22 December, 2012

My Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas!
(I celebrate Christmas, so by wishing you that, I am including you in my celebrations and joy. If you celebrate something else, hopefully my shared joy will extend to that as well.)
First...I am cutting myself off from facebook for a while, because people are all goobers. Which doesn't affect you, since my facebook is in my real name and you don't know it, BUT... it's an excellent time to follow me on Twitter right now, since I'm posting there instead. (@notklingonred, in case it's still not showing here.)
That said, since only one of you received my actual Christmas card with my annual letter in it, I am posting my letter here, as a letter, with love, to you all:

2012…far, far away…

Ho-ho-ho! Happy April Fools Day!
...no joke. I moved back to the Midwest this year.

(I hope that everyone on my Christmas list knows that I moved to Indiana to be nearer to my parents and siblings. If not, well, I did. …Also, you might want to friend me on facebook to stay on top of these things!)

When I have an address change, I try to get these out early, so that you will all know
where to find me, but I’ve not been inspired, so it didn’t happen.

Then, at work, we had our quarterly “pitch-in” – that’s Indiana lingo for “potluck” – with a Thanksgiving theme, and all our little post-its listing things we’re thankful for were full of appreciation of family or other close relationships. That’s very sweet, and very true, and of course, “The Right Answer”, but it kind of made me wish I’d written down something more hedonistic.
I’m thankful for my hot new car!
I’m thankful for books.
I’m thankful for stupid games I can download onto my phone, to bide my time in long lines.
I’ll be honest – I’m thankful for good wine!

But even trying to be hedonistic, the reality can't be denied:I AM thankful for my family and friends.
I AM thankful for their continued good health.
I am thankful for the new love in my life (even if it’s strange to mention in a Christmas letter).
I’m so thankful that I have the abilities to get out and walk the dog, mow the lawn, bake cookies.
I’m thankful that I live where I can worship God in freedom.
I’m thankful that I live in such a varied country that if I never leave these borders again, there are endless new marvels and mysteries to find that God has placed here for us to enjoy.

At this time of year, with all the chaos involved – the stress of “obligatory” shopping,
the mess of all the baking, the angst of unintended weight-gain, the sleeplessness of travel
– with the joyful chaos that stems from being humans in relationship to one another,
and the sadness that stems from being humans missing the company of one other,

… I cannot help but be thankful that God sent his Son for my sake.
I admit to being more awed by the empty tomb of Easter than by the star and stall of Christmas,
but the humility of the gift of Christmas is truly one to inspire gratitude.

Does this gratitude stay? Um…no, to be honest. Not if I don’t think about it. Frustration is my downfall.
But the good news is that the Good News IS! When I don’t think of it for a day, or when I forget the joy in the midst of a stressing, seasonal moment, I can always return to it.

And that is something to be truly thankful for. I pray that this season will find you with gratitude in your heart, in the midst of joys and sorrows, stress and peace.
That's it. Enjoy the remainder of the year, now that we've all survived the Mayan apocalypse!


23 November, 2012

Thankful for Randomness

The most random Thanksgiving ever. (With all apologies to my non-American readers. You must be tired of the subject already.)

I have a lot to be thankful for, but I'd be lying a big "liar, liar, pants on fire" lie if I didn't say that this year I am overwhelmingly grateful for Brett Minor's role in my life.

Thanksgiving with Brett. Aha! A first holiday. Such anticipation! Such hype! Such an opportunity to start new traditions! Well, we got one.

Months ago, in talking to Brett, I mentioned that I'd always wanted to help at a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless/disadvantaged/community...something. His response? "Done. I know a couple places." He's working nights now, so if it weren't for this opportunity, I don't know that I'd have come out here. (Yes, I'm writing this from Brett's house, while he sleeps after a long night's work.)

...Well, probably, I'd still come, maybe just not ON the day, since my mom seemed to really wish I'd stayed there...

Brett signed me up at a huge Thanksgiving community dinner at a large church, where anyone can come, and they send out packaged meals to shut-ins, and to the fire and police departments - you know, community services that have to operate holiday or not. The deal was I'd come down, do my thing there while he slept, go to his house, start some kind of meal, and wake him early in the afternoon. Yep. It was a plan.

I'm a planner. Brett prefers to let things happen as they will. This is a marvelous blend. Because I CAN let go of the plan when things happen - I just like to have a jumping off point.

I had a great, unique, feast for two devised:
1. salad, crescent-rolls
2. cajun turkey breast, steamed winter veggies, cheesy potato bake
3. pumpkin pie (boring), a fantastic unique treat (exciting and adventurous)

What actually happened was...
9:15am - I arrive at Brett's house and unload a bunch of groceries into his fridge. I have time, so just peek in, see he's awake, and say "hi - see you later".
9:45am - I arrive at the church to check in and see where I'll be working. Prayer time starts at 10, so meanwhile I start taking trays of desserts into the main hall to set up.
10:15 - Working in the set up area, preparing to-go boxes.
11:30 - We are done with all the pre-orders, and the random drop-ins have trickled down, so they close the back area and I'm told I can get a tray of food.

...WHAT? I didn't know I was eating too, I thought I was just there to work! Weird. It's not my church; I've met one person so far who I know through Brett. But I have new friends among the baggers, so I do as I'm told, get a tray of food, and sit with Ralph. I am a fish out of water. Eventually, Brett's brother and his family show up and join us, so that was cool. Much easier, since I know them.

12:30 - Back to Brett's. I was going to start on the cajun turkey breast - slow-cooked, for choice - but I see that it takes 4 hours. It seems more reasonable to schedule a meal for 6-ish than 4:30, so I go to my computer.
...darn tryptophan. I nap.
2:00 - Okay, NOW I can put the turkey in the crockpot. Getting it out of its wrappings, I read through the instructions in detail. Wait..."check on turkey after 4 hours"...what? OOPS! Cook time is 7.5 hours! DUDE! Turkey won't be ready until 9:30! 

LOL. So much for planning.

I had brought along a nice bottle of white wine. Brett's not much of a drinker, so I looked through his silverware drawer for a corkscrew. No dice. I wondered.

Thank GOD that Brett is a flexible sort, and had even said he didn't care what we ate. So I wake him up and we have a big laugh over my mistake about the cook-time. And he agrees he probably doesn't have a corkscrew so we walk in the direction of Kroger to try to find one before they close. (I hate going to stores on holidays, but...) On the way there, we pass a liquor store with a neon "open" sign. Jackpot! ...plus we got a nice walk on a nice day.

Brett's daughter and her boyfriend come over in the afternoon to grab a boardgame and discuss their gastronomic adventures before moving on to the next feast. When they leave, probably around...

4:00? - Brett and I start working on the cheesy potatoes. (Frankly, I was so glad Brett mentioned this idea when I asked him how he prefers his potatoes. I don't think he expected me to take him seriously, because it's so "non-Thanksgiving", but I love it.) This was fun to do together, mixing up the ingredients, picking the right baking dish... and OOPS - the cornflakes were supposed to be crushed before sauteed. Oh well. Not like we're trying to deceive anyone into thinking they aren't cornflakes! 

5:00 - We sit down to salad, cheesy potatoes, and chips and salsa (courtesy of Kirsten's boyfriend). It felt kind of Charlie Brown-y. Oh, and wine.

Keep in mind, Brett still has to work at midnight. And we both are going back to my parents ...today (Friday), so he wants to be rested. Although he says he doesn't want to spend my visit sleeping, he clearly is very tired, and knows that the turkey will be ready at the awkward time of 9:30. I gamely suggest that perhaps I should nap with him. (AWWW...) Of course, we talk too much for an hour before I remind him that he needs to sleep (I'm SO good!) and shut up until I hear snoring, and I doze too.

In a waking moment, it occurred to me that hey! The turkey's in a crockpot. It's not going to burn if we leave it in too long! Why not let Brett sleep longer and wake him at a practical time for getting ready for work?

10:30 - Turkey time! WOW - that cajun flavor is tasty. Even Brett says it's worth the wait. I grab some more cheesy potatoes, just because.

By now, Kirsten is home for the night, but too stuffed to take part in our delicious dinner. Not even PIE! (which I made - boring old un-jazzed-up pumpkin - because I was informed it was her favorite.) Oh well, Brett and I enjoyed it.

Time-out. Let's check the score:
1. salad and crescent rolls [EAH>buzzer<] forgot to make the crescents! (and the salad was limp. My bad.) -2points.
2. cajun turkey breast, steamed winter veggies, cheesy potato bake [EAH>buzzer<] No turkey yet, and forgot the winter veggies! (but the potato dish was excellent, and is our new tradition)  -2 points, but +1 on the potatoes.
3. pumpkin pie (boring), a fantastic unique treat (exciting and adventurous) [EAH>buzzer<] turkey is finally excellent, but too late, pie is excellent, but forgot the surprise treat! (I'll make it sometime, and tell you all about it.) +1-1 on the turkey, +1-1 on dessert. So, ZERO.

By my count, the planned meal sits at -3.

But the unplanned reality was just great. Everything we had - well maybe not the salad - tasted good, and I have to say Brett is very gracious about just rolling with the weirdness. That makes it so easy. It wasn't even chaos, just... unforeseen.  AND we ate well, we ate to fullness, but we were not stuffed to discomfort by the end.

For that, I am truly grateful.
(and Brett now has a fridge-full of yummy leftovers...)

19 October, 2012

Stroke me! No Really, Please Don't

Okay, so, like, my dad had another "mini-stroke" this morning, and I was here to witness it. (Technically, a TIA: a Transient Is-is-isomething Attack)

In February he had his first, and it freaked me out enough to leave my life behind and start afresh with a new life close to my parents (okay, in their basement for now).

Seeing it happen was easier than hearing 2 days later, I think. (I texted my sisters immediately.) I'm not saying that it wasn't a weird kind of jolt, but it didn't bring me to tears. Maybe because I was involved. Even if there wasn't anything for me to "do", I was conscious of being an appreciated supportive person.

What I saw:
I was baking cookies. Mom was at the breakfast table, doing a puzzle. Dad came in from the other room, saying he needed to tease Mom some. He sat at the table with her, spoke a little, lapsed into silence, and nosedived off his chair.

I actually saw what I thought was Dad bending over to pick something up off the floor, but he kept going. I thought he just lost his balance.

What he describes:
He was on his computer in the other room, and suddenly felt light-headed and dizzy. He thought if he fainted there, we might not hear it, so he came into the kitchen - bringing his coffee cup to set it down, SO HE WOULDN'T SPILL ON THE CARPET (my dad) - and sat at the table. (being his normal self, joking around)

As he corrected me later, he "was out" before he fell.

As soon as he fell, and Mom and I rushed over, he said "I think I had another stroke," and later, "I could feel it coming."

He has cuts on his head from where his head and the floor smushed his glasses, and because he's on an aspirin regimen, the cuts have oozed all day.

What could we do? He was talking; Mom tested that he could grip her pinkies, his face looked normal. Mom cleaned his cuts, and he leaned back in his recliner to watch game shows for a bit.

Apparently these little ones often don't show symptoms like the biggies. They opted out of going to the doctor, because Dad seems fine, and last time they just looked at him a lot, ran a bunch of expensive tests, and still couldn't say what caused it. His only complaint this time is that his neck and shoulder hurt from the fall.

I'm glad I'm here. Funny thing is, I'm working now but not today. Funny other thing is, Dad had agreed to assist a neighbor on a project today and didn't want to back out. (It's a really good neighbor) Anyway, I was glad to be able to go along and help. I'm SO glad I'm here!

That was my crazy morning. I know I've been posting fun, marginally risque stuff lately, but this kind of took over my day. I'll be back to normal soon!

14 October, 2012

Lingerie Confessions

In a former life, I worked for Victoria's Secret. (Somehow, that statement always draws a response. Like saying I was with King Arthur at Camelot, or was in Anna Karenina's inner circle, or - for the nerd in me - that I lived in the Bio-Dome for a couple years. I don't get it.)


Oh wait! Did I say "for"? I worked AT Victoria's Secret. It still made my mom blush at the time.

I'd say it's like any other retail job, but there is just a slight difference. We called it "The Fitting Room Confessional" because women trying on bras and other lingerie are likely to chat about the ins and outs of not only what works best for their figure, but why exactly they like this over that, or what occasion is coming up that requires the purchase.

That never happened when I worked for a shoe store or the outdoor-gear store!

I actually met someone at a party once who - on hearing where I worked - confessed to having "done it" in the fitting room at a local Victoria's Secret. The store in question was one of the lingering old-style ones, with Victorian decor, and fitting room doors that went floor to ceiling. Yeah. No wonder they don't have those anymore!
...but how would you... I mean, surely the whole store would hear... I can't... I'm at a loss. Sounds hot, but then, not if you were discovered. I don't know...

ANYWAY! To this day I still get the raised eyebrows or the "Really?" or the sidelong glance of judgment when people find out about this previous job. It doesn't happen often anymore, but I've interviewed enough lately that I've been reminiscing.

The Fitting Room Confessional. Yes indeedy.

  • There was the woman (tiny, petite, thing) who'd just had augmentation surgery, and her doctor advised her to wait until the swelling went down to get new bras, but she needed something in the interim anyway, so here she was! ...and by the way, could I tell her how this sheer one looks on these new tatas? Do I notice any swelling? (how would I know?)
  • We had a flurry of sales over the course of a few weeks, when a Hooters was opening up on the highway between our store and the nearest neighboring Victoria's Secret. [SPOILER ALERT for Hooters' fans] Of course these average-sized women wanted the bra that would give them the most oomph, and we got very good at thinking out of the box for the best way to artificially add cleavage to a non-endowed woman. Hint to Hooters'-haters: While some of these girls seemed to believe/know that the best thing going for them was their looks, there were some very intelligent women among this crowd, who just weren't afraid to use their assets! Don't be hating the Hooters' Girls!
  • Then we had the regular customer who came in almost weekly (I think she worked in the mall) to tell us all about her sex-life with her boyfriend who supposedly proposed somewhere along the line, and then supposedly she got pregnant and...yeah, I can't even say all the stuff she told us. It was pretty gross. I say "supposedly" because there was an obvious crack in her growing tale, so we were skeptical.
  • One time I was helping a customer who turned out not to be interested in making a purchase, but figured a store like ours was a good place to hook into the "swinger" community! She and her family were passing through town and they wondered where they could find alternative partners and did I know...? Now, by this time, I had gotten very good at keeping a straight face and not showing shock at, well, anything. I'm not a judgmental person: they're welcome to swing with whomever they want, but I didn't know of any place they'd find that community. Sorry.

Her:...Well, what about you?
Me:...! ...uh...
Her: I mean, you seem pretty okay with the idea. Some people get all shocked...
Me (trying to catch the eye of another employee):... Well, ...I'm ...
Her: Even just to watch. (!!!) Sometimes it's just more exciting with someone else watching. (yoiks)
Me (wondering why my coworker walked straight past without giving me a way out):... I'm really not interested. I know some dance clubs...
Her: A dance club's not the same. I can bring my husband back and you can talk to him.
Me: No, please. I'm really not going to join you. I'm flattered, but after we close I really have to go home.

I can't recall how I extricated myself from the conversation, but she eventually left. I turned on my coworker who had heard the entire thing and asked why she didn't help, and she, smiling, told me she thought I handled it very well! Then, when we left after closing, this woman, her husband, and two kids were standing at the unofficial mall exit across from the store.

That's my favorite. The woman who wanted me to join their threesome. Just, mind-blowing. It had to take some guts on her part to ask, I gotta hand it to her!

  • What else? Oh, there was the man who came in - totally comfortable in Victoria's Secret - buying something for his wife (and he showed me a picture of them together, very lovely) but somehow the conversation drifted into the realm of S&M, and what really isn't S&M, and the facts of how to make a "rope-dress" and that if you use soft cord and not ROPE ...oh wait, you don't know what I'm talkng about? You take the cord and knot it in specific places that leave everything you want access to uncovered, but then the ropes are there to grab, control, hook up to other stuff ...He actually went into a lot of detail about how precisely to make it, and where precisely the knots go, and what type of knot is best.

I really am not into any of that stuff. I really don't want to know about the sex lives of strangers, but when your job requires you to be in the face of the public, you have to get comfortable with what the public wants. It was definitely a learning experience. I'm glad to be out of the public face, though.

I should add that most of the customers were just your average shopper, not eager to tell their life story, perhaps embarrassed, perhaps newly engaged. One woman came in ready to holler at me about the lack of plus-size merchandise...and then I got her fitted and found things for her and she left happy.

I can't be the only one who's heard surprising, or even shocking things from total strangers. ...or am I? What sort of things do strangers tell you?

12 October, 2012

Surprise Winner!

This is just a real quick announcement because I'm kind of public at the moment.

For those of you not on twitter, who might have missed the announcement, the drawing of the winner of my special toy was yesterday, and the winner is:

I don't have pictures to prove this was random, so I guess you'll just have to trust me. Not being able to ask someone to actually pull a name out of a hat and stay incognito, I wrote down the names of all those who expressed interest in the drawing, assigned them each a number, and texted an old friend from Delaware who is totally unaware of anything to do with Doesn't Speak Klingon. I asked her to pick a number between 1 and 8, and she picked the number corresponding to Train's name.

...I've done that to friends before, ask them to pick a number so that I can randomly decide what movie to watch, etc. so she's still totally unaware of what she did.

I hope you will get a lot of mileage out of your new, purple, toy, Train!

Okay, I'll be back this weekend sometime, I hope, with something better, more pictures, and more interest.

10 October, 2012

Are they Perverts? And is it Anyone's business?

You ever wonder about people? Like you just. don't. know?

A while back, while I was dog-sitting, Jackson and I came upon a very sweet couple while we were out for our walk. The couple recognized Jackson and stopped to chat, inquired after my hosts, and finally said, "We're in that house if you need anything," and pointed to the ONE HOUSE that consistently showed no activity!

THAT house??

I'd been very curious about that house.

So wary cautious curious, in fact, that I never once took a picture of the property, lest they be horrible gangsters serial killers vampires criminals who would be sure I never showed my face again.

Now, during our daily, 3-mile walks, I observed various activity in the neighborhood: cars coming and going, landscaping, neighbors talking, dogs out or back inside... but in 16 walks, only that one house showed no such activity. Not so much as a trash can taken to the curb and then removed.

I had often mused about the property this sweet couple claimed: Typical 5-acre(ish) rolling lawn leading back to a pond, nice brick-and-stone ranch-style house, hmm - the back corner of the house leads to a chain-link-fenced in yard...with a small house opening to the other side of the fenced-in yard...? Why does that small house have a garage door? there's no driveway. Maybe these are "those quiet neighbors" who "no one would guess" secretly are serial killers or child molesters. that's their torture room!
...Remember in the movie "9 to 5" when they kept the boss on a leash tied to a garage door? Yeah. I'm thinking that.

Oh! And there's a creepy, ancient, derelict-looking shack on the back-end of the property, down the slope and almost in the woods. "KEEP PADDLING! I HEAR BANJO MUSIC!"


Nope. Not taking a picture of that place.

I don't always trust my character-assessment of others, but this couple was over 50, sort of "comfortably filled out" like a lot of grandparenty-types, and so sweet together that... well, I can't say they looked like they'd been married forever, maybe it was a late-life romance, but they just seemed so loving that I immediately revised my assessment of the "serial killer" house.

...wait for it...

There's no dog collar attached to a garage-door opener, but one of those sling-harness things that I have no idea what you do with! (you know, like in that scene in Sex and the City?)
Maybe they're into S&M! They have to keep all the sexy stuff in a separate building for when the kids and grandkids visit!
Her patent leather spiked boots and merry-widow, and his leopard-print thong would be a big shocker to a 12 year old boy...or his 32 year old mother.
Ooohh...and that shack must be where the real rough toys are stored...the leather hood, the whips and handcuffs...

Because, dudes, Love has no limits. You cannot judge a book by its white-haired cover. The most grandmotherly woman you know may be a wild animal behind closed doors, and that sweet old guy holding her hand may have to play lion-tamer after dark. Or vice versa, who can say?

Embrace your inner-animal...or get someone who will do it for you!

...and now I will laugh, and leave you to question the motives of your neighbors and family members. MWAHahaha!

06 October, 2012

I've Been Found Out!

That's right, dudes. I'm no longer a truly anonymous blogger.

My sister, Hestia, found me. (She objects to my name choice, by the way, but really, it's based on my perception, as a sibling six years her junior.)
It was bound to happen. I was wondering who would be first. That's what I get for dating the wildly popular, funny, and famous Brett, the Transformed Non-Conformist! Here's how it played out (I think):
  1. Two weeks ago, Hestia's family were visiting, so I invited Brett to come over for lunch and the afternoon.
  2. Having finally met him, a few days later Hestia friended Brett on facebook.
  3. Brett repeatedly posts links to his new posts on his facebook page.
  4. Hestia is computer savvy, and started reading some of these posts.
  5. Sometimes Brett links to my blog in his post, which is great, but I'm not sure if it was through a link or through one of my comments that Hestia then connected to Doesn't Speak Klingon.
  6. Initially, it would seem that, finding my blog - and possibly reading a current post? - she saw the tab ^ for "The Saga..." and went to find out our story in more detail than I had provided in person.
  7. Brett and I both noticed we were getting new comments from "anonymous" on the posts linked to there, and from the comments it was obvious who was writing them.
I tried denial: "NO! You're using the word 'sis', like guys use 'bro', right?" (Hestia, you may not realize it, but both Brett and I actually reply to comments on our blogs, so if you post a question there, it will be answered.)
Last night, we talked, and she confirmed - in case I needed it - that she found me. She said that after starting with the Saga, she is reading my blog from the beginning, because her brand of OCD (we all have one) insists on going start to finish. She will do the same with Brett's no doubt, once she is more familiar with his particular snarkiness.
She has promised not to out me to anyone else.
She assured me there is no judging going on. (a big reason to be anonymous, no?)
She has, furthermore, offered her editing services for the book version. HA!
So, "Hestia" - If you don't wish to use the alias I have kindly provided, you are welcome to use your own name, just don't use mine. I do not use the real names of anyone I know, because they don't have the opportunity to defend themselves, but now you do. ...and btw, people might not recognize "Hestia" but the alternative, Roman version is "Vesta" and I already know a Vesta. You should really check her out at The Cowardly Feminist in my blogroll. (or right there in that link) Anyway, I couldn't use Vesta. OR...you could pick your own other suitable deity, to use when commenting. Since Anonymous is so...anonymous.

Hestia would make a good blogger, I think. Not just as a "mommy-blog" for a mother of two teens, but based on comments she posts on facebook, she seems to see an interesting cross-section of humanity. ...in the same way that Misty of Misty's Laws sees an interesting cross-section, but Hestia notices the crazy things people say and do more than the crazy things they wear.

Anyway, it's been a whirlwind couple days coming to terms with being "out", and trying to run through my blog in my mind and think of all the questionable things I might have said. Well, if she doesn't want to know it, she doesn't have to read it!

04 October, 2012

Republican? Democrat? Zombie?

I hate politics. I tend to distrust anything and anyone politically related. The thing I hate most is talking about politics, so I don't. It's no coincidence that the root of the word "politics" is the same root as "polarizing".

(image: thebrandbuilder[dot]wordpress[dot]com)

The thing I hate most about American politics (because let's face it, I have to deal with American politics, and don't know enough to discuss other systems) is the two party thing. The Two Party System is flawed. The Two Party System assumes that everything is black and white. The Two Party System seems to be based on the belief that, if a person feels one way about subject A, they must therefore feel a particular way about subjects B, C, and D as well.

What, did the party elite suck out the brains of all the party members?
...and why do I suddenly sound like I'm discussing twentieth century Russian politics? "party elite"? dude. Wake me up.

There is no universal party. Anyone who toes their party line 100% must have been zombi-fied by that party. I have worked very hard, all my life, as I grew up and developed my world view, to weigh each issue on its own. (I do recognize that growing up overseas, surrounded by close friends from many different countries and world views has given me a variety of views on a variety of subjects, and that perhaps this is why I don't fit into either party very well.)

My parents are die-hard Republicans. They are Republican in the same way that I am a Chicago Bears fan. Yeah. Hardcore. (Don't tell them I accused them of being zombies, though. They might suck out my brain.)

Zeus* is the same. Maybe more vocal.

Hestia married into the Democrat party, I think. And Diana does not discuss politics, so I have no idea. BRAVO, DIANA!

Poseidon is active-duty military (if you pray, please include him, he's in a dangerous place) which usually translates to Republican, in my experience. If so, he must be conflicted, based on what I know of his choices and tastes. Maybe he's neither.

*The link is to my "cast of characters", and will help you make sense of the names I've given my siblings.

I decline to toe a party line. I said I have a variety of views on a variety of subjects. Here's a sampling of why I can't party with either party:

IN GENERAL, and based on the standard projected party-lines I hear...

A. I stand with Republicans on military issues.
B. I stand with Democrats on gay marriage.
C. I stand with Republicans on education. (although this is kind of off the radar these days, so this stance is based on the last I heard.)
D. I stand with Democrats on the environment.
E. I think American foreign policy sucks. It's screwed up. It's not based on any sense of reality of what is happening overseas, and both parties are full of foreign-policy idiots.

Words of wisdom, indeed.
But I'm not on the fence. I believe each way very strongly! Where's MY party? There are so many shades of grey in between the two parties. Take gay marriage. I don't see how we can IL-legalize it.  Until Brett, I had never been able to stick with a loving relationship, but I know several gay/lesbian couples who have been in a loving, committed relationship for longer than a lot of marriages. How is that bad for the country?

Don't get me wrong, I don't think a church should be forced to perform a ceremony that contradicts their beliefs, but how can the government say no? If people are so concerned about family values, let's tackle the domestic violence issue instead of attacking loving couples, m'kay?

As far as education, I think teachers need more freedom to teach, and not just push on towards the test. I also think that until families get involved together, and kids learn to value education, I don't think the system will be resolved. The last I heard, the Repubs were pushing some kind of "school choice" concept which is what I like. However, this is not a direct issue for me, since I do not have kids. (It is a marginal issue for me, as the generation being educated today will affect my life as a senior.)

The environment is my particular bugaboo. My mom disagrees with me on this. She thinks we have to save people first, then the environment. I think that saving people with bandaid solutions first will hurt us all in the long run. If we continue to rape and pillage the earth, we won't be leaving anything for future generations except the same problems we inherited.

'Nuff said.
Here endeth the soap box.

The Presidential debate was last night. I watched a few minutes just to check, verified that it was sound-bite central, and switched channels. Maybe they got serious later and I missed it.

Here's why I don't care what happened:

Say what they like, no President can get it done on his own. He needs to work with the Congress. Until everyone agrees to work together, and until some people learn to compromise, those campaign promises will lie mouldering in their graves.

Douglas Adams said it best (but my Hitchhikers Guide is in storage, so I have to paraphrase) when he said that the President has no real power. He's merely a figurehead to distract attention away from the real power. Indeed.

I honestly saw this sticker on a car this summer.
People vote for the candidate who they believe upholds their same values and ideals. If you don't know the candidates' values and ideals by now, you must have been living under a rock.

So, how do I vote?
I vote for a person, not a party.
I haven't voted a straight ticket in a long time.

I WILL vote, because too many people in this world can't vote, and too many people in this country's history worked to hard to enable me to do so.
I will vote my conscience and I will not talk about it.

If I can get people together, maybe I will actually play that drinking game for the next debate! (Who knows, inject a little alcohol, I might find politics amusing.)

03 October, 2012

Be a Winner! It's Fun!

I'm a winner! - And so are you!

Well, okay, obviously I'm a winner in the game of life because I got Brett (neener-neener), but when it comes to drawings, door-prizes, or giveaways, I never win.

...well, except once at a benefit dinner when I won 3 door prizes (and promptly shared with my dining partners). So I guess I never win unless I win big. (Which still goes for the above-mentioned win at life. HA!)

Enter the inimitable Misty, of Misty's Laws. If you've never read Misty's Laws you should. Not only because she's hilariously snarky and a total photo-ninja, but because she gives stuff away! I've entered several of her giveaways, because it's always cute useful snarky good stuff, and this time I won!

Wait, though. I didn't just win... no, I won the GRAND PRIZE! this is not her normal style of giveaway prize, either. (Read this tale from Misty's trip to Blogher for details about this prize choice.)

Dudes, I won two, count 'em TWO ...uh, feminine pleasure toys "personal massagers" vibrators. (Thanks to the generosity of the Trojan company.) My word. How cool! How surprising. How... alarming! I live with my parents! However, Misty very kindly obliged by having them sent to Brett's house so I could avoid embarrassment on the homefront.

I feel I know you well enough (aka: not at all) to share with you a few points.

A) I've never owned one of these toys.
B) (at the time I originally wrote this, before my wifi died) Brett and I have been apart long enough that the thought has crossed my mind how nice it would be to own one.
C) ...that's ONE ... I can't imagine a need for two. (teehee... especially with Brett around.)
D) I'm giving one away! Here it is:

I've never done a giveaway before, so bear with me.

Rules. Gotta play to win.
I can't give it away for nothing.

Here are my rules what will make me happy:
  1. Follow me on Twitter. I promise I don't Tweet much. Ask anyone. That's my first choice, but I know a lot of people don't utilize that medium, and I don't blame you!
  2. If you choose not to be a twit, just follow my blog. That's always cool to see, too.
  3. If you already have one or both of those bases covered, say so in a comment and express interest in the random drawing. WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE ON OCTOBER 10. (easy to remember: 10/10)

Now, I know a lot of my longest-standing followers are male, but think of what a useful gift this could be for the lady in your life: If you'll be apart for an extended period of time, you could still be keeping her satisfied!

...I guess... being a vibrator virgin and all, this is pure conjecture on my part.

All I'm saying is, this isn't a "girls only" giveaway.

Very important: Every commenter will not be automatically included, but you must let me know by comment or tweet that you are participating in order to be included.
That's it for the drawing. Have at it!
You have until October 10!

Now, you want a funny vibrator story? It's not gross or graphic, I promise. And it's short.

...still with me? You won't regret it. Here goes:

In my avocation as an actress, I was once in a drama with a director who preferred making her own pre-show announcements instead of using the recording. You know the ones, about not using a flash, and turning off your cell phones. Like that.

One night, prior to the show's start, she mis-spoke. Where she had said on previous nights "Please turn off your cell phones or set them to vibrate," this time she said, "Please turn off your cell phones and vibrators."

Brought the house down before opening curtain.
The end.

(Guess what the cast bought her for a closing-night gift? It starts with a "V".)

05 September, 2012

Love Hurts

I really fell for Brett. Really.
Like, yesterday.

I was at my parents' for a Labor Day cookout, and my phone rang. I was in the living room, but my phone was in the kitchen, and as I rushed in there I tripped over my dad's footstool and stumbled. I tried to right myself, but...
(image: plungede.org)

You know, this exact thing happened the first time I did a Polar Bear Plunge: You rush headlong at the surf, and as soon as you get to the point where you are no longer picking up your feet higher than the water, the water slows your feet, but your body continues with its original momentum. Next thing you know, you're on your knees rolling in the 40* surf.

...yeah. That, except this time "the surf" was a footstool. Dudes, I wish I had this on video. It had to be grand. As my feet tried to catch up to my body, I may or may not have been flailing my arms like a cartoon character running off a cliff. I saw my life flash before my eyes, but not the past, just the next few seconds: In an instant I saw exactly how this would end, and I was right. But not on the carpeted living room. No. In my few flailing steps from the footstool, I had crossed into the kitchen area. I bounced off my mom's gorgeous, Brazilian cherry-wood floor. Well, not bounced exactly. I left a skidmark. It was pretty gross. Back in the kitchen after cleaning up my oozey knee in the bathroom, I noticed a streak on the gorgeous Brazilian cherry-wood about an inch wide and two-and-a-half feet long. I asked Mom if that was from me and she laughed and said, "It must be. I just did the floors this morning." (Funny, Mom.)

EEWWW! Dudes, there were bits and pieces of my skin all along this trail. My skin belongs on me, not on the floor! Granted, it's not like my leg was lying next to me at an obscene angle, but yuck. (That's a link to Jamie R. Hawkins' debut post. Read it. It's pretty detailed.)

But I didn't notice the track I left until later. Initially, I just glanced down and saw that yes, there was loose skin and blood on my knee, and then attended to the phone. It was Brett. Of course I had to answer with "I really fell for you, Brett!" hahaha

Now Brett, fully aware that I fell for him some time ago, was clearly trying to sort that out. After a brief, confused-sounding chuckle, he must have decided that the logic was beyond him, and said, "Um...what?"

Yeah, it's a lame pun, but how often does the opportunity come to show off battle scars from the game of love?
(just for those of you tracking the jigsaw pieces of a total image of me.)
Seriously, Brett's right. I tumbled for him long ago. (Starting in March, I figure.)
...feeling lost? I added a page about our "Saga" above.

I know a lot of you have enjoyed watching this relationship develop. Believe me, it has been unexpected for me. Gloriously unexpected. Nothing about us is "normal". THANK GOD! Normal means dating.

I'm not huge on the whole dating scene. A couple years ago I made a conscious decision that it wasn't worth my time anymore. Too phony. What is a date? Two people going out to do (usually) something in a manufactured setting, and trying to impress each other. Occasionally I've stuck it out long enough to try to get beyond the "impress each other" phase, but frankly, if I see a red flag, I'm gone. What's the point? I'm comfortable on my own; I don't require romance, but if I'm going through the agony of dating, isn't it subconsciously with the hope expectation that there is a deeper relationship coming? If I see a red flag and know it's something I can't deal with, why keep wasting both our time?

Extreme? I don't think so.

I've never understood women who love a man "except". "He'd be perfect if only..." "I love him except for..." Yeah, I had a friend who was with the man who perfectly complemented her in every way...but he cheated on her. Repeatedly. Dude. RED FLAG! I'm not looking for a project. If I see a red flag, that is my exit sign.

(image: ktvn.com)

Brett and I have actually talked about red flags. ...apparently our openness to discuss whether or not we have any direct issues with each other is weird.

We've been asked by our friends and family about any red flags we may have noticed.
We've asked each other what kinds of things we might not yet know about each other (living habits, etc.) that could become a red flag down the road.

...My teenage niece said it would be my genetic necessity to be right. Guess what? Brett has that necessity, too. We have very entertaining discussions without ever getting angry.
It's stimulating.
It's awesome.
...It's rare. Usually guys trying to impress me don't try to argue with me. Very boring of them.

Somehow, the fact that we both were blogging from different areas of the country made it possible for us to be instantly beyond the "trying to impress" phase. There's none of that. When my geographic situation changed and we met, we were left with instant compatability, instant affection, instant attraction, instant synchronicity.

It's bizarre.
It's stunning.
It's delightful. And a little scary.

Love hurts...but only physically. My advice? Walk, don't run, when the phone rings.

31 August, 2012

That Dumb Dog!

...ran off last night. That's right. He broke free while I was putting him out on the runner.

Jackson, as I mentioned in my last post, is just two. He is not allowed off his leash outside the house. In fact, he has three leashes.
"The Gentle Leader". Not Jackson. 
(image: eharnessesfordogs.com)

1) the "Gentle Leader" goes around his nose and just behind the ears, so that you can redirect him without pulling his neck, 2) a regular leash that hooks to his collar, and 3) a skinny leash that is used just for taking him out back and hooking him up to the cable on his runner. The first two are used together when we go for a walk.

When he's fired up, Jackson likes to play tug-o-war with his leash. I hate that. I'm afraid he's going to chew through a leash and then I'll have to get him a new one. Dumb dog. So I try not to participate, and just lead him where he needs to go.

Last night, he won. He tugged his leash right out of my hand and ran off through the trees. That dumb dog.

Not quite. His had MORE lights.
(image: funjeeps.com)
My preference would have been to just go off, calling his name, catch him, and bring him back, but I didn't know where my hosts keep a flashlight. So I called her cell phone to find out, and she suggested I take their extra car that was in the garage; maybe he'd recognize the car. So I drove down the dead end road - like half-mile? Less? - calling his name. At the end, I got out of the car, and one couple let me traipse through their backyard, where we'd seen eyes, also loaning me a powerful flashlight. The neighbor across from them actually got into his jeep (the kind with those powerful lights on top) and drove into the neighboring streets to look.

I was getting concerned that his leash might have become entangled in some trees or underbrush, so I headed to the house to put on some jeans and head out on foot. The jeep pulled back into the street as I was pulling into the drive, so I explained what my new plan was and thanked him for his help.

I hadn't yet changed when the Jeep came back with Jackson in the front passenger seat. Apparently Jackson and the Jeep's dogs were socializing when Jeep got home.

Jackson was wet, as was his leash. Most of these houses overlook ponds of various sizes, so I could imagine he'd gone for a swim. Dumb dog.

I put him out on the runner and then called my hostess to let her know her baby was safe but wet, and she told me where the dog shampoo was. What? DOG Shampoo?? I didn't think he was stinky, but said I'd check when I brought him in. Please, God, no stinky!

That dumb dog.
Stinky like fish.

Great. It's nearing 10:30, I've not even talked to Brett yet, and I have to WASH THE DOG! In my (guest) bathroom. Yippee.

I have no words for the ordeal that was the dog-bath. Suffice to say, water was everywhere, and now I need to clean my shower before I can use it. Dumb dog. I put him straight into his cage for the night (normal routine, not punishment) and went upstairs to call Brett.

By the time I got to bed, Jackson was whimpering. A lot. I thought there was no way he needed to go out again, but then, if he did and I left him inside, I'd have to clean up that mess, too. So I got out of bed sometime after midnight, put him on the runner and sat down on the sofa to give him time to do his thing. 2a.m. I woke up, brought him back in and finally went to bed.

That dumb dog.

Now excuse me while I bake banana bread as a thank you for the neighbors who helped.

28 August, 2012

I Found the Bat-Cave!

...or at least, Wayne Manor, and we all know that mansion sits above Batman's hideout.

The closest I could get...

I'm dog-sitting, and decided Jackson could do with an abbreviated walk this morning, thank you rain. So instead of turning out onto the main road, we turned back down our street toward the dead end. 

Little did I know. 

Jackson doesn't understand my fascination. He'd rather I take him on his regular, longer walk, in the oposite direction. But really, vast grounds surrounding an impressive pile of bricks set well back from the road. What other explanation could there be?

It's Batman.

Well, that's a bonus of dog-sitting, I guess.

I'm not really a dog person. I do well with Magnum, my dad's mature (as in, 12 years old) Malamute/Shepherd mix. But these friends of my parents have been wanting to make a road-trip out to Montana and didn't want to leave their new-ish rescue dog alone or in a kennel.

Very cute. With sharp claws.

Enter Red.
Living with parents.
Still jobless.  
Hey, it's easy money, I figured.

I should have asked for more. Jackson is a high-maintenance two-year-old Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix. That's right. Two. As in, puppy. As in, "play with me now!" I'm not really a "playful" person in the way he needs, but I'm learning. Mostly I'm learning that tug-of-war is a better option than him trying to climb onto my lap for attention and scratching me with his wolf-like claws. He doesn't know his own strength, and it is up to me to teach him not to jump on me.

I thought we were getting somewhere, but then yesterday I saw an awful lot of bared teeth. Even after I put him out on his runner to use up some energy, he was fired up. I think he got into some kind of bad weed. Or something. Cocaine. I don't know.

Oh. And there's a cat. My new nemesis. Spice is clearly allied with the Dark Side. I had forgotten they even have a cat until my hostess was running me through my duties. The cat's hardly ever around, so I don't think I'd even met her before.
She's quiet.
I could go all day and not see her.
She's a luxuriously soft long-hair cat.
Spice. Isn't she purr-ty?...with Darth Maul eyes.

What's wrong with that?

When I agreed to house-sit and had been freely told "Feel free to bring friends over," I began talking with Brett about possible times he could visit. It would be great. A whole house with no parents (mine) or kids (his) around.
Especially because lately, due to (in chronological order) his finances, my finances, my car and his job, we've not seen each other in three weeks. THREE WEEKS!  And on that visit I was accompanied by Aphrodite, so again, no alone time.

Dog-sitting was like a golden opportunity. Was. Enter the Dark Side.
Brett is hugely allergic to cats.
Yeah. That's how it feels.

Stupid "Spice".
Stupid, sweet, fluffy, unobtrusive "Spice".
Emperor Palpatine, more like. Never seen, but controlling what happens, and all for evil.