Thursday, March 29, 2007

The GLUG on Ben's Windshield

On his way to work, Ben had a strange run in with a very unusual kind of bug. The bug had a small head and a long, thick body with six legs. He was lime green and had two small wings and long antenne out of his head. He was, Ben decided, a very obnoxious bug.

The bug plastered himself to Ben's windshield while he was driving down the highway. Rather than allow himself to be blown off, like other bugs, this particular bug clamped to Ben's windshield wipers and sat down for a chat.

"Hello!" the bug bellowed. "Excuse me? Hello! Are you paying attention to me?"

"Are you talking to me?" Ben asked incredulously. "It's happened," he said to himself. "I'm finally cracking up. All those hours at work have fried my brain. I'm now talking to bugs. I'm as loony as Miranda!"

"Well who else would I be talking to?" the bug asked impatiently. "I'm not going to sit here and blabber to myself! I'm not crazy!"

"Right," Ben muttered to himself. "You're not crazy. I'm crazy, but you're not."

"So how are you?" the bug asked conversationally. "How's your day? Where are we going?"

"To work," Ben answered without thinking. Then he stopped and stared at the green bug lounging on the hood of his car.

"Why am I answering a bug?" he asked aloud.

"I'm not a bug," the bug said indignantly. "I'm a GLUG."

"What is a GLUG?" Ben asked.

"A GLUG is a Ginormous Lime green Unusual Gnat," the bug said proudly.

"There is no such thing as ginormous," Ben said.

"Yes there is," the bug said, rolling his eyes. "It's between giant and enormous. I'm too big to be a giant, but I'm a bit smaller than enormous. So I'm ginourmous. It makes perfect sense."

Ben stared at this bug, trying to watch the bug at the same time as he drove. The bug was now munching on a leaf he had found caught in the windshield. "This is good! You got any more?" the bug asked, waving the leaf frantically at him.

"Uhhhhh.." Ben said.

"And my name is Bermuda," the bug added.

"Why's your name Bermuda?" Ben asked.

"Because I was born in Bermuda grass," the bug sighed. "My parents are those type of unimaginative people who name their child after places, like Austin or Dallas. At least it wasn't Waco!" He shuddered at the thought. "Waco would be a dreadful name. It'd be like being named Castroville or Boerne. Just weird names."

"Right," Ben said, not sure what to say to the blabbering bug.

"Well, I'm off," the bug said, brushing himself off. "I'm going to catch that wind there. You take care of yourself, ok? Say hello to Miranda."

Ben stared at Bermuda the bug. "How do you know Miranda?"

The bug waved two of his thin arms dismissively. "We all know Miranda. Take care now. Thanks for the leaf!" With that, the bug threw himself out into the wind and went flying into the breeze. Ben drove the rest of the way to work, stunned into silence. The radio roared around his ears as he tried to comprehend what he just heard.

He pulled into his parking space and pushed the call button on his phone.

"Miranda?" Ben said. "I just met a GLUG."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


As I snacked absently on the stale, greasy chips, I checked my watch for the billionth time. I should have never agreed to do this, I scolded myself. This was dumb. It's your curiosity that gets you into these situations, I told myself. And your damn impulsive nature that cements your fate.

It wasn't enough to impulsively send the woman an e-mail telling her she fascinated me and I wanted to talk to her more about her choices. Oh no. As if that outpouring of affirmation wasn't enough, I had ask her to lunch. I don't do lunch normally. I do with family and very close friends, but that's where I draw the line. Lunch is part of my routine, my comfortable bubble I surround myself with. Going out to lunch squeezes my bubble, and that makes me uncomfortable.

You really must quit becoming fascinated with people, I told myself. This is what gets you in all of the trouble. This is why you talk to people you shouldn't talk to, you entangle yourself with old men at the grocery store because their smile reminds of you of your grandfather, and you try to invite strange people to eat with you at restaurants because you're worried they're lonely. If you weren't so damn curious, you wouldn't keep winding up in these sticky social situations with only your blond curls and dopey smile to get you out, my brain said logically.

If you weren't so fascinated with people, you would have never met Ben. You would never have the job you have, a small part of me thought. Well crap. I had myself there.

Finally, she appeared--a very pregnant forty year old woman. She had five children of her own, had been a surrogate for twins, and was being a surrogate again. And she had an English accent. She was fascinating.

Over queso and chips, we talked about the surrogacy. I asked her how she could give a child to another couple after carrying it for nine months, and she brushed it off as no big deal. She had her five children, she said. She didn't want anymore. She did this because she believed in family, because she believed these couples deserved the blessing of a child that she had had. I laughed as she told me about her horror over a woman who wanted her to be a surrogate because she didn't want to lose her figure, even though she'd already had several children. Looking down at her swollen belly and breasts, a body that had been down this road 8 times before, she looked at me and laughed. "I suppose my figure is just out of luck," she laughed in her faded British accent. I smiled. Much to my surprise, she wasn't a religious nut job. I had wondered.

As I studied her over the table, peppering with questions, she told me about her life. She grew up in England and went to school and college in South Africa. She moved here and married her husband and had five children. She's a freelance writer pulling in three times the salary I make, which impressed me rather than turning my skin green.

To my surprise, she managed to shock me. Her blunt honesty about her finances and details of her marriage took me off guard. After all, we had just met. I don't even tell close friends about much of my marriage or salary. She showed me pictures of her children, the eyes crinkling around her eyes in pleasure. At 5 foot 2, she looked more delicate and fragile than her manner lead you to believe. In my book, she had to be stronger than most people to have so many children. The idea of delivering 8 children makes me cringe and curl up into the fetal position. I couldn't imagine a worse torture.

As we said goodbye, I drove back to work fascinated. Normally, my sudden and intense curiosity over a person wears off after a short time. Amazingly, she still has mine. I simply can't wrap my mind over her generosity with her time, her body, her life. It's fascinating.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Munny

"What is it?" she asked, turning it over in her hands.

"It's a rabbit," the younger girl said. "Well, at least it's supposed to be a rabbit. That's what the artist said."

"It looks like a mouse," the woman said, fingering it's large floppy ears. "It's cute though."

"Well, she said it was a rabbit," the younger girl said. "She called the set 'reproducing rabbits', because she's constantly making more to sell."

"It's the long tail that makes it look like the mouse," the woman said. "It's cute though. It's sweet."

She set down the critter and the two went outside to enjoy the cool weather. The creature sighed and her ears drooped.

"Hello," a voice said, and she turned to see a furry hedgehog staring at her.

"Hello," the critter said. "Who are you?"

"I'm Hairy," Hairy said. "I'm the Mayor of the Land of the Flowered Bed. I came to welcome you and let you know that we'll be happy to show you around any time. We have a spa, with some resident ducks."

"Thank you," the creature smiled. "That's quite nice of you."

"What's your name?" Hairy asked.

"I don't have a name," the critter sighed, looking down. "I'm just a Munny."

"A Munny?" Hairy said carefully, trying not to insult her. "I'm afraid you're the first Munny I've met! Tell me about yourself."

"I was made by a local artist," the Munny said, "And supposedly, we're bunnies. But our long tails and floppy ears look more like mice. So we became Munnys--combinations of mice and bunnies."

"Fascinating!" Hairy said, smiling. "Well, I'm sure we can come up with a name for you. Have you ever wanted a name?"

The Munny nodded shyly. "Well, what is it?" Hairy asked.

"I've always adored the name Mattie," the Munny said. "I also like Rose, Violet and Millie."

"Do you want one of those for a name?" Hairy asked.

"No," the Munny sighed, her ears drooping. "They just don't sound right. A name has to sound right, the way you say it and such. You know?"

"I know," Hairy said. "What about Matilda?"

"No," the Munny sighed.




"No," the Munny shook her head.

"Mandy?" Hairy suggested.

"No," the Munny said, frustrated. "Oh this is pointless! This will never work. I'll just keep being a dumb nameless Munny forever." They sat in silence for a few moments, the Munny sniffling.

"I know!" Hairy cried excitedly. "What about Mazzy the Munny?"

"That's perfect," the Munny beamed. "That's perfect! I'm Mazzy! I'm Mazzy! I'm Mazzy the Munny!"

"It's nice to meet you, Mazzy the Munny," Hairy smiled. "I'm glad to have met you."

"I'm so excited!" Mazzy cried. "I have a name! I must go tell my family! Thank you so much!" She jumped off the table and gave Hairy a hug. "I will come visit your land soon! It sounds lovely."

"You're welcome anytime," Hairy promised, as Mazzy was already dialing the phone in excitement. He looked forward to seeing Mazzy around the Land of the Flowered Bed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

You're Still the One- March 23

I don't talk a lot about Ben in a romantic context on here because I know our parents read this blog. And even though we're married, it's not the most comfortable thing in the world to read mushy-gushy stuff from your child. So dear parents, forgive me, cause it's going to get mushy gushy.

When we were freshmen in college, Ben gave me a gift. It wasn't a large gift and it didn't have a pretty bow, but it was beautiful all the same. Ben gave me the gift of security. As we drove around in his truck on those cool spring nights, the heater warming our feet while our cheeks were cold from the whistling wind as we sang Phil Collins at the top of our lungs, I felt secure. I felt like he wouldn't dump me, pressure me or act like a normal college kid.

As we swam in the SLC, Ben would glide through the water, floating as he kicked his feet slowly. He had such a easy way about him and relaxed attitude about things. While I was swimming diligently, he floated slowly, talking to the lifeguard about the material the slide was made out of. He couldn't say I wasn't spontaneous--our late night trip to Austin with Kurt and Kevin was proof of that. Our energy was indispensable as his gas--it kept getting refilled.

My spontaneity was on the crazy and zany side. I would get an inkling to throw myself into the student fountain or set off for the local dollar theater at midnight. Ben was dragged out under the stars, dancing in front of headlights and walking in the rain. Meanwhile, Ben's spontaneity was more low key. He might jump up and go eat dinner at 4 in the afternoon or want to go to Wendy's at midnight. While my life before him had been a mix of stormy and sunny weather, it was now almost all sunshine. My wild hairs were like the brief summer shower--light enough to twirl in and long enough to soak in. It was a definite change, and I liked the mix.

The more comfortable I got, the more settled I got. I didn't throw breakfast parties at midnight after football games and hold dancing parties at 10 o'clock at night while Ben and his roommate drove by taking pictures. Comfortable and happy, I was content to sit with Ben with his arm draped over me while we watched some science show he wanted to watch.

Four years later, our life is full of more stability than surprises. Holding down full time jobs makes it harder to have midnight wal-mart runs and ping pong tournaments in our now non-existent student gym. While I miss our college years, I also cherish them greatly. Just as I now treasure our late night drives and random excursions. It amazes me how even through some of the most stress we had--graduating, moving and getting married--we're still just as strong as ever. My only wish is that our lives will continue to be sprinkled with those spontaneous, spinning-in-the-rain moments. While I love the sunshine, the rain makes it that much sweeter.
Happy 4 years darling. I can't wait till our "real" anniversary in May. I love you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Kittens Are Cute

The editor looked at the box full of kittens on his desk. "Do you understand the difference between an adverb and an adjective now?"

Ten large eyes stared back at him silently. "This is a very important distinction," his voice boomed around the small room. "An adverb modifies a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a phrase or a clause. It generally ends in 'ly,' like gently, happily, etc. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun by describing, identifying or quantifying words. Understand?"

The ten eyes blinked, then blinked again. The kittens' tiny eyelids were beginning to droop.

"Now, now," the editor chided. "We haven't even begun to discuss AP style. Do you know that all time must be labeled with the numeral and a.m. and p.m., not am and pm? 12 p.m. is noon, 12 a.m. is midnight. Write today, yesterday or Wednesday, not Today, March 15."

One of the kittens yawned. The other one swatted his brother's ear. One kitten tried to stand up and flopped on his butt. He decided it was too much effort to get up and stayed there.

"Onto titles!" the editor cried happily, the kittens looking up at the noise. "Courtesy titles are not used. Only government official titles are used, but may be abbreviated in certain circumstances such as--- are you listening?"

The kitten batting at the shredded box looked at him with large blue eyes. One of the kittens managed to crawl out of the box, then deciding he didn't like the texture of the paper on the desk, spent the next ten minutes trying to crawl back in.

"It's no use!" the editor groaned, his head hitting the desk. "No one cares. No one has journalistic integrity anymore. No one cares about grammar or style!"

The kittens started at his yelling. One reached out a paw to bat a wayward clump of hair. Slowly, one by one, the kittens began to mew loudly.

"Mew! Mew! Mew! MEEWWW!" they cried, staring at the editor with pitiful eyes.

"You're right," the editor said, stroking the kittens. "It'll be all right. Journalism as we know it will succeed and continue to be classy and truthful."

The kittens' mewing increased. The editor sighed and lifted the kittens onto the floor, then pulled a quart of milk from the mini-fridge. "Here you go," he said, smiling as they lapped up the milk. "Even if you would make horrible journalists, you sure are cute."

The kittens paused, then continued to lap up the milk. They knew they were cute. They had whiskers and large eyes. What took him so long to figure that out?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Howling Toddlers

It is an inescapable fact that like dogs, toddlers like to talk to each other. Normally, toddlers are content to babble on to themselves, to their toys or to their parents. However, in restaurants, malls, shops or any public place with more than five people, toddlers have a need to protect their territory.

It is an unwritten rule of toddlers that no toddler can be in another toddlers area in a five foot perimeter. To toddlers, five feet is the equivalent of five football fields. Considering they're normally only a few feet from their mothers, five feet is like crossing an ocean.

In order to protect their territory, toddlers must howl, shriek and screech. They have five main sounds they use to inform other toddlers about their territory and where their perimeters are. Toddlers also communicate to one another, usually about their rage they can't expand their perimeters, run around their perimeters or invade another toddlers perimeter.

The five main sounds are:

Howl- This is an angry sound letting other toddlers are too close. This can also be a cry of frustration when a parent won't let a toddler run around or invade another's perimeter.

Shriek- This can be a happy or upset cry. Toddlers just love to shriek. They shriek at play, when they're upset or if they just want to hear themselves talk. To adults, it sounds like a knife going through her ear.

Screech- This is an indignant sound. Toddlers become indignant when another toddler comes too close to their perimeter or their goods. If another toddler tries to touch their toys for example, screeching is their primary defense.

Wail- This is the battle cry. The toddler has discovered invaders, and is using sheer lung power to stop them. Normally, this will cause other toddlers to shriek, wail or cry. It is the most powerful of sounds. It causes anyone over the age of 7 to have an instant hemorrhage and bleeding to come out of their ears.

Cry- This is the toddler's defense method. Like a bird playing dead, they release the tears, snot and sobs. Normally, this method could wear down the most patient of adults. It also creates sympathy in the most hard hearted of playground bullies.

The moral of the story is like dogs, toddlers like to talk to each other. So next time you hear them wailing and screeching, just plug their ears. The toddlers are simply protecting their perimeters.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

If I had wings.....

On my daily walk, I saw an unusual sight. I saw a bright blue butterfly floating through the air over the asphalt street. Reaching out, I started towards him when a car came screeching down the street. When it had passed, the butterfly was gone.

As I reached the corner of the building, I saw another butterfly floating by a brightly colored plant. Then, I saw it. A hummingbird was floating near the sage like bush, drinking out of the flowers.

"Wow," I whispered, staring at it. It's emerald green stomach gleamed in the sunlight as it darted from bud to bud.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" the blue butterfly asked, settling on the blossom of a mountain laurel. His wings slowly opened and closed.

"Gorgeous," I said, looking at the hummingbird. A slight buzzing noise filled my ears as he continued to flitter from blossom to blossom. There was no rhyme or reason to the hummingbird's path. He went from one flower to a flower on the other side to a flower in the center in a disjointed, stumbling pattern.

"The hummingbird is a marvel, that's true," the butterfly said, delicately drinking the dew out of the blossom on the mountain marvel. "Small and agile, his wings are as fast as they are fragile."

A slight reservation in his tone caught my ear. "Are you jealous of him?" I asked. "I would think you would be more delicate than he."

"It's a different kind of delicate," the butterfly said, avoiding my question. "We are paper thin and whisper through out the breeze, creating joy whenever we appear in people's lives. We drink out of flowers and skate from one blade of grass to the next. Just a brush of a finger can cut our lives short, or a careless knock from a branch or car."

I squelched my eyes shut. I didn't want to think of terrible things happening to the butterflies.

"The hummingbird, however," the butterfly continued, "is strong. He has a firm torso and core, a firm belief in himself. He busily goes from branch to branch, always eating, always searching. His work is never done. While we float through the day, he struggles through every minute. His wings move so quickly he burns a ton of energy, creating a everlasting hunger that never ceases."

With new eyes, I took a look at the hummingbird. As his jewel toned body flitted through the air, he did appear to be frantic. While the butterfly rested on the blossoms of the mountain laurel, the hummingbird visited each bud briefly, only getting as much nectar out of it as it possibly could and then moving on.

"I had never thought of it that way," I said, feeling sad. "That's really quite depressing."

"Not really," the butterfly said, stretching it's tiny feet lazily. "Do you know someone that's always bustling about?"

"Yes," I answered, images of the people's faces popping in my head.

"Are they happy when they sit with you and read a novel? Or watch a television show?"

"No," I answered, understanding dawning. "They're not. They're absolutely miserable. They're only happy when they're bustling about and being busy."

"Same for the hummingbirds," the butterfly said wisely. "They enjoy the search, they enjoy the chase. They enjoy feeling energy surge through their veins as they search for the next drop of nectar. It makes each flower that much sweeter, that much better. They feel rewarded for their search. When they finally sleep at night, they feel as though they've accomplished a lot."

"It's amazing how similar humans are to animals," I observed. "Most of them don't know it at all."

"The majority of people don't know as much as they think they do," the butterfly said. "They simply don't take the time to think and understand. They want to put everything into neat little boxes, and not everything fits into a box. I wouldn't fit in a box. The hummingbird wouldn't fit in a box."

"No," I grinned. "He'd fly out of it."

The hummingbird buzzed by closer, and the buzzing noise grew louder. I leaned in closer, straining to hear.

"What's he saying?" I asked.

"Listen," the butterfly answered.

I crept closer to the bushes, as slowly as I could. I heard a very faint mutter. "Nownownowquickquicktrythatflowernothatflowernothatflowerhungryhungry

"He talks so fast!" I exclaimed softly, sitting back from the bush so I wouldn't scare the bird.

"For him, life moves fast," the butterfly shrugged. He left the mountain bush to gently land in my hair.

"Is that a hint I should slow down?" I asked.

"Take it as you wish," the butterfly said. "Just as in nature, every human is different. Don't try to cage all the animals into boxes when they need to be free."

"You're leaving again, aren't you?" I said slowly, watching him crawl down my arm.

The butterfly whispered in reply.

"When will you come again?" I asked, knowing what the answer would be. And the answer was the same, as it always was.

"Soon," the faint reply came in the breeze. "I'll be back soon."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Blonde Duck goes to a basketball game

In the Pond, many of my fellow Pondites are obsessed with a certain NBA sports team. You may have heard of it--it's called the Spurs. For most people in the Pond, the Spurs are their Messiahs. The Spurs can do no wrong. If the players miss a basket, it's the other team's fault. If they lose a game, the other team set a voo-doo spell upon them and revenge must be taken.

Ben won some tickets at his company, so we got to go. The tickets would let us spend the evening dining in a private suite with catered food and wonderful seats so close we could see the players sweat. After work, we changed close and drove through the pouring rain to get there. I foolishly thought the floods and monsoon-like rains would deter spectactors--but oh no. They came in droves.

After we found our way to the suite, a feast lay out before us. We dined on salad, fruit, fajita meat, fresh tortillas and a huge subway sandwich. Now, this was no ordinary subway sandwich. This sandwich would have made Dagwood proud. It was full of thick, quality deli meat, cheese and some kind of pink sauce that was strangely delicious on thick wheat bread. In order to eat this enourmous sub sandwich, one had to literally vacumn it into it's mouth. Needless to say, it was glorious.

After chatting with a few company co-workers, we made our way to our seats. We watched the game and cooed over the graphics and catchy song clips. Then the true entertainment arrived: the blimp.

The blimp puttered it's way around the cieling directed by an invisible hand. It bobbed slowly up and down lazily through the air. People leaped toward the cieling, squealing in glee. And then, there was Ben.

"OOOOHOHHHHH!" Ben squealed. "I want it!"

Reaching above him, Ben joined the mass of hopping people. "OOOOHHHH!" he shouted, his arm raised in the air. "OOOOHHH!!!"

I simply stared at him.

"I really want one of these!" Ben squealed happily. "Can I have one? Can I can I?"

"Sure," I said. Ben looked excited at the prospect of owning his own blimp. After we left later that evening, he was still talking about it.

"Can I get a blimp?"


"I'm going to fly it all over the neighborhood."

"I'm sure you are."

"That was an awesome blimp."

"That was an awsome sandwich."

"No, I think the blimp was much cooler."

So there you have it. VIP tickets to an NBA basketball game, and we were impressed by a sandwich and a blimp.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Break

The animals in the Land of the Flowered Bed woke up on a grey morning.

"Another boring day," Cookies grumbled, drinking his coffee as he angrily read the comics.

"I do wish the sun would come out," Pumble said, looking annoyed. "If the sun doesn't come out, the flowers won't bloom. If the flowers don't bloom, I can't have fresh pollen. If I don't have fresh pollen, how am I going to make my pollen jam? What is spring without biscuits and pollen jam? That's like toast without honey!"

Even Hairy was starting to feel the effects of the foggy, grey weather. "It's not England," he said, going to the window to draw back the curtains. "At least in England--"

The others waited around the kitchen table, waiting for him to finish. They often sat around the table in the morning and had a tea party. It was nice to travel to the edge of the Land of the Traveling Bed every now and again. Finally, Pumble looked up from his novel. Pumble had a thing for trashy dime-store romance novels.

"What does England have?" he asked. "Well?"

"Have you looked outside?" Hairy gasped when he finally reclaimed his voice.

"Yup," Pumble said, smacking on a cracker. "Utter desolation and bleakness, as usual."

"No!" Hairy cried, shaking his head violently. "There's trees!"

"Trees?!?" Pumble cried. "You're joking!"

"Come see for yourself," Hairy said, pulling the blinds open. Pumble rushed down from the table and over to the window.

"There's trees! There's actually trees out there!"

"And a bush," Hairy added helpfully. The seals hopped to the window and jumped up and down barking and shouting in glee, clapping their arms happily. Cookies rolled his eyes. "I'm going to get down from the table and there's going to be a stick outside, and ya'll are going to think it's a tree. Then you're going to giggle like a bunch of monkeys because you're a bunch of immature ruffians--"

"Well come down and see for yourself," Hairy sniffed.

"I can see perfectly fine from where I am-" Cookies began snidely when his eyes traveled to the window. His jaw dropped open and he sat staring quietly. "Well I declare," he said finally, "There's two trees and a bush out there. And flowers to boot!"

"That's not a bush that's a mountain laurel," Pumble said in a knowledgeable tone.

"And how do you know that?" Cookies challenged.

"I was born next to one," Pumble sniffed, sticking his nose in the air.

The seals barked excitedly and bumped the window with their noses.

"That's a great idea!" Hairy said, beaming. "Let's go enjoy the day outside! It's Spring Break, after all!"

The animals set up a hammock between the two trees and set up a couple of lawn chairs with some glasses of fruit juice. The sun burst through the clouds and a cool breeze set through the patio.

"This is nice," Hairy said, as he leaned against the chair and shut his eyes. The sun gently warmed his face.

"Very nice," Pumble said, as he ate a bowl of ice cream and rolled over to get sun on his back.

The seals swung back and forth in the hammock, grinning broadly.

"It's all right," Cookie said, trying to tame his smile. "It's a nice Spring Break, after all."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Guest Commentary

Since Ace the Dog (and Ben's parents) are down visiting for Ben's birthday, he thought he would say a few words. Here is his speech, translated and bark free:

For some reason unbeknownst to me, all my toys were packed up in a car this morning. After investigating the backseat and discovering it was bone free, I settled down for a nap. There wasn't anything to do--no dead birds to sniff, no intruders to bark at and no squirrels to chase.

When the car finally stopped, I was picked up and taken into a strange house. It was filled with all sorts of new smells and new carpet. I couldn't wait too pee and poop on it. I immediately began to tapdance on the couch and loveseat. The backyard smelled like a giant barbecue. Unfortunately, there were no dead birds in there.

Of course, the first thing I had to do was to investigate the perimeter. I made sure there were no other dogs there to compete with. After I cleared out the competition, I sniffed about for bones or ailing squirrels. Since the two trees were kind of scrawny, that eliminated that. After doing my business, I made sure to bark loudly to all the neighbors to announce my presence. I knew they had been waiting to see me. They were dutifully impressed.

After Mama K gave me a bone, I had a whole new landscape to hide it from. I went from the corner to the loveseat to the T.V. stand. I hid it in the couch cushions, but later moved it. Tell you where it is? Now that's just dumb. How dumb do you think I am!

Eventually, my servant Miranda came home. She was very excited to see me. She must have been bored during my absence. There was a bit of a crisis when the people got lost for an hour. However, my barks lead them home. It's exhausting to wrangle these people. They don't listen well.

Hold on- yup, that's food! They're fixing my favorite cereal! And they're acting like I can't even have any! These dumb humans--when will they learn who's boss?

Yours always,

Ace the Chihuahua

Monday, March 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Ben!

Instead of presenting Ben with a large, beautifully wrapped gift, with a decorated house, cake, streamers and more--I gave him snot and a 102 fever.

After a weekend consisting of a broken windshield, jury duty, having to cancel the fun weekend with his friends because he was exhausted, the gun show being cancelled, the gun shops being closed, and me giving out while re-painting the garage leaving him to finish up 2 hours of work while I shivered in a bath, he never said a word.

He didn't get his cake--he wanted me to wait to bake it until his family came down.

He didn't get the decorations--I was too busy shivering on the couch and whining about not feeling good.

He didn't even get his birthday dinner-- instead he ate pre-packaged soup and crackers while he rubbed my head.

So rather than get a cake, decorations, a dinner out, a weekend with his best buddies and a cool new gun, he got snot, a hacking cough, a half-painted garage and a high fever.

And he never said a word about it. Instead of griping about how his day had been overlooked and I was getting all the attention, he just soothed my head. Instead of being bitter about his bad luck, he wiped me down with cold cloths at 4 a.m. He even took off work of most of the morning to make sure my fever wasn't too high.

So even though this was his crappiest birthday in our four years together (even crappier than the first one where he bought my hamburger, his hamburger, and John half the menu), I just wanted him to know I appreciate it. His generosity and compassion were the two biggest reasons I fell in love with him, and he continues to amaze me even to this day.

Happy Birthday darling! I love you!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Second Act

They had spent days preparing. Cookies had swathed himself in black and gone around talking to himself, then scribbling down on a piece of paper, then talking to himself again. Every few hours, he would let out a blood-curdling wail and tear the papers into shreds, throwing himself down on the ground as the floating bits settled around him. Then he would stand up and start it all over again.

Pumble on the other hand, glued himself to the T.V. He ordered in three extra-large pizzas and latched onto the remote like it was his own child. If the seals tried to watch animal planet, he snarled at them and threw empty pizza boxes at their heads. "I'm trying to create, people!" he would shout, cheese stuck to his chin. "I can't create if you pester me! Back off! Just back off!"

So, Hairy and the seals had spent the past few days living in the spa with the ducks. The ducks had been thrilled for the company. The only person that usually came to visit them was the skunk. The skunk hadn't been around in a few days, because he had been working in his clover garden. He did enjoy the sunny weather.

"What do you think the plays will be?" the first duck asked Hairy.

"Do you think they will be awful?" the second duck asked conspiratorially.

"I'm sure they'll be nice," the third duck whispered hopefully. The seals nodded in agreement and began to swim laps in the bathtub.

"I'm not sure," Hairy said. He was ready for the plays to begin. He wanted to return to his normal routine. "I'm sure that Cookies will do a drama and Pumble will do a comedy. It suits their personalities."

"I hope they both do comedies," said the first duck.

"I hope they do mystery-dramas," said the second duck.

"Will there be popcorn?" the third duck ventured.

Just then, Cookies strode into the spa arrogantly. "We are ready for you," he sniffed, beckoning to them with his feathers. He strode on his heel and strode toward the stage. The seals dried themselves by rolling on a towel back and forth. The ducks carefully dried their feet on a rug and toddled into the make-shift theater.

Cookies and Pumble had strung a blanket across the closet. They had folded blankets to create seating. Hairy and the seals sat on one blanket, and the ducks sat behind them.

"I can't wait to see what they've done," the first duck said.

"I wonder what the costumes will be like," the second duck wondered.

"Are there refreshments anywhere?" the third duck asked hopefully.

The lights awkwardly flicked on and off. Cookies's voice boomed from behind the curtain.

"Good evening. There will be no photography or food or drink. Please respect the actors. There will be a brief intermission between acts, then the judging will occur. Our first act is the wonderful, the fabulous, the terrific, the stupendous, the handsome, the darling--"

"Get on with it!" Pumble hissed audibly.

"Owlroifico!" Cookies finished. Hairy and the seals applauded politely. The ducks stomped their feet and flapped their wings.

The curtain swung open, and Cookies dramatically stepped forward. He had pulled on one of the girl's black turtleneck, and was hobbling forward in a pair of black shoes.

The seals looked at Hairy in concern. The ducks quaked alarmingly.

"He looks ridiculous!" the first duck said.

"He must be confused!" the second duck said.

"I think he looks dramatic," the third duck argued.

"I was born in a large barn," Cookies cried, falling to his knees. "I fought my way through the egg, cracking it's gentle shell." Cookies burst from the floor, making cracking noises. "I am born! I am alive! I am, I am Owlorifico!"

"Oh Lord," Hairy said, clapping his hand to his head. The seals buried their heads in the towel. For the next hour, Cookies flopped and bellowed on stage as he told his life story.

"Now, as the grandest performer in the land, I beseech thee judges," Cookies said, falling to his knees again. "Choose wisely. Choose the true performer of the theatre."

With that, he backed out slowly and the curtain fell. Hairy and the seals clapped uncertainly. The ducks stomped their feet.

"Our next performer is Pumble!" Cookies yelled, as Pumble strode on stage.

"Some introduction!" Pumble called over his shoulder. "You went on for three hours about yourself!" Pumble turned and faced his audience. His face was a mask of concentration.

"What is he doing?" the first duck asked.

"Did he forget his lines?" the second duck questioned.

"I think he's going too-" the third duck started. Pumble opened his mouth and belched. He belched again, and again. Soon he started tapping his foot as he belched.

"He's belching Jingle Bells!" Hairy said, half in horror and half in a amusement. The seals clapped in delight and barked along.

After his song, Pumble bowed and walked off without another word. Hairy and the seals bowed their heads and whispered for several minutes. Nodding, Hairy raised his head. "We made a decision!" he cried. Cookies and Pumbles came running from the stage.

"We thought about this long and hard," Hairy said. The seals nodded. "We decided that there was not a single winner."

"Oh not this crap," Pumble grumbled. "You're both so good--"

"Well you were," Hairy said. "We decided Cookies wins the prize for dramatic actor. Pumble, you win the prize for comedian!"

"I'm a true thespian!" Cookies cried, clutching his chest dramatically.

"I like comedy," Pumble said. "At least everyone knows how funny I am!"

The seals applauded happily and jumped up and down.

"Wonderful!" the first duck cried.

"Fabulous!" the second duck yelled.

"I'm so proud of both of you!" the third duck smiled.

And with that, the animals set off to the Cafe for a celebration. After all, it wasn't every day you had a thespian and comedian in your midst!

The Zees

They come in clouds, in the late afternoon and after dinner. Rotund with plump bellies and contented smiles, they float gently through the late sunshine coming through the windows. They tiptoe into offices, school buildings and nurseries with nursing toddlers and infants. They are the Zees.

As they float along the lazy afternoon breezes, they have one mission in mind. The Zees are innately curious about humans, you see. They are fascinated by our every move and what we do during our daily lives. At birth, they select a human to attach to, and visit them every day.

They set the scene by starting a symphony of droning silence. The white noise, whether caused by droning computers, monotone teachers or the humming of an air conditioner sets the scene. Your eyes begin to droop, your breathing slows. The pencil you're clutching begins to run off the paper, the computer in front of your eyes blurs into white. The Zees have come to visit.

They settle into your eye lids, using your eyelashes as an ottoman. The heat from their plush bodies drives you deeper into your sleep. Your conscious fights, recognizing the Zees and shouting, "Not again! We must fight! We must fight! We must fight...wemustfight...wemustfight...wemustfigh....". The battle has been won. The Zees sit comfortably as your head hits the desk. As you sleep, they braid your hair and turn on a hose in your throat so drool comes pouring out of your mouth. Fascinated, they listen to the teacher or run across the computer keyboard. They want to write a sonnet for you, but aren't quite sure what the letters mean. The Zees love to tickle your nose with feathers, just to hear you snort. It makes them giggle.

After an half an hour, before the angry boss or disgruntled teacher raps on your desk, they wake you gently. They tug on your fingers to tickle your nerves and gently push your eye lids open. Just in time, you awake. It takes awhile before you quit feeling that you've been drowning.

As the Zees float back into the breeze, they wave good bye. They'll be back, don't worry. They'll come to visit after dinner, to dance on your full tummy.

To my Invisible Friends

Dear Invisible Friends,

It's not my fault. Really, it isn't. The Internet has been out for two days, and the Internet fixer who usually fixes it when I start squealing in horror that I'm not instantly connected was out of town. So regardless, I was not able to continue the tale of the animals in the Land of the Flowered Bed. However, tonight you shall get that post, as well as one about the Zees! Who are the Zees? Well, I guess you'll have to wait to find out! I'm off to be constrained for 7 hours for classes. If only it wasn't downtown.....sigh.

Hurriedly and apologetically yours,

The Blonde Duck