Thursday, October 29, 2015


I just saw this pic of a friend on Facebook:  
Greg in his gear.  Practically invisible.

He is decked out in his camos - I think there might even be feathers involved - his face looks like it's smeared with black shoe polish, and he is hiding in a tree

News flash!  All that effort is not necessary.  There's an easier way.  

Just come to my house, get a cold drink and a plate of food and sit on the deck.   When you look up from your first bite, you will see a deer wander up and begin eating birdseed out of the feeder which is inches away from you.  A second will be ambling up the stairs - why walk through the brush when you can just use a staircase?  Most likely there will be a third who will be dining nearby on the flower heads of chrysanthemums.  

Don't think you will scare them either, because you won't.  Nothing you can do or say will convince them to move on.  Nothing.  Not banging on a pan, not shouting, not running around waving your arms.  Believe me, I've tried. Occasionally they will make eye contact, but it's more to taunt me than anything else.   

My dad told me once that when he was young he went to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to deer hunt, "because there weren't deer in lower Michigan."  

Times have changed.  We live fifteen hours south of the U.P. and sometimes there will be ten deer in our front yard at once.

Hunters are searching for deer in the wrong place.  The deer obviously have all moved to the city.


Friday, October 9, 2015

My Dinner Companion

This week I am in beautiful Banff, a national park in Canada, accompanying my husband to an AHTD conference.  Although one guy told me it means, "Acquired Hyper-tension Disease," AHTD actually stands for "Association for High Tech Distributors." These affairs are old-hat for Jerry but it's a rare pleasure for me to join him.  Yes, I am totally out of my element here.  Meaningful conversation with the attendees will not be happening but I totally can socialize with the other spouses and we are staying in a castle in the mountains.  This luxury is not the normal world I inhabit but I am willing to adapt.

Beautiful Lake Louise
Photo courtesy of
Kathy Golubski

Last evening I found myself at dinner in a noisy restaurant sitting with a table full of strangers.  I was nervous because, as I said, I rarely attend these events and I'm totally clueless about almost any topic which they might discuss.  It's going to be a long, long night, fraught with mine-fields of dangerous opportunities in which I might unintentionally embarrass my significant other.  

The tension mounts.

I choose to forgo the cocktail and I get teased.  I stick to my guns.  I need my wits about me.

There are two other spouses at this table, but I am not sitting beside either one of them.  I am between Jerry and a gorgeous younger woman named Rhonda whom I initially thought was the host's wife.  Of course I didn't keep this assumption to myself.  The very first thing I said to her was, "How long have you and your husband been here?"  to which she chuckled and replied, "He's not my husband; he's my boss."

Oops.  Strike one.

In fairness to me, my husband's chosen career is male dominated so it was an honest mistake.  When you do come across a woman in this field though, you can bet your paycheck that she will be hard-working and as sharp as the blade of a well-honed knife.  Women who succeed in this industry are uber competent and dedicated; there is no express elevator to the top.  Because I know this, I am even more nervous than usual.

The guys were talking about football, or baseball or basketball - some sport.  I have nothing to contribute to this conversation so I'm only half-listening when this gal leans in my direction and says, "Do you like cocaine?"


To say that I was blindsided would be dramatic understatement. My mind froze. Where there was once brains, there are now just icicles.  I could feel the color drain out of my face.  How do I respond to this?  I knew - I just knew - that no matter what I said, it was going to be the wrong answer.

This is beyond awkward. 

After a pause that was far too long, I rose to the occasion.  I may not be in my element, but I have been a mother for almost forty years.  Within this timespan, there have been more than a few uncomfortable conversations.  I prepared for another.

Falling back on hard-won skills that parenthood has taught me, I looked her square in the face and, without flinching, I said, "Do I like cocaine?"

She burst out laughing.

"I'm from Kentucky," she said, "I said, 'Do you like UK?'"

The evening got a lot easier after that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Crystal Clear Instructions

My cousin Nancy had this lovely ginger jar for many years before she looked inside it.

When she did, she found these directions:

While I'm the first to admit that I am not the sharpest crayon in the box when it comes to putting things together, even I feel that this might be overkill.  On the plus side, both steps are easy to understand.