Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My watch broke last night. The band, which has been slipping around a bit for a while, finally decided to file for divorce from the main face of the watch, and demanded, besides visiting rights to the links, a complete and final separation, effective immediately (alimony is still under debate at this time).

It's not that I am simply accustomed to wearing a watch. I am totally and completely ADDICTED to wearing a watch. I go into immediate and violent seizures if I cannot - well, not really tell what time it is, because I do have an eerie sense of what time it is naturally - but if I cannot BEGIN A TIMER.

I blame it on being a piano tuner in the past. With tuning, you need to have an exact sense of (no, not pitch, believe it or not, but) TIMING. You have to be able to tell the difference between eight beats per second and nine beats per second - which means it's very important to be able to tell EXACTLY how long a second is.

And somehow that carried over to me having to know EXACTLY how long... well, just about anything and everything in the universe is. I time my naps - I begin to time whenever an actor says "The bomb will explode in 15 seconds!" and then announce to everyone present that it actually took 38 seconds instead of 15 (ask Harmony, I drive her crazy with this) - I time how long it takes to fill the horses' watering trough - how long traffic lights are - the list is endless.

(And to prove this, if you look up the word 'compulsive' in Webster's, you will see a photo of my watch, set on 'timer', next to it!)

So where do you go to get a watch fixed?

I learned a long time ago the watch repairmen (repair person?) actually expect to get PAID when they do something, and I'm too cheap for that - so you go to an expensive jewelry store. They have the equipment, usually have the experience, and they do NOT expect to get paid. I guess their logic is that the next time you want to go into debt for some incredibly expensive piece of pressed rock, you will come BACK to them.

However, today I was dressed in my regular attire - blue jeans that were not exactly clean (you try to graze two horses for 45 minutes before you leave home and stay pristine), my regular slightly-stained blue tee-shirt (see previous excuse) and untied tennis shoes (I've gotten into the habit of just slipping my feet into my shoes - takes time and effort to tie them).

Then add to this overwhelming pleasing (albeit sloppy) picture the fact that I have JUST worked out at the gym. For those of you who do not know me (i.e. Jen), when I do any more physically tasking than walking (and, yes, I'll admit, sometimes JUST walking... SLOWLY), I get very red in the face, and I sweat PROFUSELY.

So, here I am, even by southern Arizona standards, not at all dressed-to-impress, hot and sweaty and red, walking into the big jewelry shop at the mall (yes, I live in a small enough town that we only HAVE one mall) to ask for help with my watch.

I figured an extremely well-dressed salesperson to ignore me at first, and then turn elegantly on their to hear my plea, and then take my watch (probably after putting on non-latex gloves and picking them up with a delicate pair of tweezers, and examining the damage with a monocle).

So I didn't at first realize that the woman with velcroed - closed sandals, a mumu - like dress (and not nice formal Hawaiian wear mumu, but the old ladies section at WalMart for senior citizens with poor vision and a taste for loud, obnoxious prints), incredibly teased and sprayed bright RED hair and (I kid you not) TWO missing front teeth (honest, I'm not making this up, even for the sake of the storyline) was the salesperson.

I suddenly felt much better about myself.

And she did fix my watch.

Moral of the story? Someone ALWAYS looks worse than you do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


One doesn't notice modern-day conveniences... until they are not there.

We live far enough out in the country that we get our telephone service via antique copper wiring, which is buried in cables which are brone to breaks, and installed only after months of pleading.
Our electricity is conditionally on the weather - any major rainstorm which included lightning (which is almost all of them down here) knocks it out and keeps it off for hours, sometimes days.

And our community water comes from an actual, drilled well. It's mechanical (wipe the rustic screen of drawing up buckets of water from your mind - sorry), but works fairly well 99.9% of the time. One neighbor of the five that share this water source had been designated as the one responsible for maintenance and repairs.

Yesterday was one of those 0.01%s - water pressure began to drop about 2:30 p.m., and by 4 o'clock, it was dry. All frantic telephone calls went straight to their voice-mail for the first couple of hours, so I had to deal with all those things you don't normally even think about:
1. Toilet. Only flushes that first time. Hmm...
2. Washing my hands. I have animals, and I play with them, scratch their tummies (the horses especially - Najale will do anything I ask of him as long as he knows I'm going to rub his belly) - needless to say, I wash my hands about 492 times a day, and not just a cusory wash - I have to SCRUB those fingernails to not look like a coal miner.
3. Laundry. I have a lot of dirty clothes (see #2)
4. Dishes. Can't even rinse off dishes even to put in the dishwasher (and my dishwasher is not a new one that operates as a garbage disposal - dishes in it just get sanitized)
5. Did I mention the toilet before?
Problem was resolved about 7:30 p.m., but not before it's import had been fully felt.
Loss of electricity is not enjoyed, but I have TONS of candles. I do miss music, however - if it's quieter for longer than five minutes, I begin singing, and I am not a good singer.
Civilization, I may bemoan global warming, air pollution and destruction of our rain forests. But when I can't get water - keep on keepin' on!

Monday, July 28, 2008


I can create very professional-looking timelimes, schedules and extremely colorful to-do lists. PrintShop's graphics and I have a wonderful relationship - just as a magician can pull a rabbit out of a silk hat, I can insert, modify and rearrange almost any jpg, gif and/or png you could ask for.

But actually doing what is on the list... ah, there's the rub.

I have one project in particular, which involves paint, sponge and a ceiling (you probably know what I am referring to), that I did not finish. And it'a been easier and easier to put it off and off and off - I mean, it's a ceiling that no one but ME looks at (okay, I guess Murray also), so like, who is gonna notice?

So can someone kick me in the butt and make me move and get this chore DONE?!?!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I have some remaining baby fat around my middle - from my last baby - who is now 24 years old. When they removed my uterus a few years ago, I tried to talk them into combining it with some sort of liposuction around that area, but the surgeon wouldn't buy it (I think they get paid more when it's actually liposuction, not just a hysterectomy).

And I rarely (if ever) do ab work. I'm pretty good at doing aerobic (like the elliptical - I'm up to 25 minutes now), and I love lifting weights (that is, if it's a machine that I already like and especially anything with shoulders - I have awesome shoulders), but I hate sit-ups.

I also hate using the 'ball' for ab work (I generally fall off it long before I can even get close to actually concentrating on my abs). And I hate using anything that even looks like it could be related to ab work - my stomach triggers specific muscles in my legs and force me to walk away.

Have I stressed this point enough to go on?

Okay, so here's the weird part - two days ago a section of my flabby midsection sort of... left.

I haven't done anything additional, I am still eating like a pig (healthy stuff, but as usual, too much of it), and I certainly have not done anything to strength my flabby gut.

But two days as I was buttoning up my classic jeans, I realized that I could (and if this isn't one of the most humiliating things that could be admitted on the Internet, I don't know what is) TUCK IN MY SHIRT, and NOT be embarrassed by the overhanging flab that I would hastily un-tuck the shirt and slink off into the shadows.

Possible explanations?

1. A ten lbs. kidney stone that somehow was passed without me ever noticing (probability - zero)

2. My lungs, which are already one-third the size of a normal person's, have shrunk even more, leaving room for my stomach to be sucked up into the chest cavity and less in the mid-section (probability - less than zero)

3. Pure fluke that will never be repeated and has nothing to with my abs (probability - pretty good).

Stay tuned - let's see if any of this dream remains for another day.

Mother Nature At Her Best

Photobucket Album

Friday, July 25, 2008


What do you do on a boiling hot, muggy night at midnight when you can't sleep?


It was a bold move on my part. For one thing, the chest of drawers had not been moved since Harmony and I painted it, and small, scary and sometimes poisonous things often take up residence under and behind things that do not get moved very often (read 'seven years' here).

It was also daring in that my television/VCR/DVD/satellite was on TOP of that chest of drawers, and it not only weighs 487 lbs., but the four separate components were linked by a wondrous variety of cables, wires, and unknown life forms that needed to remain in a very particular order to work (and how could I possible deal with not having my "The Office" reruns daily?)

My 53 year-old back had already moved 750 lbs. of hay that day, so, hey, what's another miserly 487 lbs.?

Well, about 263 too many, it turned out. My back didn't collapse, but it expressed it's displeasure fairly well.

So the furniture is moved, I killed more than a dozen bugs, and I ended up taking a grand total of FIVE showers yesterday - thereby destroying a unique ecological niche AND wasting a good part of the water table in southern Arizona.

It just feels good to be me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

A day without sunshine is like... night.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.

Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, it doesn't fit anymore.

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted and then used against you.

Despite the cost of living, it remains popular.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Nothing is foolproof, since fools are so ingenious.

It is hard to understand how a cemetery raised its burial cost and blamed it on the cost of living.

Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

It is said that if you line up all the cars in the world end to end,someone would be stupid enough to try and pass them (probably someone in a pickup truck with a gun rack, or, if it's snowing, someone in an SUV).

You can't have everything - where would you put it?

Latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world'spopulation.

The things that come to those who wait are usually the things left bythose who got there first.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

I wished the buck stopped here, as I could use a few.

I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


- Made it to the gym and felt pretty good about my workout (at least until I noted that the woman next to me on the elliptical trainer had ALSO done twenty minutes on the cycle and then ALSO twenty minutes on the rower)

- Got to watch the most incredible sunset while driving straight west into Tucson.

- Memorized the lyrics to "Come What May" from the soundtrack of "Moulin Rouge"... after listening to it repeatedly for most of the drive from Sierra Vista to Tucson.

- Was extremely patient and positive with my daughter.... until 8:46 p.m.

- Was given directions to a pretty nice hotel, and got a room for good price.

- Found a Cold Stone Creamery a block away from the afore-mentioned hotel, and got to them just as they were closing for the night.

- Missed the four plus inches of rain that fell in Pima County today.

- Am sleeping in my own bed tonight

- Didn't get much sleep.
- Ate way too much chocolate.
- Spent $65 that wasn't in the budget for the hotel room
- Wasn't very patient with anyone after 8:46 p.m.
- Probably won't be back to normal until a good night's sleep tonight (keep your fingers crossed for me).

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I can talk for hours. Literally. But today I was reminded of why I can talk for hours - it is if I am talking to someone who wants to hear what I am saying, and someone who I want to hear from. Give-and-talk conversation makes it quite easy to wile away the time. Almost anyone who is willing to share the spotlight, listen as well as talk - well, that makes it easy.

However, when you are talking with someone who does not want to hear your comments, your ideas, your area(s) of interest... well, even someone as gregarious as I dries up.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


My son tries to watch movies from a detached, critical point of view. He tries to guess in advance when and how the plot will thicken, take note of the director's hints or tips for plot development and character schemes, and remain uninvolved and untouched by the film by analyzing and scrutinizing from a detached, intellectual view.

I, on the other hand, jump whole-heartedly in, immediately suspending all rational consideration and straight away become as involved as the quality of the movie will allow (it is difficult to take something like Hellboy II seriously, I must admit).

Tonight "Apollo 13" was on television, and before five minutes had passed, I was completely and totally wrapped up in the tension of the three astronauts fighting the race against time to return to earth.

Enough that after six minutes, I had turned it off and returned to my 5,320,671th viewing of "Pride and Prejudice."

Friday, July 18, 2008


Why do we seek/feel the need for sympathy? If someone else is feeling sorry for/about us (I don't know where this sudden/unexpected use of / came from but I'm not going to fight it), it helps.

But why? Empathy doesn't end our pain or discomfort (at least I didn't use / there for pain/discomfort... ARGH!) - reality isn't changed in any way - but still we search for outside... not approval, not even understanding, but some odd form of sanction/concurrence/compassion (I'm sorry, there must be some twelve-step program for this, so somebody send me the website address immediately).

Okay, now I'm really confused/befuddled - am I trying to explain why we seek something from others, or do I need deep psychological therapy to learn why // s are all over the place now?!?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


My husband hates change. In particular, he hates furniture being changed. My dear sweet mother-in-law has kept her furniture in the EXACT same position for 49 years now - literally.

Now, if I don't rearrange the furniture occasionally, the area underneath it (and, let's be honest here, generally the area within six meters AROUND it) never gets cleaned. And I like certain types of change - changes that I instigate.

So I am moving everything in my bedroom (which is at the other end of the house from his bedroom - the ultimate snore monster) around in an effort to follow basic feng shui basics. Some of it is working - I moved my bed, and I am sleeping better.

But one of the basics is to not keep any electronic/exercise equipment in the bedroom, or to separate it from the sleeping area. Since I do have a study area (used for the computer and a great deal of junk politely referred to as 'projects'), I am trying to isolate all the negative forces in that area.

This is one way to keep my instinctual furnishing-rearranging happy. And, in my dreams, I may actually finish it.... by the end of the month? August? 2012?
Bets are now being taken.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Okay, my husband comes in this evening after walking 'his' greyhound (which is nice, because he normally only walks her in the morning, and I get to take care of her the rest of the day) , and begins to vigorously wash his hands at the sink. I am listening to my second daughter on the phone tell me more details about her day at a fast-food restaurant than I ever wanted to know, and had to wait until she was ready to stop talking before I could question him.

By the time she WAS quiet, Bill had already washed his hands six times (honest, I was counting) - and then stomped off to take a SHOWER - "I still don't feel clean!"

Turns out - the greyhound was, eh, 'unable' to finish her, um, 'elimination', or fully 'complete' her business. Okay, we're all adults here, right? And, more importantly, all MOTHERS (at least the three of us who actually read this silly blog) - let's be frank. SHE COULDN'T GET ALL POOP OUT.

So (at least from my husband's viewpoint) he did THE most disgusting thing that a human being could EVER do - he 'helped' her by, without a sterilized glove, a wipe or a woman (of course) to take over. Turns out the grass she has been grazing on like a cow, er, LINKED her bowel movement together enough that she needed 'help.'

Okay, so ask any woman - or either of you two - what is the worst... bodily function experience that YOU have had to deal with?

Wait, no - forget it, I don't want to know. I just know it was something worse than helping a greyhound have a bowel movement.... right?

Monday, July 14, 2008


It just kills me. Has nothing to do with anything else, but....

So tonight I am NOT watching a movie about Gandhi - I am watching "Dirty Jobs" (one of my FAVORITE shows on television - I LOVE Mike Rowe), so listen, I CAN GRIPE and COMPLAIN and LIST all the stupid things in my life that are bothering me tonight (any and all Gandhi fans, stop reading right now):

1. Now, Harmony, don't read this one - It is IMPOSSIBLY hot and muggy tonight, and we have no breeze at all. I have three fans on me, I am practically naked, and I am sweating like a pig (side bar here - did you know that pigs actually cannot sweat? That's why they are always laying around in the mud - it's to regulate their body temperature when it's hot).

2. I literally caused a horse to flip today. We have real grass here for at least the monsoon season (see above) and a few weeks following, so I have been taking the horses out to graze (save some on the cost of hay).

Let me set up the screen for you - I have two horses who are like night and day. Najale is young, excitable and LOVES to jump around, rear up and kick his hind legs out any chance he can. Sally is old (about 70 from a horse's view), methodical and INSANE if she is separated from Najale. He's not her biological child, but EMOTIONALLY she has tied herself quite literally to his side ("tied with a silver chain" - line from a great Crosby Stills Nash song).

So it's difficult to take the two of them anywhere together - Najale is racing around, showing off with stunts and bucks and kicks, while Sally is panicking that he's going to get out her sight but at the same time unable to keep up with him.

Brilliant me, I think, well, since Sally is always certain to hang around, I'll just keep hold of Najale and simply tie the lead rope around Sally's neck with a hang-man's knot (that really is the name of the knot).

And it worked - for about ten minutes. Then I noticed that the knot on Sally was sliding up her neck (actually, it was sliding DOWN as she had her head down grazing), and AS I WAS STEPPING OVER TO HER to tighten the knot, and get it back down (up), she STEPPED on the rock, panicked, began to fight against it, causing the knot to TIGHTEN, and then literally THROWS herself backwards.

Poor old girl, it took me a couple of minutes to calm her down enough to get to the knot, and then a bit to get the tightened knot unDONE. I don't know if she will ever trust me again. She wasn't hurt, thank goodness, but shook up pretty good.

Of course, while this is happening, I simply deserted Najale, throwing his rope down and racing to Sally. What does he do? Nothing - remains exactly where is was, chomping on the grass peacefully.

3. I spent about 45 minutes helping my daughter Joy prepare for her food handler's exam (fast food workers need to have it renewed every three years, I think). But it isn't just quizzing her - it's explaining what metal stick thermometers are, how you use them, what latex is, why there is that little F by cooking temperatures, how big four inches is, and why ice cools things....

I am very proud of Joy, and how much she has done with her limitations. And I have in the past been allowed to read the questions to her as she takes the quiz, and then rephrase them so she understands what the question is actually asking while not giving away the answer....

But going through a 25 page pamphlet while sitting at Carl's Jr. during the lunch rush.... I'm just grateful it's only every three years.

Wow - thanks, Harmony and Jen. This helped.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


It's difficult to complain about anything while watching the movie "Gandhi." I can moan about the pain in my side while sitting on my nice cushioned chair, typing on my keyboard, air conditioned coolness flowing past my feet - and then watch a man in only a loincloth sitting on a dirt floor in an open hut, preaching the virtues of making one's own cloth.

I can complain about my imperfect personal relationships and struggles with depressed individuals - and the movie shows Gandhi keeping prolonged fasts to protest violence.

I can wail and moan about my personal long list of imperfections - and then watch a person setting his country's ideals higher than his own safety, his own health, his own life - and bring the British Empire to her knees.

Boy, right now I want to go join the Peace Corps - sit in protest - live a life of non-resistance.

Maybe after my nap.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I feel incredibly behind on life overall. I can go literally months without noticing all the half-finished/barely-begun/why-is-this-still-even-in-existence projects, and then suddenly one day they are ALL jumping up and down shouting "HEY! When are you gonna finish ME?! I'm right here!! NOW! NOW"

This afternoon is was the hay shed - still uncovered still with only three completed walls, and absolutely plastered end-to-end with slimy bits of mixed hay and drowned senior horse nuggets from our current monsoon season (sidebar here: the Arizona concept of a 'monsoon' is a little bit different from the rest of the world, but it is when we get the majority of our 7-10 inches of rainfall each year - yes, each YEAR).

So I shoveled, raked, pushed and swept it all as clear as I could, and haphazardly (my favorite work style - quick and dirty) covered it all with a large(r) tarp, tied down with random bits of hay twine (I don't think I'm cheap, it's just already available, and the stuff NEVER breaks).
Welcome, billowing huge blue sail, scaring both horses and all local wildlife out of their senses, which will probably blow off during the night and I will go out in the morning to MORE soaked hay!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Today was a medley of violent mood swings. I am rarely angry, scared and/or irritated, so combine this with all three occurring within a few minutes...

I would blame it on PMS, but since I have had a complete hysterectomy a few years ago (thanks again, Harmony, for coming out here for that), that can't really be responsible.

So it helped to remember that moods are caused by thoughts, and I can (normally) control those thoughts (we won't get into chemical inbalances in this entry, at least).

And although I am not being paid to promote this book, I also do not wish to be accused of plagiarism, so I am quoting directly from the Elizabeth Gilbert book "Eat, Pray, Love - One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" - see if this sounds familiar to you:


The following morning, I arrive right on time for the 4:00 a.m. meditation session which always starts the day here. We are meant to sit for an hour in , but I log the minutes as if they are miles - sixty brutal miles that I have to endure. By mile/minute fourteen, my nerves have started to go, my knees are breaking down and I'm overcome with exasperation. Which is understandable, given that the conversations between me and my mind during meditation generally go something like this:

ME: OK, we're going to meditate now. Let's draw our attention to our breath and focus on the mantra. Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shiv---

MIND: I can help you out with this, you know!

ME: OK, good, because I need your help. Let's go. Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shiv--

MIND: I can help you think of nice meditative images. Like - hey, here's a good one. Imagine you are a temple. A temple on an island! And the island is in the ocean!

ME: Oh, that is a nice image.

MIND: Thanks. I thought of it myself.

ME: But what ocean are we picturing here?

MIND: The Mediterranean. Imagine you're one of those Greek islands, with an old Greek temple on it. No, never mind, that's too touristy. You know what? Forget the ocean. Oceans are too dangerous. Here's a better idea - imagine you're an island in a lake, instead.

ME: Can we meditate now, please? Om Namah Shivaya--

MIND: Yes! Definitely! But try not to picture that the lake is covered with... what are those things called....

ME: Jet Skis?

MIND: Yes! Jet Skies! Those things consume so much fuel! They're really a menace to the environment. Do you know what else uses a lot of fuel? Leaf blowers. You wouldn't think so, but...


I think I have proven my point. Which (just in case it needs to be stated again) is - you CAN control your thoughts... it just takes a lot of practice... and it DOES help you control your moods (to a point).

I'm babbling now - I just got off the phone after talking 45 minutes (to the second!) with Harmony, and my personal thought-process is completely muddled with Kate-spit-bubbles, knock-knock jokes and field mice tales - wait a minute, who am I? What year is this? What am I trying to control? And (the most important question) WHY am I trying to control ANYthing right now?!

Go to bed, silly woman!

Monday, July 7, 2008


- I read about Jen having strep throat right after returning from vacation. I HATE strep throat; it's pure and simple PAIN until the antibiotics kick in. And since I am allergic to most antibiotics, it's just pain for me.

- I visit my neighbor Julianna, who has decided to stop chemotherapy and live what is left of her life with dignity and faith. She is cheerful and positive, and yet is moving slower and with more pain each and every day, even with morphine.

- I talk to my daughter, who suffers from severe enough depression that she was in a psych ward for four days last week under what they call a suicide watch, and hear her trying to deal with a job that now won't give her any work hours.

- I find out that three of my neighbors have been without electricity and without water for two days. That means no air conditioning, when it's 100+, no fans, no fridge, no water.

Boy, have I had a great life recently.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Watching "America's Got Talent" and trying to write something profound is simply impossible. Geeky strip-teasers, guys seven feet tall who put curly straws up their nose and drink milk, chunky pole-dancers - I hate to quote David Hasselhoff, but I agree with him - "When I am 80 years old and am on my death bed, I'm going to look back at this moment and realize I could have spent this time with someone I love."

And yet it's like a car wreck - it's impossible to not want to watch. It's both inspiring and horrible what people will do on stage in front of an audience and, even more shocking, huge television cameras as well as Jerry Springer.

I freely admit that I am a ham on stage. I simply don't have stage fright - I can make a completely ass of myself in front of almost any amount of anyone.

But I hope I have enough sense to realize that my amazing talents of belching in octaves (just as an example - I can do more than just that) may not be something that would prompt any normal human being to wish me unto the rest of the world.

But, hey, anyone wanna give me an audition now?