Monday, November 24, 2008

Six Sevens

Debi tagged me for this last week, so I know she's waiting breathlessly for my lists. It came with something called the Kreativ Blogger Award, which I definitely take as a compliment.

I titled this post "Six Sevens" because, as usual, I don't really have seven people to tag in the last item. Such is the life of a relative loner. You may notice that the first three sets of seven are best read together.

7 Things I Did Before:
1. Arrived early or on time
2. Tennis
3. Sewed clothes
4. Crocheted
5. Did counted cross stitch
6. Worried about my job
7. Thought about writing a novel

7 Things I Do Now:
1. Arrive on time or late
2. Kendo
3. Sew quilts
4. Knit
5. Felt knitted things
6. Worry about my family
7. Have written three novels (I didn’t say they were good ones!)

7 Things I Want To Do:
1. Keep going
2. Earn black belt in kendo
3. Make a quilt to keep for myself
4. Design a knitted something from scratch
5. Wet felting (making fiber into felt)
6. Stop worrying so much
7. Keep writing

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex:
1. Knowing how to do laundry (I met my husband in a laundromat)
2. Doing Sunday crosswords in ink (why we noticed each other)
3. Wearing interesting sweaters (he often wore a fisherman's knit sweater his mother made for him)
4. Cool, caring eyes
5. Help with the housework
6. Emotional stability (to complement my own light-switch nature)
7. Making me laugh

7 Favorite Foods:
1. Prime rib, medium rare (why I’d have trouble being a vegetarian)
2. Vegetarian #7 on Guadalajara’s current menu (mixed vegetables, black beans, rice, and flour tortillas)
3. Caramel sundaes
4. Bing cherries
5. Vanilla ice cream
6. My own homemade bread, still warm, with butter and/or honey
7. Coffee with Splenda and a bit of half & half

7 Things I Say Most Often:
1. Thank you
2. You’re welcome
3. No problem
4. Yeah, right (with the appropriate intonation)
5. Love you (or "love you, too")
6. Leave it! (this to the dog)
7. @#$%&* (a bit too often, but nobody’s perfect)

And, now, 7 people to tag for this award: Instead of tagging people, I will tell a story on myself. I took a cooking class at our local technical education center last week and found myself sitting at a table with two other women, both of whom were saving seats for friends. A woman came around checking off names against the registration list. The first woman said, "I'm (name), and this seat is for my friend (name)." The second woman said, "I'm (name), and this seat is for my friend (name)." I said, "I'm Jean Norum, and I have no friends." While that's not a totally true statement, I did enjoy seeing the looks on their faces.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Better Late than Never—More Thoughts from Inside the Polls

Election Day was a long one, though not as long as it could have been. We arrived at the usual 5:00 a.m., and had the polls ready for the more than 50 people in line when we opened at 6:00. We had already been somewhat angrily accused by the Republican workers outside of not opening the polls on time. It seems that although these good folks had set their home clocks back an hour for the end of daylight savings time the weekend before, they had neglected to change their wristwatches. We had long (for us) lines from opening until close to 7:30, a short line in the lunchtime range, and another short line once in the late afternoon. Otherwise, we had a fairly steady trickle of voters, finishing the day with 1,056 folks having voted in person. Another 140 from our precinct cast absentee ballots, making for an 82 percent turnout.

I know this sounds somewhat hokey, but I still get tingly when we stand there in the gym at 5:30 or so, after having put up most of the signs, raise our right hands, and take our oath of office for the day. We, just plain people, are about to put on an election. This is still a big deal to me and if it ever isn’t, that’s probably the time I shouldn’t be doing it any longer.

What will stick with me from this year’s election apart from the obvious historical mark of having elected the nation’s first president of color? As usual, we had some people voting for the first time. Several of them were well beyond 18 years; one may have been a half-century beyond. One voter well past his own half century said it was only the second time he had voted in his life. If these new voters had a sample ballot in their hands, it was typically the Democrats’ blue one as opposed to the orange one issued by the Republicans, in line with the pundits’ observations that the Democrats were particularly effective in getting first-timers out to vote. I congratulated all the first-time voters, which made some of the teenagers giggle.

On the sentimental side, there was the couple who appeared to be in their 70s, and probably late 70s at that, who checked in at the pollbook table and then approached the two voting machines, holding hands, and obviously for love rather than physical assistance. That little gesture transmitted so much affection it’s still making me smile.

And on the LOL humorous side, there was the voter who asked for assistance in reading the names on the ballot because she’d just had an ophthalmologic procedure done and couldn’t see the names clearly enough to tell which was which. She couldn’t read the blurred ballot, yet she said she had just driven herself to the school to vote. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be locked in the polls all day and not out on the roads.

Largely because there were only three races on the ballot and we had a record crew of 11 people (as opposed to our usual six or seven), we left for home, paperwork complete, gym and hallway restored to their pre-election states, at 8:00, just an hour after the polls closed. The paycheck should arrive next week; normally I spend it on an indulgence such as the short metal sword I bought using the proceeds from the winter primary. This election’s bounty gets saved for the spring adventure. The next election is the state-level Democrat primary scheduled for June 9; that will be a much slower, seemingly longer day than we had last week, but no less important in the big picture.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Someone Has a Sense of Humo(u)r

Yesterday's "Style and Arts" section of The Washington Post contained a page that was one-fourth photo of Daniel Craig from the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, and three-fourths ads. The caption below the photo? Priceless! Here it is, with bold and italics done as in the original: "Here's Daniel Craig in the new Bond movie, opening Friday. We don't have any real reason for running this photo except, jeez, look at this guy." Thanks, some anonymous Post editor. I needed that!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When Life Gets in the Way

One of my neighbors phoned yesterday. Her father died, and she wondered whether we could feed her cats for three days while she and her daughter were away for the funeral. Of course! This is not a big deal. Older son has watched the cats before, so he even already knows the fine points, such as the possum that eats the food left on the porch railing for the outdoor kitties. He and I went down today and picked up the key so we're set for our first visit on Tuesday night.

It bothers me, though, that I haven't really chatted with this neighbor in several years. We used to see each other quite a lot when our dogs were puppies and liked to play together and older son and her daughter were in elementary school together. We'd sit around on a summer evening, sip margaritas or daiquiris, and expound on life. Then the dogs got older, and her daughter went to a private high school, and we somewhat lost touch. We chatted occasionally if she were out in the yard as I walked the dog, or if she were driving in or out as I walked. Hi! How are things? How is (insert kid's name) doing? See ya later! I knew her dog had been ailing, but I didn't know she'd had him put down in July.

What happened? Life got in the way. I've thought more than several times how it would be nice to spend time with her again, to share a bottle of wine or watch a sunset. I've thought that I should call her, but never at a time when it was actually convenient to make the call. I told her today, as older son and I were leaving with the key and after I'd given her a hug, that I felt bad that we hadn't really seen each other in oh so very long, and that it seemed wrong that it took a death for us to get us in touch again. She said that she, too, had often thought that she should call me, but never at the "right" time. I need to make sure that when I take her key back, we set something up, make a date to get together.

Life has been getting in the way a lot lately. I have the start of a post about Election Day in my precinct sitting on the desktop computer. I've been working on it for several days, in between finishing up a project for a client. I got the project submitted 15 minutes before the deadline Friday afternoon, the lateness due in to the client's sending me an incorrect data file more than once. I'll get paid for the hours (lots of them) of work that I had to re-do because of something that wasn't my doing, I would rather have had the time. I don't like feeling stretched as thin as I've felt stretched lately. I'll try to post the election thing tomorrow, but now I'm going to go sit on the couch and knit and ponder ways to get life under control.