Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Apparently there is quite a kaffufle brewing over at a certain *"feminist" blog which has managed to spill over to another, less controversial blog written by the very sensible Lorrie Veasey. The main ingredients of this international incident center around the question of whether or not it is legal or ethical to create jewelry from U.S. currency and whether commenting on this subject can lead one to be banned from said blog. You can read the whole story over at **Lorrie's blog so I won't parse it here other than to say censorship of any kind should never be allowed to take route in this country or anywhere else for that matter. I thought this was a free country but apparently if you post from, say India, for example you are entitled to wield your censor's pen wherever you please. So much for feminism, free speech and differing opinions, but I digress.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Indian Feminist Princess and perhaps a visit from the Secret Service, I have decided to open my own boutique featuring clothing made entirely from the humble dollar bill. Some might argue that I, too, am defacing U.S. currency in the name of fashion but what if I am? While I am certainly using it in a manner other than what it was intended you could argue I am actually performing a public service. With the recession being what it is, if you can use virtually worthless currency to make a fashion statement, so be it.

I'm thinking of calling my new boutique either "The Original Dollar Dress Shop" or simply "George". If you have a more apt name, however, please feel free to leave it in the comments box. Unless they are profane in nature or you are an angry pseudo-feminist with a sub-continent-sized chip on your shoulder, I promise to publish your comments .

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The saga of Paco’s house continues. This time, however, the story isn’t about destructive, irresponsible tenants, mysterious, unreachable leaks under the foundation or tornadoes rampaging through the neighborhood (yes, that happened, too.) This time, the culprit is our soon-to-be ex-Realtor.

Ben came highly recommended to us by a co-worker and close friend of Paco’s who had hired him to sell her house. Apparently Ben did just a bang-up job and managed somehow to get not one, but three offers within 2 weeks of listing it. Considering the state of the housing market that was quite a feat. So Paco interviewed him and then introduced me to him for my unfettered opinion. I thought Ben was personable, energetic, enthusiastic and obviously a real go-getter. So we hired him, signed a contract and handed him a key to the house. Paco being the organized, efficient person that he is, also handed Ben a large envelope with every kind of document imaginable to give him a good idea of repair history, foundation and roof report and anything else that might make Ben’s job of selling the house that much easier and faster. The last thing dear Ben said to us as he bounced down the front steps was “Gee, I sure wish all of my clients were this organized. You just wouldn’t believe the information and documents I always seem to end up chasing them for.” Then he was gone in a flash, presumably to get busy selling the Money Pit, urm, Paco’s house. We felt so good about having hired Ben we decided the occasion called for a cocktail. Little did we know that that would be the last time we felt like celebrating.

Because it infuriates me to even think about the ensuing events since we hired Ben I must condense them to prevent myself from picking up the phone and hiring Guido to go break Ken’s legs. The ink wasn’t even dry on the contract before the first signs of trouble appeared. We lost count of the un-returned phone calls asking for updates from Ken, we fumed when we found out there had been a leak in the sprinkler system for 5 days and Ken didn’t tell us despite an open house being held during that time. He bailed out the day of the open house, btw, leaving his inexperienced, clueless wife to show the house. The list goes on and on and on. Then, miraculously one day Ben stopped by, apparently not thinking we were home, to leave Paco a note about the water leak, a week after it had first happened. Unfortunately for Ben, I was just pulling up in our driveway and caught him before he could drive off. I dragged him into the house and we demanded he explain his lack of communication skills, irresponsible behavior and general lack of interest in selling our property. After Paco, who is normally very laid-back and calm, tore Ben a new one, we thought things would finally get back on track and Ben would realize he had crossed a line with us and better get his act together. But that was just a clever ruse on his part. The best was yet to come.

This past Monday Paco received the following mass email from Ben:

From: Ben Smith
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 9:00 PM
Subject: Out of the office

Hello My Friends,
I want each of you to know that I will be out of the office beginning tomorrow morning. My family is going on a much-needed vacation to Rome. We depart Rome for a 10 day European cruise and I will return back to the office on Monday, August 10. Most of you know Michael, my wonderful assistant. Michael will be working every day to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and Cory, a very seasoned agent in our office, will be handling any real estate activity that comes up. Trust me, you are in good hands while I am away!!! If you need either Michael or Cory their information is noted below. I am not taking my cell phone or computer with me, so I will not have any communication with my office while I am gone.
I will touch base with each of you when I return from my vacation!
Ben Smith

Paco forwarded me the above message and as I sat and read it, my jaw dropping to the floor, all of the anger and frustration I had been feeling already over this situation boiled to the surface. How ironic that he would “not be in touch with his office during his vacation”. What would be different from when he is actually in town? It’s a very good thing that Ben was already safely out of the country when Paco and I read his email. We would both probably be wearing orange jumpsuits at this writing, having dispatched Ben with all haste, preferably in the most heinous way we could think of.

Suffice to say, many phone calls have been made since receiving Ben’s missive and at this writing: BEN IS SO FIRED
Paco met with Cory yesterday and told him Ben is never to come near us or our house again. I repeat: BEN IS SO FIRED

To be continued... upon Ben’s return from his European Vacation…

Monday, June 8, 2009


Some of you who have bothered to check my blog over the last few weeks have no doubt noticed the lack of anything new on said site. If you have decided to withdraw from my “Kool-Aid Drinkers” list I don’t blame you one bit. I’m peeved at myself, too, but unlike the excuse notes I so successfully forged throughout my high school career, I actually have a really good excuse that also happens to be true. It’s called “The Money Pit”.

In an effort to enlighten my readers who may have missed it, about 7 months ago Paco and I had to evict Harold the renter from Paco's house in the ‘burbs due to his blatant disregard for our property and the methodical wrecking of it. Once we got him out of there and assessed the full extent of the damage, it made “Extreme Makeover” look like “Flip this House”. From the foundation to the roof, there was so much damage that we ended up completely remodeling the house, tearing out the old foundation, re-carpeting, installing new tile floors and completely replacing the landscape. In the process we experienced the uncertainty, paranoia and anxiety of a mystery leak under the slab which it turned out was caused by the damage to the foundation. If you have ever had a leak under your house that you cannot find and have had to spend weeks on end lying in a muddy ditch in the middle of February with a flashlight and a camera/roto rooter contraption, staring into a foggy TV screen without the vaguest idea what the heck you’re look at, you will know what I am talking about. Sort of like discovering a bad leak underneath the Great Wall of China after the Big Fountain next to Tibet had been leaking for the last 500 years. Smaller scale, yes, but just as unnerving, frustrating and damaging. It was a 7-month long nightmare but now, thankfully, it is behind us.

Yesterday we finally finished this monumental project, spending one final, 8 hour marathon shift putting the finishing touches on the landscaping, mopping floors and spreading ‘decorative bark’ in the flower beds. There is now a “For Sale” sign in the front yard and our work as slave laborers is done. Now we just have to pray that it sells in the worst economic environment since the Great Depression. Who knew that 2 years after first putting Paco’s house on the market it would still be out there, albeit completely renovated and, as the Realtors like to say, "Move in ready!"

This experience has taught me many lessons in patience and perseverance, as well as the reality of just how unreliable and untrustworthy some people can be. But it has also shown me, as if I didn’t know already, how unselfish, noble and truly heroic Paco is. When he found out about the leak under the slab, after all of the foundation pillars had been filled back in with cement, he did not hesitate to dig them all out again by hand and crawl through those dark, scary spaces underneath the house in the dead of winter until he found all 3 leaks. He did not hesitate from jack hammering up all 600 sq ft of ceramic tile and then relaying all of it again, by himself. Even when the foundation people took all of the rock-hard Texas clay from the holes and dumped it all into his prized flower beds, creating 3 foot high mounds and burying all the sprinkler heads, he got out there with his shovel and dug it all out, repaired the sprinklers and then carefully restored the beds to their former glory. He did not shy away from fixing things in that house that no one would ever know were even broken, because he has that kind of integrity, gritty determination and unwavering dedication to making his house whole again. If that meant pouring thousands of dollars and man hours into the effort, so be it. No one can ever truly appreciate the sweat equity that went into every evening and weekend working to repair his house. He was determined to erase every dent, crack, ruined carpet, scratch, dead plant and any other evidence of the unbelievable kind of damage one person can cause. I may have lost a measure of faith in my fellow man over the damage done to our property, but this loss has been overshadowed by my love, respect, admiration and sheer awe of my husband. Paco taught me a valuable lesson in what one human being can accomplish when they put their heart and soul into a project like this simply because they will expect nothing less from themselves. For that this nightmare was worth it, at least to me. Paco may feel differently and probably doesn’t see anything special in what he has accomplished but believe me, it was truly heroic.

Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for“The Money Pit: SOLD!!"

Thursday, April 30, 2009


A few months ago I posted about my (supposed) brush with Bell’s Palsy and how I wasn’t too sure Dr K, my all-knowing internist, had diagnosed me correctly. Since then I have endured all manner of tests and biological invasions on a quest for the true origin of my strange symptoms. The bottom line is that I do not have, nor have I ever had Bell’s, but no one seems to know what I do have, despite the occasional recurrence of my strange symptoms.

Perhaps I should back up first to say I have been working from home this week due to a bad case of bronchitis (no, not Swine Flu even though Mr. S, my horrible, evil boss, just stuck his head in my cubette and oinked at me) so as a result I had been feeling poorly already. Who knew that Monday night, out of the clear blue, I would suddenly experience another episode of The Curiously Expanding Face? My lips suddenly blew up twice the size of Octo Mom’s, my jaws grew to Kirk Douglas-proportions and the Hives from Hell came back with a vengeance. This was truly adding insult to injury given the fact that I was already miserable from the bronchitis. Remembering what my doctor had said about documenting an episode if possible, I ran upstairs and took a load of photos of my poor, swollen face, intending to present the evidence as soon as I could get an appointment with Dr J, my neurologist.

The next morning I called Dr J to make an appointment. Since my esteemed internist Dr K handed me off to Dr J I have been seeing him every time I have another episode, so naturally I thought I should go back to him ASAP. First, however, I had to run the gauntlet and get past his nurse, Big Bertha, R.N.

8:33 am Leave long, tearful, croaky voice mail for Bertha, explaining my latest bout of facial swelling and hives has returned; beg for same-day appointment with Dr J. Hang up and stare at the phone for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

11:10 am Still no return call from Nurse Bertha. Decide to call again. Dial main number and ask for her extension.

Switch board operator: “I’m sorry; Bertha is not at her desk. Please hold while we find her.”

I am on hold for 10 minutes listening to "Best of Burl Ives" on Musak, wondering why I didn’t use the land line to call. I fret about the cell phone minutes being wasted. There are children in Africa who don’t have any cell phone minutes.

11:25 am “Hello, this is Bertha.”

RL: “Bertha, this is Racie Lover. I left you a message this morning. I need to see Dr J immediately. I am having another EPISODE!”

Bertha: “Honey, I just checked my voice mail from this morning. There was no message from you.”

RL: (on verge of psychotic episode) “I left one, I swear. Anyway, I have GOT to see Dr J today. It’s an emergency (I am barely able to whisper this admonition due to my bronchitis. I hope I sound pitiful. I am desperate).

B: “Honey, I don’t have any openings this week or next…”

RL: I interrupt her “No, no, no! I have GOT to see him TODAY…”

B: interrupts me mid-sentence “Oh, I have a cancellation today at 2:45…”


B: “Because I just saw it on my screen. Honey, you’re over-reacting.”

RL: I am incredulous. Do they teach dismissiveness in nursing school? I am ready to reach through the phone, pull out Bertha’s false teeth and cram them up her nose “If you felt like I do you wouldn’t say I’m over-reacting. I will be there at 2:45. Thank you.” I slam down the cover of my cell phone in the absence of a receiver to slam down onto the cradle. I cry and feel sorry for myself, then go shopping online.

2:30 pm Paco takes me to my doctor’s appointment, having been summoned from work by my tearful plea of helplessness. I tell him how horrible Bertha was to me and he must punch her lights out.

We check in at reception and Paco picks up a survey form, intending to write Bertha up for making me cry.

3:25pm: Bertha emerges from the back and calls my name.

Paco: “Is that her?”

RL: “Yes, that’s Bertha. Keep me away from her. I may have to deck her.”

Paco: “Don’t worry, Sweetheart. Bertha’s going down.”

Bertha leads us to an examination room, where we sit while she plays doctor and asks me questions. I pull out my sheet with the various photos I have taken the night before showing my swollen lips, hugely expanded jaws and hives. Bertha studies it carefully, obviously impressed.

Bertha: “Oh geez, Honey, women pay good money to get those big lips you have there. Wow, those are impressive. What do they call that stuff they inject?”

RL: “Collagen”, I offer, deciding neurology nurses must not watch “Nip Tuck”. “Ha, ha, that’s pretty funny, Nurse Bertha. Just think of the money I’m saving on cosmetic surgery!” I want to take her out but am afraid I would look like Meg Ryan in my mug shot, and not in a good way.

Just then Dr J comes in and Bertha vanishes. I tell him about my latest attack and he, too, is impressed with my photo essay. Paco and I plead for answers, the whole time both of us wondering if we should bust Bertha and tell Dr J what a horrible battle ax she is. We decide he already knows that and it is the reason he hired her. She is also uglier than home-made sin, which no-doubt pleases Dr J’s wife.

All of the above ended with Dr J finally telling me my problem is not neurological but some kind of systemic reaction and to go to my allergist. Paco and I leave his office, dejected. I call Dr L, the allergist, and make an appointment to go see her the next day. During my appointment the following day she quizzes me and then tells me to stop taking ibuprofen and call her if my symptoms still return. Allergic to ibuporfen? Who knew? Naturally I Googled it when I got home and what do you know? Apparently this kind of severe allergic reaction is very common.

Perhaps my mystery illness has finally been solved. "Case closed" as Dr. Kildaire would say. I certainly hope so. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Lately there has been a huge kafuffle over Susan Boyle, the plucky came-from-nowhere Scots lady who wowed even Simon Cowell last week on "Britain's Got Talent". Mostly the comments and blogs have been overwhelmingly favorable, with the few dissenting voices apparently coming from embittered, failed Patty Page wannabes and competing spinsters who are worried there is about to be one less of their own amongst them. I actually read a rather scathing post yesterday penned by Nora Ephron that does not bear repeating here (mostly because I think she would not hesitate to sue the pants off of me). I put her in the category of Sour Grapes, someone who has made lots of money dissing various ex-husbands and boyfriends, so I'm not sure I value her opinion much anyway.

The point of all this is that I am in the ranks of those who think Ms Boyle really has some genuine talent and isn't just a one-hit wonder. If you Google her 1999 rendition of "Cry Me a River" I think you will agree with me. I'm no expert, mind you, but I think she can sing pretty darn well and I can't wait for her to publish her first CD.

Unfortunately, most of us tend to judge people by the way they look and not what might be in their hearts, souls or vocal chords just waiting to be freed if given a chance. Haven't we all known someone who didn't quite seem to fit in, but after we got to know them they won us over with their determination, their inner joy, their sense of humor? Years ago I was at my high school prom and found myself talking to a guy that I had known all through school but had never given the time of day to. We ended up talking for close to an hour (I have no idea where my date was) and I saw a side of him that I had no idea existed, purely because I had been so busy judging him by his looks. I ended up having a huge crush on Alan and even though we never went out on a date, we kept in touch for many years, exchanging Christmas cards and chatting at our high school reunions. Years later when he sent me a wedding announcement my first thought was "what a lucky girl".

We should all be so lucky to meet someone like Alan. Or Susan Boyle. Or at least have the privilege of talking to them or hearing them sing and not judge them by their looks. Their heart and soul has always been right in front of us, if we will only take the time to look and listen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


"Dear Diary,
I saw Tiger Woods today at The Masters! Or rather, I saw his golf cap, his shoulders and his profile, sort of. There were approx. 500 spectators who separated me from His Majesty and I don't think even yelling "Fire" or "I just saw President Obama at the concession stand" would have made any difference. But I was closer to greatness than I have ever been, unless you count the time I met Neil Diamond..."

You don’t have to be a golfer or even enjoy or understand golf to appreciate the beauty of Augusta National Golf Club. There is something almost surreal about the intense colors and environment of The Masters, the deep pink azaleas, the intoxicating fragrance of the majestic pine trees, the cloud-like Dogwoods that seem to float above the smooth, rolling greens. No calendar, website or HD TV can ever do it justice. You just have to be there….

Friday, April 3, 2009


Paco and I are off to Augusta this weekend, having (finally) won some much-coveted tickets to a practice round of the Masters. While I would surely trade my favorite rescue club for tickets to the actual tournament, going to a practice round is the next-best-thing.

I will be back next week with lots of stories and photos of the course, my bank account no-doubt depleted, however, after a shopping spree in the Pro Shop.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


In case some of you missed Sister K's follow-up comments regarding the Rice Remedy, it seems that it actually worked and her iphone is now good as new! Who knew there were so many facinating and practical uses for this versatile grain?

Here are a few other remedies that I have tried over the years, or they have been suggested to me. Some of the more ominous ones I have shyed away from however.

Swallow one tablespoon of white vinegar upside down and then hold your breath for at least one minute. This one works pretty well as long as you like vinegar, which I do. Unfortunately my hiccups are usually replaced with severe indigestion and projectile vomiting. Better to keep hiccuping.

Drench in Club Soda immediately and then blot dry. Unfortunately, this one never, ever has worked for me, including the time my wonderful friend and wedding planner drenched the bodice of my wedding dress with soda after 'someone' spilled red wine down the front of it. I ended up with a pink wine stain plus water stains on my beautiful frock. Paco still married me, though, thank goodness. Unfortunately, I was then sent to Betty Ford for a month and I missed the honeymoon.

Another remedy that works better than club soda is covering the area in salt, which draws the stain out of the fabric. I tried this one time during a dinner party when Louise's tail knocked over a full glass of red wine all over the white linen-covered ottoman. You can hardly tell there was ever a problem now, especially given that the cat has since thrown up where the wine stain was so now the whole thing is sort of coffee-colored.

When my mother was about 5 years old she decided to eat an entire bunch of bananas. Given that she was an only child, worshiped by her entire family and had just survived being biten by a rabid cat, my grandmother was taking no chances. So Mother was given most of the contents of a bottle of Ipecac, which made her violently ill and rid her system of the evil bananas almost immediately. I would have thought Ipecac would be far worse than wolfing down a few unoffensive bananas but then I don't have children so what do I know.

Please feel free to write in with your favorite home remedies and I will publish them here as a public service. Btw, if anyone knows how to get rid of the rust stains on the back of my favorite white golf cap I would be most grateful.

Friday, March 27, 2009


(This was recently sent to me by Sister K and is reprinted here with her permission.)

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I placed my cell phone on top of the glass of water that I always have on my bedside table. The reason that I did such a foolish thing was that my cat always drinks the water out of my glass, and I thought it would be a good way to prevent this from happening. You guessed it....the phone fell into the glass of water.

I immediately fished the phone out of the water and dried it off, but it was too late. The damage had already occurred. The phone sounded a few half-hearted beeps and then did a flatline. It was dead as a door nail.

I frantically googled "phone water damage" and came up with quite a few interesting ways to solve the dilemma. One guy advised putting the phone into the microwave to dry out. Another said to drop it into a glass of alcohol, which would dry up the water and make the phone as good as new. Others advised putting it in a regular oven on the "low" setting or using the blow dryer on it. But the overwhelming advice was to place it in an airtight container of rice, which apparently will suck the moisture out of the phone. "Be sure to use uncooked rice as opposed to cooked rice" was one piece of advice. Duh......

Anyway, my phone is sitting in the rice as we speak and I'm waiting to see if this works. Otherwise I'll have to buy a new phone because apparently the Apple Store will not replace a phone damaged by water, even though it's still under warranty. This brings me to another interesting tidbit of information that I discovered while surfing.

The iPhone has a tiny hidden indicator that shows if it's been dropped in water. If you look into the hole where the headset can be connected, you'll see a white dot. The white dot turns red if it's been exposed to water. That way the Apple guys know if the phone really went haywire of its own accord, or if you dropped it into the Jacuzzi when you had one too many Manhattans. This brought up a whole new array of solutions (mostly unethical) for fixing the problem of the "red dot." Some said to put a drop of bleach into the hole, which will turn the dot back to white. Others advised using a toothpick with a little Liquid Paper on the end of it. According to these Youtubers, the guys at the Apple Store are so inept that they won't realize that Liquid Paper is covering the red dot, and you'll get a brand new phone out of the deal.

I'm not quite that depraved yet and so I'm waiting to see if the rice (uncooked, of course) remedy works.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


There's nothing like a little Karma on a Monday afternoon to brighten one's day. Having survived my week of Kitchen Duty last week and manage to steer clear of Brenda after our run-in, I got to witness her making a complete fool of herself, not that I would ever take pleasure in that, of course.

It seems Brenda decided to make a pot of black coffee this afternoon and then ran back to her office to make a phone call. Unfortunately, she forgot to put the coffee pot back on the burner, causing scalding coffee to spill all over the kitchen floor. I happened to be walking past the kitchen door when this was unfolding and caught sight of her, mop in hand, cursing her stupidity. I couldn't help myself and blurted out "Gosh, I'm sure glad it isn't my week for Kitchen Duty. What a mess!" at which point Brenda looked up from her mop and just glared at me.

Call it Bad Karma or whatever, but after last week's derision I couldn't help but gloat.

Monday, March 9, 2009


In an effort to win Lorrie Veasey's fantastic contest: http://ournameisblog.blogspot.com/
I am adding my two cents about how the recent time change impacts my life and whether or not I like the concept in the first place. Or at least I think that was the assignment. Frankly, I'm punchy from loss-of-sleep so forgive me if I got it wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

Mainly, this whole Spring Forward / Fall Back campaign used to be to help farmers gain time to bring in the harvest and milk sleepy cows or somesuch. Apparently, however, the farmers all know it's actually just a marketing stunt to get consumers to shop more. More recently, there was also a clever ploy by certain politicians to help in their re-election bids. Several of them got together to lobby for extending Daylight Savings hours and I'll be damned if they didn't succeed. Now it's almost perpetually light outside save for a few weeks in late Fall, early Winter. I don't think the cows much care, though.

On a personal level I actually like the concept of Springing Forward because it gives me more time for golf and sailing. I just wish they wouldn't be so fickle about the whole concept and take back the hour in the Fall. I would prefer permanently having that Spring Forward thing if it would allow me to really get my money's worth during "Twilight Golf".

Having said all that, I have the kind of job where I am (apparently) in charge of reminding our hourly paid employees that the clocks are either going forward or backward. I have to send out signage twice a year, to be posted next to the time clock, so everyone knows when to show up for work. I find this annoying, however, as no one reminds me when the clocks go forward or backward and when I'm supposed to report to my cube. I usually have to remind Paco and then we both end up forgetting about it just like this past weekend. We did not adjust clock one in our house before we turned in Saturday night. Fortunately, we had all day Sunday to change them before Monday rolled around and we risked being late for work. Oddly, his super-fantastic Ray Bradbury-inspired ATOMIC clock, the one that's supposed to automatically adjust based on the big and little hands at the U.S. Naval Observatory, stayed stuck in the past. So much for technology. I will stick with my little battery-operated model, even if it is solely up to me to remember to change it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I agree with Lorrie (“Our name is blog”) that one of the best things about going on vacation is the seemingly endless blog-worthy material generated on these junkets. At least I think it’s blog-worthy. I suppose someone somewhere might not agree, but they don’t have to read my blog. I bet they don’t even have their own blog so I’m not too worried about their opinion. I have a tendency to worry what others think about me but as long as they remain anonymous I will continue to write unfettered. Like Rush Limbaugh, if I worried about what other people thought about me I would never leave the house. Having said that, I really do wish he would stay home.

Now to answer a couple of questions about my last post: no BJ, the photo on my post “Shakedown on the Dinghy Dock” was not Officer Prentice. He would not allow me to snap he photo being as how he is a Super Secret Port Authority Big Shot working the vice and terrorism beat on the Dinghy Dock in Nevis. So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do in need of an illustrative photo for their post: I stole it off the internet. The fact that it happened to be a photo of that somewhat confused and slightly effeminate patrolman from Reno 911 is not my problem. Paco recognized him immediately, which I find disturbing, but the therapist says not to worry. It’s probably just some middle-aged, curious faze. At any rate, Officer Prentice did not appear to be batting for the other team and his uniform was actually white, but otherwise the similarities were incredible.

Second, Kwr221 asked if I was in St Kitt’s last week when she was there and yes, I was! I can’t believe we were both on the same tiny island at the same time and there was not some kind of feeding frenzy from the reporter's pool there. I mean, doesn’t everyone in the Eastern Caribbean know who we are? Apparently Homeland Security knows exactly who Lorrie is and are ardent followers, so why wouldn’t the folks on St Kitt’s know about Kwr and me, too? Anyway, I’m sorry we didn’t hook up but if I gave out specifics in advance of all my vacation plans Paco and I would be inundated with paparazzi and we wouldn’t have any peace. Next time I will place a classified ad in the local newspaper with some cleverly worded clues revealing my plans, like “Yes, Mrs. Barnes, look for me in the window wearing the purple hat.” The more intrepid of my followers will no doubt be able to figure out my destination. No need to broadcast it.

Meanwhile, I will continue to fill my Steno pad with clever entries about my travels and try my best not to embelish them where possible. It's only when someone I meet is not very funny or interesting and therefore not potentially entertaining blog material that I have to get creative. Fortunately, for once Officer Prentice made my job as a blogger really easy.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Paco and I just returned from our annual sailing trip with our dear friends the Queens, visiting various exotic locales in search of the perfect wind, the perfect Pain Killer and the perfect holiday. We found something close to all three but hopefully perfection will continue to allude us, making it imperative that we continue to return year after year to resume our odyssey.

Meanwhile, we had many adventures, encounters and happy days plying the deep blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, getting up close and personal with a whale, flying fish and sting rays, giant turtles and uber friendly dolphin. We also had a close encounter with a very distinguished-looking member of the Nevis Port Authority who reminded us that there are an infinite number of ways to shake down the tourists, even as you are professing to protect them from terrorists.

One afternoon Paco and I decided to take the little yellow dinghy that ferried us all between the boat and shore and do some sight-seeing. Because dinghys and their outboard motors are much-sought after by thieves, it has been drilled into us that you never, ever leave your dinghy unlocked and unattended lest it be made off with by the local bad guys. At around $4,ooo or so to replace, we take this business very seriously. So imagine our surprise and horror when, as we were tying up at the Dinghy Dock, we were stopped and told by none other than Officer Prentice of the Nevis Port Authority that we were not to lock our dinghy or else be subject to a stiff fine. The reasoning here, apparently, is that should Al Qaeda decide to launch an attack on the local Nevis population the Port Authority would need to immediately have the dock cleared of all water craft. No amount of reasoning, arguing, cajoling or shameless flirting would make Officer Prentice budge, so finally, reluctantly, we decided the only thing we could do was to carefully examine his laminated I.D. badge for signs of forgery, threaten to come after him if he allowed our dinghy to be stolen and then proceed with our sight-seeing. This decided, we started down the dock when Officer Prentice suddenly stopped us with one more piece of important business. It seemed that he was the founder, president and Chief Fund Raiser for a local organization that he had created to keep the teenage boys on the island from getting into mischief and presumably grow up to extort money from tourists. What a relief to know there was someone doing something about this alarming problem! Officer Prentice had taken on this personal, selfless and no-doubt onerous task in spite of the fact that it might, to some at least, appear to be a shameless effort to trade ‘favors’ like not having our dinghy stolen, for some good old fashioned cash. Of course, we were all ears hearing about his “charity” and asked him where on the island the charity’s headquarters were located so we could pop in to make a donation. It turned out that to save money on overhead Officer Prentice does all his business right there on the dinghy dock and is the only person authorized to take donations. At this point Paco and I sensed that making a donation to this worthy cause might ensure the safety of our dinghy, but there was no way to be sure and who wants to be shaken down anyway? At this juncture I decided to call his bluff but at the same time praise his efforts in the event that his authority on the dock was much more onerous than we were led to believe.

Me: “You know, Officer Prentice, that is such a wonderful thing you are doing for the boys here on the island. Obviously you devote all of your free time to helping keep them on the straight and narrow. Paco and I donate to several similar causes in the United States so we can surely relate to the importance of these kinds of programs. You are a wonderful role model and we thank you for your efforts. Have a wonderful day and thank you for looking after our dinghy. We know we are in good hands.”

Officer P: (looking extremely crestfallen and confused) “Madame, you are too kind and my efforts are but a tiny drop in the bucket of despair that threatens to deluge our tiny island here. Are you sure you won’t change your mind and make whatever contribution to my cause you feel comfortable with?”

Me: “We’re sure but thanks so much for asking. Have a wonderful day.”

Preparing ourselves for the worst yet not wanting to be shaken down by the local authorities in exchange for not having our dinghy ‘confiscated’ we reluctantly walked down the dock and headed towards town, convinced we would soon be out $4,000. As we turned the corner we spotted the Office of Tourism and decided to see if they had maps of town. On a hunch, I asked the clerk about Officer Prentice and his ‘charity’ and told him we were concerned about our dinghy. Picking up the office telephone, the clerk made a call to someone and after 5 minutes of hand waving and whispers, he announced that Officer Prentice was on the straight and narrow, at least as far as the safety of our dinghy. He could not vouch for the boy’s town aspect of the officer’s presentation but he felt sure we would not be robbed in lieu of making a donation. Somewhat pacified, we continued on our way and sure enough, several hours later when we returned to the dock there was our dinghy, safe and sound. It was by this time pouring down rain and Officer Prentice was no where to be found, no doubt looking out after his flock and doing other good deeds. As we were starting the outboard, however, he suddenly appeared, looking smart in his bright yellow rain slicker.

Officer P: “See, I told you your boat would be safe here.”

Paco: “Well, frankly I’m completely surprised that it is still here. I have to admit I was afraid it would be stolen.”

Officer P: “Sir, Nevis is the Island of Love. Have a nice day and we will see you next time.”

"How odd", Paco said as I turned the dinghy back out into the harbor, “The Island of Love? Officer P went from ominous and threatening to all warm and fuzzy in the space of a few hours. What happened? I was sure we would never see the dinghy again."

Perhaps, I mused, the fact that we treated him with respect even in the face of being shaken down struck a chord in him and he decided to leave our boat alone. He may not be the most trustworthy person on Nevis and Lord only knows if his charity really exists or not but in a strange way he renewed my faith in the basic goodness of people. Or maybe we did that in him because we gave him the benefit of the doubt. No need to tell him we still checked out his story at the Office of Tourism.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I was just reading Lorrie's blog ("Our Name is Mud") and saw she had posted an "On Vacation" note there so her loyal readers will not think she is merely being lazy or had run off with her brother-in-law or something. Since Paco and I are also leaving this week on vacation I thought I would do some shameless plagurizing and let everyone know that I will be away from my post until the middle of next week (cat burglars take note).

Btw, thanks goes out to Lorrie for mentioning my blog as one to read in her absence. I am humbled and flattered. And thanks also to everyone who has hung in there with me over the last few weeks while I have not been posting as much as usual. I promise to return to my previous 2 - 3 posts a week upon my return. Paco and I are heading down to the islands to recharge our batteries and sample the local rum. Bon voyage for now!


Yesterday I squeezed in a quick pedi since my boss keeps me chained to my desk during the week. As some of you know, I have the Boss from Hell. But at least I have a job and as bad as it is much of the time I am not about to walk out. Not in this economy.

While sitting there minding my own business a group of early-30-something girls arrived, there to celebrate someone’s birthday. As hard as I tried not to eavesdrop on their conversation I was, after all, a captive audience, my toes being man-handled by Dan, so I ended up being privy to some interesting, if somewhat bizarre snippets of conversation...

Sissy: “My husband Jeff quit his job last Friday. He just did not get along with his boss. I don’t blame him for not wanting to continue to work in such a toxic environment. He gave them a month’s notice, though, which I thought was more than generous.”

Tiffany: “Oh Sissy, he was so right to do that. No one wants to have to go to work every day and be miserable.”

At this point my jaw had dropped, hearing that ANYONE in this economy would knowingly walk away from a job. Any job. I don’t care if you follow the elephants around with a big shovel at the circus, if you have a job these days how on earth could you voluntarily quit? I was flabbergasted, but there was more to come.

Sissy: “I told Jeff that maybe I should get a part-time job just until he decides what he wants to do next (obviously it’s not going to be as a brain surgeon). He doesn’t want me to work but agreed maybe it would be a good idea.”

Tiffany: “Oh Sissy, are you sure? I mean, like, that is so brave of you. Have you worked before, I mean, like, in an office or something?”

Sissy: “Well, I did some filing in my uncle’s office one summer. I was thinking I could do data entry one day a week. You know, for like, um, maybe 8 hours on Fridays. I actually have called some doctor’s offices and said I want to work part-time, but I haven’t had any takers. No one wants to hire me just for one day a week. I’m getting frustrated. Jeff said I should take a break from it so I don’t get upset or break a nail or something.”

At this point I decided to switch my water order with Dan to a glass of Chard. Maybe it would make me feel as carefree as Sissy and Tiffany. Not to mention Jeff.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Paco’s house, which he owned and was (mostly) living in when we got married in June of 2007, is still on the market. Well, actually, it isn’t currently for sale because the renter who was supposed to be taking care of it and “staging” it for potential buyers pretty much wrecked it, so it is now being “remodeled”. I use the term loosely because what we are really doing at the moment is trying to find a mystery leak that exists somewhere between the slab and the Arctic permafrost. As soon as said leak is located and repaired we can finish the new floors, have the new carpet installed, pull out all the dead plants, re-landscape and then put it back on the market. Just in time for the next wave of bad Housing Market news. You know, the stories that don’t want to go away about how no one has seen this much real estate carnage since the Tower of Babel collapsed due to poor communication amongst the residents? Yes, that one.

So here’s is the story so far:

1) Harold, the house sitter, moved in last spring and promptly drove his car through the back wall of the garage because apparently he does not know how to operate the foot brake.

2) Harold did not water the back yard, causing the ground to shrivel up like the Mojave Desert in August. This, in turn, made the back of the house drop below street level, creating huge cracks in the interior walls that you could drive a semi- through. The foundation was destroyed and had to be completely re-done with new piers, necessitating jack hammering all of the floor tile and leaving a 3-inch layer of fine dust on every surface in the house, including the inside of every cupboard, drawer and closet in the house. The house sinking like the Titantic was also the cause of the illusive leak since it apparently tore lose a few pesky pipes as it settled to the bottom of the ocean.

3) Harold did not own decent furniture, or much furniture at all for that matter, even though he was supposed to be “staging” the house (see (1) above). Potential buyers were greeted at the front door by a basketball hoop in the living room, a mattress and box springs in the master bedroom and Hello Kitty slippers in the bathroom. This was not the kind of “staging” we had in mind.

4) We finally kicked Harold out last November. I wanted to go over there and literally KICK him out but Paco forbade me. So I wrote him a nasty note and told him if I ever see him again I will shoot him with the World War II bazooka I recently purchased at our local Army Navy store for that sole purpose. Then I will drag what is left of him behind my Sherman tank until his head falls off and then ship his remains to Somalia. I know this may sound harsh but you might not think so if you saw Paco's house.

So now we are in Plumbing Hell, having decided to find the leak ourselves after getting Billy Ray the Millionaire Plumber’s quote to find and repair the leak. I told Paco I could quit my job if he would only change careers and go to plumber’s school. They obviously earn in the high six-figures and all drive solid gold Cadillacs and I added that I would be happy with just a newish Buick wagon. He said no, it isn’t worth it. I said it is. We tabled the discussion until he comes to his senses.

Next week, or whenever I can stand the thought of writing about this nightmare again, I will discuss all of the brand-new plumbing equipment (that keeps breaking) Paco has recently purchased via mail order to fix the leak. Also the equipment we have rented, which has also systematically broken because the equipment rental people are obviously IN CAHOOTS with Billy Ray the Millionaire Plumber. I will also discuss all the money we are spending in order not to have to pay Billy Ray, who we understand is just back from his vacation house in the Bahamas.


Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, winter to continue...

Monday, January 19, 2009


Last Wednesday morning I woke up early as usual, wondering what time it was, if Paco had left for work yet and what the heck was wrong with the left side of my face. I felt like I had a bee sting, someone had maybe injected my lower lip with Botox and someone else had socked me in the jaw, all at the same time. How odd, I thought, I don’t remember being in a barroom brawl at my cosmetic surgeon’s office yesterday.

By the time I dragged myself out of bed Paco had left for the office so I had no one to give me a second opinion on whether or not I was imagining this or did, in fact, have some strange malady. I decided that whatever it was probably wasn’t fatal but not getting to the office on time could prove to be, given how unpredictable my deeply flawed and bi-polar boss Mr. S can be. I put on my game face (and some clothes) and went to work.

Once there I emailed Paco:
Me: “I woke up with a swollen jaw this morning. I look like a chipmunk. Do you think I should call Dr K? The left side of my face is flushed and swollen, too. It doesn’t really hurt, just achy. Or should I call my dentist? My teeth don’t hurt but there’s definitely something causing this.”

Paco: “Well, I don't know. You might have just slept funny... too much on one side. If you're not in pain, it might go down during the morning on its own. I've sometimes slept on my face and feel a little beat-up the next morning. Maybe you took too many sleeping pills last night. You're not mixing them with Brandy again, I hope?”

Me: “No, no. This is more than that. I think if I had slept on it funny it would be going down by now. I’ll give it awhile longer before I call Dr K. Maybe it will go away on its own.”

My sypmtoms grew worse, however, so I went to see Dr. K, our wonderful internist who is brilliant, funny, energetic, inquisitive and YOUNG. He is younger than me by at least 20 years and always looks like he just got home from school and is in search of his afternoon snack. He swung open the examining room door and started talking, as usual, before the door was completely open.

Dr. K: (all toothy smile holding his lunch box) “Well, tell me what’s wrong with you today…oh my, I see it already!? (walking over to my hunched frame sitting dejectedly on the examining table). “Okay, now smile, do your lips like this, frown, smile again, wiggle your eyebrows. Hmmm. OH, I KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE! (Oh, oh, I know the answer! Choose me, choose me! Dr. K, there in the back. Please tell us your answer!) and Dr K said “YOU HAVE BELL’S PALSY!!!” Somehow I knew he was going to tell me this. Sister K had had it a few years back and my symptoms were similar to hers. So I said “I thought you would say that. So how did I get this? Where did it come from? I can’t move the left side of my face, my lip is swollen and my left eye is drooping. And I haven't been anywhere near Dr H's office in months" (my aforementioned cosmetic surgeon). After Dr K explained that no one really knows what causes it he nevertheless wrote out several prescriptions for mega doses of steroids and an anti-viral drug and I was soon on my way, after being cautioned to call him immediately if my symptoms grew worse, blah blah. I also had to cancel my upcoming visit with Dr H, which was far worse than waking up with Bell's Palsy. But certainly cheaper.

I spent this past weekend hyper-focusing on my Jumbo Weekly Pill Holder, you know the one you see next to your grandmother’s bed that contains approximately 37 different pills per day so she doesn’t get mixed up on which ones to take when? That was me. I was by turns jumpy, irritable and bone-tired from all the meds but gradually I started to feel better and am now down to the last 20 or so pills. I went back to Dr K this morning and he was even more excited to see me this time since my symptoms are so much improved. He was all smiles, having just discovered the fudge brownie left over in his lunch box. He is so cute and cheerful, so cuddly and smart, it made me happy that he was happy. I hated to burst his bubble but I had to ask him something. “Are you sure I have Bell’s? I mean, I feel so much better and I can move my face again. I thought this was supposed to last for months and months,” I said. Was I cured this fast? A dark cloud fell across his face, his science project in ruins, the judges pinning the Blue Ribbon on the moldy bread experiment display instead of his homemade Neutron Bomb formula. “Yes, you did and do have Bell’s. But you got here in time and we started treating you early enough to alleviate your symptoms quickly.” I felt terrible that I had questioned his diagnosis. I had to make this right before he called his mom to come pick him up early. “I’m sorry, Dr K, I don’t mean to second-guess your diagnosis. What do I know? I’m sure I have it and you got me on the right meds quickly and I will no doubt recover much faster now. Thank you so much. You are a wonderful doctor.” His mood brightened and he perked right up. The judges had reconsidered and the Blue Ribbon was his after all! “No, no, second opinions are often vital, don’t worry about it. But your symptoms are classic and I am sure you have Bell’s. You’ll be fine. I’ll see you in 6 months.”

In the meantime, the steroids are making my face slightly puffy and causing my wrinkles to be somewhat less noticable, thus saving me the cost of the Juvederm. Maybe Bell's Palsy isn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Lorrie assigned me the letter “U” after I cavalierly suggested that I wanted a forlorn, cast off and oft-over-looked letter on which to heap praise. This turned out to be harder than I thought...

1) Ultracrepidarians What the heck is that, you say? Well, I’m here to tell you this is a prime example of the power of the letter U and it is a dandy word. According to my dog-eared copy of Webster’s, an Ultracrepidarian is someone who gives opinions on matters beyond his or her knowledge. Sort of like my Crazy Boss, Dubya or Madge the Manicurist. Or bloggers. Not that I could ever be accused of being an Ultracrepidarian, of course. Ahem.

2) Ubiquitous The other day there was one of those annoying people in the car ahead of me who was busy talking on her cell phone when she surely should have been driving. I don’t think talking on your phone while poking along at 32 MPH on the interstate shows much concentration. I am tired of the ubiquitous cell phone, texting and internet surfing that seems to have stolen the soul of two-thirds of the population. Whatever happened to the art of conversation as practiced at the dinner table rather than alone in your car?

3) Umbrage I take umbrage to the ubiquitous cell phone. See#2.

4) Umpires I love umpires because for one thing they wear a nice dark suit to work and look like businessmen. I hardly ever see men wearing suits anymore and if I do I automatically assume they are undertakers. It's nice to know that not all men show up for work these days wearing jeans and Deaf Leopard (sic) tee shirts.

5) Über The new 'designer word" which popped up after people got tired of using boring, if perfectly serviceable words like “super” or “extreme”. And BTW, the two little dots are called Umlauts, which is another U word but did not make my list because, well, they're just little dots.

6) Umbrella I love umbrellas because so many nice people seem to carry them: Gene Kelly in “Singing in the Rain”, Julie Andrews in “Mary Poppins” and all those English people that just use them as walking sticks. James Smith and Sons in London sells some of the finest umbrellas in the world and you can pay over $300 for one of their top-of-the-line brollies. There is something comforting about a really good umbrella. Not the cheap, pop-up ones that always seem to turn inside-out at that first puff of wind. I mean the sturdy wooden ones with ivory handles like Sebastian Cabot carried in "Family Affair".

7) Ukulele These little guitar things are cute and endearing and I tend to think that laid-back people are the ones who take the time to learn to play the ukulele. Unfortunately, Don Ho is no longer with us so the ukulele's days may be numbered. Maybe someone should compile an "All-Time Greatest Ukulele Hits" to ensure its popularity is passed down to the younger generation. Or instead of "Guitar Hero" how about "Ukulele Hero"?

8) Underachievers These folks have tons of potential and the very word says so. If they weren’t capable of achieving something at some point they would be called “neverachievers” or “don’t hold your breathers”. Underachievers are simply achievers who have not gotten with the program yet. Perhaps they are too busy learning how to play the Ukulele (see #7).

9) Unbridled People who are unbridled are happy, carefree, devil-may-care and capable of experiencing pure joy. People who carry umbrellas can be unbridled, like Gene Kelly and Mary Poppings (see #6).

10) Unicorn Anyone who has ever read Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” will understand what is so captivating about these mythical creatures. Personally, I don’t collect them because I already have enough stuff in my house collecting dust but I loved it when Laura Wingfield lost herself in her unicorn collection to escape the drudgeries of the apartment she shared with her mother and brother. Maybe if she had owned a ubiquitous cell phone back then, however, she wouldn’t have had time for her herd of Unicorns and would have spent her days texting and surfing the internet (see #3).

Monday, January 12, 2009


I think I can understand why Ernest Hemingway spent so much time down at his favorite watering hole in Key West. As I understand it, he wrote from 8am until around 2 pm each day and then put the cover on his Smith Corona and headed to Sloppy Joe's for a few cocktails. Maybe that was to avoid the inevitable Writer's Block that seems to afflict most Serious Writers.

I keep a list of potential blog titles for those rare times when I can't think of anything to post about and am tired of Music Monday (like today). So here they are:

1) "Spinach is a Verb"The uncertain consequences of eating healthy

2) "The Price of a Penny For Your Thoughts Has Gone Up" Racie’s household money-saving tips

3)"My Next-Door Neighbor is Crazy and Unstable" Self-explanatory

4) "Mercenaries Are People, Too" Unlikely job alternatives for these uncertain times

5)"Why Didn’t Any of the Cartwright Boys Have Girlfriends?" Didn’t they all get tired of Chinese food?

6)"I Am Tired of Calling India For A Repair Man" Am I being charged for this long-distance call?

7) "Gratuitous Vacuuming" The Dyson siren song

8) "Does This Diet Make Me Look Fat?" Why do I gain weight when I diet?

Obviously I haven't used any of the above titles yet in a post. If any of them seem of even vague interest, please leave me your comments and I will expand on one of them. Right after I get back from Sloppy Joe's.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I used to have an annual Boxing Day party at my house, mostly back when I had someone from Across the Pond living under my roof. Being as he was of Foreign Persuasion and in his country it was an actual recognized National Holiday it only made sense that we should recognize it in this country, too. Or at least in our own household. Although not a religious or nationally-recognized holiday in this country, I nonetheless felt justified in recognizing it and throwing a party in honor of the Day After Christmas.

Time passed and the Foreign Person no longer used my address to receive his mail and I found myself without a good excuse to throw a Boxing Day party except for the fact that the ones in years past had been very popular with our British and Anglophile friends. So I just kept having the party, albeit not every year. This year Paco and I decided to stay in town for the holidays and thus the idea of having a Boxing Day party seemed like a sound move. I designed and sent out a clever invitation addressed to our nearest and dearest and then began a three-week massive overhaul of our house: carpets professionally cleaned, furniture cleaned and spruced up by Paco and me (don’t try cleaning linen furniture yourself, BTW), heavy silver polished and food and wine bought in liberal amounts. I also borrowed some additional serving items from Sister K, chief among them two very nice silver chafing dishes in which to serve the (homemade) Vegetarian Curry and Basmati Rice.

Boxing Day dawned bright, if unseasonably warm, and slightly after the appointed start time our guests began to arrive. We had lots of folks show up, many of whom eventually migrated to our deck to escape the growing line crowded around the dining table. Luckily, Paco and I happened to both be standing next to the said table at the same time, along with a few other guests not already outside eating and drinking. Suddenly, and totally without warning, the Denatured Alcohol warming one of the chafing dishes decided at that moment to boil over, engulfing the dish in flames and spreading to the linen table cloth underneath. Just like one of those movies where everyone is watching something horrific happen as if in slow motion, we all stood there, frozen in our spots as the flames shot upwards and the entire contents of the chafing dish started to burn. Since I had not bothered to replace the kitchen fire extinguisher since the last time it was needed (I will save that for another posting) we had nothing to douse the flames until Paco finally yelled for a wet cloth. I ran into the kitchen, flames starting to spread to the table itself, grabbed a tea towel, ran it under the faucet and threw it to him in time for the flames to be extinguished. The flames were so intense, however, that they actually melted the soldering on one of the legs of the chafing dish frame and the entire thing collapsed into a heap, spilling curry everywhere and necessitating Paco bravely picking the entire mess up and throwing it from the deck, much to our horror. At that point everyone stood there in complete shock, me wondering what damage had been done to the dining table and starting the “well, it could have been worse” self-talk. It surely could have been worse, as in the entire dining room, if not the rest of the house, ending up on the 10 o-clock news that evening: “House burns to ground in Vegetarian Curry Drama”.

The damage proved to be less than at first thought, albeit Sister K’s chafing dish is in the shop, her linen tablecloth ruined. Fortunately, she had the forethought to place a table pad underneath the table cloth so even though both burned completely through, the table only bares the scars of a slight singe and will probably provide countless hours of retelling the great Boxing Day Fire. Ironically, the person in who’s honor the party was so many years ago thrown was not present to witness the drama. Good thing, as I would never have heard the end of it. Of the many possession over which we argued when we parted ways, the dining table was chief among them. The house could have burned to the ground but I would have been expected to somehow save the table.

On second thought, maybe I should have let that frappin'table burn to a crisp out of pure spite.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Monday is usually reserved for my weekly music selection but I am making an exception today because of what arrived in my mail over this past weekend. It was a white envelope with something lumpy inside and I started shaking it to try and figure out what was in it (because tearing open the envelope would have been too easy and spoiled the suspense).

Paco: “I don’t think you should shake it, whatever it is. It’s making those ‘crushed’ noises. For pity’s sake, please just open the frappin’ envelope. You’re driving me crazy.”

Finally I decided I had to find out so I opened it and out popped a large packet of wheatgrass seeds as pictured here. There was a note in with it that read “Grow Your Own Yoga Instructor!” and was signed Sheila and Sweet Hubby. I completely cracked up and, laughing hysterically, showed it to Paco. For those of you who follow “The Continuing Adventures of Sunshine Wheatgrass” you will recognize the reference to my yoga instructor, who I often do battle with over issues of personal space, yoga blanket protocol and wardrobe choices.

Paco examined the packet and the note and then said:
“I don’t get it. Why did they send you a packet of Wheatgrass seeds and can you eat them?”

Me: "Yes, you can eat them after you grow the grass, but that isn’t the point of the joke. They sent them to me because of my posts about my yoga instructor, Sunshine Wheatgrass. Oh, never mind. I forgot, you have never visited my blog so you wouldn’t know about Sunshine except what I mention to you after class. And please remind me again why you won't visit my blog."

Paco: “I don’t visit your blog because I am living it everyday and get to experience the real thing first hand. I couldn't deal with also having to read about it. That would be too much, even for me."

Thank you Sheila and Sweet Hubby. I will plant the wheatgrass seeds just as soon as the ground thaws out and also thank you both for being Kool-Aid Drinkers. Maybe one of these days we can get Paco to take a small sip.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I had one of those bad dreams the other night that woke me up from a sound sleep, made me sit up in bed and fill me with dread. You know the ones, where you aren't sure if it was real or a dream?

I have to preface this by mentioning we have some really annoying neighbors. The kind that will never, ever move and make me want to put a skunk in their basement.

Back to the dream. I shook Paco awake, in utter fear that I had just done something awful and not sure at all if I had or it was just a bad dream.

Me: "Please tell me I didn't just open our bedroom window and scream at Larry 'For God's sake, Larry, it's 7:15 Sunday morning. Stop throwing your empty beer bottles in your recycling bin. It's right underneath our window in case you hadn't noticed' and then slam the window down."

Paco: "No, I don't think you did. I think you dreamed that."

Me: "Are you sure? How can you be sure? Oh geez, I am so embarrassed."

Paco: "No, I was right here. You didn't scream at him."

Me: "Are you sure? You were asleep, too. How can you be sure?" (I am frantic).

Paco: "I'm sure you didn't say anything to him."

Me: "How do you know?"

Paco: "Well, for one thing, today is Friday."

I fell back onto my pillow, feeling foolish yet totally relieved. I probably need to explore why it is so important to me not to offend my neighbor while at the same time fighting the urge to put a skunk in his basement.