Archive | January, 2013

Not a Laughing Matter

31 Jan

It’s almost Friday.

And I’ve been doing the banking and simple finishing on a couple of knit accessories, reading, playing Angry Birds, watching a few minutes of MSNBC news and a few minutes of American Idol, which was a scream with a female ventriloquist singer from Texas (she was good!) and putting off my post while complaining of pain from the pinched spinal-thingy I have going on.

And then I got a call from Zach. He has been robbed at gunpoint.

My heart is pounding. My skin is crawling around.

I will win this argument and he will not deliver pizza again. We can find something safer for him to do while he finishes college.

Wow. My sense of humor has deserted me.

I’m going to have to get back to you when it returns.

Unfinished Business, Weather, and Speaking of Ugly Bushes

30 Jan

I believe we leave a certain amount of unfinished business behind us as we mature.

There’s always a little niggle in the back of the mind suggesting there’s something undone, something that needs our attention.

I usually just silence the niggle with a donut. Hey, whatever works, right?

Last night severe weather swept through Arkansas. The sirens were blaring. The closest one to me is about 3 miles away, but it was certainly audible. Bob called from the hospital to suggest I tie everything in the carport down and make sure Bruhonda was safe from flying objects. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if a tornado hit Bru was likely to be a flying object.

We get those nasty whirling dervishes frequently in the mid-south and the season is upon us. I have been extremely fortunate and haven’t experienced one first hand. But aunts and cousins have. My aunt Bernice and her two daughters live right in the middle of tornado alley. They’ve retreated to the storm cellar on many occasions. A few years ago they built a new house with a safe room. That was a good thing. Not so very long ago a storm came through and did major damage to the house.

I remember Daddy driving us toward the small town of Conway after a particularly bad dervish had hit. I was just a kid, but the 2 x 4 stuck in a tree printed an indelible pic in my head.

Last night we experienced no weather related catastrophes here. Other parts of the state weren’t so fortunate. The planet is really having a time of it with Nature’s fickleness. It’s way past time to treat Her with more respect.

Bob cut all the broken branches off the holly bush at the back door  after the last storm shredded bushes and trees all over the place…that was ice and snow. He hasn’t done the shaping .  Poor bush is now downright ugly. Perhaps we should name it George.

Ugly Bush.

Ugly Bush.

Ugly Bush Too.

Ugly Bush Too.

That’s almost nasty.

It’s almost as bad as that cake I baked on Sunday. It leaves a gap through which I can see the road. Oh yippee…yet another distraction for my focus challenged brain. Luckily I won’t have the patience to wait for the odd car to head on down the dead end.

Speaking of dead ends, a nap sounds really good about now.

Today’s political misstep was taken by the NRA rep, Mr. Lapierre, who was before Congress. He suggested that criminal types would not show up for a background check. Duh. Senator Durbin was quick to point out that Mr. Lapierre had missed the point.

Thank you Senator Durbin.

We’ve experienced a disheartening event here on the homestead. AsheKitty has disappeared. We’re hoping she turns up eventually. A few days after Zach first brought her in many moons ago, Molly picked her up and carted her outside and she disappeared for a few days. Bob found her in the outside cat bowl. Here’s hoping she’s just catting around, trying to make some cash on the street and will be back soon.

We miss her.

Irons, No Fires, and Waxing Nostalgic

29 Jan

I had a flashback this afternoon.  No drugs involved.

My friend Sue has this really cool and very useful ironing table this fits over her ironing board. I decided when I first saw it that I had to have one. Especially for the type of sewing I’m doing now.

So while Zach was in class I took off for the home store and the fabric store.

We get home and I’m chomping at the bit to get to the barn and cut the wood. After a quick pit stop and a trip to the fridge for soda, I backed Bruhonda up to the barn, plugged in the chop saw and the table saw, made my cuts, tucked the lumber back into Bru and took it to the house.

It was an easy thing to do. It required a simple 1 x 2 frame, a piece of quarter ply screwed to the frame, and covering with cotton batting and pillow ticking.

The only impediment to the process was the width of my quarter inch plywood. I decided 24” was too wide for my cave so I took it back to the barn and ripped it down to 18.

I was beginning to staple the batting and ticking to the little ‘platform’ I had built and I was quite suddenly reminded of building scenery for University Theatre productions way back when…well Mick Jagger was still young back then.

We built sets two or three times a semester. Platforms and flats formed the basis for most of our production sets, flats being the ‘walls’ of the scenery.  In spite of the hard work and the sometimes long hours, it was a blast to participate in any way in a production. I got to build scenery, collect props, act, hang lights, make costumes, apply makeup, sing, dance, stage manage, and be involved in any and all ways that one could.

I must admit the dancing part was minimal. I have no moves.

It was exhilarating, exhausting, exciting, and endlessly entertaining. Of course there were mini-dramas behind the scenes, a microcosm of another world made of young men and women working together, partying together, living, learning, and loving.

I can’t imagine anyone spending their college years having a better experience.

It is fascinating that a simple project can bring on a wave of nostalgia.

I’d love to do it again. But there will be no do-overs in this lifetime. I’ll come back with more talent and greater confidence and do it again in the next life!

Those skills I learned building flats do come in handy. I finished the ironing board topper.

Wow! Done!

Wow! Done!

Spelunking, Conundrums, and Peace on Earth

28 Jan

I’ve been spelunking in my craft cave on a steady basis lately. It’s amazing how quickly project time passes.

Yesterday I baked a cake for my husband’s birthday. He’s really old now.

Old, bald guys nap a lot.

Old, bald guys nap a lot.

I’ve decided to enter the cake, Italian Cream, in an ugliest cake contest.

Ugliest Cake Ever!

Ugliest Cake Ever!

We are happy to report that it tasted good.

If this cake were cognizant it would surely hide away in embarrassment. Good thing I wasn’t responsible for creating the universe.

I’ve been thinking again. I know it’s dangerous. I can’t seem to help myself. The question posited for pondering is: “Why do we treat Congressman and Senators with respect when the favor is apparently not returned?”

Instead of addressing them as ‘Senator’ or ‘Congressman’ perhaps we should use a more familiar form of address. For example: Idiotic Rand or Stupid John. I was going to say ‘asshole’ but I’m trying to keep it clean.

Does anyone offer to edit their remarks? Do they read the copy and make corrections and changes before speaking it in public? Just asking….

I might want to think about that last question as I have found missed errors in my own published copy. But then I don’t have the whole nation and half the world sitting in judgement.

Here’s another conundrum.

“Don't buy the new Pepsi can coming out with pictures of the Empire State Building & The Pledge of Allegiance on them. Pepsi Left Out 2 BIG words on the pledge "Under God". Pepsi said they didn't want to offend anyone, so if we don't buy them they won't be offended when they don't get our money that has the words "In God We Trust" on it. How fast can you repost this???”

This was posted by a cousin to Facebook today. It’s very old, but reappears occasionally.  This post is indicative of differing opinions about God’s place and the role of respect for humanity in society.

I’m going to repeat myself.

On the one hand I would really like to compliment all ye of Christian or any other religion on your steadfast faith. But then on the other I would like to chastise you for a conviction that holds little or no respect for people of differing viewpoints.

Bertrand Russell again comes to mind.

Bertrand Russell

I see all of this in gray. It is not a black and white issue. In my opinion, if this were true, then the omission of ‘under God’ and ‘in God we trust’ would be appropriate because it venerates everyone.

However, it is not true according to www.snopes.com and a number of other fact checking sites.

According to Snopes, Dr. Pepper did produce a patriotic can in 2001-2002 using three of the thirty-one words in the Pledge: ‘one nation….indivisible’ and a pic of the Statue of Liberty. There was a bit of a controversy, but by and large very few complaints were lodged. Personally I find the Dr. Pepper choice for its patriotic can imminently agreeable. It is easy to identify and interpret and it is not offensive, unless you are one of those of which Bertrand Russell spoke.

Is there any possibility that you of faith could dial it down and come to understand that your convictions are personal? The rest of us have the right to choose our beliefs just as you have chosen yours. We deserve your respect of our choices if you anticipate our respect for yours. This is a two-way street peeps.

I spoke about the paths we choose last week. The choices we make, including our beliefs, are not right or wrong, they are just human. Being human is a difficult state at best. It is a struggle to accomplish our ends only made easier by our coming together in community and understanding.

I would like to advocate for the rights of all humans regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual preference…we are all in this together.

Think about it.  Wouldn’t tolerance and understanding make this journey more bearable?

I think so.

Connecting, Waxing Nostalgic, and Gratitude

25 Jan

Connecting to the past can have unexpected results. As I attempted to make a few connections I found myself making comparisons. Naturally.

My dear 3rd cousin once removed is a professor at a major university.

Hey I did some substitute teaching one semester when I didn’t have anything else to do.

Another friend left technical theatre to become a chiropractor.

I’ve had back problems.

One friend left his teaching position with the theatre department of a small university and is now designing bathrooms.

I have a bathroom.

I have a friend that designed costumes for a play I did in college and he now teaches fashion design and has a design company.

I wear clothes. Uh, not designer fashions, but someone designed them for the rack, right?

Another friend has been in Japan for twenty years teaching elementary school.

Uh, I had a Japanese friend from Nagasaki or Okinawa, I forget. We worked as bartender and cocktail waitress together in a hotel lounge. Oh, oh..and I served four Japanese businessmen at my bar one night. Only one had a smattering of English, but he knew Jack Daniels and so did I. We had a great time!

Two or three friends are working and living in NY, NY.

I’ve been there and lived there for a couple of months looking for work. Interviewed with Radio City Music Hall. If I had stayed a bit longer, I would have gotten the job!

Geez, I’m such a loser. A great big ‘L’ appeared on my forehead overnight. That will make a serious impression when I go out looking for work.

I’m speechless.  Again.

I have to say I’m grateful for a lot in my life. My kids. Both of them were raised with skillful neglect. Oh, and lots of love. We’ve had good times and bad, but we have survived to live and love another day.

We’ve never been hungry…or homeless. We are mostly healthy. And I love my Scottish-Canadian husband, even when I’m angry with him!

When I’m sewing or knitting, or building something, or creating a collage, or crocheting a doily, I’m happy and content. My hands are busy, my mind is engaged, my heart is happy. Designing a new knit project or drafting a pattern for a new bag brings me respite from any worry or aggravation the universe gives me. Reading a book, writing a blog, editing copy are all experiences I continue to love.

Um...What's that up ahead?

Um…What’s that up ahead?

It seems everyone has a path to tread. None of us are losers in this planet populating experiment.

We simply do what humans do. We make choices. One choice leads to another. You bump into a hypothetical wall, you turn. Which way is not a right or wrong choice. It’s just a choice. I’ve been known to plow forward, stumble, regain my foothold, and forge on. I’m pretty sure we’re all in the same boat.  I’m guilty of comparing apples and oranges in this instance since we are all unique. Even comparing apples to apples is rather silly. No two of those is alike either.

Yup…that ‘L’ isn’t for Loser. It’s for Loved, Lucky, Lover, Laugh, Learned, Lively, Life, Loyal, Luscious, Luxurious, and Lyrical.

That’s my story.

Have a great weekend.

Political Insanity, Deep Holes, and Chuckles

24 Jan

I’ve been useless today.

My accomplishments were minimal. <big sigh>

I’ve been mulling over the portion of the Hillary testimony before Congress I watched and the clips I’ve seen since.

My Hero!

My Hero!

Those brief moments made me right proud.  I loved seeing her lose her temper.  Stupid white Republican men are in abundance in Congress

And once again they proved their only objective is to obfuscate…anything they can. The definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Uh…well. Take note congressional Republicans. You are all INSANE.

My biggest chuckle came when Rand Paul pulled a completely irrelevant talking point straight off Faux News. Yeah….you go Congressman Paul. We all know Faux news is a reliable source.

Hillary’s look was priceless.

It’s highly amusing watching seemingly successful males make total asses of themselves.

I wish I had pursued a degree in journalism just so I could stand and rag these guys. I’m like a dog with a bone. I’d be digging a deep hole just for the candidate/pol, while demanding a straight answer. I’ve found that repetition wears ‘em down. Pisses ‘em off too. Hehehehe.

I may have missed my calling.

Nekkid Butt for the Apron and Fact Checking

23 Jan

Bunco night….couldn’t ask for more fun than twelve women rolling dice. The conversations range from tame to downright wild and crazy. I may install hidden microphones for future reference.

I did promise Sarah that I wouldn’t mention the apron. I suggested she wear it and nothing else. Surely that would be as good as a French maid’s costume for a fun, fun romp around the house with her husband. Think he  would approve the suggestion?

Oops.

question the answer

There was some brief discussion of gun control and a mention of Obamacare. I love these ladies, but it never ceases to amaze me that folks will believe what they want to believe, hear what they want to hear. Fact checking is apparently an art form yet to be practiced by the general population.

I’m going to start telling everyone that I’m thin and 25. If I keep repeating it at least half the population will be convinced it’s gospel.

Oh and I’ll tell everyone that the only way to save money is to give it to me. Woooowhooooo.

Rich, young, and beautiful!

Who said you can’t have it all…

Job Hunting, Crazy, and Non-existent Eccentric Options

22 Jan

Help Wanted

I began the process of sending out resumes today. I have made inquiries, but found nothing suitable in person or by phone to date.

The problem is my personality. I’m a serious fringe dweller and it is very difficult for me to be anything other than what I am. Although I possess multiple skills,  I am bossy, even bitchy at times. My idiosyncrasies are plentiful.

I’m likable I think. My sense of humor is still intact. But most employers are pretty rigid in a work environment and no matter how much you are liked, there’s not much room for personal eccentricities.

I have a tendency to run 10 to 15 minutes behind, but I always show up. I enjoy working alone. I hate to wear pantyhose…with a vengeance and feel much the same about bras. I don’t enjoy business suits and am found in jeans about 90% of my waking hours. I generally live and work in organized chaos.

I am never without an idea. I brainstorm and ask questions in order to be the best I can. I have great communications skills. I can spell and write a complete sentence. But….

It’s that right brain thing. I have to have my mind, hands, and heart engaged. I am easily bored and will jump from project to project. I work best with a deadline. It’s all a problem.

What to do?

Is there a place for one such as me? So far, my luck has held and my employers have worked with me, up to a point. And once that point has been reached my demise has usually been satisfactory for everyone concerned.

Although it does seem that a bit of scandal precedes or follows my leaving. Once I was escorted away from my desk, having done who knows what to precipitate the proceedings. I believe at that point I simply stood up to the wrong person. I have a tendency to support the underdog and anyone on my staff is the underdog in my opinion.

Once, my salary was summarily cut and in my own inimitable fashion I lost my temper and foul words dripped from my forked tongue. Later I discovered that I was accused of ‘shady’ dealings. I wonder why they kept me on for 13 years if they were so concerned about my ‘shady’ dealings. I still haven’t figured that one out.

Once the funding ran out on an Arts Council project. Well I certainly had no control over that one.

A couple of divorces made my emotional state rather tenuous. I was well rid of both of them, the husbands that is,  but the unknown is a scary place to inhabit.

I sound like a crazy woman.

If the shoe fits….

Now I’ll have to change my resume.

Objective: Permanent employment with a progressive company seeking insane woman for work with head, hands, and heart. Must be open to late arrivals and early departures. Must allow casual dress. Must be willing to train and then leave me alone. Salary required $200,000.00 per year, non-negotiable. You get what you pay for…and psychiatric treatment is expensive.

There. That should work.

Inauguration, Progress, and Baby Steps

21 Jan

Today is all about the second term inauguration of Barack Obama.

The Prez

I’m pretty much speechless.

It was a scary battle. Stupid white men seem to be forever interfering in the country’s progression. The Republican party leadership created a war on women and their rights; religion has become more fanatic in their efforts to control individual rights.

I repeat: It’s not about your personal beliefs, your morality. It’s about everyone’s right to make personal choices.

Then there is corporate America making the rich richer and exerting control and power over the rest of us.

It’s pretty sad when a group of right wing fanatics can stop the country from moving forward on universal healthcare and a fair and simple tax structure. It’s pretty sad when Medicare and Social Security are discussed in terms like ‘fix’ and ‘hard choices’.

The only ‘hard choice’ I see is to assess the same payroll taxes on 100% of everyone’s income. I pay it on 100% of mine. And it is such a simple solution.

I apologize for any redundancy. Do these opinions bear repeating? I think so.

He’s been sworn in. He’s approaching the formal inauguration this morning. We have come far.

My great grandfather and great grandmother were born not too far past the Civil War. They lived and worked on a farm in Faulkner County, raised three daughters, and all of them used the ‘N’ word. It was what they knew. I don’t think it was intended maliciously, at least for the most part, it was just common usage.

I hated it when I heard it. I flinched every time. I attempted to correct it.

I can only say that I believe we have slowly begun, as a nation, to see people and not color. It gives me hope. Generations removed from that time in our history, we have made progress. Barack Obama stands as a reminder to us all that we can choose our politicians, our friends, and our families based on shared values, ideas, and dreams, even shared compromises.

We’re still a baby country. Let’s hope that as we approach adolescence we begin to mature in our ability to follow the Biblical advice to care for even the least among us.  I think many issues we face as a country can be healed with that advice and the simple embracing of the Golden Rule. The one most of us learned early.

So, before you vote or argue a point, whether you are a politician or average Joe just trying to make a living, perhaps you can ask yourself: Would I want this for myself, my children? Will this be harmful or helpful for the poor, the hungry, the old, the sick?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Simple. Succinct. Easy to remember.

Bettty White, Planet Hopping, and Mouse Speak

18 Jan

Zach’s car is an old white Honda Accord named Betty White.

Not Zach's Betty White.

Not Zach’s Betty White.

Also Not Zach's Betty White

Also Not Zach’s Betty White. This one is too pretty.

She’s been a pretty reliable vehicle but Wednesday Betty White (the car) injured a foot and briefly had to wear an ugly old spare shoe.

Yesterday we replaced a couple of Betty White’s shoes and arranged to get an estimate on aligning her front end. I know my front end could use an alignment, so in car years Betty White must be way overdue.

This morning we will receive the good? (bad?) news regarding her front end.

I can’t wait.

There is no public transportation in my neighborhood. I have mixed feelings about that. I would love to spare myself the task and expense of filling Bruhonda’s fuel tank. I would love to spare Mother Earth a bit of exhaust. I would love to avoid the maintenance we have on three vehicles.

I would probably miss the bus more often than not. I have serious punctuality issues.

With that in mind I will continue to drive Bruhonda until his little doors fall off and hope that efficiency increases greatly before I buy another or go planet hopping.

Whichever comes first.

I have the weekend planned with sewing, knitting, movie-going, Downton Abbey and sleep, lots of sleep. If all goes well Monday will see me rested, entertained, and my cupboards stocked with a few new items for the Etsy store. The best laid plans of mice and men….

Do mice really make plans? Or are they spontaneous in their actions? Hmmmm. Now there’s a point to ponder this weekend. I guess I could confer with the little mice families in the barn.

I don’t speak mouse though. Except for ‘eke, eke, eke’.

Doubt we’d get far with that.

So here’s to a happy weekend for all, including the barn mice and Betty White and you, dear reader, especially you.

It’s been my pleasure.

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