Friday, April 29, 2011

GOT 'THE BUSIES'?
YOU'LL LOVE THIS SCREW-UP

For about a week of every spring, because it's gardening season, I get so busy night and day that I can't even remember my name. The window of opportunity is only so long in gardening, and you have to pounce while the pouncing's good. I'm usually madly overscheduled, frazzled and brainless much of the time in April and May.

But this woman has me beat:

I can't remember all that she was accomplishing that same afternoon, but it was a lot. She had thrown all kinds of things in the car -- dry cleaning, library books, etc. etc. -- and zoomed off on her rounds. She was happy that she had remembered to throw some workout clothes in a plastic sack, and was going to treat herself to a rare hour in the gym after doing 52,000 errands at home and abroad.

She got there, got a locker, opened her sack . . . AND FOUND SOME REALLY SMELLY, RIPE, OLD KITTY LITTER!!!

Whoopsie daisy! She must've thrown the sack of her workout clothes in the trash by mistake.

You can't work out with an outfit made of kitty litter . . . not even a "litter" bit.

Guess it was her clue to quit letting herself get so . . . pooped . . . and to get more of what they call "margin" in her life. Not to be . . . catty . . . but that's not such a bad idea for all of us!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NINTENDO IN THE WEEDS:
NOW, THERE'S A METAPHOR FOR YOU

Last night, El Magnifico was shooting trap. That left me alone to shoot my mouth off at our daughter, the adorable but homework-averse Maddy. She messed around, she watched TV, she played with the hounds . . . and I caught her playing on her Nintendo DSI a half-hour AFTER I had given her an ultimatum to do her math homework, or else.

Our eyes locked in that eternal Mom-Kid power struggle. Stealth and deceit won out, despite my age, as I snatched her little hand-held right out of her hands, and said she couldn't have it back 'til the weekend.

Lower lip protruding, she stomped off to do her homework at last.

Now imagine the hours of the clock spinning forward, to 9:30 p.m. -- past her bedtime. She wondered where her DSI had gone, so that she could charge it overnight.

It wasn't on the kitchen counter, where I usually put contraband.

It wasn't in my closet, where I hide contraband when the perpetrator is REALLY in trouble.

It wasn't anywhere in sight! We checked the trash, her backpack, her combination chair/junk pile . . . the bright blue handheld device was nowhere to be found!

It had vanished! But it was sooooo late, Maddy went to bed, uncertain of its fate.

After a while, I remembered that I had run outside to pick a few dandelions that evening. Maybe it had fallen out of my pocket? It was dark, so I carried a flashlight. Not a glimpse of it!

Returning to the door, dejected, I glanced at the big blue bucket of weeds. Hmm. You don't suppose?

Sure enough, there was the DSI, halfway down -- a little moist, but none the worse for wear.

Was I tempted to just leave it where it belonged -- among the other weeds and distractions keeping our little girl from acing every subject in school, because of the handheld's siren song of fun and games?

You other mothers, struggling against the lure of kid technology: can I get an "amen!" here?!?

You bet I was tempted. But I'm not crazy . . . so I snuck into her room and told her it was found. She hugged me her deepest thanks, plugged in the charger, and sank back on her pillow with a great, big smile on her face.

Her heart had blossomed into flowers, where before, there were only weeds. Or something like that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NEVER MARRY A BLACK THUMB;
THEY WILL NEVER 'GET' YOU

I lumbered upstairs. "Where have you been?" my Beloved demanded.

"Checking out the cosmos," I replied.

There was a silence, and a frown. Finally, he broke down. "What do you mean, the cosmos?!?!"

I stared at him. Then the light dawned. "I mean the red cosmos SEEDLINGS that are growing under the lights downstairs. They just got their second pair of leaves, and I'm excited."

He thought I had snapped and was doing some kind of ephereal Carl Sagan thing with a telescope and stuff. But I was just doing my red butterfly-attracting prairie flower thing. Cosmos is part of my gardening . . . cosmos, that's all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FULL SAIL, WITH THE WIND
IN THEIR . . . DOWN?!?

Isn't this just . . . ducky?!?

video

Monday, April 25, 2011

IF THE PRICE OF GAS
RISES TOO HIGH. . . .

One of the side benefits of our trip last week to the Kearney (Neb.) Arch and Pioneer Village in Minden, Neb., were the examples of how people got themselves and their stuff from place to place back in the olden days.

The kids in our party ooh'ed at the Mormon handcarts, imagining how hard it must've been to walk from back East to the Great Salt Lake with everything you owned in that cart, fording rivers and whatnot. They aah'ed at the railway pushcarts, and tried them out, with exaggerated energy:


But you know, with the price of gas more than DOUBLING in recent months, us parents have been ooh'ing, aah'ing and ouch'ing at the gas pumps . . . and those two old-fashioned and gas-free methods of transportation aren't looking half bad these days. YIKES!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

MOVE OVER, CANCUN:
SPRING BREAKIN' IN CENTRAL NEBRASKA!

Just back from a wonderful day in fabulous Kearney and Minden, Nebraska. They are two towns along I-80 and the Platte River in the less-populated central part of the state. Our daughter and a friend had fun, and got in a little historical learning as well.

We visited the unique museum that is inside a huge arch over I-80 at Kearney. We learned about the prairie pioneers, peeked inside a Native American earth lodge, and realized that today's fiberoptic network follows the same path as the covered wagon wheels of more than 150 years ago along the Oregon Trail.

Not sure the pioneers ever did this to a buffalo . . .
he does look rather startled, doesn't he?

We also visited Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden, which displays an overwhelming number of objects, from 19th Century stagecoaches to stuffed eagles to antique toys.

Who knew you could see an ocean-going yacht,
an antique carousel, a 1910 electric car, and so many
other interesting pieces of American history
out in the middle of nowhere in central Nebraska?



After all that, we were interested to know what the girls liked the best. And here are their replies:

1. They were relieved to learn that we were visiting the KEARNEY Arch. They thought it was the BARNEY Arch!

2. They noticed that the mannequins in the historical scenes at Pioneer Village were all identical; the women just had different wigs on. It looked creepy, like OctoMom being reincarnated from the 1850s to the 1950s. Wonder if they are the first ones to notice this, among all the millions of tourists over the years who have gone through this huge treasure chest of historical artifacts. Something tells me they are. Sigh. :>) 



Thursday, April 21, 2011

HAVE SALAD BARS
GONE TOO FAR GREEN?

We were at a very deluxe salad bar for lunch. They had every type of leafy salad green and colorful veggie you could imagine . . . every mixed salad . . . selections from every multicultural country of origin . . . every topping, every dressing, every seed and every nut. Wow!

I heard our daughter and her friend giggling down at the other end of the line. What's so funny about a cornucopia of vegetables?

Turns out they were responding to the amazing variety, too. They didn't even know what most of the food items were. So when they came onto a bowl of some dark green and somewhat slimy stuff, they declared that it was:

POND MOSS!!!!!

And that was the end of THAT salad bar. They headed straight for the hot, cheesy and decidedly NOT GREEN pizza . . . and declared it delicious.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BOSTON MARATHON:
NOBODY WANTS TO GET BEAT BY A HAMBURGER

Our daughter's boyfriend ran in the Boston Marathon yesterday. He arranged with our daughter to meet her at Milepost 20 for just an instant as he ran by.

The magic moment arrived. He angled toward her and their eyes met . . . but suddenly, he was passed by a racing HAMBURGER . . . followed closely by a speeding BUNNY RABBIT.

The boyfriend was shocked. He immediately zoomed back into full-throttle form. The reason: who wants to get outraced by a HAMBURGER and a BUNNY RABBIT?!?!

He finished in 3 hours, 31 minutes -- a very good time. No report on how the cartoon characters did.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A POLICE DETECTIVE,
I AIN'T

It's sad to contemplate what my city's crime rate would be if I were the detective investigating every mystery. I'm so absent-minded, my observation skills have shrunk to nothing. A guy with guns, knives, bombs and dynamite might be standing right in front of my very eyes, and I probably wouldn't even notice.

This morning, I was supposed to be at a certain pancake restaurant at 8:30 a.m. for a meeting.

I got there three minutes early, didn't see my associate's car in the lot, so I sat there to wait. The minutes passed. Ever so slowly, the dawn broke in my brain:

Why are there 14 huge, heavy booths on their sides sitting over there by the dumpster?

Why are there 20 wooden chairs with the seats missing stacked by the front door?

Why are the shelves by the cash register not full of yummy pies as usual?

Why is there a truck next to the front door and people are loading equipment into it?!?

And, most critically: am I not going to get pancakes there today?

My poor brain churned and churned, and finally, I got out and asked somebody.

Turns out they had just closed for remodeling. They will re-open in a week. No, no pancakes today . . . but if I wanted to cram the huge booths and wooden chairs into my Mini Cooper, I was welcome to take them, free.

If I could fit even one of them in, now THAT would be a mystery.

Friday, April 15, 2011

SUCKS TO HAVE
A CORNBALL SENSE OF HUMOR

Our vacuum cleaner was broken. The superstar at the repair shop was able to fix it for a mere $14. I picked it up today, happy at the inexpensive bill.

The repair guru told me the problem all along has been that a belt wasn't installed right in the factory. Now the vac ought to work tons better. No wonder it hasn't picked up dirt all that well these past few years. I thought I wasn't vacuuming right or something.

I was elated. Over my shoulder as I left with the rejuvenated vac in hand, I tossed back what I thought was a hilarious comment:

"I'm going to tell everybody that your repair services SUCK."

He smiled weakly. I thought he'd crack up.

"Suppose you've heard that joke before," I murmured.

"Almost every day," he replied.

Oops! Guess the real vacuum is the one between my ears, for thinking my joke was so great. But at least if there's a vacuum in there, I'm not thinking dirty thoughts!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

THE MUSIC MAN
WOULD BE TURNING OVER
IN HIS GRAVE

I've been helping an old family friend get some sheet music lined up for his trio to play. They love to improvise on oldies but goodies. They play by ear, mostly. But sometimes, one of them doesn't know the song that the other two want to play, and it's hard. Here's the kicker: two of the three are in their 80s. The "spring chicken" is in his 50s.

The song they want: "That Old Time Rock 'n' Roll."

Seems easy enough to find the right sheet music, eh? Nyuhh uhh uhhhhh. To help him, I've called a piano teacher, purchased sheet music from a music store, asked my friends on Facebook, downloaded some sample sheets off the Internet, and finally found a good arrangement. Photocopied it, stuck it in the mail, and dusted my hands off. Voila!

Not so fast! It was in the wrong key. He wrote:

"I will learn it and play it for the piano guy or even write out a lead line. Maybe he will learn it in G and I can play it in A on my B flat trumpet. Otherwise I will teach him to play it in F so I can play it in G from the sheet music. Or he will learn it in C and I will play it in D on the trumpet."

Word to the wise: get into music in your old age. If that doesn't strengthen the mind against Alzheimer's, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PLANNING A TRIP
TO ROUNT MUSHMORE

Previously, the only funny thing in  my memory bank about Mount Rushmore is that there used to be a sports reporter in the newsroom where I worked who used to wear HIDEOUS ties. The hands-down worst was a light-up tie that depicted the Presidents' faces on Mount Rushmore. One day, other journalists held the poor guy down and CUT OFF that tie, it was so ugly. It was the most exciting day in the newsroom for years.

But now I've learned that a young cousin of mine starting calling this national treasure "Rount Mushmore," and their whole family continues to do so today. I have caught the bug . . . and so if we go, as we're discussing, this summer, that will no doubt be the way we refer to the destination, too.

I won't let my Beloved buy a light-up Rount Mushmore tie like that when we're up there . . . but I might let him get this T-shirt:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I HATE ADMITTING MY FAULTS
TO APPLIANCE REPAIR PEOPLE

We have this great kitchen stove vent that pops up and down from the back of the stove. It's like something out of a sci fi movie. CAN YOU TELL I DON'T GET OUT MUCH?!?

No, actually, it's neat. It makes a little "hum" and rises probably eight inches to a stop. Then you can turn on the blower. When you're done, you press the button, and down it goes again 'til the next time it's needed.

But . . . a couple of weeks ago, I let a big pot of water boil over. Apparently, it ran down into the guts of the stove underneath, and shorted out our wonderful vent. It remained in the "up" position and would neither turn on nor descend into its little slot any more.

Finally, I called the repair guy and told him. He knows me well. We decided that on the call sheet, it should say, "They're stuck up at the Williams household."

Sighhhhh. :>) But happy news: he fixed it in a jiffy today. Now I'm $85 poorer . . . but no longer stuck up.

Monday, April 11, 2011

WISH THEY DIDN'T TEACH SO MUCH
ABOUT FOSSILS IN SCIENCE CLASS

We were walking along in the mall when the 11-year-old pundit saw the FOSSIL store and stood stock still.

"Mom, I want to take your picture in front of that store wearing your great, big glasses from the '80s, your Steve Urkel Mom jeans, and your fanny pack," she informed me.


Aw, darn. That means, in her eyes, I'm really, really, really, really (30 minutes later), really, really OLD.


Friday, April 08, 2011

DID YOU EVER THINK
WE'D BE TALKING LIKE THIS?

Was at an electronics place today discussing DVD's and such, and the guy informed me that some people are concerned that the disks that we're putting information on these days are all subject to "DISK ROT."

Doesn't that sound like a serious back problem?

Guess it has to do with the passage of time, and files just sort of disappear from a DVD . . . or, you could say, it digitally "rots."

Who knew, just a few years ago, that we'd have terms like that in our vocabulary. Ahhh, technology . . . :>)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

BOY, IS MY FACE RED:
SHOES IN THE 'HOOD A SAD SIGN OF THE TIMES
Ventured into the inner city yesterday for a meeting. I saw something unusual that you never see out in the matchy-poo suburbs, probably because the electric lines are underground out there:


I've seen wacky store mannequins and toilets in front yards in downtown areas. But can't say I've ever seen shoes up in the air before! I took this photo, "Hightops on a High Wire," and thought it was funny.

But ohhhhh, brother, was I dumb. A friend explained that when you see shoes up high, tangled on a wire, it's a sign that a DRUG DEALER is nearby!!!!!

The Urban Dictionary has a bunch of slang and symbols about the drug trade, sad to say:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=drug%20dealer%20competition

Never would have dawned on me that the shoes were anything but serendipity. How sad to know that a significant percentage of our population will sell their . . . SOLES . . . for drugs.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

NOT SO MUCH A JOKE
AS A SIGN OF THE TIMES

A journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time.

So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was, walking slowly up to the holy site.

She watched him pray, and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.

"Pardon me, sir. What's your name?"
"Morris Feinberg," he replied.
"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall to pray?"

"For about 60 years."

"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims.

"I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop.

"I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults, and to love their fellow man."

"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a damn wall."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

BET IF THEY TRY TO DO THAT OTHER THING,
THEY'LL BE KNOCKED OUT OF ORBIT

Here's a bit of scientific truth that you were yearning to know:

Astronauts can't belch -- there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in their stomachs.

Monday, April 04, 2011

NCAA B-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP:
GENTLEMEN OF THE COURT

I was reading a pre-game story about the national championship college basketball game tonight between Butler and the University of Connecticut. My, was I impressed by the names of some of the players. A lot of them seemed to have first initial letters, usually the mark of the aristocratic upper crust.

G Kemba Walker!

F Matt Howard!

C Andrew Smith!

They must have some very ambitious mothers there, 20 or 22 years ago, naming them in that hoity-toity way. Good for them!

But then, my pea brain focused my foggy eyes more closely. Waaaaaaaait a minute. Could the "G" for Kemba Walker actually designate his position, which is "Guard"?

Could the "F" mean that Matt Howard is a "Forward"?

And C Andrew Smith is a "Center"?!?!?

Either that, or their mothers were VERY psychic, to have given them first initial letters that "happened" to coincide with their eventual college basketball positions.

Hunhhhh? OK, OK, I was wrong. I'll shut up . . . 'til tip off, and then I'm going to yell and scream and enjoy the game, and the tall, athletic gentlemen who play it so well.