Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday and the Material Mutt

Ok, I'm not one to humiliate my dog - at least not much! But come on, what says "Mardi Gras" more than dressing up your dog like a crazy Mardi Gras go-er. So, even if you can't slip on down to the Big Easy to enjoy standing hip-to-hip (or belly-to-belly in some cases) with the folks during Mardi Gras time, I say let's create the mood right here at home with Fido. Or would that be "Fidette?" (If this outfit is a "must-have" for your pooch, see it here : http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=20223940. ) Oh, yeah!

Monday, February 23, 2009

If it ain't broke...

Last month for my birthday Ralph bought me a new computer - a replacement for my 5-1/2 year old Dell desk top. I'd LOVED my desktop but lately it had gotten sooooooooo slow. That was probably because I'd used up 99-1/2% of my hard drive - mostly with pictures of Gracie, I'm sure. Well, not really - pictures of everything. You see, I'm not only a pack rat in my "real" life, I am an electronic pack rat as well.

So Ralph installed my big new whiz-bang Dell yesterday. I was a little afraid of it at first - seemed like maybe I should work for NASA or something before being given the keys to such a powerful machine, but I launched right in this morning. And it worked beautifully. Until.

Yes, I "broke" my machine practically right out of the box. Come to find out it got into a little snit simply because I didn't shut the darned thing down properly. I mean, Picky-Picky!! So it was flashing and beeping and going through all kinds of gyrations and being in general a total annoying pain until I finally called Dell and the nice man said I was going to have to "get into the chassis and open it up." Huh? I got a "chassis" with this thing? I thought "chassis's" (chasses?)were for cars. So I did what any new age thinking girl would do and went to grab Ralph by the collar and haul him in to the phone to deal with this mess.

Ninety minutes (give or take) later, my new Dell was humming right along and I now know the PROPER way to put it to "sleep" - which is totally opposite from my Toshiba laptop. Sheesh! For being major timesavers in our busy lives, these things are certainly fussy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Column: You old dog, you!

When I saw this beautiful dog, Stump, on the Today show, I was hooked. Moreover, I was compelled to devote an entire column to him in today's Morgan Hill Times/GilroyDispatch/Holister Freelance.

Stump is the good news. The "bad" news is due to budget cuts my column is going to run every other week rather than every week - although I'm saying "bad" because it IS kind of nice to have that "other" week off rather than fretting about getting a column written. At any rate, "Stump" was a darned good subject in my opinion and I think his winning the Westminster speaks to a much larger subject - that you ain't old until you act like it! For the complete column, check it out right here: http://www.mushroom-city-memoirs-the-column.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You just can't make this stuff up...

This kind of rainy weather makes movie-watching pretty much guilt free. On Saturday we saw "W" - an Oliver Stone film. It was a REALLY great movie. Love him or hate him, you had to feel for George W. Bush when you see this movie - and let me just say that Josh Brolin NAILED him. As did Richard Dreyfuss with Dick Cheney. Anyway - there were instances during the film when you had to suspend belief because you know that no way did anyone have access to some of those private conversations as they occurred in the movie. But the upshot of the movie's premise was that even as a youth, "W" was a man who could never please his father and forever lived in the shadow of his brother Jeb. In fact, the whole Iraq business is viewed (from the movie's perspective) as another attempt by W to appease his father. If this theory is to be believed, it is an amazing place where we stand today as a country - at war for the better part of 6 years, thousands killed or maimed, the economy in the crapper - and all - again this is if you are buying the movie's premise - to prove to "Poppy" that "Junior" had the stones to take the country to war.

If you are a political junkie (like me) a very good book on the above subject is "Bushworld: Enter at your own risk" by Maureen Dowd. Dowd is a Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist with the New York Times and it's (in my late mother's words) - a HUMDINGER!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yea for Asia!

On Friday we finally had the opportunity to see a REALLY good film...up for an Oscar and we definitely saw why. This is such a feel good movie, despite the abject poverty the orphans - or slumdogs - exist in -often falling into the hands of unscrupulous gangsters and thugs. This is one movie where you can expect to feel uplifted for having seen it. A truly remarkable story - albeit one that could probably never happen, but still. All the reasons for the character's knowing the answers to the questions given on India's version of "Do you want to be a Millionaire" were laid out, often in painful detail - except the very last question, which he answered correctly for the best reason of all: "Because it was written."

After the movie and then checking out furniture in San Jose at Oakridge Mall's Ethan Allen gallery, we took a short walk next door and had dinner at P.F. Changs. We ordered a wonderful "V.I.P. Duck" as well as my favorite lettuce wraps and our joint favorite, Shrimp with Walnuts. This had a different twist - honeydew melon balls mixed into the dish. Yummmmm-y!

It was a great day despite the stormy weather that blew in and out during the afternoon. It was my kind of way to stay in out of the rain!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We get letters!

SENILITY ALERT!!! I do LOVE getting comments on my posts so when I am perusing my blog and see "x" number of comments, I do a kind of mental "Yipee!" because it means someone has read my blog and is actually making a comment about one of my musings. This is very fun and yes, I have no life.

SO! Today when I checked my blog and my latest entry had no less than THREE COMMENTS I did my mental "Yipee!!" and linked on to read them.

Well! How bad is it when two of those comments were written by ME and I HAD FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT THEM! Sheesh! So let's get those comments on there, people! Even if you use an "assumed name" it's ok with me. The way my memory works, you could use your ACTUAL name and I would probably not know who you were ANYWAY :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And speaking of hearts...

Now that I have entered “Grandmotherdom” I have a new appreciation for the cute cards that my mom used to send to the girls. Since my parents lived in Arizona during my daughters' early years, my mom hated missing out on all the fun but every holiday – without fail – cute cards would arrive and sometimes there would be a little gift, too – many times they were things she had made herself. She was quite the crafty girl. She did handmade ornaments at Christmas and she made an Easter egg with cute little doors that opened one year and she could sew like nobody’s business so the girls were always getting neat little outfits. Later she learned to crochet so she made some blankets and scarves for us, too.

Keeping the tradition alive, I searched for a cute Valentine's Day card for Miss Gracie Elizabeth in Long Beach – but due to my “95-year old nursing home resident" back problem I was unable to supplement the card with an actual gift. I suggested to Ashley that a nice Valentine’s Day tradition would be for “Mimi and Grampy” to babysit our grandchildren on alternate years so Ashley and Jim or Alyssa and Rob could go out for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Since we won't be in Long Beach this Valentine’s Day, guess we could start with Rob and Alyssa and babysit Buddy on Valentine's Day…Buddy being our one and only “Grand-dog” :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I heart frozen peas!

Does everyone over-react as much as I do?? Last Wednesday I got a sore back. No, not the "I pushed around heavy furniture yesterday and my back is biting me back" kind of sore back. This was a SORE BACK as in yelping out loud at inopportune times because it hurt SO DANGED BAD!

Of course I reacted as anyone would by assuming I had contracted a fatal disease and a large tumor was pressing on my spine and by tomorrow I'd be paralyzed from the waist down and I'd be gone in a month. Yes, that's the way my mind works when something hurts and I don't know why. An injury, I understand. But - what injury? My back just started hurting like gangbusters.

So I have been hobbling around like a 95-year old resident of the nursing home. Swallowed the ibuprofen, applied heat, the whole nine yards. Ralph has begun applying for jobs in foreign countries to get away from all the trauma here.

I finally decided maybe I wasn't going to die after all, but that I'd at least check in with the doc. Come to find out I was supposed to apply cold, not heat. Ok, so I went for the ice business - and oh, oh. That made it hurt. WAY WORSE. Now what?

So, feeling guilty that I was cheating on my doctor, I went back to the heat, only not HOT, just sorta warm to feel soothing. Sort of. But darned if it didn't feel better with a little bit of heat. But I still didn't know what I did to make it hurt so much.

This morning I talked to my friend, Macey (who, by the way, is in denial about using computers but I feel it is my duty to haul her kicking and screaming to Facebook by gosh!). Macey had the exact same back symptoms when she was doing a lot of carrying around of her granddaughter, Chloe a few years back. She reminded me we'd just returned from Long Beach and - when I thought about it - realized that yes, I'd been carrying Gracie - and in particular, putting her to bed for about 10 nights in a row plus a couple of times down for naps. And Ashley reminded me it's not just the picking Gracie up that's a back-killer - it's the bending waaaaaaay over to lay her in her crib. Ok, it's all making sense now. I just had a delayed reaction or something.

So - the photo above? They are my new BFF (all but the pen, which was a touch of "artistry" to demonstrate the heading of today's blog). I've learned that I can stuff a bag of frozen peas into the waistband of my jeans and still navigate (ok, lurch) around the house and be following doctor's orders. And I can warm up in the microwave my little heart pillow with the good-smelling bead things inside and stuff THAT into the waistband of my jeans and walk/lurch around the house smelling something like a Christmas cookie. Kind of a, well...old cookie but whatever. And the warmth from the red felt heart and the good smelling stuff relieves some of the pain.

Of course there is the question of the large bulge protruding from the area of the waistband of my pants, which isn't - technically - anything BIOLOGICALLY speaking, but a new bulge nonetheless.
Hey - I never said getting older would be pretty!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Tale of Two Vases

When it comes to bargaining, you can't beat "The Hammond Girls." Let me explain.

Every fall Ashley, Alyssa and I start e-mailing one another with group e-mails about what we each want for Christmas in an attempt to get some good ideas when it's time to go Christmas shopping. I'd been perusing the Pottery Barn website a few weeks before looking for some kind of red vase for our family room when I stumbled upon three very beautiful, but very white vases. Of course my first thought was "Yes! Load that into my cyber-shopping-cart" but I was good and resisted. However, when the "What do you want for Christmas?" e-mails arrived, I was ready. I e-mailed both girls with the website for the white vases (there were three of them in small, medium and large). I also liked a cake plate set on Crate and Barrel but that's another story...

So - Alyssa wrote back shortly thereafter saying something to the effect that SHE liked the white Pottery Barn vases, too, and to add it to her list. For some reason, I didn't connect with the other items Alyssa had mentioned on her Christmas gift list - out of stock or whatever - so I decided to go with the Pottery Barn vase (medium) - one of the three that I liked, too. It arrived safely, was even prettier than the picture, and I wrapped it up.

Now - follow me closely, here. Christmas morning I unwrapped one of Ashley and Jim's gifts to me and - Voila! It was one of the pretty vases I liked from Pottery Barn in the small size. It was beautiful. And Alyssa and Rob had chosen the cake plate that I loved from Crate and Barrel. So I was a happy camper.

Well. That was hardly the end. I soon found out that Alyssa (apparently not trusting that she'd get one of the vases) ordered a medium Pottery Barn vase for me AND for herself. When she learned Ashley had purchased a vase for me, she decided to return the Pottery Barn vase and get me the Crate and Barrel cake plate instead. BUT - she didn't return the duplicate vase and had misplaced the receipt. So Alyssa was left with two identical vases.

Here comes the bargaining part. Alyssa asked me to simply return the duplicate vase I bought for her and then she and I could go to Anthropologie sometime and buy her a replacement Christmas present. Sounded good except for a couple of minor problems. One, I couldn't locate my receipt, either and two - I really liked that vase, too!

Dilemma unresolved, my birthday arrived. Alyssa and Rob bought me some bowls that went with the cake plate Christmas gift and a pedicure at a salon of my choice - we would go together - a fun girls' outing. But there was still the issue of the extra medium Pottery Barn vase to work out.

And now this is where things get totally confusing so hang on. Alyssa had a new idea because I was thinking of keeping the vase myself but then I would still owe her a Christmas present, which we would address when we went to Anthropologie. However, Alyssa's brainchild was instead of her treating me to a pedicure, we would EACH pay for our own pedicures and go to Anthropologie (or somewhere) at her birthday time in June.

Now. If you are confused, you are obviously not one of "The Hammond Girls" because it was one tricky negotiation and one that my girls and I seem to find ourselves in frequently. And for the most part, we "get it." But here's the thing: Did Alyssa get a Christmas gift? Will we remember ANY of this when her birthday rolls around in June? Does Ashley owe anybody a pedicure?

Sadly, we will probably never know. Perhaps Jim and Rob can treat one another to pedicures. Now that is one salon visit I will HAVE to witness!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Column: Super Bowl was...Super?

It's become a tradition of mine, of sorts, to write a "Super Bowl" column for the Morgan Hill Times even though I spend precious little time watching the game itself. A sportswriter, I'm not, although - Yes! I am an ads fan. I wait all year for those slick new commercials to preview during the Super Bowl. So although I might be in the kitchen whipping up some salsa when the game-winning touchdown occurs, I do my best to be present at the tube whenever talking babies, horses in love or mobsters planning a hit appear on Super Sunday. One caveat - although I do my best to find a little humor in this great American tradition, Alyssa beat me hands down on her blog with her account of their Super Bowl party not to mention her friend Dorothy's "critique" of the Steelers coach. Check it out here: http://www.suburban-chic.blogspot.com/. If you want to read my Times column, jump over here: http://www.mushroom-city-memoirs-the-column.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Column: January - Another trip to the loony bin?

January was simply too rich to leave behind without just a LITTLE bit of social commentary. This column practically wrote itself. Find it here :) http://www.mushroom-city-memoirs-the-column.blogspot.com/.