Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please Resist The Urge To Tell Me "Just Shut Up Already" In The Comments Section. (Remember The Thumper Rule)

If you can possibly stand it, I am going to blather on here and randomly dump all the Head Detritus that's clattering around in my cranium. It's terrible. Honestly, I think I'm at the mercy of so many awful cliches right now (and will someone, for the love of God, tell me how to put the little accent mark on the "e" in Blogger?) that I'm becoming somewhat sad and tragic. I believe I am pre-pre-menopausally hormonal; also that I am suffering from End-Of-Summer Angst; or that I am having a delayed Mid-Life Crisis; and, quite possibly, on the verge of becoming a Bit Of A Cat Lady if I'm not Very Very Careful.

(Some of you may have already noticed that, if I employ the Dash a bit more, I might also be in danger of becoming the Reincarnation of Emily Dickinson.) But--perhaps--I digress.

Next week, I go back to work at The Rock, such as it is. We are in the New Building, but let's face it: if you put leftover spaghetti in a silver bowl, it is still leftover spaghetti. Don't get me wrong, I teach with some of the best people ever and the students there can be a joy. But, realistically, a new building is not changing anything...for me. I can do my shtick in a cardboard box, if necessary. It will be lovely to have a floor with no holes, walls with no chipping plaster, air conditioning (provided that it works, for real), and an environment that speaks to learning rather than mere survival in some cases. But am I looking forward to The Grind again after three months off? No. Unpacking 33 boxes? No. Everything Else? I think you already know the answer.

I spoke about The West Wing in an earlier post, and I'm still watching and enjoying it. My sister used to have a big crush on Bradley Whitford, who played Josh Lyman. She said he had the sexiest walk. Same reason she had a brief thing for Travolta in his earliest days. ( Her big thing was for Patrick Swayze, though. Seriously.) Whitford is in a new show now, and when the previews came on, I didn't recognize him. He looks like some icky stereotype of a small-time PI or liquor store owner with a shady side. It makes me feel bad.

Also making me feel bad: my tomatoes this year are not producing; I'm not paying much attention to my herb garden; we did not mulch the back or front beds; I'm not seriously addressing my Marshmallowyness; I did not get ruthless and clean out the basement crap again this summer. Sigh. I guess this means I'm still not going to heaven.

Best things I did this summer: Get the Kittens. Learn to make refrigerator pickles. Completely relax. Give myself a break. Learn to use the digital camera. Get gently forceful with my stylist about layering my hair more around my face, please. Read the new Emily Dickinson biography. Take all the accumulated change to Coinstar. (Sidenote: How insane is it that BANKS DO NOT HAVE COIN-COUNTING MACHINES? I called both my banks, where I have banked for eleventy hundred years, and both of them said, "Oh, no, sorry. We do not have a coin-counting machine at any of our banks. It all has to be rolled and you have to put your name and phone number on every roll." FORGET THAT BULLSHIT. It was worth it to me to take my two hundred pounds of mixed change to a Coinstar machine and pay them a small percentage.) Go to my neurologist, talk things over, and get my migraine meds readjusted. Zip up to Niagara-on-the-Lake, stay at our favourite inn, visit our friends from Cattail Creek Winery, and also get some more great wines at other places we love. Spend afternoons at my sister Susan's where I swam in her pool and spent time with my mother and my other sister Patti. Take advantage of fresh produce from local farmstands.

Can we talk about My Kittens? Just a Little Bit? I will miss them terribly when I go back to work. I admit that I am a Little Bit Worried about how they will adapt. After all, they're used to having me around pretty much all the time, and we have a very nice routine. They have incredibly distinct personalities, as most pets do develop, and I enjoy them immensely. Naturally, they are The Most Wonderful Kittens In The Whole World, even when Marlowe (the adventurous diva one) can't seem to stay off the kitchen counter when we are not looking (despite being squirted from The Discipline Bottle), and Piper (the affectionate frisky one) plants himself on my or Rick's pillow at daybreak and proceeds to bite at our heads and try to claw our hair out (just playing, of course). They've both grown considerably since you've seen them last. They're healthy and happy and playful. I just happen to have a picture.

Sigh. I know. Despite the fact that he has to curl up about ten times, Piper (the Disembodied Head) loves to sleep in that shoebox. Those two are, as the old cliche goes, thick as thieves. (By the way, I got those shoes at Target--before the boycott--for way cheap on sale.) They're constantly together.

When Jared and Sam (now out and living on their own) come over, they love to spend time with Marlowe and Piper. They are, however, a little concerned that Mom is perhaps a with All Things Kitten. Consider:

Scene opens in livingroom. Nance and Rick are sitting in easy chairs. Sam, 22, over for a visit and to retrieve some things, is observing the kittens playing in the dining room.

Sam: Does Piper like that old Matchbox car I gave him?
Nance: He loves it! And Marlowe never plays with it at all. Must be a Boy Thing.
Sam: I guess.
Nance: (face lights up) Oh! And did I tell you? I'm teaching The Kittens to be bilingual!
Sam: (staring) What?
Nance: Bilingual. I'm teaching The Kittens to be bilingual.
Sam: (slowly turns his gaze to Rick on opposite chair, then back to Nance) No. You didn't. What language?
Nance: Spanish. Watch this. (To Piper) Piper! Donde esta su carro verde?
(Piper looks at Nance briefly, then resumes what he was doing, which was not playing with the green Matchbox car.)
Sam: (shakes head, then, to Nance) You really need to go back to work.

Except, I really don't want to.


  1. Well, here's the test: cliché.

    Okay, it seems to work in the comments.

    Hold down the option key, hit the E, then release the option key and hit the E again.

    That's how it works on a Mac, anyhow.

  2. Cute kittens. Don't worry about them. They're cats. They could care less whether or not you're home. They will thrive.

  3. Those kittens must be important if you learned how to use the camera for them!

    What you said about about spaghetti in a silver bowl is exactly what I've been feeling. People are all so giddy about it, but they are not shipping in new kids to sit in those new chairs.

    And I have it on good authority that the air conditioning works fantastic. My mom makes lunch for the construction guys. They've got it cranked way down right now so they can work as hard as possible without getting sweaty. True story. You might want to take a sweater when you go to unpack those 33 boxes.

  4. Kitty cuteness factor = 10.

    Is he really only a size 8.5? That won't last.

  5. Sputnik--Piper is a rather small cat thus far, yes, but he is larger than a size 8.5. His ability to curl up to fit in that box is flabbergasting. He has to fight his tail sometimes, but somehow, he manages to cram it all in there and take his nap(s).
    They're 5.5 months old. Not sure if they're done growing.

    J.--Good news re: the AC! That will be a treat compared to all the years we've gone back to temps in the 90s and stewed in our own (and everyone else's!) juices.

    Susan--I know you are trying to be comforting in your own way, but perhaps you are not a Kitten Person. My kittens find where I am and hang out in that room, no matter what. When I come home from being away, they greet me at the door. But I do appreciate you being positive and telling me that they're cute and that they will thrive. I know they'll sleep a large part of the day and be fine once my being at work becomes their new routine.

    Siren--You did it! Sadly, however, I am not a Mac user. Will you still read me and comment here sometimes?

  6. Aw, it didn't work? Oops, sorry -- I thought the alt key would work just like the option key. How terribly Maccentrist of me. Maccentric?

    Anyhow, you could always use the HTML code, which should display correctly across all platforms and browsers. I tested it on my own blog (also a Blogger blog) and it seems to work. Just make sure you're in "edit HTML" mode (rather than "compose" mode). The code for é is &#233.

    All right, you probably don't really even care about this, but you did say "for the love of God," which made me think it was awfully important.

    P.S. It's okay you're not a Mac user. I've got your back.

    And of course I'll keep reading. Some of my best friends are PC users. In fact, I live with a PC user. I'm very open-minded, you see.

  7. Siren--You are very kind to do all of this Big Work for me. I do appreciate it. And it IS important. Blogger is becoming increasingly bitchy. I think it is, in its own Passive Aggressive way, trying to "coax" me into using yet another incarnation of NEW BLOGGER, wherein I will have an easier time in its NEW post editor. I am having issues with getting pictures and photos to behave, with oh, all Kinds Of Things lately. Over at The Report, it won't even let me add anything to my post footers. At all. But, over there, where I use French with alarming frequency, your HTML code is very helpful. Thank you. And thanks for reading.

  8. é Hold down the alt key and type 130 on the keypad, not on the main querty board. While we're at it, alt 138 ia è, and alt 136 is ê. Also, alt 167 is º. If you need a, i, o and u, let me know.

  9. Mary--Holy crap. It worked, even in the Post Editor and the Comment Box. Previously, it had NOT. Is this new, or was Blogger being grumpy when I had tried before? Honestly, it's incredible. How about la cedille Francais?

  10. alt 135

    or possibly

    alt 0231

    (I found two different charts. Very weird.)

  11. Siren--I love how you never stop working for me. I really do. Now go and buy yourself something nice to go with your new purple hair. Perhaps a nice pair of these.

  12. No, I'm not much of a cat person. I used to be, until my mother got the Cujo-Cat-From-Hell. I do think kittens are incredibly cute & irresistible. I wish you luck and hope you've had them de-clawed.

  13. ALT + 130 = é
    (see: )

    I gave that up a long time ago in favor of adding a virtual Spanish keyboard to the computer. In fact, my computers are permanently in Spanish keyboard mode, for obvious reasons. Which bring us to the pressing issue:

    ¿Dónde demonios está el coche verde de Piper? ¿Eh? —Venga, Marlowe, sé que te lo comiste. No me engañes.

    So anyway. Glad you get a few more days of respite. I have just come up for air after answering 1,471 emails from the webbies in my new online class. My favorite question so far is: "I can't afford the e-textbooks. Can I rent one or get a used one?"

  14. I like spaghetti! So spaghetti in a silver bowl would be OK with me. But the grind? Not so fond of that. The grind is my life. That part of my life sucks.

    Patrick Swayze always creeped me out. Don't tell your sister.

    No to the basement? Don't feel too badly. Our wedding photos are still in the Gap Bag where I put them lo those 17 years ago. We had a friend's father (a photographer) take our pictures, and he did them for free, but no album was included. And we've never gotten over it, I suppose. Good thing we're in CA, where there are no basements, I suppose. Though I do covet one as a place to hide my crap.

    Completely relax? Give yourself a break? AWESOME. Yay on you for that.

    Coinstar? I love coinstar. Our local Safeway now has some self serve areas meant to put hard working union employee checkers out of work, and my friend uses them to pay with all coins without pissing any employees off. Takes patience, but it doesn't charge 10%.

    Oh the kittens. To those without, boring as hell to hear stories, I suspect. I discovered that people without kids feel the same way when one is blathering on about them. Since I have a kid, and I tend to blather. Alas, no kittens in my present or future, as my husband is deathly allergic. Yours are pretty cute, though.

    Good luck with the school year. My daughter started high school this week. Some stupid Junior seems to be interested in her, a mere 14 year old Frosh. Ugh. Parenting sucks sometimes.

  15. J.@jj--I love spaghetti, but my more pressing point was that LEFTOVER spaghetti--which is nothing new and therefore not exciting or anything to elicit oohs or aaahs--is not made any more palatable or "different" or better simply by being dressed up in a better container. Some of my colleagues are acting as if being in a new building will automatically make our students and some of the more...lackadaisical administrators somehow completely different. They they will now be Wonderful And Perfect, and we will have No Problems because we have a New! School! I wish.

    A cute freshman girl like M. will always get The Rush from a junior boy or two. I see it all the time. Especially if Homecoming is fairly early; the boys are all out trawling for dates, and new blood is a big lure. (Another reason I was always glad I did not have daughters. YOu have my sympathy!)

    And those self-serve grocery store checkouts? Let's not get started on those! LOL. (I heart your friend!!)

    Ortizzle--My command of The Spanish is, at best, tenuous, so you sent me scurrying to Here is their assist in translating what they identified as Spanish(European): "Where devils is the green car of Piper? Eh? —It come, Marlowe, I know that you ate him you. Me do not deceive." I laughed so hard reading that. Then I noticed that you can click to have Google further translate it. So I did. Here is Google's: "Where the hell is the green car Piper? Huh? "Come on, Marlowe, I know what you ate. Do not deceive me."

    If you're serious that you had almost 1500 emails, I'm beyond flattered that you read the Dept. let alone commented. Good heavens. (You probably needed the comic relief, however. Sorry to have to use a little Spanish, though. You're undoubtedly sick of poorly-constructed Spanish.)

    Susan--No, they're not declawed. I can't decide whether or not to do that. I clip their nails weekly thus far, and they're not destructive as of yet. They are brother and sister, and are very companionable. They spend a lot of time together, so they don't get bored and tear things up. I hope that remains the case. Sorry about your Hellcat. I wonder why its personality was so negative.

  16. Nance-
    My first wife (died of pancreatic cancer in '03) would be so upset if you declawed! It is equivalent of lopping off the ends of your fingertips, or so I've heard. Cats grow up to be biters since they lose their first defense. As I've mentioned, we have 11 and got all of them into the habit of regular trimming. Keep up the trimming and things should be fine!

  17. Nance, this is one of my favorite posts--so all over the place! You're back at the Rock now and I'm hoping it's going well and you've made the transition. Keep writing!

  18. RD--Oh, thanks. Yes, I've been back at The Rock since Wednesday, and it's overwhelming. Huge, modern, and for someone like me who is Directionally Challenged, dreadfully confusing. I am Terminally Lost. And will likely be that way for the remaining two years that I have to teach. But let me tell you this: I AM NOT STEWING IN A CAULDRON OF MY OWN SWEAT IN THESE 95 DEGREE DAYS. I have been wearing A. SWEATER. Do not mistake this for "a complaint." It is NOT one. I am thrilled to be chilled. The school is incredibly, alarmingly new and cavernously big and I really am sort of in shock. Kids report next week in half-day Orientation Shifts, and I am supposed to take them on Orientation tours, which is laughable since I cannot even find my way to my room reliably. Do I have a map? Yes. I, however, cannot read a map. I know. I am Pathetic. Send help.

    Dean--I had EmilyCat and TravisCat, my Original Cats declawed (all four feet each) and they did not become biters, thank heaven. Travis especially had a wonderfully compliant temperament, but both cats were spoiled most shockingly, which may be why. Piper and Marlowe are horribly spoilt and coddled already as well, but for some reason, I am on the fence, still, regarding their declawing future. There are several methods, some a bit less awful-sounding, but I know that it is still a rather drastic procedure to lots of people. I found this article very informative. Both kittens are getting a bit more fussy about trimming, though. Not quite a joy.

  19. Heaven is over rated. I'm sure the most interesting conversations are going to be in the very messy, unmulched garden/basement of hell.

  20. Coming up for air again. Regarding the = notorious for bad, bad translations. I actually checked it out (knowing that you might as well) on the little translation gizmo on your BW Tie Report blog, and it was pretty accurate.

    What none of them seem to pick up on is the subtlety of "que" which usually means "that, who" vs. "qué" which is "What?" It is then complicated further with the issue of "what" in English in the construction of an embedded question.

    Anyway, the last line actually means "I know you ate it" rather than "I know what you ate." No me engañes" is trickier, but my intention was "You ain't foolin' me."

    (And now that I think about it, "I know what you ate" is actually funnier.)

  21. Ortizzle--I get a huge kick out of what does to idiomatic French when my rusty grip on the language gets loose and I use it to double check once in a while. It is horrid. Marlowe's Spanish is somewhat worse than Piper's anyway, though. LOL.

    Claire--Oh, I hope so. If my Usual Circle of Friends is any indication, all the Best People will be in hell. ;-)


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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