Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I actually can look back fondly at the days of being sick as a child. I got to sit in bed all day in warm pajamas that I can still remember feeling so soft on my skin. I would be covered in heavy blankets, watching cartoons in my parents' big bed with their big TV. My mom would make the best-tasting chicken soup with shredded pieces of chicken and delicious vegetables and soothing broth. But that was just the beginning. We had Jell-O and ice chips, juices of all kinds, toast which had the most lovely scratching sensation on your itchy throat. My dad would make this whiskey, honey, and lemon conncoction that soothed the throat and calmed a cough. There was a box of tissues at my bedside and I didn't even have to pick up after them. I didn't have to worry about what medicine to take or when. Everything was done for me. All I had to do was relax and feel better.

And isn't that all we want when we're sick? Someone to take care of us? And didn't we always seem to get better so much faster? Missing more than two days of school almost never happened. Here I am on day five of pure sickness hell and there's no sign of "better" in sight. And with Mike and I both sick at the same time, there is no one to take care of us. No delicious, healing chicken soup. Infact, for about a week we have experiemented with different soup-in-a-bag or "just add water" combinations. Unfortunately there is just no substitute for Mom's. Dad's whiskey-honey-lemon mixture has come out tasting like a gooey cocktail and there is no Jell-O. Instead of finding mom at the kitchen table when you muster the strength to get up, there is a mountain of dirty soup bowls and spoons, coffee cups, and drink glasses the likes of which you have never seen. The pile of laundry is rivaled only by the pile of snot rags which have spilled off of the nightstand and onto the floor and why two grown adults can not remember to keep medicines on a strict schedule is beyond me. Laying in bed watching cartoons may seem okay at first, but before you know it you're staring at the ceiling wishing you could just fall asleep. The temperature is never right. The heavy blankets are suffocating you and your pajamas are covered in dog hair. You can't really taste anything but you're certain that it doesn't taste good anyway and a small voice in the back of your brain whines out into the night: "Mooooooommmmm" in the "I'm gonna throw up" tone that would cause her to come running. What I wouldn't give for some of that chicken soup right now...

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Domesticated Maya

Dust. Ragweed. I guess that something along those lines was the answer I expected all along. Instead, I found myself staring at a two page list of foods, plants, insects and words that even Webster’s Dictionary cowers in the face of, accompanying six tiny color coded vials. My tiny, sweet, little pug, Maya, has been suffering for nearly two years with chronic allergies affecting her skin, ears, and paws. Due to various moves and environmental changes, we have had to wait for what has seemed like an eternity to get her vaccines made so that she can start having some relief that I don’t have to wrap in a snausage for her twice a day. I was expecting something easier than giving her shots for the rest of her life. I thought they would tell us to buy a better air purifier or be more diligent about dusting… or even to closer examine our outdoor plant life. Now I found myself feeling bad for Maya yet again.
Maya is the sweetest creature on the planet. There isn’t a bad bone in her body. Her nick-name, Mia-Pia, means “My Contented One” and it couldn’t be more perfect. When things are going badly for her, all she wants is a warm lap and a nice nap. The same could be said for anyone having a rough day and there is nothing better than laying your head on the pillow and feeling her warm little face snuggle up against yours. Why this poor little thing suffers so constantly with allergies is a constant source of grief for my husband and I. My relief is that now we know what is wrong and are looking at the culprits printed up on paper. I am hoping beyond hope for a more comfortable existence for her and I can’t help but wonder what would become of her in the wild.
As it is, pugs don’t strike me as the type of dog that would ever have had any sort of survival skills. Lap dogs to the core, they were bred to adorn the thrones of Chinese royalty and they haven’t come much farther on the ol’ career path since. But weren’t all dogs “wild” in some form at one point? Poor Maya, with her allergy to chicken, turkey, and any other bird one could imagine, would probably have to develop a taste for vegetarianism. I can’t imagine my “barely as large as a shoe” dog wrestling a cow to the ground. I’m pretty certain that unless she somehow managed to lick the cow to death, a beef meal would not be so easy to come by. I can, however, imagine her using her adorable little face to coerce a lion to bring her a herd of dinner (Because in my fantasy world, lions, pugs, and cows share a habitat). If nothing else, she has a way about her that results in her getting exactly what she wants from people and pets alike. Maya has never had to fight for treats, bones, or the best spot on the fluffiest pillow. Born the only puppy to her litter, she had her little pug mama all to herself and spent her evenings nestled in the bed of the dog breeder… not something you hear of happening often. When she was placed on a dietary dog food that she detested, my other dog would actually bring her mouthfuls of his own food. Truly, no one can resist the charms of Maya.
We look at animals as if they are stupid—lower forms of life. But what do we really know, anyway. Every being on this earth is equipped with a natural instinct and a way for survivability. I just can’t imagine what Maya’s is. After all, she is allergic to a dogs easiest outdoor meal and the Planet Earth, in general. So what am I to make of this list of reactionable offenses from Bermuda grass to Palm trees, from ants to soybeans? I suppose for Maya, survival would come to her as it does to a busty blonde in need of a fancy home and small fortune supplied by a dwindling, but lucrative older man. Lucky for her she will always have someone to take care of her and love her and keep all the evil chicken away. I hope to report in the coming months that she has improved ten-fold with her new allergy injections and is a happy, healthy, itch free girl once again.

The One(s) That Got Away

The One(s) That Got Away

They say it is better to have loved and lost and it is a cliché that many have pondered over the years. Recently I have been thinking of some special loves in my life that have gotten away. Remembering their loss and feeling their absence is a constant reminder of those feelings of sadness, frustration and anger. Sometimes it is more than even fond memories can tame.

1. Softlips Lemon Sorbet Chapstick.
It arrived in a welcome package from Holmes East dorms at Michigan State University in 2001. I don’t remember a single other thing that came in that gift basket. All I remember is a slim-line tube of chapstick that I swore tasted like Lemon Pledge. Despite its wood polishing aroma, I quickly grew to love this brand of lip balm. It was tingly and lemony and perfect. I must have bought a hundred tubes and of course I lost all of them. But of all the chap stick that has ever come into my life… it is the ONLY brand that I threw away at the end because I used it all before losing it. Nothing replaces that kind of sentimentality. Now, Softlips is still on the market, but they discontinued the Lemon Sorbet flavor and instead have a bunch of silly, floofy flavors like Strawberry Margarita and Cherry Vanilla. I would do anything for another tube of that chapstick.

2. Ohm Ginger and Citrus Body Lotions and Soaps
This didn’t stay on the market for very long. Apparently, I am the only person who found this to be the absolute most perfect smell for any sort of bath product. It just smelled so clean! It wasn’t flowery or spicy…. It was just a nice, fresh smell. Even the packaging was appealing. They arrived in fresh green colored bottles with graphic circles reminiscent of orange slices. It is the kind of product where you buy the soap and the lotion to match because you can’t stand the idea of not having that scent with you all day long. I still have a bottle of the lotion left and I only let myself use it on special occasions.

3. California Pizza Kitchen’s Thai Chicken Pizza
I have never been a big pizza fan but this pizza is out of this world! They still make it. You can order it in their restaurants as far as I know. But all of a sudden every grocery store I know has stopped carrying the Thai Chicken frozen version of the California Pizza Kitchen’s masterpiece pie. It may be a hard sell to some people, peanuts, arugula, and carrots on a pizza, but I assure you, it is the greatest tasting thing I have ever tasted and I am truly saddened by its disappearance from grocery store shelves. What is this world coming too?

4. Express Black Bar Pants
This is sad. I had this pair of black bar pants from Express. Several pair actually. I wore each of them until they were pits of string held together with staples and fabric glue. They went with everything. They looked dressy if you wanted them to. Casual, if you felt like going that way was a simple shirt or even a t-shirt and sandals. They were magnificent. And the one day, they just weren’t to b e found anywhere. I remember how I ruined the first pair. I was wrapping Christmas gifts and sliding the scissors across the wrapping paper and snipped a big whole into the leg of the pants. My back up pair I wore all through my first and second years at Ringling and by the end had stitched together several holes and even tried gluing frayed edges at the heels. It is very rare, indeed, that I become attached to an article of clothing. I loved, loved, loved those pants. R.I.P.

5. Naturalizer Brown Sandals
I’ll try not to harp too much on my forlorn sandals that have often been mentioned in my blog. I had them for many, many years and I wore them until they disintegrated and I bit the big one in the office supply aisle at Walmart where I took out a side-cap of scotch tape and received some nice bruises. In all they were the greatest and most versatile pair of all-purpose footwear known to man. I will give my life savings to the person who locates me another pair post haste.

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pizza Crackers
These little crackers were shaped like pizza slices and had a biting “pizza” flavor. They were really pretty awful. I would never want to eat one of these things again, but just somehow knowing that they were out there somewhere would make me a happier person.
the cookies:

7. Ponds Face Dots
These things were great! They looked like little round, clear bandaids. You stuck them on your “acne problem spots” before bed, you woke up and the situation was always much improved. I found that they worked really well. Even my husband liked them a lot. Now, they cannot be found anywhere. I find it hard to imagine that mine are the only zits responding to them. But maybe my pimples are special. I like to think that they are.

8. Snap bracelets
Where the hell did they all go? Are they still in our teacher’s drawers, snapless for all eternity? What a waste of sheer joy. I used to think that they were made out of mini-blinds.

9. Annie Chun’s Hot and Sour Soup Bowls
Possibly the greatest freeze-dried hot and sour microwave soup in existence, this product is disappearing off store shelves faster than I can snap it up. If I find one day that they have stopped carrying it, the HEB has HELL to pay.

10. McDonald’s Old School Chicken Sandwiches
Yeah, I’m sorry but they used to taste different. And better. I would be so happy if they would go back to the 1980s happy version of the chicken sandwich. Nothing fancy just grade E poultry on a bun with some mayo and lettuce. Make it happen guys. Come on. I found this very version of said Chicken sandwich once in Canada on a school trip to Stratford. I know we saw a play that day… but all I remember is a Chicken Sandwich laden with memories of the old days.

There is a lesson to be learned from all of this. When you find something you like… maybe splurge and keep a few spares around. The corporate marketplace is an evil place where many a product is swallowed whole and never spit out again. Best of luck in keeping all of your loved ones close at hand.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Nonsense

I decided to repost this from another application. It was fun to do and I really appreciate all the positive feedback I got. Glad to have made some people laugh. :)

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1. I'm insanely shy and went through a "phase" circa the age of five when I talked through a Snoopy doll.

2. I've been to 13 different schools and I used to hate moving. Now I get restless within a year of living anywhere.

3. I am afraid of car washes and any other place where you have to position your car onto ramps just so...

4. When I was a kid, I used to obsessively dry and peal glue off of my hand. My best friend did this as well and it was serious business.

5. Once I convinced Ryan Payne that aliens lived in our neighborhood and to feed them we had to pry up bits of asphalt using a paper clip. we stored it in an empty butter container in my mailbox waiting for it to be absorbed by the mother ship. I was most disappointed when the only thing that happened was the mail lady asking my mom to please remove the cup o' street chunks.

6. Working my way through Ringling was one of the hardest things I ever did and I don't think I could ever do it again.

7. I'm always embarrassed to order my tunafish on wheat with cheese and onions sub at subway. Its the only thing I'll eat there.

8. I've never had a cavity until this year. I'm told it was due to uncontrolled diabetes, but I secretly felt like a failure.

9. I am always made fun of by an old friend for an incident that occured while I was driving him home from work. A deer jumped out in front of my car and I yelled: "Hey, big dog, what are you?" It made no sense and to this day I wish that my gut reaction would have been to... I don't know, BRAKE.

10. I often wonder what my family would have been like if we had never left Illinois.

11. I was certain that boullion cubes were chicken flavored candy. They are not.

12. My dad used to pull a board out of my bedroom floor and I could see into the basement. He would wind up toy doozers from fraggle rock and I thought they lived there.

13.I broke my right wrist twice. The second time resulted in surgery and now its made of 50% metal. If certain fabrics (or anything else) brush across my wrist in the right spot, I lose feeling in three fingers and my thumb for several minutes.

14. The scariest thing a doctor has ever asked me was if I had recently swallowed any small metal discs. (I hadn't, it was an error on an x-ray)

15. I used to put really... really... obscene amounts of butter oil (as in small animals could drown) on the free popcorn for the people that came to the forget-me-not shows at 7am at the Fenton Cinema. I still think they deserved it.

16. I came home from MSU in 2001 weighing under a hundred pounds and if I hadn't come home, I could have been in some trouble.

17. When I have had a bad day, the following things almost always give me some sort of comfort: pugs, the opening credits to Gilmore Girls, Snoopy cartoons, a white blanket with more holes than fabric, hot tea, music that reminds me of my parents washing the car in the driveway, and reading lamps with low wattage bulbs.

18. I am allergic to Mr. Bubble.

19.It has always bothered me that I lost a superball in a tree outside my grandmother's house and I never found it. Where the hell could it have gone. I'm fairly certain that there is some sort of vortex there.

20. I sucked my thumb until I was like 25. The dentist always knew. I hated him for that.

21. I once got my lip stuck to an A&W root beer bar. My mother finds this extraordinarily funny and makes sure to bring it up every couple of years. I'm pretty sure the story will be printed on my tombstone.

22. theme songs, jingles, and elevator music from the 80s constantly run through my head. I often rewrite the lyrics so that they are about my dogs. It amuses me and it amuses them. So... shut up.

23. My cousin made me a friendship bracelet when I was 8 years old. I still have it, though it barely even resembles colored string anymore. I keep it in a ring box as if it is an expensive diamond ring.

24. My uncle likes cars and I once found a hubcap on the side of the road. I remember proudly bringing it home and declaring that I was going to wrap it up and give it to him for Christmas and my mom looking at me as if the mail lady had just informed her that there was a butter container full of pavement in the mailbox. When I asked her recently if she remembered this story she said no and agreed that he would have loved that as a Christmas gift. I looked at her as if the mail lady had just informed me that there was a butter container full of pavement in the mailbox.

25. I never dreamed I would want to move back to Michigan, but now I think about it everday.

Pay Attention: