Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dog Daze...

If there was ever a time I enjoyed summer after reaching adulthood, I don't remember it. I am not a person for extremes -- and the summer HADES handed out each year and then unremitting freeze of winters are not for me. Though truth be told, at least in the winter one can usually get comfortable eventually. Not so padding around in the summer, unless you spend the entire season in some air-conditioned cocoon. I'm not much for air-condition, but it's a requirement when the temps hit the triple digits.

Mostly I have kept a low profile as the temps careen off into the hundreds. I learned the hard way last summer in June that my kidney remnant doesn't respond well to an over-heated body. My tongue has been dark as a chow dog's the past two weeks, and the metallic taste in my mouth tells me my remnant can't regulate my body as it needs to. Since I have spent the last three weeks having blood work and last-minute dr. appts to get the 'all clear' for the remnant surgery and then transplant scheduled at Emory this August, I am not going to over-tax myself and get into an emergency situation before the surgeries. 

So having both our a/c units out at the same time was a crisis situation. Eventually, after two weeks, the unit in the main part if the house was fixed, mostly -- the service rep warned us we needed to pump an additional $300 into it to shore up a leak...not that it's going to happen soon after shelling out $500  -- but the other unit in our bedroom addition is FUBAR. It has been a lemon since it was installed 8 years ago, and after spending $900 two summers ago, it grates on my last nerve that it needs a new compressor. The rep admitted the manufacturer realizes this model sucks (unfortunately, not hot air into cool), and the manufacturer is willing to replace it with a $5000 unit for $1200. Which may as well be $12,000 when one doesn't have it, and they are unwilling to let it be paid out in two or three installments. At least we can sleep in the guest room until we figure out a plan, or sell something. The editing I'm working on and the horse Excy is training won't sustain that amount. The cats are confused, though, and despite the intense heat still sleep on the screen porch off the bedroom until they are forced back into the main part of the house. Cats don't do change well. I wish the Universe would leave us alone and pick on someone else so my last weeks before having to live in Atlanta for six to eight weeks would be drama-free. Now there's a concept.

Despite the horse picnic/fundraiser last Sunday occurring on the first day the temps hit 105 degrees, we all had a great time. We started at 5:30 in the afternoon to dispel some of the heat, and the constant breezes from the hills and pond made it bearable as long as you were under the pavilion or a shady tree. The two guitarists were great, the Food Truck was outstanding, and the mustangs milled among the guests so there were plenty of photo ops. About 50 folks showed up. 

The sweet stray cat who has been living on our front porch for a month and sleeping on the swing at night didn't find a home, unfortunately. But there were so many friends milling in and out of the house that weekend it seemed every time I turned a corner, Frodo would be wandering up a hallway, pleased as punch to be inside the house, despite the tremendous heat. I think the other cats were so startled to see him inside, they never hissed at him. I hope to find him a home, and if we don't he may eventually become a studio cat. But I've got enough on my plate that for now it's not a pressing concern. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some Things from School I'll Never Forget

No particular order to these memories, but there are some choice things I suppose will stay with me forever:

First grade. MF sits in the row beside me in class. One afternoon during 'art,' M carefully colors each of his teeth a different color from his box of crayons as I watch, fascinated. When finished, he sighs with contentment, and flashes a wide grin, revealing a rainbow-colored mouth. I could never figure out, all through first to fifth grade, whether MF was brilliant or a complete idiot. I tend towards the latter.

Second grade: Dad drives us to school every morning (my brother is a year and a half older). This day as I exit the car, I detect an immediate breeze. I realize I've forgotten my underwear! As I am in a dress as usual, this is a problem, particularly during recess when I usually climb the monkey-bars. I sit back in the car. Dad looks at me quizzically. When I tell him what I've forgotten, to his credit, he laughs and we head back home.

Third grade. A boy throws up his lunch immediately after recess, and is forever branded with the nickname "Earp," which follows him through grade school. Today he is a writer, but unfortunately for him, I can't forget the nickname or how he came to acquire it.

Fourth grade. The school nurse asks me what's wrong, and when I tell her "I dunno, I just feel crummy," she dissolves in fits of laughter.

Fifth grade. Weeks are spent on the playground playing Lost in Space. We enact the episodes we watch that week. I am always elected to play 'Penny,' because of my long brown hair.

Eight grade. When I tell mom a boy in my class is named Ronny Hinckleheimer, she makes me swear I am not making it up (I am prone to flights of imagination). She does the same thing a few years later when I tell her about Herron Higgenbotham.

The games we played in our neighborhood were epic. It was a golden age, and the entire block was filled with a tribe of kids roughly the same age. Hide & Go Seek is played with all the seriousness of War Games.  This afternoon, I am a half-block from 'safe' and the opposing team is closing in. I jump into the back of a laundry truck making deliveries and order the startled driver when he returns from the house, to drive me down the street as I dive under a load of laundry bags. For some reason, without saying a word, he does this, delivering me right up to the designated safe point. The other kids can't figure out how I eluded capture.

What, you thought I was going to talk about school subjects?!

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Am Soooooo Special!

...Or, 'It's All About Me!"
America seems to be obsessed with the cult of celebrity, and that sense of entitlement trickles down to us 'regular folk,' who now believe in the necessity of  thousand-dollar prom dresses, million-dollar weddings, 'push' presents, full-time nannies, and 24-hr Twitter feeds. (I'm pulling in my drive! Woo, glad to be home!)....But let us not forget the STARS with capitol S T A Rs, who feed the obsession by promoting themselves relentlessly and pushing forward this disgusting phenomena.

Here are a few stories that support my statements. I ran across this little gem in the paper: Madonna "rebuffed" a too-avid Journalist fan who had the temerity and clearly (too her) bad taste to present her with a bouquet of purple hydrangeas. OMG! The cad! Plus, he called her "my princess," which - well to be honest, was, yeah, yuck - but it isn't exactly like calling her an over-the-hill, clinging B-list singer or anything...She took the hideous flowers saying, "I absolutely loathe hydrangeas," stuffing them under a table. Really, Madge? It would kill you to be gracious and accept a well-meant gift of flowers (which, by the way, are lovely, as all flowers are), and keep your friggen' opinion to yourself for a change? It's not like he's going to give you a truck-load of them afterwards. Yeah, apparently she's that kind of out of touch gal. Said Journalist gets the 'No Deed Goes Unpunished Award.' And Madonna looks like an idiot.

Unfortunately, she's not alone.

Two more stories (that were told to me) underscore just how 'important' celebrities are and why they should be allowed special dispensation just for walking among us:

Exhibit A:"Ah-nold's" ex-wife, Maria (who may get a pass because, well, she was married to Arnold, and that may have sent her around the bend)...a friend was at a popular restaurant where they were standing in line for a table. She said Maria sallied forth to the head of the line, saying they were to be seated immediately. The reservationist pointed to the back of the line, saying that the wait was 30 minutes. "Do you know who  I am??!" She sputtered. He informed her that yes, he did know, and the wait was still 30 minutes. She hastened away (dignity slightly worn?).

Exhibit B: A friend's car broke down in Taos, NM, and she rode to the repair shop with the driver of the tow-truck, who regaled her with stories of some of the celebrities who lived in town. He said he was waiting in line for gasoline one day, and the wait was long so he got out of his car to chat with a friend he spied in line. A car cut him off as he was preparing to pull up to the pump. He walked over to explain that the car she had cut off was his and he was next in line for gas. "Do you know who I am??!" (AGAIN WITH THIS LINE). He said he replied with something like, he didn't care if she was Queen of England, he was first, and yeah, he knew she was Julia Roberts, the movie star. Eh. Julia Roberts; she of the toothy grin and inflated ego...My opinion of both of these ladies fell a few points short after hearing these stories.

Next, from a magazine I read in a waiting room, I learned about @Humblebrag, a Twitter account dedicated to false displays of humility. I don't Tweet, so I am glad they gave three examples, which I share:
'Millionaire' reality show host Patti Stanger -- "why is it men always tell me I'm beautiful when I don't have a stitch of makeup on? So crazy!" (Having never met her, I'll still have to call bull-shit on this one, having seen her in commercials. Jus' sayen').
Bill Maher -- "Just getting to Book Review section - forgot I had a book out! Seeing it on the New York Times bestseller lists is a thrill (it is pretty funny)." Really Bill? Throwing down the bull-shit flag on this one, too.
And finally, Ashley Judd -- "Awkward: boarding a sold-out flight and hearing the flight attendant announce the in-flight movie is one of mine: Dolphin Tale." Whereas she probably hung her head and said, ah, shucks....

Least I am accused of picking only on the celebrities today, here's a story an acquaintance told on her mom, actually bragging about it and seemingly seeing nothing wrong with her mom's behavior:
Her step dad made the 'mistake' of bringing home six red roses -- for no reason -- and her mother thanked him by taunting him and complaining bitterly because there were 'only' six....not a dozen, which she deemed the only "appropriate" number...she said he never made that mistake again...I wish that meant he never gave her mom roses again, but unfortunately it meant the poor guy towed the line and she hands him his balls only for special occasions.

This post can be filed under 'Amy is hitting the venom-juice again'...sorry to be so snarky folks...been one of those days...