Thursday, December 31, 2009

Random Year-End Musings

I was going to do a comprehensive year-end post, but I have no motivation. So instead I think I'll live up to the name of the blog and do some random musings.

1. My poinsettia is not yet quite this dead. But it's not at all well.

2. My black lab has horrible gas today. I know it is not polite to share this, but as anyone who's had a black lab knows, when they have bad gas it's kind of hard to focus on anything else.

3. Every once in a rare while I will find myself able to capture a moment or an event head on by writing about it. It's not that the writing is great; it's just that I will reread it months later and think, "Yes. That's how it was." This was that kind of post -- the one about the night I discovered that my son had cancer.

4. Goal #1 for the New Year: Figure out how to maneuver around the very large drum set that has taken over my sewing room so I can do some quilting again this year. Sub-goal 1A: Write up and post a step-by-step photograph session on the making of a Seattle Streets quilt, which people have been asking for since I designed it three years ago.

5. It is taking every ounce of my self-control to NOT got to YouTube and search out more of the tragedy that is HR PufnStuf. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!

Actually, I know what is wrong with me. This has to be what it feels like when you have repressed memories, and you start to get them back, and you know it's going to be really traumatic to recover them but you just have to go there anyway.

This is like the bad 70s TV equivalent.

(Somebody please stop me before I PARTRIDGE FAMILY!)

6. Seriously, if anybody knows a cure for labrador gas, I will be your Best Friend Forever. I am not kidding.

7. Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Not Posting This to Give You Nightmares, but Merely as an Anti-Drug Precautionary Tale

So earlier today I saw something that referred to there being no rhyme for "orange." This set off little, tinkly memory bells in my brain ("This is not correct!"), which caused me to go to Google. Which led me to this:

Oh. Dear. Lord.

Somehow the many passing years and a blessed abilty to block things from my memory had allowed me to forget HR Pufnstuf. (Seventeen episodes made, airing over and over and over on Saturday mornings from 1969 t 1971.) But now it has all come rushing back.

The puppet-y things. The Golden Flute. The villain with the perfect, classic name of "Witchiepoo."

(Yes, Witchiepoo.)

Sadly, this is not as bad as it gets. If you're really in a masochistic mood, be sure to stop by and watch the intro.

(In my defense, I was eight years old and had a mad crush on Jack Wild, who was also the Artful Dodger in the movie "Oliver!" Because, y'know, who wouldn't? He later died of oral cancer which was probably linked to alcohol and tobacco abuse. Probably used to escape the PufnStuf flashbacks. RIP, Jack. A moment of silence, please.)

Okay, now we can move on. Because there's more!

After catching the YouTube bits, I was so flabbergasted that this actually made it to TV that I had to head to Wikipedia to find the details. Apparently this show was quite scandalous in its day because the conservatives thought that there were...brace yourself... Drug references.

But that's not the only thing that will make you go Hmmm. Again, there's more! First, the Wikipedia entry is really, really long. Which means that there really are people out there whose lives are so empty that they must spend them filling in the Wiki details for shows like HR PufnStuf. (Says the woman who has spent more time than is healthy updating soccer teams' Wiki records.)

Second, the Wiki entry includes a long section on "Plot" (no, really) which includes sentences like these:

Jimmy had been lured to the island with his friend, a talking flute named Freddy, by a magic boat which promised adventures across the sea. The boat was actually owned and controlled by a wicked witch named Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo (played by Billie Hayes) who rode on a broomstick-like vehicle called the Vroom Broom.


But the best part comes under the section, "Claims of Drug References."

The Krofft brothers have responded in several interviews to popular beliefs that subtle drug references existed in the show. [...] Pufnstuf has quotes like "Whoa dude!" and other "hippie" slang words.

(The quotes around the word "hippie" made me giggle.)

Finally, creator Marty Krofft addressed the issue head on:

We've heard that for 35 years. We did not intentionally do anything related to drugs in the story. People thought we were on drugs. You can't do good television while on drugs. People never believe you when you say that, but you can't.

Waitwaitwait. You can't do good television while on drugs?

Then I think the question is still open to debate.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009 Reflections, Part 2

We spent Christmas weekend down at the coast with my husband's relatives -- 18 of us in all. Fun time.

My daughter forgot to pack pants of any sort, so on the 26th we headed up to the strip mall that sells beach-y stuff. You know, like saltwater taffy (which, by the way, is NOT made of saltwater -- try to suppress your shock and disappointment), shell-related mementos, and beach apparel, which, given our icy-cold Washington waters, means "sweatshirts and sweat pants."

So we grabbed some sweat pants for her, along with some (non)saltwater taffy. As we were checking out, I noticed that on the side of the cash register were little refrigerator magnets.

Magnet #1: Footprints in the Sand

Magnet #2 (to the immediate left of Magnet #1): The recipe for the cocktail "Sex on the Beach."

I think my brain just exploded.

P.S. Learn from my mistakes. If you do a Google Image Search for "Sex on the Beach"? I highly recommend adding the word "cocktail." Just fyi.

P.P.S. Upon rereading this post, I must say that when I state, "My daughter forgot to pack pants of any sort," I mean that she wore a skirt the first day. Just feeling a need to clarify.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Reflections, #1

First reflection on Christmas 2009:

Now that my oldest two are kind of on their own and responsible for their own personal care products, every Christmas they get a "care package" with things like shampoo, toothpaste and bandaids -- things that they would otherwise have to buy for themselves.

On Christmas morning the older son, whose post-chemo hair is now approximately 1/4" long, opens the shampoo. With his typical dry, understated demeanor, he says:

"Oh, great. I'm starting to need this again."

Merry Christmas. It has been a year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Bumper Sticker Would Jesus Choose?

I was out Christmas shopping today when I saw the following bumper sticker:

"Practice Compassion"

I found it quite sad that odds were that this person was probably not a Christian, at least of the self-proclaimed, chest-thumping, go-tell-it-on-a-mountain variety.

Kind of funny. Because if Jesus had a bumper?

I'm pretty sure this would be the sticker he'd choose.

Practice compassion, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Letter to Senator Ben Nelson, who is Grandstanding to Hold Up Healthcare Reform

This is the letter I just sent to Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, who is willing to keep any form of healthcare from passing just so he can grandstand on the abortion issue. If you would like to contact Senator Nelson to tell him how he is affecting you and/or the people you love, here is the address.

Dear Sen. Nelson,

My son was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year at the age of 20. Fortunately he is a fulltime student who was able to stay on our health insurance because he was able to get his surgery and chemo treatment during summer and not drop out of school.

Unfortunately he can be on our coverage for only 18 more months. After that he will be unable to get coverage on his own due to this preexisting condition.

It is vital that he continue to receive follow-up scans for the next five years, (not to mention receiving other health care, given that chemo can cause later complications) but this will be extremely difficult without coverage unless our country gets the healthcare reform it deserves. Healthcare reform which you are personally holding up.

In other words, my smart, funny, ferociously intelligent son could be killed by your selfish, pigheaded intransigence.

Thank you very much.

P.S. I find it supremely ironic that he's willing to allow people with pre-existing conditions to die in the name of being pro-life.

Irony much, Ben?

When Spam Brings the Entertainment

Got the following in my email today. Not at my personal email address, but at the one for the soccer website I write for. And unlike most of my spam, it didn't come to both me and "my boys," the young men who write on the site with me; it just came to me, the old mom.

Not quite sure how to feel about this.

(Actual email is in regular type. My thoughts are in bolded italics.)

Happy Hempdays! (Wow. Creative. Did you make that up yourself?)

[website name] Wholesale Headshop - Pipes, Bongs, Bubblers, Grinders, all the smoking tools you need! (That's good. Because, y'know, I was running low. Also, college may have given me a passing ability to recognize a 'pipe' and/or a 'bong,' but what the heck are a 'bubbler' and a 'grinder'? Enquiring minds want to know!)

December 17th, 2009: Shipping fees slashed by 40% !! (Whew. Because heaven knows we don't want to waste the limited funds I have for this kind of stuff on shipping and handling.)

Only 2 weeks left to use promo code "crazydeal" and save 20% on your order! (ends Dec. 31st) (Tis the season.)

Check out our popular new Cobalt Blue glass by entering "cobalt" in the search bar at [link to website.] (Funniest thing is, I'm a sucker for cobalt blue glass anything -- wine glasses, decorative bowls.... I almost clicked on the link. Then I remembered I don't know how to clear my own search history.)

Glass Peanuts for $2.84 each in bundles of 7 and Inside-out Peanuts for $5.70 each in bundles of 7 using the "crazydeal" promo code (ends Dec. 31st) (Umm...I didn't think I was naive, but what the heck is a "glass peanut," anyway? Must...not...)

Why Buy Wholesale From [company name]?
1. Over 300 products in stock and counting!
2. We beat every competitor's price by far! (Visualizing comparison shopping...)
3. No minimum order requirement! (Again, whew! I hate the companies that ding you 'cause you only want to buy a single grinder.)
4. No tax ID required! (Giggle.)
5. Secure shipping with FREE insurance! (Yet again, whew! Because, when these things arrive broken, it really ticks me off.)

Whoa, dudes. Thanks for the spam. Wait. Did somebody say Spam? LOVE Spam. 'Specially in scrambled eggs. Or with pasta. Followed up by chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Wait, what were we talking about again?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things You Don't Say Every Day: A Fly Died Today on my Toilet Paper Roll

So this morning I walked into the bathroom and saw...

A fly. Just sitting on my roll of toilet paper.

I walked over and waved my hand at him to get him to fly away, and... No. He didn't move.

Turns out he was dead. He had flown into my bathroom, landed on the toilet paper roll and expired. I had to remove the TP from the dispenser thingie and shake him off into the garbage to get rid of him.

I'm pretty sure this is a sign of the Apocalypse.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Speaking of Favorite Christmas Music

This is Emerald City Voices, created by my daughter and her friends after they kind of outgrew the youth choir they grew up in. (My daughter is on the far right.) First we have them performing "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies" at Meany Hall this weekend:

And next we have them at last year's Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest, competing for "Most Creative." They won. :-)

Yes, I'm proud. They sound even better in person and have earned close to $2,000 this season for things like music, or a recording fee, or next year's Figgy Pudding charity entry fee.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Here's Why I Love Seattle

Here's why I love my beloved city:

Best Sellers Nationwide, as reported by Publisher's Weekly:

1. Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin

On the other hand, Best Seller on the local scene, at Fremont Place Books:

1. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan by Greg Mortenson

I can tell ya right now which crowd I'd rather hang out with.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why I Haven't Been to Prison in Awhile

I haven't been to prison in awhile. A couple of years, I think.

For some people this would be a good thing. For me, not so much.

I've been involved in prison ministry in one way or another off and on since 1992. If you've never been, all I can tell you is that it's one of the most powerful things I've ever experienced -- a time when you can believe that you are really, truly in touch with something bigger than yourself.

Statistics have shown, in the past, that prisoners who get involved in a faith community like ours are substantially less likely to reoffend. When you go into prison as a religious volunteer, you are giving them a tangible gift, and receiving one yourself as well.

Problem is, for me, that I'm no longer as certain of what that gift is, or whether it's still one I am comfortable giving.

I think it started with preemptive war, i.e. war against a counry which had done nothing against us. I saw the photos of the children and the parents we'd blown up -- in order to get at a leader who had nothing to do with 9/11 and no discernible connection to Islamic terrorism -- and I was ashamed. But what I was most ashamed about was that people were justifying this in the name of Christ.

It's only gotten worse since then.

I want my faith back. I want to be able to believe again wholeheartedly in a just and loving God.

I want to go back to prison.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Christmas Song of the Season, and My Plan to Reclaim My Christian Faith from the Politics and People Who've Stolen It

In past years, I've posted my favorite Christmas songs. This year is no different. Here it is. Dave Matthews, "Christmas Song."

Father up above
why in all this hatred
do you fill us up with love?

Those are the words for liberal Christians in these days of so much hate and anger, when Christian faith is tied so closely to one political party, in opposition to so many of the things Christ wanted in this world.

I've decided, today, that I'm going to begin a journey: the journey to reclaim my faith from the people who have made the decision that faith must be politicized, and especially that it must be politicized in a rightwing kind of way.

I can't accept that, and I refuse to relinquish my faith just because these people say I am wrong.

Tis the season. The journey starts today.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Joys of Non-Conform-ity

I was at church the other day, down in the kitchen, heating up my cold latte in the microwave. My eyes fell on the rubber gloves they keep there for purposes of safe food preparation.

The name on the glove box?


Like a command.

Just reading it made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I am not kidding.

It's a good thing I don't live in a subservient-woman society. Is all I can say.