Once upon a time…. there was a happy ending

I’m a sucker for a happy ending.

Since I was a little girl and first heard Cinderella and Snow White I have believed that all stories must end happily.  This belief obviously had a crash with reality somewhere in my teens when I realized that fairy tales are just that – tales.  After a brief period of rebelling against fairy tales and stories with happy endings in general (the rebellion stage didn’t involve black make up and pink hair – just a heavy dose of Edgar Allen Poe) I slowly came to appreciate them again.

I mean seriously, if I wanted a story with a realistic ending I would watch the news or read the newspaper.  I like fiction.  But I like my fiction to be completely fictious.  Sure everyone wonders what really happened to Cinderella and Prince Charming because “they lived happily ever after” leaves a lot to the imagination.  But you’re not supposed to know about the “ever after.”  The story you were told was how Cinderella with the help of her Fairy Godmother overcame her stepmother’s cruelty and married the man of her dreams.  That story ended happily… and that’s what I like.  The abiguity of what happened after they got married doesn’t concern me.

I like the total “chick flick” story of girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in love, some type of problem occurs where girl and boy split up, then girl and boy end up together riding off into the sunset.  Or he carries her out of the paper factory in his dress white navy uniform and puts his combination hat on her head as they exit.  I could list probably hundreds of my favorite movies or books that end this way.  And they are my favorites because they are complete fairy tales.  Let’s face it – in reality Richard Gere wouldn’t have come to terms with his friends death and made up with Louis Gosset Jr  and realized he loved Debra Winger in a matter of days.  In reality he would have been shipped out and realized 3 years later during some combat mission that he screwed up and then she would be married to some other guy.  See that’s not a good story… it might be what would happen in the real world but it makes for a piss poor fairy tale.  Actually it would fit into a Grimm Brother’s type fairy tale because there isn’t much fluff and fairy dust in the Grimm versions.  I prefer Disney’s pink and taffeta, talking animals and singing versions.

Which brings me to my newest dilemma.  It seems that lately all the movies I’ve seen or books I’ve read do not have happy endings.  They have had real endings.  The latest of which, Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, I stayed up reading until 230 in the morning to have reality smacked in my face.  When you read Nicholas Sparks books you have about a 50/50 chance for a happy ending but I’ve come to the realization that if a Nicholas Sparks book is made into a movie it doesn’t have a happy ending (Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook…).  And they are good books and good movies but they don’t have happy endings.

Which leads to the next dilemma.  When someone asks me if I liked the movie or the book I don’t know what to say.  Yes I liked the characters and yes it was well written but to be honest no I didn’t like it because I wanted a different ending.  Does the reader have that option?  Sadly on February 5th I will still go to the Dear John movie – possibly because it stars Channing Tatum – even though I know I will not like it.  Why?  I have no idea.  I think because there is some unwritten rule in my family that we must go see every sappy chick flick when it comes out.

As I was driving to work today I was thinking about this blog and started laughing at my choice of music.  Country.  Songs about losing your wife and your car and your dog …. most country songs don’t have happy endings but I listen to country music.  Doesn’t make sense does it?

Hmm… now I have to end this blog happily……

Once upon a time there was a girl who liked fluffy chick flicks and girly fairy tales and she sat with a box of chocolates a bag of popcorn and watched An Officer and a Gentleman and she lived happily ever after.

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If Chad Johnson ran the NFL…

If Chad Johnson ran the NFL…..  This would be the weekend recap:

Leading off the playoff games was the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints dominated the game which resulted in a 45-14 win.  Quarterback Drew Nueve had great protection from his offensive line allowing him to complete 23 of 32 passes for 247 yards and three touchdown passes to receivers Jeremy Ochoocho, Marques Unodos and Devery Unonueve.  Reggie Doscinco also had an awesome game including two touchdowns one on an 83 yard return.  The Cardinals quarterback Kurt Unotres was held to 205 yards passing and sacked once.  The Saints face the Vikings next week for the NFC Championship.

Next up was the matchup of the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts.  Colts quarterback Peyton Unoocho completed 30 of 44 for 246 yards in the Colts 20-3 win over the Ravens.  The Colts had outstanding plays by wide receivers Reggie Ochosiete and Pierre Ochocinco as well as tight end Dallas Quatroquatro.  The Colts defense led by Gary Cincoocho held Baltimore’s quarterback Joe Cinco to 189 yards and no touchdowns.  Ravens were also hampered by penalties including a personal foul committed by linebacker Ray Cincodos.  The Colts will host the Jets next week at Lucas Oil Stadium for the AFC Championship.

After losing to the Jets, San Diego’s Ladainian Dosuno was disappointed at another loss in the post season.  His time in San Diego may be coming to an end after spending 9 years there.  His quarterback Philip Unosiete said it best, “We just didn’t do it.”  That could be the new anti-Nike advertisement.

In other “ruffled feathers” news Dallas Cowboy’s linebacker Keith Cincouno thinks it was unfair for the Vikings to run the score up on his team.  Apparently there is a “nah nah boo boo” rule somewhere in the NFL we don’t know about. You’d be mad too if you just got upstaged by quarterback Brett Quarto who is twice as old as most kids he’s playing against.

Well there you have it…. the NFL highlights if Chad Johnson a.k.a. Chad Ochocinco ran the NFL.  Of course now the Bengals showboat plans to change his name to Chad Hachi Go which is 85 in Japanese.  So for the 2010 season I’m going to have to learn Japanese.  That should make the Rosetta Stone people happy.

Until next season Sayonara Chad Hachi Go.

North by Northwest

This blog is dedicated to my sister Kim who suggested this topic be covered.

Directions.  You either know them or you don’t.  A majority of American’s do not.  Well that may not be a fair assumption, but to ask someone if something is North, South, East or West of their current location and they will freak out.  Even if their current location is their own home.  They can say the neighbor on the left or right but they have no idea if that neighbor is north of them or south of them.  It is a skill.  A skill you either have or do not have.  I have it.  If you were to ask my mother-in-law I inherited it from my mother – because according to my mother-in-law everything is genetic and inherited (i.e. my son is left-handed because her great-uncle Gusty was left-handed and he’s good at baseball because one of her cousins several times removed played baseball).  When my mom was younger she wanted to be a cartographer (mapmaker) which in the days before Google Maps and satellites was a skilled profession.  She never sat me or any of my sisters down and forced us to memorize maps or mapping or directions.  We just picked it up.  We never went on vacations without a map.  We all knew what direction North or South, East or West was and could describe it as in “our hotel is east of I-65.”  And a little bit of a geeky confession – I love it when you go to State or National Park and they hand you a detail map of their park.

I wonder though how some of the people in America today travel.  I realize Garmin and TomTom have made life easier for many people, my niece included.  My niece would disprove my mother-in-law’s theory.  Her mother is very adept at reading maps, knowing which direction she is heading and which direction she came from.  My niece, on her first trip from Greenwood to Plainfield ended up on Washington Street in front of Hard Rock Cafe and she had been traveling on the interstate.  We discovered the key to her sense of direction on a vacation to Myrtle Beach – she was my navigator which at the start of the trip seemed frightening at best given her previous attempts at navigation.  But I handed her my Garmin GPS and suddenly the light in her head clicked on and she was able to not only navigate but plan routes, find restaurants at the next exit, advise mileage between stops and let us know how many more miles until the next bathroom with ease.  All these years and all she needed was something electronic to make it all click.

But many people have yet to discover the genius of GPS.  These people cannot tell you if they are travelling northbound or southbound on US 31.  Many who also don’t know if they are going northbound or southbound on I-65 – which is truly scary if you think about it.  I can see someone actually saying, “Well I was heading to Canada, got on I65 and ended up in Alabama.”  Actually I know someone who was coming from West Virginia to our neighbor’s house in Plainfield and when she was overdue they called her and asked her where she was and she told them she just saw the sign that said to exit here for Chicago.  She had driven 3 hours north of Indianapolis before she thought something might be wrong.

I’m always surprised when watching the Amazing Race at the number of times a team will come in last simply because they can’t read the map and get themselves from one check point to the next.  It’s a show where the whole idea is you have to find specific locations – how do some of these people not think at some point in the game they will have to look at a map? 

I think this only becomes frustrating when a) you work with the public and direction of travel or a specific location is a key factor in your ability to do your job effectively and b) when you have been able to read a basic map since 2nd grade.  I will admit I have gotten lost a time or two.  I hate that feeling.  I’ve also learned never to travel in south Florida after a recent hurricane because the road signs blow away or are bent beyond recognition and before you know it you’re in Little Havana.  That was before GPS – and a map only does you so much good when you can only see every 4th or 5th road sign.

Just a little advice….. figure out which way is North from where you are and that should help some.  Remember the sun rises in the East and sets in the West if nothing else (which admittedly won’t help you much on a cloudy day).  And if directions totally confuse you, pick up a GPS system or at least a compass it could save your life.

Anatomy of a Bulldog

I like to tell people I was not all about buying a bulldog.  It was all Dave’s idea and he has a knack for making it sound like it was all Teagan’s idea.  The two of them would go to the pet store and look at bulldog puppies and ohh and ahh.  The truth is I’m a sucker for animals particularly dogs so buying a bulldog was something I knew would eventually happen.  The rational side of me started researching bulldogs.  English bulldogs – you know the rolly polly barrel chested ones that you see everywhere – they have 1000’s of medical problems.  Weight problems, gastrointestinal problems, breathing problems the list was endless.  So calculating the initial cost of a bulldog and adding in the cost of medical I decided a bulldog was entirely too much money.  Plus I wanted a dachshund.  Or something small-ish from the pound. 

Then it happened.  We went to the pet store and there he was.  A tiny little 11 pound wrinkled mess of a puppy.  Of course the kids were in love with him.   I had my concerns because this wasn’t an English Bulldog it was an Olde English Bulldogge.  The owner assured us there weren’t as many medical problems because it was a cross-breed of an American Bulldog and an English Bulldog.  He then explained how this bulldog would be taller and less chesty than his English cousins.  OK I’ll admit the way he was nibbling on my toes was starting to make him cuter and I’m a sucker for puppies.  That was all Dave needed – he saw me warming up to the puppy and before you know it we had purchased a bulldog puppy.  Dave does have a knack for this as the above sentence could also be completed in the following ways:  we had purchased a camper, we had purchased a red minivan, we had purchased a HD TV…. the list is lengthy.

Recently we have given our Bully a little more liberties in the house because we now know what specific things he likes to chew on.  We decided over Christmas break to let him start sleeping with us instead of  being confined.  More specifically he was to be sleeping with Dawson, but he likes our bed better.  The first night wasn’t too bad… I say that kind of like you might say a minor car accident wasn’t too bad.  Teagan usually falls asleep with us and then is placed in her bed or in the fold out bed next to ours.  She decided to move directly to the fold out for fear of waking up with half her arm being gnawed on.  The dog weighs half what I do and takes up twice as much space.  Add to this he is a restless sleeper.  He kicks and bucks and moves about all night.  And the reason I let him continue to sleep there is purely selfish.  If he is confined he starts to whine at exactly 6:59am for food but when he’s sleeping with us he will hold out until at least 8:30 before he demands food.

Last night I had a nightmare that I was being chased by a train.  I know trains don’t chase people but it was a dream.  Not fully awake I realized the train wasn’t a train it was snoring.  Without opening my eyes I told Dave to stop snoring.  It didn’t work so I opened my eyes and found the source of the snoring.  This is what I saw.

And then he licked my face.  He was all snuggled up on my pillow, partially under the comforter and completely sure that he was supposed to be there.  I attempted to push and pull and move him back to the end of the bed with limited success and went back to sleep.  The snoring started again.  Not your everyday snoring but the kind of snoring that will wake the dead.  Then as I got up to move him again I began wondering if they make those anti snoring nose strips for dogs.  As I got near the back-end of the dog he farted.  If he woke the dead with his snoring he would have sent them back to the grave with the gas.

This is when I began to understand the complex anatomy of a bulldog.  Starting at the head:  6 inch thick skull that can headbutt it’s way through a fence, cute little black outlined eyes that always look sad so you’re inclined to give them anything they want, giant floppy wrinkly lips that really do nothing but drool from time to time, protruding bottom teeth that are good for opening things other dogs can’t  – “can opener” style, a giant tongue that loves to give kisses when he’s done something bad, a giant neck that is hard to find collar’s for and an even bigger chest that is hard to find harnesses for.  Then you get to what I call the “accordion.”  The “accordion” is the bulldog’s belly and it works accordion style.  It squishes up then blows air out each end – thus producing both the snoring and the farting at the same time.  Maybe more like bagpipes – based solely on volume because I think bagpipes make more noise than accordions.  And finally there is the stubby tail which whips back and forth at a dizzying pace. 

There you have the anatomy of a bulldog.  I will not ever have another one… I swear – at least until Dave finds another cute puppy…….