“What’s a Movie?” “It’s a form of entertainment that enacts a story by sound and a sequence of images giving the illusion of continuous movement, but that doesn’t matter right now.”

Young@Heart DVD

Dad has pretty much always questioned authority, thumbed his nose at convention, and rebelled against whatever he felt like. He keeps his mind open for continuing revelations even when those are that the status quo ain’t all that bad. For example, after much study he concluded that Elvis is probably dead and aliens are probably not a direct threat, but he’s had enough of the hospital so, smell ya later.

Dad, this movie is for you.

Since we don’t have a television at the moment (CURSES!), I’ve been watching a lot of digital video discs. I stumbled across Young@Heart: You’re Never too Old to Rock at the Pima County Library. This movie is my new best friend and proves that punk was around long before Punk. You don’t have to have pink hair, though blue works nicely. I LOLed at this movie, but I was also deeply touched. Do yourself a favor, if you aren’t going to rent the movie, at least Google their performances of Forever Young and Fix You, though they are more powerful in context.

I had dinner at “the club” with the Bendicksons the other night and we discussed the lineup for the 2010 Tucson International Children’s Film Festival. In the past they have shown movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, Egon and Donci, Azur and Asmar: The Princes’ Quest, Shaolin Soccer, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, The Red Balloon, White Mane, Strings, Please Vote for Me, Microcosmos and even US films like The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T and Creature From the Black Lagoonin 3D. This year there are only two films that interest me. Perhaps the line-up is a little too Western? I’ve seen all the movies.

The solution? Saturday night Movie Time at the Bendicksons. Last week, it was on a Friday because the Bendicksons are all punk like that. They don’t need no stinkin’ badges. This week, they are going tropical with George of the Jungle followed by Tarzan. The plan is to wax nostalgic all DeAnza (RIP) like with their late night double feature picture show.

Perhaps they might consider City of Bees: A Children’s Guide to Bees out of Denmark for a future screening ala Microcosmos. I always love to see insects buzzing about and kiddos running in fields in their underwear, but the narrator uses his preschool voice and that is a huge turn-off. The information is appropriate for an older kid and there is some sick propolis action. Also, there is a seven page guidebook that is a little worksheet-y and perhaps a twee young for my kids, but since the 8 YO Girl did a project on bees for Hawt Mz, she is on it like honey on a comb. And just for that local touch, the guidebook has a link to a University of Arizona URL that provides lesson plans for kids K-12.

For family night, Handsome Hubster rented Airplane! That part compelling him to push the envelope is still in tact. Somewhere, I lost my obvious punk edge (never could afford the accouterments anyway) and became a little mommy-two-shoes as evidenced by my watching City of Bees with the 8 YO followed by subsequent Internet searches for further study, but deep down I have the heart of a RebL as placed by my daddy-o, who never wanted me to call him “Shirley” either. Turns out Dad’s cancer is Stage 4 and he’ll decide soon if he wants to ward it off with chemo or garlic or both or neither. I’m grateful for my dad and the community who have come out in such numbers they sometimes must wait their turn. You can follow him and whatever he chooses to tell you here. As for me, I’m off to the Bendicksons.

Did I mention I am a sellout Amazon Associate? I am and even managed to make $2 off you suckers!

Christmas Gifts

Gifts we gave. We made all our gifts this year, including zipper pulls for the cousins’ backpacks.

Gifts for the kids. The tree is propped up by presents especially selected by our loved ones for us. Some of us were excited and some of us played it cool.

The leather jacket emphasizes the cool, don’t you think?

Gifts for the dog. Toys marked “chew me” don’t last long around these parts.

Gifts for the future. I pray that I have enough of my children’s great grandmother’s genes to look this good in my mid 80s. She works out every day. Bleh.

Gifts to make me cry. Caddo Artist also gave handmade gifts. It’s too bad I couldn’t catch the detail on the beading along with the way it catches the light. Then again, all I’m trying to pass along is that people not on her Christmas list should be jealous. I’m jealous of myself!

My mom told me that I would have to wait until she died to get this scarf, just like she had to wait until my grandmother died. I didn’t have to wait and how nice is it that my mom is alive? She also recounted in a lovely illuminated letter the story of the scarf and a childhood trip with her mother to San Francisco.

Dreams of our new year. I can count my blessings at Thanksgiving, but I learn so much more about giving at Christmas. Between now and the new year, I’ll be considering the generosity of my family by birth and by choice. This season I’ve been put on notice that the world has the capacity to be beautiful, kind, and creative. I must respond likewise. I’ll have challenges, but I’ll have support. In this way, I (you are welcome on the journey) can continue to dream for a world in which every day we celebrate the best in each other (after you quit gagging, of course).

Christmas Giving

Now that we’ve gotten past the food and many of us have exorcised our inner shopping demons, I’d like to provide, as so many others have, alternative thoughts on gift giving at Christmas. My brother-in-law has requested a no spending policy between our families this season and I’m more than pleased to oblige. We did agree that no spending could mean finding our inner craftster, however, I’m unlikely to make this for his kiddos:

This Tampon Angel arrived in my Facebok in box from a most unlikely source. I’m not saying it’s my Senior Warden because if she had wanted folks to know about her inner subversive, surely she would have posted it on her own wall. Then again I told her I wanted to post it post-turkey and with her reply of, “I dare ya!” she cast herself as a provocateur. For this reason, I will allude to the identity of the sender rather than state outright it was the Senior Warden, who would also have you know about the Grace St. Paul Alternative Christmas Fair on December 13th. Last year they had Just Coffee, handmade items, and sales that benefited not-for-profit organizations.

Wise Bread also offers strategies to keep you in budget this year. If you are considering pulling out the plastic, consult this post from Pimp Your Finances. Man Vs. Debt challenges his giving policy — something most of us can afford to reexamine.

Christmas shouldn’t be a drag. I plan to get my kiddos that Shoot ‘Em Up Pet Shop Pokemon Heavy Metal Glitter Goo-gaw. I certainly learned from my own family that getting that one oh so materialistic as to be painfully obscene gift does bring joy to all involved. I also know that the Christmas we had relatively few presents, but ate a huge breakfast and watched black and white footage from my dad’s childhood was one of my favorite Christmases — though I liked the Barbie Dream House too.

Girl Scout Cookie Season

Cookie season is a major event for the girls in green. They love the excitement and enticements that accompany those sales. In Arizona, boxes are slightly more expensive because they offer so many scholarships to the girls. Last year, our troop sales were incredible and we paid for visits to Build-a-Bear, Rocks and Ropes, and Camp Creepenstein, as well as donating boxes of cookies and cash, and still they put aside a large chunk for later. I hate cookie season.

I have trouble selling the boxes, trouble chasing down the folks who ordered boxes, trouble getting money for the distributed boxes, and worst of all trouble with the self-control of the two adults living under my roof. But the season is here and tonight the Girl Scout leaders for the 7 YO’s troop launched into the various incentives for the girls, possible ways to promote the cookies, and the TONS of (annoying but necessary) rules. I hate rules. They confuse me.

Brownie Leader: You wouldn’t believe some of the things that have happened. For example, parents were taking the cash from the sales and writing bogus checks to the Council, so there’s a rule about that. Also, when staffing a booth, parents can’t stand off to the side smoking and yacking away.

Me: Well, I don’t smoke but the yacking sounds fun.

Magic: A friend of mine just returned from Brazil with a ton of slides.

Me: Oh, I guess I’d be interested in a slide show.

Magic: No. I mean we could take the cookie money and go to Brazil. DUH!

Okay, Magic didn’t actually say, “DUH!” to my face, but I would have if I were her. See? Rules confuse me. I’d like to take the cash, write a check, and stand off to the side yacking about Brazillion trips.

In January, the 7 YO girl will take your orders for cookie sales. If you live far, you can buy boxes for Troops to Troops, our troop charity (TBA), or Joseph’s Pantry. Just send me cash and I’ll cut a check to the Council. Okay, not really. You should send a check. And you should buy lots because if George sells 3000 boxes ($12,000 in value), she gets a lap top.

Class Dismissed

I channeled Miss Emily Litela today as a parent chaperone on a field trip to the subversive produce mecca of the 17th Street Market, though I didn’t realize it at the time. For those of you not fortunate enough to be reared by parents who worked late into the night, thus allowing you unfettered access to comedians like the brilliant Gilda Radner, take a gander:

Oh, Big Brother and I spent hours dotting and crossing on Mom’s chalkboard! Perhaps this goes some distance explaining why I’m such a teacher groupie, or why I adore the cardigan, or why I can’t pee in the ocean. I think this skit was probably the inspiration behind my brother and I silently, or loudly, saying, “Vacuum!” to one another, though we did occasionally say, “Olive juice,” as well. There was no sport in letting our parents presume we liked each other. Our alliance was forged in secret. Such subversiveness allowed us far more nefarious activity than we otherwise would have enjoyed. When Big Brother is watching over you, you get to hang out at Expresso Royale. Oh, yes. And it went without saying there was nary a snitch about our willfully impious cherry vanilla Italian sodas or peppermint tea brewed in a French press. OUI!

That must have been when all went wrong. Espresso Royale, secret codes, and Miss Emily Litela. “Vacuum? I just did it yesterday. F*** you? Oh. That’s different! Nevermind.” But today was about olive juice with the kid I can actually claim to love in public without Olympic eye gymnastics. Hawt Mz invited us to name our favorite part of the market. Just because I played rugby doesn’t make me a fish fan, but I gotta say the fish monger was my favorite. Brett must have known because he took a picture. And looky who’s there with me!

Yes! I looked deep into the eyes of Emily Litela and hadn’t a clue as she and I mirrored each other’s every move and gesture and indoctrinating comment to future voters of America. At the same time, I think I’m an adequate foil to Hawt Mz, who made fun of me for taking my group to the frozen food isle to admire the ice cream and define decadent for first and second grade students. That’s right! They can’t hear POTUS tell them to stay in school, but it’s totally cool for Emily Litela to define decadent. And that my friends, is nefarious.

The Finisher – Could that be me? Nah.

Recently I finished a dish rag I’d been knitting for two years solid. I gave it away straight away, so, no photos. I thought perhaps I could finish a few verbal projects here. I’m terrible at tying up loose ends. I’ll tell a tale like Nugget has joined the Peaceable Kingdom or Apples to Apples: An Ethnography of the Apple Store, and then leave it at that. It’s not that I don’t want to finish the story, it’s just that I’m a lazylou. I also have a 9 year quilt in the closet with my other skeletons. While unfinished is the way I roll, a little catch-up wouldn’t kill me.


The Apple store totally took care of me. New battery, new battery charger, new battery connection, new keyboard plate, and totally wiped down and cleaned up. The outcome feels as luxurious as getting my car detailed, which I’m totally going to do one day so that I know what it feels like to have my car detailed. The best part? The cost of parts and services was over $400, but they charged me nothing. I may not understand the store setup and perhaps I’m doing it all wrong, but I’m not sorry I drank the Apple juice.


Nugget decided to join the rest of our flock and even spent two nights perched with them. Unfortunately, the morning after proved to be no honeymoon. Buttercup would have none of it and, fearing a reprisal of the earlier victimage at the beaks of the Borton birds, Nugget quit roosting with the rest, choosing instead the grapefruit tree. We tired of retrieving her and so have reverted to roosting her ourselves in her segregated cell. I’m at a loss with her. I hate to see outcasts so if you have a suggestion, please let me know.


You may have noticed from my Twitter feed that we were scrambling to find new digs. The landlady called to say she was ready to move in and was sending a contractor over here today. Being a glorious F-Friday, I overheard the contractor tell landlady that she should budget six months just to draw up plans for the renovations. She didn’t say we could stay for those six months, but I’m feeling more relaxed about the situation. Even better, I’ve spent the last seven days on overdrive trying to pare down our possessions in preparation to move. In other words, the house is uncluttered and light weight. In fact, we had a discussion over dinner that we should invite all three of our friends over for a party then tell them how embarrassed we are the house is such a pit. Get it? We’d come off as Model Home folks. Ah, we are so funny. Okay, not really. There’s still much to clean and even cleaner probably wouldn’t approach your level of cleanliness.


Fluffy and Puffy are, for the most part, gone. Must be time to weed again!


Oh, I am so exhausted! It takes the wind out of a person to attend to the details. There is no way I’m going to do the dishes now.

Not Selling Girl Scout Cookies Online

Let me start off by saying we are not selling Girl Scout Cookies on-line. No, we are not. We are not because that is clearly against the rules. GSUSA prohibits internet sales of Girl Scout Cookies. This includes on-line auctions, broadcast e-mail messages, and/or council Web sites. Got that? Are we clear? Let’s face it, even if it were allowed, we’d never get to the post office to mail your order to you.

Now that we have covered how we are not selling GSCs on-line, I’d like to point out that many of you who adore the 6 YO girl and do live in Tucson may need of a source for GSCs. Consider contacting her since her personal sales goal is 185 boxes, approximately 1/4th of the goal for her entire troop. Think big baby girl!

GSCs claim no trans fats, but they do have partially hydrogenated oils in them anyway. Perhaps that would be inappropriate ingesta for you, but you would still like to help a sista out. Our church, Grace St. Paul’s, has a food ministry called Joseph’s Pantry. It is an agency of the Tucson Community Food Bank and Association of Arizona Food Banks. George and a Daisy GS sister of hers are taking donations of boxes of cookies to the pantry for their “Gift of Caring”. You could also talk to her about how to donate cookies toward that project.

Yes, I did just return from a GS meeting. At that meeting I picked up two uniforms in need of patch sewing. Some of you may know that in the process of sewing the 6YOs uni, a needle broke and flew at my face so quickly I heard a tiny sonic boom. OUCH! Sewing? Cookie sales? What the? And if you remember correctly I joined the PTO at my son’s school for a t-shirt discount. I drive, and love, a minivan with easy listening on the radio. I’m forcing my kids to eat carrots to help them poo. Fundamental shifts have occurred in my whoaminess. Where are my old lady jeans and hair scrunchies?

Presents with a Presence

This is a participatory post, so you lazy lurkers put on your big kid pants and help a girl out.

I’ve changed my mind about hand-made pledges at Christmas. I tried it last year, but the store has good stuff too. I think “presents with a presence pledge” would be more appropriate for me. To ease into the holiday spirit and to put giving in the proper perspective, I plan to spend the next few weeks reflecting on gifts that affected me in a fundamental way. That includes the Molly Pitcher sheet music, gold-cup strung necklace, and “┬┐Eso si, que es?/SOCKS” (This gift here, what does it mean?) I mentioned in my previous post. I want YOU to leave a comment or a link to your blog post on meaningful giving.

I’ll get us started. Yesterday I was looking for love notes from the Hubster. I didn’t find any, but that’s something to hash out over dinner when it’s time to make the children cry. Instead I found the leather bound blank book my 6 YO girl’s great aunt sent to her, in which she wrote funny stories of her brother/my daughter’s grandfather. I was taken aback at how affected my daughter was by her grandfather’s passing all things considered. The two of them were lovely together and she took his passing hard. The journal from her great-aunt wasn’t just a way to pass on family history, but rather it honored the connection between a grandfather and granddaughter.

For Locals

I’ve just stepped off the curb with my “He Lives” sign and I’m all high on Jesus. I appreciate the welcome to ALL people (including Republicans) and, once a year, pets at my place of worship and want to give them a shout out for two of their upcoming events.

December 7th, Grace St. Paul’s is hosting an alternative craft fair. After the 8 and 10 a.m. services, tables will be set up offering you the opportunity to buy mosquito nets from the Episcopal Relief and Development to help prevent malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, a flock of chickens for a family in South America from Heifer Project International, or you can buy lovely handmade and unique crafts from African Team Ministries. Additionally, if you are crafty and would possibly like to have a table, it’s an open fair. But it’s THIS Sunday so call quickly, 327-6857.

December 14th, Grace St. Paul’s is having a Blue Christmas service for people who tend more toward depression than celebration this time of year.

No Waste Day Wasted

I started out No Waste Day with the best of intentions. I put my coffee in a jar and the jar in a sock. My son’s soccer water was also in a jar. My daughter drank her soccer water out of her expensive and cute SIGG thing. But that’s not really “no waste” as we always drink out of thermosesesi and to go mugs and such. The sock had a wintery theme to bring cheer to the dreary 70 degree temps Tucsonans are forced to face.
Post-soccer we went to lunch and partook in much waste, but the girl collected leaves for later use in a front window Fall display. I tied the leftover food and harvested leaves to the top of the minivan along with the kids since the interior of the minivan can only hold so much junk.

Upon arriving home, I cleaned out my minivan. H.O.L.Y. C.R.A.P. I pretty much had to cart No Waste Day to the curb with the trash at that point because there was such a paper blizzard I considered shipping it to Aspen to improve skiing conditions. Then, I collected all the food from the floor and sent it to Pilgrims Pride to compliment their reduced lunch for kids program.

Afterward, I did a bunch of laundry, but only hung one load to dry. A girl likes soft skivvies, you know. Blah blah blah worked for pay, which may never get done. Then packaging for dinner was unwrapped and trashed. Oh, hey, I have a solar oven on loan that cooks potatoes like silk.
So, today was Best of Intentions, Recycle, Trash, Use, and Think of How I Once Did Something Good for the Planet Day.