Thursday, August 30, 2007

Picture du jour

This is from a year or so back, but now that I have the Google Desktop running, it keeps coming up in the picture rotation so I thought I would share it. Kids' costumes are dirt-cheap nowadays, so Elder Sister has a stash of them for the kids to play with.

This is Henry (now 6) feeling somewhat ennuye. Or cynical, not sure which.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Paint: The Future of Graphic Design

If you still think the Simpsons font in All Caps is a fantastic design concept... do not watch this film.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Baby Bump

When I was in my 20s, people often thought I was pregnant. Not really sure why, unless it was my tendency to wear tops and dresses that looked like maternity clothing, my weight, or that I have a perpetual glow. I suspect the first 2. Really, though - it's happened several times. Once from an old schoolmate's parent, once at a "greet your neighbor" handshake at church, and a few other times I don't remember so well. And to this day, of course, several times from small children who think a big tummy means an imminent baby. Hell, I thought the same when I was small - I'd see big beer bellies on men and think THEY were pregnant. Took a while for me to realize it was gender-specific.

But it's never offended me when someone has said with cheerful inquiry, "So, when's the baby due?" or when a kid has asked me if I have a baby in my tummy. It's a reasonable suspicion to have, with my gut! And in the instant it happens, I actually feel sorry for them, because the minute I say "But I'm not pregnant," they are going to feel absolutely dreadful.

But it's an honest mistake, made based on biology and what pregnant women look like. It's not their fault, it's mine. And my long history of putting MY foot in my mouth before I turned 30 (I still do sometimes) has made me compassionate, because I know that I always meant well, and so do they, probably. So I laugh and shake my head, and say "oh, no, it's ok! It's this blouse/dress I'm wearing!" with great amusement, and have to spend a few minutes consoling their horror at what they have said.

With kids, I can be as blunt as I want, because I feel it's my duty to teach them a small measure of discretion in their dealings with society (it takes a village...!) I usually say something like "No, I'm not going to have a baby... I'm just fat. But you should be careful about saying that to ladies, because you might hurt their feelings." And they go off with their mommy, who is murmuring apologies with a scarlet face.

But this is how I regard my appearance all the time. I honestly think that a calm, dispassionate appraisal of my weight and appearance would be a relief. I may say (as delicately as I can, because I know honesty about my weight makes people intensely uncomfortable) something about my ineligibility with a particular handsome young man because of my weight, and the usual response is one of embarrased refusal and "oh no! that's not true!" when we both know it is. People refuse to acknowledge my reality, because it makes them feel awkward and/or they fear hurting my feelings.

But the truth is the truth! I'm not saying I want people to be harsh or contemptuous of my appearance, but I adore honesty; sometimes, I think I love it more than anything.

I have no interest in taking it to the other extreme. You know what I mean - the Mo'nique-style aggressive plus-size woman, who is cleaving her way through society with a low-cut blouse, fashionable but tight pants, and an attitude of "I'm a sexy, sassy, big, beautiful woman," which they will stuff down the throat of anyone who looks at them sideways. Because I'm NOT happy looking like this, I don't find obesity attractive, so why would I expect anyone else to? I would LOOOOOOVE to be as thin as a supermodel, or even Renee Zellweger at her "outrageous" 140 pounds in Bridget Jones' Diary. (you think that was an amazing feat, putting on 30 pounds for a movie? Shuh!)

I have my own divine spark that I think is appealing, funny and honest, and it will have to be sufficient. Because I doubt at this stage of my life that I could ever turn into a Thin Woman and actually stay that way. And you know what? It makes my life so much easier. I never was considered very attractive (by worldly standards) so I have no delusions about recapturing or maintaining a beauty I never possessed. But I know so many women in their 30s and up, desperately working to try and keep their Prom Queen looks, and feeling so very very awful that they can't. The ones that were Pretty... were the cheerleaders... were prized for their looks... they know what they're missing as they age. But I have nothing to miss!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Microsoft Office 2007

Seen the new Microsoft Office 2007 yet?

Be prepared to be frustrated by it's bloated-ness. This guy puts it perfectly:

Fake Steve Jobs

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


It was 100 today in middle Tennessee. It was yesterday, and will be tomorrow too. Mid to upper 90s through Monday, low in the upper 60s. Thick and muggy and so hazy it looks like smog.

Was it ever this hot when I was a child? I don't even remember knowing or caring much. I know I hated doing yard work when it was hot, but that was the only negativity I ever applied to the weather during the summer. It's funny how you start adapting your day to the weather - when you come home from work, parking next to the tree that will cast shade on your car in the morning... picking a restaurant for lunch based on whether or not they have covered parking... putting off shopping until after dark. Not that it's much better in weather like this; the Mugginess is so thick and pervasive, you debate whether or not you really NEED toilet paper.

But maybe this is part and parcel of my Discovering Life series... in a previous post I mentioned that I was noticing things in my thirties I had been oblivious to in my childhood and twenties, like green trees and bluebirds. [Note to zoologists... I have seen an average of 3-5 beavers a WEEK this summer. After 30+ years of never seeing any. What is the deal with all of the beavers this summer? Does it have anything to do with the drop in bee population?] Well, this year I finally noticed what a drought was like. First time I ever really cared, really. Now I find myself praying for each raincloud I spot to give us a good gully-washer.

Friday, August 03, 2007


I'm very tired this evening... tired of work, tired of websites, tired of trying to juggle so many different issues in so many different places, and make sure they're all done on time, tired of making just enough and no more.

It's my Seasonal Vacation Deficiency, rearing up again as it does every year. Each summer, I get very busy, and then when it all dies down in September/October, I can't afford to go anywhere. I haven't been on a proper, week-long vacation to the beach or some other sybaritic location in 2 years. My chiropractor, trying to fix a stiff neck problem I've been having ever since I fell down some stairs 2 months back, rather solemnly told me that I was suffering from a Fun Deficiency.

Sorry, I'm in the midst of a pity-party today... I've spent the last 3 months helping maintain an online campaign for a young man falsely imprisoned in Nicaragua, 10-15 hours a week, and although there have been significant strides forward, none of our work has yet led to his actual release. As tired and broke and burned out as I am, I still know it's nothing compared to what his parents are dealing with, so I don't feel I can complain. But it's pro bono work on top of my regular workload, and it's just frustrating.

I'm managing the bills and rent and my client list is enough to keep me busy, but I can't afford to just STOP and go away for a week. And this is the same lament I've been making for 2 years now. My close family and friends think I should increase my rates, but I just find that so incredibly hard to do because I know how difficult it would be for me to pay someone $50/hr to work on my computer! So I automatically assume it's a financial burden for everyone else.

Every time a client pulls out their checkbook and says, "so, how much?" I feel guilty for asking for anything over $40, even when I might have spent 3 hours on a job. Part of it is because I feel like if I was smarter/more experienced/did more research/took some classes, I would do the same task in half the time, and therefore I'm not deserving of more than $40/hr. This, despite the fact that my knowledge base has doubled and tripled since I started my business. I just feel like they are writing out my check, thinking, "boy, is she not worth this much!"

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm a bargain.