Friday, July 31, 2009

Wordage That Makes You Squirm

Some might call it creative wordage. Others might call it the massacre of the English language. I just call it word pet peeves. These are particular expressions that are the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard or aluminum foil and fork tines against an amalgam filling.

I once knew someone who had a gift for changing words. She did this really creative thing where she would add an extra syllable or two to a perfectly good word. Talking to her always left me scratching my head, thinking, hmmmm...have I been saying it wrong all along? She said things like, "I'm going to go cook the chicken on the rotisserary."

I like to periodically work one of my cousin's pet peeves into our conversations. But then I have to run, because she gets really annoyed. She hates it when someone says, drive careful. "It's drive carefully!" she'll yell after me as I'm making my getaway.

My friend, Penny, likes to get people to say things a different way on purpose. She's got my entire extended family now referring to the Internet as the Internets. It's a mystery how she does it. You say it once, and you automatically have to keep saying it that way.

A few small things that make me wince (when adults say them--kids have a free pass until they get to upper elementary school): "kindeegarden", "I brung it with me", "I lied on the beach", "I have an idear" (I don't care if you live in New England--there is no r on the end of idea).

I've gotta go now. Me and my computer got to search the Internets for some good idears.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Outdoor Confessional and Teachers With Unusual Names

Sometimes when I'm running, I pray. People passing probably think I'm a crazy neighborhood lady talking to herself, or possibly that I can't be without my cell phone for my workout and I have a very cool hidden micro headset. I don't say the things I think God wants to hear, either. I say all kinds of stuff. Things I'm happy about, things I'm proud of, maybe even things I'm embarrassed about. And unlike my husband who tunes me out when he's had enough, I'm pretty sure God stays in it for the long haul. It's all very relaxing--not in a scary priest-behind-a-screen sort of way. More like a cool-Dominican-priest-who-smokes-cigars-while-he-chats-at- your-college-dorm-nonjudgmentally sort of way. Two things that I believe before I totally exhaust the four credits of philosophy I took in graduate school: God doesn't hate anyone and He appreciates a good joke.

A totally unrelated blog paragraph, but one definitely worth sharing was my conversation with a six-year-old boy at my husband's softball game. The kid was climbing around on the metal bleachers. I tried to distract him as he climbed to the top, backless one. "What grade are you in?" I asked, willing him to take a couple of steps down to safety.
"Kindergarten." He shook his head at me like I was insane. "Whaddya think?"
I kept going, because it was clear he had spunk, which could make things interesting. "Who is your teacher?"
He took one step down. "Her name is Mrs. Poop." He raised one eyebrow. "She poops her pants."
"Realllly...." I say. "Do they know about her down at your school?"
He took a step back up and ignored me.
Another woman was listening in and smirking.
I shrugged. "She must have tenure," I said.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The View From Outside the Pawn Shop

I'm sitting at my favorite organic cafe. The inside is gorgeous--decorated in peaceful, healthy shades of green. But I prefer one of the two outside tables. Not so pretty out there on the sidewalk, but totally worth it. Why, you might ask? Because it's directly across from a pawn shop. It's a book waiting to happen.

A tall pair of bongo drums is prominently displayed in the window. Kind of sad, really. What if that bongo music was the only thing that made someone happy, and they were reduced to hocking them?

As I'm contemplating the tragic, downward spiraling life of the bongo player, one of the restaurant owners comes out and gazes across the street, smiling, because he knows exactly what I am doing. "I once saw a guy carrying in a suit of armor," he said. "I swear to you."

That took some deep thought. "Did he carry it in under his arm?" I tried to picture it.

"It wasn't really full-size," he told me. "For the longest time, I wanted to go in and buy it. I wanted to put it in my bathroom or something."

I tried to imagine my husband's face if I did something like that. "I've got something I need you to bring in from the car," I'd say. I doubt that he'd be surprised. Especially after the lime green Formica table I brought home from the antique store (just a few steps away from the pawn shop, by the way). I'd been on my bike when I saw it, so I had to go back for it. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the family who likes it, but I don't care. Green Formica makes me happy.

I started to go back to my tofu wrap when business picked up at the pawn shop. An SUV came zooming up the street and screeched to a halt in the middle of the road. A woman is driving and a man is in the passenger seat. They are having a screaming fight, but I can't tell what they are saying. Finally, the man jumps out of the car and runs into the pawn shop. The woman tries to parallel park, badly. Then she gives up and speeds away.

Hmmmm. Probably her jewelry he was hocking, because she doesn't come back for him.

Great stuff. I'm definitely going back. Maybe I'll go in next time. Put something on layaway, maybe -- some firearms or a suit of armor or something.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Was that the Partridge Family Bus?

How could the line be so long? I listened to the advice of my friend, Nadine (she's an amazing children's librarian and has never steered me wrong!), and I got there early...but apparently not early enough. After almost an hour, a casino employee came out. She obviously had no idea that David was actually expecting me and she neglected to let me go to the front of the line.

"I'm sorry," she said (in an incredibly un-sorry voice). "We have finished our regular seating."

"But you have tons of empty tables!!" screamed an over-40 woman wearing more makeup than I owned.

"Those are for our invited casino guests," the casino lady said in her go-home-you-loser-you-probably-only-play-the-quarter-slot-machine voice.

"What's an invited casino guest?" I asked my husband (who was incredibly thrilled to be there, by the way).

"Their high rollers, I guess," my husband said in his I-wish-I-was-watching-Sports-Center voice.

The woman in front of us turned around and shot daggers at the casino lady. "Does she really think a high roller is going to step away from the table to see David Cassidy? I'm staying in line."

I decided to wait in line, too, only to have my hopes dashed when the same mean Casino lady let almost everyone in front of me in, but stopped about 7 or 8 people in front of me. I felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode. My husband became Man of the Year right then, because he'd saved an amazing standing spot for me pretty close to the stage. I had to push past angry fans to get to him though, but it didn't matter. David was just a few yards away, singing "Point me in the Direction of Albuquerque".

My husband rolled his eyes when I sang along. "You think you're the number one David Cassidy stalker--I mean--fan?" He shakes his head hard and points to the tall blonde lady on the other side of him. (She was also singing along, but she was dancing, too--vigorously--and she kept yelling, "I love you, David!!). My husband tried to scoot away from her. "She keeps touching me," he said. "Maybe she thinks I'm David's brother. I kind of look like him, you know."
"No you don't," I said.

And at that very moment David Cassidy pointed right at me. Right as he was beginning "Echo Valley 26809".

But the absolute best thing--what I had been waiting for ever since I plastered my walls with his Tiger Beat photos--was when he sang, "I Think I Love You." I tried to rush the stage, but my husband held me back. I think I tore a hamstring.

It was definitely worth it.

"Guess what?" I said to my husband the next day. "Tom Jones is coming to town."

He bit his lip. "You're on your own for that one."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Brother Will Make Fun of Me Unmercifully if I Write About The Following

This is a working list of things that will undoubtedly cause my brother to make fun of me unmercifully if I include them in my blog:
(I'm not saying I have, just that he most definitely would...)

*Random musings about my cat, especially when he does that thing with his litterbox (how exactly does he know that I've just changed it?)

*How much I still love David Cassidy.

*The fact that late 60s/early 70s pop music is clearly underrated and one of the best kept secrets in American music history. (Actually, he probably agrees with that one.)

*Anything that has to do with heroes, unless they're the sandwich kind.

*The wildlife in my back yard.

*Stupid things that I'm doing throughout the day, like laundry, making dinner, checking my email (truly why do people think that's acceptable to put that on Facebook, anyway??)

Tag, you're it, Tim.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Barbie Tenement House

The Barbie Dreamhouse--who didn't want it? I kind of knew someone who had one, but she was a friend of a friend of a friend who wanted nothing to do with me. There was absolutely no possible chance I would get invited over to even look at it, much less have my Barbie and her posse of riffraff stink up that girl's beautiful pink plastic house.

But what my best friend, Leslie and I had was so much better. It was more of a Barbie tenement house, really; a kind of Hooverville for Barbie and her friends. I have never been an elitist--everyone could pretty much play: GI Joe, Skipper, and all the Little Kiddles. If you needed more kids in the family, there were always Leslie's green plastic Army men. We'd line them all up and pick, kind of like a slow, thoughtful sports draft. You'd think the actual Barbies would get chosen first, but it was the plain, sometimes ugly generic dolls that often got scooped up at the beginning. They were much more interesting, because they got to have tragic situations like incredibly mean or just dead parents.

Then we got to build the tenement house. It took hours, because you had to divvy up different areas of Leslie's living room. Everyone wanted the double decker end table, because that was an instant 2-story house. The piano bench was also a prime piece of real estate. There were some things that we saved in her closet and brought out each time. Like the big blue Tampax box that we'd made into a stove. Or the Kleenex box swimming pool.

Who needed the Barbie Dreamhouse? Our Barbies kept it real.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tiger Beat Lives On

I started to walk past it, but something on the sign caught my eye. It couldn't be. Could it? Could it really be David Cassidy in the flesh, coming to a casino near me? I don't normally do music reviews here. In fact, I don't think I ever have. But David Cassidy? How can I not?

I saved my 12-year-old birthday money and a good chunk of my babysitting money just so I could go down to the Piggly Wiggly and purchase the monthly issue of Tiger Beat on the day it came out. I wanted to be the first one of my friends to have the most current double-page spread of David Cassidy photos up on my bedroom wall.

My husband rolled his eyes when I said I was going to the concert. (He has a lot of nerve, because I'm pretty sure he had the Knight Rider up on his wall, or something a la Starsky and Hutch.) I ignored his eye-rolling and launched into "I Think I Love You". Do you think he'll sing it?? I asked him. (No response, as I'm sure he'd tuned me out partway through the chorus.)

I was all of a sudden desperate to dust off my "Cherish" album and play it, and I was cursing myself for giving away my old Partridge Family album to my cousin, Heather. My husband is always all too happy to make a stop at Best Buy, or any electronic supplier for that matter, but he zoomed past it when he found out I was planning on purchasing one of those turntable converter things.

But I perked right up when I realized that I-Tunes has all the songs ready for downloading.

The concert is next week which gives me plenty of time to brush up and create some amazing playlists. And Andy, don't even think about trying to hide my I-Pod.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


"It's not my sharing day. Can I share?" She hopped from foot to foot beside my desk, so I could tell it was important.
"Sure." I pointed to the end of the first grade show and tell line.

"I've got something to tell." I could tell she was going to be a good public speaker some day, because she leaned into the crowd and made some good eye contact, making them all stop chewing their fruit snacks and fish crackers before she went on.

"I'm going to my grandma's house and I'm going to play cards."

She paused again for effect.

"And I think I'm going to win, because every time I play cards with my grandma, I win."

I wanted to ask her what kind of cards they were playing, but that was just opening up something I probably didn't want to have any part of.

"I'll take three questions," she said, scanning the audience.

They're now supposed to come up with real questions, not "telling" statements about themselves, but six-year-olds have their own set of rules.

She pointed at a boy who had his hand waving so hard, it had lifted him off his seat like a helicopter propeller.

"My grandpa was a marine," he said. He did a quick scan of the crowd to see if he needed to crank things up a notch. "They had a war and they didn't pick him. So now he's a hardware guy."

Grandparents are the best. They are the true American heroes. And you don't even have to be six to think so.