Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bottled water comes from the tap

Advantage, my dad, who gets a chuckle out of me buying into this industry:
The new bottles will say, "The Aquafina in this bottle is purified water that originates from a public water source," or something similar, Pepsi-Cola North America spokeswoman Nicole Bradley told CNN.
Why do I drink bottled water? Because I'm thirsty! (Rim shot.) Well, I generally only drink it while traveling as water has different tastes in different parts of the country, or if I'm out and about and just thirsty. Beats soda when you're thirsty.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Caterpillar eats Italian parsely

Times doesn't believe its own poll

I didn't find it (I didn't look very hard either) but Fox reported that

The New York Times has written an almost apologetic note to readers saying that it was so amazed by poll results showing that support for the initial invasion of Iraq is higher now than two months ago — that it re-did the poll.

The Times says that a second run at the question a few days later revealed nearly identical results — 42 percent saying the U.S. did the right thing — 51 percent disagreeing.

The paper writes — "While we didn't understand a lot more about what was driving the change, we had confidence in the results... One thing is for sure. We'll be asking the question again."

Hey if they work a little harder, I'm sure they can push those numbers back down!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deconstructing Nancy

A good spot for a breakfast bar:


Well, leave it to me to not have a picture of the fireplace before we took it apart, but there it is after we took the brick down. Back in the eighties, home buyers must have been crazy about molding. We have it all over our living room. It was my job to delicately remove the molding, keeping it whole and uninjured, in case we want to use it again. Below is the area just to the left of the fireplace--the opening to the kitchen:
To open up the kitchen, we essentially had to saw that upper wall in half. It happened to be a load-bearing wall. You can tell, by the 2x10's that ran across it. (They're on the far right.)

See the chimney? All shiny and silver? It's a piece of tin. My husband climbed up on the roof using some old rock-climbing gear to dismantle it.
We have a beautiful Live Oak there that is starting to lean on our house. I don't know how much longer we get to keep the Live Oak. We do need the house, as it shelters us from storms. Plus, I think there's a town ordinance against living in tents. Here's a view of the chimney work from the inside:

Of course, electrical things had to be re-wired and unexpected decisions had to be made about lighting fixtures and say, how about a wine cooler?! Decide now because now's when the wiring goes in!
The re-do also left a hole in the ceiling, which needed to be patched:
Throughout the first morning--a good five or six hours, really--my daughter was chipper and excited and chirping. She carried the bricks from the fireplace, one at a time, to the side yard, and she helped me sweep:
Are you loving our totally awesome turquoise wallpaper? It's actually quite tasteful, just outdated and not very us. Sunday night, our friends who are also working on their kitchen, came over to pick up their daughter and commiserate over pizza and wine. Since they were in the middle of leveling their floor, they counseled us to get the tile up as quickly as possible before my father-in-law arrives to help lay down the new tile. I'd helped remove their tile and they had some helpful equipment.

So Monday, I took it upon myself:
Kneepads, mask, gloves and goggles required. That's the jackhammer I used above. I was about three hours into it and a little more than halfway through it when my friend showed up to help me finish the job. Hurray! Lots of sweat and aches in that job. The tile had to be picked up and carried out to the back of the old pickup truck. We finished before 5:00. I did it to move the work along and to impress my husband. My husband, it turns out, is harder to impress than I'd imagined.

Underneath the tile was linoleum, which we pulled up last night. Underneath the linoleum is some papery glue, which we will scrape up this morning. It appears to be water soluble and should come up easily. [Update: did I say it should come up easily? Lord help me--I'll be here all day and part of the next!]

Isn't it interesting that your fireplace is really just a three-sided tin box, sitting on top of cinder blocks, surrounded by bricks? Look at all that wasted kitchen space the fireplace was taking up!
Yesterday, in addition to editing some pages for a local magazine, I began the arduous task of wiping up the dust. I imagine I'll be finding thick layers of it for some time. So, essentially, it's not much different from life before the kitchen renovation.

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A "friendly chat" with Iran's fashion police

Be careful what you wear:

"My dear there is a problem with your manto. Please do not wear this kind of manto. Please wear a longer manto from now on."

Some are just let go there, but others are escorted to waiting minibuses with dark black tinted window panes and labelled "Guidance Patrol."

A girl in a short white manto whose long hair was tumbling out the front of her headscarf is taken by the police to one of the minibuses on Vanak Square in central Tehran -- an unexpected and unhappy end to her shopping trip.

Another arrested woman is already inside the bus. She begins to cry. "I promise, I promise!"

And the minibus doors slam shut.

I can't imagine it's at all easy living there.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Persona non blogger

I'm in the middle of a kitchen renovation, which we have taken upon our middle-aged selves. We actually took out the fireplace and part of a wall and have framed a new one. Today, I jackhammered half the kitchen up before a friend bearing soda-fountain diet cokes came over to help me finish the other half. Good friend. The tile came up relatively easy compared to hers because it was laid on top of linoleum.

I have some pictures and want to do a longer post when time allows, but tonight, as my body is still reverberating from the jackhammer, I'm going to rest my bones.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"We've got nothin' to do..."

Shot in my home town. (Thanks CC!) If you want to know a little bit about me, or at least my town, check out what the youngsters are rappin'.

Flow Mo


Should I move before the kids hit adolescence? By the way, those meadow scenes are the actual Mound that butts up against my cul de sac.

Update: Poor things! But what a GREAT video!

Update the second: Read all about them in The Messenger.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tom Catmull and the Clerics

It's finally published! Best band in Missoula, Montana. Congratulations!
...longevity and loyalty mean a lot to Best Of voters, as do boot-stomping roots-rock, intelligent lyrics and, perhaps, a sexy bald head. That combination made Tom Catmull, with and without the Clerics, king of the hill in these highly competitive categories. Whether it’s the intimate setting of Shadows Keep, where Catmull often plays solo, or a packed house of twirling dancers at the Union Club, where he’s joined by his four talented bandmates, this local stalwart ain’t leaving local listeners in the lurch.
I've occasionally heard him say that his sister (that would be me) taught him to play guitar. If I did, it was the three chords that I learned as a sulky teenager and still know today. His talent has soared and I'm pretty much in awe.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dwelling hell

Girls who talk a lot about their problems with other girls are more likely to be depressed. In other words, dwelling leads to sulking, sulking leads to depression. Sounds about right to me.

Those girls, I think, need to direct their attentions outward, instead of inward, not easy to do I know, but enter Mom and Dad (please) and get them going on activities that relate thinking about about other things or just others. Might help.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Attention commenters

It comes to my attention that not all comments go into my inbox, so if you if you think I should be replying to something you've commented on, it may be that I haven't noticed your comment at all. Terribly sorry about that.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Simpsons theme music

I've been whistling The Simpson's theme music since my husband got home and I've been looking wistfully at the clock. I think that means I can't wait for couch time.

Not a bad day really, just full of the important/unimportant stuff that keeps you humming. For instance, and forgive me if I've used the joke here before, but my wide-leg trousers have been feeling like straight-leg jeans for some time so I'm back at the gym with a vengeance, hip pain, elbow pain be damned. This made cleaning the floors and carpets, which had been ignored for probably two weeks now a tougher and longer job than it would normally be.

And yet, maybe each time after will tougher and longer--that is after all how the aging process works, isn't it?

There's been a discussion on the lost art of being a handyman going around the Internet lately and being married to one I can chime in. As an unhandywoman, a store-bought woman really, I'm a bit of a nervous nelly when my husband gets a notion to do something, a notion say like... moving the fireplace from one wall to another, so that we can open up the kitchen.

It's a small house and it gets smaller every time we draw a new line on the wall to mark the kids' growth, but I think we'll be here for a while, as home values don't triple in North Texas like they do in other parts of the country, despite what I see as our major selling point--really friendly neighbors, who only invite you to their church once.

My husband complained over dinner tonight about how tired he was and that he couldn't figure out why, seeing as how he didn't do much this weekend. Dear, I said, you've forgotten that you worked on fixing your car, began the install of a radio into the '74 Ford pickup, mowed the lawn, watched the kids while I was at the gym, took them to Best Buy, took the family out to lunch, argued with me over wall color for the kitchen, shopped for samples at Home Depot and made a solid attempt at cooking dinner Sunday night after I brought home a trout--head, tail and all, after you specifically told me not to bring an entire fish, that you only wanted a fillet (note to readers: I am fish illiterate and didn't realize a one-pound trout would only yield a third of a pound of meat to eat; I also didn't know how hard it would be to fillet, and readers, do you know the price of filleted sea-bass these days? You'd have done the same thing!), and then took us out to dinner instead.

Tonight our three-year-old made his usual every-other-night protest about wanting mom to put him to bed instead of dad. His sister did the same thing when she was three, only it was over who was to make her a peanut butter sandwich. It's a funny phase they go through at this age.

Tomorrow, I am up early because I have been invited by a friend to a networking breakfast of local professionals. She told me to be sure to have a business card handy and gave me the name of a company that prints them for free, though on the back they advertise their own name.

My card reads "Freelance Writing, Editing, Etc." I hope someone asks me about the "Etc." It will give me the opportunity to make up a complete fabrication at a moment's notice about what other things I'll do for pay--taxes, home decor, skin care or stock analysis.

When my mom was a young woman, she liked to make up elaborate stories about herself and keep them going for a good thirty minutes with friends at a malt shop or over a beer. At the end of the thirty minutes, she'd let them in on her little joke. When she told me that I told her about the time I was at a gay bar with a gay friend and we spent the evening convincing the only (allegedly) straight guy there that I used to be a man. He was really annoyed with our joke. I mean, really.

But Mom got a big laugh out of it.

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What this blog needs

You know, what this blog needs is a new post!

Friday, July 13, 2007

New friends

A word to the wise:
Let me tell you , do not be fooled by the diminutive 93 year old great-grandmother standing on this front porch. Do not cynically assume she's just an old widow waiting to reach the end of a long road, killing time because after all what is there left to do?

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Whole Foods Sock Puppetry

I think it would be more fun, for consumers, if the Whole Foods CEO posted comments under his own name. Wouldn't that be a kick? If a CEO of one of your favorite companies just showed up posting comments now and then on a blog or site your frequented, and he/she could and would (and should) ignore flamers--well, that would be great PR.

Of course, the place I want to go to is not quite finished being built. It's actually a "A Sociopolitical and Ecological Clarity Bar." The owner does not allow comments on his site, but I'd seriously make a fifth trip this summer to see his place, Soytopia.
Admittedly, my informal poll on the bar's concept resulted in a less than red-hot response. I'm clearly going to have to host some workshops and "theme nights," to keep things going during the critical first six months.

You can make it happen, Pat!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You heard it here first!

Best band Missoula, Montana.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer '07 Trip #4!

For a variety of unrelated reasons, I'm having a big traveling summer without my kids and husband. And here is what I've learned.

Tomorrow I leave again for a four-day getaway. I'm having a great time...

...but ...I miss my husband.

All together now: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

(Hey, that's nice.)

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Blaming Mr. Rogers

Here's an interesting article blaming Mr. Rogers and the doting-style of parenting he represented on the narcissism of young people today. If you can get behind the $$ wall, it's worth a read. Best line: 'In America today, life often begins with the anointing of "His Majesty, the Fetus,".

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Monday, July 02, 2007

The future

What will Dallas look like in 2010?

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