Thursday, May 30, 2013


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


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.