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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oy, the wind. Right now, it's blowing at the house and screeching through the gaps in the windows (gotta love that tract housing!), and it sounds exactly like a toddler I babysat a million years ago. She (and the wind) would start out with a low moan of discontent before amping up into a full-blast wail of "WAAAAAAAAAAAA" before mixing it up with pauses and shrieks.

And now that I'm flashing back, I'm realizing that toddler will be graduating from high school this year, and good lord, that's just not right.

Wind in New Mexico is something to be endured. The joke is the windy season starts in January and ends on December 31 -- or if you prefer -- New Mexico has three seasons: hot, cold and windy.

Like the Santa Ana in California, the New Mexico wind makes people crazy. Everyone's on edge; one minor inconvenience away from going "Falling Down." It's the constant howling, the dust obscuring the sky and the mountains, well-mannered pets going nuts, and the pile of tumbleweeds lodged under every single car in the lot that pushes everyone to the breaking point. It's like being marooned on top of Mt. Washington with 750,000 of your not so nearest-and-dearest.

Add the full moon into the equation, and you've got one big pot of crazy. There was a lot of road rage today; apart from the usual tailgating and cutting off, people were using their horns. You folks back east might snicker, but if there's one universal rule of the road in these parts, it would be You. Don't Honk. Ever. And today everyone was honking. The commute was an exercise in automotive meditation, kicking back, signaling early, not speeding but not going too slow and not trying anything stupid. I was not the person cutting off the ambulance today.

I'm serious.

Wedge the Weather Nerd is promising that the wind won't be as bad tomorrow, but still blustery. I'm trying to look at this as a positive -- I get to wear my spiffy new hat! -- but I'm just as on edge. My dear sweet husband is making the normal noises of being a living human, and it is taking all of my self-control not to bite his head off. Nails on a chalkboard combined with a dentist's drill, mashed-up with a Rush drum solo has nothing on this right now.

I'm going insane.

Kisses,
Not the Preying Mantis

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A reader asks: How's that book coming?

Did you see my spiffy hat?

Oh, fine. I'm totally stalled out.

[Insert "just sit down and do it" boilerplate, maybe a little angst over the time it's taking and then some half-hearted assurances that "it will get done" with the requisite ellipses of "eventually."]

And did you see my spiffy hat?

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Since fire season now starts in friggin' February, I think it's time to post the rules:

1. Do not play with fire outside.
2. If you find you must smoke outside, please make sure your cigarette is completely extinguished. You may have to swallow.
3. Do not, for any reason, decide a windy day is the perfect time to burn some rubbish on your property.

See? Three easy rules. Now can we please try to follow them?

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I took a sick day yesterday to try to cut this cold-thing off at the pass. Of course, "cutting off at the pass" in this instance was a plan of lying around the house in a posture that would piss off most chiropractics, laptop balanced on my chest, washing cold remedies down with Airborne and aimlessly wandering the interwebs until it was time for "Heroes."

And then Qwest hit our neighborhood with an internet outage around noon, and didn't bring back the ones and zeroes of life until almost midnight, so my plan was shot, though there was still Airborne and kleenex involved, it wasn't as awesomely slothful as originally intended. Like Andy from FoxTrot once noted, never mix coffee and decongestants.

I knitted.

Dude, I knitted a lot.

I finished a hat made from Australian merino wool that may have been previously worn by my friend Kevin's sheep, who's this big macho sheep farmer near Canberra; wool which was purchased at Village Wools, which means I supported local economies on two continents, and if you don't think I've been smugging that one up, you don't know me very well at all.

Anyway, hat.

Ooooooh. Hat

It fits my ginormous head.

And then, because I have an extensive DVD library and was sans-Web, I continued the mindless knitting, crossing the double yellow line of sanity and veering headlong into twee territory with this:

Babo sports his new winter wardrobe

Yep.

And now I've got one of my patented stupid-simple afghans going on the Mongo Needles of the Knitting, for when I want to sit in front of the telly and not do a damn thing except watch Star Wars Episode V for the 39,000th time.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

We did not buy any new Uglydolls this weekend.*

*Okay, we didn't buy any, but the four Secret Mission that we ordered showed up on Friday. It's a sickness. A. sick. ness.

And then we took pictures of them.


















Yeah.

In other news, Adam's very excited about buying a Nikon D40 in the next several weeks.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

So either I have allergies or a cold, or both. Oh, it doesn't matter, I've contracted the crud that's sweeping Journal Center, and even the cheerfully bulimic cat is impressed at the amount of yuck coming out of my sinuses.

Also, she's freaked out by the honking, but that's her problem.

Anyway, this means that spring has a toe-hold here, because I always get sick right after it starts warming up and things start blooming. So, yee-haw! Spring! More top down drives, ahoy!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I am not pregnant.

I think I should start with the bombshell statement first, because burying the lede is a bad habit, and yesterday's 42 comment got a couple of people curious enough to ask.

I am also not trying to get pregnant. May as well throw that one out there while we're at it.

I've been doing this thing, see, and I've dropped a chunk of weight since the end of October. I'm still short, but I'm not nearly as round as I was. Now, because I'm in a long-term, committed heterosexual relationship and a homeowner, people have been sidling up to me and asking (politely) if I'm knocked up or what? And when I answer, "oh, God, no!" they don't just laugh it off. Well, some do. But a couple of people have patted me on the shoulder and told me to just give it time.

I get it, I do. Long-term, committed heterosexual homeowners (of the female persuasion) dropping a little weight are sometimes doing it with an eye towards starting a family. And it makes sense that some people who know us, but don't know us very well, would assume that seven years after pledging our love to each other and the Klingon god of companionship (I'm not kidding), and after four years of homeowner ship and with 30 looming on the horizon, we might be eager to hop aboard the train to Offspringville, and that me dropping to my fighting weight is a sign of bigger plans.

Except, not so much. Seriously. Our hobbies include taking photographs of art toys in amusing tableaux; driving small, impractical roadsters; drinking our way through the California coast and sushi. We make up new and interesting combinations of swear words, play with sharp objects and are completely self-involved. We are not child-friendly.

Someday -- and isn't that a lovely, fuzzy phrase, someday? -- we will probably have a kid. Most likely have a kid. A. Singular. Child. A child who isn't our recombined DNA, but a kid abandoned who needs and deserves a loving home, because we are turning into bigger and bigger hippies the older we get, that kind of kid. But that's someday. Far, far in the future.

The people who know us know about the someday clause. Our parents support us and don't put any pressure on us to make with the grandbabies. Yeah, I think the moms would love to have a little baby to cuddle, but they both had us in their thirties and understand there's no particular rush now. The people who don't know us very well, well, I guess I could try to explain the someday clause, but I don't think it'd go over well. The few times I've tried in the past, I get asked, "but don't you want to be a mommy?"

Um, no. Not right now. Especially when we're toying with the idea of returning to school. I've found a very intriguing masters program through the University of Washington, but it would require several semesters' undergrad work, which I may as well do at UNM, because if I'm going to have to take calculus, I'm going to do it at in-state grad student rates, thank you very much, and even then, I'm going to have to start at the bottom because my last math class was a dozen years ago, and I'm pretty sure I've forgotten how to solve for X.

Also, UNM's a pretty decent school, or so I hear.

Meanwhile, Adam's messing around with the idea of returning to UNM for his BFA in photography. And when I say "messing around with" I really do mean "messing around with." It's a seed of an idea. A nugget. A crumb.

Still, it was enough of a crumb to send us down to campus last weekend for the first time in four years. We wandered around, checked out the refurbished Student Union, hung out at the Duck Pond and discussed becoming those obnoxious non-traditional students we hated the first time around. So now's the time to look into applications and educational credits and juggling work schedules around class schedules. It's early days, yet. Something far more interesting could come along between now and the middle of August.

Like pirates. Or culinary school. Or culinary pirates.

Also, the do-we-or-don't-we-sell-the-house issue remains on the table. We're leaning towards selling. The neighborhood's getting scary. As Adam described it: "We are one megachurch minister away from 'Fahrenheit 451,' " which, you laugh, but it's closer to the truth than is comfortable.

Come and save us, culinary pirates!

So to recap: not pregnant. Not trying to be pregnant. No babies in the future. Possibly heading back to school. Selling the house. And finally, pirates.

And if that doesn't satisfy you, here's a picture of Target scanning his butt.



(not child-friendly in the least)



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A thread dedicated to lurkers over at ALOTT5MA has turned into a rolicking conversation and has sent a few people in this direction (thanks, Isaac!), and now I'm curious about my readers, all twelve of you. I know I have a contengent of people who check in with me daily and now I'd like to know who those people actually are. So please, introduce yourself in the comments.

(I do have a real post brewing, and it can be summed up as the number 42, but it could be a couple of days. I won't forget though, promise.)


Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Oh, dear God in heaven."

"What? Who died?"

"Brit-Brit shaved her head."

"Oh, my God."

"I know."

"No, no. That's totally not what I'm oh-em-gee-ing over."

"No?"

"No. I can't believe it's taken you until now to see the photographs. Where were you this morning? Even the Fug Girls took time out from their weekend to write an Emergency Letter of Truth."

"She shaved her whole head!"

"By herself."

" . . ."

"Seriously. Go to Perez. There are pictures of her with the clippers in her hands, going totally G. I. Jane on her extensions."

" . . . "

"Yeah, G.I. Jane was the obvious joke. 'Going all 'V for Vendetta' would have been much more hipster."

"Wouldn't know. You haven't let me watch that movie."

"Shush it."

"But she's bald."

"Now the curtains match the -- ?"

"See, underpants humor? I like the underpants humor. Especially when there aren't any underpants actually involved."

"Perv."

"Seriously, though. Oh, Brit-Brit. Why did you have to shave your head?"

"I dunno. I've had days were I've looked at my hair and thought about taking a razor to it."

"No, it wouldn't be a good look on you. For one your head's ginormous."

"It is."

"And two, it could be scary lumpy."

"Bump city."

"I mean, have you felt your head? It's kind of large. And lumpy. Like a pumpkin. An award-winning pumpkin. A pumpkin worthy of Linus's worship and devotion and -- "

"I have a big head. I get it."

"I mean, hats quiver in fear at the sound of your name."

"I. Get. It."

" . . . "

"Don't even sing the Pumpkin Head song. I can see it in your eyes, you're singing the pumpkin head song in your own head right now, and I'm telling you, if you want to live, you won't utter another syllable about my giant pumpkin-shaped noggin."

"When you thump it, it sounds hollow."

" . . . "

"She shaved her head!"

"And yet there's not a single Anna Nicole-related reference on the front page of CNN or Perez Hilton."

"Who knew that all it would take was one bad haircut."

"Man, we should pay her or something."

"No. Because now all it takes to make front page news is one bad pop tart haircut, when last week, you had to go and drop dead with methadone in your fridge."

"Point."

"Still."

"Still."

"Remember when she Vegas Quickied her childhood friend, and we were all, 'oh, Britney?' If we only knew."

"No, that's still worse than this. The whole Federline-'Chaotic'-two-babies-in-two-years was still worse than this. This is just an unfortunate choice in hair styles. Hair grows back. And she can be all about the wigs and the do rags between now and then."

"It's more than a bad haircut. It's more than showing the world she has jug ears. It is a sign that she is so on the next train to Rehabville."

"Train? What is this, the 1940s?"

"I think you just insulted Mayor Marty's favorite toy."

"Operator! Give me Springfield-nine-oh-four, please!"

"Klondike would have been funnier."

"What's ice cream got to do with anything? Somewhere in the world, a girl is bald, and all you can think about is ice cream?"

"They really shouldn't let us hang out."

"No. They really shouldn't."


Thursday, February 15, 2007

The monster storm from New Year's managed to wipe my mind of normal Albuquerque snowstorm behavior, because yesterday, I had totally forgotten that when it snows here, it's crappy until noon and then whatzyerproblem?

So I apologize if I downshifted into histrionics over the snow. Again.

The rest of the day proved to be lovely and quiet, and not at all Valentine's-y. What could be better?

*~*~*~*~*

After years of waiting and sneering at other states' quarter designs, the state has finally released the four contenders for the New Mexico state quarter.

At one point, there were six designs in the running, including a quarter that depicted the first nuclear blast at the Trinity site, and one with three balloons for the Albuquerque balloon fiesta, but they have fallen out of the running in favor of a more traditional scheme.

The designs are a variation on a theme: the Zia symbol positioned over a map of the state and 1912, the year we were included in the union. Three of them add "Land of Enchantment," just for good measure.

This isn't that bad a design

Out of the four designs, this is the one I find most pleasing. It's the cleanest of the four. The Zia symbol is positioned in the center of the state, rather than centered over an approximation of Santa Fe, which seems more inclusive of the whole of New Mexico. It's almost evocative of the state flag, which is a brilliant piece of design of itself.

I could do without the outline of New Mexico, though it is probably needed for the simpletons who don't know the difference between old Mexico and, well, you know. If we are playing to those inclinations and feeling a bit cheeky, we should take it one step further and add the USA tag, just like we do with our license plates.

I would also like to either size down the Zia or the text, because it's just a little too squeezed at the bottom. "Land of Enchantment" needs to breathe, and I'd like it if the points on the Zia were equidistant from the borders, but now I'm just being picky. There is only so much white space to work with on the back of a 25-cent piece.

The final design will be picked by Gov. Richardson later this spring and the quarter will go into circulation next March.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Paseo del Norte Update (11:00 a.m. edition)

-- It appears the city hasn't bothered to plow Paseo.
-- Or if they did plow, they didn't bother to also sand.
-- But really, I'm going for didn't plow/didn't sand.
-- The bridges are frozen, which made the Coors merge in-ter-est-ing.
-- There is one stranded car in the eastbound right hand lane just past General Mills causing a back up.

Anyone want to give me a ride from the Journal Center back home tonight?


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And I dub this Tropical Winter Storm Hoth, following Tropical Winter Storms:

1. Anakin
2. Boba
3. Chewbacca (the wookie that clobbered us over New Year's)
4. Dagobah
5. Endor
6. 4-LOM
7. Greedo

Which brings us back to Tropical Winter Storm Hoth. The next named storm will be Tropical Winter Storm IG-88.

We will be observing all tropical winter storm protocols including the running lines on the driveway, the wearing of the fuzzy monkey pants, the drinking of the coffee and the institution of the personal two hour delay. All Adams will be operating on a two hour delay.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Oh, man. Nia & Co. at Talin Market has little Uglydolls. Nothing else was accomplished this weekend after we discovered this. We were too busy running around town taking pictures of newly acquired Uglys.

Squwiff! Squwiff!

Wedgehead waits for the food

Well, hello black cup of romance.

It's a strange little hobby, but it seems to fit two only children who grew up more with imaginary friends than real ones.

More can be found in his Flickr and my Flickr.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Okay, that's weird.

Last night? Beautiful virgin wrist. This morning? Mole. It's small. It's red. It's angry. It's new.

It's not staying. Soon I will trot off to the doctor's office and have it sliced off straight away because in my family, new angry red moles can mean a long, painful death, which I'm really not in the market for, thanks.

I had my first ticking time bomb removed from my back when I was in my early twenties, so this is old hat. Go in. Get it looked at. Get patted on head. Go in a week later, get cut on by professional. Go in five days after that, get stitch pulled. Show off bitchin' new scar. That is the way we roll. Some call it overkill (it's just a mole), but I'm not about to die because my wussified ancestors lived in bogs and feared the weak-assed, Northern European sun.

Wusses.

Well-meaning, concerned types like to remind me to wear sunscreen, long sleeves and a hat, and for God's sake, stop driving around in a convertible in New Mexico, but I don't pay much attention to that last bit. The day I trade in Bucky is the day I'm told one of these little buggers went malignant, and even then I'd go for the just-as-unpractical Mini Cooper S. With the sunroof.

Life on my terms! Life! On my terms!

Still, for now there's no need to worry. Right now, it's just a small, angry, red, itinerant mole. We can play worst case scenario later.

But, um, you might want to invest in a bottle of 70 S.P.F.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A reader writes:

Enough with the talky-talky. BE MORE NERDY!

This really makes me want to dig through the box labeled "COLLEGE" and post my reaction paper to "The Sound and the Fury," which landed my first senior-level A.

Which is not the precise reaction the reader is looking for, I bet.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ah! The Albuquerque City Council has voted 5-4 to restrict cell phone usage while driving. (Albuquerque Journal, sub. req., you know the drill) Now, if Mayor Marty would just pull out his signin' pen, we'll be in business.

I'm for the ban. Could you tell?

I cannot abide people indulge in talking-while-driving. It moved beyond the realm of peeve when the game turned from "drunk driver?" to "drunk or on the phone?" I mean, in the last week, how many times did you nearly died because someone was trying to pilot a three ton hunk of metal with one hand and half a brain? (Sixteen! It was a good week!)

Ten years ago, there would be the rare traffic bobble. A technology forward woman with a brick pressed up to her ear would pilot her minivan into my lane without noticing, for example, or a guy would run a stop sign because it was just too hard to use the brake pedal and a proto flip phone. Now, it's constant, right?

And it drives me nuts.

If a friend calls me and it's obvious they're on their cell, the first question out of my mouth is, "are you in traffic?" If they blow it off with a "yeah, I'm bored," I will make up some excuse -- any excuse, including "my cat's bulimic" -- and hang up. It makes my skin crawl just thinking that I helped someone put themselves and others at risk just by talking to them.

Yeah, I did say "risk."

If someone feels like getting snarky about their driving-while-talking habit, I refer them to this episode of Mythbusters, because nobody can argue with basic cable infotainment.

Which is the offender's cue to say, "I know, but I get so bored."

Seriously? Bored? I realize this is the same logic behind in-dash DVD players, but seriously? Bored?

You wouldn't get behind the wheel of the car when you were tipsy, so c'mon. It's not that hard. Eyes forward. Both hands on the steering wheel. Attention on the road and traffic. Enjoy the drive.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday, February 5. First top down drive of 2007.

And what a great drive it was, too. The sun was warm, the heater was warmer, Paseo was wide open and there was a fun turn at the end. Every commute should be so joyous.

That's right. I said it.

Joy.


The Great Monsterian Novel

Now he's just taunting me.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

And with the end of the Super Bowl and the loss of the Bears comes the angry revving as many, many drunk suburbanites pile into their SUVs and gun their engines in protest in the intersection behind my house.

Good luck getting home tonight, y'all. Be safe.


Ah, the Super Bowl. Today is the one day a year where Adam will willingly sit down in front of an American football game, and then we'll debate what exactly a line of scrimage is and what it's used for and why it's on that particular part of the field and if, when they're all crouched like that, it smells bad because everyone had chili for lunch, because no matter how "mature" we are, fart jokes never get old. And then we congratulate each other for being so funny, because we're twelve, and then I have to remind Adam what a football looks like, and then if someone manages to get the ball in the end zone, we run around the house yelling "GOOOOOOOOOOAL!" or "home run!" because did I mention we're twelve? And then Adam asks what inning it is, and I answer him earnestly, and then he wants to know when the tea interval is, which this year happens when Prince is on stage, and then we make a few wagers as to what sort of asshattery will happen during half time.

All of this action takes place at 3x speed, bless those Tivo gods. We resume normal speed for the commercials, of course, so we can critique this year's batch of ads, replay, critique and then resume the game. The whole affair takes about an hour and a half. This is how we watch football.

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