"Insanity doesn't run in my family.... It practically gallops!" - Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944)
Venting an overflow of dsyfunctionality inspired by the Boy (aka my son) declaring "I really don't care... Blog it."


"I see!" Said the Blind Man

Back in the stone age when Yours Truly was fitted for her first pair of glasses, the style choices were fairly simple.... black cat eyeglasses.  Think I had the choice of red or tortoise shell later on, but black was the only option for the first pair.  G-Ma had never realized just how bad my eyesight was until that ride home on a fine Tennessee day with my first glasses.  I had never known that we lived near mountains or, for that matter, what billboards were.  Talk about an eye-opener!

When you're truly blind though, I don't think style is as much of concern.  Function over form is my rule of thumb on such matters.  I've worn glasses held together by duct tape and superglue.  I've "repaired" glasses with paperclips in place of lost screws.  Necessity isn't just the mother of invention... She's the embodiment of pure creative force.  It's amazing how creative you can get when your toddler proudly holds up something resembling a pretzel, proclaiming "I get your glasses, Mommy!" and you've got to be at work shortly.

Eventually I progressed into the wonderful world of bifocals. If you've never worn these gems, let me tell you the first few days will have your head spinning. Just walking from the parking lot at work to my desk made me a wee bit seasick that first morning. As mentioned before, I work in an automotive plant. Cars are moving on carriers overhead, tow motors loaded with parts are passing by, the assembly line is in constant movement... in short, not much stands still there and you have to keep an eye on your surroundings to navigate safely throughout. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that any movement of my head resulted in the wavering of my vision. This is what I imagine that "drunk glasses" must be like. By the time I reached my desk, I was ready to hang on to something solid and see if I could just ride out this storm for the day. Of course, this would be the day that I was asked if I'd like to go for a ride along at the test track. That's the first and only time so far that I've been given the opportunity. If I'd only thought to bring along my old glasses, I'd of been on the track in a heartbeat!

I told my boss at the time that I blamed her for my failing eyesight. She scrawled itsy-bitsy notes in pencil as she reviewed material. I actually purchased a large magnifying glass with a light that attached to my desk to be able to read her writing. Once I had a question about a notation she'd made and asked her about it. The note in question consisted of two minuscule scrawls, almost short wavy lines really, that were totally illegible.  She glanced at it and said "That says 'bumper at headlamp levelness'".  Incredulous, I blurted out "Oh... Now you're just making something up!  Even you can't read that mess.  Either make an effort or you're buying my first seeing eye dog!"  She laughed, but at least all future notes bore a closer relationship to the English language.


Miracle of the Olympic Spirit

"The important thing is not to win, but to take part" - Pierre de Coubertin, IOC Founder

The Olympic spirit is alive and well in our household.  We've delighted in the opening ceremony, held our breath through close calls and falls, exclaimed aloud at amazing feats, cheered on our favorites, and reminisced on past Olympics. 

Since ancient times, the Olympics were a time of truce amongst nations.  This year's Olympic experience has brought it's own renewed sense of peace and sharing into our lives.... Just in time to spare The Boy from himself.

Beginning just a week or so before his 18th birthday, The Boy literally lost his mind.  Everything became an argument... any remark a point of contention... any question met with a curt "that's not your problem any more."  In short, I was beginning to debate the pros and cons of retroactive abortion. 

The real breaking point came when I received a call at work from an irate parent about a derogatory comment that The Boy had posted online.  While The Boy insisted that he couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, he did remove the comment and apologize to the person in question.  As a result, he was grounded on his 18th birthday with his cell phone, computer, and iPod confiscated.  This, of course, lead to our small apartment becoming a veritable battleground with heated debate over whether I had the right to impose such penalties now that he'd come of age.  Much to my anguish, the words "there's the door" came up more then once.  Over the next several weeks, we progressed into a stony silence broken only if absolutely required.  I'd begun to despair that our relationship would ever be quite the same again.

Then came the Olympics.  The Boy decided, rather then holing up in his room, he'd venture out to watch with me.  Before you knew it, we were holding civil conversations again.  We were able to find a common ground over competition. 

We watched Shaun White take the gold in snowboarding and talked about how star-struck The Boy had been when he gotten Shaun's autograph on his skateboard a few years back during the Dew Tour.  He couldn't even stammer a response when Shaun had commented that he used to have the same Tony Hawk Birdhouse design. 

We laughed remembering how his friend who'd joined us at that Dew Tour had laid down right in front of the Mad Magazine stand like he was taking a nap while waiting on The Boy to get a caricature drawn.  The guy manning the stand had lined his body with Mad Magazines in a strange crime scene parody.  I've got a picture somewhere of a midget little person leaning over to see if this was some publicity stunt dummy.  Strange child, but a hilarious moment!

Then it happened... The Boy apologized for being so hard-headed and asked if we could put it all behind us.  Take about relief!  Since then The Boy has regained his common sense and settled back down into his usual, easy-going self... always ready with a grin and a funny quip to brighten the day.

So, Dear Reader, forgive me for updating sporadically of late... I've been too busy enjoying having The Boy back.  Who knew the healing power of the Olympic spirit could effect such a miracle!


Bad Hair Days

What's the worst haircut or style that you've ever been subjected to?  Did it really seem like a good idea at the time?  Yours Truly has had her share, believe me!  G-Ma loves to pull out a few old pics of me just for a laugh that display some regrettable choices over the years.  I'll admit a 'fro was not the best look for a geeky, teenaged white gal.  Not all of the bad styles were of my choosing though.

I was always a wee too butch for G-Ma's liking. She spent the better part of my early childhood trying to force this tomboy into her feminine ideal of a daughter.  For example, for my first grade photo she insisted on teasing my hair up into an authentic 50's beehive hairdo complete with a little bow.  Remember that style?  If you can tear your eyes away from that billowing mass of hair to look at my face, you can easily tell how thrilled I was.  Jeez!  It was a pink bow too!  The Boy finds this photo particularly hilarious.

A few years later, G-Ma owned a hair salon and wig shop located in an A-framed building that she named "The Wig-Wam".  It was about this time that she decided, after having watched the stylists that worked for her, that it couldn't be that hard.  Why not save some money and cut our hair herself.  I was the lucky guinea pig for this little experiment. 

She happily clipped away, but then noticed that one side was a wee bit shorter then the other.  Oh well, just shorten the other side to match.  Hummm... now that side is too short.  Let's just shorten it up a bit more.... Get the picture?  She finally admitted defeat and called one of the stylists out of desperation.  By that time, my hair was fairly chopped up.  I ended up with the first pixie hairstyle ever seen in that neck of the woods.  Think that Twiggy made the style popular in the sixties.  Now the style is fairly popular with everyone from Ellen to Pink sporting it.  At that time, not so much.  G-Ma has a pic of Yours Truly in full Brownie uniform with that pixie cut barely poking out from under the beanie.  I loved it myself and was sporting a silly grin in the photo.  G-Ma was, of course, suitably embarrassed for us both.

I've been sporting a short, almost pixish style for most of my adult life as well.  Often it's hiden under ballcap.  A great strategy for bad hair days.  The Boy, of course, gets suitably embarrassed for us both when anyone addresses me as "Sir".  Doesn't usually bother me though... unless it's followed by "That's the Women's restroom!"


Miracle of Miracles!

Yours Truly has experienced an absolute miracle this week!  First let me share that I've been a smoker for over 30 years now.  I know.... nasty habit, terribly unhealthy, and I was totally addicted.  Today for the first time, I've seen a light at the end of that tobacco tunnel... and it's not emanating from a Zippo!

Yesterday, after weeks of researching, I received my first personal vaperizer (PV), a Janty eGo, and have only smoked 3... count 'em!... 3 cigarettes since then!  This is a pure miracle for someone who usually puffs through almost two packs (roughly 36-37) cigs a day.  I'm excited and The Boy is tickled pink that I may quit stinking up the place.  G-Ma, who quit several years ago, is thrilled too... Though she's going to miss pilfering the occasional cig from me to hide for those stressful times. Who'd of thought it!  I can still get my nicotine fix, but without the tar, the 4,000+ cancer causing chemicals, or spreading second-hard smoke in a cloud around me!
Once my taste buds come back, I'm going to have to try some of the flavors that the e-juice (nicotine liquid) comes in.  Wonder how good that Banana Split juice is?  Don't think I could handle the Bacon flavor though!  Anyway, just had to share my joy with you all.

Note:  If you or someone you know is interested in getting off the cancer sticks, I'd advise doing your own research first.  The E-Cigarette Forum is a great place to start with a lot of information.


Happy Award!

Thanks to Aion at I Blog Your Profile for presenting me with the Happy Award!  I feel so honored considering that I've barely begun my journey into this great, wide world of Blogging.  I was actually having a fairly stressful week, so his announcement came as a wonderful surprise to bright my outlook.

Visit Aion and Nicole for great reviews of the myriad blogs and bloggers out there.  You may find a few gems that you'd overlooked!

Here's how it works:  List 10 things that make you happy and then pass this award along to 10 bloggers that make you happy.  So.... Here goes!

10 Things that make me happy are...
  1. A steaming, unadulterated mug of strong coffee
  2. Relaxing beside a creek in the mountains listening to the water play over the rocks
  3. Curling up with a good book... preferably sci-fi
  4. When The Boy breaks out of teenage stoicism into in a full-blown, ear-to-ear grin
  5. Rediscovering my artistic streak through photography
  6. Feeling useful to others... whether it's holding the door for a neighbor or building an application to make life a little easier for a co-worker
  7. Winning our daily Scrabble game at work... especially since I'm by far the worst speller
  8. Watching The Boy's marching band perform... or any marching band for that matter!
  9. Indulging my sweet tooth with some of G-Ma's homemade pumpkin rolls
  10. Introducing The Boy to any of the great old(er) movies that are on my "must see" list 

And the Bloggers who make me happy, in no particular order, are.....
 I hope that the Happy Award adds some joy to your day, too!


G-Ma's Journeys

After five years as caregiver to my bed-ridden grandmother, surviving cancer, raising four children, and spending numerous years explaining the concept of self-sufficency to the Brothers; G-Ma has been fullfilling a life-long dream the past couple of years.... as a disaster relief volunteer with the Red Cross.  Everytime she's called the last few weeks, I've had a moment's panic that I'd find out she'd volunteered to go to Haiti.  I'd be a nervous wreck worrying about her if she did considering the conditions in the aftermath of the earthquakes.  Keep in mind that she's almost 70 years old and long past her "roughing it in a tent city" days. 

I mentioned my irrational fear to her the other day only to be told that 1) the Red Cross hadn't sent out a call for volunteers in her area and 2) she was already tentatively scheduled for a mission trip to Haiti in May.... By the way, when's The Boy's graduation date as she may be out of the country if she still plans on joining the group.  After all, conditions should be better there by then, shouldn't they?  *deep, calming breaths.... breath in.... breath out.....*   I swear she's intent on giving me gray hair now too!

Her volunteer trips have been relatively uneventful, other then the occassional traipse through flooded houses to evaluate damages.   There was that time in Texas though.... It was her first trip for the Red Cross as well as her first time flying.  G-Ma had been working with flood victims a few hours south of Houston and was heading back home.  To catch her flight out of Houston, she had to leave before dawn.  She hadn't seen another car for quite awhile when she sees what she takes to be a toll booth up ahead.  Nope, G-Ma discovers it a checkpoint as she pulls to a stop for the Officer.  As he walks around her car, she rolled the window down.... "Morning!  I wonder if you could tell me where I am and how much futher it is to Houston.  I have to catch a flight there this morning."  The Officer replied in a thick accent, "Senorita, you are going the wrong way.  You are in Mexico."  G-Ma was definately awake now!  She must have taken a wrong turn in the dark... she'd never make the flight.... didn't own a passport... What was she going to do!

G-Ma's panic must have been written all over her face as the Officer laughingly waved her fears away... "No, no!  I'm sorry, Ma'am!  You're heading in the right direction.  Houston's about an hour away.  I was just kidding."  I guess checkpoints can get a wee bit boring. 

Since then she's traveled to several other states with the Red Cross and embarked on a short mission trip to Guatamala.  Hopefully she'll listen to reason and not trek off to anywhere too dangerous though.  Don't think I could take the stress.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the parent... waiting up to hear that she's home safe.  Strange how the lines blur over the years.

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