Welcome To My New Year


While we haven’t quite yet passed to the end of 2011, I’m already in progress on what will surely be the biggest change to impact my new year.

You see, the Good Man and I are moving house.

It’s not a big move, just a few miles away. But we are moving to a much larger place with two, count them TWO full bathrooms.

I experience waves of joy at that thought.

As the landlord is completely renovating the place (we get to move in with all new paint and floors and appliances, yay!) we won’t actually move until later in January.


Here’s the thing. I have lived in our current spot for almost eight years. The Good Man moved in almost five years back. But for me, eight long years. That’s a lot of time to accumulate crap.

A lot of crap.

Over the years, I may have been accused by friends and family of having difficulty with throwing things away.


I’m not a hoarder. Much.

I mean my place isn’t floor to ceiling with newspapers I can bear to part with, but the extra large storage space under my current place IS full of all manner of stuff that should have been thrown away or donated long ago.

It’s a lot.

The Good Man is fairly organized and keeps his stuff pretty tidy. He goes through everything about once a year and culls out, cleans out and donates.

Me. Not so much.

So laying ahead of me, I have a fabulous future with a shiny new home. It has a fireplace! And a deck. And an actual living room.

Surrounding me, I have boxes and bags and barrels of crap to sort through.

I pledged this week that I’m off work to clean out everything under the current house. So instead of enjoying my bright future, I am lost in my past.

Today I went through a huge box of papers, bills and receipts. This is my personal weak spot. For some reason I think I need to keep every receipt I ever get. The Good Man has me on a rehab plan so I don’t keep doing this.

But today I shredded the original registration papers on the Jeep I bought in 1995. The State of New Mexico charged me forty-eight dollars to register the first car I bought with my own money. I miss the days of forty-eight dollar car registration.

I traded in that Jeep on a new one in 2001. So I kept an almost seventeen year old document on a Jeep I sold ten years ago from from a state where I no longer live.

It’s like that.

I remember talking to my mom in the year after my dad had passed. She was going through everything they owned with plans to eventually sell their house and move somewhere more manageable.

In the stuff, she found a box of papers that my dad had kept. In this box were bills and receipts that dated back to the first year of their marriage. They were married for forty-five years.

Mom fired up a burn barrel and alternately cried and cursed while disposing of the stack of paper that had (unknown to her) been a part of her life for her entire marriage.

Today, as I shredded, I thought about that. I though about how mad The Good Man would be if I died and left him with all of this crap to sort through.

I have to strive to be better, to get rid of stuff more often, to keep my piles of crap under control.

This move is good. It’s a good idea to force myself to clean out my mess. It’s a good idea to have a new start.

My future is bright. But I gotta sort through my past first.

Image from The Magic Forest.

This is an early entry for this week’s Theme Thursday fun. This week’s theme = future.

That There is a Winner!


As the Holiday season draws to a close, just two days now until “The Big Day” those of us at work come together for our annual “What Did You Get From The Suppliers?” comparison event.

As I started my career working for the government, I rather enjoy being in private industry where we can accept small tokens from the companies we work with.

Now let me just say, I’m usually the big loser in these competitions because I work with the telco commodity. Those companies are as cheap as the day is long.

I thought I had a pretty good entry this year for Worst Present. I got this tacky plexiglass picture frame that sits in a weird base and when I put the plastic part into the base, it immediately broke.

And then, I got ANOTHER one in the mail the next day. Their sales team clearly didn’t coordinate.

So I brought that out and declared it the worst gift of 2011.

But I got trumped and trumped hard.

“Oh NO!” I heard from the corner. “I can beat that.”

Beat that, she did.


Now, it helps to know that the recipient of this present is a very classy, stylish girl from the City. She’s quite Coco Chanel and Jimmy Choo.

To make this gift even more charming, it was handed to my coworker while still wrapped in the plastic shopping bag from the Dallas airport.

Obviously I had to concede the race. I reboxed my broken plexiglass frame in defeat.

By the way, the lady with the worst gift is also the winner of the most and best gifts too. She works in temporary staffing. Those suppliers fall all over themselves to give stuff away at the holidays.

I need to consider working in a new group. This annual defeat, even in the worst category, is gosh darn humbling.

And for as ungrateful as I may seem, I really do enjoy the little trinkets our suppliers send.
Especially when it is a box of See’s candy.

Oh, November


Masochism! It’s what’s for Thanksgiving dinner!

Yup. November means it’s National Novel Writing Month, a fun event where writers around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days.

And after taking last year off, I’m back, baybee!

This will be my sixth year through the meat word grinder.

Along with blogging every weekday. And holding down a full time job. And having some semblance of a life.

Apparently I like the pain. 1667 words a day, here I come.

A Dead Language


When I was a pre-teen and earning a few extra bucks as a babysitter, I sat for a family who had two young, rambunctious boys. They were a good family but those boys were a nightmare to babysit.

Since the parents would usually be out late, the mom liked for me to write up a little note before I left for the evening so that in the morning she could review what the boys ate, when they went to bed, how they behaved, etc.

Those little creeps knew they were hellions, and so when it came time for me to write up the note, they always were at each elbow to try and see what I was writing so they could get ahead of it with their folks.

Well…I fixed their wagon. I started writing the note in cursive. They were both too young to have learned cursive in school and it drove them *bonkers*.

Under the steely gaze of their dad, the older boy generally denied anything and everything and the younger boy sang like a canary. It was awesome.

Personally, I don’t generally use cursive writing in my day to day life anymore. I don’t know why, but somewhere along the line I stopped. My handwriting is so sloppy anyway that the addition of cursive made it damn near unreadable.

About the only place I still both to use cursive writing is when I write a check, and then only on the line where you have to spell out the amount and my signature.

And who writes checks anymore anyway?

Still, I’m a bit sad to hear all the talk lately of schools opting not to teach cursive writing to school kids anymore. I guess with computers, iPhones and iPads, it’s become, well, a dead language. Known only to the elders of our little (6 billion strong) tribe.

I love to look at old letters from my parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. My paternal grandmother had an often difficult to read tight scroll. My maternal grandmother’s hand was a bit more open and looping.

A letter from them was easily identifiable by their handwriting. It was like a thumbprint.

Within just a few years, kids won’t be able to read these old letters, or as the blog MoxieQ notes, the original US Constitution or even the original Declaration of Independence.

Original US Constitution, in cursive

Declaration of Independance

If kids see these documents while on a field trip or in a book, it will simply look like a foreign language.

That seems….wrong.

I get that the times, they are a changin’ and the call for cursive writing is less and less, abandoned in favor of teaching touch typing earlier in school (I had it in mid-school but by early grade school, kids need to know how to interact with a computer).

But still, cursive writing is a basic foundation of our culture, not just being able to express oneself in written form, but as its own language. It was a rite of passage to learn to write in cursive. Suddenly my mom’s shopping list went from being a bunch of scribbles to making perfect sense (except when she wrote it in stenographer’s shorthand, another dead written language).

I guess the rite of passage now is when a kid gets their first cell phone or iPad. I suppose in the end it’s ok, as long as we keep finding ways to express ourselves.

I’m still a little sad about the change, though….

Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Ask: “Why?”


My friends over at Theme Thursday have had some upheaval in the past week, and the Theme Thursday fun hasn’t been, well, fun. I’m happy to see there is new management. We’re back on track!.

And that leads me to today’s theme for this faboo Thursday: Fish

As usual, I started with a Google search to see what’s what, and I stumbled across the latest fad in China and Singapore: Tattooed fish

Wait. What?

Yes indeed. Tattooed fish.

From my knowledge of Chinese culture, I do know that fish are seen as a symbol of good luck and also symbolize wealth, so to capitalize on this belief, someone has figured out how to laser dyed characters and symbols onto the side of parrot fish.

These tattooed fish are called “Fortune Fish” and are said to bring good fortune and happiness to their owners.

Here’s an example:

Image from People’s Daily Online

Evidently, a normal, unmodified parrot fish costs about 10 Yuan (about $1.50 USD) but a tattooed fish costs about 25 Yuan (roughly $4 USD), so this is a bit of a money maker. If you want your fish with a customized personal tattoo, it’ll run ya more like 100 Yuan ($15 USD).

The tattoo is applied using a “low intensity” laser to apply dye which, it’s claimed, doesn’t cause the fish any pain. *ahem* Sure. Ask the fish, I’ll bet he’s got a different story.

Capitalizing on superstition is nothing new, but this one seems pretty gosh darn wrong to me.

What’s next! Tattooed pigs!?!?!

Oh wait. Nevermind. (<- also found in China, I might add).