Friday, October 29, 2010

The Glorious Snooze Button

The snooze button is something that can destroy relationships.  Thankfully, both my husband & I are huge fans.  We like to snooze for extended periods of time, which in our house means more than half an hour. 

But yesterday, the weirdest thing happened.  I slept.  Real sleep.  See, for my husband to be at work by 5, he needs to leave the house by 4:30, so he needs to get out of bed between 4 and 4:15, so he sets his alarm for about 3:45, which means I set mine for 3:30 so I can help him wake up.  Usually, once he's out of the bed, I stretch out and suck up all the warmth he left behind, then get up, feed pets, check e-mail, and stuff, then about 6 when I start to get sleepy again, head back to bed for a nap until 8ish, when I get up and get moving so I can get to the office by 10, work until 6, then head out the door to my rehearsals, meetings, dinner dates, whatever that usually start about 7.  It's brilliant.  Of course, on days when I don't have to be anywhere at 7, I try to skip my 6-8 nap and just head in to the office and be done early, but 6 am is also just when the kitties get snuggly again, so trying to resist the siren call of an empty bed with warm kitties is often more than my feeble will power can take. 

Only that didn't happen yesterday. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I have a yearning for a road trip.  Or a cruise.  Or just a vacation trip.  A get-away to somewhere not here.

Some friends drove Rt 66 last summer, and that sounds like fun, although if I'm gonna drive a fabulous stretch of road, I pick Hwy 1 up the California coast and then just keep going until I make it to Canada. I wouldn't mind seeing Vancouver or Toronto.  I'd go back to Montreal again too, and not just for brown gravy on french fries.

I want to go back to Yellowstone, and Yosemite, and visit Oregon & Washington.  I've never been to New England, so I'd like to cross those states off my list.  I wouldn't mind crossing the rest of the Hawaiian islands off my list too.  I've got 3 of 7 so far.  I'd like to visit New York City... just to say I have.  I want to visit Florida again, now that I know people I like live there. 

I want to visit England (now that I might actually remember it) & Scotland, and the rest of Ireland.  I want to go to France and embarrass myself further with my poor French.  I want to swim in the Mediterranean.  I want to see if olives taste better in Greece the way Guinness tastes better in Dublin.  I want to go to Rome and Venice and Prague and Berlin and Moscow and Cairo.  I want to go to Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Iceland.  Of course, I need to find a good native guide or learn some choice phrases in lots of languages.   Someday, I'd like to go to Jerusalem, and visit the sites of the early churches, maybe while eating olives.  I want to visit all the other hemispheres and more than 2 continents.  Go to Buenos Aries and Sydney.  I want to visit the places that are fun to say: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the Himalayas, the Maluku Islands. 

This isn't like a bucket list or anything, just an informative speculation, so that in the unlikely scenario that I become stupidly wealthy and decide to travel around to world for weeks at a time, you know where to look for me.  Pretty much everywhere.  I want to look at volcanos and pyramids and walk crazy paths in crazy jungles and get bit by crazy bugs carying crazy diseases... ok, so maybe only the walking and jungle parts of that are things I want. 

My family used to take road trips, sometimes to places we would camp, but often to fun places like Reno and Tahoe and Grandma's House.  I remember reading and listening to music, and sometimes talking, and lots of looking out the window.  I want to do that again.

For right now, I'll poke around on Google Earth and plot out a trip around the world.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sock it to me

So, I really like socks.

My husband hates socks--thinks of them as just a necessary evil in part of the shoe-wearing world in which we live.

I, on the other hand, delight in socks.

This was recently hammered home to me when my socks made me angry all day.

See, here's what happened. I have this yellow shirt, one of only two yellow shirts I own, and I thought I'd wear it. I was wearing black pants, so I pulled on my yellow shirt, and because I only have 2 yellow shirts, I don't have yellow socks. I do, however, have socks with gold stripes, which I thought was certainly close enough to be going on with. So I put them on. Then I grabbed my favorite black cardigan. After looking in the mirror, I didn't like the yellow and black. I felt like a fat bee. Not good. So, I switched out for my royal purple cardigan. Again, no good. I'm not quite the person to pull off that color combo. So I decided to change my yellow shirt to a lavender one, wear the purple cardigan, and I was out the door, happy with my wardrobe choices.

That is until I got out of the car at the office and saw my socks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spare Pets

So, my house is saturated with animals. We have three cats and a dog. That being said, I still have quite a few spare pets.

The concept of a "spare pet" is one that my brother put words to for me, but has been a part of my life ever since I moved out on my own. See, that's when my cats became my spare cats. I didn't live with them any more, and only visited once a year or so (since they were hundreds of miles away). I still thought of them as my cats, but they really weren't anymore.

This feeling of "my cat, but not my cat" has since extended to the beasties of my friends. I have 3 spare dogs, and 14 spare cats. I thought of including pictures, because I have pictures, but that might be a little excessive.

So I got to thinking--what makes a "spare" pet?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bubbles and Bliss

I love a good bath. Showers are nice and all, but nothing can come close to the soothing properties of sitting in hot water. It’s rejuvenating, relaxing, well, you get the point. I like baths.

I love how the simple act of taking a bath makes it easier for me to face the world. I feel bolstered after a good bath. Not just clean, but restored (did I use that "re" already?). It's like my battery charger. Leave me alone for 45 minutes or so and I emerge a cleaner and nicer human. Smelling good and feeling smooth are like shields against the frustrations of the world. Calgon, take me away indeed.

I can't recall a time when I didn't enjoy my bath time, but I do recall fussing and fighting my mother when I was younger over baths. I never wanted to stop playing to take a bath. It seemed like such a waste of time. Of course, once I was in the water, I never wanted to get out until I was all pruny fingers and wrinkly toes. It's as if I magically forgot how much fun I had in the bath once I wasn't there. There was just as much playing to be had in the bath as out. I had these fabulous soap crayons that I got to use to draw on the walls and floating toys and dinosaur shaped sponges... But getting to that part was a struggle.

Now, it's frequently one of the best parts of my day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Bean and the Quest for Pants

Most of the women I know understand the struggle to find pants that fit well.  Of all the many body shapes and sizes that we cover, not one of us can just go in, find our size & walk out confident that pants will fit.

First of all, there really isn't one "size" that we are.  Sizes are not consistent between brands, let alone the myriad permutations involved when you account for all the different cuts and styles offered.

Navigating the waters between straight cut, regular fit, relaxed fit, boot cut, flare, hip huggers, low rise, mid rise, natural rise... oh, it's a treacherous task.

Add on to that having legs longer than average, and it just makes shopping for pants a blood-pressure raising event.

It seems overly demanding to want pants that:
a) fit my waist
2) fit my thighs
D) touch my feet

Alright, so I have pants that do these things, the problem is that I don't have a single pair that does all these things at the same time.  Some pairs get closer than others, and those see the most wear.

How many of you have pants in your closet that you've worn once, maybe twice, maybe never? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Camping, Roughing it, and Inks Lake

When I was a child, I would go camping with my family.  Yes, it's true.  I camped.  In a tent.  I enjoyed it, even.  I'll give you a moment to collect yourself and put your shocked face away.

Here's what I remember from those formative years:
  • Mosquitoes will always get into the tent.  They love me more than any other human I've ever met.  Therefore, camping is itchy.
  • Air mattresses will never stay inflated.  If they do, you will slide off onto the ground anyway. 
  • No matter how smooth and perfect the ground looked before you put up the tent, there will be a collection of pointy rocks right where you want to sleep after you put up the tent
  • If I stare at my bobber attentively for 3.5 hours, it is inevitable that it will bob in the two seconds that I stop to scratch a mosquito bite.
  • Blue Gills like to bite your toes.  This is why I don't like to swim in bodies of water where I can't see all the way to my toes.  I'm sure the fact that my brother would torment me with stories of giant man-eating catfish has nothing to do with it.  Mostly. 
  • Inks Lake has more visible wildlife per square inch than any other place I've been.  One afternoon we saw deer, owls, toads, chipmunks/ground squirrels, regular squirrels, hawks, water moccasins, and something else... most of those critters tried to share our camp site.  It was exciting only because none of those things had more than 4 legs.  4 is my limit of legs for things that I like.  0-4 is good.  More than 4 is dodgy, and if you've got more than 6, I'll probably squeak in a wholly undignified way if you get within 36 feet of me.  Just so we're clear.
  • Once upon a time ago, Bisquick made these shaker things of pancakes.  You poured milk into a little yellow plastic container, shook it up and voila!  Pancakes!  That's roughin' it.  Pancakes on the Coleman stove. 
  • The things inside lanterns that create the light look like baby's socks.  They are not baby socks.  You can not take them out of the lantern and put them on your baby doll.   
  • Mummy bags are warm, and fun to hop around in, because then you don't have to expose any skin to the air that's less than 72°. 
  • A motor boat is a very expensive, though effective, hair dryer. 
  • I cannot water* ski. It is a skill possessed by all my family members... except me.  I can, however, find new and exciting places for lake water to go.  My sinuses were squeaky clean, that's for sure!
  • If there is a difference between a ground squirrel: and a chipmunk... nobody cares. Since the difference isn't as important as the one with the rhyme about the snakes where one kills you & the other is harmless, I tend not to care.  Well, Alvin & the Ground Squirrels just doesn't have the same ring to it, but both of them really like Planter's Dry Roasted Salted peanuts, so there's that.
Ground Squirrel




*Snow skiing, however, I was passably good at.  I mean, intermediate.  Blue squares didn't scare me.  Black diamonds did.  And anything with moguls.  Why would I purposely want to ski over speed bumps?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cake. Alot of cake is a lot of cake

We interrupt your regularly scheduled not a Bean-posting day to bring you this important example of me tooting my own horn.


Alot is a brilliant creation from the mastermind behind Hyperbole and a Half.  I love the Alot a lot.  I love the blog, but it's not really child friendly, because she uses adult words like "velociraptor" and "loofah" so if you are sensitive to strong language, be warned--she uses all the words!  She makes me laugh. 

So, I made a cake.  A  lot of cake.  Alot... of cake!

This is a lot of cake

Alot closer

Alot of cake at a bad angle

the Alot is a creation of Ally Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half, and all the awesomeness of the Alot belongs to her, not to me.  I just made a cake. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Musical rewind

So, I had this grand idea: a cd with 30 songs, one from each year of my life.

It would be a fabulously eclectic mix, chronicling my life through songs! Only... well, obviously I don't remember much about music from the first few years, and then the songs that were influential later in life weren't necessarily from the year in which I was being influenced, and then you run into the problem where 1987 had so many great songs released that year I can't figure out which to pick! It's a conundrum.

So, I'm working on a list that will allow me to put the important songs in, leaving room for years I don't remember, and still putting the songs of important years in their place, while still paying attention to the years that they're from. So, here we go!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bowling For Soup sums up life

So, in a rather me-like burst of navel gazing the past few weeks, I remembered some things.

I was 4 when I realized I was fat. My belly was too big to wear a two-piece bathing suit anymore. I remember my two piece fondly. It was a pretty turquoise blue, with a heart sort of stitched on the top, or bottom, or maybe it spelled out I <3 you... something like that, but I loved that suit. No one used the F word. It was handled just like outgrowing any other piece of clothing, but I knew. I knew that I was chubby. It wasn't really a soul-crushing thing, just a fact of life. I was bigger than all my friends. Not everyone gets to wear all the clothes. Maybe that's the real lesson I learned that day. As a point of interest (to probably no one but my mom & I) I remember many of my favorite outfits from that year. A pink & purple OshKosh B'Gosh corduroy jumper (in the American sense of overall-type dress thing, not sweater) and the grey wool skirt & vest with red rick-rack trim that I wore when I graduated Kindergarten.

What? Even at 4, I was still me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A lament for lipgloss

So, lipgloss and I have a checkered past. I wish it were houndstooth, because I think that would be more sophisticated. Or maybe Burberry...

Anyway, I like the look of lipgloss and the flavors, but sort of get frustrated with everything else about it.

If it comes in a pot, then my finger is all sticky.
If it comes in a squeeze-tube, then the tube is all sticky, and then my hand gets sticky.
If it comes with one of those wands, I'm usually worried about getting the most gloss off the wand and on to my face, which never seems to happen satisfactorily. I wind up just sort of using my lips to push the gloss back on to the wand...

I'll admit that not all of that is the lip glosses fault. In fact, user error may be involved. Somehow I missed the day in "girl school" on the application of lip gloss. I have a hard time getting over that "sticky" feeling, whether on my hands or lips. And because my hair is fine and tends to get wispy whether up or down, there's no escape from getting hair in my lip gloss, which is an uncomfortable and diconcerting experience. One particularly lovely lip gloss that was sparkly and very pink and smelled of cupcakes (which in fact makes it as close to perfect as any lip gloss can come) was so sticky, that when a stray hair blew across my face and landed in the gooey mess, my attempt to pull the offending folicle away resulted in the poor thing breaking. Yes, the lip gloss broke my hair! That may be more a testimony to the wimpiness of my hairs than the force of the gloss, but either way, that's no good.

And though I know this about myself, I'm always tempted by the shiny and the sparkly and the glossy and of course the smells.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A love letter to turtlenecks

Dear turtlenecks:

I love you.

I know you're not that popular with most of my friends. They consent to wear "mock" turtles, but not the real thing. I, on the other hand, have a whole shelf in my closet dedicated to you.

Yes, turtlenecks, I love you. I love you sleeveless. I love you cable knit. I love you cottony and in all the colors of my wardrobe (which, with the recent addition of 2 yellow shirts, now comprises the whole ROY G BIV spectrum, excluding coral because it makes me look ooky). I even chose a Halloween costume one year just so I could wear a red turtleneck. (Red Fraggle--it was fun).

I adore the way you keep me well covered and still looking stylish. I love the way you keep me toasty warm. I love the way you accentuate the 2.5 miles of neck I have.

Sparkly black turtleneck, you might be my favorite, thought I will admit that Purple ribbed
turtleneck comes in a close second. You have been with me through so many years. You work equally well with slacks and jeans. You are the perfect shirt for me.

So, dear turtlenecks, please don't think that because I moved to the sweltering state of Texas that I have abandoned or forsaken you. I haven't. I am so excited that it is finally below 90° that I will be wearing turtlenecks bi-weekly until the temperature drops below 80°. Then, we'll have weekly wearings.

Of course, as per usual, starting December 1st, regardless of temperature, we will have turtlenecks at least 3 times per week until the end of February. It's the least I can do to make up for the shortened window of opportunity that my home affords me.

Please accept this compromise with the full spirit of devotion with which it is offered.

From the bottom of my heart, and from my clavicle to chin--



Monday, October 4, 2010


What character from (insert current popular film series here) would you be?
What job should you pursue?
What flower are you?
What color defines you?

There are an astounding number of online quizzes all set to help you pin down your true identity.  Who and what you are, summed up in a few questions that seem to have nothing to do with the topic at hand, all so you can be told where you fit in, or stick out.

One night at dinner friend was bemoaning the need for classification and labeling and all that, and quiz es such as these used in job placement searches or whatever, and she was lamenting in particular the color question.  How could she be expected to know what color, out of all the colors the human eye can see, which one tiny word summed her up.  What makes me laugh, is that in unison, the rest of us all said in unison, "blue."  And that was the end of that.  Karen is blue.  We know it, and eventually she came to accept it too.

So, while I'm prone to mock the abundance of quizzes and their oddly specific focus, I'm susceptible too.  I want to know what flower, color, verb, shoe, hair style, country, mode of transportation, mythical creature, etc. defines me.  But I want someone else to tell me most of the time.  If left to my own devices, I tend to just choose my favorite, instead of looking for an answer that really defines me.  Then again, maybe my favorites do define me.  Maybe that's why they're my favorite.  Maybe I'm just making all this up in an effort to not have to think too hard about the stuff that comes next...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Once upon a dream...

Alright, it should come as no surprise to anyone that my favorite of the Disney Princess movies is Sleeping Beauty.  If you're surprised, go watch it again, and try to keep your shocked face in your pocket.

See, there are so very many things to love about that movie. 

First, it starts with a complete family.  Two parents and a new baby.  Yep, that's right!  Two parents!  A mom AND a dad... that's pretty unusual in Disney movies.  Prince Philip has two parents as well, so we're off to a good start.  Even though the Queens sort of mostly disappear and leave all the talking to the two dads... (We'll skip over the child betrothal part, because that's a historical thing, right?  Right.) I guess the extra ink for a second parent just isn't in the budget.  Wendy Darling & Princess Aurora are the only two that I can think of.  (Feel free to correct me in the comments, I'm leaving my allotted research time for this one completely dedicated to finding pictures of awesomeness.)

Second, there are fairies.  Flora, Fauna and Meriweather.  Yes, Flora is my favorite.  She's bossy, she's prissy, and she's pink.  Fauna is sweet natured and innocent like and a bit daffy.  Meriweather is sassy and a little rebellious, and blue.  They all sparkle, and fly.  I'll save my adoration for the last fairy until later.  Save the best for last, and all that.
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