Friday, May 27, 2005

Another Disorder. I Suffer, I Suffer, I Suffer...

Again...a total lack of devotion to my blog. I apologize, dear reader(s), for leaving you wandering aimlessly, wondering when, when will the next installment come.

I must admit, I have been lured away from my blogging by brief apparitions of a great ball of fire in the sky. I'm not sure what it is but I feel I've seen it somewhere before...

Also, for some reason, the sightings of this fire ball in the sky seem to motivate me to purchase plants. So far, I have bought a myriad of things ranging from a scraggly plastic cup of oregano to a 4 foot tall lilac bush which I toted home from Maryland.

Why I buy these plants remains somewhat of a mystery to me.

You say "Obviously, Ms. Quintessence, you purchased them to plant around your vast estate, thereby enhancing not only the curb appeal of your home but your quality of life as well."

You would think that. But no. Apparently, I buy them so they accumulate willy nilly, still in nursery pot, all about my patio. Right now there are no less than 20 plants waiting to be relocated to their permanent homes. The Maryland lilac is lying in sweet repose because, I guess, it got tired of waiting. It's almost kind of sad. Like a little plant refugee camp. Some will never make it.

One must wonder why I do this. My only guess is that I suffer from Light Requirement Denial Syndrome.

Light Requirement, for those of you whose thumbs run a little more to the brown side of the color scale, is the type of light a plant needs for optimum growth. Some plants can take a little sun and a little shade; some prefer morning sun; some can take the heat of an afternoon sun. Whatever the case, if you want a plant that does anything but sit there and be green, you are going to need some sun.

Now before you gardeners out there go all Martha Stewart on me, I know there are some full shade plants out there that will flower, but let's get realistic here. You aren't going to find many big, bold colors ala nasturtium or dahlia growing under trees - at least not in Pennsylvania.

"But" you say, "there are plenty of shade plants with colorful foliage!"

Oh, that's right. Let's see... Colorful foliage... Well, there's green which one can find in hostas. Then there's light green which can be found in another form of hosta. And then there's dark green which is displayed beautifully Oh! Then there is green and white or green and yellow found in, you guessed it, hostas.

Let me take this moment to show you some pictures of my yard...

Here, we have a hosta. Lovely specimen...

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And here...some more hostas...

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Oh! And what is this?

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Why, a crap lode of hostas. That's what.

And here we have...

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...more freaking hostas.

So, you see, it's not that I don't appreciate hostas and the oh-so-special verdure they add to my yard. But for cryin' out loud, if you had to eat salad for every meal, you would get to the point where you would want a big, bloody steak not because you like steak, and not because you are becoming protien deficient, but just to have SOME COLOR OTHER THAN GREEEEEEN ON YOU PLATE EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER DAY AFTER GREEN FREAKING DAY!!!!!!!!


So you can probably deduce from the copious hostas in my yard that we are somewhat lacking in sunlight. Somewhat lacking...well, let's be honest. It's downright nonexistant. My property has an SPF of 1,970,236,234,758,345 squared. I can lay naked on my front walk from 10am to 2pm every day in July and end up whiter than when I started. Ok, maybe red from all the mosquito bites but I certainly wouldn't have a tan. By the way, I never actually tested this theory so stalkers, don't get your hopes up.

None of this, however, stops me from pulling my money from my pocket when I see a nice plant at the nursery, farmer's market or, yes, even the grocery store. I tote the little innocents home, promising lots of sunlight, mulch and regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer until August and - here's the really sad part - I believe myself! I really think I'm going to find somewhere to put this thing where it will have some small prayer of making an attempt at photosynthsis. And I know better! It's not going to happen. Not unless it falls out of my car onto the road as I make the turn into the driveway because that's about the last place you're going to see the sun when you come to my house.


Some people drink heavily. Some people worry excessively. I buy plants that require full sun. What can I say? It's hard when you have Light Requirement Denial Syndrome.

If you need me I'll be in my yard conducting experiments to see if hostas contain any vitamin D...

PS to Sister - You didn't take enough hostas this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

An Exercise in Misery're all going to have to prepare yourselves because I'm about to go into a Huge Downward Mental Spiral, hereafter to be referred to as HDMS. The key to the HDMS is to embrace it and enjoy the ride.

Why, you may ask, is Ms. Quintessence - the very verve of the party - being subjected to such a harsh tragedy? Well, two reasons.

First of all, I had the opportunity to take a little vacation with a co-worker this past week. Co-worker's brother and his wife own a lovely little cottage in the East Shore area of of the Chesapeake Bay. And when I say lovely, I mean lovely. No cat hair, no dog poo, no water stains on the ceiling, no cracking plaster - in short, not at all like my house. It was little and cute and perfect.

So, co-worker and I skipped out of work for three days and high-tailed it down there with two bottles of vodka and a very large quantity of garlic. We didn't know what kind of trouble we would get into but we were going to make damn sure they smelled us coming.

At any rate, the vaction was wonderful - the weather was perfect, the vodka was cold and the garlic was roasted to stinky perfection. We spent our evenings drinking, eating and walking around the cute little towns and we spent our mornings not really hung over and walking the beaches looking for beach glass.

Now, fast forward 5 days.

It's very much like the second day after Christmas. Not just the day after, but two days after. That day when you reach the climax of anticlimacticism (how's that for a word?). I shuffle around the big refrigerator I live in, go to work and deal with people having mental breakdowns (and that's just the co-workers, not the clients), and I can't even get a good gingerbread cappuccino. Instead of beautiful little towns with charming little homes surrounded by perfect little gardens, I live amid tri-axle trucks hauling whatever grossness to the local stripping pit. Sigh...

And reason number two...

I quit CocaCola.

Cold turkey.

It is my lifeblood and I can't really talk about it anymore than that.

Ok, new topic.

Now here's something you will never daughter made the comment to me the other day that I'm a drama queen.

Me. A drama queen. Give me a break. That is so wrong. You know what I told her? I said "That is a cruel thang to say and you ah such a haytful little chald. I swayuh, God as mah witness, I am nevuh, evuh speakin' to you agayun! Nevuh!" And, just because I watched Spanglish recently I added "Nunca!" Then I grabbed up my skirt and all three hoops, ran up the stairs and flung myself, sobbing onto my canopy bed. I stayed there until the workers came in from the fields and Mammy came to loosen my corset.

Drama queen...the nerve!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Two Entirely Unrelated Unrelated Things

As I was sitting here reading other blogs, the word "function" seemed to pop out at me. I began to think about it a bit and, just like the rest of now-a-day culture's tendency to spell things similar-but-different(ly), I thought of the spelling F-U-N-K-S-H-U-N. The cleverness of this was immediately apparent to me. I would name my band Funkshun. I would name my clothing line Funkshun. Or, perhaps, Funkshun - an essence by Almost Quintessence. Oooh...that's catchy. Maybe "Funkshun Power Drink" for Soul Train dancers. Perhaps I can even have an instrument named after me like Les Paul - the Almost Quintessence Funkshun...clarinet. Maybe not.

I thought there might be an off chance that someone else had this little epiphany as well so I Googled the word funkshun. 660 results. Oh well.

And now, an entirely different little story...

I'm not sure what prompted this, but I decided to look up the word "secretariat" in the dictionary. Now, up until this point, my only working definition of the word was none other than the amazing chestnut horse that wowwed the world in 1973. He won the Triple Crown that year - setting track records at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and a world record at Belmont (as well as several other record breaking races that year). Truly an athlete.

So, I pull out my Webster's Encyclopediec Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and this is what I find: sec-re-tar-i-at n. 1. the officials or office entrusted with administrative duties, maintaining records, and overseeing or performing secretarial duties, esp. for an international organization: the secretariat of the United Nations. 2. a group of department of secretaries. 3. the place where a secretary transacts business, preserves records, etc. Also, sec-re-tar-a-ate.

Umm... Alright, someone has to ask it. Why would anyone name a thoroughbred - an animal that is supposed to be the embodiment of speed and power - after...after... after office space??!!! I mean, had I really thought about it, I knew it would have something to do with that but the word Secretariat has always counjured up the image of the horse. this! It's like, I dont' when I found out John Wayne's real first name was Marion. Or like finding out the truth about Bob Crane. It's just...disappointing, that's all.

So, maybe I could name my racehorse Funkshun. Maybe WayneCraneFunkshun. Now that's the name of a champion.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I hold these truths to be self evident...

Hi. I'm not feeling especially inspired today so I'm just going to post some miscelaneous things that I happen to believe. I'm sure you do too.

1. People do come back from the dead as flesh-eating zombies. I know this because, as a very young child, I watched Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. I have known it ever since then.

2. That waitress that calls me "Hon" probably doesn't really mean it. I bet she calls everyone "Hon".

3. Yes, you can live on Coke (as in a-cola). And vodka.

4. It doesn't matter which pair of pants you wear those underwear with, you are always going to get a wedgie.

5. Some things never change. Unless, of course, they do.

6. Even if it has a raw egg or two, cake batter makes a perfectly fine meal.

7. Everyone should get to hit someone in the face with a cream pie at least once a year. It would be a much better world.

8. Your bads deeds do come back to bite you - like a pit bull.

9. If you can't have patience with me you are a ridiculous waste of my time.

10. People who abuse nature should have to live in the desert. Like Death Valley. See how you like it.

That's it for today. Read it. Learn it. Live it.
Kumbaya, baby. Kumbaya

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Some Music and Art

First, the music...

So, having two children enrolled in the Local Public School of Marketing, you can just imagine the fundraisers I must deal with. There are, literally, several fundraisers for each activity and they often overlap as to what they are selling. Right now I have no less than 87 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in my freezer. I also have enough gift wrap to wall paper my home and the homes of several neighbors. Cookies? Yep. Popcorn? Got it.

Then there are the magazine sales. Yuck. There are very few magazines I will even bother to read and you can rest assured that the fund raising people feel their efforts are better spent trying to bag the Sports Illustrated and People crowds rather than the Mother Earth News and Backwoods Home crowd. (I say crowd singular because, if you read one of these, you most likely read the other as well.)

It was, however, a nice surprise when the last magazine fund raiser rolled around becaues, this time, they included music.

Let me just stop here for a moment to explain"problem" with music. I love music so much that my children have often gone weeks without eating so I could by the latest items on my cdnow wish list. Right now the list is at about 95 or so cd's that I absolutely must have. Must. Have. Now. I'll be right back...just a quick listen... I can literally kill hours sampling music on that site. Believe me, I have.

So, when I saw that I can now feed my addiction and support the school activites, well, what could be better than that? I happily perused the catalog for some items to buy.

Now, again, it seems that the organizers of this event are gearing it towards a certain, select group of people - namely the ones who listen to top 40 radio and the ones who are in charge of programming the music at the mall around Christmas time. However, I knew that if I just looked hard enough, I too could find something to please the ears.

Well, I placed my order for 4 cd's and forgot about it. That was about 3 months ago. They finally arrived. This is where the fundraising thing becomes most amuzing because, when the order finally does arrive and you see what you ordered, it causes one to wonder "What the...?" So here's what I got and, what I can only guess, are the reasons why...

1. The soundtrack to Cold Mountain...Love that high, lonesome sound. And I'm especially fond of songs about death and heartache.
2. Yes - Yessongs...Never enough classic rock in the collection, especially when
raising teenagers. Plus it's fun to sing like Jon Anderson while the kids are trying to do homework - makes them batty.
3. Johnny Cash - American IV: The Man Comes Around...Johnny finally explores his inner lounge singer with hits such as "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and everyone's favorite, "Danny Boy"

and finally...

4. Yo-Yo Ma - Obrigado Brazil...Background music for scooting around the kitchen in an apron and heels

I don't know. I can't explain it. But, oddly enough, they are all winners!

And now, the art...

During the month of April, we, as a family, decided we weren't going to eat out at all. I'm not sure why we decided this - I guess it stemmed from trying to cut out excess spending but I think it really just morphed into our own little reality show...minus the TV...a "Will We Make It?!" kind of thing. Part of this deal was that the kids couldn't buy lunch at school - they had to bring it from home every day.

Now, understandably, this can get quite monotonous - especially when one's mother is spending all the money on music and not lunch meat. Peanut butter and jelly can only hold a person's interest for so long. In order to make things a bit more bearable, I decided to include some inspirational notes and decorate the bags. Here's a little sampling of my art projects...

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You'll notice, in the last photo, my work has taken on an entirely new dimension since I bought a pack of colored markers. I must tell you, the Snack Pack pudding is the hardest character to draw. It's very difficult to keep it from looking like poop.

I was once enrolled in Tyler Art School. See, education never goes to waste.

The Beast Within

Well, hello. I know it's been a while. My lack of posting is due to the fact that I lead a terribly mundane life. Not much exciting going on here. As I mentioned to a friend of mine recently, the most exciting thing I've done since the New Year is cut my hair. So, if you can bear with me for one more girly post...

I am a Catholic. I was raised a Catholic and, somehow, I still manage to reamin a Catholic. I even go to church every Sunday. I wouldn't say I'm the best Catholic by any means, but I try.

So, you can imagine my surprise and horror to learn that I share my body with a demon from Hell. My hair.

"Oh, go on" you say, "We all have hair troubles. It can't be that bad." Well, I tell you, it is.

First, let's address the color. As a child, I had that naturally platinum blonde that I would most likely give my left arm for today. It was lovely. Except for the time when my cousin (also a light blonde) and I spent so much time in the pool one summer that our hair turned green. Yes, it did. It didn't last too long - only the summer - but I tell you, we had green hair back when the punk rockers were thinking it too rebellious. I don't know if it was from Chlorine or the algae it was supposed to kill, but neither chemical nor plant scum could daunt our enthusiasm for swimming.

Now that I am mumble mumble years old, my hair has darkened to a color I refer to as Field Mouse Brown. I could have a nest of them living in my hair - and quite possibly do - and no one would ever be the wiser. It's even got the white interspersed throughout, although it mostly seems to congregate in my bangs.

That's right, I said bangs. I also used to have long hair, at one point down-to-my-waist long. But not any more. At some point - and I think it might have been the 63rd day in a row when the temperature inside my house didn't get out of the low 50's - I decided something had to change and, dammit, it was going to be my hair. So, I cut bangs into it. It did give me a more youthful look - so youthful that I probably wouldn't have been able to procure a library card on my own. That lasted a little while and then, about 10 days ago, I cut it all short - well, chin length which is short by my standars. Now I've achieved a whole new look. I look like the love child of the Dutch Boy Paint kid and Paul Williams. Meet my parents...


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...and dad...

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Yikes, I know.

As luck would have it, the day after I did this to myself, the very day I would be going to work for the first time with my new do, my hairdryer and my curling iron - the two appliances I didn't have cause to use for years when I had long hair - went on the fritz. How's that for luck? "Well" I thought, "there's nothing you can do about it." So I just went to work.

When I walked in, all the ladies - being the kind sorts they are - all fussed over my new hair-do saying it was very cute. One of them even asked "How did you get your hair to do that?" what? I went to the ladies room to see what, exacly, it was that my hair was doing. As it turns out, my hair was having a little circus on top of my head. Some of it was going this way, some of it was going that way, and some of it was swirling about hither and thither. Sigh...

Since that day, my hair attempts a daily coup d'etat, trying to take over not only my head, but my life as well. It knows when I am making special attempts at controlling it - when I have important appointments, etc. - and that is when it goes on the offensive, flailing about, intimidating strangers, injuring innocent by-standers. On days I shoot for a little curl it goes straight as an Alabama sheriff who mistakenly wandered into the Round Up Saloon on his vacation to Dallas. On days I would like the straight look, we get the circus thing going. And don't even talk to me about relative humidity. Don't even.

So, anyway, there it is - my beast within. Or on top. Whatever. It's there.

Next time, I promise a post that has nothing to do with hair, clothing or womanly appearance concerns what-so-ever. As a matter-of-fact, I'm going out right now to jump start my life and make it more exciting. Watch for me on the evening news. I'll be the one with the crazy hair.