Tuesday, March 25, 2008

(insert profanity here)

Google search is a fantastic thing. I was seeking something that would, in one picture, express my near head-bursting hostility at coming out this morning in 17-degree weather, scraping my windshield, then having to pull over in front of a group of amused schoolkids waiting for the bus to scrape it again, because the befrigged defroster works only slightly better than blowing on the window through a coffee stirrer and I couldn't see.

Its March, people. The twenty-fifth of March.

Mothers of those kids: Sorry. I don't think I used any words they don't hear on the bus.

My anger seemed completely rational for approximately four miles. Then I became reflective. Wow, I thought. I really lost my S--t there. Weird. I tried to breathe and calm myself, but still had an irrational urge to shatter a windshield with a tire iron. I could hear the crunch muffled by the safety coating; could picture the glass crumbling into brightly sparkling bluish piles as I pounded it over and over. I found this image oddly comforting and savored it all the way to work.

MSNBC should be glad they don't have a comments feature on their articles. Because the "Global Warming is Making Spring Come Earlier" article would have been ranted upon; all my vocabularic vitriol (yes, its right. Shut up.) would have been poured on their alarmist nonsense. Come on up to Tioga County and see what's early, bitches. Bring a sweater.

Nothing is safe today. I'm a hate-seeking missile. What is up with this song that says "It starts in my toes, something about my nose, blah blah blah"? Does she have neuropathy? There is medication for that. Shut up, toes and nose girl. And while we are at it, why are they playing this song on the local country station? Isn't there a world of annoying country songs to choose from? How about the one where the man describes his wife as "Straaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwnnnnngh?" I haven't heard it in at least an hour.

Here's my Two Minutes' Hate list for Tuesday, March freaking twenty-fifth.

  1. Wintry mix-- this is NOAA shorthand for "We don't know what the hell its going to do, we've been flipping a coin pretty much all season, so we'll just say you'll get everything and then you can't complain.

  2. Lake effect-- I don't care what makes it snow. I really don't. Lake effect is blamed on everything from accumulation totals to Idiot Spitzer 'not keeping his dog in the yard'. And while we're at it.....

  3. Anything else Governor Patterson did. Enough said.

  4. American Idol-- If irrelevance had a color and a shape, a sound and a flavor, this would be it.

  5. Business telemarketing-- Really. Stop calling. Especially not today unless you enjoy feeling like a piece of meat that just got thrown into a cage because that is the sort of mood I'm in today.

  6. Whoever left a whiz-squirt of coffee in the pot and didn't make more.

  7. Country Music-- "Because of you, I'd run over you on the si-i-dewalk...." Whatever. Please get over it. And Reba? Do we need to do the math on how long you'd have to be dealing with your mommy issues if this was your song? Does it make sense for you to sing it? No it does not. Maybe you should cover some Staind as well.

  8. People who write everything like a txt msg- OMG. U sd lk a fkg idiot. Srsly.

Just to balance it out, here's my raindrops on mittens and strudel with kittens list. No, it isn't in any particular order. Cause I don't feel like it, that's why.

  1. Flannel sheets

  2. Target practice

  3. Hot soup

  4. Men in kilts

  5. Cat snuggling (No, not cat smuggling)

  6. Real cocoa

  7. Robert Plant circa 1973

  8. Fun purses
And because I can't leave you without something to look at, here. (This is for you, JD.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Four Things

I love doing memes. I look at them as a sort of writing prompt, slightly more dignified than the ones I seem to get forwarded on MySpace. I have a lot of MySpace friends that are considerably younger than me. Even though they gamely forward me their lists of 40 questions along with everyone else, I get the feeling they really don’t want my answer to “Who is the last person u kissed” and “What’s the weirdest place u ever did the deed”. It’s kind of like playing Truth or Dare with your mother’s younger sister. She’s fun and cool, but still old enough that there’s stuff you don’t want to know about her because Thanksgiving would be awkward.

Here’s the latest from the fabulous Tricia, which I volunteered to do because I thought it looked fun.

Four films I’d watch again: (I assume this means again and again!)
1. Enchanted April (The thinking woman’s chick flick. No Cameron Diaz.)

2. Like Water for Chocolate (Yes, its in Spanish. But its awesome and has Marco Leonardi in it, who is delicious. )

3. High Fidelity (I love the whole movie, but its worth it just to see Jack Black dancing like a spastic dreidel to ‘Walking on Sunshine’. Plus it has John Cusack.)

4. Say Anything (There are a lot of movies I have memorized in their entirety, this is probably the one for which I could write out whole pages of the script just from screenshots. Plus it has John Cusack.)

Four places I’ve lived:
1. Swedesboro, NJ
2. Downingtown, PA
3. Grantham, PA (Messiah College)
4. Belfast, Northern Ireland (for too, too short a time)

Four TV shows I watch: (We got rid of our dish and don’t watch TV per se, but we do get some shows from Netflix.)
1. The Office (UK and USA)
2. Freaks and Geeks (arguably one of the best shows ever made, I own the entire series on DVD. )
3. Heroes (We are working our way through Season 1, prior to the last two months I’d never seen even a minute of the show. I love it.)
4. The Sopranos (I missed the last couple of seasons, watching them on Netflix now. I know already that the ending is BS, I still feel like I need to see it through.)

Four things to eat:
1. Homemade manicotti with handmade crepe shells (one of my specialties)
2. Crabmeat stuffed mushrooms
3. The occasional burger on a lightly toasted kaiser with crisp bacon and cheddar cheese, medium, with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and a side of sweet potato fries with honey mustard dipping sauce. And a pickle. (I’m sorry…was that more than one thing? Shameless plug—Harland’s Family Restaurant in Wellsboro, PA best place to have this meal. So good you’ll cry.)
4. Foldy pizza. Big, flat slices, thin and crisp crust, with pepperoni that requires a napkin blotting from a NON-CHAIN pizza place owned by guys from Jersey.

Four places I’d rather be:
1. Taino Beach, Grand Bahama Island…failing that…..
2. Here in Tioga County PA when its 25 degrees warmer and there are leaves on the trees
3. On the way to a weekend getaway with himself
4. Sitting at a table in a non-chain café with a cup of coffee and a really good book, or a cup of coffee and a journal and a really good pen.

Four people to tag (if they want to do it):
1. Lisa from ‘Boondock Ramblings’
2. Himself over at ‘Unfinished Person’
3. Miss Anna at ‘Everyday Occasions’
4. Oh Silly One over to MySpace

And just for funs, the only 'Four' song that came to mind this morning.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Okay, kids. Its St. Patrick's Day. I feel almost as though I am obligated to post something on St. Patrick's Day, as if its 'my holiday'. My claim to that is tenuous, I could at best be described as half (maybe more like 30%) Irish and a lot of my 'Irish involvement' has waned over the last few years, replaced by things like 'marriage' and 'full time employment'.

But there was a time, boy howdy...there was a time.

In college I became aware of 'the situation' in Ireland. Some people call it 'The Troubles', a euphemism that, when Americans say it, annoys me intensely. (I don't think any tribe of Native Americans would call their progressive historical disenfranchisement 'The European Spot of Bother'....for instance.) At any rate, I started reading and learning, first with current events and finally reaching back, oh, about 800 years. I spent a year and a half just reading anything I could get my hands on. To say it interested me a great deal was an understatement; it was a 24-7 obsession. Thanks to a series of chance meetings I found myself with an opportunity not only to live in Belfast for a time, but to spin it for college credit. Advisors were argued with, and departmental meetings were held, mostly because this was a self-directed study, and partly because I was planning on living in a sketchy neighborhood of a city with a lot going on that didn't make the AAA Travel Guide, with people who spent most of their free time being harassed by the police and security forces. I argued and argued until I could prove the educational merit of my travel. I won the debate, and I went.
Some of my travel experiences, I've already written about here, some of the trip wasn't fun and in the interest of keeping things light here I'll avoid the politics altogether. Suffice it to say I jumped in with both feet, did what I could, and probably made sure I'll never get invited to the White House.

I spent time both in the Republic and the North, and while that by no means makes me any kind of expert on all things Irish, I noticed a few things that always come to mind when this holiday rolls around.

  1. Ham and Cabbage --Nobody has a clue what the deal is with ham and cabbage. It is not an 'Irish thing'. An Irish American thing, maybe, but when I asked about it in Ireland, they looked at me like I had two heads.

2. The Beer Myth-- No bar I ever went into in Derry, Belfast, Dublin, or up in the Wicklow Mountains in the shadow of the Glendalough Monastery ruin, served warm beer. I went to a bar where you had to hold the stall door in front of you in the ladies room because some angry drunk woman with impressive balance had kicked it off the hinges, but even there, the beer was cold.

3. The Disney-quisition--In Belfast, 89% of the people who got into a 'So you are an American' conversation with me asked me if I had ever been to Disney World. (I have not, largely by choice.) Then they talked about Disney for 10-15 minutes. Anything less than a thoroughgoing enthusiasm from my side on the Disney issue was met with bewilderment tinged with hostility. I learned to lie.

4. Sweet Caroline -- Granted, I probably did more karaoke in Belfast than was good for me, but I discovered early on that this song is a very, very popular choice. The best performance was in a bar that looked like some sort of post-apocalyptic bunker from the outside, and it was sung by a giant guy covered with tattoos and home-inflicted body piercings...to his grandma.

5. Just call me 'Canadianesque'-- On three separate occasions, on learning I was American, people said, "Oh, I assumed you were Canadian." I never did find out what is so Canadian about me, or whether I should have taken that as a compliment.

6. Feeling the Love-- One night in Belfast when cabin fever drove me out of the house to a pub by myself, I timidly pushed my karaoke request across a table to the emcee. He asked me a question, and when he heard my accent, he let me walk about six feet from him and announced over the PA system "Listen up, everyone, this is Kimberly. She's come all the way from America to sing with us and she's here on her own, so someone needs to invite her to sit at their table." Once I got over the stomach-clenching horror at being singled out I realized that the ENTIRE BAR was waving me over to their table. This was one example of many where complete strangers made me feel at home just as naturally as breathing. I have never travelled so far from home and felt so welcome.

I had to add this, a bit late, but it made me smile today.
Talk about it at Videocracy

Cead Mille Failte await you at Humor-blogs.com!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our
life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire
forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we
come From God, who is our home…"
--William Wordsworth

12:30am. My gut fills with the familiar shot of nausea inducing adrenaline that comes from a sudden loud noise piercing the silent dark of the bedroom. When will I ever get used to that? I swing my feet out from under the flannel sheets and search for my sweatshirt, fumbling my feet into shoes and feeling blindly for glasses. I leave the house as quietly as possible and slip into the frozen night, saying a quick prayer as my sleepy, growling ignition catches and my car rumbles to life. I drive the empty streets to the station and take my pick of parking spaces.

Our patient is a 92 year old woman at an assisted living facility with difficulty breathing. She had a coughing spell and then got very dizzy, could not catch her breath. Someone who was with her decided she'd better go to the ER and get checked out. No bronchitis or recent colds, surprisingly few chronic meds, and she is able to get on the stretcher with very little assistance. We swaddle her against the punishing cold.

"Will I come back here?"

"Yes ma'am, I'm sure you will, we just want to make sure you are okay."

"I'd better take my glasses. Do you have my glasses? I don't have my glasses. Maybe I should leave them here. Where are my glasses?"

"Why don't we leave them here, so we know where they are and you can get them when you get back."

"Okay. Just don't forget my glasses."

We wheel out of her room and toward the exit while an honor guard of sleepy looking nurses holds all the doors for us. Frigid air eddies through the stairwell as we negotiate doorsills, ramps.

"Will I come back here?"

"Yes ma’am."

I walk around the side as she is being loaded so I can take my seat alongside the stretcher. I try my best to be there when they slide in so they don’t feel alone. As I join her and reach for the blood pressure cuff she turns to me with wide blue eyes and a brilliant smile.

"I’m sorry, do I know you?"

"Yes ma’am, I’m an EMT with Wellsboro and my name is Kimberly. We’re taking you to the hospital now."


We swing onto the main road, back into town, toward the hospital. I put my hand on her arm, to reassure her over the bumps. Her eyes open and I am again treated to the smile, like watching sunrise over and over.

"I’m sorry, do I know you?"

"Yes ma’am."

We trundle into the hospital driveway and she grimaces briefly against the cold when the doors are opened, squinting against the bright busyness of the emergency room. The nurses help transfer her into a bed. I gather our paperwork and give her hand a pat as I leave. She beams with the merry eyes of a sister who has just shared a secret.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stars on 45 and other Random Thoughts

Yesterday was one of those days I spent in the car. For those who don't know, I do visual surveys for a moving company. I like meeting customers and walking into a stranger's house with their permission to view every single thing they own punches all my voyeuristic buttons, lemme tell you. I've learned two things: People are too twisted for color TV. And, your house is probably not as dirty as it could be.
Three appointments, all in New York, amounted to 10 hours on the road. I like days like this, for the most part. I'm alone with my thoughts and the day goes fast. Most of it, anyway. But I'll get to the slow part in a minute.

When you drive as much as I do, and get fed up with the radio (company car has no CD player, alas), you make up games to amuse yourself. Yesterday, I found myself thinking about my 45s. The royal blue and gold pasteboard box was a faithful companion through my childhood, until the purchase of my first cassette. (The Doors Greatest Hits, purchased at a farmer's market, fifth grade, in case anyone is wondering.) As a 'stay alert and in the lane' exercise I tried to remember what was IN my 45 box. I would mention, in my defense, that my music falls into two categories: I Wanted This and I Have No Idea Where This Came From But I Was An Odd Child.
  1. "Smoke from a Distant Fire" Sanford and Townsend-- This is definitely one I can't explain, though I will tell you that I slavishly learned it, and sang it over and over, along with the record. What I thought it meant, in elementary school, I can't tell you.
  2. "Baker Street" Gerry Rafferty-- This song still reminds me of driving down to Brigantine in a 1977 Ford LTD II with the windows open.
  3. "Disco Inferno" The Trammps-- I have no excuse. I wanted this one.
  4. "You Take My Breath Away" Leif Garrett-- I can still see him with his winged blond hair and shimmery scarf. He isn't looking so great these days. I inherited this record from my sister after she moved on to Pink Floyd, Molly Hatchett, and Black Sabbath.
  5. "Love Will Keep Us Together" Captain & Tennille-- Also inherited.
  6. "Love Will Find a Way" Pablo Cruise-- Even now, the song is in my head like an auditory hallucination.
  7. The Theme from Hill Street Blues-- Because I was fixated on the show.
  8. "Car Wash"-- Help me out here. Who did the song? Anyway, I thought the movie was funny, what I understood of it. I was probably eight when they started showing it on TV.
  9. Last, but not least: the very first 45 I ever bought: "Bad Blood" Neil Sedaka. ---Please don't ask why, because I don't know. I have a feeling he was on Sonny & Cher or something and then I wanted it. I bought it at Wilmington Dry Goods on Naaman's Road in Wilmington, Delaware.

I did my 12 o'clock in Vestal and backtracked to Owego for my 2pm. I bopped up the three flights of stairs to his apartment, rang the bell, no answer. Not a problem; he worked two minutes down the road, maybe he is running late. I go back to the van, leave him messages, and work on paperwork. Ten minutes go by. Twenty. Thirty-five. Now I need to leave for appointment number three (back in Vestal) so I write him a polite note, include my cell number and a business card, trek back up three flights of stairs, and tuck it in his front door. At 3:40pm, while I'm doing appointment number three, he leaves a message on my cell.

"Hi, um, yeah. I called a couple of people earlier because I didn't write anything down or anything and I thought I had an appointment but I didn't know when. Is this really necessary? I mean, can't I just tell you on the phone what I have? Call me on 607-xxx-xxxx and let me know. I guess I'll have to reschedule or whatever. Bye."

I call the number he left, and it rings 25 times with no answer or machine. I decide to drive out to the main road, make a much needed potty stop and pick up a cold beverage, and try him again. This time he picks up the phone on the 22nd ring and I explain who I am and that yes, we do need to do an estimate.

"(Sighs loudly.) Can my landlady let you in?"

"Sure, if she's available, but I am twenty minutes away, so I'd be there pretty soon."

"I'll call her and call you back."

He calls back four minutes later and says:

"I guess I'll have to meet you; she isn't picking up."

"Not a problem, I'll be there in twenty minutes."

"So, like, do you know where it is? And what building I'm in?"

(Yes, I know what building you are in, since I sat in your parking lot for almost half an hour earlier in the day when were SUPPOSED to have this appointment. )

I go back to his apartment, hike the three flights of steps, and enter through the front door that he has thoughtfully left open for me. He doesn't get up. I'm fairly confident in saying that I'm the only female that has ever been in this apartment. Its furnished with approximately 25 milk crates, four plastic shelving units of computers, clothes in black garbage bags, and a single bed on the floor.He completely ignores me and stares at his bank of computers as I open all of his closets and cabinets and learn that he derives most of his nutritional needs from ramen noodles and fried things he can later store in castoff tupperware. I tell him that I have some paperwork for him and without breaking his gaze from the screen he waves vaguely to his in-box and says "You can leave it there."

Oh, hell no. I suppress the urge to smack him in the head with the sheaf of papers in my hand and decide its time for Invasion of The Dance Space. I get right in his grill and sweetly say, "I just need you to sign these." His proximity alarm goes off and he lets go of the mouse and takes my offered pen. No apology for blowing off the earlier appointment, no niceties at all. I cheerily bid him adieu and get the heck out of dodge. I will be getting home and hour and a half after normal quitting time. And the greater Denver area is gaining an aerospace engineer with no social skills. Lucky them.

On an unrelated note, on the way home, I pass an 'Adult Outlet' with a sign out front that says, "Hop on in for your Easter adult gifts". Because, you know, nothing celebrates the resurrection of our Lord and Savior quite as well as porn and sex toys. What a wonderful world.