Friday, March 27, 2009


The Superior Aunt is coming! Bringing with her the Superior Cousins (Children A, B and C). When asked what she wants to do she replied with a request for Mexican food. And more Mexican food. Seeing as this is the city that has green chile as an ingredient in at least one dish on every menu I think we can handle this (the menu claim could be a slight exaggeration, but I have seen it offered with a wide variety of things including various pasta dishes and, weirdly, crepes. Also, I have a friend who swears that green chile and pineapple pizza is not only palatable but is The One True Pizza. I have not yet been desperate enough or drunk enough to try it).

The Spring Break gods refused to align the planets so not only does this visit not coincide with when Children 2 and 3 are off (this week) but it missed when Child 1 was off as well (last week) (note that I never got to be off AT ALL. Darn Spring Break gods). However we intend to make the most of the thing and, when not stuffing the Superior Relatives with burritos, enchiladas and chile rellenos, will be hurling them up mountains, forcing them to admire various bits of the city, and possibly requiring them to watch all the films that WE like.

And since they're family they're going to have to enjoy it all too.

Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


An old friend found me the other day.

Well, really, he found Child 1 on Facebook in one of those mad, modern connection things that seem to happen all over the place.

Hadn't seen him for years and years and it was obvious that he hadn't heard about Kirk. So I had to tell him the story and I realized how really, really bad at it I am.

It's not that it's difficult for me to tell it any more. I've said it so often now in so many different places that it's finally become something separate - it's the story, not the thing itself. So I can tell it without that horrible back-of-the-throat feeling that used to make me sick (well, almost always).

No, the problem now is telling the story to someone who has never heard it. Just a month or so ago I had to do it, for someone who had never known Kaj, never known me when I was married and that was difficult enough. Because people want to say something and no one knows what to say so their concern and bother and discomfort is nearly unbearable.

This was different. This guy knew Kaj, knew him well. He went through Russian school at DLI with him. We were in Texas together and a few months later he and his wife were stationed in Germany about an hour or so South of us. I stayed with his wife when their first child was born and he had been sent away for a few weeks. It was his unit that was sent to Iraq instead of Kirk's. We had come back to New Mexico to go to university; he had stayed in the army - he's in it still - and we had just lost touch.

Which left him frozen in time, stuck there as I knew him all that time ago. And we were the same I know. If he thought about us, about me and Kirk, it was just memories, just those paper-cut-out images of what we used to be.

So when he called I had to tell him the story, tell it at once before he said anything or asked anything that would make it even harder for him. So I did it, telling him that his friend, the friend he used to know, the one he didn't know at all anymore really, was gone. I did it quickly, and badly, as I always do.

And I was sorry.

Thursday, March 19, 2009



The minivan

With the six soccer-ball stickers
Marked "Jacob" "Joshua" "Madison" "Hannah" "Ashley" and "Brianna"

And the gymnastics sticker
Marked "Tyler"

And the Jesus fish

And the "God is my co-pilot" sticker

And the window label with the big-eyed, pajama-clad infants clustered around a cross

Your "In case of rapture this vehicle will become un-manned," license plate frame is a public spirited warning

but probably unnecessary.


On the other hand, the pale, curly haired young man in the Smart car

with the FIVE apple stickers on various windows

and the Flying Spaghetti Monster icon

with the Darwin fish on the other side

didn't really need to let us know that "Guns don't kill people,
Type 2 phasers kill people." and he voted Kirk/Spock in 2008.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I feel that Child 1's birthday post might have given an inaccurate picture of said Child.

It does indeed hold down job and school without apparent botheration. However it should not be judged on that alone. As counter evidence I present the present this Child bought for itself, something it felt was particularly suitable to mark the occasion of it leaving its irresponsible teens forever:

What are they? See them (and the Child) in action -

Yup, I think it's ready to take on its 20's with style and sophistication.

Friday, March 13, 2009


In my free time (HA HA HA!! See what I did there? With the free and the time and putting them together like that? I kill me, really I do) I've spent the last week or so putting together software training screen casts. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the basic set of the first program (out of two sets, four programs. Yes, nuts, I know, shut up) so I've developed something of a system and, being a giver, I'll share it with you.

1. Open screen recording program, select New Recording

2. Switch to target program.

3. Set up screen.

4. Click Large Red Threatening Button

5. Repress heart palpitations because THERE IS A COUNTDOWN!! I HATE COUNTDOWNS!! Try to ignore the Five Four Three Two One on the screen.

6. Suffer coughing fit as recording starts.

7. Hit the stop key sequence.

8. Discard recording.

9. Repeat 1 - 5

10. "Intro babble! A-a-a-a-buggerit!"

11. Repeat 7 & 8

12. Repeat 1 - 5

13. Repeat 10, choosing alternate cuss words for variety.

14. Repeat 11 - 13 until thoroughly disgusted.

15. Successfully talk through entire demonstration until final action at which point: a) loud knock on door, b) loud telephone ring or c) complete verbal meltdown

16. "JEEBUS ON A BICYCLE! Stoopid program with the... one more time but damnit... why the hell do I OFFER these things... people with their door knocks and their telephones I know what I'D like to knock... ONE MORE TIME AND THAT'S IT"

17. Successfully talk through entire demonstration, nearly panic at the end due to lack of clever wrap up chat, power through and hit stop key sequence.

18. Return to recording program and press play.

19. Realize sadly that your voice is twice as high as you think it is AND you have thoroughly American R's that grate like no one's business. Determine nothing is to be done.

20. Think hard about editing recording to highlight cursor moves etc. Say buggerit again.

21. Check off one more recording and realize happily that there are only 24 more to go.

On this program.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I'm not a morning person.

Really, truly, genuinely not.

I'm so not a morning person I get up waaaay early just so I can be awake by the time I have to do anything anyone might want to pay me for. (it makes sense in my own head, trust me).

So, at that waaaaay early hour I can generally handle either the minute numbers or the hour numbers on my alarm clock, but not both. When I say generally, that includes multiple incidences of staring meditatively at the glowing red numerals and wondering whether 8 comes before or after 5, then deciding either way it doesn't matter because I couldn't figure out what the significance would be regardless. As a general rule though I can focus to the right or left of that colon and, with a little bit of concentration, come to a reasonable conclusion about what I need to do next.

This morning it only took five minutes to figure out that, since I needed to pick up gas, I probably didn't have enough time for five more minutes of warmth. I rolled reluctantly out of bed, flipped on the lights and headed off to take my shower. Virtuous AND clean I also brushed teeth and got dressed before coming back into the bedroom to check the time and see how long I had left.

At which point I finally took a look at the hour number.

Which was a steady, unforgiving 2.

It's going to be a long day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Had lunch today with a particularly favorite uncle and aunt and, among other things, I learned that Darwin spent the last several years of his life in an intense study of earthworms and soil.

He even wrote a book, with the gripping title, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, With Observations on Their Habits.

I like the thought of this man, this giant who produced one of the most successful theories in the history of science, returning from his travels in the Beagle with his notebooks full of the strange and magnificent animals he had observed to tuck himself happily down again with his earthworms.

After all, there's nothing wrong with getting a bit dirty if it really, really makes you happy.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


At what age is a Child too old for birthday posts? Will Child 1 be 84 and I 100 something-or-other and beaming a post in through my virtual brain port?

It does seem a bit weird to still be calling it Child when it is clearly nothing of the sort and when, this year, it officially left behind its teens.

One of its friends, a few weeks older than Child 1, was mourning the fact that, as a non-teen, it would no longer be able to be obsessed with the Twilight movie/books [note: this friend has watched said movie over FORTY TIMES. 40. Four with a tee on the end. and change. That is devotion]. Child 1 doesn't seem to feel any restrictions of its new age an maturity - it watches and reads what it will, preferring to be happy rather than right.

It is in its second semester of university now, and after a brief tussle with a combination of algebra (after a year off math) and an instructor with almost no English has taken to higher education with its usual aplomb. This semester it has ceramics to keep it happy as well as a fascinating class on human evolution (go on, ask it about theories on the development of intelligence in social animals!)

Somehow this year it has managed to juggle a nearly-but-not-quite full time job AND full time school and do beautifully at both. I promise, if I figure out just what it is that allows this to happen I will bottle it and distribute it entirely free for the betterment of mankind.

I've been waiting to write up this birthday post because, to my dismay, the Child has not yet received a birthday present from me. Its grandparents took it out to dinner, its friends whisked it off for a dance - but aside from a nice dinner of smoked salmon it has seen absolutely nothing from me. It's not entirely my fault though - the Child refused to tell me what it wanted, if anything. It has now submitted to agreeing to be taken to a rock and gem shop to choose something but between its schedule and mine we have yet to make it down there.

I hope with great age comes great patience and understanding.

Happy birthday Child 1.