cables and cusswords — adventures in video production and other stuff

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My fabulous new spurs

My new spurs — super-shiny, stainless steel with a touch of brass.  Quite unlike my usual spurs, which are mis-matched or torn-apart leather covered ones that don’t fit right.

Two different sizes and make me fall

Sprenger spurs might be a bit of indulgence, but I think not.  They have improved my riding by at least 127%  What leads me to believe this?  Pre-fabulous spurs, I had five “emergency dismounts” in five days.  Since I started wearing the Sprengers, I haven’t had a saddle launch in three months!  Therefore, the spurs were not a luxury, but most definitely a necessity.  At the rate I was eating dirt before, at least one of my air-trips would have resulted in a sojourn to the ER, a far more costly proposition than the spurs.  So there you go – I’m actually saving money, saving my life and avoiding becoming a burden on society by having a traumatic equine injury — all for the low, low price of a pair of shiny new spurs.  And I look really good in them.  Thank you Twisted Bit for my beautiful spurs!


Torn apart, don’t fit right and make me fall


guilty as charged

I know better — but I still expect my computer to respond (and render) instantaneously.  I know better, but I still rail and whine at my computer., expecting it to come to its senses and do what I want. I know better, but I still blame software and glitches and non-intuitive design for my failings, ignorance and inexperience. So I guess you know what I’m doing tonight and into the morn…

similarities…and differences

I was wearing a hoodie, fiddling with my waistband and looking at (leering into) homes the other night. I was running in an extremely affluent neighborhood that I had no business being in, fiddling with my waistband because I had put my tights on inside-out (uncomfortable for all sorts of reasons), hoodie up because the wind was brutal, peering into the homes I passed for decorating ideas (how do the uber-rich live? do they really use all those rooms?)    So why wasn’t I shot down by a gun-wielding self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer?  Luckily for me, I’m old, female and most importantly, white.  Less has changed than we would like to believe.

In the words of Susan Justice, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you sick, and if you get sick, you’ve learned a lesson.  With every lesson, you get wiser.”  Here’s to hoping that everyone is thoroughly sickened by the events surrounding Trayvon Martin’s horrible death and that we take this opportunity to wise up.


Hadley’s 80th Birthday Video

I’m Fancy!

My first fox hunt — Belle Meade Hunt Club in Thomson, Georgia — very fancy.  I learned lots of fancy new things, like you don’t call them dogs, they’re hounds.  Unless they’re male hounds and then they are dogs.  So instead of saying hound dog, e.g. hound male, I guess we should be saying dog hound, e.g. male hound.  Anyway, the females are just bitches, but you knew that.  You don’t hunt in a particular area or piece of land, it’s a territory.  The territory that is across the street and which is five steps away from you is different from the territory you’re currently in.  Don’t say, “this is a beautiful place to ride,” say, “this is lovely territory.”  Are we on some sort of Williams and Clark expedition?  Flasks and sandwich pouches are mandatory and while I’ve never seen so many flasks in all my life, I did not see a single sam’ich.  I think those pouches hold more flasks.  Yes, you must share your flask, communicable diseases be damned.  Guess we’re all counting on the alcohol to kill those nasty germs.  Refreshment truck arrived mid-hunt, carrying beer and bourbon.  Nothing for the horses, hounds or tee-totalers.  One of the hounds was loaded into the truck, hurt paw or too slow or some sort of thing.  As we galloped away, we were invited to toss our beer cans into the bed of the truck.  One of the Yankees in our party did not have the greatest aim —  nailed the hound on the noggin — he yowled as Coors Light dripped down his snout.  Belle Meade is fancy, but we, clearly, are not.  

my minimalist dream

…is to live in a glass shoe-box of a house (you know the one I’m talking about), no more than 1200 square feet, deep in the woods. Glass walls, poured concrete floor (I’d prefer mica or mother-of-pearl, but neither of those seem particularly practical) and furnished entirely with serge de troyer lucite furniture,so we appear to hover in the trees. I’ll be wearing one of three things: an orange jumpsuit (for day); sleek black compression garments (for workouts); La Perla (for everything else). One can dream. In the meantime, I’ll be stalking this lucite adirondack chair.

Final Cut Pro (not rated G)

I’ve been editing with Final Cut Pro X for the last 84 hours — straight. In my sleep-deprived haze,here’s what I have to say, as a long-in-the-tooth video producer but neophyte editor – in fact, my  editing experience is limited to supervising Avid edits and actual Avid editing, say, about 15 years ago.  FCP in general is something that I have minimal familiarity with.  That said, FCPX — learning curve: extremely short.  With little-to-no talent, ability, knowledge or vision, you can do some fun, interesting things.  Perfect for me.  However, to paraphrase Dr Seuss, “what I do not like, sir, no, not one bit, is the magnetic timeline…”  Here, Dr S would make a nonsensical rhyme, but you can guess the only thing my tiny brain came up with — “no, no, no, not one bit!  Just like suckling at a dried up witch’s….”  and now my blog is no longer rated G.  And that might be why it’s called Final Cut X.

today’s rant

Kid 1 was studying for an exam on the Declaration of Independence and all things pre-revolutionary last night and asked me to test her. Looked at her study guide and this question popped right out: the Declaration of Independence grants all people what inalienable rights? AAARRGH!!!!!! All people? No,not all people, just men, and then only men of a certain color. What kind of crap are they teaching? Then I asked, when did women get the vote? She didn’t know. Okay, the test is on pre-revolutionary activities, not the suffrage movement, but come on — when are we supposed to address the inequalities our country was born with? And wouldn’t this be the perfect time to open that conversation, so kids could really think, critically, about the power of words? One of the other questions regarded Jefferson’s condemnation of slavery, to which I said, “and why might that be ironic?” Kid didn’t know why…but promised to bring the issue up in class (heh,heh). Full disclosure: I am a socialist separatist feminist from way back, but just couldn’t make that lifestyle work for me — yeah, I like stuff — and I will always feel guilty for that. Can I call kid’s 20-something Social Studies (SS) teacher on this? Where does feminism begin and end? When isn’t the personal political? More to the point, I demand to see that teacher’s lesson plan! Hubby drank a glass of champagne and went to take a shower (after my rant). Kid stomped away from me screaming “shut up!” and “I don’t care!” and slammed the door in my face (during my rant). What would Red Emma do?

I only called 911 once…today


I'm not supposed to take drugs

The holidays bring out the best in me, if you consider irrational expectations, erratic overbuying of useless and unwanted gifts and crying jags, the best of me.  Which they very well may be.  When child number three was suddenly having difficulty breathing, unable to speak, but looking at me with horror, pointing at his throat and mouthing the words, “help me,” I did what any panicked, overdramatic mother would do — I called 911.  His breathing was restored to a normal rate and I had him calmed down in enough time to cancel the 911 call.  I won’t give you the actual stopwatch time this required, because that would be embarrassing.  Let’s just say I hadn’t yet counted to sixty.  We did go to the pediatrician and luckily, for my dignity anyway, Kid 3 had another episode on the exam table — lucky because the ped couldn’t dismiss me as an insane overprotective helicopter mother, which I am, just not this particular time.  My six-year old, 30 pound son perched on the edge of the table, stared straight ahead and said, “I’m not gonna make it, am I?”  Huh?  What the hell is this kid watching when I’m not at home?  Back-to-back episodes of House?  I assured him that he would “make it” but he didn’t buy it.  I told the doc the kid was worried about making it and the doc told him too that he would, indeed, make it.  “No! I’m not gonna make it — how do you know?” the little cherub snarled.  Doc did a strep test, which consists of jamming a q-tip as far down a kid’s throat as possible.  Kid screamed and when doc left the room to run the test, kid said, “He’ll never get it out — it’s in there forever,”   What’s in there forever? I asked cherub — “The rattle!  The rattle you told him I have in my chest!”  Ohhh.  Remind me to use more abstract descriptions in the future.  We marched out of the office to get cherub’s prescription filled.  “I’m not supposed to take drugs,” he informed me.  Okay.  But I can.

Next day, less than 24 hours later, Kid 2 dared himself to drink hot sauce and since he’s a guy that never turns down a dare, even when he is the source of the dare, he put the bottle to his lips and started chugging.  ImageIt was so hot that when he pulled the bottle away from his face, he started jumping up and down.  Let me emphasize, when he pulled the still open bottle from his lips, he started boinging around the room, spraying hot sauce everywhere, but especially directly into his little eyeballs.  Much screaming and careening, blinded, ensued.  I resisted calling 911, instead calling my ER nurse mother while shouting at my daughter to google “tabasco in eyes” and throwing glasses of water in the direction of my son as he caromed.  Kid 3 helpfully shouted, “New house rule, new house rule!  No jumping with open hot sauce!”  Happy holidays to the 911 operators and ER nurses everywhere.


O timebomb…

I have officially (kind of – still owe a hard copy of my final paper) finished school and am wondering what I will do with my nights off. Could spend more time cleaning, which would benefit all — BUT ME — so it looks like that’s the way to go. Could start my next paper, which would be good for nothing, except to satisfy my perverse craving to do arcane research that no one cares about. Next paper is on why I think that Louis XVI was autistic. More on that later. For the moment, I have gotten myself whipped up into my usual pre-holiday frenzy which consists of revisiting every slight ever inflicted upon me during my painful childhood. That takes a really long time, but since I’ve done it so many times before, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. Then I re-hash the story of how when my German relatives sang “O Tannenbaum,” I thought we were singing “O Timebomb,” which, when you’re a German-American, makes a lot more sense than you might think.

Praise be to Falafel

There’s nothing I’d rather eat than falafel.  I could eat it anytime of day, all day, every day.  But if I did that, I’d look like one big falafel ball pretty quickly, so I don’t eat it nearly as often as I’d like. I save it for special occasions when I feel I deserve it and want to be indulgent and decadent. Or when life just sucks so bad that I need something to remind me that there are some good parts to it, too.

Falafel is one of those faux-healthy foods. You can convince yourself that you’re doing something good for yourself because there’s green stuff in there, an absence of animal products and in some places you can even get a whole-wheat pita, upping the faux-healthy quotient.

The establishments where you can get a whole wheat pita usually serve a gentrified, americanized kind of falafel. Chain restaurants like Prêt A Manger serve a bastardized version that’s wrapped in a tortilla and smothered in Swiss cheese and Marinara sauce. Ugh – cheese and spaghetti sauce in a falafel? I think that’s a falafel-ball pizza and I think that’s a bad idea. You can go to Crisp, where the falafel balls are crisp, indeed, lightly fried and not greasy at all. But no tahini, no pickled vegetables and they specialize in weird combinations like the Mexican, the Exotic and the Taj. If I wanted pineapple, I’d get a fruit cup, I wouldn’t go out for falafel.

And that’s the other thing – I have to go out for falafel. You would think (as I did) that a ubiquitous food that can be made in a street cart would be effortless to replicate at home. The recipe is ridiculously easy and doesn’t require any super-exotic ingredients or special kitchen equipment. In fact, I’m sure falafel can be made over an open fire as the word falafel is derived from ancient Sanskrit and the food has probably been made for more than 2,000 years. But maybe you have to be Sanskrit to make falafel balls that actually stick together. After soaking and grinding chickpeas and splattering hot oil all over the kitchen, I ended up with inedible, grease-soaked chickpea crumbs. So I leave it to the professionals, the street vendors, who will serve up a perfect falafel for two bucks. I’m pretty sure I spent more than that just on the fancy-schmancy oil I drenched my kitchen in.

I do like falafel from the street; the conditions it’s prepared in may be questionable, but hey, I was in the army – I’ve eaten dirt – and kind of liked it.  I’m counting on the hot oil to kill any deadly pathogens. Street falafel is the most authentic – fluffy, hot, homemade pitas, deep-fried chickpea balls, salad, pickled veggies, tahini, hummus and hot sauce. I never take the white sauce – it just looks suspect. I don’t know what’s in it and I have a sinking feeling that it’s thrown together from whatever condiments were left over the day before.

Then there’s the role of falafel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yes, this innocent little sandwich has increased tensions in the Middle East.  Israel has appropriated falafel as its unofficial national snack. Palestinians (and other Arab nations) don’t like this because they contend that the falafel originated in Egypt. One theory says that it was first eaten by Copts as a meat replacement during Lent. It may even date back to the pharaonic period which would lend its choice as Israel’s national food a peculiar irony. After all, it was the Pharaoh who issued the edict to murder all Jewish boys. That their descendents would then adopt the food of their enslavers as a national snack is a little odd, if not downright masochistic. 

Falafel is often consumed during Ramadan as part of iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at dusk.  While not a traditional Jewish food, it was historically eaten by Mizrahi Jews.  The practice of stuffing the falafel balls into pita with lettuce and other veggies did, in fact, begin in Israel.  Today, the Lebanese Industrialist’s Association is claiming copyright infringement on the humble sandwich, proposing that the only falafel that can be called falafel must come from Lebanon. That issue has been put on the back burner as of late –  due to the recent political unrest and violence, it appears that Middle East nations have much bigger chickpea balls to fry.

The political implications of falafel begs the question: when I eat it, am I supporting the Zionist agenda or am I throwing my hat in with fundamentalist Islam?  Or am I spanning a bridge between Middle Eastern nations and religious beliefs?  Am I stating that regardless of what we believe in and what we look like and how we choose to live, good food is still good food?  That palate-pleasing sustenance transcends spiritual leanings?  I would like to think so.  I would like to think that we can move beyond conflict, beyond wars, beyond all of the ugliness in the world and recognize that we are, in the end, all human with very similar basic needs: shelter, clothing, food.  Is it overly simplistic and trite to think that we can unite through a street sandwich?  Yes, it is.  But maybe that is how we can recognize and celebrate our similarities – through issues that aren’t as important as who G-d is and how he/she/it wants us to live – but issues that we face multiple times every day – as in “What’s to eat?”  For this overly simplistic, trite American, the answer is falafel.  Everyday, all day, anytime of day — regardless of the consequences.



Of course she was beheaded, she should have been beheaded and if she hadn’t been, I would travel back in time and do the deed myself. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, I have lost my love of Lady Jane Grey and it is entirely related to the fact that the Tudor teen is the only thing standing between me and graduation next month. True, I’ve been immersed in Tudor history for the past nine years, having read at least 17 books (including the historical fiction bodice-rippers) on Lady Jane, alone. Yet this thesis paper (Religious Zealotry in Pubescent Girls, as Manifested in Lady Jane Grey) is going to be the death of me. All I’m doing is writing this damn paper, ignoring my family, eating junk food and not running or riding — so add that I’m getting fat and you’ve got a pretty good picture of how I’m looking and feeling: not good.
I do find solace in the new puppy, though I would find even more if she was progressing in the house-training department. But she isn’t. And while some may find it difficult to sleep with a puppy on your head, thanks to my love of and commitment to shut-eye, I’m pushing through.


I can still sleep

Greece is the word

Old Ruin (like me - broken beyond repair - but not actually me)

A week in Greece, touring ruins — old ruins, new ruins, feeling ruined in all sorts of ways.  Old ruins like Delos, the Parthenon, Ancient Thera, the usual.  New ruins like the hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned construction sites.  Despite the protests of the locals — “each year is better than the last,” the half-built buildings with rusted iron stabilizers sticking out, open bags of concrete and picked over shells of cranes that clearly hadn’t operated in at least 2-3 years, told a very different story.  I was ruined because in between racing around ruins and running up and down hills (those Greeks know a thing or two about scenery and the drama of a mountain view) was spent trying not to (once again) rip my skin off.  Though for some reason, this time around, scraping it off with a dagger or straight razor was not as appealing as burning it off with a blowtorch.  Pointedly asked hubby when getting on the motorcycle “Where is that exhaust pipe that I’m not supposed to press my leg against?”

Old ruin - actually me - post-Spartan, pre-Poison Ivy/Impetigo


Spent my jet-lagged nights pondering the question of the ages: is it poison ivy or impetigo?  Either way, it was (and still is) a lasting memento from the Super Spartan race on Staten Island — slogging through 8 miles of mud, crawling under barbed wire, climbing walls and plunging into a tunnel of run-off from the lovely, bucolic and oh-so-hygenic streets of SI. Unemployment has its benefits.  I just don’t know what they are yet.

I’m a good broodmare?

Is that a compliment or an insult?  I suppose it all depends on who it’s coming from — in this case, Bob Smith, owner of Netherwood Acres, after I told him I had my third child when I was 41.  Bob’s 84 and still riding, still jumping cross-country courses.  I don’t think he was coming onto me, but he did tell me that I was “cool” and warned me not to tell his wife, Lisa, that he said that.  Lisa’s at least 30 years younger than Bob, but my guess is that her broodmare days are probably over, too.



for the Super Spartan on Staten Island.  Ran 6 miles in the pouring rain, 4 assisted pull-ups, 30 drunken burpees (much more enjoyable that way, but my form may have suffered), Rubik’s Cube 2x (one side only) followed by self-administered brazilian bikini wax.  If one of the challenges involves pouring hot wax on one’s nether regions and then ripping it off, I’m good to go.


Serenaded into somnolence by the soothing sounds of bucolic Westchester — and the head-splitting grind of a 5600KW generator.  This was day three post-Irene with no power so I was distracted only by the screeching of the gas-powered generators that lined my block and the screeching of my children who couldn’t understand why no power also meant no video games and no wifi.  Time to go to school, innocent ones, so you can come back and explain this wifi nonsense to me in a few years.  Also distracted by the irrepressible desire to hack the skin of my arms and legs off with a dull steak knife — yes, the adventure in fence installation resulted in my annual outbreak of poison ivy, which only a 5-day cycle of steroids can abate.  So we packed up the family.  Went to Hershey Park, where I didn’t sleep (thanks, steroids) and instead wandered the halls of the Hotel Hershey at 4 am, gunning for a fight (thanks again, steroids).  I was ready to throw anyone down.  But there wasn’t anyone else.  So I went to the pool and scraped my limbs along the concrete.  Oozing blisters evolved into gaping wounds.  I felt better.  Until I realized that after I invested in my fence installation equipment, I had saved a massive $5.  Co-pay for steroid cycle: $15.  Sh*t.

Good night, Irene

Horse show in a monsoon.  Boy, have I missed this — being a show mom — which consists of being ignored, existing soundlessly, wordlessly and without being a source of embarrassment (impossible) except when something is required – gloves, a bat, a jacket, bacon-egg-and cheese sandwich.  Really, nothing is better than being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by manure, for hours on end.  Especially in the torrential rain, especially when I’ve forgotten my raincoat and rain boots.  Though, in the midst of this wealth of horse flesh and over-privileged young girls, I saw something today that I’ve never seen before — a blind, middle-aged woman in the jumping competition.  Her trainer stood by each jump and called out to her “left diagonal line, outside line”  and somehow, she made it through an unfamiliar course at a strange barn, without a single fault.  I can’t imagine the courage it takes to climb aboard one of these beasts, without sight, spur it on and try to fly through the air — and all in a controlled and attractive manner.  Amazing.  I might be getting a taste of what that’s like since Hurricane Irene blew through and our electricity is down and we’re all stumbling about in the dark, but something tells me it’s kind of different.  And no one’s shouting at me “Go left!  Go right!  Watch out – STAIRS!” klunk.

glass houses

Florida is going to force all welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, before receiving benefits, ostensibly so they can’t use their welfare benefits to buy drugs and to save the hard-earned money of those good, law-abiding Florida residents, including those that bet at jai alai,  the greyhound tracks and fill their prescriptions for oxy, vicodin and percoset — over and over and over again.  Are Floridians worried about enabling addictions, specifically those of lazy no-good drug addicts?  Are they testing sex addicts, porn addicts, shopping addicts, alcoholics, members of NAMBLA?  Welfare checks can fuel all of these addictions and many, many more.  Addiction is a disease, an illness — no one chooses to be an addict, just as no one chooses to have cancer.  So why are we denying addicts welfare benefits but not cancer victims?  We know that those suffering from cancer are desperate enough to spend their $$ on any treatment at all, no matter how hare-brained.  We know that cancer sufferers are prone to using an inordinate amount of pain killers — and god damn it, some of them don’t even go to work!   Why are we targeting one illness — addiction to drugs, but not any others — not even any other addictions?  And who’s paying for the drug testing?  Has anyone given any thought to how much that will cost — supervised drug tests (I’m assuming they need to supervised and by same-sex observers because all sorts of shenanigans can go on in those testing rooms), transport to labs, lab analyses, delivering results and of course, counseling for those who will not be receiving welfare checks.  What of the false positives and false negatives?  Some will slip though the cracks on both ends of the spectrum.  Who tells the five kids of a single mom who left her abusive husband that they will go hungry because a pee test came back wrong?  If that isn’t a case for taking a toke, I don’t know what is.

My resume fattens…as my wallet thins

My fence!

Now that I’ve been laid off for a little over a month, I’ve found all sorts of new and exciting activities that I can add to my resume. Of course, most of these activities require a sizeable investment, but I see it as an investment in my future! Or some such drivel — these career/life coaches are rubbing off on me and not in a good way. Or maybe just rubbing me the wrong way. Whatevs, on with the new skills:

Cross-Country Fence Judge. In the biz, we refer to ourselves as XC Fence Judges, but I thought I’d spell it out for you civilians. I was a XC fence judge at the Horse Trials at Fitch’s Corner. You know you’re impressed. I judged fence #6.   A giant carrot with a rabbit head sticking out.  Those horse people are a wacky crowd, aren’t they? I wore a swanky, WASP-y straw hat while judging. Though the fact that my hair isn’t blonde, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower and my last name sounds suspiciously Eastern European kind of blew my cover.

On-camera talent. Yes, I emerged from behind the camera (where I really belong) and onto the set. While the cameras were rolling! More on that in a future post, but suffice it to say, I am meeting with my director later this week. Sounds important, doesnt’ it? Also sounds like my Botox has become a business expense. And that’s a very good thing. 

Damn, I'm Glam!

Fence installer. Now that I can judge a fence, why not build one? It’s a learn-as-you-go type of thing. Fence should be completed by Christmas. One hopes. But it should increase our property value (fully fenced backyard!) 

The tools of my (new) trade.

Failed foster parent of rescue dogs. Totally related to my sudden interest in fence installation. Thumper the Bumper was a great dog, until he decided that he was the alpha of the pack and we were all below him in the hierarchy. When he started stealing food from out of our mouths (yes, you read that right) we knew we were not the best foster home for him. The bumper was assigned a new Nurse Ratched-type of foster mom and we welcomed Jerrie/John/George into our home. For three hours. Who knew he was a flight risk? As soon as we got him into the house, he started jumping from table-top to table-top (yeah, you read that right, too) trying to leap out of the closed windows. Smart he was not. As soon as we took him outside to go to the bathroom, he was off like a shot and ran for five miles without looking back. He was found three days later. He, too, was assigned a new (better) foster home.

This is NOT my imagination - that cuke tendril is going after the tomato plant.

Artisanal Organic Farming By-Hand Bug Population Control.  While installing my new fence with my handy-dandy new post driver (that’s the red thing in the photo), I became distracted by the war waging between my cucumbers and tomatoes. Cukes were wrapping their killer tendrils around my tomato plants and as I was sending them to their respective corners, I found what I thought was a little baby cuke — until I plucked it and it squished black-green goo all over me and I noticed it had about a hundred legs. Ewww! I threw it in the neighbor’s backyard. But I think there’s a future in my gross-out — slap artisanal, organic and by-hand in front of anything and everybody wants it!


I’ve got one month left on the payroll of big pharma and it got me thinking about the bizarre cult of personality that pervades big biz. Toiling in the communications dept, I was privy to the never-ending pleas of lower and middle management to have meaningful contact with senior execs – in fact, that was my job, providing video “contact” between upper management and the unwashed masses – well, we did wash, maybe unannointed masses is more accurate – and that’s my point – what we were looking for? Greatness? To brush up against a demi-god and somehow absorb some of their superior-being-ness? Take Jeff Kindler, former CEO of Pfizer – he had more than 100,000 people groveling and prostrating themselves before him for years, hanging on every word, trying to parse every glance for hidden meaning and wisdom. And then, in the blink of an eye (on a Sunday night, when all good employees and biz reporters were tucked snugly in bed) he was gone – not forgotten, because in true corporate style, he was erased. And he has since summarily disappeared. Great? No, he was a guy – a very privileged and well-connected guy, but still, just a guy. A guy who’d never known, until recently, what it’s like to not get what he wanted. Not so very great, but the cult of personality continues, with his successor assuming his mantle, the protection of his office way up high and the adoration of the unannointed masses of big pharma.

Over the river and through the woods….

if only that’s the way our trips to grandmother’s house would go.  But no, our most recent sojourn to Mimi’s place was a lot more like “over the Throg’s Neck and through the puke.”  Allow me to explain. 

On a sweltering summer day, I decided that it was high time for me, stay-at-home-mom that I have become, to take the kids to grandma’s house for a relaxing visit and swim in their pool.  Ha!  Loaded all three kids, all of the swimming and relaxing and distracting accoutrements each of them required and added the two dogs.  Our own loving and beloved spaniel mix and our current foster puppy, who I am now convinced is not a Golden Lab and Beagle mix as we were told, but a Pit Bull-Jack Russell cross.  He is very affectionate, but – well, yesterday I turned around and he was standing on top of the kitchen table.  Anyway, said foster puppy was highly reluctant to enter the mini-van, so I added all sorts of toys, treats, bones, etc to entice him in.  And yes, I did take water and food away from both dogs about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, to avoid any bodily function disasters.  On the dogs’ part, anyway. 

10 minutes into the trip and just as we entered the bumper-to-bumper traffic that precedes the Throg’s Neck Bridge, an unmistakable and overwhelming odor wafted through the van.  Everyone under the age of 21  began screaming, crying and mock-retching while I exploded into an unprecedented (even for me) string of expletives.  Everyone in that car can now make sailors blush on four different continents (not that they couldn’t before).

Pile of dog poop on the back seat, quickly followed by and even larger pile of dog puke.  I jumped the curb, pulled onto the median and no, our 6 year-old Honday Odyssey mini-van is not 4-wheel drive, so I had no idea if we’d ever make it out again.  I found some old newspapers and plastic bags and with 6 trial-size bottles of Purell, managed to clean up the worst of the mess.  Got back in the van, fought our way off the median and into traffic.  Every other driver was screaming at me and honking their horns, and I screamed back, until my youngest said “I know why they’re yelling at us!  The back door is open!”  Yeah, mom of the year drove over the Throg’s Neck with the rear hatch wide open.  Luckily, no children, animals or prized possessions were lost, though their innocence certainly was.

so sweet…now

Mouse update: dead and flattened mouse seen in location of release.  Ironically, flattened mouse appeared to be running back in the direction of our home.  Don’t tell me he didn’t know a good thing when he saw it!

There’s a mouse in the bathroom, what I’m-a gonna do?

Well, hysterical screaming is appropriate in any and all circumstances, but I did have a child in the house and  was doing my best to not freak everyone else out.  I was taking a shower when I noticed a thin strip of something hanging down from between the top of the glass and the railing that holds the glass in.  Thinking it was like waterproof stripping or something, I moved in closer to see what my next home repair project would be.  This is what I saw:


Clinging on for dear life — that mouse was shaking!  As was I.  Hubby wasn’t home, so I couldn’t run screaming to him, th0ugh I did leave a screaming message on his cell.  I couldn’t figure out how I could handle our Chinese Dwarf Hamster (which is really just a tail-less field mouse) but get so creeped-out by this run-of-the-mill North American field mouse.  He did see me naked and that is kind of gross — a peeping mouse — blech!  And just when I had screwed up my courage to grab him by his disgusting pink tail — he pulled it in.  So I put the cat in the bathroom and told her to be a cat.

Lemme outta here!

As my child sagely observed, our cat “is not really a hunter cat — she’s more of a stuffed animal.”  The dogs were not interested either:

So child and I fled the house, to the barn, where we are surrounded by all sorts of rodents and other creepy-crawly things.  Hubby pulled the mouse out by its tail, with a pair of needle-nose pliers (or so he says — I know he used my tweezers).  He released the small beast in the woods at the end of our block.  I am wondering why we keep all these predators in our home if none of them will — predate?

I’m Hydrating, Honey

Here’s what it’s like to be laid off: My husband walked past the guest room, looked in and said, “are you drinking wine and working out?”  My reply, “it’s 49, 50, a spritzer, 51, I’m hydrating, 52.”

it's a spritzer, for God's sake!

“It’s fine,” he said, “I just wanted to confirm what I was seeing – do you know what time it is?”

My reply: “Of course!  All My Children is on, so it’s somewhere  between 1 and 2 pm.”

“Just checking,” he said.  God bless my non-judgmental hubby.

Being laid off might have given me some time to smell the roses, except that I can’t find any damn roses to bury my schnoz in — are roses just totally outre in the gardening world?  But I did manage to find wild strawberries down by the dead end that we all “walk” our dogs to (read: take our dogs to pee and poop so we don’t besmirch our own precious emerald-green suburban lawns).

i take credit for this
I do take credit for this, one, because my dog and my foster dogs’ poop have provided ample fertilizer and two, I believe that the rabbits that raid my garden (including my strawberry patch) on an hourly basis pooped out the strawberry seeds at the cul-de-sac (it’s a dead-end anywhere else, but this is Scarsdale), so yeah, it’s all me.  All me, all the time, with nowhere — no job — to go to, and if that isn’t a buzz-kill, I don’t know what is.  Wish me luck.