Saturday, July 27, 2013

Siri-ously

What a gal.
Her birthday is October 4, 2011, and already she speaks nine languages. Her name is Norwegian and means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory.”  Not only is she the most intelligent two-year-old I’ve ever met, she’s got a great sense of humor.
I think I hate her. Can husbands have an affair with a phone app?
Rob traded in his old flip cell phone for a fancy new iPhone. Now he has his own “personal assistant and knowledge navigator.” I thought I was his personal assistant and navigator. I did a pretty good job in Chicago that one time. I bet Siri wouldn’t have gotten us lost in Battle Creek, Michigan, though.
Oh. So that’s why he bought Siri.
If you’re not an Apple connoisseur, you may never have met Siri. Allow me to introduce you. She’s a voice module in the iPhone which responds to verbal commands and eliminates your need to type. She can search the web, read your text messages to you, set and remind you of appointments, make phone calls and find you a good place to eat.
And crack jokes.
We may never be bored on a road trip again.

Siri, will you marry me?
My End User License Agreement does not cover marriage.

Do you believe in God?
My policy is the separation of spirit and silicon.

Where do babies come from?
Let me check on that. Okay. Here goes.  From their mothers.

What are you wearing?
You have the wrong personal assistant.

What’s the best computer?
If it’s made by Apple, then it’s the best computer.

What’s the best phone?
You’re kidding, right?

I love you, Siri.
That’s nice. Can we get back to work now?

She’s definitely a wise guy, but when we accused her of that, she told us “we were talking about you, not me.” Just like a woman, I thought.  She changed the subject.

Are you male or female?
I wasn’t assigned a gender.

If she doesn’t claim to be a girl, then why does she have a woman’s voice and a woman’s name?  I learned that if I try to use this app in the UK, it takes on a male voice and calls itself “Daniel.”  Of course, that raises a whole bunch of new questions—like why Britains prefer a male voice—but I’m afraid to ask Siri about this.
Apple says the software adapts to the user's individual preferences over time and personalizes results.  She’s supposed to learn the nuances of your own voice so you don’t have to repeat yourself so often. In his Florida accent—which I’ve always said sounds like a Southern accent turned sideways—Rob mispronounced her name the first time and commanded,
Sari, tell me a joke.”
It’s okay,” she answered.
Not everybody’s as easy going as my best beloved, who took her response in stride. Some Bostonians and Scotsmen and sensitive Southerners aren’t talking to her anymore. If it were me, that would hurt my feelings. But I was pretty sure Siri is above that. So we asked her.
Siri, do you hold a grudge? 

There’s a good question,” she replied. “Now, where were we?”

I knew it. She is a woman.





Photo courtesy of Porter Palmer's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/92558721@N00/6768648855

Sunday, July 21, 2013

To Bee Or Not To Be

Oooh, this is gonna be tough.
I feel so judgmental. Almost like a traitor to my own kind. But if I don’t say something, I may never read another blogger’s blog again. And I really want to enjoy what other writers have to say. So here goes.
Edit, people, edit.
Read over your blog post on that beautiful page with all the pretty pictures and moving graphics and edit. Check your spelling or let Spell Check do it for you.
Write in Word first and let the wavy red and green lines do what you paid them to do—get your attention. Fix the spelling errors. It’s so easy—right click on the red squiggled word and choose the best computerized replacement. Or click on the green squiggled phrase and find out why Grammar Check is mad at you.
Then, and only then, cut and paste your heartfelt communiqué into the “compose” box, or whatever your blog host calls it, and then—you might hate this part—edit again. Read your post in the “preview” window before your hit the “publish” button.
Did you leave out a word that your weary computer overlooked? Did you spell “two” correctly, only to realize that you meant to type “too”?  Because if I have to keep re-reading your sentences and mentally correct your spelling in order to understand what you’re trying to tell me, I may not make it to your third paragraph.
See?  I knew this might hurt somebody’s feelings.
But here’s the thing—you are a gifted writer. And yet, if those misspellings and confusing sentences don’t get your attention before you send them out into the universe, your writing will never look any more professional than that of a high schooler with a D in English. The most beautiful blog pages look like mascara on a moose when the star of the show—your story—is covered in simple mistakes.
Did you see that?  Spell Check hates the word “schooler.” Is that even a word?
Gotta go.  Me and Spell Check (Spell Check and I?) gotta sit down and discuss a few things. It doesn’t like “gotta” either. And there’s a squiggly green line under “go.” Looks like Grammar Check is on call waiting.
See? I’m not perfect either. But I’ll be back after I edit out one or two more of my frustrations.
Anybody seen Attitude Check around?  I might need it.




Spelling Bee Guy courtesy of Oak Park Public Library's photos at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/8420521@N04/6182396312

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Especially While We Waited

“That was a hard day,” she said to me as we stood side by side in my kitchen. “But once we knew a little more,” she continued, “I really was optimistic.”
It’s only been a couple of months since we made that phone call to our daughter and son. The one you never want to have to make to your children. But they had a right to know. And I needed their prayers.
A week before my surgery, I stood in my daughter’s kitchen, looking out onto the patio through a marker inscribed window reading her handwriting. 
The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)
Katy sings. Her voice is trained, but it’s her heart that is the instrument. Even when she’s not singing about the lavish love of God, she knows how to speak a word in season to a heart that’s weary—sometimes even writing it on a window. Or facebook.
“Here’s that song I told you about, Mama,” she wrote on my wall, posting a link to Chris Tomlin’s recording. And for the next month, the lyrics woke me up in the morning and ran through my mind all day—especially while we waited for pathology results.
Especially while we waited.
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
Finally the waiting was over—the surgery proved successful—and all that remained was recuperation.
“Why don’t you come for the worship at church tomorrow morning,” she asked last weekend, as I stood in her kitchen again.  “I’m leading on a couple of songs. If you’re up to it, the girls would like to sit with you and Dad while I sing.”
Have you ever had a moment when you watched yourself, as though outside this dimension?
Last Sunday, in a room full of hundreds and my arm around my five-year-old granddaughter who stood on the chair next to me, I saw the three of us—my daughter leading from the stage, her daughter at my side, and myself—as though through the eyes of my Savior. And in a moment only He could orchestrate, we lifted our hands in praise to God, my Healer, and together sang back the words Chris Tomlin had been singing to me for weeks.
“Our God greater, Our God is stronger, God You are higher than any other . . . Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!”
“YaYa,” my granddaughter whispered in my ear, “there’s water leaking from your eyes.”
“I know,” I told her, wiping the tears.  I couldn’t help it. That always happens when God rejoices over me with singing and quiets me with His love.
He is mighty to save.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Out Of Balance

So I just read an honest blog by a frustrated, juggling mother with a fondness for the f word. A little profane, but I slogged through it anyway because she was so honest. I’d have to count on both hands how long it’s been since I was in her shoes—okay, I might need my toes for that, too—but reading her post made me realize something important.
Things haven’t changed.
She’d probably take umbrage to that, since the whole point of her frustration is that none of today’s psycho gurus seem to understand it doesn’t help to tell young families to keep “balance.”  If she could balance the chaos of raising kids, she’d be in control. And she’s not in control. That’s what having kids teaches you. Life doesn’t stay the same for more than twenty minutes on a good day and you are not in control.
Things are always changing.
I didn’t know “balance” is the new bullwhip used against young moms.  When my kids were growing up, all I ever heard about was “quality time.”  I haven’t heard that buzz phrase in a while, though.  I think somebody figured out that “quality time” only happens in “quantity time,” and who has that? 
I only raised two children.  If I’d been courageous enough to birth more kids to practice on, I’d have done some things differently. But that’s no guarantee I’d have been any better at mothering than I was the first two times. It might simply have been different and then I’d have had to birth more kids to try another approach and who can afford that many kids before you learn to be perfect?
See, I think all those armchair childrearing experts don’t really mean ‘balance’ or ‘quality’ when they give out unsolicited advice. What they really mean is ‘strive for perfection’.  But here’s a newsflash for you—God Himself was the perfect parent in that Garden and look what happened.
Things changed.
So to all you exhausted, guilt-ridden, disillusioned mothers of children with atomic energy and fathomless needs, here’s what I’ve learned about raising kids and keeping a marriage intact.  Every day it changes.  Every.Single.Day. 
And also this.  Your kids will always love you.  And someday they’ll even appreciate you.  Especially when they become parents themselves.
That never changes.

Photo courtesy of Colin Harris's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/18091121@N00/5136926303

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yarnell

I attended my first funeral for a firefighter last September. Dignitaries from around the state lined the front rows and sat on the stage, each waiting their turn to speak in honor of the man who changed the look of firefighting in Florida and across the nation.  I held my composure until the final moment when his eldest son, who stood in the dress uniform of his own fire department, saluted his father’s casket. At that point, dispatch broadcast throughout the church the last alarm for my father-in-law and soberly announced, “Chief McLeod has not responded.  He has completed his final tour of duty.”
We are a firefighter family.
We represent four generations of firefighting tradition in Florida and Arizona—that includes our son-in-law, a firefighter for the city of Mesa, Arizona. For thirty-six years, my husband has “put on his work face,” kissed the kids and me good-bye, worked his shift, and returned to my arms when he was finished. Most of the time, I never knew the details of the dangers he faced, the tragedies he witnessed, or the comfort he provided to others. Nor will I ever know the catastrophes we have been spared by the grace of God.
People assume that I was gripped with fear every morning when Rob went on duty.  I was not. He had superior training and worked with men who were committed to protect his life at any cost, just as he was prepared to protect theirs. That’s the brotherhood of the job—they have each others’ backs.
But it’s a dangerous job, and there have been close calls.
He narrowly escaped a gas explosion as he fought fire in a burning drugstore when we were newlyweds. As a young recruit, he suffered burns on his ears and neck working a wildland brush fire. More than one search and rescue operation in burning mobile homes turned threatening when everything in the room began to catch fire during “rollover.”
But he always came home to me.
I wish with all my heart that the mourning families of the Yarnell Hot Shots could say the same thing. I wish their names were not inscribed together on a silver Maltese cross. I wish the Vice President could have spent today on Capitol Hill instead of Granite Mountain. And I wish I could forget today’s line up of Hot Shot photographs looking out above their surviving fire gear—each set standing at attention in one, long, missing man formation.
“God called them home exactly how they wanted to go home—as brothers fighting fire, placing themselves between life and death, quietly and humbly serving,” said one speaker at the memorial service.
“All men were created equal,” the Vice President said, “but then a few became firefighters. We all owe you.”   
Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. But these men laid down their lives for strangers. That’s what firefighters do. When tragedy strikes, everyone runs out while they run in, saving lives and property while they put their lives on the line.
“We will rest later,” one Prescott Hot Shot told his mother in his final text, “there’s a ranch down there to save.”  It was the last time she heard from him. For the last ten days I’ve watched our state and nation link arms in support of those who lost everything in a vicious fire in the mountains of Arizona.
But it still seems to me that the ones who lost the most were the survivors of those who gave their all. 
I believe in what my husband does. Like his firefighter brothers and sisters, he gives generously of himself and never views it as a sacrifice. Because, as another said today, firefighting is not what they do—it is who they are. But there is a great price paid by those who love these heroes when things go very wrong.
And for the family and loved ones left behind, their sacrifice is really what was honored today.  I cannot imagine the depth of their grief. But I honor their unseen courage in the face of such great loss.
We are weeping with those who weep.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stormy Weather

It rained here last night. Finally. In our little corner of the Valley of the Sun, the radar was wrong, the weatherman stunned, and a thunderous storm went out of its way to make us feel important.
The morning before, it rained at my friend, Deborah’s house, twenty miles away from us.  She was on the phone with her sister on the east coast when the first drop splatted.
“I didn’t know what it was,” she told me later. 
Only in Arizona do we forget what rain sounds like.
Last night’s storm made sure we didn’t confuse it with fireworks or car engines. Usually when I realize moisture is landing  close by, I quickly run outside to breathe in its sweet, fleeting  fragrance, eyes straining to make out the evaporating evidence on the ground.  Why they didn’t name this Sonoran desert The Kalahari instead, I’ll never know.
But last night I had just settled in under the covers when lightning outlined the window in our bedroom and thunder bellowed its bass “hello.”  It was a surprise visit and I was delighted. Suddenly, a chaotic tap dance beat a rhythm on the glass as rain and hail competed for my attention. 
Gleeful as a child, I cozied down deeper in the bedding and let the summer symphony lull me to sleep. 
Rain is a gift to desert dwellers, and when it comes wrapped in the darkness of evening, my favorite place to enjoy it is from the private box seat of our master suite.
From rainfall to curtain call, the show is complete with its own applause, then tiptoes away as I softly slumber. Sweet relief. Sweet reprieve.
Sweet dreams.



Photo courtesy of samantha celera's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/13408740@N00/2226758824

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pick Your Poison

I was making my lunch today—half a ham sandwich on wheat with a generous swipe of mayo—when the wet side of the bread suddenly upended and landed face down on the cardboard package that our deli ham came in.
Gross. I don’t know where that cardboard carton has been. So I threw the bread in the trash and started over. Better safe than sorry, I thought.
Ever since I first read that report about invisible germs on shopping cart handles, my quasi-hypochondriac imagination has focused on all the other places germs hide in plain sight, ready to do a kamikaze dive into my intestinal tract.
I’ve imagined the hands of indecisive shoppers who pick up chicken packages, put them down, and then backtrack to the produce section of the store where they sort through green onions before deciding they’ll buy tomatoes instead. It’s not just pesticides that are out to get us, I thought, it’s germy stranger hands, too.
I’ve contributed to this problem, though. I used to boil hot dogs in their plastic packages in a pot of water so they’d cook in their own undiluted juices. Then I’d cut open the package handled by mysterious grocery store workers with unknown hygiene habits, then dropped on the floor by clumsy customers and restocked by efficient clerks, and now boiled in my kitchen.  All those innocent hot dogs went floating in invisible germs before I ever took a big ol’ bite.
I don’t know how we survived.
So imagine my surprise when I saw this post on a friend’s face book page today—eating your boogers may introduce pathogens from your environment to your immune system and help it build defenses. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/13/nose-picking.aspx
It left me so cybershocked, now I’m re-thinking my entire worldview. 
What if you don’t really need to wash your hands before dinner? What if the three-second rule is too conservative? Is a daily shower a waste of water? Should I dust the house like they did on The Munsters, spraying the furniture liberally with choking particles? Why, just this very week I paid someone to vacuum and mop and dust away all those healthy germs in my house!  What if that proves to be our death knoll?!
I’m starting to panic here.
I remember someone telling me once that we all need to eat a teaspoon of dirt a day. We were probably making mud pies at the time. But I’ve known for years that house rules are a lot different than camping rules. If silverware falls on the floor while I’m setting the table, for example, poof! Into the dishwasher it goes. But if a fork falls on the open ground in the woods, I blow it off even if it still has campfire beans on it and use it to finish my dinner. Nobody gives a second thought to dirt in the woods.
Now that I think of it, once my kiddos stopped playing in the dirt and started playing computer games instead, our immune systems nearly disintegrated. I tried to compensate by adopting a pet, but everyone knows kid germs are way more deadly than letting a dirty dog live in your house. And I’m fresh out of live-in kiddos.
All this makes me think I should have just eaten that contaminated sandwich today. Who knows what strain of bird flu I could have been protected from if I’d been better informed about store-bought microorganisms. And if we keep buying into Johnson & Johnson’s propaganda about eliminating germs, the next thing you know, we could be turning up daisies six feet under the very dirt that might have saved our lives.
That does it. I’m tossing the Purell and never washing the dog again. Hopefully that will be enough to undo the damage I’ve done by keeping a clean house.
Cuz no matter what that article said, I just don’t think I can eat my own boogers. Germs may be our only hope, but I’m scared to death of pathogens.


Cutie patootie photo courtesy of its*me*red's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/26321678@N00/298302937

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flea Market Junkie

I don’t know how to say this.  I’m hooked on watching American Pickers.  Don’t you think that’s irrational? I could blame it on my current state of invalidism—well, that might be a pun, but I’ll have to think about it—but the truth is I know the show’s airtimes by heart.
I might need a Picker intervention.
Why do I get such a kick out of this show? It’s voyeuristic flea marketing from the comfort of my living room, that’s why. It probably satisfies some kind of virtual garage sale-ing need in me so I don’t have to get up at o-dark-thirty on a Saturday morning.
I love the stars of this show, Mike and Frank. They’re kind of like Abbott and Costello of the back roads of Iowa, their home base. They “free style” all across the country, searching out forgotten antiques and bantering like brothers.  They “make a living telling the history of America, one piece at a time.” 
Their enthusiasm would be contagious except I’m allergic to climbing into underground tunnels with crazy hermits to find a rusty toy for sale.  And you’ll never catch me bungling around cobweb-frosted barn attics, fending off brown recluses and deadly snakes just to pull out the rusty guts of some ancient third world motorcycle. 
My granddad was a garage sale junkie.  Every Saturday he went to the local flea market and bought anything there that was broken.  Then he brought it back home and stashed it in a metal storage shed in his backyard where he thought my grandmother would never notice.  She did. And she hated it.
One weekend while he was gone, she and I conspired to rid her life of his broken garbage. We spent the morning raiding his shed and donating a bunch of it to a nearby landfill.  He wasn’t happy but he recovered quickly. By the next week you’d have never known we trespassed at all.  It was like a tide of debris had his name on speed dial—we took it out in the evening and he brought it back by morning.
To this day I hate piles of junk.  That’s how I know I’d have never survived The Great Depression. I’d have given away all the rusty bailing wire and worn out bicycle tires right before we needed them to patch the hole in our roof. 
I don’t know if I have no imagination or if it’s just a lack of foresight, but I can tell you throwing things out is so therapeutic! It’s like tossing bad choices in the trash. Hate those shoes? Pitch ‘em, my mom used to say. Fed up with all that orange Tupperware? Toss it in the trash. You know your kids will never make a collage from that stack of expensive magazines you read one time, so go ahead—feed the recycler!
Ooh, I feel better just thinking about it. And you know what? With all these endorphins flowing, I think I’m cured of those Pickers!
Of course, I’m still stuck in a chair for a while longer. And now I have to find a new favorite show to pass the time.  Maybe there’s nothing wrong with re-runs of two likeable guys from Iowa after all. You’ve gotta admit—it’s better than getting hooked on Toddlers & Tiaras.
Rationalization. The opiate of invalids.




Photo courtesy of v i p e z's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/69367147@N00/6590131433

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Please Be Seated

I had surgery four weeks ago tomorrow.  Time sure flies when you’re recuperating in a chair. It’s just been one big ol’. . . routine. Every morning it’s the same thing—my darlin’ helps me out of bed (my arms around his neck, his arms around my back—I’m pretty sure it’ll be months before I’ll want to, I mean, before I can get up on my own) and then I park in the living room for the rest of the day.

I know sitting sounds easy, but it took a week after my operation to learn to do it on my own. And did we ever celebrate!  High Fives and Cheers and, well, that was about it before I got tired. Still, I can’t sit in just any chair. It’s gotta be something that won’t mold me in a painful ninety degree angle.
A few days after my newfound independence, the phone rang. I had been standing for a little too long, but I answered anyway. Dead air time after my “hello” made me start to hang up when I realized it was a recording from our insurance company. They’d heard I was in the hospital and wanted me to answer a few questions.
Well, what could I do? I figured I’d better play nice or they might not pay the bill. I leaned against the kitchen counter, hoping for a short survey.
“For this series of questions,” the female voice began, “state your satisfaction level from one to five.”
I really needed to sit down, but how do you put a recording on hold? Even though I was now a card-carrying sitter, I needed both hands to lower myself into the recliner, and only one hand was free. Flopping into a chair was out of the question—if I popped a stitch and started screaming, they wouldn’t know how to rate my response. 
I started to panic.
“Rob!” I yelled, right after I answered a terse “five” into the phone for the sixth time. Then I parked part of my tush on a kitchen barstool for three seconds. On the fourth, I stood up. Now both hands were occupied—one with the phone and the other pressed against the new pain in my left side.
“Yes,” I said through clenched teeth to the mechanized voice in my ear.  “Roby?!” I yelled again, knowing he was in the shower, but hoping he’d hear me, come to my rescue and . . . do what?  I didn’t know.  I was trapped in fatigue—wandering through the house, bent over and unable to sit anywhere, convinced I’d fall down before the robot I was listening to finally shut up and paid for my surgery.
I began to fast and pray. And cry a little.
Maybe the android woman heard the desperation in my voice. Asking the final question, her monotone script ended with this helpful information.
“24/7 nursing assistance is only one of the services we offer. If there is ever anything we can do for you, just call us.”
“I need help getting into a chair,” I muttered, slumped over and unable to write while she gave the number.
“Remember, our nurses are here to help you with anything, night or day,” she repeated.
Now she’s just messing with me, I thought, knowing there was a blog somewhere in this irony. She was still talking, though— was that robot ever long winded.
 “I NEED TO SIT DOWN,” I interrupted loudly, using small words and praying she’d come to life, like Pinocchio or Sleeping Beauty or Number 5.
“Don’t hesitate to call any time day or night. Our nurses are . . .”
I need someone to help me SIT DOWN!!!”  I yelled as the benevolent call disconnected.
Suddenly Rob rounded the corner, his worried face lathered in shaving cream.
“Are you okay?” he asked me with concern. “What do you need, babe?”  I hung up the phone and eased myself into a chair.
“I need a chocolate martini,” I told him, surrounding myself with ice packs and pillows.
You know, if I thought 24/7 nursing assistance offered distillation therapy I’d have called them. But it was pointless. I knew what they’d say.
“You’re still recovering from surgery, Mrs. McLeod. The only alcohol you can have right now is isopropyl.”
Talk about adding insult to injury.



Photo courtesy of Nathan Wells' photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/72274813@N00/867698433

Monday, July 1, 2013

Southern Comfort Food

I used to think hunters were cool.
They’re so manly and outdoorsy and adventurous. Then one day my dad shot some venison and made me eat a piece of deer tongue between two slices of Wonder bread. Ever since that day, I’ve been on a modified hunger strike—I only eat meat I don’t recognize. It’s one thing to call venison food.  But it’s another thing to chew a deer tongue. It’s just plain disturbing to eat something that can taste you back.
Don’t misunderstand.  I support the NRA—but I object to eating wild meat. That’s why I’m a strict poultrytarian. I’m convinced it’ll never be cool to hunt wild chickens—because nobody eats chicken tongue sandwiches.
But if someone did, it would be my husband.
I can’t explain how I managed to fall in love with a hunter. This guy has my dad beat. Rob grew up in the wild woods of Florida where dinner over a campfire required only a can of sardines and a raw onion.  On a very good camping trip, a hapless armadillo might run across his path and go to meet his Maker at the hands of a ballpeen hammer. Ballpeen.  You have to say it that way, too.
Yum yum. Armadillo sandwiches.  They don’t even taste like chicken.
Rob has eaten more inedible things than that guy on Bizarre Foods. Talk about an oxymoron. Those two words just shouldn’t go together. On the other hand, if someone wanted me to sample some delicacy known as Bazaar food, I’d be salivating at the very thought. No animals are ever injured in the making of hot, buttery cinnamon rolls.
When I met my husband, he was mastering the unnecessary art of cooking rattlesnake pizzas. Not from a can. From a snake hole in the middle of the desert. I was practically a widow before I became a bride.  Being a native Floridian, he can’t pass a booth selling Gator On A Stick without supporting the local economy. And once, when he was on-duty at a Florida fire station, he encountered a rattlesnake that was eating a squirrel. Dinner that evening was an epicurean fantasy—Breaded Squirrel-Stuffed Rattlesnake. Now you know why he’s never critical of my cooking—with standards that low, I can’t lose.
He has his limits, though, and draws the line at certain kinds of roadkill. He’ll only eat it “if it’s still warm—and not from the sun.”   #quotesIwishI’dneverheard
You’re probably wondering why I fell in love with this wild Florida Cracker.  Well, he’s romantic.  On his first hunt with my dad, the only wild game they brought back from the woods were five unfortunate squirrels. But judging from the love note he scribbled for me while he was supposed to be scouting venison, I think Rob was just too head over heels to shoot straight.
That little treasure—which I still have, tucked away in my jewelry box—read, in part, “We didn’t see any deer, dear.”  I’m telling you, it made me swoon. But that was nothing compared to the souvenir he dropped into my hand along with that note.
He gave me a dead squirrel foot. And then he told me he loved me. I confess, I’d sorta been hoping  for a diamond ring. But since the squirrel didn’t need that hind leg anymore, I kissed my man and thanked him for the sentiment.
Listen, you’ve gotta count your blessings where you find ‘em. At least it wasn’t a squirrel tongue sandwich.


Photo courtesy of stevebkennedy's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/15444618@N03/3066412905