Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Burl Ives Christmas Tunes Spark Twitter War

It's Christmas Eve but the Christmas spirit has turned to rancor in the Twittersphere, fueled by a long-standing feud between the warring factions of two Burl-interest organizations. The president of the anti-Burl group Burl Ives My Ass Coalition, or BIMAC, fired off the first shot, tweeting his disgruntlement with the fact that Burl was figuring heavily in the rotation on a local radio station's  Christmas playlist. The spokesperson for the pro-Burl fan club, Burl's Legacy is Treasured, Honored and Enduring (BLITHE), wasted no time in firing back and within seconds @LuvmesumBurrl and @Burlsuxx4evr were throwing down in an all-out battle of the Tweets.

Below is an excerpt:


What dbag at 101. 5 KRUD has been playn Burl Ives day& nite? Makin me sick. #NightmareBeforeXmas     


Hey   Dont be hatin. Its xmas eve 4 chrissakes. Have a HOLLY JOLLY Christmas.  


 Go f**kinhollyjolly yourself. Listenin to Burl makes me hurl. 


Too bad. Every1 luvs Burl but u.   


 Ha. U crazy if u think any1 but Blithe pansies want2 hear ur bloated turd sing. BIMAC will boycott KRUD 4rill if they keep playin Burl. NJ.   


 Good luck with that. BIMAC got like 5 members.   


 RU joking? We are legion. We can shut Burl down faster than you can say Burl is a fat bastard. 


Laughing so hard rt now. 


 We'll see who's laughing when Burl goes off the radio. 


No chance. Burl is bigger than u are. BIMAC my ASS. LOL


  B.L.I.T. H. E - Burl's legacy is trashed hated and excreted. ROTFLMAO.


Speaking of excrement BIMAC sounds like the name of a laxative.   


Yawn. That the best u got?  


Whatev. Its xmas eve n I dont want to spend any more of it on ur shiz.


Good thing cuz Ima block ur ass from my feed. 


Already beat u 2 it. SCREW U BIMAC. Long live Burl!  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ranch Style Beans---an Encounter

I've always wondered about those Ranch Beans. They come in a black can. The label says they are "appetite pleasin' " and to illustrate this there is a cartoon guy licking his lips. I have to say if there is a phrase I have never been able to resist, it's  --"appetite pleasin'.  The beans also brag that they are packing "Real Western Flavor", and you know that's not something you can get just anywhere. There is a lot going on across the front of the can.

So I decided to give them a try. Some people experiment with drugs, or sex. I experiment with beans. They did give off kind of a psychedelic glow when I opened them. The beans are a nuclear shade of orange, and swim in a thick sauce that can only mean lots of additives. Yum.

What exactly is in them? Pintos, dressed up with tomato paste, onion and garlic powders, other un-named spices, a blend of vegetable oils and "rendered beef fat," which I think is another way of saying lard.

Ranch Style Beans have been around since 1935, and from the looks of the can they haven't changed much. But these are some beans that believe in themselves. I never saw a bean work so hard at self-promotion. The advertising from the back of the label is insistent:

"We think you will like them with just about anything."

"Ranch Style beans are hearty and true!"

I find the earnestness of the last declaration kind of touching. I don't usually expect a lot from canned food products. But I've always wanted my bean to be true.

These beans, though, are kind of evil, in that they are oddly compelling. Their flavor is hard to pin down. You think, "what am I tasting?" So you keep eating them trying to figure them out. They are heavily seasoned with something that might be gunpowder. You suspect that this can't be good for your stomach. But you keep eating them and eating them anyway. Straight out of the can.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Junk in my Trunk

My blog post title sounds like I'm going to talk about the effects of eating holiday goodies. Actually that would be a good topic for a post...but this is about something else. The other day I spotted a Christmas tree in the back of someone's pick-up. Then last night, I saw someone hauling a tree on the roof of their car.

I like catching people in the act of taking their trees home. I'm excited for them. Hey, look what they got!  Gonna be putting up the tree tonight!  I like that it's such a break from routine --people don't normally drive around with whole trees inside their car. And you know, it's not such an easy thing to do, when you're trying to transport a 7 foot fir by way of a compact sedan. I think a surreal experiment would be to stake out the road near Home Depot and see what methods people come up with for getting their tree home.

This year we have Roger's hatchback, but I have driven a tree home myself on more than one occasion, when I had the old Corolla. I never felt like I knew how to strap a tree to my roof. I always had to stuff it into the trunk. But the trunk was never big enough and the tree would stick halfway out the trunk, so I'd try to tie the trunk down with some kind of twine, and hope to god the trunk and the tree would stay put. But I never felt secure about the whole set-up---the tree sticking out, the trunk partially secured with my half-ass twine and weak knots. So I would give myself false assurance by saying, "Well, it didn't fall out last year!" And I'd get the kids in the car and keep my fingers crossed the whole way home.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Men serving me beverages ----the dream.

In my perfect world, men would come to me, bringing drinks. Not so much food. Just drinks. A latte to start the day. A mid-morning tea. At noon, a cup of coffee to eat with my sandwich. In the afternoon, a Pepsi on ice would be nice. A cocktail when I walk in the door at the end of the work day. A glass of wine with my evening meal. And at bedtime, a milkshake. Yes, I said a milkshake.

Hey wait pal, that drink's for me!

Friday, December 5, 2014

This winter I am going to learn about the Anglo Saxons

It's December and it's cold outside, but my brain is warm, because I've been listening to college lectures on CD. Yes, I turn my car into a college classroom every time I have to run out for milk, or pharmaceuticals, because I have recordings of Modern Scholar audio courses (Great Professors Teaching You!) checked out of the public library.

I'm doing this because * I love to learn! * And because trying to follow someone's train of thought takes my mind off my shivering ass and helps me forget to count the minutes until the car heater kicks in.

I have already listened to all 14 lectures on the history of baseball delivered by Professor Shutt of Kenyon College.

Professor Shutt sounds nothing like he looks in this picture. On the recording he sounds like the crustiest, gnarliest, craggiest oldest man who ever recorded a book on tape, saying, "No doubt about it, Ty Cobb was an unbelievable player. UNBELIEVABLE!!"

But I really enjoyed "Take me out to the Ballgame", and I learned the following:

  • in the early days of the game, it was permissible to throw a ball directly AT a player to get him out.
  • some of the baseball lots were squares, instead of diamonds.
  • they used to play with the same ball over and over again, until it got so brown with dirt, the batters couldn't see it coming. After a catcher or batter (can't remember which) was killed with a fast-ball, they started the practice of using brand new, spanking white balls.
  • the National League had started off with a Puritan heritage, and was the more tee-totaling league, while the American League had more of a German Catholic and DRINKING contingent, and so you could buy beer at American League games but not at National League games.
Now I'm listening to a 14 lecture series titled "Understanding Poetry" which covers the whole history of poetry starting with the oral tradition and going up to the present day.

Professor Drout of Wheaton College is an Anglo Saxon scholar and reads the poems of early Britain in their original Old English, which is quite something to hear. He rightly describes the Anglo Saxon language as someone clumping around in heavy boots. It sounds like a cross between German and Scottish.

I'm finding that the Anglo Saxon language really goes with winter, because it sounds so rustic, conjures up images of dark afternoons, of cold walls and floors, the wind whistling through a chink in the evokes struggle, bitter drink, sour amenities!

Just look what passed for shoes back then.

Indeed, even Professor Drout, who has devoted his life to Anglo Saxon studies, says that Anglo Saxon poetry is about absence, misery and heartache.

And so, for this reason, I have decided that after I finish the Understanding Poetry course, I will move into a deeper study of the Anglo-Saxons, by listening to Professor Drout's 14-lecture series on "The Anglo-Saxon World." It will be a fitting companion to the dark, cold, winter days ahead.  

Anglo-Saxons in scanty clothing, trying to keep warm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I am not dreading January...

...because it's already HERE.

The high yesterday was 23. The wind was ugly.

I often wonder how I will adjust to the cold once winter sets in, but I need wonder no more!

And now, as one who has prematurely been cast into darkness and who is perpetually cold , let me share with you a few new and improved * TIPS FOR WINTER!


1. Keep your key fob in your bra (or undershorts)-

If the key fob to my Honda Civic gets cold, the remote keyless entry thing stops working, and I have to manually unlock the door myself. So while driving or walking or otherwise subjecting myself to unreasonable cold, I slip the key fob down my shirt, right against my bajungas. Keeps it toasty warm!

2. Rely on concentrated levels of glycerin ---that is how my little tube of Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream describes its magic. It was developed for Norwegian fisherman, after all, and many is the time I've bemoaned, "I have the hands of a Norwegian fisherman!" I'm sure they have little tubes of the stuff all over their fishing vessels. So this is the hand cream for me. It has kept my hands from falling off.

3. Build a tower of sweaters ----Thrift stores are a great source of second-hand sweaters, cardigans, and  hoodies that might not be "top-drawer", but will help you achieve unprecedented levels of layering. Mix and match them indiscriminately.....a cardigan over a hoodie, a sweater over a poncho....Don't waste time folding or hanging  them--just create a loose pile so they are easy to grab. Mine are tossed in a big heap on top of my writing desk. To make sure they are always ready to go, I never wash them.

4. Freely engage in shorts shaming---Who are the idiots who walk around in shorts when it's ten degrees?! They are sociopaths, and deserve mockery. Last night I was at Walgreens buying more Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream (I seriously was) and the cashier looked up and saw a man walk in wearing shorts. She made a remark, and I jeered, though not to his face. But it was a nice moment that the Walgreens clerk and I could share.

5. Don't bother with the Starbucks drive-thru ----There is no point in getting a hot drink in a drive-thru unless you are headed some place with a microwave to heat it back up. The cold will chill that caramel lat in no time flat.

6. Make the weatherman your gas pump buddy ---When it's cold, gas pumps take forever. To minimize discomfort, check forecasts and plan your re-fueling for the hour and day when the temperature is highest and wind gusts are lowest. Ration your driving accordingly.

7. There is no longer such a thing as "room temperature." Well, there is, but it is now only about ten degrees warmer than your fridge, so be prepared for disappointments like hard butter that won't spread on your toast and chili that is chilly.

8.  Forget boots, wear running shoes. ---Because you'll be running to the car a lot.

9. Pay heed to mall store closing times----If --god forbid, you find yourself at a mall, make note of where you parked and make damn sure that if you parked outside JCPenney you get your ass back to JCPenney before those bars come down and you are shut out and have to go out the main entrance and walk (run) halfway around the mall to your car.

*to see older and less improved tips for winter, click here and here!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dealing with the Cold

 Oh, what a demarcation, between the sunshiny goodness of the autumn day we had yesterday, and the grim chill that has descended today. Last night the mercury plummeted like a sinner bound for hell, taking our gaiety and laughter with it.

At least we'd been warned, we had time to prepare. Yesterday I got all my sweaters and cardigans out of the attic -- -all the used, stretched out, thrift-store sweaters and cardigans that I have kept alive winter after winter. If a sweater is pilled---well, I can just wear it around the house, I say. If a sweater has lost its shape---well, I can hide its untidiness under a jacket. And so it goes, as my winter wardrobe grows ever more seedy with age. But it's been so mild this autumn I haven't needed it. Now my drawers are stuffed full.

Another thing I did ---I seriously contemplated the purchase of a hot water bottle. I went to a drug store and asked the clerk if they had any for sale. She took me over to the aisle. It was in a box, but the picture on the box looked exactly like I'd remembered---a blood- red rubber vessel, waiting to be filled. Thinking she was being helpful, the clerk pointed out that they also had ice packs. I shivered just thinking about it. NO THANK YOU. Did she not catch the part where I asked for a *hot* water bottle?

She left and I read the box, and imagined myself heading out on bone-chilling mornings, the steaming rubber vessel filled with scalding water from the tea kettle, pressed against my skin. Aw, how warm that would be. But how quickly, on a 20 degree day, would the water cool off and the bottle lay against my stomach as cold and damp as a liver?  

The hot water bottle was $14. I decided not to get it. Instead, I spent nearly the same amount on two pairs of gloves.  I bought them because it's going to get cold, and because I wanted my daughters to have them, even though we probably have 10 mis-matched pairs at home.....

This morning, I wore long johns underneath my work pants. It was just supposed to be temporary--just a buffer for walking from my parking lot to the building. But when I got to my office, I didn't want to take them off. My work pants were a little roomy, so I kept them on, and wore them all day.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kansas City Royals in the World Series

The Kansas City Royals are in the World Series!  This is really happening!

How can I make the most of it?

I am kicking myself because I get the Kansas City Star but didn't bother to snip the Royals players cut-outs before I threw the papers into the recycling.

Now I want these little men in paper form: 

There are so many things you can do with them! Look what Dykes Library at KU Med did with theirs!

The Royals making it to the World Series and playing the first game in Kansas City means lots of people eating and drinking, celebrating, and lots of local businesses trying to get in on the action. Which means discounts and freebies! I want to take advantage of these discounts and freebies! I have been trolling Twitter all day looking for deals. I'll take pizza, subs, or beer, but I'm especially looking for someone who will give me a cheap latte.   

Friday, October 10, 2014

Birthday Road Trip!

It was my birthday on Tuesday. I was in western Kansas, having gone out there to celebrate my mom's 90th birthday, and was heading back east to KC. I decided to contemplate my earthly arrival by visiting some places that spawned that arrival---the former stomping grounds of my grandparents and great-grandparents, or any other place connected to my existence.

Starting with ---my birthplace. The hospital where I  first greeted the world. Good ol' Grisell Memorial Hospital of Ransom, Kansas....

And the ER wing I subsequently visited a time or two....By the way, my father laid the brick for this hospital. We have a photo of him somewhere, holding a trowel and grinning, with a cigarette in his teeth.

My Grandpa's final home was in Ransom, in this cute little limestone prairie house. Someone has fixed it up and added the decorative red stone and blue paint. It wasn't that pretty when I was a kid. I remember a big container full of cattails and a creaky, warped linoleum floor. How I would love to buy that house and use it for writer's retreats.

Leaving Ransom, I went east and dared to drive the McCracken road, which is notorious for being full of pot holes. I haven't driven it for years, always choosing to go through LaCrosse and Rush Center instead, to avoid the craters. When mom used to drive me and my sister Laura to the mall in Hays for clothes shopping, it is the McCracken road we would take, and the hour drive seemed interminable. I always felt relieved when I spied the Liebenthal spire from the McCracken road, because it meant we were getting Liebenthal, at least. From there Hays was another 20 minutes.

It was kind of a rush to be back on that road. It is minimally maintained, with no shoulders, no highway stripes, and a rough, uneven surface. But the pot holes had all been patched and the patching hadn't yet been compromised by the cold weather to come.  

I drove on to Munjor, where the Volga Germans settled in the 1870's. They were fresh from Russia, and so they named their streets things like "Moscow" and "Kazan" street. My two sets of great-grandparents came over from Russia as babies, grew up in Munjor, met, married, had babies of their own, and those babies met and married each other and had my mother. Or something like that.

One house had a poster with a German greeting----or was it a warning?

Holy Cathedral Bat Man! This is the impressive church the Volga forebears built. It is so perfect and neat, and the stone is still bright as a penny. Note the blue sky overhead ---it was like that the whole day. What a great sky to have on my birthday!

Here's an old decrepit house in Munjor, on Petersburg street, another Russian namesake. Perhaps my grandparents or great-grandparents stepped foot in it one time. Perhaps they came here to play cards or gossip about their neighbors.

I left Munjor, got on I-70, then exited and made my way to Wilson Dam, which was really scenic. Again, behold that crazy blue sky. I kept finding myself on boat ramps, where I ran into signs like this one:

Got back on I-70, and drove to Lincoln county, where I exited and drove north a long way on a country road to Beverly, where my dad kind of grew up. His parents had a farm near there for awhile. Here is the Beverly Post Office:

I also drove to Lincoln, where Maurice and Laura, my dad's parents are buried, and admired the post-rock countryside on the way. Later I got back on I-70 and headed east for KC. Between Junction City and Topeka, I encountered a moon so big it was scary. How is that moon real? I kept asking. It doesn't translate in this picture. Plus I snapped this as it was starting to rise, and was less huge.

Crap my windshield is dirty

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stuff we blew up on the 4th

What I like about the 4th of July in Ness City is, the town doesn't seem so dead, because of all the 'splosions going on. The streets are deserted during the day, but there's people in those houses, because once the sun goes down ---FWWAAAPPP!!  POPP!!  BOOM!!! 

This is my mom's porch, and the remains of what we ignited. A lot of these were cheapo fireworks. A few were really crappy. But there were a couple of good ones. How easily we are dazzled by sparkling light!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Gym

Summer Gym! Like a punishment in a special circle of hell! Gym shorts, climbing a rope, sweating, perspiring, chafing thighs, toe fungus, girl problems---it's like taking the worst high school class you can think of and sticking it in the middle of a happy, sun-kissed summer day. An abomination.

Well, my girls are taking Summer Gym. They have to be ready by 6:25 for the carpool to pick them up, which means I have to get up at the ungodly hour of 5:45 to make sure they will get up and get ready in time. "You have 15 minutes left!" I holler. "Ten minutes left!" I send these alerts down the hall to them like a shrill, early morning crow that somehow got into the house. They are greatly annoyed but they are not coming out to the couch early to sit with their hands in their lap and stare out the big window, waiting for their ride, like I instructed them to do. Oh no. Instead they are rushing in and out of the bathroom, and they are looking for things like underwear and bobby pins and closing their bedroom doors in continuation of some unseen morning rituals, as the moment of departure is nigh.

It's just like the start of a regular school day --like the many school days that will commence in mid-August. Only we get to have the experience EARLY ----in the middle of the SUMMER! And we have TWO MORE WEEKS of this! This is a circle of hell especially designated for mothers.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Scary Mutant Egg

The egg on the left is a Jumbo egg, that came out of the Jumbo egg carton. The egg on the right came out of the Extra-Large egg carton. Apparently sourced from the Wolf Creek* chicken farm. I am afraid to eat it.

*Wolf Creek is the name of a nuclear power plant located near Burlington, Kansas, southwest of Kansas City.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Boogaloo Seven

Carl Bender and Chris Hazelton of Boogaloo Seven at the Green Lady Lounge 

Friday night and I'm at the Green Lady Lounge listening to Boogaloo Seven. A throwback band that evokes the instrumental brass-woods-organ swinging London soul pop sound of the 60's mixed in with 70's funk. There are bongos! I, of course, especially love the Hammond B3! My favorite instrument of all time.

Should I have an untimely demise, leaving behind friends and family who are still able-bodied and kicking, I ask only that they arrange for the playing of a Hammond B3 as they bid me adieu. Play that Hammond B3 and I'll be there in spirit, I surely will

But as I write, I'm still on the earth plane, so I will sit here in the Green Lady and get my fix that way.

Best news of the night? Boogaloo Seven has a 45 coming out. A 45 rpm vinyl record! Vinyl lives, my friends.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Coffee perfection at Town Topic

This is the coffee at Town Topic. This is how they serve it, with a pyramid of creamers.

I took this photo back in April. What was it that made the coffee taste so good? Was it the fact that it was around midnight, and I was out of Johnson County and out of my routine? Was it the patty melt I ate in-between sips?  All I know is every time I've had their coffee it was GOOD. They might be old and greasy, but they know what's what at the Town Topic.

And their coffee is *magic* coffee, because even though I downed several cups, and felt the full loving arms of the caffeine as I drank, I went home to bed and slept like a baby.

Patty Melt --oh, I want one right now.   

Stop in--any time of the day or night!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sound of a Film Projector

If I ever have a big enough house, I want a room with a projector in it. Just a projector running, so you can go in the room anytime and hear that nice sound that an old-style film projector makes. It's really a very pleasant sound, and one more example of how the analog world with its clickings and clackings was a much more aurally satisfying world.

I was reminded of that sound on Friday, when Roger and I went to the H & R Block Art Space Flatfile exhibit. As part of the exhibit they had one big room that was dark, where films were being projected.

Most of the films were being projected via modern equipment you, but one film was coming from a vintage film projector.

Roger and I reminisced about those days in school when you'd walk into the classroom and see a projector sitting there and you'd be like, "YES! We get to see a film! No work today!" And then at some point the film would break and the teacher would have to fuss with it and try to repair it, giving you even more time to goof off and do nothing.  

 But another great part of the experience was sitting in the dark, hearing the steady whirring of the film projector. It's too bad that schoolkids today are deprived of those types of atmospheric effects inside the classroom.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Snake Worries

They say that snakebites are on the increase in Kansas City! Snakebites in 2013 were up by 20 from the year before. So far already 11 people in the metro have been bitten. A little 5 year old girl was bitten by a rattler. Fortunately she is recovering in the hospital and should be okay. But the rise in snake attacks has led the KU Med Center to make plans for opening a Snake Center.

When I was a kid I'd have the occasional nightmare where there were snakes all around me. Oh, the horror and despair of being surrounded by snakes! What a relief then to awaken and remember that I lived in a civilized town where the people had largely conquered nature and we walked the streets without fear that we might suddenly happen upon a writhing, hissing nest of snakes. There was the one time when a big, fat bull snake crawled into our yard and my dad hacked at it with a shovel to kill it---revolting, terrifying!  But the neighborhood kids sat on their bikes talking about it, signaling that it was a rare event, and that was reassuring. No, snakes were not an everyday thing. Even in a small rural town on the western plains, a kid could be fairly secure in knowing that as long as he stayed in town, didn't wander into fields or pastures or creeks, the worst he might encounter would be a garter snake slithering across the schoolyard.

Snakes and snake encounters were novel enough to help mail order companies sell gag gifts like the oh-so-clever snake bowtie:

And the "snakes in a can" bit, wherein a can appears to contain a nutty snack but releases a cloth snake that springs out when the can is opened. Classic.

"Here --would you like some mixed nuts? Go it!

Most people only encounter snakes in pranks and practical jokes. Let's keep it that way.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

After 43 years..reunited in a thrift store

I had driven to City Thrift, but when I got there, I had second thoughts. I wasn't really in the mood for the clutter and smell of a thrift store. But as I started leaving the parking lot, something drew me back. I'm not kidding. Something nudged me and said, "You should go inside. There is something there for you." So I parked and went inside.

I browsed casually, however, and wasn't really expecting anything to jump out at me. I found a decent Old Navy tank for 99 cents. Not bad! I was gonna pop a tag.

Tired of pawing through tired, old clothes, I started wandering around the household items. We needed a newer, less crappy toaster. I looked over the toasters but they were all older and more crappy than the one I had bought for $2 at a garage sale.

So I continued wandering until I came across some vinyl LPs. I saw one of those old albums you can hardly believe is for real. It was an old Phil Harris album from the late 50's titled, "The South will rise again," and it showed him on the cover wearing Confederate gray and bitterly stitching up a Confederate flag. That got me to crouch down and start flipping through the rest, to see what other gems lay in store, when all of a sudden, I saw this:  

I gasped. I nearly fell over. It was the Engelbert album of my youth. The very one I had owned as a seven year old. As a first-grader, I was IN LOVE with Engelbert Humperdink. 

And there it was, just waiting for me to discover it. It was the reason I was gently guided back into the thrift store. 

Last night I removed the dust cover from our turntable and feasted my ears on these old tunes. 
I've included two clips here of Engelbert's magnificence for you to enjoy.

The first song is one I already had on my iPod, "Les bicyclettes de belsize." It makes me say, "You are beautiful, Engelbert."

The second one is "Love can fly", a song I had long forgotten about when the album somehow disappeared from our basement. Oh what joy to be reunited with it again! As a child it made me feel like I was soaring --soaring through the sky straight to Engelbert's waiting arms. Sigh.    

Listen so that you too may soar with a love that flies. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Chrome

It is summer! Well, not officially. But summer always goes so fast, it's best to start considering it summer as early as you can. And this year I'm ahead of the game. I've already been to the coast and swam in the ocean! I've already been sun-burned. I've already imbibed a summer ale. Not bad for June 3rd.

One thing I like about summer is that haze that turns everything white. The light that puts a high shine to chrome and makes you squint. Back when cars used to have actual chrome, instead of plastic, the sun bouncing off their fenders must have been quite a sight. It's a vision that says, "Here is a human summer. Here is the blinding walk to a scorching patch of sand. Here is where the good times are."  Of course there is another reality, not visible here, of hot, irritable children and sticky vinyl and sweaty headaches. Because there is a good chance that most of the cars in this photo didn't have air conditioning when this picture was taken. But I think I would be okay with that, if it meant I could drive down a street lined with these fat, shimmering cars, on a white hot day.        


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Four Fourteen Fourteen did not go unnoticed

..Or put another way, I was aware three days ago, that it was 4/14/14. These dates with the repeating numbers are too lovely and weird to treat casually, yet I don't know what to do to make the most of them. Usually I just say, "Hmm...oh wow!" And then the experience is over. Which gives me a feeling like when a comet is passing by and I haven't made the effort to step out my door and watch it. Some rare thing that won't happen again in my lifetime, and I'm not giving it my attention. I guess it's a reminder that life is passing me by, at comet speed.

The sad thing about 4/14/14 was that following the midnight hour that night, sometime around 1:00 or 2:00 am, there was a lunar eclipse, and I could have made an effort to step out of my door and watch it. That would have been a fitting way to observe the passing of 4/14/14, but even as I heard tell of this eclipse from a first-hand witness, all I could do was roll over in my bed and try to imagine it. I was too tired to do otherwise.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Vernal Equinox video

Spring is a time when we contemplate the tilt of the earth. A 23.5 degree skew that pits us against our Southern Hemisphere brothers and sisters. You've had the sun long enough. Now it's our turn! The signs are all around us: seasonal fashions flocked with tilting globe motifs...bobble dashboard earths on bouncy springs.....little axial tilt keychains......or so I wish. Who wouldn't totally buy that stuff? We're on a rotating ball----that tilts!   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day! --A schedule of activities from my childhood

Create patterns in flesh from leaning against furnace vent

Try to comprehend adult situations in soap operas

Conduct experiments with static electricity using feet, carpet and older sibling

Perfect feat of traveling from living room to the kitchen without touching the floor

Sculpt dried out clumps of playdough into dried out clumps of playdough

Become "jinxed" into silence by older sister

Visit scary closet under basement stairs to retrieve ill-fitting snow boots that most certainly have spiders living in them

Wrap feet in bread bags to keep out the snow (and spiders!)

Go out and build a snow man

Fail to build snow man because snow is too dry and powdery

Settle for a snow angel

Wander aimlessly around the school yard in back of the house until the snow building up inside boots becomes unbearable

 Hook self on wire sticking out from one of the school yard snow fences

Run home crying


Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter Kicks My Ass Once Again

This is around the time when it always happens. When I realize it's no use, and I abandon all illusions, of getting through the winter, smelling like a rose. I smell nothing like a rose. I smell like old socks and the sweaty wool I've been wearing too long without washing, but can't bear to take off. Because I'm cold. I'm a little bit cold all the time. Except for the times when I'm very cold. Or exceptionally cold! The cold makes me lose all sensitivity to my appearance. I wear fowsy sweaters that have big pills, that are covered in lint. I wear a big robe that drags on the floor and acts as a big dust magnet. I let my facial hair grow. I wrap around me a long fusty coat that I might have peeled off a hobo. I wear the coat everywhere, I wear it to bed. I start small fires when my coat sleeves droop too near the stove burner. I eat total crap. Carbs, carbs, carbs, starches, STARCHES and fats. Fast as I see 'em, in my mouth they go. In my mouth they go. Fresh fruits and vegetables - NO. They are too watery and cold. Inside my gloves, my skin is cracked and dry. So dry it breaks off my hands like it was ice. My dry cracked skin is split and bleeding. And cracked. The cracks have cracks. Inside my house, I don't walk, I shuffle, underneath my dusty, hairy robe. I shuffle to the stove for another cup of tea, catching my robe sleeve on fire. In the evenings I can be found in a dark corner, nursing cracked hands, a huddled form rocking herself, over the furnace vent.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Here comes another polar vortex!

It's like you can hear it come in. All of a sudden this terrific wind blows in from out of nowhere, and you can practically feel the mercury plummeting, even if you are inside a warm, cozy house. This is like the third one to visit us this month. Not a welcome trend!

Looking at the  map helps me understand how all these bitter drafts are making their way down here, and who's to blame. Canada!! The Great White North isn't doing its job. Canada is supposed to act as a buffer between us and those scary Arctic weather systems. In exchange, Canada gets to make fun of our reality shows and our two-party political process. But Canada has been sitting on its big, provincial ass, leaving the door open and letting all the cold air in. Thanks for nothing, Canada.

As a result, I am bracing myself for the third Polar Vortex in as many weeks, and am in danger of behaving in erratic ways. If you too are bearing the brunt of these storms, you will recognize yourself as prone to doing the following:      

Ceasing to bathe, fearing the removal of protective oils and built-up soils from your skin, which you regard as another layer of clothing.

Exploring ways to turn your hot water bottle into a hot new fashion accessory.

Inviting in stray animals, hoping to sleep with them.

Toting a week's worth of calorie-dense foods inside your coat pockets.

Driving around all day in your car because you can't bring yourself to park, turn off the heater, and walk across the lot into the building where you work.

Naming, and then developing a close, personal relationship with your long underwear.

Adding whiskey to your morning latte.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's 2014!

Wow, we're a week into the new year already and I have yet to acknowledge it on my blog. Sorry, 2014! Don't take it personally. You're every bit as special as those other years I made a bigger deal about.

 But you're cold as all get-out! -- so today we are featuring another Hat of Distraction, to buy and wear. The sheer act of trying to balance this thing will get your mind off the cold.  

Other thoughts about the new year:

I've written two checks already with 2014 on the date line.

When my oldest daughter was in grade school, they were told they were the "class of 2015", meaning they would graduate high school in 2015, which seemed SO far away. And suddenly now -it's not!

The planet is now safely two years beyond the doomsday year of 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar.

There are some comets or asteroids or something that are scheduled to pass by this year. I'm sure there must be something, anyway. If you care to look it up.

This is the only year we have left before another dreaded "election year".

This is a very poetic year. You can rhyme fourteen with "courting", "sporting", "thwarting", "purporting"...

It is the 100 year anniversary of the cheese log.

There are people --we haven't met yet---who will be born this year!

My prediction for 2014:  Startling changes in consumer packaging! This will be the year (at last) of the cereal tube.  

My wish for 2014: An end to the helium shortage.