Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Last night I was (SURPRISE!) in the drive-thru line at Dairy Queen because I was feeling..
1) unappreciated,
2) sorry for myself, and
3) angry at my spouse.

Solution? ICE CREAM!

I was second-in-line, right behind a Big Wheels For Adults Super Jacked-Up-So-High-You-Can-Drive-Another-Car-Under It Big Truck.

Now, I must share something extremely personal.
I am a compulsive rear-view voyeur. When stopped at a light or in line, I casually watch the people behind me.
And much more often than I should, when I am driving at down the highway at 65 mph.

It began as a good driving technique - my dad taught me that being aware of who was behind me was as important as knowing what was in front of you -- and since he went 65 years accident-free...
Then it became just fun to watch what people are doing behind you.
To a SICK fixation to observe those who have no idea that they are being scrutinized by me.

I know, I know; someone, please tell me there is a twelve-step program out there for this, and send me the website address.

Anyway, yesterday behind me was (okay, I am being brutally honest here) was a white dude, wife-beater shirt, military crew-cut but a little bit too much weight to be active-duty... in a not-as-manly as the truck in front of me, but real close.

He and his wife were doing that irritating (and not just to rear-view watchers such as myself, but each and every one of s who has ever worked a drive-up window) drive up to the menu, stop, then stare straight ahead and not even GLANCE at the menu until the speaker squawks with "Whaddayawant?!"

And THEN, and only then, begin to look over the menu for four minutes before even beginning to come to a decision.

Come on, people, this is DAIRY QUEEN - it's ice cream or nothing - don't you know what you CAME here for ALREADY?!

So I am mentally beginning to catalog all the grating failings of this dude - unappetizing physical appearance, blank stare, obviously over active
testosterone glands judging by the amount of underarm hair in plain view....
HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE. The only real thing wrong with this guy is that I am in a bad mood. I am being critical and judgemental and MEAN.

And also a total hypocrite, since I am always furious when people are judging ME by my external (and obviously far from perfect) appearance.

So I stopped myself, and began listing the possible positive characteristics that this guy very well could have:

- He obviously loved his wife/girlfriend/significant other sitting next to him; he was getting her ice cream (always a smart move for any type of guy - if doubt, don't get her roses, get her ice cream)
- He was probably a great dad, and coached his son's Little League team, taught his daughter's karate class, and knitted gun cosies like Emerson Cod for his associated weapons.
- He possibly was dealing with the slowing down of construction, and was working a second job as a .... a wife-beater?

Okay, well, give me some credit, at least I tried.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I don't believe in astrology. I don't believe in phases of the moon and positions of the stars to influence our behavior. And I only rarely will pause when a black cat crosses my path, or I have to walk under a ladder, or I step on a sidewalk crack.

But I swear that there are universal 'bad' days.

(Well, not actually universal, because life forms in the Alpha Centuri quadrant may be experiencing an excellent day, but the word 'planetary' just doesn't look the same)

These are the days when everyone seems to be in a rush - angry about some inner demon - grumpy - can offer only extremely forced smiles. Drivers won't yield, horns are blown, rude hand gestures are exchanged.

So the bad moods compound; you're madder because the traffic was horrible, so you are less patient waiting at the pharmacy, and then when that *@^$%!( cuts in front of you at McDonald's.... it becomes contagious.

My morning was actually going great; I was home ALONE (I just love solitude), getting a lot of things done (to include finding out how incredible Pandora radio is, surfing the Internet and scratching my horse's belly - important stuff like that), and just enjoying the day.

My middle child had talked me into picking her up after work (2 p.m.) and treating her to a late lunch, so I drove into town and actually got there on time (not a normal thing for me), and I parked to wait for her.

Sitting with the windows of my truck down, enjoying a brisk breeze, just waiting all mellow (great old Elton John song for you true fans out there)....

First hint of how the day was being carved out was by a couple of cars fighting over an empty parking spot right in front of my parking spot.

Although, as always, there were a horde of opening spots just a short walk away, this empty spot suddenly was the most important thing in the world for both of these drivers. Blood would be shed - honor was at risk - we will DIE for this parking spot.
Right in the middle of watching this face-off (of which the smaller red car won, to my personal satisfaction), my daughter called, more than slightly hysterical - she was having to WORK THREE MORE HOURS. So instead of a three hour shift, she was
working six. Which she would begin after a break - and a meal.

Yeah, tough.

So I went over to the pharmacy to pick up some scripts for my husband and one for me, to be certain that this trip was not a complete waste.

Hmm... a line of people waiting, including one handicapped cart stopping all possible traffic passing by... overworked pharmacists... we can't find your prescription... oh, we do have your prescription but the insurance line is blocked and we can't get approval for it... can you come back in an hour?

Sure, sure, I can go shop. I can waste time very easily... when there is a Target, Staples and WalMart (last choice) within walking distance. Even if I don't have any extra money, I am an expert at window-shopping (boy, what an old expression - who shows things in windows anymore? Really - when was the last time you actually looked in a window to see a display?)

And is it just my imagination, or do there seems to be a large percentage of crying children - fussy babies - irritated checkers - people rushing?

I go back to the pharmacy - whoops, now, where did the three scripts disappear... AGAIN. I took pity on the young tech and said, don't worry, I'll ask my husband to pick them up after work.

I do my standard when-I-go-into-town-I-get-a-Dairy-Queen-medium-vanilla-ice-cream-cone. It's such a regular thing that, I swear, they see my truck pulling up to the window and they have my cone ready for me.
Look in the dictionary under the word "predictable" - there is a photo of me.
But, hey, guess what - there is a line. With cars containing people who are not happy with their order - who want more napkins - who spill their drinks...

The negative emotions were spreading out in waves; like the dipped chocolate shell which immediately hardens and begins to slip off the ice cream onto either onto your hand or just touching every piece of cloth in the vehicle.

Driving home, middle child calls AGAIN - now in tears while being apologetic about previous behavior. I am trying to talk calmly, rationally... while trying to eat an ice cream cone, hold a cell phone, and drive a stick shift.

Final straw of the day - husband gets home after going through similar interaction at pharmacy, but has reacted more violently... hit some things, kicked some other things, and almost physically hurt someone. Did recognize it, asked for shrink appointment, and additional sleep meds.

Can we get a rubber room for everyone in the world, please, especially for me?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


My artistic expertise was called upon today.

My husband has moved into his new office, and wanted some help this afternoon hanging his numerous certificates, awards, recognition plaques in some reasoning of order and balance on the walls.

(This is just one other place where the male DNA dropped a link or two, along with color coordination, cleaning and ability to hold an intimate conversation with another human being that does not involve sports)

I admit to having an extremely critical eye when it comes to forms. One of my personal fetishes (NOTE: the definition #2 of fetish is an object, idea, or activity that somebody is irrationally obsessed with or attached to; the sexual one is #3, according to Encarta - so there, you pervert) is designing documents.

I go into a doctor's office for the first time, take one look at the "New Patient" questionnaire, ask for another copy (getting some strange looks from the front desk personnel).

Then I go home, I re-design it to be 1) easier to read and complete, 2) professional looking instead of something created by a word processor in 1973, and 3) logical and orderly.

And then I take one of original forms, put it in a sheet protector, and give it to the office staff. No charge.

Yes, I know, it's silly. I should begin a support help group.

So when confronted with governmental, horribly and poorly designed certificates and awards, stuck into cheap wooden frames, with names typed askew in a different font...

Well, I'm just grateful I had not had lunch.

But to take care of this problem, I am going to research whether President Obama's stimulus money can be used to create a position for me as National Certificate Designer, responsible for overseeing the design, creation, and maintenance of all awards, recognition, etc. by the new Department of Really Great Looking Government Certificates (DRGLFC).

Wanna ya think?

Friday, March 27, 2009


Everyone forgets things.

And if you don't forget things, you probably did forget something... and then you just forgot about it, right?

When little kids forget things, it's usually kinda cute. My granddaughter, whenever we play hide-and-go seek, immediately, each and every time, runs to the pantry door, races inside, slams the door, and hides inside with the light on.

But then again, maybe she just knows that I don't have that good of a memory and doesn't want to make it tough for me.

My oldest daughter insists that she forgets things as often as I do. Of course, neither of us can remember how often we forget things, so...

Dr. David Hogan, a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Calgary, was quoted as saying, "To remember things, you have to focus. You have to make a conscious intent to remember... plus, because you're older you have more filing cabinets to draw from. Which might explain why sometimes information is difficult to pull out."


I have file cabinets. In fact, I wrote about my paper disasters a couple of blogs ago, didn't I? I mean, I don't remember, but I think so. And if my memory is like the filing cabinets in my life....

Forget it.

But I did begin this subject for a reason. But what was it?

Oh, yes. Yesterday evening I had one of those 'senior moments'. In the morning, I had put all my lovely green bath towels in the washing machine. And then the dryer.

And then forgot them.

I have learned from cold hard experience to always check the toilet paper dispenser before I sit on the toilet. I always double-check that the front door is locked before I drive away from home. I carry my cell phone in my jeans pocket all day long - so I won't forget it, and even worse, if I do set it down someplace else, I can't locate it when it does ring because of my hearing loss!

So it just seems logical that one would notice, before one became completely naked and immersed oneself in a bathtub rapidly filling up with hot water, IF THERE WERE TOWELS AROUND TO DRY OFF WITH.

I, however, did not.
Do you know how it feels to be dripping wet, frantically clawing through the cabinet to finally have to dry yourself with two pieces of paper towel?

It was not a happy moment.

But hopefully it will be one which I learn from.

If I remember

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I grew up with television. It was a black-and-white set, with the rabbit ears that needed to be re-aligned every night, or someone had to stand next to the television holding it to actually watch a show. And as the youngest in the family, I was normally that one.

We got six channels - even when living in Los Angeles. Adam-12 - Bewitched - Dick Van Dyke Show - the assassination of JFK - shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr.

So today I am more than a little spoiled with satellite, color, hundreds of channels, HD... and hopefully someday DVR even.

And problems which are solved so neatly within 30 minutes (well, 24 actually) or an hour long show. I love House especially - mostly because he is so obnoxious, rude but has incredible lines - but also because there is a four person team working full-time on one problem, one patient, for the length of the show.

So when Dr. House says, "Okay, let's get a LCD, TAC and SOB test on the patient, and run an MRI and CAT scan," the interns immediately go draw the blood from the patient, run the lab tests themselves, and walk right down to the obviously empty and ready radiology lab - and so have the results within 25 seconds of the show, and always within the same day as ordered.
As opposed to reality.
Where you get a piece of paper from your doctor's office, after a visit that you or your health insurance pays for.

The next time you can be at least one hour late for work, you eat nothing after midnight, and join the line of people waiting for the lab to open at 6:45 a.m.

You take the number 874 from the number dispenser, and try not to panic that the number on the LED display is currently 24.

You wait in a hideously crowded waiting room trying very hard not to breath, surrounded by coughing people, crying children with running noses, and FOX News blasting at high volume.

You finally are called into the lab, where a bored-looking lab tech spends eight minutes prodding your arm, finally poking the largest size needle available, and drains enough blood from your body to supply at least five full-time vampires for the next week.

You stagger out, show up at work three hours late, and too drained to do anything productive for the rest of the workday... and honestly the next week.

Five weeks later, your doctor's office calls you, telling you that you need to schedule an appointment with the doctor to find out the results of the blood work.

One week later, after sitting in the doctor's waiting room for 45 minutes, chewing your nails, you find out from the nurse that your LDL level was a little high.

It's been one week and one day since they did a biopsy for skin cancer.

I shouldn't be upset that it is taking this long, should I?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I get unreasonably irritated every time I hear something along the lines of:

-- Cases of breast cancer within the city limits of Kalamazoo have risen 24% over the past ten years!

-- Your chance of developing testicular tumors as a adolescent girl are 200% better than they were last month!

-- If one of your parents is dead, chances are you will be dead within the next 48 years!

Not that very long ago, people died at relatively young ages. The life expectancy in 1900 was only into your early 30's - in 1950, it was 58 - up until the current statistical chance of living well into your late 70's.

My maternal grandmother died at age 34 - probably hemorrhaging or infection following childbirth at a farm. Her father died at age 29 - and his father at age 34.

Autopsies were not performed. Cancers were not diagnosed. People just 'died.'

And you died from the flu - from a cut - from what we would consider a minor childhood illness.

But you didn't hear about people suffering from depression. There weren't headlines in the papers about cocaine addiction (although in the 1910 cocaine was still an actual additive to Coca-Cola - whole other story there).

Was that because, like cancer, it simply was not recognized and/or diagnosed? Or was it because you normally didn't have a lot of extra time or energy after growing your own food, working an exceedingly physical job, walking almost everywhere, not having television, a radio, or a whole lot of books to read.
So was it high levels of endorphins from all the physical labor? Because no one knew (or cared) about the stock market? Or when you married someone it was almost impossible, both socially and legally, to divorce them? in 1900, that one in every five children died before their fifth birthday?

I'm not really expecting any answers, I'm just expounding on a thought process that began yesterday when I was dealing with a semi-suicidal, clinically depressed spouse.

Somethings I think we just have too much free time. Too much information. Too many little tiny things that get blown way huge out of proportion.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Papers obviously have an incredibly energetic albeit private sex life. One day you file a manila folder with a few documents in it and then voila - the next time you take them out, there are 40-50 additional sheets of usually unrelated papers.

What, you mean this might be my fault for not filing properly!? How dare you!

It's difficult for me to get organized at home the way I do when I have an office. At work I literally attack files first and foremost; before anything gets even TOUCHED, the filing is done.

And when I begin a new job, the files are the first thing I organize - by general topic, by date, alphabetically, whatever way works - and then cross-reference between, so even a complete stranger could take over my job and find what they needed to find.

However, at home... somehow I just can't get into like that. I keep random articles, forms, official notifications loosely in folders, but even when I set aside two days (yesterday and the day before, in this case) to get all the old files out, re-organize, clear and put them all in a logical, professional manner....

It just doesn't work.

So I figure I've got a couple of options.

1: Someone who randomly reads this blog feels an overhwelming pang of sympathy, perhaps as a fellow home-file-blunderer or founder of the A.A.C.F.E. (American Association of Closet File Executioners) sends me a money-order for $200,328.84 to inspire me to finally, actually clean up my home files in a professional manner (oh, hell, it was worth a shot) or

2: I feel silly enough after confessing all this that tomorrow I get up, take a shower, put on make-up, dress in a manner suitable for an office staff (even to include nylons - YUCK), drive my truck twice around the block (which for me will be a drive of three miles) to pretend that I am actually going to work, then walk in my house in my fantasy and hit the files as I really would if I was at a job.

Or 3: I sleep in tomorrow, and when I come out, I just stuff the loose files back in the same drawers and try again another year.

Hmmm... as of 22:42 hours tonight, #3 looks the most likely, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 22, 2009


My fourth car, a Red Maverick with black plaid seats (a fashion statement I never fully reconciled with and hope never to encounter again) came with a cassette tape player - in 1976, a pretty cool thing.

This same car was smashed beyond reasonable (or affordable) repair only five months after I bought it - a karmaic solution, perhaps, to save the world from the bizarre color scheme.)

Rock and roll, born on wax records and raised in juke-boxes, was slipping slowly off the LPs and 45s. Lyrics also used to be standard fare, either on the cover or a loose sheet slipped in beside the record (although I do have to confess to years of singing Chicago's "loving you girl is so damned easy" as "lovin' you girl Iso Rammed Beesley")
I was introduced to CDs (compact discs, not certificates of deposit) at my dentist's office in the 80's. He provided headphones for patients to cushion the sounds of drilling, filing, and patients' screams emanating from the next room. Hearing the Beatles's "Michelle" just once made me a true believer.

(Unfortunately it took several years to convince my penny-pinching side to make the entire switch)

VHS was another huge deal at first; to be able to watch favorite movies over and over and over again - sheer pure joy for someone like me who will read a book to the point where I can quote whole chapters verbatim.

I was the first consumer to wear out all three of the original Star Wars VHS tapes within one year of purchase. My poor children learned more of Jedi Knight training than the A.B.C.s

By the time DVDs came along, I felt totally worn out. This is just a play for more money by the companies - everyone has to re-do their collections - everything gets re-released - it cannot go on.

And I held this stand very firmly.... until I watched my first movie on DVD, and HIP HIP HURRAH! You can jump right into your favorite scene - you can fast forward, freeze, call up subtitles in French and Mandarin Chinese, and (the final cherry on top) you can listen to the director/ actors/ screenplay writers talk over the movie with comments on style, acting methods, or why this particular scene in reality STINKS.
For those who remember Mystery Science Theater 3000, that sarcastic running commentary was what I grew up with - DVD commentary was the next best thing.

Blue-Ray? Please, Lord, no. I don't have the strength.

But $5 can get you the tenth anniversary DVD edition of "Sleepless in Seattle" with commentary by both Nora and Deliah Ephron. Ultimate chick flick.

Okay,got the DVD player, popcorn and a soda.... ahh, I'm set for a couple of hours (gotta watch it without the commentary first and then with it).

Good night.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


As a devoted "The Office" fan, I knew that the actor Creed Bratton played with the Grass Roots band, but could never remember any hits the band had back in the 60's.

Now, through the miracle of my new WiFi internet connection, I present to you - the two Creed Brattons.

(Sorry about not being able to post the actual YouTube video - seems YouTube and Blogger are not speaking to each other this week)

Friday, March 20, 2009


Sometimes I get feeling a little bit sorry for myself.

No, let's get honest here.

At times I throw myself into a heaving and throbbing purple ocean of vicious emotions. I frantically churn up ancient unresolved problems as I sweep in the turbulent burdens of real and imagined slights, cuts and bruises.

And by vigorously applying the salt-pack irritate of disquieting judgment, the vindictive verdicts and hypercritical odium oozes out between my own pores, causing myself, and only myself, to feel the incredible throbbing of self-pity.

Don't you just love the English language? It could be better in Norwegian or Chippiwaiian - and I KNOW it could be written better in English by any semi-bright third grader.

But I just adore the feeling as the words wash over my fingers, trip over themselves, try to straighten out as they stumble to ferret out the correct keys - frantically try to correct the copious blunders, misspellings (wait, does misspelling have two s's or only one?) to actually attempt to make SENSE Of this madness that pours out from my weary but wired brain at 11:32 p.m.

(Any sad statements on the quality of my life need to be put on hold for some other time - sorry)

HOWEVER (boy, is she finally going to get on to something that makes SENSE here?), Neal Maxwell, the absolute artist at compelling words to do double - nay, triple duty, puts it much better than I can:

"We are most likely to imbibe that nectar, by the way, when we feel underwhelmed or unappreciated. It is then that we may frequent the saloon of self-pity."

To me, he blends the line so deftly between homey witticisms such as: "In times of darkness, remember there is a difference between passing local cloud cover and general darkness" - and elegant idioms - "As you and I observe the valiant cope successfully with severe and relentless trials, we applaud and celebrate their emerging strength and goodness. Yet the rest of us tremble at the tuition required for the shaping of such sterling character, while hoping we would not falter should similar circumstances come to us" and does all of this in one single talk.

Last night my son was asked to speak in church to take the place of a cancelled youth speaker. I, being the dutiful and responsible mom (and not granting him Internet access at this time and place), as well as being blessed with an actual BROADBAND INTERNET connection (oh blessed wireless connection, you are beyond words!), have downloaded documents and talks and lessons far beyond reason or any practical application in a ten minute talk.

And they have bolstered me through my dunking into that saloon of self-pity and brought me dripping out, feeling more than slightly ashamed of my selfish stint.

I need to share just one more Maxwell quote -

"Though our view of eternity is reasonably clear, it is often our view of the next mile which may be obscured...

You have cast your minds forward and are fixed on the things of eternity, and all of that is proper and good, but there is sometimes fog in the next hundred yards.

You can make it through, but don’t be surprised when it is the short-term obscurity through which you must pass as a result of your faith in the long-term things."

I needed to read those words tonight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Let's just say that there is a word.

And how about we make these words be potato chip.

Now to you, and me, and most other English-speaking individuals (well, except the British with the whole chips/ fries/ crisps bit), a potato chip is a slice of potato, fried and salted.

Right? You and I agree on that, okay?

It's nothing more, and really nothing less.
It's just a potato chip.

So suddenly in through the front living room window crashes in this huge weirdly-marked extraterrestrial from some distant galaxy. Totally uninvited. Distinct odor. Like bad eggs and extremely full diapers. Maybe with a little mold tossed in.

But no politeness, right into your space.

And to HIM, and all of the aliens like him from his corner of the universe, the word potato chip is the equivalent of filming your mother sexually active on prime time television with Jerry Lewis (i.e. not good).

You explain to this alien that no, potato chip means, well, potato chip here on earth. You're sorry that the word offends him, but that isn't what you meant by it, you just meant to say, well, that bit of fried potato that is a potato chip.

The galactic visitor refused to accept your explanation, immediately contacts all his warships in space, threatens to leave the entire earth in nuclear annihilation, and leaves, slamming the bedroom door, in complete and utter disgust, and refuses to talk to you the rest of the night.

Anyone got a better explanation?