small and quiet and really nice.  Only open Thursday – Saturday, so call ahead.  Sunday we hit Port O’ Call for another good meal that included shrimp stuffed with gouda and wrapped in bacon and slathered in barbecue sauce.

Last night we did foodie night and hit The Left Bank.  This summer, they not only have the 5 course tasting menu, but a 7 course and 9 course blind tasting menu as well.  We went with the 7 course and it was spectacular.  I go the wine pairing with it, and if you do that, someone else better be driving.  (The *huge* old-fashioned I had to start probably had some effect as well.  I swear, this was a double and a half.)  There was heirloom tomato gazpacho, fennel & goat cheese macaroons, kingfish tartare, braised pork belly & short ribs, a plate of cheese, almonds, & honey, a plate of heirloom tomatoes and strawberry gazpacho, and a couple other things that I am now forgetting, but it was all just incredible.

I’m still a little shocked I’ve been here 4 days and still haven’t gotten any shrimp & grits yet.  That will definitely be rectified soon.

In completely unrelated news, I am on Google+ now, and it says I have invites, so if you want one, shoot me your email address.  I like it.  I doubt I’ll be dumping Facebook for it, but I do see myself using it – just probably not quite the same way as I use Facebook.  No ads and a lot less clutter.  The “Circles” make it a lot easier to determine who will see what, and make reading easier as well.  I’d really like to see some news organizations & businesses get on to G+ – I follow a lot of pages on Facebook, but I have no way of separating them out for viewing on Fb – all the pages are lumped together.  On G+ I’d be able to separate them out to things like news/politics/businesses, etc.  (I’ve found one breaking news page so far, but nothing else – if you know of any businesses or other non-person profiles you think I’d like, let me know.)

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 9th, 2011

Beach Mode – I’d say I’m definitely there. @ 10:09 pm

Tags: ,

First, gotta tag the spectacular Kelly Bowers in this because she’ll read it and nod her head and say, “Yes, that’s what I’ve been telling you all along…” :)

It was a bit odd to be heading south when I was already fairly well chilled out – that hasn’t happened in I don’t know how long.  There is definitely a difference between chilled out and beach mode – and if you’re already chilled out, beach mode happens instantaneously as soon as you get here.  I had gotten used to it taking a good 3 to 5 days to simply unscrew myself from the ceiling before I could even approach beach mode.

If you’re just chilled out, things will happen that will annoy you.  Once you’ve hit beach mode, you just don’t care.  Examples:

- A/C on the car died.  Hey, the fan still works, and we’ve answered the question of which car the dog is in on the way home.
- Bash up already bashed foot again, resulting in lovely swelling.  Eh, ice and elevation and hey, I’ve got tons of books to read.
- Dog isn’t satisfied with a quick trip to the side yard on a rainy morning and isn’t amenable to returning inside for an umbrella?  Hey, I’ve got dry clothes I can change into when we get back.
- A knowingly ill-timed trip to the drugstore resulting in being right in the midst of the Saturday afternoon northbound traffic jam?  Nothing else to do but crank up the tunes, sing along and get down with your bad self.  (This may result in drivers around you who have not achieved beach mode yet to look at you as though you have three heads, but I get that on a near daily basis anyway, so I’m used to it.)

Yup, beach mode is good, and the faster you can get there, the better.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 8th, 2011

This is a little weird… @ 02:11 am


So I’m prepping for the annual oceanside sojourn, and over the past couple days, I realized I wasn’t happily flipping out over heading to the beach.  Not that it won’t be a wonderful time, but I honestly can’t remember the last time when I wasn’t getting ready to go and thinking, “If I don’t get the hell out of town I am going to strangle someone.”  At the moment, I am actually chilled out and relaxed and heading for ocean breezes seems almost superfluous.

‘92 to ‘04 it was “I need to get away from work.”  2005 it was a combo of “I need to get away from work and fuck all, my Mom died and you can bet your sweet ass I’m taking two weeks.”  2006 was still recovering from massive job burnout.  2007 I was stressing about my townhouse being on the market.  2008 was when Grandma went off the rails and getting away really wasn’t terribly meaningful, because my phone went with me, and hence, Grandma…

But this year…  Grandma is in the care center and doesn’t have a phone in her room, so I don’t have to be “that person” on the beach frantically fielding phone calls.  School has been out for almost 3 weeks, so no “must escape my coworkers/clients*” stress.  I’m not trying to sell a house in a rapidly crumbling market.  Yes, I have a couple things going on that have me mildly mentally preoccupied, but nothing more than that, just mildly preoccupied.

Sure, I am jonesing for fresh seafood & fruity drinks with umbrellas in them (or souvenir glasses) and I’m hoping I can again achieve last year’s feat of not repeating the same beer two days in a row, but this is decidedly odd.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a vacation when I didn’t desperately need a vacation.

*Yeah, I think of the kids as my clients.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 4th, 2011

Happy 4th! Time for a run… @ 02:55 pm

Because what else do you do on America’s birthday but go run a 5k?  Hauled myself out of bed this morning and headed up to Potomac for what has become my favorite July 4th activity.  Below are all the gory details, pulled straight from my race report over at BT.  Hope you get a laugh out of it.

Total Time = 40m 38s
Overall Rank = 1081/1247
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 61/72
Lap Paces:
1 – 12:26
2 – 12:25
3 – 14:27
.1- 10:49

Pre-race routine:

Got up, got dressed, drove there. Stopped for a latte. :) Coming off bashed foot and weekend plague, happy to be conscious.

Event warmup:

Just under 2 weeks ago, bashed the daylights out of my left foot. Much to my delight, the pain disappeared on Thursday. Just in time for me to be sick for the rest of the weekend.

Got my number, went back to the car to change into my running shoes, put on left shoe and….Owww. Why does that hurt? It shouldn’t hurt. IT WAS FINE THIS MORNING. Gingerly walked over to the warmup area and did a couple test jogs – apparently when I run I don’t push off with my two outer left toes, so all was well. Or I was favoring it and would end up with a twisted knee and a torqued hip, but whatever.

Passed on the group warmup being lead by a very enthusiastic gentleman and couldn’t help but look around and think, “You know, a bloody mary bar would be a perfect addition to this race…”

Had a bit of a sinking feeling at the race start as it was so humid that I was sweating even though we weren’t even moving yet.

Run Comments:

Given the circumstances, I had set my run/walk intervals at 1:30/2:30. Enough walking to deal with the fact that I’ve been out of the saddle for a while and enough running to keep me from being my usual idiot self and pushing too hard and blowing up. Plan your race, race your plan.

1st mile went very well. Stuck to the intervals with no problems, felt great when we hit the mile marker and listened to the voice in my head screaming “RACE YOUR PLAN!” as I went into mile 2.

Mile 2 went just as well, but I could feel myself getting heated up. The temps were coming up, the humidity didn’t seem to be going down and there was no breeze. The water station isn’t until just before the end of the second mile – a little too late for me. Not because I was thirsty – but because I was just too hot. Two cups, two sips and the rest went over my head and down my shirt. Un-sexiest wet t-shirt contest ever. Between this and the snot rockets, if there isn’t a rash of Missed Connections for #483, I am giving up on men in this town once and for all.

3rd mile was where the wheels came off. Overheated AND the sun came out! When the run intervals came around, just concentrated on short strides and quick turnover and thanked the heavens for the walk intervals. Really wished more people had put out sprinklers. Took my time going through the two that were on in that last mile.

Finally hit the turn to go to the finish. Love that turn. Nice and flat and then downhill. Somehow managed to pick up the pace in the last run interval – I think it’s easier when you know you can just fall over at the end.

What would you do differently?:

Not bashed my foot or been sick so I could have gotten some training in over the past 2 weeks. If I could have made the humidity lower, I would have done that, too.

Warm down:

My usual at this race – get bottle of water and dump ice down my shirt.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Coming off being sick, the humidity, and oh, yes, the fact that I am utterly out of shape.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

July 1st, 2011

OK, I’m on Google+ @ 09:59 pm

If anyone else is on it, let me know so I can stalk find you.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

June 30th, 2011

Well, this is kind of nice… @ 09:42 pm


Just hit me that my stress levels are actually back down in the range of normal people.

That hasn’t happened since, oh, January 2008.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

June 24th, 2011

Seriously, where do I file a complaint? @ 11:16 am


I’m starting to think that I must have been running around drop kicking puppies into vats of boiling oil in a past life given how this week has gone.

Monday morning, I woke up feeling great.  Optimistic.  Good about life.  I’d had a great weekend that had run the gamut from hot nerd talk on Friday to a massage on Sunday.  School is done, feeling good, gonna get caught up on everything I ignored over the course of the school year, summer is going to be great, get some good mo going into the fall, get shit on track.  Life is good.

Well, the Universe overheard me and she started laughing hysterically, did a shot of absinthe and said, “Well, I have my work cut out for me this week.”

Monday was fine enough, had some trouble getting my brain to shut off long enough to get anything else done, but not too bad.  Tuesday I managed to walk into a box in the living room with a rather spectacular amount of velocity resulting in a nicely damaged foot.  (No running for me this week!)  Wednesday ended up being dedicated more to reading than anything else, cause damn, I did a number on that foot.

Then yesterday happened.  Managed to get things done, but not without some fun and games.  The dryer died.  With a load of wet towels in it.  Not a showstopper dammit, repairman coming out today.  Then a couple hours later I had a filling fall out.  Awesome!!  And then – just to round out the day properly – I left my jacket at the pool hall last night…

I suspect there is a lesson about keeping expectations low in here somewhere, but I refuse to acknowledge it.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

June 22nd, 2011

Better to burn out than fade away? @ 11:08 am


I don’t talk much on politics here, because it just seems to bring out the worst in people.  Though he’s not exactly my cup of tea, I’ve found myself fascinated by Newt Gingrich’s campaign.

Back in May, I was sitting in the airport on my way to Vegas and pondering the news of his getting into the 2012 presidential race.  While I was kind of surprised that he was even running (I genuinely had gotten the impression that he was content writing books and providing analysis to the various and sundry news and political shows) I was more surprised that he was only announcing on Facebook and Twitter.  Not in conjunction with a press conference or a rally – just on Facebook and Twitter.  My first (very snarky) thought on that was, “Are you running your campaign out of your Mom’s basement?”  Running an effective social media campaign takes work, of course,  but only making the announcement via those outlets struck me as a bit, well – lazy.  Call me a throwback, but I think a presidential bid deserves an actual press conference or rally or something along those lines.  (I know he’s not the only one to announce via social media, but his is the one that is standing out right now.)

Less than a week later, he stepped in at again by criticizing the Republican Medicare overhaul plan. I was actually impressed that he spoke his mind rather than simply running in lockstep with the rest of the party.  (Though I do wonder how he would have reacted if someone else did this when he was Speaker.)  Political suicide in this climate, but admirable to me nonetheless.

That was then followed by a two week cruise to Greece. That one had me scratching my head a bit – he was either going for the “Yes, dear, you’re right, we need to get away” demographic, or he just didn’t really care that much.  I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking it didn’t seem to be the best move as on June 9th, his top campaign aides resigned en masse.  I don’t care what business you’re in, when everyone walks out the door, that’s a bad sign.

Then came yesterday’s news that his finance staff had quit. (Insert joke about sticking around to make sure the Tiffany’s bill was paid off.)  Stick a fork in him, he’s done.

I was talking with a friend last weekend about this – why on earth would you run for president if you just really don’t care that much?  His answer?  “Easy.  He wants to stay relevant.”

I get that.  Everyone wants to stay relevant – in their field, in life, all of it.  No one wants to get pushed to the backburner and relegated to a footnote in the history books.

But running for president?  Write more books, OpEd pieces – there are any number of ways to stay on the Sunday talk show circuit and stay relevant in the party.  Running for president seems a bit extreme to say the least, and frankly smacks a bit of desperation.  Why you’d put yourself through the hell of a presidential bid simply to stay on the map simply eludes me.

Of course, ask me the question again when I’m 68 and feeling like I’m fading into obscurity and I might have a different answer.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

June 21st, 2011

Woo-freaking-hoo, school is out. @ 03:06 pm


So, the school year has come to a close, and I’m just a little thrilled.  (As is every other person I met at schools this year.)  The experience was good, the kids were pretty cool, and of course I’ve managed to come out of the school term with more questions than answers as to what my next move should be.  (There was a time in my life where though I didn’t have a full life plan, I had a good idea of what was next.  I long for those days.)

I think it is safe to say that being a full time elementary school teacher is not really right for me.  I’ve found I have many fundamental disagreements with how things are done – most of which I can sidestep as substitute, but wouldn’t be able to avoid if I pursued this full time.  So, spending 3 years attempting to get a Masters in Elementary Ed to go into an environment where I would be constantly and utterly frustrated by the way things work seems incredibly misguided at best.  This is also why I am SO happy that I spent the time in the classroom and figured this much out – it definitely was not a waste of time.  I’ll still go back next year as I continue to try to figure out WTF I’m doing, but I’ll probably focus more on high school to get an idea of the environment with the older students and see what that’s like.

I know this much:  I do like to teach.  I like being able to show someone something they didn’t know before.  I love it when I can help someone understand something.  I love research and reading and studying.  I love learning new things.

Maybe it’s time to take the advice that the spectacular Miriam Hodge gave me a couple years back and become a professional student.  Mind you, I have no idea what I would study or if I could even get into grad school in the first place – a BS in Accounting doesn’t exactly translate well to Humanities & Social Sciences.  I guess my summer project is getting that all figured out now, isn’t it?

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

May 26th, 2011

Incompetence – It does not make you a winner… @ 04:19 pm


So, last week I got a call that a care conference was on for my grandmother – Sharyn had a couple issues she wanted to make sure were addressed.  Nothing earth shattering and frankly, I’m just happy my grandmother is no longer calling me at 3AM so I’m more “Eh, if she hasn’t broken another bone, we’re good.”  (Note to all: You really, REALLY should be good to your kids and grandkids.  They will be choosing your nursing home, and may or may not be checking up on you.)

Called back, confirmed time, spoke with woman who coordinates it to make sure she had my phone number and understood that though Sharyn would be there, they would have to call me because I am 2,000 miles away.

“And who are you again?”
“I’m the one with the MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY.”
“Oh, OK.”

So, I take myself out of the lineup today so I can be here to take the call and pretend like I’m terribly interested in this.  (Even though I’m not super interested in the details, I *do* need to know what’s going on.  Even though I get tons of info from Sharyn, I want to hear exactly how they react when she says she sees something she doesn’t like.)

Well, 2PM comes and goes.  45 minutes later Sharyn calls, says it went fine.  Um, what?  She didn’t realize I had told them to call me.  So I’m furious at the idiots at the care center, she feels bad (told her sure as hell wasn’t her fault) and I’m ready to punch someone.  I decided to cool off a bit before calling the care center and asking exactly what type of brain damage they are suffering from that they didn’t understand “here is my phone number, call me for the conference” means CALL ME FOR THE DAMN CONFERENCE.

I called, and I still couldn’t tell you what on earth that woman was thinking, other than she apparently wasn’t.  But they have very firm instructions that I am to be included on any other calls, dammit.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

May 18th, 2011

So, seems we’ve got ourselves a Rapture coming up… @ 11:15 pm


First, no one seems to be able to tell me if it’s going to happen on Zulu time or rolling with the time zones.  5 hours important when you’re kicking off the end of the world.

I’ve RSVP’d as a “Maybe” to the Post-Rapture Looting event over on Facebook.  Cause, what if they’re wrong?  Not that it won’t happen, but what if all the folks who have just tried to be decent tolerant people and who didn’t run around telling people they were going to hell because they were of the “wrong” religion were the ones that got swept up?  You know, all of us that are supposedly going to get left for the locusts.  If that’s the case, then there is going to be one hell of a party upstairs and our pets will all be there with us, thankyouverymuch.  (Seriously, WTF, no pets allowed?  I don’t think so.)

So, I would find that pretty funny.

Now, if they’re right and I’m down here madly brushing up on my Zombie Apocalypse skills, at least I can stop dealing with people knocking on my door trying to share their religion with me.  (The religion sharing doesn’t bother me so much as the knocking on my door in the first place.  But then again, I’m a bit of a hermit.)

Now if nothing happens, then, well, we’ll just have to wait for 2012.

On the other hand, if my grandmother gets swept up, then there are going to be a lot of questions on ALL sides of the arguments. ;)

ETA: On the very off chance that someone who does hold faith in the Rapture is reading this and is horrifically offended by it…  I don’t say these things to offend.  I say these things because it’s what I feel about the whole thing.  What little faith I have carries me through these things.  I hope yours can do the same for you.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

May 9th, 2011

Time for *my* Spring Break @ 12:52 pm

Tags: ,

At first I felt mildly guilty for managing to parlay a trip to a bank into 3 nights in Sin City, but now, I’m feeling rather smart about the whole thing.  It’s always nice to have a little break from reality, and honestly, Vegas is the most unreal place I’ve ever been and perfect for a quick getaway. :-D

Bag is packed, traffic to the airport is clear, I’m on the list for an upgrade (I’ve flown United a *lot* in the past 9 months) and the only thing I can’t locate is a pair of non-scrip shades.  I have a sneaky feeling that I will be able to find a pair out there.

Penn & Teller*, wine tasting & art lecture, dinner at Picasso and poolside time with fruity drinks with umbrellas in them are *just* what the doctor ordered.

*Though I will admit some trepidation – my seat is excellent.  I am slightly concerned that my head might be cut off.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

May 3rd, 2011

May 2nd, 2011

Well, there’s one less jackass in the world today. @ 03:37 pm

Tags: ,

So, Osama bin Laden is dead and has been buried at sea, in accordance with Islamic tradition concerning bodies at risk of being desecrated.  Only in America would be manage to respsect the death rites of even our worst enemy.  (Yes, I understand the practical considerations as well, no need to have a shrine somewhere for him that a traditional burial would bring.)

I don’t know if anyone really noticed, but it wasn’t even a few hours after the announcement of his death that “See something, say something” was being reiterated across the internet.  I’m quite certain no one out there believes that the death of bin Laden signals an end to extremist violence around the world.  But at least give us an overnight, maybe a day to enjoy finally winning the longest damn game of hide and seek on record.  A small break from being pushed to paranoia in the name of National Security would be quite welcome.

Getting rid of one person, even if it is the guy at the top, isn’t really going to change things.  There are still followers, still people who hate for irrational reasons and who will lash out with violence or rhetoric to incite violence as their response to their own fear of a changing world.*

It will never be gone, but there is one less person advocating it today.

Is it right that he died voilently at our hands when we supposedly are a peace loving nation?  I don’t know, but two things come to mind:
- Karma is a bitch, and
- He started it.  (OK, that’s my inner 8 year old talking, but my outer adult can’t argue with the sentiment.)

*It’s not a Muslim extremist thing.  It’s an extremist of any kind thing.  Fear leads to hate and then violence.  Any diety provides a good excuse.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

A full weekend – and then it got bigger @ 03:23 am

For someone who isn’t exactly a huge social butterfly – this weekend was like the Tardis – bigger on the inside.  And then the President scheduled an address to the American people…

After a ridiculously social weekend where I was utterly exhausted and completely wound up beyond belief, I went up to my favorite watering hole for a pint or two and commiseration over the Caps being down 2 games in the series against Tampa Bay.

Then things got interesting…

Notice of a Presidential address.  Hmmm.  Late Sunday night?  WTF could that be that the major networks didn’t already know?  Couldn’t be the economy – that’s more prime time than late night.  Walked out for a smoke* and walked back in and every crawl had the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Well that will certainly change the tone of an evening to be sure.

Though I will be happier with photographic and/or DNA confirmation, as I said on Facebook – I’m glad the cocksucker is dead.**  I’ll admit that while cheering I did send off a message to Friday’s dinner companion to get his thoughts on the matter as he has some experience with all this.  (What a strangely fortuitous time for him to find his way back into my virtual rolodex.)

That all being said, while news of this doesn’t necessarily change anything in the big scheme of thing – it’s nice to feel like we can firmly put one in the Win column for a change.  (I’m sure there have been other wins, but they don’t all filter down to the American public…)

As much as I know I shouldn’t take any glee or pleasure in another’s death – this jackass tried to kill my friends.  In my mind, after that, all bets are off and you deserve whatever painful and ugly end that befalls you.

Working backwards to more positive parts of the weekend…

This afternoon I spent a few lovely hours at Wheaton park with Chris and Celia and their two gorgeous little ones.  This encounter made me realize that Facebook (and the Internet et al) can warp time a little bit.  It wasn’t until I sat down and thought about it that I realized I was pretty sure I hadn’t seen them since they got married.  Thanks to the grapevine, email and Facebook, I had a fairly decent idea of what was going on with them, so it didn’t seem like it had been that long since I’d seen them.  Didn’t hurt that Celia isn’t aging.

Unlike me – if you’re asking a 6 year old.  Saturday was a great little cookout with Jen & Bob and their adorable little one, J.  Well, J’s friends from next door came over.  J, being the Hostess with the Mostest, grabbed K’s hand and said, “I have to introduce you to someone”***  K says, “Oh, your Grandma?”

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Thankfully little J replied with a reassuringly vehement NO and that I was Aunt Cindy, but still – seriously???  I know I’ve got some grey streaks in my hair, but for me to be the grandmother of a 6 year old – there would to have been two *really* youthful pregnancies along the way.

This after I was feeling all young and semi-gorgeous on Friday night.  Up to Old Town for great evening of dinner & cupcakes & TV with a friend I hadn’t seen, in oh.. 4 years?  (Again, thanks Facebook!)  We’d lost touch thanks to work and life and stuff in general just getting in the way, but it had always been a curiously no-drama, no-holding-to-high-expectations friendship and there were no hard or hurt feelings on either side – and meeting up again it felt like we’d not skipped a beat and it was like sliding on a old pair of favorite blue jeans – just right.

That all being said, I think I will need to sleep for the next 3 days.

*I don’t want to hear it.
**Thank you to the writers of Deadwood for giving me a full appreciation of the many ways in which the word cocksucker can be considered appropriate.
***6 years old, and says “introduce” not “meet” – too smart for her own good, and god help Jen & Bob when she gets older.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

April 28th, 2011

Weddings and Stuff @ 08:53 pm

Tags: ,

So, the Royal Wedding is tomorrow.  I won’t be getting up at 6AM but I will TiVo it so I can see a few things, and skip the boring stuff.  I know a lot of folks are scratching their heads trying to figure out why anyone is fascinated, and I have a few theories:

- We don’t really have anything like the royal family here.  (Yes, I know that was part of the plan in telling England to sod off back in the day.)  Sure, we’ve got our first family, but that changes out every 4-8 years and various and sundry celebrities, but nothing quite like the royals.

- Hats.  This country does not have enough large scale events involving hats.  I especially would like to see what Grandma E busts out of the hatbox for the occasion.

- The Dress.  Of course I want to see the dress she wears.  Despite all appearances to the contrary, I do have a girly side, and she wants to see the dress!

- It’s enjoyable to watch a wedding where you know you won’t get stuck at the singles table.

- It will break the internet.

- Commoner marries a Prince!  Though I’ve long since abandoned any notions of growing up to be a Princess, I can’t help but latch on to a few of the more practical aspects, such as a very large housekeeping staff.

And for all that think the media coverage has been a touch ridiculous, just remember our media seems to only follow news and events in one of two ways:

1. Beat it into the ground like a dead horse until it turns to glue, or
2. Ignore it.


Speaking of beating a dead horse, the President has released his long form birth certificate…  Something that I have always felt to be a total non-issue to start with, and yet I am quite certain that this won’t be the end of it.  If it’s any consolation Mr. President, I have no desire to see your reports cards from any school you attended.  (I really didn’t care about President Bush’s grades either.  Or Clinton’s.  Or Bush Sr.’s  Or Reagan’s.)


Locals:  Had to go find some Rescue Remedy today, and finally found it at Felix & Oscar: Pet Food Naturally over on Backlick Road.  Of course I found it just as the storms were clearing out, but I’m guessing we’ll have a few more before the summer is over.  For whatever reason, RR is hard to find around here – Whole Foods only had the Children’s formulary – which I implore all parents of school age children to purchase, and OTPR only has it for in house use and not for sale.  (Many thanks to their giving me some samples in case I couldn’t find it today and for pointing me to F&O’s.)  Neither PetsMart or PetCo carry it.

Got two bottles cause I am sure I’ll lose the first one before it’s empty, just like I misplaced the last bottle I bought…

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

April 20th, 2011

Seriously, where do I fall on the spectrum? @ 04:20 am

Honestly, I really cannot figure out if I am totally cut out for this whole eldercare (or really elder-paperwork-care) misadventure or of I am the last person on the planet that should be tending to these things.

Got the mailbox opened.  Maybe not with 100% of the paperwork, but at least with 90% + 10% acceptable-in-the-right-eyes paperwork.  (I didn’t work with the same person today as yesterday and I played on that like nobody’s business.)  On that triumph, I got the phone shut off as well, even though I did not have the account number handy, even though I was told that it was like, seriously, totally required.   (I *never* have the account number for the phone when I need it, cause CHRIST, I HAVE THE PHONE NUMBER!)

All this just makes me think it’s not about breaking the rules so much as working with people who don’t necessarily know what the rules are in the first place and who also think there is no reason you would lie to them in the first place.  Not that I just go about lying to everyone I encounter, but I have found that there are a few places where mild deception helps grease the wheels.

I truly hate lying.  I really do.  My grandmother’s decline has taught me that sometimes you need to lie out your ass, and it’s kind of OK as long as it’s for the greater good and not hurting anyone.  I remain truly unconvinced that I am not going to hell for it, but I get the necessity of it.  Still don’t like it that much.  Still don’t like that I am much better at fabricating pretty untruths now than I was this time 3 years ago.

And, here’s the rub:  I have a Durable Power of Attorney!  With pretty much every possible contingency signed off on by my grandmother!  I have the legal authority to Get Shit Done.   Given that she lives in God’s Waiting Room, you’d think the general populous would be more familiar with a DPOA, and yet… they all look like a deer in the headlights when I whip it out and try to explain that Granny ain’t exactly in a traveling way, and I have the legal authority to tend to her various and sundry stuff, such as her mail, or bills, or whathaveyou , and she is not going to show up at their front door wielding fountain pen to sign off on whatever it is I have come to request.  Because if she COULD come forth and harass them, she certainly wouldn’t in a million years need me to do it for her.

I’m still leaning towards wholly unqualified for this particular adventure.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

April 18th, 2011

Just one hitch so far @ 09:34 pm


Which is pretty good in the grand scheme of things I suppose.  My grandmother greeted my arrival with her usual exuberance of “Oh.” with about the same tone of voice you’d use if someone told you that the IRS was going to audit you.

Tried to open a box at the UPS store so I can use that as her local mailing address and have them forward it to me.  (I want the mailing address to stay in AZ, otherwise I can just see things getting all screwed up as someone, somewhere thinks she is no longer a resident of the state.)  Easy, right?  HA!  We got past the idea that she was going to come in and do this herself after showing them the Power of Attorney.  But – and this still doesn’t seem right to me at all, given the fact that there is a PoA in place – I still have to bring in two forms of her identification, one with a photo.  Well, the photo ID is easy enough, but it’s that second one that is causing some angst.  Just looking at the list gave me a headache as I kept coming up empty, and told the UPS guy that I’d see what I could find  and go back tomorrow.  Here are the acceptable items:

Government issued ID – no problem, got that one covered.
Passport – expired
Alien Registration Card or Certificate of Naturalization – nope
Current lease – owns the condo
Mortgage – paid off years ago
Deed of Trust – nope
Voter registration card – if she has one, I would have even the faintest idea where to look for it
Vehicle registration – no car
Vehicle insurance policy – again, no car
Home insurance policy – YES!  Except it’s back east.  Don’t know why my crystal ball didn’t tell me to put that in my backpack before getting on a plane.

Thought I could get online and print out something from her account, but it doesn’t recognize the policy number.  Great.  So, tomorrow I will go scour the condo to see if there is an old copy of it somewhere that I can take in as another form of ID.

Seriously, not in a million years would I have thought the mere act of opening a mailbox somewhere would be something that would take me multiple days to accomplish, if at all.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

OMG, THE TSA GROPED…my hair… @ 05:09 am


First, lest you think this is a “I hate TSA agents” rant – it is not.  Every TSA employee I encountered today was not only polite and professional, but genuinely cordial and friendly to the traveling public.  No TSA twits in my encounters today.

So, IAD to PHX today to go west and and prove some point about “Hey, I’m watching you!” to the care center looking after my grandmother’s health & well being.

I was hopping through security like a seasoned pro – no belt, no bra, no metal hair clips (braided my hair!) and glasses in bag.  I listened and double checked my pockets as the agent repeatedly told all to empty their pockets of ALL junk, including kleenexes.  (Head cold = pockets full of snotty kleenexes!)  I was totally ready for the metal detector as I waited to make sure my carryon bag & 2 bins went through the x-ray machine.*

Except there was no metal detector.  I got waved over to the backscanner machine.  Which actually didn’t bother me in the least other than it would be cutting into my brie & chablis time at the Red Carpet Club, but as long as it wouldn’t impact my making my flight, I really couldn’t give a damn.  (A better person would have raged against the machine.  I was more curious as to what the machine was in the first place.)

So, I go get backscattered (the thumbs on head thing is a touch odd) come out, tell the TSA lady (only 1/3 jokingly) that I feel tingly.  (I really did!)  She very kindly assures me it’s my imagination, I concur but allow how it’s all a bit weird.  We have a giggle and wait for the lady behind the curtain to deem me OK.  And wait…

I have no clue how long this backscatter review takes, but it seems to be uncomfortably long when you’re the one waiting for the results and I found myself in the midst of an awkward pause that would do Craig Ferguson proud.  Just as I asked if everything was OK, a squawk came over her radio and I swear, I saw her roll her eyes.  Which made me steel myself for the full pat-down.  But then she said, “Can you turn around so I can look at the back of your head and your hair?”

“OK, sure.”  Inside voice going, “Um, huh, what, well, OK?  WTF is in MY HAIR that I don’t know about??!?”  So, she smushed up the scrunchie on my ponytail/braid and said – and I shit you not – “She is seeing things that just aren’t there” as she also told me all was OK and fine and to have a nice flight.

Which tells me – scrunchies can apparently screw up backscanners.  I know every system for anything thing will have some measure of false positives.  But if a truly benign scrunchie causes issues?  That may indicate an acceptance of false positives that is a wee bit on the high side.

And here I thought going with the braid/scrunchie vs. twist w/metal hair clip was a better idea for going through security lines.  I suppose on the way home I’d be best served by just going full Cousin It with the hair everywhere.

But, they let me through and I am in PHX tonight and the TSA lady was super nice, reassuring, professional, polite and cordial – which is very nice when you’re just trying to get on a plane to see your grandmother and you’ve tried really hard NOT to be the idiot that wears a 2 pound watch through the metal detector.  Not even the slightest bit of weariness, bitchiness or any other -ness that might result in an exceptionally cranky person – especially one that has to deal with the traveling public on a daily basis.

So, well done to the TSA agents at Dulles International Airport for NOT making me feel like a criminal or terrorist.  You made it clear that my hair tie looked odd on the scan and you had to check that, but even then, sane heads prevailed and you decided a simple spot check of said hair tie would suffice.  No full body pat down even remotely warranted.

* I really don’t carry a bag & 2 bins worth of crap.  Laptop, 1 bin, shoes & purse, another bin.  Backpack that held 95% of that crap, on it’s own.  And every damn time I have one bag/bin left to go through when the conveyor belt STOPS.  And I won’t just leave my stuff until I see it actually moving to the machine.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

April 16th, 2011

Accentuate the positive @ 09:14 pm

Tags: ,

And all that happy horseshit as my mother would say.  I’m trying to fight my way through this head-cold induced mental fog and look on the bright side for this trip to PHX.

– Unlike last August, this is a pre-planned trip, which is much better than the alternative.

– The weather will be sunny and in the 80s.

– It is a short trip with no holidays involved, which makes packing a matter of just tossing some wearable crap in a bag and that’s it.

– It is a short trip, period.  Less time for us to get on each others nerves.

– The hotel is wonderful and has an absolutely killer breakfast.

– There are several really good places to eat right next to the hotel.  (Kabuki and Yard House are on the must list.)

– If history is any indicator, the Detroit Red Wings will be staying at my hotel.

– No one expects me to sit around at the care center all day and watch my grandmother take naps.  (If she could juggle in her sleep or something, it might be different, but she can’t, so…)  This is a pleasant contrast to being expected to sit at her condo all day and watch her take naps.

– I will get the mail situation locked down once and for all via a UPS store, as USPS hasn’t exactly been up to the task with forwarding since everything went to hell in a handbasket.   (Mail to the care center is a no-go, and I still need her to have a local address, cause I am not going through the potential confusion of having tax documents print out thinking she lives in Virginia.)

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

I know correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation… @ 01:37 am

But holy hell, once again I am within 48 hours of getting on a plane to PHX and I am in the midst of the galloping crud.  Granted, I should have seen it coming, as I have been spacey as all get out this week – seriously, since about 2PM Tuesday, I couldn’t have told you what day of the week it was without consulting a calendar.*  This is invariably the precursor to a cold/sinus infection for me, but I never recognize it until it’s too late.

The overly rational part of my brain chalks it all up to unfortunate coincidence and the ridiculous changing of the barometric pressure at this time of year.  The not-quite-as-rational part of my brain says, “Going to PHX is bad for you!” The smartest part of my existence which isn’t even attached to me says – “It’s the anxiety leading up to the trip that does you in.”  That smart part would be my brother trying to assure me I’ve not totally lost my mind.  (If you don’t have a brother to help you out in matters such as these, I highly recommend you get one.  I’m pretty sure there is a category on Craigslist for this.)

Seriously, I can’t remember the last time that I wasn’t sick either when my grandmother visited here, or I visited there.  (Same thing has happened to my brother as well.)  Invariably this has lead to my grandmother being more than happy to tell us that we were weak, lazy & pathetic and got sick on purpose just to get attention.  Yes, because I’d so much rather feel like total crap and have people saying, “Would you like a Ginger Ale?” than just happily going about my business without desperately needing to sleep for 24 hours straight.

Damned if I know why my body decides to betray me this way, but I’m very much over it all.  Seriously, I’m staying at a nice hotel with a pool and everything – I’d like to take advantage of it rather than sleep every hour I’m not at the care center…

*No matter how broken my grandmother’s brain may be, I never have and never will fault her for not knowing the date or day of the week without looking at the calendar.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

April 15th, 2011

NORAD training, Twitter, and weird after-effects… @ 03:17 am

Tags: , ,

So, last night at a little past 0030 NORAD was doing a bit of night training which resulted in a couple of fighter jets in afterburner* flying very, very low over my residence in Northern Virginia.

I was sitting at my computer wasting time and trying to un-engage my brain and I heard *something* coming and I wasn’t even sure what it was other than the fact that I knew it would greatly upset the dog lounging out on the deck and I had to get him inside immediately.  I dashed to the back door and said, “Moxley, get your ass in RIGHT NOW!!”  (It had a sound of very severe thunder and I’d rather him inside than digging a 4 foot deep hole to take cover in outside.)  He happily complied and I went dashing to the deck to see what was up.**

I viewed what for all intents and purposes appeared to be a fighter jet in afterburner leaving the neighborhood, but sounding much more like an airplane about to lose an engine.  TO THE INTERNET!  Facebook & Twitter yielded no immediate answers other than one person on my friend list who had heard/seen the same incident and had the same questions I had.  (I am still quite surprised that there was only the two of us in the neighborhood that took to the internet to figure out what on earth was going on.)

OK, time to mine the Twitter contacts for who may be In The Know.  Well, as it happened, Nathan Hager of WTOP News (@nhagerwtop) had made a post on his account a few minutes before this Very Loud Incident above my home, so I figured he might still be up and perhaps he’d seen/heard something – and shot him a tweet.  Within minutes I had my answer of “Norad training” – and as soon as I saw Norad, I remembered seeing a blurb about a training exercise that had been postponed due to weather.  (Sadly, it didn’t stick in my head until I was reminded of it.)

So, on the Twitter side of this posting – I can’t help but give some big props to Nathan (my personal local news guru) Hager for a) paying attention to his Twitter account, even on what had to be his verge of going to bed, and b) taking the time to post a response.  It was just great to get an answer so soon.  (Really, if you’re not following @nhagerwtop, you should be!

On the “weird after-effects” side – I went to bed and damned if I didn’t have weird airplane crashing and/or end of the world dreams for the rest of the night.  I woke up at 0430 and after realizing I still had 2 hours of sleep available to me, yelled at my brain that it was just all a bunch of weird dreams and everything was OK, and that the dog, the cats, and my brother were all in and I didn’t need to worry about any of it.  Didn’t help as the weird dreams continued, but seriously, BRAIN, LET ME SLEEP.

The last time I had a couple of fighter jets go over my house in afterburner was when I lived over in Burke.  I wallked out to the porch, looked up and thought, “Cool.”  It wasn’t for a few minutes before I thought, “Wait, what??”  I can only attribute the difference in reaction to now having a dog & brother under the same roof.  (Had cats both times and all were inside anyway.)

Really, I have enough on my mind without my brain deciding to create new and non-existent disasters for me to worry on.  Really brain, chill out.

*I have forever referred to it as “on afterburner” but my Godfather (for lack of a better description) let me know it is “in” rather than “on” – WTF do I know, my Dad was on E-2’s – they don’t even have afterburners in the first place, and if you see one “on” or “in afterburner” it means an engine is on fire.

**Not sure how going outside to see WTF was happening bodes for me in the event that the Zombie Apocalypse occurs.  I may be the first one off the map.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

March 28th, 2011

And the point of Verified by Visa is??? @ 03:28 am

Not too long ago, I was shopping online and they wouldn’t take my card unless I used Verified by Visa.  A quick Google search indicated that it was a very legitimate extra layer and not terribly onerous level of protection for online transactions.  (Endorsed by my Credit Union to boot.)  It’s no big deal, just an extra password at checkout – I can certainly do that. Honestly, if someone is using my VbV password, they also have to have my card in hand and also know my CVV number.  So, great!  Because honestly, if you have to put in your CC info, AND the CVV number, AND a password – it’s either legit, or someone has stolen your wallet and your laptop and/or knows your password.

Honestly, if you do a VbV transaction, that right there should be some indication of legitimacy of the transaction, and in theory it should save you a shitload of hassle if you have a shopping spree day.  Except that it seems that it doesn’t.

I had two trips to book today through Travelocity.com.  First was to Phoenix to do a “holy crap, we didn’t think her grandchildren would show up again until December!” visit to have eyes on the care centre, and the second to Las Vegas.  Phoenix went through (with VbV) with no issues.  Vegas?  (Again w/VbV) Not so much -  but with a caveat that some debit cards had a daily spending limit and it could be as simple and innocent as that.  It wasn’t until I tried to hit the ATM this evening that I discovered that my card was full on shut down.

I worked fraud prevention at a bank.  I get it.  However, when you or your automated systsem suspects fraud, the first thing that should happen is a call to the cardholder to verify charges – NOT simply shutting down the card with no notice or verification.

So, I’ve got a busted card and a system that thinks I’m making fraudulent charges, DESPITE using their enhanced security systsem.


Yeah, I’ll be talking to PFCU tomorrow and I will spare the CSR that answers the call my annoyances and will ask to be transferred directly to fraud prevention – hopefully I’ll be slightly less peeved and won’t unleash the level of annoyance that I’m feeling right now.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

March 12th, 2011

Yoga is exhausting. @ 08:24 pm

I did move the strap out of the way so she doesn’t get caught on it.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

March 1st, 2011

An ever-so-slightly odd evening. @ 03:12 am


Not bad, just a tad odd towards the end.

Meandered up to the pool hall this evening as I am taking tomorrow off, and generally enjoyed watching my brother assert his superior skills at the Golden Tee golf game.

I was approached by a young woman and her gentleman friend who were inquiring as to my interest and favor towards Afghan food.  I tap-danced enough to indicate that I had no aversion towards it* and certainly be inclined to try it given a good recommendation.  (Hey, good grub is good grub, regardless of where it originates.)  Seems the boyfriend of the young lady is a proprietor of some local restaurants whose menu originates mainly from Afghan cuisine.  She approached me because she’d seen me at the pool hall on a few occasions and I can only imagine that I have a friendly face.

Then we got to talking a bit more, and that I am a substitute teacher at the moment, and I’ve gotten to work with little ones with autism in [my very favorite school with a seriously kickass group of teachers for the kids in Special Education/Autism group] and that her son is autistic and well beyond elementary school, and we talked of the challenges and such that goes with that entire diagnosis in parenting and teaching and such.

It’s honestly not a conversation I’d ever expected to have, well, ever – especially given that I’d never thought myself to be able to even be an adequate educational understudy, much less tell a parent, “I know this is incredibly hard, and I have the very easy part because I am only a substitute teacher and I get to go home at the end of the day, but you do the best you can and there’s not much more you can do beyond your best, so just be happy you truly did your best.”

But at the end of the day, it felt like I had somehow managed to provide her with some level of comfort/and or assurance that she was not alone, and/or that someone else understood that this is not an easy task by any means, even if it was just a substitute teacher who has on occasion worked with kids not terribly unlike her own.

When it comes to substitute assignments, I find I tend to look for Special Education classes.  Maybe this is why.

*I’ve had no direct exposure to Afghan food that I know of, but I have heard that it is quite good – and until now, no direct recommendations of good places to acquire it.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

February 24th, 2011

February 23rd, 2011

OK, the media is annoying me again… @ 10:04 pm


Which shouldn’t surprise anyone I suppose.

Last week on the radio I heard a quick bit about a young man in Iowa who withdrew a wrestling match against a young woman in a statewide competition.  At the time, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, “Well, that is certainly his prerogative” and didn’t think I’d hear much more about it.

Well, this morning, he was on one of the early shows on TV.  Now, I’m still not why this is worthy of time on a national morning news show, nor why any parent would send their kid out to an interview like that, but there it was.  And the kicker was the banner across the bottom of the screen was “Chivalrous or Chauvinistic?”

Really??  It can’t just be a kid who didn’t feel right about wrestling against a girl, knew exactly what the consequences would be, and said, “No, not for me”??  He’s either being this grand gentleman or a misogynistic bastard?

I know it has quite a bit to do with the fact that we have a 24 hour news cycle that we have to fill, and TV audiences have the attention span of fleas, and so everyone wants a flashy graphic that can boil it all down to an easy answer.  But it still annoys me.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.

What I See When I Look To My Right @ 08:28 pm

February 22nd, 2011

Cafe Chat Noir

No fate but the fate you make for yourself...