Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Got Carded! (Recently)

Yes, it’s true! I got carded exactly two days ago. In a FULLY LIT grocery store, buying a bottle of cheap-ass champagne. Take THAT, Middle Age!

I was picking up a bottle of the cheap stuff because I want to try making this yummy champagne cocktail I had at a New Year’s Eve party, and I figure if I’m mixing it with cranberry juice, there’s no point in spending a lot of money on the good stuff. As if I would know the difference anyway. The recipe is one bottle of champagne, two cups of cranberry juice and a half cup of the orange liquor of your choice. I was looking confused in the cordials section of the liquor store when some guy who worked there recommended this orange liquor that Patron makes. He then went on about how he hates Patron tequila and thinks it’s overpriced, but he likes this stuff. I tasted it when I got home, and it is indeed sweet and orangey, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Anywho, did I mention that I got carded? In full daylight? I DID. The ironic thing is that when I pulled the bottle off the shelf, I remembered the last time I got carded. It was in a very dark bar about 4 years ago. I was thinking nostalgically about how that was probably the last time it would ever happen, short of some serious surgical intervention, and even then, the eyebrows in the center of the forehead and inability to blink are always a dead giveaway.

But no, it turns out that spending 45 minutes on the Nordic Track, sweating off all your eye-liner, and then just toweling off, pulling on your clothes (without bothering to shower) and going to the grocery store with your hair still a little wet is some sort of magical youth elixir.

The checkout clerk looked at me a little sideways and said “Are you over 21?” and then before I could answer she went on to “Can I see your ID please?” And I’m all like “Absolutely you can see my ID!” And I’m thinking, honey, you could cut my lifespan into two equal-sized pieces and each half would still be old enough to buy this bottle of cheap champagne.

So then I’m standing there expectantly, maybe even feeling a little smug, as she inspected my ID, waiting for some sort of recognition for being extremely “over 21” and not looking it. I kept waiting for her to look incredulously back and forth between my license and my face and then go on and on about how I couldn’t possibly be that old and someone should write an article about me for the Style section of the newspaper. But she didn’t. She just handed the ID back to me and went back to scanning canned goods. It was very anti-climactic.

The whole thing left me feeling a little indignant. Because, you know, if you’re going to make every middle-aged woman who comes through your checkout line go to all the trouble of digging out her driver’s license out of her purse, you should at least PRETEND to be surprised when one or two of them turns out to be a little over thirty. She could have thrown me a bone and at least raised her eyebrows. I took my license completely out of my wallet for her convenience and I got nothing.

Whatever. I know she was probably half blind or high or just screwing with me, but I’m still counting it, and I dare anyone to even snicker about it in my general direction.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Nemesis

Meet the rotary cutter. It is without a doubt the greatest advance in quilting technology since the needle and thread. It allows you to cut fabric with speed and accuracy that is unmatched by any other cutting tool available on the market today. It is also a sharp little bastard.

Last Tuesday, this particular cutter and I had, shall we say, a little “run in.” A disagreement, if you will. A small conflict, one might say. An altercation. It was over just who would occupy the same point in the space-time continuum in the dining room/quilt design studio.

I lost.

My right index finger took one for the team. Or, more accurately, my right index finger gave up a portion of itself so the rest of me could live. Well, “gave up” isn’t quite right. It was more like “was involuntarily separated from” a portion of itself. The finger didn’t make its sacrifice quietly though. No, it protested with great enthusiasm, bled profusely, hurt like a mother-f***er and generally caused quite a ruckus.

I’m really lucky that Slag was in the next room when the blood-letting started. He heard the weird noise I made, you know, the universal word for “I just cut off the end of my goddamn finger!” It sounds something like “Aahhaaahhhaaahhheeekkkkkk!!”

Slag handles emergencies better than anyone I know. My little screech sent him into full catastrophe-management mode. It took him all of about 30 seconds deduce what had happened, locate the chunk of finger among my quilting stuff, pack it on ice and then get me and the finger chunk in the car. I swear, we were at the hospital in less than three minutes.

For my part, I did manage to stay conscious until I was actually in the presence of trained medical personnel. Then I passed out cold, as I am wont to do. Slag caught me, naturally, while the medical personnel yelled for gurneys and whatnot. I woke up with a view of ceiling tiles going by really fast as I was rolled back into one of the emergency room “work bays.”

A couple things I didn’t know before last week:
1) If you show up at an emergency room covered in blood, you don’t have to wait.
2) Even if you are covered in blood, they still want you (or your husband, who is also covered in blood) to sign some form before they work on you.

Turns out we saved the finger chunk for nothing (though one of the nurses did praise Slag for packing it exactly the right way: not directly on ice, but in a bag on ice). The doctor said the risk of infection was greater than the benefit of reattaching the chunk, which wasn’t really that big. He measured the gaping wound on the end of my finger and pronounced it to be 1.5 cm by .75 cm, i.e. small enough that the skin should grow back over the wound on its own.

I didn’t lose any significant amount of bone. I sorta cut off a diagonal wedge starting just above the last knuckle and ending at about the center of the end of my fingernail. Everybody has said that I should end up with a finger that looks “pretty normal,” which I’m taking to mean that the sight of my finger probably won’t make small children cry for their mothers.

Slag has lots of experience dealing with wounded fingers, so he’s been handling the dressing changes. I couldn’t even think about it for the first couple of days without freaking out. I didn’t look at the finger until the weekend. I finally examined it at length Sunday night. I think it’s going to be OK. It may be a little pointier than it was before, but I think it will be functional. French manicures are probably out forever though.

So far, the biggest problem has been showering. It’s really hard to do with one hand. Try it sometime if you don’t believe me. And the hardest thing about showering is dealing the shampoo bottle. At first I just opened the bottle, held it over my head and squeezed until I felt something ooze on my hair. Unfortunately, by the time I felt something ooze, there was about half a cup of shampoo on my head. One-handed rinsing is pretty time consuming too, so that first shower took a LONG time. The last couple of days I’ve perfected the trick of pressing the shampoo bottle between my elbow and body and squeezing shampoo into my good hand. Sorta like what I imagine playing a bagpipe would be like. Skiver suggested I get Slag to help me, but I don’t think Slag would stay “on task” in the shower. In the end I think it’s more time-efficient for me to just do it myself.

Work hasn’t really suffered, since I can work at home as needed while completely smashed on pain killers. I don’t type very well with ten functional fingers, so there hasn’t been any big loss of productivity there. Plus, I think the pain killers have actually improved my attitude a bit.

The only work issue so far is my boss has taken to saying “We’re number one!” every time he sees me in the hall or in a meeting. I do have a really big, bandaged index finger, reminiscent of those big foam fingers you see at sporting events. So it was funny the first eight times he said it. But now it’s not funny anymore. Somebody make him stop.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bad Fashion

I'm usually not one to throw fashion stones, seeing as my fashion house is pretty glassy. Well, it's more of a mud hut really. One of these days, I'm going to splurge and get myself a nice straw mat for the floor, maybe wallpaper the walls with some old newspapers, really fix up the place. And now I think I've taken this metaphor as far as I want to go with it.

Anywho, can't you guess, now I'm going to throw a fashion stone. A really big one. Because sometimes a fashion mistake is so big, so egregious, so frightening that it can't be ignored, even by someone who dresses like me.

Okay, this is going to take some imagination on your part, but I know you can do it.

First, picture a grown woman. A taller than average woman of average build who is over the age of thirty. She's wearing an ordinary blouse. So from the waist up she's looking pretty normal.

Now here come the scary parts. In your mind's eye, add a relatively short, fairly voluminous... prairie skirt. If you were alive in 1978, you're probably not having a problem visualizing this. For those of you who weren't alive yet, prairie skirts were all the rage in the late 1970's, inspired by "Little House on the Prairie." They're big flouncy skirts with lots of ruffled tiers and usually made out of some sort of fabric with little flowers all over it. I had a couple myself, but I was in junior high at the time, so I'm not holding it against myself. I'm standing up now and saying (and I think Michael Kors and all the other judges on Project Runway would agree with me) that very few women over the age of 25 should wear prairie skirts, in 1978 or 2008 or in any year in between. They are typically not flattering to the adult female form. They generally make everything look...well, much bigger. Prairie skirts are for little girls and teenagers who haven’t yet “blossomed” into their adult metabolisms. They are not for the office.

Even as offensive as the prairie skirt was to my fashion sensibilities, it could not, by itself, have prompted this little rant. No, to understand what pushed me over the edge, you must now move your mind's eye down the legs (Shut up, Stucco. I know you're about to say something lascivious.) to the ankle/foot area. Here we find a lovely pair of black mary jane's with 4 inch heels, making a taller than average person appear to be MUCH taller than average.

So you’re probably thinking, “Hmmm, you don’t see shoes like that with prairie skirts very often, do you?”

But wait! There’s more! The shoes are paired with LACEY WHITE ANKLE SOCKS. Yes, you heard me, lacey ankle socks. I didn't even know that lacey white ankle socks were available in adult sizes after the mid 1980’s, let alone that I would encounter a pair at the office.

I swear, I turned the corner and saw the whole "Laura Ingalls meets Cyndi Lauper" ensemble coming towards me, and nearly choked. I was completely speechless. I physically shuddered. People, it takes a lot to make me even notice clothing. I have a very high tolerance for bad fashion, but this made me want to gouge out my own eyes. What was she thinking?? Did she really put that outfit together, check it out in the mirror and deem it office-worthy? Really?

I handled the situation in my usual passive-aggressive way: avoiding eye contact, walking by as fast as possible, and then ridiculing the outfit on my blog. I didn't feel comfortable mentioning my issues with the sock/skirt/shoes combination to her, but I hereby give the entire planet permission to tackle me if I should appear outside my front door wearing anything remotely similar.

Really, just knock me down and take my shoes and socks. Just take them.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


OK, so I've been gone for a while. But not to worry! I have a great excuse at the ready! Plus, it's true, so I don't have to worry about keeping my story straight later. Here it is: The hard drive on my computer died. For the second time. In six months. I was unhappy. :( <-- Note the frowny face added for extra emphasis.

Technically, the computer that died was Slag's computer. Except for the laptop I have from work, all the computers in the house belong to Slag. He has his primary business computer, his backup business computer, the backup for the backup business computer and a couple retired business computers that sit partially disassembled in the corner of his office until they collect enough dust to grow corn. There's probably another computer or two in the garage someplace, but I don't feel energetic enough to go down there and look, so you'll have to take my word for it. Since there's really no room in the house for another computer, I am allowed to use the backup for the backup business computer for my little non-work computer activities.

Anyway, after the computer died I didn't have much to do, so I spent some time every day lobbying for its repair. When I say I "lobbied," I mean that I sat in Slag's office, gazed forlornly from Slag to the nonfunctional computer and back again, and then sighed and moaned for extended periods. Then I would plod downstairs, flop on the couch, and watch reruns of Project Runway. I love it when Heidi Klum goes "You're out." and then gives the ejected contestant the European double kiss, the kind that says "I don't really know you, but I have good breeding."

Slag wasn't giving me and the deceased computer a lot of attention because he was busy fielding last minute demands from his clients who all wanted him to do stuff for them before the end of the year. I'm not sure exactly what stuff they wanted, but they do give him money for doing it, so they were getting top priority and the defunct computer and I were getting nothing.

My sighing eventually wore him down though, especially after I started doing it while dramatically sprawling myself across his lap and making it impossible for him to type or talk on the telephone or do any of the other things his clients pay him to do, because he finally got in his truck and drove to Fry's and bought a new hard disk. And he did it TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Yes, he endured all the manic shoppers and insane checkout lines and insipid piped-in Christmas music that one would expect to experience at Fry's two days before Christmas, just to get that hard disk. That's how much he loves me. I am a lucky woman.

Now I'm back in business. Let me catch you up on my exciting life.

A chocolate voodoo doll that Skiver gave me. I'm eating him from the feet up to prolong his suffering, because I'm a bitch like that.

My new Pfaff Hobby 1200 GrandQuilter! Isn't it magnificent?? My Mom and Wicked Step-Mother™ and Slag went in together on it for my Christmas present. I'm expecting my quilting expertise to triple overnight.

A painting/mixed media piece that my best friend from high school sent me. Isn't it cool? Yes, she created it herself. I love it.

My latest quilt. It's for my new niece Sophie. She arrived almost a month early, but she's perfectly healthy, so all is well.

My second latest quilt. It's for Sophie's big sister Sage. When my sister was pregnant with Sage and found out she was having a girl, the first words out of her mouth were "I hate pink!" So, of course, I made Sage a quilt with no pink in it. Now Sage is almost three and has opinions of her own. She loves pink. LOVES it. So I made her a pink quilt. Sorry Sis.

A doll quilt that I made out of extra blocks I accidentally made for the above quilt, because I am apparently retarded and can no longer multiply correctly.

That's all the excitement for now. I hope all of you out there in the internet had a wonderful holiday season and may all have a happy and healthy new year.