it’s dark and we’re wearing (ray bans wayfarer) sunglasses…hit it!

I'm Still in Love with You (Roy Orbison album)

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Elwood: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.

my ode in acrylic to my fav sunglasses: wayfarers

First there was Audrey:

image via flickr

Then the Blues Brothers:

image via flickr - poster from the movie blues brothers

Then Tom:

image via flickr

Then finally me:

notice the beale st shirt - straight from memphis

When Tom Cruise brought back Wayfarers in Risky Business and Don Henley sang about them in “Boys of Summer“, I found an old pair of my brother’s (maybe it was his tribute to Roy Orbison). I couldn’t stop wearing them in high school.

Like when it was Fifties Day at high school. I forewent the poodle skirt and dressed like a greaser with my dad’s old shirt and my brother’s Letterman jacket:

My over-sized pair came in handy (still don’t believe the school allowed us to wear shorts that short):

Even during the Miss Bristol,WI pageant (one year I won Miss Congeniality – take THAT Sandra Bullock!)

My friend Jill got in on the action. A boy in school thought Jill had a body that was illegal for freshmen to look at.  I have to agree.

Today I can’t wear Ray Bans due to my prescription eye glasses. I once owned a pair of prescription sunglasses but I made the mistake of wearing them in the ocean at Laguna Beach. A wave swept over me and off they went.  Somewhere there’s a fish who can see REALLY well but more importantly, looks REALLY cool.

a volcano for a Christmas gift


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The first Christmas my soon-to-be husband spent together was in poverty.  Well, not really poverty but as adults living at home with minimum-wage jobs.  We understood that we didn’t have the money to spend on lavish gifts.

He came over one snowy night with a jigsaw puzzle of Beetlejuice, the movie starring Michael Keaton.  We met at The Brat Stop on Halloween night when he was dressed as Beetlejuice, and I in a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt.

He played lead guitar in a band called St. Helen’s (after the volcano in Washington).  For my gift to him, I used a promotional poster of his heavy metal band which boasted of four guys with big hair, spandex that would make Rod Stewart jealous and pirate-y shirts.

I drew his likeness with a background of a totally made-up music sheet:

I think that's Mozart in the background, not sure.

Perhaps this Christmas we’ll spend it the same way – in terms of love AND money.

housework: doing it right will kill you

Martha Stewart at the 2009 premiere of the Met...

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“Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.” ~Erma Bombeck

I have no intention of ever doing housework right.  I’ve never done it right this far so why break a winning streak?

But educating myself in housework is another thing.  That’s why I bought Martha Stewart‘s Homekeeping Handbook.  She starts it out with Cleaning Products 101.

If only there was a periodic table of elements simple enough to understand what exactly goes into cleaning a home.  There’s abrasives, bleaches, builders, enzymes, fragrances, solvents, and surfactants.  This is where I wish I studied for my chemistry final.

Good news: you don’t need bottle upon bottle of toxic cleaners because Martha breaks it down into simple choices. This is essential when enlisting children in the wonderful art and science of cleaning.

This is Martha’s Universal Cleaning Kit: First, get a caddy (I have one, but it needs washing, naturally).  She writes, “For routine cleaning, less is more.”  Only 6 items needed:

1.  “An all-purpose cleaner, such as Mrs. Meyers or a solution of 2 tbsp. mild dishwashing liquid…and 2 cups water in a spray bottle.”  I chose Dawn because it’s blue and my spray bottle looks like the one on the cover of her book.  No, I am NOT anal retentive.

2.  “A mildly abrasive cleanser, such as Bon Ami.”  At Wal-Mart I walked up and down the cleaning aisles to find this Bon Ami to no avail.  Behind a display of something cheap and toxic, I found a slew of Mrs. Meyers cleansers.  I chose Mrs. Meyers Lavender Scented Surface Scrub.  Aaaaaahhhhhh.  I never thought scrubbing the kitchen sink would remind me of a bath.

3.  “Glass cleaner, or a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle.”  I’m all for the cleansing power of vinegar but not the smell.  It reminds me of dying Easter egg and having to open a window.  So, I went with the ever-reliable Windex.

4.  Rubber gloves.  Got ’em!  Who doesn’t have rubbers handy?

5.  Lint-free white cloths.  I have these – old cloth diapers!  Unused, of course.  There was no way I was coming anywhere near my babies with safety pins.

6.  Medium-bristled scrub brush.  I know I have this…somewhere.  I purchased a tile/grout brush because face it,  my husband will find out I’m using his toothbrush to scrub the scum behind the faucets.

So, armed with my ammo, I will tackle this house cleaning thing though I can’t follow Martha’s directions to a tee.  It’s like copying a master artist.  I can’t copy a Picasso no matter how I try.  But if I paint in his style, I take pride in the finished product.  As long as the house smells like lavender.


mick, loretta and the wolfman: short story

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Mick told Loretta to get back in the car.  But Loretta kept on walking, leaves crunching under her feet.  Mick couldn’t let her go out there alone, so he opened the trunk, mumbling about how she doesn’t listen and found a flashlight.

He caught up to her, shining the light in her face.

“Get that off me!” she said.

“Get back in the car!”

“No, we hit something and I want to know what it is.”

“It was probably nothing.  Now come on!” He waved the flashlight towards the car.

“Nothing does not make a noise like that!”  She stumbled and tripped over something.

“Are you okay?”  Mick asked.

“Yeah, I think.  But what is this?”

He shined the light on that something.  It wore cement-stained work boots and overalls with caked on paint.  Mick’s heart beat fast as he followed the flashlight up the body.  It smelled like old blood left over from a night of fighting.

His arms looked more hairy than your usual hairy guy.  Mick froze as he got to his face.  Fur covered it and his teeth stuck out like fangs.

Loretta looked up at the sky.  Full moon.

They took off for the car, slamming the doors shut.  The steam from their breath clouded up the windows.  Mick slammed on the gas pedal, wheels screeching and spinning in gravel behind them.

“What the hell was that?” screamed Mick.

“I thought werewolves were myths,” whispered Loretta as she cupped her hands to her mouth.

Mick slowed the car down and looked in the rear view mirror.  Loretta’s mouth dropped open and then looked back.  The wolfman ran towards them.

She screamed at Mick to go.  Mick slowed down and Wolfman caught up.  He knocked on Mick’s window, motioning to roll the window down.  So he did even though Loretta grabbed Mick’s arms to hold him back.

Wolfman took off his mask.  “Hey, did you ever wonder why people still mime rolling a car window down when you just have to push a button?”  The guys laughed like hyenas about to jump on their blissfully ignorant prey.

“How ya doin’ Jack?” Mick said as he fist bumped Jack.  “Hey Loretta, this is my friend Jack.”

“Nice to meet you Loretta.”

Loretta sat wide-eyed at both guys, feeling through her purse for her cell phone.  Lipstick, wallet, mad money, got it, she thought.

“Dude, you almost killed me back there.  My leg kinda smarts a little,” said Jack as he rubbed his knee.

“Sorry about that,” apologized Mick.  “But thanks for the laugh.”

As the guys talked, Loretta texted her best friend.  The light from her phone was the only bright part of the night.


saints and stained glass: inside a Catholic church


"political right is immediately from God and necessarily inherent in the nature of man"

"the best way to live is to trust the Lord, to keep peace in one's heart, to be patient and good, never to do ill."

st. anne guide our parents as well as our children

st. anthony help us guide our way

st cecilia

st joseph patron of the universal church model of workers pray for us

st theresa of the child Jesus the little flower

angry math: not a new subject

Hieronymus Bosch- The Seven Deadly Sins and th...

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I have a lot of dreams lately where I’m on a college campus with so much work to do in a short time. I live in a crazy dorm having to get along with other people who are so much younger than me. I wake up with a crick in my neck and muscles tightened, obviously stressed out while dreaming.

Now I know why. At church this morning I learned that you cannot lead while angry because learning stops.  That’s what my husband said yesterday about  homeschooling.  You can’t do it angry.  I’ve become aware of my anger when I’m teaching my children.

Since my older daughter started 5th grade, I’m lost with helping her with math. Up until 4th grade I did great: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 5th grade introduces fractions, decimals, percentages and geometry.  Those subjects did not bore holes into my brain.

Every school night we sat there while my body language yelled I HATE THIS while my daughter picked up on it. I frowned, rubbed my temples and forehead, jiggled my legs to get it done quicker.  My daughter got distracted and who could blame her? I was just as distracted.

We switched to a new school where each student works at her level. She took assessment tests to find her level.  Until then, she thought she’d never succeed in school or life because she couldn’t understand math.  During school she didn’t get the concepts, embarrassed to admit she didn’t understand. I had the same problem in grade school. I didn’t want to ask questions in front of the class because I didn’t want to look stupid. So I waited until the teacher sat at her desk so I could ask her privately.

One time she got angry with me because she gave me an opportunity to ask questions. Well, yeah, but I didn’t want to do it in front of all my friends.  Especially if they all got it and I didn’t.  This weekend I realized that because that teacher was angry at me I stopped learning. Therefore I didn’t reserve a spot in my brain to help my daughter.  Instead, I transferred that anger to her.

Luckily my husband takes a fun approach, eases up like the turtles in Finding Nemo, and enjoys the assignment.  I revel in learning word origins and acting out Shakespeare plays so my daughter learns the fine art of literature.

It’s math where I have a LOT to learn.

from david soul to john mellencamp: my 80s celebrity crushes

Plinky wants me to name my celebrity crush. I have none because Shepard Smith won’t clean out his inbox.

dude, you're missing out on my witty e-mails!

Instead I’ll list my crushes from the past in chronological order:

sorry dude, I gave up on us

1. David Soul from Starsky & Hutch. Why did I crush on an old guy when I was in third grade? Maybe because he sang a sappy ballad called, “Don’t Give Up on Us Baby.” Sappy ballads were staples in the ’70s. Way too much saccharin. Sorry David, I gave up on you. Because there’s a new 16-year-old sheriff in town…

not leaving too much up to the imagination

2. Shaun Cassidy. Now there ya go, someone more my age. He had a baby face and long hair like a girl. He didn’t button his shirts so that put all transgender conspiracies to rest. After 5 minutes I da-doo-ran-ran to…

which one is jessie's girl?

3. Rick Springfield. He sang AND played guitar with parachute pants, Members Only jacket, and bags under his eyes. Remember fan mail? With an envelope and stamp? I did it up right: colored with rainbows and my heart so my letters stood out. I don’t know what I wrote, I got distracted when a dancer moonwalked into my life…

why I learned to dance

4. Michael Jackson. Back when he had only one or two cosmetic surgeries on the cover of Thriller. I moonwalked, memorized the Thriller and Beat It dances, wore one sparkled glove to school with white socks and penny loafers. Then the Boss knocked me over the head with his butt on the cover of Born in the USA


5. Bruce Springsteen. Finally! A manly man! With muscles! He danced like a white guy with Courteney Cox. He broke my heart when he married Julianne Phillips and again when he broke her heart for his back up singer. If he had two main squeezes so could I. I went pure rock-n-roll with…

look at me! I can be centerfield with a baseball bat!

6. John Fogerty and John Cougar Mellencamp. I bought Centerfield with ten bucks I won in a poetry contest. I saw Mellencamp in concert in Milwaukee when he twisted his ankle early on but kept on going. I knew all the lyrics to all the songs. Then he went all liberal on me. Sigh.  At least he doesn’t hate Sarah Palin with a vengeance.

from scarecrow to endorsing john edwards? why?

I graduated high school then college and married my own guitar-playing artist who serenaded me with Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King” on his classical guitar. Crushes be damned.

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generation of say that again? hunter thompson on letterman

22 years ago, Hunter Thompson published the book Generation of Swine about the 1988 Presidential Campaign.  This video is from what I think is an interview with David Letterman.  Thompson brings his hat and jacket with him on stage (probably because there was something in them he could get arrested for).

Letterman never asked why his fingers were in a splint.  The only question Thompson answered was about him speaking at a Catholic university in Milwaukee where he asked if you believe George Bush is a guilty politician then invite him up on stage to stomp him to death.  The secret service came after him the next day.  At least I think that’s what he said.

Thompson lives up to the Ernest Hemingway quote, “A writer must write what he says. Not speak it.”

If anyone talented with transcribing Thompson speak is reading this, please let me know.