A memoir of musings, allegories and adventures covering my inspired life...

Monday, October 31, 2011

He’s Got Electric Boots and a Mohair Suit

Our family dynamic has taken an interesting turn into retro cuteness with our newest addition…Benny “the Jet”. He’s an adopted eclectic mixture of terriers and other small breeds with a personality that packs a punch! Mischievous, playful, inquisitive, and full of spunk, this little guy has owned our house…and our hearts since the day we brought him home.

The name, you ask? Well, his name was initially Elvis Aaron Presley (because there is a little hound dog in all of us). So we were on the long drive home when the radio chimed in with Elton John’s classic tune, and wouldn’t you know…little “Elvis” sat up, cocked his ears, and started howling. It was the funniest thing ever. The song ended and he quieted instantly. I began to tease him saying things like, “Elvis? Do you like Benny and the Jets?” And every time he heard the word Benny, his little head turned and his ears stood at attention. Needless to say, Elvis had left the building and Benny was here to stay.

I know, right? Benny “the Jet” Miller. It sounds a little mafia. But you don’t know the half of it. Yesterday I brought him home a bone and he was chewing it and using the blunt end as a teaser toy for our other dog Maggie. At some point my cousin Del looks over and was all, “O-M-G that bone looks like a cigar in his mouth!” Yes people…Benny “the Jet” Miller went all gangsta, and earned his street cred. This little guy means business.
For Halloween, Benny surprised us with this uncanny impression of George Burns.  You're Welcome.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Halloweaster Bunny

I’m not a big Halloween person; maybe because my parents barely acknowledged the holiday throughout my childhood. And also there was the fact that we lived in a more rural area so our annual trick-or-treat visitors would total somewhere along the lines of two neighborhood kids…three if Michael Hickman wasn’t in trouble that night. The four acre distance between homes was a pretty good deterrent for parents becoming motivated to walk the kids from house to house; not to mention the idea of children wandering the streets after dark dressed like hooligans and begging for food like paupers only to come home and fight a battle over how much chocolate is too much before bedtime.
Muahahaha!  I vant to suck your Cadbury mini eggs!
I do recall one particular Halloween, however, where my mother made an extra effort to put her own spin on celebrate the occasion. You should know that my mother is a well-educated woman who sometimes falls victim to culture shock. She moved to the United States as an adult, so while she does understand the concepts of all American holidays and the meaning behind them, she sometimes gets “lost in translation” when it comes to the actual traditions. Case in point:

Halloween night, 2003. I was an adult; however, my 6 year old son was excited and filled with anticipation for special Halloween with his maw maw. I was excited for a night out with friends and a free babysitter. I got to my mother’s house and walked inside where she whisked him away and promptly returned with a bright orange foam pumpkin sporting arms and legs and bearing an uncanny resemblance to my son. Her witch hat didn’t quite go with the hospital scrubs she wore to work that day, but mom ALWAYS had a way of making things work in her favor. “Hellooooo Brandon! I am Glenda the good nurse-witch! And we are gonna have soooo much fun hunting for Halloween candy! Peter Cottontail has visited and there are candies and surprises hidden alllll around us!” She grabbed his little hands and started bouncing around with her 70’s disco moves singing "Here comes Peter Cottontail. Hoppin’ down the bunny trail…"

Wait…what? I was lost. Peter Cottontail? Please tell me my dad was not about to jump out of the hall closet wearing cover-alls, bunny ears and his Sunday church shoes. (He didn’t by the way…BIG relief) So I was all, “Mom, Peter Cottontail? That's an Easter thing.  Aren't you going trick-or-treating tonight?” And she was like, “Of course! We are gonna trick-or-treat right here to find all the goodies, right Brandon!?!” And of course Brandon was practically jumping up and down and screaming “Let’s go maw maw!! Bye mom! Let’s go!”

Apparently, after work, my mom bought a few bags of Halloween candy and hid the pieces of candy all around her house for Brandon to find.  And yes, in the end there was a "golden prize egg".  Because a hunt wouldn't be the same without one!  My mom always had a way of making things exciting for little kids. Her enthusiasm is contagious to say the least. To this day I have a theory that my son enjoys going over to their house strictly for the possibility of finding candy in the least expected places.  Kind of like a modern day Hansel and Gretel effect.  Maybe there was something to this whole Halloweaster bunny concept.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I DO...Everything You Say From Now On

So another family wedding coming up this weekend and my cousin is the beautiful bossy blushing bride. Kidding, she’s far from the bridezilla type, but a little conversation she shared with me today had me questioning it for a moment.
The other day my cousin, the bride, was going over the last minute details of the wedding events for this weekend, and she says to her fiancé, “Okay babe, so Friday you need to meet me at the church to help decorate for the wedding.”

And he was like, “No wait, I already made plans to go hunting on Friday so I won’t be there.”

And she was all, “Well you NEED to be there because I need your help getting everything set up.”

And he was like, “But I talked to my mom about it and she said I didn’t need to be there for that part.”

And she was all, “Oh…okay, but just so you know, once we are married Saturday, I’M the boss of you, NOT your mom. Got it? Love you! Have fun hunting!”

I love this girl…she’s so right…and he can’t say there wasn’t fair warning.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snap, Crackle, POP Culture Overload

Recently my family traveled from all over the world to gather in New Orleans for my sister’s wedding.  One of the great things about a destination wedding is that the guests can treat the weekend as a vacation as well as support the bride and groom.  It’s pretty much a win-win situation. 

My family members are all pretty much reluctant to hang around each other for extended periods of time independent, so we all branched off and did our own things around the French Quarter during our down time between scheduled wedding festivities.  On one of the days I met up for lunch with my sister, Joyce, and her husband, Ted, who were visiting from their home in New York.  Ted was giving me a run-down on that day’s events, which included several historical building tours.

Ted: It was pretty neat.  The ceilings and walls were covered with beautiful paintings, you know, like that artist guy, Leonard Da…what’s that guy’s name again?  Leonardo Da…

Me: Caprio?


Joyce: Isn’t that the guy from Titanic?

Me: Oh yeah…ooops.

Ted: Vinci!  Da Vinci.  Yeah… him.  Beautiful paintings.

It was then that I realized I probably needed to scale back my pop culture magazine consumption and visit a few high culture art exhibits before my brain turns to mush and I go all “Jersey Shore” intelligence on people.

Yeah, we’re a cultured bunch.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Won't YOU be my Neighbor?

So the other day my "special" dog Maggie decided to bolt through the front door into the neighborhood. It was trash day and there was a smorgasbord of rotten people food displayed at everyone’s curbside and ripe for the taking. My arms were full of shopping bags and I did not have time to act quickly enough to stop her escape. There she was, eyes widened with excitement, tongue waving in the wind, smiling from ear-to-ear as she rounded the front corner of the house and disappeared from my view.
I yell, “Steele!!! Maggie just took off! Hurry, run and catch her before she becomes road kill!” From the opposite end of the house I hear the quickening pace of bare feet thumping on our hardwood floors, then the front door slams, and silence.

Can you tell we have this drill pretty much under control? Yep, it happens every couple of months, and sporadically enough to warrant letting our guard down and trusting that her “wild” days are long past, only to be disappointed time and time again.

I take a deep breath and begin putting away my things, confident that my son will prevail in the battle of wit and dexterity that is no doubt occurring on my front lawn at this very moment. And, as expected, about five minutes later Steele walks in, Maggie cradled in his arms panting and licking him between grunts.

So I tell him, “Great job as usual, babe.” And he’s all, “Well, I met the new neighbors!”

Me: New neighbors?

Steele: Apparently there’s a new Arabic family moving in down the block. You know, the really conservative dressers with all the robes to cover everything but half their face?

Me: Yeah, how did you meet them? Were they walking around the block?

Steele: Not exactly. I was so caught up in catching Maggie, I didn’t notice where I was running. Maggie would stop running just long enough for me to get like two inches from her and then she would bolt in the other direction. So I finally outsmarted her and grabbed her and I was like, “Aha! Gotcha ya little stinker!” And then I looked up and I was pretty much face-to-face with our new neighbors. I was in their garage...while they were moving their things in...standing between them and their front door.

Me: Well, did you say ‘Hello, welcome to the neighborhood?’

Steele: Not exactly, I kinda just said “Sorry.  Excuse me. I was trying to catch my dog.”

It was at this moment that my son put Maggie down on the ground and I realized what had just transpired down the block. My 14 year old son, in his haste to save my dog from her own stupidity, ran out of the front door wearing nothing but Looney tunes lounge shorts and a look of determination.

Me: Well, did you say anything else?

Steele: The lady was trying not to laugh at me. I couldn’t blame her. It’s not every day you‘re welcomed to the neighborhood by a half-naked teenager chasing a retarded dog in circles in your front yard. But she was nice, she said ‘Nice to meet you.’ And I told her it was nice meeting her too. Then I left as fast as I could.

Me: Hmmm, maybe we should make them cookies one day soon.

Steele: Or maybe we should just avoid them from now on.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don, A Girl's Best Friend?

Last week my sister Annie, her husband Mitch, my brother Chris, Steele and I met at my parents’ house for dinner. It was just casual home-cooked meal accompanied by conversation about upcoming family events and the latest work drama. When out of the blue my mom looks across the table at Annie’s hand and she’s all, “Annie! That ring is BEAUTIFUL! Where did you get it?” And Annie was like, “I got it at Don’s Pharmasave. Same place I get my medication.”

Her response was met with brief silence broken by my uncontrolled laughter. Now THAT is a ONE-STOP-SHOP!

I'll take that ring, a box of Cracker Jacks, and a refill on my Valium prescription, please!