Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And You Thought Never Sleeping Because Your Newborn Cried All the Time was Hard. Pft.

On Friday afternoon The Child got a letter. It was a horrible letter. It basically said that due to her grades and her many discipline referrals she was on the short list of students under consideration to NOT come back to High School.


OK, we knew her grades weren't the best and summer school was a sure thing but how the H does a kid have multiple discipline referrals and this is the first the parents are hearing of it? The Spouse thought it had to be a mistake and intellectually I did, too, but holy hell! The Child was completely beside herself. (Which was the only good thing because it demonstrated how much she loves being at High School. The thought of not going back devastated her). And of course, since the letter came on Friday afternoon there was nothing we could do but stew about it for 2 days. Which I did. I was a nice juicy pot of mom stew by Monday morning. My heart was so heavy and my brain so buzzy I couldn't think to blog about it yesterday.

I called the school and the principal was in a meeting so I left a voice mail that I hoped didn't sound as freaked out as I felt. Then he didn't call back and I couldn't think straight. Plus, the VA has upgraded to Office 2007 and so my computer was buggy as a summer night in the back garden. (Show of hands: how much are we all hating Office 2007? That's what I thought). So I went shopping. Because I get to shop for work and yesterday was a good day for shopping.

I got back to the office and the phone rang and it was the principal, whose first words were, "I'm so sorry; that letter was a mistake". Thanks be to God. I mean, I knew it had to be but those words were some of the sweetest I've ever heard. We talked about the academic plan for The Child and then he emphasized that she is NOT a discipline problem, on the contrary she is a delightful kid. Then he apologized again very profusely.

I've already had friends who've expressed displeasure that such a mistake could be made. "You'd expect that from a public school," they say, "but not a private one where you're paying tons of money for the privilege of being there". Yeah, maybe. Except even people in private schools make mistakes. Tuition is supposed to guarantee a certain quality of education, not that nothing will ever go wrong with a computer. So I hold no grudges. Stuff happens, they made it right and it's all good. And frankly, it provided the sort of wake up call to The Child that no amount of haranguing from her parents could. Grades do matter. Now that she's had a taste of what it would look like if she doesn't shape up, she's determined to do her best next year. Sometimes you have to learn things like that the hard way. She's very sure she never wants to be in a situation where a letter like that could be the real thing.

Cocktails anyone?

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Just a Thought

I went to back-to-back funerals Friday and Saturday. Then The Child and I went to Creekside, my sister's house, for a family do. Because if there is one thing this weekend did it was to remind me that you can't assume people are always going to be there and you'd better make sure you took advantage of your opportunities to love on 'em in the meantime.

I love you all. Be good out there.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Had No Intention


Too easy. Too "every one will be doing it". Actually, precisely the same reason I haven't posted anything about the Monday revelations on "Jon and Kate Plus Eight". And I had thoughts. Believe me. I had 'em.

But then this thing happened.

First, I was starting dinner and The Child was listening to her music and I had to remark to her, "Dude, I gotta tell you, it makes me really happy that you have 'The Clash' on your play list".

To which she smirked. (Singing along to "Koka Kola", which, if you know the London Calling album is just way cool because it isn't even remotely a "known" Clash song. Except, you know, for people who like the Clash).

Then all a sudden she exclaims, "Michael Jackson died!?!" to which I replied, "Yeah".

And she was all freaked out and I was all, "Dude, I didn't know you even knew who Michael Jackson was" and she gave me that look; a look with which I am all too familiar; the look that said, "O. M. G. Muuu-ther...you are SOOOOOO dense".

Then she proceeded to play me her two favorite Micheal Jackson songs. Which were classics.

Then I remembered a story which I've maybe shared with you before but it bears repeating. Way back in the day I had a friend who was hanging out with some communists. It was an intellectual flirtation for her, yet another move on her rebellion against her tightly wound, highly evangelical mid-west upbringing. I went to one meeting with her and was bored out of my mind. It wasn't the content nearly so much as the fact that everyone seemed just about as dour and humorless as people can be. Well, that and the fact that the guy who ran things was pretty much a "communist youth leader" right out of central casting. But Marcia persisted with the group for a while.

One weekend she invited me to a potluck at the house some of the group shared. (Of course they did). I was none too keen but she really wanted to go so she begged. I went but only after making her promise that we'd make an appearance but as soon as I wanted to leave we'd go to a club or something and, you know, have some fun. (I figured that would take 2 seconds. A potluck full of politically correct "food" and somber commies just didn't sound like a laugh riot of a Saturday night, you know?)

We get to the house and the place is full of communists, talking earnestly about Marx and Engels. It didn't feel at all like one of those riotous scenes in "Reds", with all these brilliant people smoking and joking and simultaneously carrying on 15 different and deep conversations. But despite the inordinate amount of tofu and sprout casseroles on the table, there was some decent grub and, thankfully, alcohol. (You really need to drink if you're hanging out with communists). I was just fixin' on telling Marcia that time was up when someone put on a record. "Thriller" to be exact.

Now, the mere fact that anyone in that house owned "Thriller" was amazing enough. But what happened next was even more amazing. People started to dance. Wildly, exuberantly and with huge smiles on their faces. This was the first time I'd even seen the teeth of some of those people. The record kept playing, everyone kept dancing and it was a blast. Emma Goldman would have been proud*.

To this day I think of that night when I hear a song from "Thriller". It wasn't just an important album for Michael's career, it was an important album to a lot of very diverse groups of people. And I suppose, and this is as retrospective-y as I'm going to get, it was part of the genius of Michael Jackson. He didn't just crossover, he took everyone with him. It's sad that his bizarre and likely sick life is what overtook the press in recent years. It made it too easy to forget that Michael Jackson was a very talented man; musically brilliant, in fact. But the remembrance of that fact sure seems to be what's resonating with people today.

You're finally at peace, Michael. Thanks for the memories.

Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"

She once famously said, "If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution".


An Open Letter to My Cat

Dear Kitty,

Who's a pretty kitty? You are, you are. Yes, good girl. Oh, look at you all curled up on the table. Aren't you a pretty girl. (rubs Cat under chin until she purrs)

When Phoebe died everyone in the neighborhood was very sad. Phoebe was fierce. She single pawedly kept the vermin population at zero. When we got you we hoped you would step into that role and become an enforcer. When you started to hunt worms we thought it was a good sign. Sure, it was disgustingly gross that you'd bring the worms into the house to show us your prowess but hey, you were a young kitty. You were learning and everybody's got to start somewhere. Then The Neighbor told me that she watched you stalking and toying with a rat one day. 'Whoo hoo!' I thought. 'She's going for the big game now'.

But Kitty, you have to work on your follow through. It's not enough to catch things. If you're going to do that you have to dispatch them. With vengence. It was not cool on Tuesday, for example, when you brought a live bird into The Child's room. You woke up The Child, you freaked us both out and, frankly, that bird never did anything to you. When the poor thing looked like it had finally succumb to fright, it really freaked me out to have to pick it up (in a towel) and take it outside. And yeah, I felt like Ghandi when it snapped out of it and took wing, flying as high and far as its little wings would take it. But really. That's not how I like to start my day. I hadn't even had my coffee yet, for cryin' out loud.

And this morning? I can tell you authoritatively that Daddy was none to pleased to find a live rat in the bathtub. It's also a little disconcerting, for my own part, to wake up to the sounds of "Kill it! Kill it!".

What were you thinking? What in the world made you carry a live rat into the house, put it in the bathtub and then just sit there over it like some sort of Egyptian statue? What? Were you going to waterboard it first? American's don't torture, kitty. It's a new era. Forget any Cheneyesque notions you may have picked up. If you're going to be swift enough to catch a rat in the first place (and snaps to you for that) could you please please please take it to the next level, snap it's damn neck and leave it outside for the crows? Please?

You're a good kitty. Yes, you are. But if you're going to hunt there have GOT to be some ground rules.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Or Words to That Effect

"Do me a favor," he said last night. "Pimp my blog".

"But you never write on it anymore," I said.

"I've been writing on it lately but no one comes any more," he replied.

"Hey, publish or perish, dude. If there's one thing I've learned about blogging it's that people don't come by if there isn't new content. I've lost a ton of readers".

"Really? What's your hit count?"


"What was it at it's height?"

"Over a 100".

"Is that because you weren't writing for a while or because you were writing crap?"

"Both, I think. Point is, you lose 'em if you don't keep it up".

"Well, I only get 3 hits a day. I want more. But be subtle. I don't want it to be obvious that I asked you to pimp my blog".



Monday, June 22, 2009

Teenage Wasteland

Yesterday The Child and I went out to do a little shopping. It was one of those times when we were anything but in sync. It didn't really matter what we were talking about; I'd say something and she'd debate the point. Even when there was no debate to be had.

At one point I exclaimed, "Geez, Child, you are arguing with everything I say!"

She replied, "No, I'm not".


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Friday, June 19, 2009

My Whole Life Through

I saw this guy in concert in the '80s. (I saw everyone in concert in the '80s). As I recall, it was a great show. But of course, this is the only song I remember; pretty much because it was his only major hit ever. I suppose if you are only going to have one major hit, you want the sorta hit that keeps on hitting. It's a toe tapper and it was running through my head when I woke up and since that's pretty much how I settle on the Friday Jukebox tune, here you go.

Have a great weekend, kids.

Marshall Crenshaw "Someday Someway"


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Return Mail

Dear Poodle,

It's funny your letter should arrive when it did because the last few days all I've been thinking is a) I should really bust a move and call the Poodle or, alternatively 2) I really should look into air fare because I need a Poodle fix and January is too far away. So thanks for writing.

Poo about the quiche place. That was some damn good quiche. Plus they had that pink dressing y'all seem so sprung on. But I'm glad my dress shop is still there because I. Love. It. It kinda sucks that my favorite dress shop is in Omaha but maybe it's a good thing for my budget.

Yay about Fred. I'll cross my fingers that the next neighbor will be decent. Maybe someone with a rooster. Or a detective. That would be good. There are still mysteries which need to be gotten to the bottom of, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

That Jai Ho comment was damned funny. Laughed my ass of and then went to listen to the Pussycat Dolls.

I'm proud of you for hanging in there with the not smoking. As far as I'm concerned, bumming 2 smokes and NOT going out to get a carton (because, let's face it, that's what it would have been) is still pretty remarkable. You hang in there.

I have my "JOY" rock on my desk and think of you every day, even when I'm a slacker about other forms of communication. Can you tell I'm thinking of you? (Screws up face and concentrates very hard to send love vibes) I love you all the time, even when I can't be bothered to call. (What is it with us? Seriously?)

Please tell RoboMom 'hi' for me. She was so lovey and cute. Is your dad still a smart ass? Tell him 'hi', too. And while you're at it, would you please pass on my love to Minogue and John and Smay and all the other kids in Omaha? They were so nice to me and I miss 'em all. But I miss you the most of all because you're my Poodle.

I have to get in the shower now. I hope I don't drop any stone babies.

Love you like my luggage. I'll call soon. Promise.



P.S. I tried to link your letter so this post wouldn't seem completely random but it wasn't working and, as I said, I've got to get in the shower so I guess we risk everyone being confused. Do we care? I didn't think so. Kiss kiss.


Frowny Face

Sprinkled throughout the pages of this blog are references to my friends David and Stina. They are some of our dearest friends and we've spent many golden hours with them over the years. Well, yesterday Stina's mother passed away so now they are going through some leaden hours and their sorrow is really the only thing on my mind today.

Please say a prayer for them all, especially Stina and her dad, if you're inclined that way.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Neighborhood Watch

Last night a little justice got served up in the 'hood.

One of our neighbors had just left, ironically, a strategy meeting with a police captain only to see someone who didn't belong in the neighborhood. Let me be clear: this is an old, established neighborhood. We have folks who grew up here and now are living next door to their parents raising their own families. After 12 years here, we're still the new kids. So if someone looks like he or she doesn't belong, we know. Plus, with all the nonesense lately, most of us are in a "call 911 first and ask questions later" sort of mood. So V sees this dude and calls 911 (turns out a similar call had just come in). She goes to the corner to meet up with K & B to walk their dogs. But the dogs all start barking like mad because they've spotted the guy.

The women watched as dude started walking around, kinda like he knew what he was doing but clearly aware he was being observed. He started calling out "Ma! Ma!"...which was obviously a signal to someone else (and certainly not his mother because if the poor baby had misplaced her he could have asked the nice ladies on the corner if they'd seen a wandering parent). Dude decides to make his way out of the neighborhood and the women decided to keep an eye on him. He ditched them at one point, only to be spotted again, at about which time the cops rolled up. Turns out, he had several outstanding warrants. He got some nice shiny bracelets and was given a ride by the nice police officers.

We all slept a little better last night; not only had this clown been busted but they got another kid earlier, down in the Columbia City neighborhood (which borders right on ours and has been having similar troubles). We don't know yet if either of these guys were involved in the break-ns on our street but it almost doesn't matter. Point is, 2 bad guys have been nailed.

It makes me very happy to live in a neighborhood where people know each other and where, in the absence of any serious police presence, neighborhood vigilance can keep us all a little safer. You want to steal stuff? Perhaps it would be best to find another area to do so. We're watching and we don't want you here. Move along now. Thanks.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Drum Roll, Please

I would like you all to meet my god-daughter, Kiki.

Let me tell you a little about her, aside from the obvious, which is that she is very beautiful.

Once upon a time her daddy moved to Seattle. He was a lovely boy and I met him at a time when I really needed to know a lovely boy. He became my best friend and we were pretty near inseparable for something like two years. But it is hard, it's been famously said, for a man and a woman to be friends (if they are both straight) and we were no exception. There wasn't a guy I dated during that period who didn't have issues with it. And now, upon consideration, I realize they were entitled. Because the fact was that I wasn't making particularly excellent choices then and I much preferred an evening of shooting pool or hanging out making dinner and playing guitars with Peter to just about anything else. Which, let's face it, doesn't give other relationships much of a shot.

But talking about relationships was the one thing Peter and I didn't do very well. (Sometimes I wouldn't even mention I was dating someone until I was done dating him and he, I think, did the
same thing). And really, both of us needed to be giving some serious attention to the possibility of love. So, one thing and another, we stopped hanging out. Which was sad but sorta inevitable.

I got married. I got pregnant and had The Child. We still saw Peter sometimes, at the wine shop where he worked. Then he got married. One Christmas Eve we saw Peter at mass and met his wife, the lovely Suzanne. For some years that Christmas Eve "hello" was the extent of the relationship.

Then, and this sounds silly but it is true, Facebook happened. I friended Peter. Then I friended Suzanne. Suzanne and I, in particular, started writing little messages to each other and it felt, in a virtual way, that not only was I becoming friends with her but that a friendship with Peter was being restored.

One Sunday we ran into them after Mass and they were in possession of a beautiful, tiny baby. A miracle baby. They had applied to adopt but didn't think their chances were that excellent because they were in their 40s and you know how people are about "older" people adopting (unless they are Madonna or Brad Pitt). Mostly, I think, Peter and Suzanne were just covering all the bases. Then they went on holiday. They came back to many phone messages saying there was a baby and could they meet with the birth mother. Which they did. And she liked them. And within 48 hours they were in possession of Kiki. (Katherine Rose, to be official).

I was invited to the hearing wherein Kiki became officially theirs. It felt like a sacrament. I almost genuflected before I sat on one of the courthouse benches. The little family was called before the judge to tell the story and pledge their commitment to their daughter. (Something those of us who birth a child aren't called to do and more's the pity if you ask me). And voila! Peter and Suzanne were officially parents.

I will tell you the truth. When I left the hearing I felt a little sad. It was a great honor to be included in the group who witnessed the event but it was also clear that Suzanne and Peter have a rich, full life with wonderful friends and neighbors. We have an equally full life. I felt the weight of all the stories between Peter and my "then" and our "now", with no clear way to fill the gap and find a way to play in each other's lives again. It made me sad to think that Facebook and Christmas Eve were to be the extent of our friendship.

Then, out of the blue it seemed, Suzanne sent a message asking if I'd consider being Kiki's godmother.

Consider it? Well, let me think about this for a - oh, hell yes. Official license to spoil that little dumpling? I'm in.

And, as I told Suzanne, in meant all in. Being someone's godmother doesn't mean standing at the font one Sunday, hands outstretched in blessing. It means pledging to God and Peter and Suzanne to be there for them and Kiki as she grows up. It means praying for her and loving her and spending time with her and listening to her. It means taking her out to buy a back pack before she starts school and buying her a corsage when she graduates middle school. It means going to her concerts and giving her Easter baskets and taking her to dinner to celebrate the occasions of her life. It means loving her and being a friend to her even when she is no longer possessed of chubby, edible toes. (I learned all this from The Child's godparents; good role models there, people).

Of course, having informed Suzanne of all that I waited to see if they still wanted me to do it. Saying "yes" to Kiki was to say "yes" to them. If I was going to be Kiki's godmother, they were pretty much going to be stuck with me and The Spouse and The Child. Apparently, they are fine with that.

Yesterday we met at the Corpus Christi Mass and then went to brunch, the start, I know, of many such "family" get-togethers. It was delightful.

Don't I just have the cutest god-baby in the world? Love. Her.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Alice Cooper is Too Predictable

It is very hard to believe but today is The Child's last day as a high school Freshman. Where the H does the time go? Seriously!

She's got a couple finals today and a choir party tonight (at the beach complete with bonfire...like, how "high school musical" is that anyway?) She's very happy.

Cast of HSM II "What Time is It"


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Batter Up

The Cat is back. She is under house arrest. She was found blocks from here, up by the synagogue. Now, I am a very ecumenical sort of person by nature. I do not have any issues with her wanting to be Jewish. I would not have any problem feeding her gefilte fish. But the whole hanging out up by the synagogue for 3 days and making me worry thing I am NOT down with at all. Thus, she will stay inside for a bit. She does not like it and that makes me sad but she clearly isn't confining her jaunts to approved areas.

The new fridge arrives today. I. Can't. Wait.

When I'm not celebrating my cat and new fridge I'm going to be making a ruckus at City Hall. There have been 2 break-ins and 1 attempted one just down the street this week. The one yesterday involved a teenage kid being tied up and stuffed in a trunk while the punks ransacked his family home. A neighbor on the scene asked one of the cops if this meant we could get an increased police presence until they catch the perps. The response was, "No, we only have 4 patrol cars for the area".

Really? Hey, it's call "reallocating resources". If you know an area is being targeted for crime, wouldn't it make sense to rethink the current patrol routes and frakking do something about it? We live in a relatively safe and certainly very stable neighborhood. People have lived here for generations. People know each other and look out for each other. We do all the things you're supposed to do to help keep your neighborhood safe. But right now there are two skanky punks who are busting into homes and helping their sorry asses to other peoples' hard earned stuff. That's not right. To be told that the taxpaying citizens of this neighborhood can't be afforded additional police protection is even less right. What the hell are we supposed to do? Quit our jobs, patrol our own 'hood with baseball bats and make our own justice? I don't really like that thought but it's pretty much the way all of us are feeling right about now.

So I'm going to be ruckusing. First City Hall, then my state representatives and then I think I'm placing a call to a reporter I know from a local TV station. And also, you know, practising my baseball swing.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Y? Because We Like You!

MAB and I sing a lot. We're the same age so we have the same reference points for music. (Except I know more punk than her and she knows more soul than me). We have this thing where one of us will say something that is reminicent of a lyric and we suddenly burst forth in song. Not a day goes by that we aren't singing, and usually more than one tune. Part of yesterday's "play list" ended up being the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. And that put me in mind of the one, the only, Annette Funicello.

I adored Annette Funicello. I thought she was beautiful. I would watch her on the MMC with rapt attention, watching her every move. I wanted to be her.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, there was the whole Beach Blanket movie thing. Somehow I knew about "Annette and Frankie" but the rest of it not so much. I was too young to see those movies in the theater and to this day I don't know that I've seen any of them. (Snippets, perhaps, but never whole stories). Point is, that is not part of my Annette ethos, which is comprised solely of the MMC and of a book, one book. It must have been purchased in a supermarket. It was cheaply bound, with a garish, shiny cover. It was a (fictional) story about Annette and I read it so much that the spine broke. I do not remember the story at all; however, a beach was involved and possibly a clambake. I do remember, and this is crazy, but I remember a reference to "abalone" and to "mother of pearl". At the time (I had to be in the second grade) those were very exotic terms and I remember Dame Judi explaining what mother of pearl was and how thereafter it was the first thing I would look for whenever I found a sea shell.

It isn't at all odd to me that Annette Funicello and the shimmering inside of a shell are forever linked. Annette embodies shimmer. She was a triple threat with a glorious smile. I'm pretty sure that parents of the era didn't cringe when they saw Annette the way some of us are now wont to do with the likes of Miley Cyrus (who, for the record, I don't hate but I realize that's the exception, not the rule). Annette was a classy role model for the era, and someone who has managed to live a pretty scandal-free life.

Annette lives out of the spotlight now, striken by MS in the '90s. But to me she will always be the cheery, beautiful girl of my youth.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What's New in Rainey's World

Things That Are Wrong

1) Our fridge died. There was fish in it at the time of its passing. I had to throw out a lot of otherwise delicious food. Eeeewww.

2) The Cat is missing. She took off when The Dog's sister came for a weekend visit. (One dog is her limit...2 make her very irritable). Usually she comes sauntering back when the sister leaves but she hasn't. I know she was ok as of Sunday because an irritated (and very rude) person up the street had her in his house and had called Animal Control. I called him but he was, as I said, extremely rude so I didn't want to go to his house. I asked him to just put her outside because she knows where she lives. He hung up on me before further conversation on that or any other point could be had. (Bastid). But she still hasn't come home. I suppose I should call the rude person back but I don't want to because he scares me. I don't like confrontation. But I do want my cat.

Things That Are Right

1) When a 10 year old fridge dies there really is only one solution.

Agreed? Isn't it superfantastic? It will be delivered on Thursday. Plus, I always feel grand about stimulating the economy.

2) I got up this morning to find The Spouse being all Hilda Homemaker in the kitchen. "Are you calling me a girl?" he said. "Oh. I mean Harry Homemaker". "That's better,"he said, as he continued to wipe counters and hand wash annoying bits. (Definition of "annoying bits": odd shaped things that don't fit in the dishwasher but are covered with grease or other disgusting things that you don't really want to touch but you don't want to leave them lying around so you put them in a sink of soapy water but leave them overnight, resulting in disgusting water and still annoying bits).

3) The Child has finals this week and then is done with school for the year. Well, except for the whole having-to-go-to-summer-school-because-she-flunked-English-because-she-didn't-always-turn-in-assignments thing. Despite that reality (which, let's face it, is going to be a pretty big lesson about consequences in and of itself, especially as her mandatory attendance means no mission trip or drama camp this year) she really has done a pretty terrific job of adjusting to life in a big school for big stakes. I'm proud of her. I told her so last night. And, for a change, instead of pulling a "Muuu-therrrr" she smiled and said, "Thanks, Mom".

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Baby, It's Hot Outside

To think, just weeks ago there was virtually no sign that winter would ever end. For the last few days here it's been nothing but hot, hot, hot. Dine-al-fresco-hot. Sleep-on-top-of-the-blankies-hot. Tomato-plants-reaching-for-the-sky-hot. Make-a-note-to-lay-in-a-supply-of-summer-work-clothes hot. (Fortunately, on that count, MAB is very big on capris and walking shorts for summer office attire but I still need to punch up that bit of the closet).

No one I've talked to is willing to complain about it....winter was SOOOOOOOO long and SOOOOOOOOO dreary and we are all quite willing, it would appear, to suck it up now that the mercury is headed the other direction.

That said, there is nothing quite like the cool of a summer morning.

Time on the weekend has been at a premium lately and by the looks of the calendar, that will be a trend this summer. There is nothing on the books for this weekend and by gum, I'm keeping it that way. I may even do the grocery shopping after work tonight so as to not have to do so tomorrow. Yeah, that sounds like a plan (which will be executed if it is cooler than 90° today). And that whole not-doing-anything scenario puts me in mind of one of my favorite '80s songs (that I didn't discover until the '00s).

The Bangles "Going Down to Liverpool"

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Breathing Deep

The engine light in my car is on.
The freezer isn't freezing.
The griddle on the stove died.
The Dog fell and is now hopping around on 3 legs. (Poor fella...lookin' for the man who shot his paw).

But oh, there are beautiful, beautiful roses blooming in my front garden.