Monday, November 30, 2009

Drum Roll Please

And here it is--the final disappointing post to top off a month of mostly disappointing posts. It's kind of a tradition.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Under The Wire...

I left the house at 7:30 this morning and walked in the door five minutes ago (11:30 p.m.). Worked an eight-hour shift and then drove for six-and-a-half hours getting Sons-Two and Three back to college. Spent the last half hour of the drive watching the low fuel light flicker and wondering if the friggin' light was serious or just messin' with me. Not that it really mattered because there was nowhere open to stop (welcome to the Boondocks, baby). As an added bonus, I didn't sleep well last night between worrying about a financial aid issue Son-One is having and poring over the incredibly enthralling Sarah Palin memoir*. Anyway, blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine.

There's the post and, speaking of running out of gas, thank goodness there's only one day left.

*It's like the proverbial train wreck--no matter how much you know you'd be better off if you just looked away, you somehow can't make yourself look away.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Are What You...Read?

I spent the afternoon cramming in the last third of Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. It was due at the library today and unrenewable due to the long list of other rabid Atwood fans waiting their turn. Atwood is one of my favorite writers because whatever world she chooses to draw on the page is utterly convincing. It's my personal belief that the writers who are most capable of drawing their readers in are the ones who immerse themselves most fully in their written worlds.

In the case of The Year of the Flood and Atwood's other futuristic tales--The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake (for which Flood is sort of a companion novel more than really a sequel--there are overlapping characters but the action takes place alongside Crake rather than much before or after it)--this ability to paint persuasive pictures is chilling. Though all three books are fiction, the dystopian futures contained within them are built with the blocks of factual current events and the outcomes, though different, are utterly believable. The Handmaid's Tale imagines a future in which religion as government is taken to a frightening, and heartstoppingly believable, extreme. Flood and Crake imagine a future in which technology (particuarly biotechnology) and the corporations that control it manipulate the world for their own ends with catastrophic--and heartstoppingly believable--results.

I have spent the evening trying to shake the vague uneasiness (and okay, a little outright panic) Atwood worked so hard to create.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday (Saint) Hubby

Today is Hubby's 42nd birthday. Convenient that Thanksgiving so often falls on Hubby's birthday since he's one of the things I'm most grateful for in my life at the moment.

We've definitely had our share of rough spots (and sometimes it seemed like a few other people's shares as well). There have been whole stretches of time when it seemed not only unlikely but completely impossible that we would be together to celebrate his 42nd birthday but here we are--still driving each other crazy (both good crazy and bad crazy), and still together. Thankfully.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Since You Put It That Way

In honor of the upcoming official start of the holiday shopping season I offer this little nugget from my own Christmas shopping past:

When I was nine or ten, my dad took my siblings and I shopping for our mom. I really wanted to get her an electric can opener but my dad said, "Don't you think you should pick out something a little more personal?"

His suggestion? A frying pan. Her own personal frying pan.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That's My Boy

Son-Three texted me recently: "There's this guy that travels around to college campuses preaching against gays and trying to get people to punch him so he can file lawsuits."

Fearing a repeat of the skin tag conversation in which he asked me if it was okay to rip off a skin tag and when I said no, he told me he had already ripped it off, I said, " didn't punch this guy did you?"

And he said, "No. He's not coming 'til tomorrow."

Always a champion of saying the things that should go without saying, I say, "Well, don't punch him."

Then my thoroughly heterosexual 18-year-old son said, "I wasn't going to. I was going to walk by while holding hands with JC [his gay roommate]."

Monday, November 23, 2009

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Blubber*

A few weeks ago, Daughter-Only and I were waiting in the car at Kmart while Hubby was inside shopping for I really can't remember what and it kind of bugs me because it's pretty rare for me to sit outside while he goes shopping so you would think I would remember what it was he was shopping for, but I don't and it's not at all relevant to the story, so...

Daughter-Only and I were sitting in the car in the Kmart parking lot around dusk one evening and I had partially reclined my seat and was yawning frequently. I said, "I'm soooo tired. And I'm really sick of being tired all the time. And it's hard for me to figure out why I'm so tired since it seems like I don't really do that much, but something that not everyone realizes is that when you're as overweight as I am, it's like carrying around an entire extra human being all day long--and not just a child-sized human either but a pretty good-sized adolescent or young adult."

This is not the first time I've made this observation to a member of my family, but it is the first time I've decided to share it with the bloggy world at large. Yes, I realize that it's largely (ha ha) my own fault I'm carrying around this extra person. And yes, I realize that only I can set this extra person down--but I can't set him down all at once--and all the things I can do to set him down bit by bit, I must do with him still hanging on.

Please understand, this is not a poor me, I'm fat post--it's a matter-of-fact observation that everything an overweight person does they're doing while carrying around an extra person. Try to imagine a 120-pound indvidual going about her day carrying around another 120-pound individual. It would definitely slow a person down and wear a person out.

For a lot of people, "fat" and "lazy" go together like sick-and-tired and salt-and-pepper. It's almost like it's all one word: fatandlazy. And I'm just here to say that until you've walked a mile in our extra-wide shoes while carrying an entire additional person, you have no idea how hard we "fatandlazy" people work just to make it through our day.

*Actually he sort of is. That's kind of the point of this post.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Other NaBlos I Have Known

NaBlos come and NaBlos go, but cop-out posts are forever.

"I came, I saw, I posted (sort of). I'll try harder tomorrow."~~Nov. 4, 2006

"I'm posting.It's not much but that's what I've got today.It counts, right? And I promise to do a better job tomorrow. Maybe promise is too strong a word...(Hey, it's got a beginning, middle and an end--they're just all really close together.) " ~~Nov. 4, 2007

"The halfway mark & I got nothin'. I realize I've also had nothin' a significant number of days leading up to this one. The difference is, as celebration of the halfway mark, I'm respecting us both enough to just say so up front." ~~Nov. 15, 2008

And my personal favorite...

"Blahg Post
Blah blah blah blah, blah-blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah-de-blah blah blah blah.Blah blah blah blah blah*, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah; blah blah blah blah blah!

*Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah." ~~Nov. 6, 2008

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ripped From The Headlines--Or Actually From The Inbox Of Daughter-Only's Phone*

Daughter-Only was texting the guy she's calling her best friend this week--who several years ago was her boyfriend and with whom she's maintained a fairly steady friendship broken up by occasional weeks of "I hate him! He's an ass!" where they weren't speaking to each other. This guy was talking about Daughter-Only maybe coming over to hang out over Thanksgiving break but warned her that it was boring at his dad's house.

D-O responded: Well at least you'll have company.

Best Friend For Now: Yeah, and misery loves company.

D-O: Correct.

BFFN: But company only likes misery as a friend.


BFFN: Hence it's miserable.

*Not only did she give me permission to plagiarize her text conversation, she practically begged me to do it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Speaking of Bestsellers That Will Likely Make Me Want To Do Bodily Harm To Myself...

Part of me wishes she would just go away but a whole other (meaner) part is hopeful that all this new exposure will expose her* for what she's been all along--a person wholly unqualified to hold any major governmental office--and then she'll go away.

*To the few who haven't already noticed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twilight: Zigging When Everyone Else Zags--With A Link For All You Zaggers Out There

A disclaimer: I have read none of the Twilight books. At the height of the furor over the books, I did consider reading them. And the entire set is owned by a member of my household who shall remain nameless but who is not the member you would assume owns these particular books so it would've been easy enough to do. But I didn't because a) I have a long history of zigging when everyone else zags (See: Andy Gibb vs. Shaun Cassidy, Rad Daly vs. Scott Baio , etc) and b) I have given in to this kind of temptation when it comes to books before with results that left permanent psychological scars.

Most recently, I gave in to the hype about Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. A book's topping the bestseller lists for ridiculous amounts of time usually works to
dissuade me from reading it (zig-zag) so it took recommendations from lots and lots of people close to me to convince me to give this book a try. I have to give Brown credit for a suspenseful plot--had it not been that suspenseful I would never have made it to the end of the book without simultaneously stabbing myself in both eyes so as not to risk ever having to look at a passage from that book again. (Seriously? After six years the main things I remember about the book are the albino monk and Dan Brown's egregious overuse of the word "upwelling.") In case it's not obvious I am still a little bitter about that experience.

Before that, it's all the way back to 1992 and The Bridges of Madison County. It was short, which was a good thing but the prose was so purple it was practically grape-scented and essentially the whole thing boiled down to a glorification of adultery which left me less than impressed.

In the case of the Twilight books, even people who have ravenously devoured all four books admit that the writing is not all that great. So no, I haven't read the Twilight books or seen all of the first movie but I know lots and lots of people who have so in honor of the release of the Twilight sequel New Moon, I'm going to send any New Moon fans out there over to Jen Lancaster's blog Jennsylvania where she has posted
her own version of New Moon acted out by the official action figures of Bella, Edward, Jacob & Alice. (Spoiler alert--though I doubt very, very much that anyone for whom this movie could possibly hold a plot twist or secret not already leaked or purposely read about is likely to click the link.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Actually Doing You All* A Really Big Favor

Long day which began with taking Daughter-Only to school careened through a staff meeting and a training session (bloodborne pathogens and sexually transmitted infections anyone?) bounced to grocery shopping and picking Hubby up from work early due to some miscommunication that's better left unelaborated** upon and then screeched into an eight-hour shift during which the only time I sat down I was behind the wheel and, finally, stumbled into me twisting my ankle on my way to my car at work because the flipping outside lights that are supposed to be on a timer are apparently on a different schedule on Wednesday nights than any of the rest of the week.

So...yeah, I could write a "real" post but it would just be an extended whining session and no one really needs more whining in their lives, right?

You're so very welcome.

*Does a number you can count on one hand with a few fingers left over really constitute an "all?" It's like the Steven Wright joke about how he got into an argument with someone over what he considered an "odd" number. Or maybe not.

**I'm pretty sure it's a word or at least an acceptable construction consisting of word-like parts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Worst Customer Service Job Ever

There are no guarantees in life. But if there were, who would be manning the customer service desk? Who would hear the complaints? And what complaints would there be?

"I like the color. It matches my eyes, but it's a little too tight in the hips."

"It's so much louder and more complicated than I expected it to be."

"There must've been a shipping delay. Mine came too late--I would've much preferred the Renaissance."

"Do you have something a little longer? I got this one as a gift and it's not quite right."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brought To You By NaBloPoMo

Welcome to tonight's episode of "Random Crap That's Inside My Brain!"

I had a long conversation with Cranky* today. We still talk once or twice a week--always at her initiation. I always figured that once we weren't around each other 8 hours a day, I would be better at tolerating her but either she's gotten significantly worse or my tolerance level has dramatically decreased. It's a weird thing--I feel some kind of sympathetic obligation to her because she really has so few friends and she's been unable to find other work since the flower shop closed, but talking to her almost always makes me feel like someone is rubbing a cheese grater across my forehead.

*Formerly Cranky Boss Lady, but as she's no longer my boss and was never really much of a lady, her name has been shortened accordingly.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Starting Even Earlier

As alarming as Fourth Niece's stories of the failed romantic relationships (of nine-year-olds) were, they pale in comparison to this gem from Baby Brother's Girlfriend's Then Four-Year-Old Daughter.

I picked her up on the way to Daughter-Only's (then) Boyfriend's house. Four-Year-Old had spoken with The Boyfriend by phone once or twice because Four-Year-Olds love the phone and at that point Daughter-Only and The Boyfriend spent a pathological amount of time on the phone and had to fill it with something.

I told her we were going to pick up the Boyfriend and Four-Year-Old said, "Is he the one with the hot voice?"

And I said, "Honey! You're FOUR!"

And she said, "What?! It's not MY fault he was born hot!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Maybe It's Time For A New Hobby

Drove Fourth Niece home from the skating rink tonight. The car ride was educational--as only car rides with nine-year-olds can be.

She says, "Well there was a lot more drama than usual tonight."


"I mean, yeah, you can't have skating without drama. There's always drama, but tonight, it was way worse than usual. About half the girls were crying."


"Well some of them got dumped and some of them got ran over*."

"Run over?"

"Yeah, like they fell and people skated over them? But I didn't get dumped or ran over tonight. Lots of boys like to dump girls at skating. I don't know why. I've only ever had one boyfriend..."

"And you dumped him?"

"No. He dumped me. At skating. Well actually he had his friend dump me at skating, but not tonight. It was a long time ago but I still love him. The boyfriend, not the friend who dumped me for him."

"So did you have a good time tonight?"

"Yep. Thanks for the ride."

*Same difference.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Consider The Source

When a not-terribly-bright person says something not-terribly-bright it's sad, but to be expected. For instance, during the first Gulf War I worked with a blond* chick who had earned her ditz reputation** so when she heard that we were bombing Baghdad and said, "I thought we were fighting Iraq," her confusion--while it made those around her roll their eyes--was not really surprising.

When, however, someone you've considered reasonably intelligent who has never given you cause to doubt that intelligence comes out with something duh-worthy, it can mess with your head a little.

Recently a coworker--a man in his fifties who has lived in our rural county for most of his adult life--said to me, genuinely confused, "Wow, there's been a lot of dead deer alongside the road lately. What do you think happened to them? It's probably cars--I mean, it has to be cars, right?"

I just nodded but I couldn't help wondering what he thought it might be if it wasn't cars. Exhaustion? Aliens? The mental and emotional stress brought on by NaBloPoMo? A plague in which the deer are coincidentally dropping dead right next to the road?

*Just a coincidence, not a stereotype.
**This is the woman who said, sincerely, that she was voting for Bill Clinton because he had a "nice ass."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


About mid-October, I got another promotion at work--this time to housekeeping supervisor, an official full-time position with benefits including sick, vacation, and personal days and paid holidays and insurance. The trade-off is that I work 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Sunday, I work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That means that Sunday is the new Monday. But you know what else it means?

Thursday is the new Friday--woo-hoo!

*Thank God Tomorrow's "Friday!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here and Gone Again

"It is unacceptable, all the stunned and anxious missing a person is asked to endure in life. It is not to be endured, not really."
~~Lorrie Moore

Hubby is working with a guy who recently bought six or seven properties around town--the best of which would be generously called dilapidated. They are planning to work together to repair these houses as rental units. There is one in particular Hubby sees great potential in and asked me to go with him to check it out as a possible rental for us once the renovations and repairs have been made.

Hubby has a significantly better imagination than I have and where I see only the daylight coming in from the outside in places where daylight should not come in and the daylight failing to come in in places where it should (windows covered with plywood), he sees nothing but possibilities. He can imagine the place freshly sealed, drywalled, painted while I can only imagine it collapsing down around our ears.

We were bickering about which of us was more realistic about exactly how much work (time, money, materials and so on) the place would require to be just livable, let alone comfortable, when I stepped out on to the raised deck outside the back door and my right leg promptly went through the rotted wood to about mid-thigh. My left ankle had twisted at a nasty angle with the sudden shift in weight and there was nothing nearby to grab on to for leverage so I was stuck there with one leg dangling until Hubby could pull me out of the deck.

In the thirty or forty seconds that I was stuck there lots of things were running through my head--at least one of them the obvious I-told-you-so potential of being moderately injured by a house I had just argued to Hubby was a deathtrap. But one of the things that went through my mind in those seconds was that something very similar had happened to my mother many years ago.

In 1985, when the family was packing up to leave our house in New Hampshire, my mother was carrying a box across the raised porch and her leg went through a weak spot. I wasn't there when it happened (having moved south ahead of my family partially in pursuit of Mr. High School) but I saw the resulting bruise--enormous and rainbow-colored--and could easily imagine where on the porch her leg had gone through. The weak spot had been there a while and we had been warned away from that end of the porch for the last six months we'd lived there.

So I was stuck there in the deck imagining my mother 24 years ago stuck in a similar fashion in a porch 400-some miles away and it occurred to me, not for the first time*, that the people who are gone from our lives come back to us in the oddest of ways.

*Here & here for example.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Eating The Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

I started this book last night and am more than halfway through it though I have, at least theoretically, found time to sleep, eat and work an 8-hour shift.

The book is not at all about dinosaurs but instead is a collection of essays about pop culture and what the culture says about us. Klosterman is a genius at pointing out connections you've never seen but that seem both brilliant and obvious once he's called them to your attention.

The truth is when I'm reading Klosterman, half (or more) of my brain is in the book no matter what I'm doing, which explains this lame blog post and lamer review which does nothing to explain the greatness of the book or Klosterman.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Addictive.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Some Secrets About PostSecret (Some More Secret Than Others)

1. I have been a fan for a long time (at least three years, based on this post). I check the website for updates most weeks and own all of the books.

2. I have sent in two separate secrets over the years, neither of which I've seen again (so far).

3. About a year ago, I made the gigantic mistake of telling Daughter-Only that I had sent these secrets. While I did not tell her what these secrets were, I did agree that if either of the secrets were ever to appear on either the site or in one of the books and she asked me about that specific secret, I would tell her the truth.

4. So far--as I mentioned above--neither of these secrets has resurfaced but that hasn't stopped Daughter-Only from honing in on the most disturbing secrets to appear each week--and, of course, in the recently released book--and asking me if they're my secret(s).

5. At first, I was terrified that she would find and guess my secret but at this point, her finding out a "secret" truth about me would be better than her temporarily thinking these insane things about her mother.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hot For Teacher

One night, a couple years ago now, Hubby was interested in a little, shall we say, "vigorous cuddling." On this particular night (as on so many particular nights), I was exhausted. But in the spirit of marital generosity, I said, "Okay, I guess we can, but on one condition--you're going to have to do like 89% of the work."

Ever the negotiator, Hubby countered, "Well that depends on what your 21% is going to consist of."

"For starters, I'm going to be tutoring you in math."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's Next? A Thank You Card From FOX News For My Many Years of Faithful Viewership?

I know things have not been looking great for the Republicans, but I had no idea they were desperate enough to resort to random, nonsensical SPAM messages such as the one I found in my inbox this evening:

"Dear [Masked Mom],
On behalf of the leadership of the Republican National Committee, I want to thank you for helping our Party earn historic victories in Virginia and New Jersey yesterday.

Your steadfast commitment to our conservative Republican principles and your generous support of the RNC's 2009 campaign programs enabled us to provide all our GOP candidates with the resources they needed to run strong right through Election Day.

Electing Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey is just the beginning. With the continuing commitment of RNC Sustaining Members like you, I am confident we can elect more GOP governors, make real gains in the U.S. House and Senate, stop the Democrats' radical leftist agenda and cut President Obama's term in half in 2010.
Thank you again for everything you did for our Party and our cause during Campaign 2009.

Michael Steele, Chairman,
Republican National Committee"

I can only assume that the meanings of "steadfast commitment" and "generous support" have changed dramatically to include "doing nothing" and "actively rooting against."

At least the Republicans sprung for a better copywriter than that widow of the Nigerian businessman who keeps hounding me with misspelled and gramatically incorrect e-mails about the millions of dollars she'd like to split with me. Perhaps I'll put her in touch with Mr. Steele and show those Republicans just how generous my support can be.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Six Degrees of Influation

You know flu season is bad when conversation at work consists almost entirely of how close the flu virus (seasonal or H1N1) has gotten to each of us.

Client: My boss has a grandson who has H1N1.
Me: My oldest son's girlfriend's roommate has it.
Client: Well, it's way closer to me than to you!

Ok, ok, you win.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's Like The Geek Olympics

So it's the original National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)-- the chance to achieve fame (uh, not so far), fortune (not that either) and fabulous prizes (but not for me--at least not yet) but most importantly, the geeky sense of accomplishment that comes from posting every single day for a month (good thing it's the most important part 'cuz I've had that in geeky spades for the past 3 years).*

*My sense of accomplishment was only minimally diminished the year before last when I was gypped out of the ability to post the final day by the failure of not one but several communications companies to provide me with the ability to communicate via the Internet. But I'm not bitter because the only thing worse than being a geek is being a bitter geek.