Keep it to yourself, grandma

I remember back when I was about 25 or 26, living in Albuquerque and working at Sandia Labs. Single. Searching. Doing ok.

My older sister was also single and in her twenties, and we grew pretty close back then.

There was one day when I was staying over at her house that she and I went for a walk. We were each other’s support group, so we’d walk along and talk. We’d engage in walking therapy.

This was a chilly winter day. We walked with pink cheeks and a scarf ’round the neck.

We talked about how we both tend to have this internal dialog of snarky comments as we go through our days.

Both of us copped to it. Then my sister said something that sticks with me.

“I just worry that as I age, my ability to keep those thoughts inside will become more difficult.”

I laughed. And I agreed.

See, in our family, we have this relative. My mom’s aunt. She’s a bit infamous among the family as possessing a rather acid tongue. She didn’t even need to grow old to splat out hateful, spiteful and just plan snarky comments.

Oh, she was loyal to her family, especially her beloved brother (my grandfather) and made no bones about letting my grandmother know she wasn’t good enough. I believe she also let my dad know he wasn’t good enough for my mom.

So my sister and I both know that the genes of Aunty Snarky run deep within our DNA. We know how to turn on that frosty chill and say something cuttingly acerbic.

But as my sister pointed out, back then, we did okay keeping it inside.

Now, looking at the world through 40 years old eyes (that need vision correction), I find that my sister was entirely prophetic.

I *am* having trouble keeping that Aunty Snarky side to myself.

It’s such a push-pull of being “the nice girl” vs “oh hell, let’s just be honest.”

I recall reading one of my grandmother’s journals (after she had passed away). In it, she discussed how people always think she’s so nice, “but,” she wrote, “if they only knew.”

Well, I’m afraid I’ve surpassed “if they only knew.” They know.

Because I’ve become that cranky old broad. Only I’m not quite old enough yet to get away with it.

I say things. Out loud. (For example, the “What the f— is your problem?!?!” incident from about a month ago.)

I’ve always ranted about man’s inhumanity to man and tried to rise above it. I really have. But I guess I’ve been worn down. I guess “everybody is doing it” and so I’m no longer rising, I’m wallowing down in it.

Hoo boy. I’m not proud of it.

When I was in Las Vegas, I got busted for it too. I was standing in the narrow median of a quiet street taking a photograph. A pickup rolled by and the driver slowed and said, “I thought you were crossing the street…”

And I thought he was being an a’hole about me being in the median. I’d gotten hassled so much that day while taking photos so my hackles may have been a bit up.

I whirled on him. “Oh nice!” I yelled, “Thank you VERY much. No really, thanks for being such a nice guy!!!” I yelled sarcastically as he drove off.

Ten minutes later the guy walked up to me. “Hey, I just meant, I couldn’t tell if you were crossing the street. But then I saw your camera and I figured it out. That’s all.”

Whoooooo did I feel like a jerk. I ended up apologizing to him and we had a pretty nice conversation about photography.

You’d think that would have capped my fat mouth.

It did, only somewhat.

I’m trying.

I really am. Hard to get that horse back in the barn after all the frolicking in the fields.

It’s just…I don’t always want to be “the nice girl.”

Sometimes I think I just want to be Aunty Snarky when I grow up.

I’m so conflicted.

Just another quiet Wednesday

Yanno, not much going on today.

New product announcements from Apple, a little company you may have heard of.

And not to be outdone, Obama got up to speak tonight too. Says he’s not a quitter (he might take a page or two out of Jobs’ book about being on the ropes and making a comeback).

Turns out Brad and Angelina are still a couple. (whew! That was a close one!)

You know. Business as usual.

Just another day on the funny farm.

P.S. Pitchers and catchers report in 21 days.

Seductive Power of Film

Over the weekend, The Good Man and I caught a double feature of The Asphalt Jungle and Niagara, both from the early 1950’s.

This was part of the Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco.

I love old movies, so a double header of Marilyn Monroe at the old Castro Theater was my kind of Sunday afternoon.

Ooh, the danger, the intrigue, the double crosses and bad outcomes!


But it was all the highball glasses of bourbon and endless chain-smoking on screen that left a lasting impression on me.

I mean, every character was lightin’ up for the course of both movies. And oh do they look like they are enjoying every single inhale.

And then they’d pour two fingers of whiskey and slug that back and the shoulders come down and a nice relaxed state falls into place. The booze and the smokes were like a separate character in the film!

Man. Did those actors make it look good.

No, I’m serious. Chalk it up to an addictive personality or someone who just enjoys really seductive things, but I’m not kidding. I wanted to leave the theater and go buy a pack of unfiltered Pall Malls so I could inhale and calm down and be as cool as a tall drink of water like Marilyn or Sterling Hayden.

And if I was gonna take a long drag off a cool smoke, well of course I’d need some single barrel whiskey in my hand to wash it all down while I plotted my revenge, or jewel heist, or how to off the bad guy.

Oh I’m so suggestible!

This must be why those advocacy groups get their chones in a bunch about all the smoking in films, huh?

Because everyone looks great in the films, and you don’t see the stained skin, the smokers hack or, eventually, the oxygen assisted breathing.

I mean, for a girl who lost many a family member to the perils of smoking, you’d think I’d be turned off by all of that.

But I wasn’t. I craved. I’m not even a former smoker, but oh, how I craved to leave a ruby red lipstick stain on a cigarette butt while some charming man lit a new one for me. All while I swayed across the screen with trouble on my mind.

Ah well, never fear, I didn’t engage in the smokes.

However, they were pouring small slugs of decent bourbon in the lobby between shows.

Sunday afternoon I had popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Vines and bourbon.

Whatta great day!!

Whooopta! ¡Feliz Cumleaños to da Bubble Wrap!

Time to bake a cake, eat a cookie, wear a hat and toot a horn.

We have a fifty year old in the house. Oh yes we do!

Don’t be shy, come forward and take your praise.

Oh Bubble Wrap, you are the best.

Always there when I need you, protecting fragile things.

Providing endless fun and stress reduction with your pop-popping sound as I squeeze the beejebus out of your little bubbly parts.

And when the world went cyber tech, you came along, giving me a faboo iPhone app that lets me pop your virtual bubbles whenever I darn well feel like.

You’ve carefully covered precious cargo and you’ve provided hours of fun.

You are useful, bubble wrap, and I for one can’t imagine my life with out you.

Now, let’s all raise a glass.

Cheers! To bubble wrap’s fifty years. May we have another joyful 50 ahead!

All for the love of sump pump

Today, an ode to a small, slimy, oft overlooked device that is a cornerstone of storm survival.

The Sump Pump


As has been plenty reported in the news, the American west is getting one hell of a series of storms.

And as I’ve mentioned here on the blog plenty times, I live near the bottom of a hill.

What that means is the rainwater doesn’t stop here, but it all has to pass me by on the way down.

Occasionally it can get trapped on its journey wending downward toward storm drains and ultimately, the Bay.

The evening of the first big storm, I said to The Good Man, “you know, I want to get under the house to check to be sure we’re not getting water.”

See? My spidey senses were going off. Something told me something wasn’t right.

But I thought, “nah, it’s probably fine” and went on about my life. The thought of strapping on the wellies and going outside didn’t sound as good as a nice hot cuppa in the warm house.

So another day rolled by, and then another. Yesterday I was out bringing in the garbage cans when I said to myself, “well, the wellies are already strapped on and I’m half damp. Let’s check under the house.”

Well, sure enough, there was water. Not so much as to cause damage, but it was getting there.

If left alone, it surely would have risen enough to cause harm to my carefully curated collection of bridesmaids dresses (I believe there are ten, at last count) and my can’t quite part with it Ikea furniture that didn’t make the cut after The Good Man and I shacked up together.

Ok, fine, I don’t have much in the way of treasures stored, but it’s *my* junk and I’d like to keep it dry!

I looked at the sump pump wondered, “why isn’t this doing the job it was hired to do?”

Then I noticed. It wasn’t plugged in.

Well there you have it.

I remembered sometime during the summer the landlord and his son were over here working. They’d unplugged the pump because they needed the outlet for the power tools they were using to re-do the unit next door (duplex house, dontchaknow).

And hell, back in July, there was no real rush to plug it back in.

In January, I leapt upon the cord and shoved it in the socket but quick.



What? Nothing? Is the pump broken? Holy crap, this is chaos! Whatever am I going to do!?!?!

Then my brain, finely hewn by my land grant education, got around to mentioning to me that I might wish to take the pump off the concrete and place it ever so gently into the pool of water.

So I did.

Oh sweet mystery of sump pumping at laaaaast I found you!

That little pump worked non-stop to get all of that water out. Oh sigh of contentment.

Now my heart warms as I hear it kick on every ten to fifteen minutes to remove more water.

Oh happy slimy sump pump, how my satin and sequined and overly bowed dresses love you so.

Here it is, my actual fabulous device! I heart it!