Category Archives: Mulligan Stew
The other day, my husband walked into the kitchen where I was sitting, doing I-forget-what, and announced he was going to go mow the lawn. I don’t completely understand what happened next (I must have blacked out or something), but before I knew it, I was saying, “I’ll help…I can mow while you edge!”
I know! Weird, right?
I’m not a natural yard person. I like to think I am sometimes, especially when I get the urge to buy flowers and plant them in the concrete planters I bought several years ago during another, particularly expensive bout of self-delusion. My husband would vouch for this, and agree I’m long on ideas and short on follow-through. He knows exactly what I mean when I say, “you know what we ought to do?” He braces himself against his chair, and waits for the blow to fall.
“You know what we ought to do? We ought to dig a flower bed over there between the pool and the fence…wouldn’t that look really cool?
‘And,” I usually continue, “you know what else we could do? We could lay a stone walkway that runs from the back porch to a small stone patio where we can put a gazebo with a hot tub!”
I repeat, I’m not a natural yard person. I have to work at it. So, anyway, I get about three-quarters of the backyard done when my sister shows up for a surprise visit. I shut the mower down, and leave it where it sits. Hubby gets done edging and takes up the mowing where I left off. I’m half-watching him from the kitchen window and half-listening to what my sister is saying, when I see him look around at what I’ve done, shake his head slowly from side-to-side, and throw up his hand in resignation.
I cannot believe my eyes! And I cannot believe he has no idea whatsoever of what all I go through to mow HIS lawn. If I’m not battling heat stroke, I’m battling boredom. As a result, I like to just wander where the mower takes me. I am careful, though, to keep the rows straight (or sorta-straight, since I am not—contrary to what he may have told you—completely ignorant of the finer points of lawn care), but sometimes the yard ends up looking like a maze right out of Alice in Wonderland. (I can’t remember if there was a maze in Alice in Wonderland…it just seems like the kind of story that ought to have one.)
Apparently, I am, deep down, a free spirit. And, apparently, deep down, he’s not.
So, perhaps next time, he’ll think twice about accepting my offer to help, and perhaps, next time, I’ll think twice about offering it. Either way, I think we’ll both be better off. I know the lawn will.
Many thanks to Sher A Hart, my fellow campaigner, who saw fit to bestow the coveted Versatile Blogger Award on me! I didn’t think I would ever win this honor, so I don’t have an acceptance speech prepared. I would have liked to have thanked my fans, but I don’t have any…yet.
Per the rules, I will pay it forward by choosing other worthy bloggers for this prestigious honor (I forget how many, but I’ve chosen five). Now, also by the rules, I’m supposed to list seven things about myself. Geez. Seven. Might as well be seventy. But, here goes:
I wear a size 8 shoe. It seems that the older I get, the bigger my feet get. And, the bigger my feet get, the shorter I get. It’s like I’m melting into a ten-toed puddle.
I love the word “puddle.” I love the word “cuddle,” too. Shoot…I love any word with “uddle” in it.
I can play “Scarborough Fair” on the piano. And, I play it over and over, because, frankly, it’s the only song I can play with both hands without looking at the music…which is a vast improvement over “Home Sweet Home,” a song I picked out on my aunt’s piano when I was little. I managed to get only a bar or two before she made me quit, so, it’d go, “Be it ev-ver so hum-ble, there’s no-o-o place like home.” Period. The end. Should I die tomorrow, I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I grew in at least one area of my life.
I’m contemplating getting a tattoo. Now, I’m not that fond of body art (particularly for this body), but I’m getting to that stage in my life where I just want to prove to myself I’m still capable of doing something really stupid.
I hate buying shoes. Unamerican, unfemale, unlikely…but there it is.
Once upon a time, I got to spend two glorious, fantastic weeks in Paris, France. I think I saw every church there (including the one at St. Denis) EXCEPT Notre Dame. By the time I’d gotten around to that one, I blew it off, figuring that if I’d seen a hundred churches, I’d seen them all. What was I thinking?
I like change. Change is good. Keeps me on my toes. But, I’m noticing that the older I get, the smaller the change has to be to make me happy. I figure in a few years, I’ll be thrilled with just changing my underwear.
So, on that pathetic note of personal disclosure, I hereby bestow the coveted Versatile Blogger Award to:
The Voice of Stobby – The name reminds me of Dobby in Harry Potter…so, I’m there!
Chemist Ken – he loves castles, and chemistry…who doesn’t?
Writer-in-Transit – aren’t we all?
Michael Haynes – A Writing Blog – he talks about reading AND writing.
Cat Rambles – apt name for a blog, and one I can relate to!
Enjoy…they’re worth the trip over.
I’m two weeks behind on my posts going on three. You’d think by committing to only one post per week, I’d manage to stay on top of things. Apparently, my muse has other plans, because it (she?) has headed for tall timber. Disappeared. Vamoosed. Gone bye-bye.
What a coward.
If I could disappear like that, I probably would. The pressure has been intense ever since I joined the Platform Building Campaign. Since then, I’ve had wonderful people, fellow campaigners, stopping by and reading what I’ve written, and I’m not used to that. Now, I don’t dare flatter myself by believing people are counting the hours down until I post again, but I’d like to think I would have a chance to gain some (as in, one or two) followers if (a) I could post good stuff on a consistent basis, and (b) I could put a “follow” button somewhere on here (it would be business-as-usual if I’ve picked a theme that doesn’t include a “follow” button).
I’ve opened a twitter account (here’s what I have to say about that). And, I’ve downloaded “Tweetdeck” to help me keep everything organized. However, I have not been able to get on there on a regular basis, and when I do, I can’t think of a thing to tweet in a hundred and forty words or less. Being word-thrifty is not one of my strong suits. Usually. Except now. When I can’t think of any words. At all.
And, it’s not like I’ve been living in a vacuum…things are happening to me and around me. I do have a life. Honest. In fact, three days ago, I was sitting on a king-size bed in a cute, cozy room in a bed-and-breakfast in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, after eight hours of sitting behind my husband on a motorcycle in ninety-five-degree weather. The last time I was in that neck of the woods, I was riding my own motorcycle, missing a curve, hitting gravel, and (gracefully, I assure you) landing between a chain link fence and a large wooden sign that said “St. Paul’s Bible Church,” which explains very succinctly, I think, why I was sitting behind my husband for eight hours on a motorcycle in ninety-five degree weather. Which may not seem very hot to some, especially to those of us in Texas who have been suffering from three-digit heat since Christmas…but this was a wet heat, as I discovered when I tried to pull up my soggy jeans after a bathroom break. Almost can’t be done without an industrial-size shoehorn. Believe me.
Yeah, things happen to me, which is normally excellent fodder for blogs, but at the moment, I’m Muse-less, and if things don’t change, this is going to be a really short campaign.
I’m in book number five in a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon called Outlander, and I’ve become so totally involved in it that I fervently wish I was living in the 18th century, in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by all that is contained therein; e.g., crags, heather, and—most especially—brawny Scotsmen dressed in plaid. It has become so real to me, in fact, that when forced to emerge from the fantasy, I experience a painful pang of regret because I’m not in the Scottish Highlands during the 18th century. Plus, to further complicate things, I’m involved in a one-sided love-ish-like-sorta thing with a figment of someone else’s imagination.
How kinky can you get?
My…er, our… hero is named James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser. He’s a very tall (probably six-four at least), broad-shouldered Scot with long, thick, red hair that complements his ruddy complexion and high cheekbones. He can handle himself in a fight, using both broadsword and dirk (which is—for you uninitiated lay-people out there—Scottish for “dagger”), and has a pain tolerance like you wouldn’t believe. He is kind, loyal, and fiercely protective. His sense of honor keeps him from breaking his word once he’s given it, no matter what the cost. Plus—and this is the good part—he’s sexy AND sensitive (that’s how you know he’s not real). In short, he’s perfect. Oh, yeah, and he has a broad, Scottish accent. I know that, because he says things like, “I dinna ken that man, did ye?” (or words to that effect).
I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve been wrapped up in books before, not wanting to put them down, but not to the extent that I needed a reality check.
And the reality is, Jamie and I can never be together. Period. It wouldn’t work. And not just because I’m real and he’s not (which in most cases is a deal-breaker). We could never be together because I wouldn’t last five minutes in 18th century Scotland—sexy, kilt-clad Scot notwithstanding. This fact became glaringly obvious to me last week when I locked myself out of my house.
I won’t bore you with the details, but when I pressed down on the door handle, my life flashed before my eyes. No, I thought…it’s just stuck. I had my twelve-year-old grandson with me, and while I was still pondering why the door wouldn’t open, he was having his own little conniption, stomping around the garage, waving his hands around as if beng swarmed by bees.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DON’T HAVE A KEY! WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A KEY?!” he ranted.
Then, when I told him I didn’t have my phone either, I thought his adolescent brain was going to explode.
“WHAT?? YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR PHONE, EITHER?? I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FORGOT YOUR PHONE!”
I know…I’m not fit. I didn’t have my house key and I didn’t have my phone. We were doomed.
I allowed myself a few moments of blank mindlessness (as if I could do anything else). I was stunned. This wasn’t happening. I NEVER get locked out! It was 106° in the shade and we were stuck out outside…oh, yeah, we were so-o-o-o-o doomed.
I collapsed into a chair on the back patio and tried to pull myself together…I told myself not to panic, to stay calm, be brave. In spite of my internal pep talk, I started to sweat, both physically and mentally. My head started aching and I began to get thirsty, all the while imagining us dying of heat-stroke (or boredom) before help arrived.
We did eventually get in, you’ll be glad to know, but not before I was forced to face the unvarnished truth: Jamie Fraser could never protect me from me. How could I possibly deal with marauding clansmen and English spies if I can’t face, with courage and fortitude, getting locked out of my own house?
And, anyway, after further thought and consideration, I’ve decided that I much prefer indoor plumbing and stretch pants to chamber pots and corsets.
Sexy, kilt-clad Scot notwithstanding.
Well, today is Thursday, and I’m not feeling particularly insecure about anything at the moment. What, you ask, is the correlation between Thursday and my self-esteem? That’s a good question…I can see where you might be confused. Thursday is B-Day. Blog Day. And I derive much of my creative inspiration from the state of my mental well-being. Therefore, since I am feeling pretty good about myself today, it would follow that I would have nothing to talk about.
Unless I wanted to talk about the ever-expanding debacle going on in Washington, D.C. (and I do), which, as common sense would dictate, is just the result of the U.S. Government blowing itself up. And, I figure I’m to blame for it. Well, not me, per se, but my apathy. My indifference. My inability to get past the notion that one person can’t make a dent in someone else’s stupidity.
Raising the debt limit is really a no-brainer. We’ve spent the money. It’s gone. Poof. We’ve written checks we can’t cash. Now, we have to make good on our promises and we can’t do that unless we raise the debt ceiling. Refusing is like closing the proverbial barn door. It’s like standing in the middle of a temporal causality loop where the consequences of our actions occur before we act, and when we do act, said consequences remain unchanged because they’ve already manifested themselves. Get it?
In a nutshell, we gave our word and we have no choice but to honor it. I just don’t understand why we felt so free to spend money we didn’t have in the first place.
Now, I have never been a Congress-person or a Senator, which in some circles disqualifies me from expressing an opinion, and I’m the first person to admit I don’t know squat about Economics and Government and how the two go together (if at all…which may be the problem). But, I figure if it weren’t for me, and people like me (I’m not unique, regardless of what you’ve heard), the U.S. Government wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in.
I, and gullible people like me, assumed these folks knew what they were doing. What I should have done is not left the children unsupervised. When my son was about three years old, he took a can of gasoline out of the garage, walked out to the front yard dressed in only his diaper, and proceeded to water my bushes with it. The consequences of my sloppy supervision led to my boxwoods dying a gruesome death—and it could have been so much worse. Same situation here… I should have had the sense, taken the time, sacrificed the brain matter, to educate myself on whatever issues I needed to educate myself on in order to comprehend exactly what kind of trouble they were getting themselves into. Then, I should have called them, or wrote to them, or sent them a text, or dispatched via owl my wishes as to how they should proceed. I should have looked over their shoulders, questioned every dollar they spent, and suspected every action behind every vote. Which would have been totally impossible, I know. But, I should have paid attention.
To give myself (and other gullible people like me) some credit, though, I don’t think I went too far out on a limb by assuming they knew how to keep (and balance!) a checkbook. Instead, I think we elected a bunch of kindergartners who can’t count (my grandson is only four and he can count to eleven).
Outside of my own laissez faire attitude, I have no answers…I just barely have the questions to this very complicated problem. But, it’s obvious that the cat has played with the ball of yarn for so long there doesn’t seem to be any hope of untangling enough of it to knit so much as a pot holder. The only thing left to do is cut off the offending snarls and start all over.
Term limits, anyone?
When I hit the blue “publish” button here, I will become one of a multitude of bloggers who are writing about the end of Harry Potter, the defeat of You-Know-Who, and last installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (speaking of which, am I the only human being on this earth who doesn’t know what “Hallows” means?). For me, writing about it is therapy…I am officially in mourning. Losing Harry is like being separated from my favorite blanket, or being evicted from the house I grew up in. For years, if there wasn’t a new Harry Potter book to look forward to, there was always the next movie. Now, there will be no more Hogwarts. No more Quidditch, invisibility cloaks, or nearly-headless ghosts. No more spells, moving staircases, or secret rooms.
My step-son bought me the first two books for my birthday a few years ago. What made him do that, I have no idea. I’m not representative of the ideal target market for books like that, what with my being over thirteen years old and all, but I had seen every Harry Potter movie to date, so I guess he thought I’d enjoy them. And, I did. I steamrolled through the first two books, then had to surreptitiously sneak into the children’s section of the local Barnes & Noble like a teenager after curfew to get the next two. I was mortified that someone might recognize me for the closet Potter fanatic that I was, so I’d spend the time walking to the cash register silently repeating to myself that I was buying them for my grandchildren. By the time I got there, my cover story was firmly implanted into my psyche, making it impossible for the clerk checking me out to discern the truth.
“No,” my condescending countenance would say, “these are not for me…I’m far too intellectual and emotionally mature for this type of twaddle. They’re for my grandchildren.”
Admitting I was hooked on wizardry, witches, and Severus Snape (not to mention words I could pronounce without sounding them out) was just a bit more than I cared to contemplate.
Which perfectly illustrates the main difference between a pragmatist like me, and a creative genius like J. K. Rowling (who comes up with words like “Hallows.”) I don’t dare to contemplate, and she does. I am handicapped by literal-cy and she’s not. People like her have the courage to give their imagination free rein and allow it to peer into dark corners normally deemed off-limits by social or religious convention. Creative types ask, “why not?” and then proceed to craft a world from scratch, based on a whole bunch of “what ifs.” I can do that, too, but my “what ifs” are more like, “what if I took this laptop and threw it through a plate glass window?”
Rowling created a truly believable and exciting world, right down to the last werewolf and death-eater. Gene Roddenberry did the same thing with Star Trek, crafting a credible version of the future that was almost prophetic. And, one of these days, I’d like to attempt to do the same thing. And I will.
Just as soon as I get my laptop back from the Doberman next door.
Today is Thursday, and I’m double-booked. I don’t know what happened…one minute I had time–lots of it–and the next minute, I didn’t. Just like that.
I did not realize how much stuff gets scheduled for Thursdays. I’ve always looked down on Thursday, being convinced it was the most boring, least important, most overrated day of the week. Even the name “Thursday” is boring. So, I don’t know if people decided it was time to give Thursday its due, or if they just felt sorry for it, but all of a sudden, it’s become the go-to day. Even I went to it when I started blogging. I thought, Thursday is so disdainful, so boring, and since I won’t have anything else going on that day because it’s a Thursday, I’ll start writing a blog, and I’ll post something every Thursday, since there’s a pretty good chance that nothing more important will come up that will keep me from doing it on a regular basis, unless one wants to count writer’s block, and that’s virtually impossible to keep on a regular schedule.
So, I took my chances. When a friend of mine called me up and asked me to attend an evening Bible study at her church for the next five Thursdays, I didn’t hesitate, and said, yes, I would. (I should have consulted my day-planner, but I don’t have one.) My thought-processes were sound, I think, because I don’t think anything of note has ever intentionally happened on a Thursday (except maybe Grey’s Anatomy, and I record that anyway).
Aha! you say. Thanksgiving’s on a Thursday!
Well, actually, Thanksgiving is somewhat of an anomaly…it wasn’t supposed to be on a Thursday. The Pilgrims, with their own day-planners in hand, went to the Indians to see how their schedules looked for Saturday, since Saturdays have always been fun, let-your-hair-down days. But, the Indians couldn’t do Saturday because they had a fort up-river they had to attack, and the Pilgrims reminded the Indians that there weren’t any forts yet, and the Indians said okay, but then suddenly remembered that there was a hunting party scheduled for that day anyway, and it was too late to cancel the caterer. So, the Pilgrims said how about Friday? And the Indians said that Friday’s no good, because they’d be terrible company after having had such a hectic week, but that they could do Thursday, because nothing ever happens on Thursday and they felt sorry for it. So the Pilgrims agreed to have Thanksgiving on Thursday.
Apparently, a whole lot of other people have re-thought Thursdays, too, because a week after I said yes to the Bible study, I remembered that I had three other commitments on Thursdays falling within the same five-week time frame as this Bible study. That’s when I realized just how disorganized and out of control my life is.
Turns out it’s a good thing I signed up for that Bible study…it’s on time management.
What’re the odds?
There’s a dust magnet that looks exactly like a black guitar, sitting on a stand in the corner of my office. When I look at it, I see just another first-rate example of the peculiar impulses that have been stalking me over the last twenty years. I have been susceptible to whimsy, manipulated by foreign, Boris Karloff-like voices that provocatively whisper suggestions in my ear, like, “you want to learn to play guitarrrrrrr.” And I’ve been listening. Again and again. My brother, the pragmatic scientist, told me recently, “you just aren’t satisfied with anything, are you?”
I don’t know why his observation surprised me, but it did. In fact, I wouldn’t use the word “surprised.” I would use the word, “totallyoffended.” I’ve been giving it some thought, though, and I’ve decided that, just maybe, he wasn’t completely off the mark. For good or evil, I like change. I need change. Change is good. When I was growing up, I rearranged my bedroom furniture every few months. It was so refreshing to walk into a room that looked–and felt–completely different. The fact that it got a thorough cleaning out at the same time might have had something to do with it, but the point is, I needed a new landscape, and I didn’t let my 98-pound frame get in the way of moving an oak dresser to get it.
Changes have been coming fast and furious since my entrance into mid-life, a few of which have come whether I wanted them to or not. Every day, I discover something else about myself that has wrinkled, sagged, or failed to work like it did the day before. Fat cells, like little Pilgrims, are finding new and exciting places on my body to settle, and I know from history books that it’s only a matter of time before other, equally stalwart fat cells follow in their footsteps. Not only am I getting fatter, I’m getting older. And shorter. I now understand the phrase, “at the height of her career.” It’s pretty much downhill from here. Literally.
Some changes have been self-inflicted. When I turned forty, I changed my hair from long to short-short, from a sort-of mousy-ish swollen-river brown to an unforgettable, not-to-be-mistaken, burgundy purple with auburn highlights. It almost glowed in the dark. Forever, from that point forward (for a few weeks, anyway) I was known as the “lady with the hair,” as in, “have you seen the lady with the hair?!” That was also the year I dumped my old, reliable, steadfast station wagon for a flighty, inconsiderate sports car—or rather, a sportier car. It was a 1992 Ford Probe, a standard 4-speed, 4-cylinder, front-wheel drive hatchback that carried a whopping 115 horses under the hood. It was Calypso Green, which I thought was providential, since it complemented my new hair perfectly. Two years later, I traded to a coupe with an automatic transmission, and two years after that I went back to peppy and cute, and two years after that…well, you get the idea.
When my husband decided to buy a new motorcycle, I learned to ride his cast-off. To some, that may seem more suicidal (or just plain stupid) than adventurous, but it was a chance to try something I had never dreamed I’d try. It was either that, or jump head-first out of an airplane–and that wasn’t going to happen. I ran that puppy into a curb or two before I decided I needed an even bigger motorcycle. During the test drive, I dropped it, and then felt obligated to buy it after they fixed the busted taillight. I’ve run red lights and stop signs, not because I didn’t see them, but because I can’t tell the difference between three feet and thirty feet. Once, I came to a halt half-way through a busy intersection, without (and I have no idea how this happened) getting killed or squashed flat by a truck. My luck ran out last year when I failed to make a curve in the hills of Arkansas, ran off the road and landed in grass, wedged between a chain link fence and a thick, white, wooden sign that read, “St. Paul Bible Church.” It was a good thing, too, because I was headed straight for a very large, very hard, brick wall.
After I conquered the motorcycle (I suppose “conquered” is a relative term, considering my history with one), I was feeling like I could do just about anything, so I bought a piano on sale and signed up for lessons. It’s been a few years now, and I still don’t know a whole lot about it, but I did learn enough to develop a repertoire of three songs that I can play with relatively few errors, and without looking at the music, which is important, because I can’t play piano and read music at the same time. It’s like texting while driving. It’s just an accident waiting to happen. Ask anybody who’s heard me. Once, when my mother was alive and living here, she made it a point to stop by on her way to the kitchen to tell me it sounded like I was skinning a cat. A comment like that would have derailed the old me forever, but I’ve grown since then. Now, I don’t care what anybody else thinks…earplugs aren’t that hard to come by.
It’s safe to say I’m not satisfied with the status quo (which is just another way of saying my attention span is microscopic), but because of that, I’m getting smarter, braver, and more content with who I am, or rather, who I will become. There’s no getting around the fact that I have more of my life behind me than in front of me. Closing time at the old fun-park is coming up fast, and I haven’t ridden all the rides, or eaten all the food, or watched all the shows. Now, they’re kicking people out, and the only thing left to do is follow the crowd through the gates to the parking lot. I’m not going willingly, though, because I’m not finished yet. I’m still learning to take risks, and I’m still learning it’s not fatal to fail. So, when I hear a voice telling me I want to play guitar, I don’t ignore it, because it might be right.
I have one last confession: Over the last few years, I’ve had all the walls in my house repainted. I’ve bought new curtains, new living room furniture, a new wide-screen TV and an new entertainment center to put it on. I couldn’t help it.
It was time to move the furniture.
I used to think I was a multi-tasker, until I had to quit eating while I wrote this. And it’s not just that I had to quit putting fork to mouth (I have never been able to type with my toes), I had to quit chewing, too…just until I finished this sentence. Then I noticed that as soon as I started chewing again, my deeper thoughts dissipated like mist, and all I could think about was moving my jaws up and down without biting my tongue.
It would probably be even better if I could quit digesting, but since I don’t have access to that particular administrative privilege, I’ll have to settle for being semi-productive.
Thank goodness…I thought I was just lazy.
After much pondering and putting-off, I’m finally getting this blog-thingy started. I have no clue where it will lead, because just as my mind tends to jump from one thought to another with no warning, this blog will probably be just as haphazard. As a result, I will most likely break every blogging rule there is, and maybe even some they’ve not thought of yet.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m not a rule breaker. I am one of those stodgy legalists who needs structure to function. So, as you can imagine, I have had a hard time deciding how to begin. My problem is, I seem to have to do everything right the first time – can’t help it – so I put it off until I can take a reasonable run at whatever I’m contemplating with a minimum number of errors. Sheesh…it’s a wonder I ever get out of bed in the mornings, as the trip from my bed to the bathroom is wrought with potential missteps. But, I do get out of bed every morning and up to now it hasn’t killed me.
So, I’ve started this blog and I hope my luck holds. However, now that I’ve officially got one, I don’t know quite what to do with it. I think it’s a lot like having a kid. You want one, but once you get one, it occurs to you that your life was a whole lot simpler without one. It also occurs to you that you must now live up to all those silent commitments you made to yourself, because you sure don’t want to start something (again!) that you won’t finish.
Therefore, I must ask myself, why do I want to blog? Hardly seems necessary, since I haven’t written any book I want to promote, or published any article I want to brag about. I want to blog because I want an excuse to write. And, I’m certain I’m not the only one out there with insecurities and doubts the size of…well, something really gigantic.
Surely, I’m not the only neurotic out there.