Thursday, January 29, 2009

We Stick to The Old Ways, Here

We stick to the old ways, here.

Manners; tea brewed without using a microwave; cookies baked from scratch rather than squeezed out of a tube.

Stuff like that.

But there are things I don't miss one little bit from the Happy Olden Days of Yore. Things I am glad have passed away.

Such as the Gym Class Tank suit

This devil's spawn of crotch-sawing ugliness was the required outfit for gym class. It was made from something that was not breathable cotton, but just what I have no iota. I only know it wasn't stretchy.

Because spandex had not yet been invented.

This item had to be ordered before the start of the school year. It came in an industrial powder blue and snapped up the front. It had an elastic waist, and unlike this little mini-looking number here, it had knee-length stovepipe legs.

Which made everyone look like they had tree trunks for gams.

There was a generic sort of sizing chart that had nothing to do with actual human measurements, which meant that the suit when it arrived was either big enough for several Sequoia Tree Trunks to grow in the legs, or so small that no seedling or sapling could ever grow thicker than an inch before shriveling to a suffocated death.

Or--in my case--cut so short-waisted that I went the entire 3 years of junior high afraid to raise my arms in gym class for fear of bisecting myself all the way to the ribs.

Stop for a moment and try to think of a gym class activity that does not require raising the arms in some way.

I failed gym class.

So, although I leave my phone at home firmly on the hook where it belongs, drink my water in a glass from the tap instead of in a squeezable nippled plastic bottle glued permanently to my hand in case I hit an arrid zone and start to dehydrate between one 7/11 and the next, and flat-out refuse to learn 'texting' language because it spells your as ur, I firmly embrace the invention of stretch cotton.

And happily bid farewell to the Tank Suit from the era of the Old Ways.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mackie the Map Reader

Mackie is an excellant map reader. He is also quite the navigator. He can find any route that leads to a bowl of Meow Mix!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friend of Mine

One of the nice things about having a cat who is more intelligent than most people I know, is the lively, constant need to be helpful.

One of the bothersome things about having a cat who is more intelligent than most people I know, is the lively, constant need to be helpful.

However, in a pinch he can always be used as a paperweight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Bit of Depth

Like most of America, I was riveted to the television yesterday watching the inauguration coverage. The love affair will end, but for now it's just heady stuff.

I love the chemistry between those two and fireworks between the President and his First Lady are a fun change, at least for me.

They are young and they are strong, and I love it. Not since President Gore and Tipper have I been so smitten with our First Family.

Even if it did hit me like a ton of bricks that President Obama is 5 years younger than me!

And I also love the chemistry between Michelle Obama and her clothing. After years of dowdy First Ladies, I am thrilled and excited by the unique fashion sense of our new First Lady.

Not too many people like her style, I've noticed. She makes bold choices and her color palette is completely at odds with what people are used to.

But I'm fascinated!

Because whatever she is wearing, it is certain sure it will have a deep texture to it. She is all about texture, and I think that is what she sees when she looks at a garment in view of buying it.

Where others favor a particular color, or a certain cut, with Mrs. Obama it's all about the rich, deep texture.

Everyone commented on the rather odd cast of this particular shade of yellow, and everyone had some kind of fit about the green gloves and the green shoes. Those were Jimmy Choo's, by the way. I'll say no more, as nothing needs be said.

But I think it escaped attention that her dress was figured with raised daisies. I was so happy! Daisies!

The fact that texture adds inches and bulk on the rest of us, it doesn't seem to effect the First Lady's figure. How does she do that?

So even before we caught a glimpse of the Innaugeration ball gown, I could have told you exactly what it would look like. I knew it was going to be single-shoulder. I knew it was going to have a train and be wispy, (although I was sorry she didn't realize that train was impossible to manage on the stairs and on the dance floor)...

...and I could have told you without a doubt that it was going to look like a shredded chenille bedspread.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Survivorman With Les Stroud: A New Episode! Urban Jungle: The Apartment

Today I am going on a survival adventure in one of the most hostile environments ever! The Apartment!

Located in the heart of the urban jungle, it requires stamina, insight and vast arrays of survival savvy to navigate this terrain.

I'll be your guide as we search for those survival essentials: food, shelter, and heat! Join me now as we start our New Adventure...

I've parked my car in the allotted parking. You have to be careful out here and know your days and times. Parking Enforcement tribes are everywhere and extremely hostile. They will tow your vehicle without warning, leaving you stranded and without a GPS Tracking Device. Plus you could lose your gym bag and your best CDs.

Once inside the complex dead bolt alignment on the front door, I quickly set down everything in my hands except my hand held camera. For this adventure I've opted out of the nifty moving picture camera strapped to my waist. We'll have to make due with still photos, later developed at a Photo Lab found only in...The Urban Jungle!

Armed with only the essential cell phone, I quickly scope out my surroundings. If I'm going to survive it's crucial that I get some heat and some nourishment immediately. I scan the horizon...and there it is!

The Thermostat.
This is an older model and may not work as originally engineered. It may take some fiddling to get it to trigger the heating unit, but I don't have time for that now. I make a note of where it is located and move on. Time is of the essence when you are trying to survive in The Apartment.

After a long trek of just a few feet, I spot a terrain change:

This is indeed a good sign! The change from brown carpet to hard vinyl means there is possibly a source of water nearby. I proceed with caution, as this surface has been known to be either slippery or contain sharp particles that can stab your feet, like crumbs.

Scanning the horizon once again I spot it: The kitchen sink. Not as deep as most swamp ponds or the croc-infested billabongs of the Australian outback, it will provide me with a steady source of water that will only need to be boiled if I choose to make tea.

But there is something else I want. I desperately need a source of food. The proximity of the sink, combined with the vinyl floor means there is bound to be an important element of The Apartment.

And here it is! It's called a refrigerator. It's an integral part of the Urban jungle; a known source for the proteins and nutrients vital for survival in The Apartment. It emits a low frequency hum so I know that the food inside will be good and not give me giardia or hepatitis.

Refrigerator's are totally benign, so there is no need to proceed with caution. It's just a matter of finding the means to pry it open.

I curse my luck as I see this fridge has no handles, but running my hands along the perimeter--always cautious for deadly hidden brown bull snakes--I feel the indentations in the side of the door that mean I will soon be able to open it. A few moments work and it's done!

This is nature's fecund blessing, indeed. Not only are there ample sources of protein, vegetables and rare condiments, but I've been spared the need to forage for a corkscrew: the bottle of Charles Shaw Merlot, a staple of the Urban Environment, has already been opened.

My next need may not be so easy to satisfy...

After several seconds of scanning the shelves and opening crisper drawers, I've found it. I've struck survival gold!

It's the Trader Joe's Big Block Pound of chocolate. I can use the bottom of the Charles Shaw bottle to smack it into bite sized pieces.

Nearby, I find some furniture that I am able to use as a table and chair:

It's crucial that I eat and drink now while my energy is just beginning to flag. If I wait too long, I could become dizzy and too weak to think straight or continue navigating...The Apartment.

This chocolate and wine is not as tasty as wichity grubs and edible moths, but you have to take what you can find when surviving in the Urban Jungle.

Having fortified myself and to some extent rested and re-hydrated, I must now go in search of a safe place to bed down for the night. In the near distance I see what could be a bower of some sort. I approach slowly and yes, I've spotted it! One of two prevalent predators that exist in The Apartment, this one is the more benign of the two. This is the Apartment Cat.

While the Apartment Dog has been known to steal your food and drain your energy by engaging you in exhausting 'fetch' rituals, the Apartment Cat spends most of it's days sleeping. They can dangerously suck your source of heat, though, so you have to be careful.

I choose to avoid this particular spot for bedding down as it's already taken, and leave the sleeping cat lie.

The Apartment has shown me many facets, today, and I know that it will glean even more useful tools for Survival tomorrow. But for now, I must find a place to sleep. Going without sleep in any survival situation can be dangerous and downright deadly. Lack of sleep causes delusions, paranoia and depression. And depression can hurt!

(cut to commercial for Cymbalta.)

And here it is! I've found it! Almost deceptively close to the food source and the heating mechanism, I still have to be careful. Open one wrong door and I could find myself in a dark closet filled with clutter and really ugly old clothes.

In the Urban Jungle, one wrong move could land you sleeping on cheap polyester sheets or worse, huddled under a discarded zippered sleeping bag on a lumpy sofa. So I am careful to check for comfort levels and a ready availability of blankets. This looks like a good spot.

I've been fortunate today. Pitting my survival skills against the foreign and hostile environment of The Apartment, I have managed to provide for all my needs. Food, heat and a bed for the night. This is what being a survival expert is all about!

Join me next time as I brave the Urban Streets to meet with the ultimate Survival Challenge: An afternoon at a crowded Starbucks.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back Where it Belongs

Finally, my lovely Baker's table is back where it belongs: off the beaten path and looking pretty. I really, really love this table.

And now I'm ready to play with my crafts! Look at the Chinese New Year cards I'm making already. The fact that they match the decor? Sheer delight!

And no, I DON'T have enough scissors. Are you kidding me? You think I want to break the law?

It's a serious felony to own less than 5 pairs of scissors. It probably violates the Geneva Convention and contributes to global warming as well.

There are scissors in the bathroom, living room, kitchen and dining area too! When you need a pair of scissors, you need them right here, right now, and can't go traipsing all over for them.

I even have a pair of scissors on my tiny Swiss Army Knife key chain.

Here in the Ponsonby Household we stick to the Old Ways.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Now you See you Don't

I've been wanting a new computer desk for years, now. I finally broke down and got a cheapy one before the IRS absorbs all my money.
It came in a box. It took 6 hours to assemble. None of the parts were labeled properly. I cursed, screamed, and drank heavily throughout the ordeal.
I couldn't quite bring myself to take detailed photos of each step because it was an agony I did not wish to prolong. But here it is mostly assembled...
But Wait...

What's this? The cheap particle board is showing on this one edge! The manufacturer, in an effort to save a half a penny, decided to leave one edge on this desk component bare. And it's glued in place, with dowels and pins, and there were many, many layers added that were also glued after this particular 'board' was put into place. So there is no undoing it, not by any man nor beast.

But Wait! That's what Magic Markers are for!

And here it is, in place, and it doesn't look any different than the old table except it is at least a foot more shallow and that's what I wanted. And you can't see that the front is colored in with marker at all, can you?
And just one more step:
I hung a curtain on the back of the desk, to hide the unsightly mess of wires and cords.
I'm going to change the fabric out as soon as I see just the right thing. And eventually, a new, less imposing desk chair.
And that concludes my long, long day!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Great Inventions

Last night I dreamed I was in the audience of the Oprah show, and she was featuring all the new 'green' cars and the latest inventions. One of the cars ran on a type of bi-diesel fuel that was eco-friendly and came with a lifetime supply of this fuel for a mere $125,000. That's just for the fuel. I don't know what the car cost!

For some reason I thought this was a grand idea and acquired the car. The neatest part of this invention was that it came with a sweater that could store all this fuel for you. Yes, a sweater. It had little pockets in the shoulder area that stored the fuel. It was a cute sweater, too.

The only problem was, when you filled up the sweater it looked like GIANT SHOULDER PADS and weighed as much as a gallon weighs, 2 gallons worth hanging off your shoulders.

In the dream I remember thinking only a man would invent such a silly thing and not take fashion and practicality into consideration while doing so.

Needless to say that sweater hung in the back of the closet for the rest of the dream.

In the New year I like to redecorate. Of course I never have the money to completely gut the place and fill it with bio-diesel fuel, so I have to just make do with what I can find at thrift stores.
Yesterday I scored a real find! A whole bunch of very neat pillows that were marked at $1.49 each! so I snagged 3 of them and came home and made new slip-covers for the ones I already had. Now I have a very eco-friendly sofa that looks cool too! And doesn't weigh anything more than it did to begin with!

Notice I made a matching ottoman cover while I was at it.

Earlier this week I made some 'art cards'. Here is a sample. I thought it was screamingly funny because I have no memory whatsoever but, well, at least I can still walk!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy Abundant Giant Hungry Toddler Year!

Happy New Year!
I am one of those people who feels that our first dream of the New Year is filled with hidden messages from the universe, meant to guide and direct us and set us firmly on the path of auspicious and proper behavior.
There is nothing worse than a flat, dull dream on New Years Eve, except maybe no dream at all. That would surely betoken a very dreary year ahead!
Imagine my delight when I woke up this morning after having a very, very colorful dream, fraught with imagery, meaning and mayhem!
I dreamed about giant toddler babies, like chubby Godzilla's in flannel footsies, storming the streets and picking up objects to put into their gummy, toothless maws and cover with baby drool.
It all started when a newly released asthma shot went haywire and caused everyone to have multiples of the same exact baby wearing the same exact red striped flannel onesie. The world was filled with these little mutant toddlers, and if that wasn't bad enough, some of them started to morph into GIANT VERSIONS OF THEMSELVES.
Giant Drooling Toddlers roaming the streets!
And they were HUNGRY.

I choose to ignore the obvious interpretation that I am worried about my weight, and instead adopt a hopeful meaning for this dream:
The year ahead will be filled with abundance and unexpected youthful energy! May yours reflect the same meaning!
Happy Abundant Giant Hungry Toddler New Year 2009!