Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'm down from the mountain and happy to report there were no bears in our vehicles this time. Of course, I'll be catching you up on what did happen but we had a fantastic time. This morning though, Bo goes in to get her wisdom teeth out so I'll be nursing her back to health for a day or two and then plowing in again and dropping over to your places. Can't wait to catch up with you all!! :-)
Monday, June 29, 2009
The beach areas and some far northern locations are usually spared. The rest of us just pray for death. Summer tends to come unexpectedly and with a vengeance. I don't know WHY we don't expect it. It happens every year. But each season we optimistically anticipate mild temperatures while failing to remember this pertinent fact: volcanoes will not erupt in our vicinity because they can't take the heat. Occasionally some outsider will make the comment that at least it's a "dry heat." Yeah, well, so is a blow torch but I'm not volunteering to stand in front of one.
And with the searing weather will come the ice cream man. This will not be the ice cream man of my youth. Gone is the fellow with the friendly, toothy smile and white Garrison cap perched at a jaunty angle on his head. Gone is the alluring truck with lovely decals advertising enticing frozen concoctions. Gone is the perfect ice cream treat that when unwrapped, looked exactly like the picture promised it would.
I think Stephen King designed the ice cream truck and driver that now prowls the city streets of California.
It would seem apparent the legislature passed a bill requiring all said trucks to be in a demolition derby before hitting the road. This should be followed by a "Thelma and Louise" style vault over and into a canyon.
When the truck body is appropriately mangled, it must be abandoned, in the rain, for at least a year. This will create the rust and dirt needed to create the "war-zone chic" effect. The decals will have been applied on the assembly line so they are now barely visible and scuffed beyond recognition.
Should you be a thrill seeker and, horror-of-horrors, let your kids approach and buy something, you will be most fortunate indeed if your ice-cream has retained its original shape and/or coatings. More likely it will look like a science project comparing the ice-age effects against global warming; continuous freeze vs. melt and thaw.
You will also discover the ice-cream man comes in, primarily, two frightening flavors.
The first will be an ex New York City cab driver. He will hate you for trying to do business with him but you will only know this by his contorted angry countenance and volume of voice. You will never understand a word he says and when you order a Missle Pop you will receive a Drumstick. You are not allowed to protest or he will run over you. Sometimes he will have a wife sitting in the back of the truck to retrieve the items he barks out. Hopefully, she will be unchained.
The second flavor will be the reason my children will require future therapy for trauma and are never allowed to make purchases from the rolling danger wagon. They were taught when they were little to run back inside if they heard the music because I didn't even want the driver to know children lived here.
It was a friend who informed me about this type years ago. Her brother was released from prison and got a job driving an ice-cream truck. He said lots of ex-felons did this. And many of them were sex-offenders. Her brother had done time for drug charges. That was concerning to me considering he hadn't overcome his problem. But sex-offenders, including rapists and child-molesters, are allowed to drive ice-cream trucks where would-be victims come running to them. If you find this hard to believe go here. The A.C.L.U. is all for it. Apparently, they don't have children. Or brains. For a complete list of things to be terrified of with your local ice cream driver, go to "Do You Really Know Your Ice Cream Truck Man?"
Why can't we get this guy?
Or this truck?
Or this one run by a whole family, even their children, in Grand Forks, North Dakota?
Not on my street, I can tell you. I want little children hanging out of windowed ice cream trucks happily advising would-be customers. I want to believe in happiness and families working together for the common good. Maybe they even homeschool and have little desks set up in there. Can't I believe that if I want to? Can't they come to my neighborhood?
All of this occurred to me as I dropped into my friend's blog this morning. She takes interesting shots of life around New York City and you can see my inspiration here at her blog called "On The m104." She took a picture of an oncoming ice cream truck. I knew by the shiny chrome grill on the front and sheer gleaming cleanliness it exuded, our worlds had nothing in common.
So bring on the heat California. You're going to anyway. And when the urge to soothe my fevered brow seems to be provided by the creamy goodness of icy decadence, you will find me roaming the aisles of the frozen food section at Whole Foods looking for my fix. If the ice cream man comes prowling into the neighborhood, we'll be locked in the house, thank you very much.
Disclaimer: My sincere apologies to any ice cream truck driver reading this who drives in California and whose person and truck do not fit this description. You have my utmost appreciation and gratitude. Please come to Fresno. We might erect a statue in your honor.
(I have a long history with ice cream issues. If you'd like to read about about my childhood waywardness, you can go here.)
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Yesterday I played another round of, “What the Heck’s the Matter with YOU?” at UCSF. In this game contestants dress in bizarre outfits designed to reveal their rattiest underwear while simultaneously enduring pranks thought up by the producers of “Fear Factor.”
All I can say is it was dark in my bedroom at 5:00 a.m. as I rummaged through my dresser drawer. Don’t we all keep at least a few pair of underwear that really should be thrown away but we know, when the laundry piles up, we might need them? They aren’t really fit for being in an accident but they will cover your posterior well enough for sweatpants and yard work. Well, those are the ones I wore. Of course, there was no way to discover this until I stood in the torture chamber preparing for my first round of competition.
The torture chamber is purposely deceptive and distracting. It is splashed with brilliant sunlight and designed to put you off guard. The room is fairly small but elegantly decorated. One wall displays an open-aggregate column with an arch right out of a castle motif. This would distract you except for the opposite wall which is solid windows overlooking San Francisco, the Presidio, and a huge expanse of the bay. And all this from an 8th floor perspective. The day must also be perfectly clear to enhance the effect.
It was in this environment that I donned my costume: the flimsy gown we all know so well. The one Dave Barry describes as making you feel more naked than if you were naked. However, when your underwear has gone as far south as mine had, you actually long for nakedness. Too bad. My only hope was the thought that perhaps I could lie on my back for the entire procedure and use my half-gown to cover my front half. As the “doctor” walked in she smiled and told me to roll onto my side.
Now, I put “doctor” in quotes because she wasn’t a full-fledged doctor yet. She was still in her residency. This is important because they don’t really want someone highly skilled to perform these tests. It might make the procedure entirely too painless to be entertaining for them.
In this round they are checking you for nerve responses. If your nerves are somewhat damaged your only response might be to bounce up off the table, smash into the ceiling, and land back on the table. Or you may launch face-first into the window and contort your features. If your nerves are all completely intact it could be bad for them because these shocks will catapult you across the room, leaving you in a standing position, where you are then free to beat them about the face and head with their own equipment. Fortunately for them, mine were not at the top of their game.
Next comes the bonus round.
When they leave the room you and your ratty underwear are free to crawl over to your clothes and salivate on them. They will then return to tell you your test reveals more abnormalities but they have no idea why. At this point they will thank you for playing and invite you to return in six-months where they will introduce the newest event: “Toenail Removal for Fun and Profit.”
Your parting gift is the realization you may now head into the heart of The City to let it heal your wounds.
That’s what I did. The kids and I had already strolled the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park that morning. Now it was time to limp toward comfort food and fortify myself for cultural pursuits.
The price of admission for this scintillating soiree may have been dear but, hey, so is beautiful San Francisco. I'll be back and I guess I have to bring my toenails with me.
Friday, June 26, 2009
While all this was goin' on, I was tryin' to take care of my mom. She was just layin' around lookin' all dejected and miserable. And though she hasn't been fair with me about some things I'm gettin' ready to tell you, I can't help but treat her honorably 'cause that's just who I am. I went to her bed and took her this:
Now if that's not one fine specimen of a good, broken-in bone that anyone in her right mind would love, I don't know what is. But did she chew it? No, she just said, "Ew! Get that disgusting thing off of my blanket!" and threw it on the floor. I took this abuse and turned the other cheek. I just knew my next idea would do the trick.
The doc always tells you to have a lot of water when you're sick so, I led her to the toilet and told her to get a drink. She just looked at me and then sat down on my water bowl. Nice.
I racked my brain and came up with the suggestion we go to the park and told her she could roll around in that nice poop I found over there the other day. I did. It was great. But with her? No sale. She's even still mad at me for jumpin' in. The woman canNOT be comforted. And frankly, I'm outta ideas. So, I figured, I'd post for her and give her a break and, in so doing, I would tell you the truth about the bears and my sleepin' habits.
I read the bad press I got about not waking up when I'm called or when things are going on. This is ridiculous. You need to know that I slept through her calling me when I was in bed with The Wild Man that night, because it is good for her to practice not gettin' so hysterical. I knew she wanted me but she needs to relax and learn to handle her panic better. I wasn't gone. I hadn't run away or been dognapped. And when I heard all that caterwallin' I decided then and there: that is NOT healthy. So I just kept my eyes closed and played dumb. I'm sure you can see my good work and motivation here.
And as far as sleeping through the bear, that was exaggerated, too. I knew the bear was out there! If I had growled or barked, these people of mine would have gotten up and tangled with them. I was trying to keep it quiet. What's a little car damage when your family is at risk? No one gives me any credit for having good sense.
And not only did they not give me credit, they put me in the minivan and went back to bed! I was NOT afraid. I WAS afraid that pitiful excuse for Yogi and her bratty kids wouldn't come back and let me tear a souvenir out of their backsides. That's the look my family saw on my face. It had nothing to do with the smell of bear in there. In fact, I was able to stand on the door handle, open the door, and head out to hunt those mangy maulers the rest of the night. We had a few serious tangles and I left them bloody and horrified. When I was satisfied they wouldn't come back for the night, I got back in the van and conked out. These people will never know what I did for them because I'm not one to brag on myself.
The next night it was me leading the charge in the bear hunt. I tried to drag Grizzly the right way but you can't tell him anything. He's got a gun and a flashlight. Apparently, that trumps guts, a nose, and pure brawn. I don't need a gun. I hate guns. I bark and try to tell him they're dangerous. I've hated them ever since he and The Wild Man got Nerf guns for Christmas when I was only a couple of years old. How I got caught in the cross-fire I'll never know but I had to take a bullet for both of them. And they want me to be excited about this craziness.
I got drug in all the wrong directions the whole night. And all the while Yogi was stalking my mother. I know it was a vendetta for my activities the night before. That she-bear knew I was out looking for her in all the wrong places and she had plans to digest my mother figure. Thank goodness my mom heard that wicked thing behind her and I was able to bark and charge forward. It was my sheer ferocity that saved her but, you didn't hear it from me.
Anyway, I'll get back to figuring out how to help her out around here. I thought about saving her some of my dog food this morning but that seriously challenges all I know to be sacred. I had one piece left....I even took a picture of it and sat for a long time givin' it some serious thought......
And then I remembered how she spun this story against me. She'll just have to do without MY dog food. That'll show her. I'll keep you posted if I see any more flagrant lying.
And don't worry. You'll ALWAYS get the straight story from me. From Jojo - The HONEST one.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
What I wasn't prepared for was what I saw next.......
Monday, June 22, 2009
I am thinking of gophers today since it's Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, officially sentencing us to more cold weather. I'm in California. If it gets any colder in Los Angeles it'll be summer. Winter never fully arrived in some parts of our state. If you're in London, what with the blizzard and all today, you probably think Phil is a bloody genius and wish we would swap him to you for Madonna. Frankly, I think we should leave things as they are. I don't know what you ever did to deserve Madonna but hey, she's yours to keep. She says she wants to go back to New York now that she's gutted Guy Ritchie. If I was NYC I'd hang out the "No Vacancy" sign.
But speaking of things you don't want, I'm glad our gophers aren't as big as Punxsutawney Phil. Your leg could get a cramp trying to shake them off. It was hard enough trying to dislodge an average sized rodent.
When our house was being built every gopher in the neighborhood waged war with the encroaching humans. The gophers were tough and big and carried small semi-automatic weapons. One afternoon, we pulled up to our house to check the progress and the Godfather met us at the curb. He stood up and stuck his chest out. Grizzly Adams, my husband, yelled and stamped his foot in a show of brutal authority. The gopher clutched his heart and staggered, fell down laughing, then leapt to his feet, possessed-red-eyes flashing, and buried his Bucky-the-Beaver incisors into the toe of Grizzly's sneaker.
My husband is no Jackie Chan but he's got pretty sophisticated ninja moves when vermin are attached to his lower extremities. He whirled and kicked and jerked and whacked and sprinted down the curb, still sporting two long teeth and a pair of beady eyes, and that wasn't even counting the gopher. I very helpfully ran along yelling, "Get him off! Get him off your shoe! Kick him! Fling him!" These helpful utterances offered him valuable insights that might not have occured to him otherwise. But it didn't matter. When the rubber hit the road, it did so with the thud of vibrating gopher flesh and there was no sign of retreat.
As I looked around wildly for a stick or missle launcher, Grizzly gave one last massive kick. I watched our miniature nemisis sail through the air as though shot from a cannon. With a final show of dominance he stuck the landing and dusted himself off, glaring down the road at us. I always hoped he was the one my cat laid at my feet several years later.
Kitty Baby made it her life's mission to divest the neighborhood of this evil element. She relished her job. It wasn't enough to merely kill the things. She felt if you could not enjoy your work there was no point doing it. She frequently showed up in the backyard circus playing "Flying Trapeeze," in which she would throw the gopher and then fail to catch it on the other side. This provided hours and hours of great cat fun. When she grew bored, she would skin them and lay them out on the front porch for the rest of the rodent clan to view. In her spare time she made jaunty little hats for herself out of the leather.
I like to think she was avenging me from a childhood attack.
When I was seven I walked to second grade by myself everyday. It was about two miles and that was a lot of time to think up hair-brained ideas like how great it would be to catch a gopher in a paper bag. The thought first occured to me when I spotted a furry brown thing scooting along the ground one day. It was my foregone conclusion, as it was when I saw any animal, that it was lost, desperately lonely, and would undoubtedly die but for my timely intervention. And then there were the show-and-tell possibilities. No one ever pulled a wild rodent out of a sack. I was sure to be popular.
The next day, with brown lunch bag firmly in hand, I set out for school hoping my gopher rescue would go off without a hitch. As soon as I spotted him I dumped my lunch and closed in. He saw me and sat up. I lifted the bag for rapid capture. I was successful except for the fact that I had caught him by the teeth with the fatty part of my ring finger. He was firmly attached. I screamed bloody murder and ran like my tail was on fire. He wasn't the least intimidated. I shook my hand, my arm, the earth on which I stood. We were one.
I think he gave up when I entered the third grade.Supposedly I never contracted rabies. But I have raged around and foamed at the mouth a few times to the point that the shed and being shot have been mentioned in my actual presence. Which reminds me of the time I had a feral cat plastered to my head via teeth and claws and actually did get rabies shots. But that's a story for Halloween when my booster is due.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I had none of these problems before. One hand drove and one hand held my phone. I used voice commands and could actually utilize my eyes to watch the road. Now, I drive with my foot while simultaneously looking through my purse and pulling everything out searching for my Bluetooth. Once I’ve located it, the dangerous part begins.
As I left San Francisco recently, I headed out on the Bay Bridge. My girlfriend called me to firm up directions to her house in nearby Benicia. Just as she was telling me which lane to get into, the earpiece went dead. This meant I had to get the charger out of my purse while trying to navigate three lanes of speeding, maniacal drivers perched hundreds of feet over shark-infested waters. Once plugged into the cigarette lighter I now had to insert the other, miniscule end into my Bluetooth. This is best achieved with a skilled surgeon, floodlights, and magnifying glasses equal to the Hubble Telescope. Somehow, while nearly sitting on the steering wheel, I made the connection. I took my seat, hooked the thing over my ear, and, just as I was about to give it a command, the coil of the charger sprang back into place and launched the device off my head and into the next dimension.
There are severe issues with voice recognition as well. This is an example of a recent conversation:
Bluetooth: “Please say a command.”
BT: “Command not recognized. Please say a command.”
BT: “Command not recognized. Please say a command.”
BT: “Well why didn’t you say that in the first place, you idiot? Please state the name or number you wish to dial.”
Now, at this point, Artificial Intelligence basically takes over the planet and we are all at its mercy.
BT: “Did you say ‘Humpty Dumpty?’ ”
BT: “Did you say ‘Howdy Dooty?’ ”
BT: “Did you say ‘Jabba the Hut?’ ”
Me: “Yes.” I have discovered this will actually activate the command known as “Jamie at Work,” thereby connecting me with my husband.
He is experiencing a dysfunctional relationship with his safety-accessory as well. He said he couldn’t hear anything in the Bluetooth over the roar of his truck so he went with the type that mounts on the visor. This, too, was supposedly designed to be simple to use while driving. All you do is push a button to activate and start talking. But he still can’t hear anything so he just yanks it off the visor and shoves the whole thing up to his ear. It is approximately the size of a clipboard. This comes in handy when he has to attach it to his hair and hang it off the side of his head. He says when he is pulled over by the police he will protest saying he is, in fact, using a “hands-free” device.
After I left Nancy’s house from Benicia the next day, I made a final attempt to connect with the outside world from the confines of my car. I had checked messages and knew another friend, Teresa, was trying to reach me.
Southbound I-5 stretched out before me like a comfy couch, my headset was charged; all systems seemed to be a “go.” I managed to navigate my way through voice commands and actually connect with the right person. The only problem seemed to be the volume. I mean the volume in the way a jet engine might sound two feet from the fired-up burners, only much louder. It was the demon now flanking my head. I pushed every button to no avail. I was apologizing, while attacking my ear, when the thing flew off again, this time landing under the seat. “Keep talking!” I yelled, zooming down the freeway using the sound of her voice for homing assistance. With my legs hanging out the driver’s side window, I hung upside down to peer under my seat and found it hiding behind an In-and-Out Burger napkin. I had only changed lanes seven times and driven under a big-rig once. No harm done. I resigned myself to the roaring volume and, with my right hand, held the thing three feet from my head, still managing to suffer hearing loss.
With my nerves jangled and a ringing in my head, I pulled into Starbucks in Los Banos. I figured I needed a hot cup of coffee to complete my driving maneuvers. While safely stopped in the parking lot I managed to fix the problem du jour and attempted to phone my children. “Command not recognized while flip is open,” my nemesis taunted. “Flip is open?” I yelled. “Which flip? Phone? Bluetooth? WHAT?!” “Command not recognized. Did you say, ‘Beans and weenies?’ ”
I feel much safer now with my Bluetooth. I know everyone else does, too. We’re all keeping the law as we narrowly careen around one another in death-defying destruction derbies. Maybe next they can invent something to help you drink your coffee while you drive down the road. I don't know….maybe a spigot right above your head could automatically pour boiling java all over you. You could lick at the drips while your skin falls off.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We find ourselves in the bosom of felicity. Why you ask? Because we're going camping! All of a sudden. Just like that. No preplanning. The time off simply dropped into our laps. And our housesitters have not a CLUE about blogging (translation: even older than ME) so there you go. I cannot cajole them into guest hosting. Consequently, I am forced to stage repeats and will also apologize in advance for my absence on your blogs. I know there are many new readers here so, hopefully, the repeats will be entertaining for you. For my old friends, maybe you will enjoy the second showing or else feel light and airy with one less blog to keep up with. Reruns will begin Saturday. I wish you all a relaxing summer week and will probably rejoin you before you even know I'm gone!
On Monday, Minky went one round with these little beasts of barbary and lost badly with a TKO (technical knock out for you non-pugilistic types). And I think it was our fault. She loves to snap at flies and we have encouraged her every time they find their way into the house. It has become part of her job description. We forget she isn't very discriminating when it comes to small, buzzy, and wing-ed. I think that tripped her up early Monday morning when she was outside.
Grizzly called my name while I was still in bed and he was downstairs making coffee. He is up early for work and sometimes finds me already at my desk. But if not, he does his thing (after turning off the snooze button at least eight times and no I am NOT even CLOSE to exaggerating), and takes off for work.
There are only a few exceptions to this routine. They all involve horror. The very second my name is called or he appears at my bedside, something has gone desperately or freakishly wrong. It stops my heart every time. My only response to hearing my name under these circumstances (or when he uses that tone) is and will forever be, "WHAT'S WRONG?!!!"
A sample list of his responses:
"They've attacked the World Trade Center." (Clearly the worst one ever.)
"Somebody bashed out the window of your car."
"There's something dead down here (cat hunting by-products)."
"I think Bess is home." (A beloved cat who had been missing for months - it wasn't her. It was a demon in white fur who summarily tried to rip my head off. He doesn't always check his facts before mustering me in my groggy state.)
I have never been summoned to breakfast, say, with the table all set and waiting for me. No exquisite sunrise has been announced. No bouquet of roses ever beckons. No, my name in the morning equals calamity. I really think he better balance this out one of these days or I may suffer a major coronary before hitting the floor running.
Monday morning, I heard my name. "It's nothing," he intoned. "I just want you to see something." Uh-huh. I bet it's not breakfast. "Minky's face looks swollen. I gotta take off and I just wanted you to keep an eye on her. I think she got bitten by a black widow and it could be crawling around the house somewhere." Okay then, honey. Thanks. I'll go back to bed now. Why would I worry? Have a good day. I'll try to remember to fend off poisonous attacking arachnids as I watch our dog go into anaphylactic shock. Bye-bye, now.
I took one look at Minky and either something bit her or she had taken up the habit of chewing tobacco and had perfected the art of stuffing her gums. The left (your right) side of her face was swelling. I grabbed the not-so-great camera (because I still can't remember we have a better one) and snapped this:
She looks a little concerned.
I hauled the kids out of bed and said, "Hold her while I shave her." I was, of course, looking for the telltale sign of two puncture points indicating spider fangs. Looking through hair is impossible so I needed access. Shaving is my immediate answer. If you ever develop head lice, don't come and see me. There'll be no nit-picking. I will shave you bald. Here's how poor Minky appears this morning:
Doesn't she look depressed? Well wouldn't you if I'd only shaved HALF your face? I promise, if I see you, I'll shave your whole face, eyebrows included. Oh, and the vet commented I removed her whiskers, too. Critics. I was trying to save her life. From a black widow. Who was stomping through the house heat-tracking us.
In the next few hours after Mr. Shock-and-Awe left for work, Minky's face swelled to three times this size and her eyes became red and puffy. I had dosed her with Benadryl but it didn't do much. So, it was off to the vet for a MONGO shot of Benadryl and then a steroid injection. And by then we could see little pin-pricks rising under her chin and on her snout where it became obvious the black widow was non-existent and a wasp, or wasps, had been the culprit(s).
Minky will be a wiser dog now, I hope, though she won't be ready for any close-ups on the silver screen with her unfabulous hair-don't. And the house has been temporarily restored to a bastion of safety against marauding black widows, and that is a comfort.
However, Grizzly remains a serious threat to my health.
(Legal disclaimer: Grizzly insists he also mentioned wasps as a possibility. My hearing was temporarily disconnected after I heard "black widow." The End.)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." ~Albert Einstein
"Gravitation is absolutely responsible for my falling arches, falling ratings on the 1-10 scale, and frankly, I think it's clear my plummeting IQ score is involved." ~Robynn
P.S. I'm AWAKE! (and headed to a party...but then....where ELSE could I possible be going? Oh, there was that scintillating few hours at the vet with Minky, on Monday, when she got into a wasp nest and her nose swelled up like a light bulb......)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
(My regular post appears below - don't miss the Fuplers!)
Tonight is graduation party night. Rock on. It's time for luau and karaoke and scores of friends. Bo here, and Miss Maddie, are making a night of it by combining parties. Should be a great time!
But, parties put me in a silly mood and I'm thinkin' by the time midnight rolls around, I'm gonna be pretty hysterical. I'll be laughing at everything and nothing. And I want you to be laughin' with me. So I just HAVE to share the following video. Oregon cousins brought this to us and well, we've been tuning in regularly just so we can split seams all over again. If teenage boy descriptions of a body part everyone possesses offends you (no swearing involved), then I advise you not to watch. But if you are in possession of children, especially siblings, you will find this tame (unless yours are completely unlike mine, never fight, and always say only the sweetest things to each other.) That ain't life around our house and I think this may feature my mom mojo, especially the five-o'clock shadow.
The funniest thing is one guy plays the part of mom, dad, teenage brother, and little sister. Do yourself a favor and put your coffee down.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The last of my visiting cousins left early this morning to head back to Oregon. That group comprised Joey, his wife Laurie, and their girls, Elizabeth and Ashley, the 19-yr-old twins, Katie, The Wild Man's age and in full possession of a sensitive and curious mind, and Julianna, 11, the spitfire. We got to keep Elizabeth for the night on Monday (she is at college so she and Bo had a lot to talk about). And most came for lunch yesterday as we hung out and had great laughs. Ashley had to miss out on this part because she headed for Ukraine on a missions trip.
On Saturday night we hosted the Illinois/Iowa cousins. Kristen (on the left here) and Stasha (on the right) came rolling in for dinner and stayed into the wee hours of Sunday morning. I had never met Stasha. She moved to California in 1993 and, being the functional family we are, no one ever told us. The fact is, no one really has much of a relationship with anyone else and truth-telling is at a minimum. (If the craziness on both sides of this family tree gets any deeper, the Grand Canyon will look like a mud puddle in comparison. Ah, Egypt....I do NOT long for you. I LOVE the Promised Land!) In fact, she never knew she had family in California. And Kristen we saw, for the first and last time, once, when she was 15.
So here we are, the remnant, the truth-tellers. Some of the cousins and one Aunt, from both sides of my family, willing to look the facts in the eyeball and move forward. Willing to do the hard work of changing family legacies, by God's goodness and grace to us, and then gladly Lampooning everything within range, for sanity's sake. No "Leave It to Beaver" here. In fact, I think most everything must have gotten left to Beaver. Except the humor - who has more fun than a bunch of refugees from wacked-out families? And what we lack in family numbers we make up for in the largest and most supportive group of true friends - some of them refugees themselves. And the best thing about friends is you get to pick them. O yea, O YAY!
So goodbye, family. Thank you for the reconnect. I hope it grows and blossoms as we've all headed down our different paths of reconstruction. God bless us everyone. Especially the goofballs like Junlianna here with as many grapes in her mouth as she can shove in.