Thursday, January 31, 2008

Forgive me...

I have been remiss, my invisible friends... I have not visited your blogs, I have not posted anything interesting or even comment worthy for a while. But, I think - to paraphrase the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "tomorrow will be another day!"

The whole Mouse Shoulder pain thing has really sidelined me. I could not comfortably sit at my computer for more than a couple of minutes. And believe me, I really like to be comfortable to read...actually READ the blogs I visit regularly.

So, today - after being confined to a chair for a two hour meeting, I got into my car and stretched my numb right arm, and tried to do some gentle neck stretches as my doctor had prescribed, but in the midst of one stretch I felt a POP in my neck and immediately, the two fingers on my right hand which had been numb, started buzzing, like your foot after it's been asleep. My shoulder pain turned into a flash of hot fatigued muscles and I immediately felt better.

I'ts taken all day, but the buzzing in my index finger has contained itself to the fingernail and tip, and while the fatigued muscles in my upper back have continued to burn, it's a good burn, like when you've done some good exercize. I truly think I am on the road to recovery! I mean look, I was able to sit here for 20 minutes and compose a spontateous post and it doesn't hurt!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who Knew?

The women born in the 50's and early 60's will understand this...

I was watching VH1's "I Love the 70's" and learned this shocking fact:

Maureen McCormick, better known as Marsha Brady was the voice for the Chatty Cathy doll!


I thought, - no way, the age isn't right. So what did I do? I Googled it. Google in all it's rainbow colored knowledge told me that Maureen indeed was ONE of the voices, but the first voice was June Foray, better known as Rocket J. Squirrel.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The weather here has been ... well ... frightful! Especially frightful for me since Downtown Dad and Bear were supposed to fly home yesterday evening just as our bitter cold temps started to drop, from a summer-like 40 degrees in the afternoon, to a bone chilling 20 below. Here in the frozen tundra we know that this 60 degree change in temperature is what creates our signature winds, adding wind chill to the already numbing cold. After circling for quite a while, and an attempted landing, at just 800 feet from the ground the pilot of their plane pulled back up and returned to Minneapolis. The winds were THAT strong. Anyway, they were able to fly home this afternoon, and we were all very glad to see each other.

But with Downtown Dad home, the TV viewing changes. It goes from Oprah and old movies to All Campaign, All The Time. I don't know how he watches that stuff. To me, it's as painful as the soon to be rejected contestants singing on American Idol. And I'm not really talking about the candidates themselves. Lord love 'em, they are practicing their speeches and they do keep the non-union writers busy. Some, more convincingly than others, but no, what I'm talking about is the... well ... the talking. Endless hours of speculating, and spinning and arguing, by the news readers. People who, while obviously well known, at the heart of it all are really just entertainers. Actors who, for one reason or another took "a desk job." Maybe because they look better from the waist up than they do in an action shot. Maybe the live theatre of stand up comedy was too personal for them and it was easier to deliver their sparkling repartee and rhetoric to a camera. Why do we let them tell us what to think?

And here's another question. Have you noticed how freaking much money is spent on campaigns? Millions and millions of dollars. I suppose I can justify the spending, since it does go back into our American economy. And I understand that the candidates are, in addition to being a presidential hopeful, full time fundraisers. I go back to my first sentence for the word that best describes the amount of money that is spent ... Frightful!

Here's my question to you my invisible friends: Doesn't it seem wrong that only RICH people can afford to run for President?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fun Monday - What's In Your Nightstand?

Angela at The Lurchers isn't really nosy, but as she puts it, she's just interested in people. So as host of this week's Fun Monday, she wants to know what's on, in, or under our bedside tables? She says: "So open those drawers and bare your soul to us! Is there anything special there that has a story or a memory that you can tell us about? Books that you keep there to delve into from time to time? Trinkets that you don't know where else to put? Let's see."

OK, here's my night stand...

Lovely isn't it? And that lamp! Pure elegance, AND there's another one just like it on Downtown Dad's side! It has taken us years to acquire a 'grown up' bedroom set. There are my reading materials - The Name of The Wind, Bear's recommendation, kind of a wizard-ish saga, pretty good; Get In The Game, some group sales rah rah crap, I'm only pretending to read it; Better Homes and Gardens magazine. What's that? Boring you say... well, maybe on the outside... lets have a look in the drawer...
Well, that's a little more interesting... Breathe Right Strips, throat spray, chapstick, my foot sander and Kerasal cream, a journal and a few pens, some Burts Bees hand cream and a coaster, so my Sleepy Time Tea, or other nightcap doesn't leave rings on my aforementioned lovely night stand. I guess all you can tell from this is that I'm trying to keep from snoring and I have calluses on my feet. Still boring? OK, open up the bottom cabinet...

There it is... that's what you were looking for! A rolled up heating pad! Yes, you've found me out! My dirty little secret is that I have back pain! What? You want to know what that other thing is... well, OK, but it's really nothing... just an old cardboard shoebox that holds my journals from 1972 through 1975. I literally wrote something every day of my life in 1973 and 74 going on and on about the three things in my life I spent the most time thinking about - boys, getting high, and hating my dad. Then, in 1975 my dad found my journals, took them, read them and hid them from me. I took them back, bound them up in this shoe box, taped it up, wrote some vaguely ominous threats to anyone who might try to open it and then wrapped it in a blanket and hid it in my cedar chest. I've opened the box since then. Sometimes I pick a year and read a couple of months worth of entries... it's like going back in time to visit the 15 year old me.

Knitting Zen

I said yesterday that I wanted to try working with felting yarn... so... since Downtown Dad and Bear have gone on a political field trip to Washington DC for a couple of days, and Tessie's social calendar was filled up with trips to the mall...I thought since I got all of my housework done, it would be safe for me to venture out to a craft store to see what it would cost to start yet another hobby.

To do the felting part, which is just basically shrinking an article that you have knitted, you have to use 100% wool yarn, so I went out and bought two of these 100% wool skeins of yarn.

One of these two packs of pointy-on-both-ends knitting needles - Size 8 mm...I'm going to assume that size is significant somewhere down the road....

...and one size 8 circular needle with 24 inch.... um... length of circularity. did that wine glass get in there?

Anyway, according to the "Free Pattern Inside" the yarn label, that's all I'd need to knit a Felted Hat. Not that I'd go into this thinking that I could make a wearable hat my first go, but, it looked like pretty simple straight forward knitting.


Dear "Label-On-Yarn-Makers," I believe I need a rudimentary education in speaking Yarneese. M1, S2KP, K2tog, P2sso.... excuse me? Your attempts to explain your secret knitting code falls far short of those of us who are too cheap to buy a book on knitting actually peel off the lable, and attempt to follow your free pattern. Pictures, people. I need pictures!

So, in case any other knewbie knitters out there are trying to get in touch with their inner kneedleness, I share with you now my journey to Knitting Zen.

These first steps I dug out of my memory of watching my mom when I was 10, but in order to take this project from beginning to end, you have to start somewhere. It also doesn't help matters that Downtown Dad and Bear took my "good" camera, and left me with the substandard one.

1. First make a slip knot and slide it onto the needle

2. Then cast stitches on to the needle with more slip knots

3. Hold the needle with the stitches on in in your non-dominant hand, and slide the other needle under the first stitch.

4. Pull the yarn around the back of the empty needle and then between where they are crossed.

Then, here's the tricky part, bring the right needle's point down, and under the loop you just made with the yarn you pulled through the two needles flipping the stitch from the left needle to the right.

After scouring the Internet for patterns and explanations, I decided to just start knitting and see what I came up with. I started out with 15 stitches, ended up at one point with 75, then 150. Somewhere in the course of the evening, I decided not to make the hat, but to make a bowl because that sounded easier...
Somewhere also in the course of the evening, I had a few glasses of wine....

This is what I came up with. I have mad knitting skillz. Wicked mad.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tinkering With The Knitty Gritty

It would have never occurred to me to take on the nitty gritty plumbing or electrical portion of house renovations Downtown Dad and I have undertaken in years past. There are just too many hidden things, too many technical secrets best left to the professional wizards who have gone to school to learn how to do these things. I stick with the hauling out, and the sweeping up - these are things I understand. It's like a car - I know that you put the key in the hole, turn it and if there is sufficient gas, the thing will start. Occasionally, you have to put other liquids in it, and there are things like tire pressure and spark plugs that can be monitored and maintained by a mechanic - thus insuring that when I turn the key, the car will start.

Did I keep any of this in mind the past couple of days when I started monkeying with the plumbing and electrical workings of my blog? No. I flung open the hood and started twisting, and poking and discarding and trying to cram square pegs I wished were round, into holes I didn't want to be round but were.

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented. I really like the look, and I'm getting used to the layout. The picture makes a little more sense of the name of the blog and now I've got spaces and the ability to put in the things I want to. It will probably change again, but at least things are going in the general right direction.

I also have found something non-blog related that I'm aching to try! And a way to tie in the first paragraph to this one... It's Felting knitted projects. I probably just climbed out of a hole from the stone age, but I just learned about this and I'm really excited to try it! I remember my mother used to knit my dad's socks. He had some kind of foot sensitivity and needed pure wool socks so she knit them for him. She pretty much was knitting all the time, and taught me to knit too - although I was too 'cool' to do anything like that at the time. I remember doing the laundry once, when she broke her foot and I used hot water for everything. What I ended up with were several pairs of 'elf shoes' which I thought made great slippers - that feeling was not shared by my parents. I'm going to try a bowl, for my first project. I'll keep you posted with pictures, patterns and progress!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A NEW Look!

Pardon the dust...I'm remodeling... hopefully I'll have all the fonts and widgets and links working in a day or two...

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Six Things About Me

Somewhere between asking you all to tell me where to go, and my little pity party over shoulder pain, I was tagged by the unquenchably hilarious TX Poppet at Canned Laughter, to do the Six Things Meme. She would like me to share with you six inconsequential habits, quirks, or things about me that you wouldn't otherwise know. So, aided and abbetted by pain pills and muscle relaxants, I will be interested in reading tomorrow what I tell you tonight....

But first, the rules:
  • Link to the person that tagged you
  • Post the rules on your blog
  • Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
  • Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

#1. I am a Trekkie. Not a Trekker as the large organized group likes to call themselves. I am more of a loner and actually a purist, because I really only like the original series, oh, and William Shatner. I once found myself standing next to him in a crowd and when I noticed who it was that I was next to, I screamed and ran away.

#2. I abhor being called a 'Gal.' I can understand and tolerate 'chick' 'dame' 'lady' 'girl' or any other generic group name for females, flattering or unflattering - just not gal. Probably stems from my years as a secretary and that nameless, faceless steno-pool connotation.

#3. I am a grammar and spelling snob. If you misspell or mispronounce something, or don't know the difference between their, they're, and there, I will judge you. The two funniest instances of word butchering came from the same woman I worked for, who, while presenting a class on customer service, referred to something as the "last Sebastian of defense" and warned another class not to let something be their "escape goat."

#4. I absolutely believe in Fate, and Psychics, and Ghosts, and Fortune Tellers.

#5. I love it when our friends, or our kids' friends walk into our house without knocking, but I cannot bring myself to do that - even with my closest friends or family.

#6. When I clean house, I have to work in a clockwise direction.

Six of you are tagged:

Barb at Picture This At Last

Dave at A Revival of Conscience

Newrose at Dracos Rose

Cynthia at Darling I Love You But Give Me Park Avenue

Kaycie at Lost in the Bible Belt

Faye at Summit Musings

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thats A Stretch

After storming into my doctor’s office today, brandishing kitchen shears and demanding that she amputate my right arm, she calmly told me that my recent pain was caused by a pinched nerve. The nerve however is in my neck, not my shoulder, and the pain is more likely due to sleeping with my head at a slightly cockeyed angle, than nerve damage from mouse clicking. She couldn’t imagine how regular computer activities could be active enough to cause immediate pain. ...Well, apparently the woman doesn’t blog! I’ve been engaging in quite a bit of active blogging lately. You know what I mean....

  • I’m nearly breathless from miles and miles of link following
  • My sides hurt quite often from hearty belly laughing
  • My eyes are loose in their sockets from the cartoon double-takes I do when I read about some bloggy adventure.
  • And, while not even a little bit of my ass has actually come off when I am ROTFLMAO, I’d guess the rolling on the floor could pinch a nerve or two.

So all this got me to thinking. When one engages in physical activity, it’s probably wise to stretch, or warm up beforehand. I’ve heard that the biggest reason people get injured is due to decreased flexibility or failing to stretch. And while this pinched nerve thing is the closest I’ve ever come to a sports related injury (unless you count the pool-table-pole-vaulting incident) its something I spend quite a bit of time doing, and given the pain I’ve experienced the last couple of days – something I’d better learn to do right! So I'm going to be limbering up before I head off to visit my invisible friends from now on... Of course you can take things a bit too far….

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mouse Shoulder

Apparently I'm spending too much time Blogging. I have developed a shooting pain in my right shoulder that as far as Google can tell me, is caused by the tiny movements made by clicking and moving my mouse!

So, along with renewing my hormone prescription tomorrow, I will ask my doctor if there is any cure for this painful debilitating condition, short of ending my budding Blogging career!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fun Monday - The View From My Front Door

This Monday is the first anniversary of Fun Monday. In honor of that, Vicki at Catch the Light is our host, since, because she was nosy, she started all this Monday Funness one year ago. Today, like last year, she would like to see the view from our front doors - or a repost of the Fun Monday post from last year in which she had the same request. I hadn't joined yet last year so here is what I see from my front door today.

It is a little dark, but I wanted to catch the view as the sun was coming up, since the sunrises, which can be seen from three separate windows in my house, are what ultimately endeared us to this place. The house faces North, but the front door faces East. Our Front Door is a full, clear-glass front door, with a full, clear-glass storm door. A lovely window on our little corner of the world... but windows have a way of going both ways! Because of that, I was glad this week's picture WAS NOT What People See When They Come To Your Door. Initially, we planned to replace the front door immediately with something that would limit the outside world's view of us as we darted down the hall, or up the stairs in our various stages of morning undress. But as time went by, and each new day's sunrise greeted us with a different array of pink, or violet, or light streaked clouds, our opinion of the glass doors softened - and we learned to wear robes, and pants.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My First Award!

I got this very cool award from Hootin Anni today. She thinks I am an Excellent Blogger! It reminds me of the old days at Disneyland, when the cool rides were an E Ticket! Thanks Anni, I like being an E Ticket. Scoot on over to visit her because she has links to 9 other Excellent Bloggers she has awarded.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tell Me Where To Go!

In August, Downtown Dad and I, along with two other couples will be travelling to Edinburgh, Scotland. Yes, our kids are in the production of High School Musical which they have been invited to perform at the Fringe Festival there, but - since there are like 80 chaperones going, and we parents have heard more than once "you're not going to STAY with us, are you?" in a horrified tone from our young actors - the six of us have decided that we will take our long overdue European Holiday like the old hippies-at-heart that we all are.... uh, were.

To that end - we are rejecting the group travel package that is offered to us with airfare and lodgings at the Edinburgh Holiday Inn Express, opting rather, to use our horded frequent flier miles and to stay somewhere more akin to our collective mental image of what the English countryside is like...

Stone cottage bed and breakfasts...


Inns with funny names... get the picture. We'll rent a car and try to drive on the left hand side of the road, we'll hike the rocky heaths, we'll walk through the heathered hillside, we'll window shop along cobblestone streets, we'll rest our weary old bones next to the fire and drink too much Guiness....

But how to find these culturally rich, but off the beaten path places? Aha! That's where you come in, my invisible friends!

It is no coincidence that you happened to visit my blog! You know someone who lives in Scotland or England, or live, have lived or visited there yourself! You know some amazing things to see and do there AND for some strange reason, you are compelled to pass that information along to me! C'mon, it'll be fun! All you have to do is leave a comment here with your suggestion, a referral to someone you know, or recommendation of a place to visit or a place to stay. If, and here's the catch, IF I get enough response, I'm going to create a "Tell Me Where To Go" sidebar list and I'll link to your site. Then, in August, I'm going to do a daily travelog of the adventures of six aging boomers in Brittain, where I'll mention and link to you again, with pictures, if we visit or see your suggestion. Sound like fun? Of course it does!

On this trip, we hope to make an obligatory showing for at least one of the kids' performances in Edinburgh, but then I have three must-see points of interest.

1. Auchtermuchty

2. The Globe Theater

and Stratford Upon Avon

3. Stonehenge

Google Earth has kindly helped me visualize where things are in respect to where we want to go. According to GE's driving directions, there is a freeway, or highway called M6 which goes from Edinburgh through London, and it appears that all along the way, there are inns and hotels, and all sorts of assorted lodging opportunities. We are up for staying at, or at least drinking at any one or all of the places we get recommendations from you on! So come on now, you've got opinions, I know that much for sure! Tell me where to go!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Four Things Meme

OK, it's 11:11 p.m. I've got nothing in my head, so here are four things about me that you may or may not have known, in no particular order.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1) Assistant Manager at Household Finance Corporation
2) Customer Service Auditor at The Temporary Connection
3) Administrative Assistant at Belle of Sioux City Casino
4) Public Relations Assistant at MeritCare Hospital

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1) Casablanca
2) Goodbye Girl
3) Gone With The Wind
4) Wizard of Oz

Four places I have lived:
1) Goleta CA
2) Bothell WA
3) Houston TX
4) Sioux City IA

Four places I have been:
1) Lahaina, Hawaii
2) Lake Charles, Louisiana
3) Sedona, Arizona
4) Sequim, Washington

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
1) Kimisue
2) Wheat
3) Downtown Dad
4) Viagra salesmen

Four of my favorite foods:
1) Corn Tortillas
2) Green Tea Frappuccinos
3) Pie Crust
4) Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Four places I would rather be right now:
1) Friday Harbor Washington
2) On a large sailboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
3) New York
4) With friends

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Making A Difference

Last year, I acted on my "resolutions" slowly throughout the whole year - slipping in and out of my resolve like a greased pig out of its pen. (That was my obligatory dirty reference in homage to the title of this blog). One of the things I intended to accomplish was a notion pretty vaguely outlined in my head... get involved, make a difference. I wish I might have been a little more specific, so as to limit perhaps how involved I actually became. This year already I've spent more time in committee meetings, planning sessions and seminars than I have at my real job - Real Estate (no pun intended... well, ok yeah, the pun was intended - the dorkiness however, was not).

As a part of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership class I'm involved in, we have an assigned project that we work on throughout the year. Our project this year is to establish a community wide Asset Champions Network after the model established in St. Louis Park, MN. When we first heard about this - 3 months ago - we all looked at each other blankly. What is an Asset Champion? And why do they need a network? Briefly, a study was done which showed that there are 40 Assets that young people need in order to grow up making good choices and eventually become a productive adult in society. These Assets are things like positive family communication, a caring neighborhood, other positive adult relationships. Asset Builders are like mentors, or role models - adults who provide one or more Assets to a young person. Asset Champions are Asset Builders who help other Asset Builders recognize how valuable they are in a young person's life and support or encourage them to continue. Confusing, yes? I'm still not sure I quite get it....

Tonight, we held our first training session for Asset Champions. Someone other than me (thank goodness) explained the theory and after 3 months of putting together this presentation, once I saw it done, I actually started to get it, and I think, once it gets put into action, it will make a difference for some kids - a big difference!

Anyway, getting my head around that, and coordinating this presentation to be included in my work with theatre kids, as well as trying to be a good Realtor has pretty much drained my brain today. I wanted to write it down, to see if I actually could get the message across in less than 30 seconds. If you are still reading this far - you are a trooper! If you understand Asset Builders, even a little bit after reading this, drop a comment and let me know - it will make a difference in my life. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To Dream The Impossible Dream

As I was belatedly catching up on reading all my favorite blogs today, I happened upon this fellow Hedgewizard - He was talking about suffering an emotional breakdown after his marriage broke up, and just about the time he thought he'd pulled it all back together, a song came on popular play that seemed to sum up his feelings and attach itself to that time in his life. Even today, he dares not let that song play on the car radio for fear of weeping. I'm not familiar with British music, but the link he provides is a haunting ballad by Kate Bush. I'd suggest closing your eyes for the video part, since it does not even closely match the music, and is in fact, jarring. But the gaelic words and music pluck a melancholy note and it is easy to see how this song might tie itself to a heartbreaking time.

Unfortunately for me, I experienced my first love and heartbreak, not in the heather scented heaths of Scotland, but in the 70's in Southern California, where the hills were alive with the sound of Bee Gees and Jim Croce and the Eagles. The best I can come up with is this one from Lobo that sums up the candy-pop era of my mostly imagined and tragically brief love affair with a James Dean-esque motorcycle jock. At least the song that tugs on my heart strings isn't a Barry Manilow song like Downtown Dad....

But, back to Hedgewizard. His challenge to the blogosphere in general, is this: Losing a love is like creating a window in your heart. When that window opens, so do the tear floodgates many times, just with the first notes of a particular song that touches you. I'm guessing that Hedgewizard and I are not the only ones to have such a "window in the heart" and we'd very much like to hear about the songs that open your windows. If you like the idea, then please take it as a meme and post the button below into a blog entry of your own along with a story, or at least a mention of that one song that always makes you cry.


OK, if that's too deep for you - try this impossible quiz - it is to say the least quite impossible!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tribute Tuesday #3 - Sisters

This is the third installment of weekly offerings here at Straight Up and Slightly Dirty called Tuesday Tributes. Please comment here and let me know if you'd like to participate next week by posting a tribute to one of the characters in your life.

Barb at Picture This At Last has a really nice double tribute.

Now here's mine:

An older sister helps one remain half child, half woman. ~Author Unknown

In the flickering recesses of my memory, back when I was an 8mm black and white four year old, I fell in love with my big sisters. Both of them, tall and movie-star glamorous, Channel #5 styled and sprayed, with smiling red lips, and high heels. They were nearly 20 years old when I came into their world, yet they graciously accepted me and took me with them to movies, and out for ice cream cones. What little girl wouldn’t feel special and lucky just to be around them?

We grew up separated by distance as well as age, so those early perceptions of my sisters never got the chance to ripen in the day to day details of tearful midnight talks or giggled whispers. They remained static icons of perfection, and became two pillars in the foundation of what I envisioned would someday be the grownup me.

One sisterly pillar, so traditional, so devoutly determined and scripturally secure in her one and only marriage with six children. She was always there with a sorghum sweetened “bless your heart” regardless if it was fabulous news or a heart wrenching failure. The second, standing just as staunchly, almost the antithesis of the other - a divorced career woman with an only child, headstrong and strong willed, with the audacity to rebel against the traditional. Her car, as she urgently whispered to me as I dressed for my wedding, was at the ready in the church parking lot, in case I decided to take her advice and flee the altar.

Though we are still twenty some years apart in age, we are much closer in life experience, but I must admit I still harbor a little hero-worship for these amazing women. Now though, those feelings are based on a very real respect for the lives they have led, the battles they have fought, and the impact that they as real people have had on me. In my sisters’ eyes, I will probably always be a black and white four year old, but that just gives me the freedom to fall in love with them all over again.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun Monday - Websites That Changed My Life (or at least a few hours of it)

Ann over at For The Long Run is this week's hostess for Fun Monday, and she wants to hear about a web site, and not just about any old web site... no, she wants to hear about a web site that's changed your life! A web site that you can't live without. A web site whose inventor you'd like to see win a McArthur Genius Grant....

Well, OK Ann, but that's going to take some thinking. I mean sure we can all say 'what in the world would we do without Google?' But that's just the point, we can all say that... We're doing this so we can learn something new - so we can find the link to some hidden e-fountain of youth, or secret to untold i-treasures! Well, I don't have the links to either of those things, but I took a look at my Favorites list and while no one website on that list has actually changed my life, I'm pretty sure a few of them affected significant alterations. I also have a terrible time limiting myself to just one anything, so here are a few websites I frequent that may not actually change your life, but could be useful:

Susan Miller's Forecasts at Astrology Zone. Ok, this is going to sound all "woo woo" and maybe last year was a case of a 'self fulfilling prophecy' but Susan's two page free monthly horoscopes, for me anyway, have been eerily right on. She explained in January 2007, that for Saggitarians, the alignment of the planets would be extremely fortuitous, and if we Sags played our cards right we would get just about anything we asked for. Any by golly, if she wasn't right, for me anyway., along with Downtown Dad's membership there and his patient genealogical tutoring, helped me track down some elusive relatives on my paternal grandmother's side of the family. Tracing the women in your family is infinitely harder than the men, since their names tend to change, and they don't always read or write, and sometimes they have secrets they don't want told....

The first Blog I ever read "This Fish Needs A Bicycle" and this beautiful entry inspired me to start my own blog, and to write every day in hopes of coming up with something close. I haven't made it yet, but I keep trying.

If you are looking for something that will suck up hours of your time, go to Wordlab. I'm not sure I have that many things in my life need naming so badly, but if you need a word, or a group of words for something, you can find it there. They also have a quirky intelligent voice in their writing style, with links to all things linguistic. Plus, they have a blogroll to die for that opens up links to more languagey sites, with more blogrolls that link to more wordish people, who link to more, and so on and so on.

Like I said, hours of your time....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

And I Still Haven't Found.... OK, maybe I have...

I was at a loss for a post so I stole this from Maui Girl. I suppose I've always wanted to have a band - though I can't carry a tune in a bucket, and lord knows if I was in a band I'd be ALL OVER making the Cover Art! Here's how it goes:

You are about to create your own band's CD cover. Follow these directions to the letter. It's fun and requires no thought at all.

1. The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result as a comment in this post. Also, post it in your own blog because it’s more amusing that way.

Steal this if you want - and have fun... I'm OK with the fact that I have a Celtic Woman sort of band name with a socially conscious album title taken from an Eleanor Roosevelt quote... maybe we'd do covers of U2 songs.... Ah, I can see the negotiations with Bono now.....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

For Men - The Nine Phrases Women Use, Explained

  1. "Fine" This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you just need to shut up.
  2. "Five Minutes" If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. "Five Minutes" is only "five" minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
  3. "Nothing" This is the calm before the storm. This means "Something," and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "Nothing" usually end in "Fine."
  4. "Go Ahead" This is a dare, not permission. Do NOT Do It!
  5. "A Loud Sigh" This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A Loud Sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here arguing with you about "Nothing." (See # 3 for the meaning of "Nothing.")
  6. "That's Okay" This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. "That's Okay" means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
  7. "Thanks" A woman is thanking you, do not question it. Just say You're Welcome. (Disclaimer: This is true, unless she says "Thanks A Lot," which is PURE sarcasm, and she is not thanking you at all. In this case, DO NOT say "You're Welcome" that will only bring on a "Whatever" See #8).
  8. "Whatever" This is a women's way of saying "Are You That Incredibly Stupid?" You have made a fatal error!
  9. "Don't Worry About It, I've Got It" Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in the man asking "What's Wrong?" to which the woman's understandable response would be "Nothing" (See # 3).

Thanks for this post goes to my BFF and fellow fifty-year-old Kimisue, who does not have a blog, but does read this one, but rarely, if ever, comments - to which I say "That's Okay"

Friday, January 11, 2008


Delurkers Thank You. It was really good to hear from you.
But if you really want comments - post about pets.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Delurk, ya jerk!

Some dude I just clicked on named Rude Cactus decided that today is Delurking Day, but after doing some quick research I realized that according to some other blogs, it's actually Delurking Week! And according to Dad2twins - if you don't delurk - you're a commie! Greeblemonkey picked up the thread and made this graphic. Well, it was so cute I just had to put it up!

Its funny, I've been thinking about lurkers recently, so this is very timely! Just the other day, I hit 3,000 views, and today it's 100 more, but do I have 100 comments? No. Are my posts so unfriendly that I repel your comments? I look at my feed traffic stats and see familiar towns and cities, but nary a note from a long lost friend or even a whassup from a new acquaintance. Why, Santa Barbara, California don't you say hello? I grew up there, we might even know each other! Bothell, Washington - who are you? Do you live anywhere near the first house I bought at 18% interest back in 1980? Cedar Rapids, Iowa - we have relatives there, are you one of them? Edinburgh, Scotland - hi! We're coming to visit you this summer... we should talk! Irmo, South Carolina - if you are not my niece Michelle, then you certainly must know her!

As usual for me, when I am inspired, a limerick is usually not far behind, so I'll leave you all tonight with some spur of the moment, homemade delurking culture, and honestly, I think it's pretty good, but - what do you think?

If blogging’s a real line of work
And comments, the ultimate perk
Then get off of the fence
Put in your two cents
But please don’t continually lurk!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Essential Oils

Because it is now way too late to write anything... I'm going to give a plug to my baby sister who, actually, in all honesty, probably saved my mother's life with her knowlege of aromatherapy and the pharmaceutical use of essential oils. I'm talking things like shingles, eye disorders, acid reflux, brittle bones... you name it - my mom had it, and Vicki cured it.... well, maybe she didn't exactly cure it, but she eased the symptoms to the point where they weren't as debillitating as they had been to my elderly mom. Here's her website Healing With Essential Oils. Take a look if you have some time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday Tribute #2 - Take a Dip in the Ceement Pond Paw

This is the second installment of weekly offerings here at Straight Up and Slightly Dirty called Tuesday Tributes. I asked all my bloggy friends to write a tribute post to one of the characters in their lives. Outrageous characters, incorrigible scoundrels, or just ordinary people. Please visit the links here and take the opportunity to meet some interesting characters!

Here is Susan, from A Slice of Life. She seems pretty normal, but I just found out she has some pretty scary critters she calls pets. I can't wait to see what other "characters" she writes about!

And this is my Sister-in-law, Barb. Her tribute is to one of the more incorrgible scoundrels in her life. She has cleverly shrouded this horrible person in the guise of a story - to which I say, Brilliant!

Josie from C'est La Vie may or may not be participating - she's taking a little break this week to catch up on her beautiful drawings. Although she did write a pretty darn funny "tribute" to a Black Widow. That's gotta count for something!

And here's my Tribute for this week. I'ts a repost about a couple I showed some houses to back in 2005. Maybe that's cheating, but like I said yesterday - I'm celebrating!

Take A Dip in the Ceement Pond, Paw

I am lucky enough to show houses for a living. I am lucky in that while doing this, I get to know people from all walks of life by listening to their stories and we usually become friends in the process. At closing I usually give my new friends a small gift to thank them for doing business with me based on something I’ve learned about them. Last year I helped a young couple purchase a monster of a house courtesy of Microsoft’s obscenely high salaries. I helped another couple purchase an ancient farm house with 11 acres and a barn they couldn’t wait to paint red. A young man wisely invested his inheritance in a home with room for his pool table, and a single mom bought her first home with the solid wood floors she’d always dreamed of.Last week I spent the day showing rural houses to a couple whose price range tops out at $40,000 – if they can find a family member who will co-sign. Nelly and Norman are in their 50s. They currently live in a trailer court where they and the other residents are being bullied out so the owner can clear the land and build condos. Norman is a Native American Viet Nam vet on disability. Nelly is a short, round diabetic with a mother complex and has not only adopted all of the animals in the trailer park, but also the various disabled and otherwise affected residents. Nelly adores Norman; it says so on her cell phone screen. Norman is tall, with a shambling gait, has few teeth, and tends to mutter with his deep low voice. They are, without much imagination at all, Maw and Paw Rugg of the 1965 Hillbilly Bears cartoon.When we go on our tour of homes, it’s usually for most of the day. Maw Nelly sits in front and navigates, equipped with her travel mug and a steel thermos of black coffee, the screw-off cup of which she gives to Norman, who sits in the back. I have learned more than I need to know about the cast of characters who populate their trailer court from Nelly’s tales of woeful abuse, punctuated occasionally by Paw Norman’s wheezy laugh. Sometimes Paw will be inspired to string together a few words, such as when a house is just too ridiculously small. He will continue to comment on the fatal flaw, his garbled comments apparently directed to the back of the seat or out the window, not requiring any response from me. But after a while he’ll return to his silence interrupted only by that raspy chuckle and an unintelligible word or two. Somehow, a memory sparked in Norman and he began an epicurean expose’ worthy of the food channel. Since I did not have a schedule of Paw Norman’s train of thought, his sudden departure took me by surprise. I thought he was still commenting on the last house we’d been in and I had been nodding blankly into the rear view mirror for quite a while before I realized the subject of his impassioned account. “…Better’n dat stuff from t’ grocery…. Harrup! Yup, could eat it all day,” Paw chortled. “Not too hard, y’ know? Heeeweeeweee!” He muttered to his coffee cup. “But not too soft neither!” he declared, directly to my eyes in the rear view mirror. “What?” “Tasty too, Mmmm mmmm. Harrup! Kinda smooth-like, ya smooooooth. Mmm mmm.”“What is?’“You ain’t never had none? Ohhhh its gooooood. Heeweewee!”“Had what?”“Dat gummintchee! Harrupp! Heeeweewee!”“I beg your pardon?” I snapped, thinking for some reason he was cussing at me.“Gummintcheese!” he carefully said leaning forward.He was talking about Government Cheese. That unearthly orange brick of surplus pasteurized “cheese-product” doled out to welfare recipients. No I hadn’t ever had any, preferring instead its overpriced substitute, Velveeta.“Oh” I bit my lip and tried hard to think of something nice to say about Government Cheese, but Nelly stepped in to save me from lying.“We’re just about done looking for today Paw, when we get home I’ll make up some grilled cheese sandwiches.”“Harrup! Harrup! Mmmm mmmm.” He mumbled happily. “Smoooooth.”A smile crept over me as I drove silently on, planning how I would score a couple boxes of Government Cheese for their closing gift.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again!

There is cause for celebration - on many accounts today!

First, and obviously - Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert will be returning to the airwaves to help the rest of us make sense of what's been happening since the long dark ages of the writer's strike began. Ahhhhhhh! I know my family will not be alone, as we once again gather around the warm blue glow of the Comedy Channel!

Secondly, I think I'm getting a new car! I have been systematically looking for something that might somehow combine the ability to haul around my Realtor clients, and my kids, and yet be cooler than a minivan (OK, well, really anything is cooler than a minivan, so than one's a gimme), and still have the three things I really need in a vehicle. It has to be silver, black, or white, it has to have a CD player, and it has to have an autostart. Well, yeah, it has to have low mileage, and it has to run, but really other than that, I still go back to those three things. I searched through using the year, the mileage, the color and the autostart feature, and voila! This is what I found....

The bank is working out all the details, meanwhile, I continue to drive my ancient minivan that has no door to the gas tank, practically invisible headlights, a stupid am/fm radio, and a happy meal toy lodged forever in petrified Coke in the back seat cupholder.

Next, Downtown Dad is the featured speaker at my Realtor's meeting tomorrow and I get to introduce him. OK, maybe this isn't cause for celebration... actually this is cause for panic if you really want to know.... yikes!

OK, another thing I'm excited about is that tomorrow is the first time I will be hosting a group event here at Straight Up and Slightly Dirty! If you haven't read it already, in last Tuesday's post, I announced that I would hold Tuesday Tributes. If you've got a character in your life, I want you to share them with us. It doesn't have to be long, just stop ripping off the human race by keeping these characters to yourself! Let me know if you'd like to participate and I will link to you so we can all share! I have heard from a stalwart few, but it's not too late to give it a go - at least for one week anyway.

The last thing I'm excited about is this - The hilarious Bossy is taking a road trip across the US this summer, and wants to visit her bloggy friends in their natural habitats. If you'd like be a stop on her most excellent road trip, email Bossy. In that email be sure to provide your name and blog name if you have one—along with your address. Let her know if you have a sofa for Bossy to crash on, or if you’re just interested in meeting for a quick cup of coffee. In turn, she'll send you this cool little button thingy -

I am on BOSSY's excellent road trip.

We'll see if Fargo is intriguing enough to garner a stop off. I'm pretty sure the snow will be melted by then.

Oh, and one more thing - look to your left there in the sidebar - sometime today - Straight Up and Slightly Dirty had it's 3,000th visitor! Woot!

Gee, all that celebratin' and nary a champagne glass in sight.... I must be slipping!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Birds and Dogs and Furballs - Oh My!

I must be needing some ideas for posts I guess, so I joined up with Fun Monday.

This week's host is Lisa's Chaos she says: Let’s meet your pets. I think most of us have at least one pet and I would like to see your fluffy or scaly pal. If you don’t have a camera you can tell us about him/her/them. If you don’t have a pet tell us about a pet you had or a pet you want. If for some weird reason you hate all animals we want to know why gosh-dang-it.

OK... pets? Did you say pets? Boy howdy do we have pets!

First of all there are our cockatiels, Tizzy and Rascal. That's them on Downtown Dad's shoulder.

These birds LOVE their Downtown Dad. All he has to do is clear his throat and both birds go wild, cheeping and peeping and calling him with wolf whistles so he'll come let them out of their cage so they can climb all over his head.

Next is Chako. He is our purebred 6 year old Samoyed... with white fur....lots of white fur.

His full name is Cheechako which is what Downtown Dad's nickname was when he was a lobbyist in Alaska - it means 'greenhorn' or 'the new guy.' Did I mention he has lots of white fur?

Then there is Zoey, a 3 year old Sheltie. Her fur is brown on top, but it's white underneath.
Between the feathers, and seeds and white furballs, we keep the lint roller companies in business!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Apostrophy's Debut

In my day... or should I say... 'back in the day' ...garage bands played loud music that our parents hated and if they were lucky enough to ever play in public, it was in smoky bars for 5 or 6 drunk patrons.... NOT in a high school auditorium with more than 250 people - and lighting, and sound! Oh, and the band member's parents were NEVER sitting in the back taking pictures for heaven's sake!

My 14 year old son, Bear on the right playing bass ... with 'bare' feet (that you can't see because he's behind the speaker) Trevor, Cage and Bjorn make up the rest of the band.

Now you can say you knew them when!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Theatre That Is A Funeral

It isn't often that you walk into a church funeral and hear Disney show tunes being played on the piano. It's even rarer to hear the once familiar, but now archaic clicking whirr of a film projector, but that's what we heard today. We didn't know Rusty, the man who passed away the day before New Year's Eve, very well, but we knew his daughters and his wife. We had assumed they were just theatre parents like us, and also well loved teachers at the local college. It turns out he was a world reknown film editor and speaker on film studies. Thus the reason for the sweetly melancholy, but decidedly film oriented music, and the projector flickering away with snippets of the black and white silent films he loved. The musical accompaniment helping to augment and convey the emotion as only live music can.

Our family doesn't go to church regularly. And while we are deeply spiritual, as a family, and in service to our neighbors and fellow humans, we reject the pervasive flim flam and hucksters of today's popular evangelicals. So, when we do enter other people's houses of worship for the occasional bumps and turns in lifes path, we do so in sort of a hyper observant manner. Maybe it was the overwhelming number people from the theatre and arts community who were there that caused me to think of it this way, but it started to dawn on me that there is actually quite a bit of theatre that goes into a funeral. It's all there, the flawless orchestration of choirs and organists, the heartfelt personal anecdotes, and carefully selected bible verses, and, probably most awe inspiring, the respectful, but efficient crowd choreography/management. There is also high drama in the tense moments when you wonder if the emotional speaker will get through their reading of the gospel without sobbing, or that the bereaved niece with the beautiful voice will be able to finish her solo, and then the urge to applaud them, when they do. And of course, there is the pastor who officiates, and their ability to deliver the message, which, to me, can make or break the fragile mood or atmosphere the grieving family have tried to create.

We had a little extra helping of drama this morning when, just as they were pushing the casket up the aisle, and the congregation was singing, the young lady behind us began having an epileptic seizure. Again, amazed, I watched as her mother vaulted over the pew to lay her on the floor and hold her head, Downtown Dad wadded up his jacket to use as a cushion, the young man next to her called 911, someone brought a plastic bag of ice, and a doctor from two rows up, slipped in near her feet. The seizure subsided, and she was able to walk out with the help of two people on either side of her - all within the space of time it took to sing four verses of whatever song it was we were singing - because I frankly wasn't paying attention!

Whoever you are, when death comes to your family, it's hard. This hit me and the others in our social group because Rusty and his wife and kids WERE US. I guess what I learned today is that fate gives you only what you can handle - plus, the people in your life to help you along. If you are part of some greater community, tradition, and human spirit takes over and helps you keep your head above the emotional rip-tide. As I listened to the piano play Jiminy Cricket's themesong, When You Wish Upon A Star, I took to heart the words:

"Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through."

Thursday, January 3, 2008


**ok, I panicked too soon. I just clicked on update or something, and it all came back.**

I have been quietly fiddle farting around with my layout here at Straight Up, in hopes of switching to a new "snazzy" layout. I must have fiddled when I should have farted though, somewhere along the line, because I have the same layout, but I lost all of my links and buttons and lists. AND, what's worse, I think I may have switched back to the Old Version of Blogger, which everyone knows doesn't exist any more! Aaarrrggghhh!

So, sorry for no "interesting" post today. I'll be deep in the throes of Shock -- Guilt -- Fear -- Depression – Denial -- Anger – and hopefully, finally Acceptance.

Remember to "stop ripping of the rest of the human race" and let me know if you'd like to participate in next week's Tuesday Tribute!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lunchroom Star

The following is my tribute to the lunch lady from the cafeteria in the hospital where I used to work. This work is based on Edgar Allen Poe's "Evening Star" - printed below for your comparison.

by Straight Up And Slightly Dirty

'Twas noontime on Wednesday,
And halfway thro’ lunch;
And you in your hairnet
Stand out from the bunch.
‘Midst the clever, cool beggars,
Of the work-a-day throng,
Lunch Lady Ethel,
Rules all the daylong.
I gawk for a time
On your soufflé of lime;
Too rich- too rich for me-
Then you wielded the ladle,
A heavenly cradle,
For soup of Asparagus Pea.
Oh doler of food,
In your querulous mood,
How lonely this lunchroom would be;
Without crumbs from your hand
Fried, curried or canned
All served with cantankerous grace.
Your liver and onions,
Creamed corn, and bunions
Endear me to you and this place.


by Edgar Allan Poe

'Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tuesday Tributes #1 - The Space Between Two Summers

This is the first installment of what will be weekly offerings here at Straight Up and Slightly Dirty. I'm calling it Tuesday Tributes.

It seems to me, that all of us have the privilege of knowing a few extraordinary individuals. Some are outrageous characters, some are incorrigible scoundrels, some are ordinary people, but all have the ability to elicit in us a strong emotion, either with their gifts... or lack of gifts, or by their quirky or different slant on life. It also seems to me that we are ripping off the rest of the human race by not sharing these characters, at least a description of them, with others.

I figure I've got nearly enough characters in my life to fill up a year of Tuesday Tribute posts, since I have committed to Blog 365, I hope you enjoy reading about them. However, I would also like to know about the characters in your lives. Who do you love? Who cracks you up by just thinking about them? Who is a scourge to the Universe, and deserves to have their dastardly deeds enshrined forever on the Internet? This Tuesday, January 8th, I invite anyone who reads this, (and/or has also committed to Blog 365, and needs post fodder and a little linky love) to write a tribute to the character in your life. Let me know if you would like to participate and I will link to you on Tuesday morning...early. Stop rippin' off the rest of the human race already!


He was much more than a teacher, in fact, the words "to teach" sometimes imply only the giving side of give-and-take. Bob Medley's sixth grade classrooms always had both sides. He had a joy for experiencing life, and a talent for sharing his life experiences, with his students. He served them up, conversation style, as an accompaniment to our required lessons. His conversations with those of us lucky enough to occupy his classroom, allowed us insights into the world beyond those four walls, and beyond our short time between two summers with him. This is evidenced by the many former students with whom he had amazing long-lasting relationships over the years. I was one of those students.

Always take the opportunity to travel, and always take the time for conversation.

If you boiled down his wisdom into words, that sentence just might sum up what I learned from Mr. Medley. But every day, I realize there was so much more than that. Whether it was serving in the Air Force as a pilot during World War II, collecting ethnic masks while traveling to far-flung locales, teaching sixth graders for 20 years at La Patera Elementary School, or working as a guide at California's Hearst Castle, Bob Medley had a story, or a bit of wisdom, he'd gleaned from every experience. His gift, was the ability to weave those experiences and stories and lessons he'd learned, into the conversation at just the right time, and in so doing, allow whoever he was talking to, to learn as well.

One of my aspirations, as early as 3rd grade, was hoping with all my might to be in Mr. Medley’s 6th grade class. His reputation was that significant. Despite the nickname Deadly Medley, he was always kind on his watch at Recess Duty, even to me, a clumsy, shy third grade girl who even then, noticed his hidden smirk and jovial eye rolling after he’d bellowed out for the third time to the school bullies “Searl, off the monkey bars!” or “Lindsey, stop chasing the girls!”

As the years steadily marched toward my 6th grade year, I often passed Mr. Medley's darkened classroom on my way home after school. Sometimes I would press my forehead against the tinted windows and cup my hands around my eyes to peer in. Mostly, I remember the masks. 25 or so giant paper mache heads, molded on 'punch ball' balloons, painted and shellacked, hanging from the center beam of the room. Mr. Medley’s students' trademark yearly art project, which he dutifully recorded for posterity on his 8 mm movie camera, as his students paraded their slightly scary selves annually around the school.

The shine of excitement, when I actually did finally take my place in his classroom, did rub off slightly, as I witnessed the business side of Deadly Medley. Gum chewing was certainly NOT allowed. An offense punishable by the dreaded assignment of “150 States!” This was the tedious task of writing, in Palmer Method longhand, each state, and its capital, three times on notebook paper, and turning it in the next day. If it was not turned in on time, the assignment doubled, and doubled again, until it was received, completed. There were times when, as a teacher, he must have been frustrated by the misbehavior and antics of 20 years of sixth graders. We saw, however, that he knew how to regain lost control, as well as how to dole out a punishment, when necessary, to fit the crime. Once, after catching one of his students spitting at someone, Mr. Medley made the perpetrator sit outside the classroom and spit into a bottle for the rest of the day.

We may not have known it at the time, but we learned things in Mr. Medley's classroom that led us to the paths we are on today. He died peacefully, on a Sunday morning in 2005 at age 82. The pain of loss that gripped and shook me after learning of his death has now subsided, leaving in its wake the dry leaves of memory that float in and out of my conscious thoughts. One of the fondest was a visit from him soon after my marriage in 1976. I had invited him to the wedding, but he was working at Hearst Castle that summer so was unable to attend. He later called on me in my tiny apartment, bearing a gift and a message I still hold dear today. The gift was a china teapot - pretty, but otherwise ordinary in nature. He told me, as I opened it, that I might not see the value in a teapot, but this was his way of helping me start my new life with a habit of having tea and conversation with friends regularly. Conversation, he said, was the most precious gift a person could give. Those of us who maintained Bob Medley’s friendship received a precious gift indeed.