Saturday, June 28, 2008

Powdering My Nose

I'd like to take you on a little journey with me. We're going to the land of euphemisms, which by the way is a mini-tribute to one of my heroes, George Carlin. He enhanced my love of language in all its glory and its failings.

These euphemisms are probably only exceeded by the ones for death. We're visiting the ladies room, the W.C., the loo, the restroom, going to powder our noses, the little girl's (or insert occupation) room, to spend a penny, Damas/Sheilas/Chicks (depending on the theme of your restaurant), or the bathroom although it holds no bath. Frankly, my dear, we're headed for the public toilet. Even that's fun, because let's face it, this is not something you do for the public's entertainment, but it merely indicates that anyone may void themselves there IF they are the right sex to pass through the door.

Okay, yes, I've entered a men's room. I was desperate, it was a one-person facility, and you all won't tell on me, right? I've also, in my distant youth which seems more distant daily - but then it would, wouldn't it? - cleaned a men's room, and exercise in humility THAT is. BTW, much of what they do is open to the male public, but stern macho rules dictate thou shalt not peek at another's pecker. More euphemisms.

But our point today is a visit to the women's side of things, more precisely, the women's side of things once it is built. I open to your perusal my theory that there is not a women's toilet facility that I have been in in multiple countries that was designed by a woman.

"Oh, surely you jest!" I hear you cry. I do not jest, and don't call me Shirley. (rim shot) Let's pay our little visit and see if you don't agree.

First, you push through a door you need to be able to bench press 95 lbs. to move, just to be slapped in the face with blistering heat or freezing cold, depending on the time of year. If it's summer, there goes your makeup...and men wonder what takes us so long. If winter, well, there are parts of my body that I must expose that are deeply resentful of me baring them to the elements. You rush into a stall, praying the former occupant has been tidy (okay, not a man's fault, but geez, ladies! I'm just sayin'!) and turn to close and hopefully lock the door.

To what end, I know not. The stall door has a huge credibility gap between it and the divider walls. Anyone wishing to can see right in. And then there's the huge under-the-door space. God forbid you didn't wear your best underwear, because if you really need to drop 'em to do what you need to do, everyone will be noticing you wore your holier-than-Sunday drawers.

You complete your action(s), and reach for the paper. Assuming there is some, it's usually locked behind the secondary section of the dispenser, and moving those is akin to Sisyphus pushing his rock up a keeps snapping back. You finally get a few flimsy squares, and try to adjust your position to use it. BAM! Your knees slam into a) the sanitary disposal unit, b) the paper dispenser or c) both. What idiot thinks it's a good idea to place these right at seat level about a foot in front of your throne? Only a man who's never dealt with those sharp metal corners gashing his beefy thighs, that's who.

Wincing and biting back unladylike comments in case children are present, you go to wash your hands. The soap dispensers are mounted at the back of the sink, which cuts into your pelvis or stomach as you reach heroically for the skin-drying crud they provide. You look down to find that you would appear to have had an accident before reaching the toilet, because the sink is, of course, wet everywhere. You wash your hands like mother taught you, and look for the towels/hot air. They're almost always several steps away, leaving you dripping on the tile floor for others to break their necks. You reach them, and realize you have to reach UP to use them. Water runs down your arms inside your sleeves. So much for drying off!

You attempt to adjust your clothing and makeup in the appalling fluorescent overhead lighting that makes you look like you just joined Dracula's harem, and give it up as a lost cause. Turning, you realize that the same stupidly designed door stinks for leaving, too. You just washed your hands, and now you have to grasp a door handle and yank on it, knowing full well that it's crawling with germs.

I dream about a restroom designed by a could really rest there. Several cozy chairs in front of a softly lit makeup mirror. Stalls with doors that show no more than your shoes, and lock securely. Sanitary disposal units behind the seat level. Soap dispensers mounted at the front of the no-splash sinks and towels/dryers below elbow level. Proper climate controls, and air freshening.

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I am willing to bet - I'm not the only one.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Code of Conduct

My new skew on living...

"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...'Oh shit...she's awake!!' "

I shall ignore all those who say this is nothing new.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sweet 'n Sour

I'm a pretty firm believer that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Eastern Philosophy calls it yin and yang. So I'm never surprised when something good is balanced by what Stephen King refers to as a "swift rush of sh*t to the heart."

The sweet - I told you about the lovely prayer shawl my friend and recent house guest, Kristina, made as a gift for me. She knit it as she knew my father-in-law was passing, planning to bring it as a hostess gift. For those of you who knit, it's Alix's Prayer shawl, with Kristina's modification of the edging. I thought you should see such a wonderful gift, so I turned to a guy I know who slings a pretty mean camera. First, the full shawl.

Then the detail at the tip where you can see some beading. Isn't it elegant?

I feel very lucky to have such a generous friend.

Then the sour - we do a lot of sports team work. One of the items we offer are really nice trading cards. These look very much like the real thing you get for pro players. A bit pricey, but they cost us a good bit more than some other things we carry.

So today we get a voice mail from a man complaining that his son's cards only have the kid's name and coach name, no height, etc. Our receptionist gets the message, and being a resourceful woman, she pulls the order envelope before bringing it all to me. Lo and behold, the dad hadn't filled out the section of the form that tells us what to put on the trading cards. We always try to call, but if we don't get an answer, either immediately or to a message we leave, well, we have to get the order off.

He had left two numbers, and I called the first, which was also on the envelope. I got THE WIFE. I tell her, very simply, I'm sorry, but they didn't get other stuff on their cards, because they didn't provide that information. She instantly got belligerent with me, demanding replacements. Um, no...the order form clearly states that they are responsible for filling it out, and we're not at fault here.

Now, understand, I am the bulldog in the business. The DH very sweetly tells me not to deal with upset clients. He knows I can deal with anyone being reasonable, but that I have this very odd expectation that people will behave logically and courteously. When they don't, they can pretty much count on not getting around me. They just won't. I own terriers for a reason.

Doofette tells me that if I won't give her replacements, she wants a refund. Nope, not our error, we're not refunding money on a personalized product...and let's face it, if it's a picture, it has to be a personalized item, doesn't it? Then she tells me we didn't call. We did, I inform her, perhaps having children in the house, one of them got the message? She quickly called me a liar in all but the word. She tells me they've bought pictures from us for years, and I should therefore show more courtesy and have called them.

Oh, really? You've been filling this same form out for years and you still #*($^# it up? Why not just tell me your IQ is 60???? and lady, we DID call. She says her cards had a misspelling last year, and we replaced those. Of course we did, I said, it was our error. This year it is their error, so who do they think should be responsible for that?

Now she's not even letting me get a full sentence out, and boy, is she yelling. If we did call, says she, we should have kept trying. I point out that with literally thousands of orders, we cannot keep calling day after day to try to pin a parent down who didn't fill it out correctly. I also mention some parents don't fill it out because they either don't know, or don't wish to list things like height and weight. "I can't believe that!" she says, implying yet again that I'm lying. Naturally, this makes me ever so much more willing to roll over and play dead for her. Not. She follows this up with telling me I should have pulled his brother's envelope to get more info, in case it was filled in (she apparently doesn't know!). I point out that with thousands of kids, I have no way of knowing if the kid has a sibling, and that his stats wouldn't be the same anyway. Duh.

Of course, I know she's really mad at the husband, who filled this out, and thinks his mistake should be subsidized by us. Oddly enough, I don't agree. Buy a clue. They're on sale at Wally World. Doofette tells me the cards are way more expensive than anyone else charges. Possibly so...they're also nicer. If she felt they were too expensive, I comment, I'm surprised she ordered them.

Unable to answer that, she then threatens to go to the boards of every league we're on and badmouth us, informing me that she "has a lot of pull." So do we, I respond, given that we donate back a substantial portion of our earnings from the league to them as a fundraiser! She orders me to call her husband's cell phone, "As his message told you to to begin with." No, he gave us TWO numbers and I called the first one he listed. If he wants to talk to me, he may call me, I tell her, as we're obviously getting nowhere and I have work to do. She says the envelope probably was filled out, and I tell her she is welcome to come in and take a look. I then politely say goodbye, and hang up.

There's a full moon tomorrow night. I say no fair on her getting a head start.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Barrel of Crafters

The first annual Rustic Tarts & Old Farts Hoot 'n Holler took place this Sunday, and if I do say so myself as hostess, it was a blast. Our friend Kristina (BeadNTat in the blog list) came up Wednesday from East TN, and stayed till today. She brought me a stunning shawl in my favorite purple that she had knit and beaded for me. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Friday we celebrated DH's dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, then Saturday, the crafting fun began.

Saturday was World Wide Knit In Public day. Several people were coming in early for RT&OF, and we met up at Cracker Barrel for dinner. Both before and after the meal, we sat in the rockers out front and knit away, much to the interest of passers-by. We chatted until we were about out of light, and went our separate ways until the next afternoon.

Sunday morning brought the advent of one of my favorite people, Elaine, and her wonderful DH, Ken. Elaine had generously brought me some of her angora/wool blend rovings...absolutely scrumptious! Since I was taking my Louet Victoria to the Hoot 'n Holler, I packed the roving up to go with us. We piled stuff into the cars and headed to the studio to set up.

Our front porch is very shady, but we set up a canopy over it all to make sure people would stay comfortable, and added a fan to the mix. We lucked out with a gorgeous day and low humidity. Folks, food and fiberous things began arriving. Elaine and I were spinning, others were knitting, and Betsy showed us some sprang and naalbinding; wish I'd had more time to watch! The incomparable MMario was there, showing us several of his designed shawls. The Artemis he designed at my nag -um, gentle suggestion - is simply glorious. I actually gasped when I unfurled it. Many Orkney Pi shawls were there, and Eugenia (who brought her darling friend Jane) had one of her own designs that was so comfy looking. Mary, who brought her DH Martin, had just finished MMario's QAL that is famous across the Web. The lovely work of Cathy and Noreen made the rounds and I appreciated just how far I have yet to go in knitting.

And then Pat arrived, fresh from TNNA and with sugar-free chocolate, and let us swarm all over her van like she was the Queen Bee and it was our new hive. :-) I walked away with some semi-clear clogs to show off hand-knit socks, four balls of Rowan Tapestry (any recommendations for a pattern?) and some Trekking and Noro sock yarns. Oh, the yummy-ness! I am pretty sure I heard the unmistakable sounds of yarngasms, and I tried not to look too closely. Knitter's etiquette, doncha know.

Speaking of yummy, we had quite a feast for the potluck too. I won't be ashamed to admit that I had seconds of Mary's Citrus Salsa, and Betsy's Banana Trifle. I even got to do a wee bit of singing with MMario, and I was in my element. Okay, I probably don't match the skills of those he's accustomed to singing with, but I had fun.

In fact, I think we all did. What was supposed to be a 1-6 event lasted to almost 9, and I was delighted to have it so. This will be an annual event, but so as not to collide with Father's Day (what day isn't???), it will be the first Sunday in June from now on.

Now here is where I should insert photos...took place at a photo studio, with professionals in attendence - and we didn't take a single shot. Not one. Zip. Too busy playing host, I guess. Yeah, dat's it.

I'm so embarrassed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dancing With Your Eyes Closed

A dear friend, Witt, and I loan books to one another. Normally I rip right through them, but recent events have left me little time for reading. I've had one book from him for a couple of months without cracking it open. I finally did and found a woven bookmark that he made me. Lovely, and simple, and I'll cherish it.

As I am the story...this is wonderful. The more so because it's a first novel, by Patrick Rothfuss, called The Name of The Wind. The prose is engrossing, and the story fascinating. But one passage moved me to tears.

I quote from page 108. "My parents danced together, her head on his chest. Both had their eyes closed. They seemed so perfectly content. If you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you're lucky. Even if it only lasts for a minute or a day. The image of them gently swaying to the music is how I picture love in my mind even after all these years."

No offense to my favorite gender, but how many men get that? How many men understand the absolute importance of the quiet, almost unnoticed moment that still means more than words can say? Damned few, in my experience...especially if they are straight.

But I have one of the few. His birthday is Friday, and we're entertaining, so I may not have time to post that day. You should know that we often work weddings together; him photographing this so-emotional day, and me officiating, joining the two into one. When our work is done, we wait for the DJ or band to play something slow. "Soul Provider" was our first dance, and if we can request it, we do. And we dance. With our eyes closed.

Happiest of birthdays, my darling. I could never begin to match the gift that you are to me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sometime It Pays To Ask

As those of you paying attention - which should naturally be all of you - this Sunday is the first annual Rustic Tarts and Old Farts Hoot 'n Holler. Okay, the Hoot 'n Holler part is new to you, I hear you say, and you're correct. Being in WV, it just had to be done.

I had, ever since the event was named, wanted to have a graphic to suit the name. I had a great vision, but my talents, myriad as they are, do not lie in cartooning, sketching, painting or even drawing a believable stick figure. Such is life; I'm satisfied with my gifts, and I do not repine. Much. So I needed an artist.

My first thought was to turn to a former employee (also possibly a distant relative, but her branch of the family were a bunch of Johnny Rebs who split off and altered the spelling of their last name....we don't talk about it. Please. No, really. It's just too painful. *choked sob*), but I couldn't reach her. The only email I had for her was at her college, and the wench had the nerve to go and graduate. How rude when I might need her one day! I chat with her sometimes on AIM, but not recently, so she was out.

Next, a friend offered to speak to one of her clients. I should probably mention that said friend works in the social services field, and said client IS a client because she's not fully functional in some manner. I don't want to know. Anyway, she was thrilled to be asked, yada yada, and I waited. In vain. Apparently she flaked out and oh how shocked was I.

Not so much.

So, during a staff meeting last Friday where we had a cake for the DH with 50 on it in spite of the fact that he'll be 49 this Friday, and how COULD that have happened? - I came to a realization. One of our employees, who originally asked to be a fly on the wall to learn more, actually teaches photography at a local high school. This I knew. What I did not know is that she also teaches art. Knowing me as you do, Beloved Reader, you know I approached this with all the grace and finesse of a frog in a mud puddle. I jumped on her. Figuratively, for those of you with that kind of mind....I see you, MMario. Et tu, Rosemarie?

Since her plans for Monday, with students done school but teachers reporting, was to create fish with paper clips for noses (fish have noses?), toss them out a window, and with a friend, fish for them with magnets...well, she thought drawing my idea might be more fun. Imagine.

And fun she had. She sent me her design this morning, and it definitely exceeded my vision! She apologized for not having had time to finish the coloring, but I can manage that, and the lettering I asked her to save space for at the top. Let me know what you think...we'll have this available on tees, totes and more for participants, and those who'd like it just for the great drawing of a Scottie pup. :-)

Ask, and ye shall receive...sometimes more than you hope for, and often with a generous heart. Unless you ask ME.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

This is a nuisance blog version of the nuisance emails wanting to know all about you as if they really care. "What did you have for breakfast?" "What time did you get up today?" "Have you had a good tinkle lately?" :::snort::: Gee, thanks, Anita! But since I should be working, naturally I'll do this instead. :-)

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

Here goes for Your Goddess:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? I was a getting our business rolling and raising two teenaged daughters. And you wonder where the gray comes from. Or you would if it weren't for L'Oreal.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
a. upload an order to the lab
b. clear off the dining room table
c. clear off the spare beds
d. wash the dishes
e. find reasons to avoid b-d.

3. Snacks I enjoy: Well, anything chocolate! But must be Sugar-Free. LOVE cookies. Almonds.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Move to Tahti and hire a studly pool boy. Except the DH might object, and I do adore the DH. I think I kind of covered this three blog posts ago.

5. Places I have lived: Joppatowne MD, Suffolk England, Indian Harbour Beach FL, Sumter SC, Cannon NM.

6. Peeps I want to know more about: Kristina, Rosemarie, Elaine, Melanie, Jared