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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two Short Person Stories

My words came back to haunt me yesterday.

Whenever Short Person says that she wants to do something that I'm undecided about, I will usually look at her and say, "So... you think that's a good idea, huh? Hmm..." She, in response, will either explain her reasoning behind the request, or say yes, or make a flippant remark that is totally off the cuff and usually unerringly given with perfect timing.

Yesterday, LJS and I were taking a brief respite and lounging in bed talking when Short Person came into the room. I had a ton of house cleaning to do, since a few days before the bathroom floor finally went in, and the day before LJS had put the new vanity, toilet, and sink in. Bathroom supplies, tools, and debris were littering our house creating danger in every corner. "Danger! Will Robinson, Danger!"

We'd been trying to convince her to acquiesce to going to her grandma's, something she'd been resisting for most of the day, and when she appeared, I attempted the plug once more.

"So, I think you should go to Grandma's and make some cookies. Remember she still had the sugar cookie ones to make? Well, you should go and make some and turn them into pumpkins with frosting! Wouldn't that be fun?!"

I waited for an answer, wondering if the cookie thing had gotten her interest up. The little imp turned to me and put one hand on her hip and said, "So, you think that's a good idea, hummm?"

My husband laughed for a full 5 minutes!

That was yesterday. Today, she's been trying to convince me that we need to go and buy her a bunny rabbit. She's been hooked on them lately, but our argument has consistently been that the dogs would eat the poor bunny so we'd need to wait awhile. (And without my husband's knowledge, I've been trying to steer her toward a teddy bear hamster.)

Today, she started the questioning again, and again I told her that the dogs would eat the bunny and we'd have to wait until we didn't have dogs anymore to get a bunny.

"Oh, so when we find some people to take our dogs away, THEN we could get a bunny?"

"Umm... something like that."

"Okay. I'll start asking my friends if they have a nice barn for them."


I wonder what Daddy's going to think about that one.

*As a side note: Daddy's off hunting. He's never been hunting before, but every morning he takes out a large scary looking rifle and goes out to look for a buck. Short Person is convinced that he's really looking for a bunny rabbit for her.

Me, I've just told him that if he kills something, I don't want to know about it. I feel bad for those deer... and then I feel bad for not being supportive. Life is strange.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is It Really Better to Have Loved and Lost?

A few days ago, I went online in search of an answer to the question "Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?" I was hoping for some sort of Harvard study that would itemize the benefits that the euphoric feeling of "in love" brought to the physical human, instead what I found were literally thousands of other people asking the same question.

While I wasn't able to find any concrete evidence that loving and losing is physically better than never loving, what I did find out made me go "Hmm..." I found out that the statement, "Loving/Never Loving" is actually part of a poem written by Tennyson and not a derivative of a long ago scientific study. (Which also goes to show that I need to research more of those "sayings" that have been ingrained in us from birth.)

It has always interested me how writers have become the literary "geniuses" that we all study and applaud. I've never been able to figure out exactly how their voice became the applauded works that should be studied and forced down the college students throat for hundreds of years. Believe me, the first generation learned the lesson and some improved upon it, the second generation improved upon theirs, the third took it a step further, and so on and so on and so on until you have present day. There are people out there that have done it better!

I understand learning the principle, I don't understand stopping at the one lesson and keeping it there.

But I have largely digressed from where I was going into a personal rant, so I'll veer back.

No, I lied, I'm going back. Do you know how many millions upon millions upon millions of people applaud Danielle Steele's books? Read them faithfully? Every three a year she cranks out? Man oh man, I've read three and feel like I've read them all. Same pattern, same plot, just different characters. Yet, other authors that do it better are barely mentioned. Seriously, Judith McNaught is a great example. She doesn't have 300 books, but the 20 she's written are works of art. Dean Koontz is, in my opinion, a better writer than Stephen King, but you wouldn't know it to listen to the "critics". (Haha, speaking of critics, I just got an email from Dean Koontz- his newsletter. In it he talks about a critic that gave him a great review of his book Midnight. The whole thing was fantastic, right up to the last line where the critic had written that DK was a master at the Vampire plot line. Dean Koontz wrote that he had never, to his knowledge, written a vampire book and it had been very obvious that the critic had not even opened the book to get the faintest idea of what it was about.

So he had him killed.

LOL... I cracked up. Too funny.)

Alright, it's obvious from my digression that I have a bad feeling for critics. What's not obvious is that I am perfectly capable of getting BACK ON TOPIC!

Loved and Lost

So, since I have no scientific data to back up the question, I'll try to answer it myself. Is it really better?

I do not love easily. I don't know why, but think that it has a lot to do with my ability to compartmentalize people and situations. For instance, it does not matter how well I know you in one aspect, if you put yourself in another I cannot relate with you. My brain has to search for a way to make you fit. If I know you at work, I have a hard time transitioning to fitting you into my personal life... and vice versa. (When I die, I'm going to donate my brain to science so that they can dissect it and figure out how all my wires got crossed and screwed up my programming. I'm like a computer with a virus-- I work fine, but if you go into a certain file it's catastrophe.)

That being said, when I love, I love hard. If a person has managed to storm past all of those barriers so that I can't keep them in a compartment, I love deep and I love for a long time.

I don't know about other people, but for me it's hard to get over loving someone. The things that I loved about them, I always love about them because I'm able to overlook the qualities that maybe I didn't like so much. Maybe they're assholes, but if they have fantastic redeeming virtues I'm hooked. Which makes losing them like a nuclear bomb to my soul.

Personally, I would rather not have loved at all. Maybe.

I once had a teacher who asked us what we thought the one thing was that no human could live without. As you may have guessed, most of the people in the room responded "Love". Some said water, which was a good answer, but I think the teacher meant for the long term. LOL

Anyway, his answer was "Hope". Hope to love, hope to live, hope to find water. Hope is the one thing that our souls depend upon.

So, when we look at losing love, is it the death of that affection that slowly kills us, or is it the slow death of hope? The hope of its return. The hope of finding it again.

The three times that I've loved and lost, to the extent where a person would conceivably ask the question, have all been different circumstances. One was a child and two were, what I believed to be, good friends. Each loss has left me a lot scarred and very afraid of the flame. It has left behind a fear unlike any other and caution to go forth once again.

And while I remember with too much clarity what it was like to be with them, and the good feelings of being with them, these only serve as pokers when I remember them- making me believe that it would be better to not have the memories. But then again... if asked, now that I have them, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Confusing, huh?

Maybe it's hope rearing it's ugly head once again. Maybe, it's the certainty of knowing that feelings of loss will fade and the hope that those memories will finally bring a smile to your face, instead of pain to your heart. Which brings another long held saying to mind... Hope springs eternal...

So, to you reading this, what do you think? Can you answer the question or give an example? Is it really better?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Snake and The House that Tape and Twine Built

It seems to me that Murphy's law has no boundaries, but in this event I believe he is working in our favor-- although it may not seem like it at this precise moment.

The bathroom remodel is still a go. The flooring is actually being installed tomorrow, and as soon as it is in LJS will get to work on putting in the new toilet and vanity (new sink and faucet included).

Last night he came up to me. "It's all falling down."

"Huh? What's all falling down?"

"I mean... it's all falling apart."

I could feel my chest tighten in preparation for some sort of heart failure, especially since coming home I realized he'd already taken the vanity and sink out. "What do you mean? The new stuff doesn't work? We have to get different stuff?" I'm calculating the months it took us to gather the few items we needed and thinking about places I could move to in order to ride out the next wave.

"No. Haven't you noticed how everything is falling apart right before I put in the new stuff."

I laughed. Personally, I would rather have it fall apart a day before the new stuff goes in than after. After would be so not good. "What do you mean? Did something else break?"

"Sort of. The toilet won't flush."

I sighed and then laughed. Murphy's law... in sort of a good way. Everything new that we have done to that bathroom recently has made something else go bad. I had someone put up the door... the sink stopped draining. LJS fixed the sink... the toilet stopped working. It's all going downhill. I suspect that they will put in the new floor tomorrow and the shower will fall through it!

Now, that statement might seem implausible. After all, we've already fixed the shower. Had it refinished and put in new hardware. Might seem implausible that is until I tell you that last night, after LJS took out the vanity, we discovered that the floor is made out of... not wood, or brick, or linoleum... but PARTICLE BOARD!! IN A BATHROOM!!!

LOL... you should see our house. When the doorjamb went into the wall, we discovered that the walls are incredibly warped. The jamb is flush on top, flush on the bottom, but in the middle there is about an inch gap. When we took out the vanity, the wall behind it is the same. There is a gap between the floor and the wall. I swear this house was made from tape and twine and by some miracle is still standing.

I will be so glad when this is over... which I pray whole-heartily will be before I get home tomorrow. I had to brush my teeth in the shower today and that's just not right. Toothpaste falling on your tootsies is not a good feeling. It's kinda slimy. Plus, I probably smell like mint from my mouthwash not quite getting spit out far enough. If I have to go home to a bathroom that is not done... it will at worst mean that I have no toilet... That's just not acceptable. I'll have to sleep at work!

Enough grumbling from me.

LJS went to rent a snake to fix the bathroom sink that would not drain. He took Short Person in with him, rented the snake, and then put it in the car.

Short Person asked what the peculiar looking device was and LJS answered "A Snake".

Short Person refused to get into the car.


He had to move it to the front seat after a lengthy discussion about how it was not a snake of the warm-blooded kind, but a tool. I'm told it still took some coaxing after that, but finally they made it home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Around the World in 36 Minutes

When I first picked up the book Warrior Soul by Chuck Pfarrer, I had a hell of a time getting into the plot. It wasn't for lack of a big bang at the beginning (let me just say "parachute jump - no parachute), or failure to write about something that interested me about his memoir of being a Navy SEAL. In fact, I really don't know what the hold up was. But all that changed about a week ago when I picked the book up once more.

I'm so glued to it I dream about it. I'm nearly done now, but the fascination has not ended.

The greatest concentration of the book is about his deployment in Lebanon in the early 80's. He and his SEAL platoon were stationed there as Peacekeepers in an increasingly hostile environment that only got worse, until it finally climaxed with the car bombing deaths of 240 marines. I was too young to remember it, but the way he has written the chapters are so clear that in my mind I can see the bombed out buildings.

But there's seeing... and there's seeing.

Some people are brave enough to travel around the world to country's that are hostile to any American. I am not one of them. Although I would love to see things with my own two little eyes, it is simply not worth losing my life.

It was the morning of the second dream about dusty dirt roads and bombed out buildings that I remembered that there are ways to see the world without being able to smell the heat in the air or hear the buzz of mosquitoes going up the coast. There was a way to see Lebanon and I was going to do it.

I logged on to GoogleEarth and let the planet spin until it came to a stand-still miles upward of the land designated as Beirut. Landmarks and photographs positioned approximately where they were taken on the globe. Not a dusty, dirty country as I had imagined, but green and lush and busy. Cars showed in the pictures traversing from here to there.

Sadly, however, there were also pictures of bombed out buildings, and if you zoom in you can see the building tops, some missing.

It has been 20 years since Mr. Pfarrer was deployed into the middle of a war and not much from what he describes looks as though it is the same, but it was still a way for me to look into his mind and maybe, if only virtually, see where he was and what the country looked like then. In some ways, it brings reading to a whole new level.

Now if only they had satellite images from... oh 1880... I could go and see the land of Judith McNaught's books. Travel through Hyde Park. Go from the city townhouses to the castles of the countryside!

Or maybe, I could give Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books a whirl and find Iverness and Edinburgh. Look for the stones an Culloden. Travel the dirt roads Claire and Jamie once walked.

But then I remember that though it is not the same now as then, I can. I can go to Iverness and to Hyde Park. I can visit Culloden and see the war memorial. I can see the castles of the countryside.

And I can do it all, go around the world, in 36 minutes. As many times as I want. No airfare required.

I don't recommend a lot of books. Usually, I recommend authors. But if you ever have a chance to pick up Warrior Soul, it's a wonderfully told story of a man's journey dodging bullets, overriding cynicism, and finding himself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sittin’ On The Pot

As embarrassing as the little misadventure with Short Person during the car movement was, it got beat only two days later during an unfortunate bathroom stop by her pseudo-grandma.

Short Person was on her way down the hall at Grandma Alice's house when Grandma told her that she needed to go potty. In the bathroom, with the fan on, it is difficult to hear little voices calling for you.

Apparently, Short Person went looking for Grandma, calling and calling to no avail. Thinking that she had been left alone and unable to find Grandma, she left the house and went to the house that has the Paramedics in it. She calls it the "Fire House".

She rang the doorbell and when it was answered by a young woman proceeded to explain that she had called and called for her Grandma and Grandma wouldn't answer. The young woman took Shorty's hand and walked back over to the house.

Grandma was still sittin' on the pot when the strange voice of a woman carried over the noise of the bathroom fan.

Grandma had a serious talk with one little 3-year-old about checking ALL the rooms before going for help.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Instinct Was Good, But... *she said in a squeaky voice*

LJS came home early. By a day. Not much in the whole scheme of things, but when there are things to be done it can cause a great commotion. Today, for example, without even realizing it was going to have catastrophe written all over it.

He's been fishing, which is nice for a few reasons, last but not least of which is that I get to park the car under cover. Good because it frequently rains in Oregon. He was due home in 10 minutes and I had not yet moved the car or the truck from underneath the boat cover.

I let Short Person know that I was going to move the car and that she could stay inside and watch me from the door. I go to the car and pull out, realizing that I'm going to have to drive down the street, turn around, and park along side the road.

When I finished, I started walking toward the house and I can hear Short Person just crying her heart out. I start walking down the driveway toward the house and I hear our neighbor call out, "Howdy Neighbor!" When I turned, to respond in kind, I notice that he is holding a little pink bundle of crying 3-year-old.

It turns out that when Short Person saw me disappear past her line of sight she thought that I had left her. She ran out of the house to our neighbors, crying, "My mommy left without me!"

Her instincts were right on. I'm GLAD she knew where to go... but oh man. I was just moving the car.

Incidentally, I said as much to our neighbor, but I think it was the absolutely bewildered look on my face that truly had him laughing as he chuckled all the way back to his house.

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE our neighbors. I can't imagine moving just for that one sole reason. We'll have to add to this house to make it big enough for the long haul... and I'll have to lock C&D in their house should they ever even think about moving!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hometown Horror Stories

You might be surprised to discover that my job creates the perfect atmosphere for people to tell horror stories about anything and everything. Neighbors, pets, friends... you name it, I've heard a story to go with it. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING beats the one I heard a few days ago.

One of our citizens came in to pay her final bill. While doing so we made small talk about her move and whether she was enjoying the new surroundings. She happened to mention that they had actually moved into a house and then three days later moved out into a beautiful rental home with an option to buy.

I asked about the first house and whether it was location that had turned her off, to which she had responded, "No. We paid for it and then went to move in and the landlord hadn't cleaned it."

It turns out that the previous owners had pets that had been left alone for one weekend. As pets do, they needed to go potty and when they are not being let out the house is the only option. But that's not the bad part.

The bad part is that they were left alone because the husband of the previous tenants had committed suicide in the house... THREE WEEKS PRIOR to their moving in. AND THE LANDLORD HADN'T BOTHERED TO CLEAN!!!! He made her do it. Then lied to her about whether someone had died there. She got the neighbors over to verify the mess, took pictures, went to the library for the newspaper story, and then put a stop payment on the check.

Her attorney called the landlord a "slum lord".

In an unbelievable twist of fate, the landlord is suing HER for putting a stop payment on the check! So, she's suing him. I hope she wins.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Three Deer, A Mob Boss, and One Movie

This happened over a week ago now. I've actually sat down to write it about... oh, 45 times, but never seem to actually finish. This time, by golly, I'm gonna do it!

There are some days that herald themselves to you the moment you wake up. From the get-go, you know that you are going to have an eventful day.

This was not one of them. When I woke up this morning there were no bells and whistles-- there may have been a snooze button involved, but that's it.

I was fairly excited because after who-knows-how-long I was about to get some much needed training in the field of Microsoft Excel. The training was in Beaverton so, armed with a map, I hopped in the car and went on my merry way.

It never ceases to amaze me that I'm able to forget about idiot drivers, but I do, or road rage, but I do. I forget and then am completely aghast when something occurs that reminds me.

I'm driving a modest *ahem* 65mph along the main road into "the real world" when up ahead I see about 20 cars suddenly putting on their brakes and swerving. There is a van trying to get to the side of the road and I am wondering what is going on and whether the turmoil will have resolved itself before I happen upon the scene.

In my rearview mirror is a fast-approaching truck (you know the kind that will mow you down if you don't get out of their way), but he is the least of my concerns since I'm very quickly approaching the traffic jam ahead. It has not resolved itself and I slam on my brakes to avoid the cars still attempting to brake and swerve.

A momentary thought goes through my head. A wonderment of what all the chaos is about... and then I see it. Three little horny heads bouncing down the embankment just past the guardrail. Three deer had crossed the road in the middle of morning rush hour traffic. The van now on the side of the road was not dented, but I'm guessing the driver was pretty shook up. (Either that, or looking for his rifle since it is hunting season- Jerk.)

By this time, I have forgotten all about the truck behind me, and am now accelerating back to my 65... OKAY 70! mph cruising speed, when all of the sudden he pulls along side me and then right in front of me-- causing me to slam on my brakes because he hadn't bothered to see if he'd actually made it past my car. (It was done on purpose, actually. I spent some time being really grateful that I hadn't been looking at the radio or checking a mirror or reaching for my phone at the time.)

I hit the horn and flipped him off (I do that sometimes), but I don't think it did any good. Oh, and then I got to ride his butt all the way to my turn off because he decided to go about 10mph LESS than what I had been doing. Either that, or he was a dumb ass and didn't realize that other cars inhabited the road and could care less if they got out of his way.


I make it (late) to the meeting center, after a few wrong turns, and walk in. The room is full, of course, but luckily there is a chair next to a really cute guy who seems insistent upon making funny remarks through the lecture. It was great!

The guy up front talking was knowledgeable, but I was laughing because every so often he'd get corrected or questioned by one of the other attendees about an alternative way of doing a certain step. This did not sit well with him. His standard response was, "Well, I've never done it that way! And you shouldn't be able to do it that way!"

When the training broke for lunch, right after the "And for $19.95 you can also get" pitch, which the cute guy had us all cracking up about, I finally got a look at the teacher. OMG! He looked like Guido, the knee-cap guy! He was short and round and had that mob face that you simply couldn't get over. I kept expecting a large figure (the one that actually does the knee-cap thing, not the one that threatens you with it-- which is what the teacher reminded me of) to appear. Never did, thank goodness because he kept getting questions. LOL...

It was not long into the day that I decided Excel is the magical universe of computer programming and whoever created it must be a rich genius!

After the training session, I had a date with my sister at the McMeniman's Kennedy School. They have one of those cool Movie Theatre, Pub, Pizza Joint combo things going on there and we were going to go see "The Nanny Diaries", which I LOVED!

I arrive (after getting horribly, horribly lost-- my brother in law had to bail me out), park in the back, and walk to the front doors. I push. Locked... or stuck. I push. Still nothing.

There is a guy sitting at one of the tables out front studying. He looked like a college student. He looks at me and says, "They should be open." It's about this time that I decided to PULL rather than push and wala! Open.

Yeah, he was laughing pretty hard by then. DORK moment!

Anyway... that was my day. Three Deer, A Mob Boss, and One Movie.

Seemed more eventful when I was thinking about writing it earlier, but I suppose after a week some things got lost in translation.

Oh, like I forgot to mention that I discovered a new sex toy place. LOL... What are the odds?