Archive for November, 2007

If it’s not one thing, it’s another

Thanks so much for all your comments.  I’m sorry not to be able to respond to all of them personally, as is my usual practice.  This blogging community is truly amazing and I feel very blessed to be a part of it.  I’ve had tears in my eyes many times over the past few days when reading them. 

My father is mending slowly and it’s good to hear the smile in his voice again.    My comment to him was “I guess you know the cigarettes are gone, right?”   For the first time in years, our entire family is now smoke-free at the same time so who knows – we all may live several more years at that!

Dad’s doing well but as they say, if it’s not one thing it’s another.  I’m taking myself away from blogging for awhile to deal with another problem that requires my attention/emotions/energies.   (Not a health problem!   No panicking allowed!)   Instead, a rather sticky personal relationship problem.  I have every confidence it will all turn out fine, but things are emotionally exhausting currently.  Even though I don’t usually hold back much personal information here on the Observation Deck, there are times when I’m actually able to keep my mouth shut!  

Love you all.  I shall return.

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When your parents become your children

My crazy-ass dad has been in the hospital with pneumonia for the last 5 days.  I say “crazy-ass dad” in a lovingway because he’s insanely funny – not because he’s insanely psycho.  Anyway, he’s a sick puppy right now.   My dad is 70 years old and has been smoking practically since he was a toddler, so the lung thing was inevitable.    He’d supposedly quit but has been sneaking smokes and puffs from the rest of us for the last several months (well, not from me now, since I went and quit the nasty habit), behind my mom’s back.

But this pneumonia thing scared the shit out of all of us.  My little brother went to the house today to sweep all the cigs out from Dad’s little hidey holes, and I outed him to mom today

“Mommy, you know dad’s been smoking lately.”
“I THOUGHT I’d been smelling cigarette smoke!”

Well duh.

Since I’ve been watching that show Intervention for the last 3 years, I suggested we have an intervention for dad’s cigarette problem.  “Daddy, your cigarette smoking has affected me negatively in the following ways….”  Yeah, that’d probably go over REAL well.  He’d be the kind of person you see on the TV show that stands up and says “Oh HELL no, you fucking traitors.” 

But here’s the real problem – the doctor strongly suspects dad actually has emphysema, but he can’t diagnose him until he can get a clear scan of his lungs, after his pneumonia is licked.    Now, I’m the kind of gal who believes in live and let live – up to the point where your livin’ starts affecting other people.  Not only does the old man have to quit smoking, he also has to lose a significant amount of weight.  Why?  Because he’s already a diabetic,  has high blood pressure and high cholesterol – so add the potential emphysema or lung cancer to the mix and he’s just one big fat jolly mess. 

So kids, I’m going to be on a sporadic blogging schedule for awhile.  I’ve also run into a few problems with my room addition project that have to be addressed, my job sucks ass right now and I’m all tuckered out by the end of the day. 

So I’ll be around, checking in with y’all, just not regularly for awhile.  And for those of you who are wondering about the whereabouts of Muse, I have no information at this time.  I’ve emailed her but no reply has come yet.  I miss her too…

Things that scare me

It’s a scary world out there, folks, and it’s getting scarier.  I’ve been pondering a few recent events that have very scary implications for our Brave New World:

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Waterboarding:  While the debate continues to rage about whether or not waterboarding is http://members.lycos.nl/flyerrichard2/Afbeeldingen/Snowboarden/Crash.jpgstill being used by the CIA as an interrogation technique – whether it be at an illegal location in an Eastern bloc country, or right here at our own detainee playground in Cuba –  it seems to me that the most obvious problem has been ignored:  The name of the technique itself.    I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word ‘waterboarding’ I don’t immediately think “Ewww.  THAT sounds scary”.  Instead, I  think New Extreme Sport!!   The name sounds suspiciously similar to Snowboarding, doesn’t it?   While I’m sure that our trustworthy government would never intentionallyname a torture technique (so horrible it’s against the Geneva Convention) something that sounds  like a fun sport for twentysomething daredevils,  I propose they consider changing the name.  Maybe to something more descriptive – like Brink of Death Drowning Torture, or The You’ll- Never-Feel-the-Same-Way-About-a-Shower-Ever-Again Interrogation Technique.  

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Osama bin Laden:   Lately I’ve found the Bearded One’s videos to be more cute than scary – “Americans should all embrace Islam….” (for various reasons, one being, “because there are no taxes in Islam, only alms.”  Huzzah!)  

What really disturbs me, though, is this:   binladenvid.jpg Isn’t it obvious, from these 2004 and 2007 pictures of Mr. Crazy Himself, that a shipment of Just for Men had been hijacked from its regular route to Sun City, Arizona, to a group of caves, somewhere in Afghanistan?  And how, pray tell, did this happen? 

The US had better get control over this shipping container security problem before we start seeing something like this on our store shelves:

copy-of-just4men.jpg

If Just for Men can help this man elude capture for over six years, imagine what it can do for you!

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Political campaigns that never stop:  First it started with holidays. Unable to allow its customers one solid week of http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1682266,00.htmlfreedom from thinking about upcoming holidays, stores have set up a continuously rotating set of holiday displays.   New Years, Valentines, St Patrick’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Flag Day, Labor Day, Christmas/Halloween, Christmas/Thanksgiving, and finally, Christmas/Christmas.   

Not content being left out of our year-long holiday gorging and spending sprees, the 2008 political campaigning started mere weeks after Bush’s reelection in 2004.  The fact that you actually made the mistake of contributing to a political campaign once – ten years ago – will now entitle you to a neverending stream of meddlesome phone calls and mailers, all with their collective hands out crying ‘More, Please’.  I predict that we’ll never again know a time when someone’s not campaigning to be our next President.  Much like seeing store Christmas displays in August (and there’s really nothing that says Festive! like a fully decorated Christmas tree next to a display of wailing, motion-sensitive goblins) we’ll complain about it, but no one will actually listen. 

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Birth Control for 11-year-olds:  I have only one question – what’s scarier?  A pregnant eleven year old, or an eleven year old on birth control?
http://missourifamilies.org/images/teens/pregnantwteddybear72-200.jpg

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Last but not least  – The Hollywood Writer’s Strike:  This is perhaps the scariest thing of all.   Personally, I don’t care if most of what passes for television writing bites the dust for awhile.  However, I’m afraid of what this means for the one and only show I actually care about – Lost.  http://www.lesterhead.com/uploaded_images/lost_ben-copy-704427.jpgIt’s not enough that the loyal viewers of what is perhaps the most interesting and intelligent show on TV today have to endure a 9 month wait for new episodes.  No  – now that January is finally closing in on us, the fucking writers have to go on strike.  I’ve heard that there are eight Lost episodes ready, but where does that leave the story?  I’ll tell you where – right in the middle of “gotta know what happens next”  How about right in the middle of revealing who or what the Smoke Monster is?  Or right in the middle of explaining how and why everyone got off the island and why Jack wants to go back?  Or maybe right in the middle of showing us what happened to Evil Ben.  Me no likey.  No sir.  Why can’t they let the Lost writers go back to work?  

Anyway, I think the writers are just big babies.  They should be glad to be getting paid to write anything, much less asking for internet content royalties.  Hey, where’s MY internet content royalties?  Huh?

Buncha babies.

Veteran’s Day – It’s only a holiday if you make it one (or if you work for the gov’t)

Ahhhhhhh. 

That’s the sound of relaxation.  It was indeed a nice and fairly relaxing weekend, and I enjoyed it so much I decided to take a personal day today, too.   Plus I got to thinking “Observant, today is Veteran’s Day and who’s a veteran???   YOU are!   And who is more entitled to take the day off than you?  NOBODY!”

OK, I guess if you’re sick or something it’d be OK to take off work, but for sure all Veterans should be given the day off.  No – we should be forced to take the day off. 

“Go ahead, Veterans.  We know you worked hard to protect and serve our fair country.  Don’t even think of getting up to go to work today.  You stay home and celebrate YOU!” 

This is what I imagined every American was thinking today, and Americans I heard your pleas!

So I called work and told them I was taking care of personal business – which is true since I’m sitting here blogging.  Then I think I’ll pat myself on the back a few times for being a Vet.  Oh, and there will probably be a nap squeezed in sometime today.   Gotta stay productive.

PS – No, I did not smoke this weekend.  I wanted to, but I didn’t because I have willpower of steel – all veterans do, don’t ya know?

http://www.barefootsworld.net/graphics/iwomtsurubachi.jpg

I’m the one on the far right.   Nice ass, yes?

Mama said it wasn’t easy

It’s been one of those weeks…

1.  …when, upon returning home from work, you want to immediately start hitting the booze.

2.  …when, upon returning home from work, you have only the energy to sit like a zombie in front of a TV set for 5 hours until it’s time to go to sleep.

3.  …when one entertains fantasies of walking off the job whilst flipping everyone the finger.

4.  …when you find yourself muttering to yourself “I hate this fucking place”.

5.  …the thought of blogging anything is almost too much effort.

Sorry guys, I just can’t seem to get it together this week.  I miss my Marlboro friend and haven’t figured out how to self-soothe yet.  It’s kind of like being a baby again, minus the diapers and the breast feeding. 

Weekend update

There’s nothing like a fall jaunt…especially to a wine-infused town like St. Louis and the surrounding area.  Did y’all know that we Midwesterners grow some kick-ass wine grapes?   Well we do, and I sampled some of our fine wines this weekend.   Of course, not to be outdone, St. Louis is also home to Budweiser – The Kind of Beers, dontcha know?  And yes, some Bud was consumed.  Free Bud.  At the brewery tour.  Which kicked ass because of the free beer.  (Did ya hear that, Reg?)

But I digress…

Here’s the weekend in a nutshell: 

Top of the Arch.  Went up in the tiny space-age pod.  Saw lots of stuff including the curvature of the earth.  

Toured the Old Courthouse  where the Dred Scott case was heard and decided. 

Riverboat tour.  Let me tell you, the banks of the Mississippi in the middle of an industrial city ain’t real purty.  Highlight of the hour trip was seeing an ammonia barge going down the river.  Freaky to see a barge loaded with thousands of tons of ammonia being pushed up the river to its destination. 

Lunch at Laclede’s Landing, then oldest part of St. Louis, then on to the Anheuser-Busch facilities for a free tour.  Free!  Plus free beer!  Free!

Last, but not least, we drove over to St. Charles – a fine old town on the Missouri river AND the location of the first state capitol of Missouri – where we did some post-alcohol consumption shopping.  I must admit that I was feeling pretty good after the brewery tour, which seemed to loosen up this miser-girl’s wallet considerably.  We had a very fine dinner on Main Street at The Little House Winery, where we sat outside in the crispy fall air, warmed by a blazing fire pit.   

After that whirlwind day, Mr. Observant and I ended up back at our very nice hotel, where Mr. O had to practically hold me back from crashing a wedding and stealing a piece of wedding cake.  Observant really wanted a piece of cake, but it was not to be.  Mr. O said I would regret it in the morning.   A Hershey’s bar and a coffee did me just fine though, and I promptly fell asleep directly after consuming my yummy chocolate treat.    It was all of 8:30pm. 

We left Sunday morning and took a scenic drive through the country.  There’s nothing like fall color, is there?  The trees were at their peak; that time right before they lose their leaves when the reds and oranges and yellows and golds are absolutely stunning.  We made one last wine tasting stop in Hermann, at the Stone Hill Winery – home of my most favoritest wine in the whole wide world – Norton.   If you like a good, dry red wine, the Norton grape makes a tasty (and reasonably priced) addition to your wine cellar.   Observant highly recommends.

On another note – why do we keep fucking with the time?  I hate it when we spring forward AND when we fall back.  It depresses me to have my circadian rhythm messed with so cavalierly.   Let’s just leave it one way or the other and be done with it.    That’s my 2cents worth on THAT subject.

Hope y’all had a nice relaxing weekend.  I’m slowly making my way through my Blog reader, and if I haven’t been to your place yet don’t fret.  I’m still adjusting to the time change.

Gateway to the West, here I come

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That’s right folks, it’s time for Observant and her faithful companion Ken to take their annual Fall Weekend Excursion.   This year’s destination:  St. Louis – if you couldn’t guess from the picture, which means you’re either not a real American or you’re from Texas and still believe the gateway to the west is in Fort Worth.  I know you Texas people know what I’m talking about  (OK, I feel I’m somewhat entitled to that barb since I lived in the Great State of TX for a good number of years).   

Our only firm plan is to go up the Arch, which I’ve done but Ken has not.  Heehee, Ken does not like heights!  I guess this will be a good opportunity to find out if he’s also claustrophobic!  Those little tiny cars that take you to the top are a real trip, kids.    Not only that, but the Arch sways back in forth in the wind.  It’s scary-fun!  

We might also go on a riverboat ride – just like in the olden days!!!    Speaking of the olden days, the New Madrid earthquakes happened in 1811-1812.   These were magnitude 7.2-8.0 earthquakes, the strongest ever reported east of the Mississippi.   Booya California people!   My own neighborhood  was developed in the late 1800’s, specifically for people from the New Madrid area who wanted to relocate farther away from the earthquake zone.   

I hope there’s not another big one while we’re on top of the Arch.  They say it was built earthquake-proof, but do we really trust their word, people?  If it fell down, I could just hear it now – “Oops.  Looks like the construction specifications used in 1963 were actually substandard!   Sorry….” 

Well, I wouldn’t hear them say that, obviously (since I would be dead, smashed, blotto, obliterated), but you know what I mean. 

Have fun this weekend boys and girls.  I’ll be back Monday, unless the big one hits while I’m in the Arch (THE Gateway to the West) in which case I won’t be.