Gone Fishin’


Every year, about this time, Don Jose’s Mexican Restaurant (located about 36th street and Thomas Rd. in Phoenix, AZ, for those who are curious) would close down for about two weeks. In the window would be a sign that read, “Gone Fishing”.

Now, I couldn’t blame the owner for it. It’s the middle of July, after all. Who wouldn’t want a vacation away from tripping over those idiots who are constantly trying to fry eggs on the sidewalk? I can only hope he was smart enough to go fishing someplace that the fish weren’t jumping out of the water already fried up.

Next time, I will do my first promotion of why it was always a great disappointment to see that sign. But, for now, I will mention: I hate fishing.

It’s true. I did write on my facebook page that I had Gone Fishing last week, but that doesn’t mean I like it. You can only hear, “Shhhh! Be quiet. You don’t want to disturb the fish” so many times before you want to stick your head in the water and yell, “Get over it, Fish!” Of course, that plan doesn’t work very well when you get nasty, fish poop water in your mouth and nose.

The idea of fishing is always attractive. Especially with stories of Huckleberry Finn and the thought of lazing on a raft. Or, the stories of kids playing hooky just to sit under a cool shade tree, while casting a line. You cannot tell me that any kid on earth would keep perfectly still and quiet, so as not to disrupt the thoughts of a fish. Even Jesus Christ, himself, was friends with fishermen. He was smart enough to tell his disciples to leave their nets behind. Which proves even the Son of God didn’t want to waste time sitting around waiting for a fish.

What is so dad-gummed important underwater that fish would be disturbed by the noises us drylanders make, anyhow? How do we know the fish hear us? They don’t even have ears. Are they holding meetings underwater? Is that where all our think tanks come from? The bottom of a lake or riverbed? It would make the most sense. We never actually see anyone involved in these think tanks and they don’t seem to have any ideas that make sense to human beings.

So, for another year, I have fulfilled my obligations. The dust has been dusted and the fish gut smell has been washed out of my hair (I only had to rinse and repeat fifteen times this go round). The rest of the year’s fishing will be done from the cool, air conditioned comfort of my own living room.

Meanwhile, I’ll be eating steak.

Published in: on July 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm  Comments (2)  
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Desert Firecrackers


My daddy used to say the desert heat of Arizona must fry people’s brains. Of course, he was speaking of how when Easterners came out here they seemed to forget how to cook. But, this stands out in other areas. Especially, politically. Then, again, I think it’s a requirement to have your brain fried, in order to be a modern-day politician, no matter which state you may call home.

Today’s topic is about Arizona’s most stupid recent law. Before the anti-gun and anti-SB1070 people get into their hootin’ and hollerin’ thinking ‘even that old broad gets it’, I’m not even touching those topics anymore than I would touch a fellow with open, oozing sores.

In my opinion, the most stupid recent law is making it legal for private citizens to shoot off fireworks.

As far back as I could remember fireworks had been completely illegal to buy and use in Arizona. People from out of state would sometimes voice feeling sorry for us that we couldn’t have the fun of personally causing explosions. Honestly, I never felt too terrible about it.

Perhaps it has something to do with being scared of fireworks for half my life. Then, again, as a child I was scared of anything that was too much for my fragile senses. This included cold pool water and the sound of sirens.

I quickly got over the fear of swimming and have since learned how to hold in the urge to cry whenever I hear the shriek of a siren. Fireworks? I now find them fascinating. The way I got over that fear was the first 4th of July celebration I ever attended with Mr. Greene. We stood under a palm tree and he kissed me throughout the whole fireworks demonstration. I have never been scared of fireworks again.

So, this last winter Arizona was hit by this foreign substance that makes many people run outside and dance around like they’re Gene Kelly. Rain. Yes. By golly! We saw rain. Gobs of it, too. Rain leads to plant growth. So the rumor goes. When the summer sun smiles too much on those pretty green plants, they soon turn to brown. This makes Arizona into a not-so-happy giant tinder box.

You can’t even let a match look at the dry and now thirsty shrubbery without it burning a few thousand acres. Yet, we have tents set up in every grocery store parking lot selling things that go *KABOOM*.

When the local university can’t even put on a fireworks display without stopping abruptly because they set the mountain on fire — Again, how are we supposed to expect a private citizen to safely set these off in their backyards?

Mr. Greene says this is really a great source of revenue for the state. First, the state gets the local sales tax from the sale of the fireworks. Then, there is the money for the fines when people shoot them off, since most of the cities in Arizona have said, “You can buy them. You just can’t use them in most of the state.” It’s almost better than the lottery. But, at least with the lottery you have a chance to win. Plus, you don’t run the risk of burning anything down.

Published in: on June 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why I Don’t Keep Plants


Yesterday I was reading the blog,of a dear little girl I know when I noted her enthusiasm for growing plants. Not only was she enthusiastic, but she was successful. I have seen these plants on her patio and they were truly alive and … growing. In Arizona. In the summer time. Outside.

This is something that absolutely amazes me. I love plants, but I fear them. Mostly because I know the plant that happily shows up in my home today is going to be gasping its last by next week. Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how good you are at performing CPR, when a plant is breathing its last there is no saving it.

My sad lot with indoor plants began when my father died. The local grocery store he frequented considered him such a loyal customer and were saddened that they would be missing his charm –and his grocery bill– so much, that they had two cashiers attend his funeral. They also brought a plant. A beautiful Croton plant. Every time I left the house, that poor plant suffered. So, did the dog’s conscience, once I got home.

Of course, dogs always suffer from a guilty conscience, even when they are perfectly innocent. You know how I know this? Because, I later caught the damn cat digging out the plant. Even after caught in the act, that cat was still pointing at the dog, and the dog was hiding in the corner saying, “I’m sorry. I have problems. I can’t help myself. I’ll never do it, again. I’ll even go to therapy. Just, PLEEEEASE, don’t be mad at me.”

My favorite plants are the Lucky Bamboo plants. Which isn’t always so lucky for the bamboo. For many months I had a lovely bamboo in my guest bathroom that continued to grow and grow and grow. Apparently, it preferred a dirty bathroom to a clean one, because as soon as I went in with a bottle of bleach, it immediately keeled over in shock.

Then, there was Charlie. I have probably named half a dozen plants Charlie. But, this one was a willow looking thing that did beautifully in the bathroom. It would happily take a shower with Mr. Greene, every morning. It didn’t even go into shock at the sight of a clean bathroom, but it did more than weep when the season changed from Summer to Autumn. Which was odd, because the rest of us were rejoicing. After the plants first experience with seasonal depression, there was no bringing it back. No matter where I moved it in the house or how often I tried to get Mr. Greene to sing to it, I still had to say, “Goodbye, Charlie”.

Before you think I kill everything I come in contact with. (And, no, it’s not my fault that my children once .thought that the fresh daffodil bulbs I once bought should be put into a salad) , a few hardy plants have greatly flourished. A little too well. When I was in my 20s, I decided to give myself a lovely treat of planting some annuals that had been taunting me, every time I went to the local nursery.

Would you believe it? Those things actually grew and flourished. Even the plant my then, little girl, accidentally pulled out just said, “Not a problem,” replanted itself, and continued to grow. Not only did I have a garden for the first time, my children had playmates, as those flowers and the basil took over the yard. The plants that weren’t chasing my children around the yard, while playing Tag, were creating their own jungle scene.

That was a very lovely Autumn, but, I have no wish of ever using a machete to try to find a  lost little people, in the future. Now, you know, why, as much as I want to, I refuse to keep plants of my own.

Happy growing!!

Published in: on June 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sharing Conversations in Restaurants


The other night, I went out to a restaurant. Because, it was a date, I didn’t want to be rude and say, “Not tonight, honey. I’ve got a headache.” My only requirement was quiet. Not tomb quiet, but no blaring music, singing waitresses, or anyone dancing on my table.

 Now, I have told you before about the loud  party crowd in my community. This is why I thought going out without them, would be a rare treat. No conga lines.  No carrying Benny to the car after too many shots and a strip tease.  Just average quiet. After that dinner, I am thinking my community is like the inside of a monastery compared to the two women at the next table.

 Before dessert, I learned all about the shortcomings of their friends. That one’s college friend married a guy that Miss Loud had once babysat for.  Twenty years difference. Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that weird? I got to hear that phrase more than enough. I thought I should share the pain. What was also weird was the college friend had once been someone who wanted to fight her. At which point, I wanted to say, “Maybe you became friends, because you shut up.” But, Mr. Greene doesn’t like when I start fights in restaurants.

 While, Mr. Greene went to pay the bill, I decided it was time to make some new friends. I waited for a lull in their conversation, then plopped down in the booth, right next to Miss Bleach Blond. “Hiii!! My name’s Adela. Since, you were so nice to share your conversation with those around you, I thought I would introduce myself and tell you my opinion on everything.”

Miss Loud opened her mouth to speak. Wearing my sweetest smile and in my sweetest voice, I said, “Shhh.. Don’t be rude! It won’t take long.” Then, I began to tell them all about my week. This included, a story about a young fellow in my neighborhood, who thinks he’s a poet or a Roman emperor. I realized this by the way he decided to wake everyone up at 3:37 in the morning, by standing in the middle of the road, giving a moving speech on what America means to him.

As I stood to recite the speech, Miss Bleach Blond and Miss Loud got up and started walking away. I continued the speech for their ears as they paid their bill and out to the parking lot. Mr. Greene honked the horn of his car. I could tell he wasn’t happy about waiting for me, again. But, I wanted to finish the speech, then ended it with, “Isn’t that weird?”

So, next time you’re out in a restaurant and think it’s a good idea to share your conversation with everyone around you, don’t act so alarmed, if one of the other patrons wishes to join in. After all, we all want to make new friends.  

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm  Comments (2)  

My Adventures in Exercise


A few months ago I decided that my exercise routine should consist of a little more than keeping my fingers toned, while looking at the television.  I figured it would be nice to identify my body as having some kind of shape, rather than looking like a puzzling piece of abstract art. 

Running was my first thought. After all, how many people finish a 5k  by rolling themselves down the street, like a bowling ball?  So, I bought my running shoes and put on my running clothes. Then, returned the running clothes, because I haven’t bought running shorts, since I was a young girl, and the size was  like wearing thong underwear.

What I learned that first afternoon was all about runner’s high’.  I am very sure it is the same feeling that convinces meth addicts they are invincible.  Because, as I pushed myself and my legs became as wobbly as Jello, I continued running. Ten minutes later, some other joggers stopped to ask if I was okay. For some reason, they thought I was having convulsions.  After they helped me up off the ground, I vowed not to run, ever again. 

Dancing was my  next option.  I remembered enjoying dancing a lot when I was younger.  This time I was not even going to attempt to try on my old dance gear.  I might be lucky if I could squeeze my dog’s body into that tiny leotard, let alone, myself. 

During my first lesson, I felt wonderful. It was like I had never stopped dancing.  Looking up at the mirror, I knew I looked like a movie star.   You have seen the scene in Fantasia, where the hippo dances?  That was me.  Maybe it would have even worked out better if I hadn’t insisted I could lead the lessons, myself.  For some reason, dance teachers are touchy about any offered help.

Finally, I met Ed. He works out at my local gym.  He was very nice for the first week.  He talked to me about proper form and even helped lift the barbell off my chest,.   He seems like a shy kind of fellow, so instead of coming right out and saying he wanted me to be his exercise partner, he told me about how important it was to always have a spotter.  But, I could read beyond the lecture. 

I have spent every moment at the gym following Ed around.  Even learned his routine.   When he  wasn’t coming out as often as he used to, I checked around and found out that sly boy had been testing out a new gym we could work out at together. You should have seen how surprised and happy he was when I showed up.  I am sure I saw tears in his eyes.

As time has gone on, I suppose he has been feeling a bit overshadowed by my progress.   He shouldn’t feel bad.  I think he looks like a nicely built young man.    When I asked him to poke my stomach, so he can feel my rock hard abs, he turned green and walked away.  I suppose the envy was just too much for him.

Sadly, the summer  will bring an end to our  exercise duo.  I plan on spending more time at the pool this summer, showing off my results in my brand new itsy bitsy bikini.  

 Don’t be too jealous.   I am sure Ed will be needing a new exercise partner to work out with,

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Memorial Day


When I was a little girl, I thought Memorial Day was a day to honor ALL of our dead.  This idea started, because it was the day my father generally chose to go to the cemetery to visit the grave of the beautiful woman who gave me my name.  This is also where I began my interest in wandering through cemeteries.  As Daddy paid his respects, I would wander around looking at the graves and wondering what kind of stories were now silenced. 

As I grew older, I found out the real reason for Memorial Day.  Started as a way to honor the dead from the Civil War, it now extends to all of our soldiers who gave their lives.   My neighborhood used to have a Memorial Day ceremony,  There were inspirational speakers and the last year we even got to see the missing man formation overhead.  Not a bad event for something created on someone’s front porch. 

The last few years I have preferred to attend mass at that same cemetery I remember from my childhood. My daddy is buried there now.   After the Memorial Day Mass was finished I would visit Daddy’s grave, pay my respects, then wander around, just as I did as a little girl, looking at all the old graves and wondering what kind of stories they had.  Especially, the soldiers’  graves. 

This morning, I was not able to get to the cemetery, which makes me sad.  I consoled myself by running and walking.  Now I spend a moment in remembrance.    Knowing that all I have and can do has a price.  It’s a well worn cliche, but one that should never be forgotten.  The price of freedom is high. Freedom is never free.

 

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How I Spent Rapture Saturday


 To begin, an apology is in order. Originally, my plans were to have this typed out and posted to my blog bright and early Monday morning. Instead, I found out two of the most important letters on my keyboard had been raptured.

 Saturday was one of those usual days where nothing that needed to be done was yet done. The biggest problem was deciding whether it was worth breaking into my store of toilet paper, just so I could decorate my neighbor’s house for the big day. I figured with enough toilet paper on the trees and splashes of pink paint on the house, there was no way they would be overlooked.

 My thoughts went both ways. If I was raptured, then I wouldn’t need the toilet paper and it would be very sad that it had not been able to live up to its full potential of proving how strong and moisture resistant it was. Or, if I was left behind, with the earth disemboweling itself in wave after wave of mass destruction, I knew my biggest concern would probably be about keeping my knickers clean.

 I was saved from having to make this difficult decision by an invitation to an end of the world party. It may not have been called that, though. I think the official name was Bingo Night.. All I remember is there was enough wine flowing to drown Dionysus and tales that would make a harlot blush. We decided if anyone was getting raptured, none of us was going to be left behind, all alone.

 I hear the new date is October 21. I know I won’t be ready to go. It’s going to be one of those glorious Autumn days, so I am sure I will be busy getting ready for one of my favorite holidays when destruction hits. Which will be a great disappointment, since I was already working on my costume. How come these end-of-the world days are always scheduled for a weekend? Just because someone doesn’t have anything better to do with his weekend, doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t.

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bluesy Monday


 

No birds singing in the sky.

My coffee’s cold.

My breakfast cried.

This is the beginning of the Blues on a Monday night

Obviously, I was not meant to write the Blues, but I do enjoy it. Although, I have to be in the mood for it. I can’t actually have the blues to listen to the Blues. Otherwise, I’d just throw the record player out the window.

But, the magic of music has always enticed me since I was a little baby.  My daddy was a Big Band fan. He wasn’t into this rock music that was so popular, and said he wanted me to learn what good music was before I listened to anything else.

 So, I grew up on the likes of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Larry Clinton. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I finally caught up to modern music. Meanwhile, my daddy was listening to rock music anytime I wasn’t around. He said it was to keep him awake on long trips, but during the day? At work? Yes, one of his co-workers outed him after his funeral. All about how he loved listening to Dave Pratt’s Morning Show.  The very one that he would say, “Why would anyone listen to THAT KPUD station?”

 In the end, I still love the Swing music and the Crooners. I can rock out like no one’s business. I can get down to some honky tonk music and not look for rattlesnakes or worry about desert sand getting into my shorts. In fact, the only ‘music’ I cannot stand is rap.

 Rap music. Mr. Greene once compared this poetic beat sound to giving a certain kind of sexual act to a microphone. The remembrance of that statement does not make it any more appealing. But, it does make me want to laugh at the ‘oh-so-manly’ wanna-be rappers who take to wearing some overweight friend’s pants, when they must have messed up their own somehow. Why else would the back end nearly touch the ground?

 But, back to real music. Once I thought of getting a government grant to study the effects music has on people. I know certain music can bring my mood from average to angry within moments. If that’s the case, would pumping in happy, peaceful music, like Enya, into jailhouses throughout the the country make criminals more likely to rehabilitate or would it cause a riot? If it did alter their moods and make them want to put flowers in their hair and dance, would we be able to release them, so long as we implanted 24 hours of Enya music into their brains?

 Maybe I really haven’t thought this all the way through. Which is why I never applied for a government grant for a study on music — or mind control.

Published in: on May 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Changing of the Guard


My brother, Jack, just ended his time as our community’s Director, President, Chief in Command, god, or whatever they are calling the position this week. “I get enough complaints from my own family,” he said, as he glowered at me over his cup of coffee. “Nowhere in the description of my position does it say my job is as maintenance or that I am responsible for driving imaginary monsters from anyone’s house at a moment’s notice.”

I avoided making eye contact and hoped that last one wasn’t the main reason he was resigning. So what, if I had called him, because I had heard something large scraping at my window, with mammoth sized claws and heavily breathing my name?   It was only once or twice. At 2 am. Last week.

 But, I am sure that wasn’t why he resigned. Even if I did have to hear about ‘some crazy old bat’ for days before he made his decision.

 The ideal for humanity is that we can live in a happy little world with singing bunnies and fluffy flowers, where everyone can get along, help each other, and be part of a joyful utopia.

 This would be wonderfully workable if we were all machines, with a pre-programmed “helping and happy” program that was error free and would never break down. In other words, Microsoft has no chance of making this program correctly, no matter how much money is thrown into it. 

If we can’t even keep our small groups happy, how is the world expected to get along? “Well, maybe if we didn’t have leaders…” But, then, we would have no one to blame when things went wrong. What’s the fun in that? 

Do you remember high school? Those carefree days of football games and seeing how long you can keep that guy’s letterman jacket, before he comes to your house with a police escort to take it back? When I watch a John Hughes movie, I sometimes think to myself how lovely it would be to do that all over again. THIS time , with my boisterous, ‘I don’t give a flying rat’s tail’ attitude, I would run the roost. Then, I look around at the community meeting and realize, I am still there. In the same place.

 For many parts of humanity, we don’t ever really grow out of adolescence. Oh, in a sense we do. On an individual basis. We grow up. We take our responsibilities seriously. We pay our bills. We watch the news. We form our more mature opinions.

 As groups, though, we still have the jocks and the cheerleaders. The band and the drama queens. The potheads and the nerds. 

When I was a youngster, I knew each of the jocks by name, could identify a cheerleader from a hundred yards away, could hold a fulfilling conversation with the potheads, and was nearly claimed by the nerds. Even though, I fought so hard on that. As I have grown older,  things have not really changed.  

The only real difference, now, is  I’m a bit more outspoken about my grievances and I find the Land of Misfit Toys, with the old man who thinks he’s an elf who wants to be a dentist, a much more appealing place than the world of pretty coiffed nails and perfectly polished golf carts. 

The cheers at the football game have turned to the sound of buzzing  bees in a cranky hive. Which is why Jack has passed the ball on to someone else who can enjoy the glory. Meanwhile, he says he’s thinking of feigning deafness for the rest of his life, in hopes that people will stop asking him silly questions such as, “Could you come over tomorrow and mark exactly how tall my next door neighbor’s grass is?” Guess, I’ll just use my own ruler this time.

Published in: on May 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Comments (3)  
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Arizona Weather and News Casting


Last week I needed to take some time off to get ready for Mothers Day weekend. Which  meant hiding out in a hotel suite, watching chick flicks, eating chocolates and strawberries, while hoping my children wouldn’t track me down.

I came back to my special little place in the world, affectionately known as hell, to find that today’s high was set to be in the 70s. I went to sleep with the a/c blowing as I sweated, only to wake up freezing. This is the bi-polar personality of Arizona. Every Spring and Fall, Arizona plays the hot and cold game. For weeks now, I have been packing and unpacking the winter trunk.

 The winter trunk is not what you think. No gloves, scarves, or wooly coats.  It just means clothing with long sleeves and slightly thicker material, as opposed to my halter tops and Daisy Duke shorts.   I will now  pause as you try to get that image wiped out of your mind…….

 The local idiot newscasters are always surprised every year by any change in weather.  They are never happy with anything that resembles  pleasant weather.  I remember one beautiful late Spring day, many, many years ago as I made my way from the cool breezes and tranquility of Northern Arizona back to Dante’s Inferno, when a voice from a Valley radio station excitedly yelled, “We’ve made it to 100 degrees!!!!” Yay? That’s like getting excited that you have a headache. You know it’s going to happen at some point, but you shouldn’t be looking forward to it.

 Within weeks of the initial ‘We’re burning in an oven’ dance, which may really be about not being about to keep your feet on the ground for too long without sizzling like a piece of bacon, the whining begins . “It’s so hot!……When will it cool down?…..We can’t believe it’s the middle of July and it’s been over 110 degrees for ten days. When did something like this ever happen?” Maybe….last year?

 Then, August begins and we might get relief for a few hours out of the month. Monsoons are described as “seasonal winds that bring torrential rainfall”. Also known as, “wasn’t the sun just here a moment ago and who installed the outdoor shower”? Being in the Valley, the monsoons have a few ways of playing tricks on us. It will rain throughout the rest of the state and the moisture will take a trip to see what our dust bowl looks like. Which means, we swelter twice as much and those of us who enjoy our swamp coolers, get to pay four times as much in tributes to our local  electric company, when we are forced to start using our air conditioners. Or, breaking news will cut into my favorite television shows just to report that three drops of stray rain were spotted somewhere around Cave Creek.

 When we do get a visit from the rain gods, we celebrate. We dance around in the streets. We splash in the rain. We pretend we’re Gene Kelly. Then, the downpour stops, some transformer miles away is hit by lightning and we sit in the hot, sticky darkness wondering when we can use our A/C’s again.

 Meanwhile, the local wing-a-dings are reporting that parts of Tempera and Messia (Tempe and Mesa, for those who don’t live here)  have an outage, but if we keep watching, they will report on when power has been restored.

 Which part is more of annoyance, do you think? That the news will inform me of when to expect my power on when I cannot look at the news or that broadcast journalists go to school for years just to learn how to mispronounce the names of the towns they are reporting on? If you are going to live someplace and talk about it, it makes you look less like a fool if you can take five minutes to properly pronounce the local names.

 Is it the heat that fries the brains of our newscasters, like the eggs in the parking lot in the summer sun or is bubble headedness a requirement to report news to a live audience?

I’ve already decided.

Published in: on May 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm  Comments (2)  
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