Monthly Archives: January 2008

And now for something completely different…

Instead of a Thursday Thirteen today, I am going to focus my blogging energy on something new. I am going to liveblog the Democratic debate this evening. Should be interesting, on many levels. Like, how *does* one liveblog, anyway?

So, I’ll see you tonight at 8ET (that would be 7 for me)!


Hump Day Hmmm 1-30-08

Today’s Hump Day theme is to discuss a pivotal childhood memory or event. For more takes on this topic, check out Julie at Using My Words. It would be even better if you used YOUR words and joined us!

Childhood is such a melange of memories. It’s hard to put my finger on any one time or place or event that was pivotal. And it is so intensely personal. I’ve never really put anything this personal on the blog before. I would have to say (since I’m writing this part after I wrote the post), it is the most difficult post I have written. I almost skipped today, to be honest. But that would be chicken of me. One of the most pivotal times in my younger life would have to be the time I was with my first “real” boyfriend, when I was about 16.

What made “Fred” different from the others, both before and after, was that he actually cared about what was going on inside of my head. He was interested in what I had to say, not just what I looked like. He wasn’t threatened by my intelligence or drive. He was a friend first. But, alas, it ended, as most high school things do. Even though it was a pretty mature relationship, we were not. We were still growing up, and our lives were going to be on different paths.

So why was “Fred” so important? Because this relationship set the standard for what I would look for in a spouse. After “Fred”, and I broke up, I dated. A lot. And since “Fred” had been my first boyfriend, I naively thought that all guys would be that way. I was genuinely shocked to find out that many guys felt threatened by woman with a strong personality. It surprised me that most guys would not take the time to learn about my interests the way I would learn about theirs. I was blown away by the fact that most guys did not view the relationship as a partnership. (Ok, you can stop laughing now). Frankly, I was dismayed. But I did know what I was looking for, and I wouldn’t settle.

My friends thought I was a bit crazy when I started dating Spouse. So did his actually, as I had achieved a bit of a “rep” from all of my casual dating. Except for the German part, Spouse did not fit the “profile”. That is, the exterior “profile” of what girls like me would date. The inside, though, was perfect. His mother is a total battle-axe, so a strong personality would not only be desired, but required to survive in his family. He is intensely driven to succeed, so any partner would have to match that intensity or be left behind. And he likes to talk WITH people, not TO people, so you’d better have something to say, because he is actually LISTENING. Instead of feeling threatened by my interests, he enjoys them because he knows it makes me a more complete person. And although it goes without saying, he is my bestest friend ever!

My time with “Fred” was important. It taught me to not settle in a relationship. It showed me what a relationship should be. It helped me to be open to the right person when that person finally came along. Without that experience, I’m not sure I would have been ready or recognized it for what it was. I might have just taken what was left. And I cannot imagine how different my life would be today.

An Open Letter to My LG Dishwasher

We had something once.

When you first came into my life, I was just getting over the last dishwasher. It had rusty racks that would have cost most of the price of a new dishwasher to replace. It was so loud, you could hear it upstairs in my closet. I had outgrown it and it was time to move on. But to what? I had matured as a homeowner. I was no longer that naive first time homebuyer, satisfied with builder grade appliances. I was ready for more. I needed something more.

I took my time. For while I was ready to move on, my old dishwasher still satisfied my basic needs. I did research. I asked questions. I checked up on you before I decided to commit. But commit I did, and I made you a part of my life.

Oh, how happy we were! You were so new, so eager to please! You had only one need, your insatiable thirst for Jet-Dry. But it was a minor foible, one I was more than willing to put up with so I could actually carry on a conversation in the kitchen while you did your work. You were beautiful, efficient, and oh so quiet. My love for you was strong and I felt safe in the knowledge that you would be part of my life for years to come.

And then, slowly, you began to disappoint. First it was the “drain error” you would signal at 29 minutes remaining. They, you started to do it a 59 minutes as well. And then, finally, you just stopped. Why? Was it something I did? Did I not keep you in Jet-Dry. Did I not rinse completely enough? Why did you forsake me?

I didn’t give up on you. I searched mightily for someone who could fix you, because not just anyone could attend to your special nature. But I did find him, and he came as quick as he could.

The prognosis was grim. You needed a transplant and we weren’t sure how long you would be on the waiting list. After a month – a MONTH – had passed, the surgery was performed and all seemed well. But before the repairman could even leave the neighborhood, you flashed your error code once again. The next day, the repairman returned and all was well. I felt the love again and thought our bond was stronger than ever before. We had weathered this storm and nothing would tear us apart again.

Who could have foreseen last night? You flashed your “drain error” code again at 29 minutes. Why? Why must you torment me this way?

This lack of respect for our relationship worries me. You show no regard for performing your most basic duties. How can I be certain that you aren’t leaking underneath? You are in such a central location, I tremble at the thought of the damage you could inflict upon the hardwoods in my living room. Not to mention all of that drywall.

So here I am. Faced with a difficult choice. Do I pay for another mulit-hundred dollar repair, or do I cut my losses? I bet I could recoup some of my investment on Craigslist. I could turn you into someone else’s problem. You might even end up in, horror of horrors, a rental property. And then I could take advantage of the multi-appliance discount right now at Home Despot. Perhaps even get STAINLESS!

Even so, I’m not sure I’m ready to move on. Spouse is done with you, but I’m so conflicted. I remember the good times. I remember the work I have put in for you. I’m not sure I’m ready to walk away or to admit I made a bad choice.

Oh LG, I wish I could quit you.

Yours (for now),



So Mel, how’s that Rosetta Stone thing going?

Well,I finished the first unit this morning (finally). I had to wait until I got my new OS and memory to install the program, but once I did it took me about two weeks to finish the unit. Some observations:

1. They probably use the same stock photos for all of their languages. Which would explain why my “un periodico” had Arabic text.
2. Where do they find some of these people for the pictures anyway? The photo shoots must be a hoot. Some of the situations are pretty goofy: “Ellos tienen cinco tazones verdes.”, “El nino no lleva zapatos.”, “Ella tiene un perro pequeno.” And yes, that last picture was a purse dog.
3. I’m only good for about 45 minutes before I lose focus and start musing about the pictures and have to stop.

Kidding aside, this is a fabulous program. It is an immersion program, which makes you learn a lot of things through context. No “classroom” type stuff. That’s no fun. The Rosetta Stone program is pretty enjoyable to work through and I feel like it is really starting to stick. The only thing I have to watch is not blowing off some of this early stuff. I’ve picked up just enough over the years to make that an issue. I have to concentrate, do each lesson, and not skimp. The program is pretty good about not letting that happen.

I am learning some useful “parental” questions to practice (I can’t figure out how to make the upside down question, tilde, or accent mark in HTML, so please pardon that. Maybe next time…):

Que esta haciendo el nino? What is the boy doing?
Que esta haciendo usted? What are you doing?
El nino lleva abrigo? Is the boy wearing a coat?
El nino lleva zapatos? Is the boy wearing shoes?
El nino tiene pelota de futbol? Does the boy have the soccer ball?
Que esta llevando usted? What are you wearing?
Que esta comiendo usted? What are you eating?
Que esta comiendo el gato? What is the cat eating?

One complaint I do have is with the microphone. It keeps freezing up whenever it wants a spoken response. Fortunately, I can tell it “no speech this session”, and it won’t look for the response. I consider this a minor annoyance as 1) the program gives you enough time to pronounce things when you do this, and 2) I can practice with Spouse, Dad, Mom, and whole host of other people so I’m not worried about getting things right. I’m still going to try and figure it out though.

So there ya go. I’m on my way to becoming bilingual! More updates as events warrant.

*This was from a really bad radio commercial that was on in Austin (and other places, you may have heard it, too) when I was in college. It was selling some Spanish learning program, and the two actors were going through something. Anyway, one actor says: “S-O-C-K-S: Spanish is easy!” It’s kind of a joke in our house now. The comic strip “Piranha Club” did a spoof on it, too. If you knew this, then you get a gold star. 🙂

Now You’re Cookin’ With Gas!


I saw this beauty at Home Despot on Friday. It is beautiful. That glass door? Is an OVEN. The grilling I could do on this baby…I am verklempt just thinking about it.

And today is even nice grilling weather in Austin. Clear sky…low 70’s. Just absolutely beautiful. Sigh….

But what will I get at Home Despot this week instead? THIS.


Friday Haiku 1/25/08

Greetings loyal reader! (there go the crickets again). Well, the past couple of weeks I’ve been having some sleep issues, alluded to in yesterday’s TT post. And really? I’m starting to get a little pissed off here. I just want a decent night’s sleep. So, how does Mel deal with her problems? In haiku, of course! My loss is your gain. But just in case that this does not satisfy your Hai-day needs, check out A Mommy Story.

To sleep, perchance to
Dream. But just sleep will be ok.
So tired am I.

I can’t remember
When I last I slept the whole night.
Insomnia sucks.

Vicious cycle now.
Drink caffeine to stay awake,
But can’t sleep at night.

Had of glass of milk.
Now I’m contemplating wine.
Maybe this will help.

Then a nice warm bath.
Followed by nice warm pj’s.
And a boring book.

Good night everyone!
Upstairs to the bed I go.
Wish me pleasant dreams.

Update: Actually slept the whole night! But it took me an hour to fall asleep. Oh well…

Thursday Thirteen, Well Lit Edition

Greetings all! Well, it’s the middle of the night and I’ve woken up again. Sigh. I usually remedy this by going downstairs, getting a glass of milk, and watching something on Discovery Home or Fox Soccer. (I don’t want to read anything as the goal here is to fall back asleep) But as I was approaching the stairs, I noticed, not for the first time mind you, that I didn’t need to turn on any lights for safety because of the glow coming from our gameroom. Being in need of some blog fodder, I went and checked it out and there are, you guessed it, THIRTEEN LEDs glowing in that room. Amazing. Here they are, moving counterclockwise:

1. Smoke Detector

2. Cable Modem on top of bookcase

3. Wireless router next to cable modem

4. Surge protector for cable modem and router

5. Television set

6. Gaming System

7. Printer/Fax/Copier

8. Speaker for kid’s computer

9. Monitor for kid’s computer

10. Kid’s computer

11. Keyboard for kid’s computer

12. Surge protector for kid’s stuff

13. My laptop, plugged in for charging.

I’m just kind of boggled here. And yes, the waste of energy is occurring to me as I type this. I’m wondering which ones I can do anything about. I think the only ones I can really take care of are the ones related to the kid’s computer. Those are on standby as that computer is the print server in the house. But we don’t need to print in the middle of the night very often. The TV and gaming system just glow to show they are connected, and their surge protector (not listed because it is hidden from view) is pretty awkward to get to. And we can’t really turn off the modem and router. Same goes for the smoke detector. But that’s a lot of LEDs for such a small area.

So, there’s my TT for the week. What’s yours? If you want to read more, or join in, try here.