Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ripped from the headlines!

"With Swine Flu on the Rise, Should We Stop Shaking Hands?"
Are we really a bunch of pansies? I've been a nailbiter my whole life (I'm currently in recovery, but much like alcoholism and gas huffing, it's an addiction I struggle with daily (not that I have an alcohol or gas huffing problem, it's just a comparison!)), so sticking my fingers in my mouth after touching God-knows-what has probably made me immune to...well, alot of things, one of which I hope is this piggy flu. But seriously, this will surely support my argument for not hugging strangers when I actually go to church on holidays.

"Heidi, Spencer Avoid Swine Flu on Honeymoon"
Well, ain't that a crying shame? I wonder what kind of photos this pair is going to sell off after Honeymoon #2 (or is it #3?..I can't keep track anymore). Besides, Mother Nature might be trying to tell those two crazy kids a thing or two. Like, GET OUT. A killer virus and an earthquake since they've been in the country? The good news is that by the time Speidi returns to the United States, it will be the peak of tornado season and she'll decide to film her new music video in the heart of Oklahoma at 4 o'clock in the afternoon directly underneath one of those supercells. Not that I'm wishing death and destruction on the people of Oklahoma (Hello! to my good friends Tanya and Matt!), but they should really consider taking one for the team.

"Woman Claims Her Father Was Zodiac Killer"
Why is she coming forward? Oh, she's making a documentary. I hate people like this.

"'Jon & Kate': Jon Gosselin says photo of him with another woman 'showed poor judgment on my part'"
Say whaaaaat?! You know, Jon Gosselin could be the reincarnate of the Zodiac Killer and I'd still love the guy. My favorite episode ever? One of the six little ones loses a ball and it goes bouncing down the road. Jon goes to chase it and jokingly comments, "I'd keep running but I can't afford the child support." Meanwhile, the little one asks Kate, "Is Daddy coming back?" to which Kate replies, "Daddy is smart enough to not run away from home while we're all watching." I want them to adopt me.

"Starbucks Profits Decline by 77%"
Ok, I admit that ever since I've had to hand over my life savings and every penny earned since 2006 to my Gainesville-based lawyer, my visits to Starbucks have been cut in half. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to take responsibility for this loss. The baristas at my local Starbucks know my name and have a one in three shot at guessing which beverage I'm about to order. So, I will not take the blame for this. Although I did choose Taco Bell over Starbucks last night because I was hungry...but now I'm remembering that a body can't survive on just food alone. Wow, I really screwed this one up. Sorry, coffee drinkers...I'm so sorry. I'm going to Starbucks right now.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nature. On my TV!

After work last night, I was exhausted. Exhaustion usually leads me to falling down face-first on my bed but only after I've turned on the television to babysit my 7-year-old daughter. Instead of the same old Spongebob Squarepants cartoon that I've seen 17 times, I made her watch the Travel Channel. Alaska's Arctic Wildlife, to be exact. It was the kind of hour-long show from 1987 that a former substitute teacher in my 6th grade science class would have used to justify turning off the lights and allowing us to fall asleep if it was the only way to shut us up.

Don't get me wrong. I love this stuff! My stomach turns a little bit when I'm bombarded with human blood and guts from Trauma: Life in the ER, but animals hunting other animals has never bothered me. A lion's claws ripping through the flesh of a panicked zebra that knows it isn't nearly fast enough to escape but keeps running with eyes-wide-open in terror just seconds before its painful and ghastly death...aaaah, nope - it doesn't bother me. Never has, never will. Why? Because it is the way it is. It's what they do, these animals. It's the only thing they can do.

My daughter also loves this stuff. Elle's been watching these nature and travel shows with me for quite some time. She knows all too well that a polar bear will shred a cute little seal cub to pieces or that a crocodile will hide below the water line just to pull a surprise-attack on some poor, thirsty gazelle. So allowing her to watch an arctic fox dig for and catch a lemming on Alaska's North Slope is not a big deal. There were some intense moments, such as when the polar bear began dragging the body of a seal onto the ice and leaving a trail of blood to mark the path, but I asked her if she wanted me to change the channel.

She said, "Nope, it's okay. It's just nature, Mom."

But later on in the show, nature started to confuse her. We watched a group of natives set up their hunting grounds on an ice flow as they plotted the best way to spear and kill a kind of migratory whale (I can't remember the name of the tribe or the whale) and this made Elle very concerned. The whale came into view and the natives deftly hopped into their handmade boat and paddled quietly and closer to the whale with huge, long spears at the ready. She didn't like this one bit.

"Are they gonna kill the whale?"

Well, yeah. I explained to her that it is their livelihood, that their survival depends on those very animals. The true natives of Alaska (or the Arctic, in general) don't just kill whales for fun, it's not a sport to them. It's their survival. It is the way it is. It's the only thing they can do. So I asked her, again, if she wanted me to change the channel.

"Wait, so they don't have a grocery store there?"


"Okay, I see now. No, you don't have to change the channel."

Simple as that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

About Florida's wildlife...

Let me start off by declaring how much I really do love living in Florida. Now that I've lived in the state for nearly 13 years, it has become my home. The beach, Disney World, the absence of snow - I love it here. I complained for years about the heat, about the sad state of the Department of Children & Families, and then about the heat some more, but I'm used to it now. I tend to get chill bumps and wear sweaters if the temperature is below 85 degrees, so I really can't see myself moving too far north. Besides, I wouldn't get the chance to tell you all about my wonderful encounters with things that come from nature (the kind of nature that exists only in Florida or in the Southeastern U.S., generally).

*Did you know that Florida homebuilders will build an entire house around a spider? A large spider? A large brown spider that will have babies inside your bathroom light switch plate during the very first shower you ever take in your new home? And did you also know that when you walk out of your tub without your contacts in and see black dots covering three entire bathroom walls that those black dots are not just floaters in your eyes. They are spiders. Baby spiders. They have just hatched from the egg sac that is behind your bathroom light switch plate. This also means that the Mama Spider is behind your bathroom light switch plate. She is dead (as you will discover once you remove the switchplate) but she is the size of your fist. Even a grown man (aka Your Father) is too squeamish to pull the dead spider out so you must call the Florida Homebuilder to come back and remove the spider.

*Did you know that armadillos will scare the bejeezus out of you when they come charging in your direction at full-speed in the middle of the night? Especially if they can sense that you've never encountered one of their kind before. It's a trick they like to play on young women who go outside to smoke on their back porches and don't turn on the porch light (Floridians do anything they can to not attract more bugs). So if you hear a rustling noise deep in the trees behind your house, you can almost be positive that a gang of roughneck armadillos are playing Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine which one of them will be the lucky sonofagun to flash its ugly little face from the darkness of the woods and make a human squeal in disgust, throw down her cigarette, and run inside shaking with fear. I can hear my local armadillo gang giggling right now. They must have caught my neighbor by surprise.

*Did you know that scorpions thrive in Florida? Neither did I! And did you know that they can also climb walls. Neither did I! That's just freaky...

*Did you know that rat snakes can grow to be nearly 8 feet long!?!? No, not really. They only look like they're 8 feet long after they've found a buddy and made a pact to terrorize a single family (such as mine) by climbing the screen door as a pair. This buddy-system enables the rat snakes to double in size and scare the crap out of the poor girl ( in particular) who makes the unfortunate discovery of this rat snake stalking incident. Just because a grown man (aka Your Father) has spent a good portion of his career protecting the President and hiding in bunkers to avoid chemical attacks in the Middle East does not mean that he has the balls to protect his family from these snakes. In fact, a grown man just might ask his wife to take care of these troublemakers by giving her a pair of gardening shears and instructing her on how to cut off their heads. Their babies will soon be born to carry on the family's tradition of domestic terrorism.

*Did you know that roaches can fly? It's disgusting so we won't talk about it.

*Did you know that baby coral snakes get a thrill out of slithering up to barefoot pregnant women who naively believe they are relatively safe while in the comfort of their own homes? Maybe not necessarily inside the home, but inside the enclosed back porch. Apparently, enclosed is not an appropriate way to describe this back porch. Anyway, once the barefoot pregnant woman has noticed this venomous snake it is not really worth it for her to ask her younger (and, obviously, not pregnant) brother to find a stick, pick up the coral snake with the stick, and toss it gently into the woods. Let it be known that the younger brother will return from his stick-hunting duties with a twig that appears to be 3-inches long. The pregnant woman will have to dispose of the coral snake herself.

There are also black and red grasshoppers that grow to be the size of your shoe, and banana spiders as big as your face that can whip up a web the length of a truck in nearly 48.2 seconds flat, and squirrels covered in such grotesque tumors that they look like they've been foraging for walnuts and sticking them up their asses for safekeeping. And don't get me started on that swamp rat on Amelia Island (here's a hint: it's almost the size of a terrier) ...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coffee & Socks

The little things in life are what can lead to the big things in life. Depending on who you are and what you want out of life will probably determine your idea of what the little and the big things in life really are. Today, for me, those little things were coffee with a friend and a six year old's pair of socks.

I met a former co-worker for coffee this morning to catch up on each other's lives as well as the goings-on in my old office. My daughter colored her pictures very quietly at the table next to us while we chatted away like old hens for over two hours. Elle was on her best behavior and barely made a peep to interrupt the grown-ups, except to show us her beautiful drawings. My friend, Sandy, complimented me on how well-behaved my daughter was and how I was doing such a great job with her. To any parent, hearing such a thing makes us gush inside. Thanks, Sandy.


red umbrella Pictures, Images and Photos

Gaaaaah - how did this happen?!?!?! Who knows, who cares. I'm going on a vacation to an unknown destination on some lush, tropical island located off the coast of Southwest Florida that is only accessible by ferry boat! (and the only reason I call the destination "unknown" is because she simply can't remember the name of the island.)

Coffee = Free Vacation!

It took me a few hours to recover from that news, which was just as well because I had to bring myself back down to earth and prepare to spend the next few hours with a room full of screaming children at a birthday party. I'm not much of a social butterfly. In fact, I prefer to not have to socialize at all. But the birthday girl is such a sweetheart and her family is wonderful and my daughter just loves her. So, yes, I was a little excited. And it was at Pump It Up! Elle had never been there before but was squealing with all kinds of happy when she learned it was a place full of bounce houses and blow-up slides. There's no better way to wear out kids then to let them run, jump, bounce, and laugh for two hours.

After watching the kids play for about a half hour, I wanted to try. I never had a bounce house on my birthday and I never got a mega-slide, either. I'm thirty-two years old and I wanted to play in the bounce house! The birthday girl's mom told me that she had an extra pair of socks just in case someone forget theirs. Like, one of the kids. But I asked her if I could borrow her six-year-old daughter's socks. She said...yes!

Have you ever gone down the mega-slide? Better yet, have you ever gone down the mega-slide with little girls holding onto your arms and dragging you down while flopping all over each other's limbs and giggling like...well, little girls? It is SO MUCH FUN!

Socks = Fun With Your Kid! (and other people's kids, too!)

I need to start paying attention to the little things again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The skinny on being skinny

A few years ago, I was unfortunate enough to catch a stomach flu just a few weeks after having my wisdom teeth removed. I drove my sorry ass to the doctor for a fever that wouldn't go away and was promptly taken into the back room to be weighed, poked, and prodded. The poking and the prodding were a piece of cake. It always is. It's the weigh-in that freaks me out. Especially then, right after barely surviving on applesauce and scrambled eggs for about 3 weeks. But mostly because I've spent my entire life getting dirty looks and wagging fingers from the doctors.

"Do you enjoy food?"
"How many calories do you consume in a day?"
"Did your parents show you affection when you were a child?"
"How do you feel about your weight?"
"Did your parents feed you?"
"Are you on drugs?"

See, I'm a skinny girl. I've always been a skinny girl. Other girls would stare at me and point at me and say, "God, I wish I was as skinny as you are!". Do you really? Do you really wish you could be this skinny? Do you really know what you're wishing for? Probably not.

I didn't grow up with a positive self-image. When a part of you is constantly being called into question, it starts to become a part of you that you wish would go away. Sometimes being called into your 7th grade advisor's office to be counseled on your weight isn't fun. And being followed into the restroom by your teacher or co-worker who suspects you're throwing up your lunch isn't fun, either. Oh, no - wait! There's those people who whisper behind your back about your anorexic body or the snobby girls who always feel threatened by you because you're skinny and refuse to become your friend. Or having to shop in the little girls' department at any given store where the only jeans available in your size have the words CUTE or DIVA across the bum or sparkly butterflies sewn on the ass! Hi, I'm in my thirties!

Now I am happy to report that I've gained some weight over the last ten months. That whole rumor about gaining weight after you quit smoking is true. For me, it was. I've finally broken past and maintained my weight above 100 pounds. And while my body is still small, I can tell where that extra cushion has gone. And I don't like it! But this doesn't mean that I'm a complete freak about my body because I never was. It only means that I have to adjust to seeing pudge in places I've never had pudge before.

So please don't be so quick to judge a skinny girl. I remember how much I appreciated concerns about my weight when those concerns were being voiced by someone I trusted or someone I respected. Not by someone who just thought that my weight was a wonderful topic of conversation because, well, let's face it - they were either jealous or completely in favor of making me uncomfortable.

Sometimes a skinny girl is just a skinny girl.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a depressing little soundtrack

I’m five years old and my rollerskating coach, Glenda, has me practicing my backwards scissors. Everyone is always telling me how cute I am or that I’m such a good skater for my age. I’ve been learning jumps and spins. Eventually, I’ll be paired with a boy and we’ll both have to practice for our skating showcase at the Aviano air show. But for now, I’m weaving my skates in and out, out and in, wide and closed, until I’m moving at a pretty decent speed.

Then it happens. I stop my skates with my little rubber stoppers and just stand there. My little brown teddy bear is dangling just inches from the floor. (I named her Bubble Gum and she has a bell in her ear. My coach lets me skate with her sometimes.) Instead of skating, though, I’m frozen in the middle of the skating rink. John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over” is playing over the sound system and it makes me sad. So sad that I just stand there and cry. Though I’m not just crying, I’m bawling…like howls, and sniffles, and my chest is heaving so badly that it’s hard to breathe. My mom is coming over to comfort me and I can see by the look on her face that she doesn’t understand what’s wrong. Unfortunately, she can’t see the look on my face that says the same thing. I don’t even know what’s wrong. The song reminds me of something mean I’ve said to my brother and now the song makes me cry. That’s all I know.

It’s quite a few years later and I still cry when I hear certain songs. Any ballad by Journey sets me off and reminds me of walking my dog for the last time ever, just hours before he was put to sleep for biting my mother and, basically, being a crazed psycho-chihuahua who would take off anyone’s face in a heartbeat. Morrissey’s Come Back to Camden is a really good song that threw me into a fit of uncontrollable sobbing as I crossed the bridge from Southern Maryland to Virginia, leaving my best friend behind. It was just the beginning of my 12-hour drive home to Florida and I didn’t want to leave. Or Pretty Good Year by Tori Amos. The lyrics make me think of the nameless soldiers who fought in Desert Storm but didn’t make it home alive. I don’t know why. It only takes one verse and I’m blubbering. And I love the song Bury Me With It by Modest Mouse. All that screaming reminds me of a really cool guy I worked for once. I always thought it would be fun to drag Don out to a karaoke bar and sing that song with him. Don was in his 70s and died last year. I miss his enthusiasm for life. I miss him.

Music is supposed to be emotional. I can remember back to almost every coming-of-age moment in my life by the song that was playing at that exact moment. Who was singing? Pupo, Three Dog Night, John Lennon, Prince, Rush, Jesus Jones, Depeche Mode, Cypress Hill (long story), Death Angel, Boa, the Cure, Faith & Disease, REM, K’s Choice…it’s all there. And not every song is one that will make me cry, but most of them are. Especially Taps. The first note will render me an emotional basketcase who must be scooped up and carried off, preferably far, far away. Clutching my teddy bear, of course.

On a somewhat-related note, everyone should read the book Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield. It's a love story. With a soundtrack. And it's heartbreaking.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The lady with the orange hair

I remember the first time I saw someone who was really different from me. My family was in a Pizza Hut in Marquette, Michigan, when I walked past a little boy whose left arm ended just below the elbow. What came out of my 9-year-old mouth was..."OH MY GOSH, MOM! THAT KID IS MISSING AN ARM!LOOOOOOOOOOK!!!"...or something like that. I made sure that everyone in the restaurant was aware of my discovery, in case they themselves hadn't noticed the boy with one arm, and my mother grabbed me by the wrist and rushed me the hell out of there. I was sure she hadn't heard the news because she wasn't acknowledging what I'd just told everyone, so I kept saying it over and over and over again. I was disciplined in the parking lot and instructed to never do anything like that again.

The roles have been switched and now I am the mother of a very honest little girl. She calls it like she sees it, is very observant, but is also very in tune with the emotional vibes of the people around her. Obviously she is nothing like my child-self. So when her uncle introduced her to one of his very good friends (I'll call him Pete), Elle was very curious about the way he walked. She constantly asked me what was wrong with Pete's legs. I know Pete has cerebral palsy and thought that he was probably better suited to answer that question. I had to trust that he'd answered that question many times before.

"Mr. Pete, what's wrong with your walk?"

"Well, Elle, this is how I was born. These are the legs I got when I was born."

"Oh. Okay."

Yes, it was that simple.

Not too long after that exchange between Elle and Mr. Pete, she and I were in the grocery store when we passed a little boy in a wheelchair. Even I couldn't help but take a quick look because this litte boy seemed to be suffering from progeria, that disease that turns a child's body into that of an elderly person. He carried the face of an old man and I had to make myself stop staring. Then I heard it...

"OH MY GOSH, MOM! DID YOU SEE THAT???" (no, no, no, make it stop, no, no, no, Elle...please shuddup.....!!). "LOOK, MOMMY!"

"Elle, it's not nice to point. I'm sure he knows he looks different."

"Not the little boy, Mommy, the lady with the orange hair!"

Orange hair? Where? What?

And this just goes to show you how in tune some kids can be with other people's emotions. While I was busy gawking at the little boy out of the corner of my eye, my daughter was looking at the woman pushing his wheelchair. The woman with the orange hair. Elle told me that she did look at the little boy but just thought he was born that way, though she really liked that lady's orange hair.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Olives. Just olives.

A friend of mine recently asked me to help her figure out what’s going on inside her grandson’s head.

Friend: “It’s like he gets all confused when I tell him it’s time to put away his crayons because he's been coloring for too long and he needs to do something else.”

Me: “Why are you asking me to analyze the behavior of your 7-year-old grandson?”

Friend: “Cause you’re a Libra, too.”

Me: “In that case, I can answer your question. Not only because I’m a Libra but also because I can relate to almost all 7-year-olds.”

It’s not the first time this week that my astrological sign has been the subject of discussion. The sign of the scales, of balance and justice, plays a huge part in my real life. The characteristics of a Libra are pretty accurate. In my case, at least.

Libras are:
Diplomatic, urbane, romantic, charming, easygoing, sociable, idealistic, and peaceable.

We are also:
Indecisive, changeable, gullible, easily influenced, flirtatious, and self-indulgent.

I won’t claim to be all of those things, but I will claim to be most. There are a few others that I would like to explain, though. Namely the term indecisive. It makes us sound wishy-washy. We’re not wishy-washy. We are simply overwhelmed. Easily. Let me give you an example:

A few months ago, I found this great Italian pasta dish that I wanted to make. I had all of the necessary ingredients, except for the olives. My heart was in it…all the way (because that’s how we Librans get when we actually make a decision). It was off to the grocery store and down the condiments aisle, all the way to the back where they keep the olives.

Olives. Olives. Olives everywhere. Holy shit! Do you know how many freakin’ kinds of olives there are?!?!?!

I stood there, drooling perhaps, in awe at the enormity of my task. My brain had imploded and all abilities to rationalize had collapsed somewhere in my head when I realized I was staring into an entire galaxy of olives. And we’re not just talking name brands here, but I’m also talking variety. Oh, so much variety. Does the world really need that much variety? I know I don’t need that much variety. I only know I need olives. I couldn’t handle it. So I shifted all responsibility to the stranger next to me.

“Excuse me, um…what kind of olives should I get?”

“Well, what kind do you want?”

“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you. It’s for a pasta dish.”

“Oh, you can use any one of those for a pasta dish. They all have a unique flavor.”

“But I don’t want a unique flavor, I just want some olives for my pasta dish.”

“I think any one of those will work for you.”

“You’re pretty damn useless.”

Okay, I didn’t say that to her, but I wanted to. Anyway, I gave up. I quit. I went home and made my pasta dish without the olives. And it tasted like shit.

So, back to my friend.

Me: “When you tell him it’s time to do something else, do you tell him what that ‘something else’ is?”

Friend: “Oh yeah, we give him all kinds of ideas. He gets choices.”

Gah! Choices.

Me: “Yeah, we don’t do well with choices. Especially when we’re given too many choices. Don’t give us too many choices. Either give us two to pick from or just tell us what to do and, eventually, we’ll come up with other choices for ourselves and bring it up to you. No, choices are overwhelming sometimes.”

My friend realizes that I’ve hit the nail on the head, at least when it comes to her grandson. She also tells me that he’s easily frustrated because he sometimes has too much to do and can’t decide which task he wants to do first. Or that he has a difficult time transitioning from one activity to another. This I find to be very true of myself. As long as I know a transition is coming up, I can mentally prepare myself for it and, therefore, not get overwhelmed when I’m bombarded by forty different kinds of fucking olives that I was never told would appear after the transition.


Now just because I’ve written about being a Libra and all the traits that go along with it doesn’t mean that I believe in all of this stuff. I’ll admit, I do read my horoscope daily. It’s really just for fun, though, like the way I read TMZ or the covers of trashy magazines to find out who has the cottage-cheesiest beach thighs and how many times Liza Minelli kicked her ex-husband’s ass.

It’s just for fun.

But, no, I have never returned to buy olives.

Monday, April 6, 2009


A last minute invitation landed me at a Ben Folds concert Saturday night. For ten bucks, I got to watch Ben's hands fly across the piano (he even plays with his forearms, I didn't know that). Then there was the trick with the Altoid tin cans. Along with lots of hand-clapping, knee-slapping, and thumb-snapping, I was unfortunate enough to sit next to the "Wooooo!!!" girl. I hate Woogirls. Especially when they have their camera set on the atomic-blast-brightness flash setting. She apologized for blinding me though, in between her woos. Ben Folds was great. Not only does he have a wonderful sense of humor, but also a real sense of how he is no longer the draw he used to be ten years ago. That was apparent in his comment about how some of his songs are better performed "in a gymnasium".

What impressed me more than Ben's mad piano skillz was the opening band, Jukebox the Ghost. No, I'd never heard of them either. Mostly because I live under a rock and usually spend my nights watching Chowder on the Cartoon Network.

Jukebox the Ghost is a very talented trio from Washington, D.C. After the show, I went to their tiny little card table and bought their cd, got it signed, and introduced myself as a fellow DC'er...of sorts. From the Maryland side. Prince George's County.

"Oh, yeah," said one of them, "Maryland! How's it going!?"

And that was about all the conversation I could handle because, let's face it, I'm too old for this loud music nonsense and staying up past 10:30. I even walked out during the Ben Folds encore, found my car, and drove straight home to my leftover chinese food and the comfort of my bed. I was asleep by midnight.

For those of you who might be interested, the music below is just a taste of what I was enjoying Saturday night. It reminds me of being happy. Their entire cd reminds me of being happy. Even that song about the end of the world. They make me want to book my next vacation for a balcony view of an apocalyptic throwdown.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bristol, I got your back.

It looks like there is more than one Mr. Dumas at large. A twerpy little whiner claiming innocence and prying pity out of the misinformed few who might actually hold his ex-girlfriend responsible for the hand this kid was dealt. I’ll admit I’m probably just as misinformed as anyone else out there, seeing as I don’t live with the Palin family, but this just crosses the line with me.

Levi – call me. Come to my house. Allow me to slap you silly for so ridiculously deciding to appear on…ahem, The Tyra Banks Show. You know you might have actually maintained a little credibility, or even saved some face, if you would have just kept your little flapper shut. But there you are on television with the Goddess of Fierce running your mouth about how Bristol Palin is in a bad mood and is “short” with you.

And announcing this on national television to an audience with a combined I.Q. of 14 is going to help your case? You’re pretty dumb.

I am a fan of the Palin family. I’m drawn to their accent because I have the same accent. Especially when I’m either really excited, really angry, or I’ve just ended a phone conversation with my best friend/favorite Wisconsineer, Nikki. When Sarah Palin announced that her teenage daughter was pregnant, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. This family is functionally dysfunctional. Just like everyone else’s family that I know. I voted for McCain/Palin and totally looked forward to some normalcy in the White House. And while the country seeks to move our culture forward with legalized abortion and medicinal marijuana, some people are still shocked by the fact that a teenage mother almost made it to Washington, DC. Hello! Been to high school lately?

Let me put it to you this way: I am Bristol Palin. I understand your comment about wanting to grow up a little bit before actually getting married because I actually requested the same from my daughter’s father, and I was in my twenties. But instead of appearing on one of the tackiest talk shows in history, he sued me. Twice. And he lost. Twice. Are you catching the hints I'm throwing your way?

Levi, do you wonder why Bristol is in a “pretty bad mood”? Have you ever asked her? I mean, you yourself have said, “Moms are pretty smart”. Yes, we are. We are also fiercely protective of our children. Give your child’s mother some credit. Sometimes, it’s all we ask for.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Geese. I hate them.

I work in a building surrounded by geese. They crap all over the parking lot, block traffic, and basically stop being cute by the time you realize they would do minor damage to your car if you actually hit one. Which is tempting...

But I'm an animal lover. Being an animal lover, in general, is easy to do. But just because I'm an animal lover doesn't mean I love geese. In fact, I hate geese. There is a good reason behind my hatred of geese.

His name was Ollie.

When I was a kid, my family spent a lot of time visiting with my mother's side of the family in Wisconsin. The five-hour drive from Upper Michigan to my uncle's farmhouse in Slinger was sprinkled with fun memories like Nick throwing up in my dad's new car or hitting a deer that was running across the highway (probably being chased by a vicious, bloodthirsty goose). I loved being at the farmhouse. My Aunt Janice always seemed surprised that I didn't like strawberries, her favorite but my least (a very unfortunate heatstroke incident involving projectile vomit). My Uncle Larry sometimes hung me upside down by the heels and threatened to throw me away with the trash all the while convincing me that his real name was Uncle Stinker. Cousin Mike (aka Runt) fitting himself in the dryer during a game of Hide & Seek and me testing the true electrical current of the electric fence (it wasn't turned on - thank goodness).

Aaaah, memories.

Like I said, I loved being at the farmhouse. It was getting into the farmhouse that caused the most trouble. As soon as my family's station wagon was parked in the gravel in front of the house, Ollie would make his presence known. Honking. Honking. Honking. HONKING!!! Then, I could swear, he would charge. Like a bull. But he wasn't a bull. He was a goose. A scary, scary goose. My dad would honk the horn (which would make Ollie honk, too) to alert someone, anyone, in the house that we were being held hostage outside. In the car. By a goose. Named after Oliver North, I believe.

Ollie made vacation time at the farm difficult sometimes. I remember I would actually have to have a chaperone just to get me from Point A to Point B if I was going to be playing outside, lest I be chased, abducted, and brutally assaulted by some crazy goose. God, I hate geese.

I don't know if this is actually true or not, but I heard that Ollie took a swing at the mailman, who'd had enough of Ollie's threats, and he ran him over with the mail truck. I hope it's true. Only because it's a really awesome story. And it proves my point that geese are dangerous, hideous, vicious, mean little f***ers!! If it isn't true, well...then, it should be. So, there.

Which brings me back to my building's geese problem. These geese leave bombs everywhere and have had the pleasure of laughing at many a human who has stepped in a pile of goosepoop and walked it into our building. An adult goose is practically the size of a toddler (and just as mean, probably), so when a group (a gaggle?) of geese are walking in my direction, I hightail it the other way. They're like your run-of-the-mill street thugs. Loud, obnoxious, walking around like their shit don't stink. I can't really tell if it does or not, but it's freakin' everywhere...I mean, sweet Jesus - have you seen our parking lot?

Anyway, our building also has a retention pond and a resident alligator. He doesn't mess with the geese either. He probably knows they'd kick his ass, too.

UPDATE: Cousin Jim tells me that Ollie was hit by a car in the middle of the night. So the Federal Government had nothing to do with it.