So after much thought and deliberation, here I am with a blog. I plan to put a lot of things I’ve already written (and I will let you know stuff like “this was written in FB on / / .”), as well as general musings, and probably a bunch of stuff about my weight loss (man do I have a LOT to say about that). I welcome you, I warn you, and I send you on your way. Stay on the path, be out of the woods before dark, and don’t trust the wolf that says he knows a shortcut. He’s full of crap.
For a year, I lived in this apartment complex that was kind of dumpy, but it had a pool. That and the fact that we could have pets there were the only good things about it, pretty much.
The pool was inside a cyclone fence (it was an outdoor pool), and it was locked from September to May.
I lived there with my boyfriend at the time, and for weeks I’d been telling him that I heard ducks overhead. I’d even gone outside once to be sure, and saw then flying in a “V” formation. He told me that there were no ducks nearby, and that I was crazy and hearing things. For the record, we had Canadian geese at the golf course 4 miles away in one direction, and ducks resided at a large state park 4 miles in the other direction. Why wouldn’t I hear ducks? It wasn’t crazy at all. It was very possible.
Then one day, I was proved right.
Two ducks showed up in the pool.
Just swimming about.
To this day, I have no idea why, but there they were.
They came by every single day. They would swim around and hang out for awhile, then leave before dark.
They were mallards, a male and female. I started to feed them every day, and named them: Fernando Lamas and Esther Williams. (Look them up if you don’t know who they are.)
I would get home from my horrible part-time job at Kmart, grab the mail, and walk around the pool to get to my apartment. One or both of them would walk with me, on the inside of the fence. They’d watch me go inside, and wait patiently for me to come out, knowing I’d come out and toss bits of bread through the fence for them.
I’d sit with them for awhile as they ate, making these soft, quiet, happy, quacking sounds, while my cats watched from the windows, wanting desperately to come out and “make friends” with them.
Now and then, a lone male would show up. We called him Johnny Weissmuller. (Again, look it up if you don’t know who he is.) I fed him too, when he came. He would only come once or twice a month, and never when ‘Nando and Esther were there.
Except for one time.
He landed in the water on the opposite end of the pool once. I guess he and ‘Nando didn’t get along because there was much commotion and ‘Nando chased him away. Duck fight! Duck fight!
And then there was the one time I didn’t feed them fast enough.
I used to feed them, hang out for a bit, then go back inside and check my email and do whatever. One day I got home and decided to check my email before feeding them.
While waiting for my email to load, I could hear LOUD quacking outside. Like REALLY loud. I remember thinking, “Damn, Esther’s really noisy today,” as she was the more talkative of the two. I stood to look out my kitchen window…and there was Esther, right outside of it, pacing back and forth, quacking.
She knew where I lived, and when I didn’t come out and feed them right away like I normally did, she made her displeasure known. There are few things in life more embarrassing than being called out by a duck. But I got my butt out there quick and never made them wait again, so she trained me well.
Come May, the pool opened. I moved a few months later, so I don’t know if ‘Nando, Esther, and/or Johnny Weissmuller ever came back. That was about 2007, so by now all of them are deceased.
But I still think about them. I was going through a hard time in my life, and it was nice to know that somebody was happy to see me every day.
Even if it was just some celebrity ducks.
Anybody who has known me for a while remembers the 2 years I spent working at Hallmark. It was in a rather large strip mall that also held a Safeway and CVS, as well as several other little stores. For us, on one side there was a Nation’s Hamburgers, and on the other side was a beauty supply store.
One night I head out back to take out the trash. The dumpster is in this little house like structure that gets locked at night. So out I go, into the little house, toss the bag into the dumpster, all is well……until I turn around.
There are heads lined up on the floor near the door, where you will only see them when you turn around.
LOTS of them.
Had I not already gone to the bathroom beforehand, I would have peed my pants right then and there. I saw my life flash before my eyes, sure that a maniac was in there with me and the last thing I would see would be a machete coming towards me.
It took about 2 seconds (the longest 2 seconds of my life), to realize…they weren’t real.
They were old heads from the beauty supply store, complete with hair and blue eyeshadow, they used them to show the hats and scarves they also sold.
When I walked in, the manager I was working with (Veronica), asked if I was ok, as I looked pale. I told her about what I saw, so she went running out back to have a look. She came back in and said, “That’s creepy as hell! They did that on purpose!”
I honestly think that is where most of my gray hairs came from.
Just a theory of mine.
Neo-Nazism and fascism are on the rise in this country. Why?
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Think back to your school years.
Did you learn about World War 2?
World War 1?
The Civil War?
Just about every year, history class started in the same place: Christopher Columbus “discovering” America, and History teachers who didn’t know what to say when we asked how you could “discover” a country that already had a bunch of people living on it. And we never got much farther than that.
In 7th grade, our class got these brand new history books. Cracking those beauties open and flipping through them, we saw that they had nine chapters, and the final chapter actually got into the late 60’s. We were so excited! And hey, nine chapters, nine months in the school year – it was perfect!
We never learned about the 60’s because we spent an entire month on learning about the Emperor Constantine and his lineage. We never even got as far as Plymouth Rock.
In 12 years of schooling, even in so-called “American History” classes, we never even learned about things like the United States Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.
We never learned about the Civil War, why the North fought the South.
We learned about Christopher Columbus and what a “great guy” he was.*
Without looking it up, I could not tell you who fought in World War 1.
We did not learn about Nazis or Concentration Camps.
I did not learn about Japanese Internment camps until I was already in my 40’s and saw a documentary on PBS.
I never knew that we had imprisoned our own citizens who were guilty of nothing other than essentially being a different nationality.
We all know the education system in the United States is broken. Kids who can’t read past a third grade level are graduating high school because it’s better to get them out and unprepared than make them repeat a grade with underpaid teachers.
But we are not learning about our own country.
We did bad things too, and we need to own up to them.
And the worst thing we have done, is to NOT teach our kids about the bad things and atrocities in the world.
We are repeating the history we never learned.
*- the guy was a fucking monster. Check it: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day
This is an allegedly true story, told to me in a bar one night. The guy said he was a “Sonoma cowboy”.
So this guy went out drinking with his buddies one night. They went driving back home along the back road highway up in the hills and they passed by a couple of emu farms. Suddenly our cowboy got the bright idea that he was going to ride an emu from one of the emu farms.
So they turned the car around and drove back onto one, sneaking onto the property. They opened the gate and the emus were just sort of hanging out, I guess. Sonoma cowboy picked one out and climbed on it’s back. The emu, of course, freaked out and took off running…right out of the still open gate and down the highway.
With a cowboy on it’s back.
Holding on to the emu’s neck.
And of course, that is when a highway patrolman came rolling along.
I can only imagine the level of “WTF???” this cop was thinking. He rolled up next to our cowboy, rolled down his window and said, “Son, you stop that bird RIGHT NOW!”
“I’d love to, sir, but I don’t know where the brakes are.”
So the cop sped up a little and then blocked the road with his car and got out, and the emu stopped.
The cop asked, “Is that your bird, son?”
“No sir, it’s not.”
“Get off the damn bird.”
Sonoma cowboy got off the emu and stood next to it, still drunk, and holding onto its neck. The cop then asked him, “Are you drunk?” (Personally, I think this was a trick question. When you see a cowboy riding an emu down a dark highway at 2 a.m., I’d think it’s safe to say there might be alcohol involved.)
“Yes sir, I am.”
The cop then told him he was going to give him a DUI. But the Sonoma cowboy argued, “You can’t do that. I wasn’t driving the emu, I was riding it, and it’s not my fault that my friends left the gate open!”
The cop probably thought that this would be the stupidest and most embarrassing report he’d ever have to write (“I arrested a drunk kid for riding an emu down the highway”), so he asked if they had a designated driver, and Sonoma cowboy said that yes, they did.
He told him, “Alright son, this is what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna take that emu back to where you found it, WALK it, don’t ride it. You gonna put it back in its pen and close the gate. Then you’re gonna get in your car with your friends and get the hell out of here. I’m gonna drive to the end of the highway, get a coffee at 7-11, and come back. If I see any of you bastards out here, I’ll arrest all of you! You understand me?”
So in the end, he walked the emu back, put it back in the pen, closed the gate, and drove off. They never saw the cop again.
And he never rode another emu.
Or so he says.
(first posted on LJ 3/15/09)
One night in his lab, the wicked Dr. Zaftpunk decided he needed an assistant. It was so hard for him to make his deadly potions and evil torture devices all by himself. Especially since he got clumsy at times as he was fond of his rum. But where would he find an assistant? He couldn’t really trust anyone. Loose lips sink ships, as the airship pirates he sometimes traded with told him. He needed someone who could clean up as well. But people just weren’t to be trusted. One night in his lab, it occurred to him: he would MAKE an assistant! And a pretty one at that! But none of that disgusting, grave robbing, Frankenstein sewing a body together nonsense. After all, he was a brilliant scientist. He would mix some potions and chemicals and oils together and make a beautiful, perfect, smart angel. But not too smart. It wouldn’t do to have an assistant smarter than he, after all.After several days and nights of hard work in the lab, he ran some electrical wires through a giant clay figurine in the shape of a woman and KABOOM!
Uh oh. Well…she was definitely female. Sitting on the gurney looking very confused in a tattered black and purple dress, with her hair in pigtails…and black and purple wings coming out of her back, gently rising and falling with each breath. Dr. Zaftpunk took a step toward her and she bolted off the gurney, flying up to the ceiling in the opposite corner of the room. She began flying about the room like a crazed bird, trying to find a way out, but there were no windows in the lab, and only one door, which he had bolted shut. She knocked over several glass beakers and decanters in the process with her thin legs, cutting herself badly, but never stopping her flight. Dr. Zaftpunk was highly amused by all of this. He just kept ducking when she flew by, laughing at her spirit and waiting for her to wear herself out. She threw herself fully against the walls and ceiling, trying to fly through them, trying to get away from this other creature that was laughing at her. She didn’t know what was going on. Finally she got so tired. She couldn’t fly anymore. Her legs were bleeding. She collapsed into the corner and curled into a little ball. Suddenly things started to make sense to her. After all, he had made her to be smart. He approached her again. And she was smart enough to know that he was a bad man. He cleaned her wounded legs and told her how things would be. That she would be his assistant in the lab. She could never go out into the world, because of her wings. People would try to hurt her and exploit her. She knew that much was true. But she knew he was as evil as they came. He made poisons and torture devices. Things that hurt people. How could that be right?
As she worked for him she chose a name. Zoe. Zoe Zaftpunk. She was much smarter than he knew. She watched and she learned and she remembered. And she was more than just his science experiment gone wrong, she was a bona fide fairy. A fairy of love and lust. Sometimes, when he went into town, she would sneak out of the basement lab and peek out of the windows. She once saw a young couple having a quarrel. She felt that wasn’t right, that they should make up. So with a little bat of her fairy lashes in their direction, without them even knowing it, they were making up. Zoe liked it when people were in love. It made her happy. Meanwhile, chaos reigned in the lab. She didn’t like Dr. Zaftpunk and his evil doings. So she would flutter around the lab, humming happily, and accidentally on purpose breaking things. Zoe didn’t want him to make things that she knew would be used to hurt and kill people. It made him so angry, but she’d be so apologetic and flutter her lashes at him, that he couldn’t help but forgive her. Until that night.That was the night that Zoe realized that her magic didn’t work on somebody who was evil and piss-drunk. She was sleeping on her little cot in the lab when the Doctor himself came stomping/stumbling down the stairs. Zoe opened her eyes, thinking, “Is it morning?” No, it wasn’t. Dr. Zaftpunk was drunk and on the warpath and headed straight for the little fairy girl. She wasn’t able to fly away before he grabbed her. He grabbed her and shook her so hard that fairy dust actually fell off of her little body…a rare occurrence. He blamed her for all the problems in the lab. And they really were her fault. Then he turned her around, threw her face first against the wall, and RIPPED HER WINGS RIGHT OUT OF HER BACK. Zoe couldn’t believe what was happening. She didn’t feel any pain, fairies don’t, but she just stood there in shock. Dr. Zaftpunk put some bandages sloppily on her wounds, and told her, “Now you’ll remember you’re place around here!” and stomped out of the lab, locking the door behind him. Zoe curled up on her little cot and cried purple tears. Was this the life she’d been created for? A slave to a crazed man? Now she couldn’t even fly away. What could she do?
The next day, Dr. Zaftpunk came into the lab, and was all apologies to little Zoe. He checked her wounds and stitched them up. She shuffled about the lab on foot, sadly silent, no longer humming happily. She was so silent, that he realized that sometimes she could move about in the lab from one corner to another without him even knowing. This disturbed the doctor greatly. He locked her in the lab one day and went into town and returned with a dubious “gift”: an ankle bracelet made of bells, also known as slave bells. Now he could hear her wherever she was in the lab. He told her it was a beautiful charm to cheer her up, and that he would be sure to get her wings again. Soon. She gave him a fake smile and thanked him. Neither trusted the other. It was his regular practice to lock her in the lab every night when he went to sleep. What he didn’t know was that Zoe was rarely sleeping anymore. She was working. She was trying to make a flammable liquid. And she was getting closer every night. Meanwhile Dr. Zaftpunk was getting in the habit of drinking himself to sleep every night. Zoe would listen at the door for his drunken snoring and start her evening exploits in the lab. One night, it paid off. She figured out the formula. She locked it away in her amazing mind, then started on the next phase of her escape plan. Getting out of the locked lab. Everything in the lab was glass. She needed a piece of metal or wire to pick the lock. The slave bells wouldn’t work, they were on a flexible chain. There had to be something. There was a sink, but what good would that do? No, no. Tick…tick…tick…she looked up at the clock on the wall. The hands were ugly and metal! She carefully climbed up on her cot and pulled it off using all the strength in her thin arms. She put in on the floor and smashed the front of it open by stomping on it barefoot, then ran to the door to make sure the Doctor didn’t wake. Nope, still snoring away. She pulled the metal hands out and set to picking at the lock on the door. It sprung open with ease. She closed the door again without locking it and ran to the lab. She quickly made a big batch of her flammable liquid and filled two of the biggest beakers with it. She tiptoed back to the door and walked out to the main part of the house. The doctor was snoring in his favorite chair, an empty bottle of rum by his side. Zoe looked out of the window at the dark night. She became so frightened that she almost turned back. What was out there? What would become of her, a fairy with no wings? She knew no one but the doctor. But then she realized that knowing the doctor was worse. She squared her shoulders and turned back to stare at this man who was pure evil. This man who had created her as a slave. Who had taken her wings. Who had kept her locked in a room, telling her, “It’s for your own safety”. No more. She picked up the beakers and slowly made a trail all around Dr. Zaftpunk and through the rooms of the house and down into the lab. Then she went back up and made a trail back up and into what was his bedroom. It angered her to see that he slept not in a cot, but in a big beautiful bed. And she cried purple tears again when she saw one of her wings thrown carelessly on the floor. She wondered momentarily what had happened to the other one, then poured flammable liquid on it. Whether what he had said about people trying to hurt and exploit fairies was true or not, it was best to not take a chance. She found a book of matches next to his pipe on the end table beside him. She paused by the front door. Lit a match and said, “Goodbye, Dr. Zaftpunk. It’s been Hell.” Zoe dropped the match and walked away.
The house went up like a tinderbox. The fire house was called, but it was too late. Dr. Zaftpunk’s remains were found inside. They believe he fell asleep with his pipe lit and, well, accidents happen. He had some kind of room in his basement. It looked like a lab of some kind. His neighbors all thought he was a bit odd anyway.
And in all the panic and chaos of the fire, nobody noticed a sweet thin girl, in a tattered black and purple dress with her hair in pigtails walking away from the scene. Smiling happily and batting her eyes at all the couples.There was in increase in marriage proposals immediately after the fire.
My grandpa on my dad’s side lived in Newark, California. He (like us) had chickens in the backyard. I grew up with chickens in our backyard for the first 13 years of my life. (Believe me when I tell you, chickens are assholes. They are just jerks. I have met maybe 2 cool chickens in my entire life.) One day, my grandpa was out in his front yard when, I shit you not, this random chicken just came walking down the street. He opened the front gate, and she came right in. Then she followed him around to the backyard, he opened the gate to the chicken coop, and she walked right in, like it was home.
My grandpa didn’t know anyone else in the area who had chickens, so he had no idea who she belonged to. He decided to put some flyers up as he didn’t want someone to be without their pet or (possibly) their dinner, but nobody responded. He kept her and named her Cindy. Cindy the Chicken.
Along with the chickens, he also had two dogs. Buttons was a generic bird dog of some kind, and Mammoth was a big sheepdog. Every day, my grandpa would nap in a lawn chair in the garage with the door open. One day, grandma went out to check on him.
He was asleep in his lawn chair, with Buttons on one side, Mammoth on the other …and Cindy the Chicken fast asleep on his big pot belly.
This is a 100% true story, from both memory and the gaps filled in from the mom unit.
When I was just a wee tot (5 years old), we took a cross-country flight to visit my dad’s relatives in Miami. We even went to Disney World, but most of my memories are of spending day in and day out in the swimming pool.
One day we took the rental car and went to some beach to fish off the dock. The biggest memory I have is of getting out of the car and promptly throwing up from car sickness. I still remember looking down the puddle of puke between my feet in my little white sandals, and being surprised that Fruity Pebbles looked exactly the same after it came back up. My dad asked if I was ok, and I said that yes, I felt better, actually, so down the dock we went.
We found a spot at the end, and my dad got me all set up with my little kiddie fishing pole that was just a little cheap thing since we weren’t going to be bringing it home. He got my brother set up as well, and there we sat with about a dozen or so other people fishing around us. I was bored, like most kids are when surrounded by grownups. There were some people scuba diving a ways away, and I watched when they would pop up here and there and tried to guess to myself where they’d pop-up next.
I suddenly was sure I felt a tug on the line of my little kiddie fishing rig. So I told my dad. He said, “No you didn’t, it’s just the waves pulling it.” Even at 5, I saw the flaw in that logic: I hadn’t felt a tug until just now. Had it been the water, I’d have felt it from the start. Then, I felt it again. And tried to tell him again. And he told me the same thing. Again.
Then I felt it a third time. I said, “Daddy…” He turned, exasperated and started, “I told you-” he was cut off as my fishing line went tight and started to unreel at an alarming rate. He grabbed my little kiddie pole and started trying to pull in whatever I had on the line. He was really fighting, and the little pole looked like it was about to snap.
Everyone on the dock was watching my dad fighting this thing. Suddenly, what was on my line splashed up out of the water. It looked like a REALLY BIG fish.
Then suddenly, it splashed back in the water, and my line went slack.
My dad reeled it in, and looked at the hook.
It had been a standard J-shaped fishing hook, but it was now straight. As we tried to piece everything together, a few people on the dock and the scuba divers confirmed the truth:
“Mister, your little girl almost caught a baby shark.”