Candy hangover

Bleary-eyed fourth graders shuffled through my classroom door. Some of them managed to say “Good morning” in response to my greeting. Most just dropped into their seats like sacks of flour.

“I see we are dealing with candy hangovers this morning,” I said. “That must mean everyone had a good Halloween last night. Well, we’re headed outside to collect rock specimens for Science today, so get your jacket and line up.”

I knew I might get questions from the principal for marching everyone around the school yard first thing in the morning, but the exercise would wake up their brains a bit, and we really did need some rocks . . .

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How Gothic can it get? I thought, as I parked in front of the fading paint and castle-style battlements of this three story house at the end of a dirt lane. I looked around as I walked to the door and could see no sign of life. No traffic noise came from the paved road about half a mile back down the lane.

My knock was answered immediately. “Hello,” I said. “I’m Victoria from Vampire Hunters, Inc. You called about a vampire.”

The apron clad, gray-haired woman stepped aside without a word and motioned me in . . .

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The Best Words

The best words hang around. You notice that cool just won’t go away. Some of the best words are words I distinctly remember learning. I was on a camping trip in the mountains of Colorado, just a ratty-haired brat of a girl, when I learned the word “osmosis.” I remember learning the word “ubiquitous” driving in El Paso and seeing the word on benches at bus stops.

There are words loved by others that I just can’t seem to figure out. What is that word “Web 2.0” anyway? It . . .

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The cat stalked a bee. Foolish cat. She was stung for her efforts. It remains to be seen whether she learned anything from the experience. She cannot seem to learn to stay off the kitchen counters no matter how many times she’s punished for jumping up there. But she easily remembers what the sound of the cup scooping through the cat food means.

She doesn’t remember not to barf on the carpet, but she remembers to eat the plants that will make her do it.

That cat just isn’t on my wavelength. She has no interest in the things I think are important, like hairless food and barfless carpets. Who dreamed up the notion that humans and cats were compatible anyway? . . .

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Berlin Wall

Bush agreed to build a new Berlin Wall, oops, a new fence between us and Mexico today. Reminds me of a stupid story I wrote years ago when I couldn’t rid my yard of tumbleweeds no matter how many I pulled up. The story proposed fencing in the whole state with a 20′ high chain link fence to keep the tumbleweeds from blowing in from elsewhere. In the course of the story the money involved in contracting out the fencing job lead to a murder, and a number of interesting environmental results occured. Maybe that story wasn’t so stupid after all.

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safariscreensnapz001.jpgThe movies were nothing but cowboys when I was a kid. All the stars were cowboys: Roy Rogers, Rex Allen, Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Tex Ritter, Randolph Scott. Even their sidekicks and horses were famous. I had enough cowboys as a kid to last a lifetime.

Propaganda pieces about WWII were also popular then. I got sick and tired of war movies, too.

This bias limits my choices now. I’ve refused to watch “Saving Private Ryan” because I’m still tired of war movies. I click off that HBO series about cowboys as soon as I realize it’s on. But I’m really torn over Clint Eastwood’s new “Flags of Our Fathers” because . . .

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I’m pounding down Wyoming Blvd at my aerobic heart rate, ten minutes to go at this pace. Something red in the arroyo to my left catches my eye. Keep running, I tell myself. But I look again anyway.

And I stop.

It’s a girl in a red sweat shirt. There’s blood in the sandy ground beneath her. I dial 911 as I climb over a fence. Her gray, lifeless face makes my stomach lurch. I see it’s too late to help her. I stop moving and look back at the path I took to see if I stepped on anything, disturbed anything, destroyed any evidence . . .

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A superbly-toned, dark-haired fellow in earphones was doing chin ups on a machine in the corner. I didn’t pay much attention to him until he finished his set of chin ups. He leapt off the machine and began to dance around the gym, gyrating past the rowing machine, wildly wriggling his hips around a stack of weights, waving his arms in the air above the metal bars and straps.

Everything in the gym stopped while he danced. Gasping people grinned and caught their breath. Only the thrum of the treadmills continued to fill the air. As suddenly as he’d launched his dance, he stopped it and grabbed the handles of a gigantic spider-like machine.

People resumed their own exercises, but . . .

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Top five great movies

Back when I was reading Women Who Run with the Wolves for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I thought The Secret of Roan Inish was the best movie ever made. That transformed slowly into thinking director John Sayles was the best director ever. I still put John Sayles up at the top of my list, but Limbo really ticked me off.

My second choice would be Chicago simply because I’ve watched it so many times and I’m still not . . .

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“Just give it some time, everything will work out,” Sally said, patting my hand in an irritating way that she meant to be reassuring.

“Don’t give me your optimistic line of crap, Sally. This is an unsolvable disaster and you know it.” Her never ending belief that things always worked out for the best drove me crazy. I stared into the mug of hot tea she’d just handed me, thinking how satisfying it would be to dump it all in her lap.

Instead I tossed my glasses on the table and rubbed my eyes. “I’ve looked at it every which way, considered every possibility, every scenario. There’s just no way to deal with this that results in anything at all that’s good for me.” . . .

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