Showing posts from May, 2010

In between the apples and the cloroform

The other day, Ms. Pasta started telling a sad story to The Baron and me about someone who went for a routine eye examination, but instead of the usual result (upgrade to new trendier glasses), they discovered a tumor behind her eye, say it along with me, the size of a grapefruit.  These stories always have a grapefruit in them, have you noticed?  But it got worse, because it has the other elements of a sad story:  no health insurance, no money, living in a friends basement, alcohol abuse, teenager, no dad, and so on. 

It was hard to see where the conversation could go from there, so after saying the “oh, that’s terrible” stuff, I tried to switch it to my worms.   “On the bright side, guess what?  I started out with four worms last week, and now I have five!”

“Yes, that’s what they do,” said the Baron, in a tired way.  “And on the dark side, …” And he told a story about how a license plate in his neighborhood reminded him of a person he went to high school with, so he tried to google…

Worm Wednesday, one day late

Today’s the day that I’ll write on my science fair project, which I hope doesn’t give any cause to think I should get the cats.  I guess there’s a certain age past which you aren’t supposed to do science fair projects, but that seems wrong when you think about it, doesn’t it?  It’s not wrong to read a book if you’re not a professional reader like Nancy Pearl, or do a craft if you’re not a serious artist. So what’s so freaky about doing a science project?  Okay, perhaps I sound a little defensive, and I digress from the actual topic. 

 I recently got busted for belaboring methods by Hatchet Man, who announced yesterday that we should all be looking for jobs, so I think it’s worthy to have some actual research under my belt, don’t you?  But I'll take Hatchet Man's advice won’t belabor the methods the way some people do.  Not to digress, because Science isn’t about that, but the other day I joined R. at an orientation for community college, and the guy giving the presentation s…

Rocket science meets brain science

For a few weeks now, I’ve been pretty aimless, wandering around getting nothing done, thinking when my next nap will be, and then taking a nap, and immediately starting to think how long is reasonable to wait before I can take another nap without seeming like on of those people.  The objective observer in me has been thinking, man, is she ever lame!  I would never be that way.  What way, exactly?  This way: “today, for sure, I’m getting a handle on all the stuff I need to do.  Yes, today is that day; I will make a list, and then I'll just work on it until it's done.  Oh, wait, the pen is way over there.  Never mind.  I think I'll go take a nap.”

This has been going on for a while, with me being super lazy and only dabbling with two out of many obsessions, and reading books about writer’s block and procrastination. Basically seeking the recipe to snap out of it, which lead me to a very interesting book, Midnight Disease, that talks about literature through the lens of brai…

The lowly worm

Dear Khortney,

I was wondering if you've heard of invasive earthworms. Should I prepare? Should I expect them in my house? Please advise. That, and more, that I'll ask in person.

~A Librarian

Dear Madame Librarian,

Oh, the beloved earthworm. Everyone loves them, until they feel unloved, at which point they go eat them. I prefer chocolate eclairs, but that's just me.

Yes, add earthworms to the list that includes starlings, bullfrogs, and domestic cats as invaders that wreak havoc on the environment. There are at least 5 native genera of worms in this state, but many, many more non-natives.  There isn't too much study of the earthworm because, well, I guess birds are more colorful.  We know way more about the avians than the annelids.

We ecologist types are sort of sweet on the late holocene, and want everything to stay as it was approximately 400 ish yars ago, before European immigrants arrived.  We confuse ourselves with this, because we also think Darwin was one of th…

Garden of Allah

So, just a brief re-visit of this story.  Ms. Pasta and I went to court, she wearing what she calls “her uniform”, which is black yoga pants, black tunic, and elegant scarf, not the nose-blowing type of scarf.  The kind of outfit that if you’re her, you look lovely in.  Me, I wore a skirt from Value Village, shirt, sensible shoes and, in a bold move, no scarf.  Who needs a scarf?   (You may wonder why I’m describing the outfits.  As you know, when women do anything, it always starts with a description of the clothes.)

I endured 3 hours of questioning, about like this:

Lawyer:  Do you find, in general, that when people are upset, it’s because someone provoked them?

Me:  Um, could you clarify the question, please?

Lawyer:  Well, if someone is ever upset, do you ever find that there’s a reason for that?

Me:  Um, I guess so. 

Lawyer:  Are you and Ms. Pasta friends?

Me:  Um, I guess so.

Lawyer:  Are you aware of the RCW.blah.blah.blah, that covers the way insurance claims are handled in …


The horoscopes, a day early or a week late, depending on if you're the moving on sort, or more the clinging to the past type. (And you know who you are.)  I find that writing after lying around for a week is much like cooking without ingredients, so hopefully soon I'll go into the world where material abounds.  In the meantime, have a splendid week..

Aries (3/21 – 4/19):  I was in a shoe store last week, where I overheard an annoying customer asking way too many questions, including "How much do feet swell when you travel to another country?"  The salesman didn't miss a beat, and replied, "Depends on the country."  He kept walking with his tall pile of shoe boxes, and she seemed satisfied.  You'll encounter lots of questions this week, unanswerable, tedious questions, like, "What if there were no houses?" (We'd build some.)  "What if we built houses?"  (Then we'd have some.)  "Then what?"  (GRRR.) If you look at …

Arrested development

II’ve been sick all week, which is unusual for me, and it’s made me grateful for my normal good health.  A week without yoga or a run, and I feel different, not in a good way.  I also appreciated being part of “the system” – getting paid sick leave, a basically free doctor’s appointment and prescription.

The drugs weren’t as miraculous as I expected, though, and I spent the week lying around in a fog, amazed at my capacity for sleep, and watching Arrested Development for a few minutes at a time in my brief waking moments.  I felt semi-pathetic because that show was almost out of my grasp.  (Wait, didn’t the banana stand burn down in the last episode?  Is Maebe an actual name?  Do I even like any of these people?  Why is George Michael such an uptight little prig?  Does it seem super-fakey that Michael started to fall for his brother’s soap-opera star gf just because she mentioned that family is important?  This show has been off the air for four years and I’m just watching it for the…

In which the scarf turns out to be very useful*

I finally had a chance to give my presentation to The Man last week.  In anticipation, I wore the scarf, practiced the presentation, and even deleted the slide with The Scream on it, just to show how seriously I take everything.

He was only a few minutes late, and sat as far from me as possible at a table that could seat 10.  That would be across the table, and 5 seats down, right next to the door.   I know.  I got a bad feeling right then.

He started off with, “well, I suppose you know why I’ve called you in here.”

I thought that was my line, and I wanted to say, “Um, actually, remember the part about how after requesting this meeting several times, you agreed to it, but then didn’t show up?  Remember how since then I’ve asked your secretary to reschedule a bunch of times, and she did, and this is it? So, not to be presumptuous, but didn’t I call you here?”  But I was trying to be positive, and I thought, hey, if he thinks this is his idea, that’s a good start, right?   So I let it …

Poppy Vigil*

I've been a little bit sick and haven't gotten around to writing anything for a few days, so I dredged this out of the archives...

I don’t remember where I first got the idea for my poppy vigil, but at some point, I realized that the blooming of a flower is a significant event, and was available to me if I would only make time for it.  A few busy weeks, and I could miss certain blossoms altogether.  Poppies are a dramatic example:  they got their name because they actually pop.  They don’t open slowly like other flowers, but burst forth in one moment. 

In the Pacific Northwest, it usually rains after they open, shortening their bloom time to a few splendid days.  After I learned about the way they bloom, I tried to spend time near them each spring, hoping I’d see it.  Sometimes, I moved a chair nearby to sit and watch.  But I’d always get distracted, wander off to weed, or do chores inside, or someone would need something from me, and I’d come back later, sometimes a few days…

Crime of the Century

Well, it’s taking extra effort to write about this week without sounding whiny or tedious, so I hope I can pull it off.  I don’t know where exactly to begin, so I’ll just sum up the highlights. 

Our beloved deputy director was placed on administrative leave this week, which is what happens to cops when they shoot someone.  Our Guy didn’t shoot anyone, but rather, 6 years ago he sold a piece of property for half it’s assessed value to an organization that needed to protect some land.  He used the money from the transaction to purchase and protect another large tract of land.  It is a tiny bit complicated, because the group that needed to by the land in the first place needed it due to permit requirements that our agency implements, although Our Guy had excused himself from any involvement in the project.  Seems pretty trumped up to me, and a convenient strategy to get him out of the way while the New Guy shuffles the deck, or probably more like swings a machete around. 
To revisit the sc…

Part 2

When Glenn and Stewart got the letters about the iPod, they were both furious, but for different reasons.  Glenn because, well, let's face it, he's just an angry guy.  Stewart because he had to give up an iPod.  So they started yelling at each other, and it went something like this:
Glenn:  Why did you give them your iPod, you idiot?  You shouldn't have done that.
Stewart:  Because I promised.  But you promised to do that science project.  Why didn't you?
Glenn:  Huh?  I never said I'd do that, sucker.  Why would I want to do that?  I don't know where you're coming up with this stuff.Stewart:  Well, that legal paper we all signed.  That paper where you promised you'd do the extra credit science project.Glenn:  Yeah, about that.  I never thought that was fair.  I never agreed to do it.  And by the way, you should never have given your iPod up, because it makes me look bad. Stewart:  Yeah?  Well you not doing that project makes me look bad.
Glenn, after a …

It's a hard rain's gonna fall...

Aries (3/21 – 4/19):  Is this the weirdest thing ever?  I won't make you click, you busy person:  it's a website that allows you to apologize, demand an e-apology, or, for $14, purchase apology boxers.  Let's agree that if anyone is ever in the position to buy apology boxers on the internet, something has gone terribly wrong that probably can't be fixed with the underwear.  Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the www, did use the site to apologize for the double forward slash in URL's.  I'm still thinking about that.  This week, take a break from freaky medical shows and try not to have re-entry troubles.  Try not to have any troubles, in fact.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  I've heard of a little store that will sell underage people a nice bottle of wine, and then if said teens can't drum up a party, they'll take the bottle back for a refund.   I know!  Sounds implausible, but see if you can find such a place.  Enjoy your waning days of being a teen,…