Thursday, May 31, 2012

Where have all the flowers gone?

We have a lot of wildlife in our backyard:  deer, raccoons, rabbits, fox, skunks and a whole passel of songbirds.  I love them.  Truly, I do.  We feed them, we watch them, they bring great joy into our lives every day.  Except for the very rare occasion when someone steps out of line.  Like the skunk that almost sprayed Hubby one dark, chilly night.  Now, I'm not namin' any names, (I'm lookin' at you, Mr. Deer) but someone has eaten the tops off of every beautiful little sunflower that Hubby planted for me.  Every stinkin' one.

Now, I'm gonna turn around, and whoever it was can put them back without any repercussions.  It will be an amnesty sort of thing.  No punishment.  Just step forward, put them back so they can bloom nice and pretty in another couple of months, and we can all be happy.  Okay?  Here we go.  I'm turning around.  Go ahead. 

Seriously, go ahead.

I'm waiting.

Still waiting.

Sigh.  Alright, I'll give you one more day.  Maybe two.  Or three.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Everybody in the Water!

We had a great holiday weekend.  We hadn't made any special plans, but we ended up with lots of folks at our house, and it was a ball.  We became those people who start partying on one day and just keep going throughout weekend.  Just like one of our neighbors.  Minus the keg and the scantily dressed women.  Which reminds me, I should probably check on their wellbeing.  There weren't any kegs or scantily clad women at their house this weekend, which is highly unusual for a holiday.  And I could barely hear their stereo while standing in the street, so something must be wrong. 

It was so hot around here this weekend, we could have all been scantily clad and no one would have said anything.  Really, it was that hot.  96 degrees I think.  It was hotter than the arse of an alligator sitting on the equator.  I haven't weighed yet, but I suspect I'm about three pounds closer to my college weight, thanks to all the sweating I did.  Today's goal?  Hydration. 

The holiday kind of slipped up on us, so we figured we'd keep it simple and just lay around the pool.  On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning I texted and FaceBook messaged some friends and said, "Hey, we're going to be sitting around the pool today.  Come join us if you like."  And they did.  Before we knew it we had seventeen people at the house.  They started arriving at 2pm Saturday and stayed until nearly 10pm.  We grilled hot dogs, ate popsicles and swam, swam, swam.  And at the end of the night we said, "Hey, we'll be here again Monday, so if you don't have anything to do, come on back."  And they did.  So yesterday, they started arriving around 11:30am and stayed until 5pm.  It was like the party never ended, which we loved.  Everybody's kids laughed and played well together.  They wore themselves out in the water, and although I haven't asked, I suspect they all slept very well last night.   I know I did.  Once I took a shower and ate a little dinner, I realized just how zoinked out I was from the heat and the water.  I felt like a wet noodle.  A very satisfied wet noodle.  And the fun thing was that we didn't really plan any of it.  People just showed up.  We didn't sweat over food.  I grilled some hot dogs.  We drank the sodas we had on hand, and when we got hungry yesterday, we just ordered pizza.  Nice and relaxed.  I didn't even get worked up about all the three oversized loads of beach towels I washed this weekend.  I gave 'em a spin in the washer and then hung them over chairs on the patio to dry.  An hour later I rolled them up and threw them in the Man Cave for the next impromptu pool party.  Which I hope is very soon.  I need a few days to prepare for the next one though.  I'm thinking I should probably shave my legs and exfoliate before I get that nekked in front of that many people again.  Forty seven year old legs don't do "impromptu" very well.       

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Thinking about Memorial Day reminded me of this old photo of mama and her family on a trip to the cemetery to tend to the graves of loved ones.  If  my calculations are correct it was taken around 1952.  Mama is on the far right on the front row.  Her sister and brother are to the left of her.  Behind them is grandma and that stately woman with the beautiful braid is my great grandma.  She died at a fairly young age, so I never got to meet her.  When this picture was taken, grandma was pregnant with mama's baby sister.

People used to do that you know, they'd go to the cemetery on Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it used to be called, to tidy up graves, giving special attention to the war dead with flowers and small flags.  It was a special occasion.  This picture wasn't taken on Memorial Day, but it is a reminder of all those times as a child when I heard grandma talk about visiting the cemetery to leave some flowers and to make sure "everything was in order".   I like that they took it that seriously.  If you look closely at the picture though, you'll see that my Uncle D. had not yet acquired the serious attitude that great grandma Adams no doubt deemed appropriate for the task at hand.          

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Want to be an Urban Explorer

Urban Explorer-The study of parts of civilization that are normally unseen or off-limits, such as abandoned structures, drains, sewers, tunnels, etc.;  also called infiltration, reality hacking, urban caving, urban spelunking, urbex.

I want to be an urban explorer.  I have a fascination with things that are falling apart.  Mysterious, rotting, vine covered buildings and remnants of buildings that echo with the voices of its past.  Things that are being demolished by neglect. 

Urban explorers like to visit a site, photograph it in order for the world to get a glimpse of it, too, and then leave everything as they found it.  Sometimes they have to wear respirators and other safety gear to protect them from the byproducts of the decay:  asbestos, bird droppings and rusty metal.  They paddle boats to islands in the middle of big cities, scurrying past Coast Guard patrols, and they slip into the off limits sections of the catacombs of Paris and Rome.  They photograph places like the tuberculosis hospital at North Brother Island in New York City and the hurricane damaged amusement park in New Orleans.  They chase the past.  They marvel at the remnants of places abandoned a long time ago and wonder about the people who left them.    
I want to be an urban explorer.  And I want to explore beyond my backyard.   

Thursday, May 24, 2012

On the Subject of Pinterest

With some trepidation I have tiptoed into the abyss known as Pinterest.  Already knowing what a time suck FaceBook can be, I was afraid to go down the Pinterest path at first.  That's all I needed was yet another way to fart away my life on the internet.  Sometimes I like to pretend all I have to do is eat bon bons and pick my toes, and that can lead to vast amounts of wasted time on the World Wide Web ogling over dresses I'm too cheap to buy and plane tickets I cannot afford.  I also read a lot of newspapers from all over the world, but that doesn't make up for the time I spend on the internet NOT improving my mind.  I can however, point with pride to the fact that I do NOT spent time checking in on Snooki, the Situation or Kimye.  Stand anywhere near a TV, and you'll catch enough of that nonsense whether you want to or not.  The bottom line is that I have plenty to do and not enough time to do it, so I don't need another useless distraction.  But then someone sent me an invitation, and in a moment of weakness when I didn't have a book to read and there was nothing but Storage Wars reruns on TV, I succumbed to the temptation.  And as a point of interest, I have just made SpellCheck work overtime with my sixteen incorrect versions of the word "succumbed".  Are you sure there aren't two m's in succumb? 

In the beginning, I imposed a fifteen minute time limit on each Pinterest session, and for the most part, I stick to that, but it sure is tempting to get hung up in the voyeuristic aspect of seeing what all my friends are interested in.  I have one friend who pins nothing but food.  She's either hungry all of the time or studying for a culinary degree.  I should probably just go ahead and apologize to MY Pinterest followers for being so dull.  If you're not interested in photography tips and flapper hats, you won't get much out of following me.
I have noticed there are three main topics that drive the biggest majority of traffic on Pinterest:  Food, weddings and crafts.  There are a whole lot of people apparently creating their own wedding decorations, baking taco casseroles and making their own laundry detergent out of three simple ingredients.   Martha Stewart's gotta be lovin' her some Pinterest.  And sometimes, I can spot a trend in public that came right off the boards of Pinterest.  Like the day I was in a small crowd and three of us were sporting a braid incorporated in our ponytails.  And there are six you of you laughing right now because you're currently wearing that same braid.  Ha!  Raise your hand if you've made chocolate cake pops or the garden planter featuring galvanized buckets of three different sizes.  See? 
Hairstyles are another big topic on there, and it almost got me into trouble recently.  Did you see the tutorial on rolling your hair with a sock into a bun onto the top of your head, sleeping on it and then letting it down in the morning for beautiful wavy curls that took no effort?  It was repinned multiple times (the post not the bun) among my "friends", and I tried it.  Because my hair is so long the bun was really big and sat smack on the top of my head when I finished rolling it up in one of Hubby's socks.  I looked a bit like 1963.  I thought it felt a little strange but didn't worry about it.  When I went into the living room where Hubby and Teen Angel were watching TV, they did a bit of a double take.  And then I felt them staring at me after I sat down to watch TV with them.  They finally burst into laughter.  They confirmed for me that it looked at ridiculous as it felt, and we all had a good chuckle.  Fast forward about fifteen minutes and Hubby suddenly hollered out to Teen Angel, "Hey, don't be takin' your mother's picture!"  I turned to where she was sitting on my left and realized she had been trying to sneak a picture of me with her phone.  "You were trying to put me on Facebook, weren't you?" I said.   "Don't you dare post that on Facebook!"  She grinned rather sheepishly.  She was going to put a picture of me with my Pinterest bun and my ratty old pajamas on Facebook.  Threatened with having to pay her own cellphone bill, she backed off.  I damage my pride easily enough on my own without any help from her. 

I ended up leaving the bun up since I'd already gone to the trouble.  It did remind me though of the ladies of Siam on those old movies on TMC.  I felt like I was walking around with a jar on top of my head until I went to bed.  When I woke up in the morning, I unrolled it to beautiful waves.  That lasted all of five minutes.  All that work for nothing.  Thank you, Pinterest for that humiliation.  My family thanks you for the laughs.
I learned a lesson that is as old as time.  Just because something looks easy doesn't mean it is, and just because something looks good on Pinterest doesn't mean it is.  It has not however, stopped me from looking for a great bon bon recipe or a better way to pick my toes. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Word of the Day-"Impression"

Pronunciation:  im-presh-uhn
Form:  noun
Definition:  1.  a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, conscience, etc.
2.  the first and immediate effect of an experience or perception upon the mind; sensation.

3.  the effect produced by an agency or influence.
4.  a notion, remembrance, belief, etc., often of a vague or indistinct nature.
5.  a mark, indentation, figure, etc., produced by pressure.
6.  an image in the mind caused by something external to it.
7.  the act of impressing; state of being impressed.
8.  Dentistry . a mold taken, in plastic materials or plaster of Paris, of teeth and the surrounding tissues.
9.  an imitation of the voice, mannerisms, and other traits of a person, especially a famous person, as by an entertainer.
Origin:  1325–75; Middle English impressio ( u ) n < Latin impressiōn- (stem of impressiō ), equivalent to impress ( us ) ( see impress1 ) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms:
im·pres·sion·al, adjective
im·pres·sion·al·ly, adverb
im·pres·sion·less, adjective
pre·im·pres·sion, noun
Synonyms:   impact, imprint
Used in a sentence:  "To Hula's dismay, the very itchy tick bite on her lower right hip gave everyone the impression that instead of scratching the bite, she was scratching her arse."  Frequently and furiously.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Lord Answers Prayer

I've taken to randomly shouting "We're goin' to the Book Club!" to no one in particular at my house lately.  And if you don't know the reference then you haven't seen the trailer for Matthew McConaughey's new movie, Magic Mike.  Can I just say I'm grateful he's finally decided to embrace his sex symbol status and run with it in a role as a male stripper. 
Photo Courtesy of:  I don't know.  I got distracted.

Sweet mother of Mabel, I may actually go to the movies for this one instead of waiting for it to hit HBO.  God is good.  All the time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just Keep Spinning

I was trying to decide what to write about when I realized that I could actually write about our weekend since it wasn't as mundane as it usually is.  Not that it's boring around here because the laundry alone can keep me busy for hours some Saturdays.  It's just that laundry and feeding old folks isn't very exciting to the rest of the blogging world.  I have no big cattle ranch or cooking show to pontificate about, no big renovation projects to dazzle you with or any salacious gossip to share.  Unless you count the fact that one of our elderly neighbors failed to make it home from her boyfriend's house in time one morning to take her granddaughter to school.  And that juicy tidbit is at least five years old, so see?  Nothing exciting here.  As a side note, we did take particular pleasure in that incident as that neighbor, throughout the years, has ALWAYS been the one to point out the more raucous goings on of EVERYBODY else.  A bigger person would not have laughed about that.  But I'm not a bigger person.  And apparently, neither is anyone else in the Hula-gen household, even Papa T.  Anyway, despite a lack of scandalous news, it was a little more lively around here than usual this past weekend.

We spent Saturday at an amusement park about three hours from here.  We stayed from open to close, and every time I do that, I start to wonder if I've lost my mind.  In my youth, I could spin on a Tilt-A-Whirl all day long, bake in the sun and eat six hot dogs without a problem.  Now, I get nauseous just looking at anything that twirls.  Over time, I have developed a motion sickness issue, and I have to be careful about the rides I choose, especially when it's really hot since I like to pass out if I get too hot.  Since I'm usually with a bunch of kids when I go to these places, I sometimes get roped into riding the wild stuff.  It's peer pressure, really.  Pure and simple.  Frankly, I don't like to admit that a ride scares me.  I'm the one on the back of the roller coaster with closed eyes and gritted teeth, pretending to enjoy having my stomach fly out of my rectum.  In the past couple of years, I've come to terms with the fact that I don't have to prove anything to anybody, and that I can float all day in the water park on the Lazy River if I want to without ever jumping on anything that spins, jerks or zooms.  Teen Angel can bungee jump all day if she likes.  I do not. 

I love a good water coaster though, and this park has two outstanding water coasters.  Hubby and I enjoyed those, along with some other water slides.  We also floated.  A lot.  Because you know what?  No one can call us on the phone while we're floating.  We can relax without worrying that anybody is going to need us for anything anytime soon, because even if they do, they can't reach us without a whole lot of effort.  That doesn't happen too often at our house.  Also, my stomach doesn't fly out my rectum on the Lazy River. 

Teen Angel took a friend along Saturday, so they rode roller coasters all day, while Hubby and I leisurely baked in the sun.  And sunny it was.  It was near 90 degrees.  In fact, Hubby got a little sick from the sun near the end of the day, and a girl passed out from the heat while she was in line behind us at one of the water coasters.  Such a shame, too because she had waited nearly an hour in that line and had made it almost to the front when she dropped to the ground.  How annoying would that be to wait all that time and miss the ride?   

It was a day for injuries.  About two hours after that we saw a boy with a nosebleed, and it was a gusher.  He looked like someone had taken a hatchet to his face.  We saw another girl in a wheel chair with a freshly wounded foot, and when we stopped into the First Aid station for a band-aid for my foot, they had three patients in there.  Uh, note to self...don't wear new flip flops to the amusement park. You might get a blister.

A trip to the water park always reminds me of two things; first of all, Americans are just getting fat.  Because one of the water rides has an 800 pound per tube limit, each tube party had to step on a big floor scale to make sure the group was small enough for the ride.  If you were under the limit, a green light came on.  If not, it turned red.  How sad is it that we have to do that?  Also, I'm amazed at some of the swimsuits people will wear in a public venue like that.  I'm no prude, but I know when to cover my hoo hoo.  In my humble yet noisy opinion, the water park is no place to show off your Brazilian wax. 

Two, I am one of only three people in the Midwest without a tattoo.  By the way, is it really trendy right now to get a big ol' cross tattooed on your left shoulder?  Is that a fad in tattoo circles right now because I saw a jillion of them this weekend, all very similar and all in the same location.   I'm thinking I missed this on the Huffington Post cultural section.  A local longtime tattoo artist says tattoo trends come and go.  The 80's were really big for Pooh Bear and Eyeore, so if you see a woman with Pooh Bear on her back, you can pretty much guess when she went to Florida on spring break.  A woman in line for one of the water coasters with a huge Insane Clown Posse tattoo all over her left arm is the inspiration for a regular segment I'm think of adding to this blog, called "What the heck?!"  ICP on your body forever?  Really??  Somewhere out there, a mother is taking Zanax over that.

We made it through the day with no major injuries or misadventures.  We did have a really long wait at one of the water coasters because of a breakdown of the ride.  People are such sheep.  We all stood there and wondered out loud about the safety of the brand new ride as we watched them unload the riders, walk them down the safety ramps and use a crane to remove the problem raft off the track.  As soon as they started it again, we all clapped and cheered and proceeded to get on the ride.  Not one person got out of line.  Is that faith by ignorance?  Or just ignorance?  I told myself, "Self, we are the people who drank Jim Jones' Kool-Aid."

It was a good day, topped off by a meal at Denny's before we hit the road home.  I haven't eaten at a Denny's in years, but I can attest to the tastiness of the spaghetti and meatballs at their Dale, Indiana restaurant.  Clean bathrooms?  Not so much.  Teen Angel's buddy, who has been a poor college student this past year, lapped up her roast beef like it was steak and lobster.  I haven't enjoyed paying for someone's meal that much in a long time.  

We got home kind of late, and it was all I could do to stay awake on the ride home, yet another reminder of how much the spring in my spring chicken has sprung.  It was a nice family day, though, worth the sun and the wait and the water wrinkles.  We don't get a lot of those these day because of the time involved in taking care of Papa T.  We'd like to go again, but I'm thinking we need to wait a little while.  I need to build up the tilt in my whirl first.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Not Bad Just Crazy Weird

See how this dandelion appears to barely hang onto to its goods?  Like those little wisps could fly off at any moment?

That's me.  Yeah, it's been one of those crazy days. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I Run Even Though I'm a Turtle

Saturday, I ran the relay portion of the Iron Mom half marathon our town holds on Mother's Day weekend.  Last year, I did the whole thing (slowly), but my foot injury several weeks ago dashed any dreams I had of doing that this year.  When a friend of mine asked me to run it as a relay I figured I could keep my foot in decent enough shape to manage that so I agreed to do it, along with a couple of other ladies.  Here's our team, Scrambled Legs N' Achin'.

We each had a great morning, performed at our best and came away in tenth place among the 25 relay teams.  We were pretty tickled with that given that none of us is particularly speedy and three of us are knocking on the door of fifty.  High fives and fist bumps all the way around. 

The four legs to the race were of different lengths and one, the longest at nearly four miles, contained all of the hills.  We rolled dice earlier in the week to see who was going to run that leg, and I was the unlucky winner.  I hadn't really been running hills because I was afraid to stress my ankle or roll it before the race, so I wasn't really looking forward to running that rolling section of the race, but I decided that if I wasn't going to do the whole half marathon I at least needed the challenge of the worst leg, so I sucked it up and gave it my best.

When M. finished the first leg and hit the first relay station where I was waiting for her, she came barreling at me at breakneck speed with the timing belt in her hand.  I said to myself, "S****! The pressure is on to finish strong."  My teammate, P., hollered, "You got this!" and in my head, I said, heck yeah, I got this.   I took off and immediately hit the first hill, a low rise that stretched for a half block then turned into a slight dip and then the first big hill.  I figured instead of dreading each one, I would count them off as I came to them and attack each one.  That worked pretty well until about the twelfth hill.  By that point, I was grunting, groaning and wishing for a Coke Zero and a nap.  I kept plugging away and found some renewed energy when I saw Hubby in exactly the spot I had asked him to stand.  Pretty soon, I hit the last hill at the bottom of High Street.  It's named High Street for a reason.  I struggled up it in a race walk and as I neared the top I could hear cheering off in the distance at the next relay station.  It wasn't terribly far away, and something just clicked in my head.  I said, "Self, you got this.  Leave everything on the street and finish strong."  And I did.  I found steam I didn't know I had and kicked into high gear.  I was giving it all I had when I hit the relay station.  B. took the third leg and P. finished up on the fourth leg.  We met her a couple of blocks from the finish line and ran in with her.  It was just a great morning to celebrate our efforts to keep pushing ourselves forward and keep pushing old age back.

And that's why I like this particular race.  Even though many men run it, it has the feel of a celebration of women trying to do something to better their health or accomplish a goal.  And that's why I run.  To stay healthy and accomplish new goals.  A runner was quoted in the local newspaper recently as saying there are two kinds of runners, those who compete and those who complete.  I complete.  Some runs are good.  Some stink, but every time I meet a goal, no matter how humble it is compared to really good runners, I feel good about myself and I learn something about myself.  About my physical strength, my mental strength and my stamina.  I will never be a champion, but that doesn't really matter.  I will never run even an eight minute mile, but that doesn't matter.  I'm working to beat my goals, and that's good enough for me.

The running community is so supportive.  One of the things about being toward the back of the pack is that you witness so many people who are struggling to finish their first race or struggling to overcome a disability.  So many people are trying to complete their first race after taking up running to lose weight.  They may be shuffling down the street at a snail's pace, but they are proving something to themselves.  That's so inspiring to me.  And even the fast folks are supportive of the slugs like me.  So many times I've been encouraged by a really good runner who took a moment to cheer me on or to treat me as if I belong out there just as much as the five minute miler.  And the onlookers are great, too.  During the race Saturday, several people came outside and sat in front of their homes to cheer us on, hand out water they brought out there or orange slices.  In the subdivision where I ran a great deal of my leg, people had written messages on the street in sidewalk chalk near some of the steeper hills.  Things like, "left foot" followed closely by "right foot" and then a little later, "breathe".  My favorite message?  "We are all Kenyans."  That one made me smile and actually pick up my speed a tad.  I can't tell you how encouraging it is for me when a stranger hollers at me to "Go!"  A friend of mine who ran a different leg of the race was trotting down the street and came by a decidedly unfit woman who was standing in her robe with family in front of their house cheering for everyone who ran by.  When J. jokingly hollered out, "Run with me!"  She did.  For one whole block in her robe.  How cool is that?  And when I finished, Hubby and Teen Angel were there with their "Go Mom" sign and a big hug.  God bless them, they're dedicated.  They have to wait a long time for this slow old woman to cross the line, but they're always there, cheering me on as if I were Usain Bolt.

I sometimes wonder how much better the world would be if we could all be that encouraging to each other at all times.  People who don't run often wonder why runners do what they do, especially the ultra runners.  It's to be better.  And those who run best pull along those of us who drag up the rear.  They pull us along with a kind word, some encouragement and sometimes a good kick in the pants when we're being lazy.  It's a crazy sport, but it teaches you a lot about yourself and a lot about other people.  And while I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it, I hope to do it for a long time.  And the day that I have to quit is the day that I will stand by the street in my robe and holler at those racing by me.  Saturday was a great day with friends.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Berry Excited

Maybe we're a little simple, but around our house, we get very excited when we plant produce and it actually yields fruits or vegetables.  We LOVE picking stuff out of the garden. 

A year and a half ago, we planted some blackberry, raspberry and blueberry bushes.  They were too young to do anything but grow a few branches last year, but this year they are outdoing themselves.  The blueberries are a little thin, and it's too early to know how many raspberries we'll have, but y'all, we are going to have a ton of blackberries.

Cobbler, here we come!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mellow Yellow

Recently, I was cleaning up the kitchen when a friend texted me and said, "You need to check out this field."  Actually, it was more like "U need 2 check out this field."  That's what happens when your friends know you spend a fair amount of time taking pictures of anything and everything.  Pretty soon, they become your eyes and ears, and they start alerting you to things they think would make a good picture.  This was actually the second such message I had gotten that week.

So, on this particular Sunday afternoon, we exchanged some texts and I was told that this field was not too far from where I live and that it was full of a yellow weed that made it mighty purty.  When I finished my cleaning, I tossed my gear in the car and headed toward the field since the golden light you get in the late afternoon was upon me.  I toddled over there and sure enough, it was mighty yellow and mighty purty.  And as I snapped away I said to myself, "Self, it's nice 2 have good friends who look after u." 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Subway Serenade

The Hula-gen's like to use public transportation when we travel.  We've found that the easiest way to get around a new town is to get around the way the locals do.  One of our proudest accomplishments when we were in Europe was mastering the Tube in London and the Metro in Paris.  Teen Angel and I wore those subway systems OUT.  And one of the more fun things about the subway, for us anyway, was the live entertainment in the train cars and subway tunnels.  We have some of that in the US but nothing like they do across the pond.  In Paris, it seems that any yahoo with a portable microphone can hop aboard a train and serenade you with his talents.  Or lack thereof.  These guys were especially funny because they had the loudest tuba evah and were playing polka.  All day.  We passed them several times that day, and every time they were playing what sounded like the same polka song.

Forgive the bad picture, we were moving fast in our effort to squeeze in yet another museum on our last day in town when I took this. 

Teen Angel and I got a lot of laughs out of the reactions of the locals who obviously get much more tired of the least talented performers than the tourists do. For us it was an adventure.  I would imagine it gets old when you hear it every day.  That's pretty much what one very expressive French lady indicated with her eye rolls.

In London, it seemed a little more controlled.  They're so dignified there, you know.  There was subway entertainment, but they were kept in particular areas of the tunnels and out of the train cars.

They were usually really good, too.  While I don't know for sure, I'm betting you have to audition in order to perform there.

I just think the subway is a fascinating place to share and experience art, which is why I like this video so much.  I love a good flash mob, and this one is great.  If only someone would serenade me like this on my way to work every morning.  I'd smile all day long.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Delightfully Tacky yet Unrefined

Hubby continues to add little items to his Man Cave here and there, like some signs we brought him back from Europe.  The latest addition?  A rolling drink cooler that we can use when large groups are at the house.  You know, like the kind you see in convenience stores.  After weeks of scouring Craigs List, Ebay and yard sales, he found one.  It was free.  All he had to do was replace the broken lid with a new one fabricated for just a few dollars by a local graphic arts business.  And boy was it ever a hit with his monthly poker buddies and our 30ish male electrician who came to check on a breaker Saturday. 

AND certainly with the thirteen year old next door neighbor who happened to be outside when Hubby unloaded it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Newest Hula-gen who has yet to be Given a Blog Name

Seven pounds, fourteen ounces and nineteen and a half inches long.

Boys and girls, ladies and germs, I present Baby W. or as Special Delivery calls him "Baby Wheeeeel!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Catching Up. Oh, and a Video.

Hubby's gallbladder came out just fine.  Good thing, too.  Apparently, it had been "failing to perform" for a while and had some adhesions on it, which meant they had to dig around in there somewhat.  He came through with flying colors, some superb pain medication and a much better feeling gut.  On the inside anyway.  It's still a little raw on the outside.  All in all, a success.  And now he can turn his attention to the spur that seems to be developing on his right heel.  Aging is not for the faint of heart, is it, boys and girls?

As I'm typing this, we are awaiting the arrival of Super Cop's and Mrs. Scrubs' new baby.  By the next post, I should have a new nephew, and hopefully, all his fingers and toes will be accounted for and Mama can quit worrying about it so much and just enjoy her newest grandbaby.  Ah, babies.  They remind us that there is good in the world, no?  And then some of them grow up to be Snooki's and make us depressed about the state of humanity all over again.   

Teen Angel made it through her roller derby bout Saturday night without breaking an ankle or knocking any teeth out, which brings me more relief than you can imagine.  At the last bout, a team member broke her ankle in three places.  As they hauled her off to the hospital, she told her team mates she'd be back at practice soon.  When pigs fly, I thought.  Have you seen how long it takes an ankle to heal?  Maybe that's the mother in me talking.  Oh, wait, no it's not.  A broken ankle is serious.  Is this how mother's feel when they watch their sons play football?  At least I can watch the bouts with both eyes open now.  I'm getting better. 

And I am busy, busy, busy with photos.  It's peak photo season, and I have several shoots going on right now.  Which is good because that's more money for Italy, but it takes a fair amount of work to keep up with all the pictures I need to edit.  It brings me great joy, though, so all is good.  Look out, Venice!  Here I come!  Eventually.

Now then, forgive me for the brief update, but I have to go.  I'm off to the hospital to find out if my new nephew is here.  There is a baby to be held.  And cuddled.  And sniffed......  Perhaps a picture of him in the next post.  Wait, did I just say "perhaps"?  Of course, there will be a picture.  I take a picture of everything.  You're lucky I didn't find a way to show you Hubby's sludge filled gallbladder.

Oh, and check out this video.  It's as cute as a speckled pup underneath a rosebush.  And if you've never heard that saying, well then, you're obviously not from Kentucky. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Do Ya' Feel Lucky Punk?

Technology certainly makes life easier sometimes, but I'm a firm believer that there are times when a little less technology would help me more.  As a middle aged person, I hold my own in keeping up with the changes in technology, but it's becoming more and more of a struggle.  The other day while trying to regain the satellite TV signal that inexplicably dropped out when my back was turned, I found myself firing the remote at the TV in Dirty Harry style and shouting, "When I was young, we didn't have this problem!  We simply got up and turned the channel manually!"  And then I promptly wrestled with my Blackberry and made a note in it to go buy some Rockports because I was pretty sure that rant officially qualified me as an old fart.  Honestly, there is nothing that frustrates me more than trying to get the satellite TV to work.  When we moved into the new house, I'd thought I'd yank myself bald before I got all of the TV's in our house to work properly.  The tech support team at Dish Network and I were on a first name basis.  One more call to them and I would have been asking Ben how his mother was and if they has finally gotten any rain in his part of Texas.

Computers are another area that I struggle with.  As daddy says, I know just enough about them to be dangerous.  I am the I.T. person in our house, which should impress no one as it just means that I know more about the computer than Hubby.  Which isn't saying much because his internet perusing is limited to the desktop shortcuts of Craigslist Western Kentucky and the local jail website where he can check on who's been arrested.  Old parole officer habits die hard, I guess.  I can maintain our computer and keep it functioning fairly well.  I can even reconnect all the cords correctly on at least the third try on the rare occasion I have to unhook it.  We're currently on a roll with dying hard drives, by the way.  We've lost two in the past year.  See the bald spot on THIS side of my head?
The problem I have is with software.  I can load it.  I just can't always use it well.  It's hard when your computer skills are all self taught.  Keep in mind computers came into common use when I was in college, and the only people taking computer classes in high school were the girls who planned to seek a career as an administrative assistant.  As I planned to be the next Jessica Savitch and travel the world, I did not sign up for those classes, so everything I've learned about computers has been ON THE JOB TRAINING.  I was trying to put together a presentation two weeks ago that required some new PhotoShop skills.  When  a coworker asked what was taking so long, I explained that it's slow going when you have to stop every fifteen minutes and watch a tutorial on YouTube. 

I have to pick my way through every new software program I get and figure out by trial and error how to fix pictures, manipulate text and images and get them in the right format in the way people want them.  That joy comes in many forms.  There's the zip file.  Ack, I hate to zip.  I never get it right the first time.  Zip, unzip, zip.  Rinse, repeat until I finally remember how it's done.  PhotoShop comes with a myriad of frustrations.  The lasso tool, the adjustment layers and heaven help me, the vector masks and the transform selections.  Now, I have Adobe's In Design so I can make our own ads for various publications my company advertises in from time to time.  I've had that software for three weeks, and so far, I've figured out how to make a colored box.  That's it.  Just a box.  You want text in that box?  See me in November.
I'm no web designer either.  It's all I can do to keep this blog going.  You'll notice I don't update the look of it very often.  That's because I have to use widgets.  Widgets?  All my life I thought a widget was some imaginary factory product that people ranted about when something went wrong at work.  As in, "It's not like we're making widgets around here people!"   Come to find out it's now something that requires me to learn how to manipulate it.  Widget schmidget. 

Telephones have also gotten so complicated I can barely talk on them.  There are times when I lose my voicemail at work due to operator error.  This operator.  Not the telephone operator because SHE'S NOT THERE ANYMORE TO HELP YOU. 
Truth be told, I'm kind of scared to get an iPhone because I'm afraid I won't be able to figure it out.  Is there an app that teaches me how to use it?  Besides, I don't want deal with Suri.  I hear she can be a bit of a fritch sometimes.  I don't need anything else around here talking back to me.  Also, rumor has it she can't spell.

Years ago, when I worked in television, technology was always changing in that business, and the equipment we worked with changed all of the time, especially for the show directors.  One of the senior directors retired right before another round of new gear arrived, mostly because he didn't want to deal with that.  He said it wasn't because he couldn't learn something new, he just DIDN'T want to learn anything new anymore.  I'm starting to understand that more and more these days.  Don't get me wrong, I love learning new things.  I'd just like to be able to watch The Antiques Roadshow without calling tech support in Galveston and screaming, "Go ahead, Ben!  Make my day."          

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Little Bull

Y'all, I have a weakness for dogs that others find less than pretty.  And I have a special weakness for English bull dogs.  I've wanted one for years.  I just love that mashed up nose and the big droopy eyes and that floppy tongue.  Seriously, I just love that breed, so it was a special treat when a friend of mine asked me to photograph her dogs recently.  Her wonderful boisterous menagerie of pets includes, you guessed it, an English bull dog.  And a puppy at that.  Boys and girls, meet Nugget.

When I arrived, the first thing she did was lay her little head in my lap.  Sister mercy, it's a wonder she didn't go home in my camera case.  Hubby says we're not having another dog after Jack dies because it just breaks his heart when they get old and die.  Ya' think he'll notice one of these if I hide it in the man cave?