Friday, August 28, 2009

The Scene In Which I Just Kind Of Ramble....

.....because it's just been one of those weeks where lots of little moments are funny in a "taken as a whole that was kind of funny" way, and not so much in a "wow you should write a whole blog post about that" way.

Plus I am on some cold medicine, so I am kind of loopy. this week:

The bugs are out to get me. Seriously. Aside from the two mega spiders who have taken up residence on my porch and in my cherry tree, there is a massive cicada who likes to perch on the siding right outside my front door every morning. You know, riiiiiiight where I have to stand while I'm locking or unlocking the door. And He. Is. Watching. Me.

It's freaky.

Then, as Younger Brother was moving stuff in the other night, Mr. Big Moth decided that he wanted to live with us, as well. And flew in. And when I mention he was big, I mean, this thing was the size of a freaking bat. This resulted in about a half-hour of my mom and I alternately screaming like little girls and shouting instructions at Younger Brother as he attempted to squirt Mr. Big Moth with a water bottle to coax him off the ceiling so he could trap him against the wall with my tupperware cake plate cover.

It was midnight, ok? This was our super plan.

And it worked really really well, thank you very much.

Plus, if you need a laugh, just picture this: Younger Brother, having successfully trapped Mr. Big Moth, gingerly places the cake pan on the street outside my house, pulls the cookie sheet off the top, and sprints like you-know-what for the house.

Mr. Big Moth is clinging for dear, sweet, bug-style life to the cookie sheet.

I don't think I've ever seen Younger Brother jump as high, or shriek so shrilly, while simultaneously chucking a cookie sheet, frisbee-style, over the lawn.


Speaking of Younger Brother. He moved in. Which is great (because he does things like trap big moths for me), but man, the kid eats a lot. Seriously. What the heck is it with boys? They're like garbage disposals. But it's fun to talk to someone other than the, not that I talk to the dog.

It's also fun to have someone to run errands with, like the other day when I had to go up to Toys R Us to see if they had Skip-Its in stock yet. They don't. But they did have very cute reuseable grocery bags with elephants on them, and if you know me at all, you know I love elephants. So I bought two for a whopping $2 and had this very fun conversation with the checkout employee:

Employee: "Do you need a bag for these?" (Ummmm.....I am BUYING bags. Not only that, but I am buying RE-USE-ABLE bags.)

Me: "No, that's ok."

Employee: "Did you find everything you needed today?"

Me: "Nope."

Employee: "Did anyone help you find what you needed?"

Me: "Nope."

Employee: "Great. Have a nice day!"

Me: " too."

Other than that it's been a rather uneventful week. I had some meetings. I made some flowers. I did some marketing stuff. I sneezed a lot. I decided that although I really liked the Kings of Leon "Use Somebody" song and thought I was never going to get sick of it when it first came out, I'm kind of sick of it now. I decided that I really like the new Wilco song and will never get sick of it.

All in all, a good week. Hope yours was, as well!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Scene In Which We Go To The State Fair. Twice.

Let me just start by saying that I absolutely **HEART** the Indiana State Fair.

Seriously, what's not to love about a place that has fried Oreos? Not to mention adorable animals, fun 4-H displays, fried Oreos, biodisel trains, fried Oreos, music and dance, truly awesome people watching, fried Oreos, lumberjack shows, and all the knockoff sunglasses you ever could have dreamed of?

Did I mention fried Oreos? Oh I did. Thanks.

Growing up in another Midwestern, farm-filled state, I had been to State Fairs before, but nothing like this. Back then, you picked a weekend date you wanted to go, weeks in advance. On the morning of the fair you woke up early and packed a bag with a sweatshirt in case it got cold, a T-shirt in case it got hot, a rain slicker in case it rained, and an assortment of other items. Then you got in the car and drove for an hour or two or ten million (hey, I was a kid). Then you finally parked the car in the middle of a field somewhere, shielded your eyes to the horizon, located the mirage that was the Fair and started walking. Approximately ten days later when you finally arrived, you saw some animals, rode the burlap-sack-mega-slide, ate some corn and an Elephant Ear, and called it a day - and man, it was a GREAT day, too.

Then I moved to Indianapolis. Where the State Fair is. Which means that if I happened to have another craving for fried Oreos in the middle of this posting, I could save it, drive over there, buy some, and drive back before they got cold.

This, friends, is FANTASTIC.

The second best part of the Indiana State Fair is the people-watching. Especially if, like me, you write a blog that sometimes centers around the silly things people do or say.

For example.

Last weekend Cute Boy and I went to the Fair for a couple hours to eat yummy food, check out the animals and just kind of walk around. During the course of this walking we passed an outdoor amphitheatre.

Now, I'm willing to concede that outdoor amphitheatres can be used for a variety of things.


This one was set up with a big stage with the Stihl logo plastered everywhere. And two of those posts that lumberjacks climb with those spiked shoes. And lots of logs strewn about. And lots of big, old-fashioned lumberjack saws on posts.

"Oh, hey!" a woman behind us announced to her friends. "Do you think this is where the lumberjack show is?"


Back to the food part.
For you Fair newbies, I have three rules for the Fair and they are Pacing, Sharing, and Don't Waste Your Taste Buds.

Pacing means just that. Seriously, the Fair goes for two weeks. Even if you're only going to attend once, don't eat everything in the first minute/hour/day/trip. I've seen this rule be violated and it's not pretty. Cute Boy and I did well this year- pineapple whip, curly potato, and Hot Wisconsin Cheese during our first trip, and corn dogs, chocolate-covered bacon (this was actually kind of gross but the guys liked it) and fried Oreos on the second trip with friends.

Sharing is another pretty self-explanatory one. One fried Oreo is great. Two is yummy. Three is heartburn. Four is vomiticious. Therefore, naturally, one serving is four Oreos. Note: Sharing must also be combined with Pacing. For example, even if you are getting ready to call it a day, you and your friend should not order both the fried Oreos and the fried Pepsi at the same time and split them. Trust me, this Does. Not. End. Well.

Finally, Don't Waste Your Taste Buds. The State Fair is the one time each year that I allow myself to eat complete junk, repeatedly, without guilt or any attempt at balance (though not without heartburn). This is just not the kind of splurging that you want to waste on, say, a hot dog.

Sometimes you can combine the two best parts of the State Fair into one experience- like the people wearing the COPS shirts that sat at our table over by the curly potato booth.

COPS, as in, C.O.P.S., as in, Christians Obediently Preaching Salvation. The shirt posed the question, "Wha'cha Gonna Do When HE Comes for You?" which is, apparently, from Ephesians....though I can't say I remember the Bible using too much hip slang like that.

Yes, I totally snuck a photo while pretending to shoot Cute Boy with our curly potato, which probably means the answer to that question is some variation of going to hell. Regardless, whatever I do, I hope it involves fried Oreos.

All in all, it was a great year for the State Fair- I'm already looking forward to the next one!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Scene In Which Things Aren't Always As They See(m)


It's such a small word, yet one with so many possibilities.

You can have hindsight.....and if you're lucky, maybe gain a little insight.

You can have forsight......

You might use a line of sight to describe something your eyesight allows you to see, particularly when sight-seeing....

And every day, we use sight-descriptive words to convey thoughts and commands, or to otherwise communicate, with the world around us.

"Look at that."

"See that?"

"Watch this."

And it's only when something challenges our notion of sight that we realize, perhaps, how much we rely on these funny little blobby things on our faces to do so much.

This week, Finnigan got to go to the eye doctor.

Finnigan, for those of you who don't know, is the lil bubbers (um, yes, that's what I call him....) that I adopted from the shelter about two years ago. We figured he had a rough first couple years of life, since he tends to be a little more skittish when things fall on the floor or, for example, when I trip over a box, stub my toe, and curse all while dropping a full (open) can of coke on the floor where inevitably my laptop case and other paperwork are lying, like I did today in theory.

He's spent the past two years with me making up for rough times by being allowed on every couch, chair, bed or other perceivably comfortable perch in the house at whim, napping in the sun, dining on the choicest of doggie kibbles, taking frequent walks through our lovely neighborhood, and having lots of playdates with other doggie friends. Not to mention being hugely spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa, where, among other doggie delights, there are sometimes scrambled eggs or liverwurst for breakfast.

We've always known that Finnigan didn't have the greatest eyesight. When I first got him, one of his regular vets noticed an absence of nerves on part of his left eye - a birth defect that probably cut down on his peripheral sight. Since he's been known to bump into a couple things, well, that made sense.

But at our most recent visit, the vet recommended that I take Finn to a specialist for an eye evaluation. It was looking like he was developing cataracts, and since he is only 4, we wanted to see what her thoughts were.

So, earlier this week, we jumped in the car and headed up to the eye doctor. I filled out about 20 forms and explained his issues and we got put in a room and waited about 10 minutes for the opthamologist. She got out the BIG magnifying glassy thingie (um, I'm sure there's a technical term for it) and spent about two minutes looking in each of his eyes.

Some of you probably realize what is coming.

"Well," she said, "He doesn't have cataracts. He has permanent birth defects in both eyes. He likely never had any sight in his right eye. He may have had a little bit in his left, but now he has a detached retina. There's so little of a chance that he has any sight that I would say he is not a candidate for surgery. He is pretty much blind and has been this way since birth."


Folks, let me tell you, I did not see that one coming.

But the more and more I thought about it, all the little things starting making sense (ahhh, yes, hindsight), like the fact that he moves well around trees and cars and big stuff that he can sense and smell, but the stuff he tends to run into is more like the little signs in your yard, or big sticks that have fallen across the sidewalk.

Or the fact that he has never learned to walk without a leash, and can't be let off of one in a big field without a fence somewhere, because (and at this point I'm hitting my head like, duh) he can't see you!

Or that he loves being in the water but not swimming, because, hellooooo Mom, he can't see where the edges of the pond or lake or pool are.

Or why he, ummm, never loved playing fetch much. Yeah. About that.

Despite this, Finnigan has never done anything that a "normal" dog wouldn't do. He loves to walk, and run, and play on the floor with Grandpa. He loves to get treats and go on car rides and sniff freshly mowed grass and chase birds (yeah, I still can't explain how he can chase birds). Because of his blindness the vet thinks that he has a fantastic sense of space/objects around him and an unbelievable sense of smell. He still loves going to PetSmart and knows the voices of our human friends and the barks of our doggie friends. He's memorized the layout of my house and can run around from room to room unhindered. The truth is, if we had never gone to this eye doctor, we may never have known he was blind.

So I would say that despite his lack of sight, Finnigan can still see the world around him.

It's just not the same way you or I see it.


Now there's some insight.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Scene In Which We Feel The (Water) Burn

One of the perks of working from home is that my schedule is a little more flexible, so now, I've got enough free time to go back to my salsa dance class, my belly dance class, my ballet class, and my yoga class that I've been neglecting for the past year or so.

Unfortunately, one of the non-perks of working from home is I'm sorta not getting one of those awesome paycheck thingies every two weeks, so while I have enough time to go to all those classes, they'd cost me over $45 per week if I did. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

So I'm saving money by joining a gym. And buying a Skip-It. Which you'll read about soon enough.

One of the coolest things about joining a gym during a recession is most are willing to let you try them out for FREE, so last week, I went up to a gym on the north side to try their dance and yoga classes, and to check out their facility. I skipped the tour of the locker room, figuring that it would be like most every other locker room I'd been in- bunch of lockers, couple benches, racks of towels, the inevitable scale, couple of old-model hair dryers, and there you have it. Sad, sad mistake.

Anyway, today I ventured back up for my second visit, this time to try "Aqua."

On paper, Aqua looked easy and fun. "An aqua exercise class designed to invigorate and improve cardiovascular conditioning, total body strength and endurance using the buoyancy and resistance of the water to give you a safe and fun workout. Options for all levels."

Hence, there I was, bobbing around waiting for class to start with about 12 other women ranging from 30s to 80s, including a woman who was a dead ringer for Estelle Geddy, dressed in a floral print suit and sporting a hot pink swim cap.

Innocently swimming laps on the other side of the lane marker from our class was a guy about my age.

We got started.

The class consisted of a bunch of repetitive movements like marching, jumping jacks, lunges and other leg movements, occasionally mixed with opposing-arm movements.

First you do all the motions facing forward, THEN you do them facing each side and moving back-and-forth for resistance, and THEN you do them facing backward. Our buddy in the lap lane was getting first a rear and then a frontal show. Yippee.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the best move, called "the frog," or something like that, that basically involves jumping from foot to foot in the water (lots of bouncing) while lifting the knee of your other leg sideways towards the top of the water. Theoretically, it's designed to work your inner thighs.

In actuality, it kind of makes you look like you're trying to high-kick your neighbor while simultaneously flashing her all your bits.

I'm preeeeeeetty sure "the frog" is when we lost our friend in the lap lane.

After a couple rounds of moves, we swam over to the wall and did flutters, crocodile legs, and scissor legs. And after legs, the instructor announced it was time to work on our arms and herded us all to the shallow end of the pool. Then, she disappeared into the equipment room and came back with a huge armful of POOL NOODLES.

And passed them out.

In my heart I knew what was coming, but until my buddy Estelle saddled up, I was reeeeeeeally hoping we'd be sitting on them sideways.


Ride 'em cowgirls.

I mentioned the pool has windows into the club, right? Yeah. Moving on.

Our next instruction was to - using only our arms - propel ourselves to the other end of the pool and back. I felt reasonably ok with this. I don't have the best arms in the world, and I haven't worked out in approximately forever, but I figured I could get through it with decent effort.


First and foremost THOSE GIRLS CHEATED. Seriously, at least 4 of the 80s gals, Estelle included, were TOTALLY USING THEIR LEGS. least, that's what I told myself as the pink swim cap bounced merrily past me while I was "working through the burn."

But overall, I felt pretty good about my first class.

Until it ended.

Remember when I said I hadn't toured the locker room during my first visit, choosing instead to rely on past locker-room experiences? This was a bad, bad idea. Because apparently, what I've missed in gym-membership-etiquette over the past two years or so is that most gyms NO. LONGER. PROVIDE. TOWELS.

Gym Membership- $39.99.

New Swimsuit- $15

Water Workout With Seniors- Free

Having to Dry Yourself Off With Your Cotton Yoga Pants-


Monday, August 3, 2009

The Scene In Which We Maybe Add An Ad....Thoughts?

I'm debating adding ads to my blog- and I'm letting YOU decide!

Here's why I'm thinking Yes:

First off, it's really easy to do- way to go, Blogger.

Secondly, I think that having ads on your blog has become pretty commonplace, and therefore is not as shocking as it might have been even six months ago. What?? She only has 54 readers this week? How DARE she think she can have an ad?!?!

Thirdly, and most importantly I think, this isn't a product-review blog.* Therefore, at no time are readers in danger of getting sucked into a story only to find out that the DAY WAS SAVED by WONDERPRODUCT, which YOU can OWN TODAY, by convinietly CLICKING OUR AD!

*Disclaimer- I do, or might, occasionally mention products I use/like. However, I am not an official reviewer and therefore have no relationships with any of the companies, do not recieve payment, do not recieve free product, and are not asked to review. If that ever happens, I will let you know - and if BMW is reading, I'd love to start with you, preferably your "Convertible" line.

Finally, the obvious but also most self-serving reason- getting paid for ads on my blog. In case you missed it back in June, I sort of, kind of, a little bit quit my job? and while I am doing just fine with my company and also with a fantastic lab in Chicago that I am doing marketing/admin work for, a little extra bit here and there sure wouldn't be turned down, if you know what I mean.

But for argument's sake, I'm still not entirely sure that I want ads. Will they make my blog less genuine? Will profiting ever-so-slightly from sharing the hilarity and beauty I find in the world around me make it less meaningful? Will I just be another blogger putting in my time to keep my readership up, not because I really have something that ohmygod I just HAVE to blog about??

So, since you're the ones who will ultimately be affected by this change, let me know what you think. There's a poll up in the sidebar (like, um, where the ads would be) for the next week, and you can also leave me a comment.