Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Resolutions

Now that Christmas is over, we can kick the last year in the shorts and move on to hopefully a much better year. Retailers put all their storage supplies on sale and try to force us to get organized. We are inundated with ads for exercise equipment, fitness programs and diet aids. It’s time to slim down while we are packing away all our junk in our new plastic storage boxes. Change is in the air whether we like it or not. I don’t usually make resolutions, but I could benefit from some self improvement. So here goes... In the year 2014, I plan to:
  • Try to get more sleep. 
  • Become reacquainted with my exercise bike. 
  • Step in less dog poop, especially in my living room. 
  • Learn to twerk (right after I master pole dancing). 
  • Get one of those Mike Tyson face tattoos (just kidding). 
  • Learn to play the oboe (OK, not really. I just like to say “oboe”). 
  • Clean the garage, and any nook or cranny that hasn’t been touched in 10 years. 
  • And the Grandaddy of all resolutions - Be more tolerant and less judgmental. If successful, I will need a new hobby because the judging thing has gotten kinda big, ugly and time consuming. I may have time for the oboe after all.

Here’s hoping 2014 is one of the good ones!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Poor Bertha

I don’t understand what’s going on with the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle’s raised double-decker waterfront highway. It’s scheduled to be torn down and replaced with a tunnel. Once it’s torn down, 100,000 of us who drive on the Viaduct every day will have to find an alternate road. An attack from space aliens would be more welcome. It’s going to turn Seattle’s already heinous traffic into a gawdawful mess. Right now, though, there’s been a bit of a snafu. The tunnel is going to be built on landfill next to the Puget Sound. Currently the workers are having to pump water out of the hole that’s being dug by a giant tunnel-borer machine named Bertha. I’m no engineer, but it seems like digging a hole next to a giant body of water is a really bad idea. My only building experience was getting Tinker Toys for my fifth birthday, so I guess my expertise is lacking. Even so, I don’t think I would put a tunnel where I had to pump out water. Bertha is down about 60 feet but has only traversed 10% of the way she needs to go. She has run into some sort of obstacle and can’t go any further. Nobody seems to know what is blocking the way. OMG! I am so totally creeped out by this Mystery Thing. What could it be? I say back out, Chunky Girl! Who knows what’s lurking under Seattle streets? This could be a really, really big rock or maybe the Gateway to Hell. If this were a monster movie, cars would get sucked into a vortex or maybe into someone’s TV. I doubt there is an ancient Indian burial ground down there, but you never know. I’d hate to be big Bertha... first of all because of that name. Seriously, one could never be svelte and petite with a name like Bertha. So, she’s definitely in the right business, busting through bedrock and who-knows-what-else. I picture Bertha deep underground, digging happily away. Maybe she starts to hear the theme from “Jaws”. Duh dum... duh dum... duh dum duh dum duh dum... Poor thing. All alone in the dark, dirt and water everywhere. Then off in the distance she hears a menacing voice say “Release the Kraken!”. No wonder she stopped. Just a theory, mind you. Poor Bertha...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Baby Jesus vs Santa Claus

There has been so much silly talk about the “War on Christmas”. The only conflict I see is trying to keep up with both Christmas stories - Baby Jesus and Santa Claus. Both stories have elements that bother me. First of all, there’s something hinky about the depictions of the Nativity scene. Everyone is kneeling around Baby Jesus, who looks way more mature than a newborn baby. Even though Mary has just given birth, there she is kneeling with everybody else. She apparently didn’t even have time to take a shower or swallow an aspirin before the Wise Men showed up. So I ask you... How do we know they were wise? Did they have to do one of those thought problems? A train is leaving Penn Stations at 1pm, meanwhile a guy in a rowboat in Sacramento is trying to get across the river with 3 people and a dog. How many people got on the train in Poukeepsie? Bet the Wise Men knew. Then you have Santa and his flying reindeer. I think some serious drugs went into the crafting of this story. Santa is a fat man in a red suit who somehow comes down your chimney to leave presents... without anyone hearing him, no sooty evidence, no reindeer poop on the roof. The first time I saw my mom or dad open the chimney flue, I looked up there. I couldn’t see the sky and started to worry about Santa getting stuck. I wondered how he got his fat ass past all the metal stuff. It’s hard to get onboard equally with both Christmas stories. Growing up I was totally on Team Santa. I got to be an angel in our Nativity pageant when I was in first grade. It was fun but I just couldn’t get enthused about Baby Jesus. Santa was a whole other story. I was a little creeped out that he could come into my house all stealthy-like, but I gave him a pass due to the loot he left under the Christmas tree. Now that I’m grown up, I admit I still like receiving presents. And I still don’t feel a connection with Baby Jesus. I try to see past all the buying hoopdeedoo, and focus on good times with friends and family. It’s my way of joining the two stories of Christmas. So Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or whatever works for you!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Naughty, Not Nice

I had a million things to get done this weekend. In order to maximize my time, I squeezed my Sunday grocery shopping in on Saturday. Things were zipping along at a brisk pace, when I got stuck on my last item. Who knew sage would be hard to locate? I spent about 8 minutes searching through the spice aisle. Since I was standing still, and not zooming around the store, I became aware of the endless Christmas carols that were playing. They became more annoying the longer I searched for the damn sage. I finally turned into Crabby Old Man and started to mutter under my breath about whatever hideous version of “Jingle Bells” was being sung. Fast forward to Sunday night... The annual neighborhood Christmas carol event was scheduled, and in keeping with tradition, I was intent on keeping my perfect Non-Attendance record. There is something about carolers that bothers me. They aren’t scary like clowns or people with clipboards. I just don’t know what I’m expected to do when I encounter them. Should I throw money at them? Should I join in and sing along? Should I smile and nod insanely as I’m serenaded? None of these choices floats my Christmas boat. So Sunday evening, when the doorbell rang... twice... I did nothing. I didn’t really need to. My dogs barked their heads off as they tried to bite the front door. I couldn’t have opened the door if I’d wanted to, and I didn’t want to. I felt a little guilty, but nothing could have forced me to endure one more Christmas song for the day. If asked where I was during the festive hootenanny, I’m going with my standard Laundry Room Mishap excuse. Somehow the dryer door hit me in the head and I fell into a coma until the neighborhood carol event was over. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. And I’m also destined to go to Naughty, Not Nice Hell someday.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Survived Another Thanksgiving

Cooking does not come easily to me. I have no passion for it, so self-doubt and anxiety are my companions once I step into the kitchen. I overheard a woman at a coffee shop last week saying she was “just having twelve people over for Thanksgiving dinner”. In my world, the words “just” and “twelve” don’t EVER go together. Every year I struggle to complete the seemingly thousand-course dinner on time, without anyone having to go to the hospital with food poisoning or botulism. This year I decided to cook a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. I picked out one at the grocery store that looked suspiciously like a small turkey. I was thinking a turkey breast would be just a chunk of white meat, similar to a chicken breast. Oh well, I thought, it had to be better than dealing with the usual dead bird carcass. I shoved it into the fridge and didn’t revisit it until Thanksgiving day. When the time came, I cut away the wrapping, and discovered a dead bird carcass but on a slightly smaller scale. It was smaller because it had no legs. It still had the bones and various holes that I don’t like to dwell on. I guess I wasn’t paying too close attention to the packaging that said it was a turkey breast ON THE BONE. Funny thing about not having legs - the turkey wouldn’t sit up as usual. I had to place it in my oven with the meat side on the bottom. This probably made it juicier. However, after a couple hours I needed to get the underside brown. Using two barbecue forks, I flipped it upside down on a little rack and put the turkey back in the oven. About ten seconds later, I heard a thud. The rack had collapsed and Turkey Lurkey was laying on his side. I had to stand the rack up again and shove balls of foil in a few spots to hold the rack in place. I totally MacGyvered it! I felt like a frickin’ genius, but also a little silly. I wondered how many other chefs out there had to do this. Seems like if you have to jimmy stuff and improvise, you’re doing something wrong. In the end, the dinner turned out fine. I had only a small meltdown, and wasn’t reduced to tears. Booyah! Score a big one for me... until next year.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Uptown Saturday Night

My husband and I had quite the adventure Saturday night. For sure it was more exciting than our usual evenings parked in front of the TV with our dogs. A friend of Rick’s was in a play, so we bought tickets and headed out for a night of culture and fun. We got to the theater with a few minutes to spare. The first interesting thing I noticed was a giant transvestite outside the door. This man had to be about 6’5’’ in his giant wedgie high heels. I didn’t catch what was in between the heels and his leather hat because I was focused on the plunging-neckline of his tank top. He was so large, his cleavage was eye level. We went inside the place, and I saw a sign that read “$1 Ear Plugs”. Not a good beginning to the festivities. This theater seemed like a combination pool hall, bar, and cabaret. It was very dark inside, and the music was extremely loud. Those $1 ear plugs were starting to look pretty good. The crowd was mostly men, with a few women sprinkled in. Quite a few people were in costume. I saw a man wearing white from head to toe, with his body covered in white stuffed animals - possibly lambs or sheep. I’ve never felt so awkwardly normal in my life. I’m sure Rick and I stood out like sore thumbs. The inside of the theater was very smokey. It wasn’t cigarette smoke, but some kind of smelly mist. Rick lasted about two minutes before he started having breathing problems. So we left. We headed home, hoping Rick’s friend would understand why we didn’t stay for the play. We both needed to use my inhaler when we got to the house. Then it was back to the couch, the TV, and the dogs. Just like nothing had happened. It was just a hiccup in our routine, with an enormous transvestite and stinky smoke thrown into the mix.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

JFK

President Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago on November 22, 1963. It is inconceivable to me that I’m old enough to vividly remember something that happened so long ago. I was nine years old, and a fourth grader at Cathedral School in Salt Lake City. That day, we were in the lunch room when the announcement was made over the intercom that President Kennedy had been killed. Being Catholic in Utah was kind of difficult. We weren’t exactly accepted with open arms by our Mormon neighbors. When JFK was elected as the first Catholic president, we had our hero. He was young and handsome, and had a beautiful wife and two adorable children. In art class, whenever we were told to draw whatever we wanted, all the boys would draw pictures of PT 109. This was the boat JFK was on in World War II. It was torpedoed by the Japanese, and he rescued all of his men. I wasn’t the least bit interested in PT 109, and figured it was just a stupid boy thing. But I did think the President was pretty dreamy. After he was killed, we were glued to the TV for any tidbit of information. We were huddled around the TV in my grandmother’s sun room when Lee Harvey Oswald was killed. We actually saw it happen live. Amazing! I remember watching the funeral procession move down Pennsylvania Avenue, along with the riderless horse as the symbol of what we had lost. I marveled at the grace and bravery of Mrs. Kennedy, and wondered how she knew what to do. When we saw John-John Kennedy salute his father’s casket, it broke our hearts. I believe it was his third birthday. American’s lives changed forever that day. Soon enough, in 1968, there would be two more assassinations - Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Some of the innocence we enjoyed died along with them. Nowadays, horrific killings happen almost daily. Things seem to be spiraling out of control. I wonder how different our current world would be had those three men survived. Kind of makes you think... and dream.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hammerhead Sharks

A new species of hammerhead shark has been discovered off the coast of the Carolinas. Apparently, it looks the same as your basic hammerhead but has ten less vertabrae. Hmmm... so many questions. Why would someone decide to count a shark’s vertabrae? Was there something hinky about this particular shark that demanded extra attention? This also makes me wonder about the name Hammerhead. What were hammerhead sharks called before hammers were invented? I’ll bet these sharks were around thousands of years ago, but I doubt hammers were. Kind of makes you think way, way back...

God is sitting on a cloud, creating stuff: “This is a Cat - I’ll give it nine lives. This is a Dog - Only one life but it will be best friends with someone I haven’t created yet. This is a Pig - I’ll give it a curly tail. This is a Chicken - I’ll give it a beak for a nose and it will lay eggs. This is a Cow - Not much going on, it will mostly stand around and chew. This is a Horse - Much sleeker than the cow and it will run fast.” At this point, I think God started looking around for interesting ideas. Perhaps his eyes fell on his tool box. “Aha! Hammerhead Shark - This guy will make the other sharks look boring. He will be the handy man among fish.” After this God must have moved on to creating the Duckbill Platypus and Banana Slugs.

Clearly there might be some other explanation to the existence of hammerhead sharks. Not being a scientist, though, I fall back on my limited knowledge - cartoons, lots and lots of TV, and more cartoons. And Charles Darwin is currently spinning counter clockwise in his grave.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Electric Blankets

As much as I’ve been fighting it, I realize cold weather is here. I have been a little shivery during the night, but have been too lazy to get out the heavy blankets. Last week I started dreaming I was cold, so I knew it was time. As a child, we all had electric blankets on our beds. The idea of sleeping under wires seems kind of unsafe. None of us ever spontaneously burst into flames, so I guess it was all good. My mom used to put us to bed way too early, so my sister and I had to come up with activities to occupy our time until we got sleepy. The electric blanket control provided a little bit of orange light, which worked out well for playing Nocturnal Barbies. Another game we invented was Dirty Sock Fight. We would roll up socks from our dirty clothes pile and hurl them at each other in the dark. Even with the pale light from the electric blanket controls, I don’t remember actually hitting my target more than a few times. I’ve always been very active in my sleep. As a child I sleep walked. I remember waking up in front of my floor-to-ceiling drapes, where I had dreamed I was at the blackboard in school. I believe I was writing on the drapes with my finger. After high school, I worked at Holiday Reservations Center. There were nights when I would be taking reservation calls in my sleep. I would ask the caller a question, and when I got no answer I would disconnect the call. Then, a half hour later I would wake up freezing because the Disconnect Button was really the On switch to my electric blanket. I received a dual control electric blanket as a wedding gift. When I put it on our bed, I unknowingly got the controls switched. Rick was too hot and kept turning his side down and I was freezing and kept stoking my side up. We eventually got rid of the electric blanket and went old school. Now I can’t imagine laying under wires, even though I spent my first 20 years of sleep that way. I say pile on the blankets... much cozier, low tech, and they even work during a power blackout.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pinchers

I have been having a small problem with sugar ants in my kitchen. I haven’t been able to find their entrance from the outside, but am constantly on the lookout for them. The other night, I moved a sponge that had been sitting on the kitchen counter. An earwig scurried out... Yikes! It startled me because I was on sugar ant alert, not Disgusting Bug With Pinchers On Its Butt alert. I brushed the earwig into the sink and turned on the water. He got to the edge of the drain, and held on... and on. Do earwigs have tiny suction cups somewhere on their undercarriage? Whatever the case, he wouldn’t go down the drain. It took the sprayer practically placed on his head to send him away. Sometime the next evening, I noticed there was something dark in the dog’s water dish. I meant to clean it out, but forgot about it. The next morning, I emptied the water dish and realized the dark item was an earwig. And it was alive. Seriously! It must have been in the water for hours. It had to be the same hearty earwig that I thought was playing a harp in Disgusting Bug Heaven. This guy was tenacious, truly amazing, and possibly equipped with a snorkel. And given the fact that I’d tried to kill him twice, I was in for the Pinch To End All Pinches if he was not dispatched for good. I really try to love all creatures, but have my limits. Sharks and spiders are on my exception list, as are earwigs. I’m not sure if they actually pinch, but it seems like they are fully capable. I hate to admit it, but I unleashed the full strength of my handy bottle of 409 Spray. Still, the earwig would not give up. Finally, the toxins took hold and he went down the drain. For good, I hope. It being almost Halloween, though, it makes me wonder. What if this earwig was some kind of undead zombie bug? What if the 409 caused a mutation, and he comes back again? I might want to scrutinize the trick or treaters, and look for any telltale signs of a pincher. This guy was relentless, and if he comes back, he’s going to be pissed!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Seven Little Words

I keep hoping Kim Kardashian and her family will go away, but alas, it’s not in the cards. A few days ago, Kanye West proposed to Kim. It was a private, subdued little affair... not. It all happened at AT&T Park in San Francisco. While fireworks crackled and a 50-piece orchestra played, “PLEEEASE MARRY MEEE!” flashed on the Jumbotron. Kim’s family was hiding in the dugout, but supposedly didn’t know why they were there. Hmmm... are they really that dumb? Apparently so. Kanye gave his beloved a 15 carat engagement ring. I say big whoop. They are all obscenely wealthy, so buying a million dollar ring is like me buying a new sweater. I believe Kim and Kanye might just make a go of it. Not because of true love, but because they are cut from the same cloth. Serious D-bags, but probably soul mates who deserve each other. I remember my own marriage proposal. There was no stadium, fireworks, or Jumbotron. As far as I know, my relatives were not hiding nearby. Here’s how it happened... Rick had moved to San Francisco to work for an insurance company. After a few months, he came home for a visit. One night we were talking, and I said those seven little words everyone longs to hear - “So are we getting married, or what?”. I believe Rick’s reply was something equally romantic like “Uh, I guess so”. I think he thought he had months, or maybe even years before the event would happen. Ha... he had no idea that my Planner Gene could trump his Procrastinator Gene every time. Five months later we got married. I already had my ring picked out before the grand proposal. Just three gold bands, no diamonds. I’m a cheap date. I did all the planning. Rick just had to show up. Easy peasy. My sister made my wedding dress for something like $28. Our wedding was in a little chapel, we had a nice reception, and it snowed... just as I ordered. It’s been 36 years since I uttered those magical seven words. Humble works. Something to consider, Kim & Kanye.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Plan B

Yesterday morning, as I was taking my dogs out for their early morning potty break, I noticed a snail hanging out on my front porch. The doggies did their business, and we went back inside. Ten minutes later, snail forgotten, I left the house to go to work. I went down the stairs and felt a crunch under my foot. Shudder... Had I just annihilated some kind of speed demon of a snail? When he met his demise, he was a whole stair down from his last sighting. I immediately went into Plan B mode... I figured my husband would come down the stairs to walk the dogs, step on the snail goo, and go flying. He might lay crumpled on the ground for hours, waiting for a neighbor to come outside and spot him. He recently started a new job, so he doesn’t have much sick time accrued yet. We may be down to one income if I didn’t clean up the mess. All these thoughts occurred as I was scraping my shoe across the lawn. Five seconds max. I went back inside for paper towels and 409 Spray. Catastrophe averted. Last weekend, I picked up my little Yorkie from the groomer. When we came outside, my key fob wouldn’t unlock my car. My brain went immediately to the Plan B place. I wondered how I was going to get my spare key from the jar on the bookcase in my dining room. Nobody was home. Who could I call? Would Stella and I have to hitch-hike home? Hey, maybe the Mini Cooper people could unlock my car from the dealership... It was at this point that I realized I was trying to unlock someone else’s car. My Mini was one car over. At least this time nobody was in the car that wasn’t mine. The last time I tried to unlock and climb in a car that wasn’t mine, a lady was sitting in it. A terrified lady. Sigh. I would love to figure out a way to make a fortune from my Plan B gene. Or maybe harness the power of it. Kind of like wind power, only different. Way, way different.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What I Know About Hockey

My husband is visiting a friend tonight who is a hockey fan. I’m pretty sure Rick’s hockey knowledge is minimal, so I thought I’d share what I know. Ahem, here goes... The sport of Hockey was invented in 1698 by Kevin Shakespeare, William’s younger brother. After seeing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Kevin hit on the name of the round thingy that would be fought over on the ice rink - the Puck. Kevin Shakespeare’s wife, Britney, was an awful cook and always burned the hamburger patties. The design for the Puck, therefore, was born during a family barbecue. The hockey uniform evolved over the centuries. In Shakespeare’s time, hay was used for padding. In modern times, many layers have been added. This was done in case a player got snowed in at the arena. He could wear his jammies and work clothes underneath the uniform, with room for his pillow and blanket. Following are some terms that may, or may not be hockey-related:

Hat Trick - Kind of like a card trick, only different.
Hamel Camel - Used in figure skating, may not be efficient for hockey.
Camel Toe - Who can tell with that uniform?
Dog Pile On The Rabbit - Probably only used in Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Penalty Box - Like standing in the corner in Catholic school.
Piper Down - Only in Scottish hockey.
Roughing The Kicker, Face Masking, & Backfield In Motion - Sounds hockey-ish
Outta Water - Oops... had a Marco Polo moment.

Despite this vast display of my hockey knowledge, I have only attended one game. A deaf couple a few rows down screamed at the refs in sign language. I couldn’t take my eyes off them, and therefore missed the game. My advice to Rick is this - Stand up and yell every time a fight breaks out. And that’s my take on hockey.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

MRI

After six months of physical therapy, I had an MRI on my left shoulder to see exactly what’s going on in there. The procedure included dye injected into my shoulder joint. OMG! Being needle phobic sent me into a major panic. I know it’s irrational and it’s always the anticipation that gets me. Still, the last few days before the procedure were kind of hellish. I was anxious, wasn’t sleeping well, and let me just say that fear is a great laxative. As with most of my needle encounters, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Even though the nurse and doctor were understanding and said not to beat myself up, I felt like a giant boob. There is one more upsetting thing about this MRI that I can’t explain. I supposedly had this same procedure on my right shoulder in 2008. I don’t remember it... at all. I can remember conversations from third grade, 1963. Why wouldn’t I remember a medical procedure with dye, a needle, and an MRI machine? Seems like I’d remember the needle thing. If nothing else, you’d think the sound of jackhammers right under my head would have left a lasting impression. I felt like I’d been zapped into that movie “Gaslight”. I was Ingrid Bergman and the entire medical community was Charles Boyer. Both my nurse and doctor greeted me by saying “Hey, I remember you from last time!”. Crap! I’ve had a few knee MRIs and I remember all of them. I don’t remember having my shoulder in a vice, with sandbags on my arm - to help me “remember not to move”. Whether this previous MRI was a mundane or bad experience, it seems like I would remember it. Makes me wonder what else I’ve forgotten. Could I have another child out there I don’t remember giving birth to? Was I once third runner up in the Miss America Pageant? Did I rob a bank, get away with it, and now don’t know where I buried the money? So, to summarize... I am glad I had the procedure, am way glad it’s over, and am totally embarrassed I blew it up into such a traumatic event. As to the not remembering part... there are only two explanations. I am either insane, or Ingrid Bergman. And damn you, Charles Boyer.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stella, Land Pirhana

My six pound Yorkshire Terrier, Stella, is a mean girl. She tolerates my son and husband, likes my daughter, and hates the hell out of the rest of the world. And me? She worships the ground I walk on. I’m her boo. When we go for walkies, Stella warns the world of her presence by barking incessantly for the first minute. Then she settles down, until she spies a person, another dog, a bird, a cigarette butt on the sidewalk. You name it, she’ll bark at it, or try to eat it. Her most-hated human seems to be any type of delivery person. She detests our postal carrier. When he puts mail in the slot, Stella is on the other side of the front door going ballistic. She actually tries to bite the door, then runs around the corner to where the mail comes in and barks some more. On our walks we sometimes encounter the mailman. He is a real sweetie, and just smiles as Stella loses her mind. I have no idea how she knows it’s him, but she does. She’s seen him from her vantage point on the couch, but I’m surprised that image transfers over to walks several streets away. Yesterday, we walked past a UPS delivery man. Turns out he’s the one person on the planet Stella hates more than the mailman. I’m pretty sure she has something against the color brown. Nothing else explains her dislike of UPS people. She rarely sees them at our house. Maybe she’s ticked off because she never gets packages or mail. I wouldn’t put it past her to order stuff on the Shopping Network (I really should scrutinize the credit card bill more often). I’ve been told that Stella is very busy during the day. While my other two dogs spend their time doing what dogs do... sleeping... Stella roams around the house. More than once I’ve arrived in the front doorway, greeted by underpants on the rug. A gift? Some sort of message? A threat? I’m not sure, but I’m quite certain Stella is behind it. She’s a shady girl. She also bites. I cringe when we have company because I know they are in mortal danger from an attack by the Land Piranha. Pretty embarrassing. It’s a good thing Stella is so damn cute. Barky, bitey, but damn cute.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Basil

My kids, like all kids, wanted a pet. They bugged me at the end of each school year, to be able to take the class hamster home for the summer. I played the allergy card to get out of it, but finally got worn down. In 1999, we decided to get the kids a pet for Christmas. I thought a hamster or guinea pig was too ordinary, and you can’t snuggle with a fish or turtle, so I shopped around for something special. That’s how I found Basil, a hedgehog. I should have asked why he was on sale, but just thought I was in luck. The first week we had Basil, we noticed his quills were falling out. I found a vet who treated exotic animals and was told Basil had mites and would have to be bathed with medicated shampoo for a week. This was the beginning of our sick animal curse, as well as a financial boon for the vet. The kids totally enjoyed Basil. He was supposed to be a nocturnal animal, but Molly would drag him out of his cage as soon as she got home from school. She regularly put Basil in her pink Barbie car and sent him cruising down the hall at super speed. Ben filmed his first video about a killer hedgehog, starring Basil. Hedgehogs are basically poop machines, and don’t groom themselves. Basil would run on his exercise wheel, all the while pooping. Kinda gross, but we loved him anyway. Molly noticed one day that one of Basil’s hind feet was red and swollen. The vet thought he had an infection and we had to give him antibiotics. This involved a syringe and meal worms. Ick! I had to fill the syringe with the medicine, stab a worm and inject it. Then I'd feed it to Basil, who'd gobble it up. Slurp! Worms and needles - The whole process became a benchmark for me of what I can do when I have to. Unfortunately, the medicine didn’t do any good. We eventually had to have Basil’s leg amputated. He lasted a little while, and seemed to be holding out until his replacement arrived - Lucy, our first dog. His passing was sad, and we tried another hedgehog but it wasn’t the same. Ethel was an exercise maniac and not very nice. She bit me and Molly. We eventually talked a girl at the vet into adopting her. Basil was a great little guy and I miss him. But not the worms.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Benny Boy

Some people say that Friday the 13th is unlucky. They are wrong. Today is Friday the 13th, as well as my son Ben’s birthday. It’s totally a lucky day! I can’t believe it’s been 28th years since my first brush with childbirth. Ben came out with a pointy head, but I loved him anyway. I told him he was born with a pencil in his hand, and boy did it hurt. Ok, I lied about the pencil but he was born with some crazy drawing skills. When my dad passed away, Ben was six. He drew a picture of a lady angel so my dad wouldn’t be lonely in Heaven. Touching, sweet, thoughtful, and the angel even had lady lips. We were best buds for 2 1/2 years. Then, Ben got a sister. For the first 4 months of Molly’s life, Ben refused to speak to me. He was pissed! Finally, one day, he asked if we couldn’t please send her back where she came from.  I said nope, she was here to stay. After that, Ben started speaking to me again. I guess he was resigned to having The Interloper around for good. Ben was a pretty easy-going child. He had agility and great balance as a toddler, but that didn’t transfer over into sports. His few brushes with athletics in school ended up with Ben getting beaned or knocked down by a ball. His interest wasn’t in sports anyway. His creative mind took him to more interesting places than a stinky old ball field. I remember watching Ben in the outfield of a tee ball game. Kids rarely hit the ball at all, and for sure not out to where Ben was. He wasn’t even paying attention though. I’m pretty sure he was making a movie, or perhaps a music video in his head. It was more fun watching him just being him. Today, Ben and Molly are friends. I’m pretty sure he no longer wishes her to the cornfield. His drawing skills have taken him to cartoon school and back, making some wonderful friendships along the way. He is on the road to becoming a comic book legend... I’m sure of it. He’s got talent from the bottom of his size 13 feet to the tippy top of his formerly pointy head. Happy Birthday, Benny!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Driving Miss Kimmy

I had dinner with my daughter last night. On the way back to her apartment, we encountered a bunch of construction and detours. Molly guided me back to her place using side streets that I’m unfamiliar with. For some reason, being out of my comfort zone sends me into near panic. Rationally, I know I’m not going to drive off the edge of the world, or burst into flames. It sure feels like Impending Doom is right around the corner, though. It didn’t make any difference that Molly was with me. The apprehension was overwhelming. When I get like that, it shakes me to my core. I feel tingly down to my tippy toes, and not in a fun way. I seriously fear that I am turning into an old person... totally inflexible and afraid. I wonder if each generation has its own old age standards. What might be typical for my parent’s generation, hopefully isn’t the same for mine. At some point in the future, will I start having my hair “done” once a week at the beauty salon? A tight little perm with a ton of hairspray to make it last a week? Just shoot me now. When will I decide to turn in my beloved Mini Cooper for a giant boat of a Cadillac? Will Rick and I shrink to where all you can see above the steering wheel are knuckles? Nobody enjoys getting old. I’ve been told by more than one elderly person that it sucks. Not much you can do about it, except die. I really, really don’t want to be pushing a walker with tennis balls shoved on the legs anytime soon. I’m not ready to give up jeans for polyester pants. Don’t get me started on catheters and adult diapers. That couple on the Swiffer TV commercial, Morty and Lee Kaufmann, give me hope. They are adorable and seem pretty happy with their life. I know... it’s TV. Still, they provide a glimmer of an existence that might not be too horrendous. I’ve always thought being a planner was just how I control chaos in my life. Now I wonder if it’s just the old fart in me trying to get out. Gotta go... must be some kids on my lawn that need yelling at.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Guy Stuff

I love my car, Nigel. He’s a fun-to-drive Mini Cooper. I’ve had him for six months, and it’s been a treat to have a car that doesn’t break down on me. In the last two weeks, however, I have had low air pressure in two of my tires. The first time, my husband filled the tire. Last night I decided I needed to know how to put air in my tires, so went with Rick to find an air pump. At the first gas station, there was a man using the air pump. Or perhaps I should say he was maybe intending to use it, at some point in his life. His big old car was parked in front of the pump, and he was standing there eating an ice cream cone. When he saw us waiting, the man started moving like he was eventually going to use the pump...maybe, after his ice cream was gone. I got mad, and we were on the search for the next air pump. At gas station #2, a man was parked next to the air pump at a wonky angle. I motioned that I wanted to use the pump, and he just looked at me. I got mad again, and was on the hunt for pump #3. This time we hit pay dirt! Oh joy... OK not joy, but my annoyance abated a bit. This is why I don’t understand boys and their toys. It seems to me that many guys totally lose site of their surroundings (and other humans) when they are focused on their cars. I want a car to get me from point A to point B. I don’t want to hang with my car, lick its tires clean. Years ago when we lived in San Francisco, we drove a little yellow Toyota truck. One Sunday morning, we took the truck to a car wash. There was a man hogging the car wash. He had all his floor mats out, hanging them on the fence to dry. He was lovingly washing every inch of his car. He probably used his own toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies. I believe we asked how long he was going to be. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was snarky. He was a total jerk. We ended up leaving the car wash unsatisfied. Thirty years later I’m still a bit steamed. Maybe ice cream cone guy is related to San Francisco car wash guy. Stranger things have happened.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Nice Ricky

My husband is a genuinely nice person. I’m not sure if he tries to be that way, or if it just comes naturally. You have to be total bastard for Rick to dislike you. He wants to like EVERYBODY. A good example of this happened in December 2009. Rick flew to Salt Lake City to attend his mother’s funeral. In planning for the service, he went to “borrow” a bible from the church. There was an usher in the back of the church who struck up a conversation. Rick was pretty sure he was busted for trying to steal a bible but that’s not how it turned out. This man was very friendly and they sat and conversed for a few minutes. He eventually asked Rick if he had any grandkids. Rick said “No”, and the man told Rick he didn’t know what he was missing. Then, he told Rick to put his foot in his lap and took off his shoe and sock. Then, the man proceeded to tickle the bottom of his foot. He told Rick “This is how you will feel when you have grandkids”. Ok, so how many people on the face of the planet would put their foot in a stranger’s lap??? That is soooo Rick! It’s kind of a challenge for me to live with such a pleasant person. I mean, I’m pretty agreeable myself, but he makes me look like Attila the Hun. Or possibly Attila’s wife. I don’t think there’s a catty bone in his body, whereas I definitely have to try to hold down the snark. I usually add a comedic touch, but it’s still snark. My dad was a super nice man. Everybody loved him. They say you marry your dad, and maybe I did. I seriously doubt my dad would have done the foot-in-the-stranger’s-lap thing, though. Rick is a people person, the more the merrier. Whenever I meet someone who knows Rick, I have to suffer through several minutes of raves about how lucky I am to be married to such a great guy. It’s really not a hardship... he is a great guy. I just wonder if anyone ever raves to him about me. Maybe I should work on that snark after all. Or at least get a pedicure in case I run into a foot tickler.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

TV Crime Shows

I especially enjoy watching crime shows on TV. I like a good mystery, and relish trying to solve a murder. There are probably very few details in these crime shows that accurately reflect what happens in a real murder investigation. A few of these details cause me to talk back to the TV. The first one that comes to mind is the fact that nobody on cop shows seems to know what a light switch is. These cops and detectives go into a darkened room with big flashlights blazing, scanning the room for a body, a crazed killer, or forensic evidence. Um, hello... wouldn’t your life be easier, Law Enforcers, if you turned on the damn lights? I’d be willing to bet the search for shell casings would go way faster if not conducted in near darkness. It’s supposed to add to the drama, but only makes me roll my eyes. The second annoying practice on crime dramas are the wrist radios that undercover cops talk into. Do these things really exist other than on TV or in the old Dick Tracy cartoons? If I were a bad guy on the run, I’d steer clear of the guy talking to his wrist... a big tip off. The third silly thing I’ve noticed, is how easy it is to kick in a door. Everybody does it. Bad guys, good guys, little old ladies, babies... you name it. Is everybody’s door made out cardboard? I wonder how many nimrods have actually tried to kick in a front door, only to break an ankle or foot. I haven’t tried this, but assume I’d end up in the ER (while the door would remain mockingly intact). Real life crime investigations probably wouldn’t make good TV. Still, there must be an alternative to investigations in the dark, talking into one’s wrist, and busting down doors. That alternative is not turning on the TV, which doesn’t work for me. So, I guess I should just get over it. I’ll still roll my eyes, though.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cloning John Lennon

This morning I caught the tail end of a news story about a Canadian dentist who wants to clone a human being from John Lennon’s rotten molar. WTF??? Ok, I admit I thought the newscaster said “mole”, which would have been silly, right? But a rotten molar is pretty damn silly as well. In the 1960‘s, John Lennon gave the molar to his housekeeper. Who does that? I mean, is there ever someone so special that even their bad teeth are a treasure??? In 2011, a Canadian dentist named Zuk purchased the tooth at an auction for about $3,000. He is currently trying to have DNA extracted so John Lennon could be reborn. Did this guy not catch the movie “Jurassic Park”??? Cloning didn’t work out so well with the dinosaurs. Who knows how a cloned Beatle would turn out? Zuk must be some kind of a Beatle fanatic and obviously has money to burn. If I had unlimited funds, cloning a rock star from the 1960’s would not be at the top of my spending list... or anywhere on my list. I’d start with a new screen door for my back porch, and work my way up. If I were into cloning a person, I would not choose John Lennon. I have nothing against him, but think there are better candidates to bring back. I think I’d like to have a do-over with Leonardo Da Vinci. He was such a multifaceted genius. He was an amazing painter as well as an inventor. He designed a flying machine, parachute, machine gun, tank, underwater suit, and numerous items 500 years ahead of their time. Eleanor Roosevelt would be an interesting person to meet. I’d also love to spend time with Chuck Jones, creator of Bugs Bunny. I think I’m getting cloning mixed up with actually bringing the person back to life. I’m pretty sure that’s also what’s going on with Zuk the dentist. He’s probably planning on asking a baby cloned from John Lennon’s rotten molar whether Yoko Ono really broke up the Beatles. Dude, that’s not how it works. Just ask those deadly raptors terrorizing Jurassic Park.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Tidy Gene

I was born tidy. It was in my genes. My mom was neat, and threatened to nail coat hooks on our floor if we didn't hang things up. I don't doubt she would have done it. My dad was more of a neat freak. He would have the vacuum out and be moving furniture as company was just pulling out of the driveway. We didn't see this as a bad thing, but just a "Dad thing". I think I carried on the tidy tradition as a way of adding order to any chaos in my life. Rick came into our marriage as trainable. His only sloppiness manifests itself in piles of books everywhere he parks himself. If he were Hansel to my Gretel, he would be leaving books instead of breadcrumbs. I would be following behind, stacking the books neatly, by size of course, and get us hopelessly lost. I remember my third grade teacher allowing me, during class, to arrange the books in the bookcase by size. How bizarre. I have always wondered why she did that, but it made me immensely happy at the time. Ben inherited the neat gene, and reminds me of my dad when I see him organize his things for the next day. Molly, on the other hand, inherited some mutant sloppy gene. I thought I could force her to be tidy, but was told she was messy and liked it that way. Molly ran the hurdle event on her high school track team. This came in handy when getting into bed at night, as she had to get past the moat of clothes piled around her bed. When she moved into her first apartment, I wondered what we would find under the mountain of crap on the floor. I was amazed that only sixteen years' worth of dust bunnies were residing there. My vote would have been a family of Gypsies, a marching band, some scary spiders, and perhaps Amelia Ehrhart. Go figure.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sister Christian

One of my favorite movies growing up was “The Trouble With Angels”, starring Hayley Mills. It was the story of students at a Catholic girl’s school, doing battle with Mother Superior (played by Rosiland Russell). The girls pulled off some awesomely bad tricks on the nuns.The story moved along at a joyful romp, with mischief at every turn. Then, in the last few minutes, Hayley Mills’ character decided to become a nun after graduation. What a buzz kill. It devastated me. Way to ruin a perfectly good time! In real life, I attended a girl’s school for 9th and 10th grade. St. Mary of the Wasatch sat on a hill overlooking Salt Lake City. It was a foreboding presence - a large four-story brick building sitting on a huge parcel of land. There was a gym, tennis court, soft ball field, lots of manicured lawns, and a grotto where girls used to go to smoke (instead of pray). There was a rumor that a ghost had been spotted on the fourth floor. I had no problem believing it. St. Mary’s could be a pretty creepy place. The only teacher I actually goofed on was my 9th grade homeroom/Spanish teacher, Sister Christian. She was a large unpleasant woman who wore a brown habit. Kind of like a UPS truck with a veil. Getting to St. Mary’s when it snowed could be dicey. If a certain number of students stayed home, they would cancel school. One snowy day, we decided we would help the process along by hiding in a closet during roll call. This was a really bad idea, which we realized soon after Sister Christian started calling our names. There was no good way to get out of this sticky situation, so we made a bunch of noise on purpose. Sister Christian opened the door, and her beefy arm pointed to our seats. I don’t remember being punished, but am pretty sure steam was coming out of her ears. Her face turned really red and I thought she was going to bust a gasket. We didn’t mess with her after that. Even the time she got herself wedged in between a desk and a table, I somehow managed to stifle my snicker. Unlike my movie counterpart, I did not decide to become a nun. No buzz kill here. Plus, I look wretched in brown.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lurch

Back in the late 1960's, my sister Kathy was forced to drive a powder blue and navy 1954 Buick. I'm pretty sure it had those chrome bullet holes in the sides. Until Kathy was given the car to drive, "Lurch" had lived in a rented garage. My dad drove the car once a month to keep it in mint condition. This car had shiny acetate upholstery. The only safety feature in the entire car was a bungee cord on the back of the front seat. In lieu of seat belts, riders in the back could hold on for dear life while careening around corners. If you wanted to live on the edge, you could forget the bungee cord and slide across the 10 miles of backseat. It was a behemoth of a car. Adding insult to injury, Kathy was in college at the time, and had to drive a weird neighbor girl to school with her. Lurch got her from point A to point B, so Kathy put up with it. One day on her way home from school, she had to pull over because smoke was coming from under the hood. Then the horn jammed. A fire truck arrived to save the day, with sirens blaring. Kathy was humiliated enough driving Lurch, let alone being the center of a smoke-filled, noisy spectacle. Lurch's demise finally came late one night in September 1968. We had thrown a 25th wedding anniversary party for my parents. Lurch was parked on the street in front of our house. Sometime in the night, a drunk driver somehow hit Lurch broadside, and pushed it up onto the lawn. That must have been some cocktail, to T-bone the Queen Mary like that. A neighbor remarked how it must have been some party for my parents. Seriously??? Just how does someone park a car sideways up on the lawn like that with one side caved in? I can’t imagine what the other car looked like as it limped away. Couldn’t have been pretty. RIP, Lurch.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Childhood Envy

While I was doing the dishes tonight, I happened to notice the kitchen sink sprayer. We never had one of those in my childhood home, but my friend Deb did. I remember her telling me that only her family members could drink out of their kitchen sink sprayer. Then, just to prove it, she drank from it. I was left to watch, salivating. There were some other things I envied. People were always talking about eating TV dinners. We never had them, therefore, they must have been divine. I used to picture myself sitting in front on my beloved TV, eating a TV dinner on a TV tray (something else our house lacked). It was a whole TV theme, and I wanted it. At some point, I got to try a TV dinner. Man, what a disappointment. Maybe I thought a tiny TV would come with each entre. Who knows? Another item I coveted was Chinese takeout. You always see people on TV shows chatting while eating with chop sticks from takeout boxes. Like it was nothing. I assumed there must be something really special about eating food out of a box with sticks. Little did I know the sticks would be a challenge to use. One cool thing my family did get to experience was eating at a place called the Hot Shops. It was one of those drive-in establishments with car hops on roller skates. You ordered your food on a speaker, like at a drive-in movie. Pretty soon a girl would skate out to your car with a tray of food. My dad had a convertible at the time, so his sweet ride enhanced the ambiance even more. Maybe I was born with a desire for the simple things in life. Give me a meal on a summer night in the back seat of the family car any day. I thought it was truly elegant and wouldn’t have traded it for dinner at a five star restraurat. I wonder if there were any items my family had that other kids envied. If so, I probably would have been surprised. The grass is always greener... and all that.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Bongo Congo

On my drive to work this morning, a rat ran across the road in front of my car. At first I though it was a squirrel. Then I noticed the ratty tail, and knew this was no squirrel. A name popped into my head - Biggie Rat. Hmmm... Where did that come from? I gave it some thought, and started to remember a long-forgotten cartoon show from my early childhood. The cartoon was set in the Bongo Congo, where the king was a lion named Good King Leonardo. Seems to me he was kind of a doofus. His sidekick was a skunk named true blue Odie Cologne, who sounded like actor Ronald Coleman. There were two bad guys who always wanted to take over the kingdom. Biggie Rat was a gangster rodent. His partner was the king’s ne’er-do-well brother, Itchy Brother. I remember him as scruffy and not-too-bright. The evil plots were crazy, but the good guys always won. There were a couple of other cartoons in the half-hour show. Tooter Turtle always wanted to be somewhere else. A magical lizard (with a German accent) named Mr. Wizard would zap Tooter into a situation he thought he wanted. Then things would fall apart, and Tooter would yell for Mr. Wizard to bring him back. “Trissle tressle trussle trome, time for this one to come home”. Tooter would be back to normal, having learned his lesson. It sounds kind of dorky describing it now, but I enjoyed knowing that Tooter would soon be in a world of hurt (what does that say about me?). The other feature was The Hunter, a detective dog with a southern accent and a horn. His arch-nemesis was the Fox. I got a real kick out of the Fox because his crimes were so outlandish. He stole stuff like the Eiffel Tower, and then disguised it as an amusement park ride or put it at the bottom of the ocean. The Hunter was kind of dumb (seems to be a pervasive theme among the good guys) but would beat the Fox in the end by accident. These cartoons were imaginative and fun to watch. I’m not sure if I’m remembering them accurately. The memories I do have make me smile, though. That’s what counts.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Don't Go In The Water

I saw a news story about a teenage girl in Brazil who survived drowning only to be killed in a shark attack. Bummer for her. The photo that went along with the story showed a giant sign on the beach. The warning, in two different languages (Portuguese and English), said “DANGER RISK OF SHARK ATTACK”. There was also a silhouette of a shark, smack dab in the middle of the sign. If you ask me, the graphic of the shark was extremely sinister, its mouth parted in an evil smile. So, with this sign planted prominently on the beach, riddle me this... Why in the hell would anyone step even a pinky toe in the ocean there? Also, why would anyone want to be a lifeguard on that beach? You couldn’t pay me enough to risk being eaten on a daily basis. I wonder if they get full dental. I think they need full mental instead. I have a fear of deep water. I’m not sure why. The handful of times I went waterskiing on lakes in Utah, I didn’t encounter any sharks. I didn’t fall too often because I thought something might nibble on me if I did. Fear can be a good motivator. Maybe I drowned in a former life. That’s as good a reason as I can come up with. When I ride a ferry, I generally sit inside and read or view the scenery from afar. I don’t enjoy looking over the railing. It gives me the heebie jeebies. I’ve only seen the movie “Titanic” once, due to the part where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character sinks into the freezing depths of the north Atlantic. I makes me shudder just to think about it. I’m perfectly happy to be a landlubber. I do well in a pool, just not in a body of water where I can’t see the bottom. Give me chlorinated water inhabited by people any day. My sister has swam with dolphins more than once, and lived to tell about it. Good for her. Glad she didn’t get eaten. In my world, the scariest reality is being seen in a swim suit at a public pool. Braving foreign blobs of hair in the locker room is terrifying enough for me. And totally survivable.

Monday, July 22, 2013

De-stenchifying

I spent much of my Sunday afternoon trying to de-stenchify my living room carpet. My little Yorkie, Stella, uses it quite often as her personal toilet. She’s a very smart little dog, and has several pee pads strategically placed throughout the house for her use. For reasons unknown, at least to me, Stella likes to mix it up a bit and pee wherever the hell she wants. I know it’s time to shampoo the carpet when I notice not only my nose hairs, but my eyebrows are burning from the inside out. So, the process began with the assembly of my new Dyson vacuum. I did it all on my own. Hooray for me (OK, in truth it was a no brainer). There is a learning curve to the Dyson. It’s a weird shape, and doesn’t feel or work like all my previous vacuums. I assume I will get used to it. It really sucks... in a good way. After vacuuming, it was time for the shampoo step. I made one pass with the soapy water, but found there was no dirty water to empty when I was done. Hmmm... strange. I should have stopped there, but I went on to step 2 - another pass with just clean water. Again, there was no dirty water to empty. Obviously, the shampooer needed a sucking lesson from the Dyson. I looked online for troubleshooting tips, and could only find a recommendation to make sure the dirty water container lid was shut. I did that, and ran the shampooer over the carpet one more time, without water. Again... zip, nada, nothing. I had to leave the fence up that was blocking the living room. My three doggies parked themselves next to the it and stared longingly at the couch and their toys. I gazed longingly at my nice big TV. Stella was probably busy deciding where her temporary toilet would be. Upstairs? Downstairs? On the stairs? So many choices. In the meantime, Rick took the shampooer to the repair place. Turns out it was operator error (me). Some hose I never use had become detached, therefore no suckage. This afternoon, I ran the water only step again, and voila! It totally sucked! An awesome turn of events. We should all get back to actually living in the living room by tomorrow. Who knew I would ever wish for something to suck???

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Foreign Tongues

I read an article about an American man who woke up from a coma speaking only Swedish. Wow, how very strange and inconvenient. I took several years of Spanish in high school and college, but not much of it stuck. I can say “Hello”, “Good-bye”, “Where is the bathroom?”, and a few sentences from a dialogue I had to learn - “Luisa has a cold. I’m sorry. That’s too bad!”. I met a girl named Luisa about twenty years ago, but she didn’t sound like she had a cold. Otherwise, I would have dazzled her with my bilingual observations. The summer after second grade, I took a French class with two neighborhood girls - my best friend Deb, and a really mean girl named Susan. My mom had found out about the class a week or two after the session began, so I started at a distinct disadvantage. I was shy, and felt like a freak while everybody stared at the new kid. Mon Deiu! It was torture. I can still count to ten in French and remember a couple of songs. I must have learned out of fear. I think some people have a penchant for picking up new languages. I’m not one of them. Maybe the way I was taught was part of the problem. We learned Spanish through memorization, and lots and lots of grammar. We conjungated verbs until our eyes crossed. We did very little actual speaking, which seems like that was missing the point. How is knowing I am speaking in the Pluperfect Tense going to help me navigate my way through shops in Acapulco? Or comforting poor Luisa and her snotty nose? I think my kids also didn’t have a great time with their foreign language studies in school. I don’t remember Ben struggling with Spanish that much, but Molly had a horrible time with French. I’m sure she said “Adieu” forever on the last day of French class. These days I’m concentrating on trying to understand Dog. My doggies seem to understand me, so I guess I need to try harder to get down to their level. Fortunately, dogs don’t conjugate verbs or diagram sentences. I draw the line at sniffing butts, though.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Safe Deposit Box

I detest Chase Bank. They are the worst of the worst of the bastard bankers. A year ago I had had it with Chase Bank. Our safe deposit box was coming up for renewal, so I grabbed a grocery bag and merrily trotted down to the big vault. I emptied out the box and closed our account. It was very gratifying. A year before that we had closed our checking and savings accounts. We had paid for the safe deposit box for the next year, so I felt obliged to wait it out to finalize our relationship with Chase. We moved our money to BECU, whom I love. I put the squeeze on my kids to also move to the credit union. Molly was stoked. She had the same views of Chase that I did. We had both fantasized about hurling flaming bags of dog pooh their way. I shopped around for a new safe deposit box, which is the one thing BECU doesn’t offer. I finally ended up paying for one at US Bank. It seemed like a nice place, and not too evil. That was a year ago. Yesterday, I received a letter from US Bank, telling me that the safe deposit fee for the next year is now due. Crap... I never got around to depositing my stuff in the safe deposit box. This sack of various valuable items has sat on our dresser for a year. Time has flown, and with it, $60 down the drain. When I opened the account at US Bank, I was still collecting the things I wanted to deposit in the vault. Rick was not with me. At some point, I intended to have him go to the bank with me to get his signature on file. And there sat the bag o’ valuables on the dresser...waiting... for a freaking year. I’m not usually a procrastinator. That’s Rick’s job description. I don’t have a good reason for what happened. I guess it was more important to stick it to Chase Bank than it was to put our stuff in a safe place. Kinda dumb. Somewhere out there, the Evil Bankers are snickering. Bwah ha ha....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Divas Giving Birth

I went grocery shopping today, and was again assaulted at the checkout stand by stupid magazine headlines. I forgot I was going to try shopping with my eyes closed. Jessica Simpson had her baby this week, and apparently experienced DELIVERY ROOM DRAMA! At least that’s what the headlines told me. I think, however, corners are being cut. I do believe that is the same headline from two weeks ago when Kim Kardashian had her baby. Only the photos have been changed. I don’t care enough about these celebutards to read the articles. Do they really encounter turmoil every time they breed? I gave birth twice, but don’t remember any drama. My husband forgot the camera at home, and left me to go get it. Pissed me off (only because I didn’t want to be photographed), but I don’t think that qualifies. Perhaps one has to be a celebrity to experience drama while giving birth. Are there photographers hiding behind an IV stand? Autograph hounds waiting outside the delivery room? I am so tired of hearing actresses talk about giving birth and raising their children as though they invented motherhood. They can afford nannies, drivers, and assistants that are not an option for the rest of us. Maybe they consider it drama when they have to actually squeeze that melon-sized object out of that too-small escape hatch. On their own... no assistant can do it for them. I’ll bet there will be no drama stories when Princess Kate has her baby. She has class, being an actual royal person. The divas on American magazines are not usually the cream of the crop. Many are just spoiled brats who demand attention. They are the lesser talents, who make a living by being in the news rather than on their own merits. I suppose there must be people who eat this stuff up. Otherwise the magazines would churn out other stories. Next week, I should try to just go through the checkout stand with my eyes closed. I can still grocery shop with my eyes open. I’m sure the cashiers will understand.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Don't Needle Me

About eight years ago I tried acupuncture to relieve pain in my knees. I’d had three knee surgeries, and ended up with osteoarthritis. I detest needles. Hate them. They are right up there with spiders. Eeuuwww, ick! Only a big, hairy spider armed with a hypodermic needle would be worse. But hey, I thought it might be worth it to solve my moderate pain. It didn’t work, but I gave it a valiant try... eleven times. The first acupuncturist was a nice lady who told me that she got into the field because it just made sense to her. It made absolutely NO sense to me, which is probably why it didn’t work. You poke a needle in my face to fix my knee pain? Isn’t that sort of in the wrong neighborhood??? The woman started out with a needle right in the tippy top of my head. That totally freaked me out, but I somehow held it together. I played it cool, like I was totally OK with someone harpooning me in the head. No biggie on the outside, but inside I was screaming “WTF???”. I think I had five sessions with her, then she passed me on to her boss who had years more experience. The second acupuncturist tried many different techniques over six sessions. Some needles hurt only a little, and others hurt like hell. I think I deserve a tee ball trophy or major award for giving acupuncture a go. I’m not sure I’d try it now. My needle phobia has gotten worse, plus I seem to be more sensitive than ever. I’m currently doing physical therapy for shoulder pain. I’m not sure if it could be fixed with a cortisone shot, but that’s not an option. I prefer to suffer rather than face a needle. Silly maybe, but that’s how I roll.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ninja Prancercise

I ordered a little exercise bike on the internet, and it should arrive any day now. I hope it doesn’t end up being just a giant paper weight, or a a future yard sale item. I’m determined to get into shape. About 16 years ago, I bought a unicycle. At the time, my son Ben was in 5th grade. His school had brought in unicycles for the kids to try for a week. I got jazzed about it for myself. These were mere children. Certainly I could master a unicycle as well, I thought. I purchased my own unicycle, and named her Eunice. I got a helmet, and piled patio furniture on either side of me in the backyard. I tried to pedal and balance while holding onto the furniture. It was a total bust. Then I tried using two mop handles like ski poles. That was no easier. Basically, I would put on my crash helmet, pump up the tire, adjust the seat, try a couple rotations, and then quit. I think it’s high time to try again. I know Eunice is somewhere in the garage, possibly suspended from the ceiling. There could also be some new options if the one and two-wheel bikes don’t do the trick. I saw the Prancercise lady on TV the other day. She is a skinny Florida woman with big hair, who prances around in pearls and ankle weights for fitness. She also wears white spandex pants. That’s a deal breaker for me. I could channel my inner pony, but definitely would nix the pants. I’ve been seeing a commercial for a reality show called “American Ninja Warrior”. I have no idea what it entails, nor do I intend to watch it. A thought occurred to me... What if you incorporated Prancercise with Ninja Warriors? I could totally envision the outfit - Black hood and mask, pearl necklace, pants of one’s choice (Ninjas do NOT wear white spandex). Prancing and dancing like a fancy pony, while swirling numchucks. Hi ya... trot, trot! I might be on to something. The “Pony” was my signature dance move in high school. Foreshadowing of the future??? So, it looks like I have a lot of fitness choices coming my way. Hopefully, I will find the right option without ending up in a body cast. Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Just Can't Put This Behind Me

Aside from being horrified at the gawdawful name Kim Kardashian has bestowed on her baby girl, I was feeling a sense of relief that maybe all the hoopla was over for a while. Then I went grocery shopping. There had to be at least four different magazines/filthy rags at the checkout stand with stories related to the birth. The baby is only a few days old. Enough already! Kanye West was present at the birth, Kanye West was NOT present at the birth, Kim refused doctor’s orders to take off her high heels, Kim won’t breast feed since her body has already been through enough, Kim was a “Delivery Room Diva”. Sheesh! Who knows if there is a grain of truth in any of the stories? If Kim Kardashian is human (the jury is still out on that one), she was probably scared and did what her doctors and nurses directed her to do. That doesn’t make for a very good story, though. I saw a blurry photo of her grimacing, purportedly during childbirth. This reminded me of something no one can dispute - Kim Kardashian is the World’s Ugliest Crier. Seriously. She looks like she just tasted ear wax, and smelled a fart while being jabbed in the neck with a hat pin. Years ago, probably before the 1970’s, movies used to allude to a sexual encounter by showing fireworks, or scenes of beauty. I think the media who record Kim Kardashian’s every movement need to come up with a euphemism for her crying. That way we won’t have to suffer at the sight of the real thing. Maybe we could see a car with a flat tire, a puppy with a sore paw, or an empty cookie jar. Anything but the ear wax face. One magazine showed a photo of Kim next to a photo of Princess Kate Middleton. Oh puhleez! I certainly hope the British don’t think Americans see the Kardashians as our royalty. That’s just too damn embarrassing a thought. I know I need to put this behind me, but it’s really hard. I wonder if I could grocery shop blindfolded. It might come down to that...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Baby Names Gone Wrong

I heard what I hope is a nasty rumor - Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their baby girl “North”. Sigh... North West. Maybe we’re all being punked. I doubt it, though. These two are major D-bags. It would be appropriate for them to saddle their baby with a heinous moniker, all in the name of media buzz. Kim and Kanye love the letter “K”, since apparently it was invented just for them. I would not be surprised if they spelled the baby’s name “Knorth”. As long as they’re being horrible, they might as well take it to a new level, right? I wonder if K & K will have more children. There are unlimited bad choices to go with the last name West. Here are a few...

Go West
Far West 
Due West  
Wild West 
South West 
Can’tWaitToGrowUpAndSueThePantsOffTheseAwfulPeople West 

There should be a law against celebrities saddling their offspring with terrible names: Apple, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Flight Inspektor, Morroccan, Blue Ivy, Moxie Crimefighter, Banjo, Kyd, and on and on. When I’m Queen of the World, an Anti Stupid Name law will have to be enacted. It will come after all smokers being relocated to Antarctica, and before all versions of “Jingle Bells” being strictly prohibited. These people need to be stopped. It’s probably too late for poor little North West. I’ll be awaiting my coronation... then watch out K & K.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Used To Be A Babe

Does anyone know they're in their prime, when they're in it? I think not…at least I didn't. Back when I was twenty-something, I was fit and in the best shape of my life. I was a newlywed, living in San Francisco, and taking ballet classes two to four times a week. I won't say I was hot, but I was probably a good solid OK. One day, I got talked into going to a nude beach at Hagmire Pond in Marin County. I felt so self-conscious and, well, naked. It was truly not a good time for me, but I toughed it out. Rick, on the other hand, was in naked people heaven. I don't think it really mattered to him that most of the people at the pond should have kept their clothes on. Naked is naked, I guess. A few years ago we went back to San Francisco for the Bay to Breakers foot race. I parked myself at the halfway mark and people-watched while I waited for the family to run by. This race is famous for costumes, or the lack thereof. To pass the time, I counted naked people. I got up to about 80 naked men and 8 naked women before I stopped counting. As with the naked beach crowd from 30 years ago, most of the naked runners should have kept their clothes on. Not too appetizing on an early Sunday morning. I have never personally enjoyed nudism, and embrace my inhibitions. I'm convinced my birthday suit came with socks. I say the more clothes the better. Layer me up! The old bod is bigger and lumpier than in the old days. I now have the muscle tone of yogurt with fruit at the bottom. On the positive side, I think I am finally safe from having to spurn invitations to a day at a nude beach.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strange Occurrences

Strange things were a happenin’ this weekend...

-  Under the Ballard Bridge, where there is always someone begging for money, I saw a man holding an imaginary sign. His hands were clutching nothing, but were positioned as though he was holding a sign. This was one time I didn’t feel guilty about not giving a donation. I figure I gave him imaginary money to go with his imaginary sign.

-  I might have seen Elvis at the grocery store. There was a chunky Asian woman (at least I think it was a woman) who was wearing an ENORMOUS belt buckle. It was about the size of a paper plate, only oval rather than round. It reminded me of something Elvis might have worn with his white jumpsuit, back in his chubby days. Not exactly a hunka hunka burning love, but you never know...

-  I seem to have had a temporary transformation from my road raginess of last week after I was stuck in traffic from hell on the Viaduct. I was at Macy’s, with a $10 off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. I was unable to find anything to buy and decided to give away my coupon. I chose a lady about my age, who was in line to pay and had an armful of clothes. I gave her the coupon and she was so appreciative. It was very gratifying. After I left Macy’s I motioned to a man looking for a parking place that I was leaving. WTF??? Was I suddenly becoming Mother Theresa? Seemed that way. I was definitely feeling the love. Two good deeds in the span of two minutes. Wow. I might consider being less ragey more often.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Barfing Crow

On my way to work this morning, a squirrel ran in front of my car. After that, I saw a a crow that looked like it was throwing up. Hmmm... I wondered if it was some kind of omen. Then I forgot about it, and went on with my day. Nothing bad happened... until I was on the drive home from work. There was an accident in the Battery Street tunnel, closing it. This meant all the northbound cars on the Viaduct had to exit before the tunnel. Three lanes had to smoosh down into one. Ugh! Being the planner that I am, I was already in the exiting lane. As my lane barely moved, the cars in the other two lanes kept going by. Eventually, they had to merge into my lane, after jumping way ahead of me. This is a major pet peeve of mine. A few years ago, I was in a long detour. As I got closer to the end, a blonde woman in a red convertible pulled up next to me and motioned that she wanted me to let her in. By this time, I was steamed. I gave her my very best “No way, biatch” look and shook my head. She zoomed up ahead, went down another street and did a U turn. She ended up in front of me after all. As she drove away she looked in her rearview mirror, and waved back at me. Oh the injustice! The best I could hope was that she got a nice sunburn on the tippy top of her blonde noggin. When I drive, I sometimes have the maturity of a two year old. Today I had an appointment to get to, so I didn’t handle the whole traffic mess very well. I was ticked off at whoever caused the accident in the tunnel, and muttered at every car and truck that passed me by. It occurred to me that maybe this is what the barfing crow foretold. Either that or some nimrod just did a dumb thing inside the tunnel. Take your pick. My money’s on the crow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'd Like A Word With You

Here is a list of interesting words that should come up more often in daily conversation:

Minion (a subordinate of a person of power)
Hyperbole (obvious and intentional exaggeration)
Carbuncle (a skin inflammation similar to a boil)
Doppelganger (a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person)
Plethora ( excess, overabundance)
Odious (extremely unpleasant, repulsive)
Pernicious (destructive, causing great harm)
Insidious (treacherous, proceeding with harmful effects)
Dastardly (wicked and cruel)
Lollygag (dawdle)
Chortle (chuckle)
Cahoots (conspiring together secretly)
Phalanges (a bone of the finger or toe)
Criminy (mild oath to express surprise)
Ostentatious (vulgar or pretentious display)
Spunky (plucky and bold)
Conniption (a fit of rage or hysterics)
Bliss (perfect happiness)
Persnickety (fussy)
Skedaddle (depart quickly, run away)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Two Things I've Learned

My brain must be bigger today, because I’ve learned two things this week...

- At my physical therapy yesterday, I experienced Cupping. Sounds sorta dirty but it wasn’t. My therapist massaged my shoulders with lotion and then applied a blue rubber cup. It created suction, and was then moved around. It felt weird, but didn’t hurt that much. I kind of liked it. I was told it might leave a bruise. I later looked at my shoulders, and saw that I had two giant purple hickeys about the size of a tennis ball. I looked like I had been making out with a giant squid. Cupping has been around since 3,000 BC. I would love to know what led to its inception. It’s unfortunate it leaves unsightly bruises. Not that I hang out in halter tops and sundresses. I know what’s lurking under my shirt, though.

- My next door neighbor told me his dog caught a Mountain Beaver. WTF? It is neither a beaver nor does it live in the mountains. It is native to the Northwest. This creature is part of the rodent family and is described as a furry football with claws. It has tiny ears, beady little eyes, and a stubby tale. Info I found made the Mountain Beaver seem as elusive as Bigfoot. Not too many people have actually seen one. I guess my neighbor is one of the few. Mountain Beavers tunnel underground like moles, usually under trees and bushes. The article I read also said they eat their own poop, similar to rabbits. OK, make that three things I learned this week. I did not know rabbits eat their own poop. I will never look at Thumper or the Easter Bunny the same way again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

All Messed Up

I recently started physical therapy for a painful left shoulder. At first my therapist thought I might have a frozen shoulder. Now he thinks I’m just all messed up (my words, not his). Good news, I guess. I’ve had my two shoulders compared to each other, and my arms tested for strength. I believe the verdict is that I would probably lose in a fist fight with a squirrel (again, my words). I have no upper body strength and apparently don’t use my shoulders correctly. It seems I use my neck muscles for just about everything. This leaves my scapulas inert, and lazy. If they could, I assume they would spend all day in the basement playing video games. I found out last night that I don’t even breathe properly. Instead of breathing from my diaphragm, I breathe using my neck muscles. Who knew? I thought my lungs were in charge of that task. While my left shoulder is the painful one, I was told that my right shoulder is unstable. Hmmmm... Should I be afraid of it sneaking up on me with a big knife??? During my physical therapy, I am constantly being told to concentrate on using my scapula muscles. It’s like ordering me to move a nose hair at will. My therapist, bless his heart, keeps asking me how it feels. And I keep saying “Uh... I don’t know”. It’s hard to tell how something feels that you can’t feel. Pretty frustrating, for me as well as him. I’m kind of like Luke Skywalker being taught by Yoda. I fear that I will NEVER raise my scapula out of the swamp. Tomorrow I start deep tissue massage. I have a feeling it won’t be fun. I had to buy a tank top for the occasion, and am dreading having my un-toned arms on display for the whole world to see. I am, however, determined to make this work. I am done with needles and surgery. So if I have to learn how to breathe all over again and levitate my scapulas, so be it. Maybe I’ll make Yoda... er, my therapist proud.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ho's

Yesterday, I noticed a new billboard across from my office. There was a photo of a sultry, beautiful woman who was snuggling up to a man in a suit. The words said something like “Meet your new best friend - JO”. There were some other words on the billboard, but I couldn’t read them. I went to an office that faced the sign to see if I could get a better view. Someone had binoculars, and read the entire sign to me. Turns out it was a billboard for a sex toy/lingerie store called “Lover’s Package”. When I first viewed the JO sign, I thought it was an advertisement taken out by a local ho. My office sits on Pac Highway, a well-known spot for hookers. The Green River Killer shopped for his victims on this street. I have seen some strange things around our building. A guy was hanging out in the bushes one day, and we had a bird’s eye view of the security guy coaxing him to relocate. I’ve seen panhandlers and a couple of hookers, so I know it’s not a myth about being a sleazy area. We have a large parking lot, and have seen quite a few cars gyrating in place. Years ago, a very straight-laced man dropped off his very straight-laced wife at our office. As he left, he pulled up to a stop light. A woman was waiting at the corner, so he motioned her to cross. Instead, she jumped in his car. She was a ho, and he was in major shock. I’m surprised he didn’t drop dead right there. All these years later it’s still funny to me, but I doubt the man found it so. Tee hee. I used to fantasize that if I ever had to go into Witness Protection, I would either hide out as a hooker or a nun. In my mind, either extreme was totally no place anyone would think to look for me. Thinking about it realistically, though, I would have to go with the nun-hood. Being a ho is not an option. Realistically... like I will ever need a plan for Witness Protection.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grama Louie

My dad’s mother was named Euella, but we called her Grama Louie. I was a tiny bit frightened of her, but mostly thought she was the best person around. On nights when I have trouble falling asleep, I mentally walk through Gram’s house, rather than counting sheep. She lived in an older three story house. It had a scary concrete basement, basic rooms on the ground floor, and three large bedrooms on the top floor. The closets in these rooms had smaller closets behind them. That totally creeped me out. One night, my sister Mickey and I heard something in the closet slide down the wall and land on the floor with a thump. My immediate reaction was to whisper “A BODY!”. I’m not sure why I thought Gram was hiding a body in the closet, but it seemed to make sense to me. I think we stared at the closet door until we fell asleep. In the morning, we looked in the closet and found a clothing bag on the floor. Sheesh! Grama Louie was my mom’s default babysitter, so we spent many a night there. She had some flannel nightgowns that had belonged to her mother. A few times she let me wear one to bed. It was white and had little purple flowers on it. We always wore pajamas, so sleeping in a long nightgown seemed ever-so-elegant. It was too big, but I felt like a princess. When we were supposed to be napping, and of course wouldn’t be tired, Gram would check on us. One time she stood next to our beds and watched us until we started laughing. Acting like we were sound asleep hadn’t fooled her. We were probably fake snoring. Mickey and I figured out which stairs squeaked, and thought we could sneak downstairs without making a sound. I’m sure Grama Louie was far more savvy than we expected. She probably heard every squeak we thought we had squelched. She acted stern, but I’ll bet she was amused. Gram was an excellent cook. Everything she served was exquisite, except maybe beets. Gram always used linen napkins, so there was no way to hide the beets in them on a surreptitious visit to the bathroom. I’m not sure if anyone inherited Gram’s cooking genes. Certainly not I. But she left me with great memories that make me smile, and smack my lips.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

To Sleep Or Not To Sleep

I don’t know what to do with my arms when I go to sleep. I lay down, get my covers arranged and then try to figure out where to put my arms. I sleep on my side in a fetal position - apparently a fetus with long, gangly arms. I put one arm kind of over my face... not comfortable. Then I try over my head. No. How about underneath me? Not so much. I twist and turn, and switch sides. Funny thing though. I have the same dilemma on the other side as well. After tossing and turning, I finally come to some sort of twisted positioning that works... until I need to get up in the night, that is. Then the process starts all over. I also have an issue with darkness, or rather the lack of it. Ideally, I need total darkness to sleep undisturbed. When it’s windy outside, the neighbor’s motion-sensitive porch light goes on and off all night. That doesn’t work for my uber-sensitive eyes. I have a little strip of fleece that I put over my eyes when light starts to creep in (damn you, sunlight!). It’s kind of like the poor man’s Hollywood Beauty Mask. I just tuck the fleece behind each ear and I’m good to go (to sleep that is). My mom must have had the same affliction. Her fix for it was to use a maroon knee sock. Between the knee sock around her eyes, and toilet paper wrapped around her hairdo, she was quite a sight. But hey, she slept well. The only problem I find with my little piece of fleece is that it can leave a crease or two on my face. It sometimes looks as though I slept on the heat register, or was mauled by a bear. Take your pick. I guess it wouldn’t take much to torture information out of me. Just turn a 60 watt lightbulb in my direction, and I’d spill my guts. Or force me to sleep on my back, arms at my side, and I’d tell you anything you want to know and then some. Guess I’ll scratch International Spy off my To Do List.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Please Ignore Me

I am seldom right. Just ask my kids. And when I’m wrong about something, I’m bold about it. Not that I do it on purpose. It’s as though Fate follows me around, stalking me, to make sure my predictions or observations are smacked down. Immediately. For example, years ago we were at a restaurant waiting to be seated. My son put some change in one of those claw machines. At the very moment I was saying “You’ve wasted your money. Those things are rigged. They NEVER work!” the claw picked up the targeted stuffed animal and dropped it down the hole. I was amazed. I had truly believed in my own wisdom. Go figure. Another time I was about to drive past a guy begging for money on a street corner. I told my daughter “People NEVER give these guys money” as the car in front of me stopped to do just that. Wrong again. Back in the early 1980s, we bought our first VCR. I remember thinking it was a frivolous piece of electronics. I think I actually said out loud “Why would anyone want to watch a movie in their home, instead of on a big screen at the movie theater? This will NEVER catch on.” I also predicted the end of Reality TV after the first season. I just couldn’t see it being a popular trend, and assumed it was just a passing fancy. I would like it to go away (are you listening, Honey BooBoo?) but it’s probably here to stay. At some point, I also might have mentioned how silly and extravagant cell phones were. Hmmm... If I had lived 90 years ago, I probably would have been one of those people who pooh-poohed talking movies. Maybe my advice and predictions reflect how I want the world to be, rather than how it really is. I guess it’s good nobody pays attention to my predictions. If they ever do, we’re all in trouble.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sicky McSickerson

I caught the crud from Molly. It’s a weird, bad flu bug that effects everybody differently. I am mostly achey, really really achey. I possibly might have been hit by a semi truck and dragged, then got amnesia and forgot the incident. Not sure. When I’m sick, I refuse to stay in bed. I always shower, get dressed, and hang out on the couch in front of my beloved TV. I’ve done this ever since I was a kid. I’d have to be on death’s door to stay in bed. I enjoy watching TV shows, but can’t seem to tune out the commercials. I just lay there like a slug, and soak it all in. Aside from feeling awful, the commercials are bringing me down. Perhaps they market to people who are home during the day. This, I believe, would be the elderly and the sick, and apparently those with low self esteem. If I had a prostate, I now know I can take a pill so I don’t pee a lot, and which pill is better than another. I can take a pill and lose weight FAST. Easy peasy. I can also fix my bad credit. Seeing as how I’m sick, I’m unable to read the fine print at the bottom of the ad. If I had acne, it would be gone as long as I sent away for Proactive. I’m pretty sure an airbrush, spackle, and a movie special effects artist are involved. Nobody’s skin looks like that. Male testosterone enhancement has gotten confusing. Would I take a pill, then get me a sports car and young hot woman? Or would I use the armpit application, and make sure I don’t get too close to children and pregnant women? If anybody at home is a victim of medical malpractice, they just need to call the toll-free number and all will be well. I guess I’m looking at this all wrong. These commercials aren’t appealing to people’s fears. They are just trying to help. Yup, they’re helpers. And if they just happen to drain someone's bank account, oh well. By the time I’m well again, I won’t have acne, I’ll be glad I’m not a guy, and will know the names of any lawyers I might ever need. I can’t wait...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Today was Mother’s Day. It wasn’t what I had in mind, but turned out to be a kind of quintessential way to spend it. The plan had been to go out to breakfast with my kids, Ben and Molly. Unfortunately, on Friday Molly let me know that she was home sick with the flu. When she had her dad bring her to the house, I knew she must be feeling really awful. The poor kid was extremely nauseous and couldn’t keep anything down, not even sips of water. Eventually, she was spewing at both ends. This went on until today. Molly’s doctor advised her to go to the ER to be treated for dehydration. So, off we went to Northwest Hospital. Molly got put into an examination room. I had to leave while she was getting hooked up to IV fluids, due to my needle phobia. I was starving and checked out a vending machine. I pushed the wrong number for my choice, and got some weird shortbread cookies instead of a Twix candy bar. Drat! Back in the room with all the needles, Molly was starting to feel a little better. She had been given some water to sip, plus a blue barf bag, just in case. It looked like a giant blue condom. I put the bag on Molly’s head and snapped a photo with my iPhone. Party time! You can have all the meds and needles and antiseptic smells. Give me laughter anytime. I laughed at that photo until my nose crinkled. Even thinking about it now makes me giggle. There were lots of sounds and smells. We listened to a guy down the hall yelling to be let out of his restraints. Oh, it was a special, special day. But you know what? I can’t think of a more appropriate way to spend Mother’s Day than with my baby girl, trying my damnedest to make her feel better. I missed hanging out with my son, but know that he was at least safe and healthy today. All in all, not a bad day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Snails

This morning as I was bringing my dogs in from their 5 am potty break, I noticed a pile of gunk that used to be a snail. Did it explode or get stepped on? Either explanation was nauseating to me. Snails are weird creatures. They are slimy little blobs who lug their houses around wherever they go, oh so slowly. In addition to their lack of speed, snails leave behind a trail of glittery goo. They could never sneak up on a guy, which I guess is good. I used to think slugs were just snails who were out of their shells on a joy ride. I don’t think that’s right, though. I’ve seen slugs of different sizes and colors. I’ve never encountered snails that looked anything other than your basic little greenish-brown crunchy creature. I wonder if they are connected to their shells. I get the sense that they are. Seems like stepping on the shells kills the wormy little guy part as well. I’m just grossed out enough by them not to investigate. People cite the platypus when talking about animal design mistakes God has made. I think snails should jump... er slither, to the top of the list. If I were to re-design a snail, I’d start with their mode of transportation. I’m not sure what exactly moves them. My design would have the same kind of caterpillar tracks as a tank, on a smaller scale. That way, we could probably get rid of the slime feature (even though I kind of like the glittery part). Tiny wheels or rollers would also work. As long as we’re at it, we should probably give the snails some sort of defense system. Just grossing out an enemy isn’t enough. Maybe a stinger or some spikes would work. It might mess up French cuisine, though. What possessed the French to look at snails and say “Mon Dieu! I’ll bet that would taste amazing in melted butter”??? They must be insane. I feel no animosity toward snails. I sort of feel sorry for them, being unable to dodge a multitude of things that could crush them at any moment. Who knows? Maybe it’s exhilarating for them... living on the edge. A very slow, slimy, gooey edge. Ick.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Surf & Sand

I used to love the “Gidget” movies, and occasionally watched the TV show. I totally got into the whole Moon-doggy boyfriend thing, but couldn’t relate to hanging out on the beach day in and day out. You just can’t ever get rid of all that sand. You think it’s gone, but it never is. I used to worry that my family would end up living near the ocean and I’d be forced to become a surfer. A life of perpetual sunburns, plus sand in my nooks and crannies didn’t sound great. We never strayed farther than the shores of the Great Salt Lake, so I needn’t have worried. Now that I live in Seattle, and I’m all grown up, I no longer fear being forced to become a surf bum. Whenever the sun comes out, people here head to the beach... any beach. The Puget Sound and Lake Washington are hella cold and hold no fascination for me. I dread summer. I am probably the only person in Seattle, maybe even on the planet, who dislikes the sunny season. You’d think living in gloomy Seattle would make me yearn for hot temperatures. You’d be wrong. I embrace the overcast skies and am truly in my element. I have never enjoyed baking in the sun. Growing up in Utah, I gave it a valiant effort. Summer to me meant at least one severe sunburn, with chills and blisters. We used to put Noxema creme on our mottled skin, which probably made it worse. Being in bright sunlight makes me squint and gives me a headache. No amount of seasonal denial is going to stop summer from arriving... as much as I try. Last weekend I threw in the towel and changed my closet from winter to summer clothes. Yesterday I wore capris to work. It’s true... I unleashed my lily white ankles on an unsuspecting population. As far as I know, nobody went blind. I repeated my fashion choice again today, and everyone survived. I guess I’m a little too self-involved to think I’m the only pale person in Seattle. I’m probably the only pale person who likes it that way, though. I’m counting the days until Fall... got a long way to go.

Friday, May 3, 2013

What's That Bright Object In The Sky?

Today was a very sunny Friday, and the warmest day of the year so far. On my way home from work, traffic was CRAZY! Leaving work at 2:30pm, I usually have a nice commute. Most people are heading in the opposite direction, so barring any accidents, I usually have no problems. Today, though, was different. I think the big, shiny object in the sky had bewitched everyone, and not in a good way. I believe all of Seattle was in their cars at 2:30 today. The commute had a kind of bumper car feel to it. Everyone had to pay attention to the road in order to avoid a Friday afternoon traffic armageddon. On any given day, Seattle traffic is heinous. I took the Underground Seattle tour years ago. I can’t remember how many founding fathers there were, but each picked his own area and mapped out his streets. This is why Seattle streets are laid out in an incongruent way. No wonder we have the Mercer Mess. On days when the sun comes out, the goofy streets become a free-for-all. It reminds me of the movie “The Time Machine”. In that movie, people thousands of years into the future have become the food source for the Morlocks, blue-skinned cannibals who live underground. Seattlites are better looking and better behaved than the Morlocks. Except when they drive. OK, this isn’t a good comparison. But how often do you get to talk about underground, blue cannibals? I wonder what will happen once the giant tunnel borer, Big Bertha, starts to dig the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I am dreading that. Where are 100,000 cars going to go? More importantly, where is my car supposed to go? And what happens if the sun comes out? It won’t be pretty.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Driving Nigel

I have never been “into” cars. They are just a way to get from point A to point B. The first car I bought was a new 1974 Toyota Corolla. It cost $3000, which was a fortune to me at the time. Nowadays I might drop that on a couple of vet visits. It was a great little car, but we had a rocky start. Tyrone was a stick shift, which I thought I knew how to drive. I was wrong about that, and living 14 blocks up from the bottom of a hill made our relationship stall. I eventually mastered the stick, and we had a good 10 years together. This included 8 years in San Francisco. I went through 3 clutches while there, so maybe my mastery of the stick shift wasn’t all that masterful. Next came a pickup truck (my husband’s idea), a Landcruiser, and a couple of Subarus. Oh, and there was Maxine, my bad girl VW Bug. Two months ago, I purchased a Mini Cooper. I named him Nigel, as he is oh so British. He is also great fun to drive, and I was his one and only until this last weekend. We loaned our son Rick’s car for a few days. Unfortunately, Rick had to work, so I was forced to share Nigel. Friday night Rick and I stopped at the grocery store. The plan was to have him drive home to get accustomed to Nigel. Rick sat in the driver’s seat, put the Mini key fob thingy in and pushed the ignition button. And... bupkiss. The car would not start. He tried several more times. We got out of the car, and switched seats. I was able to start the car right up. So, we did the old switcheroo again. And again, the car wouldn’t start with Rick at the helm. He tried pushing the ignition button quickly, softly, and held it down. At the same time, we both said “Maybe it knows”, as in it knows Someone Else is in the driver’s seat. Finally, the solution dawned on me. Rick needed to have his foot on the break to start the car. Ta duh!!! While this whole trial & error, running around the car, changing of the guard was going on, we were being watched. A young couple was standing just outside the store taking it all in. I wonder what they thought was going on. Maybe they thought we were some crazy Brits on holiday. Better that than knowing the truth... Two dumbasses who couldn’t start their own car.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Old Photos

I have always been fascinated by old photos. I am fortunate to have inherited family photos dating from the 1880‘s. I could stare at these images all day. I scrutinize their clothing, shoes, hairstyles, and faces. Some faces belong to the era they came from, while others could blend with today. I like to look at their expressions and try to imagine what kind of things they must have experienced. My grandfather was in San Francisco during the 1908 earthquake and subsequent fire. We have some incredible photos of the event. Collapsed buildings, men posing in front of rubble, and signs such as “Shave 5 Cents” are some of the images captured. As a child, I was a little confused about which major historical disaster my grandfather had lived through. I used to tell people he was on the Titanic. Whoopsy, wrong event! One thing I noticed when perusing the family photo collection - nobody smiled. Perhaps it’s because you had to keep perfectly still while the film was percolating inside the camera. Another theory is that people might have had funky, rotten teeth back then, before the dawn of toothpaste. Even though life was harsher, I doubt hard times were the reason everyone looked so serious. Certainly people actually smiled once in a while. I did find some photos of my grandfather’s brother and sister-in-law smiling. They smiled in pretty much every photo they were in. It made me wish I’d known them. Too bad my history teachers in school didn’t teach their subject with more human interest. It would have been more compelling, and I certainly would have gotten better grades. Learning history should be more than drudgery and memorizing dates. Battle of Hastings, 1066... I still haven’t found a use for that nugget. I can’t tell you who the two warring factions were, why they were fighting, or why I should care. But show me an image of what they were wearing as they fought, and I might have been a bit more eager to learn about it. Some people find old photos creepy. I don’t quite know why. The unsmiling visages seem like they are looking right at you. They know stuff, but they aren’t telling. And I will continue to guess...