Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rescue me

If you drop in here, you know by now that I work in a school. I get up every morning and come down to my building to walk. I walk the wings and into the gym... around and around. You get it. I do this because few weirdos have keys to this place. Because it is safe, warm and well lit... though I did manage to trip over the bleachers and end up with my head and one arm in a gratefully almost empty garbage can one morning. It could have been worse. No injury, just a feeling of stupidity.

This morning I did another studpid thing. I should be used to them by now... sigh. I walked in, hung my purse with my building key on the door of my library and strode toward the gym. At the end of the main hall are a set of double doors with big shiny deadbolts. Yes, you are clever enough to see where this is going. Just as the doors swung shut behind me, I realized my error... I ALWAYS prop one of these open to be sure that I can get back into the main hall.

End result is that I am stranded on this side of the double doors. If I go outside, I have no key to get back into the building. Because I walk at an ungodly hour... no one I know is up who has a key and will trouble themselves to come down and help me out. Shoot, 90% of the folk who work here live in another town to the east or west. They are not going to drive 45 miles to let me get to my purse.

So make lemonaide right? I walked anyway. My laps were much smaller, but it's just putting one foot in front of the other right? I even walked an extra 15 minutes to kill time. Eventually I discovered that I could get into one of the room where I can get on computer... and use a phone. Cool beans! So I waited to call until 7:30 a.m. I am now waiting for rescue. The person I am counting on is not exactly a cheerful morning type, so wish me luck. She may decide to wait until she is good and ready. Frankly, I cannot blame her. Beggars cannot be choosey and all that.

Really, where have I got to go anyway? HOme to shower would be so very nice. Though I suppose if I got desperate enough there are scary gang showers here. Think I'll pass on that. I like my bathroom. Missing it. Well, wish me luck!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad Trip Down Memory Lane

I was still quite little when The Firesign Theater first began broadcasting their comedy show in LA in the mid-sixties. I was as more into the Funny Papers read every Sunday morning. They were well established (early 70s) by the time I sat down and listened seriously to what they were saying… and found out that I enjoyed them. I’m sure that it had more to do with being aware of the world, than being receptive to humor. Much of what was used came from current events and actual geographical locations. The latter was easy for me. I spent a month each year of my summers in Eagle Rock, a burb of LA with a great-grandma that was always dragging me off somewhere to see something or other of interest to her. I had LA streets and landmarks down pat. Whoever knew that time with great-grandma would pan out so happily?

That was a good point in time for audio comedy. We had Dr. Demento, (who eventually led us to Weird Al Yankovic) , Monthy Python’s Flying Circus and every radio station had it’s own set of nutty DJs who put on a show. Weird Al and Monty Python of course moved on into the video world. I enjoyed Fawlty Towers on the BBC as well as the regular Monty Python show. The players exploded out into our movies and televisions from the Flying Circus. I love A Fish Called Wanda. Jamie Lee Curtis married a Python.

Humor is so important. It was good to turn on a record that could play in the background (yes, big generally black things that spun on a turn table that date me as the antique I am.) while you visited with friends… doing whatever you did with your friends at that point in time. College days for me and yes, it was party time. We laughed often and found the bits and pieces of these delights made their way into our everyday lives, to be repeated when applicable. Most of it was just plain silly. Some was very smart. All of it was fun.

Recently my visiting husband attempted to engage our boys in listening to Firesign Theater when he happened on their web site ( (For the curious.)
I have heard them all and know most by heart. I moved around the house at leisure and chuckled when I wanted. The dad guy had the boys sitting in hard back chairs next to the computer to listen. They did not get a lot of the jokes due to a lack of insight to the period of time. I was cleaning the bathroom when Squeaky showed up looking panicked. “Help me!” he begged. Max had already bailed and Squeaky did not want to let down the dad guy, but he’d had enough. He had the same look I used to get when my grandpa would want to lecture me on marsupials… because we had zero common ground on which to base a conversation.

I took pity on him and rescued him by demanding that he take out the trash… which he did with unusual zest and then ordering him to go clean his room, which he did with relish. It worked out well for me in that I got work out of a kid who thanked me for the opportunity. But, I ended up losing too. I became the meanie who ended the fun and I got stuck with dad guy walking down memory lane and his hurt feelings that they did not enjoy it the way he did at their age. Times change. Poor old dad guy… the world has moved on without him. He was pretty ticked off at me for the rest of the day. Oh well. I am soooooooooooo used to that!

It’s good to be open to new things. Being open keeps us moving in time with the world. And good memories have their place. The trick is to be able to blend them without disrupting the flow or imposing on others. I have good boys, both tried to be interested for as long as they could stand. I respect that about them. And I respect that the dad guy wants to connect and share with them. But I think this weekend we’ll go with Monopoly.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

37 Waterfalls

Today I went with my daughter and grandson to the pediatric heart specialist. He... baby has two heart murmurs, but hooray... they are not a danger and one will vanish within another year or two. So baby is great and we are all happy. "His heart is strong and has good blood flow."

On the way home from "the big city" I counted the waterfalls coming off the cliffs of the gorge... 37 of them. I want to go back and take photos of them. It was amazing. We had snow last night, but just a light dust and then the white water falls coming out of the snow... breath taking! That was 37 waterfalls in just 40 miles. I miss the California coast and San Francisco so bad I want to cry sometimes, but I would miss this place just as much.

The Hal 9000 is still on hold. Squeaky cannot even squeak properly. I'll have photos once it is done and I am anxious to get to that place.

I hope that everyone had a great day with a few laughs, some beauty and someone's affection. Life is good. Thanks for the laughs dmarks and billy pilgrim. It's good to be part of someone else's good day... and you were part of mine.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waiting for Hal 9000 and Muttering

Still waiting on my new computer. The whiz kid is ill with the current crud. I'd like to be pushy but he promised to be well tomorrow so that he can finish. Actually he is promising to be well tomorrow to go on a field trip to the warehouse. He's in a program where they learn how to do things with computers and they go to this warehouse where they recycle computers and get great stuff in exchange. Until then I cannot do a whole lot. I am using the family computer in the living room that is constantly occupied by this boy or that boy. Openings tend to happen at inconvenient times.

Did get the camera and have been learning how to use it. I am not a photographer. We'll see how that goes. Squeaky says he will show me how to move photos to my blog. Yeah.

Max saw A Boy and His Dog last night. He says this is a seriously screwed up movie. Max is unflappable as a general rule, so that says a good deal. I had forgotten about it. I saw it way back in the early 70s. It was a book too, but I do not recall who wrote it. Perhaps I'll look that up. The sort of movie you walk out of in a daze. Here is my caution : The sexual aspect of this movie is skewed and will offend some folk. Choke is another one that is out there, but to a much lesser degree. Chuck Palahniuk is like that. He wrote Fight Club for those who are familiar with Tyler Durden. He deals with human frailties that are on the unusual side. He really should be on my list of favorite authors too.

5 words that describe Ananda girl according to family and self

5 words that describe Ananda girl according to family and self

Me : Exuberant,Curious, Determined, Rambunctious ,Polite.
Him: talkie,*cheerful, annoying, friendly, curious.
Bear: Mommy,crazy, fun, lovey, bitchy.
Max: easily amused, mom, paranoid, odd, severely entertaining.
Squeaky: annoying, old, persistent, food-giver, kind.

*“cheerful” is to be said with a sneer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As the ever entertaining Mr. Shife pointed out in his blog… Confessions of a Dumb, White Guy… keywords are funny things. Granted, his are way funnier than anything I have come up with. I don’t think I will even try and out do that. ( If you have not visited him, do so.)

I’m not sure why I did it, but today I googled Ananda. Because of my own moniker. You get a zillion references to Buddhism and Yoga… two things totally lacking in my life and not at all connected with my handle. The only thing the two Anandas agree on are the meaning… Ananda means “bliss, joy, free from form”. While you will see that there are many schools with Ananda in their name, most have some sort of spiritual aspect to them.

My Ananda also comes from the name of a school. There was not a darned thing spiritual about our school. But it was a blast. One that I attended many thousands of years ago when fish still had legs. And Patrick Sean O’Neil was still producing Sailor Tom comics for Kids Magazine. Patrick was my friend. It happened that dmarks mentioned Patrick’s comic in his blog… where I was lurking. I didn’t actually have a blog yet. I’m a real new-bee. So when I went to make a comment, I ended up starting an account and it me asked for a name… well, since I was making contact about my old pal at school, why not use the school name and put girl after it? I am not instantly clever. I thought if Patrick ever happened on dmark’s page that he would see the school name and it would light him up… shake the dust and cobwebs out of his brain and he would recall the wonderfulness that is me!

Yes, I know, a long, long shot. “It ain’t matter none…” as a guy on Craig’s List once typed. Patrick was only a friend. I’m not looking for love or anything like that. But it would be great to touch base and see how many kids he has and who he ended up with in life. What the heck he became, if not a cartoonist. Or a writer. He was always funny and often inappropriate… two of my very favorite things. (By day I am a simple school librarian, stifled in the utterly appropriate life of a public school employee. I must break out and be what I truly am!) I would enjoy knowing info. I’m curious about people and I love to hear their stories. Especially crazy ones or funny ones. Absurd is fabulous too.

So you will not find me by googling Ananda, at least not in the first 35 pages of choices. There is a beautiful black woman in there with the name of just Ananda and she seems interesting. I am not her. She would not appreciate being confused with me, I’m sure.

The fascinating Mr. Shife also told me that he has had trouble posting to my blog. AAAAAGGGGHHHH. Anyone else having trouble? That really upsets me. I want to hear people’s stories… as odd or sad, wild, troubled… whatever… as many as I can. Feel free to drop them on me as you like. But if you have trouble getting through… can you tell Mr. Shife… if I may impose on you good sir! Because something will need to be done. I will check with Mr. Shife.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


It's been a busy few days.
Friday, I worked of course, but I love my job so much I wake up on Monday happy to go to work. Yes... sick, sick, sick. At the end of my work day, after I was off the clock, I was locking up the library and had to fix the door jam, which was stuck. My front door to the library opens to the main hallway. But I have a rear door that opens on the lawn and a playground beyond. It is the rear door that I had propped open earlier, since the weather was wonderful and the sun was shining. Once the sunshine hit me, I had to take a moment to soak it up and look around me. I try to take a moment everyday at some point to look around at the gorge where I live and remember to be thankful that I live in such a beautiful place. When I looked to the left, where the Science folk have their experimental beds, I found a fabulous patch of sweet tiny violets! I cannot tell you how much these silly little flowers energized me and made me feel hopeful that spring is truly almost here.
I thought immediately of Citizen, who is also looking for spring, as many of us are... and I have taken photos to share... eventually I will get them in here. (But that's part of my good day.) Anyway, Citizen, and anyone else who might be interested, I'm the Media Specialist in a tiny school in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The science lab is in the room next to my library. Our two rooms and the boy's restroom make up the middle portion of a giant U that is our building. These little violets are in the well protected corner of that U or we might not be seeing them for a while yet. I'm sure the science folk have planted them there. This particular bed is dedicated to native plant experiments. My door is the access to the garden beds.

Yesterday, Saturday, the Bear and I went shopping in P'land. We actually got out without any boy tag-a-longs... no offense guys, I love ya, but you don't want to shop with us! Or with the baby. This is in itself a red letter day and so rare. We ate Chinese at Fortuna Restaurant, which is inexpensive and delicious. I have a doggie bag that will last me through two more meals. Then we did shop until I had to sit in the car and let Tylenol talk my bum knee into shutting up.
We came home exhausted and prepared to be better dressed. The sales were good.

Now today... Sunday. I got up and did my usual walk. This is my quick post before I hit the shower. Today is the day that Squeaky builds my new computer! I am very excited. It does not take him very long. The boy is a whiz at this. He gets stuff from Tiger Direct and Good Egg. I also got my camera... yeah... and will soon be able to put the photos out there for folk to enjoy.
I have already gotten the violets to share and a photo of a de-icer truck for the scavenger hunt. So at some point today... the photos will be there. Cool beans!

Enjoy your day, no matter how grey! Fun is meant to be created, not always arriving unexpected. Hey Dropkick Murphies are not far away... about 200 miles and I was going to make the trip in my car that runs on curses and prayer... but they are sold out! Now I have to have a private Dropkick Murphy party of my own. I sure do wish I could be there instead! But that is life eh? If any of you are going... or have gone to one of their concerts... man, you are lucky, enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Favorite Authors...Who Are Yours?

Here is my list of my many favorite authors… and I’m sure I’ve left some out. ( I really do read a lot.)

Roger Zelazny’s Amber series knocked me out. I still find my mind walking in Amber… twenty years later.

Kurt Vonnegut is a master. Was a master, so sorry he’s gone. I used to love to think of him sitting out there… half crocked, farting away and belching. I have read everything he wrote and loved it all.

Robert Silverberg… Up the Line is my favorite of his. A fun read. One of the few authors who can hold my attention long with short stories.

The Older Biggies of Fantasy/ Sci-Fi ; T.H. White, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells,
L. Frank Baum
, and last but certainly not the least, the great, great Irish author Jonathan Swift. These fine men first filled my head with the love of words and stories. I owe them much.

Old Adventurers and Scoundrels ; Charles Dickens (My boys are lucky that their dad would not allow me to name one of them Pip.), Robert Louis Stevenson, John Steinbeck… especially Tortilla Flat, William Saroyan… who wrote about places close to my heart and home.

David Almond, who writes wonderful books for middle school kids that can entertain me.

Douglas Adams. I love the last line in So Long and Thanks for all the Fish. “There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind.”

Ray Bradbury who was introduced to me by a high school teacher named Loo with Something Wicked This Way Comes and got me totally hooked. Another short story writer that can keep me rapt. The October Country was a big favorite for shorts.

Terry Brooks. Knight of the Word series, though all seem connected through the Omsfords.

Orson Scott Card’s Alvin Maker stories as well as Ender’s Game series.

Pat Conroy Hey… how’d he get in here? Oh yeah, I loved the insanity of Beach Music. A family like my own. Crazy. “Max the great Jew” is a hero in my heart. But then I have rarely met or known of a Max I did not like… except for the serial killer named Max from Fresno, where I grew up. (He took out his grass and poured it full of concrete and painted it green so he wouldn’t have to mow his lawn. We should have been suspicious.)

David Eddings got me hooked on his Belgariad and beyond.

Philip Jose Farmer who is clever and also obscene from time to time.

Philip K. Dick who has written so many of the sci fi stories we have viewed in movies and on the various TV shows like Twilight Zone… and we don’t even suspect it half the time.

Melvin Burgess because I loved Billy Elliot.

John Grisham. I still cannot finish The Chamber or watch the end of the movie. It rips my heart up.

Robert Heinlen who blessed me with the first sci fi, as well as the first book I ever checked out of a library… (where I belong)…on my own, without an older sibling or parent along to suggest. I got on my bike, rode to the branch near our home and found it there, waiting to make me into a book slave. It was called Have Space Suit Will Travel. I have eaten his books repeatedly. He has made me fat with words!

Herman Hess for Siddhartha.

Peter Straub, the “connected man” who first gave me the joy of finding that his books were all connected to each other in playful ways that I had to search out and that a character can be a hero in one book and a side character in another who is not so well thought of. Interesting stuff.

Barbara Kingsolver who understands what makes women strong and what makes them insane.

Dean Koontz who is sometimes snubbed by book snobs as being a lightweight. But I love Odd Thomas and want to take him home with me.

Robert Lynn Asprin, my “myth-ic” man and for his part in Thieves World. In my head I have a room I’ve rented above The Vulgar Unicorn in Sanctuary. Tons of fun there!

Piers Anthony You know there’s something about a guy who lives in a castle made of cheese that is intriguing. And the Blue Adept was pretty different. Oddly erotic or was that just my problem?

Larry Niven who brought Ringworld, Inferno, Lucifer’s Hammer, The Mote in God’s Eye, N-Space, the Kzin, the Puppeteers, Protectors and worlds on worlds of pleasure… often with Jerry Pournelle (A great writer on his own.)and at least once or twice with Michael Flinn.

Joe Haldeman, Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov, Pol Anderson, Theodore Sturgeon, Ben Bova, Theodore Sturgeon, Clifford D. Simak… the supermen! The men who made me want to become a writer myself.

David Brin for The Postman.

Philip Pullman for The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

J. R.R. Tolkien of course!

John Irving for Garp, Setting Free the Bears, The Water Method Man, Cider House Rules, etc.

Richard Brautigan for Trout Fishing in America (not much about trout fishing actually), The Abortion, Revenge of the Lawn, Watermellon Sugar, the Pill VS. the Springhill Mine Disaster, A Confederate General From Big Sir, (Big Sir is one of my favorite places on the face of the earth!), and my all time favorite of his… Rommel Drives Deep into Egypt.

Marilyn French for The Women’s Room.

Stephen King for the Gunslinger books and all his wonderful horror... and again, a thing I find irresisable, the connections to seek out that are interwoven throughout years of books. If you haven't read Dumma Key, one of his newest, I liked it.

Looking back, it seems that there are un unequal number of men compared to women authors here. I will have to think on this.

Who do you love?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wally World Atrocity

Yesterday Squeaky and I took off for Wally World... you know the store chain I mean... to buy a new camera. I know nothing about them. Squeaky makes these choices for me. He knows what he is doing when it comes to pixels and sensors and what works with our computer and it's software/hardware.

(I took photography in high school and got an "A" using a Kodak Instamatic... no f stop, no focus, no shutter speed worries. I was cute and my teacher was a pervert. (No I did not do anything more than smile.) My friend, Sal, who was Mexican... I suppose he still is... did a fantastic job using all the whistles and bells on his expensive camera and got an "F". Sal was really cute too. But he wore a shirt that looked like a flag to class and that ticked off the pervert. When I talked Sal into going in to talk to the creep, believing it was a mistake (Sal likely had a grade meant for me), the pervert actually admitted flunking Sal because he felt that Sal had disrespected the flag. I suspect it was also because Sal was Mexican and because Salvador was not a girl. )

The trip to Wally World was not too bad until the end. We found an employee who could open the case and help us fairly quickly. They were out of many of the models, typically. But we settled on one and got a nice sized memory card to go with it. I was really excited. The machine freaked out on me. Not the camera, I'm not being clear. The machine that does the credit card.
Instead of taking the money from my credit card account, it took it from my debit account. I admit I was dumb... when it asked me for my pin, I put it in. I should have known then that it was not on track to charge it. When I did notice and tried to cancel it, the guy said it was too late, I'd paid cash for it.

So I went to the dreaded Customer Service line. If I go to hell, my personal hell will be standing in Wally World's Customer Service line for eternity. Time enters some weird warp and takes a vacation. When my turn came, the girl working the line developed a splinter in her finger. She put us all on hold while she sent the other girl working the second line to find tweezers. Then they worked on her finger together for a time. I had some sympathy. But you know, you don't die of splinters very often these days. How much time is okay to spend on it? I did not know the rule for that, so I continued to wait quietly. She never did get it out. The other girl decided to take her break.

My turn. I explain that I just got this... and the machine took money from my debit account, not my credit account. First she had to search the box and make sure that nothing was taken out of it during the walk from Electronics to Customer Service. She tries to tell me that I cannot have both credit and debit on the same card. I said that is not true, I use it all the time and I know what my card does... no offense. I always try to be polite. This is not a job with many perks but probably has a lot of jerks who blow up. I did not want to be a jerk. She then tells me that she has to put the money back on my debit card and it will take "like a week". I said no, they just got my cash and they can give me my cash back, then charge the camera. It took some wheedling but she finally did it. I think she thought I was doing a scam of some sort.

Then she tried to charge the camera. The card machine would not accept my card. So I use my cell phone and call my card company... who tells me that there is no reason at all that they would not accept my card, that my card company is not the one denying the credit card, that Wally World is refusing it and not even checking with them for approval. Has anyone else had this problem with Wally World? I ended up telling her to forget it and leaving without the camera.

I had the money and could have paid cash. That is not the point. I wanted to use my credit card, not get into my debit account. That's my choice, not Wally World's choice. But my friend tells me that that is what they... "Wally World... do and they do it on purpose to keep down the credit card sales. Cash in hand is better than waiting for the credit card company to send the bucks I guess. Does anyone know if that is true? Is that legal?

Squeaky and I will go into the big city of P'land for our camera needs this weekend. It can wait, though I am anxious to get clicking.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Life in Flux

My life is neck deep in flux.

We all have our baggage don't we? I Hope your day is happy. Mine is believe it or not. If I have learned nothing else in my life journey...Our days are as good as we make them. Make your day fulfilling and satisfying.

I decided to edit this one. Much is removed. But i will give you it in a nutshell when I return.

(I get up at 5:00 a.m. to walk every morning.)

I have lots of flux in my life right now. Baby bird is flying the nest in a year and a half. Same baby bird's high school is being closed... a very emotional issue for all and he will be bused 25 miles a day to the next town over... on a freeway that is often not safe in the winter time.

My job is up in the air because of budget cuts and I may have to work in the next town over and God forbid, maybe even lose my job.

Husband and I have been separated for basically ten years... 5 he spent in prison and the other 5 in the "box on rocks" at the other end of town. That's an RV. We cannot live together. He cannot tolerate living in close proximity to others. Yet he is here at my home from the time I get off work until it's time for everyone to go to bed. His purpose is to be here for the two boys who are still living with me and to make up for the time they were forced apart, if such a thing is ever possible. We are still friends and care about each other, but the marriage is ka-put and I have decided on divorce with the intention of finding someone else. I do not believe there is ever an excuse to cheat on someone and have been very up front on the latter issue. He understands and agrees.

On top of all of that I just found out that I do not have cancer... but had some scary moments.

I have had very hard times. Gone from middle class to poverty overnight. Had to raise four kids alone for a time. Yet I am not alone in the trauma department. So many people have had to deal with crap like this in their lives. And I don't bring it up for sympathy. When the old man first went to "camp" I was in shock for about a year and a half. Things like this did not happen to me! I am a good person. Blah, blah, blah. Yes they do. They happen sometimes to the nicest people in the world, and sometimes to AH that deserve it. I felt like Lot when his neighbors wanted to know what evil he'd done to bring God's wrath down upon him. I wasted a lot of time looking for evil I'd never caused.

I stopped that. You know what happens. Life is Chaos, constantly in change. We fool ourselves into seeing only the big changes. We waste time railing against the unchangeable, like aging. Sorry, we all get old, it's true. I seem to go through cycles of flux. This is what I have learned...

Flux is neither good or bad, it is simply life. Like a crossroad. It is an option. You have to make a choice... forward, backward, left or right. Indecision is a choice to not participate in choosing.
In fact, there is an Offspring song about this that goes something like... life can be a nightmare or a playground if we choose. I agree. It's what you do with flux that matters. You can sit and moan about how terrible it can be and create a self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophecy for yourself. Or you can set your brain to figuring out how the flux can be directed into a positive outcome.

My view right now is that life is an adventure. I am happy for baby bird that he can fly away into his own life soon. I recall how wonderful and exciting that felt when I flew from my family. This is reason to celebrate. It makes the time he has left at home sweeter.

My job may end here. If so, then a change in location is okay with me. I know I have a place to go. I have a few places. A friend in California, which I miss so much sometimes I could cry... has an empty guest room with my name on it. Another who lives closer to the Oregon coast, which I also adore, has told me that I always have a home there. I am not keen on living with a friend or family member. I like my independence. But they are good places to use as a temporary launch pad. The idea of meeting someone new and dating again is scary and exhilarating. Flux is offering adventure when I may have stagnated otherwise. Sometimes we need shaking up.

Here's a hoot, Citizen! My mobile home park manager just knocked on the door and told me that our landlord has not paid the water bill and the city is turning us off. You were right... I should not have picked my nose at how things cannot get worse. Yes they can. But I can laugh at it. The irony is too perfect. I have lots of bottled water. She will pay it soon. We have been down this path before. Ah... the adventure continues!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Aftermath / Sunday Early

Ugh. Feeling like crap.
Yesterday Max and I went out for Mexican food. It was nice, the food was great and the conversation was fun. Lots of laughing. Max forgot his ID, so I was the only one who had a margarita... yum. We were enjoying the theme of the place. They had posters on the wall that were western or Mexican theme. One poster in Spanish on one side and a truly old poster for the Grande Ol Opr'y from 1953. Patsy Cline, Loretta, Hank Williams, etc. all smiling down on us. Max is too young to recall them. But I enjoyed it.

While there we talked about diner. Max's favorite meal is corned beef and cabbage and our tiny market that never gets corned beef in except for ST. P's day actually had it. So we decided to make it an Irish/Mexican Valentine's Day. Why not? Off to the store on the way home and then home to cook... in more ways than one. I don't drink very often, or at least I never used to but lately I have been having a drink here or there. Alcohol can really creep up on me fast.

So I trimmed all the fat off the corned beef, put it on to boil with half of the spices in one packet. I always make two corned beef slabs at one time. (If I don't make two Max eats all of it the first day.) If I use more than half a packet of spices, even with two slabs, I'll puff up like a banana fish. Then I set about making margaritas and that was where I went wrong... I over-cooked myself and crashed out very early on in the evening. The boys dad had to walk home. The driver... me... was down for the count. Don't worry, the boys are grown up now. No neglected children while mommy gets too deep in the cup.

But I did stay alert long enough to slather mustard all over the corned beef, coat it in fresh cracked pepper and put it in the oven to bake the fat out of it. While that part bakes, I fill the juice in the pot with red potatoes, skins on, cut in quarters, a carrot sliced, and a head of cabbage chopped into bite sizes and let that boil together. The end result was perfect. A good rich broth, firm but cooked potatoes and delightful cabbage. I slice the corned beef thin and people add as much corned beef as they want to their bowls.

I'd like to say it's a lot of work, but really it isn't at all. It's one of those dishes you can ignore and do other things while you cook it and the end result is amazing. Same with red beans and rice. My mother used to say they were wash day dishes, meaning that you were busy washing clothes by hand on that day and needed to make food for the family that could mind itself while you worked... back when women were insanely busy just being wives and mothers.

Before I get myself into trouble I know that women are busy now... still insanely so, just in a different way. We aren't often making our own bread by hand for the day or washing on a scrub board in a tub on the kitchen table. Women now can run by a fast food place and grab a quick diner for the family and avoid that whole thing. We don't do that because we don't have fast food here. None. Not a bad thing either. Fast food is killing us. Children are getting adult onset (Type2) diabetes... how crazy is that? So I collect foods that are healthy and can make themselves while I do the other things that I do.

Corned beef is not the most healthy. But if you trim all the fat off it can be healthy enough for the occasional meal. Especially if you bake it and let the remaining fat cook out. The mustard keeps the meat moist as well as adds that divine flavor. It's like other things. Chicken is only healthy for you if you don't drench it in fat. We do not fry anything at our house. There is bake, broil or grill. Max and I mostly eat fish and chicken. Squeaky has rules and eats very differently from the rest of us. Their crabby old father gets fed whatever he wants... because it makes my life easier. He does not live with us, but he eats with us. Our arrangement is very weird but works for us. He is there for family time with the boys. We kept our family life and got rid of our marriage life. It's hard to explain. But I have to say, being able to load him into the car and take him to his place... and leave him there when I want or need to... is very handy. No fights.

I hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I hope you did not do like me and over-cook your brain on margaritas. Cause I really do feel like crap today. Oooooo

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The One and Only Number Two Girl Child

This one we will call Bear. I have not asked yet if she wants her name in here or not. When she was born, her older brother used to shush the neighbor kids outside at play and tell them that his "Bear" was sleeping. These too have a wonderful relationship and love each other so much! They live together currently. Sharing a house with her handsome love, Mr. P, his brother Tee, and cousin Jason. Big house, lots of rooms and 3 bathrooms. Bear and Mr. P have a fabulous son, my precious little Mikey.

What can I say about Bear? She is my best friend now that she is 25, a mom of a nearly 2 year old and no longer in need of mothering. She is beautiful. Yes, that is actual truth. She is also the meanest and scariest of my children according to her brothers... who respect her utterly and have the good sense not to piss her off. Never bait the Bear. They love her that much and then some too...I pity anyone who would try and cause her harm.

Bear is very artistic. She writes poetry. She paints. Draws. When she gets time with baby Mikey and his demands... babies are tyrants. She and Mr. P are very happy and in love. Engaged. Mr. P is a sober alcoholic... nearly 3 years. He is much adored and respected for his sobriety by our family. We are proud to have him as a family member. They do not eat beef. Mr. P was in a very cool punk band that is on a real label. I love their music. They are my family. I am so full of love for them!

Bear is dark like me. Did I say enough times that she is beautiful? I'm not sure that I can stress that enough. All my children are good looking. I don't know how that happened. When you look at the parents involved, you would think they would look like some awful combo you'd see on Conan O'Brian. Thank goodness for good looking ancestors, I guess.

The Irrepressible Number Three/Four

For our purposes, we shall call him Squeeky. He would never want his real name in here. Squeeky recently wrote an essay for a college class he is taking... though he is a junior in high school... about never putting any real information on a blog to protect yourself from trolls.

Where B-wreck is light and thin, Max is dark, furry and big enough to make you decide never to hit him if you can avoid it, Squeeky... the baby of the family is bigger than both and somewhere between in coloring. It was recently decided that he was officially the hairiest. Squeeky has a 'fro. His hair cannot be tamed. He pulls it into a pony tail that is not to be cool or in but keeps it under control. He knows that this is passe. His brothers have called him the Samoan. But don't get me wrong, he's not a fat big guy... he's a big guy.

There are so many aspects of Squeeky that it's hard to know where to begin or end. He is into computers like a true geek. Can build them from scratch. Can fix them. Creates parts. Amazes me. His best friend lives 50 miles away but they are constantly together online. He has friends all over the world online... which is great since we live in such a tiny place. (Pop. 1,300). He and my credit card spend a lot of money online.

He also has food issues. There are RULES that must be obeyed when it comes to food. Rules like meat cannot have a bone attached to it. It can no longer resemble what it used to be when alive. No chicken. No fish. No casseroles or food that touches each other. Food that touches by accident is fed to dog. He lost 15 pounds by giving up soda pop with sugar in it... tells you how much pop he drank. (Bad mom!) No fat is a rule. Squeeky will spend a half an hour removing any fat, connective tissue or suspicious anything from his meat portion. There is generally a pile of suspicious things as large as the part he eats. The only fast food he will consider is a Quizno's turkey sandwich.

Feeding him can be very difficult and was a real problem when he was younger because he would not eat the food other moms made. How can you spend the night at a friend's home or eat there if you won't eat the mom's food? His best friend's mom is the only exception to this day... because she understood and followed his rules. The woman keeps a jar of pickles for him.

Squeeky is sarcastic and snide. He has the ability to make that funny. When his dad is getting after him about something, Squeeky can crack the dad up with his sing-song deal about "I'm dad... I'm old and crabby..." Hard to transfer the spirit of it into text. Let me say this, as sarcastic and snide as he gets, you cannot stay mad at this kid. By the way, Squeeky is about to turn 17. His most valuable traits are an unfaltering loyalty to his family and his sense of justice.
One day, Squeeky will be a writer. He's already well on his way. Like all my sons, I am so proud of this one. A good person. A great son.

Son Two, Child Three

Max, my third child and second son, insisted that I use his real name... because he likes it. We also call him Swell (Max-Swell, get it?). Max is an enigma. I am not even sure how to describe him to you. He has a great, huge brain that collects everything it sees, hears or experiences. When there is something that cannot be recalled, the entire family asks Max... who can always recall the answer.
When he was three and and he and I were laying down for a nap, he was looking around. He turned to me and said "If we walked on the ceiling, how would we be able to reach the door knobs?" I had never noticed that the door knob is farther from the ceiling that it is from the floor. It was a good thinking question, especially for someone only three years old. That is what Max is... a thinker. A voracious reader. A chewer of information and a fun conversationalist for it. I can talk to Max all night if the mood strikes us.
If Max has a flaw, and who does not, it's his impatience with people who do not see things his way. Not that they disagree, but that they don't get what he is saying. He is fine with disagreement. Welcomes it and in fact loves a good debate in a non-angry spirit.

Max is now 21 and discovering the pub life. I have mixed emotions on this subject. I have seen more people lost to alcohol over the years than I have ever seen lost to drugs. Truth. But he is young and in Oregon, the pub life is about all there is to do in the small town we occupy. One has to have friends and friends have to have a place to gather. He has very interesting friends too.

My favorite memory of Max happened when he was about five years old. He was playing with a neighbor kid, who had whacked him on the head with a squirt gun. His sister and the neighbor boys brought him home to me... blood running from his hair, down his neck. I am a believer in the "calm mom" keeps fear at bay. So I acted as if a hole in his head was the most normal thing in the world and took him to the bathroom. Seated upon the counter with me snipping the hair from around the wound, I asked what happened. Max looked at me with his huge brown eyes, expressive as any hound dog's and said... "I've cracked my head open and now I'm going to die."

Son Number One

I have four children. Three are boys.

My oldest boy (and child) is B-wreck. He's (dare I say it?) 31 years old. A cook at a popular tourist type restaurant in a fabulous area of Oregon. B was born a girl magnet. Before he was even in school, little girls were leaving notes... hearts drawn on paper and wonderful kid crazy letters that can't follow a straight line. He was the most beautiful baby child in the world. Blonde head, green eyes and a dimple in one cheek. An angel of a child that could be taken anywhere and he would steal the show. B is a terrible ham. He can be loud. But he is exuberant, and has such a huge heart! He has a marvelous ability to transfer that exuberance to others. He and brother Max, are creating a comic book with the assistance of friend, Handsome Randy and cousin, Jason. The boys... my three and Jason for that matter, all get together where Jason and B live and hook up X-boxes for all night battle sessions. My boys are close. If a zombie attack ever comes... I am well protected!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

movies just seen

Defiance. Wow. Powerful movie. Highly recommended, but take a tissue or ten.

Martian Child. Another wonderful movie about the power of love to damage us or cure us. Great for kids too.

random memories

My seventeenth birthday. New school, not yet cemented as part of the social circle, feeling odd. We visited a place called Sweetsmill. An old mill that had a great mill pond, a rope swing, a steam hut that was made by piling dirt into a hill and covering it with concrete and bottles poked into it for light, then hollowed out. It made a cool dome room with the steam-pit in the center. Amazing place in the mountains. They were having a bluegrass festival, so there was music all over and interesting people everywhere you turned. We... my school was there to sell veggie burgers at a stand. We were taking turns fixing them and playing around. The smells were fantastic too. We were not the only stand selling food.
People would go sweat in the steam hut, then run out and jump into the mill pond. Most of these were naked. Admittedly, I was not used to large populations of naked adults. But it was a curious thing to study, and I did, being a curious person. Why lie? Of course there were many, many clothed people too, but you know, I had seen the clothed kind before. This was a bit of a shocker, this naked thing. I was very naive. My eyes were big, big.
We had arrived the day before toward sun down. We had sat around a fire and sung songs as a group, then broke into small groups to wander the crowd. I had no small group. I watched a boy from school play his guitar for a bit then wandered off instead to find a place to sleep. The people in my group knew each other pretty well. Boy-girl relationships were pretty well established. I was an odd wheel on the cart. Not that much fun when people broke off into twos.
Inside the mill house I found a spot next to the big picture window that overlooked the mill pond, and rolled out my sleeping bag. I lay down and listened to the sounds and took in the smells (I enjoy smells and often use them to help me recall things... or a smell often triggers memory.). I was thinking about being lonely. Wishing for a boyfriend of my own. That was my last thought as I drifted off to sleep.
I had a funny dream about it, but could not see the boy in the dream's face. I came to awareness slowly, realizing that my dream and reality had merged. The dream was based in part on the sounds and smells my coming-to-awake mind was collecting. Someone outside yelled "My name is Pierre and I sleep wiz meen!" in a terrible phony french accent. My eyes opened as the palest male naked body I have ever seen in my life to date... whizzed past on the swing rope right next to my head and dropped into the mill pond below. I swear his body was the color of the underside of a lizard. He was wearing one thing... world war one style flying goggles.
My brain short circuited. My wish for a boyfriend, my dream of said boyfriend and this weird, goggled lizard guy all rolled into one very confusing moment. Was this what god was going to send me on my 17th birthday as my wish? The thought was too big for my brain. I had to go have a cigarette. Too much. As vivid in my head today as it was then. What a birthday!

feeling my way

Okay, you can tell I am new at this. Dah. Very new, but intrigued. Any and all suggestions are welcome. I don't expect that anyone will know to even look for me. It's all part of the process I imagine... to find a way to get your blog out there.
I am learning. For instance, I had no clue that I was a "lurker" for the most part. My son, my source of most things internet, tells me that a lurker is someone who reads but does not post. I was afraid to post at first. Didn't know what to call myself. I already have a zillion passwords and user names through my work and yeah, I even have a blog at work now that I think about it and it does not intimidate me the way this one does. Is it okay to be intimidated by your personal blog until you figure it out? Okay or not, honesty reins... I am. But I don't generally give into intimidation, so here I am.
So I lurked for a time. Then one brave day, I found dmarks question about patrick s. O'neil ( the s stands for Sean or is it spelled Shown?)' s comic from Kids Magazine way back in the latest 60s and earliest 70s called Sailor Tom. I happened to have gone to school with Patrick at that point in time and so felt compelled to offer my ort of information... that Patrick was a wonderful, fun person that we had all been proud to know. He was a good friend and I was sorry to have lost track of him over the years after I graduated. Good memories of great times!
So I did it. I added a comment and ceased to be a lurker. Unfortunately, I did not write down my password and screwed it up the next time I tried to post. I have been only able to operate the anonymous comment there since. Oh well.
So there it is folks, I am a "newbee" forgive my sins as I learn and give a shout if you see a way to help me out.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Welcome to oddles of funch!

Let me start out with a bit of history. The title, oddles of funch, comes from a blue tennis shoe (the kind they used to call a deck shoe)... mine to be exact... in the summer of 1969. I was 15 years old. My friend, Marianne, also known as Peaches, wrote it on the white rubber sides that wrap around the sole of my shoe. Like this: "rebecca scuddles is oodles of funch!" I awoke somewhat groggy to find it there and did not know who had written it. But the sun was shining and summer was calling and Santa Cruz was I thought little more on the matter. I did like the way it sounded. It was my odd thing. It had my name. It was about me.
Cool beans!

Two years later I was getting used to a new school... about a month into the school year. We had just switched buildings and there on the wall were giant sheets of newsprint for us to use as a way to communicate our thoughts and feelings about the school, each other and whatever crossed our minds. I sat down with my cup of coffee, ready to read the wall and see what was new...always interesting. There it was again... rebecca scuddles is oodles of funch! None of the people at the new school knew my shoe story. How did it get there? I don't know to this day. But that was the day that I decided to think about what the phrase actually meant.

Okay, confession here... I was a chubby gal. Yeah, there was some funch if that's what funch was. But it didn't feel right. There was not oodles of funch if funch was fat, only some funch. What could oodles of funch be? Over the years I have come up with all sorts of theories. It was too bad that I'd lost touch with Marianne or I could just ask her.

But you know, I own it now. She gave it to me and I can make funch out to be whatever it needs to be. The fact that it has stayed with me crys importance. I began some years ago to leave that message here and there on walls, under underpasses, on park benches, etc. for the world to ponder or pass it by. For what it's worth, at this point funch is words. I love to read them. I love to share them. I love to write them. I love to save them. Rebecca scuddles is oodles of funch! There, the ultimate graffiti... net-style!