Friday, August 31, 2007

It was a helluva finish to August, at least.

I feel like I've been on vacation. A really great vacation, but tomorrow it's back to "real" life. Tomorrow morning he's off to see his kids for the weekend and when he returns it's to his own apartment. I'm a little sad. I'm a little apprehensive.

"Enjoy the bubble, enjoy the bubble."

It'll work out, or it won't work out. I hope it does!! But either way, I'm glad it happened. I'd been alone for so long, become so set in my ways, so protective of "my" space, that I'd really begun to believe that I was no longer capable of letting someone in. But now I think maybe I am. It just has to be the right someone.

That's good to know.

Have a great, long Labor Day weekend, everyone. I'll see you on the flip side. And I'll tell you all about the lesbian wedding on Monday. Heh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What's this strange feeling?

I think I've felt this way before, but it's been awhile. What do they call this again? Oh yeah...I'm kind of happy.

It's scary. What if it goes away again soon? The good thing, the reliable thing, about being...not UNhappy, but just not really happy, is that you get used to it. You know how it feels, how to deal with it. It's almost comfortable. (Yeah, that's kind of sad, but there you have it.) And having that comfort (sad or not) taken away is unsettling. Not a bad thing, but unsettling nonetheless.

So I'm trying to just enjoy it for what it is, while it is, and not worry too much about what's down the road, but it's hard. It's all going to change next week, one way or the other, when Mr. New Guy moves into his own apartment, (which is all the way across town, in pretty much my least favorite neighborhood in the world, but that was where he found something available this weekend, and he was anxious to get it settled, and I can't blame him, but OH how he's going to hate that commute, and if he thinks I'm going to be spending a lot of time on that side of town, he's sadly mistaken) and we'll have to figure out how much time we have for each other when more effort is required to make it happen.

By which I mean that yes, he's been staying at my place. 'Nuff said.

And if you had told me a week ago that I, the most anal-retentive person around when it comes to "my" space, would actually enjoy having someone invading it, I would have thought you were crazy. And of course, it's only been a few days, and he's a most considerate houseguest, and if he were to stay longer it would probably begin to chafe a bit (my house is small), but still...unsettling!

I can't believe how comfortable I am with this guy. Maybe there's hope for me after all.

And if it turns out that this week has just been a little New Guy-filled, Wiley-free bubble, and that bubble pops all to hell next week, well, whatever will be will be, right? It was a lovely bubble while it lasted.

And I've always got Pudge. Poor, poor Pudge, who's quite the most anxious dog in the world right now. "Where'd that other dog go? I kind of liked him. And who's THIS guy? Am I going next? WHERE'S MY MOMMY??!!!" I hope his little brain doesn't explode.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Keep your fingers crossed.

And maybe your toes.

Wiley has been at my friend's house since yesterday afternoon, and I haven't gotten an angry "Come get this damn dog!" phone call yet. (Hi, Julie. Do you hate me? I LOVE you.) I am soooo hoping it works out, because it would be such a wonderful home for him. It's a little doggy heaven. He may not be the greatest dog ever, but every dog deserves a good home, and I was really feeling guilty that he had to spend so much time crated at my house. (Damn it, Wiley...why ya gotta chase the cats?) So, fingers crossed.

Okay, was there something else you were wondering? Seems like there was something I wanted to update you on...what was that?

Oh yeah...did you all hear about Alberto Gonzales?


All right, all right... I don't want to jinx things by talking about it too much too soon, but let's just say I had a great weekend, despite having broken pretty much every one of the Safe Internet Dating Rules. I let him pick me up at my house, I rode in his car, I didn't tell anyone exactly when and where we were going, I didn't do a criminal background check, blahblahblah.

But taking two cars to randomly explore the city was going to be SUCH a pain, and I just instantly had such a...comfortable feeling about him. They keep telling us that women should "trust their instincts" and "listen to their gut." And yeah, they usually mean that in the "be more cautious" sense, but why shouldn't it work in reverse, too? My gut was screaming "this is a decent guy," so I took a chance. (Plus I've got a cellphone in my pocket and brass knuckles on my keychain, and he wasn't so big a guy I couldn't take him down if necessary--I'm not completely stupid.)

Besides, he's a band director. A band director would never turn out to be a serial killer, right? I know, I KNOW, that is a completely illogical assumption, but it feels true.

So we explored. I took him to my favorite vegetarian restaurant and he was open-minded enough to enjoy it. I took him to my friend's birthday party and he got along with my friends (and seemed to enjoy himself). Sunday morning he went to church with me. HE WENT TO CHURCH WITH ME. Would a serial killer do that?

My cats seem to like him. Pudge was a little anxious--who is this guy putting the moves on my woman? But when he suggested moving over on the couch so Pudge would have room to sit on my other side, I knew there was a chance this could be good.

He puts the toilet seat down.

So there it stands. I'm...cautiously optimistic, let's say. I didn't get any really entertaining blog fodder from the experience (non-fiction means "not true?"), but I guess I'm okay with that. Heh.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I want to be a cat.

One of my cats, specifically.

I just received a couple of new Catnip Cigars in the mail today. (And thank God I was home for lunch when the package arrived--otherwise I'd have nothing but a shredded, empty box on the porch, and every cat in the neighborhood would be stoned and wandering aimlessly in search of munchies.)

Have you cat people tried these? A friend turned me on to them years ago--the cats LOVE them. And they're durable. They'll last forever. Or at least until a certain foster dog (Damn it, Wiley!) gets hold of them. Ahem.

At any rate, the new toys arrived, I unpacked them (with a great deal of help) and returned to work, wishing I could be the one rolling around on the floor in ABSOLUTE BLISS, clutching the toy to my chest, licking it like crazy, eyes rolled back in my head, not a care in the world.

It's not fair, damn it. Why do they have all the fun?


Here's a quick update on the Match front: a few more "winks," none of which I felt compelled to return, no email response from the guy I emailed back on Monday, BUT, I did go ahead and email the "mutual wink" guy. He emailed me his phone number, and we talked for over an hour last night. He's brand-new to town, and I might help him look for an apartment this weekend. Kind of an odd first date, I guess, but I think it could be okay. He doesn't know the city at all, so he really could use the help. We'd have plenty of time to chat, with a specific task at hand to prevent any long awkward moments, plus I get to see what some of his tastes are. So, we'll see. That's assuming he does indeed follow through. It's the follow through what gets 'em, every time. Heh.

I've also got a couple of parties to go to this weekend, I MAY be passing Wiley off to a friend on Sunday (fingers crossed!) to see how he does at her house, I need to clean the house and mow the lawn, and if I have any spare moments, I think I'll try rolling around on the floor and orgasmically licking a catnip cigar. It looks so fun!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Single White Female

So, you're wondering if I ever signed up for Match, aren't you? (We'll pretend that's the case, at any rate.) Why yes, yes I did. I decided I could obsess endlessly over the details, or I could dash something off, put it up, and see what happened. So what's happening?

Well, I've gotten a number of "portrait views," which means that the all-important photo must not be TOO bad, if they're making it past that to the profile info. I've gotten a few "winks," and I've gotten a couple of emails, one of which I responded to a few minutes ago (haven't heard back yet, of course) and one of which I responded to with a polite "No, thanks." (Aside from the rampant misspellings and grammar infractions, he was a political conservative, and I have no wish to recreate any sort of James Carville-Mary Matalin-in-reverse dynamic, thanks.)

I have NOT heard back from MY email to the guy whose profile inspired me to join in the first place, though I'm trying not to take that too personally, since his profile currently shows he has not logged in since I sent it. I have also not heard anything from the one guy whose "wink" to me prompted a "wink" from me in return. I suppose I should go ahead an send a full-blown email--since Match keeps telling that an email receives twice as many responses as a wink. (But he winked first! Shouldn't HE should send the first email?)

In the "think before you click" department, I may also now have a old high school classmate who thinks I'm a lesbian. I just wanted to check out some profiles of other women around my age, see how mine "compared," so to speak, and I saw a picture I thought looked familiar. "Don't I know her?" Click. I did know her--we went to school together, her father was one of my favorite teachers, her mother was my hairstylist for a while, and her own hair's just as big as ever. Heh. I didn't realize at the time, being new to Match, that if she checks her "Who's viewed me" box, MY profile and picture will be in there. Oops.

So that's where it stands with Match.

And, of COURSE, as soon as I cancelled my "MeMarmony" subscription, and lost the ability to respond to potential matches without forking over more money, I received a request for open communication from a guy who sounds terrific. What are the odds that he will actually BE as fabulous as he sounds? Good enough to spend more money? Or, given that this is MY life we're talking about, will he disappear from the face of the earth as soon as we actually speak? I haven't decided yet. I'll probably give the Match guys a little more time first, since I've already paid for a month there.

So did I give in to the temptation to be a smart ass in my Match profile? Well, a little bit, sure. I didn't go nearly as far as I wanted. HERE'S what I would have really liked to post, as a kneejerk reaction to SO many of the profiles I've now read:

So you want to take "long walks on the beach," do you? Let me compliment you on your originality of thought. Okay, first off, has it escaped your notice that we're in OKLAHOMA, and beaches are a bit scarce? We have plenty of lake shoreline--is that what you meant? (Either way, cheap date much? Are you at least going to spring for a nice bottle of wine?)

Am I equally "at home in jeans or high heels"? Still with the originality, I see. Okay, I don't wear jeans. I realize that makes me something of a communist, or maybe a terrorist, but I've never found denim to be all that comfortable, personally, and jeans aren't really all that flattering on every body type. (Heresy!) I find nothing more comfortable than a nice, flowy skirt. (Rayon is nice and soft.) Except maybe my flannel sleep pants, of which I own several pairs, though I promise I don't wear them in public. (All right, just that once!) And heels? I have some, and I wear them when the occasion demands. I find, though, as I get older, the occasion just doesn't demand all that often. Sandals and boots, depending on the weather--that's what it's all about for me. Oh...I'm really didn't want a detailed discourse on my fashion choices? You just wanted to know if I'm comfortable in a variety of social settings? Well, why didn't you just SAY that? Yes. Yes, I am.

You don't want anyone with "emotional baggage?" Not even a light carry-on? Seriously, who DOESN'T have some emotional baggage? If you've ever had a relationship--with parents, siblings, classmates, teachers, friends, co-workers, significant and not-so-significant others--you're carrying something around as a result. The only way to avoid it completely would be if you were conceived in a test tube, and raised in some sort of Utopian lab, I suppose. And who wants to date THAT? What you really mean, I suspect, is that you want your respective baggages to be compatible. Her Louis Vuitton duffel has to somehow be at home with your Samsonite suitcase. Perhaps you could come up with a less cliched way to say that.

You insist you want friendship first, then we'll see what happens? That's code for "waiting to see if any of your other choices are going to respond," right? That's okay--since I'm probably doing the same thing.

Let's get down to brass tacks--if you're interested in a smart woman (yes, maybe smarter than you) with a brain she uses occasionally to form her own opinions, a funny woman (yes, maybe funnier than you) who can't always let the zinger just sit there "unzung," who is nonetheless kind-hearted and considerate, then here I am. If that doesn't appeal to you--hey, look! There's a woman over there, walking along the beach in jeans and heels. Looks like just your type.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jerry Springer Show Quote of the Day

"If I wasn't so knocked up, I'd beat that bitch."

Oh, Jerry...your show is and always will be a shining oasis in the vast cultural desert.

Really, without the Springer Show how would I be instantly able to feel SO much better about my life?

Thanks, Jer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It was 20 years ago today

I've been thinking about summer, and August, and when it was that they began to feel such a chore. It certainly wasn't always the case.

Summers were great when I was a kid. Somehow we managed to live through the heat without central air. We rode around--took long trips even--in cars for which "air-conditioning" meant rolling the windows down as far as they would go. We played OUTSIDE and never worried about heat exhaustion. We had a small creek running through our front yard, and spent countless hours catching crawdads and minnows and splashing about. We spent long weeks camping at the lake, or swimming in the river and plentiful icy-cold creeks. The only drawback to August was the countdown to the start of school. Other than that, it was all good.

Somewhere along the line, things changed. And I know when the change started. 20 years ago. Oh, maybe not exactly 20 years ago today, but pretty darn close...that was the tail-end of my last truly carefree summer.

My last summer in Tahlequah.

My last summer working outdoor theatre.

My last summer not followed by a return to school.

The last time I dated someone who really, truly thought I was perfect. And I ended up dumping him. Sigh. Okay, that doesn't really have anything to do with summer, per se, but the two things are inextricably linked in my mind, since I met the guy in question at the outdoor theatre in question, and he was the impetus for my leaving my hometown and, however briefly, my home state.

Yes, I shook the dust of Oklahoma off my heels, and headed off to Texas with my true love (or so I thought.) We were going to stay in Texas until he finished his degree--he was a bit younger than me--and then we'd head off to New York. That was the plan. Didn't work out quite so neatly, of course.

I hated the small town in which his university was located. People would find out I was from Oklahoma and immediately start the mocking. Really...what's that about? I know all Texans aren't like that, but there were an inordinate amount of them at that school for whom making disparaging comments about "Okies" was apparently the most fun they could possibly have. I don't get that. You don't have to like us, of course...but shut up about it while I'm a guest in your house, for heaven's sake. So there was that.

I couldn't find a job, anywhere, doing anything, and soon we were absolutely broke. I even stood in line for a couple of hours to apply at Wal-Mart. "Have you ever worked a cash register?" Yes. "But have you ever worked a scanning register?" Well no, but don't you just swipe it past the scanner? Seems pretty easy. That was the wrong answer, by the way. Apparently the person conducting the interview had a bit of trouble learning that newfangled scanner technology, and did not care for my cavalier attitude regarding same. So there was that.

It wasn't all bad, of course. He had some lovely friends, one of whom "hired" me to help her sew costumes for the local Renaissance Faire. Those evenings spent in the costume shop with her, sewing and surging shapeless pants were actually quite fun. My 25th birthday came along shortly after we moved, and some of his friends insisted on planning an elaborate surprise party for me. Very sweet of them.

But mostly it was bad. I was STRESSED, and consequently I was a bitch. He didn't care. I was still perfect in his eyes. But he was increasingly imperfect in mine. He was brilliant--he took honors physics classes just for fun--but he didn't have a lick of common sense. He was always losing the car keys. He couldn't make himself a sandwich. It began to wear on me. After about three months, our money ran out. We couldn't make another rent payment. My car had developed a major oil leak. My kitten was sick one day, and I hated that I couldn't take him to the vet. (He was okay the next day, thank God.) We didn't even have a phone. I sucked it up, called my parents, and asked them to come rescue me. He pleaded with me to stay--we could crash with friends, we could live in the car. (He had done these things many times before.) It wouldn't matter as long as we had each other. But you know what? Love is NOT enough. Not for me. I'm not overly materialistic, but I by God need a roof over my head and a steady source of food. So home I went. (We didn't actually end things then, though. That came later, over Christmas break. A story for another time.)

So back to Oklahoma--but now to Tulsa, where my BFF was living. He had pleaded with me to come, and promised to let me live with him and his roommate until I could afford my own place, and to help me get a job. Done and done. I had two decent part-time jobs with a week, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But summer's never been the same. Oh, I've taken some great summer vacations, through the years. But 10 days in California, or a week in Chicago or New York, no matter how fun, isn't A SUMMER. You come back to a piled-up desk, and all the tasks they've been saving just for you. And air-conditioned houses and cars and work places seem like essentials now--how could I possibly live through August without them?--but I do sometimes think back to those last few pre-"real life" summers and wish I could have a summer like that again, A/C or no.

Maybe I will, some day. I've often thought if I ever find myself between jobs at just the right time, and can afford it, I'd love to spend one summer doing outdoor theatre again. (Of course the heat would probably kill me now. I'm 20 years older, you know!) I had a friend (my "celibate lesbian" friend, actually) who had a "zoo summer" between her last real job in Oklahoma, and her moving back home to Illinois. She worked for minimum wage at the zoo, and she had a blast. She said everyone should have a "zoo summer" at least once in their life. I think she's right.

It's the closest most of us (unless perhaps you're a teacher) can come to those childhood summers of long, lazy days that stretched on forever, of pitchers of lemonade, of catching crawdads during the day and lightning bugs at twilight, of walking to the town library and lugging back armfuls of books to be read at your leisure (and not merely sandwiched a few pages at a time into your work week).

When the only thing wrong with August was that it just wasn't long enough. Wishing for MORE August--it boggles my now 40-something mind.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A little help from my "blends"

Okay, so I'm seriously considering joining What the hell, right? I survived "MeMarmony," I've actually lived through speed-dating, how much worse could it be?

There's just one thing. The profile. It's got to stand out, right? I don't want to sound boring, and truthfully, many of the ones I read do. I want it to accurately reflect me, of course, but I don't think "Cat Lady Seeks to Share the Crazy" is exactly what is called for here.

So, I'm calling on my bloggy friends for input. You're all good writers; you're all funny, insightful people--what would YOU put in your online dating profile if you were ME?

Let me have it.

I really need to do something to take my mind off the heat, and the puppy, and the fact that my clutch cable snapped on the way back from lunch today. Sigh.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

August is the cruelest month

I hate August. It's the most dismal stretch of the year for me. It's hot. Miserably hot. Green turns brown. Tempers flare. It seems so long since spring, and so far until fall. I hate it.

So I've decided to go ahead and lay the blame for my feeling out of sorts and discouraged right at the feet of August. It's a handy scapegoat.

And I do feel out of sorts. Nothing seems to be going quite as it should right now, in this, the Year of Liz. What's wrong, you say? Oh, everything and nothing. It's aggravating--I wish I could point to one thing and say "That. THAT is wrong." And then I could take steps to fix it, and everything would be fine. But there's nothing major wrong; I just feel cranky. And tired. Very tired.

There's the puppy, of course. Some days it feels like all I do is fuss with the puppy. Not true, obviously, and the time I spend with him isn't really all that much, added up, but it FEELS like that's all I do. It's one more duty, one more obligation, and one I didn't ask for! It's making me tired. I have plenty of obligations as it is--work, taking care of the house and the car, taking care of the other animals, mowing the lawn, exercising, lather, rinse, repeat--and sometimes he feels like the straw that will break this camel's back. He won't, I know, down deep inside. This camel has a very strong back--it's just being weakened by hundred degree days. "Damn you, Aaaauuuuugussssst!" (Picture the raised fist.)

Do you ever feel like you just need one good thing to happen, RIGHT NOW? It could be a tiny thing, but it needs to happen RIGHT NOW. That's how I feel at the moment. I need one good thing.

It won't be coming from my dating life, I'm sure. If I even had a dating life. I've gone ahead and cancelled my short-term "MeMarmony" membership. It expires tomorrow. No, I'm not completely disillusioned because that one guy completely vanished from the face of the earth, even before he met me. (AFTER he met me, I could understand...but BEFORE?) It just doesn't seem that "MeMarmony" is really big around here. Most of the matches they've been sending me are from Texas, Kansas and Arkansas. Um...Dr. Warren? Those states are not 25 miles from my zipcode. I'm just sayin'. I really don't have time to date a guy who lives several hours away. Thanks, anyway. And, while we're at it, you might want to revisit those 29 levels of compatibility, and see if you can weed out the ASSHOLES, 'mmkay?

I guess I am kind of disillusioned with the "MeMarmony" system, come to think of it. The few matches I have gotten in the Tulsa area (with the exception of the asshole) have been for guys who are avid hunters, list "Pat Robertson" or "MY DECEDENTED WIFE SHE WAS MY ROCK MY EVERY THING" (quoted exactly, caps and all) as the most influential person in their lives, answer the question "How many books did you read last year?" with "0-3" or have profiles so riddled with typos and grammatical errors that I can barely stand to read them. Thanks, but I think I'll pass.

I am (obviously masochistic because of the heat) considering, only because I browsed through some profiles yesterday and found one that was fabulous. Really. I had to stop and fan myself while reading it, thinking this guy can't be real. Obviously, I must immediately pursue this, because a healthy dose of rejection would be just the ticket to curing my August blues, right? He really did sound great, though. (An artist, with liberal politics, who likes cats and kind people? Be still, my beating heart.) So why do I assume rejection? Well, that's the way I roll. And because he's looking for someone healthy and fit, and while I'm working on that, I wouldn't say I'm exactly there yet. But who knows, maybe he gives points for trying. 113 days worth of it, to be precise!

If that doesn't work out, I'll just become a lesbian. I'm thinking my friend Nora and I had it right years ago when, frustrated by the most recent jerks we'd been seeing, we decided to become lesbians. Only neither of us really wanted to actually have sex with other women, so we decided to become celibate lesbians, which seemed the perfect solution. And then we ran pictures of the guys in question through the office shredder--an activity I HIGHLY recommend, by the way. Very cathartic. And way fun. It would have been even more fun if we'd had a personal shredder at home, and alcohol could have been involved, but either way--DO try this at home, folks!

I do already have an "in" with the lesbian community, a bond which just continues to grow. Yes, I might have accidentally outed myself a bit more at church. What now?

Well, first of all, we were trying to line up our little choir to rehearse the anthem we were going to sing Sunday, and having our usual trouble lining up. Really, we're ridiculous. There's, like, six of us, and we can't get ourself into two even lines without help. So my singing lesbian friend says, giggling, "we're off-center." And without thinking I replied, "Boy, aren't we, though?" I MEANT in sort of a general way, you know...politically, and the like, but as soon as I said it it occurred to me that it could be taken as a sort of sisterhood solidarity statement. I don't know if she took it that way or not, though she did respond, "Well, you ARE left of center." Which I was, LITERALLY, at that moment, and FIGURATIVELY, of course. Oh well, at least Cute Church Guy wasn't there to witness the exchange.

Then, after church, we had a potluck picnic, and I was in such a hurry to get at that potato salad that I ended up loading my plate before any of my friends. By "friends," I mean those people I go to church with who actually are real-life friends, as well. People I knew before we were fellow congregants. Anyway, none of my "real" friends had sat down yet, but tables were filling up fast, and the non-singing lesbian, who was the only one yet seated at her table, said "feel free to sit with us, Liz." It seemed rude to say no, so I did. I sat at the gay table, thinking "well, at least Cute Church Guy isn't seeing this." Then he walked in, of course. AARghh!

Not that it matters in the slightest, really. I had a fine time chatting with the lesbians, who are very nice people, and our church's one token gay man, who's a little....odd, but pleasant enough...and who am I kidding thinking Cute Church Guy even bothers to NOTICE where I sit, much less takes the time to PONDER the possible ramifications of said seating. Really, I have absolutely no indication that he is even remotely interested in me, and yet, I let my brain go crazy worrying that he thinks I'm a lesbian. I am an idiot.

I blame August. It's heatstroke, obviously.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ebony and Ivory (plus ballpoint, rollerball and sharpie)

Yes, I am now a piano owner. No, my mother did not do justice to the sheer volume of naughty those children applied to the piano keys. Every key on the keyboard was marked upon at least twice, some of them THREE TIMES. Different writing utensils, different ink colors. For your enjoyment I have attempted to render the graffiti (see above) with my (very) limited Paint skills (definitely not "skillz"), since I neglected to take a picture before I began the cleaning process.

I am pleased to report that generous amounts of rubbing alcohol, Aqua Net hairspray and a Magic Eraser, along with even more generous amounts of elbow grease, have wrought wonders! It's not perfect; you can still tell something was done to the keys, but you can't read the letters from six paces. (And why, I'm sure you are asking, did I happen to have Aqua Net hairspray in my house? Well, I bought it to use for a show a few years ago. Turns out Aqua Net NEVER goes bad. And, after seeing it dissolving that ink, I cannot fathom why I EVER allowed that stuff to touch my hair. Yowza.)

Saturday afternoon I took myself off to the music store to buy some piano music, since my mother was in such a hurry to take advantage of a limited time offer of a strong back and a pickup truck that she forgot to grab some for me from her plenteous supply before setting off. I thought I would pick up some sort of general compendium, nothing too hard, just to get the dexterity back in my fingers, and maybe get the sheet music to a couple of my favorite recital pieces from back in the day.

Now, I never thought of myself as a particularly gifted pianist. I was pretty good during those stretches when I actually applied myself, and basically just okay the rest of the time. But when I looked at the music I used to play I nearly fainted. It looked so HARD! There was so much black on the many NOTES! How am I supposed to play all those notes?! I can barely SEE them. I'd have to use my reading glasses, for pete's sake.

So I wussed out and purchased a big book of "easy piano classics." It's piano playing for dummies, basically. The basic feel of each piece is still there, but some of them have been...simplified, slightly. In my defense, let me state that I did NOT buy the easiest collection available. Just sort of...medium easy. And, while I'm being pathetic and middle-aged, let me just confess that the real appeal of this particular collection was that the notes are printed...boldly. They're LARGE, okay? And printed on a very white background. In other words, I don't need my glasses. And my 40-something self really likes that.

At any rate, I've played a little each day since. The piano needs very badly to be tuned, which it turns out one of my musician friends can do for me for FREE, so maybe after that I'll actually spend a little money and have some of its other quirks ironed out. It's playable as is, but would be much more enjoyable without the assorted clicks and clacks.

Which well may have been caused by whatever horrible child/children did the artwork on the keys. I've already heard, while playing, the distinct sound of coins inside, falling to the bottom. I opened the top and fished out a Nasonex coupon which expired in 2000. I can see an elastic ponytail holder and a bobby pin, but can't reach them. There are, indeed, various coins sitting down below. When George comes to tune the piano, I'll take a good look inside and see if I can remove some of the detritus.

There is no way these items could have been "accidentally" dropped inside. It had to have been on purpose. It takes quite a sharp tug to even get the top open. Did they think if they rendered the piano inoperable, they could quit taking lessons? Were they doing some sort of physics experiment--testing the effect of various objects on strings and hammers? It NEVER would have occurred to me to drop things inside our piano, no matter how badly I wanted to get out of practicing. Was I just a particularly well-behaved child?

Yeah, probably. Dork then, dork now.

But a dork who owns a piano! Woo hoo!

And yes, I realize my excitement over that fact just proves the case even more. Dork here! Guilty as charged.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Two steps forward, one step back

For anyone who thinks (like my mother did recently--ha!) that my silence on the subject means Wiley the Stray has found a home, well, he hasn't. He's still with me. (He, of course, is absolutely sure he's found a home. With me. Please, please let him be wrong.)

Don't get me wrong...I don't HATE him. He's getting kind of cute now that his hair is growing back, he has his moments of sweetness (mostly when he's sleepy), and we're getting along okay for the most part. I just haven't fallen in love with him to such a degree that it would enable me to look past his "puppiness." I barely made it through my first few months with the young Pudge, and I was head-over-heels with that big goof.

You really, REALLY have to want a puppy to go through those first couple of years. They are so much work, what with the housebreaking, and the chewing, and the digging, and the need to teach them manners. I got my fill of puppies several years ago, when I took in Sadie and her seven, count 'em SEVEN puppies, and they lived for a month in my bathroom, until I found them homes. (Sadie stayed. And was mostly perfect. Apparently the responsibilities of early motherhood and living on the streets took all the puppy right out of her. She never chewed ANYthing.) Kittens are a different story. I lurve kittens. But puppies? Well, I feel the same way about puppies as I do about children. I think other people's kids are great. I just have no desire to have one of my own, in my house 24/7. I don't have the time and energy to deal with a puppy right now, and I know it.

But there he is. What are you gonna do? There's still some hope that a friend of mine may be able to foster him later in the month. But for now, he's with me. And every time we make a little forward progress, he does something bad, and I get frustrated all over again.

The last few days I've actually been able to leave him out in the backyard unattended for longer periods of time. I make sure he has plenty of toys, and he does okay for an hour or two. It's win-win. He gets the fresh air and exercise, which he loves, and I get something else done. But then last night around midnight, he apparently felt an urge to go to China. So there I was, at midnight, with a broom, attempting to fill in a very large hole which had just been dug next to my back door. Delightful. I tamped it down, topped it with a couple of bricks, and hoped he'd forget about his urge overnight, but he was right back at it this morning. AAAGGGGGGHHHH!

I can't take it. I can't have the backyard of my rental house covered with large holes. I HATE having to punish him for doing what comes naturally to some dogs (though not to Pudge, HE never digs), but what else can I do? A stern scolding and back into the crate he went. With any luck he'll be a fast learner re: digging, but when did I ever have any luck in the stray animal department?

Pity poor Wiley. Pity poor me.

On the plus side, it's my monthly early day, so I'll be cutting out of here at 1:00, and getting my badly overgrown hair cut at 2:00. Yay!

Oklahoma finally instituted a "sales tax free" weekend, which starts today, so I might be compelled to do a bit of shopping later, too.

And there's a chance my parents might be bringing me a piano this weekend. I've been wanting one for the longest time, but kept finding other needs for my "discretionary" income. (Like the care and feeding of every stray animal in the tri-state area, for example.) But my mom saw one at a resale shop where a friend of her works for a ridiculously low price, and they might buy it for me, if we can figure out a reasonably affordable way to get it here. (My parents live about 75 miles away.) Of course, there's a reason it is so ridiculously priced. Some child took a magic marker and wrote the names of the notes on EVERY WHITE KEY. (See, kids! Who needs 'em?) (Joking, joking, all my friends who are parents of wonderful children!) Hopefully a way can be found to remove the magic marker, and if not....well, I'll keep the lid closed when I'm not playing it, and eventually maybe pay someone to refinish the keys. But I've really missed having regular access to a piano, and an electronic keyboard just isn't the same thing. So I hope that works out.

'Cause then I can bang away on the keys, and temporarily forget all about the unhappy puppy in the garage. Oh, wait. It's me that's unhappy. Sigh.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Update: the Shiny Shoes

Okay, here they are. They don't look quite as hideous photographically, because you can't really see how SHINY those silver strips are. Also, now I feel bad because it turns out the "pink ribbons" have something to do with breast cancer research. It didn't say that on the box! I wouldn't have made such vigorous fun of them if it had. I'm not anti-breast cancer research!
Truthfully, if I saw these shoes on someone else's feet, I probably wouldn't blink an eye. They're just so NOT ME. And since I have size 10 feet, there's SO MUCH of them shining.
You may all make fun of me now for having such a visceral reaction to what is obviously a lovely and socially responsible shoe.