Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hitting Repeat

We were at our friends' house for a weekend visit.  It was late.  A lot of wine and craft beers had been consumed.  Our girls were bedded down for the night-their three and our two.  We had finished playing a rousing game of Risk in which Phil, my husband's college room mate, and I, battled for final victory, our spouses having long since thrown in the towel, and our competitive spirits showing themselves, unsurprisingly for Phil, a lawyer, surprisingly for me, a housewife.

We moved into the living room and Phil put on a mix tape.  In the middle of it there was this one song. You know the song.  It might be a different song for you, but it is the song that makes you stop what you are doing and ask, "Who is this?".

They finally decided that it must be Barbara Keith singing Detroit or Buffalo.  Long story short, Phil gifted us the mix tape, which also included several favorite Van Morrison songs.

We listened to that tape on the drive home, through the pouring rain, and then I appropriated it for the yellow Plymouth I drove most often. I hit reverse on the one song over and over again.

What I didn't realize at the time was that my marriage was on a decline, heading toward a canyon, and perhaps this song resonated with me for that reason.

When you divorce someone you  break your childrens' hearts and split all your possessions.  It's never pleasant, regardless of how civil you both try to be, but you prepare yourself for it.  What hits you by surprise sometimes is the splitting of friendships. They were his friends first. Naturally, he got them in the divorce.  I wouldn't have expected any less, but I missed them. I missed her, with her tree-hugging goodness and nurturing spirit.  I missed him, with his killer wit and sharp mind. I missed them together and I missed us together, with our girls, just hanging out over a weekend, living large in a small frame.  When one of my girls told me they had divorced years later, I was sad.  I, maybe you, have those couples that stand for marriage in my mind. They are the ones you know will never break the bond; you don't even think of that happening with them.  In my life, I've had two. One couple is still together, one is not.  Fifty percent of my role models stayed together.

Tonight, when I typed in Barbara Keith on YouTube, I wasn't really expecting anything to come up, but there it was.  The magic of music is amazing to me. It will take you back in an instant. I'm listening and hitting repeat.  I'm missing those friends of mine.

I won't insist you listen, but if you are interested, here it is:

Who do you miss?

Chicken out

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: I got nothing....

Yesterday being Halloween, I had no time to shop for this Friday's F=2FB post inspiration.  Like any quick-thinking, under-prepared professor, today I will make you do all the work.

Ready?  Notebooks on the floor.

Jump suits:  Good fashion idea or bad fashion idea and why?

Next question:  This is an opinion piece.  You'll be graded on the originality of your reasoning.

Hot or not hot?

And finally, what was your favorite all-time ensemble?  What did you wear to death and hate to give up? What fashion trend did you mourn the death of?  I'll tell you mine if you'll tell me yours.

Have a happy and productive Friday, friends!  

Chicken out

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Skip this House....

If, while out tricking or treating this evening, you come across a house that looks like this...

Yikes!  Creepy! Is that a ghost?

You might want to skip it.
It's a documented fact that this house is haunted.
You really should think twice before ringing that doorbell.....

Sort of like Hotel California....just sayin'

Because if you do ring that doorbell, you might be greeted by THIS fearsome character...

The Tattooed Boy
He's even scarier than he looks!
Don't believe me?  Well just look at what happened to the last guy who stopped by unnanounced!

He's saying, "Man, I wish I hadn't run into that Tattooed Boy!" 

Happy  Halloween ghouls and ghosts. Stay safe out there!

Chicken out

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Vi Chronicles: Peggy-Lou Was NOT a Very Good Baby-Sitter

One night my mother went out and left Peggy-Lou in charge.  Peggy was our big sister, third oldest out of seven.  She was ten years older than me and seven years older than my brother, Victor.  That night, Peggy had an excellent idea.

She was full of good ideas, Peggy Lou was. She decided we would all walk to town.  It was late-too late for a seven-year-old to be awake-but in this branch of the family only pussies went to bed at bedtime.  I might be a chicken but I've never been a pussy.  I put on my sneakers.

It was a warm summer night.  We set out walking; myself, my brother, Victor, our older brother Michael, and Peggy-Lou.  Town was about a 1/2 mile from our house.  We walked past the lake, past the bridge, past the shoe shop and past the Western Auto.

Then Peggy-Lou whispered, "That church up ahead is where the devil lives."

"Nuh-uh", we said.

"It's true.  His workshop is in the basement."

We approached the church.  Some of us faster than others.

Home of the devil's workshop according to Peggy-Lou in 1970

There did appear to be a light on in the basement....

Peggy-Lou said,  "I'm going in."

"No don't!  Don't do it, Peggy-Lou!", I whispered.  

"Yup, I'm gonna find that devil and kick his ass", said Peggy-Lou.

Mike said, "I'll watch the door."

Me and Victor didn't say anything.  I had just wanted a bag of chips from Amato's, for Christ's sake.  I had zero bones to pick with Lucifer.

"Ok", Peggy-Lou said, "When he sees me, there's going to be trouble, so get ready to run or he'll steal your soul."

Peggy-Lou eased open the side door and started down the stairwell into the basement. We could see a lone light bulb at the bottom of the stairs. The door closed behind her.  We waited.  I'm not sure why.

We didn't have to wait long.  About two minutes later she shot out the door and started running down the sidewalk. "He's coming and he's pissed!", she yelled. "Run for your lives!"

"Hey, wait for me", I yelled.  I couldn't wait for my mother to get home.  I was so telling on these morons.  

We made it home, our souls intact, and Peggy-Lou made some cocoa, then we watched Dark Shadows. I didn't sleep again for the next  seven years.

Which was right around the time that Peggy-Lou got married in that very same Church.  She had promised me that I could be the flower girl, but then took it back and said I had to be in charge of the address book instead, because I was too old to be the flower girl.  

I wasn't walking around with a dumb address book. There was a Devil's workshop in the basement of that church, and several bored, gullible children (including one flower girl) wandering around looking for something to do.  

Chicken out

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Decorating

It was late. BigB and littlb had gone to bed.  Teenager Who Lives in the Basement (TWLITB) was shuffling around in the basement, as usual, and I was sitting in this very same spot just minding my own business.

TWLITB popped his head in the office door.  "Mom?"


"What are you doing?"

"Nothing much.  What are you doing?"

"Nothing much."


TWLITB said, "Remember a couple days ago when I told you I thought there was a skunk in the window well?"


"I think it's still there."

"Oh.  Wow.  O.k. we'll take a look in the morning."

Except I couldn't just leave the poor skunk there for another night, now, could I? Because it had already been a couple days since the first time TWLITB mentioned that he thought a skunk was trapped, and if it was the same skunk, then the poor thing had been down there without water or food for far too long.  I felt guilty for forgetting J.D.'s mention of the skunk when he first noticed it.

For those of you who might live someplace where foundations are not the norm, window wells are constructed when you have windows in your basement.  Ours are about three feet deep.  When an animal goes exploring and finds his way into one, it usually requires some help getting back out.

"Why are skunks so stupid?" my grumpy, guilty Chicken heart asked?  "Because they just are.  That's why God gave them such odorific super powers; to make up for their tiny brains.", my (equally tiny) Chicken brain answered.

I put on my coat, my gloves and my baseball hat (to protect against skunk odor and low-flying bats).  I hunted down a working flashlight and tore the garage apart looking for a long enough piece of wood to form a ramp.  Then I trudged out to the front of the house and flashed the beam into the well.

The good news was that there was no skunk in the well.

The bad news was that there was one very sorry looking possum down there.  He looked up at me and  I saw he was close to done.  He probably thought my flashlight beam was his ticket to the other side.  I slid the old shutter I had found into the window well to form a ramp.  This had worked quite well the last time a skunk had been stuck there.  The possum didn't look healthy enough to make the climb, however.

I went back inside and looked up possums on the internet. Finally, something useful to look up.  Not that the fang length of a baby vampire, or the relative amount of time it would take to walk to California aren't useful things to know, it is just that the need to know these things was not as immediate as the need to find out how sharp the teeth might be of the animal stuck in our window well.  Pretty sharp, as it turns out.  Also, I learned that possums like fruit.

By this time, TWLITB, alerted to my nocturnal ramblings, had emerged once again from the basement.  We discussed the situation and made a plan.  We gathered a bowl, a bottle of water, a banana and some strawberries and then we went back out to visit our new pet, Pat. We weren't sure whether we had a girl or boy possum but we are fond of alliteration and old SNL skits.

Our plan was to restore Pat's strength so that he/she would be able to climb out of the well.  First, we tossed in the bowl and then we poured water into it. Pat fell upon the bowl and shortly peered up at us as if to say, "May I 'ave some more, please"?  We laughed.  Then we noticed the neighbors were out on their porch watching us, so we  lowered our voices.  We filled the bowl again, then tossed down the strawberries and banana in case Pat wanted to make a smoothie later.  Then we went to bed.  I'm assuming the neighbors did, too.

Pat was still there in the morning.  I worried that the shutter was too short, making the angle too steep for Pat to climb.  I had to leave for work, but I left TWLITB with instructions to keep Pat watered throughout the day and scout out a longer length of wood.

When I returned from work I put off checking on Pat.  I had a glass of wine and waited for it to get dark. Mostly, I didn't want BigB to catch on to our possum problem because BigB is not a fan of urban wildlife.  I was afraid he would insist on calling animal control to remove Pat from the well and I didn't spend the previous night restoring Pat just to see him exterminated.  I also was a little worried that Pat didn't make it through the night, in which case my problem would have become one of removing a dead possum from a window well, and then dealing with my guilt.  I decided that if we had a dead possum,  I would consult BigB immediately.

Live adorable possums, my jurisdiction.  Gross dead possums, BigB's jurisdiction.  New rule.

I always get creative when  I drink wine and so it wasn't long before I had hatched another plan to free Pat (Get it?  Hatched?).  After dark I found a large basket with a handle, and some rope. I was trying to be very quiet so that BigB wouldn't ask questions.  I sneaked out through the front door with the basket, the rope and the flashlight.  TWLITB heard me rustling around outside the window and came to help. We were arguing over what kind of knot to tie on the basket handle when BigB suddenly appeared around the side of the house.

"What are you two doing?" he asked?

TWLITB and I looked at each other.

"Decorating for Halloween?",  I replied.

TWLITB snorted, BigB stared at me, and Littleb showed up in the doorway.

The neighbors were back on the porch.

"Decorating with Possums.  They are very Halloweeny, don't you think?"

"There's a possum in the window well, is that it?"


"And you're trying to get it out?"

"Well.  You wouldn't want to have to drag a dead possum out of the window well, would you?  That's kind of the alternative."

LittleB said, "I want to see the possum!"

TWLITB shined the flashlight into the well.

The possum was gone.  Operation Free Pat was a success.

A cheer went up throughout the neighborhood.

In my mind.

BigB sighed heavily and went back in to watch the game.  TWLITB retired to the basement.  Littleb got on the computer to look up possums.  The neighbors retreated, relieved that Chicken had saved the neighborhood from a dead possum outbreak.

I poured another glass of wine and basked in the glow of a job well done.

Chicken out
Cute, right?  And Halloweeny?