Friday, July 31, 2009

Beer Summit

"All was going smoothly until Joe Biden stopped by and asked Professor Gates if he knew where he could score some weed . . . "

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Very Special Dvorak Update

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may recall that I’ve been making the transition from using a standard “qwerty” typewriting keyboard to the Dvorak layout.
Here it is:

I’ve practiced just about every day, trying to pick up my speed and I’m averaging about 60-65 words per minute on Dvorak. That’s still not up to my Qwerty speed, but all good things will come eventually.

Anyway, I’ve been awfully excited over this endeavor but no one else seems to share my enthusiasm or interest in the Dvorak keyboard.

I was all alone in this exciting endeavor and I really wanted someone I could share this with.
But who?

There had to be someone. . . .

How about my typing teacher from high school?

I had taken Typing I and Typing II from her during my freshman and sophomore years and I was one of her better students. Surely, she would be interested in my conversion to the Dvorak keyboard!

I looked her up. She still had the same phone number. (Her son and I had been friends since the 5th grade.)

So, yes, I called up my typing teacher from 35 years ago so that I could have someone to talk about the Dvorak keyboard with.

She was now in her early seventies, remembered me well, and was happy to hear from me. I told her how valuable her typing courses had been. (and they were – in Typing II, we learned how to type business letters, college research papers, resumes, cover letters and the like.)

I told her about the Dvorak keyboard and, yes, she found that interesting.

Then, she told me that her husband and her son both passed away back in 1991.
I listened and it was really nice to hear her open up to me and tell me how difficult all that had been.

Then, she told me that last year, she was diagnose with advanced breast cancer and how difficult all the past months of chemotherapy had been.

She told me that she’s been seeing someone now for four years in another town and how supportive he’s been.

My typing teacher from 35 years ago and I talked on the phone for over two hours. We really connected. I ended up calling to tell her about the stupid Dvorak keyboard and, instead, I ended up with a new friend.

I agreed to stop by for a visit when I go down to Texas next month. I’m really looking forward to it.

(I’ll be sure to bring my Dvorak keyboard.)


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Grand Slam Idea

Have you heard about the guy in New Jersey who is suing Denny’s over the amount of salt they put in their food?

Okay, this guy in New Jersey is suing Denny’s over the amount of salt they put in their food.

He’s 48 years old, has high blood pressure and is a regular patron of Denny’s. He favors the Moons Over My Hammy breakfast and was absolutely shocked and appalled to learn that it basically contains more salt than the entire state of Utah.

He said he wouldn’t have ordered it if he had known it was so bad for him.

Now, it just seems to me that if you have high blood pressure, you shouldn’t be selecting menu items that contain the word “ham” in any form. Or any meat in the SALT-CURED category.


After further reading, I was also pretty amazed to learn how much sodium Denny’s uses in their food. For example, two pancakes contain half the recommended amount that you should be eating in an entire day.

That’s right. Two pancakes.

If you eat a turkey melt with seasoned fries and a bowl of their clam chowder, you’ve eaten five days worth of sodium allotment right there.

But still, I think this fellow has a lot of gall to be shocked over the amount of sodium contained in his SALT-CURED meat-based breakfast.

He thinks Denny’s should list the amount of sodium contained in each menu item.

But how effective would it really be to say “contains 3,500 milligrams of sodium” in fine print under the turkey melt? After all, Americans can’t do the metric system whatsoever. They might think that’s a good thing.

Perhaps they should just write in big purple print across the photos on the menu:
“This sandwich will kill you”

I have a better idea. I think Denny’s should add an extra tax to each item according to how bad it is for you.

Oatmeal and a fruit cup?
No tax.

A Super-Slam Meat Lover’s Breakfast?
An extra five dollars tax. Maybe ten.

That would send a pretty clear message.

Then, all this tax revenue could fund a national, universal healthcare plan.

After all, if you’re middle aged, have high blood pressure and order a breakfast centered around SALT-CURED meat, you’ll be chipping in to the national healthcare plan more than the oatmeal-and-fruit-cup people.

I would be in favor of that and, yes, I’ve been known to grand-slam a Denny’s breakfast or two in my time.

I should be president.


Friday, July 24, 2009

This is Brilliant!

This composer in Lithuania recorded his cat playing the piano and then wrote an entire orchestral accompaniment around it.

I told Miss Healthypants and Iwanski that I wanted to borrow one of their cats so I could do the same.

The soloist (pictured) is named Nora.

Anyway, this is one of the most creative and charming things I've seen in a long time.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The other day, the temperature had climbed above 80 degrees which made it much too hot to walk the requisite five blocks to the grocery store. I just don’t “do” hot weather. So, I hopped online to Peapod, our nifty grocery delivery service and began filling out my order.

Peapod is really great. They have everything. A jicama? It’s there. Organic game hens? Just click on their little bodies and they’ll be delivered.

Although the prices are a little, well, pricey, the delivery charges are pretty nominal. You just select a two-hour window when you want your delivery and it’ll be there.

As I was clicking things into my virtual shopping cart, I thought about my grandmother (“Budgie”) in my little bitty home town. Budgie would have just loved Peapod.

The thing is, we had a wonderful grocery delivery service in my little bitty home town. We only had one grocery store but they would deliver and Budgie often took advantage of that.

She was not a lazy woman by any means. It’s just that she was such an extrovert and loved people so much – grocery shopping would only take up valuable time that she could have been spending with her friends.

We could phone up the grocery store by dialing “201” (you only had to dial three numbers for a local call) and Budgie would place her order.

She would request a “Sunday roast” and the butcher would know that it meant a large shoulder cut. If she ordered a watermelon, they would place it in the cooler ahead of time because they knew she liked them cold. (Budgie and I adored watermelon.)

Off she would go, looking in on friends, on elderly people that needed looking in on, and the groceries would arrive.

The thing is, it didn’t matter if no one was home. They would come in the back door, leave the groceries in a box on the counter and even put the cold items in the fridge and the frozen things in the freezer.

She had a “yard man”, an elderly fellow named Ham-Bone, and if he was around he would accept the delivery. But Ham-Bone’s presence was not required.

Everyone had a charge account at the grocery store. If I was sent on my bike to procure a loaf of bread, I could just tell the clerk to charge it to Budgie’s account. Once a month or so, she’d stop by and pay the bill.

Forty years later, I’m sitting at the computer filling out my order. I glanced at Budgie’s note pad on my desk - - the one she got from the grocery store and had by her telephone for decades.
I still have it.

I’d have to click on just the right item or else I might end up with Soy Moo instead of Silk soy milk. The Peapod people won’t know automatically what I really would have wanted.

I’d have to be home during the two-hour time slot for they surely won’t leave it with the security guard if I’m not there. He’s certainly no Ham-Bone.

I wanted a watermelon so I clicked on that.

$8.99 for a little watermelon?? Are you kidding me??

(Budgie would have flipped out over that)

I may not like hot weather, but I’m cheap.

I got my lazy butt to the store.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Urban Legend that is True

For years, I had heard about Dr. Joyce Jones who has been a long-time organ professor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

I had heard through a friend of mine who is an organist in Dallas that Dr. Jones would often play “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” during her performances.

What’s so sensational about that? Lots of people can play The Flight of the Bumblebee. (Hell, I can even play Bumblebee) It’s tricky, but not insurmountable.

The thing is, Dr. Jones would play it on the organ - - -
- - - on the pedals!

Like I said, I had heard about this for years and assumed it was some sort of organ urban legend.

That is, until I came across someone here in Chicago who actually studied with her and confirmed that, yes, she does indeed play Bumblebee on the pedals.

“It’s on Youtube,” he said.

And indeed it was.

The thing that really blew me away, (besides the fact that she plays in on the pedals) is that she plays it so fast!

Oh my goodness. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Bumblebee played this fast with fingers, much less with feet.

This woman must have calves and quads made of steel.

(The embedding feature doesn't seem to work, so please click here to watch it.)

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Monday, July 20, 2009


I’ve really enjoyed blogging these past few years and have made some wonderful friends along the way.

Last year, I joined Facebook and it’s been okay. I’ve re-connected with some friends from college with whom I may not have done so otherwise.

But what do you say to someone from high school (who you barely knew) facebooks you out of the blue with “Hey, what’s new?”

What’s new?

Thirty-two years of stuff has happened!

Heavy sigh . . .

“Well, after graduation, I broke up with Judy . . .”


One Giant Leap

Forty years ago today, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon and announced those famous words, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

(If he had landed nowadays, one would hope that non gender-specific language would have surely been employed: “That’s one small step for a human; one giant leap for humanity.”)

It was one of those seminal moments where, if you were alive back then, you can always remember right where you were when it happened.

I was ten yours old and we were at a relative's lake house near our family’s ranch in South Texas on that hot summer night. My aunt and uncle and cousins were all there and I can still remember watching that shadowy figure on a black & white portable TV that my dad had set up on the front porch.

It was pretty amazing that the NASA program was able to pull that off forty years ago. After all, the space ships back then had less computing power than today’s rectal thermometers.

Like I said, we can all remember Neil Armstrong descending that ladder, but does anyone remember Buzz Aldrin’s ladder descent just a few moment’s later?

I didn’t think so.

The second one always gets overlooked. Just ask anyone from Nagasaki or Gomorrah.

Anyway, here is a video of Buzz Aldrin becoming the second person to ever step upon the moon’s surface.

Oh, and remember the iconic flag that they planted on the moon’s surface – the one that was to remain there forever and ever as a symbol of U.S. supremacy?

They placed it too close to the space ship. It got blown over when the lunar module took off.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Behold and Lo

When it comes to anything to do with home remodeling, painting, refurbishing, I will admit that I have compiled five complete decades of ineptitude along these lines.

Really, I am not kidding.

My Meyers-Briggs psychological profile really substantiates the fact that I pretty much don't respond to any outside physical stimuli or surroundings.

(I am an I-N-F-J with all 20 points in the 'N' and zero points in the "S")--the evaluators have said that they've never seen that configuration before.

I never really wanted children or an herb garden anyway. Apparently, I shouldn't be responsible for either.

I enjoy constructing things because it involves physical thinking in the abstract. When I was eight years old, I could make an Erector Set or Tinkertoys just "sing" as long as I didn't have to follow instructions.

I barely passed high school Algebra. (I think I actually failed Algebra II). I made a D in Chemistry.
I aced Geometry and recall arriving at shorter proofs than the teacher.

When it comes to actual realization of physicality, I'm pretty much a gonner -- I might "see" something but I'm pretty much clueless as to what it truly is.

I cannot draw worth a dern.

I have lived in my new apartment for two months now, have spent countless hours painting the bathroom, and it was just yesterday that I noticed that the tiles on the bathtub and the floor were a different color. I had always presumed they were the same but, lo and behold, they're not.

Why do we always say 'lo and behold'?

Do we really know what that means?

"I had always presumed they were the same but, behold and lo, they're not."

OOooh. I like that, don't you?

Don't you just love it when a little twist or unexpected inversion makes you think of things just a little differently?

Anyway, when I moved into my new apartment, the bathroom walls were an absolute mess. Of course, I didn't think so because they just looked 'white' to me.

But my gay buddies Who Know Everything About Interior Creation came to my rescue.

They swooped in and told me that my bathroom walls were a white disaster -- that there were dings and uneven lines everywhere. Someone had apparently taken hammer to the wall at some point.


I needed to contact an Emergency Spackling Consortium before I could even THINK of applying primer which would THEN enable me to paint my bathroom but ONLY if I got the right level of eggshell semi-gloss.

Oh my God!

Then, I discovered that some of the wall beside the bathtub actually had to be repaired.

Walls being repaired.??

Okay, this is completely outside of my skills set.

I had to, first, figure out if my wall was sheetrock or regular wall-wall.

I couldn't paint a straight line to save me.

But I spackled and re-spackled and sanded and re-spackled and sanded some more until it looked smooth.

Then I applied primer.

Then I took a sedative, took a week off, changed therapists, and had food delivered.

THEN I painted my little bathroom Van Deusen Blue.

Then I went to Bed Bath & Beyond-My-Budget and actually bought towels to match.
(my previous towels were from Target and were aqua and chocolate, so picture that)

Here is my new bathroom. It used to be completely white with lines and pot holes and a really nasty toilet paper dispenser.

Now, check it out! See how smooth the walls are? They weren't like that at all before.

I also had to re-do the dressing room. It had horrible white walls as well.

I told Speck that I liked the color "apricot" and she kindly informed me that I was SO living in the eighties.


My dressing room is NOT apricot - - it's a very expensive shade called Tooty Fruity that my gay buddies Who Know Everything About Interior Creation picked out for me when I told them that I liked apricot so they got me this shade called Tooty Fruity.

(But it's really a faaaabulous shade of apricot and I love it.)

Doesn't that look fantastic??
This room used to be white with all sorts of banged-up walls.

Notice the faux crown molding along the ceiling? Speck taught me how to do that. Also the faux trim along the bottom. See how smooth and shiny those walls are?
That's all ME, baby.

BTW -- If any of you ever come over, do NOT touch that lower towel rack because it will fall off.

I don't know how to really install new towel racks yet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Back when I lived in Austin, Texas, I had the opportunity of encountering one of the strangest and most intriguing persons I’ve ever known.

Her name was Carolyn and she was a friend of a friend of mine. The two of them had known each other since they were both kids in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Anyway, Carolyn was about 25 years old, had long red hair, was a little overweight and, aside from reminding me of Morris the Cat, was a rather plain looking individual.

Here’s the strange thing about Carolyn: She was a bona-fide recluse.

Here parents in Corpus Christi were wealthy and supplied her with enough money for rent and utilities. I think they intended for their daughter to actually get a job, but Carolyn lived extremely frugally. She ate little else than rice and beans and somehow managed to eke out an existence from her parent’s allowance without having to get a job.

She lived in a rented three-bedroom house in an older neighborhood all by herself.

What did Carolyn do all day, you might ask?

She read books.

That’s it. She was obsessed with reading novels. It didn’t matter what type of novel or the subject-matter – she read it. All day long, she did nothing but read novels.

Apparently, she belonged to a book-trading club and would actually venture out of the house to procure her books. It became apparent how obsessed she was with reading novels when my friend stopped by to check on her and I got to see the inside of her house.

We arrived and there was Carolyn, sitting on the front porch reading a book. She glared at me with baleful eyes, not unlike Morris the Cat.

Every room was crammed with paperback books. She had dozens of these cheap metal bookshelves that reached to the ceilings. Every room of the house was totally filled with shelf after shelf of paperback books.

She also had several cats, all of whom she refused to clean up after. There were several litter boxes brimming with pussycat-doots, causing the entire book-laden house to reek. The sink overflowed with unwashed dishes smeared with rice and beans.

As I said, Carolyn was a recluse. Except for procuring books, she seldom left the house - - except on Friday nights.

What did she do on Friday nights, you might ask?

Every Friday night, she would attend, without fail, a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (remember that old thing?).

She had no intention of dating anyone, though I would imagine that any prospective suitor would flee the scene after encountering those litter boxes.

In order to ward off any interested parties, she employed the following technique: If any guy showed interest in her, she would simply tell him that she was a lesbian.

“What about if a lesbian came on to her?” I asked my friend. (After all, she attended Rocky Horror every Friday night and would ward off any interested guy by telling him she was a lesbian.)

In that case, she would still say she was a lesbian, “but only politically.”


So, that is a short description of Carolyn.

I wondered what would happen to her if Rocky Horror quit showing.

I didn’t like the fact that she glared at me like a fat, orange tabby cat.

I secretly wished that her rich parents would cut her off, forcing her to get off her butt, put down the book, and get a job for crying out loud. (And clean out the litter boxes while she’s at it)

But, in all honesty, I was a little bit jealous of Carolyn.

After all, there was a small, disaffected part of me that wished I never had to interact with anyone and could do nothing but read books all day.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sears Tower Attraction Closed

It's been a while since I wrote a satire article. This one, however, was inspired by personal experience.

Sears Tower Attraction Closed Due to Multiple Injuries

CHICAGO IL - A sudden rash of injuries has forced officials of Chicago’s Sears Tower to close its newly-opened attraction called “The Ledge”; a terrifying skybox in which tourists can stand in a glass-enclosed cubicle suspended 1,353 feet above the city sidewalks.

Within moments of its opening, emergency rooms throughout the greater Chicago area were inundated with patients, all of whom were men who had recently stood in the glass-enclosed tourist attraction.

Kyle Weinberg, 24, of nearby Skokie, Illinois, was one of the first emergency room patients to arrive at Northwestern Medical Center near the Chicago landmark. His attending physician, Dr. Selima Meyer explained:

“Mr. Weinberg’s injuries were typical of most of the tourists we treated that day. Apparently, the experience of stepping out on a glass ledge 103 stories above the ground causes some pretty intense reactions. In men, the shock is so frightening that it causes the testicles to violently retreat upwards, sometimes far within the abdominal cavity.”

“It was just horrible,” exclaimed Weinberg. “My girlfriend was just fine and didn’t know why I had suddenly buckled into a fetal position. I never want to go near the Sears Tower again.”

Dr. Meyer continued: “Once the adrenaline subsides, the testicles gradually descend. It may take awhile, but they’ll make an appearance again within a day or two.”

One of the many families visiting the new attraction on opening day was the famous Duggar Family from Arkansas who star in the popular reality TV series, 18 Kids and Counting.

Jim Bob Duggar, the father of the now-famous 18 children, was also treated by Dr. Meyer that day.

She reported, “Unfortunately, Mr. Duggar’s reaction was so acute that an otorhinologist (eyes, ears, nose and throat specialist) had to be procured for testicle retrieval. I’m afraid that The Ledge rendered Mr. Duggar completely incapable of ever fathering anymore children.”

Michelle Duggar, Jim Bob's wife, was seen pumping her fist upon hearing the diagnosis.

The Ledge had remained open for less than a week before officials were forced to close the new multi-million dollar attraction.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In Honor of M. Jackson

For decades, I have been a huge fan of M. Jackson’s music and performing abilities. They are astounding and it’s very rare that I’ve come across a musician of this caliber, especially one that can make me teary-eyed with each performance.

I’m certainly not referring to the M. Jackson that has been inundating every moment of the news lately. No, dear puppies . . .

. . . I am speaking of THE Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel.

Born in New Orleans in 1911, she was raised in a three room shack with 16 other relatives. Having been forced to leave school in the eighth grade to work and support the family, she moved to Chicago at the age of 15 to live with an aunt, make a better wage, and to leave the oppressive racism of the South.

Within a year of her arrival in Chicago, the young teenager’s singing abilities were well-know across the city’s African-American gospel churches. Her deep, resonant contralto voice and ability to move an audience quickly made her very popular with various preachers in Chicago.

Miss Jackson had a very unique style of ad-libbing a vocal line and it’s one I’ve never heard before. For example, most gospel singers will sing a note and then rise to a few higher notes in order to add emphasis.

Think about Mariah Carey singing “Amazing Grace.” Once she hits the note that contains the words “like me” she’ll ad-lib that high note and leap up to several other high pitches, (most of which can only be heard by a cocker spaniel in Peoria.)

Not Mahalia. When she wanted to emphasize the “me” in Amazing Grace, her ad-libbed vocal line would hit that high note and then tumble down, down, down into a warm, velvety richness that just leaves me in a big ol' puddle of goo. It’s so unique. High notes are always impressive (Mariah) but Mahalia marched to a different drummer.

To me, that’s a lot more impressive than doing a moonwalk.

Having been influenced so heavily by New Orleans jazz and blues in her formative years, Mahalia was constantly persuaded to depart from her gospel roots and become a Blues artist.

She never did. Even when her first recording in the 1930s with Decca flopped, she never would give up being a gospel artist. Eventually, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy Awards) added a new category “Soul Gospel” so that Mahalia Jackson could receive that elusive award.

She went on to receive six Grammys in her lifetime.

She never caved in to pressure to alter her style. How admirable is that?

When Mahalia Jackson passed away in 1972, guess who sang at her funeral?

. . . None other than the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

(I wonder what kind of hat she wore for the occasion)

So, in honor of M. Jackson on this special day, please listen to that most indomitable voice and soul.

Get some hankies ready.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

New Cable Station

Why doesn't my cable provider just be done with it and provide a 24-hour Michael Jackson Channel?


Yes, his death was tragic, but come on!!!

I was never a much of a Michael Jackson fan anyway with all that squeaking and hiccuping.

There are other things are happening in the world.

I think something's happening in Nicaragua. Or Honduras. Who knows?

Sara Palin is up to some Sara Palin-esque things.

Do we really need to know the present-day whereabouts of Bubbles the Chimp?

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Future Shock

When I was in the 7th grade in 1972, our Life Science teacher in my little bitty home town showed us an educational film called "Future Shock" that displayed all sorts of sensational events that were occurring at the time, and their implications toward the future.

This film displayed the testing of supersonic flight (The Concorde) robotics that displayed human behavior (the first production lines in Silicon Valley), a non-traditional wedding (a minister performing a same-sex union in California) and a City-within-a-City
(Marina City in Chicago)

Flash forward 37 years

Our fiscal year ended on the last day of June in which I had to submit my quarterly-and-year-end reports and budget requests and also comprise all the Memorandums of Understanding and Rental Agreements for my staff members who provide services for individuals with disabilities in unemployment offices throughout state -- and all this was after I had completed a 900-mile driving trip around the state to supervise my staff and submit all the reports. . .


I went to work at 6:00 this morning and finished close to midnight.

Thank goodness for

It's a fantastic service in which a tired and hungry city-dweller can hop online, enter in their address, enter in what type of food they prefer, and up will pop all sorts of options.


It was 2:20 am, I was sitting in my shirt and tie, I was dead tired and knew I wanted a Chicago deep dish pizza to sustain me through the night and next day.

Within minutes, I was able to place my order online to the nearest and fastest Chicago deep-dish delivery service:

No phone call necessary . . .

One 16-inch deep-dish pizza with anchovies.
Charged to my credit card.
With a $5.00 tip included

At 2:30 in the morning

In less than an hour, my doorman was ringing my apartment

I was one dead tired puppy. It was the middle of the night, and yet I was able to finger a few keys effortlessly on my computer (and not speak to anybody) and have a lovely, deep dish, Chicago-style anchovy pizza appear at my doorstep within an hour.

Remember those educational films we got to watch when the teacher forgot to plan anything to teach us? We'd walk into science class, there would be the unexpected film projector set up in the darkened classroom and we'd all get excited over the fact that we wouldn't have to do anything that day!

But I can still remember one educational film called "Future Shock" that was depicted possible life in the future, but featured present-day (1972) events such as:
robotics in Silicon Valley, supersonic commercial flights, same-sex unions, and having computers delivering food for us.

And . . . while living in that Marina City place in downtown Chicago!

This film actually showed Marina City in Chicago as as futuristic "City Within A City"

They made it look horrible - - like we would be automatons living in these huge non-descript dwellings having our food procured by computers.


No way.

Not in a million years.

Oh . . . one other thing. . . .

Would you like to know who that Life Science teacher was that showed us the film, "Future Shock" when I was in the 7th grade in 1972?

That was my mom!

Yes, my mom was my Life Science teacher in 7th grade.
It was wonderful and horrible at the same time. She made me stand in the hall for misbehaving. Twice
She made me study and get A's in her class (I made a 65 on one quiz and I'll never forget her raised one eyebrow while she penned my record in her grade book - - the whole class went "Oooohh"!)

I got straight A's during the seventh grade and, believe me, I earned ever one of them through a very loving, but very stern and structured method of education.

Since then, my mom has been a very popular columnist and writer for a newspaper in South Texas since 1981. She gets her writing abilities from me, naturally. My mom's had three volumns of her columns published and sold.

My mom is a wonderful, incredible, talented, and multi-faceted woman. She is in her mid-70s and still works as a public school counselor and writes her column every week prints it, and faxes it into her publisher every week.

My mom loves to fish along the Texas Gulf Coast and she's also a very spiritual woman. She's combined these two aspects into a reflective column that has been a weekly feature in a local newspaper in South Texas.

Her weekly column is called Oceans for Emotions and has been featured every Saturday in the Victoria Advocate since 1981. I'm have to admit that I'm a bit jealous of her. She's always given that paper a column every week for 28 years. Every editor knows her. When she was incapacitated, every person I spoke to knew my mom and was able to re-run her past articles. (I even wrote one in her absence and so did my cousin, Shannon)

Here is her most recent column. It features her and her new baby great grandson. .

"Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders ."

Today, due to circumstances within my control, this is going to be a very short article.

You see, a little 6-month-old great-grandson is controlling my life, and the entire world around him as only a baby can.

Joseph lives way over the ocean, near London, with Joseph, his father, who is in the Air Force and his mother, Marilyn Elaine, my grandgirl. This is the first time the baby and I have met.

Baby Joseph has flown over the ocean, but has never seen it up close and personal. Taking on my responsibility of great-grandmothership, I just couldn't have this happen on my watch.

Off to see the sea we went. That sounds easy, doesn't it? After loading up my fishing gear, which usually fills my car, we had to load up Joseph's baby gear, and believe me, it was not an easy thing to do.

If his mother had allowed me to let him ride in an empty ice chest instead of that silly baby car seat, we would have had more room.

On the road trip down, the closer we got to the beach, the faster my heart raced. I could hardly wait to see his excited reaction to his first meeting with "Gran-Granny's" Ocean. All the way down there, I imagined his baby squeals and delights and other Oceans for Emotions.

After adorning him with his swim Pampers, swimsuit, his very own fishing hat and lathering him with the slickest sun screen ever made, Gran-Granny carried him to waters edge with cell phone cameras, digital cameras, and video cameras, all focused upon us, Joseph and I slowly entered the ocean.

After a few kicks and splashes, I felt him relax in my arms and he went to sleep. I think he thought he had returned to the safety of the womb from whence he came. Isn't that really why we all love our Oceans for Emotions?

Dear Lord, Thank you for all the children that you have given me "for signs and wonders" in this life and for all the oceans you gave me to share with them.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Home Improvements

You know, I think I have a new hobby and it’s one that I never thought I’d have.

Home Improvement.

I went the hardware store on my lunch hour and was surprised to find that I was awfully excited and looking forward to it.

Oh my goodness, I’m turning into Hank Hill.

It all began when I moved into my new apartment and painted the walls. They looked so nice and it was the first time I ever lived anywhere that didn’t have white walls. I love it.

Then, I decided to paint the bathroom only to discover that some repairs needed to be done to the walls. I’m usually oblivious to my surroundings, but in prepping the bathroom walls, I discovered that there had been some water damage. The previous renter had done a really bad repair job – basically festooning large amounts of caulk over the whole deal.

So in order to paint, some repairs needed to be done. This was told to me by Speck who has become my home-repair-and-painting guru. She’s been a godsend and is obviously very knowledgeable about these things. She’s also been very gracious about my panicked phone calls to her while aimlessly meandering through the aisles of Ace Hardware.

So, today I obtained some more supplies with which to make my bathroom a stunning showcase. I’m presently learning about caulk. I bought the caulk squirt-thingy (which, by the way, looks like a huge tube of cake decorating icing) and made sure to get the clear, anti-mildew caulk stuff.

While reading the directions, I discovered that I needed a caulking gun. I really didn’t like the idea of purchasing anything even remotely related to a firearm, but I bucked up and bought one anyway. I sort of got the caulk squirty-tube stuck in the gun while trying it out in the store but managed to pry the two apart.

I’m going to do a lot of painting this weekend, so a bought a cool little paint bucket that has a hand strap and a magnet to hold the paint brush. They only had red ones and I really would have preferred a blue one.

My painting skills still lack the requisite precision so I also bought several touch-up brushes. They’ll come in handy, I’m sure.

I noticed that the the hardware store had a section of clothing, too. I almost bought some overalls and work boots but decided that I better not push it.

I hope I’m not overdoing this painting thing in my apartment. So far, I’ve got six different colors going on:

Van Deusen Blue
Hazelnut Cream
Crushed Velvet
Tootie Fruity (which is really “apricot”)

So, yes, I’m all excited about completing these home repairs.

If the caulk around my bathtub ends up resembling a Cornelli lace pattern, you'll know that my cake decorating skills sort of took over.