The Christmas before he died, the Spouse Thingy gave his dad a bright pink t-shirt; as the present was opened and the color noted, his reaction was pretty much what the hell did you DO? (Spouse Thingy actually giggled a lot in the store when he found the did I. Because it wasn't just pink, it was PINK.) Then he finished opening the package, unfolded the t-shirt, and saw what it said.


And indeed he did. One of our favorite pictures of the Spouse Thingy's dad is him in his bright pink t-shirt, and now the shirt itself is hanging on the bedroom wall. No one else will ever wear it again. It just wouldn't fit anyone else, even if it did.

In my head, my father-in-law was always Superman There's no other way to describe a man who could seemingly do everything, who was liked by everyone, and who left such a big hole when he was gone that there's still nothing to fill it.

I still miss Superman.

I still miss him...

Yes, it's pink.
My father-in-law was tough that way.

I suspect if he saw the new ink he would ask What did you DO?
I embraced the pink, old man. I'm trying to stuff part of that hole with it.
Oh yeah, this tattoo hurt more than the last one.
It was totally worth it.



My comments...they be broken and Haloscan is "working on it."

So in the meantime, instead of offering me these glowing comments about how wonderful I am, go enjoy two of me new favorite sites. Not Always Right and It's Lovely, I'll Take It!

They make me giggle. :)



Beware the F-bomb...

Yesterday I went for a nice little ride around town, zooming up streets, zipping down others. I had no real destination, other than when I left the house I decided it was to gas up...and it only took me 45 miles to find the gas station just 2.4 miles from the house. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cool, and lots of bikes were on the road. I passed a gaggle of hard-core Harley boys; one pointed at the scooter and they all lit up with smiles. During the 45 miles I was pointed at (happily) waved at by kids on the sidewalk, given the thumbs up from an old guy in a minivan at a was kind of cool.

But I just needed to run to the grocery store, and I had an overwhelming need for a taco. And gee, Taco Bell is right across the street from the grocery store. How fortunate. But while was munching on my quite tasty Big Taste Taco, a couple of wanna-be bad asses (you know...the guys who wear the leather on weekends but you know they wear pocket protectors Monday through Friday) were gesturing towards my scooter in the parking lot, discussing who "the douchebag who rides that piece of shit" probably was.

In their discussion--which I couldn't help overhearing because they were sitting right in front of me--they dertermined it was the skinny little guy in the corner. Probably someone who was too chicken shit to ride a REAL bike. Because the skinny little guy apparently had no balls, he was a "douchebag," "chicken shit," "fairy," and "pussy" to boot. The kid in the corner was oblivious, and I had no reason to destroy their little fantasy world, so I kept my mouth shut. In just a few minutes I learned that no REAL biker would EVER be caught on a scooter, that anyone who even has one as a second ride is just a douche, and that it's perfectly all right to run the little faggot-mobiles off the road. They wadded up their trash--and then left it on the table when they got up to leave.

Yeah, I was rolling my eyes alot.

But then I get out into the parking lot, and there by my scooter stands Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber. I popped the seat open to get my jacket, and the nerdier looking of the Wannabees marveled, "Well it's a chick. That's cool." I still didn't say anything.

But THEN...they leaned against the rustbucket-pickup I had parked next to--they weren't even ON bikes, just wearing bike jackets--and as I zipped up, Nerd2 asked Nerd1 how late into the season he thought he'd ride. "Probably mid-December. Too fucking cold after that."

That's when I laughed. And Nerd1 in his infinite intelligence grunted "Whut?" Nerd 2 added "Let's see you fucking ride when it's so cold your nuts hurt."

I fired up the scooter, and tilted my helmet down so they could hear me. "Only time during winter I wouldn't ride is if there's ice on the road. It just doesn't get that cold in California."

(In my head I added "Who's the real rider now, pussy!" to that, but I didn't have the guts to actually say it...)

((I kinda wish I had, though...))

On the whole, I think I prefer the hard core Harley boys who have sense enough to appreciate the absurdity of a 3 wheeled putt putt ridden by someone in full gear. Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber...those two are probably garage queens who spend five times as much time washing and polishing their bikes than they do riding them.

:::sticks nose in air::: Yes. Yes I AM better than they are.

Shuddup. I am!


If you were selling a house, and someone made you an offer for your asking price, wouldn't you accept it, like, RIGHT NOW instead of making them wait to find out?

Granted, the real waiting starts once their bank has the offer, but still...I wanna know!


Thumper, looking upApparently, one must keep looking up whilst house hunting. I found myself doing this a lot, and am embarrassed to admit that I was looking for high places for the kitties to play.

Last week we saw seven or eight houses, and were very drawn to two of them. Yesterday we went for a second visit on one of them, and looking at it in a new light pretty much crossed it off our list. It was a decent house, and the floor plan was really nice, but we kept finding all these things we'd have to work on or replace: all the appliances, the carpet, the house fan, and the worst of it, the giant front windows. The bathrooms were seriously dated, with a Roman tub in the master that looked just plain uncomfortable...we liked it, but it felt like we'd be settling right off the bat--not to mention the roughly $20-30,000 we'd need to sink into it.

Today we went back for a longer look at the second house. It was like night and day. This one has brand new laminate throughout the house, the kitchen was completely remodeled 2 years ago and some some of the nicest touches I may have never considered before, I would have a big office, and it's got a 3 car garage. That will make our bikes happy. It's turn key...we wouldn't have to do anything.

The giant back yard made the Spouse Thingy happy, as he envisions someday having a pool put in. I envision him mowing the grass.

We're going to try to hook up with our agent tomorrow (his assistant took us today) and put in an offer. It's a short sale home, so there's no telling how long it will be before we get an answer...I have high hopes, though.

So keep your fingers crossed. The lender has to approve our offer, then it has to get through not only our bank's appraisal, but the VA's appraisal. I really want this house.

And CONGRATS to my best bud Sandy! She just got her FIFTH degree black belt in TKD. Yes, say congrats, because if you don't, she's entirely capable of kicking your ass ;)


Ya know, it doesn't matter if it's a Saturday night. If the neighbors can not only hear your bass thumping music at full volume, but feel it through the floor, it's too freaking loud! And the riding of the sport bike in high revs, so high it was like a dental drill on steroids, up and down the street at midnight...I hope a giant cat poops on your pillow.


Man...who would've thought that every single house for sale in a given area and price range would be either a short sale or a foreclosure?

In any case, the hunt is on...


Early this afternoon we strapped a helmet to the sissybar on the Spouse Thingy's bike--facing backwards--and dropped the passenger pegs, and headed out for a ride. We were headed for a doctor's appointment, but that wasn't our primary objective; today's ride was a memorial for Conor Murphy. He was never able to ride a motorycle himself, but he did ride pillion (heh...otherwise known a bitch) with his son Ian frequently. (Aye, son, I'll be yer bitch today.. )

"If it feels like someone is pinching your nipples," Ian warned, "it's him. He always did that to me when he thought I was going too fast."

To be fair, I did pass along the warning to the Spouse Thingy, lest he wonder at some point why it felt as if he was being molested at 55 mph. But, apparently we were not riding too fast, as neither one of us got a weird little thrill along the way.

Overall we went a little more that 55 miles, with a stop in the middle to get my wrist x-rayed (sprain, no big deal) and to have lunch (Panda Express...yum.)

All weekend we had winds here that were too stiff to bother taking the bike and scooter out, but I was determined to ride for Mr. Murphy no matter the weather today. We got up this morning, and the gusts of the weekend were gone... nothing but calm, and the temperatures in the 70s--perfect for a long ride. Nice.

I have to wear a wrist brace, but wasn't broken. Nice.

And tonight we got a pre-approval on a mortgage, so as long as we can get out of our lease, we'll have one more move to torture the cats with, and never again. Verrrry nice.


All right...who broke Blogrolling? How can I pursue the fine art of housework avoidance if I don't have my blogroll to surf through?


Conor Murphy once bemoaned the fact that eulogies were offered after the fact, when those who might like to hear them no longer could. So on October 27, 2004 I posted this:

Eulogy For Someone Still Living

Murf’s dad, as was mentioned to me in recent email, bemoans the idea that everything good will be said about him after he dies. People wait until there’s a corpse before they screw up the nerve to say things that might be better said while there’s still a pulse, and some reasonable amount of comprehension. It might be a good idea, he thinks, to hold ones’ wake before one reaches an age where mental faculties might be a bit degraded, or before the wake is really a wake.

And it might be nice to see how many people will come, and who, and which of those in attendance will get royally drunk and puke in the nearest potted plant.

And he’s right. We shouldn’t have to be dead before people remember us. So for Mr. Murphy, a eulogy for someone still very much alive:

I was 12 years old the first time I saw Conor Murphy. I was walking down the street, headed for the 7-11, and he was lying face up in his front yard, arms folded behind his head. I must have hesitated, because he piped up, “Ah, ‘tis all right. I had a bit of the drop, and am just a wee bit fluthered.”

Not knowing what to say, I thought about turning and running.

“Mrs. Murphy thought I should come out here and face God Himself and explain why I felt a Guinness was a good thing at three in the afternoon. And I heartily think Himself approves.”

At hearing the name “Murphy” I relaxed, because I knew his sons from school, and I laughed because I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but it sounded funny.

Mr. Murphy was “fluthered.” Not drunk. Not tipsy. He was fluthered.
And as you can imagine, very, very Irish.

I had other introductions to Mr. Murphy. And while he wasn’t much more that 2 or 3 inches taller than I was at the time, he always seemed to be a giant of a man. Always friendly, pretty much gregarious, he was still this huge presence that hinted that behind the friendliness was something with a spark of danger. Not danger in a bad way; he simply gave off the feeling of someone who would not tolerate mistreatment of anyone, and someone who could take care of it if he had to.

And he did. The next school year, the day after a teacher had openly humiliated two students who could not, because of their religion, stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, he stormed into our home room class to remove his son, letting her know in no uncertain terms what he thought about her intolerance of others’ religious beliefs. If we had dared, the rest of us would have stood up and cheered. It was one of our first lessons in civics, and it was given in less than two minutes.

Conor Murphy was also a cop. His intention to make it his career was cut short…not by the bullet lodged in his back, but by the fall he took just two weeks after being shot on the job. It was a stark reminder of the gentleness of his nature; he fell from a ladder while trying to pull the neighbor’s cat from a tree—not because the cat couldn’t get down on its own, but because there was nest of baby birds in that tree, and he didn’t want them to become a feline feast in his back yard. He could have gotten out the hose and chased the cat from his tree, but he didn’t want to hurt the cat, either.

He fell onto his back, bullet fragments shifted into cracks in his spine, and he was left unable to walk. He had feeling in his legs—mostly pain—but he couldn’t support his own body weight. His career as a police officer ended in his back yard, the neighbor’s cat sniffing his face.

The Murphy’s house was the first I had ever seen with a wheelchair ramp. Mr. Murphy was the first person I had known who needed a wheelchair, and he was not shy about zipping down the street in it. In the mid 1970s, that just wasn’t something one often saw, but he turned his bad luck into a bright lesson for the rest of us: the disabled are People, and there’s not a thing you need to fear from them.

My family moved away not long after that; we headed for California, and for a time I forgot about the Murphy family.

Years later, when “getting online” meant that one subscribed to a Proprietary service such as America Online or Prodigy or Compuserve, in the days of the 300 baud modem and Crayola-Colored graphics, Ian Murphy and I reconnected. We remembered each other differently: I recalled him as being a wormy little PITA, he recalled me as being the one person who made sure he was included. But I remembered his father clearly, the gentle Irish giant who let his kids paint his wheelchair with fluorescent paint.

Over the last 10 years I’ve realized that Conor Murphy is the man those of us with sons hope for them to become. He’s tough, he’s strong, and he’s very gentle. He loves his children and grandchildren with open affection—I remember the teasing Ian and his brother took for calling him “Da,” and for the goodbye kisses Da insisted on before getting out of his car before school—and he’s never ashamed to show it. He fought through all the pain of his injuries and a few years ago had surgery to remove scar tissue and bullet fragments from his spine—and then spent another few years building enough muscle mass to be able to stand and walk a few feet at his grand daughter’s wedding, so he could give her away. When Ian’s mother died in ’97, followed just a few weeks later by Ian’s own heart attack, Conor Murphy held everyone together through the strength of his nature and outspoken belief that God has a purpose for everything.

A few years ago, when I was in the middle of my own fight with pain and found myself needing a wheelchair to get around, Mr. Murphy emailed me with this message: The wheels are but a tool, and you can use them to hide behind, or you can use them to build strength.

Conor Murphy never hid behind anything. Not even on that day over 30 years ago when he was plastered on the grass in his front yard, just a little bit tipsy a little too early in the afternoon, looking for God’s approval. And from where I stand now, I think it’s safe to say “Himself” approves.

I'm glad he got to read it.

Conor Murphy died in his sleep last night. He was 76 years old, and had recently told his son that he was tired and ready to go home, and that when he did he wanted as few tears as possible. He wanted the people who cared about him to tip back a Guinness in his honor, share as many happy memories as thy could recall, and to be happy that he was reunited with the love of his life, dancing on strong legs, without a moment of pain touching him.

L'chaim, Mr. Murphy.

May the good earth be soft under you when you rest upon it,
and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lay out under it,
And may it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out
from under it quickly, and up, and off,
And be on its way to God.


You don't often see a twelve year old girl walk into a public place making deft use of a white cane; I didn't stare but I couldn't help but notice. From where I sat at a table in Burger King, I watched her enter through the side door, her mother a few feet behind her, quietly giving her directions. Small child to your left. Ketchup packet on the floor to your right.

Mom never touched her, but instead let her navigate her way to the front counter. To your right. In two steps to your left.

They got to the counter and Mom stepped back. The thought ran through my head that this was a prearranged visit, as the manager gently motioned the cashier aside and took over; the young lady asked for a Braille menu, made her choice and ordered, and then reached into the purse that was slung carefully over one shoulder while resting on the other hip. She withdrew her wallet and reached in with nimble fingers, touching bills. When she found what she wanted, she paid, and then waited at the counter for her food.

Mom still hung back; her daughter held her cane in one hand and picked up the tray with her food in the other, and turned, waiting for direction to the soda fountain.

It was the only thing she really needed help with, figuring out where the ice dispenser was, and where she needed to hold her cup in order to fill it.

As they finished capping their drink cups, I got up to get a refill of my own, and as they turned the girl squealed, "Mom! I can see that! What's that big fat yellow blob?"

Um. That would be me.

Me and my hi-viz, neon neon neon lime green sweatshirt.

That big fat yellow blob.

(I was going to leave that part out, but, well...when I told the Spouse Thingy at dinner he damn near choked enchiladas out his nose and if I left it out, he'd surely add it to the comments.)

I stopped short; what do you say to that? You don't take offense, because hey, the blind girl saw something. It's not like she knew it was you and was slinging an insult. She saw something colorful, as much of it as she could see, and was excited.

No offense taken.

It was a nonevent, really. Mom was curious where I'd gotten the sweatshirt; outfitting the entire family in hi-viz lime green seemed like a reasonable thing to do when out in public. She wrote down the URL from which I had ordered the sweatshirt, thanked me, and followed her daughter to a nearby table.

I filled my cup halfway, swigged it down, and headed back out to my scooter.

As I zoomed around town I pondered their BK excursion; it seemed to be a very ordinary thing under not so ordinary circumstances. Anyone who has had kids has been there, standing back while our child takes those steps towards some semblance of independence, even if it is simply placing the order at BK and paying for it. The difference here was that this child couldn't see, and Mom was allowing her the practice with a sense of grace and a palpable amount of patience.

But later, when I was telling the Spouse Thingy about the girl, how she managed her way through Burger King, placing an paying for her own order, the thought occurred to me--that was less likely practice for a twelve year old girl as it was a letting go for a dedicated mother.

The daughter surely had rehabilitative training, teaching her how to move in public, how to cope with the loss of sight. But Mom? You can offer all the rehab you want, but it's hard enough to let go when your kids are fully-abled. Surely it takes some practice when all your child can see is shadows and indefinite shades of gray...and neon neon neon bright lime green.

I'm not sure I could do it.


I tried to watch the VP candidate debates last night, I really did...but ten-fifteen minutes into it I realized if I had to hear Palin schmooze that folksy "darnit" one more time I was going to put my fist through the TV. Today I will spend a huge chunk of time surfing online for non-video highlights and lowlights so I can find out what happened/what was said/is anyone sucker punched anyone else.

It is truly a sad, sad day when the newspaper forgets to include the comics. Almost as sad as the fact that the first thing I read in the newspaper every morning is the comics.

Gah...ya know, as much as I covet that pretty bike, I can't get past the $15000 price tag. For that you could buy a couple of small cruisers. makes me squeal, or at least the pictures do. I have high hopes it's one of those things that photographs nicely but looks really bad in person.

MK asked in the comments of the previous post Do you have any ideas for a good first bike that's not a Rebel, because it's too small for me.

There's always the Kawasaki Ninja 250; sporty but would give you a little more leg room. Or the Ninja 500. Kaw makes the Virago 250 and I understand it's physically a little bigger than the Rebel, too, and it's a solid bike. There's the Honda Nighthawk...I don't like the drum brakes on it, though.

And soon there will be this:

The Suzuki TU 250. It's a standard, has a higher seat height than the Rebel (30" to the Rebel's 26"), and will only run you $3500 (plus freight, assembly, tax, title, license, the fee to use the dealer's pen, cost of breathing air while in the showroom, and a nominal charge for using their bathroom during the 3 hours it takes to buy a bike...) I like its retro kind of styling. Taller riders are going to like not having their knees jamming into the bars.

Really, any cruiser under 800cc, and any sport bike under 600cc should be reasonable to start on. But take the MSF basic rider's class before you buy anything. You'll get to ride a small bike and see if riding is even your thing.


See this?

I have coveted this bike for two years. I've had a hard case of I WANT THAT ever since I saw pictures of the concept bike; I was hoping Santa would bring me one even though it wasn't even in production yet.

Want, want, want, want, want.

Last year it went into production--in Europe. Everything I read suggested it wouldn't hit the U.S. market for years, if ever. For whatever reason, the European bike market gets tons more in terms of bike selection and variety, where the US gets bigger and bigger bikes while the smaller bikes bite the dust.

So I kind of assumed we'd never get it, or I'd be too old for it by the time it got here.

But then...Honda announced the 2009 lineup, and dammit, there it is.

And I just bought the scooter. I love my scooter and will keep it forever, or until the wheels fall off, whichever comes first, but dangit.

Seat height is low enough for me to still swing a leg over.


In lieu of more whining, I share with you a picture sent to me by my oldest sister, from whom this would never have been expected. Laugh amongst yourselves, and if you're, I'm upset about the bike, so I'm not real concerned :)