Saturday, August 08, 2009

Photo of the day: Do These Feathers Make Me Look Fat?

Umm...yeah, they kinda do.

Oh, but this is definitely your slim side.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Overheard at the grocery store
Mother to child: Potato chips are not a vegetable.

Overheard at the shelter 1
Man 1 (in a hideous blue and red Hawaiian shirt): That cat keeps staring at me.
Man 2: Maybe he's afraid of your shirt.

Overheard at the shelter 2
Little girl to father: Why can't I touch the kitties?
Father: Because they might bite you.
Girl (pointing to me): They aren't biting her.
Father: She works here.
Girl: Doesn't she taste good?
In the sheer joy that comes from being a volunteer at an animal shelter it is easy to forget the harsh reality that not all animals make it. I had a reminder of that yesterday and it upset me. It made for the only day where I didn't come home with a smile, but it caused me to wake up this morning more determined to keep doing what I'm doing.

I put in an extra hour today because there are just not enough volunteers to give the cats the time, attention, and love they deserve. Every time I told myself "OK, last cat of the day" I'd spy some new little face peering hopefully through the bars of their cage and I'd take him or her out for a play. I'm going to try doing longer shifts from now on because they need it so much. And, quite frankly, so do I.

Yesterday also reinforced my respect for everyone who works or volunteers with shelter animals throughout the world. These beautiful, needy, helpless animals need our care, love, and attention. They need people with big hearts (and open checkbooks) to make sure they are healthy and happy or to decide, sadly, that they are suffering and their pain should be ended.

When I walk through the shelter and see so many beautiful, loving critters who just want someone to love, it breaks my heart. And every time I see someone walking out the door with a happy dog on a leash, or a purring kitty in a box, it unbreaks my heart a little. Through no fault of their own these animals have come to us with no other resource, and we do our best to make sure their stay with us is full of love and care until they find their forever homes. My contribution to this is but a tiny part of the whole, and I live in admiration of those who do this day in and out, for years. They are my heroes and I want to be just like them.

This is, as I have said, the best thing I've ever done.
Photos of the day: Predator and Prey

This is the tiny cat who plans to leap from the safety of my lap to attack....

...the giant ball of doom

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Scenes from Silver Creek: Games

Summertime in Silver Creek meant playing until the early evening; taking advantage of the late sunlight to play one more round of freeze tag or hide-and-seek. The telephone pole in front of the Carter’s house was always home base, no matter what the game, and anything past the Rubison’s house was out of bounds.

We actually had an ice cream truck that patrolled the neighborhood and we would happily break for fudgesicles or root beer popsicles. Occasionally Mrs. Murchison would call us all down to her house and she’d slice open a homegrown watermelon. She’d put it in a cooler in the afternoon, covered with ice. By the evening it was teeth-tingly cold and full of juice that ran in pink rivers down our chins.

Sometimes we’d sit on her porch and spit seeds onto a newspaper and she’d tell us stories about her travels around the world. Other days we’d gather at someone’s house, the windows and doors wide open, and we’d lie on our stomachs in front of the TV and watch Wild Wild West or the Wonderful World of Disney.

On really hot days we’d run through the sprinklers, shrieking as the cold water hit our pale, overheated skin, and all the kids and local dogs would turn up dripping wet at some poor mother’s house, begging for towels and juice.

Frequently we would make up games. Or, rather, I would. I was usually the instigator in the making up games game. The others were more the follow the rules type. But I liked coming up with my own fun. I think my favorite invented game was “Movie Star Tag.” If you were “it” you had to tag someone. They had 10 seconds to scream out the name of a favorite movie star. If they did, you were still “it.” If they didn’t, they became “it.” I loved that game but often got in trouble because I was the only one of the group who watched old movies. They’d tag me and I’d call out “Clark Gable” and there would be howls of protests that he wasn’t a famous movie star because they’d never heard of him.

We also had a mass war once, worthy of Tolstoy. It was Barbie vs. the world. All the girls got their Barbies and Kens and Midges and Barbie campers and such and would hold the hedge between the Carter’s house and the Hilliard’s place. All the boys, and I, mustered our G.I. Joes and little green army men and our armored division of Tonka trucks and attacked at the weak point, by the zinnias.

It was epic. Shannon Carey cried when her favorite Barbie became a casualty of war, having its head bit off by the McConnel’s dog, Barney. Our side took Valerie Bloch’s little brother, Terence, hostage. We were going to ransom him for brownies but gave him back when he told us he could throw up on demand and threatened to prove it on us. Mikey McConnel’s Tonka dump truck did some serious renovation to a Malibu Barbie beach house and I’m pretty sure a rogue Delta Force G.I. Joe molested someone’s Barbie.

We’d play until the sun went down or until someone’s mother yelled from the front porch to come home. The day of the great war it was a draw, with the official armistice declared by my mother who informed all of us it was past time we all went home and had a bath.
Photo of the day: Crucifixation VII

Exploring the ennui of atheism against a backdrop of phallo-centric fallacy.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I Didn't Just Knock Over My Food

Just an extra dose of cuteness as I stumble my way through the night.

My One Superstition
I am not a superstitious person.

I have walked under mirrors. I don't freak out if I spill salt. And, as i have noted in annoying detail, I love cats of all colors. So a black cat crossing my path makes me smile, not cringe.

But there is one superstition I will not break. I will not watch the movie Jaws. Because when I do, people die.

Not the hapless people in the movie, but real people. In my life.

I was watching Jaws when I found out my father had died. I was watching it at the exact moment my grandmother died. I tried to watch it again and received a phone call that a dear friend had AIDS. So I don't watch it no more. Nope. Never. I've learned my lesson the hard way. Now I get nervous if I even see an ad for it. If I'm channel surfing and land on it, even for a few seconds, I'm convinced someone I love will break a leg or catch pneumonia. I'm even a bit cautious around the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week programming. It's this week and while I have watched one program I urge all those I love (you know who you are) to be extra careful this week.

Anybody else have any weird taboos or superstitions? Please tell me I'm not alone in my lunacy.
Photo of the day: Cherry Relief

Because sometimes you just need a cough drop that tastes like a Life Saver.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Scenes from Silver Creek: The Tuppervon Aunts

One Aunt, Claudette, sold Tupperware. Aunt Edith sold Avon. And you were expected to buy them every time you went to a party. Unfortunately everyone in town was friends with everyone else, so you typically got invited to about 3 parties a year for each product.

My mother would drag us girls with her, cementing the unfairness of gender roles in my family as my brothers would make snide gestures at us while happily shooting baskets in the driveway as we pulled away. Meanwhile I’m in a skirt for god’s sake and on my way to a house that always smells like hard boiled eggs to sit with a bunch of dull woman for a few hours while they fawn over plastic containers to hold their oatmeal. Oh, joy.

The Tuppervon Aunts were, at least, no actual relation to me. They were church aunts, women around your mother’s age that you call “aunt” or “aunty” because it’s easier than remembering everybody’s name….even though they think you do it because you have such good manners. These two were, however sisters, and worked together to make sure they planned their parties around each other’s and did their bit to help out with the arrangements and to conspicuously place a large order from the other when the sales books came out. But the parties had some key differences.

Tupperware parties were all about demonstrating how completely confusing and useless a kitchen is unless stocked with these miracle gadgets. So Aunt Claudette would cater her party herself, with perfect wedges of cheese displayed on the most perfect plastic cheese plate ever, complete with perfect plastic cover and matchingly perfect knife set. Or there would be a glorious cake, on a clear plastic stand with a snap-on lid to keep it from getting stale. Another cake would make the arduous journey from kitchen to dining room in a round carrier with a lid and snap-on carrying handle, perfect for bringing your contribution to any pot-luck dinner or church bake sale. To lighten moods made heavy by rhetorical questions such as “have you ever opened a box of cookies only to have them stale the very next day?” We would play weird food-related trivia games where Aunt Claudette asked questions such as “what nation invented the Gherkin pickle?” and the winners were rewarded with little Tupperware tchoshkes such as the orange peeler that I still have or the picnic toothpick carrier which our dog promptly ate.

Avon parties were a different breed. If Tupperware was all about Donna Reed as a suburban housewife then Avon was about Laura Petrie as a suburban housewife. Donna had perfect pearls, a perfect family, so of course she needed perfect storage systems for her cornflakes and bread. Laura, however, had Capri pants and pert breasts; both things have been known to draw attention away from a cake that tilted in the box or bit of flour spilled on the counter because she didn’t have the right kind of canister.

Laura didn’t want a deviled-egg plate. She wanted “Fiji Blue” eye shadow and “Sunset Shell” pink lipstick. She wanted face creams with fake French names like “Softique” and “Parisianne Crème.”

Which was all well and good for Laura Petrie, but the ladies of Silver Creek didn’t wear Capri pants and tended to limit their cosmetics to lipstick and a bit of powder “to keep the shine off.” I never did figure out why shiny was so bad. But this cultural diversity meant that Aunt Claudette’s Tupperware parties always did better than Aunt Edith’s attempts to be the Estee Lauder of Merton’s Drive. Oh she always managed to sell lipstick and nail polish, and did ok on things like bubble bath and hand cream. But the games at her parties tended to be more like “which celebrity has the better make up” and we had to decide between Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. She made it seems like there was a right or wrong answer, not a vote. And we never did figure out how she decided who would win the prize, but someone always did. In fact one year my mother, to her great mystery, found herself going home with a bottle of Lavender Bubble bath. She was so flustered by this largesse that she ended up buying about $50 worth of skin creams, lipsticks, soaps, and other luxury items.

She gave the bubble bath to me.

It gave me hives.
Photo of the day: Kittenshot

Sometimes I have nothing to offer but cute kitten photos. But you know, that's enough.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Photo of the day: Keys

Why can I never find my keys?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Photo of the day: Under the Cover

Where the magic happens.

And oh, by the way, I love this photo. Well done me.