Thursday, September 30, 2010

We Interrupt this Blog for a Jolt of Reality

I came home yesterday, dead tired.  My afternoon portion of the job is lethally boring; no kids for the past 2 days.  (But on the up side, I read a lot of that Stephen King novel).

I slunk into the house as Hubby was still working out back in his Archery shop.  I dropped my stuff to the computer desk and noticed a package from a place where Aloha means something nice no matter how you use it.  I headed for the kitchen to get a knife to open the box.  But my shortcut to the hall through our bathroom stopped me dead in my tracks.  What in the world had Hubby left on the bathroom floor?  

Unable to make it out in the semi-darkness, I flipped on the bathroom light.  And found this.
Stunned, my mind mutter a phrase Mom wouldn't approve of as I stared harder, trying to make my mind wrap around this odd patch of pink fluff.  Then I looked up.
I backtracked to the phone, dialed Hubby and asked, "When was the last time you were in the house today?"  His reply of early afternoon made me add, "And was everything okay when you went back to work?"   When he advised that it was, I sighed, "Well it's not now.  Part of our hall ceiling appears to be on the floor."

And on the top of the bathroom door.  On the picture behind the door.  On my Great Aunt's antique table,  my Great Grandfather's Family Bible, plus a lamp and an 1882 American Dictionary.

What a mess!  It looked like cotton candy from hell, accompanied by the steady dripping of water indoors.

For those of you who visit here fairly regularly, you'll recall in late June I discussed a close call we had when a mini-tornado touched down in the backyard.  If you're bored, you can read about it here. We were lucky to just lose trees.  Or so we thought.  

Long story short: evidently THAT storm loosened several shingles on the roof.  After 39 days of NO rain, we received 3 inches on Tuesday and it rained all day Wednesday.  So as it rained inside our house yesterday, Hubby called a customer who's a Contractor, who proceeded to re-shingle to stop the indoor rain shower.  Now we have to wait for things to dry up before we begin repairs.  Fortunately we have a carpet shampooer, which allowed us to suck up all the excess water out of the carpet so it didn't ruin the floor too.

How did the house KNOW I go on vacation next week?  Am I going to have to start spelling around it now too?

Which is why I'll be a little too preoccupied to play Friday 55 this week.  No one wants to hear "Hey look!  All that insulation we added 2 years ago came downstairs to check on us!" in 55 words.  :)  I'm just glad none of us were in the hall at the time.
So thanks Thom...you put the smile back in the day when your box was opened.  Never has one man been so happy to have Mac Nuts with his Bourbon and Coke.  :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For Savannah Marsh Mama

Savannah kindly provided a visual for those of you living on the other side of the pond to illustrate exactly WHAT that Over/Under toilet paper discussion was all about.   I think you're now ready to progress to Lesson #2.

And I think she'll back me on this one.  Before you can even get to the decision making process, there has to be a roll  present.  Probably 9 out of 10 married women will tell you that THEY are the ones who ensure there is  even a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.

This is the shelf over the toilet in Hubby's bathroom.  Please pay attention to the little heart shape in the lower left hand corner.  (I apologize for the quality of the photo but my camera's flash decided to go on strike, leaving me with um....odd angles).


And again, close up.


Case closed.  Or it should be.  

Now where did I put that roll of toilet paper?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Write a story in 140 characters, then let Susan know you came to play.











This week's illustration
As a girl, 
she wanted to be a mermaid. 

Or to own Flipper.  

She studied Oceanography.  

As an adult, 
she realized water brought her peace.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words".  And if you do, be sure to let the G-Man know. 




Stuck behind the school bus, the drivers exhaled a collective sigh. 
Here we go. 
Again.    

A small boy, barely taller than his backpack, got off.   
Oblivious to the busy people, 
he crossed the road at a snail’s pace.
 
Not a care in the world, thought the 1st driver. 
I’d like to change places with him.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Headline I never thought I'd see

Like many folks, I get a variety of news updates in my e-mail.  The one I got at lunch today made me do a double take.

Vatican Bank faces money-laundering probe

Say what?!   I knew the Catholic church had problems, but I never dreamed the day would come when the Bank of Italy would be pointing fingers at the Catholic church.  The article stated, "It is not entirely clear how much legal authority Italian officials have over the Vatican Bank, since the Vatican is technically a sovereign state."
  
Really?  Well, that would explain that pedophile stuff which keeps popping up.  But money laundering?  Does anyone else hear the theme from "The Sopranos" playing?

I didn't even KNOW the Vatican had a bank.  Hey, I was raised Baptist.  We don't have a bank.   I learned today that the "Vatican Bank was created by an order of the pope 'to carry on activities that are for pious causes'". 

I'm afraid to hear what they define as a pious cause.
 
Their transgression, concerning 2 transactions totaling $30 million, caught the Bank of Italy's eye.  But when Italian Bankers stepped forward to report it to authorities, they were advised judicial authorities were already looking into it. You can read all about it here.

Two things came to mind:
1.  To whom do they confess?
2.  Who's in charge of getting out that hand basket destined for hell?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Audience

Yesterday's post was your appetizer.  Today is an expanded explanation...for the curious.  Oh, I know you're out there.  Some of us actually NEED to know the rest of the story.  

The events listed in my 55 all happened Friday morning.  I started running a bath, jumped in only to discover that lukewarm isn't quite warm enough to describe the temperature of that water.   Hubby had suspected something was amiss and had contacted a plumber, still thinking the temperature was just beginning to decline.  However, being the  first one to hit soap and water  I spared him one eye opener of a morning ritual.  

Friday also meant a scheduled return to the Vet for one dog {Smokey the Elder} to have a tube removed from an ear injury.  Instead, he ended up having to take both.   As if it's not bad enough to have a wife with pollen issues, it appears that Smokey's son {Bou the Younger} has some sort of condition akin to allergies.  Ah, meds for both of us!

But between wondering how the hot water heater found out I'd been paid and the Vet's impending vacation plan via us, I had to go speak to a group.   I'm not fond of speaking to crowds, although my job calls for it on occasion.  But most of those times, the majority of the audience are senior citizens I know or work with.   Piece of cake.

Not this time.  Two hours before closing on Thursday, my Boss called and asked me to stand in for her at a "My Community & Me" event.   Bottom line: I had to represent our Department at an assembly for 4th graders first thing Friday morning.   Having been volunteered  [again],  I asked what she'd like me to cover.  

"You can handle it," was the reply.  Oh and perhaps mention registration for Basketball is coming up and Double Dutch is fun.   

I spent some time Thursday evening preparing a handout to leave with a teacher, still wondering exactly what they wanted to know about my job.  This program has been ongoing for 15 years and usually consists of representatives from all walks of life.  The idea is to show how each job contributes to making a community.

The only thing nice I've discovered about getting older is that you one day realize that most of life is handled like a dress rehearsal for a play that's never presented to a paying crowd.  Get up, go out the door, deal with what happens.   When I walked into the school Friday, I  recognized someone.  And thus, in keeping with the "Oh really?" theme of my morning, I learned that in spite of my mini pre-planning session and personal pep talk in the car, we were allowed approximately 60 seconds each: name, agency and quick summation.  As I looked around the room, someone called my name.  Before his teacher could shush him, we made eye contact and smiled at each other.

Who was he?  The Boss' grandson.

The idea behind the program is a solid one: teach kids about their community at a young age so they can see how they can positively impact their own future.   The method of delivery, however, is somewhere between corny and embarrassing.  Imagine, if you will, adults representing a myriad of Businesses, Government, Military, Arts and Volunteers standing in a circle around kids who are seated.  We're each holding a bright yellow sign denoting our agency.  It took every ounce of adult in me not to laugh while carrying that sign.  You see, I represented Parks and Recreation, but my sign said, "Beauty and Recreation."   Oh sure, that makes you feel more comfortable in a room filled with strangers.  Plus, I've been blogging with you people for too long and had to remind myself not to let the quip which is no doubt trembling on Thom's tongue to even enter my mind.  Did I mention that while holding these signs, we also had to simultaneously hold onto one VERY long yellow ribbon which "tied" us together?    The ribbon is meant to symbolize that Community is like a circle: everyone is a part of it and if we all contribute, we all live better.    

To the untrained eye, it appeared we were trying to corral 80 kids with a yellow ribbon.

There was a little story at the beginning, "performed" by the Mayor  representing the City and a man playing the role of County Government.  From the looks on the kids' faces, many thought it was dumbed down and they got a little restless until the part where they were allowed to read  as a group from their own "scripts".   I must say the kids did a better reading than the Mayor's stiff delivery. 

After that, the "Ribbon Circle" shuffled around the room, allowing each sign holder to pause at the microphone to state what they did.    Awaiting my turn it struck me as funny  that half of the adults looked like big kids being made to recite in front of their parents and teachers.  Some ignored the microphone and gave a description that sounded as if it came out of a dictionary.  The police officer had to bend down so far to use the mike that the kids laughed and probably never heard a word he said.  The guy from the Fire Dept., obviously another last minute um.... "volunteer", stated his name, agency and said, "I  help people and put out fires for a living.  But please don't go home and start any."  The kids laughed before the adults, who acted as if this might be a subliminal challenge to the kids.

Me?  I laughed.  His delivery was hilarious. 

Never in my life did I ever think I'd end up as "the balance" to keep a ribbon line from injuring citizens of the community.  The problem was I found myself between 2 seniors citizens going at different speeds: the lady in "front" of me kept speeding up and pulling the ribbon  like I was a bad puppy on a leash.  The ribbon almost squealed with the tension.  The lady behind me, complete with cane, was shuffling at a leisurely southern pace and nothing would speed her up, even the woman behind her who kept saying, "It's time for us to move."  There I was, in the middle of the world's weirdest tug of war, trying to keep just the right amount of tension on the ribbon so the woman behind me wouldn't find herself being towed to the front of the room.

I didn't use the microphone.  For one thing, I'm use to speaking over the top of a room filled with children.  And I'm really too short to reach where they had it.   Especially while tethered to other people.  But these kids were quiet.  Okay, so they'd been bored a couple of times.  They became my only criteria.  Not make the Boss or my agency look good.  Make them remember what I said...without those expressions which read, "When's lunch?"

I shared and they began nodding in agreement.  After all, my agency is where you sign up to play those all American sports...plus soccer.  [Yes, I know it's football to some of you...but "football" here is like a religion you don't mess with].  I added that we did other fun things through the year and named a few.  Their eyes widened.  Then I leaned toward the microphone, which suddenly amplified my stage whisper of, "Wanna know a secret?"    Their heads nodded like a sea of enthusiasm and some leaned forward, intent to be let in on something adults know.

"We don't just do fun things for you.  We have stuff for your Grandmas and Grandpas.  Because big kids like to have fun too.  So do me a favor and go home and tell them, okay?"   

As the kids nodded, smiling and laughing I heard the oddest sound.  The ADULTS were laughing too.  It was as if they needed to be reminded that they may lead and set examples, but they had once been a kid too.  Which is why you just talk TO kids, not down to them or at them.  Say the words...and they'll get it.

As we began to wind down, and the kids prepared to go back to class I saw the Boss's grandson nod at me with a smile.  "I know her," he said, sounding proud.

And that, my friends, is what makes a community grow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday 55

 It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words".   When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know. 





Replacing dying hot water heater.
Expensive

Two dogs to the vet.
Very expensive.

Gassing up the car.
Exhausting.

Last minute notice to speak to a group of 4th graders about my job.
Typical.

"Whispering" loudly into a microphone to ask if they want to know a secret while they grin and nod like co-conspirators.
PRICELESS.



The rest of the story....tomorrow.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Write a story in 140 characters, then let Susan know you came to play.










This week's photo
Hank SAID this was the best way to aerate the lawn. 

But why dress up?

His pride. 
He's too cheap to hire a gardener. 
But we get new shoes!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words".   When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know. 




From a distance, Jack looked insane.

Sitting at the computer, his arms flailed wildly.

His hands darted back and forth,
slapping the air in front of his face, then by his ears.

Smacking the screen with one hand, he grinned triumphantly,
then screeched in frustration, “Leave me alone!”

Evidently, gnats are spawn of the devil.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What IS That?

Knowing that SOMEDAY, it will no longer be hot and miserable, I decided to take a couple of shots of the Lantana blooming in my backyard.  More commonly known as "Butterfly Bush" it's been a host to a myriad of yellow butterflies, creamy colored moths and the occasional Bumble bee.




But today I found a bee buzzing by that looked, well....odd.  
There was the usual yellow and black fuzziness but the bee seemed too....long.  
And it's tail seemed....feathery.
Plus it moved erratically, almost like a Hummingbird does.


I snapped several shots, then ran indoors to go look it up. 
{Mom would be so proud}.  


Turns out it is called a Hummingbird Moth.

The wings are nearly translucent when it slows down.

And if you'd like to see a better shot 
from someone less surprised than I was,
check here.

It's amazing what you can find in your own backyard 
if you only slow down and look around!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Monday Microfiction

Write a story in 140 characters, then let Susan know you came to play.







This week's illustration.
Given the choice of a pay cut or walking the plank, 
Isaac chose to leave the Love Boat.  
Anything was better than rich whiners.  
Even this.

Post 500...is a Challenge.

My life generally works like that.  And why do anything the normal way and come up with some great, earth shattering post for #500?  No, I'm allowing myself to be led down the Silly Path by Thom.  He tagged me for the following quick questions while bribing me at the same time: we get to guess how many of his 8 will respond....and the winner will be rewarded. 

I'll play, cause it's a holiday weekend, and I'll name my 8...but they don't have to play unless they want to.  So to the questions.

 1. Why did you start blogging? Because someone basically dared me.  My exact reply was, "Like the world needs another blog!"  And yet 5 years later....

2. If you could travel anywhere in the world with no restriction of costs, where would it be and why? Always wanted to see Australia and no, I have no idea why.  Right now I'd be content with a week off from work.

3. Did you have a teacher in school that had a great influence on your life? If so, what?  Yes, more than one but all were English teachers who encouraged me to write.  2 of them I wrote Thank You notes to when my first article was published...the 3rd one I couldn't locate.
 
4. If you could spend the day with a famous person, who would it be, and what would you do? I'm having trouble with this one because society's definition of "famous people" generally doesn't interest me.  If given the choice between the U.S. President and my friends the Scottish poets, I'd pick Hugh, Rachel and JoAnne, hands down!  :)  I'd be content to just listen. [after I finished asking questions, of course].
 
5. Toilet paper – over or under?  Under.

6. Name one thing in your life that you would do over if possible. My major in college.  I would've let heart [Journalism] win out over head [Teaching].  Ironically there were no teaching jobs when I graduated.

7. Tell about your pets – if any. 2 male Chocolate Labs: a father, Smokey, and his son, Boudreaux.  But don't tell them they're pets.  They just believe I drive the car because I'm the tallest of us 3. 

8. Do you live in a small town or a large town.  Small...thankfully!




Now for my 8 Players
(who only have to play if they want to and have time)
 
Titus
mapstew
Peggy
Larry
Bill
The Warden
Moondustwriter
G-man


Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words".   When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know. 




Little Jack Horner, sat in a  corner.  Crying.

Jack & Jill went up the hill to see why.

Little Bo Peep, who’d lost her sheep, paused. 

“Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.  
Cat, bring your fiddle.  I’m feeling blue,” Jack sighed.
“Kids don’t know us anymore.“

Shocked, Little Miss Muffet fell off her tuffet.



Ah, sadly it's true.  I keep asking the Afternoon kids how many Nursery Rhymes they know.  First I have to explain what a Nursery is, then a rhyme.  This is greeted with, "Oh yeah.  Jack and Jill went up the hill and stuff."

Turns out they have no idea what "and stuff" is, nor are they familiar with Jack Spratt, Peter Pumpkin Eater or that when cows fly over the moon, a dish may run away with a spoon.  All my childhood friends from Mother Goose don't exist to them.   And they think Mother Goose is just a formal name for Mama Goose.

Sigh.