Monday, May 29, 2006

My Suggestion for Memorial Day

If you have HBO, watch the documentary "Bagdad ER."

But not if you have a wobbly stomach.

And not before bed if you tend to dream about what you just saw.

No, it's not some more of my leftist pinko agenda. It is very objective. It doesn't try to tell you what to think. It just reminds you of the consequences of war, an important reminder for every citizen of a country at war.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Me No Got Words Pt. 2

I wouldn't even post, but I have a little compulsion issue.

Here's a cute cow. Probably lives in Scotland and moos with a brogue. Kind of like if Sean Connery were a cow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Caution: Metaphors Ahead

If this gets maudlin, I apologize in advance.

If I apologize in advance, then I apologize for continuing to publish posts that I feel compelled to apologize for.

I was jolted out of my sleep at my desk job today by a very loud squawking on the rail of the little landing outside my window. There was a fuzzy little brownish-grey bird there, demanding loudly and jerkishly to be fed by what must have been his mother, a black bird who landed beside him on the rail and shoved the small bit of not-much that she had down his gullet. He kept on squawking at her until it was obvious that she had emptied her pockets for him, and there was nothing more to be badgered out of her.

Not so uncommon. But the thing that caught my eye was the fact that (a) the fuzzy bird must have, by that time, mastered the basics of flight, since he was able to land on the rail with no nest in sight, and (b) he was just as big as his mother – maybe bigger, counting the fluffiness of his new feathers. Yet, the mother felt obligated to keep feeding that big, perfectly formed beak, and go after more.

I too, have a baby bird that is now bigger than me. Perfectly formed and (on occasion) quite loud. It looks, sometimes, like he can fly just fine. Then there are other times when the new fluff in his feathers slows him down, or he miscalculates the landing. Or he thinks he is sneaking up on that juicy worm, but he doesn’t realize the noise he is making by humming to himself, “gonna getcha, gonna eatcha, yummy, yummy,” and the worm (unbelievably) gets away.

But he is perfect. And he learns fast. He doesn’t need much from me anymore. Soon I won’t have to feed him at all. Then I will probably overeat.

Sorry. That was awful. Forget this business and tell me where you would rather live (see previous post).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Anxiety #832

How long do I have before I can say that if Philip Roth dies, it won't be my fault? That post is beginning to eat at me.

Bonus Question:

If money were no object, where would you rather live?

  • Lombard Street in San Francisco
  • Modest house in Maui
  • Sheep farm in New Zealand
  • Above your own pub in Cuteshire, Scotland

I don't know. That's why I'm asking you.

Poop Storm Update

All quiet on the rear-end front Sunday night. We have attained pudding consistency and predict 100% containment by Tuesday morning. Think solid thoughts.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Two leaky dogs for sale cheap

I apologize in advance for the following post. If you don’t like poopy talk, forget this post and scroll down to look at the pictures instead.

For the last week (has it only been a week? I could have sworn it was two before counting the days on my fingers), my life has revolved around the business ends of my two dogs.

I woke up Saturday morning with a bathroom (bathroom, not toilet) full of diarrhea, and Annie was attempting to disappear into the floor.

Annie is a very proper dog who believes in privacy and decorum. She does not like other people to know that she poops. She is humiliated every time I go out to scoop poop in the back yard. She hides her face if she can’t completely remove herself from the situation. It’s so embarrassing!

This causes a bit of a problem when her poo gets runny and she can’t hold it in, because she is too embarrassed to tell us, so she goes into the bathroom, spurts all over, and then goes back to bed, and hopes that in the morning it will go away by itself.

Scotty has no such self-consciousness about pooping. Somebody must have read him Everybody Poops as a puppy. Luckily, this gives him enough courage to whine in the middle of the night when he really has to go.

So the last seven nights I have been listening for whining, and not whining, and the click of doggy toenails on the wood floor of the bathroom, jumping up at false alarms, and dozing to wake up to that sadly familiar smell.

I have been unable to catch Annie before her bathroom raids, so after a few trips through the washer and dryer, my bathroom rugs have disintegrated, and my back is considering disintegrating from all the floor scrubbing.

One night, Drew tried putting them in the sun room with the back door open so they could go and poop as they please. Unfortunately, he got tired of hearing Scotty barking in the middle of the night, and as a favor to the neighbors (I guess), he decided to close the back door and leave them in the sun room with no way out and no one to ask to please let them out.

The resulting devastation is best left to the imagination, although I would gladly have left a smell-o-gram for Drew, who slept through the extensive and pre-coffee clean-up.

Last night, Annie was so tired of the embarrassment of it all, she refused to get out of bed when she really, really needed to go, and ended up with poo all over her bed and herself. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Last Monday, I called the vet. By the sounds of several types of freaked-out animals coming through the line, it was obviously a difficult day at the office. The vet tech basically told me to give them some people diarrhea medicine and come back when I had a real problem.

Today, I called her back and told her the Pepto-Bismol was not making a dent in the problem. It was then that I learned by “diarrhea medicine” she had meant Imodium, not Pepto-Bismol, and maybe I should bring in a stool sample.

Stool sample gathering would not make it onto my list of favorite ways to spend an otherwise pleasant Saturday. The sample didn’t have any creepy-crawlies in it, so I still don’t know why my dogs are pooping goo, but at least I have a veterinary diarrhea-fixing medicine now.

And after an hour of dog-wrestling in the tub, I have two clean dogs. For how long, I can’t say. I can only hope. And maybe catch a nap.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's (more) show and (less) tell day here at the TAW

I'm thinking of giving this one to a friend, so I took its picture today for posterity. I haven't attempted watercolors for a while. It's high time I got back on the horse...

...and this is an oil one I did using the "Avalon" method of limiting myself to using only a palette knife to apply paint...

You had me at hello.

My friends, I give you the Visayan Warty Pig. Gaze not too long, lest ye lose all hope of matching such beauty with thine own humble visage.
Totally worth the zoo membership to visit this face. I'm calling this one Slerkbic, in honor of my new favorite Blogger Anti-Comment-Spam Word Verification word.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What I learned this weekend

Let's get right to it:

  • The more time you have, the more imaginative ways you can find to waste it.

  • The more money you have, (repeat above).

  • My sister was not particularly overly cruel to me growing up. Cruelty comes naturally to sisters. This learned after observing my nieces just being sisters.

  • The Muckleshoot Indians have the best name in the Indian business. Muckleshoot is fun to say. Actually, I already knew this; I’m just passing it on so you can say it too.

  • Cows do not come trained. Those little county fair dudes have to train them to walk around in a circle with them. Okay, maybe I knew that already, but one forgets.

  • Buffalo babies are cute. Not as cute as lambs, but what is? My other, other dream is to own a sheep ranch in New Zealand. Is it a ranch if you have sheep? Or is it a farm? Ovisiary?

  • Turns out that, according to their website, the subtitle of Sheep Magazine is “The Voice of the Independent Flockmaster.” That’s what I want to be. A flockmaster.

  • Flockmaster would be a good name for a Christian rock band.

  • Some sales people are so dedicated to their craft that they will explain why an item of clothing is a good thing to buy even after you ask them to ring it up.
  • If you own a coffee shop named the Fehrenbacher Hof, you can have a sign out front that says "The Hof is open." A sign like that probably wouldn't work as well if you didn't have a hof.

  • The sunscreen has not been made that can protect my neck-shoulder area from being sun burnt while doing yard work.

  • There is too a phenomenon, the workings of which have not yet been discovered, that makes shorts shrink while in storage over the winter.

  • Yes there is.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Confessions of a Bad Mother

I thought to myself on Wednesday, while attempting to enjoy my new zoo membership, why do hordes of children have to ruin an otherwise perfectly good day at the zoo?

I love children. I believe that children are the future. I just don’t like the way they act, sound, or smell.

My low tolerance for children makes me wonder what kind of a mother I was. A guilty one, mainly.

All mothers are guilty for something:

  • They work too hard and aren’t home enough, or

  • They are home too much and thus don’t earn enough.

  • They are too smothering, or

  • They aren’t protective enough.

  • They aren’t involved enough in school activities, or

  • They embarrass their children by turning up at school all the time.

My personal guilt trips? Besides having all of the above, often at once, they mostly revolved around my distaste for children. Luckily for my child, this did not extend to him. My child was cute and funny and brilliant. Their children were loud, unkempt, generally difficult to love, and often headache-inducing.

This (and maybe a little fear of teachers) made it difficult for me to volunteer at school or chaperone school trips, although I did make a go of helping out at Campfire meetings when my son fell in love with a Campfire Girl. Luckily, that affair did not last long.

Occasionally, I would accuse my son of acting like a child, and tell him that it was high time he grew up. Then he would remind me that, at age seven, he was well within his rights to act like a child.

But still.

Thankfully he seems to have survived with few scars. Mental scars, anyway. Physically, he’s starting to look like a road map (not really, but it sounded cool, so let me keep it).

But seriously, shouldn’t they have an adults-only day at the zoo?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hey, Roth, How About You Die First

I hate Philip Roth. I don’t think he’s a genius and I don’t like reading his books. When I heard he was going to be on Fresh Air this afternoon I should have turned the radio off. But I didn’t.

I should have known Roth would be on his pulpit advocating the bleakest kind of atheism that insists on thinking about, no, dwelling on, a non-hereafter that consists solely of worm food.

I can tolerate worm-food talk nine times out of ten, if busy with some other task and not alone. Unluckily, this time it caught me on a Monday off with lots of time on my hands and Drew at work, which made this one of those one times out of ten, where I have a full anxiety attack with the sweating, the hyperventilating, and the charmingly crazy-looking repeating of one phrase over and over again.

A pretty constant diet of good Sunday sermons (good ones) and some choir practice usually keeps these attacks at bay, but lately, I have been unable to face trying to find a good Sunday sermon. In spite of the fact that there are probably 100 churches in this town, I am guessing that good Sunday sermons might be found at 2 of them, and so far, I haven’t had the stomach to find them.

Luckily, I recently checked an Anne Lamott book out of the library, and I grabbed it looking for some relief. So far, I haven’t found that, but it has kept my mind busy.

Don’t worry about me. Just keep the worm-food talk down to a minimum.

Thank you and sleep well.


Next time - less death.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Orange Alert Level

I feel really tense tonight. Must be that the CIA (and, consequently, the Impossible Mission Force) is all alone tonight without the leadership of Porter Goss.

Just don't sneak up behind me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Three-Dollar Movie Review: The World's Most Annoying Kiwi

I don’t go to first-run movies. Exceptions made only for special birthday requests and Johnny Dep.

It’s not the price. It’s the packaging. The seats are uncomfortable. There’s always (a) someone seven feet eight with a cowboy hat sitting in front of me, (b) someone smelly, creepy, or too large for their own seat next to me, (c) a couple of teenage girls using their $10 tickets to talk really loudly about how they hate Jessica/Jeremy/Josiah/Joshua/other popular J-sounding, biblical (although their parents weren’t really sure because they never actually read the Bible) name, (d) an unsupervised ten-year-old boy kicking the back of my seat, or (e) a crying baby screaming in my good ear (actually, both are pretty nice).

I wouldn’t go to movies at all if it weren’t for two McMenamins brothers’ theaters nearby that have lots of room, 21-and-up-only crowds, and booze. The movies cost three bucks because they are second-run, but they make up the difference by selling burgers, salads and their own micro-brews and wines. For those of you outside of the Portland metro area and certain points east south and north, Portlanders pretty much love and bless the McMenamins for their tendency to take run-down, forgotten buildings and make them into warm, quirky places to drink some tasty beer and wine.

Now, back to my belated review of The World’s Fastest Indian (handy for you DVD renters who have forgotten the first-run reviews by now).

This movie is based on the true story of a New Zealander named (if I remember correctly) Burt Munroe who took an old Indian motorcycle and remade it into a racing bike with bits of cork, kitchen door hinges, and shoe polish, and tried to make his dream of racing it on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats come true.

Will the plucky New Zealander, played by plucky Englishman Anthony Hopkins, make it to the famous Bonneville Salt Flats racing thingy before he kicks the bucket? Will the neighbors kill him (no court in the land would convict them) before he gets enough Kiwi-bucks together to make the trip and/or kick the bucket? Will the Powers That Be bend the rules to allow him to enter the racing thingy before he kicks the bucket? Will the ride itself make him kick the bucket? You’ll just have to wait and see. Lots of nitroglycerin tablets are munched. Lots of ladies-of-a-certain-age are serviced. Lots of Americans shake their heads in puzzlement at the feisty old feller.

I found him obnoxious and clueless. However, I am guessing from the facts of the case, that the original Burt Munroe probably wasn't that obnoxious or he would not have gained so many friends and comrades along his journey. I think the blame has to go to Anthony Hopkins. I’ve never met a Kiwi who wasn’t charming in his own way. Hopkins does not play Munroe with the least bit of Kiwi charm. And isn’t it a little odd, seeing an Englishmen playing a Kiwi calling Englishmen “poms” (the opposite of a term of respect in Kiwi-speak)? Hopkins might be able to sound like a Kiwi, but I don’t think he knows how to act like one.

The motorcycle, however, was brilliant.