Friday, May 23, 2008

Eat potatoes

The organic ones cost barely more than the regulars.  They cook up in a microwave four-minute flash, are easy to carry to work, and can be combined with any number of fancy extras, for those of you who need flavor.

It's the fourth largest food crop in the world.

And not terribly un-nutritious, though I found that I have to be pretty darn close to starving to want to eat them two days in a lunch-row, despite the fact that Americans do eat about a potato a day on average.

Mine are mostly in chip-form, though.  Actually, I hardly eat potatoes on purpose.

It's a cheap way to eat, so I'm trying.  I have 24 ounces of them to get through before all the eyes grow.

Bonus:  displaces salty oily processed chips in diet (but grants notions of "hmm, what if I sliced it up and fried it?" — because cravings are not abated by logic or full stomachs).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


We think it's funny that our tax rebate dealy-o arrived in the bank account a week before the "notice" did.

In fact, it was already respent before the "keep for your records" page appeared in the mail box.

Not to mentinon that the notice presents my last name spelled in a non-accurate form completely unattached to my SS# or any tax return. This leads me to presume "we" hired a great consultant for this unnecessary job. Or, well, I guess I'm happy that they didn't just simply upload the database?

Let's all think it's funny that the rebate dealy-o is going for the mortgage in lieu of a flat-screen television, some gutters, or, sigh, coveted body- and house-textiles.

I have this huge stack of catalogs, pages culled, torn out, representing thousands of dollars of wearables and house-furnishings I probably will not buy. Oh, the desire.

Next up, Applecart ideas for saving money in the New Depression (such as clothing reconstitution / assemblage): not to be knocked — it will make you as a Buddhist!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Darn it, Country!

It may be a liberal opinion, and it may lack certain backing, but there is at least one hard cite in these two paragraphs, and the concluding sentence deserves to be in green:

Industries across the country are suffering and crops are rotting for lack of workers. Congress is debating a national right-to-work system that could mistakenly ensnare countless Americans and seriously overburden the Social Security bureaucracy. Federal agents and local police officers around the nation are rounding up the usual immigrants.

Such crackdowns have forced thousands of harmless people into a fast-growing, secretive detention system that is shockingly deficient in basic rights and decent health care. In a disturbing article, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the United States government had injected hundreds of undocumented foreigners with mind-altering drugs to render them docile while they were being deported. This practice violates every imaginable standard of decency, not to mention a few international laws and treaties.

Note to country: Scratching never cured anything.

Saving Money

I'm all for suggestions about saving money, and with a name like Kiplinger, you'd expect good ones, worth a second or two to click.

Alas, I did not learn at all how to "turn $451 a month into a million bucks."

Disregard the fact that their calculation is based on someone four years younger than I, and still I can tell you that, no, I really do not have $200 or $450 to spare.

Maybe some of my friends do. Click over on writing fallout and read about the trials of someone whose one little indulgence is, as another colleague calls it, "professional coffee." I know she has little room to spare expenses, though the two health-related "suggestions" might apply; I doubt it, though, as I have looked into the so-called medical savings account old Kippy recommends, and it is no bargain.

Maybe I'm not understanding; note to self, look up what is a "flexible spending account."

The one about having three more exemptions is bogus, too; I know my tax person inquired about these, and so, no, it doesn't seem I'm in the 25% bracket. Actually, I have no idea. Note to self, more work — look up tax bracket.

I echew the two hints about not going out to eat. I don't go to lunch, and I don't buy coffee out for the most part. Once a month. I eat out-lunch about three times a month. I eat dinner out about five times a month. Maybe six. We only go to movies when it's a mom-related holiday (I am not in that "we," but it is a pair of tickets nonetheless).

I can't change my husband's habits.

Also, their calculation is crazy: $33 per person on dinner out? Only when it's not happy hour at la Bodega.

Raising the car insurance deductible? I don't know what mine is, either. Self, … I get it confused with the medical one. Hey, out there, do most of you know these figures by heart? It seems mine change so frequently and are needed so infrequently that I don't carry them around in memory. This may be why we're not well-invested. I always forget even to check the one account there is. Another friend of mine was lamenting the dropping value of his retirement, and he's a truck driver with 20-plus years. He's thinking of cashing it in now; hard to say what the longer term will bring, and he would rather pay off his house.

Sigh, I already do buy the generic store-brand versions of pills, and we do take care of the car's innards.

And, where do I find a fund that averages 8%?

Trying to like potatoes.

Then what's this I hear about Yahoo and Microsoft laying down together? Eew, doesn't Yahoo know how dirty it's going to get? Hotmail is horrible. (In addition, experience dictates that Lycos is mean and that Google is oggling.) And, of course, let's not even mention Vista. (Sorry, couldn't think of telepathic or rhetorical way to convey indirectly. Some things are better stated clearly.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

III The Fire Sermon

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
I too awaited the expected guest.
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
The time is now propitious, as he guesses,
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
Endeavors to engage her in caresses
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
Exploring hands encounter no defence;
His vanity requires no response,
And makes a welcome of indifference.
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed;
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
Bestows on final patronising kiss,
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit…

Must love
Must wonder how T.S. Eliot ever made sense to me.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Good day for a wedding

Because it's just too charming when your earlier-married-years anniversary falls on the same day of the week when it all happened, we went to Loose Park. The weather was about the same; the tornado was the day before instead of after (because May 4, it turns out, is gorgeous), and I was wrong: there were two yellow rose hedges blooming, the sort of rose I can only describe as single-foliate and hardy, such as the type found growing up walls or along the highways where MoDOT planted them.

My camera missed a shot of the wedding wraping up at 3:30, but here are some of its usher-helpers carting a platform back to the trucks and interrupting the photos of some other wedding party. "Classic" black-and-white wedding was adamant about keeping other people from walking into their shots.

We don't look that much different after five years, we think.

Didn't get a shot of the brown satin wedding party posing for shots on the east edge of the park and getting on and off their limo-bus, but this guy, with his Nike ball cap, shades, and, importantly, long-standing interest in a fallen oak stick, proves that May 3, 2008 was a good one for all things brown.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Shingles on ground. Two strips of attic-wood visible on southeast apex. Neighbor says, "yeah, that's where she (previous owner, crappy remodeler-who-shall-remain-nameless) had it patched."

A great job was done, apparently.

Darn 2 a.m. wind and rain. No sirens. Not like you can do anything in the middle of the night about the roof. Hardly can do much about it on a Friday.

Hello, estimates. Yes, see, the credit card was getting bored after the cat bills; you just know we had to keep a balance on it, especially after the federal refund comes and zeros it out again. Good thing it stormed so much!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Running for roses

Everyone knows roses don't grow in our region during the first part of May.

I am 100 years younger than the Kentucky Derby.

Also on May third, as the first Saturday in May, our wedding anniversary number five, returned full circle in only partial time, thanks to leap year. Nuptials (sounds like a drink made of nectar, Latin and plain-wedding-meaning as it may be) were held in the Loose Park rose garden, as I have previously disclosed, and while some people were missing their favorite gambling day, some of us were going at it full-force.

So, there were no roses, which is why I wonder about how much further south Kentucky's blue grass really grows; probably, the wreath is imported or grown under glass. Five years ago, though, there was a tornado, which followed our day, May 3, which itself was much like bits and pieces of this week's weather, together it equaled perfection.

Today, there were some minor (esp. compared to what happened across Missouri "back then") tornadoes, specifically, this evening, all in time, blessed be, to interfere with Ugly Betty and LOST. We, the married us, don't see how all humanity needs a pop-science lesson in panic every time it rains within 100 miles of our homes. I used to enjoy storms for having just enough danger in them to make life seem delicious — plenty of my bones are from the 19th century, and they thrill to darkness, drama, and danger. (They do not get excited about alliteration as much.)

But nowadays, I feel like I am watching someone die when there are storms, while I wait out the newscaster "weathergasm," as my friend calls it, immobilized and depressed, forced to think about imminent random doom, detached from my pacifier's usual programming and utterly unable to even enjoy the lovely clouds or the booms.

The piece de la rĂ©sistance: when our local sirens started blaring — far longer* than any I can recall in real life, even when there was an actual tornado ripping through east campus in Columbia, Missouri, in 1997 or so — but thus were declared by weathercasters to be flung o'er the entire county, mere noise to be disregarded in central urbanland, and so, well, there is no need to point out any irony or emotion.

I strive so hard not to have emotion.

Happy birthday to Mom.

*yes, than any single "seek shelter" shout from my childhood, when we used to descend to the basement semi-religiously, because my mom took such things seriously and because back then the sirens were obviously more accurate.