"God must love the common man, He made so many of them..." Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolution Time

Well, whaddya know…’tis the season once again for making those pesky New Year’s resolutions.

Growing up, Mom would encourage me to set out some goals for the year. Good grades, a clean room, and no fighting with my brothers constituted the usual and customary list. I was usually pretty good at keeping those resolutions, too – right up to January 3rd. As an adult, my annual resolutions have nearly always included losing weight and exercising more. And I do great – right up to January 3rd. Oh well. I just do resolutions my way. In honor of my fine make-it-and-break-it resolution tradition, enjoy these…

Happy New Year's resolutions, everybody!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

String Me Along...

What’s your favorite part of the holiday season? Fudge? Greeting cards? Scotch tape? Personally, I’m a sucker for Christmas lights. Whether the light strings are dangled from the eaves, draped across the shrubs, or twisted around the trees – the colors, variety and wattage are just amazing.

My love of Christmas lights began way, way back when I was a kid. The whole famn damily would pile into the old Dodge station wagon for a drive around the neighborhoods to look at the lights. The snow diffused the colors into big pools of holiday Technicolor while the icicles magnified the lights’ brightness. Combine the sights with treacherously slick roads and no seat belt laws and there’s a ride to remember!

Dad was a sucker for Christmas lights, too, even though they almost killed him…

According to family legend, on one fine January clearance sale day, Dad found the best price EVER on Christmas lights. He bought every single box and stashed them away in anticipation of the best EVER light display. Months later, he opened all those boxes only to discover they were not the string-to-string variety. After considering the extension cord complications, Dad decided to splice all the lights together into one big, long, giant string. He worked along methodically, carefully splicing one string to another, holding the bare wire ends in his mouth as he went. It was at one such critical molar-clenching moment that one of my brothers (who shall remain anonymous) decided to plug in the lights.

Snap! Crackle! Pop! Not in the good cereal kind of way either. More like the electrocution kind of way. The current surged through Dad’s molars and knocked him off his feet. My guilty brother quickly unplugged the lights while the innocent brother checked to see if Dad was dead. After Dad was able to sit up again, both boys asked if he could do that again…

So two root canals later, it really was an awesome light display.

Enjoy all of your favorites this holiday season and please remember to plug in carefully!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ditto Dining

Have you ever been a Ditto Diner?  You know what that is – eating at the same place twice in the same day.  Ditto dining doesn’t happen often, but in my rural and restaurant-restricted corner of the world, it is always a possibility.  So last week, I was a Ditto Diner.

After a morning clinic away from the office, my co-workers and I enjoyed lunch at a favorite local place known for it’s mouth-watering menu.  Personally, I like the half-salads.  They have only half the greens but a full-salad amount of tasty toppings.  After all, lettuce can’t hold a candle to bacon…  That being said, the half Cobb salad with honey-mustard dressing was very yummy indeed.  Please see Exhibit A.

At the end of the workday, my husband and I arrived home at the same time.  I was tired and he was hungry.  Round one of Rock-Paper-Scissors determined that we were eating out rather than subsisting on cold cereal.  Round two determined he was choosing the restaurant.  And thus I became a Ditto Diner.  In and of itself, that’s not bad.  I just didn’t want to be a Ditto Diner with the same waitress.  Awkward!

While the half-salads are not to be missed, neither is breakfast.  And what is better for dinner than breakfast?  I recommend the French toast.  It comes with a little cup of fluffy butter, assorted fruity syrups, and good ol’ fashioned warm maple syrup.  Please see Exhibit B.

If you can, please try to be a Ditto Diner soon.  It is a full-filling experience.

Two items of note:  The diet Coke was simply a calorie neutralizer.  You will also notice bacon in both exhibits.  In my defense, I only ate the salad bacon.  The dog ate the entire amount of ditto dining bacon as a reward for not chewing up the car interior while she waited for her humans.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Alas poor Yorick, 'tis the season!

Alas, poor Yorick!  He was a fellow of infinite jest, now subject to the whims of Halloween and my kitchen.

And so 'tis the season...er, the seasonings to which all mankind, common or not, will turn.

That's gotta hurt, getting salt AND pepper in your eyes at the same time.

Many thanks, Uncle Dale, for the funniest, creepiest, Shakespeare-iest     salt-n-pepper combo of all time!
I just don't know if I can put Yorick away after Halloween...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Holey Land

I've always wanted to travel the world and see the sights.
London, Paris, Rome, Cairo, Jerusalem-all just waiting for me.
Little did I know that the world would come to me instead.
Welcome to the Holey Land!

Yep, the Holey Land -- right in front of my house.
Holes everywhere up and down the street.
Big, deep ones! Covered with giant metal slabs!

This slab didn't entirely cover the hole.
Be careful -- this one goes all the way to China!
Yes, you can visit the Holey Land and have egg rolls at the same time.
Practically the entire town has become part of the Holey Land, thanks to stimulus dollars.
Thank you, Mister President, for the new sewer lines.
And thank you, dear reader, for touring the Holey Land.
Come again another time and tour the Repaired and Repaved Land.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tail Light Tale

So this is what my tail light looked like after work.

Notice that bits and pieces are missing.

Notice the white paint smudges the perpetrator left behind.

I know it's only a tail light, but geez...

If you are the guilty party, please write me a heft check and wrap it nicely around a large chocolate bar.

Leave the check and the chocolate on my doorstep.

All will be forgiven.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Magic of Powell's

I am not the least bit ashamed to say, er...write, that Powell's City of Books is a magical place.

For many a published writer, Powell's is just another stop on just another book tour. However, for those of us who attend such events, it is a time to gather and enjoy bookworm esprit de corps. Tuesday evening was was another gathering for another author. My husband and I arrived early, staked out good seats, and began our people-watching vigil. After all, the next best thing to reading books is reading people.

As the chairs filled in, the parade of humanity did not disappoint. What wondrous variety! From my vantage point, these were the highlights:
  • Lots and lots of tattoos. I want one. But I'm a chicken. So should I get a chicken tat?
  • A cute couple with matching iPads. I want an iPad, too.
  • A Hagrid look-alike with a Kindle. Sigh. I want a Kindle, too.
  • A crazy cat guy wearing a sweater with kitties all over it. I do NOT want one, be it guy, kitty or sweater.
  • A fabulous chunky pearl necklace on the crazy cat guy's date. Oh yeah! Want!

Wait a sec...who am I? Veruca Salt? Enough of the wish-list already. If I want that stuff, I'd better get my own book finished and sold!

Back to the author -- Lev Grossman is his name and The Magicians is his latest book. His presentation was humorous, articulate, and sincere -- all the things you want in an author. I should mention brave, too, because audience Q&A can be dangerous. Someone in the back asked the question I was too chicken (again) to ask about naming charactes. Personally, I was happy to hear him admit he has difficulty with this. Me, too! Honestly, it was easier naming my kids than my characters.

I've wandered enough. It's time to tie this up. So why in the heck is Powell's a magical place? Because for those few minutes, all of us who had gathered together put any and all of our differences aside for our common love of a well-told story. Between 7:30 and 8:30pm, none of us represented any particular demographic or tax bracket. We were all just children again -- listening and imagining and wondering. Magical, right?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kitty Hooch

Look closely... See that green stuff? No, my floor isn't moldy. Dirty, yes -- but not moldy. That green stuff is catnip, aka Kitty Hooch. Considering how it affects the cat herd, it should be a controlled substance. Actually, I thought it was...but I was mistaken. I did not have control over the hooch at all. Or the herd. Hooch + Herd = Hilarity and Hangovers and Cat Chow Munchies.

I found these two rolling around on the kitchen floor, covered in hooch. I'm not sure which one was the culprit, but someone got the hooch down from the top of the refrigerator, ripped it open and proceeded to bathe in it. Seriously, they were flopping in it and scooting across the floor. Does that count as having swept the floor? Yes. I told you it wasn't dirty. So anyway, after the rollage and floppage, naturally the munchies set in. Luckily for them, the trough was full. And apparently, so was the recycling bin... Sheesh! Doesn't anyone clean up around here?

This is the hooch bag. Mangled. Punctured. Emptied. It put up a valiant fight, but in the end, the kitties won. It's impossible to stop a hooch-frenzied cat herd.

Notice the eyeballs -- the glazed, unfocused, hypnotic stare. Hours later, Domino is still buzzing. Apparently, it was really good kitty hooch.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Helping Hand Hamsa

A friend of mine recently returned from touring Jerusalem and the regions roundabout. Thankfully, he returned all in one piece AND he returned bearing gifts! In his hands were hands. Hamsas, actually. A hamsa is a hand-shaped charm which defends one against the "evil eye." It is sometimes known as the Hand of Fatima (after a daughter of the Prophet Muhammad) or the Hand of Miriam (after Moses' sister). No one knows for sure where the hamsa originated, but everyone agrees it is a very ancient traditional talisman.

I'm rather fascinated with the whole protection-against-the-evil-eye thing. The way I understand it, the hamsa works kind of like Wonder Woman's gold bracelets. Ka-powie! The evil spell is deflected! Ka-bam! The bad luck is bounced! I can hardly wait to try out the little silver charm and send all the unsavory karma in my life back from whence it came. I'm not sure where to put the big hamsa to get the most bang for the superstitious buck. Do I hang it in the car to ward off idiot drivers and radar guns alike? Do I hang it on the fridge to ward off my late-night food forays? If you have any suggestions, send them my way -- but only do so with good intentions. Remember, the hamsa says I'm rubber, you're glue, and whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!

p.s. If hamsa hands ward off evil, what attracts good? Feet? The lucky rabbit kind? Well, not lucky for the rabbit anyway... Just curious.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break Bathroom Re-Do

Indentured servitude is certainly one good way to celebrate Spring Break. Just look at their joyful, paint-splattered faces -- they are having the time of their lives painting, er, transforming the bathroom!

Painting is tedious to be sure, but working around all the bathroom fixtures is really a pain. Now just add to that balancing on the edge of the tub with a cupful of paint and all kinds of hilarity could ensure. Luckily, no hilarity. Just a smooth even coat of color.

Years ago, the bathroom was wallpapered with a lovely floral motif. The floral went bye-bye and the walls become a lovely lavender with a matching shower curtain. Years later...the lavender was no longer lovely and a more lovely brown was taking it's place. Pardon the cell phone photograghy, but if you look very closely...you can see the brown really is lovely. Viking daughter is painting with the dark chocolate brown whilst Wildcat daughter is painting with the milk chocolate brown. Oooh. Aaah. Lovely. To the lovely brown, we added a lovely new shower curtain and some lovely red mats with matching towels. It's kind of like cherry chocolate now. Lovely!

p.s. So somehow the finished product picture loaded first and I don't know how to un-do. Oh well. Enjoy it first. It's kinda like knowing who did it before the end of the book.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Being Sick, Part II: Daytime TV

Being sick at home for the last several weeks has led me to ask one of the great questions of all time. How much daytime TV can one person watch? A lot. A better question might be how much daytime TV can one person watch safely? Not much. After a while, you can feel your brain getting mushy and your backside getting numb.

However, those risks certainly didn’t stop me from watching hours of TV dressed in my old green sweats, kicked back in the recliner, with a cat or two draped over my lap and the dog snuggled up under my chin. Comfy and cozy to be sure, but still sick and miserable.

After many hours and many channel changes, I have discovered there are only a couple of shows worthy of my remote control efforts. The funny thing is that both of them are re-runs. It’s a good thing I believe in recycling… Anyway, my two top favorites of daytime TV are Britain’s Antiques Road Show and Wife Swap. Go ahead, mock me if you must, but honestly they are the best of the worst.

You know, the British have way cooler junk that we Americans do. For example, one woman brought an authentic Roman helmet to the Road Show. No kidding! Her family has owned a pub for literally centuries and the helmet was found wedged into the ceiling joists in the oldest part of the building. How cool is that? Another woman brought in a simple golden ring with an ugly blue stone that, according to the expert, was made between 1300 and 1350. Again, how cool is that? A man brought in a little ceramic cookie jar that didn’t have really any monetary value to speak of. But it somehow survived the Blitz while the rest of the house was bombed into smithereens. He even had a photo of his mum standing in front of the rubble pile, with that very same cookie jar in her hands. And once again, how cool is that?

I’m not exactly sure what’s so appealing about Wife Swap. Maybe it’s my family’s polygamist heritage peeking out. After watching Wife Swap, I must say that my husband has nothing to complain about. Neither do the kids. Oh sure, he jokes about being on the show, but I know he’s not serious. He could never survive the rule changes that happen when the new “wife” takes over. And what about some of those husbands? Hen-pecked fraidy-cats, pig-headed chauvinists, and uber-control-freaks all get to show off what great husbands they are. Yikes!

Now, just so you don’t think I’m completely without viewing taste, I did watch other stuff, too. It simply wasn’t as entertaining and didn’t make me wish for a British accent or make me thankful for my husband.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Being Sick, Part I

I must say that I have been blessed with extraordinary good health. As a kid, I remember having the flu, a few earaches, the chicken pox, and a broken cheekbone. I banged up me knee in junior high p.e. and sprained my back wearing stilettos in college. That’s me, no medical history to speak of.

Truthfully, I’ve always been afraid of being sick. My mom was a lovely woman, but she was always sick and it was scary for me as a child. Not that it was her fault by any means. Mom had a bad heart and that created all kinds of complications. But one day, she was really sick. Her gums wouldn’t quit bleeding when she brushed her teeth, so she went to the dentist. He sent her directly to the hospital and Mom’s fight with acute leukemia was underway. Back in those dark days of chemotherapy, patients checked in for weeks. Families weren’t encouraged to visit. It was awful. I was a junior in high school when this started, and it fully cemented my fear of illness.

Mom was a fighter and she fought her way back from the brink to bless our lives for a few more years. I watched her struggle with fear, pain, fatigue, and depression. Cancer is much more than just a physical ailment. She, without saying a word, taught me about grace, courage, love, determination, and faith.

So I got sick the week before Christmas – nothing as devastating as Mom’s, but still scary for someone who fears sickness. According to the doctor, I probably had H1N1 that blossomed into full-blown aggressive double-pneumonia. By the time I was sick enough to go to the doctor, I was almost in respiratory arrest and I won a ride in the ambulance to the emergency room. My winning streak continued with a 5-day stay in the hospital, complete with 24/7 IV antibiotics, chicken broth, and the nicest medical staff in the world.

I’ve been home for two weeks now, and am finally feeling recovered. The pneumonia is finally resolved. The secondary virus-with-fever thing is gone, the new medicine has worked, and my sweetest friends have been serving our family the most delicious dinners. Hopefully soon I will be released to resume my full normal schedule.

The last few weeks in the recliner have given me plenty of time to think about lots of things. I thought about my husband and our life together, my daughters and their lives, my choices, my mistakes, my dreams, and my mom. So, the next few blog entries may be more cathartic than anything else – please accept my apologies. I’ll also share with you my adventures with day-time television, some of my favorite late-night movies, and maybe even a few book ideas. After all, I’m gonna need a book deal and one giant garage sale to pay off those medical bills…