Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Wee Bit O' Perspective

Let me just start out by saying that I would climb over my grandmother to watch Michael Jackson dance. And that I've been known to bust a move to "Thriller" while wielding a dust cloth in the privacy of my own home. And I do believe Michael Jackson's title "King of Pop" is well deserved.
But for the love of all that is right and logical in this world can we pleeeeese stop the madness now??!!!?
Is his death unfortunate? Yes.
Was it unexpected? Yes.
Did he have more great music to share with the world? Yes.
But Michael Jackson was not Gandhi or the Pope. He was not Tom Dooley or John Kennedy or Jonas Salk. He wasn't even John Lennon.
Michael Jackson was a deeply troubled (some would even say disturbed) young man whose private life contained stories as dark as the sequins on his glove were bright.
There was the obsessive surgeries which outwardly displayed his inner turmoil and personal demons.
There were the persistent allegations of child molestation.
There was the occasionally bizarre behavior, like dangling his baby over a balcony railing.
Michael Jackson absolutely changed the world of pop music, but he was also deeply flawed. In other words, he was human.
Not a god.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have lost our minds. Every TV and radio station blares endless Michael Jackson stories as though there's not another thing going on in the world that's worthy of attention. No children starving in the Sudan or Pakistan or Appalachia. No soldiers dying in Afghanistan or Iraq. No Taliban plotting new ways to defeat us in the Middle East. No 20 year old veterans struggling to heal in overcrowded, underfunded stateside VA hospitals. No Kim Jong Il threatening to lauch missiles toward Hawaii on the Fourth of July. No inner city children home for the summer who will go hungry because the school lunch was their only meal of the day. No families struggling under the pressure of a collapsing economy, trying to keep a roof over their heads and shoes on their kids. No college graduates eager to take whatever jobs they can find because they have to start paying off their exorbitant student loans. No senior citizens trying to balance prescription costs against shrinking fixed incomes who will have to do without Meals on Wheels.
Apparently, all the homeless have been housed, all the ailing have been healed and all the abused, forgotten, suffering souls in American have been saved because last week, the US House of Representatives found Michael Jackson's death to be so earth shattering that they held a moment of silence.
A moment of silence.
Not for all the soldiers who die heroically by doing things like throwing themselves on IEDs to save their platoons. Not for all the selfless firemen or policemen who died in the line of duty. Not even for the generous humanitarians who spend their lives trying to better the lives of others.
Move over, Elvis. I have a feeling we ain't seen nothing yet.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Charlie the Shorn

Last week, it was 90 degrees here and the humidity was awful. Actually, I think it was like that almost everywhere. I've been told I get crabby when it's hot and humid, but I think that's just a rumor. Charlie, however, has so much fur that he got sick, and it scared the crap out of us. So I decided that I'd get him trimmed.
This is Charlie before.

And here's Charlie after.
We can't decide if he looks more like a sealpoint Siamese cat or a black-faced sheep. Ken says he looks like he's had the Marine cut - high and tight. It never occurred to me that just his white undercoat would be left. He feels exactly like a stuffed toy now. And with all that extra fur gone, he actually has a neck! and a head that is proportionate to his body!
Sammy is not at all sure about hanging out with this new Charlie. And me - I've been the worst kind of dog mom, giggling every time I look at him. It's like I've got a whole different puppy here.
Annie was afraid he'd walk out of the groomers looking like he was wearing inappropriately tight clothing. She looked at the pictures I emailed and now she just hopes this won't make him body conscious.
Getting rid of all that fur has done one thing for sure - Charlie is bouncy and free. There's a spring in this puppy's step. Who knew Chihuahuas could benefit from makeovers?? Hmmm. Sounds like a reality show in the making, if you ask me.
Time for one stylin' chihuahua to go strut his stuff. Going to close now and go stroll around the neighborhood with our newly coiffed canine. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Squirrel In My Bed

Annie and I took Ken to see the movie "Up" last weekend. (Wonderful movie, but no one told me I'd need tissues.) In the movie, dogs wear collars which allow humans to hear what they're thinking which was hysterical. And that got me to thinking about our family's squirrel encounters.
To appreciate this squirrel story, you'll need to know three things. The first is that in addition to being extremely handy, Ken has always been very helpful when it comes to normal household chores.
When the kids were growing up, Ken would change diapers, fold a load of clothes, cook a meal - whatever I needed, he'd do it and usually without being asked. He's still that way which makes me one very lucky girl, dontcha know.
The second is that Helpful Daytime Ken does not function well at night. When this man hits the bed, every cell in his brain goes into sleep mode until the alarm goes off. Matt was crying one night shortly after we'd had him, and I asked Ken if he would go get him. Ken got out of bed, tossed his robe in the closet, slammed the door and got back into bed without ever waking up at all - and this man loved everything about being a new dad. Needless to say, I was only too happy to take care of the kids at night.
I also need to assure you that I am not the kind of wife who typically throws shoes at her husband.
One night I kept hearing a rustling sound and was sure the sounds were right there in our bedroom. I was terrified so I woke Ken up. He did a quick-like-a-blind-bunny investigation, told me it was nothing, plopped himself back into bed and firmly requested that I not bother him again.
But the scurry scurry rustle rustle noise continued so I got up, turned on all the lights and started poking around with the only weapon I could find: a coat hanger. Couldn't hear a thing. Couldn't find a thing. Ken never woke up, either.
After checking every nook and cranny of the room twice, I finally turned off the lights and got back into bed. There was no waking Ken, that's for sure, so I hung on to the coat hanger for good measure. I was exhausted but I decided the best thing to do was just stay awake in case the rustling turned into stomping, say. Or growling. Around 4AM, though, I must have dozed off.
That's when something with tiny cold feet jumped on me.
The next thing I remember is standing in the hallway screaming. There in the front bedroom window was the silhouette of a squirrel - a big hulking squirrel the size of a doberman with a tail big as a baseball bat and it was sitting on my windowsill. I was too scared to go back in the bedroom so I found a couple shoes in one of the guest bedrooms and threw one toward Ken. I yelled that there was a squirrel in the bedroom. He told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted to be left alone. Well, okay, I didn't hear the exact words he moaned into his pillow but I understood the tone of voice. Actually, he could have been saying "You've given me a concussion with that damn shoe and I need medical attention immediately," but I didn't think so.
So I threw the next shoe and that's when he spoke very clearly. And I understood alright - I understood I was mad.
I closed the door, stuffed a towel under it in case squirrels can flatten themselves and slide under doors and went downstairs. I kept thinking that a good wife wouldn't leave her poor defenseless husband alone in a room with a big, hulking squirrel with huge sharp teeth. A good wife would go rescue him no matter how afraid she was. But I wasn't a good wife at that moment. I was an exhausted wife. I was angry that Ken
never believed me the first time I told him something was in the room with us. So I told myself that if he didn't wake up in 10 minutes, I'd go try to get him up again.
Ten minutes later, the bedroom door flew open then banged closed and a bleary eyed husband came shooting down the stairs. "Squirrel!!" he yelled on his way through the house, robe flapping behind him. First he slammed around in the basement. Then he slammed around in the kitchen. Then he ran back through the living room and up the stairs brandishing a squirrel trap in one hand and a jar of peanut butter in the other.
Three things happened as a result of that morning:
A small tree squirrel got a new home in the country.
We got a new roof.
And any noise complaints I now make in the middle of the night are thoroughly investigated by an alert and attentive husband.
I'm just hoping squirrels can read. And that they like to read blogs.

PS - Ken just read this blog post. He thinks I should add that in our nearly 30 years of marriage, I've gotten him up in the middle of the night 1,378,425 times to investigate noises and that this was the first time there really was something amiss.
Like any thinking person would believe such obvious exaggeration.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reflections on the Best Dad Ever

When I was little, my dad worked at a Texaco gas station. The Texaco patch on his shirt looked exactly like the sheriffs badges I'd seen on the TV, so I thought he was really a sheriff. I would lay pillows on the floor when he came home so he could rest because mom said he worked really hard. And he was tired when he came home - my dad worked at least two jobs for many years. But no matter how tired he was or how soon he had to go to his next job, he would always take a minute to lay down on my pillows and snuggle me. I was growing up with parents who always made us feel so loved.
My dad was a truck driver for most of my life, but he was never one of those guys you'd see in greasy pants and a ratty old tshirt. Even though he worked hard and got dirty, he left the house everyday in clean work pants and a fresh shirt my mom ironed. This taught me to take pride in myself.
It was the job of my sister and I to polish Dad's shoes every night before bed. Sometimes, we'd leave notes or pictures in his shoes for him. Sometimes, though, we'd put a surprise in his shoes for him to find as he was leaving for work at 2AM and trying to be quiet. Bottle caps were our favorite shoe surprise. Bottle caps always brought a visit from the Tickle Monster when dad got home. This taught me that having a sense of humor can be the most wonderful thing.
Dad didn't always drive truck for big companies with fancy logos all over their trucks. Back then he mostly drove for small companies. So dad would make his own signs with the name of the company he was driving for. Even as a child, I knew Dad had beautiful handwriting and printing. We would sit for hours at the kitchen table watching him carefully measure out the words on posterboard and then painstakingly draw out all the letters with a black MarksALot marker. We were always very careful not to bump the table. Then we'd drive out to The Garage - a concrete block building where dad and my uncles stored their trucks, and the site of many childhood adventures - and help him put the signs on the doors of his truck. We never left until the job was done right: a beautiful, handlettered sign on each door edged by a perfect tape frame. This taught me to take pride in whatever you do and that even mundane tasks are reflections on the kind of pride you have in your work.
Dad has an interest in cars and racing that should have cosmic-ly entitled him to at least one son. Instead, he got two blond haired girls. Other than the time I used the distributor cap from his truck as a crayon holder, we pretty much grew up learning everything a brother would have learned about cars. We just did it while wearing white lacy socks and remaining clean, an homage to my June Cleaver mother. This taught me girls can learn anything - and still be girls.
When my first boyfriend broke up with me in junior high, dad consoled me by telling me I was beautiful and made me laugh by saying he'd be my boyfriend. Whenever I pulled the indignant-teenage-girl act (which was very rarely, what with me being the perfect child and all), dad would bump into me or get in my way until there was nothing else to do but laugh and stop being a witch. This taught me that with three women in the house, my father was a saint.
When the cutest customer I had at the ice cream stand one summer arrived for our first date, my parents invited him in. I was always proud of how respectful and kind my parents were to my friends, which is why all my friends loved my folks. We chatted and Dad excused himself at one point. He was gone for a bit. When he came back, he went to the hall closet and took out the card table. He smiled and brought it into the living room, asking what card game we'd like to play because we would be staying in for the evening. I was shocked. I'm sure my date handled the situation far better than I. I remember he stayed late and seemed to truly enjoy himself. My dad walked him out to the driveway at the end of the evening, and stood chatting with him for a moment. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but he shook my dad's hand before driving away. I was mortified and refused to speak to my father for a week, even when he explained that no daughter of his was going on a date with a guy who drove a van. And had bald tires. This taught me to do what you know is right - even when certain people will make you pay for it. Oh, and that sometimes I could be an unreasonable witch.
When I went to college, dad tucked Snickers bars and money into every crevice of my suitcase. Then while mom and I were getting me settled in, he scoured the campus for a mature guy he could trust to keep an eye on me in case I needed anything.
Dad was a Depression-era farm boy who loved living in the country. I remember finding him looking out the window of my first apartment in Columbus. When I asked what was wrong, he said he couldn't understand why anyone would want to live in the city. I gave him a hug. It was the first time I ever had to console my dad instead of the other way around. And it taught me that even when I'm grown up, I'm never to old or too far away to feel like daddy's little girl.
Happy Fathers Day, dad. You are still my guiding beacon for how to live a right and good life. And this little girl couldn't love you more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sartorial Challenges, Part 1 or When Good Clothes Go Bad

While I'm certain that total public nudity would be waaaaaay more embarrassing, I never seem to be far away from some sort of clothing challenge ending in public humiliation. Like the time I got my heel caught in the hem of my elastic-waist skirt as I was trying to get up from taking communion. The more I tried to stand, the more I pulled my skirt down. So I knelt again, fussed with my skirt until I was convinced I'd unhooked my heel and started to rise only to end up showing the entire congregation more of my underwear. Kneel/fuss/rise/kneel/fuss/rise over and over like some crazy Lutheran trying out for a Catholic genuflecting contest. All the while, the rest of the congregation blithely took their seats until it's just me and one bemused German pastor at the communion railing. Finally, the pastor's wife came to my rescue and I got to walk the mile-long aisle back to my pew.

Yeah. Try living that down when you're 16.

When I was in college, I bought scads of those new platform shoes everyone was wearing. I was five feet tall and dating a guy who was 6’3” - it was like the fashion gods were finally smiling on me. My favorites were sandals with cork platforms. These were serious platforms. Rock-band-with-big-hair platforms. Platforms so high I felt tall - dare I say statuesque, even.. I was trying to cross High Street against the light during noon rush hour once while wearing these shoes and I lost my balance and fell. Just try getting back on your feet with those babies on when you’ve fallen and are wearing a wrap skirt on a windy day. Somewhere in the world there’s an old guy who once lived in Columbus, Ohio, drove a new blue Datsun Z28 and saw my red undies with chocolate chip cookies on them.

Then there was the Sundress Incident. I found the cutest sundress at the mall and couldn't wait to try it on. It was a little tighter than I liked so I opened the dressing room door to see what Annie thought. “Mom,” she said. “You’ve got it on backwards!” Oh my god. She was right. I started to laugh. The lady in the next dressing room overheard us, and we could tell she was laughing too but trying to be real quiet about it. That made us laugh even harder. Then Annie snorted which really got everyone going. It wasn’t long before I was sweaty from all the laughing and also had to go to the bathroom. I ducked back into the dressing room to pull the dress off but got stuck with my arms up over my head and the damn dress half on and half off. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the dress to budge. Annie had pretty much composed herself but when I didn’t come out, she asked what I was doing. What could I say? Nothing. So I said nothing. Annie sputtered “You’re not stuck are you!?” Now it was the lady next door’s turn to snort. I felt certain I was going to spend the rest of my life in the Winkleman’s dressing room wearing a sundress as a tourniquet. I bent over and started feeling my way around for the door and Annie finally got me out of the dress.

I’m sure it’s completely unrelated but Winkleman's did close their stores not long afterwards.

There are other clothing related mishaps in my past but I think I'll stop here. It's almost time for my daily bra battle. I think my bra should take a day off and it thinks it should go with me to the office. We'll just see who wins this morning.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

For a Little Girl Named Erin

Christopher Columbus tested the edges of the earth by sailing on the sea with men who had nothing more than the moon and stars to guide them.

And they found their way to a new home.

Centuries later, from that same moon came the voices of a new breed of brave explorers who would find themselves not alone on an ever-reaching sea but traveling to the farthest place man had ever gone - behind the moon. Isolated from even earth itself, it must have been the loneliest kind of alone any human had ever experienced.

And yet they found their way home.

Decades later, we see photographs of the edges of the universe, bear real-time witness to milestone events half a world away and tweet for anyone who wants to know that we’ve finally made it home at the end of a long day.

Technology makes it possible for us to feel the presence of friends and those who love us like never before. It folds in the corners of this vast world so that we can touch the hearts and lives of people we’ll never stand next to.

And they can touch us back.

Sometimes the world is not a big place – thanks to technology, sometimes it’s as small as the space taken up by a little girl. Like a brave girl named Erin we got to know through her mother’s blog and my friend, Cheryl, at MSW. Erin had a cancerous brain tumor. Last night, she left her earthly troubles behind. We keep her family close in our prayers because they feel the loneliest alone without Erin.

But she suffers no more.

Erin found her way home to heaven among the angels.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to Tell When You Should Just Go Back to Bed

Normal vision is 20/20. I used to work for an ophthalmologist, and I still can't explain what the numbers mean but I do know that the bigger the second number is, the worse your vision. Without correction, my vision is 20/1,000,000,000, I think. Let's just say I'm so vision-challenged without lenses, I could use a bat as a tour guide.
I hear friends raving about corrective surgery for their vision problems, but unless the first patient who had that surgery turns 90 and can still see, I'm a girl happy with contacts.
So I got up this morning, brushed my teeth and then popped open my contacts. Bloop! In goes the first one and I squint at my now double image in the mirror, trying to decide as I do every morning if I would appear skinnier if people viewed me with one eye closed.
Fish the other contact out of it's watery bed. Bloop - in it goes.
And I'm suddenly blind as a bat. I can't see a darn thing. The mirror in front of me is a shiny haze. I look down at the counter and it's a white blur. Hmmmm. I fish the contact back out of my eye, rinse it off and try again.
Again with the blindness.
Pop it out ("debloop?") and this time scrub it in the palm of my hand with some lens solution. Rinse it off.
Blind as a bat.
What the. . . . !?!??!
Fish the little bugger out of my eye yet again and hold it up to the light, closing my unadorned eye so my vision-full eye can see if there's - oh, I don't know - say, a dog hair on the lens. Or an eyelash. Or an oil slick - anything that would explain why having it in my eye makes me as blind as Mr. Magoo.
Nothing - just a shiny little saucer waiting to land somewhere.
So I rinse it off, put it back on the end of my finger and. . . hey, wait a minute. . . I stare at my finger with the oh-so-clean contact lens waiting patiently on the end of it and think back over the last few minutes.
Brush teeth. Check.
Wash hands. Check.
Unscrew cap with "R" on it, scoop out lens, put it on my right finger, pop in eye. Check.
Unscrew cap with "L" on it - that's the lens I've got now - put it on my. . . . oh crap.
I suddenly realize I've just spent the last 10 minutes putting both my right and left contact lenses in the same eye.
Some days, I am embarrassed to be in the same room with me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wendi, the Resident Blog Herder at My Sketch World, is always coming up with creative ways to get us to blog - and also to visit each other's blogs. Her current challenge is a game of Blog Tag. She began the game by answering the questions below on her blog www.scrappydayinparadise.blogspot.com
then tagged Suzann www.suzannssmallworld.blogspot.com
who then tagged me! So here goes!

Name: Lori
Fave Scrap Item: my trusty white Signo pen
Fave thing to Scrap: my family. Which includes my dogs!
Fave time of year: Autumn
Fave Ice Cream: Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream
Fave Music/ Band: Ay yi yi yi yi! How much space do I have? Devotchka. DMB. Beck. OAR. Airborne Toxic Event. Elvis Costello. Lyle Lovett. kd lang. Jeff Buckley. That's today's favs.
Fave thing to do, besides scrap: Ummm. . . there are things to do OTHER than scrap??? Hmmm. Interesting idea! How about reading scrap magazines?!?!
Fave place to Vacation: Hawaii
Fave Scrap Brand: Really stuck on Websters Pages right now. They're like 12x12 pieces of art. I have 18 sheets and can't yet bring myself to use them - they're just too beautiful. Mostly I just want to be alone with them.
Last Page you scrap was called: Wow - I've done so many cards I can't remember. Maybe it was the page I called R&R???
Scrappy Addiction: That's easy - white Signo pen. If it's not got white Signo pen on it, it just ain't done!
Something we may not know about you: In my mind, I'm statuesque.
Something that made you laugh recently: One of my BFF's. Unfortunately, it was last evening and we were in a funeral home at the time.
Highlight of your Day today: Going to the Indians game tonight. I was in a suite full of wonderful people, eating great food, having a terrific time - and then the Indians WON THE GAME! Woohoo! Or maybe I should say "Wahoo!!"

Now I tag..................Cheryl! http://www.capturingamomentintime.com/

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Walking Tall. . . with an Eye Toward the Future

Snapped this pic of DaBoys on our walk this morning. OK, I'll admit it was totally staged. We were actually on our way back home when Charlie stopped to poo and I noticed what a cool silhouette the morning sun made of us: tall and statuesque Dog Mom (just like in my dreams), a sideways view of a very lean, athletic Sammy and . . .well, then there was Charlie. So when we got back to the house, I totally confused everyone by grabbing my camera and heading back out of the house. At this point, Daboys were looking back at me as if to say "You do know we already did this, right?" Well, that was Sammy. Charlie just looked worried about his post-walk treat.
Unfortunately, nothing like this ever turns out as great as if you'd had your camera the first time, but it's definitely an idea I want to revisit on another sunny morning.
I'm going to close up shop on the computer for a bit and go clean up my scrap room. Ay yi yi yi yi -it is a total wreck. What with Calling All Cards and Brunch for Boobies and DT obligations and SLTT (stuff like that there), what little spare time I had could have been used to (a) scrap, or (b) blog or (c) clean up my scrap room. Hmmm. . . can you guess which one I chose? Right now, it's so bad that you can't even see the carpet. Paper I've ordered has been opened and fawned over then stacked in the corner because my paper holder thingies are jammed full and I need to make new ones from the gazillion postal boxes saved in another corner. Piles of embellies and photos and things that make up little individual projects need to go in separate drawers. Bags of goodies from Michaels and JoAnn's need to be emptied and put away. Post it-eared magazines need to be sorted and stored. Pages I've printed out to scraplift later need filed. And I have an entire pile of scraps that need to be sorted.
There is a great little online crop going on today over at Scrappy Jo's (www.shopscrapbooksupplies.com). Nothing crazy - just the perfect little weekend crop with a lot of time to post your work. I've been looking forward to it all week. And then over at My Sketch World (www.mysketchworld.blogspot.com), there are "pre-crop challenges" posted today - a scrappy warm up of sorts to the big crop starting June 21st.
So! Now is the time to be resolute.
I will not get sidetracked by something(s) shiny.
I will clean and organize my scrap room.
Then I will crop.
I can do this.
After all, I am THE SCRAPINATOR!!!

Oh - one more quick note before I leave you today. Scrapinator will be undergoing a major overhaul soon. "Major" as in knocking down walls and redefining space and refocusing for the future. My staff is working really hard on these changes, so I hope you'll stick with me during my renovation. Ok, I lied about having a staff. But I am totally excited about what's coming - so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And Now, A Thank You From Brenda

Hi everyone!
Lori has graciously allowed me to infiltrate her blog with this note to you. I certainly am not the creative writer that Lori is, so you may have to use your imagination as you read this!
First, I want to thank each and every one of you that donated cards for our 'Brunch for Boobies' event. Each and every card was gorgeous!!!! You are all such talented people out there. And to do this for someone you don't even know is just beyond a simple act of kindness. Sales from your cards will make it possible for someone out there to be aware of the breast cancer she may get, or it might help pay for someone's health care who already has the disease. All the proceeds from this walk go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Foundation in order to pay for research, treatment, education, and to help in finding the cure....so that nobody will have to endure the pain and heartache that this life threatening disease has on us.
The 'Brunch for Boobies' event was a HUGE success! I thought that due to the poor economy and people having such busy schedules, we'd never raise the money we did! Before the brunch, I had raised about half of what I needed in order to participate in the 60 mile walk in July, and frankly, I was getting nervous about that. But between the brunch, the chinese auction, poker game, 50/50 raffle, AND YOUR CARD SALES, it helped us to raise the remaining amount and then some. Yep...you read that right...all those things happened DURING the event. And it was only 2 hours long!!!!!!
You are all very special to me. Your selfless deeds will take you far in life. And a very special THANK YOU to Lori for helping me to promote my walk thru her website and spending endless hours collecting, photographing, posting and selling all those cards! I hope she'll add a few pics of me walking the event later on so that you can see some of what it's like to walk 60 miles in 3 days. If you don't have a 3-day event in your city, consider participating in another town...it's truly a life changing experience. It's 60 inspirational miles of laughter and tears, three heroic days of celebration and determination. And it's a badge of honor that you can wear for the rest of your life.
Thank you again...I love you all!!!!!
Brenda Traffis