Monday, May 31, 2010

"Tan Shoes with Pink Shoe Laces"

I am not a slave to fashion and I never have been, at least not completely.  I am blessed to be able to tell if an outfit is "good" on me or not.  I don't choose expensive clothes on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, I would venture to say that most people who know me would say I am well-dressed.  I try to choose things that are somewhat classic in style but with a little bit of flair.  In one area, however, I feel compelled to follow the "rules". 

White shoes do not touch my feet until Memorial Day and they scurry back into my closet promptly on Labor Day....always!

I have no idea who made that rule or what the reason for it is, nonetheless, that's the way it is!  White belongs to summer and Memorial Day is the start of summer, there's no getting around it.  Other things depend more on temperature; tank tops, sandals, shorts, flowery prints in bright colors are part of my wardrobe whenever the temps get above 85 F.   But even if its 103 F on May 15, my shoes will not be white!

I know that some people hate white shoes on general principle, but I have always liked them.  When you live in a warm climate, white shoes are just cooler!  They don't absorb as much heat as darker colors and that's important.  Also I just think white shoes are more "summery" and fun!

Of course, there are other actions that summer requires more frequently, like pretty toes, smooth and tanned legs, lots of all know the drill.  Winter can hide a wide variety of grooming lapses!  Summer, however, gives you nothing to hide behind and its a lot of work to maintain that summer look.  The white shoes don't require a thing except occasionally a good wipe down after wearing.  Easy peasy!

So from now until Labor Day, you can pretty much expect to see me in white shoes, even if they turn out to be just Keds!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"

For all the men and women who came marching home,
and most especially, for all those who didn't.... 


And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.    
                                                                                                 -- Lee Greenwood


Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Bits and Pieces" (ad infinitum)

Just a few things that have crossed my mind or my desk lately....

1.   Grayleym, Bastian, and Hendrix --  Law Firm??  Ice Skating moves??  The next "Idol" competitors???  Nope!  Not even close.  These are the FIRST names of three little boys (ages 2, 5, 6) in one family!  The poor kids!!  What were their parents thinking??? 

2.   In order to replace my glasses with just new lenses (same frames, just new lenses) with the new perscription, it will cost me $340  (after insurance payment)through the physician-owned Vision Center we use.  (Still can't figure out why so much!)  So, I opted to put off purchasing said lenses!  Today, I received a birthday greeting from them.  In addition to their best wishes they are "pleased" to offer me a discount on my next services from them.... of ....[drumroll please]....$20.00.  WOW!  A whole 6%!  Golly gee whizz, Doc!  Can you spare it?

3.  I've had an "almost cold" for the last week.  Not too many symptoms, not even anything too painful....a cough, a few sneezes, kind of achy muscles....that's all.  Well not quite all.  After five days of being "almost" sick, today I can't hear!  Again!!  I am so bloodly sick of every wayward germ in the world feeling free to just settle right into my sinuses until they are good and ready to leave!!  I mean really!  I can't hear too well as it is, getting head and sinus congestion just turns my world into a soundless, muffled, annoying place and I have had ENOUGH!  Go away, you little varmints!  And don't come back! 

4.  This is just curiosity, but have you noticed how many Mormon families have blogs??  Is it a new part of the Mormon Missionary work?  For the most part, there is no prosletizing and collectively they seem like a pretty contented bunch, but it strikes me as slightly surprising.  Along the same lines, a lot of infertile couples write about their struggles and triumphs.  Some of which is pretty personal stuff.  It's good for these families to have a place to talk about their frustrations and all, but it strikes me as slightly surprising.  (And yes, I do understand why I end up seeing so many on the same subjects.   It's just that the numbers surprise me.)

5.   I don't know how or why it got started, but when I was a fairly little girl (maybe 5 or 6?) I began to collect salt and pepper shakers.  My whole family would send me cute ones or or funny ones or souvenier ones from across the country. The collection got pretty large over the years (around 150 pairs!) and it got packed up and moved, unpacked, and displayed many times (we moved a lot.) Unfortunately when I was 17, my folks separated for a while.  A very small town in Florida in 1963 was not the place for a suddenly single mom to try to support 2 kids on her own.  So when it was just my mom, Little Sis and I, we moved from Florida back to Chicago (my uncle and his wife came down to get us) in just a VW bus and a U-Haul. There wasn't a lot of room and choices had to be made. So the salt and pepper collection didn't make the cut.   At 17 I was pretty miserable about the whole thing, so not taking the collection didn't matter too much to me then,  but since then I have often wished there had been another something we could have culled instead.   I wonder what ever happened to them?

6.  Does this ever happen to you?  I got a call from the Big Guy this afternoon, saying that suddenly a crown that he has had for a number of years had come off without warning.  Well of course it did!  It was Friday afternoon on the holiday weekend while he still had to work tonight, why wouldn't his tooth pick that precise time to complicate his life??    It happens a least to us.  Cars break down on weekends.  Unexplained pains occur in the middle of the night on a Saturday.  The nights that your hubby is clear across the country on a business trip, is the time the washing machine overflows, you find a mouse in your pantry, and your mother-in-law who doesn't like you, makes a surprise visit!!!  The universe has some sense of humor!  Ha. Ha.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Do You Believe in Magic?"

Once upon a time very long ago (um....1967) in a land far, far away (um....Chicago), there was a girl called Melly who one day met a Prince.  Melly and the Prince fell instantly in love and before long they were married, bringing them great joy!  Unfortunately Melly and the Prince came from a very poor kingdom and had very little money of their own.  Melly didn't even have much of a dowry (um....just shoes, a girl can never have enough shoes!)   Soon, Melly and the Prince found their very own very tiny castle that they could afford in a building with several other castles ( was more of a castle condominium).  In order to provide for his new bride, the Prince had to go off on a Quest (um...get a job!), leaving Melly to try to fill her days by making their castle into a showplace (um....a low-budget but cute apartment).

Although it really would have helped, no fairy godmother or Rumplestilskin appeared to wave a wand giving their tiny 4 room castle instant luxury  ( emergency makeover).  There was no troop of happy Munchkins (um....Little People) to whistle while they worked.  Poor Melly and her Prince had to do it all on their own, so in between his quests, the Prince painted, varnished, tiled, and remodeled to Melly's exacting specifications.  Melly supervised (um....was next to useless in actually doing any of the work!) 

About the only thing Melly contributed (um....was capable of) was shopping.  She did have a flair for decorating (um....finding cheap knock-offs).  She  bought the perfect accessories (um....what they could afford) like beautiful works by the Old Masters ( posters), imported china (um....dishes made in China) delightful stemware ( glasses) from a new place call "Tarjshay" (....okay, okay, so it was Target.  geesh!)

She travelled  far and wide and found exotic and magical treasures like exquisite chandeliers, an etegierre, hand-woven Persian carpets and the piece de resistance an old, gilt looking glass(um....bought a few cheap lamps, some shelves, a throw rug, and a mirror).

It was to this home their own precious little Princess was born to great rejoicing.  In the end their tiny castle home served them well for a long time, but it was only the first of many abodes that Melly and the Prince shared over the years.  They eventually moved to bigger and better kingdoms where both their finances and castles improved over time.  As a result, bit by bit, Melly's first treasures (um....bargain basement stuff) disappeared and were replaced.  Finally, after a few decades, nothing was left of the original accessories -- except the mirror. 

The looking glass, although lovely ( didn't fall apart no matter how often Melly and the Prince found new castles and new kingdoms (um....houses and cities).  The old mirror found a new  place to hang and all was well.  Somehow Melly never could part with the mirror.  She never really understood why exactly.  It didn't talk to her, or show her the future, or give her the winning lottery numbers!  (Hmf....what do you think this is?  A Fairy Tale??)  So she eventually concluded it was just an ordinary, plain, boring mirror.  But still she took it with them.

After many decades Melly realized that the Prince wasn't a prince every single minute of every single day.  She realized she wasn't always right.  She realized they didn't live in a castle.  She realized that no matter what kingdom they were in great wealth would never be theirs.  But their life had been a mostly happy one, their little Princess grew into a wonderful person with a little Princess of her own.  Yes, Melly and the Prince had a good life, some ups, some downs, no magic, no tragedy, just like everyone else. 

The only magic that ever showed up was in that old looking glass after all.  It was just a little bit of magic that took years for Melly to notice.  That old mirror defied all laws of physics, or light, or something because everytime she passed it, she saw her own reflection, and that reflection made her look thin and younger and beautiful (um....well, thinner anyway!)  She would NEVER get rid of that mirror, because every one needs a little magic in their lives, even if its just an old cheap mirror that distorts what it reflects!  It's not exactly "mirror, mirror on the wall," but that's okay.  After all, a little magic is better than no magic at all.  Right?  "Do You Believe in Magic?"  If not, come on over, I've got a mirror I want you to see!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Great Balls of Fire"

I'm pretty sure that by now, you have all realized that I am NOT a domestic goddess!  Don't like to cook.  Vacuuming is a major pain.  I hate all those repetative chores.  I don't do crafts.  I'm not a seamstress. I despise grocery shopping.  None of it!  Not my thing.   (You could, I guess, just say I'm lazy, but I'd rather be thought of as pursuing my bliss....and my bliss doesn't include dishpan hands!!)

I do realize that there are certain things that must be least occasionally.  In fact, I did all of those things.....fairly frequently over the course of the years, but I didn't like it!  There is, however, one thing that absolutely MUST be done unless you are a hermit living in a cave.  Laundry!  There inevitably comes a day (generally several times a month) when you are completely out of clean underwear....and so is every other member of your household!  You do the laundry.

I've done a lot of laundry in my lifetime.  I remember helping mom hang wet clothes on the clothesline and then collecting same when dry as soon as I was tall enough!  When I I hit about 12, ironing became my chore.  It was a big deal, we (well, I) ironed  my mom's dresses, my school uniforms, my dad's shirts, and all flat work (handerchiefs, sheets and pillowcases).  I didn't mind ironing too much, at least I got to sit down while I was doing it!  When permanent press was brought into the world, I rejoiced!  By the time I was a senior in high school all the laundry was my job, while mom worked.  I hated that because I had to go to the laundromat and people could see me fold my dad's underwear!!!  EWW!  How embarrasing!

After I got married, of course, all the laundry fell to me.  Baby clothes, mommy clothes, and daddy clothes, several times a week.  It seemed like I was always having to do laundry.  Another milestone day in my life was the day we bought our very own washer and dryer!!  No more laundromat!!  I could do it from the privacy and comfort of my own home!  Wow!  We were finally livin' high!

But it was still laundry.  Of course, once the baby stopped throwing up and pooping on everything in sight, things got somewhat better.  Nevertheless, it was basically an un-ending chore.  Now that its just the Big Guy and me and I'm not working, there's not nearly as much.  This is good.  Even better, is the fact that the Big Guy has begun doing a lot of his own laundry.  There are several reasons for that, but the end result is that I have less laundry to do.  Yay!

But I still have laundry to do.  Darn stuff, just keeps on piling up.  I can try to ignore it, but that's pointless.  Sooner or later comes the day when I'm out of clean underwear!  (Of course, I don't always wait until that time, but its funnier to say that I do!!  --  LOL!)

The other day I was contemplating doing some laundry (no urgency, I still had clean stuff !)  I don't know how or why it happened, but I started to think about how much time laundry takes and that it really eats up a lot of time.  So I tried to add it up.  How much time is taken up with laundry?

Well, I decided there was no way to count it up accurately, the best I could do was estimate.  So I figured that ON AVERAGE, the time it takes to do the laundry (4 loads:  gathering, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away) is a bit less than 2 hours. 

Here's what I came up with (again using averages):

Laundry:  3x/month @ 2 hours each = 72 hours/ year

Starting at age 14 to present day = 50 years

50 Years @ 72 hours/year = 3,600 hours

24 hours/day into 3,600 hours = 150 days

30 days = 1 month

150 days divided by 30 = 5 MONTHS!!  5 MONTHS!!   5 MONTHS!!! 


"Goodness gracious, Great Balls of Fire!!"

No wonder I hated it! That's nearly half a year!!  Gone. Used up. Wasted. Erased. Eradicated.  Forever!!  Unbelievable. And no end in sight!  Well, Crap!

Oops, gotta go, the dryer just buzzed....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"I Fought the Law and the Law Won"

Or did it??  Decide for yourself:

Many, many years ago back in Chicago, when I first went to work in a hospital, times were different.  Hospitals had much more structured and rigid rules back then, especially regarding patient visitors.  In order to enforce the rules and keep the patients and staff in line, the Security Department was made up mostly of older Irish gentlemen who were retired Chicago Police Officers.  Retired or not, in their hearts, they would always be policemen.  And they acted like it!

The chief of Security at St. Joseph Hospital was named Mr. McCarthy and he was an Irish cop all the way down to his toes!   You didn't mess with McCarthy or his men.  They were alumnae of "Chicago's Finest" and they were in charge!  (Well, of course, the only thing they were really in charge of was letting people in and out of the building and keeping the peace when a patient or family member had a meltdown.)  The Hospital was never a hotbed of crime or mayhem, so the old timers really didn't have all that much to do.  But give them a "situation" and they reverted to 100% hard-nosed cops, at least some of them, and especially Mr. McCarthy!!

Now this was in 1967 or 68 and the world had already begun to change out of all recognition.  Haight-Ashbury in S.F. was drawing in kids by the carload.  Long hair on guys was the norm.  Music and politics and lifestyles were changing more each day.  People like Mr. McCarthy didn't like it, didn't understand it, and wouldn't accept it.  So they did their very best to ignore it and maintain the status quo.  It was a difficult time for these older folks and they weren't adjusting at all well.

Now I must digress for a bit and explain.  The Secruity Office was right at the hospital entrance from the parking lot, so they were able to screen visitors before they ever entered the building.  It was also the entrance where the Big Guy would pick me up after work every day.  (We only had one car at the time.)  There were some seats just inside the entrance where I could sit and read or watch the comings and goings while I waited.

There was a particular day that I will never forget.  It was a very hot summer day in Chicago and I was sitting in my usual spot.  As I watched a man and a woman (probably his mother or an older aunt) came up the walk.  The woman had on a nice summer dress and looked just fine.  The young man, on the other hand, was about 23, he had hair to his shoulders and a not-too scraggly-looking beard.   He was dressed in cut-offs (not particularly short but above the knees), sandals, and a sleeveless, scoop-necked multi-colored t-shirt.  His hairy arms, upper chest and back were bare and visible to the world.  He looked clean, cool, and comfortable.

Mr. McCarthy didn't like that at all.  He refused to let the young man enter the hospital.  He stated that only people dressed decently were allowed entry, sort of an extension of the "No shoes, no shirt, no service" mind-set.  McCarthy said that he wasn't decently covered!  Well, as you might expect, the young man began to argue, insisting that he was wearing a shirt.  Not as far as McCarthy was concerned.  Nope!

The woman very calmly joined the argument, insisting that they be allowed entry.  Mr. McCarthy had no problem with the woman entering, but the young man could not enter unless he was decently clothed.  McCarthy wasn't crazy about the shorts, but he would not tolerate the "shirt".  The discussion went back and forth for a bit, and tempers began to rise....nothing out of hand, but they were all getting a little red in the face, and the voices were getting louder.  After about 10 minutes or so of arguing, McCarthy finally prevailed and the young man and the woman gave up and turned around and went back to their car.

I was sitting there watching the whole thing.  I, of course, felt McCarthy was over-reacting and while I didn't say anything, I thought the whole thing was ridiculous.  The man had on a shirt and pants....different from McCarthy's idea of decent and covered....still there was nothing indecent or shocking about them at all.  I sat there mentally shaking my head and thinking that McCarthy was a fool and too impressed with himself by far.

The young man "fought the 'law' and the law won!"  McCarthy triumphed and, truth be told, I could see him gloating with his staff in his glassed-in office.  Never mess around with a cop!!

I went back to reading my book.

Ten minutes later, I could see the young man and the woman were returning to the entrance.  McCarthy saw them too and came back out of the office.  I wish I had had a camera then, because I am never going to be able to do justice to the "adjustment" the young man had made. 

He still had on his shorts, sandals, and sleeveless shirt.  However, over the top of the outfit he was now wearing what was obviously a woman's sheer, frilly, negligee in a lovely shade of baby blue!!  Really!! The robe was clearly too small.  The sleeves only went as far as his elbows, it was straining at the shoulder seams, he couldn't close the front of the robe, and it ended at his knees.  There were ruffles around the neck, all down the front, and around the sleeves, and the material was completely sheer and see-through.  His shorts and shirt were totally visible.  Actually,  the negligee was very pretty, but that didn't keep it from being ridiculous and hysterically funny!! 

As they came up to McCarthy, the young man held out his arms and said, "Better?"  McCarthy just nodded and let them enter.  I don't think he could speak.  The letter of the law had been observed, but the young man was a LOT more conspicuous and outrageous than he ever would have been had McCarthy not drawn the line in the sand.  I was laughing out loud, I couldn't help it.  The man and woman went on to visit whomever they were there to see.  McCarthy went back to his office scowling. And I just sat there and laughed and laughed.

Poor McCarthy, he was basically a nice man, but he never learned to choose his battles!

"I Fought the Law and the Law Won."  Not quite!! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Rainy Days and Mondays"

And when it's Monday and it is raining cats, dogs, and elephants, that REALLY gets me down!!  I had been out today, as I have been for the last few months, to take M-t-G to her violin lesson.   Afterward, I had taken her back to her house and stayed till her mom came home from work.  It was right around the beginning of rush hour....never a good time to be out and about in Austin, trust me.

So I ran a couple of small errands, then went to get some dinner as a means for killing some time so that I wouldn't have to deal with the heaviest traffic getting home.  For a town the size of Austin, the amount of traffic can be unbelievable!  At about 6:30 I thought I'd have missed the worst of it so I decided to head for home.  All day it had been sunny, then a little cloudy, then back to sunny, but it was dry.....until I decided to head home.

While I was having my dinner, an enormous bank of black rain clouds had moved into the area.  I hadn't driven two blocks, when the rain started.  Of course, the ominous looking clouds moved northwest right along with me but the rain didn't get any heavier.  I thought I just might make it all the way home before it really let go.  WRONG!  The last three miles of the journey is when the deluge hit.  The big ugly clouds came to rest right over the area where I live....and it poured!  There was thunder and lots of lightning very close by.   It sounded like there might have been some hail, but I couldn't see any.  In truth, nobody could see much of anything!  For once most drivers had the good sense to slow waaaay down.  We had to, we couldn't see the road!  Or each other!!  It was a tad scary!

I've lived in places that frequently have pretty heavy rains (FL, CA), but today felt like the worst I had ever driven in.  I now know how Noah must have felt on the ark.  It was coming down so hard with so much water that the streets began to look like lakes....long, skinny, lakes  (some people might have said rivers, but not me, to me they were lakes---mostly because I didn't think of "rivers" before I thought of "lakes"!  lol!)

Anyway, I finally made it to my house and got safely inside the garage without having to row!  But it continued to rain, thunder, lightning, for another hour....still seeming stalled right over my house!  In fact, I think it's still sprinkling a bit now. 

I believe it's time to switch songs.  OK, all together now, "Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day."  Please?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Take a Little Trip"

Yesterday wasn't a very exciting day, I didn't really do anything fun.  The Big Guy was dealing with the broken water heater (no hot water for 4 days!!)   I have found over the years that when the Big Guy is working on home repairs (which he does really well) it's best to just get out of the house for the duration.  He does great work, but it is NEVER a quick, quiet little fix-it!  There is usually a great deal of swearing and yelling and the occasional flying tool.  So I went sat in the shade, to drink iced tea and read. 

But I digress....The repair wasn't an easy job mainly because the water heater is pretty difficult to get at.  I have seen some pretty stupid decisions made by home builders, but they outdid themselves with this house....the hot water heater is in the attic!!  The attic is accessible only by one of those fold down ceiling ladder thingies.  How insane is that???  Seriously, who puts a hot water heater in an inaccessible attic???  I have no idea how they even got the dang thing up there!  They must have put the heater in when the house was nothing more than studs and then built the rest of the house around it!!  God help us if we ever have to replace it.  I think we'd have to tear down a ceiling in order to get the old one out and put the new one in!!

Well anyway, he got it done and I came back home and we proceeded to have a quiet little evening at home.  We thought.

About 9:15 pm, Ratchlet called.  Nothing unusual in that.  So I answered and she said, "Hi!  Whatcha doing?"  That seemed a little bit odd, for that time of night. "Not much," I answered, "just toodling around on the computer.  Why?" 

"Weeeelllllll," she said, with a bit of a giggle in her voice, "we are up at IKEA and we have a little problem."  [I could hear M-t-G laughing in the background and saying, "we need back-up!"]

She said they were able to get their purchases (a couple of large bookcases and a cabinet) into their car.....but there was no place left for her and M-t-G to sit.  Could we, maybe, please, come to get them so that T.A. could drive the "stuff" home???

Well, of course we could!  So we took a few minutes to make ourselves presentable again and off we went to "take a little trip".  

When we got there, we found that they were not the only ones having transportation problems!  There were two woman (probably mother and daughter) who had this big ole Budget rent-a-truck, but the ramp on the truck was unusuable, so they couldn't get their purchases in the truck.  And, boy, did they have purchases!!  I was told they had 2 "new" kitchens and something else large scale.  If you are familar with IKEA, you know that much of their stuff is modular, disassembled, and do-it-yourself, so these women must have had over 50 boxes holding all the different pieces.  Now I'm not talking shoe boxes.  Nuh-uh!  They had six of IKEA's flatbed carts loaded up with stuff.  There were a couple of boxes that could have used a few burly men to lift!!  Those suckers were heavy. The other boxes were large scale, and awkward, and not quite as heavy, but heavy enough!

T.A., Ratchlet and M-t-G were already helping when we got there, so the Big Guy proceeded to help too.  Now even with four of them (I didn't do much of anything) and the two women, it still took about 40 minutes to get everything they bought into the truck!!!  If my family hadn't helped, I don't know what those women would have done!  The store was already closed and there was no one else around. 

So they finally got it all into the truck, we said our good-byes and were on our way.  M-t-G and Ratchlet came with us and we drove them to their house.  Then, T.A. and the Big Guy unloaded their stuff (not exactly light weight either!!)    It was waaaay past M-t-G's bedtime and they were all pretty worn out, so we didn't stay very long.  By this time it was about 11:15 or so.

The Big Guy and I were a bit peckish so we stopped at an IHOP  on the way and had something to eat, before we completed the rest of the trip back to our house.  We got home at about 12:45 a.m.

Now that little junket took over 3 hours and put 70 miles on my car!!  70 miles!  Why? How??  Because we live at the very NORTHWESTERN-most tip of Austin.  The IKEA store is at the very NORTHEASTERN-most suburb of Austin.  R, T, & M live at the very SOUTHWESTERN-most tip of Austin.  Luckily about 75% of the driving was on the highway.  I'm not complaining, you understand, it was what you do when your family needs help.  We'd do a lot more than "take a little trip" to help our daughter when she needs it!  We really didn't mind at all.

Nevertheless, it does explain how I managed to put close to 55,000 miles on my not quite 3 1/2 year old car!!   Austin is fairly small-sized city, but it sure ain't a small town!!  After all, you can "take a little trip" and never even leave town!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"I'm Back in the Saddle Again"

Well, actually I'm nowhere near a saddle, but the general idea is still true. 

Thank you to all my wonderful cyber-friends who visited and left me such encouraging comments.   You have made me feel better about how and what I write about.  Sooo, I have pulled myself back out of the Slough of Despond (Good call Cass!  Pilgrim's Progress is, indeed, the source) and will face the keyboard once again.....tomorrow. 

If you haven't already discovered them, please go visit these lovely ladies, they are truly the BEST!!

Cass at That Old House

Susan at Back Door Logic

Beth at C. Beth Blog

Dee at LookUpToday

Thanks you guys!!  I'm grateful!!

So while I'm not actually in the saddle (or even near one) right now, I expect that I will be ready to ride tomorrow....or maybe the next day....

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Is That All There Is?"

Warning:  This is yet another trip into the Slough of Despond.

I really am amazed by all the bloggers that I follow and come across, who post everyday.  So many bloggers have wonderful and interesting hobbies, collections, babies, photographs, even shoes!  They always find something to say and they usually make me smile, or laugh, or nod my head in agreement. Sometimes they make me feel sad, or envious, or even a little upset.  I have found so many really impressive writers out there, really talented writers that are sharing their talents with the rest of us.  Humor, pathos, deep thoughts, and life experiences, each writer better than the one before.  I love reading them all!

The common denominator (how do you spell that word?!)...uhn...thread that these wonderful writers all seem to have is the writing every day.  Every single day!  I envy that ability, because I sure don't have it!  I consider myself lucky these days if I manage a couple of posts a week!

In years past, back when the only way to share was in person-to-person conversation, if I was relating some event or other, I was never 100% sure that I hadn't told that person the story before.  So I always aplogized if it was a repeat and stated that I only really had about 12 stories in my history that were worth telling.  Ha Ha, silly me!

So here I am having the audacity to have a blog where lots....well, a few of you stop by to read what I have to say every day!  And I don't have anything to say most of the time!  It makes me feel bad, sort of like I'm reneging on a promise.  I think and ponder and try to come up with a topic worth writing about.  Unfortunately, lately, I come up with postings that just irritate some of you or, even worse, I end up with zip, zilch, nada, bupkis.....a big nothing! 

I am afraid that I have told all 12 of my stories worth telling, and now I have to wonder, "Is That All There Is?" 

12 stories isn't much to show for a lifetime.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"The Friendly Beasts"

I don't like liver.  I don't like freezing weather.  I don't like hip hop music.  And I don't like cats.  Most people would not care about the liver, the weather, or the music; but the cats??   Oh no, that's a whole other story!  Cat people will jump all over me for daring to shudder when I think about a cat....any cat!

Every cat person I've ever encountered likes their cats better than most people they know!!  Cat people have been hypnotized by a little bit of purring and a few funny efforts to catch a string!   So what??  That is just too little reward for putting up with all the rest of their annoying personalities.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who like cats and those who don't.  People who don't like cats, don't like ANYTHING about them!!  However, the people who do like cats, usually ADORE their cats, often owning more than one.  As long as you don't end up like the little old woman with 37 cats living in a 2 room apartment, I guess that's okay.  I just won't be over to visit anytime within this lifetime! 

People who really like cats absolutely cannot understand why anyone wouldn't like cats.  Well, there are tons of reasons....they jump out at you from some hidden place and scare the living crap out of you....they walk all over kitchen counters and tables during meal time....they spend an inordinate amount of time licking their hairy little bodies, including all the private bits, then they jump on your chair and want to lick YOU....ewww.... they will then proceed to hack up some disgusting goop that cat owners swear is "just" a little hairball,  yeah, right!....they are always begging to go outside where they are known to kill other living things, the little savages....they claw furniture, upholstery, drapes, cabinets, carpets, and small children....they hiss at you!! (well, they hiss at me!!!)....they eat disgusting, smelly, fishy, glop that stinks up the whole house....they are secretive, aloof, self-centered, annoying creatures who don't even come when they are called.  I hate people like that, why would I want to be snubbed by some fuzzy feline who sheds all over me??

Nevertheless, that is just me, I guess.  Heck, my very own sister has multiple cats!!  (Oh, Little Sis, where did we go wrong??)  But hey, it's "live and let live" right?  I don't get the attraction of cats, but as long as I don't have them in my house, I can pretty much ignore their existence in the world. 

HOWEVER, sometimes they refuse to be ignored and they feel free to encroach on MY fenced backyard.  For those who might never have been around cats, you might not realize that there is no fence ever built that cannot be climbed by a determined cat.  The critters are light on their feet, I'll give them that.  They can practically leap straight up from a standing position and land on the top of an 8 ft. fence that is only about 2 in. wide, and they do it easily.

Well today, one of those predatory, nearly feral creatures, waltzed right into my yard and proceded to STALK our little bunny visitor!!!!  Luckily I just happened to walk by the back door and caught the cat in mid-stalk.  As soon as I opened the door, the interloper was off like a shot and disappeared back over the fence.  But I can't spend all my time out in back warding off the unwanted cat!

It isn't yet clear whether our little bunny is here as a permanent resident  or just passing through.  Either way, he/she is welcome!  I would like to be able to offer a safe haven to our little friend without the interference of a big ol' uninvited cat twice his size.

Neighbors, can't your cat go stalk somebody else?   Or better yet, please just keep your cats at home!  Our bunny is one of "The Friendly Beasts" and is welcome here for as long as he likes, but he won't stay if that cat keeps hanging around too!  'Cuz I seriously doubt the bunny likes cats any more than I do!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"Mona Lisa"

Austin is a very active town.  With the University, and the State Capital, and the number of music performance venues and events, plus all the organizations that sponsor 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathons, there is ALWAYS something to do in Austin.  Some of the events are pretty straightforward and traditional like the races and concerts, some are more quirky like the Kite Festival, Eeyore's Birthday, and SXSW (South By Southwest - a uniquely Austin music event).  And those are just a few.  Weekends are chock full of events in various parts of the city and that is pretty cool.

Like most folks who live here, we don't go to everything!  In fact, the events that we actually attend are few and far between.  But the events go on without us very well! 

Through a quirk of scheduling the last two weekends we managed to attend events during both.  Its also kind of odd, considering how few we go to, that both weekends, we went to Art Festivals.  The one last week was the "fine arts" one sponsored by the Austin Arts Alliance.  This weekend was the Pecan Street Arts and Crafts Festival. 

I don't know if these kinds of shows are prevalent all across the country, but they had them in CA and now here.  Its the kind of thing that takes place in a park or by blocking off streets and having artist booths all lined up in the streets with food booths and entertainment stages thrown in.We first discovered this kind of festival when we lived in CA. 

The one last weekend was a juried show with an entrance fee.  The exhibitors were by invitation only, so the quality of the artwork displayed for sale, was quite high.  This weekend's was free and open to any vendor.  It tended more to crafty kinds of things like jewelry, stained glass, and really odd combinations of items like sun-catchers and hummingbird feeders, ceramics, and leather goods. 

Last weekend's show was a lot smaller, but nicely spread out over the street that was blocked off, not crowded at all.  We saw some beautiful pieces and several that we would have loved to have purchased, had we had a little more "discretionary" funds hanging around.  Of course the numbers of attendees were smaller too, making it easy to get to each booth and to linger looking at their work. 

This weekend's was HUGE, probably the largest we have ever been to.  According to their website, the Pecan Street event's attendence is usually around  (take a deep breath) 300,000 people over two days!!   I couldn't swear to it, of course, but I am pretty sure that all 300,000 were there this afternoon!!  It was packed, curb to curb people....and their dogs!  It was hot, crowded, and very, very loud. 

[Aside:  Why, oh why, do so many bands insist on keeping their speakers cranked up to a nearly intolerable level??  I love music, really I do, but not when it is so loud that I get an instant headache!]

Last week we saw just about every booth and explored almost the whole thing in about 2 1/2 hours.  Today, we only lasted about an hour and only got to about a third of it.  Then we went off and had a lovely lunch at the historic Driskoll Hotel.

Unfortunately we didn't come across an undiscovered "Mona Lisa" or a discounted Rodin sculpture at either event and so we came home empty handed.  Ahh, well, maybe next year!

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