Tuesday, June 27, 2017

all in a name

oh, lordy- it's happened again.

i just had a caller spell her child's name with a "hyphen at the top".***

the next celebrity recording a psa for nbc seriously needs to tackle this issue.

i can see it now:

(scene opens on george clooney, standing in the delivery room, dressed as a doctor. behind him, a nurse (renee zellweger, dressed as nurse betty) hands the new mother her freshly swaddled baby, portrayed by the baby from "who framed roger rabbit".*)

george: "new baby? congratulations!"

"pretty soon, you're going to need to think of a name for your little bundle of joy."

(cut to gene simmons, standing in front of a classroom. the students are busily trying to copy their names, which are written on tags spanning their desks.**)

gene: "yes- congratulations."

"when choosing a name, please think about your child's future."

(in the background, persephone quattlebaum-washington clearly grows frustrated, nearly erasing a hole in her paper, while ann sims, waving around a piece of paper on which she's written her name about a hundred times, says, "mr. simmons? mr. simmons! i'm all done. now what, mr. simmons?")

"please try to come up with something your child can spell easily..."

(persephone quattlebaum-washington erases so hard that her paper tears. both it and the pencil are sent flying as she screams and bursts into tears. gene simmons nonchalantly sticks a hand out and catches the pointy projectile in mid-air, saying, "happens all the time with that one.")

"...and please, parents, if you're going to use punctuation, make sure you know which punctuation you're using."

(child runs up, flashing paper at the camera. his name consists of nothing but random punctuation- a different combination is written on each line of the paper. gene looks at camera and sighs.)

The More You Know

*the fact that i cannot recall the baby's name right now is a clear indication that it's been far too long since i watched the movie.

**in the case of "persephone quattlebaum-washington", the tag takes up the extra space along the top of that of her neighbor, "ann sims".

***in case you're still wondering, yes, i enlightened her on the difference between hyphens and apostrophes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

spring has sprung (and someone's feeling a little blue)

ah, spring.

here in south carolina, we're getting april showers (...and hail....and maybe a tornado or two later today), flowers are blooming, temperatures are on the rise (and fall, depending on which week/day/hour it is), and love is in the air.

(smart alecks in the crowd would say, "no- that's pollen", but those of us who paid attention in biology class know that pollen is best described as "plant lust dust".)

anyway, apparently it's not just the birds and the bees feeling frisky these days.

no, sirree...

as you may know, my full time job involves answering the phones overnight for a wide variety of accounts, most of which are medical in nature.

before last night, it had been months since my last call involving little blue pills. (months, I tell you!)

that streak ended with a call that sounded like the er patient had planned to have a heck of a party, but didn't count on a medically necessary change of venue. (i'm not quite sure whether he was actually inviting other people to this party, or if he consumed all 6 little blue party favors on behalf of his imaginary friends. either way, i would assume that his next soiree will involve a much smaller guest list, real or imagined.)

had that call not come from out of town (in fact, i think it was even out of state), i might have suspected that the gentleman who just called in for an urgent prescription refill might have been the injured party, stocking up for the next grand affair.

fortunately, he took it pretty well when i told him that, while i'm not a nurse, i was pretty certain that viagra was not on the list of "emergency medications" that i could page the doctor for at 4 in the morning, and that he'd need to call back when the office was open.

hopefully, if the prescription is really that important to him, he'll heed my advice and make the call right when they open up. with the nasty storm headed our way, there's talk of some of the offices closing early.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

making a list, checking it twice.....

no, no- not that list.

several years ago, as i was nearing 30, i realized that i hadn't really done many memorable things, especially on my birthdays. thus, the "30 before 30" list was born.

then, on the other side of 30, i decided to create the "40 before 40" list which, technically, is still under construction. (there are a couple of blanks on it still, including the one that opened up recently when "see chuck berry perform in st. louis" became completely impossible.)

well, fast forward more years than i care to admit, and i still have a lot left to cross off, and under two years in which to do it.

now, there is an awful lot of (cost prohibitive) travel on that list, but i have picked out seven things i'd like to accomplish by the end of 2017:

     *visit 3 of the 5 territories (2/3 complete- just need one in the pacific before i can cross this off)
     *save enough dum dum wrappers to order something (trickier, since they changed the rules)
     *visit a nude beach (i see many workouts in my near future)
     *drive as much of route 66 as possible
     *cross country road trip (can you tell i was raised in a "road trip" family?)
     *see total eclipse (thankfully, one is coming to my doorstep in august)

     *run a 1/2 marathon in under 2 1/2 hours (i got frustratingly close last time)

unless i get my dum dum wrappers corralled beforehand, it looks like the first item that i'll be able to make progress on will be (hopefully) the fourth on the list.

i have already begun plotting. 😎

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

not to spit in the face of chariot-y, but....

my new chariot is at the dealership to take care of some basic maintenance issues the previous owner apparently wasn't too worried about- an oil change, tune up, and new timing belt.*

though i told the dealership i had access to another car, as long as their shuttle could get me to it, they insisted on giving me a loaner or, in the event one was not available, a free rental car.

next time, i think i will either insist on a loaner from the mazda lot (granted, i am not impressed with the looks of the new miatas), or simply insist on just getting a ride.

it took half an hour, a cash deposit (i got strange looks when i told them my only debit card stays in a safe deposit box in another state, for my own good, and that i do not carry my credit card, as i am paying it down), three emergency contacts (if they start heckling my three, next time i'm giving numbers from bathroom walls), and my email address (next time, it'll be the one i don't check) to line up a temporary chariot.

then, i was asked what i drive.

"a mazda miata," i answered because, while i have driven the miata all of four times since bringing it home, "my dad's mercury land yacht"....well....as i said last winter, when he and i swapped cars and i kept getting asked if his was mine:

"i am young and sexy and so is my car."**

anyway, after the comment observing that i was "clearly used to a sporty compact car", i was offered the largest vehicle on the lot...***

let me digress (again) for a moment, and confess that, after the deal of zamboni, when my dad said i needed an suv for my adventurous lifestyle, i did consider one specific kind- even going so far as to "build" one on a manufacturer's website. (my serious college boyfriend had one, and he let me drive it once. memories of the handling being the exact opposite of a miata, as well as a discovery of gas efficiency (or lack thereof), added to the price of my masterpiece, led to abandonment of that little fantasy and my original backup plan (2008 miata in ice blue) was reinstated as my "well, if i can't find another one just like zamboni...." plan.

still, i'd be highly unlikely to turn down a free manual transmission wrangler as a second vehicle.

i can give you almost absolute assurance, however, that after hamilton (also named for an ability to glide across ice, as was his predecessor, though for not just the reference you have in mind) comes home and i turn "batman"**** back in, i am extremely unlikely to ever drive such a beast by my own choice again.

in the meantime, while i eagerly await hamilton's return, "batman"'s sole duty is making sure my designated parking spot is safe and secure, mostly because that car has more blind spots than stevie wonder. (perhaps one of his buttons sets of some sort of sonar. i've yet to find it.)

*plus whatever else they find, which i sincerely hope isn't much. i mean, i want it to be road trip-worthy, but i've only got so much money to spend at the moment, here.

**i can almost say it with a completely straight face. the car definitely has me beat on the "sexy" part.

***.....that wasn't a "panel"/pedophile van

****"bat" for "big-ass transport" and "man" because it looks pretty masculine to me

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

gifts given and giving up

my dad and his wife are in town tonight.

with them came two boxes of china. 

"china? CHINA?!? of all the things from the house in kansas city.......what in the monkey am i going to do with china?!?!" i exclaimed.

i'm terribly klutzy, never entertain, and have even less than zero desire to ever have a reason to own a china cabinet. i dine almost exclusively off my heavy duty (yet i still managed to chip a couple) blue swirl dishes from crate & barrel. 

in short, these dishes would be more useful (and probably have a better survival rate) if i used them for skeet shooting. 

but wait- there's more!

"your grandmother said this was to be given to you on your wedding day.....," she said, handing me a small, weighty box that turned out to be full of silverware that's, uh, more suited to a southern debutante (or a grandmother) than myself.

"....but since i still haven't gotten hitched yet and am on the verge of being sn old maid, i'm officially being given up on? greeeeeeaaaaat."

there was a slight amount of protest on her part, but it was negligable.

so, i suppose when i'm back in kansas city for our upcoming reunion of a significant timespan, i should check and make sure the family heirloom dress hasn't been donated to the lingle (wyoming) museum yet, as well as sort through some of my worldly possessions to cut down on what might be brought back to me after their next little road trip. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

in which i get political

i have been trying very hard to stay out of the political discussions, as both matters of politics and religion seem to divide more than they unite.
however, it's getting harder and harder to avoid the bickering, put-downs, and general negativity. (i thought campaigns were supposed to be about you're for- not just that you're against the other guy. clearly, this is not the way the system works anymore, or at least that's how it appears to this non-expert. my sister, however, with the poli-sci degrees, certainly would know more about this than i do.)
i swear, if i hear one more time that everyone needs to band together and vote for ("undesirable" candidate x) because ("undesirable" candidate y) is evil incarnate/belongs in dante's sixth ring of hell/has actually found a wrong way to eat a reese's, i'm going to have to actually start playing powerball in the hopes that i can win enough money to temporarily hole up somewhere in the caribbean until this election is over.
the thing that annoys me the most is that 90% of what's going around (much like an undesirable virus) is hearsay- some sort of meme or selectively copied and pasted accusations that speak not about the pros of one candidate, but the cons of the other.
so, please allow me a moment to share something that may help you turn down the noise a little and get back in touch with the reason* we even bother with elections in the first place- to try to elect a leader that represents a majority of our views and ideals:

*imho- again, i'm not the expert in the family.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

plastic fantastic

let me preface this post with two admissions:

admission the first: i'm generally not a fan of plastic surgery, with three exceptions:
     1. it's for reconstructive purposes.
     2. it's to correct some sort of birth defect*.
     3. it's for dolly parton**.

admission the second: i am all for social programs like welfare, provided they're used as "a hand up", not "a handout".

 with that in mind, i feel i should get a couple of bonus points tonight for restraining myself when it came to a caller who called into a practice to inquire about having a little work done. i told her i was afraid i was unable to tell her the specific options offered by the practice (they only use us for emergencies), but i was sure they could answer her (tummy tuck) questions if she called back after they opened monday.

"one more question..."
"do they take medicaid?"

 i reiterated that the office would have the best answer to her question, but inside, i was all like >:(

*it occurs to me that "birth defect" sounds really harsh. i'm not generally very politically correct, but how would you like to be told you were born "defective"? :/
**phyllis diller also fell under this clause. i feel both ladies should be able to do whatever they damn well please. (this does not, however, apply to dolly's duet partner, kenny rogers. i was working at the country station when he had "a little work done" and, frankly, his plasticized visage still haunts my dreams on occasion though, thankfully, not as frequently as those nightmares i get where i've gone back to school and have to sit in a math class.)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

in which i get attacked by the tsa, and then get rich

i'm still not sure what to make of my recent luck.

i suppose the best way to put it is "well, it could have been worse."

i'll spare you the mundane parts of yesterday, which pretty much covers up until i arrived at aiken state park around 1:30 in the afternoon.

i'd chosen aiken partially because they were having a festival (the blackwater festival- presumably named because the edisto river, which is a blackwater river that runs across south carolina, runs through the park), and partially because here in south carolina we have something called the "ultimate outsider" program, which encourages you to visit all 47 state parks by bribing you with a free shirt*. i'm trying to finish my third lap through the parks by early to mid-august. aiken state park is #20 this time around.

so, anyway, upon my arrival, i decided the festival looked sort of interesting, but hiking would probably be more my speed. i set out on the "jungle trail"**.

i realized about a quarter mile into my hike that the nasty storms that came through columbia on friday, rearranging trees and messing up traffic along the way, had also torn through the park. 

the revelation was sparked by a spot in the trail where i seriously thought i'd missed a turn. a song had gotten stuck in my head***, and i'd wound up on some tangent and look! a squirrel! and wait a minute- why am i at a dead end?***

after backtracking slightly, then peeking around the wall of foliage confronting me, i determined that this "dead end" was a recent development. the blockage was too big for me to remove on my own (i don't hike with a chainsaw....or even a saw blade on my swiss army knife, for that matter), but with a gap big enough for me to squish through.

in the interest of not rivaling "the epic of gilgamesh" with this tale, let's fast forward past a few more downed trees, as well as my stop at one of the park's artesian wells- the latter of which i could honestly geek out over for a few paragraphs, because only two of our state parks still have the wells, which were installed by the civilian conservation corps back in the 1930s/40s- and get up to the part where i'd scrambled over a large downed tree on the park's longest boardwalk and wound up contemplating another that had fallen across the next boardwalk, but was resting about waist high, with an 18"-24" gap underneath. it was covered in old vines, and i'm a klutz, so it just seemed to make the most sense to shove my backpack through the gap, and follow it on my stomach.

i have a travel habit, and my backpack and i have been checked out before by the tsa. however, this was a more thorough evaluation by the tsa in aiken state park.

"tsa", in this case, does not refer to the folks eyeballing your luggage at the airport.

in this case, it's short for "tiny, stinging assholes".

i was asked several times today, starting with ranger robert (one of my faves), to whom i reported the conditions of the trail, "what stung you?"

honestly, aside from the fact they sure as sh!t weren't honeybees (or anything yellow, for that matter), i have no idea. they were dark, and they were fiesty, and they were clearly unhappy that i'd disturbed them. naturally, they expressed their displeasure not in words, but in deeds......namely attacking me with their pointy little butts.****

i'm still not completely certain how many times i was stung. my estimates when asked while driving back were around 20, but when i took a shower after (finally) getting home, i only saw about 9 little punctures. at any rate, my right ankle and left upper arm swelled up the most and, given this reaction, i really would have preferred that the two tsa "agents" that somehow got stuck under my shirt would have aimed for, say, a couple of things that, when swollen, would finally land me in a "c" cup, rather than my stomach which, frankly, i'd rather not have any more swollen than necessary.*****

most of those happened during and immediately following my passing under the log. the last two, however, were provided during the encore, which occurred not after beating on chairs, stomping feet, and yelling "one more song!", but after i foolishly thought i could retrieve my backpack (from its resting place still partially under the log) with a stick while the tsa agents were still hovering above it. 

after my second impromptu interpretive dance******, i briefly contemplated finishing my hike, and then batting the baby blues at a ranger in the hopes they'd take pity on me and retrieve my backpack for me, but then decided that maybe i could try to wait until the party over my backpack broke up and the swarm headed back home and then grab it and make a quick, quiet getaway.

five minutes later, i was finally able to continue down the trail.

(i should probably insert here that i later thanked my dad for his genes, because apparently whatever it is in mama's makeup that makes her deathly allergic to bug stings (she owns more than one epi-pen) has not developed in mine yet.)

a couple minutes after that, i was confronted by the most impressive blockage yet. multiple trees were involved, and i'm pretty sure it was roughly the same patch of boardwalk that was damaged during an ice storm a couple of years ago.

surmounting it did not appear to be the wisest idea, as i was likely to catch an ankle on one of the many branches and there wasn't likely to be anyone around to hear me scream.

turning around was most definitely not an option. in fact, it was so not an option that if matthew mcconaughey told me he would make sweet love to me if (and only if) i passed back under that log with him, i would pass- even if he looked exactly like his character in "magic mike".

i would try to talk him into a compromise, but if he held fast to his conditions, i would pass.

there's a book i used to read to my preschool class called muncha, muncha, muncha. it's the tale of a farmer who tried to defend his succulent veggies from a group of rabbits. i don't have it in front of me, but there's a part where the rabbits are trying to figure out how to get past yet another of his barriers. i can't remember exactly how it goes (again, i'm not at 100% here, after my nap was shortened), but it was something to the effect of "can't go under it. can't go over it. we'll go around it."

as i said, i'm not exactly certain that's exactly how it went, but it's how i went. i normally try to stick to the trail, but i wound up doing a bit of bushwhacking to get around this obstacle. 

the rest of the hike was pretty uneventful, aside from finally seeing a human on the trail who must be a plumber at least part time, because his crack was fully displayed while he was bent over some iffy looking mushrooms. (i'm not sure whether he was after the shrooms or some worms. i was too busy trying to avoid the glare of the sun reflecting off of his pasty derriere to look inside his bucket.)

so, let's fast forward again, past my reporting my incident to the rangers (after offering to help them clear the trail when they were ready) and my stopping at a produce stand at exit 44 (off i-20, if you're in the neighborhood), where i spent more than i'd planned ($22), but then found a $20 on the ground next to my car which either means that

a. someone else dropped the bill and i found it, the latter of which i consider a win, or
b. the bill fell out of my belongings somehow and i found it which means..... hey- i didn't lose $20. (this is also a win.)

...and stop again at the part where, found $20 tucked in wallet, purchases (peach vinaigrette, run apple butter, and a couple of jars of pickled veggies in a combination i haven't run across before) riding shotgun, i am back on i-20, top down, wind in my hair, butch walker cd playing on the stereo, and my "check engine" light, last seen only a week ago, comes on.


the last time this happened (i remember it as if it were a week ago, probably because it was only a week ago), it turned out that i was completely out of oil. fortunately, i had a couple of spare quarts in my trunk, so a temporary fix would not be a problem.

unfortunately (forrtunately?), my oil was fine.

you know that word that passed my lips at high volume while doing my impromptu interpretive dance in the woods? the one the new folks don't need to know i know? i cannot honestly tell you that it did not escape my lips as i slid the oil dipstick back into position after checking my oil (twice!).

fortunately, i was able to limp back home, despite the little light of certain doom being on and despite my chariot shaking not unlike a coin-operated bed in a motel that offers hourly rates. i am also fortunate that i got some excellent advice on how to get my error code checked without shelling out a ridiculous amount for it, and that the code correlates to something that, while it needs to be handled soon, wasn't so serious that i wouldn't be able to get to a (borrowed) backup vehicle.

oh- and i almost forgot...just when i thought my day had been exciting enough, as i was walking in from the car to my humble abode, the plastic packaging in which my produce stand purchases had been placed******* decided it was done for the day and an item dove out through the gap, crashing on the ground. thankfully, it was the one thing i'd purchased as a pair. (it smells like i'm really going to enjoy the contents of the surviving jar, too.)

so, really, since i didn't accidentally step on any snakes while bushwhacking in the woods or lose an important piece of my chariot on the highway and have to spend a couple of hours as a damsel in distress, waiting for aaa, and i found a bill bigger than $5 for the first time in 20+ years, i'd say that i had a pretty good day. 

*it's better to think of the shirt as being a freebie than to actually sit down and add up how many tanks of gas you bought in order to drive to all 47 parks to earn the shirt.

**sadly, devoid of monkeys; fortunately, also devoid of tigers and giant pythons

***it happens.

****unless it's the other end that's pointy. to be honest, i wasn't going to stick around to check, and i'm too sleep deprived/lazy to google it now.

*****let me go ahead and apologize to my english teachers for that multi-comma run on. then again, i write the way i talk, and that came out fewer breaths than one might expect.

******accompanied by a scream that came out as a combination of "AIEEEEEE" and a word that i shan't reprint here because, really, some of you may be new and i'd hate to break it to you this early that i know such salty language

*******tongue twister!