Monday, October 30, 2006

Regarding Halloween

Just so you don't get the wrong idea right off the bat, I'm no Halloween Grinch. Just the opposite: every year I decorate my little porch and dress up to give out GOOD candy. A few years ago I even dressed as the Cat in The Hat and spoke in rhyme to the kids. One year I wore an eye patch and it nearly gave me brain damage. I hope I never lose an eye. No more fun and games after that. Oh, I seemed to wander off the subject, which is this:


1) If you are an adult DO NOT come to my door carrying a 4 month old baby dressed in a cute little costume to collect candy. The baby will not remember the experience and the baby does not need candy. This only applies to people with an only child. If you have an actual real child that is trick-or-treating, feel free to bring along your cute little baby, but do not ask for candy for the baby.

2) If you are a kid that is taller than me, do not come to my house. If you are 5' 5" or taller, you are too old to trick-or-treat.

3) Say "Thank you" and mean it or I will put a wicked curse on your ass.

I'm not doing the spider webs this year. That's a lot of work and after a rain (and we always get one) it is a bitch to get that stuff out of the bushes. This year I'm just going to create an eerie feel on the porch using black crepe paper. And I'm going to have my gargoyle out on a pedestal. I'll take pictures. Well, if it looks cool.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rufus and His Toys

It's funny that I've spent so much time browsing through PetCo to find creative toys for my cats. They really aren't that picky. Rufus will spend hours with a beer box. He makes quite a racket and he'll push the thing all over the house, but you can tell he's having a really good time. He also likes my cloth ponytail holders (or bands or rings or whatever they're called - my daughter calls them "hair thingies"). And I believe that I mentioned before that he loves an old terry cloth bathrobe belt. He really goes to town with it. He can get some serious feet action going with that thing.

A couple of months ago the cat toys were EVERYWHERE and I needed to vacuum. I grabbed the closest thing which was an empty Hefty Bag box and went all over the house picking up toys and putting them in the box. I set it out of the way in the bar room. Now we call it "the toy box." There's nothing cuter than watching Rufus paw through the toy box to pick out a toy. And like a kid, he takes things out, but never puts them back. And it's nice to have a place to put the toys when I vacuum.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Finding My Feet in 1979

For some reason I was thinking of an event from my senior year in high school. I posted over a year ago about events leading up to this particular moment here. (And apparently I did not proofread that post before publishing it.) I realized just today that one little snap decision pretty much set the stage of who I was going to be in the future. It's interesting to think that just 5 months in Texas changed me so much. Oh and also I had the day wrong. I graduated on a Tuesday, not a Monday. Tuesday, June 5th in fact. I know this because I looked at my diploma. I wonder why I didn't do that before?

So I graduated on Tuesday, passed out at (before) the party, packed in a huge hurry on Wednesday morning and caught a plane back to North Carolina. It was going to be a tight race for my friends to greet me at the airport. I don't remember the exact times now but everyone's last exam was to start about 2 1/2 hours before my plane landed. I was pretty nervous about seeing everyone. I had changed A LOT. I had somehow turned into a girl that got whistled at and flirted with on a constant basis. And I had a new sense of self. On top of seeing all of my guy friends and my high school boyfriend (known hereafter as HSB) I was going to meet my Dad's live-in girlfriend. I don't remember if I had a beer on the plane (everything was 18 back then) but I imagine I did. I was very excited AND nervous. The pilot was happy to announce that we had had strong tailwinds and were going to arrive 15 minutes early. I knew that wasn't good. Sure enough, there was no one to greet me when I stepped off the plane. I was carrying a very large teddy bear and a tennis racket and made my way to the luggage carousel.

I pulled my trunk and suitcase off the carousel and tried to figure out what to do. I couldn't carry all my things. Finally I decided to leave all my stuff and walk around looking for somebody, anybody that I knew. The first person I saw was Gary. It's one of my very favorite life memories. Gary was a really hot guy. He was just flummoxed when he saw me. He stopped dead in his tracks and said, "Geewits!! Is that you!?! Oh my God, you look great!" Wow. Probably the best airport greeting I will ever get. I told him where my stuff was and he ran to tell everyone where I was. After that it was chaos. I don't remember how many people came. There were either two or three cars full of people. Then an argument broke out about which car I would ride in until my Dad settled that. I was going to ride in HIS car. Then there was argument about who would ride with me. It was all funny and crazy and GREAT for my ego. I know my HSB and some other person rode in the backseat with me. My poor future step-mom was in the passenger seat and trying to figure out what the big deal was.

When we got back to my Dad's aprtment there were even MORE people waiting. It was a giant welcome home party. Here's how hectic it was: I remember searching for some time to try to show someone my high school diploma and finally giving up. I had already shown it to some people but could not find it. I remember later someone saying, "So what do you think about the baby grand piano in here?" I said, "There's a piano in here?" AND IT WAS A VERY SMALL APARTMENT. Well sure enough, there was a baby grand piano and my diploma was sitting on the music stand. That Wednesday was a blur of partying and catching up.

On Thursday I went with my HSB to the graduation rehearsal. I joined my homeroom peeps to say hi and catch up - our homerooms were kids grouped in alphabetical order for purposes of counting attendance. My old homeroom teacher didn't even realize I'd been gone. She told me to move back 8 spaces to be alphabetically correct. That cracked me up. I just stepped out of line and let them finish their stuff. The next day, Friday, was graduation. It was weird watching from the stands. At one point I got paranoid and thought, "What if someone doesn't know me that well, but recognizes me in the stands and thinks I couldn't graduate?" Yeah that was silly. Now for the weirdest part. My Dad had the graduation party at our apartment complex pool!! How weird is that? There was a band and about 4 kegs. That was the last party at that apartment complex pool. It was one GIANT party. At one point me and the HSB got in a huge fight about something. I hated that. In my wonderful 5 months in Texas I never argued with anyone.

Well anyway, now I had to pack again for Myrtle Beach. I talked previously about the end-of-the-school-year Myrtle Beach ritual here. My HSB was the only person in my high school gang that didn't have a car. His mother made an ultimatum: If he wanted to drive the car to Myrtle Beach he had to take the long way and visit his grandmother in Charlotte. Yes, Charlotte is NOT between Durham, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. So HSB's great plan was to leave Durham in the middle of the night after partying all day, drive until he couldn't take it anymore, find a cheap motel, sleep, and then drive to Grandma's house. So that's what we did. I will admit I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of the Grandma visit, but I know we did it. Then we hit the road for Myrtle Beach.

When you rented a cottage at Myrtle Beach, the term was Sunday to Sunday. So we were going to be there late Saturday afternoon with no place to stay, but HSB had information that a certain wealthy BMOC had a giant suite in the main hotel and was going to let anyone crash there Saturday night. I wasn't crazy about the idea. Well, we got to Myrtle Beach, found a parking spot and made our way to the hotel. We left all of our stuff in the car. Sure enough, we quickly found the suite. It was full of people. Lots of bong-passing ensued and there were lots of ice chests full of beer. I finally reached my limit and told HSB I had to take a nap. I stretched out on a bed and BOOM. I was out.

I woke up to a very quiet room. I looked around and there were about 6 or 7 people I didn't really know sleeping like babies. I grabbed a beer and stepped out onto the stairwell/balconey. The sun was low and there was a beautiful golden hue over everything. I was sipping my beer and looking out at the ocean. I felt very relaxed and peaceful. A guy named Peter I have known since junior high came up the stairs. He said "Hey! I heard there's a party up here." I said, "Nope. Everyone in there is asleep. I just woke up. I don't know where the party went." I could tell he was disappointed. We slipped in and got two more beers. We leaned on the railing outside looking at the ocean making idle chatter. Finally Peter said, "We've got a pretty cool house on the beach but it's a little ways down." I could tell he didn't think I would go. Yeah that was the OLD me. I said, "Really? Let's go!"

I had so much fun that night. All kinds of people kept showing up. We sat around the long kitchen table all night talking, drinking and playing poker. It wasn't my regular high school group but lots and lots of people I knew a little bit. I remember some people coming in and acting really freaked out that I was there. "Where's HSB?" they demanded. I just said, "I don't know. I woke up in BMOC's suite and he was gone." I was totally in the "you move you lose" mode. I realized then that I was just going to have fun and not sit around and wait for someone. I woke up the next morning in a room with two double beds. I was in one and a guy I'd known since 7th or 8th grade was in the other bed. I sat up and looked around trying to get my bearings. I guess Tom woke up about the same time. I said, "Oh my God, Tom B.! How are you doing? I didn't expect to see you!" It was a pleasant surprise. Peter heard us and came in. I asked if he had some shorts and a T-shirt I could borrow. I went into the bathroom, put on fresh clothes and they made me lunch. Peter was a great host.

A little later Peter drove me down to our cottage. HSB was not there, but all hell broke loose when I walked in. Apparently when HSB left me asleep in a room full of guys, he went out partying and then went swimming. He sliced his big toe open in the ocean and spent 3 or 4 hours in an emergency room. It was all "Where were YOU?" And you know what? I had no apologies. I woke up alone and went out to make my own fun. And I did.

And that's still who I am today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Grammar Rants and Eggs

I did a post back in May about pronunciations, and word misusage. I feel kinda bad (hypocritical?) because in the last couple of months I realized that I am very lazy with my itses and whosits. I've just started to make a conscious effort to use "it's," "its," "who's" and "whose" correctly. I don't think I actually use a lot of sentences where "whose" is necessary, but I'm pretty sure I am adding that apostrophe to "its" the majority of the time. I will try to amend my ways. Maybe they should add an "e" to the end of "its" to make "itse," sorta how they did with "whose." As in "That cat near bout bit itse own tail off."

The reason I don't use spell-check: I originally stopped using spell-check almost as soon as I started this blog. It was reformatting my writing by deleting the spaces between paragraphs. I like my spaces. Since then I've realized that NOT using spell-check has made me smarter. If I'm unsure of a word, I look it up here. Also I read over my posts about 5 times before I post them and that gives me lots of time to make sure I am saying what I really want to say. Plus, overreliance on spell-check can make you look stupid. There is a lady with a pretty popular blog who claims to be a professional writer. And when I say "claims to be" I mean just that. She says she is, but as her blog is anonymous, there's no way to know for sure. Therefore, I'm not going to say she IS a professional writer, because I do not know that for sure. I'm just saying that SHE says she is. Anyway, here are some things I found on her blog recently:

"She told me that (person's name) likes to runaway."

"...minus the odor of booze oozing from her pours."

These are things that spell-check will not catch as they are legitimate words. But "runaway" as one word is a noun. And "pours, " well, that is a verb and not tiny holes in your skin. And "runaway" reminds me of another pet peeve: The misuse of "everyday" and "every day." I once saw that misused in a fancy ad section for Lane Bryant in Oprah's magazine. I think it said something like "Look your best everyday." I couldn't believe it! My background is in advertising and pre-press. I can't imagine how much that ad cost! How on Earth did a mistake like that slide by so many people? Also the professional writer lady used "sugar coat" but "sugarcoat" is all one word. That's one most people wouldn't notice and spell-check would never catch. Maybe she really is a professional writer and is used to proofreaders and editors doing all the work for her.

Now I want to make up something stupid so that "...minus the odor of booze oozing from her pours." can actually make sense:

I sat there with my shattered nose plugged and bandaged. As I watched the barmaid refill our mugs from our pitcher, my surroundings seemed normal minus the odor of booze oozing from her pours.

Odd cooking tip of the day: If you have trouble peeling boiled eggs, I have discovered the secret to a perfectly smooth egg. Do not look at or think about the egg. Ignore it completely. I discovered this a few months ago while watching some particularly riveting television. We have one of those cut outs over the kitchen sink that looks into the living room. I don't even remember what I was watching. I just know that suddenly I looked down and had a plate of peeled eggs with not a divot between them. Now I always use this method. If the TV is not on, I will look away and force myself to think about something else. If I look at or think about the egg, I will fuck it up. DO NOT LOOK AT THE EGG! Seriously, it works.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This Week So Far

At the State Fair!

Monday: The whole purpose of having My Sweetie take a half day off work during a weekday to go to the Texas State Fair is to AVOID THE CROWDS. Apparently Columbus Day is a major holiday in Texas and by major holiday I mean the day EVERYONE GOES TO THE FAIR. It was bedlam and chaos. My Sweetie was VERY proud of me that I didn't have a panic attack right away and want to leave. Actually it became a game to me to find bathrooms with no lines which I did every time after the first time - and that was near the entrance so I had no choice. We still had a good time and did most of the stuff we usually do. The Marilyn Monroe exhibit was very good and THAT bathroom was empty. The best part was the "Guess Your Age" guy guessed me at 39. The worst part was we didn't get to see the sheep dog exhibit, although I'm pretty sure it would have been the same as last year. And the year before that. And all the other times we've seen it.

Tuesday: We had to do the yearly Community Watch meeting out in the cul-de-sac. That's the type of thing I dread more than almost anything except maybe sitting in a large flourescent-lit waiting room. The good news was it got dark pretty quickly after we went out there. I'm cool beans in the dark. It was over pretty quickly and we thanked the police officer for his talk, snatched up our chairs and practically ran up the yard. I was jealous of the people that didn't come, but we live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the sweet old WWII vet that organizes it.

Wednesday: Meals on Wheels added ANOTHER person to my route. I had only around 6 people all summer and now I have 11. I don't mind, but if they keep going at this rate I'll have 20 people by next month. I've mentioned before that we have "regular" clients and "diet" clients. The "diet" in this case does not refer to calories or fat grams but is diabetes/sugar related. The way my route is now, my first eight clients are regular and my last 3 are diet. I didn't realize until I got to the first diet house that I had 3 regular cookies left or I would have given out the extras. So I brought them home. This morning I dreamed that Meals on Wheels called me and asked if I had had extra cookies on Wednesday. I said "Yes, I brought them home." They said, "Well we need those back. You'll have to bring them in." I have the weirdest dreams.

Thursday: (Daytime Talk Shows Edition) I used to watch Dr. Phil every day at 3:00. At the beginning of the season last year I just couldn't take it any more. I found it very depressing that The Dr. Phil show was able to find an endless assortment of mean ignorant callous bullies. If you think about it that's what most of his guests are. Or pathetic doormat "victims." Yuck. Has the U.S. produced THAT MANY of these people? Again, yuck. So I started watching The Ellen Degeneres Show (or "Ellen" as most people call it). I thought it was a great show. Good stand-up at the beginning and lots of interesting guests and goofy skits (only the dancing part was kinda creepy). I was happy to have something fun to have on while I did my chores. Well, I don't know what happened but this year is terrible. Ellen seemed so full of joy last year, like she was genuinely having a good time. This year she seems to have a hard edge. She doesn't seem to be having fun at all and it feels like she is just going through the motions (or phoning it in). I hope she doesn't win the emmy again because she seems to be making no effort whatsoever. Oprah, on the other hand, seems more relaxed than ever. I'm grooving on the Tuesday road-trip episodes. Unless a guest I really like is on, Tuesday is about the only day I actually sit down and watch the whole show. Or if the topic is interesting. Lastly, I used to be a Rachel Ray fan. Now I know why "30 Minutes Meals" and "$40 a Day" were shows with just Rachel and a camera. I saw ONE episode of her new show and it was terrible. Okay maybe not terrible. More like horrible. She was manic and rude. She talked over (shouted over) anyone she was speaking to and running around like the set was on fire. I actually watched the episode that Oprah was on. Oprah is practically the owner of the show and she seemed subdued and shocked. I felt like I could see her thinking, "What the hell was I thinking? This is worse than Beloved."

On the other hand, I dedicated 4 hours today to a wonderful, savory beef stew. My daughter dropped by and decided to stay for dinner. She picked a good day. I'm looking forward to my leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Monday, October 09, 2006

No Particular Topic

Does Jay Leno think people are stupid? He made a joke the other night about NBC scheduling "Friday Night Lights" on Tuesdays instead of Fridays. "Friday Night Lights" is about small town high school football. People who are into small town high school football can watch it because it's on Tuesdays because THEY ARE NOT HOME ON FRIDAYS BECAUSE THEY ARE AT THE FOOTBALL GAME. His comment didn't make any sense to me. And for no reason at all I'd like to state that I'm not into that sort of thing and I wouldn't watch the show on any day.

I'm really disappointed that "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" has falling ratings. It really is the best show on television. I gave it 5 stars for a reason. The other new shows we've watched:
"Jericho" 4 stars
"Heroes" 4 1/2 stars
"Smith" 1 star (we quit after two episodes)
"The Nine" ("The 9?") 3 1/2 stars

The other day I was talking about spoonerisms (ex: saying "I could not snop steezing!") Now I wonder if there is a word for physical spoonerisms. An example of this would be when you throw your spring-loaded toilet paper spool thingie in the trash and try to thread the empty cardboard from the old toilet paper into the new toilet paper roll. I've also tried to change the channel on the TV with the phone several times, although I have never tried to call anyone with the remote control.

I also realized today that I have probably never gone one full day without sneezing ("I could not snop steezing!"). Maybe when I was in Hawaii, but I'm not sure. I'm terribly allergic to house dust which is a Catch-22. If I don't dust, dust will accumulate. If I dust, even with a dust mask, I will feel sick and miserable for two days and go through a whole box of kleenex. One of the main components of house dust is human skin cell flakes. I KNOW I'm allergic to THAT because I have sneezing fits when I file my nails. I vacuum/dust a lot and that is better than cloth dusting, but it still makes my nose and eyes run. I also use Nasonex but am too goofy to remember to use it every day. Plus I think it costs about $500 an ounce. Well maybe not that much, but close. I guess I should just buy stock in Kleenex.

We are going to the Texas State Fair tomorrow (today? Monday after I wake up, anyway.) I love the state fair! My favorite part is the Creative Arts building. People submit all sorts of arts and crafts to win ribbons. There is always great photography and lovely quilts and everything in between. I usually spend a good deal of time in there. There will also be a Marilyn Monroe exhibit in the Women's Museum. My Sweetie doesn't like to ride rides but he promised me one haunted house ride (they have about 10 different haunted houses). I also always throw darts at balloons - I'm great at that! And squirting the water into the clown's mouth - always pick the one with the freshest balloon! Don't forget the junk food and the sheep dog exhibition! Woo Hoo!! I guess the state fair is my third favorite once-a-year event after Christmas and my birthday. On that note I should go to bed because I plan to be at the fair in 12 hours.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

No Deep Thoughts

The Earth at Night

I was studying this picture of the Earth at night (and you can look at a much larger picture here). I was getting a lot of deep thoughts about the Earth and all of its inhabitants. Then I switched right over to the very simple thought, "Man! The U.S. sure does burn a lot of electricity at night!" And then THAT reminded me of something that happened many years ago. My second husband had a best friend named Gary. They really liked to get together at Gary's and jam on guitars, bass and whatever. I got along great with Gary. He was 10 years older than me and had served in Vietnam and told some fascinating stories about his experience - unlike a lot of Vietnam vets. What I mean by that is I've met a lot of vets that would not discuss their service AT ALL. Gary had all sorts of stories to tell. Granted he did not have a terrible job title like "search and destroy." His outfit cleared jungle for helicopters to land. Gary and his wife Karen were VERY close. They fell madly in love with each other at the age of 14. Two years later they wanted to get married and their parents would not hear of it (and this was Arkansas) so they got pregnant ON PURPOSE so they could get married. They had a son and two years later they had another son. Gary went off to Vietnam for two tours while Karen raised the two boys. By the time I met Gary and Karen, their sons were both in their early twenties and still living at home. They were a VERY tight family. They were such a tight family that when several years later, Gary and Karen were transferred to Iowa after a big company shake-up, both boys went to live with them along with their Texas wives.

But I need to get back to what I was talking about. We would visit G&K often enough - mostly for the guys to jam and once or twice to watch a movie. Karen was very old school and was mostly interested in serving snacks and making sure everyone had whatever they needed. She never chatted or made small talk. She would be quite talkative with her boys when they came through the house, but never had much to say to me or my husband. One day I decided that this lack of communication was my fault and decided to really engage Karen in a deep conversation. I turned to her and said, "I've always wondered, as women, if the children we have shape our personalities. Do you think that you turn out differently if you just have girls, just have boys, or have some of each?" I thought for sure this would start a long and deep conversation. She sat thoughtfully for several minutes, then turned to me and said, "Well, just having boys, you sure learn a lot about football."