Wednesday, September 30, 2009

While You're Waiting...a Meme

UPDATE: Well crappalappa ding dong, I don't know how this thing got posted without allowing comments. I never considered myself a comment whore but sure was bummed out to get home from work and not find any on this post. Thanks, VE, for pointing out the problem. Of course, now it's late in the day. Oh well, par for the course today...

I am not properly motivated to fool around and make my newer PC work with my camera when my trusty old eMac (Yes, an eMac. That thing is as reliable as the day is long even if it gets a little overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles embedded in websites these days.) It is still willing to play nicely with my camera and even communicate with Blogger. However, I have to be willing to let them have long, drawn out conversations so pictures have been downloaded onto the trusty old eMac and are waiting for me to sort through them. I hope to have some of them up tomorrow. In the meantime....
Can you count in Roman numerals?
Why should I? As far as I know they don't even count that way in Rome anymore.

Do you know how your car’s engine works?
The gas goes into the thingies and the doohickies make a spark and then the gazoochies go up and down and a whatsit turns around and the car goes.

Can you program the time on a VCR?
Isn't this a little dated? It's nearly like asking if I can thread a projector.

How many email addresses do you have?
How many do I need?

Do you own a slinky?
Well, I once asked Mr. Lime when a VS catalog came in the mail which items he might like me to purchase for his viewing pleasure.....oh wait, you meant the coiled metal toy for children, not nightwear....never mind.

Do you talk to yourself?
*mutter mutter mumble mutter*

Do you have a tough time remembering people’s names?
Who are you and why are you here?
Did you go stag to your Senior Prom?
Why on Earth would I dress up like a deer?

Is any leftover food currently residing in your refrigerator?
It hasn't established legal residence so it's more like squatting.

Are you high maintenance?
Basic hygiene, periodic lube job, and I'm good to go.

How do you want to be proposed to?
What are you proposing? Do you know how to use a toothbrush? Can you define the word "bedraggled?"

Do you work out regularly?
Arm curls with Hershey bars

Do you care about your appearance?
If I did would I go out in public like this?

Describe the person of your dreams:
Well, he was about 20 feet tall, wore medieval clothes, had a terrible temper and a violent streak, and his only facial features were angry looking eyebrows. Actually, he was more a recurrent figure in childhood nightmares.

Do you like to be tan?
It's better than being blue and easier than being green.

How much money is in your wallet/purse right at this moment?
Ahem, only a couple of bucks because I am still waiting for a paycheck. Lessee, couldn't get a paycheck at the end of the first week because I hadn't gotten the W2 to fill out. Couldn't get one last week because boss couldn't be bothered to initial the hours she told me to write on the time card from before I got my W2. Won't get one this week because time cards are supposed to go in on Monday but it was Yom Kippur so the office was closed and time cards couldn't be faxed. Not that I mind really. I'm doing this job out of the goodness of my heart because I am just that kind of person.

What does your name mean?
Apparently, it means she who attracts carnies and works for free.

Do you give your pets holiday presents?
I'd like to be pet as a holiday present, but not by a carnie.

When doing up your jeans, do you button then zip? Or zip then button?
I just paint them on

How far would you go on the first date?
Well, let's see, if we leave at 7 and I want to be back in time to get enough sleep to wake up ok in the morning but still have time for a fun date I'd say 30 miles should be about the limit.

Do you sleep on your side? Stomach? Back?
Suspended by my feet

Are you ticklish? Where?
Yes, Going from one town to another doesn't seem to change that fact either.

Do you believe in saving yourself for marriage?
I'd like to say save yourself from marriage but that would just be mean and we already established with the whole lack of paycheck thing that I am just too sweet, kind, and wonderful to ever be demanding or snarky.

Would you pick up a hitchhiker?
How much does he weigh?

Would you consider yourself a worrier?
What, me worry?

Do your first impressions of people usually stick?
If the glue holds

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fair to Middling

Ok, all you smartypants people who guessed I went to a county fair type event were right. This was not a small town fair though. This is the biggest one in Pennsylvania and I love it. I'm still working on making my computer and my camera play nice together. Ok, I haven't worked on it at all. I've been busy. Ok, today I am busy and yesterday I was just trying to move because slogging around in the rain for 5 hours and then slingshotting myself made for some very sore muscles, muscles I didn't even know existed until they hurt and all conspired to make moving an activity requiring intense effort. That's not a complaint, mind you, I'd do it all over again if I had the chance. It's a good kind of sore and you all know I am a little bit touched in the head anyway when it comes to death defying feats.

Anyway, let me introduce my first little Fair vignette with a joke.

What's 50 feet long and has 4 teeth?

Any guesses?

The funnel cake line at the fair.

Fine, call me insensitive to the dentally challenged. The joke only employs a tad of hyperbole.

I did not go to the fair alone. I went with my mother and Diana. As I mentioned, it was raining. At times it was pouring. That's ok. As far as I am concerned it just keeps the fair-weather fair-goers away thus keeping the crowds down. It was not especially cold and I had my rain poncho so I was happily dry from the knees up. Mom had a raincoat and umbrella. Diana had an umbrella and rain boots. The three of us tromped around for about 3 hours before Mom and Diana decided during a break in the sheep barn as a great downpour commenced that they were waterlogged and had tired feet. I might add, the sheep barn is where I witnessed the enormous testicles referenced yesterday. Stallions and bulls may get all the hype for being well hung but sheep and goats, pound for pound, win in the massive balls category. I was going to take a picture for all you urban folks who think I am joking but Diana was already mortified by the Quasimodo look I cultivated with the rain poncho over my backpack. Had I squatted to aim my lens at a humongous set of sheep nuts she would have disowned me on the spot. Anyway, I was undeterred and I slogged on as Mom and Diana departed for drier locales.

As I splashed down the midway where nary a soul was braving the elements to waste stupid amounts of money trying to win cheap toys made for 50 cents in China, I foolishly made eye contact with a very bored, somewhat dampened, and noticeably dentally challenged carnie. He smiled his gapped grin and thrust out a dart in my direction, "Free throw for cute girls." I laughed quite loudly at the notion that in my soggy state with my plastic rain burqa anyone could find me cute. The rest of the conversation follows:

Me: Uh, yeah, right.

Carnie: Seriously, come throw the dart, no charge. You're cute. You think I am saying you're cute just so you'll play, dontcha?

Me: Yep, pretty much.

Carnie: Naw, You're cute.

Me: (Wondering how exactly he could even determine my gender under the yards of plastic I was wearing before realizing I might not be having this conversation had I not recently waxed my upper lip) You must like your women bedraggled and hunchbacked.

Carnie: (Leering as he eyes me head to toe) No, but I like 'em meaty.

Me: (Arching a single eyebrow and thinking, "What a charmer. Why IS this guy single?")

Carnie: Just throw the dart, It's free.

Me: What do I get if I hit the target?

Carnie: A prize? Whaddya think?

Me: (Thinking, "Ask a dumb question...") Ok, gimme the dart.

Carnie: (In what I am sure he thought was his most seductive tone but what really came across as just creeptastic and as I aimed) If you meet me during my dinner break I'll give you any "prize" you want, baby."

Me: (Tempted to aim the dart at what would have been a decidedly larger target on a ram but opting to release it toward the board and nowhere near the bullseye) Think I'll pass, thanks. Stay dry.

Ah life's great pageant...

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of theYear

It's when I consume several thousand calories in a few hours with no guilt because it's followed by walking around during that same time period so I can see all sorts of crazy sights, people watch to my heart's content, see what the hottest new "As Seen on TV" trends are, and witness some of the most gigantic testicles ever. This year I got to do it all in the rain, get hit on by a guy whose IQ and number of teeth are probably close to equal, and end the day by being strapped into a giant slingshot. Sounds like fun, huh? Today every muscle from the neck down is sore, I have a bunch of blisters, but I am happy.

If you want to know what the heck I am talking about, to read the details, and to see pictures pray I can make my camera and my computer play nice. Then come back tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count- Aw Nuts!


At first there is a faint tap tap tapping.
I turn to see who may be there and it stops.
Then several distinct knocks are repeated.
I search for the one wanting entrance.
The pounding begins
and it sounds like we are under siege.
I realize there is no impending invasion.
It's only acorn season.


I guess counting my first paycheck earning job in 19 years would be the most obvious count. Even if it involves hazing by some real nuts. I am indeed grateful for the opportunity. This week has felt more than a bit nuts at time with all the information I was required to absorb in quick order while I was sick but I made it through.

Diana has been driven nuts by her roommate but I also want to count the contact she has initiated with me. I'm glad she felt like I was offered a safe place to dump and to share some other things with me as well. She also sent me a few pieces of writing asking for my opinion on them. They were not assignments but some things she was writing for her own pleasure. She said I always drove her nuts when I edited her writing assignments but here she is voluntarily asking my opinion.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Slice of Lime-Dirty Job Edition

I still haven't sorted out the issues with my camera. Aside from starting my first paycheck collecting job in 19 years I have been sick with a really nasty cold. Those situations along with the early morning carpool runs have run me down quite a bit. Hopefully, next week I'll have things working. This week you'll get a story instead of a picture.

I quite enjoy the show Dirty Jobs. I get a kick out of watching Mike Rowe engage in all manner of disgusting, filthy mucking about while tossing out side comments which offer an amusing perspective on his activities. Mike is fairly easy on the eyes too, I'll admit. Mostly, it's the humor and good nature as he engages in horrifying sorts of work that brings me back when I finally get control of the remote in my house.

So this week, I thought I'd share about one (yes, there are more) dirty job I used to hold. Back in college I was in need of some income. I found out a local nursing home was hiring so I the laundry room. This might not sound too bad. After all, how hard is it to toss laundry in one machine, wait a while then move it to another machine, wait some more, then fold it all. Easy peasy.

True enough, that's not hard work. However, now you have laundry not just for a single nuclear family. You have laundry for a couple hundred people. Now let me ask you, have you ever had to strip a bed because someone vomited or wet it or, heaven forbid, had a hideous case of the runs? Now multiply the incidence of that occurrence many tens of times. Imagine piles and piles of sheets and towels full of every manner of secretion and excretion a human body can produce. Now sort them all. Please remember that you have to fully open each one to make sure the floor aides have shaken out all chunks because we don't put chunks in the washers. If you get chunky sheets you send the linens back and an argument ensues, the linens sit and ferment until the aides get around to them and then they are just a wee bit riper, though less chunky, when they come back. Mmmm, sounds good right?

Oh, I almost forgot. There's always a patient in isolation somewhere too. That means they have some sort of highly infectious problem so you have to do special things with their laundry. That's actually not too bad though. All their dirty things go in a special bag that is tied and thrown in a dedicated washer with special chemicals. The bag dissolves in the washer so you don't have to open it up and expose anyone to whatever pathogens are procreating in the dirty laundry.

So you have collected and sorted all the pooped up, peed up, slimed up, gooed up sheets, towels, and gowns. You have sorted them all one at a time wafting the fragrant aroma all about the laundry area as you shook each one. You've washed it all. Now it's time for the dryers. Hey, everything is clean now, this should be a gas. Well, that's exactly what it is. The dryer room has 4 gigantic gas fueled industrial dryers. The room is only big enough to fit the dryers, a counter that runs the length of the opposite wall, and a space between the dryers and counter just big enough to open the doors to the dryers. You must keep the entry and exit doors to this room closed. There is no AC. Rules also state there is to be not food or drink in the laundry area. The temperature reaches roughly 110 F every night. Since you work second shift and the supervisor isn't around and you really have no interest in conducting experiments as to the effects of dehydration you and your shift partner say, "Screw the no drinks policy" but you keep to water so if it spills it won't stain anything. You each use a 1.5 quart liner to a bedside pitcher to fill with ice and drink as it melts. You will go through 3 or 4 of those a shift and sweat most of it out into your uniform.

Hot enough for you? You must be getting hungry too by now. Here, let's go to the break room. It's a dim, smelly, nicotine stained hole. You may not leave the building or go anywhere but the breakroom. You are one of exactly 2 people in the whole place who doesn't smoke and this is in the days when smoking in buildings was still permissible. When you go home, in addition to carrying the faint whiff of urine and feces mixed with copious amounts of your own sweat you will also bear all the enticing aroma of an ashtray. "Hi, honey! I'm home!"

The one bright spot of the shift is when you deliver the personal laundry that the girls on first shift washed, dried, and folded. You take it to the room of each resident, some of whom are delighted to have someone come into their room. Others won't notice you at all. Still others will be quite certain you've come to steal everything they have. You've got some mixed feelings about this whole process. It's really great to get out of the stinky sweat pit but it's a little sad to be up on the floor. It reminds you why you opted to take the laundry job instead of an aide job, especially when you see and aide struggling to clean an ornery patient who has pooped up the bed for the third time. You prefer dealing with the sheets when it's not a wrestling match and AFTER they are de-chunked. That said, you do like being able to briefly visit with some of the residents and you always try to remember that their rooms are their homes so you show due respect in as pleasant and friendly a way as possible.

The day comes when you are going to be student teaching and are told not to juggle even a part time job with that endeavor so you give notice. During the exit interview you are asked if you might consider coming back during the summer. You want to make perfectly clear you have zero intention of that without being rude so you reply, "I expect to be leaving the country for a long time."

Now it's your turn. Tell me about a dirty job you've had. If you don't have a dirty one just tell me about one you'd never return to.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Mind Boggles

At the chiro office where I am employed I work at the front desk herding maintaining patient flow among other things. I don't have a computer there so this count is for my keyboard at home. At work, however, we have over 100 patients come through the place each day. I've begun to wonder how many germs are residing on the counter where they all sign in and lean all over. I'm not a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination but it still may not be a good idea for me to ponder this too deeply.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh the Irony!

Raise your hand if you have teenagers who keep their rooms like a pig sty.

Yes, it seems to be a common problem. My daughters' rooms are so slovenly one of them won a swinefest contest over at G-man's place. Calypso's room is the first one depicted, Diana's is the last. Take a moment to take a gander. Though I warn you, it's horrific and not for those with a more delicate constitution.

I have coaxed, nagged, bribed, and threatened the girls trying to convince them that the state of their rooms really needs to be improved. Finally, I gave up and shut the doors. However, during Diana's senior year of high school I suggested on more than one occasion that her roommate would not likely wish to live in such a pig sty.

Today I am here to say I stand corrected. I recently had a phone, scratch that. I recently listened to a 30 minute diatribe about the revolting ways of Diana's roommate (henceforth known as Miss Piggy) at college. Mind you, I have not actually witnessed the state of the room since shortly after move in so this is all second hand. According to Diana, her roommate would likely challenge Calypso for the title of Swinefest Pig Sty Queen.

The list of complaints in no particular order:

  • Miss Piggy goes through a bag of lifesavers a day, tossing all the wrappers all over the room.

  • Diana empties her not even full trashcan nightly. Miss Piggy could empty hers every 6 hours but doesn't, mainly because it's been upside down for the last 4 days as of the time of the phone rant. Diana is keeping track.

  • Diana nightly puts her books and clothes away and gets out what she will need in the morning. Miss Piggy clomps around at 6am whining because she can't find what she needs in all the piles of crap all over the place.

  • Diana also lifts her side of the rug to let all the candy wrappers, water bottles, and other detritus of the day roll back onto Miss Piggy's side. "Mom, you know I want to walk barefoot but I CAN'T! I wind up with a dozen lifesaver wrappers stuck in between my toes and then they collect all the crumbs all over the place!"

  • Miss Piggy's boyfriend Kermit spends a LOT of time in the room. Kermit and Piggy have lots of arguments where they pick up trash and throw it at each other. They often miss and junk lands on Diana's bed and desk.

  • Miss Piggy's pillow has been on the floor for the last three days. It makes Diana sick to think she might put her head on it. (This coming from the girl who didn't change her bedsheets for about 3 months.)

And the final complaint which just about made me split a gut laughing.

  • Diana can only sleep facing the wall because the idea of waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the filth is too disturbing to her.

These are only the complaints related to cleanliness or lack thereof. I haven't even shared the ones about how Miss Piggy and Kermit whine endlessly or how Piggy eats up all of Diana's snacks or in the first week used up the 2 cartridges of ink Diana brought for her printer.

That said, Diana does seem to be enjoying her classes and making other friends.

After Diana took a breath and I could stop laughing (yes, I am an evil mother who is enjoying this far too much) I just said I was glad something was motivating her to be a bit tidier and reminded her how I told her before she ever left that her college education would occur as much outside the classroom as in it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Heigh Ho Heigh Ho, It's Off to Work I Go

Yep, you read correctly. I have joined the ranks of the gainfully employed. I will not call myself a working mother because I have been working ever since I became a mother. I'm just going to be collecting a paycheck now, which is something I haven't done since I was pregnant with Diana. So far I've worked 3 shifts as a chiropractic assistant and in that time I've already had a moments. One involved a prospective patient going absolutely batshit crazy in the reception area over being asked for her driver's license or other form of picture ID and the privacy forms she was requested to fill out. When I say apeshit crazy I am not employing hyperbole. I mean, "Can we get some Haldol and a straitjacket here?" Oh wait, I work in a chiropractic office. That means no pharmaceuticals.

In any event, said prospective patient was busy ranting about the lack of integrity and ethics our office has and the unreasonable privacy forms and various other transgressions as well as making various threats and yet...get ready for this...DEMANDING to be treated. As she went on her tirade on my third day all I could think was, "If this practice is so offensive to you why on Earth would you want anyone here to treat you?" Being the new girl, who is still very much learning the ropes and who was staring into the maw of an unhinged lunatic, I opted to keep that question to myself and let the more experienced folks generate alternate responses. After the doc calmly informed the whacko that she had lost the option to be treated at our office the raving nut dragged her husband out by his nuts with their two pitiable offspring. Then one of the other assistants looked at me and said, "I think you just got your hazing."

This is going to be an interesting ride. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count-A Way to Say Goodbye


Meesh? Yuh at home, gyal?

Yes, Dean.

We streamin' the funeral so yuh could check it online. Meh sistuh in NYC couldn't make it down either. I wanted to let you know it workin'.

Oh Dean, Thanks!

Moments later I am watching Nanzo's funeral.
I am again drawn into the embrace of my Trini family.


The news about Nanzo's death was a sad surprise earlier this week. Yesterday I got another surprise when Dean called to tell me I could come to the funeral "virtually." Would I have preferred to be there in person? Certainly. But I never expected the opportunity to be afforded me to see any part of it so I was incredibly grateful. I didn't know it was something they intended to try doing. I even have to count the pouring rain earlier in the day because it made me lazy about going out to do the grocery shopping. If it had been good weather I would have gotten myself in order sooner and it's likely I'd have been standing in a cashier's line when the call from Dean came.

I was even able to contact Diana at school to let her know the site where she could catch the video stream. She missed the first part because she was in class and a bit more because she had a second class. For her second class she was able to explain to her prof that she had lived in Trinidad as a small child and her Trini grandmother's funeral was being streamed. She said the professor was very gracious about excusing her from class for the day so she could see it too. She and I were able to text back and forth so I could confirm who she was seeing in different shots. So I have to count all the technology that made all this possible. When we lived there email wasn't even an option.

I was able to see some of her grandchildren playing Nanzo's favorite hymns on steel pan; children who were so little the last time I saw them, now grown and so composed. I was able to hear her oldest daughter, now a grandmother herself, give an eloquent and loving eulogy which honored her mother in every way. I was able to see the slide presentation her other children put together. When I saw the very picture I had taken so many years ago and posted here just days ago I felt like a little part of me was there with them as they were with me. I'm just so deeply grateful that for that brief period of time so many things came together so well to close a bit of the distance.

A lot of joyous music was shared to celebrate Nanzo, who she was, and the faith she lived. No dirges are allowed, even at a funeral. This particular song has been my favorite for a long time and I smiled when I heard it during the service for Nanzo. (Calypso is under orders to sing it when my time comes.) I wish I could give it to you in the upbeat Trini Calypso style in which it was delivered but I haven't found any examples of that. Instead here's the bluegrass version from O Brother, Where Art Thou. I think Nanzo would approve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Slice of Lime-Sarong to Summer

The past few years Lecram has hosted a Sarong to Summer post. I've joined the fun each year since he started it. Today is Sarong to Summer '09 as the weather gets cooler and the days a little shorter. I haven't had time to fiddle with my camera and computer to try to make them play nice with each other but fortunately I got a couple of sarong pictures when I went to the beach in July.

I look back and think about the one brief escape I got to the beach. It was much needed at the time. It would have been nice to have another one or two but I am glad I got that chance considering the recent totaling of Beulah the Minivan of Love and the uncertainty that was ahead. I remember sitting on the beach and just staring at the water and the sun as it sank below the point on the opposite shore...wondering about some of the changes I knew were coming and others that may or may not.

Sarong to Summer. It had its good and its bad. It's the close of one season and the start of a new more ways than what is merely reflected on the calender or thermostat.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Touch of Trinidad

Thank you all for the condolences. They are much appreciated. I'm doing fine but for obvious reasons Trinidad is very much on my mind. Since there's been a lot of turnover in readers over time and since I have some other things going on that are taking me away from blogland today and since the island and the people I love there are on my mind I'm reposting something I wrote about 3 years ago. It's just a little insight into the culture and part of why I felt so at home there.

One of the things I loved the most about Trinidadian culture was the touching. It's a thing that may drive a lot of Americans a bit crazy because we tend to have these strong senses of personal space and if someone 'invades' them we bristle, stiffen, recoil. Even Americans who may come from large families where there is lots of hugging and kissing and such tend to be standoffish about coming in physical contact with strangers. It's just an American thing. I don't know if it goes back to our puritanical roots or what but there it is.

Now you add to it the growing germophobia and we are becoming icy and isolated.In Trinidad, however, there isn't that standoffishness. Get on a maxi-taxi or better yet an H-car taxi, which is just an ordinary sedan, and you'll be flush up against a total stranger, shoulder to ankle contact. Your taxi mate will move over to give you space but they aren't going to act like they are climbing out the window to avoid touching you. It's just accepted that you'll be in close quarters. Go to the fresh market for your produce and you'l be bumped and jostled unapologetically. It's understood that it's crowded and you're going to come in contact. All this is with strangers. If you are with friends, it may get even closer.

In the States there is sometimes this whole dance of touch avoidance between genders. We don't want someone to get the wrong idea. In Trinidad, not so. My male friends would wrap me up in warm hugs, not some delicate A-frame where you lean in and only let shoulders graze, but welcoming, protective hugs. In the US, even friends of the same gender (men especially, but even us ladyfolk) avoid certain kinds of touching because we don't want the people around us to get the idea we are "more than friends." Women can hug their female friends but we don't often publicly sit with arms around each other, nor would we often walk arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand. Grooming each other would be reserved for special events only, like a special party or a wedding. In Trinidad, I could freely maintain extended physical contact with a girlfriend and that was a good thing. Working on each other's hair was a normal thing among friends, not just reserved for school girls playing dress-up.

A lot of my Trini friends initially displayed a reserve in physical affection because I was an American and they knew Americans have different outlooks on the whole issue. When I didn't bristle from the taxi and market place jostlings with them they slowly became bolder. When I welcomed the gentle advances made, the walls came down. When there was no more shyness from either side and every casual touch was comfortable for each of us (and it actually occured in short order) I knew my heart had found it's home in Trinidad. My spirit could be refreshed and my soul fed by a simple, silent brush of skin.

Then I came back to the US.

Much as I love Pennsylvania, I ache for the easy freedom of touch I felt in Trinidad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trini Tuesday-Nanzo

In September 1993 our family moved to Trinidad. Long time readers of this blog may remember the first year and a half of this blog when Trini Tuesday posts sharing vignettes, history, or cultural tidbits were a regular feature here. Newer readers might not have any idea part of my heart still lives in Trinidad.

When you pick up your entire life and move to a foreign country you go wondering whether or not you'll make friends, whether or not people will accept you. You go knowing you are leaving family behind you. If you are open to new people and accepting of them and if you are fortunate to find others who are open and accepting you find friends. If you are truly blessed you find someone whose heart is big enough to welcome you as one of her own; you find not just friends but a whole new family who draws you into its loving embrace.

In Nanzo, our family found that big, open heart. We were first introduced to her son Dean and his wife Petal, who became our closest friends. Their girls were playmates for Diana. They were the folks who most helped ease our transition during our earliest days in Trinidad. Early on Dean wanted us to meet his mom. She greeted us as warmly as anyone could and insisted we call her Nanzo, which was what all her family calls her. As we became acquainted we realized we had met her briefly during an earlier visit to the island. She was delighted to make this discovery as it meant she could dispense with some formalities. You were only a guest in Nanzo's house the first time. Dean and Petal became quick and true friends but Nanzo being the family matriarch very much set the tone for the entire family to welcome us. Every holiday, every family event, countless Sunday dinners we were included as one of the family. I was taught some of the finer points of Trinidadian cooking in Nanzo's and Petal's kitchens and in time some of my American dishes were requested as part of the family meals. Diana was dandled, watched, soothed, and swatted on the bamsee when needed because she was one of theirs too.

Nanzo was a first generation Trinidadian since her Hindu father immigrated from India. She told the story of how when she was born he wanted to kill her because she was not a boy. He had to be reminded that he was not in India but in Trinidad where he'd be hauled off to jail for committing infanticide. Nanzo never told this story with a trace of bitterness directed at her father but instead with a laugh that he could hold such views and with a peace in her heart because she said she knew instead her Heavenly Father had good plans for her because He saved her physical life and later saved her spiritual life. Nanzo didn't just talk faith, she lived it until it oozed out her pores but never in a holier than thou sort of way, just in the deep, love your neighbor as yourself way that counteracts any accusation of hypocrisy and embraces everyone. She lived it in a practical way that meets the needs she sees around her every day, not a pie in the sky way.

Nanzo quickly took to introducing Mr. Lime and me as her "white kids." Let me tell you, being included in family life is a wonderful gift. Being introduced in such an intimate way is a gift beyond measure. Nanzo had a tremendous sense of humor and an easy , bubbling laugh that echoes in my ears even now. I can close my eyes and see her big, dimpled smile with a gold tooth, her eyes shining brightly. When I got a little misty one day about being introduced that way she laughed and thumped me on the back saying this is a Trini family, we have all colors in our families, it's no big deal. Then Nanzo, who was Indian, told me how when she and her husband, who was a Dougla (African and Indian mixed background), had their last son the hospital tried to send them home with a Chinese baby. She protested that this was not her child and how could anyone possibly think he was. The nurse argued but when she persisted the staff told her to go pick the one who was hers. Now if you see her youngest son the family resemblance is undeniable but she often referred to him as her "Chinee baby" and told him when he misbehaved she could have had a nice quiet Chinee boy, always with a smile and a devilish gleam in her eye, never in anger.

If I was her white daughter, she was my Trini mom. She was a small woman with an uncommonly big and generous heart. The gifts of her heart were an unexpected treasure to find in my life when I thought I'd left family behind. Yesterday I got the news that on Saturday her great heart beat for the last time.

Rest in Peace, Nanzo. I will miss your hugs, your humor, your wisdom, your love, and your welcome when next I come home to visit.

Nanzo, forgive me for not having a better picture of you to put up here but you did love to fuss at me when I brought the camera out. It was only if you were cooking, which was serious business, that I could ever get a shot of you, because you wouldn't interrupt rolling roti to swat me away.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Conversations from the Carpool

I mentioned last week that Calypso is now attending a charter school which doesn't provide transportation, thus necessitating carpools with several other students. We seem to have found a schedule that works reasonably well, ungodly hours notwithstanding. It is interesting to note the differences between the morning and afternoon runs as well as the personalities involved.

In our little group we have* Calypso, 3 other girls, and a boy. There is Barbie, who is chatty, cute, and generally upbeat. There is Eva, who has a pierced lip and has had 3 different hair colors just since the start of school, but who is also generally easy going. There is Pris, who seems to find little in life meets her exacting standard. Finally we have Davey, who is the youngest of the group, the only boy, and who cracks me up every single day with his comments.

The first time Davey cracked me up was when Pris complained loudly about breaking her nail on the uncooperative seat belt buckle. After she disembarked to meet her mother, Davey sniffed, "Well, she expects to be a professional dancer, but dancers aren't supposed to have long nails, and CERTAINLY not acrylics like THOSE!" Davey and I have also had a rather extensive discussion about our opinions of local pizza places. The kid has earned my respect in this regard. He's the only other person I've ever found who agrees with me about the relative inedibility of the pizza from a particularly revered local establishment (Seriously, how can anyone with any taste at all rave over soggy crust and a scant amount of thin, flavorless sauce?).

It's a long drive, particularly in the afternoon when traffic begins to get heavy and aggressive. I plug my iPod into the car's stereo to make the drive more endurable. Calypso often rides shotgun but one day Eva jumped in the front seat. I beamed, "Congratulations! You win control of the iPod!" She was quite delighted and Gracie the Bondo Queen Minivan throbbed to Evanescence for the 40 minute drive. Pris complained. Next time I reminded the kids that shotgun controls the iPod and told her she could have her chance. She looked at me with thinly veiled disgust. Surely no middle aged carpool driving mother could possibly have anything she enjoyed (Yeah, ok I only have in excess of 1600 tunes on my iPod covering virtually every major musical genre there is as well as spanning the last half of the 20th century and into the current one, even further back if you want to add the classical composers.). Davey, however, was chomping at the bit for his turn and eagerly took the passenger side.

Eva took us through Evanescence, MercyMe, and Pink.

Calypso had us listen to Elvis, Christina Aguilera, Bryan Adams, Charlotte Sometimes, Coldplay, Fleetwood Mac, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Kansas, and Nickelback. When she complained about how many Prince tunes I have Barbie chimed in and defended such selections stating her love of Prince.

Davey cued up Howie Day, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Mika, Natasha Bedingfield, The Ting Tings, and Vitamin C. He also managed to get the entire carpool, except Pris, chair dancing to (ok, this is where I wait for the rest of you to pelt me with rotten fruit) the Monkees. Eva, in particular seemed to enjoy that. Pris was more and more annoyed by the iPod antics of her fellow passengers and driver until....Davey stopped on Lisa Loeb. Pris' indifference and ennui melted away when she sighed, "Oh! I love this song!"

I just smiled.

Ok, so obviously their choices are highlighting my selections of more recent music but I do have a bunch of other stuff. Whaddya have?

Adie Gray
Alanis Morissette
Alfredo Coca
Alien Fashion Show
Allen Sherman
AMOCO Renegades
Amos Lee
Andy Toomey
Anna Nalick
Annie Lennox
Antonio Perez
The APM Orchestra
The Arrogant Worms
Baha Men
Barenaked Ladies
Ben Harper
Beth Orton
Betsey in the Gene Pool
Bill Morrissey
Billy Joel
Black Eyed Peas
Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Blue Man Group
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Bryan Adams
Caedmon's Call
Carlos Montoya
Charlie Daniels
Charlotte Sometimes
Chill Pill Dancers
Christina Aguilera
The Click five
Code of Ethics
Dan Fogelberg
David Gray
David Rudder
dc Talk
Dire Straits
Dork Side of the Tune
Dr. Demento
The Eagles
Elvis Presley
Eric Clapton
Fernando Torrico
A Fine Frenzy
The Firm
The Five Satins
Fleetwood Mac
Frank Zappa
The Frantics
Geggy Tah
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Gloria Estefan
Gretchen Wilson
Griffin House
Hank, Stu, Dave & Hank
Harry Connick, Jr.
Howie Day
Huey Lewis
Indigo Swing
Ingrid Michaelson
Jack Johnson
Jason Mraz
John Mayer
Jorge Laura
Josh Turner
Keith Urban
Kingston Trio
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Larry Norman
Lee Presson and the Nails
Leona Lewis
Lisa Loeb
Liz Phair
Lou Nathanson
Louis Prima
Lynyrd Skynyrd
the Mamas & the Papas
Marc Anthony
Maroon 5
Michael Buble
Michale Card
Mighty Blue Kings
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Monkees
Monte Montgomery
Monty Python
Moonpetals and Caterpillars
Napoleon XIV
Natasha Bedingfield
New Order
Nick Drake
Norah Jones
Ogden Edsl
Ottmar Liebert
Paul Simon
Pearl Jam
Peter, Paul & Mary
Phase Two Pan Groove
The Police
Porno for Pyros
Randy Stonehill
Ray Charles
Red Meat
The Rentals
Rich Mullins
Royal Crown Revue
Serene & Pearl
The Shady Grove Band
Shel silverstein
Sheryl Crow
Simon & Garfunkel
Simply Weasels
Sixpence None the Richer
Solo Harmonites
Sondre Lerche
Speak Easy SPies
Steven Curtis Chapman
The Stranglers
Success Allstars
The Sundays
The Surfaris
The Swing Tips
TCL SKifflebunch
Third Day
Tim McGraw
The Ting Tings
Tom Lehrer
Tori Amos
Trace Adkins
Tracy Chapman
Van Halen
The Vestibules
Vitamin C
Warren Zevon
Weird Al Yankovic
Will Smith
ZZ Top

There's more on CD that I haven't gotten around to putting on the iPod and there's a TON more I want to buy, both old and new, but it seems to me you ought to find something there to catch your fancy. Feel free to make some suggestions to me as well.

*Names changed to protect the adolescents.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Perceptions of Tragedy

Strangely enough, I was recovering from the first car accident I had. (For those of you wondering, I was a passenger that time.) All three kids had been sent to school. It was Diana's first year in Intermediate school, Calypso was in third grade, Isaac had just begun morning kindergarten. After they were gone I settled into the claw foot tub so I could soak my neck. In order to do so I laid on the bottom of the tub with my legs dangling out the end so the water could cover my neck. This meant my ears were underwater too so I couldn't hear the phone ringing. Half an hour later I emerged and heard it ringing. As I dried off, I figured whoever it was would call back if it were important enough. By the time I was done it was ringing again. I assumed it was Diana worried about her forgotten lunch. I intended to take it to school as soon as I got dressed so I still didn't answer the phone.

Just as I finished dressing the phone rang again. I finally picked it up. Mr. Lime asked me if I had the TV or radio on. I said no. He told me I needed to turn one on then he hung up to return to his own class of students. I went downstairs and turned on the TV to see the horrific events unfolding before me. Moments later I saw the first tower fall, watched the planes going into the sides of each tower, saw the second tower crumble. I gasped wondering about the friends I knew who worked in the towers and other buildings nearby. It would be the next day before we knew those friends had escaped to safety. We live in Pennsylvania but close enough to the city to be a commuter community. I was frozen in place when I heard reports of the unaccounted for plane which was thought to be somewhere over Pennsylvania. Many people don't realize it but this area of our state actually has a couple of what would be considered strategic targets. It was unnerving. I knew NYC transplants to the area would be pulling their kids out of school in huge numbers.

I got in the car with Diana's lunch and agonized all the way there as to whether to have her remain in school or to bring her and and the other two home immediately. I stood in the office rather dazed as I watched city parents rush the desk and demand their children. When I made it to the counter the secretary asked me if I was picking up my child. I said I wasn't sure but that she forgot her lunch. I prayed silently trying to decide. The secretary said they had not told the children anything and had put the school on a media blackout. I took a deep breath and opted for as much normalcy as possible, leaving the lunch with the secretary. I cried all the way home.

Isaac was in morning kindergarten and had to be picked up shortly. Until then I was glued to news reports. After bringing him home and giving him lunch, I sent him to play with Legos knowing that would distract him a long time so I could go back to the news. I kept the volume very low and pulled one of the doors of the cabinet out to block his view if he should wander back in the room. Sometime later my concentration was shattered by his panicked shrieks. Given the mood of the day it rattled my nerves more than a little.

I turned around to find Isaac wailing. I mustered up every shred of calm I had to ask him what had happened. He was unglued. Finally he calmed down enough to tell me a bead was stuck in his nose. I breathed a bit easier to know it was something I could solve, or so I thought. Unfortunately, no amount of blowing his nose made the bead budge. I couldn't reach it with tweezers either. I calmly told him I thought we'd better go to the doctor. He began to cry again before wailing, "Will the doctor have to cut off my nose?!" I wrapped him close in a hug and assured him no such thing would occur. We dashed to the doctor's office, which was busy on a normal day but today seemed like a madhouse. We were taken to an exam room where we waited and waited. Isaac settled in and then sneezed a somewhat "juicy" sneeze. Dangling just on the edge of his nostril was the bead. I fished it out with a tissue, found a nurse to show the bead, and we hightailed it out of there before we could be charged.

We went home and read stories and played together until it was time to get his sisters. On September 11, 2001 I envied my 5 year old son whose greatest perceived tragedy was a bead up the nose. I also feared greatly for him wondering in what kind of world he'd be growing up.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Slice of Lime-My Spring Sprung

I still can't seem to get pictures from my good camera off my computer and onto Blogger or into an email but things from my phone seem to work. Go figure. Once I can you'll get the Slice planned for last week. In the meantime we have a different tale of woe.
We have had a trampoline for about 6 years. It has been used hard and enjoyed quite a lot. Last winter Isaac was trying to rid it of a rather heavy load of snow. In the process he gouged it several times with the shovel and ripped up the mat. The frame was still good so we didn't want to toss the whole thing. I found a seller on eBay who stocked replacement mats and ordered one, hoping it would arrive in time for Diana's graduation party so the little people attending could enjoy the trampoline. It arrived on time but it was the wrong size. For anyone else who ever needs to order one of these here's a tip. Don't measure the diameter of the mat and assume that is all you need. Measure the diameter of the frame and count how many springs have to attach to the mat. After much correspondence delayed by a number of things we determined the correct size of mat we needed and worked out an exchange for the proper one. It arrived a couple days ago. I was anxious to reassemble the trampoline and test it out.

I could say this is a picture I took after finishing while I laid on the shiny new surface and gazed up through the magnificent oaks and pondered the beauty of the world. That would be a lie.

Perhaps the next picture displays a greater hint at the truth. As an aside, note the little red building in the distance. That is "Manland." Mr. Lime has claimed that as his own space and banned anyone who does not possess external genitalia from entering. He has gone so far as to add a padlock to the door and hide the key without telling me where it is. I am not particularly bothered by this except that he moved all the tools and hardware out there and on occasion I need a hammer, drill , wrench, or DeWalt Heavy Duty 15 amp 12 inch Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw (More Power! *Grunt-grunt-grunt*) in order to fix something broken around here. I have some friends who work up a lather of righteous indignation over the concept of "Manland" and all it represents. I find it merely a logistical annoyance somewhat reminiscent of the He-Man Women Hater's Club. So weigh in with your opinion on the issue if you wish. Moving on...

Are you beginning to get the picture with regard to my resolve in installing the new trampoline mat? You know the amount of tension from all those springs and how taut a trampoline mat is? Yeah. You know how much muscle it takes to hook those friggin grommets into the springs? Ok, I hate math (except geometry, which is a beautiful and elegant thing) and I never took physics. Here's the conversation I had when I dropped the physics class...

Guidance counselor: You need physics for college

Me: No I don't. I satisfied my science requirement to get in

GC: You need it anyway

Me: No I don't. I'm going to be a special Ed. teacher. I'll never have to teach this stuff to my students and the only physics I might need I already learned. If I work with a kid in a wheelchair, apply the brakes when parked. If not I'd better be able to run faster than the chair rolls downhill. Got it. I'm good. Drop the class.

Right, so last night my fine grasp of physics led me to decide the amount of pressure I needed to apply to the springs and the mat divided by the amount of strength in Janita multiplied by the hunger the whole family and squared over pi equaled me saying, "Mr. Lime gets to do this job. After all, he has a Manland full of tools and external genitalia. I'm sure he can do this better than I can. I shall be content to prepare a tasty meal, launder vile athletic clothes, run the mom taxi, clean the house, negotiate better deals on home owner's insurance, and provide editing, counselling, and distance banking services to Limelettes for today."

I gave up the wrestling match after hooking 38 of the 88 springs to grommets.

This is the face of a woman who has other crap to expend her energy on besides wrestling trampoline mats. This is the face of a woman who got up at the butt crack of dawn to drive 5 teenagers to a charter school. Seriously, don't the bags under those eyes say she should just lay down a while?

Who am I to argue with bags like that?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Remembering 5:15 AM Fondly

Remember this picture? Yeah, that's the one. Three years ago I was complaining about having to haul my butt down the hallway to start waking people at 5:15 am. I thought that was the worst. I was wrong. Back in those days all I had to do was drag myself out of bed after fighting the intense gravitational pull of the pillow. I didn't have to get dressed. I didn't have to be any more coherent than was required to motivate 3 children to escape the magnetism of their own mattresses. Basically, as long as the basic functions of my autonomic nervous system and some willful gross motor activity kicked in I was ok. I didn't have to worry about hygiene until after the water heater replenished the supply of hot water an hour after the kids had climbed onto their respective buses. Ah, those were the good old days.

Things have changed. This year Calypso is attending a charter school 2 counties away. That's far enough that said school is not required to provide transportation. That means it's up to the 12 or so families in our county who have kids at this school to work out carpools for our darling progeny. Guess who has Wednesday morning. Go ahead. I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. Hugh Jackman? No. If he did I'd be leaping out of bed every Wednesday morning. Attila the Hun? No, she has wait. Sorry, that's the Type A mother who needs to make sure the rest of us are under her thumb. Ok, third guess. Yours truly? BINGO! Congratulations. You win the $64,000 question. Unfortunately, I don't have a spare $64K sitting around. If I did I'd be hiring a driver. You'll have to live with the pride in knowing you were clever enough to figure out the correct answer. It's called intrinsic rewards.

Anyway, your very own Lime, who has been convinced for as long as she can remember that no one should be required to be functional before 9 AM, preferably 10 AM. (Listen, I am a night owl, ok? I don't ask early birds to be functional at midnight. All I am asking is for a similar level of acceptance from the early birds with regard to my own circadian rhythms, but I digress). As I was saying, I don't do well at this hour but I suddenly find myself required to be awake enough for my functional skill set to include safe operation of a vehicle conveying 5 teenagers to a school two counties away. That means if I want any hot water at all I need to be OUT of the shower by 5:20 AM. You may suggest I shower the night before but if I am going to be coherent enough to manage the whole safe driving thing I need the shower to wake up plus I think it's basic consideration before climbing into the van with 5 teens. You don't think I want to be referred to as Stinky Mom do you? You may suggest that if I wait until after the hot water is used up the cold will shock me into greater alertness. I will then call you a (expletive deleted) sadist. We have well water. Do you have even the remotest idea how flippin' cold that water will be in January???? I won't be alert. I will be a Limesicle.

Out of the shower by 5:20 AM. Have you processed that concept? That means I have to be IN the shower by 5:10 AM. Normally, I am all about the snooze alarm, which I hit at least 3 times. Even when I finally decide it's time to rise it's a sloooow process. I don't pop up like a Jack-in-the-box. No, it's more like those first few organisms oozing out of the primordial slime (and roughly as attractive). So if you back it up to allow for snooze alarm time and personal evolutionary processes I'd have to set my clock for BEFORE 5 AM!!!!! I really can't even bring myself to consider the actual time I'd have to set the alarm for. It's a horror is what it is. For crying out loud, it's 8:40 AM now as I type this and I want to go back to bed for a nap!

If you'll excuse me I have a pillow calling me.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


No this is not going to be another post with lots of expletives deleted. Rest easy with regard to that. It is, however going to be another award/meme thing. Granted some of you seem to love what I do with these things, but this one is another variation of the 5/6/7/8/9/now 10 random/weird/unusual/secret things about yourself.

Those of you who have been reading me for a long time know I have done this irritating, infernal meme enough times that were I to reveal much more out here in the blogosphere I might have to gain an X rating or at the very least require a blood test and some sort of long term commitment from all of you (and if all that isn't enough here is a list of 101 facts about myself and here are 100 things I have done, seriously how much more can I share???). Unfortunately, Michelle H., who bestowed this upon me, is a relatively new reader as we've only recently made each other's acquaintance through Suldog.

I am tempted to do to Michelle what Suldog does to those who award him, which is to filet them, and quite deftly at that. I can't say he goes on to roast them because it's more like being presented with fugu, which sounds like it ought to be an expletive deleted but really is just a mass of freshly killed, still quivering piece of finely butchered fish that may just kill you if it hasn't been done with skill.

The problem is I like Michelle (which I recognize doesn't stop Suldog from sharpening his knives and we all love him for it). I can't even pick on her for the way she spells her name. You see, I feel very strongly about the proper spelling of our shared name. It requires 2 L's NOT one. Those girls who spell it with a single L (and I can't even bring myself to type it out that way because of the inherent wrongness of it) really can't be trusted. They are a shifty lot always trying to skate by on less than what it required. Of course, I also object on the grounds of French grammar and rules of feminization of a name. Since our name is derived from the French boy's name Michel it means the final consonant must be doubled before the final E is added. Listen I didn't take 4 years of French in high school and win "La Premiere Etudiante" for nothing! Besides all that, our name means "Who is like God?" Ok, so it doesn't come out and say WE are but there is certainly the suggestion of godliness and who am I to mess with someone who gets the spelling right AND may be reflecting the Most High Himself.

Now I know the other Michelle is a little bit younger than I am so perhaps by the time she went through school the name was not as in vogue as when I was a kid. There were always at least 2 of us in any class I ever had. In the early elementary grades when there were always a bunch of Michael's too I found it highly annoying that when classmates handed out papers they couldn't read well enough to tell the difference between Michael and Michelle. There were a lot of moments when I'd be handed Michael's papers and wonder why my grade was so abysmal only to realize that wasn't my handwriting, my name, OR my grade...thanks be to God (the real one).

That was frustrating, but even worse was 4th grade when there were 4 Michelles in my class. I am pretty sure only 2 of us spelled the name properly but of course when the name is spoken you can't tell how it's spelled (see how shifty they are?). In any event, we were in Mr. Kulakowsky's class (K-U-L-A-K-O-W-S-K-Y, *I spit on the ground* His [expletive deleted] name was on every [expletive deleted] spelling test all year). This man is the reason why I completely loathe the song Michelle, Ma Belle. He used to sing it It's not just because he sang the song that I hate it. He was just the most horrible man who never should have been a teacher. He played favorites. He intentionally lost the homework of students he didn't like. He was arrogance personified. He punished with overly harsh sentences. And finally, he very nearly cost me my life. No, I am not exaggerating.

We had begun one of those spelling tests which always contained his name when I began to feel extremely unwell. I was nauseous, dizzy, and suddenly itchy from head to toe. I raised my hand to go to the nurse and was told I had to wait until the end of the spelling test. As the list of words went on I felt worse and worse and could barely concentrate. The girl sitting next to me became very alarmed and asked what was wrong because I was suddenly white as a sheet and had bumps all over my face. I begged to go to the nurse again and was told no. Now, it was readily apparent to another 4th grade student that something was seriously wrong, but Mr. Kulakowsky *I spit on the ground* was unrelenting. I was to finish the test first. By the time I was permitted to go to the nurse I was so out of it I could barely get to the office. By the time the nurse reached my mother and she arrived at the school my face was so swollen she walked past me in the nurse's office and didn't recognize me. By the time I got to a doctor he told my mother I was moment's away from needing a tracheotomy because my throat was nearly closed. I was having an anaphylactic reaction but you know, the correct spelling of one (expletive deleted) teacher's name was far more important than all of that. Since this was the first time I'd ever had that sort of reaction to anything I had no Epipen available. (I still have to wonder why the nurse just let me sit in a chair in a separate room rather than calling an ambulance or staying with me.) But just to show him, all is well, I'd like to take him out for a fugu dinner.

So, this particular post contains at least 10 never-before-revealed-on-this-blog facts about myself. According to the rules I am supposed to pass this one to 10 more people so...

1. Anyone who has a double letter in his or her name.
2. Anyone who speaks more than one language.
3. Anyone with delusions of grandeur
4. Anyone who has eaten fugu.
5. Anyone who is a good speller.
6. Anyone who blesses the folks who invented spellcheck.
7. Anyone who hates a song with his or her name in it.
8. Anyone who has a drug allergy.
9. Anyone who shared a class with someone whose name they also shared.
10. Anyone who has nothing better to do.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Thought for the Day

Since many of you are probably busy with relaxation today here's just a little comment from Isaac during a nature documentary.

Narrator: This is elephant grass, the tallest grass in the world...

Isaac: Shouldn't it be called giraffe grass then?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Quick Count

I'm fine but last night had to take the car in for what I feared might be an expensive repair. As it turns out it was so minor the garage told me, "We're not charging you labor. Just tip the guy who did the work." So my count is a cheap, simple repair and friendly service. Life was just a bit crazy today with needing to ferry people around and not having wheels, hence my extreme lateness in posting.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Slice of Lime has been delayed because my (expletive deleted) computer and (expletive deleted) software update don't want to (expletive deleted) play nice together. Heck, they won't even show up on my (expletive deleted) hard drive. Therefore I can't get the (expletive deleted) pictures uploaded to Blogger. I am so (expletive deleted) tired of fighting with this (expletive deleted) computer for the last 2 weeks to make it work. Instead of my normal MO of pulling something out of the thin air at the last minute I've actually been planning this post since the weekend. Really tempted to take a (expletive deleted) sledgehammer to the machine.

Oh, and while I am in rant mode I am REALLY (expletive deleted) tired of my (overwhelming torrent of invective deleted) car and health insurance companies (may they and their minions rot in hell) that keep (expletive deleted) me up the (expletive deleted) without lube since my accident. As if a totaled car and a destabilization of migraines and my lower back/neck isn't enough (expletive deleted), now I get to deal with their (expletive deleted) shenanigans on top of it all when they decide to ignore bills and cancel my (expletive deleted) policy because they say they didn't get my (expletive deleted) premium. Got that (expletive deleted) little gem of a (expletive deleted) notice last night. (Expletive deleted) those (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted)!!!!

Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

First Days

Many moons ago it was time for Diana's first day of kindergarten. I walked her to the school with her sister and brother. I was not given to tears when Diana climbed the steps of the school to disappear inside. I had been looking forward to giving Calypso more one on one time since her sister would be in school during the afternoon while her brother would be taking a nap.

As soon as the school doors swallowed her sister Calypso became weepy. She trudged home dejectedly. I put Isaac down for his nap and returned to Calypso who was still looking more than a bit glum. I tried to perk her up by pointing out how we could have special time when she didn't have to share me with her siblings. I asked if she wanted to play games, read stories, draw pictures, get out dolls. Every suggestion was met with an utter lack of enthusiasm. Finally I asked if she had some other suggestion. She wailed miserably, "I miss my sister! I just want to watch TV and cry!" It was not exactly the afternoon of bonding I had envisioned.

A couple of weeks later she demonstrated the realization of the new potentials in her sister's daily absence. She tiptoed to me one afternoon and asked me to lean down to her as she looked over her shoulder to make sure there were no spies listening in (even though her brother was sound asleep and her sister was in school). She whispered, "I'd like to go play with all the toys Diana never shares. Is that ok?" I smiled as I whispered back, "Great idea. Have fun!" She skipped off very happily before bringing a few toys to share with me.

Until that point Calypso had been a very shy little girl. During the two years her sister went off to school before her she began to bloom into a more confident and outgoing kid. As much as she idolized her sister it was nice to see her have the chance to become her own person.

Flash forward to last week when we dropped Diana off at college. Again, I was not given to tears at the time (though I will admit to a lump in my throat two nights later when I set the dinner table with one less place). Calypso, however, began to well up as soon as the last unpacked item was put away. The tears flowed freely when she hugged her sister goodbye. She wept almost all the way home in the car and wailed once inside the house. She spent the next day curled up in Diana's bed, crying still. At one point after affirming her right to have any feelings she wanted, I also encouraged a bit of perspective by reminding her Diana was only at school, not dead.

The last couple of years in school for Calypso have been a bit trying. Part of that is related to her own personality and choices. I believe part of it is also due to living in her older sister's shadow. This year Calypso is in a new school where no one has ever known Diana. I'm hoping it gives her another opportunity to grow and develop a bit more of herself in the light and soil of new opportunities...even if it started out being watered by tears.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Stroll Through Town

Over the weekend I was visiting some old friends in a town where I used to live. Since I went there alone I had a chance to wander the streets with my camera in hand and not have anyone rushing me to leave. The weather was perfect. It was a very pleasant stroll as familiar places brought back some lovely memories. Here are a few of the best shots.