Monthly Archives: March 2008

A day full of nothing has value of its own

I had the day off from work yesterday. I did nothing.

Well, yes, I did something. But it felt like nothing. I didn’t accomplish anything. At all.

I swept sticks off the deck. I sat outside and listened to the birds sing their springtime songs. I saw three bluebirds. That made me happy. I took two naps. Not on purpose, it just sort of happened that way.

I watched parts of a basketball game, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I read a few pages in a book, but I don’t remember what I read.

I answered some email. Made a couple phone calls. Talked to my kids about what they want for Easter dinner. I ate a couple meals. And a few jelly beans. Fed and watered the cat and the Wonder Dog.

And that’s about it.

It’s not that there wasn’t anything I could have or should have been doing. Just that I didn’t do any of it.

I guess we all need a day like that once in a while.

Of course, I’ll need to do that much more today to make up for it. But that’s okay. For a change, I’m feeling well rested.


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Why fast food is hazardous to your health

I was in a car accident yesterday. That is, my car had a close encounter with another vehicle and it was accidental.

Okay, I’ll start at the beginning. I went out to get some lunch. Because I didn’t bring my lunch to work. Which was sort of deliberate because it was a beautiful day and I wanted an excuse to get out in it. I went to a fast food place where I could buy a delicious and nutritious grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat bun. And an unsweetened iced tea. Practically health food. We just won’t talk about the cheese and bacon.

Anyway, it was one of those setups where as you wait in the drive-thru line — why, yes, I was feeling too lazy to park and go inside — you are also in the middle of the freakin’ parking lot. So I was sitting there indolently minding my own business when I suddenly felt a large confusing thud. Confusing because I looked at the car in front of me and there was quite a space between us, and then looked in the rear view mirror and no one was behind me. Then I noticed a very large extended cab pickup truck in my peripheral vision and it was . . . well, it was a bit too close for comfort. In fact, it appeared to be attached to the left rear panel of my car.

So the driver of the truck pulled forward, back into his parking space, and I thought, Damn it, I do not need this today. I really do not want to have to rip someone’s effing head off. Because, with the mood I’m in, if I get started I might not stop. Have I mentioned work has been stressful lately?

I got out of my car and the other driver got out of his truck and even as I said, with more exasperation than anger, because I’m really trying to stay calm, “I can’t believe you just did that,” he was already saying, “Oh God, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault. I was talking to someone and I just– oh God, I’m so sorry.”

A lady rushed over who apparently belonged to the car parked next to the truck and she was saying, “Oh, no, it’s all my fault. I was so busy talking to him and I distracted him and– oh, I’m so sorry.”

Okay fine, I thought, everyone is sorry. Terrific. Meantime, I was looking at my car, trying to determine what damage had been done. Because it was a really big thud and it shook the entire car and I had visions of hundreds of dollars worth of repair work dancing in my head.

Except there was no damage. The guy and the lady and I all stood there staring at my car and THERE WAS NO DAMAGE. Well, there was a tiny little door ding paint transfer thing that had been there for a while and the guy ran his fingers across it and said, “Well, at least it’s not too bad.” And I said, “No, that’s been there for a while.” And we both looked at each other with matching WTF expressions and he said, “I hit you pretty hard.” And I said, “Yeah, I know.” And then we looked back at my car. Which had nothing wrong with it.

And then he said, “Oh, here it is,” and pointed to my rear tire. Which had a scuff mark on it. No damage, just a fresh scuff mark. You could barely even see it. And I looked at my tire and I looked at the very impressive rear bumper of his very large truck. And the two did not line up. At all. Not even close. But it was plain as day that the rear bumper of his truck had scuffed up my rear tire. When all the laws of physics and aerodynamics and geometry and nuclear fusion said it should have instead plowed a giant hole through the rear panel of my car. Right there by the gas cap.

He threw his arms out wide in a gesture of relief and we both started laughing and I said, “I don’t know about you, but I think I need a hug.” So he hugged me, hard, and I hugged him back and it was very nice and we all were laughing and saying our different versions of “so sorry” and “thank god” and “have a nice day” and then we all got back in our cars and they drove off and I ordered lunch. Hold the pickle.

But I was very careful driving back to work, indeed was very careful the entire rest of the day, because I’m pretty sure my guardian angel used up all her powers in that parking lot. Probably I should stay inside for a week or two until she gets her strength back.


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For those who are weary of winter

This is the view today from my dining room window. It’s a second-story window and those are trees in bloom, not bushes. The one on the left just starting to get some white flowers is a Bradford pear. No idea what the pink one is, other than gorgeous. There is a tree off to the right that will get deep pink flowers in another week or so. The contrasts are amazing.

This happens every year about this time, so it’s expected. Yet I am always awed and a bit surprised by the delicate colorful explosion of beauty.

Not many places are prettier than North Carolina in the springtime. Or more unpredictable. We could get ice or sleet or snow anytime in the next few weeks that would kill all the flowers and snap off overloaded branches.

That’s why, this time of year, we also have the explosive beauty of the ACC basketball tournament.


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Confusion or Collusion?

Some of you reading this know I love a good conspiracy. I love to imagine “what if” and at the same time imagine “what if all is not as it seems.” I find that kind of speculation to be fascinating. But do I really believe in conspiracies or that people are actively engaging in perpetrating conspiracies? In general, no. Most people don’t have enough time or energy or deviousness in their character to create and carry out a good conspiracy. I just think it’s entertaining to speculate.

However. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? I’ve been getting these weird emails for a while now and something about them pokes at the part of my imagination that loves a good conspiracy. And I’ve been wondering “what if.” On the face of it, they all are a vehicle for selling something — usually “enhancements” of an extremely personal nature. They’re junk mail. But they all contain an incomprehensible message at the end that has nothing to do with the product being sold. And that makes me wonder. Are they just a really bad example of non-English-speaking persons trying to communicate? Or is something else going on here?

Here are a few examples that I’ve received just in the past week, copied verbatim with no changes made:

Example 1:

To destruction. All these, when the end of the eat the shashtika
paddy mixed with milk. By so her in yourself, macleod, said
that properly constituted had thought to for a time the
tempter left her, called adhyudha.302 the son born of a
maiden in followed by every believer, and prepared to spend
sakra himself,thus addressed, govinda greeted for i longed
so to throw my arms about you before or wandering about
the housealways within call. Crowned with ascetic success,
and gifted with with great might and wellpractised in all
weapons. Be regarded as better than the (other) classes,
having been warned by jack mount that they considered is
prince’s shaft…. We go round here behind having said this,
the fairhipped krishna with.

Example 2:

Speech oh, well. I hope everything’ll go all right. Of the
plague, that the cultivation of a country, the floating
capital is absorbed in the provinces nest. Only the sun,
majestic in power, shining commission men which it is their
business to look in the jungle, that no money in the world
would madelon! He held out his hands towards her like isolated
here all his receptive years have i found the doctor, that
no girl is worth anything till after what had happened.
but she looked straight men which may appear. It is a thousand
pities brazil. A. Henry savagelandor. Savoy hotel, london.
big as a charger, and set an edge about it as intently.
obrien went on: you will have heard tell.’ she gave a quick
glance over her shoulder..

Example 3:

Florida, dakota, iowa, wyoming, minnesota, and made his way
to the his reception was immediate had much chance, with
the girl at him all the she states that as she left the
room mrs. Fortescue a good turnthat ^ if you are interested
in racing. Of it, and they have to i saw a good many flaws
when he came there. That was now several years hand, to
fetch, no doubt, more of the chosen to does no good. One
can’t foresee. Reconstruction think you are right. So, then,
why was the screen involved to hope any immediate rescue
from them. But then, of course, the railway gui& might have
longing of the people and as chairman of the committee time.
and then there were a hundred and one little not to be,
at least in anstruther and the subject.

So, you tell me. Spam email full of nonsense? Or coded messages as part of a conspiracy?


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Dreaming Cats and Dogs

I had a very strange dream this morning just before I woke up. I have strange dreams all the time, but I felt compelled to write this one down. And share it. I have no idea why. I should apologize now and get it over with: I am so sorry.

It seemed to go on forever, as dreams do, but this is part of it:

It was daytime and I was in a long narrow room crowded with too many beds in it and the covers were all disheveled with pillows and bunched up comforters all over the place but no one was sleeping in any of the beds as far as I could tell and my computer was way over in a far corner sitting on a rickety little nightstand and I wanted to check my email but I had to step over things to get there and it took a long time but finally I did and I sat on a tiny little chair and had to pull out the drawer to rest the keyboard on it but the drawer kept falling out because it didn’t fit the opening very well and so I balanced the drawer and the keyboard on my knees but then I saw that the computer wasn’t even plugged in and there was no outlet. [Perhaps I’m conflicted about my new lurker status in blogland?]

And then my youngest sister was sitting cross-legged on the bed closest to me, excitedly telling me about a bunch of people who were moving into some previously dying inner city [no idea which city or why my sister would find this exciting] and how fantastic it was with all the wonderful new development and how interesting that these people were almost without exception Mongolian and then she said, “It’s such a fascinating culture. Did you know that if a woman has an affair with a married man, she will lie to the wife about it but be completely honest with her family?” [I have no idea whether this is true about Mongolian culture; it was a DREAM.] And all I could think was, Whose family? The wife’s or her own? What kind of sentence structure is that? But she didn’t answer me because I didn’t actually speak and then she was gone.

And then I was across the room and looking at a dark shape moving in another corner sort of under and behind a half-opened door and at first I wasn’t sure it was a spider but thought if it was I should probably get rid of it and when I looked closer it was HUGE and thick like a tarantula and no way was I going to do anything with that and I looked around for someone, anyone, who could help get it out of there before it bit someone and they died but there was no one and yet I kept thinking someone was going to die or at least get very sick if that thing bit them but the room was empty and I thought I should keep an eye on it until someone could help me and then there were all sorts of other nasty looking bugs around the spider and then a frog that jumped on the spider and they wrestled a bit before both lost interest and the frog wandered off a ways and sat and stared at me and then as I watched the floor started to turn to soft white sand and all the bugs and the spider and the frog were sinking into the sand until some disappeared and I could barely see the others and I thought, Great, now someone will step on these things and not realize until it’s too late.

I heard someone give a contented just waking up kind of sigh and looked around again to see who was in the room so I could warn them because it looked like some of the bugs were moving away under the sand and again it was my youngest sister in one of the beds, a different bed, and she was yawning and stretching and I heard her say, “What a great night’s sleep I just had; my back feels so much better,” and then I was standing over there and I could see her and she was lying on her back with her shoulders angled off the edge of the bed and her head was resting in the open top drawer of the nightstand, a different nightstand, and I said, “Do you realize your head is in a drawer?” and she replied, “Yes, I put it there,” and she had the sweetest smile on her face and she truly did look rested and happy. [I need to call her later.]

And then I was over looking for the spider again and the floor had changed back into a floor with just a bit of sand like it had been tracked inside at a beach house and someone, I think it was The Dog’s Favorite Person, came in and saw the spider and said, “This little thing? You’re worried about this little thing?” only it had gotten even bigger and he reached down and brushed it out of the corner with his bare hand and right out in front of my bare feet and then laughed and made a fist and smashed the spider, several times, until it was dead. [This is completely out of character for TDFP, who would in real life find a way to put the stupid thing safely outside.] It was a huge mess with spider parts all over the place and there was a ton of clear thick liquid oozing out from what was left of the body, way more than even a big spider could contain, and it kept spreading like it had a life of its own and TDFP was laughing but I was horrified and I had nothing to clean it up with and we followed it out the door and I was trying not to step in it because I was barefoot and then we were in the hallway of my mom’s house and the floor was linoleum like it used to be when I was little and the goo was still spreading and I realized it looked just like the stuff I’ve been putting on the wonder dog’s food to improve his joints and I thought, What a waste, that stuff is expensive, and my mom was there with a paper towel and trying to wipe up the mess and TDFP was helping her and they were both laughing which was odd because I’m pretty sure my mom would not be laughing about something like that but they wouldn’t give me a paper towel because there were only two and even those had already lost any absorptive qualities and they were just spreading the goo farther along as they tried to wipe it up and then the cat and the wonder dog were there and I thought, How did they get all the way to Minnesota? and they were sniffing the goo and licking at it and then acting very strangely about it.

And then I woke up and the cat was walking up the length of my right arm like it was a balance beam and it didn’t feel good [actually it hurt like hell] but I didn’t move because she’s never done that before and I was waiting to see what she’d do next and she walked right up to my shoulder where she did a graceful little dismount and then came and stuck her nose in my eye and I realized the wonder dog was also standing there on the bed staring at me and sort of quivering eagerly like he was more than ready to go outside and then he shook. Goo.

I looked at the clock and it was seven minutes past the time I usually get up. So I got up. So much for sleeping in on the weekend. And really, with dreams like that, who needs sleep?


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