Monday, January 23, 2012

Gotta Love High School

Ah, high school. That iconic time when emotions make our decisions for us and even the smallest things hold astronomical weight in our world. It was a time when we really believed in things, no matter how inconsequential they may have really been. Our label was everything; where we fit into the crowd and how that shaped who we were and who we would become. In honor of high school, and of the 80s, this is one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite movies. Just see if it doesn't get to you a little.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dead Ant, Dead Ant

I have a love-hate relationship with throwing things away. When it comes to "stuff", like knickknacks and things I thought I might use someday, I can't wait to dispose of them. Things like bananas, on the other hand, they are far beyond the banana bread stage and working themselves right up to science experiment before I am willing to part with them. This is similar with my cough drops.

I am a fan of Ricola cough drops. Not because they work, but because they taste good. While it takes about 20 Ricolas to do the work of one Halls, I would take the lemony, herby, non-numbing goodness of a Ricola any day.

Several years ago while I was living in an ostrich egg incubating shed that had been converted into a living quarters, my Ricolas were invaded by marauding sugar ants. Apparently I have not had a cough in several years because when I developed one of late, I turned to these previously ant-infested cough drops. Like I said, I cannot throw things away. And what harm is a sugar ant, really?

So I open each cough drop, testing it for how badly it has been eaten. If it's not so bad, and only has one ant or two on it, I brush it off and enjoy it's lemony, herby goodness. I rest in the solace of knowing that once I get through this ant filled bag of drops, new, insect-free drops are on the horizon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gettin' Jiggly Wi' It

Arm flab. This is the one aspect of not being in my 20s anymore that I have not fully come to terms with. I have decided that the gray hairs give my hair some sparkly highlights and some kick that it would not otherwise have. The dimply cellulite on my backside and thighs can just be ignored because hey, it's on the back. The vertical lines running up and down my right cheek when I get of bed in the morning, well, I just don't look in a mirror as closely or too often. Because laugh lines are not just for laughing anymore. And I have decided that the sun damage to my face gives me kind of an earthy look. Or maybe people just think my face is dirty all the time.

I think I take it all in stride for the most part. But not with arm flab. For one thing, why, of all places, is there flab on my arms? I get the stomach, the backside, the thighs, the double chin. But the upper arms seem obscure to me. Furthermore, it is impossible for me to ignore this flabby inundation. I can cover  it. I can not look at it. But I can't deny it.

Like when I am peppering my food. I like pepper. I figure the more pepper, the better, but everything has its limits. Even pepper. So there I am, peppering away, and my flab is jiggling. Then I think, well that's an odd sensation, so I pepper some more, just to try to figure out what is going on with the backs of my arms. Before I know it, the food is over peppered. And this is all because of arm flab.

Arm flab can cause you to overdo other things too. Vigorously shaking someone's hand for instance. Or waving at people on the streets. Before I know it, I am going to be known for having spastic arms. Maybe that's cool though. I'm not in my 20s anymore, and its about time I adopt some idiosyncratic quirk of the aging.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hey Baby, What's Your Sign?

My friend Andrea has been hit with a barrage of bizarre pickup lines lately. Among them: "Nice braces", smoothly crooned to her by the gas station attendant loitering outside her car window while waiting for the gas to pump. After a list of getting to know you questions, he expertly whipped out a pad of paper and a pen (presumably which he owns for this precise purpose), writing down his name and number so she could "call him sometime" and they could "go out for coffee." Unfortunately for him, Andrea does not drink coffee. Apparently this gas station dude should add "do you drink coffee?" to his question repertoire. Another great line was "If you want", spoken to Andrea by a fellow college student as he dropped a note down on the table in front of her. "If I want what?" she asked, breaking out of her reverie of study to blink up at this guy she had never spoken to before. "Well, read it," he tells her, gesturing to the note. Same scenario. A note with his name and number and the proposed coffee date. Another, much older classmate has been using creepy emails as a way to vie for Andrea's attention. And a young and clueless lad felt that spilling his entire life story in the grocery store parking lot and then asking for a hug was a surefire way into Andrea's heart. 

Here is Andrea, looking like a model on the ski slopes, so I can't blame these poor boys. And it's not like I'm a huge Emily Post fan or anything, but what ever happened to some etiquette? I'm pretty sure "nice braces" does not fall under the 10 most popular conversation starters in anyone's book. I guess I gotta give the guys credit for trying though.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Bread Box

I have noticed a trend of edible options out on the streets: various types of breads. Lewis has inhaled pizza crusts, bread sticks, crutons, bagettes, garlic bread, french bread, bread slices, bread crumbs, saltines, goldfish, rolls, muffins, cupcakes, cakes slices, croissants, and the list goes on. Why do people throw these bits of bread out onto the streets? Never before have I been walking down a city street, eating a muffin, and decided, "I don't want this muffin anymore, I'm just going to drop it on the street." Never have I been driving down the road, eating a slice of pizza and tossed an unwanted crust out the window. Never before have I eaten half a handful of goldfish and dropped the rest on the sidewalk. I must meet these bread-discarding marauders. I must understand their motives. My rotator cuff is getting sore from hauling Lewis away from snacks on the street. Perhaps we can come to some understanding. Can they not save the muffin half for later? Share it with a friend perhaps? Cut the crust off the pizza before they snack on it while taking a walk? Not eat bread products outside of their house at all? Surely there must be an answer to this overload of bread on the streets. Or maybe I have the answer. Maybe it is a vacuum by the name of Lewis.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Corgi Cuisine

Over the course of my life, my family has always had a dog or two. When I was a kid, we lived in the country and had dogs that just kind of came and went as they pleased. Then we moved to the suburbs, and our dog at the time decided that she belonged to my mom and my mom alone, so I essentially ignored her. Maybe it was just because I wasn't paying attention, or maybe our family dogs actually were more fastidious. Whatever the case then, I have noticed something since I have had my own dogs. Corgis eat disgusting things. Not only do Corgis eat disgusting things that they happen across, but they go out of their way to seek out disgusting things to eat. Among Lewis's favorite disgusting cuisine options are the poopsicle and kitty rocha. The poopsicle, as you can imagine, occurs during the winter months. A cat will leave some deposit in the previously soft earth, and it will freeze in the winter, only to be unearthed by a Corgi looking for disgusting things. Fortunately for me, the poopsicle is, well, frozen, so the aforementioned Corgi can not swallow it quickly and will have to drop it. This is another trick of the Corgi trade: look like you are not interested in anything, quickly grab the disgusting thing in your mouth, and as your owner is hysterically trying to get you to drop it, swallow it as fast as you can. Unlike the poopsicle, kitty rocha can be swallowed with lightening speed. A treat found in dirt, sand, gravel, or a litter box; soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, kitty rocha can be quickly consumed on the fly. No need to spit it out! Hopefully taller, more sophisticated dogs are not prone to these habits. Surely their owners can walk them in peace, knowing their mouths are a safe distance from the ground and the offending cuisine options. May they rest peacefully at night, knowing their faces will not be licked by a canine who has recently partaken in Corgi cuisine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Water for Dogs

My poor dog Lewis, despite his aggressive demeanor, is embarrassingly afraid of his water dish. Take on a Pit Bull? No problem. Violently attack German Shepherds? Check. Drink water? I'M GOING TO DIE!!!! Having had Lewis for going on 11 years, I understand what he wants fairly easily. He will be sacked out on his bed, dead to the world. Suddenly, his head springs up, his lips pulled back in a half smile, stuck to his gums on one side. He looks around, licks his lips, and tries to go back to sleep. But thirst pulls him. He repeats the above scenario several times. Then, he gets up and goes to the water dish. . . And stares at it. He lays down next to it. He comes over to me and stares at me. He goes back to the dish. He licks his lips. He whines. Comes and stares at me some more. I could be deeply entrenched in my 47th viewing of The Proposal, and does he care? Indeed he does not. And all I have to do is go stand around near the water dish. So long as I'm standing around near the dish, he happily laps away, like this whole "I don't want to go near the water dish without you because I think the thing is going to jump up and eat me" thing never happened. Yet day in and day out, it's this way. When I come home from work on a lunch break, he runs for the dish, having staved off thirst for hours, waiting for me to stand around by the dish. My friends think I am crazy to enable him this way. They say he will drink. Eventually. When he gets thirsty enough. And he may very well do that. But he's a dog. And he's 11. And he won't be alive for many more years. And one day I will miss him needing my help so he can drink water. So if it helps him to have me standing around by the dish, I guess I'll do so. For as many years as he will let me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Kingdom for a Washer

I love honey. I love it in tea, love to douse my cornbread so that it's soaking with honey. What I don't love, is honey dripping down the sides of the plastic bottle in the cupboard. Reaching in to grab my beloved honey, my fingers get stuck to the sides of the bottle. (I have to say I hate to get things on my fingers. I hate it when I'm cutting cilantro and those little leaves stick to my fingers. I hate to peel an orange and have orange rind and juice all over my fingers. My feelings are the same about honey on my fingers. I'm not a bear.) I wrestle with the bottle as it has stuck to the bottom of the cupboard. It eventually peels off with a sickly sweet semi-dried honey sound. I swear, I pour it with the utmost care. I am not one of those careless honey pourers, those people who pour with abandon and let a huge string of honey run down the side of the bottle. No, I pour most gingerly, let the little strand break before tipping the bottle back up. I even lick the top (a warning for anyone visiting who wants to use my honey). So it has to be this, the lid to the honey needs a washer. Apparently after the honey has been poured, it gets into the threads of the lid and eventually runs down the sides of the bottle. So this is a cry to you, honey packagers of the world. Please put a washer in the lid of my honey. I would be most grateful. Now I must go wash my fingers.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Not Old!

My friend Cherelyn can't stand it when people call her "old". She's pushing 60. On the cusp actually, and soon headed right into a new decade of life. But that has never slowed her down before, and she'll be darned if it's going to slow her down now. ("That's right!" I can hear her saying). So it's little wonder I did not go running to her aid when I looked up to see her laying on the frozen mud during a wilderness wood gathering session. I hadn't seen her fall, but I knew she hadn't fallen from a great height, so I figured she would just jump right back up and keep gathering firewood. Meanwhile, she's thinking I'm cold-hearted for not racing to her side. She's thinking, I know she was only a little ways away, what is taking her so long to get here? I did eventually notice that she was not springing to her feet, so I at least asked her if she was okay. The ensuing moans and groans indicated that she was not. So I did run then. Took off her shoe and sock. Noticed swelling and bruising on the ankle. Had a back and forth discussion with her about the definition of the word "top" ("It hurts on the top." "Here?" I ask while pushing on the top her her ankle. "No, the top." "But Cherelyn, it's swollen on the side." "It hurts on the top." "Here?" I ask again, pushing on the top of her ankle. "No, the top. Oh, just go get Dennis!") I ran to get her husband. Helped carry her to the truck, toss her in, and tie an ice bag on (the side of) her ankle. So see, I helped. It's true that her husband and I continued to gather firewood for a half hour before leaving for the hospital, but hey, you can't waste a good tree. So three hours later we learned the ankle was broken, and I do promise, I will run next time.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Waiting for a Hero

I was told awhile back that it is desirable for a woman to have scar-free legs. This may be obvious to most people, but I sure wish I had been privy to this tidbit of information in my formidable years when I started shaving my legs. Unarmed with the scar-free information, I delved into the world of feminine beauty armed with a single blade Bic razor and water from the shower. Over the course of many years, I had dehided myself numerous times. Little strips of skin would hang off the razor like uncooked bacon slices as my shins, my knees, my ankles, would bleed freely. Any hope I had of the scar-free, desirable looking legs, is a thing of the past.
Lest anyone despair, there is a hero in this story. Somewhere in the mid to late nineties, Gillette came out with the Mach 3. This of course was a razor for men, but I purchased one in hopes that their claims of a smooth shave for men would translate to my poor legs as well. My eyes were opened. I was now free to shave with abandon as the Mach 3's triple blade, springy action and moisturizing strip slid happily over my skin, not through it. Finally, my skin peeling days were over. . . . Until last week. When I left my beloved Gillette at some friends' house. In their agony, my legs wait for their triple bladed hero to return.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I'm a late adopter. You know, one of those people who sits around for years while new technology comes out, waiting for everyone else to buy it and use it and hate it or love it so I can finally make a decision. That being said, I finally got an iphone the other day. AT&T was selling the 3G version for 99 cents. That seemed like a reasonable enough price, so I went ahead and purchased the thing. And I must say, I am really impressed. Gone are the days when I have to boot up my laptop, put in the password, wait forever while it acquires this and downloads that and thinks endlessly about what it wants to do, all so I can just check my email. Now it's just "slide to unlock", tap the email button, and done.
I do have to say with the iphone however, similar to how I was with my first Nintendo and Super Mario 1, the thing draws me, it pulls me, it wants me to tap, tap away at it's touchscreen. It wants me to download more apps. I swore to myself I would NOT download Angry Birds. I failed. I was playing Solitaire in bed this morning for heaven's sake. I now text. A lot. I am lost in an iphone induced stupor that I can only hope to resurface from soon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

They May Look Like Little Oak Trees, Butt . . .

It started off as four small dots that I swore had to be some sort of bug bite. Having spent the night at some friends' house, I quickly surmised they must have bed bugs. Not wanting to be judgmental or alarm them about their apparent insect infestation, I literally sat on the problem for two days, bouncing along on a tractor seat, cutting down 40 acres of brush. Yes, the offending dots were on my derriere, my posterior, my hind end. I, um, yes. I had poison oak on my butt.
After two days of bouncing and chafing, the dots had started to ooze, and a large reddened area had blossomed on the right side. By the third day, the transformation had happened. I woke up, and my butt didn't feel right on that side. Upon further inspection, my right cheek was HUGE. Not having been blessed with any volume on my posterior side, this was grotesque in comparison. The comparison being the floppy, non-rounded cheek to the left. Not having a butt is one thing. Having a hugely lopsided, mishapen, not to mention ITCHY, and oozing butt cheek is quite another. And I was just starting a run of shifts at the hospital. I found that sitting on a bag of ice was the only soothing action I could take. Numbness was my friend. For an entire week.
The moral of this story is, no matter how disgusting the bathroom is at the local fishing hole, do not, I repeat DO NOT squat in the forest.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Playing Possum

Despite Lewis's diminutive stature, he does believe he is a great hunter. Armed with visions of conquering the wildlife infused jungle that is our small town, he happened upon a possum in the backyard. No, I did not witness the actual encounter, but after seeing the possum and seeing Lewis, I would envision it happening as follows: Possum, walking around backyard, suddenly encounters 11 inch tall intruder. Possum plays dead. Intruder sticks nose deep in possum's fur and all around area possum is laying.
Side note here. It must be known that Lewis has an abnormally poor sense of smell for a dog, especially for a corgi. My mind drifts to me chasing my previous corgi a mile down the beach as he took off after the smell of a bread crumb. Lewis on the other hand, literally jams his nose into things. It also must be known that possums, when playing dead, secrete a foul smelling fluid from their anal glands. (Yes, I said anal glands).
So I come onto the scene, and here's Lewis:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Things I Learned From a Floor Sander

Home ownership, I am learning, is a test of staying power. I bought a fixer-upper mainly because it was "cute" and I thought I needed something to do with my time. Wanting to finish some major projects before I moved in, I decided to refinish my bedroom wood floor. Arriving at our local rental center, the following conversation ensued:
Rental Center Guy: Have you ever sanded a floor before?
Me: No.
Rental Center Guy: Me neither.
After a tutorial of what the rental center guy "thought" I should be doing with the floor sander, I soon stood in the middle of my bedroom floor, ready to sand away. One squeeze of the handle and the sander flew into the wall. I flew into the adjoining wall. Lesson number one: sometimes you have to dig your heels in and stand your ground. I'm not saying to be irrationally stubborn, but some things take a little brute force sometimes.
After a day of sanding, the edges of the room still needed to be sanded down. Thinking this would be no problem, I bought a little hand sander, and after an hour, I had finished a 6 inch square section of floor. Lesson number two: take big things a little at a time. As I gazed upon the amount of floor still left, tears often glistened in my eyes. Often I wished I had just hired someone to do this. It would have been easier.
One miraculous day, however, it was time to finish my newly sanded floor. See the finished product for yourself, and I think you will agree with lesson number three: sometimes, in the end, it is worth the effort.
Old, boring floor.

Ah, look at that baby shine.

I just have to say one thing after creaking around with bruised knees a permanent bow to my back for 3 weeks. . . . I ain't 22 anymore.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Entertaining Strangers

The other weekend my friends took a stranger into their home. An employee of  a family friend, this stranger traverses the state by way of big rig truck. I learned the stranger had gone to school, studying to be a pastor and looking forward to the soon coming marriage with the fiance he had left at home. Unfortunately, the homecoming was a somber one as the stranger's fiance chose not to proceed with the wedding. What led up to the stranger's decision to become a trucker? A sense of loss perhaps, a loss of direction, a loss of purpose, a loss of love. However, perhaps now the stranger is truly free to be shaped by the hands of God. Maybe it is now, in his lonely travels, where the stranger's ministry has truly begun.