The I's Have It

As Sally Field said, "You like me, you really like me!"  Well, at least Tim likes me.  He nominated me for the Stylish Blog Award.  Me?  Stylish?  Aw shucks.  I'm speechless.  Which for me is a rarity.

So, without further ado, here are seven things you might not know about me.
  • I always wanted to have a farm and raise goats, honeybees, and quail.
  • I used to stand in line with my grandmother for her monthly supply of cheese and peanut butter from the government.
  • In high school, I attained sharpshooter level in riflery.
  • I prefer a bow to a gun.
  • I learned how to drive in a green 1972 GMC Gremlin when I was 11.
  • I read my first words when I was two but I am a very slow reader, to the point where it embarrasses me.
  • I am utterly terrified of snakes, so much so that I can't even look at pictures of them without being scared.
Wow, never in all my blogging days has the word "I" appeared so many times in one blog!  That's another thing about me that you may not know.  Writing that relies too heavily on "I" makes me uncomfortable. 

Now, here are seven Stylish Blogs that you should check out:


Honey, I'm Home

Constantly Evolving

Hope in a Basket



Mom And Me, Kassey

It's easy really.  Seven things that people might not know about you and seven other nominations for the Stylish Blog Award.

I think I'll go back to writing without "I's" now.


Getting Something Off My Chest

My promise to Tim rings hollow today - this blog isn't a follow-up to his nominating me for the Stylish Blog Award as it was supposed to be.  No pie-crust promise this time, Tim!  The next blog *will* be in response to the Stylish Blog Award.

Today, there's just something I have to get off my chest.  Uh-um...  Out of my chest?  Oh, bad pun (you'll understand after reading the entire blog).  Someone please, for god's sake, get the image out of my head!

The Gaelic family is adventurous when it comes to food.  Deirdre adores Brussels sprouts.  Finola has eaten venison, buffalo, and elk.  I tried rattlesnake once, frog legs a couple of times, and alligator on several occasions.  Yes, even Rocky Mountain Oysters.  There is a beef liver, tongue and heart in my freezer waiting to be cooked up in a hearty dish.  But there are limits.

Raw oysters never cross my lips anymore following an experience with a bad one many years ago.  Mr. G and I had some bad sea urchin once, never again.  And that Japanese fish that's poisonous?  No thank you. 

Now comes news of things that really turn the stomach.  Especially two pieces of news this past week.

In a small town in New Zealand is an annual food festival that in past years has served up such "delicacies" as wasp larvae ice cream and deep-fried huhu grubs.  This year the craze will be shots of strawberry-, chocolate-, or vanilla-flavored horse semen.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Horse baby gravy.  Claims are that it tastes like a milkshake.

On the other end of the spectrum (in every literal sense) is news from England of a new ice cream flavor - Baby Gaga.  Made with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest, it's said to be very rich and creamy.  Rich and creamy?  You be the judge of that.  It's made with free-range human breast milk!  But this free-range human won't be volunteering to help produce or consume it.  And I have better ideas for Madagascan vanilla pods.

There are just some things I draw the line at.  Horse semen shots and breast-milk ice cream are two of them.


Oh Say Can I See (Redux)

Some nice folks stopped by to read the first of the sensory blogs on sight but were disappointed that there were no links to some of the sites.  Links have been added to some.  Check them out here.


Smells and Bells

Third in my series of lists of the senses is smell.  Mostly in memory of that sense which our family lost last week when we all developed head colds of varying degrees.  (Cue the Dies Irae.)  My first list was sight; the second list, sound.

Without further ado, I give you scents I want to experience before I die:
  • That baby-smell on the top of a grandbaby's head
  • Sweet-shrub wafting through my open bedroom window on a warm spring morning
  • White Shoulders as I nuzzle in for a hug (my grandmother's signature)
  • Chanel No. 5 as I nuzzle in for a hug (my mother's signature)
  • Mrouzia in Marrakesh
  • Rogan josh outside Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho
  • Spruce and firs giving way to glaciers in Denali
  • Varnish remover while refinishing an antique [fill in the blank] by myself
  • Lavender fields in Provence
  • Body oil with patchouli being massaged onto me while at a beach-front spa in the Caribbean
Coming up with scents to experience is quite difficult.  Knowing what I want to do or see is easy; but how does one describe a new scent?  Today's list was very challenging.  That will be your challenge now -- what scents do you want to experience?


Bearing My How

We all serve sentences.  The difference is in our awareness of our sentences.  Some of us intuit our sentences while not explicitly knowing that they're there.  Others of us turn a blind eye to them, refusing to acknowledge their existence.

Growing up was one of my sentences.  In a small southern town, when the Alpha girls turn against you, there's not much else except to pour yourself into your studies and your hobbies.  There's something better waiting after graduation.  And an unbearable life was bearable for the most part.

Open-ended sentences are harder to deal with.  Those life sentences that actually feel like life sentences.  Such as a really rough spell that Mr. Gaelic and I went through at one point in our marriage.  The finite is easy.  It's the infinite that crushes the bone.

Once again, a sentence is upon me.  A sentence that is, thankfully, finite.  Four years at the least, thirteen max.  Four to pay for private Ivy college, thirteen for full retirement benefits.  A friend wasn't satisfied with my reason for working -- to pay for college.  She noted that we could always take out a loan to pay for college.  Pressing harder, she made me evaluate the why of not wanting to take out a loan.  Her pressure made me realize the reason was our dream retirement -- a house in the mountains of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, or southwestern Virginia.  The floor plans are on the computer hard drive.  She suggested I print it out, frame it, and put it on my desk.

I did her one better.  It's the wallpaper on my office computer. 

When an IT person stopped by last week, he asked if that was my house.  "Oh, no, that's my retirement house.  That's why I'm doing this," as I motioned around the office.

As Nietzsche said, he who has a why to live can bear almost any how.


He's the Tax (Policy) Man

Either Mr. Gaelic is really good at his job or we’re just a bunch of political junkies around here. A friend posted a link to a hearing in which he was seated behind his boss. As I clicked and opened the video, Mr. Gaelic, in the next room, heard the chairman’s voice for, oh, two seconds and asked, “Are you watching the Senate Finance Committee hearing? Why are you watching the Senate Finance Committee? That’s the Senate Finance Committee.”

Yeah, Mr. Tax Policy, it’s the Finance Committee. But as my friend said in his own words, the video also comes in handy in case you have trouble sleeping.


When a Friend has Cancer, May I Complain About Having a Cold?

Everyone always says that they need a vacation from their vacation.  Well, I need a sick day from my sick day. 

There's a cold going around work and it finally landed on my desk.  After a noontime meeting and eating at my desk, the last thing I needed was four more hours of work.  Especially since I had been in the office for six hours.  Mr. Gaelic (we carpool) drove me home and wrapped me in a blanket.  I had some fun websites to visit (thanks to a chat session with Laoch), hot apple cider to soothe my throat, and three layers of fleece to help settle me in for a nap.  I slept for all of 30 minutes.

Not that my body didn't need the sleep and could have used more, but that our neighbor from across the street called asking if his two girls could come to our house after school.  The wife was recently diagnosed with lung cancer which has already spread to her liver, spine, hip, and shoulder.  The husband had to take the wife to the hospital because her pain medicine isn't blocking the pain.  Even sick with a head cold, you don't turn away the kids of a woman with cancer. 

Fine and good.  They stayed in the family room with Maeve playing Wii until supper.  But I still heard them.  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!  Having a five-year-old saying, "I want..." and "Why...?" does not make for a restful afternoon.  Maybe it was easier when they were my own kids.  Maybe I'm becoming a codgerly old woman.  Or maybe, just maybe, I'm plain sick and tired.


That's What He Said

Office email exchange:
Hi all,
I'm putting together a staff list for just in case emergencies.  Please provide the following:
Local address: (where you sleep most of the time, Sean, not where your parents think you live)
Local phone:
Cell phone:
Significant other or whom to call if you don't show up for work:
Your Fabulous Office Manager [that would be me, in addition to being the scheduler]
The director of the legislative staff wrote back with the following.  
Address: XXXX Street
Significant other or whom to call if you don't show up for work: Could be many different women, depends on the night and my mood . . .
Birthday: XX/XX/XXXX
I replied,
Thank god you didn't hit Reply All.  Hahaha!!!
He replied to my reply,
That would just have been bragging . . . ;-) 


VD Gone Viral

Happy Manufactured Day that Really Doesn’t Mean Anything Except to Extort Things from Men with the Threat of Withholding Sex If Women Don’t Get What They Want Which Most Often Is an Engagement Ring or a Promise of a Monogamous, Long-Term Relationship Complete with Children and a House in the Suburbs, Oh, and a Dozen Roses Delivered to Her Office to Make her Coworkers Envious that She has Such a Thoughtful Boyfriend Who Felt that He Had to Send Her Flowers Because of the Date on the Calendar!!!

And Many Happy Returns of the Day! Unless she has to return what your sorry ass messed up as “the perfect gift” in which case you won’t be getting any for a month. Or until you grovel in front of her and her friends.

[I'm not hating on Valentine's Day. I'm just wondering why there are so many expectations for one single day.]


Can You Hear Me Now?

Second in the non-bucket-list list of things to experience before I die is sound.  Last time we explored things I want to see before I die.  This go-round it's sounds.  For your listening pleasure, I give you my Top Ten (to be experienced in person, of course).
  1. Mendelssohn's Bridal Chorus at my three daughters' weddings
  2. My grandbaby's giggle
  3. An iceberg calving
  4. Gurgling lava and its hiss upon running into the sea
  5. Adhan in Istanbul
  6. Oseh Shalom in Lodz, Poland
  7. The wind while standing at 29,029 feet above sea level
  8. A wolf's howl while tent camping along Slough Creek in Yellowstone
  9. Dinka hymns in Juba, Southern Sudan
  10. My husband's Russian outside the Church of Spilt Blood in St. Petersburg
My sounds of non-silence.  Although complete and utter silence ranks pretty high as well.


Oh Say Can I See

This isn’t a “bucket list”. It’s just a list. Maybe this will be the first in a series of lists.

Things I want to see before I die:
  1. The Nazca Lines
  2. The Roman Catacombs
  3. The aurora borealis
  4. Penguins in their natural habitat
  5. Polar bears in their natural habitat
  6. Victoria Falls
  7. The Road of Bones from the back of a motorcycle
  8. A grandbaby’s eyes
  9. The world from the highest point in Africa
  10. The winter solstice sunrise from inside Newgrange
What do you want to see before you die?


Search for the Holy Sale

About three weeks ago, we had an ice storm and a two-hour delay for work with schools closed for the day.  Mr. Gaelic, in typical male thinking, went out to scrape the ice from the truck, neglecting to salt the walk on the way to the vehicle.  Two step out my front door, not even off the front stoop, and WHAM, I fall and shatter my left ring finger.  Two cut-off wedding rings, five pins, one cast, and untold numbers of Oxycontin later, he readily admits he could have been more focused on safety and less focused on getting to the office "early".

The stitches came out Friday.  While the nurse was removing the black threads (and let me just go on record as saying that having stitches removed from a finger hurts almost as much as the break itself), I was lamenting the scar I will have.  The nurse (a man) suggested that a new ring might be in my future.  Mr. Gaelic agreed.  And I have a witness!

Mr. Gaelic has been very protective ever since my fall.  He holds my arm in the snow, or walking down stairs; he carries bags for me; he drives me to work.  (Oxycontin use prohibits driving, at least in my book.)  He also drives me to my favorite hair salon to have my hair washed and blow dried.  The bandage is supposed to stay dry and I wouldn't be able to hold both a hairdryer and brush even if he washed my hair for me at home.

Yesterday's salon outing also became a stop at my new favorite designer's store.  Certain designers cut their clothes in a way that fits my body well without the need for alterations.  Dana Buchman used to be my favorite until she discontinued her designer line in favor of a line exclusively for Kohls.  She may be the same woman, but her clothes don't fit like they did when she had her own stand-alone stores.

Yet even with my new favorite designer, he has several labels and each one fits differently.  His basic line fits me in the rear but not the waist or sleeve length.  His next step up runs small for size.  Even though dress size numbers don't bother me, if the mid-line label fits my waist and sleeve length, it doesn't fit my hips.

That leaves his top-end prêt-à-porter line.  Prêt-à-porter is ready-to-wear, as opposed to his couture line which is seen on the catwalks of Bryant Park (oops, I mean Lincoln Center where they moved Fashion Week this year).  Great.  Just great.  My body type fits the most expensive line.  What's a girl to do?

Buy on sale only.

Which is what happened yesterday.  I snagged a 100% cashmere dress for more than 75% off the original price.  I didn't have to elbow my way through the crowds at Loehmann's or Filene's Basement or TJMaxx.  The saleslady set us up in a cozy dressing room with a loveseat and table and offered us coffee and water.  And the dress fits like a glove!

My new shopping habit won't be hitting the discount racks in strip malls, but hitting the stand-alone designer store downtown when they hang a Sale sign in the window.  Same price, better service.  Eureka!  I have found my new favorite store!


The Anti-Social Network

Facebook is a wonderful tool to help reconnect with people.  The majority of my FB friends are from my small Southern hometown of 7,000.  We catch up about parents, careers, spouses, children.  We post old photos from our elementary school days, church choir, high school yearbooks.  And we tag each other.  Helpful after all these years.

And so talkative.  It seems that they all want to chat whenever I'm online.  After trying to carry on five conversations at one time, it was time to leave my chat status as offline.  Multitasking is one thing but there are limits.

Until last night.  That's when I wanted so much to go back in time and talk to people who wanted to talk to me.  One in particular.  A guy who went through twelve years of school with me.  He had joined the Air Force, married, divorced, stayed in Colorado.

With FB, it starts in cryptic ways.  "My heart is breaking with the news."

Then it becomes a mystery.  "D was a great friend."

The mind races.  What happened to D?

With enough reading and poking around, it becomes clear.  "D didn't post anything on Fishville this morning and I was about to call him when I heard the message on my phone.  My baby brother is gone.  Cardiac arrest."

Sadness, regret, realization that we're middle aged.  Wasn't this supposed to be fun?


Nothin' But Blue Eyes Do I See

The congressman is going on a military trip to Florida soon.  Which requires paperwork.  It was dutifully filled out and ready to fax to the Navy liaison office when a snafu hit.

His mother-in-law is very ill.  He may have to scrub the trip.  Even if he goes, flight plans have changed since he won't be returning to Washington with the missus.  She's at her mother's side.

Because of the now-complicated situation, it was easier to walk the paperwork to the liaison and explain things face to face rather than on the phone.  How lucky can a gal be?  The two Navy liaisons in charge of the trip met me at the front office area.  Both Navy, both blond, both blue eyes.  Blue like the sky over the Caribbean Sea.  All warm and decadent.

The next time the legislative staff needs something from the Navy liaison office I'll happily volunteer to walk to their office.  As I told our legislative director, I may be married but I can still look.  All of a sudden I sound like a man!