Sunday, July 31, 2005

Blog Clog

Have you had that dream where you can't move your feet without a whole lot of effort? You're trying to walk normally but your feet are glued to the sidewalk, you're wading through cold molasses and you

just. can't. pick. up. your. feet!

When I have that kind of dream I'm REALLY happy to wake up. I'm like Zippity Do Dah the rest of the day.

Mornin' Br'er Cat! Howz y'all this fyyyne mornin'?

And, yes, I do talk like that the rest of the day. I might even skip or run across the parking lot (with scissors) just because I can. Feet don't fail me now!

Now, imagine having that dream, only your awake, but it's not your feet, it's your fingers. And all that nerve stuff that commands your fingers to do their little dance across the keyboard is all glued together. That's been me all week. I stare at the blank page and


I try to write and it doesn't happen. Just argle bargle. I typed a whole page of j's because my finger fell asleep and my mind went numb at the same time. I roused from my reverie to find a page of j's. I probably should have posted it. Best thing I wrote all week.

So, this evening I said to myself, "Self? Enough is enough. Get those fingers moving, Mister, and crank out something even if it's dreck. Dreck the halls!"

It could be that I'm unsettled. Here I am home-alone with the cats, an infinite supply of Tater Tots, nobody to gripe at me for watching the Who's Line Is It Anyway? marathon, every day, and I should be cranking out blogs like nobody's business but I'm stuck in the mud-glue-molasses-whatever.

Too much of nothing to do, actually. Being home-alone I had to do a whole lot of chores that I'd become used to sharing. I guess that running the entire ship of house by myself was more tiring than I cared to admit. By the time I got around to punching out a witty story I was done in, pooped, fatigued, and just plain tired.

Also, I think I was suffering from post-Potter depression. I read it was going around. After spending a few days immersed in the wizarding world here I was back in the real world and I wasn't adjusting well. I decided what I needed was a house elf, more like Dobby and less like Kreacher.

How cool would that be to have a house elf?

I think it would be way cool. But, tricky, yes, very tricky.

You would have to be careful with a house elf and spell things out exactly. Like you do with a teenager.

A house elf would look for every loophole. Like a teenager.

You might assign your house elf a simple task, but the elf would get distracted doing many other things, thus allowing the task to over ripen; much like a teenager would.

A house elf wouldn't talk back to you directly, but you would hear them mumbling and grumbling and stomping around. Like a teenager.

When things went missing, especially food, it would probably be the house elf. Hmm, much like a teenager.

House elf. Teenager. House elf. Teenager.

Could it be?

The teenager has been absent this week and not a Tater has totted off. The half-gallon of milk I bought three weeks ago is still in the fridge. Laundry hasn't piled up in the living room. This has to be more than a coincidence. I'll report back next week after the elf, er, teenager returns to let you know.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Home Alone

It's late Sunday afternoon and the Homer Simpson in me says we have to go to Kroger's to buy food. Mmmmmmmmm, fooooooood!

You don't have to tell me twice and in an instant Homer and I are in the truck heading down the highway, ZZ Top blaring out the windows. I checked out the pantry before we set off to see what we needed. In ordinary times I would have written a list, but we just needed to round out the edges so I had it all up here (tapping temple). No need for a list when you've got a mind like a steel sieve.

We parked way at the end of the aisle even though there were spots closer to the store. I like to do that. It drives the kids insane that I don't park closer, or pretend I'm pregnant (not a stretch) or incapacitated (hmmm, not a stretch, either) but it's become a habit and I've taken it so far as to include parking far away as part of my Fitness Program.

Homer and I grabbed a canteen of water and set off across the parking lot to Kroger's. Shortly, we arrived and found the place virtually empty. Bonus score! We'll be in and out in a jiff.

We wheeled the cart around the store like demons possessed and in short order we were ready to check out. In typical Kroger's Sunday afternoon fashion there was only one checkout line open, choked with several families shopping for treks across the Mongolian Desert. Just as I was thinking about the best laid plans of mice, Homers and men, a light caught my eye and checkout line Number Eight opened for business. Merciful sweet Butterfinger we were saved! Homer and I pivoted the cart and headed to the pole position.

The Old Hand greeted us warmly, asked for our Kroger's Plus Card (always at the ready!) and proceeded to check us out at flank speed.

Then he paused. "You appear to be 'Home Alone' with the cats this week."

"Oh, yeah," I replied, "What gives you that impression?"

"Well, for a start, you're shopping with an imaginary friend, and not a good influence either, if I may be so bold. Second, let's take an inventory of your weeks shopping: "

6-pack of Corona
Cat Chow
Tater Tots

"That's going to hold you for a week?" the Old Hand continued.

"Well, not exactly," I responded weakly, eying the Corona, knowing it would barely survive Monday, "I'll pick up something on Tuesday, maybe a Pho or curry or something." That sounded pretty pathetic, even to me; like a schoolboy caught without his homework

The Old Hand winced as if stung by a gnat, but recovered smoothly.

"You know," he mused, "we've got Gulf shrimp on special back there in Seafood. Came in just today and let me tell you those are the best shrimp I've ever pulled up. I threw out an extra net just for you, you know."

I looked down and the Old Hand's shoes were still wet. The salt was just starting to crust at the edge of his trousers.

The Old Hand continued, "Big shrimp, too, biggest I've seen in many a year. Big enough to stuff. We got crab, too. You owe it to yourself being home alone and such. Pick up some of those shrimp, stuff 'em with crab, wrap 'em in bacon and have a grand feast."

I looked at the Tater Tots defrosting in the cart and thought, yeah, that would be good but...

"Well, I'm sorta of watching my cholesterol, and, you know, shrimp are sorta of high, not to mention bacon..." My excuses sounded weak. Tater Tots, geeze Louise, they must be a zillion points; each!

In the end I couldn't escape the logic and I began to build a dinner around the shrimp entree. Well, I thought, we could do a rice pilaf with red bell pepper and black beans. A jalapeno corn bread would be nice, a green salad and a chardonnay, maybe a Chalk Creek.

With the seafood section in sight I pivoted the cart and started to get the items for my new dinner list when the Old Hand called me back.

"No need to be hasty," he said, "I happen to have some stuff here at the register." And with that he rang up shrimp, crab, rice, red bell peppers and the other ingredients I needed finishing with a Chalk Creek chardonnay, 2001.

As the sacker was loading the groceries I muttered "A box of Kix?"

"You're almost out," intoned the Old Hand.

I paid by credit card, Homer rejoined me and soon we were on the way, feast in hand, and I was planning the cooking as we headed home. Back at the ranch we unpacked the booty and it struck me that I forgot to buy a can of Pounce.

Sandy the cat lives for Pounce, or so he'd let you think. You can't say the word "pounce" without Sandy bounding across the room with his "me! me!" face on. Rats, I thought, I got the cat chow, but forgot the Pounce.

But, as I rummaged through the last bag I came across something new: Caribbean Flavor Pounce.

"What's this," I said aloud, "Caribbean Flavor Pounce?" It must have been my imagination but I thought I heard Sandy say "Meow, mon." I broke the seal and tossed him a few.

You know, there might be something like too much Home Alone.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mr. Plow

My favorite Simpson's episode. OK, truth be told I have a lot of favorites, but Mr. Plow is way up there.

I'm Mr. Plow, that's the name!
That name again is Mr. Plow!

Who couldn't fall in love with that jingle.

Speaking of plowing, I finally finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I know who dies (boo hoo) and who the Half-Blood Prince is and I'm not saying another word about it.

So, on to the next and final book Ms. Rowling, if you please. Start writing tonight!

Let me guess. Harry defeats Voldemort in a cliff-hanging duel of epic proportions. (And that's only the tip of the iceberg of my predictive abilities. Only the tip.) And, in a surprising twist, Hugh Hefner takes a shine to Hermione when he finds out she's one of identical quintuplets. The valium maximus spell takes on a whole new meaning.

I think I'll read Book One again this weekend. All my other projects aren't quite as ripe as this.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Owl Mail

A little while ago, at precisely 10:00 am three things happened simultaneously.

I slurpped down the remains of my third cup of coffee.

My watch made its beep-beep sound.

And there was a peck at the door.

Peck? That's strange. Usually there's a knock. Knuckles on wood. The doorbell's broken, you see, which is why I'm used to hearing knuckles rapping instead of a melodious ding-dong. Broken is too strong a word, though. "Out of Order" is more like it. Those of you who have read my Theory of Procrastination* suspect that the Doorbell Job simply hasn't ripened enough to necessitate work. Alas, that's not exactly true. The Doorbell Job is overripe and, in fact, I did attempt to fix it once.

"Attempt" being the operative word here explains why there is rap-rap and not ding-dong.

Back to the unexpected pecking. Engrossed as I was in a food blog describing a recipe for Cherry Clafoutis and not wanting to move lest I shift suddenly three cups of coffee to my lower regions, I called out:

"Who is it?"

"Who," came the reply.

"WHO is it?" I repeated.

"Who," came the reply.

Exasperated, I got up and headed to the front door, "WHO IS IIIIIITTTTT?"

I pulled open the front door and was surprised by a great WHOOOSH as something very big swooped up into the sky, around the big tree and over the roof. As I stood there wondering about the effects of three cups of coffee before 10 am, a single white feather drifted down lazily. Absently, I watched it drift down, down, down, down until it landed on the sidewalk next to a book-sized box.

The side of the box was emblazoned "" On the opposite site was written "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

I picked up the box, heavy little sucker. This is going to take some time to read. I then thought about my defunct doorbell and the other hundred or so items on my Saturday To Do List.

What to do, what to do? Book? List? Book? List?

I looked at my To Do list again.

Not ripe enough, I thought, definitely not ripe enough.

Chapter 1, page 1..."It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind."

Ah, been there, done that.

*Theory of Procrastination - What Happened later

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Chipmunk Menu

Let's say that you don't like a bunch of people. Furthermore, you want to get rid of them. Not in the Soprano's way, but you just want them to leave you alone. Forever. What do you do?

Well, you could send them a letter stating that "You suck. Never darken my doorway again."

Or, you could be more subtle and invite them to a Chipmunk Bar-B-Que. Now, I'm not suggesting that you serve mini-bears to your guests, rather that you serve mini-bear food to your guests. This will ensure that they, your guests, never darken your doorway again.

A typical mini-bear menu might be as follows:


Pork Heart Stick
Dried Apricot Pits




none Unless you consider luke warm water soup.


Rice Krispie Bar
Ritz Cracker Pak
Chicken-of-the-Sea Tuna Pouch
Squeeze Cheese (origin unknown, possibly Bulgarian)


Dried Apricot Pits (see above)

It turns out that this people-phobic menu is a Chipmunk-philic menu. As I recall, I witnessed a Chipmunk conga-ing into the forest wearing a Charlie Tuna pouch on his head.

Unfortunately, I left my toothbrush on a rock and never saw it again. Or did I?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mini Bears


Bah, I say.

Oh, yeah, you're thinking Chip and Dale. Cute little cartoon characters with high-pitched voices and endearing antics. You're thinking Alvin and "Christmas time is almost here..." falsetto. The following words come to mind: scampering, cute, frisky, beady-eyed, cute, cute and cute.

You're thinking Cute Chipmunks. Basically light brown with black racing stripes. Buck teeth. Perky ears. The Mary Tyler Moore of the Animal Kingdom. PETA mascot. Coochie coochie cuuute.

Well, beam me up, Scotty, we're not on that Class "M" planet (M for Munk). No, we're on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Chipmunk from Hell planet.

On this planet, located near Cimarron, New Mexico, chipmunks are known as Mini-Bears. They're just like a black bear or a cinnamon bear or a brown bear. Same appetite, same nose for food, same teeth and same attitude...only in miniature. Mini. Twelve inch wheels. Four cylinder. Manual transmission. Sports package. Don't forget the racing stripes.

The first mini-bear attack was launched about midnight on our first night at Philmont Scout Ranch. I heard some rustling in the tent but thought it was the wind. Yeah, it's always the wind. Mummy wind. Werewolf wind. Vampire wind. Frankenstein wind. Zombie wind.

Hey, what's that noise? It's just the wind. Go back to sleep. And you wake up dead.

Chipmunk wind.

Did I hear...

"Christmas time is almost here, time for fun, time to eat gear..."

Nah. Just my imagination. I rolled over and fell asleep to the rhythmic sounds of mini-bears gnawing their way through my food supply, visions of dried plums and granola dancing through my head.

Morning broke like a bad Cat Stevens song and I awoke chipper as a chipmunk. I swung my legs off my bunk and my feet landed squarely in a puddle of grape jelly.

Now, I don't know about you and how your start your day, but I usually start my day by standing on carpet, or, if I'm camping, on wood or stone or dirt, but rarely do I start my day standing in a puddle of grape jelly.

I wiggled my toes.

Yep, that's grape jelly alright. I looked down. Confirmed.

During the night the mini-bears had gnawed through the food packets, dragged the jelly packets into the middle of the tent floor, had a party and left the mess for me to step into.

Thanks, guys, it was real.

Being quite the Naturalist I was non plussesd by the sticky foot treatment. I peered at the floor and discovered tiny purple footprints leading out the back flap. Carefully, I opened the flap and beheld my worst nightmare. There in the dirt before me were the footprints of scores of mini-bears. All purple. It was a grape jelly rave to be sure. Without a doubt was the unmistakable outline of a grape jelly-induced chipmunk conga line. That explained the high-pitched refrain in my dream that night.

"One, two three...HUH. Four, five, six...HUH."

Their footprints trailed off into the distance. Hmmm, exactly in the direction of our next camp.

Ah, ha, my little Beasties! We shall meet again!

One, two, three...Huh!