WELCOME - Let's Look At Life and Rant About It!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Today At The Mall ...

I hate buying shoes simply for the fact that I have big feet. When purchasing sneakers ... a relatively easy practice ... I take a size 14, wide if I can find them. And since most college b-ball handlers seem to sport size 18 feet and larger, finding cool shoes from big name manufacturers isn't a problem ... affording them, however, is.

When looking for dress shoes, I really need 13 wides and most stylish shops carry stock that cuts off at 12 ... and I'm not a seasoned ballerina so I'd prefer not to find mangled, bleeding toes every time I remove my shoes. Some big department store chains carry basic black and brown selections in 13W, but they look like shoes designed to correct a club foot or something, and their construction, as well as styling, is usually poor ... they wear like crap. And there's always the Internet, but I haven't had great luck ... shoes are one of those subtle things that have to "feel" right as well as look good. I know I can always return an e-purchased item, but who needs the extra pain in the ass.

To avoid my current dilemma, I even put "dress shoes" on my Christmas list. I'm a firm believer on mot wasting holiday wishes to Santa on mundane things like clothes and shoes ... I was hoping to pass the responsibility for my footwear to some unsuspecting relative. NO takers. Then I slipped it in as an idea for my birthday. Not a nibble.

This is one of the many times I wish for a return to childhood. In my family, we had a routine of getting shoes about four times a year ... just before the start of school (good shoes, casual shoes, and gym shoes), prior to Thanksgiving (good shoes for the holidays and replacement gym shoes, as needed), early spring (whatever was warranted), and just as school was ending (two pairs of cheap "play" shoes, and cool sandals if we begged or had been especially well behaved).

And the experience of shopping for shoes as a child in my home was magical ... truly. All four kids went as one, and it was Mom that took us ... never Dad. For our feet, we almost always went two towns over to this small Main Street shoe store that would have fit in perfectly in Harry Potter's "Diagon Alley." It seemed like a small shop with a dingy red and white awning over the entryway. But inside, it was cavernous ... like the laws of physics didn't apply. And boxes of shoes were stored, stacked, and shelved everywhere.

The owner was a stooped little gray-haired many that I'm sure looked elderly even as a child. He was sweet and never seemed scary, but he was still somewhat foreboding. My Mom would discuss our needs with him and he would disappear into the "back" of the store, reappearing with a stack of options. Most pairs were spot on. And when the owner thought one of us children might have grown, he would produce his "silver shoe" (a Brannock device created by Charles Brannock, operator of the Park-Brannock Shoe Store in Syracuse, New York, in 1925 to help him assess customers' needs more quickly) as if by magic to check our shoe size. Very unMuggle-like.

And apparently our shoe shopping also involved time travel because, like in the 1950s, we never paid for anything. The owner just "put it on our tab," handing my Mom a carbon copy from a little order pad he always seemed to have hidden in a pocket somewhere. Or did he?

As a grown up, I now realize that the "silver shoe" simply measured my foot and computed a size designation used by most manufacturers ... 3 X foot length in inches - 22. And I now see that the shoestore owner ... Mr. Lester ... used his old-fashioned store practices as a marketing ploy for busy families. My Dad once confirmed that he definitely paid Mr. Lester for his troubles.

Mr. Lester and his shoe "magic" are long gone ... I guess I'll try the Internet. But according to an article I read, many manufacturer and different regions of the world use slightly different methods for sizing methods. I saw a comparison chart and I'd have a better chance of selecting a winner on the stock market then finding a "perfect fit" in shoes.

POINT OF RANT: Duct tape comes in black and brown ... did you know that?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today At The Bakery ...

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm excited. For the first time ever, I think, I've ordered my own cake. Now, I have plenty of friends, family, and co-workers who have provided cake and festivities in the past, but this year I decided to take charge.

From a small age, birthday cakes have always been a special thing in my family. My mother, who swapped art school for raising a family, could but the world's craftiest crafters to shame when it came to creating cakes. They weren't perfect ... they had flaws. But they also had a type of magic you can't find anywhere else.

One year in particular (I think I was turning seven), the cake-prep began at Christmas by saving wrapping paper, paper towel cores, popsicle sticks, and anything shiny that might be of use. That January, I had a rocket ship with shredded wrapping exhaust and extra tree bulb accents that we had to be careful didn't end up in the cake as it was served.

Another year, I was rewarded with a big top hat cake that had the strangest frosting-coated stuffed rabbit peering over the brim. That rabbit hung around for a few days but we were never able to get him cleaned up properly. The magic kit that I received as an accompanying gift stayed with me for years.

A few years ago, after me retelling some of my childhood cake stories, my secretary surprised me with something called a "ho-ho" cake which was this rolled chocolate/dark chocolate ganache extravaganza with chocolate shavings, edible gold trim, and little metallic accent pieces that looked like shooting fireworks. She was delighted at my reaction, but she also warned me not to expect something like it ever again. I think it was pricey, but it has to rank in the top five cakes ever created ... it was rich enough to cause a human heart to just stop with one bite!

So the bakery personnel are bringing my box out from the back. All four employees are coming to the counter to see my reaction. I designed it, but they worked hard at giving my idea life. There, in three separate boxes, are cakes sculpted like monkeys. One is covering its eyes, another its ears, and the third primate has its hands securely over its mouth. I love them. I snap a few pictures with my phone, and the owner asks if they can place a photo of my cake on their Web site. "Sure," I say. "We already did," she replies with a wink. I'm a frequent customer.

POINT OF RANT: If you ever "see" a cake like this, or "hear" about one, the idea was MINE!! And speak about my clever cake to everyone you meet ... nothing brings people together like cake. Or pie.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Today At A Funeral ...

A friend of mine recently lost his wife. Well, he wasn't so much a friend as the son of a good friend of my father's who we saw at picnics, Christmas and Fourth of July get-togethers, card club, and various functions while growing up. We went to rival high schools, so there are no great "buddy" stories or tales of high school hi-jinx. Now we just run into one another five or six times a year and force idle chit-chat.

I guess I'm trying to establish the "friendship" level of our relationship because his wife's funeral was a mess and I'm going to talk about it.

The rumor was depression, pills, recovery, and suicide ... in that order. Local gossip said she'd been extremely down and moody for months. Then she pulled out of it and things seemed good. About a week into "good" she checked into a hotel about 30 miles away, used the pool, ordered ice cream from room service, and then ingested a boatload of prescription meds. They didn't have any children, thank goodness.

At the funeral, the casket was closed which I found odd. The wife was really pretty and, well, I always figured if you still looked good on D-Day why not show off a little. And the family all told this "story" about a traffic accident out on a country road that was news to me. Everyone listening just nodded and "oohed," but when the family recounted the details of the accident, the inflection on certain words was so fake you could tell it was rehearsed. Weirder and weirder.

Anyway, I hate funerals. Meeting the distant and not-so-distant family of the departed and then making small talk is so uncomfortable. Making excuses for why it's been so long since you've seen the departed or general friends and family is equally exhausting. And watching little kids squirm in new clothes and uncomfortable shoes makes my skin itch.

The very first funeral I ever attended was for my great grandmother. She was nearly 90 and died from complications from pneumonia. Lying in that coffin, she just looked peaceful ... like she was catching a nap while the rest of us scurried about. I was too immature to get the finality and sadness of it all.

The next one I recall was in high school. A kid on our football team lost his father in a construction accident. Everyone turned out for "calling hours," a type of "Get-Out-Of-Attending-The-Funeral" event usually held the evening before the official funeral and burial. I went with a group of five friends. We were all clustered around our classmate when I happened to look over at the open coffin. Our classmate's little sister ... she was probably four or five years old at the time ... had pulled a stool over and had climbed up to get a better look at he father. She spoke something to him that I couldn't hear from across the room ... it seemed sweet. She then touched his hand gently with her much smaller one ... it was touching. Then she leaned in and kissed him square on the lips! ... I thought I was seeing things. Finally, an older relative swooped over and guided the little tyke over to a seat near two other children. The older lady looked around the room furtively, caught my glance, and smiled like she was saying "Oh, well." I smiled back with an "Oh, how gross!!" reply. I couldn't wait to tell my friends about what went down at this incestuous ho-down ... I think I was getting hives on my neck from the anticipation. To this day, I still run into that little girl ... she's recently married and expecting her first child. I know she was young and didn't understand what was happening around her. I also know that I stare at her lips like they should have open sores on them, or burst into flames for touching the dead. She probably thinks I'm a perv or secretly into her. I hope she doesn't sense my "Oh, I still think you're a creeper" thoughts in my present-day grin.

So we've established that funerals are on my "out" list, but I must say that cemeteries are "in." I think cemeteries are the most peaceful places on earth. Most are beautifully organized and manicured, almost always teasing your senses with an unnatural quiet and the scent of freshly-cut grass. Even the older ones ... complete with broken markers, overgrown perimeters, and muddy colored everything ... have a unique charm.

When I was in junior high, one of our projects for civics or history or some subject was to visit the grave yard and make charcoal rubbings of the headstones we found most unique or interesting. I remember I did a report about two families who tried to outdo each other with bigger and more intricate headstones, and it was truly fascinating. In college, I did some of my photography assignments in a local cemetery and asked dorm mates to help out as "extras." I also remember visiting a graveyard about an hour away because of a newspaper article ... it boasted this large granite orb that supposedly shifted on its pedestal with the rotation of the earth. One several occasions, the stone in question has been marked and sealed in place with various epoxies, only to be discovered slightly rotated a few days later. Spooky and cool at the same time.

But most of all, creepy as it may sound, I like to occasionally visit cemeteries for personal reflection and relaxation. When the weather is nice, there is one particular contemporary graveyard where I sometimes go and park myself on a bench to read. Anne Rice is wonderful to read in a cemetery ... and Ridley Scott. Other times, I visit relatives who have passed to tell them things about my life ... it's corny, but I feel more connected with a headstone to focus on.

Now, I'm not suggesting setting up guided tours or creating RV lots for eager campers, but consider visiting with a departed loved one more often then a sad geranium on Memorial Day.

POINT OF RANT: Death is a human ritual that lingers well after the actual event.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today At The Chinese Restaurant ...

I didn't feel like going to the grocery today. And I didn't want to even mess with dirtying dishes or heating up the oven. So I went and got take-out and The Purple Phoenix, and what did I get for my lazy ways and lack of energy ... DUCK SAUCE!

To properly eat Chinese food, you must first learn the "Ways of the Sauce," a powerful form of urban magic. Friends and family will try to lure you to this restaurant or that restaurant, and co-workers may attempt to order lunch with you during a moment of mental weakness or internal strife. But the Ways of the Sauce will never steer you wrong.

There are three basic truths at the beginning of the Way: 1) Most Chinese food is quite tasty. 2) Egg rolls are crunchy creations sent directly by the gods. 3) Duck sauce is utterly revolting.

Duck sauce ... sickly yellow-orange and translucent ... should not be confused with the robust, think energetic red-orange sweet and sour sauce, or 3S. 3S stresses sweet, while duck sauce leans toward the sour. Both condiments are staples in most Asian-themed eateries. Duck sauce is the more traditional sauce, using ginger, vinegar, and in some regions cooked apples to thin its consistency into a nice dipping sauce. 3S, however, is both a dipping and cooking sauce, and is often combined with onions, green peppers, and pineapple for texture.
I get angry because some places only put out duck sauce, you have to ask for 3S ... sometimes even pay for a small container of it even when you're dining in. Then there's plum sauce ... an even more distant 3S relative made with more vinegar, select chilis, and cooked plums or apricots for sweetness. It's usually light brown in color, kind of like a packet of silt collected from a dirty aquarium.

Now I don't mind hoisin sauce, a variety of dipping sauce more connected to Cantonese- or Mandorin-style fare. Hoisin is made from rice, wheat, sweet potatoes, vinegar, and other spices. The concoction looks dark and rich, and has an earthier flavor than any of the other sauces.

Although the Ways of the Sauce do not specifically prepare diners for every eventuality, they do delve into two other condiments: chinese mustard and wasabi. Chinese mustard is made from mustard plants that originated in India. Traditionally, the mustard is comprised of dried mustard greens, rice wine, sugar, vegetable oil, and other spices. Wasabi, often referred to as Japanese horseradish, is a root that is often incorporated into a mustard-style sauce. It is typically bolder than Chinese mustard and is quickly becoming more commonplace in Chinese and Vietnamese kitchens. Being mustards, both of these spreads stimulate the nasal passages and add a flavorful heat to food, not the burning warmth associated with peppers.

The children in my Welsh/German family were schooled in the Ways of the Sauce ... and more ... by my father at an early age. He worked second shift as a carpenter in a huge manufacturing facility. He got off work at around 11:15 PM and would often stop by a Chinese restaurant that stayed open until midnight and bring home take-out for the whole family. I can remember many nights, especially in the summer, when we would either stay up or be woken up for a late night feast of shrimp lo mein and moo goo gai pan. My mother loved it because she only had to make light snacks for supper on the nights it was planned, and leftovers made great next-day lunches. Us kids loved it even more because we got to stay up like adults and eat food from cool cartons. We learned to use chopsticks and about our place on the Chinese zodiac. And we got "schooled" on my Dad's obsession ... even greater than my preoccupation with sauce ... with the war that time forgot ... egg rolls vs. spring rolls. You'll have to look it up to see who wins!!

POINT OF RANT: One day, egg rolls and sweet and sour sauce will take over the world.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today At The Hospital ...

I hate snow. Not snow itself, which can be majectic in its beauty. No, I hate the qualities of snow such as cold and slipperiness (if it's not a word, I don't care.)

Yesterday, I was shoveling off my small front porch ... referred to many as a "stoop." I failed to realize, however, that during the night the Gods of Weather had first depositied a thin sheet of ice on the world before cleverly concealing it with innocant-looking, frothy snow. So when I emerged from my garage with shovel in hand, I was basically a parka-wearing lamb to the slaughter.

One step ... two step ... three step ... WHAM! I was down, heavy on mhy right hip with a glancing "thud" to my head as it hit my porch steps. I think I stayed conscious, but it was one of those cartoon falls ... all slow motion and exaggerated limb movements. Luckily, no one else was around to see it happen (unlucky, had I actually injured myself). I regained my footing slowly. I surveyed the snow-laiden porch, strung together a few curse words in new and exciting ways, and decided to use my garage as the "Winter Palace Entrance" to my home for the foreseeeable future.

About an hour later, I made a short run for groceries. Milk ... bread ... margaring ... all the usual "there might be a blizzard comin' " staples. I had just put my items in the trunk and closed the lid when myfeet hit a patch of torn-up, marble-sized pavement chunks, perhaps made from repeated parking lot surface scrapings this winter. Anyhow, I went into cartoon mode again and lost my balance, slipping to my knees HARD. It hurt. Damn, it hurt.

I got up, got into my car, and started the engine. I just wanted to get home ... get home, find the SportsCreme and soothe my January afternoon away.

But, alas, kind reader ... it was not to be. As I turned onto the street where I reside, I remembered that I needed stamps. Bills were awaiting me and it was GO! time. I quickly detoured to the post office (it closed in 30 minutes) and found a parking spot surprisingly close to the door. I checked my wallet for cash, zipped up, and headed in.

At the entrance, I held the door for a middle aged lady who I thought was a neighbor on the block. I was contemplating her identity more deeply when I stepped inside to the poorly maintained entry alcove. Slush abounded and the rubber mat was sopping wet. WHOOOOSH!! ... I caught a slippery spot and my knee headed east while my upper body fell west toward the inner postal sanctum. I caught myself from falling, but the "catching" of myself did more harm then falling, I think. I both heard and felt a small snap, followed by immediate pain.

With no pussyfooting, I hobbled-slash-lumbered to my car, the Joker grimace on my face clearly telling people to get out of my way. I knew I was hurt and no "creme" or "ointment" was gonna help. I traveled about eight miles to the nearest hospital with little additional pain, just a strong throbbing sensation. Driving didn't seem tostress my knee any further. I pulled up to the emergency room doors and honked my horn until an attendant appeared. It must have been a quiet day at "Mercy Sacred Heart St. Elsewhere Memorial General" because someone else came out with a wheelchair and the attendant, an African-American volunteer named Pete, parked my car in a temporary lot.

After paperwork and a short wait, an x-ray revealed some minor ligament damage. The attending said I "wrenched my knee good" and prescribed rest, a few weeks on crutches, an over-the-counter stretchy knee brace for support, and a follow up with my regular doctor.
I suggested painkillers, and he obliged me with a small prescription.

POINT OF RANT: Snow is not your friend.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Today At The Zoo ...

It's the last week for the annual light display at the area zoo, so I accepted an invitation to see the lights with two couples with whom I regularly "pal around" and their combined five children. I rode with Ted and his family in their spacious Caravan ... Ted's wife allowed me the honor of the "shotgun" position to accommodate my height. It wasn't a bad 25 minute ride ... thank God their youngest, 20 months (his age, not his name), slept the entire way there ... but there were lots of others out on the same January evening quest, so the lines at the gate were a bit long.

Taking in our destination, I got to thinking about groups and the names we give them. Part of my job is wordsmithing, so dividing up the zoo patrons and giving them labels ... children, kids, teens, adults, men, women, thirtysomethings, baby boomers, genXers, GenYs, seniors, leaders, followers, gays, straights, introverts, extraverts, etc. ... was a simple matter of a few minutes of observation and stereotyping.

Next I thought about the relationships represented. That was more difficult, but I'm sure we had a mix of families, couples, daters, lovers, marrieds, singles, loners, strangers, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

And then I thought about how group descriptors can often have positive and negative connotations. If you met a small group of people introduced to you as a "community" or "clan" or "tribe," I bet many of you would imply strong bonds and common goals. But if that same grouping was labeled as a "gang" or "mob," then you wouldn't be so anxious to shake any hands or make eye contact. Business groups get shackled with both positive (organization, association, co-op, roundtable) and negative (cartel, syndicate, combine, conglomerate) labels, as do religious gatherings (brethren, commune, membership, ministry, cult, sect).

Our "group" finally got inside and walked around the zoo grounds for about 40 minutes when we stopped and bought snacks ... very expensive snacks. As we took a breather to eat, I popped open my new phone and decided to take advantage of my free one month of Web access. I looked up the names of animal groupings. I knew there were some strange ones, but I never realized that the animal kingdom had it so rough.

Lots of the lists I found contained the common labels we all know ... a herd of buffalo, a pride of lions, a school of fish (a derivation of the word "shoal" which is where many types of fish live), a flock of sheep, a pack of wolves, a pod of whales, a swarm of bees, a stable of horses, and a flight of birds. Most of these made perfect sense ... the words themselves described how the animals behaved, traveled, or related to where they lived.

There were also dozens of group names I discovered that were new to me but, again, made sense after some thought ... labels such as a scurry of squirrels, a tower of giraffes, a cackle of hyenas, a streak of tigers, a leap of leopards, a mischief of mice, and a cloud of bats.

And then there were terms for multiples of animals that just made me scratch my head and think "what the hell?!" ... nomenclature like a sleuth of bears (are they trained detectives of just private eyes?), a shrewdness of apes (exceptionally smart, are we?), a coalition of cheetahs (are they really that organized? and is there a phone tree involved?), a crossing of zebras (to go where exactly?), a glare of cats (they do know how to look pissed off), a posse of turkeys (I'll allow it only if they ride horses, carry six shooters, and where tiny leather bird chaps), a chain of bobolinks (it must be where we get the term "chain-bobolink fence"), a smack of jellyfish (against the side of the tank, maybe), and a lounge of lizards. Oh, come on ... that one's just stupid. And there are lots more.

POINT OF RANT: Never make a point of a sleeping baby being a silent blessing, because God will reward you with a screaming curse the entire ride home!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today At Sludge Junction ...

It was time for my vehicle's transfusion ... every 5,000 ... so I grabbed a neglected paperback and headed out for LotsaLube ... or QuikJunk ... or FastJuice ... or whatever the place was that was named after both speed and lubrication. I try to treat my car well, but handling routine maintenance is like calling a wedding planner in May to handle your June nuptials.

For years, I took my vehicles to the dealership-slash-orphanage from whence I purchased-slash-adopted them. My father was a firm believer in the power of the dealership, always spouting "it may cost a little more at the dealership, but those guys know what the hell they're doing!" Actually, it costs a good deal more and usually takes three or four days to schedule. And that dealership is the same place where, years ago, I picked out a two-door blue sporty little thing to lease and when I stopped by three days later to sign the paperwork there stood my father and the salesperson with my new tan four-door mid-size ... my Dad had found me a "better deal" and the dealership people went along with it like I wasn't even part of the equation.

So after my father passed away ... within a month, I think ... my cars became a little less finicky and started frequenting the "fast lube" establishments, kind of like going from gentleman's clubs to dark-alley strip joints. And to continue the analogy, the price of admission is a lot less, but the "lube job" is all the same. The only real downside is that instead of a few hours of downtime, I often spend the better part of a day there in a dumpy chair drinking weak coffee ... again, gentleman's club vs. strip joint.

There's "quickie" shop about 10 minutes from my house. It's usually my go-to spot ... good light for reading, a decent sized waiting area with magazines and usually a daily newspaper, and a few vending machines to help pass the time. But there have been times when I've called and the manager says "only one ahead of you if you come now," and I click off, grab my keys, and sprint to my car like Jesse Owens, and when I get there I'm behind two flat tire repairs, one brake replacement, and five lube jobs. If I stay, I'll be benched for probably four hours ... at least a 3 p.m. dealership appointment almost always had me back behind the wheel by 3:30. In those instances, I usually cruised around looking for someplace else to get my oil "fix."

And now, the "rapid lubes" are on my last nerve about my air filter. There's always a series of questions you are asked when registering for an oil change ... make and model, color, mileage, oil type and weight. Then they want to know if I want to be alerted to any problems with my lights, signals, or tires. No, I think, I want to be an uninformed motorist ... please tell me nothing.

Then they get in their final digs regarding the status of my windshield wipers and air filter. Do I want my wipers and/or air filter replaced, they ask. "Only if it needs it," I reply in my most commanding, don't-screw-with-me baritone. Now, I know when my wipers need replaced. When it rains, the water doesn't slide away like it should. Or the gentle "wwwhhhhoooossssshhh" or the squeegee-like action sounds more like a small whale banging its flukes on my windshield to get my attention. One Christmas, I got new wiper blades in my stocking. In later January, a "quickie" tech tried to tell me my wipers needed replacing. I challenged him and I never saw him again ... a different tech checked me out and handed me my keys.

Now the air filter I'm not so sure about. I assume it filters incoming air from the intakes and tries to catch any particulates that could cause problems. But is a slightly dirty air filter that precarious of a condition? When techs (in general) ask about my car's air filter, their voices become hushed and their brows knit in concern. Is it like a bad lung? Do I need to get on a donor list? Should I pay them their going rate or pay ten bucks and buy one off the black market? Change that damn filter ... STAT!

POINT OF RANT: Cars and people confuse me in equal amounts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Today At My Boss' House ...

Now I bet none of you (I hope) have ever been in this situation: you and five co-workers are in the den of your boss' home for a planning retreat, you all are wearing casual clothes while you toss around project ideas and budget concerns for the next six months, and your boss' horse-sized Great Dane is, for all intents and purposes, performing oral sex on you.

When we arrived at Lady Boss' house in a caravan of four cars, it was 9:30 a.m. The morning was crisp with snow flurries dancing about. As the group exited the vehicles, we were greeted by a vague shape coming out of the snow from the side yard of a lovely Victorian home. The wintery mirage took on more definition and I just assumed a horse had gotten loose from the nearby barn. No, it was Barney, a male Great Dane of pony proportions.

Our boss shouted hello and the assemblage was quickly ushered into the house, asked to remove our shoes, and led into a cozy room with fireplace ablaze. After coffee and sodas were passed around, the small group set to work. One co-worker set up an idea easel. Others took out notebooks or scratchpaper. Barney focused on working my crotch.

I don't care for dogs. They're noisy, bothersome, and needy ... at least the one's I've met. But this one was making me "feel funny" with its snorts and aggressive snout-work. And the scene was causing my co-workers to giggle at my expense. And the boss didn't bat and eye.

Now Lady Boss loves her Barney, dotes on him even more than her two children. She family photos on her desk at work that prominently feature the brute. She often tells "hilarious" tales of Barney and his misadventures. But today, we're in Barney's world and he seems to make the rules.

After a bit, she makes excuses for his geisha-esque manners like "he's just getting acquainted" (to which I think "do I leave $20 on the dresser when he's finished"), or she suggests "just push him away" (to which I whisper to one co-worker "like I haven't been doing that since I sat down"). But the foreplay continued.

Here's my big question ... or complaint ... shouldn't my boss be taking the lead in stopping her pet's fellatiating actions? Is it really my responsibility, as a guest in her home, to curb the crotch sniffing beast?

And the day went on. Barney did "head" off and get into something else, but that something else was a female co-worker's purse from which he tried to eat a lipstick. Then the lummox knocked over a Pepsi. And I can't decently describe the amount of drool that damn dog produced. Those slimy jowls spewed on chair arms, pant legs, and swatches of carpet. The room we were in definitely had a lived-in look, but I never would have expected canine saliva to be the biggest decorating accent.

We weren't released from "Great Dane Does Dallas" until shortly after 2 p.m. There were other advances on my crotch, a few more spilling incidents, and a number of "surprise appearances" by Barney's bared-for-the-world-to-see weiner. The only respite was that Barney was put in another room for about 30 minutes during lunch. And then only because he kept trying to pull the boss' plate off of the table.

I had driven separately. I wanted so badly to be home ... to take a shower ... to visit a therapist ... to adopt a cat.

POINT OF RANT: Dogs are not people ... learn to live with it!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Today In A Neighbor's Yard ...

I was driving back from dropping off some library books when ... about eight blocks from my house ... I saw this lady really tearing into two little kids. I assumed it was there mother, and she was really angry. I wasn't really concerned ... more nosey ... so I circled around their block and pulled up the street from the commotion and parked my car. I got out a map to appear like I might be lost ... great cover, I know ... and rolled down my window. I could here everything and it was a good one.

Little Billy and Janey ... not their names, unless I made a really good guess ... aren't old enough to be in school like their two older sisters, so Mom sent them outside to play. They decided to build a snowman, so they went inside to ask Mommy Dearest ... not her name, but I'm guessing her occupation ... for a hat, a scarf, and a carrot ... your standard snowman requirements.

Well, it seems Mom was busy talking on the phone and she told the kids to look in the "front closet" and leave her be. Being mindful, the kids did just that. They found some items that they thought would work and went back outside to finish creating their own Frosty.

Mom checked on them sometime later and wasn't happy with what she saw. Apparently, Mommy Dearest is also Mommy Drags Her Feet ... she had never found time to put away the family's new Christmas gift so she just shoved them in the closet until she could get them sorted and moved into the appropriate bedrooms.

Now that I had the basics of the brouhaha, I looked more closely at Frosty in my rear view mirror. He wasn't very tall ... neither were the two kids ... but he had some interesting accessories. Playing cards were sticking out of the thing's head like crazy hair extensions ... a nice silk tie went loosely around his neck ... very expensive ski goggles sat where his eyes should be ... a Sonicare electric toothbrush was mounted for a nose ... a frilly purple sweater was draped over his shoulders ... a plaid skirt wrapped around his waste ... a Coach purse dangling from a tree branch arm ... two men's loafers were shoved into the bottom of his off-white snowy body ... and what appeared to be a new whisk was shoved into his gravel-outlined mouth like a New Year's Eve noisemaker. No carrot was in evidence.

As the Mom continued to berate her kids to cover her own guilt, I started up my car and casually left the scene because I though, if I stayed to listen to any more backpedaling or if I looked at that nappy snowman again, I might piss my pants.

POINT OF RANT: Watch your kids.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Today With A Hangover ...

Cheap champagne means a cheap headache!

It's 2010 and I'm on the hunt for good-luck kraut and sausage. What I'm not on the lookout for is a New Year's resolution. After years of making promises to anyone who would listen, I think I've found the perfect "fit" in self improvement.

Now, I've tried the "better body" pledges ... eat better, exercise more, blah, blah, blah. No go!

I've tried "fiscal facelifts" ... save more, invest more, blah, dollar sign, blah. Big no go!

Find a stable relationship ... need a significant other with a similar desire. NO GO!

So this year, I've decided on digital development. I've started this blog. The plan is for entries every two or three days, but I'm not gonna beat myself up if I slip up. I'd like to be witty and urbane consistently, but I'm also just gonna focus on the little things in life that have a more subtle meaning, or a hint of human mystery.

My goal is to find a stronger voice and avoid writer's block. See, I work in marketing and public relations, so I write and edit the written word everyday. I'm also a closet novelist. I wrote a book about three young friends caught up in a drug-related adventure. Shopped it around and got less than favorable feedback. Now I'm toying with a new book idea, and I'm hoping this little blog adventure will keep me in fighting form.

We'll see.

POINT OF RANT: Not every resolution has to be grand.