Friday, December 19, 2008

Stuff I'd Rather Be Doing

1) Threading popcorn.
2) Making weird-looking evil elves.
3) Putting peanuts out for squirrels.
4) Looking for box of ornaments in basement.
5) Deploying eucalyptus branches.
6) Figuring out Christmas menu.
7) Putting logs in basement.
8) Taking dog for nice long walk before snow.
9) Deploying lights.
10) Doing push-ups, preparing for snow shoveling.
11) Locating PamTM no-stick cooking spray to apply to shovel.
12) Figuring out better cover for log pile
13) Endlessly going to USPS.com and tracking packages that appear to just be sitting still "processed and ready for shipping."
14) Playing with hot glue gun.
15) Decorating tree with dinosaurs.
16) Sorting through paper work.
17) Re-organizing closet.
18) Sending cards and coffee gift certificates to clients.
19) Writing something good for blog.
20) Tape-recording dog's snoring.

Anything you'd rather be doing today? Any whichaway, have a great Friday and weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hot Tip, TravelDialogues, Girl's Navy Mascot

HOT TIP
The hot glue gun is the greatest tool known to humanity. Having overcome my lifelong fear of hotgluing my arms to the sides of my body, I am now hotgluing the world around me. Nothing is safe. Be warned.

TRAVELDIALOGUES
The Magazine
Me (on plane, reading magazine)
Woman Next to Me: "How are you enjoying your MAGAZINE?"
Me (looking up smiling): "Oh, it's just fine."
Woman Next to Me: "I have to tell you that I have never read a magazine in my whole life. Never."
Me (thinking "Why do you have to tell me this" and smiling in confusion): "Ah! Oh ho."
Woman Next to Me: "Never. I have never read a magazine. I never would."
Me (very confused--suddenly feel like we're talking about smoking): "Well, good for you! For heaven's sake, don't take it up now."
Woman Next to Me: "No. I won't. I never would. I had brothers growing up so I NEVER read a magazine. Not a one."
Me (unsure of connection, think she means she was a tomboy): "Wow! Well, how many brothers do you have?"
Woman (defiantly): "TWO!"
Me: "Well, grand."
Woman: "I would NEVER read a magazine."
Me (feeling rebellious): "What about NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC?"
Woman: "NEVER."
Me: "Okay!" (Go back to reading magazine.)

The Elevator
Me (traveling up in elevator)
Boop--elevator stops on Floor 16, doors open, two middle-aged guys are standing there looking shocked
Guy 1: "Oops! Are you going up?"
Me: "Yep."
Guy 2: "Sorry! We're going down. We musta pushed the wrong button here."
Me: "No problem!"
Guy 1: "It's like we're controlling the elevators! Like Darth Vader! LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER!"
Me: "HA! It's okay. I'm off."
Boop--doors close. Boop--doors open.
Guy 1: "Holy crap. It doesn't want to go up. What'd we do?"
Guy 2: "It's Princess Leia!"
Me: "HA! It's okay. I'm off."
Boop--doors close. Boop--doors open.
Both men are slinking over to the opposite bank of elevators, where one "down" elevator has opened.
Guy 1: "SORRY! We didn't touch anything!"
Me: "Surrrrre you didn't."
Guy 2: "No, really!"
Me: "Have a good one!"
Boop--doors close. Boop--doors open, revealing empty corridor. Sparkle steps out of elevator, hits up button outside elevator, steps back in, elevator proceeds up.

MEET THE NEW MASCOT OF THE GIRL'S NAVY: THE MYSTICAL BAT WOMAN! (I will be getting a tattoo of this, this...prehistoric alien wearing a dashiki)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Scenes from Last Week

Vacation Tips
1) Never get sick while you are on vacation.
2) Never go into a national park service bathroom while you are sick while you are on vacation.
3) Take lots of pictures, whether you are sick or not. When you get back home, you will then have the fun of sorting the pictures into "Before I Needed to Pay $18 for Pepto Bismal" and "After I Needed to Pay $18 for Pepto Bismal" piles. These are the Before ones.
Smokey the Bear!

Non-Specific "Beware" Sign of Limited Utility!
Many Helpful Cautions, Yet Pepto Bismal Needfulness is Glaringly Absent
Super Fun Big Game: Tilt Your Head to Simulate How I Felt When Sick
Sneaker. Sand. Sandneaker.
Stuff I Don't See At Home #1
Shhhhhh! No, really. SHH!
Stuff I Don't See At Home #2
Petroglyphs!
Sky Petroglyphs!
Stairs!
Pool!
Cool Bush!
Hiding Tree!
Woodsy Owl!
Craggy Stuff!I Just Like This!
I Also Just Like This!
Creepy Mannequin #1! The Uniforms Worn by Howard Hughes' Stewardesses!
Creepy Mannequin #2! The Flight Suit Worn by Howard Hughes!I Love a Diorama!
On the Homefront #1: Wilderness Camera Captures Deer!
On the Homefront #2: My Christmas Tree for the Birds
Hope all is well wherever you are roaming!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Friday and Stuff!

Happy Friday!


And Stuff:

1) This week I was away, and my sister was taking care of Lily.

Sister: "So, you can come get her Saturday."

Me: "No, I miss her! I'll come Friday."

Sister: "But you misplaced the new key I sent you?"

Me: "Yes, but you said you'd leave the key under the mat?"

Sister: "Hmm...I need some Tab. The supplies are running dry around here."

Me: "You need Tab?"

Sister: "Yeah, bring me some Tab and I'll put the key under the mat."

Me: "Are you holding my dog hostage for Tab?"

Sister: "Maybe."

Me: "Okay."


2) This week, I went to the Valley of Fire. I was supposed to go to Death Valley, too. Instead, I got a very bad stomach virus. So, I missed the cool ghost towns and awesome plateaus, but I got a nice taste of death anyhow.


Aw, y'know. Photos are forthcoming and stuff. But now, I go in search of gingerale.


Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Derrumba su bloque!!! Fais tomber sa tete!!!

NEWS BULLETIN #1: I WANNA ROCK!
Aiiiie! This week, in between making 800 rose hip garlands (don't ask--sometimes I get a little carried away with "threading crafts") and glancing at my stack of work, I bought two most excellent games. Here's Game #1. Ball Flying Button Smashing ACTION! Mercy! Mercy on us! Ya know what this game is, right?

And, here's Game #2.Woo-hoo! I never had this one when I was a kid. Let's get a close-up look, shall we? Me: I like to read this in Spanish because it sounds even MORE exciting (doesn't seem possible, yes?) than the English version. Golpes Demoledorrrrrrres (I'm not sure, but that sounds more like "Hands of Death" than "Pile Driving Jabs" to me!)! Los Robots Luchadorrrrrres!
So, I sat back and I BEAMED with pleasure at the sight of my two new games.
And then, I looked around and I thought: "Oh, shit. Where's the adult to put them together?"

NEWS BULLETIN #2: YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD A ROUGH DAY? (FRONT YARD TRUE CONFESSIONS)
UPS Helper Guy (wearing "plainclothes," loping off truck with two packages, uniformed UPS guy remains slumped behind the wheel, motor idling): "Oh, uh."
Sparkle (standing in front yard with Lily on leash): "HI! Could you please put those on the front step? How are ya today?"
UPS Helper Guy (loping down walk to front step): "Dude. I'm not good. This morning, first thing, dude, I fell off the truck, landed hard on my butt, and split my pants up the back."
Sparkle: "NO!"
UPS Helper Guy (placing package on step): "Yeah. I've been going around with them all day like this. You want me to put the boxes down here, so you can open the door?"
Sparkle: "Sure. Thanks! Hey, do you want a needle and thread or something?"
UPS Helper Guy (stops, lowers voice, gleam of hope in his eye): "Uh, do you have one I could borrow?"
Irate muttering is now heard from uniformed UPS guy slumped behind wheel: "Mwah MWAH MWAH MWAH."
UPS Helper Guy: "OH. GEEZ. We gotta keep moving. Man, I could actually use a little sewing machine for this [moving toward truck rapidly, tugging sweatshirt down over butt]. I've been pulling this down all day like this. It makes it hard to get stuff down from the truck."
Sparkle: "I cannot see a THING. I would never have known if you hadn't told me."
UPS Helper Guy: "I hope that's true for those nuns."

NEWS BULLETIN #3: MY NEW HERO
[The scene: Auto mechanic. The action: Sitting and waiting for my car to be inspected. I am talking to a house builder.]
House Builder: "So, I'm in Maine and I'm up on the roof finishing it up, and the guy from next door walks over to me with this little black thing in his hand."
Sparkle: "What was it?"
House Builder: "Keiko!"
Sparkle: "Awwwww!"
House Builder: "And the guy says, 'This is the runt of the litter. I got no use for it. I'm going to drown it."
Sparkle: "NO!"
House Builder: "Yep. And I say, "The HELL you're going to drown him! How much you getting for the rest of that litter? And, he says: '$300 each--they're purebred chows.' And I say, 'I'll give you that right now in cash, you hand me that puppy.' And, he says '$100 bucks if you get it out of my hair today.' Keiko and I haven't been apart since, right Keiko boy? I don't think he's a purebred--I think he's part lab--but that don't make a difference, does it Keiko? [Keiko wanders over, wagging tail, briefly considers lifting leg against waiting room couch.] Be nice, Keiko!" [Keiko stops lifting his leg, comes over, wagging tail.]

NEWS BULLETIN #4: SPARKLE TRIES TO BE A HERO
Driving down a little side street. A frail, elderly woman is slowly pushing a shopping cart along. It is very windy. A cloth shopping bag FLIES out of her cart and starts tumbling down the road. I pull my car over, stop, put it in park, run across street, grab bag, and run back to the woman with it.
Sparkle (out of breath): "Here you go!"
Frail Elderly Woman (looking shocked): "NO, NO, NO! You go ahead and keep it. You earned it."
Elderly woman is very decisive. Trot back to car, wondering if elderly woman thought I was so desperate for a shopping bag I stopped car and ran after it? Wonder if she thinks I am a shopping bag mugger? Mulling this over, almost run frail elderly woman down as she stands in crosswalk.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Forgot to Buy Jellybeans: TGiving '08

Tuesday, November 25
1) Find out I'm cooking for six people day after tomorrow.
2) Fret briefly, then start making lists.
3) Suddenly realize that there are little stacks of papers everywhere.
4) Start cleaning.
5) Stop cleaning and start making little tableaux of dinosaurs.6) Start cleaning.
7) Stop cleaning and decide to make arrangement on mantel.
8) Start cleaning.
9) Stop cleaning because dog is looking especially adorable as she maintains a Turkey Vigil--gazing out window, waiting for turkeys to show up.* Try to take dog's picture. Wags tail but will not look towards camera. Also seems to exude some kind of dense puppy fog that makes all pictures very hazy.
10) Start cleaning.
11) Stop cleaning due to sudden fear that people will get bored--despite fact that people are all family of one kind or another and unlikely to get bored. Assemble games and activities, including concertina (third shelf down), on which it is immediately possible to play a very effective soulful tune.
12) Night falls across the land (with an audible thud). Decide to light fire. Flue somehow remains partially closed. House fills with smoke. Smoke alarm keeps blurting, "Warn-ing. Fi-re. Fi-re. Car-bon Mo-no-xide." Close fire doors. Open all windows. Take down smoke alarm, which is not helping situation, and remove batteries. Open back door. Dog--deathly afraid of smoke alarms and smoke (possibly from something that happened in Old Country)--remains in back yard in semi-fetal position, staring reproachfully up at me. Open fire doors. Poke flue open. Close fire doors. Close some windows. Re-open some windows. Spray air freshener. Coax dog inside by frolicking playfully at the bottom of the deck stairs, hands full of treats and toys. Frolic awkwardly into pile of puppy poo lurking amidst leaves overlooked during earlier yard clean-up. Dog saunters up the deck stairs and into house in relaxed fashion. I remain in semi-fetal position in yard trying to clean shoes off.
13) Call it a night.

Wednesday, November 26
1) Watch Deep-Fried Turkey Snuff Film--recommended by Clinky--several times with increasing degrees of alarm.
2) Make final menu and shopping list:
Chex Party Mix, Parmesan Cheese 'n Herb Twists, Tiny Carrots, Giant Olives
Exploding Fireball Deep-Fried Turkey
Mashed potatoes w/cheddar 'n chives
Gravy
Stuffing w/walnuts for vegetarians
Stuffing w/sausage for non-vegetarians
Roasted butternut squash 'n sweet potatoes w/arugula & herbs
Marinated green beans w/red onion, garlic, & mint
Spinach salad w/green apples, feta cheese, and caramelized pecans
Cranberry sauce w/fresh pineapple & orange; Jellied cranberry sauce for traditionalists
Primavera sauce w/spaghetti squash for vegetarians
Pumpkin cheesecake
3) Go grocery shopping. Am captivated by happy, happy peppers. "Yaay! We're Tasty!"
4) Keep poking turkey in refrigerator to determine whether it is becoming a breeding ground for lethal bacteria OR is dangerously undefrosted and will become a fireball when slowly immersed in a vast quantity of boiling oil. Jot down list of things to save when fire breaks out. Find that Chex Party Mix tops list.
5) Start prepping and cooking and do not stop until 10:00 p.m. Would have taken 15 minutes, had I not paused to take meaningless pictures. Thursday, November 27
1) During cleaning process, turkey fryer proves to have an immense leak NOT conducive to safely boiling vast quantities of oil.
2) After consulting the Google, Plan B is swiftly hatched to follow the current vogue for "High Heat Roasting." Make sure oven is clean, salt and pepper the turkey inside and out, cook the turkey at 450 or 500 degrees for 2 hours or until proper temperature is reached, and that's it. Is supposed to result in most delectable turkey ever. Casting aside grave doubts that this sounds like a cockamamie scheme I could easily come up with entirely on my own--"There's no time! I'll jack the heat up!"--I decide to go for it.
3) Harebrained--yet apparently extremely popular--turkey scheme works just fine.
4) Food eaten in approximately 5 minutes. Any leftovers go home with guests.
Friday, November 28
1) Turkeys show up for breakfast and dinner, as usual. However, a head count reveals four less turkeys than before. Hmm.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tgiving Prep Part II!

I spent all yesterday tidying: (1) Dusting and rearranging little tableaux of small, confused plastic dinosaurs; (2) Sitting and staring at mysterious piles of documents and then carefully moving them around the house in an elaborate game of musicial papers. (3) Putting out stuff for people to play with--photos to follow.

Okay. Full Menu:


Chex Party Mix

Puff Pastry Cheese Twists

Carrots

Olives



Turkey (the one that is going to catch on fire and/or poison us all)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Shopping List

I just found out that I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 6 people.

Yep. That's actually something you can "just find out" two days before.

So: I have the turkey. No. It is not one of the ones below. It is frozen. It is eighteen pounds. It will be fried. I'm kinda hoping the turkeys don't drop by while that's happening. It could be awkward.

Now, I need to go shopping for everything else. Lemme make my list.

SHOPPING LIST
Stuff to make Chex Party Mix

Do I need other stuff, too?

Naw.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

INVASION OF THE TURKEYS!!!

Send help! Send stuffing! Send cranberries! And Pie!

My Favorite Super Hero

In YouTube years, this is way old (from January)--but, I really like it. And, come to think of it, I could use some pancakes this morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Trip to the Mechanic!

I was at the auto mechanic for two and a half hours today!
Part I: Back in the Day
Very Young Female Employee: "Are you looking at a music book over there?"
(Note: I was sitting there reading an accordion song and working out the fingering.)
Sparkle: "Heh. Yes."
Very Young Woman: "What do you play?"
Sparkle: "I'm teaching myself the accordion again. I put it down for awhile and am trying to pick it up again. I was really bad at music at school, but I wanted to try to learn more now."
Very Young Woman: "Cool! I play the bass and the guitar."
Sparkle: "Wow! That's great! Do you have a band?"
Very Young Woman: "Way back in the day, I wanted to start one. I never did."
(Note: The very young woman is 19 years old.)
Sparkle: "But, it is still 'back in the day' for you."
Very Young Woman: "Yeah. I guess that's true."
Sparkle: "You should start one!"
Very Young Woman: "Yeah."
Sparkle: "It's still back in the day--it's just some days it doesn't feel like it."
Very Young Woman: "Yeah."
(To sum up: It is still back in the day for that very young woman. Do you know what I mean by that? And, when she refers to the day that is back I am not sure which day she means. Might be kindergarten, might be first grade. Either way, I hope she starts a band. It is still "back in the day.")

Part II: The Tyertoya
Sparkle: "Can you practice golf inside during the winter somehow?"
Cacciarone: 10 minute monologue re: golf, indoor golf, golf courses, buddies who take golfing road trips and make scrapbooks about their trips, work, $500 boots of son who plays Dungeons and Dragons and dresses up, the U.S. Marine Corps, the very rich and the very poor, foreign cars, and..."Remember that hail storm this summer?"
Sparkle: "I wuh--"
Cacciarone: "Exactly! My car got hit by these big hunks of hail. Fortunately, they didn't do too much damage. Now, my wife's Tyertoya REALLY got hit by those things."
Sparkle: "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Your poor wife. Her...She..." (not sure what part of his wife was injured)
Cacciarone: "Yeah, her Tyertoya really got dented."
Sparkle: "OH! Her TYERTOYA!"
Cacciarone: "Yeah. What do you have?"
Sparkle: "A miterbooshi!"
Cacciarone: "Ah, yeah. How do you like it?"
(Note: I'm not making fun of the way he said Toyota--it was actually pretty cool. In any event, I'm in no position to make fun. Everyone--including my own sister, who knows better--now says that I sound like I'm from Minnesota. I don't even know what sounds are coming out of my mouth anymore.)

Part III: The Newfoundland
Sparkle: "Can I pet him?"
Lady in waiting room with 500 pound Newfoundland dog: "Oh, sure. He'd love that."
Sparkle: "I have a little black dog who's..."
Lady: "The size of his head?"
Sparkle: "No, but a whole lot smaller than him--except her feet are about his size."
Lady: "What is she?"
Sparkle: "Ah, a mix of some stuff. I guess a spaniellabriever."
Lady: "Ha! I like that."
Sparkle: "Very sweet dog."
Lady: "He only gets mad when we're driving around and the people in other cars point at him and laugh. He doesn't like being laughed at."
Sparkle: "I don't blame him a bit. Who does?"
Lady: "Yeah. He starts barking."
Sparkle: "Good for him. It's very bad manners."
Lady: "Yeah!"
Sparkle: "Bet they wouldn't laugh if they were standing right next to him."
Lady: "Yeah!"

To sum up: I was at the auto mechanic for two and a half hours today!

P.S. Stay tuned for further nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat adventures! When I got home, I noticed that they'd typed a suggestion that I get something else done on my bill--but they didn't tell me about it. I mean, it's my bad for not noticing they were suggesting additional repairs, but why didn't they just TELL me then and there that my sway bar links in front have some play? I mean, I'm assuming that means they're not just frisky but actively hazardous in some way and must be fixed? Schmur.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Winter