Wednesday, May 14, 2008


1. Is there a TV show you HAVE to watch? If so, what is it?
No, I can't say there is. I do love "The Newlywed Game" though...
2. What is you favorite drink if you are going to drink more than one?
Sorry, again, I am way too inconsistent but among the faves are Coca-Cola, Arnold Palmers, or adult beverages Gin and Tonic or Mandarin Vodka and Cranberry Juice.
3. How long do you carry guilt around with you?
Sorry, after going through intensive training and seeing the professionals at work at Catholic School for 8 years, I was out of my element and dropped out of that race.
4. Where is or would be your number one romantic get away spot?
I'd say wherever my number one romantic interest would be...

You may say Awwww now (or "B***sh**!") but it's true!
5. Have you ever seen a counselor?
Yes, and that was with the F-man. Write for details! ;-)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm on a roll...

How did I get around before I had the blue BMW roadster?
There were still four contacts with the ground. I was blue and speedy. I'm sure at times Mom could catch me and, at other times, she let me think I got away. But I was much too social to stay away for long and I'd be back. Vroom! Vroom!
Which makes me want to comment on a previous blog when I said how different my brother and I were. I remember that it seemed like we fought a lot but I have so many memories of laughing at things together, or plotting against my parents some way. I was better at it than he was. I knew very early if we did something wrong together to make sure I stayed as far away from him as I could! If ANYONE was going to get caught, it was him. Another thing, you know how if you have two dogs you can never tell which one chewed the couch or did his job on the floor because of "Collective" guilt. They both look guilty. My brother could look guilty of something he didn't even know had been happening, before it was even discovered even. In case you ask, that was to my advantage more than a few times. Here are pictures that show how different we could be.

At a dam on the Columbia River
My brother, just one of the guys, in his Little League T shirt.
He was a star pitcher and played on champion teams with our dad as the team coach. It was great going to the games.

But I look like I think this is some fashion shoot.
My year of Little League (Dad, bravely, was my coach , too) was famously marked by the ball going past me in left field leaving me wondering why everyone (incl. my mother in the stands) was yelling at me.

More Christmas
(It's the only time we reliably took pictures)
This is the famous "Grump" picture.
It was referred to (and still is)
whenever we'd see the mood strike
or want to comment on
his generally good nature.
The mood is NOT my fault! My parents gave me the Santa for the first picture. This was the result of that poor parenting decision.

Brother Chris has denied permission for me to use this in my blog. But, just like during our childhood, I know when I can get away with poking him a little.

And the next picture in the series has both of us smiling!

I could go on but am going to end with few other pictures.

This one is just so 1960s proper.
My mom says that she looks so unhappy but it was one of the happiest times of her life.
I had to ask if it was one of the happiest times of her life
because she'd just ordered new drapes
but she looked unhappy because
the old ones were still up in her new house?

In case that picture makes you think I had a
prim and proper upbringing,
there is this.

Someone call Child Protective Services!!

That boy ain't right...

Christmas when I was a kid was always fun. I look back at it now and while it may not have been sleigh rides to Grandma's and big family gatherings, it was full of fun and some crazy goings on for a conservative, midwestern state. I'm sure the nuns would have been mortified if I'd shared a few of the stories from the Santa's Reindeer files.

I got the Beany doll from Santa Claus , of course. Beany and Cecil was an animated show. I don't remember anything about it except that Beany always was in some kind of trouble, he was almost always happy and smiling, and he could fly with his Beany. I wanted a flying Beany so badly!

Every Christmas eve, Santa would come to our house to make sure we were ready for him to come during the night. He was huge! His red suit was bright and clean and his belly did shake when he let out a loud "Ho! Ho! Ho!" He'd bring us one present or two. Then sometimes he'd remember something about when we'd been bad or good during the year. Sometimes he'd make a joke with the adults, particularly any visitors, about something they'd done bad or good. I didn't get why they'd laugh but I was glad that everyone loved Santa coming to our house. When he'd leave after a few minutes, (He had to get to your house, too!) Santa would take us to the door. He'd tell us to listen for his reindeers' sleigh bells. We'd stand at the door in our pjs and after a few seconds we'd hear real, honest to goodness sleighbells! He'd tell us to go to bed and he'd be gone. It was magical!

As I got older, and figured things out, I insisted we continue with the tradition. I know my folks thought "There's something wrong with that boy!" But I insisted. It was all EXACTLY the same Everyone knew this was Santa. Now, I would get the jokes with the adults but otherwise nothing changed. After Santa left, brother Chris and I would put on our coats and gloves & go out the other door. We'd head out to the driveway, where Santa, his daughters Sue and Nancy Adams and my dad were waiting in a steamed up car that smelled of hot humans, beer and Christmas! We headed out to stand around the corners of other houses all over town. Nancy, Sue, Chris and I would listen for the door to open, wait for our cue and ring the heck out of those real, honest to goodness sleighbells. Then we'd get back in the car and drive to the next house. Santa might enjoy the beer the dad at the last house handed him. We might get some treat they sent to the reindeer but it was great fun. We were packed tight in the car, getting hot, jumping out into the piles of snow, laughing, trying to be quiet and had some real magical once in a lifetime moments.

One time, as Santa was getting into the car, someone pointed out there was a little boy looking out the door up the hill at his house across the street. Santa grabbed up something, got out of the car, talked to the little guy, gave him some trinket and, as he was leaving, the mother touched his elbow and said, "I don't know who you are, but, bless you, sir." I do know who he was and he was Santa. He did have an alter-ego disguise that was pretty convincing. He'd act a little gruff and scary 364 days a year in this "Clark Kent" disguise but I know that was all an act.

He wasn't Mr. Adams....he was Santa.
You can ask my brother or my mom or anyone else who was
lucky enough to have him come to their house.
Just look! Can't you tell?
This must be a costume! Who'd dress
like this for real? It's just a
distraction to hide his true identity!

Bless you, Santa!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Family, home, traditions

Here we are. My immediate family. Brother, Nephew, Mother, Sister-in-law, me. Sitting on the deck above the back yard of the house I grew up in. From age 3 to 24 I lived in this house. My parents bought it in 1962. For the next 46 years, this has been our family home. Compare that to my 22 years in California. I've lived in 10 different apartments/houses/lofts. Amazingly, it isn't a house that Dad and Mom liked. My mother, in particular, didn't like it. However, my maternal grandmother was going to move in with us and the walkout basement is basically a 2 bedroom apartment. So, it was a good fit. But for some reason, after closing. she decided not to move in. I guess my parents weren't interested in getting in the house flipping game, huh?Among my friends, I'm alone in being able to be in my childhood home. When I come home, different memories wash over me and I notice different odd things. On Saturday night, I was exhausted by the time I came home to go to sleep. As I walked through the house, I was turning off the lights. I missed each of the switch plates by a good distance. I hit a good foot above each of them. As I lay there, starting to drift to sleep I wondered how sleepy was I to miss them by that much. Each of them. Isn't there, more or less, a standard height from the floor? Did I miss them because as I grew groggier some automatic part of my brain that remembers the routes, distances and spaces of this house reverted to some distant 12 year old version of the house? I know I can always feel the 'smallness of things' looking at it from my 6'2" perspective. Kind of odd...

Tomorrow, more random pictures and memories. Ever wonder about what I meant when I said my brother and I were quite different as kids? You thought your childhood had great Christmas memories. I will swear my life on the fact that Santa Claus lived across the street from me. I have proof! How did I get around when I couldn't zip around in a blue Beemer roadster? What am I holding here and who just gave it to me?? Find out the photographic answers in the next blog! Later!

She didn't say that! Oh no, she didn't!

Yes, I know she's well enough to go home. My mother has now officially gained the much-feared status of "Mother with too much time on her hands"!! That's official psychological terminology or at least it should be.

I would have led with "Mom is home!" but this prompted an immediate response. I was on the phone taking directions for her return when these words came out of her mouth:

"A man your age shouldn't get on a ladder. You might fall off and die."
I was shocked! I was offended! My male ego was bruised! What the hell did she mean by that? I know. I should be patient. And listen and ignore her. But this age thing is her big issue. She won't tell her age because of the generalizations people make, because of the way people treat you as a lesser person, etc. She's right! Ageism, like sexism or racism is just wrong even when phrased in the "I know what's better for you than you do" tone. How could I make her see she's guilty of the thing that gets her blood boiling! Hehehe Read on....
"What the hell do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Just that as you get to be your age,
[When did 'your age' become an insult? I dunno but, at 48, it has!]
you're almost 50, you need to be more careful!"

"Mom! Don't say it again!"
"But men your age..."
"Mom, it's a short drive from the door of Bergan Mercy Hosital to
Mercy Care Nursing Home where a woman your age..."

There was a short silence and we changed the subject. I picked her up at 2:00.

But before doing any of that, being who I am, I had one thing to do.

By the way, she thought this exchange was as funny as I did! I come by this sense of humor from both of my parents...


At this point, it's early Monday morning and I did make it to Omaha. The closed TSA check in LAX, the incorrect gate in Houston and some confusion in picking me up at the airport. That last one put me at the hospital about two hours late. Luckily, no one called Mom to ask if I was here yet!

She looks good and is breathing better. They were going to let her out on Sunday but on Sunday afternoon one of her lung doctors came in and listened to her breathing.

Oh, to be back in the day...

Now, remember, they said she wasn't going home until the wheezing had stopped.
He asked if she had post nasal drip. 'No' was the answer.
Did she have allergies? Again, 'No'.
Did she have acid reflux? She takes meds but she hasn't experienced it.

He hesitated. Then said "All of those things could cause wheezing."

He stood there, looked blankly at us for about 10 seconds, said goodbye and walked out. I was afraid he was going to keep grasping for another cause of the wheezing!
Do you have a hangnail?
Did you have your hair done last Tuesday?
Did you wear patent leather maryjanes as a little girl?

So, we're thinking she's coming home today! WHOOHOO

Saturday, May 3, 2008

First of all....

Ahhh...the luxury of flight!

If you're reading this before 3 p.m. Central time on May 3 you're in on a secret! My mom, who has been hospitalized since April 24 with pneumonia, forbade me to come back to Omaha to see her when her stay was extended beyond a week. She actually forbade me to come back just because she's in the hospital!

After all she's getting better!

So, what did I do being a reasonable adult? I was immediately on to get a flight home. Thank the great goddess of flight that the airfare was actually cheap cuz after being forbade from something I was driven to do it regardless of the price. But I am not going back because she's in the hospital! I have a completely unrelated reason that I shall share with her when I arrive in her room around 3.

So, my Continental Airlines boarding pass said to be here an hour before security even opened.
Being punctual I got here at 4:05, walked up to the security line and was told they don't open til 4:30. I asked if I could sit there and work on the Mac. They said no. I went down the escalator and sat near the bottom, plugged in and was told I had to move behind the ropes. I moved behind the ropes and while I have been sitting here about 7,000 people have gotten in line right where I sat down. I love LAX!

More from Houston. I can almost guarantee it. (Don't ask me WHY HOUSTON on the way from LA to OMAHA!? It was cheap! Sheesh! And I'd been forbidden! I was compelled to take it!)

No news from Houston except to say for an airport it is poorly signed, with bad graphics, and indifferent workers. Four of us went from the LAX flight to the Omaha flight. We were told it was at one gate but as the time approached we realized nothing was happening indicating any imminent departures. We asked, they referred us to the monitors which were not visible from where we stood. Exasperated, one of the gentlemen said to the Continental employee that even pointing us in the right direction would seem to be the least he could do. And the dope looked up, pointed and looked down. Well, we made it. 5 minutes before the plane took off. (That's 10 minutes after the point where they could have given away our seats.) But I've made it to Omaha....

More to come

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A lifestyle choice...

Oh this is soooo not what you're probably thinking.

I went to work today, top down, after a Dr. appt which was more intimate than many relationships I've had, with a smile on my face and it wasn't from the Doctor's treatment. It was just a lovely day. Near the end of the day, I had someone at my front counter demanding something that was not going to be done. This was not her first visit demanding something that couldn't be done. Today's demand was well advertised as "not gonna be done, sweetheart!" It was posted on the door that this was not done. It was posted on the counter that this was not done. Anyone's common sense would tell you that what she wanted was not done for safety, consideration and any number of other reasons.

However, I negotiated and managed to do ALMOST everything she wanted except for one small aspect of it. It wasn't going to cost her time, money, energy or self pride. It just couldn't be done. She even acknowledged at one point that she didn't want ANYONE ELSE to get what she wanted because it wasn't safe. But she got angrier and angrier, berating the clerk for all kinds of professional and almost personal things.

I finally said "Even though it's against our usual policy, I've done everything you asked, except for one small thing that'll be solved in less than 30 seconds. What can I do to get you to stop talking to the clerk that way?"

At that point, she said that she wouldn't be talking to anyone and stomped out the door, turned around and kicked the bottom of the door.

Goodness knows I have had my share of confrontations with indifferent salespeople, rude museum docents and arrogant health care providers. I try not to be rude but I won't be distracted from the problem either. I usually get them politer and more service oriented before too long or at least acting that way. It's a win win or at least a win- let's hope they're like this for the rest of the day kind of win

And I wonder.... Do some people make a deliberate decision every morning to just be unpleasant? I'm not talking about the here and there bad day but a real lifestyle choice to ensure that life sucks. Do they choose to make every situation unpleasant and a lose-lose?

I mean, if these people down here can be at work during this event and smile, anyone should be able to....