Monday, December 31, 2007


Resolutions have been of no use to me in the past. The number one, yearly resolution for most of my life has been to lose weight. There were probably 5 years of my life when that wasn't a resolution. But, in an attempt to record changes I would like to make in my life, I am going to record my "resolutions" here and check on them periodically to see how I am doing.

1. Lose weight
2. Exercise
3. Save money
4. Write more
5. Read more
6. Keep a list of all the books I read this year.
7. Clean the spare bedrooms and basement

Okay, this is probably a high standard to set for myself. I suppose I could tackle each item a bit each day or set aside one day for each. My success rate might be better if I post a list on the refrigerator -- a check list so I can check off items daily when the task is accomplished.

I figure I don't have to start until Jan 2 or if I really want to ease into it January 7 for a fresh new week. Tending toward procrastination as I do, Jan. 7 looks like a good start me time to grocery shop and make up a budget and refrigerator list.

I'll keep you all posted.

Dumbass Drivers

Can someone explain to me why why why people drive in fog without their car headlights on? I have the car headlights on all the time -- rain or shine because I want to make sure my car can be seen. I once heard the explaination that people don't turn headlights on during the day because they don't want to burn out the headlights any sooner than necessary. H E L L O The cost of headlights is more important that other drivers being able to see your car???? It would be one thing if the dumbass, lightless driver would only hurt him/herself in an accident but that is rarely the case.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Magic

As a child Christmas held the magic of Santa Claus and the gifts he brought. There was the excitement of knowing he slipped into the house while I was sleeping, depositing toys, toys, toys under the tree and into the stockings. There was eager early morning whispering between my brothers and me while waiting for our parents to arise.

As an adult Christmas has lost a lot of its magic. I enjoy shopping and believe I have the ability to choose gifts others will enjoy. But there is a frantic atmosphere that pervades the holidays now. We all know Christmas is ALWAYS on December 25, and the retail industry has tried to “help” shoppers have enough time to achieve their obligatory gift giving by beginning the Christmas shopping set up and advertising in October. Still, its seems people continue to rush about in December and complain about how much they have left to do prior to family get togethers.

This year was not a rushed December for me. While I will admit to a marathon of cleaning my house, baking, and present wrapping on the Eve of Christmas Eve, this holiday was enjoyable and some of the magic was back. I am fortunate to be related to or know people who picked out unique gifts for me. They obviously put thought into gifts that were appropriate for my quirkiness, and these people and gifts brought the magic back into my Christmas.

Ann had been delayed in River Falls the day before Christmas Eve due to bad weather. When she made it to my house for Christmas Eve she brought with her a new holiday mascot….The Traditional Trout. A papier-mâché painted trout with a holly adornment is proudly displayed on my Christmas tree and will be displayed in such a manner for Christmases to come. Now, people outside the family may not appreciate the Traditional Trout but for our family it is perfect…..something unique and out of the ordinary!

Patrick gave me a hookah. While in Milwaukee visiting him, we walked past a head shop with beautiful hookahs on display in the window. I was quite taken with these and commented that I would like one because they are unique and pretty. This conversation happened a few other times and on Christmas Eve I received my hookah. I am pretty sure I am the only mother in New London to have received this gift. It is beautiful and will be proudly displayed in my home. And it is what I wanted!

My brother Brian apparently has read my blog and decided to find an item mentioned in one of the entries. I had written a blog in which I mentioned perfumes I had worn in high school but imagine my surprise and wonderment when I opened a box to find Heaven Scent perfume and body lotion!! I wore Heaven Scent all through high school --- I copied LuAnn Summers, the most popular girl in our school. It doesn’t smell too bad considering how one’s taste in scents changes over 36 years. I don’t know where he found it and never imagined it was still manufactured but maybe girls are still wearing it hoping to be popular!

I often talk about wanting to have a rabbit as a pet. I love looking at them at Petco and this summer we looked at them at the Calumet County Fair. Steven and I particularly liked a brown fuzzy rabbit named Rosemary. I also enjoy the Skittles Rabbit commercial and often tell others about it. Most people don’t appreciate the commercial but Ann, Steven, and I are kindred spirits in our enjoyment of the ad. Steven is a thoughtful gift giver and this Christmas he once again matched my present perfectly with my interests. Upon unwrapping his gift I found two soft, cuddly, stuffed bunnies! I immediately named the dark brown one Rosemary and after some thought am calling the tan bunny Iggy. I laughed so hard while also being tickled by the gift.

These people and their gifts made my Christmas magical. They put thought and effort into choosing my gifts, and I am touched by that thoughtfulness. At my age I truly don’t “need” anything material. What I have realized is that they had me laughing and enjoying the holiday and that is all I really “need” anymore!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto died for her country. I had to ask myself for what cause or person would I die? I would die for my children. I would not die for my country.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Elf Name

My elf name is Puddin Candy-Lips and I am on Santa's "nice" list. Anyone wishing to find their elf name and which list he/she is on go to: If I ever become a pole dancer I believe I will use the name Candy-lips.....maybe wear a little elf hat. Wonder if that would put me on the "naughty" list?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Hawk

I don't spend a lot of time browsing YouTube but the two videos I love are the Skittles Rabbit and Sierra Mist's Holiday Hawk. Something about singing animals appeals to me.

Not everyone appreciates these commercials -- the Skittles Rabbit just is not funny to many people. My daughter and I love this bunny and often will sing "La la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Then we crack up!

The Sierra Mist PR firm has done a fantastic job using the same characters in funny situations. The Holiday Hawk is my favorite although the beard combover is my next favorite.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Las Vegas

Spent 4 days in Las Vegas last week. The weather was sunny and in the 60’s compared to the 8 inches of snow and 20 degree weather in Wisconsin. Pools were open although not many people were using them; we sat in lawn chairs in the sun one afternoon. It was great just to be able to walk without wearing a jacket.

People watching is the main spectator sport. When I first went to Vegas I thought everyone would be dressed up, lots of diamonds and mink coats, sequins and tuxedos. No such thing. Now, as then, I saw more sweatshirts, jeans, non-descript tourists. Average looking people from all over the world stroll the sidewalks, play blackjack, attend conventions, plunk money into slot machines, and wander about high end shops.

The sleaze element is always in the open. The card flicking people line the sidewalks. They flick cards together and hand one in front of people on the sidewalk. Each card has a picture of a scantily clothed, attractive female, price ($35 on the one I saw), and phone number. Most people walk past and ignore the card flickers, but it is funny to watch the people who stop to take the cards and talk to the card handlers. Another common sight is truck billboards that have a photo of the same lingerie clad blonde girl (average looking, no one stunning) and the advertisement “Girls Who Want to Meet You” and the phone number 696-9696. (I memorized the number because we were going to call it and hear what was said – we didn’t!) While I wasn’t sure I saw any prostitutes this time I will never forget my first time in Vegas. A beautiful young girl was standing at a casino bar with two older, overweight, not so good looking 60 something guys. When I questioned why a gorgeous young girl would be with those two men I was informed by my friend that she was probably a hooker. I was aghast (can anyone say naive?) and wanted to “save” her!

Available entertainment is varied, top notch, and expensive. We saw the comedian, impressionist Danny Gans at the Mirage. The tickets were $100/apiece but well worth it. His impressions of Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Creed, Dean Martin, Bon Jovi, to name a few, were incredibly real. While we would have loved to see Celine Dion or Elton John, the cost of $375 per ticket was cost prohibitive. If I could go to a show a night for a week I would see Second City Improv, The Blue Man Group, Elton John, Lance Burton, and Jubilee.

While not an avid sports enthusiast, I have to admit to enjoying the sports rooms at the casinos. I was interested in betting on the Packers-Raiders game but after asking about placing a bet, found it wasn’t worth my while when the Packers would have to win by 11 points and I would need to spend more than my planned $10 to make it worth my while. We watched the 4th quarter of the Bears-Redskins game at the Monte Carlo Sports room and it was funny to watch people become upset when the Bears kicked a 3 point goal which ruined the betting odds! A new way to watch a game. Horse racing was huge in these rooms, and I never realized how many races happened in a day.

We aren’t big gamblers because neither of us is lucky. Any gambling we did was on slots. Losing was even fun as long as it took a long time and I could hear the ding-ding-ding because it made me think I was winning even if I was losing. We took a craps lesson which involved numbers and thinking and those elements ruled out the game for me! I would rather spend my money on something I can wear or look at in my house.

Vegas is fine to visit once in awhile but I don’t need to go there often. There are other new places I want to see and other places I’d like to revisit.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Letter II

Hi Ho Fellow Earthbound Travelers! I cannot believe it is time again to deck the halls, trim the tannenbaum, and fa la la la la. I am making merry and have bedecked my stunningly realistic artificial tree, trimmed the outdoor shrubbery with sparkling white lights, and am about to embrace the commercialism that abounds for the holidays. I can hear the Visa Corporation humming merrily in the background as I type.

The year has gone swimmingly, and I have only joy and cheer to share with you in this much coveted holiday missive. The princess in my life is finishing her university experience and will grace the commencement stage in May 2008. Her artistic and personal accomplishments awe all who know her. She has successfully written a grant, had a print accepted at a gallery showing, her talent is continually acknowledged by professors who bestow art department responsibilities upon her, and she been promoted in her responsibilities as TGI-Fridays head concierge. The little girl who drew mermaids in kindergarten has blossomed into an artist of great potential plus is making her mark in the food industry.

My baby completed his enviable high school career by accepting his diploma in June 2007 and joining the select ranks of the UW-Milwaukee student body. Alas, he girls remaining at the high school are still crying over his departure, and the soccer program has bottomed out since he left. Because of his many and varied talents he has yet to narrow the myriad of career choices available to him. He has been awarded the university’s Cleanest Residence Living Quarter award and the additional medal for the Most Sanitary Dormitory Restroom. He has been drafted to compete in the “Who Can Do the Most Laundry in a Week” dormitory contest. The child’s aptitudes never cease to amaze, and I blush with pride just thinking about him.

Watson has received special recognition from the American Kennel Club. He has been officially designated a Canadian Beagle – the first and only of his kind. Since he is a very humble creature of God, he is downplaying this award’s significance to all dogkind, but we have placed the giant 18 karat gold bone shaped trophy on the mantel for all to see. He is also receiving a year’s supply of Scooby treats and a new wardrobe. As much as I dislike talking about myself I have to admit I have been pretty incredible this year. I perfected my tan and sun streaked hair for the summer and was rewarded with the Best Looking Pre-Menopausal Mother Over 50 Award in August. Flattered doesn’t begin to describe my joy in being presented with this award. Along with the plaque I am using the wrinkle/sunspot dermatology appointments received with the award. In November the Fox Cities honored me as Shopper of the Year as a way of thanking me for my economic impact in northeastern Wisconsin. The platinum credit card plaque is hanging proudly in the entryway. What can I say – while I know I am loved it still gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to be honored!

Travel kept us busy also. While friends wasted jet fuel flying to exotic places, our good friends Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio offered us advice on closer venues to explore. Bless their green hearts; we had fun doing just that. Ann and I explored the splendor and diversity of the Twin Cities and traveled the gently rolling hills of rural River Falls. Patrick and I have ventured to the hustle and bustle of Milwaukee and found that city people offer new excitements. Dan and I decided to take on the wilderness and discovered the harsh beauty of Lake Superior. While the cultural differences of eastern Minnesota were at times disconcerting, it was a learning experience and we found that Minnesotans are much the same as Wisconsinites. Dan still doesn’t easily admit that, but I’m sure one day he will come around.

So, as you can see, we have had an exhilarating, action packed year. For those of you dear dear acquaintances who have not been as fortunate, please take pleasure in living the good life vicariously through me and mine. It is our Christmas gift to you.

Wishing you a gift-filled, gluttonous holiday!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Letter

I’m only writing this damn Christmas letter because I figure I will be too busy fulfilling my community service obligation once the New Year begins. Nah, I didn’t kill anyone or anything exciting like that. Just got fed up with the nosy neighbor and practiced shooting her world’s ugliest donkey lawn decoration with my new bb gun. I accidentally hit her dumbass husband, and she actually got upset and called the police. But there is a silver lining behind every black cloud and after writing to Naomi Campbell for advice on how to handle community service, she became my new BFF and has given me a free membership to her women’s fight club.

The kids are doing fine. Ann has managed not to get pregnant and has stayed off crack. TGI-Fridays awarded her their elite Door Greeter of the Year award which reinforced her decision to make door greeting her career. For those of you who don’t believe she is using her artistic talents, let me tell you that she does face painting at Fridays on Mondays and is a big hit with the 3 – 5 year old set.

Patrick managed to make it across the stage to receive his high school diploma and is going to school in Milwaukee. He does excel at Beer Pong and may make the 2008 Olympic Beer Pong team. Because of his beer pong/ping pong abilities, he has received the Forrest Gump Golden Paddle Award and may major in paddle sports with a minor in brewing.

Besides the minor mishap mentioned above, life is going well. With the recent increase in national debt, foreclosures, and unemployment I am fitting in with the US norm perfectly. Yes, I am up to my ears in debt but the President thinks debt is good for the country! Those of us whose homes are in foreclosure have formed a new social group and happily watch soap operas all day to forget our troubles. I beat the unemployment problem by working from home stuffing envelopes. Since I filed for workman’s comp due to a severe paper cut, I won’t have to worry about having a good holiday.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday. If your children are perfect, your jobs rewarding, and your home secure, save your postage and don’t send me a letter. I know most of you are damn liars anyway!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bad NL Karma

I made the mistake of talking to someone at the coffee shop. I try to avoid the downtown area except when absolutely necessary. I meet a friend for coffee each Tuesday afternoon andI am safe if I leave after meeting her for coffee. I can get out of the coffee place without having to meet up with someone I don't want to talk to. I have driven to the next town to do grocery shopping when I am in an anti-social mood (okay, more anti-social than usual). I don't want to run into people I know in the grocery store. I don't want to waste time hiding down an aisle to avoid people. Once in awhile I will meet up with someone I am happy to see but that is rare.

Being in a good mood today, happy it is the holidays, holding the Christmas spirit close to my heart I made the mistake of going out of my way to say hello to an acquaintance at the coffee shop. The last 25 times I have spoken with her the conversation has gone well. Today was short, brief and not warm and fuzzy. I left feeling puzzled and hurt. I realize this is probably not about me but something going on in her life so tried not to let it get to me.

Then I met up with a former close friend. We are still friendly but not close any longer. Having not learned from the first incident, I again went out of my way to say hello. We were friendly but there was no depth to the conversation and I felt it was forced. We parted. I felt icky.

On to the grocery store. I wanted fish tonight so went for tilapia which I have purchased at this store many times. Today, no tilapia. I picked out a salmon fillet which smells fishy in my refrigerator. Is it supposed to smell fishy? Tilapia doesn't smell fishy. That should have been my clue that my karma for NL was not good today. In the check out line I got to feel icky again. Behind me in line was a person I genuinely like but chatting today was not going well. I felt like I should keep up the conversation when it was clear he was not in a conversant mood. Being me, I am sure he wasn't as happy to see me as I was him.

I am now home with my faithful dog. I don't need to breath downtown NL air for awhile. I may need to bring out the baseball cap the next time I go downtown.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Magical Powers

I contend that power in my hands would be a bad thing. Most people think of “power” as a status, influence, position that allows a person to get work done, create inroads to projects, to help or hurt a person financially, professionally or personally. Yes, that power in my hands probably wouldn’t be good although I believe, for the most part, I would try to help people if I was in a powerful position. But, most often I think of magical power. What if I had magical powers?

Would I use my magical powers for good? Sure I would! Who wouldn’t want to have world peace, heal the sick, tend to the poor, exile George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to a deserted island, fix global warming, remove calories from Doritos/ chocolate/Culver’s custard/pizza plus provide free acne treatment to every teen who needs it.

But I fear my impatience with dumb people would get the best of me, and I would abuse my magical powers. Of course, one person’s abuse is another’s justified action. There would be a surplus of toads in the world because I would turn many irritatingly stupid people into toads. (Why a toad and not a frog you ask? Frogs can be cute and princesses do kiss them – no one wants to kiss a toad.) I must clarify that by stupid I do not mean someone who is born with a low IQ. Stupid means a person who has the smarts but makes dumb choices and statements. Yes, George W. would be a toad. He would be joined by Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bill O’Reilly, Anthony Scalia, and Katherine Harris. Being a toad is too good for Ann Coulter. I think taking over Prometheus’s chained-to-a-rock position, her liver picked out by a vulture every day might keep her busy and out of the lime light. Add that she would have to recite the preamble to the Constitution while passing the time and hold a lifetime membership to the ACLU, and I may feel appeased.

Smokers who throw their butts out their car windows and drivers who don’t use their blinkers will be turned into toads. People who talk during movies at movie theatres will be toads. Parents who bring their stroller encased children to a shopping mall during Christmas shopping season will have two shots of espresso fed to their children prior to leaving the mall. (The espresso idea is not an original, but I do love it) If those parents don’t learn from this lesson they will lose their strollers and be forbidden to use one ever again. Shoppers who gather to chat in the middle of store aisles will be turned into the cattle they mimic. (It would be best if they aren’t standing in front of Wilson’s leather store at the time.) People who are rude to store clerks will become mute. Good looking arrogant men will become homely, hairless, and pot bellied. Bitchy beautiful women will get warts on their noses, wrinkles and sun spots on their faces, and immediately gain 30 pounds.

People who are cruel to animals will be turned into dung beetles. (I watched a show about dung beetles on the discovery channel once. They actually roll balls of dung larger than their bodies up hill. Amazing but gross all the same.) Tax payers who complain that teachers make too much money will be sentenced to teach for at least a month – nothing will humble them faster. Snotty teenage girls will sentenced to scrubbing toilets while listening to their parents’ tape recorded life advice, and snotty teenage boys will be sentenced to slopping out pig pens while listening to snotty girls whine about all the inconsequential issues teenage girls whine about.

Hummer owners would walk into their garages and find a Chevy Geo in its spot. With one wave of the magic wand SUV owners would find themselves driving Saturn Ions. A snap of my fingers would reduce full size vans to Ford Focuses. No need to thank me for the reduction in their gas consumption. Jet Ski owners and snowmobilers will have to make their machines into planters and put them in their front lawns for the matching season. All homes will use energy efficient lights, anyone not recycling will be turned into a garbage can, and no one will be allowed to water their lawns in the summer.

I would use my powers for seemingly insignificant changes but changes I believe would give the world a bit more serenity. One day per week all families’ televisions would not work, and people would have to spend the time together playing games, talking, cooking, taking a walk together; no complaining about it is allowed. Stores would not be open on Sundays or main holidays. Everyone would have a secret pal who did anonymous nice things for their person; a card here, a flower there to brighten another’s day. Volunteering in the community at least one day per year would be mandatory. Getting out and helping others might make people more appreciative of what they have and get in touch with their giving side. Anyone failing to participate in any of these activities will be turned into…….. A TOAD!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Country Cooties

I have heard the American Harvester country song two days in a row. I don’t choose to listen to country music but happened to be in situations when it was on the radio. Country music writers must think outside the lyrics’ box because who else would write a song about an American Harvester and somehow manage to work in the FFA and 4-H.

I suppose this is encouraging to young song writers because few topics are off limits. There could be songs about dogs pooping in the neighbor’s yard, an alligator eating a poodle (hmmm, maybe better as a ‘gator chomping a mutt), cooties tasting yummy when the food runs out. For example:

Cookin' up some cooties,
Mama says they’re fine.
Better than empty stomachs,
Wash it down with wine.

Daddy’s gone a huntin’,

Hope he’s back real soon.
Cooties ain’t gonna hold me
‘Til lunch time next noon.

Crunchin’, munchin, hollerin’ to eat
Sister ain’t bathin so we always have cootie meat.

Open up a restaurant,
Servin’ cootie food.
Makin’ lots of money
Offa hungry city dudes.

Fry ‘em, boil ‘em, bake ‘em real brown
Heapin’ plates of cooties pass ‘em all around.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Vermont Country Store Catalog

The Vermont Country Store catalog arrived in my mailbox last week. I have never ordered from this catalog but may change that after my third browse through its delights. This catalog provides a trip through memory lane and reinforces my, um, maturity.

The candies were the first selections to catch my eye. It wasn’t exotic, expensive chocolates that gave me pause but the candies that were popular when I was a kid. We didn’t have Nerds or ring suckers or pop rocks. As the Vermont Country Store reminds me, we had Neccos, pastel colored mint wafers, Brach’s jelly nougats and Fizzies! Remember Fizzies? It was the candy version of Alka Seltzer. My parents did not purchase soda very often so Kool-Aid was the standard flavored drink. Fizzies were a fun alternative to Koolaide since my brothers and I could plop one tablet in the water, watch it fizz, and drink it down. I tried Fizzies as an adult and some things are best left to memories….Fizzies just aren’t that great, but my fond memory of them is intact. Another food item I had forgotten was Bosco. Bosco could be equated to Nestle’s chocolate syrup but Bosco had a cute bear as its advertising mascot; the name is more fun to say than Nestle!

A pink princess phone is available in the catalog. In the '60s here was no caller id, no touch tone dialing, no cordless wandering, but, oh, this style was revolutionary at the time. Black wall phones or black table phones were the standard plus phones were more utilitarian in purpose and appearance. Not only did the princess phone come in pretty colors and a new shape but it has a feminine name. I had a blue princess phone in my room and when I watch “The ‘70’s Show” I can see one used by the character Jackie.

Ah, my mind really began to trip down memory lane when I came to the perfume section. Smell is supposed to be a strong memory marker, and in this case just the name of the perfumes brought back the high school years. Ambush perfume was one of the two I used when in high school. It was my “second” favorite perfume with Heaven Scent being my favorite. (The most popular girl in school always wore Heaven Scent and that is one reason it was my favorite) Alas, Vermont Country Store does not carry Heaven Scent and if it did I would buy it – not to wear but just to have.
Ambush was a perfume I liked but Blue Waltz, Evening in Paris, and Tigress are also sold in this catalog and while I have memories of them, never wore them. Blue Waltz was the cheapest perfume one could buy from the Ben Franklin Dime Store and as teens we made much fun of it. Evening in Paris garnered the same disdain as Blue Waltz and several of us bought it once as a joke birthday gift for a friend. It is fun to see these in the catalog.

The last item that caused reflection wasn’t something that was actually for sale during “the day” but the theme was very famous. Vermont Country Store sells “Dick and Jane” flannel sheets. Anyone who learned to read during the 50’s and 60’s learned with the “Dick and Jane” primers. “See Jane!” “See, Dick!” “See Spot run!” I would bet it is baby boomers buying these sheets and sleeping on them!

If I were going to make one purchase from the Vermont Country catalog it would be the princess phone. While it has been updated (caller id, call waiting, touch tone dialing), it has the classic styling, original heavy weight, and would be great in a guest room. It also has no calories, won’t make me smell bad, and it is a great reminder of my youth.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Disney has portrayed some great villainesses on the screen. In some stories these women provide more interest than the femme fatale protagonist plus they have some great characteristics.

The evil queen in Snow White teaches the lesson that jealousy just isn’t a nice quality. But besides proving this, she shows us tenacity (doesn’t give up trying to find Snow White and getting rid of her), knows how to delegate authority (sends someone else to do her spiteful deeds), is willing to get her own hands dirty (takes it upon herself to kill Snow White), and knows how to work magic (changes into the old hag, creates a poison apple). Best of all she owned a magic mirror – how many of us would sell a relative for one of those?!

Maleficent is the witch who feels slighted at not being invited to Sleeping Beauty’s christening. When the king and queen whisk the princess to safety and anonymity after Maleficent places a curse upon the baby, the witch spends 18 years looking for the princess. This is persistence! She too uses magic to achieve her goals and is stubborn in her efforts to keep Prince Charming from finding his princess. She is willing to roll up her sleeves and fight the prince herself, taking risks herself instead of allowing others to do it for her. The best things about this villainess are her name and her outfit. Can we really fault her for being nasty when she has the name Maleficent? How sweet would Sleeping Beauty (aka Aurora or Rose) be if she had had been named, oh say, Malignantance?

Cruella de Vil has the name thing going against her and she seems particularly wicked because she wants to hurt puppies. Puppies just seem more sympathetic and sweet than beautiful princesses who are just waiting for the right man to come along. While she has no magic to aid her, she does have henchmen who helped her in her quest. Again, a woman in charge who knows how to delegate. Even while Cruella is a really nasty villainess she did have a great car and cool wardrobe. Even though she was evil she had great fashion sense.

Ursula has it in for Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” Now, she is not the worst of these villainesses. For some reason she really doesn’t strike fear in my heart as the others did. Yes, she is a meany – she makes an almost winless deal with Ariel because she hates her father. But this witch is a hard worker – she keeps on top of the project to make sure Ariel loses the bet. I have a bit of a soft spot for Ursula. First of all she is overweight and she was rejected by the king. The king has a beautiful thin spoiled daughter who is a princess and Ursula is just a lonely, chubby octopus witch. Wanting revenge isn’t a nice quality but Ursula sure has a lot going against her which probably made her turn into a revengeful villainess.

Lady Tremaine is Cinderella’s evil stepmother and she does give stepmothers a bad name. While she certainly knows how to delegate responsibility, (she doesn’t distribute the responsibilities equally between her two daughters and Cinderella because poor Cindy and has to do all the work) but she doesn’t have any magical powers. Lady Tremaine is just plain jealous of Cinderella and wishes her own daughters were as pretty and nice as her stepdaughter. Maybe she is nasty because she just wanted to get married to a man who would take care of her and her daughters and then realizes she is stuck with his kid after he goes off and disappears. That same thing happens today although social services would not be happy with her treatment of Cinderella. Lady Tremaine doesn’t meet the awful fate of the other villainesses’ but watches her built in maid go live in the great big castle with the good looking prince.

Let’s face it, these villainess’s are underrated. They are the characters that make the story. Without them some spoiled rich girls (okay, the Dalmatian puppies could still be an okay story without a woman who wants to use them for clothing) would just meet her man and live happily ever after without overcoming any challenges. Would Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White or Ariel appreciate their princes if they had just been handed over to them or did the challenges bring the couples closer together? I say those women owe a thank you to the villainesses. As for the rest of us, come on….how many of us haven’t wished for a magic wand or powers in which we could make someone’s life a bit miserable or to allow us to get our way?

Monday, November 5, 2007

No Passions

Dan told me he has not missed seeing a Packer game in 10 years. He is able to attend some home games but otherwise he watches them on TV. I was astonished. I don't believe I have ever had an interest or hobby that compelled me to always watch it, participate in it, and/or make time for it for 10 years. I am jealous.

A few years ago, Lisa, the law office receptionist, won tickets to a Packer game. She had never been to a Packer game and loves the team. She was so excited she had tears in her eyes. Joan and I discussed what it would take for us to be that excited -- we came up with winning the lottery.

It is just a coincidence that both these examples revolve around the Packers. The point is that these people have a passionate interest in something. The last interest that consumed me was the high school referendum (some might say it was an obsession). Why don't I have passions? Why am I not avidly interested in one thing? Do I insulate my feelings so I don't get disappointed in caring about something?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No Child Left Behind

A teacher in Madison is protesting the No Child Left Behind standardized testing by refusing to administer the test. Kudos to him! He is being threatened with dismissal although it sounds as though the superintendent is not handling the situation properly. It is state law, beholden to federal law, that these tests be administered. What a crock. I detest standardized testing when the results are used as a threat.

As a high school teacher once asked, "What if a child wants to be left behind." Anyone not familiar with the delights of adolescent mood swings and other idiosyncrasies that strike this age group would not understand that enticing/motivating/bribing this age group is often an effort in futility. What about the elementary student who didn't get breakfast that morning or whose parents had a knock down drag out fight at 2 a.m. How well does a middle school child test the day after being told his parents are divorcing or that her father just lost his job? One or two days of testing to judge a child's academic placement.

Be my guest, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kennedy....try making a student learn. Education is supposedly being enhanced because of bill pushed down public schools' throats (ah, gee, private schools don't hold to this same standard) by a President who cannot speak in compound sentences? By a President who mangles the language at every opportunity?

Whatever the outcome for the Madison teacher, I applaud his stance. As a school board member and former educator, I did not allow my daughter to take the 10th grade standardized tests the first year given in Wisconsin. I caught some flack from a few educators which I thought hypocritical....they hate standardized tests, also, but lacked the balls to pull their children from the testing.

Standardized testing and mandated learning from the federal government is a shabby attempt to put a bandaid on the gaping wounds in education. Easier to pass this type of legislation than find true solutions to the problems.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

This is the Halloween card I made and sent out to a selected few. I love the bad stamp and the colors plus the ribbon adds a fanciful touch. I enjoyed making this card more than most Christmas cards I have made. There is just something warmer, cozier, and more fun about autumn and Halloween than Christmas.

I like decorating with pumpkins, leaves, black cats, and witches. I have found some great witch decoratives and have them placed about the house for October. Just the concept of being able to fly about on a broom, cast spells at will, cackle, and create potions sounds right up my alley. The first witch I liked was the Margaret Hamilton Wicked Witch of the West. Her famous line"I'll get you my pretty....and your little dog, too" is a delightful classic.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yum and Yuck

pizzashrimpgarlicbreadcheddarcheesepotatochipshamburgerschocolatecashewspopcornbltspeanutbutterbutterednoodlesgelatocoffeedietpepsibaconryebreafrenchtoastfrenchfriescaramelcandyappleswafflesstrawberriesbleucheeseartichokesstuffing YUM

brusselsproutslimabeansliversteakclamsoysterscauliflowerskittlesbutterscotchpuddingapsparagusaniseveallambmilkporkchopschickendarkmeatduckgravycilantrorefriedbeansbrickcheeseeggsbenedictcreamedcornsaltwatertaffyblackjellybeansfrenchsilkpie YUCK

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Scream: Dedicated to Fox Valley Meangirl Moms

Ann was home for the weekend. We met for lunch at Red Lobster, browsed the mall, checked out the new Steve & Barry’s store (awesome prices), and stopped at Starbucks before we each went our own way. Behind us sat two teenage girls and a “Mean Girls” mother. The girls were going on and on about another girl (not atypical for adolescent girls), but it was the mother who put Ann and me into hysterics. This mother was soooooo into the conversation and soooooo wanting to be a “cool” mom. She had more diva qualities than the girls! Besides trying to live vicariously through her daughter she gave forth an overly dramatic touch of motherly indignation at some of the discussion. In my mind I pictured a version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” so made a face mimicking that. Ann cracked up! When we finally gave up on the valley mom and her mean girl wannabees we went back to the car where I happened to have my camera. Ann took a picture of my impression of The Scream. I dedicate it to all the Appleton, Wisconsin, valley moms.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Comfortable with Strangers

I enjoy my invisibility but there are situations when people ignore the presence of others that I think odd. Five people are in an elevator, each looking anywhere but at another person. No one speaks or acknowledges another’s existence.

Out for a walk you pass a person also out for a walk. Neither says hello, hi, nice day nor gives any indication of having seen another human. Isn’t this peculiar? To walk close by someone and pretend he/she isn’t there…..

Strangely enough, I prefer invisibility in my small town but when I’m in a larger city I don’t feel the need to be invisible. In fact, I’ve had some great short conversations with complete strangers while waiting in an airport or when sitting in a service station while my car is being repaired. I call these “drive by conversations.” They are conversations with people I will not see again, will not have to befriend, meet for coffee or lunch but with whom I can enjoy for the short time we are waiting together.

Blanche Dubois, in “A Streetcar Named Desire” claimed she “depended upon the kindness of strangers.” I don’t depend on strangers, but I seem to prefer the anonymity provided by strangers over the familiarity and recognizability of the small town populace.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I have been invisible. There are days I want to go unrecognized by everyone I meet when I take the dog for a walk, am forced to go to the grocery store or Walmart. Anonymity can be difficult to achieve in a small town, but by wearing a baseball cap and my glasses (better yet sunglasses) I can walk by people I have known for 15 years and they will not recognize me! The simplicity of this is breathtaking.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gladys's Donkey

This is Glady’s donkey cart. This donkey cart is ugly, tacky, I don’t like it, and it has been a major fixture of Glady’s front lawn for at least 3 years. Those are plastic flowers in the cart. I would like to kidnap (donkeynap?) this lawn ornament and hold it for ransom. Ann suggested using Photoshop to place the donkey in various settings and sending Gladys the photos with ransom notes.

Doesn’t the donkey look sad? I wonder if real flowers would make it happier? Poor donkey.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I wonder what it is like to be in a catatonic state. Do people hear the conversations going on around them but able to distance themselves from reacting? Do they tune out everything so as not to hear or see their surroundings and the people in them?

There are two types of catatonia: the one I’ve described above which is loss of muscle movement and lack of response to external stimuli; the other is catatonic excitement marked by hyperactivity and possibly violence to oneself or others. Wikipeidia reports that a person can die of exhaustion if not treated.

Not that one has a choice but if I had to choose to be catatonic I would choose to be the unresponsive catatonic. Talk about a form of escapism. To mentally remove oneself from a situation and not have to interact with people…..yes, there are always drawbacks but just for awhile it might be refreshing to mentally remove oneself from the scenario at hand. I think I do that when I drift off in a conversation but even then I end up smiling, nodding, or murmuring something to show I am listening even though I am not.

Right now I’m feeling the urge to just sit here and let the world pass me by for at least the next few hours. Sit here and listen to others but not respond and not be expected to respond. Sounds like the ideal escapism for today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stress Relief

In our stressed society people turn to talk therapy, drugs (legal or not), alcohol, and food for relief. There are easier methods of dealing with tensions caused by a day fraught by encounters with stupid people. A simpler means of alleviating the steel band headache that is throbbing because you had to remain civil to a boss who makes brings new meaning to the word incompetent. A solution other than homicide when listening, one more time, to your mother criticize your choice of husband/car/hairstyle/gift choice/weight. I have found four inexpensive, simple activities that will release the tension, lesson the stress, relieve the headache, and allow you to set aside the automatic weapon. You may wish to try all of them to find which best suits you or you may find that the methods each work best according to the issue at hand.

1) SCREAM. If the people who reside in your abode or the neighbors in the adjacent apartment are easily scared, this method is best done into a pillow. It works well when alone as long as your apartment complex walls are not paper thin because the police will become quickly impatient with the 911 calls from your neighbors. What you scream depends on you but remember that there is no right or wrong way to scream but doing it at the top of your lungs has the most effect. A simple “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH” for a prolonged period is great; “I HATE ________ (insert name)” is a sure bet; the swear word of your choice is a tried and true standby. These are just a few suggestions but whatever you scream, scream it LOUDLY!!!!!

2) HOWL. Howling is a highly underrated form of expression. It is primitive, earthy, and cleansing. People mistakenly believe there must be a full moon for there to be howling. Howling can be particularly rewarding on a dark dark night because you are cloaked in blackness and the howler can be in touch with their anger/pain/tension/frustations and howl until they are released from their angst. For some reason people are initially not as comfortable howling as they are screaming and may feel silly when they first howl. While this may not be the method for you in the long run, it is worth a try. You can start out softly and build to a crescendo or just start off in full, throaty, loud howl. I’ve known some people who begin to laugh at what they perceive to be silliness but that also is a stress reliever!

3) THROWING THINGS. This is a personal favorite. I knew a woman who threw eggs in her kitchen when angry at her family. Even though she was the one to clean up the mess she found it all very refreshing and a great anger release. I must admit to throwing a few things in my life and I would have to agree with her. It is also very dramatic, at least the first few times, if you have an audience. Eggs are an easy and popular choice although quite messy. For people who find cleaning cathartic, this would be perfect.

Throwing plates and glasses is a rewarding option. (Make sure the plates and glasses are actually glass – plastic just isn’t going to do it) An unfinished basement or cement patio works well for this. In Japan there are small businesses set up and people can rent time in a booth with dishes and throw them at a wall. The simple beauty of this almost brings me to tears. The Japanese make an effort to provide their citizens with stress relieving techniques.
If I ever get brave and open a business this would be the one…..dishes from Goodwill, small booths for throwing……sigh……think of the service I would be providing to society. Okay, I digress. Some may see throwing as a violent action but if no one gets hurt by a thrown object and you achieve stress release I would argue there is no harm done.
These are my ideas for simple stress relievers. There are the more tr
aditional methods (beyond therapy, drugs, drinking, eating) in exercising and cleaning but for those of us who have aversions to those, my three ideas allow for some unique activities.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Country Rap

My man done left,
He took the dog,
They rode off on his Harley Hog.
He’s left, he’s gone, and I wanna cry,
I’m so so sad, I’m burnin’ mad,
But deep inside I'm sorta glad.

I loved him long, loved him true,
But he trashed my heart,
He left me blue.

Drinkin’ wine coolers at the bar,
Into the night, to the bitter end.
I trashed him with my bestest friends,
Nasty and mean were his ways,
Sucking beer was how he spent his days.

I loved him long, loved him true
But he trashed my heart
He left me blue.

Now I’m happy he has gone,
Adios to his sorry butt,
So long to his gol’ darn mutt.
I found his rifle, I practiced my shot
And if I ever see his sorry ass,
I’m takin’ aim and givin’ it a blast!

This song should be said/sung with a rapper's attitude. The song is better enhanced if the singer wears low slung jeans, cowboy boots, a wife beater shirt and chains and necklaces crusted in bling. It just seems to me the combination of country and rap a natural new music genre.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mommy-isms I've Never Said

My mother said “Mommy-isms” during my formative years. I suppose they were generationally acceptable, but as an adult I find them ludicrous. I am proud to say I have not said them to my children.

If you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about.” This meant that if I didn’t stop crying I would be spanked. It never made sense to me that one would spank an already crying child, making them cry even harder. Obviously the child thought there was something to cry about!

Nice girls wear slips.” Granted, fashion styles change over the years and at the time my mother imparted this bit of wisdom slips were a fashion staple. However, I took this snippet of wisdom to mean that if I did not wear a slip I was not a nice girl.

Always let a boy win at sports.” Whoa! This only motivated me to try to beat a guy at a sport. Really, are male egos so fragile that they will be desolate if a girl beats them in a sport? If so, too bad for them.

If you were smart…..” My mother often prefaced pieces of unsolicited advice with this phrase. The implication seemed to be that if I didn’t follow her advice I was not smart.

Why? Because I said so.” As a parent I believed my children deserved an explanation for my decisions so avoided this gem. Just because I was the parent didn’t mean I was on a power trip and explaining the decision to them allowed them to better understand me and my reasoning.

There was one “Daddy-ism” I never understood. “Do as I say not as I do.” was a standard in our home. This flies in the face of the tried and true “Actions speak louder than words” which I have learned to be a true judge of character/sentiments/morality.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Life Was Simple When

Life was simpler when:

There were three kinds of tennis shoes – Keds, PF Flyers, and Chuck Taylor Converse.
Shower gel didn’t exist and people used Zest or Dial soap.
Maybelline and Cover Girl had the corner on make up.
Well groomed women chose Prell, Breck, or White Rain Shampoo.
Homes had single car garages because families had one car.
The milkman delivered dairy products to the home.
Doctors didn’t work for corporations.
Dick and Jane taught children to read.
Rollerskates required a key, a pair of shoes, and weren’t expensive.
Hopscotch and jump ropes were great playground entertainment.
Teeth were brushed with either Crest or Colgate toothpastes.
Coke, Pepsi, and 7-Up were the sodas people drank with grape or orange soda thrown in for excitement.
Koolaide and Fizzies were the drinks available to children.
Fast food restaurants were a special treat and not a daily dinner site.
Folgers and Maxwell House coffees made in percolator coffee pots were kitchen standards.
Hershey bars and M&Ms met a chocolate lover’s cravings.
White clothing was worn Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Engagement, marriage, children was the tried and true timeline.
Gas station attendants put the gas in the car, checked the oil, and cleaned the windshield.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Favorite Words

I took History of the English Language my junior year at UW-Stevens Point. Professor Leon Lewis from Boston taught the class. Between the Bostonian accent and his sense of humor, the course was thoroughly enjoyable.
One day he commented on his favorite words or phrases. “Cellar door” was a favorite phrase of his. “Cellar door” does nothing for me, not even with a Bostonian accent, but to each his own. I like “loquacious”, “ostentatious”, “squiggly”, and “kumquat.” The first two take a long time rolling off the tongue and can be drawn out and enjoyed; the second two are just cute.
Certain countries have great names. Mesopotamia (one almost has to concentrate to get it right) and Persia sound exotic and should have never been changed to Iraq and Iran. While I don’t profess to know the politics of those countries when they had beautiful names, maybe they were in a better state of affairs than they are at present with their short, snippet of names.
Lichtenstein, Fiji, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe are fun to say and since those countries are far from America one can say their names and sound very international while, with typical American ignorance, know little to nothing about the country itself. I have been to Lichtenstein and what I remember is they have beautiful stamps and their political candidates are only allowed to campaign for one day. Neat name, neat solution to political campaigning.
When teaching 7th graders I would often ask them to write down their favorite word or words and then post them on the bulletin board. One boy wrote “lollipop” as his favorite word and since that day it has been one of my favorites, too. It feels good rolling off your tongue plus is a happy word. In fact, there are two songs which use his favorite word. Shirley Temple sang “On the good ship, Lollipop” and the popular refrain in that song is:

“On the good ship Lollipop.
It’s a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.”

Complete lyrics can be found at
The Chordettes recorded the “Lollipop Song” in 1958 with the hard to forget refrain of
“Lollipop lollipop

Oh lolli lolli lolli
Lollipop lollipop.....”

Complete lyrics to be found at At this website one can even download this song for a ring tone!
I don’t know that I have any favorite sounding phrases although Joe recently mentioned a seemingly popular Scottish phrase that I fancy. “Sheep shagging bastards” was frequently shouted at a soccer game Joe attended in Scotland. Alliteration does make any phrase catchy but the uniqueness of this phrase is part of the appeal. I haven’t found a way to work this phrase into casual conversation but am trying.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Little Ditties

I just remembered a few silly ditties (how often does one get to use a word like “ditties?) from my childhood. It is amazing what stays lurking in your memory.

A brown calf
Walked a mile and a half
To take a bath.

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one.
But if I saw one anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

Be kind to your web footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody’s brother.
Be kind to your friends in the swamp,

Because it’s very very damp.

Then the duck ditty led me to remember this joke:

Why do ducks have webbed feet? To stamp out forest fires.
Why to elephants have flat feet? To stamp out burning ducks

These memories are more pleasurable than the ones I have of math class or some other drudgery. So why is it people look at me slightly askance (another great work, “askance”) when I recite such ditties? For example, at the soccer game last night I was telling pirate jokes in honor of last week’s National Talk like a Pirate Day (which I totally missed). Julie Ziegler looked at me like I was nuts until I explained that at 53 I should damn well be able to say or sing whatever I want whenever I want. (I also told her about the Skittles Rabbit song. If you don’t know what that is just “Google” Skittles Rabbit commercial) Here are a few pirate jokes:

“What is a pirate’s favorite country? Arrrrrrrrgentina”
“What is a pirate’s favorite kind of sock? Arrrrrrgyle”
“What does a pirate pay for corn on the cob? A buccaneer.”

I like these pirate poems….they may be simplistic and silly but there isn’t enough simple and silly in the world. So rather than worrying about global warming, gas prices, the Iraqi conflict, and my cholesterol level, silly ditties and pirate jokes are a fine diversion.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cherry Ames, Student Nurse

As I was looking through the bookcase for my poetry books I ran across my Cherry Ames books. When I was growing up there wasn’t much young adult literature available; The Bobsy Twins, Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys were the standard reading series, but I loved the Cherry Ames series. As a child I wanted to be a nurse, and Cherry Ames was a nurse. She was a nurse who had a lot of job variety and a nurse who solved mysteries. The series started with Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and after her graduation she becomes Cherry Ames, Army Nurse. Whether Ms. Ames had a short attention span or had an awesome networking system, each book is based on her new nursing position. She was Camp Nurse, Flight Nurse, Private Duty Nurse, Visiting Nurse, Cruise Nurse, Mountaineer Nurse, and Night Supervisor. There were more in the set, but these are the only titles I can remember.

I loved every book and very much wanted to be a nurse. Cherry was pretty, perky, and popular, and I wanted to be that, too. The books were set in a time when nurses wore the traditional white cap, white uniform, white stockings, and white shoes. I coveted that white cap. Actually, I think I wanted to be a nurse just so I could wear the cap and uniform! I was so enthralled with this character and wanting to be a nurse that I can remember the first time I met an actual living, breathing, working nurse. I almost swooned!

When I outgrew the series my parents encouraged me to be altruistic and donate the books to the school library. At the time I was proud to do so, but in hind site I wish I still had those books. A few years ago I stumbled across a copy of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse in an antique store in Stillwater, Minnesota, and scooped it up. After reading it I ordered a few others I found on I discovered (is it discovering when I don’t remember the detail or is it rediscovering because I must have known the information when originally reading the book?) the first books were set during World War II!! I knew the books would be dated but hadn’t remembered them being that “old.”

I did not become a nurse. My mother pointed out that I didn’t have the “nurse” qualities of empathy and patience and at the time, that was true. I was not bothered by blood, could handle emergency situations, was intelligent, but I was not patient. To continually listen to people complain about aches and pains, to listen to their demands and remain a compassionate caregiver would have been a stretch for me. But, damn, I sure would have looked good in that white cap!
Literature has come a long way. When I graduated from high school women became nurses, teachers, or secretaries. In today’s world young women have endless career opportunities and the literature available for young readers reflects this. But, even though I didn’t become a nurse, and didn’t have many literary role models, Cherry Ames was an assertive, intelligent, independent woman (always surrounded by attentive males, she followed her career rather than a man) who allowed me to dream about a worthy career. And the stories are able to hold my attention upon rereading them 40 years later; a history lesson, a visit to my childhood, a fictional character who still pops up in my adult life.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I enjoy poetry. I enjoyed teaching poetry. It is a genre that expresses strong feeling in fewer words than other genres and is open for interpretation. In 9th grade English I had to memorize two poems. I picked “Two Roads Diverged” by Robert Frost because I liked it and “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson because it was easy. I like Robert Frost’s poetry but don’t care for 90% of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

I’ve always thought being able to recite poems or quotes from memory impressive. My father was always able to do that. Unfortunately, I am unable to recite full poems, just snippets from a few. Of course, I can recite the entire “I’m Nobody” poem – figures that the one I don’t like is the one I remember. While I don’t remember much of “Two Roads Diverged” I can recite most of “Stopping in Snowy Woods” by Frost.

As a person who likes “good” poetry I find it interesting that the only poems I know by heart are goofy poems. Shel Silverstein wrote poetry for children and it is entertaining, and I used it in my introduction to poetry for 9th graders. A bit simplistic but it was a lighthearted way to begin.

Teddy said it was a hat
So I put it on.
Now Daddy's asking where the heck
The toilet plunger’s gone?

My father was a fan of the Little Willy poems:

Little Willie
In his thirst for gore
Nailed his sister to the door.
His mother in her way so quaint
Said, “Willie, dear, you’ve spoiled the paint.”

Willie on the tracks one day
Hey, look out here comes the Santa Fe.
Wille gave just one less utter,
Before he was made into peanut butter.

Ogden Nash was a poet who was famous for his rhyming poetry. My father had a collection of his poems I now own. The only Nash poem I know by heart is

Candy is dandy
But liquor is quicker.

One poem introduction I love reciting is “Jabberwocky” from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw by Lewis Carroll.

Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe

I probably haven’t memorized more poetry because I prefer unrhymed poems and they might be more challenging to memorize.

On a more serious note, the last two lines from poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley are ones I firmly believe and their message of accountability is sorely lacking in today’s society.

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

To show how poems are open to interpretation, Timothy McVeigh recited the entire poem “Invictus” as his final statement immediately prior to his execution.

Since one of the recommendations for keeping the maturing mind healthy is to exercise it, memorizing a poem here and there might be a worthwhile endeavor.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Reach Out and Touch Someone

About a month ago I purchased one of those bluetooth-stick-in-your-ear-phone-gadgets (BSIYEPG – too bad that won’t work as a catchy acronym) herein to be known as the EarBorg. As is my way with new gadgets, I let it sit around unused until last weekend when Patrick came home with one. I wore it around the house that Saturday until it hurt my ear, took it out, and haven’t used it since. Does one develop a callous on the ear so it no longer hurts or is it like wearing flip flops the first time each summer – you just get used to it? I did charge it up yesterday but then forgot about it. The fact is I don’t get that many phone calls in a day to warrant one, but I like the idea of using it while driving or ironing or multitasking in any way. Now I have to move from just liking the idea of it to actually using it. I like the image of me talking into the EarBorg so it looks as though I am talking to myself. My hair covers the Borg so it goes unseen. Maybe if I practice walking with a limp, or off kilter, twitching periodically while talking, people will stay clear.

As a society we are evolving into a species that constantly needs to be “in touch.” Remember those TV ads – “Reach out and touch someone.” But, as much as we seem to be ever in contact, our cell phone/computer technology allows us to reach out without ever having to actually touch anyone. We can hide behind such technology so we never have to deal face to face with one another. I’m not criticizing as I very much would rather stay hidden and not have to have face-to-face encounters with most people. Call someone and reach their voicemail? HURRAH! HALLELUJAH!! YES! Much better than having to conduct a conversation with the person all the time wishing you hadn’t called. Which leads us to the beauty of caller ID. Caller ID has reached even more wondrous heights on cell phones because each caller can have his/her own identifying ring tone so the phone can remain unseen while still knowing the caller’s identification. All this really means is it gives us all greater opportunity to ignore those we want to sort of “reach out to.”

I am looking forward to the day when the phone chip is implanted in my head. Heck, maybe I can get a mini-computer transplanted into the palm of my hand. God knows that is where a calculator should have been all my life.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Dropped Watson off for grooming and had three hours to kill before he was done so went to the day spa in the Fox River Mall for a manicure and pedicure. Sigh….the pedicure is so relaxing and the manicurists at this place don’t talk much to clients which I like. I don’t want to have to make small talk; I just want to relax.

However, my conscience kicked in while my feet were being scrubbed. I blame this on my reading a book about women who survive wars; I then signed up to sponsor a woman on So, as I am relaxing and having my dry, cracked feet scrubbed my conscience questions my choosing to spend money on this frivolity rather than donating it to a good cause. Uh, oh…..nothing like being reminded that I have shown little purpose in life of late and that I waste time on indulgences instead of doing good deeds.

I do believe in “signs” and am wondering if I haven’t been getting some hints that it is time to do for others. There have been three “signs” in the last two weeks:
1) I was having the Subaru serviced and began talking to a woman who tutored a young Mexican mother in English. This woman was trained by the literary council and tutors the young woman once or twice per week.
2) I picked up Watson from boarding yesterday and took home a Waupaca County Humane Society newsletter. They need people to walk dogs.
3) While in Iowa this week I went into a store selling only products from third world countries and picked up a book on women who survive wartime situations (the Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia, etc) and went to a website which asks for sponsors for these women.
4) Okay, I said there were three signs but while typing the above I remembered a fourth volunteer opportunity that has been lurking in the back of my mind. There is a program that has people mentoring young women who have become involved in the juvenile judicial process.

Now, I am fully capable of volunteering for all of the above. I need to do something with my time and my life. I have had four opportunities virtually fall into my lap. Could I live without pedicures……yes. Do I want to live without pedicures… Could I donate money and my time and still have pedicures…..probably. Hmmmm, is this compromise or just getting my way on both issues……