Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I never learned to play the violin

When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a little, red violin for Christmas.

My grandma is a professional violinist and I am sure she was dreaming of having me follow in her footsteps.  She was probably already seeing all of us tracing back those footsteps to that moment when she handed me that awkward, very bright, fake violin that played recorded music when you rubbed the yellow bow accross the rubber wheel that doubled as the "strings."  She probably envisioned me falling in love with the romantic instrument and becoming a virtuoso. 

Too bad for her that I am me and have absolutely NO musical talent.  Or patience. 

While looking through some old family photos, I stumbled across the photographed documentation of that fateful Christmas day. 

First the picture of my mother patiently trying to teach me how to correctly hold the bow and violin.  So far the dream of me being a brilliant violinst is still a great possiblilty.

Next I try it on my own.  The dream of super stardom is fading. 

Then the dream crashes and burns when my lack of patience overpowers my violin loving potential.

Sometimes in my dreams, I can still hear that little red violin.  Saying....stick with your day job. 

Stay tuned for a coming blog post about my very conservative, very reserved parents playing a very original game that apparently they absolutely loved...with very disastorous results.  The game? 
 "Squeeze Butt." 

Friday, October 8, 2010

The writing was on the wall, er...sign-in sheet

I am all for budgets.  Keeping track of your money is important.  Doing sums to figure out financial footwork is completely acceptable.  However....there are certain places not to finalize your budget.  Like at the bank.  On the sign-in sheet.  For all to see. 

Especially when you can't add.  Or subtract. 

Today, I went to the bank.  It was payday and I am always excited to go deposit my check.  When I got to the beginning of the line, I stopped to sign the back of my check and to sign the "sign-in" sheet they have on a little podium. 

This is where my day became awesome.  Here is what I saw:

I just had to take a picture.  (Which by the way, I didn't take a picture at first because I was much too afraid that taking a snapshot of a sign in sheet at a bank must violate several Federal laws.  So I went back and pretended to text someone while I took this picture.  I half expected to hear sirens and see a swarm of SWAT members coming at me afterwards. I kept glancing around for someone to stop me and I tried to think of a believeable thing to say if approached - like "I am doing this so as to prove a breach in your security, of which your presence disproves my theory. I promise I am a good person, I have a Citation Award from AWANA!!!"

Fortunately, so far I haven't gotten any menacing calls from the Department of National Security.  All I can say is that we are not as safe as we thought - I can take a picture of a sign-in sheet at a bank!!! )

Aside from the element of is why this is so awesome. 

1. This person had no clue how to add/subtract.  In fact, they tried to do both at the same time.  They took the number $5,800 and the number $1,800 and added the two "8's" and subtracted the "1" from the "5" with an answer of $4,600.   I sincerely hope this person was not a math teacher....or an accountant. 

2. This person gave themselves tick marks on the edge of their "sums" (if you can call poorly calculated numbers "sums").  I don't know if the tick marks were strikes for poorly done math or points for what they thought was good budgeting. 

3. Their last comma that separated their final number of "$3,400"  was so large that it commaed both the number AND the dollar sign.(Of course, their figure was once again off by $100 if they were trying to add...and we won't even try to fathom what math book taught them their math rules if  they were in fact trying to subtract.)

What an inspiration of dismal degrees.  This person had no shame and wrote their numbers for the world to see.   I just hope they weren't trying to figure out if they had enough money to buy a car or something...for they may find when they get there that the math was a little off. 

I believe I will start doing my budget on sign-in sheets.  You can never have enough accountablility. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh Why, Oh Why - My dad and the Fly

We Philpots come from a long line of hicks.  Topics like chopping wood are not as foreign to us as some would think.  In fact, I can chop and stack a mean pile of logs.  Yes.  Too bad that can't go on a resume or even attract a decent boyfriend.

Since my dad grew up on a Christmas tree farm before moving to LA later in life with a whole "fresh off the farm" vibe, I am a first generation non-hick. 

Let me tell ya, that ain't so easy. I have to establish what is "in" and "hip" and explain to my dad things like  lol does not in fact mean, "Lots of love" and that Facebook is nothing like the Farmers Almanac.  It soon became evident that you can't completely take the "country" out a boy when my dad proceeded to cut down all of the palm trees in the front yard because quote, "trees that are that skinny and serve no purpose don't deserve to take up my soil." 

I am pretty sure if he could have, we would have made a log cabin with those palm trees and stuffed the cracks with oil rags in the winter to insolate it.  If you doubt me, both his brother AND sister made their own log cabins.  For real. 

Today, a bunch of flies flew into our house.  No big deal.  At least, to non-hicks that's no big deal.  However, those flies came into a "hick" house, otherwise known as the "death" house (to vermin at least).  We don't mess with Raid like sissy city-slickers.  Nope.  We hunt.  I feel so sorry for those unsuspecting flies who were just seeking a little santuary from the muggy weather outside.

At the first sighting of these "vermin," my dad grabbed a dish towel.  Now, I am actually very proud of him because normally he tries to catch them with his hands first.  Have you ever seen a grown man, with a Master's degree, chase a 10-millimeter length fruit fly, frantically clapping in the air?  Let's just say, we don't need T.V. in our house.

My mother shadowed him and yelled useful encouragements like, "It went over there, it went over there!!!"  He would snap the towel and she would jump up and down and ask excitedly, "didja get it???"  If he did in fact "get it" she would exclaim, "ew, gross, throw it away!!" 

You would think that throwing away the dead curled-up bodies would be just standard protocol, but in a "hick" house sometimes the carcasses are left wherever they went down.  Oh yes, it's gross.  But I suspect that it's my dad's way of displaying his mighty hunts.  Like mounting deer heads...but with flies. you know why my friends never come over to my house. 

Oh and after a dad hacks a luggie.  Yep. 

There was a concentration of these flies in the kitchen, understandably as that is where the food is.  Well, that became ground-zero.  My dad snapped and flicked and pounced on the buzzing enemy with the vigor of a combat sergeant. 

One fly escaped to our walk-in pantry. My dad saw this opportunity, ran into the pantry (armed to the teeth with TWO towels) and screamed at my mom to slid the pantry door shut (so as to trap the enemy). 

This was the exciting moment, everyone.  The old pantry door is NEVER used. Ever.  The pantry door was also never made to be slide across it's rusty, dirty tracks in the manner that a frantic mom a.k.a knight would heave close the heavy gates of a helm under attack. 

But, oh she tried. 

The pantry door balked halfway across and there was much excited pushing and pulling from BOTH my parents as they tried to trap this tiny, little fly.  Eventually, the door did reluctantly slide close, locking my dad and the fly in to duke it out. 

My mom and I stood outside the pantry and begged for battle updates as we heard towel swooshes and snaps.  Finally, my dad, as happy as a boy who had just come back from his first coon hunt, exclaimed proudly, "I got it!!"  He came out, holding his "trophy" and scanned the horizon for any other buggers.  After the coast was proclaimed clear, life slowly faded back to a rather diluted form of hickness.  Or at least, we made him wash his hands after holding the fly.

We are such hicks. Like, really.  I am surprised we don't eat more possum stew...that my great-grandma did actually make. 

I just wish we could find some Texas T, some black gold.  :)