Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Twins a la Kathie's Memory

The writing class story is not how I remember the origin of The Twins.

Actually,The Twins surfaced on the Marco Polo sailing somewhere off Turkey in 1996. Maybe two women traveling together, young and elegant and blonde, was unusual for those times. Well, blonde in Turkey was ... the only place I’ve had a stranger sit down beside me with a marriage proposal.

We got the question frequently .... first, are you sisters? Then the inevitable, who is older? This last question may be flattering to the older, but what if you’re eight years the younger? Forget that Patty had Anderson Cooper hair and his same gorgeous blue eyes, and that the older sister had the age delaying genetics of brown eyes.

Finally, one late afternoon while we were enjoying the sun at the ship’s pool side cafe the questions came from two young, and as I recall good looking, young men working the bar... and out of Patty’s mouth pops the now infamous “we’re twins”. For a while, the “we’re twins” came out only when the “who’s older” question was asked. Over time, the information came to be offered with the “are you sisters” question. Now, all it takes is some clueless person to look at us as though they are about to ask the question.

Did it begin in writing class as Patty remembers, or sailing in the Mediterranean? I prefer my story... but then an eight years older brain can fill in a memory any way it wants.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Twins

So here’s the story behind our being twins.

One Friday in October of 1995, I flew to San Diego to stay with Kathie for a day or so before our flight to Hawaii to watch the Ironman. The next morning, we attended Kathie’s writing class. (In those days, she dreamed of writing a book. Eleven years later, I can’t even get her to write a post.)

We sat in the back of the crowded classroom. I was wedged between Kathie and one of her classmates, a nice older lady. Kathie introduced me as her sister.

“Which one of you is older?”

“Actually, we’re twins.” It was out of my mouth before I even realized it. “Where did that come from?” I wondered to myself.

“No we’re not,” Kathie hastened to correct me, and went on to explain to the lady that she’s older…or that I’m her baby sister…or something like that.

I whispered to her, “The twins answer was working. Next time, just go with it, hm?”

We’ve been twins ever since.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

An Idea for a New Listerine Flavor

As I read Mother Jones' post about Detective Nurse this morning before work, I found myself wondering what kind of person might "accidentally" wash her hair in organophosphate insecticide. After all, the patient was only fifty years old - not nearly old enough, in my opinion, to miss the garlic scent of her new shampoo.

Then I remembered how, ten years ago when I was still just a sweet young (forties) thing, I had reached into the bathroom cabinet for my mouthwash. Without looking, I took a good swig. Yikes! It was nail polish remover! The bottle wasn't the same size or even the same shape as that of the mouthwash.

The taste stayed in my mouth for hours. Duh.

You know Joan?!?

So we celebrated Christmas at Jessie's house. Michael supervised a wild and crazy kitchenful of cooks preparing our traditional international dinner. This year we chose to have an Italian meal. I rustled up Kathie's Rachael Ray recipe for vegetable not-sagna. It turned out pretty well but didn't look very Italian. Go figure.

Anyway, between slicing, dicing, measuring, and stirring (and sipping on my pomtini), Patrick and I did our best to whup each other's behinds at air hockey. Oh - I almost forgot - we also got in a few rounds of Ruckus, a game at which people with ADD really excel. Between Jessie, Kelly, and me, we had some pretty excellent players!

Then Dan, Karen, and their family arrived. Dan's related somehow to Michael's side of the family and is a really nice guy. I mentioned to him that he would be hard pressed to beat us attention-challenged girls at our card game, but he said, no, he has ADD, too.

"Oh yeah? I've got this blog post you've got to read." And I proceeded to show him Joan's post "Christmas Carols for the Disturbed" (12/22/06). He looked at me, awestruck.

"You know Joan? No kidding, you know Joan? I read her blog all the time!"

Yes, folks, I work with the (in)famous Joan, and am therefore a near celebrity (just one degree removed!).

And Dan? Shh...don't tell anyone, but I read her blog all the time too.

I'm on Gavin's Message Board!

Gavin, one of my British (actually, I think he's English) blogging buddies, has invited me over to his new message board. I registered on his site this evening, and I'm almost as impressed with myself as I am by his web abilities. Come on over and take a look!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Christmas to Remember

My friend PJ sent me the following story. In 1999, it won first prize in the Louisville Sentinel's contest for wildest Christmas dinner stories. On the day after Christmas, it seems like appropriate material for a post. (Sorry, Kath - you might want to skip this one.)

Christmas with Louise
As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do? You're kidding me! Who would buy that?"

Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for Lovable Louise. She was at the bottom of the price scale.

To call Louise a doll took a huge leap of imagination.

On Christmas Eve and with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more.

We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner. My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door.

"What the hell is that?" she asked.

My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll."

"Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped.

I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut.

"Where are her clothes?" Granny continued.

"Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room.

But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?"

Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on, Granny, hang on!"

My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?"

I told him she was Jay's friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized Grandpa might need a new eyeglasses prescription.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.

The cat screamed.

I passed cranberry sauce through my nose.

Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants.

Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and went to sit in the car.

Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health!

It was surely a Christmas to remember.

Well, that's one family's story. Thanks for the chuckle, PJ.

I hope everyone's Christmas was as memorable as Louise's.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Pet Peeve #23 Revisited

This morning, I had less than an hour to get my last minute Christmas errands run before I had to clock in at Lowe's. And I also wanted to talk with Kathie, who had told me previously that she wouldn't be answering the phone on Christmas morning. Kind of a long story. You don't want to hear it.

Anyway, I thought I'd better multitask if I was going to get everything done, but in order to do that I was going to break one of my own rules - "Don't talk on the cell phone when you're checking out at the cash register!" Of course, the clerks were totally unimpressed by my lack of manners, so today when my Lowe's customers "multitasked", I just smiled.

I guess a little tolerance goes a long way...especially on Christmas Eve.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday at Lowes

An elderly gentleman approaches me, pushing a shopping cart. “I need someone to cut some blinds for me.”

“What aisle will you be on, sir?”


“I’ll get someone right over to you.”

Later, he approaches my cash register, newly cut blinds in his cart and his wife in tow.

“You fixed me up with the right person.”

“Glad I could be of help.”

“Your kindness is surpassed only by your beauty.”

His wife, the lady customer behind him, and I all grin.


“Your change is twenty five dollars, sir.”

“Uh, Ma’am?”


“You gave me one too many twenties.”

Thank Jesus for honest customers.


A man with a bit of a ‘tude bellies up to the counter, all dressed in his Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes – medium gray suit, red violet shirt, and a red and green Christmas tie. The combination catches my eye.

“Nice tie.”

“Thank you.”

I can be evil sometimes.


Closing time and my dogs are beat. As I amble toward the back of the store to deliver the trash to the dumpster area, I notice all the smells that distinguish the different departments, such as the mothball-y and toxic odors of the fertilizer area and the new carpet smell of Flooring. I am warned to watch my step by the beep-beep-beeping of forklifts rolling up and down the aisles trying to finish their restocking.

Ordinarily, the far back corner behind Plumbing is a beehive of activity after closing; this is the time when new merchandise comes into the store on a conveyor line and is distributed by the after hours crew. Tonight, though, the area’s semi-dark and quiet. When I open the hatch to throw in the bags of trash, a cool breeze of pine scented air refreshes me. Inside are the remains of a discarded Christmas tree, or perhaps just the sawed off branches from all those trees that were sold earlier in the day. It makes me sad, but I welcome the lovely smell.

It’s been a pretty good day.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The One with the Healthy Heart

This morning I received a call from my grandson, Patrick, who was on his way home from his six-month check-up with the cardiologist.


"Yes, my Man?"

"The doctoh say my heart ok!"

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Pet Peeve #23

Why do people continue talking on their cell phones when they pull up to the cash register at the store? Are they just so busy that they can't fit their phone calls into non-cash register time? Makes me crazy...

And while I'm ranting, I may as well complain about people who pass me by without an acknowledgement of my existence. I've taken to saying "Hi" or "G'morning" to everyone I pass - whether or not they look at me - if for no other reason than to just irritate them. Amazing how many will even smile and return the greeting. "Now, was that so hard?" I want to say.

I must be getting old.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Silver Medal

As I mentioned before, my friend Joan has a great blog. She calls it "Walk This Way". Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s noticed her talent. The other day, she told me she had won second place in the Canadian Blog Awards photo/art category. (I didn’t even know she’s Canadian!)

Congrats, Joan! I want to be just like you when I grow up! :)

Phish Story

Yesterday after lunch, I ran into my friend Beth in the hospital lobby. She had just walked in the front door. The bewildered look on her face caused me to ask her what was wrong.

“I just had to put my mail in the mailbox.”


“I haven’t used the mail for a long time. I haven’t even bought stamps in over a year.”

Another pause.

“I’ve been paying my bills online, but the day after Thanksgiving, Wachovia called and asked if I knew these four people who had tried to access my account. I didn’t, so we agreed that I should close my account immediately. I’m never banking online again!” (It took me another minute of her talking to realize that she meant she had decided to not pay her bills online anymore.)

It turns out that she had received an e-mail message from Wachovia – or so it had appeared. She said it looked really authentic. Just by Beth’s clicking the message open, the sender(s) had accessed her password. Fortunately, when the scumbag attempted to charge $3,000 worth of stuff, Wachovia called her. Way to go, Wachovia!

I like the old fashioned kind of fish story a lot better.

Alter Ego

I have an alter ego. Not everyone knows what it is. See if you can guess.

Since October, I have worked a part-time job - on Wednesday evenings and weekend days. (I won’t bore you with the reasoning behind my working seven days a week.) My hands get really dirty and by the end of a shift my legs and feet are very tired, but it’s actually pretty fun because I meet all kinds of people.

OK, I’ll tell you the place of business is a retail big-box kind of store. I myself have shopped there for years; my son-in-law especially loves it when I give him their gift cards for Christmas.

One last hint? It’s located right across the street from the hospital where I work full time.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m no good at playing games/keeping secrets. I work at Lowe’s in West Ashley. Come by and see me!