Monday, July 30, 2007

Ode to William Carlos Williams

I ate your leftover steak today.
It tasted good with ketchup and the potatoes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

[fiction friday]

This Week’s Challenge: Use the word afoot in dialogue.

And here is my effort...

"Afoot..." she whispered.

"Huh? What's that, Julie? Did you say, 'on foot?'"


"What? What are you talking about? What games?"

"Unhappy woman."

"Are you unhappy? Are you trying to tell me something, Julie?"

"Meet Henry."

"Who is this Henry guy? Julie. Julie! Who is this Henry guy?!"

"No, all my Canada."

"Is Henry in Canada? Are you going to Canada?"



", black beard. Where is he?"

"Does this Henry guy have a black beard? I thought you didn't like facial hair."

"Bounds hounds. Hehehehe"

"Why are you laughing? Julie, does Henry have a dog? Why are you thinking about Henry? Tell me more about him. Do you like him?"

"But this is nothing...nothing."

"So you do! Have you been with this guy?"

"Down in the foul slime."

"So you have!"

"In our sitting room in Baker street."

"What? Where is Baker Street? You have a place with this guy?"

"South America"

"South America? I thought you said Canada. When were you in South America? Did you and Henry live there? Julie. Julie?! Wake up!"


"Who is Henry?"

"What? Why are you asking me about the lawn boy? Go back to bed."

"Lawn boy? When did we get a lawn boy?"

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can opener, anyone?

I've been cleaning - or decluttering, rather - my mom and dad's home. This is what I found in the "miscellaneous utensils and knives" drawer:

I threw away one before I thought to take a picture - an effigy to the ridiculousness of it all. So there were eight of this version (all in that drawer), plus (on the counter above that drawer) one electric version. That adds up to NINE can openers, folks.

Why? Because you can never have too many can openers...

Of course, my dad reminded me that one of those eight can openers was supposed to be in the RV. Then why isn't it in the RV, Dad?

Can openers aside, today, I spent about six hours cleaning out the laundry room. No, it isn't a huge laundry room. The space is enough for a washer, dryer, a sink, and a small counter. Cupboards are above the appliances and beside and above the sink. Because I spent so much time on this one room, one would think that I either scrubbed the room floor to ceiling with a toothbrush or that the room was a trash pit. Actually, the room looked fairly clean when I began. It was the emptying, sorting and organizing junk from the cupboards that took so much time.

As I began emptying each cupboard, the stuff just kept coming and coming and coming and coming out of there. It's like my parents secretly went to clown college to learn how to cram all of that crap into those tiny cupboards.

Cleaning. This is one of my projects while I am here visiting. Really, I am not a "neat freak." I have four children - I couldn't be a neat freak if I wanted to be one. Anyway, while my parents are at work, I sort through their junk and throw and give stuff away. I know I won't be able to completely declutter their house because too many things hold sentimental value for my mom. But I want my parents to be able to open up their cupboards and drawers or go into their garages (yes, they have two sets of garages - and a storage room - and a garden shed - and a shed for the larger gardening tools such as the mower) and be able to find the stuff that they need more easily. Having less stuff will help.

What do they have stored in all of those spaces, you might ask? It's hard to say. Wouldn't it be cool if there were tons of well cared for antiques? No such luck. So what kind of stuff do they have?

I asked Ch@ndy this same question regarding her mom and dad's four car garage that is supposed to house the RV (which of course doesn't because the RV won't fit into the garage because there is a bunch of other stuff that is taking up garage space). She came up with this descriptor: haphazard randomness. Oh, such as the large crouched pig and piglets with googly eyes that is in my mom and dad's garage? Exactly.

Ch@ndy and I now have a pact to help each other clean out those garages when our parents die. I told my parents that I was going to have to get rid of stuff for them now because sooner or later (you know, when they die) I would have to do it anyway. I want to get a head start on the project.

Ch@ndy thinks that's a great idea. She plans to ask her folks to get rid of 10% of their stuff every year for the next 10 years. If only she could convince them to not buy any more stuff to replace the stuff they toss...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hydrangea Interloper

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Meme Cheater Here

I like the premise of this week's Ten on Tuesday (and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Peter's "10 Nice Things" over at Corner Kick). But, as usual, I'm late to the game (you know, 10 PM - 1 AM seems to be my ideal writing time, and everyone else is sleeping). So even though I'm not an official player, I'll post my 10 here for all of you to read anyway.

10 Nice Things People Have Done For Me Lately...

1. My friend Ch@ndy arranged for a totally cool girls weekend when I went to visit her a few weeks ago. I've mentioned the complementary professional waxing, but what I didn't mention is that she did some special grocery shopping for my picky eater JG, and that way we didn't have to hear JG complaining about food all weekend long. That was a blessing!

2. & 3. When I moved last December, my dear friends Molly and Jeff Nemechek arranged and provided the man power on the day that we had to load the truck. Poetroad, if you remember, was already in Texas, so Molly called around and assembled a work crew, and Jeff helped take charge on moving day. Our other dear friends, Rocky and Christy Wing, stayed after everyone left and helped me stack the truck to the ceiling. Rocky had to bust out some pretty fancy climbing moves, but he helped me make sure that every possible inch of space in the truck was utilized.

4. After the move, a family that is close to our hearts drove over six hours from Louisiana to visit us over Easter weekend - Jon and Sandy Knoedler (with their three daughters and their dog in tow). A visit might not seem like a "nice thing," but fellowship really is the nicest thing a person can offer when you've moved to a new place where you don't know anyone.

5. Back in April, Poetroad and I took a quick jaunt over to the post office in Lakeway in order to mail off our tax payment. I went inside for a few minutes (so I could send it certified mail), and when I came out, the battery on the van was dead. We asked 5-7 people to jump our car (we had the hood up and the cables ready to go), but everyone said "no." It was disheartening! And it was raining! Then a guy from a local bait and tackle shop pulled into the spot next to us, and he was more than happy to help. Literally, it only took two seconds to "git 'er done." The guy didn't even have to turn on his truck! After being stranded for over a half an hour (and hearing the lamest excuses in the world as to why they couldn't help us - such as the lady who said that her BMW "can't do that"), the good 'ol boy was our savior.

6. Two of my new friends, Stefani and Kathryn, took me out to lunch for my birthday. The lunch was nice, but the fellowship was priceless. Particularly when this girl is used to spending every holiday and birthday with extended family.

7. I got lost on the way home to Austin once. Really lost. Out in the middle of nowhere lost. I was so turned around, I would have ended up in Dallas had I continued on the path I thought I should be taking. When I finally saw a gas station, I pulled over and asked the first person I saw for directions back to Austin. Not only did this guy give me great directions, but he said that he was headed that way and that if he saw me make a wrong turn that he would make sure I got back to the correct road - the kindness of a stranger!

8. Two of our other new friends, Jen and Marc, took us to Austin City Limits last month. Although that might not seem like much of a sacrifice since the show is free, understand that in order to get tickets to a show, a person has to spend two days waiting in line to get those tickets (well, a few hours on one day to get a ticket, and a few hours in line the next day to get a number). Marc and Jen knew how much we wanted to go to ACL, and they gladly made the sacrifice. They even spent time with us before and after the show - also nice because they could have been hanging out with their other twenty-something friends rather than hanging out with us.

9.This isn't a recent one, but back before my oldest brother was married, he took Poetroad and I to see Prairie Home Companion - the actual show - at the Schnitzer in Portland. At the time, I hardly ever listened to NPR before that day; I became a lifelong fan after that experience. Spending time with my brother that day - I'll cherish that memory for a long time.

10. A checker at Target gave made my day a few months ago. It was late, the price for a box of diapers wasn't ringing up the same as what was posted, and he didn't want to bother with a price check. So not only did he adjust that item to his "special sale price" (lower than what was posted even), but he adjusted the prices on a few other items as well.

There you have it, my 10 for Tuesday. Like most, I could have gone on and on (I didn't even mention how Anthony fixed something on my blog last month or that he sent me one of his favorite books a few years ago). Nevertheless, this list will do.

Monday, July 23, 2007


It's easy enough to point the finger and be horrified at someone else's addiction. The truth is that nothing is more horrifying than being the enabler of said addiction.

So in thinking about recent family events, I had to wonder not what draws people to their addictions, but what draws people to addicts? Because that's what we do in our family. We love and attract addicts. And we are - to some extent - addicts ourselves.

A few weeks ago, I watched an episode of Big Medicine. The premise of this reality show is that a father and son doctor team have dedicated their practice to helping morbidly obese people win the battle against the fat that threatens to literally crush the life out of the patient. Basically, the treatment involves some kind of drastic surgery, counseling of some sort, and sometimes cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin after the patient loses a few hundred pounds.

In the episode I caught mid-way through the show, one featured patient was a guy who was so large that he had to be hooked up to a machine so that he could breathe. Apparently, lungs don't work very well under several hundred pounds of fat and skin.

The patient weighed nearly 500 lbs. In the scene I saw, he was attempting to stand up for the first time in five years. Yes - he had been reclining in bed for a whole five freekin' years. That's right - all eating, all showers, all urinating, all bowel movements took place right there in that bed.

Even with his doctor and life coach cheering him on, Big Boy wasn't able to stand up unassisted that day. And I could see why. After spending five years in bed, something probably happens to that muscle tone. Plus, five hundred pounds is a lot of weight to lift. I can barely pick up my oldest girl, and she only weighs 70 lbs or so. I wondered, based on the doctor's reaction, whether or not Big Boy would have to wait to have the surgery, although it was beyond me what Big Boy would have to do in order to show his worthiness for the surgery. The guy clearly needed help.

Then I heard the doctor say that Big Boy already had the surgery. He used to weigh 500 lbs more. Holy cannolies! The dude weighed almost 1000 lbs! So the fact that Big Boy already lost 500 lbs was pretty amazing.

Even more amazing than that - or what dumbfounded me, anyway - is how the people who loved this man could allow his weight to get so out of control in the first place. I mean, someone had to be feeding Big Boy massive quantities of food. And for five years, Mom and Dad had to be changing some pretty full diapers. Was there ever an "If you want another pizza, get off your arse and get it yourself" spoken?

The truth is, however, that Big Boy was responsible for his own behavior all along. Just as all addicts are. Whatever the addiction - eating, shopping, cleaning, drinking, working, gambling, shooting up - the addict is essentially in control, ironically. Just as ironic is the fact that the behavior is the easiest piece of the addiction to control. The hard part is figuring out the "why" and filling the void in a less destructive way.

It's hard to be the person who loves the addict too. Let's be honest. We only want to see people fail on American Idol. But with the people we love, it's difficult to watch that person careen into the abyss. What if they kill themselves? What if they never hit rock bottom? What if? What if? What if?

And so the enabling is fueled. I know how it works. I've been down that road a million times with various loved ones. It's an effort to somehow protect the person from him or herself. It's a compulsion to maintain some semblance of control - or at least to not feel so out of control.

So what do you do when you're face to face with an addict?

You love them. You love them enough to let them reap the consequences. And then you move to Texas.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Waxing, fighting, and having fun

Ch@ndy sure knows how to show a girl a good time! We had an excellent visit last weekend, and so far that has been the highlight of my time in Oregon. (The lowlight of course being that it is raining here and that my kids are sick - of the barfing kind.)

The best parts of the visit were:

  • I have an awesome Brazilian wax job - completed by a professional waxer (thanx Lisa!)
  • Great eats - barbecue a la Ch@ndy and friends Saturday night
  • I got to stay up late chatting with Ch@ndy and Bat Girl each night
  • Ch@ndy's crazy neighbors regaled us with a domestic dispute; we stayed up very late (or woke up very early, rather) calling the police, waiting for the police, and then watching the scene unfold...
  • Bat Girl's girls and my girls had a blast playing together

So there you have it - my weekend in Bend; it was more than a girl could have hoped for in a visit!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I've decided I'd like to coin a new term: "post-menstrual." It's the period after the period in which a women continues functioning in a crazed dementia which has previously been a characteristic of many women preceding and during the period. In short, its another excuse for bitchiness.

Last week, I was pre-menstrual. Which means I was impossible to please or be around. For example, a characteristic response to the statement, "It's Tuesday," might be, "Okay. So what's your point? What are you, a freekin' calendar genius?!"

Basically, during the pre-period, anyone and anything is a target. The venom is indiscriminate, and it is released randomly on the public.

Some women experience relief once the period starts. I seem to become more agitated. And that feeling doesn't subside until a few days after the period stops. So for those few days after the period, until my mind and emotions return to the state that rational beings enjoy, I would now like to be labeled "post-menstrual."

Yesterday, my mother wanted to put the television and DVD player in the room where my kids are sleeping during our stay here. I came unglued. "Mom, what are you doing?! Stop! Stop!! I appreciate the fact that you are trying to be the wonderful grandmother that you are, but I don't allow my children to watch TV in their room! Just put it down!" Post-menstrual tirade.

Today, daughter two was looking for the remnants of the piñata that was destroyed last week for daughter three's birthday party. [Aside: can anyone believe that I would endure a piñata bashing while I was pre-menstrual? Miraculously, I held my outbursts in check.] "It's in the trash," I replied calmly. Then daughter two went into a diatribe regarding why she needed the tissue paper from the piñata, "No, see we need it because..." I stopped her with, "No, see, you don't understand. It's in the trash. The TRASH! What do you want me to do about that? What don't you understand here? It's gone. No reasoning you can give me about why you need it is going to bring the pieces of the piñata back from the county incinerator."

With wide eyes, she stood and stared at me for a while wondering what just happened.

It was a totally unnecessary rant. Post-menstrual.

So there you have it. Once again, American women have another excuse to not accept responsibility for bad behavior. "It's not my fault. My period made me do it. Oh, not the pre-period. Not the period. It's the post-period that's to blame."

Drug companies will be all over this idea. And now I only have one week out of the month left to try to account for my crankiness.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here I am!

On July 1, we began the trek to Oregon. Yes, we actually drove. And I am still here. Six people, one dog, one vehicle, one borrowed pop-up tent trailer.

Now I have to figure out a way to keep posting using a dial-up connection while I am visiting my family in Oregon for a month. Who in the world still uses dial up?!!! Apparently, people who live far enough away from the city do. That would be my parents.

And they don't have a word processing program on their computer either. This visit might be more of a challenge than I thought it would be.