Sunday, January 30, 2011

(Moving) Picture Sunday

Had a nice weekend in B'burg. On Saturday and Sunday Mr M and I took Milo to the dog park. It was warm and full of happy dogs and people.

I put together a little footage.

Happy week.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to Picture Sunday.

Didn't travel this weekend. In fact, didn't leave the house Saturday. Cleaned and made a new crock pot recipe, Pork Chop Beans. This is one all of my friends rave about, so I was game. Mr M came down to join me.

Didn't get a picture, but it didn't really matter, because I didn't see what all the fuss was about. See, the pork chops are supposed to season the beans, but I thought it was all a rather bland concoction. I think Mr M liked them a little more than I did, but it was agreed all around they needed "something."

However, I did, for the first time ever, make cornbread, and it wasn't bad. Not as good as my mom's, to be sure, but hey, she's been doing it sixty years and this was just my first time.

So, Mr M and I had dinner and watch a couple of movies, one of which I'd already started before he got there and he was kind enough to let me finish. It was a lazy evening, and I was grateful.

Mr M had a request last night, though, before he left. Seems we found out Milo loves for Mr M to pick him up and carry him around. He requested a few pictures of him and "his" dog.

I like the next one. Notice the look of admiration from Milo.

Then today it was Paw Duty, getting him to all the stores, and I got home around 3:30 and decided to make up a big pot of stew I could eat on a while and freeze for later. Did the kielbasa stew with cabbagge that I tried a few weeks ago and liked so well.

If you like kielbasa and cabbage, you'll like this one, and it's very easy. However, with those ingredients, as I was telling LilyG online today, there's enough gas in the pot to blow up your entire neighborhood, so be careful.

Then watched the football tonight with barely one eye, napped a bit, and thought about how in the hell I'm going to get three large full trash bags, each weighing about 30 pounds, out to the curb tomorrow morning.

Then I stopped thinking about that because it was too depressing.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm getting mighty tired of Milo dragging me out in the single digit temperatures by giving me the "pee look," when all he really wants to do is bark at a rock.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Think There Might Have Been Shame

Hello, my fine blogees. Have you missed the blog? More importantly, have you missed this week's Hucklebug podcast? Because the reason it was a repeat was because of me.

Stennie is so kind. If I have something planned outside of podcastland, she just goes with it. She's the maven editor, you know. Really, anytime you listen to the Hucklebug, it's all due to the talents of Stennie.

What she went with this past week was that I had a social opportunity, and I wanted to take it, and apparently, she was OK with it too. She put up a repeat show, which is still great to listen to, of course, and I hope to do just that tonight.

Here's the whole reason for the repeat.

Earlier in last week, Mr M came to me with a challenge. "Hey, this Friday, I'm doing Music After Midnight. Before that will be the 'No Shame Theater.' The DeepFatFriar is performing there, then after, I'll play. Hey, why don't you come along and read something of yours too, at No Shame, and we'll make a night of it."

Well, I'd heard of Music After Midnight, because Mr M had played there before, and I'd heard of the No Shame Theater, only because Mr M had told me about it. "People get up and do stuff, and Lord, what they do."

Oh, my God. Could I read something I'd written at the No Shame?

At first I thought "no." Mr M told me I only had three minutes to be onstage. Well, you know me. Diarrhea of the fingers - I have nothing under three minutes.

But I looked around and found a short little thing I wrote that was under two minutes. It was spectacularly silly, but it was under two minutes. I chose that to read, if in fact I could actually read something I wrote in front of some people.

As we were heading to the theater in R'noke, I found that I actually had five minutes. For that was one of the three rules of the No Shame Theater.

1. You only have five minutes to do your thing.

2. Anything you do must be original. If you sing a song, it must be your song. If you tell jokes, they must be your jokes.

3. You cannot break anything. Including the law.

I signed up for my meager reading, and started getting hinky. And we got there very early, so I had lots of time to get hinky.

I think it was a blessing that I came third in the whole evening's readings. I'll tell you why after.

Anyway, the third person along, they called my name. And I ambled out to read what I'd written. The sound is a little suspect, so if you want to read along, you can go here. (If you want to follow along, and head for the blog of Dec 3d, 2003.)

Yeah, being third on the bill helped me. Because if I knew all the others (7 of 11 people on the bill) would be people from the theater dept of a local college, I'd have never gotten the gumption to go onstage. (They were all polished and ready to appear onstage. Unlike yours truly.)

But all in all, I did it, and I'm glad I did it.

But - would I do it again?

In fact when asked that very night, I didn't know how to respond. Sure, I did it once, so I should be able to do it again. Then again, I know how I felt, aware my knees were crumbling as I read, and I don't think I could deal with that feeling ever again.

But again, I'm working on stuff I've written I can pare down to five minutes to slay them with. Oh, Lord.

So I read my little thing. I got a couple of tee-hees from the crowd.

But also, though. The whole time I was onstage reading my little silly thing, with my knees falling out from underneath me.... I mean, I truly honestly thought my knees would collapse and I would have to be carried from the place to the local hospital. It was bizarre.

And all the theater people took the stage with their bits. Some good, some not. Eighth on the bill was the DFF with his poems. Five short and unrelated poems. He was fantastic. My favorite of his?

The Scouting Choice

Bigotry or cookies.

Yeah, think about it. Again, brilliant.

Anyway, the No Shame ended and the Music After Midnight began, where Mr M played his piece in strange circumstances. (His accompanist, the lovely and talented Cara, was behind a screen where he couldn't see her.)

It finally ended late into the night (after 1:30), and we all headed back to B'burg. But it was fun, a good night where me, the DFF, and Mr M all put ourselves on the line.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My two favorite jokes went completely unlaughed at...
1. The ruler's residence would be the Parker House. (crowd way too young)
2. Children everywhere treasure the book Rebecca of Pepperidge Farm. (no idea, it's a winner to me.)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Rent Rant, or Drip Drop

Hello, loves. I'm going to do a bit of parental ranting tonight. So I of course have to issue my first disclaimer of 2011.

Which is, of course, I love my parents. They're crazy, and I love them. They're exceedingly good and kind people, as anyone who knows them will attest to.

And they drive me nutso sometimes. As you well know, this isn't the first parental tale you've seen here.

So let's hop straight to my mom, aka Granny. Granny has been unwell for the past three years of her life. She's gone from vivacious and peppy to hunched over and shuffly. She has a raging case of psoriasis and several other medical concerns. And while I hate this, and would not wish what she's going through on my worst enemy, I hate it more that she doesn't try and fight her situation at all and seems perfectly content to sit in a chair all day. She only leaves the house to go to doctor's appointments, which she loves doing, and I think herein lieth the problem.

As you might imagine, my mom isn't overly abundant on immunity. Her immune system is quite, well, it's damn near non-existent, if you must know.

In October, she had to have a cataract removed from her eye. Surprisingly, it all went quite well. Well, until she went from opthamologist to optometrist to have her glasses changed. Then good ol' Dr T, our family opto forever, looked in her eye and found a virus.

Yes, a virus, living right there in Granny's eye.

Dr T said this is quite rare. So rare, in fact, that this was the only time he'd seen it happen, which is apt, since if there's one person a virus would pick to latch onto, it would be Granny. Dr T said things like this can happen because after something like a surgery, one's (non-existent) immune system was at its lowest point.

He gave her two kinds of drops to put in her eye. This was around Dec 10th or so. The VK drop, the Virus Killer, was to be put into her eye at three hour intervals, starting at 8am. 8, 11, 2, 5, and 8 o'clock.

And so she's been going back and forth to see Dr T, and he's been looking right into her eyes, and he's still been seeing this virus. And giving her drops.

Well, I took her to good ol' Dr T yesterday, and he was all excited to look right into her eyes again, and then when he did, he became rather frowny. "It's still there," he said. He also said, "We have to kill this virus, because you're in danger of losing your cornea."

And that's when my mom, aka Granny, blurted out right there in the office, "Well, I can't get those drops to go in, and Paw can't see to get them in."

And good ol Dr T looked at me as if to say, "What the hell kind of daughter are you?"

And I looked back at him as if to say, "Now listen here just a minute, sir. This is the first I've heard of this, too."

Yes, for almost a month my mom has been attempting, with the help of my dad, to put drops in her eyes five times a day that aren't going in, and apparently neither of them thought it might be, oh, you know, semi-informative to tell me, my sister, a neighbor, or good ol' Dr T himself that they weren't getting the hang of it. That's my folks. The Granny & Paw Club. I've mentioned it here before. They're so wound up in each other they won't let anyone else be a part of the little club.

So, here's what good ol' Dr T did.

A new prescription for VK, the Virus Killer drops. He gave it to me. With the missive, "You're going to have to make sure she gets these in her eye five times a day, every three hours, starting at 8am." Then he handed me some other drops. "These can go in whenever she wants, they're to keep her eyes moist, but can't be put in less than an hour after the Virus Killer."

Then he asked Granny if she still had the steroid drops he'd given her, she said yes. Dr T turned to me. "Those have to be put in twice a day. They can be put in as soon as 10 minutes after the Virus Killer drops, but no sooner."

Finally, he went off and returned with another little bottle and gave it me. "These are antibiotic drops. I want them in twice a day, not with the Virus Killer."

Sitting there in his office holding a prescription and five boxes holding eye drops, I uttered, "Um. So when exactly do I move back home?" It was a joke, you see.

And good ol' Dr T's reply was, "Well, that's actually what I'm suggesting." I stomped every toe on my left foot with my right foot to keep from yelling out "fuck."

Well, I took Granny home, dropped her off, took the prescription to the drug store, and got up with the sister by phone. I told her the situation, and that we had to come up with some sort of schedule for all this dropping. Although I knew we'd be the ones who'd end up dropping, from exhaustion.

This is what we came up with.

The Virus Killer drops at 8, 11, 2, 5, and 8. The steroid drops at 11:10 and 5:10. The antibiotic drops at 10 and 4. Then the rinsey drops at 9, 12, 3, 6, and 9.

And that, my friends, is a shitload of eye drops.

Add two working sisters to the mix, and you have, well, you have something of an impossibility.

And then a light bulb appeared over my sister's head. "I know what we'll do. We'll get C."

And it was a brilliant idea. C is a relative of my friend, workmate, and mother figure San. She's an expert caregiver. It's what she does. She can take care of an elderly person, get them where they need to be, make conversation, and she's just an all-around nice gal.

I told the sister this would never work, that C is not a card-carrying member of the Granny and Paw Club, and that they would fight us tooth and nail on this. "I don't care," the sister said. "They're getting C. We can do the 8am, and 5 and 8pm, but during the day, they're getting C."

So yesterday we went to the folks' house together and told them what was going to happen. And you know? They didn't fight us on it. I was amazed. "That went well. Too well."

And so, today C showed up to start putting in drops and be the nice person she is, and we found out later - Paw bucked. He didn't like her drop putting-in, or schedule. And at one point he told her, "I don't think you realize who's boss around here!"

To which C replied, "Yes sir, I do. [Bet's sister] is the boss, and I have to go by the schedule she gave me." I'm so sorry, I just had to have a giggle at that.

So Paw has been dethroned as the president of the Granny and Paw Club for now, and he's not happy. Granny's happy, because three people are taking care of her and putting drops in her eye and asking if she's OK.

The sister and I are happy, because we don't have to leave our jobs once an hour to put drops in Granny's eye.

Poor Paw.

And I have to say, after taking my 8pm turn tonight, driving "between the bridges" to their house on horrible icy roads, I can totally understand why they couldn't get those VK, Virus Killer, drops in her eye. They're very, very thick.

I can not understand, however, why in the hell they didn't just tell anyone!

*sigh.* Wonder if there's a secret handshake to the Granny and Paw Club?

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, I did what I swore I'd never do. Go to another groomer over my old one. SeƱor Taylor is just too busy nowadays, so I called the new groomer in town. I really enjoyed what he said on the phone about cutting mutts, so we'll see. Appointment tomorrow!

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to a rather small Picture Sunday.

Really only two things to say.

One, I got a very nice surprise in the mail Friday from Hucklebug podcast listeners ThePete and Siskita. They sent one to Stennie and to me, and oddly enough, we both got ours on the same day.

It's a baby sock monkey! I think he's adorable. His name is Jackson, and although the Poderosa gang is pretty fond of him too, I think I'm taking him back to work with me tomorrow. He's just such a happy-looking fellow I think I'd like to have him there to cheer me up.

Thanks, ThePete and Siskita!

Two, I got a nice crock pot for Christmas from my friend, workmate, and mother figure San. I've been kind of wanting one for a long time, but never bought one because I honestly didn't know where I could find the space for one. Well, I'm going to have to find the space for one, and I got it out this afternoon and decided to try my first crock pot recipe. Lasagna.

I was dubious, I will admit, about the workings of the pot and the ingredients in my lasagna.

But I mixed everything in, turned the button to "low," and let the good times roll.

And proving wrong the old wives' tale that a watched pot never boils, because I checked on that pot every 20 minutes or so, in less than four hours I had a lasagna.

And it was very good!

Tasty, the special noodles I used cooked right up and weren't gummy like I'd feared, all the ingredients mixed together well, and I'm happy to say my first crock-pot experience was a good one.

And Jackson thought it was good, too!

And that's about it for this weekend.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Had plans to give Milo a bath tonight. I'm losing the will as the minutes tick away.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Who Am I to Talk? Mine in High School Was a G-Man!

It all started with a great laugh on a bad night.

The bad night first. That would be last night, the night of the Orange Bowl, where my beloved Hokies got their heads (and various other parts of their bodies) handed to them on a plate by Stanford. It was an abomination, yet I watched till the bitter end.

But now the great laugh.

On Facebook, my new pal, the Nephie's galpal, Miss A, made a comment about the only reason she was watching the game was that Stanford had the worst mascot in history. I hadn't seen it, so I asked her about it. I mean, Stanford is "The Cardinal," referring to their colors. I said, "What is it, a piece of red?"

Oh, no, came the missive from Miss A. It's a tree. She advised me to google it. And when I did, well, I mean, my Lord. I cracked up, and spent the entire rest of that awful game hoping for just one look at the thing. Sadly, that look did not come.

Then some other commenters on Facebook posted their examples of horrid college mascots, and I knew there was a blog in there somewhere. So I did some research today.

And what I found. Well, let me tell you!

I've always thought I was rather doomed with mascots. I went to high school at ol' Graham High, and we were the G-Men. We never had an actual mascot till I was a senior, when a brave soul decided to dress up as a G-Man, in trenchcoat and fedora, and wander the stadium. In the Nephie's days in the drumline, though, the whole drumline dressed as G-Men, in the same trenchcoats and fedoras, and that was cool beyond belief. But by then I was out of the picture.

And although I didn't go to Virginia Tech, they're "my guys." They play right there in B'burg, my second home, and I love them and going to their games. They're the Hokies. Well, uh, yeah. What in the hell can you do with that, right? However, the original name for the Hokies is the Fighting Gobblers, no better, I'm sure you'll agree, and their original mascot was adorable and I love him till this day.

Then around 1985 or so they changed him to a more robust turkey, in fact, a turkey with breasts so big he needs a GG cup, but he's still fun and we all love him. You know, 'cause we're those weird folks who call ourselves Hokies.

But believe it or not, there are schools out there cheering and rooting right along with their mascots, and their mascots are some seriously weird-ass creatures. There were pictures I saw right there, right there on the internet in front of God and everybody, that made my hair curl. Which sucked, because winter-time is the only time of the year I enjoy me some straight hair.

So let's get to it. I wanted to do a Top Ten list of the worst college mascots, but it became too upsetting, so I have to go with a Top Fifteen.

The Top Fifteen Worst College Mascots

15. The University of California at Santa Cruz, Banana Slug: Now, Marla (MarlaMarla) suggested this, and I have to say it's a dumb idea for a mascot. But then again, if you've ever seen "Pulp Fiction," you know that Vincent Vega wore a Banana Slug shirt in the movie. So, dumb mascot, but - cute mascot in foam rubber form, so he only weighs in at 15.

14. University of Dayton, Rudy Flyer: I don't know, he's like a big gas station attendant with dark goggles. Dayton are the Flyers, this is true, but this dude has no plane to speak of, he's just walking around wondering what to do next. If you think about it, it gets a little creepy.

13. Providence College, Friar: Ick. This is not the type of Friar I would want to seek spiritual guidance from. (Maybe I should consult the DeepFatFriar on this dude.)

12. Pepperdine, Wave: Doesn't this guy look like a fermented Max Headroom? In any case, Pepperdine, and waves in general, are supposed to be cool, and this poor fellow looks like he's in his worst pajamas and what are supposed to be ripped muscles come off as, well, more pajamas. Oh, the shame.

11. Southern Illinois University, The Saluki: I've always thought the Saluki was a most beautiful dog. Well, until now. Sic' him, Milo! He can't fight back with those yellow teeth.

10. North Carolina School for the Arts, Fighting Pickle: OK, this only makes the number 10 spot because NCSA only has intramural sports, and therefore, we'll never see the fighting pickle on ESPN. But he is indeed the official mascot of the school, so he deserves a mention. I'm not sure about the headphones, I guess he's listening to Kraftwerk, arty pickle that he is. All I know is that I've had pickles fight my digestive system late into the night, so he might be very feisty.

9. Stanford, The Tree: Yep. That's him. He's a tree. Not even a cardinal red tree. He's a demented Christmas tree, the kind you see on Christmas Eve after too many egg nogs. He's as badly put together as your 80-year old Aunt Edna when she goes out to the store. And - he has no arms. So if he falls over - well, "Little help here? Little help for a fallen tree, please?"

8. St Louis University, Billiken: I don't know who St Louis University is, and I don't know who Billiken is, either. He's some sort of mouse/cat/dog/thing hybrid who scares the children who dare to come to sporting events. And shame on him.

7. Wichita State, WuShock: This came via Facebook comment from Mike the blogless. Yeah, he was right on the money, too. What the fuck? Is it an angry bale of hay? Is it the wheat we hope never makes it into our bread? Is it what shows up in our dreams when we eat pizza at 1am? I don't know. I'm just glad we don't play them.

6. University of Tulsa, Captain Cane: Oooh. I guess that means a hurricane and not sugar cane. But really, who knows? I was so struck by this fellow because he reminds me of my Nervous Breakdown. I mean, look at that head!

Now we're getting to the goodies, folks....

5. University of Nebraska, Lil' Red: Now, I have to tell you, my friends, Lil' Red is rather new to the fold. The stalwart Nebraska mascot is a foam rubber Cornhusker named Herbie Husker. Yes, he's a big foam rubber man with a cowboy hat who just wants to be a dentist. No, wait, that's Hermie Husker. This abortion of a mascot, this Lil' Red, showed up 10 or so years ago and is so horrid that every time we see him, my sister and I cry out "Corn Boy! Corn Boy!" as if our eyes are being gouged out. He is rubber and inflatable, and a blight on the land. Here you get a moving picture visual. If only I had a pin.

4. Xavier University, Blue Bob: What is he? And more importantly, should Cookie Monster sue? I don't know, but God help us, he's ugly. He should be killed immediately, if only for the shoes.

3. University of Arkansas at Monticello, Boll Weevil: So that's what a boll weevil looks like. A new one on me. Looks like the love child of the Domino's Noids (remember them?) and the Great Gazoo. Imagine the shame of being this for a whole game.

2. Scottsdale Community College, The Fighting Artichoke: You know, I've never fought an artichoke. Are they really that tough? I think if you got in a good knee-kick, you could take this vegetable down for the count.

And yes, the Number One Worst College Mascot Ever -

1. Delta State University, The Fighting Okra: OK, let's get this right out of the way. I've fought with okra before. Fried some up, put it on a plate, and about two hours later, my intestines were in the fight of their lives. And they lost. So I guess there's something to this Fighting Okra thing. But Lord, have mercy, what a mascot. Have you ever seen anything quite so horrid? Is it an okra? A pickle? A cucumber? Well, they say he's an okra, and if that's true, I'm sure Delta State's opponents all over the schedule are sitting on toilets everywhere bemoaning their fates.

So, there you go. Have one that's worse? Yeah, right. I dare you! Let me know!

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Picture Sunday

Well, happy 2011 to you all, my blogees. And welcome to the first of what will hopefully be more than five or so Picture Sundays for the year.

As most of you know if you read the below blog, I had some distinct plans for New Year's Eve. The DeepFatFriar and I were attending a Murder Mystery Night. The hinkiness was starting to set in about the time I wrote about it.

And it all started off on quite the weird note.

DFF and I arrived at the Unitarian Church, where the event was being held. There was no electricity in the church, and in fact none in the whole neighborhood. The hosts of the event had done some checking, and were told it wouldn't be back on until about 9:30 that night. And so the whole party, including wine, dinner, dessert, suspects, props, and possibly victim, though I didn't personally see him myself, had to pack up and move elsewhere. The hosts asked if it would be OK to just do it at their apartment.

And so the Caravan of Murder took off to a different part of B'burg.

We began with wines and cheeses, and getting to know each other, though most people did except me, for I think they were all of the Unitarian persuasion and went to church together. They were all extremely nice and friendly folks. Then dinner and more conversation followed.

Then, my friends, it was time for the mystery to begin. And I immediately lost all hinkiness because, well, I don't know if this is stupid or not, but I had imagined this to be a thing where we were all like actors. You know, that we'd be up moving around, walking and talking like we were on Broadway.

Turns out, it wasn't like that at all. We sat around the table, just like we were playing any other game (and you know, I like games), and we were given our character booklets, secret clues, and the rules of the game.

And so the fun began. And it was fun, it was fun because these people suddenly became their characters. Accents were adopted, gestures, and before long we were cracking each other up. At the beginning of the game we were all given pads on which to write down clues, and I finally abandoned that completely, because I was just having so much fun watching everyone.

The "secret clues" were pieces of paper to be opened at various times by various characters, and were pieces of evidence that incriminated another member of the game. And every time one of those clues showed up, and someone found a way to work it in - "Oh, and speaking blackmail, maybe this would be of interest to everyone!" - with a clue being flung open.

So for three rounds and a couple of hours, we all pointed fingers at the others and defended ourselves as we tried to figure out who killed Barry Underwood, owner of the Underwood Wine Estates.

Could it have been Ralph Rottengrape, the victim's cousin and new owner of the winery? Or could it have been his wife, Tiny Bubbles, who uses her maiden name because she can't stand to be known as Tiny Rottengrape, who was also the victim's fiance at the time of his death?

Perhaps it was Otto Von Schnapps, German wine merchant, who likes wine, women, and money? The latter a lot. But maybe it was Papa Vito, who came from Italy to the Underwood family 60 years ago with a root from his father's grape vine, and who has lived at the estate and worked it for years.

But there's always Heddy Shablee, owner of the Shablee Vineyards, who was the victim's arch rival. Since his death, a series of unfortunate circumstances have come Heddy's way. And then, it could have been Marilyn Merlot, once queen of the Wine Festival who went on to become a movie star - and may have been the last person to see the victim alive. One thing's for sure. It wasn't Bud Wizer, the FBI agent who's on the case.

Well, looks like I should have been taking those notes I quit taking, because when it came my time to guess the murderer, I was stumped, and in the end I fell for all the red herrings. In fact, only one person guessed the murderer - and got it for all the right reasons! And that person, and I doubt it will surprise anyone, was the DeepFatFriar himself! Or, shall I say, Herr Von Schnapps?

After it was over, we were served an absolutely fantastic homemade tiramisu by the hosts, had some more friendly conversation, then it was time for everyone to head back to reality. DFF had to get home, and I landed at Mr M's, where we watched the ball drop and I fell asleep not long after.

But it was fun, and I did something I'd never done before.

Oh, one of the partygoers liked my prop, a basket of Heddy's new vintage, and wanted a picture. And that's my secret clue telling everyone that I wasn't so much a vintner as a money laundress.

So there you go. What's a little money laundering? At least I wasn't a murderer.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Oh, I guess I could tell you. It was Papa Vito.