Colder than a Brass WHAT?

The first day of my childless vacation has children in it, because at the writing of this post, it’s negative 14°F outside and the school decided that since the students have to walk between buildings and most of the kids place fashion over frostbite, it was safer to let them stay at home one more day.  So I didn’t have to get up early to drive the kids to school—a double blessing, since my husband’s car wouldn’t start and he had to borrow mine.

Once the kids got up and got fed and sufficiently televisioned—by our lights, not theirs—Jane read one of her books and Sunny and I created our own little ponies over at HubWorld.

Hers are veritable  fashionplates, with names like Moonshine Velvet and Shimmersong Bling.

Mine are a tad more autobiographical.

This is Frostbite Shiver. Note the expression.  And the cutie mark.

My dad would say it’s colder than a brass toilet seat out there, and last week, I heard library patrons compare the wind chill to specific parts of a brass monkey’s anatomy.  Or a witch’s.  Or, in one case, a brass witch’s.

Is brass really colder than any other metal?  Is metal even required at these—and I use the term loosely—“temperatures”? ‘Cause after going out for the thirty seconds it took to get the paper this morning, colder than frozen snot is remarkably apt, believe me.

Or colder than my husband’s engine block, which is not a euphemism, thank you very much.

I’ve heard colder than Khan’s revenge, because I hang out with the kind of people who would get the joke, and one of that crowd also tried colder than Lord Kelvin’s sex life, which doesn’t seem a fair thing to say about a sociable and not unattractive Irishman who published On the uniform motion of heat in homogeneous solid bodies.  

I usually say, colder than a polar bear’s nose, at least when my children are around.  Or colder than Sunny’s feet, which is a unit of measurement that would have boggled Lord Kelvin.

Regardless, I’m staying inside today, where it’s warmer than out there.

And you can quote me.

What do you say?


Just wondering . . .


1.  Is is a moral failing to skip breakfast?  Even if the children don’t notice?  Or care?

2. Why do children hate brushing their teeth?  Is it because they enjoy have breath that could knock a buzzard off a compost pile?

3. Speaking of moral failings, does making the bed each and every morning, really, in the grand and ineffable scheme of things, matter?

4. If my picky-eating-six-year old means it when she claims she’s finally tired of peanut butter, should I be experiencing a sense of freedom . . . or dread?Toby

5. Where in the name of all that is holy and fragrant is the cat pooping, and why can’t I find any evidence—other than his visible health and smug disposition—that he is ?

6. Does this tickle in my throat justify taking the day off tomorrow to sleep/write?  Or, if I’m lucky, write/sleep?

7. Why doesn’t the whole US just go ahead and switch to a “minimum speed” system, since that’s what the majority of drivers think “speed limit” means, anyway?

8. Why, on the day when our department is holding our annual Volunteer Appreciation Open House, are all the other drivers in front of me not driving the flippin’ speed limit?

9.  Is #8 ironic, hypocritical, or another moral failing?

10. Why, if I know that I’ll finally be hungry for breakfast around 8:45, do I not pack something to eat at 8:45, instead of grubbing for change in my desk drawers and trying to trick my stomach into silence with sugarless gum?

11.  When the big staff percolator sings like an uninvited hound dog during a student strings recital, does that mean it’s happy, kvetching about the quality of the grounds, or foretelling our doom?

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate...

12. Is death by Christmas cookie overdose possible, and if so, does it happen during or, you know, after?

13. Why do I keep thinking Tuesday was yesterday, even though I know today is Tuesday?

14. Is it a moral failing that I think I might risk a Christmas cookie overdose, depending on the answer to #12?

15. Are there any peanut butter cookies left?

Tuesday Morning Questions

Overcaffeinated Owl Says WHOOOOOOO

  1. Is French press coffee is just pretentious cowboy coffee with a fancy strainer and no eggshells?
  2. Will anyone notice that I’m wearing dark brown woven slacks and black shoes?  Will they care?  Do I care that no one cares?
  3. When did waiting for other people to exit an elevator before entering it become an optional thing?  Forget common courtesy—it’s common sense, right?
  4. If you clip the feathers of wereduck’s wing, do his fingernails get shorter?
  5. How much is my book budget this fiscal?  How much?  Seriously?
  6. Why couldn’t Helen Mirren have been the next Doctor Who?
  7. Can I use the description “ventiest venti ever brewed” in a story without running afoul of Starbucks’ legal department?
  8. Why do I have three pencils behind my ear?  Why did I only notice this when I tried to add a fourth pencil?
  9. Why does the Admin photocopier always jam when I have a hundred copies to make and ten minutes to make ‘em?
  10. How expensive would were-proof silver handcuffs be?
  11. Where’s the &$*^# public restroom key?
  12. Is there any place nearby that I can get the venteist venti ever brewed?
  13. Did I see a sort of Mongolian death worm plot on CSI a couple years ago when a chef killed a woman with a baby octopus?  Would it seem derivative or like a fresh new twist on fugu poisoning?
  14. Since I had Janie’s leftover oatmeal for breakfast, I deserve something nutritionally bereft for lunch, right?
  15. Does this curl-enhancing mousse make me look like a poodle from the ‘eighties?  Since it takes ten minutes off my morning routine, keeps my bangs out of my eyes, and seems to be humidity proof, do I really care?
  16. How long until lunch?
  17. Why am I not disturbed by the concept of a “fresh new twist on fugu poisoning?”
  18. Does a list of questions count as a blog post?

Day of Rest . . . More or Less

I come home from work yesterday, and the first thing my husband says is, “I’m sorry.”

Few things render me speechless, but that did it for a solid ten seconds before I asked him if he could be more specific.

Turns out, he’d been using my finally scoured, inoculated, and virus-free Netbook that morning, with no problems whatsoever, but when he’d booted it up again in the afternoon, the touchpad wouldn’t work.  He didn’t know why, didn’t know how to fix it, and figured he’d turned the thing off somehow.

Sometimes being older than the advent of the mouse is a blessing, so I went through half-remembered key commands until I figured out that the touchpad wasn’t just turned off, but completely unresponsive—apparently, the big red X over the taskbar icon wasn’t a big enough clue for me.

So I got online and found the Asus troubleshooting site, which told me that my driver was probably corrupted.  This wasn’t a huge surprise, considering all the viruses my Netbook had so recently contracted, so I let my husband off the hook* and went looking for  solution.

But I wasn’t willing to hit the tab key the requisite five million times to get the driver uninstalled and reinstalled and all that.  So after dinner, I hopped in the car with my seven-year old and drove to Best Buy to see if I could get a mouse with a USB connector.

Nothing was going to stop me from finishing up my latest chapter and sending it to my marvelous and very patient beta.

While my daughter tried all the nearby display laptops, hoping to find one that would give her access to PBSkids, I looked over the mouses\mice\meece.** A passing salesclerk showed me a display of USB, plug-and-play, wireless, uh, Manually-Operated User-Selection Equipment.  In designer colors.  I choose purple.

My daughter was not pleased about having to leave, as she had just started an Abby Cadabby activity, so I did a little Father’s Day shopping before prying my complaining serpent’s tooth away from her game.

We pulled into the garage just as a flash storm hit our area.  We’re talking sunny skies to Armageddon in under ten minutes.  Lightning, thunder, rain, wind, and dire warnings of tornados on the tv–everything except the Four Horsemen, not that we’d have heard even celestial hoofbeats over the storm sirens.

Safe, dry, and victorious, I plugged in my new mouse —and the power went out.

Taking with it the router that supplies our wireless connection.  Of course, I did have this mouse, so the driver wasn’t completely necessary, and my Netbook battery have six hours left on it . . .

But I also had two night-lights to jury-rig,***a mother-in-law to consult,^ flashlights to wind, darkness to curse, etc.

So I got the kids to bed and called it a night.  I’d write in the morning.

Suffice it to say, the power was still off in the morning, and just as I’d sat down on the back porch with my notebook, pen, and lukewarm diet Pepsi, the kids woke up and discovered that there were no cartoons to be had.

So we went to the Farmer’s Market, the playground, lunch at an air-conditioned restaurant, ran errands (except grocery shopping, for obvious reasons), and finally came home to keep as still and calm as possible trying to keep cool–temperature- and temper-wise.

I could have used that the down time, either longhand or on battery-power, but I didn’t.  Didn’t even think about plot-points or dialogue or even sit there and idly judge a single radio song for its soundtrack suitability.

Some writers can’t write without a certain kind of pen, some need to listen to music, some need to burn incense, bow thrice to Hemingway’s grave, or down a shot in memory of Raymond Chandler.  I require that I not be sweating to the point where I can’t grip a writing instrument or keep the page dry. ^^

So I shut down the writer brain to save the batteries and took the day off.  This goes against many of the ‘rules’ of writing, the greatest of these being “Thou Shall Put Your Butt in the Chair and Write Every Single Day or Thou Are Not a Real Writer™.”


Just as we were debating whether to go out for dinner or play refrigerator roulette with the perishables, the power went back on.

That was three hours ago.  The kids are asleep, my husband is watching two baseball games at once, and the air conditioner is humming away.

And I’m taking a break from writing to write about my day of rest from writing.

There’s a certain symmetry in there, somewhere.  Or at least a chorus of Round the Mulberry Bush.

And that touchpad problem?  Gone as if it never existed.  In fact, I used the touchpad to access the Asus driver download page before I realized I didn’t need to.


*That particular hook.  I’m still not sure who invited the viruses over the threshold in the first place.  And one of the top five reasons to get married is to have a handy usual suspect that isn’t you.

**That’s why it’s called a mouse.  The Internet certainly is the info-rich time suck, isn’t it?

***My husband produced two glow lights leftover from Halloween.  This is the sort of thing that put him in my list of top five men I’d marry if they asked.  Plus, you know, he was the one who actually did, so . . .

^My MIL has lived with us for two years.  If you’re thinking uh-oh, you’re both right and wrong.  But that’s another post—probably several.

^^ I do realize that this takes me right out of the running as on-site scriptwriter for the Hollywood remakes of Apocolypse Now, Tarzan, and The Big Easy,  but them’s the breaks.