Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rogue's Gallery

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion as to who I’m talking about half the time. Understandably so. Most everyone I mention repeatedly has been introduced over a long period of time and I’ve never sat down and explained everything in one single post, so here goes. The whole big confusing mess:

Bramble Scat…later shortened to just plain, old Scat…that’s me, the author and instigator of this blog. Bramble is a name I picked up over at CafeMom back in 2008 when everyone was into fairies and there was some website where you could go see what your fairy name would be. Mine was Bramble Rainbowfly. The last name sounded abysmally like “blowfly,” so I abandoned it immediately, but kept Bramble. Scat is animal poop. Squib has an entire book about it. He is the one who suggested that name. That the initials of said name are B.S. and I am, coincidentally, a writer is serendipitous.

I have two sons, Beanstalk and Squib (See? More B.S. Totally unplanned, too!), Beanstalk is now eight and Squib is now five. Their fathers are, respectively, Beanstack (who was Warhol for hair reasons) and Squid (B.S. again…). I know, those names do sound a bit derogatory, but really all I wanted to do was change one letter so you could easily associate them with the appropriate child. I swear. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have a vindictive bone in my body…no matter how hard I wish I did. Believe me, there are times when I wish HARD.

I split my time between two locations in Texas. If you read carefully, you can figure out what major city I’m in. It isn’t hard. When I’m in/near that major city, I stay at the Bunker with Attrition and Mystery. When I’m out of that major city, I’m in my tiny little town that Squib seriously does call Radiator Springs (like in the movie Cars) because the resemblance is uncanny. I call our little compound there Green Acres.

Attrition is my b-r-o-t-h-e-r. Brother. Not boyfriend. Not husband. He really cringes when people don’t make that distinction. And no, we are not twins. No. Nope. Nada. Gross!! Not a post with him in it goes by when I don’t get asked some “who is he really?” type question by somebody. Yes, he is my sometimes partner in crime. Yes, we have a regular Sunday a.m. gig together. Yes, we have a Saturday night ritual—at least we did before the mold thing destroyed my little office getaway. But, read it now and remember….Attrition is married to Mystery. For something like seventeen years now. Eighteen coming up in January. Like half his life. True story. For those of you needing help adding two and two together and getting four: Mystery is therefore my sister-in-law. I didn’t name either of them. I don’t know why either of them chose the names they have. Attrition uses his name over at Ace of Spades, Turf Wars, and elsewhere. Mystery is also a Turf Wars junkie. In fact, she got the rest of us hooked.

This next batch of folk appear here by their grandparent names as given to them by Squib: Buddy is my dad (and Attrition’s). Mimi is my mother (and Attrition’s). Baba is my grandmother (and Attrition’s) and Buddy’s mother. Clanpaw is my grandfather (and Attrition’s) and Buddy’s father. Rhythm is my father’s sister (my aunt) and Blues is her husband. They appear at least twice…or so.

Other things I refer to: If I make mention to the Scat Family Trio, I’m not referring to any sort of musical group (thank God!) but to our little oil and gas prospecting venture that Buddy, Clanpaw, and myself have been slaving away at for the last thirty months. Only thirty months? Seems longer. Hey, we’re not doing so bad for thirty months! Whitey is my old, white, decrepit Mountaineer. Bless his soul, he is still going strong at 186,000 miles…and come to think of it, he needs an oil change (oh, and brakes…minor detail). The Purple Slug is my dad’s purple van. Screwy is Squib’s first baseball. Screwy the Baseball Winner is Squib’s second baseball (I had no part in naming that last one).

Rene the AT&T store salesperson appears as himself. Long live Rene who snatched my iPhone from the very jaws of FedEx and God knows who else (really)! My friend Dana (long A) appears as herself as well. Brave, brave, crazy woman. Short A Dana doesn’t appear at all—yet—by some strange quirk of fate (because she is primo writing fodder), but her mom makes a brief reference as TKG I believe as the source of the Red Earth Cake recipe. My second recipe, but really the first recipe that’s actually, well, food—and the LAST recipe because I am not THAT sort of mommyblogger (no offense intended). TKB appears briefly and may have disappeared…I can’t remember. He’s the one with the Duramax sticker on his behind. Random. My friend Michelle appears as herself in one quick reference to underwear. She is always so proud when I finally learn something from her. Andrew the waiter appears as himself but was never asked permission. He’s the only person ever to have his privacy violated by my blog (in that I never asked if I could write about him directly). Next time, Andrew, don’t give us BOTH your phone number. Though I doubt there will ever be a next time. Your secret is out. Lady Gag-Gag is that woman wearing only a shirt. Yeah. She makes only a single appearance, but I feel her coming back for a second appearance soon (and lo-and-behold she sort of did!). Merriwether named her. Merriwether is another blogger. You should read him --> here because he is interesting. La Fae is my friend from Radiator Springs. She is so named in a round-a-bout way by her daughter. It is not a name she likes (another story for another time), but at the time I was writing it was the only thing I could think of. Sorry, La Fae, but like I said before…I like it. Judge is on the vocal team with me and appears by virtue of the fact that I accidently hit her on occasion when I am not paying attention and really get into my singing (when I am not lofting plants from the steps). Things get cramped on that tiny stage. Together, we keep each other from coming in at the wrong time. We are roughly 85% accurate in that department with respect to each other and 0% accurate with respect to staring down anyone else. It really does take two of us sometimes. Yes, she is really a judge.

In general, my convention is first, to make up a name for recurring people. Second, if I think they’re just here for a single entry, I’ll use their first and last initial with a “K” for the middle initial. Arbitrary, I know, but that’s really the point of the exercise. However, since just about every girl/woman in Radiator Springs is named Faith and practically every boy/man is named David, I’m thinking of going with that from here on out. Fair warning.



Prayer, for me, can be like a full contact sport. Often it's merely like a one-on-one wrestling match over an issue I'm carrying around with me or some request a person has asked that I remember. I'll be quite honest when I say that there are a lot of things I pray about but don't really sense any urgency about them. This is either because those things are not that urgent or because I'm learning to trust that God will really do what I ask Him to do. I choose to believe the latter.

Lately, though, there have been several issues that have made my prayer life feel like a no-rules game of capture the flag with no pads and perhaps swords or something like that. Somewhere in there, I think someone is carrying a sledge hammer, but that someone isn't me. Hours have been spent defending that flag (flags...multiple games going on here) and wrestling with enemies.

There have been many players on the field, with regard to one issue in particular, all fighting their hardest with great commitment over a long period of time. We were warring just this morning when suddenly our flag, that thing we've so desperately been praying for, evaporated. And now here we stand bloodied and panting bodies shaken and shocked. Just staring at the spot where the flag used to be. When you pray for something, you can't hold back your belief. You have to believe that God will do this thing that you are asking Him for. It's like jumping off a cliff. You can't do it half way. The caveat there is that He doesn't always answer in the way that you expect--or the way that you request.

K died this morning. It was a merciful thing, if you ask me. That doesn't make the fact that a husband is now without a wife and three kids are now without a mother any more palatable. It does answer the request of healing, though, in my book. Not in others, I realize. I've always had a different book in that respect. But regardless of how I see it, my mind and my heart still seek some sort of cosmic justice when it comes to suffering and death. We all seem to have some notion of "fairness" about it because she was "so young," or "she was a mother" then she should have been spared. In favor of who?

And now comes the hardest part, I believe. Resist the temptation to leave the field of battle altogether and, instead, remain there to fight for those left behind. This is when attrition really wreaks its havoc. Can we keep it together when the thing we're fighting for is not quite so dramatic? Can the siege continue if we perceive no change or if, perhaps, we never see the outcome? Is it not more important--now more than ever--to ask for guidance and support for that family? I would think yes.

On another note, this really starting to get to me. This makes, I think, a grand total of eleven losses with four still fighting. I watch gpa deteriorating more and more each week and wonder if we'll make it until Christmas. Easter? Next year this time? I'm the only one that leaves and comes back each week, so the others don't see the decline. It's the little things, really. He's no longer outdoors a lot. He's sleeping more. Eating less. In pain more. Talking less. Working less. Thinking less.

I'm not even really sure how to pray on that front anymore and today there isn't much fight left in me.

But maybe a little.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Foiled Again!!! Lady Gag-Gag the Second Escapes Me!


Drat! Foiled once again by a conglomeration of push notifications. This iPhone definitely has its limits.

OK, so...I was pulling up to an intersection by the mall near the Bunker when I spied this lady wearing a halter top and white daisy dukes. And nothing else. By nothing else, I mean no shoes and it was pretty much obvious that there was nothing under the outfit. It was disgusting. And wickedly fascinating, right? Because you just don't see that sort of thing "around here." Which would only make sense if you knew where I was. And some of you do. So there you have it.

I immediately remember the lady in the AT&T store that Merriwether subsequently dubbed "Lady Gag-Gag" and thought to myself, "Apparently there is competition for that title. I SHOULD TAKE A PICTURE WITH MY PHONE THIS TIME!!!!"

So...I get my phone out. It was perfect. She was crossing traffic right in front of me. I had my camera at the ready. She was right in front of the car. I pressed the button.

And maybe a femtosecond before the camera actually took the pic, this barrage of push notifications attacked my phone. For those of you who don't speak iPhone, a push notification is just a little blue (ANNOYING) notification that you've received a message, text, or some other sort of incoming data from one of your apps (like a text, email, IM, whatever). The unfortunate thing is that push notifications interrupt whatever you are doing and you have to press "close," "reply," "ignore," or something like that to get them to go away BEFORE you can actually do what you were originally doing (unless you're on the phone...then you just listen to that horrid plunk noise as they come in). This can be ANNOYING (which I have already stated, but it bears repeating). If you ignore them, they keep coming. If you turn them off, you never know about incoming "stuff," people get ignored, and you end up having to grovel and scrape. It's not pretty. My real point here is that there is NO happy medium.

Meanwhile, the woman is walking away to the south and I am headed west and not in the left turn lane.

More push notifications come cascading in. Apparently something untoward has happened with the internet connection somewhere. Can I solve that in the car? No I cannot. Can I get the picture I so desperately need for my outrageous blog entry......perhaps.

So, yes, I press "close" five times, procede through the intersection and hang a U-turn back to the intersection, turn right and THERE SHE IS! This would probably be considered stalking. But my weird people photo collection is begging for an addition and I soooooooo failed you a week-and-a-half ago. She turns into one of the more popular shopping areas. I follow. Camera is ready. I press the magic button and viola!

Another push notification.

She enters a building and I reach the point where I realize pursuing her further would truly be creepy.

Dang it. **sad face**


Monday, August 23, 2010

Squib Attacks Kindergarten

This morning came SO early! I'm not sure what my major malfunction was--worry?--but I couldn't sleep last night. Anxiety over my youngest entering kindergarten? Surely not. That really wouldn't be like me. In any event, after falling asleep some time after midnight, I did manage to drag myself out of bed and make it over to Squid's house (Squib's dad) to go with them for the first day.

I know! I know! Some of you are astonished that I am still doing "this." "This" being my personal pet theory that divorced parents owe it to the well-being of their children to make a show of solidarity on occasion in support of their kid(s). Nothing communicates to your child that you both love them like your ability to get over the worst thing that happened to you long enough to put the spotlight on them for a few minutes. It also goes a long way toward demonstrating that they, in fact, were not the reason you broke up. Kids worry about that a lot. Even if you tell them that isn't the case.

I'm not advocating destructive behavior, though, so if you want to really pull this off you're going to have to resist the urge to say a lot of things and/or do a lot of things. If you can't put down the animosity even for a very short period of time, then don't even try it. I'll be quite honest when I say that this morning pushed me to my limit. I probably could have stood one minute more, but I was exercising every iota of my self-control. Not good. This isn't a long-term thing, either. At most it lasts minutes to an, breathe!

End of rabbit trail!

Squibs first day:
A boy and his life-sized back pack. Really, it's one of those miniature kid-sized back packs, but it looks so HUGE! And he looks so tiny. Here he is enjoying some last moments playing with the Mystery Machine and "the guys" while Blue looks on from a discarded position at right. Poor Blue didn't even get to ride along today. This is a sure sign that someone is growing up.

We (Squid and myself) pulled him to school in his wagon. They had him down as a "walker." That's two miles for a just-barely-5-yr-old. I'm not so much concerned with the distance as the expectation that he could do that all by himself? Uh....nope. Notice the looooooooonnnnnnnggggggg shadows! It is too early to be awake much less pulling wagons full of boys!
"Are you sure we're at my school?"

"Are you sure we're going the right way? Are you sure...? Are you sure....?"

Squib tests all the water fountains. There are six. He opens his mouth like a lion and growls before taking a drink. I think this all started when he saw his first water fountain at the Lufkin zoo. It was a lion with the fountain inside it's mouth...hence the growling? He also explored the music room and the library on the way to his classroom. He was most impressed with the library. "Look at all the books, momma!" This is a good omen!

Hanging up his back pack on his peg. "I have my own peg!" He is starting to feel special now...yay! This is about when my insides started to catch a bit. Squid was already a pile by now.

At first, he saw blocks and ran straight in and started to play while I talked to his teacher and filled out forms. Then he came back and made this face. The stress face. Notice the chin. He's about to cry. If he cries, then I cry. If we cry, Squid cries--wait, I think Squid was already crying. If we all cry the whole room will probably disintegrate. But all he wants is the "three kisses" for him (one on each cheek and one on the forehead), three for me, hug for him, hug for me, I find dad, three for him from dad, three for dad, hug for him from dad, hug for dad, and off he goes! Dad exits like Speedy Gonzalez to cry in the hall. I am left to finish with the teacher.

Here he is happily playing. "I think I'm going to like this," he says and waggles his eyebrows at me. And, yes, all those kids look like giants compared to him. Let's hope the "Little M******" name doesn't carry over into elementary school. That kind of thing could stick.

A very good start for such a cautious kid!

And my-oh-my was that walk back to Squid's house ever LONG!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

So. Remember that welcome mat that I rather unceremoniously withdrew? This welcome mat. Right. Well, I sorta rolled it back out for this one guy. He's been rather unexpected (in a good way) and frankly one of those that's usually ummm...

**crickets chirp loudly as toe scuffs dirt and I bite bottom lip**

...taken. And usually blissfully so in a way that I look at and wonder "where exactly did I miss the boat?" Twice. Self-defeating question, I know. But it's fact that I've missed the boat. Twice. So I am a little concerned about my boat-catching skills.

Well...last night we had this a-maz-ing date during which I confessed I married a Nazi. Tragic. All true. Awesome date. That's all you're getting. We pull up to my house and I reach into the back to get my leftover food which was in a bag with his and I did blurt this out verbatim:

"Do you need your meatballs?"

Immediately, I was flooded by the horror of my verbal innuendo.

I'm not even sure the awkward pause lasted a femtosecond before the gut-splitting laughter started. Maybe. I tried to recover by saying something that I don't even hardly remember. It was probably, "I meant your food!" and thusly dug the hole deeper.

Smart, funny, talented, fabulous sense of humor (thank heavens), nice looking. And that's the list I knew about before I started really talking to him.

And I said, "Do you need your meatballs?" (Need? Really?)

**hand smacks forehead**

What exactly is my problem with the King's spoken English? Not even, "Do you want your spaghetti and meatballs?" I went right for the meatballs without even thinking. Albeit unintentional, it was funny. Hurt yourself laughing kind of funny. Fortunately, it was dark and not quite so obvious that my face was the same cherry red as my shirt.

Thankfully, I am "mesmerizing," which is good 'cause I am also a dork and even more so in his presence when that curious (but very nice) fluttery feeling takes over and I seem to turn into a levitating twitter-pated idiot whose brain-to-mouth filter on occasion seems to completely get lodged in the "off" position.

I am seriously going to have to practice my lines (sarcasm).

This great! (not sarcasm)


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homicidal Water Bottles

They're after me.

Attacking from all corners of my vehicle.

And I don't even really drink water from bottles, so I'm not sure how they got there.

I started this morning when I rocketed out of bed at 6 am. YES. 6 A.M. to go get Squib and hang out for a bit before registering him for school. Wheeeeeeere do you hang out from 6 to 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning? I'll tell you. NOWHERE. One (water bottle, that is) rolled out from under my seat and lodged itself under my brake pedal. Yes, under. Freakish! I reached down (with good aim, for once) and yanked it out and hurled it into the back--the back back. You know, the back behind the back seat. I briefly wondered how it got there, but chalked it up to a random driver using my car on the weekend while I was at Green Acres. Random, you know.

Moving on.

At the elementary school, I discovered that after six months of phone calls and testing, they still had no clue who my son was. He wasn't even "that kid we tested in July." Or even "the one with neurofibromatosis." Or any other label. So...I spoke to the diagnostician. She assured me we would schedule an ARD soon. Probably tomorrow.

Got in the truck after giving Squib the "we don't holler like monkeys in the African jungles while mom is trying to speak to your future teachers" speech. Son.

Water bottle number two rolled out the door and landed on my foot before I could even get in. I should have recognized the metaphor at this point but I did not. I mused on it for a split second before chucking bottle number two in the back with the other.

Arrived at Green Acres just as Buddy was summoning the biggest rain storm of all time by cleaning the entire length of the driveway with the water hose. This is a surefire technique. Better than a naked rain dance. One hour later, after I realized my phone was getting no service, I was driving into the grocery store parking lot to boost some wifi off The Hop (local free-wifi burger joint) and do my work while hoping to hear from the school. Water bottle number three rolls out from under my seat as I slide into the parking lot.

I'm sure you're asking two questions right now. First, why am I sliding? I'll tell you. Two words: tar and gravel. It's our county's road repair policy. It gets hot and therefore slick. Add water and it's like an ice skating rink for cars. Add a free-floating water bottle about your feet and it gets...funner. Second, why the heck have I not checked under my seat for water bottles??!? I have. They are either materializing there as needed or by some act of procreation. Both would be a sight to behold.

That's all I have to say about that.

I chuck the next half liter into the back with the first liter and proceed to camp out in the parking lot...

...where the diagnostician inflames me to the point of distraction and near tears. This makes me angry. This is also a gross understatement. I am giving her a wee bit of credit because I could have children her age (maybe) and because I think she may have me confused with someone else (sorta) who has a completely different kid (possibly). And now I have to go back there (hour-and-a-half drive) tomorrow to avenge my younger son's education (arrrrrrrrggggg).

And then, in the course of doing my normal daily investigation of "stuff," I discover that a company we are thinking of doing business with is involved as a defendant in a RICO case. That's the Racketeering Act (racketeering influenced corrupt organizations), people. REALLY? Yes, really. And I have to take that news home with me.

Then the door started leaking. Yay.

More water.

This is a scene right out of my very own Scat and the No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Day. And on top of it, somewhere in there, I went to the gym and got waylaid before I ever got to the I STINK!

Maybe the water is a hint. I don't know.

The truck has now been thoroughly checked for any rolling, liquid-loaded objects. They have all been exterminated. I have had a few moments...maybe even an hour to check my sanity and speak to other adults who have their heads screwed on mostly straight, so I think I shall survive the day.

But, fair warning! I am fully armed with three lethal half-liter bottles of water!!

And I'm no longer afraid to use them. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yep, I'm A Liar...Among Other Things

Sort of.
I was talking to "someone who probably doesn't want to admit this" about salad dressing and she happened to comment on Newman's Own salad dressings which she LUUUUUVVVS. In her very next breath, she said, "I just can't wait for another movie with Paul Newman in it." To which I responded, "You're going to have to wait a very, very impossibly long time." She asked why. I replied, "He died two years ago."

"Now, Scat!! That is just a LIE!"

This is a typical response from "this person." If she disagrees with me, I am lying. I have learned to take it in stride because she is my elder and she is, well, slightly nuts. I encouraged her to Google it before accusing anyone else of lying because there aren't as many people out there who are as willing to accept the mantle of "liar" as I am. Of course, I don't think she would argue it with anyone else. Nevertheless, she did look it up. Lo-and-behold I was right. Her conclusion of the matter was, "Hmmph."

In other news, today saw the reappearance of that distasteful human being, Jack. This Jack. And this Jack. I was minding my own business seated here in my corner of the bunker working on a web page when I saw the email notification pop up in the lower right-hand corner of my screen: David Jackley Smith re: My Dear Sweet.


We have gone after this guy twice. TWICE, I tell you! He is the king of the Nigerian 419 scam and I haven't heard from him in almost a year. Thought we'd taken care of that. Apparently not. Or he just got turned loose. That's possible, too. Nevertheless, a chill crawled uneasily up my spine as I read (his poor English words), "hello ****, How you doing? I still love to meet you in this live. I need you so much."

Attrition is going to s*** a brick. Maybe enough bricks to put an addition onto the house. That could prove to be the only useful thing to come out of this effort.

It really is just a matter of time until this creephead is able to physically find me and that chills me to the bone. He is persistent to say the very, very least. I am literally praying that he is trapped in Nigeria where we found him the last time. Should he ever make it onto American soil, I will be a very worried person. I have two fears given that possible scenario. The first fear is for my personal safety. The second fear is for Attrition given what he might do should Mr. Smith make an appearance.

I really hate that some jerk has made me sit here for an hour contemplating how to protect myself once I leave the safety of my home. For the first time since I've dealt with him, I admit to being a little scared. OK, a lot scared.

In other news, the wait to see if Squib's heart repair is truly complete is over! Yay! No scar tissue. No minor holes. No nothing (except the reversed aortic arch). It's functioning perfectly (Dr.'s words, not mine). This is nothing short of miraculous and I am, to say the least, relieved.

Would you believe this is just a typical day?


Monday, August 16, 2010

Lunch for the Mind

...or is it food for thought? Whichever it is, I could certainly use some.

Website design causes uncontrollable brain leakage from my left ear. What remains is a quivering mass of dehydrating protoplasm devoid of all thought.

Turnips have more brain function than I do right now.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

5 Year Olds With Questions

Once again the 5-year-old has almost stumped me.

It started last night at bedtime. We have a bedtime ritual that includes singing, praying, and a specific regimen of kisses. We sang the songs specifically selected by Squib and then he fell into silence. After this pause, he said, "We need to pray for Daddy."

My first thought was, "No joke."

I curbed my sarcasm and asked him why. His furtive reply was, "Because he needs it."

Oy vey.

Don't misunderstand me. I pray for both the fathers of my children. A lot. I have seen some of those prayers answered in dramatic ways, so I have no doubt that the prayer works. I pray for lots of things. In the case of Squib's father, his salvation is foremost on my mind. His satisfaction with his life is second-most, I think. This isn't really anything I would share with a young one yet. Perhaps, though, Squib has some sense that there is something missing in his father that would, in someways, complete him? I don't know. But, he was urgent about it. "We have to pray for Daddy." So I did.   

And evening and morning...the second day.

Upon which Squib asked about the meaning of "love" and "family." What are they? Do I have them?

On love: I said that a lot of people confuse love with the emotions and feelings they have when they are "in love." And, to be sure, love is accompanied by many emotions and feelings. But, I was taught a simple truth early on: "God is love." And then there is the Walker Moore version: "Love is not a feeling or emotion, but a person, Jesus Christ, who came as love incarnate and sacrificed himself for us on the cross." That's a little over Squib's head, so I saved that one. I did say, though, that love is better expressed as a verb (an action word) than a noun (a person, place, or thing). Rather than having it or giving it, doing it seems to make a bigger and more lasting impression. If I have love for you, showing it lets you know the true depths of my love for you. says this about love:

     1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

     2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or

     3. sexual passion or desire.

     4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.

     5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would
     you like to see a movie, love?

     6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.

     7. sexual intercourse; copulation.

     8. ( initial capital letter ) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.

     9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.

     10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.

     11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.

     12. the benevolent affection of god for His creatures, or the reverent affection due
     from them to God.

     13. Chiefly Tennis . a score of zero; nothing.

     14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
That should show you what I mean about the things that we often associate with love. But know this, if your love doesn't originate from the Father, it has no firm foundation. It is a house built upon the sand and will not be able to stand firm during the storms of life.
"Family" was actually a little harder to explain if you can believe that. This was probably true because we have "family" that aren't actually blood relatives. I stuck to blood relatives when explaining to Squib, but nevertheless I explained it something like this: "Family is a group of people bound closely by ties such as love, marriage, blood, and commitment. We celebrate the good times together. We help each other through the bad times. No matter what, we are always available to one another--ready to walk through fire and various other tortures."
I felt that description was lame. So, once again, here's what has to say on "family."
     1. a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a
     group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.

     b. a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care
     for: a single-parent family.

     2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.

     3. the spouse and children of one person: We're taking the family on vacation next

     4. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles,
     aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family.

     5. all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor.

     6. Chiefly British . approved lineage, esp. noble, titled, famous, or wealthy ancestry:
     young men of family.

     7. a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents,
     children, and servants.

     8. the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family.

     9. a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen
     family of elements.

     10. a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common
     attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes
     of the sixties regarded themselves as families.

     11. a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or

     12. Biology . the usual major subdivision of an order or suborder in the classification
     of plants, animals, fungi, etc., usually consisting of several genera.

     13. Slang . a unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local

     14. Linguistics . the largest category into which languages related by common
     origin can be classified with certainty: Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and
     Austronesian are the most widely spoken families of languages. Compare
     stock ( def. 12 ) , subfamily ( def. 2 ) .

     15. Mathematics .

     a. a given class of solutions of the same basic equation, differing from one another
     only by the different values assigned to the constants in the equation.

     b. a class of functions or the like defined by an expression containing a parameter.

     c. a set.
So bland. Bah.
This helped me nada. Just so many words about something I feel so strongly about. It's more than a blood tie. It's a commitment. If a family member needs something, I'd pretty much drop everything to help them. Why? Well, that goes back to love. It also taps into loyalty, respect, service, and several other things. My love for them bears itself out in the actions I am willing to take on their behalf or in their interest.
The family concept extends to include my church family and certain friends. They may or may not know it, but my love for them is fierce. As it should be. And I would fight for them--I am not a physical fighter, but a spiritual one--as though they were my very own blood. It is who and how I am. I am not willing to settle when it comes to bad circumstances, be it illness, financial woes, job loss, etc. when there is something to be done. When you are still able to pray, there is always still something to be done.
Frankly, I thought sex would be a harder topic, but so far it has not proven to be so. And, yes, he has asked about that, too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Four Hours of Wonderful

I promised you didn't I? Just yesterday. I promised "happiness, sweetness, and light."

I'll be honest. I'm having trouble scraping that up without talking about something I'm just not ready to talk about with you or anybody else. What I AM ready to talk about is the ridiculousness of my day because yet another one of those things has happened to me. But what preceded the precipitating event of this ridiculous day was, actually, four contiguous, uninterrupted hours (maybe more) of wonderful. And that's all you get to know about that. So there. **pfffftt**

So, imagine if you will, four uninterrupted hours of pleasantness, happiness, sweetness, light, what have you...and then you discover that you are suddenly without phone. Your iPhone to be exact. The brains of your operation. The one that you have provided to you for work. And now you get to replace it on your dime. Ouch.

Before you all shriek and ask if I tried to track it, yes I did. First, it was fully charged only a few hours before I noticed it missing. So...plenty of battery. Also, location services, mobile me, etc. were all on. When I tried to call it, it mysteriously kicked straight over to voicemail. Shouldn't have done that at all. By the time I got to tracking it, it didn't even show. Hmmmm.

I'm not sure what chapped me most. It's either the loss of the phone -or- the fact that I had finally found an Otter box case that came in pink and they only make them for the iPhone 3GS and now I have an iPhone 4. To heck with the phone! I want my pink case! **momentary pout** Now, all I have is this pitifully empty pink belt clip that is totally useless. I probably won't ever be able to throw it away because it is the "accessory that could have been." I searched for a pink accessory for a FULL YEAR. Found it. Promptly lost phone. Now the search must begin again. **whine** Buddy says, "Good. Pink is gross and unprofessional." I say, "Stick it where the sun don't shine. If they came in Monet or Renoir or Degas, then I would look for THAT. But, lets get real here."

So...this morning I woke up (without an alarm clock--which is on my iPhone) and began to retrace my steps of the night before in broad daylight. I returned to the restaurant where I ate. Gave a wary eye to the staff. Pleaded. Begged. Talked to the very busboy who bussed my table. Stared hard at him, but, alas, I am not threatening in the least. Not. One. Bit. I considered tackling him right there and pinning him to the ground and simply beating a phone out of him, but he may not have had it. Besides, he was huge and in addition to not being scary or the least bit threatening, I am a tad short.

Long story short--ok perhaps long. After scouring the golf course, I headed first to the AT&T store where Rene just loves to see me coming. Bless his tidy little slacks and wingtips. He was wearing a T-shirt!! After I peeled myself off the floor boards because I thought Rene was born in a long-sleeved shirt and tie (which always tend toward shades of purple), I wanted to take a pic, but was without camera (that, too resides on said phone). The first words out of his mouth were, "FedEx isn't even coming here today." This is a bit of a private joke and a bit of a threat. So...

They were out of iPhones. Still. He gave the tracking thing a whirl. Nada. I asked about the likelihood the phone would be returned. He snorted. I reported it missing "officially." We couldn't do a remote wipe...probably because the phone was either dead by then or the sim card was missing...which means I spent two hours this evening changing every password I know. And that's a lot. We niggled around with the account and figured out which number was eligible for an upgrade so that I could save some money, blah, blah, blah, and then I set out in search of an iPhone.

And ended up at the apple store in the mall.

I abhor the mall.

It isn't that I don't like new things or buying stuff. It's the salespeople, I guess. Taken individually and off work, they are probably tolerable people (everyone has to make money sometimes), but when they leap out at you from behind every kiosk telling you how beautiful your skin is and that they could take care of that dead skin that is only enhancing your wrinkles, you really want to come off half-cocked and clobber one of them. Hard. Right in the powder puff.

I finally made it through the onslaught and into the store. It was like Bastogne. When the apple store looks like the aid station, there is a problem.

It took a full ten minutes just to get in the right line. The line was so long that it stretched around the iPads (danger!!!) through the macbooks (not a temptation) and all the way around the iPhone table. So I played with everything for upwards of an hour. Or so. Made the high score on Skee-ball on seven different iPhones. Go me! Started playing some other games opposite another customer waiting in line ahead of me. He trounced me best 3 out of 5. Left some blatant messages advertising Turf Wars...because more players is just more fun. Took some strange pics. Saved the other customer's place while he bought drinks for him, his wife and myself. Celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, they had a child, and shortly before the young one entered kindergarten two spots opened and it became our turn.

It took them all of five seconds to actually sell me the phone. Which they could have done an hour or so earlier.

Now is when things get surreal. The line that could be upgraded didn't belong to me...sooooo...I had to go and get the phone that could be upgraded (another iPhone, but a 3GS not a 4) and drag it back to the AT&T store with me. This involves two-and-a-half hours of driving, pleading and begging on the part of the five-yr-old, and blood-sworn promises, etc. He is quite the negotiator.

When I get to the store, they are hip-deep in people. And some of those people are a sight to behold. I couldn't help but watch one woman in particular. She had to be every bit as old as I am. Blonde, in shape, tan, and dressed only in a man's dress shirt that has everyone in the place staring at her backside because we're not altogether sure it's gonna stay covered. That thing had to be glued into place. Add to that the fact that she is hanging off a guy that I would have thought was her son if she hadn't been fawning all over him the whole time.

I am not knocking fawning. It has it's place. But that place is not the AT&T store for and hour-and-a-half! With no britches. Holy smokes. Serious cougar problems up in there.

Finally, Rene is free. Yippee. First he says, "You see that old lady with the shirt?" I contemplate "old" with respect to my aged frame of reference. "You mean withOUT the pants?" "That's the one," and I do believe he giggled.

It was at this point that I looked down and realized that I was walking about (for God knows how long!) with a button undone on my blouse at chest-level. So, I casually button it and look for an escape hatch in the wood floor. There is none. I am forced to continue as though nothing has happened. Rene looks like he swallowed a live chicken.

And this is basically what takes place next: First, new phone is given Buddy's phone number. Second, Buddy's old phone (which I drove so far to get) is given my number. Third, new phone is then given my number (yeah...why?). And finally, old phone is then given Buddy's phone number (Again. Just like it was before). So...$64,000 question: Exactly why did I have to drive all the way out to Green Acres to get Buddy's phone???!!!???

In between the second and third sentence was a slight skirmish over the fact that the phones in question were insured to the teeth and that said insurance was purchased with this very scenario in mind and since I had shelled out the dough to get the phone, the least they could do would be to give me the iPhone 4 with my own number and Buddy the 3GS with his number because Buddy will have a hissy fit over the 4 because of this one thing he read on the Internet...even though it isn't really true.

Having lived through Bastogne to reach the apple store, this skirmish was nothing and I probably was very, very scary at this point. That, or Rene was very grateful for the peek at my purple bra before I decided to button my blouse. Who can say?

The coolest part about this whole thing was that just yesterday I found a child support check for $412.50 that I had never deposited. And today I really needed that.

Kinda cool how things work out like that sometimes...with half left over!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't You Love It...

...when someone takes it upon themselves to remind you of the single worst thing that ever happened to you. Again. And again. And again.

It happened again today. Again.

Did I mention it happened AGAIN? The reminder, I mean...not the event.

And since it is something I've alluded to in previous posts, I suppose it is something I should just tell you because it might be helpful for you to know that all kinds of things happen to all kinds of people and they live to tell about it. And no matter how bad those things may SEEM, they are in no way defining unless you choose them to be. Also, I did at least one thing that you should never do. At the time, I had no idea it was illegal to do it. You should know. That and having it out in the open means there are fewer people who can wave the "you're so terrible" flag in my face. I do enough of that on my own and the rest I get at home, thank you very much.

The only reason I have not written about it before is that I have this humongous emotional upheaval every time I think about it and my greatest fear is that anyone (and everyone) who discovers this about me will eventually run away. But, quite frankly, it is tiring to have it all scrunched away back in there (in my mind, that is). And I've already done the weeping girl thing once today when Buddy brought it up--especially given the context--so what do I have to lose?

Yes, it has to do with that jail thing I mentioned in the toilet post.

Here's what I remember:

I woke up early on a Friday morning and needed to get Beanstalk to the doc really quickly. But, I felt worse than crap. I have seizures. I can sort of tell when they are coming and I sort of felt that way on that morning. Light headed, nauseated, etc. I do get a funky taste in my mouth, but only in the seconds before the actual seizure.

Knowing this, I woke Buddy up and said I needed a ride and explained why. For whatever reason, he said no. There was a bit of an argument. Eh. This is a simple pattern for the bad things of my life that I have since learned to avoid: Scat has a problem. Scat asks for help. Help is denied. Scat proceeds anyway because she has no choice in the matter. Bad thing happens.

So, I pack some extra seizure meds (this is the thing that I screwed up!) and pile Beanstalk and all his crap into the car and head for town against my own will because this doctor thing is pretty important. We arrive in town. I'm approaching a light when I get the funky taste in my mouth and then I'm outta there like someone turned off a light switch.

Here's the part everyone else but me remembers:

Apparently, I seized before I could put on the brakes and hit another car. I have felt bad about this for years even though I've made peace with the woman I hit and she has been very gracious about the whole thing. Everyone was fine but me (concussion and hairline skull fracture from the air bags and, well, the whole seizure thing). I was coherent enough to give them all my information and Beanstalk's information. I called Beanstalk's dad to alert him to the problem--that was probably a mistake, but he would have wondered why we weren't at the doc's office.

Highway patrol shows up. Normal. I consent to everything: search of me and the car, Breathalyzer, blood test, etc. Everything comes back clean, but he finds my seizure meds which are not in the original bottle from the pharmacy. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. For future reference: those little pill fobs they sell for key chains? Don't ever use them!!!!!!!! Even if your medicine is prescribed for you, if it isn't in the original bottle from the pharmacy, then you are carrying it illegally. NOW I know this...and now you know. Learn this the easy way, please. Trust me, the hard way sucks.

So...having just had a seizure, I of course am not real good on my feet and I have a kid in my car plus those dang unbottled pills. Can I say STUPID one more time?

So, we go off to the hospital where everyone is checked out, blood work is run, etc. Everything is clear, but in Texas if a person is simply behaving intoxicated (and this can be a matter of opinion regardless of blood levels or Breathalyzers or seizures) combined with those awful unbottled pills, then they get arrested and carted off to county jail where they wait for their very pissed off father to bail them out.

This is about where my memory kicks in:

It isn't like waking up. It's like being in the car, blinking, and then you're in a holding tank wearing striped pajamas with thirty other women waiting in line for the telephone and wondering where your underwear went (yes, they took my underwear because it wasn't white). Even though I was coherent enough to communicate immediately after the seizure, there's a window of time that eventually just gets lost. I remember nothing. I have no idea where I am or why. I know I've had a seizure...but nothing more. I deduced the whole jail thing almost immediately, but had no idea why because as far as I knew at that point I hadn't broken any laws.

So, of course, I call my father to see if he knows how I got in there. He does know and he's highly irked at me. Par for the course. And we start working on how to get me out.

Most people in my situation just bail out and spend no more that an hour or so there. Most people don't have highly pissed off fathers. Let's just say that he was sooooooooo pissed that he refused to bail me out. And I got to wait a very long time (without food I might add because they didn't really believe that anyone would leave me in there so they never brought me any) on a stainless steel bench.

And then the fun really started.

Because I wasn't getting my seizure meds.

So I started having more. I must have lost several million billion brain cells before I made it to the infirmary and they called my dad to give him what for. Finally, he showed up with my seizure meds. And I did eventually get bailed out. And I went straight to the neurologist. And got better meds (I was on some weaker stuff b/c he wasn't sure I needed any). Meh.

It was my own personal nightmare. Made even more so by the fact that the evidence in the case was "lost." The Breathalyzer (0%) and the blood work (clean) and the meds (reunited with their prescription) were all misplaced. That evidence would have excused me almost immediately. So it was my word against the word of the arresting officer (who had neglected to take any video). And my lawyer said I could try to fight it--for a mere $25,000--or take the deal offered me by the DA. But the caveat to the whole thing was that this particular officer was known for getting away with this sort of thing--I didn't really ask what he meant by "this sort of thing."

The decision was a no-brainer because I didn't have the $25,000. So I took the deal. Hence, the class B misdemeanor DUI and the general feeling of hopelessness and disgust and weeping when I think about that whole monstrosity of a moment.

Dad says something to this effect: "One day, you'll look back on this as a valuable lesson in which you've learned more about yourself than you can possibly imagine." I feel like kicking his teeth in every time he says it. Perhaps he's right, but at the same time I wish he'd just drop it. But he can't just let it be. It has to be brought up in the course of discussing absolutely everything, it seems.

And, lately, he's of the mind that I should "go on the offensive" by telling absolutely everyone that this happened to me. When I think of it that way, I'm not really certain of the purpose of "going on the offensive." This isn't a football game or a war or a political race I'm living. That was a circumstance. A big one, granted, but seriously? Just randomly offer that information in situations where it will never come into play? Should I tell the check-out lady at the grocery store, too?

I'm being facetious, of course. My point is that there is a time and place for everything. There are people in my life who need to know these things and people who don't. NOT telling some people isn't dishonesty. There are simply hundreds of things that I don't volunteer to some folks with very good reason.

Still, I've had enough now. That's my dirty laundry. There. Now you know. Absolutely everything.
And I realize this has been rant week. Tomorrow: Happiness, Sweetness, and Light. I promise you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wire Ties In My Office--Make Me Happy

(A little too much John Denver, sorry).

It happens. John Denver, that is. Like natural disasters and other acts of God. Buddy is a John Denver addict, sorry, fan. I am sorry to say that when given the chance to demonstrate his vocal skills at a karaoke bar in Tokyo, the man chose "Rocky Mountain High" as a representation of our country. 'Nuff said. I think he also did "Hey Jude" as a tribute to my mother. Excrutiating. Not his voice or anything. His voice is lovely. It's just...his selections.

Back to the wire ties.

That office wall I mentioned? It's coming out. This weekend. Along with a portion of the ceiling and a section of the opposite wall. I waited until our builder left to hurl completely. Twice. I came up with a plan in my mind yesterday to move the entire operation (computerwise, that is) into our house. Baba is understandably horrified. She should be. I am. I stood in the office in my mask and very sexy mold remediation outfit clutching my tool bag like a life preserver for a full fifteen minutes before I could move.

"Anything I can do?" Buddy was trying cautiously to be helpful, I think. Bless his big fat socks. And crocs (rhyming...couldn't resist...cackle). Treating me like a ticking time bomb today was prudent, to say the least.

"Wire ties. Lots and lots of wire ties." I said bleary-eyed, "And...uh...yeah. Wire ties. Probably a Sharpie."

(Always, always, always, always ask for Sharpies because you just never know what you'll need them for).

And he got them. Tout de suite. Plus an extension cord since there's an entire wall in our dining room with nary a plug in it (why?) where I was going to have to locate a workstation and a plotter.

1000 wire ties! No, I haven't used them all yet. Yet. But the odds are good that at least half of them will be gone by tomorrow.

I finally got down to replacing labels on some of the ethernet cable, etc. and decided to just screw it and rip the whole thing (network, that is) out and move it in one foul swoop. Which I did. Broke it down, carted it into the house losing one toe in the process, plugged it all back in, and booted it up. For the first time in my entire experience with computers of any sort it worked the first time. Right off. No joke. I almost passed out. I wasn't sure what to do next.

Bathing would have been the best choice. But I had all these wire ties....waaaaah.

So I did some more therapeutic wire tying. Until I could no longer move...or breathe through my mask. Then I gave up for the night and came inside where there is other work to do and...

...where I was told that "we" are gonna have those...items (YES, those items)..."done" after all...could I please call them back and get that rolling? Go ahead, office chick...move it.


P.S. The apparent downside to relocating the network to my erstwhile bedroom is that it now closely resembles the bridge of the starship Enterprise. Complete with drifting-in-space noise.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Well, then you should have told me "WEnglish"...(rant)

In the course of my day-to-day work, one of my job requirements is to "find people" to "do stuff." That was one of my tasks today. I had a list of specs item...and went to three, no four, different places in person only to find out that only one place could do it like "we" (in the royal sense) wanted it done. This is typical.

"We" like things done in particular ways. So, I spoke to "we" about our options, etc. and "we" said "let's have ten of them done," so I went ahead and got the ball rolling to "have ten of them done." This requires getting a load of printed materials together, shipping them to another location over an hour away where a special machine exists to do what "we" want done, and then shipping them back. A pretty tall order. Then I called "we" back and let "we" know what the total price was and "we" said...and I quote..."Ooooh, weeell, that gives us an option to consider, now doesn't it?"


"An...option? You told me to have ten of them done."

(I start wondering at this point about the semantics of construing the meaning of "done" to equate to the meaning of "made." "We" like to argue semantics when these situations crop up. Was I taking it too far? I don't think so. I mean, we need these, right? Yes, yes we do. So..."Have ten of them done." = "Have ten of them made." Right? Like a direct order type of thingy. At least I thought so at the time. Huh.)

I obviously misinterpreted "Let's have ten of them done." Because I, like, had ten of them "done."

And now we are just considering? "We" are probably REconsidering because "we" are cheap. "We" want it done for less than a dollar an item (when no one will even do it for less than $10 in the cheapest possible way) is what "we" want and "we" don't want to be the ones to tell anyone..."We" want to send our sys admin/tech writer/office minion to do it because "we" don't mind if she makes an ass of herself. Because, you know, "we" could have done this little fact-finding mission over the phone. So, scurry off little office babe and clean up after ourselves! Which is exactly what I did.


Gah. I really hate looking like a moron. Or a muppet. Or worse, BOTH.

So, in honor of this little escapade, I am dedicating this little song to the work days, or parts of work days, that really stink. And I'm not even gonna tell you who/whose it is.


P.S. If you haven't checked out Chris at Notes From the Trenches, you really should...her Aug 10th/11th entries I can sooooo identify with!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Interrupt This Program To Tear A Wall Out Of Your Office

I am just sitting here in bewildered shock, so I thought I'd tell you about my lovely morning because I know how much some of you like the weird things that seem to only happen to me. Here's the gist of the conversation I had with Buddy...

Buddy: You're going to have to cancel the LOH board meeting on the 15th.

Me: **Silence because it's still too early to speak and because rerouting board meetings is like derailing a train.**

Buddy: We have a major mold problem in the garage.

Me: You mean the leaky air conditioner that I told you about in October (yes, I really did warn him about this in October--maybe earlier--when it was a simple project).

Buddy: Uh, yeah. That's the one.

Me: **brain makes a creaking and popping sound**

I admit to slight irritation at this point.

Buddy: Well, it's starting to stink out there.

I need to pause and explain that my dad has no sense of smell. He suffers from really, really bad sinus infections and has had lots of surgeries for sinus windows, etc. It destroyed his sense of smell. He can't even smell a fully crap-loaded diaper (which you can smell from California if said diaper is in Texas). So, when I originally told him about the problem, he said, "I don't smell anything." There you go. Must not stink, then. This is exactly what happens when you tell Clanpaw you're hearing a funny noise. He's stone cold deaf. He knows it. But if he doesn't hear it, there is no noise (remind me to tell you about the washing machine some day).

So, I went about my business because arguing with brick walls about the stench in the office was accomplishing nothing. If Buddy smells it now, though, you know it's bad. I admit to a bit of office avoidance lately due to the unpleasantness (mold makes it hard for me to breathe)...and have been doing things remotely...even when I'm there. I only go in when I have to physically touch something.

Me: No, it's not "starting to." It's been gradually stinking more and more for months. Attrition and I have been losing the battle trying to keep it clean, dry and aired out. We quit about two weeks ago.

Buddy: Well, it looks like we're going to have to take out (the outside) wall.

At this point, stark terror erupts in the pit of my stomach. The outside in open the office to the elements in the middle of the summer and allergy season in Texas??!? Over half the network is in there. And tons of maps. Usually, these pronouncements come about two or three hours after the first sledge hammer has hit. And then, I have to hop in my car (because my phone is screaming by then), drive like a banshee, and spend an hour explaining something like why computers and sheet rock dust do not make good bedfellows.

Me: Please, please, please swear on your grave that you will not lay a finger on the wall or the network until I can get there and relocate all the computers. Don't even move a keyboard. Swear it. Or I'll put you in it. Swear. Now. I mean NOW.

Buddy: I would never do that.

Me: (thinking) Uh oh. He has obviously forgotten some past history here. Crap.

So, how to tear down the network strategically and keep it mostly running at the same time...a sys admin nightmare only because people (even family people) expect the network to mostly run even when you tear it down. Bizarre. The good thing this demolition will accomplish is hopefully the rewiring of that awful outlet that keeps shorting out and ruining UPS's. And maybe a window in that wall? I could stand to stare at a tree now and then.

OH WAIT! I suddenly had a vision of myself wielding a sledgehammer or some other kind of destructive implement on the office wall. THERAPY! Should I be worried at how much I like that idea? Quite possibly, yes. But if I have to get involved in yet another colossal DIY project, I might as well enjoy myself, right? Especially if it's going to involve sweat and gypsum dust in the ninety degree heat. We really should have built that outdoor shower...this will involve more streaking.

Squib will love it, though. More DAAAMMMMMAAAAAAGGGGGGEEEEEEE! **growl**

And, perhaps, this time we can do this without electrocuting anybody?

Attrition's gonna puke.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Dedicated to My Class of 1990

This entry is dedicated the my (OMG I'm suddenly feeling oldish) twentieth year HS reunion coming right up on September 11th. Alas, it looks as though I shall not be there. Meh.

That in combination with a question I was asked via the laundrette commenting service, or laundromat (my email), which was, "what are you listening to right now?"

So tonight, an artist that will appeal to others of you like myself who grew up in the eighties when we ate, drank, slept, and breathed pop music. John Mayer's stuff is not all pop, but you'll recognize several covers of eighties tunes, like "Message In A Bottle," (which was actually out in October 1979 on Regatta de Blanc by The Police...but most of us graciously included it in our eighties repertoire) amongst his work. You'll also notice other covers of other (distinctly not pop) artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Lenny." But the song I picked out for you for its reference to our upcoming reunioun is "No Such Thing" from his live recording Any Given Thursday.

No Such Thing

"Welcome to the real world", she said to me
Take a seat
Take your life
Plot it out in black and white
Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
And the drama queens
I'd like to think the best of me
Is still hiding
Up my sleeve

They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
That something's better
On the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
just a lie you've got to rise above

So the good boys and girls take the so called right track
Faded white hats
Grabbing credits
Maybe transfers
They read all the books but they can't find the answers
And all of our parents

They're getting older
I wonder if they've wished for anything better
While in their memories
Tiny tragedies

They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something's better
On the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you got to rise above

I am invincible (x3)
As long as I'm alive

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above

I just can't wait til my 10 year reunion
I'm gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for

Admittedly, the lyrics apply to a time in life I am distinctly out of...but I totally identify with the gist of them. Fun little song. You can get to Mayer's site here where there is a player at the top of the page. It's got music from his Battle Studies album. If you want to hear "No Such Thing," preview it on iTunes or somewhere like that. You know how I feel about thieving music...and...frankly, too lazy at the moment to go looking to see if it's on his website somewhere.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Proof That I Shouldn't Ever Speak Again (and Laurie Berkner)

Truly. This happened just this morning.

Other Person: So, did you get everything all settled?

Me: Yes, I'm all screwed away.

**hand smacks forehead**
(Squared! I'm all SQUARED away!)

Where were we? Ah yes, Seal. But I don't want to finish that today. Instead, I was thinking about the boys today and what fun we have with our music. Beanstalk is a musical connoisseur at eight. He, too, listens to a wide variety of music but comes down hard on the side of classical music and opera. Yes, opera. I can fend for myself in the classical music arena, but unless the opera spilled over into the dance world and I experienced it there, well then, I'm at best a noob. So I shall not go there. I will hit classical at later dates. We do agree on any manner of instrumental music, Sting, Norah Jones, Sarah Brightman, Steve Miller, Steven Stills (love Stills Alone), Dave Matthews, and a handful of others, but he is a purist at heart. If you need to discipline the child, just put his Andre Rieu on Strauss video on top of the fridge. Disaster!

Squib listens to whatever I listen to, but he's starting to show preferences himself. His preference is distinctly slanted in a single direction...Laurie Berkner (who is sometimes The Laurie Berkner Band). Fortunately both little guys worship her equally and at the same time. I've mentioned her in a previous entry because it amazes me that at 38 I like her, too! She has a lot of work out there, but the three albums we listen to the most are (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) Victor Vito, Buzz Buzz, and Rocketship Run. I don't own Whaddya Think of That, but have heard several of the songs ad nauseum on noggin...and they are every bit as good as the rest. Wait, those are in order!!! By date of publication--go me! Her music is wordy and complex enough to entertain an adult, but catchy enough that any child listens, learns, and repeats. It's also impossible--seriously--to listen to her music and not get happy. Our favorites are as follows:

1. "Victor Vito" from the album of the same name. Beanstalk's first fave.
2. "Moon Moon Moon" from Victor Vito (the favored bedtime song of Squib...yes I have sung it every night for three years now.
3. "I Really Love to Dance" from Buzz Buzz
4. "Pig on Her Head" from Buzz Buzz (which inevitably got changed to "Mommy's got a pig on her head...and she keeps it there all day." instead of "Laurie's got a pig on her head...").
5. "Mouse in My Toolbox" from Rocketship Run.
6. "Candy Cane Jane" from Rocketship Run.
7. "Pigbasket" from Rocketship Run (it took me forEVER to learn all those words)!
8. "Five Days Old" from Rocketship Run
9. "Winter Lullaby" from Rocketship Run (this is what Squib is asking for when he says "Momma, sing me a baby song).
10. "Nona" from Rocketship Run (another "baby song" according to Squib).
11. And finally my all-time favorite: "Walk Along the River" from Rocketship Run.

There are other favorites, but these are the special requests from the kids plus my one "most favoritists" to borrow a phrase.

If you want to hear before you buy, you can hear samples of these songs at iTunes before you purchase and download and that's just all I'm gonna give you on this one (I know...stingy blogger woman). They just really are that good.

You can see videos for "Bumblebee" and "I'm Gonna Catch You" here...but seriously if you have kids, they need music like this! It's fun, intelligent, full of many musical styles, some old songs but mostly original compositions by Berkner, and guaranteed happiness in a very small package. Also, for a while now, The Laurie Berkner Band is a featured artist at (Amazon August Artist)--so things are on sale. Sales are good for people!!

Laurie Berkner's official site is here. She posts all her lyrics here (thank God for large favors!). Laurie's musical nightlight is here and it's cool. My kids eat it up. They. Get. 2. C. Laurie. (junkies).


Friday, August 6, 2010

Life Is Short

And so is this entry...

Sometimes I don't have the wherewithal to get my collective moon over the mountain and today is one of those days. Ok, this week is one of those weeks. So, here is an artist I love for his voice...furry chocolate with a hint of sandpaper? Hard to verbal skills are exiting my left ear at an alarming rate. I will do him better service at a later date. So, without further adieu...some Seal. Not all of these are original to him, obviously, but I like his versions. I think I would prefer to hear them with a live band/orchestra/choir/whatever he's singing with at the time. It's over the top.

The first is "I Can't Stand the Rain," which he recorded on his Soul album. It's been recorded for a long time by many artists (too many to really get into in a limited time) and I have several versions that I like. This is one.

"Waiting For You" is another favorite from his Seal IV album and this version of it is OK, though, I have to say GO HEAR IT LIVE. Whole other ballgame, my friends. Whole other ballgame (which is usually true of the best artists IMO).

"Crazy" and "Future Love Paradise" were my first two favorites of his from Seal [1991] and that is where I will have to stop for the night because....well...Meh. Is. Tired. Of. Writing. I haven't seen that vid of "Crazy" in, well twenty years. I wonder what I was thinking back then?

You can read more about Seal here and get to his official website here.

And, no there were not any scorpions in my bed...last night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Helicopters Are Circling My House: Time For Some Hip-Hop?

Uh, nope.

This is normal and very much in keeping with my whacky day. Our little “area” is home to a helicopter pilot and local rumor is that on occasion he thinks it’s fun to fly over at the lowest safe distance. At least I hope it’s the lowest safe distance. It feels like he’s gonna fly through my house. The pots and pans are rattling together where they hang on the rack from the ceiling. It’s hard to concentrate on this whole music extravaganza I’m trying to have here. And it has been a looooooong day…so…long day music?


I shall consult with my iTunes and return in five.


And this is what I came up with!

Well, for those of you who thought you really knew me, this ought to crack your noodle wide open. Normally, I don’t ever find albums that I recommend in their entirety. Now I’m doing it two nights in a row and…not only am I going to recommend The In Sound From Way Out…its by the Beastie Boys.


(I probably just lost over half of you. Which isn't saying much. I take that back, laundrettes! I value your readership highly!...Uh, how do I get out of this faux pas in a PC way without...oh heck..just keep reading).


This is where some musical confusion may ensue. This is not the original The In Sound From Way Out! by Perrey and Kingsley—pioneers of electronic music—published in 1966. It’s an instrumental album by the same name (I guess you could argue in the same vein especially if you compare it to the rest of the Boys’ music) composed of cuts from the Beastie Boys’ albums Check Your Head and Ill Communication and their singles “Sure Shot” and “Jimmie James.”

I was introduced to the Beastie Boys in the eighties and hated them. There. The truth (I just heard one of my good HS buddies hit the dirt and probably Attrition right beside him and probably the remaining half of you knowing my exceptional luck on this day--why do Thursdays reek). Then one day, some fifteen or maybe twenty years later, I was in the car with Attrition listening to this funky acoustic stuff and thinking “this is cool” when he said, “Guess who this is?” I couldn’t guess. When he told me, I thought, “wow, they can actually play” or something to that effect.

Sorry, no lyrics because, well, there aren’t any. This is a pure funky feast for the ears. Unfortunately, you are going to have to take my word on most of that ‘cause the best listening just isn’t out there unless I give you links that point you to free download spots and I simply won’t do that. Already walking a fine line here. If you want to try before you buy, iTunes will let you listen to samples of each song on this particular album to see if you like it. My personal favorites are “Groove Holmes,” “Pow” (my absolute fave…watch..the..tempo), “In 3’s,” and “Eugene’s Lament.” What’s out there to listen to are “Namaste,” “Sure Shot,” and “Shambala.” They are decidedly off the beaten path from my favorites, but oh well. They're still good, just not my

The official group website is seemingly down ( but you can reach the message board which has links to the homepage and everywhere else here. You’ll find that they produced another instrumental album in 2007 called The Mix-Up. I have no personal preference for most of their other music, though I like “Sabotage,” and I’ve not heard The Mix-Up, so I can’t weigh in there...yet. You can learn more about the band here.

Off to rid my bed of scorpions, yes scorpions. Who said I sleep alone??!?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tour Date Number Three: Age Two, Stevie Wonder—Not Just Another Sesame Street Character

Today we travel back to my roots. And we’re talking the very root of my roots here. In order to stave off stark terror, you should breathe a sigh of relief when I tell you that I am sparing you many of the musical influences of my youth. That includes Captain and Tennille and a certain gospel artist named Mary John who makes my mother vomit at the very sound (true story). I could sing every word of “Do That To Me One More Time,” but that doesn’t make it something to build my musical history on, now does it?

This is the very first album I ever laid ears on and the first album I will recommend in its entirety. Stevie Wonder’s (yes I know that’s not his real name) Fulfilingness’ First Finale. It came out in 1974 when I was but two years old. My parents, well, probably mostly my mother, listened to it incessantly and I soon had it committed to memory before I could even understand most of the words. But I did understand the music. Music like his rarely finds its equivalent for me. Every time I hear it I want to get up and moooove. That’s what makes it great. So…my faves. **drum roll** IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

Too Shy To Say

You make me smile
You make me sing
You make me feel good everything
You bring me up
When I've been down
This only happens when you're around

And I can't go on this way...
With it stronger every day...
But being too shy to say
That I really love you...

I wanna fly
Away with you
Until there's nothing more for us to do
I wanna be
More than a friend
Until the end of an endless end

And I can't go on this way...
With it stronger every day...
But being too shy to say
That I really love you...

And I can't go on this way...
Feelin' it stronger every day...
But being too shy to say
That I really love you
Ohh.. ooh...
I... do...

Too Shy To Say is the quintessential love song. Simple, passionate, sweet…and it really sums things up nicely if you’re one of those tongue-tied sorts when it comes to love (like me).

Listen to it here.

They Won’t Go When I Go

No more lying friends
Wanting tragic ends
Though they do pretend
They won't go when I go

All those bleeding hearts
With sorrows to impart
Were right here from the start
And they won't go when I go

And I'll go where I've longed
To go so long
Away from tears

Gone from painful cries
Away from saddened eyes
Along with him I'll bide
Because they won't go when I go

Big men feeling small
Weak ones standing tall
I will watch them fall
They won't go when I go

And I'll go where I've longed
To go so long
Away from tears

Unclean minds mislead the pure
The innocent will leave for sure
For them there is a resting place
People sinning just for fun
They will never see the sun
For they can never show their faces
There ain't no room for
the hopeless sinner
Who will take more
than he will give
He ain't hardly gonna give

The greed of man will be
Far away from me
And my soul will be free
They won't go when I go

Since my soul conceived
All that I believe
The kingdom I will see
'Cause they won't go when I go

When I go
Where I'll go
No one can keep me
From my destiny.

As my son used to say (much to my chagrin)… “Dang, boy!” Those are some lyrics. Seriously. If I were to attempt to go into all that was implied by the poetry here I would have to allot at least a week of blogging to it. So…I’ll let you ponder it yourself. I’ve loved this song from the start and then when I knew the words and their meaning I loved it even more. My mother had the sheet music for the album and we played it on the piano and sang…loved it even more. And then, being a child of the eighties, I even liked the George Michael cover of this particular song that was released in September 1990 on his Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 album (though, admittedly, Michael was no doubt invoking the meaning of the song for different reasons).

Listen to it here.

“Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away” is the third place winner, but I can only post so many lyrics before people start getting glassy-eyed and all that. I also really like “Creepin’” and “Boogie on Reggae Woman” for no particular reason. It is absolutely crucial to your musical appetite to have songs that you like for no particular reason.

On another note, I have chosen to start with larger artists whose albums I own (several times over now--cassette, CD, CD, CD, iTunes--what, you never destroyed that many CD's?) and support rather than some of the smaller ones that I also listen to because I have my own internal struggles about how exactly to pass on my likes and dislikes without stealing their music--or by proxy encouraging the theft of their music. I really don’t like using the YouTube links, but, meh. I want you to hear, like, and buy. Where the artist has links/mp3’s on their website I will use that, of course. Some of you, I know, have no problems, but simply put…if someone wanted to come draw off ten or so free barrels of oil from my well, I’d be a bit tweaked at ‘em. So buy the albums and support the artist. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Fulfillingness' First Finale and all of Stevie Wonder's music is available in it's entirety on iTunes (who is not paying me, asking me, or giving me permission to mention them here). To learn more about the artist and his other music go here. To get to his official website go here.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Slice of Cake

After introducing Cake yesterday, I decided to try and keep all my mentions from their albums together, so here come a few more from one of their other albums. This is not to say I won’t remember some in the future and add them. You know me, I always reserve the right to come back and change entries or add to them :).

The coolest thing about Cake is their lack of adherence to any one particular style. You’ll hear country, jazz, pop, alternative, and many other styles in their music. You can read more about their styles, band members, etc. here. Their lyrics are always quirky and it’s sometimes difficult to determine what they are really singing about. Often, I like a song for its feel, but there are a few—like “Love You Madly”—that I like for the lyrics as well.

Here’s their cover of “I Will Survive” originally by Gloria Gaynor. This is their video. I won’t reproduce the lyrics here because most of you probably know them. They did this cover on their album Fashion Nugget. The first copy of that album I owned had all the f-words rubbed out. They were done so well that I hardly noticed (well, I noticed on "Nugget") and since Gaynor’s version used “stupid” I always sang “stupid.” My CD was damaged one day and I had to replace it. It was a bit of a rude awakening when I popped it into the CD player in the car with my 2-yr-old in the back seat and the F-word was everywhere (yet another shining moment of motherhood), so…language warning. There's a rubbed out version and a bleeped out version if you prefer that.

My history with “I Will Survive” is this: I discovered this version of the song in 2002. That was when Beanstalk was going through the worst of his health problem which continued through, well, several years. After any particular stay in Texas Childrens’ Hospital, we would pack our car to the gills with all the gear we had accumulated during our stay (he had a lot of equipment) and high-tail it out of there. This was our victory song. We played it as we exited parking garage 16 under the Clinical Care Center and drove down W. Holcombe toward 288. Sometimes twice. He loved it!

If you don’t have a victory song, you should get one. It's OK to be cheesy.

From the same album comes “Stick Shifts and Safety Belts.” I wasn’t such a big fan of this song initially, but it grew on me fast. It was also one of Beanstalk's faves and he liked to have it sung to him as he went to sleep or was comforted. It’s a simple song with a sweet message.

Stickshifts and Safetybelts

Stickshifts and safety belts
Bucket-seats have all got to go
When we're driving in the car
It makes my baby seem so far

I need you here with me
Not way over in a bucket-seat
I need you to be here with me
Not way over in a bucket-seat

But when were driving in my Malibu
It's easy to get right next to you
I say "Baby, scoot over please"
And then she's right there next to me

I need you here with me
Not way over in a bucket-seat
I need you to be here with me
Not way over in a bucket-seat

Well a lot of good cars are Japanese
Yea but when we're driving far
I need my baby
I need my baby next to me


Stickshifts and safety belts
Bucket-seats have all got to go
When we're driving in the car
It makes my baby seem so far

I need you here with me
Not way over in a bucket-seat
I need you to be here with me
Not way over in a bucket-seat

You can listen to “Stickshifts and Safetybelts” here. Sorry, couldn’t find a video with good enough sound quality to really let you hear the song.

Tomorrow we’ll take a trip down memory lane and visit the very first recording artist I ever heard…Stevie Wonder and his Fulfillingness’ First Finale album.

Yeeeeesssss...the seventies.