Archive for April, 2009

a footnote…

April 29, 2009

I had a discussion with my husband last night about my last blog entry.  It’s been hard on him, the unyielding expectations I have of him to read and comment on my blog, but, too bad!  Isn’t it his duty as my husband to read my blog!  If only he reads it and responds kindly then I might keep it going.  No pressure here!

So I forward him the link after each new entry, followed by a verbal cue – “Hey, honey, I’ve made another blog entry!”  And then I wait –  sit, chatting at the hearth with him through the evenings,  extending bedtime, waiting for him to say something about my latest blog …  Good job, wife!  Keep writing! It’s great that you are writing your blog, ignoring dinner! (etc.)  Well, he’s my resident critic, right?  Shouldn’t he be?

So last night he was out with it:  “I am glad that you are writing, but I don’t want to be your critic.  I don’t want to tell you what I think of your blog, whether it’s good or not, or how to make it better” … “I did read your latest entry.”

“And … ?  I responded with expectant eyes.

“Well, some of it’s good.”  (Some?)  “… Okay so that word you used, ‘sprinter,’ quoting your brother, to describe our season now – I was there when he said it, and you got it wrong.”  (What?) … “The word isn’t  ‘sprinter,’  he continued.  ” It is ‘spwinter.’  The season we have here is  ‘spwinter!’  Spring in Idaho is just like winter, and ‘spwinter’ captures it, and that’s what your brother calls it. ”

My husband continued, “The term, ‘sprinter,’  leaves the reader confused. You got the wrong word there and that’s the most remarkable thing about your last blog  entry.” (Ouch!)

I slept on it.  Crap! He’s right!  ‘Sprinter’ is the word for one who sprints.  We are certainly not sprinting into spring or summer.  (Unless we sprinted through three seasons in the four warm days we had and are now back to winter.  Ugh!)   Great.  Well, it’s just a wrong word, and it won’t do!  So what do I do?  Go back and change it  in my blogs?  Can’t do it!  Have to go forward! (Must spend time right now explaining it in this blog and, aw, too bad.  Now there’s no time left to handle any responsibilities around the house –  cleaning the toilets, for starters, would have been a good thing – Darn it!)

Well anyway, just wanted to make that  correction:  The season is ‘spwinter.’  Now I can jet off into my day.  With a new word:  GREEN! That last snow melted to uncover the greenest Idaho landscape I have ever seen.  It must have been green like this in previous Idaho late Aprils or Mays, but I don’t recall.  Daffodils, hyacinths, tulips (and dandelions!) are bursting out everywhere.  The trees are coming out too!  I believe it actually is spring!

My ‘Sprinter’ … Dream?

April 27, 2009
April 26, 2009

April 26, 2009

So we’re Baaaack home now from our trip to Arizona! With a ‘fresh’ start – Ah yes! This morning, our first morning back, we awoke to … well, see for yourself.  I shot this picture out our kitchen window – see the tulips ’round our flowering (not) crab tree!  My thoughts are swirling in my head like a spring blizzard – I’m in a ‘sprinter’ mind jumble – and my thought-censoring button is flashing as I write this blog : “Caution!” – “No!” Don’t say that!” But hey, we wouldn’t want my young, budding blog to die a silent, cold, ‘sprinter’ death right here, right now, would we?

Speaking of ‘budding’ and ‘dying a silent, cold,’sprinter’ death,’ I must say, transplanting those hyacinths in my garden two or so weeks ago turned out to be a bad idea. The hyacinths would have done fine growing up co-joined with the tulips compared to, uh, dead. They  look like, uh, well, accidents that should never have happened.   I hope they come up next year. But then if I hadn’t separated them from their Siamese tulip twins and transplanted them this year then next spring (sprinter) I would be like, “Oh, there’s those dumb hyatulips again!” Now I know: Transplant them after they have bloomed and waned,  if I must. Hyatulips, though, are harmless and likely lovable just the way they are – that’s what I know now. I am the one with the problem! How about pluck me out of the garden! Well, to be honest, I suspect my two-green-thumbed-gardening-dynamo neighbor would not be pleased with hyatulips sprouting in her garden.

We had a great trip to Phoenix, Arizona (which, even though we returned yesterday,  now feels like a distant memory).  We stayed in a condo at South Mountain in Tempe. I learned a few things too. First of all, concerning carry-on liquids, everyone who flies knows that you MUST CARRY NO MORE THAN 3.4 FLUID OUNCES AND ALL LIQUIDS MUST GO THROUGH SECURITY SEALED IN QUART (ONLY) ZIP LOCK BAGS. Which I followed. I faithfully laid all my quart ziplocked liquids in the security bins. I took off my shoes, and my watch and my belt and held up my pants so as to kindly not expose my aging butt crack while transporting myself through security. I also just had to bring my Paul Mitchell mousse on vacation to volumnize my fine hair, at least while I still have hair. And I figured I had about 3 ounces of mousse left in my 8-oz foaming can (tucked inside my suitcase) and so I was good. But NOOOOOOO. I learned (while standing barefoot still holding up my pants) from the security agent digging in my suitcase to confiscate my mousse, that they go by CONTAINER size, not by the amount of liquid.

I must make a plug for a restaurant in Tempe called Z-Tegas, on I-10 and Ray Road – where we had a delicious lunch. We took an overnight side trip up to Sedona and Flagstaff – stayed in Uptown Sedona with its exquisite red rocks and shopping and … more shopping!  Not much night life, unless you enjoy window shopping by lamplight, although The Cowboy Club in Uptown Sedona was a great dinner spot.

We hiked on South Mountain in Tempe- before 11 AM, as the temperatures rose to a hundred degrees.  A hundred degrees! We played several vicious games of scrabble with my husband’s 96-year-old mother who lives near Tempe and I vowed after my pathetic last-place scores to start unscrambling the daily jumbles in the newspaper (or the jumbles in my head, whichever comes first). We did other stuff that tourists do, and thoroughly enjoyed our week in the hot temperatures.  A week in the hot temperatures! Really?  Or was it all just a jumbled-up  ‘sprinter’ dream?

Sprinter Chills … er … Fever

April 14, 2009

Our crocuses came up! Yay!! They are white and purple and perky! Although my transplanted hyancinths are not doing so great. The buds look like dried prunes and the leaves are spreadeagled on the dirt, all yellowish and crinkly. Oh well. As I said, teach them to end up in my garden! We’ve had some ‘moisture’ (okay so it’s snowing again today). I’m coming to know this season as my brother calls it: ‘Sprinter.’ We had two days at Easter in the lower sixties before the temps took a 20-degree dive.

But hey, I’m fixin’ to go to Arizona for a week starting this weekend. I plan to bring at least a suitcase of hot air back with me. Well, not, actually, since my carry-on suitcase will be crammed to the gills with my 7-day stuff. There are three of us going – me, my hubby and our daughter. The plane tickets through Delta were quite reasonably priced except we will be charged 25 bucks each way for each bag we check. Cha-ching! That amounts to 150 extra bucks if we each check one bag! So I guess we are doing carry-on, as I assume most everyone else will be too. Will there be dashing and elbowing and gnashing of teeth in the quest to claim precious overhead space? (Okay let’s hope not. I’ll try to behave myself.)

I decided to shop this past week for something new to wear on the trip – a new pair of stylish walking sandals, perhaps, and a new summer purse would be fun. Yeah, fun for others, watching me clomp across the airport terminal in my new stiletto sandals, with my new tire-sized purse slamming me in the hip with each stride, jerking me off balance. Hey everybody! Watch this 55-yr-old woman trying to look hip in her 4-inch wedgies and gargantuan tote, sprain her ankle, collapse, and cry while on the way to her gate, or better yet, sprain her ankle after boarding the plane, while clawing her way down the center aisle, likely knocking out seated passengers with her purse, to get to the fast-fleeting-free-space in the overhead compartment near her seat.

Hey, I’m just kidding. It’s all good.

But, seriously! What’s with all the stilettos and 4-inch wedgie shoes and backpack-sized handbags for women that are filling the store shelves? I’m going fogey and out-of-style on this one, pulling out my 5-yr-old clunky Birkenstocks with the two straps that transverse the top of my foot, albeit, darn it, I never was able to get that giant grease spot out of one of them. But hey, I should be able to manage my out-of-date purse and carry-on suitcase through the airport check-in and terminal without crippling myself. I’d better just stay nice too, since, stilettos or not, I can’t lift my suitcase up into the overhead compartment.

Hyatulips, Crocuses and Dog Turds

April 6, 2009

Ah, spring is here! Out with the snow shovels (one can hope) and in with the … well, mess in the yard and on the back deck behind the southwest end of the house, I found out today. I’ve been glancing out our kitchen window all weekend watching the 5-inch snowfall from two days ago melt away. I ventured out this afternoon in our sunny, bright, best-spring-we-can-hope-for-whopping-47-degree weather, intent on investigating a mystery – which, let’s call it, “The mystery of the Caraher family’s indubitably invisible crocuses” Yeah … I planted the crocus bulbs last fall, so where are the bloomin’ (not) things now? How else are we supposed to know it’s spring around here with our 5-inch April snow falls and such?

My neighbor across the street, the ‘two-green-thumbed-dynamo,’ pretty much has the spring signal thing covered with her fluffy cloistered bunches of yellow crocuses singing out spring!!! beyond her front bushes. And that’s nice. Except they have been blooming for three weeks and are waning now, which might indicate that my crocuses, still invisible, are a hopeless cause, at least for this year. I’m not going to have a crisis over it, though. I figure I either (a) planted the bulbs too deep or (b) planted the bulbs too shallow or (c) didn’t water the bulbs enough when I planted them or (d) watered the bulbs too much when I planted them or (e) maybe got bad bulbs or (f) maybe they’ll come up next year or (g) maybe they aren’t crocuses.

So there I was in the back yard, checking things out, soaking up the sunshine with my pasty bare arms. Oh! The tulips I planted last fall with the invisible crocuses are up! So are the, um, hyacinths, the ones I added last fall to the bed which already had tulips – except I didn’t know where the tulips were when I planted the hyacinths, but I do know now, since I see several tulips and hyacinths are coming up as … Siamese twins, co-joined at the bulb. “Hyatulips” is what I have! Wait a minute. That won’t do! So I carefully dug … uh, rip-rooted … up a few hyacinths and transplanted them to more pleasing locations. And now I will gather my “Experimental Data From Transplanted Hyacinths With Root Lobotomies.” The poor things. Oh well. Teach them to end up in my garden!

Then I decided to turn my attention to removing the ‘quack’ or ‘crab’ grass (so named for what it turns the person into, trying to pull it out?) taking over the same center back garden that houses the tulips and invisible crocuses. I squatted over one clump of crab grass about the size of a small muffin, tore at it with both hands, twisted and pulled at it, digging my feet in and … fell backwards empty handed. Okay! So I need a hoe!

I arose from my haunches to fetch the hoe, and on my third stride toward the tools, I stepped in a dog turd. Glancing across the back yard I could see, of course, scores of turds – little prizes the dog had deposited in the snow all through the winter months, which were now laid bare and grounded by the thaw. Another sure sign of spring. All right! I’m not gonna collect dog shit all over my shoes. I charged into the house and back out again, donned for battle with rubber gloves and a plastic bag. I began plucking wet turds out of the grass and flinging them into the bag like a one-armed turd-flinging maniac. The turds settled in a deadened heap in the bottom of the bag, and a thick dog turd scent wafted up and filled my nostrils …”Ahhhhh!” After clearing the turds, I returned to the task of locating the hoe.

The hoe, of course, was stacked among 10 other rusty long-handled lawn tools in a corner on the back deck on southwest end of the house, buried behind the mower, wheelbarrow, two bikes, six wrought iron deck chairs and three tables, the grass catcher, the lawn spreader, a large bag of charcoal, and two twenty-pound bags of garden soil, that had all been stored there for the winter.

I looked at that mess, turned, and hot-footed it towards the garage, thinking that’s where I might find the ‘Roundup.’ I did want to get rid of that crabgrass before it took over the whole garden. You know, in case the crocuses do come up.

The ‘Big ‘N’ Nasty’

April 1, 2009

I don’t go to McDonald’s much. The only time I go is with my daughter, usually for lunch. We used to go there regularly, on Saturdays or when she had a day off school. She graduated from High School in 2008. I noticed we had stopped going to McDonald’s after she graduated. When given a choice she would likely choose Burger King or Subway. I asked her about that the other day. She said, “I stopped going after I saw Supersize Me five times in High School.” (The documentary by Morgan Spurlock, who ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days and gained 30 pounds.) “How is it you saw it five times?” I inquired. She explained that she had seen it in her Health class, P.E. class, the Cooking class, her Language Arts class, and then once more, maybe again in P.E. Well they surely got the message across, didn’t they! Maybe the school administrators or teachers figured if they showed it that many times they could eventually reach every student with the message, including all the incessantly truant kids, likely hanging out at McDonald’s.

Well anyway, this past Saturday we ended up at McDonald’s ordering lunch – my daughter, her girlfriend, and I. They both knew what they wanted. I gazed up at the colorful, neon-lit menu sprawled along the ceiling behind the cashier and was first thinking I could pass on food, but no, I was pretty hungry, maybe I could find a hamburger equivalent to a Burger King ‘Whopper.’ I was craning my neck, scanning the menu – I didn’t want a ‘meal’, where WERE the plain hamburgers? Oh, there’s something new… a ‘Big ‘N’ – What?’ I heard the girls order – “I’ll have a chicken ranch salad, with water, oh, and I want to buy a Happy Meal toy” said one. “I’ll have a hamburger, ketchup only, and a coke, make that a small coke!” said the other. The shy, handsome, dark-haired, strapping male taking our order looked to be about 20, the same age as my daughter. He turned and looked at me to take my order. Pressure! What to get? “There!” I declared, doing a little sword-dance in the air around his head with my index finger, “I’ll take a ‘Big ‘N” Nasty!'”

Now I knew that didn’t sound right, and I noticed the cashier was standing there expressionless as a post. My daughter was tapping me on my upper arm, saying, “Mom!”

“Oh my!” I corrected myself, my eyes still groping at the menu. “I mean, uh, I’ll have a ‘Big ‘N’ Tasty!'”

I’ve also had a problem lately with newspaper headlines. Well, more of a problem than usual. Of course, some days it’s just better not to look at the headlines, read the news, it’s so bleak. So maybe my brain just wants me to lighten up with my worries over the near-sunk economy, greedy and crooked CEO’s, two seemingly hopeless wars, volcanic eruptions and other random catastrophic acts of nature, and the fact that seven states have now seen the topless rate jump above ten per cent. Oh, wait a minute – topless? No … jobless!

The other morning, while reading the paper at the kitchen table, I had a particularly difficult time getting the headlines straight. Maybe I was overly-distracted by the glob of hardened jam I had run into with my left elbow, which, if I didn’t rise immediately to wipe up, would undoubtedly end up trapping the paper and, with any subsequent move, ripping a strip out of a back page feature article. Or maybe I just wanted to ‘throw a goat’s eye’ (a Swedish expression) on the headlines, so to speak, so I could imagine “Thousands Freeing Fargo Floods.” (Hey, that would be their prerogative given all those strident miles-long sandbagging efforts to trap the flood in the first place.) I found myself pondering the headline, “Japan Prepares for Rocket Lunch,” and the positive possibilities this could hold for the fast food industry. Another headline resonated, “FAA Aims to Keep Mom on Bird Strikes.” Excellent strategy!

I discovered later, watching the evening news with my husband, that trying to comprehend all that stuff coming out of Charlie Gibson’s mouth interferes with my thinking about things – like the rising topless rate and the flood in Fargo being set free. Wouldn’t that be great to order lunch at your favorite restaurant to be launched by rocket to your office or front door? I’m a mom. I bet I could help the FAA solve their problems with bird strikes – or are they really just going to keep mum about it?

And I’m also wondering if I should tell the folks at McDonald’s that the only thing they could truly offer for lunch that might possibly satisfy me is a ‘Big ‘N’ Nasty.’ Hey! I’m 55. I’m a mom. And I know my shit.