Friday, July 31, 2009
Johnny's real name isn't spelled like that--I just made a little adjustment so that everyone knows how to say his name correctly. On our very first meeting, I suggested immediately that he make some changes to the spelling of his family name, but somehow I don't think he liked the idea. Geesh. I was just trying to help the dude. First, Joe does not appreciate being put on the Jarvis Family Tree, and now Johnny does not want me to correct the spelling of his name. Sigh. I'm all about helping here, doesn't anyone get that?
I'm gonna miss our cube-mate as Johnny has a wicked sense of humor, as well as some mean computer skills. Okay, so he puts everything on Excel--including his grocery list, I'll bet--but I think smart people do that kind of stuff. But I do have my little proud moment of having introduced him to the Art of Merging, something I'm sure he'll use for the rest of his life.
His exiting leaves the back office just a little emptier, although not a bit less sneezier--the dusty air never got to him. Esra moved into her fancy new 1000 square ft office last week, so this leaves Jim, me, and Irene Not-Promotable (that's her new cool HR name) as the surviving cube-mates. Sigh. It's gonna be quieter now, and a whole lot less fun, Johnny was quite the hoot.
Irene Not-Promotable did a special farewell performance of her middle-school choir number in his honor yesterday. Just the sight of her swinging from one side to the other, fake-singing "Living in America" was too much for either of us to bear. She brought tears to our eyes--from laughter. Secretly, I think Johnny Shu's gonna miss us too.
Good luck, Johnny Shu, Consistent Performer. We'll miss you snagging the good sandwiches at lunch and your computer skills. It won't be the same without that happy face every morning and that crazy positive attitude you always have. PC Helps won't know what to do without you calling them everyday and your push-pins will look sadly unused. I'm gonna miss the recent cursing from the back cube, as that leaves only me who swears at the computer. I think the hamster in my hard drive is even going to be sad--nobody is gonna challenge it like you did.
Miss ya, pally. Be sure to send some emails from your travels.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
You know the Maid of the Mist boat ride that you take when you go to Niagra Falls? It's like that, but this is a little bitty rubber raft with some young dude with arms like tree trunks rowing the hell out of that raft to get you damn near under the falls. I call it the "Hillbilly Maid of the Mist"--but only because I could never remember the name they gave it. Whatever. Dude was rowing a raft under a waterfall--doesn't sound like something city folk would be doing, that's all I'm saying.
We all did this last year and it was crazy fun. It is both very scary and a blast. And yes, you get wet--a lot. Col and I sat this one out this year--Col was barfing back at our room and I was taking pictures for the rafters. I'm always about everyone else, can you tell?
So, they start at a calm spot down the river a bit and everyone hops in the raft. They go over safety rules like "no jumping out of the raft" and "don't drown", and then you are off. Dude starts rowing and rowing and rowing. It is freaking impressive what this 18 year old kid is doing for a summer job--he's got guns, I tell you. Freaking huge guns.
Yes, you really do get very close to the falls! The power behind the waterfall is amazing and scary at the same time. It is absolutely unbelievable how this kid could fight the force of the water to get you in so darned close. And he's not doing it for much money either--I think it was $12 a head to do this.
Did I mention you get wet--a LOT.
You can see the happy rafters from the other side of the falls, where I was standing. Patrick is in the back of the raft--his cast wrapped up in like 40 lbs of plastic to keep it from getting wet. As for the rest of the group--they were soaked.
And this is why I love going to this place for vacation each year--there is always something new and different for us to do. We do things in KY that we wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do, they don't rip you off, and the people are just so darned nice. This kid couldn't have been better--getting in this side of the falls and then rowing that raft clear to the other side, all the while making sure that Patrick and his cast stayed clear of the downpour of the falls. You can see it wasn't very easy sailing.
Did I mention he had some muscular arms?
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Every 2 years, our party coincides with the reunion of the Jarvis Family. They sort of take over the lodge--spreading out scrapbooks, genealogy records of their ancestors, posters and posters of family photos, and a giant 20' x 4' long family tree that some dude spent waayyy too much time on. They all mingle and talk to each other, glaring at those of us who dare enter the big room at the lodge, like they own the freakin' place.
That doesn't stop us though, we all go doopty-doing in there, walking over to admire all their relatives' photos, dead and alive. We even went over to look at Head Honcho Jarvis' giant family tree. We're polite and all, but Fain did get a little "Do I know you?" from Granny Jarvis, which sort of irked Fain 'cuz she was being nice saying "Well, hello there!" like she does. It sort of went downhill from there.
Joe and I went over to sneak a peek at the giant family tree papers, we were curious to see if they had made any corrections since the last reunion. I kinda added a branch once when nobody was looking, so I wanted to see if it was still there or not.
Two years ago, when we were checking out at 6:00 a.m., I kinda walked past the family tree that was taped to the wall. Somehow, I thought it would be funny to pencil in Joe's name and birthday in the midst of all the other corrections that the real Jarvis family members had made over the weekend. Surely, nobody would really question another name, would they?? So, there I was, writing on the Jarvis Family Tree--adding Joe's name, of course. It's more fun than adding my own. He didn't think it was quite as funny as I did. He's a buzzkill, that Joe.
So, there we stood this past weekend, searching the tree to see if Joe's name and birth date somehow made it to the ink stage on the Jarvis Family Tree. Subtle, we were--looking and looking, trying not to be too obvious when Head Honcho Jarvis comes over.
"Oh, are you looking for someone you know??!" he's all arrogant and cocky about his stupid tree.
"Heh, heh. Yeah. Thought I might find my name on there." Joe's half kidding with the dude. Little did H.H. (Head Honcho) know that we really were looking for Joe's name.
Now he's got his chest all puffed out and he's starting to point out names here and there. I'm not even lying when I tell you that he had pharaohs, kings and queens, and freaking Charlemagne on there. When he pointed to Adam and Eve and (NOT kidding) GOD on the list, we lost it. We could barely contain the giggles standing there.
Really, dude??! Pharaohs?? Here we were, in the middle of Hee Haw County and the dude is claiming that he is directly related to Charlemagne. He was making some joke about being a "Royal Pain in the Ass" when Angie and I just rolled our eyes at each other. We couldn't get away from Head Honcho Jarvis and his ridiculous Family Tree fast enough. I mean, I know all about inbreeding in the south, but to claim that you are direct descendants of Adam and Eve??! And he could trace that through the hieroglyphics of a Pharaohs tomb?? Yeah, right.
So, we scooted out of there and totally lost it on the way out. I'm all smarty-aleck then and asking Joe "So, Jesus' last name was 'Jarvis'?!". According to H.H. it was.
I'm not buying it. But we sure had a good laugh at his expense.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Random Stuff that happened on my summer vacation:
- Day One--I'm all proud of myself for ditching the family on some stupid hike and I stay back at our room and get ready to go to the pool--all by myself. I squeeze into the new suit, pack my bag with sunglasses, wacky sun hat, and bottled water, then pop my cute pool cover-up on over my suit. That's when I notice a funky smell. And it is coming from the left side of me. I'm all sniffy and I whip the thing off when I recognize the smell. I hold it up in the light and see the problem--yep, Grace Ann had peed all over a few things that were in my suitcase. What a lovely way to start vacation. Unlike those cute commercials where the dad who is traveling opens his suitcase to find Junior's stuffed animal stashed in there--Me? I find cat piss all over my clothes. Yeah. Kinda not so cute as the commercial. She is very lucky I was like 500 miles away.
- Later, Day One--I'm at the laundromat at the Campground. Nice ammenities. The dude selling supplies at the camp store laughs at my dilemma with the cat pee and goes on to explain that he's got an oppossum who keeps crawling into his house to pee and poop on his stuff--"ain't nothin' in comparison to cat pee" he says to me. Yeah, we're in Kentucky. I forgot.
- Day Two--Major warnings to clean up your garbage and not leave out any food because Black Bears have been seen lately in the area. The sign shows a big 'ol bear walking with a couple of pizza slices in his mouth, which freaks the kids out. I tell them"It's okay--he's just looking for pizza. " Which makes them feel better for most of the week. Kids are so guillible--gotta love that.
- New pally Courtney and her family were there for the first time, and their kid, Brenner, is 2 and just plain miserable. He kept biting his tongue, refusing to eat, out of sorts, and pretty much just crying for the first 3 days. It was really annoying--I hate that kid. At one point, I felt really bad for Courtney and offered to hold the little guy, and he turned ME down. Geesh. I think he must have heard that I'm not big on that baby holding stuff. And here I was being all nice and everything. He felt better later in the week and was actually pretty cute then. Thank god.
- Fain kept stealing all the cute boys all week. I don't know what is with her, but she seems to think just because she's been there all those years, she gets dibs on dancing and motorcycle riding with Jerry and Allen. And every time Jerry and I were sitting on the couch together, she'd be coming over to sit and annoy us. Jerry found this amusing--I did not.
- I don't remember what day it was, but it was early in the week, when the lifeguard was going to blow his whistle at me for something. I was convinced it was because I was all cute in my suit and sun-hat, but everybody else said it was because I was going to fake sit on the handicap chair in the pool. Whatever. He was digging me and NOT Cheri, and he told me I was "cute". Cheri tried to horn in on that love affair by flirting with him too, but he was only playing along with her. He actually said "Goodbye, cute lady" to me as we were leaving the pool one day--and my whole family witnessed it. Even Joe, who repeated it to Cheri to make her jealous. She had some stupid made-up story that he said something like that to her too, but I know she was lying. I hate her.
- Colin got all pukey on the last day of vacation and couldn't go on the Rainbow Mist ride. Poor guy--he'd been waiting all week to do that. So, we bought him a t-shirt in the gift shop while he was hacking out back on their porch and we left him for dead back at our room while we went rafting. Mrs. Woods saved the day by giving him some Pepto Bismol tablets and he was back from the dead by dinner time. Hee Haw!
- We nearly lost Big Rich falling over in his inner tube on our tubing trip down the river and Cheri had to save him. Of course, the rapids dumped Fain as well, but there wasn't nearly the drama because Cheri was too busy saving her dad to save Fain too. I think Tom jumped in, righted Fain, and sent her on her way. Not as exciting a story as Cheri's. She has a knack for embellishing.
- Lemon Drop Martini night is still the best night for stories. There is just something about those darned drinks that make us all stay up waaaayyyy too late and laugh just a little too hard. There was only one person we had to drive home this year and no children were lost in the process--I think it is a new record.
- Patrick tried ruining our vacation by breaking some fingers and having to wear a big giant cast before we even got down there. Sheesh. We didn't let that stop him or us--we wrapped him in plastic (well, his hand) and sent him down the river in an inner tube, dragged him along in the Rainbow Mist rafting trip, and forced him into the pool to play ball with all of us. We don't let anyone or anything stop us from fun. Good try, Patrick.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
We escaped to Kentucky last week. I turned off the computer, posted ahead on the blog, and completely forgot about dropping and commenting for awhile. Okay, so I cheated and hiked up to the lodge, where the only Wi-Fi was available, and checked in periodically. But I did not log any amount of real time on it, I swear. There were other things calling--more important things, like hikes that I did not go on, pool time, inner tube rides on an honest-to-goodness Lazy River that was NOT in a water park, square dancing, and hanging out with my Cumberland Falls family.
There were nightly cocktails (and daily ones too), horseback rides, bonfires with smores, and laughs until my belly ached. We ate Dixie burgers and pulled cremes. We drank lemon drop martini's until we had to drive Courtney home and spent the week yelling "Where's Jack?". It was an exhausting, but a great week.
I have absolutely no blood relation to my Cumberland Falls Family--they are just a group of people who happened to vacation at the same place a very long time ago. Yes, there are some families that congregate there, but the point is that the whole group sort of just clicked and continued on coming the same week for over 30 years. It is a magical place where your salary and your job description don't mean a thing--you only gain respect for how much fun you can be. Well, and in some people's case this week (Pete), it's how much bourbon you can safely taste without throwing-up or dying.
There are no words for our CF family--it just is. It is goodness and love. It is unconditional acceptance and fun. It is being silly and sharing a laugh. It is forgetting the problems of daily life and lying in the sun discussing how tan you got today. It is fighting over who the life guard thinks is the cutest, even though he is 20 years younger than we are. It is photographing 54 of the gang in Fain's stupid cat t-shirt without her knowing. Is is laughing until you can't stand it anymore. And it is crying with everyone as you leave.
So, I'm back posting. Back with some fresh material for the blog thanks to the gang this week and I'm smiling with my heart full. I am rejuvenated and have a fresh look for the busy week ahead. Okay, so I'm gonna lose it tomorrow when the kids have to start band camp and I have to tackle 5000 loads of laundry--but I'm feeling that good-kinda-tired tonight.
I missed you all, but I miss all of them even more tonight. I just know there is a blue moon over Kentucky right now and I'm missing it. Somehow, I think we all are.
Friday, July 24, 2009
"Happiness is a state of mind. With physical comforts....if your mind is still in a state of confusion and agitation, it is not happiness. Happiness means calmness of mind."
We were in Millennium Park a few years ago, where the Dalai Lama was speaking over in the amphitheater. Of course, by the time we got there, you couldn't get near the place. So, we settled in over by the fountains and just watched the kids splash around, which was nice. Not as nice as hearing the Dalai Lama, but it was nice.
As we sat for a bit, we spotted this little guy hopping about enjoying the water. We all looked at each other when we realized he looked like a mini Dalai Lama. And it made us crack up. Apparently we weren't the only ones--look at the chickies in the back taking his photo too.
Somehow I think the Dalai Lama would have enjoyed his mini-me too.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Being that we got Hobbes in October, I'm thinking homeboy's birthday is somewhere in August. So, although he is the size of a cow, my little bud is just about a year old. Sheesh. Where does the time go?? It seems like yesterday we had lost our Henry, and Hobbes came into our lives to heal our broken hearts. Sigh.
Unlike the kids, I don't have milestones to mark for our furred family members. There are no graduations or concerts. There are no awards or certificates to file in a binder. The refrigerator doesn't boast of his achievements and hand-drawn pictures. No--Hobbes and Grace just are. Years pass and we don't notice how quickly or how they grow and change. They are the fixtures of love and gentleness in our home--and there is really no big recognition of that in their lifetime.
Okay, so the blog is swamped with my goofs, but I try not to make this a pet blog--just a place to stop and think about the wackiness that is our lives. Hobbes and Grace (well, and the rest of the gang) exude wackiness, so naturally they get included here. If those darned frogs hadn't hopped away, they'd be photographed and posted regularly too. Hmmmm....I wonder if that was part of their evil plan?
So, there won't be party hats or balloons for Hobbes' first birthday. His actual day will come and go without any of us knowing what day he was actually born. He won't get cards or presents and I won't spend the day reminiscing how he came to be or when we got him. He will lie on his kitty condo, daydreaming and chattering at the birdies. Grace may stop in to hiss at him or perhaps give him a whack on his head. You know--a typical, non-eventful day in the life of Hobbes.
And when we all come home from a crazy day at school or work, he'll be there, like always--waiting to love and be loved. It is a celebration of sorts, isn't it? A celebration of "We're glad you're here" every single day.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Grace Anne insists that Spring, Summer, and Fall is all about eating grass like a freaking cow and then urping it back up again. The first thing she does when I open the door each morning is head straight for the grasses--like the big bowl of expensive cat food just isn't enough nutrition. Sheesh. She makes a beeline for whatever little tuft of green loveliness is sticking up in the garden, like it was purposely put there for her consumption.
And I have no problem with her eating it. It's the urping it up in the house that I can't stand. I hear that little urp, urp, urp.....and then I see her backing up like a dump truck and I know what is coming. Splat. Splat. And it is never in a good place.
Why is it that cats have to barf on the one rug in your whole house of wood floors?? Or next to your bed in the middle of the night so that you lie there wondering if you are gonna step on it when you wake up. Or on the bed. And why do they back up when they do it? What is with that??
That's the worst though--on the bed. I can be dead to the world sleeping, hear the tiniest "I'm-gonna-barf" from Grace, and my foot automatically catapults that animal like no Nasa rocket has ever come close to emulating. There is just that thought of barf on my comforter that freaks me out. And do we really have to do this in the middle of the night?
So all the cat experts say that grass is good for their digestion, but why do they have to do it all the time? Isn't there like Pepto Bismol for cats or anything. Geesh. How about oatmeal or shredded wheat--that helps my digestion. And is it really normal for her to barf on my stuff? Is that a special bonus saved just for me?
Wait for Winter, you say. Oh no. You know what's worse than grass season?? Hairball season. Sigh.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Bernice is our pigeon friend who has been frequenting our bird feeder for some time now. She's really not a problem as she is very timid and waits very patiently for the little birds to clear out before she flies her Hindenburgesque bod in for a little snack. She sits quietly atop the utility pole waiting and watching to see when the coast is clear--she is very unlike her brazen cousins in the city who pretty much walk up to you and demand a snack.
I like Bernice and so did Henry, our cat who passed last fall. Hen would lie atop his kitty perch chattering away at Bernice--I think he secretly wanted a Bernice sandwich like we all do with the leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving. Hold the feathers. It was sad when Henry died and I would spot Bernice at the feeder--it just wasn't as funny anymore to see her there without Hen talking to her--it just made me cry. But she reminds me of Henry, so I'm over the sadness now.
But, Bernice still comes and sometimes she brings her pally, Bernardo. Bernardo is darker than Bernice--and yes, pigeons are as unique as humans, each with their own coloring and personality. Bernardo is even more shy than Bernice, which is weird--but that's okay--I wasn't encouraging pigeons to feed in our yard for the size poops they leave. Bernice and Bernardo are sort of a permanent fixture around here now--part of the wackiness that is our life. They are sort of cute sitting together on the utility pole--watching our comings and goings.
The problem comes in the other morning-- I go out to feed the birds, hang the clothes on the line, feed the fish, and say "good morning" to the kitties--and there on the line is like a dozen Bernices. Crud. And they didn't even budge at the sight of me. Uh oh.
Like the children's book "If you give a mouse a cookie...." this whole bird feeding thing has escalated. Houston, we have a problem. What started out as one cute little pigeon friend, we now have a dozen pigeon pallies on the line overhead. And that isn't as cute. And like a college party, Bernice apparently told one too many pallies that the food was good over in Weirdville, and now we are swamped with pigeon strangers. And lots of them. It's like a gang of rogue birds have marked this territory as theirs. Ugh.
Now she could have had all the goodies for herself. She could have been the one special bird around here and I wouldn't have to shoo her. Nope--she blew it. Now I'm all arm-wavy and telling Hobbes to go outside and scare the birdies away. Just the mere sight of 47 pounds of stripey goodness scatters those bad boys away in an instant. Why don't I have that power?? At least something works--so I'm grateful for that.
We've spent the past few days scattering the beasts in a flurry of feathers and pigeon coos, and I feel guilty every single time. But I don't want a billion pigeons pooping on my house and yard--just one was nice. She was quirky and fun--but multiply that by a hundred and it's not so fun anymore. The neighbors are gonna start thinking I'm racing them or something.
I looked out this morning and the coast was clear. I'm hoping the thugs learned that they aren't really welcome here anymore. And I hope that darned Bernice keeps her big yapper shut as to where she's getting the goods.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
This whole parent thing is a wild ride and nobody tells you exactly what you are in for when you get that first “When are you gonna have kids” question. Why is this like the biggest secret—the fact that nobody knows what the hell you are doing when you become a parent—or how you learn as you go along. Or maybe you don’t learn—you just fly by the seat of your pants.
After years of being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve progressed to becoming a helping-your-kids-get-out-of-the-home Mom. And I tell you, in comparison to today’s trials, those first 17 years were the easy ones. Changing diapers, midnight feedings, getting your 2 year old to sleep in her own bed, and dealing with tantrums in a crowded grocery store is nothing compared to this navigating colleges crap.
You have never felt like throwing up more than sitting in the financial aid information presentation at the college of your liking. I’m suggesting that they tape air-sickness bags to the back of every seat just in case the pit in your stomach decides to move up towards your throat. There is no mention of this part in those insipid baby-raising books—and I don’t care who you are—you can never save enough money to feel like you are home free in the signing that college application.
And there is so much work before you even get to the campus visits: you gotta encourage/threaten your teen to decide on some course of study, figure out big or small school, public or private, in state or out, university or community college. It’s a freaking maze of questions and answers that all depend on your child/young adult and whether or not they even know the answers. And don’t ask them—it just leads to deep sighs, eye rolling, and disgusted under-their-breath words for you and Dad.
It’s a no-win situation getting them to take the ACT/SAT more than once or twice, researching colleges online and actually getting them to make some sort of move towards their college years. Okay, so yes, there are those over-achievers who make the rest of us feel like losers—those kids who know exactly what they want to do, where they want to go, and how many freaking scholarships they have to pay for every minute of their education. But, my kid isn’t one of them. Nope. He has no freaking idea on any of this. And it is making my life hell.
So, we visited our first college this weekend. It was a convenient stop on the way of picking up Em at band camp at another college in another part of the state—so we made a weekend out of it. I will reiterate my thoughts of last weekend and how freakingly flat and boring our lovely State of Illinois is. But we survived and I napped…..a lot.
It was a lovely day of happy college kids and personnel all greeting us and smiling at us to show how happy and nice this college is. It was tree-lined and lovely. Its dorms were functional and…..well….dorm-a-rific. The union was updated and loaded with hip junk food places and smoothie shops. The campus seemed safe and easily navigated on foot. It was so…..so…..collegey. And it brought me back to my days of visiting campuses all those years ago.
I will have to say, that as much fun we had, it was difficult to be the parent on such a visit. We treaded carefully, chose our words even more so, and were so freaking positive you would have sworn we were aliens in our typically cynical bods. We pointed out the plus side of everything, making sure that our words wouldn’t somehow discourage Col from his choice—if it is even his choice. Who the hell knows through that grumpy you-are-embarrassing-me smirk he wears on his face daily.
We survived. We collected more paperwork than a government office, and added that school to the list of possibilities. And then we will go to a few more schools to repeat the process. You know—just to get thoroughly confused on where to go.
So, when you are sitting there awaiting the birth of your child, cleaning up barf for the third time in an hour, or trying to figure out how to get your 3 year old not to cuss in pre-school—just know it gets worse.
And no, I still haven’t figured out how the hell we are going to pay for it either.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Mornings at Blackwater by Mary Oliver
"For years, every morning, I drank
from the Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.
And always, is assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.
What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
Happy Weekend, pallies.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
- What is the deal with people who load their car with stuffed animals? I rode for miles behind some wack-job who could hardly see out her rear view mirror for the mound of stuffed animals in her back window. Please someone explain to me why certain folks old enough to drive must drive with all of their favorite toys? That is just plain weird.
- Nobody told me how much fun it is to have Visio installed on your work computer. Okay, so I was supposed to be learning how to make Org charts--I was cracking up designing a really cool new office for Esra. Bummer I was limited with only office furniture to install, but Johnny The Intern and I were laughing like two little girls putting in purple sofas and orange filing cabinets. Somehow, nobody else thought it was half as funny as we did--and we nearly wet our pants cracking up over the tall lamp that actually resembled a banjo. I told Esra that every office needed a banjo for a little pickin'-and-a-grinnin'. She didn't see the humor. Sheesh. I put it on her purple sofa just in case.
- Uh, for all of you doubters--Hobbes comes in now with only a little coaxing and a really great orange-ball-on-a-stick toy. Sucka!
- I've been having a wee bit of a problem with my throat constricting lately and the doctor thinks it's either reflux or stress. No way to really tell until I go to a ENT, which I'm not up for right now--it's just not in the schedule. Being that I burst into tears when she asked if I was stressed out lately, I'm going with the "stress" diagnosis for now. So, I took her up on the offer of some happy pills and a strict order to chill for the next two weeks. Okay, sounds good.
- One of my tadpoles is this close to sprouting arms. He's got some honkin' legs and paddles about by those bad boys instead of his tadpole tail--a sure sign arms are looming. Can't wait. Now I will have TWO frogs again. Gosh, I hope one is a male for some good 'ol croaking in the moonlight. I'm trying to get photos--really.
- Hey, check out Lola's Major Award over at Lola's Diner. I sent her an Isabel Bloom toad for her garden. If you can't have a frog, you gotta have a toad--so I made sure she had one or the other. She was a great sport with us all razzin' her about cheating and paying off voters for the Dork Off. A great pally--she forgave me, of course.
- I'm gonna take off a week of dropping and commenting starting on Friday so that the boa constricter around my throat takes a breather. I'm going to post, but the return comments will be sparse--sorry. I think breathing and swallowing is just a tad important and I've got a doctor's note--so bare with me, okay? I'm even taking off of work too. I just need the break. Maybe I'll practice my square dancing or something while I'm relaxing.
- I hate scrapbooking. Okay, I admire all of you who do this and do it well--I'm just not enjoying it. It is expensive and very time consuming. Not my bag.
- 2 words--Project Runway. Starting in August people--get ready!! I am having Tim Gunn withdrawal. Have I mentioned lately that I met him?? He told me I "looked lovely". Love him.
- Send some good computer vibes to Chuck. Pally had some major virus issues and is basically restoring each and every file lost manually. He is fried, my poor friend. I think I may have to have him over for cocktails during my week of chilling.
- Okay, would someone please just freaking be Follower Number 100?? I've been on 99 for weeks now and it is getting on my nerves.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Every single time, and I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME, I go to The Cell to watch a White Sox game, I have to tell the kids that I was at Disco Demolition Night all those many years ago. And they are never as excited to hear that story as I am to tell it--over and over again.
You see, before each home game, they play a lovely sequence of White Sox highlights from years past to get everyone pumped for the game. They have really old footage of glory days, diving catches, incredible plays, and high-fives from the 2005 World Series win set to music from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Oooh, it just gets me all goose-bumpy thinking about it--I love watching that video every time we go. And smack dab at the explosive parts of the music, they show footage of the disasterous/uber-cool Disco Demolition Night exploding disco records in the outfield from 1979.
And yes--I was there. In all my teenage glory.
This July 12 marks the 30th (gulp) Anniversary of the event and although most White Sox personnel would like to forget the incident--I would like to revisit that glorious night when I was actually a hooligan. Okay, so it didn't happen all that often with me, so give me my moment, okay?
The Reader's Digest version is that Steve Dahl, a disc jockey from the radio station The Loop, decided to rid the world of Disco music. It was on a slide anyway, so promoters somehow thought that allowing fans in for the sweet price of 98 cents (the radio station was 98 on the dial) and disco record (to be collected and blown up later) would gather a crowd. And yes, it worked. The place was mobbed!
I went with a couple of the neighbor guys and my best friend, Cheryl. Mike, Burt, Cheryl and I packed in Mike's van and headed out to the double-header--not for the riot that would soon ensue--but to watch a couple of White Sox games for 98 cents. I honestly did not even know who Steve Dahl was at the time or what this whole thing was about. See? NOT a hooligan.
Between the games, the collected records were stored in a box in centerfield and was about to be blown to bits. Dahl and his sidekick, Garry Meier, worked the teen crowd into a frenzy yelling "Disco Sucks" over and over until everyone was a tad nutty. When the box exploded, ironically so did the crowd. Teens were going crazy, throwing records, shooting off fireworks and storming the field. Nobody was in their seat--me included. We worked our way down from our seats towards the field and hopped out there with the rest of the hooligans. My friend, Cheryl, stood at the fence all worried and panicky and I pretty much told her to either "get out here or goodbye". Good friend, eh? Cheryl would still be standing there today if I didn't tell that girl to move. I think she secretly thanks me for getting her to be a hooligan that night too.
So, we stood out on the field, yucking it up with the other goofs, watching them tear up the pitcher's mound, stealing the bases, and dodging flying records that were basically torpedos from the upper deck. It was insane and dangerous. It was mayhem and out of control. And I was standing there in the middle of it--all glorious that I was a part of something. Okay, so it was a riot--I was a part of it!
After a bit, the craziness sort of subsided and we worked our way back to our seats. There is only so much shenanigans you can do standing on the field you love, so we got bored and went to sit down. Most people joined us, but there were still a few hundred idiots who couldn't stop themselves. The crowd booed and told them to get off the field--we were ready for the second game, but it was too late. The field was destroyed and they were forced to forfeit the game.
So, non-hooligan me was actually bummed because we missed out on the second game and we went home a little let down. Little did we know that this was like the biggest event at old Comiskey Park--ever. And that it would be on the news and they would have 30th anniversaries and stuff. And that I would tell my children over and over how I was there and I was an actual rioting teen at one time. And then they would yawn. Sheesh.
Good times. Good times.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
We spent time with Joe's family and attended our niece's wedding at the far end of the state, and then headed to the complete other end of Illinois to deliver Em to camp for the week. Nearing the end of our travels, we hooked up with my dear blog pally, Jo, to just sit for an hour and laugh. It was a nice ending to a very crazy weekend.
Jo, of Life's Perfect Pictures, was one of my very first pallies when I started blogging. She is one of my first stops each day and someone I count on for a smile and a good photo. And if there is anyone who would sneak into the McDonaldland Playground with me--it would be her. Although we didn't--we behaved.
Meeting up with fellow bloggers was initially a weird concept for me. Back in the days of CB radios, we would have these meetings (referred to as 'eyeballs') where you would meet in person the folks you were chatting up the airways with. It was typically a 'loner' crowd and you would meet up with the oddest pallies--so I kinda quit doing that. Okay, I was like 13 back then and it was all kids we were meeting up with--but they were still very odd. A lot of them wore all black--and that was when it really wasn't 'in' yet.
Earlier this spring, I had the chance to meet up with a few good blog pallies and I have to admit to being a little scarred after the CB experience, but I was pleasantly surprised. I found my new pallies intelligent, clever, open, and warm. I think I made a couple good friends that day and I count Lola as one of them. So, now I look forward to these opportunities to meet the wonderful people I know and love from the blog world. And I would encourage you to do so too--it is not scary at all.
We had such a nice visit today, and even the husband's were tolerant of all of the blog chat. They could identify with being blog fodder and tolerated our referring to this blog or that one. We shared some giggles over Sadie and her new-found pallies of her own in the playland, and it all ended way too fast.
Jo, thanks for a great time today! You are a dear and I wish we lived closer to get into trouble together!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Randomness Rules when you are on the road and these are my thoughts:
- As many hours as I am in the car is as many hours that I can sleep. There is something about traveling that makes my eyelids droopy. I think I could sleep from Chicago to California and not wake up.
- Riverboat Casinos and the hotels next to them attract some really, really interesting folks.
- After attending my niece's wedding last night, I realize that we are now the old Aunt and Uncle. Gees, these bridesmaids are awfully young these days. Where did my youth go?? Wherever it is, it is probably hanging out with my youthful body and my non-flabby arms. Sigh.
- As bad as it was driving in rain yesterday, it was still nothing compared to the dude on his motorcycle and his rain gear driving in the rain. Yikes. Why on earth would you do that??
- I hate packing a suitcase. And do you know what worse than packing?? Unpacking.
- I dig the backseat. I really appreciate a seat that can go full-decline,where my little pillow is all snugly up against my head and I don't have to play stewardess like I did when the kids were little.
- Gas station bathrooms are definitely better than when I was a kid. Remember those obscure doors on the side of the building that were really, really scary as a kid?? Okay, they aren't great now, but it sure beats the old days.
- The State of Illinois is really wide and boring. We have been criss-crossing the state since yesterday and it's not very exciting. Why didn't we move to someplace scenic??
- I'm meeting up with Jo from Life's Perfect Pictures later. Can't wait to meet one of my original blog pallies--I'll give you the scoop on Monday. Yes, I'll bring my camera and take some photos. It ought to be a hoot--I cannot wait!!!
- There's no place like home. Gees, I miss the kitties.
Happy Weekend, pallies. Turn off your computer for a spell, go take a nap or read that book that has been sitting there. Say hello to those people you live with. See ya Monday!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
So, Weirdville is back on the news again. Well, it's not exactly Weirdville--it's the next town over. But here in Chicago, one town blurs into the next and you can't always tell who's perimeters you are in at the moment, so this happening is kinda like being in Weirdville. And the news helicopters are almost directly overhead and I feel like I'm starring in my own personal Apocalypse Now for the past two days. Criminy, how many shots do they need??
The big event was that the cemetery nearby has been a tad strapped for cash and decided to make ends meet in a very special kinda way. The employees came up with the brilliant idea of recycling those spots in the crowded cemetery by digging up some old bones, ditching them in the back property and re-selling the plots. They took extra care to watch what plots had recent visitors so they wouldn't get busted, and used a back lot to just dump the bones. They didn't even bother to bury them again--just ditched them.
As horrific as this is, it is made even worse because of the historic significance of the cemetery's inhabitants. Once a very out-of-the-way African American cemetery, Burr Oak had since been swallowed up by urban sprawl and is now in a very busy area of the southwest side. Famous African Americans have been buried here for years and is well known for its members.
Emmett Till is probably the biggest draw--he was a 15 year old boy that was murdered for the mere thought that he may have whistled at a white woman years ago in Mississippi. He didn't, but they hung him anyway. Emmett Till stands for a very ugly time in our country and he was recently exhumed in order to find out how he died and who his killers were. Poor 'ol Emmett rarely rests in peace and now his delapidated tombstone sits in mud and water. An awful death and now an awful treatment of his remains.
Along with Emmett, there was blues legend Dinah Washington and heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles, as well as numerous Negro League baseball players. The Sheriff is fairly sure that Emmett's grave was not touched, but he cannot be sure of the other very honorable residents of this landmark cemetery.
The Sheriff and his crews have been there for two days, looking into the various tombstones, bones, and empty vaults that were tossed in an overgrown area far from the front gates. They think that at least 300 bodies were dug up and tossed aside to make room for more graves. Just the mere thought makes my skin crawl.
Four employees (all African American) were charged and are being held accountable. We went by the cemetery today and there were hundreds of people out there, looking at their loved ones graves trying to figure out if they were disturbed. I cannot imagine their horror thinking that they were just dumped in a pile somewhere. Man, I feel their pain. It's just plain awful and unimaginable.
Geesh, there just seems to be weird stuff going on here this year. First the contaminated drinking water of Weirdville and now Grave Diggers Gone Wild. It is very exciting to live here, I tell you. I don't even have to make up stories--they are happening everyday in this neck of the woods.
On yet another note: Go over to see Chuck, will ya?? The first running of Blagosphere's Got Talent is full on and I think I've only got one vote. Criminy. I'm a Lola-wanna-be because that woman has some following I'm telling you! When we had the Dork Off here, girlfriend KILLED with votes--she called and her pallies answered--like CRAZY! Lola is my new idol after that one--and I have like a quatrillion comments and new followers thanks to her. So, I'm hoping the pallies here will do the same--go vote at Chuck's place and then pop over to Lola's to say 'hi' to the Queen of a Billion Followers.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I celebrate nothingness here, I think. I have posts about frogs and bugs and cats and stuff that really, most people don't even take a second look at. How many of us actually stop and look at the cool bug on a leaf or what flower is growing in the yard? I think most of us are just too darned busy each day to even notice the simple joys in our lives. We walk right past the little details that make this good green Earth so marvelous. I'm on this campaign to slow down a bit, notice what most would call the incidentals and breathe a bit. It's really not such a bad plan really.
One of my favorite blog stops each day is to see what Ratty is up to. The Everyday Adventurer takes us to see what's happening in nature--simple and grand. He stops to smell the flowers, watch the baby geese paddling along, and watch a slug inching along leaving it's shiny trail behind it. Ratty meets raccoon thugs and chattering squirrels. He dodges snakes and gets lost in the woods. Ratty is my kinda guy--finding peace and zen in the world around us. Blocking out the noise of humanity--nature whispers, and Ratty translates.
Another pally who is into the subtleties of life is Sharkbytes. My Quality Day is typically a post about nature adventures featuring footprints found in the snow on wintery days or wild flowers on a hike. She, like me, gets excited when the oppossum visits her yard or spies a hawk soaring above her head. One of my favorite re-occuring features is the photos of odd things that she finds on her hikes--'Fish with Bag' was a classic. I knew I loved Sharky on that post--it was just soooo my sense of humor. Okay, so she's got a dorky 5th grade photo and she torments me with tags--she's matured into a swell gal and I love her blog in spite of all that.
So, when you are weary from the everyday grind, when your trafficky ride home gets you down or the list of have-to's is overwhelming, remember what awaits you. I have a little sanctuary where I find my simple stories--it is a very tiny suburban yard. It is a fence-lined little haven where all the nastiness seems to disappear with every splash of the waterfall. Hater neighbors dissolve in the background as hummingbirds and tadpoles reign. Billions of miniature minnow offspring darting through the water tell me of the promise of new beginnings and the rebirth of calm. There's even 47 pounds of stripey goodness to pet if I'm lucky.
It's not where you are in this physical world--it is where you are mentally in your everyday surroundings. Go out and see what you find--take off your shoes and feel the wet grass. Walk out of the air conditioning and actually breathe deep the humid air. Actually look at the flowers that you planted--I mean really look at those blossoms. Peace is there--no matter where you live.
On another note--go visit my pally, Chuck, Thursday. He's running a fabulous contest called Blogosphere's Got Talent. I think I'm in the top of the talented pallies over there--but unlike Lola, I won't be telling you all how to vote or anything like that. At least go over to see what my talent is, I think you will be surprised.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I'm not sure when this started, but Hobbes has had enough of us and our tiny perimeters. Instead of our safe, little yard, he would much rather dig around in 8 foot high weeds and brambles. He sits in Weeds-R-Us rather than nap under the leaves of a hosta garden. He comes home, his tail loaded with burrs and his paws muddied from neglected backyards. Sigh. He's a beer-guzzling bum in an upscale Manhattan lounge when he's at home. There, he's a pig knee-deep in slop.
Immune to gentle name calls and a sweet "Where's the kitty?"--Hobbes has been suddenly rendered deaf to our calls. He will sit, literally 10 feet from us, just on the other side of a rickety fence, completely ignoring the fact that we request his stripey self on our side of the property line. Control is the issue, I guess. Isn't it always about control?
Night after night, we pace the yard, calling for him to come home. We can't just hop over the fence and grab him--there were a few police officers a year or so back, that told us we couldn't cross the property line. Okay, so that weirdo neighbor has since moved, and even though we weren't in Greta Garbo's yard, she was convinced we had nightly parties there and called the police on us--over and over again. So, with that on record over at the Weirdville Police Station, I don't want to give them any credence to their visits in the past--I'm not going anywhere past my fence.
So, there he sits--just out of reach. And there we sit--helpless 10 feet away. I swear that cat is smiling.
Joe met his limit last night, threatening to lock him out. Yeah, like Fred Flintstone, Joe metaphorically put the cat out for the night. And then Em went all nuts with worry, Col hopped the border and grabbed his stripey hiney.
"You're IN!" Joe was yelling. "You are in FOREVER!" he was pointing in Hobbes's face. And then he turned to us, "DO NOT let him out, EVER!" Joe was putting his foot down big time. And we all kinda just looked at Joe like "yeah, whatever" and went to bed.
Morning came and Hobbes started the MeowFest that was his rebellion to the new house arrest. Twenty minutes of loud meowing and Joe shushing was too much for me at that early hour and we had to let him out. But he went out with rules: Hobbes is coming in, like it or not, by 7:30. Before darkness. Before we all yell and call for the knucklehead. Before we are all fighting over whether or not he'll be camping out for the night. We will have our secret weapon, Col the Fence Jumper Extraordinaire, on hand for our heavy artillery.
So, the battle has yet to be started. He lingers in tall grass over in enemy territory as I type, but I'm planning the strategy. I'll start with a few sweet calls, perhaps a shake of the cat treat bag to entice him to the fence, and then.....whammo! Col jumps in and grabs his butt. Sounds good, eh?? Yeah, I just hope he doesn't employ his anti-grab-me shield and foil the whole darn plan.
Monday, July 6, 2009
I think Christy's rules were to link like 400 other pallies or something crazy, but I'm gonna pass. If you need a mulligan--just link Christy back and pay it forward. Christy is on the brink of exploding--being very pregnant and darned tired of it--link her just so she has some new visitors to break the monotony of pregnancy, okay??
Gees, did you see the comment count this weekend??! Criminy, you'd think there was a two-for-one comment party going on here! I think I had like 80 comments or something crazy. Geesh. It's a good thing that this blog isn't that popular all the time--my poor fingers would fall off from acknowledging all those comments and visitors. But I loved all the new pallies stopping in--and I even gained some new followers and friends in the process. Welcome, I'm glad you came. Hope you stay. But let's not all comment at once again, okay??
Hot Rocks tagged me with this award. She's a new pally too, so that was nice. I think she knew I was fried from the contest, so yes, another mulligan. Maybe I should have saved this for Wednesday's post!
Okay, I'm not sure there were rules for this one, but again--if you see fit, grab the beast and link back to Hot Rocks. You'll have to visit her blog--she has some incredible jewelry, all named for songs (very cool!) and some insightful posts. I'm feeling her pain as she currently sends her daughter off to Australia for a bit. She's struggling with letting go--but who the heck, isn't?? I'm with you on that one, pally.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
There she is.....Lola, The Dork Off Winner, in her stripey dress, big-girl necklace, lacy socks, saddle shoes (well, that's what she claims is on her fancy feet) and that hipster Do with very, very straight bangs. Em spiffed her up a bit with PhotoBucket--but I don't think she needed the accessories. Really, she did just fine all on her own.
What does she win?? Oh, just the honor, of course. And the right to the claim of Number 1 Dork in the blogosphere. Maybe a firm handshake should I meet up with her someday. I'd give her some EC's but I think I have like 2 in the EC bank.
Geesh, the contest wasn't even close for the rest of us, although Sharky came in a somewhat distant second. Veronica--well, she is just so darned adorable, I am announcing her as Miss Congeniality. The rest of us hang our dorky heads in shame, as we came nowhere near the dorkiness that Lola exudes.
So, I proclaim the First Dork Off a success--never have I had such a response to a post in the year that I have been blogging. I was exhausted for the comments left here and pleased to have so many new visitors! I hope the wackiness brings you back another day for another read.
Thanks to the pallies--Lola, Chuck, Merry, Sharky, and Veronica for going along with the silliness. You are true dorks no matter what anyone says! I am proud to call you pally.
Friday, July 3, 2009
1) We kick the competition off with a bang (s)--just look at how straight those suckers are! Lola had to sit very, very still to get such dramatic effect with those straight-line bangs. But who could imagine this little angel running around nuts anyway? She's got her favorite green and white striped dress and her big-girl necklace on for Kindergarten photo day --she is WORKING it! Look how innocent Lola looks here--I think there is an evil plot being hatched in her mind, don't you?
Contestant Number 1 is Lola from Lola's Diner.
2) Our second contestant appears in a lovely black and white beauty, reminiscent of days gone by and simpler times--you know, back when they didn't have buttons. For fun, Contestant Number 2 would go out back in the dirt and reenact "The Grapes of Wrath" for his family. He was all about entertainment. If that wasn't fun enough, he might turn on that sprinkler on a bucket in the background and shake his stick. Hee Haw!
Contestant Number 2 is Chuck from Secondary Roads.
3) Bringing back some funky fashion, cat-eye glasses, and a tag-along younger sister, Merry proudly shows us her new doll. Okay, so Mom and Dad went a tad too far "being fair" by giving the girls identical presents, but that explains her "I'm not really smiling" look. Merry grew up with "culture" as you can see by the piano in the background, loaded with busts of Chopin and Beethoven, paintings, and some wicked needlepoint. I give Merry extra points for enduring what looks like home haircuts by Mom.
Contestant Number 3 is Merry from Cheese and Chocolate.
4) Talk about home haircuts--Sharkbyte's got some wild crazy hair being tamed here. She gets bonus points for the extreme straight-line bangs that she's got going on. Obsessed with fashion, Sharkbytes was known back in 5th grade for her hipster glasses and pearly white grin.
Contestant Number 4 is Sharkbytes from My Quality Day.
5) Being that it is the Fourth of July, Contestant Number 5 decided to show her patriotism by sporting her 1976 broken arm. Yes, it was the Bicentennial year and folks were sort of into that in 1976. The result of a very boring family party, Lin went home with a freshly painted cast thanks to her wacky cousin, Karen. No, that isn't her being strangled by the rest of the family members--it is her "sling" for the cast wrapped around her neck. Again, points for the wild and crazy hair with the ever-popular straight-line bang.
Contestant Number 5 is Lin from Duck and Wheel with String.
6) Our final contestant was really into the competition and submitted two photos for your viewing pleasure. Photo number one shows tiny 2 year-old Veronica getting ready to cut and serve her own birthday cake. Here's the knife, honey! Yeah, count the candles on the cake--she is TWO! On behalf of her mom, she did say to tell all of us it was a butter knife. Okay, Veronica's Mom--that makes it safe. Photo number two is a very grumpy Veronica sporting some Malaysian fashions from ??? Maybe that pokey plant behind her is getting her in the rear or maybe she lost her knife. Either way, Veronica is showing her "serious" side here. Geesh, I'm glad she's a lot funnier on her blog.
Contestant Number 6 is Veronica Lee from OF MICE AND raMen.
So, here's the deal, pallies. You gotta vote for one of these lovely contestants to decide who is the biggest Dork. Yeah, yeah, I know--it's tough to decide, isn't it?? I mean, they are ALL dorks and proud of it.
Go visit their blogs, get to know these bloggers who are all about fun, and vote for your favorite.
And oh yeah, Happy Fourth of July, pallies. Thanks for joining in!