Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lynn D. "Buck" Compton died today


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Speaking of Sock Escapes

Now that you mention it, there's something going on in my laundry room. My socks are no longer trying to escape. Odd, no?

Instead, foreign socks are using my laundry basket as a cloaking device, if you will, in order to get smuggled out of the laundry room and into my apartment. Isn't someone supposed to be defending my borders? Isn't there some sort of fence to keep these foreign socks out?

The first one almost got away with it, too. It was a solo but I figured its mate was about somewhere and put it in the drawer. Just like that, it was there - with all my other socks! It was a full week later - probably the next laundry day - before I noticed there was something different about this sock. It wasn't mine!

I returned it to the laundry room and it wasn't long before it disappeared again. I don't know where it ultimately went and I don't want to know. In fact, I'll deny that I ever saw it in the first place.

But, before I knew it, it happened again! This time, it was a pair and I noticed them right away. Well, not before they made it back to my apartment but at least they didn't make it as far as my drawer. Close call!

I deported them straight back to the laundry room and unceremoniously dumped them on top of the dryer. I'll never know what became of them but sometimes I wonder if they're okay, if I did the right thing. On the other hand, they didn't belong here and it's better that I don't get involved.

So, next time, I'm calling the authorities. Or maybe the Computer Science Division at UC Berkeley.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh, Really

“Imprisonment alone is not enough to create a custodial situation...,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s majority opinion.
Washington Post: Supreme Court says prison inmates don’t have to be read rights in different investigations

Saturday, February 18, 2012

AC/DC - Coming To A Living Room Near Me

Shall we talk speaker? Subwoofers? Amplifiers? Oh, please, do we have to?

We just bought a new stereo. Correction: Pioneer Elite amplifier and Martin Logan 12 tower speakers. You would think that in our 500 sq.ft. apartment we could hear the TV just fine. Well, I could. But now the neighbors will hear it pretty well too.

The setup looks nice but I'm afraid that when we turn it on we'll blow a fuse and the plaster right off the walls. And by looking at the collection of remote controls, I suspect a conspiracy (of one). The TV is now sufficiently complicated enough that I can't run it by myself thereby ensuring a lifelong reliance on my husband. Talk about relationship security.

Naturally, setup is a process so I've been charged with procuring beer because beer is a prerequisite for all home improvement projects.

That, and a first aid kit.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Speaking of Taxes

It's not all about the Feds. Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 291:
The five highest combined rates are Tennessee (9.45 percent), Arizona (9.12 percent), Louisiana (8.85 percent), Washington (8.80 percent), and Oklahoma (8.66 percent).
 More information at the Tax Foundation.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I need a latte lollipop. It's too late in the day for coffee although I really, really want one. A coffee in the afternoon doesn't work for me. But a latte, that's different. And, decaf doesn't really count so what's a person to do?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Bug Story

Cicadas are disgusting. That's why I left Chicago.

In 1973, my hometown was swarmed with locusts. If you didn't live there, you don't have any idea of what I'm talking about. I was a little girl so I admit my memory has acquired patina over the years but try to think in Biblical terms: Swarms. Of. Locusts. (Flee now!)

I don't know how to give you a sense of my my meaning. Try:
be alive with, be all over the place, be knee deep in, be no end to, be plentiful, be thick with, be up to one's ears in, crawl with, crowd, flourish, flow, have a full plate, infest, overflow, proliferate, swarm, swell, teem, thrive
That'll give you an idea. They were everywhere. EVERYWHERE. They were loud and they could FLY! They shed their skins leaving locust-shaped shells behind them. Their eyes were freaking RED! I was traumatized! Thank goodness they only come around once every 17 years!

I knew in 1973 that I would not be living there in 1990. And I wasn't. I left in 1981 and, for the most part, have never been back. Good thing, because
In 1990, there were reports from people in Chicago having to use snow shovels to clear their sidewalks of the dead cicadas.
(Cicadas in Illinois, University of Illinois Extension )

I'd be careful about visiting anytime during the Summer of 2024.

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Aunt Story

This is a story about an Aunt and her sweatshirt. Really, it's a story about the Christmas of 1981 in Ohio. My parents and I cooked up a scheme to give everyone red sweatshirts with a word on it - ironed on in green letters. Only when everyone was wearing their sweatshirts and assembled in the proper order would the words make some sort of sense. Only we didn't give them any clues. The idea was to see how long it would take for everyone to figure it out.

There were twelve sweatshirts. I remember my grandmother was "A Mare," Grandpa was "Moose," and Aunt Lea was "Men." My youngest cousin was "Wee Fish" and the newest member of the family was an aunt who had recently married into the C Dot clan. She was the first to unwrap a sweatshirt and hers read "Ant." Cute, she must have thought, like getting a garish Christmas sweater in a roomful of newly acquired in-laws. She smiled, and thanked us anyway and probably thought we were all a little off our rockers.

The gift exchange continued and then someone else opened another sweatshirt. And then another. Finally, someone (and I suspect this is another aunt) guessed that we were up to something, that this was some sort of riddle. Oh, we thought we were so clever to devise such a game. Everyone put on their sweatshirts and went into a huddle and, sure enough, they figured it out. Clever people, these C Dots.

There's a picture of everyone wearing their sweatshirts. Assembled in order, they read:
Wee Fish - Ewe - A Mare - Egrets - Moose - Panda - Hippo - Gnu - Deer (to which we added, since we need three more sweatshirts) Ant - Men - Emu
I'll have to find that picture. I owe someone for posting a picture about Floss Dancing but that's a different story entirely.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm Driving In My Car / I Turn On The Radio*

I don't drink and drive because coffee deserves to be in ceramic. Not paper. Not plastic. Not stainless steel. Ceramic. Red, if I have anything to say about it.

And if you really want to curb erratic driving behavior, what you should outlaw is Rock n Roll, not cell phones. Specifically, signing along. That's my problem. That's why I listen to NPR most of the time. I can't sing along and I tend to drive more conservatively. When I sing along to Rock n Roll, I tend to exceed the speed limit. Just a little.

My driving becomes more erratic when I start dancing. Hard to do in a stick shift, really, but I suppose I shouldn't do it all. Not while driving anyway, and definitely not with the top down.

*"Fire" lyrics by Bruce Springsteen
Fire lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., EMI Music Publishing

Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Ant Story

The ants moved in while we were away. Isn't that how these things always start? We had just come back from a vacation on a late flight in a total downpour. We were tired and glad to be home until the cab driver dropped us off and we opened the front door to find all our smoke and fire detectors blaring.

We are not strangers to disaster striking while we're on vacation. In a previous house, our hot water heater burst while we were away and flooded the daylight basement. Of course, this was just after we had remodeled said basement so the good news was I knew what to do. I called all the contractors who had just been there and told them to come back and do it all over again.

We were nervous about what we would find but we didn't smell smoke so we went inside and looked for signs of fire. There were none so we went about turning off the alarms. We have six detectors in the house and only one can be reached with a six-foot ladder so we started there. The other five are mounted to vaulted ceilings.

We pushed the little button. Nothing. We pulled out the battery. Nothing. I went to the garage to turn off the power. Still nothing. The alarms are hard-wired. When one goes off, they all do. And, they all have battery backup power.

We didn't know what to do. We couldn't just go to sleep and worry about fixing it in the morning and we didn't have a tall enough ladder. So, we called the fire department.

They came in the middle of the night, in the heavy rain, hauled their ladder inside and one by one turned off all the alarms by unmounting each one and pulling out their batteries. When they got to our den, they found the problem. A colony of ants had moved into our attic and were trying to get into the house through one of the smoke detectors. They had clogged it up completely - it was full of giant black ants - and they had severed some connection that triggered the alarms.

It was a vast colony and once the smoke detector had been removed from its mount they poured in, literally dripping from the ceiling. Now, it's the middle of the night, it's raining, our ears were ringing, the fire department just left, and we had ants raining from above. Hundreds of them, it seemed. There was no way I was going to sleep now!

I got out the shop vac and starting sucking up ants. Hubby got out our six-foot ladder and an extender pole we use for changing light bulbs that are too high for us to reach and fashioned a cover for the hole in the ceiling out of a Ziploc bag and masking tape. But I still wasn't going to bed just across the hall.

So Hubby filled a five gallon bucket with water and positioned it under the hole for any ants that made it past his barrier. Into the water they would fall, and they would drown, he told me.

Still, I stuffed a towel under my door.

It was a disgusting mess to clean up the next day. Ants had filled the plastic bag. Some were in the bucket. But we managed, as people do when they find ants in unexpected places.

Now, we own a very long ladder and we are loyal customers of Orkin. (But we still go on vacations.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dirty Rats

I'm out of coffee. Not just in my cup. In the house.

Remember the six pounds of coffee I got for Christmas (instead of the trip to Belize)? That's all in the freezer at the other house. Where I am now - no coffee!

I'm forced to go to work for my next fix.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Employee Benefits

My employer has installed a latte filled gerbil feeder just above my monitors. It's brilliant, really. I mean, I am really, really focused here. I can't wait to do tax returns - literally. I don't know how they can keep it warm for so long but it takes all day to drink it, one drop at a time. Oh man, is it good! I used to suck my coffee down in about 15 minutes and then spend the rest of the day moping around because it was all gone. No more! Now, I get coffee all day and I don't ever have to leave my desk.

Hey, wait a minute. What's this exercise wheel for?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I don't care what the groundhog said. I put away all my flannel pajamas. Winter is over.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Agree

I'm writing to you a someone who will be late for something. Because, really, I'm supposed to be getting ready for something instead of sitting here. And yet....

Yesterday, I tried to think of something that my hubby and I agree on and I couldn't think of anything. So, I gave a pop quiz. "Name something we agree on," I asked of him.

There was a long silence and I watched his face change to a look of amused bewilderment as he admitted he couldn't think of anything either. We don't like the same sports, the same pastimes, the same food. We don't agree in politics, the ramifications of news items, or how to spend our money.

We agreed that we compromise in our choices because how could we not? We live and work most days within an arm length of each other. We are extremely close physically as well as emotionally. Is it true that opposites attract? Who knows? But after 22 years we're still together and having a pretty good time.

It took us several minutes and some conversation to come up with some things we agree on and by the end of the day, we had three:

1. We love each other.
2. We have the best grandson in the world.
3. I am always right.

And, now, we can agree I'm late.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


The brochure at a Starbucks read, "We'd Love To Hear Your Thoughts." I'll bet they would. That would make ordering coffee easier.

Don't be fooled. It will happen.