Sunday, June 25, 2006

Up, Up and AWAY!!!...

Okay, I admit it. I am a worry wart. I am getting worse with age. It seems lately that I can take almost any situation and imagine it turning into a major drama. Maybe it is my writer's imagination and creativity coming back in full force (after all, I am buried knee-deep in my current manuscript, madly trying to get it wrapped up...but I digress...though it is one of the things worrying me...). Maybe it's too many irons in the fire what with work at the same break-neck pace it's been the three years I've toiled there, trying to finish said manuscript, and other commitments (been practicing saying "no" lately...) coupled with some personal issues. Or, I suppose it's possible I'm just a dork. However, I am going with a combination of the three.

But sometimes my nutty worries pan out. Case in point yesterday... sorta...

My neighbors own this flimsy gazebo-tent deal set up in their backyard. You know the kind: has the plastic tarp material in green and white covering the top and is held up by the flimsy poles. They've had it installed there since they moved in last winter. During the rain storms, the wind would often lift it up, and tilt it towards their house. I wondered if it might lift enough to crash into their large sliding glass window and break it.

But since it was in their backyard, and blowing towards their sliding glass window, I didn't give it much thought. Except to note how ugly it was when looking out my den window...

Then one day last winter, the wind shifted and it looked like it could blow my way...and horrors!...crash into the side of my house, take out part of my roof, maybe even my den and living room windows. But I pushed those evils thoughts aside because the ugly gazebo appeared to be anchored. And it would have to jump a six foot fence...

Well, between that time and yesterday, it must have come unanchored and taken pole vaulting lessons..

It's been unseasonably hot and humid here the past couple of days acting more like weather we get in late August. I was minding my own business, trying to stay cool, pounding away at my manuscript attempting to rack up the page count as I hurtle towards "the end"...sorry...digressing again... when I noticed that the wind had picked up. We are not talking a breeze here. We are talking huge, nasty wind gusts. Trees bending wickedly towards the ground. Leaves flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Dust everywhere. Scary wind. (They have a name for them...just can't think of what it is...and no, it's not tornado...)

All of a sudden, the ugly green and white gazebo lifts into the air...and then settles back down. It lifts into the air again, and settles back down. Hmmm....I think to myself. Surely it can't blow over a six foot fence. You are such a dork for even thinking that it could.

A third time, it lifted straight into the air, high enough I could see the feet bottoms, tilted to its side like a missile and flew (not very slowly!) towards the fence, its pointed nose on a direct path for my den window. As it cleared the fence, I backed out of the room, hoping my computer would be okay. Damn, I sure wished I'd backed up that last chapter, I think to myself...

And then...the last metal pole-leg got hung up on the fence...and the poor, ugly green and white gazebo dangled over onto my vegetable garden. It flopped in the wind, trying to escape. Lickety-split I ran outside, and put it out of its misery by taking off the ballooning green and white tarp while trying not to get gored by the poles.

There the gazebo carcass remained until this morning when my neighbor discovered its disappearance from his patio. "Geez!" he exclaims as he peers over the fence at his ruined gazebo (it sustained a mortal wound in the manner of a broken pole during its attempted escape to my yard). "That could've gone into your window and broken it!"

Hmmm...Maybe I can delete "dork" from my list of the reasons I've become a worry-er...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathers Shortchanged?...

I was amazed to learn this morning, as I was sipping my coffee, that Father's Day is a relatively new holiday. It seems it actually started in Spokane, Washington in 1909, when a lady was listening to a sermon on Mother's Day. Having been raised by her widowed paternal parent, it occurred to her that fathers should be honored in a similar fashion. The following year, the mayor of Spokane declared June 19, 1910 as Father's Day. The month of June was chosen because it was the month of lady's father's birthday (did that make sense?). It wasn't until 1966, when Lyndon Johnson was in office, that a presidential proclamation was made designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. And then, it was another six years until Richard Nixon signed into law that the holiday was made official.

I guess I just thought Father's Day had always been around. I can remember always celebrating both Mother's Day and Father's Day. I was surprised to learn that this important day is only 34 years old. Seems rather an oversight to me.

After all, while mothers are certainly important, fathers are just as much so. Until women in the workforce became more of a necessity than an exception, the father of the family provided all of the income in the household. Then he came home, usually took care of the yard, played ball with his kids, took out the trash. And who was the dreaded disciplinarian of the clan? Yep...Pop!

My father had a very stressful job flying for Pan American World Airways as a flight engineer. Then after flying for hours straight, he'd get into his bright yellow Ranchero with the flaming orange strips and drive 120+ miles home from Los the days before a decent freeway ran all the way through. As kids we just kind of took it for granted. But a few years ago, I did a lot of commuting to just the Bay Area (a mere hour flight, sitting back in my seat, slurping my Diet Coke, reading my book, as opposed to 23 hours of working, not counting the drive). After 23 months, I was physically exhausted. And I'd totally gained a new comprehension for the sacrifices my father made for his family.

While I am enlightened to learn that Father's Day is new, I guess it's also important to remember that we don't need just one day a year to honor and cherish our parents. We have 364 other days to tell them how much we love and appreciate them. And to keep in mind that life is short and precarious, and someday, someday much too soon, we won't have that opportunity.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. Your kids love you.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fashion Trends...or Flops...

Okay, it's entirely possible...though I am loathe to admit even the remotest possibility...that I could, maybe, horrors! be getting old. Or, maybe I can just attribute it all to having just had a birthday a couple of days ago.

But I just don't get the following Fashion Trends:

First: Tattoos. What is the deal with total-body tattooing? I mean, geez, if nothing else, it must hurt like the dickens. I guess since I am basically opposed to pain of any fashion, I'd find this trend hard to understand at any time. But what is the thrill or point or statement of covering one's entire body with a snake? What's Mr. Snake gonna look like in 15-20 years when gravity takes hold of him? Now, lest you think I am opposed to all tattoos, please let me assure you this is just not so. I think a small one is really cute (or masculine depending...), and have even on occasion toyed with getting one myself. But as previously mentioned, I abhor and run from pain at all times. So, I am not really seein' a tattoo in my immediate future...unless it's one of the kiddy paste-on ones...

Second: What is the deal with wearing pants that are falling down? There is just no way this can be comfortable. I mean I know I would not want to worry about suddenly doing a full monty cuz my pants headed south. Why give them any encouragement by having them halfway down to begin with? I remember when I used to have to wear panty hose everyday to work (thank goodness THOSE days are over!), and every once in a while you'd get a pair that was too short...and they kept slipping down...and you kept having to yank them up. It was NOT fun. Now...why would anyone intentionally put on pants that do this same thing...except if they fell down, there'd be a lot more exposed!

Third: What is the deal with Body Piercings? Pierced ears, even multiple holes are cool. Pierced eyebrows just look painful (we already know my feelings on that subject!). Pierced noses, tongues, lips...oh gosh, the lips are kinda the worst..., belly buttons, nipples, etc... that's just gross. Sorry, it just grosses me out. At least, gravity won't affect them. The holes, I guess for the most part, will close. But, it's just gross (get the idea: gross, gross, gross!). And anybody who thinks it's attractive just hasn't really looked in the mirror. Case in point: a person I know got a small diamond on the side of their nose. To me, it just looked like a big zit. Of course, I would never say anything--I am not fond of getting my head bitten off (or insulting a person needlessly). Every time I saw the person, I'd think at first: Ah, poor them...they have a big zit. Then after a few months, the diamond stud was gone, and when I asked it about it, she replied: Oh, my roommate asked me when I was gonna ditch it cuz it just looked like a big zit and it was disgusting. Well...see... I was not the only one.

Fourth: What is the deal with Love Handles flappin' in the wind. Yeah...what is the deal with the shorty tops and low-rider jeans that let the love handles hang out in all their glory. flash here: they aren't very glorious. Most of us have them. I guess this is the way of saying: Hey, the majority rules. But frankly, I am gonna continue to hide mine.

Of course, I can remember the fashion faux pas I've pulled off in the past. Ah, the orange fish net stockings with the adorable sunshine yellow mini-skirt that had the pumpkin orange-hippy-daisies on it. Yep...I was stylin', man! I was too cool for words...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kids will be kids???

I read a sad and very disturbing news article today about two college students who were found dead inside of a balloon. Apparently, it was one of those balloons that is used for advertising as opposed to a hot air balloon which was, of course, my first thought when I saw the headline.

According to the article, the 21-year olds (boy and girl) deflated it and then crawled inside. In my naive way, I thought: were they cold? But then there was a quote from the dead girl's mother: "It was more a fun thing they thought they were doing," said Linda Rydman, whose daughter was found dead. "You know how you blow up the balloon and suck the helium."

Okay...obviously this poor mother is shattered by losing her daughter. My heart goes out to her.

But, geez... letting the air out of a 8-foot-diameter balloon, a balloon that was not theirs, a balloon they were apparently not in charge of maintaining, and then crawling inside for the purpose of sniffing helium to sound like Mickey Mouse? And to add to the incredibility of this, they were legally adults... not six-year old children who've yet to reach the age of reasoning.

I remember inhaling a wee bit of helium from a party balloon in elementary school, got really sick to my stomach with a horrible headache, and then the teacher told us what this article says in the last paragraph: "Inhaling helium can quickly lead to brain damage and death from lack of oxygen, according to the Compressed Gas Association, which develops safety standards in the gas industry."

The article does go on to state: "The county medical examiner said Sunday that the cause of death won't be released for six weeks, until toxicology results come back." One must wonder how "high" they were to begin with. And because this horrible event took place in Florida, and I'm in California, no doubt I will never hear the outcome.

Where have we missed out on simple common sense? There was just so much wrong about this incident. The fact that it started out as an act of vandalism. Regardless of whether they were under the influence of something, it was amazingly stupid. But the price these two people paid was the ultimate one. All the way around, it's just such a waste.