Monthly Archives: June 2015

Something must be broken in the kitchen…

I can’t believe it! In the past 4 days I’ve managed to not only make rice that was cooked practically properly (i.e. not totally mushy on the outside while crunchy on the inside and so stuck to the bottom of the pan that it’d take a jackhammer to remove it), but was also able to toss some dried whole wheat pasta into a pan with a “pasta side dish” (to stretch it without adding additional salt) and have the two types of pasta be done at the same time without the whole meal being a runny mess! These are two things that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to accomplish in BF’s kitchen! At home with my parents I did it all the time without any problem.

Excuse me while I run a victory lap around the house (though in reality it’d be more like a victory line because this is essentially a row house).

Now…if only I could figure out how to cook enough food for these two guys without leaving leftovers I get stuck eating for days. I swear: there’s either only enough food for one of them, or it’s something that literally sits in the fridge until I get sick of eating it! No happy medium!

‘Course….the Kid is leaving on Friday to go down to NC to live with his girlfriend, so soon it won’t matter that I still haven’t figured out portion sizes with them. By the way: Don’t tell him that I’ll probably miss him.

Woman (Oh Mama) by Joy Williams

I heard this on “Out of the Box” one of the programs on our local NPR station. I don’t usually listen to their music programs because I’m not usually driving around in my car alone after 7pm, but it happened that I was in the car when this one came on. It’s totally an anthem about strong women that I think both conservatives and liberals can stand behind (I personally see it as a very pro-feminism song). It’s a fantastic song!

The Mapmaker’s Children

This book is two stories in one: that of Sarah Brown, daughter of the notorious John Brown and abolitionist in her own right and Eden Anderson, modern woman dealing with infertility.

First of all, throughout this book, I kept mentally shouting “Adoption!” and “Damn society!”. You see, one of my many soapboxes is on women’s reproductive rights. I feel that adoption as a choice is severely neglected by society. I think that there’s a problem with society when a woman like Eden, who has difficulty conceiving, is pressured into doing rounds and rounds of unsuccessful invitro fertilization instead of being encouraged to talk to a local adoption agency or to become a foster parent for one of the tens of thousands of older children who simply want a forever home! I liken it to people buying a purebred pet when there are tens of thousands of animals in shelters who simply want love! Grrr!

In Eden’s journey to happiness, guess what, she does end up more or less adopting the neighbor’s granddaughter, which is wonderful! I’m not sure whether this as Ms. McCoy’s subtle attempt to change society into being pro-adoption or not. You see, Sarah Brown also let infertility rule her life, though since she was living in 1860 at the time, I could forgive her lack of options. With too many women living Eden’s life today, I don’t think subtlety is what we need…especially in a book about John Brown’s daughter! Especially after reading the author’s note which said that the inspiration for this book was the sentence, “A dog is not a child” that was running around her head for ages. While I agree that a dog (or cat) is indeed a child, if we’re going to argue for alternatives to biological children, let’s not completely ignore one obvious answer that will solve A LOT of problems this society currently faces! Again, grr!

Anyway, I’ll step off my soapbox now.

This book does not claim to be historically accurate though a lot of research went into the character of Sarah and her family. Based on my own research into the social history of women during the Civil War era, I’d say she did a damn fine job getting it right. While the real Sarah Brown might not have had the conversations and relationships as described in this book (though some are historically accurate) I’m sure there were dozens of women who did experience those things who are now long forgotten. In any case, I loved her story.

Except when I wanted to stand up and punch the collective society we live in on the nose for making Eden feel like crap, I adored Eden’s story. I blame society for her feelings, not her (as I do for women in real life). If we’re going to celebrate mothers and motherhood, we need to take a serious step back from celebrating the act of physically giving birth because all we end up doing is praising women for giving birth even though everyone can agree that some women are god-awful mothers while punishing the ones who would be wonderful mothers by the endless questions on when they’ll start having babies!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes sociology stories, history, and in particular, women who have trouble conceiving. Because while I think think this book could have physically mentioned adoption a few dozen times, it would have noticeably changed the story, and in the end Eden does show the steps necessary to get out the depression caused by childlessness, which women do need to read.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a review.

Frederick Douglas Quote Refrigerator Magnet
Frederick Douglas Quote Refrigerator Magnet by worldsfair
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Idea Bank #105: “I could run this place better than him/her!” Write about a job you had (where you couldn’t stand your boss.)

First off, I added the parenthesis to the title because I don’t have a huge problem with my boss, even though I do 50% of his work. He deals with a lot of the stuff that I never want to have to deal with and the things that I don’t like him to do, well, it’s my duty to stand up to him, which proved easy this past week.

I work in a print shop. My formal job is bindery, which is everything after a job is printed. My informal job is everything else. We have a production manager who is supposed to manage every job as it comes through production but more often than not it’s my job to make sure that things get done in a timely manner with or without the PM actually telling me that a job has to go out TODAY. It means sticking my nose in a lot of people’s (well, 4) business as I read job tickets before they officially make it to bindery. The worst part of this very unofficial job is that I often have to manage my immediate coworker who is 62 years old and has worked there for at least 5 years and maybe 10+.

There’s a rumor floating around that they’re going to hire a “girl who knows how to run all the equipment” and fire someone. My 62 year old coworker is certain it will be her even though her sister owns the company or if she isn’t let go, then she hopes that whomever it is “doesn’t try to boss her around”. This is my problem because I have the very subtle job of excelling at bossing her around without her knowing that I’m bossing her around. If she suspects I’m trying to tell her what to do she get’s very bitchy even though everything I do is to ensure that she has plenty of work without it being too much work (there’s a fine line). I also have to make sure that it’s the right kind of work because her work quality is questionable these days. We had a spiral bound book which was sent back because the spirals looked like crap (the way the ends were clipped). We’d both worked on it, but I had a regular pair of dikes while she had the proper special pair of pliers that bends the coil nicely before it clips.

She apparently doesn’t know how to use the special pliers and that’s why her ends looked like crap. I’ve known that she can put out some ugly looking coils, so usually I clip them for her while she’s busy “spinning the spirals” by hand (not always necessary because we have rollers that will spin 50% of the books we make, but she won’t use it). She’ll thank me then. Part of me wishes I could have snuck in an looked at her spirals before they left the shop, but for this book I’d been on the front desk (our receptionist was on vacation for 3 days) spinning spirals as I answered the phones. Usually my coworker won’t touch a job I’m working on unless she’s desperate so I was taking only a handful at a time to the front desk to work on them so that I’d have a reason to check out the production area instead of just vegging out at the desk (I was supposed to be there when I wasn’t needed in the back, though I try to only sit at the desk when I have valid work to do there since it isn’t a dire necessity that someone sit at the desk at all times when the receptionist is away). Anyway, this was my 2nd day after being on vacation myself so I was still trying to regain the rhythm. I thought she had enough work to leave my books alone, but I apparently misjudged. It was impossible for me to go behind her work before that job left the shop (she took care of the shrinkwrapping and packaging as well). Our actual Production Manager should have looked over her shoulder and seen the problem, but he often neglects such things. I feel uncomfortable “ratting” my coworkers out for stuff like this because it isn’t officially my job to be quality control. It’s one thing to tell the PM that a job is too short to claim otherwise because we’ll all blame the presses.

This isn’t our press–it’s way too shiny!

My coworker is both very narrowly focused and a multitasker (depending on her mood) and I’ve yet to figure out when she will be which. If I think she’s going to put all her attention on one job regardless of the fact that she’ll have to move in slow motion to do so, she’ll suddenly be able to stop one job to work on another (this is usually when there’s only enough work for us both if she works in slow motion–maybe she is paying attention to the work load?). It we really need her to stop what she’s doing and get another job done, she’ll spend the next 6 hours (or longer) complaining that she hates getting pulled from one job to another. This happened a couple months ago when we were swamped. My dad had to die-cut 16,000 tabs (it took like 3 days), which meant I needed to pull the certain bank’s releases from the warehouse so that he could die-cut before he took the delivery (he runs an old Heidelberg Windmill Press for numbering, die-cutting, and some printing; he’s also the main delivery driver, rubber stamp maker, warehouse executive, and general know it all because he’s worked for the company for as long or longer than the current owner). While I was pulling the releases, my coworker was told that she had to get on a monster amount of time cards (counting and boxing) even though she was in the middle of something else. She actually had the nerve to say that “[my dad] should be doing his work so that [I] could do [my] work”–at least the PM was there to quickly set her straight though she was grumpy for the next 2 days (she often leaves work relatively early and that day she left as soon as we got the partial shipment of time cards together since there were too many for one person to count and box in the time frame we had).

Anyway, to illustrate the primary way I dictate her work life, I had lots of options on Friday of what jobs I could do. If I was stingy, I would have finished shrinkwrapping some teller receipts for the other bank (we doing printing for and warehouse for 2 different banks). But since I knew my coworker would need work before I got there on Monday morning, I cut down an NCR job and set it up so that she’d have options (I didn’t get the receipts finished). By doing things this way, I ensured that we’d both have work Monday rather than her puttering around until I got there. Because for her, it doesn’t matter if there’s a ton of work in the shop if she doesn’t realize it exists. She rarely investigates or cares what’s coming down the pipe.

I know the PM would fire her, but since she’s the owner’s sister, that will probably never happen. Generally speaking, I like working with her (when she’s in a good mood, which is only 80% of the time). I like the challenge of figuring out which order to do which job so that we both have the maximum amount of work between us at any given time. Usually the only “bossing” I have to do in these situations is that by putting the jobs in front of her in the order that I want them done, she’ll usually do them in this order. It gets awkward when suddenly there’s a rush job and I have to figure out how to tell her that we both need to get on this. I can tell her that I need half of the padding table for a rush job without a problem, but getting it so that she understands that we both need to be padding the job, that’s a different story. Luckily it turned out that job wasn’t as insanely rush as I’d been led to believe, though it’d be a heck of a lot easier if PM were to tell her to rush a job instead of him telling me and expecting me to make sure it gets done ASAP when both of us are necessary.

This past week, one of the pressmen (who has a tendency to put out messy work when it’s not insanely overprinted) was having trouble with an envelope. He’d left the envelopes in haphazard stacks and expected me or my coworker (which usually means me as it was in this case even though I was upstairs at my computer doing (not vital) paperwork) to count them. The first thing I asked him was “how many did you run?” and he was all like “I don’t know! Most are in the trash!” Ugh. In case you’re wondering, I meant how many envelopes did he take out of the box before the were printed and thus went into the press. I knew most had ended up in the trash and that a lot of what didn’t weren’t good, but I still need to know where we started at! He finally said there’d been 2000 which is good because the customer ordered 1000 and I counted a bare 700. As I started counting my first 100, the PM said to just split them into 10 piles, which I don’t like because it’s cheating and he’s been caught by customers plenty of times when they call to complain that their job is short. When someone has 900 letters to send out so they order 1000 envelopes, they shouldn’t end up with more names than envelopes! But as he’s the one who has to deal with the stress of customer complaints like that, depending on how short a job is, I might stretch it even though it rankles my ethics. But I like to know how far I’m stretching a job before I do it, so I count first.

When I ended up at 700 I knew I couldn’t stretch it any further so I told the PM. The pressman had told him that with the problems he’d had he’d needed more envelopes but I guess PM said he wouldn’t order them. When I told PM that the envelopes were too short, he said to ship the 700 and write that we owed them the 300. Yes, his story changes like this often which annoys the pressmen and this pressman asked me what I had hanging over PM for him to order more envelopes (and earlier that week labels). I told him that I believed it was because there are times when I will decide for myself whether I will send out a job short or not and I don’t care what he says (it’s easy: I mark the delivery ticket as short (just the facts, no promises), mark the job ticket, and put it into billing if it’s within the standard 10% or put it on PM’s desk if it’s something that does need to go back on the press before the customer calls wondering if they’ll get the rest). So long as the customer knows a job is short, I don’t mind sending it that way (they only pay for what they receive) and sometimes they’ve called and told us not to bother with the second shipment because they can always reorder later. What’s awkward with this job and why I’m desperately hoping that the second press-run goes smoothly is that this customer had ordered 500 of the same envelope with different printing and that case had been at least as heavy as the 700 I’d counted; meaning he’d ran a lot of extras and included them in the box without marking the overrun. This is fine–I love tossing overrun into the shipment and giving it the customer for free if it’s not too much (again the +/-10%), but my one hard and fast rule is that when a customer gets two different but similar jobs, the quantities had better be the same/proportional!

Customers aren’t stupid, though when you send a lot of uncredited overrun along with an exact quantity they do get confused. I once made the mistake of putting an un-numbered sample on the outside of a box and the customer called to ask for the job to be picked up and numbered. I happened to be standing right next to the customer sales rep when she got this call and I told her to tell the woman to actually open the box because I’d literally finished that job an hour earlier. My poor dad was making a delivery to another company when he heard their receptionist mumble about throwing away “the duplicate numbers”. He didn’t say anything, but the next day that company called to say that we’d shorted them 100 numbered invoices. We don’t send any duplicate numbers as a rule, but how do you tell a customer that their receptionist threw away good invoices because she didn’t read the boxes correctly? Luckily we keep some of their invoices on our “extras” shelf, so the cost of re-doing those numbers for free wasn’t as high as it could have been.

Anyway, I’m obviously starting to digress. You can see that our shop could do with having a more attentive Production Manager. I do what I can to help the shop run as smoothly as possible, but when all my official labels put me at the bottom of the totem pole, it’s difficult to step on the toes that need to be stepped on. It’s hard to be the unofficial assistant production manager when there are people who either don’t want to be managed at all (even though they’re the ones who need the most management) or think that they should be management (even though that pressman has committed way too many mathematical errors (he’s printed 4 times the quantity ordered on at least 4 occasions) and generally would put out better work if he’d simply clean his press and wash his hands more often among a few other things).

By the way, on the rumor of them hiring a new girl. The official story is that it will be a new sales girl, which we do need. If she knows the printing business already this would be a bonus. If she is going to be added to production and we lose someone, I hope she’s a presswoman. I swear our pressmen spend more time smoking, bickering with each other and simply walking around scratching their butts than they do actually printing stuff. This wouldn’t be an issue if they weren’t fighting their presses at the same time (one more than the other).

On being the victim of ageism.

I’ve been the victim of ageism on numerous occasions. It’s when someone assumes you’re a certain age and treats you as such whether it be above or below the respect level that you’d receive if that person knew your true age.

I’m 26 years old. I look 16. Which is better than when I was 21 and was handed a children’s ticket for Harry Potter. This was the first time that I realized it could be good to be discriminated against–that I could use people’s prejudices to my advantage to get the treatment that I want.


Actually, I only use my power for good. I didn’t ask for that children’s ticket, though I didn’t reject it either since I didn’t realize that they’d given it to me until after the movie was over. I’d simply been standing innocently next to my dad when he requested “3 for Harry Potter”. They assumed I was a child.

For the most part, I just like to tease people by having them guess my age. It’s usually after we’ve already had a decent conversation where I’ve probably dropped hints that I’m older than I appear (like talking about college classes with the hairdresser). It’s funny watching their faces as they hem and haw about what number they can throw out there that won’t insult me. I hope that one day I’ll be like my grandmother: 85 and passing for 65!

Then there are times when I play up my youthful appearance in order to save my sanity. You see, I’m a clutz and I’m awkward and I make stupid mistakes at times. This wouldn’t be an issue except that I suffer from mild anxiety 90% of the time (controlled by mind over matter). Whenever I do something particularly embarrassing, I simply neglect to include the verbal clues that tell people that I’m older than I look. This way I can tell myself that if they’re going to judge me it will be through the lens of my being “a kid”. This saves my sanity because instead of spending hours or days (a lifetime) stressing over what that stranger thinks of me, I tell myself that they weren’t accurately judging me because they’d inputted the wrong age to base their criticisms on. In society, it’s one thing for a small 16 year old with their 1st job to struggle with an overloaded hand-truck. It’s something else for a 26 year old with a good 15 years experience (my dad put me to work young) driving a hand-truck to no be able to control the stupid thing.

Of course, sometimes it’s simply annoying when people decide that I’m younger than I am. I was at Burger King a few weeks ago and I wanted their onion ring sauce, but the cashier had turned her back to me to work on the next order, not realizing that I still needed her attention. I said a mild “excuse me”, but she didn’t hear it. An older lady in line said “she didn’t hear you, sweetie” and I looked at her and said, “I know. I’m waiting for her to finish what she’s doing before I interrupt”. You see, even when it’s annoying to hear the slightly patronizing “Sweetie”, I can still use the prejudice to benefit myself because it’s an excellent teaching moment–don’t judge too quickly (I definitely sound older than I look) and patience isn’t a vice.

Edit 8/16/15: BF and I went to the hospital last weekend to visit one of his aunts who’d just had a double bypass heart surgery. She looked really good while were were and since we haven’t heard anything negative assume she’s staying with her son now as planned.

While we were in the car driving to the hospital, I realized that I didn’t have an ID with me and I thought I’d remembered this hospital requiring an ID to enter after hours. I didn’t mention this to BF because we were already over halfway there and stuck in traffic. I was a little concerned, but didn’t think it’d be that big a deal. Especially since I had a plan, muahahaha. As we walked towards the hospital entrance, I used a little skip to catch up with him (his long legs vs. my short ones). This was also to get me into the right mood. He walked confidently up to the security desk and said he wanted to visit his aunt. They wanted to see his ID and then the guard proceeded to check him in. Meanwhile, I’d been trailing slightly behind him, half because I have short legs and half because I was trying to act like a kid. I stood patiently to the side, with a childish slightly bored, but interested expression. Needless to say, the guard bought it hook, line, and sinker. He handed BF his sticker ID (which had his name and picture on it) then told him to give this one “to your daughter. I assume she’s your daughter”.

BF: “Nah, she’s my girlfriend.”

Guard: {heh heh} “Sure, if you want to get arrested.”

BF: “No! Seriously, she’d my girlfriend! Guess how old she is!”

Guard: (looking slightly uncomfortable and you can tell he was suddenly adding years to me) “16?”

Me {laughing}: “Actually, I earned this shirt I’m wearing” (I was wearing a UVA sweatshirt.) “I’m 26.”

Guard: “No way!” He elbowed the other guard at the desk who appeared to not have been paying any attention. “Guess how old she is!”

2nd Guard: {Gives me a squinty look} “Obviously almost 30.”

At some point during the rest of the exchange I admitted that I didn’t have an ID, but I’m not sure the guard heard me as he was still baffled by my age. He was more than happy to send me along with a “My Child; Please Return to {BF’s name}” sticker and never did demand to see my ID.

‘Course, I told BF in the elevator ride up to his aunt’s room that the guard had never stood a chance of thinking me over 18. Like I said, he didn’t know that I’d forgotten my ID so he didn’t know about my plan to look 12, which is how I prefer it. While I wanted to intentionally deceive the guard, I wasn’t about to truly lie in order to visit his aunt. BF probably would have gone with the child story if he’d known about it, but I preferred to get caught. Really, my intention was to prey on the guard’s laziness, not his ability to accurately judge a visitors intentions. I hoped merely to get him to do exactly what he did: give me a child’s pass rather than ask for my ID to give me an adult’s one. Once the child’s pass was printed, odds were very slim that he’d want to go back into the system to change it. Then, the charade could be lifted so that he would be given the opportunity to do his duty to check my ID–it was his choice not to. I was fully prepared for him to deny me entry and was grateful that he didn’t.

I Am America (And So Can You!)

I really liked this book. I was slow to become a fan of Stephen Colbert even after I started watching his show. I thought him too crude and annoyingly stupid and preferred the more serious Jon Stewart’s straight-man portrayal of current events.

I still prefer Jon Stewart’s style, but I absolutely fell in love with Colbert when he really started his own Super PAC to show the public how completely screwed up the system is when it comes to political funding.

I Am America reads exactly like the Colbert Report segment “The Word”, including the handy notes in the margins and footnotes. This is definitely the book you hand without introduction to your slightly clueless ultra-conservative relatives and coworkers and see if their mind gets blown.

I thought the epilogue chapter that included his Press Association Dinner speech was interesting for a few different reasons. For one, I didn’t know much about the content of that speech except that when it ended the pundits didn’t know what the hell had just happened because no one knew that he was doing satire (they just thought him completely batshit crazy). Secondly, after reading the speech, I could conclude that half of it did indeed come across as completely batshit crazy, haha. For me, it read like a really awkward speech. There were moments of brilliance when Colbert shined with a well placed joke that was fully in character. There were moments when he seemed to fall out of character in order to do the standard shoutouts to folks in the crowd (the ones where he didn’t include a good joke). And then there were moments when what he was saying might have been in character, but was so completely in left field it just came across as stupid and not even remotely funny (actually, these moments weren’t presented the same way as the jokes, so maybe this was an attempt to stay in character while not saying something that’s supposed to be funny…I’m not sure). But then, I reminded myself that this speech was given in 2006. While the character of Stephen Colbert had been used on the Daily Show, he’d only had his own show for one season as of April 2006. In other words, at the time he was still working out the kinks in the character.

America is Number 1 Mouse Pad
America is Number 1 Mouse Pad by PunchDrunk
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I Don'T See Color T-shirt
I Don’T See Color T-shirt by worldsfair
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Idea Bank #50: The first time I felt jealousy…

Hehe…this was actually very recently–like 2 weeks ago.

We’d just gotten back from our trip and BF was out running a mess of tows when someone knocked on the door. Usually the only people that knock on his door are Jehovah’s Witnesses, so that’s what I was expecting when I opened it. Standing there was a relatively tall, nicely dressed, pretty Asian lady. I figured she was a JW, but then her spiel didn’t make any sense. Her accent was thick and even though I’m pretty good at deciphering what people are trying to say, I wasn’t prepared to change gears, so I was only catching every 3rd word. Here’s my understanding of the conversation as it took place:

She wanted to speak with BF about doing some electrical work.

  • I told her he doesn’t really do electrical (he’ll dabble in the basics, but no more).
  • She mentioned talking with him awhile ago and him telling her that he could help her on her electrical.
  • I repeated that he doesn’t do electrical (and started wondering when he’d talked to her and why he’d said such a thing).
  • Finally she mentioned something and I realized that she was talking about some other guy in the neighborhood who does electrical (this guy lives next door to her) and that BF had been there when she’d talked to that guy. (This is when it occurred to me that I was feeling jealous of this woman for no good reason, so I put a smile on my face and finally realized what she was talking about).
  • A few weeks before we went on vacation, BF built a shed in the backyard. He knew a guy in the neighborhood is an electrician, so he went over to talk to him about what it’d take to put real electricity in it instead of just an extension cord. This is when the lady on the doorstep met both of them and electrical guy gave her his card, but it’d been a month and she couldn’t get ahold of him. She was wondering if BF could help her locate him because she’d lost electricity in 2 rooms of the house.
  • Once we cleared that up, she mentioned BF telling her about his wonderful “wife”. She complemented me a few times with this name (no he’s never introduced me as such) then told me that if I ever needed to borrow an egg or sugar or something not to hesitate to stop by.

I realize that I haven’t described my feelings of jealousy very well, but that’s because I didn’t recognize them as such at the time. At first it was simple annoyance at having to answer the door just to tell someone yet again that we’re not interested in becoming JW. Then it was annoyance at not knowing why this woman was wanting to contact BF for something he doesn’t do. Her being so smartly dressed while I was lounging around in my PJs after 12pm on a Friday made me feel inadequate especially since she looked like the type to assume I’m BF’s daughter. She looked like someone who might find him attractive and was interested in a date. Who knows what I was thinking. Like I said, I only later realized that I was feeling jealous of her and thinking that she’d better think twice about seeking out a date with BF.

Here’s the thing: BF flirts with everyone! Male, female, it doesn’t matter. Well, I characterize this incorrectly as flirting–let me give you an example. We’re at a restaurant and BF complains about something that was nothing more than human error. He’s not mean about it, but he’s very firm about “the customer being right” even when it doesn’t really matter. As a rule, I don’t complain simply because it’s usually not worth it. There have been times when I’ve been certain that the waitress is going to spit in his food because he can get somewhat annoying and then he’ll say something somewhat charming and suddenly the waitress is offering him free dessert. Not because she’s afraid he’ll complain to corporate and she’s trying to begrudgingly save her job, but there is legitimate friendliness on her face. All I can do is shake my head and laugh. There was a misunderstanding at our favorite sub shop that got way out of hand, so far that I thought the sub maker was going to come across the counter and punch BF and then BAM (not a punch), BF says something and suddenly the sub maker was offering him free chips, shaking his hand, and being all BFF with it feeling 100% authentic.

Heck, before we started dating, I thought he had a thing for my aunt that bowls with us because he’d changed the faucet on her kitchen sink and knew things about her that I didn’t know. Then I thought he was interested in another woman we bowl with. This was all while he was actually very much interested in me, which I had zero clue about. He still doesn’t flirt with me like he does with waitresses, etc. Huh….gotta get on him about this.

Anyway. I’ve never been jealous about his “flirting”. Ever since we started dating, my dad has mostly kept his opinion to himself except for a few times that he’s slipped. One time (early on) was how he flirts with all the ladies. I told my dad that I was well aware of this and explained about the waitresses. BF appreciates my lack of jealousness because his first ex-wife frequently accused him of cheating on her and generally showed a lack of self-esteem whenever he mentioned another woman in any way (a lot of snide remarks about “well, if her cooking’s so good, why don’t you marry her”…stuff like that). Given that he found out that she’d been cheating on him for much of the marriage, yeah.

He did get a good laugh when I told him about being jealous of his “Asian admirer” and took it as a compliment (which he should when it’s an infrequent gut reaction). I took it as a complement a few weeks ago when he made a joke about TJ of some form and I said “the only TJ i like is in Charlottesville” and he got jealous about who this TJ may be. Thomas Jefferson, of course, haha.

“Holy Crap!”

That’s literally what I said a few minutes ago when I found a very flat and dry small lizard on the hallway floor. I’d stepped on him, though I’m reasonably sure that I’m not the cause of his flatness. EWWW! Since our outside cat has been committed to the inside world for the past 2 weeks due to his recovery from an unknown bite on his butt (well, back just above the tail) and the kitten only goes outside with supervision….that lizard has been dead inside the house for awhile!

Anyway, for those of ya’ll looking for a book review, I’m just about finished with I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert, so I should be able to write a review for it tomorrow after work.

Right now I’m playing with the spray adhesive I bought after work today (E6000). First attempt was bad with it coming out as a harsh single stream instead of mist. The second attempt went better because the glue came out as a mist this time, though maybe my “Happy Birthday” is too flimsy for it to work properly. I’m looking forward to more practice.

And here’s where I gloat about one of the really cool things I got from work. Well, it’s actually a box full of these things, haha. It’s large sheets of red acetate (the size of a small poster board), which in case you didn’t know, your average glue will not stick to! I’ve used it to separate the “guts” for handmade journals as I spread on thick amounts of handmade glue (water and flour cooked like gravy). When the glue is dry and the weight is removed the guts separate easily from the acetate dividers.

The first time I learned that glue wouldn’t stick, I was making my grandma a sign for her grocery cart because while shopping for Tree Trimming she’d left her first cart at the front while she worked to fill her second and some helpful associate started putting her first cart away. I was using hot glue for that project and my poor letters kept popping off. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, haha.

Anyway. Because the sheets I have are so large, they’re perfect for covering my work surface, of which I only have only one: some remnant of  a pressed paper piece of furniture that’s the perfect size to use on top of the tall guest bed.the desk only holds my cricut and papercutter as well as some small odds and ends :-(. I’d love a proper counter!

Wish BF was here so I could share pictures of the lizard and the acetate, but he decided to stop by one of his friend’s houses after we ate dinner and went to Walmart. He’s been overheated for the past 2 weeks and today it really appeared to be affecting his communication skills. First I didn’t understand what he meant when he called to ask me if I “wanted to eat dinner before I came home from work” (it took him awhile to say that he was heading into town), then I misunderstood that he definitely wanted me to order 2 pizzas because his son was joining us for dinner (he told me to order his usual and for me to get one how I wanted it, but I decided I didn’t want pizza so I got a personal dish instead). As we left Walmart, he told me to follow him towards home (because I have a very bad sense of direction and haven’t memorized that route yet since I don’t do much shopping alone). At some point he’d decided to take the detour to his friend’s house, but he didn’t tell me. I got a bit worried when he put on his turn signal to indicate a turn onto a street I know well, but then didn’t get into the turn lane. I ended up following him as he went straight where he pulled to the side and as I pulled up next to him he finally told me the plan. I told him like it was: I thought he was having a stroke (it wouldn’t be the first time).

Actually the stroke is a good deal of the reason why he has trouble communicating at times. His speaking abilities are fine, but the act of thinking through what he wants to say can get jumbled to the point that he doesn’t know what he has or hasn’t said. This means that he’ll repeat the unimportant things and will forget to say the important ones. It can be frustrating for everyone involved.

That time I made a 14 year old boy cry…

While writing my last post inspired by the Idea Bank, I remembered one story that I just have to share with the world. It was the time that shy, quiet, tiny little me scared the hell out of a jerky, arrogant 14 year old boy.

I was working at a summer camp. My primary job was Ropes and Bungee Counselor and was one of 3 bunk counselors for 11 year old girls. This camp, for an abhorrent price tag offered 2, 4-week full immersion sleep-away camp experiences  (I believe it was $5000/kid or $1000/kid depending on the session). Pretty much, it was the camp from The Parent Trap or any of the great camp movies you can think of. This is technically 2 camps: a boys camp and a girls camp. The only time they mixed was for certain activity periods for the oldest campers and for socials. There were uniforms. There were dozens of activities. There was Color War which concluded with burying the hatchet.

Anyway. This happened during second session which was a good 3rd of the size of 1st session. This session had a camper who was notorious for being a pain in the butt. One of his bunk counselors was one of my ropes coworkers, so we heard how he was an ass towards his bunkmates. Well, on this particular day I was working on the bungee (which is in a different part of the camp than the ropes course, so the department head wasn’t there). This was one of the times when we had both girls and boys. The boy in question ended up on my trampoline.

I recited all the rules (it was something like “keep your hands on the straps at all times, if you want to do flips let me know, and don’t start jumping until I tell you you can”) and everything started out smoothly enough. I’d anticipated him giving me problems, so I’d been a little extra firm during instruction time. While he was bouncing, he started leaning too far forward on the way down so that he’d land on his chest. I reprimanded him the first time he did this and warned him that if he did it again I’d yank him off. Well, it’s a good thing I paid a whole lot of attention to my jumpers because I heard him say something about a “swan dive” as he jumped up and as soon as it looked like he was going to flip so he’d land head first, I jammed my thumb on the up button to keep him from landing on his head.

The operator uses the up and down buttons to wind the cables in and out to allow the person to jump higher (when the cable is up, it pulls them upwards). The motor isn’t strong enough to lift a person’s dead weight, but the little oomph mid-jump will make them jump higher and you have to lower the cable as they come down so that they’ll actually touch the trampoline because the cables can hold a person’s weight and if they aren’t long enough, the person gets trapped up in the air, though it does put a strain on the cables which isn’t good. It’s a delicate balance to be a good bungee operator.

Anyway, it was about 5 seconds between when I heard him say something about doing a swan dive and when I had him shanghaied by my quick reaction. Obviously, I was scared shitless by the fact that he’d been so close to paralyzing or killing himself and my verbal reaction was proportional. I used my newly acquired grown up voice as I very sternly and loudly told him that that was the stupidest thing I’d ever seen, that he could have seriously hurt himself, and to get the heck off of my trampoline NOW and that he was banned from being on my trampoline ever again! Actually, I have no idea what I really said to him, but it was something along these lines. I definitely banned him from my trampoline, that’s for sure. I didn’t curse him out because I didn’t curse back then. I had him un-hooked and frog-marched down the platform stairs easily within 30 seconds of him coming to a stop.

I took a deep breath to calm myself down and tried to smile at my next jumper, a girl who looked terrified of me. I do remember what I said to her as I apologized for my outburst, explained that he’d just done something incredibly stupid, and that so long as she followed all the rules we’d be friends (yes–the kids are allowed to and encouraged to do flips though they were asked to give us warning that they wanted to so that we could make sure that they got high enough for it to be safe). She was definitely nervous to start with, but by the end of her jump she’d relaxed plenty because I kept my word. The rest of the activity period went well, though I don’t know what the boy did and/or said to his friends after I kicked him off the trampoline. All I know is that he was very much “Ma’am, yes ma’am” as soon as I started yelling at him and he didn’t fight me when I made him get off the trampoline.

Like I said above, my boss wasn’t there when the incident occurred, though I told him about it when I went back to the ropes course. I think he’d heard about it from one or more of my coworkers before I got to him though. Not that I cared. I’m still proud of how I handled the situation because I knew that I did the right thing. He agreed as did my coworkers 100%. Before camp started we were told that since this is camp and it’s supposed to be fun we were discouraged from saying “no” when the kids wanted to do something that either we didn’t want to do or that was unsafe for them. We were supposed to say something to say no to them without actually using the word “No”. I still think this relatively stupid.

On one of my performance reviews second session I was actually told that the girls thought I was being too mean to them because I expected them to go to bed at bed time. I was told that I would yell at them. Grrr. I had girls constantly getting out of bed for up to 2 hours after lights out to be loud and obnoxious while other girls just wanted to sleep. My 1st session girls were wonderful at bedtime–I guess they spoiled me. What still pisses me off is that at the end of the session we counselors had to nominate a girl for being “best of the bunk”. Our choice was obvious because she was always the first to help with chores, first out of the bunk, etc, but because this girl’s mother had requested that she write home everyday (instead of the required letter twice a week) and apparently some other issues that made her seem to get more attention from the counselors (not us, by the way–it was the higher up’s complaining), we had to choose someone else and it was a girl who I’d had to on one occasion practically drag out of the bed of her friend in the adjoining bunk after lights out.

I guess I should have let the girls run wild all night so long as they stayed inside the bunk, but you know what? I was grumpy from not getting enough sleep. By the second half of 2nd session I was taking a regular afternoon nap, something I never did and haven’t done since!

Hmm…I guess this was the birth of the “Hitler Face“, haha.

BF likes Geneology

Due to a lack of work today I got home a little after 3:30 pm instead of my usual 5. BF hadn’t gotten much sleep this morning before his phone started ringing, so when he walked in the door a few minutes after I did, he made a beeline for the bedroom to go back to sleep. I didn’t intend to keep him awake, but when I followed him to the bedroom to borrow his phone so I could take pictures of the cards I made it seemed natural to sit next to him at the foot of the bed and talk about his tows from today and yesterday (he got called a little after 10pm last night).

Talk of towing turned into me mentioning that I’d planned to go to Walmart to look at adhesives since I got off work early but that I’d forgotten my walet at home (pause while I find my wallet and put it into my bag….). He asked me if I’d memorized my driver’s license number yet in case I get pulled over and have forgotten my license. No, I haven’t and I don’t intend to. Talk quickly turned to social security numbers and trying to figure out if there’s any rhyme or reason to the numbers. I just looked at Wikipedia: not really especially to folks who got one after 2011.

While talking about SSNs, BF wondered about his grandparents and their date of births and he complained that he hadn’t taken a picture of his grandparents graves so that he’d have their birthdates on hand. I told him we could look them up on and he told me to go get my computer. While I was gone, he got under the blanket proper and I expected him to quickly lose interest and would tell me to go away so he could sleep.

Well, he loved Find-a-Grave and when an ad popped up advertising a death certificate for the name of his son (which was also the name of his oldest brother who died during birth) he got kind of excited about handing his son a death certificate with his name on it. Knowing that those links are usually annoying at best/just want my money at worst, I hopped over to to see what kind of free and easily accessible records we could find with his name on them. 3 hours later I finally escaped so that I could eat dinner (and volunteered to make BF and Son grilled cheese)!

BF really enjoyed himself! We were able to trace both his father and mother’s direct paternal lines back to the 1780s or so. We found some awkward names to laugh over (Littleberry Cock?!) and it seems like his family tree didn’t branch too far on his father’s side back in the 1820s or so when husband and wife both had the same surname. I got really excited when we found the marriage license for his great x4 (or 5) grandfather and grandmother. Huh. Maybe his tree didn’t branch twice… I just looked at the marriage license again because it has the same surname for husband and wife (this wasn’t the one we noticed before) and I’m pretty sure that she should have had her maiden name on this form. Curiouser and curiouser.

Pretty much BF has made my month because I really want to figure out the mystery of how closely related this generation (or two) was to their spouses. At least when my family tree didn’t branch right it was because sisters had married brothers.