Sunday, December 23, 2007
Pseudo live blogging from Wal-Mart
9:03 PM: I have arrived at Wal-Mart. Also known as THE Wal-Mart, Wally World, Wal-Marts, and Purgatory.

9:04 PM: That greeter didn't greet me. What are they paying her for? I mean, really. You have like one task... greeter! I remember when that title used to mean something. I should've said something. Larry David would have said something.

9:05 PM: Off to the DVD's to look for workout videos.

9:15 PM: After searching thru electronics for ten minutes and almost buying the Barry Manilow Christmas album, I am told the workout DVD's are in sporting goods.

9:15:05 PM: What? Hey, "Mandy" is a darn good song! Lay off me.

9:15:15 PM: No, my parents don't know I celebrate Festivus. And yes, I fear their reaction should they ever find out.

9:15:30 PM: Leaving electronics, I see Garth Brooks' Ultimate Hits is only $13. Hmm, do I know anyone who would want that? I can't think of anyone. Maybe I should get it anyway. You know, one of those gifts you buy and decide who to give it to later. Those always mean the most. 34 songs for $13. You can't pass that up. It's like a two dollar t-shirt.

9:17 PM: In sporting goods now. They have exactly three workout videos. Not three different kinds. Three total boxes. One Taebo and two others.

9:19 PM: Browsing the golf stuff. I'll be back with you in a bit.

9:34 PM: You know, if that guy grew a moustache and lost like a hundred pounds, he'd look exactly like Tom Selleck. Well, Magnum P.I. anyway.

9:35 PM: On my way to the tools.

9:36:30 PM: Risk! (Sorry, I got sidetracked in toys.) "The game of world domination, played by two guys who can barely run their own lives." I always quote that Seinfeld line everytime I see a Risk game. I never had Risk, but always wanted it. I always wanted Jenga, too.

9:37 PM: Remember that Brady Bunch episode where they built a house of cards? "Watch your bracelet, Marcia!"

9:38 PM: My Little Pony is back?

9:38:05 PM: My Little Pony is forty bucks! Thank goodness for Santa Claus.

9:40 PM: You know, I would still play with Legos if it were socially acceptable. Or, if the top of this box wasn't strapped down.

9:42 PM: In tools now. They're right next to the toys. The logic behind that eludes me.

9:45 PM: Calling Dad to see if he needs any tools. You know, just as a general conversation starter. Not that I'm going to buy whatever he mentions and give it to him for Christmas or anything.

9:45:30 PM: Dad can't think of any tools he needs.

9:46 PM: Augh! That PA system is L-O-U-D! You can't even talk on your cell phone in here with that thing blaring. Automotive, code white? What kind of encoded propaganda is that? I'm tuning it out.

9:47 PM: Singing "Carol of the Bells" to myself. "Hark, hear the bells, sweet silver bells, dum duh duh dum, ding dong mmm k. Ding-dong! Ding-dong!"

9:50 PM: I've found myself on an aisle with no apparent theme. There are seemingly misplaced toys on one side and little gift sets of cheap cologne on the other.

9:50:10 PM: Strike "cheap" from that last statement. The jury will disregard. Since when is Brut $9.24?! It used to be like three bucks. Did Brut get some sort of minor celebrity endorsement that I wasn't aware of? Maybe like Tom Green or Alyssa Milano or someone?

9:50:30 PM: Thinking of Brut slogans in my head. "Hi, I'm Tom Green. If there's one thing I know better than bad movies, it's bad cologne."

9:51 PM: Actually, I kinda like Brut.

9:51:05 PM: I kinda like Alyssa Milano, too.

9:52 PM: On my way to housewares. Is that even a department? I'm just making these names up as I go.

9:52:30 PM: That guy just blocked me in! Look out, I'm taking the back aisle all the way down. Clear!

9:53 PM: The back, or outer, aisle is almost always the smoothest way around a crowded store. Sure, it's longer distance-wise, but there's much less traffic, or danger, if you will. Think of it like this. You're a CTU agent and Jack Bauer has just told you to set up a perimeter. The outer aisle is this perimeter. Well, that's how I think of it anyway.

9:54 PM: Some woman working in the floral section just smiled and said hi. Am I supposed to know her, or is she just an overly friendly Wal-Mart associate?

9:58 PM: I somehow wound up on the greeting card aisle. This lady is putting out cards in the section I need to get to.

9:58:15 PM: I begin to sing the "Dead, Dead, Dead" song from the South Park Christmas CD, hoping to frighten her away. "Dead, dead, dead. Someday we'll be dead. Dead, dead, dead. Someday we'll all be dead."

9:59 PM: It doesn't seem to be working.

10:22 PM: Most of the rest of the trip is uneventful. I make a beeline for the checkout. Leaving Wal-Mart kinda feels like escaping from prison to me. And if I don't hurry, the guards will hit me with falling prices from the watchtower and I'll be sentenced to another hour and lose even more money.

10:23 PM: The checkout lines aren't bad at all. I'm second in line.

10:27 PM: This appears to be the first time the cashier has ever seen the electronic price scanner. She scans at least six of my items twice, double charging me. She keeps having to go back and void the extras. Meanwhile, I'm having to watch the screen like a hawk.

10:31 PM: As I'm leaving, the worker standing by the door--I refuse to call her a greeter any longer--is peering into my buggy and remarks, "That's a big thermos you got there." I'm momentarily confused. As she draws nearer, she says, "Oh that's not a thermos. That's some sort of... well, I don't know what that is."

It's my pink yoga mat. Just greet, lady.

"Eight table dancers, seven packs of Redman, six cans of Spam, five flannel shirts..."

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Friday, December 21, 2007
Momma Bone update
I think it was Lass who coined the above name. Hopefully she doesn't have a copyright on it. Else, I guess I'll be paying each time I use it...

Momma Bone continues to improve a little each day, in my professional son opinion. She went back to work Thursday for half a day. When I went to check on her during my lunch break, she had makeup on and her hair was done. I knew something was up.

Yes, I think it is a bit too soon for her to be going back to work. But at the same time, I'm happy and thankful she was able. And as someone who used five sick hours this year, I guess I don't have a lot of room to talk.

I want to thank all of you for the thoughtful and kind comments, the offers of someone to talk to, the IM's and emails, and especially your thoughts and prayers during this trying time. I read over each one of the comments again this morning. I surely hope I would do the same for each of you.

I also received an email this week from someone I had never emailed nor chatted with. She had written a simply beautiful poem for me. I won't post it without her permission, but thank you Marcia. You truly have a caring soul.

Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of care and support. It has reminded me what a wonderful place the blogosphere can be, and how we do get to know each other quite well through these blogs.

I got a lot of shopping done last night and only have a few more gifts to purchase. I apologize for being largely absent the past week or so. I know you understand, but as someone I consider a dear friend likes to say, I think I was born with the guilt gene.

I'm thinking I may finally get around to reading some blogs tonight and this weekend, and hopefully getting back to a regular posting routine. I'm even thinking of live blogging a trip to Wal-Mart :)

This has turned out to be my busiest and most hectic Christmas ever. But if it has brought family closer together, if it has reminded me of what's important in life, if it has helped me to appreciate the warmth and support of friends, and if it has caused Momma Bone to realize she needs to slow down some, then maybe it has also turned out to be one of the best.

"A long December, and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last..."

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007
3WW has moved!
Click here, and be sure to update your links.

I apologize for not getting around to reading everyone's entries last week. I wasn't around the computer much at all. The post below explains why.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007
A lesson in perspective
Friday afternoon, I was gearing up for a busy weekend. I had been having some minor health issues and had gotten behind on Christmas shopping and other holiday stuff. I finally went to the doctor Friday morning and was looking forward to feeling better and catching up on some things.

Around 6:30, Mom called and asked if I could come over and help her. She said her hand and lips were numb and she couldn't think straight. Her speech was a little slurred. She thought she was having a migraine. I grabbed some Excedrin Migraine and went over there.

After nearly an hour, we finally convinced her to go to the ER. They did a CAT scan which showed some abnormalities. The ER doctor said it appeared she'd had a minor stroke. Those are words that completely stop you in your tracks.

I don't know much about strokes, but I know they can be debilitating and cause permanent damage. How much damage had been done? Was she more likely to have another one? They transferred her to another hospital where a neurosurgeon could look at her. The next thirty-six hours were tense and anxious, worrying and wondering.

I think Mom probably got to her room around 11:00 Friday night. It filled my heart to see three of her sisters, one brother, two sisters-in-law, and one niece show up at the hospital at that hour. One aunt even spent the night at the hospital Friday night.

She spent Friday night and Saturday night in the hospital, undergoing a battery of tests. They released her this morning. The neurosurgeon said he thought her numbness and other symptoms were caused by scar tissue from a previous stroke. And she has to make an appointment with him to see if he can determine why these episodes are occurring and how to prevent them.

My thoughts are many and scattered. I'm not sure I'm making much sense. It was strange to be there without Dad. I mean, he visited for a few minutes on Saturday. But it was weird to realize for the first time the responsibilities that had been transferred to my sister and me.

On trips back and forth to the hospital this weekend,I kept passing places that reminded me of my childhood. I passed the preschool I attended. It closed a few months ago, but the building and sign are still there, along with some playground equipment. I remembered crying when Mom would drop me off. And thirty years seemed to have disappeared like a wisp of smoke.

For a time when I was very young, Mom and Dad cleaned the social security offices at night and cleaned up the parking lot of a shopping center on the weekend to make extra money. They would bring me along. I passed the shopping center on the way to the hospital this weekend. I thought about Mom and Dad when they were younger, trying to make ends meet. Oh, to be five again.

It just seemed things like that kept popping up and stirring memories of long ago. And I didn't mind at all. I was thankful to be reminded of things I hadn't thought about in years.

Friday afternoon, I was stressing about shopping and errands and Christmas and such. But sometimes life has its own plans. Tonight, I'm spending the night at Mom's, having been reminded of the things that are really important. All that other stuff... is just stuff.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007
3 Word Wednesday LXIV


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Closing
Headlights
Virtual


I would have been first in line for tickets to the last show ever at the Twilight Drive-In Theater, had there been a line. Ten minutes before the movie was scheduled to begin, and the lot looked more like the movie had been over for ten minutes.

Though I suppose it didn't have any direct effect on me one way or the other, I found myself disappointed that more people hadn't come. Did people not care that the Twilight was closing? Didn't anyone realize what this place had meant to me and thousands of others?

Then I felt guilty. I hadn't been to a movie here in fifteen years. I was as much to blame for its closing as anyone. The Twilight never managed to get any current movies, or lately even many decent ones. But there was a time when that didn't matter. Coming to the drive-in was more about the atmosphere, being free from the folks, socializing and soaking up the evening air. The movie itself was almost superfluous.

In its heyday, the Twilight Drive-In was the place to be on weekends. It was a familiar and expected sight back then to see cars lined up in a long train of headlights, stretching from the ticket booth back well out onto the road. The Twilight was also known for having the best burgers in all of Cook County. The whole concession stand was great. It was like eating at the fair, except year round.

During my late teens, it was a virtual certainty you would find me there every Saturday night. At the drive-in, that is. There were first dates, hoping the movie would last just a little longer, affording me a few more minutes to work up a bit more courage to kiss her. There were not first dates, not noticing the movie was over, being the last car to leave, affording me just a few more minutes to kiss her.

I wasn't sure what I missed most about those days, I just knew I missed them. Those days when sneaking thru the gate in the trunk of a car was about the worst thing I or any of my friends ever did. The Twilight represented my life then. And soon it would be torn down. I felt like I was losing a friend, and I was sad that so few people had shown up for the funeral.

I was halfway thru my first Twilight burger when the screen came on, and I realized I had no idea what movie was showing. Not that it mattered.

"Making our love with the moon above at the drive-in picture show. It was burgers and fries and cherry pies in a world we used to know..."

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Monday, December 10, 2007
Bone's 3rd Annual Festivus For The Rest Of Us
I've written quite a bit about Festivus on this blog. Well over twenty posts make mention of the F word, with several of those dedicated solely to that greatest of all non-religious, non-commercialized holidays. So when you do a google search for "festivus traditions" guess what comes up #2, right behind Wikipedia?

That's right, friends. Me. Number two! Behind my beloved Wikipedia! Do you realize what this means? Well, neither do I. But rest assured if I figure out what it means that I will take whatever it means very seriously. I can only hope I have made Frank Costanza very proud.

With that being said, the day is fast approaching. I sent out my Evites today. Bone's 3rd Annual Festivus For The Rest Of Us Shindig, Banquet, and General Gathering Of Discomfited Individuals will be held Saturday, December 22nd, at 6 PM. And you're all invited!

Sequels often leave something to be desired. But hopefully, this one will be kinda like Friday the 13th, Part 3, except without all the violence. Or the brief nudity. Or the hockey mask.

Don't worry about bringing anything, either. Though I will need one of you to be in charge of coats. (No "man furs" please.) And I'll need someone else to stand by Gabe Kaplan's tank and make sure no one taps on it.

I might also recommend that you have some sort of signal in case you get into a bad conversation with someone. Head patting is good. Although personally, I prefer the slightly more subtle chicken wing.

So many great memories have already been made during the first two Festivus celebrations, most occurring during the Airing of Grievances. Like last year, when Lil Bootay said she didn't like Three Word Wednesday.

My response? "Oh yeah? Well, the jerkstore called. They're running outta YOU!" OK, so I didn't really say that. I didn't think of it until after everyone had left. But that line would've really smoked her! Don't you think?

Again this year, I'm planning to serve pizza for the Festivus Dinner. We'll watch "The Strike" episode of Seinfeld. And of course, we'll have the Festivus Pole and the Feats of Strength. All the usual Festivus Traditions you've come to know and love.

Although due to an obscure city ordinance, there'll be no cockfighting this year. So we'll have to think of something else for the Feats Of Strength.

And now I leave you with one of the memories burned into our brains from last Festivus. And don't worry, the party wasn't this wild the whole night. People were just hopped up on Twix and black and white cookies at the time.



The lyrics for "Silver Pole" written by Bone. Music by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. Proceeds from Festivus will benefit Kramerica Industries: A solitary man with a messy apartment which may or may not contain a live chicken. And the Human Fund: Money for people.

"All these worksheets, grievance worksheets, lined with blanks yet to fill. In the air there's a feeling of terseness..."

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007
3WW LXIII


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Absent
Notebook
Persuade


jealousies persuade
temptation persists
privacy ignored
notebook opened

secrets read
heart laments
guilt engulfs
notebook closed

betrayal confessed
trust fractured
love unravels
eyes absent

notebook opened

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Confessions of a rabid namist
Excerpt from a conversation I had Sunday night:

Me: "Have you ever dated a guy who drove a motorcycle?"
D: "Yeah, for about fifteen minutes. Stefan."
Me: "Stefan? Please tell me that was not his real name."
D: (laughing) "You're just a name snob."
Me: "Me? Tell me you've known one normal Stefan. Go ahead, tell me. I'm waiting."


My name is Bone, and I am a namist. In relationships, it has always been vital that I like the name of any girl I date (not to mention her voice). I mean, what's more important than those two things? And in general, I hold certain preconceived notions of what a person will be like as soon as I hear their name.

For example, I've never known a normal Eric. I figure all Jodys, Lynns, and Shannons likely have some complex and try to overcompensate because they have girl names. And is there any doubt whatsoever Todd is going to be in a fraternity and drive a German car paid for by his parents?

Meanwhile, Steve is a laid-back good-time party guy. Not really dumb, he just doesn't care. He coasts thru life. Or maybe that's just me basing my entire opinion of Steves on the 90210 character so spledidly portrayed by the incomparable Ian Ziering.

Oh, but about Stefan. I've only known one. He was a friend of a friend. Honest. (And by the way, it was STEH-fun, not stuh-FAHN.) In high school, our weekend entertainment was to walk around the mall until it closed at 9:00. Stefan would always be there. Every. Single. Time.

You could walk into most any store in the mall and ask, "Has Stefan been in tonight?" And they would know who you were talking about. It was like he lived in the mall. Think the movie Terminal, except in a mall rather than an airport.

Stefan had this permed hair, a little Kirk Cameron-ish except it was more wavy than curly. And I can't believe I just typed an entire sentence describing some guy's hair. He looked about thirty years old, though I always assumed he was close to our age.

He was a loner type. Think The Fonz, except not cool. And in keeping with that analogy, I guess the mall was his toilet. Occasionally, he might be seen with a couple of stray girls he had picked up in the mall--mall groupies, we called them--but he usually walked alone.

Stefan would always be talking about all these potential plans for later. "Well I might be going here" or "So and so is having a party, I might stop by there." But I never once saw him anywhere outside the mall.

Sometimes I wonder if he's still there. If I could walk into KB Toys today, mention his name, and the workers would know who I was talking about. But alas, I think I'd rather not know. I'd like to believe he is still there, if only in my mind.

"Now I don't blame him cos he run and hid. But the meanest thing that he ever did was before he left, he went and named me Sue..."

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Sunday, December 02, 2007
Take those old movies off the shelf
By no means am I a movie buff. I go to the theatre maybe once a year. I've probably heard the phrase "I can't believe you haven't seen that" more than any human being on the face of the Earth. (As opposed to humans currently inhabiting other planets?)

But times, they are a-changin'. My new found love is classic movies. These days, I can frequently be found scanning the television in search of an old black and white film. My new favorite channel is Turner Classic Movies.

Tonight I watched The Shop Around The Corner, with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. It's the movie that You've Got Mail was based on. It was a delight, funny and captivating throughout. Several times I found myself laughing out loud.

There is an alluring simplicity to classic movies. Without all the distractions and special effects of films today, the focus is entirely on the story, the writing, and the acting. And what wonderful acting.

The dialogue is quick and clever and delivered flawlessly. Even supporting actors seem to be perfectly placed and add so much to the film. The humor is subtle. Understated, but hilarious, without ever being crass. When did that type of comedy go out of style?

Classic movies often offer a look at America during a simpler time. A time when, as in the movie I watched tonight, a man could support a family working at a retail shop. There wasn't all the excess that there is today. Even though times were hard, there is something comforting about that to me. Appealing, even.

A lot of the stories also seem to be set in New York--romantic old New York. Those are the ones that make me wish I could climb thru the TV screen and take my place as a bystander just to experience what it was like to be there. It's a time and place I obviously never had a chance to see. Now at least I can go there for brief glimpses.

Bear in mind, I've only seen a very few classic films, but my favorite actor so far is Jimmy Stewart. Young Jimmy Stewart, before he got into all those Westerns. I'm ashamed to admit that up until a few months ago, I only knew him from It's A Wonderful Life.

My favorite movie has been Wait Until Dark, with Audrey Hepburn. I don't have the vocabulary to adequately describe Hepburn's performance, perfectly conveying both innocent vulnerability and immense courage. Almost the entire movie is set in a single basement apartment, yet a complete, captivating story is told. How brilliant is that.

I apologize if I sound overly excited. After all, it's not as if I've discovered some hidden secret no one else knows about. But for me, it is something new. I know I'm very late to this party, but I'm looking forward to catching up. I'm open to any and all recommendations.

"It's Saturday night at the movies, and those black and white reruns are bringing back old time memories when Hollywood was young..."

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