Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

This was an interesting novel.

But first: this was a one week loaner from the library. I love these one week loaners because it gives me a challenge: read this book before the end of the week! And I did. YAY ME!

The novel ends up having four different sections with multiple chapters within each section. The sections represent four different people in the novel: a preacher, a district attorney, a writer, and a parishioner.

The preacher is stepping down...has decided that he has been speaking to no one all along. The writer believes in angels - real life angels and is a world-famous author for writing about them. This is the paradox: a long time preacher who no longer believes and an angel-author who, well, believes in 'praying' to her angel.

The story starts with a baptism, a murder-suicide, and then an investigation into the murder-suicide. The preacher becomes a suspect once it's found that the preacher and the victim of the murder-suicide had an affair.

While this was an intriguing story, I had predicted the result early, early on. And while I don't mind being so good at being a detective, in the end, it felt predictable. I can't help that I missed my calling as an investigator.

There's a whole section, actually, that seems irrelevant. And each section ended up being overwrought. It was like watching 2 to 3 hour movies: there's at least 45+ minutes of fluff and redundancy that could be cut to make the movie more interesting in 1 1/2 hours.

So it was good but not great. Not mediocre but not memorable. There are some great, great lines in there but the lines that meant something to me had nothing to do with the plot...just random sentences that popped out of nowhere.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Field Trippin'

Today I volunteered to chaperone a field trip for MiMi's class. Although I am not much into participating in PTA/school mom/etc. activities, I generally do the field trip thing with my girls. I've chaperoned several for CJ and I believe this is my first with MiMi.

The field trip was to Durant Nature Park. I was pretty happy with myself when the teacher asked if I knew how to get there. In my head I was like: OMG, of course I know how to get there! Used to go there often and it's in my old neck of the woods!

I had a team of four kids, including MiMi. One was the girl I thought was YY on the phone, where I inadvertently pushed MiMi and YY on a playdate. Ah. Good times.

I only love to be around kids on my own terms, BTW. It's difficult when you actually have kids and they don't abide by my terms but for the most part, kids on field trips aren't so bad. I think, and I know this was mentioned to me before, that they pick the more well-behaved kids for the parent that never volunteers. So I usually fair OK with the kids and end up having great ones that I will miss when the day is over.

The first part of the trip was listening to a park ranger talk about pond life. The pond at Durant is MASSIVE. We learned about nymphs, tadpoles, snakes, dragonflies, and frogs. I know I mentioned my fear of kites, but did you know that I am afraid of frogs? That story is a doozy.

During the park ranger discussion, I was bowled over by the answers the kids had to her (park ranger) questions:
* do you know what metamorphosis is?
* what animals go through metamorphosis?
* give me an example of the food chain
Some of the answers given were not only correct, but not even the typical response. I was amazed.

After learning about pond life, the kids were able to grab nets and start pulling muck out of the pond in search of real life pond life. Whatever was found would go in a bucket of water for viewing and discussing later.

Initially, not much was being found. But once they got the hang of it, boy they were finding lots of stuff. And then I found myself inching my way back, and back, and back.

I'm not a girly-girl but I don't like yucky stuff. And once they found a big-ass bullfrog tadpole -- which was about the size of a small field mouse -- I started feeling like I could wretch. In fact, it reminded me of the time I was running with $Bill and Frank, discussing meat production, when $Bill was like ENOUGH! I was saying the same thing by walking AWAY from the muckity-muck.

But don't get me wrong, I did get hands on initially...but that bullfrog tadpole...UGH.

It was funny to see all the other moms still in it while I stood back. I am sure they appreciated that.

Afterward, we had lunch and I sat with a young man that I fell in love with last year. I had lunch with MiMi and this little dude happened to be at the table with us that day. His tooth fell out and I felt honored and privileged to be the person sitting with him when it happened. Today, I protected him from the carpenter bees that were buzzing around us.

There was a little playground playing time, which was really cool because I got to see MiMi traverse monkey bars. I was so impressed! I don't recall if I ever could do that when I was her age, but I am BIG on the idea that most girls have no upper body strength. If you watch some of my reality shows, most girls fail miserably at any challenge that requires upper body strength. So to see MiMi, and about half a dozen of her gal pals, take those monkey bars over and over and over? Man, I was in seventh heaven. It was as enjoyable as watching the dogs play at the doggy daycare at PetSmart in Cary, I can just watch it all damn day.

One of the girls could speak only Espanol, so I would tell her "mas! mas! mas!" then "muy bien!" She beamed. It makes me want to learn more than the few phrases I have. I want to have conversations with her next time.

Next was a hike around the lake, I mean, pond. That was interesting and this is where it got a bit into the 'not on my terms' bit. The boys like to pick at things, throw things, stare at where the thing they threw lands. I was like: what is wrong with boys? Why do they have to touch/kick/poke/throw/enter-another-verb everything? We were in last place, for godsakes! Not that this was a race but when MiMi's friend said to me "Come on Ms. Huffman! You're the leader now LEAD US!", I was like "Geezuz! A fricking 7 year old is whipping me into gear!"

I never picked up first place because my boys were just too busy doing the above. But so were other boys from other 'teams'. What is it with you boys???

It was a blast. I had a load of fun and I do miss my team now. I learned a lot like how we have mussels in the pond. Did you know that? And they are invasive. If you don't know what that is, then you are not smarter than a first grader.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Is the Moral of the Story?

I love the Bravo series Top Chef. They spun off an even more interesting version of Top Chef last year called Top Chef Masters. This series offers well-to-do chefs - known in the culinary world - an opportunity to do the Top Chef-like challenges and win money for their chosen charity.

It truly is a great show: seeing master chefs, who may not have had to actually do prep work/cook work/etc. in a very long time, come down to trying to make a dish out of, say, vending machine ingredients.

Episode 2 of Season 2 was a surprise episode for me. Usually, there is very little emotional connection to the show...and this includes from the contestants, other than stress and anxiety that the chefs deal with in their attempt to win.

But episode 2 had me upset on a "life is not fair" stratum, as well as master chef Monica Pope.

Here is *my* recap:
First: Top Chef Masters have three judges to rate each master chef's food on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. There is a fourth rating, which comes from the target audience of the elimination round. The average score of ratings from the target audience is used as the fourth and final score for the master chefs. The two chefs with the highest score will move to the finals, which will be the last episodes of the series.

So for episode two's elimination round, the challenge was to cook a dish for the actor Mekhi Phifer's birthday party.

There are two days to put the dish together: one is for dish planning, shopping for ingredients, and prepping the dish. Day two is taking prep work to the party destination and finishing the dish up there, then presenting it. Time is of the essence and there is little-to-no-room for error.

But in this episode, a big boo-boo was made: Chef Carmen Gonzalez left her main dish, a sausage stew, at the day one prep place. She is at the party place, ready to finish it up, but obviously, figures out she has left behind the main dish. She decides to go back for it, which means losing about 1 to 2 hours of preciously needed time to FINISH the dish. She cannot cook anything during that time because, well, she will be in a car traversing L.A. traffic. She asks, politely and sheepishly, if anyone would help her with one of her other ingredients while she is out.

Chefs Monica and David Burke offer to help. A couple of others say 'no way Jose' because, well, it's a competition and they were out to win. Marcus Samuelsson especially is noted in this episode for not offering to help and implying that Monica and David were foolish to do so.

So what happens? The help didn't pan out as the item they were helping with ended up burning. Chef Carmen almost bailed out because she only had one item to the dish she had planned, but she proceeded anyway.

And guess what? Chef Carmen WON. With all the bad that happened to her, she ended up having the highest score over a 'simple' stew.

And guess who won the second position? Marcus Samuelsson. The guy who refused to help *and* felt it idiotic to do so. And what he whispered to Monica Pope, after they announced he won? 'The lesson learned here is: always look out for yourself.'

Really? That is the lesson to be learned? To be a selfish bastard and think for yourself? Instead of an attempt, out of good citizenship, human kindness, a 'giving soul', to help someone else?

And of course, this is just a TV show, a reality cooking show on top of that, but Marcus Samuelsson walks away with a pat on his back with his own hand, accepting that what he determined to be the right move worked. Which means, he will act this way again in another scenario.

And the person who tried to be 'fair', lost.

This really upset me.

Why?

Because, in fact, this is what happens in real life. This has happened to me. You think you do something nice and you get screwed in the end. But this is not how I want life to be. I want the people that screw other people to get dinged and the good people to get rewarded. Why does that not happen?

I do believe in Karma. But I have two issues with Karma: 1. It works too damn slow and 2. It'll bite me in the ass wishing for Karma to hit other people.

I still stand on being a good person. But in truth, it's hard to be a good person to bad people. I have done it...and still do, but in the back of my mind I think: karma is going to get you bitch. And then my mind goes bezerko and starts thinking "who's the bitch? me or you?"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What Do I Do With This?

I heard this joke in seventh grade and I still remember it today.

A man confides in his friend Arty about wanting to kill his wife. He asks Arty to do it for him and Arty says he will. The friend offers to pay Arty for the deed but Arty says no, he would do it out of friendship. The man begs to pay him something for such an act of "kindness" and Arty finally agrees and says "Just give me a dollar".

The next day, Arty goes to his friend's house and finds his wife and chokes her to death. The maid, however, walks in on the dastardly deed and Arty chases her down and strangles her to death too. As he is about to leave, he notices the gardener has seen everything through the window so he runs out and chokes the gardener to death.

He is caught, however and the headline the next day had "Arty chokes 3 for a $1".

Hahahahahahahaha!

I know. Groan. Everyone that I tell that joke to groans. Now, written in the cloud, I can't hear you! I love the joke.

Why do I tell such a joke, you wonder? I guess it must be artichoke season since my visit to Whole Foods last week had a huge display of artichokes on sale. Of course, I immediately thought of this joke.

But the other thing I thought of was: what do I do with a fresh artichoke? I mean, I love artichokes, but I usually get them in a jar, can, or frozen. I love fresh foods, so what do I do with this funky looking vegetable?

Anyone?

If you don't help me out, I'll keep pulling out the Arty jokes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

This started out really, really good. I was hooked, the first 100+ pages. I didn't want to stop reading but had to find time to sleep.

The book first introduces us to Corinne for a chapter, then we meet CeeCee Wilkes, Chapter Two, circa 1977. The connection to the two characters comes soon enough, well, at least after 100 pages or so.

CeeCee Wilkes' chapters were pretty amazing. They included letters from her mother, who died of cancer when CeeCee turned 12 years old.

Each chapter, with regard to CeeCee, started with a letter from her mother. Letters that her mother wrote to her, knowing she would die before her daughter. CeeCee had a loving mother, a mother who didn't want to die and leave CeeCee all alone.

And CeeCee was left alone...surviving through foster care until she turned 16 years of age, where she could legally be on her own.

But those letters touched me so much. The few sentences that were CeeCee's mother's words were so profound, that I found myself tearing up with each chapter.

But then Eve came along and the novel began to flatline for me. The beauty of CeeCee and her relationship with her mother was gone. A new storyline develops. We forget about CeeCee's mother, as well as CeeCee herself, the strong-willed survivor of foster care, working a good living to save money to go to college, after being so smart and graduating high school early.

The storyline turns a curve and goes down an entirely different path that becomes non-believable because those aren't the characters in the early part of the book. It's just different people. And it makes no sense.

And it gets worse: a good mother becomes a bad mother by instilling phobias into her daughter. How did that happen? And arthritis? What kind of storyline is that? What did this add to the plot?

Nothing, IMO. It just kept getting worse and worse. A great guy of 25-50 pages turns into an imbecile in about 10.

It just became a horrible mess at the end.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Forever Young

I spent the afternoon yesterday putting this week's menu together. It took me a bit because, well, I tend to over think things and meal planning is one of those that teeters between: get it done fast vs. review 20 recipes to come down to about seven. In fact, the recipes that I had originally outlined, and typed up for the week, were never used. I did a whole different one in about 15 minutes after it "all came to me".

So after feeling accomplished at getting my menu done, Tim looks at me and asks if I acknowledged the fact that my dad was visiting this week.

OH NO!!!

It's not that I can't accommodate for him, but a couple of other reasons.

One: my dad is a meat and potato kind of a guy. Traditionalist when it comes to food. I, on the other hand, enjoy lots of variations to the meat and potato meal. It may not be fancy but it also isn't traditional. And typically, my menu has less meat and more other-than-meat.

Two: my dad will forever think I cannot cook. I am still an awkward 15 year old in his eyes, with no sense of direction and not a cook. My mom is a fabulous cook. She's creative and can do anything scrumptious with any ingredient left in the house. Sadly, I didn't inherit this gene so I tend to be more discipline. This probably doesn't help my father in thinking that I am actually very capable.

Fortunately, I had a couple of items on the menu that are safe and I have a few other safe recipes that we have often that can substitute for the week.

But it reminds me of how my family views me STILL.

When we were visiting my relatives in London a few years ago, my one cousin continued to be astounded that I could do anything. I remember her questioning me when I was putting clothes in a dryer and I was thinking: what is she talking about? I know how to do laundry. I was confused at the time, but hindsight I think she just thought about me being 10 years old and incapable of doing any kind of housework.

There were other things like, "I can't believe you have kids" as if I would leave my children at home alone while I played hopscotch with my friends, or rode my bike for hours at a time, only to come home at dusk, expecting food to be on the table. Because, see above, I am not capable of cooking.

It tends to make me anxious when my mom or dad visit. I feel like they are always watching, assessing, then judging me. And while I typically could care less when others do that, it does seem to get to me coming from my parents.

I tend to take the safe road and have take-out or eat out. Then the fight for who pays for the check comes into play.

Actually, this is when I become 15 and say "let mom or dad pay for it" while Tim struggles to pay.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Right Word

Slumber party? Sleepover? "Spend the night"?

This is a pretty common social event for my kids, especially CJ.

Yesterday, she had a sleepover with a friend from her current school. Over Spring Break, she enjoyed one with her BFFs from her elementary school (all three are in different middle schools now).

Last night all came together for me...a revelation? Declaration? Proclamation? Yes, I have my thesaurus out for a good word that hasn't hit me yet. Maybe as I write it'll come to me...

Tim texted CJ before he went to bed to say "night night". She wrote back that she was in North Hills, and that's when I felt a wave of happiness come over me.

She was hanging out with one of her best friends, "late" at night, at her favorite place in Raleigh...and doing a very 'big' girl thing.

Before this, the evening would have been dinner at Moe's - her very favorite place to eat (I strongly dislike), then a movie *at North Hills* (again, not my first place to watch a flick), watching The Last Song (a movie I proclaimed - the right word this time - that I was not going to watch).

I projected my own feelings to this night for her: how much *I* would have loved this at her age. Sure, I had my moments where I did have similar events but for the most part, my parents were very strict with me. I have recollections of having fear and intimidation just to ask if I could go to a sleepover, because the normal answer would be a long-winded, uncomfortable "no".

Restrictive? Protective? I thought for a long while it was protective parenting practices but over time, I surmise it was more "possessive". You don't hear that much in the way of parents as you do with a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, but I definitely feel/see the difference when it comes to my parents.

Don't get me wrong: I had a great childhood. I love my parents dearly. But I definitely didn't have the freedom, leniency?, laxness?, permissiveness? that I now allow for CJ.

And it's not that I am indulgent either. I *am* very protective and there are a select few of her friends that I would allow her to go for a sleep over (and most especially, vice versa). But my first answer, response?, reaction? is: 'how can we make it happen' vs. what my parents would do, which was more like 'hmmmmm...this is a serious request that must take time to think of a good answer to say no, with stern stares into your eyes to show how dismayed we are that you would ask this of us, because we don't want you to go'.

Right now, I also believe is a very good age for CJ, with very good, sane?, responsible?, smart? friends who share the same innocence. I may become more like my parents in just a few short years, months?, days?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

100 in the 90s

My friend, co-worker and a fellow movie buff, sent me this list of movies. They are the top 100 movies of the 1990s by the International Cinephile Society.

Now, there are top numbered lists all over the place but this one intrigued me as their number one pick of the all-time best from the 1990s? A Thin Red Line.

A Thin Red Line? Really? How did this, not-seen-as-much-as-released-around-the-same-time-Saving-Private-Ryan movie make the NUMBER ONE SPOT of all time (for the 90s)?

And because I love this movie, it intrigued me that this panel of people selected this amazing, low key movie was selected.

I compared my viewings with the list and it looks like I managed to watch 50 of the 100 on the list.

The list looked pretty amazing too. Many, many foreign movies. More than I am used to seeing in other "Top ##" lists.

And not only do I love those 'underdog' movies, I love foreign movies.

And this list included quite a few of the ones I had seen.

I have now decided to make a new, enjoyable, geeky-movie-buff goal: watch every movie from this list.

I am even leaning towards re-watching the movies I have already seen to gain a 'fair and balanced' assessment of the movie and drawing my own personal comparison to this list.

Probably not renumber it according to my likes, but more like review it and compare it to the ICS' version.

I'm looking forward to it. I found several already available via Netflix streaming, so I can get these watched pretty soon.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Al Fresco

I love our porch.

When we got the house, I couldn't believe we had a porch. It was one of those "pinch me" things.

The porch needs work but it's at the bottom of the list. It's functional and every year, we do something different to it. This year, I think the girls and I will finally paint it. Any and perhaps, every color we like.

The porch is our "vacation" spot. Every time we went on vacation, we would think about some hokey cafe, why don't we have this in Raleigh? So we made our porch our hokey cafe.

We have candles galore.

Dos Taquitos (my favorite restaurant) used to use beer bottles as candle holders. They don't anymore but I do.

Yes, those are empty wine bottles lined up on beams. I decided at some point that it looked cool, having them all lined up so I'm starting my collection.

We had one of our favorite Chicken Quesadilla recipes last night and lit up all the candles. This is the view from the walkway to the porch. See Brenna's eyes shining through the screen?

Shortly after dinner, Tim decided to use the zipline in the pitch darkness. The girls and I had to maneuver via flashlight; he had his headlamp on. It was pretty funny.

I am looking forward to more time on the porch, both enjoying it and making it more funky. It'll just have to wait until this yellow stuff finally disappears. Otherwise, we'll just be eating and drinking pollen.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

This took me a long time to read.

Not because it was bad.

It was very, very good.

But I have been in a reading slump. For some unknown reason, I have found myself more in crossword-puzzle-mode than reading mode. So instead of reading a few pages each night, I do a puzzle or two and end up getting really sleepy and setting the book aside.

But every day I wonder: what's going on in "Augusten's" life?

I finally found out. And man, what I life he lead.

I read his brother's book, Look Me In the Eye, which was just as eye-opening but in a *very* **very** different way.

Augusten, who changed his name to this one at some point in his life, grew up in an extremely dysfunctional way. If you ever wondered if your childhood was 'off', read this book and compare. If you relate to it, then bravo! for surviving.

To sum up: Augusten's older brother has Asperger's, but no one knew it at the time and just labeled him odd. Dad was an alcoholic and mom was crazy. Literally. Mom had several breakdowns that warranted hospitalizations.

Oh. And Augusten is gay.

Mom and dad divorces. Dad wants nothing to do with his children. Mom has a hard time coping with life and gives Augusten away (brother is older and out of the house) to her psychiatrist. Yes, like ADOPTION.

And the doctor is not all there either.

So Augusten grows up with the mad doctor's family. The book covers mostly his life with them, especially with the doctor's children, who he grows very close to. After all, it's really who he has. And perhaps, in some way, Augusten is all they have.

The doctor's house is filthy. The doc believes in "free will" and expressing one's anger. So no one really has to do anything, but that also means, they can DO anything.

Some of the things they don't like to do? Clean. Take the Christmas tree out. It was May that the tree continued to stay in the house because everyone had a 'pissing' contest on who owns responsibility for taking the tree out. So it stayed.

Or one day, being bored enough to take down the kitchen ceiling. And no one gets in trouble. It's just a way to express yourself, after all.

It's a sad, bizarre memoir. It's also graphic. Burroughs has a "relationship" with a 30-something year old man at the age of 13. Another one of the doctor's patients, who in essence, is a pedophile.

But Burroughs is witty and wry and in many ways, nonchalant about the whole thing. I gasped at some of the things that went on in his life and wondered how in the world he survived. He did and managed to have a lucrative career in advertising.

After reading more about him (which I love to do after I read a great book), I realize that movie was made from the novel. How did I miss that? Now I need to go back and update my Netflix queue.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Haunted NC

Tuesday, for our Spring Break adventure, I decided to go on a haunted journey. That mainly meant: see things that are supposedly haunted, or haunted-like. This required a lot of driving and looking but not actually seeing hauntings. But that would scare the crap out of me and while I like spooky things, I don't actually want to investigate them. I'll leave that to the experts.

First stop was Gimghoul Castle. Is that the most fantastic name??? It's on Gimghoul Road in Chapel Hill. And it's a beautiful neighborhood, right by the campus of UNC. The end of the road ends in a gravel loop, where the only "house" is within the loop, which is this castle:



There were "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" signs so we dare not go anywhere. I had read somewhere that this was the case (no trespassing).

As we left, I noticed what looked like a tombstone. But it can't be, because it was inscribed "St. Thomas More" and that dude was pretty famous back in the day. But it must have something to do with the school... But for a second, I was pretty excited about seeing this:


Next stop was the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. I think we started on the wrong end as I didn't see many old tombstones.
Stonewall Jackson Fore and his woman Ethel:

And the McKies:

This one is a world war II veteran lost:


We then headed to the Horace Williams House, which was nearby. The hostess seemed surprised to see us but gave us a loose tour, nonetheless.

I mentioned that we were interested in any of the hauntings that were mentioned about the house and she confirmed that there were reports that Horace Williams himself has not left his home. In fact, his portrait in one of the rooms had eyes that followed "you" wherever you were in the room...but it did not do this for her mother. Everyone but her.
He followed me and I don't think he appreciated me taking his picture:

I mentioned that we had passed by Gimghoul Castle and the hostess mentioned that "they" had relaxed on the "No Trespassing" rule...so that walking around the castle was OK. So we headed back because we wanted to see the "red" rock, where it is purported to have bloodstains from a duel over a lover.

This is the trail, which is spooky enough:

It leads to this sitting area:

The plaque has:
Erected by the Order of Gimghouls In Memory of KEMP PLUMMER BATTLE 1831-1919 Who Knew and Loved these Woods As No One Else
We didn't see anything blood-spattered-like, so we thought we needed to follow a trail that came from this seating area:

The top of this trail is where we descended from. The girls freaked when they saw these rocks:

We stopped to refuel at a mediocre restaurant. Wished we had crossed the street and ate at Top of the Hill. But we got fed and the last stop was The Devil's Tramping Ground, near Siler City.

The lore on this little place is that there was an area that was circular and flattened, where nothing grew. It was said to be the devil, pacing in circles, that caused this. Later, a UFO landing area, much like crop circles are rumored to be.

But I read that this wasn't all that anymore, mainly a place for kids to party. But I knew it wasn't far and I just had to see it for myself. The drive definitely feels longer than an hour, but it's a pretty drive, if you like seeing the rural side of NC.

It wasn't hard to find. Even my GPS listed the road as "Devil's Tramping Ground Road". There is absolutely nothing out here and the ground itself? Well, things do grow on it. Like trash. And remnants of bonfires.

The girls, who are normally germ-o-phobic, felt the need to touch the crap that was around this place. Like hair in the bonfire. Well, the adults in the group figured it was a wig, but it made for a freaky observation.
This is the 'tramping ground', bonfire in the middle:

BTW, things do grow on it.  Methinks it's "tramped" down by the hoodlums that visit and have bonfires here.  The object in the background, leaning up by a tree is a big bag of trash (at least someone cleaned up their mess) and the green thing to the left is a broken barbecue grill.
This was an odd thing on the tree. Not odd in BOO! but more like, 'is this moss or did someone put this on here? odd':

The devil's tramping ground from the start of the 'trail'. It's not really a trail as it is a short path from where you park (on the side of the road) to get to the "ground".

So while no ghosts or goblins greeted us that day (thank-goodness!), it was still a fun exploration into other local flavors of NC that most folks don't know about.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Blow Me

Today I used a blower for the first time. In my life. Ever.

I don't know who should be embarrassed: me, Tim or my parents.

Right now, we'll go for me.

But I'm not _that_ embarrassed.

I'm not really into tools, mechanics, yard stuff, and such. All the techie terms make me nauseous anyway.

I decided to use the blower to clean up the leaves that accumulated in the screened porch. Don't ask me how they got there. It's one of those mysteries of the universe.

I asked Tim if I could use it. I asked if it was difficult to use. He turned it on and said "You need to hold it". (Yes. He was being sarcastic.)

I found that it's not really that easy.

You actually have to corral the leaves so that they actually _leave_ the spot in an orderly fashion.

This was not so easy for me.

First, the leaves flew up in the air and went EVERYWHERE.

Then they spread out like they're fleeing from me.

So I had to actually figure out how to get them to follow the pattern I had in my head, which wasn't as easy to put into real life.

I managed to get them out of the porch. But I probably could have swept them faster than it took for me to blow them out. Our electric bill probably spiked in the 20 minutes it took me to blow leaves out of a 192 square foot area.

I found myself trying to lean towards the direction I wanted the leaves to go...you know, like playing a video game? I lean left, expecting the leaves to actually go left.

But they don't.

In the end, it all worked out well. I experienced the power of an electric blower. I see you men, holding that thing, as though it's an extension of you. And you have a sense of power over you. That you are actually blowing the leaves. And no other person could ever blow leaves better than your technique.

Whatever. Have at it. I'd rather use the broom.