and there was light and it was freakin’ awesome…

Okay, so here’s the story. We’ve been in this house ten months and for all ten months the streetlight in our front yard has been out. Although the obvious question is “why did you ignore the issue for ten months,” that is not the question I’m answering in this post.

So, here we go…

Upon my request, Hubby emailed the home owners association to ask about getting the light turned on (in the spirit of full disclosure, this first step happened about six months ago). The HOA told him that we needed to talk to the city. So, I told him I’d take care of it (that was about six months and one day ago).

Well, apparently there is a statute of limitations on procrastination, because last Wednesday morning I finally called the street department of our fine city and told them about our light. The city worker informed me that a local electric company, Oncor, takes care of all the streetlights. Sooooo, I called Oncor and worked my way through their hellish nifty little phone menu and, when I was at last able to speak to a human, I explained my problem. The woman on the phone replied, “I’m sorry, but there is not a streetlight at that address.”

I happened to be standing at my window, looking at the light in my yard, and I started to laugh. My husband walked past, and so I told him what the Oncor woman had just said, he replied, “She’s right. At this point it’s just a pole with a decorative top.” I shared my husband’s clever comment with the not-very oh-so polite Oncor service representative. She was not amused.

When, despite her many assurances that there was no light, I continued to believe my eyes rather than her words, she finally heaved a sigh and told me that she would have someone call me back. Now I’ll admit, when she hung up I thought, “suuuure you will…” But amazingly less than half an hour later someone else did call back.

This new person seemed less cranky but equally convinced that there was no light in my yard. The woman asked me go out and see if there were any numbers on the pole. So I went outside and sure enough, there were big orange numbers which I read off to her…and then I also read off the numbers on the Oncor box sitting right next to the streetlight. She told me that the streetlight was not one of their lights…but that the box was one of their streetlights. Hmmmm…. In fact, she went on to tell me that there were no streetlights at all on my side of the street (there are many, btw). However, she finally agreed to send a technician to take a look at things.

So I finally got off the phone and went to work and figured that in another ten months I’d try again. But the next morning when I got out of bed too-freakin-early, poured myself a cup of coffee and then went outside in the still-dark morning to get the paper, what do I see outside? Yes!! A light!

I’m sure there’s a moral here somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out. Ask–No Insist and ye shall receive? I don’t know.

What I do know is that the video below is what I should have put with my last post where I mentioned 70’s bowchickawowow porno music. I’m pretty sure that’s the soundtrack playing in this guy’s head while he’s doing whatever in the hell he thinks he’s doing.


hard to say I’m sorry (without laughing)


So for the past several months I have have been cutting my husband’s hair. Every week or two we go out on the back patio with the clippers (yes, we are those kind of people) and I  give him a pretty crappy haircut. Now, in my defense, I resisted playing barber as long as I could pleading (correctly) that I would really suck at it. But finally, under duress, I agreed to try and now, after a few months, it’s really it’s no big deal (hey, it’s not my hair, right?) He’s been happy with his longish (crappyish) buzz-cut, and I’m happy that he’s happy. It’s all good.

And yet…

Imagine if the usual guard we’d been using were to pop off one day and get mixed in the box with all the other ones that came with the clippers. And then imagine that we couldn’t decide which one we’d been using for the past six months. So then imagine us picking one that looks right…maybe…that actually ended up being a little bit shorter.  After a tentative swipe, I realized the mistake…but I figured it will be okay. Since I used to use the shortest (on the back and sides of his head) and next to shortest (on the top) with the old guard, I decided that this one would be okay as long as I used the longest and second longest on this one.

And it probably would have been just fine if I hadn’t gotten confused somehow (I know, I know, but I’m middle aged and blond) used the shortest setting (on this new shorter guard) on the top of his head instead of the longest.


I realized my mistake after a couple of passes but…well…there’s no turning back at that point. Sigh. Hubby is being a surprisingly good sport about his new almost-bald look (although he was unimpressed with my advice to just avoid mirrors for a couple weeks). And the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing didn’t help much either.

So this one is for you, honey…

on nests (empty), books (classic) and iced tea (skillfully made)

So, my youngest child is now gone away to college. There is nobody under the age of 49 living in this house right now (and in four months there will be nobody here under 50, but I’m trying very hard to not think about that.)

Not sure what I think about this empty nest thing yet. Even though he didn’t spend all that much time hanging out with mom and dad, the house definitely feels emptier with him gone. I do understand that chicks eventually leave the nest, so things are as they should be. However, I suspect that the silence left in my musician-son’s wake will continue to bother me for a while.

This morning my garage door jammed, trapping my car inside. So, I hopped into musician-son’s car and drove it to work. On the way home, I rolled down the windows (it was 75 degrees) and popped in his Black Keys CD. I played it loud. Very, very loud.

Oh yeah, I read Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five on the airplane, and if any of you haven’t read it, I recommend it. It’s one of those rare books that manage to be smart and funny and weird but is still very full of heart. Poo-tee-weet?

And to cap off this obnoxiously random post, here’s a video a friend shared with me. I am not sure, but I think that this guy might be defying some law of physics. Bear in mind of course that I’m one of those liberal-artsy people who never took physics….but still… It’s pretty cool, right?

How is this for a resolution?

To live fully, to love wastefully and to have the courage to be my most complete self. *

I found this statement in a totally unrelated article, but I liked it so I stole it. (Yes, I plagiarized my New Year’s resolution. Perhaps this bodes poorly for my writing in 2012.)

So, because of a special event we have coming up later in the month, my job has been a little whack lately…and in just over a week we’re flying up to Boston with our youngest son to get him settled in at college. These two things and my usual freakish control issues tendency to worry have combined to create a ridiculous puddle of overwhelmedness that I keep wanting to splash around in. Prime time for wallowing is apparently 2:30 a.m. even though I do understand that there are few actual problems that can be solved at 2:30 a.m. **

But, I know the craziness is temporary and soon my job will return to it’s normal occasionally-stressful-but-mostly-fun self. And my house will be too quiet and calm with my musician son so many miles away. I might have to take up another hobby. Maybe chess. Or boxing. Or….

Oh just check out the video. Previously mentioned musician-son found it for me, and it’s so random and strange that it’s somehow totally awesome.


*And finish, really finish, my stupid book and start another one. (This part is all mine.)

**Okay, some problems can be solved in the wee hours. Once we had a dog to whom my husband someone gave about a cup of bacon grease as a treat. As I recall we had to get out of bed at 2:30 a.m. and clean up, solve that problem.***

***Okay, I know adding an endnote to an endnote is probably against the rules, but did anyone else notice that I talked about a puddle in one paragraph, and then in that paragraph’s endnote I mention an entirely unrelated incident that also concerned a puddle of sorts? This was totally unintentional, but perhaps one more sign that I should be in therapy of some sort. Or maybe at least go buy red galoshes.

that’s disgusting…can I have one, please?

The whole celebrity culture thing – I’m fascinated by, and repelled by, and yet I end up knowing about it.
—Anderson Cooper

Okay, so I just finished a mystery (which I enjoyed very much): Mansions of the Dead, by Sarah Stewart Taylor. I won’t give anything away by mentioning that mourning jewelry played an important role in the novel. That’s mourning jewelry as in jewelry made from hair. Like, dead people’s hair. I know, right?

So, as I read about this jewelry I had two equal reactions:

  1. Yuck
  2. I want one

Crazy, right? It’s inexplicable…I am both repelled and fascinated. I mentioned this to my husband who gave me one of his you-have-completely-lost-your-mind (again) looks. I believe he comes down pretty firmly on the repelled side of this equation.

To try to nip this new obsession interest in the bud, I ordered an antique carved jet necklace (non-hairy mourning jewelry) on ebay, which is pretty cool, really. But, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it’s going to be enough. I’m a little worried it’s going to be like when I want a cookie, but I eat an apple because I know it’s a better choice, but then I end up eating the cookie later anyway because…well because the apple wasn’t what I was obsessing about wanting.

Seriously, I’m maybe the least gothy person I know…Doris Day rather than Helena Boham Carter. And I’m not really into collecting things either. The only thing I have a lot of is books, and they’re not rare books or anything; they’re just ones I’ve read or plan to read. So, would I actually wear something that has some dead nineteenth century person’s hair in it? Could I? I will say it would be quite the conversation starter…or possibly ender.

I must confess…lately, I’m starting to worry that as I get older my light quirkiness just might condense into a dark, sticky fruitcake-lady battiness.  Sigh.

crazy new shit

Now, you’re probably not going to find anybody who is less flexible and less coordinated than I am. However, there’s probably also not anybody who is more of a sucker than I am when it comes to buying self-improvement crap stuff.

So, here’s my latest crazy new shit: I signed up for 30 days of yoga.  (I did the Karma edition, of course, because…well it does sound cooler, right?)

Anyhoo, this was a couple weeks ago and I thought I would have already been started on the videos that will have me flopping around on the living room floor, but apparently the first several days of the class are composed of emails to prepare us for successful floor flopping. These emails have explained how I should spend some time either walking on the beach (I’m serious, it said this. As if I would need to take an online yoga class to relax if I could walk on a beach whenever I felt like it) or sitting quietly in my living room (okay, more reasonable, although I do have trouble sitting quietly–ask anyone) to think deep thoughts about my intent.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t really want to hear about how the night I signed up, I had just eaten most half of a giant tres leches cake at Chuys and when I clicked on that payment button my intent was mostly to ameliorate the lingering feeling of bloaty-regret. So I have been spending some time walking on the beach, sitting here at the dining room table, thinking up a new intent that sounds more karma-yoga-ish than to punish myself for indulging in an awesome (yet overly large) desert.

The thing is, I’ve always wanted to be a person who does yoga and meditates and drinks exotic loose leaf-teas and is, I don’t know, calm and present-in-the-moment and filled with buddhisty-type wisdom. And not be the crazy-ass me who is exactly the opposite of every single one of those things except that I have used loose-leaf teas before but not very often because really I hate to clean out the teapot.


So I’ll keep you updated on my crazy new shit when it actually starts. On another note, all my manuscripts have been distributed to their readers…so I’ll let you know about that same old shit as soon as I know something.

Okay…now this is just scary:

peace times two

Two things today that might seem unrelated, except they’re not.

One: Yesterday was the first annual (I hope) Art of Peace Festival here in Tyler. It was a family-friendly event with music, poetry readings, speakers and an art auction. In this time of increasing animosity in what seems like every facet of society, how refreshing to have a group of people coming together for no purpose other than that of promoting peace. I came home with a poetry chap book, a handmade pinwheel (which I cannot put in the back yard because one of my dogs is afraid of it–I’m not kidding) and a smile. I hope this continues here and keeps spreading to more communities. Let me know if you want more information about it…I can get you the contact info for someone in-the-know.

Two: And on the topic of peace, I’d like to pass along a word of encouragement for those of you with young children who feel like you’re living in a war zone. When my three children were kids/teenagers, it seemed like at least two of them were arguing about something all the time. It waxed and waned, but the fighting was frequent enough (and sometimes vicious enough) to make me worry that they would never get along. (We’re not talking cats and dogs–things rarely got physical. No, we’re talking more like Jane Curtain and Dan Aykroyd*.)

Anyway, flash forward ten years and you know what? They’re friends. They give each other rides to pick up a car in the shop, they all come over for dinner and everybody is laughing not bickering. Hell, they call each other on the phone more often than they call their parents.

Peace at last!

*And for any of you who were not SNL fans back in the day: