Saturday, September 29, 2007

When the cat is away the mice will..... blog?

... and why not? There isn't much else to do. BJ has gone to a wedding leaving me and the dogs doing the bachelor thing for the weekend.

I realize that most of you do not know me real well. The readers that used to frequent this blog when I was the primary writer have long since traveled to pages featuring better grammar, spelling, and vocabularies aren't littered with made-up words like crapulant (eg: "Wow, this pork flavored ice cream is crapulant...").

Ever since my wife took the place over I have tried to distance myself so that she could have a place to write that was unblemished. However, this blog is a lot like the carpets in our house. It was only a matter of time before I spilled something wildly inappropriate and likely to stain on the nice clean shag. So, here I am... blogging.... at 2am.

As I understand it, many of Beej's new readers are women. Well, good news for you! You get the very rare, and possibly unwanted, opportunity to peer into my life when I have no one around to keep me moving in a positive direction.

You see, it is only by the grace of god and my wife’s endless patience that I am not writing from a cave while gnawing on a hunk of raw meat. My natural instincts tend towards the more stereotypical behaviors commonly attributed to my gender. Eat, sleep, hunt, gather, and fix stuff with tools. I revel in the simplicity of it all.

So, when Beej isn't here to protest, what does a weekend look like for me and my pals (our dogs... both of which are leg humping boys) ? Well, it sure as hell doesn't involve pants... let me tell you (aren't you glad you stuck with it so you could read that? Try not to picture it... you can never un-see.) !

Our day tomorrow will begin with a war... most likely a star war. Yeah, I know that's dorky but what do you want? My dogs and I will sit on the couch sharing whatever is left of the Chinese food that we ordered tonight. There will be slobber... provided by all three of us. I like to start each day with a little caffeine, but I don't do the coffee thing so tomorrow sustenance will begin with cold Chinese food and Coke. It's definitely not the breakfast of champions, but clearly it is the breakfast of an overworked computer guy and his two dogs.

bbIn point of fact, the dogs aren't going to have Coke. They don't really like Coke. I have noticed (tonight) that they do in fact like Beer. Unfortunately for them we have run out of beer. Lazy man rules prevent me from going anywhere... at all... so they will have to get by on water and a little gravy that I had in the fridge. They DO love that.

Once we have finished our breakfast and our first movie we are going to get up, stretch, move to the other couch, and do it again. At this point the dogs are going to need more sustenance. It's a good thing that we moved the dog bone bowl over to the couch so they can munch without missing a thing!

After movie number two we are going to get to work (sort of). We have to at least present the appearance that we weren't lazy all day so we are going to stalk around the house looking for something superficial (but low effort) and obvious to do so that when BJ does come home she can't say, "WAH WAH... WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH!" Neither the dogs nor I know exactly what is being said. In all seriousness.... that is how we actually hear it (ask any male critter and they will tell you it's true) ! All we do know is that the frowny face she wears when she says that can be very contagious.... and we don't want that.

I am not yet sure what the project du jour will be, but I guarantee that about two minutes into it Griffen and Nemo (the dogs) are going to look at me with eyes that speak volumes. Those eyes will implore me to stick to the LMR's (Lazy Man Rules). Those same eyes will plead for me to sit back down on the couch before I burn a calorie and risk wasting away. I can never deny such caring, so ultimately I will see their point of view and get ready for a "WAH WAH" serenade when Beej gets home.

Once we are back on the couch (all of us), we can get started on the next man task of the day. This one involves a video game console. I know that is cliché, but you have to understand that in my entire life I have never had a video game console... until recently. Generally I relax by camping, sailing, diving, or some other outdoor activity; but not today. Today my dogs and I will test the structural integrity of our couch by attempting to weigh it down for 9 consecutive hours while blowing up, chasing down, repeatedly shooting, and in some cases chain sawing our enemies (and we do have a lot of enemies).

Once we have fragged (that's a gamer word for kill... I know... I am wicked cool) our brains out, it will be time for dinner. Of course, in man land dinner isn't something that people and dogs do separately. It requires the right meal and a crap load of plywood. The meal this evening will be rare roast beef subs (mmmmm...). The lady at our local sub shop knows me well enough to know that when I order three HUGE roast beef subs my wife is out of town and my dogs are wagging.

Obviously we will be consuming these subs in front of a TV which will be featuring one Bond girl or another. The downside is that amid the explosions, bad guys, gadgets, and girls things can get crazy / messy. That is where the plywood comes in. It's likely that Beej will have plenty to WAH WAH about when she gets home. We don't want to add to the list by getting roast beef permanently ground into the carpet do we? Fortunately, a layer of plywood covering the floor can save us. Aside from keeping wifey happy, the other benefit is that there is nothing more man-ish than chowing down on a lot of nearly raw meat, with a couple dogs, on a huge pile of plywood ("real men don't need soft carpet").

BJ is supposed to be home shortly after dinner on Saturday night. So, if we time this just right we will have hidden the plywood and moved the dog bone bowl back to its usual home before she gets here. She will never be the wiser. Unless she reads her own blog. Then I am screwed.

So, there ya have it. Man day. No frills, just my life exposed for all to see. That's what we (men) do when our other halves are gone.


...I miss my wife. :(

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Random Thoughts...

...on the beauty of nature.
This morning I went out with Griffen to jog at 6:30. The moon was still out and was in the western sky, and the sun had already risen as well. The moon has been full and bright lately, and this morning it hung in the sky wearing a unique shade of peach, while the sun glowed in magenta. It was a perfect moment. The kind of moment that made me stop my jog routine and stand in the middle of my street and stare at the moon in the west, then turn around and stare at the sun in the east and then turn around and stare into the west again. The kind of moment that makes me marvel at the concept of the earth rotating, allowing the sun and the moon to take turns showing us how beautiful, how perfectly round, and how constant they are.


...on being woken up.
I am not the most coherent person when I am talking in my sleep. Let me rephrase that. I am perfectly coherent when I am talking in my sleep, but the topic I am discussing in my sleep is completely out of sync with everything that is going on around me. For example, I once woke Todd up in the middle of the night frantic because we were going to be late and we didn’t have tickets. I also once got annoyed with him because I didn’t understand why “these shoes are news.” I don’t know where we were going that we were late for, and I don’t know why a particular pair of shoes annoyed me to the point where I speculated as to their newsworthiness. Of course, I have no recollection of those two discussions, as I was sound asleep.

September has been Todd’s month to carry the pager for work. They take turns, and he has to take it for two months out of the year. If he doesn’t answer the page within a certain amount of time the system will call his cell and our home number. At 4:30 on Tuesday morning the phone rang. I saw on the caller ID display that it was for him. He listened to the message, and came back to bed. The only rational thing I could think to say was “Is it Saturday?”


...on bad dog behavior.
I wish my dog could talk. This way I could ask him this question:

“In all the time that you’ve known me, when have I ever not gotten really mad at you for putting your snout into a pineapple upside down cake on the counter and inhaling the whole thing?”


Monday, September 24, 2007

And Now a New Deck

Well, I haven’t been able to find a field hockey league locally, which bums me out a bit. Every so often I get an itch to play and look for people who play, and haven’t been able to find anyone yet. It is a dying sport, and a lot of high schools are dumping their field hockey teams in favor of girls soccer. Maybe I could find a high school or college team that I could coach a goalie or two for.

That would be awesome! To teach a young girl how to make a 50-yard kick, how to growl and snarl at the other team’s offensive line when they are coming at her, how to get enough confidence and position herself way out of the goal cage to narrow the angle for the shot. Maybe I’ll look into it.

But instead of looking for a field hockey team this weekend, we built a deck on the side of the house. Looky looky! I have MacGuyver for a husband, and am a very lucky girl. We put some big potted plants behind on the ground behind the bench. It looks not at all like people who don't give a crap about gardening live there now.

Now, off to look for a volunteer coaching position.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Field Hockey Dreams

I used to play field hockey when I was in junior high, high school and for 2 years in college. I was a goalie, and like to think I was good at it. In seventh grade my team was not only undefeated but also un-scored upon. In high school my team went to the state tournament 3 times, 2 of which I was the only goalie for the whole season.

I remember when I agreed to be the goalie. Coach Lap, who was my coach in sixth grade, asked who wanted to be the goalie. I raised my hand, and she tossed me the gear. I went home, excited, to tell my Mom.

“Guess what? I’m the goalie!”

“What?” Mom asked. “Don’t you think that’s kind of dangerous?”

“Come on, Mom, I am covered head to toe in padding. I’ll be fine.”

I was covered head to toe in padding, but the thinnest part was on my thighs, which were always covered in bruises from taking shots against them every fall. My senior year of college was the worst, when I didn’t have adequate thigh protection. I wore my bruises proudly, as I was the bad-ass goalie.

I loved the sport when I played in high school, but actually hated my teammates and coach. My love for the sport kept me playing, but my hate for most of the girls on the team kept me sitting alone on the bus to away games without talking all that much.

My sophomore year of college I decided to play again. My freshman year I had backed out at the last minute because I was concerned with having enough time to study—I had just become a DJ on the campus radio station and I had a boyfriend too. Sophomore year I joined the team, and met some of the nicest women I’d ever met. They weren’t at all like the girls I played with in high school, who were also those mean cool girls that you hear about in high schools. My love for the sport extended to actually enjoying spending time with my teammates as well, as we partied all over campus after games. The sport was fun for me again and I wish I could find a league in Rhode Island and play again.

Ever since that first fall with I was in sixth grade, I have had dreams about playing field hockey. The dream is always the same. I am standing in the goal cage, and the ball is coming at my non-stick side—my left. In the dream I kick my left leg out to stop the ball against my shin-guard. In my bed my left leg actually kicks one frantic time, to stop the ball in my dreams. Whoever happens to be in bed with me inevitably ends up with a bruise in his shin as a result of this dream.

I had the dream the other night. I haven’t had it in a few years, because the last time I actually played was 1995. It was a beautiful dream, and I woke up smiling. Now off to scour the Internet to see if I can find a local league to play on.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Todd's Fabulous Car

Todd’s been in San Francisco all week, and I’ve been driving his fabulous car to work every day he’s been gone. His car is a 6-speed stick shift. It has a killer sound system and is way nicer than my Wrangler. When I drive his car I unconsciously keep my hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel, and to sit bolt upright and alert as I drive it—paranoid about hitting anything anywhere at any time. Not that Todd would be mad at me if I did hit something. I am sure he’d just be annoyed at the inconvenience of having to get it repaired. But it’s such a nice car I don’t want to damage it in any way.

I can hold my own when driving a stick, but I have to concentrate on it all the time. I learned how to drive a stick on my brother Walter’s truck when I still lived at home. The truck only went up to third gear, in Todd’s car I’ll occasionally forget that I can go all the way up to six. The tachometer will skyrocket; the engine will rev high which is my cue to move on to fourth, fifth and eventually sixth gears.

On Todd’s car the sixth gear is on the far right on the bottom row of the tree diagram on the ball of the shift handle. Reverse is on the very far right, on the bottom as well. When I am on the highway, driving fast and not feeling it as the car rides smooth, I get a pit in my stomach as I fear I will accidentally shift into reverse instead of sixth. It hasn’t happened yet, but I always imagine the chaos that would erupt as I unintentionally shift into reverse on the highway and all the cars behind me come crashing into the back of the car, and the cars behind them come crashing into the backs of those cars, and on it will go like an accident scene you’d see on that show Chips. Mangled car parts strewn all over the highway, broken glass, snakelike shreds of tires flying through the air as the drivers slam on the brakes to accommodate the woman who randomly threw the car into reverse at 70 miles per hour. I blink my eyes, wince, and shift into sixth and let out my breath knowing that I haven’t caused a scene worthy of Ponch and John arriving at the scene on their motorcycles to scrape my sorry body out of the crushed car.

To give you an example of how badly I drive a stick when I am not 100% vigilant, a few winters ago Todd and I went to the town pool on a Friday night. The pool is located near the ice hockey rink, where a hockey game was on. The parking lot was packed, and I was trying to find a space to park Todd’s car, while Todd was already in the pool. I backed right into a car behind me, and scratched up the back left corner of the bumper; I broke the man’s light on the front of his car and left a pile of his busted car parts on the pavement.

I couldn’t find Todd’s proof of insurance in the glove compartment, so I went into the pool to ask him. I waited for him at the side of the pool, when he surfaced I asked “Honey, where’s your insurance card?” He told me it should be in the glove compartment, and went back underwater as if I’d asked him something common like “Honey, do you have a pen?” I went back outside to check again. I am sure that as he was descending he thought to himself “Now, wait a minute, why is she asking for my insurance card?”

He asked that very question when he came out into the winter night, his hair wet from the pool and smelling of chlorine. The collar of his jacket getting damp and cold from the water dripping off his hair; he surveyed the damage and rolled his eyes at the prospect of having to repair his car. We laugh about it now, when he describes swimming on the bottom of the pool and the thought occurring to him that I had just asked him for his proof of insurance, and me scurrying out of the pool, feeling like I’d gotten away with something “He didn’t notice that I trashed his back bumper!”

Todd will be back tomorrow morning, and I have one more trip home from work in his fabulous car. This morning I think I had left half of his transmission at the intersection near work, as I tried to start at a green light while stopped on a hill. The engine revved and jerked me forward and backward as I tried to ease my feet off the clutch and the brake, so I wouldn’t roll backward into the truck behind me. The tires screeched and burned against the pavement. I looked around to make sure nobody I recognized from work was in the cars nearby, as I made the turn into the parking lot at work arriving safely once again.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

An Interview by a Strange, Dark Gypsy Girl

The gorgeous Strange Dark Gypsy girl has interviewed me. For all of you who haven't read her blog, check it out--of course after you read the interview. Her blog is funny, sexy, and beautifully written. Check it out!


Gypsy: What's the best experience you've ever had on the water?
I would have to say our first sailing vacation. It was in August 2000, and we had a 26’ Pearson Commander on Lake Champlain. We sailed the boat up to Burlington, VT on that trip, and all over the Lake for 10 days. It was on this boat that I really learned to sail, and could actually single hand the boat without any great difficulty. A few times Todd would go below and take a nap on the trip, and he’d wake up impressed that we were 1. in a different place than we were when he fell asleep, and 2. that I managed to tack the boat by myself. This particular trip was very empowering for me in that I could sail this boat by myself—it was a great confidence builder for me. Though I lost a great deal of this confidence when we bought a bigger boat, and I've been learning all over again--but so has Todd so that makes me feel better.

Gypsy: Why and when did you start playing the guitar?
I bought my first guitar when I was 14. It belonged to my cousin Chris, and I bought it off of him for $100. It was a Memphis, and was the cheesiest guitar ever. It was turquoise, and had the shape of a guitar you’d see on a Night Ranger or Winger video where a man clad in spandex plays it with his teeth. I took lessons at Music Men, a music store in my home town, and stopped taking lessons just before the part where I would have learned to play with my teeth.

The guitar looked like this, but it was turquiose. It was all the rage in 1988.

I wanted to learn to play because guitars are amazing instruments. I used to listen to my brother Kaz play things by Iron Maiden and Ozzy Ozbourne flawlessly, and though I didn’t want to learn all those crazy guitar solos, I still wanted to learn to play a few things and ultimately to write. A decade later I was doing the chick-in-the-coffee-house-with-a-guitar thing, which ended up leading to how I met Todd. I can trace meeting Todd back to buying that sexy guitar off of Cousin Chris. I ended up trading that guitar in for my black Gibson Epiphone acoustic when I was 22. Still haven’t traded in the husband, however.

Gypsy: What's your favorite song to sing and why?
I have different favorites for different reasons:

I love to play “Are You Out There” by Dar Williams, just because it’s such a rockin’ song. The lyrics are great, and I can belt out the words with abandon, and have a blast with it.

I wrote a song called “Redfern” about a story I’d seen on the news when I was in Australia. This man was found dead on the floor of his apartment, and had been lying there for 2 years. They only found him because his electric bill was exactly the same amount for 2 years, because he had 1 light and the radio on. I like this one because I put in some funky time changes that make it interesting to listen to, and because every time I sing it I am remembering this man when everyone he’d ever known had forgotten about him.

I like to play the ones I wrote for my Mom when I am feeling like I need a good cry.

And you know I love to play “Gumby” which is my iteration of “Zombie” by The Cranberries.

Gypsy: If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, money being no object,
where would you go and why?
Antarctica. Only because it’s the hardest place to get to. If someone else is footing the bill, might as well go to the place that’s the hardest to get to. Imagine the Life of Adventure entries from that trip. Spectacular.

Gypsy: What one thing do you wish you hadn't done and why?
Beej: I wish I hadn’t gotten ferrets. I had 2 ferrets, Neptune and Sylvia, and they both ended up riddled with tumors after a few years. Neptune died in 2005, at age 6 and Sylvia died in 2006 at age 6. Adrenal glad tumors are very common in ferrets, and there is evidence to suggest that the tumors are caused by the animals being spayed or neutered at an impossibly early age. If the ferrets are in the pet store on display at 6-8 weeks, that means they would have arrived in the store at 4-6 weeks old, and were quarantined for a week or two in the stock room. This means that the ferrets were fixed at age 2-4 weeks, prior to shipment to the store.

Yes, they are adorable animals, and brought Todd and I a great deal of joy. But buy buying 2 ferrets I supported a cruel industry that “fixes” animals at an age that is way too young. Vets recommend that dogs be fixed at 6 months, and I supported an organization that fixed ferrets a scant 2 weeks after birth. By buying two of them I created a demand for these animals--the likes of which do not actually exist in the wild. Domesticated ferrets are a genetically engineered animal so that the ones you see in Petco could never exist in the wild. Never again will I buy a ferret.

Thank you for the fun interview, Gypsy. Also, I think Todd has fixed the site feed atom thing if you want to check it out.

If you would like me to interview you, please let me know in my comments and I'll be happy to cook something up for you.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day Weekend Sailing and Diving Adventure

Saturday Sean and Heidi met us at the marina, and we loaded the obnoxious number of bags of food, clothing and gear onto the boat, over at least a half dozen trips from the dock to the mooring.

Around 1 we set sail for Tiverton, RI. Tiverton is a small town on the east side of Narragansett Bay, separated from Newport by the Sakonnet River. There isn’t a heck of a lot to do in Tiverton, but the moorings are cheap and it’s a relaxing spot to spend the evening with friends on the boat.

This is Tiverton, RI from the boat

The bridge we went under to get to Tiverton. At high tide we probably would not make it under this bridge with our 55' mast.

We picked up the mooring and headed ashore. We walked up to the tower in General Barton Park, and looked out over the Sakonnet River. The view from up there is gorgeous, and the graffiti on the tower is fun to read. Now we know which couples will be “2-getha 4-eva” and that is always a good thing to know.

This is the view from the tower, you can see the Mt. Hope Bridge in the background, the Sakonnet River and Portsmouth, RI.

This is Todd lounging on the dinghy on the beach in Tiverton.

We walked down the main street of town to look for the shop where a woman sold homemade salsa. The shop was replaced by a dance studio, where I suspect they dance the salsa rather than make the salsa. We decided to explore the waters around Tiverton in the dinghy, and came upon a snack shop/seafood dive on a small cove off of the river that we’ll be sure to check out the next time we’re in town.

The rest of the night was spent with beer, burgers on the grill and Sean’s homemade salsa. We went to bed early to prepare for the dive on the next day.

We woke up with the sun and Todd took Griffen for a swim. We tossed away the mooring lines and set off for Hope Island. Sean, Heidi and I went ashore with the dogs, while Todd scoped out potential dive sites with the handheld depth sounder. We donned our gear and got into the dinghy to head for the rocks on the southeast side of the island.

We’ve never been diving on this site, nor had we heard of anyone diving on this site. Todd scoped it out on the charts and carefully plotted the dive according to the tide schedule and wind direction.

It’s a maximum of 39 feet by this group of rocks. There are interesting rock formations to see underwater, and we saw huge tautog, conches and quahogs all over the bottom. Sean got my attention and got me to help him collect a few quahogs until his catch bag was too heavy to carry anymore. We swam around and explored around the rocks, until we got too tired. We all met on the surface where Heidi and I clipped ourselves into the side of the dinghy while Todd and Sean went down again to collect some more quahogs. They ended up with maybe 20-30 pounds.

Todd towed the three of us behind the dinghy back to the boat. By then the wind had picked up and made the water a bit too choppy for the second dive we’d planned on doing on a submerged tug boat on the southernmost tip of the island. We set sail for East Greenwich and called it a day.
We said goodbye to Sean and Heidi after unloading the ridiculous amount of gear that we’d brought for an overnight. Now I mourn the unofficial end of summer, and want another month to spend on the boat sailing and diving. Oh well, there’s always fall sailing and fall diving.

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