Archive for May, 2009

So I have Blog Elves working for me, now. Little Elves with cameras on their phones, and zany brains contained within cute heads on their shoulders, on the look-out for things that could rock my blog world. Here are a few photos found out there on various mundane outings by said Elves:

Contribution from my friend Regyna during one of her jaunts to Ikea:




Ok so……..any ideas why pillows require multiple tags as big as your head? Were there complaints at some point in the past that the tags were too SMALL and therefore, some manager in a high-up position in the Ikea chain of command, grinned wickedly and said “Too small? Well then. We can fix THAT now, can’t we?” Then proceeded to yell maniacally at the Ikea Troops of Doom: “BIGGER!!!!! BIGGER!!!!! I’M TALKING TAGS THE SIZE OF ALASKA!!!! I’M TALKING TAGS THE SIZE OF A JUPITER MOON!!!! NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!”

Seriously, you’d have to pull out your paper shredder to properly dispose of the tags – – either that or leave them ON the pillows and risk a midnight strangulation during a position shift. IKEA: from me to you – – SIMMER!!!! We get it!!! There are apparently a lot of rules that come with your pillows. But don’t you think this is a teeny-weeny bit excessive?

Next is a contribution by my friend Elizabeth who saw this monstrosity on the dashboard of the car next to her on a recent store outing:


In case you can’t quite make out what’s going on there (it took me a moment too), that is a farm of WEIRD STUFF on someone’s dash. And by weird stuff, I mean an enchanted forest of plastic animals, cartoon characters, and generally things that should be set up in the playhouse of a whimsical, precocious eight year old child. Firstly, I want to know how a person can see out the window enough to drive. Secondly, I would imagine that the type of person who would PUT such a display on their dashboard could easily get distracted by the display and perhaps move them around, exploring intricate plot lines with the characters – – – while driving 75 MPH down the interstate. And, thus – – we should all forget about being frightened by drunk drivers and should, instead, watch out for THIS GUY when on a leisurely, afternoon drive.

Thirdly – – I wonder how many times they’ve had to re-set those things up after braking a liiiiiitttle too hard at an intersection.

And fourthly – – – well, I don’t have a fourthly. Other than to say I was strangely comforted that there is someone out there WEIRDER THAN ME, driving around in the world.


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For My Mom


Someone told me recently that her mother doesn’t like Mother’s Day – – because in her mother’s opinion, EVERY day is Mother’s Day. I can see how one could arrive at this opinion – – I mean, the worrying alone of mothers young and not-so-young should be enough to designate each day as an homage to what moms go through on a regular basis to nurture their kids. And through my relationship with my own mother, I have seen that this desire to nurture never really ends.

My mother and I are opposite in – – well – – most every way there is to BE opposite. I have often said that it has to be some sort of cosmic mix-up in DNA that I sprang from her loins, looking very little like her and as I have grown older, becoming interested in a life that is so different from her own, that I might as well be from the planet Zorton, and she, planet Earth. A kind, Earthly mother who adopted a poor little Zortonian baby who, God bless me, is not genetically pre-disposed toward an understanding of kitchen skills or knowing how to properly mop a bathroom floor.

Since retiring from her job as a public school kindergarten teacher, it is like someone has released mom from a tightly locked cage that was preventing her all these years from expressing her domesticity to it’s fullest potential. So she is making up for lost time and then some. It is not uncommon for me to talk with her, ask what she’s been up to, and then get to listen to a laundry list of activities as long as my arm of things she’s been doing:

“Well….(sigh)…I just went and picked some herbs from out back in the garden to make that really good salad dressing for the salad that I’m taking to the church dinner tonight. And I went and gathered some blackberries earlier this morning and am now in the middle of making some jam. And I might be making a blackberry cobbler later tonight for the Garden Club picnic tomorrow – – either that or the chocolate pie. Maybe both. I alphabetized all of the DVD’s in the corner room and then realized that they were FILTHY so I dusted and cleaned the corners with a toothbrush. I swept the porch and washed all the pillows from the chairs out there. I finished knitting two new hats – – have started smocking a dress for Catherine – – and am going to a Master Gardener’s event on Thursday so I painted some cute little flowers on my gardening clogs. And I think this weekend, I’m going to learn to churn butter…”

I look at my watch – – it’s not even noon.

She will then return the favor and ask me the dreaded question: “So what have you been doing??”

The truth is, that nine times out of ten, when she asks me that question, I will have run a conference call from my couch with my feet propped up on the coffee table, eaten two tortilla chips – – and perhaps painted a toenail. One toenail. Because I got sidetracked with Thinking About Something Really Important before I could get to the other nine. Realizing this is a highly unsatisfactory answer that will result in questions about the state of my condo (Ummm…staring at laundry needing folding), what flowers I have planted on my porch (none), and if I have changed the oil in my car (Errrrrrrrr…what month is it again?), I usually just talk about my rewards and accolades I’ve been receiving at my job. My job is a safe subject. Because it doesn’t involve admitting that my domesticity grade would most often be a big, red, glaring, F-.

My mom has always been one to show love through doing things – – making things. From such a young age, she was always creatively putting things together for my birthday parties or other various celebrations. Every year on my birthday, she would ask me what kind of cake I wanted – – and I would think and think about it, wanting to come up with the perfect idea. Over the years I had an alligator cake, a butterfly cake, a hot air balloon cake, a Minnie Mouse cake – – even a group of small round cakes that she had grouped together to make a bunch of balloons, tied together with yarn. It was always so exciting to see her creating them from scratch – – wondering how they would look when they were done.

She made me dresses – – beautiful hand-smocked dresses – – hours spent in front of the sewing machine with pins stuck in her mouth humming absent-mindedly and sometimes erupting with a curse word as she realized she’d sewn some part of the dress on backwards. I would spend long periods of time, standing in front of her with arms outstretched like a scarecrow as she pinned all the pieces together like a cloth jigsaw puzzle. I would hold my breath as she did so – – preparing myself for more uncommon cursing from her mouth if something was ill-fitting.

The only time I heard my mom curse was when she was making things. Some of the biggest, loudest, most explosive cursing episodes occurred when she was making a caramel cake. Caramel cakes are REALLY HARD TO MAKE. I know this because she told me MANY TIMES how hard they were to make. I also know this to be true because she cursed like the daughter of an angry pirate when she would attempt to make that cake and it would usually, inevitably, fail. Those were bad days in mom’s kitchen.

Sometimes when I look back at photos of mom from that time in my life, I have the realization that she was really young when she was doing all this. And really HOT. My mom was seriously pretty – – she still is – – but in her 30’s, my mom totally could have been one of the Charlie’s Angels with her long, tan legs, tank tops and short-shorts. The angel who baked really difficult cakes in skimpy sundresses. Some of my best memories of my mom were when she would lose the worried furrow to her brow, and dance to ABBA while she was ironing. Or play John Denver on her guitar, forever searching for the right note on “Country Road” as she sang.

She was constantly worrying that I had enough of anything and everything and reminding me to do a whole myriad of things that I was often forgetting given my Zortonian disposition. Checking to make sure I had enough socks or underwear – – that I had the right kind of crayons for school – – that my shoes had enough room at the toes for growth. As I got older, she would ask me about my homework, how much my dance costumes were going to cost, if I’d thanked Mrs Harris for letting me sleepover at their house. Whether I’d set the table, or cleaned my room – – or fed the dog.

In fact, one of my more comical memories of mom to illustrate what I’m talking about is from when I visited her at the hospital when I was 12 after she’d had major surgery. I remember walking up to the side of her bed and she was still groggy from the anesthesia – – I looked at her and said “Hi Mom…” and she looked at me, bleary-eyed, trying to focus on her daughter. She was attempting to say something and recognizing that maybe she had something really important to tell me, I leaned in closer to make sure I caught all of what she needed to say. Haltingly and carefully, she managed to utter….“Amy…..did you remember to feed the dog?”

Even under the haze of ANESTHESIA, my mom was still wanting to make sure that all was in it’s place. It was just such a perfect mom moment.

And as I get older, even as I realize that there are so many differences between Mom and me that likely will not change in our lifetime, I see these differences as gifts. As we work to understand one another’s positions a little more, I would like to think that we add something new and different to one another’s lives. She has learned, I think, to trust me as I go forth down the road less traveled – – she sees with a mom’s instinct that I’m ok. That I have enough underwear. That while I’ll likely never be a domestic goddess, I have yet to die from a mysterious germ infestation in my home so obviously I’m hanging in there on that front. She watches me as I have broken away from so many of life’s conventions and forged a life that she can’t completely understand, but she’s learned to respect. And I, in turn, see so more clearly how talented she is at doing the things she does. And feeling so much more love from her in these reminders, concerns and cakes that will forever just be her way of communicating it to me and others.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I’m so lucky to have had you as my mother. Next time you iron….turn on some ABBA again.

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Like everyone else, I sometimes wonder about which Star Wars characters would win in a duel. Ok – – I actually never usually wonder that but for reasons even too bizarre for me to describe, I found myself pondering two characters in particular and those are – – the infamous “Wookie” (most often associated with Chewbacca or “Chewy” from the original Star Wars trilogy) and the “Wampa” from The Empire Strikes Back. What is the “Wampa” you might ask? Well – – the Wampa is the big, white, hairy beast that attacked Luke at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back and hung him up in his evil, dastardly snow cave like a frozen, human bat, to be thawed in the microwave and eaten at a later time with a side dish of broccoli and twice baked potato. Since both beasts are Sasquatchian in their make-up and demeanor, and given my penchant for anything and everything Sasquatch, surely you could understand why the creatures would be so near and dear to my cerebral cortex?

So I languidly pondered who would win in a duel a couple of days this week, as one does, and have decided that I think the Wookie would win. For no good reason other than he seems to be more agile than the Wampa – – – and he hangs out with Han Solo and Han Solo is HOT.

One would think that I would be the only person on the planet to ponder a Wookie vs. Wampa event, wouldn’t one? I mean – I AM the Queen of the Random Thought, admittedly, and Obscurity is my middle name. However – – you would be wrong, wrong, wrong. WRONG. You underestimate the thought processes of a certain breed of human – – and that breed is called: The Star Wars Nerd

All I had to do was google “Wookie vs. Wampa” and a veritable plethora of information on the subject came up, including a make-shift video of such an event that I can only imagine was written and directed by two bored, acne ridden, fifteen year olds who have every Star Wars action figure known to man alphabetized and put away into their own custom designed shelving, covered by a bullet-proof plexi-glass, and who can also roar like a Wookie on command at any party:

But that’s not all, folks. There are Star Wars Nerd Forums. Ohhhhhh yes there are. And these forums have pondered this VERY SUBJECT at length – – giving very well-thought-out, complicated reasoning as to why one or the other would win. Here is an ACTUAL transcript from one of these such online conversations:

Godmoan: you know, who would win in a fight a wampa or a wookie?

AlanWhiteWolf: Naturally a wampa but a properly trained wookie would Nail that wompa cause wompas are dumb.

DarthPlo: wookies have higher brain power, so wookies.

KingAres: LOL that is so false. Humans have higher brain power compared to Gorillas, but a gorilla could detroy a human with ease. That said a Wampa would win.

JekRendar: Since the conditions were not specified, I’d argue a Wookiee would pull out his bowcaster and blast the Wampa 100 meters away.

Darth Aramith: It would depend on the conditions, but in hand to hand combat a wompa would own the wookie.

DarthPlo: A good example. however, like some other people on here said, the terms are not specified. A wookie (or human) would not let something like a Wampa (or gorilla) close enough to do damage, and would find a way to take it out strategically.

KingAres: Very true. I concur more conditions must be set.

Yocswg: Wookie would win. They would be smart enough to know some type of hand to hand combat, and be able to use the Wampa’s size against him. The Wookie would dodge the Wampas wild swings, and use his strength/weight to shove him to the ground. The Wookie would then jump on the Wampas back, and snape his neck for the quick kill.

Kendou: It’s hard to tell from the movie, but wampas are LARGE. They’re certainly a lot stronger than a wookie. Wookies tend to travel not only armed, but heavily armed, usually with bowcasters. If a wook closed in with blades, he would deserve to have his *** handed to him, and he would most likely achieve that outcome. Hanging back and blasting the bid wampa from maximum range would be a lot safer, but we don’t really know how fast wampas can move to close that range. I’d like to see this, but from a safe distance, say half a kilometer away through a rifle scope.

But I think that someone by the name of “Aturi” says it best in this conversation, with this statement:

Aturi: Wookie. don’t ask this question again. Lock this thread for incompetence. You should have known right at the beginning who would win. You disgust me and ashame your family.

So I guess the Wookie would win because he’s smarter and pretty good with a bowstaff. Much like Napoleon Dynamite, really. After reading that this conversation ACTUALLY took place on planet earth by people who seemed at least partially serious, I’m feeling pretty solid again in my own mental faculties.

Also – – based on more research – – if anyone is dying to be a Wampa for Halloween next year, I got you hooked up for that as well. Check out this action:


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So my new cousin-in-law (got that?) Liz and I were jonesin’ for a trip out-of-town to the beach, and originally were aiming for Pensacola to participate in their annual “Mullet Toss” weekend (the fish, not the haircut – – not that the idea of tossing fish is much better than tossing bad haircuts). But the Mullet Toss was not to be due to some unforeseen circumstances – – therefore, I had to say good-bye to that very ripe, very robust future blog post. So we reviewed our options – – mentally scanning the Floridian possibilities, and finally settled on the Destin/Panama City Beach area. Upon further analysis, we realized that the hotels toward the end of the PCB strip had the best deals – – and these looked like NICE hotels. Not the dingy, mildew infested, “what’s that stain on the bed?” hotels that I remember experiencing there in my youth.

So last weekend, with my convertible stuffed to the gills with far more things than two women really needed for 2 nights at the beach, she and I made our way down south in beautiful sunny weather, with the top down and blue sky above the entire trip. We talked and laughed about nothing and everything – – eating food from the cooler she’d loaded in the back seat and sipping our non-fat Starbucks Frappaccinos. Truckers honked – – we waved and laughed – – like Thelma and Louise except without all the robbery, guns and that whole tragic cliff thing at the end.

As we got closer to our destination, fatigue had set in a bit and she and I were definitely ready to get there. We hadn’t stopped once on the 6 hour trip, so our necks were aching and butts reaching the cheek-numbing point. But we charged ahead, knowing there would be plenty of time to relax and stretch on the beach. Who needed time to stretch our legs at a convenience store when there were ocean breezes ahead just within our grasp?

As we got into PCB, we drove high above the water on one of the many bridges in the area, noting how beautiful it looked and, once again, what a perfect day it was for a drive to the beach. I reached the end of the bridge and began pulling into the left turn lane at a traffic light per Liz’s instructions – – but no sooner had I made it into the turn lane when I heard a loud, continuous roar, and smelled the tell-tale scent of burning rubber. I looked at Liz and she looked at me and she said “that’s you…”. Flat tire. CRAP. I stopped the car, turned on the hazards and as I did so, I heard Liz say “that guy’s gonna help…”. I looked at her and said “what guy?” She pointed out the windshield and said “THAT guy…”

I looked up to see a large, red pick-up truck backing up quickly and purposefully until it was end to nose with my car – – and a very tall, very tan, very jolly looking man with a white-toothed grin leaped out of the car with a car jack already in tow. I thought, “Wow. Somebody was a Boy Scout.” Liz and I had already started unloading the back of my trunk, searching for the spare tire – – but he wasted no time and before we could say more than 2 sentences to him thanking him for stopping, he had put the jack under my car and was manfully pressing down the lever. I looked at the clock on my phone – – I think it had been 60 seconds since we stopped the car, and the back end of said car was already in the air. Talk about a Panama City Beach McGyver. I expected him to ask us if we had any fishing wire, chewing gum and the blood of an Irish Elf so he could magically produce a new tire in front of us right before our eyes.

Once he had the car up, he noted that she and I had still not located the spare tire in the back – – I was about to go get the car manual out of the glove compartment when we noticed that he was squatting under the back of the car and, with a wrench that he just HAPPENED to have with him, he started unscrewing the spare tire which was located up underneath the back of my car. We made small talk with him as he did so – – discovering that he’d stopped to help when on his way to work. We thanked him profusely once again as he put the spare tire on my car, handed me the shredded one which we put in the trunk, and lowered the jack.

I pulled a 20 dollar bill out of my pocket and begged him to take it for his time but he just grinned, said it was his pleasure, jumped in his truck and sped off.

Liz and I stood there and blinked a couple of times, then got back in the car and drove away. From the moment that we’d smelled the burned rubber, to the moment that we started driving again, it had been about five minutes. I felt like I’d witnessed a sighting of the Flat Tire Fairy. Granted, I realize that he was probably a little more eager than usual because Liz and I are both owners of some decent Mammaries that were contained within fairly small tops – – but still. It had been pretty impressive.

So while we experienced much in the way of the traditional Panama City Beach rednecks during those two days – – catcalls and general uncouth behavior that is to be expected in the “Redneck Riviera”, our Tire Hero stood out in my mind as what I’m sure are many locals who live there. The locals who put up with the tourists getting flat tires, and the bad rap that their area gets because of all the Rednecks who show up there with some bad liquor and rebel flag decals, ready to cause trouble. THOSE locals are the kind who would stop and change a tire for two women because it was the right thing to do.

But it WAS a little difficult to remember these sorts of tender-hearted thoughts about the humanity of Panama City Beach when Liz and I were asked by two male southern voices, whizzing by in a car as she and I sat at a red light coming back from dinner one night – – if we wanted to “go smoke some doobies” with them.

Now that’s more like it. Classy.

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Stay Tuned…

Blog ideas have started to rumble and will be spewing forth very soon. You have been warned…

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