Friday, June 30, 2006

Lost in a Good Book

Today is the day I am awarded, or have conferred upon me, my Master of Arts in Humanities! I have to tell you, it has been a long, hard two years, but I actually persevered and completed it.

Now remember, I do work in a hospital where people have “working degrees and certifications” – ones that they actually use (MD, CNA, CRNA, CRNA, CNOR, MBA, SPHR, etc.). Yesterday I was asked what this degree "means" and I answered, “It means I am very well read.”

And all those years of reading, with pen or pencil in hand, make one a bit incapable of reading for pleasure. Every book must be critiqued, salient passages underlined, symbolism explored, etc., etc., etc. What I have to do now is figure out which books I can now read for pleasure after all these years of reading for classes. I have a short list to which I retain the ability to expand or decrease at my leisure:

· The Magus, John Fowles (currently reading!!!)
· Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
· As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
· The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
· Appointment in Samarra, John O’Hara
· The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris, Andrew Robinson
· At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O’Brien
· Ulysses, James Joyce
· The Consolation of Philosophy, Ancius Boethius
· The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio
· Remembrance of Things Past, Volumes 1-3, Marcel Proust
· Clara: A Novel, Janice Galloway
· Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow (to reread – it’s been years)
· The Journals: Volume I: 1949-1965, John Fowles and Charles Drazin
· Justine, Lawrence Durrell
· The Waves, Virginia Woolf

Let me know if you think there are any books I’m missing that perhaps I should add – that would be greatly appreciated! I do not have an anticipated completion date, nor do I expect to read these books in any particular order, but I do expect to spend some leisure time lost in a good book!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Gift from a Flower to a Garden

Sunday was spent participating in an activity that I would not normally think of doing. As a matter of fact, my ignorance on this subject is so profound, that I’m embarrassed to even participate in events like this because other than uttering inane comments, I have no knowledge of the subject!

Regardless, DN2 and I, along with my mother, my aunt and my cousin, went on the Garden Club tour. It was an eye opener. There were some lovely gardens, and unfortunately I realized, again, how little knowledge I have of gardening. But you know, sometimes it really doesn’t matter, because the flowers were fantastic. And for being only 7, DN2 had a very good time (no complaints!). We of course came home after the reception following the tour loaded down with plants, to include a recovering Boston Fern which someone failed to water for two weeks. Well I got it for 50 cents – you probably think I paid too much, but my house really needs a fern, so I suppose I’ll take one that is half alive for four bits and save spending $15 or more on a healthy one because I know I can nurse this one back to life.

We also came home with some lemon balm, mint, some plants that begin with an E (I'm such a master gardener) and a Rose of Sharon (for free), which I promptly named my Grapes of Wrath plant (I love that book – it makes me sad, but I love it). To illustrate how ignorant I am about gardening, I made the classic mistake of calling it a rose bush; well it’s not, it’s actually a hibiscus, and more of a shrub. And because DN2 was the youngest person there (by about 40 years or so) she came home with about five free plants and a dollar.

It was interesting – I’ll probably end up going again next year, because it’s nice to see how creative people can be and to get a glimpse into their homes – well at least their backyards!
Once the weekend comes, DN2 and I will be outside getting our plants into the ground. Because I have to tell you, some of my plants are actually coming along quite well! (And I’ll post pictures when I get home.)

At least we’re not suffering from this kind of weather.

But still work leaves me too busy for knitting; perhaps this weekend, after the planting is done (and the cows are milked, and the eggs are gathered, and the pigs are fed - yeah, I'm a regular Ma Kettle -- hee hee).

P.S. Sorry, no pics yet -- two days without rain hasn't done any good for my plants. Well, without rain and without be watering them - because I kept expecting rain.
P.P.S. But I will share this funny story. I was just out watering my plants (because Mother Nature let me down) and I took down the spider plant I have hanging in the front. Well as I pulled it off the hook, something came flying out at me! At first I thought it was a bat, but then I looked and saw it was a bird. I then put the plant down and looked inside and what do you think I saw? Three eggs -- that bird is nesting in my plant! I didn't touch them - and I hope she doesn't feel threatened so she'll come back to her babies! Amazing.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Secret Shame

As one born at the end of the Baby Boomer-era, I grew up in a time when women everywhere espoused Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique, Ms Magazine, and the ERA. For those young readers, I’m not talking about the laundry detergent – I mean the Equal Rights Amendment. We saw Title IX implemented even before we really understood the inequality of the situation. We were surrounded by strong, independent, non-bra wearing women who were strong-minded and sassy. We even had Burt Reynolds as a centerfold in "Cosmopolitan"!

Not that I had a subscription to Cosmo – heaven forbid – I was reading "Teen" or "Seventeen" (remember how huge the magazines used to be?) and "Young Miss". There were, however, some books that were de rigueur. We read Nancy Drew, I collected all of her books – and still have them; there were some girls who preferred The Hardy Boys, but I wasn’t one of them. We adored Louisa May Alcott and devoured Little Women again and again. We embraced these female protagonists, even those who weren’t quite so modern, like Jo, but also looked to our contemporary protagonists and envisioned them as being our own personal role models. I also loved Trixie Belden and Meg – both stories with young girls who were friends with boys and other girls – and they solved mysteries – just like the Hardy Boys! We were told about the other strong heroines in literature; unfortunately I never got around to reading them.

I used to have this idea that I would join the Jane Austen Society in Fredericksburg and attend her birthday celebration and annual meetings. I bought the Jane Austen mystery series in order to read them and gain insight into what some thought might be in Jane’s head. I still have them, but I haven’t read them. I’ve seen the BBC versions of her books, I’ve watched Colin Firth light up the screen in the A&E version (who doesn’t love Colin Firth), and I’ve seen Gwyneth Paltrow do justice to "Emma". I even watched the latest version that my friend has seen so many times that she’s been able to get her money’s worth out of the rental cost. Even still, I never read Jane Austen.

Then, at the ripe old age of…well older than an adolescent, I finally read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. You know what? I didn’t like it. I read it again (both times for classes). I still didn’t like it, and it has nothing to do with it being assigned reading. I just plain can't see what all the fuss is about. What is unfortunate is this: Do you think that I can ever be open and honest with people about this fact? No. Because women are rabid about Jane Austen. It is almost as if we must cherish her because she is a strong, seemingly independent-minded female from the Regency period.

Sorry, I just can’t do it. I just can’t read Jane Austen. I want to – oh how I want to fit in with my “sisters” and cherish this author as others do. But I can’t. I just can’t. Her heroines are all the same; it is as if Jane Austen said to herself whilst writing these books, "Oh how I wish that I could escape from this humdrum spinsterly life; alas, I can't, so I will create a world in which I will be the heroine of every book I write!" And then no book is really very different, because Jane is the lead in each book! Talk about a cookie cutter heroine! (And a lot of exclamation points!!!)

Alas, I wonder if I will ever have the courage to ever admit this deep dark secret to anyone. Not likely, and that, my friends, is the shame with which I have to live the rest of my life. And I don't feel better for having admitted it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ain’t Wasting Time No More

On this day, 25 years ago, I graduated from high school.
Now there’s a statement that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you wonder where the time has gone.
What lends to my already surrealistic existence is the fact that I am back in my hometown 23 years after leaving and vowing never to return.
Yet here I am.
And even though I know I am not the same person who left for another life altering experience in 1983, I still feel as if I am a teenager.
Will this feeling that I am still 15 ever leave me?
I ran into a high school friend in the grocery store the other day, and for the first time since I’ve been back someone has actually recognized me.
This is a strange occurrence because even though I see people I recognize, I continue to believe that they will not recognize me.
I do look very different from when I left for South Carolina all those years ago.
It must be my nose job. (Yeah, that’s it.)
So I avoid everyone.
Well, I think they’re not recognizing me but I do realize that people are not as stupid as I make them out to be.
I’m anti-social and I can’t help it.
(Should we start a support group? We can meet in Ted Kaczynski’s cell.)
Anyway, this was the second time this weekend I was (forced into) talking to someone I knew from the past, so it added to my strange state of mind.
Let me add that the second person I saw has not done too well for himself.
Please note that this is a blue collar rural town in an area with a high rate of unemployment (thanks to Kodak, and again, Senator Clinton, how can we fix this?).
Because of this I know that the ones who excelled in high school really and truly excelled (Christopher Farley and Jeff Van Gundy, to name just two).
Those who did not excel stayed here and maintained (or acquired serious drug habits).
Said person that I saw on Sunday has not fared too well, and because I was unprepared to be approached I acted like an anti-social idiot (I’m not really, I was glad to see him, just unprepared).
When we came home I said to DN1, who was with me in the store, “I often wonder who or what I would have been if I had stayed here.”
She looked at me and gave me an honest answer.
She said, “I think you would have been kind of white trashy.”
I instantly agreed.
(Because of course I'm not now.)
So we’re back to the same question of why I’m back here and who I think that I am, 25 years after the life-altering experience of high school graduation.
Perhaps I am under the impression that I can remake who I am and alter my future.
I’m not quite sure.
Sometimes philosophical thoughts like this should be accompanied by a cold beer (Labatt’s, if you have one, thanks).
I do know, however, that this is the second time in a week I have referenced the lyrics to an Allman Brothers song.
I think today’s title is how we should all live our lives.
Don’t waste time.
And if you can, gather up the courage to say, “Hey, it’s good to see you again.”
I leave you with a picture of who I was 25 years ago.
I’m still the same.
Well, except for the nose.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Eat a peach, or a strawberry, or whatever is in season

The problem with weekends is that they are never long enough. And there is always so much to pack in to a weekend, that something falls away. With this being a World Cup weekend, there is also plenty of soccer to watch. So what’s a person to do with so many activities to choose from? Well, start out the weekend with a trip to the park in town to see some exotic animals. It was fun, and I’m so glad we could walk there and not have to drive and find a place to park, and all those other "logistical nightmare" activities that can suck the fun out of an event.

Saturday morning something came down off the shelf for a visit.

After tinking back a couple of rows and picking up the dropped cabled stitch, and then wondering what the hell I had been doing while I was knitting, I then tinked back to the ending of the previous pattern repeat. What a dummy. The end is in sight, fortunately, because I did some math and I got approximately 28 pattern repeats out of the first skein. Now these are 8 row pattern repeats, and I’ve completed 10 on the second skein, so only 18 more pattern repeats to complete, which is equal to 144 more rows, or 6048 more stitches. Egads, according to my 7th grade math level, that means I should complete this scarf in time for New Year’s Eve. It was nice to have it fixed. And it was my companion during the Portugal/Iran game.

Later in the afternoon we headed out the door only to find, wait, what is that I see over the railing of this bridge?

Is that a Ferris wheel? I do believe it is! And a Ferris wheel on this weekend must mean that the Spencerport carnival is taking place. If there is a place where money is to be spent, then we must be there. Some of us rode the rides.

All of us played bingo.

One of us won, he who shall remain nameless, but he used his winnings to claim, no not brand new cookie sheets, but a Scarface poster. This should go well in his room along with his Tupac picture he won. For the record, those goldfish pictured in the front of the picture didn't even make it through the night. I believe we were chosen to help them onto the Rainbow Bridge. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. And some of us played shoot out the star and came very close to winning.

I know, look at those tight groups. In a few more sessions I bet I could win – but who wants to keep playing a game at three bucks a pop where the weapon only shoots in three round bursts -- it expends those 100 alloted BB's pretty quickly. I think it would be cheaper to go to a shooting range. DN2 even played this game and did quite well. I’m so proud.

We avoided spending money on t-shirts that perpetuate incorrect grammar -- check out design # 165.

Yeah, okay. Whatever. You had better get spell check for your t-shirts or you're going to go out of business.

It was time to head home and check on the animals. Oh, you mean I didn't tell you about the dog Designated Husband (DH) got? Yes, a German Shepherd that he promptly named Nikita, ignoring all my suggestions of heroines from Greek myths. Bah. But here she is, looking quizzically at the man she knows as "Daddy".

Benno is quite musical and moves too fast on the organ pedals for my slow shutter speed.

And Simone just can't be bothered with any of us.

Speaking of plants, we bought some snapdragons at the Farmer's Market that opened on Sunday. I do love Farmer's Markets, but there is one thing I don't like -- a Farmer's Market Cheater (FMC). Most of the vendors have their own farms and they sell things that they grow there, at least that is what most of us would like to believe, and for the most part this is true. But there was a blatant FMC there on Sunday. How do I know? Well, if you have an open 50 lb bag of potatoes on the lift of your truck and then you remove potatoes from this bag and place them in little quart containers, don't you think that's cheating? And no, they were not potatoes coming from a bushel basket. It would be as if one of us bought a large bag at the grocery store and then sold them individually. They were also selling "homemade" Apple Butter and preserves, but I thought, well I recognize those labels, and of course I did, because I'd purchased these same "homemade" goodies in Maryland, because they are all made in Frederick, Maryland. An FMC, for sure. And unfortunately for all I know, the guy from whom I purchased my snapdragons probably bought them at Wal-Mart. I'd like to think he didn't, but I'll never know, will I? We did enjoy some yummy, yummy strawberries from the Market and I wish I could bottle up their fragrance and keep it in my home. What's that? Yankee Candles has already done that? Oh, okay, I'll check into that. Honestly, strawberry season is a special time, isn't it?

Like all good things our weekend had to come to an end, but I'm sure that next weekend will bring more exciting events. I know for sure some of us are going on the Garden Club tour. Who would that be, you ask? Well the one living in this house who is a crack shot. Oh yes, that would be me.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

What's your name?

This idea comes from Entertainment Weekly.

Take the name of your childhood pet and pair it with the name of the street you grew up on.
This is your porn name.

I am Tinkerbell Ridge.

What's your porn name?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What is that noise coming from your room?

To anyone who has been raised in the Western NY area one thing is certain – wherever you go you will always have to identify yourself as someone who is not from NYC. Subsequently you will always battle this bias that the world has about New Yorkers and their attitudes. You won’t find those attitudes out here on the western frontier, and we certainly don’t talk the way they do in NYC – think more of a nasally twang – that’s us. We live in the forgotten part of NYS (and let’s not turn this in to some discussion about what Senator Clinton has not done for this part of the state, okay?).

Vincent Gallo, who some of you may or may not know, began his life in Buffalo before becoming a model for Calvin Klein and then an actor, a director, and the seller of his own sperm on eBay. There is one other certainty if you are from this area, and Vincent Gallo explored parts of this in his film “Buffalo 66”, and that is that 70’s music rules the airwaves and provides a back-story for all of our lives. This music is so entrenched in our culture here that the format for Rochester and Buffalo’s top radio stations is Classic Rock. I’ve discussed my love of 70’s music in a previous post, so I don’t want to go into that to a great extent, but I will reiterate that on long car trips when it is my turn to drive, we listen to what I want to listen to. This might often be Yes, or The Who, or Genesis, or even a Classic Rock Greatest Hits CD. Or it could be Tori Amos, Sarah MacLachlan, Rascal Flatts, or Toby Keith. The bottom line is that my children have been exposed to all types of music, and have even on occasion listened to 70’s music on their own (DN1 loves “A Trick of the Tail” from Genesis). They do, however, prefer their own type of music, whether it is Screamo, Hard Core, Industrial or whatever other genre they are listening to.

Now I have been reading a book entitled Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time by J. Richard Gott. I must qualify this and say that I am in no way a geek; this book is for the non-scientific math illiterates like me, and is written in layman’s terms with analogies comparing time travel to slicing bread. Yeah, time travel = food, I’m with you now. In this book Gott postulates that time travel is indeed probable and that we can travel to the past, because if the world is a three dimensional model, then time is the fourth dimension and we can find a way to travel in and around this fourth dimension. It’s all very scientific and much too in depth for this blog. Suffice it to say that we can travel through time, and I know this to be a fact.

When we moved here in August, three of my four children who moved with me entered into the fourth dimension and we traveled back in time, only to find that we are still in the present. Confusing? Let me explain. DN1 will upon occasion listen to what I am listening to. She’s a girl with good taste. She’s my hero. SN2 thinks that the music I listen to is crap. DN2 – well, she thinks the lead singer from My Chemical Romance is hot – and at the same time she wants the CD they advertise on TV with the song about Susie having a cow on her head. She’s 7, you know, so she’s all over the place. But a strange phenomenon occurred back in September; SN2 began asking me about certain bands, like AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Doors, while still listening to As I Lay Dying, On Broken Wings, Further is Forever, and Thirty Seconds to Mars, amongst other bands.

Imagine my surprise when just last night I heard music coming from his room and I was able to immediately identify it. How did I know? Because back in 1977 when I was in 8th grade everyone, and I mean everyone, had “Frampton Comes Alive”. Yes, the dulcet tones of Peter Frampton were coming from across the hall. Amazing. I never thought I’d hear that coming from his room.

Now you know and I know that it is the influence of other kid’s that is directing his taste in music, and that these kids have learned about this music from their parents. I can rationalize that just as much as anyone else, but what I can’t quite puzzle out is how after having lived in different locations far away from Western NY, one returns and is immediately sucked into this 70’s music vortex. We are caught in something here and even when you move away, you’re never away from it, and then once you’re back, you’re stuck. And it has little to do with the radio stations either, it is a phenomenon perpetuated by the parents who pass it on to their children who then pass it on to their children, and the parents can’t leave it either. Perhaps I’m over thinking this too much, but it is hilarious to think that when we got in the car last night at 10:00 to drive SN2’s girlfriend home and a song came on the radio, the three of them (SN2, girlfriend and friend) shouted out trying to guess who it was. It was The Who. They didn’t get it. But they will.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Here is an excellent op-ed piece, one I wish that I had written.

Fun and Games at the Bergen Park Fest

DN1 had a PR event for her radio station this past weekend and since wherever one of us goes we all must go we all followed her to her Fest.

Now, to give you an idea about how small this town is that we went to I can tell you this – there are no traffic lights. And this is the town that is directly south of where I live, so you can imagine everyone from there is coming to my bustling megatropolis for everything, such as Wal-Mart.

We did have a good time wandering around and all the while I knit my dishcloth (or dishrag as I call it, which of course sounds so much more attractive, right?). Many comments on the dishrag/cloth from people, such as, “Oh that’s so cute, you’re walking and knitting.” I restrained myself and did not make any snarky comments about being able to avoid conversation since I was wrapped up in my knitting. I thought it, but I didn’t say it. I revel in being antisocial at times.

We did some shopping:

DN2 got a sweatshirt that she loves. Yes, the town with no traffic light is famous for its swamp.

And we bought a piece of art from this woman and – get this – we were her first sale ever! She is very creative and I hope to actually see her again at some fests over the summer.

The bouncy tent place had a disaster when their air compressor turned off. I love this picture because it looks like a truck landed on top of this area.

Disaster struck in the form of a big wind picking up the tent and blowing it forward. The tent almost hit this old man, and it was one of those occasions where you can’t help but laugh hysterically (and keep on knitting). Fortunately it missed him – barely – but it could have been worse. He could have had a heart attack! At that time we turned to focus on the entertainment.

The Dady Brothers. Man, they were hot. Hot as in talented, because it was actually kind of chilly outside. DN2 won a CD from them and I would love to see them in concert again. Fortunately they will be a block from my house in August as part of the summer concert series so I know I will go watch them perform again. Funny story with them; John Dady came over and borrowed DN1’s extension cord and he asked her for her name. She told him hers and then introduced SN2. Well since the Dady Brothers’ first names begin with “J”, and DN1 and SN2 have names that begin with “J”, he kept calling them “2Js”. Say it with me – awww…

But we couldn’t leave the Fest until I went back and took a picture of this sign in the tent.

I don’t know what cracks me up more – the syntax or the misspelling of the word "knife". But I had to have a pic! I have another photo to add - once I figure out how to download it from my phone – but it is the ubiquitous Confederate flag for sale.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Knit Happenings

This is the wrong yarn.

Although as Mickey says, there is no such thing as the "wrong" yarn. She's right.

This, however, is the correct yarn for the kitty bed. I would have liked a brighter color, like the wrong yarn is, but the LYS only had dark colors left. I don't think the kitties will mind.

And because I was upset that I screwed up and got the wrong yarn for the project, I purchased some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk for myself in order to make an Opera Scarf.

However, because it has been so unseasonably cold up here lately I began working on an afghan with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick three weeks ago when the temperature was in the 40s with the wind chill in the 30s. Then it became 95 degrees here - much too hot to work on an afghan - or anything else for that matter. This weekend at SN2's soccer game it covered my legs nicely and kept them warm from the cool wind. What is with this weather anyway.

It's stash yarn too, so double points to me for depleting yarn from my stash, thus negating the negative points I get for spending money on more yarn. And yes, if you linked to the pattern you will see it is for a beginner, but I don't care, because after my sock debacle that's about how I feel about my knitting skills.

I will be tenacious and keep on! The alien muses are smiling down on me.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion

We just got back from seeing this movie and I have to tell you it was even better than I thought it could be.
If you love listening to A Prairie Home Companion on the radio, go see the movie and then come back and tell me some Dusty and Lefty jokes.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read a Willa Cather novel about life on the prairie.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Extra Stitches 1, Me 0

So my World Cup sock has already been knocked out of the first round.
And the games haven't even started yet.
I diligently knit the second round and thought, "Hmmm, I better count these stitches."
Good thing.
I cast on 56, I now have 57.
I feel as if I've been seeded last in the tournament in a group with England, Germany, and Argentina...
I'll have to try harder this next time around.

Today is the day!

Today is the day!
World Cup begins today!
Who should we cheer for.
Of course.
Will they win?
Of course not, but cheer for them anyway.
The hometown favorite, Germany?
So many great teams, so many great players.
DN1 is, of course, going to watch Portugal because... who is on that team???
Cristiano Ronaldo.
It should be great fun, and I've already cast on and knit the first row on my sock which shall, henceforth, be known as my World Cup sock.
Let's hope it shapes up properly.
Good watching folks!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Knitting Knews

Last week it was just too darn hot to knit. The weekend before it was so cold I started working on an afghan. But then it got hot and at that point I really wished that I knew how to knit socks. I still wish that I knew how, and at the yarn shop closest to where I work, Spirit Works Knitting and Designs, they are having a sock class. I may sign up for it. The summertime calls for something lightweight, and with all the soccer games we go to, I need something portable. And I really need to advance beyond scarves. Well, unless they’re lace scarves. I did finish my alien scarf. And by finish I mean, I’m done knitting, but the scarf is not “finished” yet. Someday. The hard part is done. I’ll post a picture here when I get home.

Now I am anxious to start on Wendy’s kitty bed for our two lovely kittens so I ordered the Noro Kureyon from Ram Wools and anxiously awaited my package. I mean honestly, who doesn’t love getting yarn in the mail? So yesterday it came! Unfortunately someone forgot to read the directions properly. The kitty bed doesn’t call for just plain old Noro Kureyon, it needs Noro Big Kureyon. Alas, I ordered the wrong yarn, but I won’t send it back, oh no. It’s too pretty. So if anyone has a great pattern that calls for three skeins of Noro Kureyon, let me know! It would definitely felt up beautifully as a new handbag for someone special (and that would be me!).

On another note, I drove in to work this morning listening to the Prairie Home Companion soundtrack and I can’t wait to see the movie this weekend! We all enjoy the radio show, and what’s unfortunate is that here in the “big city” we can only hear it once. In D.C., they played it twice; live on Saturday night and then repeated it on Sunday morning. More often than not when Saturday night rolls around here, I’m too busy to listen, which is unfortunate. Anyway, the movie is coming out and I’m anxious to see it. Meryl Streep, I’m sure, will be brilliant, as always. And if you haven’t read any of Garrison Keillor’s books, you should give them a try. He’s a pretty good writer…for a Democrat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Now here's a good one

I received this from my friend Pony. It's a pretty funny joke - and even funnier if you think about actually going to a Wal-Mart store and doing these things:

Dear Mrs. Fenton, Over the past six months, your husband, Mr. Bill Fenton has beencausing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this type ofbehavior and have considered banning the entire family from shopping inany of ourstores. We have documented all incidents on our video surveillance equipment.Three ofour clerks are attending counseling from the trouble yourhusband has caused. All complaints against Mr. Fenton have been compiled and arelisted below.

Mr. Wally SmithPresident and CEO of Wal-Mart Complaint Department

MEMO Re: Mr. Bill Fenton - Complaints - 15 Documented Incidents

Mr. Bill Fenton has done while his spouse/partner is shopping:

1. July 1: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.
3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leadingto the rest rooms. Security thought it was blood and called an ambulance.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone, 'Code 3' in housewares..... and watched what happened.
5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and asked to put a bag of M&M's on lay away.
6. September 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
7. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department andtold other shoppers he'd invite them in if they'd bring pillows from the bedding department. Strangely enough, 15 people moved in with him.
8. September 23: When a clerk asks if they can help him, hebegins to cry and asks, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
9. October 4: Looked right into the security camera, used itas a mirror, and picked his nose.
10. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, asked the clerk if he knew where the antidepressants are.
11. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously ~ loudly humming the "Dragnet" theme.
12. December 6: In the auto department, practiced his "Madonna-look" using different size funnels.
13. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsedthrough, yelled "PICK ME!" "PICK ME!"
14. December 21: When an announcement came over the loudspeaker, he assumed the fetal position and screamed "NO! NO! It's those voices again!!!!"
(And; last, but not least!)
15. December 23: Went into a fitting room, locked the door and waited a while; then, yelled, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here!" He refused to unlock the door when Security arrived.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I just love Washington Post polls

And this one is great - Britney and K-Fed - what do you think Brit should do and who are you pulling for - cast your vote here.

And even better is this statement at the bottom of the blog is this disclaimer:

Disclaimer: Just about everything else on the Web site is of more import to your life than Britney and K-Fed. If you find yourself recoiling at the topic, being asked to weigh in on it and contemplating a comment along the lines of "Who cares?", please visit our politics blog, The Fix. For those of you still here, comfort yourself with the knowledge that there is room on, and in your attention span, for "real news" and our little habit.

I love it!

Who’s the redneck here?

When I was growing up, I always felt a connection with the south, primarily because I was born in Virginia. But being raised in the north, specifically the spacious part of New York State known as the western frontier, I always considered myself a New Yorker; obviously not in the sense that someone from NYC would be considered a New Yorker, but a Yankee nonetheless. (Which reminds me of a funny joke from “Reader’s Digest”, wherein we all find out that the only true Yankees are from Vermont.)

We would have carnivals up here and there would always be a plethora of rebel flags and pictures of Confederate soldiers distributed as prizes. I remember one poster I had that was black and fuzzy with an orange border. And remember the mirrors? They always had mirrors with Confederate flags. Why all these Confederate flags? I don’t know. In retrospect, it is probably because the Carney workers wintered in the south. Regardless, New York is not alone in idolizing the Confederate flag – I worked with someone who was from Michigan and he had a flag in the window of his car. Yeah, if anyone can really puzzle out this mystery of why so many Northerners have this thing for the rebel cause, please let me know. Anyway, as much as I grew up loving The Allman Brothers, The Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd (who wasn’t upset about the plane crash, I ask you), .38 Special and all the other southern rockers, I was raised a Yankee. And we thought all rednecks lived in the south.

So I joined the Marine Corps and spent some time in the south for a few months. Hey, it was humid as all get out, but it wasn’t too bad (other than not having a car). I then moved to Hawaii. It was there I had an epiphany when I realized that my Uncle Norm was actually a redneck and that many of the people who lived in Hamlin were rednecks (I also found out that touching a caterpillar and then rubbing your eyes would not cause you to go blind). Considering the fact that my area is filled with farms, it isn’t surprising to find so many men with red necks, you know? Fast forward twenty plus years and I’m back where I grew up, but now I’m working in “the city.” The people with whom I work have lived here most of their lives and I feel like a foreigner now that I’m back, especially after nine years in Virginia. To make it worse, a lot of them have grown up and lived in suburbs of “the city” and I, of course, come from a small college town in an area that is primarily rural.

Life is funny, because I have to tell you, I spent over seven years in Japan and Europe (plus my time in Hawaii) and still, I’m the one from the country. And for the record, if my use of the term redneck offends you, please feel free to substitute country hick or any other phrase that would cause one to feel backwards and awkward. For many years I believed that rednecks lived in the south, and then I realized that the people from Hamlin, Kendall and Holley (small towns close to mine) were rednecks, and now, I have to tell you, after coming back and working with these “big city” folk – I feel like now I’m the redneck. It doesn’t help that this is reinforced on a daily basis.

The point of the story is that everyday now I have to wonder, have I always been a redneck?