When you don’t want to mince words

3 Comments

sure_logoIt is no secret that I love words.  I like to articulate my responses in a way that is concise without being too verbose, but I do like to phrase my answers in a meaningful way – especially if I am replying to a significantly valuable question.  I want people to know I have truly ingested the words they have spoken and taken the time to formulate a well-constructed response.

But there are those less wordy than I, those who choose to avoid the commitment of a lengthy answer and spare any unwarranted emotion by responding with a simple, one-word comment.  While that single word may convey the necessary feedback to the initial query, sometimes the person posing the question is left thinking that the responder cannot be bothered to take the time to formulate a proper retort.

Upon chatting with a friend, he told his tale of how he had fallen victim to the easy out of a one-word answer.   He had received a rather detailed text and he simply wrote back “Sure”.  After I had admonished him for his complete avoidance of all other words in the English language, we both had a good laugh.

He was incensed by his own lack of effort and every time he repeated the word ‘sure’, we laughed even more.  After we had expelled all the laughter we could, obviously at his expense, he thought it would make a great idea for a blog post and asked if I would be able to write about it.  I said the only thing I could think of – “sure”.

(image credit)

 

A new way to hitch a ride

6 Comments

IMG_1903[1]

For those unfamiliar with the bird in the above picture, this seemingly benign creature is a Black-Capped Chickadee.  They are tiny in stature and extremely friendly once a level of trust has been developed.  I would spend countless hours as a child sitting outside on our deck with a handful of sunflowers seeds charming these little creatures to land on my hand.  I would marvel at the heat produced by their tiny claws as they gripped my fingers and admire their courage to trust a human feeder.

I became much smarter as time went on and removed the actual bird feeder altogether.  I was the only source of food for these feathered friends and slowly became the Chickadee Whisperer.  These beautiful little birds would jockey for positions on my outstretched hands and graze on the seeds that I willingly provided.  More often than not, I would have to leave my perch to fill the supply of food but they were anxiously fluttering around the deck awaiting my return.

On one particular occasion, I had gone inside to replenish the supply of seeds and had unwittingly left the screen door wide open.  One lone Chickadee flew into the house through the open door and, like a Kamikaze pilot on a suicide mission, thrust itself straight into our living room and landed squarely between the shoulder blades of our long-haired Lhasa Apso, Misty.  She had been sound asleep on the couch but the shock of having a foreign object entangled in her fur was immediate and Misty leapt off the couch to shake the intruder loose.  The more she shook, the stronger the bird held to her hair.

Not knowing which creature was more terrified, I watched Misty go from disbelief to panic in milliseconds.  As Misty began  thrashing like a bull being ridden in a rodeo, the bird held fast.  The movie 8-Seconds had nothing on this bird.  It was going for the World Record and the seconds began to tick on the clock.  Misty, realizing that a mere shaking of her shoulders was unsuccessful, jumped off the couch, taking off like a shot into a full run.  She lapped around the circuit from living room to kitchen to dining room and the chickadee hung on for dear life, riding that poor Lhasa Apso like it was going for Gold in the Olympics.  (I had to stop writing for a moment because I’m laughing too hard to type)

If you’ve ever watched a horse race and really concentrated on the jockey’s hands on the reins and position on the horse – this is what the poor Chickadee looked like riding my dog through the house.  I made vain attempts to catch the dog so we could rectify this unsettling but extremely hilarious chain of events but I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to focus on the task at hand.

After I finally caught up with the dog there was a great deal of panting.  I was panting trying to catch my breath after laughing so hard.  The dog was panting because she was probably moments away from having a stroke, and the bird was even panting – perhaps thinking a few more seconds would have garnered that coveted position in the Guinness Book of World Records.

With a great deal of wrestling, we finally held the dog still long enough to cut the hair in the death-grip of the birds feet and finally took that poor Chickadee back outside to give it the freedom it so rightly deserved.  World record or not, that was one hell of a ride!  After this scene, that could only be described as something from a movie, my mother and I both had to change our pants.  It will live as one of the most cherished memories of my childhood and I think about that rodeo ride every time a Chickadee graces my feeder.

What is your funniest childhood memory?

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…..

6 Comments

I may not always follow the letter of the law when it comes to my health.  I have been guilty of eating things that are more processed than my hair after it has been freshly dyed.  I have been known to imbibe in some alcoholic beverages which is frowned on….depending on which new study you read.  And I have been culpable of using over-the-counter nasal sprays that wreak havoc on my blood pressure.

Thankfully I am not a hypochondriac and I only take up space in my doctor’s office when I truly have a medical issue or need a prescription refilled.  The moments are few and far between that I will put myself through the painstaking process of arriving considerately early at the office, getting in exceedingly late for my scheduled appointment and then feeling like I am taking up too much of my physician’s time by asking questions.

It took me a while to warm up to my doctor’s “desk-side” manner but I truly appreciate the fact that she does not sugar-coat her curative banter.  I have had my share of real health issues that warranted a trip to the hallowed dominion of her office and I came out wondering if there were a few chapters in her medical books that other doctors had not been privileged enough to read.

I had a severe case of Pneumonia two years ago that could have possibly been diagnosed as a lung infection.  I had been so sick that I purposely subjected myself to a walk-in clinic…..in the middle of the afternoon…….on a Saturday.  After being prescribed a drug that made me feel like I had been chronically licking a tire-iron for a week, I made an appointment to follow up with my doctor.

hippocratic oath

(image credit)

I was given the good news that the intensely strong medication had its desired effect and my lungs sounded relatively normal.  During the course of my regaling her with my intermittent trips to the office while sick with Pneumonia she casually expressed a few primitive medical terms, obviously from the book that only she received in med school.

The first archaic phrase was uttered and I was called an “idiot”.  This is a much shorter version of the 19th Century diagnosis that was identified as a “profound intellectual disability”.

Approaching with caution, I summoned up the courage to then mention the truthful number of times I had been to the office, and out in public, during my illness and I was then diagnosed as “stupid”.  I have since examined an alternate medical journal a little more closely and found that analysis of my symptoms to be defined as Fecal Encephalopathy which, roughly translated, means “shit for brains”.

I have always held on to the hope that my doctor has remained on the cutting edge of technology, that she is one of the few rural doctors that truly has her finger on the pulse of modern medicine.  What I had not prepared myself for was the fact that she was reverting back to honest medicine and just calling a spade a spade.

A womb with a view

9 Comments

For those about to panic and skip by this blog, this is not a collection of words about childbirth.  This musing is about Magnetic Resonance Imaging or, on an alphabetical scale, an MRI.

I had reason to have an MRI on my knee two years ago after it had swelled to the size of a slightly deflated football.  In hindsight I should have contacted Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but instead I opted for the less challenging task of calling my doctor.  After  her skillful medical prodding determined I was not a hypochondriac, I was placed on a waiting list for an experience I am hoping to forget but probably never will.

I am not new to hospital procedures.  I have had my fair share of expensive medical equipment scan parts of my body that only a skilled technician should see.  I just regaled a few friends with this tale about how a mammogram and an ultrasound have been the cause of many laughs.  (If you need a good laugh, click on the link.  It’s a really good story).  But having an MRI is an experience like no other when you are prone to enjoy open spaces and breathing normally.

I had done my best to mentally prepare for what I assumed was similar to a Sensory Deprivation Chamber.  I arrived early to undertake the task of filling out reams of paperwork which only made my pulse race faster than it already had been.  I dressed myself in the latest hospital fashion and was led to the room where I would spend the next 45 minutes trapped in a small vessel that made up for its size with its sound.

mri-10

(image credit)

I can only be grateful that I was not fully immersed in the tube-shaped magnet that would send pulses through the layers of my being.  My head was allowed to be free of the cage in which my body was being held hostage.  With headphones blasting horrific music and the thrum of the machine making me wish that I had chosen to be thrown from an airplane, the scan ensued.

I tried my best to close my eyes and concentrate on the disconnected notes playing on the music channel they had chosen for me.  But I am a curious sort of person and that doesn’t always bode well.  After mistakenly hallucinating for the duration of the scan,  I realized, after the torture was over, that the wall to my left was a live-action wall and that birds had been flying across the screen while I lay, coma-like, on the bed of the scanner.  I was relieved to know it was the hospital’s sick sense of humour and I was not having an aneurysm.  At the end of the process, I was birthed from the giant womb that is the MRI machine and sent, in my swaddling clothes, to the change room to retrieve the belongings that represented freedom – my clothes and my car keys.

I have a dear friend who, as of this morning, will have undergone his first of two MRI’s last night and I can only hope he weathered the first of his two storms with as much of a consequent sense of humour as I now have about my encounter.

And although it is an unpleasant experience, I do hope his womb with a view can provide answers that will help him move forward and begin to feel like himself again.

 

 

 

The things that make us laugh the most

6 Comments

toaster oven

“I do love my toaster oven though.  That’s what you need down there – heat up the meat and then toast your bun.” ~ SN

~~

That innocuous statement may seem like the least funny line you could ever imagine, confusing even if you have no context of conversation to be able to attach to that simple phrase.  But last night, that innocent message took a turn down an interesting path and led us on a journey of uncontrollable laughter in the wee hours of the morning.

What started as a discussion about a late-night kitchen raid slowly morphed into something much more amusing after I texted the above line.  It seemed to hover in cyberspace, not realizing it was soon to become the cause of a 45 minute fit of muscle spasms and tears of epic comical proportion.

He broke first.  I didn’t initially see the humour in it but, as he texted it back to me over and over and continued to laugh, I could swear I heard the faint echo of his laughter in my head.  Eventually I began to giggle because thinking of him finding such a sincere comment so funny made that comment start to seem funny to me too.  Soon the two of us had fallen over the brink and we, in our separate houses in the darkness of the early morning, laughed like idiots for almost an hour.

My ribs ached, my stomach muscles felt like they had begun to seize and my sleeve was soaked with tears that would not stop staining my cheeks and my pillowcase.  But at the end of suffering through the side effects of our mutual breakdown, I felt wonderful.  That silly string of words had made us both laugh harder than either of us have laughed in years.  It made us temporarily blind to all of the life outside of that moment, allowing us to truly enjoy an escape from reality that will forever be a memory we will both treasure.

Sometimes the things that aren’t funny really do make us laugh the most.  And if you can share that laughter with the right person, for a brief period of time, the rest of the world ceases to exist.

(image credit)

The shit really hit the fan

9 Comments

During the eight years that I have been in a relationship with my dog, she has been nothing but loving, giving and very intuitive of my desire to not scoop the poop.  I have almost three acres of land and she has been courteous enough to befoul the outskirts of my property and not defecate on the portion of greenery that I mow on a relatively frequent basis.

Today, I cleared the lawn of the remnants of chewed branches and fired up the mower for what may be the last mow of the season.  We have been enjoying a later-than-usual heat spell so mowing in November is an enjoyable treat.  I nonchalantly pushed the machine in the usual fashion, adhering to my own rules of the direction of lines in my lawn maintenance, and it happened.  The shit literally hit the fan (or the mower blades, close enough).

I hadn’t thought to look for any brown bombs on the lawn because Callaway is too gracious and too private to leave her feces in plain sight.  I silently cursed as the wafting smell of dog crap reached my nostrils and I did everything in my power not to gag.  I glanced over at the deck and Callaway was watching with a deep concern for my well-being.   There was no sense of embarrassment coming from her, so I knew the poop in question had not been produced by her.   We both glanced in the direction of the neighbor’s house and knew that the black lab from next door had left his calling card.

get off my lawn

 (image credit: quickmeme.com)

 Perhaps we should have had a few more scheduled play dates so Callaway could train Casey in the art of excrement.  At least I will be more prepared the next time I have to cut the grass and I will scan the lawn with a thermal imaging camera.  You can’t be too careful these days and, as we all know, shit happens!

They do walk among us

11 Comments

Stealthily, they weave among the crowds, always maintaining their position slightly below the radar to avoid drawing attention to themselves.   They seamlessly blend into their surroundings, appropriately smiling and nodding when they deem a response is necessary, but never actively participate in the live conversation swirling around them.  They are the oblivious – they are the relatively small number of people who just – don’t – get it.

By any standards, they would most likely maintain a moderate intelligence quotient, function well at a full-time job and perhaps even procreate to pass the torch of their DNA on to the latest members of the human gene pool.  However, in what may well be a fleeting moment of idiocy, they lose their grasp on true logic.

There are websites dedicated to this phenomenon and the stories are, not only hilarious but, astounding.  One of my true favorites, which may be a complete fallacy, or not, is a group of friends walking along a beach when one friend cries out “look at that dead bird” and his friend looks up in the sky and says, “where?”.   They do walk among us.

This post was not inspired by the nameless, faceless many who have undoubtedly experienced this factual anomaly, but by a phone call to a radio station in Fargo, ND that I had long since forgotten, until now.   If this whole call was fabricated, congratulations to the people who thought up this gem.   If was an actual call (and apparently it was authenticated as an actual call) this woman truly believes she has the answer to a safety issue for drivers.  Please be advised Fargo, ND – she walks among you. (although her name may have been changed to protect the idiot)

After being ignored by local television stations and newspapers, a woman took her cause to her local radio station.  In a very decisive and articulate argument, she was very concerned and somewhat shocked that the government transportation agencies would choose such heavily trafficked areas to post the standard issue deer crossing signs.  She firmly believes that, after obtaining their passing grades from primary school, the deer would have the wherewithal to comprehend the meaning of the sign and change their crossing patterns to coincide with the location of said signs.

In a moment in which she seems irretrievably misguided, and there were several, she had not only convinced herself but tried to convince the world at large that the deer would heed the wishes of the transportation agency and only cross at the location of the signs.  Since she has been involved in three vehicular incidents with these highly educated creatures, her argument to move the deer crossing signs closer to a school zone frightens me immensely.   How many children will she hit before the government has to relocate the school children crossing signs to a near-by freeway?

Please listen to the following and weigh in…..do you think this call is real and, if so, has she changed her name and moved to a state where the deer are just as clueless as she is?

Shrinking bladder, hidden youth

11 Comments

Gracefully getting older has its down side.  I used to enjoy interruption-free nights of unadulterated sleep but all of that has changed.  I have tried to reset my internal alarm clock but I still find myself waking, usually around 3:30 each morning, and playing the familiar game of find the bathroom in the dark.  If I have to be awake at that insane hour, I’m not going to assault my senses by turning the lights on.

sleep1 (1)

And it doesn’t matter if I have made the preemptive strike and visited the loo just before I crawl into bed for the night, the gentle reminder that I am no longer in my 20’s drags me from my slumber.  I generally lie in bed hoping the call of  nature will stop but there is no answering machine and that call just keeps ringing incessantly until I answer it.  When I finally return to bed I become a victim of my brain while my bladder falls back into its own deep sleep.

I have yet to find the switch that activates every functioning neuron in my head as soon as I wake up.  Those neurons jump into hyper-drive and begin to organize my thoughts into categories.  The first is usually work.  I go through what I expect to accomplish the next day at my job.  Those thoughts become more creative and morph into ideas for blog posts.  Thankfully I have a voice recorder on my phone so I can trap those ideas before they dissipate into the still air that I should be inhaling gently as I sleep!

I’m not sure when it happened.  I didn’t get the memo that my body was ready to start playing tricks on me.  I wasn’t prepared and had no way to defend myself from the attack.

I am going to construct a heart-felt letter to my bladder in the hope that it will rethink its nightly call and read it out loud tomorrow morning at 3:30 when I am lying in bed, wide awake, with nothing better to do!

 

 

When there is nothing left to do but laugh like an idiot

12 Comments

There are a very rare number of glimpses into a perfect juncture in time.  Those precious gifts are brought at unsuspecting moments but, when the mood catches you at the right time, laughter becomes unstoppable to the point that tears begin to roll down your cheeks,  your ribs ache and your stomach muscles become constricted.

I had one of those moments last night.  I was watching a show where an actor was doing an impression of Christopher Walken – not an easy feat but he did it with such impressive articulation it spurred me to go to YouTube to find more impersonations.

I must preface my evening’s lunacy by announcing my love for old musicals.  My Fair Lady was a favorite to watch with my parents.  It is a treasured memory of a time gone by that will remain with me throughout my life.  When our leading lady is learning proper diction, the phrase “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” is uttered continuously to help her ease out of her Cockney accent and pass as a well-bred lady.  So when I stumbled on what I thought was a depiction of Christopher Walken, this gem of humor surfaced and had me watching it over and over until I couldn’t see because I was laughing so hard.

Moments like the one I had are hard to come by.  There are so few times that we allow ourselves the reckless abandon to be able to laugh the way I did.  Life hits us with a barrage of reality and it is so difficult to give ourselves permission to be silly but those moments make it possible for us to deal with the hand that life has dealt.

Today will be a bright day for me because I go into it knowing I still have the capacity to let go, to laugh at something so inane but something that was able to break the constraints of my day-to-day existence.  I let everything else go and, just for a moment, laughter riddled my body with the kind of pain I wish I experienced more often.

Allow yourself that moment.  Give yourself permission to throw every responsibility on the back burner and just enjoy life, even if it’s only for that brief moment. These are the rare glimpses of your life that you will carry with you and the pain you will want to remember.