Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In the meme-time...

I lifted this from my friend, Tammy...if you haven't read her, check her out!

1. FIRST NAME? Judith but no one calls me that (thank goodness!)
I got a little choked up a couple of weeks ago, when I heard that Ann Richards had died, but other than that, I can’t remember...I’m pretty sunny most of the time.
I don’t like lunch meat.
Yep, because I’m funny and I like funny people.
Since I was a kid...
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Never. I hate roller coasters, too.
10. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Grapenuts (I know, I know, lame...)
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Uh, my Nikes are the only tie shoes I own...and yeah, I have to untie them to take them off...
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Yes, very much so, although less so physically these days.
14. SHOE SIZE? 7.
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? I'd love to read my bloggies answers (I stole that answer directly from Tammy!)
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Whoa, it’s almost 11PM & I’m home alone...I’m not wearing pants or shoes!
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A mushroom/goat cheese quesadilla with sour cream & salsa, for dinner. Yum!
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? You’ve Got A Friend In Me (Randy Newman) - thanks, Tammy!
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Burnt Sienna - I love the color and the name.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Rain, and fresh earth...

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU'RE ATTRACTED TO? Well, the first thing I notice about anyone is their gender, but after that it’s eyes, smile, voice...
27. FAVORITE DRINK? These days it's probably Ace’s Pear Cider.
28. FAVORITE SPORT? NFL football, although I’m no maniac.
29. EYE COLOR? Green
30. HAT SIZE? Dunno, but I have a small head (as opposed to Oprah, who has a HUGE head).
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yep. My distance vision is still fine, but I can’t see anything up close, so I wear a near and a far, and the far actually shortens up my distance vision so my brain can process things visually (although I'm not sure how well that’s working).
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Filet mignon, red in the center.
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Hmmmmm, when my friend Sherri was in China a few weeks ago, she had a massage, and the massage therapist, who was a guy, asked her if she wanted a Happy Ending. Ewwwwwwwwwwww. She declined, of course. For what it’s worth...I always prefer happy endings (but I’d have declined that freaky therapist, too).
34. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? An almost knee-length, grey tee.
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall - I love sweater weather, and sitting in front of a crackling fire on a cold night.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses...definitely kisses.
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? A really great, tart, key lime pie, which is hard to come by.
38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? I just finished Bukowski’s Factotum & haven't decided what to read next, which is pretty unusual for me.
39. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? My mouse, and the pad itself is plain.
40. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Law & Order...I’m addicted.
41. FAVORITE SOUNDS? I love the sort of rif-rif-rif sound that dry palm fronds make in the wind...and Maria Callas’ voice. I’d time travel to hear her live.
44. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Shoot, I dunno. I’d say I’m good at providing Happy Endings, but that might be misinterpreted...
45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Wisconsin
46. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I lifted it from my friend,
47. NEWEST THING YOU'VE TRIED? A camel trek through Big Bend, but that was in 2002...I’ve been a slug since then in terms of new things.
48. ONE THING YOU'D CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF? I’d like to stop being such a procrastinator, but I know there’s always plenty of time to change that...
49. WHO DID YOU LAST SEND A CARD OR LETTER TO? At the risk of sounding like a total curmudgeon, I sent a Wachovia phishing scheme to SpamCop this evening.
50. WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT? Antarctica, but it’s prohibitively expensive, at least it is when I consider all the other places I’d also love to see.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sunrise, sunset...

Left to my own devices, I'm a night owl. I'm a high-energy woman, but my circadian rhythms have always been off. Even when I was a little kid, I was a slug in the mornings. I've always had to ease into the day, and that means certain things: coffee, minimum interactions, no talking, no morning tv. My kids are the same way; there's not an early bird in the bunch. When they were little, I used to wake them by singing to them, paraphrasing the lyrics of the Good Morning song from Singin' in the Rain (
"Gooood morning! Good mooooooorning! You've slept the whole night through! Good morning, good you!")

Hey, I'm still here, and so are they. Eventually, I become functional, able to carry on a conversation, etc., etc., but left to my own devices, I really start to get energized as the sun goes down. I can still pull an allnighter if I need to (although I admit, recovery is hell).

However, since August 1st, when I re-entered the work force by accepting a job over an hour away from my house, I've had to turn my cycle around. These days, I have to be up at the crack of dawn. Literally, at the crack of dawn. Actually, most days, when I leave for work, it's still dark outside, and sometimes it's still dark when I get there. I thought I'd hate this, and I have to admit, getting up so early is not my favorite thing, but it’s not all bad. In fact, there's one thing that I really enjoy, and actually look forward to each day, and that's seeing the sun come up. It's fair to say that I’ve seen more sunrises since August 1st than I’ve seen in my entire life, prior to that, and I have to tell you, they're growing on me.

So this morning, as I was scurrying about, trying to remember all the things that are so hard for me to remember in the early morning hours, I actually remembered to grab my camera. It was a beautiful morning, crisp and cool, and I drove to work with the top down (hey, I have heated seats!). It was still dark when I got to work, so I went inside, turned on my computer, started working, checked the time for sunrise, and then went outside and shot this pic. It's not a great pic, but it was a terrific sunrise.

And to balance it out...yin yang, and all's a pic of the sunset tonight, taken from a drainage ditch near my house...

And the sunrise reminds me of Mike and Chris, when they were little guys. In July, 1989, I took all 4 kids to South Padre Island by myself. Alex was 13, Kath was 10, and the boys were about to turn 4. Mike and Chris wanted to see a sunrise, but being the slug that I am, and all 4 kids being the slugs that they were, I kept putting off that particular pleasure until suddenly I realized I had just one more morning in which to achieve it.

That night I set the alarm, and the next morning, as soon as it went off, I got all 4 kids out of bed (no small feat), and we stumbled, sleepily, over to the beach to watch the sunrise.

Which would have been great, except...there was a huge bank of heavy clouds, low on the horizon, and those clouds were so heavy that not a beam of sun managed to break through them. As a result, we sat shivering on the beach, in the wet sand, for a good 45 minutes, waiting to see the sunrise. When the sun finally did break above the cloud cover that morning, it was fairly high in the sky. Nevertheless, I believe in ceremony, so I said, enthusiastically, "There it is, boys! Look at that! That's a SUNRISE!"

Mike and Chris looked, obviously disappointed. Clearly, the sun didn't look much different to them, in terms of angle, color, and size, than it usually did when I was driving them to pre-school in the early mornings.

"Yeah, thanks Mom, that's great,"
they said, flatly but in unison.

Never one to let well enough alone, I decided to seize the moment, and turn the outing into a little science lesson.

"Now boys,"
I said, "tell me this: do you know what DIRECTION that is?"

They looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. "Uh, yeah, Mom, we KNOW what direction that is, whaddya think?" Mike said, while Chris muttered something to his feet.

"Well, then, tell me, what direction is it?" I asked.

Both boys exchanged a look, and then said, clearly exasperated, "Mom, that direction is UP!"

From the mouths of babes...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

birds do it...bees do it...

Birds do it...bees do it...
Even educated fleas do it...
Let's do it...
Let's fall in love...

The most refined lady bugs do it
When a gentleman calls...
Moths in your rugs they do it
What's the use of moth balls?

I'm sure giraffes
on the sly
do it
Even eagles as they fly
Do it
Let's do it...
Let's fall in love

The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it
Not to mention the Fins
Folks in Siam do it...
Think of Siamese twins

The world admits
bears in pits
Do it
Even pekineses at the Ritz
Do it
Let's do it
Let's fall in love

Electric eels
I might add
Do it
Though it shocks 'em, I know
Why ask if shad do it...
Garcon, de "shad roe"

The royal set sans regret did it
And they considered it fun
Marie Antoinette did it -
with or without Napoleon

The chimpanzees in the zoos do it
Sentimental centipedes do it
Let's do it
Let's fall in love...

Alright, I know Cole Porter was ostensibly writing about love here, but face it...all those clever lyrics are really about SEX. And maybe it's because I'm reading Bukowski, or maybe it's because I listened to Primetime tonight, or maybe I'm trying to balance out my mundane entry about a relaxing Labor Day, or maybe it's because...well, nevermind why, the why doesn't really matter, but for what it's worth, tonight I'm writing about sex.

A couple of light years ago, when I was a student at the University of Chicago, I became smitten with a bright, funny guy, who was apparently equally smitten with me. We spent lots of happy time together, quipping and flirting outrageously through weeks of warm, sunny days and crisp, clear nights that fall quarter, but we never got beyond flirting, in part because (as he announced regularly and publicly), he was a virgin, and I was not...and each of us was a little afraid of each other, because of that difference. We liked each other so much that we became great friends, nevertheless, and stayed in touch over the years.

By his own account, sex was highly problematic for D. He wasn’t confused about his orientation, he said (and I believed him); but he was consumed with guilt at the thought of having sex. He remained a virgin until he was in his late 20's...he kept me informed of the situation, although I’d have preferred to have been kept in the dark, so to speak. In his early 30's, he became engaged, but eventually, his fiancee left him, and he never married. Over the years, he was at times a member of a number of groups that I tend to think of as cults, e.g., EST. I always told him how I felt about his membership in such organizations, and we often argued about it.

In the early 90's, he became a member of a group that espoused celibate marriage. When I wrote him that I was getting divorced, he phoned late one night, and after we’d talked for a long time, he cleared his throat and asked me if I’d consider marrying him. I was touched by his asking me, and yet I was also very taken aback. He’d been like a brother to me for over 20 years, and I had no reason to think he’d viewed me as anything other than a sister (of which, by the way, he already had 6, thanks to his parents).

“I’m honored, D, I really am...but I don’t think it would work,” I said carefully.

“But we’re such good friends!” he said.

“Yeah, we are...we’re great friends...and that’s not going to change just because I get divorced. We can keep on being great friends. We don’t have to get married to stay great friends,” I said.

“I dunno, I’d sort of like to be married...” he said.

A light went on in my head.

“Whoa, D,” I said... “do you mean celibate marriage?”

“Well, sure I do,” he said, “You know that’s what I believe in, and it’s not like we’d have to have sex to have already have four kids, and I don’t want any...”

“A celibate marriage?!?!?! Is that what you’re proposing?!?!?!”

“Don’t act surprised!!! You know that’s what I believe in!!!”

“Yeah, but D,” I said, “It’s not what I believe in..."

I should have stopped then, I know, but I didn't.

"And anyway,"
I continued, "You can’t ask for that right away. It’s not reasonable."

Unable to resist, I added slyly, "Trust me, it takes YEARS to achieve a state of celibacy in marriage...”

I was reminded of all this, because tonight, as I sat in my gameroom at my computer and browsed real estate in St. Louis on the web, I had the tv on in the background, and ABC’s Primetime did a show called
"The Outsiders: Strange Arrangements”, about, among other things, people who are asexual (as opposed to people who are celibate, like my friend, D).

Apparently, there’s a growing movement of asexuality in the United States (dunno about Europe or the rest of the world), and for those of you who, like me, were blissfully unaware of this movement, there is (of course) a website where you can find out more, called the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN for short. According to AVEN,
“Unlike celibacy, which is a choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation”.

We’re so bombarded with sexuality, perhaps this movement was inevitable, and yet...I dunno, maybe it’s my Scandinavian heritage, but to me, saying you don’t believe in sex is sort of like saying you don’t believe in reaction is,
“Yeah, riiiiiigggghhhhttt...” And then I have a strong urge to quote Dr. Phil, “So how’s that workin’ for ya?”

What can I say? I’m just not that sublimated.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, September 04, 2006

a lazy Labor Day weekend...

Ahhhh, labor day. A is off on another of his long soujourns: London/Croatia/Slovenia/Trieste/Venice/Paris/Chartres/Rouen, etc., etc. According to the itinerary he sent out before leaving, he's cruising on the Croatian coast today, and I opted not to do the traditional family labor day barbecue in his absence. A good thing, too, as it's rained all day, and here in Texas, where we've suffered a drought for all of this long, hot summer, that rain is welcome.

So I got up late, this morning, for me...9:30-ish...and had a civilized breakfast by myself, on my patio (see pic above - those are freshly cut chives on top of the cream cheese on that bagel). I like the soft grey light of a rainy day, and spent a little time on the patio, reading some Bukowski, (Factotum, which is excellent, and now a
film starring Matt Dillon), as I enjoyed my leisurely breakfast. If you don't know Bukowski, I highly recommend him, for both his prose and his poetry.

It's been a fairly productive weekend for me. I got the genie on my garage door functioning again, among other things. I'm grilling a steak for dinner, and steaming a little spaghetti squash, and I bought some pork chops at Central Market for my dinner tomorrow night that are presently soaking in a marinade that I made a little while ago. Not very exciting, I know, but good stuff, nevertheless. Happy Labor Day.