Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Time flies when you're having fun.

It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up - from Harry Potter, no less

How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on. ~Zall's Second Law

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~Carl Sandburg

The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. ~C.S. Lewis

Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new... but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design? ~Paracelsus

Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. ~Ambrose Bierce

Let not the sands of time get in your lunch.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. - Mother Teresa

We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time - Vince Lombardi

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once. - Albert Einstein

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. - Henry David Thoreau

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. - Dave Barry

Monday, June 29, 2009


There seems to be an elevated courtesy aura at Costcos.

Most grocery stores operate at an elementary school playground mentality. The bigger kids who can run faster are the ones who determine what games get played, and who goes first.

To me, the most insulting practice is refusal to make eye contact. Instead of politely asking if you can get over to the baking soda, people suddenly concentrate their attention, as if their life depended on it, on the bags of whole wheat organic flour that you simply know this overweight, middle-aged man with twelve six-packs of Budweiser in his cart is not the least bit interested in.

However, at the Costco on the west side of Tucson (my closest Costco... three hours away from my home), the polite and gracious responses seem to rise to rise to the level of a high-class social event, complete with a never-ending buffet of drinks and hors d'oeurves at the end of every aisle.

And since everyone is either pushing a massive shopping cart or moving dolly, and there is a real danger of losing personal extremities by an enthusiast customer purchasing an entire living room set of furniture, a wall-mount computer screen, and every sale item in the bakery mistakenly running over your foot, out of necessity, life seems to be taken at a slower pace.

It may also help that I usually shop Monday morning, where the majority of consumers are over the age of 65 and are as likely to be riding a motorized cart as not.

But conversations are easy and open - you pass the same people going to the opposite (read that "wrong") direction on every aisle, and can openly remark, "Did you know there is lite Miracle Whip in 75 lb. containers over by fresh produce?" - you become familiar with the same harried mother with four children under the age of four who is feeding her brood completely by samples of taco sauce, chocolate muffins, and Monster energy drink - you can even have the same employee who was climbing agilely to retrieve a 50-pack of Betty Crocker Super-Duper Brownie Mix for a gentleman in a wheelchair check your receipt and look under your cart for illegal medications, crack cocaine, empty vodka bottles and corn dog sticks.

The only place where tempers rise and personal behavior does revert to adolescent level is at the check-out area.

Suddenly there you become the ENEMY when, with 152 items in your cart, you try to edge into a line with the clear sign "150 ITEMS OR LESS". The scooter with an 85 year old woman steadily plows into your row, and you contemplate whether is is worth sneaking up in back of her and turning off her oxygen tank. And do you dare risk amputation and jump into the metal crash-cart-roller-derby of an new register opening?

The important part today for me was getting up there before the monsoon rain hits, and driving home fast enough that I didn't now have to put tie the tarp over my open truck bed..

(I also made certain I purchased only items that were firmly and completed surrounded by four layers of plastic).

Monday, June 22, 2009


I need to admit several things tonight.

No. 1 - Talking for more than an hour on the phone with my sibling makes my face break out.

I will happily chat with my oldest daughter for days on end, and we never seem to run of things to talk/gossip/complain/praise.

And I don't seem to have any acne developments from this.

But about once a month, I call my brother, and normally leave a message on his answering machine, and he calls me back later when he can.

And we don't have a conversation - we have an exchange of obscure musical trivia facts.

I openly confess that I am incredibly jealous of my brother's brain. He has what is commonly referred to as a photographic memory, and besides the retention of an impossible amount of facts, is a talented and able musician.

Unfortunately, my brother's brain is almost missing a few things. Such as the regular give-and-talk of a tête-à-tête - letting the other person get a word in edgewise.

So somehow an hour on the phone becomes, literally, an hour with the phone stuck on my face as I resign myself to occasionally "uh hu,"s and "yeah, right"s, while I attempt to take care of the dogs, fill the horses' water, finish the dishes and eat my own dinner.

And then I notice that I am developing a sixteen-year-old-worthy zit on my left cheek.

No. 2 - I cannot walk and talk.

For years, I have excused my noticeable lack-of-grace with the glib idiom "I can't chew bubble gum and walk to the same time."

A common method of determining if you are running a good pace is to make certain you can talk while you are running.

I have never been able to do that. I have trouble talking while I am walking.

My lungs have extremely diminished capacity (I love 'diminished' - the word shrinks as you pronounce it) small due to a collapsed sternum , or what is called pectus excavatum - also referred to as a 'monkey chest' in children.

Regardless, I used to run four miles at a time… just really, really slowly.

Today, as I was huffing and puffing on a fairly short walk over to the mud football field to move the water hose for the 474th time this week (but boy, am I getting a impressive crop of mud), I finally accepted something.

I need to breath in with one step, breath out with the next. Without speaking. To just be able to walk and keep my breath.

No. 3 - I have been keeping up with daily exercise, smaller portions, healthier food for over two weeks… and I have GAINED four pounds.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I don't normally watch horror movies. I get scared enough on my own without having to watch someone else's imagination go wild. Disney movies upset me enough.

But tonight Josiah and I sat and watched the movie "1408" on television with John Cusack.

(I mean, John Cusack was in the movie, not sitting with us and watching it. Although that would have been cool, wouldn't it?)

The plot was a terrifying concept from a story by Stephen King - an evil presence in a particular hotel room that would force you to re-live over and over your worst memories. Until you were ready to accept death as an escape.

Which reinforces something that I need to hear again... and again... and again.

Our memories are strengthened the more we feed them.

If I concentrate on that summer in 1966 camping with my sister's family up at Lake Naciomento (that really is the lake's name), I can focus on the positive aspects - swimming, reading, campfires and marshmallows in the evening - that's feeding that memory.

Or I can target on failing miserably (and repeatedly) at learning to water-ski, hiding out on my own from my nieces, sunburns, and drinking beer (which I hate - still do) - and that's feeding that memory.

Stephen King may argue with me (I mean, he wrote the original story, right?), but I think the reason the room 1408 had such power was because these particular horrible, atrocious images had been replayed and replayed over and over until they were ingrained, entrenched, if you will, like a groove in a record.

So the needle heads automatically straight to them.

But if we focus on our positive, pleasant, uplifting memories, then those are the ones that have more power.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I like individuals with a bit of an attitude.

Ones that draw outside the borders. Uses only broken crayons. Scribble all over newspapers instead of their coloring books.

And why am I using elementary school examples?

I don't go out of my way to break the law - in fact, I discovered last night I was driving without my wallet (i.e. drivers license, any identification AND my ATM... which is how I discovered I did not have it), I was quite upset - at myself.

Well, and the fact that I couldn't get any money out of the bank, but that's another problem.

But I admit that in a lot of things which are NOT criminally connected I like seeing how much I can get away with.

I play devil's advocate, questioning the liberal case as if I'm a conservative... and then the conservative as if I'm a liberal.

If I am instructed to go sixteen steps, then I just have to find out what happens when I go twenty.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I am much more the type to go twelve steps and see if I can get away with that. Lazy, no - energy-saving, yes.

So today when I mounted a little sorrel gelding (appropriately named 'Red'), I noticed that he was not especially eager to leave the barn and his fellow horses.

Oh, no.

It was fun to have a horse who did not want to obey - in any way possible.

Wait a minute, I have one of those at HOME.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I installed a new car battery tonight into a John Deere tractor.

Okay, I bought a new battery for my neighbor's tractor, so I could prepare the field for our 6th (7th?) Annual Youth Mud Football game. And then my neighbor's son, Tom, ended up doing most of the installation for me.

Then I attached this huge metal frame with curved prongs to the tractor for the plowing.

Well, Tom backed the tractor up... and connected it... and his mom ended up driving it around so I could inflate the... okay, so Tom could inflate the tires.

But then I drove it over to our field, and plowed until it was too dark to see.

And THAT part I did ALL BY MYSELF.

Tomorrow, the mud creation BEGINS!

(with the help of a well, six water hoses, a sprinkler, and a LOT of patience on my part as I move the water for the next seven days to create the muddiest, messiest field ever)

Monday, June 15, 2009


Late one night I had a soda explode in my face.

Ungainly is a polite expression, but an honest description of me would include that in addition to gawky, clumsy... well, I tend to drop things.


And frequently.

So it wasn't entirely unexpected that the can slipped easily from my grip.

But, like the true solider I am, I immediately threw myself on top of the grenade (sidebar: did you know the word 'grenade' is derived from the French word for 'pomegranate'? Does that make about as much sense as anything French does? Pomegranate?!) to absorb the detonation.

Well, actually, I picked up the foaming, spitting and hissing can, resulting in sticky, sweet fizzy soda flowing all over my hands, my arms, my legs AND getting into my hair.

I threw it into the kitchen sink, and then (and only then) thought (finally) of the concept of COVERING it with a towel to lessen the damage.

And then spent probably twenty wiping down the fridge, the counters, the cabinets, the dishwasher, the dog, the floor, the ceiling, the oranges in a nice decorative bowl, the nice decorative bowl, and my face. Everything I was wearing was consigned to the washing machine - a hot shower was essential to get my hair separated again...

But my skin was glowing for the next two days.

Have I found the latest HSN skin care solution available at www.lateatnightgetrippedoff.com and 1-800-SUC-KEER (1-800-782-5337) for only $14.95, and if you call within five minutes, you will also receive, A FREE GIFT (isn't that an oxymoron? Gifts are free or they wouldn't be gifts, would they?) of two, TWO beautiful and colorful necklaces.

Call NOW - operators are standing by!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I am in love with words.

I am a horrible speller, I have a total disregard for proper punctuation, and I have personally redefined about 15% of the English language to suit my writing/vocal needs.

But I am a compulsive reader - I simply canNOT pass a sign, a newspaper or anything with lettering on it without reading.

It helps that I am a fast reader. I have no idea why - in, fact I have no idea how I learned to read. Everyone denies teaching me, but I began kindergarten and totally stumped the poor teacher by already knowing the alphabet.

I must explain this is back in the dark ages (1961) when children did NOT go to pre-school, watch educational DVDs, and were expected to know both their ABCs and how to operate a computer.

Kindergarten was were children learned their ABCs and simple words. Also teachers could spank you without repercussions, kids flunked classes, and we all played sports.

Back to the main subject.

Which was... yeah, what was it?

Oh, yeah, games.

I don't really like games involving words. I hate Scrabble (I can never pay attention to the higher score placement), I detest crossword puzzles (come on, they come up with words like "kx" which in Kurdish for kangaroo droppings).

I love Big Boogle, but it's only because I am good at it.

And no one will play it with me anymore because I am so good at it.

Which brings me back to sports.

What is the difference between games and sports?

Games are.... well, games. Playing. Keeping track of the score, I guess, but mostly pitting your skills against another, and hopefully having fun while doing it.

Sports are, to quote a book I love, absolute and unreserved fierce concentration on where a particular ball is at that moment in time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Hello, my name is Hope, and I am a control freak.

I have been control-free for 32 seconds.

When I was little, my mom was unable to let anyone do anything in her presence with taking over. She could not allow anyone to cook - clean - do the laundry - because they might do it wrong. She drove herself more than slightly crazy by holding down full-time employment and not accepting any help with anything.

So I have been working almost all my life on being control-free - laid-back - going with the flow.

Yesterday, it all came crashing down on me - there are some things that I cannot let go.

1. I cannot deal with poorly designed forms.

It's just like an painting historian looking at the original Mona Lisa with a crudely-drawn mustache scribbled on with a Magic Marker.

When the space bar is used instead of the hard tabs so it doesn't line up correctly when printed, it literally hurts my eyes.

When the font looks like my old manual Royal typewriter, I begin to grind my teeth.

Form creation is a serious art form to me, so this is sacrilege.

and 2. When someone is in a dangerous position around horses.

People can drive without their seat-belts, drink themselves into a stupor and wander out on the interstate, and walk with sharps knifes pointed right at their chest, and eh, it's their lire, it is their choice. Gets the stupid genes out of the pool.

BUT when an inexperience rider has her foot almost completely through the stirrup - when someone wanders just within reach of a horse's kicking range without even attempting to make the horse aware of their presence - when a rider is leading forward over the horse's neck going downhill....

I want to SCREAM.

Not because anyone might get hurt.

Just because it's STUPID and they should KNOW better.

Deep breath.

Yellow Pages.

Now... Twelve Step Programs for Control-Freaks....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Did you know that the word "serendipity" was coined from phrase used in a fairy tale by an Horace Walpole, a British writer and politician (dangerous combination) in the 1700s?

There, don't you feel smarter, knowing that?

Yesterday was an example of serendipitousness.

My church's youth group has an annual Mud Football every summer out at my place. I tear up about a quarter acre of land, soak it for nine to ten days solid, and then allow 40-60 teenagers to spend a couple of hours having more physical contact between the sexes than is allowed in any other church activity we sponsor.

But, obviously, to rip up that much land, I need to rely on machinery rather than brute strength (with a shovel and my 54 year old back, I would need to begin as soon as the game is over to have it ready for neat year).

So I borrow my neighbor's tractor and furrowing attachment.

Here is where the serendipitousness begins.

Cherie is the perfect neighbor. And I mean PERFECT.

She knows just about everything about EVERY animal - she knows when I should call the vet, or just borrow something from her medicinal stash - she is someone I can call at 2 a.m. when I can't get hold of the border patrol or the county sheriff - her kids have taken care of MY animals for years when I am in California or Hawaii (really, people, where else do I go?).

And she has a tractor. A big and REAL John Deere tractor. Which I borrow every year. And sing the "Green Acres" theme song the entire time I am using it to plow the mud football field.

I do feel guilty every year when I call Cherie, after not talking to her over the past year any more than 12 minutes, and ask to borrow the tractor and the attachment. - but only for about 14 seconds (I have an extremely high guilt threshold).

But this year - it just happened that she was helping out a friend with a personal emergency, was going to be probably overnight, and wanted to make certain her kids had several contact numbers JIC (just in case).

And, therefore, I was one of those numbers she needed, just at that particular moment when I was calling to ask HER to borrow the tractor.

Guilt, be GONE!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I swear these are straight from our local newspaper:

1:49 a.m. - A man reported receiving a call from an unknown man who identified himself as James. James said he had been hired to shoot the man, that he knew where he worked, what vehicle he drove, and he claimed to have had sex with the man's girlfriend. The caller's phone number was blocked. The girlfriend did not know who it could be. The case is suspended pending further leads.

12:39 p.m. - A man was reported causing a disturbance by screaming at people at the bus stop near Circle K. Officers gave him a ride to Goar Park.

2:51 p.m. - A rattlesnake was reported at a residence on the first block of Manzanita Street. An officer responded and disposed of the snake.

* 7:29 p.m. - A nude man was reported in the parking lot of Bisbee Beverage. Officers responded, but the man had already left the area.

7:44 P.m. - A group of juveniles were throwing firecrackers at a resident's door on the 200 block of Van DykeStreet Last week they threw eggs at her door. She followed them to a residence in the 500 block of Ruppe Ave. The officer made contact with the juveniles there and advised them to stop.

* 8:01 p.m. - A homeless man was reported sleeping in the car wash at Plaza Liquor.

And I don't know why, but this last one just tickles me the most:

11:38 p.m. - A patrol officer observed an open garage door. It is unknown who owns the garage. The office secured the door.

Only in southern Arizona.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I have been called gullible. I have been called naive. I have also been called stupid... but that's not part of this story (at least not yet).

But I assume that when people say something - or write it into a script - that they, at the very least, assume it is true.

Which is completely opposite my husband, who says, "I assume the person is lying to me, and take it from there."

So today I was SHOCKED. Completely SHOCKED.

"You've Got Mail," with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, is one of my favorite all time movies (defining 'favorite' as one of several hundred - think very broad here).

And you must understand, that with me, when I like something, I watch/read/experience whatever it is, again.

And again.

And again.

See, if I like it, I don't get bored by the repetition.

It also helps that I have almost no short-term memory. I never remember the end, so am surprised every time. (I'm not joking, folks)

However, I do memorize a lot of lines from all my 'favorite' movies.

One line from "You've Got Mail" which always puzzled me (defining 'puzzled' as actually dwelling on it for more than two nano-seconds) is one of Meg Ryan's which she is emailing out to "the cosmic universe" about a thought about a Joni Mitchell song, with the lyrics, "I wish I had a river I could skate away on."

And Meg Ryan/Kathleen Kennedy STATES in the script: "And the song isn't really about Christmas, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my tree and missing my mother so much that I couldn't breath."

Nice line.

But I am not enough of a Joni Mitchell fan to know all her songs, so I had no idea which song the she is referring to.


Tonight on Sirius radio (one of the best things invented in the past fourteen centuries - I love music with NO/NONE/NADA commercials), I HEARD THE SONG!! That exact song!!

And the song IS about Christmas!!!

Or read, I guess:
It's coming on Christmas,
They're cutting down trees,
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace.
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on.

How could the script editor / authenticity reader / HONESTY staffer NOT catch this?!?

I may never watch that movie again (sniff).