Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sea Fever

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

— John Masefield, 1901

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Willow Manor Ball

We had to scurry around and batten all the hatches in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy's arrival, so i didn't think we'd make it to the ball at all!

However, we are here with bells (and masks) on. Plan on spinning around the dance floor a few times since i am out of my walking cast, although i did have to compromise and wear sensible shoes.

My date was a bit hesitant at first about attending, but i assured him that all of us will be masked, so he needn't worry. Here he is, putting on his dress mask. He felt that since this is a dressy affair, he should wear that rather than his usual workaday one.

I'm so glad the weather hasn't dampened anyone's spirits! The music is just lovely, and thanks, Willow Manor for hosting such a lovely, lovely event.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Embarrassing moments

Maria over at Just Eat Your Cupcake shared an embarrassing moment that happened to her, and as i read this particular blog entry, i remembered two that happened to me and one that involved someone else.

The first one i thought of happened when i was living in France for a year, participating in a study abroad program. It was soon after i have arrived in France, and the weather was still warm. I was wearing a tan cotton dress with black and white piping that i had recently bought. I was in class, and we were taking a test. I finished the test, and went to hand in my paper.  My professor nodded at me when i handed in my paper, and when i turned around to go back to my desk, the professor said,

"Pardonnez-moi, mais vous avez une tache."

I racked my brain for what the word tache meant. I could only think of the German word Tache, which meant pocket, and why would he say to me, "Excuse me, but you have a pocket?" I happen to notice another student, David whathisname looked embarrassed when our eyes met, and i wondered why.

The professor realized i didn't understand, and he repeated the word again slowly, as you would to a small child. "Tache. Vous avez une tache."

Nope, still didn't register, so he resigned himself to say, "En anglais, je pense que le mot est 'spot.'"

Oh, so i had a spot. Well figures, i had on a new garment, and leave it to me to spill something on it. I thanked him and as i could leave since i was finished with the test, i stopped in the ladies room to attend to my tache.

The mirrors were small, so i couldn't really see anything, and decided to use the loo when i was there. Once in the stall, i found the tache all right. My period had started with no warning whatsoever, and yes, since i was wearing a cotton dress, can we just say that i displayed cotton's absorbency on the light colored dress most vividly. Frantically searching through my pocketbook, i discovered i didn't have any feminine supplies with me. I made do with the small squares of toilet paper, took off my dress and stood at the small basin furiously washing out the stain. It lifted out easily enough, thank goodness, but now i had to put the sodden mess back on and take a metro ride to pick up some feminine supplies (which were on my shopping list to get since my supplies were dwindling and clearly all the way dwindled in my purse) and then take another metro home. The day had threatened rain, so i thankfully had my raincoat with me, which i put on and didn't dare remove for the rest of this story, even though the sun had returned.

I got to the store all right, found the saninaps i needed, and they had only very large packages. That was fine, i was pretty sure i'd have need of all of them before i was slated to return home. I went to pay, and the cashier informed me that she didn't have any bags big enough for them, sorry. I was appalled as i was used to having anything pertaining to feminine supplies being placed in a bag. I had already paid, and at least the large package had handles at the top, so it would be easy to carry, so i nodded, took my package, and fled the store.

On the metro ride home, a good looking man wordlessly flirted with me. It did my heart good, and i nearly forgot my soggy dress and how idiotic i must have looked wearing my raincoat in brillant sunshine. I was also glad i had the sense to turn the front of the package towards me so i didn't have to advertise the product. My stop was before the good looking man's. He flashed a great smile at me as i descended from the car, and i smiled shyly back. I walked from my metro stop back to my place as quickly as i could and once i got home, i looked down at the package. Yes, i had succeeded in keeping the name hidden, but i hadn't looked carefully on the back of the package, where they had a picture seemingly larger than life about how to use these saninaps, since they were beltless. Huge picture of panties and how to peel and place the pad. And i had flirted with a great looking guy all the while holding this for all to see! Good Lord, no wonder why he was smiling so broadly! I never saw him again, which was probably just as well.

The second moment happened 10 years or so later. I was working at a neighborhood bank then, and the borough where the bank was located did not have mail delivery. Everyone had to have a post office box, and one of my jobs was to get the mail every day. I went to the ladies' room before heading over to the post office. We had a lobby full of people, and i wanted to hurry. I was wearing a flowered suitdress with white pantyhose. I had quickly pulled up the pantyhose after using the loo, washed my hands, and hurriedly walked into the lobby to make my way to the front door. The UPS delivery truck was outside, and our usual UPS driver was making a delivery. I had turned when somoene said hello to me, and when i turned back, the UPS driver's face was scarlet. I immediately thought of David whathisname, but i knew this couldn't be tache related. The usually chatty driver pointed at me and stammered, "You--your--you," and our assistant manager cackled.

"Megan, your dress!" she said, and i slowly craned my neck to see what she was talking about. In my haste, i had neatly tucked the back of my skirt inside my pantyhose. Ahem. With a lobby full of people who had now witnessed this and unlike cute metro guy whom i never saw again, these people were friends and neighbors. People i saw every week. I calmly stood there and pulled my skirt out of its pantyhose trap. I didn't see the sense in returning to the ladies' room to rearrange it. I thanked Lisa, the assistant manager who was convulsing with quiet laughter. I turned and thanked the UPS guy who was frozen. I quietly walked out the front door and when i got to the post office, i just howled. It was so embarrassing. But so funny. And it was on our security tapes. One for the ages.

The UPS man did not have direct eye contact with me for a long while afterwards. Since that day, i've never hurried out of a loo stall without first checking the pantyhose situation. EVER.

The third event happened several years after the bad tuck incident. Our office building, which housed several businesses, had to evacuate because of a bomb scare. We had had a rash of these, and soon after this particular day, the school kids who were calling these in were caught.

Anyhow, we all trooped outside, and i was once again amazed to see the number of people working in that building. We could only go back in after the firetrucks arrived and fire fighters had searched the building. It was early in the autumn with a bit of a chill, so i was glad i had thought to grab my coat on the way out. The fire fighters came out of the building and gave the all clear for us to go back inside. People i didn't know from another business on the same floor as our company merged with my coworkers and me as we filed through the doors. I was looking down at the ground and noticed the person in front of me was wearing white slacks. I thought of a number of people who would tsk-tsk about wearing white after Labor Day (early September holiday), although really if one wanted to consider white slacks and shorts as summer wear, i held the personal belief that one could wear them until the start of autumn and be all right. And in places that had mild weather into November, why shouldn't someone wear them? The slacks had a nice cut, and as i was admiring the line up the leg, i happened to notice a small spot of blood on the backside. I wanted to let this poor woman know right away, as it wasn't a huge spot and not all that noticeable, but still, should be taken care of sooner rather than later. I looked up, ready to tap her shoulder, when i saw that it wasn't a woman, but a man.

And here, i confess, dear blog readers, all three of you—well, maybe eleven if those of you who kindly follow do indeed read each entry—that i stopped midway to tap completion. I had no problem letting a woman know, but a man? I chickened out and said nothing. I kept thinking that when he got home or next used a washroom and saw things for himself, he'd most likely hope nobody saw anything. And i fervently hoped that was the case. I knew I wasn't going to say anything.

I have come to laugh about the tache incident, and as previously stated, i was laughing almost immediately afterwards about the pantyhose tuck, but this third event still leaves me ashamed that i couldn't bring myself to let this man know. And until this blog entry, i really haven't mentioned it to anyone. Embarrassing moments can be bad enough without an audience.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For John

I just came across this picture and thought of you, Mr Gray.

Is this something Badger would get up to?

Monday, October 22, 2012

For Hippo

I didn't have my camera with me to take a picture of the Mercedes i actually saw, Tom, but this is pretty close.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

After a blistering work schedule, where we had a deadline and tons of changes at the last minute, i finally have a moment to catch my breath. Which actually meant that i spent most of this grey, rainy day not doing much of anything.

The walking cast is once again, a thing in the past. The orthopaedist looked at new X-rays on Wednesday, and she liked how well i was healing and how much hard bone was in place. It's not all the way there yet, but enough so that i'm back to wearing a pair of shoes. She cautioned that i need to wear ones that give me a lot of support. I nodded, and am being a model patient in that regard. It gives me all the more impetus to pare down the dress shoes i have in my closet.

I've spent the last two days trying to reacclimate to life without the boot. I still go down steps in a very wooden fashion, as if i were still wearing it, and i had to regain my balance and force myself to distribute my weight evenly rather than having the right leg bear more of the weight. I stepped on the scale and haven't lost or gained any weight, but i've lost a 1/4 inch in my left thigh and left calf. Prior to this my right and left legs were the same size. The doc did say to "ease back into [my] usual activities," which is prudent, of course, but i'm not very good at easing. I'm much more of an analogue girl, so i've given myself the rest of the week to get used to walking around, do normal things and see how the foot feels.

Walking on uneven ground is still a bit tricky and causes some wincing on my part, but i'm stepping carefully and doing stretches.

If the weather is clear tomorrow, i hope to mow the back yard and to finish decommissioning the boat. I've got a number of winter projects for the boat and want to see if there are one or two i can get done before winter truly arrives.

The past few weeks have been a blur with my work schedule, and i feel a bit rumpled up in my mind. Having a day or two where i can putter about the house and yard not only will put things to rights, but make me feel a bit more sane.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy birthday, Mom.

I've been out of sorts all week, well, carryover from last week what with Freaky Friday and all, plus still hobbling with the walking cast and spent the earlier part of the week fighting off some cold/flu bug. Add to that working a few late nights plus short nights of sleep, and menses—well, no wonder why i'm cranky.

Last night, i met up with my knitting group. We usually we meet on Mondays, but M, a former member who moved away, was going to be in town on Tuesday and staying through Saturday, so we changed our meeting night to Wednesday so we could see M and catch up. I parked in the driveway since i have to take off the walking cast to drive and put it back on when i arrive at my destination. I don't have to worry about passing motorists if i park in the driveway, rather than on the street, which is where i typically park for knitting night. M had parked behind me in the driveway and joked that i was stuck waiting for her to leave until i could be sprung free. She meant no harm in it, but i felt a wave of exhaustion hit me a half hour before she was ready to go, and i couldn't wait to get home and crawl into bed.

It's funny how much energy healing takes, and when i got home, Jim ran outside. I don't like him outside after dark, and he thinks it's a game if i try and go after him. He came back in soon enough, but it just felt like one more thing, and after he came in, i burst into tears.

Just one of those moments where i wanted something in my life to be easy and felt nothing was. Before i could complete that thought, i chided myself for being so forlorn. WHAT was the matter with me? And then i realized that the 11th was my mother's birthday, and why i can't say, but i felt more sad than usual that she's not on the planet. I remembered my freshman year in college, when i was glad to be back in New England. My dad had been transferred several years before, and the plan was that my mom and we kids would stay in the old location until my brother and i finished high school, then my mom would move to the transferred location. But, the drive back and forth for long weekends and school vacations took a toll on Dad, and so we moved after my brother finished high school, and i had two years left. All of us hated the transferred location. No autumn to speak of, among other things. The leaves simply grew tired of hanging on the branches and fell without any colourful fanfare. And so it was my freshman year, that i picked up some of the falling leaves, stuffed them in two envelopes and mailed them to my mother. A taste of New England, as it were.

I could never really draw--even stick people are daunting to me, but i tried my best to draw a leaf on one envelope, and it looked bad enough that i didn't try on the other. I had tried drawing a maple leaf, but it looked more like a pot leaf. Yeah, well, i wasn't sending my mom dope, so no worries. She only got one of the envelopes, and it was the one without my feeble leaf attempt.

That following spring i wanted to send her a single rose on Mother's Day, accompanied by a poem i wrote for her. The florist i called wouldn't deliver just a single rose, and i didn't have enough money to send a proper bouquet, although i did tell the florist how much i could spend. He laughed at the paltry amount, so i told my mom my plan and sent her the poem. I promised myself i'd be sure to set aside enough money the following year so when Mother's Day rolled around, i could do something nice for her.

But she died about three months before the next year's Mother's Day, and i was in France.

There's been so much in my life that's happened that i would love to have shared with her. She knew i got accepted into a study abroad programme but lived only a few weeks after i received the confirmation letter. I know she would have welcomed the letters i wrote to those back home. She never saw me graduate college, nor did she get to meet Himself, and neither of my parents lived to see us walk down the aisle.

I am so glad she didn't dawdle while she was here on the planet with me but tried her best to see to it that my toolbox would have the tools i'd need to build a successful life. And that i knew how to use those tools. I am now older than she was when she died, yet i don't feel older when i think of her. I see elderly women now who are from my mother's generation, and i wonder what my mother would have been like as an octogenarian.

I've had enough time to get plenty used to the idea that she's not here, and for the most part, i've simply gone on to live my life, but there are those days where i miss her very deeply, as deeply as any child would its mother, while the adult me is suspended and can do nothing to help. Yesterday and today both were simply yet another one of those times where there was pervading sadness. Where i'd give just about anything to be able to pick up the phone and say, "Happy birthday, Mom." Or send some flowers. Or autumn leaves.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Freaky Friday

It's been a hectic few weeks, and my Friday was the sort that makes for good blog reading, i suppose, but i'd just as soon not relive it all again. My workday felt a cross between a live-action Dilbert comic and the movie Brasil peppered with moments of Waiting for Godot and Groundhog Day.

I wanted to get the last bit of work done when Jim decided he needed to use a litterbox and chose the  makeshift one i have in my office. Its base is the top of an office box that once contained reams of office paper. I slipped a plastic liner around it and just this week thought i ought to use something a bit more permanent. So, a new litterbox was on my shopping list, and i was deliberating whether i ought to do the shopping after my work day on Friday night or just wait until the weekend.

Jim decided it for me because earlier when he had used the makeshift box, he took the overhanging part of the plastic liner and pulled it across the top of the litter. When he went to use the box again, he peed between the plastic and box. I do have the whole thing sitting on a black, plastic tray, so it was all contained, but still, there i was furiously typing away to meet deadline when the distinct sound of urination followed by the strong smell of cat urine filled the air. By the time i turned my head, Jim was more than halfway done, so there was little to do but let him finish and do my bit of shopping the second i got done with work.

I did a bit of muscial litterboxes before going shopping, as i wanted to get another covered one and thought it'd work best putting it in the guest room, and moving the one in the guest room, a small, open one, into my office since Jim seems to be the only one who uses the litter setup in my office.

Jo was outside, and Jim and Phoebe were in, so i washed the litterboxes and changed the litter while i was at it, discovering that i needed more litter so used up what was there and added that item to my list. I washed the black trays as well, which i use as bases for two of the boxes, as i saw that some urine had found its way onto the tray from the smaller box. I scrubbed, rinsed, dried, set things up, and carried out the bag with the soiled litter and makeshift litterbox with me after locking the door and having list in hand. The bag went into the bin, and i got in the car and used some hand sanitizer before setting off. 

It was supper time and i figured it would be best if i got a bite to eat before tackling the shopping. I stopped at a chain diner type place and liked a sandwich they'd had on their menu for years. A couple was ahead of me waiting for a table, and it was clear they were in the early part of their relationship. They couldn't keep their hands off each other, and she kept cradling his buttocks with her hands as they talked with the hostess. No, they'd prefer a booth, if one were available. Bloody hell, you'd prefer a room more like, i thought as i stood there realizing that my leg was now starting to throb because i hadn't elevated it as much doing my work day as i probably should have, so it was complaining. I wanted to sit down, but even if i did, there wasn't any place i could elevate my leg easily, and i was wearing a skirt, as that's easier with the walking cast. The woman happened to look at me when she groped her boyfriend's backside for the third time, and i saw a lot of mileage in her face. I don't think she's always travelled easy paths, her hair looked bleached one too many times, and her jeans were bordering on too tight to walk easily.

I chided myself for being so judgemental. I was just cross at having one of those days where nothing seemed to go right, and well, if she's finally found someone she finds wonderful, bully for her.

No, there were no booths available, so they made do with a table.

The hostess saw me next, and sat me at a combination booth/table where one of the seats was like a booth and the other a chair. I was grateful that she sat me there as i could easily prop my leg up on the chair opposite me and had a bit of room to flop.

My waitress was young and had been sat a large party only a few minutes before. I quickly found out that one of them worked at a school district and she had some sort of grievance because they hadn't honoured the time she was supposed to have for vacation. Another person at their table was hard of hearing and the person sitting next to him was trying to have another conversation so the speaker was nearly yelling.

The menu was a new menu, and the sandwich i wanted wasn't listed. The waitress had never heard of it, and she suggested a workaround, which i agreed to try. She brought me my salad promptly, and after i finished, i needed to use the restroom. The grievance lady was now just wrapping up her story, the other conversation with the deaf/hard of hearing person had concluded, and as i rose, i caught of whiff of cat urine. It was only then i realized i had seen a wet spot on my skirt when i rinsed off the black trays after scrubbing them. Only, that wet spot must have dripped on there before... before... Oh, God, i was hoping no one else smelled it, but it was a bit late in the game to say anything, so i went in hoping i could clean up and get on with things.

The set up they had in the restroom was only with hand dryers, so there was no paper towelling i could use, and i had taken off my sweater because it was warm in the restaurant and had left it at my table. And, as i discovered when i looked down, the wet spot had since dried or been blotted by my sweater, so i wasn't exactly sure where the spot was. Or even if my skirt still smelled like it, or if it was all in my sweater now.

I returned to my table to find my sweater in the same place i'd left it, but everything else had been removed save the placemat. Salad dish, silverware, napkin, beverage all gone. The busboy must have thought i had left but then saw my sweater so stopped clearing things away. The large table was being served and half of the people were complaining about their order. Condiments added that weren't requested or left off when they should have been on.

My sandwich arrived looking very different from what i had described as what i had wanted, and what the waitress thought this would be, but i was really hungry and wanted to remain as low profile as the cat pee would allow me. Which i felt sure everyone on the planet could smell except me, now that i was desensitized.

A party had been sat right next to my table, and when i sat down, the smell of mothballs wafted over from them. Oh, good, that could cancel out any cat pee odor. Children at another table kept kicking their shoes off and even though their parents said it was time to go, the parents stood talking to another couple seated at a nearby table for the better part of 20 minutes.

If Rod Serling had suddenly appeared, it would've felt quite normal. Or at least have confirmed that i had indeed entered the Twilight Zone.

After paying my dinner check, i made my way to the big box store for the kitty litter and cat pan as my preferred local place was closed. I used the motorized cart thinking it best for my leg, only i hadn't figured on the aisles being not quite wide enough for me and a regular cart meeting up. I'm sure on paper, it's large enough, only just, and that's if both hug the edge as they pass. But there had to be some specially priced items in a cardboard tower in the aisle and the guy pushing the cart was a large man and clearly used to walking in the middle so as to avoid knocking anything over. I knew i'd laugh about it later, only just at that moment, it wasn't funny. I expected a Greek chorus to arrive any moment to sing about the fandango the large man and the cat pee lady in the motorized cart were undertaking.

Then i looked at the contents in my cart's basket. Kitty litter, tinned cat food, a litter pan, kitten kibble, and two bags of cat treats. Bloody hell, no wonder why i smelled like cat pee. I'm sure they all thought i was a loony and one of those crazy cat ladies.

Once outside, i transferred my items to a regular cart and pushed it to my car. I drove home as quickly as i could, grimacing as i depressed the clutch. Oh, the things we take for granted, like unfractured fifth metatarsals, clothes that don't smell like urine, and popular sandwiches offered for years on a menu.