Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Back on the Horse, Yet Again....

Resolved: To write something, no matter how lame, in this blog each day -- unless I start a new blog.

Sadly, after a late New Year's Eve spent carousing playing board games, I don't have my wits about me, much less any wit.

I need to wake up -- not just today, but in general: For the last several months, I've been feeling "behind" on my entire life. Some of the falling behind since school started can be explained by the amount of time I spend riding herd on Beta -- the combination of ADD and perfectionism is deadly -- but I've been feeling this way since the summer, at least.

So why take on one more thing (blogging) when I'm already falling behind? I need to write. With my work history being in print media, I've been feeling like I may as well have been a buggy-whip manufacturer, but writing is where my expertise is (or was), and I've got to start somewhere.

This hasn't been worth reading, I know, but I hope it's been worth writing. See you (the ether, I suppose) tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My husband, the celebrity

So Mr. Sane didn't come home last night, instead spending all night running around screaming. No, it wasn't because both our girls were suffering excessive amounts of tween angst – though they were, and it made me want to spend the night running around screaming – nor because nearly two decades of living with a crazy lady has finally sent him round the bend.

Nope, it's 'cause we have a real, live movie being filmed here in Cleveland – The Avengers. This would be Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, and I forget who else, not Mr. Steed and Emma Peel, and therefore, this is not just a movie, but a comic-book movie. So, several weeks ago, Mr. Sane, the comic-book fan, even though he's more of a DC than a Marvel guy, cast doubts upon his sanity by choosing to spend several hours standing in line in the blazing-hot sun for a chance to appear as an extra in the movie. After all, it was the summer; he was available pretty much any time.

Of course, this meant he got the call right before school started back, for a night shoot that happens to correspond with the first couple days of school. So yesterday's agenda consisted of the first full day of school, which usually tuckers him out, followed by a night's work on a movie set. They were supposed to end at about 4, but he called at 6 to say they'd just finished up, and he was heading straight over to the school, since at that point, spending most of an hour getting home and back didn't make sense. I'm not sure how much sense he's making to his students today, though I suppose they're doing mostly review.

He doesn't drink coffee, so I hope he gets his hands on some NoDoz or something. Do they still make NoDoz? Or has it been entirely supplanted by Red Bull and the like? Maybe one of his students can introduce him to Red Bull.

One of his students, though not a current one, has provided Mr. Sane with another source of celebrity, one which far more impresses our kids than playing a biergarten vendor running screaming from the Big Bad. Last year, to occupy the month between taking the AP exam and the end of the school year, the AP History kids were given an oral history project to do. One of the guys interviewed Mr. Sane, who set the record straight regarding an incident he was involved in which has grown to urban-legend status at his school. The student did well enough on the project that it was among those chosen to be archived by Cleveland State University.

The upshot? "Daddy's on YouTube!"* Which is much more exciting to our pre-teen girls than some movie they've never seen.

*While I'd love to share the video with you, Mr. Sane is mentioned by his proper name, which would sort of spoil the semi-anonymity I'm trying to keep here. You'll just have to go see The Avengers when it comes out and keep your eyes out for an excessively handsome bald biergarten vendor in the Schlossplatz.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You must be this tall – and this thin – to ride

I've got a friend who's been in training for a triathlon. The mere thought of doing a triathlon makes me shudder, but I think I found something to train for. The other day, we took the girls to Cedar Point for the first time. (For those of you unfamiliar with the name, it's a huge amusement park here in northern Ohio. It boasts ­– according to Wikipe­dia statistics – the second-most roller coasters of any park, and therefore not surprisingly, at least one coaster in the top ten of almost every superlative they list.)

I haven't been there since before we had the girls – once our preschool introduced us to Memphis Kiddie Park, our amusement-park experiences were there. Mom and Dad couldn't ride most of the rides there, but the kids had loads of fun. Now the girls have outgrown the Kiddie Park, and we've been promising a trip to Cedar Point for a couple of summers. I've been putting it off, because I knew I was just too doggoned fat to ride the rides, but it reached the point where it wasn't fair to the girls. So I looked at the calendar, found two blank days left in the summer, and asked Mr. Sane to take his pick.

The appointed day arrived, and we headed out. It turned out that both girls were tall enough to ride all the rides. They were all psyched to ride the Raptor (my favorite coaster there; the seats hang from the bottom of it, and your feet dangle in midair, and you feel like you're flying, which is really cool when you do the loop-the-loop), but we thought we'd see how they'd do on the Blue Streak, the smallest regular coaster there, which is about 6 times as high as the coaster at the Kiddie Park. Sadly, the Blue Streak was my first disappointment of the day; since the last time we were there, they've put dividers in the middle of the seats, and there was no way my butt was going to fit in half that seat. *sigh* The girls, however, were not disappointed. Beta felt the need to work her way up to the Raptor, but Alpha was totally undaunted.

My ride "success rate" was about 50-50. Older rides with bench seats were OK, unless they'd subdivided the seat as they did on the Blue Streak, or the seat belt had been shortened by repairs. The newer rides, with their seats designed to encase you while you're flipping upside down or dangling in midair or zooming downhill at highway speeds, were pretty much out of the question. Most of those newer rides had test seats near the beginning of the line. Either I'm becoming more comfortable with my fat, or my girls' enthusiasm was infectious, since I was willing to try the seats out in full view of the other folks in line – although I did harbor fantasies of being able to try them out in the privacy of the guest services building.

In the end, Mr. Sane took the girls on the roller coasters, and I took them on the spinny rides, so neither my fat nor his motion sickness got in the way. I logged over 22,500 steps, and by the end of the day, I felt it. (OK, I felt it a couple of hours before the end of the day; I'm not as young as I used to be.) So, what do you think? Maybe if I work my way up to being able to 22,500 steps comfortably, I'll also work off enough of my butt and gut to fit into the Raptor.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Last spring, I hit a low that drove me off the computer. And by the time I was feeling better, computer problems kept me offline. I had already had to upgrade my operating system (couldn't run the latest version of Flash, which meant getting shut out of more and more Web content). Then my Mac and I hit the slippery slope.

I don't remember in exactly what order everything hit, but our Internet connection got increasingly dodgy. We had just replaced our DSL modem a few months before, so we were sure that couldn't be it. It had to be our ISP, right? But nearby friends and family with the same ISP weren't having similar problems, and ours kept getting worse, so we finally gave up and replaced the modem again.

That seemed to solve the problems getting online, but Mr. Sane's computer was still having problems, and so was mine. Turns out he had a virus... and so did I. (What? A virus? On a Mac? Heresy!) His school's nice IT people got his fixed up. The verdict on mine at the Apple Store was that I needed to do a complete wipe and reinstall.

Unfortunately, I hadn't backed up in, oh, forever. Even more unfortunately, I didn't have a large enough flash drive, but I did have a stack of CD-Rs. Oh, yeah, not one of my brighter ideas. So it didn't matter if I could get online or not -- I was busy spending every free moment for a week or so transferring files to CD. Obviously, I went into the project knowing neither how long it would take nor how cheaply backup drives could be had. (I think the 500 GB drive I eventually got cost about $50 or so, and I could have had 1 TB for not much more.) Live and learn.

So, we finally got the computer up and running again... and the cord died. I was not about to pay Apple Store prices for a cord for dying computer, so I sent away for something cheaper, which took a little time... and served me for about three weeks before the computer died its final death, just under a year after I'd upgraded the system.

Got -- hooray! -- a new computer, and quickly went into e-mail mode as manager of Beta's hockey team, but in the meantime, my relationship with my computer had completely changed. In all that time offline, the computer had become a machine I used for word processing and playing games. With no connectivity, I was no longer using my computer as a means of connection to others.

When I got the new computer, one of the first bookmarks I put in my browser was the bulletin board community I had been a regular part of -- but I didn't head there again. When a friend started blogging in January, and later, in the spring, when it had been about a year since my last post, I thought about blogging again -- but I didn't. My habits had changed, and it was almost as if I'd forgotten how. If I had a bit of free time and sat down at the computer, well, there was always another game to be played -- and now that I was connected again, I could play online, too.

But I've missed connecting with others, and I've missed writing, and finally, the desire to do those things again has gotten me through the "I really ought to do that"s and the embarrassment over how long I've been gone and gotten me back here. I'm sure I've lost whatever tiny readership I may have had, but I'm here nonetheless.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Fragments: May 28, 2010

Mommy's Idea

These Friday Fragments are brought to you by the lovely Mrs. 4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time. She has funnier ones there.

Alpha rode in the bike rodeo at her school today, and I went down to watch her. There was a pretty good crowd of parents there — I guess it's not hard to coax people to start their Memorial Day weekend a few hours early. Alpha's bike had several parents reliving their childhoods. "Is that a sissy bar? I had a banana seat and a sissy bar!" "Is that a vintage bike?" "No, it's gotta be retro; see how thick those tubes are?" "Yeah. You know what the worst thing is about how thick they make them these days? You can't clip a playing card on with a clothes pin to make noise." "You used playing cards? We always used baseball cards." "You know, this time last year, in the dollar bins at Target, they had a little gadget that would fit on the bike and make noise. My mother-in-law got one for each of the kids." "Really?"

Another conversation among the parents was much less fun. One of the moms was attacked on her early-morning jog. Fortunately, she and her attacker weren't the only people awake at that hour, and a witness hollering out of a nearby window scared the attacker away. I'm glad the school principal sent home an e-mail warning parents, but I think she went too far when she suggested children should not so much as say hello to anyone they don't know. I think it's possible to be safe without being rude — I'm not talking about engaging strangers in conversation; I'm just talking about saying a simple, "Hello," or "Good afternoon," as you pass someone on the street. If the idea of "don't trust anyone over 30" created a generation gap, I think this notion of "don't trust anyone over 13" is far more dangerous.

OK, I can see how you could possibly get from Point A to Point B, but "Byfuglien" = BUFF-len? Really? This is just going to mess with my mind through the whole Stanley Cup.

The girls are much less thrilled with being in the Memorial Day parade now that they realize they will be among the people throwing the candy, not among the people gathering the candy. (If you sit where we usually do, near, but not too close to, the beginning of the route, you can come home with a haul rivaling Halloween. The kids who sit near the end of the route, though, are lucky if they end up with a couple of Starlight Mints.)

As for me, I don't care if I'm marching or watching, or where I sit, as long as I never, ever have reason to ride with the Gold Star Mothers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Looking Forward

Beta's looking forward to the end of school. Well, actually, both girls are, but Beta particularly. It seems like her new favorite words are "looking forward."

She's looking forward to hockey camp in about a month. She's looking forward to the city pool opening the week after school (though she's not sure if she's looking forward to swimming lessons).  She's looking forward to marching in the Memorial Day parade with the hockey league. (They get to follow the Zamboni, and they can wear roller blades if they want!) She's looking forward to their rescheduled field trip to the local school for developmentally disabled adults. (They're going to do a craft project together.) She's looking forward to Crazy Hair Day and Field Day and walking up to the Dairy Queen with their 5th-grade buddies.

She didn't want to go to school today, though. I guess she didn't have anything to look forward to.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Getting Back on the Horse

Mommy's Idea

...thanks to Mrs. 4444s and her Friday Fragments.

I've been on a low lately, hence the paucity of posts. (I've got a few half-written — dare I say fragmentary? — ones, but I haven't been able to muster the oomph to actually publish them. And if you think of how little oomph it takes to make a few mouse clicks, you'll have some idea of just how badly I've been dragging.) On my meds, the lows sneak up on me. I actually talked to the latest shrink after this one hit and told her all was well.

You may notice, if you've been here before, that I've done some tinkering with the layout. The Template Designer on Blogger in Draft does offer more flexibility than the original templates did, but it's still not point-and-click, drag-and-drop, which is what my atrophied technical skills need.

We had a book fair at the school recently, and I helped out. It was great to see that a few kids had clearly emptied their piggy banks to buy books. On the other hand, counting all that change? Not so great.

The local grocery store recently had a special on "Mexican Coke." I snatched it up — yum, Coca-Cola with real sugar! (We don't live in the right part of town to stock up on kosher-for-Passover Coke.) I guzzled a bottle down before realizing that this was not just Coke made with sugar but Coke made with Mexican water! Apparently, however, the old wives' tale does not hold true. My tummy was fine, thank you. (And my taste buds were downright tickled!)

We've had some spring storms lately. One, a couple of Saturdays ago, was so fierce that our power was knocked out for a couple of hours. Fortunately, it was afternoon, and the clouds weren't so dark that we didn't have enough daylight. We dug out a game, and I popped some popcorn on our gas stove. It was wonderful to have all that peace and quiet.... So why on earth did I spend the afternoon working to get the TV and satellite to talk to each other again once the power came back? Apparently, even though I'm the only one in the family with enough technical smarts to make that happen, I'm stoo-pid.

Pet peeve: Click-on-me ads that change position as the page is loading. Nothing like trying to click on a link on a page before it's fully loaded, because I am so antsy I can't wait for my creaky laptop to load it, only to discover that in the split-second between my pointing the cursor and clicking the mouse, an ad has interposed itself in that spot, and I now get to wait for another page (usually, a graphics-heavy, take-forever page) to load just so I can close it and try again to click on the link I really wanted. I need a faster processor... or more patience.

Checked the unpublished posts for fragments to add here, but they're boring even compared to what I've written so far. Apparently, the wit is the first thing to go and the last to come back, even after the physical energy. And if anyone managed to read this far, thanks — I promise to do better next time.