Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Having already been to the gym yesterday morning for my regular workout I was feeling all proud and sanctimonious that I was back there again on the same day for more punishment. After all, it is the holidays and I have over-indulged just like everyone else these past few weeks. So imagine my surprise and somewhat disappointment when Marigold announced we were going to do something called "restorative yoga". What on earth is that? Isn't all yoga restorative or is the regular kind actually designed to beat you to a pulp and leave you a quadriplegic? I was drawn, yet repelled by this new concept.
At any rate, and not to belabor the point, the class was fine and very relaxing in a stretchy sort of way. I will say that I have noticed no one in yoga class except for me seems to have a sense of humor, though. After class I told Marigold that I very much enjoyed her class but we should all really be taking this "restorative" class Thursday morning ha ha. She gave me an odd look and said "well, we will be closed for the holiday but I'm sure you can do this on your own at home." So of course I felt the need to explain my joke to her by saying "No, I mean because tomorrow is New Year's Eve and we will all need some restoration the next morning ha ha." Nothing, no response, blank look. Oh well.
Just then who should walk in but Sunshine Wheatgrass, up selling, of all things! She had a handful of fliers and was talking about all of us showing up at her yoga studio Thursday morning at 10 am to participate in something called "108 Sun Supplications" or something. She handed me a flyer, calling me by name and telling me she expected to see me there Thursday morning. Never mind that it cost $20 for the privilege of getting out of bed the morning after New Year's Eve and then enduring whatever odd rituals, supplemented by heated crystals, Sunshine had cooked up for us. I said thanks and would think about it, handed the flyer to another unsuspecting soul and beat it out of there. They can have my share of supplications and hot crystals on New Year's Day. I will be at home with Paco, eating black-eyed peas and watching the Rose Bowl. On my yoga mat.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This crucial decision tells alot about how much I care or don't care about the recipient. If I am re-gifting I tend towards gift bags, usually re-gifted gift bags (it's tough to re-gift using used wrapping paper, despite all the paper my late mother made us save by carefully unwrapping our gifts). If it's a family member I would probably go the paper route but there are so many variables I could be here all day splitting hairs. I think the recipient should just be darn glad I got 'em a frappin' gift in the first place, don't you?
REAL TREE OR ARTIFICIAL?
After Paco and I got together I had to switch from my 'tree-in-a-box" to the real thing, albeit a tiny one. I have two huge, as in taller than my two-story house, pine trees in my front yard that started out as living Christmas trees from Home Depot. They are now blocking out the sun, threatening to displace the driveway with their wicked root system and the sap has killed the once verdant and thriving Bermuda grass that lies beneath their majestic branches. I can't wait to cut them down some day soon. Preferably right before Christmas, just to teach them who is in charge.
ANGEL OR STAR ON TOP?
Yes, as of last year when one of my closest and bestest friends gifted me with one. I think she maybe thought I couldn't afford one since we had been using one made from pipe cleaners and Popsicle sticks I made in 4th grade. Bless her.
EGGNOG-YES OR NO?
Absolutely. I have to stop here and say several things about Egg Nog. First, the low-fat version should never be sold anywhere except maybe at the little dairy stand right outside the fat farm where those folks from The Biggest Loser go to work out and try and win $100,000. Low-fat egg nog is horrid, awful and not found in nature. Second, for the best dang egg nog I have ever had, I made it from the Joy of Cooking recipe back when I was living in the U.K. and they had never heard of it over there. It had several cases of different liquors in it and put all of my British family members into a self-induced coma until Easter. Yes, it was that good. I feel sorry for people who don't know about this recipe.
HARDEST PERSON TO BUY FOR?
Probably someone like Donald Trump but I don't know him personally and he isn't on my list so I don't care about him anyway. He has such odd hair. Maybe if he was on my list I would buy him a mirror so he could see how stupid his comb over looks, especially standing next to his latest cradle-snatched wife.
DO YOU HAVE A NATIVITY SCENE?
Yes, sort of. It's actually a tree ornament and is very small. Since it hangs from the tree all of the occupants are in various states of dishevelment, having to hang on for dear life to keep from falling into the tree stand water, which would not be good. I may have to strap Baby Jesus into a tiny car seat just to be on the safe side.
FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE?
Despite what I know Lorrie will say if she reads this, I still love "It's a Wonderful Life". I just wish maybe "This Old House" or "Extreme Makeover" had been around back then to help spruce up George's house.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?
More people visiting my blog, blog ads that make lots of money and two tickets to His Majesty's inauguration.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
My Fantastic and Amazing Holiday Giveaway is all about hope and the Grand Prize is this fabulous 2008 Christmas Glass starring none other than His Majesty, our future president, offering us HOpe HOpe HOpe!
In Comments please tell me where you find hope these days and where it may be hiding. This might help some of us out there who are a bit thin on it lately. If you put a link on your blog to my little contest and you win, I will award you an additional glass of your choosing (assuming it is in stock). Glasses can be found at this link: http://www.beerknurd.com/glasstrader
Contest winner will be announced next Monday, Dec. 22. Thanks everyone and good luck!
I hope you enjoy this week's selection and Happy Holidays.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The second is actually a video that I couldn't figure out how to embedd here, so when your finished listening to Eartha, please change the channel and have a look and listen. This will make your day if Eartha doesn't. Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Unfortunately, since my last run-in with Sunshine, the Yoga teacher with bad Karma, I have not had the pleasure of taking her class again. The other teacher at the Y, Marigold Lamb, had been teaching the Tuesday night class and she was just lovely. Patient, happy in her own skin and thankfully lacking any serious OCD symptoms or psychotic behaviors . So imagine my surprise last night when I walked into class to discover Sunshine, Marigold's evil twin, was there to teach the class instead. Daunted but unyielding this time, I took a deep breath and found a place to unroll my mat. I knew after my first run-in with Sunshine not to wear gym socks or baggy pants to class and that yoga blankets had to be folded in a certain way, seams forward and fringe to the back. Last night I was not wearing socks but was sporting baggy yoga pants. And I had already decided no one was telling me how to fold my damn yoga blanket. I knew all about Sunshine's near-pathological focus on blanket folding and the sin of baggy pants and I was determined to stand my ground on both points. Someone had to draw a line in the sand.
Minding my own business and trying very hard not to make eye contact with Sunshine, I picked up two blankets from the cart, sat down on my mat and started stretching out until class began. At this point someone else in the class apparently started folding their blankets incorrectly, setting off a small tidal wave of dismay with Sunshine. I thought this was my opportunity to quietly fold my blankets while she was distracted with the other student, but I was sorely mistaken. Instead of focusing on my classmate, Sunshine zeroed in on my efforts, this time coming over to sit next to me on my mat and show me the correct Sunshine Wheatgrass-approved method of blanket folding. I was having none of it, however:
SW: Here, let me show you how to fold your blankets (reaching over to grab them from me)
RL: No, I like them just as they are, thanks.
SW: But that isn’t the correct way to fold them.
RL: I don’t care. They’re the way I want to fold them.
SW: (looking aggitated and suddenly in need of medication) Well, can you at least please smooth them out neatly?
RL: No. I like them wrinkled.
Sunshine genuinely looked ill and panicky as soon as I said I was leaving the blanket in its current unkempt state. She jumped up off my mat, hitting me in the face with her long, braided salt and pepper pony tail. The sound of her jingly anklet bells followed her back to her own mat at the front of the class. She was not happy with me and I could see a determined look on her face. If she could not force me to comply with the order of her own Bizarre Universe, she would bully me into it. Sunshine fixed her gaze upon me...
SW: So, I don't believe I know your name.
RL: My name is Racie.
SW: Oh, is that a family name?
RL: Yes, I am named after my paternal grandmother. She was a famous exotic dancer.
SW: Oh, I see. Well, how long have you been studying yoga, Racie?
RL: A few years, off and on. And I wouldn't say I study it exactly. More like I just audit it now and then.
SW: And is there a particular school of yoga you follow?
RL: No, not really. I think they all have their own attributes. I couldn't even name them for you. It's sort of like art. I don't know the artist's names or style, but I know what I like.
Frustrated because she could not draw me into a conversation about specifics and thereby embarrass me by my lack of knowledge, Sunshine turned her attention back to the class and we got started. We began in the seated lotus position and after clasping our hands in prayer and doing three OLMS in rapid succession, Sunshine greeted everyone with the following question:
SW: Hello, everyone and welcome to Tuesday evening yoga class. My name is Sunshine and I am substituting for Marigold tonight. I would like to begin by first asking if there is anyone in the class who is having their menstrual cycle (there were no takers and I did not return her glare).
We began our routine with the Downward Dog, a position I felt fairly comfortable with. As I dutifully stretched my legs as far back as I could get them and bowed my head, Sunshine came up to my left side and grabbed my waist with both hands. Yanking me violently upwards, she said "Racie, you are way too low. You must be much higher (yank). There, that's better." I said nothing, mostly because I was struggling to breath and thought she might have punctured a lung.
Recovering somewhat from her first assault, I was making sure my legs were as straight as I could get them while still attempting to touch the floor with my folded elbows. Once again, Sunshine walked over to my mat. "All of you who continue to show up in class wearing baggy yoga pants, I can still tell if you have your knees together or not."
I knew I was getting to her.
About half through class the door suddenly opened and Marigold, the kind and gentle other yoga teacher, walked in. How odd, I thought, as she dropped her mat and started to squinch in between me and the person behind me. Was I being double-teamed? Did Sunshine have a secret floor buzzer under her mat and had called for back up after my early passive-agressive behavior? Hard to say.
The rest of the class proceeded more or less without incident, other than when I turned around to get my blankets for the last sequence of moves and they were- missing! Someone had moved them across to the opposite side of the room. I could only think it was Marigold, doing Sunshine's dirty work for her. Maybe she wasn't as innocent as I first thought. I made a mental note to keep my eye on her from now on as I went to retrieve my (now) neatly folded blankets.
Class ended and I actually thanked Sunshine for the class and said I enjoyed it and would be back. I have decided that having stood my ground she will back off next time and leave me in karmic peace. That doesn't mean, however, that I might not still find a dead fish wrapped in newspaper on my front porch some day soon. Written in Sanskrit, of course.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
This is a busy time for us all and with so much to do to get ready for the Yuletide, I hope you will take time to thank your Higher Power for all that has been bestowed upon you and yours this past year and to say a prayer for Peace on Earth.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
With that introduction, I will now tell you a story, at Paco’s suggestion, of my first meeting with his folks...
After we had been dating a few months, Paco told me he wanted me to meet his folks. This was a big honor and I immediately accepted, but with one caveat. Since his folks live out of town a ways, we would be spending the entire weekend with them. That meant sleeping in their house, under their roof, if you know what I mean. Did they have a guest room, I asked? Yes, Paco assured me they did. Where would I sleep? In the guest room. Where will you sleep? On the hide-a-way in the den. Okay, good. There is no way I am sharing a room with you at your parent’s house. My mother (may she rest in peace) would be appalled and if the shoe was on the other foot not only would Paco be sleeping in a separate room from me, but it would also be at a hotel on the other side of town. And my father would have the key to his hotel room locked in his safe. Paco agreed and seemed relieved, too. We felt it was more respectful to sleep in separate rooms, surely that first weekend at least.
So off we went for the weekend to meet the parents and all went swimmingly. Until bedtime. Paco and I were in the den, making up his bed when his mother walked into the room. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Making up Paco’s bed” we said in unison (we had rehearsed this part during the three hour drive up that morning). “You don’t have to sleep in here, for Pete’s sake. That’s silly. You are both sharing the guest room.” “No, thank you but we like this arrangement just fine. Really. We are more comfortable this way” Paco pleaded. Finally relenting, his mother shook her head in amazement and wandered off to bed and we did the same. To our separate rooms. It was awkward but neither one us was ready to share sleeping quarters at his parent's house. After all, I had only just met them and I did not want them thinking their son was dating a wanton hussy. That could come later.
After making up his bed Paco and I chastely said good night and I wandered off to the guest room and shut the door. I found out later that at that point Paco’s father came into the den and said to him “Say, don’t you two sleep together?” (secret meaning: you don't expect us to believe you're not, do you?) To which Paco replied “Yes, Dad, we do, but not here.” His father apparently was incredulous that we were making such a show of our innocence but no amount of chiding could get Paco to join me in the guest room. Lights went out and we hoped that was the end of it.
After dinner the next evening Paco and I dutifully went to the den to again make up his bed. Once again his father walked into the room, this time apparently on a mission. “You two don’t have to do this, you know. This is just silly. Just go in there and stay in the guest room. You will be a lot more comfortable.” At this point the cringe factor was off the chart and I fled to the security of the guest room and shut the door. How is it that Paco’s parents were forcing us to share a room under their roof? Neither of us was ready to go public with the full extent of our relationship and would have preferred to ease into that aspect a bit further down the road.
I sat on the edge of the bed assessing the situation, determined to hold onto the illusion of our chastity. No one could make me sleep with my boyfriend, not even his own parents! Suddenly from the other end of the hallway came this from his mother “Get in there and sleep with her for heaven’s sake. This is ridiculous. Your father and I don’t care if you two are sleeping together. We are fine with it so just get yourself in there and sleep with her!” I was beyond embarrassed. My face turned a deep crimson and I buried my face in the pillow. It was as if there was something unnatural about our not wanting to share a room. It was the ultimate role reversal. Parents shaming their children into “having relations without benefit of clergy”. It was just too much.
Suddenly the bedroom door opened a crack and Paco stuck his head in the room. “I guess I might as well sleep in here with you. I think it’s the only way we will get any peace around here. Do you mind?" he asked. “I guess you're right, " I said, "we might as well bite the bullet and relent. I’m afraid your parents are going to think ill of me if I don’t sleep with you.” Then I added “Just to appease your folks I will let you sleep in here with me. But we are NOT having sex and they can’t make us!”
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Ms. James, please leave your comment here by this Thursday, Nov. 6 @ 2pm to claim your fabulous prize. Otherwise I will draw another name out of the hat.
Please watch this space for my next Fantastic and Amazing Giveaway!
Monday, November 3, 2008
No matter who you support, please say a prayer today for the safety of our leaders and for our country. And thank your Higher Power for the freedom to vote and worship as you please.
God Bless America.
Friday, October 31, 2008
(From Sister K this morning)
Last night Big B and I were watching tv on our brand-new plasma flat screen. It's the one in the bedroom, having been transfered there after Big B decided it wasn't big enough for the den, where he likes to watch the Rangers lose yet another baseball game. Mind you that we still have harvest gold shag carpet in the house from the 1970s, but when it comes to the latest electronics or getting the driveway re-paved, the sky's the limit with Big B. But that's another blog...
Anyway, Big B had just left the room to make his nightly Pimm's cup (thanks, Racie and Paco) when suddenly the flat screen in the bedroom fell partly off its mounting on the wall. I ran over to it and valiantly tried to save it from crashing to the floor while frantically screaming for Big B to come help me. When he realized that his 42" flat screen (it completely overshadows anything else in the room) was about to become a pile of broken glass and computer chips, he raced back into the room and saved it.
As we were standing there looking at the tv turned sideways on the wall, we were scratching our heads and wondering how this could have happened. Big B had used industrial-strength bolts engineered to the exact specifications for supporting the tv until the pyramids crumble. He turned to me and said, "What could have caused this? Maybe there was an earthquake." I looked pityingly at him and said, "Sure. We had an earthquake in Dallas, Texas. And pigs were flying as it was happening."
Flash forward to this morning as I was drinking my morning coffee while perusing the newspaper. I had the tv on as background noise when I suddenly heard the word "earthquake" uttered by the news anchor. Seems there was a very rare and unexpected earthquake that had occurred in Dallas the night before. I ran to my computer and went to the television station's website. Under news stories was the caption "Earthquakes Jolt North Texas." Who knew?
I had to make an apologetic and sheepish phone call to Big B at the office this morning, begging his forgiveness for being such a naysayer. After listening to me grovel for a few minutes, he accepted my apology and said, "At least the driveway didn't crack and the new pool filtration system seems to be working okay." I hung up the phone and went back to vacuuming the shag carpet.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Last night I decided to try the yoga class, as I was starting to crave more endorphins and had missed my 5:30 am work out yesterday morning. So off I went to the 6:30 pm yoga class, my matt stuffed into my gym bag, looking all hip and earthy in my yoga pants and spandex top.
I like to be early to any exercise class, believing it is rude to show up late when the class has already started. It’s disruptive and can throw off the pace of the class. So ten minutes early, I turned the door knob and walked in all smiley-faced, ready to befriend everyone in the room.
Suspicion and mistrust met me at the door and stopped me in my tracks. Conversation ceased mid-sentence. The fox had just wandered into the hen house. Sarah Palin had just burst into an anti-NRA meeting. I was the OUTSIDER obviously there to disrupt the natural flow of karma and happiness so carefully fashioned by Sunshine Wheatgrass, the yoga instructor. I headed for the furthest corner of the room and tried to make myself invisible.
Not satisfied with my anonymity, Sunshine began by telling me to remove my socks. Then to sit up straight and that I did not have my yoga blanket folded correctly. The whole blanket-folding issue became a centerpiece of her class. Her premise was that a neatly folded blanket, smooth seam to the front and fringe seam to the back, represents order, neatness and purity of mind and body. Fine, except she went on and on about it for the entire class. I’m all for neatness and purity of mind and body but this went far beyond that mantra. I secretly decided that Sunshine was OCD and this was all about control and no wire hangers and Lord knows what else. Was she locked in a closet as a child? Forced to eat creamed spinach on toast? Switched at birth? My mind began to wander. I understood now why the room went silent when I walked in earlier. Newbies endangered the order of Sunshine's tiny universe and had the potential for introducing unacceptable thoughts and behaviors. And badly folded yoga blankets. I made a mental note to blog about this the next day.
Suddenly I was forced back to reality by Sunshine’s unrelenting focus on me. In front of the entire class I was asked to run down my medical history, starting with any surgeries I might have had that would impact my performance. I told her about my back surgery and she asked “What age were you when you had your surgery?” When I answered I was in my early forties at the time, she said “Oh, okay. So not recently. You’ll be fine.” I was crushed. I could no longer pass for early 40-something. I was an aging hippy, bent over and arthritic. Someone who wears gym socks to yoga class, does not know how to fold her yoga blanket and prefers Frito pies to musli. No wonder I was Sarah Palin in yoga pants. Clearly I had not washed away my sins and did not possess a pure mind and body. Pure minds and bodies do not eat Frito pie washed down with frozen margaritas. I was a dismal failure.
Class finally began with Sunshine singing a delightful, if somewhat off-key, yoga warm-up song in Sanskrit. Her voice was a cross between Yoko Ono and Dolly Parton, and not in a good way. It was high and shrill and I had no idea what she was saying but it sounded official and very exotic. Once the sing song was dispensed with, Sunshine began pacing the room, speaking in tongues while checking everyone’s form, pushing and pulling rogue arms and legs that were not positioned to her strict standards. I dutifully performed the Downward Dog, Lotus and Half Moon poses, all the time looking at my watch and wishing I was at home with Paco.
At one point Sunshine told all of us to straighten our legs, knees and arms and reach over as far as possible. She said “And for all of you cheaters who are wearing baggy yoga pants, I can tell whether or not you’re performing the pose correctly or not.” I looked around and realized I was the only one wearing baggy yoga pants. Oh dear. Shamed and humiliated in yoga class by Sunshine Wheatgrass. What could be worse, except maybe showing up for Jack LaLane’s exercise class smoking a Camel and hung over. No, this was worse.
Class finally ended and suddenly Sunshine was happy and all smiles, thanking everyone for attending and inviting us all back next time for more fun and torture. I fled to my car and drove home, vowing to stick to weights and Pilates. When I got home Paco was cooking dinner and asked about my class and did I want a glass of wine? “Yes, please” I said. “That was not exactly what I was expecting. I think I prefer Pilates over yoga. Sunshine was so mean.” Paco laughed and gave me a kiss. “Sweetheart, I’m just glad you take such good care of yourself” he said. “Go relax and drink you wine and I will call you when dinner’s ready.”
I will take Paco’s good karma over Sunshine’s bad dogma any day.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
So now any of you who want to hang on my every word can do so easily just by becoming a Kool-Aid Drinker. Despite the ominous tone and potential for lasting psychological damage the moniker suggests, I encourage you to take the plunge. I promise to do my part and bring you nothing but the very finest journalism has offer (in my limited sphere).
If anyone happened to be watching CNN this morning (the part that was NOT about the stock market debacle) maybe you saw a blurb about the Vote glass program being hosted by a certain beer emporium chain. Every time you buy either an Obama or McCain glass you cast a vote for that candidate, and here's the best part: you can vote as many times as you like!
I happen to have connections with this establishment and personally know the designer of the glasses, so I decided to hold my very first contest giveaway and whoever wins gets to pick which glass they would like to have and I will mail it out first thing. Now here's the best part: if you put my link on your blog I will send you both glasses, or two of the same one.
Just complete the following sentence for your chance to win:
If I could change my name I would change it to__________________
The winner will be on Election Day. Good luck everybody!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Group e-mailed promotions for prescription drugs, 'male enhancement' pills
CHICAGO - Federal authorities in Chicago say they've shut down one of the largest spam e-mail operations in the world. The Federal Trade Commission says the group generated e-mails promoting sales of prescription drugs and "male enhancement" pills.
Now that the SPAM folks are supposedly out of business, I vote to hire Blue Man to be the spokespersons for The Little Blue Pill. I think a man need only look at their round, blue, smooth heads to be instantly reminded that it's "time to take my pill!" Imagine, never having to worry about that again right before heading out for the evening with your Trophy Wife?!
(editor's note: where are their ears?)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Friends and family,
Just had to share this story about the scare I had this morning. As most of you know, Buck and I have two brown tabby cats, Lizzie and Buster. They're mostly inside cats but sometimes I let them into the backyard if I'm home. I keep an eye on them and constantly check to be sure they're okay. (I've owned at least twenty cats in my lifetime and only two of them have died of old age.) This morning after they had been outside for about ten minutes, I went to the backyard to check on them but they were nowhere to be found. I then went to the front yard and was calling for them when I happened to glance over and saw perhaps one of the biggest birds I've ever seen in my entire life. It was standing on our lawn, regally looking around as if it owned the place. I ran inside to get my Birds of Texas book and my binoculars (most of you know that my eyesight isn't all that great.) I discovered that the huge bird was either a broad-winged or red-tailed hawk. As I was enjoying the majesty of the bird, I noticed that it was guarding something dead at its feet. At first I thought it was a rat but as I was watching it start to eat the hapless fellow, I noticed that the victim had a furry, fluffy brown tail. Much to my horror I began to panic over the possibility that one of our sweet kitties had met an untimely death in a most vicious and dramatic way. Now before you say, "Kathy, it was obviously a squirrel, you dummy," you need to know that I had minutely scanned the dead animal with my binoculars, and all I could see was its brown, variegated tail, little pointed ears and powerful hind legs. It really did resemble Lizzie, our smaller cat. Because I had to know what was the "catch of the day," I walked over to within ten feet of the hawk and threw my Birds of Texas book at it to scare it away. (I was hoping that my eyesight would kick in at that close distance and I could identify the animal.) However, the hawk kept right on eating while it disdainfully eyed my futile and cowardly attempts to run it off. By this time I was totally freaked out, wondering how I was going to explain to Buck that his favorite cat Lizzie had lost her "lease on life" and had become lunch for this grizzly raptor in our front yard. As the hawk finally got tired of my yelling and stamping feet, it flew off with its prey and, much to my relief, I saw that it was indeed a very unfortunate squirrel who had definitely been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although I felt sorry for the squirrel, I was ecstatic to discover that it wasn't one of the family pets! When I walked over to examine the few pieces of fur remaining on the grass, Buster casually ambled out from behind a bush and starting licking his front paws. I then glanced over to the house and saw Lizzie on the front porch taking a sunbath. Of course neither one of them was anywhere to be found as I had been frantically calling for them just a few minutes earlier. I immediately took the cats in and Googled "hawks cats." I ran across an unbelievable story of a hawk that crashed through a screened-in porch to try to get a cat who had been minding its own business. If you want to read this hilarious story, go to "Hawk eyes cat for its breakfast" at www.gazetteextra.com/hawkattack082107.asp
Needless to say, Buster and Lizzie will not be spending much time outside for quite a while.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Mary and Pete had never laid eyes on each other until today, but theirs was a powerful love, bound by bookends of loss and hope and the inner sanctum of an on-line chat room. Like an arranged marriage, their paths were pre-destined by forces beyond their control, lifted up by the wings of change and borne of a mutual love for ludafisk.
Finally ready to start over after the tragic loss of his beloved wife (although she was by no means forgiven; how can you forgive someone who chooses their own exit strategy?) Pete found himself in the strange, subterranean world of internet dating. Maybe it was the challenge of meeting people in person that was stopping him from trying the conventional dating scene. Chat rooms afforded him the chance to edit his words before speaking them and prevented anyone who read them from hearing the lingering pain in his voice. Without much hope but now at least ready to look once again for love, Pete whipped out his Presto Charge and plunged head first into the "Love Lines" Chat Room.
Mary had resigned herself to staying in an unhappy marriage, remaining forever a stranger to love. Quietly humming “Is That All There Is” as she folded the laundry each day, Mary felt closer to Peggy Lee than to her own husband. She and Peggy were soul mates, or so she thought. Then one day, while surfing the web, Mary Googled "chat rooms" and decided she had nothing left to loose but the pain she felt in her heart. And maybe 35 pounds.
The day that Pete and Mary finally met in person, he was standing next to his car with the passenger door open, waiting for her and her faithful, if somewhat confused dog, Charlie. Their journey was just beginning but to both of them, they felt as though they had already spent a lifetime together. The interstate was calling their names as Pete dropped the top on the convertible, gunned the engine and slid the car into Drive. With every Dairy Queen and Motel 8 for the next 7 states carefully noted on his map, Pete felt a confidence and excitement in the future he had not known for years. As he pulled Mary closer to him, she, too smiled and thanked her lucky stars. Her bags were packed, Charlie was safely in the back seat and her beehive was freshly washed and nailed down with a gallon of Aqua-Net. Her hair wasn't going anywhere, but she and Pete were.
To be continued…
I went to school with John, although he was a year ahead of me. I remember him walking down the halls of our high school by himself and looking very lonely. He infamously went on to be the would-be assassin of Ronald Reagan. If I had known he aspired to shoot the president in order to impress his pretend girlfriend Jodie Foster, I would have averted my eyes and never acknowledged him. I’m surprised I wasn’t interviewed by the FBI after he committed his terrible deed. His photo was in my high school yearbook, in my bookshelf at home. Surely that would make me a possible accomplice.
The sister of one of my closest friends was good friends with Sharon Tate back in the 60s and was supposed to be at her party that fateful evening up in the Canyon. She couldn’t attend because she couldn’t find a babysitter and hence is still alive today. Surely in hindsight the cops would want to interview me to see if I maybe had some ties there with the Manson family. Never mind that I was only 12 years old at the time of the murders.
HUNSTVILLE STATE PRISON
This one has trouble written all over it in so many ways. I went to school at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and lived across the street from the maximum security unit for 4 years. My sorority raised money every fall by selling beer and burgers at the Prison Rodeo and I remember being winked at by one of the prison rodeo contestants whom I found out later was an inmate there at the prison for committing capitol murder. That wink could have cost me dearly if anyone else had seen it. Who knew? Maybe I was plotting to help him bust out or something. I also rode the Greyhound home one weekend with a couple of ex-cons who had just been released from the prison the day before. Being bus-mates could have smeared me for life. Was I the girlfriend of one of them and maybe we were on our way to our next heist?
You won't have heard of Jim, but he was married to my sorority sister Chris and I always thought he was a little slimy. He was a chemistry major, never appeared to bathe or wash his hair and was always at the library. A few years after college graduation I was watching the news one day and there was Jim, being handcuffed and pushed into the back of a Houston squad car. Jim had obviously paid close attention in his chemistry classes because he had been running a successful meth lab for a number of years. If I had known he would go on to a semi-successful career in pharmaceuticals I would have steered clear of him, too. I am amazed the FBI didn’t come calling, asking to see my medicine chest at home.
Don’t know if anyone has ever heard of that song “I Danced With A Man Who Danced With A Girl Who Danced With The Prince of Wales", but it is in that vein that I see how people can sometimes be linked with other people, however obscurely. This can be a dangerous and perilous thing. If I flew over the North Pole would that make me Santa Claus? If my ancestors owned slaves or fought on the side of the Confederacy would that make me a racist? If I spoke Arabic would that make me a terrorist? If I served on the PTA with an ex-exotic dancer turned homeroom mom, would that make me a stripper? Before we all go off the deep end and assume the worst about a person (such as a presidential candidate) I think we need to take a hard look at what the actual connection is there and exercise a little common sense.
I once spent the night in Reykjavik, Iceland, but that doesn't make me a reindeer.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I was driving to work yesterday morning and came across this yard sign, nearly causing me to hit a parked car. I seriously did a double-take. Had I missed something? Overnight had Senator McCain decided to step aside “for health reasons” and install Sarahcuda at the top of the ticket as the ultimate “stunt”? Who is actually running for president, Senator McCain or Governor Palin? I am getting confused.
Monday, October 6, 2008
The conversation shifted to couples finances and, more specifically, pre-nupes. Not ours because we don’t have one (I think only mistrustful rich people are the only ones who need bother with them) but other people whom we have known who either have one or suggested to their partner about having one. I have always taken the view that no one would even broach the subject unless they don’t have much faith that the marriage will last. Or else they have so much darn money that it really would mean financial ruin if the marriage dissolved.
At this point I got all lovey-dovey and said to Paco "For instance, you and I would never have considered asking each other for a pre-nupe. We are both committed to our marriage and went into it with 100% love and faith that we will be married until death-do-us part." Paco agreed with me and we continued driving. After considering this for another minute or two, I added "And not that this will ever, ever happen, but if for some unknown reason you and I did end up getting divorced, I would certainly never try and demand half of any assets you may have had prior to our marriage. It would only be about community property and nothing else. I just don't understand people who try and take each other to the cleaners. That is just awful." At this point I was feeling especially close to my new husband, not to mention slightly holier-than-thou at my unparalleled selflessness and refusal to ever become a greedy soon-to-be ex-wife. Funny how my high-and-mightiness was so short-lived…
Paco: “What if you were mad at me, though?”
Me: “What do you mean? Why would I be mad at you?”
Paco: “Well, presumably if you wanted a divorce you would be mad at me about something, right? Why else would you want to get divorced?”
Me: “That’s weird. If never occurred to me that I would be mad at you but I guess why else would we be splitting up. What did you do?"
Paco: “Well, what if I had an affair or something equally terrible? Would you still only insist on splitting up our assets post-marriage, or would you go after my entire net worth?”
Me: Gosh, I never thought about that. Hell, yes, I would go after them. I wouldn't want half, I would want all of it. You could just wave your money goodbye at that point, Buster. How dare you!”
Paco laughed all the way home about my sudden about-face while I thanked my good fortune to be married to someone with whom I could even have this kind of conversation in the first place.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I think it is only fitting that the current rescue plan is euphemistically called a "bailout" since that typically involves parachutes. I find it highly ironic that the "bailout" is going to be used not only to save Wall Street execs, but some of our money will no doubt also go to their "Golden Parachutes". And who should be opposed to the inclusion of a line item limiting executive payouts? That would be Dubya and his minions. If it wasn't so mind-bogglingly irresponsible what the current administration has wrought on this country I would try and assign it some fancy poetic term. As it stands, I can only call it criminal.
I also think there should be some etiquette involved regarding what a lame duck president can and cannot do in the waning months of their presidency. Like not signing legislation that will only perpetuate the damage and destruction long after they are gone. Sort of an in-your-face final farewell, complete with confetti made from hot checks. I can think of lots of other heinous acts that I would like to see off-limits to them but I think this one is a good start.
Feel free to add to my list in the comments box and maybe we can send them all to Washington next week, just in time for the weekly Ollie North Shredding Party.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This time I decided that the prudent thing to do was to try working from home in order to facilitate the healing progress and to also give myself a little break from my boss. Some of you may have read a few of my comments on various blogs about him and his various "idiosycrasies". Stop me if I'm wrong, but I think trying to answer the telephone by simply staring at it and saying "hello" smacks of odd. I actually have an entire list of certifiable weirdness attributed to him but it is at the office. It would make Charles Manson look sane, so just trust me on this.
At any rate, he is playing art director this week in my abscence, something he is wont to do when I am actually in the office. Hyperfocusing on a particular pet project is one of his favorite pastimes so yesterday I got a series of emails from him with helpful tips to speed me along in the design process:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 9:15 AM
Add swoosh marks behind and arcing to right
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 9:31 AM
Subject: RE: Swooshes
Put all swooshes AT BOTTOM!!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:46 AM
Subject: RE: Swooshes
Can’t get it out of Adobe…make swooshes lines , lets see if that helps.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:53 AM
Subject: RE: Swooshes
Turn SWOOSHES INTO LINES
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:59 AM
Subject: RE: RE:RE: Swooshes
Pls send me art with no swooshes so I can try to get them parallel.
Needless to say, I spent much of the day attempting to interpret exactly what he meant by all of this swooshing, finally sending him a draft of what I hope will make him happy. I have not heard anything more from him today but expect to at any moment. He may be busy getting his meds refilled.
(editor's note: some of you actually know my esteemed employer so please, no names in the comments box if you please. These are tough economic times and I really need to stay employed right now.)
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have been feeling a bit poorly since last Thursday when I elected to go under the knife and have sinus surgery. This was not entered into lightly, mind you, and I have been mulling it over for some months now. When is it ever a good time to have this sort of thing anyway?
Not being a big "pill popper" I usually look askance at prescription pain killers, reasoning that white wine is just as efficient at dealing with annoying pain and lots more fun. Having said that, I am trying to be adult about managing my post-op pain and also do some symblance of work. So I am working from home this week and am about half way through my government-issued bottle of Lortab. I would prefer J. Lohr but this will do for now.
Having been admonished prior to other surgeries by the nurse because I chose not to remove my navel ring I decided this time to avoid the social embarrassment by taking it off at home the night before my surgery so as not to cause a fuss. Sure enough, the question was asked and I was able to say without reservation that I was sans jewelery or piercings of any description. I was kind of hoping they would demand proof since it was actually a real pain in the you-know-what to remove it. As it turned out, I could have left it where it was. They weren’t going to be anywhere near my belly button unless my doctor got it mixed up with my nose and wouldn’t that be a worry?
By Saturday I was feeling well enough to replace my navel ring, which proved to be a bit of a production owing to my impaired motor skills (thanks to the Lortab). After some dithering around, though, I managed to get it back in there and (I thought) securely fastened and tightened up. Who knew that later that same day I would discover that it was missing and nowhere to be found?! Paco and I both looked high and low but to no avail. It was finally determined that my navel ring had vanished and that a new one would have to be bought pronto or else the little hole would quickly close up and I would no longer be hip. So off we went to the tattoo parlor around the corner, Paco driving while I popped more Lortab.
Once safely parked up in front of the Skin Room Paco opted to wait in the car while I teetered my way towards their front door. It’s a pretty scary place I must say and did not blame him a bit for not wanting to go in there. Fortunately, no one there questioned my spaced-out demeanor or slightly slurred request to see their selection of navel jewelery. Clearly, anyone walking in there that wasn't stumbling around would be the target of deep mistrust. I was just your average Saturday afternoon customer.
Following my purchase Paco drove me home, intending to help me replace my missing ring. Here was our post-tattoo parlor conversation:
Me: Here, let me do it. It’s easier if I do this. Just stand there and hold my shirt up.
Paco: Sweetie, you can’t see what you’re doing and you’re weaving all over the place. Let me do it.
Me: No, no, I can do this. Where are my glasses? I need glasses and a flashlight.
Paco (handing them to me): I think you should lie down before you fall over. If you smash your nose we will have to go right back to the hospital. For goodness sakes, please lie down on the bed. Your nose is dripping.
Me: Okay, fine, I will lie down. Please hold the flashlight right there so I can see what I’m doing. More to the right. No I said right. Who’s glasses are these? These aren’t mine. I can’t see anything.
Paco: That’s because you have them on upside down. Stop. Stop. I will do it. Here, hold the flashlight.
Me: Oh, okay. Ouch, be careful. Ouch. No, no, that won’t work. Let me straighten out more. No, ouch, stop.
This went on for 20 more minutes before Paco finally got my new navel ring securely fastened into its new home. Then I promptly fell into a Lortab-induced coma and poor Paco went in search of the bourbon. His patience is wearing thin. I get the splints out tomorrow and hopefully life will start to return to normal. Just in time I might add. I am almost out of Lortab.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Among the many historic landmarks swept away last week by Hurricane Ike (such as the venerable Brennen’s restaurant in Houston), I was saddened to learn that The Balinese Room is no more.
Built in 1929 as a Speak Easy and illegal casino, the B. Room stretched out from the Galveston Seawall some 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. (I have always heard that this was supposedly to give the proprietors enough time to hide all the illegal paraphernalia before the Feds showed up). Although they were long-gone by the time my college friends and I showed up back in the late 70s and early 80s, folks like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Howard Hughes apparently liked to hang out there. I guess they all got bored and went back to Hollywood or Palm Springs, though, because the place fell on hard times and was boarded up off and on, occasionally re-opening as lesser versions of itself over the intervening years.
During my own personal hey day (the twenty-something years) I used to frequent The Balinese Room with my buddies, including my cousin Clare, who’s parents had a beach house on the bay side of the island. Over the years our group matured somewhat and eventually we discovered that it was cool to hang out with the Older Generation. Cousin Clare’s parents and their pals where way more hip than we could have ever been and were much better party animals to-boot. I learned to mix a mean High Ball, play Dirty Boggle and watch the sunset from a beach chair, table and umbrella set up in the surf with this crowd. When the afternoon revelry had subsided and naps had been taken we would head into town for martinis and dancing, usually ending up at The Balinese Room.
I guess the dancing part is what proved to be my undoing. Undoing that has followed me into mid-life, into Book Club which is made up of the Balinese Room beach crowd who are now also middle-aged. Each time “the incident” is brought up to much laughter and eye-rolling I laugh along with everyone else. 25 or 30 years has done much to dull the full brunt of my embarrassment but it still makes me cringe.
The Jitterbug is one of those dances that no one has any business attempting, unless maybe you’re on Dancing with the Stars (and I don’t mean Marie Osmond). At any rate, my dance partner Bob and I were out there mixing it up and twirling around like we knew what we were doing. (I should also add here that black lights were all the rage at the time and it was switched on that night). About half way through our performance Bob decided to toss me straight up into the air just like I was Judy Garland, then catch me and throw me down and backwards, sliding me across the polished floor like a sack of potatoes. Did I also mention that I was wearing a strapless sundress at the time? What about the high-top white cotton panties? Did I mention that part, too? As Bob artfully slid me across the floor between his feet he still had firm hold of my hands, rendering me completely helpless and unable to pull down the skirt of my sundress which was now plastered to my face, leaving me lying on the dance floor with the entire lower half of my body exposed. Keep in mind that this was the middle of summer and I was very tanned. And my sundress was tan. But my panties were WHITE. And the Black Light was switched on, remember? So there we all are, everyone and everything in complete darkness except for one very bright pair of High Top White Panties. Just panties in the middle of the Balinese Room dance floor. And Bob is still standing over me, trying to figure out what he was now looking at. Where had I gone? What had happened to my body? Had the Rapture suddenly taken me away, leaving only a pair of bright white panties in my place?
My hands completely immobilized, I could only squirm and squeal “Please, please, Bob, let me up. Help! I’m stuck. Please, somebody, pull down my dress, turn off the black light. Help, help. Oh please, please don’t let this be happening.” Finally, Bob sprang into action, helping me to my feet and pulling my dress down off of my head. I fled to the Powder Room, Cousin Clare finally managing to coax me out after much effort. Poor Bob was mortified and very apologetic but the damage was done.
It was the end of an era when The Balinese Room was finally swept into the sea last week, having survived a long list of deadly hurricanes going back to 1929. No doubt there are lots of stories out there similar to mine and I'm so glad that I got to experience a part of that history. Even if I had to jitterbug my way into infamy.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Driving north to Lowe’s, Paco was, as always, carefully observing the posted speed limit, even dialing it down a few notches just to be on the safe side. Not being the most patient person in the world, I finally felt the need to comment:
Me: You know you can go 40 here, don’t you?
Paco: No, I didn’t know that. Are you sure?
Me: Yes, we just passed 2 new speed limit signs.
Paco: Am I driving too slowly again?
Me: Yes, yes you are. You always drive too slowly. If you’re going to poke along please at least move over to the right-hand lane. At this rate it will be time to color my hair again before we get there.
Paco: You need to read that book.
Me: What book?
Me: Oh, you mean that book the Smyths lent us? What’s it called again?
Paco: “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama
Me: Just because I need you to speed up? You think I need to read a book about how to be happy?
Paco: It’s about finding inner peace and serenity. You can be very impatient sometimes.
Me: Okay, I admit I can get a little testy sometimes. But I’m probably too impatient to read a book about how to be more patient. Maybe you can just read it and then tell me what it says about patience. I like the Dalai Lama, too, but I bet he drives slower than you do. He would make me crazy if I had to ride with him to Lowe’s. Besides, I prefer books that have a little faster pace.
Paco: You mean like maybe that book about Lizzie Borden?
Me: Yes, like that one.
Paco: This is exactly my point.
We bought a stove yesterday and while we were driving home, Paco said happily “You know you’re getting old when you get really excited about a new stove.” I was thinking he needed to speed up.
Friday, September 5, 2008
As it happened, we found ourselves down in the Keys over Easter weekend, which was nice for a lot of reasons. Weather was great, it wasn’t too hot or touristy yet, and Easter is one of my favorite holidays (being a cafeteria Catholic if that matters). This last fact was what led us to visit the local parish church there in Key West. Not the only one in town, mind you, but the one closest to our lovely little hotel and within walking distance.
Being as it was Good Friday and I wanted to scope out exactly where the church was and what time Masses were, we decided to have a little wander down that way and do some reconnaissance. Being that it was also Happy Hour on Good Friday, it made perfect sense at the time to stop on the way and have a cocktail or two and then drop by the church for some much-needed reflection.
After stopping in the Green Parrot to take advantage of their outstanding frozen Margaritas, which to our delight could be poured into a Go Cup should the patron have an urgent appointment to get to, we proceeded down the street towards the church.
Things were going smoothly by all accounts as we entered the vestibule, pausing briefly to dip a hand into the Holy Water fount, do a quick genuflect and then have a little sit down in the nearest pew. Not being Catholic but certainly spiritual and reverential, Paco sat down next to me and we proceeded to quietly, individually reflect and bask in the presence of the Lord and what the upcoming religious holiday meant to each of us.
What I failed to notice at the time, being so deep in prayer and reflection, was the tiny little woman sitting in the pew across the aisle from us, staring a hole right through my tube top. Paco nudged me, motioning in her direction with his head. As our eyes locked and I was wondering what we could have possibly done to upset her, he gently reached over and lowered my Go Cup full to the brim with FROZEN MARGARITA. I guess the umbrella gave the game away. At any rate, I was mortified and tried to make one of those hand signals that are supposed to communicate that I had no idea how it could happen that I had so casually strolled into church carrying a cocktail. The only thing that could have made this worse is if I had had a Virginia Slim hanging out of the corner of my mouth.
Realizing that I stood no chance of convincing this obviously staunch and loyal parishioner that this was a complete misunderstanding, Paco and I decided to make a swift exit out of there. While I was remorseful and totally horrified about my accidental transgression, Paco was in stitches and to this day still laughs about the day I had Happy Hour at the Catholic Church.
We still celebrated Easter Mass in Key West that weekend at the beautiful Spanish-style Catholic Church on Duval Street, heads held high. But this time, the cocktails stayed behind at the Green Parrot.
BOB'S YOUR UNCLE, FANNIE'S YOUR AUNT
Several years ago I had one of those slightly spooky truth-is-stranger-than-fiction experiences that I often think was some kind of sign from God.
I was sailing down in the BVI with my wonderful English friends Jon and Diana and having a high old time catching up with them after a few years of everyone doing their own thing. As often happens when the Yanks and the Brits get together, we started sharing colloquialisms with each other. I introduced them to “discombobulated” among others, and they offered up a couple of classics, including “Kafuffle” and my now all-time favorite “Bob’s Your Uncle, Fannie’s Your Aunt”. If you haven’t ever heard this last phrase, roughly translated it means, “Everything is great / it’s all smooth sailing from here / life is good.”
As we were discussing this delightful new saying I suddenly realized something amazing. I said “Hey, wait a minute! I actually had a great-uncle Bob and he was married to my great-aunt Fannie!” No kidding, Uncle Bob and Fannie were married for a million years and they were two of my most favorite relatives. Uncle Bob was a big-time lawyer in the small Central Texas town where my mother grew up and Fannie was the original Flapper / Southern Belle who taught all of us kids to swim at the local country club pool. Their house was always party central and they were about as eccentric as you can get. Uncle Bob chain-smoked big Cuban cigars and wore a wide-brimmed Panama hat and Fannie loved really good bourbon and never served dinner before 11 pm.
So the entire week every time something good happened on the boat like favorable winds, an empty mooring buoy or the discovery of a previously unknown beach bar, someone would shout out “Bob’s your uncle, Fannie’s your aunt!” and we would all get giddy and I would have to remind everyone again about this amazing coincidence. I might also add here that at the time Uncle Bob had gone on to his reward but Fannie was still very much alive, albeit much older and not in great health.
At the end of that lovely week down in the islands with my wonderful friends we reluctantly parted company and they flew back to Blighty and I to the States. As I walked in the door of my house I saw that the answer phone light was flashing (this was before the advent of the ubiquitous cell phone) so I hit the replay button as I was putting down my bags. The very first message was from my late mother relating the very sad news that Fannie had passed away while I was gone and they had already had her service. So not only did I not get to say goodbye and have closure, but I also had that end-of-an-era sort of feeling. You know, like when something that has remained constant in your life suddenly vanishes? You just think those people will be around forever. But then I started thinking about how the entire time I was lolling about on my friend’s boat down in the Caribbean Fannie and Uncle Bob had been there with us, too. Their quirky, eccentric selves had permeated every part of our trip in such an endearing, life-affirming way. What had seemed at the time as pure coincidence now spoke to me differently. I think it was Fannie’s way of saying goodbye as only someone who loved life, her family and really good single malt bourbon could. The fact that I had spent the first few days smoking cigars (and getting violently ill) and telling funny stories about all the cousins piling into Fannie’s ancient Corvair to go swimming suddenly took on a deeper meaning. How better to celebrate the lives of two figures so firmly entrenched in my childhood than to share my memories of Uncle Bob and Fannie with some of my closest pals?
I still go sailing every year with Jon and Diana and we still shout out “Bob’s your uncle, Fannie’s your aunt!” Because that’s what you say when life is good.