Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"The number you have reached is not in service."


Count them. TEN! I just walked through my house and picked up all of these awful things and threw them on the living room floor. Okay, really only eight because two of them are toys. No wait, if you count the one that is hooked to Zeus' belt the tally is nine. NINE! This is the number of obnoxious telephones that litter my life and disturb the peace, usually at the most inopportune times.

The telephone has become a necessity in life, but I also consider it to be just plain evil when in the wrong hands. It's bad enough to be surrounded by them in my home but now they invade my space wherever I go. Obnoxious ring tones interrupt dinner conversation in restaurants. Clueless people carry them into movies. Drivers narrowly miss me on the streets while they chatter away to who-knows-who while making right turns without looking.

The loathing I feel for telephones can be traced back nearly three years. This was a particularly trying time in my life, thanks to Littlest Ms. and a ridiculous elbow. The last thing I wanted to do was make nice to anyone who called. Hearing the phone ring was like sticking toothpick slivers under my already aching little fingernail. Thank heavens for Caller ID. I learned quickly how to use this technical wonder to it's fullest potential. I usually got around to returning calls, but only when my sanity was restored (!?) and it was a convenient time. A few people caught on and took me to task but at the time that was the least of my problems.

Cell phones. I have a love-hate relationship with them. A cell phone is nice. But... just because I have one doesn't mean that I carry it on my person all the time or that I will answer every time someone dials my number. Most of the time it is left in the car (I don't carry a purse, remember?) and I will check it when I am done shopping, or eating my ice cream cone. I'll call you back IF you leave a message! Yes, much of the time it is no different than an expensive answering machine for my car.

My ability to look at the Caller ID screen and ignore it can be considered a manifestation of my sometimes passive-aggressive personality. The only other option that has worked, at least it did for a while, was to flush the damn thing down a toilet at Sam's Club. This little episode cost me a new phone and at the same time probably set Sam's Club back a few thousand dollars in plumbing repairs, not to mention the inconvenience of shutting down the main Ladies Restroom for over 24 hours. Oh well....

Here's where I might offend you, a risk I will take. Text messaging can be obnoxious, depending on the texter or textee. When we are chatting and you invite another person into our conversation via texting please don't be surprised if I get irritated. Is that really any different than answering a telephone call in the middle of a sentence? Especially since you usually don't bother to say "excuse me while I take this call". I get dizzy from watching your fingers move over that miniature keyboard at breakneck speed. How long can you possibly keep this up before carpal tunnel finger sets in? And another thing: texting while driving? Come on, are you trying to kill me? Yes, you know who you are.....

The phone rang while writing this post. Unknown Caller. Incognito? The rule here is no name, no answer. Leave a message. I'll get back to you.

A point in every direction....

Today was just like Christmas... err... Festivus.... never mind.....

Last week Zeus ordered this DVD for me and it arrived today! It is a wonderful animated movie narrated by Ringo Starr with vocals by Harry Nilsson. It is about a little round-headed boy Oblio who lived in the Pointed Village where by law everything had to have a point. There is a strong moral to the story about not judging others who are different. It came out in 1971. Athena and Eris grew up listening to the LP and watched it every time came on television. A few years ago I found a VHS tape and also the CD soundtrack. Now the grandkids are all watching and loving it.

Littlest Ms. Eris had the words to this song memorized by the time she was two and now asks for it whenever we go down for a nap. I sang it to her continuously for the first six months of her life to keep myself sane and also to keep her alive (explanation will come in October).

If you click here you will meet the Pointless Man, just one of the many interesting characters in the cartoon.

Now it's time to pop some popcorn.

Note: There are 217 other Blogspot profiles with The Point listed as a favorite movie.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Backyard Entertainers

Not much goes on in this neighborhood. It is very quiet and sedate (usually) and our summer nights are spent lounging on the deck enjoying the wildlife. For the last two years we have kept bird feeders that have to be filled every morning. Each spring the birds come back and bring their friends with them. Being next to a vacant field we are entertained by finches, cowbirds, blackbirds, robins and doves. Lots of doves. LOTS of doves that are getting very FAT. They roam around under the bird feeders and pick up what is dropped on the ground like little vacuum cleaners. In the morning I wake to a symphony of cooing and chirping right outside my bedroom window

At the right is our hummingbird, Poco Verde. His favorite perch is on top of the cage that is filled with brilliant red coleus. If I go out on the deck and call his name he will be sitting on one of the hooks within five minutes. In the last week his mate has started to take turns coming to visit. Lee, our resident bird expert tells us that there is probably a nest nearby and that little hummingbabies might someday show up as well.

Occasionally a pheasant will come by to feed and hang out in the wild roses. The ducks fly overhead and also nest in the neighborhood. It is not uncommon to see them walking down the streets or across a lawn early in the mornings with a line of ducklings marching behind. Of course, there are other creatures that wander around. The skunk that pranced through the back yard two weeks ago had me scrambling for the door and holding my breath that it was not as scared as I was! Also, I believe that there was a snake in the roses last week because that night the birds wouldn't land on the ground within 10 feet.

But seriously, that lurking cat has got to go. The day I find loose feathers is the day the trap comes out.

Nature photography is not one of my strengths but if you are interested you can see more of our birds at my Shooting site.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy 21st to Athena!

Happy birthday to Athena! Just to freak her out I will mention that I was only three years older than Bubba is when she made her impatient entrance into the world! Oh wait, that freaks ME out!

You can read about her goddess name here. She has relished a good fight right from the first moments of her life. For the first week she resembled Oblio (hey, he was cute!) but soon turned into an adorable baby who captured the hearts of her grandparents and never gave it back.

Life is never dull with Athena around. From staying up all night reading telephone books (ask her about that one, no, don't ask!) to knocking down walls in her living room (awesome results), you must always expect the unexpected.

It has been entertaining to watch her go through the various phases of her life. Probably the most fun is watching her be a mother to Jubee, a miniature Athena. Now I also get to watch her successes in a career that was custom made for her. Working in the construction industry... a perfect match! Somewhere there is a photo of her in a hard hat. Come on Athena, post it on your new blog!

Thanks for making us proud parents! And grandparents! See ya tonight for cake and ice cream! I love you!

(You can thank Eris for requesting the bejewelled photo. And thank Zeus for the hearts!)


Friday, July 25, 2008

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Princess Turns One!

By royal decree, the Princess is turning a year old today! Can it be that just a year ago we were finally able to breathe a great sigh of relief when the tiny little Princess made her appearance? But oh, what a beauty. The look of absolute wonder on the Duke's face the moment he saw her for the first time will stay with me forever. It was a long road to get her here for this family, but well worth it.

Describing the Princess is not difficult. The saphire blue eyes are the first thing that you notice and then it is the constant smile on her face. I've never seen a happier or more contented baby. Or healthier. She is pure delight.

It has been fun to watch her parents navigate successfully through this first year of parenthood. They have endured my teasing about what will happen if and when another child joins their family, a child that is normal. You know, one that cries for no reason, fusses when cutting teeth, gets earaches and throws tantrums. Normal.

Zeus and I will take grandchildren any way they come to us. It has been a joy to share the Princess with the rest of her grandparents. We certainly hope that they are all having a wonderful time celebrating this milestone! But please hurry back because we miss you!

We love you, Princess!


Update: The Duchess just called to let me know that the Princess had a wonderful birthday and was appropriately loved by all of her New York grandparents. The Duke is apparently not thrilled about the gift that I sent, a package of hair accessories. Oh dear. To quote the Duchess, "The gauntlet has been thrown". She will never leave here again without ribbons!
Also, she is now walking everywhere and has plenty of bruises to show for it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mom

Get ready. This is a busy week in our family for birthdays, starting out on the 23rd with my Mom. She was raised on a country farm with two brothers and two sisters. At the age of 17, shortly after graduating from high school she married Dad. Together they raised three daughters.

Service has been a large part of her life. When I was a young girl she was a Pink Lady at our local hospital and donated many hours of her time. After retiring she returned to volunteering, this time serving as the President a couple of times and also many years on the Board of Directors. I'm not sure but I believe she has about 55 years and a gazillion hours logged in to the Auxiliary.

Mom also has dedicated her life to her family. During a particularly tough time in my life Mom and Dad were there to pick up the pieces, offer support and to help me raise Athena and Eris. I will be forever grateful for that.

The phases of her life have all included children, and even now she is dedicated to her seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. They all love to visit "Grandmama's house".

Thanks Mom, for everything. See ya at the pool in the morning!

I love you!


Monday, July 21, 2008


Raise your hand if you are over 21. Thank you.
Raise your hand if you have ever had a baby. Thank you.
Raise your hand if you are (or once was) ten or more pounds overweight. Thank you.
Raise your hand if your hearing is okay. Thank you.

I think you all have probably raised a hand at least once, and some maybe all four times.

Now, raise your hand if you have ever bent over to pick up an object off the floor (or road) and heard a grotesque sound coming somewhere from deep within your gut. Nope, not a fart. It's kind of a grunt. No, maybe a groan. Imagine you are in the boxing ring with Rocky Balboa and he just hit you in the stomach as hard as he could. Now do you recognize the sound? (If you don't know the sound I'm describing then it is possible you do need your hearing checked.)

Here's the problem. I don't know how to spell this sound. Huumph? Ughmph? Urgh? In the blogosphere I have learned all kinds of words (ex: blogosphere?) that are not in Webster's Dictionary, letters that are combined to demonstrate a particular sound or facial expression. For instance, pfft, blech, aarrgghh, etc. You all have your favorites.

The reason that I need to know how to spell this sound is that over the last four years I have perfected a technique of how to prevent this noise from escaping when I reach down to pick up coinage. I am thinking that this secret might be worth some major cash if it is marketed to Woman's Day or Ladies Home Journal.

There could be a cut in the profits for the one who can come up with the correct order of vowels and consonants.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Disjointed thoughts

1. I sincerely dislike Stephanie Meyer today and I'm not too happy with Eris, either. Quit giving me ridiculous books that suck me in till I end up sleep deprived. Okay, just one more book in, let's see, 12 days...
2. I chatted with Vinnie/Fidel this morning at the well. Two sentences. He seemed surprised that I would speak to him. This guy desperately needs a mother. Volunteers?
3. I'm still singing ABBA songs.
4. Finally, some paper money. Other than the bits and pieces from the winter it has been way too long since I brought the green stuff home.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dancing Queens

Hi Les,

Just got home after seeing the movie Mamma Mia. The entire neighborhood is probably awake after hearing ABBA cranked up as loud as it would go!

I miss you!

(St. Thomas, 2004)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


(You will want to embiggen this image. I love that word!)

The above images were taken last year at the pool. Mr. Eris and friend Dave liked to play catch with their children, Little Ms. and Jackson. They would throw them up high in the air, narrowly missing each other with skinny little arms and legs flailing everywhere. The kids loved it, the higher and closer the more fun it was. I took this burst of images not knowing what they contained until I got home and looked on the computer. Little Ms. has a great tan line, yes??
Little Ms. and Jackson have spent their summers at the pool together since they were babies. At the age of three they were both swimming well enough to play in the deep end and go off the diving board, making the lifeguards very nervous.

Is it possible that these two have imprinted on each other? Eris and Jackson's Mom are already discussing the possibility.
Hopefully these two five-year-olds will enjoy their time together as much possible before they reach the age of ten. At that point all kinds of rules and restrictions go into effect. You can ask their older siblings Mr. Eris, Jr. and Kelsey. But that is for another post......

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summers past and present

I love summer. Bring on the heat, it doesn't bother me. While growing up I spent summers in the water, usually at Rainbow Gardens. My Dad worked swing shift so he was home during the day. He loved the water as much as we girls did, although for different reasons. He mostly just liked to swim while I liked to have fun with friends and chase the boys. I think those carefree days continued into my junior high years even though Dad stopped going long before that.

I found this photo of the Rainbow Garden pool in Zeus' yearbook so I know that it was taken prior to 1956 (sorry, Zeus). It looked basically the same during the 60's when I hung out there. Rainbow also had an indoor pool where we swam in the winters after bowling on Saturday mornings. You can't see them, but there were also two in-ground trampolines where all the hot, athletic guys would do flips and twists to impress the girls. Oh yeah, we were impressed. And lest I forget, the lifeguards provided some delicious eye candy as well. Through the doors at the far end of the pool was a ballroom. A couple of times a month a local rock band would come in during the day and play for a few hours. I can still hear those Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and Beatles tunes being played as loud as they could get with the electric guitars and huge amplifiers.

Sunblock? No way. Oil, and lots of it was used to get those deep, dark tans. Without a doubt those long days soaking up the rays contributed to the lovely patterns of spots that now adorn my arms, legs and chest.

Enough of the stroll down memory lane. Rainbow Gardens has now morphed into a huge gift shop and restaurant. The outdoor pool area is now a warehouse for all kinds of imports. If you go there (yes, it's worth the trip) you can still smell the chlorine that has permeated through the old buildings. The original shiny black and white tiles are still on the restaurant floors and you might flinch at the faint odor of mold in the restrooms. Oh, the memories that come flooding back! Ever tried mustard on your popcorn?

Fast forward to the 80's. Athena and Eris spent their early summer days at a different local pool doing much the same thing as I did, chasing boys and ogling the lifeguards.

Now, forward again to 2008. For the last four years we have enjoyed our summers at that same pool, soaking in the sun (now slathered in sunblock, of course) and watching the kids have a ball doing exactly what I did as a kid. The grandkids all swim like fish. We adults mostly just get in and out long enough to stay cool, except of course during the newly instituted "adult swim time", a 15 minute period twice a day where all those under 18 are forced to sit on the sides and watch the clock move oh, so slowly.

Summer is half over and already I am sad to know it will end in six weeks.

To be continued.......


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fantasy gone awry

This morning I turned the corner at 7-11 and there was Fidel talking on the pay phone at the front of the building. My undercover instincts instantly kicked in so I surreptitiously crept over to where I could hear his side of the conversation.

Turns out Fidel's real name is VINNIE and I believe he is from CHICAGO! He was talking to his brotha about his motha. I don't know whether I am more intrigued now or just plain disappointed.

By the way, I noticed that he carries a reusable grocery bag, coordinating khaki of course. At least he's concerned about the size of his carbon footprint, a big plus in his favor. That might also explain the same grimy pants and shirt. Must conserve water.
See ya next week, Vinnie.


Friday, July 11, 2008


Same brand. Same price. ONE QUARTER INCH NARROWER!!!
At first I thought that someone sneaked into my house and changed the holder. Then I realized that the width of my super-soft quilted toilet paper has shrunk by a full one-quarter inch. Come on Charmin, did you think I wouldn't notice?

This isn't the only product that is getting smaller. Cereal boxes. Tuna cans. Width of fabric yardage (from 45 to 42 inches). Tootsie Roll Pops (is nothing sacred?)

What else haven't I noticed?


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another year for Mr. Eris

Everyone who thought that this photo is Mr. Eris, Jr. please raise your hand. Aha, I believe that was unanimous.
Happy birthday to you! When Eris introduced you to us we knew you were a keeper. One of the first things you did was introduce us to soccer and have been patient all of these years in trying to explain what off-sides means. Someday maybe I'll get it. It also took me quite a few years learn that many things that come out of your mouth have a high probability of not being true. I have to think twice before taking you seriously. You are extremely patient with your in-laws, as well as Eris and the kids and that is a quality we admire.
Things are never quiet when Mr. Eris is around. This image with Bubba was taken in 1997 after the two discovered a large puddle of water and Mr. just couldn't resist the temptation to demonstrate what little boys are supposed to do in them. After splashing all of the water out of it they got a hose and filled it again so they could jump some more. Was anyone surprised? Not a bit.

Just so you know, I miss you at the pool this year. For the last two years Mr. Eris and I spent countless days there with the kids. This year it is Eris' turn to be home.

Hope your birthday is a happy one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Journey of a Princess

The Princess has temporarily abdicated her Western Kingdom throne. She is now aboard her royal chariot and flying to her Eastern Kingdom, a place known as New York, where she has an entire court of adoring grandparents and others waiting anxiously to attend to her every wish and whim. These grandparents will likely turn into court jesters the minute she makes her regal entry with those blue eyes. Of course, the Duke and Duchess are accompanying her on this journey.

The Princess will certainly be the main attraction as she performs her new tricks for the courts and peasants. She has held off taking her first Royal Steps until the appropriate audience is watching. Also, I believe she is ready to start making Royal Proclamations. She will be celebrating her First Royal Birthday, an event which I am sure will be filled with prancing white ponies and grand parades in her honor.

Instructions have been given to the Duchess. When the Princess returns to her Western Kingdom I expect her to come running to me and tell me how much she missed me. In the meantime, I am hoping that they have a fabulous time.
Note to the Duchess: We will be watching for photos and reports!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The cute biker-guy

How many of you have smiles on your faces at 6:30 AM? 7 AM? 7:30 AM? One of the fun things that I do in the mornings while on the street is greet each person I pass with a smile and "Good Morning". Most of them respond in kind even if they don't feel like it. Occasionally I encounter a grump who refuses to acknowledge my cheerfulness and just plain ignores me. In a perverse way I just consider them to be a challenge because chances are we will meet again another morning.

This morning the table was turned when a total stranger put a smile on my face. I was waiting for a truck to pull out of a parking stall at a convenience store so I could pick up a penny, then another one a few feet away. I didn't see the guy on the bullet bike who was parked and fiddling around with his flame-bedecked helmet. After pocketing the two coins I noticed him looking at me with a funny expression. Then he spoke. "Do you need some change?" Totally caught off guard, I chuckled a "No thank you" and went on my way. He was still there a few minutes later as I was heading back so I stopped to show him all the coins in my pocket while explaining my "hobby" and to thank him for caring about a stranger. Walking away I found another penny and gave it to him, explaining that it must be his Lucky Penny. He said that he would keep it forever, depositing it in a little cubby on his bike. We were both smiling as he put his helmet on and zoomed away.

$1.31 (or $1.32 counting the Lucky Penny)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The REAL Fourth of July

Ranchada, our little family "resort" is where we chose to spend the Fourth of July this year. The Eris clan plus Jubee and I drove out yesterday to join Zeus and the boys who had gone out a day earlier. Mr. Eris and Eris hadn't been out since before Jr. was born and it was Little and Littlest Ms' first time. It was hot, windy and dusty. There is no running water other than the natural spring that flows into a pond, no electricity and no indoor plumbing to speak of. On the other hand, there are no televisions, telephones or neighbors. Cell phone service hasn't reached there, thank heavens. The birds are chirping, the squirrels are running around and you just might come home from a ten-mile trip to the nearest town to find cows grazing in your yard!
Daytime is usually spent exploring the area on ATVs. There are always treasures to be found. The kids love to ride and Little and Littlest were no exceptions. The dust flies everywhere and you learn to ignore the taste of it. If you are clean you are obviously not having any fun. Clothing is sometimes optional but sunscreen is required at all times.
The closest city larger than 80 residents is probably about 100 miles away (no kidding) so there are no city lights. This makes nighttime at the ranch a memorable experience for most visitors. A full moon will make the countryside almost as bright as daytime. When there is no moon the stars in the night sky are breathtaking.
To celebrate the Fourth of July we drove to the local town and joined in their festivities. The chicken dinner was delicious and the accompanying salads would make Sister Dottie proud! After dinner we watched some team roping events at the local arena and then went home for a few games played in the tent. Finally we all settled down for a good night of sleep. This morning we headed back to town where Little and Littlest Ms. participated in the Kid's parade. There were other activities held, including Stick-horse races, dances and old-fashioned patriotic programs. I'm thinking that this is the place I want to be every July Fourth!

To see the rest of the photos, including the required Tub Photos, head on over to
Numismatically Shooting. Don't miss the Only in Small-town Utah photo. Yes, it was for real!


It just doesn't get better than this!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Field Trip

Woo hoo! What a fun morning this was. Remember the swimming ladies? I know, it's hard to recognize them with clothes on. This morning eight of us boarded the Frontrunner and traveled to the big city, a first for all of them except me and Mom. For a few of them it was the first time they had been on a train since riding a troop train way back before I was even born. They also talked about riding the Bamberger in the 40's. This was a little different for them. The ride was smooth and air conditioned, a necessity since the temp outside right now is 96 degrees.

After the Frontrunner ride we transferred to Trax and rode downtown to Lamb's Grill. It is a wonderful old-fashioned cafe right in the heart of the city. Established in 1919 it is now designated a Historical Site. When you walk in the door you feel as if you have stepped back decades in time. If you haven't been there you are missing out on a treat. We were lucky enough to get a cute waiter named Kevin who thrilled everyone by showing off his various tattoos and being a good sport with eight women, six of whom were between 75 and 90 years young.

After lunch we made the return trip home. This was very fun day and the ladies loved seeing all of the changes that were taking place. More field trips are being planned for the future.

L-R: Karen, Mabel, Joyce, Kevin, Arlene, Arlene, Marge, Elaine and me.