Saturday, May 31, 2008

It was 37 years ago today...

I plan on having a good time today on my birthday. I also plan to keep this important advice in mind:

Icing on my cake: A birthday wish from a good friend...

Since it's your birthday, I can only hope the world will pause a moment at some point during the day, quite expectedly, as if it got the gist of a message that said, This is a good woman. Because I'm sending it that message; and, well, the Spirits of the Air still hear my voice.

Thinking of you. (And wishing you one spectacular 37th birthday!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

Elizabeth and I have been friends for almost 20 years, give or take about five when we lost touch. I met her in college; she was my first roommate. She already had a year of college and dorm life under her belt by the time I came around, so she was able to warn me of peril. I never listened to her warnings, but I appreciated where she was coming from. Though she did save my bacon after the fact on several occaisions.
My very first weekend at school, I went to a fraternity party with a guy I met at orientation. He was pledging and so, with a wink and a look the other way, we were offered a hand stamp that would let us drink. Since I had my arms firmly crossed in disapproval, they assumed rightly where the could stick their stamp. Needless to say, the evening went from bad to worse. And I demanded he walk me home. He was drunk, but this was downtown Cleveland.
I got back to the dorm and tried to say good-bye at the security desk, but he followed me through. I didn't know enough to insist security keep him from coming upstairs. We rode the elevator up to my floor and the doors opened. I beheld in my eyes the vision of Elizabeth and Joanne waiting for an elevator. I begged silently for help, and boy did they. Joanne mocked him openely while Elizabeth plied here logic to him with surgical precision.
After awhile, we realized that only physical force would get him to leave. So Joanne and Elizabeth jockeyed him out of our room, down the hall and onto the elevator, while I waved feebly to him. I was very relieved. None of us really wanted to think about what might have happened had I not run into them as I did.
Elizabeth and I have had our moments, as all good friends do, but she is one of the wisest, funniest, most faithful friends I could ever ask for. She is a passionate person with tons of talent for writing, observation, and a well-delivered zinger. She's survived more than her share of tragedy and has come through on the other end, battered, but not defeated. I look forward to the next twenty years of our friendship and all the joy, pain, laughter and tears they will bring.
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth; may all your dreams and wishes come true.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

One on One with the Cap'n

The Cap'n is sitting here in my garage, laughing his ass off. He might be open to some questions.

Skyler's Dad says, "Ask him when snow melts, where does the white go?"

It is reabsorbed into the great cosmos.

Chris asks, "I'm curious whether the repeated moniker-changes are the result of some sort of identity crisis."

Oh, no...I'm a helicoptor.

What else do you wan't to know?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ahoy Captain!

The Cap'n will be setting sail this afternoon to come visit us today. Wish me luck.

Is there anything you want me to ask him? I'll report his answers here...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Start Spreading The News

I'm headed for NYC next month. Would anyone like to get together on the evening of Thursday, June 5th? Let me know in the comments or email me at greenpearl42 at yahoo dot com.
I'd like to have this kind of time, if you have any suggestions for things to do/see:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bedtime Story

"Mommy," Riley said, "Tell me a bed time story..."

"Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Riley..." I began.

"Stop! Not that one."

"And she stayed up too late. There was just too much going on. So she stayed up and stayed up until the wee hours until she finally dropped off to sleep. And then it was time to get up. She dragged herself out of bed and got to school. She was too tired to play at recess so she just stared out of the window. When she got home and saw her Mommy, she said, 'I'm so tired I think I'll go to bed early tonight.' And that night she went to bed earlier than she ever had. And she had wonderful dreams. When morning came she popped out of bed, threw on her cloths and had the best day ever."

"Hmm," she said, sleepily. "I think I'll go to bed early tomorrow night."

"That sounds like a good idea."

"But for the next story, could you tell one with a little more action?"

Are You Ready To Garden?!?!?

The first annual pumpkin growing contest has commenced and it's all happening right in my back yard...literally. Frank heard about a pumpkin growing technique where you put a pot with holes in the bottom in the middle of the pumpkin mound. That way all the water is concentrated at the main roots of the pumpkins and they'll thrive. So, having a big back yard, a neighbor with two tons of compost, and a handfull of strapping men who lust after roasted pumpkin seeds, we now have five pumpkin mounds sprinkling the back yard.

When I first saw the mounds (I didn't yet know what was going on) I thought, "What kind of giant mutant gopher has infiltrated my back yard?" But when I heard it was a contest and they saved me a mound, I grabbed my pink gardening gloves, my pink trough, and said, "Bring it on."

The rules were: only two wheelbarrow loads of compost per mound and you have to get it yourself. I headed that way. I had a couple of little pip squeaks helping with the digging. We filled the wheelbarrow as big fat raindrops began to slowly pelt us. Undeterred, I wobbled my wheelbarrow towards my designated mound. I thought to myself, one load would probably be enough. I could also go back for another load later on, when I saw which way my plants were going.

I reached into the wheelbarrow and started spreading the compost around the bucket. When I found stones, I put them in the bucket to stablize it. I was putting in the last bits of dirt as it began seriously to pour. I had to work fast. I grabbed my pack of "award winning" pumpkin seeds and began to plant them in the mound at the four compass points.

Then I grabbed a pack of "Jack-o-Lantern" pumpkin seeds and filled in the blanks. It was beginning to get soaked through, but I had a secret weapon up my sleeves: Marigolds. I did my best to surround the mound with marigold seeds in order to fend off the plentiful and hungry bunnies that inhabit my backyard. They hate marigolds. I had already seen a bird swoop down and pick seeds out of another contestant's mound. "Hee, hee, hee...this one's in the bag," I thought to myself.

I dashed to the garage and got a child's snow shovel and a child's winter coat and scarf. I planted the handle of the shovel at the back of my pot and made a scarecrow with the coat and scarf. It should keep the birds away, I thought. Then I grabbed the wheelbarrow and ran it back to Franks's yard. I took refuge from the deluge at the Tiki, a marvelous place to be stranded for a few moments.

We shivered under the Tiki as Frank tacked up a tarp to keep the wind out. I watched as the strong wind blew my scarecrow right over. But the coat is heavy enough it should still stay by my mound and keep it safe from the birds.

It's funny how quickly I took to the idea of having a pumpkin patch instead of a back yard. But once I found out it was a contest, all thoughts of propriety flew out of my head. I love competitive gardening. I'm going to have the best damn pumpkins out there, if it kills me.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Two Seventies Icons Playing Air Guitar.
Waitress? I'll have what they're having...

I can't tel them apart, but Doc and Elizabeth seems to think they are vastly different.

What's your call?

It's In The Stars

Here's my horoscope from Yahoo for today:

Are you feeling a little bit more thrifty than usual? It's not surprising, given the recent fiscal headaches that you have been dealing with. But before you swing into full-on panic mode, stop and take a deep breath. Something inside of you is pulling you toward a more cautious type of fiscal behavior, and all you have to do is follow it. Your interests are moving away from acquiring material goods -- you want more substance and less flash from life.

It's really dead on. Doc and I have both tried to make incremental adjustments in order to save money. It's literally a nickel and dime strategy. We've made all of the big moves we can: we both are working, we've consolidated our debt, we've cut up our credit cards. We've basically dammed the river of debt. Now we are patching up the holes like busy little beavers.

Stockpiling Food
Doc works at a bakery at a grocery store. He spends a lot of time there and knows when things go on sale and right when bread and other baked goods are marked "reduced" because he's the one who marks them that way. He also keeps an eye on the dented cans sale. Every night he brings home a small bundle of stuff for our pantry. So, we always have food in the house.

Buying Cheap Beer
I've finally drunk the PBR Kool-Aid. Doc's been buying PBR and savoring it for a while now, but I've struggled with it due to the lack of good flavor. I'm not much of a drinker anyway so it's not a big deal. But I've finally acquired the taste for PBR, so much so that Budweiser tastes like a quirkly little microbrew from Luxembourg and I enjoy one very much when Frank offers me one upon occaision.

Going Green
I've learned to love working in the yard. Living next door to an amazing landscaper has helped augment the things I've learned from my Mom, an amazing gardener. The cool thing is that our yards have sort have become communal. If I pull out a plant I don't like, Frank grabs it up and transplants it and vice versa. I gave him the little bush that could...he gave me some Lilac trees last year. The lilacs line the walk to the back of the house and I actually have some blooms on them. You can always count on Frank to have the one tool that will make the job easier (see: Halo Hoe). Working in the garden keeps me out of Target. It's also a cheap workout.

Handy Man's Corner
When we have stuff that breaks, I used to throw it out. Now, I take it apart and see if I can fix it. Or I give it to my overactive neighbor boy to take apart and fix. Either way, it's a good hour well spent and the item either works again or is broken beyond repair and I don't feel so bad pitching it.

We're hanging tough 'til our ship comes in and aside from a few leaks in our current boat, things seem to be moving along. Everyone's happy. The yard looks great and the mailbox is no longer a source of panic.

What are your cheap bastard moves?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

For As Much As I Got Done Last Weekend...

I must have taken two steps back this weekend. I finally got antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection that has haunted me for a month now. I've got a nagging cough and lagging energy. The mere prospect of tidying the children's room is exhausting. It's actually a many stepped process. You see, Lucy got a hold of some rolls and Hansel-and-Greteled the place as if she were planning on losing her way out.

Also, their playroom is a disaster. I know from their report cards that both of my children know how to tidy up after themselves. But upon my request that they go in there and straighten that room up, I get an Oscar award winning performance from a couple of would be miners who would rather do anything than go back down that dark shaft again, lest it cave in on them or give them the black lung. The minute I mention it, they break out the guitars and union protest songs until I give up and string crime scene tape across the door.

But I'm making progress. I got the dishes done, which were strewn from wall-to-wall. I ran the sweeper and made a path through crumb road. I got dressed. I fixed lunch, which brought high praise from my daughters. Riley called it the best lunch she'd ever had.

In between the small bursts of activity, we've lounged around watching TV all day. Fortunately, the neighbor girl invited Riley over and she's been there for a couple of hours now. By the way, Captain, your mother-in-law says "Hi!"

Wish me luck on my recovery. I've got half a Z-pack under my belt and things are looking and coughing up. Maybe by Wednesday I'll feel like myself again. Until then...go clean your room!