Foxy Mama's Blog

Stories, musings and ramblings from the front porch. Pull up a rocking chair and sit for a spell...


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tomorrow is another day...

I'm exhausted... I don't know why I feel so totally wiped out today but I do and I'm going to pack it in super early. I have a couple of posts semi-done but right now that bed is calling my name over the loudspeaker in my head. So here, to tide you over until I can open my eyes fully and engage my brain, is a list of films on VHS and DVD which we have and which we watch over and over and over and... That's our criteria for purchasing them. We must like the film well enough to watch it the multiple times required to cover the cost. Using that criteria, most of these have paid for themselves many times over. They're in no particular order of importance, save the first one, which is our favorite. Probably the first 25 are our most watched but then again, thats not necessarily the case either...

* A Midwinter’s Tale

* Midnight Run

* Lonesome Dove

* Heartbreak Ridge

* Band of Brothers (the complete set)

* The Hunt for Red October

* Hopscotch

* Cannery Row

* Grumpy Old Men

* U.S. Marshalls

* Open Range

* The Fugitive

* Much Ado About Nothing

* Henry V

* Reduced Shakespeare Company – The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in an Hour and a Half

* Mostly Martha

* The More the Merrier

* Midnight

* The Palm Beach Story

* Victory at Sea (the complete set)

* The World at War (the complete set)

* The Century of Warfare (the complete set)

* The Package

* Gettysburg

* Patton

* The Glenn Miller Story

* The Benny Goodman Story

* Father of the Bride (original)

* Father’s Little Dividend

* The Goodbye Girl

* You’ve Got Mail

* Uncle Buck

* Planes, Trains and Automobiles

* Groundhog Day

* Rhythm on the River

* My Man Godfrey (original)

* The Bride Came C.O.D.

* Amelie

* Born Yesterday (original)

* Secondhand Lions

* Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (original)

* A Beautiful Mind

* McClintock

* The Shootist

* Hellfighters

* Big Jake

* The Good Humor Man

* Rooster Cogburn

* True Grit

* North to Alaska

* Where the Rivers Flow North

* Casablanca

* It Happened One Night

* My Favorite Wife

* Since You Went Away

* The Shop Around the Corner (original)

* A Christmas Story

* Christmas in Connecticut (original)

* White Christmas

* Holiday Inn

* The Bishop’s Wife

* Miracle on 34th Street

* You Can’t Take It With You

* Sun Valley Serenade

* Easy Living

* The Devil and Miss Jones

* Captains Courageous

* Ruggles of Red Gap

* Give Me a Sailor


Monday, May 23, 2005

All roads lead to home...

We’re home again after a low flying trip to New Jersey for The Rock’s father’s funeral. Thank you all for the good thoughts and wishes. We appreciate it. Before we zipped down there from here in New Hampshire, we went north for a quick visit with older sonny. The Rock is seriously thinking of having a steering wheel implanted into his chest for easy accessibility. Sleep? Why? We’ve concluded that sleep is a state of being reserved for other people. I hear it’s kind of nice. The Rock says sleep is for sissies.

Before we made the trip down, my job was to make arrangements to have the dog boarded, make sure someone would look in on the cat, notify the neighbors to watch the house and give them our destination phone number at the hotel in case of emergency, pack and order flowers to be from the whole family (us up here plus them down there). Thank goodness for the internet. I sweated the trip hoping and wondering if the order went through with sufficient time for the flowers to be delivered to the funeral home down there before the viewing. They were! They were beautiful. Thank goodness! It was a nice funeral…if you can say that about funerals. It was thoughtful, decently restrained and not ostentatious. It didn’t rain.

The trip down was a white knuckled nightmare. If we ever again complain about the traffic around here I hope someone will step on our toe to remind us that hell hath no fury like modern freeways and urban congestion. Holy cowbells, that is some traffic. We just kept saying to ourselves “thank goodness we escaped all those years ago or we’d be doing this every day too…” “Why would anybody willingly submit to living in a place like this?!” I had my set of squeezy stress balls with me and put them to their rightful use. I squeezed those darn things so hard I thought they’d ‘pop.’ Usually I only use them just to ease the stiffness out of my arthritic fingers or to make my vein pop up for the monthly PT blood draw.

It was nice to see everyone again even if the occasion was less than stellar. We got lots of hugging in and that’s always nice. Everyone said we should come down there to get together more often. We have lived in New Hampshire for nineteen years and usually get down there a couple of times a year. In nineteen years none of them has ever come to New Hampshire to see us. They don’t even ask what it’s like up here or what we do with our lives.

On the day we left, The Rock came home at lunchtime shaking his head and asking me if I noticed anything different about him. I looked him up and down and it didn’t take a second pass to realize that he had one old scuffed casual brown shoe on one foot and a shiny black dress shoe on the other. No, it wasn’t a special dress day at his work. They don’t have those. The funny thing is those shoes have different kinds of soles too so they’re a disparate height. He didn’t even have a clue that anything was different until he had gotten in the house and was climbing the back stairs and happened to catch a glimpse of his feet on the steps. If anyone at his workplace had noticed they never let on. They probably would just have attributed it to the eccentricity of one of ‘those scientist types’ anyway.

On the way down to New Jersey we saw a car pulled over to the side of the freeway and it was rocking up and down something fierce. It took us a while to figure out just what was happening. It was so weird the way it sat there on the side of the roadway rhythmically rocking while thousands of cars passed by. The occupants seemed to be in the backseat and fully or mostly clothed but after the initial confusion wore off we realized what was happening. That must be some kind of desperation I can tell you…

On our return trip we went into and out of rain systems but the sun was never far away and at one point we saw a very vivid double rainbow. It was awesome in the truest sense of the word. We also rode past some sort of country club and there were people all dressed to the nines milling around and on a parallel road to ours was a hansom cab drawn by two spiffy horses and a tuxedoed driver with a tophat on. In the cab was a couple in formal dress. I think it was a wedding. It was lovely to see and made our decision to take a different, less direct and also less trafficed route home worthwhile.

I also noticed noticed a cute license plate on an open trailer being pulled by a van. It said “Ewe Haul.” All and all, it was a nice time to be travelling as the trees are coming out and some are flowering so it was very pretty once we left those darn freeways behind. As usual, the closer we got to home in New Hampshire the quieter it got and the sparser traffic became. Nothing in the world could ever induce us to move back down there again. Even the rural area where we used to live is built up obscenely.

We’re back to normal (for us) again and made the round trip trek up north again tonight. Even in the pouring rain it was a much more restful ride than the trip down to Jersey. I should think those folks would be hankering to make a trip up here to get away from that. Our sinuses are finally starting to respond to the fresh air and The Rock is starting to feel better. He was really congested after 2 days there. We can’t help feeling that his dad, even though he had emphysema, would have lasted a little longer and been more comfortable if this was his environment instead. Remind me never to complain again…


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stairway to hell...

Some days you just shouldn’t get out of bed. This was one of them. Following the perverse course life can sometimes throw you on when you are least prepared , I got up extremely early…just couldn’t sleep. I am not an early morning kind of person…grumble, grumble. Of course I can’t really complain because Dear Husband’s day got off to a much worse start than mine.

Considering we didn’t succumb to sleep until about 2 am to begin with, we were already facing a sleep deficit. I awoke even before the thoroughly obnoxious alarm clock went off and Dear Husband awakened shortly thereafter. He wasn’t able to hit the snooze alarm this morning either because The Old Guy, my new term for our formerly endearing dog, was hyper restive and complaining about impending diaster if we didn’t give him his ‘potty run’ now.

The Old Guy is getting forgetful and like a lot of old guys, he has a tendency to wander around the house all night as if he’s forgotten something important and needs to figure out what it is and where it is. I think he’s forgotten where his bed is and how to use it. Thank goodness we broke down and finally got that wall-to-wall carpeting in the hall and on the stairs, otherwise the constant clicketty-clack of his toenails would have driven us around the bend by now.

The Old Guy is not a whiner by nature and seldom, if ever, barks. (By the way, have you ever heard the bark of a deaf dog? It has a weird quality to it…) To his credit, he usually maintains a very cheerful disposition but this morning he was positively annoying.

Dear Husband usually gets up and after taking care of his own pressing bathroom duties, goes downstairs and starts making a pot of the strongest and most delicious coffee this side of the Mississippi. Then he meanders back up the stairs and cranks up his computer to quickly check and find out if the rest of the world is still there. When the coffee is ready he goes down and fetches up the pot and a couple of cups.

The Old Guy usually just sleeps through these preliminaries. In fact, he sleeps all the way up until Dear Husband is ‘coffee-ed,’ dressed and ready to leave for work. Then he opens his eyes, lifts his head and more often than not, lays it back down and we have to do something to get his attention and coax him into becoming ambulatory.

This morning however, the whole routine, human and dog, was quite altered. The Old Guy was already up wandering from room to room to room and periodically coming in to scratch the side of the bed and poke Dear Husband in the arm. When he went deaf (the dog, not the man) he started the practice of lifting his paw and poking us until we pay attention to him and yield to his needs and desires.

Dear Husband hadn’t even made it down the stairs to start the java brewing when the telephone rang. “Now who would call me at this ungawdly hour(?!)” he asked. This paragon of virtue is not usually so irascible but he hadn’t had a chance to titrate his body with the elixir of wakefulness yet so a few less-than-civil words escaped his lips as he went to answer the insistant ring. It was his sister in another state who had, herself, been awakened at 4:30 am by her telephone and was passing along some important and difficult to digest news. Their dad, who has been in the hospital in New Jersey for the past week with some serious problems had taken a critical turn for the worse.

We have some big decisions to make now. Almost nightly for a month and a half we have been making a 102 mile round trip to visit older sonny in a hospital and now, 300 miles away in the opposite direction, we also have a dad in the hospital and it’s imperative for us to visit him as soon as possible before we lose the chance. Dear Husband once heard a line in a cartoon which has become a mantra of sorts around this household. We have no real idea what it means but it resonates perfectly for a lot of our travails. “If you want to make singing shoes, you have to suffer…” Our shoes are currently singing louder than Aretha Franklin.

To cap the morning off just right, The Old Guy’s doggy alzheimers kicked into high gear on the way down the stairs on his way to relieve himself in the appropriate place (outside!) and he was totally unaware that he was leaving large tootsie rolls of death in his wake…all on the light green wall-to-wall carpeting. But Dear Husband, after having dosed himself thoroughly with the morning brew and taken on yet another motive for conducting the music for those shoes, was able to see the silver lining that every cloud is supposed to have. At least he didn’t step in it...


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Springtime delight...

It’s spring here in New England and that always brings a few things which I particularly look forward to. For instance, the crab apple trees on our property are in bloom now and their rosy magenta colored blossoms are always a welcome sight. In a couple of months the crab apples themselves will litter the ground and make walking the dog a treacherous expedition since they get squishy and slippery and work their way into the treads of our shoes and then finally get deposited in mushy little clumps on our floors. Yuck… But right now, the trees are beautiful and the branches are alive with birds energetically producing their own little operas.

Also, the real old apple tree outside the kitchen window is a particular delight. The tree is actually on the neighbor’s property, right in their gravel driveway in fact. That old apple tree is one of my favorite things. The neighbors sometimes curse the tree. I mean, it’s in their driveway (to the side, but still…). Also, during harvest time the apples drop off that tree onto the ground, making for very happy squirrels and lots of bees and yellow jackets, but very disgruntled owners because they have to deal with the fermenting detritus on the ground.

I live in fear that one day they will take that old tree down. I surely hope not for it has become a friend. First we get the lovely and fragrant pinkish white blossoms and then the leaves, which act as a leafy privacy screen in the summer and then come the apples themselves which impart a heady fragrance and it’s fun to watch the little apples develop and ripen into beautiful red globes. There are always lots of birds in that big ole tree and it usually sports a couple of frollicking squirrels at any given time, playing tag and doing gymnastics while they forage for food and then ‘shop’ for their winter stores…

Each spring the crab apples outside my studio window and in the backyard act as a temporary waystop and feeding ground for a pair or sometimes a couple of pairs of gaily colored Baltimore orioles travelling through from the south and heading north for the summer. I love to sit here typing and take a respite to watch them working among the luscious blossoms. It always brightens my day and lifts my spirits. They don't stay long. Just a couple of short weeks at most. Such beautiful golden orange and black birds they are…

This morning we had the windows open for a little while and I was treated to a joyous rhapsody of birdsong, all the more rapturous in contrast to the grim drizzly day this has become. I looked out the window and there were my orioles in the trees and now I know it’s truly spring and hope abounds…


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Seeing is believing...

I just got back from the miracle workers’… I can see again! Hallelujah!! Oh I had my old glasses to wear in the meantime but I haven’t actually seen a face in over a week. Everything else…but faces, for some reason, were out of my sightful realm. So right now my optician is my super heroine.

You see…

I sat on my eyeglasses last week. Yes folks, I plonked that big ole arse of mine right down atop my spectacles…the “specs” I totally need in order to see anything, the ones I had earlier placed on that hard wooden surface, before I sat down on it to put on my shoes and socks. Crunch…

They were (are) nice eyeglasses and certainly the most face-friendly glasses I’ve ever donned in the name of sight. Because the frame (such as it is) is titanium, they weigh next to nothing and they aren’t constantly slipping down the bridge of my nose or leaving unsightly indentations. They’re light, thin and beautiful.

The side pieces are integral parts of the lenses and so is the center piece. They’re called Silhouette Titan progressive lensed eyeglasses and they go from zero distance to infiinity. I have astigmatism and like so many millions of people, am presbyopic. If I didn’t wear the progressive lenses I’d probably be saddled with big honking tri-focals.

The lenses are Crizal Alize lenses and they are anti-reflective, allowing as much as 99% of light to enter my eyes. That means that other people can also see my eyes (in all their bloodshot glory) without that glassy glare to get in the way. The scratch resistant coating is fused into the lens for diamond-hard protection and these babies have a hydophobic property and they even resist smudges and dirt. They clean better than any eyeglasses I’ve ever had. I really love them. Can you tell? I’ve gotten old enough to start taking my eyesight seriously.

The Silhouette Titan eyeglass model I have also has an extra polarized sunglass lens which fits right onto the center piece and becomes an integral part of the eyeglasses, easy to snap on and unsnap. I think that’s pretty cool. I didn’t have sunglasses before. Too much of a pain to switch back and forth, besides being a double expense.

Don’t get me wrong…these eyeglasses aren’t inexpensive. Dear Husband almost had a coronary when the price was quoted. All glasses are expensive these days, and specially coated high index polycarbonate lenses with titanium “frames” are worse. But they have a warranty, thank goodness. I think they should have included “a compass in the stock.”

The specs didn’t break but their architecture was grossly altered and at the angle they ended up at, they were almost unwearable. Boo hoo! I carefully wended my way over to the clinic and embarrassedly relayed my tale of woe. To their credit, no one laughed (at least while I was there) and for that I am grateful.

I had taken a book with me to read while I waited for the alterations to take place. I never go anywhere at any time that I don’t have a book with me in case I might have a minute of free time to sop up some edumacation…but…I had overlooked the fact that they would have my eyeglasses and I cannot see anything without my glasses on so there I sat, book in hand, impotently staring off into unintelligible space while the optician tried to perform the miracle of restoring a workable shape to the mangled mess I handed her.

Well, you know how life can be sometimes… It wasn’t long before the optician stood before my blank stare and said that now the embarrassment was hers. While trying, ever so gently, to restore order to my precious spectacles, the corner of the lens was inadvertantly overstressed and broken and now a new lens would have to be ordered and it would take a few days (even with a special rush order put on it) before we would have the replacement lens in hand. Sigh… The good news was that the glasses were still under warranty. Oh goody. I rarely get such positive news about anything anymore.

I got the call earlier and hastened my way over to have my miracle performed and so now, here I am, sitting at my ergonomic keyboard pouring forth words of extreme gratitude for the totally wonderful work of a totally wonderful optician, whose face I actually got to see before leaving the building. Hallelujah brothers and sisters, I can see! I can see…and I will never, ever sit on my eyeglasses again. I will treat these little marvels of precision engineering with the utmost respect they deserve…forevermore. Gosh you all look good to me right now. That is you, isn’t it?


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nothing up my sleeve...

All right... Who took ‘em? Give them back. Now!! I’m talking about sleeves. I didn't work fast enough and it looks now like I might be a bit too late to ever have clothing with coverage again. Grrrrrr… Everywhere I look it’s a case of the missing or maimed clothing. Regarding sleeves, for instance, all I see are these stupid looking little excuses attached to the shoulders. Considering that everyone’s shirts all look like they shrank in the wash anyway, this is just the final insult.

When you get right down to it, arms aren’t all that attractive. I mean, heck, they aren’t… There are very few arms that say ‘come hither.’ Other parts of the body maybe but arms, no. Most upper arms are too skinny or too fat and hangy.

Okay, I grant you, it gets hot in the summer. So…just wear a sleeveless top or something why don’t you? Don’t go mucking about with time honored plain old regular clothes for us plain old time-worn folks. Have a heart already. Damn designers…all a bunch of sadists if you ask me, which of course you didn’t. All I’m asking for here is a regular short sleeve length on my knitted shirts. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

They've taken waistbands off of pants.. I don’t care for waistbands anyway since I like the comfort of elastic waists and there are some pretty clever elastic waistbands which don’t look like Aunt Mabel’s ortho duds and actually make a decent showing as real clothing. But NO waist line period, is more than I can endure. And besides, they’ve taken out half the bodies of of pants. Witness all those bare belly buttons and back cracks peeking out all over the place.

They’ve taken out a pretty sizeable quantity of fabric from clothing in general at this point and for this travesty they continue to charge ever more. It’s a case of less is more I guess. In art that can be interesting. In clothing it’s only interesting to guys. Well mostly anyway. No one even seems to look all that comfortable anymore either, what with all the tugging, shimmying, scrunching that goes on. One false move and ohboy…mystery over.

But all I’m asking for is a basic tee shirt or knitted shirt with real honest-to-gosh regular sleeves…the kind that was standard on most shirts, dresses and short-sleeved sweaters and jackets up until this year. Not those stupid looking little ‘cap’ things that get stuck in your armpits and bring attention to crepe-y, hangy looking arms or arms like sticks.’ I’m looking for justice…

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