Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Pox on Zhu Zhus!

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months, you know that this endearing little critter is a Zhu Zhu Pet. Unarguably the hottest toy of the 2009 Christmas season. They come in several colors (so you can collect them all). They chirp, squeak, purr, and run around little mazes (sold separately) or just on the floor. They are hamsters without the mess. People were losing their minds trying to score one of these things, and opportunists were hawking them online for $80, $90 or more.

Incrediboy had seen the commercials and knew what they were, but had not especially asked for one. I considered myself fortunate.

I had to work a few hours on Christmas Eve, and while I was in the office my boss called me, telling me the store in which she was had announced they had a limited supply of Zhu Zhus available in the automotive department (of all places) and did I want her to pick one up for Incrediboy. I told her "Sure" - I mean, after all - if you CAN get one, why NOT get one? She brought back the little darling for me, and at the actual suggested retail price, God love her.

Pipsqueak (this particular Zhu Zhu) was waiting for Incrediboy with his stocking on Christmas morning. He was indeed happy to get one, despite his not requesting one. We took it out of the box for our first round of Zhu Zhu fun.

The damn thing doesn't work.

It chortles and coos and makes all the cute noises. But it doesn't move. It doesn't even make an attempt to move.

The piece of crap.

Now Incrediboy is sad and perplexed that Santa would give him a broken toy. When had I not fallen for the hype he would have been perfectly happy without a Zhu Zhu at all.

I'll never fall for marketing pressure again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buckeye Mishap

Sometimes, it seems like the eating gods are against you. Other times, things just work out.

My friend and coworker gave me a nice batch of buckeyes that his wife made for Christmas. For those who are unfamiliar, buckeyes are a somewhat regional treat, made of a peanut butter and confectioner's sugar mixture rolled into balls and about 3/4 submerged in chocolate coating. They are FABULOUS. Easily my favorite treat ever. I could eat about a thousand of them, which is the problem.

I took them home and placed the bag on the kitchen counter. Later on I got that certain sense possessed by mothers that something mischievous was going on.

To my chagrin, Most Beautiful Dog had snagged the bag of treats from the counter, had torn it open and helped himself. He only actually ate a few before I busted him, but left a toothmark or two in each remaining one. This may not bother some dog moms - and believe me, I love buckeyes so much I almost considered looking over them. But knowing his penchant for butt-licking I decided otherwise.

That's a damn shame, having to throw those luscious jewels away. But I'm sure MBDog had my best interests in mind and was merely trying to help me stick to my healthy eating plan.


Merry Christmas, my friends!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Resolution Making, a little early

My husband's uncle passed away last week. He was a Viet Nam Vet, lived life a little dangerously, smoked like a forest fire and wore out young. He was handsome and funny. Family loved him, women loved him, people in general loved him.

We went to his memorial service on Saturday. He was cremated per his wishes, so everyone brought pictures to share and laid them out on large tables. My husband's family is large and full of characters ... the mood was somber, but there were a lot of stories shared and laughter enjoyed with the memories of this ornery youngest uncle. In my opinion, this is a much more beneficial way to remember someone's life than to hover around a box containing the dead body of someone you loved.

The whole experience got me thinking about how short our time here is. It's a cliche, but already I'm a year into my 5th decade of life and much of it passed in the snap of a finger.

I've struggled with varying degrees of depression for much of my life, due to many reasons. Large chunks of my life have been stolen by it. I hate that. I've also had a large portion of being hurt by people I care deeply about. This has conditioned me to be very cautious about not only exposing my inner feelings to someone but in many cases allowing a natural closeness to develop at all.

In 2010 I am resolving to take both of these issues by the horns and turn them around. Each of us is living on borrowed time, and there are no do-overs. It is time for me to step out of the darkness that always seems to bog me down, shake off the heavy burdens laid on me by the mean spirited actions of others and openly embrace the people I love.

It's up to me to make an impact.

Friday, December 11, 2009


My brother was into building models when we were kids. He mostly built cars - very intricate, beautiful classic car replicas. To this day when I smell Testors Paint or epoxy of any kind, I am transported back to those days when I'd stand next to him and ask him insufferable questions about what he was doing while he built things.

One time he built a model ship. It was a fairly large, sailing "pirate" style ship, and the sails and lines were all done in string. It was super intricate and he worked on it forever. When he was done, my parents relocated the school photos from the top of the television so it could be displayed there in our living room.

I bet that thing wasn't even there a day when our border collie got jazzed up about something and careened into the TV stand. The ship teetered and fell to the ground, smashing into a giant, irreparable tangle.

My brother about had a grand mal seizure.

Memories are a funny thing ... I can say with surety that this happened over 30 years ago and was rarely if ever spoken of afterwards for obvious reasons. And for some reason this came to mind this afternoon.

I emailed my brother to see if he remembered this, and if he ever recovered emotionally from the trauma of it all.

He has yet to respond.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I love this letter.

I've received this by email and think it's worthy of a blog post. Thank you, Harold.

This venerable and much honored WW II vet is well known in Hawaii for his seventy-plus years of service to patriotic organizations and causes all over the country. A humble man WITHOUT a political bone in his body, he has NEVER spoken out before about a government official, until now. He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president.

Dear President Obama,

My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor , allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.. One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish. I can't figure out what country you are the president of.

You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like: "We're no longer a Christian nation", " America is arrogant" - (Your wife even announced to the world, "America is mean-spirited." Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.) I'd say shame on the both of you, but I don't think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said," America hasn't lived up to her ideals." Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom. I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man. Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue . You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more.

You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts , who was putting up a fight? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president. You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now. And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.

Harold B. Estes

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mysterious Letters

I ran across a story on Yahoo about this ambitious social project being undertaken by two artists from England. My first reaction, perhaps oddly, was jealousy. In the way that I wish I had as much time on my hands as these people.

I mean really.

But then I decided it was kind of neat.

Read their sidebar for details.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Still hanging on ...

I swear on my funderoos that I have every intention in the world of breathing new life into this blog. Honestly, has the hour count in the average day been reduced? I just can't seem to get to everything I want to.

Not that anyone still checks in here, but if you do - thanks, man. It's good to know that not everyone has given up on me. :)

I'm getting old and fat. The old part doesn't bother me as much as the fat part. I mean, I'm not shopping at Abdul the Tentmaker or anything, but it's getting pretty tight in the waistlines of my wardrobe. I'm trying to figure out how I can forcibly implement a workout schedule into my life. I suppose I could forego sleep.

Christmas is stressing me out. I'm just not in the mood this year. I've purchased about 8 moderately to severely priced gifts and a handful of stocking-stuffer type things for Incrediboy so far and it doesn't seem like enough. But I'm flat out of good ideas for other things. Hopefully I'll be graced with some wondrous epiphany.

It's only the second, but I'm pleased to announce that I have yet to hear Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is Coming to Town this year. Veteran readers of my blog will remember that this is my most hated Christmas song ever. I try to get through every season without having to suffer through this annoying, irritating, off-key, not fun for anyone but Bruce abomination of a Christmas song. I got to about the 23rd one season before some store's muzak punked me. Maybe this is my year, though. I have to keep believing that.

Happy holidays ~

**Post Script** ... wouldn't you know I got SNUCK by a radio station in the car on the way home today with that stupid song? CURSES!!! Me and my big mouth! ...