Catching Up

March 26, 2012

Yesterday I had to teach Mr. GG that classic childhood poem: “Spring has sprung, the grass is riz. I wonder where the flowers is?” He’d never heard it. Makes you wonder what kind of education they get in those fancy New England prep schools, doesn’t it?

 

Since it has been so balmy, and I am in a good mood, I got up this morning and made up an impromptu little cheer for my beloved, that involved him going to work to battle Forest Service monsters, so I could stay home and goof off. It featured the words, slay, play and YAY!. He was so moved, that he gave me THE LOOK, and said, “Yeah, you are the only one for me”. I think he meant that in a good way. At least, he said he might be home for lunch. He also quizzed me on the origins of one of my favorite expressions, “What fresh hell is this?” which I managed to work into his cheer. It is from Dorothy Parker, the mistress of snark, and I tried to explain the Algonquin Club, and New York humor in the 20s and 30s, but he equated Algonquin with Chautauqua, and I just didn’t have the energy to elucidate. I was still on my first coffee. Besides, he started telling me technical stuff and I zoned out.

 
We made an amazing discovery last week. It was Godiva Salted Caramel candy bars. This is not a discovery our physicians would laud, since these things are addictive and rich beyond belief. It was pure accident that we wandered down the candy aisle in Rite Aid and found them for 2 for $5.00. I have since learned the regular price is about $4.00 a bar. It was not an accident that Mr. GG returned to Rite Aid and purchased more this past weekend. Luckily he has been walking to work and I have been going to the pool, but I am pretty sure we would have to enter Triathlons on a weekly basis to offset the effects of Godiva bars.


The baby invited me to join Pinterest, which is addicting… it is a virtual, visual bulletin board that you “pin” things too. Anything you want. I got motivated when I found out Anne McCaffery died last November. I had no idea. I loved her books. I have them all until she let her son start writing them with her. What is up with that? Clive Cussler is doing the same thing with his son, and I’m here to tell you that the writing gene is not an automatic given for these offspring. No indeed. Anyway I had to pin an Ann McCaffery book up, and then I had to add a couple more of my faves, and then I started fooling around on the internet until I got tired, so I had to play some Spider Solitaire to transition me into bedtime, and whoops, there went another Sunday evening.

http://pinterest.com/grania1/

Actually there went another week. It felt like late May around here, and my diurnal rhythms are screwed up, but it doesn’t matter cause I have Mr. GG out working so I can putter around. Life is amazingly good. Maybe I’ll go make up another cheer.

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Taxes

March 9, 2012

I sent the tax stuff to the accountant this week. This is an epic event for me, akin to getting all the Christmas packages off in early December. OMG, it took forever to gather all the tax info. I started last year with a cool folder to hold all the charity donations, and miscellaneous stuff I thought ought to be deductible. I mean, we replaced 3 furnaces and 2 air conditioners last summer. We pretty much had to, since they no longer make parts to repair the 48 year old appliances we had. And we had to replace them all at once, because if we didn’t and one broke later, it would cost a gazillion times more to install it in the HVAC plant we call the furnace room. Unfortunately I did not file all the energy efficiency info in one place. I put it in a file of “to be filed” stuff that I put in another file, and that file got moved to a box, and so on. And so forth.

 
Same thing happened with all the medical info and prescription receipts. And all the records from Blue Cross about reimbursement. I put all that stuff in a file, too. Well, about 3 files. And then I found some prescription records in the bathroom drawer because Mr. GG forgot to give them to me.

 
Do I have to tell you what kind of resolutions I make at this time of year? If only I recorded every medical and dental visit in a little notebook, at the time of treatment, this stuff would be a breeze. Of course usually if I go to the doctor it is with a sinus infection, and I return with a fistful of antibiotics and enough mucus to produce visual effects for “The Giant Slug Who Ate Utah”, and I am in no mood to record anything.

 
Checking into all last years’ records isn’t totally awful. There is the form from the casino. On a trip to Idaho, we stopped at a reservation casino and I accidentally hit the Max Bet button instead of the Respin button and won 1900 dollars. That was really fun. I was watching all these dragons shinny up and down the screen and the geezer next to me told me I won a lot, and we got into a little spat over whether I won $190.00 (me) or $1900.00 (him). I was thrilled that he was more on top of things than I was – it took a really long time for all the dragons to wiggle their way to almost 2000 dollars. Anyway, I bought a stove and some kitchen stuff and gave a lot of the money away.

 
After that, I saved casino information (cause we always lose, that 1900 bucks was an aberration) so I have a notebook with reminders of a couple of cross country trips we made last fall. I kept records of what casinos we went to. And that reminds me I don’t ever need to go back to Amarillo, but Quapaw, Oklahoma was really pretty.

 
But that is all incidental at this point. The taxes are out of my hands. I am free, I tell you, FREE! More than a month ahead of time. Life is good.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest….

February 15, 2012

So, Mr. GG is out of town and missed Valentine’s Day.  That’s okay, cause we will have our customary meal with Coeur a la Crème when he gets back.  I was kind of dismayed that he would be gone this week, because I had a hair appointment.  I reminded him of this.

“So?”, he says.

“Well remember last time, when I got it cut in all those layers, and it was kind of red and fluffy?”

He gives me the “what are we talking about, REALLY” look.

“It was cute”, I tell him.

“Oh yeah.  The back was kind of duck’s ass-y”

“Duck sassy”, I correct, “yeah, it was really cute.  So if you are gone, and I come home all cute, and you’re not here to notice, will I be cute, or will it be like the tree that falls in the forest, and nobody hears it?”

Mr. GG could patent the patient husband look.  He’s got it down to an art.  But he isn’t much on existential questions.

“Even if I’m not here, you’ll still be cute?”.  He tries to make that a statement, but I hear the question, like he’s not exactly sure which answer is gonna make me happy.

“I will be fricking adorable.  And you won’t be here to appreciate it”.  I try to make this sound a little pouty, because really, I am just messing with him, and he knows it.

I can see him running all this through the spouse filter, the gears are turning in his brain, and then things click into place.  “Take a picture”, he says.  “Email me”. 

Well, that wasn’t really satisfying, and it reminded him to pack his camera for the trip, so then he went off to look for the battery charger, and the whole conversation got dropped.  Until he was packing his suitcase and I wandered by and said darkly, “Frickin’ adorable”.  He laughed and kept packing.

So here I am, back home with all these fluffy layers, nice, rich color, and enough product to hold everything in place for today.  By tomorrow my hair will be back to it’s normal, floppy self.  So I am gonna go take a picture.  Because I look?  Totally fricking adorable.

The Winter of My Discontent

February 3, 2012

And I am referring to more of a spiritual winter than a physical one. You know, what with Brian Williams calling this season “June-uary”, because of the clement temperatures, versus last years’ “Snowmaggedon”.

Seems like I have been mopey, snarly, surly, petulant and grumpy for months. I am all the Seven Dwarfs in one. Plus their dysfunctional redneck cousins: cranky, bitchy, pissy and touchy.

I had to pause there for a while, so I could visualize some down home midgets in a rundown cabin in Tennessee, wearing overalls with no shirt, and a can of Skoal in their bib pockets. See, that’s another thing – I have the attention span of a gnat.

I got a respiratory infection for most of December, which was so UNFAIR, cause I quit smoking. That made my whole life one big “Bah, Humbug”, as we rounded the home stretch into the holiday season. After all the marked down wrapping paper and ribbon vanished from stores, I started to perk up. I have experience with down cycles. I know what to do to snap out of it. So I embarked on some classic remedies.
I used Christmas money to buy myself frivolous presents. Check out these boots, which will probably kill me if I actually wear them out of the house:

And how about this bracelet? Made from recycled cufflinks from the 20s and 30s. In my favorite green colors?

And I made lists of things to do, things to think about, shopping lists, menus, things I’ve done, etc. Mostly cause I bought a new notebook. I am a stationary whore. I love office supply stores. I love notebooks, and paper, and colored pencils, and expensive vintage pens. And paper clips, and pushpins, and calendars. I found the Arc system at Staples, which is the down market version of Levenger’s Circa… a note taking system with removable pages and lots of options.

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And I went through scores of magazines, tearing out things that “spoke” to me, so I could get a visual sense of where I am. Turns out, I am jonesing for the colors cobalt and emerald green. In clothing, in home décor, in jewelry, in art. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

I cooked comfort foods. I made stew and chili and potato soup. I made Russian Tea Mix, a fad from the sixties which contains instant tea, powdered lemonade, Tang and cloves and cinnamon. I drank cups of this nostalgia. When that didn’t cure things, I tried Bombay Sapphire gin, and tonic. Then just straight tonic. Now I’m pretty much back to straight caffeine.

I’ve read reams of light romance on my Kindle. The kind where the TSTL heroine finds HEA (Too Stupid to Live, Happily Ever After).

I even went to the gym. And I did feel better after swimming. But it was kind of a smug, righteous better. Not the same as taking an unscheduled weekend nap with a down throw and a purring cat on your lap.

All that positive activity just made me more tired. But yesterday when I looked at the clock on the stove it said 11:11. The Baby tells me that seeing 11’s is some kind of metaphysical thing. I looked it up on the internet, and there sure is a lot of info on it – seeing 11’s is either lucky, marks you as a force for good, or lets you know big time change is a’comin. Woohoo.

I am so ready. In the meantime, I think I might join Hokey Pokey Anonymous. Check this out-

Solstice and Chantix

June 21, 2011

If I was a practicing anything, in the religious sense, I would probably be a Druid. Therefore this would be a major holiday for me. Today is the SUMMER SOLSTICE. The longest day and shortest night of the year. It crept up on me this week, and I didn’t realize it until today when I was Googling a chain of things that somehow started with the illegitimate children of Prince Albert of Monaco. (He has 2, by the way. They changed the laws a while back so neither of these 2 kids can inherit the title. Lese majeste, in the flesh). Anyway, I won’t go into the chain of events that got me from the balding, playboy Albert to the realization that it is the Solstice. It would be like trying to describe the tortuous, baroque, epic all-nighter dreams I’ve been having due to Chantix, an anti-smoking drug. Which works, by the way. I bet the Oracle of Delphi, and some of those visionary Druid priestesses took Chantix. And probably Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey gave it a whirl. It is a very tiring drug, since you spend all night watching these movies in your brain, and you wake up tired. But you don’t wake up wanting a cigarette, which is the point. I have found it is best not to remember the dreams, since they drag up sludge from the very bottom of my unconscious, and whisk it around with daily events and current relationships. Kinda like taking core samples from ocean sediments and giving them a good stir into calmer waters. Interesting results, but a killer to interpret.
I will give some thought to summer today, even though it has been rainy and cool, and the tomatoes and eggplant I put out are stunted and shivering. It sure doesn’t feel like summer. It’s more like…. April. But, as a cousin of mine is wont to say, “It is what it is”. So I guess I will go deal with today’s realities, and be glad when I actually do get some summer. Anyway, I hope your day doesn’t drag on, and that you enjoy what there is of a shorter night.

Spring in New England

April 21, 2011

Spring in New England does a box step: one step forward – a sunny day with daffodils blooming, a couple of slides – rainy, gray, drizzly weather, a step back – windy, nippy chilly, gray days. And then the cycle repeats. I am in the middle of a 3 week stint in Massachusetts, at Mr. GG’s childhood home. I have never spent much time here, so it is a revelation. New England is gorgeous. 2 lane roads lined with pines, and hardword trees coming into bud, low stone walls, towns strung like beads between winding roads bordered by timbered tracts of wetland. Mr. GG grew up in a green house with a bright yellow door. It overlooks a hill with wildflowers, brush, and plenty of places to hide, build tree houses, play pirates, and explore. There used to be a pond at the bottom of the hill, but now there are a couple of McMansions taking up space there. There is still a zipline in the trees behind the house, and I may try it out when I go down to look for the Mayapples and Jack-in-the -pulpit that grow in the lower end of the lot.

The town is full of history, and Mr. GG’s street is named for the Indian who sold the area to settlers in the 1630s. Everything is old here. The town library is built around the original octagonal building, the cemeteries are full of canted, flat tombstones with barely legible names, and the highway through town is still called the Boston Post road.

Being away from Utah in the spring is hard, but Mr. GG calls me with reports on my bulbs. Hyacinths and daffodils are blooming, the Hellebores are gorgeous, the grape hyacinth is showing a bit of color, but Valerie Finnis is not blooming yet. Valerie Finnis is the name of my favorite sky blue, late-blooming, grape hyacinth, and my family knows her well, because I go into raptures when she starts blooming, and make everyone look at her puddles of celestial blue. Any house I ever live in will have Valerie Finnis in the yard. Mr GG. also describe a purple bud with leaves like celery in one of the beds, and we finally figured out it is an anemone. That’s the kind of domestic chitchat we indulge in when we are apart. What flowers are blooming, how the cats are doing (grumpy), which governmental dragons he slew that day, and that we miss each other.

Life is pretty good. Spring, whenever and wherever it comes is very welcome.

Store d’oeurves and Personal Space

February 22, 2011

So I had to go to Costco over the weekend. And it was one of those times where a little old, hair-netted person lurked at the end of every other aisle, foisting food samples onto the swelling masses. Man, I hate that. First of all, how many people really long to taste a 5 centimeter square of chicken sausage? Or some new health drink, or a piece of frozen entree heated in a little toaster oven? Well, if you’ve been thrust into the middle of one of these episodes, you would know the answer is: everyone but me wants to graze on free tidbits stuffed in mini cupcake papers.

Which makes my Costco experience even worse than it normally is. Because all these gluttons clog up the aisles, grabbing samples, cramming their faces, cramming the faces of their kids… and the kids whine for more, or spit it out into the cart. AND YOU CAN”T GET BY THEM. You can’t proceed in a brisk fashion to pick up 5 heads of romaine or a giant container of Folgers. God help you if you want to go down the cheese aisle. That row is Clusterfuck Central.

There are entire families crowded around the freezer section. There are elderly couples moving at the speed of a glacier in front of the Metamucil display. Morbidly obese people are leaning on their carts -I swear, they bend at a 90 degree angle across the handle and support themselves on the sides of the cart – as they clutch at creamsicle bites.

All these people are in my way. And they don’t care. They don’t even notice. They drive down the wrong side of the aisle, or park diagonally across the middle, while they run back to fetch another bite o’ brie. Some of them are yapping on cell phones and are not paying any attention to their squalling children who are playing tag over by the plastic swing sets. I hate them all.

I was raised by a genteel mother. I do not block aisles. I do not leave my cart on one side of the aisle and spend eons considering the merits of the products on the other side of the aisle, thus bringing all cart traffic to a standstill. I let other people go in front of me, even if I have the right of way. I help people in motorized scooter carts reach stuff from the top shelves. I answer questions from others who want to know what to do with edamame, or whether I think that bleu cheese is any good. What!? Do I look like an expert on cheese mold? Or more likely (this is, in fact, UTAH), I probably look literate, and capable of reading the expiration date on the carton.

Though I consider myself a decent human being (most days, anyway), I am a little sensitive about my personal space. I don’t like people in it. I don’t want to deal with their cell phones, kids or BO up close and personal. I smile at the people doling out the samples as I refuse them, but it is all I can do not to snarl at the greed-faces who force me to retrace my steps and come back up another aisle to get to the tomatoes. I just want you to know all this, so if we ever meet up in a Big Box store, you will keep your distance, curtail lengthy greetings, and keep your damn cart out of my way. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Breaking Good

February 18, 2011

I have always loved dishes… Japanese lustreware, Dansk midcentury modern stoneware, Fiesta ware, bowls with bluebirds, 1930s florals with decals. Years ago, Mr. GG gave me some heavy oval ceramic plates that had been used on a German train. I still use those, especially for summer meals involving steak and corn on the cob. Way back in the 1970s, I fell in love with some blue and white mugs I found in a hardware store in Danville, Illinois. I gave a pair to my Mom and before you know it, we were both collecting the Blue Danube pattern. My sister bought a lot of dishes from someone, and gave me bowls, and demitasse cups and coffee sets for birthdays and Christmases for several years. Mr. GG earned husband points for decades by bidding on a huge collection of plates and serving pieces at an auction in Idaho …. he had gone to buy lapidary equipment, but got into a bidding war with a bunch of old ladies and scored a massive pile of Blue Danube – some of it chipped and broken. So being Mr. GG, he made me jewelry out of some of the fragments. I have a lovely Blue Danube ring, set in a silver bezel.

When Mom died, I inherited her collection of Blue Danube, thus increasing my own to the point where I could probably have a state dinner (you know, if I had the table space, and if I knew enough diplomats. And if I liked them enough to cook for them). Anyway, after I unpacked her dishes, I took a look at all the broken stuff in Mr. GG’s shop, and decided to make something out of it to remind me of Mom. So I got some books from the library, and some equipment frome the home store, and made myself a mosaic topped table. I broke a lot of the chipped china, cemented it to a wood disk, learned to make and use grout, and attached the top to 4 legs I scored from the dumpster at a Museum I was working at, at that time. It turned out pretty well. I thought maybe my sisters and sister-in law would like a table top (I still had LOTS of broken shards), so I made the offer, and they all accepted. Oh geez, I had a new hobby.
Sometimes people ask me what I DO, and I seem to keep busy, without ever showing any huge accomplishments, but this is a concrete result of my activities, so I am showing you that occasionally, I get things done.

This is the original table… but then I started on sister 1. Here is her table.

I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out, there were sharp edges poking out, so I made her a smaller table top.

My sister-in-law loves lighthouses, and I found a lighthouse plate at the thrift store, so I used that to inspire her table.

My other sister is a Pisces, and likes watery stuff, so I thought of crinoid fossils and sea life when I made her table. By now I was spending a lot of time at the thrift store buying dishes to supplement my stock.

Okay. I couldn’t forget the Baby, who needed furniture. I got Mr. GG to grind some dishes into medallions to make her cheery, hipster table.

Since I still had boxes full of dishes, I made myself a top to a stoneware crock of my Mom’s. I use it to hide all the old magazines I stored inside the crock.

I took a break (so to speak), and stuffed all my tile cutting tools, and nippers and dishes in the basement. But one of my friends had a birthday coming up. Okay. Back to the thrift store. She likes florals a lot. Here is her table.

My sister-in-law in Florida wanted one, and she likes orange and yellow. It took me a while, but I finally figured out she needed some tropical looking organic motif. And it cried out for Fiesta Ware. Back to breaking dishes on the patio. But it turned out okay.

Currently my supplies are back in my basement craft room. But if I ever get inspired again, I could make some more mosaic stuff. It is a labor of love, that’s for sure, so I need to have a specific person in mind to make these things. Anyway, sometimes I do stuff besides read books. Here is the proof.

Sanity. A choice?

February 11, 2011

Yesterday I drove 40 some miles to get the oil changed in my Outback. This is not as stupid as it sounds – my car is not a year old yet, and I am still doing the warranty thing. There is a Subaru dealer in this town, but I went there once, years ago, right after we moved here, to have them fix a seatbelt and change the oil. After paying an arm and most of a leg, I tried to drive out of the service department and my steering was gone. Just gone. I barely got the wheel muscled around enough to get back to the parts department where they discovered that someone had removed and not replaced, a cotter pin. I was not a happy camper. I think maybe I raised a fist and said something like, “As God is mah witness, Ah will never bring mah car heah again”. Well, I meant to say that. I probably just gave ole Benny the stinkeye, and hmmphed.

So. Driving to Salt Lake to get my oil changed also provided me with an opportunity to check out the Nordstorm Rack. Where I found a $120.00 Natori black lace and sheer night gown for $12.73. Seriously hot. Flattering. And on Major Sale. Does it get any better than that? I think not.

Except then I spent a lovely time in one of America’s most gorgeous libraries, getting a new supply of stuff to read. I found a reproduction of Sears Christmas WishBooks from the 1950s and 1960s with girl’s toys. Wow. I had forgotten I had a plastic bathinette for the baby doll who wet her diapers (thinking back, I wonder why that was such a desirable toy?). You had to drain the water into a plastic tube into a pail or pan. I also had a toy washing machine that really worked, and a toy oven that really baked. I remember making my Dad a tiny little round cake with the optional Aunt Jemima cake mix, and covering it with a sickly blue frosting. Later the oven was used in our clubhouse to prepare some cuisine that involved earthworms. Eeew. Not going there. The WishBooks had lots of Dale Evans and Roy Rodgers costumes for kids all through the 1950s. With holsters! I used to LOVE cap guns. You could buy rolls of caps at Woolworths or Kresge’s downtown. My brother and I found out you could crank out a lot more explosions by unwinding a foot or so and pounding the caps with a hammer. Oh, those halcyon days of yore. I found out the doll crib and carriage I had as a munchkin cost less than 3 bucks each. And you could get a whole Blue Willow tea set for $1.89. And teenagers in the 60s could buy tapes for their really cool tape players (with a selection of Herb Alpert, the Beatles, Dean Martin and Herman’s Hermits), for their parties.

While perusing the stacks I got another round of books on clutter control. I am trying to motivate myself into purging stuff this year, by reading every book I can on the subject. By now, I could probably teach a graduate course on the reasons we hold on to things, and the emotional, physical and financial cost of clinging to stuff. I could make any number of reasonable suggestions for dealing with clutter of any ilk. However I can’t seem to get started on actually DOING it. So you know what I’m gonna do next, don’t ya? (Please don’t imagine I am going to get off my butt and just wade in….no, no, not Moi). I will go back to the library next week and get some books on motivation. Bwaaahahahaha.

I also got some books on underwear – sewing lingerie, selecting lingerie, collecting lingerie, and a seriously gorgeous coffee table book from the Victoria and Albert Museum with some of the choicest pieces in their collections. It made me want to go to the fabric store and buy silky and slinky material to smock and pintuck, and to master French seams. It made me wonder where I put all my John Kloss nightgowns from the 70s. I thought about deconstructing my favorite DKNY steel gray knit gown, since it is too ratty to wear, but I love it…. I could find some flimsy green stretch knit and see about reproducing it…. I can waste a lot of time on pursuits like these.

I get on these kicks, and read everything I can get my hands on about something, and then I move on. Consequently I know a lot about a bunch of esoteric subjects, which you think would make me a killer Scrabble player, but, no, I have no patience for games.

However, I usually pick up twenty of so books from the library every trip, and I tend to start reading some fiction right away, so I get distracted, and avoid the fabric store, which is good, because then I would have a bunch of material for yet another project clogging my house, which would depress me, and then I would have to go get another book on organizing, depression, or life coaching, and there I am right back where we started.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. I figure I am still sane, cause I don’t expect different results. I just like thinking about different results, and I do have a very rich fantasy life. So all is well, and I still have lots of books to read this weekend. Life is good.

Despots, Linguistics and Richard Engel

February 3, 2011

So, yesterday Mr. GG and I are on the return leg of a trip to Boise, and he’s driving, and I am in the passenger seat, fiddling with the toggle switch that provides me with heated seating. Mr. GG, true to his nature, is in the throes of a soliloquy on national laws about Historic Preservation, and somewhere between Section 106 and Section 110, my eyes drift closed and I start mulling over the situation in Egypt.

My thoughts are not deep – I am considering the sound of Hosni Mubarak’s name. I break it up into syllables and realize you could pronounce it “Hose-Knee Moo-Bark”. Huh. An article of clothing that covers a limb, and the noise two animals make. I try making up other names for tyrants and dictators based on this formula. How about “Sock-Foot Neigh-meow”? You’d have to spell it something like Sogfut NyayMiao. Or maybe “Sleeve-Arm Baa-Quack”? That might be an Irish-Muslim guy – Slievarm Bakwaaq.

This train of though gets derailed into the linguistics course Mr. GG took in grad school, especially the Shoshoni language part of it. I learned a couple of phrases in Shoshoni at that time, much like I learned where the zygomatic arch is, when he took paleo-osteology (FYI, it’s that protruding cheekbone where most cats love being scritched).

That reminds me that I know a few phrases in Greek, some fragments of Irish-Gaelic from a “Learn to Speak Gaelic” 33 rpm vinyl record I had 30 years ago, and my long forgotten courses in Spanish and French. The only time I successfully communicated in a foreign tongue on foreign soil, I was 19, in Brussels, at a train station, panicked at the thought of missing our train to the English channel, because the guy at the baggage check wouldn’t give us our suitcases and knapsacks. In a desperate spurt of irritation, adrenaline and French, I told the guy to give us our luggage right now, or we would miss our train. It was grammatically perfect, and apparently understandable, because he forked over the bags, and we got where we were going.

Mr. GG is still droning on, even though I have ceased making encouraging murmurs, and I go back to thinking about Egypt and Richard Engel. Man, that guy gets around. How does he always get that little curl on his forehead? Do you suppose he carries hair product in one of the pockets on his flack jackets? And right before they start filming, he spritzes that wayward curl to a shellacked perfect comma? Richard Engel is this decades’ Wolf Blitzer. I notice he has been losing some objectivity in Cairo, maybe because (as they keep telling us) he lived there for 4 years. Last night he called the pro-Mubarak demonstrators “goon squads”. Actually, I appreciated that, since the other channels were tip-toeing around the subject – with a lot of “alleged Mubarak police force”, “unemployed young men” (i.e., thugs), and speculations like “my goodness, how did they get those screened t-shirts with Mubarak’s photo, and afford the bus caravans that delivered them to the square?” Huh, at least Richard is showing some genuine emotion tonight, instead of his usual calculated indignation. I wonder if he has a girlfriend. Maybe she is the one who buys him hair product. Nah, he probably has a girl in every port… I mean outpost of civilization. They are probably beautiful native undercover agents who help him find picturesque natives to interview. Somewhere in my musings about Richard, his hair, and his social life, I fall asleep, until Mr. GG wakes me up by dramatically swerving around a monster truck on Interstate 84. It is my turn to drive anyway, so I have some coffee and hit the cruise control. Now it is Mr. GG’s turn to fall asleep, and I segue into alertness, aware that I really appreciate heated seats, my bestie sent us home with an entire New York cheese-basil pizza, and we will make it home in time to give Fuzzbutt her thyroid meds and Prozac. My sense of wellbeing rockets. God Bless America.