Wednesday, July 27, 2005

My Birthday 7-28-05

My Birthday 7-28-05
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Thanks family for such a fun birthday party. We celebrated a day early, the big day's actually 7/28, but that just means I get to have cake two days in a row! What better way to celebrate!

Love to you all,

Monday, July 25, 2005

Goodbye, Not-Ethel

Dear Neighbor,

I’ve always wanted a neighbor I could call my best friend. She would come over most mornings and drink coffee with me. I’d stick some bread in the toaster and we’d have a little toast and talk about everything we needed to do that day. Sometimes we’d go shopping and I’d buy a gorgeous hat that was really expensive. Then we’d talk about how I’d have to hide it for a while so Ricky wouldn’t see it and yell at me for spending too much money. At night, when my gorgeous Hispanic husband was singing at his nightclub, and her fat, bald husband was watching The Fight, she’d come over and we’d knit and gossip and scheme a way for me to get into Ricky’s act. She would be the one person who knows I’m talented enough to perform at his nightclub. Yes, she would understand how Ricky would be jealous of the attention I would receive if I were to sing and dance at his club just one measly night. We would have such a good time together; no matter what kind of trouble found us, we’d always find a way out of the situation.

You, my nasty, greasy, skanky, split-end-queen, food-frying, chain-smoking scum of a neighbor, are not her. Finally, I am able to say “Ta Ta” to you and will be hauling ass out of the duplex this Friday. I hope I never run into you anywhere on this planet. It’s unlikely that I will, though, considering I don’t attend the local wrestling matches. I hope you find an anecdote for superglue and manage someday to pry your stinky boyfriend’s hand off that Dr. Pepper can I’ve never seen him without. Otherwise, I wish you the most disgusting, obnoxious, foul-smelling neighbor to move into my side of the duplex. And may this new neighbor own a St. Bernard that enjoys nothing better than to make his twice-daily deposit on your back porch.


Sunday, July 24, 2005


Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Dear Emily,

I miss you terribly! We haven't had much time together lately and I'm starting to experience withdrawal. As soon as I get moved, and you return from your family vacation, we are spending the entire weekend together. I can hardly wait, Sweetie!!


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Since No One Reads Blogs On Saturday, I Can Publish This, Which I Love

Henry Seidel Canby from Walt Whitman, An American

Page 22

I do not believe that an inability or unwillingness to hold a paying job, or even to stick to an assigned task, is a sign of literary promise, but these traits are very characteristic of men whose inner life is active and demands nourishment. Already one can say that Walt was practising, what later he preached, as did Thoreau, that living is more important than making a living. 'Some men lead professional lives — some men just live,' he said to Traubel years later. 'I prefer to just live.'

Thursday, July 21, 2005

This Is The One Where I Blow Any Chance Of Getting A Birthday Gift From My Brother

After work last night, I went to pick up Reece for our dinner date and when I arrived, no one was home yet. I went inside and played with Dooley for a few minutes, then sat down at the kitchen table and began to read the paper. In a few minutes, I felt something soft and furry being placed on the tops of my feet. Dooley had given me his "girlfriend," a hot pink teddy bear he likes to "love" on, if you know what I mean. As sweet as the gesture was, I really didn't want the nasty thing touching me, so I kicked it off and continued reading. Dooley is so cute about his "girlfriend." He brings her to me everytime I visit his house. He wants me to play fetch with it. I usually do play the game with him, but I get bored with it much quicker than he does.

After dinner, I brought Reece home and David was there. He and Dawn had also gone to dinner. I said something like, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were home.” And he grinned and said “Dawn dropped me off before she went to pick up Emily. I had to See A Man About A Horse.” I’m sure I looked at him rather oddly, because I had no idea what he meant. Then Reece said, “Dad, why didn’t you just poop in the bathroom at the restaurant?” Reece is receiving an excellent education from my brother.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Just Trying To Lift Your Spirits However I Can

I must have been really sleepy this morning when I left for work because I forgot and took the invisible car instead of the Pontiac. I was driving about 45mph, singing along to some Stevie Nicks on the radio, and this huge SUV decided to turn right in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes to avoid crashing into her. I honked and said a string of evil, vile words, of course, and she never looked at me. The very least she could have done was wave an apology, but I guess she was just too indignant that someone actually was displeased with her. Okay, I'm over it now.

Here's one that always bears repeating:

In the hospital the relatives gathered in the waiting room, where their family member lay gravely ill.

Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber.

"I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news," he said as he surveyed the worried faces.

"The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant.

It's an experimental procedure, very risky but it is the only hope.

Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have to pay for the brain yourselves."

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. After a great length of time, someone asked, "Well, how much does a brain cost?"

The doctor quickly responded, "$5,000 for a male brain, and $200 for a female brain."

The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked.

A man unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask,

"Why is the male brain so much more?"

The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and explained to the entire group, "It's just standard pricing procedure. We have to mark down the price of the female brains, because they've actually been used."

Thanks, Candee!

Monday, July 18, 2005


After work today, I went to see Emily and Reece. Emily’s been away at camp and I hadn’t seen her for almost two weeks. I hadn’t seen much of Reece, either, for the past couple of weeks, so I was really missing them. Emily was telling me about camp, and that one of her cabin mates was a girl named Toni. Toni’s mom, Janet, is an old acquaintance of mine. Janet worked for my mom several years ago and I knew her from working with her. She also introduced me to the idiot I married. Yes, Janet was, is, and always will be my arch enemy whom I attribute to causing me several years of misery through her cruel, ignorant fix-up with Idiot Boy. Yes, Janet knew he was not simply a “diamond in the rough” when she introduced us. She knew of his past behavior with his first wife and she knew he was a retched excuse for a human being. She thought I would be “good for him,” which is why she pushed us together. Okay, I’m an idiot, too, for actually marrying him, but this story isn’t about me.

It seems that while Emily was in her cabin at camp, she was hot and thirsty and Toni had a cooler full of bottled water. It’s a rule at this camp that no one is allowed to bring food with them. I guess water doesn’t count, or Janet From Another Planet, yeah she’s crazy, thinks that her precious lil’ punkin is above the rules. (Oh, and EVERYONE knows that Janet is more than a couple of cards shy of a full deck.) Anyway, Emily asked Toni if she could have one of her bottles of water, and Toni said, “No, my mom told me not to share it with anyone.” Can you believe that? I am fighting myself not to call Janet and give her a big old piece of my mind. Did I mention that the brat goes to a private Christian school??? I bet Toni ends up having as many friends as her wonderfully popular mom has.

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's Been A Long Week

Emily comes home today! I have really missed her. She sent me a letter from camp and she stated that she wished I was there to "straighten out a mean counselor." Imagine working at a girls' summer camp as a teenager and not enjoying it! I simply can't imagine that. What a fun job that would be. Anyway, I'm anxious to see my niece!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Cutest baseball player I've ever seen. For more pics of him, look at my Flickr sidebar over there>>>>>>>>>> Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Auntie Linda was telling me that she bought a Nancy Drew book for her granddaughter, Halen, and a journal. She wanted Halen to learn how to relax with a book before bed, instead of watching TV. All I can say is, YES!! In honor of reading, books, writing, and anything that keeps kids away (or limits their time in front of) TVs, I'm publishing one of my favorites poems. Go ahead, read it. It won't kill you.

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

- Wallace Stevens

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What I Saw At Lunchtime Today

A plumber's truck, with this slogan painted on the sides and the back:

Because a Flush Beats a Full House

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rainy Monday

I'm a little bit sad today, since it's Monday and it's raining. Of course, we were in dire need of the rain, but I'm forced to look out my window all day at the gloom. Besides all that, I am really missing my niece. She is away at camp, her second week of camp this summer, and I miss the little doll. Reece is here, though, and he has a couple of baseball games this week, so I'll get to see him. If it rains all week, then I'll go and pick him up after work one night and take him out to dinner and maybe to the toy store. He loves to shop, and would be perfectly happy spending all day at the mall.

My thoughts and well wishes are going out to all the folks in the hurricane zone. Bless their hearts.

SO, here's an oldie-but-goodie to make ya chuckle, even if it's just to laugh at me for posting such an ignorant joke:

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen. The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, "Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly."

The other man said, "What is the name of the restaurant?"

The first man thought and thought and finally said, "What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know... the one that's red and has thorns."

"Do you mean a rose?"

"Yes, that's the one," replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, "Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?"

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I took this in December 2004 on what was the BEST holiday I've ever taken. London, I LOVE YOU and I'm praying for your people. Posted by Picasa

Happy 22nd Birthday, Blake! I'm so glad you came to see me yesterday. You make me laugh, buddie. Now that you're a college graduate and have a GOOD JOB, I can adopt you and you can take care of me!  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

These are Auntie L's little grandsons, Rike and Win. This was taken a few days ago, on Rike's third birthday. They are so cute, I could just eat 'em up! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I Don't Need A Literary Critic, Thank You Very Much

Usually I’m quite a snob about what I read. I’ve always preferred good literature over popular lit. Having a masters degree in English only makes me more of a snob. After just finishing a Nabokov novel, however, I was ready for something fun and light. So, I went to the library right after work tonight and checked out Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons. I’ve never read much of Wolfe’s stuff, only a couple of chapters of Bonfire that were once in a Rolling Stone magazine, so I have no idea how I’m going to like it, but it looked sort of amusing. As I was checking out, the little nerdy-sort-of-cute-Matthew Broderick-look-a-like behind the checkout desk said, “You aren’t seriously going to try to read this, are you?” I felt my feathers begin to ruffle. My literary choice was being ridiculed and I was taking offense. I stopped myself from saying, “You’re not seriously thinking those four hairs on your upper lip are a mustache, are you?” Instead, I just laughed and said something about needing something easy to read, blah, blah, blah. Then, as I was leaving the library, the little shit said, very loudly, “Let me know if you actually finish it!”

So, guys, has anyone out there actually read this novel? I’m getting ready to go to bed and begin reading it, and you know what? I cannot wait!


Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth of July!! Who wants a cupcake? Posted by Picasa

History Of Animals, Final Chapter, Whew!

Okay, where was I? Life after Lucy, right. Ex-husband’s dog was killed during our first year of marriage and I bought a Boxer puppy for him a few months later. The Boxer was almost solid fawn with only a small amount of white on his chest and paws. We named him Brutus, but usually called him Brute. He grew to be a whopping ninety pounds and ate as much as Jethro Bodine. He also never calmed down. He bounced all the time, like Pooh’s Tigger. I would have named him Tigger if I’d known that when I bought him. He was a mama’s boy, and the jerk-idiot-ex-husband didn’t like him for that reason. I, however, loved him and we spent lots of time taking long walks and he would drag me up hills and ride in my little sports car just like a human! He loved popcorn more than anything and would produce a string of drool that would reach the floor whenever I made any. Yes, he was very, very drooley and his farts were so hideously stinky they would wake us up in the middle of the night. He liked to escape and go visit a daycare that was nearby and he would allow the children to ride him like he was a horse. The first time I saw this I couldn’t believe it. When I decided to get a divorce, I had to give Brute away because there were no apartments in town that would allow such a large animal. I cried when he rode off in the back of the fellow’s truck, but I know he loved his second home. I have no idea how long he lived, and I tried to forget about him, but I never did. I missed him for a long time.

About seven years ago, my friends Heather and Jason were working in the yard at their new house and this little stray puppy started visiting them every night. Heather began to feed her after a couple of days. Heather told me that I should come over and see this adorable puppy, so I did, and I took her home and I’ve had her ever since! Heather had named her Abby and the name fit her perfectly. She weighed five pounds when I adopted her and she now weighs about ten pounds. She is some sort of poodle mix and has the thickest coat of black curly hair. She is beautiful. Occasionally Emily will still say, “I can’t believe anyone would abandon such a sweet and cute dog as Abby!” That’s exactly right. Abby is the sweetest, gentlest dog I’ve ever seen. She’s also too cute for words. She absolutely adores Emily and Reece and loves to snuggle up to them when they spend the night with me. As long as she is sitting in my lap, she is content. All the time that I was in grad school I was constantly reading and writing and she would sit in my lap and I would prop my book on her and read. While writing papers, she would sit in my lap and snore and make me jealous that I wasn’t sleeping, too! She’s not too crazy about this laptop I received for graduation.

Abby isn’t too crazy about her new sister, either. For several years I’ve wanted to get another dog, primarily as company for Abby, but the right dog never came along, until a few months ago, when I was given Roxy by a distant/in-law/relative/sort of. (Too complicated to try to explain and not important to the story.) Roxy is a four-year-old Maltese and she is as sweet and calm and loving as Abby. I had her cut like a poodle at the groomer’s this week and now she and Abby look like photo negatives of each other. Mainly, I had her cut that way to get rid of the hair on her face because it was always dirty, no matter how often I bathed her. She and Abby are not best friends and probably never will be. They have learned to accept each other, but they are both terribly jealous and I have to pet them both at the same time or they have a little fit and cry. Roxy is the dominant one and always gets to the food bowl first. Abby acquiesces to her on every issue. I probably should not have taken Roxy, but I did, and now I love her so much I would never get rid of her. Abby is just going to have to get over it! I sound like a nut sometimes when I’m talking to Abby and telling her that she is my first baby and therefore special. Not sure if she feels reassured by that, but I do!

My brother, Don, felt a tug on his heart strings about six years ago when he walked into an empty house, only to find a huge grey cat had been abandoned by the people who had previously lived in the house. The cat came up to Don and started rubbing himself on Don’s legs and that was it for Don. He’s had Muki ever since. I love Muki. He comes to the door when I go visit Don and he lets me pick him up and scratch him behind his ears. He’s a fat old cat with only a few teeth, but he still manages to keep his weight on. He has also turned my brother into a definite cat person!

Emily has a cat named Cutie who lives outside, but loves to sleep on Emily’s bed when it’s really cold outside. She is a large grey and white kitty who is very friendly and always greets me when I go visit her family. Emily has a way with her that few have with cats and Cutie adores her. She does have a wild side, however, and once killed a squirrel and dismembered it and spread its limbs all over the backyard. Maybe Cutie should go work for the Mafia. She’d be a natural.

Alrightee, last but not least is Emily’s and Reece’s dog, which they acquired last fall - Dooley the Dachshund. He’s a long-haired dapple and he has one brown eye and one blue eye. He is amazingly beautiful and as hyper as hell. Emily and Reece are fascinated with him and we all eventually became charmed by him. Of course, my two girly dogs hate him with a passion. They don’t play well with others and that’s all Dooley wants to do: play until he passes out from exhaustion. He’s a sweetie when he’s calm, however, and I love getting to see him when I visit my brother and his family.

Along the way, my brothers and I, and later my niece and nephew, have had various other animals, such as goldfish, hermit crabs, turtles, and lizards. I think we even had a rabbit very briefly once. It’s always been our dogs and cats that have given us the most joy, though, and I know we will always be animal lovers. It’s my theory that God is saving all of them for us and will return them to us in the afterlife.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

History of Animals, Part Two

After Kris, my mom bought David another Cocker Spaniel, a beautiful little black puppy and gave him to Dave for Christmas. Dave named him Marlon. Or Marlin. Can’t remember which spelling is correct. Anyway, Marlin was so pretty and spunky, but very dumb and peed in the house all the time. When Dave and Dawn got married, Marlin became an outside dog and I think he was very lonely. At the same time, I “inherited” Lily as a dog-niece from Dawn. Lily was a charcoal grey teacup poodle who weighed about four pounds. She was hilarious. Whenever she was left alone, her first couple of years, she’d pull all of Dawn’s panties out of the laundry and drag them all over the house. She also loved chocolate and you absolutely could NOT drink chocolate milk without her attacking you. She once ate two bourbon cakes while Dave and Dawn were gone and when they returned they found her in an almost comatose state. She was always doing something funny. Marlin lived until about three years ago, and Lily lived to the ripe old age of fifteen (or sixteen) until she simply gave up. I miss them both.

While all of this was happening, I, living alone before I was married, got a Calico kitten and named her Lucy, after my favorite woman in the world, Lucille Ball. Lucy was a fun cat who loved to kill mice and was fortunate enough to kill a few in her life. One night I came home and she was waiting for me at the door with a mouse who was lying on its side with a tiny trickle of blood coming from its mouth. Lucy was sitting taller that I’d ever seen her before and she was as proud as an Olympic Gold Medalist with her conquest. She was also an attack-cat and would run across the bed and leap up in the air at me when I walked by. Sometimes I would speed up and she’s hover in midair with all four legs stretched out and then she’s fall to the floor. Fun times. One night I walked into the living room and found that my then-boyfriend had put her inside my new, empty china cabinet. I acted furious, but it was really funny. After that, Lucy didn’t like the BF and I never liked him much anyway, so we sent him on his way. Lucy also HATED my brother, David. Whenever he came over she would hide in the back bathroom and wouldn’t come out until he was gone. One night we decided to trick her, and Dave pretended to leave, saying goodbye very loudly and slamming the front door. He then sat down on the sofa and in just a few seconds Lucy came out of hiding and walked into the living room very relieved that he was gone. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him and hissed and ran back into the bathroom. Dave and I laughed for years about that one. When I became engaged to the idiot I married, I gave Lucy away, because the idiot’s dog hated cats and I was an even BIGGER idiot and allowed that to happen. Oh, how much better off I would have been if I’d kept the cat and dumped the idiot! Live and learn, however, and I’ll never do anything that stupid again.

Part Three tomorrow!

Note: This is MY history with animals. I'm making fun of Tom Cruise's statement about knowing the history of psychiatry by entitling my posts "History of..."

Saturday, July 02, 2005


History of Animals, Part One

The members of my immediate family are animal lovers. Most of my cousins and my Aunt Linda all love animals, too. If we happen upon a stray dog or cat, we take it in and care for it, or we make sure it goes to a good home. We will happily dog sit, or cat sit, feed your fish or lizard, and you can go and enjoy your holiday knowing that we are caring for your animals.

I was thinking about our history with animals. I didn’t have a pet until I was ten years old. My parents would not allow a fish bowl, much less an indoor dog or cat. I remember when I got my first dog. Some kids from the next block were carrying some adorable mutt puppies around the neighborhood looking for a home for them. I took one in my arms and fell in love with him. Fortunately, my mom was inside on the telephone, so when I went in to ask her if I could keep him, she smiled and nodded. She really wasn’t paying any attention to me and didn’t realize what I was requesting. The nod was a “yes” to me, so that’s how I got Lucky for the first time in my life! Yeah, I named him Lucky. He was so cute and I loved playing with him. I made him a bed on the covered patio in the back yard and spent many hours outside with him. He wasn’t allowed inside. Sadly, Lucky didn’t live up to his name. He was killed three months later by the tornado that ripped through our house and only left us alive by the grace of God and sturdy bathroom walls. That’s a whole ‘nother story, though. A neighbor later told me that she had found him and buried him for me.

A year later, my parents gave us a Cocker Spaniel for Christmas. My little brothers names him Kris Kringle and we called him Kris. He was blonde and beautiful and he lived outdoors, also. Dave and Don were constantly sneaking him in and playing with him in their room, and Kris loved it because he always found lots to eat under Don’s bed. In the summer he would take a dip in the pool everyday, then dry himself off on our mom’s azaleas. He loved our neighbor’s Golden Retriever, he loved beer, and he especially loved cheese. He could be running after a squirrel, going seventy miles an hour, and we could say “Cheeeeeese?” and he would stop dead in his tracks. Often he would run away and end up a couple of miles away, across a busy highway and in some office supply store where they always fed him doughnuts before they called us to come pick him up! Kris was with us for about seven years and then one day he disappeared. We never saw him again. Dave thought he had found him, once, across town, but it wasn’t Kris.

Part Two tomorrow.