Tag: Change

Know-Nothing. Party.

C.’s Quick Translation for Online Oppinuendo on Health Care

You liberal/conservative idiot! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

Don’t you have a brain?! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

The Republicans/Democrats are out of touch with the American people!  Down with them!  Drag them into the streets! :   Rep-R/Rep-D voted against my personal opinion! 

Obama is the Antichrist! :  I’m conservative.

Obama is brave to take this problem on! :   I’m liberal.

Stop making asinine comments! :   I have weighed and measured such information as I have found, and I now find myself on the other side of the aisle from you.

You socialist nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

You conservative nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

This is a choice between good and evil! :   This is a choice between political ideologies, about which I feel very strongly.

It’s unconstitutional! :   It personally offends my sensibilities.

I can’t even begin to tackle your logical fallacies! :   I refuse to attempt to see things from your liberal/conservative point of view and prefer to argue.

As a future doctor I don’t want to have the government dictate the terms of my work (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to me! :   I much prefer to dictate the terms of my work  (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to my patients myself.

Go ****/$$$$/@@@@/%%%%  yourself! :   I’m afraid we just can’t see eye to eye on this. 

The End Times are coming! :   I am seriously displeased with the turn of events.

I’m moving to Canada! : I am not actually moving to Canada despite ranting to the contrary for some time. 


There, now you find yourself able to navigate the intricacies of Facebook, comment threads, and forum mudslinging.  Take a few calm breaths to recharge and think of some withering profanities, and when you feel ready, charge back into the fray.  Discussion doesn’t seem to be the name of the day, so feel free to bandy tired clichés back and forth, quote the pundits/talking heads in lieu of actual original thought, and mistake insults/gloating for a solution.  Carry on!

My Love-to-Hate Affair With Mac & Cheese

“At least she’s eating better things than macaroni and cheese.”
– Heidi Klum

Translation of fragment: "Mac and Cheese is food fit for dogs. And Gauls. Go Rome!"

Throughout my life my mother has been in school, in some capacity or another.  When I was about three or four, she had to leave Dad and I for a few weeks to finish up something or other with one of her degrees (I misremember which.  Which isn’t me being a bad daughter, it’s her having one in Asian Studies, one in American History, and now another in Classical Studies from Cambridge because she decided to learn Greek and Latin.  In other words, my mother is exceptionally awesome).  Time has blurred the details a bit but as I recall, this was an absolute highlight of my short life because Dad and I subsisted on mainly pizza.

I didn’t realize this during the Great Pizza Blitz, but it turned out that my Dad hated cooking.  Really hated it.  He encouraged my Mum to go to school, continue her education throughout her life, and work if she wanted, but by golly the one thing he wanted was dinner to be on the table, because left up to him, dinner would come grudgingly from a frozen package.

So, a few years down the road when she decided to teach for a semester or two at a local university, I thought the Pizza Affair would be reborn.  I was sadly, terrifyingly mistaken.

This is NOT food.

Mac and Cheese.  From a box.  Every night.  Some days even for lunch.  Sometimes we varied it up with chunks of hotdog, but mostly not.  Again, I’m sure both time and horror have worked their magic on me and the vile orange sludge was not as prolific as I remember, but it sure seemed like it at the time.  When my mother’s teaching finished, I refused to eat another disgusting, processed bite, and I’ve never touched it since.  Once when shopping J. picked up a box for himself on days when I’d be at school late or he needed a lunch, I had to swallow escaping bile.

However, watching Food Network the other day, I saw a recipe for ‘Grown Up Mac And Cheese’ and thought suddenly to myself, “That doesn’t look so bad.”  It sounded pretentious enough that I could assure myself that it would be as un-Kraft-like as possible, but looked really easy to make.  So, on Sunday I girded my loins and made Mac and Cheese for the first time in years.

And you know what?  It was pretty darned tasty!

**I’ll still never make the packaged stuff again.  My children will not be subjected to this powdered cheese monstrosity, except to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  And even then, I might choose death.

Ready To Spring!

 “Winter is a ball hog.  It’s time to warm the bench and let Spring play a bit.”
– TenFour

I make this same error every year: sometime around mid-February we get a week of warmer temperatures and sun instead of thick, low-hanging clouds, and I will invariably mistake this for the early signs of Spring.  

I'm ready to be right regular March Hare!

I’ll start gleefully stripping my closet of turtlenecks, sweaters, and wool trousers and putting them in plastic tubs for storage.  I’ll shun hot chocolate and tea and valiantly start drinking lemonade.  I’ll start sporting brightly colored shirts and colorful accessories.  I’ll shave my legs with more enthusiasm than I’ve done in months! 

However, immediately after one (foolishly) locks the last of one’s winter gear away, the snow clouds roll back in and one has to snag a cardi from home on one’s lunch break because the temperature has dropped.  It’s been snowy and gray all day and I’m in a strop.  See here and here for last year’s thoughts on the subject.    

Admittedly, it’s been an irregular winter to begin with.  Here I’ve sat (mostly) high and dry in the Rocky Mountains while two nasty snowstorms have walloped the East coast.  Where’s the logic?

Self. Denial.

“You should give up hamburgers for Lent.”
“Why on earth would I do that?”
“Well, I’m giving up something bad for me, so you should too.  Be supportive.”
“I’m giving up smoking.”
“You don’t bloody smoke!”
“See?  I’ve improved myself already.”
– C. and J.

I’m at a loss.  New Year, the time for such bursts of ardent revamping passed without so much as a guilty twinge.  The number on the scale creeping upwards gave me pause, but not enough.  The subtle tightening of my trousers was acknowledged, but then dismissed (though oddly enough my shirts displayed no such variance).  No no, friends.  What gets C. back into the gym, swearing off junk food and dedicating herself anew to salads?  

Alright, I'll work out. I'LL WORK OUT!


Of course I’m not going down by myself so J. has been bugged, hounded, and generally harassed until he agreed to give up Mountain Dew (though not all sodas, he would like it noted).  He’s also being dragged to the gym with me to keep me on the straight and narrow.  I got on an elliptical machine today for the first time in six months and clocked nearly three miles before doing a half hour of weights, so I forsee the traditional Lenten feelings approaching tomorrow: sorrow, remorse, and reliance on prayer to get one through. 

I’m already craving sugar.  Keep me strong, friends!

Why Are Mothers So Smart?

“It is a difficult thing to do, to stop being a full-speed-ahead student and settle into the more mundane life of a working woman.  Suddenly you find yourself no longer super stimulated, intellectually, or running 100 mph, 24/7.   

It’s very hard to get into the swing of mundane things, and find satisfaction in them.  Learning to love the simple things in life is a art form.  It takes a change of mental attitude and a lot of practice in order to go slow and enjoy the ride.  Instead, we tend to want to fill up our days with things that stimulate, but don’t really feed our needs.  Burnout is the inevitable result.
Do get your exercise and healthy food, do go to bed earlier, do say ‘no’ to things, but ‘yes’ to fun, and do let me know if you want me to buy you a light box.”
– Mum

Funny how mother’s just get things, huh?  Like winter funks and the contributing factors.  And how they immediately either make you feel better or know what to suggest that will.  Hope I’m this wise when I’ve got my own spawn to raise!

I’m lucky to have lots of mother figures in my life so here’s a happy birthday to the newest but by no means least, my wonderful Mother-in-Law Darling tomorrow!  I’m lucky to be able to share my families (all of them) with you!

Pillow. Fight.

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillows.”
– Charlotte Bronte

Apart from the subconscious boxing J. and I seem to engage in while asleep, it is not the only adjustment to be made sharing a bed.

Though we have little awake experience to corroborate this, morning evidence suggests that we also play blanket tug-o-war on an almost nightly basis.  Admittedly our second best set of sheets is pretty flimsy and doesn’t grip the bed well, but many is the morning we have woken up nearly smothered by a fitted sheet sprung free from its mattress corner.  We also must toss and turn a lot because some mornings we awake to find blankets kicked off to the floor, or gathered so tightly around our heads that our feet are poking out.  I suspect myself of secret malice because some mornings I wake up, completely overheated, but piled with most of the blankets, as if to keep J. from getting at them.

J. however, has sunk to a whole new low.  A few nights ago, I was deep in slumber when he started moving around a bit and woke me up.  Just an eyelid flicker, nothing too serious.  I’d just closed them again when suddenly…

Thunk!  My head dropped back and plunked on the bed.  I scrambled up in confusion but a quick glance to my left explained all.

J. had stolen my pillow!  Right from under my head!  In his sleep!

I dragged it back, which of course woke him up, disgruntled I might add.
“You stole my pillow!” I accused.
“No I didn’t,” he returned.
“Yes you did,” was my witty rejoinder.
“No I…oh…”
His own missing pillow surfaced, shoved up in the corner of the bed.


Married Alive


“So, you liking married life?”
(awkward pause)
“Wait!  I mean, I love being married to J. but being married itself is hard!”
-Daae and C., who was not paying proper attention to the question
If we're being honest, though, let's admit that as long as we're not at this point, we're doing rather well!
If we're being honest, though, let's admit that as long as we're not at this point, we're doing rather well!

Now, my other young married girl friends, back me up (especially us breadwinners Angel, Jane, Venice, Daae, and the rest of you!), it was a bit of an adjustment when someone took Beyonce’s advice and put a ring on it, wasn’t it?  There are dozens of variations on this theme, but they all involve trading total independence for total inter-dependence and that, my dears, is no easy feat! 

See, everyone tells you that being married is work and tries to warn you, but nothing prepares you for the reality of factoring in another human being into every decision you make.  And nothing can even hope to brace you for the blow that comes from being utterly independent (parents in another country, never asking for money, graduating, travelling, etc., all on one’s own), and then being the sole supporter of a newly minted family! 

No more sharing bills with flatmates, extra money now goes towards feedings this guy (who eats approximately 56 times as much as you do, rough estimate), and say goodbye to nearly all your free time!  Lunch breaks for me ever since we got married have been spent running errands, getting my name changed on everything imaginable, and putting him on my various policies.  Evenings are spent shuttling us around to our various commitments, and I’m the only chauffeur as J.’s ability to drive a manual aren’t up to par.  On top of which, the flat, cable, electricity, gas, car, insurance, and only full-time job we’ve got is all on my head.  And laundry, because J. hates it (which is ok, because I flat out refuse to touch dirty dishes).

Much to my chagrin, this look usually makes J. laugh.  Which is odd, because I've found to be very effective in other aspects of my life...but my husband think's it's hilarious.
Much to Small Dog's chagrin, this look usually makes J. laugh. Which is odd, because I've found to be very effective in other aspects of my life...but my husband think's it's hilarious.

Occasionally I get stressed out/mildly resentful of all this change slapped on at once.  Busiest time of year at work, J. starting his program (which is one of the top ranked in the country) and therefore falling off the planet, and adjusting to living with a new spouse, with all the curious incidents that entails

But I am fortunately/unfortunately married to a person who absolutely understands the way my busy little mind works.  So when the stress gets to be too much, J. cracks a joke or makes a rather ill-timed comment, and I turn freezingly silent for hours/days while I try to reign in my temper…as soon as I emerge from my little nuclear winters, J. can say, “I understand,” and I know he means it.

What’s In A Name?

“The name we give to something shapes our attitude towards it.”
-Katherine Patterson

Good.  Grief.  Men just have to cough up enough for a sparkly ring, rent a tux, and show up.  Us girls not only have to go through the angst of dress fittings, agonizing over catering (incidentally, I didn’t get to eat a thing at my reception; a fact about which I am inordinately bitter), fret pointlessly over flowers, and basically worry for months at a time.  And THEN, after the whole affair is over, we get to go around sorting out an entirely new identity, complete with documentation. 

My latest theory is that these guys were in line to register their horses, died of waiting, and were fossilized thus. Emporer Qin had a long ways to go with imperial management.
My latest theory is that these guys were in line to register their horses, died of waiting, and were fossilized thus. Emporer Qin had a long ways to go with imperial management.

Our marriage certificate came in the mail last saturday, a fact we celebrated by almost immediately consigning it (accidentally) to the garbage.  I blame J., J. blames me (I think I have a much more convincing case since I’m gone all day and, even though I’m a horrid klutz, I’m not usually that much of an idiot).  Either way, I got off work early today so I trekked on over to the county buildings and got a new copy and then, in a burst of energy I know regret, I decided to be productive and get my name changed on a few things as well.  An hour later, still waiting in line at the Social Security Administration (listening to the endless repetition of numbers of people who had long ago thrown in the towel, “47?…47?…47?…Is 47 here, please?…47?…”) I finally got that sorted.  There was the minor hiccup of me not being born anywhere near the Continental United States, but that minor heart attack was glossed over by the fact that they had my previous information from when I was employed as a student. 


Then off to the Driver License Division (otherwise known as the 9th circle of Hell)!  However, getting there was a mess because there were two places listed and somehow in my temper frayed state, I managed to superimpose the numerical address of one place on the opposite city.  Which meant that I spent another 45 minutes doing loop-de-loops across town trying to find this office.  It was housed (read: hidden) in a small bank without any labling on the outside to indicate its presence within.  I must have circled that parking lot half a dozen times before I worked up the nerve to just march into a building and demand guidance.  Then we had a repeat of the line process, the only difference was that this time I got to sit.  Right next to one of the more unusual characters I’ve seen in weeks. 

 This woman was tiny, the size of a 12 year old, and from the waist down she could have been an octogenearian: varicose veins, droopy tatooes working their way down her calves, and crusty feet.  But she had plump childlike hands and arms and a head that I honestly can’t put an age on.  Grandma-ish features on a young face and hair color that looked natural.  Midway through my wait she answered a phone call and started arguing in the meekest,  quietest voice about some sort of payment.
suspense1ha9“You’ve gotten me into something I can’t get out of,” she mewed, “I’m a student” [to add further to the riddle of her age] “and I can’t possibly afford to pay for this.”
My ears perked up in spite of themselves, though I kept my nose firmly buried in a David Sedaris book.  It sounded serious!
“I didn’t know I had that option,” she chirruped softly, “I was told I was under a contract and that I had to keep buying, so I did, but I can’t honor those commitments now.”
A gambling addiction?   A vicious, silken-tonged bookie on the other end perhaps?
“But I only wanted the animated Bible stories and you made me buy lots of other films!  It’s terrible of you to try and make me pay for this, it’s about religious material and you were completely false in selling them to me, you should be ashamed of yourselves!”  She took a breath and said in an even meeker voice, “I’m sorry you alwas see the worst side of me in these phone calls, I don’t like being so unpleasant, but I’m just so upset.”

A huge letdown, in my opinion. 

Another half hour later I was called and with a brief repeat of the question of my natal origins, I got my name changed on my license as well.  Then, driving home, I rolled down my window because I thought my car was making a funny noise.  Having ascertained it wasn’t, I rolled my window back up but managed to catch my sun visor in the closing pane and heard two terrible crunches before I managed to reverse the window and survey the damage.  My visor now has a definite dent down the middle where the plastic inside has been snapped in half and my mirror was shattered.  All the way home I was showered with confetti-like shards of glass.

And halfway home I got a text from J. telling me his parents are coming over for dinner.  Bless him for cleaning up and doing dishes, otherwise I might have tossed our new certificate right back in the trash in a mood and gone straight to bed.  Thank goodness tomorrow is a state holiday and I can sleep in!