Monday, April 30, 2007
T is scheduled to start driver's ed today. Can you believe it? Neither can I. Indy drivers: don't say I didn't warn you.
Update: T is live-texting from Driver's Ed. Report at the 30 minute break time? "Boring." I didn't ask whether she was texting that while driving....
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I Like Freedom
It's not July 4th or some other notable day on which you'd expect to find bloggers waxing philosophical about what it means to them to be an American. But today I've been thinking about what my freedom means to me and I've concluded, with some embarrassment, that I take it for granted.
A conversation with L helped remind me how fortunate I am to live in the United States. L grew up in Vietnam but has lived in the US for decades. She works at the shop where I've been getting an occasional pedicure for several years. L works 7 days a week making sure that customers have lovely looking fingernails and toenails. Monday is technically her day off, but if things get busy H calls her to come help and she always does. L is raising 3 children as a single mother; her husband left her long ago. Her middle son has emotional problems and she struggles with the occasional havoc he wreaks and with her constant worry for him.
She looks tired and stressed when I see her, but she is always friendly. Slow days are a mixed blessing: they provide needed respite but not enough take home pay. Today she confided, though I'd had no doubt, that she makes very little money. Because we'd been talking about kids, I asked her whether when hers were grown - which won't be long - she would consider moving back to her native country. She has a large family there and financial constraints prevent her from visiting regularly.
She did not hesitate. No way. This country is her "second country;" it has become her home. "I like it here. I like freedom." I was struck by her certainty, by her determination, by her assessment that her life here - which is a struggle - is unequivocally better than any life she could have somewhere else.
I like freedom, too, and I am happy to be here.
It's Only April
It's only April, so today I'm taking down the Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations. The closer we get to Christmas, the more sense it makes to leave this stuff up. If it were July, I'd have to give it further consideration.
Friday, April 27, 2007
I heard someone say that they don't learn something new every day and that on some days they forget things they'd already learned. (Or did I read that in a birthday card?) I definitely have days where I forget things - probably every day - and even days where there is a net decrease in knowledge.
That said, I still learn something new every day, and I'm going to share a recent breakthrough with you: Nude bra. That's right, I bought my first nude-colored bra a few nights ago and I.Love.It. I avoided them for years (decades?) because they don't strike me as particularly cute or sexy. In fact, I viewed them as downright ugly - dowdy, even. But mine is relatively flattering from a shape point of view and after 33 years I've finally figured out I should be wearing a nude bra under a white shirt instead of a white bra.
This is either a personal fashion breakthrough or I'm just getting old - dowdy, even.
Catchin' a Break
I got my claim in on the last possible day for hail damage to my roof from last year's April hail storm. Whew.
The adjuster came out recently and informed me that I needed a new back slope and a new roof over the small front porch, but, that try as he might, he could not find damage to the front slope. I fumed a bit and pointed out that my roof wouldn't "match" if they only replaced portions of it. He essentially told me my insurance company didn't give a shit about that. We talked some more and I made it clear I would be challenging his assessment. He represented that he would be happy to climb the roof with my contractor and hash things out.
A couple days later (yesterday) he left me a message at work. He'd taken one of his "buddies" out to my house and they determined I had an "access" issue: to load the shingles they'd have to do it from the front, which process would damage my front slope. So he's "gonna go ahead and pay for" a new front slope, as well.
Thank heavens. I was either going to have to continue the recent money hemorrhage and shell out dough for the front, or live with a patchwork quilt roof and try to explain to potential future buyer why some portions of the roof were 12 years older than others.
As you know we're celebrating T's birthday this week. She wanted to have a party on Saturday, and specifically she mentioned bowling. The most obvious choice in town is having a tournament this weekend so we couldn't reserve lanes there. I decided to call Jillian's and explore our options. This Saturday the bowling lanes were already reserved, but they had a billiards room available and they have tons of video games, etc for party-goers to enjoy.
At the outset I'll admit we procrastinated in making plans. I first spoke to the sales person last Thursday. That said, the room was available for the date and time we desired - Saturday evening. It was near the end of the day and I wanted to double check with T before I committed, so I asked the sales person, let's call her Christi, when and how I could call back to book the room. She stated I could call 9a to 6p but that she wouldn't be in until after 11a the next day, Friday. She also took down my e-mail address and promised to send me some information.
I hung up, called T, got her okay, and called the sales department back at 5:40p on Thursday - 20 minutes before they close. No one answered, so I left a message stating that I wanted to book the room for Saturday the 28th as discussed. Then I waited for the e-mail, which never came. Despite that I stay relatively busy throughout the day and I can be a little scatterbrained, I managed to call back the next day at noon. A female answered the phone and I told her about the reservation I wanted to make. She informed me someone else had booked the room.
I was livid. Frankly, I was fighting back tears because I was so frustrated. I went on to explain my communications from the day before; the person on the phone was unapologetic and continued to describe my other options: Saturday afternoon or Friday evening. Finally I asked whether my message from the previous evening had been received. She replied, "I just got here and haven't had time to return calls," meaning I was speaking with Christi though she hadn't identified herself as the person I spoke with Thursday. I answered, "Oh, so you've only had time to take other people's reservations?" Her answer was that one of the other members of the staff had probably booked the room. Other sales people? If I could have booked through someone ELSE why on Earth did she tell me she wouldn't be in until after 11a? Commission or bonus or something, I assume. She'd also copied my e-mail address down wrong, which is why I hadn't received it.
We booked for Friday - tonight. I have a deposition in Kentucky this afternoon, which means I'll be high-tailing it back to town to try to arrive before the party begins. I had to enlist the help of my Dad and sister J in the event I run into traffic or the deposition runs over. Not to mention that several of T's friends are unable to attend tonight, but would have been available tomorrow. I intend to call a manager today and request a discount on the room rental or the food cost (the total cost is unbelievable; I'm still in shock). Any advice on how best to approach? Any predictions whether they'll grant my request?
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Happy Birthday, T!!!
My amazing and beautiful daughter turns sixteen years old today. I feel an early mid-life crisis coming on.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
"...male lawyers always want to date nurses and elementary teachers instead of other female lawyers."
(And I AM a nurse, and I know and love several teachers/former teachers, so don't jump to their defense here - that's not the point).
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I recently received an e-mail requesting that I address a few specific topics. I haven't intentionally been avoiding any subjects (other than work specifics), I suppose I've just been lacking blogspiration and "free time."
Anyway, I appreciate the interest (thanks, "Jerry"), and I'm extending this offer to the rest of you: if there is a particular topic you'd like me to blog about, perhaps some burning question you've always wanted answered, leave your request in the comments or send me and e-mail and I'll do my best to answer if I can.
Meanwhile, I'll try this week to thoughtfully answer the requests that have already made, time and energy permitting.
Perfect Spring Weekend
We had fantastic Spring weather this weekend. Lucky you if you enjoyed the weekend half as much as I did.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Call Me Al
I'm sitting at a Starbucks, posting via a free wireless service. I'm drinking a "grande" hot chocolate and I just finished a slice of lemon pound cake. There is music playing that I've never heard before (I should request a little Ray Charles). This isn't an uncommon occurrence for most, but for me it's frankly a little surreal.
I don't like coffee, I don't understand the whole Starbucks thing, I rarely enter a Starbucks (though I do buy gifts here for coffee drinkers) and I can't for the life of me figure out what all these other people are doing here. Don't they work? There are close to a dozen people sitting around drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Mind boggling.
I've got no point; just thought I'd share.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Please indulge another brief home ownership gripe. There is a small dead rabbit in our driveway. I think the first time a noticed it, several days ago, was when it was raining/sleeting/who-knows-whatting and kinda dark, and I thought it was a plastic bag or some other item of trash. I left it, intending to get it once conditions were a little nicer outside.
It's an animal. And it's dead. I have no idea what happened, but I'm 93.3% certain I didn't run over it. I've been hoping it would disappear, perhaps carried off to a bunny funeral by its family members. But I think the animal is going to stay put until I do something about it. In fairness, when Tommy stopped by the other day he offered - more than once - to take care of it for us. That seemed too much to ask of anyone, so I declined.
Yesterday, with very little of a plan, I grabbed our large push broom from the garage and marched toward the poor little bunny. About 4 feet away I realized without a doubt that I didn't have the constitution to handle the matter, and so the bunny remains (no pun intended).
Just one of many minor issues we are dealing with (or not dealing with but stressing about) at home these days.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Breaking the Rules
I did a horrible thing today. Maybe I shouldn't admit this online, but I accidentally shoplifted a bottle of isopropyl robbing alcohol from Wal-mart. I feel awful about this - awful. But when I discovered my error, I didn't quite feel awful enough to turn around and teeter back into the store on my high heels. My story:
I left work at around ten after 5. I picked T up from rehearsal around 5:45 and we drove to Wal-Mart to pick up some necessities. At the checkout counter, I started unloading our cart and then asked T to take over so I could write out a check. I became completely irritated with the cashier because after she rang up our stuff she just looked at me, waiting for me to complete the check - but she neglected to tell me the total and the screen was not facing my direction. I should have created a standoff, refusing to pay until she actually verbalized the total. Instead I just reached over and turned the screen toward me. After paying, I thanked her - I always do - but she didn't thank me. I was muttering and bitching about this as T and I walked out of the store and began to load our "purchases" into our trunk. That's when she noticed the alcohol; it'd been hiding under my purse.
Uncharacteristically, I didn't go back in. I was tired. We still had to stop at Marsh. I wanted to take a walk before the sun went down and I still had to make dinner. I was pissed at the cashier. I was rationalizing that the amount owed was negligible compared to our total bill. I promised T I'd pay what I owe on my next trip to the store.
How else am I breaking the rules these days? By singing (loudly and with gusto) the lyrics to "I Wish," a song on my favorite new CD, a Stevie Wonder compilation. Stevie sings about memories of being a "little nappy headed boy." Recent events lead me to believe I shouldn't be singing this out loud - at least not when others are around. But what if my favorite song told a tale about "jigaboos?" Would that be okay? Because only TODAY - several days after hearing criticisms of and opinions about Don Imus' recent remarks from both blacks and whites, did I watch the audio clip in which a short time after he said "nappy headed hos," Imus laughed and described the basketball teams in question as the "jigaboos vs. the wannabes."
I'm not sure if I agree that Imus should have been fired, though I DO think that his remarks were inappropriate. But I am dumbfounded that no one seems to be upset about the use of this deplorable racial slur. Am I missing something here? Why haven't I heard anyone else mention this?
Monday, April 16, 2007
T: (in the car on our way to dinner with Bobby and her clan) I love when I combine 2 completely different styles like emo and and prep.
K: What, do you think you're doing that right now?
T: Oh, I am.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
I Wasn't Talking to You
I talk to myself. Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud. Which got me to wondering: do people who communicate through sign language talk to themselves? If so, do they sign to themselves? Just curious.
Some days I just want to stay in bed all day. This is one of those days. I just wanted to lay there in my jammies with Cuddles and my down comforter and my softest blanket ever and my thoughts. It's not the weather - the sun is out, in contrast to yesterday's yucky cold rain/sleet/mess. It's not paralysis at the thought of my to do list, though it is as long as ever. It's just one of those days.
Instead, I am at work. Later I have to chauffeur T around and finish up my taxes. Still later I have plans for dinner at my favorite restaurant. I'm up and at 'em, but I've not quite made peace with the fact that I couldn't just stay in bed.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
K: (after a television advertisement for Secret Clinical Strength) What is that? Prescription strength deodorant? I didn't even know there was such a thing! Who needs that?
T: Stank people.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
A few things I did this week for which I think I should be able to bill someone, but won't:
1. Eat dinner in the car. Monday was a busy day for me. I was prepping for a Tuesday mediation and trying to get several other things accomplished at work. I left work for a short time, picked T up from school,* ran some errands, and dropped her off at home. Before heading back to work I popped a few taquitos into the microwave and ate them in the car on the 10 minute trip back to work, even dipping them in a sour cream + Ortega concoction in a little dish perched on the passenger seat. Reasoning = I was so tired by this time that I could have gone straight to bed with no dinner. The only reason I needed the food was for fuel so I could continue to work. I should so be able to bill for that.
2. Wash my car. Tuesday I picked a client up from the airport and drove her to a mediation we attended in Franklin. My car, while not a total pit, needed a washing before I would feel comfortable toting a stranger around in it. Reasoning = If not for the mediation, I would not have washed my car. (I should probably be thankful I felt "forced" to perform this necessary task. I still think I should be able to bill it).
3. Read this article. I hope the friends and family members to whom I sent this article aren't offended that I wish I could bill for the time I spent reading it. Frankly, I found it intriguing and I'm glad I read it. Reasoning = The reasoning here is admittedly weak. I stumbled across the article relatively late Monday evening when I was back at work, and though it was late and I could see that the article was long, I couldn't stop reading. I don't really think I "should" be able to bill for this, I just wish I could....
*To be clear, Mama or Papa probably could have picked T up from school, but I had to run those errands and I try not to take advantage of their generous help unless I really need it.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
It's not Thanksgiving; it's Easter. But I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you that I am incredibly thankful for my family. They are wonderful...I love them all and I cherish the time we get to spend together. We celebrated Easter together today and enjoyed every minute of it (we were also happy to have the lovely Amanda join us - and Mickie, we missed you!)
For the uninitiated, a repeat post:
My family celebrates an Easter tradition called Cascarones. Here are a few cascarones websites.
Long before Easter we begin saving egg shells. Instead of breaking the egg open in the middle, we just gently tap around the pointed end to remove a small piece of that end - just enough to get the contents out. Then we rinse the shells and set them to dry. The best place to store them is, of course, an empty egg carton - once they are dry.
Close to Easter we paint the outside of the eggshells. (Bobby, T, and Mama did most of the painting this year). We don't dip them in dyes - we hand paint them with brushes. They are usually covered with anything from names of family members to flowers or abstract designs. Bright colors are a must.
Once the paint dries, we fill the eggs with confetti. Usually we cut up the funnies (comics!) to make the confetti. Then we glue on pieces of tissue paper to cover up the hole. On Easter my Dad hides the eggs in the yard. (Yes, I am too old for this - but it is so much fun). Then my sisters and my daughter and I (this year Anna will join in the fun!) hunt for the eggs.
The best part is that once we have found all the eggs, we run around the yard cracking the cascarones on each other's head. It's a blast!!! We make quite a sight chasing each other around the yard and cracking eggs on our heads. Enjoy your Easter!
*New pictures from this year to be posted following the festivities. Don't get too excited - I don't think there are any plans to don bikinis this year, due in part to the fact that it's 32 degrees outside.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
I Can't Wait
It's Easter eve. Lent is almost over - or perhaps it was officially over yesterday. Either way, with tomorrow being Easter all I can think about is how Monday morning at work I get to have a bag (or three) of freshly popped "movie" popcorn once it's made. The smell, which I love, has been driving me crazy the past several weeks and I know that first bite Monday will not disappoint.
I may, however, be missing some of the deeper import of this Lent-to-Easter transition.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
In The South...
In the South, there are lots of Cracker Barrel restaurants.
Folks down there seem quite find of Jesus, too.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
I left work a little early on Wednesday so T and I could prepare for our trip. On the way home, I suddenly remembered that my driver's license had expired on my birthday. I high-tailed it to the BMV (after T did a quick internet search and called me to tell me where the closest location was) and received my new ID (more reflective of my actual weight) shortly before the branch closed. Then we spent the evening packing:
I took a less than 2 hour nap, and we left for Florida around 1am. About an hour later I'd been pulled over and was being issued a speeding ticket for going 80 in a 70 on I-65S. I wasn't happy, but there was nothing to do but keep on driving. We flew through Kentucky like it was nothing. God Bless Kentucky. In Tennessee, I got tired. Before dawn, I pulled into a rest stop to "shut my eyes for a few minutes." About ninety minutes later, we were back at it. It was a long hot drive; T navigated:
We arrived in Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island in time for sunset. We were also surprised to learn that instead of staying in the guest room of the caretaker's cottage with MG, T and I had been invited to stay in the main house, just the 2 of us. It was a wonderful surprise, and our 2 nights and 2 days there on the Gulf were exactly what we needed.
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