Thursday, January 03, 2008

Four Things Make a Post

It's not quite a meme but a commonly used frame I've seen a lot recently, and as my brain is somewhat mushy (see below), it seemed a good concept to explore.

1. Sometimes when life hands you a lot of tiny stresses, a couple of big ones (including watching someone you care about spiral), some unexpected deadlines and a few bits of internal wonkiness, the brain needs a night to say, "OK, screw this. Give me a book to fall into and let's finish it." So I stayed up until 2AM reading a book. It was a very absorbing read (even given that because I'm deep in revision mode with PPR, I was tightening prose and cutting words and looking for ways around infodumps and such) and I still managed to get four solid hours of deep sleep. Overall, I'm actually feeling somewhat refreshed. Certainly a little less overwhelmed by life's current level of insanity.

2. I went to the local Social Security Administration office today (for why, see below), and just with catching random snippets of the stories of the other folks there, I was reminded of just how much I couldn't handle a job like that. Which got me thinking about my very short stint as a public school teacher. I may have eased up on what used to be obsessive perfectionism, but I still haven't managed to deal with my empathy. Not having a tight reign on empathy in a job like that will suck you dry very quickly.

3. It's a long-standing joke in my family that my mother can never remember my birthday. Usually this manifests in not sending a card or calling (or, as happened once, forgetting when she did actually call on my birthday that it was my birthday and talking of other things). It's very funny when she tries to tell other people when my birthday is or if my brother the prankster decides to needle her and ask. She's gotten the day, the month, and the year wrong (sometimes all at once) during those instances. We all assumed this was something that started when she completely forgot to pick up me and my brother on my 15th birthday. (We were abandoned without money in the pre-cellphone era in a donut shop; when we finally managed to call, her reaction was comical: "Hi, honey. Why are you--oh.") So imagine my surprise when, after learning that we can't file taxes on-line because my birthdate didn't match what we entered, I examined a recent SSA mailing and saw that I was apparently born 3 days earlier than I had thought on June 12th. (This is actually the birthday of one of my mother's brothers.) See, when my mother applied for my Social Security card back in the mid-80s, she listed my birthday incorrectly. I'm surprised that it's taken over twenty years for this to affect me, but it's all fixed now. Now we have proof that, as early as 1986, my mother couldn't remember the date she gave birth to me. I have ribbed her well for this. Sadly, though, this could be a genetic phenomenon as I have managed to completely space her birthday (and it was the big 5-0, even). And I wasn't trying to give as good as I got, honestly.

4. I managed a most excellent pork roast last night by dumping a can of beef broth into a 9x13 baking dish, splashing a bit of Worchestershire sauce in there, tossing in a few cloves of garlic and some potatoes and onions and carrots and celery, and plunking a pork roast into the mix. I should've basted the thing, but I wasn't really expecting it to take 80 minutes to cook; thankfully it didn't dry out all that much. I made a very nice gravy by pouring the resulting broth/juice mixture into a roue. Apparently, I can cook things other than pasta sauce from a jar without a recipe.

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