Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I had company for breakfast. Now git on over to SC&A where the topic is really important.Yesterday morning I got to put the leaves back in the dining room table.
I love it when I get to do that. It means company.
Some of Hub's family came over yesterday morning for breakfast, and for a lovely visit. Fixing meals for big crowds is one of my favorite things to do, and it had been quite a while since I was privileged to make breakfast for lots of people. I think the last big meal I got to fix for a lot of people was Thanksgiving dinner; at least I got to do that two days in a row back in November. But it's been slim pickings since then, with just me and Hub and the occasional visiting offspring.
Belle will be in California until the fifth. We'll drive up to get her at the airport unless there are any other volunteers.
Zappa is working overtime and every chance he gets, since his roommate left for military service. Double rent will be hard, as he is working only part time and going to school. His cruel parents help all they can, but they can't manage double rent and he's pretty much on his own for that one.
Heck, it's all his cruel parents can do to manage paying their own mortgage these days. I know that to be true because I know them personally. And boy are they hurtin' for cash.
Powersource has had my computer for three weeks now. When I called the other day, Jack said they'd ordered a motherboard; they didn't keep stock for computers as old as mine. I really hope they fix it soon; on someone else's computer a person can't do all the things a person would do on her own computer. Like download picture programs for blogger, etc, since the aforementioned person is too stupid to figure out how to post a picture any other way.
And now you should leave this very boring post and go over to the three good doctors' blog. They've got some posts going about our schools, our values, our religions, and our children. Go on over there and put in your two cents.
Monday, May 30, 2005
I should have watched the tumbling underpants through a hole punched in cardboard, whilst kegeling with the Thighmaster.Sometimes, I get a really good 'forward.' This one is from my cousin. I'd seen some of these before; in fact, I used them on a Descriptive Language test last semester. But some of the others are new to me. Maybe you've already seen them. Please giggle anyway. . . . .
Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays:
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m.instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina raised gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
You have to admit that stapling your tongue to the wall WOULD hurt.
When I used some of these on that test last semester, hardly any of the students laughed. This is proof positive of a theory I've held for many years now:
Writing the word "test" on a piece of paper removes all the humor from it.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
She gots the wanderlust.I don't know if I will ever get used to putting Belle on a plane and walking away without her.
I'd better, though; she was born with a packed suitcase beside her bassinet and an airline ticket clutched in her hand. So to speak.
From the time she was a tiny child, she has loved to travel. Even when she was really small, she would say that it was fine with her if she never had to unpack her suitcase. She loves to drive, and she loves to fly, and she loves to try new things.
When she was a child, we had no money to travel. She's making up for lost time, now that she's an adult.
(She thinks she's an adult; personally, I find that pretty hilarious to contemplate. ) (No, I don't.)
She majored in Classical Studies (D'ya want fries with that?) and celebrated her 21st birthday in Italy, on an archaelogical dig. She speaks idly of three-hour layovers in Belgium; of walking the streets of Rome, alone, after midnight, looking for a motel; of taking trains all over central and southern Italy doing the tourist thing. . . .
Several times a year she drives up to Ann Arbor to visit one of her best friends, a woman she met on the Italian dig. They are co-authoring their second novel.
You oughta see her keen pictures. She's got one of a street sign saying:
. . . on the same signpost.
I guess if you're hungry enough, McDonald's is up there on the same level as the Pantheon.
When she gets back, I'll ask her to email that picture to me. And then I will try to figure out how to post a picture on a blog. I've tried many times and failed just as many times.
I am not very technologically knowledgeable.
I can get it to post on the template, but not on the actual blog.
If I ever get my own computer back, I think I will download a blogger picture program. I'll screw it up, but I will give it a try.
But I digress. . . .
Belle's in California for the next few days, near San Francisco. We drove her up to the airport Friday night, stayed with her an hour or so, and walked away leaving her there alone in an international airport full of strangers, some possibly with candy.
She called me when she got to California. Your kids are never so old that they don't need to call you when they get there. Wherever 'there' might be.
Especially when you've abandoned them in a big city airport at 3 a.m. with a lot of strangers.
She'll have fun. Wherever she is, she always has fun. That's my girl.
It won't keep me from worrying, but that's just because I'm her Mommy, and worrying is one of our skills. I keep mine well-honed.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Buried treasure.It took us years to fill up the garage. I wonder why we thought we could clean it all out in just two days.
If 'treasure' is defined by words like 'action figures from 1980,' 'comic books from 1963 to the present year,' 'toys of all kinds from the fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties,' 'uncountable action figures, Transformers, fast food prizes, My Little Ponies' or 'billions of sealed boxes of cool starship models from 1960 - today,' then avast, matey, the pirates be soon on our tails.
I think I might have broken my back carrying a big heavy Millenium Falcon to the truck.
Honestly, there were things in that garage I KNOW I've never laid eyes on before. I think Hub hid them in there so he wouldn't have to share his toys with the kids. And most of this stuff is in the original box or package.
On the bright side, we can see a little bit of bare wall now, and we both realized that I am personally not responsible for the majority of clutter in there.
This garage is a pop culture treasure chest.
Friday, May 27, 2005
What's for lunch, kids?Do you know something else I really miss? I miss packing my children's lunches every morning.
I don't mean during those years when we had so little money that some mornings I scrounged and improvised and they carried lunches to school that were disgraceful and totally devoid of nutrition. (Ask Belle about the chocolate chips. . . . .) For many of their elementary years we qualified for free lunch, but I could not bring myself to apply. As long as we could manage at all, I felt better NOT asking for that kind of help. I was teaching in their school, and if I had seen their names on that list I don't think I could have stood it. . . .
I don't mean the years when I stood in line to get free cheese and butter and powdered milk, either. Those were not good years, even though the cheese and butter were better quality than you can buy in the store.
I mean, when things were better and I got to pack a Twinkie and a pickle and a little bag of chips and peanut-butter-crackers and carrot sticks and fruit rollups and apples and pudding. And a little can of tuna for Zappa, and once in a while a tiny pizza, baked during breakfast and wrapped in foil to keep it warm. That worked, by the way.
Neither of my kids ate sandwiches. They still don't.
I didn't pack all those things at once, of course. But it was wonderful to have them to choose from, each morning.
I loved going lunch-box shopping at the beginning of the school year. The right lunch box is important, you know. I miss that. I even miss buying those packages of lunch sacks, for the few years they still carried a lunch but were too cool to carry a Masters of the Universe or Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox.
It's funny that I find myself missing this little activity that was once a regular every-morning thing. Because, at the time, it was just one more thing that made our hectic mornings even more hectic. Everybody needed me when I was busy packing lunches.
But sometimes, when I remember putting things in baggies, and writing their names on the outside of a brown paper lunch bag, and cutting up carrots and apples, etc, I can almost see the backs of my children, walking away from me, carrying their lunch which I made, and which they would sit and eat in a few hours. I can almost see them reading the little notes I used to stick in there, and rolling their eyes, and diving into the Twinkies. I can see them flattening out the paper towel and making a little pile of grapes and eating them. And then I can picture them running out onto the playground, and energetically running and playing and climbing, never thinking about it but secure in the knowledge that when they got home, there would be another meal ready for them (eventually; hey, I was tired when I got home!) and another bag lunch to bring to school the next day, and the next, and the next. And so it goes, until they are too old to want Mommy to do that any more, and could they just have the money please?
And then, for the first time, you realize that you don't know what they're having for lunch any more, and you have to trust the cafeteria ladies to prepare something good, and you have to trust that your child is eating it instead of hanging out at the a la carte counter buying chocolate shakes and Cheetos. And you know they're eating shakes and Cheetos.
What is the point of this post? I forgot.
But I remember buying pudding and fruit rollups. And Star Wars lunchboxes, and drink-boxes.
And a little kid carrying a lunchbox is one of the cutest things ever.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Luke Skywalker was originally to be called Luke Skykiller.I saw the new Star Wars this afternoon, finally. It was well worth waiting for. The crowds were way down and we got to sit in the row with the bars in front.
I'd read the book so I knew what was going to happen, but I don't do well with violence and pain and torture. The fiery lava that turned beautiful Anakin into deformed Vader upset me a lot. Mace Windu's death did, too.
That Yoda can sure kick ass, no doubt about it.
I loved hearing tiny references to the original Star Wars; "Captain Antilles" caught my attention. And was Ewan McGregor channelling Alec Guiness or what!! And the young Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were startlingly like the old ones. It was cool to see Jimmy Smits cuddling the newborn Leia.
I sense a Star Wars marathon in the not-so-distant future, in which the saga will be experienced in chronological order. We'll need pizza and plenty of diet Coke.
The flowers I planted this week are still alive. Alert the media.
I scattered mothballs all over the flower beds and between the shrubs so the cat won't use them as litter boxes. The smell is only strong if you're right beside them.
This means, among other things, that the cat will be pooping elsewhere. If you come over (and I really hope you do!) please watch your step.
I have one more week of vacation before summer school starts up.
I'm hoping to work in a lot of sleeping and a lot of hanging out with certain people whose company I adore.
It's probably you.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Pomp and Circumstance: The Middle YearsOver on the fabulous Muzik's blog, he is wondering about 8th grade graduation. Why do schools have this silly ceremony for middle school kids, when there are four more years still ahead? I taught middle school for many years and each spring, I wondered the same thing. It seemed so silly. Caps, gowns, rolled-up diplomas, a two-hour sweat-fest in a sweltering gymnasium, with those huge industrial fans roaring on either side of the graduates, which forced the speakers to shout into the microphone to be heard. Dozens and dozens of video cameras rolling; cameras flashing into everyone's faces wherever you looked. Whole blocks of bleachers claimed by the families of ten students, while other kids had nobody and nothing. I hated 8th grade graduation. What a waste of time and resources. You want to do something that will MEAN something to these kids? Throw them a party. Feed them. Play loud music and let them dance. But caps, gowns, and diplomas? Those are for high school and college, the 'endings' and "new beginnings" that really mean something.
I do know that historically, "graduation" used to mean 8th grade. Few people went on to high school; most kids, especially the boys, walked out of the school on the last day of junior high and went to work in factories or farms or stores. In the book (and movie) "I Remember Mama," graduation for Katherine meant 8th grade, and when her brother Nels asked permission to go on to "high," his parents were proud unto pitiful pathos. High school also meant fees, and many families simply did not have it. 8th grade was enough to get by, back in that simpler world. Besides, back then, no student was ever passed on unless he/she could prove working knowledge of every subject taken; it was quite common to be fifteen years old and still in the fourth grade.
Hub's father graduated from 8th grade and went no further. His family needed him to go to work and help support the younger siblings.
Many older novels matter-of-factly discuss 8th grade graduation, and take for granted that it signals the end of free education for their child. To go on, meant more money paid out than most families could afford. High school, back in the day, was more difficult than college is now. Look up some of those exams, if you don't believe me. Think "Little Town on the Prairie." THOSE kinds of exams.
Here is an 8th grade final exam from Kansas, circa 1895. There are claims that it's an urban legend but many sources, and many really old people, claim that it's the real thing. I've seen other similar tests, and it seems authentic. In any case, look what 8th graders had to know, in order to graduate, back then: Final Exam for 8th grade, 1895.
A kid who could pass that test deserved to graduate.
But nowadays, all students go to high school. Not all of them finish, but they all begin. Why do we still have the 8th grade ceremony?
Because not all students will ever have another one. For some, 8th grade is it. High school is set up more for failure than for success, and unless you are a smart kid who is willing to submit to authority that is often ignorant, rules that are often irrelevant, hallways that are often swarming with bullies, curriculi that begin with algebra I and contain no remediation unless special services are involved, schedules that do not take into account the needs of some families, counselors who are only concerned with helping preppie seniors get scholarships, and sports that won't even let a student try out unless he/she comes with a recommendation from another coach, well, some kids just can't fit that kind of scheisse into their already packed and serious lives. Not for long, anyway.
Kudos to those who can. Check out your local high school's dropout rate. Compare the size of the freshman class to the size of that same class four years later. You might be surprised.
So even though 8th grade graduation ceremonies are hot, stupid, meaningless, and asinine, try to think of those kids for whom this little moment of applause and honor are IT. Try to think of those kids for whom there will be no other moment where, for just a few seconds, they have achieved at least the facade of importance.
I still think it's stupid. But I also think of those kids who will never have another shining moment again in all their lives.
As for kindergarten graduation, that has to be the stupidest crock of scheisse ever thought up by a parent who wanted the limelight to begin early for Junior and Junioretta. 5-year-olds in caps and gowns. What's next, Elementary Prom? Little tuxes for 8-year-olds? Limo rides? Strapless gowns for boobless little girls? And then what? Little maternity dresses?
Well isn't that just the cutest thing!
The Hitchhiker's Guide to outdoor litter boxes and killer azaelas.Goldie has tagged me with a film meme, so, here goes.
Total number of films I own on DVD/Video: I have no idea. Three bookshelves worth, triple-lined.
The last film I bought: MASH, Season 8. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and it's on its way as we speak.
The last film I watched: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, just this afternoon. First time I've been inside a real theater in almost a year. Or whenever that third Harry Potter film was released. . . .
Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
1. Love Actually
2. Harry Potter (all)
3. The Christopher Guest trilogy: Waiting for Guffman, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind
4. Star Wars (all)
I tend to watch my favorite movies over and over and over again.
I got a sign today that maybe I should stop mentioning our severe money problems on my blog. And maybe I shouldn't have posted about how we refinanced our house.
The sign? My email account. Does anyone else detect a pattern here?
High rates? Not with us! low fixed rate - Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Super low mortage rate - Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
firstname.lastname@example.org - Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Re-finance at todays low rate - Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Lowest rate approval - Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Sang Lin Lee
Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Don't hang up the mouse. Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Have you missed me my friend? Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
Now now now! Hello, We tried contacting you awhile ago about your low interest morta(ge rate. You have …
All right in a row.
Maybe it's just my teacher instincts but I suspect these people have been copying each other's homework.
Why do these spammers always have such weird names?
For the past two days I have cut grass and planted flowers till my back is killing me and my hands are slashed to pieces. The slasher? A dead azaela bush. It fought back valiantly but in the end, I won.
I still haven't seen the new Star Wars movie. I thought we were going today but at the last minute Hub decided he wanted to see Hitchhiker's Guide instead.
Tomorrow I'm going to the Dollar Store to buy some mothballs. Charley Gordon is ecstatic over all the new cat potties and has tried them all, digging out the pesky flowers that get in his way and tickle his butt as he digs and poops in the pansies. Occasionally he sits on them. Mothballs stink but cats hate them, and in the beds not right by the house, they won't bother us either. I didn't break my back and slash my hands so the cat could have organic litter boxes all over the yard.
Oh, and I think the new rhododendron by the front door is going to be beautiful. It's already prettier than that huge dead azaela that tried to kill me this afternoon.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Disregard the disclaimer.I'm still having fun with Blog Explosion. I haven't gone there daily for a long time, but I go maybe once a week and surf a while. And I see that many of you still like to play with BE, too.
What happened to all the good drive-ins? There used to be several locally-owned drive-in restaurants in this town, and now there is one. Some towns don't have any now, so I guess we're a little bit lucky. Maybe they've gone the way of drive-in movie theaters. This town used to have two and now we have none.
Hamburgers at fast-food chains aren't really hamburgers. You young people don't even know that, do you. Well, some of you have never had a real burger in your lives, if the only ones you get are from McDonald's.
This town used to have a really awesome drive-in restaurant on the east side. You know, on the same site as Poky Treat Ice Cream. (It's really Jiffy Treat but holy cow, they are soooo slow! The kids started calling it Poky Treat back before they were in kindergarten.) (Yes, my kids are snarky.) (I always encouraged it.) (And the place really is that slow.)
That now-defunct drive-in had the best burgers in the world. But after the Senior Class President worked there and was fired there, my confidence in their quality kind of waned.
The President of the Senior Class got at job at the site-now-known-as-Poky Treat. One Friday night, Prez was working in the kitchen there when a carload of his buddies pulled up. The carhop took their order and brought it back to the Prez. He looked up to see a convertible FULL of guys waving at him, and giving every indication of mockery due to the fact they he was working and they were free to quill all the hangouts and meet chicks. It became obvious to Prez that his friends had stopped there for supper mainly to taunt him. In a good-natured testosterone-filled way, of course.
Prez looked around the kitchen to see if there was any way he could escape for a few minutes, but there was none. He did notice, however, a no-pest strip hanging from the middle of the ceiling. For those of you who are young, a no-pest strip was a ribbon of insect poison, designed to lure bugs and kill them in mid-air. They then fell to the ground, where they had to be swept up regularly lest they become a mountain. Yes, restaurants had them in the kitchen. Above the counters where your food was prepared.
Prez noticed that the floor beneath the no-pest strip hadn't been swept for a while. He hesitated, knowing that his idea was horrible and wondering if he had the guts to do it. His friends honked the horn one time too many. The deed was as good as done.
Prez scooped up a few handfuls of dead insects, mixed them with a little grease, formed them into burgers, and put them on the buns with some lettuce, pickles, and a slice of tomato. He wrapped the bugburgers in that filmy wax paper they used back then, and put them on the carryout tray. The carhop picked up the tray. She exited the kitchen.
Prez waited for the guys to start laughing and honking the horn at him.
It didn't happen. The carhop took the tray to the wrong car. A car full of old ladies.
Old ladies who did not check under the bun before they bit.
Old ladies who could scream really loudly.
Prez was fired on the spot. He jumped into the car with his friends and left to go elsewhere and pick up chicks.
Two days later, he was hired at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken, where they put him in the kitchen and told him to make cole slaw. He was given no instructions. No recipe. He put something together and the local KFC sold it all night long. There were no complaints, so it must have been made with food.
To this day, I always check under the bun before I bite. This statement may be interpreted in any way you wish.
Prez is a successful businessman now. He still laughs about the no-pest-strip bugburgers and the KFC mystery slaw.
I hadn't thought of this in years. But another high school reunion is coming up, and Prez always speaks. At least, they tell me he does. I haven't been to a reunion in years. For one thing, they're too darn expensive, especially now. And for another, I don't want my old classmates to begin any rehash of the evening by saying "Damn, she sure got fat!"
That is why I prefer to be the mysterious no-show, staying home and snarfing down burgers, the buns of which I have lifted and the contents of which I have thoroughly inspected.
Come on over and have one. I have plenty of condiments.
Disclaimer: any innuendoes in the above post were purely accidental.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
"Take it easy, kid. It's only a movie."I am a Star Wars fan.
I saw the original episode 23 times in the theater. At home, I lost count long ago.
My favorite is "Return of the Jedi." After that, "A New Hope," which was simply called "Star Wars" till all these prequels started coming out.
I haven't seen the new one yet. I don't stand in line for much of anything these days.
A few months before we got married, Hub and I were on a **date** and sitting in the movie theater waiting for the previews to start. The previews came on, and he nearly leaped out of his seat and made a scene right there in public, which, if you knew him, is so against his silent nature that to remember that leap and that yell is really, really funny.
The previews were for "Star Wars." He had read the novel, and had heard that a movie was in the making, and when those previews hit, he was beside himself. I, on the other hand, had never heard of "Star Wars" and came near to hiding my identity behind my huge tub of popcorn and slinking out of the theater via the back door. I wasn't into space opera, and it looked stupid and violent to me.
Boy, was I wrong. When it was released up in the big city, Hub and his friends drove up there to see it. A few days later, he persuaded me to go with him to see it.
Sigh. What we do when we're dating someone.
I went. We were sitting near the front of the theater, and behind us was a row of teenaged boys.
When the movie came on, one of those boys said, "This first part is really hard. You have to read words."
That's been a catch-phrase in our family ever since.
I watched this movie. I was enchanted.
I'm still enchanted.
A few days later we drove up to the city again, taking our two best friends with us. John and Irene didn't like it as well as we did, but we always had such a great time with them, whatever we did, that the movie was just one of many good times. The back bumper of my car fell off, and we had to stop at a gas station in Indianapolis. Panic set in, because none of us had any money beyond the cost of our Star Wars tickets. Fortune was smiling on us, because the teenaged boy working that evening was bored out of his mind and gladly fixed it for FREE. I always bless his memory every time we drive past that gas station. As for you, John and Irene, I still miss you every day. When are you coming back? I'll even have the cat hair professionally removed just for you, John.
I can't wait till the crowds die down and I can sit in the darkened theater, hear that music that can only mean Star Wars, and experience it all over again. It would be more fun with John and Irene, but I'll take it any way I can get it.
Will I have to read words? I hope so. What's Star Wars without the ascending words? If there are no words, please don't tell me.
In the meantime, I'll do what I'm doing with Harry Potter. Re-read and re-watch everything to properly prepare my mind for the continuance of both.
And there's always Ernie Fosselius, maker of the greatest parody EVER. If you haven't seen "Hardware Wars," you're missing out on some serious hilarity.
"Jeepers! What is it, Augie Ben Doggie? Did you feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced?"
"No, just a little headache."
May the Farce be with you.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Meme'n and Waylon and things that go bump in the night.Betsy tagged me for her fabulous music meme. She has no idea how much I like and admire her, so shhhh, don't tell her, it's a secret. She might be embarassed to know that she's one of my idols.
Here is her meme:
Total Volume of Music on My Hard Drive: My own computer is back at Powersource, where Jack and Linda are seeking a motherboard old enough to be compatible. But I know that I have over eight thousand mp3’s on my hard drive.
Last CD Bought: Jane Monheit – Taking A Chance On Love
Song Playing Right Now: Moxy Fruvous - Lee
Five songs I listen to a lot:
Moxy Fruvous – Love Set Fire
ELO – Roll Over Beethoven
Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Ravel - Bolero
Ben Folds & Rufus Wainwright – Careless Whispers
That last part was hard, because I love my music so much. My taste changes daily, in many ways. But those five have been favorites for a few years now.
Oh hey. I posted before about how BMG sent me a Waylon Jennings cd instead of my Ben Folds cd. Well, they sent the right cd and told me to just keep the Waylon cd.
Would any of you want that Waylon Jennings cd? I'll be happy to mail it to you if you want it. The first person to email me with a snail mail address gets it.
It's "Waylon LIVE: The Expanded Edition." 2 discs, 42 songs.
It's free. And I'm happy to pass it along to someone who will enjoy it.
We're gearing up for another bad thunderstorm. I can hear the weird nature sounds coming from the piney woods on the side of the house.
In case you're been wondering why the grass is so tall, it's, um, because we can't cut it till it dries out. Yes. That's this week's official excuse.
I did get part of it cut the other day but it started raining again before I could finish. I do intend to finish.
Waylon Jennings. He wants to live with YOU. He told me so.
UPDATE: Waylon has found a home. I know he'll be very happy there.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Because they're mine, I walk the line.Someone asked me the other day whether I was a liberal or a conservative. I answered truthfully: I don't know.
It varies with the subject.
With some topics, I lean towards the liberal left and with other topics I lean towards to conservative right.
Mostly, I think I stand proudly straddling the dividing line, waiting to hear the subject at hand before I speak up.
It seems to me that if you declare yourself to be liberal, or conservative, then certain things are expected of you, and when you fail to deliver those expected things, people are upset.
How can anyone be 100% either way, on EVERYTHING? I don't think anyone can.
If the truth were told, I think most people have liberal leanings in some areas and conservative leanings in other areas.
What's the matter with standing in the middle and choosing the battles on which I declare a
liberal or conservative stand, carefully?
Even those subjects on which I lean to the right, there are many paths leading to the left there in plain view, and vice versa. I don't think I'm 100% conservative or 100% liberal on anything. I have a hard time believing in people who claim to be all or nothing either way.
Is this good? Is this bad? I don't know. It's me. If you ask me what I think, I will tell you. After 26 years in the public schools, I've seen a lot, both good and bad. I've seen parents at their best and at their worst, as anyone does in any job. I am of the belief that it is very hard sometimes for a parent to evaluate his/her own child. Sometimes, we have to step back and look with someone else's eyes. But even after all I've seen, I still believe that most people mean well. Most people are good people.
Unless, of course, they are too damn stupid to think for themselves, and must rely on a guru of some kind.
Beware of the guru, my friends. A guru is simply someone who's found an audience of suckers. Suckers with money.
When it comes to certain issues, I proudly take a stand. Even then, I'm a mix of both leanings. Why not? Few things are absolute, and I am a mixture in my definition of absoluteness.
In issues concerning children and young people, I tend to be conservative with a BIG dash of quirkiness and humor. To be conservative and have no sense of humor? God help us all with THOSE people.
In issues concerning politics and religion, I tend to be liberal with a BIG dash of quirkiness and humor. To be liberal and have no sense of humor? God help us all with THOSE people.
And depending on the particular item under discussion, those leanings can turn on a dime.
Today I've been debating with Emily, over on my beautiful friend Goldie's blog. I think Emily honestly means well, but Emily is a semi-advocate of the Pearls. The Pearls are the authors of the most horrible child-rearing book in existence today; it's nothing but a handbook for child abusers and bullies.
It's a losing battle, because she's convinced that beating 4-month-old infants and small children with sticks and raising welts and drawing blood are good things that make obedient properly subservient children, and I'm convinced that any advocate of the Pearls is a sadistic poison-laced-Kool-aid-drinking bully with a low IQ and a penchant for the tiny penis. (said penis being either personally owned or occasionally borrowed.)
See what I mean? My mild courteous stance with people who raise welts on tiny children is a tad on the conservative side. Whereas my liberal leanings are demonstrated by my name-calling skills. Just kidding.
But in case there is any doubt, I am far from liberal and far from conservative when it comes to children. I am MYSELF, and as I told Emily on that other blog, if any child stands before me with welts, I will have someone's sorry ass hauled before the judge faster than anyone can tell me which Pearl chapter tells parents they MUST humble their children and force them to acknowledge their parents as their masters. Mr. Pearl brags that his daughter would, without hesitation, jump out of the window of a moving vehicle if he so commanded her to do so. I find this mindset appalling.
I did not have children so I could show off blindly obedient little zombies who flinched when I moved and jumped when I spoke. I had children not just because my birth control pills failed, but because I WANTED children. Real children, with minds of their own.
My children did not misbehave in public. They knew better. We taught them to know better with means other than blood, welts, and tears. We occasionally spanked, but it was with a bare hand on a little bottom, and not with a tree branch on fragile little legs or hands. And we didn't have to spank very much. I hope it was by example that my children learned how to behave. I'm sure Belle will chime in with her version if I'm wrong.
I've gone back and forth in my rantings here. I'm really so upset by Emily and her slick script of 'beating your child is necessary and social workers are stupid for thinking welts and blood are bad,' that I'm more than a little incoherent. I do apologize.
Children are the most valuable things on the planet. They are ours for such a short time. Why do people use those few years to hurt them, and hit them, and make them bleed? The obedience these people seek can be had by simply loving them, and showing them by example. And, ok, once in a while whomping their little bottoms so they don't run out into traffic or drink Drano. But if a trained seal is what some people want, I wish they'd just steal one from a zoo and beat it raw till it balances that ball exactly right, and let someone with a kind heart and a working brain and some common sense raise the children.
Now. Am I conservative or liberal? You tell me. I honestly don't know.
I don't care, either. It's not like a label will make any difference.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
. . . a violet by a mossy stone, half hidden from the eye; fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky. . . .One nice thing about letting your grass get knee-high is all the pretty wildflowers. I never lack for a bouquet, nope. I don't know what kind of flowers they are, they're probably some kind of weed, but in a pretty vase on my coffee table, side table, piano, hall table, and left stereo speaker, they are beautiful flowers. Several vases full of beautiful, BEAUTIFUL, flowers.
They smell great too.
The only real differences between a flower and a weed are location, circumstances, and perspective. This applies to many aspects of life, doesn't it. Notice something, move it to a place where it will be clearly seen and appreciated, and suddenly you realize that, given a chance, a weed is actually a beautiful flower.
People who keep their lawns cut short miss out on a lot of beauty.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Let's do the time warp again.I had dinner tonight at Mark Pi's, with my sister and my daughter. We sat around the table and discussed all kinds of personal intimate subjects. You know, the kind of things one discusses with peers. Girlfriend talk. Snarky chick talk.
Every once in a while I'd look at the two of them and wonder how and when they got old enough to talk like this. Heck, sometimes I look at them and wonder when they'll be old enough to get their driver's licenses.
Tonight's conversation was occasionally on the racy side. Racy. As in, we talked about, um, sex and stuff.
With my baby sister. And my daughter.
What is the world coming to, when a baby sister and a daughter can laugh and smirk and joke and also talk seriously about such things? I mean, when did this HAPPEN?
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Divine divining rods. And what it means when they jiggle. Really.The two guys who streaked through my dorm hallway all those years ago might have made a better impression if:
1. They hadn't been wearing scuba equipment
2. And swim fins.
3. Which made them run funny.
4. And gave a whole new meaning to the word "jiggle."
Whenever I read or hear anything about how the original Olympics were done in the nude, I get this visual about the two guys in swim fins, trying to run through the hallway.
A really funny visual. With fit, gorgeous men competing in various Olympic sports: running, jumping, throwing things, catching things, wearing swim fins, jiggling. . . . .
All that jiggling couldn't have been very aerodynamic, could it?
And why am I getting this visual now? I've got laundry to do, floors to vaccuum, stuff to put away. I don't have time to think thoughts like these with all these chores to jiggle. I mean juggle.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
I remember you, Leon.I'm wondering tonight if anyone else in the world remembers the guy who ran for mayor of my town on the premise that he would turn the downtown into a Monopoly board. . . . .and almost won the election.
Come on, guess! It's the same guy who organized the Banana Olympics on campus.
This is the guy who dressed in aluminum foil, stuck deely-boppers on his head, and hung out at the Post Office holding a big sign that said "All aliens must register."
He was one of the most brilliant political science students the university had ever known. I couldn't care less about that. Well, I CARE; that's just not how I think of him.
But I sure remember the Monopoly board, and the bananas, and the aluminum foil.
I'm shallow that way.
Leon, are you still out there designing upside-down office buildings? Organizing nude mud-slides in midwinter?
Those were the days. These college kids nowadays don't know how to have fun.
Various intimate body parts, taped to the door.My brief mention of Jehovah's Witnesses yesterday seems to have struck quite a chord. It reminded me (as everything does these days) of something that happened way back in my college days.
The university, no doubt tired of dealing with all the complaints about attacks, rapes, strangers, Avon ladies, Jehovis, insurance salesmen, Mormons, petty thieves, streakers, and rampaging animals, had decided to mandate the locking of the dormitory main doors during the day, so no one could enter without a key. In other words, only people who belonged in the building could easily enter. (The doors were already locked at night.)
We, the dorm inhabitants, were fine with this decree. It meant no more propping open the doors to get a breeze, but the trade-off would be worth it. When someone knocked on the doors, it would at least be someone who wanted to borrow a deck of cards or some tampax, and not a stranger with a bad, bad suit, no concept of personal space, and wacko pamphlets.
The Mormons were gracious and reasonable about this mandate.
The Jehovah's Witnesses had a FIT! Going from door to door was their mission, and the university was putting restrictions on their religion. It was discrimination. It was prejudice.
They raised such a stink that the university backed down, with limitations.
The Witnesses would be allowed to enter the university dorms one afternoon a week, and knock on any door that did not display a sign indicating that visitation was unwelcome.
You can just imagine the signs people were putting on their doors. It was incredible. We used to get up early on Sunday afternoon (hey, anything before 2 p.m. on a weekend was early!) and just wander around the dorm reading the signs. I wish I had pictures.
Pictures of the signs, and pictures of the pouting, sometimes weeping, and usually pissed Witnesses.
I'm NOT making fun of them. I am merely describing a historical occurence.
The 'funnest' thing of all was when someone forgot to post their sign and got a knock.
And why in the world would old people be sent to a university dorm? I mean, young Witnesses would at least have been able to read those signs and not completely freak out, wouldn't they?
Why, why, WHY would they militantly insist on being allowed to enter what was the equivalent of a hostile combat zone, where they were the intrusive enemy?
I've never understood that.
I'd like to tell you specifically what some of those door signs were like, but some of my students read this blog. However, if you take the title of this post, and a newspaper ad for chicken parts, and put them together using considerable creativity, you might get the general idea. Add rude graffiti, stir, and scotch-tape to the outside of your door.
I hope this post did not offend anyone. If there are any Witnesses who'd like to duke it out, well, put down your script and use your own words; if you CAN, that is.
Okay, that last shot was offensive. And boy, did it feel great.
And if any of them return to my home to waken me from my vacation-sleep-in, or intrude upon our dinner-hour, or annoy me in any way, I just might have to cut up a chicken ad, write some identifying words on it with a black Sharpie, and tape it to the front door. If I put it inside my pretty summer-flower wreath, it would be a feng shui statement, and people might even copy my clever decorating taste.
Martha Stewart's out of jail now, right? Alert her people at once. I may have an idea she could use.
I sense a product that the masses might wish to imitate. . . .
A salesman is a salesman, whether he knocks on your door uninvited, or phones you at dinnertime. The intrusion level is the same. Nice people don't do that.
However, if any of YOU want to drop by, please feel free. The door is always opened for friends. I love company. I love all of you. I'll probably even buy your kid's current school-sales product. Anything for a friend. Come over. Come in. Want something to eat or drink? Stay a long time. Make yourselves at home.
But if you want to show up on my porch before noon and recite from a script, you can save yourself the trouble. I won't be rude, but I want you to leave. In fact, what I really want is for you to not show up at all. Go home. Memorize some more stuff. Above all, don't do any thinking for yourself. Just memorize things.
Whoops, I guess I was rude after all. I'm sorry. So bite me.
(None of the above applies, naturally, to those Witnesses who are nice.)
Friday, May 13, 2005
Another one bites the dust, and another one gone and another one gone, and another one bites the dust.I'm covered with tiny leaves, seedlings, dandelion fuzz, and smashed bugs. In case you might have wanted a specific mental image. You're welcome.
Just checking in before running to the shower.
The very correct weatherman gave me about three hours between thunderstorms so I've been mowing the grass.
And as I came back into the house, I started trying to remember how many times I've cut the grass without running over a garden hose and mangling it to bits.
Answer: none. Including this morning.
The clerk at TruValue Hardware looks at me all smirky now, whenever I slink in to purchase a new garden hose. I just know that somewhere under that cash register drawer is a piece of paper with my name on it, and tally marks underneath my name, one for each garden hose I've bought in the past twenty years. And the tally marks fill one entire side, and he's started tallying on the back.
I supposed if I mowed more often, the grass wouldn't get so tall that it conceals the garden hose, and I wouldn't mow over it. Or the person who last used the garden hose COULD roll the entire thing up on the reel so none of it would be dangling over into the grass.
And now, Jim Nabors is singing "The Impossible Dream" inside my head, and in a few minutes I'm going to start screaming.
Because, you know, Gomer singing? That's just WRONGGGGG.
Jehovah's Witnesses at my door! Why do they always knock? Can't they see the doorbell right there? No, thank you, Witnesses. I did a term paper on you my junior year of college. A ten-foot-pole isn't long enough. Thank you for stopping by. I'll pass on the Watchtower. Thanks anyway. Please go now.
Hey. I'm gonna get you too. Another one bites the dust.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Nuts. Blueberries. Piranha. Sharks.I planted five and a half flats of impatiens in the brick planter Hub built last summer, around the huge shagbark hickory tree in the front yard.
Before I could start, I had to scoop about an inch of nutshells off the surface. Way to go, squirrels. Hide your nuts elsewhere next year.
It took me about two hours to get them planted. They are already beautiful, and when they mound out later this summer, they'll be spectacular.
Squirrels, do NOT scamper in my flowers. Go elsewhere to do your little ritualistic dances.
And while I'm giving the wildlife a migraine-striped rant, tell Bambi not to come around with all his friends, either. I am not breaking my back and cricking my neck to lay out a salad bar for the area fauna.
Don't you creatures speak English? Go nibble on the neighbors' geraniums. And tell whatever creature that's hanging out on my deck to stop lying down on top of the pansies. The butt-print is too small to be the cat's. And whatever ate one of my blueberry bushes down to the stem and root had better watch its step. If I ever find out who did that (Bambi) there will be trouble in the forest far scarier than Man.
I really do love to watch all the animals thunder through my yard. They're beautiful.
But when they eat my flowers, they're no longer Disney characters; they're mauraders. They're piranha. They're great white sharks.
I can hear the music in my head. Or maybe that's just the migraine telling me to go to bed before I get REALLY stupid on here.
Too late, huh.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
It's all around us, really it is. Look closer.I stopped at the grocery store on my way home tonight. The lady slicing up my swiss cheese looked sad, and I was about to ask her if she was all right when her boss came up to her and said that someone had called in sick and the slicing-lady would have to work late.
Whereupon the slicing-lady's eyes overflowed with tears. The boss asked her what was wrong, and she replied that she'd "had bad news about Mom" that morning, and though she had come in on time and worked her entire shift, she really needed to leave at her originally scheduled hour.
I stood there and waited for the boss to touch her, or relax her face, or SOMETHING, before she told her to go home, of COURSE, my GOODNESS, take care of your mother, leave this deli, don't worry, I'll take care of things, etc, etc, etc.
What I heard was, "Sorry about that, but you have to stay."
The slicing-lady's eyes widened, and she stared at the boss for a moment in disbelief. The boss turned on her heel and walked away. I received my bags of shaved ham and sliced Swiss cheese almost in shame. One more moment and I'd have jumped over the deli counter, ripped the apron right off the slicing-lady, and told her to go on home and I'd finish the extra shift. I know how. So does Belle. We both worked at a local supermarket deli when she was in college; she because I'm one of those awful mothers who encouraged my kids to have summer jobs, and me because I wanted Belle to live on campus and it couldn't be managed without some extra money.
Yes, I almost leaped over the counter to help this lady but someone beat me to it. A lady who had already worked a shift and a half had also overheard this exchange, and tired as she was, she gently untied the slicing-lady's apron and told her to go on home and take care of her mother. "The boss doesn't care who's working as long as the deli is covered," she said. And they hugged, and the slicing-lady went gratefully home. The tired woman who had been in the store since dawn sighed, shook her head at the boss, and continued wiping down the counters behind the glass deli-front. Her ankles were already swollen over her shoetops.
There are so many lovely people in the world. There are also many who are not.
But if you look, you can always find the good ones.
There's a really good one behind the deli at my supermarket.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Oh, bury me not. . . . .The funeral is over. The flowers were beautiful. Many friends came to show their respect to my uncle, and many friends came to show support for Mom.
It was supposed to start at 3:00. We waited, and waited.
A young woman (yes, I had her in class a few years ago. . . . ) came out, with tears in her eyes, and asked Mom to step outside. We all wondered and worried. What in the world?
Mom came back. She seemed stunned. Apparently, the funeral parlor had forgotten to order the vault for the casket; therefore, there would be no burial today. No trip to the cemetary in a long line of flag-tipped vehicles. No handfuls of dirt dropped into a hole. No flowers piled on a casket. No weaving in, among, and around tombstones and mole tunnels. Gee, that was too bad, thought the crowd in unison.
My uncle would still get a military funeral. It was just that the American Legion guys were waiting at the cemetary and would have to rush back to town to the funeral parlor to do their thing. We waited some more.
The eulogies were given. The American Legion guy gave his speech, and handed a folded flag to my uncle's older brother. (Another of Mom's younger brothers!) The morticians opened all the doors. We sat and listened to a bunch of veterans marching. We heard some orders shouted. And then the whole neighborhood heard the guns go off in a final military salute. It must have wakened all the babies and scared the neighbors. Dogs began to bark. The only soldier we actually SAW was the one elderly man who presented the flag. Everything else, we only HEARD.
For all we know, it could all have been on a cd, and played through a speaker just outside the open doors.
Doing it all at the funeral parlor was actually a lot easier on the older people; we're all glad it turned out that way. If someone is bound and determined to have a traditional military funeral, I highly recommend forgetting to order the vault so you don't all have to haul yourselves down to a cemetary for that last piece of morbidity.
The vault should be delivered within the next two days. They gave Mom a discount on it.
Then we all went back to Mom's house and relived the whole thing. And then we all went out to eat at a country buffet south of town. And now I'm home again. Jiggety jig.
My computer is back at PowerSource again; same old, same old: demonic possession. Hub's computer is right smack next to mine, networked to mine, and he never has any problems.
Demonic possession, I'm telling you. What else could it be?
If any of my uncle's creditors continue to give Mom a bad time over the phone, I'll start posting their names on this blog. With links.
So back off my mom, stupid mortage company. You really don't want to deal with the power of the internet.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Good Morning, Miss Dove.I was reading about colonoscopies over on the Sarcastic Journalist's blog and it reminded me of the one I had a few years ago.
At first, it was typical. Drink the laxative the day before. Turn inside-out on the toilet. Get it all clean and stuff.
Then show up at the clinic, where the fun times begin.
Be shown where to take off all your clothes by a girl who made a D- in your remedial reading class. Hand her your underwear in a little mesh bag. Thank her for giving you a gown which is the general size and shape of a pot holder. Hope she isn't remembering the comment you wrote on her report card that one time.
Walk out into the room where an old man is sitting on a bench waiting for his wife to get dressed. Try to avoid his eyes. Try not to listen to him wheeze and cough. Try to erase the image in your mind of him sitting behind a desk teaching you Personal Health thirty-five years ago.
Lie down on a table, where a girl you secretly nicknamed "Dumbass Debbie" fifteen years ago will stick needles into your arms and send drugs flowing through your veins. Smile and make small talk with Debbie, and try not to remember how she probably couldn't spell "needle" on the best day of her life.
Have pulse checked repeatedly by a boy who knocked up two different girls his sophomore year of high school.
A woman is mopping the floor and humming loudly. She leans the mop against the wall and wheels table into examination room.
Lie helplessly on the table and listen to a tv in the next room playing the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies.
When the song stops, the door opens and the doctor enters. He calls you by name, and asks you how you've been all these years.
Try not to picture hin sitting across from you in study hall, copying his math onto his forearm, before his big test. Try not to think about the day he asked you to the prom and you turned him down even though you didn't have a date yet but not going at all was better than going with him because the very thought of him touching you was too gross to contemplate. You think about what he's going to do to you, and contemplate death.
He pulls out a big piece of rubber hose. He tells you the joke about the constipated cow. You both laugh. He promises you that this particular hose was thoroughly rinsed with good cold water. He laughs at all his own jokes. Just like he did in study hall.
The colonoscopy begins. You watch it on a little tv screen. The theme from the Beverly Hillbillies starts up again. Your colonoscopy is keeping time to it. The doctor is reminding you of that time you turned him down for Prom. You both laugh. Neither of you sounds amused.
You are at the mercy of a guy who cheated all through math yet somehow made it through medical school, the class gigolo, two girls who tied for class moron, a wet mop, and a piece of rubber hose which you keep picturing being used on a constipated cow.
After it's over, you want out of there so badly, you try to get up too soon and pass out cold.
A girl who refused to dress out for PE because of her religious principles tells you that you can't get up from the table until you fart out all the air that was pumped into you for the colonoscopy. She will not allow you to try to do this in the bathroom. That would require getting up. She tries to help you fart by pushing on your stomach.
You hear yourself begging the mop-lady, the two morons, and the gigolo, to please let you go to the bathroom and fart.
Finally, they do. You do.
Your husband wants to stop at Steak and Shake on the way home. So do you.
You don't use your straw, though.
Shout, shout, let it all out, these are the things I can do without.I wish to imply no disrespect, but after hanging out at the funeral parlor all night, I think morticians are ghouls and typical American funeral customs are ghoulish. What's with all this weird funeral parlor ritual? It all smells like big money to me.
Fake, fake, fake. Are we that afraid of death and all its implications? It just seemed as though a facade of pretense had covered and overcome all common sense.
It's a feeling I get whenever I enter a funeral parlor. A hushed, perfumed, bordello-like atmosphere of supreme unfamiliarity and forced solemnity that makes even family and friends and well-wishers speak in whispers and say stupid things like "He looks so natural," when no, I'm sorry, he doesn't, because nobody in the room had ever seen him in a suit and tie before, and his beard was all trimmed up neatly, and to be perfectly honest, he looked like an amused stranger, and we all knew it, and people kept saying stuff like that anyway. Which is only polite, but my nerves were shot and I wasn't having any of it. People never know what to say at a funeral parlor.
At my funeral, I want everybody to say things like "Wow, even when she's dead, she still throws a hell of a party! Pass the ice, would you?" And "The neighbors called; they want us to turn down the music, but Mamacita's directive clearly states that the dial be set on eleven all night." And, "It's time for the mortician in the bad, bad suit and the chef's hat to serve the pizza." And "What time is it? We're supposed to start flushing the ashes down the toilet at midnight."
No facades for me. I'll be dead, and I won't care. That's why I'm leaving directions for a party. A houlie. A gangster's wake. I want to be remembered with smiles, not with tears. And you can be as loud as you want. It's not like you're going to wake me up or anything, sheesh.
A person's funeral is their last chance to host a party, and I want mine to be fun. If you can't remember me kindly and party on at the same time, please don't come to my funeral. I want memories and laughter and food and dancing and fun, not a bunch of dressed-up solemn priss-faces who spent a hundred bucks on flowers when they really should have used that money for chips, dip, diet Coke, and beer. And brought it all with them.
You want to show respect to the deceased person? Set up their last party precisely according to their wishes.
Of course, if a person has no directives, then they deserve to be laid out in a ten thousand dollar casket, dressed in a suit they haven't worn for ten years if ever, and surrounded by expensive flowers and uncomfortable dressed-up people who had to take off from their jobs because morticians schedule funerals during business hours.
Don't put it off, friends. Get that final party planned, and make sure your family knows your wishes.
And if they refuse to do as you say, come back and haunt them.
Erectile-y dysfunctional sheepMany thanks to Tyson Stallings for his thoughtful spammish email, but my sheep do not require any phormecuticals gwamanteed to reduce or possible make less noticing any erectile dysfunctons as seen by sheep on TV.
I do concede, however, that many TV shows would definitely appeal to sheep. And what with that erectile dysfuncton not being reduced, sheep probably have a lot of free time to watch TV.
Some of those so-called 'religious' programs, for example, are specifically made for sheep. That hideous Tammy Faye wannabee woman who looks like a nickel hooker and talks like a nine-year-old Melanie Griffith even refers to her viewers as sheep. Thinking about her viewers as sheep probably eases her conscience when she fleeces them.
Well, if a viewer sets himself/herself up to be sheared like that. . . .
I'm going to stop now before the other side of my head starts to pound.
Happy Mother's Day, my beautiful blog-friends. I hope all of you had wonderful days.
Hub and Zappa came home tonight with a truck-bed FULL of impatiens and pansies. The bed for the impatiens is huge, so they set the flats on it and brought the pansies to the deck. I couldn't wait; I turned on the bug-light and filled up the planters. Happy Mother's Day to me. I LOVE getting bedding plants for Mother's Day. One year I got a wheelbarrow, too. I love presents like that. I'm not a perfume and jewelry mother. I'm a flowery mother. A flowery mother who knows how to conquer erectile dysfunction.
All the emails I get concerning it would certainly vouch for that.
The bug light is aptly named. Bugs seem to adore it.
Every time we open a window or door, hordes of June bugs come pouring in. Don't these stupid insects know it's not June yet? Why are they here now? Why are they beating their heads against my doors and windows? Why are they so loud? They sound like buzzsaws.
Do they, too, have erectile dysfunction? Do they suspect that I know the secret of eliminating it? Do they wish to question the sheep?
Sorry, bugs. The sheep ain't talkin.' I might, if you asked me. Are you asking me? I don't understand your language. That's too bad, too; I might know a few solutions to your problem. If that's your problem.
Also, I ate too much at Mom's this afternoon. Man, when a bunch of fat chicks have a pitch-in, the food just doesn't get any better.
I also picked the first tick of the season off the cat. It's now official. Spring is here.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
I might be a little messy even still.Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs! Dust, go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.
Mine are grown up now, but this plaque is still hanging on my kitchen wall. Another one with this same poem is hanging over the washing machine.
Sometimes, I think the best mothers are the ones with the messiest houses. It tells me they're too busy being mommies, to bother being a maid.
Besides, what fun can a child have if a house must be kept pristine at all times? Poor little things. Who cares if there's a little crayon on the walls? A few Big Red stains on the carpet?
Obviously not me. Ask anyone.
On the clock.Tonight we ate dinner at the Great Wall in Bloomington. The Great Wall is, naturally, a Chinese restaurant.
In case anyone would be interested, we finished and left a good half hour before they closed.
How odd to leave a restaurant before they start vaccuuming the carpets.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Bibbity, Bobbitty, Boo.When a loan officer promises to call you back, he should call you back. Because when he doesn't call you back, all kinds of Bobbitt-y scenarios might start running through the frantic customer's mind.
Not me, mind you, but possibly a frantic customer who looks like me. And who owns a lot of really sharp knives. And who already has the new roof.
(Wes came by today and brought his girlfriend. She's nice, Wes; you may proceed.)
Loreena Bobbitt's biggest mistake? Not flushing that thing down the toilet. I mean, didn't she realize that if it could be found, it could be re-attached? And what kind of thoughts do you suppose were going through the officers' minds, as they swept the park grounds with their flashlights, looking. Talk about mushroom hunting being tricky. . . . . And isn't that the park where their annual Easter Egg Hunt is held? Gross. Could anyone ever let a toddler run around there again, looking for eggs, without checking really closely to see what the child is carrying around in that little basket?
Don't get me wrong, I love men. I mean to say, men are great in too many ways to even BEGIN to mention. Men rock. Men are great company. Men make awesome friends. I adore men. I could go into more detail but I don't really have to, do I. Men are wonderful.
But there was something about Loreena's revenge that was deeply satisfying. I think women all over the planet took great pleasure in that little scenario.
Oh, don't panic, guys; nice men have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Maybe it's just that a man who isn't nice, doesn't deserve to own one. Could it be that?
I really don't know.
But I do know that ever since I first learned to drive a straight stick shift, I really enjoyed the power. Wherever you aim it, the rest of it follows. It's like a magic wand.
Is that why I love to read Harry Potter?
Tell me it ain't true.
I'm talking about my car. What were YOU thinking about?
Worrying about money makes me think weird thoughts. I'd better stop before I scare you all away. Or to death.
Thank you all for your kind words of sympathy; I'll pass them along to Mom tomorrow. She thinks everyone on the internet is really an ax-murderer but she'll appreciate your sympathy anyway. I hope you all know how much I appreciate all of you. You are lovely wonderful people and "meeting" you was the best thing to happen to me in a long, long time.
I hope no one was offended by all the references to stick shifts. Hey, at least I didn't mention bucket seats.
Although, that IS a good song. Cake rules.
And so it goes, and so it goes, and so will you soon I suppose. . . .I now have a roof overhead, and no more shall the rain make funky spots on my ceilings, which are in dire need of repainting now. Cross your fingers, please, that my loan will go through; otherwise, the next sound you hear might well be Batman ripping those shingles OFF.
My uncle's curio cabinet looks especially awesome, down on the landing beside the front door. I cleaned and shined it and since most of the rest of the house is filthy, it really stands out in its sparkly coolness. It has a music box on each glass shelf. A basket of silk flowers sits on the top, so it looks good no matter which view you have of it. (the good kind of silk flowers, not the gross kind, if any kind of artificial flower can be said to look good.)
My uncle's bookshelf is polished and full of books. It's in the living room to the right of the huge curtainless window.
Did I mention that I'm not a 'curtain' person? We live so far off the road that, well, who cares?
My uncle's little end table is sitting beside the huge grey chair. There's a big Yankee candle on it, and two books in the magazine rack that I found on Ebay for one of my former middle school students who visits me occasionally. He also reads this blog so hey, Alex, when you come over next, help me remember where your books are, ok?
My uncle's long kitchen shelf is beside the sink, with short cannisters on top and tall cannisters below.
My uncle's garage has been completely emptied out. His house is empty, too. His tool shed has been stripped. His cars and his tractor have been sold. Family and friends have taken to themselves much of his furniture. Many agencies all over the county have been distributing his clothing and small possessions to the needy.
His park bench is on my front porch, in front of a huge flowering azaela.
His Korean clock is on my son's wall. Many of his military shirts are on my son's back.
He had a lot of tv's and stereos. One of my sisters has a stereo, Belle has another. Mom has a new tv, courtesy of my uncle. Her old tv will go to Belle now. His fishing tackle will go to my nephew, tomorrow. Mom put away several nice things for the middle sister, and the carved bookcase went to the youngest sister a couple of weeks ago. Many thanks to the lovely friend who carried it from the back of the car to her guest bedroom, for me.
My uncle had several nieces and nephews, and we all got many nice things, courtesy of Uncle Larry.
I'd tell him all about it, but I can't now.
He died last night.
Mom called me at 3:30 a.m. to tell me. She knew I'd still be up.
It will affect her the most. She and her baby brother were travel companions for the past ten or so years, and while they didn't live in the same house, they pretty much took care of each other.
We'll all miss him, but she will miss him the most. Bless you, Mom. You're not only an awesome mother, you're a great sister, as well. I know Uncle Larry thought so, anyway.
As for the title of this post. . . .ah, my Fruvous boys always say it best.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Batman is on my roof.Hear that noise? That really loud noise up above my head? That's Batman, shoveling the old shingles off my roof. And after a while, the noise will change to hammering. That will be Batman nailing new shingles to my roof.
With most of the old shingles gone, I can see swirly places on the bare roof. One of them looks like Munch's "The Scream, if you tilt your head sideways and use your imagination. A lot of imagination.
Why don't I own a camera any more? I could take a picture of the Scream and post it on the internet and idiots would think my roof was a miraculous shrine, and they would flock to my yard to gaze in worshipful wonder at this spot on my roof, and I could tell them that donations would allow them to actually HEAR the "Scream," and that hearing the "Scream" would heal their acne, foot fungus, pinkeye, and liver spots. And if I fleeced the
I need a camera! Darn all those other cameras in my life for leaping out of my hands and onto hard surfaces or into water. (After that, they're no darn good.)
And now the sun is drying out the swirly spots and soon the 'Scream' will be gone, and nobody will ever believe it was there.
But you and I will always know that on that particular spot of roof, underneath those spiffy new shingles,
And when I get the bill, I shall Scream.
Oh, and Batman really is putting on my roof. That's a common name here. I kid you not. Accent on the first syllable.
. . . . channeling the Spiderman conversation from 'Friends'. . . .
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Baby, Don't Be Looking In My Mind.I got my BMG order in the mail today. "Buy one at half price, get three free." Even on my budget, I couldn't resist.
I hurried home and opened it up. Three of the four cd's were perfect. The fourth was not.
I suppose anyone can make a mistake.
But honestly. When you order Ben Folds and they send you Waylon Jennings?
I don't THINK so.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The post where I go all simplistic on a complicated issue.Teacher conferences? Only a handful of students showed up to get their final exam and find out their grade.
Maybe they're all going to come in tomorrow morning.
(That WAS the punchline.)
After 10:45 tomorrow morning, the semester is over for me, and I'm on vacation for a few weeks. This would be celebration fodder if I were going to be paid anything whatsoever during this time.
Excuse me for a moment while I waltz into a blind panic.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH. . . .
I'm back. Thank you for your patience.
But this evening I met Frau and The Menopausal Loan Officer again, at the Asian Pearl and we had some great Chinese. It will come as no surprise to, um, 'some people,' that I love Chinese food.
We stayed till they threatened to sweep us out. We took the hint when we felt like taking the hint.
There's nothing like hanging out with friends to really make a person feel like there's hope for the rest of the world.
Why can't everybody just eat at the Asian Pearl, sit at a table and talk for hours, and bask in the glow of eternal friendship?
If we all did that, there would be peace on earth. Yes, it's all just that simple.
It really is, you know. It's just that no two people can meet at the Pearl at the exact same time and stay for the exact same time. Or meet on the exact same day. Or order the exact same menu items. Or hold off on running to the restroom after five or six drink refills. Or hire the exact same babysitters. Or pay the exact same price for gas to get there. Etc.
But if we could, wouldn't it be grand?
The Asian Pearl: if everybody knew about it, there would be no more war or mention of war.
But a person can always wish.
This same analogy would also apply to YOUR Asian Pearl equivalent, but it would come with the same set of impossible standards.
What we need, listeners, is a Way-Back Machine. Where are Mr. Peabody and Sherman when we really need them?
My first car was named Sherman. It was like driving a tank. But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yes. World Peace.
I'm all for it.
Priorities straight? Check.1. MixMania mailed: Check
2. CD burning so I'll have something good to listen to during and between conferences: Check
3. Final exams graded: Check
4. Grades averaged: Check
5. Briefcase packed: Check
6. Mindset ready to dole out grades to students: Check. Kind of. The ones who skipped a lot of classes have, of course, failed, and they always try to argue me out of it. It's not going to work, but it takes a lot out of me. I'm not a fighter. For the sake of the students who showed up every day and did their work, though, I'm not going to cave. But yeah, I'm ready.
7. Cat fed: Check.
8. Shower: Check.
9. Clothed: Check
10. Right mind: no guarantee on that one.
11. Shoes: not yet. That's always last.
12. Car keys: Check.
I had to giggle when I saw my priorities. MixMania, courtesy of Patriside, was first. My own "keep sane during conferences" cd was next. THEN came all the things actually relevant to my job and the day.
To which I can only say, well, that's how it is. Without music we would all go mad. And without my music I would BE mad.
Both kinds of mad.
13. CD burned: Check
Have a great day, all.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
There are Nazis, and there are nazis.Dear spellingNazi,
As much as I appreciate your attempts to correct my spelling, and your delightful and intellectual retorts when shown that there was, indeed, no mistake ever made, I must end our delightful one-on-one public-eye camaraderies. My innate good breeding dictates that you deserve to hear the reason behind this decision; therefore, I am happy to oblige.
You're an idiot, and life is too short to deal with you. However, should anyone else care to tweak your nose, here is some information that might help: IP 22.214.171.124
I would have replied less publically had you supplied me with a workable email address, but since you decided to remain opinionatedly anonymous, like all the rest of the internet nimrods who hit-and-run with a rude comment but are too lily-livered to risk a reply, I am forced to do this for all the world to see.
Speaking of spelling, though: shouldn't that first part of your carefully chosen screen name be capitalized? Or was that just a spelling error on your part. . . . .
I was going to say something about looking forward to your next comment, but I can't. Because I just blocked your sorry ass.
Thank you again for the delightful encounters.
Wouldn't it be awesome if they used that stuff on the soles of our shoes?As I was walking down the long hall leading to the side door today, I saw some students bouncing super-balls against the walls and floor, while they were waiting for their next class. It reminded me of something that happened years ago. Wes, you'll remember this one.
We'd been having problems in the hallways of the old junior high. Besides the usual problems, that is.
The boys were bringing superballs to school. They were firing them against the floors and walls so hard, it was like dodging bullets to try and walk down the hall. Talk about a gauntlet: when one of those things hit you, you felt it. It hurt.
The principal couldn't see through the flak to find a culprit. It seemed as though every boy in the building was standing around the halls laughing at the bouncing superballs.
Surely you can all see where this is going by now.
Cut to the library; my class is in there and you could hear a pin drop. The loudspeaker begins to throw out static, so we know that an announcement of some kind is coming. It came.
"Ahem. Ahem. It has come to my attention that the boys are taking out their balls in the hallways and hitting the girls with them. Now, boys, surely you all know, at your age, that taking your balls out in public and annoying the girls with them is just not school-appropriate behavior. If this doesn't stop, something could happen which would affect your lives forever. Therefore, I'm asking all the teachers to be on the lookout for boys' balls in the hallways, and whenever you see them, you have my permission to take them. Any boy with confiscated balls will need his parent's permission to have them returned. That is all."
It was enough. For about thirty seconds there was dead silence. And then the entire building erupted in a fit of laughter unlike anything I'd ever seen before. To this day, I doubt that principal has any idea what he really announced to us all.
But it was a great ending to what had been a really boring day.
I don't think I could ever walk up to a guy and say, "I see your balls; now you must give them to me." However, I used to tell my students, "Put it away. If I have to ask you to give that to me, it might embarass us both."
I didn't want them for keeps. But sometimes I borrowed them. I always gave them back, though.
Some things are supposed to be merely borrowed.
Monday, May 02, 2005
. . . making a list, checking it twice. . . .Patriside's MixMania is off and running! If you signed up, head on over to his fantabulous blog and take note of the list of participants. Make sure you're on there, and then go back to your own blog and post your playlist. The Zero Boss did a great job of posting his playlist; go look on his blog and copy him.
Jim worked really hard on this project, and I should know since I was supposed to help and didn't do a darn thing except say 'Great job, Jim!' when he was all finished. Next time, Jim, give me an assignment, because otherwise I'll just hang around in the wings saying useless things like "anything you need me for?" or "you are just too cute to be true" or "got any more of that stuff?" and other vapid useless annoying comments that probably made him want to duct-tape my mouth and hide me in the attic.
Which, in some moods, doesn't sound all that bad.
Here's my playlist:
1. King of Spain - Moxy Fruvous
I've been madly in love with Moxy Fruvous since the early nineties. They go from the sublime to the ridiculous without missing a beat. Awesome a capella. Incredible harmony. They're also really cute. The band has been on hiatus for a couple of years now and I doubt they'll get back together, but if they ever do, I'll be right there swooning along with a lot of other people who are too old to publically swoon any more.
2. Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman and Andrea Boccelli
If you've ever been to Vegas and seen the water show at the Bellagio, then you've heard this song. Sarah Brightman was the original 'Christine' in 'The Phantom of the Opera,' and Andrea Boccelli is the former soccer player who went blind and began to sing opera. Well, it's kind of like opera. . . .
3. Since I Don't Have You - Axel Rose and Rob Zombie
Not family-friendly, thanks to Zombie, but this is a hilarious duet by two slightly weird guys, who make an old standard into a funky laugh-fest.
4. Break Your Heart - Barenaked Ladies
I love a capella. This is a beautiful one.
5. Careless Whispers - Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright
The best cover ever. If anyone cared what Wham would think, I'm sure Wham would be jealous of this version. If anyone cared what Wham would think.
6. Golden Age - Beck
The song is great, of course, but what I really like is the instrumental background. I like glockenspiels, so sue me.
7. Magic - Ben Folds
This was featured on one of the many young-adult WB shows but since I don't watch tv I can't tell you which one. My students shared it with me a year or so ago and I loved it. Being an avid Ben Folds fan helped, too.
8. To Make You Feel My Love - Bob Dylan
Be still my heart. I absolutely love this song.
9. The World Exploded Into Love - Bob Schneider
This artist likes to come to my town and sing at the Bluebird. When he sang this, they almost had to mop up my remains, because I melted all over my chair.
10. Magic Toenail - Brak
I love Brak. I love Zorak. I love Space Ghost. I love the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. But this little ditty is sung by Brak. Get ready, because the tune will never leave your brain and you'll find yourself singing it in the most embarassing places.
11. Guitar - Cake
I love Cake. That's obvious if you ever saw me, but this particular Cake is the awesome band. This is one of my many favorite Cake songs. It just is.
12. Clocks - Coldplay
Big Coldplay fan here. Clocks is one of their greatest yet. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
13. She - Elvis Costello
Remember the scene in "Notting Hill" where Hugh Grant was walking down the street and through the seasons, thinking of Julia Roberts and believing it was hopeless? This is that song.
14. Only Time - Enya
I haven't seen the movie (Sweet November) nor do I have any desire to do so, but I will have to say that the soundtrack was great. This cut was also used as one of the 'symbolic' songs of the 911 disaster.
15. Songbird - Eva Cassidy
Anything Eva sang was perfection, but this one is the most perfect of all. I've been a big Eva fan since way back.
16. The Closest Thing To Crazy - Katie Melua
17. Green Eggs and Ham - Moxy Fruvous
There's my four handsome guys again, being all silly with a Dr. Seuss favorite. I'd rather listen to this song that suffer through Mike Myers any day. Different character but you know what I mean. I've been a FruHead for a long, long, long time.
18. Angels - Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams is my secret internet bad-boy boyfriend. I love it when he goes all ballad-y on me.
19. Love Minus Zero - Rod Stewart
I'm not a big Rod Stewart fan, at least not since he got so darn OLD, but this song hit me in the heart when it was used as a tribute to Princess Diana.
20. Answer - Sarah McLachlan
Anything she sings is gold, to me. I used to play this cut in the classroom, and my students gave me the entire cd on the last day of school. Those sweet little kids.
More details on request, if anyone wants to know more.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
If Don McLean were dead, he'd be turning over in his grave.If you are old enough to remember "American Pie" as a single by Don McLean, and not as that movie about the potential of hot apple pie, you will also remember that it was long, a really long song.
Have we established that it is a really long song?
Well, it's even longer when it's being sung karaeoke-style by a drunk guy in a bar.
After about an hour, I was sure that this'll be the day that I die. And I wasn't even drinking whiskey and rye. But I was sure tempted to catch the last train to the coast.
Maybe behind that door someone was happy for a while. But that voice did NOT come from you or me. I was wishing the Byrds had some extra room in their fallout shelter. They're soundproof, right?
The levee is dry. I need another.