Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Welcome to Three Beautiful Things Thursday!  My little beauties this week are courtesy of my good friend YouTube...who, even though he never calls or writes, showers me with minutes/hours of entertainment whenever I feel like it.

The first is a cover of Adele's "Someone Like You" and dare I say it? ....I like it better than the original!! Shhhh...don't tell Adele! 

The second beautiful thing this week is a cover by some friends of mine.  It's a stunning rendition of "Hallelujah"...Thanks Matt & Hannah (and especially Sarah who linked this to her page on the Book of Face which gave me the opportunity to play it over and over again and again.) There's no video, just audio, but crank up the volume, close your eyes, and enjoy!

...and last, this commercial from Air France which makes me want to join the ballet and fly on Air France...and maybe take some Dramamine...

What are your three beautiful things this Thursday? 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't cry if your quadratic won't factor...the truth is the formula's faster.

Back in the day, when hair was big and shoulder pads were bigger, I underwent a form of torture.

Myself, and 26 other students were placed in a room in the sub-basement (seriously, a basement beneath the basement) of our high school to endure the rigors of Geometry for dummies.  I have no idea why our high school even had a sub-basement, unless of course, it was used as a bunker to hide oneself from hordes of zombies, which would explain the fact why many of the teachers at my high school looked liked the undead....but that's a story for another day.

Anyway, I was relegated to the dummy math class for three years running.  Each of my fellow students, looking green and sallow under the harsh sub-basement fluorescent lights, attempted to unravel the mysteries of the theorem everyday.

Our teacher, while kind (and un-dead) didn't give us any clue how to solve the basic math of the universe except to repeat herself over and over and point at the board with vehemence. Poor woman, all she received in return were 27 blank stares of students who would love to write her a poem about a theorem, or even perform an interpretive dance of the meaning of pi...or eat pie.  Either way, you get my drift.

Fast forward twenty years.  Through no genetic contribution on my part, I have brought forth two humans who can add, subtract, multiply, divide, calculate, memorize, equate, graph, and solve math problems.

Therefore, I have concluded, that I live in a house with a bunch of freaks.

Brace Face is in Jr. High...but she's taking a High School Algebra class.  Diastema is in early elementary school and is doing more advanced math than I was ever capable of calculating at any age.  

Last night, he brought home a story problem.  It went something like this:  
Jason and Bob together have 193 marbles. Bob has 47 marbles less than Jason; if Jason gives Bob 15 of them, how many more marbles does Jason have than Bob? Here's the answer.  No seriously, look at the solution, it takes up a page and I can't make heads or tails of it. However, to a sub-basement mathematician, the answer would be something like this:

Who cares who has more marbles?  Who plays marbles anymore?  Jason and Bob need to get off their duffs and go for a bike ride.  It will clear their heads and they can forget all about this marble business.

Or here's another:
Sally, Ron, Jim, and Meghan are President, VP, Treasurer, and Captain of the cheerleading squad, but not necessarily in that order. Who is what? Here's the answer.  But here's how I'd solve it:

Sally, Ron, Jim and Meghan sound like a bunch of overachievers.  I think they need to get off their duffs and go for a bike ride.  It will clear their heads and they can forget all about this totalitarian high school leadership business.  

See my logic?  Bike riding can solve most math problems.
And if you don't believe me, I'd love to do an interpretive dance for you.

P.S. Did you know that you can sing the title of this post to Evita's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"...?  Try it. 

What was your worst subject in school?

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Like to Ride My Bicycle, Until I Find My Dream...or Julie Andrews.

When riding my bike, no matter where on earth I am, I find it best to imitate Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music (you know that scene where she's riding with those naughty, but musical kids down the road in Austria?) and sing as loudly as possible.
This is the road I ride, everyday:

See those baby mountains in the distance?  That's where I'm headed.  When I reach them, I plan leaving the Nazis behind and walking over them to freedom.  I'll belt out, "CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN! FORD EVERY STREAM!  FOLLOW EVERY BYWAY, 'TIL YOU FIND YOUR DREAM!!" (Even though I wouldn't classify those hills as mountains, the effect would still be stunning, I can assure you.)

But back to the riding...the road's grade looks something like this:
However, to my butt and legs, it feels something like this:

I haven't made it to the mountains yet because, besides the Nazis, children following me wearing drapes, and the steep road, there are other perils along the way:

Apparently, dinosaurs on skateboards ride this road too.  Big, BIG dinosaurs that could eat me right up, or run me over on their skateboards...either way, I'm terrified.  

However, to the right is this vineyard:  

I suppose I could take cover should dinosaurs attack.  Unless they decide that a fruity snack would taste good with their feminist Mormon housewife...then I'd just be dinner.  

I have big aspirations of riding as fast as lightening down the super cool padded biker shorts...with those clippy shoes that well, clip onto the pedals. Over my diaper shorts, I'll have donned a traveling cloak (as soon as I can find out where to order one) and I'll look like a cross between Lance Armstrong and Julie Andrews.  My little strudels and Mountain Man will be in tow.  When we reach the other side, we'll start a singing group.

I bet the dinosaurs would buy tickets.

What do you think about while exercising?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

One of my favorite blogs is called Three Beautiful Things.  Many of you know that I'm a big, to honor it's lovely author, and to keep promoting my own awareness of the beautiful, Thursdays around the Diary are now devoted to three beautiful things...but just Thursdays, 'cause there's more stuff I want to talk about than three things.

Without further ado...Thursday's Three Beautifuls:

Richard, Bob & Daniel.

On my 3BT posts, I sometimes wax on about flowers and the sky, but this week, they are devoted to three fellows who made my week brighter and lighter...and I don't even know them all that well.

Richard is the guy that checks my groceries at the local health food market.  He's British (and therefore has a super cool accent.)  He's always polite (another plus.) And if those two things weren't cool enough, no one is ever in his line when I'm there.  Richard makes grocery shopping bearable, and (dare I say it,) beautiful?!
Here's to you, Richard!

Bob.  Life in this old house is one big, long list of chores.  When you think you may see the light at the end, don't kid yourself, that's just a fire in the oven.  Therefore, there's always a million things that need to be replaced, refinished, repainted or redone.

Bob was the Tile man that made my dreams come true this week.  He put in the new back splash that's been off the wall for 3 months.  My adoration for Bob is so extensive that he's promised to come back soon (at least that's what I think he yelled as he ran screaming from the house...) to re-tile the bathroom.

I heart you Bob.

Daniel is the guy who mows my lawn.  This is a new phenomenon at Villa Square Mountain--(dang, that name sounds stupid too!) We are chronic do-it-yourself-ers, and having someone else mow your lawn is DIY heresy in the extreme...but it has changed my life in many ways.

For a while, I felt like the guy in the Little Caesar's Pizza suit trying to get customers to come in. I'm no longer outside for people to wave and honk at on the busy corner, and now people really have to make an effort to contact me, which may explain why I now have a  stalker.

In any case, there isn't a day that goes by when Mountain Man and I don't look at each other and uttered the words, "I love Daniel."

P.S. I have to amend my Three Beautiful Things...I just read this.  My blog friend Crystal is hilarious.  If you haven't, check her out...and making me laugh out loud is definitely a beautiful thing!

What are your three four beautiful things?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Miss Manners

Like all humans, I have a few pet peeves.  Most of them have to do with lawyers and unicorns, but one that concerns us all is bad manners.  Now I realize that we all forget things from time to time, myself especially, so today's post is a gentle reminder of obvious good manners people should exercise on a regular basis--if only for the fact that it will keep me from yelling at them or running them over in my car.

1.  Call before stopping by anyone's house--especially families with small children or families who have a lot of children, or people whose children are in school all day, or people who once had small children but they grew up and went to college, or people without children and people who may not even like children.  God made man, or he evolved from a single cell organism, or probably both--in any case, man was formed and given intelligence; and the highest form of intelligence man can use is picking up the cell phone (that he insists on using in the middle of a movie) and calling before he stops by.  Seriously, call first-- if only for the fact that it gives Mountain Man time to get dressed before he answers the door.

2.  Speaking of calling people, identify yourself when you call.  Recently, I had a very confusing, but enlightening phone conversation with a complete stranger who I thought was my mother-in-law.  She sounded just like her.  While I really did want to know about my father-in-laws health, I really didn't want to know about the stranger's husband's health related issues...most of which required a trip to Planned Parenthood and a round of antibiotics.

3.  Write thank you notes for everything.  Who doesn't like to get mail??  Make someone's day and say thank you for something they've done for you or for someone else.  Think the task is impossible?  Read this.
See?  Quite possible.  Say thank you.

4.  Don't text/ talk/ drink/ chew gum/ eat/ discipline your kids/ wave at people/ gawk at strangers/ run over pedestrians while driving.  I know this may seem really obvious, but just focus on driving. Your fellow humans will thank you profusely when they are sitting with their families in the evening safe and sound.

5. Don't state the obvious, find a compliment instead.  There is never a need.  The fat person knows he's fat.  The new mother knows she looks tired.  The tall, gangling teenager knows he/she is tall and gangling.  The pregnant lady knows she is uncomfortable.  The newly divorced don't want to hear about your divorce--just tell them they look nice and that you are thinking of them, and move on--even if they don't look nice and you haven't thought about them since the last time you ran into them at church/ in the store/ picking up kids from school.  They need never know the truth, and they'll leave your presence feeling a little bit better.

6.  Love yourself.  Which really has less to do with good manners but is just good, common sense.  If you love yourself, you'll love others and you'll be a little more compassionate, kind and patient to all the other humans you have to share the planet with.  Loving yourself means you value yourself and by extension honor others in their mortal journey...

...even when they stop by unannounced.

What are your pet peeves?  Your best advice?

Email me at or leave your comments here...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Brain is Hot

Last night I couldn't sleep.

Nothing new here--I'm not much of a sleeper anyway unless aided by some kind of pharmaceutical.
Mountain Man chalks it up to me making my brain hot right before I got to bed thinking about whatever random things I think about before I try to sleep.

He read a recent article about how a study of not so great sleepers wore a "cool cap"--like an ice pack for your head--that helps reduce blood flow to the brain  and aided in better, longer and more peaceful sleep.

The idea behind it was that many people lay down at night, ready to sleep, and begin thinking about questions they have about life's random details, which increases blood flow to the brain, essentially making the brain too "hot" to retreat into a good night's sleep.

But what he doesn't realize is that as I lay in that nether world between sleep and waking, just before I step over the edge, some of humankind's most trivial questions are asked and even sometimes answered.

Questions like:

*What do I need to do tomorrow?  Answer: (Everything.)

*What is the point of playing a video game where robots jump through holes in the wall?  (It's a mystery.)

*If moved all the furniture in the house, could I gain a few more square feet of livable space? (No.)

*Why does the caulking in my shower keep molding?  (Rabid mold.)

*What is 'rabid' mold? (Mold that likes the rabids left over from my sons smelly feet after he's taken a bath.)

*Will I have to demolish my existing bathroom to fix the rabid mold?  (Wait! Don't answer that.)

*At hearing a barking dog--Why is that dog barking?  (Person, squirrel, or zombie.)

*Does that dog have rabid mold? (All dogs do.)

*Is it a zombie?  (Probably.)

*If the dog bites the Zombie with his rabid mold, will the zombie get rabies? (Undoubtedly.)

*If the zombie comes in here, and tries to infect me with rabies, what would I do? (Kill it.)

*What could I use in this room to kill a zombie with?  (A high heeled shoe.)

*Would Mountain Man sleep through the zombie attack?  (Yes.)

See? This is why I can't sleep.
So now Mountain Man is convinced I need a cool cap for my hot brain.  

But first...I have a few questions.

Are you a good sleeper?  A questioner?  What keeps you up at night?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A House by any name...

I live in an older neighborhood and it's not uncommon to see a National Historic Register plaque on a home with the year it was built....and I'll admit it, I'm always a little envious of the NHR plaques.  I could get one, but you have to jump through hoops that The Man established, and I'm not much into The Man. I also dislike the DMV for the same reasons, cause The Man works there, usually in the form of an angry state employee named Bertha.

Anyway, those NHR plaques make me a little green with envy--until this morning.  I walked past two houses that were named.  One was called "Maison Soleil" (Sun House) and the other was called, "Plum Cottage."

Now I've always felt that houses with names not only reeked with pretension, but are usually owned by people who are the movers and shakers of the world.  Case in point:  The White House.  Buckingham Palace.  Falling Water (designed and named by Frank Lloyd Wright,) Monticello (Thomas Jefferson,)  Turkey Hill (Martha Stewart.)

However, after seeing these houses, I've changed my mind.  Clearly these were just two little homes with loving owners who wanted to give their dwellings some character instead of a street address.

The problem is--how does one go about naming a house? Is there a tutorial? Maybe it's not much different than naming a child. However, I don't usually sound like a snob when I introduce my kids.  Conversely, when you say in a clipped accent, "Oh DO come round to Maison Soleil, won't you?"  All of the sudden life seems like an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Champagne wishes/caviar dreams, anyone?

On the other hand, why not name my house?  I have a name--a few of them in fact, not including the aliases I use while robbing banks--I call my car, "Stupid." My garage, "Le Shack."  My bathroom sink even has a name, it's called, "This Piece Of Crap."

I think my house is feeling left out.

It's been called "345" for far too long.

Instead of  "Plum Cottage" I could call it "Plum Crazy." Or "Maison de la Lune" for the mooning I always get from the small one running from the bathroom to his room after a shower.  Slightly less interesting would be, "Mountain Man Camp" or, "Villa Square Tooth."

Or maybe...I'll just call it Todd.

Does your house have a name?  Do you have suggestions  for my house?  Should I hold a house naming contest?  
The winner could get taped recording of me imitating Robin Leech, the host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  That's a cool prize, right?? 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

There is Beauty in the World

photo by N.Gibson

"Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower."
~Albert Camus