In cyclist parlance, a winky is a reflector. This site will be my post-ride reflecting pool of thoughts. Please add yours so we shine off of each other.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nice duds

Tornado warnings, hail the size of some sporting equipment and a scaredy-cat beagle sent Robert and I home from our well-blended Fourth of July bbq at the Conners. And because life is one big circus of concentric circles, Robert wasn't the only one surrounded by alumni. Because Syracuse Jen now works where I worked, the orange people are now mixing it up with WBJ alum. And yup, fruits and nuts do make a good party mix
But we left when it got soggy and the local news crews started first uttering what could have been the best line of any Fourth of July drinking game: "looks like Mother Nature may be setting off her own fireworks ..." (c'mon, you'd be one lit fuse had you lifted that patriotic (or ironic and idiotic?) Sam Adams each time a red-blazered or navy blue wind-breakered tv talker said it). But of course, that Mother is much more of wiseass than a pyrotechnician and now it's sunny, sunny, sunny. And I'm at home in my jammy pants way too early, like a kid who got in trouble for riding her bike to the convenient store, crossing a busy street in her quest for Lik-m-aid.
But the night is not totally free of silliness. I just played my own version of fun with headlines. I take the top headlines from CNN or Yahoo or whatever and then match the subjects of one line with the predicates of the other. Today was especially good, no duds in the bunch. But i do play fast and loose with the rules, so no Betty Buzzkills allowed.

Here they are, from CNN's "Viewed Most Emailed Top Searches"
Orgasm clip spices up EU meeting
Bill Clinton blasts Bush
5 die in dairy farm manure pit
New hot dog eating champ for 4th
Missing lake swallowed up by crack

Here's the remix

Orgasm clip blasts Bush (he never knew what hit him, Cheney denies he was target practicing)

Bill Clinton spices up EU meeting (old news, baby)
New hot dog in dairy farm manure pit
Eating champ swallowed up by crack (only fair)
Crack spices up EU meeting (works everytime)

Yea! Freedom of speech.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday morning -- freelance style

I should be in bed. But I don't have to get up at 6, so I'm not. And I had to pack for Robert's brother's wedding. It's outside, in a backyard in New Hampshire. There are bbqs, a skull-and-crossbone tie-wearing groom, in-laws, pig roasts and New England night temperatures to consider. Those are things I seldom consider when dressing, so it took some time.
Jeff, the brother, is doing the 7.7.07 wedding thing. It's his third wedding -- but really he and this wife already officially got married, so this lucky pig roast thing (not so lucky for the pig) is really just for show. But most weddings are. Why am I writing more about a backyard wedding than I did my own?
I should be in bed. It's 1:23 a.m (ignore my time stamp, i romantically set it at Indiana time and it's one hour behind, I shall change it).
Maybe I'm just stalling because I don't want to tell Winky I cheated on him while I was off the blog. I didn't want to, believe you me, but here's one of the oddest upsides of being married to someone who works for AARP. Two days after your friend dies, AARP-employeed spouse comes home and says, "I met with a Web vendor today whose company does online memorials."
And in this f-uped year, and especially in that gray, gross f-uped blurry week, that bit of information was completely relevant and helpful.
Here's the upside of being married to Robert: He sat it all up. And unable to write a headline or edit any stories at work that week, I put by production skills to work tribute writing, candle lighting, slideshow making and "share this site with a friend"ing.
Enough already, here it is:
I've also been doing some old-fashioned blogging-- I like to call it MicrosoftWording. Actually I don't like to call it that for obvious reasons, but still that's what it is, keeping an ongoing journal offline in my Documents folder. Documenting? Menting? It's like journaling, I guess, but without a trip to barnes and nobles for the moleskin. Oh, yes, I think it's commonly referred to as writing, for those brave enough to own up to it.
I should go to bed.
Perhaps I'll bring the document to life on here, if Winky doesn't mind the complete detour froom cycle talk. I am still riding, but not to work, in fact, I ride away from work around 10, so I don't have as many Share the Road tirades to go on or bike-lane runners to go off on.
I am going to bed. As soon as I turn in this grandma as primary caregiver story.
Funny, my grandmas weren't really even secondary caregivers to me. Nice lady to visit in town, always good for Club crackers (stale), a spritz of Miss Breck hairspray,a two-week old People and a visual reminder of why I stay up late and worry constantly. (grandma payton would just be starting a crossword at this hour) That's just the one. The other requires much more introspection than I can muster right now.
But both would tell me to go bed.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Crazy train

Talk about derailed, oh goodness. Was that a prescient posting way back there in Aug 2006 or what. I'm not just off the rails, i'm off the track, nowhere near the station, haven't even bought my ticket ... you get the idea.

2007 -- the year I gave a eulogy for my best friend that incorporated a Britney/Madonna/Belinda/Manic dance interlude -- has been one beyond words. See that's why I danced. What else do you do when your best friend up and dies two hours after you planned a "Facts of Life" marathon for the following evening and nixed plans to go to the new mayor's inaugural party because it was, in John's words, going to be a pig fuck.

There's a couple of words I'd apply to this year. Pig fuck. Messy and necessary, productive but sloppy. And painful.

Since then, I've quit two jobs and started full-time freelancing, and full-time feeling like I don't have a job , need to focus, interspered with immense feelings of freedom, rest, and pride that, hey, here I'm a writer again. For the Washington Post, for whatever will pay me enough to justify a life of no button-down shirts or need to visit that Anne Taylor Loft sale.

So maybe firing back up ol Winky isn't the wisest of choices, but it was a gut reaction. And that's pretty much the organ that's been orchestrating most of my actions lately.
Must go wrap up an article "What to expect when you weren't expecting this" (working title) about grandparents raising grandkids and send my resume to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. I only stripped it as a child, never inhaled. And I've already got an online feature in mind for them to add to the site: "Let me Butt In" -- where kids tell why they quit.

Ok, snuff said for today.
Welcome back me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


You know you've been a bad bad blogger when your mommy tells you so.
Well of course, she didn't say I was bad, bad or even bad. And I'm pretty sure she didn't use the word "blogger," but she did just send me a kind, yet prodding e-mail that said only this: "Is July 21 your last entry?"
Uh, yeah. It is.
So, it just goes to show that the only true dedicated reader of Winky is my mom. But no matter how small in number or large in DNA overlap my readership is, I will not let it down.

So I'm back, but not in the saddle. The bike is in the shop. The derailleur is busted. That's as gear-headed as I get in describing its situation. Don't ask me which one. I only realized the other thingie was a derailleur (sp?) too when someone else asked which one.
They really should have a loaner program for bikes. (Hey They, are you listening??) How can I be a bike commuter with no backup? Or if the bike shops don't want to take the risk, commuters should set up a time-share program for their bikes, especially in the summer when other bikes are left in airless garages during vacations, just sitting there hoping some bikeless-for-a-week biker will come rescue them.

To satisfy my need to have wind in my hair, created by own velocity, I went rollerblading today. Rollerblading is hard. I once broke my wrist rollerbladding slower than I run.(Concrete is concrete at any speed). But I am not one of those types to not get back on the horse. I have my own erector set of rods and pins in my leg after breaking my femur in a biking accident. (The trunk of a 1992 Nissan is a trunk of a 1982 Nissan no matter if it's parked or not).
When I skate now, I look like a preschooler with overprotective parents (is there any other kind? at least outside of kentuckiana?). I have on wrist guards, a helmut and a backpack stuffed with extra socks and a cell phone (which of course probably throws off my whole equilibrium). I don't do knee pads -- and probably just rankled the injury demons with that on-the-record admission.
So lots of rollerblading and coveting others' two wheels, even the chubby hybrid ones.

Speaking of things that became popular in the mid90s, I have been wearing the shit out of lil' mini dresses. Only one baby doll one made it into the rotation and I spent the whole day cracking wise about needing some midnight red lipstick to smudge across my face in order to complete my Courtney Love look. But it's been 100 outside and our a.c. at work has been living up to its Class C building repuation, so the breeze and the gossamer fabric of t-shirt dresses have been exactly the thing I grab to keep me unwilted.

Speaking of things named Courtney AND popular in the 90s, the other mini-dresses I've been sporting were bought or acquired back in the days when I had to wait a full week to see "Friends." Now I just shamelessly watch it almost every weeknight on the WB or the CW or whatever the frogless version of it is now.
That Rachel wore some short skirts, and there was no pulling them down Ambercrombie & Fitch style. She had the real-woman waist going on and still had those skirts just barely covering her bum. And you know what>? My hair may have been too short to pull off a Rachel, but my legs were step-aerobicized enough to pull off the skirt. Thankfully I am not wearing those Although I am saving one stretchy chocolate brown number and one wide-wale corduroy mini -- both from the Gap -- to wear to my 90s new years bash. I've let Winky Man (hey, at least I'm not calling my husband than Mr. Winky!!) keep one of his tab-collar shirts (a la Almonzo on Little House) and drug-rug poncho for this very occassion.

See, this is why I haven't been writing. The previous graf about wearing dresses purchased in my 20s would have been the perfect setup for one of my few theories. But I couldn't think of a nice transition. So I'm taking the 10th grade term paper approach by telling you (yes, you Mom) what it is I intend to write about. I would like to propose that people tend to stick to the hairstyle and the dress mode of whatever era in which they peaked. For example, you know that once hot-shot gal in marketing who now leaves early to pick up Cody and Kyla? Well she's likely coming in on casual Fridays in jeans, whose length above her coin slot are equal to the length of the skirt or tube top worn by her intern, Kaitlan. On top of those jeans (likely early Calvin Kleins or yikes, Lees), she's looking sharp in a black blazer, with a white t-shirt on underneath. Somewhere in there are some shoulder pads, we can only hope for one pair, and a pair of decapitated black booties. Her hair is all one length with some cutsie bangs or that awful I'm getting my hair cut short!! damnit!! with a mushroom cloud stuck on the back of her head. You know the look, especially if you know me. I referred to it as my Jippy Pop.
See, that former hot shot is wearing the style of her late 20s, (early 90s, back when her ad campaigns were dropping jaws, her Thursday nights were the beginning of her weekend and her flirtations were answered by many a funny Seinfeld wanna be or earthy dude in a denim J. Crew shirt.) Now she's married to a man who wears more accessories than she does (headpiece on ear, phone on hip. blackberry on belt, coffee tumbler in backpack), her Thursdays are at Gymboree and damnit she's gonna wear those black booties without tops because she got wasted in them at Hurricane O'Malleys, doing the Macarena back in 93 and if she can look down at her feet once a day and recapture some youth, well danggummit she's going to do it.

And so am I. More shirty, flirty mini dresses are on the wardrobe lineup for this week, baby.

I imagine I'll be doing lots of walking this week, which means lots of eavesdropping on snippets of conversations and trying to weave them into one long narrative. try it, it's fun.
Now go grab that French blue button down shirt, the one the girls in accounting like, you know the one with a white collar or your black low-rise over-bellbottomed Express pants that remind you of 2000 and look forward to Monday!

P.S. Speaking of gals at their peak time, go vote for my buddy Lesley Lopez for D.C.'s hottest off-air media personality. C'mon she's a hottie with a kick-ass vocab. And she works for leather man on a mission at America's Most Wanted. Imagine if your boss could throw the memory of his kidnapped child in your face everytime you messed up at work.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Strokes 'n spokes

Biked to work four of five work days this week, including the two day of smothering heat, putting about 75 miles on Slim. Not tooting my horn, just justifying why my legs seem to feel like encased sausages covered in Bedhead hair goo. Thick is the word I'm looking for.

I refuse to complain about the weather -- I pretty much use up all my bitchin' tokens in January every year. I'm one of those "I'd rather be hot" people, or as building managers like to call us "I'd rather be responsible for starting a small electrical fire under my desk than wear more layers" people.

Yeah, yeah, it feels like a sauna, blah, blah, but no one ever lost a thumb to heat (frostbite be getting the digits). Plus, they have saunas at health clubs, right next to the tanning beds, so they must be good for you.

Another refreshing thing about heat index days is the humidipity. That's the pity drivers squeeze out to bikers, runners, walkers, dogs and whatever else happens to moving outdoors in a Freezone-free zone. This week, drivers yielded the right of way to me more often (twice), shared panting looks of commisseration at stopights and overall seemed less pissed at me for choosing not burn up the ozone by cycling.

Or, maybe the meanies and their meanie mobiles just took off for well-timed vacations to the beach.

My major heat-related emotion this week was nostalgia. Hot summer days make me want ride the pool bus to the Corydon Pool, flirt with boys from the one other county school and come home too wiped out to complain about how there is NOTHING to do.

Hazy, hot and hormonal is a good way to be when you're 14. I got a glimpse of it riding past a neighborhood pool every morning. I'd always see two wet-headed teenagers crossing the street at about 8 a.m., wearing towels and suits, enjoying the final minutes of the two hours of they day when they don't give a shit about what they're wearing or how their hair looks (Somehow, seeing their easy shuffle makes me instantly forget my own ability to worry about my hair and clothes ALL THE TIME ( track meets, babysitting, toilet-papering capers, the SAT test administrating site). They probably go home and blog about having to wake up at the crack of dawn, jump in the freezing water with skinny boys and walk across a busy road half-naked and shivering just to have an athletic extra curricular to put on their college application high school. Anyway they looked happy. And I looked hot and very aware that I was on my way to work, not back to my split-level house to straighten my hair for two hours, update my MySpace page and plot a trip to the beach with my best friends for under $200 and IM my friends all day on my iMac.

Although, those last two activities do sound awfully familiar.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A good time to have a car

Don't worry folks, Toonces the cat had the wheel. We were safe.

Other good times to have a car:
1. February
2. Saturdays at 3 for This American Life
3. When large plastic attempts to be organized must be purchased at Target.

For now, I'm refusing to buy one of those baby trailers for the bike, although I did see a very happy dog being pulled along by a very tired woman.
The one thing I've learned about purchasing both bike and Beagle paraphernalia: Do not knock them until you've ruled out complete need for them.
I want to mock the dog footies but i've seen my dog levitate almost to avoid getting his paws wet. If this happens in the winter, I'm sure there's a maker of Duggs (uggs for dogs? ) out there waiting to take my money and watch me eat my words.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

eyes wide open

Blame blogger's block for the lack of winking.

I knew I'd run right into it. [Just like I'm going do run into you, crazy chef/harem-pants man who insists on going the wrong way in bike lane every single day during rush hour. I am not moving next time. I will clothesline you, Mr. Sous Chef at Cheesecake Factory. I will "Jerry 'The King' Lawler style" clothesline you. I will.

Why the block? Well, I'm too obsessed with forcing themes -- like when I declare it's Kinkos Day at work because everyone (or four people) is wearing khakis and light blue button-down shirts). I'm too determined to give everything a sassy headline or subhead -- like when I take our dog Bailey out for a dump and think if I had a baileyblog, this would be titled, "Beagle Bailey reporting for doody."

Or maybe it's because I feel the need to report a trend. Like when I noted yesterday to a friend that the Tour de France seems to attract stars with decidely un-jocky names. Jan, Lance, Floyd, George. Of course I stopped that brilliant line of thinking before getting to any names that would prove me wrong (Greg, Yuroslav) and before letting her point out that other sports do as well: Peyton, Fran, Dwayne, Kimmie, Plaxico, Christian.

And then there's my Time-Life Mystery Book sensibility of finding kismet in barely-there, gossamer strings of connective tissue between the day's events.

Remember those Time-Life Mystery Book commercials? Cue dramatic voice: A woman in Pennslyvania asks for her French salad dressing on the side, at the same time her daughter in California feels a sharp pain in her side as she's putting on a pair of Sassoon jeans. Is it just a coincidence?

Here's a glimpse into a Winky-Life Mystery chapter: On Monday, my friend Beth, who's from Wisconsin and went to school in Madison, called just to say hi. Later that day, another friend at work told me he went to SummerFest in Madison, Wisc., over the weekend and saw Ted Nugent in concert. At that very moment, I was checking my Yahoo account and opening an e-mail from The Brady Campaign, with updates on anti-gun legislation. And you know who loves his guns, don't you? The Nuge.
Hmmm, see the concentric cirles!??!!!

So you can see why I have trouble going topic-sentence free. Or maybe not. Maybe you wonder if I EVER have a topic sentence. But even when it's buried under allusions to hair-band lyrics, high-school reveries, "Facts of Life" plot lines and endless run-on, full-of-hyphenatations lists, the topic sentence is usually there for me.

I can only thank my mom. If having my grammar corrected at my own damn graduation party wasn't bad enough, my English-teaching mother gave me this essay obsession.

True story: Driving down to Florida for spring break, 1996. I kept wailing from the back seat "I have to pee soooooooooooo bad. Can we stop at this exit?" about every 500 feet in Georgia. Every time, my mom and aunt (also a teacher) would chime in with "lee" and keep on driving past the Stuckey's signs and See Ruby Falls billboards. They wanted me to say I have to "pee soooooooooooo badly." Finally after the fifth passed exit and fifth duet of "lee." This 12-year-old losing bladder control and all sense of self-censorshop at the same rate says: "I don't know who in the hell this Lee guy is, but I am sure he does not have to piss like I do."
We stopped at the next exit.
I spend the rest of the trip showing off my command of the simili "I have to piss like a racehorse on Derby Day."

But isn't the point of blogging not having just one point? That's at least why I started doing it. I wanted a place to get down on my random thoughts cycling through my brain -- without worrying if they somehow connected in a way that would make a nice essay.

But that pesky title line up there tempts me each time. All 2 1/2 inches of white space up there, demanding a few words of tidy summation.

Sometimes days don't have descriptors you can put in bubble-lettered sorority font under a photo of that day's events. You know?! Friday was "So hot I want an SUV with four window-unit ACs instead of a bike" Friday. Today was, "Let's go to Costco five minutes before it closes and be more dissappointed by that fact than by the fact we were going to Costo on a Saturday night" Saturday.

How's this for tidy summations?
The End.