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Saturday, December 28, 2002


This is the time of the year when people make New Year's Resolutions to do things like lose weight or quit smoking. Television advertisers take advantage of the situation by running LOTS and LOTS of commercials for smoking cession programs and fitness center memberships.

I like the concept of a fresh start and resolution to better yourself, but most people just don't follow through. Me included. Generally I have the same resolution every year: improve my handwriting. Even when I was a little kid, my handwriting was barely legible, and teachers always commented on it.

Then, when I was about 12 years old, I learned to type, and that made my handwriting problem irrelevant.

Oddly, I love fountain pens. Occasionally I get them out, clean them, fill them with ink and try, try, try to write legibly. I CAN do it if I concentrate and slow down.

So, out will come my fountain pens in the next few days as I try again to improve something about myself.

Entertaining Yourself

I grew up an only child. No, I wasn't spoiled. I was, um, kind of an unplanned pregnancy when my parents were still in college, so they were simultaneously trying to learn be adults themselves and be parents. (They succeeded quite well at both, I might add.)

Anyway, when you're an only child, you learn how to entertain yourself. Sure, I always had my kid friends, but generally, I had to be home by dark and so did they. After supper, I'd play quietly by myself or read.

For some people, I've learned, that's nearly impossible. They need the stimulation of peers. For them, being alone is like trying to play tennis without a partner; you keep serving that ball, and there's no one to hit it back.

My wife is one of those people. She has another week off before she has to go back to work, and the unstructured time is beginning to drive her nuts. I have a few work assignments I have to complete, so that requires me to be at the computer for a few hours a day, and my wife is going batty. She's called her friends, but they're all with their families.

My wife takes it personally when her friends don't call her back immediately. "That bitch," I hear her say. "I've called her TWICE, and she still hasn't called back."

We'll go grocery shopping tonight, and as dull as that might sound, Mary will like it because it'll get her out of the house.

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