Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For Dad

Hi World,

It is a lonely old night. All of the chickens here are roosting and I'm thinking. If you came here looking for a laugh, I will disappoint you this time. Humor was not the available muse this evening.

Back in September, I disappeared for awhile from this place. At the time, my mother was very ill. She passed away towards the end of September. I never wrote about it because this is my fun place and, well, there's nothing very funny about your mother dying. There are, however, many funny stories about my mother, who was unique in that you don't often find the mind of a toddler trapped in the head of a grown woman, and I mean that in the very nicest way. I've been playing with the idea of telling some "Vi stories", and one of these days I may, but tonight I'm here to talk about my father.

He went into the hospital a couple of weeks ago. To make a long story short, there were some ups and downs, but finally he was released, after a successful surgery, just in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, the surgery didn't take. The day after Christmas I got a call; the kind that all of us dread, from my brother, letting me know that our Dad had passed away. There was nothing that could be done.

Again, I had no intention of writing about it, but then something funny happened. I was sitting around tonight, playing with my fancy new laptop (thanks BigB), and I decided to check out my site statistics. I was surprised to find that one old post had been resurrected, seemingly. Not remembering what it was about, I went back to read it and discovered that it was about my Dad and his way with nicknames. I took it as a sign, because I do that. I'm like Mel Gibson, with a pointed tinfoil hat on my head, always looking for signs. Signs and crop circles. Anyway, it seemed like the right time and the right thing to do, so I'm writing tonight about my father.

Wherever he is right now, he would probably want me to apologize that he won't be getting out with the plow to dig all of you out of this nor'easter we've been hit by here in New England, so I'll get that out of the way right up front.

There are many memories I will carry forward of my Dad, all of them good. He was one of the nicest people I've ever known. He was a great singer. Well, actually, he probably was not, but as a kid riding around with him, I always wondered why he was toiling away in manufacturing when he was obviously born for the Grand Ole Opry. He could sing along with those old 8 tracks like nobody's business. Johnny Cash wishes he could have sung Ring of Fire like my Dad. And speaking of driving around with Dad, if we happened to stop at a store, we knew two things: 1.) We would have to wait in the car, but 2.) there would be m&ms or a Hershey bar in it for us. Make that three things: Nine times out of ten, Dad would run into someone he knew and stand there talking to them for 20 minutes. I think, cumulatively, about 2 years of my childhood were spent waiting for Dad to finish up a conversation.

There are a couple stories that are always the first to come to mind when I think of him and I'll share those with you. The first made him my hero; the second convinced me he was omniscient.

When I was really young, we lived in a trailer park. One Christmas Eve we were hit with a bad storm. Sometime in the middle of the night, my parents realized our roof was caving in from the weight of the snow. Now, a young kid's memory is faulty, but I remember him carrying me out of the trailer, through the snow, and to the safety of our car. In my memory he is barefoot. He was probably upset because Christmas was a BIG deal to my father. I don't remember feeling upset about Christmas-I just remember thinking that my Dad was a hero. I was very focused, the way little kids can be, on this one idea of him being barefoot, and I kept going back to it, in my mind, and thinking to myself how cold his feet must have been. He probably wasn't barefoot. I know that now. But he was a hero.

The second story has to do with one of my birthdays. Birthdays were also big in our house. Not as big as Christmas, I don't think, but important. I was not a kid who lusted after stuff. I was more of a doer than a collector. That particular year, though, I did have a secret desire and it was for a yellow ten-speed bike I saw in a magazine. I started lusting after this beautiful sunshiney bike long before my birthday, and tried to think of the different ways I could earn money to buy it for myself. Well, my birthday came and my Dad said to me, "I heard you wanted a yellow ten-speed, but I couldn't find one anywhere. Let's go see if there's another bike you like". We went to Western Auto and I chose a maroon ten-speed for my birthday present that year. I loved that bike. But forget the bike-how the hell did he know what I wanted? I didn't remember telling anyone. And what else did he know? I was a little worried about that because, frankly, I didn't want my Dad stalking my adolescent mind, ferreting out all of my secrets, and I was now convinced that he could. If he knew about the bike, he might know I had kissed a boy at band camp. Eventually, I remembered that I had told my cousin, who probably told her mom, who told my mom, who told my dad, maybe, but back then I could conceive of no explanation other than the obvious fact that my father was reading my mind. Oh. The. Horror. I'm sure he would agree.

Okay, one more. My father loved the song, "Love me Tender". At my wedding, he requested this for the father/daughter dance. I kind of brushed him off because I thought of it as a love song and innappropriate for the father/daughter dance. I went with some other song and I can't even remember now what it was. At the time, I thought he came up with that off the top of his head, but a month later, when my older sister got married, he again requested it and I'm happy to say that she conceded. She made him wear a tuxedo, too, though, which I did not, so I'm gonna call that even, sort of. I do not remember if he requested it for my younger sister's wedding or not, but he probably did. I got to thinking, what is the deal with this song? And I realized that for him it was probably a lullabye. I listened to it one day. It was a song about a tender love, and what is more tender than your love for your baby? It would have made a great father/daughter dance song.

I'm going to miss you so much, Dad. I didn't see you often enough but every single day, I thought of you. I'm sorry I didn't play that song at my wedding-I want a do over. And I wish that I had been with you at the end to carry you barefoot through the snow and safely into heaven. I'm glad your feet will never be cold again. I hope the food where you are is to your liking, but if it is not, remember, there's not much you can do to ruin a hard-boiled egg:-) You'll always be my hero.

To quote a Cheryl Wheeler song I've always liked, "we're just bereft, not deserted, Lord knows your rest was deserved". Rest well, Dad. We love you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Funny Friday with the Mayor of Crazy Town and Favorite Things Friday with Mrs. P

Hi World,

I'm linking up to the Mayor of Crazy Town for Funny Friday and with Mrs. P from Quilting in my Pyjamas with one of my most favorite EVER You Tube videos.  This came to me via my good friend, Green Girl, who said in her Subject Line:  OMG This is us!!!!

And she was right.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Abbott & Costello have nothing on the Chicken Family...

Hi Worldians,

So I'm standing in the kitchen attempting to work my way through two days of debris when littleb sidles up and engages me in the following discussion:

littleb:  Guess what, Mommy, we got some mail from a dog (laughs hysterically)
Chicken:  (Chuckles half-heartedly because kitchen debris cleaning is least favorite thing.)  Oh yeah?  Mail from a dog, you say?  Where is it?
littleb:  What?
Chicken:  Where is it?
littleb:  What?
Chicken:  Where is it?
littleb:  Where's what?
Chicken:  The mail! 
littleb:  It's at home
Chicken:  So where is it? 
littleb:  Home?
Chicken:  NO littleb, the dog mail
littleb:  The dog is not at home!  (Laughs)
Chicken:  The mail, littleb, where's the mail that came from the dog?
littleb:  (Rolls eyes)  I told you already.  At our home.
Chicken:  (Counts to five)  Yes, littleb, this is our home but where in our home is.the.mail?
littleb:  (shrugs shoulders) I don't know.  (Runs off)


Abbott & Costello / Who's on First?

Chicken & littleb / Where is it?





The next time I'll start off with, "That's nice, dear"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicken Letters Volume 3

Dear Target:


I will be shopping in your store on December 24th from 4PM to approximately 6PM.  I would much appreciate it if you would limit store occupancy during that time to 100 occupants or less.  While I normally prefer far fewer people sharing my shopping experience, I do realize that you have a business to run and am willing to compromise.  I will, however, require a dedicated register and register attendant at all times.  Also, if your people could do a quick clean-up of all the aisles before I arrive, I would be most appreciative.  This will most likely require closing an hour before my scheduled arrival, but I think you'll find that the time spent organizing will much enhance my shopping experience and be well worth your time spent.   Don't forget the bathrooms!  Finally, I will require an additional 20% discount off your already low prices because, really, your prices aren't as low as I would expect.  Thank you for your attention to these matters.  I look forward to shopping with you on the 24th.


With warm regards,


Chicken


Dear Butterball,

While we very much enjoyed our Butterball Turkey this year, I have a suggestion that will improve next Thanksgiving's roasting experience.  At least for me.  It will make no impact on the experience of anyone else in my household because, collectively, they contributed nothing in terms of labor, and therefore have no need of improvement.  In fact, I'd say their experience was pretty optimal, on the whole. 

Anyway.  Back to me.  What I really could have used this year was a built in thermometer that pops out when the turkey is done.  It would be really cool if it could also be waving a little US of America flag.  That's what you call brand enhancement, right there.  You can use that idea for free.  You are welcome.   I do realize that there is a probably a cost attached to outfitting all these turkeys with built in thermometers and that you probably, in this economy, are trying to keep your costs down so as to help more people afford turkeys.  That is nice of you, but I need that thermometer so that I do not have to interrupt my tweeting to run back and forth, from computer to oven, checking temperatures.  That's a lot more exercise than I really need want, even if it is Thanksgiving. 

So I put on my thinking cap.  You know, the tall, pointy one that used to say "Dunce" until I changed it because I'm not a dunce, I just need to think more?  That's what my mom says, anyway.  And I had an idea.  How about if you genetically modify your turkeys so that they grow their own internal thermometer?   Yeah, then you won't have to insert one during the processing stage.  Or maybe you could just slip a little mercury and some plastic into their feed, and the whole thing will probably take care of itself.  Just give me a call if you want any more great ideas.  I have them all the time.

Sincerely yours,

Chicken

P.S.  By the way, you could also lose the organs and neck.  Who wants to reach into a body cavity and pull out a bag of organs and necks?  Only old people living in the mid-west, that's who.  Because they still make that giblet gravy, or cook it and feed it to their cats.  Because of the depression, I know.  But the rest of us think it is pretty gross.  You could sell it directly to the cat food company, and they could process it so that the old people living in the mid-west wouldn't have to cook it for their cats to prevent it from going to waste.  They could just buy it from Fancy Feast. 

Dear Fancy Feast:

You're in!  You owe me one.
Later,

Chicken


Dear Kendall Jackson:

Sweetie, it's me, it's not you.  You have to stop stalking me like this. Stop calling after me as I walk by your shelf.  I need a break.  Time to think clearly without your tropical fruit flavors and oak overtones clouding my mind. No, I haven't taken up with Clos du Bois.  We are just friends.  You were always my best guy, KJ.  It is just that your alliance with marlboro is killing me.  I would never  ask you to stop hanging out with him, but he and I have become estranged recently, and seeing you just reminds me of him.  Sure, maybe in the years to come we can get back together for a laugh or two, but for now I just can't see you anymore.  Try to understand, ok?  I'll always love you, KJ.  Stay sweet. 

Love Chicken

Dear Marlboro,

You suck.  You were hot once.  You had me fooled.  I really thought you were a cowboy.  Now you are just dead to me.

Hugs,
Chicken

Dear Santa,

Hiiiiiiiiii!  How are you?  How was your Thanksgiving?  How is the missus, and the elves and the reindeer.  Did Rudolf get that glowing nose problem cleared up?

Question:  How good is good?  I mean, could you clarify?  Because I am confused.  Are we talking Mother Theresa good?  Princess Di good?  There's a sizeable gap there, I'm sure you'll agree.  And then there's the rest of us.  I really want to be on your good side, but I don't want to over do it because then you'll think I am sucking up, and Chicken doesn't suck up.  Even for you, Santa, and you're one of my favorites. 

So just let me know, when you get a chance, exactly how good I have to be.  Do I need to adopt orphans and rescue stray kittens? Or could I just stop stepping on spiders?  If they are in the house, can I still step on them?  Should I go to church more?  Or can I just stop calling my husband a dickhead when he makes me mad?  Should I stop flirting with strange men, or should I sit on your lap at the office Christmas party?  I mean, there are just so many nuances to that one little word, aren't there?  It really is quite subjective, Santa.  Maybe an online list would help me with your expectations.  And a follow-up online quiz would be great for all of us, just so that we know where we stand.  For instance:

1.  How many people did you maim or kill outright in 2010?
a.  none
b.  2 or less
c.  more than 2
d. a lot
e. all of the above

2.  How often did you steal in 2010
a.  I never steal
b.  2 or less times
c.  More than two times
d.  a lot
e.  None of the above

3.  How often did you lie in 2010 (does not include white lies)
a.  I never lie
b.  I only tell white lies
c.  Whenever it seemed necessary
d.  I always lie just for fun
e.  Sometimes I lie, but on the whole, I'm very active

etc.

And then you could have a grading system, see?  People who answer mostly A get all of their holiday wishes.  People that answer mostly B. get 50% and people who answer primarily C. will get 25%.  People who mostly circle D. get coal.  Those answering mostly E. get everything on their list plus a relaxing vacation in an extra special care facility in Vermont.  You can tell them it's the vacation cruise they asked for.  They won't know the difference.  Okay, Santa Baby, gotta go and finish my list, and I'm sure you'll want to take another look at yours, keeping all of this in mind. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

XOXOXO
Chicken

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Is Over and I'm Thankful to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Hi World,

I hope that if you were celebrating Thanksgiving today that you are well and truly stuffed full of good things.  Well, even if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you at least got a marmite sandwich and a bag of crisps.

I've decided that if I get to come back for another life, I'm coming back as someone who gets to sit on my ass all day, watching the parade and then the football game, until it's time to get up and go sit on my ass in the dining room.  That seems like a lot more fun than trying to remember how to make gravy.

To be fair, I spent a lot of time tweeting, which is getting to be a little bit of a problem.  You know, problem, as in a problem that you point out to someone behind a raised hand so that the person who has the said problem you are pointing out has absolutely NO idea that you are talking about them.  Enough of a problem, in fact, that the bushel of carrots I peeled and tried to cook boiled dry on the stove, burned, and stunk the place up.  Not only were we were robbed of that lovely turkey roasting smell, we had to eat dinner smelling the scent of burned carrots, reminiscent of a bad 50's sitcom about newlyweds in which the wife burns everything she cooks and makes horrible meatloaf. 

I'm wordy tonight, aren't I? I'm sorry.  What I meant to say is I burned the damn carrots because I was  busy tweeting and then I ran around the house doing my Lucy Ricardo imitation, which I thought was funny, but caused the people sitting on their asses to roll their eyes.  Which was probably more exertion than they were prepared for today.  Then I had to make more carrots.

Here are some tweets for you, and I didn't even have to lose any sleep over them: 

littleb wants to mail his Christmas cards now. Right now. Tried to explain we are slackers. We don't send cards. He's not buying it.

about 16 hours ago via web

If you r watching the MD parade and you see the Office Max float, can you tweet me the color of the elf's hat? Can't depend on Matt Lauer

about 16 hours ago via web

note to self: You being a flake will not automatically result in flaky piecrust. It does not work like that.

about 16 hours ago via web

lost a follower. I think it was Matt Lauer.

about 16 hours ago via web

What's a good substitute for corn starch? baking powder? Flour? vodka? I'm going with the vodka.

about 14 hours ago via web

Chicken, remember last summer when, in a organizational frenzy, you cleaned out your spices? Did you replace them? That's what I thought.

about 14 hours ago via web

Recipe for Worst Pumpkin Pie Ever: Suspicious can of pumpkin filling, gelatin, sugar, vodka, cinnamon, molasses. Better luck with turkey.

about 14 hours ago via web

And now I will attempt my signature recipe...Boursin Potato and Green Bean Gratin with Pancetta topping. Innovation, necessity, yada yada

about 12 hours ago via web

The number of people in your kitchen asking if you need help will increase in direct proportion to the readiness of the meal. True. Fact.

about 8 hours ago via web


I'm thankful the potato, gratin, greenbean experiment worked out, that the turkey was moist (but not contaminated) and for many, many things

about 1 hour ago via web

In between those somewhere, my left brain hemisphere and my right brain hemisphere got into a fight because, you know, holiday tension and burned carrots and all, and the left side tried to execute a coup to take out the normally dominant right side.  You know who won, because you wouldn't be reading this if old battle axe Righty had gone down with the carrots.  You'd be reading my potato gratin recipe with very exact directions, as if you need a recipe to make potatoes, cheese and cream taste good, and a sweet story about how TWLITB helped clean up after dinner.  You can go find me @chickensfeed if you really want to read about it, but who wants to read about my brain bickering with itself when you could be doing your Black Friday shopping at Walmart, am I right?

Oh.  And then after dinner, I got to sit and watch t.v.  Just reading that back makes me all soft and gooey inside.  I never get to watch t.v. except for Nick Jr.  but S. left the television on when she left and I sat in front of it.  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathon was on.  I watched it for a half hour and then, in what can only be described as a transcendent and beautiful stroke of genius, I hid the remote and told littleb it was lost, whereupon he retired to the office with BigB, who is left-brained and therefore did not have the genius tools with which to even think of hiding the remote, and watched Max and Ruby until he fell asleep drooling chocolate hershey kisses. 

Yes, we can discuss my parenting skills later, but I've never seen a housewives show.  It was fascinating, primal and oh so disturbing, and I loved every minute.  I'm thankful to you, Housewives, for every brain cell-destroying second.  I just hope you went after the left side, which wouldn't be missed much.  Something tells me you did good, because I haven't had one coherent thought since I first considered whether or not your cheekbones and noses are for real. 

And so-for my successful potato-green bean-gratin and moist turkey, a decadent night of trash television, and TWLITB's generous gesture, and for many, many other wonderful things including you guys, I am thankful and fulfilled.  And BigB is thankful I didn't make my special meatloaf.

Enjoy your shopping tomorrow, if you do that kind of thing.  I'll be tweeting and feverishly trying to find that housewives channel.  I'll probably have to wrestle littleb for the remote but I've been working out.  I think I can take him.

Chicken out






 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things That I Will Tweet in the Middle of the Night if Santa Brings Me a Smarter Phone Which, For Everyone's Sake, Let's Hope He Does Not

Greetings Worldlings,

I've been thinking of ways I can stay more connected to you. 

I'd like to stay connected to you like some obscure, ironic and clever hipster greeting card line that you've probably never heard of, but if you had heard of it, you would say YES that is exactly the way I want to be connected with.   

I think I've found the solution. 

I have trouble sleeping.  To clarify, I have no problem falling asleep-I do that all the time and quite well, but staying asleep is not something I do well.  It recently occurred to me that I could be using this time in a way that is more productive than my current practice of staring at the clock while chanting, "If I fall asleep RIGHT now, I can still get four hours sleep......If I fall asleep RIGHT now I can get 3 hours and 45 minutes sleep....etc."

I could be tweeting.  I could be tweeting you all night, World, because interesting things happen and obscure, ironic, clever things are thought.  Okay, once in a while something clever is thought.  Technically, I never remember anything remotely clever the next morning, but I do remember the aura of clever things being thought.  I'm sure there is cleverness happening, and I could be tweeting about it.  That's my point.

Here are some examples of things I could be tweeting at 3 a.m.

  • Which came first, the fork or the spork?
  • Here I am zombies, wide awake and it's feeding time
  • When littleb was a baby we loved having him sleep with us, but he just took out my right kidney and I don't love it anymore.
  • R.  You are home.  And here I was just drifting off.  Thank God you woke me up.
  • If I go to sleep RIGHT now, I can still get 4.5 hours sleep.
  • I wonder if Lady GaGa still has that meat dress
  • It would be funny if Suri Cruise wore it to the Oscars in 20 years.  It would be a vintage meat dress.
  • And not to be out done, Shiloh could wear Bjork's Stork dress.  Bird Vintage.
  • Actually, Shiloh is more likely to show up in Celine Dion's backward tuxedo and fedora
  • But Celine's tuxedo is hardly a meat dress, I don't care how hot Shiloh grows up to be.
  • And let's face it, she's probably going to wipe the floor with Suri considering her gene pool, not to mention lacking a congenital propensity for couch jumping.
  • But Suri's cute.  She is.  And I'll bet she's nice, too.  She'll make some alien a super wife someday. And she won't have the brother kissing gene, so there's that.
  • If zombies busted down the door right now, maybe looking for a meat dress, I would give them BigB to eat instead.  That's what you get for snoring like a herd of elephants, BigB.
  • If I fall asleep RIGHT now, I can still get two hours sleep.
  • Hmmm.  Why did I dream I was wearing Jim Carry's thong on American Bandstand? That can't be good.
  • Why is Jim Carry even wearing thongs? And more importantly, is Dick Clark still alive?
  • You would think modern medicine would come up with a better alternative to the spine, right?  Something with settings.  Low setting would make it flexible for optimal sleep and high setting would make it optimal for daytime activities.  If they can come up with penis implants, a bendy spine is clearly not out of the question
  • Pro athletes would have to get a turbo spine version.
  • Or would that be considered an unfair performance enhancement aid?
  • There would have to be pre-Olympic and Tour de France spinal tapping
  • Then all the high school football players in Texas would get Turbo Spines, too. 
  • There would be Turbo Spine crime rings and Spine runners, and backwoods Turbo Spine labs. 
  • The President would announce a war on Spines
  • Chicken WTF?  Shut up about the spines.
  • And wouldn't it be great if you could unscrew one of your arms so that you could sleep on your side?
  • I wonder what Kate Middleton will wear for the wedding.
  • Maybe a meat gown.
  • I'm hot
  • I don't mean I'm hot like Shiloh and Suri.  I mean I'm hot like a volcano.  I'm volcanic. 
  • Not to be confused with Vulcans.
  • If I were a Vulcan, my son could, possibly, grow up and marry Suri.
  • And they could jump on couches together. 
  • I'm cold
  • littleb if you do not stop kicking me, you'll be a zombie snack and never get to marry Suri, I mean it.
  • I'm so tired I could eat a horse.  That makes no sense Chicken.
  • I'm so tired that if I fell asleep right now a horse could eat me and I wouldn't wake up
  • Better but still kinda stupid
  • Note to self:  Invest early in spine prosthetics
Tonight, World, we've established that there will be no clever or ironic tweeting, but still that was fun, right?  Right? 

Pearl Annabelle LaFleur says y'all better pray hard that Santa has better sense than to update my technology.

Okay, if I fall asleep RIGHT now, I can still get 15 minutes.

Good night, World.  Sleep tight.  Don't let the zombies bite.


Chicken out

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where Does the Weekend Go?

Hi World,

I personally believe the weekend gets sucked into a big black hole.  It much resembles a washing machine.

I don't have time for a full post today, but I did want to share a quick story about littleb's recent interest in cooking.  You may remember that littleb has a slight chocolate addiction.  Actually, that's like saying that Lindsay Lohan has a slight drug addiction. 

littleb will do anything if you pay him in chocolate; anything you ask-eat broccoli, take out the garbage, not talk for 3 minutes....But of all the chocolate treats in the world, his favorite, bar none, is fudge brownies.

On Thursday, when I last posted, I was sitting here at the computer, maybe focused a bit more on you, World, than littleb, if the truth be told, which is never a good idea.  I knew he was in the kitchen.  I could hear him in there talking to his two dogs, Sparky and Chunky, and his two cats, Francesca and Sweetie, and his hamster, Elephant.    His horse, Chuckles, must have been out delivering the mail.  What? You've never heard of Pony Express?  littleb has.

What I didn't realize, until I finally dragged my butt out to the kitchen to perform a visual check, was that the six of them (five imaginary pets and one littleb) had been quite busy.  littleb was making brownies, and his clueless friends were crowded around him, calling instructions.  The kitchen resembled a science project gone terribly wrong.

I asked littleb what his recipe was.

brownie mix
water
orange juice
eggs

Almost right, littleb.  Not a bad first try.  He hadn't gotten to the eggs yet, so we added those and baked it off.  This is what we got:


It wasn't bad on saltines.

BigB came home, saw the *brownies* , immediately intuited what had happened and asked with completely phony innocence, "Do some blogging today?"
Yeah.  Smartass.


The proud chef (and five invisible helpers)

We took another stab at cooking on Saturday, and this time I read the recipe.  Much better.  No offense imaginary friends:


littleb's secret ingredient?  The rainbow sprinkles!

And then today we made our usual chocolate chip pancakes, but instead of making Mickey Mouse pancakes we made Mickey Dog pancakes:


Why are we making Mickey Dog pancakes?

Because S. has a new dog and we all love him.  His name is Mickey.  Here he is:




Why yes, that is me dressed as Batman.  But I am not really batman.  I know.  The resemblence is striking.

Have a great rest of the weekend,

Chicken out

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Google Asks, Chicken Answers...

Hi World,

I came across an interesting article about Google the other day. Google is looking for a few good people.  According to the author, Google generally hires Ivy League graduates with high GPAs.  In other words, don't bother, state school slackers. 

Chicken is not deterred.  Chicken kind of likes the questions that Google is asking.  They are a welcome change from "What are your qualifications?".  I'm more of a generalist.  I have no real qualifications.

I've linked to the article here, but I know most of you won't go there (fellow slackers), so I've also printed them down below.  There are 15 questions and I only answered half since I still have dinner to cook and laundry to fold, and neither Bobby Flay nor Joann Mannix are anywhere in sight to help, even though I promised wine if they would help me just this one time.  Joann was all, like, "No Chicken, I love you, but laundry hurts my feelings and I have a book to finish", and Bobby Flay said, "What? Who wants me to cook their Chicken?", which really turned me off.

Anyway, so I'm on my own. Whatever.

Are you listening Google? Consider this post my application.  I'm surprisingly inexpensive and I know I can bring value to this job because, I once heard it said, that if you want a job done efficiently hire a lazy person, and my laziness quotient is off the charts.  But don't get me wrong-I still want to change the World.  I just want to change it in the easiest manner available. 
Here we go:

How many golf balls can you fit into a school bus?

Answer:  0
Explanation:  My school bus is filled with American teenagers on their way home from a band competition with all their instruments in tow.  Every seat is taken and, don't tell, but a couple people are sitting in the aisle.  The bus driver just had gastric bypass surgery, but it hasn't quite kicked in yet, if you know what I mean.  They just stopped for dinner, where everybody got super-sized for an extra fifty-nine cents.  Now, chances are, you could fit some golf balls in between carbohydrate-laden bodies and band cases, but given the weight limits for a standard bus, this would not be advisable.  Not if you want to be legal.  And get over that bridge up ahead.  And whoa, is that a weigh station?  Yeah, no room on the bus for golf balls, dudes.

(The great thing about this answer is that it also applies to a very small school bus, such as the one that Chicken rode for many years.  No estimating cubic footage necessary, which would be tedious)

How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle.

Answer:  Chicken doesn't do windows, but she has four kids and will rent them out for $4 p/ window. 
Explanation:  None required, but I just saved you about 15 million bucks.  Maybe I should be your CFO?  Of course, this job could take awhile.  My kids work kind of slow and one of them is really short.  Another one, I suspect, will not be a very effective window cleaner considering the state of her room and car most days.

How many piano tuners are there in the whole world?

Answer:  It depends on the number of pianos, but let's say there are 15 million pianos, there are 21, 277 piano tuners in the world

Explanation:  If every piano is tuned once per year, and if every piano tuner tunes an average of 3 pianos per day, five days a week, but takes 3 weeks vacation and six sick days, then he can tune 705 pianos per year.  It should be noted, however, that given the economy and the general slackness of most piano owners, who either do not follow the prescribed formula for piano tuning or have even forgotten they own a piano because, although they had high hopes at the time of purchase, it turns out their kid is actually NOT the second coming of Mozart, that at least 20 percent of these piano tuners are unemployed and another 30 percent supplement their income with an additional full-time job, possibly delivering Chinese take-out.  Are you hungry?  I could eat.  Anyway, so that would bring the actual number of full-time piano tuners down to roughly 10,638 world wide.

Design an Evacuation Plan for San Francisco:

Answer:  Have Steve Jobs quickly design and construct an iUniverse app that will allow people to use their macs and iphones to download themselves into a safe alternate internet community until the emergency status has been lifted.  Steve Jobs probably already has iUniverse in progress.  The question is, will we be able to afford it? And would Steve Jobs let us out?

Explain the definition of Dead Beef:

Answer:  Beef that is no longer alive.  It is sometimes used, also, in reference to the Wendy's commercial, "Where's the Beef", which is no longer in use by Wendy's.

Explanation:  I know it can't be that easy, but really, what else could it be if its dead? 

A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune.  What happened?

Answer:  The man (an elderly chicken farmer) was on his way to the lottery to turn in his multi-mega million dollar ticket.  The ticket was 363 days and 23 hours old because he never checks his lottery tickets, assuming that he will never win, which is just a defeatist attitude, if you ask me, but on that particular day, he was organizing his junk drawer and found the ticket and decided to check it.  When he discovered he was holding the winning ticket, he also discovered that the ticket would expire within an hour.  The lottery office was 50 minutes away.  He hopped into his 1982 ford fiesta and hit the road.  Forty minutes into the drive, his car broke down.  There was a hotel just ahead.  He didn't want to leave the car because he was very attached to it, so he pushed it to the hotel, which took 11 minutes.  The problem with the chicken farmer was that he was too nostalgic and not really very smart.  He was very sweet, however, and when he told his sad story to the valet guy at the hotel, the valet guy felt sorry for him, so he sent him to the bar and asked the bartender to make the poor guy a drink, so the bartender did.  The bartender, a former Vegas dancer, really took a shine to the farmer, and he to her.  That drink turned into dinner, dancing, and a marriage proposal.  They lived happily ever after.  That chicken farmer was the luckiest guy in the world.

Explain a database to your eight-year-old nephew in three sentences:

Answer:  A database is a lot like your Dad's garage.  It has a lot of stuff in it.  But unlike your Dad's garage, when you need something that is in your database, you can actually find it and don't need to stomp around the house cursing and yelling that you've been robbed.

Note to Google:  It would probably make more sense to have my 8-year-old nephew explain databases to me.

Phew, that was intense!  Google, I'll watch the mail, okay? 

World, if you would like the answers to the questions that Google posed (besides mine, I mean), they are also included in the article. 


Chicken out

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chicken's Secret Garden

Hi World,


I.
On the porch of the house that I don't have, there are well-tended plants on wicker stands, a porch swing, and two overstuffed chairs.  The stone steps leading up to the porch of the house I don't have are wide and welcoming.  I never know who I'll find sitting on them when I step out with my morning coffee to take in the day and enjoy the tropical breeze.

This morning, it was Robin Williams.  Yes. 
And I said, "Gooooooooood mooooooorrrrrrning Robin Williams!"
He said, "Chicken.  It's been too long.  Want to go for a swim?  I brought my trunks.  Like them?"
I said, "Robin.  I adore them! Where did you find twin elephants?"
He said, "Sky Mall.  They're identical.  That's rare with elephants"
I wanted to ask if they were African elephants, but I thought that might sound racist, so I bit my tongue.  My tongue was pissed.  It hates when I do that.
Nobody likes a biter.

II.
When I was a puppy, one of my favorite things to do was dig up the neighbor's lawn. It wasn't that I didn't like the neighbors. It was that I really loved their lawn. There was this one spot in the back left corner, by the garage, that was just the right consistency for my little puppy paws.  Also, I'm sure there was something there once; a bone, a dead mouse...I'm not sure, but the smell of that dirt was divine.  I loved to chase tennis balls, too.  I'd chase any ball a thousand miles.  Not frisbees, though.  Frisbees are awkward and they hurt my small mouth. 

Now that I'm an old dog, I don't dig dirt or chase balls.  I spend a lot of time trying to learn new tricks, but it is hard.  Sometimes I get so tired.  When that happens, I take a nap and dream about dirt and balls, but not frisbees.

III.
Tomorrow, instead of going to work, like I would normally do on a Monday, I'm heading West.  I don't really know what direction West is, but what I'll do is, I'll get on I-95, and then I'll keep driving until I find a route sign with a W on it, and then I'll take that exit.  Then I'll just keep taking all the "W" exits I see.  Sooner or later, I'll get where I'm going, wherever that is.  Somewhere West of here.  Although, it probably wouldn't make a difference if I went South.  Or North, although it's cold there.  East would be difficult without a boat.  I'm not a very good swimmer.

IV.
Last night, when I woke up during Daylight Savings Time, I looked in the mirror that hangs on my closet door, and I saw an old farm.  It was red, with a roof that sloped further on one side than the other, although that could have been the mirror playing tricks on me, and it had three big barn doors, all painted white with big red Xs.  They reminded me of Mrs. Waits.  She was a little, old woman who lived down the hill from my parents in an old house beside a big yellow barn, with candy cane striped barn doors.  When I was in elementary school, she sometimes substitute taught.  One such day, she told us that her birthday was on Greyhound Day.  Wait.....No.  I mean, Groundhog Day.  I tucked that little tidbit somewhere in my brain, and many years later, when I didn't go to school anymore, I was driving by Old Mrs. Wait's house and I remembered that she was very nice to my older brother, once, and I remembered that Groundhog's Day was tomorrow, and so it would be her birthday, also.  I went to the store and found a birthday card with a cheery yellow envelope, and I signed it, "Love, the Groundhog".  I left it in her yellow mailbox in the middle of the night.  I was probably half baked.  I usually was back then. 

Now every Groundhog Day, I look for Old Mrs. Wait's shadow.

V.
If I could travel back in time, I'd go back to right around the time those white dudes "discovered" America.  In an uncharacteristically unfriendly move,  I would burn their ship so they would have to stay forever and everyone in the homeland would think the ship was lost.  The king would have to write the whole endeavor off on his taxes and the commoners would be angry about this whole New World fiasco the king had signed them on for.  I would teach the stupid white children to fish and hunt and live with the earth, the sky, and the wind. I'd give them moccasins, send them on a vision quest, and hope for the best.  We'd harvest the corn, kill a wild turkey, and give thanks.   


ADDENDUM:  This extra hour, man, I'm so giddy I went for a 40% ripple today!  I wanted to show off the Little Ziggy Super Hero Chicken that my talented facebook friend, Ziggy, made for me.  For that story, you can go here: Little Ziggy's Blog. Thanks again, Ziggy. You rock. Look. He made me a Super Egg, too.  That's Chicken's sidekick, Robin. If he were an Egg, I mean.  Don't tell Pearl.  She'll just get upset.





Chicken out

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In Which Chicken Admits to Viewing Altogether Too Many TED Talks.....

Hi World,

This morning when I opened my eyes, too early, I was thinking about ripples. 

Not the potato chip kind of ripples, although those are also very good.

No.  I was thinking about what might happen if I did things 10% differently today than I usually do them.  I'm not sure where the 10% came from.  I'm just telling you what I was thinking. 

In fact, what if we ALL did things 10% differently today than we usually do them?  What would happen? 

Maybe, we'd each cause a ripple in the energy around us, and that ripple would travel out away from us, eventually encountering someone else's ripple, resulting in a joint ripple that would go rippling into some other ripples...

That's a lot of ripples, World.  Pretty soon there would be ripples everywhere.  Maybe even a wave.  Maybe a psychic tsunami!

And then what would happen?  Would the world change?

I know you are probably asking....what kind of ripples are we talking about here?  Okay, let's assume that somewhere someone is asking. 

Nothing big-just little 10% ripples.  We all have our routines-let's start there.  For example, what if today you take a different route to work.  Or if you take the bus (how green, I like your attitude!) and you always sit in the front, today you sit in the back.  Next to that person you see sitting in the same seat in the back every day but have never spoken to.

If you always have pepperoni pizza on Friday night, how about having it on Wednesday night.  I know!  Today is indeed Wednesday.  This is working out wonderfully, isn't it? And how about, if you always do the dishes right after dinner, today you take a walk after dinner instead and leave the dishes.  No, those dishes will not wash themselves.  But maybe someone else will wash them and feel good about themselves for giving you a hand.  See?  Already, the ripples are colliding and sloshing and doing their ripply thing.

Talk to a stranger.  Eat cake.  Turn off the news and listen to some music.  Write a letter.  Draw a picture. Play Monopoly. Stand on your head.  If Father William can do it, surely you can, too. 

I think I will write with my right hand today.

You know who excels at doing things differently?  Little kids.  When littleb wakes up and I ask him, "Hey, littleb, what are you going to do differently today", I know for sure he will have an answer and there will be no hesitation, no confusion.  If I ask BigB what he plans to do differently today, he will most likely give me "the look" (you know the one), shake his head, and go in search of a coffee cup.  But he won't find one.  Because they are all in the back seat of his car. 

BigB could cause a ripple just by cleaning the coffee cups from the back seat of his car.  I'd be all, "Hey, what's this?  An abundance of coffee cups?  I feel happy.  Oh look, there's my favorite San Diego cup.  Why come it has a crack, BigB?".  But that is another story for another time.

Back to the ripples.  Let's practice making some.

C'mon.  It'll be fun.  Be 10% different today and then come back and tell me all about it.   Consider it an experiment.

GG, I am not stoned.

I have, possibly, been watching too many TED Talks.  I linked to my favorite TED talk ever on The Chicken Crossing the Road picture over there to the right.  If you have 20 minutes or so, go ahead and listen.  It will change the way you look at things.  Maybe more than 10%.  That's quite a ripple.

Have an unusually great day, World.

Chicken out

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't Be a Mikey....

Hi World,

In the rural area where I was raised, there were two main industries-paper and shoes.  Most families were either "paper" or "shoes", meaning that one or both parents worked in either the paper mills or the shoe factories.  Kids grew up, and if they didn't move away, they often followed in their parents footsteps-paper or shoes.

My family was a shoe family.  My father was an engineer for Bass shoe, founded by George Bass in 1876.  He started out on the factory floor, before I was born, and worked his way up.  His job, as I understood it, was to study the labor that went into each job required to make the shoes, and then to determine how much "per piece" a worker should be paid.  This kind of work was called "piece work", and allowed better, more experienced workers to earn more, because they produced more. 

My brother's first job was in the shoe shop.  He was about 15.  Dad brought home this piece of machinery along with buckets of leather pieces, and my brother would sit at the machine and use it to punch rivets into the leather.  It was fun to do and when he would let me, I would take a turn.  I now realize that I was often doing my brother's work for him.  When he got his license at 17, he was able to buy a brand new car.  A yellow Plymouth Duster with pinstripes.  I'm taking credit for the pinstripes. 

My first job was also in the shoe shop the summer after I graduated from high school.  I was what they called a "stitcher".  Do you know those little pieces of leather that hold the pennies in loafers?  My job was to sew the ornamental stitching around the edges.  When I had a case done they would be inspected and then passed on to the people who attached those pieces to the uppers.  This was also a fun job and I liked it.  Sadly, I wasn't very good at it and was spoken to a couple of times about my uneven stitching.  I'm sure my boss wasn't all that sad when I left for college in the fall.  Little did he know I'd be coming back in a year for another go at it.  I was much more mature by then, though.  Snicker.

But I digress.  On with the history lesson.

Bass Shoe was sold to Chesebrough-Ponds in 1978.  They were famous for Ponds Cold Creams and other beauty products.  Why they wanted a shoe factory I couldn't say, but things continued to roll along fairly smoothly.  Then, in 1981, President Reagan lifted the quotas on imported shoes and cheaper shoes from overseas became available.  American shoe companies, in order to compete, began moving their production overseas.  The companies that maintained factories in the US cut jobs and payroll.  My father lost his job in 1987 when Philips-Van Heusen purchased the company and again slashed jobs and payroll.  Bass closed their last factory in 1998, letting go of its final 350 workers, one of whom was my brother.  Over the course of 18 years, about 1,200 people employed by this one company lost their jobs.  That number does not take into account Dexter Shoe, L.L. Bean or Eastland Shoes, all of which also employed large numbers of workers and also laid them off.
 
You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this.

Yesterday, I came across a story about Tom's Shoes.  It caught my attention because I've been seeing the company name here and there and wondered...what's so great about Tom's Shoes?  Do they make you fly?  Or run faster?  Do they never wear out? 

None of the above.  It turns out that Tom's Shoes does nice things for other people and so lots of nice people buy his shoes.  They've become quite trendy.  This is the story:  Tom's CEO, Blake Mycoskie, was traveling in Argentina and in the process of helping out a local organization noticed that many children did not have shoes.  Wanting to help, he ordered a bunch of shoes from a local manufacturer, took them home to America, and sold them with the idea of using the proceeds to buy shoes for the children back in Argentina.  Flash forward, and now he has a booming business selling these fabric upper/rubber-soled shoes, and for every pair of shoes he sells, he gives one pair away to a child in a developing country.  He goes by the title of Chief Shoe Giver and now spends much of his time on the lecture circuit.  And giving away shoes.  It is a nice story.  He seems like a really nice guy.


But it made me think:  None of his shoes are manufactured in the US.  The pairs he gives away are not, with several exceptions, given away in the US.  The shoes he sells here go for about $55.   Developing countries are the main recipients.  We are the target market.  Tom's Shoes marketing strategy works because we like the idea of buying something that helps someone else.

Can we stop being trendy for a minute?  Can we stop and think about this?  For just a minute?  So many people have lost their jobs, and many, like those in my hometown, have lost them to overseas manufacturing.  And it is not just them.  It is also the generations following them-those kids saving to buy their first car, go to college, or to get married and support a young family.  Those people that, given a choice, would prefer to stay in their hometowns, close to their roots, but can't because the jobs do not exist.  We are no longer a country that makes things.  We are a country that buys things and we are targeted as such.  We are a country of consumers and borrowers.  Somewhere, a marketing director is saying, "Market it to the Americans.  They'll buy it.  They'll buy anything".  And his Bosses are saying, "But make it in Korea".

How long can we keep this up?  And, oh God, when do we start thinking like patriots?  Are the desperately poor in our own country less deserving than the poor in developing countries?

I'm not putting down Tom's Shoes. I think what they are doing is compassionate and executed with the very best intentions. What I'm saying is that I could buy a pair of Tom's Shoes and feel good knowing that a kid in another country is getting a pair of badly needed shoes, or....


  • I could buy shoes that are manufactured in the US (yes, there are still some companies manufacturing here-Soft Star Shoes is one) and know that I am helping to employ an American during a time of rampant unemployment. That would make me feel good.
  • I could buy a pair of flip flops, possibly made in China, and donate the remaining $45 to my Community Foodbank. Or to my church. Or to the out-of-work, homeless veteran on the street corner. That would make me feel pretty good, too.
  • I could forego the new shoes altogether and donate the entire equal sum to the National Relief Charities, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of poverty-stricken Native Americans. I don't really need new shoes, anyway. 

Don't be a Mikey, World.  We don't have to eat everything we're fed. Charity comes in many forms.  Some less fashionable than others.    
 
Thanks for reading this one.
 
Chicken out

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken Vs Blog Union

Hiya, World!

(scuffle in the background)

Man in Black:  Excuse me, Chicken, ma'am, step away from the blog, please?

(chicken pulls her robe shut, takes a sip of coffee.  Strong and black with a hint of cinnamon, just the way she likes it.  Stands silently considering Man in Black who has suddenly appeared on her blog)

Chicken:  Excuse me, Man in Black, come again?

Man in Black:  Step. Away. From. The. Blog.

Chicken:  I like your sunglasses.  Did you buy those on hipster.com?  How did you get on my blog, anyway?  Who are you?

(Man in Black flashes official-looking badge.  Chicken can't see it. Chicken needs glasses but don't tell her that)

Man in Black:  That is a lot of questions, Ma'am.  I'm asking the questions, here.  As a certified Case Manager for General Blog Union Local 569, I've removed this blog from your care due to concerns of blogger neglect. 

Chicken:  And yet, here I am.  If you would excuse me now, I have a post to write.

Man in Black:  Not so fast, Chicken.  Where have you been since Sept 15, 2010?

Chicken:  What's it to you, MIB?

MIB:  What's it to me?  What's it to your blog, Chicken.  What's it to your readers?  While you've been off galivanting God knows where, your blog has been sitting here, in disrepair, thanks to your experimental tinkering, and your readers have had to find other forms of silliness with which to amuse themselves.  And then!  And then you just saunter in, with your hair sticking up in 70 directions, blowing the steam off your coffee and expecting to carry on as though you haven't been gone for the last month?  That takes some nerve, let me tell ya. 

Chicken:  Listen, Mac.  Leave my hair out of it.  This is my blog.  I'll blog on it when I want and where I want.  And if I want to leave it for a month and attend to other matters, I will.

MIB:  And that's exactly why we have a Union and people like me-to deal with hardasses like you and protect the welfare of all blogs everywhere.  You think you OWN this blog, Chicken?  Are you really so arrogant?  A blog is a precious gift, Chicken, a GIFT, and should be treated that way.  You never leave your blog alone for a month.  Never EVER.  Now.  I repeat.  Where have you been, while your blog has been sitting here defecating on the internet and withering away, surviving on a few comment crumbs.

(Chicken, appearing a mite uncertain, smooths hair nervously)

Chicken:  Dude, I've been busy, you know?  I've been looking into some new business propositions.  What do you think about catering trucks, huh?  Can you see me driving one?  I'd sell cucumber sandwiches, locally grown, of course, and micro-brewed iced tea.  Yea.  Or maybe I'll start a coffee shop.  A coffee shop that's also an antique shop, and a book store, and a local artist co-op, and it will have a playground.  Genius, right?  Also, there's an election going on here, you know, and it has been getting pretty heated.  It wouldn't be responsible, as a citizen, for me to not know who gave who a job illegally, or who misappropriated funds, or who has a past criminal record.  I have to keep up on that stuff.  My vote counts.  Also, there's just been this big study done on bats.  Yea, bats.  You heard me.  Bats don't fly like airplanes, you know.  No, they do not.  Their multi-jointed wings create a circular wind pattern, more like a helicopter.  If they can figure out how bats fly, it could change the entire air travel industry.  That's right.  Also I do have little chickens, you know.  It's been apple picking season, and littleb has birthday parties every weekend...plus I work, you know, and I've been very busy with social media stuff for my job, so when I come home....

MIB:  When you come home, you have no time to take care of your own blog?  Yea, I get it, Chicken, that's why I'm here.

Chicken:  But you can't just take my blog away.  What if I need to write something.  What if the World needs me?

MIB:  Seems like it has gotten by fine without you.  The miners escaped, Bellchick got rid of Moss, Lindsay Lohan is still partying.  And all this happened without you.  Imagine.

Chicken:  Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, MIB.

MIB:  Tell it to the judge, Chicken.

(reality dawning)

Chicken:  The Judge?  The Judge?  What Judge?  Are you seriously telling me I can't blog here anymore?

MIB:  Ah.  Now you're getting it.
Chicken:  Forever? I can't blog here again forever?

MIB:  You will need to appear in the Court of Blog before the Circuit Judge, who will hear your plea.  Most likely, you'll need to get another blogger to post blog and vouch for your reliability.  Following that, you may be released back onto the internet with certain restrictions and after completing internet community service.  If the Judge doesn't buy your lame excuses, you may be assigned blog sensitivity training.  If you really rile him up, he may assign you to blog confinement, in which case you will be allowed to visit your blog and only your blog, until such time as you are deemed capable of a depth of creativity that allows you to post reliably on your blog without falling back into your web-surfing addiction.  We are not here to punish.  We are here to rehabilitate and prevent the neglect of blogs everywhere. 

(claps on the handcuffs)

MIB:  Come with me, Chicken, and if you ever want to see your blog again, you'll come quietly.

Chicken:  o-KAY!  Quit pushin'.   Bye Blog.  Be good-I'll be back before you know it.  Don't eat too many adjectives while I'm gone.  Bye Bloggy friends.  If anyone could see their way into posting Blog for me, I'd pay ya back, honest I would....


Oh....and somebody...please call Pearl Annabelle Lafleur.  She'll know what to do....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

OMG Chicken, Not Another Ghost Story.....,

Hi World,

You may or may not know, depending on how long you have been reading about the Chicken, that I have a ghost in my house.  It is a relatively benign ghost, mostly showing itself by entering the door on the side of the house, shaking some keys around, and convincing anyone in the house that someone has just entered.  Upon inspection, sometimes, no one has.  Everyone in the Chicken family has experienced it at one time or another. 

Well.  This past summer when we went on vacation, we had a wonderful time.  When we got back home, we found another curious "episode" had occurred.  I haven't written about it because we needed time to research and gather details, but you are reading it now.  Live.  From New York. 

Just kidding.  Or maybe you are reading it in NY. 

Anyway, after vacationing with my family in Maine, we arrived home in the early evening.  BigB set about unloading the car while I went inside to check out the damage and rearrange the evidence, if necessary, before BigB came in the house and blew a gasket (in Jetsons talk).  This would be because R had been in charge of the house during our absence.  R is 21.  I'm sure I do not have to explain any further. 

Everything looked just as we left it, down to the one leftover dirty glass in the sink, and the dust on the coffee table.  There was no evidence that R had invited all her crazy friends for a midsummer night dream party anywhere.  Chicken was pleased.  She's finally growing up, is what Chicken thought.

Then Chicken went upstairs.  I went upstairs to unload a suitcase in our bedroom.  Our bedroom has an eye and hook lock on the inside of the door, used to keep littleb in our room during his younger days when he slept with us most nights and we were afraid he would wake up, wander out to the landing, and fall to his death down the stairs. Yes, we are THAT dramatic. Yes, littleb is totally capable.  littleb is one of those kids you read about in the newspaper who take their parents' car out for a drive on Sunday morning because they figure Dad and Mom do it, how hard can it be?  And if you were the one to question him after the inevitable crash, he would have politely explained that he was getting coffee for Daddy.

You've probably already guessed, but the lock. was. engaged.  Since no one could possibly engage the lock from outside of the room (I had to slide in a very thin metal ruler to pop the hook), someone either had to be inside the room (dead?  Gulp).  Or someone had to have locked the door and gone out through the window.

(Cue Silence of the Lambs music)

Well, friends, I'm relieved to report that no one was inside the room, either alive or dead.  The kicker is that the windows were locked.  There is no way to lock the window from outside the room.  Also, the bedroom is on the second floor on the corner of a house that faces two well-traveled streets, so someone would have needed a 20 foot ladder and some chutzpah to pull that off.

But.  Because we are cynics-well, mostly BigB is a cynic, I was already flying the ghost flag-we needed to check with all possible witnesses.

D the handyman:  Had a ladder.  Could have thought he was protecting our bedroom from nefarious thieves and post-teenage lovers.  Also highly intelligent in a not-so-handyman way, and totally capable of screwing with us.  Nope, he didn't see nuthin'.

J the nephew:  Had access to the house due to being the handyman's assistant and also unofficial house watchdog.  Also playful, though.  Could have played trick?  Somehow?  "What r u talkin' about? That's crazy, man." Not so highly intelligent.

R, the main suspect, gregarious, hipster party girl.  Had party in the house?  Invited tricksters?  Is trickster?  Denies everything.  I believe her, World, because R is the world's worst housekeeper.  If she were trying to cover up a party, she would either miss something very telling, like a six foot pile of wine cooler bottles, or she would clean too well including the lone glass in the sink, and the dust on the coffee table, which would have immediately outed her, because, again, R is not known for her mad domestic skillz.   Like the Egyptians, I leave sneaky little traps behind to trip up my kids.  My traps are not attached to crushing boulders, however.  That would be going too far.

So there you have it.  Door locked from the inside, windows locked from the inside.  Who did it? 

Of course, I am disqualifying James Bond level thieves, with rappleing and robotic capabilities.  Even I am not that dramatic.  Give me a hope diamond type treasure and I might be, but not even my change disappeared. 

I think our ghost was displaying his anxiety at our absence.  Or saying good riddance.  Either/Or.  We are kind of loud. 

I love a good ghost story, so if you have one please share.  Don't make me crawl through your window.



Chicken out

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bad Haircut

Hi World,

See?  This is what happens when you read too many magazines and decide to give yourself a new do.

Never, Never, EVER, cut your own bangs.  Or mess with your blog.

I've been reading articles on blog design for a work project and decided to play with mine a bit.  Not only can I not get it back to the way it was-apparently that design no longer exists on blogger-I can't even get the new template to display my title the right way.

And I have no one to blame but myself.

Wah.

On the bright side, Empress and BabyE said that I won their giveaway by being lucky contestant number Eight.  They sure knows how to cheer a Chicken up.  I'll be by, E&BE, and thank you so much!  Chicksters, if you haven't been on their blog, Good Day, Regular People, you must visit.  Please.  You'll be happy you did. 

In closing.  It bears repeating.  Don't cut your own bangs. And don't bite your friends.  Just throwing that one in there.




Chicken out

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Apple, a Thief, and Two Writers

Hi World:

I had a dream last night.  More of a nightmare, really.  Let's play a game.  You in? 

I will bet that with just a few random clues you can guess what I dreamed about and who the villain was.  Ready?  Okay, here are your clues:

iWallStreet
iWalmart
iToyota
iPresident
iNBC
iNPR
iPBS
iHarvard
iDisney
iStork






iGet it?


and then...
TO THE BABY RUBBER BAND BALL THIEF (BRBB):

Dear Person Who STOLE My Baby Rubber Band Ball:

While this might not seem like a big deal to you, you should know that I worked hard to get that Baby Rubber Band Ball started, and I had great hopes for its future girth.  The BRBB and I were going to be featured in many publications including, but not limited to, the National Enquirer, Ripley's Believe It or Not, and that book about inane world records that nobody over the age of 12 would ever buy, but still, we wanted to be in there. 

Why do you want my BRBB, anyway?  Do you plan to disband it?  Did you need it for some industrial purpose, such as binding your mail or making a ponytail?  I would gladly have offered you an alternative, such as a very nice hair band , which is much healthier for your hair, or a binder clip for your mail, which would have been a more professional looking option.  Had you only asked.

I hope that you do not intend to profit from my BRBB in some manner.  Please tell me that you are not planning to sell it on E-Bay.  Please don't be so heinous a person as to steal another person's BRBB in order to pit it against other rubber band balls in a fight to the death.  It is just a baby and small for its age.

What would you say if I told you that there is a micro-chip implanted into that BRBB.  And that I am tracking you; that even now, I am watching you. Sadly, this is not true.  But what if it were?  You would not be so smug then, would you?

I will find you BRBB thief, and do not even think about crossing state lines.  I've already called in a Rubber Alert. 




Have you seen this Baby Rubber Band Ball?  Please call Chicken. 
Justice will be mine.




and then....
LIZ SMITH:

Do you know of Liz Smith?  The 'Grande Dame of the Dish'?  She is the famous gossip columnist who, for many decades, has provided the dirt on the rich and famous.  Her autobiography was published in 2000.  I'm reading it and enjoying it very much, although I haven't gotten to the really juicy parts yet-who slept with who, or who was nasty (or nice) behind closed doors.  I did learn that Kirk Douglas was originally named Issur Danielovitch.  This made me think that his children are probably very grateful that he became Kirk Douglas.  Can you imagine Catherine Zeta Jones married to Michael Danielovitch?  Then again.  Zeta?  But I digress.  What I meant to say is that I am reading a great book called "Natural Blonde" by Liz Smith, who is well into her 80's by now, and boy she has some great stories to tell. 


I wasn't even sure if she was still alive.  Naturally, I googled it.  I typed in "Is Liz Smith still alive" and learned that someone else had already googled, "Is Liz Smith dead".  I like to think of the glass as half full, unlike some other Debbie Downer Googlers.  Anyway.  Then I found out there was also an actress named Liz Smith, so I had to go back and google, "Is Liz Smith THE GOSSIP COLUMNIST still alive.  Like the capital letters would help.  I'm happy to report that it appears Liz Smith THE GOSSIP COLUMNIST is still alive and still working.  In fact, after seeing this photo of her, I'm pretty sure she is going to outlive me.

(respectfully borrowed from Chron.com)

This is very good news because I may want to write her a fan letter when I am finished with her book.  This time, it will not be after several glasses of wine like when I wrote Stephen King recently.  If his next book is about a famous author from Maine and involves a shady (but disarming) character who sends self-important emails to the main character about being from Maine, and knowing everything about the part of Maine, where "Under the Dome" took place, and congratulating him on getting the details right, and if words are spelled wrong, there are multiple exclamation points, and the salutation starts with Yo, Dude, I will know that Mr. King did indeed receive my letter!!!  I hope he also enjoyed the youtube link I sent of my favorite song.  It would have been nice if he had written back personally, but whatever.  If he wants to make it up to me, he can cast me in his next movie. I just do not want to have to break anyone's ankles with a sledgehammer.  I like to maintain that I am not crazy or violent, since I very much enjoy writing letters to people I do not really know and do not want things like restraining orders harshing my mellow.  Mr. King, Dude, if you are reading this and you like what you read, call me.  We can flesh out my character a bit more.  And I can give you some more tips about rural Maine.   People there do not wear house dresses as often as you think.

I have spent the better part of the evening writing this ridiculous post and googling stupid things.  Could this be what BigB means when infers that I am shallow?

I prefer disarming.

I'll bet nobody calls Liz Smith shallow.  If you would like to join me in writing (sober) emails to Liz Smith, you can read her column here

Chicken out

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chicken follows: Favourite Things Fridays

Hi World,



Mrs P. from Quilting in My Pyjamas has started a new Friday thing called Favourite Things Fridays.  As you may have surmised, we are all called upon to reflect upon our favorite things.  Or rather, Favourite Things, as Mrs. P would say.  She's an Aussie.  She eats vegemite for real.  I know.  High ick factor.  But I still like her:-)

One of my favorite things is speeches.  I love them.  My very favorite speech of all time is the Gettysburg Address.  Let me tell you why:

Way back in the eighth grade, my fifth favorite teacher ever, Mr. Robertson (my first favorite teacher being Mrs. Maxwell from the first grade, followed by Mrs. Yates from the second grade, followed by Mrs. True from the third grade, followed by Mr. Robertson's wife, Mrs. Robertson, from the fifth grade, which means we won't be talking about Chicken's fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Barnes, and we'll skip the whole sixth and seventh grade), challenged us to memorize the Gettysburg Address for extra credit.

I should explain here that Mr. Robertson was way cute.  Like middle-school major crush cute.  And I just had to impress him somehow.  So I memorized it and recited it and got my extra credit.  I didn't get to marry Mr. Robertson, however, because apparently Mrs. Robertson knew more speeches by heart plus all the capitals of all the states, which I had forgotten by the time I got to eighth grade. 

But I never forgot that speech. 

The Gettysburg Address is beautiful.  It is short and so honest.  I do not know if Abraham Lincoln wrote it himself, but I like to think that he did, and that the words he spoke that day, on that battlefield, were from his own heart. 

I recited this speech as a bedtime story to all of my kids before they got old enough to talk and demand "Goodnight Moon".  It is my way of remembering it. I have a lot of kids so I know it really, really well.  Maybe when they are older they will get a warm feeling in their hearts whenever they hear the Gettysburg Address.  They may not know why, of course.   It would be more of a subliminal thing.  A Pavlovian thing.  It is not like I go around reciting the Gettysburg Address before meals.  I don't.  Hardly ever.

Well.  Once, I did recite it at a company retreat.  But that was an emergency.  The electricity went out, there was nothing to do, I felt a need to entertain, and I can't sing or dance.  If you have ever watched "The Office", it was probably something like that.  Picture an "Office Retreat", a lot of semi-drunk people playing pool, and suddenly the lights go out.  What should we do?  It is too quiet!  So I recited the Gettysburg Address.  Someone fell over backwards in their chair.  Probably overwhelmed.  Yes.  I am a tool.  Call me Michael.  Thank you.  Whatever.  Anyway. 

So thank you, Mr. Robertson, for introducing me to the Gettysburg Address.  Here it is.  Please pay attention  If you memorize it by Monday, I'll give you extra credit:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.


Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.


But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

What do you think?  Nice, right? 

And now I realize that I've missed Friday and we are in to Saturday, so I guess it is a Favorite Things Saturday post.

It is September 11, so I think it is still fitting. 

Where were you? 

Here are some more good words:

I know Jesus and I talk to God and I remember this from when I was young...
Faith, Hope, and Love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is Love...

alan jackson

Wishing you well,

Chicken out