Saturday, August 27, 2016


Quote of the Day: "It's 'You've Struck Gold FM.'"

What I'm Reading: The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson

August is the Aeropostale of summer. It's kind of a niche month.

Just try to find something likeable about August. I don't even like Augustus, I mean, it's not like he's my favorite emperor. But not even Hadrian could save this awkward transition from freedom and sunshine and fresh fruit to yard work and homework. "Caliguly" would be more accurate-- it signals the end of all good things and makes you crazy. Yeah! That would be way better.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quote of the Day: "My eye-baubles hurt."
What I'm reading: Raising Steam

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quote of the Day:  Give me a minute. I heard two good ones just yesterday.

What I'm reading: Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett. After months of thinking I'd read all his books, I found two I hadn't! A delightful surprise! I just finished Mort, and liked it. Best quote from that: "It's a fact of life that everyone is on one side or other of a wall, so the only thing to do is forget about it or evolve stronger fingers."

Here it is, mid-January, the unofficial expiration date of many new years' resolutions. I didn't make any this year (OK, one: to get to bed by 10pm. Already a failure.) But I find that other people have eagerly made resolutions for me. My daughter, for example, apparently has discovered some areas in which I could use improvement. My friends, too, out of love and concern, of course, gently point out some new boundaries I could consider. My exercise class teacher thinks I could push myself more. Hah!

It's like being the baby princess when the fairies come around at christening time. First off, the fairies assume she wouldn't have had beauty, grace, cleverness, or kindness without their help-- as if being royal wouldn't cover that. Secondly, why not some useful gifts, such as the ability always to find a good parking spot, or always having the correct change, or friendships with people with sailboats. And, like the baby princess, not only did I not ask for these wishes from others for my betterment, I'm pretty sure they're going to lead to disaster.

Or, at the very least, a long nap. Because I kind of went to bed late last night.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The asphalt that leads out of our town is an old style god that seems to require regular sacrifice of small furry mammals. If too much time goes by, it takes a deer or two. But this week it was covered, block after block, with smashed pumpkins, as if, for Halloween, it had gone vegetarian.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My dear 4 followers, I know you have given up on my blog and turned to better, more up to date sources like for entertainment.

Yet today I have to write a wedding toast, but I might have to write a fake one first. Because I have been sitting at my desk, trying to think and write at the same time, and mostly I am just admiring my handwriting with this particular pen. Vanity is not a good emotion for writing a toast to other people! Even if it's justified.

I have to write a fake one. I don't know why. And I have to post it here. Sorry!

My Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Genre Toast to the Bride and Groom:

I am so happy to be here tonight with Zolag and Alinka, on Starbase 77 with all these distinguished guests from their respective galaxies. I thank Captain Webinar for inviting me to participate in this happy occasion.

I have known Zolag for five years, ever since we trained at the Academy together. I've known Alinka only a short time, but I already love her steady, quiet nature. Even though Zolag is a mage-trained magic user in three universes, and Alinka is from a primitive tribe in the Empire of Llywind, they found love on the dusty trails of Alinka's home planet as they combined forces to bring down the tyranny and corruption that threatened not only Alinka's province but the stability of the time-space continuum itself. Good thing they didn't know that then!

 Alinka, your way with bees and your ability to speak with water inspired Zolag to appreciate nature as he had never done before. And Zolag, your willingness to break the rules and take on an entire Emperial hierarchy single-handedly, armed only with your wand, the Chalice of Near-Seeing, and a grumpy donkey, brought out a fiery rebelliousness in the otherwise meek Alinka that no one, least of all Alinka herself, would have thought she possessed.

May you both continue to bring out the best in each other, for yourselves and  for the safety and justice of our galaxy. Please, raise your glasses, flagons, and antennae, and join me in toasting the happiness of Zolag and Alinka. To Zolag and Alinka!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quote of the Day:
What I'm reading: The Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett

The hoard is gone! There's this weird empty space in the living room where a bunch of bags and boxes were. Hoard-vanquishing is an endurance sport. Timing the operational hours of the various agencies all this junk had to go, with my family's schedule, was not seamless.

We're not a Thoreau level of sparseness. The man threw out his decorative limestones because they required dusting! That's a level of commitment I haven't reached. I like my children's art, for example.

That's it for today. Maybe eventually I'll resume housework. That's when my best blog ideas come to me. Got to dust off the brain.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quote of the Day: "Mind the hoard."
What I'm reading: Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett

Because of the renovations, we had to empty all the bedrooms and most of the attic of 14 years' accumulated stuff. The ballet costumes and easy readers were easily disposed of, but we still have, in the middle of the living room of our temporary quarters, a large pile of difficult crap: photos, curtains, puppets, craft supplies, and a bag I must have been forced to remove from my parents' house decades ago. We call this pile the Hoard. As in, "Where's my backpack?" "I think it's in the Hoard." I lost my yoga mat to the Hoard last week. No matter how much stuff I clear out of the Hoard (four giant trash bags just yesterday) it doesn't seem to get any smaller. I'm afraid it will claim one of the pets, or the children.

The hoard is a powerful entity, drawing matter to it like a black hole, but not so tidily.

The bag from my parents' house has a lot of weird stuff-- a list of songs from a thankfully long lost mix tape (Fleetwood Mac "Dreams" and Power Station's "Some Like It Hot," just to give you an idea), perfume samples, a letter from computer camp from a girl I don't know about a boy I don't remember, my retainer case (empty), a pair of underwear, Italian hair gel, a bag of green rubber bands, a glass rooster, a preppy belt circa 1980, a ticket from the RER, my much-abused hair brush, and a single bright turquoise clip-on earring.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote of the Day: "That's not a sport, that's just hanging on."
What I'm reading: Size of Thoughts.

I went camping for the first time this weekend, with my daughter's girl scout troop. My goal was to wait it out until it was time to go home. In this, I accidentally discovered the true merit of camping, which is: accepting loss of control. Control is an illusion, and nothing carries this message home like camping.

Not realizing this at the time, I keep idly looking for the Thing That Makes Camping So Appealing. At first I thought it was

1) Sleeping outside, on the ground, in a tent. The fresh air! The owls! The novelty! But no. It's accepting the illusion of shelter amidst the reality of bears, skunks, and teenage boys in neighboring campsites.

2) Fire. The mesmerizing flames! The warmth! The smores! Yes, but also, eye-stabbing smoke, interminable wait for hot water/ cooked hot dogs/ or even just the flames. Constant poking, blowing, kindling gathering, paper crumpling required. You cannot actually start a fire until it is ready to start. I don't know where forest fires come from. The myth of Prometheus, obviously, was originally created to explain how you had to get fire directly from the gods if you wanted to eat before midnight.

3) Proximity to tourist attractions. That's actually a perk of camping. While other non-camping tourists are wasting time sleeping in and having automatic coffee maker coffee, campers have been up since dawn or whatever time the teenage boys were up, and are already in line at the ranger station. It is a small illusion of control that you groggily grab with smug satisfaction.

Whatever the secret is, I certainly returned home with a higher threshold for frustration and boredom. If I can camp without whining, I should be able to live in my home without it, too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote of the Day:
What I'm reading:

So, I'm taking a sick day. A real one, where you stay in bed and drink ginger ale. Usually I just drag myself though my chores-- vacuum, clean bathrooms, straighten, fold laundry, etc, etc, while feverish and drippy-nosed and maybe slightly drooly if I have a sore throat and can't swallow.

But this time, I actually just lay down. I have to recommend this to you. I have slept in, watched 13 Going on 30 AND Charlie's Angels (the movie-- love it, it's the best movie ever), and surrendered all household tasks. I think I'm feeling better already.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: "There's a fine line between folk art and tacky, and I'm not going to cross it."
What I'm reading: Just finished Wednesday Sisters, which was like The Help but with feminism instead of racism, and instead of white female typists, the women all fortuitously turn out to be great writers. I have my own thoughts about careers versus competence (I'll find the link to that post sometime) but I'm still glad I can have my own money and command the kind of universal respect from bank managers and appliance salesmen that any overlooked and easily dismissed undersized stay-at-home mother gets.

I'm cleaning everything in sight. In my mind I call it "cleaning everything not nailed down." Sometimes I just say to myself "Go the Distance," like that voice in Field of Dreams. Because, cleaning house is a lot like pro baseball, when it comes down to it. Except for the stunning absence of handsome young athletes, it's pretty much exactly the same.

Come on over! You have 12 hours before this gleamingness expires.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quote of the Day: "I'd like to put in my request for a giant squirrel head."

What I'm reading: Mostly Harmless, by Douglas Adams. I guess this fifth book in his trilogy came out while I was busy in high school or college or something because I didn't know it existed until I saw it in the local bookstore. I'm finding it rather gloomy. So I suppose the title is apt.

I haven't blogged in a while, because I still feel like I'm dropping my children off at prison every day.

My husband gave me the assignment of writing the weather report in the styles of various writers-- Tennessee Williams was his first request, because the newspaper used the word "sultry" to describe today's weater. He's not used to people so passionate about the weather that they use sexy words like "sultry" to describe humidity.

I, on the other hand, grew up with people so fascinated by weather that if someone were to predict a hot day, I might have to stop and check whether they meant temperature hot or Harrison Ford hot. (Harrison Ford is the indicator of hotness that my particular family member would have chosen. At one point during the late 80s, only the surface of the sun could have attained a 10 on that scale of Hotness.)

So, I wish you a cold front cooler than Zooey Deschanel and a weekend more beautiful than Angelina Jolie.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quote of the Day: "I'm going to search for wontons."
What I'm reading: Just finished Water Elementals by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson. I liked it.

Christmas Eve comes more than once a year in my house. More like, seven times-- not the Jesus Mary part, but the staying up late making things special and ready the night before part. Last night was First Day of School Eve, the saddest of all days, and so the night before is most important, packing special lunches and snacks, writing encouraging notes with pictures to amuse, setting out clothes and backpacks, and preparing for special breakfasts in the morning. All this is to help take the sting out of returning to school, but for the kids, or myself, I'm not sure. I hate it when they go to school, because I know school is hard on them, and because I like having them around. Why didn't I play Legos and Barbies with them every day this summer?

Now I'm here, lonely and tired. I've gone straight from Christmas Eve to Christmas afternoon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quote of the Day: "How do you draw molten lava?"
What I'm reading: Just finished My Life as an Experiment, by AJ Jacobs, and Bossypants, by Tina Fey.

Why must August always bring dread? I keep a weekly list of things I dread, just so I don't have to have that lingering feeling of dread at the back of my mind that keeps me from being carefree and cheerful. In July I had just a couple things-- actually, just one thing, over and over, thank you ENT specialists looking out for my well-being-- but now I have a long, diverse list of things I dread. Plus half of them involve decisions, which I'm not good at, because I'm Aries-- impulsive and, actually, just impulsive-- but also I'm better at seeing all the possibilities than at recognizing the best one.

ARG. And don't even get me started on my children going back to school.

A long dread list is not a good way to start work on a humor book!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quote of the Day: "Don't go all Dad-Skype on me."
What I'm reading: Cloaked in Red, by Vivian Vande Velde

I like teenagers, liked them when I taught high school Latin, liked them even on the young end when I taught middle school. So I have been looking forward to when my children became teenagers. And indeed, my eldest daughter has a dry wit, and an interesting perspective. I like her observances on the world and the way people are, and the way she sees her place in it all.

The hard part, alas, is that part of this stage in development also involves a lot of frustration and loud volume. It's sometimes like being an opera, where everything that should be spoken, is sung. Only, instead of singing, it's all done in yelling. I'm trying to stick to the libretto, and not get caught up in the rest.