Sunday, August 31, 2003

A whole new level of dust bunnies from Dave Barry.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Listening to Kid Creole makes me want to buy everything by the Neville Brothers. I saw them first in a small hall in NYC around 1980. There were about 500 people there, and everyone was on their feet. I grew up with this album. OK, so I'm in a mid-life crisis. Not talking about leaving my husband. Yet.

"Welcome to the lifeboat party, chile. Special invitation to the rank and file ..."

Friday, August 29, 2003

What better way to celebrate Labor Day than to discover a labor-saving device?

Yes, we have received La Roomba. It's no replacement for a good conscious cleaning with a power vacuum, but I can see where it has some value. During the hard days around a party, I can confine this little sucker in spaces and go along shopping or cooking while it cleans. I can close it up in the guest room and let it clean while I clean the guest bathroom, or shop for groceries. I can confine it to the office or let it run the whole great room while I work in the yard.

It won't work in two of our bedrooms because of thick, tasseled Moroccan carpets, but the rest of the house is fair game. It does a pretty good job.

I can see where this little guy could have been helpful to my mother at a point in her illness when she would have been strong enough to handle this little thing without being strong enough to handle a vac. It would have helped keep her house clean between visits from the housekeeper.

Thumbs up.

NOTE TO JIM: Lucy isn't a lot happier with the Roomba than she was with the other vac. She retired to the corner of her cage at 8:45 tonight, a little early for her. She just knows it's going to get her somehow.

Returned from the surgeon's office. I have been released. Last time that good-looking man will be looking at my groin.

Had I that turn of mind, it could've been the stuff of fantasy -- except I know too much about his malicious ex-wife and rotten kids to find him very attractive.

Living in a small town sure can put a damper on the imagination.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Jim Smith at Unfreezing has asked for more Lucy stories.

She's at my left hand now, drying after her bath. She is standing on a small perch in front of her personal fan heater. She has a bath three times a week under the sprayer in the kitchen sink. Lucy looks like this after a bath. Eclectus are not as dusty as some parrots. Regular baths are recommended to hydrate their feathers, though. Her natural habitat is the rain forest.

She spent a long time this afternoon chattering away. Her vocabulary is not expanding very fast, but she has one new thing -- she imitates the ring of the telephone, then answers it, "Harro?" Very disconcerting to son Michael when he stays over.

Lyman tells me she was a good girl while I was away, but by Sunday she began to think that I wasn't coming home and started to pine. She wouldn't eat, and moved listlessly around her cage area all day. Now she'll be accompanying us on our trips to Dallas.

Ah, there goes one of those big loud yawns. Never thought about birds yawning before Lucy. Certainly never thought of them making noise when they did so. All that chattering must have tired her.

After she dries, she'll get a treat of seeds, then we'll put her to bed about 9:30. She'll sleep the night through, and wake around 8:30 in the morning.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Lyman has taken issue with my fan-girl status. I came home to find Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. The boy likes to play hard. What a girl Cory Daye was. Sheryl Crowe should wish.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

One of the interesting things in my mother's house was the old medical handbook, either edited or written (I don't remember which) by Dr. Morris Fishbein for publication in 1942.

It was a useful all around guide to hygiene, sex, childhood diseases, fevers, first aid and care of the ill.

Patricia was quoting from it the other night. I paraphrase:

Many people think that bathing is harmful to pregnant women. This is a pernicious belief.

Notes from Dallas:

If you live in Texas, take Spanish as your foreign language. I took three years of French, and it was absolutely worthless for my purposes this weekend. (Though I do live in the only state in the union where French has any value.)

To find boxes, go to the 24-hour Wal-mart or grocery store in your area and follow the stockers. Cereal boxes are ideal moving boxes, since they can't be packed too heavy, even with books. There's a large variety of sizes in a grocery store. Watch for those with split bottoms, though. We wound up with several frozen pizza boxes that were inadequate. Talk to the manager. Find out when stocking is done, usually around 1 am.

Scott Chaffin might scoff at my fear of 635, but we were driving at 70 miles an hour at 9:30 pm Wednesday night and saw brake lights go on ahead of us. We were in the third lane from the left. A chair had fallen into the middle of the road. Not cool, and very hard to get around in a town full of rude drivers.

Eat chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy at Gennie's Bishop Grill in Oak Cliff for lunch. Slap me, but it was better than my mama's, and she was an excellent cook.

I will crawl across broken glass for my sister.

Monday, August 25, 2003

You know what? I have cruise control on my car, too. I find that if I accelerate in the passing lane, it will go right back to cruise speed when I've passed the car in the right lane. Does everyone not know this?

Hey, y'all. Home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

After spending two hours vacuuming and mopping floors, that Roomba is looking a lot better -- though I think we need about half a dozen running continuously. Just a little more laundry and light packing and I'm ready to go.

One day, someday, I'm going to visit Dallas for nothing but pleasure. I'm going to the art museum. I'll visit the new aquarium. I will eat in good restaurants and go shopping. I haven't been able to enjoy Dallas for ten years. Mother didn't drive, and she kept lists of chores for us to accomplish when we visited. I don't resent that, but it did prevent us from taking advantage of the attractions Dallas and Fort Worth have to offer. Maybe we could team up with Scott Chaffin and Cindy and take in a little music.

But not this time. See y'all Monday. Think good thoughts about my getting off 635 alive, if you will.

Monday, August 18, 2003

I called my sister to confirm that I'm to travel on Wednesday. We are on go. Good thing I called. Today was her birthday. I remembered it a week ago, and planned to remark on it. This week? Forgotten.

She is a tad overwrought -- really, just confused -- trying to sort Mother's house out by herself. She's ready for some help.

Near the end of the conversation, she drew her voice up small and said, "You're not going to take Mr. Thumper are you? Mr. Thumper is my friend. He has a special place beside my bed."

I bought this powerful massager because my mother needed considerable back-beating to help clear her lungs for a few years.

Patricia appropriated it for tension and leg problems. (She's a walker.)

I guess she gets Mr. Thumper for her birthday.

I get a burnt-up Roomba.

Looks like we're going to be the first people on the block to have a Roomba. Lyman has set his heart on one. I suggested that we would come out better if he'd just get the @#%$ out from under my feet for about 4 hours a week, and take Lucy with him (geesh, she shrieks when I vacuum).

So much for my pearl bracelet.

From a guy whose house I vacuum with a Shop-Vac. Poor little thing will just burn up.

I don't like to be a first adopter. We have a Kodak digital camera that cost $400 that doesn't even have a zoom.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I've been listening to Ken Layne's recommendation, Drive-By Truckers, country and rock and roll, something like the Rolling Stones with fiercer lyrics.

They could have come from down the road.

Across the river there is a big club (relatively) called "Dimples". They could play there. It's the scene of drinking, adultery and fights. The sort of place where you could be cornered in the parking lot with a broken beer bottle at your throat. With a girl holding it.

Now, I'm a medium-tall slender woman. My hair is cut very short. I typically wear it flat, but it can be spiked.

To tease Lyman one night, I spent some time alone, spiking my hair, putting on dark eye make-up, red lipstick, and some slinky black things.

"Lyman," I said. "Take me to Dimples tonight."

"Janis," he said. "Put your hair down."

I bought Eight Little Songs from Dr. Frank. Would it bother him to have a menopausal fangirl?

I finished the notes and I finished the book. My conclusion is this simple: loving Ireland was an act of masochism in 1914.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Terry, avoid this and any of its relations to the furthest degree, and you should be fine buying an anniversary gift for Miss Reba.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

I took a nap yesterday afternoon and dreamed that I was looking for a job after graduating from college. Will that finally put to rest all those weird dreams about not being prepared, or improperly dressed, or missing classes? Isn't it about time? I'm 46. I don't want to fret over math classes anymore.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Reason 745,237,140 to be married to Lyman:

Lyman and I received a test in e-mail. It's just one of observation.

Who is missing from the seven dwarves? Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc.

Lyman suggests "Queasy". What? He's not a dwarf?

I was my mother's seventh child. When I was twenty, she gave me a quilt, a pretty beige negligee set, and a bottle of perfume. Do you think she was trying to get rid of me?

Here's an interesting thing. Patricia found my little Singer sorting through the house. My brother Bill gave it to me for Christmas when I was six. I haven't seen it in years.

LATER: Let's change that. Patricia, sorting through the house, found my little Singer. Better?

Lyman says no hand guns for me. He suggests a sawed-off shotgun, with triple-ought shot. I don't see too well.

Monday, August 11, 2003

There she is!

Mr. Greg Hlatky, and his excellently-named wife, Prudence, are seeking suggestions for coffee brands at A Dog's Life.

I vote for Community Dark Roast. But then, I've been taken by my husband's chauvinism.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

All right. Does anyone have any experience with yard or simple estate sales? Any personal experiences that yielded unexpected insights into such a thing? It's been put off a week, so you have plenty of time to let me know.

I'm looking at this site.

What I've learned so far is this:

One person handles money.

Wear a fanny pack rather than use a cash box.

Use neon-colored poster paper. Very black markers or black paint, with arrows.

Tag things with prices.

Newspapers for glass objects.

Advertise guy things.

Have plenty of plastic bags on hand for people to carry things away.

Watch local restrictions.

Carry a 45. (Sure it's not the same, but close enough.)

Saturday, August 09, 2003

There you go. Have at it, Kim. Why did, like, everything turn bright blue?

I've been piddling with Haloscan's comments today. Any changes in the template are entirely my fault. I was good with Pagemaker. Years ago.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Kidding aside, I do think every person needs to know how to change a tire or belong to Triple A. I was working late one night on Hwy 114 in Dallas. I stayed late, as I often did, working on the advertising graphics for a little paper called Las Colinas People. It was a high-dollar neighborhood, where every working person left at about 5 if they had any damned sense.

I was working in my office, and I heard a knock at the front door. I found a woman, approximately my age with an 18-month child in tow, asking if there was a maintenance man around. I asked her what she needed. Her tire was flat.

"Hell," I said. "I can do that."

I asked her where her jack was. She didn't know. I asked her for her manual, which she gave to me like her maidenhead.

I found the jack, and the spare, and changed the tire in good order.

My boyfriend at the time drove up in his pretty gold Lexus SC400. "What's wrong?", he asked. "I had a flat tire," she said. "That sounds like a man's job," he said. I popped up over the edge of the fender, after tapping the wheel cover into place, and said, "Yeah?."

We really need new bedside lamps. What do you think of these? I prefer the Nepal. Shouldn't they go nicely with the Tingler? Just to change the ambience a bit?

Darlins', don't y'all understand why this blog is named Gone South?

Truth is, I have been overwhelmed by a bout of laziness in the dog days of August, depression at the prospect of driving to Dallas in this heat next Thursday to help dispose of my mother's and father's belongings, and deep disappointment in the Tingler, which I've decided will make a lovely whisk for the kitchen.

And I will point out that Miss Francesca is hardly one to be pointing fingers for a lack of posts. And she still hasn't gotten back to me on Fabio.

"Lyman, haven't you planted that mint YET?!"

LATER: Maybe I have been unfair. Here is a Tingler testimonials page. With a little more work on those tines ...

Or maybe what I really need is a Sqwiggler.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I received my Tingler today. It looks and feels like a large egg-whip. It came in a red velvet bag. I'm adjusting the tines.

A silly thing from e-mail.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Here is a sort of curious tidbit to be found in the notes:

15.1467 (482:1). BELLHANGER -- One whose craft is the installation and maintenance of bells. It is a difficult craft, and its exponents are highly regarded in England, where bell ringing has evolved into an intricate national art.

Craft? Difficult?

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Hah! I bet you thought I'd given up on reading Joyce's Ulysses. Well I haven't. I've been reading the notes in Ulysses Annotated.

I am on page 490 of the notes, which is a vast collection of tidbits including Irish historical figures, myths, history, Biblical references, Catholic liturgy, Theosophy and proponents, rare and obsolete Irish and English phrases, remembrances of Homer's Odyssey, Shakespeare and his history, colloquialisms common to Dublin in 1904, and then odd parts like this:


15.2234 (509:5). Whelan -- Cf. 8.353n.

Flip back to p.165 in the notes to find

8.353 (161:1). Whelan -- Identity and significance unknown.

Looks like the boys have gotten into the Guinness, with 152 pages to go.

It's good to remember the opening quotation from the notes:

I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality -- James Joyce

When I'm done with the notes, I'll return to the novel and reread it, making a rough correllation with the notes along the way, since my edition is not the one quoted page and line in the notes. A once in a lifetime project. When my schedule picks up, maybe my only lifetime project.

And I still have my copy of Remembrance of Things Past.

Peg Britton sends this:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply:

(actual letter)

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(actual letter)

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S., from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella. The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus' expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back, to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA. I hope the hell you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was approved.

No, Lyman didn't write the letter.