Tuesday, November 27, 2007
  The Name Game

My name does double duty as an ice breaker. Rarely, when introduced, does my name not elicit comment. I get, "my, that's a pretty name". or 'is that your real name?" If I am at work I am often asked if that is my name on my badge or am I employee of the month. Yes, my name is unusual, in a time when unusual names are a more common occurrence. This was not the case when I was younger. Back then , if there were 15 girls in my class, 5 were named Debbie, 5 were named Carol and the rest were divided between Pats and Lindas. Guaranteed, I was the only Star. So I was different, when different wasn't good. I suffered the slings and arrows, the inevitable jokes, the many renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Star Spangled Banner. The constant query about my relationship to Sally Starr,( a local television celeb) or in later years the infamous ooutlaw Belle Starr. Even today, there is a co-worker , who when he wants my attention calls me"Star Light Star Bright".

I've learned to deal. None of these things are worth a second thought. But if any name related effrontery is gong to send me to the analyst's couch, it will be this. You know the racks of personalized mugs. magnets, pencils, or whatever that are sold in gift shops everywhere ? My name is not there. Not ever. The names go from Stacy to Stephanie. Skips right over Star. Every time.

I still look. Every time. Buoyed by the fact that approximately every tenth person or so who comments on my name says "I went to school with a girl named Star. Was it you?", I assume my name must be verging on commonness. Apparently there are not enough of us yet to warrant mass production.

You may recall that we named our oldest daughter after me. She held up under the pressure pretty well. Although at one point in her early years there was a candy bar on the market called a Starbar. You can imagine how that went. She embraced the uniqueness. She said she was often asked if her parents were hippies. She usually said we were, because it was easier and more fun than the real story. And it was an inside joke because Sarcas-dad and I are the two most un-hippiest people to survive the psychedelic rebellion. Still, she also felt the sting of being left out of the name game. It was an unspoken agreement that if we ever found anything bearing our name we got two of them, one for each. I once scored key chains made of letter beads that spelled out STAR. Of course there were similar ones that said DIVA and HOTSTUFF so it was really a noun,not a name,but we took what we could get.

On Black Friday I was in a card store with Saracas-sis and Sarcasmo Jr. We found a rack of personalized candles. They both easilly found their name. I , as usual, did not. In this particular collection,they had one that read "they didn't have your name". I would have gotten that for Sarcasmo, and she would have laughed.

All of you Davids and Jennifers, you'll never know the disappointment. You Judys and Pauls will never be so disenfranchised. That's okay. According to this list there were 4552 females in addition to myself and my daughter named Star living in the US in 1990.

Anytime now, there's going to be a tricycle sized license plate on a spinner rack.with out name on it.

Monday, November 12, 2007
  Team Sarcas

We finally settled on a new kitchen range. It is all installed in it's shiny Stainless Steel glory. Thus concludes the replacing of all the old almond color appliances. So you know what comes next right?We needed a new floor. The old one clashed with the stainless.

We had picked out and purchased some laminate a few weeks back. It has been "acclimating to the house"in the dining room ever since. With the holidays fast approaching ( if you go by the commercials, Christmas is tomorrow) we figured it was either do it this weekend or the kitchen floor would still be in the dinning room come New Years.

Now remember, we both work in retail, so when I say weekend I mean a Sunday we are both off. So, Sunday, sifter taking the CP out for breakfast we got down ( and I do mean down) to business.

Sarcas-dad and I are a very successful home remodeling team. One reason for this success is that I know how to discharge my responsibilities. They are:

1. Only Do The Tasks Assigned- Sarcas-dad is quite the handyman. He learned from both his father and mine who were also quite accomplished craftsmen. I learned none of my father's skills because I am a girl, and it was assumed that I would marry well. Which I did. Sarcas-dad is quite skillful with his tools. I know one of the reasons my Dad liked Sarcas-dad so much is that he was an apt and willing pupil. Anyway. I do as I am told. Which very often is hold this or push that. Or, as yesterday, "stand on this floor tile while I drill a hole blindly upwards from the basement. And don't let me drill you foot". See I am a very useful team member. Other than that I stay out of the way.

2. Clean As We Go- I am good at cleaning up. So I do. Besides, all the mess makes me crazy.

3.Go to Home Depot-Any and all runs to the Home Improvement Store will be made by me. And there is guaranteed to be at least one. At least one of these has made it to a blog post already. Additional memorable moments include the time I was dispatched to buy 25 lb bags of cement that the were stacked on shelving above my head, and the time I was sent for chicken wire and came home bloodied from the battle.

Saras-dad should know that when he sends my on these missions, I am leaving the house unarmed. It is true that I enjoy a jaunt around the HD when I am just looking. But send me for a specific item and I am lost. It's kind of like shopping for a dress for a special occasion. It I don't need one, the racks are bursting with them. But as soon as I am in the market for one, someone alerts store clerks who hide every last one in my size in the backroom.

There is an old Sesame Street snippet where a mother sends a small child to the store . The child is too young to read so she gives him a verbal list,(That's how old this is. Can you imagine sending child that young to the store these days?) All the way to the store the kid repeats his list."A loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter.(Isn't it amazing what is stuck in my head?). I do the same thong all the way to HD. "A heat gun, a heavy duty scraper, and some Goo-Gone" I had the presence of mind before leaving home to ask where I might find the heat gun.

I looked in the paint dept., but didn't see it. I figured we were putting in new flooring and needed a heat gun so maybe it was in the floor dept. No. When I was finally able to locate a HD employee who was not explaining the fine art of fluxing to someone he graciously told me in exquisite detail where to find the heat gun. In the paint dept. (sigh).

Got the heat gun. Picked up a scraper that looked heavy duty. However it was labeled "putty knife" Even after 30 plus years of home remodeling I have no idea if a scraper and and a putty knife are one and the same thing. Back to the floor dept. for a little looky-loo. Found no scrapers so went with what I had.

Looked high and low for Goo Gone without success. I went to the woman running the self scan registers for assistance. She told me, and I swear she aid exactly this:"the Goof-off is in the paint department". Wondering if that was a Freudian slip I went to the paint dept and found the same employee who had directed me to he heat gun. He applauded that success and once again gave me detailed directions enabling me to get the Goo-Gone, and be gone.

Back to the kitchen where Sarcas-dad and I worked side by side, contorting our bodies into unnatural positions, while one of us pointed the heat gun where the other one was scraping two layers of tile and glue with the heavy duty putty knife. Proving several things. A putty knife and a scraper are interchangeable. Heat guns are indeed hot, especially when you touch the barrel with your bare hand. The last thirty seven and a half years of our relationship haven't been a fluke. We are a good team.

Saturday, November 10, 2007
  Amazing Grace

Yep. It's Amazing all right. Twenty two people criss-crossing the world and experiencing once in a life time challenges, in a quest to win a million dollars, and I can't idenify with one of them.

Not one.

The Amazing Race was my first foray into reality TV. (Of course, since then I've become addicted to Dancing With the Stars). I think I accidentally caught an episode of season two. A former Phila. Eagles cheerleader berated her boyfriend on camera for being such a big wuss about leaping off a cliff and zipping across a ravine. I was hooked. Then I hooked Sarcas-dad and we watched faithfully.

When you first meet the contestants , you really don't like any of them. But as the episodes play out you get to know more about them. And , they get these colorful little 'tags". Descriptive little names that identify each twosome. They are generic monikers at first. Best Friends; Soccer Moms; Life Partners; etc. As the weeks go by however, and the competition ramps up, some of the names get reworked. Such as Dating 12 Years / Virgins . Some of the names stay the same, but the connotation takes on new levels of meaning. In Season 11 designations like Cousins; Beauty Queens; and Newlyweds were code for spawn of the devil.

Every season we watched to date has fielded one mature couple at the start. In amongst the Dating Off and Ons, the Hippies and the Clowns would be a Married Parents; Married 40 Years or a Grandparents. A couple, Sarcas-dad and I could relate to. A couple we could compare ourselves to. Favorably of course. There is no competing with 20 something cheerleaders and chiseled models. But the token old people? We have it all over them. As we sit on the reclining sofa sipping our wine and cheering on the bearers of our standard as they jump out of airplanes and scale mountains we would know that we could have done it better. Smarter.Faster.And with no whining. I hate when they start whining about being old.

Eventually, the older couple gets eliminated. But by then we are tired of them anyway, and have put our support firmly behind a couple that looks like they have a chance of winning.

This past Sunday bought us the start of The Amazing Race Season 12. Who are the competitors?

Dating Goths
Newly Dating
Married Ministers
Best Friends

No married for 40 years grandparents.. There are the married ministers but they are a same sex couple so not entirely relateable. There is a grandfather, and a father, but they are both paired with younger relatives and while they don't have a prayer, it isn't the same dynamic at all. Sarcas-dad and I feel left out in the cold.

We are tuning in again this week in the hopes that we will find some commonality with one of the remaining couples (the best friends are history) . I'm thinking it might be the Goths.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
  Do You Mind?

Every once in a while, Sarcas-sis will ask if I mind picking up the CP from daycare. Do I mind ? Heck no. It is the highlight of any day. Conveniently enough his preschool is only 15 minutes from where I work, and that is only because the traffic is so heavy that time of day. Yesterday I made my way there and got the good parking spot right in front of the door, which also happens to be next to the play area. Between the slats of the privacy fence I could see the little blond head of a crying toddler. "That's not the CP is it ?", I asked the teacher who was sitting with him. "No "she said, and added "you are Mom Mom Star, I take it?"
The center has all the usual safety practices in place. I pushed the buzzer to be admitted and was going to announce into the call box that I was there for the CP, but the woman on the desk recognized me and just waved me in. "Ah Mom Mom Star. The CP came up to the desk and told me you would be picking him up."
I went down the hallway to the Dolphin classroom only to find it dark. A teacher came out of another doorway. "Mom Mom Star? The CP is in the Ocean", she said indicating a common play area with a nautical theme. I had actually walked right by it. "CP" the teacher said. "Look who's here".
The CP looked up from his play and made that zero to a bizillion miles an hour run from a dead stop,, that only a child can accomplish. He jumped up into my arms ,and ,this ladies and gentlemen is the only time in life I am glad I am not 30 pounds lighter, or the impact would have knocked me right over.
Do I mind?
Not a bit.

Monday, November 05, 2007
  I'll Get You My Pretty

Pumpkin & scary witch

I posted this just for the cuteness factor. And because Kenju was kind enough to ask. The Scary Witch (aka the CP) only trick or treated to one house before retiring his broom for the night. He had a lot of fun giving out candy to the ghosts and goblins who found their way to our door.

Halloween is the beginning of the holiday eating season for the Sarcas-family. In quick succession we have my birthday, my SIL's birthday, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, the CP's birthday, and then the entire Christmas Cookie Craziness. Despite the best of our intentions, we will over-indulge. It's tradition. Have I mentioned that I have started going to the gym both before AND after work? Sarcas-dad calls it my two-a days.

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