There but for the Grace of God...

January 20, 2010

Order in the Court

I was walking through my kitchen last night when a song popped into my head.  Well, not a song really.  More like a ditty.  It's been stuck there ever since.  I can't sing it for you, obviously, but it goes like this:

Order in the court.
The judge wants to speak.
The first one to talk is the monkey of the week.

Now my question is, where the hell did that come from?  I mean, I recognize it.  It's a little song that my fourth grade teacher used to sing when she wanted us to quiet down.  How's that for sudden and serious clarity of memory?  But the point is, it's not been a part of my waking consciousness for the past 21 years.  So why now?  Why that moment as I passed the fridge heading for the sink?  Seriously.  It makes me wonder what else is lurking around in there. 

Maybe one of these days all that Spanish I learned in high school will come rushing back.  Perhaps I'll suddenly recall why I dyed my hair orange in the 10th grade.  Hmmm.  Actually, maybe I'd rather not know.  And that's the thing about these suddenly reclaimed memories.  It's a crap shoot.  Can I remember the names of grammar school class mates when I run into them at the local Wal-Mart during my annual trips to visit my folks?  Nope.  And these are people that I saw and interacted with on a daily basis for years.  Where's my super memory then?  There are years of useful information floating around up there, just waiting for the appropriate trigger to activate the pathways to memory and I end up with Order in the Court?  I'm certain this says something important about my early childhood development.  I just can't remember what.       

January 13, 2010


The Captain informed me tonight that I would make a great Madame.  As in:

Line up girls.  There's a customer waiting to buy your favors.  Don't forget to smile.  Josie, get that chew out of your mouth!  Clementine, show a little more leg!

At first, I wasn't sure how to take this observation.  He says I have the personality and temperament for it.  I have to wonder how he came to that conclusion.  Was it from studying successful madames from centuries past to discern their common personality traits?  Or was it from watching me interact with the world at large for the past 10 years and just one day realizing I may have missed my calling?

After giving it some thought, I've decided not to be offended.  I am choosing to believe that a.) What he meant was my natural leadership and management capabilities combine with a strong sense of self confidence to create a force of personality that would keep both the doves and the dudes in line, and b.) He thinks I'd look good in a corset.  Yeah.  I'm going with that.

January 9, 2010

They're Out There?

One balmy night this past August I was letting the dog out one last time before heading to bed.  It was late-ish, probably 11:30p or so.  Weather permitting, I always go outside with her after the sun sets.  I'm a worrywart puppy mamma, and there are wolves and coyotes and bears out there.  Seriously, there are.  It's one of the perks of living in the Great North Woods.  My usual routine is to step out on the deck with the spotlight to shine the field around the house before letting the dog out.  Usually, all I see are deer.  The occasional skunk.  Perhaps a raccoon.  On this particular night I saw nothing.  So, I let the dog come out and she scampered down the steps to do her business.  (Note to self: find out why the act of excreting bodily waste is referred to as doing business.)

So, while she searched for a prime piece of real estate, I turned my eyes to the heavens.  I was blithely looking for a constellation or two, pleased with myself for remembering them from the half of an astronomy class I took ten years ago, when I noticed flashing lights in the sky.  I was surprised, but not alarmed.  I stepped further down the deck to see if I could get a better look.  As I changed positions, I realized the lights were not moving, just flashing.  They were in a cluster and appeared to be hovering above the tree line north east of the house.  I say appeared, because I couldn't really see the tree line.  If you've ever experienced a summer night in the country, with no ambient light from houses or street lamps, you'll appreciate just how dark it was.  The porch light and mercury light in the yard only illuminate about a 50 ft circle.

I stared at those lights for a good minute or two before it occurred to me what they probably were.  The awareness came to me slowly, as I stared and tried to reason it out in my mind.  The little hairs on the back of my neck came to attention.  That hot needle, prickly feeling swept up my chest and over my face as I came to the conclusion that there, hovering above my field, was...... Eeeeeeeek!  A UFO!!!!!!  An honest to God UFO, right there in my field!  Given that I was reared on Unsolved Mysteries, I am ashamed that it took me so long to come to this conclusion, but once I did, my mind went immediately to alien abduction, which is, of course, the most logical conclusion.  Why else would they be there?  I mean, I am the perfect candidate.  I have what my granny referred to as birthing hips, obviously made to withstand the rigors of an alien/human hybrid birth.  My thoughts started racing...

Will it hurt?

How long will they keep me?

Will I remember the procedure or just think I'm getting fat and one day pop out a little alien baby?

No one will believe it.  I'll be one of those crazies we make fun of on the Sci-Fi network.  I owe them an apology.

All these thoughts and more went through my head, but my major concern was: Could I actually love an alien baby?  Could The Captain? 

Something in my heart twisted at the thought.  I think it was a mini stroke.

I briefly considered getting The Captain, but I was trying to stay reasonably calm and rational.  He was sleeping and I was hesitant to wake him if the UFO posed no actual threat.  He values sleep more than I do, and in some corner of my mind I knew I may be slipping off the Unsolved Mysteries deep end.  Mostly, I was afraid they'd make a move when I wasn't looking.  So, I stood there watching the UFO, waiting to see what would happen next.  As I watched, I edged back closer to the door, called the dog in and prepared to make a lunge for it, incase they did indeed have abduction in mind.  My anxiety driven thoughts were all over the place. 

Could that really be an alien air craft?

Is there really life on other planets?

If God could do it here, He could do it anywhere.

Wait, are they like us, with the whole free will thing?

I bet they are.  I bet some idiot pisses them off by taking pot shots at their spaceships.

We're screwed.  No way we could withstand an alien invasion.  Superior strength, superior technology.

Maybe they won't actually want to eat us or exterminate us.  Maybe they'll make us slaves.  Or pets.

While thinking these profoundly rational thoughts, my attention never wavered from those flashing lights in the sky.  I must have stood watching them for a good 15 minutes.  There was a light breeze teasing the ends of my hair.  It felt good in the summer heat but did nothing to relax my jumping nerve endings.  I was about to turn tail and head inside, not sure if my pounding heart could withstand much more of just standing there.  Vulnerable.  But also not sure if I could just leave with them there, watching, not being able to see when they made their move.  I had almost convinced myself they were just sight seeing, when it happened.  The wind picked up and the UFO started moving.  Eeeeeeek!  I started to make a break for the door, my eyes still trained on it when a huge gust of wind came out of nowhere and the UFO was revealed in its entirety.  There, in the sky before me, suspended above the tree line, was...................... the moon.  I had only one thought:

Thank God! I am so not ready to decide what to do with an alien baby.

Yes.  I am that big of an idiot.  My whole UFO experience consisted of the moon hanging just below the tree line at the very corner of the trees, where the slight breeze rattled the leaves, making the light sparkle and twinkle through.

As relief flooded my system, calming my frazzled nerves, the coyotes started yipping and howling in the field, sending them bouncing and jiggling all over again.  I high tailed it inside, crawled into bed, snuggled up to The Captain and spent the rest of the night dreaming about The Borg.

January 8, 2010


I did some baking over the holiday season.  I say "holiday season" because I baked between Christmas and New Year's Eve.  As usually happens in my life, a general lack of planning and time management meant I didn't get to the baking before Christmas and felt compelled to complete it before New Year's.  It's my little way of making up for the monumental sense of failure I get to experience every Christmas when I realize that it's two days before and I haven't sent out cards or put up decorations.  And the thing is, I really would like to do those things.  Send out home made cards.  Decorate with clever objects in interesting ways.  In my mind, that's the kind of person I am.  In reality, I'm the woman who waits til the last minute and says F*ck It when I realize it would take a miracle or a night with no sleep to get it all done.  Yeah.  It's not pretty, but that's really what goes through my mind.  You can see how important sleep is to me.

So, I baked.  Between the holidays.  I made zucchini cookies (interesting, but I probably won't make them again), chocolate chip cookies (wonderful as always.  It's a little known fact that I have the best recipe in the known universe.), two batches of peanut brittle (Grandma F's recipe, which never goes wrong), and ruined two batched of chocolate fudge (it just wasn't my year).  I packaged all the goodies up to be delivered to various relatives, and during the packaging I stumbled across one of the mysteries of the universe.  The phenomenon of bread and cookies.

If you're not familiar with this particular phenomenon, let me explain.  One of the simplest ways to keep your cookies from drying out is to close them up in a container or bag with a slice of plain old, grocery store white bread.  You know the type.  Wonder Bread works great, although Sarah Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grained White Bread worked perfectly as well.  Now here's what happens.  The cookies get nice and soft and the bread gets dry and hard as nails.  It goes from normal squishy goodness to petrified in no time.  I have no idea why this happens.  It's always the same.  Cookies get soft, bread gets hard.  Never the reverse.  It's a mystery, and I'm okay with that.  I enjoy a good mystery.

This phenomenon came to mind, though, while The Captain and I were doing our tour of the two families over the Christmas season.  I have realized that I know a lot of cookies.  Well, maybe not a lot, but certainly enough to leave me feeling petrified.  You know these people too.  They're the ones who suck the life right out of you, leaving you feeling used up and just plain tired.  They're high maintenance and demanding.  They are fans of imposing guilt trips and obligation.  And sometimes they are subtle.  You don't even realize how challenging they are to deal with until they're gone.  Drama queens fall into this catagory.  So do overly emotional people.  Overly sensitive people, as well.  And toddlers.

Yup.  I said it.  Toddlers.  Well, kids under the age of 7 in general.  Especially at Christmas.  They're high on sugar, over stimulated by new toys and new people.  They run around like little psych ward patients: screeching and fighting and laughing and whining and tattle telling, all competing for whatever attention they can attract.  Oh, how I love them.  But seriously.  They're cookies.  And me?  I'm bread for sure.