3

Caption This!

Since my last post was a bit of a downer, and since I don’t want to sound like a defeatist, pessimist, negativist or any other “ist” that has a curmudgeonly unpleasant attitude associated with it (wow, that was a tortured sentence) I’m hereby posting my current entry into The New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest for this week. 

My good friend Mary at Merrilymarylee’s Weblog had expressed interest in seeing how my mind (!) works when it comes to cooking up a cartoon caption.

So, for what it’s worth:

"That's the last time I buy a horse from an archeologist."

5

The Next Biggest Loser

Well….I didn’t win The New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest. 

I came in third….out of three.  Ouch. 

One of my friends graciously suggested it was because I didn’t have a huge network of friends stuffing the ballot box.  I don’t know whether to take comfort in that or get depressed because I’m a friendless loser.  haha  

My new t.v. reality show should be “I Love Lose-y.”

Anyway, I want to thank everyone who did vote for my caption.  I intend to keep plugging away and enter the magazine’s contest every week.  Who knows, maybe someday I’ll  come up with a caption that will be generic enough to appeal to all those unimaginative cretins out there.  Just kidding! 

Really, it was an honor to be selected as one of the finalists. 

Now I know how Helen Mirren must have felt at the Oscars. 

(Except she won one once, didn’t she?  Crap. There goes that analogy.)

4

Suffer the Little Children…

The ever-expanding sexual abuse scandals involving the Catholic church have been in the news for days now. 
It’s time to re-post part of a piece (“A Tale of Two Pedophiles”) in which I wrote about my encounter in the late 1980’s with Father Oliver O’Grady. 
Unfortunately, it seems nothing has changed in the wake of that scandal:

 

Thoughts of Jaycee Dugard brought up my brief brush with one of the worst pedophiles the Catholic church has known to date.  His name is Father Oliver O’Grady, who spent years being shuttled from one diocese to another even though the hierarchy of the church knew he was molesting children.  He finally wound up as the parish priest in a small town in Calaveras county, California.  I was working as a dental hygienist for a local dentist and Father O’Grady happened to be one of our patients. 

The dentist I worked for was a devout Catholic.  My employer was, on the whole, a nice fellow who felt strongly about his convictions.  He had anti-abortion posters hung quite visibly in his lab where patients would see them as they were escorted to their dental chairs.  Some patients took offense at being subjected to something like that in a dental office and angrily left the office–and in some cases they left the practice itself.  To me, this dogmatism on his part was like wearing a pair of blinders which allowed you to see only what you were supposed to see.

Often the dentist, his assistant and I would have lunch at a nearby sandwich shop.  On some occasions the dentist’s wife would join us.  At one of these informal lunches we were talking about water wells; a common topic in rural areas where having a good well is essential to life itself.  I happened to mention that a neighbor of mine, whose father was half Native American, taught me how to dowse for water with a forked branch.  The usual term for that was “water witching”, a skill that even the men who worked for our local electric company, PG & E, knew how to do.

My employer turned to me and said, very serious and straight-faced, “Isn’t that witchcraft?”  At first I thought he was kidding, but quickly realized he wasn’t.  I was nonplussed and stammered something about “No, it’s just something you feel.”  The dentist’s wife was in our little group and she tried to smooth things over a bit, but I have to say I was taken aback that someone in our modern age would bandy about the charge “witchcraft.” 

Now, post-Palin anti-witchcraft blessing ceremonies, I’m no longer surprised.

I mention all of this in regard to Father O’Grady only to make the point that while my employer was looking behind the dental chair for imaginary witches, here we had a man who was actually doing unspeakable things with children.  Father O’Grady was a figure of authority and power, as was the diocese that sent him to this unsuspecting little hamlet.  Everyone in my office fell all over himself in deference to this man when he came in for his appointments.  It was “Father this…” and “Father that…” but no one had the slightest clue that he had been molesting children for years and the powers that be knew about it, but kept it hidden.  

The sadly laughable thing about it was that he was such a little milquetoast of a man when I finally did meet him.  I took an immediate dislike to him because he would not look me in the eye.  What kind of a priest won’t look you in the eyes?  Aren’t the eyes windows into the soul?  Father O’Grady’s soul was hidden from view.  There was too much ugliness there.

Father O’Grady as he looked sometime around when I met him.

2005_07_13_Russell_BlindEye_ph_Oliver_OGrady

It was several years after I left that practice that the whole story surrounding Father O’Grady came to light.  I could only imagine what they thought at my old dental office.  Had real evil replaced the imaginary?  I somehow doubt it.  Excuses were made all along the line for the transferring of O’Grady from one place to the next, without punishment or warning.  The man involved in Jaycee Lee Dugard’s abduction seems to have had every break in the books also.  It shouldn’t have taken so long in either Garrido’s case or Father O’Grady’s for someone to step up and put a stop to the abuse. 

The kids deserved better.

4

Texas Hoof in Mouth Disease

Texas GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer was heard calling Rep. Bart Stupak “baby killer” on the floor of the House last night.  

Today he tried to explain that congressional faux pas away by saying he was actually referring to the health care reform bill as “a baby killer.”

Yeah, sure. 

Either way, he’s wrong.  (Don’t confuse him with the facts.)

This is for you, Rep. Neugebauer:

5

Hell on Wheels

Memo to a couple of female bicyclists I encountered today:  

I know it’s fashionable for you to ride in the “Hell Week” here in the Hill Country.   

(This is where bicyclists from all over Texas converge on our county in March for a week of long-distance rides.  The highways are lined with cyclists huffing and puffing up inclines while 70 mph traffic blasts by in an intricate ballet of sudden lane changes to avoid sideswiping a wobbling rider.)

I know local folks have been told to be nice and “share the road” with the roaming packs of togged-out poseurs and Lance Armstrong wanna-bes.

But when I come down my road and slowly and carefully approach the stop sign at the highway, please get your bitchy asses out of my way. 

Don’t stand in the middle of the road, fully aware of my presence, chugging out of your designer water bottles while giving me the stank eye because I’m inconveniencing you in some way. 

Thank you.

(And I thought hunters were bad.)

9

Tag…I’m It!

Thanks to Natalie over at Knatolee’s World, I’ve been “tagged”—meaning:

1. Open your 1st Photo folder.
2. Scroll to the 10th photo.
3. Post the photo and the story behind it.               

4. Tag 5 or more people.

When it became obvious my old computer was on its last legs, I did a little advanced planning and copied all of my photos off the hard drive onto CDs so I wouldn’t lose them if the whole thing came crashing down. 

Now that I have a new computer (with Windows 7—hurrah!) I’ve put back just a couple of the photo folders that I took out, with most of the pics being artsy stuff I’d been saving, so there wasn’t a whole lot of personal photos to go to for this challenge.  I did manage to locate this one pic (by counting backwards to the tenth photo) in my Misc. folder. 

So here it is, folks.  Prom night 1965.

Can you believe that hair?  I have always been a short hair person (to this day), but my boyfriend at the time (later to become my Starter Husband) wanted me to grow it, so like an idiot, I did.  My sister-in-law was a cosmetologist, so she did my hair for the big night.  I think a flock of sparrows could have nested in it very comfortably.

I loved the dress (still do.)  It was very “Jackie Kennedy” in its simplicity and cut.  It was kind of a cotton pique fabric, bow at the waist in front, bateau neckline and it had two panels in the back that went from the waist to the hem, with the undersides composed of pale blue satin.  Divine…

I no longer have that dress.  (As if it’d still fit.  Two kids and gravity have taken care of that!)  I think my mother eventually gave it to a friend for her daughter to wear.  I hope she loved it as much as I did.

In this photo I’m standing in our living room in Downey, California, just before my date arrived.  He wasn’t my Starter Husband, though.  Starter had taken me to his prom the year before (he went to the other high school in town and was a year older than I) and his mother had put her foot down about him spending additional cash on another soiree.  (Or so he told me….hmmm…..maybe that was something I should have been suspicious about…haha.) 

My date was a surfer dude I had gotten to know at my school.  A nice guy named Kurt who took me to dinner at the (then) somewhat swanky restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport in the futuristic theme building (built in 1961) that has become kind of an icon.  (I think in recent years they’ve renovated it and reopened the restaurant.)  We had a very nice time, but that was the only time we went out on a date.  After we graduated, we went our separate ways. 

The rest, as they say, is history…..

So, my turn to “tag”!  I tag:

Merrilymarylee

Moe at Whatever Works

True Blue Texan

Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride

Trailer Park Refugee

2

Yackk! Get Over It!

This morning at 5:00 am, National Hairball Awareness Day arrived a little early.  That joyous day usually falls on April 30, but my cat, Culvey, (and his digestive system) couldn’t wait to get the party started.  

                                                                             

I heard him yackking and flew out of bed to make sure he wasn’t depositing his celebratory gift on the rug in the living room.  No, instead he was leaving it on the rug in the kitchen.  After cleaning up the results of his revelry, I went back to bed, only to have the party animal jump on my chest and attempt to plant a big smooch on my mouth, not unlike a drunken husband returning home from a bachelor party in the wee hours of the morning.

Since today isn’t the official day for hairball awareness (although I was extremely aware of it at five in the morning) I wondered what special treat March 9 held in store.  This day must have some kind of designation to set it apart from the other 364. 

I went on trusty old Google and discovered a list of various celebrations and awarenesses that have been bestowed on most of the days found on our modern calendar. 

Guess what?  In an amazing tie-in to hairball awareness (one that could only have been cooked up by a conspiracy theorist or Glenn Beck) today is :

National “Get Over It!” Day

And, it even has its own poem!  Courtesy of www.getoveritday.com:

 

 

Plus, today is also Barbie Day and Panic Day.  (Been there, done that.)

Tomorrow is Registered Dieticians’ Day, maybe something my cat could profit from.

And, if you think National Hairball Awareness Day is gross, just be glad I didn’t include a link to the Cat Butt Museum.

 
 
8

Sayonara to S.F. Paintout

I felt I had to squeeze one last painting in to the Virtual Paintout for February.  The location this month was San Francisco, with a plethora of possibilities to choose from for painting sites.

While cruising around Golden Gate Park, I came across the Hagiwara Tea Garden, a very lovely spot.  This doesn’t do it justice but I think it gives the feeling of a peaceful Japanese setting.

4

Eh? Whadidya say?

For all of you who have read my posts that poke a bit of fun at my 90 year-old mother and her hearing, I want to say that karma has a way of biting one on the butt sometimes.

I know that my hearing isn’t what it used to be, mainly because of the constant ringing in both ears that I attribute to the Lipitor I took for several years before kicking that habit cold turkey.  (See my artist trading card “I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.”)

But lately I’ve noticed that I have to ask people to repeat what they’ve just said and find myself indulging in more lip reading than I care to admit. 

I took a course in American Sign Language about twenty years ago and am tempted to teach it to my husband so I can converse with him while he’s driving.  He has hearing loss from his stint in the Coast Guard where they repeatedly fired off 40 millimeter cannons next to his right ear. When the driver’s side window is down even a little he can’t make out what I’m saying and I can’t hear him because of the whine in my left ear. 

A match made in heaven?

Anyway, the other night while watching the Olympics I had what might be called an epiphany, or at the very least an appreciation of what my mother is experiencing and what I have to look forward to.

I wasn’t really interested in what I was nominally watching.  I think it might have been the compulsory dance in ice dancing, where all the couples do a routine to the same mind-numbing tune—over, and over, and over.  So I was “multi-tasking” by reading a magazine at the same time. 

“Multi-tasking” for me means doing several things at once very badly.

I remember the channel went to commercial break for a car dealership.  I was paging through the magazine and wondering why Jennifer Aniston was on the cover of Architectural Digest instead of a photo of her house.  (Jennifer Aniston is on the cover of every magazine, it seems.  We’ll know she’s taken over the world when she turns up on the cover of AARP’s Modern Maturity.)

Then, I swear I heard the announcer say:

“….and zero percent APR for all qualified lesbians.”

What the hell?  I know a lot of corporations are targeting the gay and lesbian communities with special cruise packages and hotel deals, but a car dealership?

Then, to my chagrin, I reasoned that what I thought I heard as lesbian was in reality probably leases, leasees or something along those lines.  My ears didn’t pick up on the complete sound of the word so my brain decided to take over and just fill in the blanks a bit.  Helping me out, don’t ya know. 

I had to laugh about what I thought I’d heard, but it gave me pause.  What else have I been assuming I heard and understood, but didn’t? 

Move over, Mother, and hand me that ear trumpet, will ya?

3

Oh,no! Snow?

Okay, Sunday the temperature was around 70 degrees and sunny. 

Yesterday it was about 52 with clear skies. 

This morning it’s 32 and snowing. 

Only in Texas do you get whiplash weather!

Here are some photos I took around 8:30 this morning.  Click on each photo for an enlarged view.  (If you want to.  Just sayin’.) 

And all you folks in Canada and other more northern climes, y’all don’t go laughing at us because we go bananas over a couple of inches of the white stuff!

Looking out from our front porch toward the road.

The view across the driveway toward the south.

Our Texas flag bench under the trees. Don't think I'll be sitting there right now.

The pool area. Anyone for a dip?

"Honey, would you bring me some ice for my tea?"

Looking across the field to the south.

Out the back door toward the horse shed.

Roady the snow inspector. "What the...?!"

"White Cat in the Snow" or Roady's nemesis, aptly named Nemesis.

At 10:00 it’s still snowing, but the sun is trying to come out.  That’s Texas!