Sunday, September 23, 2007
  The Heather on the Hill

It was probably about 10 pm. I am not exacly sure, because I had nodded off on the sofa,and, upon awaking, had decided to haul myself up to bed. I had just shut all the windows, turned off the stove we had left on from warmng some brie, and checked the front and back doors for the third time each to be sure they were locked. As my foot hit the first stair , I heard my cell phone ring.

Not a lot of people call me on my cell phone. So it was either Sacas-sis, who had been at the house earlier and had only left a bit over an hour before. Or Sarcsmo Jr., who would only call me that late if it was important.


"YES". I replied to Sarcas-sis who was home alone with her young son, while her husband put in a late night at work. "What's up?" That's what I said. What am thinking is "are you okay? is the baby okay? Did you forget something earlier/ Come on . Spit it out!"

"Mom. if you're still up. Brigadoon is showing on channel 12"


Brigadoon. My favorite old movie. I didn't even know they knew that.

My girls are awessome !

Friday, September 21, 2007
  Over the Fence

When my girls were small I knew most of my neighbors pretty well. Partly because my kids played with theirs, and because I was home more. As the years passed, he girls grew up and moved on, as did some of the neighbors. I went to work full time, and as a result didn't get to know so many of the new people who moved in. There are only a handful of families left that have been on the block as long as we have.

Since Wednesday is my day off, I was home when a local news station showed up at a house across the street. I don't know these neighbors at all. The news people didn't stay long, and I didn't seee them filming any footage.

Later that day I saw my nearest neighbor in her yard. "A" s a real estate agent, and has sold many of the houses on our block to their current owners. She is also , shall we say, naturally inquisitive". Subsequently she knows everything about everyone in every house. I asked if she knew why the news was across the street. She didn't, but she had a theory.

A: They are illegals.
Me: If they are illegal , why would they talk to the news ?
A: I don't know. But I know they are illegal. They aren't the people who I originally sold that house to. They ,moved and rented the house to these people. I offered to do the credit check but the owner said not to. They probably don't have legal status here. Somebody must have dimed them out.
Me: Still, why would you talk to the news if you are here illegally?

The neighbor who lives on the other side of "A" comes out. "B" asks if we are talking about the news. "A revisits the whole illegal alien scenario.

B: I thought it might be about that thing wandering around. (see muskrat post)

She asks if I am aware of the crab apple eating varmint prowling our sidewalks in the hours before dawn.

Me: Yes I heard about the muskrat.
B: It's not a muskrat.
Me: I know, more likely a groundhog.
B: It's not a groundhog. It's an aardvark.
Me: An aardvark?
B: Yes. I was out in my yard one night and I saw it walking down the driveway.
Me: You saw an aardvark walking down the driveway? (which , in case you are new here, is in Philadelphia, Pa.)
B: Yeah. no wait , it's not an aardvark.
Me: I didn't think so.
B: No it's an anteater.
A: I think there is something strange about the people who live on the other side of B.
Me: Why (relieved to not be talking about aardvarks and anteaters)
A: Every night he comes home at 10, and at 11 a van pulls up, he gets in and goes out again.
B: He works two jobs. He is probably going to work.
A: Every night?
Me: Some jobs are like that.
A: The van ha smoked windows. You know what that means.

B seemed to know so I said I did, but I really didn't.

A: They do their business at night you know.
Me: Who?
A: Terrorists
B: It's not an anteater or an aardvark. It has no fur and a pointy nose and rings around it's body.

Me: I think my phone is ringing.

Later when I recounted the whole conversation to Sarcas-dad, he set me straight.

It's an armadillo!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
  Avast Ye' Hearties !!

Arrr, aye, ye lundlubbers. It be Talk Like A Pirate Day. Drink some grog and fly the Jolly Rodger. I hope none o' you have t' walk the plank. Aye.

Want to parlay like a pirate ? Try here.

  A Good Chuckle

This was in my inbox this morning. It is too funny not to share.

Enjoy !

> Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their> collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school> essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of> teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides> gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances> like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, > like a> guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without > one of> those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country> speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar> eclipse> without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.> >

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was> room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes> just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated> because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a > surchargeat a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the > way a> bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag> filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an> eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city> and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when> you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across> the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having> left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka> at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences> that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who> had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was> the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap,> only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil,> this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not> eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck,> either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from > stepping on> a> land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender> leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around> with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells,> as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Thanks to my friend Carol, who sends me forwards I actually want to read.

Sunday, September 16, 2007
  What's Cookin' ?

I could use a little help here. Back in April our refrigerator gave out after about 20 years of stellar service. We replaced the almond colored, top freezer, Amana with a stainless steel, side by side ,ice on the door. Whirlpool. It goes with the stainless steel dishwasher that replaced the old almond colored one back in February. As we headed home from the Big Blue Store after buying the fridge, Sarcasdad said we should have just replaced the old range too. It is just as old and bound to go soon

Actually, the range is working just fine for an old machine. The oven temp might be a little off but we adjust. Still, it sits, the lone vestige of the almond colored kitchen, so popular in the 80' s, and so dated now. Surrounded by the shiny stainless purchases of the 00's, it looks a little sad and dumpy. It;'s kind of like when you pull your old high school pictures out in front of your kids. Those styles seemed like a good idea at the time, but really, what were we thinking?

The range we have now is electric. Until I moved here, 30 years ago, I had always cooked with gas. But this kitchen was all electric. When we finally got around to remodeling the space, there was a moratorium on new gas service. so we were stuck with the electric range. Of course, by then I was used to it.

There's no moratorium now. So I have a choice. Gas or electric? The electric range will be the easy choice as far as installation. Unplug the old one and plug in the new one. I think the smooth top electric ranges are attractive, and we have been looking at them. The one drawback seems to be the durability of the cook top. All of the salespeople we have asked, and all the online sites we look at say that it is possible to scratch the top if you aren't careful. Or, as he woman at "the Store where America loves to Shop" told me today, it will be fine as long as I am not too rough with it. Problem is I can't get anyone to define the words "careful" or "rough". I don't throw my cookware around, but on the other hand, I am no more graceful in the kitchen than I am anywhere else in life. I talked to someone who has one. She said she has not had any problem, but her sister-in-law has one and it is a mess from being scratched. My current range has the sealed elements, but they are tough to clean. I wouldn't get them again.

If we go with the gas it means getting a gas line run. Not a big deal, but an additional expense. Is it worth it.?

So if you have a thought here, I'm all ears. Gas or electric ? Have you used the smooth top cook surface? What do you think?

Monday, September 10, 2007
  Muskrat Love

I have a nodding relationship with most of my neighbors. We pass each other outside, nod, and exchange the appropriate greeting for the time of day. The other day I reached my car the same time as my neighbor across the street. We said good morning but instead of getting in his car he came over to mine. "You go out early in the morning to exercise, right?" he said. "Well I want to warn you to be careful. we have a ............

I live in Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the country. You may have heard about our escalating murder rate on any of the national news programs. Luckily, it hasn't touched the neighborhood I reside in, but still, I was born and raised a city girl so my mind immediately leapt to ....we have a vagrant, a Peeping Tom, a suspicious looking character, a hockey mask wearing Jason wanna be.....

What my neighbor said was..."we have a muskrat wandering around". A muskrat? A muskrat.

Apparently the critter has been seen out and about before sunrise. He is apparently fond of the crab apples that fall from another neighbor's sidewalk tree. Truthfully, I would be better prepared to deal with one of my scenarios than coming face to face with a muskrat. As I said city girl, born and raised.

I go walking after dinner with a friend, her daughter and Sarcas-sis. We make a couple of circuits around local football and soccer fields. A few months back as friend and I rounded the football stadium we saw this rather large brown animal on the law. We veered as far from it as possible without losing our stride. We had no idea what it was but we called to the girls who were a few feet behind us. Of course when they got there the animal had disappeared into the bushes, probably because we were yelling. This happened again on the next pass and I think the girls thought we should start walking on the shady side of the street. Now I know. It was the muskrat.

My neighbor who sounded the alarm told me to let him know if I saw it. Let him know? if that thing crosses my path in the pre-dawn hours, before I've had my coffee ( I drink the first cup in the car), he'll know. All the neighbors will know. In fact, where are you located? You might know as well.

As he started on his way, my neighbor allotted that it maybe a groundhog, and not a muskrat. a groundhog in Philadelphia makes much more sense than a muskrat.

Friday, September 07, 2007
  SuperStar Update

For those of you on the edge of your seat, yes, apparently size does matter. The hoop arrived yesterday. It measures about 42 inches across, so it is considerably bigger than the one I was trying to amuse the CP with. THis morning no one showed up to open the gym so I went home and picked up the SuperStar. After clearing some room in a spare bedroom I gave it a spin.

I was able to get it going although I couldn't sustain it for very long at any one time. Several seconds at the most. And I was nowhere near as graceful about it as the girls on the video. But with some practice, I can see it being a great cardio & ab workout.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
  The SuperStar

A few weeks back I caught a brief segment on Good Morning America about Hoopdancing. It involves using a hula hoop while simultaneously executing dance moves to get a workout. I thought it looked like fun and thought I might look into it. Although my recent attempt to show the CP how to use a hoop was quite unsuccessful.

Then I got an email from a friend of Star's. Jenn and I have never met, but I have seen pictures of her with Star. Jenn is the person behind Tailspin Hoops. She designs and creates hula hoops for adults. According to Jenn, the CP's hula hoop is too small for me, and that is why I couldn't get it spinning. ( Sounds good. I'll stick to that story)

Jenn said she wanted to do something to "keep Star's memory alive". She has dsigned a hoop she calls the SuperStar. Described by Jenn as:

A little bit Goth, a little bit elegant... This lovely hoop combines black glitter and flat black stripes into a sparkling, understated stunner. This is the "little black dress" of hoops!

It is a lovely tribute to Star, who loved to dance. Jenn will donate $15 from the sale of each SuperStar to the Star C. Foster Writers Prize, the scholarship established at Star's alma mater.

Star has such great friends. Even if you don't plan to hoop it up, go check out Tailspin Hoops and see how creative Jenn is. The SuperStar can be found in the Funky Hoops section.

I am currently waiting for my SuperStar to be delivered. Hopefully I can get this one spinning. I'll letyou know if size really does matter !

On a totally unrelated subject, the CP and his parents went camping over the holiday weekend. By all accounts a good time was had, Sarcas-sis posted about it here. My favorite part is about the canoe trip.

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