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Stuck in the middle

image courtesy of

July is the middle of the year. Specifically, July 2 (in a non-leap year) is the exact middle of the year. And it feels like the middle, doesn’t it?

For me, June seems like a recovery month. Time to take a breath, throw away or file the piles of school papers the kids have accumulated over the past several months, sleep in a bit and be a little lazy. Or a lot lazy. But June didn’t fall into its usual rhythm this year. My son attended summer school for the first time. That, in addition to something called SAC camp (Strength and Conditioning Camp) four afternoons a week has put a wrench in the laziness of summer.

And now I find myself in the waining days of July wondering where my summer went. No beach getaway, no long drives to visit family. Just days on end having to be somewhere at a certain time. Dropping off or picking up. There’s been plenty of laziness in between, but not the kind that makes you feel rested. Just the kind that makes you feel…well, lazy.

August is just around the corner, and while the kids don’t officially go back to school until the 27th, marching band and football practice starts August 1.

I’ve felt like I’ve been in a holding pattern this summer–waiting for one thing to end and another to begin. Filling my time rather than investing it in something bigger, and generally feeling a bit useless. But as I look back on the days where it seems nothing of great importance happened, I remember the two day Psych watching marathon with my daughter. Two days filled with laughter and repeating silly lines from Shaun and Gus. I remember teaching my son how to make grilled cheese sandwiches on the griddle, and how obtaining that knowledge empowered him–even if it was only the power to make himself a hot meal. And a dozen other little things millions of moms or dads never think twice about. And I realize the little things do matter. Or maybe not so much the little things, but the little moments.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, may I present a gratuitous cat video:

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: July hosted by Peter Pollock. For more summerly posts, please visit him at

Baseball: a game of jubilance

I went to an Astros game Saturday. They haven’t had the best of seasons, but I rarely turn down an opportunity to go to a game. I used to be more of a sports fan. As a child, I cheered on the Houston Oilers. But then Bud Adams packed up his team under cover of night and set up shop in Nashville.

Bud Adams: a class act

That pretty much ruined me for professional football. All I have left is hating the Cowboys, and that’s not even much fun anymore.

The good old days

In the late 80s and early 90s, I was a huge Rockets fan. I watched Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon lead his team to their first franchise championship. I even named my cat after their head coach, Rudy Tomjanovich. (The cat’s registered name is Rudy T. Rocket.) A few years later, the soft spoken and humble hero of Rockets Basketball was summarily traded to the Toronto Raptors. The man who brought in countless fans and millions of dollars to the city should have retired in Houston, but there is little loyalty in professional sports. Add to this disappointment of my beloved team, basketball players began to look and act more like street thugs than professional athletes, and their antics on and off the court left a foul taste in my mouth. (Pun intended.)

Being a fan of Houston professional sports teams has proved a painful experience. You may recall the Houston Astros, in what is quite possibly the most bone-headed PR disaster in modern sports history, the Astros chose not to renew pitching legend Nolan Ryan’s contract and allowed him to go to the Texas Rangers.

Ryan still maintains god-like status to Houston Astros fans

But despite my distaste for the former Astros owner (I have high hopes for the new one) for me, the only professional sport still worth supporting is major league baseball.

A thinking man’s game, but also a boy’s game. According to the Associated Press, the average salary for a MLB player in 2012 is $3,440,000. Granted, they’re factoring in the enormous salaries of superstars like Albert Pujols who will make 12 million this season or Alex Rodriguez who will pull in a cool 30 million, but even the minimum salary of $480,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Just shy of half a million dollars a year for what must be one of the greatest jobs on earth: playing baseball.

Oh, sure. It’s not all sunshine and roses–time away from family, concerns about being traded or your latest hitting or pitching slump–but all things considered, it’s a pretty sweet deal. And what’s more, what you will most likely realize if you ever happen to get to a game early enough to watch the guys warming up, is that the vast majority of the players know just how lucky they are. They seem, in a word, jubilant.

Minute Maid Field is a beautiful place to watch baseball.

We weren’t there early enough to see the Astros warm up, but we watched the Indian players from the balcony for several minutes.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Other times, not so much. You can blame the photographer (me) for this. Because while I did manage to capture these three players waiting around to field a ball,

what I failed to capture was what they did once the balls began flying in their direction. From left to right, we’ll call them Player 1, Player 2 and Player 3. It didn’t take long for me to determine that Players 1 and 3 were veterans. Player 2? Most likely a rookie.

For most of the time I observed them, the rookie stood several feet in front of the other two players. He chased after every ball and caught the vast majority of them while Player 1 and Player 3 carried on a conversation. It wasn’t until the rookie had chased after and caught a ball that was coming straight at the other two players that Player 3 decided to the rookie needed to be taken down a couple of notches.

The next ball was hit high, its downward trajectory within three feet of the rookie. He stretched out his glove and waited for the ball to fall in. But it didn’t. Because Player 3 ran out in front of him at the last minute and stole the catch. School was in session.

I spent the next twenty minutes watching Player 3 do everything within his power to keep the rookie from catching another ball, including a couple of times where he removed his glove and threw it at the incoming baseball just so Rookie wouldn’t make the play.

Professional baseball may be big business, but it’s also a game played by grown up boys. And watching ball players serves as a reminder not to take life too seriously.


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Jubilant, hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. For more jubilant posts, please visit him at

Expecting more than what meets the eye

Mwha ha ha!

In case anyone is wondering, yes, I’m still painting. I’m hoping to be done by this week, but who knows? My time management skills are, as my mother would say, “the sucks”, and I never know how long any one element of a mural is going to take to finish until I actually finish it.

Take Zombie Mermaid for example. She’s no longer a zombie, but she always will be in the the above photograph. It’s a fairly simple design, but she’s got a lot of layers. In this first picture, she’s got some details added to the base design: the hair and the fins are given some dimension with a few well placed brush strokes.

More layers after that. I’ve added ribbons and pearls, started on the eyes, nose and lips and added shading to her skin.

There’s still much to be done, but as I stood back and looked from a distance, I liked the progress. I especially like how the pearls were looking.

From a couple of feet away, I thought they looked great just like they were, and for about half a minute or so, I considered leaving them. Because frankly, painting each pearl one by one is pretty dang time consuming. But then I got up close again.

And up close, they look pretty crappy.

How many people will see that mermaid, then decide to get close enough to see those pearls up close? Probably very few. Chances are, no one would ever notice that what they see from two or more feet away isn’t what it appears to be upon close inspection.

But I would know.

Despite what everyone else may see as acceptable and even beautiful from far away, the creator has an intimate view of her creation and knows the flaws others might never notice.

And when the creator knows a flaw can be worked on and made better, she goes about doing just that. Because a flaw that can’t be seen from a distance doesn’t make it any less a flaw to her.

Of course, walls don’t have free will, aren’t willfully disobedient and don’t talk back.

They’re much easier to deal with than we are.

Next up, I have to work on the many imperfections of my shark. Which may look okay from a distance, but up close it’s total crap…


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: More, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. For more on more (ha!) please visit him at

Mmmmemorieeees light the corner of my mind

When I received a reminder email about this week’s blog carnival topic: Memory, I immediately started singing the song Memories made famous by Barbara Streisand, even though I think I probably sounded more like Liza Minelli whist singing it. I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask my dog, since he was the only one fortunate to witness the wonder that is me imitating aging Jewish singers from New York. (Okay, technically Liza Minelli isn’t Jewish, but she could be.)

But beyond my amazing, albeit solitary performance in my office, nothing really came to mind to write about. Oh, sure. I’ve got plenty of memories, but nothing really struck me as blog post worthy. Instead, I thought I would share with readers old and new, quite possibly the most memorable post that has ever graced this blog.

To quote my friend @Marni71, “Oh PCB, we hardly knew thee!”

May I present (or re-present), your friend and mine, the Pornographic Cheese Butler. (Sorry/you’re welcome)

I do NOT heart Grocery Shopping (aka PCB, Part 1)

Here’s something else kind of space/time continuum-ey. When I went shopping Friday afternoon, I had no idea Beth was going to do a post about grocery shopping, nor did I know I would be doing a post about grocery shopping. That is, until I happened to come across a cheese display at the local grocery store. People, it’s not like I’m out looking for blog fodder everywhere I go (Okay, maybe I am just a little.), but tell me, is it’s just me?:

Seemingly gracious wine and cheese steward from this angle, right? Not so fast!

Am I the only person who thinks this guy isn’t wearing any pants? I have passed by this particular display countless times! Since I don’t drink wine and I think those particular type of crackers are fairly nasty, I never really paid much attention. But please, Kroger! There are CHILDREN at this grocery store!

That is just wrong on so many levels. After be ocularly accosted in the rear of the store (pun intended), I figured I had everything I wanted and some things I didn’t. I composed myself and went to the check out line, paid for my groceries and headed out to the parking lot. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, my phone rings. It is my husband calling. “Are you still at the grocery store?” This means one of two things: 1) “How much longer are you going to be?” or 2) “I forgot to ask you to get me some jelly beans.” On this day, it was the latter. I really didn’t feel like going back to the store, as I was still visibly shaken by the pornographic cheese buttler. But since Katdish = obedient wife, I turned the car around and went back to get 3 bags of Jolly Rancher jelly beans. (They are the best.) Obviously, I didn’t get a cart or a basket. I can manage 3 bags of jelly beans all by myself, thank you very much.

So guess what? They’re on sale. They are ordinarily $2.99 per bag, but the sale price was 3 for $5.00. I call dh to ask him how many bags I was supposed to buy. Yep — six. “Oh, and by the way, we also need Cheetos, saltine crackers and tortilla chips.” Great! As if I don’t already look like a big enough tool walking around with 6 large bags of jelly beans. Might as well go for broke.

No, I do not heart grocery shopping — not even a little bit. But the candy aisle was somewhat educational. Have you heard about the new m&m special dark chocolate candies?

I always thought that because they were shiny looking, they were INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED in foil. And seriously…who has that kind of time? But no! You EAT the shiny part:

Yeah. Still not so sure about that. But to end on a positive note, guess what they were selling in the bakery? (Cue the angelic, cherub choir.) Chocolate chip pumpkin muffin tops! Yum-O!

Now, that there is a muffin top I can give truly get behind.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Memory, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. To read more posts about memories (although most likely not about naked butlers in grocery stores), please visit him at

Mad world

image courtesy of

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, people connecting with one another

without ever really physically connecting…

The virtual world can be a wonderful place,

but it doesn’t replace the real one.

When the former begins to replace the latter,

it can become a lonely, mad world…

Enlarge your world


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Madness, hosted by the lovely and talented Sir Peter Pollock. To read more posts about madness, visit him at

How to be miserable without even trying

Check out the above graphic of a recent Wakefield Research survey conducted for 1-800-Flowers.


And by shocking I mean not at all surprising.

What the survey results don’t show is to whom that disappointment is directed towards, but can we all agree that women are disappointed in their significant others? Whether that be their husband, their boyfriend or some poor schmuck who was foolish enough to ask a girl out on Valentine’s Day?

In a recent articleI read at, speaker and author Cindi McMenamin wrote:

Surveys show that countless women feel frustrated every year and let down on February 14, primarily because of unmet expectations. Women look for expressions of love that will meet their preconceived romantic notions. And many times, even well-intentioned men can’t possibly compete.

In a recent study of what makes married women happy, it was found that the biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife was the most important factor in predicting the wife’s happiness. The study also found “if the wife had to choose between having a husband who is taking half the housework and having a husband who is really making a conscious, deliberate effort to focus emotionally on his wife, the emotional focus is much more likely to be a paramount concern.

That speaks volumes of what women want and expect. And men, who tend to be more action-oriented in how they show their love (by helping with the chores, repairing the garage door, and bringing home a paycheck) can miss the mark with us when it comes to trying to express their affections on Valentine’s Day, or any time, for that matter.

That said, fulfilling a woman’s idea of romance is not something most men, in particular, specialize in. In fact, many men struggle with how to convey their feelings in a way that their wives or girlfriends will understand and appreciate. And often times, what they think will impress you, doesn’t.

Do you see the disconnect here? As a woman who actually likes men, do you understand why I don’t like Valentine’s Day? Because February 14 tends to leave women feeling disappointed that whatever their men gave them was not enough and leaves men scratching their heads at best and in the dog house at worst.

A recipe for misery for life in general and in romantic relationships specifically is assuming what you desire is naturally what your partner desires, because that’s so rarely the case. In a survey asking “What do spouses really want?” for Married Romance (dot) com, a married man of 14 years put it well:

Men want their wives to respect them and their opinions. Women want to be loved and appreciated affectionately. Apparently the problem arises when men give only respect to their wives, and women give only love and affection to their husbands. We are giving what we want to receive and not what the other person needs or wants to have. A man’s needs (wants) in marriage from greatest to least are sex, recreational companion, her to be attractive to him (not necessarily to society’s plastic mold standard), a good home life, to be admired by her. A woman’s needs (wants) from greatest to least are: affection, someone to talk with, honesty and openness, financial security, and famly committment. When we as husbands and wives begin to focus on the other’s need we will improve our marriages.

As a woman, how can you be miserable without even trying?

By expecting your man to act and react like a woman.

By failing to recognize that that leaky toilet he fixed or the garbage he drags down to the curb or the air he put in the kids’ bicycle tires or the spider he squashed in the bathroom or the job he goes to 5 days a week are all love notes to you.

It’s not that most men don’t show their love to their wives or girlfriends, it’s that most women fail to recognize it.

Men are not big, hairy women. They’re men. Recognize that. Celebrate that, and you’d be amazed how much more loved you’ll feel.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival: Disappoint hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. To read more disappointing posts (Ha!), visit him at

What fresh hell is this?

Dorothy Parker image courtesy of

“What fresh hell is this?”

Without using the Google, do you know to whom those words are attributed to?

If you answered Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, then you get points for paying attention (and for watching Big Bang Theory), but Dr. Cooper was not the brainchild of that phrase.

Actually it’s attributed to American author/critic/poet Dorothy Parker. She is reported to have exclaimed “What fresh hell is this?” when her train of thought was interrupted by a telephone. She then started using it in place of “hello” when answering the phone or a knock at her door. The actual quote was “What fresh hell can this be?” and although Ms. Parker is considered by many to be one of the wittiest women in history, she wasn’t being funny. She meant it. (Source: Dorothy Parker, Wikiquote)

Dorothy Parker was a fixture of 1920s literary society known for her acerbic wit and low opinion of romantic relationships. Hers was a life of turmoil, both external and internal. Tragedy seems a common thread among the lives of the world’s greatest poets, writers and artists. I don’t think pain and suffering makes people great artists. There are many whose lives are full of it. What makes them great is the courage to share their suffering with the world, even if it comes disguised as a work of art. While some may not consider humor in general and satire specifically a form of art, I find it to be one of art’s highest forms because there is such great truth in humor. It really is funny because it’s true. Here are a few great truths from Dorothy Parker:

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.”

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

“They sicken of the calm who know the storm.”

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

“If I didn’t care for fun and such,
I’d probably amount to much.
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.”

“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.”

“Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”

I’ve seen a few people write about choosing their one word for the new year. My chosen word is one I’ve privately hoped for as long as I can remember. Perhaps this will be the year I will proclaim it publicly:


Courage to share truths both big and small, and the courage to acknowledge that I may fail miserably and know once and for all that I am strictly mediocre. Perhaps that’s a truth I’ve chosen not to explore. Because meaning to do something, and thinking about doing something, and thinking that you can do something is not at all like actually doing something, is it?

Ah, what fresh hell is this?

“There must be courage; there must be no awe. There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism. There must be a disciplined eye and a wild mind…There must be a magnificent disregard of your reader, for if he cannot follow you, there is nothing you can do about it.” – Dorothy Parker


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Fresh, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. Visit his place for more fresh posts.

Words with Friends, An Idiot’s Guide Part 3: Strategery (repost)

When I heard the blog carnival topic for this week was “Strategy”, I immediately thought of this post.

Sorry/you’re welcome.

If you read the first two installments of this series, Words with friends, An idiot’s guide, and Words with friends, An idiot’s guide, Part 2, you know by now that one can still enjoy this friendly word game even if you’re pretty much horrible at it. It’s all about attitude! And hey, I’ve even managed to win a few games lately.

I attribute these few victories to learning from my defeats (of which there are many), and a little something I call Strategery.

In my first WWF post, I introduced 1357bob, who goes by the name of Arthur on the Twitter and Ricky on his blog. I’m not sure if he’s one of those fancy people who have several names followed by a Roman numeral or if he’s in the Federal Witness Protection Program, so for purposes of this discussion, I will simply refer to him as Ricky Bobby.

image courtesy of

Ricky Bobby has been extremely helpful in educating me about the game. If you recall from the first post, he tried to teach me about strategery. He even left double and triple word scores open for me, to no avail.

Still, Ricky Bobby and others have continued to play against me, even though I’m not exactly fierce competition, and like I said, I am getting better. When I first started playing, I played with random opponents. I’ve since rethought this because people who don’t know anything about me don’t seem to get the fact that I really do play this game for fun. One person thought he would begin with some small talk and then try to intimidate me:

Funny, he didn’t challenge me to another game…oh, well.

When playing WWF, it has been my experience that most of us tend to use words we are familiar with. CandySteele uses horrible and disgusting medical terms, KelyBreez uses big lawyer words, PPBottle and 77Eric…well, quite honestly, I have no idea where they get the words they use except maybe their Giant Book of Scrabble Words. I have a 9 and 13 year old living with me. This may or may not have something to do with many of my word choices.

And speaking of common nouns, I still take issue with the WWF powers that be that decide some nouns which should be proper (LAURA, for example), are accepted while others are not:

Yeah, that’s right. I just insulted the entire State of Iowa. But I was totally kidding. In related news, you should probably not insult the state where your opponent lives.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you who have played and continue to play WWF with me. You’ve all made me a better player, a better person, and more importantly, a better procrastinator of tackling giant piles of laundry. It is my sincere hope that while I may not teach you anything about WWF, perhaps you can glean some inspiration from me in other ways:

To read more posts about “Strategery”, visit the lovely and talented Peter Pollock at his blog

Resolve to be bold

This is a repost from November, 2009. But that was a long time ago. And I still like the message as it applies to the blog carnival topic this week: Resolution.

“What has influenced my life more than any single thing has been my stammer. Had I not stammered…I would have probably gone to Cambridge as my brothers did, perhaps have become a don and every now and then published a dreary book about French literature.”

-W. Somerset Maugham (novelist, playwright and short story writer; notable works: Of Human Bondage, The Razor’s Edge, The Letter and Rain)

Much emphasis and broo-ha-ha is given to the pursuit of overcoming personal obstacles; of achieving goals despite one’s shortcomings and/or lot in life. Who doesn’t love a story of someone overcoming the odds and emerging victorious? I know I do.

But sometimes I think these stories – while certainly inspirational and encouraging – may serve as unintentional road blocks to pursuing our dreams, or we think that once we achieve one desired goal the rest of our lives will fall into place.

Fill in the blank:

If only I could _____________ then _____________.

Once I ___________ then I’ll be able to _____________.

Here’s my challenge to you. Don’t use your limitations as excuses for pursuing your dreams. You may just find the very thing you thought was holding you back wasn’t really an issue in the first place.

I’ll leave you with just a few more quotes to ponder:

“When the resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of life is its coerciveness: it is always urgent, here and now, without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point blank. – Ortega Y’Gasset

“God always gives us strength enough, and sense enough, for everything He wants us to do.” – John Ruskin

“If you wait around for the world to give you what you think you deserve, you are going to be sadly disappointed when you get it.” – katdish

(Yeah, that’s right. I just quoted myself. Snort!)


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Resolution, hosted by the lovely and talented Sir Peter Pollock. For more reads on the topic, please visit him over at his place,

The perfect seasoning

Warning: Metaphors ahead.

If I were to invite you to my home for a meal, chances are pretty good that something you eat would be seasoned with Tony Chacere’s Creole seasoning. Like it says on the container, it’s great on everything.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m guessing it’s not very good on ice cream or cereal, but I’ve never tried it on either.

I do know it’s great on burgers, steaks and pretty much everything else we cook on the grill. If it had a pulse at one time, it will more than likely get at least a small shot of Tony Chacere’s at the Richards house.

But just because it may be good on most everything, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be used on everything. It’s a great seasoning for blackening fish, then again, sometimes I don’t want blackened fish. Sometimes I prefer a lemon and dill flavoring on fish and sometimes I want nothing more than some cornmeal and a little salt and pepper.

As with food, I have preferences with how I season my outlook on life circumstances. My go-to is humor. I’d rather laugh than cry, rather smile than frown. But humor isn’t always appropriate in every situation. Nothing is appropriate in every circumstance. There are choices, of course. Always choices, and how we choose to season our outlook on any given situation will have a huge impact on how we view the world.

Let me show you what I mean.

I’m going to give you two descriptions. Each will be followed by a photograph of what I’m describing:

voices of social justice, personal and financial equality,
peaceful protesters,
civil disobedience,
champions of the down-trodden,
freedom fighters,
united front,
standing up against greed and corruption,
power to the people…

image from, Occupy Wall Street

entitlement generation junkies,
drunkenness, debauchery,
lost, misdirected,
communists, useful idiots,
lazy, foolish, time wasters,
looking for meaning in their meaningless, non-contributive lives through the disruption of the lives of others.

image from, Occupy Wall Street

So which description is accurate? Probably neither completely, as both descriptions are extremely biased and one sided.

Our own experiences and beliefs season our outlook on life and on the lives of others. If we refuse to even consider how others who don’t share our values might see the world, we will more than likely stay in the mess we’re in.


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Seasons, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. To read more stories about Seasons, please visit Peter at

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