Sunday, September 26, 2010

Observations from a Road Trip

Yesterday morning, I packed up (covertly packed, so my dog wouldn't puke at the sight of a suitcase - it's not pretty) my car and left for a quick visit to see Julie in PA. A mere fifteen minutes from my destination, I took a wrong turn and ended up driving through Amish country. Once I finally figured out what I did wrong, I turned around. Pulling into the nearest driveway, I noticed a man peeking out from the door frame of the barn.

It was Mose. Mose Schrute, Dwight's brother. Would he run really fast, arms straight at his side, and jump in my car? Throw beets at me? Should I take him to Hardin County for diversifying the gene pool of our Amish? Should I eat the thrown beets? Fortunately, I was able to quickly turn around (it wasn't a high traffic area).

Finding my correct path, I made it to my destination and had a nice time. After all, how can you not have fun at a Mexican restaurant in Western Pennsylvania with a Russian Exchange student, a Kenyan college student and a little girl from China?

Returning home (on all the correct roads), I was zipping down Interstate 71, somewhere around milemarker 200 and 195, and saw a commotion on the overpass. It was two Amish buggies, facing each other, with one horse seeming very indignant about the encounter. Traffic on the bridge was backed up. As I drove under the bridge, I saw one buggy driver getting out. Looking (carefully) in my rear view mirror, the driver turned his buggy around and headed the other way across the bridge. Amish Traffic Jam. Who knew?

As you can see, it wasn't really an eventful road trip, and that's good. It's nice that the Amish had all that excitement. However, I must make mention of the one vanity plate I saw. "PHD IN ED" Puke.

In other news, the housecoats are back in the stores! I'm pretty sure it's Sue's fashion trendiness that has brought them back.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

(Don't) Take Me to the Fair

When Queen Guinevere sang to Sir Lionel the following lines:
"Then you may take me to the fair
If you do all the things you promise
In fact, my heart would break should you not take me to the fair"
She did NOT have the Hardin County Fair in mind. If she did, she would have requested Sir Lionel let her mount his steed (not code) to flee the state.

The above scene is one that you'd expect. It's so wholesome. Youth working hard all summer to raise an animal, providing carefully for its care, grooming it meticulously. While I don't know how they get past it's inevitable "demise" at the butcher's after all that work, their efforts are admirable.

4-H kids work hard. They have to obey all the rules, including these:

There are also fun things to do at the fair, and you hope those hard working 4-H kids take a break. Look at the aqua gerbil attraction we saw this year:

These kids were having a blast.

Yet, there are different kids who go to the fair. They seem to lack the focus, responsibility and stamina of the 4-H kids:

Look closely. See those? Yes, those are cigarettes in their youthful hands. It was one of the saddest sights you could witness. This is like a promise that by the time they are old enough to drive, they'll have their very own well-developed smoker's hack.

They won't have the stamina to walk around the fair without the aid of their own oxygen tank (we saw a lot of those - there is a lot of handicap parking at the fair). Fortunately, there will be many benches for them to rest and resuscitate.

As Sue, Pat and I observed the sights, sounds, and frightfully mysterious smells of the fair, one of them said something deeply profound. "The Hardin County Fair doesn't have a side show with freaks on display. You can just sit here and watch them go by for free."

Well said. And true. A trip to the fair makes me want to eat all vegetables and spend a lot of time on the treadmill. And moisturize.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Quandry

Hanging out with Lynne is incredibly fun. If you've had the chance to spend time with her, I know you agree. I'd say that I'm an expert in hanging out with Lynne and it's one of my favorite things.

However, I'm starting to question the wisdom of going out in public with her. Is it because she sometimes makes fun of clothes in stores?

Absolutely not! That's part of her charm.

No, it's the gruesome dog death stories.

I first became aware of this a year or two ago at the Harvest and Herb Fest here in Ada. We made the mistake of having a booth. I forget what we were hawking at the time, but there we were, trapped behind a folding table, vulnerable to all who passed by. Mostly we were able to smile and be nice, though she's better at it than I am (hold your comments).

Seems reasonable enough...but then it started...gradually at first and then it built up to a cacophay of gore.

People would stop by and say hello to Lynne. Easy enough. But then she'd ask about their dog. If the dog was still living, we were forced to listen to endless prattle about the dog's antics. I thought that was bad enough, but then the stories switched from "You should see how cute it is when Fluffy carries around my slippers" to "We...sniff....lost Scruffie. Eight months ago. It started with him not being able to stand up long enough to go to the bathroom, so I had to hold him while he did his business. That lasted for two months, then he started having gastric problems. Oh, you wouldn't believe the mess that caused." And it went on and on and on from there. In gruesome detail. Lynne was sympathetic and said things like "oh, what a shame. He was a nice dog." I pretended I had a cell phone call.

So, we just don't rent festival space any more. Problem solved.


This morning we stopped by a business in Lima and Lynne said to a woman there "Didn't you have a dog named Rusty (not his real name)."

Almost instantly the woman's eyes filled with tears. "Yes...we lost him a few months ago..." and then she started with the details.

To her credit, Lynne has gotten better at getting out of these situations. Not having a folding table around also helps.

I'd hate to miss out on our adventurs (especially since today she bought me breakfast at IHOP), so I'm thinking that we just need to have a few rules/guidelines and possibly some hand signals. My other plan is to just start coughing uncontrollably when these things happen since that's distracting and sometimes frightening. Or maybe I'll try to top their gruesome dead dog stories with some of my own.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Shoes are the Enemy" and other thoughts on the End of Summer

"Shoes are the Enemy!" my doctor told me after I'd been in for an infected toe.

I'd always suspected as much. As a kid, I went barefoot all summer, and had the callouses and black-bottomed feet to prove it. After more than my share of bee stings while going barefoot through the clover, I'm more cautious now (though I still managed to get a nasty bee sting last month).

This summer has been one of the best I've had for a long time - I got to see lots of friends, Sue went and got herself all married, and the weather was extra warm - just the way I like it. I read a lot and ate a lot of ice cream.

It's Labor Day. The word work in Hebrew is "abad," which means "to serve." This definition is not limited to serving each and every person around us in humility, but also to serve ALL of creation. Radical thoughts.

Not so radical was the ice cream man speeding down my road at 60 miles per hour as Music Box Dancer blared. Guess that means summer's over.

The garden is so overgrown that picking tomatoes has turned into a game that is some hybrid of Twister (don't step on the potato stalk) and Jenga (pick that little red tomato in the back without going through the spider web). Summer's over.

Just now, as I heard the last of the hummingbird's zooming by for nectar, the neighbor was out with his gun for a little target practice (not at the hummingbirds). Yep, Summer's over.

The popular saying is that all good things must come to an end. I've never really believed this. After all, I've still got ice cream in the freezer. And I refuse to put away the sandals just yet.

"Shoes are the Enemy!"

What was the best part of your summer? Did you get any bee stings? What's your plan to survive Fall and Winter with happiness??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Phrases I Hate

"Daylight's a failin' us and we got to chop more wood for the fire. Let's quit yappin' and get 'er done." Said Tex.

Except more people than Tex say "get 'er done." It's annoying and possibly even offensive. Who exactly is "'er"? Is it supposed to be "her"? Eww!

And what exactly does "it is what it is" supposed to do for me, besides want to slap someone upside the head? Yes, annoying phrases seem to bring out the violent femme within.

While these phrases are annoying, they aren't nearly as soul-splitting as the sound of Tilly running around the house with her Kooky Chicken Swim Party Squeeky Toy.

What phrases put you over the edge? What is the worst pet toy ever?