Sunday, February 28, 2010

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to a round of Picture Sunday. I had an interesting weekend, so let's get right to it, shall we?

Yes, Friday was my birthday. And it was a Fuck-Off Birthday to be sure, because it was my 50th. Now, I'm not going to lie. I have never been bothered by birthdays before, but I was more than a little hinky heading up to my 50th.

But you know, I woke up Friday, and it was fine. There's a phrase that's used often at TheCompanyIWorkFor, one I've come to despise, and that's "It Is What It Is." For some reason, when I woke up, that was in my head. Hey, I'm 50, I'm alive, get over it. And everything was fine.

The girls at work had decorated my office, many people came back to wish me a happy day, I got presents, we were slow at work, and it was all good. Then my sister invited me out for a dinner with her and the brother-in-law, they plied me with Jameson's and beer, and we had a great time. When I got home it all continued with a podcast with my buddy Stennie, and I stayed up late, and, well, it was a nice day.

On Saturday I was to go have dinner with Mr M at Poderosa East. He wanted to make me the dinner of my choice (I chose steak and baked potato). He asked me if the DeepFatFriar could come over too, and I said of course.

Then something happened. You know, my Hackensaws were going to be fairly close to me on Saturday, and I was mulling over going to see them, and so I told Mr M. Well, Mr M, who normally doesn't bat an eye when I tell him I'm heading off to see them, got just a little bit indignant about it. "Hey, you said you were having dinner with me, and I've planned to cook. Doesn't it matter you promised me first?" he asked, and well, he was right, so I said I can miss the Hackensaws this time around.

So I ditched the Hackensaws and went to Mr M's, and was happy to get there - we were supposed to have a foot of snow here, but it held off to a trickle and I headed out. I got there, and waiting on me was a birthday card from the Poderosa gang. It was very nice. Mr M helped them put it together.

Wasn't that nice? The inside was an anvil with 50 candles on it. Some of you will get that, some won't. If you don't, it's a long story.

Mr M was fretting over the cakes, yes cakes plural, he'd made for the night, that they weren't just quite right, but they looked fine to me. One butter pecan cake and one carrot cake. I thought, "Damn. He's really doing this up right."

It wasn't long till the Friar showed up. We watched some TV, and it was getting fairly close to 6:00 and Mr M was making no effort to get up and start dinner, and well, I was getting hungry. I didn't say anything and figured he'd start the steaks when he was ready.

Darkness fell, and a car pulled into the driveway. I figured it was my new clarinet friend Julia, because we'd talked about trying to get together a clarinet trio for the weekend, and I thought that was great, and would really add to the night.

But then - another car pulled in. And another.

And people started pouring into Poderosa East, and I realized I'd been gotten good. And that I was smack-dab in the middle of a surprise party for lil' ol me.

I was totally speechless. And anyone who was there will confirm that. My cousin Jacob was there, several people from Community Band, people from Sauerkraut Band, other friends. It really was a party! And I had a blast. We had hot dogs and sloppy joes and snacks (and two cakes!), people brought presents, which just humbled me to no end (I got lots of liquor!), and it was just the best night ever.

As the evening was winding down, Mr M's phone rang, he answered it, and handed it to me, saying, "It's for you." I picked up the phone - and it was Stennie, calling all the way from California! She knew too! It was the perfect end to the evening.

I cannot believe everyone around me (including my sister) knew about this, and it never got out. Not even a hint of it did. I'm glad though, because it was truly a surprise.

Mr M, you rock.

And now, guess what? Some pictures!

First of all, Mr M told me to bring as many of the Poderosa gang as could come (which still didn't tip me off to what was coming). As you can see, they brought instruments to provide music for the party.

They jammed all night.

I got a crown and scepter! (I think this was from Susan - if I'm wrong, I apologize.) I was the Birthday Queen!

But the Birthday Queen can't be have a coronation without her cloak - Ed and Leslie got me a leopardskin Snuggie! (They got Milo a Snuggie, too!) Ed's in the background talking to Gilbert from SKB, who joined by phone.

Russell and Laine check out the neat-o booklight that came with my Snuggie.

In all, about 15 people were there. It was great, a total surprise, loads of fun, and screw being 50. If this is what it's like, I'll take it gladly.

And thank you, Mr M. You really pulled one off.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, the Olympics are over. It's about time. They started to get boring towards the end. The closing ceremonies were fun, though. Much more fun than the opening ceremonies.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Everyone Knows It's Wendy

Ever see two locomotives heading toward each other with great speed, and you just know they're going to spectacularly ram into each other with a crash bam pow? That's kind of how tonight's story goes.

Coming from one direction, we have a dog. I have a dog. His name is Milo. Most of you know him. He's adorable, isn't he?

There's this word, though, this word that's been the basis of a running argument Mr M and I have had going for about four months. It pertains to Milo. The word is "sissy."

Mr M calls Milo a sissy. He mainly does this because Milo is, by my estimation, I mean, I wasn't there when he was born, 8 or 9 months old now, and he still doesn't lift his leg to pee. To this I say, I'm not at all embarrassed about it, and neither is Milo. He goes outside and squats like a little girl dog right there in front of God and everybody. It only seems to embarrass Mr M. I've read that dogs who are neutered 6 months and younger may never learn to lift their legs, and that's fine by me.

Apparently Milo is also a sissy because he's a mama's boy. He sits with me, he sits on me, he follows every step I make throughout the house. He doesn't want me to go outside without him. And to this I say, nuts. Not nuts as in it's not true, but nuts as in I'm his person. I'm the person who rescued him from the pound, brought him home, who feeds him and loves him and gives him treats. I ride him around in the car and sing the Milo Song to him. Of course he's a mama's boy, a mama's all he's got!

And of course, Milo will not stand up to Mr M's Alice the cat. He lets Alice walk all over him. He lays down and wags his tail and she curls up in a ball and makes noises not unlike Linda Blair in "The Exorcist," and then she pounces and he walks around wondering why she doesn't see how wonderful he is. And to this I say that although I wish Milo would, just once, bite Alice the cat's entire face off, I know he's such a good-natured dog he'd never do that. He loves everyone. He doesn't growl, snurl up his nose, or even give anyone the cold shoulder.

And so Mr M says Milo is a sissy and I say he's the perfect example of the red-blooded American mutt.

OK. Now in the other direction we have heading, well, a really long story.

Does anyone here remember Walter? Walter appeared in my life a little over three years ago. If you want the whole gruesome story you can read it here (11/10/06), but for reference, Walter was the mouse who showed up in my house, scared the peewater out of me, and sent me into one of those homeownership stories that are just me all over, the day I captured Walter in a no-kill mousetrap and had to drive him somewhere to set him free. A bit of a trying time, that was.

This morning I was getting ready for work. I had to be at work a little early, which for me means on time, and I was right on schedule and feeling quite chipper about it. All that was left for me to do was slap enough makeup on my face to be presentable, and it was off to the grind.

My makeup table is in my spare bedroom, AKA The Beast, the room where I keep everything I don't have any other place for. And now, I'll be perfectly honest here. It gets really messy from time to time, and since right before Christmas it's been a caution. There's barely a place to walk.

And Milo loves this. He loves going into The Beast with me to mill around and sniff, nose at boxes and plastic bags, and see what's there to discover.

And sometimes he'll get out of my eyeline and I'll call to him to come back to me, and he will, and we'll play with a toy or something while I'm making my face presentable, but when he ambled off this morning and I called to him, he didn't come. Instead, he started to whine. Not excitedly, either. Kind of like crying.

I turned to look at him and see if he was stuck or if his leash was wrapped around something and he couldn't move. And when I did, I noticed that as he was crying, he was looking up at the window. And there was an item of some sort between the closed blinds and the window that was making him cry.

Now, I could fib here and make things more interesting, but I won't. Because I have to admit that a mouse was the first thing that came to mind when I saw that little spot at the window. In a way. I kept looking, Milo kept crying, nose right up to the blinds, and after a minute I thought, "I wonder if a mouse has climbed onto my window ledge and died."

And still, I was hoping. I was hoping, oh, I don't know, that a missing glove had materialized there, or my window got a black spot on it suddenly. Anything. I went ahead and finished up the face thing, then warily approached the window. I gingerly lifted one slat of the blinds and saw fur. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

A box. I needed a box. It shouldn't be too horrible, find a box, nudge the corpse into it, and find a disposal place. I looked around and found a shoe box. I gingerly lifted another slat the in the blinds.

And that mouse started running!

Of course, I did what I do at these times. I jumped up and down and screamed. The mouse ran the length of the window ledge and hopped onto the top of my vacuum cleaner and sat. I realized that my shoe box had a hole on each side for easy carrying, so I figured that wasn't really what I needed now that my mouse wasn't a corpse anymore, so I started looking for something else. I was stuck. All that crap in The Beast, and not one thing approaching an airtight container. I turned back around to look at my new boarder, and - it was gone.

So I still have a mouse in the The Beast, or who knows where, actually.

But here's the thing.

While all this was going on, the lifting of blinds, the running of the mouse, the frantic searching for a box, the jumping and screaming, Milo - brave, valiant Milo - was standing behind me, head sticking around behind my leg, whining.

Crash bam pow indeed.

So maybe I do have a sissy dog, and now I also have a mouse. I've named her Wendy. I've decided she's Walter's younger sister and she came looking for him, not realizing he'd been released to greener pastures (beside an abandoned grocery store) three years ago. I've left her a note telling her where I took him, but I have a strange feeling I'm going to be taking her there myself. Soon.

I do still have one of those no-kill mousetraps left, and I guess I'll have to set it up again tonight. I really don't want to deal with it. In fact, the only thing I want to deal with less is having Wendy in my house.

Or having a sissy dog.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, the Olympics are winding down, but we still have one more set of medals to give out for acroing. So, tell us why Mr M's car is still in the garage.
- Bronze Medal goes to Michelle (the dishy), with her "Really kaputt? Figures. Ugly guzzler."
- Silver Medal goes to LilyG, with her "Radiator kept fucking up gasoline." (Although her Ralph Kramden one was one word away from the one I personally thought up.)
- And the Gold Medal, endorsement deal with Betland, and face on a box of Wheaties goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Rabbit Klepto Filtched Upper Grate."
- Thanks to al who played, you've all done very well!
- Let's all stand and enjoy the anthem from Kellieland.

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Monday, February 22, 2010


Well, hello there, blogees. Guess what I'm doing? Well, you're kind of right, I'm putting together another round of acromania. However, I'm putting together a round of acromania - in the Comfy Chair!

Yes, I'm blogging from a remote location, my living room, on my new netbook. His name is Neddy, Neddy Booke, and I've had him since Wednesday of last week.

Laptops, netbooks, they were always on my list of "things I want but don't necessarily need." I found myself with a little bit of a windfall after Christmas, and after I'd put a substantial portion of it in savings and another substantial portion of it in my medical checking account, I decided I was going to take a few hundred dollars and spend it on something I'd normally never splash out on. My buddy Stennie really likes her netbook, and I thought it would be a good way to have what I personally wanted from a laptop without the higher price. And so that's just what I did, I got a netbook.

I spent Friday setting up the networking so I could use it while relaxing in the Comfy Chair, and that wasn't nearly as hard as I was expecting it to be. In fact, it was so easy I was sure the house would blow up or something - that one wire put in the wrong hole that shorts out the house and causes it to go blooey. But all is well.

My only problem at this point is the damn keyboard. I mean, it's pretty large as netbook keyboards go, but I'm still not used to it. I make many typos, and I've also always hated the "mouse-window" way of the laptop, and add to that the sensitive "tappy mouse-window," and I'm just going and coming and exing out and all when I don't really want to.

I'll learn, though.

OK, anyone wanna do an acro? Anyone have a topic?

How about this? Mr M's car, the assmobile (long story), has been in the shop for some two weeks now. He's without wheels and going crazy. A kind thought for Mr M please. He has no idea when he'll get his car back.

This week's acrotopic? "Why is Mr M's Car in the Shop?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are not drawn from the acrobasket tonight. He's on vacation, he actually headed up to Vancouver to watch some Olympics. He's hoping to catch the last of the skiing, and maybe some freestyle ski jumping. I'll just be winging it by randomly picking letters off the keyboard. Then tomorrow night at 10:00pm est I shall be reading the entries an naming the winners.

So the topic, "Why is Mr M's Car in the Shop?" The letters:


So there you go. Acro for the assmobile!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* People are winning, people are losing. There, consider yourself updated.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Hello. I should have a more insightful and witty blog tonight, but sorry. The Olympics have been taking up my time.

On Sunday, I hit the ice for the short program in the pairs figure skating competition. Sadly, I was disqualified because I didn't have a partner. But did I let that get me down? Of course not! I competed in the long program last night just for spite, and do you know what happened? Those damn judges wouldn't give me any scores! They refused to score me! It was a travesty.

Well, I'm not one to take these things lying down, so I just decided I'd join up in the men's competition. Tonight is my short program. I'll be skating to the Orange Blossom Special. I'll let you know how it comes out, in case you don't watch me on the TeeVee.

Anyway, that's a good segue into our Olympic acro, "What Sport Would You Like to See in the Olympics?" Let's get right to the winners!

Honorable Mention, or Bronze Medal, goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Tough Broad River Skating." I'm assuming this is like Roller Derby on ice. I like it!

Runner-Up, or Silver Medal, goes to LilyG, with her "Tiny Baby Racing, Seated." Definitely seated. Standing baby races - we'd have babies littering the snow-covered hillsides. We wouldn't want that. I don't think. Would we want that?

The Winner, or Gold Medal, goes to the DeepFatFrair, with his "Tyrannosaurs Barbecuing Russian Skiers." I like it! "And he's rounding the curve, and - he's disappeared! Another Russian has disappeared!" Then on the Bear Channel, "And Bingo's caught Kalishnikov, and there he goes, onto the spit! Great move!"

And finally, into the Forever Hall of Fame for Acro goes Marla (marlamarla), with her "Twitching Bet Randomly Skiing." That would not only be a great event (because I'd win, being the only competitor), it would be a great channel. 24 hours of me skiing around aimlessly, which is how I feel I'd ski if I ever tried.

By the way, in case you didn't know, Marla (marlamarla) had major brain surgery some five days ago. And she's here making witty acros, forever gaining my admiration. That's dedication, and she's an all-time Hall of Famer for that! Love you, Marla!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Acrochallenge! But First, a Little Story

Hello, blogees. Thanks for granting me a one day stay of blogxecution.

See, it all started Saturday. Well, actually, we could say it started on Christmas Day, the day I got The Crud. In case you missed it, you might want to go down to Friday's blog, "This Way and That," and read about how I finally broke down and went to the doctor, since it's coming up on two months and The Crud really seems to like my body because he's taken up permanent residence there. I could finally take it no more, and headed off to see Smokin' Dr Javier. Who didn't smoke during my visit, but I wasn't in his office, either, which is where he always lights one up.

He took one listen at my chest, said, "Jesus H Christ!" sent me for an x-ray and blood count, and loaded me up on free antibiotics. I thought that was quite nice of him, since these are apparently the superest of super duper drugs, none stronger, and they were extremely expensive. I was happy with my free drugs, and headed off for the tests.

I took one of the pills Friday afternoon (one a day, the dosage), and by Friday night I was thinking I had a little more energy, but that could have been because it was Friday night and I didn't have to think about life for a couple of days. I had a nice Friday Chill, beat Mr M at two games of Scrabble (don't get excited, he's beaten me many times since), went to bed late, and got up Saturday morning.

I was feeling a little listless, loafed around till early afternoon, and thought I'd better eat a small lunch so I could take my next round of SuperDuperin. Which I did.

I was sitting in the Comfy Chair. Which became not so comfy at all, because within fifteen minutes of taking the drug, I started to lose it. First, my heart started to race. Beating fast and hard. I pressed on my neck, I labored my breathing to where it would be very even, I told myself, "Anxiety! Anxiety! Nothing's wrong!" It went on for about thirty minutes. I thought, "Hey! Liquid! That'll calm me down." I got up to go to the kitchen, and nearly hit the floor.

I was dizzy and disoriented. I sat back down quickly, and noticed that my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I was still mulling around anxiety as the cause, though there was no reason for it other than a feeling of dread over the x-ray results. Then I noticed the oddest thing I may have ever felt.

Patches of my skin were burning. Burning like I was laying them on a hot stove. It went from shoulder to abdomen to left buttock to right thigh. As soon as I'd notice it one place, it moved somewhere else.

And it was at that point I really started to get hinky.

I kept remembering my little freak out in June that sent me to the emergency room and cost me over $2500 of my own money, so I was loathe to dial those three magic numbers. Instead, I called Mom. I told her not to panic, but what was happening, and that I basically just needed someone on the other end of the phone. She didn't even have to talk (but you know moms, they'll talk), just be at the other end of the phone.

She, bless her heart, kept me occupied by talking about any number of things, and while I was talking, I noticed that I was scratching. My chest and neck itched so much I could have scratched till I bled and still not satisfied the itch. Somewhere during the conversation, something hit me. I remembered that in her last hospital stay, where she was coming down with The Crud, she was given the same drug I was now taking. And somewhere it seemed like the instructions (which you don't get when you get samples) said to drink as much water as possible when taking the drug. Maybe I did need liquid. I asked her about it - she said she couldn't remember.

I asked her to bear with me while I headed to the computer. I shuffled along, phone in one hand, the other holding onto things so I wouldn't fall over. I got to the computer and looked up the drug. And boy, what I found out.

First of all, the drug's actual website had a huge disclaimer about how it was possible to have torn muscles and tendons while taking SuperDuperin. That was certainly odd, I thought, but I still never found anything about drinking liquids, so I kept investigating.

And it was then that I found a forum just chock full of pissed-off people who'd taken SuperDuperin. There were a myriad of side effects, but many people reported exactly what I was going through. Dizziness, heart palpitations, shaking, disorientation, itching, hives, burning skin. Suicidal thoughts! (Thank heavens I never got there.) A couple of people even said this all happened the second day they took the drug!

There were other things that freaked me out, like people just walking along or lifting the smallest of objects, and having torn achilles tendons and rotator cuffs! Made me glad I didn't decide earlier to queue up Wii Tennis and start banging away. I might be in traction now!

Oddly enough, even though I felt like shit, I was a bit comforted. At least I knew what was going on. I continued to breathe evenly, and after about four hours the heartbeat was fairly normal and the hands weren't shaking. I wasn't burning, but still itching like crazy. No hives that I could see, just itching.

I checked back in with Mom and Dad several times during the day and night, just letting them know I was still OK. They kept me talking, and laughing, and you know, sometimes Mom and Dad just rock.

I slept on the couch Saturday night, and slept better than I was expecting to. However, Sunday - I was useless. My legs were heavy, I had no energy, and I never even got out of my pajamas. And I still itched.

Needless to say, I didn't take my Sunday dosage of SuperDuperin.

Today I took back my samples and got something more conventional. Smokin' Dr Javier saw me come in and grabbed me to give me my test results. The chest x-ray was fine, and my blood count was on the high end of normal for infection, but still normal. My blood pressure was down from Friday, too.

I blame no one for this. SDJ heard my chest and figured I needed the strongest antibiotic there was. I told him up front I'd never had a reaction to any drug. I hadn't. I guess just some people can tolerate things and some can't. And this one wasn't for me.

But it was some weekend, let me tell you.

OK, now that I'm better, let's get to acromania.

As you may know, the Winter Olympics are now underway. I'm mulling my usual "Events I'd Like To See in the Olympics," but I thought a good acro would be to see what events you'd like to see. So that's our acrotopic. "Winter Olympics Events I'd Like To See."

All the rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket would like to see Sitting Naked on a Block of Ice as an event. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic - "Winter Olympics Events I'd Like To See." The letters -


So there. Salute the flame and acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
- I've discovered that all the events I like at the Olympics are the ones that are really short. Short track, freestyle moguls, figure skating.... If they last more than five minutes, I'm out.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Asking For A Delay

Hi, folks. I was going to give you a Pictureless Sunday with a story, but I need a pass for one night. When I tell the story, you may understand why.

I promise I'll be back tomorrow - with an acrochallenge! - and the story in full.

See you tomorrow!


Friday, February 12, 2010

This Way and That

Hello, there. Bet you didn't expect to see me on a Friday, did you? I didn't either, to be honest, but I had an experience today that sent me to the old blogging board for a story.

See, I finally broke down and went to the doctor today. As you know, I've had The Crud since Christmas Day. It came on with a flourish, and I was hoping it would leave the same way, but that wasn't the case. Instead it limped slowly away, I walked around fortified with 10 or 15% Crud, then it started taking me over again. I cough, I wheeze, and then I began to sneeze as well, and finally gave in.

And so it was off to good old Smokin' Dr Javier, to the not-as-nice examining room #2, the one with the picture called "The Doctor" that I've blogged about before. A doctor (played for this painting by US Grant) sitting vigil over a sick little girl while her parents (father played by John Cusack for this painting) look on.

I went there predicting four eye-rolls from SDJ. He always rolls his eyes at me at some point during a visit, and I hadn't been there in a while, so I figured I could say all kinds of things that would wind him up. Turns out I only said one, which was that early on in The Crud I took some spare antibiotics that were laying around after I stopped taking them this summer when I almost cut off the tip of my finger with the electric hedge clippers.

So I way overestimated the eye-rolls, but I got something better, something worth a good three eye-rolls in the SDJ world. One listen to my chest and he exclaimed, "Jesus H Christ!"

He then dispatched me for a blood count and chest x-ray forthwith, but not without loading me up with about $150 worth of free antibiotics. The ones he wanted me on were apparently the Super Duper For People About To Leave This World kind, and when he found out I didn't have a prescription card he went off looking for samples. Came back with a 10-day supply, and that is one of the reasons I like Smokin' Dr Javier.

He sent me to a place I'd not been to before for the bloodletting, and a place I'd been to a few times for the x-ray. And in that little round of traveling, I discovered something. That if you run a business or provide a service, there is an absolutely perfect way to do things, and an absolutely perfect way to bollocks every thing up.

I pulled into the little medical center for the blood test first. Up close it looked like a seedy hotel. A row of dark brown metal doors leading into dark offices with little window space. I pushed open my door, and saw behind it a bright clean office. It was empty.

The lady behind the window took my paperwork, said, "Yes, come right back this way." I took off my coat, sat down, got poked, put on my coat, and left. I couldn't have been in there more than four minutes. She was cheery, made conversation while she was sticking me, and wished me well as I walked out the door.

"Well, this might not be as bad as I thought," I said aloud backing the podmobile2 out of the parking lot. Then I headed to the x-ray place.

I walked in and there were about four other people in the large waiting room. People in lab coats were milling around. I went to the window, signed in, and waited. I got called back to the window, where I handed the woman my paperwork.

"You're here for a chest x-ray?" she asked with a snurled-up nose. (I came to find that this was her constant expression, nose rolled up like a window shade.) And though I wanted to say, "Is that what the paper says, lady?" I didn't, because I'm nice, I just said, "Yes."

She sighed and snurled a bit more. "Well, they have several people ahead of you, you're looking at a wait of an hour or an hour and a half." I stood there. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Say, "OK, I didn't want this anyway" and leave? I asked her what time it was for lack of anything better to say.

She asked me if I had any other places to go and then come back in that 90 minutes, and I started toying with the idea of going back to work for a half-hour or so, and was smart or stupid enough to ask, "So if I leave and come back I won't lose my place in line?"

She looked at me as if to say, "God, you idiot," then said, "Oh, yes, you'll lose your place in line."

I really haven't been feeling good lately and the look I gave her almost unsnurled her nose, and I said, "Well, then I have to wait, don't I?" And I went and sat down.

I'd brought along a Games Magazine for such an occasion, and started in on it. It wasn't 20 minutes before they called me back, and I just started to seethe. That woman was trying to get rid of me! She was trying to discourage me from using my God-given right to get an x-ray. I kept thinking it was around lunchtime, and she was probably given the job of Cleaner, the person to weed out people so everyone could get a timely lunch hour.

Anyway, I got my x-ray and got back to work.

But it bugs me when people act like it's such a chore to do their damn jobs.

Oh, and by the way, while being checked in, Ms Nose mentioned it was almost a year since I'd been there for my last x-ray. March 9, 2009.

And I just didn't have the heart to yell, "Yes, March 9, 2009. Know when I got the bill for that x-ray? February 10, 2010!" But I wanted to.

Apparently the billing department all sits around with snurled-up noses too.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Hey - we actually have some Olympics! Opening ceremonies tonight, after the very sad news that a luger lost his life on a training run today. That's a very bad way to begin an Olympics. RIP, Mr Luge Person.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's That Day Again

Hello, groundhog lovers.

Yes, today is Groundhog Day. The day when somehow one groundhog in Pennsylvania predicts the weather for the whole world by going outside amongst some men in top hats and standing on a stump. I love science.

I hope you all don't believe that whole Phil Seeing His Shadow on February Second stuff. It's groundhogwash. And I know this because I know a groundhog. The groundhog pictured above. His name is Herschel.

Herschel lives at Mr M's, aka Poderosa East. He doesn't live in the Poderosa, he lives in the back yard. He occasionally comes up on the deck, where the picture was taken, often when Mr M and I are playing clarinet duets and have the French doors in the kitchen open. He likes clarinet music, apparently. Or the sound of arguing.

And Sherman likes clarinet music too, and he loves animals of all kinds, and so he and Herschel have become great friends. It's quite sweet, really, because Sherman doesn't speak Groundhog, and Herschel doesn't speak Sherman, but Sherman will gather some twigs and grass and put it at the opening of Herschel's burrow, and Herschel will come up on the deck and chew on the charcoal bag, and somehow they communicate quite well.

By the way, it didn't start so chummily. It started one spring when Sherman was working on his garden out at the back of Mr M's yard, and Herschel tried to steal his rake. Herschel had the pointy end, Sherman had the handle, and they were going at it like nobody's business. They were in a serious tug of war that lasted for hours, then finally, both exhausted and burning up from the sun, they let go at the same time. They shook hands and that was that.

And you'd be surprised what Sherman has told me he's learned via Herschel.

First of all, groundhogs have very bad eyesight. In fact, Herschel once asked Sherman if he could get him a pair of glasses just like his so he could see a little better. Also, groundhogs have spent months in a hole, so when they come outside for the first time, their eyes hurt. Everything's a shadow to them, and to be honest, sometimes they're still half-asleep when they come out into the cold light of day. The whole idea of coming out and seeing a shadow is, according to Herschel, "ludicrous." ("Ludicrous" in Herschelspeak being a third piece chewed charcoal and four twigs.)

So don't believe all that Groundhog Day stuff.

However, in the spirit of fun and tradition, Sherman and Peabody have had their very own Groundhog Day celebration this day every year since they've made Herschel's acquaintance. They both don top hats and red, white, and blue ribbons, and stand outside the burrow starting about 6 am, awaiting the arrival of Sherman's friend. He eventually ambles out, Sherman gives him a grub and a piece of moss, and Herschel walks around in the grass (or snow, as it may be) a little. Then Peabody gives the next six weeks' weather forecast based on the weather machine he built. Everyone claps, then they all go out for ice cream.

Herschel prefers twig ice cream with dirt sprinkles. And after the ice cream, they return to Poderosa East, Sherman and Herschel have a little grass and charcoal time, then Herschel goes back to bed.

It's a nice celebration. Herschel's a nice groundhog.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, my dirt tolerance finally found its ceiling. I spent about an hour cleaning my kitchen floor. It's still drying. And thank God for that.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Picture Monday

Hello, loves. Blame it on the Grammys. I turned them on last night and fell fast asleep. Sure, I woke up and came here, but my brain was too fuzzy to put together a coherent Picture Sunday. And so a Picture Monday we shall have.

I guess the big news of last week is, well.... I've said it many times. I've said over and over how the Poderosa is just too full of cartoon characters, and though I love them all, I just can't afford to board any more. And then I cave.

Everyone knows Che, right? That would be this fellow -

Che Guellama. Mr M ordered a handmade Rossi clarinet from Chile, and Che delivered it. He came to visit, and didn't want to go home. Sure, he knew no English, and his late-night flamenco dancing in the kitchen both kept me awake and ruined my floor, but he was so sweet and all the other characters loved him. And so Che became one of the Poderosa gang.

I should have known it was going to happen, you know. Mr M ordered a second Rossi clarinet, and was keeping track of its delivery, its delivery by Roy. That would be Roy Vamanos, llama #64. Seems Roy wanted to visit Che after the delivery, and I said OK, but there would be no staying with me!

He arrived last Wednesday, and came to stay till the weekend. He's still here. Yeah, I invited him to stay. He also speaks no English, but Che translates (his is coming along well), and Sherman and Lily are just crazy about him. He's no trouble, really. He's a good llama.

When he arrived, he honed right in on the hat my nephew bought me for Christmas, and he curls up in it every night to sleep.

And so it goes. I guess it really is "the more the merrier."

The problem with Roy coming to live with me is that Mr M got a little lonely and wistful, and decided he also wanted a llama. I offered him Roy, but Roy didn't want to leave. So by gum, he went out and got himself a llama of his own. His name is Big Roy, and Sherman is crazy about him. Because, well - llama rides!

So, feeling lonely? Need a friend? I suggest a llama.

Now to more recent happenings.

I went to see the Hackensaw Boys on Friday!

Yep, they've been off the road for months, they're recording, and they chose my very own B'burg for their first show back.

During the work week from hell last week, Friday was the shining light that kept me going. Except for one thing. Yes, the big snowstorm that was headed my way, due to arrive Friday afternoon. The first flake arrived late, at 4:40pm, and at 4:40 I, as de-facto boss, called work and said, "Let's get the hell out of here." By the time I arrived the one mile home, the air was white with snow.

It was a bit of a comedy of errors. I already had everything packed and in one spot, but the snow just threw me off. I was lurching around trying to grab things, and for some reason, whispering. "Milo! Let's get this harness on you, we have to get out of here!" It was like I was escaping from my own house.

But we got on the road, and it was really neat because I actually outran the storm. It was on me for about seven miles, then it tapered off and was clear the rest of the way.

I got to B'burg, called the nephew and made plans to meet, and before I knew it, there we all were. He had friends in tow, three of them, all such nice and fun boys, all but one I'd met before. We met up with Ward, Cousin Spits Hackensaw, and he was kind enough to drink a toast with us for Taylor's recently-passed 21st birthday. We ate a little, drank a little more, and headed to the stage, where we discovered the opening band, who were excellent. They were called Pert Near Sandstone, and played real old-time music.

Then it was time for the Hackensaws, five instead of six, as Salvage Hackensaw wasn't along for this gig. But they did new stuff, old stuff, were in fine form, and, well, I don't have to tell you, I've told you a million times already. If you ever have the chance, you have to see the Hackensaws live. There's nothing like it.

Pictures? Of course I have pictures. The pictures I'm including are here have a universal theme - fun. Just fun for everyone.

How about Shawn giving a personal banjo solo for some happy fans?

Exuberance from Ferd and Baby J.

More exuberance from Ferd and Shawn!

And of course, we have to get one of the whole gang plying their trade.

Wanna see some happy fans? Look no further than me and the boys.

Speaking of Sherman, who's had his share of Hackensaw experiences, Friday was a new high. When the boys came to the edge of the stage for a number, I was looking for the neverending photo op, and was trying to place Sherman somewhere around Baby J's bass. All of a sudden, Baby J picked him up and stuck him - in his bass.

And now, a close-up!

He stayed there for a song at the stage front, then for a trip out into the crowd for a few songs. I mean, really - how sweet is that? I love those guys.

We went outside a few times during the night, and the snow finally hit B'burg at about 10pm. And it came down fast. Driving home was beautiful though, the little road to Mr M's hadn't been touched, it was like a Winter Wonderland.

Then I got snowbound.

Couldn't get home on Saturday as planned, but hey, Mr M's is a fine place to be stuck, we watched movies and had nachos, and he took Milo out for a romp in the snow in his back yard, unleashed. Milo had a ball running and barking at the cows next door.

Then it was home Sunday on clear roads, all the normal Sunday things, the Grammys, falling asleep, and that's where we are now.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Help! I've become addicted to "Family Guy!"