Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Martie's Story

      My first-born child, Martie, was supposed to arrive on the fifteenth of January, but in keeping with her personality, she decided to come just after midnight on the second of January.  I have been thinking of her and talking to her quite a bit lately, since it is that time of the year.  She was the first baby born in the new year at that particular hospital, so we got many baby products donated by Gerber and other companies that supply useful baby items. 
      I call her my “Practice Child.”  In truth I had a lot of practice with babies, as I am the oldest of several siblings.  However, when we brought our little bitty girl home, I was petrified.
      I shouldn’t have worried.  That baby was not taking any guff from anyone.  She still doesn’t.  We did things her way and it worked out just fine.  Somewhere around the first Super Bowl Sunday we celebrated her first birthday. I’ll always know how old she is even if I get feeble-minded. Of course I’ll still need to be able to translate the Roman numerals.
      Running through the memories of her growing up years have been giving me pleasure and laughter. 
      We bought our first home when she was three.  As I carried a box across the lawn, I saw her greeting the ten-year-old boy next door.  Her hands were on her hips and she stomped her little foot and said, “Get off of my pussonal pwoperty!”
      We had to have a discussion about manners and politeness.
      The next discussion was about Strangers.  She would just walk up to anyone and start telling them her name and her daddy’s name and pretty much give them a run-down of our family’s history as she knew it.  When I heard her saying,  “…and my daddy works at Stacey School, and…” 
      I began the “Not all strangers are nice, even if they seem to be” lessons.
Later we were in a dressing room in a clothing store and she peeked under the partition and said to a surprised lady in the next cubical, “HI, are you a stranger?” This was going to take a while.
      Another time when we were at church, she proclaimed in her outdoor voice, “Mama, we don’t NEVER say Shut-up or goddamn at Sunday School, ‘cause it’s not nice, huh, Mama! (I was trying to ignore her and pretend I didn’t know her.) “HUH, Mama!  HUH, MAMA!!”
      We decided to find a new church.

      Time passed and Martie reached those pleasant junior high days.  Mostly she just rolled her eyes and said, “T-s-s-s-s-s- I’m Sure,” in answer to everything anyone said to her.  Oh, sometimes changed things up and said other things like, “I. Am. So. Sure! Ts-s-s-s-s.”
      One night she asked her daddy to drive her friend Barb and her to Disneyland.  He had a basketball game to referee and was just going out the door.  He said he would drop them off but in the future he’d like to know a little earlier, please.
       Her reply was, “Well, I wasn’t sure.”
      We went into a dramatic gasping, exclaiming, frenzy “Whaaat?  Martie wasn’t SURE?”
      She simply rolled her eyes and said. “Ts-s-s-s- I’m sure.” We still refer to The day Martie wasn’t Sure now and then.

      When she became a quasi-adult she worked at a high-end catering place called The Turnip Rose.  One night she came home from a particularly busy night where she worked a big banquet. She was telling us all about it and added that each person paid a thousand dollars to go to the event and she couldn’t believe anyone would pay that much to hear the guy speak because he was really hard to understand.

“Who was the guy?” I asked.

      “I don’t know. Harry or Henry or something like that.”
“Henry Kissinger?” I had put the clues together.
      “Yeah! That’s the dude!”

      I am pleased to report that she was repaid ten-fold for her early embarrassing activities when she had her little ball of fire, my granddaughter, Rachel.
      For example; Martie was strolling through the grocery store with three-year-old Rachel seated in the little basket chair, when she said this; “Mama look at that fat lady! She is reeeeeaally fat, huh, Mama. She is the fattest - HEY, WHY ARE YOU PINCHING ME?”

She is an RN now and works in a big hospital in Southern California. It is possible that Harry or Henry or someone (Is he still alive?) might end up on her floor. It is unlikely that she will call him “Dude.”


Friday, August 30, 2013

Jury Doody

The last time I was called to duty:  Should I tell them?

It’s almost like getting that “Greetings, you’ve been drafted” letter.  It was a call from the Shasta County court system needing my presence up at the court house.  It was my first call since moving up here to God’s Country. 
I have served on two juries and consider myself to be a reasonably fair juror, so Richard scraped the snow off of my windshield and turned on my seat warmer, and I grabbed my book and headed off to town.
My panel was called into a courtroom right away.  Once in the courtroom, I was the second person to be invited to sit in The Box.  That made me juror number two.  The questions began. The patient little attorney was so young that I found myself wondering where he had parked his skateboard when he came to work that morning.  He asked the same series of questions of each of us. 
Do you realize that it is the prosecutor’s problem to prove that his client is guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt?  Can you decide on a verdict by only what you hear inside this courtroom?   Do you think that if a person is in this court, he must be guilty?  Have you ever served on a jury before?  Did you reach a verdict? And so forth and so on. 
He asked these questions twelve times.
Over and over…and over… 
How do those court people stand this day after day?  What keeps the judge from falling face forward onto his big old desk?  What keeps the recorder from falling over sideways, taking her little typing machine with her?  What stops the bailiff from shooting Question Boy? 
Just about the time I was slipping into a coma, the questions changed to general personal information.  At least that was a bit more interesting.  The questions went on all morning.  Several people were thanked and excused for having an experience close to the event that brought the defendant to this trial. 
We finally broke for lunch.  I took that opportunity to go out into the sleet and walk around the area for forty-five minutes looking for my car so I could take it for some gas.   I’m not allowed out unchaperoned too often because of my propensity to lose my car.  Thank goodness I had packed myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   
We reconvened at one thirty. Now the questions started to get interesting.  
“Have you or has anyone in your family ever been arrested, causing you to have dealings with a court?”  Hands went up all over the jury box.  A man reported that his son was arrested for murder but it was ultimately reduced to manslaughter by the end of the trial. 
Good grief.
A girl said that her husband had been arrested and she had a restraining order out against him because he had molested their daughter. 
Oh my god!
The next person said, “My mother, my brother, my two cousins have been arrested.  All were DUI’s.”
 Then the next person said, “My husband was arrested for burglary and put in jail for it twice.  He’s my ex now.” 
“My word!” I thought, “Twice?  Is she a slow learner, or what?”
The next person reported that her mother, her two brothers, her sister and her aunt had been arrested.
“Good Lord!” I thought, “That’s two mothers out of four people! I just can’t believe that!  What am I sitting in the midst of here?”
The defense attorney suddenly stood up and said, “I would like to excuse juror number two for cause.”
So.  If you should ever decide that you don’t have time to serve on a jury, but you have no particular reason to get yourself excused, I give to you this possible means of escape.   Simply think about what the others are saying and let your face register your dismay.  Defense attorneys will not wish to have a prissy, narrow-minded person making decisions for their client.
Ha!  If he only knew.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Clan Abides

The Clan Assembles In Tahoe For Mikey’s Fiftieth
This is Mikey
This past weekend we rented a huge house in Tahoe and the Van Buskirk Clan traveled from three states to celebrate our youngest brother’s birthday.
      The house was amazing and I thought of the Winchester House in San Jose.  (You know that one the crazy lady kept building night and day until she died because she thought if she stopped building it, all the ghosts of the people who died from that rifle her husband made, would come and get her.) This house just went on and on too.  Since there were fourteen of us, plus only three puppies, it was perfect. 
      We don’t usually need entertainment since we ARE the entertainment, but we had tickets to see Jeff Bridges and the Abiders.  We are all fans of the movie “The Big Lebowski” and we have watched the movie so many times that some of us can say the lines right along with The Dude, (“Or El Duderino, if you aren’t into that whole brevity thing.”)
      His music is good as well.  As a matter of fact, after hearing it in person I am a bigger fan than ever!
My handsome nephew.
      We had our own party on Friday night, complete with presents and party favors. (Big Lebowski bumper stickers and posters.)  We did wild things like eat stuff and exchange gluten free recipes.  I don’t know what was so funny about anything, but my face was sore from laughing.
      We had a plan to go bowling, too, but had to give that idea up. Getting fourteen people through the showers is quite a task, especially when we found it necessary to keep going to the grocery store because we thought of something yummy to make.
      My sister made this dip:
1 pound of grated cheddar cheese,
1 pound of softened cream cheese,
6 (or so) jalapeno peppers, deseeded and    
    chopped up,
1 pound of fried and crumbled bacon
a little garlic powder.
Mix it all up and put it in a 13 X9 inch pan and bake it until it is hot and melty and a little brown around the edges.
Scoop it into your mouth with whatever chip or cracker you wish. (Or just use a spoon if no one is looking.)
      You can adjust these ingredients if you wish, say, if you think a whole pound of bacon is a bit outrageous.  We do not think in those terms. Ever.
The green toes are significant.  "A toe? I can get you a toe.  I can have a toe by 3:00."

      Saturday evening we headed off to Harrah’s to eat at the buffet, put some money into slot machines, and attend the concert.  I ate prime rib, shrimp, crab, and steak in order to get my money’s worth.
      The concert venue was small and intimate.  We had a large booth so we could all be together.  This is a good thing because we cannot do anything without commenting on it to one another.
        Jeff’s daughter Jessie, opened for him.  She has a sweet voice and just released her first album. 
      Then Jeff Bridges came out and captured our hearts.  We called out to him all through the evening.  “Tron!” “I love you, Starman!” and of course, “Dude!”  

Someone hollered for him to “play some Eagles!”  He told us that the Dude didn’t like the Eagles, but he does.  He also said that he finds himself at parties with members of the Eagle’s band and he always catches some flack. (If you haven’t seen The Big Lebowski, you don’t know what I am talking about.  You should see it!)

A person who must not be named told him he’d buy him a White Russian. The Dude drinks White Russians all through the movie. Some people play a drinking game and drink one every time he drinks one.  I should imaging no one playing the game sees the final credits.
      After our weekend, we all confessed (on facebook) that we were having withdrawals from the family.
Mikey and his beautiful wife Paige


The Dude


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ceviche and Other Gourmet Items

                                  Making ceviche.



Cooking up the lemon grass and ginger for the clam broth.

Pork chops with an intricate sauce, sweet potatoes with caramelized onion and bacon.
                                       ...and flowers?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

From A Distance...

                      The world is blue and green.

                 A day on Lake Shasta,
               With the family.
      INCLUDING my Silver Girl  (My Southern California Granddaughter.)
          We went into the Dead Tree Forest.  The lake is a bit low this year.

 And we danced!!  We're on a Boat! AAAAANND,

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Burlap Harlots Strike Again!

 That little window thingie came home with me!
               So many goodies!
                   Eye candy in every direction!

           The theme was Alice In Wonderland and the vendors dressed accordingly.

                  I'll just be still and let you look...

                                           Hi Doni!  Visit the News Cafe, everyone!
      Halie with a head band made from a man's tie.
                            OK, Now I'll be still and let you look.

                                   Hi, Viki!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Roses and Rust in Redding

 A craft and antique show is an excellent shoppertunity to add to one's eclectic treasures.
      My sister and I went.  I got her birthday present here.

            My favorite bunch of crafters, the girls from the Altered Wing Studio were there.
                       They have the best stuff!

                         Ginger is going to teach me how to make these soon.
            My sister and I figured out that if you put something relating to France on your product,               you   get to ask about twenty more dollars for it.  Oui, Oui!
                     Go ahead and look.  I'll not say anything else.  Maybe

                     The items below were made from old spoons.
                      My sister got one that said, "Mama Tried."