Monday, May 31, 2010

Careful Robin, Both Hands on the Bat Rope!

In our immediate "circle" of friends and acquaintances within the last several months or so there has been a brain tumor, kidney cancer, a hip replacement that became a life threatening incident, a stroke, depression and a suicide attempt, plus a few smaller medical procedures that pale in the light of the above and general aches and pains that have turned once vital adults into aging wrecks. A boat capsized during a windstorm in the river forcing a friend to swim in frigid waters for nearly a mile before being able to drag himself to shore. A garage was destroyed by a fire caused by careless teens who were partying. At least four marriages have come apart at the seams due to midlife crisises leaving heartbreak and mayhem in their wake. Financial ruin is rearing its ugly head and the house around the corner is going into foreclosure. The list goes on.

Holy heart failure, Batman! What the heck is going on?

I know we must pass thru and endure trials in order to grow. Collectively, we haven't even begun to match Job, but then most of us really probably weren't expecting our faith to be tested to that extent. Were we? Add this stuff to last years funerals and Batman the Bishop will surely be the first to yell, "Come on, Robin, to the Bat Cave! There's not a moment to lose."

I doubt we'll be charging out in the Batmobile to save anyone tho...we'll just hang out down there playing a new game.

It's called, Duck & Cover.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tending the Garden

Rich, speaking of a childhood friend who had passed away, told of a day they had spent fishing together. Went thru the whole ritual, guy bonding thing and finished with saying he realized that that was the unspoken way his buddy had of telling him, "I love you man!"

Most of us have bittersweet moments we cherish. Life is not always what we expect. I have a dear friend who attacks her garden with vigor when she is distressed. She welds a mean hoe and I have retreated on more than one occasion when I have seen a certain gleam in her eye as she takes a mighty whack at an offending weed.

Usually seems...safer that way.

A couple of days ago, tho, I came upon her again in her garden. Looked like she'd been there most of the day and I thought she might be able to use the company. So we spent some time together. I raked. She hoed. We talked. But the most innocuous comments/stories caused pain. We pretended I didn't notice. . .  Some hurts overflow into almost every aspect of life and there isn't a lot we can do about that.

But still, there we were and all I had to offer was myself, however flawed. It wasn't nearly enough. The only thing I knew for sure was - those weeds didn't stand a chance.

I wasn't able to fix much - but the looked good.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Queen For The Day

If I were "Queen For The Day," I'd have an agenda. Yes, another one beside the one you suspect I already have....

I would fix the ills of society. A revised version of the gospel (cough) according to ME.

First on the list?

Easy downs.


Yup, easy downs. You know all the skate boarders and gang banger wannabes? Thems boys who have taken the plumbers crack and refined it into an art peepshow? Young men wear the mandatory patterned boxers, y'know - the ones whose front flap has (unfortunately) not been sewn shut and then position their jeans below the butt cheek in back, and while I try not to look, I suspect below the wobbly bits in front. Then they get a good, strong belt and strap the whole contraption to their thighs. Which, in case you flunked anatomy, is wayyyy too far south of the waist to hold anything up.

Watching them walk in that getup is a little like watching the movies of geisha girls shuffling along on their tiny, malformed feet. Really, it's hard to be cool with a gait like that. It looks, as my old paps used to say..."like they've got a stick up..." Yesssss. Let's not finish the rest of that unfortunate saying.

But it appears that is a little too close to the truth. Where did this atrocious trend come from?

Queue up Paul Harvey's  - The Rest of the Story.

Mrs. McKee, an esteemed instructor at Hanford Public Schools, who is a lovely, no nonsense woman nearing retirement age, used to work with and teach inmates in the California prison system. The other day she casually mentioned that fact to her how low can you go challenged classroom and noted that this "fashion statement" started in the prisons with the young latino gang bangers who, being younger and smaller than many of the other inmates, and being unable to prevent themselves from becoming some 6'5" goon's "bride for the day" decided to embrace and flaunt their fate. So they started to wear their pants very loose and low to make for, ahem, quicker and easier access...AKA easy downs.

The next day in Mrs. McKee's class most pants rode noticeable higher.

Queen for the Day says, problem solved, at least...temporarily.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is It Safe to Come Out Now?

Yesterday was a lovely day. Sunshine, moderate temperatures, y'know 75-78 or so. Gentle breeze. Just me, the cats & my garden....oh yeah, and The Youngest. I had recruited him to dig a hole for my new bleeding heart. He then proceeded to dig, chop and hack a hole into the irrigation line, which was quite a bit deeper than the bleeding heart needed to be planted but he'd made a machete type of thing out of an old lawn mower blade and wanted to see if it worked, (sigh) and it just got better from there. But that's another story, I digress...

This morning it starts to rain


Temps hover in mid 50's. The van needs fuel. I pull into the 7-11 on G Way. Virtually deserted. Guess no one wants to get wet this morning. Well neither do I. I pull under the canopy at the gas pumps. One car on the other side but no one else around. Think I'll flop right in the middle so I don't get rained on. I put the van in park. (Mind you, I've just stopped, engine is still running.) Another van, driven by a wild eyed 20 something wheels around the side of me and screeches to a stop in front of me, facing me.


She glares, gestures, waves her arms and her mouth is going a hundred miles a minute.



I'm a little confused. Does she want me to back up? What side is her gas tank on anyway? And wait. I got here first and there are no less than six service stations on this stretch of road...

So I'm thinking...if your gas tank is on the right side of your vehicle, go park behind the car on the other side of the pumps. They'd be pointed the right direction for you.

But if your gas tank is on the left side of your vehicle, you may get BEHIND me, and I'll pull forward, which is what I would have done anyway if I had seen you pull in after me and we both can share.

I put my van back into drive and pull forward, oh six feet. (Not as far as I would have normally know, we've got to factor in that entitlement thing she appears to have going on.)

She slams her rig into reverse and pulls in behind me with about 3 inches between our bumpers.

Oh. Her gas tank is on the left side....

She stomps into the store while I use my credit card and begin to fuel.

Our little darling comes back out, jerks the hose out and attempts to put the nozzle into her tank.


Too short.

This is beginning to be just toooo much fun.

Should I tell her or do you think she'll figure it out that if she untangles the hose it will reach????

Ahhhhh, atta girl. She's got it.

I finish fueling just after she does, but she's so busy fumbling w/her gas cap that we're both ready to leave at the same time.

I get in and pull out of the parking lot.

She is going to turn the same way but is stopped by oncoming traffic. (Gotta hate it when they have the right of way...)

A minute later I see a van tailgating me. Any closer and she'll have to introduce herself.

Oh wait, never mind. I already know who that is! And, doing the speed limit, down the road we go.
And hey look! A gas station. Oh! Another one.

She puts on her left blinker. And stays behind me.

G-Way remember? Two lanes of traffic each way?

I may be a little slow on the uptake but is she indicating that I should move to the left and get out of her way?

Wow. What a little witch.

NOTE TO THE ME GENERATION:  Older than you, bigger than you, crankier than you.

Don't make me pull this car over.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bumper Snicker

Note to not take a sip of pop and then look at a bumpersticker like this. It burns when it comes back out of your nose....

Sorry cowboy, in my corral,

8 seconds ain't no ride.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Want to get some exercise but not have to get out of your chair? Pick up the newspaper and watch your blood pressure rise.

I started this morning by reading a conservative point of view in regard to the Arizona Immigration Bill. While not a full coverage of all issues I thought it conveyed a reasonable response to the issue of racial profiling:

...I just want to say stop with all the race stuff. I have never seen the race card pulled so many times under one president. This is just absolutely ridiculous. Why are Americans racist when they want to prevent the flooding of illegal aliens? Notice I said ILLEGAL not legal. They are not trying to prevent immigration.

First off Arizona is doing the job that the federal government won't do, which is to regulate immigration. I think it is only fair that Arizona has a right to protect its own borders. We don't care whether you are black, white, brown, yellow, green or purple; we just want people to abide by our laws. So do us a favor and knock of those accusations of, "Oh, they are racist."

If people want to become American's they should at least put in the effort to be one. We do need some kind of reform to help the people who have been patiently waiting to become citizens. And I welcome them (legal immigrants.) But we need to start  securing our border and show it isn't OK to break our laws.

Garrett Fitzsimmons - Kennewick

Note - our writer clearly defines illegal vs. legal immigration. But the letter that followed directly below it? Hold onto your hat folks:

...I am more than a little confused regarding the concepts of "crime" and "illegal." It appears that a "crime" is the result of an illegal act and demands some sort of punishment, but doing something illegal, for example entering our country without proper authorization, is not necessarily (???? okay starting to hyperventilate here) a crime, except in Arizona.

Let me make it clear that I am adamantly opposed to branding 20 million to 30 million people in this country (he's talking about illegals mind you) as criminals and putting them in jail or deporting them. I doubt that the Arizona law will withstand a constitutional challenge, but that is beside the point...

Sheldon E. Shore - Pasco


Sheldon darling. You are scaring me. Not so much for the fact that you live "next door" but because of the fact that you're probably breeding and creating more life forms that would have any Enterprise crewmember flipping out his communicator and saying, "Scotty, beam me up. There is no intelligent life on this planet."

Let's get this straight, once and for all. TO BE IN THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY IS A CRIME. IF YOU ARE CAUGHT YOU CAN BE JAILED OR DEPORTED. This is the law of the nation not just Arizona. I know of no where in the WORLD that one can go and get away with the crap that illegal immigrants get away with here in the good old USA. You, Sheldon, as an American citizen can not just go to England, Kenya, Russia, Brazil or yes, even Mexico, flop and stay until you're darn good and ready to leave. Also I know of no other country in the world where a non-citizen may collect public assistance, vote and/or school their children at will, but I digress... In your travels you will need a passport and visa, and will have to abide by the laws of that country (unless of course you have diplomatic immunity.) Failure to do so will define you as an illegal immigrant and subject you to criminal prosecution.

And I hear they are not nearly as nice about it as the USA is...

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's the Little Things

When I was a kid  my mother had an absolute fetish about The Crescent. It was an upscale department store that was an institution in Spokane for years. It was eventually taken over by Marshall Fields.

Mom loved to shop. Going downtown was an event. Hair was combed, clothes were ironed, faces scrubbed. Those dressed in Sunday best only, need apply. Heaven forbid she should be seen with ratty children. It was just not done. If we were not well turned out, we were not allowed to accompany her. And everyone wanted to go because the shopping trip always ended (for well behaved children) at The Crescent's luncheon counter which served fancy, delicate sandwiches, and sumptuous desserts.

As the late 60's & early 70's rolled by with their bell bottomed jeans, torn knees, scruffed boots, long hair and peace, love-dove attitude, Mother was often distressed by us but always stood her ground. We were an extension of her, and people would make the wrong assumptions if we did not present ourselves well. We learned to conform.

Flash forward several years. I had been working in the yard. I was hot, sweaty and had my gardening grubbies on.  Farm Boy needs to run into town. Just K-Mart he says. "Come and keep me company." I decline. I have more work to do and I don't want to have to change and clean up. "Oh for heaven sakes, you can just stay in the car. I'll only be a minute." Fine. So I hop in. We get there and they're having a parking lot sale. Farm Boy says, "Why don't you look around. It's hot in the car and there is hardly anyone out here and you won't see one person you know."

It is hot. Really hot. "Okay hurry," I say, "and I'll just be right here, waiting for you."

Twenty minutes and six people from church & work later...

Did I mention I was reallllyyyy hot & grubby?

Shades of "It's just not done," echo in my ear.

This morning, I stop at the store to pick up some items for a dinner I will be taking to a sick friend tonight. Standards for appearing in public have been relaxed severely since I was a child but I still do a quick inventory. Clothes clean? Check. No holes or tears? Check. Hair combed? Check. Enuf makeup on so we don't scare people? Check. Teeth brushed? Check.

Okay, off I go.

And I return to the van with my purchases. Get in, adjust the mirror before I back out.


It sure would have been nice if I'd seen that booger before I went in.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pretty In Pink

#1 Daughter has a thing about pink. I on the other hand think some pink is okay... like flowers or touches here or there in decorating. I even have a dressy top in my closet that is a soft pink with light green stripes running thru it. Very 70's. I don't wear it. Quite attractive actually. But I still don't wear it.

So you can imagine my horror when I was told, two years ago, that I had to wear pink to The Commander's wedding...Not just any pink - the bride's colors were lovely but included HOT PINK, turquoise & marigold.

The bridesmaids were to wear turquoise. The mothers, The Commander informed me, Mind you, this would be the same kid who had morphed into Groomzilla on us and had everyone walking on eggshells.

"But," I protested, "don't the mother's just usually find something...quiet, dignified (and old lady like) to wear??? Ummm, loud, bright colors are usually not the best choices for a large, older woman. Plus, "we" really don't want to overshadow the bride..."


"Mom, just find something that matches the colors she sent you."

To my credit I diligently searched for a pink outfit. The only thing I could find in that shade was one size too small. And I dieted. Frantically. I swam laps and laps in the pool. Standing - I did arm whirls. When I sat down I did leg lifts. On the 11 hour trip to Salt Lake I ate only the left over vegetables #1 Daughter didn't want from her McDonald's salads. As we drove I did my exercises while belted into the seat. The rest of the family looked on in amazement. I was totally stressed but it was HER day, and my good friends had charitably offered up the sage advise of how to be a good MIL... "whatever she wants...", and "shut up and wear beige."

"But, but, but," I whimpered - "it's not beige."

In the end I could get it buttoned (without gaps) but the thought of sausaging myself into it for a stretch of 6+ hours for the entire wedding & reception and being afraid to sit down & being totally miserable the whole time was more than I could bear. I chose my backup outfit which was a floral blend of her wedding colors. I felt like a terrible disappointment but at least, I told myself, I wouldn't clash with the wedding party and I wouldn't look like a large, pink, beached whale.

Wow, you say, what brings all this up?

Well, driving down George Washington Way this morning I saw a disabled person walking to the bus stop.
She was a bit rotund, had a rather shambling gait and was covered, head to toe in pink.  Tight, pink stretch pants, with a form fitting pink t-shirt, were covered by a bulky, long sleeved, pink, button up shirt. All three pieces were more or less complimentary shades of color.

She was a vision.

I suffered instant flash back.

Bless her soul. It should have been a great "safety" outfit. No, not florescent orange but still one couldn't help but notice her. I had to jerk the van back into its lane as I stared at her in awestuck horror.

I may have nightmares tonight.

But the best part?

Let's go back two years again.

It's was a beautiful August morning. We walked into the Bountiful Temple. And imagine, after all of the above, my surprise, when I see the tiny, petite, Mother of the Bride...

in a lovely, mauve suit.

Apparently, she didn't get the memo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The Youngest has always been...easily distracted.

We were going to Spokane yesterday to take my mother out for dinner. Before we left I grabbed the camera and  asked The Youngest to get some extra batteries. Just in case.    (They are kept in the freezer - supposed to make them last longer...)

He disappears around the corner into the kitchen.

I hear him stop, then he continues walking and comes out of the doorway on the other side.

He looks at me. He appears puzzled.

"What was I doing?"

"C'mon bud, stay on task. Batteries."

"Oh yeah. Batteries."


Around he goes again.

This time he stops in front of the frig. I hear him open the freezer door and without missing a beat ...

"Oooh, shiney."


He's funny. Sometimes, he really is quite funny.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

News Flash

Approximately 1/2 of the population of the world is female. Of those, the majority at one time or another will be mothers.

A day has been set aside to "honor" women for their love, caring and diligence. In true American fashion we have hurried to turn it into a sucessful commercial venture. I was somewhat amused to view the advertisements for flowers, candy and any other number of foofraws designed to delight mother and convey how much she means to you. All the models in the ads were young 30 somethings. They were slim and athletic, with beautiful, bright, smiling faces, and well coiffed hair. Pink & pretty in their stylish pastel outfits.

It was kinda like looking at the manly Marlboro Man commercials. The reality of his cancer ridden corpse was not something the cigarette companies wanted us to focus on.

So my perverted sense of humor is stirred by the contrast between the perceived "model moms" and the real woman who has gained some weight with each pregnancy. Who is dressed in holey yoga pants so the children can have a stylin' wardrobe to show off at school. Whose hair needs to be cut (and probably dyed) but which isn't happening because that money went to another kid related effort, and whose face shows a little wear and tear after years of taking care of and serving her family.

Laughing at the newspaper in my hands I looked at The Youngest and commented, "Poor kid, stuck with me as a mother."

Silly me, I think I was fishing for something along the lines of... 'don't worry mom, I love you just the way you are...'

So I know this came at him as a really random comment. Especially as he wasn't looking at the ads and didn't know what I was thinking. But still, that 15 year old brain, has a really humbling, rapid fire delivery system.

His reply?

"Well, it's not like you're some horrible monster or something."

I'm sure my eyes gogged. I know my jaw dropped.

We had another one of those moments of...dead silence.

And I'm left to ponder the truth that sometimes we are defined not so much by what we are...

as by what we are not.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bumper Snicker

If it has tires or testicles, it's gonna give you problems.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dead Dog Boring

I asked someone if she'd read one of my entries.

There was a blank look.

"You know." I prompted. "On my blog?"

"Oh. Uhhh," she says. "I don't spend that much time reading that. It's not, ummm...all that interesting".

Don't want to give that kid a bunch of ballons and a stick pin, eh?

But I'll just brush myself off and refluff my ego. I'm good like that. And say! Being the entrepreneurial type, I figure I may be on to something -  if I can bottle this blog, I might be able to market it as a cure for insomnia!!!!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Sound of Silence

#1 Daughter has been back from college for the last week and a half. It's been nice to have her around. Expensive. But mostly nice. Had to be outfitted for her summer internship to Uganda. Kinda turned the old pockets inside out.

You need what?



And then there was the packing. Instructions on why one shouldn't wad their clothes up fell on deaf ears.

I also got the old "eye roll"  when I found myself explaining that t-shirts could actually stay white if one used a little bleach in the wash...

This last week has just reinforced that fact that I obviously like talking to myself.

A lot.

And when I did make enuf noise that she couldn't ignore me it was...

"I know, motherrr..." 

"Yes, motherrr..."



So the Farm Boy & I went to put her on the plane this afternoon. (Right after feeding her the nice, foot long, Meatball Subway Sandwich that she wanted.) He anxiously asked, "Do you have Dramamine with you?"

Oh no, she assured him, she didn't need that. She doesn't get airsick.

It was The Youngest who got the call later.

Denver. Made it to the 1st stop. Lots of turbulence coming into the Mile High City.

Just thought she'd share...apparently meatball subs taste pretty much the same going down as they do coming back up.

You'll notice motherrr didn't get that call.