Thursday, December 29, 2005

Penguins, Again

Okay, the Penguins are growing on me because they're so cute it hurts, and because the special features are interesting, and because I like the camera-hog penguins.

Still, I believe I ought to be WARNED before watching a movie labeled "uplifting" that involves baby animals dying!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Horrible Animal Deaths

My mother is making me watch March of the Penguins, in which scores of penguins die in horrible ways that also doom their partners and/or chicks, to the soothing narration of Morgan Freeman's voice.

This reminds me of when she made me read The Yearling and told me it was a classic novel and I'd love it and then the boy has to shoot his pet fawn. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS TO ME?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Proof That I Am a Lizard

It got to be about 4:45 and I got up from my desk and realized I was really rather cold. So cold, in fact, that I went to take the unusual step of turning the thermostat up from my winter setting of 62°F (my poor Floridian husband!) to, say, 63°F or even 65°F - crazy times!

A few minutes later I was STILL cold. Glanced at the thermostat, which claimed it was 63°F, and cranked it all the way up to 66°F.

Then I realized THE AIR WAS NOT BLOWING. Checked the vents. No blowing. Checked the thermostat ...

Which actually said FIFTY-three degrees, not sixty-three.

Which is proof positive that I'm cold-blooded, that I didn't notice my furnace was broken until it got down to 53°F in my house.

Boy, thank God it's a balmy 28°F outside or I'd really be chilly!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Disgruntled Postal Workers

My mail lady hates mail.

This is the only conclusion I can draw. For a while, I tried to create some romantic Faulknerian story about her travails as a mail lady (Faulkner was the postmaster at Ole Miss and fired for skipping mail delivery to read poetry with friends, ganking other people's magazines to read from the mail, and generally being a lazy SOB -- odd the factoids you remember from high school English class), but I think she just really hates mail.

She is unconcerned about the actual addresses on the mail. We routinely have a neighborhood swap where I deliver my neighbor's bills next door, and my other neighbor comes by to drop off mine. Sometimes I get mail from the same number, a few streets over. Sometimes I get mail from places on her route that have nothing in common with my address whatsoever.

When I set mail out for her to pick up, often she'll take half of it and drop the other half in my bushes. Some days half my delivered mail ends up in the bushes too.

The worst is packages, though. She literally DROPS them on the front step, even when they're marked fragile. If they're small enough, she will toss them on the front step from five feet away. I work from home. I see her do it! If it's pouring rain, she never bothers to knock (she knows I work from home) to let me know I have a cardboard box busily soaking through on my stoop. (The UPS and FedEx dudes not only knock, but if I'm not home they leave the package at the side door under the awning when it's raining!)

I have always had the nicest, most super-efficient postal people ever, everywhere else I have lived. Never anybody who would give fit negative stereotypes about postal workers. My last mail lady, in North Carolina, actually came by AFTER HER ROUTE at 5:30 p.m. one evening because an important letter for me got to the post office after she'd left for her route that day, and she wanted to make sure I got it as quickly as possible, so she dropped it by my house on her way home from work!

But this woman! She just clearly hates mail. I have never seen someone with quite so much animus toward letters. I'd complain, but I'm afraid I'd never get my bills on time again if I did.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I Have Out-Shopped My Feet

I think my shopping gene is on the fritz because I actually ran out of energy while shopping. This is a problem because a) I like shopping and b) it's the holidays and I have forty friggin' relatives to buy presents for. I thing the gene failure has to do with all this "simple living" crap my husband and I have been doing, acquiring less junk and all that. Well, also maybe the fact that I can now acquire junk from the comfort of my own computer and have it delivered to my door.

I discovered my shopping gene was on the fritz when I went to the mall today with Mr. McGee, because I had a wave of nostalgia today about how fun shopping during the holidays is.

Only it isn't.

Now I remember why I went to doing all my holiday shopping online: Other shoppers are ANNOYING, and the holidays bring out all the amateur shoppers who walk too slow, have inferior stroller-control skills, and really don't deserve the last Pfaltzgraff Winterberry gravy boat because they're just shopping at Christmas. It's like the people who take the good pews in church when they only show up for Christmas and Easter. It's just bloody unfair to those of us who make the year-long commitment to shopping. Or, you know, Jesus. Or both, and try really hard not to suffer any cognitive dissonance about it.

But I forgot about all of that, so I shopped today, and I out-shopped my feet. My husband and I had both just about run out of gift ideas, I in shopping for him, my parents, his parents, my three siblings, my grandparents, my other visiting relatives, our mutual friends, his secretary, and doing all our Christmas cards; he in shopping for, well, me. (This is one of those sitcom aspects of our marriage. He was perfectly capable of buying his mother gifts on his own, until he got married. It's like he downloaded all non-wife gift-related information for all occasions into my brain and no longer feels obligated to access that part of his programming.) So we went to the stores and picked out our own stocking presents, then -- here's the crucial part -- had the other person run the credit card on it. (The same credit card, mind you -- but I ran the card for the presents he picked out for himself, and he ran it for mine.)

So you understand why I will be so surprised -- nay, shocked! shocked! -- when I open my stocking gifts on Christmas night. I mean, I've never, never seen that watch before! What a great idea, sweetie! You know my taste so perfectly!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Important Life Questions (at 2:30 a.m.)

Why is it, when I pull an all-nighter, that the only people on my IMer buddy list when I need periodic distractions to help me stay awake are ex-boyfriends and assorted people I don't like enough to ever actually talk to?

Well, those people, and my sister, who selfishly insists she has to sleep rather than entertain me.

(Ha ha! I love being self-employed! If the work doesn't get done, you just KEEP STAYING AWAKE until it does! I never get to go home! I'm not loopy at all!)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fiesta!

Notre Dame's in the Fiesta Bowl!

Suck it, State!

(And hey, congrats to the BCS for finally scheduling something that looks like an actual championship game, for, what, only the second time since 1998? What a stupid, stupid, stupid system. Plain old bowls were way better.)

Busy Busy Busy!

Eyebrows is up to her pretty little eyebrows in volunteer work and expects to be buried - if not under the work, then under this ridiculous snow - for the rest of the week. And nothing worth writing about happens when you're spending all day alone in the archives researching things for charity. But I promise to be funny again as soon as I've dug myself out and have a life again!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Nothing Says Christmas Like Turbo Tax

My mother is the Christmas Coordinator in my rather large family, which means that for the last 25 years, she's been buying presents for her husband, four children, twenty-odd under-18 nieces and nephews, parents, in-laws, and assorted other relatives and friends. So for 25 years, my mother has been demanding Christmas lists from all of her children and my dad to simplify her Christmas shopping.

When we were 5 and 6 and 7, this was the funnest task in the world. She'd toss us the Service Merchandise catalog and we'd pore over the 100-page section of toys in the back, carefully writing out exactly what we wanted, down to the page number, so Santa would be sure to know what to bring us. But as we got older, and discovered Santa was really "Mom on a shopping spree," and wanted fewer things, it got more difficult. By college, Christmas lists had become not just an annoyance but a certified pain in the butt.

That's when things got competitive.

Mom claims this is our fault, for taking sibling rivalry to a new level. But we know the truth - mom teases us about being the first or last to turn in the Christmas lists because she knows we'll get competitive about it and we'll turn them in earlier that way.

And when I say "turn in," I mean turn in. If you give her a Christmas list she feels is insufficient, she turns it back to you for corrections. Seriously.

The hassling begins the day after Hallowe'en, repeated calls and e-mails reminding us to turn in our Christmas lists ASAP. Last year, my husband, still new to the family and fearing my mother's Christmas-related wrath, turned his list in first. Seeking to encourage him to keep up the good habits, my mother praised him to high heaven and pronounced him her new favorite child -- or at least her favorite son-in-law. Mr. McGee was insufferably smug about this, and I got crap galore from my mother because my husband was more on the ball than me.

Ooooooh, I was determined to show him! (Boy, isn't that the mark of a healthy marriage.) This year, I e-mailed my list just after midnight on November 1, before my mother even got around to asking for it. So proud of myself was I that I e-mailed the list to all of my siblings, my husband, my mom, and my dad, along with the notation that I was now officially the favorite child.

The level of unholy glee I felt about being first with my Christmas list, just hours after the official opening of list season, is a little disturbing to me. But not so disturbing I'm going to stop bragging about it.

Eventually all my siblings got theirs in, though my older-younger brother had his first attempt returned for corrections before coming in second. My husband came in third. My sister thought she was fourth, and safe ... but it turns out my younger-younger brother turned his in a couple days before her but didn't deign to e-mail it to the class, so she was last of the siblings and thus condemned to a year's worth of mocking. (And she was promptly informed via e-mail from my father that she is too young, at 21, to ask for DVDs of "Sex in the City.")

This morning we finally got my dad's list, who is the hardest person to shop for because he's not really into "stuff." His Christmas lists are famously rotten, often asking for "socks" and "undershirts." This year he asks for Turbo Tax -- but only if the giver saves all the rebate cards and proofs of purchase. Yeah Dad, nothing says "Christmas" quite like Turbo Tax -- complete with rebate forms!

But even though Dad's list is lame as usual (although really, slightly less-lame than usual: no socks or undershirts this year!), Dad has turned in his list. Which means that we are missing just one list that would enable us to finish our Christmas shopping:

Mom, everybody's waiting on YOU.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mike Luckovich Is a Rock Star

This cartoon ran in my Chicago Tribune today and just CRACKED ME UP. I laughed out loud until I cried; so much laughing that my husband demanded, "What on earth is so funny? The newspaper is not that funny!" I laughed until my sinuses hurt.

I don't really know why this cracked me up so much but it's just HILARIOUS. Props to Luckovich. I'm still giggling.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Rutabaga!

I've been so lax in my blogging that even my mother commented on it, but my life decided to have work, family, cat, and appliance crises all in the same week. So my dishwasher has conked out and Orange Cat, the one with diabetes, peed on my bed, which was very inconvenient because I was in the middle of washing the guest bed sheets, so now we're sleeping on the futon in the basement while I wait for one set of sheets or the other to come through the wash. Which, combined with insomnia, gives me plenty of time to contemplate the wide variety of noises a house makes in the middle of the night.

But despite all these crises, we had a nice Thanksgiving. We visited a friend's family in Peoria for an outdoor Thanksgiving (Yes! Outdoor in that cold!) with a turkey cooked over an open fire, which I find frankly amazing. I prefer my fire neatly confined to the stovetop. I don't think I could cook actual food over an open fire without lighting it on fire, as evidenced by my experience roasting marshmellows.

My contribution to the Thanksgiving feast was mashed rutabaga, a traditional dish in our family that we have for Christmas and Thanksgiving every year. Rutabaga is sorta like a potato, but denser and a scary shade of orange. It's a sharper taste, but I really think it was the freakish color that kept me from eating it for a good 20 years of my life. But now that I'm on my own, I too insist on rutabaga for every holiday meal because it's a tradition my ancestors brought over from Ireland and by God I stick with tradition. It's a good dish to take to potlucks because a) nobody else brings it and b) there's a lot of leftovers to take home and eat yourself. Like I said, it's an acquired taste.

The soundtrack of every holiday of my childhood was the sound of rutabaga being chopped. Rutabaga is crazy dense. Picture a round object about the size of an infant's head, but a lot heavier. (Some of them are adult-head size, but my knife isn't that long.) The only way to get through it is to take your longest kitchen knife, sharpen it up, drive it in the first half inch or so, then whack the tip with your rolling pin. Hard. Over and over and over. Repeat this to cut the rutabaga into 1" chunks which you then boil and mash just like potatoes. It's hard, noisy work, cutting up the rutabaga. My mother likes to do the mashed potatoes and rutabaga first thing in the morning, so she just has to heat them up before the holiday meal. And when I say first thing in the morning, I mean first thing in the morning. For twenty-seven years I have woken up on Thanksgiving morning and Christmas Eve morning at about 6 or 6:30 a.m. to the sound of a rolling pin whacking a knife through a rutabaga.

This year, my mashed rutabaga was a big hit, and not just at the Thanksgiving meal where, to my utter shock, everyone ate some and several people liked it! When I was buying the rutabaga at the grocery store the Monday before Thanksgiving, the produce guy asked me what I was going to do with it. Then a random woman in the produce department said, "Those are rutabaga, right? How do you prepare them? I've never seen anyone make rutabaga!" I explained the mashing. Then in the checkout line, the checker said, "It's so good to see someone under fifty buying rutabaga - young people never buy rutabaga, parsnips, or turnips." And she too wanted to know what I would be doing with the rutabaga! I've never had it be quite such a conversation piece before! Once in North Carolina the assistant produce manager went to get someone who spoke Spanish (?!) because he thought I was speaking a foreign language when I asked if they carried rutabaga, but I've never had quite so many people quite so fascinated by my produce buying before!

So I apologize for my lack of blogging and I promise to be better -- at least, I'll be better once my dishwasher is fixed and I'm not up to my elbows in dishwater on a daily basis. And I hope you all had a rutabagatastic Thanksgiving! (And for my foreign readers, I hope you had a rutabagatastic random November Thursday in which you couldn't get anyone in the U.S. to take your calls or answer your e-mails.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mud --> Bottle

I saw literally the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my entire life the other night:

I saw a woman take a hunk of mud and make it into a bottle with nothing but her two hands.

If you have never seen pottery in action, which I hadn't before, you really can't appreciate the magical quality of this undertaking. The potter literally takes a hunk of dirt, tosses it on a spinning wheel, and then makes it rise and fall in answer to her hands. My teacher does this effortlessly, with no mess whatsoever. She began with a hunk of stoneware clay and literally five minutes later had a round-bodied, small-necked bottle, perfectly symmetrical and ready for a cork to be popped in the top.

I mean, it's not like woodworking where you start with boards. She started with mud. Just mud! It gives all those passages in the Bible where God is a potter and making people/things from clay entirely new meaning. I mean, mud can seriously be turned into the most amazing things! And watching clay thrown on the potter's wheel is the closest thing to magic I have ever seen.

Not that I'm any good at it. When I sit down at the wheel, clay and water tend to fly in all directions, and my things end up off-center or just plain tip over. Sometimes I press too hard and knock them over. Mostly I don't press hard enough because wow is clay hard to work. I'm going to have arms like an Olympic weightlifter by the end of this class from trying to shove the clay into submission. And you have to push in every imaginable direction at once - one hand pushes out, the other pushes in so you don't go too far out; in-pushing hand guides the clay up while the out-pushing hand holds the top of it down so it doesn't get too skinny. Follow all that? Now the clay is spinning at the speed of light (well, close to it) and there's all these other things you have to be doing, like adding water and smoothing things out and not soaking your fellow students with flying water or conking them on the noggin with clay.

Despite my clumsy neophyte skills, I have managed to produce a few vessels that look like actual plates and cups and bowls and vases. A few. But this is the killer part - I made them out of mud. Mud! And now they can go in the dishwasher! I honestly can't think of anything quite so miraculous. Mud turning into a cup that can go in the dishwasher. Mud becoming an actual vase that doesn't leak. Mud! It's just mud! And now it's stuff! Useful stuff, even!

I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to be coming back to pottery class again after this semester is over. Every time my teacher sits down and, with a minimum of muss and fuss, creates a beautiful vessel out of nothing more than clay, I think, "Man, I want to do that."

And I attack the wheel again.

One day, I am going to turn mud into a bottle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In the Midwest, Food Is Love

My inborn Midwesternness is asserting itself. I read a great piece in Notre Dame magazine by a British student at Notre Dame and his adventures in Midwesternness. He says that while in the Midwest, "I have lost track of the number of people who have barely had a chance to assimilate the fact that my name is significantly less exotic than it first sounded before they have invited me into their homes for a meal. ... I have also now visited five of the Midwestern states and met countless people resolutely determined to confirm the stereotype of the friendly Midwesterner."

I laughed until I cried because, um, yeah. As soon as I meet a foreigner, a benighted coastal native, or anyone new to town, I'm determined to take them home and feed them. I don't care that I've known them for five minutes. I don't care that I only learned to cook last year. This started when I was about 18, this determination to feed people I had just met, particularly if they were not lucky enough to be from the Midwest, and now that I'm 27 it's in full blossom and expresses itself in urges to make complicated casseroles and serve fruit salad in bowls made of canteloupe for people I've known all of six hours. Because if they're not from the Midwest, what have they been eating all these years????

I don't know if it's something in the air or the water or what; my mother is a native of Virginia, yet after 30ish years in the Midwest, exhibits these same tendencies (and oh my God can my mother cook; I swear my college roommates, and those of my siblings, would have held death cage competitions to win the right to eat my mother's Thanksgiving turkey). My husband, having only had two years now to catch the friendly-midwesterner bug, is a little bemused by my insistence on feeding every stray human (and cat) that I meet, but I've noticed he's started inviting newcomers to town to our house for food. Because if they're not from the Midwest, how have they not starved to death yet??? And how have they lived this long without knowing the glory that is Midwestern beer-battered bratwurst???

And let me take this moment, you stuck-up New Yorkers and self-centered Los Angelinos who are thinking right now that your food is soooooooo much better than mine by virtue of your proximity to salt water, to point out that the nation's best restaurant is NOT on the coasts but is in Chicago: Charlie Trotter's has been repeatedly named not just the nation's best restaurant (and chef), but was named the world's best restaurant in 1998 by Wine Spectator. But more to the point, you luckless denizens of the coasts, Midwestern home cooking will knock the socks off you, and you only really have to hang around O'Hare for 10 minutes before someone will start offering to feed you. We worry about you coastal types; you don't seem to eat very well, you suffer from inferior cultural institutions in your cities (I'm sorry you can't all be Chicago, but you can't), and are you drinking enough milk? I didn't think so. Don't worry, Wisconsin is sending some.

If you hurry and catch a plane now, you can be here in time for dinner; I'm whipping up some homemade shortbread and if you're really lucky, I might beer-batter some bratwurst for you.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Death, Death, and More Death

I know I'm overdue for an update or two (hey! It rhymes!) but I am worn out from the longest week ever in the history of the universe (I looked it up - they snuck an extra day in there) and my house is still a disastrous mess and I'm behind at work and while the back garden is now tilled (my arms will never recover) it still has to be prepped for winter and ... and ... and ...

So you will have to do without my Eyebrowsy entertainment for the holiday weekend. Instead, I invite you to do what I'm doing to decompress, which is blowing things up on computer games. If you don't have a Civ or SimCity or Emperor or Neverwinter Nights handy, hop on over to Jay Is Games for casual mostly-flash gaming (some Java and Shockwave). This is how I like to burn off my aggression after annoying things happen at work - five minutes of blowing things up in flash, rather than committing my entire day to annihilating AI opponents on Civ.

If you're more of a shopper than a shooter for decompression and you're near Peoria, you should check out the Julep's Closet sale this weekend at the Riverplex.

(Note to concerned readers: Only pixels died. No actual people. Pixel death makes me feel better.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Adventures in Tool Rental

Scene: Eyebrows, yellow pages open before her, calls a tool rental company.

Me: I'd like to rent a rear-tine tiller.
Person: Okay.
Long silence.
Me: So when can I get that then?
Person, after another extended silence: Thirty dollars.
Person, at random in the silence while I try to decode this: You need a pick-up truck
Me: For a rear-tine or for any tiller? Because I have a hatchback.
Person: Twenty dollars.
Me: What?
Person: If you want a midtine it's twenty dollars.
Me: Does that fit in a hatchback?
Person, after an extended silence: It doesn't need a pickup.
Me, who was told yesterday she needed to reserve them at a specific time when she called the same shop for a quote: So what time should I get that?
Person: Okay.
Long silence.
Me: I said, do I need a reservation time or can I just come in?
Person: Just come in, we might have them
Me: Um, okay, bye.
Person: Okay.

The company is named "Call-a-Tool."

Indeed I did. Indeed I did.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

In Which I Mock Things That Ought Not Be Mocked

This young woman went missing from ISU in Normal, Illinois; she eventually (and tragically) turned up dead in Mississippi near a chicken house of some sort. This has been a huge story not just in Bloomington-Normal but in Peoria as well, because a disappearance and murder of this sort is unusual in central Illinois - at least when it happens to someone who's not a hooker turning tricks for drugs. (I believe the term is "crack whore," but that just sounds so perjorative.)

At any rate this has been dominating the local news for the last few weeks, and I'm having huge problems, because while I know this is a hugely tragic story and I feel for the young woman's family and friends and it's a horrible thing, well, every story includes a line like:

"Normal police said they were expanding the investigation to include ...."

And I think, "Well THANK GOD they're not using the abnormal police on this one!"

or, "A Normal woman said, 'These things just don't happen here!'"

And I think, "Good thing they didn't quote a weird woman!"

Every single time Normal is in the news for ANYTHING and they use "Normal" as a modifier to describe a "Normal police officer" or a "Normal resident" or a "Normal parade" I just crack up. This never gets old to me. It is ceaselessly funny.

When I lived in North Carolina, I was near Person County, which occasionally resulted in some doozies - my favorite was when an elderly man with dementia wandered off from his nursing home and the headline read, "Person man missing." It took a good five minutes before it dawned on me they weren't just being redundant. (Notice how again the funny news bit comes from things that really aren't funny. I feel I ought to sing the Conan O'Brien "Ima gonna go to hell when I die" ditty for finding such tragedies hilarious.)

But Person County really just has nothing on the City of Normal. And it sort of tickles me that every night on the news I can look forward to a new knee-slapping story about a Normal store opening or a Normal building demolition or a Normal school holiday.

Because THANK GOD we're not dealing with the abnormal ones here, folks!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Get Cooler by the Instant

At our Hallowe'en party, we set up our nerd hole of a basement for the teens and tweens in the neighborhood to play X-Box and watch movies side-by-side on two TVs, and we change out all the lightbulbs to red and purple ones, and we stock it with candy and Mountain Dew.

Thus I was pleased to receive the following review from a 14-year-old party-goer who was playing Halo while watching Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:

"Mrs. McGee, your basement is TIGHT!"

"Yeah, tight!" the other kids echoed.

That's right, my basement has been deemed "tight" by teenaged boys. Bow down and worship the glowing glory of my cool-ocity.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pumpkin Pieces

I'd blog but I'm still recovering from our Hallowe'en party.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Attack of the Killer Underwire

Note to my male relatives: Go read this instead.

So Mr. McGee and I were invited to a black tie ball, sort-of last minute, and I had to rush out to get a dress. The dress wasn't actually a problem; I found a real stunner that wasn't terribly expensive (hooray for post-Homecoming clearance!). But I decided I needed a foundation garment to smoosh my bulgy bits. I don't typically wear dresses, formal or otherwise, that require complex underthings, as I am of the opinion that petticoats, corsets, slips, bloomers, chemises, hoops, braes, corset covers, drawers, shifts, crinolines, combies, camisoles, bustles, garter belts, garters, and all their ilk went out with the Victorians for good reason. It's the 21st century; if my dress can't manage to hold things up, down, in, out, and back all on its own, it is a failure of modern clothing technology.

Still, the bulgy bits could use some smooshing, so I went to Victoria's Secret (see? there's those Victorians again!) in search of a smoosher - one of those lycra body tubes, you know? Sort of like a slip, but smooshy. Some searching produced the appropriate size of smoosher, and I repaired to the dressing rooms to wriggle into it, as the smoosher is not technologically advanced enough to only smoosh after it as been donned. Managed to get the thing properly positioned, everything nicely smoothed out and - OW!

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!

Underwire + strong lycra + tender skin + rib bones = EXTREME PAIN!

Yes, the underwire of the smoosher was being spandexed into my underbreast so hard that I could barely breath without screaming in pain. I wrestled out of the damned thing and discovered that in the 30 seconds I had had it on, the underwire had created an impressive bruise under my boob! In fact, I initially thought it may have broken a darn rib because it was so continuingly painful to breathe and tender to the touch for several hours afterwards.

Needless to say, I did not purchase the smoosher, I went to the ball with my bulgy bits free to bulge as they chose (curves being preferable to bruises, in my opinion), and I have now mentally relegated "smooshers," with all their 21st-century technology, to the same dustheap of history as all Victorian underthings. My bruise is now fading, but I'm still traumatized by the spandex/underwire combo. Bah! If it can't be held in place with a bra and panties, God clearly did not intend it to be held in place.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fall Back Day

I love Fall Back Day. I get extra sleep AND I feel really virtuous for getting up before 7 a.m. (when of course my body thinks it's almost 8, but what does it know?)

The cats, on the other hand, not such fans - food was delayed by an entire hour. I think they'll have nervous breakdowns tonight, since they usually start getting frantic about dinner two hours before it's time, and tonight they'll be waiting three!

I would prefer, however, to live in a place where time doesn't change, like Indiana, where I went to college. It just rules not having to deal with it, and now I'm really resentful that I have to change all the clocks since I lived four years without dealing with that. (On the other hand, primetime shifted by an hour when the time didn't change and that was very confusing for my TV-watching habits.) I hear Indiana is going to start changing time now. Fie on them! Worst idea ever! Stay strong, Indiana! Don't change your clocks!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Kiss and Blog

Mr. McGee says I shouldn't kiss and tell - or blog.

I told him that if I really kissed and told/blogged, women would be lined up around the block to smooch him and I'd be beating them off him with a stick.

He is unsure whether to be mollified by this or not.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lopsided and Messy

I started a pottery class today, because autumn always makes me feel like I should be in school and learning something. Now that I have three degrees, I get to learn useless things. (Because, um, clearly a liberal arts degree and a masters in theology weren't plenty useless already, but go with it.)

So this fall I'm taking pottery, and today was my first class. I'm not terribly artistically inclined, nor am I very coordinated, so it should be no surprise that my first pottery class involved a great deal of flying clay, flying water, facial clay smudges, collapsing containers, air bubbles, and general mess.

I didn't realize clay was so HEAVY, so I did a poor job of getting into the right shape because it was so hard to mush in that direction, then once I'd get it growing up into a cylinder, I'd push too hard and everything would end up oddly-shaped. Today I made two "cylinders," one of which looks something like an uneven gravy boat, and the other of which is a sort of stout, uneven goblet. My teacher insisted I fire them both because you're supposed to keep your first tries. I feel sorta bad for the better pottery having to associate with my pottery in the kiln. It's just not pretty.

I should also note that at no point during the class did Patrick Swayze appear, either bodily or incorporeally. Very disappointing.

But it was only my first class, which leaves me plenty of time to learn to make somewhat less-lopsided cylinders, and for Patrick Swayze to put in his appearance. So mom, dad - it'll be like a throwback to kindergarten this Christmas: you're getting lopsided hand-made pottery from one of your children. (And you thought you were done with that after 17 years of having children continuously in elementary school! HA!)

Monday, October 24, 2005

"No Blogging"

Last night my husband and I were making out during the commercials of Crossing Jordan, and he looked deep into my eyes and said, in a husky, romantic voice, "No blogging."

I think Mr. McGee does not appreciate his fame.

I laughed at him, and he asked if I really wanted my family reading about our kissing. I pointed out that since we were married, I believed it was actually legal in all fifty states for us to smooch during commercials and, moreover, that my family was aware that as married people, we probably engaged in hand-holding, kissing, and perhaps even some cuddling from time to time.

In fact, we engaged in some interdigitation and osculation before we were even married! The first Christmas Mr. McGee spent with my family, we had gotten engaged a few months earlier and spent pretty much all our free time smooching, to the disgust of my siblings and parents. They confined themselves to dirty looks and the occasional snide comment --

Except for my youngest brother.

He was eleven at the time, which meant that cooties were seriously contagious and kissing was about the grossest thing known to man. We were having a smooch session on the couch in the family room while watching TV (everyone else was off somewhere else), when suddenly I hear a thin, deep voice, a pre-teen forcing his voice down into the basso profundo region, announce, "Jesus is watching you!" in portentous tones.

I open my eyes and prepare to issue some sisterly chastisement, when I see, floating over my then-fiance's shoulder, a little Jesus figurine, which my brother had stolen from the nativity scene, dancing in the air. And my youngest brother's gleefully evil face, right behind the watchful baby Jesus.

I laughed so hard I almost broke something.

So successful was this gambit that he has tried it several times at Christmases since when he catches us kissing, but now that we're married, I think even baby Jesus is okay with us smooching.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Christmas Day - Observed

We got the 2006 county court schedule a couple days ago, which lists holidays for which the court is closed.

For 2006, the court is closed on Monday, Dec. 25 for "Christmas Eve - Observed" and on Tuesday, Dec. 26 for "Christmas Day - Observed."

Government. Run. Amok.

What's wrong with "Christmas - and a spare day because we always give you two at Christmas and Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday"? I mean, the courts are closed for "Thanksgiving" and "Day Following" not "Thanksgiving Eve - Observed" and "Thanksgiving - Observed." What's so wrong with "Christmas" and "Day Following" when Christmas Eve falls on a weekend?

With all the "Observed" holidays in the U.S. (Columbus Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, MLK Day), I honestly never ever thought I'd see "Christmas - Observed. I figured that was one holiday that was safe from the virus of "Observed."

What's next - "Fourth of July - Observed" ... on the fifth???

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The New Regime


This is a picture of Grey Cat and Orange Cat being pissed about the new regime in the house, the regime which involves me taking away their leftovers. As they're both rather tubby cats, they've been on a diet for a long time, but they usually left a few kibble in the bowl to nosh on for an afternoon snack. Now that Orange Cat is diabetic, I wait until they've finished breakfast, then take away whatever food they leave behind. So by the time dinner arrives - as in this picture - they're both sitting in the kitchen STARING and every time one of us comes in, they get all excited in the hopes that it MIGHT JUST BE 8 p.m. now and they can have more food. Some evenings there's piteous crying and wailing. One evening I got bitten by a cat trying to get my attention. They sit there as if they think that if they leave, the food might sneak into the bowls and disappear completely when they're not looking. They are not fans.

But Orange Cat is doing fairly well with his diabetes treatment, as am I. I have a needle phobia, so when we went to the vet to learn to give Orange Cat his twice-daily insulin shots, I had minor hysterics beforehand, and then almost passed out after my practice shot. The vet totally was like, "what a wuss." The first few times I had to give him the shot, I had to lie down afterwards because it made me so light-headed, but I'm getting better about it now.

Orange Cat is very mellow about the whole procedure. He's not such a fan of the needle actually going in, but he likes all the petting and praise he gets afterwards, so half the time he comes to find us after he eats because he knows the shot comes next. If it were Grey Cat, we'd all be in the ER by now from the stunning Exorcist impression he does whenever a needle gets within five yards of his tender kitty flesh. Grey Cat got banned from his last vet for using the vet tech's head as a launch pad to the ceiling when they tried to give him a rabies shot. Grey Cat's new vet puts on the gloves they use to handle raptors before approaching Grey Cat with a hypodermic needle. Grey Cat's new vet is substantially smarter than the old one.

(Orange Cat is, in fact, under my desk right now headbutting at my legs to let me know it's shot time! ... There, shot delivered.)

I don't think I really appreciated before now how miraculous a drug insulin is. I read something a couple years ago, for the 80th anniversary of the invention of (useable) insulin, in the Chicago Tribune, about it, and it sounded pretty neat. But observing it up close and personal, even in a cat rather than a human, is to have a glimpse at the astounding achievements of modern medical science. Orange Cat, pre-insulin, was mopey, cranky, crying ALL THE TIME to the point where I couldn't work, having behavioral issues, and usings things that were in the category of "not the litterbox" to pee on.

Post-insulin, he's back to being a fairly mellow, happy cat, very purry, very cuddly, chatty but not annoyingly talkative, watching the birds and squirrels again, fighting with Grey Cat again ... he seems 5 years younger, and all his behavioral problems have disappeared completely. All that - and the whole "not dying" thing - from a tiny little vial of clear fluid. It's amazing. It makes me want to donate money to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

So here's a postmortem shout out to Macleod, Banting, and those other two guys who didn't get to share in the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Orange Cat and I appreciate it, dudes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bellybutton Lint Must Go! -- And LaHood on Fuel Efficiency

Eyebrows is going to join Polly Peoria's Crusade against Bellybutton Lint. Because, let's face it, she's right: That stuff is flammable!

I spent about half an hour today researching the scooter ordinance which, while it remains appallingly overbroad, does not impact my beloved Vespas. I don't own one yet, but I will, and it would be shockingly difficult to create a scooter gang if Peoria didn't let me ride a scooter.

Although I have to wonder why Peoria's going to all the trouble to outlaw these energy-efficient mini-vehicles that people could clearly commute the uber-short distances in Peoria on, when even SUV-driving, Alaska-drilling Ray LaHood is complaining bitterly about gas prices and their impact on central Illinois families, and deploring the current energy bill for not raising fuel efficiency standards.

LaHood claims to drive the SUV because it's safe. LaHood has been sold a bill of goods, as they're more dangerous for both the occupants AND the other drivers on the roads. It's a little disturbing that our congresscritter can't even evaluate basic safety data on his own passenger vehicle. In addition to his own inability to evaluate the data, he also seems never to have heard of Consumer Reports, which has been independently evaluating and reporting on the danger of SUVs for years.

Now, LaHood is clearly one of the brigher bulbs in Congress. So is it any wonder most legislation coming out of Washington is a moronic mess when even its brighter members can't manage to evaluate basic consumer safety data when it pertains to their own and their families' safety?

Maybe we could just get him a motorized scooter - although then he wouldn't be able to visit Peoria anymore.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mr. McGee, Unplugged

Me: "Great, now I have a head cold AND menstrual cramps."
Him: "Yeah, I'm not feeling so great. I think I have a little of what you have."
Me: "What, the menstrual cramps?"
Him: "Yeah, my uterus is just really acting up lately."

---

Him: "I should have a Greek chorus following me around!"

---

Him, to a fly that buzzed too close to his ear, as he swatted at said fly: "Quit that, asshole!"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Like a Good Neighbor,

I have a comprehensive theological library in my basement. (I mean really, who doesn't?)

Yesterday I popped over to my neighbor's house to drop off a catalog with these mums which she had admired in my yard for growing to freakishly mutant proportions - they're seriously bigger than the hydrangea. I had lost the gardening catalog we found them in, but I had told her the next time one came, I'd hand it off to her so she, too, could purchase freakishly enormous mums.

All was not well in the Neighbor Household. Neighbor Boy, who is 10 and attends Catholic school, was grumbling - literally grumbling - about his homework. (It was a sort of cute sound, as if a very grumpy groundhog was having a high-pitched grumble and trying to be taken seriously by the deeper-voiced mammals whose grumpiness is more impressive.) He had, it seemed, his very first "go write a report" assignment, from start to finish, with outlines, sources, bibliography done properly, and all that good stuff. He'd done hand-held essays before but this was his first solo flight.

"And we couldn't find anything at the library," his mom said. She said at first they thought he was just footdragging on it, but then she and her husband helped out and they too could find nothing. The looked on the internet. They asked the librarians. They went to multiple libraries. Nothing.

So she gives me the litany and ends, "... and it's because he chose a bad saint, Thomas the Apostle, there just isn't much on him --"

"Neighbor Woman!" I interrupted. "Hello! You live next door to Peoria's finest theological library!"

She stared at me open-mouthed for a moment. "It just never even occurred to me to ask you," she finally said. "I guess I knew you studied theology ..."

"I'll be back in five minutes," I said. "With sources."

And indeed, five minutes later, I returned to the Neighbor Household with several age-appropriate sources on Thomas the apostle and a list of other books they could find at a local library that would have further references. Neighbor Boy's eyes lit up as he realized that a) he now had actual research with which to write his essay and b) someone else had found all his research for him.

All in a day's work. I'm just a friendly neighborhood theologian, here to help.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Toaster 1, Husband 0

I wasn't here for the actual skirmish, having left the house early to run some errands and returning after my husband had left for the day, but apparently his breakfast went horribly, horribly awry today. As near as I can tell from the carnage, he lost a battle with the toaster.

There are toast crumbs all over the ENTIRE kitchen, one counter nearly blanketed with them. A bowl full of crumbs. Three crumb-covered utensils in the bowl. And a smug-looking toaster in the corner.

Judging by the available evidence, I think the toaster's victory was fairly decisive.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Jobs I Will Never Have

It occurred to me today, while doing a wordsearch (a pastime in which I have rarely indulged since the sixth grade, and shockingly fun), that if I wrote wordsearches for a living, I would spend all my time trying to hide dirty words in the wordsearch.

Which is probably why nobody's ever hired me to write wordsearches for a living.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Day 2 of Patio Laying: Not Divorced Yet

I want to post a picture of my two tons of sand, but Blogger's being a pain in the butt about it. Yesterday we spent the entire day excavating the extra 24x3 feet we were expanding the patio, removing excess gravel, moving dirt, and shoveling sand. I have personally shoveled about a ton of sand at this point, which is impressive for someone as wussy as I am. We slept in until about 11 a.m., not because we needed the sleep but because every muscle in our bodies ached. (There is no part of my body that currently works as advertised.) Finally, finally, we were able to start laying actual bricks at about 1 p.m. today.

I am apparently not doing this very well because I keep getting corrections - don't stand on that, you're using the mallet wrong, level this off, even that off, this brick doesn't go with that one, and so forth. I strongly suspect I'm hindering more than helping (so of course I came inside to blog). But so far, despite undertaking a massive and ache-inducing home improvement project, we are not actually divorced and neither of us is in traction.

I'll count that as a win.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Adventures in Homeownership: Eyebrows Buys Sand

Mr. McGee and I are re-laying our back patio, a nice patio of brick which had been so undermined by ants that I broke my toe on the uneven bricks (while running barefoot in the dark, but it's still the ants' fault) and so overgrown with verdure that it looks more like an abandoned castle from 600 years ago that happens to have a few pavers disturbing the grass than an outdoor seating space.

We meant to have this done in September, but as home improvement projects always do, it took longer than anticipated, so we're just now getting ready to lay the brick. Of course I asked my husband for measurements and of course he forgot to get them for me, so the day before we want to lay brick, I'm rushing around the backyard with a measuring tape trying to get the square footage and then do hard, hard math to figure out how many cubic feet of sand I need to cover 373 square feet to a depth of one inch, find the weight of a cubic foot of sand, and then convert that into tons, so I know how much sand to order. And hoping I can find someone to deliver it THE NEXT MORNING.

I've never ordered sand before, but I remembered from when I was four and my dad built me a sandbox that the sand guys will come with a dumptruck and dump sand in your driveway, so I looked up "sand" in my friendly neighborhood yellow pages and discovered a good two dozen places that deliver sand. I called Kickapoo Sand and Gravel because a) I like the word "Kickapoo" and b) I've passed it before. (All right, and because I've been told it's a good place for outdoor paving projects, fine. But it was ALMOST that random.)

I told the Sand Man my measurements (I mean, um, my patio measurements) and he said I needed about two tons of sand. I had estimated about 1.8, but he said that was shy and the cost would be the same to round up to the next ton anyway. I have never in my life rounded up to the next ton. I asked him for a quote, to deliver two tons of sand to my home at the ass crack of dawn the next day, and he goes away for a minute and comes back with, "Forty-two dollars."

"Wow," I said, after a moment of stunned silence.

"I know, I'm sorry," he replied, very apologetically. "It just costs a lot more when you buy it in such small tonnages."

"Actually," I said, "I've never bought anything by the ton before and I was thinking that's really reasonable for two tons of something!"

Sand Man laughed at me.

It does nice things to my patio budget, though!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New neighbors!

Eyebrows has new neighbors, and it's good news: They're geeks like us!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ass Update

My ass is better. Moreover, I have milked my broken coccyx for all the sympathy I can get out of it (my, does that sound obscene), so even if it still hurt I'd lie about it to you. But it doesn't hurt anymore, really, unless I lift really heavy loads. This is kind-of a good thing because we're laying a brick patio next weekend or the weekend after, and that's definitely the kind of work I prefer to watch my sexy sweaty husband do than have to participate in myself.

I didn't think I'd get tired of people walking up to me and asking, "How's your butt?" But in point of fact, even my puerile mind eventually got tired of hearing the word "butt" in every conversation I had. There are only so many interesting things to say about coccyxes. (Coccyxices? Coccyices? Coccyges?)

So my ass is healed; let its fan club rejoice. And not a moment too soon, since it's time for my fall allergy shot, and you know where they give me that?

In my ass.

Friday, September 30, 2005

How Cool Am I?

I'll tell you how cool I am: I'm wearing a newsboy cap AND a poncho.

That is how cool I am. It's a whole special level of cool, commonly known as "dork." (And/or "so last season.")

The Definition of Irony

is that Blogger's built-in spell-check doesn't know the word "blog."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eyebrows (hearts) Norway

So my best friend - who suggested her secret blog name be "Titsy," but, oh my God, my father reads this blog and I am not using the word "Titsy" on my blog where he might see it, SO STOP ASKING IF I'LL CALL YOU TITSY - is dating a Norwegian guy, henceforth known as Thor. (And not-Titsy shall be known as Emmochka.) So Thor is an actual Norwegian citizen, not a Scandasotan, which meant that until last month, they'd been dating intercontinentally.

But Thor has come to America, bringing with him his strange ideas about multi-party political systems, public transit, expensive petrol, and pickled herring. This is the first of Emmochka's boyfriends that I've actually liked - he's the first one who's bought me beer; my friendship comes cheap - so I'm excited for her and all, but it creates major problems for me.

First off, Norwegian is really hard to pronounce. I consider myself a polite citizen of the world, so when traveling abroad or meeting foreigners here in the US, I always try to learn a few polite phrases in their native languages. Well, when preparing to meet Thor for the first time, I assiduously studied my Norwegian politenesses, primarily, "I am pleased to meet you."

It did not go well.

When I attempted to say
"Hyggelig a treffe deg,"** Thor just looked at me, then ever-so-politely attempted to stifle a laugh at my pathetic pronunciation. I practiced for two weeks, repeating after the voice, but man, I can't even separate out the sounds. It was sad. I wasn't even close. But at least I achieved my primary goal of looking like an absolute ass in front of my best friend's boyfriend. It's important to keep these things in perspective.

I have learned many interesting things about Norway since meeting Thor, including that on Norwegian Constitution Day, everybody wears super-cute traditional clothing. Apparently people just own this kind of thing, which strikes me as a little strange - I can't imagine everyone wearing colonial-era clothing on the Fourth of July, let alone the entire country owning a historically-accurate outfit. But like I said, it's super-cute, and check out that Hardanger embroidery on those ladies' aprons! Plus Thor fully appreciates my painful childhood fjord-related experience.

So all in all, I'm a fan of Thor, and I suppose I shall return to fine-tuning my pronunciation of Norwegian so that the next time I see Thor, I can sound a little less stupid.

But Thor, no matter how much I like you, I am not eating your pickled herring. It's just not going to happen.



**That "a" after hyggelig should have a little circle on its head, but blogger won't do that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's Post-Post-Modern

I was interviewed by a reporter with the Journal-Star yesterday for an article, and I happen to know he reads my blog. So now he's reading me writing about him writing about me.

How meta is that?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Festivals, Fairs, and Fall

Mr. McGee and I had a fairly exciting weekend. There was a Fall Festival in my neighborhood, to which I was alerted by wondering aloud to my neighbor why there was so much traffic and having her respond, "The carnival! Haven't you noticed the herds of carnies roaming the neighborhood?" Oh.

So we hit the carnival, which was a lovely little neighborhood event, with a beer tent and carnival food (mmmm ... funnel cake) and several little rides. Mr. McGee turns out not to cope particularly well with the spinning rides that I like, so we went on the Ferris wheel, which almost made me puke when it was all stopping and starting. Freaked me out! One ride we rode, Mr. McGee was so tall that his legs almost hit the support bars when we swung around ever time -- a little nerve-wracking! We also noticed that one of the carnies was wearing a UNC cap, thus solving the eternal question of what happens to UNC students when they graduate: apparently, they become carnies.

But this was the first time we'd ever done amusement-park-type rides together, so it was fun to see his face and watch his hair get all floofy. Then, after agreeing that we were officially old because carnival rides were making our stomachs get confused and our heads get dizzy, we hit the beer tent, where basically the entire over-21 population of the neighborhood was enjoying a brew and listening to the band.

Sunday we volunteered at the Peoria Fine Art Fair, which was a blast. It was pouring rain, so there wasn't a whole lot to do, so we basically got free T-shirts for walking around the fair for two hours asking artists if we could sit their booths while they went to pee. Nobody needed a bathroom break, so we just had a lovely ramble. There were a shocking lot of glass artists, of which our favorite was a local artist who owns Toraason Glass. He has a real sinuous line and delicate composition to his works that we didn't see in the other glass artists.

I had a total revelation at the Art Fair, though, and that's what I've got to blog about. There was an artist there named Larry Kanfer, a modest man who looked more like an accountant than an artist. But oh my God, I saw his art, and that is exactly what is in my head. That is what I would make if I could make art. This is the beauty I see when I look at the midwest; this is what I'm always trying to explain to other people about why I think it's the most beautiful, soul-filling landscape in the world. And I finally found someone who translates that into pictures! It's like the contents of my imagination on canvas for the whole world to see! I was so excited I literally jumped up and down. My husband laughed at me, but he said, "You totally made that guy's day." He was super-nice to me, gave me postcards to take home and everything.

So I have decided to become a Larry Kanfer groupie. I'm going to get all his books and then drive to Champaign and ask him to sign them. And the next time I have a spare $1200, I'm so buying a big-ass Kanfer to hang in my office where I can look at it all day long.

I definitely know what I'm getting for Christmas!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fore!

This boy across the street has taken up golf. I haven't actually met him, but I think he's about 10 or 11. So for the last week or so, he's been practicing chip shots in his front yard -- by chipping them at his siblings and friends on the front porch, who then throw the balls back to him. There's much cheering, shouting, hooting, and "YEAH!"-ing. I've never seen kids so excited about golf; I didn't know golf was such a loud sport.

And I sincerely hope he's practicing with whiffleballs.

Every time I hear the local firehouse (which is about three blocks away) send out trucks or ambulances, I have to go to the front window to see if golf boy has finally chipped one right into his sister's head. It's like watching a train wreck. I just can't help it.

Note to Self:

Try to avoid five-minute sneezing fits the day after Pilates-ing one's abs into aching insensibility.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

BOYCOTT MACY'S!

Macy's is changing the name of Marshall Field's to Macy's, in a move of stunning public relations stupidity. Thousands of Chicagoans are already promising to boycott.

I drove 850 miles from North Carolina to Chicago so I could register at Field's on State Street for my wedding. It was the only part of getting married that I dreamed about as a little girl - registering on State Street.

Macy's is just another department store. Field's IS Chicago, and I think it shows a remarkable lack of understanding of Macy's target market to attempt to move into the midwest by destroying the Chicago icon that is Field's.

If you're as pissed off as I am, you can:

1) Sign a petition at http://www.keepitfields.org/ .

2) E-mail Macy's parent company, Federated Department Stores, here to complain.

3) Write via snail mail to Federated Department Stores, Inc., at 7 West Seventh St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 or at 151 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001.

4) Call Federated's corporate office at 513-579-7000.

5) Write letters to the editor -- write the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Post, or the New York Times.

6) Boycott Federated stores, including Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Famous-Barr, Filene's, Foley's, Hecht's, Kaufmann's, Lord & Taylor, L.S. Ayres, Marshall Field's, Meier & Frank, Robinsons-May, Strawbridge's, The Jones Store, David's Bridal, After Hours Formalwear and Priscilla of Boston. Include this list of stores in any complaint or boycott e-mails or letters that you write, so that Federated knows that you're aware of the extent of their holdings and will boycott all stores owned by Federated.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

It's a Pause between Movements, Not a Lunch Break

We went to the opening gala of the Peoria Symphony season last night, and I was super-psyched because it was all Russians and I LOVE the Russians. Plus, they featured one of my favorite pieces in the entire symphony literature, Pictures at an Exhibition.

Now, Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky and performed by Antonio Pompa-Baldi was really excellent. Standing O and all. Awesome. And the Autumnal Sketch by Prokofiev was delightfully light and airy and expressive. The Caucasion Sketches were okay, but somewhat marred by the low brass repeatedly flubbing notes. (Let's be honest - if my high school orchestra had bungled an entrance as badly as the PSO's brass did, my conductor would have stopped the concert and made us start the piece over because we sucked so bad. Maybe David Commanday needs to apply some similarly tough love to the low brass section here.)

Pictures at an Exhibition was frankly painful.

First of all, if the low brass can't hit the notes EARLY in the concert, they clearly can't hit them LATE in the concert. The poor baritone horn player - and I hesitate to write this because he was visibly flinching and freaked at his flubs, and we were five rows from the back of the hall - just destroyed the "Bydlo" movement. Even my husband, who's not very classically-aware, said, "What's up with that guy on the end with the horn? Can he just not play or what?" (Typically Mr. McGee can't pick out individual instruments or sections, let along individual players.) The low brass was sloppy all through. Don't put the hardest piece for the brass, where they are the most-exposed, last.

Secondly, and this is one of my least-favorite David Commanday idiosyncracies: It's a pause between movements, dude. It's not a lunch break. Particularly in a piece like Pictures where the movements flow naturally one to the next - it's just WEIRD to stop, put your arms down, have all the musicians relax for 60 seconds, and then start again. It creates a VERY disjointed listening experience. (To its credit, though, the PSO doesn't get a pole up its butt about people applauding between movements, which they often do because Commanday stops the entire concert for at least a minute between movements and people think it's time to clap.)

Thirdly, Pictures is vividly composed and strikingly orchestrated to take advantage of the expressive qualities of both music itself and of the various instruments. Ravel's orchestration really takes that expression to the outside limits of the capabilities of the orchestral instruments, using them in novel ways that create the perfect marriage of music and tonal quality. So while Commanday's overdramatic interpretation of Pictures worked in some movements - notably Gnomus - it just made most of the piece feel cartoonish. (Also, when you can tell from the back of the hall by the postures of certain musicians that they're fed up with the conductor's prancing and overdramatizing, it is perhaps time for the conductor to tone it down.)

It was a terribly weak ending to a very uneven concert, and I'm frankly irate at Commanday's melodramatic butchering of one of my favorite pieces on the planet.

I still enjoyed it, because, hey, live symphonic music is live symphonic music, and the piano concerto was excellent. But I sincerely hope the low brass has cleaned up its act by October and that Commanday tones down his.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Boo State

Dear Michigan State,

It is not classy, by any definition of the term, after squeaking out a victory by the seat of your pants, and only after a Notre Dame touchdown that clearly crossed the plane but was not thusly called by the ref and some otherwise remarkably biased calling in your favor, to "plant" your flag on the 50 yard line at Notre Dame stadium.

I realize you have a serious inferiority complex, but TRY to act like grown ups, 'kay?

-Eyebrows

PS - I guess this also means that Weis is only the new Rockne, not the new Jesus. Just as well for our theological orthodoxy.

PSS to State - We still like you better than OSU.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Out and About

They've installed new crosswalk signals all over Peoria, the ones that count down for you. Now every time I pull up to a red light, it's like New Year's Eve: "TEN! ... NINE! ... EIGHT! ... SEVEN! ..." and so forth. When it gets down to "ONE!" I'm always expecting screams, music, and confetti. A green light seems like something of a letdown.

But it's definitely more festive driving around town with the New Year's countdown going on all the time.

---

While waiting at one of these red lights at a major intersection today, I saw a Monarch butterfly flitter through the intersection above all the cars, time suspended on its wings, flashing orange in the late summer sun.

I hope everyone else saw it; it was a single flittering moment where heaven broke through the smog.

We've planted some native plants in the backyard - primarily a gardeny variety of milkweek that looks more floral, less weedy - and as a consequence we've had a steady procession of Monarchs all summer long. It's a wonder I get any work done since every time I see one I have to stop and stare, mesmerized, until I can't see it any longer, and the milkweeds are right outside my office window.

---

They're renovating my grocery store. I hate this because I grocery shop entirely by rote. Any time they move a product or change the packaging, my brain melts down and I can't FIND anything. I spent a good twenty minutes at the grocery store today trying to locate the microwave popcorn. And they've now moved the wine section twice. It's not enough that the produce section is full of things I can't identify and have never heard of; now they keep moving the prepackaged food that has explanations on the box so that I can't find it anymore.

I'm looking into taking up grazing, like a horse. It'd cut down on the lawnmowing, too.

---

Orange Cat comes home this afternoon, and this afternoon I shall learn how to give him shots, if I don't actively pass out at the vet's office when I have to use the needle. I went to the compounding pharmacy to pick up his bladder medicine, which is in transdermal gel form (you put it on the ears and it soaks in) because he's a champion pill-puker. I love going to the compounding pharmacy because it seems like such an anachronism, a pharmacy where they actually MAKE THE DRUGS right there. Chemistry in action. I love it. It seems so much more medical when they have to make the drug special and it comes in fancy-looking special formats and containers, instead of coming in branded pills and branded boxes and bottles that are as much about building your loyalty to Zocor or Prilosec as about curing what ails you. So hooray for Preckshot, a little bit of medicine that has survived the advertising age intact, a little bit of chemistry working its magic to make my feline buddy healthy again.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sick Cat

My Orange Cat just got diagnosed with diabetes, and with a bladder inflammation issue, so the poor thing is peeing blood and has to stay in the kitty hospital a few days while they work on his bladder and get his insulin going. My car is in the car hospital getting its ghetto-fabulous rear window fixed, and my butt is still in the butt-hospital (i.e., the cushion with a hole in it), so all in all, I'm a little overwhelmed today and consequently not feeling very blogtastic.

Sort-of having a Garfield Monday. I didn't even get any good junk mail.

We'll get our Orange Cat back Wednesday or Thursday and at that time I'll learn to stick him with needles, which may in fact make me vomit. I cope well with almost all parts of modern medicine but shots freak me out - not because of the needle, but because I hate seeing things go under the skin (horror movies where some alien burrows into the dude's skin ... *shudder*). My uncle pointed out the cat has fur so I won't see it, which is true and may in fact help. Plus I'm relatively tough when it comes to people (and critters) I love, so hopefully I'll only freak out the first few times.

Grey Cat is a little forlorn because a) we took Orange Cat out in his cat carrier for a car ride, which Grey Cat LOVES and Orange Cat HATES and Grey Cat is very miffed about it, and b) we didn't bring Orange Cat back. I'm not sure if he's trying to convince me not to sell him to roadside vagrants or if he just wants to go wherever Orange Cat went because the car is always fun, but he's been trying to be my best buddy all afternoon.

Also, compared to the neurotic, diabetic, bladder-infected, one-eyed, no-tailed Orange Cat, Grey Cat, who is just missing the one eye and thinks he's a human, is positively normal by comparison.

Sometimes I think my main role as a niece is to make my childless aunts and uncles happy about their decision, since I frantically IMed my uncle who is married to a vet to bombard him with what were ostensibly questions for his wife but was really just a vast spewing of stress in his general direction, because I was too upset/stressed to listen to what the vet told me on the phone very well (I made him call Mr. McGee because Mr. McGee is better at getting info when upset than I am, and asks lawyerly questions, whereas I just get overwhelmed and forget). I think my uncle was thinking, "Thank God I don't have one of those, because apparently they remain full of angst long after the teenaged years are gone."

To my angst-related credit, however, I called my mom - who copes with me crying quite well - and not my dad, who does not cope with my crying well at all, to be weepy about the Orange Cat.

And now Mr. McGee, the best husband ever, has walked in the house with a legal pad full of well-organized diabetes information from his half-hour discussion with the vet! Hooray for litigators!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Zizzy-Zazzy

You know those little reflections of light that bounce off your watch, or ring, or bracelet, or hand-held mirror, or shiny metal object? On the wall, bright as mini-suns, that you can make dance everywhere just by moving your wrist a little?

Growing up, my siblings and I always called those "Zizzy-Zazzies." I don't know why. My parents certainly didn't call them that. But we coined the term "Zizzy-Zazzy" and we got very excited whenever we created a zizzy-zazzy, making it run all over the room and onto one another's faces. The best zizzy-zazzies were, of course, mom's, because she had a diamond ring and diamond rings will make a million tiny rainbow-colored stars all over the walls and ceiling if the sun hits them right. But we could make our little sunshines with watches, mirrors, toys, and all kinds of things.

The other day I was sitting at my desk working, and noticed a strange zizzy-zazzy on the wall in front of me. My desk is half up against a window, half against a wall. The monitor is off to my left in front of the wall, so I can look away out the window to think deep thoughts and watch birds do obscene things. The zizzy-zazzy was above my monitor, quivering but looking oddly sluggish, and with amorphous, ill-defined edges, which is strange - usually zizzy-zazzies are bright and sharp.

I examined my hands - no rings, no watch, no bracelets. No shiny buttons. No hair clips. Necklace tucked under shirt. I couldn't find a single thing on me that was creating the zizzy-zazzy, but since it was moving, I knew it had to be me. I wasted a good ten minutes searching my body for shiny metal things and moving one body part at a time, to see if it moved the zizzy-zazzy. The zizzy-zazzy kept jiggling whenever I moved, but only a little bit. Nothing I moved seemed to make it move out of place or do more than jiggle.

Finally, I discovered the source:

I am just that pale.

Yes, my forehead, with hair pulled back into a ponytail, sun shining right in the window onto my face, and a slight sheen of sweat from the humidity of the day, had turned into such a powerfully reflective surface that I was actually creating a zizzy-zazzy with it.

Conan O'Brien claims that he's so pale that when he takes his shirt off at the beach, people go blind.

Conan O'Brien has NOTHING on me and my forehead zizzy-zazzy! I now actually have the power to direct beams of light at people who annoy me. Mwah ha ha ha ha! That's what they'll get for making fun of my natural deathly pallor! A zap from the forehead zizzy-zazzy ray of blinding light. Mwah ha ha ha ha! Tremble! Tremble before my pale-ness!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Get This Man a Client!

My husband is a litigator, which can be hard on a marriage. Litigators tend to get into litigation mode and have trouble getting out of it, and have a tendency to grill their relatives as if they're witnesses on the stand. What makes it worse is that I'm a lawyer too, and it's all too easy for me to get sucked into legal arguments - and anything can turn into a legal argument. I remember one of the first big arguments of our marriage was something about housecleaning, and we were having an extremely heated discussion (at the tops of our lungs) about whether failure to wash the dishes four weeks ago was within the statute of argument limitations, and, if so, whether by analogy failure to empty the litter boxes was also within the statute. And by introducing bad facts, was one opening the door to other evidence? Could one's character be rehabilitated by introduction of nice spousal deeds, or were those irrelevant to the argument at hand?

The house didn't exactly get clean, but by God did we apply the rules of evidence to every tiny detail of housekeeping and marriage.

Typically litigators are harder to live with when they're actively litigating (that is, in trial) because they're in litigator-mode all day and have trouble turning it "off" when they get home. My husband, however, is much harder to live with when he's not litigating. It's like he has a daily quota of litigation he has to get through, and if he can't take it out on clients and opposing parties, he takes it out on me.

So this past week, he's mostly been drafting pleadings and memos, not deposing clients or in court. I'm ready to run away, I swear. This is how most of this week has gone:

"Hey, sweetie, I heard this great joke - Why did the chicken cross the road?"

"Why?"

"To get away from Colonel Sanders!"

"That doesn't make sense. Did the chicken belong to him? If not, why was he chasing someone else's chicken? Aren't there chicken enclosure laws? Isn't the owner breaking municipal regulations by letting his chickens run free? What kind of chicken was it, and what was the value of the chicken ...." Ad nauseum. Very nauseum.

I can't tell a joke without having it litigated into the ground. I can't tell a story about my day without having it litigated into the ground: "I talked to Allison today." "In person, on your cell, or on your landline? Did you call her? Did she call you?" It takes twenty minutes to get to the important part of the story ("She's taken a job with a consulting firm.") because we spend the first twenty minutes with him questioning me to establish the background of this line of questioning. By then I usually forget why I started the story in the first place, or else I'm so mad I no longer want to tell him what I was going to tell him, just to be perverse.

If he doesn't go to court some time in the next week, I'm going to lose my mind. I keep thinking of that line from Clueless, "Daddy's a litigator. Those are the scariest kinds of lawyers. ... He's so good he gets paid five hundred dollars an hour just to fight with people, but he fights with me for free 'cause I'm his daughter."

Indeed. I'm so lucky. I married a litigator, so I get to fight for free.

It's a good thing he's hot.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Butt Gets Mail

Since I broke my tailbone, my butt has been getting its own e-mail from concerned friends of my ass. It's gotten a LOT since I blogged about it. My best friend says this is creepy and I need to stop referring to my butt as if it is a separate entity. But I didn't start it! It gets its own mail!

My butt thanks you all for your concern. My butt wishes to inform you all that it is feeling somewhat better, although still sore.

My butt also wishes to let you know there will neither be a press conference nor photo ops. Definitely not photo ops.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Weltschmertz Rx

My Orange Cat is a big fan of my broken tailbone, because it means I spend large chunks of time lying on my side, which creates a nice little warm spot, which is his favorite spot, which he normally only gets to sleep in at night when I'm sleeping. He approaches this spot by climbing up from my feet (never, like a normal cat, by just jumping onto the couch or bed where the spot is!), walking up to my head, turning around, walking flush against my body until his stinky butt is directly in my face, and then flopping all 17 pounds of himself down against me with a "whoomf!" When I'm very unlucky, the butt is still in my face. On good flops, it ends up down near my shoulder. If he doesn't get a good enough "lean," he'll either scramble his feet to get himself higher up against me, or he'll re-flop. He feels no compunction whatsoever about knocking the wind out of me repeatedly to get a good snuggle spot.

But I need the snuggles this week. Not only does my butt hurt, but I can't get the devastation of Katrina out of my mind, and I have little to distract me because my life is limited to the couch and my computer chair. I can't stop worrying about my college friends working down there, and I know I can't call them (and shouldn't tie up the lines when people are trying to call family), and I know that the "all-safe" will reach us in a couple days via e-mail or phone, once they've gotten in touch with their families and worried about their more immediate concerns, but I worry anyway. I worry lots.

The worst are the stories about people who lost everything, who loaded up their cars to evacuate and took only their most beloved and irreplaceable possessions with them. I know they are the lucky ones, because they were able to leave, with their entire families, and even had time to get a few things from their homes. Whenever I read those stories, I can't stop thinking melancholy thoughts about what *I* would take with me if I had to evacuate, what pieces of my life I couldn't bear to leave behind.

But then one of those pieces, who would spend the entire evacuation process just shrieking and yowling at the top of his not-inconsiderable lungs in his cat carrier in the back seat, sees me lying on my side on the couch, and his eyes light up and his ears perk up, and he crawls over my legs, turns around at my head, sticks his butt in my face, and flops with a "whoomf!" And purrs like a crazy cat, secure in the bliss of the food-bringer's warm body in nap position.

I know it doesn't help the victims of Katrina -- nothing I can do anyway to help them right now but pray -- but that little orange furball turns out to be a very potent cure for weltschmertz. It's hard to feel despair when there's so much purring in the world.

American Red Cross - Katrina Aid

Monday, August 29, 2005

Eyebrows (hearts) Gary Panetta

Sing it, sistah! (Um ... brotha!)

To avoid its death, classical music must inject youth

(It would be a better headline if it was INFECTING youth rather than injecting it, but whatever.)

Eyebrows & her husband just bought season tickets to the Peoria Symphony today -- for $175 you can get seats for all 7 subscription concerts on the back part of the main floor. For $150 you can get tickets for 4 of 7. I was totally down with the $50 difference for our two ticket packages! That's a bargain, 3 extra live classical concerts for $25!

Anyway, look under my links for the Peoria Symphony and get yourself some tickets. The Peoria Symphony is shockingly good for a city of Peoria's size, and it's well worth the price of tickets. I'm particularly excited about the Gala opening concert on September 17, because I love the Russians and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" is one of my top three favorite pieces in the classical repetoire.

PS - my ass still hurts. A lot. And it's boring not being able to do much but lie on my stomach and read things. Like the world's worst romance novel. It's really, really, really bad. REALLY bad. Barely semi-literate bad. So bad I might have to review it.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Kiss My Ass - It Needs It

Continuing this week's theme of "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all," I have broken my tailbone.

I was going down a flight of narrow stairs at a friend's house, full glass of white wine in hand (which I had not started drinking because we were just then preparing to drink), my heel hit the edge of one of the steps, and my feet FLEW out from under me. I landed flat -- and HARD -- on my derriere on the stair, then bounced down two or three more. It's hard to remember how many, exactly, because I landed so hard I addled my brain. I also flung the entire glass of wine on the walls, ceiling, carpet, my clothing, my face, into my ear and eye ... everywhere but in my mouth, where it might have at least had some mild anesthetic affect.

My friend, who has seen me take pretty spectacular falls before, asked, "Are you all right?" She fully expected an embarrassed giggle and a, "Yep, I'm okay. Ow." -- my usual response to my tumbles. It took me a minute to gather my wits enough to even speak, and I said, in a plaintive tone, "No! I'm really not!" Not only was I in intense, nausea-inducing pain, but I had spilled an entire glass of wine, wasting like five good ounces of alcohol!

I slept on it in the hopes it was just a bruise (well, not on the tailbone - that would hurt - on the issue of the tailbone). Didn't help. Spent most of Sunday morning icing my tush. Helped, but not much. So we headed over to see the fine folks at OSF, and, after some quality time with the doctor, we have discovered that I have, in fact, busted my butt.

It turns out there's not a lot to do for a broken coccyx (heh heh ... coccyx) but to ice it, sit on a cushion with a hole in it, and take super painkillers. And not have sex or give birth. For like six weeks. And let me tell you, nothing looks cooler -- or sexier -- than walking around holding an icepack on your keyster.

The silver lining here really is the painkillers; not only do they make my hindquarters hurt so much less, but they've made the toothache a distant memory. (Frankly, falling down a flight of stairs on my rear so hard that I rattled my brain made me totally forget the toothache since I was seeing actual stars, but I do not reccommend this as a preferred toothache cure.) I was also pleased to discover that my bootylicious booty is actually not fat enough -- if it were fatter, it clearly would have provided enough padding for my little tumble down the staircase.

So now that I have some drugs in me, I have spent most of the evening fishing for sympathy and calling all my friends in the pastorate, because I sort-of feel like I've been waiting my whole entire life to say, in total seriousness:

"Please pray for my ass."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Spoliator Strikes Again

OWWWWWW!

If you check the time on this post, you'll note I'm making it at 4 a.m. This is not because I am an early riser, nor even because I stayed up way too late playing stupid computer games or something equally fun.

No, this is because I have the killer toothache from hell. How Victorian is that? They still HAVE toothaches in this day and age?

It's the Spoliator tooth and his mate, which strike with pain on a semi-regular schedule, although never before with get-me-out-of-bed-unable-to-sleep pain. (Spoliator from a Jewish law term that basically means something that spoils via its teeth, and YES I named my tooth and YES I named it after an obscure theological term and if you have a problem with that I will set the Spoliator loose on you.)

Right now, I'm full of OTC painkillers and topical lidocaine, which has the perverse effect of making me very hungry. I'm trying to gum some crackers, and all I can think is that it's too bad I didn't make my First Communion ten or fifteen years earlier, when they didn't letting you chew the host yet (don't bite Jesus!), because that would have be excellent practice for this very awkward moment in mastication history.

If you read in the news tomorrow about a crazy Peoria woman crashing her car through a dentist's office, that will be me, if the dentist can't see me at the ass crack of dawn. Or earlier.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Help Is on the Way!

Sorry about that crap profile block up there ^^^^. It randomly appeared while I was editing links in the sidebar there <<<<----- and now I can't get rid of it. I've called in my html help posse (that would be Star, linked on the sidebar there too, under LinkBacks) so hopefully the suckage should decrease asap.

-Eyebrows

2 Meals a Day, Plus Snacks

I woke up yesterday morning and the cats were going berserk. My husband was up and out of the house before me, as usual, and had left me a note saying he had fed them, but the cats clearly disagreed. They were going bonkers around the food container, meowing like crazy, acting like insane cats. In their minds, the only benefits to being owned are that 1) food appears twice a day on a predictable schedule and 2) we introduced them to fleece blankets. They're like, "Ohhh, fleece! This is so much better than that time you put your cashmere sweater down on the bed for thirty seconds while you found the right bra and our shedding radars heard the sweet, sweet sound of cashmere knit from two floors away, and we galloped up two flights of stairs, raced into the bedroom, and leaped on your sweater so that by the time you turned around, we had managed to divest 50 cubic inches of cat fur on your brand-new, never-worn, very costly cashmere sweater. Fleece is SO much better than that!"

The food, however, is far more important in the grand scheme of things. Both my cats were strays before they came to us, so regular meals appearing at predictable times is crucial to their sense of well-being - and my sleep. I finally gave in and dumped a little extra food in the half-full bowls (as long as I add three or four kibble to the bowl, they think they've been fed), and they immediately ate breakfast #2 and calmed down.

I talked to my husband later that day, and it turned out he'd fed them at TWO IN THE MORNING on his way out the door (!) because he had two major filings due that day and couldn't sleep anyway for thinking about them. I told him about the cats waking me up complaining and going crazy until I fed them again.

"But I fed them!" he protested.

"Yes," I agreed. "But apparently feeding them at 2 a.m. is a bonus snack and doesn't count as a meal in their little pea brains."

---------

That night, Mr. McGee went to bed early, clearly exhausted, and Orange Cat followed him up. Orange Cat loves sleeping people. They're warm and stay still.

When I came up an hour or two later, Orange Cat was firmly ensconced on my side of the bed and gave me the dirtiest look, like, "You seriously think I'm letting you get in bed next to your husband when I've claimed this nice warm spot already? You snooze, you lose, sister - you should have come up an hour ago and staked out your place!"

There was much meowy complaining when I moved his fat butt. I may not have as fully developed a look-of-death as Orange Cat does, but I do outweigh him considerably.

(All was forgiven in 20 minutes, of course, after he decided that I had suffered sufficient scorn and noticed that now I was providing a nice warm body to curl up next to. I do think he sat on my bladder on purpose at 5 o'clock this morning, though. Revenge served cold and all that.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Nerd Hole Deluxe

My husband and I have been redecorating our basement, or - as well call it - the nerd hole. The nerd hole is home to our two TVs (as they are banished from the "social" parts of the house so the TV isn't the focus of our lives or entertaining), the DVDs, the X-Box, 8 floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stuffed and overflowing with books, a 4-foot-square chess table, Mr. McGee's D&D paraphernalia, and so forth. It's where we indulge in our nerdiest passions.

The nerd hole was basically our repository of college furniture, until we caught a pair of $30 simple, black-and-silver TV stands at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for back-to-school. Once our TVs were finally side-by-side on matching TV stands (so you can watch a movie and play X-Box at the same time, DUH!), we suddenly just had to do the basement mod. $100 of Target chic later and a trip to the Mission Mart to pick up a seriously 60s grandma's-basement-type chair in bright, bright orange, it was perfect. Perfect - except that we now had a grandma chair, a beat-up recliner, and the world's smallest loveseat. (Seriously. It's all of 10 inches off the floor and wide enough for two people with skinny asses who don't eat fast foot.) With all this beautiful mod-ness - mod carpet, mod pillows, mod baskets for blankets and DVDs, mod blankets - and the Star Wars Original Trilogy Reissue movie posters up on the wall and the Lord of The Rings posters ready to hang and the boxes finally all unpacked, we needed real seating. The kind you can lie down on while you watch movies or even - close your eyes, mom - SNUGGLE on.

A futon became my life-goal. Nice futons are expensive - cheap futons HURT. But I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on a futon (I'm down to just one of each anyway; I already spent an arm and a leg on gas). I wanted to be able to sit on it comfortably and sleep on it when the need arose - like, say, when it's above 90 degrees for FORTY DAYS in the summer and your master bedroom gets crap A/C circulation and stays stinky hot.

UFS to the rescue, of course. Saw a $129 futon AND 8" pad in their ad. Went right out and bought one. The UFS folks looked at me like I was crazy loading this thing into my little sedan. I think I'm maybe the last person in America who doesn't own a minivan, SUV, or pickup just for hauling stuff around, and it's like every retail establishment in the country has already forgotten that people used to haul mattresses and couches home in tiny little sedans! But I got it loaded and escaped UFS before dark (God forbid you be in the warehouse part of downtown Peoria after dark!), got home, and built the futon.

Here's why the futon was on sale for $129: WORST. INSTRUCTIONS. EVER.

After a few errors (due to the worst instructions ever), I got my futon built. It's comfy. I napped on it. Awesome. We discussed futon covers, and agreed that khaki was the way to go, as our super-shedding cat sheds white, and black was clearly not going to work. He walks into the living room when I'm about to leave to go to court in my ever-so-professional black suit, and from 15 feet away he shoots white hair, like a porcupine shoots quills, all over my suit. I prefer not to know that my furniture is sporting that level of cat hair, because there's just not much I can do about it. So khaki it is.

Except that super-shedding Orange Cat has refused to go in the basement since he took one look at all the moved and new furniture, and galloped upstairs. He steadfastly insists on sleeping under the dining room table on one of the chairs, and refuses to come down at all, even when we're watching movies and sitting still for hours on end so he can get lots and lots and lots of scratching behind the ears. Won't do it. He always hates new furniture and things being moved around, but it's been four days now and he still won't go back in the nerd hole. Too much new stuff at once, clearly.

You never know with that new furniture. It might be hungry for cat.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Crazy Times

Eyebrows has been busy - hitting the Hilary Duff concert (I'm the coolest 8-year-old girl on the block!), moderately overindulging at a wedding, reliving her college days with a visiting friend to the horror of Mr. McGee, contemplating the culinary possibilities of eggplant - so she promises to write something entertaining soon about at least one of the above.

In the meantime, you can check out the new theory of Intelligent Design that Eyebrows has decided to espouse.