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!


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.