Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 09, 2012

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


When I was 5, I distinctly remember a trip to Tampa with my mother, grandmother, and great aunt in the 1970 Pontiac LeMans. Somewhere along the way on I-75, we ran out of gas. I freaked out. Screaming, kicking, crying. I thought we were going to die. Then a stranger carried my mother away in his truck to get gas. My poor Grandmother Esther and Great-Aunt Eleanor...these poor ladies were both high strung and nervous anyway. I'm sure they were in agony, charged with the supervision of The Banshee-Child Who Sees The Future of Mommy-less Death. Mommy returned with fuel and we finished our journey to see my half-sister JoAnna and visit Busch Gardens.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rusty the Rugdog

I have one of the greatest dogs in the world. Probably just like your dog, who is also The Greatest Dog in the World. Perhaps my dog has been The Greatest Dog in the World a tad longer, because he is 13 and a half years old. Rusty is a Golden Retriever, which are The Greatest Dogs in the World. He’s not of superior bloodline, but he is AKC. His tuft of white hair on his chest is probably too big, and he has a white spot on his paw. A judge would find that a fault, but I rather like the dog.

Rusty spent his early years living outside within a white picket fence, which he climbed regularly. One time, he left for about a week. I honestly think he found someone he wanted to live with more than us. It must have been a brother from another mother, or something. I could see this kind of devotion to a female. I don’t know if Rusty was hanging around waiting for the friend to go in heat, or what. Maybe he was having a bi-curious moment and he wanted to experiment. His wild oat crop was abandoned suddenly when the other dog’s owner responded to our ad in the paper. He said a dog matching the description of Rusty had been hanging out at his house for awhile. We retrieved the retriever and he didn’t wander that far again. In his wanderings over the years, he was shot with a pellet, and an across the street neighbor deliberately chased him into a car’s path. He survived it all.

About 6 years ago, Rusty became an inside dog. He was slowing down because of middle age. We had several female Golden’s before and concurrently with Rusty, and he has outlived them all. How, I’m not quite sure, because I have definitely tried to kill him accidentally more than once. Now that the compulsion to imitate a female dog was out of his system, he needed a new hobby. He settled on “Pretend to Be a Rug.” We evidently need lots of rugs, because Rusty demonstrates locations all over the house--in front of the door, between the dining room table and the sliding glass door, in the bedroom doorway, in the walkway between the couch and chair. He is comfortable in his rug emulation, and he trusts us completely to treat him as the rug you actually don’t step on.

Not too long ago, I purchased a new computer and gave my mother-in-law my dinosaur Dell. I carried the pieces one-by-one out of the bedroom to the bar so that they could be loaded into her truck, first the CPU, then the monitor. The monitor was quite impressive in its day. It is 19”, and the size of a television of the same measurement. When something this large is carried, one cannot see her feet. Rusty was rugging it in the bedroom doorway, and I forgot that five minutes prior he was laying there. I tripped over the dog with this heavy monitor in my arms and thought for a moment (this was all going in slow motion) that I would drop it and kill my dog. Not pleased with this thought, I tucked the monitor into my body. I think I heard my husband yelling “The Dog! The Dog! The Dog!” I managed to alter my course in mid-air and landed on a knee with the monitor still in my clutches. The monitor and I hit the floor kind of sideways. On my way down, my chin thought it would be a good idea to bounce off the monitor. I think I made some kind of grunting sound similar to that of someone falling to the ground from a considerable height. My husband and my father-in-law were at my side immediately trying to get me off the carpet. I was too embarrassed to accept their help graciously. I couldn’t even look at them. I asked for a little space in unkind words and clicked my joints back into place, gradually getting up.

I looked at the dog. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye like I had disturbed him from a really nice nap where he was chasing rabbits through a sunny meadow. I put my hand on my forehead and said, “Wow. I almost killed my dog.”

I’m pretty sure my brain sloshed around in my skull. My forehead hurt although I didn’t hit it. I’ve not been the same since. I even had a round of physical therapy last year for my neck. But my rugdog is OK! I wouldn’t have it any other way. We pull a muscle and break a toe here and there stepping around Rusty, but because he brings so much joy to our lives it’s more than worth it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Let The Name "MASTERcuts" Fool You!

I am an emotional haircutter. If I'm feeling a little down at work, and there's no chocolate handy, I will obsess about having my tresses lopped. This symptom usually follows a particularly rough morning of battling my straight near the crown, wavy near the bottom, frizzy, not curly enough to be attractive brown hair. I'm also graying. Now that my face is sagging and showing the wear and tear of middle age and a little chubby, it's extremely important to have good hair when going out in public. My hair and my lips are about all I have going for me these days.

So, one day I was having these symptoms (oh, I need to add that I had not decided on one hairdresser in 14 years. When I lived in Florida, I had a fabulously talented lady named Roma who cut my hair. It's hard to choose a new stylist). I studied the yellow pages and google mapped the salon locations trying to find one close to work. No luck. I had to go after work. I saw there was a Mastercuts in the mall, so I struck a trot.

When I arrived, there was a lone Hispanic lady sitting in one of the chairs. She seemed to be late middle-age. I smiled and she smiled back, asking "Can I help you?" I looked at the sign in sheet, and saw no one had signed in since about 12:15pm. I should have just looked confused, apologized, and walked away. Your first reactions sometimes are the correct ones! I requested a haircut and put my name on the little sheet.

Hispanic lady had on too much makeup, her hair wasn't right, and she barely spoke English. A good rule of thumb on hairdressers is if you don't like his or her hair, maybe you should find another...and I daresay if there is a communication breakdown, you'll never get the look you desire. It could end up being disastrous. Like my experience.

I told her what I wanted, and she seemed to understand. She sat me in the chair and did a dry cut. All the while, talking about her sister in the Peace Corp. Her sister evidently makes a lot of money in the Peace Corp as an English language teacher in some third-world country. She highly recommended me choosing this vocation. More than once. As she picked up bits of my hair and wacked at them (not the way a normal stylist would--holding the strands between two fingers and trimming them the same length as neighboring hairs--just picking tufts of hair at random), she cooed about how dry my hair was. She grabbed a spray conditioner and urged me to purchase this $16 bottle to repair my hay-like hair.

The lady asked my name. I told her. She trilled it off her tongue with the rolling R's. "Rrrrrroberrrrrrrta." She then told me her name. It was Carmelita, or Juevos, or Pilar, or Juanita Bonita Abuela Chiquita Banana or something. Well, I hit the nail on the head with the pronunciation, and her little radar antennas went up out of her head like rockets. "Ooooooooooh, you espeak such a beautiful Espanish! Say it again!" I said it again. "How you learn to espeak Espanish?!" I described two years in high school and one semester in college.

Then, she really plugged the Peace Corp. I REALLY could make some jack doing that. How does she know? Because her sister does it and she's making money hand over fist. I have such a beautiful tongue I could make lots of money, too!

She kept saying "You have esuch a beautiful tongue!!" I thought she was going to have an orgasm right there.

I was starting to get scared after about an hour of this. My Blackberry was going off as a result of my husband wondering where the heck I was. I wanted to text him back "pls come get me im bein held prisoner by lady w/sharp scissors", but she wasn't finished destroying my hair.

I had requested a cut that would make the most of my NATURAL waves, so I wouldn't have to blow it straight all the time (thereby lessening the hay effect). The goal was to put some stuff in it, scrunch it around and let it air dry." NO. She heard waves or curls or something, so after she hacked at it, she applied an 800-degree curling iron. I could see smoke coming off my hair.

Why didn't I say anything? I don't know. I'm just such a nice person I can't bear to displease a stranger (but I can be a total bitch to the people in my house). I just sat there, for about 2 hours, repeating all the Spanish words she demanded I repeat.


"You have esuch a beautiful tongue!"

"Pelicula. Do you know what that mean?"
"Pelicula - movie theater."


"Say my name."
"(Whatever her name was-in exagerrated accent)"


She curled my entire head of hair with a searing hot curling iron, put some hairspray in it, and asked for $25.00. I didn't feel bad about leaving a lousy tip. I had planned to write Mastercuts the next day, but I didn't get around to it. She had a State of GA license, but I really wonder about her qualifications.

The next week, I went to a salon I had visited a couple times in the past and asked her to fix it. She said there wasn't a whole lot she could do in the back, because Hispanic lady had tried to thin it out or something.

I have fully recovered, and vowed to never salon-john myself out again. I've gone back to the first hairdresser I visited when I moved to this area 7 years ago. She's still at the same place, still has the same great hair, and still gives the best haircuts I've had since Roma. Jessica at Cutting Edge in Toccoa is fabulous, and always does exactly what I ask. Even that time I asked for a pink highlight in my hair like the red one she had that time...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fries On The Ground

It was horrible. I might have chipped a tooth. After a long, strenuous night of facebooking and such on my part, and a tough go at fishing in the rain for my husband and son, we were too tired to cook. I ventured out to the local fast food eatery in search of a meal for us. It was doomed from the start. I hadn't been asked to "pull forward to the yellow line" in many years. They must have put all the little meat patties back in the freezer, because they had to specially hand-prep 3 no onion double cheeseburgers and three medium fries.

Being the queen of one trip that I am, I attempted to remove from the car the food, three large drinks, my blackberry, keys, wallet, and my body in a single armload. The sharp door of the '89 Crown Vic with fresh dual exhuast caught the bag of food, ripped it, and two orders of fries and one fry carton hit the ground.

There they were--about 75 of the prettiest french fries I have ever seen--flailing around on the rain-soaked Georgia clay. I rationalized that the dirt had recently been rinsed, and picked up the fry container that still contained a few fries. Those that were teetering on the precipice of the container fell out. This left only 9 fries in the bottom of the vessel, so, I theorized that those had only been in close proximity to the dirt. I taste-tested them and deemed them clean. I surrendered all rights to the McDonald's fries and let my husband and son split the remains. I figured this was a signal that I really didn't need them.

This made me think of a song set to the tune of lovable American Idol tryout General Larry Platt's "Pants on the Ground":

"Fries on the ground, fries on the ground, looking like a FOOL with you fries on the ground!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Love Olives More Than Anyone Else

I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane. She leaves her cheating husband, and on a whim, purchases a villa in Tuscany with an olive orchard. That would be so cool! I often wonder if olives would taste good without sitting in the brine. You see, I've abused my body all my life and now must take as much medicine as an old fart. At middle age, I can no longer tolerate salt. Drat!!! I LOVE OLIVES.

It started when I was a wee little girl at Granny's house in FL. Her favorite thing must have also been olives, because she always had a relish tray on the bar with pickles, green olives, and black olives. I believe this was always the case as I visited mostly on major holidays, or over the summer, which had a big holiday, too. Granny would have a big shin-dig of food for these events...ham, bunny cakes at Easter, Fourth of July cake for 4th of July. And then the birthdays were always food occasions. Food Glorious Food!

Back to the olives.

I don't remember at what point I developed this olive-lust, but I remember taking black olives and putting one on the tip of each finger, then eating them off one by one. Black olives are good. What is funny about the black olive thing, though, is they have the texture of mushrooms almost, and I don't really like mushrooms. I love the texture and taste of black olives so much that I can down a whole can of large pitted black olives easily. Green olives are a little more technical. As a child, I would suck the pimento out before ingesting the olive. I'm not in to that anymore.

I can eat olives as a side dish. I can eat them as a snack. I can put them in Granny's famous Egg and Olive Salad (which my offspring LOVES--he has the olive-lust, too--thank God he has the right number of chromosomes). I don't care for martinis, so there will be no dousing them in alcohol.

A relative of olives I do not like is the caper. Bleh!!

I looked at the label of Queen Olives the other day, and they have nearly 500mg of sodium just in three little beautiful green creatures soaked in sourness. WHY!?!?! Lately life is about denial, or deal with cankles. Cankles make me bitchy. I've never had nice feet, but my ankles were always somewhat normal.

I made a grilled cheese sandwich today (cheese is another post entirely). I also had a side of queen olives. I'm looking at the plate right now, and see a bit of olive juice. I'm seriously contemplating licking the plate. If someone dumped a cart of olives on me, I really don't think I would mind. There should be an amusement park ride called Rollick With the olives. It will be similar to those disgusting inflatable ball-y things that the kids like. But with olives. I'd take my shoes off and dive in and swim amongst the fruits.

Maybe I can fashion a necklace of olives. Then I could smell them all day. I've often wondered what it would be like to drink a little extra virgin olive oil. That smells good to me.

Hopefully the good things about olives are benefiting me in some way...