Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Oy....obviously some kind of gastric meltdown....because 6 Tums and 1 Pepcid later.....I'm still suffering from Second Seder Night dinner which I attended Sunday evening.
This week is Passover, the Jewish Holiday which commemorates the release of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Saturday was the first day of Passover and the evening ritual and dinner is called a Seder. In our city, the Temple holds a Second Seder or a second night dinner in its hall which is open to the community and friends of the Temple.
Andy invited me a couple of weeks ago to Second Seder.....and.....as always being Ms. Maven....I didn't want to sit there clueless....so I asked him to drop off some reading materials....so I could be the Informed Gentile Guest.
He promptly dropped off a book called the Haggadah, a script for the ritual with songs and prayers and plague masks. I guess he figured if I didn't understand the script.....at least I could understand the plagues.
Raised Catholic, I knew about the plagues....but they are very minor in our storytelling.....so everything was a bit fuzzy.
But .....with my handy packet of plague masks....I soon mastered lice, boils, hail, darkness and blood. The masks are for kids and used during religious lessons.....but they are so cute....(my favorites are lice and boils) that I stapled them to the wall in my study in a sort of plague collage.
I didn't do as well with the Haggadah....because a fair amount of it was in Hebrew....so I hit the Internet and stumbled upon ....."Jew U".....a set of U tube videos (I believe there are close to 300 videos) which explains everything Jewish. A short jovial round rabbi from Chicago explains things like Seder, prayer shawls, prohibitions, and customs. 5 Jew U lessons later.....I felt much more at ease and ready to go.
But everything seemed to go wrong when I started to get ready for the event.
I jumped in the shower after work and immediately developed bad hair. Not a small amount of bad hair...but massive bad hair...my bangs hung funny....something was sticking out at my neck...and of course the only thing I could think of to remedy the situation.... was to grab the scissors......so snip snip snip and I had shorter bangs but the rest was still chaos.
With all this fussing I was running close to late.... so I just threw on my preselected clothes....and discovered my black top....had somehow grown two sizes larger at the dry cleaner's........and showed way too much cleavage.
I would have changed....but Andy (who describes himself as ostentatious) had decided to wear a long silky white Arab-type garment and had warned me not to be late since he didn't want to stand in his apartment complex parking lot....looking like an immigrant from a foreign land.
So I decided not to change...... gunned my little convertible to his house....and arrived exactly on time....however...my top was permanently and dangerously opened by now....and so I issued strict instructions to Andy: LET ME KNOW IF MY BREASTS FALL OUT OF MY BLOUSE DURING DINNER.
He shrugged and agreed in principle.....but I was not sure he would remain vigilante ....and I could just imagine the Rabbi saying to his wife after services....did you see that blond woman who was flashing her breasts at me????
Once seated....the Rabbi explained what would happen....and encouraged us to try all the foods.
Andy suggested I try the gefilte fish.....but encouraged me to lather horseradish on it .
Gefilte fish is a mixture of fish, egg, matzoh meal and onion. I'm not sure what it taste like because the amount of horseradish I spread on it....cleared my sinuses down to my toes and made my eyes water.
Unfortunately, I was hungry and ate some more....placing a bonfire in my gut. As part of the ceremony ...you also make a Matzoh/horseradish sandwich....which was the equivalent of throwing kerosene into my stomach.
I was actually grateful to see the matzoh ball soup arrive...hoping it would calm the fire. People at our table told tales about their mothers...... and the quest for the lightest floating matzoh balls...which was considered a culinary accomplishment. Our table became like a little family of stories.
Then dinner was served.....and right in the center of the plate was a......BUN....even I knew this was a no no.
A significant part of Passover ritual is to avoid leavened products.... hence the switch to Matzohs......and here was this big old bun in the middle of the plate.
Andy leaned over and said to me...."I hope this is made of Matzoh meal....because if my father was here.... he would have a heart attack...." but even I knew it was a regular bun and.......suddenly the Rabbi jumped up and said...."OOps....off with the buns now"....and a woman stood up and started collecting our rolls.
Apparently the catering company had tried to be generous for the special ceremony and included a roll to fill out the entree. I am sure this will become a famous story in the temple.
After a flourless chocolate desert ( and yes I know you shouldn't combine horseradish and chocolate ....but I did).....there was time set aside for prayers and songs.
Maybe it was the wine....but...I felt very nostalgic....sitting there listening to everyone sing. All our family parties.....when I was a little girl....included singing. Most of my relatives had been born in Eastern Europe and singing was an integral part of any celebration. Because I didn't know the language (Polish), I would often close my eyes and just sway and listen to the voices and the robust melodies.
And that's how some of the songs felt to me now too....so I just closed my eyes...and listened to the voices....and perhaps swayed....just a little.
Thanks to my Jew U education, I actually could sing part of the little goat song.....so it was nice to participate.
Towards the end of the ceremony.....Rabbi read a line....from the Haggadah....which I thought was beautiful......and calming.....and somehow very appropriate.
"There are links between heaven and earth which promise an answer and resolution to life's perplexities."
I scribbled the sentence down and handed in my Haggadah......
both breasts had remained in my top.....so I left knowing the Rabbi had just one good bun story from this event.....instead of two.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
As I mentioned in my last blog.....I was sailing along on Google looking for lofty thoughts on passion when I took a detour......and started reading sexual passion remedy sites.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Okay I'm a chocolate lover.....and I admit Goddess Chocolate sounds sexy...however...there doesn't seem to be a lot of chocolate in the powder....instead it touts "pure crude ingredients" with no other description.
Goddess Chocolate is "aiming at the treatment of women who are sex reaction slowness, sex coldness." It's "effective to activate female sex nerve center make sex life more comfortable."
The ad warns it should be used only by "legal couples" and its forbidden to be used at "Other wrongdoings."
But the greatest greatest part of this ad is the small sentence at the very end.....oh it's lovely.....ready?
"Can be dissolve in coffee."
And I'm thinking of all the men....smiling at their wives....as they offer them a fresh cup of coffee.
What do you do with this? Hold a scrotum? Catch a breast? Use it as a drink or lube stand?
It's obvious whomever designed this took the birds and bees literally....cause it looks like a guy is supposed to land and nuzzle her roses?
And please....note the name of the product.......Fast Food. Sounds like something the Bee Movie could have used as a gag.
And finally ....this same website....which sells passion pills, sex toys....blow up dolls....also sells coffins which can be purchased online. (Practical me....I can't envision the UPS man leaving this at my front door.)
So does this mean using sex aids leads to killer sex?
Or should you use the aids and have great sex.... cause you never know when your time will come? (small pun)
or Passion can kill ya....but what a way to go????
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I accidentally "borrowed" it from the National Art Gallery.
They had a special exposition of John Alexander's art work. He's a native Texan, now living on Long Island, who specializes in social commentary and traditional flora and fauna pics.
This is a huge painting....and it significantly covered the wall. It's drop jaw stunning.... with vibrant colors.....and the subjects...are bigger than life.
I didn't write down the name of the work.....I just whipped out my iPhone......and thought ....wow..... burning, flaming...urgent.....he's got it right.
I aimed for the picture's core....and clicked......the entire painting encompasses the whole bed and more flames than a holy card of hell.
The guard immediately began wagging his finger at me ........"no no no".....which could be a warning for thoughts on engaging in this type of lust....or......a warning not to take pictures of the special exhibit. Since he pointed to my phone...I assumed it was the later.
I muttered I would delete the pic.... but I couldn't.
Alexander often paints masks on his subjects....because he feels people can more easily see themselves in the picture. So he invites his viewers ...to mentally remove a mask.....and occupy a character.
I picked the blond of course....and decided ...she and I could be sisters.....and please note....her natural breasts (the subject of one of my blogs a few days ago) .
Passion is a complex inner state of arousal.... whether it's derived from lust or curiosity or intellectual challenges.....it puts the flame in the gut.....and turns your internal life thermostat on high....making your whole life feel energized.
Knowing I was going to post this picture today......I googled "thoughts on passion" to discover the lofty thinking of experts about the flame in the belly.......and found thoughts on passion....real thoughts.....on the subject of passion.....are way way down the search list.....as the first 2 zillion entries center on hookups, porn....and remedies to light your fire.
And so I took a detour.....from high art to high quackery.....and studied ....the web site remedies of the Shanghai Baonikan Health Food Co. of China.....which specializes in passion products. The site was so...consuming...in its own odd way.......I never made it to the intellectual stuff..
So next entry.....products to light your fire....
and to help you get into the mood..... (of course)......Jim Morrison.....singing a short version....of Light my Fire...
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
"Do you have the Last Lecture?"
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Today..... my day was filled with breasts and bathrooms.
Before the store opened....one of the guys on the early crew asked me if I had seen this book.
Yes....I had flipped through it briefly....it's a photo essay book and the first copy we received in the store.... got a bit ratty since so many men needed to study it.
The Big Book of Breasts....is filled with big breasts....naked breasts. What I hadn't noticed when I first glanced at it a couple months ago.....is.....it's filled with natural breasts.....breasts before photoshop and silicone.
It was fascinating.......the pics were mostly in black and white and taken between the 60's and the 90's. The photos clearly showed that large breasts....do not sit high on the chest......but have a natural drift......and nipples aren't smooth.....they have little bumps and ridges in their natural state.
Of course this is not news to women.....but ....I have been so conditioned by magazines....to expect breasts to be perfectly smooth....and sit high on the chest....in every picture I see of them.......it was.....funny/odd/challenging/and educational.....to be reminded....that women don't look like that.....especially if you have more than a champagne glass to fill....in fact....even the models don't really look like that....since its quite common to have a mark or a ridge or a bump.
How strange the world is....that we now sell books which show what large breasts naturally look like.....as if we need a reference book.....or to see what natural breasts looked like before they became extinct in media.
Another thing that shocked me....was that women had hair! Pubic hair! How interesting to see women in lingerie with a fluffy bush!!!. Pubic hair is gone...these days....excepts for runways....or exclamation points.....or a creative design....but all these book women ....had little muffs.
Then I remembered when I was in college....I just shaved my legs.....and trimmed....I never sat in the bathroom....with my legs spread apart.....being puzzled or confused.....about how much to take off here or there or where ever. I mean how weird is it to study your private parts in the mirror......trying to decide if your runway looks like it's ready for a jumbo jet or an ultralight landing...... Oh happy days....when you just went au natural....and trimmed only excessive fur.
Did everyone have big jumbo cups of coffee this morning...or were taking part in some type of spring diuresis rally????....because I was stopped constantly.
In fact...it became so pervasive....we actually started a tally to see how many times we were asked per hour. Of course even when we tell folks where the restrooms are located....they often think we're teasing or playing a trick on them.
Our bathrooms are located under a poster which says....."Gone with the Wind"....so I point and say...."Yes over there on the other side....right under Gone with the Wind"....and they give me a funny look. Sometimes I have to point twice...and say "No ...it's not a joke.....just head towards Gone with the Wind." God Bless the worker in the early days of the store...who had a sense of humor. Of course....the poster next to it....says...."Paradise Lost.".....I admit that would be pretty amusing too.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This is what happens when you have soup for lunch and the tornado sirens go off in your neighborhood while you're eating. The loud undulating wail immediately causes your nerves to bunch....and hence....my soup is stuck in some type of esophageal suspension.
The sirens have been wailing for about 30 minutes now......and it's getting very dark outside....although I just checked the TV....and the serious weatherman (who seems secretly pleased at all the attention) says the worse is over.......someone hasn't notified the guy who flips the switch on the sirens.
We've been battered here in my section of the south for over three weeks now. It feels like we're under siege. The lightening and thunderstorms have been so intense....the floors shake...my pictures dance on the walls.....and soon my front lawn will turn into a bog.
We've had tornadoes and threats of tornadoes.....flooding ....winds...severe lightening...and strange temperature fluctuations.....where you begin the day in a sweater and change into a t-shirt in a couple of hours.
Because I live near a golf course....I'm also able to enjoy the additional wails of their lightening sirens to warn workers and golfers. Yesterday between storms I took a walk near the greens and noticed many of the sand traps are missing..... sand....and although I don't play golf....I suspect that's a necessary component of a sand trap.
The only being who seems nonchalant about all of this is my remaining dog Mattie...who is deaf. I just checked her and again she's blissfully asleep in the garage....warm, dry and snug in her bed. I presume the cement floor doesn't shake.....and since she's not the brightest dog on the planet ...there's no neurons questioning why it's always dark outside.
Her former canine companions were terrified of storms....and I actually have left-over "storm medicine" for them....low dose Valium from the vet. If my soup ball doesn't move soon....I think trying some "storm medicine" might be a good idea.
I know I should be grateful that we...my family and I and our house..... are intact during all this weather....our daily newspaper displays pictures of people who aren't so lucky....massive trees resting on sofa couches, roofs gone...water levels high enough to create indoor swimming pools ......BUT....the daily gloom ....gray.....rain and sirens....is getting stressful. This morning I've already received a couple of emails from friends around town....complaining of "raw nerves."
If things don't quite down soon...the city fathers.....are either going to have to set up chaise lounges in the river market downtown with imported psychologists to help us through our anxieties or dispense massive amounts of storm medicine to the populace.
Storm medicine might be more practical.....as I imagine some folks might take advantage of the psychologists to unload more than storm fears and hence wouldn't move off the couches....creating civil unrest among the lines of people holding onto their umbrellas and waiting their turn.
Hmmmm.....I wondered how Noah survived forty days and forty nights of this stuff? Perhaps God gave him an industrial strength storm medicine prescription .....I mean can you imagine trying to handle storms like this.....along with elephant dung?
Geez....that's a real unpleasant thought.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
During the big storm of last week....Mike suddenly deteriorated. He'd been having some breathing and neurological problems....I expected he would go slowly down hill...but when I came home before the storm...I found him weak....just barely able to lift his head.... and one of his pupils was blown...a sign of neurological decompensation.
The storm hit right afterwards... and the boys stayed near him...while I dashed around....after things quieted down....and I sent the boys to bed....I took over Mike's vigil.
I had a small hope that Dr. Bill... our good-hearted miracle working vet.....might be able to do something in the morning...but the nurse in me knew......his breathing and neurological problems couldn't be cured...and we were facing either the put-to-sleep or allow-him-to-languish-till-his body-gives-out scenario.
I wanted to move him into the kitchen....closer to food and water...and the center of the house....but when I tried to stand him up....on those massive white paws....he collapsed onto the floor....and I knew......just knew it was the end.
Mike came into our life as a stray. I saw him zig zagging down the boulevard near our house and said to myself...that dog is going to get killed.....of course... he was on the other side of the divide...so there was nothing I could do for him.
About an hour later....I opened the back gate of our yard which leads onto the street.......and there he was....he immediately came up to me....panting...wild-eyed....it was over 90 degrees out...and he looked thirsty, ragged....and tired.
I called my hub to come see him....and we took a little walk....he stayed near us...but at one point wandered into a neighbor's yard...ironically to sniff the St. Francis of Assisi statue (a saint known for his kind treatment of animals)....the neighbor started screaming......"Get Out...Get Away!" ....and my hub...simply said...."Here Boy..." and he followed us home.
Over the next couple weeks.... we searched for his owner.....and spruced him up. His long hair was hopelessly tangled....and I remember how my young daughter held him lovingly in her arms for two hours....while I patiently snipped matted hair balls off him.
He was friendly ....but we noticed behavior problems.....if anyone raised their voice....even innocently...."hey bring me the scissors".....he would drop to the floor, roll over, lift his leg, show us his wienie....and shake. If you raised your arm to do anything...he would cower. He couldn't left alone....no matter where we placed him...laundry room... garage.....he would go berserk-- crashing and tearing down things.
Since no one could stay home with him all the time....we decided to place him with the Humane Society. Perhaps if he had a good home....out in the country....where he wouldn't have to be confined....he do well. My hub planned to take him after work to the Society....and I sat with him on the porch...waiting hub's arrival.
Mike looked up at me....with his sad droopy eyes....and I wailed....our middle son has special needs......and somehow.......giving this dog up....because he couldn't fit in our normal household....was akin in my own thinking......to the many school professionals who wanted to move my son out of the mainstream...because he didn't fit either. By the time hub came home.....I had decided...."No he can't go...we have to do something ....but not this."
Dr. Bill....looked over Mike.....and listened quietly to all his problems. Abused animals can often panic or be destructive when left alone....and although he was only 10 months old....he felt Mike has suffered frequent beatings. He advised tough love....buying a kennel...crating him religiously every night and when we were out for a minimum of 4 months.....and gentle-kindness. Even our other douffy dog....a big...clueless Weimaraner got into the act....cuddling next to Mike and joining him on his walk.
In a few months.....Mike calmed down.....he bonded to the other dog....and bonded to us. We were his pack....and unfortunately he over-compensated. Although the family ....could pet, poke, tease...play and romp with Mike......any one not from the pack was an enemy. Sweet gentle Mike....growled and looked ready to attack anyone not in the tribe. So we learned to adapt....if someone came to visit....it was....hello....how are you...come in.....wait...let me put the dogs away. It was just part of our life.
Mike never had acute vision....and sometimes his over protectiveness turned on us......if we ever wore a hat....or a big bulky coat....he would study us....and growl a little.....so we learned to quickly pull hats off in his presence and say..."Mike it's me...it's okay." He would come over and sniff us just to make sure we weren't impostors.
Mike became one of the nannies. Our children were raised in the company of two big dogs and a cat who thought she was queen of the universe. When the children grew older.... and I would leave them alone in the house to run errands....I never worried about strangers entering our home.....it would literally be over the dogs dead bodies. With teens, Mike wasn't needed to protect anyone...and he mellowed into a sweet...lovable....companion.
So when I couldn't move him that stormy night last week.....there was no way I was going to abandon him....I brought a pillow and blanket into our study....and laid down next to Mike. He was awake and looking at me.....so I just petted him....stroking that beautiful liver and white hair....and telling him over and over...."You're such a good boy"....in the sing songy way....I have talked to him for over a decade. A few times....my tears....hit him right on the nose...and he moved his head up towards me....which only made me cry more.
I prayed and prayed for him to die at home...quietly.....but he did not. In the morning, hub and I set off to the vet. I grabbed a dish towel on the way out....Kleenex was too flimsy for the amount of tears....when Dr. Bill asked if we were ready....there was a moment....a moment...when I wanted to just scoop Mike up and run out the door....and back to time when the children were little....when he and Minnie...slept peacefully in our kitchen in one warm dog lump....when we complained about dog hair or argued over who's turn it was to walk them.....but you can't go back....and the present seemed so sad.
I nodded to the vet and we held him....as the needle went in....I kept telling him over and over again......."You're such a good boy"....hoping that would be the last thing he heard and understood and felt from his pack.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
I don't remember storm warnings during the day.... and until the tornado sirens went off....I didn't realize the storm was more dangerous than previous thunderstorms which have rumbled through our area during the last week.
I was writing yesterday's blog when the sirens went off...and I guess I must have a bit of a writer's soul....because....I didn't stop...or save the entry....I published it...lol....just in case.
After "publish post", I shut down the computer and headed downstairs to round up the boys.
"Where's the tornado guys?"
"I don't know."
"Don't you have the TV on?"
"But you haven't been watching the local stations.?"
Obviously time for me to grab my superwoman cape.
"Okay You find a local channel.....and You get the emergency radio."
"The satellite went out.... there's no TV."
"Okay....get in my car and check the radio."
Minutes later....one son sets up the radio and the robotic voice of the National Weather Service comes on...but still no exact funnel cloud location. Maybe the local radio stations are more helpful.
I open the door to the garage and yell at my son. "So where's the tornado?"
"I don't know."
"What are you doing?"
"Listening to the radio."
"You said ' go in the car and turn on the radio..."
"To find out where the tornado is....not to listen to music."
He plays the tuner and finds some addresses. The tornadoes are actually in the metropolitan area. Having grown up in tornado alley...I did what any good Midwestern person would do....I went outside and looked around.
But only for a minute.... as the lightening crackled above....and the rain cascaded down in thick sheets. This is way too close I thought.....I got the boys ready to dive into the pantry (which our builder told us is the safest place in the house).....and I ran upstairs to get the cat.
"Here Kitty Kitty."
Cat is damn smart and probably detected the urgency in my voice.
I can almost hear her mental thoughts...."No way lady."
I tip over our big bedroom upholstered chair (her favorite storm hangout).... reach down and grab her. She actually hangs onto the carpet with her back claws....and starts howling...but I've got lots of adrenalin pumping...and kitty is pulled up and tucked under my arm before she can blink twice. I rush her downstairs and toss her in the hall closet.
And we wait...and listen to the radio....and I occasionally go outside.
The lightening silhouettes the bad clouds...and waves of sirens are blaring all over the city... it seems to have passed us ....but after a short break....another wave of storms approach...and now it's 11:30 pm...and my hub's plane is supposed to land in twenty minutes.
My son checks flight tracker....and surprisingly the plane is a short distance from the airport. That's crazy....what are they going to do....land between tornadoes?....My son checks out another website and sure enough the plane....is still shown above the airport.
So I grab my son's car....and head off to the airport.....and within 10 minutes....I'm in the belly of another storm.
The lightening bolts are so close the hair on my head feels like its standing up....a large thick bolt off to my right....hits the power station nearby and suddenly a beautiful eerie blue-aqua ball floats up into the sky.
Now I am scared....I can hardly see out the window....the road is flooded....and the trees are waving wildly......so I did what any good woman would do.....I start to cry.....because my hub is in a metal tube 10,000 feet above me and will surely crash...and a lightening bolt is sure to turn me into the next big blue orb.
So Here's an important lesson I learned last night....always keep your eyes wide open when driving....i.e.. don't cry in low visibility and look through itty bitty eye slits....because in a few minutes...I hit a stealth flooded section of road and lose control of the car.
Fortunately, I was the only idiot on the freeway in this section so I didn't crash into anyone.....only my heart felt like it hit a brick wall. I recover and keep going to the airport.
My son calls just as I hit the airport perimeter. They diverted the plane.
Relieved, I turned around....and only allowed light sniffling....since I didn't want to hydroplane into a wheelie again.
I made it home but had the boys sleep on the family room couches for a while. The rain...lightening...and thunder seem to rumble on forever.
Finally it quieted down....I went outside...it was probably around 2am....I stood on my front sidewalk....scanning the sky....and mentally said to the earth...enough already.
My next door neighbor was also out...nobody was getting much sleep....we waved.
"Patio's flooded and we can't get the dog out from under our bed."
I went over to the closet door......and knocked.
"Kitty Kitty" I said sweetly......
I stepped back and let the angry tiger out of her closet prison.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
The dogwoods, azaleas and tulip trees seemed to bud and open within hours all around us. The birds are crazy........big storms have rolled through....and it vacillates from chilly to muggy sometimes within the same day.
All this new green...and colors.....and yet.....it doesn't match our lives inside our house. Early this week my mother-in-law died after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. She lives in Idaho and her long distance death was not unexpected.
Because of timing...distance...and other complications only my hub went back to his home town. He's scheduled to return late tonight....but yet another thunderstorm is raging ...and I wonder if he will get stranded again.
On the way out to the funeral..he missed his connecting flight because of a weather delay....and got marooned in Minneapolis. Northwest Airlines.... through it's supervisors....basically said tough break....and offered no assistance. He was very upset...and called me at 2am... I was able to imperfectly patch him through a series of flights that got him close to his home town so he could join his family for part of the ceremony. I never went back to sleep...I tossed and turned anxious and worried that all the flights would be on time....and he would get there safely.
Home alone with the boys...I've been very withdrawn and quiet.....death makes you re-evaluate your life....and I thought of friends I'd lost touch with.... grieved for people who were no longer in my life....and thought of my own parents....who are struggling with their health.....spring outside.....so lovely and beautiful....feels like a strange pressure .....a troublesome counterpoint to what's going on inside me.
This evening when I returned home from an outing....I found our dog....our douffy lovable family pet.....deteriorating. He has not been well.....and I'm afraid...he won't make it to the vet by morning.....I've just held him....not much I can do.....
oh #$%^&^%R1!!! tornado sirens....what a week.