Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Review of Always Ultra-Thin Flexi Wings


If this topic in any way frightens you, just scroll on down to one of my other fun-filled posts and don't read any further. If you keep reading and you get grossed out, well, now, whose fault is that, hmm?

I have never been a huge fan of the tampon. Don't get me wrong - I am grateful to the person who invented these whenever I want to go swimming or to yoga class or in the unlikely event that I need to wear bike shorts. (Please do not visualize as I do not come off at all well.) So they're fine for those times, and in fact are fine at any other time, as long as you don't ever ever have to pee.

The other alternative, which I'll call The Pad, has always been the greater of the two evils, at least for me. Now to give them credit, they have come a long long way since I first started being a consumer. Back then they came with belts and straps and tabs and slots and Some Assembly was Required. They stayed in place very well, which is key for a product like this, but if a guy spotted you wearing one you'd scare him right into the next century.

Then they invented the adhesive kind that sticks to your underwear. Great idea, but I'm pretty sure this product is what inspired the expression, "Don't get your panties in a wad."

I was really excited when they came out with the Wing strategy - finally, I thought, I could abandon the tampon. But no. It turns out the wings didn't stay stuck to the underwear very well. And this is the last area of your body where you're going to want strips of adhesive hanging around not already stuck to something, if you know what I mean.

So the other day I decided, on a lark, to try the Always Ultra-Thin Flexi Wings. And, well, I think they've finally got it. I got the medium size which look huge but more coverage is never a bad idea. And these things actually stay where you put them for as long as you need them to. I could not be a happier customer.

For those Special Days.

Bad Hair, Part Three

Again, I cannot do justice to the stupidity of my hair this morning with a camera and the mirror. I can't seem to get my head at just the right angle so that you can see all the peaks and points the way I can, and when I try moving the camera for a better view you end up being able to see just the camera and no stupid hair.

I promise if I get a glimpse of another good one I will try using the tripod. Until then I'll just stick to OPH. (Other People's Hair.)


A big shout out

to Joe the cat for his scent-sational contribution to the ambience of my bedroom.

I've always wished I could find a cat-pee scented candle or room freshener, and now I don't have to!

Thanks, Joe.

PS - Why didn't anybody tell me it was so freaking hard to take pictures of a cat???

Monday, January 30, 2006

Puzzlers, Part Two

I found this seemingly innocent box of baking soda lurking behind the cinnamon in my pantry this morning.

Bad Hair, Part Two

To show that I'm not afraid to turn my keen powers of observation selfward, I offer today's installment of Bad Hair.

When I wake up it's still darkish. I throw on my sweats and grab the dogs and go, not even passing a mirror on the way. This photo doesn't do justice to the Greek-style sideways wave configuration I discovered when I was stepping into the shower. No wonder the construction workers were extra enthusiastic with their whooping laughter today.


This morning I discovered on my bathroom mat a six-inch long greenish blackish piece of string. It looks like it came from a mop. The only trouble is, we don't have a mop. We use a Swiffer. (See mini-review below.) Do you think someone has snuck into my house to mop my floors? If so, thank you! Um, you missed a spot. Hell, you missed the floor.

I can't think what else this string might be. I'm afraid to pick it up for closer inspection. This, I fear, will remain a mystery.

[Mini-review of Swiffer: As promised, very very convenient. Refill squirty stuff lasts through about three Saturdays and is on the expensive side. Will not, however, get your floors anything resembling clean.

Me: I thought you were going to mop today?!

Zachary (pissed): I did.

In conclusion, don't buy the Swiffer.]

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Money is no object

when it comes to wasting my money - I am seriously bad about impulse buying. I'm the one they're trying to attract with those displays of tiny hand sanitizers and Sponge Bob toothpaste by the checkout. I am paranoid about running out of stuff so I buy too much and too early. And I'll buy almost anything if it's cheap enough. Sigh.

Here are some examples of recent purchases, off the top of my head:

- A 4lb bag of chana dal (tiny Indian yellow split chickpeas.) I have one (1) recipe for these which calls for 3/4 cup. If you need some, I can seriously hook you up.

- A pair of men's size 8 black pointy rockabilly type cowboy boots. These will not fit me or anyone I know. But they were only $7.

- A lucite sticky note caddy with space for two pens and some paper clips. Also a rainbow colored block of sticky notes.

- Three one-pint containers of red kidney beans. My recipe called for a cup and a half. (See Top 10 reasons why I'm in a bad mood today.)

- A 50lb bag of insanely expensive cat litter made from corn cobs. I strongly suspect that the cat doesn't even like this new brand of cat litter. (See Art work that has been pissed on.)

- A pamphlet of recipes especially formulated for Pot Luck dinners. I bought this because of the cover which features chocolate brownie-type bars with a huge layer of peanut butter topping. I do not eat sugar.

- Four extremely cute summer dresses which do not fit me, one of which will never fit me, wouldn't have fit me even when I weighed 113lbs. Will not fit anyone I know. But they were $5 each.

- A sack of Arrowroot flour. I searched three stores before finding it. I have never used it. Not once.

- A five pound bag of Splenda. The box I already have is still half full. I do not have room in my pantry for this kind of behavior.

- A beautiful pair of pink torture heels. I tried wearing these once. Bought an entire outfit to go with them. I wanted to saw my feet off at the ankle and just walk on the stumps. But they were only $14. Aren't they fabulous??

I could probably go on but I'm getting sort of depressed for some reason.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bad hair

This is such a fun topic and it's so easy to gather data.

My first example appears at the grocery store the other night on a shortish maleish grunge-dressed lesbian. Her hair is spiky and thin and mostly dark, about three inches long and sticking out randomly all over the place. Then she turns away! My mouth drops open as I spy a bleached chevron-shaped DA sort of configuration jutting out behind her. It is obvious she's done this without looking. I am tempted to go up to her and help: "There's this technique that you can use to look at the back of your hair..." but I do not.

Another good one is the woman I see almost daily who works in my building. She's mid- to late-fifties and has one of those hairdos that you get at a beauty parlor when you ask them to wash and set you, but in the maintenance phase. It looks great from the front but once you see her from the side there's this great comb of hair, like a standing wave, pointing backwards with a huge empty space behind it. Again I want to explain the advantages of a second mirror when grooming oneself.

I've saved the best one for last. There's this very small girl in my art class. "Waif" isn't exactly the right word but it's the first one that comes to mind.* She wears all black with huge lace-up goth knee boots. Her hair is just alarming, really. I cannot take my eyes off of it. It's big - I'd say roughly the size of a small Volkswagen. I don't know how she's holding it up as small as she is. There is an explosion of hair on either side of her head, semi-tiny-braids, semi-fright-wig, and some more coming out the back. The best way I can describe it is it looks like she's got balanced on her head sideways one of those elephant-looking creatures with dreadlock stuff hanging off of them from the first Star Wars movie. (See photo.) She also kind of looks like one of those Bratz dolls with the really big heads. Holy cow - how do you sleep on that?

* Pilfered from Chuck Palahniuk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dogs go berserk

Adventures in dog walking:

First we pass the school. I started getting up half an hour earlier and as a result I now am forced to stop every morning for the bus to unload. I tried just proceeding on my way one time, intending to slip myself in between debarking students unobtrusively, but the stern bus driver honked at me and pointed up to the flashing red lights. I didn't know they applied to pedestrians too. This has traditionally given the dogs the perfect opportunity to tangle themselves up with my legs and possibly trip me in front of everyone.

Next we pass the first and worst of the two berserk houses. These are where the dogs go berserk trying to get to the dog who lives there who is also going berserk trying to get to them. Norma is the more berserk of my two dogs, yanking at the leash and circling furiously and whining whining whining. Baxter makes the most noise. I am always especially gratified to be able to provide entertainment for the Hispanic construction workers on the next lot, who laugh hysterically and point and call out in Spanish as I go by. (The first time this happened I gave them the finger as I passed, not realizing until too late that this would hardly be the intimidating gesture I had hoped, coming, as it did, from someone with two bags of poop dangling from their other hand.)

At the next berserk house the dogs dart around me in opposite directions and I am afraid to stop to untangle lest the leashes be further cinched around my legs and cause me to fall over in front of the woman walking the beautiful and perfectly behaved husky-shepherd-looking-mix on the other side of the street.

My final reward today is coming home and having my glasses fog up completely due to the temperature change inside vs. outside, preventing me from seeing that the large water dish isn't exactly level and thereby causing the water to slosh over the side, flooding the counter, the floor, and my left arm up to the elbow. This, thank goodness, does not happen every day.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Top 10 reasons why I'm in a bad mood today

in order of appearance.

1. Car CD player repeatedly rejects my Brad Mehldau CD. I am forced to listen to the perky but inane morning duo instead.

2. Jewelry disappears (for the second time in 2 weeks) from a certain pierced girl part, causing either agonizing moments of futzing (please do not visualize as I don't come off well) or professional reinsertion.

3. I discover exactly how prominently my computer (which I have recently given to my daughter for her birthday) figures in my morning routine.

4. Beagles which have lately fallen out of favor: Baxter barks for an hour at what I can only conclude is a threatening air molecule. While I am trying to take a nap.

5. Deliciously anticipated Nigerian red kidney bean stew (with peanut butter!!) turns out to be bland and boring and thinnish.

6. This will be dinner for _two_ nights.

7. I discover, too late to do anything about it, that I am wearing some of it on my newly washed blue shirt.

8. Car CD player repeatedly rejects my Radiohead CD. I am forced to listen to the Flashback Lunch instead.

9. Indecisive driver is in front of me for roughly 1/3 of my commute. You, more than anyone else, should be in a position to know where it is that you are going. As a favor to everyone else, please just go there.

10. Badge reader requires four passes before lifting the gate to let me through.

11. Okay so I lied. Eleven reasons. Out of six calls this first half hour exactly zero have been requests for something I can actually do.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ode to a Small Tool

Oh, how I long to own you, Moto Tool
So versatile! So small! You are so cool!

Never dread again the smallest drillings,
The hardest chore by hand, with you – fulfilling!

So proudly stood, you gleam in your display
Flanked by assistants, vast in their array,

While I dream art-filled days, my life complete
With perfect holes where tiny mitres meet

You'll guard the workbench, always at the ready -
I'll hold you firm in hand and guide you steady.

With Moto Power, and awesome Dremel skill
These careless hands might shape my visions real!

Now, come with me, you crafty Moto Tool -
Such simple joy you'll bring this handy fool.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Holy cow, has it been 20 years??

Today my baby turns 20!

Happy Birthday Sydney!!!

[This photo taken by my beautiful and talented photographer sissy Hannah Neal.]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Straddling the language barrier

It's always an adventure working in a call center and getting to talk with folks from many lands. Even a land as far removed from Texas as, say, Pennsylvania offers fun communication challenges for the dedicated customer service worker.

Take the customer I talked to today who, upon being asked what her middle initial was, rudely replied, "Why?" I wasn't sure quite how to respond to that, so I simply asked again what her middle initial was. Again she said, "Why?" After my moment of silence she realized what was going on and said, "Y like Yolanda."


And then there was the Hispanic gentleman just trying to give me his name but he kept using unintelligible words to indicate what letter he was calling out. "What is your middle initial?" I asked. "P," he said. "B?" I asked? "P," he said. "P as in Peter." "B as in beeper?" "No, P as in Peter." "B?" "No, P." "Okay, P." Which, as it turns out, is the family middle initial. Only one of the five drivers had a middle initial other than P. Thank god I got it sorted out ok.

Ask a stupid question

Ok this may not come out as funny as it did in reality but I could barely make it through the call I was laughing so hard. One of the questions I have to ask people in this particular state is if they have anti-theft protection for their car. So this customer says he has a theft flasher but I can't figure out what that could be, so I'm trying to get him to tell me what it does but he's being very vague. And I think of a brilliant question that will solve everything:

"What happens when someone breaks into your car?"

Of course he said nobody has ever broken into his car before. I never did find out what a theft flasher is.


I have this annoying habit of humming constantly and I'm not really even aware of it.

So today I'm on the phone with someone who says he works in a railroad yard and a few minutes into the call I catch myself, yep, humming "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Still humming it, in fact.

My default song is the theme from the Meow Mix commercial. Whenever someone complains about having a song stuck in their head I taunt them with mine.

Artwork that has been pissed on

by the cat;

Here are some irreplaceable treasures that Joe the cat has for some reason switched with the impeccably clean litterbox I keep for him. I have posted foil before the row of priceless coffee table art books my grandmother collected and willed to me; they have been marked nonetheless.The cat was done by Sydney in 2nd grade with a grocery bag; the pen & ink by me of a Cambodian village, unfinished, in approximately 1993.

And he naps with impunity on the box full of important mail from 2005.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Gnarly Head Run

So I'm just back from HEB where I was called suddenly on the way home from work to buy wine. Normally I hate shopping but they've raised the whole thing to a new level by "remodeling to Serve You." Normally the aisles are filled with sorority girls and thousands of assorted other student types, as well as Mexican families of twelve all shopping as a social experience. Now the gangways are filled with stunned shoppers, stopped and stopping traffic, gawking at the emptiness of the potato chip aisle; people ducking under yellow caution tape, disbelieving that the spaghetti is, as is proclaimed by the Sharpied poster boards taped to the aisle headers, in fact, temporarily located in aisle 12.

The wine is placed, inexplicably, across from the tuna. Causing me to stop dumbfounded for a moment while unsuccessfully pondering what the correct wine for tuna might be.

There has been an improvement, however, vis a vis the orange shirt situation. Last Sunday when I went I was one of the three people in the store not wearing a UT Rosebowl Championship T-shirt. Including tiny infants. Tonight I only spotted two people sporting burnt orange, unless you count the sorority girl with the "Reprezent" slogan on the back of hers. I don't think it was football related but I could be wrong.

And then my favorite part of the shopping experience is always the inevitable perky navel-showing cell phone-chatting friend of most everyone in front of me in the u-scan line. Things grind to a halt as she, in between "She did NOT!" and "Oh my Gawd!," scans, with one hand, on the third attempt, her first of the allowable ten items. Plus one, because who is going to stop her? No strength of withering stare can penetrate the intense concentration she gives to the person on the other end of the connection. No helpless shrugging and pointing will motivate the employee attendant to interrupt the sacred conversation. And unlike the rush-hour traffic jam, there is no presence of tunes to soothe the urge to kill.

But then there will be the wine. Zinfandel is a grape, once popular but newly fallen out of favor in deference to the Merlot, which is very hard to find in the grocery store setting. Even this one which purports to cater to the more refined and sophisticated shopper. I almost tripped over this Gnarly Head the other day and giddily snag a couple bottles every few weeks, feeling incredibly lucky that it's still right there where it was last time I bought some. I love the spicy berryish roundness of the zinfandel which can stand up to almost anything you throw at it, and it's my favorite thing to quaff when I'm in the mood for a sensuous drunk. I'm mostly sober but now and again there has to be the zinfandel.

Happy happy Wednesday.

Tiny oranges

My fingers are slightly stained and perfumey after having eaten three out of the four tiny oranges I brought for my 9 o'clock break. Three because my friend K who sits next to me asked whether these were pumpkins on my desk and when I told her they were oranges and asked if she wanted one she said no, that something so small must surely be very bitter, and I had to tell her how wrong she was. She reconsidered and is perhaps even now marveling at the incredible tiny sweet perfection. She has left early and I am without neighbors.

So how very cool to be able to sit here sniffing tangerine oil on my fingers while listening to Saint Saens on the ipod and reading Mike Doughty's beautiful poetic blog entries from Ethiopia.

I heart Mike Doughty

But how embarrassing - I rashly emailed him the other day asking for lyrics to his Skittish/Rockity Roll records and just now discovered that most of them are already on his website. I bet he gets thousands of emails every day too. Just part of the service we provide...

The unalloyed joy that is Wednesday

It's four hours until dinner and I can't wait to eat. I've got a new cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey which is I think Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian and today I made my first meal out of it: Moroccan chick pea stew with 6 vegetables. It took me actually two days of cooking because of the chick peas - you have to soak them first which I forgot to do so had to do the way where you boil them and let them sit for an hour. Then you cook them for another hour or so but I used my pressure cooker (which I adore) to make it only 20 minutes. So then you chop up an onion, waxy potatoes, a sweet potato, carrots, zucchini and parsley and cilantro and season it with turmeric, ginger powder, cumin and cayenne and cook it in stages as you add the veggies. Oh my god. You serve it on couscous. I tried it at lunch and it is fantastic fantastic. I didn't miss the meat at all. Sydney tried it, however, and said, "You know what would be good in this? Chicken."

So I'm not vegetarian but I'm trying to cut back on meat since my cholesterol is borderline high. Zach is thrilled about this. I hope he likes the stew tonight though, and I think he will. I used whole wheat couscous and it's really hearty and fulfilling with the veggies. Yum.

I also have four tiny oranges for my snack. Which is where I got the title for this blog. They aren't much bigger than a quarter and they peel really easily. You can just pop the whole orange in your mouth at once but I like to eat them teeny section by teeny section because they're so fucking cute. The sections aren't any bigger than your pinky fingernail really. There's hardly any pith and stringy stuff which I hate about big oranges. I guess these are technically tangerines now that I think about it. They have a name which I can't think of but it's Japanese-y sounding and starts with a K. I prefer to call them tiny oranges.

This is actually yesterday's post

But I had some technical difficulties and gave up in utter frustration. Here is what I had for yesterday:

Due in part to a nagging guilt feeling over not using the journal that Sydney gave me for Christmas last year and in part to a recent fever of reading blogs, I've decided to restart a journal. I'll probably keep it on the killingfrancis blog I started back in the killing francis days since I like the vibe of that and the sentiment still holds true. (Note: I couldn't figure out how to get into my previous blogger account so I just decided to start a new blog. That's this one.)

So I'm sitting at work freezing my ass off. That's a theme around here. One woman wears these wooly sweaters to work when it's 70 outside and I don't know how she can stand the walk to and from the car, but I do know she's happier at her desk than I am. It starts to piss me off after a while. I hate that about being cold. You just can't ever get away from it. You can shiver and stuff and it makes you feel better for a second but then it comes back to you're still freezing your ass off. Grr. I don't think I've ever worked at an office where they had climate control -um- under control. I mean, I can watch videos on my tiny ipod but I have to sit here all cold and pissed off. What's up with that??

Last night we went to pick Hannah up at the airport coming home from her New York adventure. The original plan was for me to leave work and go directly (and it's that close) to the airport in time for her 10.15 arrival. Well because I wanted to be smart and informed I looked her flight up on the airport website and found out that it was going to be delayed until 10.50! Han called from the plane in Houston right around 10 and they hadn't even taken off yet so I told her she should take a cab. Right away after I hung up I thought, well that's no fun, so I left work and picked Sydney up and we went and parked at the airport and lurked by the baggage claim so she wouldn't maybe miss us and get the cab. She finally landed around 11 and we collected her bags and went chez elle and drank wine and giggled crazily and it was exactly the kind of fun that I knew it would be. The unfortunate side effect was that I didn't get to bed until after 2am and since my painting class started this morning I couldn't go back to bed after taking Zachary to school. I don't know what the hell I'm telling these people wanting insurance. I have actually nodded off a little during two separate calls. Yikes.

I was so clever last week when I made Mexican Lasagne to carefully portion out the leftovers into two separate dinners for Zach and myself and put them into the freezer for nights when I have class and can't cook. So I went into the freezer this morning to get out our dinner and defrost it when I discovered that the two smaller portions meant for me have been eaten already. I wasted a good ten minutes being pissed about it, at first being pissed at Zachary who should have known that I had plans for that food and then being pissed at myself for not mentioning to him that I had plans for that food. So now I'm having salad and he's having mexican lasagne. :o( What's really embarrassing is when you have just loaded a large bite consisting of mostly carrots into your mouth and you get a call and have to mute it and chew fast so they don't hang up thinking there's nobody on the line.

I'm going to start keeping a list of stupid email addresses I encounter while on the job. I don't think I'll ever get one to top the very first one though. It belongs to this guy who is married to a lady eight years his senior, with a child from a previous marriage, who has trouble collecting her child support. He's very much the hero of the situation in his own eyes which is apparent from his swaggery and slightly self important manner. So his email address is darkorical. Sic. How pathetic is that, to try to be all mysterious and mystical and then misspell your own email address.

The next email address belongs to a normal guy in every way, maybe slightly rednecky but seemingly very normal until he unleashes this upon me: cominshagme6969. Eeeeuuuuuwwww. And he's married.

I hate when people call in and act like I'm supposed to be impressed with what they are driving. Ok - I don't care what you drive. I like _my_ car.