Friday, February 21, 2014

And now I'm hungry...

This week's prompt:  Spectacular

Other than the kid's pitching prowess in a couple of softball games, I haven't had a lot of contact with the spectacular this week.  It hasn't been bad, though.  Sometimes good enough is just that.  

I had some good lunches this week.  The first was with my former co-workers in Fake Cow County.  We attended a joint training with Catherine the Cocaine Whore, whom we've all know of yore. Even though she thinks we're all hopelessly country, Catherine is good at her job and she's also got a corporate expense account, which meant lunch was on her.  It was good to see everyone and learn what has changed and what has not.  It felt like slipping into an old pair of tennis shoes. 

The second lunch involved me standing in line at Subway with my current co-workers.  Co-workers who forgot to tell me they were ditching our normal Wednesday lunch plans in favor of industrial sandwiches.  The only way I discovered this was that I, too, ditched the usual plan and showed up at the sandwich shop only to find them there ahead of me.  While we waited on our flatbreads and cold cuts, they introduced me to two very cute gray-haired ladies, obviously long-time lunch buddies who never needed to finish a sentence to be completely understood by each other. 

I was introduced by name and as the "probation chief".  Both ladies expressed their pleasure at making my acquaintance and then one asked "Where are your crutches?  I heard you were on crutches."

Yep.  I'd never seen either of these two before in my life.  This is life in a small town.  It's the same everywhere, right?  (No more crutches, just another week or so with a knee brace.)

The third lunch was a going-away potluck for the County Treasurer's assistant.  Just like in seventh grade, we all gravitated into our usual groups and cliques for the meal.  I snagged at seat at the most isolated table and bullied the sweet young thang who is Sushi's replacement into joining me.  She's nice and inexperienced and no match for obnoxious older women.  She came quietly.  I told her I was declaring this the cool kids table, and sure enough, within a few minutes we were joined by the Judge, the DA's assistant and the County Attorney's assistant, all of whom are equally obnoxious and even older than I, although they're not all women.  

This was my first chance to spend any time with young Barbie.  I like her.  She seems to be a genuinely good person.  She's beautiful and apparently fairly intelligent.  And, for the time being, shy. 

I like shy.  Shy is a good thing in my book.  I'm hoping it means she's got depth.  We didn't really get to know each other any better over lunch, mostly because everyone else is a pushy story-teller, and she isn't one to butt in, but this was a good start and I hope I can pull bits and pieces of her personality out into the open over the next few months. 

As for the pushy-story tellers, they made me laugh.  Out loud.  They reminded me of an article I read this week about advice to Japanese travelers who are visiting the U.S. for the first time.  The Asian tourist was warned that American women laugh loud and long and in your face.  American women do not hide their wide smiles behind a demure hand or turn away so that no one is made uncomfortable by their quiet giggles. American men are guilty of the same sort of behavior, not caring who sees or hears their guffaws. 

The Judge told us about the first week of his marriage which involved him being totally enthralled with the wonders of his inaugural experience with satellite television, involving a NASA-esque dish covering an entire corner of the back yard and a remote control of Tolstoy complexities.  All this while his wife was calling for help from the suds-engulfed bathroom where the whirlpool tub was completely out of control.  She kept shouting for "Bill!  Bill!", but all he heard was Lucy Ricardo screeching for "Ricky! Ricky!". 

Then there was the story of the flaming toilet paper roll.  Followed by a comparison of septic system experiences, which we all contributed to, having lived in the country at one time or another.  This went on and on and on.

There was a discussion of the correct septic system toilet paper choice protocol.  And various toilet paper chaff factors.  And the number of squares that is appropriate for each personal experience.  And then the discussion of the tragedy of the courthouse toilet paper that doesn't even have squares, making accurate measurement an exercise in tissuey futility. 

Finally I tossed the remnants of my dinner roll into a puddle of tomato sauce and looked around the table.  "Good Lord, people!  Y'all have put WAY more thought into toilet paper than I have EVER considered possible."

Barbie laughed.  I think she's got potential. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Look at those Gun(n)s!

Everyone needs a winter break, so last week I took a few days off to visit Janet at Camp Runamok in Athens. (Texas.) Normally this means traipsing all over the East Texas countryside in search of interesting dead people and other fun things.  Last year we found Mrs. Nugent.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is conspiring against us all.  Tuesday morning, as I was leaving the gym, I discovered that the dangers of black ice extend to pedestrians, not just motorists.  Now I'm on crutches.

I've never used crutches before in my entire life.  What an upper body workout!  Damn!  My traipsing is seriously curtailed, but I made the trip anyway, only to discover that East Texas is about as cold and snowy as West Texas.  Thoroughly unfair, but still fun. 

Janet and I spent an afternoon in an artisan shop and an art gallery in the official "Coolest Small Town in Texas".  And yes, I will be going back for the live music and food in the warmer months.  The next afternoon we took a trip to Navarro College in Corsicana, where we perused some of their  thousands of bits of Civil War correspondence and artifacts and hundreds of impressive Western paintings. 

Even if Janet and I are doing nothing more than sitting around comparing Facebook postings or bidding Jay Leno adieu and evaluating Jimmy Fallon's chances, (good, we say) we still have a lot of fun. 

This was the first - and hopefully only - trip to Athens that passed without me taking a single photo.  Cripping around on crutches saps one's creative energy and makes photography a chore.  It also makes you acutely aware of how minimal and pathetic your upper body strength is.  I am pretty sure I'm going to be all buff and six-packy by the time I'm done with these sticks. My arms are gonna be ripped!  (Out of the sockets, possibly.)

I slipped, I fell, I crutched, but I had fun!

As I was making the drive east on Wednesday, I took a break from my audiobook to listen to some NPR.  Fresh Air was on and I caught the very beginning of an interview with Tim Gunn.  I've never watched any of his television shows, but his various commercials and such make me think he's a dapper, genuinely nice man with a beautiful voice.  Within moments the interview had my full attention.  Tim Gunn is a seriously amazing person.  I was not surprised that he is as classy a man as I'd assumed, but I was surprised to learn that Gunn's father is responsible for making me the person I am today. 

(Gunn's mother was the first librarian for the CIA.  That has nothing to do with anything, but isn't that cool?) 

Tim's father worked for the FBI.   He worked his way up through the agency, eventually becoming J. Edgar Hoover's right hand man.  He was Hoover's ghost-writer; writing his memos, his speeches...and his books.  Anyone know where this is going

He wrote Hoover's books.  Tim Gunn's father must have written the book.  The book that I checked out, over and over again, from the church library in that small, dirty, desolate town where I spent several of my formative years. 

The book that convinced me I could and should grow up to be a G-man, which became my life's goal.  Except for the 'man' bit.  I read that book numerous times, and I held that dream fast until I was about halfway through college, when I realized I would find a better fit in a different arm of law enforcement.  But that one book - a silly, propaganda-heavy book about how the FBI needed smart, ethical young men - evidently written by Tim Gunn's father, set the direction for my entire life.

And still does. 

And it's fun. 

Saturday, February 01, 2014

You are getting veerrrry sleeepyyy...

This week's prompt is selfie.  Here are some things that you would maybe want to know:

1.  I have not been smoking pot.  I'd just come back from getting my hair permed when I took this photo.  Some of the chemicals got in my eyes.  Fer reals.

2.  My hair naturally looks like Jan Brady's.  Straight as a board.  Except for the grey stuff.  Those hairs are kinky and curly.

3 Do the reading glasses make me look smarter?  I think they aren't that big in real life.  I am hoping that is just a function of the weirdness that is selfie-angle.

4.  I really am wearing a shirt under that jacket.

5. At present I am about to starve.  We have no breakfast food in the house.  (That is perhaps a bit of an over-statement, but nothing I want to eat.  And no milk.  Or biscuits.)  I am torn between an all-consuming desire for breakfast burritos and a quart of good hot sauce to start the reaming out process on my tortured sinuses and the quiet, less demanding desire to let Jackson sleep because he felt really, really horrible last night and probably did not sleep much until the wee hours of the morning.  It's 9:30.  Perhaps I can nurture the milk of human kindness for another half hour.  Maybe.

6.  I am taking a bit of a vacation next week.  I have so much on my plate at work right now that I find myself stressing about taking the time off.  This is perhaps a sure sign that I need to get the hell out of Dodge for a bit.

7.  Work is still very enjoyable, all things considered.  I was reminded of this a couple of days ago.  We were "out in the District", and had a full morning's worth of hearings in the Court Barn.  Once everything was done, we shuffled our papers and packed away our files as the Judge stood and unzipped his robe. He tossed the robe in the general direction of the hat rack and said "I'll see y'all at the beer store." 

 And in a very few minutes we gathered around a plastic-covered table, devouring plates of delectable beer store bbq, and laughing a lot.

8.   You know, I thought I'd have all kinds of things to say in this post.  Selfie?  Who doesn't love talking about themselves?  Normally not me, but I can't think of a single interesting thing to tell you.  Perhaps it's the lack of food.  Yeah, that's probably it.  I'm outta here in favor of foraging.  Have a good week!