Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Book Ritual

New books just came in the mail. One is a hardback. I remove the book from its plastic shipping prison and immediately stick my nose to the edges of the pages. The heady aroma of printing ink and crisp, clean paper swirl me away on a bibliophile head trip. There is a world of wonder inside and it's all mine!

I perform the New Book Ritual without thinking. It is no longer a concious effort, just a natural reaction. I may be the only person in the world who does this. After I'm finished I get tickled at myself. I've done the Ritual since I was seven years old.

It is the first day of school in third grade. We are assigned our textbooks. This year we have a new social studies book; new, clean, unblemished by decades of grimy little third-grade hands. One that doesn't declare Eisenhower to be the newly elected President. I immediately stick it to my nose taking in a big huff of printing ink and paper. I am eager to open it and look at the pictures, but no, we must open it properly says teacher.

There's a proper way to open a book? Other than turn the cover? Apparently so. Teacher says we must open the book carefully so as not to break the spine.


Here's how that's done:

  • Position the book in front of you on the desk, front cover facing you.
  • Open the front cover and ease it all the way open so it is flat, running your hand down the valley to crease it open.
  • Close the book and turn it over.
  • Repeat the procedure with the back cover.
  • Close the book and hold it upright on its spine so the page edges point up.
  • Find the midway point in the pages and open the book out flat; crease the valley.
  • Stand the book back up on its spine closed, pick a point halfway between the midpoint and the front cover.
  • Open the book flat and crease.
  • Stand the book back up on its spine closed, pick a point halfway between the midpoint and the back cover.
  • Open the book flat and crease.

The book can now be used without fear of breaking the spine. I didn't know what "breaking the spine" meant in third grade, but it seemed to be a terrible doom both for the book and the spine breaker kid.

The final step in the New Book Ritual is carefully penning your full name and date on the inside cover. I'm not sure of the importance of the date, but who am I to fiddle around with a time honored tradition?

With my New Book Ritual completed, I am off to the porch rocker to immerse myself in southern culture. It will be a Good Day.

Monday, April 23, 2007

One Ringy Dingy

My cell phone was almost dead. The battery wouldn't hold a charge. Hubby declared I needed a new one. I hate cell phones.

I told Hubby to cancel my contract and just get me a throwaway phone from Wally World. I only made about three calls last year on the damn thing and those could have been made on my land line. I get 700 minutes of local and long-distance calls a month. I use maybe 20 minutes a year.

Nope, Hubby said I needed a fancy new phone. Off to the phone store we go.

The cute, bubbly salesperson ran through all the choices and Hubby narrowed it down to two. He asked what Choice A had that Choice B didn't. She picked up Choice A and said, "This one has more junk in the trunk."

Neither Hubby nor I said a word. You could hear the crickets chirping in the ensuing silence. I'm sure he felt, as I did, about 170 years old at that moment. We had no idea what she meant but figured if we were 20-something that assessment would have made perfect sense.

Whatever "more junk in the trunk" meant, that's the phone I ended up with. Miz Bubbly got the new phone programmed and ran through all the features: Blue Tooth technology, Internet access, text messaging, camera, e-mail, different ring tone for each caller, how to get ring tones. (She had somewhere around 80 on her phone.)

After about ten minutes of this tutorial, I was in overwhelm mode. When she asked if I had any questions, I said, "This phone will just ring, right? And I can just talk on it?"

I suppose this was akin to asking the Maserati salesman, "This car will just go from Point A to Point B, right?"

Dang. I didn't want a fancy new phone. Hubby got a fancy new phone earlier this year. I can't figure out how to answer it or turn it off or on. When it rings it wheedles some noise that just ain't right. I want the phone to ring the same kinda ring my home phone rings so I recognize the fact that it is a phone ringing. I don't want it to play something that sounds like a robotic mating call. I have a variety of electronics chirping at me these days. I don't want another one. Did I mention I hate cell phones?

I don't need Blue Tooth technology, I need Blue Hair technology. I am a rotary dial kinda girl. Just call me Ernestine.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Husband Lessons 101

Yesterday I wandered outside to find Hubby tinkering at his workbench on the little cricket garden tiller. As I was watching him I began to ramble about various projects I was working on. He listened to (or ignored) me politely because he likes for me to keep him company while he works on things outside.

After some time I said offhandedly, "You know, I think I would like to have a shelf thingy on the back deck for some flowerpots."

He wiped his hands and headed off to the tool shed. I presumed he was getting another wrench for the tiller. When he came back with a circular saw I was a bit confused. I couldn't imagine what he was about to do to that poor little tiller with a Skil saw. He plopped the tiller on the ground, brought out more tools and hardware...then some lumber.

Uh oh.

"Show me what you want and where you want it," he said.

"Gee honey, I didn't mean I wanted the shelf thingy right this minute. I still have a couple of weeks of pondering to do about it. You can keep tinkering on the tiller."

"Show me what you want and where you want it," he repeated.

Well, OK then...engineering and design on the fly. I pointed, drew, measured and 'splained; lots of hand gesturing was involved. Plan A for the bracketing didn't work, so we went to Plan B. The flowerpot shelf was installed to my specifications in about 40 minutes.

I was happy to have the new shelf but was puzzled about the course of events. I didn't understand why he dropped everything to tend to my whim on the spot. It was awfully sweet, but just a little out of character. It bugged me enough I asked him about it today.

He said, "I've figured out that if I stop what I'm doing and help you on the front end of a gardening project for 30 minutes or so, you will be occupied with that project for the next three days and stay outta my hair."


Smart man.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Yam What I Yam

The Urban Dictionary has this eloquent definition of fag hag:

"Also known as Fruit Fly and Queer Dear. This is a woman who prefers the company of gay men because she recognizes their effervescence, incisive wit, and sheer brilliance regarding the human condition. This woman appreciates the fact that gay men know how to drill down to the bittersweet core of an issue and make light of it where necessary, and simultaneously make dark humor of it where otherwise necessary. It is a gift that comes from being an outsider: rather than lying down and taking a beating, as some do, the exalted gay man rises from the ashes and finds the ridiculous glory in being an outsider. In this endeavor, he seeks the company of a woman, and she of him...because regardless of intentions, women and men enjoy the company of those who feel "right" to each other."
I think this describes me pretty well. However I think I prefer the gentler term fruit fly.

Unfortunately, since relocating from Dallas to Lower Arkansas, I haven't found a fruit to fly around. Phooey. I am suffering from the lack of effervescence, incisive wit, and sheer brilliance in my life.

Where does one go in a new town to meet a nice gay guy? (I suppose lots of guys are asking that same question.) Can I put a want ad in the Personals column of the local paper?

Middle-aged, straight married lady seeks middle-aged out gay guy to pal around with. Must have good sense of humor. Quiet,introverted, techie gardener a plus. Apply below.

Shootings at Virginia Tech

This afternoon the TV was filled with coverage of the fatal shootings at Virginia Tech. Not much was known at the time about the shooter, his victims, or the reasons why.

What hacked me off to no end was the endless speculation about who was at fault. Commentators blamed campus security personnel, campus security measures, the local police, VT administration, gun control laws, and American culture as a whole. Ack!

Has the American media and public sunk to being a bunch of brainless fingerpointers???

The person at fault was the psycho who pulled the trigger. No one else. Don't rape my ear with any further discussion on the matter.

No amount of notification or prevention measures can stop a nutcase from carrying out his intended task. It just isn't possible. They will always find a way.

A senator from somewhere said that she had introduced a bill to limit gun clip size to 10 rounds. How very pointless that piece of legislation would be. If a nut is determined to kill a bunch of people, he'll just buy TWO clips. Duh!

Since the on-air news media had nothing intelligent to add to my knowledge base, I turned off the tube.

I remember now why I don't watch much television.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Harching up Hairballs

whulka, whulka, whulll.... whulka, whulka, whulll....

Wait on it, there's always three, here it comes, the Big Finish...

whulka, whulka, WHUUUULLLL.....

This is the sound the kitties make as they harch up a hairball in the early morning darkness, somewhere within a ten-foot radius of my head.

Note to self: Watch your step when you get up in the morning.


People ask what I do as a Domestic Goddess. There it is. I clean up whulka, whulka, whulll two or three times a day. Sometimes I don't find it for a day or two, or I miss the third in the series. It is ever so pleasant to find those crusty little surprises behind the furniture.

Sometimes I miss the corporate world. Fewer cleaning products were involved.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter at the Farm

Hubby and I spent a very cold Easter at his family's farm. We had sixteen folks in all around the dinner table and half the clan wasn't there. Hubby's large family has rather chaotic family reunions which is wonderful yet stressful to this introvert. Sometimes I have to go outside and stare at the trees to recharge my batteries.

Momma-in-law had cooked enough food to feed a hundred people: Lamb, roast beef, and ham; potatoes, okra, pinto beans, cabbage; artichokes, deviled eggs, rolls and a tossed salad. Phew! There was tons of food! I ate until I hurt. Her ham is wonderful and I have been waiting in eager anticipation for a couple of months to git me some of that! I was surprised to find boiled okra. That's a new dish on the table for this very northern lady. I don't think she knew what okra was until she moved to Lower Arkansas.

The nieces are growing up into young ladies. One was sporting a brand-new set of braces with her smile. I was a little surprised at that because I thought she had nice teeth to begin with. Her little sister, age eight, had a long, silky headband made of a cool looking retro fabric. The ends of the headband hung nearly to her waist. She also had on a pair of stylish capri pants. I thought she was going to be the tomboy of the two sisters, but she may turn out to be the prissy sissy after all. She has more style now at eight than I've ever had in my whole life. Phooey!

The Prodigal Son nephew arrived unexpectedly from Upper Arkansas with his new wife. He called the farm en route to talk to his momma and wish her a Happy Easter. She was nearly in tears because she thought he wasn't ever coming back for a visit. He didn't tell her he was only ten miles down the road. Many tears of joy when he pulled up in the driveway. He was looking pretty well-fed even though his new wife is a vegetarian. I'm betting he hasn't been sticking to the "greens only" diet. A Big Mac or two has crossed his lips in the last few months.

It was a wonderful, relaxing day...meaning I didn't have to pick up a hammer, paintbrush, or yard rake. I sat at the dinner table watching and listening to everyone talk at once about everything and nothing. Everybody talks; no one in particular listens. It is chaos, it is comical, it is wonderful. Lots of love lives around this table. I am truly blessed to be a small part of this madness.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday Question (and Answer)

I have a question that has been bugging me for a couple of months....

What is the technical term for the time period between Jesus' death and resurrection?

I have asked this question of many people from several different denominations and the responses so far have been the same...a blank look.

The subject came up when Hubby's golf buddy Nolan and I were in a lively discussion about Jesus speaking to the imprisioned. (1 Peter 3:18-20) Nolan, a cradle Church of Christer, claimed this speaking engagement happened between the time Jesus died and the time He was resurrected.

It became burdensome to keep saying "between the time Jesus died and was resurrected" so we shortened that to the "Three Day Grace" period. Later on I got to thinking that some religion, some denomination, somebody, somewhere has a one-word term for this period of time.

The Catholic church has specific terms for every piece of religious minutiae that one can dream up, but apparently not this 48-hour period. Or not one that anyone can dig up out of the gazillion tomes of Catholic literature.

Can anyone out there in the blogosphere come up with an answer?

Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE - July 12

I stumbled upon the answer in an Episcopalian Friar's blog. The term I have been looking for is "Paschal Triduum" or "Easter Triduum."

Googling for the word triduum I found:
"Triduum means "three days" and the three days are counted from dusk to dusk, Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday."

That includes one more day than I needed for my answer, but I'm satisfied.

Episcopalians to the rescue!