You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

…was a plea for people to harness their collective bargaining power in order to return gas prices to the $1.30 range (definitely a case of ‘hope springs eternal,’ but I digress…) by not purchasing from the two largest, record-breaking profiteers, Exxon and Mobil (which are now the same company?). I have not purchased gas from them since the oil spill fiasco in the 1970s unless I absolutely had no other choice. Even then, I only purchase enough to get to a different gas station.

People are now being much more conservative in gas consumption. The reports for April gas consumption showed the first decrease since the turn-of-the-century dot-com-bust affected the incomes of so many.

The market report on WBZ news radio last week mentioned a minor blip in the escalating price of oil barrels where it peaked at $130, dipped down a couple dollars, before rising to $129 and change.

Ya know, I don’t think those two things are unrelated.

Basically, what this group is proposing is instigating a price war. When Exxon and Mobil experience a sharp drop in sales (because everyone you tell about this may as well jump on the bandwagon when you point out Exxon and Mobil charge the most for gas, anyway!) they will be inclined to reduce their prices to encourage customers to return. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.

At this point in the e-mail they start doing the whole math thing of “if you tell 10 friends and they tell ten friends… and so on and so on…” by the time the message reaches the 6th group of people (possible in even eight days) over THREE MILLION consumers will have been notified of the plan.

So, now I have told you. How many will you tell?

I first ‘met’ Leslie third-hand. Jess was going out with her son. As their relationship continued and began taking on the markings of a serious long-term connection, Leslie invited us up to dinner at their house so we could start getting acquainted as “almost-in-laws.” We brought a bottle of wine, and a bunch of flowers, I think. Both were like bringing coals to Newcastle. It was a good thing we didn’t try to bring food! Leslie doesn’t do anything by halves and her cooking was beyond amazing in deliciousness, presentation, AND volume. China! Crystal!

I felt thoroughly cowed by her proficiency. Intimidated, even. Those were MY issues, because Leslie, in never doing anything by halves, also went out of her way to make everyone (I was but one of so very many in her life) feel welcome and welcomed. How could you not relax when charmed by those amazingly-blue eyes and wide smile? Right from the get-go she included us in her family-and-friends holidays and parties. Her parties are THE BEST with a grand mix of people and fun party games ranging from cards to Beirut to Cranium.

Leslie Laughs with Curt

I had always wanted to get a tattoo. Leslie said she had been thinking of getting one, too. We talked about where to put them, and what we thought our tats might look like. Being more adventurous than I, she got hers first. She showed us her new, colorful tat placed low on her back and assured me that I would be fine. As usual, she was right. I finally got a dragon inked on my right ankle. Mine is smaller than hers, but I get to see it more than she could see hers.

Her down-to-earth attitude and cheerful demeanor touched everyone who came in contact with her. And the best part? You could learn an awful lot about how to play with Leslie around. Need a party hat? Try a turban of bubble wrap. Want to dance until you laugh so hard you fall down giggling? She and her grandson Liam did that lots. Then Liam showed me (and anyone else within earshot) how to dance to the chicken music and other famous tunes. I remember some parties at her house where I laughed so hard I got the hiccups.

Ah, yes. So many Good Times.

I learned quite a bit about what Love Is from Leslie. If you bottled 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and drank it every day until it oozed from your pores, you might, if you’re lucky, love like Leslie. In love as in everything else, Leslie does nothing by halves, only wholeheartedly. Those she loved were blessed indeed.

I learned a lot about dying from Leslie, too. The cancer was relatively quick but ever so painful near the end. Yet she never snapped at anyone or whined about her illness. Everyone who came to visit got a welcoming smile and a happy past memory re-shared. No sour faces allowed.

Leslie's Wedding was all about the LoveEvery time I see Aidan’s bright blue eyes and copper-bright red hair I feel her nearby. Every wild and wicked grin of Liam will bring her memory closer and warm my heart. Watching her son Conor with his children, I can see her love in his gentle yet firm touches. Thank you, BoBo for being in my lifetime. And thank you for the wonderful legacy of love you left in the people who love you always.

“So much of me is what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me, like a hand print on my heart.
Now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend.
Because I knew you
I have been changed
For Good.”
Wicked, the musical

“It Is Finished!”, she cried.

a sweater for mother Stick a fork in it, for it is well and truly DONE. Not “almost.” Not “except for…” Fini.

This Labor of Love deserves the capital letters because a) it is for my mother (the second “L” word), and b) it is a full-size cardigan with custom fittings, pockets, and a button band that required over 80″ of seaming to attach it to the body of the sweater (those are the first “L” word).

Now…about actually getting it *in* the mail…ahem…punctuality and speediness are not generally my best character traits. Why do you think it took this long to finish it? Yes, I know it is steamy and hot right now in Florida where she lives, but some days are cooler in the evenings than others. And the fall season will come again and she will be prepared!

Imagine yourself an intrepid adventurer/explorer who prefers the Arctic regions to the steamy jungles of Peru. You brave the frigid winds, expertly guiding your team of sled dogs and equally intrepid clients across miles of frozen tundra, carrying all your supplies with you (Motel 6 and the Marriott hotel chains have not expanded into this virgin territory – not even McDonalds!)

You have written a book on your adventures. You are photographed and written up in magazines. You live a charmed life, jetting where there is no snow to visit family and friends on the rare occasions you managed to tear yourself away from your work.

On the plane you open up the airline magazine…

Matty McNair, Arctic Adventurer Extraordinaire!

None of the other passengers notice they are sitting with the not-so-rich-but-in-certain-circles- truly-famous!

* I realized after this was posted that I did not explain my connection to Matty. She is a cousin-by-marriage and I met her initially up at the Farm back when I was in High School and first going out with DH. A real, honest-to-goodness adventurer even then!

Non Sequitur…

Sing! Dance! Lazy crackers...The 25th Westford Chorus concert season ended with a smorgasbord potluck party. On one of the tables groaning with the weight of Food, Fabulous Food! (go ahead..sing it from “Oliver!” We did!) was this box of crackers. I watched it from a discrete distance for some time to see if it did any tricks or sang any songs. Nope. Obviously the people who named these crackers have a MUCH lower expectation for entertainment than I do!

And it was FABULOUS. It was not, however, the first stop. The Harlot event was well over a week ago, but I am behind in a lot of things. Jess says she “keeps the important things alive,” and I would like to think I do, too. The rest are on life support waiting to be attended to (housework is in that list…very low on that list). Before my Sunday Harlot jaunt is another story, but I’m telling this one first.

I got there early enough to visit the new Webs Bead Store in Northampton, Massachusetts. I should have done the yarn store first. By the time I got into the mob scene that was Webs, a line for the Harlot signing was already back to the warehouse doors and beyond. She looked tired. She was so nice to everyone in line. I decided I didn’t need her signature on my book because I didn’t want to make her line any longer. I felt virtuous in my self-denial. (I do self-denial really well, as in, ‘in denial’…)

The line I did get on was almost as long, snaking through the aisles like a Disney-empire conga line. It lead up to three very busy cashiers. I got on that line not once, but THREE times as I discovered new “must-haves”. The store was wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling people. That made it tough to see some areas all that well. I did locate a needle sizer that includes all variants of size one and size two needles. A new knitting reference book was another find. Although I fondled many many hanks, skeins, and balls of yarn, I didn’t buy any fiber. I lusted after some bamboo silk big time, but I need to have a plan for the yarn to purchase it, especially when the yarn is $26 a hank!

Actually, being on the cashier lines was the best way to review the various string therapy filling the bins, racks, and tables. The lines were filled with friendly, chatty knitters so the wait wasn’t an ordeal…but the steamy heat of the bodies made it a tropical nightmare… particularly for those wearing their knitted wardrobes. I was glad I was wearing newly-finished knitted socks, and not a vest or sweater like those I saw around me.

Viewing the Harlot on stageNo time for lunch— dash to the theatre, grab a wine and a bag of beer nuts for lunch, settle in, and wait expectantly for the goddess to arrive. The house lights were all the way up, but it still was a very dim place to be trying to knit which everyone seemed to be doing… squinting and holding projects up to the meager lighting. Not even the Harlot herself could generate additional lighting where none was available, but she did try!

A view to a harlotMy seat was the front row of the mezzanine so I could see and hear very well…plus I had a place to put my feet up, put my glass, and when I dropped the needles, they didn’t roll far. On the first floor I saw some people running after dropped balls of yarn…ewww! The floors appeared well-swept, but I just don’t trust theatre floors, ya know?

I wish I could share her words but I only remember how well she spoke, how many times I laughed until tears ran down my face, and the general murmur of recognition as she described how non-knitters get so confuzzled at this large group of mismatched people— all ages, sizes, genders— openly knitting and smiling as she talked.

She is always worth the drive. And the other scenery wasn’t bad, either.

dinosaur

Like the War of the Roses, this one flares up in varying intensity from time to time, laying dormant for long stretches and then resuming with vigor.

I can sleep at any time. I prefer dimly lit surroundings, but I can just as easily wonk out in full sunlight, wallowing in the warmth like a sated cat.

My beloved has difficulty sleeping in anything but near-total darkness. In contrast to that, he is a very light sleeper, aware of noises (except his own), and changes in puppy locations (which is a good thing when they are having tummy troubles!). Only full darkness and silence allow him to eventually fall back to sleep.

While I can slumber in almost any lighting, waking me up really needs actual LIGHT. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I have had. I need light, and preferably sunlight, to wake-up and leave our bed. I had little difficulty getting up when I was responsible for getting someone else out the door or to the train. Without those external stimuli, I _need_ morning light to pull me out of bed.

You can see where this can lead, yes?

For the past many years, DH and I have been on different rising schedules. DH telecommuted to a Chicago office for several years. He would meander down the hall (yes, in his jammies) to his office around 8:30 or so and be working before any of his co-workers in their one-hour-behind-us time zone even got to the physical office. Now he runs his own business (and very well, too, thank you very much!) from home, and his hours are similar. (I told someone else he has “mother’s hours” – you know, 24/7 – DH does love what he does for a living.)

I am scheduled to be at the office by 8AM …or 8:30 at the latest. The whole “make me late for work” thing is nice, but honestly, that is not the reason I am late getting to work most days. Most days it is because I am shrouded in darkness in a room lined with room-darkening shades.

A revolt is definitely in the works. I am seriously considering becoming nocturnally bi-coastal. I generally get up at some point during the night to use the bathroom. Once up, I may as well meander down the hall to the guest bedroom at the other end of the house. The one with all the shades open. I could finish my slumber there. Then again, on those nights of insomnia, I can rest with a book, and not have to worry about disturbing DH’s sleep.

The thing is, when I stumble to the loo in the middle of the night, I am not generally thinking well enough to remember the bi-coastal plan.

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