Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Memberable Time

When I Lost My Fingernail
by Sam, Age 9

When I was in kindergarten and about 5 years old, something memberable happened to me. In the Summer my sister, Joyce had softball practice at Westown. When Joyce was practicing my dad and I practiced hitting baseballs. My dad pitched a slow pitch and I swung, and I was out too far and the ball hit my right hand. The ball losened my middle finger finger-nail. It hurt alot and I wanted to burst out crying, but I didn't because I didn't want to be embarrised in front of Joyce's softball team. My dad took me in the car and then I started crying in the car where nobody could see me. After Joyces practice was over we went home and my mom fixed it up so if I banged it it wouldn't get hurt. After about a week it was so loose that lift it practiclly all the way up. I told my grandma and she said it had to be taken off. She tried pulling it off with her hand but she couldn't get it. Finally she got a pair of pliars and yanked it off. Boy did that hurt! I screamed and cried and wouldn't let her touch my finger at all the rest of that day. My finger nail groosed my family, and all of my friends out. The fingernail grew back and for a little while was really stiff. I still can't believe that a baseball made me lose a finger nail.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Clean Dog = Happy Dog

Our dog, Reilly, has been a little mopey lately. Today I realized that it had been a while since he's had a bath, like about 2 weeks. We've just been so busy lately, I don't think any of us thought to give him a bath. Also, since he spent some time outside today, he was a bit dirty. And he got into some burrs and pickers, just a little, not like tons of them. So I got all of those off from him and gave him a nice, long bath. He never fights us about a bath, but he doesn't usually seem to enjoy it, more like he tolerates it with good manners -- but today he leaped into the tub. I could tell by the look on his face that he was actually looking forward to the bath.

I know how he feels -- after working outside on a hot day and getting all dirty and sweaty and yukky, a nice hot shower just feels soooooo good, and it's wonderful to be all nice and clean and fresh afterwards, and to put on nice, comfy clean clothes and sit on your butt on the sofa. Feeling clean and good and justified to do nothing but relax.

And now Reilly smells so good and looks so good, and he's in a really good mood.

Overheard at the Football Game This Morning

One of the dads was talking about his 9-year-old son pitching a fit this past Summer and threatening to run away from home. His son didn't even make it to the end of the driveway. It probably had something to do with what his dad told him, "don't let the door knob hit ya where the good Lord split ya."

Friday, September 24, 2004

Rose Merry

This morning the Eastern sky was so stupendously beautiful that I was truly glad to be driving into work facing it. (Even if that meant driving into work.) I live in a rural area, and most of my 30-minute drive into work is spent on a straight-shot state "highway" which is 2 lanes heading East and 2 lanes heading West with a turn lane in the middle, and homes and businesses all along it. It is usually a very busy, hectic road. This morning it was serene. It was breathtakingly glorious. And then this huge orange ball of a sun seemed to slowly come up right at the end of the road -- though it seemed slow, the sun actually rose (and became smaller) within a matter of minutes. How in the *world* does that happen?

I just love this time of year. Especially the mornings. For a relatively short time, I drive to work into the sunrise and I drive home into the sunset. It's often quite a show. Soon I will be driving to & fro in the dark, so I try to enjoy this while I can.

I don't know if it's just me and my own personal reaction, but when the sky is so beautiful, it seems like the usually-rude-and-nasty drivers on that hellish road are a more kind and gentle breed of drivers. Yeah, it's probably just me. Either way, it's definitely a more pleasant drive.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

We Have a Horse-Dog

We actually have 3 dogs. Our Border Collie, Reilly, stays in the house with us, but loves going outside. Our other 2 dogs stay outside all the time together, the female, Betty (short for Apple Brown Betty), is a chocolate labrador retriever, and the younger dog, a male named Barney (short for Barnabas), is a yellow lab. (The "Betty & Barney" thing wasn't planned, I had one of those "remember..." conversations with my sister, and Dark Shadows came up... thus Barnabas.)

Barney is a big dog, even for his breed. He's around 100 pounds, for one thing, and he has a huge head and feet. Strong as an ox. And very, very playful. This can sometimes be a tricky combo, since he loves to play and can easily knock you over. He's a slobber-puss, too. Oh so lovable.

Barney's most recent favorite thing to do is to pick an apple off from our winesap apple tree, carry it around in his big ol' mouth for a while and then eat it. I swear, he looks just like a horse when he's munching on his apple. He's got most of the lower hanging apples gone now, but that's not a problem for Barney.

What's so funny is that he looks almost smug about it, too, like he's showing the other 2 dogs that he has some treat they don't. Meanwhile, they seem to look at him like, why in the heck do you want to eat one of those things?

Witch Hazel Surprise

We built our house a little over 10 years ago. When we did so, we needed some sand for fill, so the excavators we hired took some from "out back" of the building site. Thus, we got the bonus of a small pond. (Which was, I think, the seed of the idea for my husband, years later, to have built a big pond near our house.) Our property is all wooded, and so we had a few spots cleared and put in some clover fields to feed the white tail. (I say "we" but, yeah, it was pretty much all Kev.) One of these fields is right near the small pond. Earlier this summer, we noticed this tree/shrub just growing to beat the band. I didn't recognize it. It developed green nuts/seeds; so many that the branches were leaning down with the weight. It's very pretty. And it smells good, too -- it smells "green," the only way I know to describe it.

Yesterday, my husband set up a hunting blind on the edge of that field, right next (and within) this as-yet-unidentified shrub/tree. And yesterday evening, we sat inside the blind (it's really like a small wood hut, just room enough for 2) and watched the deer come out and feed. It was a beautiful evening. It was awesome. In the sense that I really felt filled with awe at the beauty that's just a short walk from our house.

So, sitting there, with the branches all around us, it just started to bug me, amidst the awe, that I hadn't identified that plant yet. Seems like each time I went by it, I told myself to remember to look it up, but I'd forget. So last night, I plucked myself a branch. Took about 3 minutes on the 'net to find it. It's a witch hazel! So just to be sure, I checked with my dad. Dad confirmed it's a witch hazel, which he would classify as a shrub because it never gets very tall. The witch hazel will bloom yellow in, get this, the wintertime. I can't wait. Yet one more reason to love winter!!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Don't Like The Weather?

As any true Michigander would reply... Wait a Few Minutes!

I love this time of year. Summer's waning and here comes frost-on-the-pumpkin weather. Yes! This morning at 7 am it was so cold outside you could see your own breath in the air, but by the time 10 am rolled around, sitting in the sunshine in a lawnchair at my son's football game, it really warmed up. Folks were peeling off jackets and sweatshirts like crazy. It got so hot sitting there in the sun. At least I didn't have to worry about my vanilla hazelnut capuccino getting cold. And now here it is, nearly 6 pm and the sun is getting lower and lower in the sky, and all the windows are open in the house, and my feet are freezing!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Rathadamist No More...

Next up... Ginger!

That little mini hamster turned out to be one of the bitingest lil' critters we've ever had. So we returned him to the store from whence he came, and bought an adorable little gerbil.

Our daughter got her first gerbil about five years ago for a 6th grade science fair project. That gerbil was a pearl gray color and sweet as could be. "He" was called Earl, and he-later-identified-as-she lived a long, full life, with only a couple of unscheduled forays into the wilderness of carpeted areas. Actually, during the first such foray, our daughter acquired her 2nd gerbil, a cutie-pie with a white star on her forehead, appropriately named Star. As Earl was AWOL and the science fair project deadline was approaching, Star was the pinch hitter, so to speak. But Earl reappeared in time and ended up being the true star of the project. Earl and Star were happy together, and still very tame and sweet with our daughter.

Star didn't live all that long, though. And the little red one next, named Cinnamon, well... let's just say Earl didn't warm up to Cinnamon. It was a very traumatic 30 seconds. And Earl lived the rest of her life with no other gerbil companionship.

Then came Nutmeg. Turns out, Nutmeg was quite old when we bought her. Long in the tooth. So the elderly Nutmeg didn't reside with us very long.

And now we have the sweetheart of the bunch, Ginger. (We made sure this gerbil was a very small gerbil, so very young. She's almost a baby.)

Gerbils are wonderful little creatures, and they're easy to care for. Wonderful if you like rodents. And if you like little noises throughout the night, which our daughter now prefers, having gotten so used to it. She's declared that she will likely have gerbils throughout her life.

Monday, September 06, 2004


rathadamist (rŭ thăd' ă mĭst) n.
Any small, dark gray rodent; or the name of said rodent.

The Curse of the Toilet Paper Roll

Yesterday my entire family gathered at my folks' for a BBQ. My eldest brother-in-law Bob bought porterhouse and t-bone steaks for everyone. We grilled down by the river and had a wonderful time. Everyone had their 4-wheelers, and the kids tooled around all evening -- there are tons of trails. My folks have a golf cart, and my husband and I went for a drive along the river looking at all the many and various fungi. It's been so warm and humid, the fungi are lovin' it. There was one fungus in particular that was pretty spectacular. It's growing against an old stump right off the trail, and it's bright orange and almost 2 feet in diameter. We've dubbed it the Big Orange.

Anyway, back to the Curse. I'm at my Mom and Dad's on an almost daily basis for something or another. We live less than 3 miles from them, and they've cared for our kids, while my husand and I work, since both kids were infants. Most of the time, though, I'm only there for a short time, 10 or 20 minutes. Just dropping off or picking up kids, forgotten books, or borrowing ingredients, like mozzarella cheese or eggs. That kind of thing. So it turns out that I rarely use my parents' bathroom. On those few times that I do have to take a pee when I'm there, almost always there is enough toilet paper on the roll, just enough, for me to finish my business. Then I have to change the roll. This is no big deal. But it happens almost every single time I use my parents' bathroom. I mean, 99.9% of the time -- in fact, I cannot remember a time when I haven't had to change their toilet paper roll over to a new one. Isn't that just plain weird?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Internet Game Rooms

My 9-year-old son introduced me to an Internet game room -- it's one that's like Pictionary. I won't plug it here, because I think it's awful. Not the game. The game is great. It's the people that play it. And the language they use. And the name-calling. And the sheer, blatant stupidity. Anonymity can sometimes surely breed the baseness of character. There's so many mean-spirited, gutter-mouthed jerks in there, that, Of Course, my son is forevermore banned from the game.

While you're playing the game, other users can "whisper" to you, so you can have this personal chat while you're playing. It took me a while to figure out that "asl" means age/sex/location. I had to finally ask a whisperer. It was a 15-year-old girl from Louisiana. Who knows? Maybe that's true. Maybe it is also true that she's as sexy as she says she is. I whispered back that she should find a better way to meet people. (My daughter is 15....) She told me to go f*** myself and called me a mf.... and that I was a f***ing a**hole and that I should f***ing die. .... Nice.

Hey, lesson learned. My family's gonna stick to the regular, actual, tangible board games. Name calling limit of "turd" or "ratfink".

Home Sick

Remember when staying home sick was pretty cool? Sure, you didn't feel great, but you didn't have to go to school, and that was great. (And I was one of those kids that loved school. But I loved a day off, too.) Now here I am, sick as a dog, so staying home from work. Well, technically, I could work from home, but since I feel awful, I'd probably just end up having to fix whatever I did. But it is definitely No Fun. All I can think about, between and around the waves of pain in my head from coughing, etc. (bet you can figure out what "etc." means), is the work that is piling up on my desk. Ugh. Yuk. Damn.