Friday, January 30, 2009

Who ate the candy?

It's been a hectic week and I haven't had time to work, let alone think about blogging. Was dealing with some health issues with my husband, and things are finally settling down just a bit. Hopefully, it will stay that way for a while.

Without wanting to bore readers with details of hospital visits, etc, I thought I would dust off one of my old columns. When our children were young, I wrote a humorous column for a suburban newspaper for a number of years and the following is one of those columns.....

On any number of occasions, mothers are faced with asking their kids a certain type of unanswerable question such as; who ate the last cookie and put the empty package back in the cabinet? Or who took the quarter off the counter? Or who wrote the dirty words on the wallpaper in the kitchen?

Getting a straight answer can prove to be more complicated and frustrating than trying to sort out the Whitewater mess. In fact, when my kids were young, I would have tackled Whitewater any day over "Who took the gum out of my purse?"

When I had to ask the "who did" question, my kids would react in one of two ways. Either they'd be stricken with some kind of mental dysfunction that rendered them speechless, or they'd cast about for someone they might possibly get away with blaming.

I think this is a talent that kids are born with that may hearken back to some instinct for survival and some are much better at it than others.

While I had a certain maternal pride in the abilities of my kids to find a 'scapegoat,' they had a long way to go to match the aplomb of a friend's three year-old. One day he'd been out playing with his older brother, and when he came back in my friend noticed a particular odor as he passed by.

As delicately as possible she asked, "Did you have an accident in your pants?"

"No. John did it."

Now that's quick thinking at its best.

In fact, this kid had such a reputation no one believed him. Not even when he insisted for an entire day that he had not eaten his older sister's candy bar. "It was Mommy. I swear."

"Sure," the sister said. "Like Mom would really do that."

Can you imagine how embarrassing it is to admit to your six year-old that you needed a sudden chocolate fix and hers was the only candy in the house?

Luckily, my daughter never asked what happened to the last piece of candy from her first-grade Valentine's party.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Guest Blog

Another guest blog from my friend, Tracy Farr. This guy needs to do stand-up comedy.

Why all the fuss?

Would somebody please tell me why it is necessary to wash off the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher to be washed? You save all your life for that wonderful house full of modern appliances that are supposed to make your life easier, but you still have to scrub the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. At least, that’s how it is in my house. And frankly, I think it’s a bit insane.

When I ask my wife why we have to do something so redundant, she gives me that you're-just-a-guy look and points her finger in the “get out of my kitchen” direction. But I think it's a legitimate question.

Do people warm up their leftover casserole in the oven before they heat it up in the microwave? I think not! Do people put their ice trays in the refrigerator to cool the water off before they put it in the freezer to make ice? Hardly! Is there a person alive who holds a piece of bread over an open flame to pre-toast the bread before they put it in the toaster? You’ve got to be kidding! So why do we have to pre-wash the dishes before sticking them in a machine that’s supposed to wash them?

There is no reason why a dishwasher should not be able to do the job it was meant do, unless it's not a dishwasher problem, but instead – dare I say it – it’s a WOMAN problem.

WARNING: The following drivel is pure, 100 percent, male sexist propaganda that may cause my untimely death; but hey, you only live once!

Is it possible that we pre-wash dishes because women feel guilty about having a convenience that their mothers and grandmothers didn't have? Is it possible that women don't trust the dishwasher to get their dishes squeaky clean because it was invented by a man who probably never washed a dish in his life? Or is it possible that women just worry too much about little things like bits of dried food on a supposedly clean dish?

I think all you women folk out there should lighten up and wash the dishes the “I’m Just A Guy” way. Just throw those dishes in the machine, watch some NASCAR or change the oil in your car while you wait. Then when the dishes are done, toss those suckers into the cabinet. And if there is a bit of dried pork chops left on the plate, don't worry about it! Just cover it up with a big spoonful of casserole at your next meal. Nobody will know the difference.

The Daily Spittoon -- Done completely by hand!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dying Trees

I spent the morning today burning brush from several trees that were taken down because they were dead. A neighbor took the large pieces of trunk to be chipped for mulch, but I had to do something with all the brush left behind. Started to pile it up to haul to a big pile by my burn pit, then decided to just leave it where it was and have a bonfire.

The tree had come down in a large area of our driveway that is all rock and iron ore. A great place to burn without setting the whole place on fire. Of course, that did make it tricky to back out from the car port. Had to maneuver around a couple of trees and run across the one little patch of grass we call a lawn. But we managed. And now there is nothing left, but a pile of ash.

We have quite a few trees dying and it makes me sad to see them come down. Probably have lost about 30 since we've been here. They have bugs and are also suffering from the years of drought we had.

I do organic gardening and have tried to save some of the trees around the house with some treatment and special care, but there is no way I can deal with all the trees on our property. There has to be a couple of hundred at least.

If any organic gardeners have suggestions, I'd be glad to get them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Day After

Just like the changing of the year from one to the next, the changing of a presidential name takes some time to get used to. Several times today as I was updating with news, I had to stop and remind myself to write "President Obama" as opposed to "President Bush".

I suppose in time I will get used to it. It only took me two weeks to stop writing 2008 and get with the current year.

But Obama is not having trouble getting used to being president. He really hit the floor running today, and it will be interesting to see where he takes us in the near future, as well as for the long haul.

Last night, a group of about 30 people gathered here in East Texas at a coffee shop, Art & Espresso, that is owned by The Winnsboro Gallery We were there to celebrate the inauguration and it was interesting that not everyone had voted for Obama. But everyone came to show their support, which I thought was particualarly nice.

I also thought it was particularly nice that despite the fact that millions of people were crowded into the Mall area in Washington on that freezing January day to watch the swearing in, there was not one outbreak of anger or violence. No protests. No hate. Nothing ugly.

Gosh, could this mean that we are finally learning how to get along?

If Obama accomplishes nothing else in his presidency, the fact that he has set a high standard of personal integrity will be a fitting legacy. Let's just hope we continue to strive to live up to it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Making History

Tomorrow is an exciting day in history as we witness the swearing in of our new president, Barack Obama. It marks a great milestone for Americans, some of whom refused to let an African American into a school, let alone 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

That we have come this far is a great testament to the willingness of most people to expand their world view and let go of old prejudices and biases.

Not that everyone has done so. I still hear comments that make me stop and check the calendar to make sure we are not back in 1950. But, thankfully, the people who still hold so rigidly to the stereotypes and misconceptions about people different from them are becoming more and more of a minority themselves.

And because of that, America will have its first African American president. Not that everyone who voted for him did so because it was an opportunity to seat a black man. I know I certainly didn't. I voted for him because he was the best person for the job, in my opinion, and the fact that he was also on the threshold of making history was an added benefit.

I hope as we move forward that Obama receives the support he needs from Congress and the general public. And I hope that every American can mark the day, Tuesday, January 20, 2009, in some special way.

Here in my little corner of the Piney Woods of East Texas, we are going to have an Inaugural Bash, where we will gather to watch the festivities from Washington and celebrate.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Age is Just a Frame of Mind

Another guest blog from funny guy Tracy Farr. You gotta love a guy who can poke fun at himself like this......

Whoa, Baby! I just bought one of those iPod Touch things, and it's NICE! Fits in the pocket, it's easy to carry around, I can listen to a gazillion songs without ever having to flip over a tape or change CDs, and I should be over the moon, but I'm not, because I get the distinct impression that "some people around here" think I'm "too old" to have one just because I recently had a birthday.

And why would I say such a thing?

ROBERT (My youngest son): You got WHAT?
ME (guy with no hair and grey beard): An iPod Touch!
ROBERT: And you got it because...?
ME: I can, mister. Because I can!
ROBERT: And what kind of music do you plan to put on it?
ME: All my polka music. I'm going to call it "My iPolka."
I laughed, he didn't
ROBERT: I think an iPod Touch may be too advanced for you. Maybe I should look it over first, set it up for you, maybe even take it back with me to college to give it a thorough going-over! I wouldn't want you to get all discouraged because you paid a lot of money for something you might not be able to comprehend.

You see? I should be happy, but now I'm feeling just plain old. And he's not the only one giving me grief about my age. I recently received the following message from my cousin, Cynda, who lives in Colorado.

"Hey, old man. Isn't today the day you get another year older & (supposedly) another year wiser? How does it feel to be staring the big 5-0 in the eye? Don't worry, just remember I get there before you so I can guide you through. LOL. Happy Birthday TD. Make it a great one!"

Is that the kind of message that's supposed to make one happy about being a year older, but not a year richer? I think not, and neither do you! So, I sent her the following reply:

"Hey old man? What's with that? And did you say another year older...and wiser? Are you implying I was pert near dumber than a rock yesterday, but now that I'm a day older, I'm more intelligent? Doesn't that imply the only thing I have to look forward to in 2009 is that I'll be smarter in 2010? Is that what you're trying to say?

And for your information I am NOT staring the big 5-0 in the eye. I may be looking at its waist (and I must say something needs to be done about it before it crowds out everybody in the room), but I am NOT staring at it in the eye.

And what's with this LOL? Does that mean Lot's of Luck? Licking On Lollipops? Look Out Larry? (which is probably what Moe and Curly would scream). I just don't understand!"

Yessiree! That's what I wrote. But getting back to the iPod, I thought for a moment I was going to have to take it back because I was only hearing the music in mono. It was playing in one ear, but not the other. I was quite a bit upset because I paid all that money to buy a cheap thing that doesn't even work. Luckily, I found the solution to my problem - you've got to use BOTH earphones, and not just one.

Okay, maybe I AM too old to comprehend this thing.

The Daily Spittoon -- Stooping to any level to bring you the news

Friday, January 09, 2009

Good Friends

Poppy, the dog, and John, having fun on the front deck. Didn't realize until just now looking at the picture, but the cat looks almost as big as the dog. And the dog is a border collie - Aussie mix. She is not a small dog. But then, John is not a small cat.

He is definitely bigger than our other dog, Misha, who is a mix of Pekingese and Dachshund. When we got John, we called him Little John. A variation of Little One, because he was such a cute little kitten.


Now he is the king of the castle, intimidating all the other animals. Even Poppy stays clear of his claws, although John swears he is only playing.

Our son captioned this picture: "Aw, someone needs a hug."

Our son- in law captioned it: "Would you quit touching me."

Which caption do you like best?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

No Resolutions

We were out of town for a few days bringing in the New Year with our children and grandchildren. Had a wonderful time visiting, playing cards, and eating waayyyy toooooo much.

Time to get serious again about exercising and dieting. Somehow that thought tends to hit a lot of us early in January when we think about how much we ate since Thanksgiving and consider losing the ten pounds we gained.

Too bad I can't be like my oldest granddaughter who loves to snack, yet is rail thin. No diets for her, but I will have to check out the latest tips on dieting.

I'm not going to make that a definitive write-it-down-on-paper resolution. I've learned over the years that resolutions and I do not get along well. But I know that I will be better off if I lose ten pounds and stick with an exercise program on a more regular basis than I have of late.

I'm also not going to write down my intent to this year finish the book I have been working on for a number of years. Reading some authors' blogs, I have picked up some advice on how to stay focused on a project, and I am going to put some of them to work for me.

The best tip was to make writing the book a priority in a working day, and that is a good suggestion for whatever project a person is working on. Don't check messages on the phone or e-mail. Don't give in to the impulse to take care of some other business first. Spend an hour working on the project, then start taking care of business.

Which means I've got to go. Didn't get my hour in with my book this morning.