Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Boy, Am I Lucky or What!

You know, I love mail. I get the mail at work, around 10:00 am, and it's always exciting when my friend, workmate, and mother figure San comes in with the daily take. Will she head back my way? She is! She is! What will I have? A package? A letter? A new Games magazine?

Ah, crap. Bills.

Well, that's how it goes most days. But every once in a while, I'll get that gem I'm hoping for. That happened one day last week.

When San headed back my way, she was carrying something quite large. It wasn't a box, it was a flat piece of mail, but it was bigger than your standard legal pad. I bounced up and down in my chair and resisted the urge to say, "Gimme gimme gimme!"

When San laid the mail upon my desk, I couldn't believe my eyes.

It was the Mona Lisa!

Someone had sent me the Mona Lisa in the mail! And if you don't believe me, well, naysayers, take a look at this!

Yep, there she is, mysterious smile and all. And look - you can even see (and feel, if you own it, like I now do) the canvas.

Apparently some art society wants me join up with them, and they must want it really badly, because as an incentive for my membership they sent me the Mona Lisa. I wish they'd have sent the frame as well, but I guess that would have cost too much to ship. I'm thinking about searching out the fanciest frame I can find, and placing right on my living room wall.

I know it's the real Mona Lisa, because it has all these facts on the back, like when it was painted and what a neato guy DaVinci was.

This past Thursday The Nephew came over to trim Milo. When it was all over I told him I could either pay him in cash or in priceless art. I showed him the Mona Lisa.

He took the cash.

Some people just don't appreciate the finer things in life.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what is the title of your autobiography?
- Runner-Up goes to Capt A, with his "Luck Has Not a Chance."
- And this week's winner goes to LilyG, with her "Lace, Hairnets, Nylon - a Chronicle." Hey, I'd read that.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

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Monday, June 28, 2010


Hello, lovers of letters. Still out there? If so, join me for a happy round of acromania.

I'm not really much of a reader. I used to say, "It goes in phases. I'll read and read, then I won't ready anything for a while." That's changed. I'm assuming, unless a non-reading phase has lasted approximately three years.

So why this idea for an acrochallenge is in my head, I've no idea. But let's talk autobiographies. Everyone seems to be writing one nowadays. This week's acrotopic shall be, "The Title of My Autobiography." Now, this is the title of your autobiography, not mine.

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket published his own autobiography, "A Man of Letters." Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, this week's acrotopic, "The Title of My Autobiography." The letters:


And there you have it - put down your books and acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, still in the planning stages of the latest movie. Logistically, it just might be too difficult. Haven't given up yet, though.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Poderosa News and Notes

Hello, friends.

OK, the week here at the Poderosa....

Went to B'burg over the weekend, where Mr M and I got a lovely visit from Sauerkraut Band buddies Seth and Susan. We had a great time, laughed a lot, then they had to leave, because Susan had to make a pie. (Father's Day, you know.)

Then Mr M and I went to a late-night showing of "Toy Story 3." Oh, man. Go see this movie. I laughed, I cried. I cried a lot. I don't know why I didn't think to bring tissues. I needed tissues.

Then I came home on Sunday, which was indeed Father's Day, and our whole family went out to dinner. We had a blast, made each other laugh, lots of good conversation, we came back home - and, just like after my birthday dinner, there was a point where Granny (my mom) plopped her wig on the table, and we knew the evening was over and it was time to go home. And so we did.

A good weekend.

Milo's Freedom Train is still going well. I only crate him at night now. When I'm at work, or have to leave the house for a while, I just close the gate into the dennette, and he has the rest of the house to himself. He's had a couple of "tear ups," like a discarded soap box and a fingernail file, but it's nothing big. He's growing up.

I haven't posted a picture lately, so here is Milo this very night, relaxing in the kitchen.

He's getting a trim from The Nephew tomorrow night. Woo Hoo! Get out the Swiffer Sweeper!

Now, this is big. I mean, big big.

You know, I like QuickDraw McGraw. He's lived with me for a few years now, and although he's pretty quiet as cartoon characters go, he's nice, easygoing, personable, and we all get along with him. Well, little did I know the pull he has in the cartoon world. He sprang a surprise on me Sunday night I was just not prepared for.

When I got back from having dinner with the family (after Granny plopped her wig on the table), I walked into the house, and guess who was there?


Yes, QuckDraw had heard me say many times what a fan I was of Woody's, and had gotten in touch with him to invite him for a visit. Everyone was just crazy about him, including me. He's a hoot. And although space is at a premium here, and I keep saying there will be no more boarders at the Poderosa, I couldn't help but ask him to move in with us.

Woody wasn't sure. He has a whole group of characters of his own, of course. But after spending a few days here, and hearing the others talk about all the trips they take to visit friends and family whenever they like, Woody said, sure, he'd set up camp at the Poderosa for a while.

So Woody's a new member of the gang!

Here he is with his cowboy buddy, QuickDraw.

And here he is with the whole gang, having a little ride on Che Guellama.

If you'll look closely, you'll notice that there in the corner of that picture you'll see Baby Huckie. Remember when Huckie went to visit Maw Hound on Mother's Day in the WABAC and things went awry and Huckie ended up an infant? Well, Mr Peabody fixed the WABAC and got Huckleberry back to his old grown self, and we were all relieved.

Then, one day, we got up and there was Baby Huckie crawling around in the floor. It totally freaked Real Huckie out.

Now, we don't know how this happened, not even Mr Peabody, and we're not sure how to send him back in time to his chosen space. And until we do, Baby Huckie is here. We try to make sure he's fed and changed and burped, and Real Huckie is trying to come to grips with the fact that there's a baby version of him crawling around the Poderosa. Real Huckie's pretty adaptable, as most blue dogs are.

Boy, the fun never ends here at the Poderosa, does it?

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Had a movie idea rolling around, hoping to have the time to work on it, and now have another one rolling around! Could there be two movies in your future? I know not!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Old Dogs, New Tricks

As I say every time I start a blog, I neglect poor Betland. I'll bet some of you think I've just given up on blogging and so you don't come here anymore, in which case you're not reading this, but you're probably not missing out on much.

The main reason I seldom blog is because I'm out of ideas. I blame that on a simple fact of late. I kind of hate my life. No, I don't kind of hate it, I really hate it. Now, don't fear for me, I don't hate living, I'm not going to jump off a building or anything. I just hate the version of life I'm living lately.

There's a long outline of why I hate the life I'm living right now, full of main topics and subsets, but I'll touch on the three main reasons.

I. Too Damn Much

Work of late has just been hell, and I'm overwhelmed. It's happened before in phases, but this entire year has been overwhelming. Six months is a fucking long phase, if you'll pardon the curse. I seldom leave work with all the day's tasks done, which of course puts me behind beginning the next day. It seems to never end.

Then along with that I'm traveling to B'burg for clarinet practices (an ensemble recital in July), and the Sauerkraut Band has decided it's time to record a new CD. Which is great, we've needed to some six years, but now seems to be the time we're all gearing up with rehearsals for that. Normally, I'd also have Community Band stuff to add to all that, but for now I'm giving Community Band a pass. If I have the time or inclination to hit a concert or practice, I might do it. Then again, I might not. Self-preservation.

And of course, there's Granny & Paw duty, which I have every other weekend. (On the plus side, my sister is very good about dividing G&PD. Thank you, Sis.) But after a long week at work, and knowing there's a rehearsal of some sort on Sunday, it's a little daunting knowing that Saturday will be spent going around to stores, then helping load groceries, unload groceries, and carry groceries into the house. Then I get home with my own groceries, and have no one to help me unload them and carry them into the house, so I do that myself.

OK. May not sound like much, but I'm tired.

II. Damn Pack Mule

I don't know when it happened, but in the past year or so, I seem to have become a full-fledged bag lady. I don't go anywhere that I'm not lugging a bunch of shit around with me.

I did a blog (one I actually liked) years ago about my pocketbook. How when I was a teenager, and even into my early 20s, I traveled with a drivers license in one pocket and some cash in the other. Boy, how things have changed.

This is the main bag I carry.

I love it for several reasons. It's orange, it's weatherproof, and it will hold everything. The problem with that is I've started to carry everything. My cute orange bag weighs so much it gives me a backache.

Then, to work everyday, I take a thermal mug of ice. I also need to take a 20 oz bottle water to fill the thermal mug with. I sometimes take a snack. I often take the anti-itch lotion I keep at hand for when my nervous itching (who would ever have thought that?) acts up. I often have to take my "personal case" back and forth to work, the one that holds bills and papers and the like.

I walk into work every morning like a damn pack mule.

Then when I go to B'burg, I have to lug a horn, a folder of music, and an overnight bag with me. If I want to take the netbook, threre's another bag. If I want to take whatever else to have there, books, magazines, movies, paper and pencils, there's another bag. Plus Milo. He doesn't go in a bag.

I travel everywhere like a damn pack mule.

III. What's Next

Isn't it nice to just be able to get up and leave the house? Well, I don't know, because I can't do that. I used to. It used to be my favorite part of being a single woman with her own house. I just grabbed the car keys and walked out. Where the hell did that vanish to?

I was trying to explain this to someone lately, and they looked at me like I was flat-ass batshit crazy. I was saying that every time I go somewhere I suffer something called "No, Wait," and it went like this. Say I'm going to work.

"OK, I've got this and this. No, wait, I have to do this. Oh, crap, to do this, I have to find this. Where is this? No, wait, it's here. Now I need to quickly do this. No, wait, to do this, I have to do this. But I have to do this first. OK, finally, I can leave. Oh, crap, after I do this. No, wait, first I have to do this...."

And on and on. Is it any wonder I'm always late for work?

IV. There Is No IV

Now, I'm going to throw something else into the mix here. It has nothing to do with the outline and all that stuff, it's just one more thing on my plate.

My adorable little puppy Milo is now a little over a year old. And he's turned into a teenager. A teenager with attitude.

This has mainly manifested itself in the area of his crate. Milo doesn't want to go into his crate anymore. It used to not bother him the least, he marched right into it like a little champion. Problem is, he also doesn't want to be given the entire kitchen. Every time I've given him the kitchen, I've come home and he's climbed the gate into another room.

Now, I never wanted Milo to be crated the rest of his life. My dream is to have him wander the house when I'm gone. But there are things in the house a puppy can get into. Not the kitchen, it's puppy-proof. That's why I wanted to start in the kitchen and work our way on from there.

This week, I've started Milo out in the kitchen two more days, and both of them, he's ended up in the living room. Crying, because he can climb the fence into the living room, but he can't climb it to get back.

V. There's No V Either, I'm Just Enjoying Making Roman Numerals

And now to today. Two things happened that lightened my spirit a bit. The first thing was that I had seen a little handbag I liked, smaller than my orange bag, and I thought I'd order it. It arrived. It was way smaller than I had imagined from the online picture.

Yep. That's smaller, all right.

Instead of getting all depressed and saying, "Well, there's $45 down the drain," I made a decision. I was going to pack the little bag from my big bag. When I ran out of room, that was it. I mean, do I have to carry a bottle of perfume with me? Sample sized hand lotions? How much change does one actually need lying at the bottom of a bag?

I got it done, and I took the big beloved orange bag and put it away. So as not to be tempted. I'm trying it out for a week. We'll see if - even once - I say, "Boy, I miss the [insert item] I used to carry around with me.

I also found a compact canvas bag with a handle. That will carry what I take back and forth to work with me. If it doesn't fit in the bag, it won't go with me.

And finally. I came home from lunch today, and there was - well, actually, there was no Milo. Once again, he wasn't in the kitchen. He'd climbed into the living room. I went in to see if he'd gotten into anything. He hadn't.

And so I made a proclamation, out loud. "All right, big boy, you think you're too old to be confined to a crate and a kitchen? Fine. Have at it." I took down the gate into the living room.

When I left going back to work, I gave Milo a treat, closed the unclimbable gate to the den, and headed out the door. (After doing "No, Wait" a few times.) He was whining as I left.

And when I came home after work, there was Milo hopping around to meet me at the den gate. I opened it, did a walk-through of the house, and not a thing had been disturbed. He'd been a good boy while I was gone.

And not only that, I leashed him up and took him outside, and he immediately peed and pooed. Yes, could have found a spot in the house for both of those, but he waited till he got outside.

So maybe my rebellious teenager just needs a little more responsibility. And he'll continue to get some.

And maybe I need to cut a lot of the crap out of my life. I'll keep working on that, too.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Consequence of blogging once every three weeks. Too-long blogs.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Things We Know, or The Perfect Whatever

I'd been thinking about this for several days. Leave it to my blogging buddy Duke to have a brain-snap with me and mention an article in his blog that I'd just read earlier in the day to make me realize I neglect my blog way too much.

Anyway, what I was thinking related to his blog and that article. It was a list - five sure-fire ways to lose 91 pounds a year. I liked what he had to say about it.

See, I work all day at TheCompanyIWorkFor, and in the few minutes of free time I have I like to do a little net surfing. Problem with that is it's never more than a few minutes, and TCWIF blocks a lot of internet sites, and so the surfing experience is never very satisfying.

And so I usually find myself on cnn.com or msnbc.com, and both of these sites, and many more, love them some lists. How to have perfect skin, how to have perfect hair, how to choose the perfect wardrobe, how to catch the man of your dreams, etc etc till you want to puke.

And you know, a list is a list, and I often read them even when I'm not really interested in finding the man of my dreams or the perfect wardrobe, and the reason I often read them is just to prove myself right about something.

These lists are always (well, except the one Duke referenced - it was a rarity) ten items long, the top ten whatevers, but it doesn't really matter. And here comes the part where I get to prove myself right.

Because the same five things always show up on whatever list you look at.

Want perfect skin? Perfect hair? Perfect wardrobe? Perfect man? Five of those ten ways to help you get them are always, and when I say always I mean, well, always:

1. Don't smoke
2. Don't drink (or drink too much)
3. Get plenty of exercise
4. Get plenty of sleep
5. Eat a healthy diet

I don't care if you're looking for ten ways to get the best deal on a car, or how to get a raise at work, or how to pick the right running shoe, I swear, those five things are going to be on the list.

And here's the thing. Well, here's one of the things. First of all, we know those five things are key to our happiness, so the experts say. Smoking, drinking, sitting around all day, staying up all night, and eating junk food are the expressway to Shitsville, Arizona. Whether we do them or not, believe me, listmakers of America, we know. You show me a person who thinks, "You know, my skin is horrible. I need to fix it. What??? Smoking and junk food makes a difference???" and I'll show you someone who needs to have their Lucid Person badge revoked.

And I guess the other thing is that if we all know those things, why are people muddying up their lists with these items? Make them all "Five Things You Didn't Know About That Can Give You The Perfect Whatever."

Or how about simply, "Five Things That Can Give You The Perfect Whatever*," and the article can begin with, (* of course, you already know about the smoking, drinking, exercise, diet, and sleep).

I'm waiting for that top ten list on how to get a good night's sleep where one of the list items is "get plenty of sleep." I know it's out there, I just haven't found it yet.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You know, there really isn't too much to update around here. For those of you not Facebookally inclined, I guess I could tell the story of the Seven Dwarves.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Little Comfy Chair Love

Hello, friends.

The poor Comfy Chair Cinema. I bet you thought I'd forgotten all about it, didn't you? I mean, hell, I seem to have forgotten Betland, why wouldn't I?

Well, turns out, I haven't forgotten about it. I think of it often. I think of how much I need to make a movie and update the damn thing.

And the sad part is that, though I'd been blaming Milo for my lack of moviemaking, I had in fact made two movies in earnest, and had two more of music, and I've just been very lazy getting them posted to you. Not posted to Facebook, a fact for which I'm incredibly embarrassed, because not all of you are on Facebook, but their uploading is simpler and I don't have to make pithy introductions there.

I know, I'm a cad.

But tonight I decided to by-God put some stuff on the Comfy Chair. And so I uploaded four, yes, four, dammit, videos to the site.

The first, though it will appear as the last as you're scrolling down the Comfy Chair screen, is my 2010 Easter Extravaganza, "Peep Opp Ork Ah-Ah." With that title, you can probably guess exactly where it's going, but there you go.

The second is a clip of my dear Hackensaw Boys from a concert May 2 in the little burg of Floyd, VA. They're out in the crowd giving it all they've got. Lovely boys.

The third is my participation in the solo/duet piece with my clarinet friend Mary at the Blacksburg Community Band's spring concert. We're playing Mendelssohn's Concertpiece 2. This is in fact the band solo you heard me whine, bitch, and moan about here for months.

And the final is the movie I finished only this weekend starring no less a doggie than Milo himself. You won't want to miss this one, I promise.

So there you go. If you haven't seen those yet, head over the Comfy Chair Cinema and give them a try.

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