Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mount Vernon Estate

Bitsy's Bait & BBQ by Pamela Morsi

When they turn this little super market checkout paperback into a made-for-tv movie, go ahead and watch it on a rainy summer afternoon ... it's kind of cute.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Wednesday!

Nine years ago, my little Schnauzer, Zeile, passed away. My adorable mixed breed, Borderline, and I were both so depressed, it was ridiculous! Bordie was just so lonesome without her friend and my sadness wasn't helping her at all! So, we decided she needed a puppy. Wednesday was Borderline's dog! And Bordie loved her! Wednesday was her little shadow and adored her big sister with all her heart. It has been a sad couple of weeks since we lost Borderline, but Wednesday is a funny, charming, mischievous little thing and she's bouncing back a little every day.....
Happy Birthday, Miss Wednesday! Here's to many, many more happy years together! We love you!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Weisenheimers

They say that alcohol is a depressant. Then why do people act crazy and vibrant when they drink? I’ll tell you why. Because each of us has a little guy in the front of our head who is supposed to tell us that a lot of the ideas we come up with are stupid. His job is to make us think before we speak, think before we act, think before we become crazy people! And alcohol hits that guy harder and faster than anyone else in your head!
The problem for me is that the little guy in the front of MY head has narcolepsy! He doesn’t even need alcohol to pass out and leave me in the wicked hands of the other wise asses in the back of my head. The guys responsible for a multitude of fashion disasters, bad decisions and dumb relationships over the years.
And that’s what happened yesterday.
Front Guy goes down like one of those wiener dogs in the old psychology films and The Weisenheimers instantly start weaving their little web of destruction.....
“Girrrrrrrrllllllllllll ... you look good! You should throw on some Daisy Dukes and a tube top and go outside to get some sun!”
“But I don’t have any Daisy Dukes nor a tube top”, words I instantly regretted! Fearing a trip to the nearest Forever 21, I conceded to tucking some old gym shorts up into my big girls and pulling down the straps of my tank top.
“Girrrrrrllllllllll (that’s how The Weisenheimers talk to me!) ... you need to get tan faster!” So they forced me to mix up a little cocktail of baby oil and bug spray and plopped me down on the deck.
The sun did feel good! I have been sick and depressed for the last couple of weeks and the sun wrapped around me like a soft sheet fresh out of the drier.... mmmmmmmmm ......
Just as my eyes grew very heavy and the Front Guy was still sawing logs, The Weisenheimers whisper in my ear, “you know who else would be good at this little soiree?”
"Captain Morgan, that’s who!"
Well, I did have to agree, nothing goes better with the smell of baby oil and burning flesh than a little spiced rum!
And so my day went on .... it didn’t get better from there, either! Even though my Front Guy doesn’t need alcohol to pass out, The Weisenheimers are opportunists and they give him alcohol to ensure he doesn’t wake up in the middle of their malicious attacks on my good senses!
They are the ones who convince me to dress up like a fool, slather baby oil all over my body, make me drink hard alcohol, suggest I rearrange the rocks on the water fall between the koi ponds, ohhhhhhh - and perhaps a concert would be fun .... !!!

So, this morning Front Guy woke up and he was pissed!!! He has been kicking the wall (aka, my skull) for a couple of hours now and that feels just great as a complement to my glowing sunburn!
I just hope he stays awake today!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

firefly lane by Kristin Hannah

Sadly, just a few chapters into this rather fat book, my beloved companion of fourteen years, Borderline, passed away. So virtually, the bulk of this 479 page book served as little more than a distraction for me. Something to keep me from crying on the train or during my lunch hour.
If I had read this book under different circumstances, would I have liked it more? Would I have been able to connect with at least one of the characters? Would I still have been so irritated by the fact that the words "best friend" appeared on nearly every page? Would I have found it so trite?
Believe me, no one would like to know the answers to those questions more than I would.

And, believe me again, I do know how bitter I sound .... I simply cannot help it...........

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rest in Peace, My Sweet Angel

Our dearest friend ~ Easter 1995 - May 8th, 2009
She will be deeply missed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dog Bait

My middle dog, Wednesday, has been such a sweet helper with her aging older sister, Borderline, that I decided to treat her with a walk this afternoon. Wednesday is a charming little creature with Flying Nun ears and legs as long as you please that measure only about an inch in circumference. She’s rather funny-looking with a personality to match! She’s very curious and loves people and other animals.
The only problem is that Miss Wednesday has lived a rather privileged life, always having a fenced yard and/or acres of woods in which to run. She’s never had to spend much time on a chain or leash. Therefore, she was a bit awkward on our walk.
Because of this, I decided to veer off the main road onto a less-traveled path unfamiliar to both of us. Once on the new path, I let the retractable leash loose so she could spread her wings a little bit.
We were more than halfway past one house when a beautiful, angry, aggressive Doberman Pinscher lunged out of the yard toward us! I yelped and reeled in Wednesday (who wet her pants, by the way) while Doberman’s counterpart, Huge Rottweiler, barreled out behind him! The fact that the Rottweiler was wearing a large green cone around it’s tree trunk of a neck was little consolation when I saw the broadness of his chest!!
Wednesday and I were terrified, to say the least!
In retrospect, I should have taken Wednesday back the way we came. But we were already more than halfway past their house and all I wanted to do was get away .... walking back by them didn’t seem a viable option at that point.
Until I came to a dead end!
With Doberman and Rottweiler yelling at us in the background and their mammoth bodies lunging toward the path, Wednesday and I sat down on a log to collect ourselves.
I’m sure we could have wandered deeper into the woods and eventually found our way home, but I wasn’t exactly sure where we were and in which direction we would need to travel. Our only real option was to walk back past the Hell Dogs.
I was almost certain they had an invisible fence, since they didn’t actually follow us or leave their own yard ... but I’ve seen a dog go through an electronic invisible fence before and I wasn’t sure the temptation of cute little Wednesday wouldn’t be just enough to make them bound right through, in spite of the shock they would have received.
So, I took my little goofy dog and skulked through the backyards of the houses on the other side of the path, ducking under their trees and walking under their windows. I don’t know these people and was quickly concocting the story I would tell them when they came after us with a shotgun!!
Luckily that didn’t happen and we both made it safely home to tell the tale ....
We’re probably just going to play in our own yard from now on!

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler

Have you ever noticed that it takes twice as long to read a bad book as it does to read a good one? The books you want to last and last, don’t. And the books you can’t wait to finish and forget, take weeks to get through. I feel like I just spent an entire month plodding through Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. On the back cover it says this (which intrigued me):

BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead was last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. For Delia, who has long felt like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family’s edges, “walking away from it all” was not a premeditated act but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and previously unimagined life.

That sounds like a wonderful story, full of possibilities, but the fact of the matter is, Delia Grinstead made an anticlimactic exit from one old-fashioned, dull life and created an even more boring one for herself! It made no sense. And, did I mention boring?
In fairness, the author took great care in creating believable characters, some of whom I became quite fond. The dialog was well-written and the plots were even mildly humorous at times (although more than a little cheesey). But the sum of the parts?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg

When you are raised by (for argument’s sake) a story teller you do, as you age, begin to question things you once believed. You become embarrassed about the stories you have told others over the years because you believed the person who told them to you.
You begin to realize that your aunt (the one you never met) probably wasn’t an Olympic ice skater and your relatives (all the relatives you never met) were probably not the inventors of Dr. Pepper and the Wonder Bread packaging. They probably were not George Harrison nor dear friends of Lawrence Welk, Glenn Miller and Liberace. Your unmet uncles probably didn’t ride with Jesse James and their sisters probably didn’t sleep in cigar boxes. You begin to realize that much of what you once clung to as your “history” was probably just bits and pieces your mother once read in the Guinness Book of World Records and some romance novels. You feel like Forrest Gump.
And you then begin to question everything! Did you actually break your collar bone by carrying your own trike down the stairs? Did you really not speak a single word until you were 4? You question your living arrangements, your education, your past. You have no history of your own that you can carry around with any kind of conviction! You feel lost....
I completely understand the author’s feelings toward her mother and why she made the final decision she had to make....
but while Susanna Sonnenberg is a beautiful woman and brilliant writer, make no mistake, I can’t honestly say I enjoyed reading her memoir. Perhaps I was expecting something more amusing like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls ... I really don’t know.
At one point I thought the book should have been renamed “Her Last F*ck”, but that too, just made me feel rather hollow.
I certainly admire that she wrote the book and I am sure doing so was an amazing and difficult experience for her. I could relate to a great deal of it, in fact, which may be where my feelings about it are stemming.
Sometimes I simply think I would be willing to take a difficult and tragic journey if I felt it was all worth it in the end, but I don’t know that I felt content with this author’s resolve. It is hers, though, after all, so who am I to say I am displeased?
I am not even pleased with my own review of it, truth be told, so...
let me just say that this book was well-written and deep. It was heartfelt and honest. It was sad.