Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last weekend it worked very well to sit down of a Saturday morning and post in my blog. So I'm going to try to be the opposite of other sites that are only updated during the week and write the blog that's only updated on the weekend.

This month is difficult. Yesterday, my grandfather passed away. He had been having lots of major health problems for the last several months, and it's been quite a roller coaster for the family. He was a very dignified man, and he didn't like needing physical care, not being able to live in their own home as he and my grandmother (Nanny) had done until this summer, or any of the other indignities an elderly and very ill person is forced to endure. Of course it's sad that he's gone, but it was also very sad to hear how unhappy he was about what his life had become. When my mom called to tell me the news yesterday, she said he'd really kind of given up lately. So I can't help but be glad he didn't have to live that way for very long.

I also take comfort in the fact that my family and I visited my grandparents this past December, and it was one of the very few times that I really sat and talked to my grandfather. He was a funny guy, and Reasonable Man and I really enjoyed spending that evening and the next morning sitting and enjoying his sense of humor and the way he and Nanny interacted and helped each other along. At one point Nanny interrupted him and he told her "I'm talking to my granddaughter" and it made me feel special. He had seven children, thirteen grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren, and when we all get together, it's a crowd that he would often retreat from. But that night it was just Nanny, Grandpa, and my little family, and it was a treat.

Another time that stands out in my memory is when my parents brought the two of them up to Davis when I was in college. Reasonable Man and I were dating but not yet engaged, and I think it was the first time they met him. We had a picnic on campus, and it seemed like they had barely arrived when it was already time for them to leave. I complained, and my grandfather said, "Remember, Tracie -- short visits make long friends." I doubt he made that up, but it was funny and I will always remember it as something he said.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We will miss you.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Morning Sloth

I just sat here looking at crap on the internet long enough to almost run out the battery on my laptop. The battery on this thing is truly pathetic, but still, that's a lot of time wasted this morning looking at the following sites:
passive aggressive
Found Magazine
The Office Sign Project
Apostrophe Abuse"
The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

These things delight me, if only because they prove that there are others out there with senses of humor as cruel and snarky as mine. Here people are, innocently writing notes or making signs to express the deepest feelings in their hearts, to make their homes or offices nicer places to live or work, or to promote the wares they have to sell -- and then smartass elitist internet types post them just to make fun of them, for the amusement of others. On the one hand, there seems something very wrong in that. On the other, it's finding a second use for things, isn't it? And who among us doesn't support recycling?

I love the idea of having a whole blog filled with examples of the grammar or punctuation error one finds most egregious, but mine would never work, because it's the use of "less" instead of "fewer," and the entire contents of such a blog would be endless pictures of signs reading "10 (or 8 or 15 or whatever) items or less" from grocery stores around the country, the example of girls singing about how they "want to be one less" in the commercial for the HPV vaccine Gardasil, and a shout-out to our local supermarket chain Nugget, which, in addition to being one of Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For and a lovely place to shop, features signs for its express lanes reading "8 items or fewer."

It was not my plan to sit here for so long this morning. At one time I probably thought I might go to the gym, and today I really must give the inside of the spa a scrub so it's ready to be filled tomorrow when the electrician comes to hook up the outlet for it, and perhaps even set up the trampoline (!). But I keep not eating any breakfast (brunch? lunch?) or getting dressed, so here I sit. I guess it's probably time to get going.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Out in the World

You know, this is the stuff I really like to talk about. I guess I always feel like I need to update on what's going on in my own actual life before I turn to all the pop culture items that are the real focus of my brain a good deal of the time. I think the title of my blog lends itself to that, and the fact is that I do like to talk about my kids sometimes. So I guess this blog (when I actually write in it) will continue to be a mish mash of stuff about my life and also what I think about stuff that's going on out there in entertainment-land.

First off, let's get it over with: Britney Spears.

1. Upon reading that MTV had readied a more figure-flattering corset-style outfit for her and she had rejected it, I was reminded of something someone once said about the infamous Tonya Harding back in the mid-90s: "She didn't have any class, and she wouldn't let anybody give her any." Not that a corset-style outfit MTV picked out for Britney would probably be the definition of class, but you know what I mean.

2. Maybe that outfit wasn't the most flattering thing she could have worn, but I'd still trade bodies with her without a second thought.

3. To the industry folks who want this comeback because Britney used to make them buttloads of money and they'd like some more: she's just not that into you.

Here's something I've been thinking about her for a while: she makes a good case for the argument that we all have a destiny that is preordained for us. The tragedy here is not so much that, in a few short years, she's gone from being a very pretty, fresh-faced, seemingly happy girl to a dead-eyed single mother of two -- that all clearly would have happened even without the fame and fortune. The real tragedy is that she has the money to flame out in such a spectacular fashion and the noteriety for it to have occurred with the whole world watching. I feel bad for her, frankly.

The Presidential Race:

I don't have a favorite candidate. I can't believe we're so deep into it with over a year to go, but I already know that I will vote for whoever the Democratic party nominates and I am just hoping with all my heart that it's someone electable. There seems to be a lot of certainty that we will not elect another Republican in 2008, but let's face it: the unthinkable has happened in the last two elections. "Cautiously optimistic" is as confident as I'm ever going to feel until a winner is named. Notice I didn't say "until the votes are counted" -- I don't have a whole lot of confidence in that process either.

Happier things:

Only 12 days till the season premiere of the The Office! I've been gearing up by watching my season 3 DVDs (which took FOREVER to get here from Amazon -- I pre-ordered, of course) and catching up on episodes of The Office Alliance podcast. Yes, I'm a total geek.

Reasonable Man and I will be going to see "Superbad" this afternoon. He's been talking about this movie since he first heard about it, so I hope it lives up to his expectations. BLB and the Bride said they liked it but that parts of it are "so wrong," so I figure I have been warned. It will be nice to go to the movies -- I saw three in one week and that was it for the whole summer.
I went running and it felt pretty good. It was just a little 10-minute run down to the gym, where I did some weight-lifting and then another 10 minutes home, but since I haven't done it in a year, I thought that was fine. I don't want to overdo it, and in the fall there's always a chance that the weather will turn hot and I won't go again for a while. No matter what happens, I will never be one of those people who runs in hot weather. I don't really like to run in cold weather either. Frankly, it's a wonder that I ever managed to start running in the first place, considering what a wimp I am about the conditions. But now it's fall and I may be able to do it for a while before I start wussing out again.

School is now in session...

A few weeks ago, I made the Blogger sign-in page my home page in hopes of guilting myself into writing in my blog when I opened a browser window and there it was. Well, you've seen how well that worked. So I'm going to try dedication to the craft of writing again. That probably won't work either, but it's worth a try.

So the kiddos are back in school, with mixed results thus far. Enthusio is off to a great start in third grade, with teachers who think he's fantastic and a smile on his face every day. He is in the top groups for math, reading, and spelling too. Sorry to brag, but I've never gotten to do that before :-) Mermaid has started 7th grade, and we are surviving. I am still pretty much in panic mode about that, as evidenced by the multitude of emails I have sent to her full-inclusion teacher and other teachers so far. I think the fact that I've been having school dreams about falling hopelessly behind for the last decard are playing into how I'm dealing with this new chapter in our lives. In any case, Mermaid is coping with all of it better than I am. She seems to have made a complete physical recovery from her surgery this summer, other than the fact that she continues to pick at a couple of little spots on her incision. Kids are amazingly adaptable!

I need to go back to Weight Watchers. I've been working out very consistently and that's good, but haven't been controlling my eating at all, and I'm pretty sure I've gained back a good portion of the ten pounds I lost. But the weather is cooling off and I want to start running again, so maybe I can get things back on track.

The new house is great, and is slowly coming together. I did a burst of painting in early August and will probably do more soon. Last weekend I put knobs and handles on the kitchen cabinets. Audio books on the iPod are a great companion to working around the house or yard, as are podcasts. I've gotten a little discouraged in the last few weeks, looking around the house, thinking about all the stuff I want to do around here, and remembering how much of it was already done in the old place. It feels insurmountable. But I just have to keep remembering that we were there more than seven years, that a lot of the stuff I did there I had to learn as I went along, and that virtually everything that needs to be done here is cosmetic. In this new house, I'm not having thing about ways to create more storage all the time. And of course, it doesn't have to get done all at once.

So that's it -- that's what's going on in my life right now. As always, life is pretty good, and after a summer punctuated by some stressful events, I am looking forward to a cool and pleasant fall.