Monday, August 30, 2010

to beale or not to beale....

After lunch at Rendevous, we were rolled up on the bed like slugs...I was deep into my nap and mindless at that point.  You know the point, when you lose all conscious and subconscious thought and are somewhere out in lala land.

I woke up to the sound of someone screaming.  Not distant screaming.  Screaming right in my ear.  About the time I realized that someone was screaming, Steve, who is a violent sleeper anyway, sits bolt upright on the bed and shouts "WHAT IS THAT?"

I was coming awake more slowly and said "it's the TV."

Steve: "NO IT ISN'T!!!"

Me: "well I don't know what it is then."

About the time we decide it isn't the TV, it is the wall talking, the wall says:

"This is an emergency.  There has been a fire reported in the building.  Walk to the nearest exit and leave the building now."

I am thinking I will just take my chances and finish my nap, but oh noooo, Stevie has other ideas...he has JUMPED out of the bed by now and is screaming at me "WHAT DO WE TAKE?  WHAT DO WE TAKE?  MY CPAP? THE SUITCASE????"

I calmly tell him we will take nothing, then grab little girl and my purse on my way out.   I don't go anywhere without little girl and my purse...

me and little girl



 About the time we are ready to walk out the door, someone starts POUNDING on the door and screaming "Y'ALL BETTER COME ON AND GET OUTTA THERE NOW!!!"

It's Mona.  Bless her.  She is gonna make sure I am safe.  We open the door and step out in the hall.  The hall is empty.  But I hear Mona screaming "C'MON C'MON!!!! NOW!!!!" like a voice from the great beyond.  I holler "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?"  and hear feet running and she sticks her head around the corner wayyyy down at the end of the hall and hollers "C'MON!!!"  I start trotting toward her, or where she was because by now she is gone again...Stevie is just now coming out of the room.  I am shot full of adrenaline by now because of Mona, and I start goading and cussing him to get his ass in gear and come on.

Now to someone who has worked in the coal mines, this little episode was kind of anticlimactic.  Stevie never even broke a sweat as we headed for the stairs.  I am running back and forth between him and Mona, trying to be the glue that keeps us connected.  We get to the stairs, and start down them.  I see Mona for about 1 flight and then she disappears again.

Did I mention we were on the 9th floor?  Oh yes, my karma has struck me square in the ass again and is chasing me down that damn flight of stairs.  Every now and then I hear Mona's voice drifting up the stairwell to hurry before we burn up.  I did pretty good for the first three flights I think, although I did try to bail out on the seventh floor parking deck where the dog guests go for a poop.  But Steve hollered at me to keep going so I sadly waved goodbye to the brown patch of poop grass and kept going.  At some point Steve passed me.  I don't remember him doing it but there he was and I was in the rear...and thinking oh hell no I am not gonna end up barbecued in a Memphis hotel.  I kept going down, down and after about 6 flights my legs are starting to feel the jello effect, you know what I mean, when the adrenaline wears off and all of a sudden there isn't shit in you to keep you going.  I tried to bail out on 2 other floors that looked mighty inviting but got cussed again.  We all finally made it down....Mona swearing that she smelled smoke and Steve telling her no it was dirt she was smelling...

We burst through a door at the bottom of 9 flights of stairs from hell and...we were standing on the street.  There was no one around us.  Then I noticed we were about half a block down from the entrance to the hotel.  We all trudged up to the hotel and planted ourselves among the small group of people coming out of stairwells here and there.  I am thinking the whole thing is a farce, then we hear it...

Sirens.  Yep, Memphis' finest showed up in three huge ass firetrucks, all rigged out in fire gear and several of them rush into the building.  One catches a car ride to the top of the parking deck (I thought that was a bit strange) and so I wait to smell smoke or something, whatever happens when there is a real fire.

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing happens.  After a few more minutes they all leave.  There was a small overheated part to the elevator on top of the building that set it all off.  And the firemen are all gone.

And the elevators don't work.  As this slowly sinks into my brain I am thinking I will die if I have to go back UP 9 flights of stairs, those same stairs I just spent 1 minute from hell coming down....no way am I going to do that...and things are looking grimmer by the second when all of a sudden a hotel employee offers the group by the front door a ride to the top in his car.  Everyone in the crowd just looks at him like he is speaking Greek...don't they realize this is salvation on four wheels?  It takes us about 2 seconds to run to that car and throw our asses inside...and off we go to the top...then he tells us..

he can only take us to the 7th floor.  That is as high as the parking deck goes.  I think ok how bad can two flights of stairs up be?

It can be damn bad I found out.  I made it up the first flight on sheer determination...about halfway up the second flight I am beginning to have doubts, and about halfway up the second half of the last flight I am contemplating just giving up and dying right there.  Stevie to the rescue.  He has climbed thousands of steps and shows me how to lock my knee and let the leg rest a second or two before you take the next step.  I make it up, into the hall, down the hall and into our room and collapse face down on the bed telling myself that next time I will have to see flames before I leave the room.

Things I learned that day:

1. Never let your treadmill sit unused in your computer room.  It is your best friend.  Use it and treat it well.

2. Plane karma can turn to hotel karma in the blink of an eye.

3.  Never count on your friends to wait on you.  They will save their own ass first every time.

4. Stay as close to the ground floor as you can.

5. Firemen look pretty darn cute close up.

Memphis adventure to be continued.....

ask not for whom the beale tolls



We planned this weekend trip to Memphis for several weeks....I wanted to meet a girlfriend there before she returned to Alaska to work.  We had met up there when I signed on to work in the bush as a travel nurse, and became fast friends caring for the Eskimo babies admitted to the hospital from the villages.

So this was going to be our last blast together, and we decided to meet in Memphis because I had never been there and wanted to see Beale Street.  Stevie Wonder had never been there either, even though he grew up just 200 miles from Memphis.  So it was blues and barbecue here we come!

We all met at an Econolodge about three blocks from Beale Street...I told Mona to find us a hotel that was clean and cheap...I never have cared where I stayed as long as it was both of the above...to me an expensive hotel room is a waste of money because we never spend much time in one.  After a quick hug hello and an introduction of Steve and Mona, we got in her car and set off for Rendevous, a local bbq place known for its food.

                                              Rendevous   


Mona told us this place was located in an alley, but it had been years since she ate there and couldn't remember exactly where, so I Googled it on my iPhone, and told her the address, she put it in her GPS and off we went, secure in the knowledge that the GPS would carry us right up the alley to the door.

Now I need to digress for a moment and explain how a GPS functions on alley addresses.  It doesn't.

About the third trip around several blocks, with the GPS telling us we had arrived to the address on the right and seeing with our eyeballs there WAS no alley on the right, we did the smart thing...we parked and walked.  Now my faith in technology was still intact at that point so I put the address in my iPhone maps and set it in the pedestrian mode and we started walking, following the little moving dot (us) toward the red dot on the map (Rendevous).  After circling several blocks we stopped on a corner of a street on the side of the street it was supposed to be located (no alleys) and just looked up...as though looking up would give us a sign from above, or at least a buzzard circling the restaurant, and we would find it.

A nice lady took pity on us and asked us where we were going and we told her, and she pointed to the alley...across the street on the opposite corner and side of the street.  We were about on top of it several times and had missed it. 

Thankful to be there, we went inside and had some of the best ribs I have every wrapped my lips around...they had a dry rub on them and the sauce was on the table to add to taste...slaw, baked beans and sweet iced tea added to a meal that was classically southern and unique in taste as only a bbq connoisseur can discern.

Stevie Wonder at Rendevous 

We had a wonderful time, the place was full of local history, Stevie Wonder regaled us with his knowledge of the gun collection displayed on the wall opposite us (his eyes can't read a menu but he can read the manufacturer's markings on a gun at 30 paces).  We got up to leave and walked back up the stairs (the restaurant was located on a lower level) and headed outside.

I decided to take a photo of the security guard (an off duty policeman) so I struck up a little conversation with him and said hi, how are you doing, staying cool enough, etc., etc.  He was nice and friendly and didn't mind the tourist taking a photo at all.

friendly security guard
 We headed back up the alley and to the car, and drove back to the hotel to check in, and realized the hotel was 2 blocks from the restaurant.  We'd driven 5 miles in circles following a GPS and walked about 2 miles in circles following an iPhone GPS.  But it was worth it...and I decided that karma or no karma I was going to have a perfect weekend....


We checked in and decided to have a short nap before we went out that night to BB King's place.  I was rolled up in the bedspread and getting into some serious napping, and then all hell broke loose...


But that story is for another day... :D

Thursday, August 26, 2010

riding in cars with boys...and a girl

I have a little car.  Bought it when I was working in Birmingham and needed dependable transportation, because I was driving 64 miles a day round trip and working twelve hour shifts.  So I did some research and discovered the best buy for the mileage was a KIA Rio.  So we went to the dealer, I picked one out and that was that.  No frills...no electric windows, no cruise control, no electric locks on the doors.  It had air conditioning and a cd player/AM FM radio and that was it.  I have never been the type of person to identify with my car, or even bond with it much....it gets me from point A to point B, end of story.

Only that isn't the end.  We have three 5 year old grandkids as you know, 2 boys and a girl.  At any given time, and with some creative squishing of booster seats, we can cram them all in the back seat at the same time.  When we bought the car we didn't consider that these three would grow bigger.  Or that they would begin to fill the space like marshmallows cooked in a microwave.

The thing is, they can reach everything from those booster seats.  Nothing is sacred.  At various times I have had to tell them to stop kicking the back of the front seats. And they love to roll those manual windows down, which they can reach....I can always tell they have without looking around because the temperature suddenly changes in the car, and my ears pop.

Then there is the eating...we are McDonalds connoisseurs of every gourmet food they offer for kids...unfortunately said kids haven't mastered the fine art of eating and riding.  I found that out tonight.

We were getting the car ready for our trip to Memphis and I was in charge of cleaning the back seats.  Where the kids ride.  OK no problem.  I take the upholstery cleaner out to the car, take out the booster seats which are pretty stained and need the covers washed...throw those on the ground, and look around at the seat.

There is a green towel covering it.  Steve tells me it is to protect the seat. OK. I lift the towel to take it out and....it's stiff...and has this big brown stain on it...that would be the gourmet chocolate milkshake.  I turn around to throw the towel down on the ground and there is our 100 pound lab, Gabe, staring at me with a grin on his face and a gleam in his eyes.  I tell him to step back and chunk the towel down... then turn to start scrubbing what should be minor dirt.

WRONG.  There are enough food remains to make at least two full Happy Meals in that back seat.  I am giving Steve the evil eye at this point while he is merrily vacuuming the rugs and beating them out.  I think he plotted this but I am in for the whole hog, not just a pork chop, so I dive in.

And scrub.  And scrub.  AND SCRUB... I see mystery foods, sesame seeds, and as I am finishing up and have sweat running in my eyes til I am half blind, I see IT.

It is a purple stain.  I scrub and scrub and end up with a mostly purple rag.  I have discovered the resting place for the Purple People Eater.  I think I found a bit of it's horn and part of an eye, but I can be sure because most of the stuff I am finding is petrified.  But the amount of purple I am cleaning up can only be that....there can't be any other answer.

Then I look around behind me and there is Gabe about 15 feet away, with my towel.  Trying to lick dried chocolate milkshake out of the stiffened terry fibers.  And I have an epiphany...

Next time I decide to clean the seats, I will grab Gabe, shove him in the back and leave him in overnight.  That will make me sweat less, and he will get all the petrified french fries and dried up chocolate milkshake he can hold.

But I won't tell Steve.  Let him think I did it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving is nothing to laugh about.  Well, it is something to laugh about, in fact it is mostly laughs I have found out, in between bouts of exhaustion and wishing I had more hair to pull out.  But it is still serious business....

This weekend started out with big plans.  For the first time in my life I would actually be responsible for most of the meal, or at least the most important part...the dressing.  Most of you who will be reading this live in the south, so you understand the importance of the dressing (which has nothing to do with clothing, for those of you non-southerners out there).  My oldest daughter Jen and I had discussed the menu, and my youngest daughter Deb (or Wretch as I lovingly refer to her) had pitched in a few items she would be responsible for.  The men in the family made one contribution...the meat (ham from Steve and turkey from Parker).  We let them delude themselves into thinking the meat is the center of the meal, but the girls and I know the TRUTH...without dressing there IS no meal... 

 Soooo, we planned and plotted and bought the ingredients, and I drove over the day before Thanksgiving, after I had helped Steve burn the ham.  It wasn't really my fault...it was the meat thermometer that was 30 degrees off and the loose knob on the roaster that were at fault.   It had nothing to do with me forgetting to put the lid on the roaster for the first two hours the ham was cooking, or trying my mathematical skills at adjusting the temperature to make up for lost time (let's see...if the roaster is set at 300F for 25 minutes per pound, and it is open for 2 hours, then shooting the temperature up to 450F for a few hours should make up the difference, right?  This figures up algebraically as HTC = 350d / 0h x 450R x 4h.  At least in my mind it did.  I did notice as I drove off that there was a slight scorched odor wafting through the house, but decided that was the juices sizzling in the bottom, right?  WRONG....

 I went by daycare to pick up the twins, who popped big eyes at me then ran and launched themselves at me like missiles...(I live for those trips to pick them up)...then home we went to start cooking for the next day...after calling for pizza, Deb got there and we all spent a couple of hours that night doing some prep for the meal the next day.  Dessert was a done deal....I had planned to make several desserts, but a trip to the store during the week and I discovered that purchased desserts were an acceptable thing to do..all I had to do was unwrap them, put them in my serving dishes and no one would know the difference...well that was the plan, but I never got around to transferring them....I decided eating bought desserts straight from the boxes was ok, because if you leave the price tag on them, people are so impressed that you would spend so much on dessert that they don't mind eating them from cardboard.....

 We all crashed fairly early and were up early the next morning..but it was very odd that the only people with energy on Thanksgiving morning were the three-year olds in the house.  I was supposed to go hit a sale at Kmart with Jen and Deb but I opted out when I realized just how much food I had to prepare, and that wasn't counting the dressing.  SO while they went shopping (Parker went with them since I was staying home and could cook and watch the kids too.... because after all grammys have four arms and six legs and two heads with four eyes each....what you NEED to keep up with twins and cook a feast I discovered), I chopped and diced and peeled and mixed.  I made 6 pans of cornbread...it did look like a lot of bread for dressing but I figured I could freeze what I didn't use...then I mixed and cooked and boiled and stirred and baked some more....

 It was all going well I thought, when the kids got back from the store, empty handed because they didn't see anything they wanted.  (More to come about the shopping on Friday...)  The girls pitched in and we cooked and baked and chopped and boiled and stirred and whipped some more stuff...by this time I  wasn't sure what I was making, but it smelled ok so I figured even if we didn't recognize it, it would taste ok....

 Then the time came to mix the dressing....and I realized I didn't knowing stuffing about stuffing...so I threw together what I thought went into it....it smelled ok...although I found that I had to use 4 bowls to mix it in (Halloween candy bowls and the biggest mixing bowls Jen had) and the more I added to it, the bigger it grew....was this what dressing was supposed to do? ....it just kept swelling like a living, breathing creature.  I finally decided it had enough stuff in it and crammed it in the two biggest pans I could find....and shoved it in the oven on the same temperature I had set the ham for.....everything else was ready and about an hour and a half and three temperature adjustments later....we scooped around the edges of the pan (the only place it appeared to be cooked through) and gave thanks for the feast and family (I was secretly giving thanks that I got through the cooking of it or it would have been famine and family).... and began to stuff our faces and congratulate ourselves on how well everything had turned out (although the ham tended to crumble to dust when we attempted to slice it).

 After the meal, we dozed in a overcarbed fog and stuffed some more (cardboard desserts) then fogged again.  The three-year olds had never slacked up all day, until suddenly we realized that Dunc had disappeared, and we found him passed out on his bed....the carbs had caught up with him too....Mad had to be glued to the bed for her nap...

 That night as we sat around watching tv I thought how blessed I was that I had such a wonderful family....and how well the day had gone, and that I could cook a fairly decent meal when I tried....

 and how glad I was my plane karma hadn't morphed into cooking karma.... :-D

plane karma version 2.1

from an email to my friends and family on August 12, 2008:

Well my plane karma on the trip back was just weird...I kept telling myself "don't get off the plane, don't get off the plane" and was doing fine keeping my butt in the seat...then we land in PHOENIX...I keep saying "stay on the plane, stay on the plane" when all of a sudden this voice comes out of the great beyond and says "GET OFF THE PLANE"....for a minute I thought it was the voice of the devil...

turned out to be the stewardess telling us they had to do maintenance and were kicking us to the curb...to gate C4 specifically (isn't that an explosive?) so I drag my stuff out of the plane and to another gate where I had to get physical and shove some old lady out of the way who was trying to get on the plane ahead of me...it was ok though, she was in a wheel chair and I just shoved it in a very subtle way with my foot...she didn't even know it was me...I just was NOT going to get left behind...  oh ok vix, so there wasn't an old lady but it sounds better than me standing in the handicapped line by mistake....

the only other incident was in the toilet (no it wasn't the mile high club...unless there is a version for solo fliers who need to pee and hit the emergency eject button by mistake....)...yes I did hit that little red button looking for the waste bin for the towel I had managed to find after washing my hands in the tiniest sink in the tiniest bathroom I have ever seen on a plane...I won't even discuss the toilet seat that could only fit one butt cheek at a time on it...

anyway...I am pushing buttons looking for the waste bin and one of the buttons lit up...and I heard a loud DING...and I am thinking to myself I KNOW THAT DOESN'T MEAN I WIN A PRIZE...I started hollering "GOD DAWG DON'T EJECT ME I AM FINE I AM FINE!!!" and as fast as I could I ripped the door open and there was that devil stewardess smiling at me (smirking really come to think of it) and she had to reach way over her head by the bathroom and reset the idiot button....as I walked back to my seat...I dragged my feet just in case a piece of toilet paper was stuck to my heel...and with all the dignity I could muster I threw myself back in my seat....then burst out laughing....my plane karma still sucks.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

just john

John is 3 months and some days old here.  He isn't the first John in the family, nor will he be the last I am sure.  What is unique about John is that he is the tie breaker in the family.  And he doesn't have any idea what that means to all the past Johns in the family and to the Jameses who are father and grandfather to him.

You see there has only ever been one male to a generation in the family on the paternal side for as long as any of us remember.  No one knows why, but only one boy per generation.  Girls abound and proliferate throughout the generations, but only one boy has landed each time.

Until John.  John has an older brother named Jack.  That makes John boy two.  And breaks the streak of singles.  Of course John doesn't know that.  Or care.  Being just John and 3 months and some days old, he is oblivious to his importance in the line of Johns.

All John wants is food, hugs and kisses....

and a good burp.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

mouse trap peanut butter

My grandboys are typical.  They like dirt, video games, riding the four-wheeler,  junk food, and the hot tub, not necessarily in that order.  They also look at the world differently than I do...not because they are boys, but because they are 5 years old and new to the world.

Steve picked me up at the airport recently after a business trip and Jack was with him.  It is a treat for the grands whenever they get to go with Gramps to the airport.  On our way home we discussed stopping to get something to eat.  McDonald's was mentioned, but then we decided on somewhere else.  Somehow Jack's ears stopped hearing after McDonald's and he soon saw one looming with a big playground on the front.

Jack: "We gotta stop at McDonald's so I can play."

Me: "No Jack we aren't going to stop today.  I will bring you, Maddie and Dunc back to play one day when I am not tired and we have more time."

Jack (I can hear the gears in his head whirring by now): "You can just drop me off then.  I work there."

Me: "You do?  What job do you do, Jack?"

Jack: "I clean the floors.  They know I am coming so you can just drop me off."

Naturally we didn't buy the bit about the job cleaning floors.  I've seen Jack when he is supposed to be cleaning up here con Maddie into doing it.  They'd never get any work out of him at McDonald's.

One day the boys were missing.  We couldn't find them in any of the usual places they are when we think they are missing (and they aren't).  I knew they couldn't have gone far.  Then I found them.  Under the deck.  With the dog.  In the dirt.  Did I fuss or stop them?  NO WAY.  I firmly believe dirt makes boys grow big and strong.  And besides, that's what hoses are made for.

jack

                                                                                                       dunc

You are wondering now what that mouse trap peanut butter means.  We live in the country, so occasionally we have a small furry gray intruder.  Mouse traps are set in strategic places.  Steve made two mistakes with Jack.  He showed him a dead mouse in a trap, and he told him he used peanut butter to put on the traps to catch them.  Now every time we have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, Jack always says "that isn't the mouse trap peanut butter is it?"

And of course being the loving Grammy I am, I lie to him and tell him no, it isn't.

That's it for this blog.  I hear Jack jumping on the bed.  I have to go stop him before he jumps too high and rams his head into the ceiling fan.

maddie's earrings


                                                               


I have many earrings.  My ears have been pierced since I was 13.  Many of my earrings were gifts from family and friends, and others I have accumulated over the years.

I think about the star sapphire earrings from Thailand that my dad gave me when I graduated from 8th grade into high school, and how the light when you move them makes a reflection on the stones that looks like a star.  How beautiful I thought those earrings were.  They were my first earrings that were more than just costume jewelry.  Every time I look at them I think of dad.

There are the earrings that Stevie Wonder gave me when we were dating.  Tiger eyes with a scarab beetle carved on them.  The jade earrings given to me by my kids years ago; the earrings given to me by my girlfriend Barb when we were struggling through nursing school that would be small enough to look professional when we went to work as real nurses.  The earrings I picked up on my travels, some Zuni turquoise from New Mexico, more turquoise and silver from Calistoga, California, and the bone, ivory, and beaded earrings I collected in Alaska while I worked as a pediatrics nurse in the tundra.

All my earrings have meaning.  But they aren't really mine.  They belong to Maddie.  I didn't plan it that way.  It just happened.  An epiphany. 
                                                                             

When she was just a few months old, I was holding Maddie in my arms when she noticed I had on earrings.  I thought she would reach up and try to yank them out like most babies when they see bright, shiny dangling earrings.  But she didn't.  She reached up and carefully touched one with her forefinger and thumb.  No yank on my ear, just a gentle touch.  I looked at her and could see the curiosity shining in her eyes.  And that was when I knew my earrings were no longer mine.  They were Maddie's.  As I whispered that in her ear, she smiled as though she understood me.  And since that moment, every time she notices my earrings, I tell her that they are hers.  And she smiles.

Friday, August 20, 2010

regarding flies

That's right.  Flies.  Why am I writing about flies in the middle of the night?  I woke up.  No, it wasn't the thought of flies that woke me up.  Waking up was brought on by menopausal-middle-of-the-night-wide-awakeness.  Something only women my age can begin to understand.  But once awake, I started thinking about the flies from yesterday.

I first noticed them when I got home.  (Now this has been a bountiful year in the fly population here in Alabama.  Not only have I noticed more flies at work, but the fly population that occupies the space around my house has been a lot larger than previous years.  Or maybe I just am noticing flies more now.)  I made note when I was fixing something to eat in the kitchen that there was a very busy fly buzzing my head.  Then as I looked closer I noticed there wasn't just one, but three.  I got the fly flap (southern slang for fly swatter) and made a few feeble attempts to kill them...thought I got them all...then went to the computer room to check email and noticed more flies in there...there was one buzzing behind the blinds that were closed, and I knew that one was trapped and could await his demise until I had finished on the computer...then I noticed two or three more buzz bombing my head...

This was a lot of flies for us...usually we get one or two inside flies who never last long before they are either shooed back outside or they die horrible squishy deaths on the end of the fly flap.  I asked Steve twice if he had left the door open for any reason and he denied it, and I couldn't read any guilt on his face so I really couldn't rag on him about it...by this time we are both noticing several flies are buzzing around so he gets up to help me regain order and destroy what is starting to look like a horde....I am flapping in the computer room when Steve casually walks in and fogs the room up with fly spray...I tell him as I jump up choking on the fog in the air that the stuff doesn't work...and leave the room until the oxygen returns....

When I get back, I find corpses...3 of them to be exact...one right in my chair...so I had to admit I was wrong (Steve loves the rare occasion when I have to do that) and clean up corpses...

As I dealt with the fly invasion, I started thinking about Alaskan flies.  When I got to Alaska last year I discovered that the flies there really could almost be classified as birds.  I still remember seeing this THING in the air in our apartment.  It was flying so slow I could have picked it out of the air with my fingers.  And it was furry...that's right, I could see a little fur coat on the body.  I hollered at my girlfriend "hey Nancy!  What is this thing flying around in here?"  Without missing a beat she calmly replied "oh that's a fly".  I was horrified by the size of it and the creepy slowness of it (I was used to the Alabama flies mentioned above) and knocked it out of the air with one swipe of the fly flap...then stood over the corpse and just gawked at it for about 10 more minutes in wonder...it was the first living thing I had seen in Alaska.  The amazing thing is, this fly was alive in the dead of winter with -46F wind chill snow and icy weather.  Still don't know how it survived the winter or where it came from.

Things I have learned about flies:

They are mysterious.  They come from nowhere.

They come in different shapes and sizes, I guess to give fly collectors variety. 

No matter how fast you swing your arms and think you have killed them all, there are always one or two lurkers waiting to buzz your head.

Enough about flies.  I won.  Will live to fly flap another day.

Monday, August 9, 2010

intruder alert

No, not the window bangers who visited us several times a few weeks ago.  My cop refrigerator magnet took care of them, and Steve added a motion detector to the flood lights outside our bedroom window so that if those little redneck hoodlums came around the corner of the fence the light would come on, blind them and scare the shit out of them, in that order.

Our intruder is of the Easter Bunny variety now.  Seems that motion detector is so sensitive that it can detect a frog fart.  And when the lights come on they light up our bedroom like daylight.  Think night time prison break searchlight bright and you get the general idea.

This morning Steve says "I'm tired."

Me: "I feel great."

Steve: "I kept waking up last night.  Those lights came on 20 times at least!"

Me: "They did?"

Steve: "Yes!  It has to be a damn rabbit moving around the yard.  I'm going to kill that little bastard when I see him."

Me: "I never woke up."

For those of you who have never shot at a rabbit...the target moves...and it doesn't make noise...kind of like snipe hunting...a waste of time...

Steve: "I can't believe you didn't wake up, not even once."

Me: "Nope...not once."

he won't ever know that three glasses of wine before bed ensured I wasn't waking up for anything...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

kayla's lipstick adventure

Last August I had such a serendipitous girly moment with my great niece, that I felt compelled to blog about it, and so was thrust into the blogstrom of life...

Kayla loves stuff.  She loves looking for stuff, especially in purses.  Purses are a siren song to her little girl's heart.  So when I heard her mom telling her to stay out of my purse today, I decided to help her avert a scolding by letting her explore.

I walked into my sister's bedroom as her mom was telling her to stay out of my purse and said "would you like to see what is in my purse Kayla?'

Her reply: "YESH!!!"

So I sat down on the bed with her and started to take the "stuff" out.  Now this purse is my traveling bag, holding everything from my passport and laptop, to all kinds of paraphernalia I think I can't get by without.  Kayla was sitting beside me wiggling and I could tell she wanted to get her hands on my stuff, so I asked her if she would like to take the stuff out.... "YESH!!!"

She grabbed her flip flops off her feet so she could hunker down on the bed and put both hands in my purse and started pulling stuff out....in less than 30 seconds she had that big old bag completely empty and my stuff was in a big pile on the bed.  While she was pulling all the stuff out she kept saying in this girly little voice "you got lots of stuff!"  I was laying there cracking up and loving every minute.

I thought she was probably finished, thinking all she wanted to do was pull all the stuff out but nooo...she was just getting started...

Kayla leaned over and started sifting through the pile...and found...

"can I have gums?"

"yes Kayla you can"

gum goes in mouth...then she finds THE prize...the best of the stuff...she finds a...

"LIPSTICKS!!!"

and was so excited she had the top yanked off and smeared on her lips before I could even give her a pointer.  Now I have 4 lipsticks in my purse, and with unerring accuracy she discovers the newest one...and I figured she would break it but it was worth $7 to watch her having fun so I just laid back to watch the show.

kayla discovers lipstick 

Kayla continued to go through my stuff and about every 5 minutes she would grab the lipstick and make another circuit around her lips...about 30 minutes later she had applied about 9 layers of lipstick...and was thoroughly enjoying it...I was laughing inside so hard I could barely contain my own giggles...

then her Grammy and Mommy came to see what she was up to...her dad said she looked like her Aunt Dooj (Vix added "after a glass of wine")...and I grabbed my camera...

 another layer goes on

As I snapped Kayla, her Grammy grabbed a mirror so she could see how beautiful she looked...



                                                                                             

As I snapped photos and watched Kayla enjoying that lipstick, I realized what a moment of whimsy we were all fortunate enough to share, and to look through the eyes of a child and see things from their perspective is a privilege...and those moments of whimsy are the most important of our lives, because they are the most fleeting...

thank you Kayla for letting me share your whimsy....(she got to keep the lipstick too....)