Archive for the 'rant-rave-n-mutter' Category

Weekend on the Planet

Sunday, June 4th, 2006
  • Walked downtown to see Dr. Ralph Stanley at The Ark on Friday night. I didn’t realize I liked bluegrass music but it was great and I only started nodding off about ten minutes before the end, even though I had to sit in a seat for two hours with no computer or beadwork or anything. Dr. Stanley did the music for the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, which I enjoyed watching (until I fell asleep) once this winter at Houghton Lake.
  • I admit that I have thought more than once in the last year, “oh brother where art thou.”
  • I suppose since I am a musician, I should do a music post one of these days. But not today.
  • Migrated some entries to my “new” blahg.
  • VACUUMED the front and back living rooms, even moved some of the furniture and vacuumed BEHIND it. I HATE to vacuum, especially when I have to move a bunch of cosmic debris to find the floor.
  • Cleaned the kitchen floor for what little that is worth.
  • Started sorting out my fiber arts stuff and making a traveling stash. My fiber arts stuff is still a trenormous rat’s nest of flotsam and jetsam. And, yes, cosmic debris.
  • Lemme see. Did I go to the Westgate Kroger uscan or not? I went today but I can’t remember if I went yesterday. grok grok grok. You old bag.
  • Had a hilarious telephonic conversation with Lizard Breath about dynamite and guns and anthropology and sightings and octowomen and I forget what else. Life, death, the universe, and everything, I guess. I needed that, kiddo.
  • Walked downtown with Jane (not cousin) and Ken and Vicki and Paul and ate on Palio’s roof. Just when we got done eating, it started to *pour*! So we retreated down to the bar for a nightcap.
  • I needed female conversation this weekend and I did get some. I don’t always get enough.
  • There are advantages to having friends of both genders but lately I tend to prefer female companionship. Probably because I seem to need to talk more than usual. Coffee anyone?
  • Planned an all-out assault on the so-called lawn, a mass of moss, dandelions and other weeds. Actually everything but grass. It’s so bad that Chemlawn came to the door one day and asked if I needed help with my lawn “issues.” Yeah, probably, but not from Chemlawn.
  • Weeded the “garden” in front of the house with a few close encounters of the poison ivy kind. At least I hope they were close encounters. No rash yet.
  • We saddled up the jeep and trailer and braved the roads with dysfunctional tail-lights to obtain some more mulch. I love garden stores. Too bad I kill plants.

tv rant

Friday, May 26th, 2006

<tv_rant_beware>Once again, we were engaged in a coordinate change, shooting from the Planet Ann Arbor up to the Great White North. We were too lazy to plug in an iPod, so we were rolling along idly listening to NPR. The program was about the FCC and its rather haphazard approach to handling profanity and other so-called non-child-friendly crap on TV, crap being the operative word imnsho. What to do about Janet Jackson’s boob. Why it is okay to air the f-word in a prime-time network TV broadcast of Saving Private Ryan but not in a PBS documentary about the history of blues music. And something about a televised teenage orgy that I didn’t quite catch. After 45 minutes, the GG finally had the presence of mind to hit the OFF button. I don’t know how long the program droned on after that. Sometimes silence is golden.

You know, I do understand that people don’t want their small children to be exposed to the f-word and other explicit language and images. But, honestly, the NPR folks interviewed some parents who write to the FCC every week. And, as one of the “experts” said, if a kid hasn’t heard the f-word by the time they get to be, oh, 10 or 14 or so, they’ve been living in a closet. Which, of course, would bring up a whole ‘nother set of child welfare issues. I’m sorry folks, but gimme a break and get a blasted life!

Back in 1991 we bombed Baghdad for the first time. In those days, I was a young, naive shadow of the jaded old bag I have become and I was quite distraught about the whole thing. Not to mention that it happened on my birthday, of all things. I mean, really, couldn’t they have waited just one more day? But then I started watching the war on TV. I was mesmerized to the point of neglecting some of my other responsibilities. Mouse, who was going on four, got pretty sick of the whole thing and she would say, “Mom, turn off the war!”. I’d say something lame like, “in a few minutes.” A few minutes would pass and the war would still be on. “MOM! Turn OFF the WAR!” One day, she took matters into her own hands. She studied the remote control unit until she figured out that the letters O-F-F spelled “OFF” and proceeded to push the darn button herself.

You guys, if a 3-year-old can turn off a television set when there is something unsavory on it, why can’t a 30-something parent do the same? There are a whole lot of things in this world that children need to be protected from and the average everyday soccer mom doesn’t have a whole lot of control over most of that stuff. The television is one thing that you CAN control. Not only can you control it, you can control it from the privacy and comfort of your own home. So TAKE control. Three letters. O-F-F. OFF!</tv_rant_beware>

Just Kvetching ’bout My So-called Life

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

<reinvention>I’m a little reluctant to blahg about this because it’s just almost a little too close to the nitty gritty, if y’all know what I mean. But it is life and maybe writing about it will help me sort it out. If you don’t feel like reading about it, go watch TV or process the dishes or eradicate some poison ivy or something.

The general gist is that multiple chapters ended for me in a very short space of time over the last year. I am sitting here flat on the ground without enough to do for the first time in forever, evaluating various potential income-earning activities, wondering which one (or two (or three)) to do and how the heck to get started again. To put it bluntly, how to get my butt off the ground.

In a lot of ways, I liked my job as a non-profit theatre guild administrator. The hours were about as flexible as it gets and I could work just about anywhere: home, rehearsal, beach, theatre, Houghton Lake, car, Cafe Zola. Many of the responsibilities were right up my alley. I am a natural for playing with spreadsheets and databases, creating forms and handouts and play programs, and handling and counting money, and just generally bopping around town keeping track of things. I taught myself html and dragged the organization onto the Internet way back when the world wide web was still the wild wild west. I worked with a lot of fun people that I loved and I was the glue, the person who remembered and kept track of all the little threads and details and people and how they all fit together to make the organization run. I have always ended up being the glue wherever I have worked. I like being the glue.

I resigned for a lot of complicated reasons but the short story is that I was working many, many hours more than I was getting paid for. A small, volunteer-run non-profit usually doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on employees and I never expected to get rich working for YAG. I did believe in the organization though and I still do. But it had just gotten out of hand. We were constantly running on almost no help and that meant I often felt like I had to do things that were largely not within my skill set, like get beat up on by cranky parents. Yes, in a youth theatre guild on a planet like Ann Arbor, you do encounter those. My self-esteem can sometimes be a bit, shall we say, tenuous? Being trampled by self-involved parents advocating for their “gifted” children just crushed me. I’d be backed up against the wall wanting to scream, “I don’t do the casting and there is only one Lady Macbeth in the play!”

So now what? I knew I was heading for a period of downtime after all of the last year’s activity. No job. No classes. Social activities I used to barely have time for seem few and far between. Moping around the landfill trying to figure out which shambling mound to attack first. Walking. Living from coffee date to coffee date. Walking. Writing long, boring blahg entries. I do not do well with unstructured time unless I have some pretty clear missions. And I need money. How to make some money without selling out to a stultifying 9-5 job with a cubicle and a 2-bit boss?

Web design? Yeah, I have enough experience to do small, simple web sites. 50 pages or less or thereabouts. I can do html, css, javascript, a little bit of perl, I’m not bad at image processing, I can write content if I have to and I am trying to teach myself how to handle audio and video. I’m not a graphic designer and my technical skills aren’t sophisticated enough (yet) to handle a content management system or much in the way of back-end processing. But really the stickiest question involves finding and dealing with clients. I am a shy person and I tend to focus on the things I canNOT do, rather than promote my talents.

Or maybe I could sell off my inventory of craft and fiber art items? I’m certainly not doing much else with it. So, I am slowly on sorting that stuff out, finishing what’s unfinished, photographing it and putting it out on Etsy. We’ll see what happens there. People are looking at my stuff but they’re not buying it. A good friend says photographs don’t do my bags and things justice, that people need to get up close and be able to touch them. I think she is right but I am too shy to walk into a store and ask if they want to sell my stuff. Y’all don’t anybody even think about buying anything. The object of this game is selling to the general public and that’s the only way to win. Right now, I’m still learning the rules.

Enough kvetching. I do feel marginally better. And, yes, I know that “shy” and “writing about yourself on the Internet” does not quite compute. I can’t figure it out either. Glue for hire. Not necessarily cheap.</reinvention>

My So-called Life, the Movie

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

The good news is that a stranded ice-climber has made his way back to civilization or whatever you call it.

Things were not quite so exciting around here today. Once again, I dragged my lazy carcass out of the rack at an early hour, took a shower, and walked the neighborhood. After coffee with Marci, I again forced myself to forge ahead in the arduous process of unraveling all of the tangled up threads of my life with the intent of trying to knit them back together into something new and improved. Specifically, a new career with a reasonable income and a clean, organized, clutter-free house and grounds or whatever you call my suburban yard. I toyed with blahgging about all of that today but it was just too long and melancholy and, well, tangled. Maybe I’ll try to do it in installments. Or maybe I’ll make y’all just wait for the DVD to come out. I know you are waiting with bated breath. I wonder which actress I should get to play the part of me. Lemme see, in my life, people have told me I resembled B-Witch, Carrie, and Cicely Tyson. Wonder if I can get one of those. grok grok. That was *Old* Witch, not B-Witch, you stoopid old bag! grok grok. Getcher head outta the clouds and putcher feet back on the ground. grokGROK!

My Trash or Whose?

Monday, May 8th, 2006

“Well, what about all the trash that’s in the car from all your trips?” Guess who. Hmmmm, lemme see…

  • Four partial bottles of water and two full ones. Not mine.
  • One partial bottle of that ucky blue Gatorade. Definitely not mine!
  • Three books of matches from Yvonne’s Airport Restaurant and one from the Wagon Wheel Saloon. Yes, *that* Wagon Wheel Saloon. Mine? I doubt it since I don’t smoke cigars. Or anything else, for that matter.
  • Two Uniball Microfine pens. Mine!
  • Two mechanical pencils. Definitely not mine!
  • One Albion College pen, bic-style. Not mine! Or maybe it is. I don’t remember who picked that pen up.
  • One red sharpie. Probably mine, left over from YAG days.
  • A roll of scotch tape. Also probably a leftover from YAG.
  • A little pad of car-shaped note paper that looks like it was formerly wet. Not mine. I don’t work for the EPA.
  • A pad of small neon yellow post-it notes. Probably mine, probably a YAG leftover.
  • Two mis-matched KMart type knit gloves. Yup, those would be mine and they were in there for a reason.
  • Two paper clips. Probably mine.
  • Two bobby pins. Not mine. With *my* hair? Why bother?
  • Four little packages of Kleenex.
  • A package of Windex wipes, completely dried out and useless. I probably put it in there.
  • Two ice scrapers.
  • A map of Michigan.
  • Two dust cloths.
  • One of those casette thingies that lets you plug your iPod in to the vee-hickle speakers.
  • A cell phone charger.
  • A Shell receipt.
  • Uncountable particles of dust, dirt, sand, mud, leaves and other organic material.
  • Hair (mine, no doubt) and other crud and corruption.

I dunno. I just do not want to take responsibility for every little blasted scrap of flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris that inhabits the landfill and all three of the vee-hickles that currently reside on the adjacent street and driveway. Yeah, I have probably left some crap in various vee-hickles. Yeah, I did do a lot of traveling this winter. Not by choice for the most part, although I made the best of it when I could. But I am not sure that I am solely responsible for most of whatever crap gets left in various vee-hickles. Sigh.

It could be worse. I didn’t find any McDonald’s bags. Sincerely yours, Garbage Woman. grook GROK!

Stage Fright

Friday, April 28th, 2006

I do not know exactly what is going on but I am not afraid to speak in front of a group any more. I used to be petrified. I am just about terminally shy. I mean I am shy enough that it is hard for me to even call friends up to ask them if they want to meet for coffee. Yes, it is that bad. From about junior high through college, I couldn’t even ask or answer questions from my seat, which was always as close to the back of the room as I could get. Giving a presentation to a room full of people was a fate worse than death.

It took me two whole years to work up my courage to sign up for the web development program at the local community college. I can still remember how scared I was to hit the submit button after I filled out the on-line admissions application. Pooh emailed me and said, “sit in the front row.” Say what? Sit in the front row? Pooh is my ultra-smart cousin and I doubt she has ever been afraid to speak up in class or anywhere else. But me? In the front row? Right where the teacher can see me? Not on your life!

I was terrified that first day of school and I was five minutes late and I didn’t exactly know where the classroom was and I was pretty darn disheveled by the time I got there. grok grok. You are ALWAYS disheveled. grok grok. I was thinking, “Kee-reist, what the heck am I doing?” There was one seat left in the front row and Pooh was haunting me so I took a deep breath and *willed* myself to sit in that seat!

School is all about participation nowadays and the teacher made it clear that people who did not speak up on their own would be asked random questions. You can’t just slide by with getting As on tests and papers any more. This was not going to be fun and it wasn’t easy that first semester. The teacher would ask questions and before I could even begin to get my thoughts organized, other people would just sing out all kinds of intelligent opinions. How the heck did they come up with that stuff so fast? I did not think I would ever be able to keep up.

Slowly and gradually, I began to force myself to speak up. The first time I had to do a presentation, I got full credit *only* because I covered everything in the assignment and *miraculously* did it within the specified time limit. If points had been awarded for elegance, I’d have earned about a negative 400.

I do not know exactly when the tipping point occurred but during the one class I took this semester, there were times when I just about had to clamp my hand over my mouth to shut myself up and give some of the quieter people in class a chance to talk. grok grok. Yeah, you need to shut up sometimes, you ugly old bag. grok grok. Presentations? Lemme at ’em! I can even be funny! I don’t know what happened. I guess I just do not care what people think about me any more. grokGROK!

Now, if I could just manage to extend this newfound self-confidence or whatever it is into making somebody want to pay me for something… :-/ grok grok. Yeah, then you can buy me more flies and things. grok.

Life, Death, Infinity, & the Procession of Generations

Monday, April 10th, 2006

So, I am back on The Planet Ann Arbor again. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Planet Ann Arbor. It’s a place where, for the most part, you can be just about whoever you want to be and it’s a great place to raise kids. Others may differ on that last but they can just go jump in the canal. But, I dunno, I am just restless. A chapter of my life has ended somehow and I am at a loss about how to start the next one. That leaves me with too much time to think. About life. And death. Infinity. The procession of generations. What the *heck* to cook for dinner. Real estate developers. Volcanoes. Not necessarily in that order…

Soccer Mom Rant

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Radio fundraiser type girl on NPR (chirpy little sing-song type voice): “I just became a mommy, so I had to buy a mommy car.” So, of course, she has a minivan now and, this being the Planet Ann Arbor, it is a Honda Odyssey. First, I OWN a couple of Hondas and they are great but, like, so what? But what I really want to say is, “excuse me just a minute here. Mommy car? HAD to buy?”

Back in the Jurassic Age, when *I* first became a mommy, we were running two 5-year-old Ford Fiestas. Remember those? Little 2-door econoboxes. They eventually became known as “Mommy’s little gold car, Daddy’s little blue car, and the orange car.” Orange car? A Fiesta down the street from us.

I have to admit, it got *awfully* tiresome getting a baby in and out of the back seat of a 2-door vee-hickle so, when Lizard was about 8 months old, we added a VW Jetta to the fleet. Four doors, manual transmission, NO air-conditioning! Luxury! But we still drove those little Fiestas another five years or so. We eventually gave one of them away and sold the other for $50. Who the heck would buy a $50 car, I wondered. A guy whose current vee-hickle lacked a seat, of course.

I never became a soccer mom but I did eventually join the ranks of moms with minivans. Schlepping two kids and huge shambling mounds of crap back and forth to the Great White North just became too much for our little Jetta, not to mention my sanity. The red Plymouth Voyager was the first car either one of us had ever owned that had air conditioning and an automatic transmission. It was a pretty darn good workhorse but I wouldn’t call it fancy. If anything, the increased number of seats just provided more places for people to pee. grok grok. You are in trouble now, you ugly old bag. frok grook

We traded in the old red van for my beautiful blue POC. It was the prettiest vee-hickle I ever saw and I fell in love with it at first sight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about me. grok Yeah, it liked ME the best. grok grok After a rocky relationship that lasted almost ten years, we parted ways last fall. I cried. grok grok. You should’ve given it to me! grok grok The kids are grown up now and I am done with minivans. I have downsized to little 4-door sedans. Hondas. Accord. Civic. Not exactly sustainable living but a baby step in that direction. Maybe we’ll get a new Wrangler one of these years. Those are fun vee-hickles. But I’ll never fall in love again.

What I really want to know is just what page of the Mommy Manual states, “Buy a minivan.” Is it anywhere near “Head off to the nearest housing development and buy a McMansion.” Or “Buy soccer gear and start training your baby NOW so she’ll be the best player on the 3-year-old team.” Or, well, y’all get the idea. People, there are reasons for buying minivans and some of them include babies but having a baby is not THE reason to buy a minivan. Throw the blasted Mommy Manual away and start thinking for yourself. This is about YOU and YOUR BABY. What do YOU need?

Get a Grip

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Kee-reist, woman. FOCUS!!! Yeah, grok GROK! ooh ooh ooh ah ah!