Procrastination (But I Digress)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Humorous Speech Contest Entry

I hate camping.

Get back to nature? Nature is for the birds. I grew up in Southwest Detroit--the only "nature" that we had was squirrels and those things are mean. We knew darn well to stay away from "nature." But we were tough. We grew up in the inner city. Still we had indoor plumbing--why would anyone intentionally give that up?

But my parents dragged us all on a camping trip at least once a year. One time we went in late fall. What on earth were they thinking--there was frost on the ground. The zipper to the tent was frozen shut--ridiculous.

We did get to see Bears though. Yup--Bears--Plural--many bears. We weren't even scared. We heard all the horror stories about people being attacked by bears. One guy lost an arm when a bear bit it off, we were told. And so, what does my Dad do? He askes the rangers where can we go to see Bears. The City Dump. That's right, we went to the City Dump after dark and lined up with about 10 other cars shining their headlights on all the bears at that garbage buffet.

So when I became an adult, I was sure that my camping days were over. Not so.

I became a Girl Scout leader and soon--way too soon--I was hoodwinked into camping. My first camping trip was with very young girls, six to eight year olds, but actually I had more parents than girls on the trip. So there I was with about 20 girls and more than 20 adults. It should have been so easy, right? Wrong. I did all the worrying and work, while the parents were on vacation.

The camp had outdoor bunk beds so that you slept out under the stars, with the bugs and the mice and the wild animals. Oh joy. For some reason I kept having nightmares that one of the little girls was going to fall out of her bunk and roll down the hill in the middle of the night. Yeah, great vacation.

Oh and no indoor plumbing--did I mention that little gem about camping.

On another camping trip with older girls, I again somehow managed to have as many adults as girls and yet, I didn't sit down the whole weekend. Oh, I brought a chair, but everytime I went to sit down, some other parent had their butt in my chair. Ugh. When they asked the girls their favorite part of the weekend at the end of the trip, my girls said sleeping in a tent. My response was, we can do that in my back yard--what the heck are we out here for.

Finally, finally, finally, when my niece was finished with her girl scout career, I thought, no more camping, no more camping.

BUT, I was a trainer for other leaders and guess which area had the greatest shortage of trainers: Camping Skills.

So I went camping again and I said "Yummm" when I tasted the gooey, disgusting chocolate cake that we baked in the peel of a hollowed out orange in a cardboard box. I thought, I'd rather eat a twinkie that tastes like plastic, but I said "Yumm." It was a cake that we cooked in a card board box.

And the last time that I went to the restroom in a public toilet at a campground, which is only mildly a step up from a hole (full of you know what) dug in the ground, I thought to myself just as dramatically as Scarlott O'Hare--never again, as God is my witness, never again. Famous last words.

My adorable baby niece is four years old and she started kindergarden this week. Next year she'll be old enough for Brownies--I know that she'll be a girl scout. And she has a younger sister. You know that they will need a girl scout leader.

It is cake that you make in a cardboard box--I am completely defenseless, but oh, oh, oh, I hate camping.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mean and Nasty

This is a chant that Kevin, a very friendly little crocodile says when he is trying to be a "real" crocodile in one of Caitlyn's favorite shows (that I have seen way, way too many times) 64 Zoo Lane. Kevin is unsuccessful at being mean and nasty, but every once in a while when I have to put my tough face on for my job, I find myself chanting this in my head: mean and nasty, mean and nasty. It always makes me smile, so actually it is a little counter productive, but I digress.

I had Caitlyn all to myself for two evenings this week. The first evening, her grandmother (probably in response to my last blog about watching Caitlyn) had her repeat "no toys" before she transferred her into my care. Caitlyn was a doll and a half and we had a wonderful time. But I wanted to buy her legos. I have long thought this is a kid who should have legos and yet that will not be a toy she will get because she has a baby brother and sister who will try to eat them. I wanted to get her a lego set that would stay just in my room. But how to buy her a toy, after Grandma told her (and she agreed) "no toys". That law school stuff really pays off. Caitlyn had helped Grandma clean the kitchen, so I told Caitlyn that I was "paying" her a salary with a toy for cleaning the kitchen. I had to explain it a few times and she never really understood the word "salary", but when we got home and Grandma's eyes got big and scary, Caitlyn explained it to Grandma that this was for cleaning the kitchen. And let's face it Aunt Kathy realy doesn't care what Grandma says, but I digress.

The next evening, Caitlyn pointed out very quickly that she had helped clean the kitchen again and therefore expected a toy. Hmmm, I knew there would be a catch. But once again, I have wanted to buy Caitlyn a book for a while and this would be a great opportunity. I'm getting pretty tired of Dr. Suess--no offence Dr. Suess, but that Wacky Wednesday is for the birds and if I have to read that which-what-who guy again, I'm going to want to scream. I like Madeline--and so, when Caitlyn made a bee line for the toys and I kept steering her to the books, the Madeline book had a little Madeline doll with it. How perfect is that. By now, Grandma knew her dirty looks were ineffective, but when Marisa got home she wrote in big letters on the fridge "NO MORE TOYS" and Adam said, that's for you Aunt Kathy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The next morning, Caity was in my room and she went to a lot of trouble to try to make my bed. She even said, how's this, is this good? Luckily I distracted her by letting her jump on the bed, because for a nervous minute or so, I thought she was going to demand her "salary". And we all know how bad I am at mean and nasty.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Clean Garage

Remember a long, long time ago, I wrote a blog about cleaning out my garage as my Christmas present to myself. That was a lovely Christmas present to myself. This is much better.

I needed to hire Jose to come and move some furniture to get Megan's room ready for her. It seemed like such a waste to make him hire a guy for the day just to move a few pieces of furniture, so I looked around to see what else I could ask him to do. We have a lot of old furniture and stuff in the back yard and on the back porch--I mean we really do resemble what I think of as hillbillys. The only thing we are missing is an old car on the front lawn, but I think Glendale would kick us out for that. Anyway, I asked Jose to get rid of all the broken down stuff cloging up the back yard. While walking through the back yard, I saw a very large branch from the tree had fallen over, so I said, can you clean that up? Oh sure, Jose says, smiling. Then we walk through the garage and I pulled out a box that had old tents and tarps from my camping days--a hot mess as Miss Nicey would say. "That's garbage," I said. "Can you take care of that and maybe store the boxes a little better--Clean the place up a little?" "Oh sure," says Jose smiling.

So I left for a little while and when I came back, all the furniture in the house that I wanted moved, was moved. And Jose had even swept as he went, so it looked better than before. Jose was already started on the back yard and the green trash can was full of branches and trimmings. His guy was up on a ladder doing more trimming. I got them some lunch and hung around to eat my lunch. I'm sure I wasn't home for more than an hour. When I went out to say good-bye, I noticed Jose in the garage--SWEEPING. He was really truly cleaning the garage. My heart began to race--oh my, I'm going to have a clean garage again. And I didn't have to clean it myself. This is the best Christmas ever!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Night

So back when I was involved in way too many different clubs and organizations, I didn't have a single free night to call my own. Between ABWA, PTA, Girl Scouts, Kiwanis, YW, etc., etc., I had no free time. I've been cutting back significantly on my extracuricular activities and now I have a few nights a week that I can legitimately call my own. So I made Monday night, my Monday movie night. I've seen a lot of movies in the past year or so--some really good and some really, really bad. When I see a bad movie, it is a little harder to part with my money the following week to see another movie. When I see a really good movie, I am tempted to go to the movies more than once a week and have therefore seen more than my fair share of bad movies. Math, it's everywhere.

There are only a few movies that I have gone to see twice in the theater and that is usually to be social and to go see something that other people want to see or would like. But I can't say that I've ever gone to see a movie that I didn't like twice--I'm just not that social.

So I have been looking forward to seeing "Eat, Pray, Love" after reading the book. I tried not to get my expectations up too high, because that is a sure way to ruin it. The movie was very good--a little slow, but good. There were a few shortcuts from the book and I have to say knowing the back story made the movie better. But there was also a few new things in the movie that I either didn't remember from the book or seeing them was a fresh experience. There was one scene in particular that I did not remember from the book and there didn't appear to be anything that could make it work and then just the right gesture, just the right small smile made all the difference. That Julie Roberts is a much better actress than I've ever given her credit for. The screenplay writers are to be commended--good job.

There are a few more movies out and coming out that I am looking forward to, but as I said, I try not to get my hopes up--that is a sure way to be disappointed. And now, the first day of the work week that gets a bad rap, holds a little bit of magical expectation for me. I'm out of money so I'm trying to figure out how to economize and keep Monday Movie Night. Watching the dvd or on tv just wouldn't be the same.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


That's our theme for toastmasters tonight and I am the toastmaster. For the uninitiated, that is like the master of ceremonies. I will introduce the theme, introduce the speakers and generally keep the meeting moving. So I will need to say a few words about flexibility.

Roll with the punches used to be a popular phrase, but I think it fell out of favor in this no tolerance for domestic violence age. Life in the fast lane is one of my favorite phrases, but it doesn't really mean flexible--it is more, keep up, get moving, go, go, go.

When I was younger than I am now, I believed that I was the picture of flexibility. I could accommodate change easily and a change in plans was no big deal. So I was going to open the meeting with something along the lines of how very flexible I am. I've always been a problem solver--think outside the box--very flexible. But when I searched for concrete examples, I realized that I am no longer very flexible. In fact, I have to admit that I am not flexible at all. Little things like drinking diet coke from a can. I don't like to do it and now my car is littered with cups that have held ice for the short trip to my office. No ketchup, no problem--I won't eat. Too hot, too cold, good-bye. The gym playing the song Macharania--I just get up and leave. Hmmmm. Is this inflexible or stubborn about what I like and what I don't like? Is there a difference?

Physically, I am not flexible. Maybe I was a bit more flexible 60 pounds ago, but no more. Ethically, I'm not very flexible. I try to keep an open mind, but I'm rather a stickler for law and order. I want to be flexible regarding swearing. When I was younger I have a clear memory of believing that swearing was a perfectly acceptable manner of expression. Now it offends me. Go figure, old age.

Perhaps I am being too hard on myself. If a speaker doesn't show up, it is no big deal to simply adjust the line up and make adjustments. Other people grouse about the person who failed to keep their commitment, while I give them the benefit of the doubt, knowing that everyone has a lot of stuff on their plates, so that occasionally something has to give. If one argument isn't working (to a Judge or client), then it is no big deal to shift courses and make a new one. That's flexible. Don't put all your eggs in one basket--is that a flexibility slogan?

Ok, I still have nothing to say. It is going to be a quiet evening. That's flexible, right?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Tennis Channel

How long have I wanted the Tennis Channel? Years, maybe a decade--has it even been around for a decade--I think so and I've wanted it ever since I first heard it existed. But my cable company said NO. Boo hoo.

Well I got a new cable company. They have the tennis channel. I swallowed my "HOW MUCH PER MONTH?" and said sign me up. The US Open Series is going on and the Series was at UCLA for the men and Stanford for the women this last weekend. A few years back, I went in person to the one at UCLA. The best part was seeing the Bryan brothers play doubles (and almost running into--literally--Nalbandian), but alas, the worst part was the sun. It was relentless. I would get there at 10 in the morning (having to leave my house by 9 a.m. to beat the traffic) and then the night matches sometimes lasted until after midnight. So I probably won't be going to too many more live matches in my lifetime. Therefore, the Tennis Channel seems like a really cool thing to have for someone who enjoys watching tennis from the comfort of her home.

So I turn on my new u-verse tv and there it is Maria Sharapova v. someone and I think how cool is this, but I'm a little troubled too. Why is Maria on the Tennis channel and two nobody guys are on espn2? Ha, I figured it out--I was watching espn2and the two nobody guys were being shown on the Tennis channel. Good call programing guys. That was Friday night. Saturday Murray at UCLA and Maria up at Stanford and they were both on espn2. Some match from Switzerland was on the Tennis channel. Hmmmmm. I guess it is not so bad to watch a match from Switzerland that looks like it is on clay. I knew both of the guys playing, but I was much more interested in the matches on espn2. Again, good call guys.

THEN it was the finals on Sunday--again Maria and Murray in their respective matches--again both on espn2.

The Bryan brothers were also playing in the doubles final at UCLA and if they won it would make them the all time winningest men's double team (Martina has the women's doubles locked up--good luck coming close Bryans). This is a big game. The Bryans lost the French and they lost Wimbledon, so this is not a lock by any means. And they are really fun to watch.

So what was the tennis channel showing--the Switzerland final. And you know what--that would have been fine. The Bryans know singles takes precedence over doubles and I know singles take precedence over doubles and a final match in men's singles is going to get top billing BUT the match in Switzerland was already over--I already knew the winner from the internet, so it has to be at least 9 hours ahead (France is 9 hours, so I'm sure Switzerland is a few more). This is a record for the Bryans! This is a big record in tennis! And the results of their match wasn't even on the internet where I could find it right away. Espn2 had them on as guests before the Murray v. Querrey match to talk about their win. They didn't even show any highlights. Querrey won by the way--I know you were all waiting for the results. Three sets--won the second set in a tie breaker after fighting off at least one match point by Murray. This is the first time Murray has come to LA. Not too hospitible actually. Whereas, this is Querrey's back yard. He had a bunch of his college buddies in the stands. They call themselves the Samaries--his name is Sam Querrey. I think I am digressing--oh yeah, dumb old tennis channel.

I think that I will probably have to actually go to the UCLA tournament next year in person. I think I owe that to the Bryan brothers. I'm going to need a really big hat.