Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Since you asked ...

… This was probably the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. At the very least it’s tied with the time my father and I weren’t speaking and I didn’t go home, spending my first Christmas ever away from my family. But it’s mighty close.

But ya see, in the grand scheme, I know darn well that many people had a much worse Christmas than I. So then I feel guilty for even feeling sorry for myself. But you know what? I’m tired of other people’s worse-than-you stories robbing me from throwing myself a good pity party. So listen up, or click on to the next blog, whatever suits you. But I’m going to pout a little now.

Incrediboy’s been really struggling with his latest bug. He had a pretty good fever for nearly a week, accompanied by deep hard coughing frequently followed by a huge splatter of phlegm, vomit, or both. He’d cough all night and was exhausted, miserable and nearly inconsolable. We had him to the doc three times before they gave us a scrip for amoxycillin. His fever broke the next morning. Possibly coincidence, but it really makes me want to kick some butt over there. Whether here nor there though, he was still sick through the holidays.

If there is anything worse than a sick little one, it’s having a sick little one when you are sick too. We had plans with my husband’s family on Saturday and my family on Monday. Joy of joys, I felt it coming on me Friday night as I wrapped gifts, and I woke up on Saturday feeling like I’d swallowed a hedgehog and had been run over by a convoy of Humvees. So we cancelled our plans with Hub’s family. I was still sick on Christmas Eve, and so we cancelled plans with my family, too.

I still felt like crapola on Christmas Day, but Incrediboy felt better at least – so I pushed through my own misery to make the day special for him. Sadly, we only had a meager half-dozen gifts under the tree for him because we’d wanted to do more shopping before the plague came upon our home – and had planned on gathering with family, thus multiplying the gift load. Dear sweet Incrediboy, still young and unmarred by commercialism, didn’t know the difference and was happy all the same. But I felt like a real crumb about that. Not to mention that Hub and I decided to forego gifts for each other this year in interest of getting something big (like a washer/dryer or a new couch or something) after the first of the year. So, there was nothing under the tree for either of us – only a few lame trinkets I’d gotten for our stockings so we’d all have something to dig out on Christmas morning. Not a big deal really, but on the other hand it was kind of depressing.

Hub began feeling bad on Christmas night, but seems to have fended it off. Incrediboy is still hacking a little and has intermittent mucous attacks but in general is back to his sparkling self. I am still up poop creek. My snot locker’s full, my throat is raw, and my muscles ache. I’m doped up on Advil Cold & Sinus and Nyquil and I think my tastebuds are officially dead from all the Sucrets I keep eating in vain attempt to dull the throat pain. I’m freezing all the time but am still coming to work because it’s year-end time. Plus I had already scheduled Thursday and Friday off and like a selfish beyotch I want at least ONE them to spend solely on myself. Doing what, I don’t know. Go shopping to replace my 10-year-old wardrobe? Spend the whole day at the bookstore? Call up a girlfriend for a leisurely lunch? Wander through the museum? Get my hair done? Spend the day in uninterrupted scrapbooking bliss? I don’t know. But Mommy needs some me-time.

Just. Me.

Of course will I even feel like doing any of that? Probably not. I feel like crap.

Thanks for listening, even if you didn’t. :) I’ll try to get back to my cheerful self in the new year! Much love to all of you ~

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Stinkin' Christmas ;)

Here's the deal ...

As I've hinted, it's been a rough couple of months in Clewland. Particularly December. Poor sweet Incrediboy has some kind of bug he can't shake and it's wearing ALL of us thin. This among other things that I'll spare you from (you'd thank me) has got yours truly in a very Grinchy mood. So in lieu of my standard heartfelt warm and fuzzy holiday reflections, this little illustration pretty much captures my holiday attitude this year.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

LOL ... That's funny, I don't care who you are.

All kidding aside, Merry Christmas, everyone. May your days be merry and bright! Here's to more blogging fun and foolery in 2007.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Still Here - When Not at the Movies

Hello, all! It’s been a super busy couple of months here for various reasons, and ye olde blog has been on the back burner. Many thanks to all of you who continue to check in and haven’t given up on me. Hopefully things will settle down in the next few weeks and I'll be able to concentrate on recreational writing (and visiting) again.

For now … I know y’all love my movie reviews, so … my latest. I had photos too but as usual Blogger is being heinous with loading pictures - so maybe later.

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Movie Review: APOCALYPTO

I have a fanciful fascination with long gone cultures. And, as you all know, I’m also a travel junkie. About 7 years ago I was able to indulge both loves while on vacation in Mexico with the Hub. We took a side trip to Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan center of worship, science, and socio-political gathering. We stood in the Pok ta Pok ball field, walked among the columns, visited the observatory, swam in the sacred sinkhole and climbed the great sun pyramid. Along the way, our guide told us all about life – and death – in the days of the Maya.

The Mayans practiced human sacrifice and bloodletting in attempts to appease the great god Kukulcan in elaborate ceremonies. I’ve known about their beliefs and practices – but hearing and reading about the stories is always somewhat in the abstract, being so long ago and involving a people and social structure now extinct.

Apocalypto brought it all into brutally close focus.

It is not my nature to give too much information away about a movie, lest I spoil it for those who want to see it. (I want to kick reviewers square in the butt who tell you the whole stinking plot and climax of a movie in their review, don’t you?) But I will tell you, Apocalypto will break your heart in points. You’ll be reminded that these souls overpowered by their own people weren’t just characters in legends, but real men and women and children with real lives. You will be moved, even shaken - I’d put money on it.

But the pain is worth it. Aside from the heavy plot, this movie is beyond words for praise. Exceptionally well done. Superb, expressive acting and enveloping cinematography. A powerful story on the looming dangers of unknown outside forces, no matter how in control you may think you are - and of drawing inner strength in the interest of one's family and own destiny. One of the best epic-level movies I’ve ever seen. Even if it was subtitled. Which I normally hate. But it's worth suffering through that part - which from me is saying a lot (LOL).

I have a new hero, and his name was Jaguar Paw.

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And now, Just for fun ... Filed simultaneously under the show-and-tell categories of “Look What I Got” and “My Girlfriends Rule”, check out what my homegirl
Chesney sent me for Christmas.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Kewl, huh? A jigsaw puzzle to delight my obsessive-compulsive side, and great end-result subject matter for my pirate loving side.

Such an enabler. :) * Sigh *


If I (or you, dear readers) don't make it back here before the big holiday festivities, I wanted to extend and official Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my blog buds out there - Hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy peace and goodwill along with all the hectic hustle! Blessings to all of you!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


My dear friend T is truly one of the most beautiful and gracious women on earth, and for the life of me I don't know why she likes to hang out with me. T and I were brought together by fate in the late 80's, when we were placed together as dorm roommates. We were great friends all through college, and though there have sometimes been long stretches of silence between our communications at the hands of busy lives, we have always remained in touch and have maintained a great affection for each other.

She was in the general area for the holidays and we made a date to do lunch on Friday. I haven't seen her since we graduated so I was very excited. We had a wonderful lunch while we laughed over my old college photo album, and then we went to a coffee shop and chatted the day away. Years were bridged as if they were only moments, and I relished the time with one of my most blessed gifts - a lifelong friendship - one that had been from the time we met, and I know will always be.

T brought me this beautiful box of chocolates. They are hand created by a local artist in her city. Each box, each chocolate, is a unique piece of edible art in exotic flavors. She said she knew if anyone would appreciate them, it would be me.

They're beautiful, aren't they? They practically look like jewels, and I almost don't want to eat them. But I am :). They taste as wonderful as they look.

Here's to the sweet treasures of friendship.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

As my time on line has been scarce lately, I thought I'd repost my reflections of this holiday from last year. Enjoy your time with family and friends, and be safe.

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Original Post Date November 2, 2005 - Edited Appropriately
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Between the dazzling sensory-overload seasons of Halloween and Christmas lies the warm, comfortable hominess of Thanksgiving. As this time of year once again commences, I’m looking forward to time spent with family – and am also looking back.

My grandparents lived an hour away from us, and while visits were frequent they were always a special and highly anticipated occasion. Even our beloved border collie would spring to the windowsill with excited whimpers at the query, “Where’s Grandma?”, looking in the direction from which their immaculate Skylark would arrive.

By tradition, Thanksgivings were spent at my grandparents’ house when I was little, and in my heart the memories of those times are what define Thanksgiving for me. My Grandma was a tiny lady with sparkling blue eyes. She was the kind of lady who always wore necklaces that looked like some sort of hard candy, and sundresses with a fuzzy white cardigan sweater, be it January or July. She wore thinly applied pink nail polish and usually had a rubber band or two around her wrist, just in case she might need them. She used words like davenport and pocketbook and billfold, and found complete and joyful fulfillment in her life’s role as a housewife.

My Grandfather (we always called him “Gramps”) was strong and soft and full of warm hugs and deep laughter. He smelled like shaving cream, and always had a twinkle in his eye behind his horn rimmed glasses, as if enjoying a private joke. He’d let us beat him at checkers, and would save pennies for us, rolling them in brick-red paper tubes. He was kind and generous, and everyone who knew him loved him.

By the time we’d burst into their house with all of our noise, Grandma would have already been up for hours, happily cooking and whistling. The house would be full of the delicious smells of roasting turkey and homemade gravy and stuffing (never store bought, always from scratch). Oatmeal-date cookies and a bowl full of mixed nuts in the shell would always be at the ready, and a candy dish full of chalky pink peppermints on the coffee table. Gramps would have the football game on, though no one would really pay much attention to it for being busy visiting.

Grandma would need Gramps to help her lift the big roaster (with the chip in the enamel from when Dad shot at it with a beebee gun when he was little) several times throughout the day. She’d meticulously baste and fuss over a much-too-big bird, and supervise as it would be tucked back into the oven for a while. Mom would help with whatever Grandma would need help with, and somehow everything always managed to be ready at the same time. We’d laugh and share and reminisce while eating too much because we couldn’t help ourselves with Grandma’s good cooking. After dinner, Mom and Grandma would rattle away in the kitchen with cleanup chores and Dad and Gramps would doze in the living room. My brother, long and lanky, would stretch across the floor and watch football as I went to my special drawer in Grandma’s writing desk and got out the Silly Putty and comic books. In a few hours, we’d all stuff down a slice of pie and a turkey sandwich with Miracle Whip before returning home.

Gramps passed away in early 1981, and we’d bring Grandma to our house for Thanksgiving after that. In time, as my brother and I grew up and got busy with our own lives, Thanksgiving became downscaled at my parents' house - they would make a small turkey breast and a few trimmings, and take a care package to Grandma at the assisted living center. But for all intents and purposes, we kids were released (too easily?) to create our own holiday traditions with our new respective families.

I now have spent Thanksgiving with the Hub’s family for many seasons. We have compounded a whole new collection of holiday memories and traditions and dishes (wouldn't Gramps marvel at the concept of a deep fried turkey!), have watched our families grow, and now celebrate Incrediboy’s birthday at the same time of year. Though dynamics have changed vastly (for me in particular), Thanksgiving still holds its special blessings each time it rolls around and the happy memories of my past intermingle with tomorrow's memories being made now.

This time of year is always bittersweet for me, though. Grandma died a few years ago, and while I have not spent the holiday with her in many years, it is still strange to know she’s no longer with us.

All the more reason to strive at making these wonderful moments ones which will be looked back on fondly by Incrediboy, Hub and myself, and the rest of our ever-evolving family. In future years, I will give extra thought to the work and the joy going into and coming out of these times. May our own chatter and clatter echo those of my Grandparents’ home on those Thanksgivings of many years ago, and do so with justice.

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My DearBlog Friends ~
May your tummies be full, May your relatives be tolerable, and may your hearts be free from want this Thanksgiving!
XOXO ~ Clew

Monday, November 13, 2006

One Cool Bird of Prey

I took MBDog out tonight and enjoyed the crisp evening air for a few moments despite the fact that I've been deathly sick for a month. As I stood on the deck and gazed absentmindedly at the cold raking November clouds, I heard a chilling voice above me and to the left. Alarmingly close.

"Who-who - wh-wh-WHO".

MBDog stopped mid-stream and went on point. I looked up at the roof of our outbuilding and there I saw it. The biggest horned owl I'd ever seen. Black silhouette, backlit by our neighbor's porchlight. It was something out of a classic chiller movie, I tell ya.

I love owls. They're probably my favorite bird ever. Being a city girl born and raised, I've rarely seen them in the wild. And there he was. Every bit of two feet tall, maybe more - strong and powerful and spooky. I'd heard him around recently - faint hoots in the night across the country acres and bouncing through the whispering fall leaves. It was neat to think of an owl hanging around our property. And there he was, right there!

I blinked in awe for a few seconds, and then rushed MBDog up on the deck, in a hurry to get back in the house to grab the hub and the camera - and then the dog lead caught in between two of the deck boards. The catch made a hell of a racket, with MBDog and I both stumbling on ourselves like a couple of oafs, and when I looked back up at the barn roof, the owl was gone.

I was disappointed, and more than a little irritated at my own clumsy bafoonery startling him off. But it sure was exciting to see him, even for a few seconds. It's a good thing I didn't see him take off, or I might have had a heart attack from the coolness of it all.

(This owl here is nothing like what I saw tonight. But I found this picture while looking for the other one and had to share it. Look how cute he is. Couldn't you just die?)

Owls are so cool.

Happy hunting, My owl friend. Help yourself to the moles tearing up our property. And thanks for the visit tonight.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Veteran's Day

I received this is an email and thought it worthy of sharing. Remember all Veterans this weekend, and thank them for your freedom.

The average age of the U.S. military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy - Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing, and a 155 mm howitzer.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient - He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat - and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years. He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. As you go to bed tonight, remember him - Resting briefly, in a short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in his helmet.

Lord , hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Spin and Swing

Most of you know I avoid political gab on Clew’s Blues because I’ve already been there done that as a blog format, and I may very well delete this entry later. But for now it’s all I have on my mind.

Yesterday was rough. And today is the dawn of a new government. The Democratic party has gained power in all directions pretty much by exploitative default, with no solutions even offered. Conservatives lost due to the Republican party too often letting its supporters down.

Please understand, it’s not my intention to spark any fights or peeing matches with this post. I chose my wording carefully and deliberately in my above statement, because I don’t think all Democrats are bad, and I don’t think all Republicans are wonderful. No MAN, let alone PARTY, is infallible. And a pendulum will counter-swing as far as it will swing – it’s the nature of a democracy – a system in which we are ALL BLESSED to live. But I do hold conservative values, and I see our country’s compass shifting more and more as time goes by. And many forget that once certain policies are in place, others will be gone forever.

I recently heard someone say that this election season wasn’t about left and right, but about right and wrong. I’ll concede that party lines were indeed blurred this election … to everyone but the politicians.

America hangs in a precarious place. I pray that we are led forward with wisdom and not malice, and we will all keep our eyes wide open to every move. May God continue to bless America!

Props to Little Miss Chatterbox's post today, BTW. My old blog wished it was like hers.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Down the Drain

The drive into my office park is lined with maple trees. In the fall their lush deep green leaves turn vibrant gold, and stay in their painted glory until the first hard frost.

Last night was our first hard frost, and as the morning sun warmed the world, the maple leaves loosened from their branches and rained down in a golden veil. By 9 am the trees were all but bare. There was a brisk breeze blowing the newly freed leaves, leading them in a dance.

As I paused from my work, I looked out the window and my eyes fell on one particular leaf. No special reason - it was one in a crowd of leaves and looked like any other leaf out there - but I found myself watching it above all. It separated from the others, swirled, lifted and lowered, and then tumbled from the grass and on to the pavement. I watched it scoot and flit across the asphalt. It floated along gracefully until it reached the storm drain - and there it fell in, like a quarter in a piggy bank. Just like that.

I feel like the same thing happens to me sometimes, little leaf. Is that why I just happened to see you?

General whining ...

I've written a well thought out continuum of thoughts on SawIII and subsequent discussions I've had with people I know, but I haven't had the time or gumption to type it into here - so you are spared for now. I know you're disappointed, but it'll be okay. I'll probably get to it eventually.

Meanwhile, I've still been sick. Naive kept telling me I have walking pneumonia, at which I scoffed - but I couldn't seem to get better and in time 3 other people independantly suggested it as well. So I got worried and went to the doctor. He asked me questions (that I'm not sure he really listened to my responses) and thumped around on my back and listened with his stethoscope. He told me that there are lots of weird lung ailments going around right now and it sounded like I had many symptoms of pneumonia and/or bronchitis, but that my lungs sounded clear, which doesn't fit the MO. Then he told me he thinks I have bronchitis (huh?). He wrote me a scrip for Zithromax and 3 doses later brings me to today. I still feel like crap, but not as crappy as before.

I've always liked my doc. But this visit, I felt kind of ... I don't know ... skimmed over. Then again, maybe it was just me. After all, if I haven't mentioned, I feel like crap. My lungs feel like I've been breathing fiberglas and I'm so tired I can't even believe I'm up right now. MEH!

Doesn't it suck, trying to find a doctor? The doctor I had from the time I was born retired when I was in college. I didn't find another "PCP" until about 5 years ago, because I just can't find anyone I feel any kind of real concern from. Not that your doctor needs to bring flowers into the room with him, but I don't want to be herded in and out and not have them even look at me in the eye the whole time. I want to feel like they give a damn about me, even if they don't.

I felt really happy with my doc when I stumbled across him by accident. I went to him with concerns about chest pains and he went above and beyond in treating me. He also took interest in the emotional causes which brought me to the physical manifestations. He even followed up with me to see how I was doing. To add to all this, he's young - a doctor I could visit for possibly the rest of my life. Awesome.

You can understand my disappointment with his distracted aloofness the other day.

I'd almost wave it off, except that the Hub went to him last time he was sick (having been fed up with his own doc) and said the same thing. I was so enamoured with my doc's service that I thought for sure it was an isolated incident. But maybe not.

The thing is - I'm so rarely sick, I really am not in need of a doctor's care often. So does it really matter? Sometimes I think not. But on the other hand, yes it does. A doctor is your employee - You pay him/her to give you a service. If you're not happy with the service they provide, you shouldn't have qualms about firing them. But then it'll take me 15 more years to find a doctor I can be happy with.

Pffff. I haven't even been able to decide on a new stinking groinacologist after my coolest-OBG-ever retired a year and a half ago. I better stick with one upheaval at a time.

At least I like my dentist. :/

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Spoiler-Free Movie Review: SAW III

Those of you who have been reading me for a while know that I am a big fan of the Saw movies. So naturally, the Hub and I had to hit the latest install, SAW III, on opening night this past Friday. Neither of us as a rule are fans of multi-sequels ... Almost always, the Hollywood movie machine will drive a concept so far into the ground that it's ruined beyond salvation - particularly with horror films. Once scary plots become predictable and stupid, and once terrifying monstermen become campy charicatures of their original selves while doling out gratuitous cheesy bloodbaths.

Allow me to say that Saw III is the best one yet.

Yes, it's gory. Extremely gory. Hub and I are both seasoned horror flick fans, and this chapter had both of us squirming and wincing. I even found myself looking away in a few parts. But I love the Saw movies because they are way more than sick graphic slash. The base stories and intricacies are deep, and Saw III took the cake. Layer upon layer of plot twist - darkly brilliant in its perfect factoring. And interestingly, an underlying moral.

Saw III is horror as horror should be done.

Now before all you guys who aren't into gory scary stuff poo-pooh me, I will say resoundingly, this is not a type of movie for everyone. If you don't like this genre, by all means, don't go see it. But if you like movies that make you think - evaluate - your life and your choices, while having the bejeebers creeped out of you, this is the movie for you. The Saw Trilogy, particularly Saw III, may be tasteless ;) but not mindless. You will think about its lessons for days.

You may even walk out with an epiphany.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

A very special tradition was started in my home this week. Hub, Incrediboy and I made our first jack-o-lantern as a family. It was an emotional journey at times … Hub picked out the huge, most perfectly perfect pumpkin out of a thousand last weekend and we brought it home. I scrubbed the crud off of it and set up our dining table with newspapers, spoons, knives, and a huge bowl. Incrediboy was very excited about all the commotion. But when I went to draw a face on it, he began putting together what was about to happen and got very upset. Cutting up his precious pumpkin was NOT on his itinerary.

Being that we didn’t want to traumatize the boy, we stopped - and thought it best to let the concept sink in. And the next day, just like that, Incrediboy had made his peace and was ready to proceed.

We couldn’t get to the project again until last night, but we did continue on. Hub cut a lid in the big gourd and Incrediboy was very interested in the stringy stuff inside. After we loosened up all the goop, scooping it out was about the coolest thing he’d ever heard of, and he really enjoyed helping us with that. Hub helped, and I helped, and we alternated taking pictures as good doting parents do. We all had a ball.

When the pumpkin was cleaned out, we set it aside to dry a little bit and I separated the seeds from the goop. Then we spread them out on a pizza pan and made toasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Tonight we carve the face, and Incrediboy couldn’t be more jazzed. He told Grandma all about it when I dropped him off this morning, and has informed us he wants to be a pumpkin for Halloween. (Too bad I already got his costume!)

This whole project has been exceptionally delicious to me. Not just because I love introducing new fun traditional things that we can all do together, but because this pumpkin project isn’t just Incrediboy’s first. We never carved pumpkins when I was a kid. I don’t really know why, but I can guess it was a variety of reasons. But the main reason, I figure, was because my folks were never really big on doing anything that would lead to a big mess. Long story short, this is my first jack-o-lantern too.

Hub is a wonderfully fun person. He’s pretty big on holiday traditions loves doing those kinds of things. He’s also fun to be around – very animated and funny and silly. I’m so glad he is a fan of pumpkin carving, or else I’d probably never bother. I didn’t know what I was missing, you know? But now I know. Why we hadn’t done one in the previous 10 Halloweens together I can’t tell you, but it doesn’t matter. I’m glad we didn’t, because it made this one the most special pumpkin in the world. Because best of all, Incrediboy and I got to share a “my-first-time” experience together, which I figure is something that won’t happen too often.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Give Me Some Tongue

My boss is from the old country, and still has family back there. On occasion, he'll call them from the office and have a nice chat with them. I love to listen in. I have no idea what they're talking about - He speaks in Italian to them, and I don't understand Italian any more than I do ancient Sumerian. But it doesn't matter. It's beautiful sounding, and I love to listen. His mediterranean dialect dances with ease and comfort, and without a moment's concentration on his part. He is in his element, his native tongue, and he wears it like a comfortable shirt.

The last time such a call took place and I enjoyed the mere sound of it once again, I got to thinking how underratedly remarkable language is. These weren't just beautiful sounds I was listening to. Just random phonetic notes in a song. This was an intricate exchange, just as I had with my co-workers, friends and loved ones every day in English without a thought about what I'm doing or how it happens.

My boss came to America 50 years ago. He spoke little English and hung a lot with a circle of fellow immigrants. In time he learned the language, married and American woman, and ultimately bought the company which took him in. Throughout it all, he stayed tight with his immigrant Italian community, and his buddies have often stopped in the office for an impromptu visit. I have witnessed them all switch back and forth between Italian and English as if they were the same. It fascinates me.

I asked my boss once about a ponderable that had come across my strange thought processes. I asked if when he thinks things to himself, does his "thinking voice" use Italian or English. He told me he used to think in Italian, but now thinks in English. This, too, fascinated me to no end. Where is the point where your entire subconscious switches from one tongue, your native tongue, to another?

Imagine being plopped into a completely unfamiliar country which implements a language of which you have no experience. It would be difficult to interact ... but in time, chances are you could figure things out and even become quite proficient in speaking the language that is now the main communication in your world. I know you'll all call me a nerd, but man that is cool.

More astonishing yet, is watching it happen from square one. Not long ago, Incrediboy communicated only in cries. Then squeaks and grunts, then basic noises - mostly vowels - slightly resembling syllables, and on to rudimentary words. Suddenly he can hold entire conversations, exchange thoughts, absorb concepts.

Have you thought about how incredible it really is, that we can learn not just one language but two - or three - or even more? Is that amazing or what? That ANY one of us can do this?

I love the fact that humans have developed complicated patterns of language, and that they are used without effort. I love the way that even a language not learned until comparatively later in life can become second nature.

I know, I think too much about goofy stuff. But I can't help myself. Admit it, you missed it ;).

I'm feeling better, BTW. Many thanks to all of you who left get-well wishes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ugh and Argh

I'm sick, so I'm probably going to be short on words for a while.

Meanwhile, check out this cool book my guys got for me. Guess what I'll have my nose buried in as I recover. :)

Cool, huh? Aren't my guys GREAT to me?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Top 5 Things Learned at Blogarita

5. .... A woman who is immeasurably cheap when buying scrapbooking embellishments in her hometown will allow money to fly out of her wallet at the scrapbook store if in another city.

4. .... Playing Balderdash after killing a bottle of butter shots is about the funniest thing ever.

3. .... Stifling laughter can make some people fart.

2. .... Cowtipping is a farce - cows sleep laying down.

1. .... Cellophaning a garage door is harder than you think.

Hi Honeys, I'm home! I had so much fun with mah girls ... and I miss them all terribly! I have a picture of the four of us at my desk now. I don't know if it makes it better or worse. <:)

More later!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


After work today, I'm off to the Festiva! Don't wait up!

Until my return, I thought I'd present this old favorite delicacy for your upcoming Halloween siorees. This is for you, especially, Tracy. :)



1 (18 oz.) box German Chocolate Cake mix
1 (18 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 pkg. white sandwich cookies
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
12 small Tootsie Rolls
1 litter box (a NEW one!)
1 plastic cat box scoop (a NEW one!)
green food coloring

Prepare cake mixes and bake according to directions (any size pans). Prepare pudding mix and chill until ready to assemble. Crumble white sandwich cookies in small batches in blender. (or just smash them up in a big baggie with a rolling pin). Set aside all but about 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, add a few drops green food coloring and mix using a fork or shake in a jar.

When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble into a large bowl. Toss with half the remaining white cookie crumbs and the chilled pudding. NOTE: You probably won't need all of the pudding, mix with the cake and 'feel' it, you don't want it soggy, just moist; gently combine. Put mixture into clean new litter box.

Put three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until soft and pliable. Shape ends so they are no longer blunt, curving slightly (I'll just say it - so they resemble poop). Repeat with 3 more Tootsie rolls and bury in mixture. Sprinkle the other half of cookie crumbs over top. Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly over the top, this is supposed to look like the chlorophyll in kitty litter. repeat with remaining Tootsie Rolls, place them on top of the cake and sprinkle with cookie crumbs. You might even want to drape an oops-poop over an edge of the pan for effect (see photo). Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around. Serve with a clean new pooper scooper.

Kids LOVE this grossout dessert, and if you can actually get people to try it, it tastes good. Either way though, it's sure to be a hit and talked about for ages to come.

Enjoy the cake! Hasta luigi!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

When it absolutely positively has to get LOST

I try not to bad mouth directly here. But I’m mad at a certain shipping company and I need to gripe. So we’ll give them a pseudo name. We’ll call them Fad Ax.

I hate Fad Ax.

I was going to explain in maddening detail but I think I’ll spare you. Let’s just say I ordered a really neat gift for a certain someonaive that I won’t name, because it’s her birthday in like a week and a half. I wanted to take it with me to Blogarita Festiva and time is running out. So I tracked it and lo & behold Fad Ax says it was delivered to me on September 29th.

They lie.

Hm? Oh, I know, I already thought of that. But we live on a back road, and the package was supposedly delivered at dusk. Hub was working outside first thing the next morning and didn’t see it. It’s highly unlikely someone swiped it in the pitch black of BFE.

Yeah, I thought of that, too. But if they’d left it with a neighbor, a.) our neighbors would have let us know, 2.) Fad Ax would SHOULD have left a sticker, and c.) they shouldn’t have said they left it on my porch. So as I see it, it’s their problem, not mine. SO. I have made it my mission du jour to call and harass everyone I can get ahold of and I practically have the freaking national guard looking for this package. I called the vendor and told on them, too.

Fad Ax hates me. I don’t care. I hate them back right now. They’re the ones who hang their hat on being so reliable and dependable. I’m probably only one in a scrillion cases who got the shaft. But to me, that’s the one that counts. Buttholes.

In case I don’t have a chance to post again, y’all know where I’ll be this weekend. WOOT! I can’t wait.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Night Vision

MBDog likes to cruise the property when the weather is nice, which is great unless you’re in a hurry. Therefore, we take him out on a leash in the mornings before work. This little routine often affords me a few minutes of peace and reflection as I stand in the clean early air. Often it’s the only quiet time of my day. But lately I rush through these moments just like all the others, barely noticing their passing.

I took MBDog out the other morning and looked up at the sky, more than anything to see if it was cloudy and try to gauge the day’s weather. There was indeed a cover of clouds across the sky … all except one spot. A perfect window right around the constellation of Orion. The edges of the window even followed the lines of the constellation in perfect increment – and I was there to see it at just the ideal time. It was as if God were reminding me of this night, when I took the time to absorb the experience. I used to take notice of so many things like that … I smiled wistfully, wondering why I didn’t do so anymore.

The following morning, I took MBDog out and looked up again. The sky was clear, without so much as a wisp of a cloud, and the stars stabbed through the black velvet night. So many stars. I’d somehow halfway forgotten how many stars there are above our country home, far from city lights, and I wondered how they’d been hiding from me.

Part of it had to do with that sun rising earlier in the summertime – for a good part of the fair seasons, dawn is breaking as we get ready for our days. But we often take MBDog out on his leash right before bed, at which time it is always night.

Then I realized, we usually have the flood lights on. Part of our security system for the back of the property and around the barn consists of flood lights. They are bright enough to light the whole area around our house, and in turn, bright enough to obscure the eyes from picking up subtle starlight. Stargazing on our deck with the floods on is akin to stargazing in the city – the views gets lost in the noise of artificial light.

That morning, the floods were off. I had not turned any lights on at all, and my eyes were perfectly adjusted to the darkness. It was then that the canopy of stars sang down to me, and I could see their music. For the first time in quite a while.

I’ve been feeling down for a long time, for no good reason. The summer has passed in a busy yet nondescript blur – I have few memories of the season at all. My quiet moment in the pre-dawn darkness under the stars the other morning got me thinking that maybe it’s the blinding wash of routine and hustle that is fading out the dainty sparkle of each day's joy.

The stars aren't hiding from me, I just can't see them. The flood lights stewing in my head are too bright, and are giving me life blindness.

I don’t know where the switch is, but I need to seek it out, find it, and turn it off for a period of time each day. Then just settle myself, allowing my heart and mind’s eyes to adjust – away from the brightness, so I can again relish the blessings of my wonderful family, my dear friends, my great job and rewarding hobbies. So I can again see the subtle beauty of each moment.

So I can reconnect with God as He tries to reconnect with me.

Friday, September 29, 2006

For Those Keeping Score at Home ...

Exactly one week from today,
Blogarita Festiva
~ ~ ~
Naive, Chesney, Nelly, and I
will drink a toast in your honor.
Each and every one of you.
Maybe even twice.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Letting Go

During the course of summer’s fresh air and exercise, Incrediboy has lanked right out of last year’s cool weather clothes. I spent last weekend weeding out his closet so as to assess his fall and winter wardrobe needs (can’t have the poor boy running around bare-wristed and ankled), and this seemingly little chore quickly escalated into a massive project.

I still have every piece of clothing Incrediboy ever wore. When Naïve was expecting her youngest, I passed on a whole first year’s worth of clothes to her, but instead of paying them forward she gave them back to me when she was done, and they have since resided in their shipping boxes in our garage. Meanwhile another year’s worth of sizes have compounded and have been outgrown. I’ve put off going through them all, but as Incrediboy closes in on his third birthday and we have no plans for another, it’s time to move these things on. Cleaning out last winter’s sizes led to hauling out the boxes of yesteryear, and soon baby clothes overtook my living room.

This task was more fun than I anticipated. It was neat to see all of his adorable baby things again, remember how small and sweet he was and marvel at how he’s grown and how time has flown despite the fact that it felt like forever when we were living (barely) through those early months of no sleep and no clue of what we were doing.

It was also much sadder than I anticipated. These little outfits were once huge on the tiny being we brought home, though we can barely remember it. Had we not a slew of photographs of the boy wearing them, we might think it was all imagined. He just couldn’t have been that small. But he was. We might as well have dressed him in a pillowcase with some of the items, as big as they were on him. How is that?

Surely these things shrank while they sat in storage.

I looked at each piece with a wistful smile, sorting them into piles by size, and after hours of work I had a stack of 0-6 month, 9-12 month, 18 month, and 24 month clothes.

There was one more stack as well. A stack of special things – outfits that were especially cute or were given by special loved ones. Things Daddy and I aren’t ready to let go of yet. This last stack is a bit larger than it should be – But in another year or so perhaps we’ll weed through them again and be more prepared to let some of them go. For now though, we’re not quite ready. Along with photos and memories, these are all that is left of our baby boy. It’s nice to hold the soft, snuggly, sweet-smelling clothes in our hands as the baby who once wore them grows smaller in the distance as he grows bigger in front of us.

I packed them all up, except for that last stack. The boxes are still sitting in my living room. Not for long, but for now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Reality Rants

I missed the big fight on The Contender last night. The finale. After investing every Tuesday night in these kids all season long, getting to know them and love them, I missed the championship event.

I could kill myself.

Okay, not really. But I’m pretty spittin’ mad about it. The thing is, I didn’t forget The Contender was on. I just thought it was another episode. I was really tired so I let myself fall asleep and didn’t even tape it. I didn’t realize it was the championship night. I knew championship night was the 26th, and I knew yesterday was the 26th, but somehow my exhausted little pea brain didn’t put those two facts together.

Even though I hear my favorite, Berto Bravo, didn't win, I still need to kick my own butt for that one.

While we’re on the subject of reality TV … Look, I’m sorry. I know lots of you don’t care and are even sick of reality TV. But bear with me. Why is the race thing such a big deal on Survivor? I mean really. It’s no big secret that there are different races. And it’s no big secret that often races will draw to one another by nature. It’s not prejudice, it’s just a natural reaction of being drawn to people you have something in common with. I’ve seen that happen on Survivor even when the tribes are multicultural. So why is anyone raising an eyebrow over this? To me, it’s just another angle. I see nothing to get offended about.

You know what I’d like to see? Someone like Charlize Theron ending up on the African American tribe. She is from South Africa, you know, which last time I checked is part of Africa. To me, if you have roots in Africa, that qualifies you as African-American.

Now THAT would get some panties in a bunch I bet. ;)

Last but not least, I wonder when the AI tour will be over. I'm ready for Taylor Hick's new CD in a really big way. I know there's a November release date slated, but it'll be ready when it's ready - and the sooner he gets in the studio the better. I'm ready for some new SOUL!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Birthday Boy

Four years ago, ten puppies came into the world. Borne to beautiful champ sporting breed parents, each puppy was cuter than the next. But one puppy – he was the cutest of them all.

When he was old enough to eat solid foods, he came into the arms of a family who had not specifically planned to have him. His new Momma had been grieving, and his new Daddy brought him home to fill her heart – their hearts - with joy.

And that the puppy did.

He also brought much strife and chaos. The puppy almost never slept, and never stopped racing from one misbehavior to another. He wasn’t inherently bad – he just suffered from inexhaustibly busy puppy mania. Rather I should say, his parents suffered from it. No sooner was he corrected on one bit of mischief than he was on to the next. Many possessions were destroyed. The puppy was so impish that there were days his Momma and Daddy cried out of sheer exasperation. Raising any puppy is hard work, but this particular puppy was a real challenge.

But he was mighty sweet. Big blue eyes, soft velvety ears, and paws so big that friends swore Momma must have Photoshop enlarged them in his puppy pictures. And they loved him more than anything in the world.

The darling puppy grew into a regal and most beautiful dog. Blue eyes gave way to fiery amber, and amazingly he grew into those giant paws. He brimmed with love and affection, and while still (and probably always) excitable, he settled – becoming an enjoyable companion, protector, and teacher. When his Momma and Daddy brought a new two-footed baby into the family, he rolled with it, knowing that this was a very special addition. It took some adjusting, to share Momma and Daddy’s time and love, but he accepted the adjustments with grace. Being a big brother was a lot of work. But he knew it was neat, too. Momma and Daddy always made sure he still got plenty of love and affection – which was enough to make him happy.

And no great chore for Momma and Daddy – he was, is and will always be their first baby.

Happy Birthday, Most Beautiful Dog. You make our family complete.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Scenes From a Restaurant

I went to a local restaurant the other evening and placed a carryout order. I waited for my order at the counter while enjoying a cup of good stiff coffee – and being that they apparently had to run to Idaho to pick up my husband’s potato, I had the time and opportunity to do some extensive people watching. Mainly the restaurant staff.

It was a fairly busy evening, and there was a lot of hustling going on. With some of the staff anyway. And it was interesting to see the dividing lines.

The older waitresses were really moving. Racing in and out from behind the counter, dropping off orders and picking up plates to be taken to their hungry patrons. While they waited for straggling sides or an order of rolls, they’d help each other with getting condiments or arranging serving trays. They really knew what it took to make things run smoothly.

The younger wait staff was a different story. A clump of half a dozen high school girls congregated around the drink station, chatting about girly things. Occasionally one would wander in and stick an order ticket in the kitchen window, and then would go back to the clump and continue chirping. The older waitresses – the ones with kids to feed and bills to pay, continued their duties with synchronized efficiency.

A young waitress shuffled behind the counter with a clear plastic container of filthy water with a floating rag and said rather loudly, “what should I do with this dirty water?” The sight and very thought if the sloshing mud puddle in a pan so close to the food stations kind of creeped me out. Someone discreetly guided her to a sink where she could dispose of the water. One of the older waitresses looked at another and said under her breath in a mocking tone, gesturing with a wadded up paper placemat, “What do I do with this trash? Throw it out, what do you think?” They chuckled. So did I.

A manager burst through the saloon style doors and had a look around at the goings on. I thought for sure that would get things moving. But the young waitresses continued to chatter without the slightest bit of interest nor effort in assimilating. The manager asked the older waitresses how things were going and told the young ones that some tables needed bussed. A couple of them shuffled off listlessly and the rest continued talking. The manager disappeared back into the kitchen area again, apparently not concerned with the on-the-clock loiterfest.

I worked in the restaurant industry for years as first jobs and while I earned money for college. We worked hard, partly because our managers wouldn’t take any screwing around like that. But mostly we worked hard because that’s what you did. The duties sucked, but we took pride in them, and we had a good time despite it all. Above all we subscribed to the adage, "Many hands make light work". We all pulled our weight, we all helped each other out, and in turn made all our jobs easier. Witnessing the operations at my local restaurant was surreal based on my past work experience.

My potato was finally ready. My waitress (an older one) apologized profusely and offered me a complimentary slice of French silk pie for my troubles. The young waitresses continued talking and hanging out.

I went home, scratching my head.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lyric of the Day:

Is there anyone who ever remembers
Changing their mind from the paint on a sign
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something yelled real loud one time

- John Mayer
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I bought a new CD recently. I have been waiting for its release for a long time, and I love nearly everything about it. Except for one thing.

Frankly, I’m pretty bored with anyone in the entertainment industry giving me social and political advice. I feel like giving them a good shake and saying, HEY! I pay you to entertain me. Entertain me and leave the filibustering out. I’m not quite the smartest woman on the planet, but I am indeed no idiot, and certainly not clueless enough to rely on entertainers for any sort of social or societal guidance.

I’m not going to get into dialogue about my stand on the war right now. Those who know me know what it is. I have been on both wings of our country’s political bird of prey, and wisdom gained through observance and study have guided me from utopian pipe dream politics to what I believe to be the “right” view of the world. (Play on words deliberate). My stand on current events is not important in congruence to my thoughts today. But my stand on unity is. The decisions have been made. It is immeasurably important for our country’s citizens, regardless of their personal feelings, to come together and support the actions of our leaders in a unified front. To present oppositions and lack of support shows the chinks in our chain-mail. It shows our enemies where to strike, and that any strike will further weaken us. It shows America as divided and defeatable.

I’m troubled that this artist, whom I have loved and respected for years, has become part of the self-deprecating decay of our country’s strength. Subtle as it is, it troubles me. They are entitled to their opinions, yes. But I disagree with the timing. I don’t think anyone really wants war. But we are at war. The decisions have been made and it’s time to put differences aside and band together. Those we are at war with are ruthless. Why is it so difficult to understand how crucial unity is right now? Must we tear ourselves apart and become weak by our own hands? The entertainment industry especially is doing America a grievous disservice. At times even encouraging the enemy.

Will I stop listening to this artist? No. Will I stop listening to this CD? No. Boycotts aren’t really my style. I can separate such things and simply take this music as what it is – entertainment. Words. Nothing else. I just pray it will not fall upon the ears of those who plan harm to our country and her citizens – our friends, our families - lest they see light shining through the thin spots of our armor.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Probably True!

Back soon with a real post that I really wrote. I promise. Till then - I got this in an email today and thought it was pretty cute. You know this is exactly what's going on up there! ;)

Miss ya, Croc Hunter!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Yes, more nonsense to entertain you until I can get back here and spend more time on a decent post.

Be it known that September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Brush up on yer pirate terminology here and annoy your friends and co-workers. Lest be it down to Davey Jones' locker with ye.

And no, that was not me and my family on Wife Swap last night.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Music Music Music ...

I've been meaning to get back here and chat with you all about the myriad of scintillating thoughts in my head, but it's been a busy week. So in the meanwhile I snagged this music meme from Rebecca. Enjoy, and snag it for yourself if you want!

1) A favorite political track.
Have You Forgotten – Darryl Worley

2) One of those tracks that make you dance on the dance floor no matter what.
Atomic Dog – George Clinton

3) The song you’d use to tell someone you love them.
Beautiful in my Eyes – Joshua Kadisson

4) A song that has made you sit down and analyze it’s lyrics.
Dust in the Wind - Kansas

5) A song that you like, that a two year old would like as well.
Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin (well, my 2 year old likes it anyway!)

6) A song that gives you an energy boost.
New York Groove – Ace Frehley Solo Album

7) A song that you and your grandparents (would probably) like.
My Gramps’s favorite song was Amazing Grace. It always chokes me up whenever I hear it because of that.

8) A song that you really liked when you were 14-16, and still really like now.
Photograph – Def Leppard

9) Two sad songs that would be in the soundtrack of the movie about your life.
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues – Elton John
Troy – Sinead O’Connor

10) A peppy song that would start the opening credits of the movie about your life.
Imperfection – Saving Jane

11) A good song from a genre of music that no one would guess that you liked.
Let Me Touch You for a While – Alison Krauss and Union Station
I love bluegrass! Who’da believed it?

12) A song that you think should have been playing when you were born.
Hmm … Something Everly Brothers. My Mom likes them :)

13) A favorite artist duo collaboration.
Heaven Tonight – Joe Lynn Turner and Yngwie Malmsteen

14) A favorite song that you completely disagree with (politically, morally, commonsenically, religiously etc.)
Dontcha – Pussycat Dolls

15) The song that you like despite the fact your IQ level drops several points every time you listen to it.
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister

16) Your smooth song, for relaxing.
Why Georgia – John Mayer

17) A song you would send to someone you hate or are mad at.
I don’t know who sang it … that bar song that goes “were you born an a$$hole, or did you work at it your whole life?”

18) A favorite track from an outfit considered a “super-group.”
End of the Line – Traveling Willburys

19) A song that makes you reminsce about good times with a family member.
Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo. It’s on the Back to School soundtrack. I saw that movie with my Dad and we laughed our heads off.

20) Your favorite song at this moment in time.
Ghost of a Rose – Blackmore’s Night

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blogarita Festiva

I don’t want to alarm my dear readers, but there’s going to be an extreme concentration of simultaneous hotness and coolness in the general area of western Michigan in about a month. Heaven knows what might happen as a result. I’m sorry to scare anyone – just doing my civic duty in warning you.

I'm being cheeky of course. But there is excitement afoot.

Yes, two of my favoritest blog buddies, Nelly and Chesney and I are descending on my very best friend Naïve-no-More’s house like a plague of cackling locusts. We are planning on doing some scrapbooking, but it’s hard to say what will ultimately transpire. Particularly since we are all so innately ornery and large amounts of margaritas, wine and home brewed beer will be involved. Naïve is already emailing hints as to what she’s cooking up for us to get into … I think I’ll suggest that we TP Martie’s house while we’re at it too. Or maybe sneak in while she's asleep and cellophane her to the bed.

Here's the thing, kids. I'm not exactly a tee-totaler, but I really don't drink much anymore. And when I do, the outward manifestation of my hangover is almost worse than the internal turmoil. So! I'm thinking maybe I should stop in the po-po station when I get into town to have pre-emptive mug shots done while I will still be looking good and unweathered ...



Hopefully we’ll all have enough bail money saved up. In fact I’m going to start checking the sofa cushions right now.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Point of No Return

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lyric of the Day:

Offer up your best defense
This is the end of the innocence.

- Don Henley
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was trying to remember the moment my innocence ended this morning. I don’t mean in the carnal sense, you sickos. I mean that point in time where a person’s mind and reflection shifts from dwelling exclusively on the musings of unjaded youth to those of more serious, grown up matters. A point of harsh no return.

My immediate thought was my first heartbreak. I was 13, he was a couple years older. He’d told me from the start that if his previous girlfriend would take him back, he would go back to her – but that he liked me and would like us to spend time together. I agreed to the arrangement and took it for what it could be. It still hurt when he went back to her, though. I thought my heart would never mend.

But that wasn’t really it. The year before was pretty rough. My brother, who had always been there, went away to college – and though we drove each other nuts I missed him a lot. I got my “little friend”, which is always earth shattering (sorry for TMI, my male readers). Before that a boy in my class had been killed in a fire. And before that my grandfather, my favorite person in the world, passed away. It was the first time I had to process the death of a person I loved on a cognitive level.

But that wasn’t it either. A year before that, John Lennon was murdered. I had thought everyone loved John Lennon. It was very difficult to wrap my head around that. Around that same time, my best friend was from a family which observed a very strict faith. It was a real experience, learning and trying to remember that she could not eat animal products or celebrate any holidays. Pretty heavy for a grade schooler.

The year before that a great pal of mine moved away. It was the first time I had to say goodbye to a daily figure in my life.

Even before that I remember a gruesome news story. My folks were very careful to protect us kids from traumatic topics. My first 5 or 6 years were during the Viet Nam War – I remember many things from those years but have no recollection of war images from the television or discussions. I’m sure my folks kept that stuff at bay while I was around the tv or the radio. I was not allowed to go to R-rated movies until I was officially old enough, and my parents didn’t have cable tv – so my exposure to the evils of current events was limited. But one day there was a story that rocked my city. A woman had murdered her 3 little girls, chopped them up and placed their parts in dumpsters all around town. I don’t know when that was, but I remember the oldest girl was my age. I also remember that while I could sort of read the article, I had trouble with the big words. I knew that killing existed, because it was important enough for God to make a commandment about it. But that was the first time I realized that people actually killed other people and it wasn’t all in Bible stories. It was also the first time the thought ever entered my head that a mommy would ever hurt her children.

I can still see the photograph, a family portrait, as clear as day. They were all wearing yellow. The youngest, still a baby, had platinum curls. They all looked so happy.

It’s a crazy world, isn’t it?

Do you remember the point in time when you first took on awareness of the world’s darker, more painful side? Was it a heart breaking? Was it the death of a president, actor or social figure? A divorce?

Do you even remember living in a mental state of complete innocence?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin 1962-2006

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lyric of the Day:

I'd rather die while I'm living
than live while I'm dead.

- Jimmy Buffett
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died today. Contrary to what you’d think, he was not killed by a crocodile or snake, but was stabbed in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a documentary. Stingrays’ barbs are venomous but cause more discomfort than mortal danger. Deaths caused by ray stings are very rare. But Irwin was not killed by the venom - in a strange twist of improbability, the ray’s barb pierced Irwin through the ribs and subsequently punctured his heart. He was 44 years old and leaves wife Terri and two young children behind.

Since we moved to the country, I have not watched the Crocodile Hunter. Our new cable system does not carry the channel on which his shows air. But I used to love watching him and his manic ways. He was fearless yet respectful. He cared about nothing more than raising awareness for wildlife and coexistence. I can see how he might get on a lot of people’s nerves, but I always got a kick out of him.

I was sorry to hear of Steve Irwin’s untimely death. But you can’t ask for more than to go doing what you love doing. And that he did.

Rest peacefully, Croc Hunter. Thank you for all the fun.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

DISCARD - The Scheherazade Project

This is my first contribution to The Scheherazade Project. Visitors from Project's roll, you are welcome to comment and/or criticize, and have a further look around if you like - though I will warn you it's been a very sparse summer for writing here. My regular friends - I hope you enjoy my new sporadic writing experiments.


An unnatural twist of my body to view the dress from odd angles. A flop of the arms and graceful bend of one knee to test how it hangs in a casual stance. A profile study to see how badly my mother's-belly shows. Not too bad.

I absolutely hate trying on new clothes. Hate. Especially dress clothes. If there's one thing I'm not, it's a dress-up person. I had been trying on dresses designed to fit women shaped like no one I'd ever met all day long and had about had it.

But this one. This one's not bad.

The attire for my reunion was indicated as "casual dressy". What the hell does that mean? I'd spent a perfectly good football Sunday hoping that such a piece of attire would reveal itself to me at the parade of stores I'd visited. On the racks and on the mannequins I saw many things I found tolerable. But in the dressing room, everything looked the same. Horrid.

Except this one. This one's really not bad.

It was appropriate, really. Struggling to find something decent to wear now, for a reunion with people to look back on the glory days of when I struggled to find something decent to wear then. I never really fit in. When clothes became important status symbols overnight, people who were once my friends mocked me and my knockoff jeans and my unbrand sneakers. We were not poor, but my brother was in college and we needed to budget our money, so I was told. It's a bitter cup which serves you the brew that despite your heart, despite your loyalty and bonds and memories with others, you are a bird worth no more than your feathers.

I cried. Every day. But I never let my parents see.

By the time I was earning my own spending money and could buy some nice things for myself, it was too late. I was mocked for wishing I could be cool. Sometimes you just can't win. If people decide they don't like you, nothing will ever make them like you. Eventually I developed a real nasty attitude toward everyone in my life, and upon collectively celebrating at our graduation, I looked upon my fellow classmates and thought to myself, I couldn't be happier that you are all out of my life - you can all kiss my ass.

My best friend always kept tabs on everyone after graduation through the grapevine and would keep me updated, as if I cared. She informed me with glee about the cheerleader that gave birth to her own brother the following winter. She could barely contain herself when she heard about the class president getting a botched nosejob. I could barely make out the news about our class cutting buddy's suicide through her tears.

That last one bothered me. A lot.

Another twist. So as to see the opposite angle. A smooth of the hand over the butt. Definitely a thong kind of dress. A shrug of the shoulders to see if the material bunches up around my boobs. It doesn't. It flatters well. It will be nice to display that I actually did end up with boobs, and didn't even have to pay for them like everyone else. Though I'm sure they wouldn't believe that. It would be impossible for me to come into my own.

Hmm. I wonder who's been beaten up by time. Who might be bald now. Fat. Ugly. Who else had plastic surgery gone bad. (Smirk) This might be fun after all.

I feel good about myself these days. I don't care what anyone thinks of me, except myself. And I think I'm pretty killer. I look young for my age - I still get carded. And I make more money than I know what to do with. I credit that to my frugal upbringing - I just can't spend it all, yet I still live very comfortably. Some might even say extravagantly.

Still, I know how it will be. People will ask you, as if they care, as if they'd ever had an interest in you at all, what you've been doing with yourself. But they won't hear a word you say. And before you even finish your sentence, they'll begin rambling about their own lives. And always something to top your successes.

I know, without a doubt, that it'll be just the same as it was.

You know what? I hated every one of those people when I went to school. And I have no desire to see them now.

I carefully remove the dress and lay it on the dressing chair. I put my jeans and tshirt back on and slide my feet into my sandals. I gently place the dream dress on its matching satin pillowed hanger. I let my eyes glide over the buttery sheen of the material.

I then drop the dress, hanger and all, with a silky plop onto the dressing room floor before walking out.

I'm actually glad I wasted my weekend doing this. They can still all kiss my ass.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I was talking with someone the other day who told me that they can sometimes see auras, which I find fascinating. It brought to mind an experience I had once - I blogged about it about a year ago, and thought I'd share it again. It was a very interesting experience.

Aura Streams
Original Publish Date September 4, 2005

I am curious about a great many things, it's just how I am. When I lived in the city I used to frequent a new age bookstore that offered free seminars on various topics during evening hours. I became a semi-regular attendee, as I tend to find myself often searching for things more interesting than my own small existence.

One of these evenings fell during a time in my life where I'd made a recent snap decision. I was freshly divorced and still reeling from the emotional blows of that debachle when the relatively new man I'd been seeing bought a house and asked me to live with him. I agreed and we'd begun settling in, but I was unsure on whether it was a good idea. I'd decided I loved him and it seemed that he loved me, but I had lost all faith in my judge of character. I felt he was a good man, but was wondering if I would be just as wise to take flight before I got in too deep.

I went to a seminar at the bookstore just to get away and focus on something different, hoping the distraction would help me think more clearly on this situation when my thoughts returned to it.

That night's discussion was upon reading auras. I take such things with a grain of salt, but at the same time it is my nature to not rule anything out, especially when I know little about it. If nothing else it seemed interesting enough to serve the purpose. A woman that had the "gift of seeing auras" led the discussion. She said she'd been able to see auras her whole life. I don't remember her name, but she had a kind face and a way about her that set you at ease.

The discussion was much more detailed than I'd expected, and quite interesting. She explained about different colors and what they each tended to represent. She talked about auras being the manifestation of a person's spiritual energy and emotion, how like with personality differences, some are more strong and easily seen than others, and how some emotions can cause such a shock to your system that it can cause injury to the body ~ Of how sometimes words or non-physical actions that are damaging to your heart and soul can consequently be felt in and throughout the body and this is why many will speak of physical pain while suffering from a heartbreak. She likened it to being beaten up from the inside out. She talked about how some auras can connect, and the connection can be seen even when the people are not in the same room or vicinity, their auras flowing into each other in streams and blending like warm currents.

All the while the woman cast glances at me. She looked at everyone there, but I was sure she was looking at me more than average. I didn't think much of it at the time, until she interrupted herself.

"Excuse me," she said apologetically, looking straight at me, "I don't want to make you uncomfortable or embarrass you, but your aura is just - I'd like to tell you about it if you don't mind."

I was a little surprised, but didn't mind the call out at all. I wasn't sure how much stock I'd put in all of it, but was rather interested in what she'd say, so I agreed.

She proceeded to tell me that she could see that I had been greatly hurt deep inside recently - my chakras were practically bleeding out. I remained unreactive as I could past simple interest, but was captivated by this, as I knew no one there and no one knew what had been happening in my personal life. She went on to say you'll be fine though. Your aura is the most stunning bright blue, the brightest in the room. You are strong, and you're going to be fine. She smiled, and I smiled. And that was that.

She went on to read a few others there and continued her interesting discourse, and at the end invited us to stick around for further, less on-the-spot chatting about the subject. I remained, and waited my turn. When we had the time, I told her that I didn't know much about auras before tonight and that her reading was dead on, I had indeed been hurt very badly and doubted my abilities to recover, but was feeling a little more confident now after her encouraging words. She smiled and said, I'm glad you stayed because there is something else I wanted to tell you. Remember what I said about auras connecting, and some can stream to each other even when the people aren't together? I said yes. She said, there is someone in your life who loves you. Really, really loves you. Their aura is finding you and encirling you, I could see it the moment I saw you. It's coming from that direction.

She pointed in the direction of our house.

Ten (now eleven) years later, while things haven't always been a dream, never have I been so loved.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poor Pluto

Lyric of the Day is being bypassed this post … I don’t want to bore anyone, but I’m a science geek, and I have a bee in my bonnet about something.

So I guess we only have 8 planets in our solar system now. Poor Pluto has been stripped of her planetary status. Mercury through Neptune are still considered “worlds” but poor Pluto is now declared a “dwarf planet”, which under the new definitions are not planets at all, but merely round shaped objects that just kind of hang around the vicinity of our sun.

Honestly, is this really necessary?

Pluto was named a planet in 1930. Nearly everyone who is alive today has been engrained with the Big Nine. Mercury Venus Earth Mars Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto. Many of us even learned a cute little phrase to remember them. “My Very Eccentric Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” – or something similar to that, depending on where you grew up. It worked well. Everyone was fine with it. Is it really necessary to derail everyone’s ingrained knowledge of our planetary system?

Okay, so Pluto's smaller than they once thought. So what? Plus I did hear that there was discussion of Pluto and Charon both being deemed planets due to the fact that it’s since been discovered they actually orbit around each other as they orbit the sun. But then it seems they decided to just kick them both out. If the size thing may have been looked over in and of itself, I guess maybe the dual-orbit thing was poor Pluto's nail in the coffin.

Listen, I can dig there being new guidelines. Space studies have come a long way since 1930. But couldn't we grandfather Pluto in? We all already know Pluto. We all love Pluto. Isn't this kind of like saying, "Well, Hawaii, we've rethought things and have decided that since you are just a bunch of bits of land in the middle of the ocean and the rest of us are attached to something, you aren't really a state. We're going to demote you to a territory."

Okay, maybe not the same. But you get my point.

Alas, hence - thanks to the Suberbrains’ meeting in Prague, now a bajillion textbooks need rewritten and replaced - databases overhauled - long-embedded lessons deprogrammed – Trivial Pursuit games updated – It’s astronomical anarchy, I tell you.

I’d like to know who’s going to pay for all this. I bet it’s not this guy! Caltech’s Mike Brown, one of these poofy-pantalooned geniuses invited to participate in this decision, said about it all, "The public is not going to be excited by the fact that Pluto has been kicked out, but it's the right thing to do."

The 'right thing to do'? What the crap?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Whole Lotta Nuthin'

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lyric of the Day:

Nuthin' from nuthin' leaves nuthin'.
- Billy Preston
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That pretty much sums it up. It’s not that my life is nothing (er, nuthin’), but I just don’t seem to have anything to write that is of the creative line lately. I’ve been trying – doing lots of thinking and meditating on conjuring up something creative – but it’s just not there right now and hasn’t been for the majority of the summer, if you haven’t noticed. So I’ve decided to give up for the time being and just do a little rambling, and maybe it will lead back to other things. I’ll call it a return to roots. After all, aimless rambling is how Clew’s Blues started in the first place … Plus it will give us a time to catch up, right? ;)

First and foremost I wanted to announce that I’m going to kick Naïve’s butt, and everyone else’s too, who told me to watch that stupid Napoleon Dynamite movie. So y’all watch out. ;). BTW, if anyone’s interested, I have a nearly brand new copy of Napoleon Dynamite for sale. Cheap.

I picked up some new pj’s for Incrediboy this weekend. Hub held them up and said these are so big! I said well that’s the next size up from what he has now, and those are getting too small. That’s when it hit me that my little baby boy, who weighed less than 8 pounds at the start of his life on the outside, is now half my height. And I’m not a short woman. And as happy as that makes me, it also breaks my heart.

We’ve discovered a new way to harass Most Beautiful Dog. I don’t remember why we were even doing this, but if we go “beep beep beep”, like a truck backing up, it makes MBDog nuts and he will either go on a mad tear (much like the Globe of Death evening), or he will attack you with boxing paws and big slobbery smooches, powerful enough to knock you into the next room if you’re standing. Such a strange dog. The same thing happened with a certain song from a diamond commercial when he was a pup – but that trigger has passed. Perhaps this one will too, but for now it’s pretty amusing - until something inadvertently gets torn up. Then I’ll be mad.

I had a strange dream the other night. I ran into some people I haven’t seen in many years but used to spend a lot of time with. I was happy to see them but they didn’t remember me. I said how can you not remember me? We were like family! And one of them said, well you’re so ugly I don’t see how I could forget you! Then they all laughed at me. It was just a dream, but even after I’d been awake for a while, it still hurt.

Here’s the latest burr up my butt. Everyone knows I live in the country. The road we live on was no doubt once dirt, but has just been topcoat sprayed and scattered with a small amount of fine gravel once a year since God knows when. After about a week, the loose pieces of the tiny gravel fuse with the topcoat and the road is smooth and renewed again. It’s a darn good system, too, as my road is in fine shape, and despite a decent amount of heavy truck and farm equipment traffic is at least twice as smooth a ride as anything in the city. There’s NOTHING wrong with my road. But we’ve heard through the township grapevine that there are plans to completely tear the road out and repave it with a new asphalt road. WHY? Why can I not even move to the middle of cornfield central and still not escape road construction? (Ripping hair out by the roots) ARGH!

Well, that’s about it. Oh yeah, I’m kind of planning a trip but I don’t want to talk about it yet because the details aren’t finalized. But I’m excited about it. I’ll be seeing someone I miss a real lot. So much that I probably won’t even kick her butt even though she deserves it. Refer to earlier in the post ;). Stupid Napoleon Dynamite.

Have a great week, everyone.