Thursday, March 27, 2008

Celebrating Easter in Wisconsin

What is Easter in Wisconsin without 12 inches of snow? I think it is safe to say we are all ready for spring. But, as usual, Ella is able to make the best out of a bad situation.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What Does It All Mean?

Ella and I went for a walk tonight. For the first time, I was able to really see what my neighborhood looks like. Daylight-Saving Time really didn't do me any favors, though. The most memorable sights were as follows (and in no particular order): a lot of soggy looking yards, a Christmas wreath on the door of one house, a pile of fluorescent leaf bags with jack-o-lantern faces piled high along the side of another, and dogs - everywhere - barking. Unleashed Dog even left his yard to keep Ella and I company on our walk; Ella did not appreciate the intrusion. She said as much in her nastiest, snarliest voice. Unleashed Dog then wandered into the road, lingering in the middle of a well-travelled intersection. An SUV approached slowly, and laid on the horn. Unleashed Dog was wide-eyed and apparently frozen, so I summoned him in my most welcoming doggy voice and posed myself in what is considered in the dog world to be a "friendly and playful" stance. Unleashed Dog then dashed across the street to join us, despite Ella's very inhospitable demeanor.

How does the story end? What happened next is too difficult, and not interesting enough, to explain. Suffice it to say that Unleashed Dog took his leave. He dashed safely across the street but not in the direction of home, which concerned me. Ella and I concluded our walk. Once she was fed and watered, I slipped out of the house to collect Unleashed Dog. Or at least look for him until I was convinced that he was safely home.

I didn't have to walk far to spot him. He was not alone. It was dark, so the person with the hand around his collar was hard to distinguish. "Is that your dog?" I asked. A very pre-pubescent male voice answered from the dark: "Yes." I asked him if he would like my leash, which I brought to collect his dog. He politely replied "No, thank you." The tone in his young voice said clearly that this was the end of our social encounter.

On the short walk home, I had a chance to inspect an object on the ground that had been of great interest to Ella on our walk. I hurried her away from it because it looked like either a dead animal, or a chocolate covered rabbit. I was half right. It was a small, stuffed rabbit that looked as if it had been dipped into a mud fondue fountain. I picked it up by the ear, which was the only clean area on its little body, and carried it home.

Why? I don't know. I can't tell you. Maybe its the same reason why I rescued a boxelder bug from the sink as I prepared a dish-soap bath for the tar baby rabbit I pulled off the road; or put a yellow-rose corsage into a water-filled vase. Maybe its the same reason I talk to my mail when I take it out of the box...could there actually be a good reason for that?

In many ways, the world just seems to me to be a very fragile place. But now, perhaps, I am just projecting...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Comparing Apples to Apples

To the man who said comparing two similar item is like comparing apples to apples, I issue this challenge: Look around the produce section at today's grocery store. Comparing the different kinds of apples to one another is like comparing apples to oranges!

The stores where I normally do my shopping have a ridiculously large selection of apples - there is the Gala, the Pink Lady, the Rome, the "Java" (which I am still not sure what that means) the Golden Delicious, the Delicious, the Granny Smith, the Braeburn, the Jonagold, the Fuji, the McIntosh and the newest edition - the "Grapple" - which looks like an apple but is said to taste like a grape. Why you would try to make an apple that taste like a grape when you already have something that tastes like a grape, GRAPES, is unbeknownst to me and for the sake of this blog -neither here nor there.

All apples, I know, are NOT created equal, in fact, they have many more differences than similarities: texture, taste, size, color. All they really have in common are the general shape - and yet in this there are many differences. The McIntosh is short and round, for example, while the Delicious is long and oval shaped. Then of course there are all of the organic varieties.

I was once like the "apples to oranges" man. I thought, "Eh, an apple is an apple."

Not so, I now say.

If you replace my McIntosh with ANY OTHER VARIETY (and I do challenge you) I will notice. In my humble opinion, the McIntosh apple is far superior to others. It is sweet, and white fleshed; not too hard, with a very pleasant, smooth texture that is not crumbly or spongy. It is crisp and juicy. Yum. Consider this my official endorsement for the McIntosh apple.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fighting Illiteracy

This weekend I completed a (free) 12-hour training session to become a tutor in my community. After getting some paperwork filled out and my background check, I will be approved to help the illiterate learn to read. I will also be able to help those who are learning English as a second language learn to read, write and speak. The training session was sponsored by the Minnesota Literacy Council

Friday, March 7, 2008

Creature Comforts

I share my domicile with a hyperactive dog and a small army of boxelder bugs. The most I have ever seen at one time are two, and since I don't kill them, I don't know if each sighting is a new sighting or just the same bug(s) making the rounds.

Ella hates our box elder bug neighbors. She always has. The first time she saw one was at our old apartment. I was asleep and woke to find Ella hovering over me, her ears dangling down and her eyes fixed on a spot on the wall above my head. Behold - box elder bug.

Ella has recently discovered that we have box elder bugs in our new place. For whatever reason, box elder bugs really bother Ella - believe the reason to be because they move. After she spots them moving she flies from wherever she has perched herself to investigate. She sniffs, licks, then stomps. Rarely is this method a successful means of terminating the box elder bug, although it does effectively disable them, temporarily. This appears to be all that Ella wants.

Lucky box elder bugs are rescued (by the sympathetic human in the house) and returned to a safer dwelling place. If they are wise, they will stay away and tell their friends - there is a box elder bug hunting dog in the house!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Justification

I wanted to eat cheesecake. Not a single piece, but an entire cake. Turtle cheesecake, to be more specific. I was in Wal-Mart buying "sanitary napkins" - standing in line - hating everyone.

If I could find a cheesecake, I knew I could find peace.

I looked at my small basket of items: the generic brand of sanitary napkins, some Jiffy pellets, seeds for African Daisies and Cherry tomatoes, and some foam wedges for make up removal. I dumped my items on the conveyor belt. I proudly displayed the generic brand of "sanitary napkins" so the man behind me could see them.

I hated the man behind me.

He had a few more items than me and he had followed quickly behind me as I chose a checkout line - as if he was determined to figure out which of the shortest lines in the store I was going to choose and how to get in front of me. I wanted him to see my "pads;" yes pads. Because that is what they are. The truth is, I use napkins at a restaurant to wipe food off of my face. I stick "pads" in my underwear during menstruation. They are not interchangeable. But whatever you want to call them, I wanted man-behind-me to see them and know I am a dangerous woman. I had "Super absorbent" pads, which meant I should be as intimidating as a motorcycle babe carrying a crowbar.

I looked him dead in the eye. He gave me the wide-eyed-blissfully-ignorant-man look.

Back off buddy.

Feeling better about instilling the fear of hormones into man, I returned to thoughts of turtle cheesecake. I was confident I could eat a whole cheesecake tonight if the opportunity presented itself. It just so happened I knew a place where I could buy a piece....or two..... but that would be a little indulgent, wouldn't it? But then I wasn't sure it was a matter of "wanting" the cheesecake, as much as it was a matter of needing it. Its rich, chocolate, creamy goodness. Cheesecake. (Confession: I had actually had a sliver with lunch (my boss's treat). But that wasn't turtle cheesecake...)

At last the woman with the scanning device slid my items down the line and rescued me from the ants-in-his-pants man behind me, who undoubtedly had some REALLY important engagement to attend to. He pushed his cart as if to shuffle me down the line.

I glared at him.

The pads were in a bag now, so he was feeling brave. I paid the clerk and cast one more withering glance at the evil man. I wished PMS upon him and walked away.

I then shifted back to more pleasant thoughts....cheesecake.

I couldn't have cheesecake. I knew I couldn't. Not again. Not the same day. Even if I AM PMSing. It was just calorically irresponsible. If I don't lose weight before I go on vacation I at least don't want to GAIN any!

I ended up getting a healthy roasted chicken sandwich at Subway...and two chocolate chip cookies. Hey - at least it wasn't cheesecake!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Top 10 Most Overrated

In their respective categories, these items & people take the cake for being the most overrated and in some cases most annoying by their ubiquitous-ness.

Kenny Chesney & Rihanna (Most Overrated Singers in their respective musical genres)
No Country For Old Men (Most Overrated Oscar-award winner)
Eli Manning (Most Overrated Athlete)
Paris Hilton (Most Overrated Celebrity)
Vanilla (Most Overrated ice cream flavor)
Stephen King (Most Overrated writer)
Barrack Obama (Most Overrated political figure)
SNL (Most Overrated comedy show)
American Idol (Most Overrated reality TV show)
Lindsey Lohan (Most Overrated actress)

Congratulations. For whatever reason, people perceive all of you to be better than you actually are! Enjoy it.