Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Say You Want A Resolution...

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time when we all lie to ourselves about how this year is going to be different. But why should I buck the trend? Here are my resolutions for 2010:

  • In 2010 I'm going to get down to my ideal weight. (Yes, this is the obligatory resolution for all women who don't have problems with anorexia.) (Rvan, I might need the month of November off work so I can go on a crash diet if the whole "eating right and exercising" thing doesn't pan out.) (Also, I may need part of December off to recover from the partial/whole leg amputation that may be required if the crash diet doesn't work.)
  • In 2010 I resolve to continue responding to those people aggressively tailgating for no reason by slowing down to exactly the legal speed limit. (Not because it will make me a better person -- I do it because it really pisses those people off.)
  • In 2010 I resolve to turn 42. (I'm pretty sure I've got this one nailed. And if not, I won't care.)
  • In 2010 I resolve to remain single and childless. (Again, shouldn't be a stretch.)
  • In 2010 I resolve to get a first draft of a novel written. (This is a personal growth thing. Don't worry, I won't ask anyone to read it. You don't have to start avoiding me because of that.)
Okay, yeah, that's pretty much it.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Poetry Demotion

Best conversation of the week (as we walked to lunch talking about Rvan's wife who is pregnant with twins):

Rvan: ... and she's having problems sleeping.
Eric: Well, there's four legs to kick her.
Me: And four arms. And four elbows.
Rvan: And four big heads... I mean, two big heads.

So, here's my holiday poem, which I think expresses the meaning of the season quite nicely. There's a few lines that don't scan perfectly, but overall it's quite a masterpiece...

The Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was sleeping but I was quite soused.
The socks were still heaped on the floor where I'd tossed them,
In hopes that someday I'd remember to wash them.

The corals were superglued in place on the rocks,
While Cthulhu was chanting "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn,"
And Lucy on the sofa, and I on a chair,
Had just settled down until the next time I had to open the door because she won't go outside to go potty because it's too cold but she has to pee so she'll just stand in the doorway there,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I spilled some good cider as I yelled "What's the matter?"
Away to the window I staggered and fell
The cats scattered quickly, as I said "Oh hell!".

The lights on the dirt of what once was a lawn
Gave the luster of horse poop to the tree which was sawn.
When, what to my bibulous eyes should appear,
But Hot and Hotter who'd come by with three six-packs of beer.

Just kidding you know, it was really a cat,
Who howled to start fighting until I yelled "Scat!"
More rapid than eagles my own cats got riled,
And they hissed and they spit as on the windowsill they piled.

Now Kittenhead, now Crow, now Guido and Scooter!
Even Ripley and Spike came despite being neutered!
To the top of the table! To the top of the Mac!
Til they dashed back the hall, like some kind of wolf pack.

Unlike a thundering herd that across the plain flies,
I soon got quite bored of writing these lies.
But my neighbors heard me exclaim before I finally passed out
"Dammit, Scooter, quit peeing on every damn thing in the house, you bastard!"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Family Ties

Here's the problem with growing up in a large family: while everyone within your family might be able to remember who you are (and we'll just ignore the fact that I was called Karen-Theresa for about three years by my mother), people outside your family often lump you together.

That might work in your favor if you're Jojo the Enforcer, and you coast by for three years in German class without doing any work because Frau Letang can't imagine a sister of her favorite student ever being so lazy.

On the other hand, it's not such a great thing if you're me and your algebra teacher had just had Mike and Eric (never the hardest working students in any class). Based on my last name, I got to sit in the front and center of the class, and the first thing she did every morning was glance down to see if I'd done my homework.

Worse yet was when people tried to differentiate us. (Granted, our parents didn't come up with the most original names in the world. In fact, when I moved to Concord, strangers would see my name and ask me if I had a sister named Karen (which I do, but she was going to UCLA at the time). I finally realized that there was someone with the exact same name who had graduated from the high school across the street from my apartment.)

Mike was lucky, because he was the oldest. Then there was Eric (the "smart but lazy" one) and Jeff (the "overachiever"). So... by overachiever they meant he was dumb but not lazy? In what universe does that work out? I was the one with the "bad attitude". Or possibly I was a bad attitude. I'm not sure.

It could be worse though. We could have been famous and have people writing about us like the Jonas brothers. Everyone knows that there are three: the talented one, the cute one, and the ugly one. The ugly one (that would be Kevin, for those keeping track, and he's not hideously ugly, just sort of geeky looking) got married this weekend, which is what got me started thinking about this. Maybe he'll get lucky now and get called the "married Jonas".

Whatever. I'm going to take my bad attitude and go finish my potato-leek soup.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ho Ho Ho and all that crap

I was going to grinchify a picture of myself and make my face all green, but Photoshop defeated me this evening. I guess you really do need to read the manual at some point.

Anyhow, here's my list of stuff about Christmas:
  • I heard a new Christmas song on the radio this evening. It had so many double entendres that it was borderline obscene. I was shocked. Not because of the content, but because I didn't think there was a Christmas-themed song I hadn't heard a zillion times in the last ten years. (I would post a link to it, but I can't figure out what it was or who sang it.)
  • As usual, I have no Christmas decorations up. On the other hand, at least I don't have a "tree" in my living room that looks like a disguised cell phone tower, unlike some people I could name (cough, Jeff).
  • How hard is it to crochet? I'm thinking about making these for all my nieces and nephews and calling them cell phone cozies. Yes, I'm that aunt.
  • I've become that aunt because my nieces and nephews have parents with jobs, and five aunts and uncles with jobs, and they have pretty much have everything that they can even think of, much less want. It's a far cry from my grandmother whose doll disappeared in the weeks leading up to Christmas, then appeared with new clothes as her present...
  • Bah Humbug!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Past Imperfect

These kids today have it rough. They say stupid things on Twitter or Facebook and it stays around to haunt them forever. It wasn't like that when we were younger... or was it? I have stuff stored that I'm sure people would love to make go away, such as this picture of Jeff:

Here's a note from Jojo the Enforcer (in block letters about two inches high):
T: Do you have any band-aids? My feet yearn for old, crummy, beat-up tennis shoes.

And my reply:
J: You can't really be a [Last name redacted] if any part of you yearns for anything... Enjoy!

And then there is this undated letter from Jeff. It was written at least fifteen years ago, but it could have been written yesterday, aside from the fact that he no longer handwrites anything.

My Dearest Theresa,
If truth be told (I always liked that saying), I was initially very impressed by the size and magnitude of your latest missive. That is, until I realized that you were using non-college ruled notebook paper and that you filled much of it with cheap laughs (Cauchy-Swartz integral) -- but I do realize that you have too many irons in the fire (I always liked that saying, too -- even if I didn't know what it meant).

By the way, your artist's rendition was quite awe-inspiring -- one can easily see the pain and suffering you must have been experiencing (either that or you have a deep Freudian problem). I especially like the way the instructor's arms were craftily drawn -- indicating the wretchedness of man's existence.
Always remember that the squeaking wheel gets the grease and that after every night there is a day. In fact, life is much like the life of a road. At first, young and fresh and impressionable and then harder and dirtier, soon cracking and giving up chunks to be filled in by men with orange vests. If left uncared-for dangerous accidents can occur.
It's as Chancey Gardner always said -- "After the cold winter, summer will bring new growth."

The funny thing is that he also quoted Chancey Gardner to me just a couple of days ago...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Since you've been gone...

As you can imagine, in a house with multiple cats, a dog, and birds, going on vacation takes some effort. That's effort on the pet-sitter's part mostly.

A few years ago my friend Juliana watched the crew while I was gone for Christmas. I left her a fairly long note that started with descriptions of the cats

Cats [Brandy (Indian name: Pees-on-carpet), Kittenhead (Little-head-on-big-body), Crow (Sits-on-bird-cage), Guido (Gets-into-everything), and Scooter (Pees-on-everything-that-Brandy-doesn't)]

and ended with
If you happen to notice someone inappropriately urinating (ie, on the carpet or the couch), there's a jug of Nature's Miracle on the drier and I'd really appreciate it if you could just splash some on the spot -- I'll clean up later. Most of the wet areas in the back of the hallway are Nature's Miracle -- don't worry about those.

[BTW, now I remember why I took the carpet out of the hallway. Good times, good times...]

Then I left.

Here are the notes I found when I came back, in very neat penmanship that is second only to my mother's:

Thursday am:

1) Brandy came into the kitchen when I opened the canned food, but she didn't eat any of it this morning.

2) I'm sorry to report that there's been a Cappelini Incident -- when I came in this morning I found that a bag of Angel Hair pasta had been removed from the cupboard (along with a bunch of other things) and a bunch of it had turned into a toy. I figured that the damage was already done, so I left it out for them to continue playing with. (Apparently, it's Good Fun!) Anyway, it'll help keep them from turning their devious little minds to further evil... maybe.

3) Guido is a juvenile delinquent.

Friday am:

1) Brandy didn't eat any of the canned food again this am.

2) Sorry about the kibble & litter messes -- I couldn't find a broom.

3) Guido likes pomegranate.

Amazingly, the house was still standing when I returned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Aht, dammit!

For all those people who lacked appreciation for the realistic snail portraiture evident in the last post, I offer you the following picture.

I think you'll all agree that my rendition was spectacular.

While I'm on the subject of incredibly life-like art, I've also produced the following:

"Work, last week"
Medium: bird pellets

I could let you figure it out yourselves, but I don't have much faith in the art appreciation talent of those around me. It's obviously Rvan pushing me under a bus. The red thing at the back is the quality chicken. (If this doesn't make sense to you, that means that you still have a chance of living a fulfilling life full of joy and wonder. It also means you haven't had to work with me on and off for the last fifteen years.)

Let me focus (as if I could actually focus the camera, but we won't go there right now) on the detail in the lower right corner.

You can tell that the figure on the left is me because of my calves. And the other figure is Rvan because his head is so big and he isn't bending any joint in his body.

Take that, Rembrandt!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snail Space

Alright, I got home late and spent an hour (one hour!) trying to get one of my snails to move to a spot where I could take a picture. (Okay, I realize that this makes it sound as if I really have no life. Let me clarify -- I kept checking on the snail as I was doing other things, like reading the gossip web sites...)

Anyhow, one of my snails has this big long algae strand attached to the top of its shell. It makes sense, I guess, since it can't reach back there to clean. With the bright green algae floating in the water, the snail looks like it's trying to imitate one of those troll dolls.

However, my attempts to get a picture were an epic failure. So I've improvised.

This is exactly what it looks like:

"Troll Snail"
Media: Bird pellets on plastic cutting board

Don't hate me because I'm such a talented artist...