Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And as an apology for my absence, I offer you this:

Tonka Trucks and the M&M Guys

So, obviously my little experiment fell by the wayside. This is not to say that I haven't been attempting to follow it, but rather that I got lazy about updating about it. So I'm going to try again. Hrumph. Today's gratitude can on so strongly that I found myself logging to the blogger before I could finish my laugh completely.

I'm teaching my creative writing students about satire while using Diana Wynne Jones' book "Howl's Moving Castle" as my guide. (Is anybody really and truly surprised by this? I think not.) Today we were talking about one of the facets of satire, which is role reversal. I assigned each student a fairy tale and told them to reverse the role of one of the characters. My youngest student, Jacob, was assigned the story of Snow White.

Now the great thing about having a class full of boys is that I never know what's going to come out of their pencils. It can either be chauvinistic crap (which I promptly squash out of their systems with great delight), boring nonsense, or sarcasm so sharp or so utterly absurd that I can't keep my teacherly composure. The last is what happened today. Jacob told of Snow White going through many trials and tribulations. She lost all her beauty and so no man wanted her. (I held my tongue through great strength of character alone, when all I wanted to do was hit the kid with a battering ram of modern thought -- women have to be MORE than beautiful to land a guy and sometimes *gasp!* even plain girls can find love! Perish the thought! But I digress.) Finally, our poor beleagured Snow White ended up at the Toys 'R Us so that she could flirt with the boy dolls since no real man would have her. There she was approached by the M&M guys, who wanted her to be a new mascot since her flat face would look well covered in candy. Snow White eagerly agreed and led them to her conveyance. No coach and six was this, however! It was a Tonka truck. According to Jacob, she said, "Hop on!" The M&M guys backed and said, "Never mind. Your ride is too pimped for words."

I proceeded to die of laughter. This kid is eleven freaking years old and he caused my hardened twenty-two year old self to melt in a puddle of glee. Go forth and do thou likewise, preferably in your own too-pimped-for-words-mobile.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Today was not a grateful day. It was a thoroughly-non-grateful-no-good-very-blah day. However, I was struck with a strange realization on my way home from Target (one of my favorite places, I must admit). I am obscenely grateful that I am not a telemarketer.

Think about it: within the years of my memory, there was a day when caller id didn't exist. We couldn't screen our calls. If somebody was calling that was annoying, you either had to put them off or become VERY good friends with your answering machine. Of course, some of the fun has been taken out of answering the phone -- kinda like what happened when all the traffic cams started going up. It took all the sport out of driving, something I highly resented. But I digress.

There is a wealth of wonderful methods for getting rid of telemarketers, methods that are sadly underused now in our caller id world. I enjoy my brother's technique particularly: whenever somebody would call, he'd howl into the phone like a Tuskan Raider. Then there's my sister's method, far more subtle but perhaps more effective and less likely for the men in white coats to be called out to the home. She just makes her voice sound even higher than normal and convinces the poor schmuck that she's not of age to make any household decisions.

My method is not as dramatic to a degree, but it is effective. I would find a convenient pot or pan, and when the telemarketer started asking questions, I'd drop it noisily and screech, "OH NO! (and possibly an expletive)" and hang up the phone with no further ado.

Then again, I think maybe I DO miss telemarketers now that I'm feeling all nostalgic about them....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day Five

Today, I am thankful for the advances in modern technology and pharmacology. Of which inventions do I speak, you ask? Why, of the heating pad and painkillers!

Yesterday I thought I would be a King Kong-ette and lift some stuff rather beyond my strength. I did it (I obviously have a promising career in store as a mule) but I woke up this morning feeling rather stiff. As the day went by and I went to work, it got worse and worse until I was walking around shaped like a horseshoe. The unlucky kind, you know, where the ends are pointed down and the luck drains out? But then my wonderful, kind and beautiful mother handed me the heating pad and I found some lovely painkillers in the medicine cabinet, and now I am happily ensconced in a cocoon of blankets on my bed with my dog and the first season of ER, since I'm caught up on Supernatural until the next season comes out next week. And man, that was a long sentence and I'm kinda wondering if it was a run-on, but I'm too loopy to go back and re-read it to find out.

So. Yeah. (Fragments! Horrors!)

How was YOUR day? Yes, you. I'm talking to you! What were you grateful for today?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day Four (I think)

As of today, I am grateful for predictability. That's a rather...mundane thing to be thankful for, but it grants me my super power. What I can do is quite frankly awesome. The only thing I would trade it in for would be flying.

I can predict the outcome of almost any movie.

Yes, you read that right. Cool, huh?

Seriously, it's mind boggling. I can watch a tv show and usually guess who the killer is or who's going to kiss who. You have no idea the self-esteem high this can cause, to have this power in your hands to know the future. It's totally like being Alice.

Tell me in comment form what your super power is!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day Three: A Tribute to the Union Jack

All right, mates? I decided that today's blog post should be in honor of all my British readers out there (*cough cough* Natalie!) who are so deserving of praise and gratitude. So I'm going to make a list of all the British things that I treasure in my life, things for which I am exceedingly grateful. And happy about. And stuff. Bollocks, now I'm getting carried away! And I ended a sentence with a preposition! Bloody hell!

Okay, I'm stopping now. And so it begins, the countdown!

10th place: The English language

While I am extraordinarily thankful for my mother tongue, it's kinda boring, so it made the tenth slot on my list. Honorable mentions go to the Germans and the French for their contributions towards the creation one of the most insane languages ever. Any language that creates a snobbish distinction between "pig" and "pork" is just....interesting.

9th place: Fish and Chips

Arguably one of the finest meals ever, and a stereotype to boot. Too bad the Brits were too busy to send some over to their Irish cousins at a crucial time...still and all, I enjoy it, especially during the winter.

8th Place: The Accent

What can I say? The many different varieties of the British accent amuse people the world over, and many of us enjoy mangling them in our attempts to imitate. I hope y'all are all flattered by this. Pip pip and cheerio and all that!

7th Place: Tea

Tea. Early Grey. Hot. 'Nough said. It is truly one of the most awesome beverages ever and comes in enough flavors to give St. Peter a headache. And then he fixes it by drinking some chamomile.

6th Place: Mary Poppins

Nannies around here almost never come riding in on the wind or are capable of twittering along with birds. I find this to be a gut-wrenching deficiency of our land.

5th Place: Castles

I seriously doubt that Brits truly appreciate how awesome it is to have castles and/or the ruins of castles all over the place. It's like having Cair Paravel at your doorstep. Here in Memphis, we have Prince Mongo's Castle. It's not quite the same thing.... ( suppose we do have Graceland, but since I'm not a huge Elvis fan, it doesn't have much appeal for me.

4th Place: The Slang

I can get away with a lot more dirtiness with British slang simply because it doesn't translate here. But I giggle inside. A lot. Because I know what it means. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

3rd Place: The Royal Family

Because who else would you gossip about?

2nd Place: The Beatles

This is kind of a no-brainer, but I freaking love the Beatles. No doubt this why I don't appreciate Elvis overmuch. The Beatles, with the exception of the trippy "Yellow Submarine," are talented musicians and lyricists. Their contribution to music can never be overcome or forgotten. And now I'm getting maudlin, so I'll move on.

1st Place: Harry Potter

Another no-brainer. I'm still convinced that I'm going to Hogwarts -- my letter is just late. Very late. DON'T THREATEN ME WITH LOGIC! PROTEGO!

And with that, I'll say, ta, everyone! This post really takes the biscuit, yeah?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 2.5

I'm going to have a longer post tonight, but I just had to share this. In the on-going gratitude experiment, I find that this right here makes me happy:

Very very very very happy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day Two

Today, the happiness came in the form of peanut butter m&m's. (I wish I were awake enough tonight to be clever and make my sister laugh, but ladies and gentlemen, I am about as pooped as a dog park. So, I'll just be straightforward and try to be extra endearingly funny tomorrow. Deal? Deal. Thanks for the obedience.)

This was the second day of my new job. I still really like it, which is a source of unending surprise to me, but I gotta say that some of the stuff that the lowest person on the totem pole has to do can be exhausting. Today I had to go through a gajillion and one account numbers and match them up to trades. The print on said gajillion and one account numbers was maybe five point, so I had to lean really super close to the paper to make out the numbers. I'm sure the paper was thrilled beyond words that it was not an ant, particularly when I had to use a magnifying glass to even make out whether that squiggle there was an eight or a zero. In any case, this job took me about three and a half hours. I never got up from my chair and the only breaks I got were when the phone rang, so you can imagine how sore/cranky/exhausted/perilously close to tears I was by the time I FINALLY reached the end. But since I am the lowest critter on the totem pole (what does that make me, anyway, on said totem pole? A squirrel? Or perhaps an ant under a magnifying glass?), I maintained a professional attitude and blandly remarked to one of my coworkers (that still sounds cool to me) that I would probably need a masseuse after work. She then did one of the nicest things ever by saying, "Hey, we've got some chocolate over here. Do you want some?"

Are baboons butts blue?

So I walk over and she has a bag of peanut butter m&m's. I've had the peanut kind before, but never peanut butter. Can I just tell you that it was an orgasmic symphony of flavors, textures and happiness hormones?

I guess the lesson is that sometimes happiness is chemically based in your brain. But what delicious chemicals they are!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day One

So I decided to begin today's happiness experiment right. I woke up earlier than I needed to -- today was the first day of my new job at a financial planning company. It was TOTALLY outside of my comfort zone. Anything with numbers immediately begins an assault of the heeby-jeebies and I start looking for a flea collar or something. But I dutifully got up, took care of my dogs, ate some oatmeal, read my Bible. Geez, I even made my bed, and usually that takes something major for me to do. Like, the pope running his cassock along my floorboards.

In any case, I'm all dolled up, fed properly, and ready to face the day. I bounce out to my car and am all the way at the end of the street before I realize I've forgotten something vital. Like, say, my contacts. I hightailed it back to the house, dashed upstairs, put in my contacts (doing this WITHOUT damaging your eye make-up is a highly undervalued skill, folks) and got back on the road again. I was almost out of the neighborhood when I realize that I've forgotten my lunch. Same thing, rinse and repeat, just without the fear of mascara runnage.

In the end, I found that I loved my job. The numbers make my eyes glaze, but my co-workers are top notch. I'm serious, it's insane how nice they are. One of them, Jamie, is a British lady who moved to California in the eighties and actually worked with the writing and broadcasting of such small items of pop culture as "E.R.", "Fraiser," Seinfeld," and "Friends." Holy crap. It also turns out that she's a huge fantasy fan -- we spent half an hour discussing Miyazaki's interpretation of "Howl's Moving Castle." Needless to say, we bonded.

I wish I had some huge revelation to go with my first day of the happiness/gratitude experiment, but let's keep in mind that this is, in fact, only the first day. I did notice that I was a lot more content today. It was nice to be out of the house, working with people, learning new things, being stimulated. I also learned that I sound really professional when I say, "Good morning, Waddell and Associates. This is Katie. How may I help you?" Go me.

I guess finding contentment in the workplace is built up of a lot of little things, like learning to transfer a call to someone's voice mail, a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, and the truly AWESOME shoes that Kay was wearing. We'll see if this all holds up tomorrow. Day two of the experiment and of Katie's introduction into the wild world of finance continues!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Gratitude Experiment

I was recently reading an article in Reader's Digest about people and the benefits of gratitude and happiness in their lives. Even though "happiness studies" and positive psychology are all the new rage in today's climate, I was struck by a couple of facts. Did you know that people in their early twenties are the unhappiest age category? I didn't, but it makes sense.

Even though there is a lot of exciting stuff happening at this age -- the establishing of careers, finding life partners, spreading those dadgummed wings and flying high or whatever is on the latest motivational poster, all of this can be equally bloodcurdling. People my age are learning about the less pleasant bits of being adults, like taxes and insurance (and all the crap that happens when you DON'T have insurance) and being terrified that they'll fly too high and plunge to the ground in a fashion that would make Icarus proudly wipe a tear. Or they're experiencing social problems, like learning to deal with the realities that they might not be married by the time they're twenty-five or they'll be stuck in a cubicle rather than rescuing orphans in Africa or signing autographs.

Reality, my friends, suck.

But as I was reading this article, I realized something. I, a young twenty-something, am not happy. I am not happy that I am not happy. So I decided to conduct an experiment, which while being by no means an original undertaking, is something that could prove to be fairly eye-opening.

Okay. So I'd decided to conduct this experiment and post my thoughts on it daily on my blog. But for how long should I do this? My first instinct was thirty days. You're always told that habits take twenty-one days to form, but I've always been a bit of a slow learner. Okay, you can stop laughing now. I know that's an understatement. But then I decided to do some research and came across this article. The author states that psychologists actually believe forming a new habit can take up to sixty-six days.

Phew. This is gonna be a lot of gratitude. I find myself becoming faintly ill at the thought of all the approaching Pollyanna-ness, but maybe this is my grumbly young twenty-something self talking. I smash down the contemplation of wading in a pool of sticky-sweetness and continue on with my plans.

So now I'm left with deciding the parameters of this gratitude experiment thingy. I think it should be more than just counting my blessings, although this will undoubtedly be a huge part of the upcoming (weep, weep!) sixty-six days. I think I shall decide on a specific small goal every day to see if it improves my happiness level, such as smiling at every person I see or singing in the shower or playing my piano. I'll also decide on larger goals once a week, like learning a new piece, writing a chapter of my book, or dropping a bad food habit. This all seems very reachable to me. And maybe by the end of these sixty-six days, I'll be happier with me and you'll be happier with me.

Let the sticky-sweetness commence.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I would SO do this....

Paleoanthropology Division
Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Mr. Owaya:

Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:

1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.

2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.

3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the "ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypothesis you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.

B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.

However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty Sears Craftsman 9-mm automotive crescent wrench.

Yours in Science,

Harvey Rowe
Curator, Antiquities

Monday, July 5, 2010

Declaraction of Independence: A Rather Narcissistic Post, but a Necessary One

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Life's gotten weird, particularly since graduation. I'm having to reexamine who I am as a person yet again. I thought I'd already gotten through this crap during high school, but apparently not. Who am I as a person? What direction do I want my life to go? What can I do to alleviate some of the consequences of mistakes made years ago?

Some of the godawful soul searching has been helpful -- I'm applying for a job at Starbucks, which I'm really excited about. It's going to pay for my trip to Ireland with Alyce and pay back some debts and eventually help me purchase a new car. I'm trying to make small steps to get back to the joyful person I once was. For some reason, this involves painting my nails green, which makes me absurdly happy. I'm going out to dinner with friends and sitting in coffee shops reading and planning out my book and swimming a lot.

I've been doing some more thinking today, though. I tend to compare my life to Howl's Moving Castle a lot, mainly because I admire Sophie's character so much. I have a picture from Miyazaki's film as my desktop background. It's from the beginning of the film, when Sophie is sitting at her long hat-making desk, sewing, watching the train travel by in billows of smoke and dreaming of an escape, of a time when the magic will be real and will reach out and grab her. There's something so mournful and resigned in her posture, but the fact that she's sitting in front of a window, open to possibility through her observations, strikes me as being hopeful, too. I always imagined myself in a similar way; sitting in front of a piano or a school desk, watching the world around me and waiting for the magic to sweep me away. It happens to Sophie, after all. Howl comes along and takes her walking in the sky and she is snatched up and away from the doldrums of her life and tossed headlong into magic.

The point of all this is that I'm not going to passively wait around anymore. All that's brought me has been pain (the "'tis but a flesh wound" variety, only emotional), an obscene amount of angst that should only belong in a teenage drama, and antidepressants. Magic isn't going to sweep me up, up, and away. That's why I'm getting a job and moving to South Carolina next year and taking control of my life. If I don't take charge of myself, nobody else will.

And that's another thing. I refuse to be some guy's damsel in distress. I hate those girls that are never complete without some guy to fulfill their lives and give them a purpose. That's putting an awful lot of power into someone else's hands. I'm not saying this in a morbidly bitter way, please note. I'm just not interested in waiting for my Howl to get off his butt and lazily decide that I'm worth taking a stroll in the sky with. If he wants me, he can meet me in the sky. To use another metaphor, I will climb out of my tower when I am damn good and ready and I'll do it without some nut-job using my bloody hair to get there. I don't want to be rescued, because all that does is say that I am weak and incapable of saving myself.

I look at the people I most admire -- fictional characters like Penelope Garcia and Abby Sciuto and real people like Alyce and Shelby -- and the common thread about them is that they are unashamedly themselves and they don't apologize for it. I'm tired of being afraid all the time that something I say or do will be the thing to push me away. I'm exhausted from the fear. If you try to please everyone, you eventually break. In the end, all that matters is that I please myself and I please the God I love.

So here's the bottom line. You want to be around me? That's fine. But don't be around me unless you plan to stay around me and don't feel like you have to rescue me. I'm all right. And I plan to stay that way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Leading Ladies and Best Friends

In the movie "The Holiday" there are many great quotes. It's one of my personal favorites, to tell you the truth. I really identify with the character of Iris particularly -- she's such a real and earthy character and I LOVE Kate Winslet's on screen chemistry with Jack Black. However, the lines that have always haunted me the most have been during Iris' conversation with aged Hollywood writer Arthur Abbot:

Arthur Abbott: He let you go. This is not a hard one to figure out. Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You're so right. You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake! Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained anything to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.

I tend to share Iris' trouble; I don't see myself as being a leading lady. This has already bothered me fundamentally. I tell myself, "You need to be more assertive!" or "You always let people run right over you!" Then, the other night, a thought occurred to me.

So what?

Let's examine the quintessential leading lady role for a moment, shall we? In the movies, the leading lady typically follows these rules:

1.) She likes an amazing guy, but...
2.) ...there is always some sort of problem with her relationship with said amazing guy.
3.) She goes through an incredibly rough period, generally towards the end of the film just before the happy ending. This can involve heartbreak, the loss of a job, the death of a dear friend/family member, jail time, ect.
4.) She goes through a TON of drama and sad music before she finally manages to land aforementioned amazing guy.
5.) She can be somewhat of a drama queen and thinks that the entire world revolves around her.

Some examples of this kind of leading lady would be: Bella Swan in "Twilight," Jane in "27 Dresses," Cameron Diaz in "The Holiday," Mary Fiori in "The Wedding Planner," and Rose in "Titanic."

Now, let's examine the quintessential best friend role. In the movies, the best friend typically follows THESE rules:

1.) She is very often the comic relief, meaning she gets the wittiest lines.
2.) Most of the time, she is either married or in a stable relationship with an amazing guy. Usually the best friend's amazing guy isn't quite as handsome or as witty as the leading lady's amazing guy, but I reiterate, STABLE RELATIONSHIP. Low drama, and he's home at night when she gets there.
3.) She doesn't usually go through a really sad time just before the ending. Instead, she is there for her best friend, the leading lady, through thick and thin, further endearing her to the audience because of her selflessness and comic relief.
4.) She is allowed to have a quirky sense of fashion.
5.) She is often exceptional in some way, like as a fashion maven or a cook or having superior guy crushing skills.

Some examples of this kind of best friend would be: the girls in P.S. I Love You, particularly Lisa Kudrow's character, Sookie in "Gilmore Girls," Angela Weber in "Twilight, Paulette in "Legally Blonde," and Penelope Garcia in "Criminal Minds."

So, let's review, shall we? Drama vs. no-drama, steady relationship vs. trials and tribulations, and quirky fashion sense vs. classic yet all too often drab?

Yeah. No brainer.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tadpole Baptismal

He is pruning the rose bushes, like he’s supposed to.
Homework has been done, like it’s supposed to be.
Everything is as it is supposed to be,
and yet he jabs savagely with the scissors.
The sky is gray, the thorns are sharp, and the roses are dull.

Mosquitoes buzz above the pool while spiders lounge on forgotten floats.
The sand filter is broken, and the water is stagnant,
the perfect incubator for bellowing toads and brown water insects
that buzz busily on the seedy skim of their biohazard kingdom.
He snips above the grouping of five leaves, as he is supposed to.

Then he hears a voice from heaven, just as he’d always imagined it,
and he sees an ordinary looking man, dressed in blue shirt and jeans.
The man’s face is blurry in its plainness, and the man’s head reflects the sun.
He drops the scissors, dead rose petals pelting the hot concrete.
The toads are silent, and then begin to complain.

Kneel the man says, and he does what he is told,
on the white plastic side of the teeming pool.
The man does the same on the opposite side of the pool,
looking at him across rotting water noodles and skating bugs.
He finds himself rolling up his sleeves for some reason.

The man begins to splash his lower arms and face with the lukewarm water
and he does the same, washing himself with the filth of the broken pool.
I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Where the disgusting water has touched him, he feels clean.
The sky is still gray, the roses still dull, but he is new.

With no theatrical flash of light or even a dove, the man disappears.
He stares down at the same old pool, noting with interest
the plethora of tadpoles and brown crawling spiders.
He picks up the scissors and keeps clipping above the clusters of five leaves.
He has been baptized in tadpoles and filth, so different from the “supposed to” and is cleansed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


She drives down the I-40, going too fast and not caring
when out of the darkness, something catches and sends back the glow
cast by her car’s headlights.
Something about the tree on the side of the road makes her whip her neck around,
trying to keep it in sight as long as possible.
It’s difficult to notice detail when going eighty miles an hour,
but the impression of that tree stood out in sharpest detail,
the high definition of the natural world.

It is a dogwood tree, the blooms still present and capable of reflecting high beams
even now as spring is marching unsympathetically on.
The season has already forced itself upon the grass; green superimposing itself on brown
and birds trespassing on bushes and telephone poles.
She sees the white religious blooms and is struck at how they linger in the air,
the brown in the tree branches the same color as the night, and so remains unrepresented.
The blooms are the specters, leering at the cars as they pass,
and remain unaffected by observation as the girl’s neck creaks ominously.

She is uneasy about those blooms as she hurtles past, pushed forward by
plodding truckers and the impatient rat race of the weekday’s end.
The buds continue to float before her eyes,
and she is suddenly in other memories that are always before her,
forever ready and willing to present themselves if they are given but half a chance:
a snowman on a tissue box, a slice of pizza going uneaten, and another car’s headlights disappearing into the night. The suspended buds become those headlights,
and she turns up the music, drowning out the cries of the haunted.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Give a Cat a Pill

1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door onto neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie the little *&#%^'s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for RSPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How To Give A Dog A Pill

1. Wrap it in bacon.

2. Toss it in the air.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beowulf vs. Godsylla

Of all my classes, History of the English Language (appropriately nicknamed HEL) is probably my least favorite. It's an exceedingly difficult subject to grasp.

However, sometimes showing up can be worth it. Today, for example. Dr. Richardson brought up on a powerpoint slide this joke about Beowulf, and my immediate thought was, "BLOG!!!!"

So here it is. It's a little difficult to read because it's written in Old English style, but try to go by phonetics. You'll at least be able to get the gist.

Have fun!

Beowulf vs. Godsylla
(By Tom Weller, from Cvltvre Made Stvpid)

Meanehwæl, baccat meaddehæle,.....monstær lurccen;
Fulle few too many drincce,.....hie luccen for fyht.
Ðen Hreorfneorhtðhwr,.....son of Hrwærowþheororthwl,
Æsccen æwful steop outsyd.
Þhud! Bashe! Crasch! Beoom!.....Ðe bigge gye
Eallum his bon brak,.....byt his nose offe;
Wicced Godsylla.....wæld on his asse.
Monstær moppe fleor wyþ.....eallum men in hælle.
Beowulf in bacceroome.....fonecall bamaccen wæs;
Hearen sond of ruccus.....sæd, "Hwæt ðe helle?"
Graben sheold strang.....ond swich-blæd scharp
Stond feorth to fyht.....ðe grimlic foe.
"Me," Godsylla sæd,....."mac ðe minsemete."
Heoro cwyc geten heold.....wiþ fæmed half-nelson
Ond flyng him lic frisbe.....bac to fen
Beowulf belly meaddehæle bar,
Sæd, "Ne foe beaten.....mie færsom cung-fu."
Eorderen cocca-cohla......yce-coeld, ðe reol þyng.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tune In

It is a winter day, sunny for once.
You go to stand in front of the window,
A dog rubbing at your ankles, wanting attention.
You look outside; the trees are bare.
Everything is lit up from the exterior, and it is far too clear.
It is painful. The world is quiet.
You can almost hear the hum of the silence in the air; it’s like another person,
But you know you are alone.

Is the world supposed to look like that?
No leaves on the trees,
No color in the grass, no birds in the nests?
You can see everything for what it is, but that is no comfort.
On days like this, he would putter around the house,
His back like a question mark, whistling.
He would kiss you softly as he passed,
And tell you that you were beautiful,
Even though you knew you weren’t.
The memory burns you,
Scarring your retinas,
Burning after images on your eyelids and on the window and on the dog on the floor.
Everywhere you look you see,
And you long for darkness,
But you know that you are alone in the light.

You turn off the lights, but it does no good.
You can still see him,
But he does not see you.
Is a mother bird sad when life goes as it so often does
And she is left alone in a nest in a naked tree?
It is a winter day, sunny for once,
And you hate it…
Because you know you are alone in the bareness.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fade Out

An excited call from the door –

Someone wants you to come see something.

It’s something odd…snow?

You shuffle towards the window, hands clasped behind your back,

Still the soldier.

You look out –

Is the world supposed to look like that?

You have a funny feeling it isn’t, but you keep looking anyway.

Nothing better to do.

Inside, even behind the glass, cold wetness fills your eyes and ears –

Makes you blind and deaf.

Fuzzy things from the sky fall down towards you and blur away all the lines

No shapes, just vague impressions of what used to be.

She would like this, you think.

She used to make homemade doughnuts whenever this…stuff…came.

Snow…that’s what it’s called, right?...

You think that it’s kinda like what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night

And walk into the bathroom and flip on the switch –

And suddenly you see only swirls of colors,

Meteor tails and galaxies of times past,

Places far away and iced over.

Everything’s fuzzy.

You crinkle your nose, reaching for the meteor tail –

But it slips away, out of reach, just like always.

White stuff…white stuff everywhere…

Outside and in your mind and in your feet.

Someone leads you away, puts warmer socks on your feet.

You sit down, because that’s all you know to do.

Nothing better to do.

She’s like a picture on the wall…

Within reach, but behind the glass.

She’s a vague impression –

But once she made you homemade doughnuts.

So you keep trying to break the glass, knowing all the time that you never will.

That fuzzy white stuff keeps getting in your way,


You smile. Your eyes are empty.

And you try, once more, to reach her…that picture on the wall…