Saturday, August 30, 2008

Short Story Saturday

They all died.

The end.

No, just kidding!

Brad panted as he stared up at the sky, wondering what had happened. One minute he’d been asleep in the side car, and the next? Catapulting ass end over teakettle through the air, as if he was a trapeze act. Without the trapeze, of course. Lucky for him, he landed in a nice, cushy pile of hay that was left over from the overturning of a hay truck the week before. Gingerly, he got up, circled a few times to ensure he was alright, then went running off, in search of Janet. Passing Riff Raff, who was still unconscious, he stopped for a moment, raised his leg against the man, then kept running, tongue lolling out of his mouth.
Feeling something warm and wet hit the left side of his head, Riff Raff opened his eyes and turned his head in that direction, just in time to see Brad’s hind end disappearing from view.
“Stupid dog” he thought, irritated. Turning his head to and fro, he felt no pain anywhere. Experimentally, he tried his arms. Yep. Pain. All down his left arm. Looking at it, he discovered his leathers were totally chewed, and he had some serious road rash. And something else, as well. “That looks like a bone” he thought dizzily. Hearing sirens in the distance, he decided the best thing he could do for himself is to lay still, until help arrived.
Janet also heard the sirens, as she swam back towards awareness. Another noise was the insistent barking of a dog. “Is that Brad?” she thought, struggling to open her eyes. Once she got them open, she located the noise. It was indeed, Brad, barking at a stranger whom seemed to be holding her head with both his hands.
“Don’t move” he instructed her. “But if you can, call your dog and settle him down?”
“Stop it Brad” she croaked. The barking stopped, and a whine ensued. Brad got as close to the stranger as he dared, then sat on his haunches, waiting.
“I’m Ev” reported the voice above her. “You’ve been in a motorcycle crash, it appears, and you need to remain as still as possible”.
“I understand” she said. “Where is Riff Raff?”
“Who, or what is a Riff Raff?” asked Ev.
“Uh. He’s my boyfriend” she said quietly. “He was on the bike, too”.
Before Ev could answer, the ambulance arrived, and then a second. Paramedics were soon swarming the site, along with firemen, whom busied themselves picking up the pieces of the motorcycle, disappointed that there was no fire to put out. Many of the workers stopped and greeted Ev, however. Soon enough, Riff Raff was located, and both the riders were placed in their respective ambulances. Ev found himself alone, with the exception of Brad, whom he had promised Janet he would take care of.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, buddy” he said.
“Woof” was the only answer he got.....


Janet tossed and turned, cursing the hospital beds. She’d been held for almost a full week now, and in that time, everyone had come to see her. Everyone except Riff Raff, that was. Even her mother had managed to fly out, to see if she was unharmed.
Her injuries were healing nicely, according to Ev, who’d turned out to be a doctor at the shit hole of a hospital she was taken to. She’d sustained a broken arm, pelvis, and a lacerated liver, but none of those things had required a surgical repair. Riff Raff, on the other hand, had had surgery on his arm, his left foot, and, a surgical debridement to get rid of all the gravel that was stuck in the road rash down his left side. It seemed the leathers he bought were really faux leather. He’d been trying to please his PETA supporting mother. Janet had had no such qualms, and therefore, had fared better. She’d heard he was doing well, but wondered why he had not come to see her. She was not able to walk as of yet, because of her broken pelvis. Frowning, she stared at the television, which was playing one of the never ending soap operas. Groaning, she shook her head, and turned away, to contemplate the ceiling.
“Are you having pain?” asked a concerned voice from the doorway. Turning, she saw Ev standing there, a bouquet of Gerber Daisy’s in his hand.
“No, just bored” she said. “Are those for me?”
“Yes, they are” he answered, and placed them in fresh water, and next to all the other flowers he’d brought her that week. When he was done, he sat down gently next to her on the bed, and they talked about various and sundry things that people talk about.
Meanwhile, Riff Raff painstakingly made his way down the hallway. It was the first time that any of those nurses (whom he thought of as nazi’s) let him walk any distance, and he was going to see Janet, regardless of the pain. She was all the way down a long, long hallway, and, after half an hour of struggling with his walker, and the pain of the scratchy hospital gown rubbing over his dressing, and his road rash, he made it. Leaning against the door, he tried to catch his breath. Only to look up and see Janet, deep in conversation with Ev. Surrounded by flowers. Flowers he didn’t send to her. His mind just could not take it. Slowly, he turned around. And instead of going back to his room, he left the hospital. And they never found him.


Three weeks later, the murders started. And each time someone was murdered, a gerber daisy was left behind.......

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Mieography

Going waaaaay back again for this one.
Bouduca. Boudicca, Boadicea, or Buddug, depending on where you are.
She was the Queen of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia. She has been described as tall, with red hair down to her hips, a harsh voice, and a piercing glare. Also as possissing a greater intelligence than often belongs to women. Married to Prasutagas, he died, and left his kingdom jointly to his daughters, and the Roman Empire. However, the Roman Empire did not recognise daughters as heirs, and so the kingdom was annexed as if it were conquered. Unfortunately, during this "conquering", the only ones conquered were Boadica, and her daughters. She was flogged, they were raped.
About AD 60, she struck back. She led many other clans in a revolt against the Roman Empire. They started by destroing Camulodrunum, (what is now Colchester, England). The Roman governor hurried to Londinium (London) but had to abandon it to Boadica and her tribe, as he did not have the numbers to defend it. They burnt it to the ground. After that, she and her tribes moved on to Verulamium. (Saint Albans). They also destroyed that town An estimated 70-80,000 were killed.
Meanwhile, the Roman governor regrouped his forces in the West Midlans, and she was eventually defeated. It is said that she went home, and took poison to avoid capture

Thursday, August 28, 2008

warming a house

Leave it to the Europeans for coming up with the tradition of a house warming. The truth is though, that many cultures have their own variations of a house warming. The original items of a broom to "sweep away evil", and a "pinch" of salt at the entrance of each door to ward off evil and bring good luck, and a slice of bread so the new owners will never go hungry are more or less universal but depending on where you live, other items have their own significance when it comes to a house

For example, give the new home owners a candle so they will always have light, wine so they never go thirsty, olive oil to bring good health, honey so the couple's life will always be sweet and a plant which represents a long life. There's actually a poem - supposedly of Italian origin -- that speaks of several of these traditional items:
Bread so your larder will always be full
Salt to give it savour
Honey for a sweet life in your new home

Here's another version from Germany:

Bread so you'll never go hungry,
Salts so you'll have good luck
Wine so you'll never go thirsty

The whole bread-salt-honey as a house warming motif is linked with many countries. Speak to an Italian and they'll tell you Italy started the tradition of house warming. Talk to a Russian and they insist it was Russia who initiated gifts of bread and salt. Some people are convinced that the concept of "house warming" reflects when visitors brought hot coals or embers to a new house in order to keep it warm and hence the term. At this point in time who exactly stated these house warming trends is a moot point. The fact that the tradition is observed and respected is much more important.

The time has come.
In a few weeks, we are having our housewarming party. Giving people the chance to see where we are living. Very few people have wandered over here to check it out. Celtic Rose and her husband, Clancy, and one of his kids. A few of Mustang Girl's friends have been present, as well. Thats it, really.
So, house warming.
Should be interesting. Food, and MM's really debilitating Margarita's are to be had. We are having a "time capsule", which we have agreed not to open until we pay the house off. I am hoping that by that time, neither one of us is suffering from dementia. I have visions of the two of us sitting over this thing, one day, asking each other Who was that again? Where did all this crap come from?"
Any how. Any of you want to come?
I promise the margarita's are not to be missed....
consider this the official blogworld invitation!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

WW has gone completely to the dogs...

aren't I cute! Now take the damn collar off!

please. may I have the collar off?

This is MY human.

Can't I come in, now?

Mocha has the most peculiar way of sitting

Cheese head

Miss Potter

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

apple, anyone?

I sit and think tonight, lots of thoughts.
Everywhere I have gone, any TV that I have watched over the last week or so, there is an underlying focus.
No, not the political one.
The much heralded, and, oft times dreaded return to school.
Mustang Girl has been a freshman since Wed. the 13th. (doing well so far).
A friend of mine took his first born to college this weekend. And actually left her there.
MM's sister took her firstborn to college as well. (Our future first female supreme court justice. Is that what she decided she wanted to be, sis?) And managed to leave her there.
New beginnings for all.

this is what has my brain in motion tonight. Not a beginning. A continuation.
Mustang Man took his first step back into higher education.
A step he's wanted to take for awhile.
He now has homework. A back pack. Pencils, and paper in his backpack.
And I could not be happier for him. Or prouder. Having the desire to learn more, to branch out, to take that chance. He is, quite simply, awesome.
I don't talk a whole lot about MM here on the blog. I mention him, probably daily, I describe some of the stuff around us. I link over to his blog when he posts something. But I really don't talk ABOUT him.
Until now. (because I can, he isn't here to stop me ;))
There are so so so so so many things about him that I love. His gentle nature. His laugh. His VERY TWISTED sense of humor. His strong commitment to being the best parent that he possibly can be. His smarts. (and his smart ass comments). His 'laid backness'. It takes a lot to rile him up. But I wouldn't want to piss him off.
He is willing to try just about anything, with an open mind. He can sit and hold a conversation about anything, and not get mad. I can make him squirm just by discussing the future dating habits of MG. And it's cute.
He snores. Yes he does. And I can't sleep well now unless I have him snoring somewhere near me. Makes sleeping during the day a little awkward.
He is also extremely supportive of anything I want to do. Or anything Mustang Girl might want to try. (almost). Without a doubt, I know, if I happened to be in bind, he'd be there. Without hesitation.
So off he went last night, to start something new of his own. I plan on being his own, at home cheerleader for this event. To support him, help him as much as I possibly can, and watch, with glee, as he learns whatever it is he wants to learn. As he takes this as far as he wants to go. I will follow. What the future holds? Dunno. We could end up traveling together, as nurses. We could end up staying in Podunk. We could also end up in Greece, where he could fly airplanes for tourists and I can, well. Drink Ouzo and make Baklava. Whatever.
So. Mustang Man. Taking the school thing to a whole new level. Most excellent....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Scape dogs

I find myself disquieted about a decision that MM and I were forced to make this weekend.
I know, I have confessed to you all that we were crazy enough to get 3 puppies. So, in a sense, we may have been asking for it, many of you will think.
Puppies bark.
I can deal with it.
Honestly? I feel like most of the time, they are pretty good. They are learning whom they should and should not bark at. We were teaching them that neighbors, in their own yards, are NOT to be barked at. They are smart dogs, and were getting it.
But not fast enough.
Because, after talking with a series of our neighbors, it seems like every time a dog barks in our neighborhood (and there are NUMEROUS dogs)
ours are blamed.
Because we are new. Because they are new. And they are young.
I will admit, sometimes, it IS our dogs.
But many times, it isn' them. It ESPECIALLY isn't them when they are in the house. Especially at night or early morning when they are sleeping in the bathroom off the kitchen. But yet, they get the blame, every stinking time.
So, discussing it/
We spent the money, and got shock collars. And I feel bad. Each time one yips, or gets side ways mid stride to run, barking at the neighbor. I feel bad.
But as I mentioned, they are smart. They learned fast. They are hardly barking at all. And yesterday? I slept really good, without my dog concert.
Now if the NEIGHBORS dog would stop barking.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Short Story Saturday

****edit**** those of you wandering over from Davids, thanks! And if you go back one week, you will find the beginning of this story. And if you come back next week? Probably you will find the end of this story...

Riff Raff rolled over, squinting through the tent flaps into the sun. He and Janet had been on the road for three glorious weeks on the back of his old Harley.
The only dissatisfaction to his trip grunted and farted in his sleep.
Brad. Janet's mutt of a dog. A Puggle.
"Who the hell wanted one of these, I'll never know" thought Riff Raff, scowling at the dog. Lazily, Brad opened one eye, glaring back at the man with menace. His tongue lolling out of his mouth, he got up, circled four times, then laid back down, his back to the humans. Soon, the dog was snoring again.
Glancing over at Janet, Riff Raff sighed again. "How I am lucky enough to have lured her away I will never know he thought, seeing the morning sun slant off her abundance of red hair, highlighting the freckles that she had, well, everywhere on her body. He often thought of playing connect the dots with her freckles. The only thing that stopped him is that he wasn't sure where to start.
Perhaps feeling his eyes on her, she opened hers, a bright sea green, open to any and all possibilities. Yawning, she stretched her arms over her head, and grinned at the lustful look on his face.
"What time is it? Where are we going today? What's for breakfast?" she asked, getting out of her sleeping back and quickly getting dressed. Sniffing, she turned back to him. "Can we stop at a laundromat today? And find a place where I can shower? I need to wash my hair.
Laughing at her exuberance, Riff Raff got to his feet, and dressed himself.
"Its seven am, today, we are going to Colorado, we have beef jerky for breakfast. My sister lives in Boulder, and we can stop at her place for a shower, the laundry, and probably dinner. Are you satisfied?"
"I didn't know you had a sister" she said, surprised.
"Well, technically, she is my half sister" he amended. His father had never really moved on well after his mother had died, but he had tried, once, to have a relationship with a woman named Barbara Ann. That relationship had resulted in nothing good except his half sister, Judy. He saw her very rarely, but loved her none the less.
Hurredly, they took the tent down, ate their jerky, and Janet loaded Brad into the side car of the Harley. She'd had a special harness made for him that kept him from leaping out. She road on the back of the bike, with her arms around Riff Raff. Today, she was wearing her shirt that read "The Bitch" on the back of it. Riff Raff was wearing it's counter part, which read "If you can read this the bitch fell off". They'd gotten the shirts as they rode through Sturgis, South Dakota. They loved them.
The day was a glorious day for a bike ride, wide open blue skies greeted them, and, as it was a Sunday, the car traffic was not horribly bad, either. Janet entertained herself by studying all the plates of the cars that passed them, attempting to name a celebrity for every set of initials she found on them. Riff Raff simply enjoyed the open road, falling into the road rhythm that he seemed to fall into every time he was on the back of his bike. He had chosen to cross over into Wyoming, then down to Colorado, to his sister's home in Boulder. He hoped that Judy would be glad to see him. He had not called to ask.
Suddenly, from nowhere, the road began to sway and buckle beneath them. Riff Raff lost control of the bike, and then himself. He felt the heat of hot asphalt crawl up his arms and legs, and his last thought, before he lost conciousness was, surprisingly, not for Janet, but for Brad. Because the last thing he saw was the dog fly over his head.
Stunned, Janet lay on her back in the dry grass, staring up at the blue sky.
"What just happened?" she thought, confused. She felt a warm trickle slide down her left temple area, and put her hand up to see what it was. Bringing her hand in front of her face, she was surprised yet again to note the blood on it. Slowly, reality came back to her. Frantically, she tried to sit up, but two hands appeared, out of nowhere, pushing her back down.
"Stay put" a gruff voice commanded her. Meekly, she did as she was told.
"Riff Raff. Brad. The bike?"
"The bike is totalled" intoned the strange voice. Now you hold still"
"Yes sir" she answered, then passed out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Mieography

Starling Burgess was born i 1915 in Boston Massachusetts. She was named after her father, who, an avid admirer of the book War and Peace, had her re-christened as Natasha. Being a mouthful, that was soon shortened to Tasha. Her father was a yacht and airplane designer, and her mother was a portrait painter. They were not wealthy, but they were well placed in Boston society, including in their friends such varied persons as Abigail Adams, Mark Twain, and, John Singer Sargent.
When she was nine, her parents were divorced, and her mother moved to Greenwich Village to pursue her painting career.As this was not a place for child rearing during this time, she was sent to Redding, Connecticut to live with friends, and spent the weekends in NYC with her mother. She later said that this was one of the best things that ever happened to her. Her 'Aunt Gwen' would write plays, and she and her friends would act them out. She loved living in the country, and dreamt of the day she would have her own farm. She eventually took her mother's last name as her own, and became known as Tasha Tudor.
She went to school, but never made it through the 8th grade, preferring to draw instead of study. After finishing her schooling (or lack of), she began to spend her winters in Bermuda with her mother and aunts, where she actually taught nursery school/ She later moved on to studying at the Boston Museum Fine Arts school, but she says her mother taught her more. She decided she was meant to be an illustrator.
She met her husband, Thomas Leighton McCready, Jr. in 1936, and they were married in 1938. She wore her great grandmothers wedding dress. They tried farming for a few years, but her husband, whom was brought up in a New York suburb, was not suited for farm life. He encouraged her to send a portfolio of her work to publishers in New York, and Boston. She was not fond of writing, but did write, mainly so that she would have something to illustrate. Her first book was called Pumpkin Moonshine. It got turned down many times, until, Oxford University Press decided to take a chance on it. Her career took off. She illustrated a Mother Goose book, which won many honors. By this time, she'd began having children with her husband, and with the royalties from Mother Goose, she bought a decrepit farm house in New Hampshire, which had no electricity, no running water, and no heat, with the exception of wood stoves. She continued on, having a total of four children. She loved country living, and was especially crafty. She enjoyed basket making, spinning, weaving, and making dolls and marionettes. She lived as self sufficiently as possible, growing their food, and making the clothing for her children.
She continued to illustrate books during this time, including five of them written by her husband. They did eventually divorce, however, and she remarried Allan John Woods.
Her favorite book was one called Corgiville Fair, and it is the only book where she kept all her sketches and colored originals intact. She was known for her love of Welsh Corgi's, and soon had one of her own.
In total, she wrote and illustrated 30 books, and illustrated another 41 books, including Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, and The Secret Garden by Frances H. Burnett, just to name a few.
In her later years, she toured the country, giving speeches at libraries, colleges and museums. She died, recently, on June 18, 2008. She leaves a legacy, with her artwork, certainly, but also in the fact that both of her daughters are accomplished authors and illustrators.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I suppose, if the money was right...

I find blog fodder in the stupidest places sometimes.
I like to read during my lunch break at work. My book tonight? In the Jeep. Me? Too lazy to go fetch it.
Which meant I had to forage the nurses lounge for reading materials.
I found:
a magazine geared towards injured veterans, with a great article about combat nurses. (but I think we are all combat nurses, sometimes. But these folks were stellar)
A Time magazine, from which I borrowed an article with a woman in it I want to use as my Mieography this friday, (she too, is stellar, you will see)
and a catalogue.
Not just any old catalogue, but one with all kinds of medical-ish gear for sale in it. Called, if you can fathom it, "Functional Solutions".
Like, oh. Fancy pedometers, glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, support hose. Pill cutters, and crushers, and all kinds of stuff that would hopefully ease the lives of our disabled friends near and far. A veritable cournicopia of items. And people modeling said items.
Where I sat back and giggled, though, was at the old lady modeling, of all things, the bed side commode selections.
For those unfortunate souls who cannot, for any reason, make it to, or use, the regular toilet.
The variety was wide, and astounding. Raised seats, seats that would raise you. The wider model for the wider models.
Would you consider having your picture taken with a bed side commode? She was fully clothed (thank goodness).
It's not like they showed her wearing it. She's in an ice blue nightgown, with matching slippers, none the less. And she had the most gamine smile on her little face. Like it's alright, this bed side commode modeling stuff. Click here if you don't believe me. Or even if you do and you want to admire her blue, fuzzy slippers.
And check out the price of that baby! $249.95! It even has a splash guard and a removable back rest. Awesome, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Say Cheese!

Or Not.

Remember picture day?
For me, it was a day when my Mother dictated what I wore (usually an ugly dress), she dictated how my hair looked (usually so tight my eyes squinted, or, down with a braid down ONE side making me look lopsided) and she dictated how I was supposed to smile. (Show your teeth!). And as I got older, it was inevitable that a big pimple would erupt, the night before.
I hated being lined up, waiting my turn. Having the strange lady comb my bangs right before I got there, the fak-ey smily photographer who was probably bored out of his skull, having snapped pictures of countless dozens of kids before me.
Then, some six weeks later. Result.
There you are, looking like a dork. Because the strange lady made your bangs look sideways, smiling and showing my teeth makes you look like you are growling at someone, and that bored photographer just WAITED for you to blink.

School pictures have come a long way.
MG brought home the flier this week, for pictures.
They get to choose backgrounds, now. (Just solid colored ones, but still.)
They can have their names embossed onto the pictures.
They can get paper pictures, AND a CD with the pictures, as well.
They also get the options of having them touched up.

The way I see it, is these kids should come out of picture day looking like a super model. We should be able to turn MG into a million dollar an hour cover girl, at the very least, right?

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Joy of Silence

So there I was, early this morning, laying in bed, the fan gently blowing on me. MM had left for work, and MG for school. I seriously needed some catch up time for sleep, having worked Thurs, Fri and Sat. nights. I found my comfortable sleep position, closed my eyes, and slowly drifted back towards the welcoming arms of

Oh no they aren't. I wait, hoping. It stops.
"Racoon in the food, or the neighbor dog is out and about" I thought. I hoped. Settling back in, I smiled, I was going to sleep. Found my spot again, headed off to la la land...

grumble grumble grumble grumble.

I gave them a chance. An hour's worth of chance. An hour of me laying there, occasionally hollering at them to cease and desist. They would, for a moment. Then, start up again, as if they knew I was almost asleep.
So, I finally climbed out of my comfortable bed, and called them in, and shoved them into the back bathroom (because there is no way I am leaving 3 cats and 3 dogs loose in my house while I am in the arms of sleep).
I went back, to lay down, with the fan gently blowing on me. I found my comfortable sleep position, closed my eyes, and slowly drifted back into the welcoming arms of darkness....
without the BARK

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Short Story Saturday

Rocky stared in horror at Janet, as her puppy Brad lounged at her feet.
"What do you mean, your dropping out? You are so close to graduation. What is Eddie going to say?"
"Who cares what Eddie thinks, he makes crappy meatloaf, anyways" retorted Janet. "What matters is that Riff Raff and I are in love. And he has a bike, and we are going to see America, in the way it's meant to be seen. By bike. Camping every night. Eating Pork and Beans from a can over an open fire. And you can't stop me".
"I am going to call your mother" shouted Rocky, wondering where he had gone wrong. Maybe Magenta would be able to get through to her.
"Go ahead" said Janet, laughing. I already did, and she is more than thrilled with my decision. She never wanted me to be a lawyer, anyhow!"
"This is Columbia's fault" groused Rocky, not quite under his breath.
"Leave her out of this" snarled Janet, staring daggers at Rocky. "Columbia was a long time ago, and I have not seen her in at least 6 months. I am happy with Riff Raff. Just leave it be.
"I bet Dr. Everett is not thrilled with this decision" answered Rocky, trying to be calm.
"Well, no, he isn't" allowed Janet reluctantly.
"But he says, as long as I stay on my meds, I will be fine. Besides, I can phone in, regularly, and check in with Betty and Ralph.
"What about me, Janet, aren't you going to phone in and check with me?"
"Why should I?" she asked. "Do you actually care about my whearabouts?"
"Well, what are you going to do with Brad, then?" he said, trying to change the subject.
"Brad is coming with me. We have a sidecar" she said smugly. "As if I'd leave my puggle with you. You'd run him over, probably".
"You got that right" thought Rocky, still unable to believe that Janet was leaving Portland. Frank would be fit to be tied, when he heard, because Janet was his favorite grand daughter. He'd been very pleased that she was going to be a lawyer, he'd planned on getting her hired at the firm he'd helped established.
"When are you going to tell Frank?" he asked.
"I'm not" answered Janet, laughing.
"Frank is an old man, and he will die soon enough. Let him die happy. Summer is coming, and I have simply told him that I am taking a trip. To Transylvania, as a matter of fact. He believed me. After all, I am his 'golden girl'.
"Smart arse" growled Rocky.
Fine. Go. But don't come crying to me when Riff Raff breaks your heart.
"Don't worry, I won't" retorted Janet. Spinning on her heel, she tugged on the leash.
"Come on Brad, lets go. The open road awaits".

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Mieography

Francina Elsje Koen was born int the Netherlands in 1918. Her father, Arnoldus was a government official who competed in shot put and discus competetions. She was lucky enough to have 5 brothers. Her mother, Helena, must have been a saint.
As a teenager, she also enjoyed sports, among them, were tennis, swimming, gymnastics, ice skating, fencing and running. She was a natural athelete. Her biggest problem is that she could not decide which sport to pick. Her swimming coach advised her to choose track, because the Netherlands already had several talented swimmers.
She made the Dutch team, as a sprinter, running the 800m Her coach, and future husband, Jan Blankers, encouraged her to enter the trials for the 1936 Olympics, being held in Berlin. She was 18 years old, and got selected for the high jump, and the 4 x 100 relay. Both of those events were held on the same day. She took 5th place in the high jump, and the Dutch relay team also took fifth place. While in Berlin, she got the autograph of American Track athelete Jesse Owens, and that was one of her most treasured possessions.
Slowly, steadily, she rose to the top. In 1938, she broke her first world record. (100 yards in 11 seconds, no less). She started winning international medals.Sadly, the advent of WW II put a stop to her Olympic dreams of 1940. Worse yet, the Netherlands got invaded.
She married Jan Blankers in 1940, and had her first baby, in 1941. The Dutch media assumed her career was over. It was inconceivable that a mother would be an athelete. She and her husband had other ideas....
During the war, she set six new world records. Hurdles, high jumps, 100m, and the long jump.
It became more difficult to get enough food, especially for training atheletes. Still, she kept on. In 1944 she broke the record for the 100 yd dash, and ran with a relay team who broke 100m world record. Then the 200 m record.
Then, Hongerwinter (hungerwinter) set in. It was severe, and the lack of food was astounding, especially in big cities. The Blankers were living in Amsterdam, and made it through the war in good health.
In 1946, she gave birth, again, to her daughter, Fanny Jr. Six weeks later, she went and competed in the European Championships in Oslo, Norway. She did not do as well ashe wanted to, but she did manage to win the 80 m Hurdles, and led the Dutch relay team to victory in the 4 x 100m.
In 1947, she won national titles in 6 events, and went to the first post war Olympics, in London. She "limited" herself to four events. 100m, 200 m, 80 m Hurdles, and the 4 x 100 relay. Some questioned her, suggesting that 30 was too old to be an athelete, and that she should stay home, and look after her children. She took a gold metal in all four events. She became known as "The Flying Housewife", and "Amazing Fanny". When she got home, she was welcomed by an immense crowd, a ride through the city pulled by four white horses, and the gift of a new bicycle, so she could "go through life at a slower pace", and that "so she need not run so much". Queen Juliana made her a knight of the Order of Orange Nassau.
She was now known world wide. She travelled abroad to promote womens athetics, going to both Australia, and the USA. It came out that while she was at the London Olympics, she'd been pregnant with her third child, who was born in 1949.
At the age of 34, she took part in her third Olympics, in Helsinki, Finland. She was in good condition, though severely hampered by a boil. She had to abandon her hurdles event, and the 100m. It was her last major competition. She did manage, in 1955, she had one last victory, winning the national shot put title. Her 58th Dutch title.
Later in life, she served as the team leader of the Dutch athletics team. In 1977, her husband died, and it forced her to be more independant. In 199, she was honored by the International Association of Athletics Federations as the "Female Athelete of the Century. Surprised, she was heard to ask
"You mean it is me who has won?"
She ended up suffering from Alzheimers disease, and spent her last years in a psychiatric nursing home. She'd also gone deaf. A statue of her has been placed in Rotterdam.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grimm's fables

I have a favorite Grimm Brothers story, and it is this one:

The Fisherman and His Wife

by the Grimm Brothers

There was once upon a time a fisherman who lived with his wife in a pig-stye close by the sea, and every day he went out fishing. And he fished, and he fished. And once he was sitting with his rod, looking at the clear water, and he sat and he sat. Then his line suddenly went down, far down below, and when he drew it up again, he brought out a large flounder.

Then the flounder said to him, "Hark, you fisherman, I pray you, let me live, I am no flounder really, but an enchanted prince. What good will it do you to kill me. I should not be good to eat, put me in the water again, and let me go."

"Come," said the fisherman, "there is no need for so many words about it - a fish that can talk I should certainly let go, anyhow."

And with that he put him back again into the clear water, and the flounder went to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him. Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the pig-stye.

"Husband," said the woman, "have you caught nothing to-day."

"No," said the man, "I did catch a flounder, who said he was an enchanted prince, so I let him go again."

"Did you not wish for anything first?" said the woman.

"No," said the man, "what should I wish for?"

"Ah," said the woman, "it is surely hard to have to live always in this pig-stye which stinks and is so disgusting. You might have wished for a little hut for us. Go back and call him. Tell him we want to have a little hut, he will certainly give us that."

"Ah," said the man, "why should I go there again?"

"Why?" said the woman, "you did catch him, and you let him go again. He is sure to do it. Go at once."

The man still did not quite like to go, but did not like to oppose his wife either, and went to the sea. When he got there the sea was all green and yellow, and no longer so smooth, so he stood still and said,

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, here to me.
For my wife, good ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."
Then the flounder came swimming to him and said, "Well what does she want, then."

"Ah," said the man, "I did catch you, and my wife says I really ought to have wished for something. She does not like to live in a pig-stye any longer. She would like to have a hut."

"Go, then," said the flounder, "she has it already."

When the man went home, his wife was no longer in the stye, but instead of it there stood a hut, and she was sitting on a bench before the door. Then she took him by the hand and said to him, "Just come inside. Look, now isn't this a great deal better?"

So they went in, and there was a small porch, and a pretty little parlor and bedroom, and a kitchen and pantry, with the best of furniture, and fitted up with the most beautiful things made of tin and brass, whatsoever was wanted. And behind the hut there was a small yard, with hens and ducks, and a little garden with flowers and fruit.

"Look," said the wife, "is not that nice?"

"Yes," said the husband, "and so it shall remain - now we will live quite contented."

"We will think about that," said the wife. With that they ate something and went to bed.

Everything went well for a week or a fortnight, and then the woman said, "Hark you, husband, this hut is far too small for us, and the garden and yard are little. The flounder might just as well have given us a larger house. I should like to live in a great stone castle. Go to the flounder, and tell him to give us a castle."

"Ah, wife," said the man, "the hut is quite good enough. Why whould we live in a castle?"

"What?" said the woman. "Just go there, the flounder can always do that."

"No, wife," said the man, "the flounder has just given us the hut, I do not like to go back so soon, it might make him angry."

"Go," said the woman, "he can do it quite easily, and will be glad to do it. Just you go to him."

The man's heart grew heavy, and he would not go. He said to himself, it is not right, and yet he went. And when he came to the sea the water was quite purple and dark-blue, and grey and thick, and no longer so green and yellow, but it was still quiet. And he stood there and said,

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, here to me.
For my wife, good ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."
"Well, what does she want, now?" said the flounder.

"Alas, said the man, half scared, "she wants to live in a great stone castle."

"Go to it, then, she is standing before the door," said the flounder.

Then the man went away, intending to go home, but when he got there, he found a great stone palace, and his wife was just standing on the steps going in, and she took him by the hand and said, "Come in."

So he went in with her, and in the castle was a great hall paved with marble, and many servants, who flung wide the doors. And the walls were all bright with beautiful hangings, and in the rooms were chairs and tables of pure gold, and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms and bedrooms had carpets, and food and wine of the very best were standing on all the tables, so that they nearly broke down beneath it. Behind the house, too, there was a great court-yard, with stables for horses and cows, and the very best of carriages. There was a magnificent large garden, too, with the most beautiful flowers and fruit-trees, and a park quite half a mile long, in which were stags, deer, and hares, and everything that could be desired.

"Come," said the woman, "isn't that beautiful?"

"Yes, indeed," said the man, "now let it be, and we will live in this beautiful castle and be content."

"We will consider about that," said the woman, "and sleep upon it." Thereupon they went to bed.

Next morning the wife awoke first, and it was just daybreak, and from her bed she saw the beautiful country lying before her. Her husband was still stretching himself, so she poked him in the side with her elbow, and said, "Get up, husband, and just peep out of the window. Look you, couldn't we be the king over all that land. Go to the flounder, we will be the king."

"Ah, wife," said the man, "why should we be king? I do not want to be king."

"Well," said the wife, "if you won't be king, I will. Go to the flounder, for I will be king."

"Ah, wife," said the man, "why do you want to be king? I do not like to say that to him."

"Why not?" said the woman. "Go to him this instant. I must be king."

So the man went, and was quite unhappy because his wife wished to be king. It is not right, it is not right, thought he. He did not wish to go, but yet he went. And when he came to the sea, it was quite dark-grey, and the water heaved up from below, and smelt putrid. Then he went and stood by it, and said,

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, here to me.
For my wife, good ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."
"Well, what does she want, now?" said the flounder.

"Alas, said the man, she wants to be king."

"Go to her. She is king already."

So the man went, and when he came to the palace, the castle had become much larger, and had a great tower and magnificent ornaments, and the sentinel was standing before the door, and there were numbers of soldiers with kettle-drums and trumpets. And when he went inside the house, everything was of real marble and gold, with velvet covers and great golden tassels. Then the doors of the hall were opened, and there was the court in all its splendor, and his wife was sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds, with a great crown of gold on her head, and a sceptre of pure gold and jewels in her hand, and on both sides of her stood her maids-in-waiting in a row, each of them always one head shorter than the last.

Then he went and stood before her, and said, "Ah, wife, and now you are king."

"Yes," said the woman, "now I am king."

So he stood and looked at her, and when he had looked at her thus for some time, he said, "And now that you are king, let all else be, now we will wish for nothing more."

"No, husband," said the woman, quite anxiously, "I find time passes very heavily, I can bear it no longer. Go to the flounder - I am king, but I must be emperor, too."

"Oh, wife, why do you wish to be emperor?"

"Husband," said she, "go to the flounder. I will be emperor."

"Alas, wife," said the man, "he cannot make you emperor. I may not say that to the fish. There is only one emperor in the land. An emperor the flounder cannot make you. I assure you he cannot."

"What?" said the woman, "I am the king, and you are nothing but my husband. Will you go this moment? Go at once. If he can make a king he can make an emperor. I will be emperor. Go instantly."

So he was forced to go. As the man went, however, he was troubled in mind, and thought to himself, it will not end well. It will not end well. Emperor is too shameless. The flounder will at last be tired out. With that he reached the sea, and the sea was quite black and thick, and began to boil up from below, so that it threw up bubbles, and such a sharp wind blew over it that it curdled, and the man was afraid. Then he went and stood by it, and said,

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, here to me.
For my wife, good ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."
"Well, what does she want, now?" said the flounder.

"Alas, flounder," said he, "my wife wants to be emperor."

"Go to her," said the flounder. "She is emperor already."

So the man went, and when he got there the whole palace was made of polished marble with alabaster figures and golden ornaments, and soldiers were marching before the door blowing trumpets, and beating cymbals and drums. And in the house, barons, and counts, and dukes were going about as servants. Then they opened the doors to him, which were of pure gold. And when he entered, there sat his wife on a throne, which was made of one piece of gold, and was quite two miles high. And she wore a great golden crown that was three yards high, and set with diamonds and carbuncles, and in one hand she had the sceptre, and in the other the imperial orb. And on both sides of her stood the yeomen of the guard in two rows, each being smaller than the one before him, from the biggest giant, who was two miles high, to the very smallest dwarf, just as big as my little finger. And before it stood a number of princes and dukes.

Then the man went and stood among them, and said, "Wife, are you emperor now."

"Yes," said she, now I am emperor.

Then he stood and looked at her well, and when he had looked at her thus for some time, he said, "Ah, wife, be content, now that you are emperor."

"Husband," said she, "why are you standing there? Now, I am emperor, but I will be pope too. Go to the flounder."

"Oh, wife, said the man, what will you not wish for? You cannot be pope. There is but one in Christendom. He cannot make you pope."

"Husband, said she, I will be pope. Go immediately, I must be pope this very day."

"No, wife," said the man, "I do not like to say that to him. That would not do, it is too much. The flounder can't make you pope."

"Husband," said she, "what nonsense! If he can make an emperor he can make a pope. Go to him directly. I am emperor, and you are nothing but my husband. Will you go at once."

Then he was afraid and went, but he was quite faint, and shivered and shook, and his knees and legs trembled. And a high wind blew over the land, and the clouds flew, and towards evening all grew dark, and the leaves fell from the trees, and the water rose and roared as if it were boiling, and splashed upon the shore. And in the distance he saw ships which were firing guns in their sore need, pitching and tossing on the waves. And yet in the midst of the sky there was still a small patch of blue, though on every side it was as red as in a heavy storm. So, full of despair, he went and stood in much fear and said,

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, here to me.
For my wife, good ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."
"Well, what does she want, now?" said the flounder.

"Alas," said the man, "she wants to be pope."

"Go to her then," said the flounder, "she is pope already."

So he went, and when he got there, he saw what seemed to be a large church surrounded by palaces. He pushed his way through the crowd. Inside, however, everything was lighted up with thousands and thousands of candles, and his wife was clad in gold, and she was sitting on a much higher throne, and had three great golden crowns on, and round about her there was much ecclesiastical splendor. And on both sides of her was a row of candles the largest of which was as tall as the very tallest tower, down to the very smallest kitchen candle, and all the emperors and kings were on their knees before her, kissing her shoe. Wife, said the man, and looked attentively at her, are you now pope. Yes, said she, I am pope. So he stood and looked at her, and it was just as if he was looking at the bright sun.

When he had stood looking at her thus for a short time, he said, "Ah, wife, if you are pope, do let well alone."

But she looked as stiff as a post, and did not move or show any signs of life.

Then said he, "Wife, now that you are pope, be satisfied, you cannot become anything greater now."

"I will consider about that," said the woman. Thereupon they both went to bed, but she was not satisfied, and greediness let her have no sleep, for she was continually thinking what there was left for her to be. The man slept well and soundly, for he had run about a great deal during the day. But the woman could not fall asleep at all, and flung herself from one side to the other the whole night through, thinking always what more was left for her to be, but unable to call to mind anything else. At length the sun began to rise, and when the woman saw the red of dawn, she sat up in bed and looked at it. And when, through the window, she saw the sun thus rising, she said, "Cannot I, too, order the sun and moon to rise?"

"Husband," she said, poking him in the ribs with her elbows, "wake up. Go to the flounder, for I wish to be even as God is."

The man was still half asleep, but he was so horrified that he fell out of bed. He thought he must have heard amiss, and rubbed his eyes, and said, "Wife, what are you saying?"

"Husband," said she, "if I can't order the sun and moon to rise, and have to look on and see the sun and moon rising, I can't bear it. I shall not know what it is to have another happy hour, unless I can make them rise myself." Then she looked at him so terribly that a shudder ran over him, and said, "Go at once. I wish to be like unto God."

"Alas, wife," said the man, falling on his knees before her, "the flounder cannot do that. He can make an emperor and a pope. I beseech you, go on as you are, and be pope."

Then she fell into a rage, and her hair flew wildly about her head, she tore open her bodice, kicked him with her foot, and screamed, "I can't stand it, I can't stand it any longer. Will you go this instant.?"

Then he put on his trousers and ran away like a madman. But outside a great storm was raging, and blowing so hard that he could scarcely keep his feet. Houses and trees toppled over, the mountains trembled, rocks rolled into the sea, the sky was pitch black, and it thundered and lightened, and the sea came in with black waves as high as church-towers and mountains, and all with crests of white foam at the top. Then he cried, but could not hear his own words,

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, here to me.
For my wife, good ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."
"Well, what does she want, now?" said the flounder.

"Alas," said he, "she wants to be like unto God."

"Go to her, and you will find her back again in the pig-stye."

And there they are still living to this day.

Do you remember it? So many valuable lessons, packed into one story. One worth posting, I thought. Have a good day everyone

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Take 2

So here I am again. Revisiting the cheating thing. Because it's still in my head. (And yes, MM and are still fine. This is all still from that freaking movie I watched...)
So I am going to narrow it in, and see if that helps.
Emotional Cheating. WANTING to cheat, but not acting on it. Is it cheating?
I say, yes, it actually is.
Good, because that person doesn't do it. Bad. Because they want to.
To me, it indicates a loss of intimacy between the couple. A loss of that fine thread that seems to connect all the really happy couples that I see. Once your mind starts to wander in that direction, of looking at another person in 'that way'. It is, IMHO, stealing from the relationship you are in.
Does it mean the relationship is doomed? No. Not necessarily. It means that some serious work needs to be done.
It is a difficult situation.
Of course, the 'movie' situation was ridiculous.
Man and woman married for 20+ years. He is, of course, a soldier. He goes to Iraq, and she goes back to work. (becoming a nurse in a miracle amount of time). More annoyingly, she begins to "fall" for a doctor. She doesn't let herself, the doctor dies, right when her husband returns. He knows there is something wrong. She can't deny it. In the end, they prevail, and have a stronger marriage because of it. Blah blah blah.
So, emotional cheating. What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sisters, who needs 'em?

David, of authorblog wants to know, this weekend, if, as a child, I was afraid of the dark.

A resounding YES! would be my answer.
But I maintain, without sisters, I might not have been.

My sisters were overjoyed to scare the shit out of me on a regular basis. Frequent stories were told to me, that had my already very fertile imagination go into TOTAL overdrive.

For instance.
Did you know that Dracula had a brother? (according to my sisters.). He wore all white robes, and had vampire fangs that hung down to his knees. And he liked nothing better than the taste of young, blonde haired little girls. And he lived in MY closet. Yes indeed. All the monsters lived in my closet. But this guy, especially....

And one of my personal favorite memories:
Remember the old tale, that if you sit in front of a mirror, and chant "Bloody Mary, come and get me?" that Satan's wife would appear, and then behead you? (Once again, sisters).
The STAGED it.
when I was about 5 years old.
Middle sister laid under a bed, with her head underneath it, and the dust ruffle at her neck. To an already scared 5 year old, this was all it took to have me running for home crying. (They were at a friends house).
My childhood continued on like this. I was told stories on a regular basis. Ghost stories, horror stories. My Dad made the mistake of showing me "The Fall of the House of Usher", where a woman cries tears of blood, and scratches her way out of a coffin.
And they wonder why I would wake up in fright, in the dark, and start screaming
and why I had nightmares.
I wonder myself, if this is why I work nights, now?
(because I swear to you that vampire is STILL in my closet.)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Short Story Saturday

Angus' eyes widened in horror when the coach he was riding in started going at a speed no horse back at home could even dream of going. Gripping the cushions around him, he stared in fascination at the world that was going past his eyes through the windows around him. He yelped in surprise when the window in front of him started moving downward, revealing the smiling face of a woman.
"There is Guinness in the wet bar, as you usually request, Angus. Would you like me to stop somewhere so you can get a bite to eat?"
"Er, well. Em, is there a place where you can find me a Haggis?" he answered, still petrified at the speed they were going, and somehow sure that this woman had something to do with it.
"Haggis? Disgusting. You have been in Scotland too long, this trip. I was thinking of something more along the lines of In n Out burger"
"Burger?" parroted back Angus, unsure of what she meant.
"Good choice" said Daryl, closing the window back up between them. Angus, still in shock. leaned back into the seat, and awaited his next adventure.
Soon, a paper bag was handed back to him through the window. "I took the liberty of ordering your usual" said Daryl. "We will be back at your place, shortly".
"Good" he said, his mouth already full of the french fries that had been on the top of the bag". "How are these made?" he asked her, licking his fingers.
"They are french fries, Angus. So they are deep fried. You know that. Are you sure I should not take you to your doctor?"
"Nay. No doctor, just home. Please."
"Well, alright. But eat your burger" she instructed, doubtfully.
He did eat his burger, and all the fries. He thought they were heaven. However, he did not care for the sweet, sticky drink that came in the large, garish cup. Instead, he opened one of the bottles of Guinness Daryl had indicated were in the "mini bar". He rather enjoyed that beverage. Before long, they were pulling up in front of a large building, and Daryl was opening the door for him.
"There you go, home, sweet home" she said, and gave him a gentle push in the direction of the door. Before he could open it, it flew open and two little red headed freckled boys ran out the door to him
"Dad! Dad! You're home! Did you bring us anything?"
Angus did what any grown man would do at this point. He fainted.
Blearily blinking to refocus his eyes, Angus was happy to see trees over his head. Until a strange, yet beautiful woman leaned into his view.
"Angus, honey? are you alright?" she asked concern shining in her brown eyes. He noted her dark red hair, and easy smile. A name slowly came into his head. "Rhoslyn, right?" he asked her
"Of course, silly. Rhoslyn. Your wife".
"My wife". The thought echoed through his head, and he very nearly passed out again. Taking a few deep breaths, he regained his feet, only to have the two boys attach themselves to his legs. "Geordie, and Liam" he thought to himself. "My sons". Walking with them towards the house, he did his best to smile and laugh as different memories assaulted him at every moment. "Missy" the dog, "there is the tree we planted last year" "over there is where we buried the goldfish when the boys were 2". As he tried to hold onto the memories of home, of Scotland, the fresh trees, the highlands, he felt it, slipping away.... slowly replaced by the world that surrounded him.
By the time he got to the door, he had forgotten completely.
And somewhere, in the wilds of Scotland, a wolf howled mournfully, and a door, in an inn, glowed for a moment, then disappeared....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Mieography

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Devon, UK, daughter of a rich american stockbroker, and his British wife. She had 2 siblings, Monty and Madge. Her father died when she was eleven years old. She never claimed her U.S. citizenship through him.
Her mother educated her at home, encouraging her to write at a young age. When she was sixteen, she was sent to finishing school in Paris, to study singing, and the piano.
She was married, unhappily, in 1914 to Colonel Archibald Christie, and aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. They had one daughter. Agatha discovered her flyboy husband was having an affair, and they divorced. Her first book was published during her marriage.
During WW I she worked in a hospital, and in a pharmacy, both jobs influencing her writing. She often carried out her book murders with poison.
In 1926, Agatha dissapeared for eleven days, causing great alarm, especially as her car was found in a chalk pit. She was later found in a hotel, under the name of "Teresa Neele". She had a 'natural propensity' for depression, exacerbated, they report, by her mother's death and her husbands infidelity. (She had just learned of his affair. His mistress' last name? Neele). There is speculation about this 'breakdown'. Some to this day think it was merely a publicity stunt. Others speculate she was trying to make people believe her husband killed her, to get him back for his infidelity.
In 1930, she married an archaeologist by the name of Sir Max Mallowan. He was 14 years younger than her, and a Roman Catholic. (She was Anglican). They had a happy marriage, early on, and later, she tolerated his many affairs. He married one of his mistresses the year after she died.
The couple traveled extensively, giving her fodder for several novels, especially her Middle Eastern themed ones.
In 1971, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died of natural causes in 1976, at the age of 85. She wrote 67 full books, and published 160 short stories in her career. She also wrote numerous plays, and radio plays. And many, many many of her books have been made to movies....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Could be fun...

My oldest sister was telling me about something they have at her hospital now.
And I have serious envy over it.
No, this isn't a work related blog.

That something is a concierge. For nurses. At their hospital.
This person will actually go run errands for them. Pick up groceries. Dry cleaning. Arrange things for them, as needed. Need gas, didn't have time to stop for it?
Go ask the concierge.
Husband complaining because your out of his favorite coffee? Send out the concierge.
Of course, this option only open during the day time. (The night shift hospital workers frequently get the shaft).

Where I would actually like to have one of these, is here. At home.
I wouldn't even need one every day. Just, maybe, 2 or 3 days a week....
We have plenty of work for one of those.
For instance.
Last night, our concierge could have gone and picked up some car parts for us, so we could have enjoyed a leisurely dinner. On his way, he could have taken MG to her hair appointment.
The concierge could take miscreant puppies out for LONG WALKS.
He or she could go, and get puppy food, cat food, and any other grocery we needed.
The concierge could have, at my insistence, put up my new closet rod, so that a tired MM didn't have to do it at almost 10 o' Clock last night. (after a hasty dinner, car parts, and hair being done).

But, as much fun as it might sound, it would probably get old, after awhile.
So we will just have to continue being our own (and each others) concierge.
Besides. The pay is probably better. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday-Tiki style

tiki toilet- this is the lovely porta potty arranged for by THE Camikaos....

mie cup, the tiki drink I could not finish. :(

the blogfather, and Holls

tiki tiki tiki

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones

It's pretty well known that MM and I are both Jeep drivers. His other vehicle is a truck. A truck tall enough that I need a milk crate to crawl up in it.
Yesterday, for the first time in probably 8 years, I drove a car.
A 1993 Honda Accord. With a bag of rocks to hold the trunk shut. (crunched back end).
A car we got cheap, because it gets good gas mileage. A car we call "The Hoopty".
I felt so short! So low to the ground! I was feeling like I could shove my feet through the floorboards and run to start it.
I was taking MG's friend, Irish, home, and another thing I had forgotten is that the usual route to take her home, the shorter route, is down this raucous dirt road. A dirt road we go down frequently, (in our Jeeps, that is). It was an interesting ride in this low to the ground Hoopty.
I used to drive "regular" cars. That's all I had really ever driven. I've had a Ford Escort, a Volvo, this ugly grey mini station wagon, and my personal favorite, a looooooong wiiiiiiiiiide YELLOW Ford LTD, circa 1976. I could fit so many people in that car. And it rode so smooth.
But I've gotten so used to being "taller" now in my vehicles. My car before the Jeep was also an SUV, a Saturn VUE. I like the view from "up there". I am used to getting "up" in my car, now. Not lowering myself into it.
I'm spoiled....
I love my Jeep.
BUT. truthfully? The Hoopty was kind of fun to drive...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bad Egg

So here
is the story.
We all realize was going to Portland, Friday. Right. Right?
Flight wasn't leaving until 6:55 pm. Plenty of time for Mustang Girl's freshman orientation at the high school. MM and I got up, and took her over there. I was experiencing a few SNAFU's early in the day. But not a whole lot of them.
Until breakfast.
We went to one of our favorite places, a place most of the town frequents on a very regular basis. THE place for breakfast. They have a daily special, eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, pancakes. The usual. I went for that. Breakfast came fast, and hot. I was hungry, I ate. Most of it. Except, the eggs. They just didn't taste "right" to me, somehow. So I left probably about half.
2 hours later, I sure as hell realized why. I was, to put it nicely, worshiping the porcelain princess.
People of blogland, I have not felt worse in a freaking LONG TIME.
So there I was puking up my toenails, sicker than a dog, and mad as a hatter. We'd paid for our flight, and hotel room. WE WERE GOING.
But, I new I was going to have to give up something. And, that is why I was not at the Kaos household Friday night for our pre arranged taping of Strange Love. By the time we'd gotten to PDX I was just DONE. I'd had the foresight to call Cami and beg off that afternoon.
I was feeling run down when we got to the hotel, but cheered to see the sight of my Gran, and my Uncle B. I sat and didn't eat my dinner (just could not get much down) and bantered back and forth with the uncle.
The next day was better. Kind of.
Still wasn't really going at full steam, I actually TRIED to drink a tiki drink, but after a few hours of sipping and nursing it through I gave in and switched to water. (I did manage a Gin Zing later, however...). But the tiki was nice. In addition to my Gran, and my uncle, my Aunt S, and her 2 daughters came as well. And of course Nana Kaos was there. MM and MG got to meet them all for the first time. It was really nice.
I also met the lovely Miss Burrows, and her handsome husband, who seemed to be everywhere, helping out.
For those of you that were there that I didn't meet, I must apologize. I was not feeling myself, and was just not up to seeking people out and trying to make conversation. I stuck mainly with family, who realized that I was incapacitated.
Post cards, though.
They did get written.
We were not intoxicated. But I was cautiously sipping my Gin Zing as we wrote.
They are not as funny as last years.
But you'll get them....

Oh and wordless wednesday will boast a few tiki oriented pictures....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Mieography

This story has interested me for a long time.

This is Liza Dalby. She is an American Anthropologist, and novelist. She specializes in Japanese culture. She wrote a dissertation on "The Institution of the Geisha in Modern Japanese Society.
She is also the ONLY non japanese woman to ever be a geisha.
She first went to Japan when she was a teenager, living for a year with a family on the island of Kyushu. She was the first, and only foreign student at Saga University. She knew only the barest bones of Japanese when she got there, and found the first few months fairly difficult. While she was there, she heard the sound of a Japanese instrument, the Shamisen, for the first time. She loved it, and her host family arranged for her to receive lessons.
When she returned from Japan, she enrolled at Swathmore college, in the field of Cultural Anthropology. She went back to Japan for her junior year, this time to Tokyo. After finishing at Swathmore, she continued on to graduate school at Stanford University. This is when she decided to do her dissertation on the Geisha.
Working hard, she earned the trust of the Geisha, and they wished her to represent them properly to the western countries. They wanted her to have a firm understanding of their world, so they encouraged her to borrow appropriate kimono, and take her shamisen to the teahouses with them. She even had a "big sister", Ichiume. She was known as Ichigiku. She spent much time as a novice geisha, doing her research, but was never "formally" given the title.
She received a Ph.D from Stanford, in 1978, and took a teaching position at the University of Chicago. She married a fellow professor, Michael Dalby. During this time, she wrote a book called "Geisha". She followed that one up with a book called Kimono- Fashoning Culture. And in 2000, she put out her third book, The Tale of Murasaki.
She was also a consultant to Rob Marshall for the film, "Memoirs of a Geisha".