Tuesday, February 17, 2009

basement clothes and porch beers

I'm sure this has happened to all of us. You're cleaning up after a party and discover a broken glass or that something got knocked off the wall or you find something mysterious in the kitchen. 

I didn't discover this until the day after the Saint Valentine's Day party

The door knob was missing from my closet door. You can sort of see it poking out from under the door. I didn't realize it until it was time for me to leave to work at Marigold. And you can't go to work at the clothing store looking like a slouch. All of my skirts and dresses were behind that door. 

I grabbed a holiday dress from storage in  the basement, and looked okay for work --if not a little inappropriately sparkly for a Sunday afternoon shift. 

It's not the first time I've worn "basement clothes." It usually happens when I have a guest sleeping in my room and I've forgotten to take clothes to the living room with me for the next day. I've walked out the door with some funny outfits, depending on what is in my laundry basket in the basement. 

I did get the door open after work. Good old farm girl ingenuity. And in the farm tradition, the screwdriver is still there. No reason to actually fix it until the next party. 

"Basement clothes" reminds me of how many self-explanatory, short-hand, slang terms my friends and family have for things. 

"Porch beers" can mean one of two things: sharing a beer with someone on the porch or telling someone to "shop" on my porch for beer. I still have plenty out there after the party. 

"The Bumpy" is the nickname for the liquor store down the street. It morphed from a rap song about a bumpy bottle. [for the record, I don't drink as much as this post might suggest!]

"Jeff beer" is shorthand for a Miller Genuine Draft Light at Red Key.

"Nora drink" is a Jameson and water - little bit of Irish whiskey, heavy on the water. 

"Hanging on my ear" is family short-hand for I don't know where the shoe/glove/person/book/car/what ever you might be looking for is.

"Doris Day parking" - finding the perfect parking place. Like Doris always does in her movies. 

"Payday eve"  means Thursday (even if you get paid on a day besides Friday). I'm a big fan of "eve" -- birthday eve, Christmas Eve eve -- you get the idea! 

"Research" - a polite term for stalking someone via Facebook or Google. 

Do you have any work or family shorthand? 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

saint valentine's day 2009

This year might hold the new record for the number of guests at my annual Saint Valentine's Day party. According to my guest book (and my memory) over 100 people wandered through my house. I think there were at least 50 people there at once. I got wedged in the kitchen at one point and the hallway turned in to a one-way street. 

I love getting the house ready for Saint Valentine's Day. Decorating is so much more fun than dusting. It's no accident that the whole house is lit by candlelight and Christmas lights.


I did take a couple of hours to dust the PEZ collection for the first time in years. 

These beautiful roses were delivered to my doorstep the day before the party. Thanks Kristi!  

In twenty-six years the annual Saint Valentine's Day party as changed a little bit. Some of the early years the refreshments consisted of a keg of beer and a plate of heart-shaped cookies. 

Now the food is the focus. 

As you see, I added some healthier choices. I made myself eat two vegetables for every cookie. I ate a lot of veggies....and a lot of cookies. 

Not to say that there was not a well-stocked bar...

...or beer selection. 

There were more kids than ever this year. My nephew was the leader of the pack.

Here he is with his favorite PEZ

Aunt Nora was so preoccupied with her hostess duties that she absentmindedly handed him a lighter when he asked.

Don't the kids have the a "we're not doing anything look" on their sweet little faces?

I didn't take very many photographs -- I was too busy chatting and laughing. And eating and maybe drinking an Irish whiskey or two. 


Michael, Jane, Robert

Beth, Jerry and Ron

Beth, Anna, June Bug and Jerry

Joni and the girls. 

We all had great fun with the feather wreath from my front door....


And then the twins arrived....

Caroline and Katy

June Bug, Katy and J.R. 

Miss O. and Evan

Jolie and Katy

Katy in the wreath -- look at her little hand peeking out. 

Tammy (mother of those cute kids) and Papa. 

I had a wonderful time this year. I was able to take Friday off and Beth ran around shopping with me and we had a blast. Things are so much easier with help. I was able to sleep in on party day and still feel slightly organized. 

It was fun to dress up and show off the smaller Nora. I love this photograph -- and I have no idea who the guy behind me is. That's the beauty of the party, you never know who will show up in your living room.

post script: The handkerchief in the top photograph is from the folks that live in the Little Red House by the Park.  I adore it - and them. I need to apologize to the people that handed me tulips, candy and wine. Unless there was a card, I totally forgot who gave me what. The See's candy was totally worth the Weight Watchers points. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

i have become the crazy cat lady down the street

I was up late last night, cleaning and baking. The cleaning led to an allergy attack (perhaps I should dust more than once a year) and one of my eyes swelled shut.

I went next door to walk the neighbors dog. My cat, Felix walked out of my open door right in to the path of the dog. They started a chase, dragging me along. We slid down my steep front yard -me on my bum. 

My neighbor came home to see me sitting on my ass, cowboy boots tucked in to sweat pants, wearing a Dead Milkman tee-shirt, hair in a pony-tail on the top of my head and one eye and the dog doing his business. 


Follow up: The next night I was a little smarter when I went to feed Claire and pulled my door shut behind me. Yep. The door locked. It was a long, cold three block walk to the Hostel to fetch the spare set. Different sweat pants, same cowboy boots (they were close to the door) and a short-sleeved CBGB shirt streaked with flour and pink icing. 

I let myself in the Hostel, found my keys and nicked a coat from the back of a door for the walk home. 


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

woo hoo otis gibbs!

Otis Gibbs' album, Grandpa Walked A Picketline is #5 on the Americana Radio Chart. Technically he's tied with Lucinda Williams for #4. I'm thrilled for him - it's well deserved.
Here is my blog post from the CD release show.

Monday, February 09, 2009

out of whack

I've been out of sorts lately. Not only have I been crabby but it feels like my whole being is out of whack. 

I've been tripping over things, jamming fingers, banging knees on doors and getting paper cuts by looking at boxes at Target. 

Seriously, who gets not one, but two cuts from the box on an embarrassing feminine product? After I bled on it I had to purchase it. I was also running an errand for Tammy and the twins so besides the bloody box of embarrassment I also had baby bottle nipples and a package of Fig Newtons on the conveyor belt. And the woman in front of me in the line had her credit card denied so there was a big rigmarole and the people in line behind me stacked up. My hand is bleeding and it didn't occur to me to purchase a box of tissues to sop it up. And I was trying to catch the cashier's eye to tell her to let me swipe the box over the scanner so she didn't have to risk touching the soggy box. I'm surprised that I didn't have a stroke by the time it was over. 

I tend to be hyperaware of my surroundings and people's feelings. I'm really good at being sensitive to feelings and situations. Not yesterday. 

That photo, my friends, is of my Jesus key ring on my display table at the Hebrew congregation in my neighborhood. I hope no one thought that I was making any kind of statement...

And if that was not bad enough, I swore in front of a man of the cloth today. I popped in to the library after work and a man stopped me and asked if I was Nora. Why, yes I am. He introduced himself as the pastor of a neighborhood church and asked if I'd help him find music for the farmer's market that his congregation hosts. Sure, I'd love to. 

He handed me his card and I asked if I could give him my email address to send me the details. I remarked that I'd probably use his card as a bookmark and find it weeks later and "wonder why in the Hell I had it." 

*sigh. I'm going to bed, before I do anymore damage to myself and others. 

Monday, February 02, 2009

january wrap-up

The month flew by. I shoveled snow, swapped soup and snapped photos. 

I worked extra shifts to earn enough to buy a new camera -- that I'm still not sure how to use. It's big and fancy and I need a class to learn more about it. I've read the manual, watched the videos, quizzed friends and slept with it one night in a effort to figure it out. As we all know how well jumping in to bed with someone right away works out. Or so I've read. 

It snowed. A lot. Almost 13 inches in one day. The 10th largest snow in recorded weather history. In my arrogance I drove to work. I believe that I can do anything. In a foot of snow. With my 2001 S-10 pickup. I did make it -- I left early, before all of the snow fell. Getting out of my driveway is a breeze. It's the getting back in that is a challenge. You'd think that for feeling invincible I'd be more confident. 

Soup. I made it, I swapped it and I ate lots of it. No wonder I only lost two pounds last month. The good news: I'm only four pounds away from my goal of losing 30 pounds. 

I'm still dealing with fallout from The Incident.  Mostly from my bank. I have my checking, savings and mortgage accounts at the same bank (don't worry, I'm still a few bucks away from the $250,000 FDIC insured cap). The coffeehouse also used the same bank as does Second Helpings. When I called to cancel my debit card I had to talk them down from closing every account attached to my name. Even though the coffeehouse accounts were long closed I still show up as a signer, so at least a dozen accounts showed up under my name. It took almost two weeks until I could access my account online. 

To top it all off, the day of The Incident I deposited an $80 check that I found from a writing gig. That bounced. The paper switched bank accounts in the four months it took me cash it. So my account had $80 less than I thought. Plus a $39 charge. And that led to bouncing an online payment that I made at $39 a pop PER DAY. And without online access to the account I didn't know about it. The bank said they tried to call me, but it took me a few days to realize that I had to set up the voicemail on the new phone. 

In the meantime, I'd try to log on to check my account and pay my bills and could not. I would call and a patronising person will tell me that I just didn't understand how to log in. And I would believe them (see lack of confidence sentence above) even though I've done my banking online for years and only write checks (sadly) at Marigold and the Red Key. After one call to try to get it straightened out my debit card stopped working. At the gas pump. After dark. In a sketchy neighborhood. And I was still a little fragile. 

I finally had time during banking hours to go to a branch to try to figure it out. The teller looked a little confused as I rattled off the my account number, but he did something magic and I was able to use the card and access my account. I was able to convince the credit card company, the mortgage folks and utilities to drop the service charges that were levied since I couldn't get access to my money. But the bank would not budge on charges. 

My CEO came to me the other day. Someone had charged a $25 donation to the Inauguration Fund to our payroll account. The payroll account is used for just that. We deposit enough money in the account to cover payroll. Since most of the staff uses direct deposit the money is usually in and out within two days. As she was asking how we should handle it, I was thinking about what a coincidence it was that I'd made that same donation to the Inauguration. I looked at the number attached to the donation and realized that it was my debit card number - tied to the payroll account! 

That explained everything - why I couldn't get in to account and why the purchases were denied. And now I have proof of why I couldn't see my that I had a negative balance. I'll get those bounced check charges dropped yet. 

Okay, this turned in to a long boring post about the bank. Sorry. But that might well be the most exciting story of the month. I'm ready for February. 

Sunday, February 01, 2009

super bowl

I'm sitting at the Northside Newsstand watching the game, actually watching the commercials --truth be told, writing my column and goofing around with the built-in camera in my MacBook. I kind of forgot about the camera until the Aretha hat appeared on one of the few Photo Booth pictures that I had.

Okay, back to multi-slacking.