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As I sit and wait to see the closing ceremonies, I wonder if I’m the only one in the country who is glad these Olympics are over. I  didn’t see Michael Phelps win any of his eight gold medals. I didn’t watch any of the underage Chinese gymnasts beat us out of medals. The only athlete who caught my attention was the Jamaican sprinter in those crazy gold shoes. (I want those!)

And does it bother me that Michael Phelps is going to pose on a box of Frosted Flakes instead of Wheaties? Nutritionists hate that. I think it’s funny.

No, after I watch the closing ceremonies to see what pyrotechnics the Chinese fake this time, I’m going to get into my convention-watching mode. The Democrats’ party in Denver promises to offer its own form of pyrotechnics. I, for one, don’t believe that Hillary is “over it.” Watch the body language, people. Her lips may be calling for “unity,” but her eyes are calling for “revolt!”

Frankly, I just want to see if George Clooney shows up.

Release the hounds!

The race is over. It's time to go home.

What do you do with 900 greyhounds that need homes?

We’ll get to see over the next few weeks as The Woodlands dog track closes down. The closing will put more than 200 people out of work, and leave hundreds of dogs looking for a new home.

Opponents of greyhound racing are happy that the track is closing, but worry that not all the dogs will find their way to new homes happily and safely. They’re right to worry.

The best racers will probably wind up racing at other tracks across the country. Some of them will be sent home to their owners where, honestly, no one can deny that some of them will be put to sleep. The luckiest of the dogs will find their way to greyhound adoption groups that will work like hell to find them families willing to take them.

But it won’t be easy. Greyhound adoption groups across the country already have more dogs than they can place. The Woodlands closing will shove hundreds of dogs into an already clogged system.

When I was talking to one of the greyhound advocates about the track, she asked if I would be interested in taking one of the dogs. I felt like a big wienie when I told her that I already had a dog. I felt more shame when she told me that she had adopted six greyhounds of her own and just spent more than $600 on a vet bill for one of them.

I just kept thinking that I’m probably too lazy to own a greyhound that’s spent a couple of years zooming around a race track. But every adoption person I’ve talked to swears that greyhounds, in reality, are just big couch potatoes. News to me.

Maybe, after all, I have more in common with these leggy beauties than I thought. (The couch potato thing, not the legginess.)

Maybe, for the sake of these dogs, 900 other people will feel the same way, too.

Paper or plastic?

I'll wear high heels and a hat to the grocery store - if you scan my stuff for me!

The other night on the way home, I stopped at my grocery store to pick up a few things. Bread. Eggs. Milk. Watercress, which I never found. Some feta cheese. My favorite Weight Watchers fudge bars, which I couldn’t find, either.

I pushed my cart of ten items or less up toward the front of the store and stopped dead in my tracks. Where the heck had the checkout lines gone? There were only three lanes still standing. The others had been replaced by those do-it-yourself check-out stands like they have at Home Depot. Not wanting to look or seem old, I pushed my cart up to one of the computerized lanes. Hell, I can do this.

My first problem came when I couldn’t find any price sticker on the bananas. The young girl watching over these lanes had to walk over and show me how, with only three pushes on the touch-screen, I could find the price. Thanks, I said, feeling like a Golden Girl.

I filled up one bag and stuck it in my cart. You would have thought I had just stolen it. The computer screen started screaming at me, something about a bag being removed illegally and how the Gestapo would shortly be at my side. I had to look over at the girl, again, and she had to walk over, again, and clear something on the computer before I could continue. Sorry, I said. Yup, I’m a Golden Girl.

Then came the flowers. Two bunches of gerbera daisies. I couldn’t find the bar codes on those, either, and once again, young-girl-watching over us had to leave her post to help me.

By the time I finished checking out, fishing for my frequent shopper card in my new wallet, figuring out how to scan it into the computer, scanning my debit card – the wrong way, then the right way – I had been standing there for more than 10 minutes.  TO CHECK OUT FEWER THAN 10 ITEMS!

I know this is progress. But I already pump my own gas, make my own salad at the salad bar and pick my own pumpkins at Halloween. Is it too much to ask, after a long day at work, on a Saturday when my cart overflows with a week’s worth of food, for a clerk to scan my groceries for me?

I swear I’m either going to boycott this store or stand with the old folks in the “old-fashioned lanes.”

Paper or plastic?

It doesn’t matter.

Just scan my shit for me, please.

Mad Women

Which would you have been? I would have wanted to be the bad girl on the right, but I know I would have been the good girl on the left.

I know, I know. I’m the last person on the planet to see Mad Men, just nominated for 16 Emmys. (Season 2 premieres Sunday night on AMC.) So I spent more than eight hours over the weekend watching part of the all-day, first-season marathon. And can I just say? I so crave a martini and a cigarette right now.

I told my editor today that I wish the newsroom was like the Mad Men ad agency. Highballs after every meeting. (Would make the layoffs go down smoother.) Smoking at every turn. (OK, maybe that part I could live without. Oh, that and all the sleeping around with folks who are married to other people. And men treating women like they were stupid.) But an office water cooler full of creme de menthe? Way, way cool.

My favorite part of the show, just as with Sex and the City, is the fashion. The tight sheath dresses and even tighter skirts. The belted day dresses with big, round skirts. The heels. The gloves. The structured purses. (Guess what designers will be showing this fall?)

Watching the show made me think of my mother’s shoes that my sisters and I used to clop-clop-clop around the house in. Most of them were pointy-toed. Most of them had heels. Who knew that my sensible, Catholic, Montgomery Ward-shopping mother had apparently been so chic? (See what burping out five children does to a woman.)

As I got my Mad Men fix, I started to wonder what style I would have worn if I had been my mom’s age in the 60s. The sexpot sheaths? The plain, belted, best-friend dresses? Would I have been Jackie O or Brigitte Bardot? Something tells me I would have been Lucy’s friend, Ethel.

Mad Men makes the early 60s seem so glamorous. But I just read an interview with the show’s costume designer, who revealed this little tidbit. The look is all about the foundations, the undergarments, she said. All the actresses on the show wear girdles, those weird bullet-shaped bras, stockings, everything that women in the 60s were trussed up in before they burned their darn bras. All that structure “behind the scenes” makes the actresses stand up straighter, walk prouder. The 60s had nothing to do with comfort, she said. It was all about formality.

And apparently pain.

No wonder they drank so much.

Losing Grandma

 

 

Grandma is dying. She’s had a long life, 97 years so far. I wish I could say she’s had a good life, but I don’t think it ever was.

Her father was murdered in Mexico when she was a toddler. Her mother remarried an abusive man who beat the crap out of her and her two little brothers. (If I live long enough to see time travel, I will go back and repay him myself.)

When her mother died in childbirth, Grandma and her brothers were banished to an orphanage in Leavenworth. The rest of the story I’m kind of foggy on, but for some reason, Grandma left the orphanage on her own, barely finishing eighth grade, and moved back to Emporia where she had lived with her mother and stepfather before her mother died.

Grandma never saw her brothers again. I tried to Google them once and couldn’t find any trace of them.

In Emporia, Grandma cleaned houses for The Wealthy. That’s how she described them. After she married my Papa and had two children, including my mother, and built a life on a small plot of land in Chase County, Kansas, she went to nursing school and became an LPN.

I’ve seen the picture of her graduating class at KU Med. She looked so much older than her classmates. Hard work does that to a face.

We had to move her into a nursing home in Olathe a few months ago, and ever since, she’s been winding down, like a clock that’s lost its tick and tock. She sleeps, a lot, and does this weird thing of closing her eyes when the aides try to feed her.

I don’t let her get away with it when I feed her.

“Grandma, open your eyes,” I tell her. “Look at me.” And she does.

Lately she has started telling everyone that she loves them. The other night when I took her clean laundry to her, she was lying in bed and I heard her say out loud, “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I said back. But she wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to the nurse who had slipped into the room behind me.

We’ve hired the hospice my husband works for to keep her comfortable. I really didn’t want to do it because it was too public an acknowledgment of what I feared/knew in my heart.

My Grandma is dying. But I think she’s ready.

I just hope I will be, too.

 

Contrary to published reports, I cannot believe that the clothes being sold by that wacky polygamist sect in Texas are selling fast. Have you seen them? Dresses for teens that reach down to the ankles? Are you kidding me?

I would be the first person to lash out at what I think are inappropriate styles marketed to little girls and teens these days. How many times have I made my nieces put a pair of shorts or skirt back on the rack because they were too short? How many times have I nixed the purchase of a camisole for a 3-year-old? What is this? Clothing by Lolita?

And yet, I would never ever make a niece of mine wear the Teen “Princess” dress sold by the polygamists. There’s nothing remotely “princess” about the 100 percent polyester, ankle-length gown with long sleeves and a high collar. What kingdom would such a princess rule? The Kingdom of Prude?

Even the ankle-length baby dresses look, well, wrong and out of date.

And one-piece underwear for female teens? I refuse to believe that anyone living outside the sect has actually purchased such nonsense.

Good for the women of this group for recognizing that there migh be a market, however slim, for these anachronistic fashions. Just don’t try to make us believe that we’re all clamoring for them. That’s what you’d call brainwashing.

Day Six of the Brangelina Baby Watch: Still no babies.

See that guy at right? The one in the venerable yellow jersey? Now there’s a biker who knows how to ride.

I wish I could say the same for the rest of us.

This is a time of year that I dread. The Tour de France begins this weekend, and over the next two weeks, wanna-be Tour competitors will be riding around Kansas City and the burbs in their fancy bike shorts and sleek helmets, ignoring the rules of the road that the rest of us have to follow.

They’ll ride two and three abreast down narrow streets, holding up the cars in back of them. They will run red lights. They will weave in and out between cars stopped at red lights. I’ve seen it all.

I nearly hit one biker last night on the way to work out at the Y. I was turning right on a red and a bicyclist came up on my right and rode straight through the red. He didn’t stop, didn’t even seem to notice that if he’d been two seconds slower he’d have ended up as a human stain. Freaked me out.

These are the bikers that give the rest a bad name. These are the bikers that unnecessarily incite road rage among motorists.

It’s bad enough that in Kansas City, not known for being biker-friendly, motorists seem to think they don’t have to share the road with anything smaller than a Mini Cooper. I think drivers here need an attitude adjustment when it comes to all kinds of road etiquette, but I can just as easily level the same indictment against the bicyclists.

So please think about it bikers, as you’re squeezing into your official Discovery Channel cycling gear.

Would the guy in the yellow jersey run the red?

Day Two of The Brangelina Baby Watch: No babies yet.