In absentia

Friday just after midnight we got the call we’d been dreading – Dad had passed.  Dreading on our own behalf, not his.  His peace was long overdue.  He is finally pain-free.  It’s been a crazy time here over the last several days and I’ve been ill the entire time so I’m pretty exhausted.  The last of the out-of-state family has gone home today and I’m going to collapse for awhile and try to kick this cold or whatever it is to the curb.

More later.

Happy Goof-Off Day!

Did you know March 22nd is International Goof-Off Day?  Me either.  Thank you Jen (of Cakewrecks & Epbot fame) for the head’s up.  And for the thought of those waffles you’re having (pauses to dab at drool). 

I Binged International Goof-Off Day and found a lot of resources to celebrate.  This article lists some fun things to do and even though it’s from 2009 the links still appear good.  Jace Shoemaker-Galloway says Filler is addictive and boy is she right!  Plus it can be a mindless activity or you can strategize a bit.  SimianLogic Studios offers a variety of games in addition to Filler.  ColorTangle is very cool and I scored over 44,000 at Halfsies! 

Well, I’m off to do some real work.  BigLaw doesn’t recognize Goof-Off Day darn it. 


Show of hands?

“I want your hair.”  Pause.  “Or K’s.”   (K is my youngest daughter.)

That was my sister-in-law the other day when she came by my office to pick me up for dinner.  While I was finishing up a couple of things she sat behind me waiting, and apparently studying my hair.  SIL has stick straight ash blond hair, which is really quite lovely.  But as she’s pointed out on occasion, she can’t do much with it.  She wears it down or puts it in a pony tail.  My own hair is wavy and thick and what they used to call dishwater blond, kind of a mousy brown with lighter highlights, which are natural thank you very much.  I’m letting it grow out … again. 

If you hated, detested, abhorred your hair when you were a teen don’t feel alone.  Didn’t we all?.  Can we see a show of hands?  [crickets]  Oh come on, we ALL wanted to shave our heads at some point, didn’t we?  No?  I guess it was just me then.  No, I didn’t say I shaved my head, just that occasionally…like once or maybe five times a week I wanted to.  I did perm it.  And bleach it to death at least twice.  I think that’s worse than shaving it off, at least for the hair itself.  The poor stuff was like straw before I gave up. 

As a teen in the early to mid-70s I remember well the fashionable hairstyles  Okay, maybe fashionable isn’t quite the word I’m looking for.  In my high school the popular girls all wore their hair parted down the middle and straight down their backs, or they’d pull the front back with a hairclip but leave the rest down.  The web identified this as no-style basic.  Which had me giggling; the cool girls would cringe if they knew they’d had NO STYLE!      

Later in the 70s there were wannabe Farrah Fawcett ‘dos everyfuckingwhere.  You know what I’m talking about, the feathered look! 

Remember the Afros that sprang up back then?   Ha!  No pun intended!

Back to high school – if you had curly hair you were déclassé.  Girls who wore their hair curly were looked at strangely.  Guys could have curls or waves; it made us want to run our fingers through their locks.  Admit it!  You wanted to! 


We had a gym teacher named Miss Jeanette.  She was the first free spirit I ever knew; and the girls loved her in spite of her kinky hair.  Looking back I remember she wasn’t slim or slender either but she was still very popular.  Now that I think of it, it was probably because she was so different from the other teaching staff.  She taught regular phys ed and also modern dance.  It wasn’t unusual to see her at school in tights and leotards, covered with a filmy, floaty skirt and a shawl of course.  She drove an old VW Karmann Ghia  convertible.  I SO wanted to be her.  Miss Jeanette wasn’t pretty in a traditional sense – her hair was kinky remember? And her nose was sort of prominent (think Barbra Streisand).  But her smile could light up a room and I loved that she didn’t care what anyone thought.  How cool would it have been to feel like that at 17? 

Later, as an adult I worked with a young woman who had beautiful curly hair.  I mean, S curls that were tight and well-formed.  (Boy, did that sound dirty to anyone else?  Just me?  Okay, I can live with that.)  Anne regaled me and the rest of our co-workers with tales of her own school days and wanting to fit in.  Because curly hair was not acceptable in her school any more than it had been in mine, she would spend hours each morning ironing her hair!  With an iron y’all, a really real iron!  Which I imagine caused some really real damage to her locks!  When I worked with her, Anne was no longer worried about her naturally kinky curls.  They were beautiful and so was she. 

It wasn’t until I was 40 that I reached détente with my own hair.  Of course there are still bad hair days when I want to yank it all out, but mostly I like it.  My youngest daughter too has come to love her hair, which is much like mine, and she’s only 27!  I think of all the years she has ahead of her NOT HATING HER HAIR and I smile.


Yes, Hubs and I survived two whole days with the family!  One more farewell dinner tonight for the sister from NC who flies home tomorrow morning, and we’re released from family duty for another week. 

Wow, that sounds really bad.  It’s not a duty really.  But the heightened emotions that I knew were going to be involved made it feel like I was carrying someone around on my shoulders the entire weekend. 

More on the weekend later.  For now I’m going to get back to work and anticipate the pineapple mojito my daughter is going to buy me at dinner tonight.


Pour Me

TGIF!  No really, T. G. I. F.!!  It’s Friday!!  I should be exulting in two whole days away from the office.  Sleeping in!  Two days when I can do what I want, when I want.  Riiiight.

I usually love the weekend, hey I’m normal, sort of.  Shut up.  This weekend not so much.  I’d almost be glad if I could get some overtime and have to work.  What?  I said almost

Tonight my sister-in-law flies in late from North Carolina.  This visit has been in the works for some time so it isn’t a surprise.  I love my sister-in-law, truly.  I love her best from a distance, but I can deal for two or three days.  The downside of this weekend is that her dad, my father-in-law is in the hospital and he’s not doing well. 

M planned this weekend as a regular visit with the west coast family, but it’s turning into a “say good-bye to daddy” visit.  Which will translate to a weepy, mega-emotional weekend for everyone.  Sigh.

I’m not trying to minimize the grief I’m certain M is beginning to experience.  I’m dreading the emotional exhaustion I’m going to be experiencing when the weekend is over.  It takes a LOT of energy to support loved ones who are hurting.  And I want to be supportive, especially for Hubs.  He knows his Dad isn’t going to last much longer and it’s eating him up.  Dad is just so tired of fighting and hurting and getting hit with the next thing before he recovers from the last.  (He was recently in a nursing home after falling and fracturing his shoulder; while there he developed MRSA and is now hospitalized while they try to treat that bastard.  All this on top of pancreatic cancer.) 

In addition to being as supportive as I can, I’m grieving too.  As I mentioned in Dad’s birthday post, he’s the only real dad I’ve ever known.  It’s difficult to see the lovely, funny man I’ve known for more than 14 years begin to fail so dramatically.  I miss the guy who could fire back a snarky comment before I’d finished my sentence.  I see the grumpy, hurting husk he’s becoming and I sob inside, screaming silently, NO!  He survived prostate cancer for heaven’s sake!  And a heart valve replacement.  And MRSA multiple times before.   

On top of everything they say he had a mild stroke in the last few days.  And the super duper drugs he’s on don’t seem to be working yet.  Hubs wonders whether Dad is holding on until he sees his oldest daughter this weekend.  I wonder the same thing.  And what we’re going to do if that’s true. 

It’s going to be a long, long weekend.  Pour me a tall one.  Repeatedly.

Random randomness

I recently found a bunch of sites I love – some designed for wannabe writers; some BY wannabe writers (RJ I’m looking at you).  And I’ve been trying to make myself write more.  One of the ways I’m doing that is using a random word generator.  I like this one.  Yesterday I chose the option for six words and I guess that was too many.  While I did get a short piece started, I couldn’t use all the words and it’s not finished enough that I felt it was ready to share.  I know I don’t have to use ALL the words, it’s supposed to be a tool, not a dictate.  It just feels incomplete if I can’t include them all.  That’s probably my OCD rearing its head.  However, today I opted for only four words and I got:  stretcher, aroma, chocolate, perch.

Without further ado, here’s a very short story using those words.  Any and all critiques are welcome!  Unless you’re just mean about it. 


            Marlene removed the cookie sheet from the oven, setting it on the counter.  She slid in another pan and set the timer.  The aroma of chocolate wafted through the warm kitchen, making her mouth water. 

            To distract herself, she ran hot water in the sink and began washing the breakfast dishes.  Sticky egg yolk and congealed bacon grease yielded to her sudsy sponge.  Soon the plates were standing at attention in the drainer while the skillet jockeyed for space next to the mixing bowl.  Marlene dried her hands and checked the timer.  Five more minutes.  Taking the spatula she carefully transferred the cookies from the pan to a cooling rack, where they joined another dozen already cooling. 

            She repeated the steps when the last pan was finished baking, stacking the coolest cookies in the cookie jar.  After washing the cookie sheets Marlene put the now-dry plates away.  Standing in the kitchen doorway, she looked around the room one final time to be certain she’d finished everything on her list.  The last dozen cookies were stowed and the cooling rack washed, dried and put away. 

            Marlene checked the bedrooms.  The beds were all made, clothes picked up.  And the bathrooms – clean, spot free mirrors, shiny faucets.  In the living room there was the merest trace of dust on the coffee table.  She paused over it, wondering whether she should take the time to dust.  Instead, she ran her finger through the dust, spelling out her despair.  Then she went to the french doors which opened onto their postage-stamp balcony. 

            The realtor had gushed proudly about the view, as though it was her personal creation.  Marlene supposed it was a decent enough view; they could see the ocean after all.  But not smell it.  Not hear it.  Not feel it.  With the doors open all she could smell was exhaust fumes.  All she could hear was a cacophony of horns.  All she could feel was the oppression. 

            Stepping outside, she gazed from her perch, seeking the glimmer of the sea.  Imagining its salty tang, the waves shushing in her ears, the spray teasing her skin, Marlene swung her legs over the railing and balanced there for a moment. 

            Later, Kyle would wonder about the full cookie jar.  Later, after he received the call at work.  Later, after he’d rushed to the hospital, and dodged stretchers in the corridor on his way to the ER.  Much later, after he’d died a little seeing Marlene lying still and pale on the drawer in the morgue.

Jealous much?

I never considered myself the jealous sort.  Even during my first marriage when I was younger, insecure and afraid to be on my own.  Possessive, now that’s an entirely different story. 

Jealous vs. possessive.  One has obvious negative vibes while the other seems less black and white (to me anyway).  However, when I took a closer look I found them both to be full of the ick.  And here I thought I was possessive in a good way. 

The thesaurus listed covetous, resentful, and invidious as synonyms for jealous.  Invidious!  That sounds bad.  Jealous is actually a synonym for possessive, in addition to domineering, controlling and selfish!  Ohhhkay then.  Maybe I don’t want to admit to being possessive either.

There must be some term that is not completely heinous but clearly describes that I. don’t. share. well. 

This one time a few years back Hubs and I entered a restaurant we visited only occasionally.  That’s the only way I can explain the waitress’ (or was she a hostess?) behavior.  She did not know me.  It was really late at night, probably after a movie and if I remember correctly it was also storming outside so we were pretty bundled up.  Not that that has anything to do with this story.  To continue, we were greeted warmly by this waitress (or hostess; I tend to lean toward HO stess, but I digress … again).  She beamed at Hubs and placed her hand on his arm!  Then she might have turned and smiled at me, I don’t recall because I was eyeballing her hand on my man’s arm.  Not that Hubs was paying attention beyond being polite.  It was just the little green-eyed imp in my head preparing to mark her territory.  (No!  Not like that!  Eww!  What is wrong with you people?!)

Sorry, digressing again.

So rather than slapping her silly or shanking the bitch as the imp demanded, I slipped my arm through Hubs’, making sure she saw my proprietary posture as I sidled up close.  I was willing to risk the rebound impact of boosting Hubs’ ego to an unbearable level.  He’s worth it. 

I wouldn’t have thought about that night except the battery in my netbook died and I had to listen to my MP3 player on the way to work recently.  When Gretchen Wilson sang The Earrings Song I was right back there in that moment.  Have you heard The Earrings Song?  No?  I’m not tech-savvy enough to actually embed the song, but here’s a link where you can listen to it if you’re interested.  The Earrings Song. 

I’ll save you some time though.  If you have any familiarity with Gretchen you know she calls it like she sees it, no holds barred (I think that’s a wrasslin’ reference).  The singer’s point of view is that of a married woman out on the town with her husband.  She doesn’t like the look of the girl “slinkin’” by.  So she tells her.  And then there’s the chorus:

Don’t make me take my earrings out
‘Cause I’ll show you what a cat fight’s all about
I’ll throw you down and mop the floor, a man like mine’s worth fightin’ for
Don’t make me take my earrings out

You can see why I was giggling like a fool on the train right?  Right?  I’d never heard it put quite that way, but haven’t we ALL wanted to take our earrings out at one time or other?  And not just to fight for our man.  What about defending our children?  Hell yeah! 

But that’s a tale for another time.

Hmm, maybe there’s a reason all the synonyms for jealous and possessive are so, um…nasty.  And nasty is a synonym for wicked.  So jealous and possessive are wicked cool!!  I can live with that.