The Ear Filter

Little Z hears what she wants to hear. Example:

Z: Come up stairs and play with me! It's Turtle's birthday! We have to celebrate!

Me: No.

Z: Turtle isn't ready for a surprise. He doesn't know we're coming! So, just hide behind the blanket until I say when.

Me: But I don't want to go upstairs. And Turtle is just a stuffed animal.

Z: Okay, so when you're behind the curtain, I'll give the signal!

Me: I'm not going upstairs.

Z: You're hiding behind the blanket. Got it?

Little Z is now running up the stairs. Of course, I follow. It is, after all, Turtle's birthday, and we're going to surprise him. I am hiding behind the blanket until she says when.

It is clearly an advantage to adopt selective hearing earlier in life, rather than later.

Light in the Loafers

This morning, when I went out to feed the sheep, I saw the Gentle Giant- our grand, white rooster- sitting on eggs. A rooster. Sitting on eggs.

I guess that explains why only one chic, ever, looked like it was sired by him?

We have a gay rooster.

I did not get a picture, unfortunately. No camera handy.

I do have this lovely portrait of another rooster of ours, Pokey:

Clearly, Pokey is not *light in the loafers. Look how regal!

* One of my favorite euphemisms. Makes no sense at all!

note: I've had some problems with blogger lately. The blog no longer looks as it should. Things are missing, like links to my favorite blogs. For a few hours one day, I could not even see any posts on here. No idea what the problem is.

"Insubordinant and Churlish"

Wintery Mix

When the weather computer says, "Wintery Mix," I always think of a nice trail mix of some cashews, cranberries, candied mango bits, shelled pastachios. But, no. Sadly, Wintery Mix means that we will have snow and rain mixed together tomorrow. Which is the worst. Weather. Ever. Tomorrow.

With the exception of this fire tornado in Australia, which is truly the worst weather ever:

Assignment Art Taken to Heart: Orange Food Day

The assignment:

oliverhaimson said...

For one day, only eat food that is one particular color. Document with photographs.
Bonus: On that day, only wear clothing of the same color.
(idea taken from Paul Auster and Sophie Calle)

This was more fun than I thought it would be. I tried some yummy foods that I would not have otherwise eaten.

Breakfast: An orange and two egg yolks. The yolk is my favourite part, anyway!

Lunch: Peppery hummus, baby carrots, and dried mangoes. This was such a tasty lunch, I'll probably have it again sometime. I ate all of the hummus, then looked at the label where it said, "25 servings". I felt quite glutton-like until I read that each serving had ten calories. I guess they are billing it as more of a condiment than a meal.

Snack: Orange sorbet and a slice of American cheese (sweet and salty).

Dinner: salmon and sweet potato slices.

Beer of the orange variety. Note the orange shirt, for bonus points.

Bedtime snack: orange slices.

I like orange. Orange is tasty.

10 Minute Parking: Rules is Rules

The week before Christmas, a Nottingham, England, officer wrote parking tickets to drivers of two ambulances that were taking too long to board wheelchair-using schoolchildren who had just sung carols for an hour downtown to raise money for the homeless shelter Emmanuel House. (Following an outpouring of complaints, the Nottingham City Council revoked the tickets.)

-News of the Weird


Little Z lost her first tooth today! Tonight, the Tooth Fairy comes. The excitement is unimaginable. The Tooth Fairy is the perfect fairy, really. By the time you don't believe in fairies, you've stopped losing teeth.

I have some friends with two little girls who have invented the "Moon Fairy". The Moon Fairy comes during the full moon, and if you put your shoes outside the back door overnight at that time of month, the Moon Fairy will leave you a small present in your shoes.

I wonder if there have ever been any fairies who didn't quite work out.

* Belly Button Lint Fairy: collects the lint you leave under your pillow and leaves you a gift. Didn't work out because lint mixes in with the pillows.

* First Menstruation Fairy: Leaves pads under your pillow- didn't work out because they are too bulky.

* The Cleaning Fairy: Is not me, despite accusations and assumptions.

Prison Tattoos

I used to sell fine jewelry in the mall of Pueblo, Colorado. In Pueblo, a good percentage of the people who had to money to buy jewelry had tattoos of teardrops by the sides of their eyes. If it was just an outline, it was supposed to mean that a loved one had been killed. If it was filled in, it meant that their death had been avenged- i.e. the person with the teardrop tattoo had killed someone. People also had names tattooed on their necks a lot. I myself have a tattoo of a spiral. I won't tell you if it goes clockwise or counter-clockwise.


If you don't live in the Midwest, you don't understand, but I'll try to explain it: Football is like a religion here. These are my people:

And by, "my people", I mean the people I live alongside but do not comprehend in the slightest.

I like to wear a sweatshirt to the dumps, (a dress-down occasion,) but I didn't dare wear it today- because I realized at the last moment that my sweatshirt says, "San Francisco" across the chest, and the Packers are playing the 49ers tonight, and I didn't dare.

There was a news story on yesterday about these people who were rooting for the Niners, because, as they put it, "Family comes first," and they have a relative on the 49ers team. The assumption, of course, was that, if you were rooting for the 49ers, you had better have a damned good reason! Just the fact that this was a news story, it was just, of course, a given. If you are not rooting for the Packers, and you live in Wisconsin, you get a news story.

The fact that I'm an atheist is a little nonconformist, quirky, I keep it a little hush hush, but that fact that I don't care about football? I never admit that.

Don't tell!

Adopt Your Front Yard Litter Control

I walk down a little stretch of highway sometimes for relaxation on my lunch break. It's in the countryside, hilly and beautiful, with one lone farmhouse and lots of wildlife. A sign along the clean stretch of highway says,

"Adopt a Highway Litter Control by The Acker Family."

I walked along there for a month or so before I noticed the name on the mailbox: the Acker's.

So. They had a sign put up to make people notice that they pick up the trash in front of their house.

So awesome. I clean all the time, but have I ever received credit publicly? Never. And why not? Because I never put up a sign to recognize myself! Your tax dollars at work, baby!

I can relate.

Assignment Art Taken to Heart

Assignment #1: Give loved ones a hug.


Assignment #2: "Read a (very) short story to little Z in reverse (back to front). Or, alternatively, read it forward but hold the book upside down

The book I read to her in reverse was this one:

[This is such an awful picture. It reminds me of people selling used underwear on ebay. I think it's the carpet.]
This book is actually just as funny backwards as forwards. It's by Mo Willems, Little Z's favourite author. (The first LMC trip in kindergarten, she went right up to the librarian and said, "Do you have any books by Mo Willems? That's my favourite author." That's my girl!) Anyway, it's about these friends, Piggie and Gerald, and Gerald is an elephant who knows how to throw a ball, and Piggie is his best friend who borrows the ball and throws it, and Piggie really has no idea how to throw a ball and he throws it behind him, and Gerald says, "Do you know what this means?" and Piggie says, "Yes! It means I threw the ball around the world!" which, as it turns out, is even funnier when you read it before he ever throws the ball.

Little Z thought this whole experience of reading a book backwards was so fun, that she wanted to do it again! We read each page with the words in the right order, but we read the pages backwards. So then we read this one:

But, this time, I actually read some parts with every single word in reverse order, which meant I came up with something like this:

"exception one with were they well, naked all are they. 3. mole bit little a are they. 2. rat bit little a are they. 1. things three know to need only you story this for but. Rats mole naked as known creatures little fascinating the about learn to much so is there. Willems Mo. Dressed Gets Rat Mole Naked."

That just put Little Z into hysterics, but then it was time for bed. She said,

"Next time, I want you to read like someone who doesn't know how to read at all!"

Assignment Art

Yoko Ono, if memory serves, did a sort of art experiment (as she is known for) in which she told people what to do. I think that's pretty much it.

Since I aspire to be, in many ways, the opposite of Yoko Ono, I have a proposition: you tell me what to do, and I will do it. Make sure it is:

a. Doable within an hour.

b. Not

painful for anyone involved,


c. Something I could conceivably blog about.

Please leave your instructions in the comments.


This house has a disturbing amount of mice, even with the cats defending it quite courageously. Mouse traps work. But, as I said, it is disturbing. Twelve mice caught in mice traps! How many are still alive?

BAH cooked a fish stick before vacation and was about to eat it when he saw a mouse turd on it!

Cartoon from the Frog Lady, Teresa.

Silent Film about Smoking

The Smoke Fairy, 1909:

Panoramic of San Francisco #7

This is not really of San Francisco. It's Armstrong Redwoods, which is 60 or so miles up the coast from San Francisco, in Western Sonoma County. It is a little Redwood grove full of very large, very old trees, and very good vibes. It tends to be colder there than you might think. The sun never reaches the ground. Occasionally, you may think you see an Ewok in the corner of your eye, but when you look, it's gone.

The True Meaning of No Smoking

On the airplane to California, Little Z wanted to know what the "no smoking" sign on the plane meant.

There was a lot of time and not much to do, so I gave her a very lengthy history of smoking on planes. I covered how people used to smoke cigarettes everywhere, all the time, and then how there were smoking and nonsmoking sections, and then how Air France was pretty much the last to make smoking on all flights not okay, and how some people still snuck into the bathroom, their addiction was so great. I guess I wasn't really thinking about the fact that, in her sheltered life, Little Z has probably never seen anyone smoke a cigarette. She was listening very intently. It was noisy, though, what with the plane engines and the air and all the people on the plane. At the end she said she had a question.

"What, Sweety?"

"So you can't tell any secrets at all on the plane?"

Panoramic of San Francisco, #5


The child to the right is not my own. Mine is out there, somewhere, but I can't quite spot her.

Panoramic of San Francisco #2, #3, #4

Palace of Fine Arts. One of my favourite places as a child, probably because the Exploratorium was there. We took Little Z there this trip. It was the last day the Exploratorium was open at the Palace of Fine Arts. Its new home going to be bigger and better, and while it will still be in the city, I am very glad I visited it one last time in its (to my mind) proper home.

The Exploratorium, for those not in the know, is an interactive science museum. It is the best.

The architecture is unrelated to the purpose of the building. I haven't researched this at all, but I think it was built for a long ago world's fair. Why is it that, back when world travel was nearly impossible, there were world's fairs, but now that we have jet travel, there are no world's fairs?

In my collection of photos of my family, I have a picture of a great great aunt at this very location- but I can't find it today. Sadly.

Look for the Panties in the Window

When I was a child, I lived in San Francisco until the age of five.

Visiting the city a few days ago, I noticed that:

* San Francisco is no longer covered in dog shit, like it was in the seventies. I normally say "poop", but when I am in San Francisco, I suddenly think in profanities, because my mother was the main person with whom I walked through the city, and she swears. As she was looking after me, if a pile of poop were on the side walk ahead, she would point to it and yell, "Ew! Shit!" which was my cue to avoid the spot. This has been my first thought upon seeing dog poop ever since, Ew! Shit! But it was gone! There was no shit on the side walks any more... Well, actually, just a tiny bit.

* The other thing that often made Mother swear was the presence of tourists, and most especially tourists waiting to ride a streetcar. Whenever we needed to get somewhere on a streetcar, and there were tourists lined up, she would say--- actually, never mind. She said something terrible, very loudly, about how tourists were ruining the city. Profanity. The tourists are still there- whether you think they are ruining things, or not- and I still couldn't get a seat on a streetcar, even though that was the quickest way home to the hotel. The trolly drove past without stopping, because it was full. Then I had the strangest thought: I am a tourist.

* Hipsters now exist, and punks are no longer. Are people living in the city ironically?

* Last week, Chinatown had a notable number of ladies' underpants hanging on hangers in the windows. They all seemed to be the same size, a size larger than my own. Do the ladies who own these underpants wear their underpants baggy? Or are they all one size larger than me? How many pairs of underpants do they own? Why do they hang only underpants, and not other items of clothing? Are the underpants some sort of a signal or a coded message? Perhaps there is some new sort of underground railroad, where people escape Chinatown- or do they escape a seedier place, via Chinatown? Perhaps businesspeople are escaping their drone-like existence downtown. No more commuting from the suburbs. No more sushi for lunch. It's just all become too much. Look for the panties in the window is whispered in dark allies. Bundles of rations are exchanged in elevators. I was never here.

Panoramic of San Francisco #1

Bridge to the left- you get one guess about where I went to visit over Christmas!