Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Sometimes a girl just needs to try on shoes. Not necessarily buy, just try. In Tucson there is this fab store called DSW Shoes. As you walk in the door, you are greeted by a decorative metal structure hanging from the ceiling. It's hung with shoes and shiny things! To keep all of you in suspense, you have to wait until tomorrow to see if we bought anything.
Nothing beats stress and makes you laugh til you nearly fall on your ass better than trying on a pair of four inch heel platform gladiator sandals with a zipper up the heel closure. Girls, as they say in the song, know how to have fun.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Over My Head

My new roof is so very lovely. I need to sweep up the mess in the garage from them installing a new ridge vent. Now, I would expect, a dead mouse wouldn't smell so bad due to the increased air flow. The extremely cute roofing company guy says I need more insulation in my attic. I gave him a check today, so I probably won't see him again. Did I mention how cute he is? Anyone have any ideas about roof questions or concerns I could continue to call him about? He is pretty darn cute. Maybe I could tear off a few shingles, blame it on high winds, and he could come over and fix it. Just call me pitiful with a capital P. With a spiffy roof. I'm gonna miss the cutie-pie roofing guy. Sigh.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thank You, Steven Spielberg

Brody: I used to hate the water.

Hooper: I can't imagine why.

At the very end of the movie Jaws, this snippet of a longer conversation between police chief Martin Brody and marine biologist Matt Hooper takes place as they are paddling back to shore after the spectacular demise of the good ship Orca. Land doesn't begin to be in view, around them is only water. They are surrounded by a gentle blue ocean. Earlier in the movie, Brody is reluctant to go out on a boat, citing his dislike, nay fear, of the water. He doesn't seem worried about the possibility of doing battle with a great white shark on the shark's home, well, turf. His big concern is the water. I can identify. For a number of years, I've been pretty much convinced that I harbor a fear of flying. Until last week, I hadn't flown since February of 1987. You do the math. For reasons I can't recall, I needed two very large margaritas to get on that plane. In the years since then, there was no pressing need to hop on an airplane. We did road trips. Which I love. And most recently, I have greatly enjoyed putting nearly 30,000 miles on the Subaru in the three years since I bought her. But last week, barely ten days ago, the tears in my dear sister's voice as she described our Mother's most recent health setback said very clearly that I may not have time to drive. Just hours later I had purchased an airline ticket. I was at my mother's bedside the next evening. Mom pulled through. Now that I'm home, I am so happy that I spent more of the time with Mom and Martine than I spent on the road. I still love road trips. In fact, I'm planning a drive to Atlanta in June with the younger son. I used to hate the thought of flying. And now, I can't imagine why.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello and Goodbye

Normally, if I drink four beers, I'm pretty messed up. But I grabbed a six pack of the cute little 7 oz bottles by mistake. I don't even have to pee yet! I am typing from my sister's dining table in Tucson, AZ. Made a quick trip down here last Friday, quick because I flew for the first time in over twenty years. Flying was pretty okay. It's been a difficult few days, I'm here to see Mom, whose health is on the decline. Little sis Martine and I took care of arrangements to transfer Mom from the hospital to a nursing home where she will be receiving hospice care. Meaning, no more trying to beat the cancer that she's been battling for three years. No more badgering her to take part in physical therapy that would help her recover from hip replacement surgery. Just comfort care. Meaning whatever she wants to eat, if only she would take an interest in eating. And meds to ease her pain. She has a beautiful view out her window of bright, flowering desert plants. But she mostly watches ESPN and asks when football season will start. She could linger at this stage for weeks, even months. This time is bittersweet, a long goodbye. I expect when I leave here on Thursday I will not see my mother alive again. I am enjoying Martine's company, even while we do nothing special, and marvel over how grown up my nephew is. Tomorrow we'll bring Mom a grilled cheese sandwich, a request made today that she may not remember tomorrow. And if it isn't raining, we'll go to Catalina State Park to see the desert in bloom. The desert is coming to life as Mom fades away.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yet Another Test

The definitive diagnostic test for carpal tunnel syndrome is something called a nerve conduction study. If you are casually approached and offered this test, say no! No, no, no! It was very, very, very unpleasant. And I say this in light of the fact that I had my teeth cleaned yesterday afternoon. Ouch.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This is Only a Test...

Four days and five posts in a row and no comments! How could this be? Where are my alleged fans? At least fifty of you have been here in the last week! Why are you so quiet? Ed, where are you? And where is the dandelion guy? This is where I allow myself a teensy little mope...okay, all better. Don't you feel better, too?

Pavin' Paradise Post Script

How could have I forgotten that in the paving process, Mr. Neighbor Guy has removed three trees! Three! Three mature trees! Three magestic, nitrogen-fixing, shade-giving, carbon dioxide processing, oxygen producing, habitat providing trees! A pine, a maple, and whatever that flowering one on the boulevard was. I wonder if he was aware that the city actually owns the trees on the boulevard, not the adjacent property owner. That fence won't go up any too soon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pavin' Paradise

Get out of the way, the neighbor guy is paving everything in sight! If he disliked mowing the lawn so much, he could have put in some native grasses and let them naturalize. But no! In less than a week, half of the front lawn has disappeared in the wake of the expanding driveway and an approximately, I haven't actually measured, one hundred square foot slab that has replaced the front steps. In the back, a ballroom-sized patio has sprouted with a smaller sub-patio area that will feature a fireplace. Much of this work was accomplished over the weekend while his wife was conveniently away. I couldn't help but partially overhear while he was giving her the guided tour upon her return, pointing out this and that, and exclaiming how so extremely awesome and cool the yard will be upon completion. She was frowning ever so slightly and didn't seem convinced. I do hope some of this peevish pavement will be improved upon with landscaping, maybe a flower pot or two, and some tasteful outdoorsy furniture. I'm thinking, though, that the best part will be when the privacy fence goes in. If the neighbor guy is cutting his lawn mowing time in half, he may be inclined to relax out back with a beer and without a shirt. And that, boys and girls, is why they call it a privacy fence. Yours truly shall retain the right to enjoy her own backyard without viewing a parking lot without stripes. In this case, a good fence will indeed make us better neighbors.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Say It Isn't So

It is a sad day, indeed. One of my absolute favorite women has died. While I most strongly identify with her consummate modern Southern Belle character, Julia Sugarbaker, on the sitcom Designing Women, she is in real life known as the actress and singer, Dixie Carter. Ms. Carter is survived by her husband, Hal Holbrook, and two daughters. And scores of Designing Women fans like me who appreciate her portrayal of a strong, opinionated, outspoken woman who was also beautiful, feminine, and gentle. Dixie has passed from this world much too soon but Julia lives on in cable tv reruns. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I want to be Julia Sugarbaker when I grow up. I'm not there yet, it's a process.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bonus Son

This is Andrew, one of my bonus sons. I swear, I have only given birth to two children, but so many call me Mom. I love how Andrew's nose crinkles up when he laughs. He often seems like a very old soul in a young man's body. We've cooked meals together, consumed some Irish Car Bombs together, discussed how much better the world would be if there weren't so damn many vampires hanging around. I'm going to miss him so much when he moves to Minneapolis next week! But I'm also very proud of him for landing a fancy job in the big city. Blessings on you, my beamish boy, you really aren't going so very far away. And you're always in this mom's heart.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Free the Monkeys!

It's not my monkey. Everyone, repeat after me, it's not my monkey. Now admit it, you feel better! And this is why! When it's not your monkey, it's not your fault! It's not your issue, not your problem, not your responsibility, not your mess to clean up. It's not my monkey! When it is your monkey, however, you must own it! Fess up, clean it up, make it right. I offer you this mantra not to allow you to shirk your responsibilities, but as a freeing statement when others heap upon you that which is not yours. Let it go. It's not your monkey.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Read The Label!

Shocking, isn't it. The following is the list of ingredients in Kellogg's Froot Loops cereal.


I am of the opinion that any food worth eating has five or fewer ingredients. Please read on for my revised list of ingredients for Froot Loops.

* Sugar
* Air
* Food Coloring
* Natural and artificial flavors
* Some indefinable abrasive stuff that renders the roof of your mouth raw and shredded.

Thank you, and enjoy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thought for Today

I don't expect that anything will be easy. I do expect that whatever it is that I engage in, be it work or recreation, relationships or love, that it will be worth the effort. This is something that is difficult to ascertain at the outset, something that is often determined at the conclusion. Maybe this expectation is my downfall. But it is most certainly the primary source of hope for me. At the very least, if I learn something in the process, the time and effort have been well spent. Even if I don't appreciate the lesson or the knowledge at the time. In the end, this question rings through my head: How many times do I have to go through this? And the answer echoes back: Until you get it right.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


It is of the automobile and homeowner's variety that I type. A couple of weeks ago, I answered the phone and it was Dorothy, my insurance lady. I met with her, and now that she is representing a different company, she saved me a whole bunch of money. Around five hundred bucks a year! I was happy. I wrote her a check. A little over a week later, she called again. She had mailed the check I gave her to her boss in another town, and it had not yet surfaced. I checked my bank account online to see if someone else had grabbed the check, managed to cash it, and ran. Nope. Check number 9292 had not gone through the bank. Dorothy asked me to give her another check. I said, well, if you're willing to pay the twenty-nine bucks to stop payment on the first one. She hesitated, and thought maybe we should wait a couple more days. Then she called again and made the same request, in the meantime I had called my bank and asked what my responsibility is in this particular situation. He suggested what I had, for Dorothy to pay the stop payment fee if she wanted another check. He also suggested I wait a full ten business days for the check to arrive at its destination, snail mail being what it is, meaning two weeks. I explained what my bank had recommended, and she relented and said she would pay the fee if the check had not surfaced after ten business days. Friday she called again and was overjoyed to report that the damaged envelope containing my check had been returned to her and that she would send it on to her boss. I didn't ask her if she had neglected to put a stamp on it. Despite the annoyance, it was still worth saving five hundred bucks. On a completely different take on the word insurance, I saw a man in the waiting room at the clinic last week. He was wearing both a belt and suspenders. It's not like he was wearing clown pants that were in danger of slipping off at any moment, they were normal fitting pants. Extra security or bad fashion statement? You decide. I'm busy trying to figure out what to do with this extra five hundred bucks. Maybe I'll buy some suspenders...

Friday, April 2, 2010

In The Ladies Room

The situation in the ladies room at Barnes & Noble this afternoon was, well, interesting. There are four stalls, three regular, and one handicapped. Of the three regular stalls, two were out of toilet paper. Their doors were wide open as though there was no point in attempting to use them sans papier. The handicapped stall was occupied by a young woman crying while furiously texting on her cell phone. As usual, there was a line. Yours truly, not in possession of that virtue called patience, particularly when her bladder is next to overflowing, strode to the front of the line, grabbed a paper towel from the dispenser on the way, and took possession of one of the paperless stalls. Sometimes you just gotta take charge. Oh, and they had the book I wanted.