November 29, 2004

Turkey DTs.

Here we are, the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Ugh, I feel sluggish from too much food. Thanksgiving was OK. We were here. I invited over one of my grad students who wasn't going to be able to go home, so it was a pretty low-key day. I did the typical turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gruyere brussel sprouts, pumpkin and peach pies. Everything turned out OK. The only glich was that it took forever for the turkey to cook for some unknown reason. It was only 15 lbs, but it took like eight hours to cook. I put it in the oven at 10:00 am and it wasn't ready until about 6:00pm. It was thawed, so I can't figure it out. But it tasted good so it was alright, I suppose. Although, we were measuring doneness by temperature, so the updates were something like, "Only seven more degrees to go." It was a Jennie O turkey. We didn't wait for the pop-up thing, I just started measuring temperature because I started thinking the pop-up thing was broken. As it turns out, it probably wasn't because it took eight hours to reach 180.

Indiana is an interesting state when it comes to holidays that are usually accompanied by outdoor decorations. I have never lived anywhere where the people seem so keen on putting plastic figures and lights all over their yards and houses. Any holiday where they can get away with it, they do it. I mean people have been putting up Christmas decorations around here since Halloween. When I was growing up, we didn't put the tree up until a couple of weeks before Christmas. We probably won't get our tree up until this weekend, which makes us pretty late in these parts. We only started putting up our tree so early because our daughter sees everyone else with their Christmas trees, so she wants ours up. If it weren't for her, we'd probably just wait until a couple of weeks ahead of time. Although, my husband is really into Christmas decorations too. I suppose they're nice, but it takes so much time to put everything up.

Yesterday was the last offical day to sell Girl Scout cookies. We sold a total of 152 boxes. We made one last go at the neighborhood yesterday, but a lot of people were gone. So we chucked it in after a couple of blocks. We only sold nine boxes yesterday. My favorite rejection was from this guy who answers the door in his slippers and a dirty Notre Dame sweatshirt and says, while patting his stomach, he's on a diet and better not buy any. Yeah, he really looked like someone who gave two shits about his appearance. As we walked away from his door my daughter said, "Mom, I should have told him about the reduced fat cookies." Yeah, that would have done it.

My Uncle PG's funeral was Saturday. I haven't had a chance to talk to my father yet and ask how it went, but it makes me sad to think about it. When someone is around for such a long time, it's hard to realize that they're just not there.

November 24, 2004

Gobble, gobble.

Well, it's the day before Thanksgiving and I've got the kid in the office with me today. Her school is closed, so she had to come in with me. She thinks it's fun, but it's kind of a drag for me only because she wants to be entertained and work isn't very entertaining. She's over at the typewriter writing a story right now. It's about cats and dogs and mice. It's a thrilling epic of love, hate and revenge. She's got something about an airplane in there too. Don't know how that one fits in. I'm going to interview her now.

KC: So, Sweetie, what's the meaning of life?

Little KC: I don't know.

KC: Why not?

Little KC: Yes, I do.

KC: What is it, then?

Little KC: I don't know what the answer for that is.

KC: What are you going to eat tomorrow?

Little KC: Oh, turkey. Hey, I wasn't realizing that tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

KC: Why is it soooooo hard getting you to eat?

Little KC: Stop bugging me.

KC: Why? Don't you think this is fun?

Little KC: It would be fun if you stopped annoying me.

KC: How am I annoying you?

Little KC: Because you just are!

KC: So, what would make this fun?

Little KC: If you left me alone.

KC: You already said that.

Little KC: I know, I'm saying it again. Really, stop copying what I'm saying, RRRRRR. Now you've done it. Really, it's a pain in the neck. (Squeezes my arm and growls.) Stop it, would you?

KC: So, what's going on in your life lately?

Little KC: Will you please stop annoying me?

KC: Uh, no, I don't believe I will.

Little KC: I'm trying to do something here.

KC: What?

Little KC: I'm trying to write the story, I'm asking the questions what to do and then you call me over here to do this silly piece of paper.

KC: This is a story too.

Little KC: No it isn't. It's a silly little piece of paper.

KC: It's the story of our day here.

Little KC: No it isn't.

KC: Stop screaming, we're at work.

Little KC: I'm not screaming.

KC: Stop speaking loudly, then.

Little KC: I'm speaking loudly because you're giving me a pain in the tooshy.

KC: Is that the proper way to speak to your mother?

Little KC: Yes, when she's annoying me.

KC: Time out.

Little KC: Do I really get a time out?

KC: No, I'm just playing with you.

Little KC: (Bangs head on chair.) I'm standing here because you are giving me a headache.

KC: Well, let's talk about something that interests you.

Little KC: The only thing that interests me is that you help me make my story.

KC: I was telling our audience a little about your story earlier. Do you want to share anything more about it?

Little KC: That's supposed to be private and we don't have any audience.

KC: Sure we do. The one other person who reads this blog.

Little KC: That's it, I'm going to erase this thing.

November 22, 2004

Sweet dreams, Uncle PG.

I found out yesterday that my Uncle PG died over the weekend. He's actually my great-Uncle PG, but Uncle PG is the only way I've known him my entire life. He was 84, I think, and basically his body just didn't have anymore energy left. I really love my Uncle PG because he's the closest thing to a grandparent I've ever known. He's my dad's uncle on his mother's side. Both my dad's parents died before I was born, so I never knew them. My mom's mother died when I was six and before I'd ever met her. As I've mentioned before, my mom is Korean and her mother lived in Korea, so I never got the chance to meet her. Although, I'm sure she knew me in utero because I was conceived in Korea, but my parents left for the states a couple of months before I born. The only grandparent I've ever met was my grandfather on my mother's side. He came to live with us for a little while when I was little. My mother was sponsoring most of her Korean relatives during my primary years so they could get American citizenship. Anyway, my grandfather came to live with us for awhile. But despite having lived with him, it wasn't a typical grandparent/grandchild relationship because he didn't speak English, so communication was a little difficult, and he was in poor health, so he really couldn't do much. We used to play a Korean card game all the time, though. And I remember that being a lot of fun. Anyway, so my Uncle PG is the closest thing I've ever had to a real grandparent. And he was great. He had so much energy and love for life and you couldn't help but smile and feel good when you were around him. He loved polka music and we'd sing songs like the Pennsylvania Polka together on the few times we got to see him. I'm glad to know he's up there looking out for us and I'm glad to know that he's not suffering any longer, but this life is losing something really special in him because he's the kind of spirit that reminds us life is supposed to be enjoyed and not endured. Even though I didn't get to see him nearly as often as I would've liked to, I am really going to miss him and his joie de vivre and his child-like wonderment at everything he saw. He was the kind of man about whom people would say, "They broke the mold after they made him." And that's the God's-honest truth. He was one of a kind. So, I love you, Uncle PG. Take care up there.

November 17, 2004

Hello, old friend.

Here's something interesting--I'm experiencing something I haven't felt in an awfully long time. I am currently experiencing work-related nervousness. I used to feel this all the time when I was still working as a journalist. The nervousness of knowing my deadline was approaching and I didn't have the story written. I always had the story in time for the deadline, but that doesn't stop the nervousness. So here I am feeling it again. The magazine, in my mind, is supposed to go out at a certain time and due to the straggling of other people involved in the process of getting the magazine out, I'm not feeling confident about the magazine making the deadline. It's one thing when it's my own laziness that makes me nervous. It's something altogether different when people not being on the ball cause the nerves to jangle. In a lot of ways, I don't consider what I do right now real work because it's not the most important thing in my life. I don't think "work" should ever be the most important thing in a person's life, but I know it is for some people. At any rate, it's not work that satisfies me in any personal, meaningful way. Which makes it particularly vexing for me that I should feel any agitation because of stuff happening here.

On a lighter note, the weather's been kinda crappy the last couple of days so we haven't been able to get out to sell cookies. I swear I'm more into this entire thing than my daughter. I think she was done after the first couple of times out. But I REALLY want to sell at least 200 boxes.

November 15, 2004

You can kiss my cherry ass.

A friend sent me this picture. I think it's pretty funny. I wonder why they don't sell it at Successories.

Anywho, it's been kinda busy at work, hence the lack of posts over the last few days. Well, I never post over the weekend, so that's the reason why there was no post on Friday. I still have a lot of work to do, but I do have an adoring public I must satisfy. Sent the husband out with the daughter on Saturday to sell cookies and they only sold three boxes. Our total is up to 128 now, I think. I told my daughter we'll hit it again today after school. I actually had one acquaintance refuse to buy cookies. I couldn't believe it. She broke the golden rule of buying crap from other people's children: Buy something because, eventually, your kid is gonna have sell some stupid shit for school that nobody wants. Tit for tat. That's the way it works. When I told my husband, he said, "Well, they better not come asking us to buy anything." See? It's a major rule. It's not good to go upsetting the natural order of things by not forking over a few bucks. And, besides, they're girl scout cookies. Who doesn't like girl scout cookies? That's akin to not liking apple pie or cheeseburgers. It's un-American, I tell ya.

November 11, 2004

Read 'em and weep.

So how many boxes of girl scout cookies have we sold after our first official day? 104 boxes, baby. Now how's that? We are the cookie-selling queens of the world. We've still got 2 1/2 weeks and an entire neighborhood to go. We RULE, that's all I can say about that. My husband's off work today because of Veterans Day. Lucky bastard. I remember getting all those holidays off when I worked for the government, but those days are long gone now. Ho hum. My daughter has diarrhea. I know that's probably not the sort of thing you all want to know about, but what can I say? Shit happens. Bwa, ha, ha. Get it? Shit happens? But, seriously, she does have diarrhea. Last night she was on the toilet, bent over, going, "Mom, you do not know how bad I feel."

I said, "Yes, honey, I do know how bad you feel."

"No, Mom. You don't. I think I'm going to throw up."

She didn't throw up and she started feeling better once she got everything out, so to speak. But she had another couple of episodes this morning while getting ready for school. I've already gotten a call from the school nurse telling me she's complaining of stomach pain, so I told her to send her to the bathroom. We'll see how it goes. At any rate, she'll have a couple of days to recover before we hit the pavement to sell cookies. I'm going to wait until the weekend before we do our serious selling. More daylight and people are home.

November 10, 2004

I'm all used up.

I just finished writing the yearly Christmas letter, and doing it used up all my creativity for the day. I only have a limited amount, you know. I've got to go to the gym and run now. Perhaps that will put some creativity back into me and then I'll have something interesting to say tomorrow.

November 09, 2004

Cookies? Did someone say cookies?

Well, tomorrow is the offical beginning of girl scout cookie selling season. My daughter, having bridged over to Brownies this year, gets to sell those little nuggets of heaven for the first time. She's pretty excited. She's been practicing her sales pitch: "Excuse me, would like to buy some delicious girl scout cookies from me so my troop can do fun things?"

Then I say, "Uh, what kind of cookies do you have?"

Holding up her chart, "We have all these delicious cookies. We have chocolate and fat free cookies."

"Oh, fat free cookies?"

"Yeah." (Actually, they're reduced fat lemon coolers, but she's hyping the fatlessness to get some solid sales in.)

"Well, those sound delicious. I'll by seven boxes."

"Just sign your name here and thanks."

Anyway, she's pretty excited about the whole thing. She woke up this morning and said, "Mom, we are gonna stick this neighborhood!"

Since we've lived here, I've never had a girl scout come knocking on my door to sell cookies, so I told my daughter we're going to make out like bandits in this virgin territory. I hear about how the girls who live in the suburbs actually claim blocks of their neighborhoods, and any punk girl scout who crosses the line better watch her back. So I've told my daughter to keep the information about our apparently girl scoutless neighborhood on the down low. We don't want any outsiders infiltrating our hood.

On a much heavier note, I have my yearly "woman's" exam this afternoon. Yippee!! Ugh. I don't know if there's anything women dread more than the yearly pelvic exam. My doctor at least tries to make it a bearable experience by posting pictures of tropical destinations on the ceiling of the examination room. Yeah, it doesn't really help, but it's nice she thinks about it. People complain about dentists talking to you while you've got all that crap in your mouth. It's no more comfortable trying to have a conversation with someone shoving a great metal torture device up your twat, either. Sigh.

November 08, 2004

Supersize Me

I don't know if you've seen Supersize Me, the documentary by Morgan Spurlock, but if you haven't, go rent it now. Now, I say. How anyone could continue eating at fast food restaurants after seeing this film is beyond me. We all know it's bad for us, but we don't really know how bad it is. And it's really, really bad. After watching the film, I felt like I wanted to go run for two hours. If you are unfamiliar with the film, Mr. Spurlock documents his month of life eating nothing but food from McDonald's. There's other stuff thrown in there, but primarily, it's about how disgusting fast food is. I found this film particularly effective because I don't feel like Spurlock is proselytizing, trying to convince us to accept some other radical "superhealthy" diet. He asks a question and sets about trying to get the answer for it. In fact, he good-humoredly argues with his vegan chef girlfriend on why he is NOT going vegan. It's simple enough: He LOVES meat. But watching that movie really made me realize there is no reason to ever eat fast food again. After watching it, I had a talk with my daughter and explained to her why we are never eating at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's or any other fast food joint for the rest of our lives. She wasn't too convinvced, but, hey, I've got the cash so there's not much she can do about it. Seriously, go rent the DVD and watch. If it doesn't completely alter your perceptions on the evils of fast food, then you've probably fallen asleep.

November 05, 2004

What the hell happened to us?

I've been having an interesting conversation with my friend Amanda through e-mail the last couple of days. What's interesting about it is it's a conversation I've also been having with other friends of mine who are roughly the same age as I. Apparently, modern 30-something wives and mothers are plagued by dissatisfaction. We feel like we're not realizing our full potential and feel like there's so much more still left out there for us and it's just out of our reach. I've concluded this funk is created by the fact that we're at an age where we assumed, when we were younger and idealistic, that we would have been a whole lot more than we think we actually are and we're frustrated by that. Add to that, the fact that we understand we're still young enough to pursue something that's got to be caught. We've been able to quiet that voice in the back of our heads while we've been raising our children, but they're in school now and we have some freedom of time not devoted to another person and it allows that voice to come back screaming like a banshee. The voice that yells, "You are more than this!"

I don't say any of this to discount the importance or meanigfulness of being mothers and wives. I'd have to think long and hard to come up with a job a woman could perform that is more important than being a mother. I'm not talking about having children, either. I'm talking about being a mother. But let's face it, mothering is an outwardly directed activity. It's about helping another person realize their full potential and find their place in the world. And we all feel like we still haven't figured out our own place to our complete satisfaction, so we sit here with a sense of emptiness and wanderlust. But it's not all doom and gloom, my friends. I've started writing again and I've started sending stories out again and I've been thinking about that book inside of me that's still got to come out. So for all my sister mothers and wives out there, as corny as it sounds, tomorrow is another day and we've still got plenty of time to be the next big thing we're supposed to be. Only the decision to do something stands between us and the future we want.

November 04, 2004

Stop your crying, will you?

I don't understand the shock Kerry supporters seem to be experiencing right now. There was a 50-50 chance your candidate would win and he didn't. That's the end of it. It doesn't mean you live in an America where everyone but you is blind to the state of the nation. It means you live in a country where more people disagree than agree with your notion of the state of the nation. That's it. So stop your whining and figure out a way to live with the hand you've been dealt. However, I do empathize with your feelings. I wore black to work the day after Clinton won his first term in office, and I believe I may have done the same after he won his second term. But I didn't go around stealing Clinton signs out of people's yards and act like some melodramatic fool screaming about how we're all going to be thrust into a raging pitfire of damnation. I mean, seriously folks, you'll get another chance in four years. Just chill.

Now with that out of the way, I think we should all give ourselves a big pat on the back for going out to vote. For the first time that I can remember in my life, people took their duty to vote seriously, and if nothing else, that counts for something. I can only hope people continue to speak their voice and cast their ballots accordingly. Good show, everyone. America rocks!!!

November 02, 2004

Vote! It's the American way.

Well, I just cast my vote for the next president of the United States, so now all we have to do is see what happens. My husband, the geek, has taken the day off and tells me he is going to buy a map of the country so that he can color out the states as Bush wins them. I'm sure when I get home today my living room will be adorned with various bar graphs and pie charts detailing the voting results of Star Trek-loving, D&D-playing, Tolkien-reading misfits everywhere. The district I live in is a heavily Democratic one, so I absolutely must step up for us disenfranchised Republicans. The fact that I work at a University also puts me somewhat in the minority. Faculty here would probably react more kindly to me if I admitted to being the anti-Christ than a Republican. I'm not shy to tell people my views if they ask, but I don't like political discussions because, really, there is no such thing as a political "discussion." The only reason people talk politics is because they want to scream at you and tell you why you're an idiot for not agreeing with them. This is also the reason why I don't watch shows like People's Court. I'm really not interested in watching people make fools of themselves by screaming at each other. It's also the reason why I don't really enjoy watching political talk shows. It's the same thing, people yelling at each other and abondoning any sense of civilized behaviour. This is odd because I am quite willing, myself, to yell at people who don't let me finish what I'm trying to say, but I don't like watching other people do it. The other reason I don't like political talk shows is because they showcase extremists, people who cannot and will not try to see both sides of an issue.

November 01, 2004

Smell my feet.

Happy November. Good Lord, I can't beleive it's already November and the official start of the time-to-think-about-Christmas-gifts marathon. But before we start with Christmas, let's finish up Halloween. I took off work Friday so I could decorate the church basement for the Pumpkin Ball we held. It was OK and I think everyone had a good time. Then Saturday we had to go to a birthday party for a friend of mine who turned 50. Sunday, of course, was Halloween and we went to our friends' house for a pre-trick-or-treat birthday party their youngest child. Then we traveled en masse so our kids could bum candy off the neighbors. Now that we live in the age of bad guys and villians, our kids have to go trick-or-treating during daylight hours. It's alright, I suppose, but I remember it was so much fun to go at night when I was kid. It was much scarier and people took full advantage of it. I remember one year a family in our neighborhood had set up a large cardboard box in the yard with a little panel cut out and a curtain hanging in front of it. You had to put your hand in the box to get your candy. Of course, someone was sitting inside, but they'd grab your hand first and pull on it before giving you candy. It's scared the living crap out of me, but it was GREAT. I don't think it would have been quite as effective if they had been forced to do it while it was still light out. Plus people are so sensitive about Halloween anymore. I think the "freer" our society becomes, the more close-minded people become. I don't see the problem with Halloween. I don't think most people view it as anything more than an opportunity for kids to have some fun and get some free candy. But now you see these towns around the country wanting to ban Halloween because it means everyone is worshipping the Devil. I think this sort of thing is in direct correlation to the fact that no one knows their neighbors anymore. People are so isolated and afraid that they have to convince themselves everyone is a Satanist trying to poison their kids with tainted tootsie rolls. Actually, I think it's sad. I think it's sad that people really believe making a better community is beyond their control. People are lazy, they sit back thinking it's someone else's responsibility to take care of the world and that it requires no effort from them. Speaking of Democrats, one interesting thing about trick-or-treating last night--one of the couples was British and everytime we came to a house with Bush/Cheney signs, they'd say something to the effect of, "Oooh, look at this evil house. No wonder they give out crap candy, they're Repubicans, after all." I've made no secret of the fact that I am a Republican, but these people didn't know my political affiliation. But I must say it surprised me they had no qualms to speak so harshly about a group of people they could very well be in the midst of, as they were. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get into some kind of name-calling match while taking the kids around, but how could they think this was appropriate behaviour? What was worse in my mind was that they also made of point of mentioning to their children everytime they hit a "Kerry" house that they must be wonderful people inside, while of course all the "Bush" houses were full of heathens. Now there's a quality lesson in teaching how you love your fellow man. Those kids won't end up bigoted. Although, it might have been interesting to mention that I am a Republican just to watch them burst into flames, you know, the way vampires do when they're hit by sunlight.