Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Girls do make passes...

I have a confession to make: I love the way men look in glasses.

What brought on this confession, you might ask? A friend of mine, a man who doesn’t like his glasses, is talking Lasik. Now, I’ve got nothing against Lasik surgery. Another friend of mine, a woman, had it done a couple of months ago and just loves it. She raves about being able to buy sunglasses at the drugstore, not worrying about her vision disappearing from condensation when moving to and from air-conditioning to the Mid Atlantic Summer Steambath that passes for weather here, and being able to function immediately upon waking without a frantic nightstand search for her “eyes.” Sure, these are all valid points. I’m happy for my friend that she can see clearly.

Sometimes, though? Those glasses can turn a handsome man irresistible. Well, irresistible to me, at least. Take David Tennant, for example. He’s, well, gorgeous normally: tall, brown hair, brown eyes, high cheekbones, wide mouth. When I heard that he was going to be The Doctor, well, it made this Whovian sit up in eager anticipation. Now, you take this exceptional specimen and add the dorkiest glasses imaginable – because, really, these glasses are nothing short of math-league standard – and he becomes, to me, mouth-wateringly sexy and intense.

So what is it about a man in glasses? For me, personally, I think it’s the “glasses equals brains” stereotype at work. I’ve always found intelligence to be sexy. The WCM, neither a spectacle wearer nor anyone’s idea of a Sex Bomb, becomes very alluring when he tells me about any new experiments he’s running at work (he’s a Molecular Biologist, dontcha know?). Gives you some insight as to why we’re still together, eh? Give me a man who can talk tech, quote Yeats, or speak another language or two, and I’m hooked. Add a pair of glasses and I’m lost.

I think another part of the attraction is that, to me again, when a spectacle wearer removes their glasses for a bit when they talk to you, it becomes as intimate as when your lover removes their shirt. They've moved ever so infinitesimally closer to you by removing that barrier. They've become a bit vulnerable, they've exposed their weakness to you. Showing that softness, that trust, is so seductive to me. Not so much with the women, mind you, as I'm quite heterosexual. But with men? Ooooooh, baby - take 'em off slooooowly, slide the earpiece along your lower lip before you fold them, and lay them softly on the nightstand. Oh, is it hot in here? Just me, then? Damn!

Now, I’ve got no logical problem with my Lasik-bound buddy losing his glasses. It’s bound to be more convenient, and believe me, he’s more than handsome without his specs. But the boy sure is sexy with 'em.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I took this from Allison, who took it from someone else. I have to thank The General, my father, for instilling a love of reading and literature from my infancy, and also for introducing me to Jane Austen.

Here are the instructions:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I haven’t read them all)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
(a seriously overrated writer, if you ask me)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
2 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Muthah Fuckah!

So, here I am, back from a day and a half spent with my girls Dawn & Crystal at Crystal's home in Staten Island, NY. Can I just tell you this? Crystal is a tiny little thing with an attitude the size of, well, freakin' Jupiter, for chrissakes. I do believe she has rubbed off on me and my propensity to avoid conflict. The evidence is only anecdotal, but compelling nonetheless.

You see, most of the time, I strive to give others the benefit of the doubt. For instance, if I see someone in the motorized shopping cart, I don't assume they're being lazy - I think "Oh, maybe they just had knee surgery" or "maybe they have a medical condition." I try to think of possible justifications for others' rude behavior. Tourettes Syndrome? Raised by wolves, perhaps? And, if possible, I usually just try to ignore what I can't help instead of getting worked up over it. Maybe it's not the best solution, but it's been working for me.

Today, though, the WCM and I were doing some errands. We stopped at Target to get a prescription, ran my vehicle through the Magic Car Wash, and then stopped at Trader Joe's for provisions. As I was driving down the aisle looking for a parking spot, I notice a middle-aged lady with an expensive handbag - I have an eye for these things, and very expensive taste in handbags, to boot - transferring her bags to the trunk of her Jaguar. While waiting for another car to pull out, I notice that she's not going to walk her cart back the 25 feet to the cart stand, and is instead going to leave it between the passenger side of her car and the driver's side of her neighbor's car. "Oh no she didn't!" I breathed. The WCM, eagle eyed as usual, had also noticed this, and affirmed "Oh, yes she did." I swung into my parking spot, collected my own expensive handbag, and noted, in a somewhat detached manner, that my blood seemed to be boiling over this grocery trolley debacle.

As we neared the cart, I felt a very strange, almost liberating, certainty that I was going to do something hitherto unknown to me. I let go of the WCM's hand and informed him to please "excuse me, I'm going to go be an asshole."

I marched up to the cart, flung my bag in the top of it, and wheeled it out of the awkward spot the bitch Jaguar woman had left it in. As I was moving it, for the benefit of Jaguar lady (who had her windows partially open) and any other interested passers-by, I very loudly stated that "I can't stand people who can't be bothered to take their FUCKING CARTS BACK!"

For the record:
I do not condone using coarse and profane language in public, within the hearing of young children. That is why I made sure, once I was positive I was going to be an asshole, that there were no young children present.

That said, the smiles and nods I got upon entering Trader Joe's from the witnesses of my assholery made the whole episode worth it. That and the shock and awe that registered on the WCM's face. I either made his day or completely mortified him. But, hey. Who gives a fuck?

Labels: ,

Monday, July 21, 2008


My father, aka The General, has nicknamed my daughter "Cannonball." She is so called for her propensity to jump into the deep end of the pool from the three meter board.

The General is ridiculously proud of her, seeing as her mother flatly refused to jump from the three meter board until she reached, oh, say, puberty. He walks about with his chest puffed out with grandpaternal pride, boasting to all that will listen of his wee intrepid daredevil of a granddaughter.

I, however, am now suffering from heart palpitations and the cold sweats. I'm having visions of bungee- and base-jumping, of hang-gliding and parachuting, of cave- and cliff-diving in remote locations. My nightmares now include telegrams from Borneo informing me of tragic accidents.

My heart! My nerves! My baby!

As my friend EN likes to say, at this point, I'm going to go indulge in a large spiritual beverage to calm my nerves. Fill the pool with tequila, y'all, 'cause I'm going to do a cannonball right into it.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 14, 2008

One for the Bucket List

So Miss Peanut turned 7 years old yesterday. She's a running, swimming, sassing dynamo and the apple of my eye. For her birthday, the WCM and I decided to buy her a bike, since she's been asking for one for a while. I haven't ridden a bike in years, since hey, Super Morbid Obesity and bike riding do not generally go hand-in-hand. The WCM hasn't ridden a bike in years, either, but that's just because he didn't want to. He's fairly fit, for a geezer.

So today, Miss Peanut and I went to the bike shop and purchased two bikes. A smallish purple bike for her, complete with bell, basket, and fancy streamers on the handlebars, and a largeish blue one for me. I took mine out for a test ride before deciding on it, being unsure of the return of my abilities. There's a good reason people say "It's just like riding a bike" though, because once I got started, I remembered the rhythm and balance of it instantly.

It was like going back 30 years in time. I was 8 years old again, riding my bike around the neighborhood, no helmet - because we were tough in those days! - feeling the wind riffle through my hair and the warmth in my legs from going uphill. I was sold. I was buying myself a bike. The WCM gave his unstinting support to the idea, as he is not the WCM with Miss Peanut. He will spend freely for her.

So now, I have a bike. I can also ride that bike. I don't plan on entering the Tour de France or anything, but I can ride my damn bike and feel the wind on my face.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

My two dogs, Zippy and Slider, are acting very strange right now. There is nothing untoward happening in our house - no loud noises, no strange odors (except for them!), no bright lights, nada. However, since I arrived back to the manse this morning after chauffeuring Miss Peanut to Summer Camp, they have been all but glued to my side.

I was working on the couch this morning, fingers whirring on the laptop keys, and Zippy kept encroaching upon my personal space. After shoving him down on the sofa about five times, I finally ordered him off. Very reluctantly, he complied, only to spring back up again a minute later. "Hmmm" thought I, "this is an interesting development."

Arising to visit the bathroom, I was trailed by my two furry beasties all the way up the stairs. Now, my house is old, and my bathroom door doesn't completely shut. You kind of have to wedge it in place and hope that nobody barges in on you. Since I was the only human in the house, I didn't bother wedging it down, figuring I'd be left in peace. WRONG! I don't know how they do it, but two smallish corgis can turn into an ankle swarm. Fierce orders of "OUT! OUT!" unheeded, they crowded my legs until I had to arise from my semi-recumbent posture and, in an ignominious waddle, panties about my calves, shoo them out and wedge the door.

Business transacted, I began putting on my makeup - I have to go out later, otherwise I wouldn't normally bother with makeup in the summer - only to hear the insistent brush of fur against the bathroom door, coupled with some soft whining. Oh, curse my soft, soft heart. I let them in, only to be subjected to the ankle swarm again. Once my brows and lashes were darkened and my lips deemed suitably glossy, we all paraded downstairs again.

We traipsed from room to room, looking for oddities, listening for anomalies. Zilch. We all sniffed in unison, perhaps to detect something that didn't belong. Nope, just dog. Is it a ghost? Is it a gas leak?

Stay tuned...

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Once again, I haven't enough brain to make a lovely full-length LP of a post, so you'll have to do with this selection of 45s until I can get my brain to work again. It's fallen into a lovely summer torpor from which it is loathe to rise.

***** ***** ***** *****

At dinner tonight, our server was wearing both a stud through his lower lip and a retainer. Dude. The two appliances counteract one another, leaving you with negative cool points. Kind of like an eyebrow ring with bifocals. Just. Not. Cool.

**** **** **** ****

Yesterday, I went and had my pedicure re-done, after a tragic accident which left the enamel on the tip of my right big toenail on the bottom of my brother-in-law's pool. I am a fiend for pedicure maintenance during sandal season. It's a holdover from the Days of Obesity when all I could really maintain with any success were my nails and hair.

Anyhoo, I had Tammy the Pedicure Dominatrix working on my tootsies. In reality, her name is probably something relatively unpronounceable in Vietnamese, but she chose Tammy as her nom de nailfile. Tammy was ruthless toward any idea of a hangnail, and a ragged cuticle stood no chance with her. She snipped, scraped, and nipped her way through the basic maintenance and then moved on to the razor and pumice stone portion of my punishment.

First, it should be noted that I am pretty ticklish in the center of my foot. My heel? Not so much. Tammy pretty much went for the ticklish spot with the razor, shaving off a quarter inch of my height, I'm sure. Then, out came the pumice stone. Oh. My. God. As an aside, my late Mother-in-Law was very fond of the saying "Just put a little Elbow Grease into it!" She'd have been very impressed with Tammy. So Tammy sanded my feet with the vigor of ten men. Ten big burly men. Who demolish things for a living. Well, at least it didn't tickle. That's all I can say about it.

My feet now look fabulous again, and are as soft as a baby's bottom. I think Tammy and I are going to have to start seeing other people, though.

*** *** *** ***

Miss Peanut has started going to Summer Day Camp. Having spent the last summer entertaining her, I kind of figured I didn't want to do it again, especially given the sheer amount of work I have to do in order to feel comfortable teaching the upper levels next year. So, I enrolled Peanut in camp.

I attended summer camp from the age of 7 until I was old enough to work there myself. I worked at two different summer camps. The first was a YWCA camp - the same one where I had been a camper. The second was a YMCA camp, which was more structured and better organized - and also paid minimum wage! It is that second camp where Miss Peanut is currently a camper. It's funny how life turns in circles sometimes, isn't it?

I last worked there 19 years ago - or half a lifetime ago, in my case. There have been some real positive changes, like the new pool equipment and new basketball courts. It's nice to see, though, that some things don't change - they're still singing the same camp songs that I sang as a girl, and Miss Peanut is bringing home the same goofy crafts. I can't wait for her first Ojo de Dios. I don't think a summer ever went by without making an Ojo de Dios. Yarn and popsicle sticks, man. Good times.

** ** ** **

Books are taking up a lot of my time these days. I've gone through piles of them, and still have a huge book basket to go. I've also bought a few books and jumped them to the top of the pile, too. These days, my tastes run to the paranormal romance, so here are a few recommendations:

Kim Harrison's new one, The Outlaw Demon Wails is completely worth paying the hardback price. This is the sixth book in the Rachel Morgan series, and it really delivers. It's full of adventure, vampire politics, and witchcraft, low on romance, but ends in a very satisfying twist.

Vicki Pettersson's The Touch of Twilight is a paperback, and the third installment in the Zodiac series. It was satisfying, but you definitely get the sense that it's an installment book, just kind of bridging the way to the next one. A good read, but you definitely get the same sensation as watching The Two Towers. Fun, but a tad unsatisfying. (Yes, I did just display my geekdom to you with the Tolkien reference)

For sheer unadulterated sensuality, Gena Showalter's Darkest Series (the Darkest Night, the Darkest Kiss, the Darkest Pleasure) is a must-read. An added bonus is the Greek mythology added into the plot. The sex is HOT. Just sayin'.

Also hot? Lara Adrian's Midnight Series. Whoo! Don't read this without a seriously bone-jumpable man around, 'cause jumpin' will occur shortly upon finishing each book, lemme tell ya! And the vampire angle is well done, too.

Um, bone-jumpable vampires abound in JR Ward's Lover series. Yikes. Take the same precautions as above and make sure you remove all flammable substances from your bedroom, because these books will send you up in flames.

Now, not all of the books I've read this summer are this great. I've plowed my way through a few that were a bit tedious. Some were just plain boring, others were really rife with inconsistencies, or what a friend of mine calls "WTF moments."

Then there are others I read out of duty, which include Laurell K. Hamilton's The Harlequin. I think it was Anne of Elastic Waist that said it best. I'll quote her here for you:

I tore through the series, and started to look for others. The concept hadn't quite caught on yet, so I kept buying the Anita Blake books, even as they started to go...horribly awry, is the only way really to put it. Suddenly, Anita Blake was not just a federal- marshal-slash-vampire-executioner. Suddenly she was a psycho hose-beast who was doing it in the butt with 83 werewolves and a goat and adding superpowers to her brand-new superpower arsenal at an alarming and improbable rate (...more improbable, I mean. You know what I mean!) and every single male in her books was madly in love with her even though she was really nothing more than a horrible, wretched, unpleasant, whining, shrieking harpy asshole. And I kept reading them because--I don't know why, exactly!

And that pretty much sums up my experience with Ms. Hamilton. On the upside, A Lick of Frost, the 6th of her Merry Gentry series wasn't horrible. And Anne and I have the same taste in reading material.

* * * *

I won second place in a bathing suit competition this summer. Of course, the contest was on a website for people who've had Weight Loss Surgery, but still. That's progress, I think. Also of note on the bathing suit front: I've spent enough time in bathing suits this summer, exposing my delicate white flesh to the sun, to actually have a suntan! Compared to some, I'm still ghoulishly white. However, if you are privileged enough to view my tan lines, you'll note a slender pink crescent on each buttock where virgin skin was gently spanked by Apollo. My back is currently rubicund, and my chest and shoulders are also attractively flushed. I'm tickled about it. Tickled pink, if you'll pardon the pun.

And that is all I have for you today. Upon reflection, it was quite a lot, wasn't it?

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Oh for the love of Pete...

For the last 15 minutes, my dumbass neighbors have been shooting off fireworks. I currently have a vibrating corgi practically attached at the ankle, because he's freaking terrified of loud noises. Ironic, really, since Zippy the vibrating corgi is the master of the armor-piercing bullet bark, able to rupture an eardrum at 10 paces.

Do you know how difficult it is to pee when you have a corgi twined between your calves? Imagine having a pair of imploring brown eyes staring up at you from between your knees while you try to tinkle. It's not easy, I'll tell you!

Nor is typing on a laptop when you have a 35 pound corgi trying to occupy the aforementioned lap. Trying to dislodge him while not deleting all your work is similarly challenging.

Slider, being the elder statesman, is nonchalantly flopped at the top of the steps, disdainfully regarding the little red dog. Slider doesn't particularly like loud noises either, but at 12 years old, he's learned that they probably won't affect him. He raises an eyebrow now and then, but his days are more productively occupied by snoozing, napping, and taking the odd siesta. He's a dear old dog, and I will miss him more than most people I know when he goes.

Whew. The fireworks have stopped and Zippy has been lured downstairs with the promise of a cookie. That action captured Slider's interest, too, as few things interest him more than cookies. But now that I have an unobstructed, unmolested chance at the keyboard, I find that I have nothing to say.

Except, bye!


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Baseball, Mom, and what my kitchen smells like...

Mmmmmm, apple pie!

Tomorrow, the WCM, Miss Peanut, and I are all heading over to the WCM's brother's house for a Fourth of July Pool Party. Since my brother-in-law, we'll just call him AC for now, just got a divorce and moved into his new house, we're not expecting much in the way of refreshments. The WCM procured a lot of wine (including my favorite, which tends to get me in trouble...) and bade me prepare potato salad and broccoli slaw. Since I had a fruit bowl brimming with uneaten apples, I threw together two apple pies, too, since there's no other dessert as American as Apple Pie, now, is there?

There will be much frolicking in the pool tomorrow, I can foresee, as there was frolicking this afternoon. I went to an el cheapo store yesterday and bought a couple of inflatable rafts and an inflatable pool chair so people could laze about in the water. Miss Peanut and I had a blast propelling ourselves around the pool on them after I'd gone nearly cross-eyed blowing them up. She's not a half bad little swimmer now. I still don't trust her in the deep water, though. She'll have to work a little harder for that.

Hope you all have a lovely holiday!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Missing Piece

Do you remember reading that book, "The Missing Piece?" when you were younger?

I do. I remember reading it when I was in third grade, when the rest of my class was taking a spelling test. I never had to take spelling tests, as I was reading (and spelling) at the high school level in third grade. I always went to the library during spelling time instead. Anyhow, the librarian, Mrs. Lyons, introduced me to Shel Silverstein on one of those days, and I vividly remember reading about the Missing Piece.

The protagonist, whose startling resemblance to Pac Man cannot be overstated, rolls bumpily about everywhere looking for his Missing Piece - the piece that would complete him. Happily, he eventually finds it. That's the wonderful part about most children's stories - there's a happy ending. The protagonist and his piece merge, becoming a harmonious whole.

Why am I nattering away about a children's book, you ask? Simple, say I. Listen:

For the last eleven days, I have been missing a piece. My daughter, the wondrous - and admittedly occasionally bratty - Miss Peanut, has been tearing up the coast of South Carolina with her grandparents - Grandma and The General. This is the longest I have ever been separated from my child in her nearly seven years of existence. While I will not lie and tell you that my existence has been barren and soulless in her absence - I had quite a bit of fun, actually - I have to admit that there was a certain amount of melancholy each time I passed her bedroom door.

I missed our nighttime snuggles and questions. I missed her crackling vibrance every morning. The house was quiet, tomblike even, without the noise a child brings. There were no new discoveries of commonplace phenomena. No new stories? told in questions? ending in laughter? Even the dogs moped about, flopping by my feet when I chanced to sit down, wondering where their tormentor had gone.

Well, today, she's back. We talked, we laughed, we snuggled, and we made lots of noise. We've made plans for tomorrow which involve a trip to the supermarket and an afternoon break with cartoons (the General doesn't have a television - Miss Peanut went through cartoon withdrawal) before a dip in her Uncle's pool.

I'm a happy mama again. My missing piece is back.