Sunday, April 27, 2008


I drove Big Red for the first time in months today.  Every time I climb in to the cab I know that it could be my last time.  There was frost on the windshield this morning.  I turned on the defroster.  I have been spoilt by the Little Blue Go-Cart, which actually has a working defroster.  Big Red tried but only managed to blow cold air on to the window.  I patted the dash and squirted the windshield with cleaner while running the wipers.  I knew it would freeze up, really I did.

Driving Big Red is a challenge.  The power steering on the right side is shot so I have to find a route to where ever I am going that has the most left turns.  I can turn right... with a lot of muscle, and I know it hurts Big Red, so I try to stick to left turns.  If that means that I have to go around the block a few times to get where I need to be then so be it.  Anything for my baby.

The Oompas are disappointed with their dad.  They think he doesn't want Big Red.  They think he doesn't care.  They are wrong.  I just wish he was.  I wish they were right and that Big Red just needed a little TLC, but in my heart I know it goes deeper than that.  I am preparing myself for the inevitable.

This time next week I be saying my final good-byes to the old Ford and test driving some new nameless vehicle which will some day make its way into my heart the way its predecessor did.

But I guarantee it won't be a Mini-van!


Friday, April 25, 2008


Dickidoo is a pretty decent mechanic but he is not a magician.  When he says that Big Red isn't worth fixing I have to respect his decision.  Still, I can't help feeling like the lone resistance while the rest of the world circles around like oil thirsty metallic piranhas!  Back, I say!  Back!

What is Big Red?  Big Red is a huge 1991 Ford F150 pick-up with a thirst for 85 unleaded.  She has taken me from one end of the state to the other.  We've watched the sunrise together.  We've watched hot air balloons drift gracefully across the crisp morning sky, we've driven mountain highways and scaled rocky paths.  We've splashed through flash floods, plowed through the snow and danced across the ice.  We've had a few close encounters of the automotive kind and seen a few flashing red and blue lights in our time.  We've parked over a look out and wished upon a falling star.

Big Red is not just a big red pick-up truck.  Big Red is a part of me.  A part that another part of me is trying to convince me to let go of.

What most people don't understand is that in this great big world full of possessions, Big Red is probably the only thing I have ever really wanted to own.  Family doesn't count, you don't own family.  And while I prize my camera, it is more of a tool.  Big Red, on the other hand, is as close to being mine and 'me' as any object can be.  Silly as it may seem to some, it's hard for me to let go and it does hurt.

Kind of makes me glad I'm not a pick-up truck otherwise I would have been scrapped a long time ago.

Where are those falling stars, I sure could use a wish come true right about now.

Oh wait, Gabe is coming home! (thats a pretty darn awesome wish come true!)


Thursday, April 24, 2008


 April 24 is . . . . National Pigs In A Blanket Day.

Do you remember the school cafeteria's pig in a blanket?  It was actually my favorite dish that those crazy old lunchroom ladies would whip up, from its thick, soft yet chewy buttery bread wrapper to the juicy wiener wrapped snuggly inside and served with soggy, greasy oven fries, warped rubbery carrot sticks and washed down with a luke warm half pint of milk.  Ah, those were the days!

Last night we had steak, artichoke and a salad wedge for supper.  A salad wedge is a wedge cut from a head of iceberg lettuce then drizzled with dressing and sprinkled with diced tomatoes and bacon bits.  Basically its a tossed salad minus the 'tossed'.  I don't know why but for some reason salad just tastes so much better as a wedge.

We had a lot of left over artichoke since we got a couple of free packs from the grocery store down the block.  There were three different prices posted and even the cashier was confused so he just tossed them into a bag without charging us for them.

"They look like they're going to turn bad soon,"  he explained with a wink.

So... guess what I had for breakfast?

Yep, artichoke... and cheesecake!  If that isn't a breakfast fit for champions then I am one happy loser!

Unfortunately I think those artichoke and cheesecake have replaced all the calories I burned while walking home earlier in the week, which means that I should probably walk home more often, whether or not Big Red gets fixed in time.  Which also means that I should surely be able to afford maybe one more slice of cheese cake.  I'll just have to take the long way home, that's all. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I'm hell on motor vehicles, I really am.  The Little Blue Go Cart is paralyzed... I'm sure it will end up being the transmission.  Big Red's steering is shot... kaput!  And after my little 'Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!' departure Friday morning (witnessed by Dickidoo himself) I apparently have 'glossed the clutch' and now The Hemi is stalling out and acting 'not right'.  Personally I think there is nothing wrong with the Dodge but made the mistake of pointing out to Dickidoo that he stalls out too (which he does) and he took that opportunity to suggest that it was my fault... as usual.

Oh well, what can a car killing woman do? 

I suppose revenge would be in order but not this time.  Dickidoo has decided that Big Red would be the better candidate for repairs and will start working on her this evening.  (Anything to keep me from further damaging his Precious!) Woo Hoo!

Due to my destructive ways, we are now left with only one working vehicle.  For the past two days Dickidoo has dropped me off at work by... you guessed it.... o'dark hundred.  And for the past two days I have hoofed it home.  Yesterday I made it home in 55 minutes.  I thought I was doing good until I found out that it was only 2.7 miles.  Today I made it home in 50 minutes.  I better be losing weight with all of this, that's all I can say.

Not true.  I can say a lot more.  For instance walking 2.7 miles for two days in a row actually felt good!  There was only one part of the walk, just one block from the house, where I found myself out of breath and feeling like the fat old lady that I am.  The rest of the way was really quite invigorating.

But I'd rather be driving Big Red.  Hook me up Dickidoo!  Yahoo!

p.s.  Mama just got the all clear from her doctor.  She is officially cancer free and the annoying little port in her side has been removed.  Big Sis Lisa has just finished her 4th treatment and will begin a new cycle soon.  She is loving her smooth as a baby's bottom head though I imagine she will have to cover up once the heat of summer sets in.  She also hasn't had to shave her legs or armpits for 3 weeks now.  I guess there really is an up side to all of this.  Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes.  They do help and are always appreciated.


Friday, April 18, 2008

CLUTCHAPHOBIA... for good reason.

Dickidoo was scheduled to fly out to California yesterday evening at 7:25.  Key words being 'was scheduled'.  Apparently his plane stalled out on the runway and never got the all clear to take off.  His trip was rescheduled for this morning and he was sent home with a $200 voucher for future travel, shut up money for the inconvenience.  Cool.

That is where the coolness ended... abruptly.

Dickidoo called me to pick him up from the airport.  I fired up the Little Blue Go-cart (what I call the Tracer which replaced my pick-up Big Red).  3 miles from the house and maybe 10 miles from the airport the transmission gave out.

All together now.... GRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Our neighbor Jim, who is always bailing us out of trouble, showed up in his truck, picked Rocky and I up, drove to the airport to pick Dickidoo up, dropped us off at the house then went back with Dickidoo to tow the Little Blue Go-cart back.

This morning at o'dark hundred I found myself sitting behind the steering wheel of The Hemi.  The Hemi is a huge golden Dodge Ram Crew Cab pick-up that drives like a bulldozer and sounds like a tank.  I need a pillow to scooch me forward far enough to reach the clutch.

Yes, that's right.  I said 'clutch' (with a shutter... I don't like clutch!).

I lost half a cup of coffee with all the stop and go jerking action going on as I tried to remember how to coordinate my two feet with the three pedals.  When I finally got to work there was a voice mail waiting for me on my phone.  It was Dickidoo, laughing his sleepy butt off.

Hey Jo, all you need is 2nd, 3rd and 4th, nothing else. You don't need to rev the engine up. You're good at 2000 rpm's and then nothing higher than 3000 rpm's okay.  I can hear you revving that  engine all the way from the house still.  Ha ha!  Alright, be safe. Just use 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  2nd, 3rd and 4th.  2nd to start out.  You don't need 1st, 1st is for towing and getting stuck in the mud, not for stopping and starting. Its a real low gear, okay? Just remember 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  Ha ha, I can still hear you.  Alright, be careful. Talk to you later.

I lost track of how many times I stalled out at intersections and stop signs.  Kimmie thought it was a hoot, as did the Oompas.  I whined at all of the stoplights, clicking my heels and chanting 'There's no place like home', all the while trying to maintain pressure on the clutch and brakes.  After getting money from the ATM for Rocky's drum lessons I forgot what I was driving and stopped in front of a big red pick-up truck out of habit.  Art's girlfriend interrupted my dream and prevented me from trying to stick the key in the lock.  Grudgingly I moved the next lane over and got into The Hemi.

It just took a short ride for the Oompas to believe me when I said that I just don't like driving the Behemoth that is The Hemi.  They may have to consider popping motion sickness pills before they ride with me again.  I will be so glad when Dickidoo gets home.  Hopefully he'll be able to fix the Little Blue Go-cart... or maybe Big Red!

But... before that happens, there's still driving to and from work tomorrow and Sunday.

All together now... GRRRRRRRRRRRR!


Today was one of the suckiest days this year, until I got an email from Gabe in Iraq.

Let the countdown begin!

36 Days And A Wake-up!

If things work out we'll have both of his sons out here for his R&R.  Oh, I can't wait!

Uh oh, watch out, Fat Lady doing the Happy Dance!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


It snowed yesterday... again.  My future daughter-in-law asked me if Colorado ever had a springtime or was it always winter here.  I told her that spring arrived, oh, about noonish yesterday, but if she blinked she missed it.  I'm not complaining though, not this time.  The moisture was a blessing to the scorched grasslands of the region.  Two wild fires including one on Fort Carson where Steve works, were extinguished by the heavy blanket of snow.  Sadly not before two fire fighters and the pilot of a tanker plane lost their lives. Under the circumstances I don't mind a little more snow at all.  When the re-growth begins perhaps we will recognize that the tragedy and loss was not entirely in vain.

But... in the meantime I do believe that hypothermia is setting in and frostbite is nipping at my finger tips.  I'm trying not to blink for fear of missing summer as well.  There is more snow in the forecast for this evening so I figure we should expect a heat wave of maybe 40 degrees between now and then.  Time to break out my Hawaiian print long johns.

Global warming huh.  Where!?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sweeney Todd and nose hairs.

I finally saw the latest Johnny Depp movie, 'Sweeney Todd'.  To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.  Without giving away the story (there are a lot of little surprises) I will just say that in my opinion musicals, comedy and dark slice and dice horror do not mix well.  Having said that, I must admit that Johnny Depp has a very nice singing voice.  As for the movie, it was probably a better book than it was a movie.  The plot was actually very good and I'm sure I would enjoy reading it, but I doubt I will watch the movie again. 

Its the beginning of April and time to resume certain grooming routines that seem a little wasted during the cold winter months, like the shaving of the arm pits and legs.  I'm quite proud of myself this year for actually shaving during the winter though mostly as a preventive measure.  My cheap disposable razors can't hack through an 8 month growth of leg hair and the shower is too small to drag in the weed eater so I tried to trim about once every couple of weeks.

What I neglected however was my nose hair.

Nobody warned me in my High School Health Class that there would come a day when I would have to maintain the growth of my nasal follicles.  I thought that was a old man problem.  Being as most High School Health teachers were teaching that class because they're too old to teach phys-ed any more, they knew!  They knew because they were already experiencing the inconveniences and embarrassments of nose hairs.  They all just chose not to mention it during the lesson dealing with aging and changes in the body during menopause

'Oh, and by the way, right about the time you hit your mid 40's and you notice that your hair has started to thin in some places, you may discover that your facial hair has actually begun a growth spurt requiring constant grooming.' 

Yeah, that would have been nice, but they chose not to share that little tidbit.

Have you seen that lady in the commercial who sticks that Presto Amazo As Seen On TV Nose Hair Trimmer up her nose and swirls it around like a magic wand, all the while she's smiling with a big As Seen On TV Teeth Whitener smile.  She has obviously never gotten one of her nose hairs caught and yanked out by its roots by that Presto Amazo As Seen On TV Nose Hair Trimmer.  I doubt it was even turned on because if it was working, her big As Seen On TV Teeth Whitener smile would be full of discarded nasal hair.

Nope, not for me!  I do it the old fashioned way now...  (Relax Dickidoo, I rinsed off and resharpened your mustache trimmer .)

As for that old wives tale about two hairs growing back when you pluck one white hair, well, that pertains to nose hair as well.  Last year I trimmed back maybe a dozen hairs.  This year I look like I tried to inhale a herd of big, dark hairy dust bunnies which inevitably got stuck at the entrance to my nose. 

I can't believe I was ever excited about growing up.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


In two and a half years, 896 days to be exact, I shall be 50 years old.  The Big 5-0.  Half a century, a full time member of the Silver Club.  5 decades...  And in some cases I shall be eligible for a senior citizen discount.  Woo Hoo!  Bring it on!

When I was younger I used to fantasize about what I would be or do when I grew up.  I wanted to be a photographer (I am), I wanted to live in Colorado (I do), I wanted to play the guitar (I can, sort of), I wanted to write children's stories (well, I blog about my children so that kind of counts), and I wanted to have lots of animals (have had hamsters, hedgehog, dogs, cats, pet spiders... really!  Now there's just a crayfish, a homicidal gold fish and some anonymous fish who is in a witness protection tank in another room.

I think that it is safe to say that I have achieved all of my major childhood goals.  Yay me!  Now it is time to set some adulthood goals.

I want to learn how to read music.  I want to learn to play the mandolin.  I want to drift between the moon and earth in a hot air balloon.  I want to visit Alaska.  And I want to retire in a small mountain cottage where I can watch the sun rise and set from my front and back porch, far away from the crowd of the city but close enough for the Oompas and Grand Oompas to visit when ever they want.

Dickidoo is flying out to California in a couple of weeks to celebrate his Great Aunt's 90th birthday.  90 years old and that woman is a sharp as a tack!  That's how I want to be at 90, still raising cane.  I almost feel sorry for Dickidoo if we both make it that far.  

Well, heck, that's only 15,504 days away!  Woo Hoo!  90 here I come!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

OLD AGE CRISIS, and mice-capades

They say the mind is the first to go.  That's probably true.  This afternoon I found myself skipping purposefully down the stairs until I got to the last step and realized that I had absolutely no idea why I was going down stairs.  I mentally retraced my steps but got stuck just one step backwards.


Becca has moved in with Kimmie to help out with the Grand Oompas.  Last night they had their first 'apartment life' crisis.  They discovered a mouse in the house!  It must have been like an episode of 'I Love Lucy' with the two girls chasing the little critter around the apartment at 12:30 am, trying to catch it in, of all things, an empty toothpaste box.

Enter the apartment complex's handyman extraordinaire with two mouse traps which he strategically placed  in the kitchen and living room.  Hopefully there will be no more midnight raids by their whiskered intruder. 

I suppose my mind really is going because I can't for the life of me figure out how those two girls expected to catch a mouse in a toothpaste box.   Of course Kimmie is a blonde and Becca is what I call a 'dark blonde'.