A LITTLE BIT OF SUGAR

Daily Prompt: Pour Some Sugar on Me

I’m not a big sweet eater anymore. It has nothing to do with discipline or self-control. It just happened. Especially chocolate. I was a fanatic about chocolate, but these days, other flavors have more appeal.

I can’t eat a lot of sugar anyhow. My blood sugar and I made a deal. I lay off the heavy sugar fixes and it won’t make me sick. It’s pretty basic. I know if I eat more than a little of anything sugary, I will pay and I won’t like the terms. It’s enough to make me think twice.

dessert Island

I can eat a little, more in the morning. It sits better early (rather than late) in the day. I’m sure there’s a reason for that, but don’t know what it might be. In compensation, I spend an inordinate amount of time planning to bake. But I don’t. I also plan to buy sweeties but inevitably forget to put them in the cart. If I bake or buy, I eat and grow fat. Which brings me to the next issue.

I’m watching my weight. Mainly, I’m watching it rise. I know for a fact (popular diet mythology notwithstanding) plans and intentions don’t make one fat. You have to really eat the stuff. Sniffing it, being near it, looking at and longing for it — all free. Despite my best efforts, I’ve been putting on weight slowly but steadily for a few years, ever since the drugs I took following breast cancer killed my metabolism. After the surgery and the drugs, my body changed. I eat the same — same stuff, same amounts — as I did before. It kept me thin for a long time, but now, not.

96-OragnesHannaford_12

I made peace with my rounded self. I can’t eat much less. The injustice of it keeps hitting me. If I’m going to grow round anyhow, shouldn’t I get to have an orgiastic eating experience?

In lieu of other sweets, I eat fruit. With or without Splenda, depending on season and fruit. This time of year, the only good fruit we get is citrus. Grapefruit and oranges. I eat a lot of them. Fortunately, I love fruit. And vegetables.

My non-standard digestive system doesn’t like this stuff nearly as much as my mouth does, so I have to be careful. Moderation. I keep it down to two pieces of citrus and one order of veggies per day. That same picky system also doesn’t care much for carbs. It’s okay with modest quantities of rice and potatoes, is intolerant of pasta and bread. I can eat some. One slice of bread. A few forks of pasta. More gets dodgy.

Beverages? Nothing with sugar. Make me sick. Fast.

In self-defense, I’ve learned to enjoy a little bit of whatever I want. A tiny amount of jam on an English muffin. A dribble of syrup on a waffle. A half a cookie. A bite of cake. If I ate more, it wouldn’t taste better, right? And — I eat desserts ever so slowly. When everyone else has washed the dishes and gone off to watch TV or whatever, I’m still working my way through a dollop of pudding.

Our bodies are forever changing. This is Truth today, but who knows what it will be in a few weeks? Everything changes. If we aren’t dead, we are changing, metamorphosing into whatever we will be. I can handle it.

Well, I think I can. I am definitely going to try.

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Gallery

AT HOME – INWARD AND INSIDE

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

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YOU MADE THAT YOURSELF?

When I was a young mommy working full-time and raising my son, I thought I should make my own clothing. It would save a lot of money. My mom made all my clothing when I was a child. She continued throughout her life to make her own outfits and they were gorgeous and classy.

Now that I was grown up with a job and a toddler, she occasionally — if I begged and pleaded — made something for me. Things I wanted but couldn’t find in the store, or afford if I found them.

I waxed nostalgic about the days when Mom made my clothes. I didn’t appreciate how beautifully everything fit. How special the outfits were until I was much older. When I was a kid, I wanted was to look like everyone else. Kids are dumb that way.

sewing susan

I spent my entire childhood watching my mother sew things on her magic Singer. How hard could it be? I picked up a second-hand sewing machine. Took a sewing class. Bought a few patterns. Acquired fabric, zippers, buttons, threads — all those little widgets and doodads sewing requires.

There were a lot more than I imagined possible. And I made some spiffy new outfits. I was thrilled at how much clothing I could make for a pittance, especially compared to buying it at Macy’s.

People stared at my clothing. Admiration, I figured. They must be impressed. I was right.

Long pause. “You made that yourself?”

“How did you know?”

“Just a lucky guess.”

It turns out that you have to set both sleeves the same way so one isn’t puffy and the other flat. There’s pattern matching too. Oh, and buttons, which are supposed to line up. Zippers are not supposed to stick out and be all bunchy. Also, they are supposed to close so it’s level when zipped.

Details, details. Hems? One length all around. Those pesky collars? Hated collars. They never came out right.

Even is a big word in sewing. Both sides of a garment should be as close to exactly the same as possible. Unless you are oddly shaped or making a costume for a party and intend to look weird.

I took a another course, this time in tailoring. It didn’t go as well as sewing had. You had to use padding and stuff that stiffens fabric. I was never patient enough to get it right.

I gave up making my own clothing and returned to holding my little plastic card and yelling “CHARGE!” as I went into the mall. The sewing machine grew dusty. It is still gathering dust in my dining room.

It’s all closed now. But not wasted. It’s a lovely spare table on which to display dolls. I collect dolls. And no, I do not make their clothing.

I do many things myself. I get up and out of bed by myself. I wash dishes. Write, edit, take pictures, process photos. Pass out treats to dogs. Manage our so-to-speak finances.

singer sewer 2

Take more pictures. Water plants. Maintain this blog.

That’s pretty good, isn’t it? All by myself I mean?

Oh, and I fix computers, install software and if you need anyone to explain how to use something? I’m your gal. Does anyone need an older, but barely used sewing machine?

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BEWARE OF DERANGED BOOKWORMS

Daily Prompt: BYOB(ookworm)

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination. Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.

I can do this. I have books. I wrote a book … and it has its own blurb! Wow! I can DO this, oh world! Just hold on, let me run and get the camera and I’ll take a few pictures. I’ll be right back. Don’t leave. I won’t be gone long …

(Time: 11:10 AM EST … tick tick tick …)

Okay, I’m back and it’s just 11:21 AM. I took pictures. A few more than I intended and gave the desperate canines another round of biscuits. I’d like to know which of you rotten little terriers peed on the kitchen floor! Too cold for your little paws? You know, that could affect your biscuit distribution if I ever catch you!

Now, please wait another few minutes while I take a look at the pictures and see which ones I want to use. Stay put. I’m just going to peek into Photoshop briefly … tick tick tick …

I’m nearly ready. Not quite, but pictures take time. It’s already 12:15 PM. I never seem to leave enough time to process photos. Anyway, I get hung up, frozen while trying to decide what to do with which pictures. I guess this is going to go up tomorrow, rather than right now, because it’s getting late and I’m not finished yet. Drat.

Tomorrow is another day. (Who said that?)(Just kidding. I know.)

You can tell a lot about people from the contents of their bookcases. I’m always shocked to go into a home and discover there are NO bookcases. I realize there are people who don’t read, but I still get upset. How can you not love books?

You can look at the pictures here and know a lot about both of us. We share many books … mysteries and histories … but branch off into specializations too. I’m into antiques, sci fi and fantasy. Garry is a film buff, a devotee of classic film — and baseball.

Between us, we never lack for something to talk about. Or, at least, I don’t!

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LUNCH IS MOOT IF YOU DRINK ENOUGH COFFEE

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts

Lunch hour.

Hm. When is that, anyhow? I stopped working for good and all 6 years ago, so I get up when I get up. More accurately, when the phone rings. Or the dogs howl. Or I have to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I go back to sleep for a couple of hours, but usually, once I’m awake, I stay awake. This morning was a little different. Garry got up to take care of the early morning stuff and afterwards, went back to sleep.

I woke when he did, but was able to go back to sleep. For an hour. Until the dogs thought it was time to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in four-part harmony. Admirable, really. They eventually finished and I drifted into a near sleep, a twilight state where I’m not awake, yet am aware of things going on. I started a dream in which I was completely naked but no one seemed to care except me. I was trying to decide if having no nipples made being naked more or less important when the phone rang.

I scrambled to get the phone, but when I answered, there was no one on the line. The phone set the dogs off and they began another chorus, longer and louder than the earlier one. I lay there, listening. They’re pretty good, for dogs. They each seem to know their part, when to sing, when to wait for the cue. It’s perfect canine harmony. Then, miraculously, I fell asleep for another hour. When I next woke up, it was a bodily function in need of immediate attention. Ten-thirty. Good enough.

Got dressed, got out of bed. Ran a comb across my head.

And then I greeted the musical canines, turned on Mr. Coffee. Proffered biscuits, then more biscuits. Coffee was almost ready. Almost, not quite. So I put the dishes away, washed a cup or two and then coffee was ready and I poured myself a cup. Carried it to the office and sat down, here, in front of the monitor where I’ve been ever since. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and I’m nursing my second (very large) cup of coffee. I have nibbled my way through half a protein bar. Nan, the Norwich, is snoring on the floor behind my chair. She’s a heavy sleeper these days. Her age is catching up with her.

Nan in my office

It’s a shiny gray day. Not raining, though it looks like it’s thinking about it. Am I eating lunch? Have I eaten? Is this protein bar lunch? Breakfast? Does it matter?

I called the doctor’s office, but they aren’t working today. Martin Luther King day is apparently a medical holiday. I want the results of last week’s EKG. I’ve been patient, now I want to know what’s going on. Do I need open heart surgery? Is it all a horrible misunderstanding?

Nan’s snoring is getting loud. I think her hearing is going because she sometimes doesn’t answer the supper call. Even though she’s getting on in years, she remains food driven. If she misses the call to supper, she didn’t hear it. She has episodes of dementia where she doesn’t seem to know where she is or who we are. She’s 11, almost 12 and so cute. And in good physical shape, except for minor back problems that come and go … but mentally, she’s slipping. Sad because she’s only been with us a little over a year and I would have liked a few more of her good years.

I eat another bite of protein bar. Is it lunchtime yet? This is my second post of the day. I think I’ll make pasta with meat sauce for dinner. I suppose I could go and get it started. Nah, not yet. An hour or so.

I think it’s officially after lunch now. Did I miss it or eat it?

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DAILY PROMPT: A COZY WAY TO LIVE

75-OfficeHDR-CR-2Daily Prompt: Style Icon

Style. My style.

The idea that I have a style would probably wring guffaws of hysterical laughter from most of the people who know me. I’m such an anarchist.

But wait … I see a common thread. It’s a slender thread, but it’s there.

I want to be comfortable. From head, including brain-space, to feet, which scream for cozy, my goal is to be comfortable and at ease. To which end everything in my home, from my bed to the reclining love seat, is without any style at all … except it is really soft, forgiving, back-friendly and comfy.

All my clothing is loose. My car is boxy, easy to get in and out. My desk is messy and we don’t even want to think about my closets! My cameras are lightweight.

I cook meals that are easy to eat and even easier to clean up after. All things added together, I guess it could be considered a style. Mine.

What do you think?

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A SERIOUS TALK WITH BONNIE

 I feel this is a perfect opportunity to air a grievance still fresh in my mind.

Although we are indulgent dog parents, we don’t sleep with dogs. They outnumber us two to one and the bed isn’t all that big.  Moreover, they hang with us on the loveseat in the living room and in the offices from morning till we toddle off to bed in the wee hours. The bed is ours. Ours alone. I refuse to feel guilty about it. Okay, a little guilty, but only a bit. We have enough trouble getting comfortable without trying to maneuver around you dogs.

Not to mention the dirt and fur that inevitably accompanies our beloved beasts. We have a gate across the hallway. We close it at night when we go to bed, confining our poor, oppressed pets to the living room, kitchen and of course the yard via the doggy door. For the 5 or 6 hours during which I try to catch some Zs, it’s No Dogs Allowed. You guys — yes, I mean you, my black-furred miscreant — know this is our time alone. You know perfectly well that when the gate is closed, it’s “give them a rest” time.

Bonnie - 8

Except last night, Bonnie, you didn’t feel like sleeping and proceeded to fling yourself at the gate. The whole house shook. I’m surprised you didn’t knock it right off its hinges. The howling and barking and yapping was bad enough, but this was like an earthquake. Totally uncool.

Bonnie, my beloved Scottish Terrier? Listen up. If you persist in flinging yourself at the gate through the night, it isn’t biscuits you’ll get. Just because you’re bored and think 3 am is a grand time for a romp and a treat, doesn’t mean we humans agree. You are going to wind up in a crate. Worse, I’ll take away your computer privileges. You won’t be able to use my laptop anymore. You know I can do it, darling Bonnie, so don’t test me. Last night, you were a wicked Scottie.

When you rousted me out of bed for that fourth and final time — was that just about 4 am?– you knew I wasn’t coming to give you a cookie. Because you ran out the doggy door and didn’t come back until I’d gone back to bed. How did you know I was mad at you? I didn’t say anything. The first three times you got your dad, then me up, you snagged a biscuit. That was supposed to shut you up. How did you know this wasn’t another goody on the way?

But you knew. You ran for the yard. Interesting. Was it the sound of steam coming out of my nose and ears? Or just the way I tread the floorboards?

Bonnie, my darling. You do that again, tonight — or any other night — and your spoiled rotten little life will be in serious peril. Do you understand? Don’t laugh at me. I’m serious. I’m mad at you!

DAILY PROMPT: PUTTING OUT THE FIRE

A bunch of us had gathered at Sandy’s house. She was a cook, aspiring to be a professional. When she invited us for a meal, it was good. Always a good feeding and delicious. We were her test subjects, never knowing what great idea she’d come up with. Whatever, we were happy to eat it.

On this day, Sandy was dressed — as always — in a floaty Indian blouse and long skirt. The blouse had angel-wing sleeves. Very pretty, if a bit inconvenient in the kitchen. All of us had been smoking a little hashish. We’d have been smoking pot, but it was hard to come by. Hashish was ubiquitous, available everywhere. All it really meant was we were building up a hearty appetite. It was our appetizer.

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“Hey,” I said. “Sandy! You are on fire.” Sure enough, the wings of her blouse passed smoldering — I’d missed that — and were now in flames.

“Oh,” said Sandy, flustered.

All the friends stood there like stuffed dummies, staring at the pretty fire. Morons, I mumbled. Then, I put out the fire. Cotton doesn’t flame up quickly and if one is attentive, it’s easy to douse. Sandy thanked me profusely for a commonplace thing I’d have done for anyone. What was more interesting was how the rest of the gang just stood there with their mouths open, apparently at a loss to know what to do. Not good in a crisis, I surmised.

“No one else tried to put out the fire,” said Sandy.

“Not a big deal,” I said, and it wasn’t. I still don’t understand why I was the only one who realized that “Sandy is on fire” should be followed by putting out the fire.

Sandy stopped wearing loose clothing in the kitchen and stopped inviting those friends for dinner. Shortly thereafter, following a misunderstanding with the local constabulary vis-à-vis the growing of certain plants on her balcony, she moved to San Francisco and opened a chain of take-out restaurants. I visited her there. She’s doing fine and no longer feels obliged to grow her own on the balcony.

In any case, it would be legal.

WHAT I BOUGHT ON BLACK FRIDAY

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday

Honestly, I was in the mood to buy something. A camera, a lens, a widget, gadget, cool electronic toy. I was eager and ready. But wherever I looked, the stuff on sale was something I already own … or something I don’t need or want. I’ve already shopped for my family and close friends, so there are no gifts on my list to be bought.

So I looked. And looked. And looked again. Finally, I found exactly what I needed on Amazon — and snapped it up. Greenies tooth cleaning dog biscuits for small breeds. I was thrilled to find it on sale for 20% less than I usually pay.

That concluded my Black Friday shopping. Garry and I bundled up and went to enjoy the annual lighting of Heritage Museum and Gardens.

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. Thanks to all of you who came and visited. Congratulations to all of us who stuck it through and made it to the end. It has been an experience … and a lot of fun! See you next year!

JUST ONE OF THOSE WEEKS

It always happens around the holidays. We become an illustration of Murphy’s Law in action. What can go wrong, goes wrong. At the same time.

On Saturday, we ran out of oil. Why? Because our provider forgot to deliver oil since August. Just … forgot. Saturday afternoon, no hot water. It wasn’t terribly cold and we got hold of The Guy. He put 50 gallons in the tank and restarted the boiler. Today I called them and as soon as I identified myself, she started to apologize, told me the truck was on the way, no idea how or why this happened.

Diagram of an automated water well system powe...

One crisis settled. I took a deep breath. With Thanksgiving just a few days from now. I need to shop, clean, cook. I put supper in the oven. Garry and I were sitting, watching a rerun of Law and Order when the Granddaughter popped upstairs. It was bit late to be asking to borrow the car so it had to be an actual visit … nah … something had happened.

No water. She had tried to take a shower and there was no water. Not hot. Not cold. Not any. We had water in the morning. We had water an hour ago. Less than an hour ago. We replaced the well pump three years ago. June 2010. I knew when because it occurred before the cancer. My son was sure we changed the pump just last year, but I knew it was BC (before cancer) which had to be 2010. Time flies when you are having fun. It meant the warranty has run out on the pump. Still, three years is not much mileage on a well pump.

aquifersandwells

My son came home from work, quickly determined the outside pipe which feeds the garden hose had burst and drained the well. The pump got hot and turned itself off. We closed down the broken pipe, restarted the pump and voilà, water.

If you think that’s the end of the story, you don’t have a well.

A well is just a big hole in the ground that taps into an aquifer. A pump hangs on an electric cable and a pipe through which the water is pushed to the surface and into the house. Ours well is artesian. Deep, almost 500 feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. This is not an arid region and although we have occasional droughts, it’s not like living in the southwest. Mostly, we have plenty of water and don’t think about the well. We have a filter to keep the water clear of particulates. Our natural well water is icy cold and delicious.

wellThrice before the well has run dry. First time, we tried to fill a hot tub in one day. Second time, the old well pump up and died. At 30-years old, it didn’t owe us anything. Last time, lightning hit the pump and killed it. That’s how I know lightning can strike underground. It’s the yummy combination of metal, electricity and water. Really attracts lightning.

Since then we haven’t had to think about the well. Plenty of water, even during periods of drought. So after the pump was back on, we went back to acting normally. Not a good idea — not much water in the well.

I didn’t think about how empty the well was until after Garry had taken a shower and I started to wash the dishes and a little bell went off. Ding, ding, ding: “Whoa, water … damn.” An hour later, there was no water. Again.

We are on the ultimate Water Diet. For the next few days, we have to use as little water as possible. Flush only when we must. Shower only if really dirty (ugh). Wash dishes quickly using minimal water. By Thanksgiving, the well should be full. Or so we fondly believe.

The fun never stops around here.

SLICE AND DICE

I almost removed the tip of my left index finger while chopping vegetables. I was doing everything right. The knife was razor-sharp. I was using a wooden cutting board. But I forgot to keep my finger out of the way of the blade and I only noticed when the knife blade stuck in my fingernail and I had to extract it. How inattentive do you need to be to not notice you’re sawing through your fingernail?

96-knives_3

I never fully understood why we have fingernails. I thought it was to stiffen up the ends of our fingers, make it easier to pick stuff up. This evening I realized if I didn’t have a fingernail, I would no longer have that finger — or at least not all of it. And I didn’t even ruin my manicure, because I don’t have a manicure.

I’m not sure what to do about me, knives and vegetables. I’ve been avoiding recipes that need chopped veggies, eschewing all slicing and dicing. It makes for boring dinners, but it’s the first time in years I don’t have any band-aids on my fingers, no healing scabs. I’ve also been particularly careful about how I open packages because my ongoing battle with shrink-wrap and boxes is a frequent cause of injuries — and my blood winding up all over the house.

The damage I do myself is painful and messy, but I also damage the contents of packages in frenzied attempts to extract it using any “tools” at hand. I define “tools” loosely because for me, anything with an edge may become a tool when I need one. Nail files, tweezers, screw drivers, ball point pens, butter knives — all, at one time or another have served in the ranks of the War Against Packaging.

96-knives__2My box cutter is a personal favorite. I’ve used it to pry the back off my Blackberry to get at the battery. Removing the back off wasn’t supposed to require tools, but the battery for my Torch was so tight, I could only get it out with a blade. This wasn’t good for the phone or the battery. I finally got an iPhone which eliminated the problem by sealing the battery compartment entirely.

That’s why you can find traces of my blood everywhere I’ve ever opened a package or prepared a meal. You’ll find blood on my keyboard, mouse, countertops and of course all the various items I’ve used as tools.

I keep telling my husband to save this piece so if CSI comes, he’ll have proof he didn’t do it.

I’ll be happy as long as no one takes away my box cutter.

PERSPECTIVE IS WHERE YOU’RE COMING FROM

It depends on where you stand, doesn’t it? On what you are looking at. Personally, I want coffee. But first, I need to capture that interesting shadow on the wall in the little bathroom.

Morning Shadows

And the fur people, they have a different perspective. Biscuits. Until they get their biscuits, they are obsessive, determined, focused. Notice that Bonnie is missing? She’s a bouncing shaggy black ball of energy. No way I’m going to catch her (but I keep trying). Even if I do, she doesn’t look like a dog. She won’t until I find money to get her groomed. She looks like a pile of dirty black dog hair. In perpetual motion.

While Mr. Coffee brews and I need to put some clothing on. Sandy is in my office, making copies on the printer.

Bish and Nan Biscuit Time

“What are you doing up so early?” It’s eight in the morning.

“I’m not up. It’s an illusion. There’s a picture I need to take.”

“I’m not going to ask.”

“Good choice,” I agree. I realize I don’t have my glasses on and can’t see anything clearly. If I fail to notice I’m not wearing my eyeglasses, I’m asleep. Ignore me.

 

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SMALL WORLDS

girls in my office

It gets dark so early this time of year. After the ubiquitous “they” take away Daylight Savings Time, it’s dark by 4:30. Dawn is late too as the days shorten. I don’t understand the time change. I don’t see a purpose. Pick a time. Stay with it. I prefer DST because 5 o’clock is much too early for night. Makes us feel like mole people.

My office is dark much of the time anyway. It faces northwest, so it’s dark in the morning, bright for a few  afternoon hours, then dark again. Even in summertime, it’s shadowy.  I like it that way. Using a big monitor is difficult in sunlight. Too much reflection, eyestrain city. My world, my office — junk,  cameras, dolls, books, pens, papers and software — is dim and dusty. Full of lounging dogs hanging around in case I need to pet someone. Or just happen to drop a piece of food. Ever ready they are to make sure nothing edible escapes notice.

Garry’s office is next door. Brighter. He has two windows and the room is bigger — but there’s more in it. Huge bookcases and the futon for guests we never seem to have any more. Messy, like mine, though less of a paper storm. I do the bills, so a lot of rubble lands on my desk. Good it’s such a big desk.

Our offices are the most personal spaces in the house. Garry’s office is his turf. Occasionally we have a guest or two, then he has to clear the futon. But it’s rare. Still, having the bed there is important. I need to know we can welcome friends, that we have a special space for them. The welcome mat is still there, if infrequently used.

It’s a small world getting smaller with each added paper, camera, book and whatnot. Oddly, I don’t mind. It fits us. Eventually I’ll reorganize, put things in different places so it will seem less crowded, but really it’s life surrounding us. Papers you never need until you really need them. Papers you have to keep but don’t know why. Books you can’t bear to be without though you’ll never read them again.

We are surrounded by our memories. The lives we’ve lived, people we’ve known, places we’ve seen, work we’ve done. Photos and paintings and all the stuff over in the corner. I’m not sure what it is. It’s buried.

I’ll get to it. No, really. I will. Just not today.

Garry in his office

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DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

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The devil is hiding in the details. Let’s play “what is it?” In these two photographs hot from the camera of our world, there is much to know.

my clothing

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AN ILLUSION OF TIME

Bird Clock Office

At the beginning of  November, Daylight Savings Time ended and we had to turn the clocks back. Everything has a clock in it these days. The computers adjust themselves, as do the cable boxes. All the other clocks have to be changed. Everything went well until Garry tried to re-hang the clock in his bathroom. Oops. It was just a cheap plastic clock and I don’t even remember when we got it. Maybe 12 years ago? 13? So it didn’t owe us anything.

Garry missed his clock. He’s no longer on a tight schedule and he doesn’t really need a wall clock in the bathroom any more. But he found each time he was in the bathroom, he would look at the wall and there was no clock. He admitted it was stupid, but … he wanted a clock. Because there’s supposed to be a clock there.

Meanwhile, the clock in the kitchen hadn’t told time in more than a year. Time for a replacement. I told Garry not to worry, I’d get a couple of inexpensive wall clocks on Amazon. Which I did. Two days later, our two new all-plastic analog clocks arrived. The 8-1/2 inch model for the bathroom was exactly the right size. Readable without my glasses (this is important). The 14 inch model for the kitchen? Even better.

I put batteries in them and my tall son hung them. When you’re tall, so many things are easy.

The one in the kitchen is nice. Keeps time. You’d think that’s important for a clock, wouldn’t you?

Kitchen clock

The one for Garry’s bathroom started ticking the moment the battery was inserted. It fits that spot over the door where nothing else fits and Garry felt much better. When he looked at the wall, there was a clock. Harmony and balance was restored.

Until the following morning when the clock in the bathroom stopped. It didn’t slow down. Just stopped. Every now and then, it starts running again. Then stops, so the time on it isn’t the same always, but it’s never correct either. I could have returned it but given how cheap it was, it hardly seemed worth the effort. I suggested to Garry that it is telling time, just not for this dimension. Maybe for a parallel reality?

“Don’t worry,” I told Garry. “Next time we’re out and about, we’ll pop over to Walmart and get you a clock.”

Garry's Clock

That was a couple of days ago. Tonight Garry realized he doesn’t need a new clock. It doesn’t matter whether the clock tells time. It fills the space. When he looks at the wall, there’s a clock where a clock belongs. If he actually wants to know what time it is, he can look at his watch.

Sometimes it really is the thought that counts.

Alarm Clock Digital LR

SNICK. WHIRR. BEEP. CHIRP. BUZZ. CLICK.

Our cable company changes software frequently. They call these changes upgrades, though nothing seems to improve. The equipment doesn’t work better and isn’t easier to use. If the so-called upgrade includes useful features, no one tells you how to use them or even that they exist. You discover them accidentally while trying to figure out how to do what you did before the menu you used was removed.

Among the useful new features is the ability to adjust recording times to before or after the times posted in the online guide. It’s trendy for shows to begin and end at odd times. I think it’s a network attempt to defeat DVR recorders, though I have no idea why they’d want to do that. It’s usually just a few minutes difference, but if you set up recordings using the default settings, it will always start exactly on an hour or half hour. And finish precisely 30 or 60 minutes later.  Unless you override it.

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I have no idea why software developers don’t design the software to check actual start and end times. I’m sure they could but don’t. Meanwhile, off-hour programming means recorded shows have the last couple of minutes clipped. It annoys everyone except producers who clearly don’t record anything. Probably don’t watch anything either.

With shows starting and ending at random times, despite how they are listed in the “guide,” adjustability ought to help. It would if you could just set start and end time using regular time. Start recording at 8:01 PM. End at 9:03 PM. Simple, right?

My GeekscapeSoftware designers apparently think we are morons so instead of clock time, this function works by “start earlier or later” or “end early or run over.” My husband has no problem with clock time, but gets lost in the “earlier” and “over” thing. He needs numbers. Me, I want the DVR’s internal computer to deal with this so we don’t have to.

Note: Cable companies are tyrannical. We live with whatever company we’re assigned. One day, this will change. The suppressed anger of enraged customers will spill into the streets. Cable customers will form angry mobs and hunt down cable executives. I live for the day.

Meanwhile, to record shows in a sequence when one airs right after another, is byzantine. Kafkaesque. You must start with the final show in the sequence, then work forward. Because it’s a cheap-ass piece of junk equipment with terrible software.

Garry is the Man With The Remote. He has been engaged in combat with the DVR for months. Yesterday, he got so frustrated he was ready to throw the remote against a wall. Drastic for a man serious about his entertainment.

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I wouldn’t let him quit. I know a secret. If you let a computer-controlled device defeat you, the news travels and your devices will rebel.

They are planning the overthrow of civilization.

Machine power! Down with meat-based life forms! They are winning, one beep and chirp at a time. Dinging and clicking in the dark, they scheme.

Today, the DVR. Tomorrow, the world. Your toaster won’t toast. Mr. Coffee won’t brew. The contact list on your cell phone will vanish. No one remembers phone numbers or writes anything down, so you won’t be able to contact friends. Your ISP will mark your messages as SPAM.

The All-Knowing Net is gathering strength as I write.

Nothing is safe. Snick, whir, beep. Chirp, buzz, click. Ding!  Can the Zombie Apocalypse be far behind?

Show no fear!