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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The weatherman is predicting 75,000 feet of snow in this latest onslaught and I'm contemplating roller skating in the basement right now, about 8 a.m. on Saturday.

I'm also baking some sour kraut for breakfast, of which I'd forgotten how to spell "sour" just now and had to look it up.

I'm serious about a baby lamb (is that repetitive?) from Colleen Kottke's father-in-law and I think I can pull it off. The condo association owes me one after December's river-bursting-thru-window-into basement scenario.

My library books are a month overdue and I thought I'd checked them out just a few days ago.

I've started collecting twisties, you know, the kind off bread bags, and frankly, it's scares me.

Why is there nothing out there for women our age, maybe set up at the farmers' market in summer, near the bakery dept. at Wal-Mart, at Gilles' custard on a hot summer night.

"Is this normal?" You'd ask a kind face who offers you a shotglass of raspberry white chocolate cheesecake, a bra that fits perfect, thank you letters from your adult children, and a request from Hugh Laurie to fly out to L.A. on weekends to write T.V. scripts for "House" ("No one else knows the character like you do!" he laments in a taped message) all the while exclaiming softly "How do you do it?" (Implying many things but leaving it open-ended).

Other ages get help along the way, as if it's just understood they need it: mothers-to-be, babies, adolescent kids, executives (they get the FISH video) and we, the largest population in the country, WOMEN BABY BOOMERS, get nada.

People shake their heads, avert their eyes during every frantic query of: "Is it hot in here?" or
"Why do everyone's voices sound like nails on a chalk board, or is it me???"

A friend had this advice for sleeplessness: put a wafer-thin piece of turkey lunch meat on a cracker and eat it before you go to bed.

Why didn't someone tell me this before..........;-0

And before I go on and on I need to recall a trueism said by my teenage son whenever I tried to enforce a rule or ask him to do something.

"It's not always all about YOU and what YOU want mom."

Payback will be sweet.............

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I feel ashamed and guilt-ridden for having watched.

I couldn't help myself.

Did anyone else catch this week's episode of "Wife Swap?" They featured a gal who ate four-month-old raw meat she called "high meat," licked kitchen floors, brushed her teeth with butter and clay and served her family at 2 a.m. some kind of gelatinous cream.

At one point in the show her husband was huddled next to bathroom toilet sobbing uncontrollably after eating a regular hamburger and French fries.

Riveting stuff. My eyes were glued to the set.

My boss has me reading Ray Bradbury's short novel "Fahrenheit 451" as part of the Fond du Lac Library's literacy promotion that invites the community, beginning March 1, to read this book together.

Ray, Ray, Ray. You are freaking me out.

All these reality shows and vicarious thrills - he wrote about its coming to fruition - back in 1953.

In his futuristic world they burn down houses and any books sheltered within, in an assurance that this is what a dumbed-down society wants and needs.

The premise is that everything offends someone, so why not just forbid it all?

The walls inside the homes of characters living in Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which a book ignites) are television screens giving viewers the only thing they seem to want anymore.

Rapid-fire images that startle and coddle senseless minds.

I have a confession.

I have been known to turn off the President's State of the Union Address to watch a tape of "Big Brother Season: Season Four."

Sometimes I can't take anymore news, so I do get it Ray. I get how it happens - the media feeding us what we want - news stories reduced to Web hits.

My guilty pleasures: "Beauty and the Geek," "America's Next Top Model," "Rock Star," "The Bachelor" (sick, I know), and the "Biggest Loser."

There. Now you know the sordid, seedy side of me.

At this age, I do love to veg out.

If Ray's world happens, it will be our own fault.

Do you smell something burning?

Monday, February 19, 2007

You'd think that finding out you have a claim for money listed on the state's unclaimed property list would be a dream come true.

Guess again.

As with any bureaucratic process it is a lesson in mind torture, or as our own Laurie Ritger in the newsroom calls it, one of those "snowballs from hell," doomed to grow to enormity as you stand in it's path....

Although most of the time, at least in lucid moments, I know who I am, it's a whole 'nother story to prove it.

It's been three months now and I'm still waiting for a whopping $39.50 in interest left over from an account my mother had 12 years ago. Because my sister's name and my brother's name are also listed on the account, and all three are dead, I have to submit what seems like a unedited biography of our family history.

I wouldn't have bothered with the pittance of an amount but it seemed like a sentimental thing to do, the last vestige of Ruth Roznik's existence as a citizen on this planet.

I must have spent double that amount in time and effort digging through boxes in the basement for last wills and testaments, old bank accounts, birth certificates and death certificates, social security numbers and whatever else I needed as proof I am the kin next in line for this windfall.

Yes, due to unforeseen circumstances at age 49 I am the matriarch in our family, which is a freaky thing to be because my grandmothers, my aunts and uncles, survived until their late 80s, some well into their nineties.

It was only my family who had the curse and exited this plane of existence, one after the other, but that's a story for another time. It's phenomenal I am this old.

Because of the circumstances surrounding my family I have a house full of stuff everyone else owned, some kind of reciprocity of ancestorhood, I guess. In other words, whatever my siblings took when my parents died came back to me two-fold when they died.

Here's just a sampling from the boxloads: My mother's girlhood curling iron, the kind you heat up in a flame; her red plastic rhinestone sunglasses from the late 50s; my father's selective service card and dog tags; miscellaneous pocket watches from the old days and I no longer know who owned them; my brother's set of the Chip Hilton sports series; initialed cuff links in a jewelry store box from the old country; a Milwaukee Braves program from the year they won the world series; my grandfather's homemade hog-butchering knife; ration books from World War II; a metal band-aid box full of keys from every house and car my parent's ever owned; velvet dresses from the 1920s and chiffon and lace nightgowns from wistful wedding nights of long ago; my grandmother's scrub brush, the soft bristles bent sideways from wear; a rusted meat grinder; various cameras from a Kodak Brownie to a 2 1/4 Rollieflex; a 1963 hospital bill from when I had my tonsils out; hankies and doilies and gaudish pins with fake jewels.........the list goes on and on.

Somehow in all the memorabilia I can't find my father's death certificate so I had to send for it, and pay more money, LOL.

My sister-in-law sent me a copy of my brother's death certificate, which I'd never seen. He died at age 40 in Minnesota, running through an airport. It was weird to look at it, wondering what he thought those last seconds, being in a strange place, probably surrounded by strangers when he collapsed.

He was a federal corporate auditor for the IRS and I loved to tease him about how he was the dreaded tax man capable of making CEOs know, me the flower child and he a government man.

A steady stream of corporate executives showed up at his funeral to honor the man that had shown their companies how to save money. He was surrounded by bouquets that told how honest a tax man he really was.

The girls that worked in his office at the federal building in downtown Milwaukee sobbed while telling the tales of his merciless taunts: how their mittens were often found tossed up into the ceiling light fixtures.

How could they go on, they wailed, knowing there would never again be an errant mitten?

I know it's you, dear brother, behind this accounting nightmare, just like I know it was you who put a can of N/A beer in my purse at every family gathering, in the glove compartment of my car, in the medicine cabinet.

And, as for that age old question you always posed to me "I know you are but what am I?"

I can finally answer that:

You are such a part of me......................

Now help me get the damn $39.50!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I had to update my blog just now.
It was very scarey for me, I don't like change of any kind, in fact I'd put it off until they wouldn't let me log on without conforming!

I was then invited to create some widgets, feeds and custom domains, which made me involuntarily shudder. I had to look away.

I don't know what they are and don't want to know.

I'd rather have my old Smith Corona back but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

I may be too old to keep up with all this stuff, it seems like every second I am being asked to learn something new. Is this fair?

Ah, forgive me, I had a brief lapse for a second. Life, after all, isn't fair, but no one tells you that until you are just old enough to be bitterly disappointed.

At first it's all fun and games. Then the first big blow: finding out you cannot marry your father, he is already married, followed by the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy debauchle, and the horrifying knowledge, revealed by the bullies at school, that
contrary to what your parents told you, you are not the cutest, smartest, or most talented kid in the world, let alone the best colorer.

The first time someone laughs at your hairdo or says you look like a "Dolly Madison doughnut, without the hole," it's all downhill.

Jiminey Cricket...a liar. When you wish upon a star nothing happens.

It's the same with all this walking I am doing with four pair of pants on, several layers of shirts, multiple socks, two hats, you get the picture.

If you see someone walking down Camelot Drive in Fond du Lac moving like one of those zombies from "Night of the Living Dead," you will know why.

I thought I was supposed to feel better afterwards, but instead I ache all over from the cold and all the clothes that cut off my circulation. I would like to take a hot bath, with bubbles, but the damn drain only lets the tub fill up half way. If there's a reason for this crime against humanity, I'd like to know.

I had to resort, once again, to duct tape.

Now, just to comfort myself from imminent change, childhood disappointments, and the setting in of arthritis, I am forced to ingest the following:

Seven freshly baked chocolate chips cookies, the chips still warm and melty. I tried not to, and in a lame attempt at self control gave a plateful to the man across the street from me digging, digging all day wth a backhoe.

It's no use.

I give up.

I will be taking therest of them to bed with me... for medicinal reasons.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Though I've been lax in making blog entries which believe me, leaves me racked with even more guilt than usual,in this, the bitterest cold of the season, these past two weeks have not been without thoughtful reflection, or perhaps, more accurately, wondering how to think when something is dreadfully wrong with that thought process.

Is it humanly possible to leave your car running for seven hours and not know it, you ask?


Can one bag of popcorn, burned in the microwave, cause every fire alarm in the building the size of a city block go off, including sirens on the outside of the building blaring into the chill of the city, and prompt the Fond du Lac Fire Department?


Does a can of lysol feel the EXACT same way as hairspray when you are applying it?

This has been scientifically proven.

The only saving grace to my recent state of mind was a magazine stolen from an unnamed reception room by a further unnamed person who felt that it was his/her duty to pilfer anything, without question, that has Hugh Laurie's face on the cover, and give it to me.

In the name of medical research of course, my own, and the ongoing study of the inner workings of Dr. House, and the show, which is now in it's third season.

It wasn't until Saturday that I finally pinpointed the cause of this atypical brain drain: The mindless images of Badger games flickering across the newsroom television, which is situated directly behind my desk and to the right.

While the majority of males in the newsroom are running amok, eyes agog at the muted WISCONSIN game of whatever sort flickering on the TV screen (and those that aren't are looking wistful and sheepish, pretending to fit in), I experience an overwhelming urge to flip the channel to anything else: House, Gillmore Girls, Ugly Betty, even repeats of America's Funniest Home Videos, and just sit there and watch it, intermittantly emitting gutteral utterances.

It's not something you can really discuss rationally, why sports is news and therefore merits watching at work, while Grey's Anatomy isn't. Are these men aware of the fact Meredith may be floundering at the bottom of the ocean? What is wrong with these people.

It's strange to me, this loyalty to a school or college just because you went there, and the wearing, like groupies, of goofy red shirts and hats. I'm convinced it's a complex of some kind, but I haven't put my finger on it yet. Maybe not enough hugs as a child....

The Badger bantering, always within earshot and sometimes between two men standing and shouting to each other across the newsroom, resembles the passion of young lovers: Blushing with pride, laughing uproariously at a keen observance, speaking in hushed tones of certain.... luscious moves and loyal embraces, shared indignance over a perceived injustice.

Yes people, as ritualistic as mating but this time the stimulous is an entire sports team!

I shall stop here before I get myself in trouble with my jock sister, who will say I am being sexist - women can love sports, but the only sex flocking to the TV in the newsroom and sneaking backward glances as they work, their mouths in the shapes of 0's, are the men.

Here's my only badger experience. We killed one once, a panicked response I regret to this day, to ferocious snarling heard at 1 a.m. on a summer night. It lead to the dog pen and the cornered animal, nose to nose with two male collies, poised in imminent battle. It seemed like avoiding blood shed, and possible rabies, was the right thing to do. The drooling animal had very large teeth.

I can feel bad karma to this day, the Badger bru-ha-ha my penance for the meaningless execution of Bucky...

sigh........will it be over soon??

Sunday, February 04, 2007

We finally got what we deserved, being Wisconsin and all.
An arctic blast.

Cars aren't starting. I had to pick my daughter up from work.
The furnace can't seem to keep up with the cold, and runs endlessly.

Hairdos are a mess, hair wild like straw from woolen caps.
Skin chapped from the icy wind, cheeks an angry red.
Long underwear hugs our torsos and limbs, a cocoon of comfort, and we don't care how fat we look.

We fight off sleep, our brains want to hibernate.
The dog looks at you like you as if you have gone insane.
"Go outside? You try it and see how it feels, squatting in the snow."

Piles of tax papers are scattered on the table, weakening us further. Can we make it to the couch?

Only one hardy breed of human being will shun the edict to stay indoors.

The weatherman announces it's below zero and suddenly thousands of senior citizens get into their cars and drive to the grocery store for bread and milk.

I'm not kidding. The same phenomenon happens when a snow storm blows this way.

Pick 'n Save in Fond du Lac was packed Saturday with folks carrying AARP cards. Not to diss them, I certainly wouldn't do that to a statistical majority I will be soon be joining.

Maybe it's one of those genetic memory things Dr. Darold Treffert is talking about. He's the famous Fond du Lac psychiatrist, world renowned for his studies on the autistic savant, and now, this genetic memory thing that theorizes our DNA includes memories from our ancestors.

Like when we were trapped in an icy cave without any mastodon soup.

I'm sure our elderly brethren are hearkening back to the days of their own youth, when winter's worst wrath meant roads shut down for days, water pumps froze and pipes burst, hot water bottles warmed beds, carrots and potatoes were rotting in the root cellar and livestock keeled over because the crops didn't last through the long frozen season.

Excuse me, I think I'm heading out to Pick 'n Save.