The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Category: Real Life

Adventures in Bunnysitting

A week and a half ago, baby bunnies became part of the family when Mama Bunny lost her mind and created a nest next to the house within the fenced in backyard my dog uses as his personal Rest Area.

Maple Barn Photography: Bunnies &emdash;

We discovered the nest after Phantom discovered the nest, which was a Very Bad Thing. But three babies remained and we kept a close watch on the nest, wondering when they would be big enough to leave the nest so we wouldn’t have to supervise the dog.

I checked on them on Father’s Day, using a yardstick to move the covering so my smell wouldn’t be near them. I counted three that day. One night Phantom chased the mom across the yard, and I nearly had a heart attack. 

Yesterday, Michael and I were returning home from an errand and saw an adult rabbit had been killed by a car on a fairly busy street very close to ours. My heart sunk, because I just knew it was the mother. I had no proof, but I assumed that was the end of my not being involved.

A friend provinces a link to a website for dealing with sick and injured animals in Mass, and I called one of the numbers. I was referred to a 2nd person who gave us advise for determining if the mom had been to the nest to nurse at the regular dawn and dusk times. We put the string on top and prayed it would be disturbed by her when we checked it, but unfortunately, it was pretty clear she had missed the two feedings. 

I called back the woman [licensed by the state to] take in abandoned baby animals and arranged to drop off our bunnies. It was wonderful to see them out of the nest, and know this woman would release them in few weeks when they can survive on their own. She said we can come back to visit, so I plan to, with cash to cover their Timothy hay and formula bill. 

We also got to pet a baby possum and see the 8 woodchucks and 3 squirrels she’s currently fostering. God bless this lady and her animal-loving heart! 

I have a few videos for the past 1.5 weeks, including the handoff, at my photography website, Maple Barn Photo.

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We’ve Got Pebbles!

I was in the car for 14 of 36 hours this past weekend (took a jaunt to Philly and back for my son to do an audition). I talk a lot in the car, because I like to entertain myself that way, keep the driver alert, and drive everyone else in the car crazy. 

We should have recorded the conversations – I’d have 75% of a podcast. 

Here, in no particular order, are things we discussed. I didn’t start this until Sunday so missed the stuff from Saturday I couldn’t remember.

– Why the person who called “not it” for driving through NY got stuck driving through NY both ways. That would be me, for the record. I declare the lower level of the George Washington Bridge a big disappointment because it felt more like a tunnel than a bridge. 

– New Jersey drivers were worse than any other group on the road. I have never seen so many crazy speeding lane-changers. Like violent swipes from one to another inches away from other cars. 

– If you owned a bus company would you only hire drivers willing to wear catheters so they could do the Boston to NYC route without stopping?

– Is a Lamborghini a practical car? (That was Michael’s claim. I don’t know how he defines practical but he couldn’t answer my “what if you are grocery shopping” question. We said the get good gas mileage. Google doesn’t confirm the claim unless you think 12mpg city is “good.” If you forget how to spell Lamborghini use “Lamb or ghini” as a hint. I don’t know if ghini is a thing.

– Made Tom Google the surgery-free weight loss balloon we saw advertised on a billboard. It’s a big balloon filled with saline. I can’t figure out how to insert a bug saline filled balloon without surgery. Tom says the fill it in you. “How do they tie it?” Secretly, I now want to try this method of weight loss, but instead of a saline balloon maybe one with smuggled diamonds. Also, can I just swallow balloons from the toy store to save money?

– The My Brother My Brother and Me podcast makes a joke about Gallagher 1 and 2 and references G1 being a dick. Tom hadn’t heard this (!) so we Google “Why is Gallagher a dick” but then have to exclude Oasis brothers (also dicks) and Dick Gallagher, a piano player who is probably a dick “because his mom liked the name” to get to the stories about angry racist Watermelon Gallagher. 

– Made Tom Google and read me the wiki for the Scarsdale Diet doctor murder. Also made him Google Molly Pitcher to verify our guesses about why they named a rest area after her. I had the correct era, and Michael actually knew a surprising amount about her. 

– We discussed  story from the audition. Michael had told people in line around him that you can suck on gummy bears to soothe your throat. Apparently the people behind him told him they’d Googled it because they thought he might be trying to sabotage the line by spreading a myth. We try to decide what he would have gained by knocking them out with bad advice when they weren’t directly auditioning against each other. Michael said to me, “Go ahead, Google ‘sucking on a gummy bear’.” Me: “I don’t have safe search on.” 

– Tom and Michael declare the Grover Cleveland rest area on the NJ turnpike honors a Muppet. We ponder if there are human/muppet porn movies but do not search for any because there must be some. It takes at least 20 more miles before I realize they meant Grover the blue Monster and not a humanoid Muppet named Grover Cleveland. Wasn’t there a boy Muppet similarly named?

– What is Peter Pan doing in the picture on the back of Peter Pan busses? Michael proposes Flamenco dancing and I think a magic trick with a quick “look over there!” redirect. Would you know it was a picture of Peter Pan if it wasn’t on a Peter Pan bus? “It’s young Robin Hood!” We didn’t look up the history, but it isn’t clear why Peter Pan = bus transportation. I also wonder what they had to pay JM Barrie for the rights, and if it was worth it (as opposed to just making up a new, non-intellectual property name.)

– We grew to hate the car’s GPS. Her alternate route suggestions to avoid traffic generally add time. She also says “Traffic jam ahead” when there is either no traffic jam ahead, or when we are already in the middle of it. WE KNOW.  I named the GPS lady Suzy because the car is a Subaru. A frequent response to her announcements is “Shut the hell up, Suzy!” The biggest flaw is that she seems to treat many highway exits like anti-turns, especially when there is an exit-only lane. I understand you don’t want people in a turn-only lane if they aren’t turning, but that feels like a thing we can just assume the driver will handle. If you tell me to drive 30 miles to my next exit, I will spend thirty miles NOT taking every exit that comes along.

– How difficult would it be for a kitten to play ragtime on an upright piano? The song “Kitten on the Keys” feels misleading in this respect. I don’t think a kitten has the body mass to depress the keys that quickly. Tom realizes it’s a player piano or nickelodeon, not a piano. So it’s a REALLY misleading song title.

– Discuss the relative merits of Peter Tork as a singer.

– If you trip and fall and rip your arm open on a cruise ship mini golf course, how much is it your fault for not being able to lift your leg high enough to step over the edge of sides of the hole?  

– Changed the rules for Spotify Search Roulette. Have to use Gong Show guidelines of 30 seconds per song, then anyone can say “skip” but each rider gets two vetoes. You can one use one skip veto per song (so if there is a second Skip request after you veto the first one, you have to skip.) while the songs are awful, the search term “auntie” results in the most interesting song titles and band names I’ve ever seen while playing this game. 

14 hours driving to and from Philly plus an hour each way to see a concert Saturday night means we are all car seat-shaped and spent too much time in rest area bathrooms. But it was a good trip and I’d do it again tomorrow if I had to. (Unfortunately/fortunately, we won’t have to, at least not this time.)

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Going Deep

Not Jack Handey-like Deep Thoughts, just a little interlude to unload my brain.

Not that we don’t all obsess with death, because I know we do, but I have as of late been thinking about it more than usual, and it has been dragging me down. If I still had all my girl organs I would say I was deep in PMS-land, but those have been dust for two years now.

I used to avoid posting certain things here because I knew my aunt was reading my website and she sort of became my primary audience. So I filtered a lot of thoughts and language. But we lost her last summer and that makes this a “safe space” again, but that is small comfort. I adored my aunt. She was everything wonderful (I can say that based purely on my own interactions with her. If she ran some sort of underground “Racists for Kitten Murder” group, I don’t want to know.

My endocrinologist died in April, and I just learned about it. I’m feeling a bit bereft with this one. I really liked the guy. Our last appointment was over the phone, so I didn’t get the in-person experience (which was great). I felt like a friend. I knew all his issues with the medical establishment and insurance companies (he went cash-only years ago). My prescriptions were fairly complex combinations of new drugs, and compounded drugs to meet precise amounts per his unofficial studies of how different treatments helped or hindered himself and everyone in his practice. He observed trends and solved problems I didn’t know were related to my thyroid. There isn’t possibly another person who will treat my symptoms the way he did, and now I have to face a future where I could spend the rest of my days being mildly symptomatic again. Living like that isn’t fun. I wish he’d taken my needs into consideration before allowing himself to die (I can only assume he was taken by illness, he was actually well past retirement age.)

We’re getting old. My parents are still alive, thank God and my mother’s ferocious insistence on controlling every bite of low fat, low sodium, small-portioned food my dad eats. As I ease into the age group that gets a discount on coffee at McDonalds, and the realization hits I’m never going to be the toast-of-the-town ingenue, the center of attention. Maybe I can still pull off the wacky matronly type, but I am getting into the invisible years (women of a certain age, especially if they aren’t thin and sexy, become invisible.)

I guess I need to ponder my remaining days, and how best to use them. I’ve become somewhat obsessed with RV shows and record several to the DVR. I watch the tiny house programs, knowing that I could never survive in 300 square foot shipping container, or use a composting toilet (I mean, maybe I could, but the idea scares me) but do think it’s cool to just take your shit with you wherever you go (literally). I still have to work another 20 years, if I want a chance at not dying in poverty, so maybe I won’t hit the road quite yet.

Is this is my midlife crisis? If so, good news, everyone! I’m going to live to be 104!

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My Christmas Card

I know it’s after Christmas, but you know you very much want to hear the story of how a photo of me posing with a shark and an Ewok was my official Christmas Card this year. You have your cold beverage ready? Okay.

So a million years ago or two or so years ago (one of those) my sister and her family went to Disney during the flower and garden festival. They posed in front of a Miss Piggy topiary that a person that may or may not be my boyfriend confused for an Ewok.

So I used an iPhone app I owned (KnockOut) to “fix” it after my sister said “I was looking to see if there was an Ewok in the photo with us and Miss Piggy. This combination would have been fabulous and makes me laugh just thinking about it.” So of course I had to add one to that photo.

I added him to a lot of additional photos from their vacation. They started leaving space for me in the photos, so I added myself (and others) because they didn’t take me with them.

Apparently one of my sister’s co-workers (Cathy) was very amused by me adding myself to their vacation photos (something I continued to do on subsequent vacations). In fact, she started asking where I was when my sister or her husband posted new ones. Here I am on a rope swing in Hawaii, I believe.

This December, Cathy, a person you will remember I have never met, posted a photo on FB showing the first three people who had sent her a Christmas card. Because my sister was tagged in the photo, I saw it. Now is it my fault she left a giant hole right in the middle, inviting someone like me to fill it? So I ran to the Knockout app, found a background of something Christmassy, added myself and and ewok, then added it all to her photo.

My sister’s neighbor Beth saw it and demanded “I HAD BETTER GET ONE OF THOSE!” so I had to print them out and stick them in cards for people, my first Christmas cards in years. And that’s the real story of the Happy Holiday Shark. And Ewok.

 

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Countdown to Vacation

I’m so very ready for my vacation. I’ve had enough of work, and of stuff going on outside of work. The way things have been going, I assume while I’m away my home will be destroyed by a bus-sized chunk of blue “airplane ice.”

But I shall take my chances and hope Captain Stubing steers away from any hurricanes we stumble upon, and I’ll give my now adult son <gasp> the keys to the swinging singles pad, with the assumption it won’t be overrun with garbage and vermin by the time I return. 

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Stack Ranking Sick People

I declare new rules for Emergency Room prioritization. We have to throw out HIPPAA because you should have to loudly announce what’s wrong with you so the rest of us can stack rank you against the others to decide who goes in first using the following guidelines. 

1. Heavily bleeding flesh wound (cause that’s a quick fix anyway)

2. Throwing up or about to. I don’t need that shit while I’m sitting waiting

3. Passing out from pain

4 Trouble breathing normally

5. Clammy skin the color of the parking garage.

6. Head injury

7. Uncontrollable swelling 

8. 4 hour erections (see 7)

9. Swallowed a battery

10. Broken bone (not compound fracture) 

11. Something stuck in a body orifice that you can’t get out

12. Thing for which you could go to a Minute Clinic if it was open

13. Place for you and your friend to sit while you both eat fruit cup with your fingers 

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Adventures in Tequilaland

Last night Tom took me to Ixtapa Cantina for guacamole and I had a margarita that literally made my eyes stop working properly. [Thumbs up, El Presidente!] In the spirit of Christmas, he wrote down Jody quotes because fair is fair after I wrote the Michael quotes while he was on anesthesia.
We then went drunk shopping at Walmart, which I think was a ripoff because I didn’t find anything good to make him buy me. My next morning comments are in italics.

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[I tweeted these myself from the restaurant]

This margarita is made with cocaine or something. Oh my god who broke my eyes.

Oh my Hod two of you liked my tweet you guys are the ducking best. But not as good as these margaritas.

We’re gonna park in someone’s driveway and take pictures of their Christmas lights, like Americans. It is our right!

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I need you to be that guy who would steal a balloon from a 7 year old.

Mikey says [about Tom] “But he’s a nice guy!” Like that’s an excuse.

[about going to jail after he steals a balloon]
Shit. I’m gonna have to be in a lesbian relationship again.

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[About shopping for Tom’s daughter for Christmas She] needs drugs and cigarettes to trade in the big house.

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I’m cutting this like the Incredible Hulk. Did I eat lunch today?

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Dude you know what I could do with [$15,000]? Breasts up to here. Watch the Brady bunch. Teenage boobies.

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This is the greatest meal ever in possibly my entire life! [Takes another bite] It’s kinda salty.

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I just want to eat the outside shell of my burrito. It’s called a tortilla. The skin of my burrito.

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[Regarding my favorite musician/band (other than Jeff Lynne) Luce]
Luce’s first name is Tom. So you’ll just have to wonder if I ever call out that name.

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[Inside the restaurant] Can we take pictures of Christmas lights? Not In here.

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It’s not a good time of year to get those water balloon multiple thingies. And I should know.

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You know what would be the worst Christmas present? Wrapping paper. And thank you cards.

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Crotchless pants? Do they sell them at Walmart? Sweet! Not saying I’ve bought them before. At least at Walmart.
[I completely do not remember saying this one AT ALL.]

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[spotting a skewer of Peeps]
Look! This is impaled peeps! Look they stabbed you and it makes it taste better.

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Can we buy a cello? My Amazon wish list is full of magical things.

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Look it’s resting bitch face Barbie!


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I love you. This lighting is very unflattering.

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Why didn’t you tell me my cleavage was showing?! And I’m not buttoning up. People will have to deal with my boobage.

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Expanding My Horizons

I recently added a cello to my Amazon wish list, because I think it’s good to learn you suck at as many things as humanly possible. Starting to feel cocky about yourself? Here, let’s see how you do with this set of oil paints, Vermeer. (See also: the tap shoes I bought myself.) 

This is the cello. 

  
Seriously, how COOL is that? I could hang it up as art when I invariably realize I’m not a cellist! 

That wishlist is more just a way to bookmark stuff I might buy myself later than a list I think people will actually use. I have zero expectation that my fan club members will pool the change in their car consoles to get me a home electrolysis system. I mean, unless my unsightly knee beard is really bothering them. Which, really, will be an interesting conversation that we must have as soon as I can find the time to spend with someone PRETENDING to be a fan. 

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Old Person and Her Music

I am not young. Kids who still need car seats probably think I’m someone’s grandma. To be fair, I do have peers who are just that, and that’s cool, I just like to think of myself as a much younger woman. Like maybe 32, tops.

I have read articles that say people stop listening to new music around age 35. I can see that. I know a lot of people who just sat back in their easy chairs surrounded by their favorite bands from college.

I followed a different path. I kept finding new music I liked. If it’s power pop or has a certain type of solo male singer-songwriter vibe like Duncan Shiek, I’m in. I use those “if you like A you should try B” algorhythms and often find some pretty cool stuff. I have all sorts of Spotify playlists of new fun things I like. Friends introduced me to Jellyfish years ago and I used the members of the band to branch out to find solo work, special projects and people they worked with. I found Bleu this way, and found the world’s greatest ELO album the ELO never made, L.E.O’s Alpacas Orgeling. (Go buy it. Trust me.) Over time I found other bands I love: Luce, Air Traffic Controller, Washed Out, The Neighborhood, Walk the Moon, Two Door Cinema Club, to name many. I like musical styles I shouldn’t at my age. But I really do.

I discovered a guy who recorded as “Owsley” a year or so ago on Spotify and just fell in love with his music. I bought his  two albums on iTunes and played them on repeat for weeks. Now I have a habit of reading up on anyone I like (singers, actors, underwear models) so I looked him up. I was absolutely crushed to learn he had committed suicide years before. No more music from him; I was robbed of his voice, his talent. If I was this upset about it, I cannot fathom what his family was going through every day.

in the past year the Bleu newsletter 

So I just discovered Bleu covered Owsley’s Oh No The Radio on this album. This is the 2nd time Bleu has done something with an unrelated favorite of mine (see Air Traffic Controller). I thought the Owsley version was perfect so I was hesitant to listen. The cover is amazing. And made me sad all over again that Will Owsley killed himself and robbed me of any future new music. Sorry for the tangent but you can understand why this would stun and amaze me, and why I wanted to share. 

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If I Ruled the iOS World

The latest Apple operating system is due out this week. Or soon. I can’t keep up, to be honest. Anyway, I decided this would be a good place to list my pet peeves and almost all of them are related to music apps, which is interesting. In particular order:

1. I hate hate hate how the Music app just does whatever the hell it wants when the phone locates and connects to a Bluetooth device. A good half the time, when I start my car, the music app just starts playing, even if I was using Spotify last. And it just starts playing in alphabetical order. I got to hear the first 5 seconds of the ABC Cafe from Les Mis until a song called “A Thrill of Anticipation” pulled in first. Hey, Apple, nobody includes the articles when determining alphabetical order. WTF.

Either way, stop auto-playing, and stop going back to the top of the song list.

2. Almost worse than that, why can’t I set the default for shuffle? Sweet baby Jesus, turning off shuffle multiple times a day is pure horseshit. If I turn it off, LEAVE IT OFF.

3. iTunes: STOP SUCKING. Music App: maybe force the developers to USE it so they’ll understand how unintuitive they’ve made the damned thing. I loathe Music now and listen to Spotify EVEN when I own the album and have to use data because the Music app sucks hard.

4. Spotify app: you need to let me change the order my playlists are in from the app. And set the default to add new songs to the top of a list (from within the app). (I figured this one out. Pull down on the playlist and the sort order is upper right.) Also, MyMusic would be far less annoying if it let me view by album. I hardly ever want to play every song by an artist, but I may want to play a whole album. Your UI makes me take 4 extra steps. And bring back the original concept of “Starred” songs going into the Starred playlist.

5. LastFM app: Get your shit together. Who on earth releases a whole new version of their software with all the functionality turned off? You weren’t ready to go live? Roll back to the previous version. The app is pretty much useless right now, listing only song title (not artist). Knowing I listened to Luce 22 times last week is different from knowing I have listed 322 times total. A weekly view should be a weekly view. Period.
Lastly, I don’t know if this is on Apple or you or the 3rd party app I’m using, but I shouldn’t have to listen to every second of a song for it to scrobble. Listening to 5:45 of a 6 minute song should count.

Is that a full wish list? Hardly, but addressing these issues would remove 80% of my iPhone frustration.

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