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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Where oh Where Redux

Tiger is missing again.

Mind you, the last time she got out (she's a primarily indoor cat) and was freaked out and couldn't find her way back.

That was more than four years ago, when she was merely elderly (13) rather than ancient (17 and a bit).

Since we moved to a real house, she has enjoyed sunning her old bones on the porch, and since she rarely leaves it, we remained unworried. Then she started lying in the warm grass (same goes) unless children (ours or the neighbors') bothered her, in which case she would wander back onto the porch. And we bring her in at sundown whether she likes it or not, because coyotes.

Yesterday she went out to lie in the warm grass and at dusk I couldn't find her. I left the back door open and the porch lights on. At midnight she came in and ate something and drank some water, and by the time I heard her little bell she was disappearing out the back door. I went and looked some more, but it was dark and she clearly wanted nothing of it.

One of the neighbors saw her this morning, in her usual place on the grass.

And we haven't seen her since.

My biggest worry is Abby; to her Tiger is practically a sibling. And if she has just wandered out to find a nice comfy place to die (she is seventeen), Abby'll be crushed.

If she's eaten by coyotes we'll never know.

Send good kitty-finding thoughts our way?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Warm Brownies

Why, you may wonder, is JennTheGamerMom talking about warm brownies (gooey chocolatey brownies, with the frosting melting over the edges and... <ahem!>) in the hottest July on record here in the Seattle suburbs?

Because it's not that kind of brownies.

It's this kind of Brownie.

That's right, Miz Liz has now officially joined the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, and the whole troop celebrated both Lizzy and the other new girl, and the bridging for the other girls; bridging in this context is graduation from Daisy Scout to Brownie Scout.

I expect you all to buy twice the cookies now.

Just kidding.


Thankfully, given that the temperature outside is about human normal (98F as of this writing), our co-leaders had the very good idea of having the bridging ceremony/picnic at a local park,on Lake Sammamish (with lifeguards for extra safety). The Brownies cooled down in the water (after my own little Brownie dashed up once to tell me she was afraid of stepping on crabs (it's fresh water, honey; you don't have to worry about that) and again to tell me she got her skirt wet (which was fine, because, again, fresh water).)

This is a Girl Scout troop made up of people whose parents are practically Boy Scouts, insofar as preparedness goes. They had changes of clothes for everyone, bottled water in addition to the picnic drinks, and sunscreen of varying strengths to refresh any that was waning. And they did it all on the lake shore where I spent a lot of time growing up.

I have a lot of memories of - while not this park specifically - the general area, and Lizzy and I talked about some of these on the way there (in between singing along to this song, on an old CD I bought for Abby about ten years ago).

I remember the White Wave (really the eternal summer motorboat wake) with which my stepbrother used to frighten us (especially my younger sister) while out in our rubber boat, the USS Overloaded.

I remember scaring the crap out of my dad during an informal driving lesson along that road, by turning left into oncoming traffic.That was about 31 years ago.

I remember this (Styrofoam?) airplane that we would catapult into the air at the larger park just north of the one today. It was often weighted in various spots by coins that my dad - an aeronautical engineer - would Scotch-tape on to see what would happen to the flight path. That would have been... almost 40 years ago?

All in all, a good time was had, with paddling in the lake, and crossing a bridge from Daisies (or not-a-scout, in Lizzy's case) to Brownies, and picnics and ice cream and playing and... just fun.

But still, as mentioned? Hace calor.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

That Which Offends

I find it interesting that different people - even some I count as friends - are so very offended by things that make me shrug and say, "meh."

And vice versa.

Ariana Grande ranted about how much America sucks and basically showed some super nasty behavior (ewww... licking donuts? Who does that?) in public, and half the people I know on Facebook are set to have her run out of the country on a rail. Or tarred and feathered, whichever comes first. Because an actress and singer said mean and stupid things on video.

She posted an apology, which apparently no-one believes. Especially the people who say that "all Disney child stars are horrible," thereby proving they have no clue. Grande made her mark on Nickelodeon, not on the Mouse.

But other actresses and singers - and even people who claim to be experts in something other than singing and acting - are forgiven immediately by some of these same people for things that I personally find extremely offensive. It doesn't mean that I won't - for instance - ever read anything by Orson Scott Card again because he's a homophobe who said in 2008 that he would "actively try to destroy" any government that allowed same sex marriage.

To me that's a lot worse. Even treasonous. Certainly worse than some spoiled 22-year-old behaving badly in public.

But yet I read (some of) his books (not with my kids; they're not old enough).

Just as I listen to (some of) her music with my kids.

You want to vilify Grande, be my guest. Just be honest with yourselves as to why you're mad.

Is it because she acted like a spoiled brat in public? Or is it because you honestly believe that anyone who doesn't love our country the way you do should get the hell out?

Or... and I'll say it softly because I know this isn't the case for most of you (just a few commenters I saw on Facebook)... do you assume by her name and her looks that she's not a "real" American anyway?

If the latter, then shame on you.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Collection of Symptoms

WARNING: This post contains not-too-graphic references to Girl Stuff. If that's TMI, then don't read it. I'm not completely over the Crankypants discussed below.

The problem with syndromes is that they tend to be just that - a collection of seemingly unrelated symptoms.

Until several pile on at once, and then you shout at your husband for perfectly normal things.

I am, in general, a fairly equable person. I have a quick temper, but I snap once and then it's over. I'm a shouter as a parent, but that has more to do with laziness on my part - who wants to get up to go to the next room? - than any actual shoutiness.

So today, with Laston looking a bit wounded that I bit his head off and then stomped off to take a shower, I did some regrouping in there.

Symptoms: irritability (obviously), headache, fatigue. Slight dizziness. All of these can be explained by the fact that I am, well, still a functional girl. It all still works; it just can't make babies anymore, as I painstakingly explained to Lizzy a few months ago. As I'm 46, this is a Good Thing.

Okay, so PMS. Check.

But even with PMS, I'm not usually that much of a bitch.

It's been a weird week. Although things were super cool and all, what with joining the ranks of the Formally Educated, it was very, very stressful.

Okay, so PMS and stress. Check.

Still not enough, generally speaking, I'm certainly under less stress than I was when I was actually in school, and I finished that last December. Money's always an issue, even with graduation gifts from assorted people, but certainly no more so than usual. The day-to-day is no different; I feel that I do too much around the house and the rest of my family does too little (or rather does too little unasked), and that they don't listen, but that's par for the course.

I've had some really nice comments on my work and my writing and the kids are basically healthy and happy.

So what gives?

I found out when I put on my sandals to take out the trash.

Holy Google, it's 89F out there. In June. In Seattle. And the heat index is about the same. And it's only going to be worse next week.

I got back in, used my asthma inhaler, and took off my sandals. I already have marks in my feet and they've been on for a grand total of nine minutes. And my ring is too tight, rather suddenly.

A clue, a clue!

Not heatstroke, per WebMD; I don't have a fever or any of the vomiting, etc that are common symptoms (thank Google). Heat exhaustion, heat exhaustion... ah, there it is. Risk factors: obesity (check), pulmonary disorders (check), high blood pressure (check), pregnancy or other hormonal factors (like PMS. Check.). High blood pressure and thyroid medications (check).

Well then, elevate the tootsies, strip to the bare minimum for decency, and drink lots of water.

And I already feel better.

I KNEW I bought all those clear fluids for a reason. And I should not have had coffee this morning.

Sorry, honey.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Commencement and Other Milestones

Trying to remain serious
Audience members of mine
I walked today.

With 550 or so of my Washington brethren and... sistern? Hmm... fellow alumni.

It was a seriously big deal, and I actually enjoyed the process, although there were a number of somewhat uncomfortable elements, like good old-fashioned acetate caps and gowns, and one bathroom stall for every hundred or so women.

So hot backstage!

That's me!
And although my new haircut is cool and cute and kind of breezy, it also does not take bobby pins well. So the cap kept slipping.

But oh, wow, I love how the University acknowledged the families of the graduates as well. Google knows mine were indispensable. I believe strongly that something like this - especially for those of us who were not fresh out of high school - requires major support from family, friends, roommates, whomever is your normal support structure, taken Up to Eleven. And I now feel more... I don't know, official, I guess... because I have actually done the walk.

And I almost had to do another one this evening, late, because the your-car-won't-start that we thought was super simple the night before (and therefore deliberately ignored because it was safely in my mom's driveway) was rather more complicated than we thought.

Battery old and corroded. Fine. Let's get a new one. I have a graduation gift of some cash and that's a good thing, and a new battery is only a hundred bucks or so. So  the good folks of ATT Roadside Assist send me out a tow truck, he gives me a jump and sends me down to the local auto parts store for a new battery. So far so good.

The battery guy - nice kid - takes out the old one (so corroded it's scary) and pops in a new one. He tightens the bolts and sends me on my way, with the instruction to drive for about 20 minutes to charge the battery.

Which worked great until said battery died again, this time in the middle of the road. With Abby (and we agreed while waiting for the tow truck that it was a good thing Lizzy wasn't with us or she'd run into traffic out of sheer boredom) and we can't get hold of Laston because his phone is charging and still off from the day's events.

So we get a friend who is also a neighbor to figuratively smack Laston upside the head and tell him to turn his phone on, Laston calls and comes down to where we are (Lizzy at Grandma's), to wait until the tow truck gets there and take us home.

Except he doesn't have to wait for the tow truck, because although Laston can't remember to turn his phone on, and he's not really a "car guy" he IS somewhat of a polymath, and that includes internal combustion engines.

He figures out that the problem is not the battery, or the alternator (thank Google). It's that the battery cables are not making the connection, even though they look okay at first glance. The kid at the auto parts store tightened them pretty well, but there's something wrong inside the cable attached to the positive thingy (contact?). Like maybe the battery acid corrosion ate through the cable somewhere and it's got a short circuit? So the battery didn't charge.

We got the car home without the help of the tow truck driver, and tomorrow I'm taking the van to work while Laston works on the car. And does the dishes, I hope. Happy Fathers' Day, honey!

In any case, it was a great day for power of one sort, and a really bad one for power of the battery sort, both phones and cars.

But then there's this, the sleepover at Grandma's. And that's enough for me.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Know too Much

At least, too much about show tunes / classical music / musical theater.

I blame my father.

Tunes get conflated in my head until I can't separate them; as an example, a mix tape I made off the radio (yes, I said, "mix tape;" I was in my teens when I made it) means that Jack and Diane always comes after Down Under, and it feels wrong if it doesn't.

I know annoying bits of musical trivia, like the fact that Twinkle Twinkle, the Alphabet Song, and Baa Baa Black Sheep are all the same tune.

Only instrumental music - and only that I have not played on my cello - can be listened to while I am writing. If the music is vocal, I tend to write what I hear, and if it's an instrumental piece I have played, my fingers twist up into the cello fingerings instead of what I meant to type.

Abby played a song on her recorder today, and I can't for the life of me place it. I know it, I can hum it, but I cannot remember what the hell it is from.

The Firebird Suite? Fanfare for the Common Man? Appalachian Spring?

I can't remember.

Maybe there's an app that will let me sing into the microphone on my phone and search for it?

Of course, there probably is an app for that, but it's almost certainly not available for Windows Phone, which is what I have.

I love my phone, but it gets very little love from the world - read: app developers - at large.

Lizzy can identify it as, "from Little Einsteins," which is not precisely useful, as the whole point of that show is to familiarize children with classical music. Abby thinks it's not from Firebird, "because it's not in the Nature Spirit After the Volcano Thingy from Fantasia 2000." I think it probably is. seems to think it's Japanese.

It's definitely not. American or European, for certain.

Doo da doo, doo da doo. Doo da doo da doooo.

ETA: Oh, for heaven's sake, it's one of my absolute favorite symphonies: Dvorak's New World. No wonder I couldn't decide whether it was (Eastern) European or American!

(start around 9 minutes, 30-ish seconds)