Friday, October 27, 2006
The Great Costume Caper
Since I will be out of town on Halloween, I thought I would share the story of my most famous costume. Several years ago the company I worked for had some layoffs and a pay cut, and morale was terrible. I decided that since I am so flat-chested, it would be hilarious to dress up as Dolly Parton. Everyone would get a good laugh and maybe morale would improve.

I went to the costume shop to see about the wig. The one I found was not perfect, but it would do. Then I asked a kid at the counter -- a red-haired, freckle-faced sixteen-year-old-- if they carried falsies.

"Falsies? What's that?"

"Fake breasts."

The poor kid turned as red as his freckles, stammered that he would get the manager, and literally ran away from me. The manager convinced me that if I was going to do this, I needed to do it all the way. So what do you think?

Actually, I already know what you think. If you are a woman, you're thinking:
a) She looks terrible as a blonde!
b) If those things were real, she could not stand up atraight!

If you're a man, despite what logic tells you, you are saying "Well DAMN! Now there's a well-built woman!"

It turned out that the costume wasn't funny, after all, at least not to men. The first time I wore it to work, I waited until break time in the shop before making an appearance, so they wouldn't ruin every bit of work in process. But I forgot about the guy driving the fork lift. He saw me and ran right into the wall! The only laughter I heard from males was that guilty giggle that you hear from little boys caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or from men caught with their thoughts on you and sex.

They BELIEVE this stuff! They say "Oh, it's the real you!" As long as I worked at that company, I could not retire Dolly. The men would start telling me in September how much they were looking forward to seeing Dolly Parton again.

Dolly hasn't made an appearance in several years now, but the wig and falsies are still in my closet and every now and then a grandchild will discover them and put on a little show.

posted at 8:27 AM
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Thursday, October 26, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen things I'm trying to figure out today:

1. The architect brought a variety of plans to us. He used my ideas, and I mostly like them, but with each one there's a "but". When you walk in my house, the den is to the right, and the kitchen to the left. I have never been crazy about having the kitchen being the first thing you see.
2. One of the options is to move the kitchen to the master bedroom, which has an east exposure, and the master bedroom to the dining room. There is a small room off the dining room, which we call the library, but is probably closer to a tv room. This would become the master bedroom closet.
3. I am not sure that I should give up a room to get a closet. Neither of us is a clothes horse.
4. The library is at the opposite end of the house from the den, and has been very convenient when the Professor and I want to watch different tv shows (more often than not), and for the grandchildren to play video games or watch Disney movies.
5. The flow is terrible -- more like non-existent -- in this house. The kitchen-to-master-bedroom option gives the best flow.
6. If we leave the rooms pretty much as they are, but enlarge the closets, add some storage and re-align the doorways, we get better flow ... BUT...
7. I would still have the problem of having to jog around the dining room table in order to get to the library.
8. You also cannot go directly from the kitchen to the laundry room and back door. You have to walk around a wall. For some reason, that drives me crazy.
9. The kitchen-to-master-bedroom allows direct access to the back door, but now the doorway is through the dining room. Will I now be jogging around the dining room table to get to the laundry?
10. Re-doing the house is very complicated because the walls are concrete and the slab is pre-tensioned. The doors, windows and plumbing are where they are. Moving any of them is hugely expensive.
11. We also have a very long back hall that is only 30" wide. The Professor wants to move all the interior walls to make it a standard width. I want to make the hall even longer by cutting through a little alcove in the Professor's study, bringing the garage forward, and putting a door from the house into the garage. This door would be worth the expense! But now the Professor's study goes from a big room to a rather small one.
12. The previous owners cut through a valley rafter so they could enlarge a small a-frame upstairs loft. We have battled roof leaks ever since. The architect told us the only thing to do is put the loft back to an a-frame. It will still be larger than the original loft was, and will have two small areas with a sloping ceiling. We realized that one of these areas would make an ideal place for toys and the Nintendo. Remember the closet in ET? --well, I'm thinking a nice gable window would give the kids a play area very similar to that.
13. Also in the plans are a fireplace (which we absolutely don't need in Texas, but I need emotionally), a big covered front porch, and something the architects came up with: a screened porch off the loft. Now we have to see what the cost of all this will be. That may change my mind about a lot of things!

posted at 9:35 AM
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Wordless Wednesday

posted at 4:02 AM
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Monday, October 23, 2006
Sometimes It's Hard to be Honest
You know how sometimes you wish your mama hadn't done such a good job of teaching you right from wrong? How you wish your conscience would go on a two-week cruise while you did what almost anybody else would do without a second thought? That's where I am now.

I ordered some Star Wars light sabers as Christmas gifts from the Wally World website. One of them was the Darth Maul single light saber for just under $100. What I received was the Darth Maul double-ended light saber, which costs twice as much. I didn't realize it until I got the boxes home and was showing the light sabers to the Professor.

It would be nice and straight forward if we could just return what we received and get what we ordered. But the web site no longer lists what we ordered. So there is the possibility that they deliberately substituted the more expensive one. Maybe they figured that they had already charged the credit card and now could not fill the order, and they would risk making me really mad if they just cancelled it. But if that's what they did, they made no profit at all.

I have sent an email and am waiting to hear back from them. I suspect they'll be surprised that anyone would even tell them about this kind of mistake in the first place! A lot of people would think that if the store makes a mistake, the store has to bear the consequences.

What do you think? If you realize you are getting a really good deal due to an employee's mistake, should you speak up, or take the merchandise and run? Do you think the good deals compensate for all the times you were overcharged, or is it always your responsibility to make sure the price is the right one?

posted at 6:35 AM
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Saturday, October 21, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Dreaming

This is Mwende, one of the children I sponsor. I am dreaming of the day when the rains come again to Kenya, so the crops will grow and the children will thrive again. I am dreaming of the day when the medicine works and cures her eye problem. I am dreaming of the day when I finally meet her, her parents and her sisters.

posted at 11:03 AM
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Wordless Wednesday: This One Needs a Caption

posted at 7:29 AM
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Saturday, October 14, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Lost

Kigali, Rwanda
Lost: A million lives. Almost an entire generation. So many members of one family that there is no one left to claim the bodies.

This coffin contains Denise Ururu. I memorized her name so that someone left on earth will know that she lived. This post is to honor all those, all over the world, whose lives were lost due to man's inhumanity toward his fellow man.

"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

posted at 5:13 AM
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Thursday, October 12, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
1. Guppy and Storm are going to Kentucky today for Stormii's grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.
2. I just finished a counted cross stitch picture for them. Now I just have to frame it, wrap it, and get it to Stormii so she can take it with her.
3. I HATE counted cross stitch. I get totally lost between the chart and the picture. I always end up just making up part of it.
4. No one ever knows that every little bitty teenie weenie square is not the exact color it's supposed to be.
5. This picture has cost me a lot of sleep. I've been getting up in the middle of the night to work on it.
6. I am so glad to be done with it so I can get to the next project that will keep me up in the middle of the night!
7. When I get a spare moment, I run outside and pick pecans off the ground.
8. We have 7 huge, bearing pecan trees. Some years we get about 1000 pounds of pecans.
9. Looks like this is a thousand-pound year.
10. People start asking around August how the pecan crop is.
11. Funny, most of the people who want pecans never offer to come gather their own.
12. The Professor's son and DIL picked all the pecans that had fallen last weekend. Yesterday I picked up two bags full. That many had fallen in just 3 days.
13. To look at the trees, you would never know that any pecans had fallen. I have a lot of work ahead of me!

posted at 4:29 AM
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Wordless Wednesday

posted at 5:41 AM
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Monday, October 09, 2006
Life Lessons at the Zoo
Yesterday the Professor and I went to the zoo with his son, DIL, and their two children, a 6 year old boy and a 3 year old girl. It was our first trip to the zoo since we went to Africa, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to stand seeing animals caged up after witnessing them living wild and free. As it turned out, I had enough other distractions that I didn't have much opportunity to grieve for the animals.

What I did discover yesterday is that discipline and parenting seem to be one of the rarest things on the planet these days. We were all getting hungry and thirsty, so we stopped for lunch. We went through a food-court-type line, and when I got to the table, Little Girl was sitting on the ground having a major temper tantrum, and Boy was quietly crying. Despite having asked for hot dogs, they were no longer in the mood to eat them. I commented that they could suit themselves, I planned to have an ice cream cone for dessert, and obviously kids who don't eat lunch don't get dessert. Boy got the message and started to eat his hot dog; Little Girl continued her temper tantrum. Suddenly the Prof's son, K, jumped up and took Little Girl away. And do you know where he took her? --- to get an ice cream cone! I saw the look on Boy's face, and told him I was very proud of him and sorry that his sister did not have to obey the rules. DIL was sitting right there, but made no comment.

A while later, we were standing at the bear cage when suddenly DIL blurted "Where is Little Girl?!" She was nowhere in sight, so three of us took off to track her down, leaving the Professor and Boy at that spot. We searched for ten minutes or more. When I came back to the Prof, he said Boy had just spotted Little Girl. We ran down to where she was, but the running apparently did not get rid of any adrenaline in me. I was absolutely livid. I don't think I was shouting, but I was certainly being firm. I told Little Girl to sit down and not move a muscle until her parents came; that I would spank her myself if I could; that we didn't know if she had fallen in the pit and been eaten by the bear, or taken by some bad person, or was lost and scared and crying, but that we were all worried and scared ourselves, and had been searching everywhere for her. Now this child either yells bloody murder or talks back when she is reproved, but she immediately sat and kept her head down. It was obvious I had gotten through to her. After a few minutes of relaying messengers to find them, the parents arrived. Their reaction?: a big sigh, a head shake, and "Little Girl, take my hand." That was it. Although her dad did say a while later "We're going to have a discussion when we get home." Uh, Dad? She's three! Positive and negative reinforcement AT THE TIME are what she needs.

I stopped at the gift shop on the way out, to get something for the Little Angel, who wasn't able to go with us. The woman in front of me had two large rubber snakes. When the clerk announced that the total was $18, the woman was shocked and said to her little boy, "Let's find some smaller snakes to buy; this is too much money." Well, he started to cry, not a tantrum, but one of those fold-in-on-yourself, silent tears like your heart is broken numbers. I've seen these from the Little Angel, and I have to admit, they're hard to watch, and it takes a lot of strength to hold your ground. Well, this woman was no match for her kid; she immediately told the clerk she would buy them and then began apologizing to her son for ever suggesting he might not get exactly what he wants every time he wants it. Now here's the thing that really gets me: when I see this kind of crying, I never have the feeling that it's done to manipulate, but that the child is genuinely devasted. Unless you can guarantee that your child will never have any disappointments in life, don't you think it might be good to teach him how to deal with it? Instead, she taught him that he can manipulate her; that "too much money" doesn't mean a thing in the face of wanting something; and that you should never compromise or negotiate ( the smaller snakes), but demand everything for yourself.

So I'm thinking that Nancy Reagan's old slogan needs to be modified slightly and brought back out for today's parents: Just say no to your kids.

posted at 6:44 AM
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Saturday, October 07, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Sleeping

In order to sleep, almost every animal in Africa has to hide, whether in a herd, up a tree, or underneath some brush. But not the lion! He gets tired, he lays down right where he is. Obviously, no animal is going to be dumb enough to disturb the lion's sleep. (Not even the people in the Land Rover.)

posted at 7:02 AM
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Thursday, October 05, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
1. Yesterday Stormii was telling some of those funny-sad stories about the activities of a woman with Alzheimer's -- she walks around the retirement home with soiled panties, accusing everyone she sees of breaking into her apartment and shitting in her pants.

2. This segued into a discussion of being on life support. I said, if I die, do NOT resuscitate me, do NOT keep me on life support. Guppy said don't ask him to enforce that.

3. Guppy thinks he would want to be kept alive no matter what his condition. I think being kept alive artifically is not living, only existence, with no more soul than a slug.

4. My father had leukemia, and when he developed pneumonia, he was hospitalized. They needed to put him on a respirator, so they gave him "enough drugs to sedate an elephant" because he was fighting with what little strength he had. I will never forget walking into his hospital room. He was still upright, still fighting, and his eyes were those of an animal caught in a trap. His look to me plainly said "For the love of God, get me out of here!"

5. For the next 3 weeks, my father lay there with a tube in every orifice of his body. He went into ICU psychosis, which isn't an actual coma, but looks exactly like one to the family. I hinted, then stated, and finally battled with the doctors, my brother and my mother to take my father off life support and let him die with some dignity. There was no hope of recovery; they were only prolonging his agony.

6. The cynic in me says that they were prolonging the Medicare payments.

7. This was my first exposure to the fact that even though you can make your wishes clearly known before you ever get sick, your family can totally ignore those wishes.

8. I do not ever want to be a vegetable, yet my children could force that on me someday.

9. Here is the $64 question: is it ethical to honor the wishes of a dying person, even if you believe that following their wishes constitutes a form of murder?

10. By the same token, if someone has indicated that they want their body kept alive by any means and you believe that is the most perverted way of playing God, are you obligated to follow their wishes?

11. Whose conscience takes precedence: yours or the person who is dead/dying/beyond recovery?

12. If you follow someone else's wishes against your own conscience, are you making a loving sacrifice, taking on a burden of guilt for the rest of your life, or are you guilty of moral cowardice? And if you follow your conscience instead of doing what that person wanted, are you being true to your moral principles or just selfish?

13. There are no good answers here. Each side can buttress their position with the "will of God" argument. But more and more of us are going to have to deal with this situation. The experts say to talk about it with your family in advance. But what do you do when some of your family sees things in a totally different way?

posted at 6:05 AM
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Wordless Wednesday

posted at 8:23 AM
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Sunday, October 01, 2006
I took an assortment of kids and grandkids to see the ballet Dracula last night. Afterwards, you have to be quick, but you can go meet some of the dancers and pose for pictures with them.

Before the performance.

This is one of Dracula's brides.

The young girls called this guy "the purple package". (I, of course, have no idea what they were referring to!)

Dracula's cape.

Picking out his new brides?

posted at 11:43 AM
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Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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If You Think They're After You And They Really Are...
At the Aquarium
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