Month: April 2007 Page 1 of 3

On the Road.

False alarm: the car’s okay, except for a bad O2 something-or-other sensor. I’ll be out of town from noonish today to afternoon May 1. I may or may not have access until I get back.


Okay, fate. Last week, you jammed the clip that holds the door to the gas cap. I gave in and took the car to the shop, so I wouldn’t be on the road to Santa Fe and unable to pry it open.

Today, the day before I want to leave…you turn the engine light on.

What’s going on here? Did I do something to piss you off? Do I have bad karma? Huh?


Yesterday, Lee and I went on an expotition (Roo-style) to Sears. I told Lee I’d buy him a circular saw, and he wanted a Craftsman. Okay…

We get there, amble down past the women’s clothes to the tools. Hm. Tools. But further on, I could see…yard pavilions. And grills. And…

Suffice it to say, I now no longer laugh at Lee when he talks about going to Sears and his eyes light up.

I spent a good part of yesterday going over the back yard with a soil rake, trying to pull some of the gravel out of where I’m putting the garden. Recklessly, I moved some flowers out of the way*, including a monster clump of irises and the cutest little grape hyacinths. Not that they had flowers anymore; Ray had been through the backyard already, after all. “It’s death or banishment,” I said. “Out-of-season transportation! You’ll never survive! Muahahahaha!” But I wasn’t about to leave them where I may very well plant the basil. Irises. Bah!

I got on a roll and did the rest of the yard. I found a tiny rhubarb plant and three metal posts that had been broken off at ground level. I’m not sure how I’m going to break up the garden soil…I’m afraid to rent a tiller, now.

While I was doing this, Lee, who is hereby awarded Spouse of the Month award, put the new grill together while sick. Afterwards, he conked out.

Ray and I took off to go shopping…and I realized I had no idea whether there was some specific kind of gas canister I needed. By that time, I was done dealing with other people, so I just went home and cooked the brats on the stovetop. New gril + too tired = no grilling. Sigh. But today we’re going to do chicken. I think I’m going to brine it first.

Yesterday, I was planning to go to Home Depot and use some gift-card goodage to buy a wheelbarrow. We could put all that extra gravel into the defunct swimming pool, or I could cart it into the front yard and put it under the trees where the needles kill all the grass anyway: my plan is to change the front yard into a moutain, with trees, rocks, flowers, and maybe a path and a pond. We live in Colorado, dammit, and if you can’t xeriscape your yard to look like a mountain here, where can you do it?

Anyway, that was the plan yesterday. Today, I’m planning to take some ibuprofen and nurse my blister instead.

*Note to self: have found activity for which Crocs are truly inappropriate, i.e., jumping on shovels.


This Sunday’s Sinfest.

Two words…


1. burdensome, oppressive, or troublesome; causing hardship: onerous duties.
2. having or involving obligations or responsibilities, esp. legal ones, that outweigh the advantages: an onerous agreement.

[Origin: 1350–1400; ME <>oner?sus, equiv. to oner- (s. of onus) burden + -?sus -ous]

–adjective, -ner·i·er, -ner·i·est. Dialect

1. ugly and unpleasant in disposition or temper: No one can get along with my ornery cousin.
2. stubborn: I can’t do a thing with that ornery mule.
3. low or vile.
4.inferior or common; ordinary. [Origin: 1790–1800; contr. of ordinary]

Damn. They aren’t related.


After dropping off the car to have the little door that covers the gas cap fixed (even jamming the switch to “release” didn’t do any good this time; I think the latch is broken, rather than the spring just bent out of place), I went shoe shopping. I don’t do this very often. 2007 marks a record year: I have now purchased three pairs of shoes in one year. Two pairs of shoes in one day, in fact.

But the significance of the event doesn’t stop there. I bought a pair of shoes that were both girly and comfortable. Not just “You know, after I break these in, I might be able to walk around in them all day, if I spend most of my time sitting down,” comfortable, but “Damn! I could do everything from go hiking to dance in these suckers, in a foreign country if I had to!”

I also got a pair of Dr. Scholl’s that look like my existing-but-slightly-exploded Sketchers, but I don’t feel any need to link to them. They feel heavenly, though, like nursing shoes that look cool.

All three pair are, of course, black. I haven’t totally lost my senses.


Yesterday was a day to mark on my personal calendar: someone asked me what I’d published, listened to the very small list (in which I included stuff that has been paid for but not published), and was actually impressed. I blushed, I stammered, I almost peed my pants. But judge for yourself.

Anyway it was this mom and her daughter. The mother was about forty, if that. She wore a head scarf (but not the Amish/Mennonite thing, just a denim-blue headscarf), a blue calico shirt, and a blue calico dress. The calicos did not match. She was round–not fat, but round.

Her daughter was blonde, skinny, fresh-faced, and altogether clean-looking. Fifteen years old. (I think I remember her mother saying that.) They were in the writing-reference section, both of them sitting on the floor cross-legged, surrounded by a few books that they would shelve and unshelve, flip through, pass to each other, and put carefully aside.

“Do you think this one will explain how to write better characters?”

“Look through the chapters.”

“‘How to write better characters.'”

“We could try that one…”

And then the statement the parent of every teenager dreads: “I don’t know…”

So I recommended a couple. John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. The Write Great Fiction series.

“My daughter wants to be a writer, and being a home-schooling mother, I’ll try to indulge her.”

Her daughter didn’t roll her eyes, which took discipline. They talked to each other about a book that the daughter had been edging toward, picking up and putting back, for a couple of minutes. As if she knew it wasn’t going to fly.

“Look, mom. ‘Your character is at a party. Would she flirt or stand next to the wall, too shy to talk?'” She giggled. “Flirting.

Her mother stopped, suddenly still. (I’d never really seen anybody actually do that before. People make a lot of noise all the time. You just don’t notice until they don’t.) “But you wouldn’t flirt, would you?”

“Oh, no, mother…” the girl babbled on for a few seconds, then interjected as one of those afterthoughty-things-that-teenage-girls-do, “I might have accidentally flirted.”

Warning: If your child expresses interest in any type of creative writing, take this as a red flag that your child enjoys…drama. This may cause issues for cut-and-dried, black-and-white types who enjoy peace and quiet over conflict and change.

“But you didn’t flirt, did you?”

“No, not really, I guess.”

The girl allowed herself to be derailed from the conversation, but it was there in her eyes: someday, I am going to shock my mother, and it’s going to be fun.

Kids in the Hall

There are so many, many things I like about Kids in the Hall. The last one makes me think of Lee, except he’s always “sell her to the gypsies.”

Word of the Day.

Some of the most interesting, unusual words describe everyday things. Who would have thought that the fleshy, spongy, white thing inside an orange had a word for itself… and that it would share it with astronomers? Or that it would have the same ancestor as the words for an egg part, a photo book, or the smearing of a canvas?

What all these words have in common is whiteness or albus, Latin for white. Albumen is egg white, an album is a book with white pages, and when we daub a sheet of paper, we de-albus it.

albedo (al-BEE-doh) noun

1. The fraction of light reflected from a body or surface.
For example, earth’s albedo is around 0.39.

2. The white, spongy inner lining of a citrus fruit rind.

[From Latin albedo (whiteness), Latin albus (white).]

-Anu Garg (words at

Solo’s Restaurant.

Yesterday, we ate at Solo’s Restaurant in the Springs. It’s an aviation museum, with okay-but-not-memorable food; of course we sat inside the airplane and played with all the buttons in the cockpit.

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