Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Body Art

Every once in a while Boy#1 observes a discussion between Husband and me, and analyzes our relationship thusly: "You two are the cutest couple ever."

I'm sure he means it--my own son would never be sarcastic, would he?--but it does make me realize that  some conversations between my beloved and me are not what they seem on the surface. These idle conversations tend to be, shall we say, whimsical.  The other day, for example, Husband chose to poke one of my fears.

"I think I'm going to get a concealed carry permit," he said.

This is an old threat. He knows I have the same reaction to guns as I have to snakes: Both are probably okay in their proper environments, but keep them far, far, far away from me. Just the thought of guns or snakes gives me a visceral shudder. So, like the little boy on the playground who dangles the garter snake in front of a classmate just to hear her shriek, Husband always points out the concealed carry safety classes in the newspaper.

This time I reacted without thinking.

"Fine. You do that, and I'll get a tattoo."

Whoa. You'd have thought I was threatening to vote a straight Democratic ticket.

"Really? You'd mutilate your skin permanently just because I had a piece of paper, which I wouldn't even intend to use?"

And here is the weird part of this story: The thought of getting a tattoo wasn't nearly as odd to me as it was 20, or 10, or even two years ago. I no longer get the vapors at the thought that one of my babies might deface his porcelain skin with permanent art, although I still give my graduating student assistants the standard "if you must have a tattoo, make sure it can be covered for job interviews because that might make the difference between two equally qualified candidates, blah-blah-blah" speech. I'm not sure if this new-found attitude is maturity or simply erosion by exposure, but my once firmly-held conviction that only convicts get tattoos has mellowed to "Meh, whatever."

So Husband, go ahead and get that concealed carry permit. I have the address of a tattoo parlor and a design all worked out in my head: It's a heart surrounding the words "Cutest Couple Ever."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Few Minutes With MomQueenBee

Andy Rooney left a void in the media hubbub that surrounds us when he retired a few weeks ago and shortly thereafter REALLY retired. Until last month that void  had been filled with Andy's 60 Minutes essays kvetching and complaining about things that didn't really matter, but now that he's no longer with us, I plan to step up to the plate and fill that that void. (I know! It's like I was born for the job.)

Here's my complaint of the day: What's up with newfangled plumbing fixtures?

Pictured here are the beautiful new sinks in the gorgeous new bathroom down the hall from my office at Small College. Friends, I'm here to tell you that this is a huge improvement over the 1950s bomb shelter motif that had featured prominently in the pre-renovation john. Now the toilets flush automatically (and can provide an inadvertent thrill to anyone who's a little slow in vacating the premises, if you get what I mean), the lights are classy and mellow, the counters are granite. The sinks are shiny--and four inches deep. Or I should say, four inches shallow.

You think I am kidding? I am not.

Hmmm. Even this does not show the depths shallows of the sink. How about if my camera case demonstrates the problem:

See? My point-and-shoot case is darned near too large to be submerged if I wanted to submerge it, which I do not because it has two memory cards inside. So even though the bathroom is lovely and I do appreciate the upgrade, my moderately-sized hands, even with their preternaturally stubby thumbs CANNOT BE WASHED in these sinks.

My life, it is difficult. Andy Rooney would have understood.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Sweetgum Tree Off the Back Deck

For the past several days its colors have been so vivid they make me forget that within a few weeks I will be cursing the spiked gumballs that make walking across the yard an adventure in navigation, then will fill two trash barrels when I finally get tired of walking on nature's ball bearings and rake them up.

Nicely done, God.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unbroken Family

After the pie and coffee, but before the cleaning up and the recliner naps, the final official moment of Thanksgiving dinner is the family picture.

I have nothing to say about yesterday that doesn't show in this picture. In spite of those who were missing--and don't even imagine that we didn't miss them--it was a day filled with laughter and love, and appreciation for the blessings of the year.

Also, it was filled with food. We had about a dozen less mouths at the table than last year but somehow I didn't adjust the amount of food at all. We'll have leftovers until Christmas, except for one item. I made 12 dozen dinner rolls--144 rolls for 17 persons. This morning this many were left:

The Boys are blaming Grandma.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful in the Present

Among the recipes I pull out every Thanksgiving is this one for Harvest Cranberry Sauce. It was one of the first I used as a grown-up hosting other grown-ups at a holiday dinner: I had worried to my boss that my recipe for cranberry sauce included throwing whole oranges into the blender, and I didn't think my new husband would like it, because I certainly didn't. Susan brought me her own handwritten recipe for an easy, foolproof cranberry sauce that will convert the most rabid anti-antioxidant.

Three years later, I cried as I made this recipe; Susan had just died of breast cancer at age 41.

Life changes, whether we are ready for it to change or not.

This Thanksgiving dinner gathering will be smaller than some years. One sister and her family are dealing with health crises in aging in-laws, and they will eat turkey with these in-laws. A brother is in Australia. Boy#2 is in school half a country away and cannot come home for two major holidays within a few weeks. One nephew is in boot camp, another is studying overseas. My mother-in-law's ever more precipitous aging process may keep her from being at the table. And of course, the chair that until two years ago would have been filled by my wise and wonderful mother will be vacant again this year.

Live moves on, whether we are ready for it to move or not.

Tomorrow I'll serve Susan's cranberry sauce to 20 or so of us gathered in gratitude. Later in the day I'll knit some stitches into the sweater my mother had on her needles when she died, a sweater that will keep a child warm when I finish it. I'll Skype with my Boy who's not here, and be astounded at the opportunities these young'uns have.

Life is good, whether we recognize the goodness or not.

It would be tempting to mourn the gaps around the table this year, but the gaps are part of life, in all its changing, moving goodness.

I'm thankful in the present.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Hills Are Alive

All the Boys are good musicians but none of them can sing "Happy Birthday" worth a hoot. And not to brag about my own unlovely voice, but the family chorus suffers when I am not relentlessly keeping it on course with my braying alto.

My music major son (trombone) solved this dilemma by hanging around outside the choir room and asking for volunteers to brighten my special day. It didn't get posted to YouTube until today but it's already made me smile a dozen times.

As competitive as the Boys are, I can't wait to see what Boy#3's brothers come up with to top this production next year.

Monday, November 21, 2011


This picture has nothing to do with this post but it's a touch of brightness in my dark, dark world.
It is Monday of the week that contains the official Best Day of the Year. I am still in my fluffy chenille robe at 8:30 a.m.; I am officially on vacation. I broke out the good brand of beans to make today's extra-bracing cappuccino and it's steaming on the table beside me.

So why am I so cranky?

I think I may have a touch of the poor pitifuls along with the horrendous virus that has invaded my sinus cavities and bronchial tubes. Yesterday the preacher told us to give thanks in all circumstances. (Pffft. He doesn't have my bronchials right now.) Anyway, I thought I would give a point-by-point comparison of things I'm cranky about and things I'm thankful for, beginning with the fact that I resisted the temptation to call this post "cranky/thanky" and thereby maintained my self-respect.

I'm cranky because: This cold makes me feel all kinds of horrid and all I want to do is go back to sleep on a day when my schedule called for me to revel in the exuberance of being alive and unscheduled for the day.

I'm thankful because: My big deadline came and went on Friday, and I don't have to worry about this particular deadline for the next three months! Woo!

I'm cranky because: It was MY birthday and MY anniversary last week and Husband was swept up in taking care of his aging mother and even after 28 years it would be nice to stop for just a moment and gaze into each other's virus-riddled eyes.

I'm thankful because: Wow. Twenty-eight years. And he's still the one that makes me laugh, still the one who's my better half, we're still havin' fun, and he's still the one. (Sing it with me!)

(I could add a cranky about Orleans's mis-use of "that" and "who" in the lyrics of this song, but that might be perceived as nitpicky.)

I'm cranky because: Today I was going to sleep in until Cinderella's bluebirds of happiness awakened me, but instead I was up at the crack of dawn (for someone in a particularly northern latitude) to call the doctor's office to make an appointment for someone, and it was not for my own disease-ridden self.

I'm thankful because: All of the Boys are healthy! (Well, except for Boy#4, who sprained his foot during a particularly exuberant marching band maneuver, but while I'm sympathetic, I'm more amused than concerned.)

Okay. Feeling better now that I've shared my pain with the internet. Y'all are pretty good medicine.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sign of the Times

Know how to tell when the Boys are home? Boy#3, who tooled in last night, pointed out that our breakfast selection was pitifully middle-aged, so I went to the grocery store this morning and bought four boxes of cereal that does not contain bran or extra fiber.

If we are what we eat, Husband and I are pure roughage.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Question for My Fashion Council

When my Free Space group gets together on Wednesday nights, we don't bother discussing the unimportant things of life. We rarely delve into politics, we don't spend much time on favorite sports teams, we ignore new-release movies and books.

No, we spend our mental energy on deeper subjects. GraceMiracles. Pantyhose.

I am enduring a fashion crisis. As I've mentioned here before, because I am a humanitarian I do not leave the house in pants. (The horror! The horror!) Up until the past few years that has meant I also was a year-round wearer of pantyhose. And because I remembered the years before pantyhose were invented (oh, yes, I do) these all-in-one stockings have always seemed relatively convenient and even comfortable in a way that minimizes jiggle. (I also remember panty girdles. Shudder.)

Now that pantyhose are completely and utterly out of fashion (facing extinction, if this Slate article is correct), I am in a quandary.

What do I do with the 12 inches of exposed skin between the hem of my skirt and the top of my shoes? My odometer has spun past middle-aged, and while those exposed legs are useful they are not beautiful.

In the summer it's not a problem. I really like long, swirly skirts that distract from the blue veins on my ankles and feet, and if I'm sitting, I tuck those ankles and feet modestly under the skirt. In the winter, though, I not only have the blue veins showing even more prominently because there's not even a hint of tan on those ankles and feet, my legs quite frankly are cold.

Last night when my group met to discuss grace and faith and I brought up my pantyhose crisis, these founts of wisdom were NO HELP AT ALL. Several of them don't wear skirts, ever. The rest  have come to terms with their middle-aged legs and flaunt them proudly.

Oh, I hear you screaming "TIGHTS!" at the tops of your lungs, and I'm right there with you when I'm wearing my trusty Danskos, but while tights put the casual in business casual, they're not quite the ticket for trustee meetings or funerals. I've become one of the throwback pantyhose wearers who, as the Slate article pointed out, "aren't dying out at a fast enough rate."

What's your advice, fashionable ones? If Kate Middleton can't turn the non-pantyhose tide, what hope do I have?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Start of the Season

When the Boys were young, I became (of necessity) quite frugal. With four kids and only one teacher's salary for income, Husband and I squeezed our pennies until Abraham Lincoln yelped.

I mention this because as I was looking for a suitable illustration for today's post I came across this picture.The reason I include this photo is not to embarrass the Boy shown because, woochy-woochy-woochy, isn't he the cutest thing, with his inept wearing of his birthday hat? No, I include the photo because I still have that very same hat tucked away in a corner of the kitchen cupboard, along with five more pointed cardboard chapeaux.

A couple of decades ago, with birthdays rolling around more or less constantly in the House on the Corner, I refused to spend the $2 it would have cost to buy new celebratory paraphernalia for each Boy's birthday. The wearing of gently-used hats became a tradition.

Today I'm thinking of those hats and of all our birthday traditions because today is the start of the seven-week period that begins with my birthday and ends with Ephiphany. Between those bookends are an anniversary for Husband and me, the official Best Day of the Year (Thanksgiving), Christmas, Christmas break, and New Year's.

I. Love. This. Season.

I love Husband waking me up with "Happy Birthday!" this morning and the calls from the Boys, and the cards from family and friends. I love the dozens of greetings on Facebook and being reminded how extraordinarily varied and interesting the people in my life are. I love Thanksgiving's turkey and sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce--but not nearly as much as I love the family that will gather and feed my soul by bringing me pie. I love the cold weather and hot soup and warm rice bags on my feet when I sleep. I love the two weeks of off of work that don't count against accrued vacation (wooo!). I love the music and the smell of pine trees and the clanging of the Salvation Army bell-ringers.I love that the Boys will start gathering in a few days, and (full disclosure) I will love the quiet of the house when they leave again.

It's the best season of all, and my appreciation of this time of year started back when we were frugally re-using birthday hats and I was realizing that the things I loved were rarely things. 

I knew then, as I know now, that I could not be richer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Roads Diverged

It was the weekend, and the canna lilies in the front garden look like so many frost-bitten cornstalks right now. Saturday morning the temperature was a balmy 60 degrees, and the sun was shining. It would have been the perfect time to clean out these flower beds and pull up the quilts for winter.

But that same morning a group of women more or less my age gathered with needles and scissors and colorful threads to learn a centuries-old needlework technique.

I wanted to be there.

Sunday afternoon the plants in my garden that had been gorgeous during the hot, rainless summer had both frozen and drowned and looked terrible. It was another beautiful day, and I probably should have spent the afternoon tidying up and putting away.

But on Sunday afternoon Boy#3 and 300 or so of his closest friends proved that when it comes to marching band music even four overtimes isn't enough, and they played a concert for family and friends.

I wanted to be there.

This morning I walked past the cornstalk cannas and the bedraggled begonias and thought of how anyone else passing our house must have thought I wasted a weekend.

And in my flowerbed I saw this:

and this:

and I completely forgot to look at the cannas and begonias.

A wasted weekend? It was not.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Love Instant Messaging

When I was in college my parents never had the chance for interchanges such as the one with Boy#1 that took place this morning. My life is richer because of technology. Or maybe it isn't, but I certainly laugh more.

Boy#1: The most disturbing thing I've discovered recently: (this link)
Check out the ages of George, Jane, and Judy and do a bit of simple math
Me: Oooh, creepy.
Boy#1: George should be in prison.
Me: And I am astounded that you have ferreted out this piece of information.

Boy#1: I'm both proud of and horrified by this discovery
Me: I understand both of those emotions.
Boy#1I think Boy#2 summed it up best: "One, I think law school isn't taking up enough of your time."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blurbs and Orts

What's with the title of this post? Why blurbs and orts? Well, from time to time I leave some business unfinished on this site. I talk about a subject, but never go back to say, "Oh, yes, I guess Boy#2 did make his plane after all." Or someone asks for a recipe and I forget to leave a link.

An ort is a bit of leftover food, and we all know what a blurb is, right? Wrong! Unless you are among a tiny percentage of English-speakers, you do not know exactly what a blurb is. A blurb, technically, is the gushing endorsement a fellow author writes for the back of a book cover, or the "I laughed! I cried!" description that shows up in trailers for a movie. Even though I like to think I have a fairly good grasp of vocabulary, I have used "blurb" to mean any short paragraph of information. A story-let, shall we say. In fact, that's what I intended with this title, but since I now know better, I'm using this word just because it's fun to say.

Blurb. Blurb. Blurb.

So here are a few orts:

1. This morning I opened my e-mail to find that The Reading Site is refunding yesterday's ill-advised investment. I'll be darned. The message says to expect to see the money back in my PayPal account within five days, and I'm saving my wahoo until then, but I was surprised my indignant e-mail demanding a refund got a response at all.

2. Several of my Faithful Readers have asked how my friend S is doing, and I shake my head in amazement as I report that she's nothing short of a walking miracle. This week, a little more than two weeks after she was shot in the face, she is in Boston nanny-ing her delightful granddaughter. She faces some dental reconstruction down the road, but has been released by all of her doctors. She told her story to her church family Sunday and gave credit where credit is due: God is good.

3. Speaking of violence, if you want a sobering but empowering read, I strongly recommend this. And Boys, please do read the article. It's not advice I ever would have given, but it makes so much sense. Have a plan.

And on that happy note, enough orts for today, and here's a blurb:

I laughed! I cried!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Back in the day, when I was a just out of college and working as a cub reporter on a newspaper, I wrote a weekly column. It was kind of like this blog, mostly stream of consciousness and oversharing and wildly uneven in terms of quality.

The column was important to me because I loved to write, but it also gave a purpose to life's irritations. Lost a contact? Good for a column. Someone backed into my fender? I could make an amusing anecdote out of it.

I flashed back on those days this morning when I did something so utterly naive that right now I can't believe I'm allowed out and about without a keeper: I responded to an e-mail that sounded too good to be true.

I know! How many times and in how many ways have I told the Boys  "There's no such thing as free," and "A fool and his money are soon parted," and "You won't get something for nothing, especially on the internet"?

Many times, and in every way I could possibly think of.

But this morning when I got the e-mail from The Reading Site, my Spidey senses must have been on break. The pitch seemed legitimate enough--download books, including recent best-sellers, and pay only one subscription price. And today (woohoo!) through a special offer, the subscription price is half off! That sounded great to me, since I love my Barnes&Noble Nook but hate paying for e-books.

You cannot imagine my chagrin as I re-read that last paragraph and realize what a sucker I am. I had a couple of bucks of birthday money, so I signed up for The Reading Site and thereby got access to a whole lot of books in the public domain that are free to download in any number of places, plus links to e-books that can be purchased through major bookstores. Those, of course, are the recent best-sellers, for sale at the same price as at Barnes&Noble but without the advantage of the free cloud storage.

There are two faint silver linings to the giant cloud of despair The Reading Site has put over my day. I used PayPal so my credit card information isn't in danger, and I've now used The Reading Site's name as many times as I can in this post in hopes it will rise to the top of Google searches when people try (as I did) to investigate its legitimacy.

The Reading Site is a scam.

The Reading Site is a scam.

The Reading Site is a scam.

The Reading Site is a scam, and I'm an idiot.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling!

No, this is not the part of the sky that is falling. These are leaves that are collecting in a cushiony pile right beside the back door, and are so beautiful that I can't bring myself to rake them away.

The part of the sky that is falling is the part of the sky that is INSIDE THE EARTH.

Yes, folks, we in the humble little corner of the Midwest that never experiences earthquakes have felt the ground shake at least twice in the past four days. Because I am such a naturally sanguine person who takes unexpected occurrences in stride, I sat quietly last night when I noticed my chair shaking, and calmly watched the lampshade shake for a few seconds.


Of course I didn't. Just like every single person with an internet connection and a laptop, I jumped online and posted "Hey! I just felt an earthquake!" on every social medium outlet to which I have a password. This prompted me to wonder: How did the cavemen know when an earthquake was happening?

Oooka: Ground shake? Gods of underworld angry?
Mooka: Not know. Facebook down.
Ooka: Facebook? 

The whole experience reminded me once again that extraordinary is defined by the ordinary. During my Peace Corps years I lived in a country where the ground is practically dirt-colored Jell-O. We didn't even notice tremors; unless pictures started falling off the walls it was just another day in paradise. But the people with whom I lived and worked were terrified by the idea of tornadoes.

"Why?" I remember asking someone. "Earthquakes are much scarier--with tornadoes you have warnings, and can get to the basement. A big quake means the earth SWALLOWS YOU WHOLE." 

Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, killer bees--when it comes to natural disasters, just pick your poison. Then read about it on Facebook.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Here's Your List, Honey

This is not a blurry photo. The camera is shivering.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did that seem a little hypercompetitive? Would you still think so if I told you the right team won the game 48-7? And that as a result Husband will be doing the grocery shopping for the next month?*

Yes, the boys in black made me proud Saturday night as they pretty much clobbered Husband's alma mater. That wasn't the story of the evening, though. The real story was the weather.

It was cold. So, so cold.

We had run the air conditioning on the three-hour trip to my hometown and my phone said the temperature was 57degrees--refreshingly brisk, it described the conditions. I put a decently-heavy coat over my patriotic garb (orange t-shirt and black sweater vest, as close as I could come to my high school pep club uniform) and laughed (Ha! Ha!) because silly me hadn't brought hat or gloves.

As it turns out, "refreshingly brisk" must mean something different on the north end of the state than it does in the sunny south. Adding a 20 mph wind to the mix made it feel arctic. After a summer during which I complained about the heat, oh, 112 times per day, I felt as if I'd been dropped off the end of the Titanic into the ocean and was waiting to slowly freeze to death. I found myself envying the second stringers on the sidelines who may not have been part of the glorious win but who had wonderfully warm-looking parkas.

At halftime Husband took pity on my chattering teeth and blue lips and suggested we listen to the rest of the game on the radio. Forty years ago I would have lost my left foot to frostbite rather than leave before the final gun but by that point on Saturday, even though the teams played another half, the game was over and I'm a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago.

Plus, I needed to get started on my shopping list.

*Husband claims the terms of the bet are invalid since (because I was too insecure about my team's talents) I designated both his and my antes. Hrmph.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

As We March on to Victory...

A friend once asked me whether the Boys had inherited their competitive natures from Husband or from me. I just looked at her. Had she even met either one of us?

Husband and I have been married almost 28 years, and we realized 27 years and 11 months ago that we should not play board games against each other. If I lost I pouted. If he lost he got really, really quiet. Either way, it made for an unpleasant aftermath.

Fortunately, we've mellowed with time. We've reached a point where we can play board games, as long as they're not card games (which I always lose) or Scrabble (which I always win).

Tonight our high school alma maters are playing each other in a state football play-off, and much more than just advancement in the championships is riding on the outcome--if the right team wins, someone else will be grocery shopping for a month, and if the wrong team wins, I'll be doing laundry for the same amount of time.

I feel fairly safe in making this bet because I can still sing my high school's entire fight song (with simulated cymbal crashes) and Husband can only remember the first line of his. Also, my school is the home team and we will be in attendance, the first time I've been in that stadium since, well, probably since they gave up the leather helmets. I just can't imagine the good guys will let me down.

BHS! BHS! The orange and the black forevvvvvvver!

Stay tuned for updates. Or pouting.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Little Tree That Could

A couple of summers ago a fairly significant storm blew through Small Town. It wasn't a tornado, but in about four minutes half the trees in the backyard of the House on the Corner decided they'd had enough of that whole standing upright nonsense. The resulting bloodbath (sapbath?) of lumber meant we carted out the tree that had provided shade to most of the back of the house, and I wept sweaty tears.

Obviously we wanted to replace the tree, so we called our local landscaping guy and told him what we wanted: A tree that would be beautiful in both spring and fall, one that didn't shed a lot of trash (we already have a sweetgum back there, and holy cow, if there were a market for sweetgum pods we would be millionaires), and one that would grow fairly fast. Oh, and we didn't want to spend much money.

Local landscaping guy had just the thing--a young maple that had been hanging around for a while, so he could give it to us half price. It would be a year ahead of the others we were planting, and soon would provide shade for the whole back yard, he enthused!

Now, after two years, we know we bought the remedial maple. It's charming and likeable, but those few red leaves you see above? That's the whole crop.

By contrast the trees in the next door neighbor's yard that are the same age are in the gifted class. See?

But because we are tenderhearted and generally root for the underdog, we're giving our well-meaning-but-inept maple another year before we decide to put it out of its misery. It may be lousy for shade, but at least we don't have to rake many leaves.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We're Moved!

Hey! We're moved!

Our nine-month stay in (insert air quotes) temporary (close air quotes) quarters ended yesterday when we moved back into our permanent offices. As I mentioned, this gave me a chance to weed out a cartload of papers, the likes of which would be enough to double the size of the Redwoods National Forest if we had the capability to make paper return to its native state. It was a good opportunity to pare down, throw away, clean the slate, make a fresh start.

Shown above, for example, is the corsage Helen Thomas wore as I shepherded her from place to place during her visit to campus in 1999. Oh, yes, I am serious. These are 12-year-old flowers, worn by someone to whom I'm not even related.

But it was HELEN THOMAS, the real-life Brenda Starr. And in case you were wondering, she was delightful. Charming and approachable and kind of like your much-more-famous grandmother, with the exception of the moment when Husband impishly asked her on the way back to the airport if she ever read Cal Thomas. For the record, she rather emphatically does not.

At that point in our lives the Boys were young whippersnappers and Boy#1 was absolutely smitten with the political process. We told the lovely Helen that we were thinking about visiting our nation's capital and she insisted on giving us this:

Yes! It's Helen Thomas's home and office telephone numbers, and her home address, written in her own handwriting, and only slightly the worse for wear for having hung on my office bulletin board for 14 years. (It's in slightly better shape than this indicates; I blurred the numbers because I was afraid some Helen Thomas groupie would see this blog and track her down at home. I didn't realize how truly horrendously this scan would reproduce online, and forgot that I am possibly the only living Helen Thomas groupie.)

Anyway, we're moved, and glad to be back. Would you like to see what I've been sharing my office with for, oh, who knows how many years? I'll scroll down a little, in case you'd rather not look.

Are you looking?

Okay, here it is:

I'm just glad I wasn't the one who pulled the cabinet away from the wall to discover the sticky trap. Helen Thomas might have heard my shriek and taken back her invitation.