Monday, January 30, 2006

Stocking up...

After the Toothpaste and Shampoo Incidents, I thought that perhaps the almost compulsive bargain-buying behavior R exhibits when he goes hunting for groceries might have been cured, maybe just a little. But after spending most of Sunday afternoon rearranging our out-of-control pantry and getting the foodstuffs organized, I see that I was mistaken. We discovered we have 6 unopened 24-roll packages of toilet paper, plus 16 loose rolls under the bathroom sink. That’s 160 rolls of toilet paper. If we lived 100 miles from civilization, that might not be such a bad thing, but within a 3-mile radius of our house are a Dollar General store, two grocery stores and a Wal-Mart clone, all of which sell toilet paper. Then there are the cans of sauerkraut. Things were so disorganized in there that he thought we were out, but we weren’t. We now have 34 cans of sauerkraut. Yummy. I guess it sounds like I am complaining. I’m not, especially when I think about the husbands that some women live with. I think this is rather funny, and I love him. He has been faithfully walking on the treadmill every day.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Beep Beep

I had always just assumed that the Roadrunner ( was a bird of the desert, so I was very surprised to see one cruising down a residential street in the Corpus Christi neighborhood where my father-in-law lived when we were there on vacation in 1983. And I was even more surprised when R came home from a trip to Town the day before and told me he saw a Roadrunner in the Wal-Mart parking lot (about 30 miles from our house). And one of my co-workers has also seen the bird there. I guess it picks insects out of the grills of the cars. I can’t think how else it survives here during the winter. The irony of course is that I am the fanatic bird watcher. R likes birds OK and finds them interesting, but not to the extent that I do. Conservation says the Roadrunner population is increasing in the next county, and our place is not that far from the county line, so maybe someday I’ll see one in my yard. I’ve seen Coyote at our place, why not Roadrunner (Beep Beep).

Monday, January 23, 2006

A failure to communicate

This peaceful weekend ended on a rather bizarre note. It was peaceful because N, basically is not here. He left the house at 8 a.m. Saturday and did not return until about 9 p.m. Saturday night. He left the house at around 9:00 a.m. Sunday and did not return until 9 p.m. Sunday night. He basically did the same thing the previous weekend. Last Monday, after his marathon weekend with them, he told me that he was going to be “indisposed” to them “next weekend.” Yeah, right. I think we saw less of him this weekend than we did last weekend. So much for being indisposed. But what was bizarre was that when he came home last night, we were sitting on the bed watching TV. The bedroom door open. We heard him come in, and he thumped around the house for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then went to bed without saying a word to us. As this was going on, I whispered to R, with what I assume was incredulity in my voice, “He is not going to speak to us, is he??” R leans over and pats my arm. “Did you expect something different?” So, when I confronted N this morning (in a very nice way, I thought) about why didn’t he come in and say something to us when he got home, his response was “Well, I just wanted to see if you would come and say something to me.” Interesting tactic. Behave in a very antisocial way and then throw the blame onto the other person. Like we were supposed to leap up and go chasing after him to say “Hello?” R says, "I guess we are eternally hopeful that he will change, and we are too stupid to accept that he won’t." I don't know that we're "stupid" exactly, just..... parents.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


When our folks had this picture taken about 43 years ago (give or take a year), I am sure they were wondering what would happen to this cohort of four children, anchored by daughters (we always thought it interesting that there was one girl-boy set each of dark and light hair) as they grew up. What kind of people would they become? What careers would they have? What would they look like as they got older?

and now...

And now those questions have mostly been answered. This is what we look like on the eve of the youngest son’s (on the right) 50th birthday. He is an interesting character. He has a good job with the maintenance department of a major corporation in Southern California. The son on the left is a teacher of mathematics. The little girl (still a baby in her 40s) is a librarian at an elementary school. And then there’s me, the old lady in the back. There’s still some brown in there, but not much.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Little Fox

Age and accident have taken their toll on the gifts we received when we got married. One of the few wedding presents I have left is the set of really nice stainless steel flatware that my parents gave us. So it is with increasing alarm, anger, and frustration that I see our forks beginning to dwindle. And why is that? N takes a fork with him to work so he can eat his lunch. I am firmly convinced that he fails to bring the fork back with him. He assures me that he is not loosing the forks, but I don’t believe him. It is these “little things” that he does day in and day out that begin to wear on my equilibrium. It is, after all, the little fox that comes in and eats the grapes one by one that ruins the crop. So, this afternoon R and I set off for town -- he to go to the bank, and me to the thrift store to pick up a few forks. The thrift store has a commercial style flatware thingy with four slots. All four are filled with knives. Not a single fork. So then we went to the salvage store. She did have some forks, 25-cents each, but they were the cheap, tacky kind. We bought them, but I have an idea about where I might be able to trade them for some old-fashioned type flatware. We also got some plastic forks. I hope this solves the problem!

Monday, January 16, 2006


So I say to you, seek God and discover Him and make Him a power in your life. Without Him all of our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest nights. Without Him, life is a meaningless drama with the decisive scenes missing. But with Him we are able to rise from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope. With Him we are able to rise from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy. St. Augustine was right—we were made for God and we will be restless until we find Him.

Love yourself, if that means rational, healthy, and moral self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That is the length of life. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That is the breadth of life. But never forget that there is a first and even great commandment. “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind.” This is the height of life. And when you do this you live the complete life.

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. , Selected by Coretta Scott King. London: Robson Books, 1984; p. 64.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fitting in...

We had a memorable lunch the other day at the Grapevine Restaurant. We went to town to get a treadmill for R (I have permission to kill him if he is not using it 6 months down the road) and we got hungry and so that's where we stopped. The Grapevine is an elegant little restaurant that's part of a gourmet wine shop in a strip mall (of all places) next to a Dollar General store. The food is expensive for this area, and excellent. The soup of the day was asparagus chowder and it was served in gorgeous hand-painted bowl. Asparagus chowder! Only one other man was in the restaurant besides R, all the rest of the patrons (12 or so?) were elderly, high-society type women. Elegantly dressed with hair perfectly coiffed and colored. The sort of women who are in charge of women's organizations and charitable service groups and have bridge parties. And there we sat, R in his ratty old bib overalls and me in my dark blue "Tigger" T-shirt, looking like we had just wandered in off the farm, which I guess we did, in a way. In any event, we stuck out like a sore thumb. We thought it was rather funny. "You notice anything about the other people in here?" he observed. Yes, I did. Well, "I guess our money is as good as theirs," I was heard to comment. And it was. One of N’s friends commented to him that “Your mom and dad must be doing OK, but they look like they don’t have a pot to piss in.” We just grinned when he told us that. We are doing OK, as a matter fact, as God gives grace for each day!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Rabid researchers...

I work on medical manuscripts. Papers about clinical studies of therapies for various ailments; case reports of unusual illnesses in patients and how the patient was treated (one poor soul in a recent paper died from a massive infection he got after being bitten by his household rabbit; another person died from a parasite he got after being barbed by a catfish); basic research studies (usually involving an animal) to find causes for problems and how to stop it. And buried deep in a complicated manuscript comes this gem...

"The premise.... was rabidly translated into clinical therapeutic...."

Now I've lost it and hysterics are a possibility as I contemplate the mental picture of wild-haired wild-eyed, researchers foaming at the mouth while they chase after hapless patients brandishing syringes dripping with their new drug-combination therapy.