Saturday, May 28, 2011

Old Dog's New Toy

Old Dog had one of these back when he was a Young Dog.

He rode it a lot with what we'll call "a group of friends," but at some point he had to sell it to provide for his growing family.

So that's his history with motorcycles.

Mine is that, two weeks before I graduated from high school, two boys in my class lost their left legs to a drunk driver, one at the knee, the other at the hip. They came to Commencement on crutches, only one shoe showing beneath each robe.

Since then I've been petrified of motorcycles. Marry that up with the fact that I'm just the teensiest bit controlling and you have the world's worst passenger. No matter how hard I try to be accommodating, I find myself leaning against the turns.

When previous drivers have complained, claiming it makes it hard to turn the bike, my response has been: "Just be glad I didn't make your seat soggy."

Since Old Dog's mental image of riding has been with a biker mama on the back, we've been at d├ętente on the whole motorcycle issue.

Then our neighbor decided to sell this pretty baby.

We took our first ride on Saturday afternoon. Old Dog enjoyed the wind blowing through what's left of his hair, while I passed the time imagining death by fruit salad--smashed melon and full-body strawberry.

This morning he's out toodling around by himself and I'm at home, wishing I wasn't such a fruitaphobe. We ordered helmets online, and I've promised I'll ride with him once they come in.

I must be bananas.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Impression: Sunrise

This is the sunrise my wonderful friend, Jen, painted in my spare room.

Now to haul all the books back from the bathroom....

Friday, May 20, 2011

4 Things that Really Cheese Me Off (and 1 that Doesn't)

1) Those vertical half pages in the newspaper that advertise furniture, or tires, or what the hell ever. Come on, business that wants my business--splurge and buy a full sheet of paper.

2) Subscription postcards that cannot be removed from the fold of the magazine without compromising the structural integrity of said magazine. By the time you've yanked it out of there (and you can't leave it in, because it makes the magazine stubbornly open to the same spot, over and over, regardless of what article you're trying to read), the staples are unstapled and the whole periodical is in disarray.

3) Conversely, subscription postcards that just fall out on the floor as you're carrying your magazine to a comfortable chair for perusal.

Okay, I get that the publishers need more subscriptions, but how many opportunities do they think they can wring from a single issue? The New Yorker is like a freaking snow storm.

4) Magazines that, as soon as you subscribe, start bugging you to re-up. For cryin' out loud--my subscription isn't out until October. Why are you soliciting me in February? I understand that cash flow is an issue for you, but it's an issue here, too, buddy.

(In case you're wondering about today's photo, it is NOT a picture of the bathroom of the world's most constipated man. It is my upstairs bath, in preparation for painting of the spare/guest/grandkids/library room next door. With the help of my friend, Jen, (the very Jen who saw Lady Gaga with me, and a lot of little cans of paint, the room will soon resemble a sunrise. At least, that's the plan. If it turns out okay, I'll post pictures.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Carry-In Effect

The Carry-In Effect is a scientific principle that explains why office people will eat anything that is carried into the workplace by another employee.

Stale donuts, leftover birthday cake, petrified Halloween candy--once it hits the break room table, your average team of middle-class white collar workers will morph into a mob of homeless people scoring their once-a-day at the soup kitchen.

(Lest you think I'm being snarky about my office mates, let me say right here that I am usually first in line.)

I got a chance to witness the Carry-In effect in action last week when one of my co-workers brought in something he said was "Chinese candy."

Apparently, the Chinese notion of what constitutes candy is very different from the American view. There were no Snickers, no Reese's Cups, no Hershey bars. There wasn't even yucky candy like Sweet Tarts, Mary Janes and the fruitcake of Halloween candy, Sixlets. Instead, the assortment included dried octopus, fish jerky, a preserved plum (which looked like a mummified, candied prune) and several things we couldn't identify.

Despite this, and despite knowing there are lead-contamination problems with Chinese foodstuffs, and even despite knowing we're computer programmers who need all of our brain cells to earn a living, we eventually sampled everything. (Except the prune. Go figure.)

In the gleeful free-for-all atmosphere that is part and parcel with the Carry-In Effect, it was only after I chomped the octopus down to a swallowable cud that I thought to check the expiration date.

September, 2010.

Maybe it should be called the Carrion Effect.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fiction Friday: If I Didn't Write

If I didn't write:

  • I'd have the nicest flowers on the block.

  • I'd exercise enough to offset all the time I spend sitting in front of computer screens.

  • We'd eat real food at our house, instead of whatever's easy.

  • I'd stop yelling, "Don't answer that!" whenever the phone rings.

  • I'd have an actual balance in my savings account, instead of a pile of receipts from writing workshops.

  • The bathrooms would be a lot cleaner.

  • I'd walk my dogs for a half-hour morning and evening, like their vet recommends.

  • I'd shave the full length of my legs, instead of just whatever shows.

  • I'd use my lunch hours at work to take classes.

  • I'd spend more time with real people, instead of ones I've created.

  • This post would have gone up Friday morning, instead of Monday night.

But, really, what fun would that be?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flamingo Tales

I spent the past week in sunny Florida (as opposed to really rainy Ohio) with my daughter, her wife and their kids, staying with one of my sisters in Vero Beach. Got back Friday night, but between cleaning house, doing laundry and getting ready to wade back into the world of work, I came up a little short on blogging time, so today you get a visual recap of How I Spent My Spring Vacation.

Easter Sunday: I went out and hid eggs before the kids got up. In one of those heaven-sent coincidences, a bunny hopped into my sister's back yard just as the kids were eating breakfast.

The Easter Bunny!

Any skepticism they might have felt about whether the little brown rabbit they saw hopping around was really the E.B. were dispelled when they saw Eggs, Grandma! Eggs! nestled in the shrubbery.

On Monday night, their (second) Cousin Eoin (pronounced Owen) came to visit. It turns out the iPad2 has terrific games for kids, if you're into spending $500 on a toy for your toddlers.

Actual conversation:

Phinn: You're really good at that! Can I try?
Eoin: Sure. (shoves iPad over to Phinn)

Which is so sweet it's just spooky.

The next day was spent at Disneyworld, where the unnaturally good behavior continued. Not even your normal two-against-one dynamic, just sweet cooperation.

My favorite moment at Mousetown was seeing a little girl in a stroller who'd apparently just visited the princess factory. All dressed up like Cinderella, hair piled on top of her head and sprinkled with fairy dust, glittery makeup all over her face, she was shrieking her head off. Arms and legs flailing. Total meltdown.

Ah, the joys of The Happiest Place on Earth.


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