Monday, June 30, 2008

November 7

UPDATE: I guess this video is "no longer available." It was the preview for Quantum of Solace, the next Bond movie, coming out Nov. 7. It's pure coincidence -- at least, I had nothing to do with it -- that the sexy stuff is what happens to be stilled here. I'm actually looking more forward to seeing how they continue the story from Casino Royale. Which, btw, is still holding up to repeated viewings :).

Want.

T-65 days and counting: All aboard!

Summer is progressing happily, on the whole. I have not been X-ing off the days in my calendar as desperately as I thought I might. The girls have been healthy and mostly content, and I seem to be out of whatever funk last had me in its evil grip. All is well.

The Sandyshoes family likes to ride a train ride from time to time. We've really enjoyed Connecticut's Essex Steam Train in years past. That's about two and a half hours from Cape Cod down 95S. It's a nice little train ride which you can opt to combine with a riverboat excursion on a lovely stretch of the Connecticut River. That makes for a beautiful day for sure, but lately it's a bit more sitting and riding than I can fairly expect of my children. It was great when they were very small and not so mobile, but in recent years we've kept it to the train part. I'm sure we'll add the riverboat back in eventually. At the train station in Essex there is a nice gift shop and a good collection of Thomas the Tank Engine toys for kids to play with. Children also get a little prize after the train ride; it's a nice touch. The people who work there genuinely love steam trains, and their pride really shows.

Staying closer to home this year, we hit the Cape Cod Central Railroad (pictured) yesterday for a ride on their "Scenic Fun Train," a two-hour trip from Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal and back. Some days they stop in Sandwich as well. We took the nonstop round trip, but I'd actually recommend the stop. Start in either Sandwich or Hyannis, disembark at the other end and stroll around for an hour or two, and catch the next train back. That's a nice mix of activities, whether you're a tourist or just playing one for the day. And otherwise, I have to say, the ride seems at least a half hour too long, especially in the heat. The breeze doesn't get through the passenger coaches as well as you'd think it would. An upgrade to the air conditioned "parlor car" is $10/person; we opted not to take it, and heard later that the a/c hadn't been working anyhow.

The Cape train uses diesel engines, so there isn't all the romance and history associated with the steam train experience. The employees are cheerful and nice -- someone comes around to do face painting for children, and the conductor passes out crayons and train pictures to color -- but the reverence for the train itself, for its own sake, isn't as palpable.

During the ride, a Scenic Fun Train commentator speaks about points of interest from Hyannis to the canal; on the way back, they play a collection of train songs (The City of New Orleans, et al.). I love the tour guide stuff. There are some things you just don't learn in other ways. ("Locals call this property 'the gentleman's farm.'" Really? We do? Fascinating.) Also, I like to see if people from other places appear interested in any of it. The commentary includes general information about cranberry bogs and kettle ponds, marshes and dunes, the towns of Barnstable, Sandwich and Bourne, the Sandwich Glass Factory, the Cape Cod Canal, and obligatory mentions of the Kennedys and the Pilgrims.

As for scenic - I don't know how long they're going to continue to be able to make this claim. Frankly, much of the ride isn't all that scenic, simply because vegetation has grown thick and tall on both sides of the track. I don't think they'll get trees cut down for the sake of a better distant glimpse of Cape Cod Bay. There are a couple of superb marsh views, but they go by quickly. Even the Cape Cod Canal is only visible in flashes, because the trees are so thick between it and the tracks. So you have the train yard, and Barnstable Municipal Airport, and a "very exclusive" golf course (oooooh), and the former county jail... and then nothing much for a long stretch. Former farms, mostly residential subdivisions now.

It's perhaps most telling that they include a little old lady named Sally as an actual attraction. "Coming up on the right is Sally," says the commentator. "She comes out to wave at every scheduled train. We'll see if she's out. Yes, there she is! Wave at Sally!" And sure enough, there's an elderly lady waving slowly at us from her backyard as we trundle by, clickety clack, clickety clack. "She comes out for every scheduled train -- she must have a lot of energy!" says the commentator.

I don't know how much energy it takes to step into the backyard and wave twice a day, but I'll certainly give Sally the benefit of the doubt. Frankly, it's more than I want to manage myself, in this heat.

Duped!

That video of the ball girl catching the foul ball, three posts down? Not cool after all. It's fake -- just a Gatorade commercial.

Dang commercial-making video-faker people got me again. Last year I believed a video showing a whale breaching very near a kayak, or something like that. Ridiculous, in retrospect.

I have to stop writing this post now. I just got an email from someone in Nigeria who needs me to hold $15M in my bank account for her. So I'm off to make the arrangements. Don't forget to boycott Exxon-Mobil, so that they'll lower the price of gas! Send this to as many people as possible and something cool will happen! You'll see!

Sigh.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another thought about George Carlin.

The day of the news of George Carlin's death, I posted a video of one of my favorite of his routines about religion. I thought about how funny and incisive he was, and how he was so fucking good at swearing, and how I'll miss knowing he's around thinking these things and performing them.

I can't believe I neglected to mention the one aspect of his work that has been most present in my life in recent years: George Carlin narrated some of the older Thomas the Tank Engine stories for video. When I first heard them I thought, huh, that's George Carlin, go figure. But over years of listening to these stories, narrated by him and others (Ringo Starr is my other favorite), I came to appreciate how truly great he was at it. As silly as this may sound, Carlin nailed the Thomas and Friends characters. His voices, his timing, his hitting certain words, were all precisely right. Carlin was much better at Thomas than the guy that does the more recent ones, and miles, I mean miles better than that pompous asshole Alec Baldwin.

Another reason to miss him.

This is Henry and the Elephant. No need to watch the whole thing (almost 5 min.); you'll get the idea early on.

Caught!

I love this:



(via The Presurfer)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good news and bad news.

The good news: My blood pressure has been really good since the dosage of my medicine was last tweaked.

The bad news: My feet are swelling. This is a call-your-doctor-immediately side effect of the medicine.

Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck FUCK.

T minus 72 days and counting: We Go To The Pond

As it is no secret that summer is not my favorite time of year -- actually it's becoming increasingly clear that there are only about two weeks annually that I enjoy at all (kidding! sorta) -- I thought we might make the most of my foul mood in countdown mode. Hence, a new post category: Countdown To First Day Of School.

Which James Bond movie was it that had the countdown with a heavily accented male voice: "____ seconds, and coun-ting." Moonraker, I suppose. One of the ghastly Roger Moore ones, though at the time I thought it was da bomb. What can I say, I was 12. I totally wanted one of those watches that shoots darts if you flick your wrist just right, though I suspect my powers would have been used for evil even then.

Anyway, it is that countdown voice I am conjuring to amuse myself through these godforsaken, I mean carefree, days of summer.

Yesterday (T - 72 days and coun-ting), we decided to visit our neighborhood pond. (It's a lake. I don't know why Cape Cod folks call them ponds. Where I grew up, a pond is a shallow dark thing, probably with lily pads. Our "pond" is 60 feet deep, crystal clear, and gorgeous.) This seems like it should be a simple thing... get yer swimsuits on and go, right? Noooooo. We called the girls inside. We had them strip down and use the bathroom. We coated them with sunscreen. We put on their bathing suits. We untwisted their straps and put on their coverups. We gathered towels and toys and chairs and an umbrella. We made sandwiches and filled water bottles. We loaded everything in the car and drove the half mile to the pond. Lake. Whatever.

We unloaded everything and trooped down to the beach, signed in, chose a spot and settled down. Mr. S. put the towels over the back of the chairs, which immediately tipped over so that the towels were full of sand. So at least that part of the beach experience was taken care of right away, obviating any need for the usual pointless hope of grit-free drying.

The girls and Mr. S. headed to the water immediately. I decided to stay put and glower at my sandy towels and hideous pale legs. After ten or fifteen minutes I was done fuming, and got up to try the water. The girls were frolicking; Bean edging hand over hand along the dock to "deeper" (read, waist-deep to a five year-old) water, Peanut "swimming" (read, hoovering dirt and plant matter into her bathing suit) along the shore. I got my feet wet, then walked out onto the dock... best to just dive in all at once than inch in a bit at a time, I think. Unless of course you really care about your contact lenses. What to do, what to do. I am mulling this over, letting myself look forward to a little swim one way or another, when the Bean comes tearing by me. There is NO RUNNING ON THE DOCK, mind you, and of course she slips and goes down, scraping up her knee.

And proceeds to scream loud enough to raise the dead.

We stand her up and walk her off the dock back to the chair. She's bleeding just a bit, but it's combined with the lake water dripping off her leg, so she thinks it's A LOT OF BLOOD. She won't. stop. screaming. The good people of the neighborhood are covering their ears in self-defense. She won't stop. None of my usual tricks... talking to her in a low calm voice so she has to quiet down to hear me... encouraging deep breaths... repeating "you're OK, you're OK..." are working. She won't stop screaming. I am a hair away from losing it myself. She is screaming for a BandAid... which, of course, we don't have. Why would we have a Band-Aid? That would've been fucking USEFUL! We have sunscreen, hairbrush, baby powder, wipes, but no goddamn Band-Aid. The beach attendant doesn't have one either. She's still screaming. The Bean, not the beach attendant. Mr. S. eventually picks her up and goes back to the car. I get the sand off the Peanut's feet (baby powder is AWESOME for this; the sand just falls right off), gather what I can carry of our belongings, and we head to the parking lot. The Bean is still at it; Mr. S. can't get her to stop either. I leave the Peanut with them and head back for the stuff I couldn't carry the first time.

The beach attendant, a friendly person I know from the gym I used to belong to (her routine: work out, sunbathe, repeat -- not a bad life if you dig that sort of thing), suggests that I should go to the gym to get some time away from the kids. I tell her I hate the gym even more than I hate the beach. Why am I such an asshole? I could spit nails, but it isn't her fault. It's just not a good time to say nice things to me. And I wonder why I have no friends.

Back at the car, the Bean is still screaming. Mr. S. has decided not to leave until she can quiet down. Good luck with that, I say, and walk home.

On the walk, I get the idea that counting days might be helpful. I hate the thought of wishing life away -- I know, I know that we are all just an accident, a diagnosis, a surprise catastrophe away from losing everything dear to us. I know about living mindfully, and being present. But still. Sometimes "this, too, shall pass" is a better mantra than "live in the moment." T minus 72 days was definitely one of those times.

shit-piss-fuck-cunt-cocksucker-motherfucker-tits-fart-turd-&... twat

George Carlin is gone.

Here he is on "the greatest bullshit story ever told":



Aw, man.

Thanks, George.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fucking ticks.


Mr. S. and I spent tonight excavating a tick from the Peanut's butt crack. No, she wasn't rolling around in the woods naked. I'm announcing where the tick was as a warning - be careful, really. Check your kids' privates, check their hairlines (there was another one behind her ear, but that one came out quickly), check their bellybuttons. This thing was just a speck -- smaller than a sesame seed -- and it didn't come out cleanly, so much poking had to be done to get it all out. No fun.

Thank God it wasn't the Bean, who just completely loses her shit over anything that happens to her body. Papercut? She has to lie down for a half hour to recover. Scraped knee, with perhaps a single droplet of blood? She's down for the count. Once she got a splinter, and Christ, it was as if she'd lost a limb.

So if this has to happen to either of my children, I guess I'd prefer it be the one who can better deal with it. But still - ticks are nasty, and Lyme disease is awful, and being clamped down and poked with a needle for an hour is utterly miserable. She did a good job, all things considered. She cried for her Taggie, clenched it in her little fist and eventually seemed to almost fall asleep... kind of a self-hypnosis thing happening there, I think. She's my hero.

I
need a drink.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And another thing.

I have decided that I hate Alanis Morissette's voice. That little squeak thing she does at the end of a word? It was fine -- it fit -- on Jagged Little Pill. But she seems to have made it permanent. Enough, Alanis. It's affected and grating. Cut it out.

unaccountably morose

I feel... bad. There's no real reason I should, but I do.

I'm tired, even though I get enough sleep. Any time I lie down, I can be near-comatose in moments. Except at bedtime, duh.

I've concluded that the dark circles under my eyes are permanent. Looking in the mirror isn't something I do on purpose any more. There isn't a concealer made that can fight this battle.

Yesterday was the last day of school. Summer looms ahead. Personalities like mine love structure, yet everyone loves summer because there isn't any. I am hopelessly unlike everyone else. It feels kind of like Christmas, when everyone goes around saying what fun everything is, and all I can do is count the days till it's over with, but I have to fake enjoying it, or at least shut up about not enjoying it.

I feel like I don't belong anywhere. I can't remember what I think is fun. It's as if the best mood I can hope for is indifference, and sometimes it's a struggle getting to that.

One of my phases I guess. They come and go. Thank God they always go.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert

Oh no! Tim Russert died today of an apparent heart attack.

He was only 58.

Tom Brokaw says, "He'll be missed as he was loved: Greatly."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Keys

So we just picked up our new car. Its keys are enormous, and, we were warned, very expensive to replace, particularly if we lose all of them. Oh, and we shouldn't get them wet, either.

Our 2001 vehicle has a no-frills key with a separate fob for the remote unlock/lock function. With the new car, it's all built into the key. This is billed as an advantage, sure to put an end to all our separate-fob-induced headaches. But Mr. S. was happier the "old" way, because he can ditch the fob and still have full use of the car. Not overburdened by having to (gasp) actually insert a key in a car door to unlock it, and disliking a bulky key ring, he doesn't want the bells and whistles embedded in the new key. However, he is stuck with them. He was exasperated to learn that a simple flat metal car key can no longer be had. You can't even have a useful one made at a hardware store; a duplicate thus obtained will unlock the car, but not start it.

This all seems particularly silly because it's just a Corolla, for cryin' out loud. We now have luxury keys to an economy car.

The new key is bulky enough that I needed a bigger ring. That's cool, because the one I was using was so stiff that I needed a blade to pry it open. Transferring my keys to a larger gentler ring, I came across one I don't recognize. Possibly it unlocks a file cabinet where I used to work. Who knows. I put it in the little "misc. keys" box where it will stay forever. Throwing it away would only guarantee that whatever it locks would 1) materialize immediately after the trash was taken to the dump, and 2) contain something of inestimable value. Mr. S., ever the optimist, asked if maybe it's a key to a safety deposit box containing information about a trust fund he'd not known about. I keep telling him "trust fund" was not part of my vocabulary growing up, and that if it were, he'd certainly have earned my trust enough to have been told about it by now. Hm, he says. The trust fund stuff must be somewhere else then.

Anyway my key ring's down to house and car keys, and my library card. I don't keep the grocery store card on my key ring; I have to open my wallet there anyway, so having the card with my keys doesn't seem more convenient. Maybe someday I will write a riveting post about wallets.

In the meantime I have to decide whether to replace the battery in my little key finder gadget. Yes, we have hooks by the door where keys are supposed to be hung. And yes, I still have enough "where the HELL are my KEYS?!" moments that Mr. S. finally got me one of those things that you press to make a responder on your key ring beep. This has come in handy more times than I care to admit. Eventually though, the responder started beeping on its own, continually and without provocation. It happens particularly around one of the Bean's friend's mothers. At her house one day I was beeping so continuously I couldn't wait to leave. Another day we met on the playground and it happened again, though the beep was weaker as it had pretty well worn out its battery by then. I said "dang, I'm beeping again," and she said "Oh I remember that," and I said "hm, maybe you're setting me off." Which I hope was taken in the spirit it was said, though the awkward silence that followed -- punctuated by warbles from the general direction of my pocket -- indicates otherwise.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Alphabet Meme: P - Z. Finally.

P is for people you were with today:

Mr. S., the Bean, the Peanut. Grocery store employees and fellow shoppers. My parents, who came to hang out with the Peanut while I went to the doctor. Then the doctor, and his various staff.


Q is for what you do in quiet times:


Read.
Fume. Blog. Daydream.


R is for regrets:

Cue Sinatra: "Regrets... I've had a few..."

I regret my choice of college major/profession. I chose geology for the field trips, which were awesome, but when all's said and done, I'm no good at it. I should've been an expensive shrink, made a boatload of money, and taken my own field trips.

And I regret a string of boys in high school, but who cares anymore.



S is for status:


Married and holding.


T is for time you woke up today:


8:20. I don't usually confess what time I get up; by most parents' standards it is luxurious to the point of being suspect. Are the kids locked in their rooms? No. They're just pretty good at getting up and hanging out quietly. Mr. S. doesn't have to be at work at the crack of dawn, so he doesn't get up early either. The Bean is in afternoon kindergarten, so we have no morning rush. That will change forever in September when Bean will have to be dressed, fed and have lunch and backpack in hand by the time the bus comes at 8:35, so I'm enjoying the low-stress mornings while they last.

Also, though, I stay up too late. Left to my own devices I go to bed after midnight. I'm going to have to reign that in, eventually.


U is for what you consider unique:

I dunno, but I'll tell you what I wish were unique, instead of ubiquitous: the phrase "very unique." Something is either unique, or it isn't. There are not degrees of uniqueness. Cut it out.


V is for favorite vegetable:

Sugar snap peas. But don't eat a whole bag of them raw. Trust me on this.



W is for your worst habit:

Wasting time.


X is for x-rays you have had:

I've had a CT scan on my head (see H for Hospital Stays), an ankle checked for a break (it wasn't), a chest X-ray as part of a medical exam to qualify me as a hazardous waste site professional (see R for Regrets), and a couple of upper G.I. series.



Y is for yummy food you ate today:

Coffee Heath Bar yogurt with hot fudge. What? It's nonfat yogurt!


Z is for zodiac sign:

Taurus -- which I believe is one of the sensible signs that doesn't believe in all the zodiac crap.



And... we're done. Phew!
I've seen this alphabet meme several places now, but I'm the only blogger so lame as to stretch it out to eight posts. That's unique. Yay, me!

Alphabet Meme: J - O

J is for favorite juice:

Juice is one of those things I should probably lay off -- too many calories/too much sugar for too little nutritional benefit. I do love it though. My favorite is Trader Joe's Cherry Cider. Failing that, Juicy Juice Berry.


K is for what you'd like to kick:

I would like to kick Rush Limbaugh. In the pills.


L is for last restaurant you dined at:

Griffins
in Cresskill, NJ. I highly recommend it.


M is for your favorite muppet:

Kermit. No contest. It's been Kermit since his earliest Sesame Street News days. I love it when he says "would you get outta here! out out out out out!" I say that to my girls all the time. I even wave my flippers like he does.

I also dig Floyd Pepper, especially when he calls Kermit "cricket breath" or "turtle bait."


N is for number of piercings you have:

Two in the left ear, one in the right. That second one in the left ear gives me nothing but trouble though; I've never been able to use it, but it won't go away, either. Bummer.


O is for overnight hospital stays:

Concussion when I was 14 (fainted, nobody knows why -- hit my head on something on the way down) bought me a night's stay for observation. Then passed twenty-one uneventful years in terms of hospital stays, until 2002 when I was in for 5 nights having the Bean, then in 2004, 2 nights for having the Peanut in '04. They do say second labor is easier!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Alphabet Meme: I

I is for instruments played:

None, lately. I can still play the recorder of the type we all got in elementary school before we reached Decision Time: band or chorus, and if band, what instrument. I chose band, and the clarinet, for reasons I don't remember. I do remember going into my parents' room to ask them to buy me a used one, and they asked if I'd be serious about it, and I said yes I would. I stuck with it happily for a couple of years, then stopped liking it. Our band director, Mr. Schneider, was an asshole, and the other clarinetists pointedly ignored me. Practice was stomach-churning. To this day, hearing the Chicago song "25 or 6 to 4" on the radio delivers a now-amusing microdose of middle school angst. I can still pick out the second clarinet part in our tortured arrangement, and picture my place on stage at the obligatory concert.

I remember looking longingly over at the drum section during practice sessions. I hope things have changed in 30 years, and that girls now play the drums too. I would've rocked the drums. In retrospect, it probably wouldn't have made me more of an oddball than I already was, either.

Eventually, between limited ability and limited desire, I decided that other musical endeavors would be less uncomfortable. I think it was about that time I joined the church youth choir, though it wasn't cause-and-effect. Anyway, my mother wrote to Mr. Schneider telling him I was not going to take band any more. I have no idea how she worded it, but he took me aside and said, "I didn't like your mother's note. It was too... smooth." I'm glad he did that; in proving his meanness, he erased any guilt or second thoughts I might've had about quitting.

Years later, without regret, I gave the clarinet to a boyfriend, a man with a deep and true gift for music, who should have as many instruments as his home can hold.

Lately -- probably part of the tedious midlife crisis -- I am thinking I'd like to learn to play the piano. I wonder if that's even possible?

Alphabet Meme: G, H

G is for favorite game:

Games? I love games! Pick me!!

Except charades. But Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Monopoly... most board games, and all word games, I love. We had friends that loved games too, and used to invite people over to play dominos. Then we all had kids, and the domino couple moved to the west coast, and time and inclination just don't seem to coincide any more, game-wise. I think when our kids get old enough to play with their friends for longer unsupervised stretches and stay up a bit later without losing it, then maybe we'll pull out whatever it is we still remember how to play, and challenge the neighbors. Heh.

Oh, my favorite... hm. For serious? Scrabble. For fun/groups? Trivial Pursuit I guess, but I'm sure there are other good ones that have come out since. Balderdash is pretty good too.



H is for hometown:

If you know how to say "ten swamps" in Dutch, you've got the name of the New Jersey suburb of my ute. Really.

It doesn't feel like "home," but in recent years I've gotten to the point that when I visit (which I love to do), I feel more comfort than unease. And if that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, well, I was definitely in a hurry to live other places. But it's a nice little town with really great schools. My parents chose well.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Alphabet Meme: D, E, F

D is for dog's name:

Well this one's easy - we don't have a dog. I can't take the shedding and the slobber and the doggie smell and the forced walks and the poop scooping (because I would not be the kind of dog owner who leaves dog shit around for people to step in) and the muddy paws and the rolling in dead things and the barking and... any of that. I just can't. Most other people's dogs are fine. I don't want one.

E is for an essential item you use each day:

Various personal hygiene products crossed my mind for this.... soap, toothbrush, etc. ... but the essential thing I need before any of that comes into play is my contact lenses in or my glasses on. Without them, I can see where you are, but I can't see the expression on your face. I can see type on the screen, but I can't read it. So, corrective lenses are my daily-used essential.

F is for your favorite television show:

I don't like many TV shows, but I've been watching something really excellent lately. It's about a New Jersey mob boss who's seeing a psychiatrist because he's started having panic attacks. His mother is pure evil, his uncle is plotting against him, his wife and girlfriend require delicate balancing, his teenagers are, well, teenagers, and all this on top of the particular stresses of his work... the constant threat of law enforcement, difficulty finding competent help, etc. The writing is genius, the acting truly great. It's easily one of the best shows I've ever seen: The Sopranos. Maybe you've heard of it?

Sigh. I am, once again, a decade behind the popular culture curve. I had heard of The Sopranos, but never had HBO. Fortunately Mr. S. had never seen it either. Now we're both hooked.

At least it's not like the last Harry Potter book, which I was afraid someone would inadvertently spoil for me before I'd finished reading it myself. I'm actually glad I know how Sopranos ends, because if I didn't know it was coming, and just saw that ending, I'd have been really fucking pissed off.

Alphabet Meme: C

C is for the car that you drive:

I confess, I primarily drive an SUV. Not one of the disgusting enormous ones, but I guess that's a matter of where you draw the line... mine's disgusting to some folks, I know. All I can say in its defense is that it gets 20 mpg, which is doing better than many large sedans and minivans, and we do sometimes need 4WD.

Our commuter car, driven many more miles annually, is a 1996 Corolla at the end of its life. It's got no rust and still runs pretty well, but at 272,000 miles it is time to look for its successor. The air conditioning gave out last year, which was the deal breaker for me. Plus there is an increasingly unsettling noise coming from the left rear corner. Something to do with the suspension. Between that and the timing belt it is overdue for and that we're not going to replace in a car that old, I fully expect it to grind to a halt at any moment.

To replace it, we looked hard at the Prius vs. another Corolla. I mean we looked really hard. Spreadsheets were created, numbers were crunched, variables were tweaked. We were trying to see if the savings in fuel costs with a Prius would recoup its significantly higher purchase price. Between the higher cost of the car, higher sales and excise taxes, and the higher cost of financing/opportunity cost due to our not investing that money, the Prius just didn't add up to a smart financial move for us, despite the significant gas savings anticipated. So our new Corolla should show up any day now. At 35 mpg, they're no slouch in the mileage department either.

As an aside, why don't cars come in decent colors? You can have white, black, silver, dark grey, and something like sand. Yawn. Maybe red. Yawn. Maybe blue. Woo hoo, blue. Why is the VW bug the only car that comes in cute colors? Where are the yellows, oranges, greens and purples? Do they not offer colors because people won't drive them, or do people not drive them because they're not offered?

Alphabet Meme: B

B is for your burger of choice:

A while back I found a recipe for turkey burgers that involves ginger and soy sauce and scallions and orange juice, and a special sauce made of some of those things and some mayo, and it's just delicious. Only problem is I always make too much of the sauce and have it left over with no clear use for it.

Mr. Sandy usually grills the burgers. That means he has to form the patties himself, because he likes them verrry thin. I make burgers a little thicker with turkey than with beef, because I think they get too dried out otherwise.

I don't know any couples in which the partners use the grill equally often. Seems there can be only one griller-in-chief per household. Do people have conversations about who will assume the role? In man/woman couples, why is it usually the guy who grills? I can use the grill fine, it just never occurs to me. All that back-and-forth in and out of the house, I dunno. Doesn't seem worth it unless another person is doing everything else.

Alphabet Meme: A

This is a good time for the Alphabet Meme, which I have honorably pinched from the lovely Maria at Just Eat Your Cupcake.

It might take me 26 days to get through it!

A is for your age: 41.

This 40-ish zone appears to be a time for exciting medical firsts. First mammogram behind me. First colonoscopy coming up. First anxiety attack. First cysts of various types. First time "throwing my back out," a phrase I never understood until it happened to me, and good God, I hope it never does again.

Also, my blood pressure now has me on the frequent flier program at my doctor's office. We are tweaking my prescriptions till some combination of things appears to work consistently. I am tired of the copayments and scheduling hassles, but very glad that I have health insurance, my doctor is a terrific person, and my husband can work from home on appointment days.

Then there was the first time I was mistaken for my child's grandmother. That felt good, I can tell ya. The memory now shares mental filespace under "Humiliations, Appearance-Related" with the first time someone suggested I "need Botox for those wrinkles." Yes.

On the other hand, at 4o-something, I'm feeling other insecurities fall away. As much as I might wonder sometimes about paths not taken, I now have enough experience behind me to trust that whatever's ahead is going to be all right. Would I repeat my 20s, if I could have a do-over? I don't know. If it were the only way to end up in the life I have now, probably not.

I am starting to learn not to dwell on my every past mistake. Considering how many there are, that is going to save me a ton of emotional time. And who doesn't love a time-saver?

My poor neglected blog.

I've been back and forth to NJ to hang out with a loved one in the hospital. Prognosis is fine, all will be well, but in the meantime, I bloggeth not.

I am, however, still reading your blog, even if I don't comment as much as usual.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

TO: Every company on Earth, but today, Eastern Bank.

FROM: Sandy
RE: Calling you.

Why not drop the pretense, hm?

I know full well that the reason you can't take my call right now is not because you are "experiencing unusually high call volume," unless by "high volume" you mean that people are yelling loudly at you, which I have to say would come as no surprise. I doubt very much that you are besieged by sudden demand for your product. Tell the truth: You just don't have enough employees answering the telephone.

"All of our operators are assisting other customers" is another blatant lie. We callers are supposed to hear this and picture rows upon rows of busy, helpful operators busily and helpfully assisting other customers -- satisfied customers who said "thank you" and hung up smiling. But I know damn well you should be saying that "both of our operators are either in the can or getting a coffee. Hang on, and eventually one of them will get so annoyed at the phone beeping that they'll busily and helpfully disconnect you."

You're not fooling anyone, you know. I'm on to you rat bastards.

Not that it does me a damn bit of good.