Friday, November 30, 2007

i'm not a gamblin' man.

i may be the only person ever not to have plunked down a buck to play the lottery before. that's right. not ever.

my gosh! the odds are ricoculous. the chances of winning are barely shy of zero. the whole thing just seems dumb as rocks to me.

but think of the money!
and what you could do with it...

with that in mind, i propose a blogger's lottery consortium. if you have ever commented on this blog, on or before the date of this post, you are eligible to fully participate and it won't cost you a dime.

i, cornbread hell, do hereby attest and affirm, i will pay $1 on your behalf for a texas lottery ticket on a date to be announced real soon. the unlikely proceeds of such tomfoolery will be used for the following:

1. repay my 8 or so bucks!
2. pay ALL to and from airfare for said winners, but not their spouses, spices, or loved ones, to DFW airport for the sole purpose of meeting each other in person and hanging out together for however long is necessary.
3. the rest of the booty shall be divided equally and i don't care what you do with it.
3. all other stipulations are subject to debate and friendly argument.

a few up in the air questions and one official rule to follow.

- choosing the numbers? (i like 5151. that's my birthday.)
- maybe everyone should propose numbers and then we enter them into some sort of *this is what you get* machine.?
- choosing the particular lottery to enter? heck if i know.
- no, i'm not sure how many numbers are allowed.
- any non heretofore commenter who comments here within three (3) days is eligible for 1/2 benefits. unless you're a spambot or a jerk. (*jerk* to be determined by me.)

- this is NOT a joke.
Read more!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

so you thought PMS was only for girls?

yeah, yeah. i know...that last one was pathetic. but sometimes a guy's just gotta vent, ya know? chalk it up to PMS, Pitying My Self. (no offense intended to those of you who suffer from the real thing.)

i called it *keepin' it real* because depression and dysfunction are real parts of life and it just seems disingenuous to always appear flippant or upbeat. still, i prefer irony and humor and ideas to the ugly stuff.

i am (we all are) some of each.

OK. with that said and outta the way, i hope you'll check out the HOTD and some other *interesting* pictures after the jump...

psst. come back later for the rest of it. after the Packers win by 7 over the Cowboys.
(i was wrong. the cowboys won by 10.)

but in an equally unimportant vein...


apparently, in 1968 airline hostesses wore helmets "to protect their hairdos."
(yes, they were called hostesses, or stewardesses back then. i'm not makin' this stuff up.)


no doubt those helmets were useful because...they (the "flight attendants," betsy)
seem to have spent time lounging in jet engine exhausts???

speaking of stewardesses... wasn't it Southwest Airlines that recently tried to bar a passenger for wearing a miniskirt on a flight?

(a 50 year old Southwest Airline promo photo.)

and here's a a 35 year old SW Airlines ad video!

11 seconds of hostesses in hot pants!!!:

speaking of airline flight amenitiies... when was the last time you saw something like this?

and speaking of HatsOTD!!!!!
but more importantly, "WTF?"

HOTD #6:
if she switches hands, do ya think that hat will miraculously shift to the other side???

can't we just have a laugh at ourselves?
Read more!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

keepin' it real.

i try to keep this blog fairly light hearted, but some days are better than others.

some days just flat out make me feel like an alien in my own skin.

you ever feel like that?

i went to a couple of job interviews today. i think it's safe to say they didn't go so well.
TMI? tough.
sometimes angst happens. besides, it's my freakin' blog.

went to see mom afterwards. we sat and visited for a while. she soon dozed off sitting up in her chair. i read for a while. she snored and woke up occasionally. the truth is, i was grateful for the down time.

an hour or so later i began to wonder... "huh. is she sleeping well at night? is this an incipient sign of the dreaded next stage of this awful disease we call alzheimer's?"
i literally shuddered.

recently i've noticed, without being fully aware before today, she sleeps more during the day. how well will i deal with the latter stages so sure to come? it's coming full steam and head on, isn't it.

i'm not prepared, but i'm not afraid of you.
what will be, will be.
i'm not angry, but i admit i hate you, AD.
sometimes i joke that you are a jealous monster. jealous that you have no mind of your own and take it out on others by stripping them of their own minds.
still, i know you're nothing more or less than an irrevocable chemical process and not a *you* capable of listening or caring, but please, i wish you'd leave-my-mother-alone!

shit. i can barely deal with my own measly problems.

once upon a time i pretended i was gonna ask amy sedaris to marry me. hahahahaha. i once had a vintage 1961 rolls royce and traded it in on a 1922 tractor.

i'm a master at one thing. screwing up.

heck, i've fucked up a 20 year marriage, built and single-handedly self destructed more than one enviable avocation, written and nixed over 35,000 words in a feeble attempt to write a novel. i've been known to mess up, and sometimes give up, way too easily. way too many times. and that scares the holy bejeebers out of me. i'm afraid of me. i'm pretty sure Mumblecrust would laugh out loud to hear me whine, but i know he'd understand these disjointed ramblings and even understand my fear.

i also figure he'd give me a much deserved swift kick in the butt for it.

Rivers flow backwards, valleys are high...mountains are level, truth is a lie...

Where is that fine line before it all breaks?...
Read more!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

again, and again... and again...and again......

when i walked into mom's room today she was in bed reading her Reminisce Magazine.
she said, "i don't know where i got it, but it's pretty interesting." i told her (again), "it came in the mail. my friend Anne sent you the subscription."

then we went through the whole *who? do i know her? i did? i don't remember that* routine. again. (i prob'ly already told that story at least once before in this blog, but i'm sorta used to repeating things.)

then we went downstairs and...

since none of the usual suspects were sitting around in any of the public areas, we went to the library/computer room. i'm starting to get fairly good at explaining what the internet is. this time i told her, "it's the world's biggest library. i betcha they even have reminisce magazine."

we've looked at their web site several times in the past, but she was just as surprised and amazed as ever. again. i told her we were *cruising the intornet.* she thought that was funny.
a few minutes later she laughed out loud as she read, "I CAN’T STAND oatmeal," then proceeded to tell me, in great detail, a story about hating oatmeal when she was a little girl.

after reading a short article that mentioned sitting on stools at a soda fountain, mom waxed on about going to the Highland Park Pharmacy back in the day. she recalled eating ice cream there with her parents. there were stories about her going there on dates with boys (one was my father) when she was a little older.

the next blurb on the monitor was about making homemade jam. i asked her if she ever did that. she responded by telling about visiting relatives in oklahoma as a small child. again in great detail. i interrupted her story to get her to talk about some of those long dead relatives. minutes later, when she attempted to resume her *jam making* tale, she'd totally forgotten the subject and after a couple of false starts began to tell me about sitting on the stool at the pharmacy and eating ice cream. again.

i was reluctant to point out her redirect, but i'm glad i did because she laughed at herself and was able to get back to the jam story. (i rate the ability to laugh at one's self higher than a kite can fly.)

if there's a point to this post, it's to recommend the magazine for any of you caring for an elder who still has the cognitive skills to reminisce. it works. even if you have to read it to them. and all the articles are sent in by readers.

thanks (again) Anne.

[most of anne's posts are just hilarious, but here's a link to one that shows another reason to love her. (do yourself a favor and read it.)]


something else pretty cool happened while we were online today.

an old lady and gentleman came into the room. they were strangers to us. turns out Floy is a new resident at VT. she's 89 years old and quite frail. her little brother John is still spry in his early 80s. John was pleased to see there was a computer in the building and mentioned a You Tube video he'd found that Floy might enjoy.

this is it:

John told us Floy had played that piece on WRR radio in 1937.

holy moly. on RADIO! played it LIVE! 70 years ago...that is so cool.

Floy remembered doing so, but said she'd need the sheet music to play it now. i told them there was a piano just outside the library if she ever wanted to play. she looked kinda dismayed and mumbled something. i felt terrible for suggesting it.

a few minutes later we heard the introduction to Mendelssohn's Rondo Capriccioso out in the solarium. it was all Floy could remember.
it was sublime.
Read more!

little known fact of the day:

when i was about 2 or 3 years old, my sisters had their own lawn care business.

(what were our parents thinking?!)

Read more!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

S(?)OTD, multiple WOTDs, and much much more silliness.

a WOTD (word of the day) feed i subscribe to featured what i found to be a very apropos thanksgiving day word on Thanksgiving Day:
Deipnosophist - one skilled in table talk.

the following 3 days' words were equally *thanksgivingish.* well, at least in my imagination they were:

(fri) Postprandial - happening or done after a meal.
(sat) Somniferous - causing or inducing sleep.
(sun) Recumbent - reclining; lying down.

coincidence?! I think not…no, in one way or another those words are definitely all related to the gluttonous thanksgiving feasts we enjoy with family and friends at this time of year. if we're lucky.

ok. but why did those words make me think of a freakin' christmas carol? and why did i rewrite the carol into an ode to thanksgiving???
more importantly, what in the cornbread hell is an SOTD?

some answers to these very important questions and TG pics after the break...

ya know that christmas carol "O Tannenbaum"? you know...the one about a christmas tree? the one with a thousand english translations? sure you do. i bet you even know the tune.

well, here's one version and following each verse is a really bad, but brand spankin' new thanksgiving version using the above Words Of The Day...(hint: it's a sing-along. don't be a stick-in-the-mud, just do it.)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us.
They’re green when summer days are bright,
They’re green when winter snow is white.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
O Turkey Day, O Turkey Day,
The food was so delicious.
O Turkey Day, O Turkey Day,
Obese you try to make us.
Too busy ea...ting pie were we,
To practice our... deipnosophy.
O Turkey Day, O Turkey Day,
Thy sandwiches, somniferous!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!
Not only in the summertime,
But even in winter is thy prime.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!

O turkey day, o turkey day,
We must get recumbent!
O turkey day, o turkey day,
We pray mom’s not somnambulant!
Cuz now we nee...d our naptime,
(well, after pu...mpkin pie time.)
O Turkey Day, O Turkey Day,
Postprandial snooze, incumbent.

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
How oft at Christmas tide the sight,
O green fir tree, gives us delight!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
O turkey day, o turkey day,
I've got a tummy ache fer sure!
O turkey day, o turkey day,
I hope that couch does hold the cure!
When I wake u...p I’ll be all right,
(you’re not to for my plight.)
O Turkey Day, O Turkey Day,
Your grub was such a pleasure!

now, if that wasn't dumb enough for ya, check out these pictures from the inspiration...

the 2 most awesome people i know and their grandmom...

where are all the pics of the delicious food my sister and the rest of them made??

i thought i had pics of the tofu turkey shaped like a turkey and the vegetarian stuffing and the vegetarian jello salad and all the smoked meats for us carnivores, but all i can find are these from our wednesday evening meal. (whoever made the broccoli deserves a prize.)

meh. obviously i was too busy eating to bother with pictures. so i guess you'll just have to imagine the rest of it.

jalapeno poppers and jamaican jerk empanadas...YUM! YUM! (and that's just MY plate!)

*just* brisket...

2 more of mom...

(funny story: see the dishwasher behind her? mom made it her job to do all the dishes. sister will prob'ly Never find all of it. so far, i suppose 1/4 of the siverware is still missing. on top of that, she did the last load with Armstrong Floor Wax instead of dish washin' soap! you gotta believe me when i tell ya, those are some SHIIINY dishes. hahahahahahahahaha)

this last one shows her genuine little smile...

shoot, if i had it to do all over again, i wouldn't trade her for drew barrymore.


oh wait! i promised y'all the S(weater) O' The Day, didn't i?

my son works in a library. apparently it's sorta cold in there even when it's hot outside. so, he told his co-workers if they'd bring him a sweater he'd wear it.
this is what they brought him...

behold: the world's worst lady's sweater ever worn by a man...

(Sean with 2 of his nieces.)

i'm pretty sure they get their sense of humor from their mom.

Read more!

Friday, November 23, 2007

HOTD and Turkey Day.

just returned from the holiday extravaganza otherwise known as turkey day. there were 4 generations of us, 18 people in all. wonderful food and fun galore, and even snow!!! on the 2 hour drive back, mom mostly nodded off while i listened to NPR.

at one point the radio told me 46 million turkeys were roasted this week.

before i could register the magnitude of that number, my *sleeping* mom poked me and said, "that's a lot of turkeys!"


we attempted to calculate how many smoked, how many deep fried, and how many tofu turkeys should be added to that number, but she drifted off again.

i spent the rest of the drive thinking about how many sandwiches = 4.6x10 to the 7th turkeys... times maybe 5 or 20 people per turkey... times approximately 3 or 7 turkey sammiches per person...
(and the exact answer is: "a whole fuckin' bunch.")

if i get around to it i'll write about how we wore out our welcome after the jump... Read more!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"how do you remember that?"

(pretty often, mom and i'll be talking about some obvious or even seminal detail from her past and she'll ask me that question. i can only smile and shrug.)

with the catfish story fresh in mind (see previous post), i thought i'd recount it to mom today. when i got to the part about finally getting the nerve up to hold that fish...SHE FINISHED THE FREAKIN' STORY FOR ME!

she couldn't recall our friends' house on the blanco river that we spent a week in every summer for a dozen or so years, or where it was or when it was, but she remembered that single incident vividly. (apparently, being woken up one morning almost 50 years ago by me and a catfish kicks dr. alzheimer's ass. HAHAHAHAHA, take THAT, doc!)

"how do you remember that?" i asked.
she made a face, shrugged, and said, "well, why wouldn't i?"

i could only shrug my shoulders and laugh. Read more!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

would you like to dance? updated w/ short essay and new pics

(HOTD above, to the right.)

When I was about 9 or 10 I caught a big ol' catfish on my trot line. It was 27” long as i recall. Way more than half as “long” as I was at the time. (feel free to apply the exaggeration factor for fish stories here.)
Having been poked many times before by more than my share of much smaller catfish, I was kinda scared of the thing. I’m told I said, “I sure am lucky, but I sure don’t like it.”

[i don't remember saying that, but i do remember something else about the experience. it was prob'ly about 5 in the morning. when i finally had that sucker subdued (ie: let him flop around 'til he was dead and wrangled onto a stringer), i took him into where my mom was still sleeping, held it up in front of her face, and woke her up. hahahahahaaha! (i think my dad musta put me up to that.)]

Anyway, that’s pretty much mom’s attitude about where she lives now.

Vickery Towers is a good environment and she knows "she sure is lucky" to be there, for lots and lots of reasons, but then again there’s the confinement aspect, the lack of freedom to leave the Alzheimer’s unit without an escort, and well... “she sure don’t like” some of it.

for the rest of the story and new pics...

One of the many good things about VT is the weekly entertainment they provide for residents. As chronicled in earlier posts within this blog, they include such acts as a belly dancer, an old ladies' drill team with plungers, lots of corny patriotic programs, and a seemingly endless string of Elvis impersonators. (links to posts in red.)

Last Friday I was happily surprised by the appearance of a real musician. He was a great guitarist and keyboard player. He had a decent tenor voice, and his song selection was fun and quite different from most who perform at these soirees. For example: Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” and a boatload of lively Latin numbers.

There is one thing all these entertainers seem to have in common. Regardless of their talent level, personal style, or art form, they all show, without effort, a sincere appreciation for the old folks in their audience. I’m always amazed and warmed when I go up to thank them afterwards. Without exception, they always say something like, “It’s my pleasure. I like these folks. I really enjoy doing these gigs.”

The same can be said for Linda, the new director of the Alzheimer’s unit, and many of her aides. They’re truly interested in the residents. You can tell they really like and care about them.
One day recently I thanked Danisha (pictured below) for the way she dealt with the people in her care and you know she said?

“There’s no need to thank me. I really enjoy what I do.”

And to that I say, “Mom, you sure are lucky, and I sure as cornbread hell do like it.”

we've got live, c'mon...

(click on any pic, above or below, to better catch their expressions.)

yeah, that's it...

three cheers for Linda, Olita, and Mary!


this picture was taken several years before the little story recounted in the prelude to this post, but in the exact same location.

my dad and i are on a mission: we're checkin' our trot line on the blanco river. good times.

Read more!

Monday, November 12, 2007

(updated) SOTD / FOTD / HOTD

Funny Of The Day (check out the guy on the far right.)

Hat Of The Day (my dad, the bee keeper. click to enlarge.)

update: Story Of The Day (sometimes alzheimer's is fun)...AFTER the CUT.

“One ringy-dingy. Two ringy-dingy. Hello, have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?” that's Ernestine, the snorting telephone operator from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.

I’m sure Ernestine could have given a good share of telemarketers a run for their obnoxious money in her day, and i’ve heard some pretty funny telemarketing foils since then; like answering machines set to repeat the same question over and over, or that holler at and threaten the caller.
One of the funniest involves implicating the caller in the recent *murder* of the call-ee.

But my mom’s got ‘em all beat. (does too!) and she wasn’t even trying...

Here’s a small portion of a mind boggling conversation I recently heard her having with a very hungry, and presumably both patient and frustrated, telemarketer.

The Best Telemarketing Antidote, Ever

[I can hear a man’s voice and its changing tone, but not his words. The following is some of what I heard mom say in reply.]

“I don’t know because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re trying to get me to do.”
“too old to tell.”
“more than 85.”
“no I’m not married.”
“bring a friend? where?”
"what vacation?"
"you did? when?"
“I’m not sure I understand what you just said.”
“you say you’re going to send me something?”
“look for it? look for...what?
”I don’t even know where my mailbox is.”
“what are you going to send me, again?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
"what are you talking about, now?"
“a vacation!?”
“now why are you giving me this free vacation?”
“do you work for a company?”
“what are you saying?”
“I’ve never heard of that.”
"what vacation?"
“I don’t understand a word you’re saying.”

The conversation lasted a good ten minutes so you know there were plenty more I-don’t-understand-a-word-you’re-sayings than I described and more "what?"s than you can shake a stick at. My guess is, the guy on the other end probably got credit for a successful call or something, but he sure as hell had to work for that one.

I was holding back laughing the whole time, but when she finally got off the phone I flat lost it. Then we both started laughing so hard we were snorting and tearing up.

Who needs the no call list with such fun entertainment to be had?
Read more!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

how you doin'? well...

last friday on my way up to see mom i ran into Mr. Stockdale, a man from her church. he'd seen her at church just the night before at something they call Thursday Night Live, for dinner and entertainment and socializing. he went on and on about how well she was doing.

as i rode the elevator upstairs i marveled at his impression and the relative nature of "doing well."

i handed mom her mail. one piece was a card from the church. she didn't recognize the group that sent it, "Care Buddies," even though she was a member of the group for years. in the conversation that followed she mentioned, "it's been so long since i've been to Skillman (church) i can't really remember too much about it." Well...

HOTD and Elvis after the cut.

i decided to go to happy hour with her. i figured it was about time to catch up on the latest bad elvis impersonator. i was happily surprised.

no, the entertainment was indeed yet another elvis. the surprise was, this one was GOOD.

this is ms. olita and her baby. i've only seen her once without it.

one of my favorite old geezers, and ironically, one of the few whose name i don't know. i've only seen him once without a fedora. this is his fall model.

Read more!