Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Oddments And Doodads And Road, Oh My!

In lieu of a lobotomy, let's see if an offload of brain litter might help me get rid of some of the Distraction and Scatter that I feel in my head lately. Honestly, I can't even read a book anymore, and it is with Great Sadness and Terrible Alarm that I confide that to you. Naturally, I'm going to pin all of it on that handy Scapegoat, The Menopause, even though technically, I'm probably done with it. But humour me and let's Go With It, shall we?

Oh, thank you.

~*~THERE'S A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE. Rick and I were on the way to our Dinner Date (!), and my omnipresent GPS suddenly displayed, ever so helpfully, this:

O-Kay,  I am grateful, however, that this selfsame GPS never had a bout of The Menopause like this as it navigated me past Washington, D.C. (ugh, the Capital Beltway!) or through The Traveler's Oasis (how I hate the Breezewood exchange on the PA Turnpike!). Or any other routes I have driven, so I will forgive it this minor Episode.  (For the record, Road had a name, and we were, in fact actually ON it, not askew between the river and ... whatever.)  Yikes.

~*~HOW SOON WE FORGET. So, I chopped all of my hair off in a fit of boredom and faux bravado. Oh, yes I did--all of it. I have one of those spiky pixy dos and I am now thoroughly disenchanted with it, but oh well. It's not that I dislike it, exactly, but it's a case of "Okay, I did that, so...can it be over now?" Why I didn't read all of my old posts from the last time I cut off my hair, I really don't know. What I should have done is asked my mother, who came right out and told me just a few months ago, when I cut my hair like this

that she didn't like it. I think her exact words were, "Nance! You cut your hair! Why? I guess I just liked it better the other way." For the record, this time, with the pixy, she keeps staring at it and saying, "It's very attractive." I think word got back to her about the last time.
(P.S. Mariska is still on My List.)

~*~WHAT'S IN A NAME? Oh, everything when it comes to my Fantasy Basketball Team. Previously, it has been named the West Egg Gatsbys and then, after a tragically mediocre draft, I renamed it the Puppycats. This year, I'm in mourning after losing Paul George of the Indiana Pacers to a horrific injury (Seriously, don't even watch it when you Google it unless you have a very strong stomach.) during the summer league. I'm trying to decide whether to go back to the original name, keep Puppycats, or get a new name. Last year, I named one of Sam's fantasy football teams The Fluffy Bunnies. He went on to be the most fearsome, most dominant team in the league and won the championship. Imagine the men sitting at home, setting their lineups and saying, "Damn, the Fluffy Bunnies are kicking ass, and I have to play them this week" or "You got the Fluffy Bunnies this week, Craig? Good Luck!" or "I hate those effing Fluffy Bunnies!"

~*~HEY, GREAT JOB! My Maryland buddy Leanne, fabric hoarder and quilter extraordinaire, recently received this confirmation of her shipment of fabric from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I don't sew at all, but I might drop them a line just to express my admiration for their Wonderfulness. Or to ask for a job. Here, read:

Thanks for your order at the Missouri Star Quilt Company!

We just want to let you know that your quilting supplies have been meticulously gathered, placed on a red velvet pillow, and delicately escorted by 25 of our finest employees to our shipping department. Our master shipper has dutifully performed his craft, lovingly packing your order in the finest materials known to man.

Our team gathered to give your package the proper send-off it deserved. Tears of joy were shed, speeches were given, and there was even a farewell cake. Following the festivities, the whole group, led by our local high school marching band playing the song Leaving on a Jet Plane, ushered your order through downtown Hamilton, Missouri. No, we don't own a Jet Plane, but your package was placed in the care of a roguishly handsome man who is riding in a majestic horse-drawn carriage which is on its way to your home as you read this.

Although the products you've ordered will be sorely missed here at MSQC, we are overjoyed that they have found a good home. Take care of them, treasure them, and when you make something beautiful with them, make sure you share it with us on facebook, twitter, or just send us an email; we love to see what you make!

*Note: the above is a slight dramatization of what actually happened with your order, but seriously, we did ship it, and here is the tracking info:

Holy crap. I want so much to meet that person, that one employee who is making his/her job so much more awesome than it has to be. That person right there is A Difference Maker.

~*~FOLLOW THAT CAR. I'm not a bumper sticker person; I wouldn't put one on my car unless it was an election year and I wanted to make a very specific statement politically. I do enjoy, however, other people's statements on the back of their cars, and I'm entertained by so many of them. Today I was actually moved by one that I saw. I had been listening to NPR's guest, who was giving a very dismal assessment of things in the Middle East, and suddenly, this car pulled ahead of me in the next lane.

I wanted very, very much to believe it, but at the very least, it reminded me that while there are chaos and ugliness in the world, and violence and brutality, so, too are there paintings and literature, sculpture and architecture, poetry and music.  I took a deep breath and changed the station to something lighter and poppier, feeling a twinge of gratitude for the woman in the black Honda Accord.  (Coincidentally, 90.3 is NEO's NPR affiliate station.)  She was, for me, A Difference Maker.

thanks to Leanne for the shipment email


  1. Oh, I love those quilt people, too! I don't sew, but that letter makes me want to order something from them just to get my own letter. I wonder how long it will be before someone with no sense of humor whatsoever complains that the letter is offensive and misleading. I would like to think, 'never,' but the world is so full of party poopers these days I figure it's probably just a matter of time. I apologize in advance for being cynical. And on that note - even though I was a member of every NPR station in every state I lived in (going all the way back to my sophomore year of university in VA) I have to say that I'm a lot happier without having the option of listening to the news every time I get in the car. I still believe that NPR presents some of the more thoughtful and considered news coverage available (and I stream a lot of it on my phone and ipad) but for someone as intrinsically anxious and compulsive as myself, it's just as well that I don't have instant access to it in my home and car and iPod anymore. ; ) As far as the hair goes - eh. It'll grow back, right? That's the beautiful thing about not being 17 - a not-so-great haircut is no longer a crisis. And I suspect your mum's right - I bet it looks very attractive.

  2. I remember when I cut my hair VERY SHORT, meaning it was the late 80s and I was in my 20s and trying to appear more punk than I actually was. My grandpa kindly said, "Well, Julie can get away with that look, because she has a pretty face." Very kind, and also, very "what have you done to your head?" I'm thinking also of JLaw's hairdo a year or two ago, which was SO fetch that it made Maya want to cut off her own hair. Seemingly within minutes, however, JLaw's hair news was that she was trying to grow it out. And then that growing it out was so painful that she did a pixie cut, which she then had to work on growing out. I mean, my husband lost his hair in his 30s, and would LOVE to have these problems, but really, sometimes it's just easier to stick with longer hair and live with whatever that entails.

    I love the email confirmation received by your friend. Totally awesome. Also the bumper sticker. I also like the term, "Difference Maker," and I hope to be one, though I'm not sure I'm ready to put a bumper sticker on my car.

  3. I know the bumper sticker meant Art in the aesthetic sense, but the first thing that came to my mind was Art Garfunkle, and his sweet soaring vocal on "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

    (Since we're talking NEO, here, it definitely ain't the late Art Modell.)

  4. Oh now see, I LOVE that hair! Although, yes, I'm already thinking about growing mine out again :)

    And the name thing - really did make me LOL. Mike was wondering what I was over here chuckling about.

  5. I read the letter from the Quilt Company to Ted and Maya, and they had a grand time coming up with very heartfelt and touching speeches to be read. There were comparisons between the shipment and the Gettysburg Address in level of importance to the country. There were speeches thanking the people who lovingly made the boxes in which the goods were shipped, etc. Thanks for the after dinner laughs.

  6. I adore The Fluffy Bunnies name. Perhaps they could hire the order packer/copy writer from the Missouri Star Quilt Company to do a press release for them. I know that it'd be outstanding, and it might even get me interested in Fantasy Football!

  7. Ally Bean--Sadly, the Fluffy Bunnies were last year. Who knows what they became this year? It's unfortunate that, in many Guy Leagues, the team names are often disgusting/sexual.

    J@jj--You're very welcome. Wish I could have been there! I told you that person was a Difference Maker.

    Bug--I love that haircut, too, and I had it for quite some time. But I was getting the urge for a short, choppy do for some reason. So I went on to the pixy. Just a whim, a fit of boredom, as I said.

    I was really, really hoping some of you would help me with a new team name! I guess I should have come right out and asked.

    fauxprof--Hello! Lovely to see you back here.

    It's funny you should mention Art Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Waters." When that song came out I was about 10-11 years old. Every time I heard it, I would burst into tears. It was very embarrassing, and it became such an involuntary response that eventually, even seeing AG would bring tears to my eyes. Even now, I get a strange sense of emotion for any S & G song.

    Clearly, something must have been going on in my little life at that time that made that song and those lyrics especially poignant for me. If Art Garfunkel is indeed the one to Save Us, I'm fine with that.

  8. J@jj--I had cut my hair already, back in June or so, in the style pictured (Mariska) and was happy with that, but I had been mulling over the shorter do for a long, long time. Finally, I just decided it was time to either fish or cut bait, you know?

    I wish I were more like my daughter Kait, who goes to the salon practically every month and says "Let's try this!" and steps out and looks adorable. She has been several different hair colours as well.

    But like MsCaroline said above, I'm older now and Growing Out after an Experiment is not Such A Big Deal. I'm not teaching anymore (read: Not facing a jury of critics every day), and let's face it: my hair is my nemesis no matter what length or style it is/isn't.

    MsCaroline--Leanne says she orders from there frequently, and that's the first time she's gotten a confirmation letter like that. I hope that your dire prediction is wrong, but I know what you mean. Maybe someone will post it on the dreaded fb and the MSQC will go pleasantly viral because of the work of this fine individual. Not many people read blogs anymore. Just THE ELITE, LIKE US.

    You have piqued my interest re: news coverage in S.Korea vs. here in the US again, vis a vis the Top Stories. We are being fed a daily stream of dread about Ebola and the threat from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). Both are delivered here in terms of great urgency. How about there?

  9. For me, it was dying it. Big mistake. Sorry I have not been around lately, but I am now getting back in the groove and enjoying your last posts. ? Well, hope they aren't.

  10. Mary G--Last posts, by no means. Let's clear up the Confusion and say that you are enjoying my Most Recent posts.

    And I'm glad that you are.

    Happy Thanksgiving, by the way, dear Canadian Reader.

    Speaking of dyeing hair, this short do is highlighting my grey very nicely, thank you. Another drawback. Definitely Growing Out now, which will certainly not go quickly enough, I'm sure.

  11. Re: Ebola: It's kind of hard to say what's going on within the culture, because I don't speak enough Korean to really get whether the hysteria level is quite the same. My best guess is no. I can tell you that, of the 2 online English-language newspapers that I read here in Korea, it's not exactly getting top billing. Each paper had exactly one article. 1 paper described increased precautions at airports of people flying in from high-risk zones, including taking temperatures and a 'health interview' - but if it's anything like the questionnaire we had to fill out when we came back from Hong Kong (SARs and Bird Flu are problems in that area, so Korea screens for it) - it's not going to do much to prevent infected people from getting into the country. The other paper just had an article saying that the WHO predicted some horrific increase in cases - similar to an article I saw on CNN. Main difference? All the US news outlets have multiple articles, updated (it would seem) by the minute. Even NPR - usually a voice of reason - has been contributing to the hysteria. I think the Koreans are less concerned than we are overall - I'll have to ask someone and get back to you. I've certainly not heard anyone mention it, and I am frankly sick of it. Based on everything I've read, it's about a million times easier to get the flu, and that kills hundreds and thousands of people every year in the US. Ebola has killed fewer than 5 people in the US, and you have to actually have someone bleed, vomit, pee,spit, or defecate on you in order to get it - and the virus doesn't survive long outside the body, either - yet the entire US population is acting like death is imminent for us all. It just enrages me that no one out there seems to be trying to calm anyone down. No one is pointing out that healthcare system, poor communications, weak educational system, public hygiene, and traditional funeral practices in some parts of Africa are almost guaranteed to make Ebola a much bigger problem there than it is here. In some of those countries, sick people won't even go to the hospital, because they believe anyone who goes will be killed. There's also a huge social stigma - people won't admit they have ebola because their families will be shunned. So you have all these sick people out in the population spreading the disease (which I am sure you are aware, can only be spread when the patient is actually symptomatic.) I can guarantee you no American is going to avoid going to the dr. if they think they have ebola. I just read that US ERs are gearing up to deal with an inundation of people who think they might be sick with it (and aren't.) Different country, different people, different mindset. Sorry about the soapbox, but honestly, there are so many things that Americans should be concerned about - Ebola's not even in the top 20.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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