Friday, October 27, 2006

Still feeling a bit gloomy and under the weather this morning, I packed my inner child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a bag of chips for lunch.

(I stopped just short of filling a thermos with chocolate milk, mainly because I cannot be trusted to promptly rinse out a thermos, and have you ever experienced anything more disgusting than old milk in a thermos? I don’t believe I have.)

When I zipped open the lunchbox just now, it smelled like Lunch! There’s some kind of chemical reaction that occurs whenever this particular combination of food sits together in a confined space for several hours, and it has the power to reach deep into your brain and transport you back to elementary school.

On gloomy days like today, though, my mom would sometimes pack me a thermos of vegetable beef soup.

(I'm realizing now how repulsive THAT must have been to clean out. I can't help but feel even more loved.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's 8:15 a.m., I've been at work for over an hour, and can I please go back to bed?

Between the rain pounding on the side of the house, the dog whining, and the phone ringing, none of us got any sleep. Except the kids. Unless they're the ones waking us up with vomit and whatnot, they usually sleep through whining dogs.

I don't know what was wrong with him. For six hours straight last night he paced from one end of the house to the other, with his nails clattering loudly on the wood floors. I imagine this is the same sound you'd hear if you trapped a miniature but highly enthusiastic horse inside the world's largest snare drum.

I suspected he riding a sugar rush from the pre-Halloween candy he stole out of Gert's room earlier in the day.

Then the whining started. It was raining hard by this time, but he's not normally bothered by rain, other than his refusal to go outside and relieve himself when it's wet outside. Okay, so maybe he had to go.

Letting the dog out at our house is a process that involves walking out through the garage to get to the only door that leads to the backyard. So I pulled on a robe and skipped on my freezing cold tiptoes over the freezing cold garage floor through the freezing cold garage and opened the door to a wall of rain outside.

Finnegan looked up at me.

"Go potty," I said.

He hunkered and stepped gingerly outside. I closed the door behind him and stood bouncing on my cold toes. He waited, absolutely motionless, inches from the door, looking back at me through the window.

For six full minutes, we stared each other down.

Finally, I threw open the door and he rushed back through the garage, shaking himself with indignance.

I called the dog several rude names and went back to bed. In fifteen minutes, he was whining again.

All night long, Gary and I took turns checking on, comforting, and finally threatening the little rat bastard. I have no idea what his problem was. All I know is that when the phone rang at 4 a.m., I half expected it to be the producer of a reality show on sleep deprivation congratulating us for making it to the Final Two.

As I was getting ready to walk out the door for work, I noticed Finnegan napping contentedly in the living room. I walked over, and he opened one drowsy eye.

"The cat has instructions to meow at you every time you graze REM sleep," I said.

And then he rolled onto his back so I could scritch his belly. Sometimes cute is the best defense against crabby. Dogs know this.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Did you see the episode of The Office where Michael hears a joke about updawg and spends an inordinate amount of time trying to lure someone else into the joke so he can deliver the punchline?

(If not, you're probably asking yourself... what's updawg? Nothin' dawg, what's up with you.)

When someone finally does walk into it, Michael gets so excited he blows the whole thing. And we laugh, because that's how pathetic the poor guy is.

So Matilda and I were at the grocery store last night picking up cereal and ground turkey, and I mentioned to Matilda that while we were here we should get some updawg.

"Huh?" said Matilda.

"Updawg!" I said. "You know. We've gotten updawg before."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Yes, you do. Updawg. You told me you liked updawg."



"I have no idea what that is."

I stopped the cart in a huff in the middle of the aisle and looked at Matilda with complete seriousness. "We need," I said, "to find out where they keep the updawg."

"What," said Matilda, "is updawg?"

"Ah HAH!" I shouted.

And then I completely forgot what I was talking about.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Evidence of a sweater's success


Gertrude sweater 1


Point A:

The first thing you'll notice in this exhibit is that subject is actually wearing the sweater. She is not in the act of tugging it off or squirming in it. Her face is not contorted into a spasm of displeasure, itching, or irritation. In fact, subject appears to be quite accepting of the sweater's presence upon her person.

Point B:

Upon further inspection, we see that the sweater's arms appropriately match the length and girth of subject's arms, and the body of the sweater contours to subject's torso without excessive bulking or stretching. We can conclude from this evidence that the fit is, in fact, "solid jackson."

Point C:

Finally, allow me to submit that the color and stitch design of the sweater do physically enhance the overall cuteness of the subject. Given the subject's inherent cuteness and the implied difficulty of that task, I feel that it is safe to conclude that this sweater does qualify as a successful Gertrude sweater.

Mission accomplished! I'm working on the pattern and I'll have that up "soon" -- or sooner if anyone really wants to knit one.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The real reason I'm so tempted to have a go at Nanowrimo again this year?

It's not because I enjoyed adding to the year's busiest month (sales meeting, birthdays, holidays, etc.) with the self-imposed deadlines and unnecessary stress of writing a novel in 30 days.

I actually did not enjoy that. If I can force myself to think past the magical first few pages into the murky depths of what that reality was like, trudging through paragraph after paragraph of uninspired exposition just to meet each day's word count requirement, I actually have no desire to do any of that again.

But, oh. The beginning! The metaphorical casting-on of words. It's so simple just to begin, to entertain possibilities, open doors, pick up story lines that have not yet begun to suck. Characters exist as only a wisp of exciting potential and haven't yet been corrupted by ineffective fleshing-out or thinking-through.

I'm incurably addicted to starting things.

Now if someone were to join me... that would be all the convincing I need. Can't you just imagine a month of evenings spent camped out together with a pot of coffee and two computers crackling away between us? I would call out, "Toss me a plot line, honey! I'm drowning over here!" And he would reply, "Your main character finds evidence that a civilization of miniature, technologically sophisticated lemmings is flourishing in his/her vegetable drawer. Go!"

That's romance, is what that is. That's effing true love.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Allow me to be vague for a moment.

Something happened at work and I'm unhappy about it.

It keeps playing as a scene from Joe Versus the Volcano where the boss keeps repeating into the phone: "I know he can get the job, but can he DO the job?"

I'm unhappy. Other people are unhappy. Someone who deserved a chance wasn't given one, and I'm not sure I completely understand why.

So that feels like crap.