Sunday, November 29, 2009

What my kids did on Thanksgiving Vacation

You worry sometimes, 
about how your kids are going to turn out.  
And then you go to bed 
and when you wake up, 
they have created 

Should I be worried?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pladitudinous Graditudinous

A minimal list of things I am thankful for.

1.  My talented toes that allowed me to write my blog even when I had my hand in a cast.

2.  That this is not my dog.

3.  That I wasn't invited to be a bridesmaid

                   4.  That Adam Lambert 
                            is not related to me.

5.  That this guy doesn't go to my gym.

6.  That on Thursday I am going to eat an organic turkey that was lovingly cared for by a mother and father turkey in a cute little wooden turkey condo in the fresh air of the Colorado mountains

                                              Not one of these slum turkeys

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Environmental Romance Part Eight

WARNING:  Don't even think about reading this installment

A challenging piece of romantic literature
such as this will leave you hopelessly lost
without the proper framework.

Flora: An Environmental Love Story

By: Laraine F. Eddington
(Best read aloud with expression by candlelight)

Installment numero ocho:

Flora’s nose woke her at the usual hour. It had been three years since the tragic day that had changed her life forever. Three years since she had been blinded by a steel button popping off the sculpted chest of the mysterious Conrad Conrad. Three years since the speeding button had pierced her left emerald green orb and then ricocheted into the right emerald green orb. Three years, but it seemed three lifetimes.

Without her former twenty-fifteen vision, Flora was no longer able to keep perfect time by gauging the path of the sun as it rose in the morning and fell in the evening. Instead, she had learned to compensate by developing her other senses; telling the time of day by the fragrance of the desert sage, released in scent increments when heated by the rays of the sun. As black lashes swept open like feather dusters over Flora’s stunning, but sightless eyes, the subtle scent of sage gathered in by her delicate nostrils told her it was 6:00 a.m.

Albert’s hooves tickety tickety ticked—across the piny planks of her forest bungalow. As Flora sat up in her bed and stretched her graceful limbs, he nuzzled her; not realizing that he was the luckiest seeing-eye goat in all creation. “Well Albert, what shall we have for breakfast? Albert did not speak—because he was a goat, but his liquid eyes watched adoringly as Flora dressed, slipping out of her silk camouflage thermals and into a dainty linen shift woven from the golden flax that grew in her garden.

Flora was proud of her organic garden, which flourished next to the quaint cottage deep in the forest where she lived among her animal friends. Since her hospitalization, the Sightless Brothers of the Forest had taken her under their wing, giving her solace and providing her with 

Albert, her seeing-eye goat. With Albert at her side, Flora was able to continue her rambles in the forest without fear of getting lost or stumbling into a den full of hibernating black bears. The Forest Service had assigned her new duties, because when fate cruelly took away her sight, it had compensated by investing Flora with an extraordinary perception, the ability to sense when lightning was going to strike and start a forest fire. With Flora as an early warning system, forest fires in the Tonto National Forest were down 53.2%. (It could have been 100%, but the Forest Service firefighting union wouldn’t allow any more layoffs.)

Flora was brewing a cup of wildflower tea when she heard a muscular rap on the door. It was a manly knock, not the meek sort of tapping required of a Sightless Brother of the Forest. A warm flush radiated from her darling belly button down to her neat ankles and up to her sinuous neck. In spite of an attempt at self control, her thoughts sprang like a bounding deer over a fence to Conrad Conrad. She hadn’t seen him since the button incident…come to think of it she hadn’t seen anyone since then…but every time she heard or smelled something manly, her thoughts careened madly back to him…that man…the one who had brought her nothing but trouble…nothing but heartache and blindness.

Knock, knock knock. The pounding was more urgent. Flora’s hand flew to her golden curls, traced the outline of her cheek. How she wished she could look in a mirror! She took a deep breath and Albert let out a goaty baaaa as he tickety ticked beside her. She did not open the door, but called through the crack, “Who is it? Who is knocking at my cottage door at such an early hour?”

The voice that answered seemed strained and unfamiliar when it came, but the answer was the one she had been hoping to hear every night as she thrashed from side to side amongst forlorn dreams in her lonely bed in her solitary room.

“Conrad” the voice said. “It’s Conrad.”

She threw the door open…and didn’t see anything, because she was still blind.

To be continued…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prephotoshop America.

I have a horrified fascination with the blog called sexy people (which ordinarily would not even make it past my super industrial-strength internet garbage filter).  They are posted by people with great self confidence. 

I would like to share some nuggets from this goldmine, along with my own intuitive captions.

(left to right: Puff, Thor and Nancy)

"Guess who is in charge at our house?"



"Cub Scouts...

                 made me the man I am today."

"We could have gone to prom naked 
and no one would have noticed."

"So sad I didn't make it into 
"Lord of the Rings."

"Our parents should be severely punished."




"...and this class, is what is wrong with Communism."

"I am the guy who calls you during dinner selling carpet cleaning."


"You should have seen me before Rogaine."

"Darling, doesn't my helmet look natural?"

"Leonard Jr., it is time for you to move out of the basement and 
get a job."

"I wear a cross to protect me from myself."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Environmental Romance Part Seven

WARNING:  Don't even think about reading this installment

without reading installment numeros uno.

 A challenging intellectual piece of romantic literature

such as this will leave you hopelessly lost

without the proper framework.

Flora: An Environmental Love Story

By: Laraine F. Eddington
(Best read aloud with expression by candlelight)

Installment numero siete

The meadow was filled with daisies, covering the gently rolling hills as far as the eye could see. The sky was the innocent blue of a robin’s egg—cloudless. Flora felt the gentle rays of the sun and turned her face up, tilting her pert little chin in the air. Ah, it was so warm. And then the lovely dream dissipated as quickly as her father had when she was seven. All her senses came alive, she smelled goats, she heard the sound of melodic chanting, she felt something swathing her head. She opened her eyes and saw…nothing. Her nimble fingers tore at the gauze woven of goat’s hair that wound around her unblemished forehead, matting her golden curls. She tried to scream but her mouth was dry, nothing came out but a hoarse croak. A croak that made her lonesome for her homely little friends the woodland toads; friends that had yet to give her a single wart.

A callused hand touched her arm. “The Lord be praised, you have awaked at last gentle lady.”

Flora tried again, “Where am I?” It was still a croak, but it was the croak that a very aristocratic, feminine frog would make if it could speak English.

“You are in the Monastery Urgent Care of the Sightless Brotherhood of the Forest, sister.” The voice was low and melodious; the kind of voice that comes from a kindly elderly man who has a little round spot shaved in the top of his head and wears a brown robe tied with a rope around an ample belly. “We have been caring for you for three days.”

“Why are my eyes wrapped in goat-hair gauze?” Flora’s words had a rising note of panic. She was really getting sick of passing out and waking up in unfamiliar surroundings.

“How did you know the gauze was made of goat hair?” The friendly voice of the monk sounded pleasantly surprised.

“Oh, I used to crochet goat-hair leper bandages when I was a Girl Scout” Flora shyly confided.  "I could pick out goat-hair gauze blindfolded.”

“Well that is very fortunate my dear” said the kindly monk…then followed a pause pregnant with pathos. “Because I have something I need to tell you.”

There had been a few moments in Flora’s life when she knew the words she would hear next would change her life. There was the time she heard Al Gore singing “Blowin’ in the Wind” at the annual Global Warming marshmallow roast. There was the time she had heard herself say “Neither” when she was asked if she wanted paper or plastic at Safeway. And there was the time that she had heard Conrad Conrad scream her name.

Three days ago, when Conrad had inadvertently flexed his prodigious pectorals and sent his button zinging across the room like a cruel missile, only to have it lodge by a pernicious twist of fate in Flora’s delicate eye socket, her cry of pain had elicited an even greater cry of pain from Conrad. The memory of her name…Flora, as it was torn from his throat in tones of, grief, guilt and despair would be something she would carry with her always.

And now…she took a deep breath and steeled herself for what this kindly sightless monk had to tell her. Her full red lips quivered, and even though he was blind, the man inside the monk suddenly came alive. He quickly pulled a nose hair out of each nostril to help him focus.

“My dear, I’m afraid you are blind.”

And then, for the second time in a row she didn’t see anything.

To be continued…

Friday, November 13, 2009

A body part apart

Tribute to a Family Member

By Laraine F. Eddington

The fact that it rhymes
quite precisely with "dumb"
does not excuse
disrespect of the thumb.

A lonely fellow
he dwells apart
among digit kin.
(It must break his heart!)

He turns his back.
How it disappoints
to be the only one
short a joint.

But fingers, unaided
are quite maladroit
and poor thumb
unabashedly exploit.

Each fingerly move
demands the brain
send help from thumb
to aid and retain.

Oh thumb, neglected
since I sucked thee dry
in those tender years.
(Comfort did supply.)

But now thou art
encased in a cast
rendered useless
by fiberglass.

I promise I
will love thee better
when thou art free,
released of fetter.

My indisposable

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Environmental Romance Part Six

WARNING Don't even think about reading this installment

without reading installment numeros uno.  

 A challenging intellectual piece of romantic literature

such as this will leave you hopelessly lost

without the proper framework.

Flora: An Environmental Love Story

By: Laraine F. Eddington
(Best read aloud with expression by candlelight)

Installment numero seis

A single tear glistened like a 5 carat brilliant cut cubic zironium in Conrad’s left eye. Flora leaned toward him as if to wipe it away and smelled piney woodsmoke, freshly forked hay, and a tinge of cinnamon swirled together with a musky smell that she recognized from observing many mating rituals among the forest creatures that had taught her the meaning of life.  Her hand faltered in the air and she pulled it back, self consciously tucking a golden tendril behind an ear.

“My twin brother was switched with one of the other twins.”  The words came spinning like little knives thrown by a ninja.

Flora felt a wound somewhere near her tender heart, a tiny tear in the silky cardio fabric that was but one element of her attractive innards. Her voice trembled with womanly empathy. “But that is horrible. How could that possibly have happened?”

He spoke without guile “Well, they are the Sightless Brotherhood of the Forest—every one of them is as blind as a bat.”

Flora coughed slightly as she bit back a lecture on the highly developed bat radar system. There would be time for that later. She felt Conrad’s warm breath tickle her cheek and a reciprocal thrill raced down her spine like the winning car at a pinewood derby. “When did your parent’s discover the mistake?”

The man’s voice was rugged but thoughtful; like clouds on the Rocky Mountains. “I guess they began to suspect something was wrong when Wendell had to have all those extra toes removed.”  

Conrad’s thick black brows knitted together at the painful memories and Flora thought I have never truly loved a unibrow…until now. A world was opening up to her, a world behind the magical forest that she hadn’t realized was just a big green prison that she had chosen to be incarcerated in without the possibility of parole… until today. Or was it yesterday? Flora had lost all track of time.

Conrad continued. “By the time we realized Wendell wasn’t really a Conrad…”

Flora interrupted in a firm but ladylike manner, “A Conrad, but I thought your name was Conrad.”

“It is.”

“No, I thought your first name was Conrad.”

“It is.”

“Your name is Conrad Conrad?”

And now it was Conrad’s cheeks that took on a reddened hue. He rose and as his mighty pectorals clenched involuntarily in embarrassment, a button popped off his flannel shirt, and zinged across the cozy cabin, hitting Flora in the eye.

“Oh, she cried, oh, oh, oh.”

And then she didn’t see anything.

To be continued...unless you're getting sick of it and want me to wrap it up quickly and have everyone die in a tornado.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Have a Dream (Interpretation)

Oh how the email has piled up. It took three hours today just to send polite thank you notes to all the nice folks in Nigeria that want to give me their inheritance. It is amazing how generous people from other countries are. I have never once received an offer from my greedy fellow countrymen in the good ol’ U.S. of A offering me 690 million dollars if I will provide my bank account number so they can deposit said monies forthwith.

Another email was a sincere cry for help from a young man I’ll identify by the pseudonym “Thaddeus”. Thaddeus has been available as a pseudonym since 1953 when it became the sort of name that will get you laughed right out of all day kindergarten

Young “Thaddeus” writes:

My fifth grade teacher Ms. Hernandez-Blumberg-Yamashita told me that she reads your blog and that you can figure out what my dream means. (Please don’t tell anyone.)

I am standing on the stage in the spelling bee finals and suddenly my eyebrows catch on fire and Kenady, the prettiest girl in our class, starts laughing like crazy. The principal won’t let me put the fire out until I spell the word right and then my clothes catch on fire and burn off and I am wearing nothing but Barbie underwear.

Oh Thad…may I call you Thad? I am so glad that your dear teacher gently directed you to turn to me for help because you are obviously a very troubled young man.

Firstly, the setting of your dream is very telling. No fifth grade boy in his right mind would ever allow himself to be in the finals of a spelling bee unless he is home schooled or has immigrant parents from India. You are permitting those in authority to push you into a stressful academic situation when you obviously should be out on the playground bullying the other children. I venture to say that you:

1. have an excessively large noggin                            

2. have never let a green vegetable pass your lips

3. shave your chest during afternoon recess

Your place young man is not in academia, but in sports.

Pretty girl Kenady’s laughter is actually encouragement to pursue a life of physical development. In our troubled economic times, there is no profession more needed than personal trainer/bodyguard. Your dream is telling you to quit wasting time in grade school and drop out. Get to the gym you silly boy! Use your lunch money to buy something useful like protein powder and start bulking up.

The Barbie underwear is symbolic of the emasculating effect that further education will have on your tender psyche. Get out before permanent damage is done!

It feels so good to help the younger generation for they are truly our future!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Environmental Romance Part Five

WARNING:  Don't even think about reading this installment
without reading installment numeros uno.  
 A challenging intellectual piece of romantic literature 
such as this will leave you hopelessly lost 
without the proper framework.

Flora: An Environmental Love Story

By: Laraine F. Eddington
(Best read aloud with expression by candlelight)

Installment numero cinco

The glass eyes in the mounted deer head stared sightlessly at Flora. A shudder ran down her sinuous body, reached the ends of her cute pink toes and started back up again, got as far as her neck and headed south once more, finally fading out as it reached her shapely calves, well developed from hiking many a forest mile. She could not tear her eyes way from the atrocity mounted on the wall; could only gaze with horror at the massive pointy rack contrasted by the elegant lines and sensitive visage of the deer beneath it, obscenely fastened somehow to a wooden plaque.

Her eyes filled instantly with brilliant tears, held back by a dam of copious black lashes. The words, torn from her throat, were raw with pain, “How could you…” A sob shook her again.

The powerfully built man stared, enthralled. Watching this woman shudder was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen. It was akin to watching a slow breeze ripple the sand of a curved bronze dune in the Mojave Desert, a sight that made him choke slightly on a chunk of venison in the stew he was eating out of a bowl he had carved himself from a burl of oak. He set the bowl down on the table he had hewn from broad pine planks, glowing gold in the firelight.

He rushed to Flora’s side as her knees buckled and she collapsed backward onto the leather couch. His colossal thighs coiled as he squatted beside her. Her hands flew to her face, trying in vain to hide her roiling emotions. The man reached a broad but tentative hand to her shaking shoulder. “There, there little one.” The stroke of strong fingers down her arm was calming and electrifying at once. “What’s wrong? Don’t cry now, you’re safe, I am here and I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

In an instant Flora was on her feet, eyes blazing. “Something bad has already happened you fool!” She thrust an accusing finger at the mounted deer head. “I know that deer. He was one of my dearest friends. His name is Terrence and he was the leader of all the white tail deer in the extreme northeast quadrant of the Tonto National Forest. I have been searching for him since last fall!”

A wheezy chuckle came from the corner of the room where the mullet man sat on a stool slurping stew. “Why Conrad kilt that there deer with his bow and arrow. Shot him right through the butt the very first day of deer season. Took three more arrows and half a day followin’ the blood trail to finish him off”

“Shut your mouth Wendell!” Conrad’s resonant bass voice made the tin cups hanging on hand-carved pegs rattle. “Go outside and feed the goat!” Wendell left his stool and slunk out of the cabin, the scent of ignorance trailing behind him.

Distressed, Flora paced in front of the fire, oblivious to the irony that her pretty bosom, clad in camouflage lingerie was also camouflaging the emotions churning beneath it. “Why did you bring me here? What have you done with my official Forest Service vehicle? She stopped pacing and looked up at the man who seemed to fill the cabin with the strength of his manliness. “Who are you?”

A sturdy hand reached for Flora, gently cupping her elbow, leading her to the couch. She found herself staring and lowered her eyes from his face, but then her gaze became tangled in the black chest hair that peaked out of the flannel shirt. Flora instantly employed the mind control technique that always seemed to focus her and began naming the members of the Congressional subcommittee in charge of National Parks. As usual, it helped to calm her. She took a deep cleansing breath.

“Your name is Conrad?”


“And is that really your twin brother?”

“Well, yes and no.” Flora’s left eyebrow rose quizzically and Conrad thought that it looked very much like a raven’s wing in flight.

“Go on.”

“My twin brother and I were born on a stormy night in the tiny Monastery hospital run by the Sightless Brotherhood of the Forest. There was another set of twins born that night, also boys.”

Conrad’s face was serious below his chiseled brow and Flora had a sudden urge to smooth his forehead with her cool fingers. She had to start naming Congressmen again and the thought of Barney Frank whipped her right back into focus.

He continued “A mistake was made…” Conrad’s voice faltered.

And then she saw it.

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shame: a PETCO story

Let’s just ignore Flora and her 
big lump of a love interest 
and let our heartbeats get back to normal 
for a couple days 
shall we?

In the meantime…

I have sold my soul to PETCO for the last time. I am tired of pretending, perjuring myself by signing statements I don’t mean, and proclaiming false qualifications as a responsible pet owner. I can no longer live a lie. I am coming out of the PETCO closet.

A change in corporate policy dawned during our snake era. I was in five-kid survival mode at the time and didn’t notice we had a snake until it was already a member of the family. Actually it was less work than the rest of the gang because it only ate once every two weeks.

Our first snake snack from PETCO was plucked by a tail from a glass cage labeled “Feeder mice”; a straightforward $2.99 transaction that was gobbled up as soon as it slid from the carton into the snake pit. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end. But then the devil began to influence PETCO corporate policy. Free agency for humans had been rescinded, the natural order had been cancelled.

It happened in stages. One week the “Feeder mice” were gone, replaced by “regular mice” (white with pink eyes - $2.99) Uptown “fancy mice” were in the condo next door; (colored or spotted - $3.99). Our snake fancied a cheap mouse just much as he did a fancy mouse, as long as it was alive so he could kill it.

These were years of mild pretense.

PETCO guy: So do you need any food for your pet mouse?

Me: Oh I don’t think so (wink, wink). I’m pretty sure he’s not going to need any.

PETCO policy has continued to devolve. Last week I took my daughter and her friend Michelle to buy a live birthday present, something a girl would love and her parents would hate.

Apparently employment at PETCO now requires that an employee must meet four out of these five criteria:

a) Heavy black eyeliner
b) A shaved head
c) A minimum piercing of five vital body parts
d) Tattoos covering anything that isn’t pierced
e) Black clothing chained to the body for safety reasons

Girls: (pointing) We’ll take a fire bellied toad.                 

PETCO Punk: Which one?

Girl: It doesn’t matter, whatever.

P.P.: Well, which personality stands out to you?

Girls: (Exchanging puzzled glance) Uh, that one?

P.P.: Good choice, he’s our most dynamic amphibian.

Girls: Uh, yeah.

After P.P. scooped the toad into a Chinese takeout container, he tried the hard sell on a toad condo, toad tanning light, toad ergonomic furniture and a 3-toad Jacuzzi. We were unmoved. P.P. was obviously miffed at checkout.

P.P. (Pierced nose in the air) That will be $6.47.

Girls: Here you go.

P.P. (Two pierced eyebrows dive into a hostile embrace over angry eyes) How old are you girls? This purchase cannot be made by minors!

Me: Hand me the money, I’ll pay for it.

P.P.: (Gingerly takes money with black painted fingernails and shoves a 3 page form across the counter). Please fill the blanks in completely.

Me: (I begin filling out the form, writing down my name, address, phone number, and email address.) Wait a minute, why do you need the name of my gynecologist?

P.P.: We need to be sure you aren’t pregnant, since you could not properly care for this toad if you have another baby.

Me: Why do you need to know my annual income?

P.P.: (Scathingly) Organic crickets aren’t cheap. Now raise your right hand and repeat after me.

Me: What?

P.P.: Just do it! I solemnly swear that I commit to be a responsible pet owner and that I will provide a safe, appropriate and nurturing environment for my companion animal. I have received a PETCO care sheet for my companion animal and am aware of what is necessary to keep my pet happy and healthy.

Me: Mumble, mumble. Are we done here?

P.P.: Only if you have this psychological evaluation filled out, notarized and bring it back within 24 hours.

Me: Okay, okay. Girls, let’s go.

Filling out the psychological evaluation has revealed that I am unfit to be a companion to any animal other than a dead ant on a pile of poo. 

                            Life is hard. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Environmental Romance Part Four

WARNING:   Don't even think about reading this installment without reading installment    
numeros tres y dos y uno
Flora: An Environmental Love Story

By: Laraine F. Eddington
(Best read aloud with expression by candlelight)

Installment numero cuatro

Eyes. She saw black eyes staring at her, unblinking in the powerful light of her headlamp. She saw irises as black as the forest soil beneath her feet—black soil rich with leaves, woodland flowers, carefree insects and the forest creatures whom had once frolicked on this very spot, all decomposing together in a velvety nourishing blackness; a blackness very like those eyes that continued to share her gaze, melting her to the very core.

“I’ll…I’ll need your name sir”. Flora’s voice came out in a throaty whisper, not the firm tones of command she typically used in her official duties. She tried in vain to quell her curiosity, “Is that really your twin brother?”

“Hold on just a minute little lady—now you’ve asked me two questions.” The voice that enveloped her was as deep as a canyon, slightly gravelly with faint overtones of fine whisky—and sounded amused.

And then something happened to Flora that she hadn’t experienced since getting kicked in the stomach by a deer that she had tried to untangle from barbed wire, something that defied all her training. She fainted.

A cheerful fire popped and crackled as Flora woke slowly. Her senses, honed to razor sharpness by wilderness training began cluing her into her surroundings before she was fully awake. Her finely chiseled nostrils took in the fragrance of a hearty stew simmering on an old fashioned wood stove. Her sensitive fingertips took a sensuous journey over the silky soft covering that draped her. Her delicate shell shaped ears heard the cheerful masculine whistle coming from nearby. When her eyes finally opened she gasped in alarm as a chapped hand with black fingernails reached out to caress her cheek.

“Wendell!” The voice cracked like a bull whip in the hands of an Argentine vaquero. “I told you to keep your hands to yourself!” The odious claw retreated and the mulleted man scurried away to crouch on the hearth. “I’m sorry miss, he doesn’t mean any harm.”

Flora sat up, blushing when she realized that her she was no longer in uniform, but clad only in her camouflage underwear; thermal silk long johns that she had purchased in the lingerie section at Cabela’s, underwear that hugged her curves like a Lamborghini on the Pacific Coast Highway. “Where is my uniform…my gear?”

The impossibly handsome man took a step toward her, running a broad hand over his closely cropped black hair. His slow smile made Flora’s heart race as he spoke. “Oh, don’t worry miss, I closed my eyes while I took off all your gear. I had to after I set off your pepper spray.”

Flora couldn’t help but smile with satisfaction. “I only keep that to use if I am being attacked by a bear that doesn’t understand I am there to provide a safe habitat where it can live and thrive and….” Embarrassed, her voice faltered. She couldn’t contain her verbosity when she talking about the job she held so dear.

The black eyes imbedded in the rugged visage held her gaze until she had to look away.  Nervously, she noticed that she was covered with some sort of furry blanket. Repulsed, and instantly nauseated at the thought of the innocent muskrats that had given their innocent lives to make it, she threw it off her and sprang to her feet, aware for the first time of what the cozy cabin contained.

And then she saw it…

To be continued