Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Liz!

So, I started this birthday missive last week and trust me, it was hysterical and probably best work I've done to date. Sadly, and not unsurprisingly, I hit an errant button and "poof" the entire post vanished in to thin air. Now some of you will want to tell me things never disappear from dataland, but I have neither the expertise nor the will to commit myself to that search. In truth, I will not be able to recreate most of the post and but shall now effectuate the task trying to remember.

So my oldest friend, that is to say the friend who I've known the longest turned 58 another chapter over last week with the celebration of the day of her birth., She will no doubt be quite happy to point out that she is not the age accumulation oldest, nor even as old as me.     My fathers birthday was on the same day, but since he's gone on to the great B-52 in the sky we only celebrate Liz's anymore.
I met Liz at the tender age of 13.  Guam Island Seal Vinyl Stickers/Decals  8" x 5"

She moved to Guam with her parents in 1966  during that Viet Nam altercation.  I had already served a year there and had my posse of friends.  I use "I have lived on a small island in the south pacific" line all the time in that fun fun game three truths and a lie.  It never fails.  I digress.  Anyway, Liz's daddy was a mega-giant rank wise in the USAF, sporting one maybe two stars on his shoulders which in any case made him a big shot on the base.  Big enough shot that when he came to Guam he also made a new golf course happen.  Liz will deny this of course, but I maintain it was the scuttlebutt of the day, and who am I to argue with history?  Live with it LK.  So I met Liz at school, Dededo Jr. High, and was so sorry for her with her unfortunate blue, sparkly, bat wing glasses, braces on her teeth and curly hair that I (with my uber cool friends) only managed passing and grudging hellos in the hall.  In Jr. High I was a mean girl.  Still am.  At any rate I was no prize in the looks department, but I didn't have braces or glasses so there.  I was going to include a picture of each of us in those unfortunate days, but my year book has vanished.  tsk. tsk. 

Soon enough I was whisked away from the island to the sultry climes of Louisiana to begin high school.  Not so long after that Liz appeared there as well.  My other best friend, Annette, and I were  chivied off to the "big manse" which belonged to the M. Gen. John Kline to welcome his daughter to the "fold".  Annette had also resided on Guam at the same time as Liz and I.   Annette and I , even then too cool for school, were relieved that Liz had shed the ugly glasses and braces and had managed something respectable with her hair and we considered being friendly with her if only to get the parental units off our collective butts.  Mrs. Kline sat with us for a few minutes then went off to order the help around and the three of us stared for a long time at each other.  Then Liz said, "I'd give anything for a fag."  To which Annette and I, always prepared, said "We've got fags."  and our friendship was sealed.  This is Liz smoking...something...on the hood of my dad's VW.  We used to steal that car all the time.  Finally my dad gave me a set of keys of my own.  Perseverance and all that.

Annette and I had a spot of bother at the local public school, that is to say we hated it and had enrolled in the  spiffier private "academy" run by the Daughters of the Cross.  Liz arrived way too late to join us in the land of school uniforms and nuns and had to go with the proletariat at Airline High.  Meanwhile, Annette and I took the bus to downtown Shreveport to join the privileged in our Catholic education.  Nonetheless, Liz and I grew closer due mainly to the fact that we both had horses and those horses took us away from the ever watchful eye of my mother in the guise of long rides.  And we compared notes about the in crowds at our respective schools and made nefarious plans for our weekends.

Our weekend plans usually involved taking the bus from the base to downtown Shreveport.  Since my parents played golf on the weekends and weren't about, we usually met at my house to put on our hippy clothes and looking really scruffy, ill kept and hip slipped out without parental advice as to what we should be wearing.  Dress regulations are so tiresome.  We always followed the same routine.  We were/are products of a military upbringing after all.  Anyway, we went to a hotel for lunch for ham and cheese sandwiches which we chased with rum raisin ice cream.  Then we would creep around the floors of the hotel which I believe may have been um residential.  At any rate it was all done up in  art deco with round mirrors on the dressing tables and big leafy patterns on the bed spreads and curtains.  Then we would run out and start taking pictures of the local population with our Instamatic's.  What we were really doing was looking for hippies.  This was during the mid-60's and surely there had to be one or two hippies in Shreveport.  Nevertheless we were successful in nabbing a couple of long hairs on at least one trip downtown, I have the picture.  They were members of the Shreveport Moratorium Committee; concerned with that nasty bit of unpleasantness happening in Viet Nam and were collecting signatures of sympathisers to their mission.  Quite happily, Liz and I signed the petition.  What we didn't know was that copies of that petition found their way to the desk of General Kline who was less than pleased to find the signatures of his youngest daughter and her best friend.  To put it politely, we were in deep shit.  It seems when ones parental unit is employed by the great war machine of the age, it is considered non grata for ones offspring to protest said war.  I mean they just could have said that but oh no, a full court high inquisition followed and we were chastened and I was probably grounded for a month or so for that particular sin. 
Eventually I was paroled and our lives continued.  We were quite involved in the local party scene with other tykes our age.  We discovered that Dr. Pepper and Bourbon was a nice mixture and tasted a little like a root beer float when mixed properly.  We also like Colt Malt Liquor and Whiskey Sours all of which were drank bottoms up for as long as we were able.  Malt Liquor was not a friend to Liz as it turned out.  I discovered her in my room one night beating on my mouses cage with a curtain rod because Hector the mouse was running on his wheel and it squeaked.  It was always dangerous to have a party at my house because my parents had an uncanny ability to ferret out any signs of  misdeeds and I always got caught.  Being lively and headstrong had no place in Colonel Marden's house I assure you.  We never partied at Liz's house because along with her dad being a general and like that, her house was also occupied by the "aids"  also known as house slaves as their mission in life was to set the table, fix dinner and rat Liz and I out on our many sins.  There were two aids and they were the generals personal servants, but the Air Force paid for them.  We liked only one of them, but he spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning Gen'l Kline's golf cleats and clubs.  The other was creepy and noticed our footprints from where we had scaled down the wall from Liz's second story bedroom to the tool shed and made our escape at night when we joined the other thugs from the hood to swim in the officers pool at midnight.  Your tax dollars at work.

My senior year of high school we moved.  I had a boyfriend my parents actually approved of.   Annette had flipped out and run off and married this guy named Clyde and Liz and I were closer than ever.  Her parents, for whatever reason, actually invited me to live with them my last year, but the parents were not having any of that.  FYI, if you find that you need to move and one or both of your kids are happy in the high schools they are going to you should not move them.  Just sayin'.  Your kids will be resentful forever.  Anyway, we moved to Abilene, Texas.  Arguably the arm pit of the nation at the time.  I now know that perhaps Fresno has that distinction, but I didn't know that at the time.  Or maybe not on reflection.  It was not a good year.  But Liz dutifully came for a couple visits and I went back to Shreveport for a couple so while it was really really horrible, it could have been worse...I guess. 

The year I turned 20 I went to Greece to stay with my parents for the summer.  Here's a picture of me trying to light my hair on fire on my birthday. 

 Somehow we convinced Liz's parents that nothing would be more educational than for Liz to join me for the summer and after swearing she would pledge the Kappas or what ever in the fall, she came over and we took a foreign country by storm.  We spent a huge amount of time traveling around the Greek islands via ferry and spent maybe 10 days or so on the beach on the island of Santorini during one especially long sojurn. 
Here's a picture of Liz on the beach, nice suit btw. 

And here's the spot we camped while we were there.  Sadly the babe in the picture is me.

And these are the guys we met...Graham and Rick and they were from England so they had accents and thought we were cute.  They had long hair. L-R Liz (with arm up, Rick and Graham)

Eventually,  our visit to Greece ended and we traveled to our respective places, Liz to UT Austin and the welcoming arms of her sorority sisters and me to Chico to try to get an education.  Over the years she has come to visit quite a few times.  I am a bad friend, and she tells me this,  and have never gone to Texas to visit her even though she lives in Austin.  The last time we got together was sad.  We met up in New Orleans to go the wake of our dear friend Annette who died suddenly at age 50 something.  In spite of the gravity of the occasion, we did manage to have a fantastically good time.  It's what Annette would have wanted in any case.  That we partied with her husband and his best friends from his way back machine only added to the weird nostalgia of the thing.  So we drank Manhattans and listened to old music (on records btw) and told stories of our lives.   

So happy birthday Liz.  You are now immortalized in the blog page of my life and forever in my heart.  Peace on You.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Well, hello there!

It is my most fervent hope that you have missed me.  Sadly only a couple of you have suggested I write.  Sigh.  When last we spoke I was in the middle of getting over Christmas and travel and what not.  So I managed to do all of that and now I am sitting patiently waiting for the biiiiiig storm that is not manifesting itself as such.  Instead it is dismal, cold and gray outside, but dry.  The guy at the smog place was crying pitiously yesterday, about the lack of snow so he could not terrorize the slopes on his snow board.  He was also grateful that he'd not bought a season pass.   I too was grateful.  I was also grateful that my car passed the smog inspection with flying colors.  Small thingies.

I went to a schooling horse show over last weekend.  I went with Horse Show Mom and her brood.  I'm not sure how I managed motherhood.  I should query my own brood as to their interpretations/memories, or not.  At any rate it is fun to go hang out with horse people and because it wasn't a "real" show the stress level was waaaaay down.  I took care of the magnificent Kilo of previous writings.  Such a grown up boy he is turning out to be.  He got real tired.  That was good.  When he was done for the day his little nose was in the weeds hanging over his stall door.  He was too knackered to do any of his annoying habits like dancing in place (weaving), biting, striking or neighing.  All of this was good as it gave me ample opportunity to be bossy.  Also, Steve, I didn't clean any stalls so there.  Thanks HSM you were a trooper. 

I also got to be a participant, though a blameless one, in the great police take down as we were driving home from Sushi Saturday night.  It is some mystery why neither the driver of the car or me noticed we drove half way across town without  the head lights being on.   Further mystery why there are still cars that you have to turn your headlights on at all.  Bad luck that the cop parked at Rite Aid did notice that very thing and pulled us over.  He was a cute little thing.  He also did not detect any drunkeness and so we chit chatted awhile and soon enough he told us that he was just giving a warning and let us go.  This was probably the last bit of good luck for the year so it seems prudent to share with y'all.

On the way home from the show one of the dawgs of HSM vomited all over my lap.  May I say right here that I was not amused and may I also say that the brood and the mother were very amused?  It is hardly believable to say you're sorry and are you alright while peeing down your leg laughing?   Exactly.  Then, because horse show mom ain't too bright, she called me up yesterday to ask if I would adopt the vomiter!  What is wrong with you HSM?  Crimenty.  No, I did not take him and not for those reasons only.  There are many reasons.  1.  He's a Jack Russell  2. he's not nearly close enough to death  3.  we have three Jack Russells of our own that we don't like and 4.  We just spent a small fortune on one of the dawgs we do have at the veterinary and fo sho don't need another.

Perhaps I should regale you with my tale of woe at the Veterinary Hospital the other day.  We have a sick dog who needs evaluating from time to time.  So I made a two o'clock appointment and managed to arrive on time, nay, early for the appointment.  They kept me waiting in the lobby just long enough to be assaulted by the  lady who was hawking SPCA t-shirts and since she actually had a 3xxxlt, which is Steve's size I felt obliged to buy one for him and, of course, one for me but not in that size.  That bit of commerce taken care of we were eventually escorted by a student to room and the inquisition began as to the status of the dogs health.  The fact that the dogs chart is easily three inches thick did not seem to concern her, so she asked all the vital questions like what kind of dog, sex, neutered?, weight, age etc.  I patiently answered the obvious and was, as always, simply stunned that the chart wasn't reviewed at a minimum to discover those basic questions.  However, the fun was just beginning though I didn't know it at the time.  So then we progressed through the basic questions like why were we here?  I have a snarky side and it was giving a mighty effort to come out, but I saw no value in antagonizing a student when there are bigger fish to fry.  So I quelled my urge and said that Carlos had to come in every year so the real doc can write prescriptions for his meds and his special hideously expensive prescription diet.  Because she has to see him at least that often to prescribe in good conscience.  I might should mention that when the dog got sick initially, he lived in ICU at this very hospital for about two weeks and our final bill was over $10,000.   It makes me twitch to think about.  So anyway I have tried to explain to the staff, students, residents etc. that the dog is old and sick and we have limited funds so lets not do any expensive magic ok?  At any rate during my interrogation by the student I mentioned that Carlos seems to collapse when he lays down.  All the student heard was collapse.  I also mentioned that the dog seemed to be much more disoriented since his return from the kennel when we took ourselves off to N. Carolina over Christmas.  I also recounted other ailments that this poor dog has like some hearing loss and poor bladder control.   In short, the dog is declining and I thought that was pertinent information.  But as I mentioned, all she heard was "collapse".  After twenty minutes or so of this back and forth about the "collapse" she finally left me alone and went to confer with her "boss" the resident.

Remember that 2 o'clock appointment?  Well at 2:50 the student poked her little head in and said she was sorry about the delay, but Dr. Self Important would be along shortly.  I said I was not amused and when offered an appointment I fully expected that my dog would be seen sometime close to the scheduled time.  So the student got all wide eyed and informed me that this was a teaching hospital and therefore niceties and promptness had no place here.  To which I replied, this would never happen in the real world and that my tenuous hold on my patience was at risk.  So she wisely scooted out and about 15 minutes later the snarky Dr. Self Important came stomping in and thanked me, in that tone, for my patience.  I said I was all over being patient and keeping someone waiting (me) for that long was not respectful and I resented the disregard she/the hospital had for my time.  And then I stared at her.  And she explained to me that I should know that all appointments will take all day.  Then she told me I should have received a letter explaining all this to me.  To which I replied that I'd not received any communication from her/hospital except for bills in the over thirty years I'd been coming to this facility.  And further what was her point?  I was here to have the dog looked at, not to discuss her poor time mangement skills.  Well, Dr. Self Important did not like that one bit, but she agreed the dog's health was the issue and so she then began to ask me about the dog.  She pretty much asked the same questions the student had, but was a little more concerned about the collapsing.  I told her it seemed like a weakness in the hind end, but I was also concerned that he just would collapse in odd places like in doorways and the middle of the hall, not normal for Carlos who really used to like to have cover from the insurgents that were bound to attack at any minute and would always have a wall behind him covering his flank..   No doubt the dog was military in a previous life.  I'm just guessing here that none of what I said had any impact on Dr. Self Important because the next thing I know she's scheduled the dog for about $1000 in blood and urine tests, ultrasounds and x-rays.

It seemed to me that that might be a bit much considering our usual financial status.  So I called Steve and told him what was being proposed to which he said (and I quote) "tell them to f*** off".   And I recommended that he talk to Dr. Self Important and get her take on it and so he did and since he hadn't been sitting in an ugly little room for and hour and a half by this point, he had a lot more tact and patience than I did.  And by time the doc got through with him and guilt tripping him about the dog the testing was approved and Carlos was hauled out of there for his tests.  @#%&*.  The results were that the dog (still) had diabetes and probably (still) had Cushings and all the other stuff was within normal ranges.  So there you have it.  The vet will not call me back, opting, instead, to deal with Steve.  Steve calls her Dr. Girl Friend so you can just imaging how that galls me and I have sworn off going to the vet school alone for the dog and I  insist that Steve always take the damn dog in himself, because afterall it is his dog.  Sucky.  I feel so much closer to you after sharing.

I rode this week.  I do not have a lick of sense so on Wednesday I rode three horses in a row.  The next day I was crippled, but rode one anyway.  Then I left and had my car smogged, bought some coffee beans and some shampoo (which I should use btw) and came home to discover that I could feel my back spasm and my abs scream.  Perhaps I should pace myself.  And go to the gym as often as I think I do.  Whatever.  It was nice to have someone get the horses ready so all I had to do was get on.  I could get used to that convenience.  There is a description of getting a horse ready to ride in a posting I made called "It's Windy Today" if you feel you need clarification.  The long and short of it is you could spend your whole riding time allottment just getting ready to ride and never actually have the chance to get on ride.  

Life is good.