Friday, February 28, 2003

Friday Five

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
Everything but poetry - I can never understand it. Perhaps it's the memories of junior high English when the teacher called on me and my interpretation didn't match that of anyone else in the classroom. I hate to be the exception.

2. What is your favorite novel? Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!) Because this is one that I can understand, I choose Dorothy Parker's Resume
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
The tower of books that sits in the corner of my living room, the shelf full of books that resides in my kitchen and the stack of books on the nightstand next to my bed.

5. What are you currently reading? Just finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Next up Revenge of a Middle Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan
Thank you Shirl at The Other Side for helping me out with the punctuation question.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

What's up with this???? '''''

Okay what is the problem with this punctuation marks anyway ??? '''' """"" /////

I'm not really getting old - it just seems that way

Friday: I received via email a digital picture of me - I digitally corrected the wrinkles

Saturday: I couldn't find my car at the grocery store lot – I surmise that can happen to anyone

Sunday: I couldn't find my car keys – the cats hid them on the desk, under the bills

Monday: I hand over my bifocals (flat line kind) to my optometrist and he comments "I haven’t seen glasses like these for a long time." – it's

because I read a lot, not because I'm old.

Tuesday: My grocery bill was $ 97.00. The clerk asked for $ 87.30. When I looked at the receipt later I noticed he had given me a 10%Tuesday Senior Citizen Discount.

Wednesday: Something didn't feel right. All morning I kept tugging at my underwear. It kept creeping up. You know how it is, right? Then I discovered the problem. I had them on sideways – the crotch was on my left hip. But that's not as bad as my husband who is older than I – last week he had his trousers on backwards.

Today: Something happened. I forget.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Rant Rant Rant

Excuse me while I rant. This time it’s the staff at my doctor’s office that deserves the rant. Or maybe I should say the lack of staff. Or lack of efficient staff. Or the irresponsible staff that someone at the facility hired.

Whose fault is it anyway?

This rant began as I sat and wrote it in my head during the over two-hour wait in the lobby this morning. But it didn’t end there. It continued during the twenty minutes I waited in the exam room for the appearance of the doctor. And it didn’t end there. The doctor poked his head in just long enough to tell me there was something missing and he would be right back. Twenty minutes later, I listened at the door as he explained to “someone out there” that there is no way he can help me today since I did not get the MRI I was supposed to get before coming back and how he didn’t understand why they even asked me to come in without it. It seems that “someone out there” did not write up the order properly and therefore the authorization was denied. Again. I knew that and it took a strong grip on my chair to keep me from bursting out the door to rant at that “someone out there” face to face.

With a somewhat sheepish look, the doctor entered the room to explain how there was nothing he could do for me today. He was so sorry that I made the trip, so sorry that I waited for over two hours, so sorry that they hadn’t had anyone in the office for the last month that knew how to request MRIs, so sorry…so sorry…so sorry. I gave him an earful of what I thought about his staff and reminded him that this ordeal has been going on since my first visit to him in early November. He responded with a few more “so sorries” and gave me his cell phone number. When I asked him what I was supposed to do with this number, he assured me that if there were an emergency, I could call it and get an immediate response. Trust me, it’s not going to take much of an emergency.

In the end, I realized that this doctor was a victim of his own staff. I offered my own apology for being so cantankerous and acknowledged that he must be very frustrated himself. He nodded. As I turned to leave, I made one last comment to him about his staff not bothering to ask me for my co-payment. His advice: “Don’t give it to them. They’ll never figure it out.” I considered giving it to them anyway, shredded into a thousand confetti pieces. I considered giving them a bill for two hours and forty minutes of my time plus travel expenses. But I have to go back there someday.

== BlogFodder == What makes you return to a weblog?

Generally I enjoy those weblogs written in a manner similar to mine. I look for random ramblings in a variety of topics. It's about my fascination with what comes up for people, how they express it and what makes them tick. My favorite weblogs share life as it truly is with all its joys and sorrows, feats and failures, strengths and weaknesses, especially when a writer is able to do so with a good sense of humor.

Witt Bits

Hey - is this working again? I had this dream last night - my blog disappeared. Then I got an email this morning from my brother - it really did disappear. At first I figured he was just giving me an excuse so he wouldn't have to come here anymore. Well, it looks like we are up and running again. Welcome back!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Tuesday This or That

1. Holland or Netherlands? Holland
2. Emu or Ostrich? Emu but Blue Stuff doesn't work for me
3. Biff or Happy? Happy
4. Quincy or Braintree? huh?
5. Cassius Clay or Muhammad Ali? are they boxers are something?
6. Instanbul or Constantinople? Istanbul
7. Pig or Swine? Pig
8. Barf or Puke? Oh please
9. Potatoes or Spuds? Potatoes
10. Squeeze Box or Accordion? Not since I was a teenager
Hey - what can I say - it was the first thing that came to mind.

The Extra Day

== BlogFodder == Prompt : How you would fill an extra day in the week?

Beginning this year I have been on a four-day work schedule, four eight-hour days. In effect this gives me that extra day in the week. How do I spend it? Not exactly the way I had planned.

It's kind of like when you have the extra dollar in your pocket. Something always comes along to swipe it up.

I had big plans for that extra day. I was going to write a book. Really. I was. It was going to be that book that everyone keeps telling me I should write. As of this week I have now had the privilege of eight extra days. Have I even written the first paragraph? Heck no. Sentence? No. Word? No. Nothing. Not even a title. Nada.

So what have I been doing? I have slept in, taken long leisurely baths, taken care of all my doctor appointments except the dreaded dentist, gone to the movies, gone shopping, done some knitting, started on my tax returns, planned some red hat events, taken some long walks, cuddled the new grandson, eked out a few Witt Bits, and any other excuse to avoid sitting at that computer for one entire day just one day a week.

So maybe I'm not a writer. Maybe I'll never write a book. Maybe I need to look at my own priorities. With all this procrastination, I start to reflect on why I even feel so compelled to write a book. Well, it's because I have a story. But the real problem is, the story isn't over yet. One can’t have a story without a resolution and perhaps there is a fear that the resolution will appear before I’m ready to heed it

Monday, February 24, 2003

Today was eye check up day. It felt so strange to go there, to that office. I hadn't been in there since before Dad died. He was Dad's eye doctor too. I go there because he has the history. The history of macular degeneration in the family. Dad was legally blind because of that eye disease. I fear I will be too. But not today. Today I could still pass a DMV test without glasses. Can't read worth beans without my specs but I can pass that distance test. My lenses are clear as air (well maybe not the polluted air we live in), my veins are in tact and the pressure is perfect. Whew!

Went to the movies yesterday. Saw The Hours. Sad but good. Good lines. One of my favorites was something like "to achieve happiness one must not avoid life." Must now get a copy of Mrs. Dalloway to add to the tower of unread books.

Not much else going on so how about a little...
== Blog Fodder ==

Describe a process you know how to do. In steps.

Changing the Litter Box
1. Go to friendly grocery store where baggers carry your 30 pound box of litter to your car trunk.
2. Spend enough money to feed steak to a family of four on Super Fresh Scent, Multicat, Scoopable, Trackless, Dustless Premium Litter, the only litter acceptable to Mr & Ms Poopalot
3. Shove stuff aside in trunk so bagger can squeeze litter in
4. Convince husband to carry 30 pound box of litter into house
5. Remove cat # 1 from litter box
6. Remove cat # 2 from litter box
7. Remove cat # 1 from litter box
8. Remove cat # 2 from litter box
9. Put cat # 1 in bedroom
10. Put cat # 2 in other bedroom
11. Convince husband that he should lift the dirty litter box and pour contents into plastic lined waste basket
12. Take metal scooper and remove stubborn bits of poop from bottom of litter pan
13. Tie off plastic bag and carefully remove from basket.
14. Send husband out to trash bin with the bag.
15. Drag 30 pound box of clean litter over to the box
16. Find small tab on side of box and pull
17. When cardboard strip breaks off, try to pry the remainder of the strip up
18. After breaking two fingernails, get scissors and re-perforate the cardboard strip
19. Ignore the desparate yowls coming from two bedrooms.
20. Ignore husband when he returns from the trash bin cursing those cheap flimsy plastic bags.
21. Stand over the box of new litter, with threatening scissors in hand and demand that husband pour the contents of the thoroughly mangled box into the litter box.
22. Send husband back out to recycle bin with empty box
23. Dust nearby furniture after dust settles
24. Remove cat # 1 from bedroom # 1
25. Scoop poop when he finishes using the new litter
26. Remove cat # 2 from bedroom # 2
27. Scoop poop when she finishes using the new litter
28. When husband returns from recycle bin, send him back out to the trash bin with freshly scooped poop.
29. Feed cats on other side of room so you have time to sweep up tracked litter.
30. Scoop again
31. Feed again
32. Repeat # 30 and 31 for one week and then repeat all steps

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Authentic Self

Following the Dr. Phil show on Friday night, I decided this would be the weekend to reveal my “authentic self.” If that lady in his audience could actually go back stage, remove her make up, and return to the stage sans even a hint of powder, so can I… in my own neighborhood.

I have often been told, “you should wear a little makeup.” The truth is, I do wear makeup. The label on my foundation bottle clearly says Clinique Soft Finish Makeup. I apply it every morning before anyone sees me, hiding a red nose and smoothing out the slightly uneven skin tones earned by 53 years of sunshiny lifestyle. My standard everyday, don’t-go-out-without-it makeup routine also includes a quick puff of Lancome Matte Clair II Dual Finish powder, and a brush of Clinique Honey Blush.

But, it seems to me this is not what is technically referred to as “makeup.” To be properly made up I would need to bring out the other essentials -the stuff that comes with those special gift promotions. I’ll admit that I only purchase my Lancome and Clinique products when I get something for free. There are dozens of colorful purse size cosmetic cases loaded with cosmetic brushes, mirrors, shadows, eyeliners, eyebrow pencils, mascaras, lip glosses, lipsticks as well as lotions, potions, wrinkle remover crème, body lotion, cologne, makeup remover and other assorted whatnot buried behind the toilet paper in my bathroom cabinet. Very few of these freebies make it past the first trial use and into my basket of satisfactory daily enhancements. These I use with a delicate touch here and there in what I deem to be a natural look for me. When I remember, I use a neutral color lipstick. That’s it. A simple five-minute routine.

Okay, so back to baring it all. Yesterday, without one drop of any makeup whatsoever, I went to the post office, walked around my neighborhood, stopped off at the bank, went out to lunch in a nice restaurant, shopped at Costco, had coffee at Starbucks, shopped at CompUSA and checked out a couple of estate sales. I didn’t see anyone give me a second glance and heard absolutely no comments.

I was feeling pretty brave about it all and headed to McDonalds for dinner. That’s when I ran into someone I knew. I swear she was giving me one of those once over looks. I could read her mind. I blurted out something to the effect, “oh my god - I didn’t think I would run into someone I knew today - I’ve been so busy doing things - um housework and stuff - you know how it is - I must look a terrible wreck.” She looked a little closer. “Well,” she said, “don’t you just hate it when you run into someone you haven’t seen in ages and you get caught on one of your bad days?”

Today, I’m spending that measly five minutes putting on my natural, unauthentic face. I’ll continue to do so until the day that Dr. Phil shaves his mustache and his wife sits in his audience with her authentic face.


1. Key: players
2. Ice: cream
3. Compassion: Fear
4. Crayon: Crayola
5. Insatiable: appetite
6. Bench: mark
7. Capsule: Time
8. Heart: Flowers
9. Fourteen: teenager
10. Postcard: dogs (hi big brother – remember the postcards?)

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Meeting an Author

Last night I did something that that I have never done before. I attended an author’s event at our local bookstore. Since I have often dreamed of being a real author someday, my curiosity drove me to this event. A curiosity of what it would be like.

I anticipated the rows of audience chairs in the tiny bookstore but no way did I expect that the author would have to sit in the window, up on the display area, surrounded by storefront glass. Nor did I expect that she would have to speak with a microphone to this small group of middle-aged women and one middle-aged man.

Elizabeth Buchan spoke with eloquence in her strong UK accent about here life as a publisher turned writer. I was fascinated to hear about her process of churning out seven novels over the last eighteen years. It was especially intriguing for me to hear her perception of herself as a “once shy person.” While the thought of a microphone in my face brings sheer dread, she seemed not the least bit intimated.

Lizzy (as we came to know her during the evening) concluded the presentation by reading three selections from her latest book, Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman and answering a few questions about her writing career. Lizzy seemed genuinely pleased to sign the hardbound copy of her book that I purchased. It now sits on top of my growing tower of books to read.

Friday, February 21, 2003

For all of you who have visited my brothers website, The Virtual Corkscrew Museum, here's something to do with the corks.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Thursday Thumb Twiddler

1. How responsible are you for the happiness of others?
Not at all - it's an inside job
2. Where's the strangest place you've ever been?
Corkscrew Canyon - Arizona
3. If you could only do vacation travel (a) to places you've been to before, or (b) to places you've never been before, which would you choose?
If I could make it to the top of Mt Whitney again, I would do that. Since it is doubtful, I would choose somewhere new.

Three for Thursday

1. What are 3 things that you can't start your day without?
Coffee - Newspaper - Coffee
2. What are the last 3 things you do before you climb into bed at night?
Wash face - brush teeth - scoop the cat litter
3. Who are 3 people that you talk to every day?
Husband - boss - myself
4. What are your 3 favorite TV shows of all time?
Currently: CSI, Dr Phil, Survivor

Today’s News Flashes

Wednesday Wonder Exercise

(All words taken from today’s edition of the Contra Costa Times)

Try to look on the bright side when times may seem dark …

Do you wanna, um dance? There are teenagers dancing in real time, while their teachers have been accused of cheating.

Van pool driver sells space and curbs cost while a truck drives into aqueduct killing 4 (how does a truck drive?)

Snow urged congress to raise the debt ceiling while the snow weary now have to worry about risk of flood

Here’s a chart that lets you calculate your cat’s human age Cat years=human years: 1=15; 2=24; 3=28; 4=32; 5=36; 6=40; 7=44; 8=48; 9=52; 10=56; 15=78; 16=81.6; 17=85.2; 18=88.8; 19=92.4; 20=96. Dog lovers are upset over new Nike shoe ad.

Some kids are hoping to sell cookies to save Danville’s aging and unstable Diablo Road oak tree. Meanwhile a juvenile was arrested in a vandalism spree.

A big burger just got better and the Beef industry courts young vegetarian

Dial in to politics on local radio stations while prepping for terror attack

The weather couldn’t be nicer and a crack of baseball heralds spring.
I’m signing off on the bright side.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Ecstasy :: .….….…… dope
Journey :: .….….…… trip
Warning :: .….….…… watchout
College :: .….….…… never
Shrub :: .….….…… bush
Pick :: .….….…… knit
Restriction :: .….….…jail
Cracks :: .….….…… sidewalks
Vacancy :: .….….…… bums
Bears :: .….….…… Cal (UC)

This or That Tuesday

Okay, I'm a day late. And, it's not cause I'm a doting Grandma. It's cause I am a Red Hat Society Queen and got myself into an enormous project.

1. Black or white? No, blue
2. Plaid or stripes? Stripes, make you look slenderer
3. Paperback or hardcover books? 90% paperback, 10% can't wait
4. Color or B&W printer? both
5. Golden oldies or the newest tunes? Old Old Oldies
6. Ice cream: in a cone or a dish? Sugar cone
7. Bath or shower? Shower, unless......
8. Are you outgoing or shy? Mostly shy
9. Answer the phone when it rings, or screen calls? I don't screen calls, ever
10. VCR or TiVO? What's a TiVO?

BlogFodder prompt - If I could, what would I change my Blog name to? Now why would I go and do that? Is there something wrong with Witt Bits?

Sunday, February 16, 2003

To My Mom

I wrote this a few years ago. It's kind of sad but as a new Grandma, I couldn't help but be reminded of my own experience 29 years ago.

I didn’t cry when Mom died. Sitting in the front row for the memorial service, I barely heard the service, the songs, and the eulogies. My husband sat next to me. He cried. My younger sister sat on the other side and sobbed. My older brother dabbed his eyes with a starched white hankie. Dad held his eyeglasses in his lap as tears smeared the lenses. But I didn’t cry. Not me. Big girls don’t cry.

My pregnant body ached as I stood at the church narthex after the service, accepting the hugs and condolences, steadfast, emotions buried deep and secure. Caught off guard for just one moment, my eyes stung at a comment from Mom’s sister. “You are certainly holding up well.” But the tears didn’t break through. The baby kicked awakening thoughts of the last few months.

Mom had been sick for months, spending weeks at a time in the hospital hours from Mom and Dad’s home, but close to me. It was a bittersweet period of mother daughter bonding, healing the somewhat paradoxical relationship of my teenage years.

I suspected I was pregnant about the time I learned my mom was going to die. The prospective baby had presented a quandary to me. While I wanted to celebrate my elation, there was an overwhelming despondency knowing that Mom might be gone. Should I tell her? I waited. Better to be sure.

Before I could share the news of my positive test results, Mom was moved to another hospital for heart tests. My fifteen-year-old sister was with Mom when the results came back. A well known heart specialist cold heartedly entered her room, breezed directly past my sister to mom’s bedside and bluntly said ‘Mrs. B, you are going to die.’” Just like that, no sympathy, no explanation, just a blunt, cold “you are going to die”.

I finally worked up courage to tell Mom about the baby. Death was forgotten as a shared moment of joy surrendered to silent white hospital walls. The subject was closed never again discussed. No talk and no tears.
Mom was sent home with the formidable prognosis, now confined to her own bed. Her room might as well have been a hospital room, the rented hospital table, and the big green tank of oxygen in the corner, the dozens of bottles of pills.

As Mom wasted away, I grew proportionately bigger. I hesitated the first time I wore a maternity dress around her feeling as though I was robbing her of something. She didn’t seem to notice.

And then one day the baby moved. As we made the two-hour trip to visit Mom the next weekend, I pondered about telling her the news. We were delayed and didn’t arrive at the house until almost midnight. Mom was waiting for us. She was so tired. I’ll tell her in the morning I thought, and kissed her goodnight.

Early in the morning with newfound excitement I bounced out of bed to share the news. Mom’s door was closed. Dad stood there but didn’t need to say a word. Still he uttered, “She’s gone.” He had been crying. My sister cried. My husband cried. I was stunned – I just couldn’t cry. The baby kicked.

Mom started collecting owls shortly before she died. I often wondered about that. Why owls” What was the significance – night? Screeching? Graveyards? Wisdom? Everyone brought her owls: stuffed owls, ceramic owls, silver owls, pewter owls, and wooden owls, owls on necklaces. My sister never finished the pottery owl she was making at school that fall. I took it home with me that weekend and placed it in the maternity bag for my Lamaze “focus object”.

Dad and my sister shared tears missing Mom’s presence throughout the ensuing holiday season. As Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years passed, I maintained a stoic distance from my emotions.

February 2nd, Groundhog Day, my son was born. It was a difficult labor ending in a caesarian delivery. Exhausted by the ordeal, I thought of my mother and how she had been through this four times. I reached into my overnight bag and searched for the unfinished owl. The tears came, hot healing tears. A nurse came in to check on me. “Are you in pain? Can I get you something?”

“No,” I replied, “I have everything I need.”

Mom - Grandma - Me

Friday 5 on Sunday

Okay, I was distracted from blogging by the arrival of my grandson, and almost missed the Friday Five.
Better late than never.
1. Explain why you started to journal/blog. Because it supports the egotistical side of my nature.

2. Do people you interact with day to day or family members know about your journal/blog? Why or why not? I tell anyone who is interested. I have nothing to hide and trust anyone reading this stuff understands where I come from. I only hope I never unintentionally offend any of my readers.

3. Do you have a theme for your journal/blog? Nope, it's just a random log of whatever gets my attention. That's the way life is.

4. What direction would you like to have your journal/blog go in over the next year? That's not up to me.

5. Pimp five of your favorite journals/blogs. - I have a lot of favorites - these are ones I currently check every day:
Hestia Chronicles
Lactose Incompetent
The Other Side
Dave Barry
Real Live Preacher

But, I also visit my screwy brother at The Daily Screw from the Virtual Corkscrew Museum (Hi Big Brother - are you still reading me?)

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Friday, February 14, 2003

It's a Boy!

I'm a Grandma. 9 lbs 12 oz born on Valentines Day

The Coffee Cup Story

The Other Coffee Cup

Why on earth would a Grandma have a mug with a Smith & Wesson logo? Here’s a short version of a long story.

A few years ago a less than undesirable character seemed to think he had cause to harass my family. The local police department didn’t show much interest in this matter as there was inadequate evidence to substantiate my claim; in other words, the guy had not carried out his threats, yet. So I determined I would have to take matters into my own hands. First stop, the local gun shop.

When I expressed my plight to a big burly guy behind the gun counter, he assured me he had the appropriate weapon for eliminating “Giant Termites.” He turned around and selected a shotgun off the rack behind him. “This would probably be your best choice. Most “Termites” recognize the sound of this and will disappear when they here it.” He cocked the gun. My husband nodded his approval.

But, I had my eye on the shiny pistols in the gun case and my imagination ran wild with visions of me, dressed up in the likes of Annie Oakley, opening the front door with a big old pistol resting on my hip. “What about one of those?” I asked the clerk.

“Well that would do it all right. But it would take some practice. I just happen to teach a class…”

I filled out the paperwork, passed the six-question gun ownership test, and signed up for the class. After the obligatory three-day wait period and the determination by my state that I wasn’t a felon or mentally ill, I picked up my new Lady Smith & Wesson 357, attended the classes and received an official certificate declaring I was now an expert in gun safety and marksmanship.

My prized possession was a target poster, full of holes, bulls-eye holes, smack dab in the center of the chart. I hung it on my front door.

The “Giant Termite” got the message. Haven’t seen him since.

Oh yeah, the mug – it was a Christmas present I found under the tree addressed to Annie Oakley

The Coffee Cup Project

My mugs are now posted at The Coffee Cup Project

I know you will be just dying to know the story behind my "other mug". Stay tuned.

Today I am busy becoming a Grandma.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Bad Hair Days

Because it is a rainy day and I once again have bad hair and I don't feel like writing, I dug this out of my archives from the old Themestream days.

Bad Hair Days

Does anyone like her hair? My hair is drab brown, fine and thin, not straight, not curly, not wavy, not anything in particular. It’s just plain unmanageable, long, short, permed, curled, blown dry, air dried, highlighted or dyed, so I don’t have many good hair days. It’s the first thing I check out when I look at my photo album.

Silly frou-frou hatband with pastel fabric flowers perched on top of long hair, face framed with curly bangs. I was about five and it was the result of mom’s tortuous Saturday night rituals. Bent over the kitchen sink, wash cloth pressed firmly into my eyes, scratchy towel draped over my shoulders, I squirmed while Mom washed and rinsed. De-tangling was agony followed with leaning over Mom’s lap, face down, over the floor heater vent while Mom brushed and brushed for what seemed like hours until it was dry. I would then be sent off to bed with my bangs firmly bobby-pinned in little pinwheels. Sunday mornings I would sit in church mesmerized by my friend Susie’s long blond hair neatly flowing down her back accentuated by the grosgrain ribbon on her broad brimmed hat.

Frizzy bangs sticking out from under another flower-covered hat. What kind of hat was that anyway? It was sort like a three-inch wide headband that dug into the sides of my head above my ears, no hatpins necessary to keep it in place. Anyway I was about six and the frizz was a result one of Mom’s home perms. At least I didn’t have to succumb to the bobby pin treatment for a while.

Long hair frizzed at the ends, curly bangs, blue glasses. When I was seven I needed glasses. My best friend, Lori had these really neat red and white striped glasses and she wore her hair in a ponytail. I always wanted my hair in a ponytail but mom insisted, “you don’t have the right shape face to do that.” Somehow I figured that if I got glasses just like Lori’s maybe then I could wear a ponytail. “No, that will only make it worse,” was mom’s reaction as she convinced me that the light blue framed glasses would match and draw attention to my best feature, my eyes.

Long ringlets. Grandma coaxed my hair into ringlets a few times until I was about nine years old. The curls lasted just long enough for Mom to grab the camera for a quick picture. Then my sister was born. By the time she was two she had beautiful long curly hair and Grandma would spend hours arranging her perfect ringlets. I still remember the satisfaction I felt the day my sister found a pair of scissors and cut off the two front ringlets. Mom was horrified.

The poodle. The summer when I was eleven years old my friend Sandy got her long hair cut short and the lady down the street gave her a poodle perm. I relentlessly begged until Mom finally agreed I could have one too. Sandy led me up the rickety wooden steps to the back porch where the lady did the perms. It must have been near 100 humid degrees the day I spent the entire afternoon smelling the sweaty armpits of my hairdresser. She cut my hair, wrapped sections in little paper squares, wound it tightly into small pink plastic curlers, applied a stinky ammonia solution, and checked for curls half a dozen times. After a couple more rinses and solutions and a thorough drying under the hot air blasts of the clunky silver hair dryer, the rollers were removed to reveal tight kinky curls. I didn’t look at all like Sandy and mom was so shocked she hid her camera for months. This school picture was taken about three months later.

The pageboy. My friend Carla at the summer cabins always wore her hair in a perfect pageboy. We were probably about twelve the day she cut my hair. She said she knew exactly how, then she couldn’t figure out why my hair flipped up instead of down. Mom tried to fix it but ended up taking me to a hairdresser for a very short haircut.

Bouffant. Another permanent, resulting in frizz that had to be tamed by sleeping on various sized bristled rollers every night, followed by arduous ratting and lots of Aquanet extra hold hairspray to keep it in place for most of the day. That is if it didn’t rain, and if we didn’t have to take showers at gym class.

Shoulder length, dyed blond: My high school senior picture is still my favorite photo. Every hair is in place. It looks like a simple hairdo but actually required sleeping on huge bristled rollers, teasing into place, and a quick fluff up just before the flash of the camera. Two months after graduation I chopped my hair off to resemble Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Hairpiece. My friend Janet wore her hair to work this way everyday. “It’s easy. Just pin up your hair, plop on the hair piece and voila!” she said. EASY was the magic word. We went shopping, I got a hairpiece, and I wore it everyday for over a year. It was easy but washing it out every week and balancing it on the Styrofoam head to style it was another matter. At least I could now nestle deeply into my pillow each night while the Styrofoam head wore the huge bristled rollers.

The shag. The worse cut ever. It was one of those cuts were people say simply “Oh you got your hair cut.” The obvious “rolling of the eyes” kind of look said it all. Uncle Mac started to even out my hair a little bit each month until eventually it was all one length and looked fairly decent.

New kind of permanent. Chasing around toddlers, I needed simplicity. My hairdresser suggested there was great new permanent out that would add just a little extra body. And I believed her. The kids squealed with laughter and my husband came home from work and made a remark about a light socket. I was in tears. I changed hairdressers.

Long and flowing. Running years brought back the long hair just for the luxurious feel of it blowing in the wind. I really didn’t care what it looked like and I bet mom rolled over in her grave every time I pulled it back into a pony tail.

Short short short. Approaching middle age, backpacking became my next obsession. Yes, you read right – middle age – the time of life when most people hang up their backpacks. Not me, I was going to climb mountains. And I needed short hair to do it. Real short hair. I hid it under a broad brimmed floppy hiking hat. My family wondered if I was becoming a Lesbian. And then a Lesbian tried to pick me up. I started to grow my hair out once again.

Short again. When I turned 50 I went to a new hairdresser (okay, I change hairdressers every couple of years). But, this new hairdresser sat me in the chair, ran her fingers through what was by this time an unruly medium length mess, and shook her head a couple of times. I don’t know why I didn’t run when she commented, “You know when we get older and things start falling, it’s a good idea to cut our hair shorter. It kind of uplifts things.” Instead, I humbly admitted she was right. I was getting old. Things were falling. My hair was a disaster. “Okay, do what you think is right,” I said. You can see the result below.... on second thought I wouldn't want to scare you away with that. Maybe some other time.

Today. I hide from cameras. My hair is once again medium length and now sprinkled with gray. I haven’t had a hair cut in four months. Last time I went to the salon, my hairdresser suggested “just a bit of body perm and some highlights would make you look much younger” . . . . . Thank you, but I have earned these gray hairs and I know what perms do to me.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Bowls of Stuff

Still working on that Asian Mushroom Soup I made on Sunday. Turned out to be a good thing since I ended up with an the obnoxious cold that has been circulating the area lately. Best thing is, my husband had it first. That's best cause that way he's more sympathetic!

So it's been one of those eat-everything-out-of-a-bowl weeks, so far. Soup, cereal, soup, oatmeal, soup, ice cream, soup. Every soup bowl, cereal bowl and ice cream bowl (yes one must eat out of the proper bowl) in the place is in the dishwasher being de-germed as I write.

I have this thing about bowls. Well, I have this thing about a lot of things but the bowls are on my mind right now because I almost had to go out and buy more bowls. You see, they must be exactly right for the contents.

Cereal must be eaten in what Ebay refers to as restaurant "Chili Bowls" (my sister started me on the search for the perfect cereal bowl so I blame her for this eccentricity). I have a collection, all from Ebay and estate sales, none of them match, and that is what I like. A different bowl for each day.

Soup must be consumed out of soup bowls, the ones I get a Crate and Barrel - big white cafe style bowls. These all match because they are the only perfect ones I have found so far.

Of course we know what most people eat ice cream out of but not me - it must be a dainty glass bowl, my favorite one being the one I swiped from the cats, a Fancy Feast bowl.

When I've recovered from this cold (which better be darn soon), I'll be bring out the salad bowls and popcorn bowl. For now, I'm just waiting for the dishwasher to finish so I can eat my evening ice cream before Rusty swipes his bowl back.

Breakfast This or That

Ummmm, breakfast is my favorite meal. Sometimes I eat breakfast for lunch or dinner too.
1. Bacon or sausage? Bacon
2. Eggs: scrambled or not? Scrambled
3. French toast or regular toast? French toast, real maple syrup and powdered sugar are a must
4. Pancakes or waffles? Belgian waffles
5. Mufins or bagels? Depends on the mood
6. Coffee or tea? Coffee, strong enough to get out of the pot and black
7. Juice: orange or grapefruit? Orange, fresh squeezed only
8. Hot or cold cereal? Both
9. To put in cereal: bananas or strawberries (or some other fruit)? Bananas, strawberries, blue berries, raspberries, peaches
10. Eat breakfast at home or at a restaurant? First breakfast at home - to out and have a second breakfast for lunch

Monday, February 10, 2003

For My Cats

Got mine here

Daily Screw

Get your Daily Screw from the Virtual Corkscrew Museum. This just happens to be a creation of my brother.

This is my favorite page on his website (caution, do not have cat on your lap when you open this page.)

Each key on the keyring represents an area of responsibility

(daily prompt from Blogfodder)
My keyring is so heavy that it once broke the ignition switch on my old car. My coats all have holes in the pockets from those jagged key edges. I carry a big purse just to tote my keys. But, I am responsible. For what?

Two for the front door (must have those deadbolts you know), at least I'm not homeless
One for the pool, I might swim someday
One for the home mail box, which remains empty of anything but junk mail
One for the P O box, because I might not live in the same place forever
Two for the door at work, I really do work
One for the work P O box, could keep this in my desk
Two for my sons back door, cause I might have to feed the cats
One for my sisters door, cause I might have to feed the cat
One for my uncles door, cause sometimes he doesn't answer his phone
One for my husbands car, cause once in a while my car needs gas so I take his
One for my luggage, that I use about once a year
One for the fireproof box, you know the kind that if you drop the box on the floor it breaks open anyway
One for the jewelry box, this is really ridiculous, there's nothing worth locking up in there
One for the locker at the gym, that I don't go to anymore
One for the church, where I used to secretary a meeting
One for the roll top desk, that I never lock cause there's nothing in there worth locking up
One for the 357 case, in case that giant termite shows up again
One for the lock on the 357, so I'd have to think twice about it

And then I have the part that detaches from the key ring and saves my ignition switch - the part that holds that extra large car key with the bulky doohickey that opens the doors

And then there is the junk drawer full of discarded responsibilities...

But what about the other stuff that resides on the key ring? Stuff that I must have with me at all times to carry out the unexpected responsibilities. Finger nail clippers, small flashlight, swiss army knife, coin purse, lipstick holder, magnifying glass, good luck charms, the ring I need to drop off at the jewelers, the Weight Watcher star and gold key charms, the rabbits foot, tape measure, thermometer, gps, whistle...

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Good Sunday

Had a fantastic day today. Started out with my usual Sunday morning leisurely read of two newspapers, Miss Minnie in my lap, and a big pot of coffee by my side. What could be better?

Stopped by Barnes and Nobles and picked up a couple of books to add to my tower of unread literature. Going to start with The Lovely Bones.

Had lunch at TGIFridays. Not bad for a chain. I hadn't been there before. Since it was a nice sunny, fairly warm day, lots of people were out strolling the Farmers Market so we had plenty to watch out the window as we ate. Interesting the way some people dress. Makes one wonder if some of them ever look in the mirror. The most amusing outfit was the young lady in the short plaid mini skirt, black tights, leather jacket and fur trimmed eskimo boots. Then there was the semi-plump lady in stretch pants, a tight black sweater and high heels. And then came the lady dressed in a jungle print sweat suit, carrying a giant red plaid tote bag. Now for the men, well across the aisle from us a little girl, about 10 was looking out the other direction, giggling. I chanced a look. The guy who was selling mushrooms outside her window was mooning us. Wonder what was in those mushrooms.

Went to see Chicago. That is one great movie. Gotta buy the CD.

Made Asian Mushroom Soup that was in the USA Today newspaper mag today. It was great. Of course I overdid it a bit throwing in extra mushrooms of three varieties (I didn't buy them from the "moon" guy), a little extra of this and that. Probably didn't resemble the original recipe much but it was good. Looks like I'll be enjoying it for about three days.

No, Rusty, This Site is Not About You

Rusty has been exhibiting a new behavior lately. He exhibits this behavior everytime I sit down at the computer. Okay, for today, I'll play with Rusty and that stupid bird. Gone Cat Fishing... Talk to you later.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Tail Talk

I didn't do my taxes today after all. It's all because of the cats.

Just as I was about to bring out the three inch file of tax stuff, there was a bit of rustling in the kitchen and some unmistakeable howls of the Mr. Rusty variety, the howls of a cat about to pounce on some poor innocent prey. Sure enough there he was positioned at the sliding glass door with Miss Minnie by his side, their tails swiping back and forth like little metronomes. On the other side of the glass, up in the tree branches, about eight feet away from the window, sat our friendly neighborhood squirrel, chattering and sending tail messages back to the cats. Funny just this morning I was thinking about getting a bird feeder to amuse the cats. Now I only had to grab an old corn cob and place it on the patio. I figure it saved me about twenty bucks in cat amusement expenses. The squirrel was content, the cats were entertained.

But what does the tail talk have to do with my inability to face the taxes today? Well if I hadn't stepped out onto the patio and breathed in that refreshing crisp air and felt the invitation of warm rays of sunshine, I wouldn't have been drawn into an outside adventure. The taxes would have been finished. It better rain sometime between now and April 15th.

Don't Do This To Your Tax Preparer

Well it’s tax time again. In a recent purging of files from twenty years in the tax preparation business, I came across some file notes justifying increased fees. So here it is – a list of some things you can do to annoy your tax preparer so you can support his or her early retirement.

1. Client dropped off a shoebox full of receipts with a note “call me when it’s done.”
2. Client was late for his tax appointment
3. Client called on April 14th
4. Client called ten times with missing information
5. Client brought two year old to appointment
6. Client had his return prepared by another preparer and wanted me to find the mistakes
7. Client called to change information after the return had been processed
8. Client didn’t show up on the correct day
9. Client gave me a the flu
10. Client neglected to complete the organizer I provided
11. Client lost his W-2 forms… or 1099 forms
12. When client was asked how much he donated last year he found the numbers on my ceiling
13. Client didn’t speak English
14. Client worked in three different states
15. Client sold stock and has no clue what he paid for it
16. Clients check bounced last year
17. Client refused to hand over her 1099 forms and insisted in reading off each box and number
18. Client bought into 10 limited partnerships without warning me
19. Client stuffed info for each line of her return into individual envelopes and insisted on opening each one during the appointment, reading off the numbers and then re-stuffing
20. Client stuck all her receipts in individual envelopes for each line of the return but then asked me to run an adding machine tape for each group
21. Client doused herself with stinky perfume (I had to air our my office for 3 days after that)
22. Client called twelve times during the year to have her taxes estimated
23. Client insisted I explain every entry on his return
24. Client expected me to recite the tax code for every other entry on his return
25. Client got stuck in my driveway and had to call a tow truck
26. Client asked me to make up numbers and then wanted to know why I was so conservative
27. Client insisted he drove his car 110% for business
28. Client didn’t pay his estimated taxes
29. Client forgot to tell me he got a divorce
30. Client started a business and mixed all her business expenses in with her personal expenses and insisted on sorting it out during our appointment
31. Client wanted me to come to her house and sort through her records
32. Client prepared her own return and asked me to fix it
33. Client barfed on my carpet when I told her how much she owed the IRS
34. Clients cousin works for the IRS

I could continue but I've got to go do my taxes.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Too Many Magazines

Mail today: Backpacker Magazine and AARP newspaper. Both addressed to me. Depressing mail. Why?

I've subscribed to Backpacker Magazine since my first adventure into the wilderness in 1997. I haven't backpacked for over two years due to the back pain problem and it's pure torture to receive that magazine every month. But two years ago when I renewed my subscription I had no idea that it would become a source of such anguish. Now I glance through the pretty scenery pictures with envy. I skim through the latest reviews of the newest and best equipment with yearnings. Then I toss it on top of the giant tower of magazines that I think, by some miracle, will be useful someday.

The AARP newspaper and its companion Modern Maturity comes next. It's been arriving like clockwork since I passed that 50 year threshold. Oh yeah, I pay my dues so I can torment myself each month with this subscription. I settle into my relax-the-back antigravity chair and check out all the great things I have to look forward to. Things like diapers (not my grandsons), liquid food supplements, hearing aids, canes and wheel chairs. This one I toss into the recycle bin not wanting a tower of reminders about what will inevitably come.

The rest of the month will be a little less painful. I'll be reading Writers Digest (when I should be writing), The Sun (because it has good writing in it), More (because I am over 50), Prevention (so I can stay healthy), Weight Watchers (so I can stay slim), Viking (so I will be prepared to go to Norway someday) and Diablo (because it comes free).

Quarterly I'll be reading StoryCircle Journal (because I am an occasional contributor) and Calyx (because I want to be a contributor someday).

Perhaps I should cancel them all, publish my writing, retire, eat junk food, and use the money I save to go to Norway before I need Depends.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

One of my (2 or 3?) readers remarked that she feels as though she is peeking in my personal journal if she reads this weblog. In all honesty, this weblog is merely an expression of some random slices of time, discovery or adventure that capture my attention at any given time. It’s the part of me that says I want to be one of those small dots in that wide world of weblogs that grows by the hundreds each day.

Believe me, you wouldn’t want to read my personal journal. It’s a brain dump of all my complaints, excuses, defects and pity-pot memories all kept in a secret, password protected file, destined for self-destruction on the day I die.

Other stuff I write might show up someday too. (You know, that novel I’ve been working on for years.) For those of you who stick with me through all my rambling, wanderings and wonderings perhaps someday you will be able to say, gee I knew her when she only wrote that crappy weblog. Oh yeah, dream on.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Corkscrews Anyone?

This guy collects corkscrews. He has so many he had to build a new house to contain his museum

I collect rubber bands. I don't buy them. They arrive free everyday with my newspaper. This ball contains many years of collecting. At lease I won't have to build a new house to contain my collection.

Oh yeah, and I'm addicted to Jelly Bellys

Sunday, February 02, 2003

How Do You Spell Punxsutawney

Careful how you spell it. I typed Puxatony Phil into my search engine this morning and got a link to Crappers Quarterly. It did not reveal the current winter predictions.

I tried a few more spellings with similar results. Finally I gave up. I typed in Ground Hogs Day and find the official site which lead me to the official Punxsutawney Phil website.

Because I couldn't stop there, I had to search for Groundhog Graphics.

Okay, I'm off to enjoy our beautiful California sunshiny day in preparation for another six weeks of winter.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Ground Hogs

My oldest son will be 29 tomorrow, Ground Hogs Day. He will also be a father any day, could be a Ground Hog #2. Plans to give the kid his name too. Gosh, this is scary. Another gosh, I really am going to be a Grandma and I really am getting old. Bought more yarn today. Gonna sit back in my rocking chair, knit & watch Dr. Phil.

I wrote to Dr. Phil. Told him all about "Someone" I know who gambles too much. "Someone" refuses to go on the Dr. Phil show, but was amused that I actually wrote to Dr. Phil. In fact "Someone" is so amused that he takes great pleasure in letting everyone know my concern about his behavior. Anyway, I got an automatic email back from Dr. Phil thanking me for the suggestion and the usual "we'll let you know" language.

Oh yeah, I found out what a "meme" is at topical words. I guess it's not all about "me." Oops.