The Bow and Arrow and The Wedding Dress

IMG_1618Some of my most interesting experiences happen when I’m walking my dog.  I meet a lot of fellow dog-walkers who are generally nice humans. Except that stern, rod-straight man and his neurotic, uber-focused Border Collie that I’ve seen every day for the last I-don’t-know-how-many years on their way to the beach.  Neither of them look happy, if you ask me. The man never smiles, rarely speaks and looks exactly the same every single day. This is not an exaggeration. I could spot that guy anywhere in the world in a throng of identically looking men at any given time.  Same khaki pants, same backpack, same hat, same red jacket, same green Chuckit toy. I kick ass at Where’s Waldo because of this guy.

I give the man props for taking his furry companion to the beach every day but for the love of Dog give the poor thing some Prozac before he starts licking the walls from too much training!

But this post isn’t about dogs or grouchy neighbors. It’s about twins.

Twins fascinate me.  They always have.  It wouldn’t be a stretch to admit that I secretly wanted to have one.  But that would have been a cruel twist of fate for my parents especially if the cosmos has cursed them with an identical set of me.  I’ll leave the reasons up to the reader’s imagination.  To be clear,  it’s fraternal twins that I’m fascinated by.  Specifically, the differences between them.  I mean, if would be silly to “compare identical twins”, right?   Wouldn’t that be oxymoronic? (or is it just me?)

It was my recent good fortune to cross paths with a gorgeous set of twin girls. They looked to be about 6 and were drawn to my dog who is a very handsome dude, if I must say so myself.  I overheard them ask their father if they could pet him and he replied they had to ask me nicely first.  This made me like the dad immediately.  I said yes before they even asked.  These two cherubs had eyes the color of the ocean behind them and the blonde braids that I longed for in my teen years and still covet as an adult.  They were  very similar in appearance but their differences were abundantly clear.  Cherub #1 was gregarious and talkative and enveloped my dog with brave hugs and nose kisses despite the fact that he was eye-level.  Her hands were dirty with whatever it was she had explored on the beach and her braid was coming apart at the seams.  Cherub #2  stepped in once she saw her sister getting major face licks.  She was clearly more cautious and definitely cleaner like maybe she used a sand shovel to dig for that buried treasure rather than her bare hands. She wore a frilly hair trinket that kept her braids from abandoning ship.

Cherub #1 sported a tattered denim skirt, a stained cotton tee-shirt and fleece camouflage boots.  Cherub #2, a feminine tutu and an equally girly-girl top.  Her fleece boots were brilliant pink and adorned with a million sequins.

When I commented on their boots, Cherub #1 volunteered they got them for Christmas. When I asked them if they were twins, it opened up a floodgate of information delivered in a spray of machine-gun-fire consciousness devoid of pauses:  we’re twins and we’re going to be six and we were born on the same day but we’re not identical and our birthday is August 21st and we’re going to have a big party when we get home and we love dogs and we’re on vacation and live in Idaho and this is my dad his name is Jeff but my mom could come because she had to work and do you want to know what we want for our birthday?

My head was still reeling from all that information and I was searching for bullet holes in my chest but hell yes, I was dying  to know.

“I want a bow and arrow,” she said.

When I asked Cherub #2 what she wanted, she replied with a clear and confident voice.

“I…want a wedding dress.”

Dad laughed out loud, not the least but surprised by any of this.

“As you can see…they only look alike,” he said.

I could tell by the way he looked down at them he was head over heels in love with his angel twins and their myriad differences.  He was proud of them and it showed. It made me like him even more.

All I can say is those little nuggets made my day. And even though the encounter was fleeting and random,  I’ll never look at a bow and arrow or a wedding dress as long as I live without thinking of them.

I told you twins were fascinating.

Or maybe it’s just me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FrankenBarnie

t-rexBefore I get into this, I gotta get something off my décolletage.  It’s been so long since I’ve blogged, I damn near forgot my log-in and password. So there. I have duly given myself a ration of shit and guilt and I’m now free to move about the blogosphere with abandon.

The other day I read an article about how Barney the giant purple dinosaur was giving kids the wrong ideas about T. Rex.

Just ponder that for a bit while I hum a show tune.

Seems that when scientists asked college students and children to draw a T. Rex, most gave it an upright posture as opposed to a more bent over, horizontal position.  This is the result of a couple of brainiacs who decided to conduct this meaningful experiment after seeing a box of frozen chicken nuggets in the shape of a T. Rex at a local grocery store. I don’t know about you, but I steer clear of  processed food for fear it will taint my knowledge of all things Jurassic.

A good thing since it appears popular culture has dulled the science knowledge of our children and youth through the depiction of Mr. T as an upright-walking, friendly purple character who sings annoying songs and has a grill full of lbright white dentures.

News flash! All those dino shapes on your macaroni and jammies are in-co-rrect,  people. That’s right. T.Rex was not friendly, not purple and would just as soon rip you limb from limb than suffer through even a partial verse of Do Your Ears Hang Low.

Be that as it may, I firmly believe this T. Rex business is the exception to the rule of how fictional characters from pop culture influence our perception of reality.  Let’s take Foghorn Leghorn, for example…a fair and accurate depiction of a rooster in all its cocksure glory, if you ask me. He speaks with the confidence one would expect from a scrappy yard bird yet possesses the gritty sophistication and vernacular of a self-assured street poet.  Take these two sparkling gems, both vintage chicken hawk:

“Smart boy, got a mind like a steel trap – full of mice” and “That dog, I say that dog’s strictly GI – gibberin idiot that is.”

Fucking poetry, man!

He surely must have been referring to Wile E. Coyote, the poor unfortunate schmuck. When will he ever learn that riding a homemade rocket is a really, really bad idea?

What a dumb ass.

WillYouGetInHeaven.com

I‘m into signs. Especially those quasi-clever religious billboards that presumptuous humans make up and then sign off with….Love, God.  I don’t think The Almighty really said stuff like “Don’t Make Me Come Down There!” or “Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before The Game”, do you?  Maybe “Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before The Stoning” but definitely not the one about the game. Come on Bible Thumpers!  I know you’re all trying to get customers but what’s next? “S’up, Homey…Imma Wash Y’all Sins Away, Yo! Love, God”???

In my humble paganistic view, these pithy signs are quite sacrilegious and even fly in the face of one of those commandments good Christian folk like John Edwards espouse but  don’t really live by like don’t lie or commit adultery.  But what I’m referring to here is the one about taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Maybe it’s just me but I think signing God’s name to a billboard that says “Big Bang Theory? You Got To Be Kidding!” is a blatant example… but I’m not going to judge. There is enough of that being flung from all y’all’s direction already.

But I always try to be open-minded until, of course, my cynical nature slams it and nails it shut.  Like the other day when I was driving along mindin’ my own, and WHAM a sign on a light pole caught my eye:  It read:   WillYouGetInHeaven.com followed by a phone number and the promise of a quick five minute recorded message.

Will I Get In Heaven?  I must find out.

So I called the number.

They must have known it was me because it went directly to a recording that said The Party You Are Trying To Reach Is Not Available.

Being the tenacious sort, I got home and went to the web-site instead. You bastards aren’t going to keep ME from finding out if I’m getting into heaven, that’s for damn sure!

I’ll cut to the chase. There was page after page after page of How To Get In Heaven instructions and I’m really bad at following directions. I just learned to do my Google Calendar for cryin’ out loud!  I’m never going to get through this Sin No More Manifesto. I read enough to know that I’d have to do a shitload of penance and fling my burdens onto God’s head and throw myself on his mercy and, by the way, I have probably underestimated the depths of my sinful condition so I guess I won’t be going.

Oh, yeah. I forgot. There was this list of 8 things you should never do or they’ll give your Heaven reservation away to someone like that gay-bashing, North Carolina freak-show-of-a-preacher, Charles Worley.

#3: Do not misuse God’s name.

Too bad, Love, God sign-makers.  What an ugly twist of fate.

 

Surprises In The Mailbox!

What a great surprise I got today when I went to my mailbox and found two big envelopes from the fifth grade kids of Donlon Elementary.  They were full of fantastic artwork, signatures and thank you notes.

Big hugs to all the kids and teachers for sending me such a great treat!

And there’s more to come!  Check back with Catty’s website to see some of the clever suggestions and insightful feedback we got from the Donlon fifth-graders!

 

 

Book 2

A Tale of Friendship 2

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Delivery Day

This…

…is my newborn file cabinet.

She is a whopping 150 lbs, robust and healthy which is all one can hope for, right?

She ain’t much to look but I’m sure she’ll get cuter when she gets older.  Please don’t judge.

She was delivered yesterday swaddled in cardboard and plastic, nailed to a little pallet. The delivery guys stripped her of her cocoon in my driveway (a little rough, in my opinion, given her fragile state and all).

In the middle of the blessed event, one of the guys got a phone call.  He took it which I thought it was pretty rude  because this was…you know…a big moment for me.

Thirty minutes passed.  A lifetime for me!  I’d waited for weeks for her arrival and I wanted to be alone with her…to bond. I bought pendaflex folders!

I finally asked how long this was going to take.

Dr. Phone Call glared at me, nodded in the general direction of his assistant.

Damn it if he didn’t  haul my little bundle of joy all the way up a gnarly flight of stairs with that phone pinched between his shoulder and his ear jabbering away to God knows who.

I had to say I was impressed.

Old Rocker Chics Never Die

They just start looking ridiculous if they never ditched their acid-washed jeans and tooled leather purses.

Fortunately, I evolved.  My jeans sit fashionably below my belly button rather than under my armpits although I’m uncertain how long my belly button will remain in the same place.  I’ll cross that raging river when I get to it.  For the time being, I think I’m safe – if only in my own mind – as no one has pulled me aside for a dressing-your-age talk.

But….back in the day, I considered myself quite the rocker chic.

Not a groupie, you understand (although a quickie with Keith Richards in a stadium bathroom was not outside the range of teenage fantasy).  Just a lover of all things rock and roll and everything it represented.  It was rebellion, freedom, artistry and self-indulgence all rolled into one and since I started to rebel around the age of 6, it was the perfect muse for my wandering soul and fiercely stubborn need to learn everything the hard way.  It seemed to me at the time to be the attitude of every other rock and roll front man  considering the many unfortunate drug-related incidents that beat them silly until they realized it might be a good thing to stay sober so they could still tour when they’re 65.    I was in good company with my stubborn attitude…. that’s my story – or my excuse – depending on how you want to look at it.

Growing up, the whole music culture scene fascinated me to distraction.  I spent many a blissful night in the blue haze of a concern stadium making my way down to the floor to get closer to the altar of a visiting messiah like Pete Townsend or Joe Walsh or Ian Anderson all the while deep-breathing my way to a gentle contact high; or  wearing a gauzy Indian shirt on a sweltering, Midwestern summer night at the Mississippi River Festival, swaying to the soulful lyrics of Jackson Browne or  the sexy growl of Gregg Allman while hopping from blanket to blanket in search of the best weed or a cooler full of Boone’s Farm.

Sometimes, when Classic Rewind on my satellite radio actually plays something that I consider “classic”  I am propelled back to a time when I’d lay awake at night carving the names of rock bands and front men into the soft, pressed wood of my cheaply paneled bedroom as the last glow from my patchouli incense faded away to ash.

It was so different then.

Innocent, almost.

Like it was okay to be a teenager pushing the envelope of what was acceptable according to your parents.

Glorious!

There was no fear that I can recall, no violence to speak of.  Only a little benign juvenile delinquency that never hurt anyone like getting caught smoking pot on school property.  What can I say? We were caught off guard.   The approach of our crew-cutted, polyester-wearing  football coach was drowned out by the  Robert Plant’s falsetto blaring from a tape deck in someone’s beat up Trans Am.   Copious amounts of marijuana + Immigrant Song + football coach who hated non-football playing boys with chains attached to their wallets = call your parents and tell them you’re a pot-head.  An unfortunate chain of events that I hope my long-suffering parents have forgotten.  I can still see the What-To-Do-With-Your-Pot-Smoking-Teenager  pamphlets that appeared atop my patchwork bedspread, placed there by bewildered adults who had no idea what to do with their nightmare spawn.

From time to time I have considered apologizing to my parents for putting up with me but love means never having to say you’re sorry and I try to live by the rules of profound movie lines that have stood the test of time.  So…I’m off the hook.

But I digress because the purpose of this post is to encourage anyone reading this to RUN not walk to the nearest  movie venue when It Might Get Loud comes to your town.  I won’t spill everything about this amazing  rockumentary because you should get the full impact of its profound message and nostalgic power from the worn-down velvet of a theater seat surrounded by a Lucas-inspired sound system that will make your ears bleed.

I will tell you only this:  It features, Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White with whom I am secretly in love even though he is a mere child which is to say he is under the age of 60 which is not my preferred age group but I’m making an exception.

This could very well be the holy trinity of rock and roll:

Jimmy Page is God the Father.

And The Edge is Jesus

And that leaves Jack to play The Holy Spirit which makes perfect sense to me.

Long live rock and roll!

The Incident

More often than not, I question my own smartness.

I wonder if it I’m coming down with some sort of environmental retardation that hand sanitizer can’t kill.

I mean, I thought I was generally intelligent.  I can spell my own name and fill out rudimentary forms.  I know enough to wear clean underwear in case of an accident and sometimes I think I have TiVo figured out.  But the other day my confidence was dealt a serious blow.

Truth be told, this kind of thing is happening more often than I’d like to admit but to hell with pride and shame.  I might as well us these idiotic vignettes to my advantage since I’ve taken the time and effort to keep this blog going in all its self-indulgent glory.

“The Incident” as it shall be known henceforth, went a little something like this:  (names have been changed to protect the intelligent and formatting is not within industry standard)

INT. RESTAURANT – DAY

TWO COUPLES, a PROUD GRANDMOTHER, a 2-YEAR OLD and ME occupy a large round table.  A high chair adorns one end.

PROUD GRANDMOTHER

You know, our little Cally here took swimming lessons this summer.

She points to the beautiful 2-YEAR OLD who is deeply focused on picking up minuscule pieces of chicken between her thumb and forefinger.

ME

Cool!  I love to see kids in those little blow-up water wings.

PROUD GRANDMOTHER

Oh, no!  She doesn’t wear those things!

ME

That’s a little scary.  One time I saw this National Geographic special about how infants naturally hold their breath underwater.  I thought it was kind of disturbing seeing week old infants being tossed into the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.   But come to think of it, they DID hold their breath.  And they sort of did this little dog-paddling thing that I found even harder to watch.  I don’t know, they just didn’t seem to…well….have any choice.  The concept seemed a little out there for my taste.  Then again, those catchy phrases like “sink or swim” had to come from somewhere, right?

PROUD GRANDMOTHER

Well, that’s not how they do it these days.  When the babies cry, the teacher just dunks them under and they stop.  They get used to it after a while.

ME

Okay.  That sounds so much better.

The Proud Grandmother reaches for her cell phone and opens it.

PROUD GRANDMOTHER

She goes underwater, eyes open, mouth open grinning ear to ear.  She can dive clear to the bottom and back up again.

The Proud Grandmother hands me the cell phone on which there is a darling picture of a smiling 2-year old, eyes wide open floating weightless in crystal clear, chlorinated splendor.

And I thought to myself….I wonder how they managed to get that cell phone under the water to snap that picture.

When I accidentally dropped mine in the toilet, it stopped working.