Archive for July, 2007

Sunday evening, Jif noticed Biscuit staring intently out the sliding glass door in the kitchen, with his nose pressed to the glass.

“What’s he looking at?” Jif wondered.

“Probably himself,” I offered. In addition to being a VBD, he has sometimes demonstrated signs of being a NVBD (Not Very Bright Dog).

Then LG discovered what Biscuit was gazing upon. I grabbed my camera, with the lens that was on it. I didn’t dare open the glass door, because the sound would have frightened them away, and Biscuit would have given chase, and I couldn’t use a flash (it was dusk), again for fear of frightening them, and/or it would bounce off the glass. So: lousy pix, but lovely moments:


We watched them for 5 minutes or so, before we noticed the mom. She was several yards away, under the apple trees, snacking:

deer mom

Remarkably, all the “children” appear to be about the same size. Can a deer have triplets? Did she adopt one or two? Or were they friends? Don’t know. But it was quite a delightful surprise, to see them making themselves so comfy in the backyard. Glad we didn’t have the hammock up!


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Sunday Post

taking time to smell the roses

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui. — Helen Keller

Mark 12:28-31

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Today I went for my second visit to the new toxicdoc/new rollogist (she does both!). She’s the head of the COWS in MEDICINE. (That’s Center for Obscure and Weird Stuff.) I wasn’t expecting this, but they did another nerve conduction study. Owwww. This was not as bad as the last one, no needles in the tongue. This time they put little purple Sharpie dots all over my arms, to show them where to shock me. As I lay there, I chatted with the tech, Marcie. She was a sweetheart. She has a 12-year-old daughter, so in between electrical shocks, we talked about the drama of life with a “tween” (there’s a whole ‘nother blog post, believe me).

At one point she was talking about the different areas of the body where they use this nerve conduction test. I thought she said, the “tri-genital area.” Whuh? I’ve heard of the tri-state area. And of course, the genital area. But . . . three? Genitals? And then I thought, do I really wanna go there, while I’m lying on a table getting shocked, trying to keep my anxiety at bay . . . naw, I think not.

Curious thing, as I lay there, in between yelping, flinching, jumping, chatting, I stared at the ceiling and listened to the soundtrack in my mind. I’m fairly embarrassed to say, the pre-eminent selection with which my internal jukebox favored me, was from the SNL video I saw over the weekend.

STOP. Hammer Time! No, it’s not really Hammer Time. I just have to say that after I say “STOP” abruptly. What I REALLY mean to say is do not click that link unless you don’t mind explicit sexual references couched in profoundly sophomoric humor. But if you do like that sort of thing . . . proceed.

Where was I? Oh, yea, so I’m lying there, and in my head . . .

Not gonna give you a fancy car,
girl you gotta know you’re my shining star!

And when I realize what I’m singing, well, cheez, is that thing still stuck in my head? So I try to do better and I end up with Bob Seger

She took the keys to my Cadillac car
Jumped in my kitty
And drove off far . . .

Where’d that come from? Must’ve been the fancy car . . .

Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away . . .

OK, now that must be from the “star” plus the “car” . . .

Then I go into a little High School Musical action (LG is performing in it tonight at drama camp):

Shake your booty and turn around (Marcie has just asked me to change sides)
Do the hustle! Show some muscle!

It’s tiring, being me. Lying on a cot getting shocked . . . HEY!

I’m lyin’ on a cot
Gettin’ shocked
By a doc . . .

Maybe I could write the Nerve Conduction Rap!

Well, now I shall eat a small lunch, and guess what my afternoon holds? Give up? Another brain MRI! Woo-hoo! At least I know what to expect from that. Pardon me while I go get my head strapped in a cage while a freight train runs all around it, banging and clanging and

Don’t go ridin’
on that long, black train.

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My brother, Mike, and I spent about three days last week completely flustered, paranoid, doubting our own sanity (even more than usual) and doubting the sanity and common decency of our own family (even more than usual).

Mike left me a voicemail one day saying, “I just got a call from [cousin] Linda. Call me.”

I hate messages like that. It sounds like he’s sorta preparing me for something bad. I went out again before returning the call. When I got back, the next message said, “Call me when you get in. Linda says ‘Aunt Mag died.'”

Aunt Mag? Aunt Mag died ten years ago. Shortly after the family reunion. I have a photograph of her with LG at the reunion; they wanted a picture of the oldest with the youngest. I didn’t go to the funeral. In fact, I heard about it late. The family is (was) so big, and we’ve always been on a “reunions-only” basis with most of the ones that live far away. But . . . I do remember that she died. And the times I have been down there to visit Mom since then, I did not stop by Aunt Mag’s house, which I always would have before. Because . . . she was dead!

I called Mike. There must be some mistake. But, no, he repeated that Aunt Mag had died. And I said to him, “Mike, you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I thought she died a long time ago.”

Well, turns out, Mike was sitting at his house the next state over, thinking that HE was crazy, because he would have sworn that Aunt Mag died 10 years ago, too. And he HAD stopped in her house since, and her grandsons had taken it over.

So then we started thinking. How on earth could both of us have the same wrong memory of her dying? Oh my gosh; did they put her in a nursing home and tell everyone she was dead, and take her home, her car, her stuff?

Both of us said that we didn’t know what to say to whom. If we came right out and said, “I thought she was already dead,” well that sounds awful. What kind of great-niece and nephew are we that we didn’t even know? And if there were a conspiracy, who was in on it? We were both flabbergasted for days, not saying anything to anyone else about it.

Then I got another call from Mike. It was a problem in translation. In Hillbillian, Mag is pronounced sort of like “Ma-eeeeg.” Aunt Mag died 10 years ago. It was Aunt Mae (Ma-eeee) who just died. Who had, in fact, been in a nursing home for 11 years. Whew.

I’d missed the funeral, but they had an online condolence thing, and I sent a note to Mae’s daughter — not a “blood” cousin, but her daughter from before she married my uncle. The cousin, Peg, is about 20 years older than I. Although I spent a lot of time with Aunt Mae as a child, Peg was already out of the house, out of the state, by that time. I told Peg how I remembered her mother talking about her and her son, how proud she was of them. Peg emailed me back over the weekend. She is now very ill, but she remembered me and appreciated my memories of her mother.

Well, there’s one family scandal that didn’t materialize. One. (Most of them materialize very flamboyantly.)

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Sunday Post

puzzle clouds

“Imagination is a good thing to have, because without it, life can be pretty tough sometimes.” — a little girl on the news, in line for the Harry Potter book

Colossians 1:16-17

I also want to say, rest in peace, Tammy Faye [Bakker] Messner. I lived and went to college near the whole PTL Club/Heritage USA adventure, in its heyday. I was always fascinated by her. Mostly the makeup. The giant little girl that seemed to be behind the mascara-colored tears. I don’t know what she did or didn’t do financially. I often thought that she probably didn’t, either. I found her endearingly enigmatic. Most people who wear tons of makeup, I view as trying to hide. She wore the tons of makeup and then always accessorized with her heart right there on her sleeve. So I don’t think she was hiding. I think she just wanted to look and feel pretty.

I always admire and enjoy people who seem to have taken the risk of becoming fully who they were put here to be. I think there are relatively few of them on earth at any given time. I also am instantly attracted to anyone who can laugh at themselves. Just a couple of days before Tammy Faye died, I saw her on Larry King, in pain, weighing 65 pounds, in full makeup and with a giant smile. A viewer email asked her what she would most like to be remembered for. She said, “My eyelashes.” After a giggle that shook her fragile frame, she amended that to, “My walk with the Lord.”

Over the years, the giant little girl showed herself to be a woman of depth, courage, faith and tremendous love and kindness, most notably to those whom some other “Christians” don’t show so much love and kindness. Go with God, Tammy Faye.

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The last movie I saw in a theater was “Happy Feet,” until tonight, when I saw Hairspray. I haven’t seen the musical, but I loved the original ’80s movie. I must admit when I heard they were doing a new one, I was not amused. I thought the first one was perfect. But then, the more I saw the clips on TV, the more I knew I would need to go see it. Because every single time I watched one, I found myself smiling. And tonight, for just over 100 minutes, I smiled. A big ol’ can of Ultra Clutch is, so far, the best treatment I’ve received for WTF. I had moments of being able to ignore the &^%&* symptoms, thanks to this most delightful movie. If you’re droopy and need a pick-me-up, or if your ‘do is a little flat, do go see it. Watch for John Waters and Ricki Lake, too. I was so tickled that they weren’t left out 🙂

Oh, and the title here is a line by Penny Pingleton in the movie. There are quite a few endearing lines. And did I mention there’s Christoper Walken? I probably should’ve said that first. Go see it!

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Some craziness has gone on at work lately, reminding me once again that working with mental health professionals is no guarantee of working with mentally healthy professionals. I’m reminded of something therapist and author Thom Rutledge said at a seminar once, “People do not go into the mental health field because they’re thinking, I am just SO mentally healthy, I really must spread it around.” No. It’s because we’re nuts. The good ones understand the ways in which they (we) are nuts, and make peace with that; the not so good ones do not recognize their own craziness, and inflict it on others for a fee.

Since I’m not nuts enough to write in detail about my current employer, I will share instead the craziness of a former professional associate. Actually, this guy wasn’t a therapist, but a priest. Let’s call him Father Benny. He was the pastor of a church in which I was placed by the outpatient therapy branch of a major religious service organization. Fr. Benny would pitch hissy fits every so often, and come storming into my office shouting (about his staff), “These people are crazy as hell! Line them up and give them some therapy! Quick!”

Stored away in that part of my brain that sometimes toys with the idea of trying to write a sitcom, is the memory of Fr. Benny at the annual 50/50 raffle. This raffle was a big money-maker for the church, and curiously, the drawing was not held in public, but in private, with only Fr. Benny, his secretary, and a nun or two there to witness. One day I stopped in the office at drawing time. Fr. Benny unceremoniously stuck his robed arm into the box with the entries, and pulled out a ticket. Let’s say it was the ticket belonging to Joe Fortunata. I will never forget, although still “can’t believe” what Fr. Benny did next.

He pitched a hissy fit, saying, “I’ll be goddamned if I give the money to that sonofabitch Fortunata! You all just keep your mouths SHUT about Fortunata winning. That NEVER HAPPENED!” Fr. Benny drew three more tickets before he found a suitable winner of the random drawing.

Hmmm. Perhaps Rutledge’s principle is applicable to clergy as well: “They don’t go into the God business because they think, I am SO holy, I really should spread it around.”

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I recently read a post at Vajana’s, about her “foot-in-mouth disease,” that brought back a couple of flashbacks from my own and others’ bouts with that illness. (Although truthfully, hers take the cake; nobody dies or ends up in the ER with mine.)

When LG was about to celebrate her first birthday, the little playgroup we belonged to used one of our playdates as a birthday party. About 5 moms and 5 littles. As I was opening one of the gifts, the giver mom asked me, “Are there any colors you especially like for LG, or any that you avoid?”

And as I gently untied ribbon and unfastened tape, I cheerfully chatted back to her, “Well, her coloring is like mine; we can wear most anything . . . but NOT yellow.”


“Oh no. We look like death warmed over in yellow . . . ” untie, unfasten, you know where this is going . . .

I can still see every detail of that little yellow outfit.

Then there was the one that has stuck with me for years because it was so excruciating, even though I was just a spectator. It was a family Christmas, lots of people, lots of simultaneous gift opening going on. Someone must have opened a gift of fragrance, because that started the topic of who likes what scent, etc.

I hear my MIL very emphatically saying, “I cannot STAND Allure. If I’m within 10 feet of someone wearing it, I get deathly ill. It gives me a terrible headache. I never want to even be in the same room with someone wearing that scent.”

And at the very same time, one of my SILs was opening a gift and exclaiming, “Oh, how did you know? I love this. It’s my signature fragrance.”

“What is it?” someone asks.



OK, confess. What can you NOT BELIEVE you said?

(Oh, and I finally finished uploading all my vacation pix to flickr.)

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Sunday Post


“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” –Arlo Guthrie

John 12:46

Oh, and I just remembered something I wanted to share with you. This past week, as I was out visiting, I came across Old Hoss, making perfect sense (I know; I couldn’t believe it either!). Worth reading.

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Have you seen that TV commercial for the home pregnancy test that says, “The most sophisticated piece of technology you will ever pee on…”?

Is it just me, or do you take that as a challenge to find another, more sophisticated piece of technology to pee on?

(There appear to be some doubters in the crowd. Here it is.)

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