Friday, March 30, 2007

Heart-Breaking Joy

Today I’m a total mess. Blubbering like a baby and can’t stop. And Hub not much help because he is on the verge of the same kind of breakdown. So what spawned this thing?

This morning I saw a flick on the news of a young soldier and father returning from war and going to an Elementary School Classroom. I saw him walk into the doorway of that classroom. And I saw a small boy, suddenly seeing him, running to him, tears mixed with indescribable joy on his little face. I saw that small boy leap into his father’s arms and embrace him while weeping like a tiny puppy.

That’s what got me going. I wonder if anyone in the White House watched the news this morning. And if they did, I wonder if they were as struck to the core of their being as Hub and I were.

I wonder if one can be powerful, important, a celebrity of sorts, immersed in arrogance and self-preservation and still observe, share, and understand and appreciate the emotional passion in the reuniting of a small boy with a much beloved father.

I wish I could be more optimistic than I am but somehow I don’t think there’s any red puffy eyes in the oval office this morning, even though there are certainly red puffy eyes here. I’m pretty certain that right now, if I was in charge of a war, that what I saw this morning, would certainly have ripped my heart right out of my chest with as much pain and trauma as if it had been cut out with a butcher knife.

Most of us fully understand sadness, and fully understand joy, but when the two are blended into one crazy mix, we just don’t understand what we are feeling. So I’m left to just tell you what I saw but please don’t ask me to explain how it pleasured me and saddened me in one swift, cutting yet comforting, blow.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Role-Playing Rewards

February might be a short month, but this year it was way too long for me. Putting drops in my eyes every day and staring with irritating boredom at the bookshelf across the room when I wanted to be on the computer or watching TV, but able to only do short stints of that because of my eye surgery.

But then, oh glory, finally yesterday I was off to the Optometrist’s to get a prescription for new glasses. I was well pleased but not for long. The bad news, the other eye needs surgery as well. I swear I will jump off a bridge if I have to deal with another six long weeks of putting drops in my eyes and staring at the bookshelf. I begged for a period of remission. The Optometrist was sympathetic to that and said he would book me for later, perhaps in the fall.

Now I fully know this particular Optometrist is the priciest one this side of the 85th parallel. So knowing this I concentrated on being exceptionally personable. Complemented him on the sophistication of his equipment compared to the last optometrist I had seen. Directed conversation into paths that would allow me to stroke him for his smarts and wise techniques. I even wore bright colors that might please his ambient sense of art and ethos. Apologized for taking up so much of his time but aware that I could count on him to answer the questions I had written down. Working hard at casual cheerful conversation that would not seem contrived and would stroke his ego.

Then I moved to the counter to select my new glasses. Still working to get a reasonable price in an unreasonably priced environment, I asked the girl to show me base-priced frames. “I would gladly pay more for better ones,” I said, “but on a fixed income, I do need to be practical.” She nodded pleasantly and showed me the cheaper frames. But guess what? Now that we have the cost tabulated without anti-glare and with standard scratch resistance we are talking over $400 for blended bi-focals.

And for cheaper reading glasses with two lens but only half a frame -- $199. I was shocked. Totally shocked. Too shocked to even think. Price vertigo left me staggering half upright against a shelf. And when you’re that involved in role playing – knowing what you know about the place – and striving to find a diplomatic way to circumvent being blatantly ripped off, you can’t think. I told her I needed to go to my car for a moment and I would be right back. Surprisingly she was not concerned about me leaving even though I had not yet coughed up the fee for digital 3-D pictures of my eyeballs and the just completed eye exam.

I went to the car where Hub was waiting. “Don’t talk,” I said. “I am going to talk so that I can explore my next move.” I sat there and talked out loud about shocking prices, more cataract surgery, loyalty or non-loyalty to the Optometrist that was backing up my surgeon, the inconvenience of going to the city and searching for a deal…on and on. Long verbose soliloquy. And the result of it all was I made a decision to get only reading glasses since sometime very soon I would need surgery on the other eye and then I’d have to buy yet another pair of glasses.

I went back in the eye clinic and amazingly the total cost tallied for the reading glasses prior to my brief departure had now decreased by $45 dollars. I didn’t ask ‘why?’ I just felt that querying this change might bring another change that would increase the price by twice that amount. So I paid the lady and left.

So that was that. My half a pair of glasses will be here in about a week.

Now what I want to tell you is the four questions I asked the Optometrist.

1. Did they do surgery on the appropriate eye? (Immediately prior to surgery they asked me which eye and no one had clearly communicated to me which eye and that question caused me such stress I wasn’t even sure at that point). Sigh of relief. Yes, they did operate on the right eye.
2. What is the high pressure in my other eye indicative of? Answer: Possibly glaucoma.
3. Do I need to continue to wear sunglasses to protect my new eye? Answer: No.
4. Why was I given a card after surgery that I must carry at all times that says I have an artificial lens in one eye? Answer. I don’t know.

Maybe because he didn’t know, I got a $45 dollar discount. So, my question to you is, do you know why it is necessary for me to carry a card in my wallet that says I have an artificial lens in one eye?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Today’s word is ‘collusion’.

I have been far too busy the last few days to do any blogging. The two youngest grandchildren were here for a few days and so we were very busy. But I had to bake bread as well. After all, no one loves homemade bread like those two wee grandchildren. But in addition to that, Grandson thinks that the process is the joke of the century. When I am forming bread loaves, I say to Grandson. “I’m going to spank that bad bread.” And I do. It makes a loud smack and Grandson roars with glee and says, “Spank that bad bread some more, Grandma!”

Now we have oldest grandchild here and she is turning up the heat for me to make cottage cheese buns. Yeast buns filled with cottage cheese, chopped green onion, and dill filling.

And her mother (that would be Eldest Daughter) is in ‘collusion’ with her. She wants granddaughter to keep the pressure on so I will make them and then she wants her to phone as soon as they go into the oven so she can get here as soon as they come out.

It’s all collusion. Last Easter ED and family came for dinner. And when they sat down at the table, before they even filled their plates, ED rose from her chair, put her hands on her hips, and said to the other members of her family.

“What is that on the bread plate? If that is store-bought bread, and it looks like it might be…we are getting our coats and leaving right now!”

But it was homemade bread, so everyone sat tight, and ate heartily. It’s ‘collusion’, I say.

Hub just left for town. Asked me if I needed anything. I thought about needing fresh dill and green onions and how often I’ve baked bread lately. Then I thought about collusion closing in on me. The collusion of my offspring and their offspring. That’s when I said, “No, not today.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Booked for Cosmetic Surgery

I worry a lot about aging but more so about the damage it is doing to my inner being than the crow’s feet and wrinkles on the surface.

This worry, I think, stems from reading a book that suggested that as we age we sit like fruit in a bowl gradually rotting from the inside out. What a depressing thought. If that is true, I must take action.

After much contemplation, I eventually became convinced that if we can prolong surface beauty through cosmetics and surgery, there must be something we can do about the inner rot. Surely if we are so adept at making the ‘look of forty’ stand still until we are well into old age, we can do something about keeping the imagination and optimism of youth stabilized within. And obviously, having given it some thought, there can be no debate over which is more critical.

Granted, although surface beauty is initially compelling it is not what attracts us to others who are sincere, considerate, respectful, and fun to be with. Beauty of face does not validate the things we most long for. It is not what draws us to others and others to us. It is not what provides the sweet, comforting relationships that make us grateful every day for those special people that are part of our lives.

So as I sit in this fruit bowl, aging, ‘rotting from the inside out’, what I want is a cosmetic routine and re-constructive surgery that hits the problem area. What I want is a salon well equipped with antidotes for the withering at the core of my being.

Maybe we can start with anointing my optimism and shaving away those errant growths of cynicism. And after that I want a profusion of emollients and balms that will keep my emotions moisturized, my feelings silken, my dreams lustrous, my hope ruddy and glowing, my appreciation of life, massaged, and I know, I know…my imagination trimmed down to a reasonable size. And after that, I’ll move to the O.R. for nipping and tucking of those ragged edges of disappointment and fear. I’ll need vacuuming of that puffy flesh of self-ego, and bypass surgery of my opinionated gut. And just below my withered breasts, an implant of tolerance and a size 42D implant of faith.

Now, bring me the mirror. How do I look?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Miracles and Nose Twitches

Sometimes I get crazy ideas and they roll around in my head for days. I know they’re crazy, I know I should forget about them, but I seem to have so little control over the things that pop into my headspace and take up residence there.

The thing this week I keep thinking about is the amazing way my mother could always feed a crowd with nothing in the fridge. The Biblical account of the feeding of a multitude with five loaves and two fish was one miracle communicated to me in childhood. But I observed my mother perform stunning miracles of the same genre frequently. Miracles that magically expanded so little fare into a satisfying feast.

And then I think back to when Hub and I were paying off our house. With an agreement that financed a portion of the house through the bank and the rest privately through the seller, we made double house-payments every month. We were far from rich but our house was totally paid off in 3 ½ years. No, it was not easy. It was really tough. And during that time, I could have wrote you a book about feeding miracles performed daily for a family of five.

Now the reason I keep re-circulating these thoughts is because of the many newscasts about hungry children and the many lifestyle magazines that promote eating such a variety and complexity of expensive ingredients that one is led to even comtemplate buying an airline ticket to Tibet to get fresh yak milk. And even in school children are taught to cook with ingredients that are far more complex and expensive than they need to be. And leftovers…what’s that? No one knows what to do with them.

Now when you live like I do and hate the dreaded trip to town as much as I do, on grocery day you buy salad fixin’s, a bit of meat, staples like flour, sugar, etc. and that’s that for the next two weeks. The first week cooking requires minimal planning with a well-stocked fridge. But as week two progresses, I go into ‘survival mode’ and begin to fall back on the miracles that my mother showed me.

This week I am working the old miracles. Last night I dug the last chicken breast out of the freezer. Not the neatly trimmed, skin removed, seasoned chicken breast but an economy-priced whole chicken breast with skin on and bone in. I boiled that breast with a few celery leaves, carrots, diced onion, and seasonings. When tender, I discarded the skin and bone, and diced the breast meat. The meat made Hub and I a couple of lovely chicken pot pies for dinner. The next day, with the reserved liquid I cooked that breast in, we had soup for lunch made with homemade noodles, diced veggies, and enhanced with a dash of chicken bouillon powder. It was excellent, much better than soup from a can. And for dessert, bread smeared with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and stuck under the broiler just long enough to work the miracle of turning bread bites into fresh, warm, sticky buns.

So then I thought, who shares and bestows college students and financially strained families with cooking skills similar to this so that they can manage to still eat healthy and hearty meals despite limited funds? It’s a skill valuable in ensuring that no one goes hungry no matter how tough life gets. My mother taught me those skills. But is it now as lost as the art of tatting? Seems so to me. So maybe with the miracle-working skills my mother taught me, I should start another blog.

See why I’m better off to get these silly notions out of my head? Unless someone can mentor me on how to do housecleaning miracles like tidying and cleaning my house with a nose twitch, or how to slow time with folded hands and a nod of the head, I am forced to shake this silly notion of starting another blog. Hopefully, in the meantime, no one will go hungry.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

To You...My Love

I love trains. I’ve always loved them since my first train ride through the Rockies when I was five years old. It isn’t possible to have mental or physical distress when held, sung to, and gently rocked by the music and sway of a train.

Even as a child, I found such intimacy in the comforts a train provides. Its rhythmic song, low bass rumble, rocking motion, and steady clickety-clack beat. Trucks and automobiles have annoying horns that make your heart skip, that made you anxious, jumpy. But not a train. A train doesn’t do that. It announces it’s coming with a lovely crescendo like the throaty notes of a big and beautiful bird.

Even as a child, when I heard that wail, like sweet music, it made my heart tingle. It seemed then and still seems now, like trains have that special ability to defeat concerns with smoky, powerful, and steely aggression. I was fascinated by the knowledge that cow-catchers were originally a part of trains to scoop cows off the track. But with or without a cow-catcher, in a less tangible way, without add-ons, trains collect bewilderment and defeat like great steel magnets and toss that stuff into the wind with a loud hoot and the applause of clanging bells.

Indeed, others can have their Philharmonic orchestras, their conductors of the same, their musical movements, artful blending of dissimilar sounds, and crescendos, but I’ll still take my train. My train with my train conductor, the swaying movement, the rhythm of clacking rails, and the baroque beat of strained notes dramatized by a linear balance of dissimilar sounds. Sounds that even the Masters of Classical music could never hope to mimic or even imagine. My preference is to let my orchestra pit be a valley with music cushioned by grain elevators or inland seas. Let my music be accompanied by the back-up echoes bounced between mountain peaks. Give me a conductor that tosses in his ‘tails’, his baton, and his formal garb for striped pin overalls and a jaunty cap and a hand at the brake.

I think I told you previously how pleasantly surprised I was when two of my three daughters bought lovely homes that quite unexpected ended up within sight and sound of railroad tracks where trains still run. Not silent trains on mono-rails, but real honest-to-goodness trains with everything trains have always had except the asthmatic chuffing of steam. Trains that rumble the earth, ring their bells, blow their whistles, and sing their clickety-clack sound.

When I visit my daughters and when the trains go by at night, I am roused from my sleep, but that rousing only makes me smile. And when daytime trains go, I grab grandson, run to the deck rail, lift him up where he can see, and we look and laugh. Awed, pleased, and pleasured. There goes the train.

I am at my own home today, but this morning I awoke near the tracks. I heard the clickety-clack of rails, the mournful piercing wail of a train whistle, and the interspersed clanging of bells. And blended into that special symphony I heard the softer straining sounds of a train’s deliberation that flattens trouble and elevates joy.

When I searched out these pleasant sounds I found Hub at his computer, checking his watch, grinning, thrilled – playing his new train simulator game. It might be just after six in the morning, but Hub is a train conductor now and he has a train to run and a schedule to keep.

I move to the kitchen and as I sip coffee I let the symphonic sounds polish my soul as those sounds have always done. Sunshine, cloudless skies, rainbows, classical music, and a lucky lottery number could not make this a lovelier day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring's Brew House

Snow, sod-stained with coffee grounds
Sugar, cream, spilled all around
Dusky tea leaves on a sleepy shrub
And fresh hot java in my mug.

P.S. So who inspired this little thought?

Pauline, of course!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hub is My Weakness

One more episode about discussions with Hub and then we’ll move on to other considerations.

The whole thing came about from a conversation I had the other day in town with an individual that used to be our H.R. lady at the place where I worked. Her retirement and my retirement have flattened the formal echelon that was in place during our working careers. We now can converse as equals. So with all things equalized, with no risk of insubordination, I wanted to ask a question that has long been haunting me.

I waited for the opportune moment then asked her if she remembered a particular time when I had applied for a job transfer and promotion. She did indeed remember it. “I felt so good about that interview,” I said. “Do you recall why I didn’t get the job?”

“Indeed I do,” she said. And so that’s when I finally got the straight goods on what happened. But before I tell you what she said I need to tell you about a conversation with Hub the day before that interview.

The evening before the interview I mentioned to Hub that there is one question that interview panels so often ask and I never know how to answer. The question – “What are your weaknesses?”

That’s when Hub explained something to me that was pretty profound. He explained that if I have weaknesses, and I am aware of those weaknesses, with that awareness I give special focused determination to those things. And in doing so they become my strengths. On the other hand if I have strengths I am aware of, these become weaknesses because they are things I do with less caution and care.

So in my conversation now with the previous H.R. lady, she said to me, “Roberta, Do you remember when the interview panel asked you to identify your weaknesses and your comeback was a convoluted, yet very profound explanation of weaknesses vs. strengths? Well, that was the discussion that lost you that job.

The interviewers were struck dumb by this accurate and unheard of concept. And at the same time, in later private discussions the Managers within that department were worried they might have difficulty staying out front of that kind of analytical mind.”

That’s what the former H.R. lady told me. So now I know. It wasn’t me after all. It was because of Hub that I lost that promotion. Hub is my weakness.

Good thing I’m retired for all time. How do you think a recruitment panel would react if I were to explain that the only weaknesses I have are the interpretations that stem from my husband’s philosophical ponderings?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Whose Blogging Now?

I think WE’VE found the cure to Hub’s impatience with my blog. I say ‘we have’ cause you’ve had a hand in this as well. When Hub isn’t asking me to “come cruising” (see previous blog), he’s back to querying me about why I blog.

When I say, by way of response, to help me improve the art of writing, he reminds me of the time he bought me an electric chord organ for Christmas. I fiendishly played that thing non-stop for more than 3 years and I got better, but still eventually no amount of practice would take me beyond a reasonable, but could-be-a whole-lot-better fixed plateau. So likewise, he reminds me about the cleansing of constipated computers and desk drawers around here that have to be regularly purged of my journals and scribbles. That he argues, is evidence that I have reached a similar plateau in the field of writing (ie. further improvement not going to happen).

And so then I say I blog because I want to do my small part to make the world a better place. And his comeback is to point out that statement is a direct expression of one thing, but at the same time, an indirect expression of something else. The false belief that I understand life better than others. ‘Making the world a better place’, though humbly expressed as a good thing, it is an egotistical thing that twirls itself into something that is pretty unattractive.

And so then I say it’s for therapy. A form of self-expression that gives me contentment. And then he says contentment comes with a regulated life. A little of this, a little of that, without lavish overindulgence in anything except backrubs for him.

And so then I say I have friends here that enjoy conversing with me and I with them. And then he says I could talk to him more instead.

And then I say it’s because I have always loved to write, needed to write, wanted to write and then he says anything that runs interference in our relationship to that extent borders on adultery. Besides it’s just a feeble excuse. So now you see how it is. ‘Nuff said.

So now we move to the resolution of this debate. And it starts with my need to express to all of you heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. To all of you that have taken a moment to make such funny, cute, and complementary comments to posts that involve Hub’s antics (like my last one).

And what I’ve noticed is next morning with printouts in hand, as I prepare to share your comments with Hub, he sits at the kitchen table looking grumpy, impatient, distracted, and in pain. But then, he can’t help himself. He hears your comments and I see that he is entertained, pleased, flattered and totally amused. (Bit of ego happening here, it would seem to me).

Now Hub knows everything there is to know about the internal workings of computers. He has a room loaded with motherboards, memory chips, wires, and plugs of one gender or another, and there is always a computer on the table that he is tweaking up. So I often think, that with a electronic intelligence that so far surpasses my own, he should have his own blog.

But would Hub ever have a blog? Nah. That’s no more likely than getting him to change from shorts and cowboy boots to shorts and sandals. It ain’t gonna’ happen.

But the tiresome debate over my blogging between Hub and I has finally come pretty much to a full stop. And not because I’ve eased up on my writing or because I’m busy doing backrubs. The debate has subsided because you, yes I mean ‘you’, have saved the day by radically weakening all of Hub’s criticisms about my false beliefs, arrogant ego, feeble excuses, and practice makes perfect.

Cause now when Hub says or does something silly or funny, I relay it to you. You comment and I relay that feedback to him early the next morning. And then Hub laughs and sings as he heads out the door to do whatever he does in his shop or in the yard.

The birds hush. There’s not much point in trying to be heard with Hub’s singing drowning out any hope they had for ‘making the world a better place’ by lending their choral enchantment to a new day.

So, though Hub may never have his own blog, the virtual reality that comes out of this discussion, the direct expression that inadvertently twirls itself into an alternate meaning is “Whose blogging now?”

Friday, March 9, 2007

Understanding the Beast

Just cause you live with a man for more than thirty years doesn’t mean you understand their thought processes or what they are pondering. They remain elusive, and mysterious beasts.

Sometimes I take note of Hub’s eccentricities, but more often than not I ignore them and they quickly pass. But this week he was not so easily ignored. Day after day, he kept saying to me, “Com’ on mom, let’s go cruising. Com’ on, Roberta, let’s crank up the car radio and go for a ride. Cruising, like we used to.”

I just turned my back on him and said, “I’m busy.” But he would not let up. Three days later he is still pestering me – “Come on, Roberta. Grab your coat. Let’s go cruising.”

By now I could see he was fixated and I was confused. Finally in exasperation after the umpteenth time that he asked me to go cruising, he snapped, “You’re so dull. You’ve lost all sense of romance.”

That confused me even more. What was the silly old fool talking about? I looked at him and said, “What is this all about? Are you suggesting you want to relive our teen years – maybe even park and listen to the radio.”

“Sure we could do that,” he said.

Now I’m beginning to feel pretty certain he’s fallen off the deep end. But I am also sick of the pestering so I finally get my coat and away we go. Motor humming, toons a-playin’ – fine music, very fine, fine enough to alleviate the chaffing of his incessant pestering for me to come cruising. And Hub is so happy – too happy – singing along with the radio.

So okay, that’s when I realized this was about the new stereo he had installed in the car. And man, did we need one. The old radio was nothing but static and a staccato of stuttering voices and alternate stations sharing the same radio dial. We’ve been listening to that crap for many years on the old radio. But still the intensity and urgency of his constant pestering made me think there was something more to this that I hadn’t zeroed in on. So they say, if you don’t know, just ask.

So, I say to Hub, “Could you just stop singing for a moment so I can ask you something? Obviously you wanted me to come cruising with you so I could listen to your new radio. But I can’t help thinking you had another reason in mind for crankin’ up the tunes and going cruising like we used to.”

“You’re bloody intuitive,” said Hub. “Certainly I had another reason. I wanted to go cruising so I could get back to practicing my singing.”

And immediately he ignored me and embedded himself in the romantic wailing of another song.

A Discount for a Smile

I don’t know what I am. I am not a young adult. Am I an old adult? I don’t think I’m that either even though the other day I got my first Senior’s discount. If discounts kick in at 65 (and I assume they do), I didn’t qualify. But with no previous experience in this matter, it never entered my head that the clerk gave me a Senior’s Discount.

I was at the grocery store. The clerk and I had a wee amiable discussion about the weather and as she rang up my zucchini, she examined it carefully and asked me if zucchini is really good and how to best prepare it. Then as the she handed me my change, she said, “I gave you the 10% discount.”

I was surprised. “And why a discount?” I asked blankly. She paused for a minute as if searching for an appropriate answer and then responded by saying, “Because you’re such a pleasant, friendly lady.”

I was tired and anxious to get home so if that was the best explanation I could get, that was good enough for me. But on the way home I thought more about it. ‘How sweet, how nice.’ I thought. And then just when I started thinking about writing a blog about how clever it is for shops to turn the table on the practice of tipping workers in service industries, by tipping customers for being pleasant – I realized why I really got that discount. And I realized why she hesitated when I asked. She didn’t want to say “Because you are so-o old.”

Now comes the question about being honest and gracious. I didn’t qualify, and if I had realized what it was that she was assuming – that I am 65 or older, which I am not, what should I have said? I think it is unfair for someone to think that I should have said, “I’m not as old as I look, so I don’t qualify.” That would have been honest but it is an ungracious and very unkind thing for me to say about myself.

So should I have sidestepped the embarrassment about looking older than I am, by saying “Would you mind canceling the discount. I really don’t need it.” That approach might be more gracious but that too sounds haughty enough for me to be thoroughly embarrassed as well. Besides, it is an an outright lie. So how does one deal with this kind of error with complete honesty and graciousness as well?

I gave up on what I should or shouldn’t have said and instead re-circulated in my mind, what the clerk said when I asked what the discount was for. It made better sense to me than a Senior’s Discount.

As much as I hate shopping, the dreaded trip to town, and banal chatter with clerks, I think it would be really neat to get a discount/tip for the supreme, almost painful effort it takes for me to be an easy, friendly, and conversational customer. Too engage in meaningful chatter with a clerk that is artfully paced so as not to distract the clerk or inconvenience the customers behind me. It’s not an easy thing to do so a tip is well deserved.

So a discount for a smile sounds good to me whether I am an adolescent, a young adult, an adult, an old adult, or a senior. Better than a discount for looking older than I am.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Seeking Clarification

This is not my question, it’s Hub’s. He keeps asking me what has happened to language and our ability to communicate. Why is it so difficult to cipher the meaning of what is said on newscasts and talk-shows? Why so much content with so little meaning?

This morning Hub and I listened to a speech from Jordan’s King and during the whole of it couldn’t figure out if he was calling the U.S. a peace-loving nation or a war-mongering nation. Just when we thought he was pro-U.S., he followed with a comment that seemed to state otherwise. It was only at the conclusion, when Nancy Polusi enthusiastically clapped and rose for a standing ovation, while Dick Chaney reluctantly patted one hand on the other and eventually stood up that we started to think maybe we understood. It was not from the words spoken but from the nuances and body language of these two, that we eventually extracted an elusive interpretation.

But Hub isn’t too clear either despite his expressed longing for language to be simpler. This morning this is what he said when I came to the kitchen and asked if it was going to be a nice day.

“Oh-hi-dee-ho, Roberta. Toes-tee. Drifting in…An I-dee-ho-hi!”

So now see if you can figure that one out.
I’ve put the translation in the Comments section.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Shit for Dinner

Sorry, guys and gals, I can’t tell this story without using such indelicate language, but still I hope it is a story you will enjoy.

This is Dee-oh-Gee (D-O-G) and you are not going to believe me when I tell you how spoiled my Dee-oh-Gee-Dog is. How I cater to him to make his life the very best it can be. How much time and effort I put into his meals.

First off we have a wooden bowl because he prefers to eat outside on the deck. The other puppies eat in the hall out of metal dishes but D-O-G has this wooden bowl so that in cold weather his tongue will not stick to his dish. And for dinner we have a grand assortment like you see here.

Canned moist food, moist crumbles, dry food, and a cooked bit of meat scraps, that must not be clamored together or he just turns his nose up in disgust.

Amazingly too, if bowl is not washed daily, he will also refuse to eat. And the garnish, as silly as it sounds, serves a solid purpose. D-O-G doesn’t know when he is hungry. But once he eats the garnish which he eventually does, the digestive juices start flowing, and then he realizes that it is time to chow down.

So every day, just before our dinner hour, I go through the same routine. Dicing up cooked meat scraps, sorting out his menu, and garnishing the plate with small treats.

Still, despite all my efforts, D-O-G does not think for one fleeting moment that he is treated as royally as I think he is. Now this past week for four days, D-O-G did not eat a thing. Not a bloody thing. I did everything to enhance those already grand meals to no avail. He just sniffed at the bowl and walked away.

I was tired and cranky with catering to him. And close to tears with exasperation when I saw D-O-G out on the deck sniffing the contents of his wooden bowl and yet again walking away in a huff.

That’s when I said to Hub, “Hub, look at D-O-G. Refusing his food again. I make him the best meals and despite all my efforts he hasn’t eaten a thing for four days. I’m tired of making his exotic meals. The other two dogs don’t care how their food is arranged or if their dish is sparkling clean. But that dog…I’m bloody fed up with him. I might as well quit all the effort and give him shit for dinner!”

In that very instant, D-O-G heard me and plunged into the house through the dog door and did a happy twirling dog dance for the other puppies in the middle of the kitchen. Gyrating like a fool and yelling at the other puppies in dog language, “Woohoo! I’m getting shit for dinner! I’m getting shit for dinner!”

“No way,” said old dog. “You’re not getting shit for dinner. You know the rule. We never get shit for dinner or any other time. It’s not allowed!”

D-O-G just snickered. “I am so getting Shit for dinner. And I’m going to eat up everything in my wooden bowl right now, cause next meal, Roberta said, I heard her…that I’m getting Shit for dinner!”

I was so relieved to see that D-O-G finally ate all his food. Please don't tell him even though you and I know that it’s all a misunderstanding. He doesn't need to know he will NOT be getting Shit for dinner.

It's probably better this way cause as long as hope and faith exist, maybe he will eat his regular food each day in cheerful anticipation of that which he thinks will eventually happen.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Them Bones, them Bones...

Alright, you people, of today’s social order – you academics, scientists, archaeologist, authors, film makers, etc. – enough already!

As I’ve said before it is not easy to scuttle that which I have always believed. Hard to compromise on the stuff resident in my mind since I took my first steps. It is painful to rip stuff out of my chest. To discard it and then restuff that void without causing lumps and painful cramps. But I do it. Oftener than I would like to. I grit my teeth, brace my feet on the floor, chuck in my chin, and I do it.

Because of you I am now convinced that margarine and pig fat are not good for me. That purple no longer complements orange as it did in the late sixties. That smoking is a wicked, degrading, perverted act and the people that do it the scum of the earth. I have subscribed to the belief that gender preferences have to do with biological order rather than brain disorder. And that if a car goes into a skid, steering in the direction of the skid is the wisest thing to do.

But some other things I could not buy into. I still think that “The Little Match Girl” and “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” should be read to children in their original form. These are stories that impart empathy, compassion, and a deep-seated concern for others that are less fortunate. And I don’t wear it anymore, but I still like purple and orange.

And the Bible, I don’t want anyone monkeying with that either. The DaVinci code was fiction and I read it as fiction so there was nothing disturbing in that for me. But now we have the finding of an ossuary that so many are convinced is Jesus’ tomb. So that of course fires off the initial thought that if remains are found in a tomb of a resurrected figure, then I’ve been duped again. Going have to rearrange my stuffing.

But not so fast. Let me think about this just a bit. We don’t know a lot about death, but this much we do know. That in near-to-death experiences, people leave their bodies as it were and then find themselves at another vantage point looking down on their situation. And these have reported that they see their physical body as it initially was, unmoved and unchanged, although for a moment they are not in that body.

It has so often been said that “Faith would not be faith if it could be scientifically proved”. Faith is about that which some outward power compels our inner being to accept and believe without hard logic. And furthermore, although the Bible says we will be resurrected in like-form and that others will recognize us, I don’t think it insinuates that we will be earth-based bones, and cells, marrow, with specific blood types and DNA wrapped in heavenly flesh.

So now, you may call me delusional if you like. You may say, I just foolishly believe what I want to believe. But hold on just a minute. I am no more delusional than those who believe our justice system is just. Or that professionals can always be trusted. That health care and law enforcement, and other public service providers, can remain cleansed of corruption through internal investigations. And that some day as we plunder down this new path of enlightenment, equality, respect, non-discrimination, and democracy will rule the globe. That environmental warming will be stopped in its tracks. And that the U.S. will end the era of WMS’s and biological warfare with a biological weapon of its own. A philosophy of liberty and freedom so contagious that when dispensed over rogue countries, all who breath it in will succumb to its septic drift.

Nah, I’m not too concerned about the finding of Jesus tomb, or his bones, or other body debris. But still if your religion is more superficial. More about status and respect in your community, about being well thought of, rather than an unwavering conviction within your soul, this tomb-business could be very upsetting.

So as a final thought I have to wonder at the purpose of these journalists, film makers, and archaeologists. What kind of people are embedded in this project? Is financial greed at the root of it? Yes I think so. But that doesn’t bother me near as much as a suspicion (and it is only a suspicion) that there may be an alternative intent to deal a crushing blow to Christianity while at the same time bolstering other beliefs that counter that Jesus was only a prophet, historical figure, or common man, but not a Messiah. Like political campaigns that smear the opponent to increase their own popularity, could the intent of this effort be a determination to sway Christians away from Christianity to redemption through a ‘holy war’ rather than a Jesus-based belief? And could it be we are too dumb to realize that?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Crime Walks Upright on Two Feet

It is amazing to me how intent we are in pursuing justice for victims of criminals that walk amongst us upright on two legs. People like the peeping tom, the intruder, the thief, street beggars, and terrorists.

But meanwhile, we are so oblivious to the crimes of the thieves and swindlers that embed their horrendous crimes against innocent individuals in print. Things like home and car insurance policies, bank service policies, and utility policies. Things like user fees, carrier charges, hidden fees, customer fees, and fees for access of our own money. We all have stories to tell of the contract that wasn’t even worth the paper it was written on.

I can’t help thinking about the “Gas Cost Recovery Charge” I paid on top of current charges for several years to the gas company. The explanation being that they charged less in previous years than they should have.

And since when should I have to pay a deposit on a vehicle that I am interested in buying? No matter what retailers are selling, whether vehicles or major appliances, if my choice is not a special order, there should be enough inventory that they would be happy to hold the specific one I’m interested in for a measly 24 hours without me giving them a generous deposit?

And I think it’s criminal to have to ‘buy’ a warranty for anything. Isn’t a warranty intended to demonstrate the seller’s conviction that they are selling a quality product? And then there’s the magazine companies that renew subscriptions without authorization from the subscriber and then send bills and bills and more bills. The only way out is to send a letter of cancellation for something you never even requested. And if you buy a toilet, for cryin’ out loud, it will be displayed in the store in it’s completeness but no one is going to tell you that it comes minus a tank and lid, unless you happen to ask. And what’s with those sale tags that are so carefully placed on shelves to cover the regular price? Don’t retailers want customers smiling about the bargains they got on sale items? Makes people like me skeptical about whether sale prices are more or less.

Or the sale tags that say butter that normally sells for $3.69 is only $2.15 a pound and then in tiny unreadable print there is the condition that you must buy four pounds. Of course you can’t hope to read the small print so you are totally happy with that reasonable pound of butter until you get to a busy till and find out that it is even more than normal price cause you didn’t buy four pounds. That is a fraudulent business as well. Or prices displayed that are really quite impressive but when you get to the till you find this shop is a club or sorts, and without valid membership in the club, the prices you pay will in no way resemble those prices posted.

And isn’t it fraudulent practice for investment advisors to neglect to say, “I think this is what is going to happen with this investment, but the truth is my opinion on any of this amounts to nothing more than guesstimates. I laughed when one of the television channels did a small investment test a few years back. One all-knowing investment expert chose her preferred stock according to experience and wisdom, the other pinned the stock page listing to the wall, threw some darts and accordingly choose her stocks. The archer ended up with radically greater profit through this endeavor two years in a row.

It is getting to the point that there are more scammers in our day-to-day lives, then there are spammers on the internet. And there is too much skulking going on for me to be convinced that there is ‘nothing to hide’. But why the skulking, I have no idea. It’s not as if we see any of this as a crime. Crime walks upright on two feet.