Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Table Leaf

"Are you okay Gretch?!"
My sister Pam yelled from somewhere above
as she and my brother-in-law Al held
the sides of the antique table with the hopes that
I would not be crushed from the weight.
I was laying on the dining room floor,
on my back, trying to keep the two sides of
the heavy table from falling as Pam and Al
secured the leaf in place.
I had one foot on each of the sides and finally
felt the weight ease up as the metal rungs were slid into place.
"I'm fine!" I shouted up through the thick wood.
Antiques.  I only like them in museums
or the homes of other people. 
This old table weighed more than my first car
and it was a 1968 solid steel Volvo sedan from Ravenna Motors.
While I was grateful to have a dining room table for
our first Christmas in our new house in 1992,
it was fairly terrifying for the five years I had to
put the in the leaf.

"To Do" List or Penmanship Practice?

I don't know what happened.
I used to be able to whip out a "to do" list of
ten things and have it done by lunch.
Nowadays, if I didn't have low standards,
I'd have no standards.
When I finish a "to do" list on my night stand,
I slip it to the bottom of the loose stack of
scratch paper so I can recycle all the old lists
at one time. To be efficient.
It would be efficient if I had DONE all the
things on the list before I was ready to recycle.
But I did not.
And the scary part is
I don't care.
Tonight when I go to bed I'm going to write tomorrow's
"to do" list very very neatly.
Maybe even in cursive.
Then at least I can practice my penmanship.

Friday, December 30, 2016

How My Exercise Pants Made Me Fat

The elastic waistband.
Number one enemy for those of us
chronically losing the Battle of the Bulge.
When Terry gifted me with my first pair of
sweat pants in 1987, I remembered thinking,
"Ew, purple. That's what my MOM and
OLD LADIES wear."
But, they were OH SO COMFORTABLE.
If you want to lose weight seriously,
you have to pitch any pants with
ELASTIC WAISTBANDS.
Not like I'm going to do that but I'm
great at telling OTHER people what to do.
Here are the other enemies of those of us
losing the Battle of the Bulge.
2.  Food that tastes good
3.  La-Z-Boy chairs
4.  La-Z-Boy Chairs with a heating pad
5.  Books
6.  Cars
7.  Any home made food, especially cookies
8.  Beds (When you're over sixty)
9. Jane Fonda, because after five minutes you've earn 10,000 calories
10. Overactive taste buds (my sister Pam's theory) 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmastime at the Nudie Spa

Well this was a bit awkward.
As I walked to my cubby in the main soaking room
there were about five dozen women in ONLY their birthday suits.
I hadn't seen that many naked women in one spot
since my Eckstein junior high PE class in 1971.
My fear of being the only old, well-rounded person at the day spa
evaporated instantly as I saw I had the most common shape.
We were a happy group of naked strangers ranging anywhere from
one hundred twenty to four hundred pounds!
My pal Mary was at her massage so I climbed in the hotest
jacuzzi pool and whispered "Hello" to my naked bench neighbor.
Amber proceeded to tell me her life story, in its entirety,
in ten minutes. I smiled and nodded and was happy my husband
had trained me to listen without EVER having the expectation
of getting a word in edgewise. She was delightful.
I saw it was time for my massage and dried off and
found the lounge area.
It was filled with a huge semi-circular couch of
robed, shower-capped women, reminding me of
sea lions draped on the docks at Edmonds ferry dock.
I requested a neck/shoulder/scalp massage and was
happily surprised that someone invented a scalp massage.
The rule of whispering was fairly well respected so when
my half hour was up I exited to the lounge area and
smiled and waved in giant motions with both hands
to Mary, who was sitting next to the Christmas tree.
Only it wasn't Mary and I did not have my glasses.
Everyone looked alike in their spa robes and shower caps!
Mary came from another room and found me and we
tried the salt room. The huge floor was salt covered with
a giant cloth with salt-filled pillows. The walls were
bricks of Himalayan salt bricks of golden colors with
lights shining gently through them from the back.
(So the sign said, but I swear I saw them on Home Depot.com)
It was lovely to lay down but embarrassing to have to
flip ourselves over to all fours to get back up again.
We were both hungry and had a delightful lunch
at the spa cafe wearing our robes and shower caps
with the rest of our nudie gang.
As we went back to the hot tub room, Mary whispered
to me, "Have you tried the mugworts splash?"
It sound like something from Harry Potter so I followed
her to a trough filled with what looked like
hot swamp water.  We poured it from big
wooden bowls over ourselves, then over each
other's backs and then went to soak again.
Relieved that the mugwort had not turned me into
Hermione Granger, we went home.

























Sunday, December 18, 2016

Driving Topless in the Magical Snow

Last night on his way to work Troy stopped and asked
for wool socks for Christmas.  (I had ALREADY SHOPPED)
I asked him what had happened to all the socks from last year
and he said he didn't know.
I woke up early and cruised in Girly Girl out to BotHell Freddies.
As I got out of the car, a few snowflakes started swirling in the air
and I felt cheerful and happy and full of Christmas spirit.
I bought Troy socks and came out of the store
and looked up in amazement at the sky.
Huge fluffy snowflakes were floating down.
They were light and airy and not the normal wet Seattle flakes.
I had been thinking I wanted to drive topless in the snow for weeks.
So I did.
As I cruised down Bothell-Everett highway at
forty miles per hour, snowflakes landed on my eyelashes.
It was so cold they didn't melt.
I had very heavy eyelashes and it felt like
bits of magic clinging to my face.
My chest filled with happiness from old
Christmas memories
brought on by the magical snowflakes
which were now stuck in my eyelashes.
This morning Teddy stopped on his way to work
and I asked him how his sock supply was.
He said it was great since he had all of his socks and his brothers. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kindergarten Best Friends 2016

I was walking down the hall at the end of my shift.
I saw the two little girls and said, "Hello."
The little black kindergarten girl was zipping up
the little Mexican girl into a puffy coat and said,
"I'm loaning Lupe my extra coat because
hers doesn't have a hood.
We are going to be friends when we are ninety-nine!"
 Lupe looked at her and said softly,
"And in heaven after that."

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Shelfless Library of Cascade K-8

I stared at the computer screen seeking the book
I was trying to upload to the LibraryWorld database.
"Mrs. Nixon! We've run out of room in the As!"
Not again, I thought to myself.
It was the first week of December and we STILL
didn't have shelves in our tiny library.
Well, we did have shelves for an hour
back in October. The sixteen shelves were
delivered after I had gone home for the day.
At our library meeting at headquarters the next morning,
the head librarian, Geneva Norton said to me,
"Too bad about your shelves."
To which I replied, "What shelves?"
She looked at me with compassion and said,
"They were delivered yesterday and they were
twenty-four inches deep instead of eighteen.
The principal sent them back, I'm sorry, I thought you knew."
No I didn't know.
Hard to miss what you've never had.
I got up from my circulation desk and went back
to where my eighth grade Journey kids were trying
to shelve books onto four rolling carts.
Four carts which had been our library since September.
I got down on my knees with Amanda and looked for
the few remaining Bs and pulled them out.
"There you go Amanda, just slide everything down a shelf."
I carried the dozen Bs to the other side of the cart
with all our fiction Bs and Cs and looked down sadly.
The cart was full.




and they were the wrong

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Christmas Tree Date

For twenty-eight  years Terry and I picked out our
Christmas trees together.
Last year I looked out the kitchen window
and saw a Christmas tree on the porch.
I was crushed he bought a tree without me.
I thought maybe he didn't love me anymore.
I told him I felt sad we didn't go together.
This Tuesday he came back from Grocery Outlet
and told me the trees were in and he had seen one he liked.
This morning we went to the store and I glanced at the trees,
removed the tag, and went to pay for it as he loaded it in the van.
 While we were driving home  he turned me and said,
"Honey, you just picked out the same tree I liked best on Tuesday."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dancing With Sponge Bob on the MS Jewel

As I entered the dim Spinnaker cocktail lounge I
was assaulted by the noise of one thousand chattering kids.
My friend Coconut smiled and waved at me and
told me what to do. Our supervisor,  Josh, was already
down on the stage explaining to two thousand happy,
half-drunk parents all about our complimentary child care center.
We were cruising somewhere between NYC and the Bahamas
when next thing I know, it's pitch black and the spotlight
pops up on me at the top of the cavernous lounge and I hear Josh
announce, "And all the way from Seattle, Washington,
we have Ginger Snap!" The loud rock music started
back up again and I smiled and waved at the crowd,
danced my way down the carpeted stairs of the lounge
and joined Coconut, Abracadabra and Nunchuk on the
stage and started dancing with the rest of them.
The crowd was going wild with the loud music
and dancers on the stage and then everything
went black and quiet and I heard Josh say,
"And now, the moment you have been waiting for...
SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS!"
The stage lights came up and there was a deafening roar
and out came a dancing Sponge Bob to the loud rock music.
There were two of us youth staff dancing and waving
and smiling on either side of Mr. Pants and you'd think
Josh had introduced Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.
Sponge Bob is the rock star for the under ten set for sure.
The house lights came up and we scurried back up the
stairs and back to our youth center as kids lined up to
get their pictures taken by the ship photographer with
Sponge Bob.

I never did find out if Sponge Bob was Smile or Speedy!
Thanksgiving Eve 2011
http://www.iceportal.com/brochures/ice/Brochure.aspx?did=3719&brochureid=ICE886&mtype=4280&type=vr&browser_popup=700x450








Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Terry's Camera Was Not Broken After All

Terry was taking a nap when I got home from work
but I could see he was stirring.
I looked over at the lump in the bed and said,
"Were they able to fix your camera?"
He had traded big chunk of change for that
swanky digital camera at Kenmore Camera.
He looked at me and told me the story,
"The guy spent a half hour looking at it
and told me he couldn't figure out what was wrong with it."
I thought that was odd since the Kenmore Camera
people are always crackerjack about fixing things.
Terry went on, "He said the view-finders are very
touchy on the new cameras and went to check
it out in the back room."
I looked at him and asked him if it was fixed.
He said, "Oh yeah, the guy brought it back and
handed it to me and said it was good as new."
I asked him what the guy did and he said,
"The guy said the viewfinder was too dirty to work."
Why doesn't that surprise me?

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Too Heavy

I pulled my favorite sweater out of the dryer
and stared at it with dismay.
It had been shrunk down to a size zero.
It wouldn't even fit my old doll Cathy.
I ran up the stairs to the living room
and held it in front of Terry's face.
"Look at my sweater!" I yelled.
He had a big smile and said,
"I know. Isn't it great? I did the laundry."
I sat on the end of the couch close to his
recliner and explained about shrinkage.
(Not that kind)
I calmly told him I would prefer to do
my own laundry from now on.  I told him
if he REALLY wanted to help he could
push the vacuum cleaner around the house.
His bushy cromagnum eyebrows came together
and he frowned and said, "It's too heavy."
My mouth began to drop open but I caught it.
I placed my lips together and smiled and nodded.
THIS coming from a man who hauls an 80 LB backpack.
(half of which is mine of course)
AND who last week carried a 60 LB bag of
kitty litter from Grocery Outlet across the road
AND lifted my old 100 LB canoe to the top of my mini-van.
(much to my delight)
I told him that I REALLY appreciated his help
and then...
I hired a cleaning lady.










Thursday, October 20, 2016

Odd People in Comfortable Shoes

I looked up smiling as the head librarian of
Lake Washington school district gave an impassioned speech
on the merits of the new Encyclopedia Britannica online database.
Anne gave the comparative statistics as to why we
should vote for the district to purchase this database
over another database.
Database, database, database.
Favorite librarian topic I assumed as her best friend
Mary began to argue with her.
After nine years in the substitute pool and a grueling year
at the University of Washington library grad school,
I had ARRIVED. I was sitting at the start of the year
with the forty librarians from all over the district.
I had a JOB.
I listened intently as Anne and Mary's debate became
more and more heated. Mary shouted at Anne,
"You're so odd!"
Then she burst out laughing.
Anne tried to look dignified as she looked from the
podium at her best friend of thirty years and replied,
"You KNOW what they say about librarians."
She then smiled at her bestie and said,
"They're odd people in comfortable shoes."
I covertly peeked under the tables at all the shoes
on all the feet, including my own.
We were all wearing comfortable shoes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Parent Letter to Shoreline School District

Dear Shoreline School District,

I love you.

I haven’t written a love letter in years, maybe a decade, and I wasn’t expecting to be finally writing one to a school district—but here we are and here I am, in love with you. As a young single black mother of two brown boys, I have been used to doing this alone—to not having a team to raise these beautiful kids with. But you’ve given my kids what I thought was only possible for well-off, able-bodied, neurotypical, straight, cis white kids—you’ve given them real education and community.

When we moved here from a wealthier, white neighborhood on the eastside three years ago, I was desperate. I had almost lost my teenager—constant ridicule from teachers had crushed his confidence, racial slurs hurled at him from white students had broken his heart, he had sunken into depression, he got in fights, and his grades had plummeted. And not once, not a single time, did his school contact me. Not until the day they casually called to tell me that they had found his backpack in the street, not knowing that he had tossed it there believing he’d never need it again. The next call I got was from his dad, headed to see our son in the hospital psych ward.


Meanwhile, my younger son—my bright, energetic nerd child—had already been deemed “overly aggressive,” a term often used to describe kids with his loud voice, his height, his enthusiasm, and possibly, his darker skin. His father asked about testing our son, who was bored out of his skull in his class, for the advanced program. We were told that they had already determined he was not a good fit.

And so I searched for a place that would be better. A place with more diversity, both racial and economic. A place we could afford to live and also a place that invested in its people. A place that cared about kids beyond their test scores. A place we could call home. And we landed here, a short walk away from the city, in a tiny house a few hundred feet away from a methadone clinic, a park, and a high school.

And a few months into the first school year here, my teenager came home with a piece of paper to show me. There was no fear or shame in his eyes like there had been in the past; his eyes were full of pride. Student of the Quarter. Whereas six months earlier, his previous school had watched my son drowning and couldn’t even bother to toss him a lifejacket, your school was excited about him—celebrating his strengths.

I love you for that.

You encouraged and grew my teen’s love of music, and when he took the stage to accept his Outstanding Musician of the Year Award at the end of our first year here, he confidently thanked his teacher for being so supportive and patient and loving. And he accepted that award knowing that he deserved it.

I love you for that.

You adjusted your curriculum to fit my nerdy grade-schooler, setting aside the first grade reading material and replacing it with fifth grade material. And while you recognized his strengths, you didn’t tell him that he was better than other kids or praise him for having all the right answers—you praised him for trying his hardest, for helping other students, for sharing knowledge, and for being kind. And at the end of the year you sent me a message saying that you hoped I would consider testing my son for the advanced program the next year.

I love you for that.

When my teenager struggled to adjust to his freshman year of high school, you didn’t ignore it, and you didn’t punish him. You reached out to me, and you worked out a plan to help him with not only his organization, but also with the anxiety that was leaving him unable to focus on his studies.

I love you for that.

And when you brought the mayor in to talk to my teenager’s high school class, you didn’t censor their questions. You let them ask what was important to them. And when the kids asked the mayor if he thought black lives matter, he was able to say that yes, he did believe that black lives matter. And my son was able to come home feeling like he matters.

I love you for that.

When my grade-schooler wanted to wear his #BlockTheBunker shirt proudly declaring that black lives matter to school, I was nervous. I was scared that his righteous little heart would be broken by adults who do not believe that black lives matter. I was worried that he would be hurt like he was when our neighbor informed us that he didn’t like my son’s black lives matter sign that he had hung in our living room window. I was worried that a day that began in smiles would end in a call from the principal. But when I met my son at the bus stop that afternoon, he was beaming. “All the grown-ups really liked my shirt,” he said.

I love you for that.

And when I decided it was time to talk to my teenager about toxic masculinity—to tell him to watch for signs of depression and anger in his friends when they were going through breakups, or having trouble at home, and to reach out to a trusted grownup for help—he informed me that I didn’t have to. He said that a school nurse had already gone to every class saying the same thing. He knew what to look for.

I love you for that.

And this year, when my grade-schooler nervously told me that he didn’t want to say the pledge of allegiance anymore in school, I was scared. I had memories of the one girl in my grade school who wouldn’t pledge, and how they insisted that if she wouldn’t pledge, she couldn’t be in the room at all. I remember how the teacher collecting her each morning and making her stand outside while we said the pledge had made her an outcast. But when I emailed my son’s teacher explaining that my child did not want to say the pledge, the response I received was perfectly succinct: “I fully support his decision.”

My teenager who was drowning in depression and anxiety is now flourishing. Yes, he struggles from time to time, and will likely never be a straight-A student, but you’ve seen his strengths and allowed them to grow. He’s now in choir, jazz choir, and the varsity bowling team. He has healthy friendships and confidence.

My third-grader who had been dismissed as too loud, too big, too different is now at home with other enthusiastic nerds in the advanced program, has just joined the math club, and is considering joining the drama club.

And it’s not just my kids. The kids in this economically and racially diverse school district do well in a state that is known for failing its kids who live outside of the wealthy suburbs. And you do so well because you love their differences. I see how you have translators at the ready for parent-teacher conferences, I see how well you work with working parent’s schedules, I see how easy you make it for busy parents to stay involved. I see the way you have developed programs not only for the traditionally gifted students, but for the struggling students as well. I see the ease with which some of my son’s transgender classmates have been able to transition in a school that prioritizes the safety and humanity of its students. I’ve seen how comfortable the queer kids are able to be with their sexuality.

I know how rare it is that a school district would be so dedicated to all of its students—not just in words, but in deeds. And I hope that other schools see this love letter, and know that they too could be receiving these from the parents of their black and brown kids. From the parents of their neurodiverse and disabled kids. From the parents of their poor kids. From the parents of their LGBT kids. I hope they see this and know that all of their students deserve the same love and care that my children are receiving. I hope they see this and realize that they are the ones missing out.

But until then, I will thank you Shoreline School District, for being what so many other school districts have decided not to be. A school district for all children.




Public Information Office
Shoreline Public Schools

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Camping in the Library

"No food in the library!" I said to David as I saw him
munching on a granola bar. "Look at this beautiful new 
carpeting and I don't want mice in my library."
He put the granola bar away and I asked everyone
to grab a corner of the tent to unfurl it.
Dirt and needles and filth spilled from the tent
and I realized my husband and son did not shake
it out after their camping trip last month.
So much for my beautiful new carpet. 
I looked on with horror inside as the two brothers
next inserted the tent poles into each other.
Were the assembled poles ALWAYS that long?!
I had the six kids ranging from six to twelve
who were unable to go to camp with the rest of the school.
After our writing lesson on evergreen trees,
we were sitting on a small line of chairs next to
the tiny ten foot square I had cleared from the 
boxes of books everywhere. While it was the 
fourth week of school, I still did not have shelves.
My shelves arrived last week, but were the wrong 
size and were shipped back.
 The ten and twelve year old brother team had
camped before and I had them showing the younger
students how to assemble the poles.
When the pole was twenty feet long it popped 
open a ceiling tile before I could jump up 
and guide it over sixteen feet of tables and boxes of
books. I smiled and said, "Well done David and Ken!"
I next had Calliope, John and Chang assemble the second pole 
with me guiding it so it didn't remove ceiling tiles.
Smiling and praising the poles teams, I pretended this
was part of my plan. I had no plan or at best, a vague plan.
It was now clear that the tent would NOT fit in the library.
"Each team take the ends of the poles and we'll now
carry them to the grassy area."  The long poles 
barely cleared the tiny room and hallway, banging 
into all the new equipment still stored willy-nilly everywhere.
Once we cleared the double doors I breathed a sigh of relief.
The unscheduled sun had come out and the grassy area
between our two remodeled buildings was dry.
I directed David and Ken to insert the twenty foot pole
through the tent guides. The filthy tent flopped wildly
and I pretended that was normal as the kids laughed.
As we tried to insert the legs to the tent-bottom pins
it occured to me that it required strength. The three of
us groaned from the exertion as we managed to insert the
pole at both ends. We now had a half-circle of tent up
flapping more crazily than before. 
Callipope, John and Chang and I wrestled the second pole in place 
and the whole thing flopped over. What a disaster this lesson was so 
naturally I smiled and said, "Well done! All we have to 
do is tie the top of the tent to the crossed poles."
Now, it dawned on me that Terry & my sons are all
over six feet tall and had ALWAYS done this for me.
"New plan kids, everyone gently grab the bottom of the 
tent and pull it out to form a circle."  
The side that had been up in the air came down and 
amazingly enough it looked like a tent!
"Time to go camping kids, everyone in the tent."
I instructed the kids to lie down and they all said,
"It's too dirty Mrs. Nixon!" New plan...
"Everyone close your eyes and pretend it is nighttime
in the forest and listen for animal sounds."
They obediently stood in the tent with their eyes
closed except for David who was running around
on the grass. I let out a soft, "Who whooo."
and the kids giggled.  Next we heard a huge
"ROAR!" as David ran at the tent like an 
attacking bear.  Thankfully.
"Okay kids! Time for some Bear Tag!"
Everyone ran around screaming and laughing.
It was all part of the plan.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Teddy's Grand Canyon

I was all blissed out from a perfect day
which included sunshine (not a given in Seattle)
a last minute Seahawk win
and a delicious pot roast dinner.
Terry was even willing to sit in a chair
next to the quail pen to keep me company
As I cleaned the pen. I looked over and 
RIGHT NEXT to the trail under the pink tree
at the foot of our yard is a 100 square foot pit,
four feet deep, ten by ten feet..
Teddy had dug out the dirt and hauled it to
his and Owen's raised garden which they finished this morning.
Someone will kill themselves falling in the hole.
I was too tired from the Seahawk win to muster much
yelling, and ended up with only a limp,
"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!"
Plus I yelled that they had dug up my quail cemetery.
To which Owen replied,
"Excellent. That will make great fertilizer."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Doctor Dan the Dental Man

I remembered the words of parenting advice my friend Sara Schott
gave me 20 years ago at Woodlawn park zoo. "A little fear is a good thing."
Fear of Dry Socket kept me in line.  That meant a do-over jaw bone graft.
It wasn't so bad following Dr. Dan's orders to lay low
and stay on a liquid diet for four days after my
tooth extraction and bone graft.
Except my pity party combined with my milkshake diet
caused me gained five pounds.
Laughing gas is the only way I can get through dental work.
Before I went too silly I told Doctor Dan I expected a good story
like his Iraq war field dental work story which was engrossing
and entertained me through my last dental implant last year.
This time he had a whopper about a nurse who smuggled home
 a laughing gas tank and accidentally killed her boyfriend
during hanky panky.
(If you are too young to know that expression
you shouldn't be reading this)
During his break between yanking my tooth and
cramming the hole with cadaver bone I had to get one joke in,
"Whataya doin'?  Digging to China?"
(It was funnier after a full tank of nitrous oxide)
I was laying on the couch a week and a half later,
still feeling miserable, when the doorbell rang.
My delightful hairdresser, Janet Ferris, had
brought me a present.  It is a large framed picture
of a California quail.
I'm not obsessed with quail!




Me Dental Work Jokes digging to china?

Friday, August 19, 2016

"Owen, Please Put Down My Bras"

I was just finishing my laundry and had a few things
in one hand and tossed it in the box I was carrying
for a temporary stop to unload other things.
I could hear my room mate coming in and said,
"Look Owen, when I was at Safeway,
Dakota gave me a banana box for your tools.
It is nice and roomy for your new circular saw
and all the tools you and Teddy picked up this week."
He walked over and looked at the big flat-bottomed box and
looked inside. He scooped out the contents and said,
"Wow, it even has some great rags in it."
I looked at the fabric in his hand and said,
"Owen, please put down my bras."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cougar Mountain Snake Catching Days

When I was a kid, growing up in
Holly Park housing project,
I got shipped off every summer for two weeks
to entertain my cousin Carolyn.
Starting at age three, "Care" and I
were inseparable. Later, Elizabeth was
old enough to join our capers.
Up on the top of Cougar Mountain,
Care, "Boo"  and I were always
catching gunny sacks full of snakes
to race in their horse's
bathtub of drinking water.
Poor Auntie Jean.
She put us down for a nap when we were seven
and Carolyn and Betsy and I had hid
a really fat snake in an old burlap bag
under the bed.
Lo and behold she had a baby in the bag.
It was so cute that we were playing with it
and forgot all about the mommy.
When we told Auntie Jean we lost a snake
in the house
she screamed her head off!
Those were some great naptimes.
Never slept once.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Husband Thinks He's Jan Claude Van Dam

I waved at the young clerk at Canyon Park Big 5.
"Could you help me find a basketball which fits
my small hand?" I asked.  He led me to the back wall
and showed me the different balls for women.
I had a moment of fright when I saw the official ball
which had a price tag of seventy dollars.  Even WITH
Terry buying that was too steep. I found a nice thirty dollar
model and went to find Terry.  He was with a young salesman
practicing kicking at this hanging sack of sand.  He told the
clerk he wanted to hang it out in the yard but the clerk told
him it would fall apart in the rain.  I approached and asked him
what he was buying. He told me he wanted to practice kickboxing.
I smiled as I remembered entering his man-cave the previous night.
One of his cable channels was playing a Jan Claude Van Dam series of
movies for hours and hours on end.  He had been so engrossed that he
did not know I was there. Or like most husbands, he did but ignored me.
I smiled at my giant, hairy husband of about two hundred and sixty pounds
and thought to myself, "My husband thinks he's Jan Claude Van Dam."

Monday, August 15, 2016

Baby Squirrel Rescue Operation

"That's the strangest noise Terry. I have heard it at
the top of the tree for two days and two nights. It
sounds like a baby eagle or squirrel but there has been no mommy."
I was on the deck shoving juicy watermelon into my pie hole
when the sound started again only it was at the bottom of the tree.
I dashed down I saw two, flattened, dead-looking baby squirrels.
I nudged one & it's ugly miniature alien head came
up and it cried the most pitiful hungry cry you ever heard.
I filled up an eye dropper with milk and protein powder and
Terry brought me hand towels to wrap them so I wouldn't get bitten.
They sucked that dropper down in a hurry and it turned out only
the biggest one only had one tiny tooth only half-way in.
Terry got a box, fuzzy blanket and I put the sleeping little monsters in it.
I was looking on the internet for care tips when I heard that crying again.
The third smaller gray fuzzy squirrel had climbed down the tree
from the nest about one hundred feet up.
I wasn't even nervous as plucked it off the tree and
gave the runt the dropper. It sucked it down and fell asleep.
I opened the blanket and popped it in with its litter-mates.
I googled "Rescue Baby Squirrel" and it said to
not let them get under ninety-nine degrees.
So I added a hot water bottle to the box.
It said to clean their private area to get them to go shee shee
but it was late and I needed sleep.
I laid down on the bed and tried to sleep.
Even after putting a quilt over the box I knew
it would get down to sixty degrees outside overnight.
So I carried the quilt-wrapped box to my bedroom and went to bed again.
In my mind I kept seeing that blind squirrel crawling down the tree
with its razor-sharp little claws
and KNEW they were going to climb up into my bed with me.
I got up and dug the portable puppy pen from the back of my closet
and put the babies in the blanket in the box in the quilt
in the play pen and went to sleep.
When it got light out I fed and washed them.
It was exactly like giving Troy and Teddy a bottle only
my babies didn't have inch-long whiskers and razor sharp claws
and long fuzzy tails.
I washed their tiny tummies and privates and was gratified
when the biggest one produced some black shapoopies
the size of rice kernels.
I called PAWS and they said to bring them in.
I was nervous to drive with rodents in my van and just then the phone rang.
My sister said she'd enjoy a caper to the PAWS Wildlife Center.
She petted and cooed at them the whole way and
declared they were just as cute as fuzzy newborn kittens.
When the lady took them to the back I asked to use the rest room.
It was probably the first time in my entire life
when it paid off to be a Bladder Day Saint.
As I came out, I glanced through the window
of the door directly across the hall.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder at a towel-lined counter
were three young volunteers holding eye-droppers
and under them my babies were drinking greedily.









Thursday, August 11, 2016

Painting The Gran Torino AKA The Goldmobile

I looked at the enormous hood skeptically.
"That color doesn't look the same to me."
I said to Terry, plus I realized one can of
spray paint was not going to be nearly enough.
He said it would match up when it had dried overnight
so we walked the two blocks from our tiny studio
apartment in downtown BotHell to Shucks auto parts.
After we had another eight cans of paint we felt
confident in our ability to not only remove the
rust spots off the hood, but to create a paint
job equal to the Sistine Chapel.
Well, the next morning,
I heard a voice in my head which said,
"Surprise! Surprise!"
We now had a Gran Torino with
ten shades of gold.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Are You Really Hitchhiking? (Colorado Vacay)

The SUV slowed down as it crossed the dusty parking lot
and the window came down. I tried so hard to pin on a winning smile.
"Are you really hitchhiking?" Asked the cute young brunette,
who might not be used to seeing sixty year old ladies thumbing it.
"I sure am." I said. "My feet won't go one more foot since
we hiked the whole Perimeter Trail."
I heard the two young gals and older lady in the back exclaim to each other.
"If ya'll don't mind a cuddle, climb in back with the baby."
I climbed in with baby Carter and told them how we missed a turn
on the "easy" trail and ended up following a goat trail a thousand
feet straight up a cliff and the extra six vertical miles of terror ruined me.
They were sympathetic to my plight and took me to Main Street.
I pointed at the three block hill to Brenny's and thanked them for the ride.
Well, those ladies from Mustang Island Texas would have none of that
and dropped me off right at Brenda's door. They said the town by them
was called, "Hitch-Up" because so few people had cars to start with.
I went to watch the convention with Tom and Brenda and Terry showed up
a few minutes later. He got lost on another trail after I bailed out on him.
He joined us in the TV room and Bren and I couldn't believe it.
Hillary Clinton had won the candidacy so we snuck out to the
front porch and started banging pots and pans as hard as we could.
They live on a hill so we were certain the entire town of Ouray heard us.
They weren't the only ones. Tom and Terry ran out to find out what was
happening and couldn't believe would would cause such a ruckus.
Well, duh...
The next day Tom fired up the tiny Toyota 4X4 and Bren and I poured
our considerable selves into the miniscule jump seats behind them
and off we went. The only thing scarier than hiking vertically
is driving vertically. I thought I might throw up down the back
of Terry's shirt and ended up holding hands with Bren most of the
way since it seemed clear to me that it would be my last chance.
Bullion King Lake is at 12,000 feet elevation and the parking lot
was at 9,000. We stilled needed to hike that last thin-air mile
but I was fairly inspired by being able to throw snow balls at Terry.
Tom caught all the fish caught and I felt bad for Terry but
he wasn't riding the jump seat like a pretzel, so not too bad.
Terry and I went over to Silverton the next day with the thought
of taking the steam train down to Durango, but we got sidetracked
driving up Mineral Creek Valley and staring at campgrounds.
It was so pretty, we stopped to take a picture, which was
huge mistake. The minute we opened the doors,
we were swarmed by horseflies, mosquitoes and No-see-ums.
Many bites later, we arrived in Silverton only to see the train
on its way to Durango. We decided to tour the world's biggest
mining museum cut our losses.
The equipment for drilling holes to insert
the dynamite was impressive and I said to Terry,
"Hold that thing between your legs like you know what to do with it."
I snapped a cute picture of Terry pretending to operate the drill.
After three days at Tom and Brenda's we moved over to the
Wiesbaden resort in downtown so we wouldn't wear out our welcome.
We decided to pick up some food for Tom and Brenda
to replenish what we had blasted through while staying with them.
The town of Ridgeway, which has the only store near Telluride,
reflected that Ralph Lauren shopped there.
Terry's face turned so pale and I thought he was having a heart attack,
but it was only Price Shock. He held up a can of coffee which was $18.00!
(We buy the same thing at Kookmore Grocery Outlet for six dollars)
The Wiesbaden was idyllic except instead of a wall clock we had a
giant thermometer. We never knew what time it was,
and we didn't care.













Friday, July 22, 2016

Isn't That Called Breaking and Entering? (Old Lady Burglar)

Thoughts of being in jail crossed my mind as I
listened to Ruthie on the phone. I look awful
in orange and had to interject, "Um, Ruthie,
isn't that called Breaking and Entering?"
To which she replied, "You just told me they
are tearing down all those houses near you kid!"
I'm not known for good judgement but at
seventy-five I trusted her. At least she had
lived a long time and that showed some smarts.
Ruthie pulled up in front of my house in her gutless
little pale blue Ford Tempo and got out wearing
an outfit identical to Emma Peel's in The Avengers.
I went out in jeans and boots & an old flannel shirt
and greeted her and nodded at the house next door.
We looked all around and crept to the back door
of the vacant house. I pulled out my masking tape
and made a little square on the glass of the back door.
Ruthie's eyes widened and she whispered loudly,
"Whatrya doin there kid?" I tapped on the glass
with a heavy pair of pliers and the square fell out.
"I saw a burglar do this on Rockford Files one time."
I reached in and unlocked the door and we crept
into the musty vacant house. "Look at all this
treasure kid!" Ruthie exclaimed as she saw
intact light bulbs and light plates. We crept up
the creaky old stairs and she filled up her pillow case
with moldy magazines as excited as a kid trick-or-treating.
We non-chalantly walked back to my house and she placed the bag
in the back seat of her car. She smiled at me
and gripped my arm with her long, claw-like nails
digging into me. Her eyes blazed with greed as
she gave me a squeeze and said, "I'm ready for
that old barn now." She took another pillow case
from her car and we walked casually along 175th
towards the Kenmore club house. The four little empty
ramblers looked dark and forlorn.
We went down the long driveway to the huge white barn
nestled down in the swamp and my skin started crawling.
We slipped inside the open door and went about
ten feet before I tripped on a piece of wood
on the floor. A eerie scratching noise above us started
and then rats began to fall from the old hayloft
in clumps, raining down all around us.
We both started shrieking and running and that
ended our life of crime.








Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Father Son Fishing Trip

Me: How was the boat ride up Chelan?
Troy: They were untying it and we had to run down
the hill with 80 LB backpacks.
Me: How was Holden Village?
Troy: It was on fire from a forest fire
so we couldn't dock.
Me: How was the campground at Steheiken?
Troy: Full
Me: Where did you stay?
Troy: Dad rented a cabin.
Me: Did you have lots of good food?
Troy: Dad spent the food money renting the cabin.
Me: What did you eat?
Troy: Turkey jerky and nuts.
Me: Did you see lots of wildlife?
Troy: I see more in our back yard.
Me: Did you catch a lot of fish?
Troy: Dad forgot the fishing poles.
Me: So how was it?
Troy: AWESOME.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Pant Shopping Between Classes

I subbed a lot at Shorecrest high school in 2004.
I had just finished my third period English class
and decided to write my name higher up on the white board.
I wasn't tall enough
so I climbed up on a chair
and wrote my name
but then two things happened at once.
I started falling off the chair and decided to jump down.
As I was falling/jumping,
my slacks caught the sharp metal corner
of the eraser tray underneath the whiteboard.
I felt a sharp pain on my backside
and heard an ominous ripping sound.
When I straightened up I felt my rear end
and nearly fainted.
My thin, thrift store navy pants
had torn in a giant L shape
that would have covered eighteen inches
of tear, if measured horizontally.
I got dizzy with fear.
Teenagers thrive on hazing substitutes.
It was late spring and hot outside
and I didn't have so much as a sweater
with me to tie around myself!
I looked at the lesson plan
and thanked God for giving me
a one hour planning time added
to my thirty minute lunch.
The snag was,
how to get from the room to my car.
I grabbed my purse and locked the door.
Unfortunately for me,
I was on the back side of the building near the portables,
as far from the front of the building as possible.
I knew the students
didn't look at old people
and that no one would notice me
if I was nonchalant.
I stepped out of the room and waited for the
bell to ring.
Once the hall was flooded with hormonal teenagers
bouncing around wildly,
I crab-walked down the two long halls to the office.
I told the secretary
that I had a small problem
and needed to leave the building
for my lunch break.
When she asked what my problem was
I told her it was too embarrassing
and she said, "It can't be that bad."
I told her I had a small tear in
my pants from jumping off a chair
and she wanted to see it.
She came around her podium
and I rotated away from the wall
and she started howling with laughter
and grabbed the office manager
who joined in with her.
I took that to mean I could leave the building
but I knew I could not make it to Kenmore
and back before the next class started.
I ran backwards across the parking lot to my mini-van
and raced to the Lake City Value Village.
By then I didn't care if anyone saw me.
I was around a size fourteen
at the time but didn't want
to take any chances and grabbed the first
size sixteen pants I saw and
dashed in the dressing room.
My blood pressure finally came down
as I zipped them up and tore off the tag
and paid for them.
Back safely in my classroom,
I grabbed my copy of the attendance sheet,
took a few deep breaths
and looked forward to
another dramatization of
Shakespear's 'Julius Caesar'.
WITHOUT my behind on display.

The Commonalities of Teenage Boys and Spiders

There has been a rash of giant hairy spiders
inside the house lately.
I don't know why but they
have so much in common with my sons.
Here are the similarities which I think
are quite pronounced:
1 They don't talk much
2 They are mysterious
3 They have huge hairy legs
4 They don't move quickly
unless I am chasing them
5 They are okay as long as they stay outside

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Here's Your Sign

Our first kid, Troy got his first job at sixteen.
When he got home from work we went to Mazlatan restaurant
across the highway for dinner and
Troy told us all about the world
of sign twirling and how the lady at the office
picked up the sign and said, "Here's your sign."
There is a very funny comedian who does a "Here's your sign"
routine and it was the first time I'd heard it said
in real life. It was hard not to laugh!
The next day when Terry was at work Troy told me.
"Mom, I want to show you my moves for work."
I was dumbfounded because he rarely wants to talk to me
or be seen with me since I am, "Not cool." As he puts it.
So, I sat in my new green recliner and watched
with rapt attention as my sixteen year old son,
went through his, "Moves."
He jumped, shimmied, twirled, shuffled, and did all kinds
of tricks with his large sign.
Troy had that sign thrusting this way and that and had
pieces of cardboard on the floor showing me where the roads
were leading to the new condos he was advertising.
When his first paycheck arrived for $65.00 he
was so proud and happy!
He drove himself up to the Mall and bought himself
and new awful shirt of some rap group and a black and red
Mariners hat that looks like a gang member designed it.
I was so proud of my first-born child.
Despite the fact that he was born contrary
and we have been at loggerheads since he was fourteen,
I managed to produce a functional taxpayer.

Terry Bought Broccoli

Terry has been staring at me waiting
for me to cook since I got off the ships
in 2011. When I found out you could exist
and be given food without effort,
I turned in my spatula and never looked back.
Terry bought three pounds of broccoli
last month and then kept staring at me.
I think he thinks it will
wash, chop, boil, drain and serve itself.
No meat or side dishes,
just a huge sack of broccoli.
It's starting to mold in the crisper drawer.
I just learned how to spell broccoli today.
It has always come up on spell check for me.
Brenda called while I was trying to find
my dictionary
and told me how to spell it.
She said I was pronouncing it funny,
like Baracoli Obama.
Yes, yes I do mispronounce it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This Baby Did Not Come With Very Good Directions

I had read all the 'What to Expect When You're Expecting'
books over and over and over again including
'What to Expect the First Year'
and none of them mentioned the situation I was in.
Troy was two months old and I was rocking him in the big gold chair
and all of a sudden his eyeballs started rolling back in his head!
I called 911 in a panic and told the lady
his eyeballs were rolling back in his head.
She asked me all these questions and after a few
minutes she asked what he was doing now.
I looked down and he was asleep and told her so.
Do you know what she told me?
She told me babies' eyes roll back in their heads
when they're falling asleep!
I was so embarrassed.
Troy was sound asleep and I couldn't help but thinking that despite all the books that
I had read about babies that
my baby did not come with very good directions.
There are like a million odd things babies do not listed anywhere.
Then when he was five months old I was holding him on our bed
and Terry came home from work and walked into our bedroom
and Troy shot out of my arms like a cannon ball
trying to see his daddy
and landed on the floor.
He started screaming and I called 911
and the fire fighters were here in less than two minutes.
Terry let them in and the whole crew came downstairs
crowding into our bedroom and they checked Troy.
The oldest fire fighter asked me,
"Is this your first baby by chance?"
When I told him he was, I could see the fire fighter
wanted to laugh but could see how hysterical I was.
He just looked at me and said, "When babies fall down, they cry."

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How My Tom's Deoderant Made Me Gain Five Pounds

Last month after Brenny and I shopped for
unmentionables, we stopped at
Kenmore Super Supplements
so she could pick up some stuff.
I was looking for deodorant
made with natural ingredients.
Well, Brenny told me she liked Tom's.
I'm picky about smells so I smelled several
until I found peach.
It smelled like a juicy peach
and I got pretty excited
but trouble started the next day.
After I put on my new peach deodorant
I did my Jane Fonda exercise tape and the next thing
you know, I smelled like a giant peach pie baking!
I went crazy when I smelled that smell!
I craved grilled cheeseburgers, potato salad
corn on the cob, watermelon
and WARM PEACH PIE WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM!
So we had to have that for dinner a few days.
The next thing you know
I had gained five pounds.
Yikes.
Lucky for me, Tom's deodorant comes in a very tiny
amount for a very high price.
Way out of my league.
So I'm back to my cheap Suave Ocean Fresh deodorant
which smells unfoodlike and costs half as much.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Come Back Troy!

Terry and I sat on the picnic blanket snacking
while my mom sat across from us chain-smoking and smiling
while my step-dad, Lyle, bounced toddler Teddy on his knee.
Troy was walking around near us looking at sticks
and rocks on the ground. Someone yelled,
"Foot races ages four through ten!"
Terry and I got up and I took Troy's
tiny four year old hand and said,
"It's your turn to run honey."
He lined up on the dirt line with the dozen
other kids as the goal of running to and around
the big maple tree and back was explained.
Marymoor is a huge flat park and the third
week of July it is packed with company picnics
like ours. The NALC picnic attracts hundreds
of letter carriers and their families every summer.
I heard the lady shout, "One, two, three, GO!"
and watched as the kids took off running, got
to the huge maple tree, circled it and start running back.
I did NOT see my tow-headed mini-Terry coming back.
I frantically shouted, "Troy! Come back!"
The two dozen adults all started shouting,
"Come Back Troy!" I began running with terror
towards the tree. Two blocks past the tree I
spotted him running towards the next company picnic.
It was about a mile from our picnic.
I got closer and saw dozens and dozens of white tents
and a huge MICROSOFT banner and swarms of people
milling around. I shouted, "Troy! Troy Troy!"
A smiling lady came around the edge a the tent
holding his hand and said, "Is this your little boy?"
"He is so friendly and cute."
Relief flooded me as I scooped him up and hugged him
and carried him back towards the picnic.
He looked up and said, "I wanna walk mommy."
"I'm a big boy now."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Pink Pants

When I'm happy I like to wear my pink jeans.
I was remembering the Inglemoor football game
at Pop Keeny when Troy's friends Niko, Quinn,
Jr., Dally, & Travis were playing. My pal
Deneese Elfenson said to me,
"What did you buy down there?
I could see you walking around from here."
I asked her how she knew it was me and
she said the pink pants were a give-away.
I told her I was sure lots of people wore
pink jeans and when she disagreed
I looked around and sure enough,
most people had blue blue jeans.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When the Mailman Wanted Ice Cream

Terry was waving at the ice cream truck to stop
while standing at mailboxes putting in the mail.
But the ice cream guy kept going.
His old customer in his electric wheelchair
asked him what he was doing and he told him he wanted ice cream.
The old guy said he did too but didn't have cash.
Terry said, "I'll buy if you'll fly."
The old guy went drag racing through Maywood hills
chasing down the ice cream truck.
He returned empty-handed and said,
"That guy was fast! I couldn't catch him."
Terry said, "The weather will be nice all week."
The old guy said, "We'll get him tomorrow!"

Friday, June 24, 2016

"I Scared a Bear"

I sat with my feet up in my little green
mama bear recliner waiting for Terry to finish
his shower and come upstairs to tell me about his trip.
While I didn't like him backpacking solo,
I kept my pie hole shut cause it
was none of my beeswax.
He creaked up the old stairs and plunked down
in his giant gold Daddy Chair.
I smiled and said, "So how was your trip?"
He looked at me and said, "I scared a bear."
I said, "WHAT?!"
He smiled and said, "I was sleeping in my tent
and my food was on the tree-rope and I could hear the
bear trying to get it so I jumped out of my tent
and roared at it like this."
I watched as he stood up and splayed his long legs wide
and long arms even wider and started a windmill motion
while making snarling sounds and shaking his head.
Well, he does look scarey, like a crazy person,
even to me, so I didn't blame the bear
for running away.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Side Effects of Shopping

Shopping has many health benefits
but there are known side effects.
Side effects may include:
Depression caused by seeing
yourself in full-length mirrors,
Loss of appetite from trying
on too-tight pants in your size.
Suicidal thoughts caused by your
husband saying you're taking too long.

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Run Terry Run!" (Mama Bear in B.C.)

We pulled into the wooded campsite and sat at
our picnic table. We'd been all around Tofino
and nearly drowned in the canoe the previous day.
Seemed like a good day to relax.
Terry said, "I can't believe how high the campsites
are here in B.C. Sixteen dollars! It's only ten
back home. I'll go pay the ranger and be back for lunch."
I kept making sandwiches until he said,
"I lost my wallet!" I was filled with dread and
said. "All we have to do is retrace our steps."
I thought about all the places we had gone in
the morning with the last stop being the dump.
We had sat on the hood of my old truck and
watched the bears eating garbage for an hour.
"Let's start at the dump. I'll drive."
I hopped in my ancient white Ford 150 Supercab
and drove through the pristine forest to the dump.
We got out and started looking around but I
got a bad feeling. "Honey, I'm tired.
Can I rest on the truck while you look?"
He nodded with his eyes glued to the ground.
I sat on the hood of the truck enjoying the view
when I saw the bear cubs ambling out from
behind a rusty old van. I saw Terry lean down
and pick up his wallet and that was when he
noticed to two cubs. He froze for a second
and then the mother bear walked out from behind the van.
He started sprinting from about five blocks
away. "Run Terry Run!" I yelled from the truck.
For a big guy he can really move fast. He probably
burned off a whole box of Pop Tarts with that sprint.
He flew up to the hood of my truck and sat down panting.
My blood pressure was still so high I was slightly dizzy.
He held up his wallet and said,
"Now I can pay for the campsite."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Cat Who Was Scared Shitless

The sun was shining as we sat on the raised edge of the boardwalk trail.
My sister Pam and I were cooking cornmeal mush for lunch & enjoying
the little meadow surrounded by trees before the last ridge
and descent to Cape Alava. It had been fun to hitch-hike to
Shi Shi beach and at fifteen and seventeen we were six feet
tall and bulllet-proof. The only minor setback was the
Hoh River had been too high to forge & the tide had come
in and trapped us on a dirt ledge for six hours.
We were back in the saddle of our summer adventure
as we waited for lunch. A cheerful looking young hippie couple
emerged from the forest we had just left and asked
to sit with us while they had lunch. The man said,
"Whew, that was a close one man. We saw the ranger and
thought we'd get busted for bringing our pet into the park."
Pam and I looked all around for a dog but didn't see one.
Then we noticed the side of one of the backpacks was
moving around and we heard a muffled howling noise.
The young lady squatted down and opened the pack
and a cat came flying out along with the most hideous odor
EVER. Pam looked over at me and said,
"That cat was scared shitless!"

Sunday, June 5, 2016

You Don't Have to Try to Kill Me to Break Up With Me! (Lake Serene 1986)

I was hot and cranky after hiking straight up
the face of a root covered cliff for two hours.
Just image climbing straight up a ladder for
1,500 feet which has been coated with WD 40.
I looked down at the rock-slide surrounded lake
and was not impressed. The jagged rock-slide look
has never been my favorite.
What was that noise? A helicopter rose from the
edge of the lake below the narrow cliff-side trail
and my mouth dropped opened as I saw the body-basket
dangling beneath it.
I sat on on the sharp rocks and dangled my feet off
the trail and put my arms out for my tiny black
skipperkey dog Susie. Terry handed her over and
I cuddled her and said good-bye to her.
I knew I would not survive the waterfall-mist
slick root ladder backwards descending to the trail head.
Miraculously we made it down at sunset and I stomped
ahead of Terry along the logging road.
Smoke poured out of my ears I was so angry.
He caught up to me and said, "I'm sorry Gretel,
please speak to me. I didn't know it would be so dangerous."
I just glared at he until my rage boiled over
and I shouted, "You don't have to try to kill me
to break up with me!"
I didn't speak to him for two months.
When I finally forgave him because I got hungry
and he coaxed me into going to Ming Palace
he kept apologizing.
A few weeks later he came to my tiny cinder-block
apartment with his hiking book and was looking for
our next hike. As he sat on the couch with the book
he said, "Listen to this: 'Lake Serene hike was closed
after several deaths and is schedule to reopen in the future."

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Acronym Overload

My cousin Elizabeth forbid me from talking
to her in acronyms yesterday.
My sister Charlotte said it gave her,
"Acronym Overload."
My MMC went through the USCG and that credential replaced
the old MMD and MML, but I was still required to get my TWIC.
I found it very fascinating to read about the ISO and the SOLAS!
But when I saw the SOLAS was in response
to the Titanic, I stopped printing.
I saw that movie.
The LAST thing I need in my little brain
is the idea of a sinking ship!
I got the e-mail yesterday from the Coast Guard.
I feel so special! Imagine an old lady like me
of fifty-five passing those five levels of fitness requirements.
I can't wait to be a YC on the POA for NCL!!!

Don't Touch the Washing Machine!

I am so fed up with Terry
I can't WAIT to go to work on the ship.
Six months ago the dial on my old, rusty Maytag
began to act up.
I had to manually advance it through each cycle.
Sounds easy right?
It was for the first three months.
Then the dial and machine
had a fight and weren't talking to each other.
It was like playing roulette to rinse the clothes.
Then I'd pray to find a working spin cycle.
So two months ago, Terry decides to "FIX"
my washing machine. He snaked out the drain.
The drain wasn't broken!
But he managed to prevent the machine from draining at all.
Well, you know I am a bad wife.
I decided not to get it repaired before I fly out to work.
I have been manually wringing out the wash for two months.
I could probably beat Cassius Clay at arm-wrestling
Last week I was in my room and I could hear Terry
spinning the dial on the washing machine.
I yelled through the wall, "Don't touch the washing machine!"
I told him I had to add fabric softener.
Like I have bothered with that in twenty-five years of marriage.
When he drops me off at Sea Tac Saturday,
I just KNOW he'll get all excited to be Mr. Mom.
And then...
He will try to wash clothes. I am evil.
People are always so surprised
to find out how evil I can be.
Terry has nagged me about not having a job
just one too many times.
And now I have one.

Terry's Bad Haircut

Not the mullet! Noooo, I thought as I smilled at Terry.
The mullet was the worst-looking haircut ever.
We were supposed to go out of town for the
week for a second honeymoon at the ocean.
I was all excited too.
Then I didn't even want to go.
That's how bad it was.
Remember the mullet? In 1975?
Well, that was what he came home with.
Yes, it is a cute style for a boy in his teens
or early twenties,
but at fifty
it was an eyesore.
He turns fifty-one the week of our twentieth anniversary
and maybe he thought it would make him look younger.
It was awful and he didn't have to look at it
I did.
So,
I just bring a paper bag to put over his head
for romance time.

My Son the Sign Flipper

I cruised over the hills of Canyon Park
with the scent of McDonald's
filling my mini-van.
Double cheeseburgers, french fries, hot cocoa.
All the treats that a teenager loves.
It was March and bitter cold
and the snow had started coming down
in giant, icy flakes.
As I came over the rise and climbed
the next hill, I was excited to see my
first-born child at his job.
My son, the sign-flipper.
At sixteen, this was his first job outside
of yard work and house work.
So him having a real job was a big deal in our family.
I reflected on the years of fun family life
as I drove along.
Holidays, family camping trips and vacations.
Picnics in the swamp, making pies together.
At eleven, he began that natural pulling away
that a son starts with his mother.
At fourteen, I couldn't stand being in the same room
with him most of the time and
at fifteen he was worse.
At sixteen, I could feel him come back to me
occasionally like we were pulling some familial
rubber band. Short glimpses into the future.
But I knew I would never be the rock star again.
The days of being stuck together like glue
were long gone.
As I pulled up to where Troy was twirling his sign
I could see his expression of consternation with me.
I just wanted to give him hot food and drinks
while he stood in a inch of snow.
I wanted to be his rock star one last time.
I lowered the window and he came over to accept
my maternal offerings of food and love.
"Hurry up mom! There have been hot chicks
driving by waving at me!"
No thanks, no gratitude, no manners.
Hot chicks?!
I drove off hurt but full of pride as I looked
in my rear view mirror
at my son
the sign flipper.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Old Ladies Catching Ducks

I looked out the window of my little trailer house
and saw my friend Ruthie's small blue car.
I dashed down my steps and into my carport
and gathered up our gear: Life-jackets,
paddles, duck bread, huge salmon net and
a pillowcase to put the duck in.
I greeted Ruthie and as we walked to the
river I asked her if she had ever been
canoeing before. "When I was a kid like you."
She replied and I pondered if I was thirty
she must be seventy. We got to the small
marina and I loaded our gear into my canoe
and I climbed in and held my end steady so
she could get in. Apparently Ruthie had forgotten
about getting into a canoe straight down
while holding the dock. I looked at her
with horror as her one leg went in the boat
and the other stayed on the dock and the
boat decided to go straight out in the water!
Just as I thought her brown polyester slacks
would split and she'd go in the drink,
she managed to flip herself into the canoe.
Whew.
We paddled out into the Sammamish river
and I asked, "What kind of duck do you want?"
Ruthie looked at the dozens of ducks surrounding
us as we tossed out the bread and said,
"My female that died was brown and I'd like
that one right there. My male duck is so
heartbroken and he needs a new mate."
I slowly lowered the huge salmon net into the
water while Ruthie tossed loads of bread over it.
The pretty all-brown female was engrossed
with the bread and I carefully positioned the
net under her. BAM! I flipped the net and
hauled her in and managed to transfer
her to the pillow case without flipping us over.
We paddled hard to the dock and I told
Ruthie she needed to open her trunk right
away and go home with that duck.
Later that night the phone rang and it
was Ruthie. I asked her how her duck was
and she said, "Brownie is happy as a clam
and my old male is even happier."
Ducks in love...





















Thursday, June 2, 2016

Face Broth

I snuggled down into my folded electric blanket
and opened my latest historical romance novel
by Lisa Kleypas. The heat from the blanket
on "H" above and below me relaxed me instantly.
I couldn't see the words. Was I going blind?!
I removed my reading glasses and held them to the light
and realized I had a thick oil slick going on.
Oops. After five tries of making homemade,
chemical free beauty cream I had finally gotten it right. Almost.
(Never try to moisturize and read the same night)
My sister is starting a lotion/potion business
and had given me her recipe. Only snag was that I
have never followed a recipe in my entire life.
Just don't have the patience for details.
I ordered the shea butter and coconut butter online
then told Brenda what I was doing. She added many
suggestions until I had added glycerin, rose hip seed oil,
aloe vera, elastin and hyaluronic acid.
My only addition was almond extract.
(Maybe needed almond oil but bought what
Kookmore Safeway had to offer.)
On my first try I used my sister's recipe
and watched the DIY (Do It Yourself) video on Youtube.
Seemed easy enough and I was very excited in the
morning to slather some on my face.
I opened the jar and stuck my finger in and
was confronted by a rock hard combination of ingredients
that DID NOT stay whipped together.
I poked harder and the top crust broke and
my finger was covered in blue goo.
I poured some of that in my hand and slopped it on
my face and arms and legs thinking I'd probably
look sixteen after it soaked in.
Instead I felt sticky.
The phone rang and I told Brenda I had accidentally
made face broth and for some reason I was turning blue
and very sticky. She asked if I had read the labels
knowing darn well I hadn't.
I went upstairs and found some clean glasses and read,
"Hyaluronic acid dietary supplement in pure blueberry juice."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Pee Tree

Patty smiled as she looked at my lattice
and my small Nelly Moser clematis climbing it.
"You and Brenda did a good job on the lattice but you
really need to give these little hedge trees
some Miracle Gro Gretchen. Look, this whole side is
dying and it looks awful."
I looked at the little cone-shaped tree with
only one green branch on the bottom.
The brown Charlie Brown tree is six feet high.
I'm partial to dead branches so I had planted
a few more white and pink Nelly's to climb it.
I grimaced and said, "That's the Pee Tree."
"When Owen and I went to plug up the
Norwegian Tunnel Rat holes we smelled something.
Turns out Terry had been peeing
on my trees for five years.
I pointed to a beauty bark lined hole and said,
"See, look, I dug him a pee hole and he promised
to use it so I think there is hope for the
Pee Tree."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Elizabeth Blackwell Lockdown, "This is Not a Drill"

"This is not a drill, please begin lock down sequence."
I shouted at my 5th grade shelving team,
"Run to my office and turn off the lights
and sit down on the floor and be quiet!"
I ran across my library and pulled both doors
shut so they automatically locked and dashed to
my office. I ran through to the storage room
and kicked out the doorstop to the outer hallway.
Bella, Andra, Semra and Anya were sitting on the floor
by my desk. I grabbed a hand full sugar-free
hard candies and settled down on the floor
and passed out the candy. I began to breathe again
and switched off from automatic emergency procedures.
The girls began whispering and pondering what might
be happening. I did not let my imagination start.
"Lock down is over." I let out a happy sigh.
"The bear has gone back in the woods."

Not the Potty Teddy!

The tiny hand tugged on mine and I
looked down with horror at my toddler.
"Not the potty Teddy!"
While coffee cans of sand are
wonderful for cigarette butts,
they look surprisingly like
potty chairs to the under three gang.
Unfortunately we had just finished dinner
at the delightful Kenmore Mazatlan restaurant
and my curly-topped child was squatting
over the top of the coffee can.
The nice staff between Stupid Prices
and the Idol Dry Cleaners had added
the butt can to keep Kookmore beautiful
but I doubt Teddy's butt was part of the plan.

Friday, May 20, 2016

KEEP OUT, Birthday

I was sound asleep when I heard the knock on my bedroom door.
"Hey mom, come have some barbecue, it's really good!"
I LOVE barbecue and despite switching to vegetarianism
two years ago, I was ready to fall off the carrot wagon.
I threw on my house coat, raced up the stairs and got
to the kitchen. Troy's frisbee golf team was standing
in the kitchen eating watermelon from my crystal bowl
and another batch of teens was at the dining room table.
"Where's your dad Troy?" I asked.
Troy laughed and said, "He didn't show up for his
birthday barbecue mom and we're hungry!"
I snatched my watermelon bowl out of Luke's hand
and he said, "But it's soooo good!"
I looked at the dining room table covered with
bowls of food and littered with the "KEEP OUT, Birthday"
signs I'd made the previous day.
Sometimes Terry goes overtime on his birthday spirit quest
to the ocean & I figured we'd celebrate when he returned.
Troy could see the smoke pouring out of my ears when I
saw the tall German chocolate cake with a large piece missing.
He had carefully cut around the frosting, "Happy Birthday Terry."
He said, "Mom, we are honoring dad on his birthday."
Khystian said, "Gretchen, I already showed everyone
where you tunneled in the back of the cake with a spoon."
I recognized defeat and grabbed a plate and sunk my teeth
into the tender barbecued chicken.
"Great barbecue Troy." I said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cub Scouts With Beer Bottles

"Okay boys, today is Earth Day so we are going to
carefully cross the street with our buddies
and pick up litter in the park."
It was like a demented Easter egg hunt with the
little boys running around the woods hunting down
nasty old beer and wine bottles and showing them to me.
Two hours later the bottom of my navy den mother pants
were soaked with stale beer and slug slime.
Who knew slugs LOVED beer so much?
"Look Mrs. Nixon! This wine bottle is half full!"
Alex charged at me and I tried to escape but failed.
His jumping up and down motion efficiently
coated me with a new fragrance.
Ewww, Eua De Vino or
was that spit?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Sky is Falling!

I sauntered down our gently sloping backyard
with some blueberries for my quail thinking,
"Quails! They're just like us!"
"They love blueberries."
Right as I reached the middle of the yard
something flew straight out of the sky
about two feet from my face. I looked up
and something else was flying out of the sky!
"HELP! HELP!" HELP!" "Ahhhhh!" I shouted.
Then I looked down at the hard plastic frisbee
golf discs at my feet and shouted, "STOP! STOP!"
"I'm in the yard! Where are you?!"
Next thing I know Troy's blond head pops up
behind the raspberry patch and he says
casually, "You okay Mom?"
"Where in the heck are you kids throwing from?"
I asked in a disgruntled fashion.
"We go on the other side of the garage
and throw straight up and over it to the
target in the middle of the yard."
Our garage is two stories high.
It is not see-through.
At least on Mother's Day when I was
working on my quail pen, Troy walked
over and handed me a bike helmet as he
and his five friends played the course.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

There's a Lifejacket on the Playground!

I looked up at little Amelia from my tiny chair
in the front of the document camera as she gestured at me.
It was rare for a kid to come up in the middle of a
story like that and her fluffy brown wavy hair bounced
around her tiny head as she implored me to listen to her.
Her blue eyes got all round as she exclaimed,
"There's a life jacket on the playground!"
I looked at her and asked,
"Why would they have a life jacket on the playground?" I said,
She gestured timidly and wildly at the same time (if possible)
"It was on the slide!" She waved her hands some more.
"We all saw it!"
My brain stopped because it could not justify life jackets
and playgrounds in a rational thought of any kind.
I looked at her blankly.
Amelia kept waving and she pointed at the picture
in, "Ten Rules to Be a Superhero." Rule # 6.
Be Brave. I looked down at the bumble bee in the drawing.
Yellow jacket.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lunch With Troy at Clifford's

The waitress smiled at me and I ordered a
French dip sandwich. Troy was dressed in a
dress shirt and sports coat with his blond
hair neatly combed. At seven he had grown
his big front teeth. His second grade teacher,
Jan Ottosen, had assigned the kids to talk to
someone for their community social studies unit
who had a career they would be interested in.
Troy wanted to be a chef so we went to the
Cliff side restaurant with panoramic view of
Lake Washington in our town. The float planes of
Kenmore Air Harbor entertained us with their
take offs and landings on the gorgeous sunny
May day. "And what can I get for you young man?"
The waitress asked. Troy looked up from his
menu and asked, "Does the open-face baby shrimp
sandwich mean they will be looking at me?"






Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Nixons at the George Washington Inn

"Honey, next month will be the date we started
dating thirty years ago. April 11th."
I looked over at my husband and thought,
"You're such a tyrant, seems like 30,000."
Just kidding. We have had mostly fun times together.
I said, "We ought to stay at that B&B I saw in the
paper last month out at Sequim." Since he likes
to go but can't plan, I made the reservations
and off we went. Thanks to global warming,
Washington is no longer the miserable mud pit
we grew up in and the weather was sunny and warm.
When we walked in the door of the George Washington
Bed and Breakfast Inn, our jaws dropped,
not because two nights cost more than my first car,
but at the sight of the curved staircase
and historical replicas filling the place.
The owner, Janet, took us to our private entrance.
I pointed to the small door plate and Terry's
eyes twinkled at, "The Presidential Suite."
When we got upstairs and she opened the door
to the balcony, we were stunned. The bright blue
Straight of Juan De Fuca swept below our cliff-side
room as a bald eagle sailed by at eye level.
We decided to hike the fourteen mile round trip
hike to the Dungeness Spit light house in the morning.
As we got ready, I saw Terry putting on his new
boat shoes I had bought him. "Say honey, wouldn't
you like to wear your comfy sneakers on the hike?"
I asked gently. Five hours later, as I applied
some old bandaids to his huge blister he said,
"I can't make it any further with this huge blister."
I smiled and said, "I couldn't make it in the first place,
let's go back." I meant it too. We were at mile five
and I was dying. We went down to the water in preparation
to turn around as three thirty-something girls came
down the beach. Terry said, "How was the lighthouse?"
"The tides coming in so we turned around. You'll
never make it." I looked at Terry and while he smiled
at them I could see the fire in his eyes and
smoke pouring out his ears. It was like they had
waved a red flag in front of his Taurus the bull self.
I accepted that I would be tortured the final two miles in
and seven miles back and smiled at him and kept going.

(Terry is the only person I know who would be
tough enough to hike seven miles on beach pebbles
in bare feet to finish the hike.)












"Sick Simon" Picture Book Library Lesson for Cold and Flu Prevention

My lesson this week is from the book,
"Sick Simon." He loved school so much that
he went to school sick. This was the first book
in the Washington State Children's Choice Picture Book
series that I had a strong physical revulsion to.
Rivers of green snot made me queasy after lunch.
I had kid models from the class for each square.
1. wash hands, 2 use kleenex, 3 cough in elbow 4 stay in bed.
My wash hands girl looked like a baby octupus,
My cough in elbow somehow had the elbow coming out of his head,
the Kleenex ended up looking like a plank
and Emma's bed was four feet too small.
The kids were laughing so hard they
were falling off their chairs.
Embarrassingly effective lesson
in cold and flu prevention.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Our Japanese Exchange Teacher

Sweat poured off my forehead as I glanced out my kitchen
window and I spied my neighbor's red car through the hedge.
Nooooo. I wasn't ready. The carpet installers had only finished an
hour ago and I still had a kitchen full of furniture to return to
the living room. I wiped my brow and dashed down the the car
and greeted Miki with "Thank-you" instead of "Hello."
She just gave me a weary smile and followed me into the house.
Thankfully I had moved the extra furniture out of her room first.
Terry came home and I realized I had forgotten milk when I shopped.
As he shook hands with Miki and went to the door
she stunned us by saying, "Terry, can I go to the store with you?"
Right then I knew what True Grit looked like.
After chaperoning fifty teenagers from Naga high school
for twenty-five hours to Kookmore Washington,
she wanted to shop.
She came back weighted down with a whole lotta foods
I'd never seen before. "Terry, what are you doing letting
her carry so much?!" I exclaimed. He gave me a surprised
look and said, "I swear she wanted to honey and I couldn't stop her."
Right then I knew that the notion that Asian women were
passive and reticent was a myth and Miki was the MYTHBUSTER.
My neighbor girl had one of Miki's charges so she was able
to carpool up to Inglemoor high school at O'Dark hundred
every morning while I slept in. Every day after work I'd walk
in the door and smell heavenly home made food cooking.
I thought to myself that about how nice it musta been for
Terry for twenty-five years before I quit cooking.
Our first weekend we left early and had breakfast
out at Snoqualmie Falls and hiked down to the falls and back.
I snapped a picture of Miki and Terry next to the sign showing
different kinds of wildlife. She pointed to the Sasquatch on the park
sign and asked if I had ever seen one. I said, "Yes, then I married a Bigfoot."
I took her out to Walmart for cheap souveneirs and she was in heaven.
She shopped for over four hours and spent half that time just
looking at everything. When I asked her why she told me our
packaging was more colorful and vibrant than in Japan and she
enjoyed it.
The next weekend I got a letter from Hillary Clinton and
asked Miki if she wouldn't mind if Terry took her to the Space Needle
while I went to the caucus to give a speech to my delegates.
She loved the huge sign I carried and we had a long talk
about women being second class citizens globally. She said in
Japan women are treated very poorly and in China and other areas
it is worse! That made me mad because all people deserve to be
treated with dignity and respect.
I was tired one night at dinner and called Miki Kim.
After the third time my room mate Khrystian asked me why I was
calling her Kim. I apologized and asked Miki why she didn't tell
me and she said she thought I was saying, "You."
Kim is You.
My heart leaped at the pink envelope in the mailbox.
It was from Japan and our friend missed us.
We miss her too.



Air Force Cadets to Colorado Springs 1987 DEN-COS

"Please direct your attention to the forward
part of the cabin as your crew shows you the
safety features on board our DC-9."
The sea of scruffy haired and shiny-eyed men
ignored us. They were loud, rowdy and
laughing very hard. They had the energy of
a herd of wild horses. Air Force cadets.
As I went down the aisle I smiled and said,
"Would you like a beverage?"
"Gimme a coke!" "I want 7 Up!" "Got any beer?"
Eight weeks later as the airmen filed in
I said, "Hat there, fold your blazer and put it there."
A cadet looked at me and said,
"Were you a TI maam?"
After take-off I smiled and said,
"Would you like a beverage?"
"Yes maam!" Coke please Maam!"
I laughed as the sea of shaved headed,
atop straight-spined, polite airmen,
all looked up at me.
"Thank you maam!"

(A TI is a training instructor. Their
dress hats and uniforms were not getting
wrinkled on my watch ;) )

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Accidental Milkshakes at Brookside Elementary

I stood before the six graders taking attendance,
recognizing many names. When I finished a strapping
twelve year old lad asked me, "Aren't you the sub
who gave us milkshakes in kindergarten?"
I looked closely at Jacob's face and as I did the
strangest thing happened. His jawbone shrank and
his face became round and his two front teeth were missing.
I was now standing in front of the kindergarteners in
the class of Liz Travis giving sacks of sugar cones
to her helpers to pass out to the rest of the class.
I had just read, "Who Invented the Ice Cream Cone?"
and Liz had left ice cream in the freezer to celebrate
the birthday of the ice cream cone.
I called the first table group up front,
opened the box, and to my horror it had melted.
How could it melt in a half hour?!
"Class, I'm afraid it has melted so we can't
have ice cream cones." I announced.
An uproar met my ears as the twenty-six students
revolted against the skipping of ice cream cones.
"One two, eyes on you!" I shouted!
"One two three, eyes on ME!"
Near silence with low grumbling ensued and I said,
"We will have to suffer through MILKSHAKES!"
A cheer went up and I carefully poured the
blobs into the cups to the delight of the children.
Seven years later, twelve year old Jacob's jawline
stretched out and I could see his teeth had finally
grown in and he held the promise of a teenager before too long.
"Why, yes Jacob, that was me, I'd forgotten all about that."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

500 Black People and Me

The tiny braid-covered heads slowly rose
above the back of the pew in front of me.
The girls couldn't have been more than four and six
and their jaws dropped open at the sight of me.
Their adorable astonished faces were highlighted
by their wide inquisitive eyes.
I had the distinct feeling they had never seen a white person.
My flight attendant school friend Irving blended right in
but as I gazed over the hundreds of well-groomed heads and
fancy floral hats I noticed I was the only white person
at church that morning.
Irving and I had felt homesick after four weeks of living
at the Houston Intercontinental Airport Sheraton hotel
and our darling black doorman, Stacey, gave us directions to his church.
We drove my hot red & black Camaro endlessly until
we arrived at a large white church on the outskirts of Houston.
Irving and I sang and prayed along with the flock and
I noticed two adult choirs, a teen choir and a children's choir
who were accompanied by an orchestra, blues band,
rock band or brass only band at various times.
As the adult gospel choir revved up with the band
part of our swaying flock began to faint.
Well-built nurses in white drifted down the aisles with smelling salts
and revived those slumped in the pews as the hymmn
reached a fever pitch I had never known.
After an hour of singing and praying the minister began
his sermon. He was of medium height and weight but the way he
carried himself and spoke the word of god began to bring down the house.
Shouts of, "Amen!" rang through the air and more fainting began.
Filled with awe of the spirit and in fear of damnation,
I glanced at my watch and realized another hour had passed.
I whispered to the lady next to me and asked her when the service ended
and she replied, "We're just getting started. We break for lunch at two
and begin again at four."
I tapped Irving's arm and pointed to my watch. He made a covert
motion at the door and when we all jumped to our feet to sing,
he and I slipped out the door.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Libraryless Librarian

I pushed my little cart down the hall very slowly.
With fifty books in precarious stacks I felt
like the little old lady on the Hogwarts Express.
"Anything from the cart?" I said to myself in
my old lady fake British accent.
Only instead of chocolate frogs I had new books.
I had panicked in September when I had not
been hired anywhere for a librarian job.
I had resigned from  Elizabeth Blackwell elementary
because of the traffic. How smug I had been.
How certain that with two year's experience I
would get snapped up in a jiffy.
Right when I was ready to spiral into jobless depression
I saw a librarian job posted in Shoreline school district.
When I went to the interview, the director, Chrisy, said
"This is a bit of an unusual job because
we have no library. You'll teach the lessons
in the rooms and walk the kids to the Meridian Park
library in the other side of the building for check out."
Hmmm. That sounded fine except there were no books
for the middle school students IN that library.
Cascade K-8 had started as a tiny one hundred student
alternative school without a library forty years ago.
Now all they had was broom closet with
a few hundred old paperbacks,
mostly donated by one of the teachers.
I nearly cried for my students the first time I saw it.
So, I did what any librarian worth her salt
would do and had a book fair to raise funds
for middle school books.
Now the proceeds, fifty new middle school books,
shifted slightly as I rolled over the bump and
into the seventh and eighth grade classroom.
I smiled at the students and said,
"Anything from the cart?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Beer Drinking Contest March 1987

Laughter filled the air as I sat
at my dining room table eating pizza with my
Terry, and the kids.
We were celebrating the Seahawks playoff win
in history.  The Seahawks were going to the Superbowl!
We want to go to the Super Bowl.
"Isn't there some contest you kids
could enter to win free Super Bowl tickets?"
I said and pondered if I had ever won a
ticket to a sports game.
And then it came back to me...
I was standing shoulder to shoulder in
the middle of twelve twenty-one year old
girls in the Houston Sheraton hotel bar.
We had lived there for four weeks for
flight attendant training and had four
more weeks until graduation.
At twenty-nine, I was considered a dinosaur
by the younger girls and ignored by most
as being too old and "Uncool."
The radio announcer motioned for silence and said
into the microphone, "And now, live from
the airport Sheraton, we have a dozen
beautiful girls in stewardess training
drinking beer to try to win tickets to
the Astrodome. The winner will sit in
our press box for the live coverage as our
Astros take on the Montreal Expos."
I was not nervous at all at I summoned
the spirits of my drunken German ancestors.
"One, two, three, GO!"
I tipped my bottle and my head back as far as
it would go and let them meet happily.
"Eight seconds!" We have a winner.
I just smiled at the catty little brats
and stepped forward and claimed my two tickets.
"Thank you and see you at the game!"
I said to the announcers.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Good Kick

I was walking down the sidewalk to my van after work
and six 5th grade boys were playing soccer.
When the ball came near I asked, "My turn?"
The big boy said, "If you can get it from me."
He lost control and I kicked it
and it went through the legs of all five boys behind him.
We were all astonished & laughed and laughed.
They asked my name and I told them
and as I walked away I could still hear
them laughing and shouting at each other,
"Dude! You got played by Mrs. Nixon!"