Thursday, June 25, 2009

Drama, Drama, everywhere, and not a dram to drink!

Ever notice that? It all hits at once. You're pretty much guaranteed to get drama from all quarters if you start getting it from one spot.

And it is ALWAYS painful on some level.

I have spent much of my time since March of this year with my stomach tied in knots over one kind of drama or another. I've lost friends, mostly inadvertently and through the actions of others which resulted in my appearing to disappear off the face of the earth with no forwarding address, but also in a few instances through their own actions.

It is ALWAYS painful. And I miss them all.

But it could be worse. At least, so far as I know, I am not the butt of some of the evil commentary that has been brought to my attention. I am a lioness where my friends are concerned, and I do not like it when they do not get along. I have one set of friends who are caught up in something that they see as very very real, and that I suspect is not as real as all that. I have other friends who are quite directly being hurt by this. And the former has walked away. This hurts. But frankly, it has saved me the trouble of walking away myself, or worse, making a statement hurtful to those who are already in so much obvious pain.

So, dear reader, hug your friends. And if they're hurting, hug them closer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Riddle Me This

Why is Tom Jones in my head?


Every time I stop moving, the song jumps into my head. And trust me, that is unusual. This is not something that would normally be in my head.

Something from Wagner's Siegfried? Sure.

NIN? Why not.

A little New Order? Could be.

Perhaps some Gregorian Chant as penned by St. Thomas Aquinas? Absolutely (especially in Choir season).

But Tom Jones? What's up with that?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bad Drivers Abound

I just don't get it. Perhaps you have seen the same thing around you?

It's inevitable. Here comes the BIG EXPENSIVE CAR, driving above the speed limit, and more often than not, above the speed of traffic. Usually, they're weaving in and out very quickly, and NEVER do I see these people use a turn signal.

I just don't get it. WHY oh why would you buy a big expensive car like that, and not spend the extra for the upgrade to include turn signals?

And so far as I can tell, they're never wearing their seat belts either.

(N.B. I have been ticketed for failure to use a turn signal while changing lanes. I still insist that I did use my signal, but apparently the police officer always wins. I can assure you, it's NOT a small ticket, and probably increases in dollar amount as speeds and traffic increase.)

Seriously, though. This is offensive driving. It's dangerous. It can lead to accidents, whether the driver in question is involved or not. Fasten that seat belt, and for cryin' out loud, USE YOUR DIRECTIONALS!!!


We now return you to your regularly scheduled eccentricity.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Subjective Statements as Fact

As I'm sure all of us do, I get a number of e-mail newsletters and advertisements from various merchants and manufacturers whose products I appreciate, purchase, and use. I generally scan the subject lines and more often than not, just send them straight to the trash. The subject line on one of them today caught my eye and got me thinking, though. Well, one phrase did. It said:


And I thought to myself, "Who says it's super cute? Who makes that decision?"

Maybe it really is super cute, but I've lost count of the times someone has told me some item — whether it be a piece of clothing or a set of dishes or a project in a craft magazine or someone's pet — is super cute, and I look at it and wonder what on earth they're smoking. ("Wow, man! Look at all the pretty colors, man!")

In answer to your question, no, I have not yet gone to look at said blanket. I will probably get to that later tonight. But tell me, do you always agree with such designations, or do you often think that the marketing team in question needs to lay off the sauce?

Inquiring minds want to know....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where oh where can they be?

My friend NBBBM and I are doing a mini-KAL. It's mini for two reasons: the project is fairly small (this hat), and it's only the two of us. We have the same yarn (this color, in Galenas Merino Worsted), and the hats, while being in many ways the same, are coming out different from each other.

My problem: I can not find my knitting. I had it last night, while I was sitting up with the dog. I was watching Capote and knitting while the dog gnawed happily on a bone. This morning, it is not where I thought I'd put it. I looked. And I looked where I normally put it, and it wasn't there either. Now, since I had it last night, I know it's in the house somewhere. But where?

This would bother me less but for the fact that I can not find another project bag containing a different hat, this one crocheted. I had it, I went to move it, and now I can not locate it. This is extremely perplexing.

Has anyone seen my project bags?


Maybe the cat took them....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking for a quick fix

How do you make it all better? Better yet, how do you do it fast with a minimum of effort?

This is the question everyone asks at some time, about almost anything. The leaking faucet. The hole the dog dug in the front yard. The burned out light bulb. The kid with the problem (whether it be math, vision, emotional, any problem may be inserted).

Even I, the Neighborhood Eccentric, ask that question about things.

The problem is, most things that can be fixed fast with little effort aren't really fixed. These are temporary patches that deal with something but not with the REAL problem. We tend to throw pills at things and make them numb rather than fix what's broken, and we often try to fix things that AREN'T broken because that can't possibly be right.

So, dear reader, here's your challenge: rather than applying a patch to something, FIX IT. We have all gotten so used to buying things for cheap that aren't worth repairing that we do it with our own lives too.

I'm taking up the challenge. Are you up for it?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Economics: Want vs. Reality

WANT: Time to knit and crochet and sew and embroider ALL the things I want to do. And still be able to garden, walk the dog, pay my bills, do laundry, eat, and keep a roof over my head.

I suppose it means I'd like to be able to support myself with the crafting stuff.

REALITY: Ain't gonna happen. I'm not fast enough, and let's face it, I'm a touch too eccentric for most people.

But I can dream, can't I?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Contracts, Verbal and Written

As a responsible dog owner, I feel that training is critical, regardless of the dog breed. It becomes even more critical when you have a dog like mine, who is a high-energy large breed with additional issues. I started with a training program locally, but his issues were bigger than both me and the trainers. Distraught, I reached out to someone I trusted and respected, a top-notch dog trainer who is well-known internationally. He agreed to work with me via phone and internet, explained what his hourly rate was, and we began.

What was not made clear to me during a rather hysterical phone conversation I had with him was that the entire fee would be charged up front. I was charged what turned out to be about 17% of my salary in advance. What was FURTHER not made clear to me was that if I chose to cancel the contract, I had to do so within 72 hours.

He is a wonderful dog trainer and a great person, and I still love him dearly and respect him and his methods. However, I am not a wonderful dog trainer (people tell me I'm a great person though I don't always believe them), and so in January (some 4 months after the telephone conversation that kicked off this relationship), I sent an e-mail indicating that I needed more help than could be provided long-distance (i.e., I need someone here to hold the leash in some cases), listing what I thought was a reasonable detail of what had been used, and asking for a refund of about half of what had been paid out.

Today, I find out (via my credit card company, with whom I filed two disputes on this matter) that I had signed a verbal contract, and that within that contract was the clause stating that contracts must be canceled within three days or no monies would be refunded.

My lesson for you in this case, dear reader, is this: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure you read a printed copy of any contract you sign, if possible before you sign it. Remember, a verbal contract is every bit as binding as a written one, and I did indeed sign a verbal contract over the phone last August. I do not recall receiving a printed copy of this contract, but I need to double check my papers and confirm that. Had I done so, I would not have wasted the past five months trying to get a refund. This is the one time in my life I have not obsessively read every clause in a contract before signing, and true to form, it is the one time I regret not having done so.

Caveat emptor, dear reader! Caveat emptor!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Puppy Love

I love my doggie.

He was a Rescue Pup, which, while wonderful, has its own set of challenges built in. He came home with me when he was 8 weeks old, complete with cute face and chunky tummy. He's now two weeks past his first birthday, FULL of energy, all boy, and very much not lone wolf material. His mother was adopted out when he was only 4 weeks old, so there are still some separation challenges, plus he still tends to nom on my arm as an expression of affection. It's much better than it was, but the jaws now exert 10,000 PSI of pressure, so it can be a little touchy. And as yet, his brother is not on board with his existence, though he has decided that there's nothing he can do to make the interloper go away. Again, improvement.

Lately, Pup Pup has been suffering from some separation anxiety. We've had way too much going on, so I've been either not coming home after work, or going out almost immediately. What this means is that, while he goes to bed fairly easily as always, he starts crying about every 45 minutes through the night. Sometimes he quiets down after a few minutes, but last night, he did not, and I finally went down to check on him.

He first gets up on my lap with his bone and gnaws for a while, then, when I pull up an afghan to go to sleep, he gets on the chair, gives me a "good night" kiss on the nose (or more appropriately, the whole face, he is a rather large dog), then curls up himself and goes to sleep.

At 5:00 this morning, I heard barking. I open my eyes to see him, still sound asleep, curled up in the chair with his nose firmly planted into the cushion, barking through closed lips and twitching his paws. Not sure what he was chasing in his dreams, but I think it didn't stand a chance.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why oh why can't I?

The question was beautifully sung by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. "If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow why oh why can't I??"

Everyone has a "why oh why can't I" question. It changes as we grow up, and sometimes changes day-to-day. Most of them are rhetorical, but occasionally there is one that is a genuine question to which you really want an answer. Among mine over time:

  1. Why oh why can't I have a pony?
  2. Why oh why can't I actually kick a kick ball?
  3. Why oh why can't I be on the dance team?
  4. Why oh why can't I understand physics?
  5. Why oh why can't I find a suitable job?
  6. Why oh why can't I have a pygmy goat?
  7. Why oh why can't I get a project finished to enter in the County Fair competition?
  8. Why oh why can't I afford the one I want? (This could be any number of things.)
  9. Why oh why can't I pet the bunnies living in the back yard?
  10. Why oh why can't I swim in that?
So, dear reader, my question to you. What is your current WOWCI question? And is it rhetorical, or do you really need to get an answer?

Inquiring minds want to know.