Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trip Canceled

I’m bummed. I even shaved my legs, for heaven’s sake!

Everyone knows you have to shave your legs to go to the Grand Canyon. Right? (Fellas not included.. unless of course… well, nevermind.)

Alright, alright, I shave my legs once, maybe twice a year. Once at the beginning of sunning (bikini) season, and maybe once more in August… maybe. The plumber loves it when I do.

I even plucked a few nose-hairs and spiffed up the ol’ eyebrows.

Anyway, I was all packed and ready to go. All I had to do this morning was grab up the laptop and my morning stuff and we’d be off for a three-day road trip to places I’ve never been: Laughlin, NV (this is not exactly a place on my wanna-go-to list as I’m not a gambler, but you never know), Oatman, AZ (on old Route 66 that looks very cool—and don’t forget the carrots for the mules!), and then, (ta-dah!) The Grand Canyon! I’ve wanted to go there from forever, and this morning, I was to be on my way!

Mr. Man, who has been to all places several times, made all the arrangements and I was so excited (in my low-keyed way). But, as fate would have it, yesterday, Mr. Man’s van started doing funny things. Not “good” funny things, like shaking violently on the freeway going any faster than 50 mph. Oops.

Then he suggested we take his new (used) truck, but I had to put my foot down to that one. It has a bench seat that sits super low and is pulled forward cause Mr. Man’s legs are much shorter than mine. It’s very uncomfortable, in my long-leggedness, for my 50-something-year-old frame to sit for any length of time with my knees pressed up next to my ears. And three days worth of driving, oh pleeease.

The sweetheart did look into getting a rental car, but it was a bit more expensive than he planned for his budget. Of course, I understand. As it is, he lost his deposit on the hotel, dang it.

I’m guessing there must be a bigger reason we’re not able to go at this time. Our Angels are watching out for us. Perhaps something else is supposed to happen? (Please let it be something wonderful!)

Oh well, me and my clean-shaven, Levi covered legs will just have to wander around the neighborhood with Miss Molly while my Mr. Man gets his van fixed. The plan is to maybe try again next week. He’s a sweetheart, that Mr. Man is.

Oh, and did I mention... I even painted my toenails!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Puppies - Post Partum

I feel somewhat better today about the puppies moving to Anthony’s. Not wonderful, just not tearful or sad anymore. (Although, I’m really hating the puffy eyes. No amount of make-up is gonna work here. Could take days to recover... grr.) It all really is for the best.

It’s funny, I’m still on “puppy alert.” I keep thinking I “hear” their cute little puppy squeals. Sigh.

So, let’s focus on my bestest, best friends.

This is Pearl. She’s in my lap helping me write (yeah, right). Okay, at best she’s comforting me and keeping me warm.

There is nothing nicer than a kitty curled (sprawled) on one’s lap, purring away. (Well maybe a big, strong, handsome man sleeping with his arms wrapped tightly around one’s waist. :-))

It’s hard for one to type in either of those scenarios. But in this case I’m managing with my


Pearl, who is now totally belly-up, her hind end butted up against the keyboard making me have to work around her hind legs! (Like she cares.)

Pearl is either three or four-years-old now.

We got her when she was three-months-old mostly because “God” said so. (Isn’t that right, Ksaldria?) God does know best.

She came to us as a precious gem, and has remained so ever since. Besides, I always wanted to be called Mother of Pearl. Ex-hubby wouldn’t go for that name for either of my daughters. And he was allergic to cats.

Did I mention he’s an “ex?”

Everybody loves Pearl. And Pearl loves everybody!

And then there’s Miss Molly.

She’s waiting for her outing… on my half-made bed, and off her red blankie (which is much easier to wash than that big comforter I need to take to the laundry mat).

For those who are new to us, Molly is a 98-pound Coonhound. A very big dog, with very long legs..

See? Gee... she's getting a little chunky. Guess we better go on more outtings. Hmmm.
That's one "cool" Coonhound! (Okay, you're right... that's one lazy dog!) At least she's smiling.. somewhat.
Momma dog, Elsa (below), seldom changes expression. This bugs me. She always looks like she’s done something wrong, but she is actually a very good and sweet dog. I have tried to get her to smile, but she just doesn’t seem to have it in her. The only time I see her smile is when Roxzi comes home, and then only briefly.


And she will not look me in the eye. That also bugs me. Oh well.

Molly, on the other hand, is an alpha-female who not only smiles, but will look you full-on in the face! I love that dog.

Molly and I have a great bond. We read each other’s minds. I just think about a w-a-l-k, she’s up and wagging. The more imminent the departure, the more she starts nagging—very loudly! So, I try to not think the “w” word, quietly stuff a plastic grocery bag in my pocket, grab the leash and surprise her at the front door. This helps keep my nerves and eardrums intact. The ploy works about 20% of the time. And don’t even think about going, then delay. She’s one big dog who demands her outing with one big voice until you obey. Ouch!
Okay, got my friends here with me and I'm feeling MUCH better now. Thank you, gang!
Bye for now, you beautiful bloggers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Puppy Blues..

I am so sad!

Roxzi and her fella, Anthony, came and took all the puppies, and Elsa, to his mother's house today.

I never wanted to have Elsa, the sweet black puppy, (a gift to Rox from Anthony for her birthday) in the first place. I told them up front, I would not be responsible, i.e. pay for shots… spaying.. food.. etc. They were the parents.

But I have such a soft spot in that respect. I said “no” but they (Roxzi) knew, I could not follow through.

They said they would have her fixed… yeah, right.

Anthony (20) lives with his mother, and now Roxzi lives there too. Nevertheless, I got the dog. She’s a good dog, and a sweetheart, but I refused to be too responsible.

Okay, I didn’t let her go hungry, or get flea-full. I loved her, as I do all pets and animals. But I stood my ground, and kept a step back.

Elsa, obviously, did not get fixed. She endured her first “heat” with no incident. The kids, Roxzi and Anthony, claiming to take care of “it” all along.

But with the second “heat” Chewie, an Akita-Inu, Anthony’s dog, got to her. Oh boy, it was love, love, love, and now we have nine fat babies to show for it.

Elsa lived here with me, Roxzi at Anthony’s. Of course the puppies were delivered here last Sunday, as previously posted.

Well, today, shortly after 4 p.m., Roxzi, Anthony and his brother, Vince, came to visit.

But visit they didn’t.

They just gathered the pups up in a prearranged box, leashed Elsa, and took them all away to Anthony’s!

I have been in tears ever since!

I know that’s where they should be, and that all is fine and dandy, but I’m a basket case!
Animals are my Achilles heel.

Have I mentioned that there are ALWAYS animals in my dreams? Always. Usually puppies and kittens, but sometimes exotic animals, like snakes, lions and bugs, that are all my friends.

So with that, I will miss my puppies. I suppose it’s best that they all go at once. I can’t imagine having to give them away one-at-a-time! Just let me get these puffy eyes over with now.

Sigh.

How can love be so entwined? No matter how detatched I "thought" I was.. I'm a goner.

I'll be okay. Sniff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Puppies.. Day Three

All nine of the no-so-little critters are doing well. Proud Elsa is feeling much better.













I think this sweetheart is the fourth.. the female I revived. Will ya look at those drumsticks!


One BIG happy family!

That mondo brown pup in the middle is the "screamer." He's twice as big as the rest! He's already one tough dude.

Monday, March 23, 2009

You've Got to Pick a Puppy or Two

WE HAVE PUPPIES!

2:52pm –Just arrived, number eight.... Eight puppies!


Yikes – poor Elsa (she looks soooo tired). But she’s being such a good momma. She started her little maternity ward around 11:15 this morning.

All puppies are fat and healthy, though there have been a few close calls.

My Darling, Tony, stepped up to bat to help the first (or second) one out of it’s sac. I went in earlier to check and saw the sac, and decided to leave Elsa alone a bit and “let nature take its course.” However, I was uneasy—almost overwhelmed. Tony, who would have preferred to entertain Sunday with stay-in-bed-all-day shenanigans, quickly caught my worry, figured I’d be occupied, and readied himself to leave. In the meantime, I went back in to check on our girl. She was cleaning one puppy, but another (seemingly the same I saw 15 minutes earlier) was still in the sac and screaming VERY loudly to be released!

I guess I could have handled it by myself, but I knew Tony had experience in such matters, so I employed him to please help. He did. The puppy is fine. But, no matter how much I pleaded he stay, he insisted I take charge.. which I did. He did coach me through the next birth and helping the puppy out of the sac, which was much easier than I thought, before he left. He’s a good man.

The other brave men, son, Max (waving in the background), and goofy brother, Luckey, high-tailed it at the first signs and sounds of puppydom.

Roxzi, her beau, Anthony, and his mom, Sabrina, came while number four was struggling for life. This one was not at all feisty like the one screaming “I am here! I am here!”in its cocoon earlier. It wasn’t moving, and Elsa was slow to help. I broke its sac, and rubbed its belly and finally, with the help of Elsa kisses, we got it going. It was a blonde with black female. (Possibly the one in the center of the pack in the photo.)

Anthony stepped in and calmly took over for the rest of the deliveries, that young man is not squeamish, thank God.

The rest of the pups came at intervals of about 25 minutes.

Roxzi sat by pale and quiet. (And this girl wants to be a nurse?) She finally got in and helped shuffle the pups to the feeding ground, and petted and praised her “Elsa Doobie.”

All is calm.

Wait…

Good grief, the news just in…

NINE!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Script Frenzy

Recently I got an email from the NaNoWriMo people. (National Novel Writing Month—remember, I did that last November?) Now they are instigating Script Frenzy, the writing of a screenplay (100 pages) during the month of April.

The letter really emphasised that writting a script is a great way to hone your novel writing skills. Sooooo… I signed up. This doesn’t mean I’m committed to it.. we’ll see. But, it did get me into doing further study on how to write a script and I find it quite fascinating.

The Script Frenzy site gives good examples, tips and strategies, and even links to hundreds of movie screenplays anyone can access.

The formatting on these things alone is very strict and tricky. But Script Frenzy clues you in that department too.

Last summer, my dear Tony, gave me the book, How to Enter Screenplay Contests and Win! by Eric Joseph. I found what it absolutely mesmerizing. Though I knew nothing about screenplay writing, this book really piqued my interest; so-much-so, I purchased three other popular screenwriting how-tos: 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, by Karl Iglesias – wonderful writing tips for any writer; There's No Business Like Soul Business, by Derek Rydall, (who I heard interviewed via Internet – he approaches screenwriting from a spiritual stand point), and Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder (lots of great tools and tips). All are very well written and fun to read.

One of the things the Script Frenzy site suggests for newbies is to READ screenplays. Okay. (It takes about as long to read one as it does to watch the movie.) They suggest first to read the screenplay of a movie you really know and love. I picked Return to Me, written by Bonnie Hunt (who also, you may remember, plays a major role in the film). Surprise!—it is just like the movie—practically word for word! I laughed and cried, just like I do every time I see the DVD. I love that movie—the Return to Me sound track too!

Okay, so now I’m gonna try their suggestion to read a screenplay to a movie I haven’t seen… then watch the movie and see how well the writer made me “see” it in my head. I picked the movie Disturbia only because I know I have that available. (Most new-new movies don’t have their screenplays in the public domain yet.) I could have picked Letters from Iwo Jima, or Munich, and a few others I know I have access to, but I’m not so sure I want to see. Not that Disturbia will be much better, but at least it’s fiction. I’ll let you know how it goes.

So, dear reader, if you should decide to get your creative juices flowing and join me in the madness. Be sure to look up Quizmo, and do the "buddy" thing. I found it great help to “race” my friends (while cheering all the way) to the 50,000 word count needed to “win” the NaNoWriMo challenge.

Laterz Gatorz! [she says while putting on her frenzy-thinking cap!]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No Blarney Spoken Here

The following poem is a recant of a true story of a St. Patrick's day debacle that happened several years ago. To this day, not one of my three (now grown up) children have fessed up to the deed; therefore, what other explanation can there be? Pesky leprechauns!

Emerald Tricks
By Quizmo LaGrande

Tis a story well true, by gosh, and by gore,
A trick of the leprechaun isn’t just lore.
They saw fit to choose what they found quite enjoying,
A mighty slick feat I found quite annoying!

Corned beef and cabbage, traditional spread,
With carrots, potatoes, and wee soda bread
I planned for the making, I planned for the guests
Of fifteen stout Irishmen, and their ladies best.

Scrub, wash, and slave the castle walls clean
For a party the likes of St. Paddy’s not seen.
Corned beef is a beast, the cooking not toiling.
(It’s just that it takes several hours of boiling.)

The evening before St. Patrick’s big day,
I boiled the beastie the right proper way;
Plenty o’ garlic, pepper corns, spices, dill
And a pint of one hardy dark ale, if you will.

In a pot big as Ireland, meat simmered and stewed,
Heavenly smells wafted through as it brewed
And bubbled and cooked, till tender throughout,
Then let off the fire, delicious, no doubt.

Into the fridge to meld for the night,
The beef with the juice concocted just right,
Saved for carrots, spuds, cabbages lot,
Cooked the last minute, and served piping hot.

Green the d├ęcor, the shamrocks on high,
I pull out the beast as the guests did arrive.
The plan was to wrap it up snugly to heat
In the oven while vegetables boiled to a treat.

“All Saints preserve us!” My family heard cry
As I lifted the lid for the corned beef pot’s prize,
The color of shamrocks, of Erin, indeed,
The juice and the beast turned to emerald GREEN!

“How could this be? What happened?”
I cried,"Green as a lush Gaelic preened countryside!"
The smell was still sweet as the evening before
No mold or equivalents were beginning to grow,

Twas bright green as grass, as Christmas, as leaves,
Where once was pink, I was starting to grieve.
My grand dish for thirty, now fit for none!
What prankster turned goodness to mossy green scum?

I queried my family, no one had a clue.
An expression genuine on each face did ensue
Of shock at the sight of their dinner turned green,
Not delight at the mischief that caused such a scene.

I pondered and thought, “How could it be so?”
It didn’t smell sour, a wee taste proved it so.
But hardly a dish I could serve to my kin
Must be the leprechauns delivered such sin.

Now it was my turn to think up a trick,
Think up a dinner, and think it up quick.
“A darlin’ corned beef doesn’t cook in a wink.”
I thought as I poured me guests one hardy green drink.

As I watched my guests laugh and merrily swig
"Would they wonder," I thought as I danced a wee jig,
"If I cleverly planned festive meal in green clad,
That I’d blame on the wee folk, if truth be it had?"

So I boiled the veggies in green corned beef soup,
I heated the beast, baked the bread for the group.
On a lovely white platter displayed the green feast.
(Though potatoes seemed blue, and the carrots deceased.)

On a table set proud for a leprechaun king
My guests, eyebrows high, raised their glasses to sing
A toast to their hostess. A prayer to St. Pat.
And toast to the leprechauns (as I cursed the brats).

Then dig in, indeed, my guests did with great zeal.
(Though my family looked on with reluctant appeal.)
Green beer and banquet, such grand combination.
Good cheer and good hale--leprechaun liberation!
© Copyright 2003 Quizmo LaGrande (UN: quizmo at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.



Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(Don't forget to be wearing o' the green!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pride of the Pack

As long as I can remember, I’ve been a loner and a wanderer.

Since my dad was a career Air Force officer, I got to explore many places across the country.

And what was very cool, as my dad was an artist, the environment in which we lived was always important. It was kind of hard when we lived on base, he didn’t really have a choice, but we did live in the officers housing, which was (supposed to be) nicer.

I was born in Omaha, NE. Dad was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base next to Omaha where he met my mom. My earliest wandering recollections were of at my grandparents’ apartment complex there in Omaha. They had a little black Dachshund named Mr. Chips. Dang, I loved that little fellow who accompanied me on the first of my long treks. I remember, when he was on the leash he was great, but off.. he was on his own and very hard for a four-year-old to catch.

My grandparents, Nanny and Grampa, lived next a small apple orchard that was owned by a crotchety old fellow that would chase us kids out, but we still went back and climbed those trees when he wasn’t looking. I don’t recall the apples being very good.

The orchard and the property my grandparents lived on butted up against the back of Omaha’s famous Boy’s Town. There was a huge, huge field between the chain link boundary and the facility one could barely see off in the distance. I knew it was a home for orphaned boys, and no matter how often I looked or how long, I never once saw a boy or anybody for that matter. I was somehow under the impression that it was a very bad place. I’m thinking it was speculative scary talk by the other kids around. (Reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh so scary in a kid’s eye.)

After Mom and Dad (okay, he’s a stepdad, but my “real” dad all at the same time) got married, we lived on base at #7 Fairchild Circle for a year or so (how in the world do I remember that address??).

My mother loved to tell the story of when I started kindergarten there at Offutt. I was so independent, I refused to walk with her the first day (or any day there after). I waltzed way on ahead in an either the pre-prepubescent embarrassment of having my mother with me, or I can do it myself, thank you (which is most likely the case).

I remember only a few things about kindergarten, one was that I had a young, pretty teacher with dark hair. Another was the time I got in trouble for scraping all the mud off my boots in the coat room making a big mess that I had to clean up. I was devastated and embarrassed. I don’t know why that event has stuck with me? I guess I didn’t like being the star of that show.

The other was being line-leader, or rather, not being line-leader. All the children’s names were colorfully printed on separate cards stacked in special boxes. At the end of the day, the reigning line-leaders (a boy and girl) would randomly pick their successors from the respective box for the next day.

I never got picked. I waited so anxiously day-after-day. I never got picked.

My mother keep telling me to be patient. Be patient.

Nobody liked me, I figured. I was the tall, clumsy, cross-eyed girl with the thick glasses that made a fool of herself with the mud in the coat room.

Spring came, and the class was scheduled to go on a field trip to the zoo! (Even way-back-when, Omaha had a zoo, a nice one, too.)

I was convinced there was no way I would get the prestigious position of line-leader for that day. One of the popular girls would get it. I was already putting myself down.

Well, I be danged if I didn’t get picked! ME, in the prominent position of line-leader for the whole day! And for the big adventure at the ZOO! Wow!. How special was that for my very first leadership role?

I don’t remember the zoo part, just the pride of being head of the pack (for once).

But I did learn the lesson that good things do come to those who wait, even to funny looking 5-year-olds.

More to come…

Happy Pi Day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Pee-Wee Posts (Continued-Part Three)

After about four months, daughter Nikki, whom we lovingly referred to as Pee-Wee, is doing fabulously after her cleft palate surgery at 15-months of age. But life as I saw it, in 1986, begins to dim. Printed not-so-neatly by hand in green felt-tip pen.

~February 19th, 1986~

Nikki is 19-months now and talking away. At about 18-months she really started talking—finally she said “Daddy” which comes out “Ah-yee,” and Bosco [my wonderful Irish Setter] is “Occo.”

I was so surprised and proud of her last Monday when we went to the grocery store. The nice lady in the bakery there gave her a cookie and she actually said “thank you” without me prompting her first! She’s getting smarter and smarter – cuter and cuter.

Well, here’s the sad news – I’m losing my eyesight.

I’ve been to the eye doctor several times but he can’t find the problem. I do have cataracts but they’re not bad enough to impair my vision so badly. They don’t know what’s wrong. I’ve been to the retina specialist, but he couldn’t find anything wrong.I’m legally blind in my left eye now and it’s totally uncorrectable.

There’s been a rapid deterioration of vision since last March in the left eye, and now I can tell the same is happening in the right eye. I can’t even see what I’m writing; memory is serving me now. At this rate, by me 31st birthday, I’ll be s**t out of luck in the eye department.

On March 5th, I go to see a neurologist. Maybe he can figure me out. I certainly hope so.

I don’t want to be blind!



This was the beginning of a very scary time in my life… I was so worried I’d never be able to see my “Pee-Wee” grow up! To be continued…
* * *

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Pee-Wee Posts

A couple more enties from my recently found old journal of my girl, Nikki's (Pee-Wee), post cleft palate surgery. Written with pen and ink in calligraphy way back when on...

~Nov. 5th, 1986~

Well it’s been a little over a month since Nikki’s surgery – she’s back to her old wily little self. She’s such a cutie. I really should go home and take her to the park. She’s fun to take to the park - she loves to chase the pigeons – those stupid pigeons.

She has many leaves to examine and much dirt to sort. She’s so happy now.

Oh! Philip moved in with us a week ago last Sat. Oct. 25th. Philip is Alex’s 11-year-old son (soon to be 12). Jay (Alex Jr.) is 14 going on 15 in January. Anyway, I’m going home to take the monsters to the park.

~Tuesday Dec. 8th – Dad’s apartment~

This pen wants to give me problems~

Dad and Ann went on vacation in Mexico for about three weeks so here I am. My back went out again last Sun. so I’m home [Dad’s place] from work. Nikki’s with Mom so I don’t have to lift her. I’m here completely alone!

Philip’s in school, Alex’s at work. I haven’t been alone in months—this is lovely! It’ll probably be years before it happens again. [Did I ever call that right!]

Work’s been a madhouse. Jackie’s got me traveling with her and we’ve been going non-stop. No wonder my back went out. Yesterday I was supposed to go to Santa Barbara with her, today L.A. and Pasadena. Tomorrow, Santa Ana. Thursday, Del Amo – HELP! Is there no rest? Friday night the Nutcracker [with the family] and Saturday morning the Jonathan Club [with Jackie] for a big jewelry/fashion show.