Wednesday, March 29, 2006

urban bastardization of otherwise harmless words

Okay - seems that the treat "dilly bar" I referred to in a previous post no longer only refers to an ice cream treat. Incidentally an ice cream treat that is not available through the ice cream man (and this is the actual, original ice cream-only treat I refer to) but through Dairy Queen.

Sometimes you say something and someone giggles. You wonder why. This started when I began teaching courses at a local college. Even though I think I am not a day over 21, these kids that I was teaching apparently were still in Junior High School, masquarading as college students.

The assignment was to come up with a name for their group projects. I was trying to teach brainstorming and that no idea was a bad one as it could lead to more good ones. The project was a collection of many different subjects into one publication. One of the group members offered "Tossed Salad." Seems harmless and not too bad for a collection of different things thrown together.

Then there was the snickering. One older, non-traditional student informed me she would not be a part of such filth (although she couldn’t define the filth, but knew that the snickering boys were up to something). So I googled it. Lovely.

So that’s great that there's slang and urban terms for whatever floats your boat. But maybe when a very unhip, thirty-something klutz utters or writes something, perhaps it would be wise to assume they mean the original meaning. Just a suggestion.

If you ever want to know, here's a helpful reference. I looked up “steamy beef hand” and thankfully no one has stolen that one yet.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Steamy Beef Hand

You ever wonder where some band names come from. I think this could be a good one. It started as I prepared one of my fabulous dinners (okay – took the ingredients out of the ziploc freezer bag and followed the directions from Dinner by the Dozen) —beef and broccoli. As I was browning my hamburger in a large pot the steam was bouncing off my stirring hand. I walked into the other room where the dogs became very interested in that hand.

mmmmm, steamy beef hand, I said aloud.

And a new band name was born. Now where did I put my drumsticks...

Friday, March 24, 2006


Wow - just barely past 55 degrees out there and the ice cream man is out... (on a Friday at 1pm - although I think it is Spring Break for the neigborhood kids). There's still a patch of snow in the yard but summer must be just around the corner...

Not sure about him - it's a cute truck but things aren't the same today as they were when I was a kid.

Really want a [edited] bomb pop now...

The Klutz's Guide to Neighborhood Watch

The other morning my neighbor from across the street rang the doorbell. It was about 10 am and since it wasn't yet noon, I was still in my pjs and a sweatshirt (one of the perks of working from home office). I opened the door expecting him to hand me a package as the UPS guy is always delivering my stuff to him across the street.

Al: Are you okay?
Me: I'm fine, how are you?
[Al looks a bit confused.]

Al: Well I thought I'd just check on you since you were banging on the window...
[Now I look confused... scanning back through my previous 10 minutes...]

I realize that I had been banging on the window trying to get the squirrel out of the bird feeder. The squirrel completely ignored me, didn't even flinch. Al, across the street, who I was completely unaware of standing by his mailbox , heard me. I explain this to Al, who chuckles and moves on with his day.

I'm pretty sure the neighbors already think I am nuts ... but nice that they're keeping an eye on me none the less!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Birthdays, life, death and random thoughts in between

"...The important thing is not to be bitter over life's disappointments. Learn to let go of the past. And recognize that everyday won't be sunny. And when you find yourself in the darkness of despair, remember ... it's only in the black of night you can see the stars. And those stars lead you back home. So don't be afraid to make mistakes, to stumble, fall. Because most of the time, the greatest rewards will come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you'll get everything you wished for. Maybe you'll get more than you ever could have imagined. Who knows where life will take you. The road is long and in the end, the journey is the destination." - Coach Whitey Durham (Barry Corbin) in One Tree Hill

I quietly turned 36 the other day. I didn’t mean for it to be quiet – I’d much prefer fanfare and celebration. But it seems you pass “a certain age” and birthdays get lost in the rigamarole of everyday.

With the passing of each birthday, thoughts turn to life. Am I where I wanted to be at this age? Where is it that I wanted to be? What is the meaning of life? 42 ... well, in this case, 36. It seems around my birthday, I am more aware of the fact life changes so much. Just when you think you might be in a pattern or a rut, if you step back, you'll feel the wind on your face as the world spins around you.

My grandmother is 77 – a fact that she brings up a lot lately. Perhaps it is a way to justify the whirlwind of changes she has just made. She moved from her house of 20-plus years into a stylish new place. It’s not assisted living, or a retirement building. It’s actually a pretty coo loft. But it is about one-quarter the size of her house – much more manageable for a 77 year old, albeit a fairly healthy one. She also sold the family cabin, as you may have read in previous posts. She's made these changes sort of as a way of getting her affairs together. Not that she is going anywhere. But she is 77, she will remind you this if you mention anything.

As I was contemplating the “when” of having a child, not the if, I suddenly was gripped with a fear that I might not be around for grandchildren. Then I realized that it is foolish to think that way. You really can't plan for anything in life. It doesn't work out that way. I am definitely a planner. My husband is a fly-by-the-seat-of-the pants-er. He’s been calling me type A lately. He’s right. He’s a B. So we complement each other by sometimes meeting in between. So I end up putting in place the financials, the schedules, the what-ifs, and he provides the why-nots, the let’s-gos, and the better-now-than-laters. Sometimes we flip when I suggest we run off to Paris next weekend and he reminds me we have to pay taxes.

Back to life’s changes. My mother’s brother is in the late stages of prostate cancer. He is in Salem, Oregon. I haven’t seen him in 20 years but have kept in touch on and off by email. I’d like to visit him but am having trouble getting the where-with-all to do so. True the cheaper fares are two weeks out. But life is so busy. There's a loan closing, a book club meeting, work, class to teach, taxes to do, dogs to board. All that can be rescheduled and taken care of pretty easily. I’m afraid to book a trip and end up being too late, but at the same time, afraid not to give it a chance.

On the other end of the spectrum, my sister is bringing new life into the world – due in September. For most people this is a joyous event and something I hope to do myself in the near future. But my sister wears blinders. She really flies-by-the-seat-of-her-pants. She’s a good person but just not a planner like her older sister. Her son has just turned 15. He’s a good kid but medicated and has a host of disorders defined by letters. This is mostly genetic. My sister herself is bipolar.

Her choice to get pregnant was that it was finally time, and she was in a good financial place. But she chose not to notice that she is just barely financially stable and that she really can’t stand her husband, who has a host of things going on himself. In order to get pregnant, she went off the medication to treat her disease. Then through a series of unfortunate events, lost her job.

I will admit this has affected my choices to become pregnant. Since there’s so much going on there, it’s hard for me to do the same and be happy about it, or for the rest of the family to be happy about it. I’ve always been my sister’s keeper. As I love her dearly, at the same time I am tired. It’s also very hard on the rest of the family – three other sisters and our parents. My mom is a worrier and has the blood pressure to prove it. One other sister has been going through her own changes in life – most recently health issues. Thankfully it turned out not to be Leukemia, as was a possibility, but instead good old-fashioned mono. She mirrors her big sister in work hours – too many of them!

The last thing about my birthday is that each March brings a reminder of an old friend’s birthday – exactly two weeks before mine. His mother and mine were good friends before we were around. There are pictures of us as babies, toddlers and young kids. I moved to a different town in third grade and didn't see him as often after that. His mom still came to Bridge night but he typically stayed at home. When I was 17, he took his own life. I had a great deal of teen angst and often wondered if I could just give up. I could never have gone through it. In reality, I just needed a good vacation. I often wonder what happened for him to be at a point in his life to do this. There was speculation of many things: that a former teacher of his was accused of molesting students and he might have been involved. Or possibly he had received a lower grade than expected (I believe he had a 4.0 GPA and was already accepted to School of Mines as a high school junior). Or that he simply had a shortcircuit in his body chemestry. There were no other indications, no signs.

Several years later, his mother succumbed to cancer that slowly took over her whole body. She was a wonderful person. No one deserves to lose a child this way and then lose her own life to such a horrid disease, but she deserved it the least. I think of her daughter and her husband left behind. I don't think my mother is in touch anymore but I hope that their lives are really good to them now.

The quote at the beginning of this post struck a chord with all these thoughts swirling around in my head. It’s a WB show about teen angst but the script writer has it spot on. And it doesn’t hurt hearing it spoken in the deep Texas voice of one of my favorite actors.

Life is a journey. You might as well eat cheetos in the car, take lots of pictures along the way, and maybe have a birthday party or two at McDonalds.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's March 18 - do you know where your snow shovel is?

It's that time of year and we're about due for a biggie. The setup is right - rain due to start this afternoon, turning to snow overnight. Okay mother nature - what's the plan?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Tuft-butt season

In many parts of the country, the Groundhog may signal the coming of Spring. Here, it’s big tufts of white and brown fur everywhere. Yup, it’s tuft-butt season when our brown dog/German Shepherd mix Sarah-dog blows her coat. She has gorgeous fur - a marble of red, brown, white, tan. The birds love it too, lining the nest with her brushing piles from the yard. The cats are not so fond of it —especially when I give them little dog hair wigs. Now there's a picture for "Stuff on my cat." BA HA HA HA! [Yes, they will smother me in my sleep...]

Thursday, March 09, 2006

George Clooney and dreams

And now, on a lighter note... (I do have several blogs started but not finished - damn work ... damn taxes ... damn life).

I need to start writing down my dreams. This morning I dreamed I was watching a movie at someone's house and George Clooney slipped some drugs into my drink or food. It was speed but in the dream I was a slug. I decided I needed to walk it off and Jason Alexander was there. He was helping me and saying that was really uncool of George.


I sometimes try to figure out where this comes from and if there is a message. In the past I have had dreams that are foretelling things to come. Years ago I dreamt my biological Dad had died but all I got was a phone call and wasn't able to find out where he was, only that I needed to come deal with it. In the real world, the next day he called me to tell me he was getting married (to a very nice woman and they've been married ten years). I also had a very vivid apocalyptic dream on Sept. 9, 2001.

Anyway, back to George Clooney, whom I sure is a very nice guy. The drugs are probably because I have new glasses and am getting used to them (prescription changed slightly, not to mention that they actually sit in the right place on my face, which I am not used to). They do make me a little dizzy. Mr. Clooney was on the Oscars the other night. Jason Alexander was in a movie I watched over the weekend. Still don't know what it all means but it's funny to see how the brain works.