Monday, October 28, 2013

Take A Seat

It just made me laugh, so I took a picture of it. 

I don’t even know why I saw it. Who walks down the street with their dog, looks up at a two story house, and thinks, “I wonder if the neighbors put a chair on their roof today? And what does it mean?”
There are so many possibilities.
It’s an empty house, so maybe it’s a foreclosed owner’s way of giving the bank the finger. Or in this case, the rung.
Gotta give them a “thumbs up” for creativity. But how did they get it up there without breaking a single tile—or even a single neck? It’s perfectly balanced on the highest, pointiest eave. Did they wire it up there? If not, will it fall to the east or to the west when the winds kick up today? And when it lands on a pedestrian’s head, will they run home screaming that the sky is falling?
That’s ridiculous. The sky isn’t built out of chairs. Talk about overreacting.
These are the kind of questions that keep me up at night. There’s not a lot to do when you’re waiting for melatonin to kick in. Guess I’m pretty boring when you think about it.
Maybe it’s a metaphor for life. For example, climb to the peak of your dreams and when you arrive, take a seat—you’re the king of the world! Enjoy the view. Don’t get too comfy, though, it’s a precarious spot. One false move, Jack, and you’ll fall down and break your crown.
How depressing.
That can’t be it. Well, the house across the street has a giant fake owl perched in the transom of their second floor gable. It’s supposed to scare off real live pigeons so they won’t roost and poop. I think. Maybe this is something like that.
But this house seems friendlier. A chair on the roof says, “Bring me your tired, your poor and your huddled masses” of string-stealing, patio-pooping, puppy dive-bombing fowl friends. I didn’t see a single tired bird huddling there this morning, though.  Most of them were in my yard eating the rye grass seed we bought them for lunch last week.
I hate birds. But that’s another blog.
This chair is a puzzle. It looks so serene up there all by itself, barely noticed by tired drivers hurrying home for dinner. Is it lonely? An introvert? Or maybe it’s arrogant, and proud to be elevated above its station.
“Fine,” it once thought to itself, “craft me into a common piece of furniture if you must, but I have aspirations! Confidence! An unusually high opinion of myself!  And possibly a little dizziness.”
No, I think I figured it out. It’s not even complicated. Either our neighborhood lost a great comedian when these neighbors left—or that was one Biblical marriage.  Ever read Proverbs 21:9?
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
Well, one of them was a comedian.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Do you like a yappy dog? A happy dog? A snappy dog?
A lonely, barky, ratty dog who yaps so much it makes me blog
A whiny, grumpy monologue?
What makes an owner leave their dog to bark til I am in a fog?

If a dog is man’s best friend
Why don’t they bring them in with them?
Why turn them loose to bark until I want to shoot them (which is sin)
And then I must get saved again.

You laugh because you hear them, too, it’s like we both live in a zoo,
A zoo with noisy cockapoos and neighbors with bad attitudes – which I can’t help!
You’d understand if you were me and couldn’t see the sanity
Of people, nice as they can be,Who overlook the symphony that they allow in keys of D …sharp . . . .

I’ve had it! Can you hear me yell? At neighbors and their dogs from . . .
HELP me find some inner peace when dogs next door have been released
To do their best to wreck my sleep and shatter morn's tranquility.

I guess I’ve carried on so much you now are wishing I’d shut up
Since dogs can’t read it makes no sense for me to vent and vent like this
The only good it’s done today is make me feel I’ve had my say. 

And now I think, as calm surrounds, and dogs next door now make no sound,
In honesty, it seems to me that dogs and their cacophony
Are just the same as you and me - they share opinions eagerly 
And once run out of things to say
Recharging in the sun they lay
They’ll bark and bark another day
Until I’ve had . . .  



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Clear As Mud

“It’s the best thing since sliced bread.” 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember when bread wasn’t sliced. It’s always been sliced. It’s part of the way it’s grown—sliced, on the vine and from the vine, and then tied up in a plastic bag marked Wonder.   So when my friend used this brand new expression on me, well, forgive me, but I thought she was kind of dumb.
That’s what happens when you move from the west to the south. You meet new people and learn foreign phrases. Like “toad strangler.”  I don’t touch toads. I don’t mind if other people strangle them since I’m not sure why they survived the Great Dinosaur Extinction unscathed. But, personally, I refuse to touch a toad.
So what is a toad strangler?
Is it against the law to choke toads? Was the Great Toad Strangler a distant cousin of the Boston Strangler? Are the authorities still looking for him?
Okay. It turns out in Florida, whenever there’s a torrential downpour, they call it “a toad strangler.” I think that’s weird. I’ve lived through a lot of serious rainstorms in the south and not once have I seen the roads littered the next morning with drowned toads. See, that’s how they survived the Great Dinosaur Extinction.
Enough frog talk. Amphibians are gross.  Back to the kitchen. Here’s another one. In the south, when a cook’s potluck casserole exceeds the recommended daily amount of sodium, someone might comment that she “stubbed her toe on the salt.”
Now let’s think about that.

Do you realize how small a piece of salt is? I know some women who are proud of their tiny feet—don’t get me started on that one—but do they seriously want me to believe that their Princess And The Pea Complex could actually trip them up on a grain of salt?  I saw one of those under the microscope when I was thirteen. I think someone could stub their toe on a microscope, but beyond that . . . And frankly, if someone has their feet anywhere near a casserole they bring to a church potluck, I’m not touching it, sister.  I don’t care how high the sodium content is.
I think the problem is people don’t say what they really mean. If it’s raining cats and dogs outside, then just say that. If there’s a new fangled invention that really flips your switch, that’s all you need to tell me. And if you think I’m a lousy chef whose salty casserole makes you want to drink like a fish, you should keep that opinion to yourself.
See, discretion is the better part of valor, which is a Yankee expression meaning “she has a nasty right hook.”And that little piece of info right there could save your life at a church potluck.
Which might very well make it the best thing since sliced bread.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I've never been a breakfast person. 

I don’t wake up hungry—I just wake up sleepy. And even though I enjoy the calm of that hour just before lunch, it takes me a while to snap out of my coma and figure out where I am. My husband, on the other hand, has veins full of sunshine. Do you have any idea how annoying it is for a zombie to be married to the Good Humor Man?
I can’t help being sluggish—it’s like my veins are full of molasses.  But I can’t handle caffeine, and cold cereal is of the devil, so mornings are a challenge. When I was a teenager, I thought leftover pizza and potato salad were the breakfast of champions, and an iced tea chaser was the bomb.
Those days are gone.
Welcome to midlife—land of nutritional guidelines and disapproving doctors. I’ll say this for me, though—I never skip breakfast, no matter how boring it is. I rarely skip any meals, but discussing that could only lead to hurt feelings and grudges, so let’s not go there.
Rob and I drove to Kentucky recently to visit our kids and grandbabies. Our first night on the road we slept well and the next morning went down to the hotel lobby to check out their breakfast bar. I was practically awake at the time, so I did a quick survey of the room and suddenly I saw it. Alone and unclaimed, it called out to me.
The waffle maker.
Waffle makers rock. They are the highlight of a free breakfast and I hardly ever get there first so I hardly ever get a free waffle. But today was different. Today I went directly to the round, flippy machine, poured in a Dixie cup of prepared batter, shut the lid, turned it over and waited for three little beeps to announce the arrival of an epicurean fantasy.
At the far end of the counter, I piled scrambled eggs on my plate, surveyed the sausage—not bad—and took my bounty to the last empty table in the room to listen for those tantalizing beeps.  Like Wile E. Coyote, impatient and drooling, I sat mesmerized by the thought of a buttery, imitation maple syrup-drenched waffle and finally understood his Roadrunner addiction. 

Then I ate a piece of sausage.
After entire minutes of anticipation, I heard them—THREE TRIUMPHANT BEEPS! Grabbing my medium sized paper plate, I scooched the eggs to one side, lifted up the lid of the shiny, steamy appliance and . . .
It was empty.
Cleaned out like a burgled bank vault.  I nearly wept at the shock. And then, as the stages of grief set in, anger welled up in me and blew open my big mouth.
“Somebody took my waffle!” I announced to the entire room.  “I can’t believe it!  Somebody took my waffle!”
Rob rushed to my side.
“Hush,” he said, “everyone’s looking.”
“But I can’t believe it!” I told him, as he pulled me away from the violated appliance.  “Who would do something like that!  Right here in America—who walks over in broad daylight and just takes somebody else’s waffle?”
“You can make another one,” he said, placating me with an impossible dream.
“I don’t want another one,” I told him, “I wanted that one!”
We sat down across from a man who looked at me and timidly asked, “Did somebody take your waffle?”
Rob shook his head and got up, walking away, but it was too late—everyone knew he was with me. I scanned the room for the perpetrator of this crime, but no one had the decency to make eye contact. 
And no one was eating a waffle.
“Guess they wolfed it down,” I muttered to the empty chair across from me, suddenly vacated by the shrewd stranger. I finished my breakfast alone, pondering the gall it took for someone to whisk away another person’s waffle and never even apologize.
“I don’t think I want to live in a country where no one respects another person’s right to their own waffle,” I muttered bitterly, swallowing the last piece of cold scrambled egg.  “I hate breakfast,” I said and threw my soggy plate in the overflowing trash.
Oddly overcooked smells began wafting throughout the crowded breakfast room and, distracted from my heartache, I tuned in to a loudening clamor behind me brought on by the acrid aroma.
“Where’s that lady who couldn’t find her waffle?” a tall man said to his seated wife.  “The one with the red hair?”
Every eye in the room now focused on me. Sure. Now they care, I thought defensively.
“I found your waffle,” he said. “It was still cooking on the other side of this two-sided appliance,” and he held up a black hockey puck that used to be my coveted breakfast.
On the upside, I’m not the only one who hates breakfast now. On the downside, Rob refuses to book us in any more hotels with breakfast rooms. But for the record, my faith in America has been restored. And I’ve sworn off waffles forever.
Who needs breakfast. I’ll just sleep another hour til lunch.

Thanks to Jonathan McIntosh for this mouth-watering breakfast image. I bet they're good for lunch, too. You can see more of Jonathan's amazing photos, as well as view the original of this shot, at