Wednesday, August 30, 2006
  Home is Where you Plug it In

Almost everyday, a guy arrives at the supermarket I work at, on a bicycle. Every available square inch of the bike has plastic supermarket bags tied to it. The general assumption among the employees is that he is homeless and these are his possessions. He is the first homeless person I have seen using a bicycle for transportation. He is also the first homeless person I have encountered with a laptop. Upon his arrival he parks his bike next to a picnic table intended for employee use,and removes his laptop from a case, strapped to the handle bars. He gets comfortable at the table and plugs the laptop into an outside wall socket. He spends the next several hours perusing the screen and tapping on the keyboard.

Is he a starving artist writing the next great American novel?. Or an expose on Supermarket parking lots? Or is he glomming off an unprotected network, ( as well as our electricity) and surfing the web? Blogging perhaps ! And if he is online, the question begs to be asked. Are you truly homeless if you have a web address?

Thursday, August 24, 2006
  You Can't Take it With You.

I think I have mentioned that Sarcasdad and I are jetting off on vacation in a few weeks. Mentally, I am so ready. I look forward to hours on the beach with a book and having to make no bigger decision than salt or no salt with my margarita. Mentally, I am also packed. Neatly and efficiently packed. In my head, everything I need fits quite nicely into one carry on bag.

We have vacationed on this island, at this resort three times before. Everytime on the day we leave the same thing occurs. You see the couples our age , woefully dragging their luggage to the designated waiting area for the airport shuttle. It s the usual collection of suitcases on wheels , duffle bags and luggage carts. Then along will come the cute young couple , Sweet Young Thing and her Handsome Guy, and each is toting one carry on sized bag, constituting all of their luggage. I could almost swear it's the same couple every year, but probably not. Now I can buy that Handsome Guy has lived for a week out of that duffle. What does he need besides a bathing suit , shorts, shirts and clean underwear? And i'll grant you that Sweet Young Thing's bikini is probably quite teeny, and her hair is probably that straight and shiny naturally, Still it irks me that she has all the essentials over her shoulder, while I am carting the contents of my closet, half of which went unworn , from home to paradise and back.

So this year was going to be different. I was going to pare it down to the minimum. Bathing suits, shorts , shirts, underwear and flip flops. There is no where on that island you can't go in flip flops. When Sarcasdad inquired if I was packed I was going to proudly hold up my carry on bag and say "Yes. It's all in here".

And then came the latest terrorist threat. Nothing liquid on the plane. No contact solution, no suntan lotion, not even mascara. So much for my plan. If I have to check the bag I might as well take a suitcase. Then I can throw in the extra stuff that I always take but never need. Who was I kidding anyway? My hair products and accessories alone fill up a carry on bag.

What kind of bag packer are you? Do you plan ahead or wait for the absolute last minute? Do you take whatever you can shove into your alloted 2 bags and 2 carry ons, or are you a minimalist? Got any packing tips?

Saturday, August 19, 2006
  Early to Rise

Sleeping just wasn't in the cards this morning, so I decided to stop pretending that I was and get up and do something constructive. That's why I'm blog surfing. I put the radio on for background noise. It's too early even for local news, and I'm too lazy to change the station only to change it back in an hour. So I have been treated to infomercials. I now know that I can put my makeup on in under 2 minutes and look flawless. I can exercise for just minutes a day while watching TV with my kids and lose 6 inches off my waist in 30 days. I now know how to open a 529 account, start my own home bushiness and how to get organized.
Of course, none of this will do me any good when I nod off on my lunch break this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
  I Saw Dead People

On Sunday I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Sarcasmo. exploring a local cemetery with some historical significance. THe Laurel Hill Cemetery. Or as the people in the biz refer to it The Famous Laurel Hill Cemetery. That's what is said on the price list in the gift shop.

Let me tell you; you may not be able to take it with you, but you can sure let people know that you had it while you were here. First of all, the cemetery sits on some prime real estate. It is indeed on a hill,( although having traversed it both ways, I don't think the word hill does it justice.) and affords it's residents some beautiful views of the Schuykill river, and Fairmount Park. It also sits adjacent to the Robin Hood Dell where the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as other musical and stage productions take place under the stars in the summer months. Too bad the location is largely unappreciated by the inhabitants.

We took the Age of Discovery: Explorers, Inventors and Scientists tour, led by a gentleman with a keen interest in such people. The most recognizable name among those we visited was Deringer, as in Henry Deringer, the man behind the pistol. At least the pistol with one "R". Seems he forgot to obtain a patent for the design so other manufacturers, like Remmington, added an extra "r" to the spelling and produced their own versions of the Deringer pistol. I had only recently learned from Sarcasmo that the Stetson Hat was originally manufactured in Philadelphia and sent on to the Wild Wild West. Seems the real cowboys were back East!

Along for the tour was another gentleman who's area of expertise is the Titanic. He leads another tour at lauel Hill based on that subject. He could not be contained from sharing vingettes about the famous shipwreck along the way. So it was almost 2 tours in one.

One section of the cemetery had been dubbed Millionaires Row by the tour leaders. The names on the mausoleums represented the creme de',le creme of Philadelphia royalty. The structures were resplendent with ornate entryways, stained glass windows, and bronze accents. And they all had big heavy padlocks to keep the curious on the outside looking in.

I couldn't help but notice, that despite the lovely surroundings, the spectacular edifices and angel topped monuments that reached all the way to the clouds, we tour takers were the only visitors on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Apparently. money isn't everything.

Sunday, August 06, 2006
  Baby, oh baby

This has been a baby themed weekend of sorts.

First of all, Sarcasmo Jr. (my baby) came home for a visit. She only let us know a day before so it was a fun surprise. No one had time to change their plans, but that kind of worked out okay. She fit in a lot of family and some friends in what was essentially just one whole day when you allow for driving and sleeping. I hope she didn't come home for a rest because I don't think she got much.

I got to do some babysitting this weekend. Although really you don't "babysit" the Cutie Patootie as much as you sort of hang out with him. The CP has rapidly gone from not talking much to using whole phrases. My current favorite is "I love you", although "I got you Babe" makes me smile as well. As always I learned a few things from the little guy. A piece of string is most entertaining. Keys not only start cars but stuffed kitties and grandmoms as well. And that Elmo, he is a heck of a peek-a-boo player

Lastly, today, I went to a baby shower. As baby showers go this one was quite nice. The Mom-to Be valiantly tore through tons of wrappings, uncovering everything a new baby could need, and then some. I know both she and the new Daddy from my days at the Borough. So I got to catch up with some of my former co-workers. Lucy was there. You remember Lucy. Besides all the usual shower traditions, each guest was asked to bring their favorite children's book and put their name inside, in lieu of a card. As the gifts were opened each book was placed in a bookcase, destined for the baby's room. When the last one was shelved there was not one duplicate from 40 plus guests. Not a bad start for a personal library.

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