Monday, July 27, 2015

I Didn't Know

Today is Bugs Bunny's 75th birthday. On July 27th, 1940, a subversive rabbit who did not yet have a name, burst onto the scene in a short cartoon named "The Wild Hare". It's often been said that Walt Disney wanted to capture the family market while Warner Brothers wanted everyone else. Bugs, named for the original director of his movies, Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, was the subversive, wise-cracking character that Mickey wasn't, and, in fairness, couldn't be. Voice actor extraordinaire, Mel Blanc, decided the rabbit would have a faintly Brooklyn accent in homage to the caricature of the tough Brooklyn male, always in trouble and always one step ahead of any authority figure. In 1954, he was America's favorite cartoon character and won an Oscar in 1964 for "Knight-Knight Bugs".

He appeared in more than 170 shorts over the next 30 years and starred with Michael Jordan in "Space Jam". (Do not ask my opinion on the rumored sequel to that movie.) Steven Spielberg resurrected the whole Looney Toons gang with "Tiny Toon Adventures", which ran from 1990 to 1995. It was cute, but it never caught on the way the original cast did. "The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour" was a staple at our house on Saturday mornings. Dad would come in from the fields or the barn or wherever he was at 11:00 a.m. to spend an hour laughing at the antics of Elmer and Daffy and the Devil and Wile E. Coyote.

There are so many, many shorts with eminently quotable lines, but if you ask anyone, myself included, what their favorite Looney Toons short would be, it has to be this one, "What's Opera, Doc?"

"Oh Brunhilde, you're so wuv-wy."

"Yes, I know it. I can't help it."

"Oh Brunhilde, be-ee my love."

I can't tell you how many times those three lines get sung, even now.

Why isn't this a national holiday? Seriously.

Beverage:  Water


Cut Ups

Another small step in the tidying.

In the cleaning of the "Receipts for Major Purchases" folder, I found terms and conditions for credit cards. That's a misfiling but it caused me to pull out the drawer where I have cards and actually look through them. Since the 5th 3rd debacle, I have canceled or let expire a whole bunch of cards that I had but didn't use. I hung onto my 5th 3rd cards until this whole mess was cleaned up, which it was at the end of May. So, I spent some delicious minutes carving those credit cards into shards over the garbage can.

But then there are these. Sears gave me my first card, back in 1977 when I was a college junior. I felt so powerful but had no idea exactly what credit was. Still, I had, and used, that white card until they began issuing standard size cards in the 1990's, I think. Marshall Fields (defunct) and Nieman Marcus also used the small card format. I used to have an NM card. I thought I saved it for nostalgia but it wasn't in the stash.

Sears and Field's issued new cards which I, obviously, never activated. I know they pre-date the banking fiasco or maybe came at the time of the fiasco and I felt, for my good, not having the credit was a good step in righting my financial ship.

Ah Disney. I got this way back in the late 1980's, when Disney stores in malls were exploding like pop rocks. I spent so much money at those stores and through their catalogues. When we took our first vacation to Walt Disney World, we got all sorts of discounts using the Disney card. I think they discontinued it or we canceled it, I don't remember.

And finally, Montgomery Ward. My ex worked for a trucking company affiliated with Wards. We got a 25% discount on goods and services purchased through the store. As mentioned in a previous post, my oven is a Montgomery Ward branded appliance. We got a fantastic deal on it. I have a blue sweater that I got at Wards for $12. I'm pretty sure it's close to the same age as Carole and one of the elbows needs some love, but it has worn like cast iron. I kind of liked Wards and was sad to seem them go bankrupt and close.

But they have arisen from those ashes and are online only now. Scanning through their offerings, they aren't all that unique in what they have for sale. I don't need much but there are a few things which would be fun. They have a compact computer desk. I'd love to replace the behemoth I have in my home office with something more compact. Wards is a distributor for the company that sells the desk. Comparing prices, they aren't cheaper. I think I'd be buying nostalgia more than anything else and I have to be leery about tossing money at something for nostalgia sake. I have a lot of that as it is.

I cut up the big Sears and Fields cards. The rest I put back in the drawer. I'm not ready to take a scissors to them just yet. The act of tidying has always been about being ready to let go, being critical about what I save. There is no use to these. They are saved purely because of warm memories attached to them. At some point the scissors will come out and they will be gone, but that's not now. I did reduce the stack by 3/4ths, however and that is a good feeling.

Beverage:  Coca-Cola



I haven't seen the Minions movie, yet. It's on the list of things to do, but so are a lot of other things. Still, I can celebrate all things minion. I have help in that one of my friends, Meredith, is kind of minion obsessed. She contributed to my enjoyment with a box of goodies.

So many goodies, most of which were at the dollar store. I use the minion cup for beverages while I'm at the computer. Right now, it has Coca-Cola in it. The tic tacs sit off to the right. I'm not sure if I want to open them. The hand wash is in the bathroom. It's apple banana scented and is heavy on the apple, but light on the banana smell. I don't know if I want to use the toothbrush. It's cute. I will use the toothpaste, once I've used up what I have now. And the mouthwash is, well, interesting.

It's called "Bubble Fruit" flavor. I had just used up some cinnamon flavor ACT mouthwash so I jumped in to use the minion branded one. Maybe if it had been dyed pink. I won't say it's horrible, but I won't rush right out and replace like for like when it's used up. Maybe it's my "adult" palate, but I thought the flavor was a bit too chemical and not fruity. Still, at a dollar for a bottle, it's a better value than the ACT brand I was using.

There was going to be another Spectacular Death guild meet-up while I was in Virginia visiting Carole and Larry. With the movie out, it was the perfect time to do something of a minion theme. Meredith found minion paper goggles which we used for a guild photo.

I'm grateful to the guild members who attended for going along with the goggles for a photo.

A minion balloon marked the driveway.

Meredith made name tags featuring minions and put them in a minion folder.

I didn't have a printer or the time to make name badges. Next year, we probably won't need them because most everyone will know everyone else, but having minions was funny.

I bought a minion decorating package which contained spiral hangers and a banner.

Everyone got a goodie bag containing a minion bubble wand, their goggles, a sticker and a minion activity book which contained crayons. Mom helped assemble the bags.

The best minion item, however, is my poster.

This is done at weddings. There is a poster or photo or something on which attendees can write messages of congratulations. I found this poster at Sadly, this doesn't seem to be available on their site anymore. I had each guild member, and Carole, pick a minion and sign their toon's name on it. I'm going to take this to JoAnn Fabrics next weekend, after I get paid, and have them frame it. I was trying to think, after making that decision, where I'd put this and suddenly it hit me. Of course, that's where it needs to go. You'll have to wait to see where that is, after it gets framed.

We don't really NEED a theme for a guild party. The theme could be just "Spectacular Death gets together", but it was fun to assemble something totally silly. I can't thank Meredith enough for the goggles and the name tags. She also sent me a minion note book where I can record my thoughts about what crazy things my guild could get into.

For the record, the red item in the box is an M&M zipper pull. It's gone onto my winter coat.

Good times.

Beverage:  Coca-Cola


Pain Free, Sort Of

Ah, the life of flexibility, when I can cross my legs while propping them up on my office desk and not wonder if it will take a crane to get down.

I've dealt with sciatica, an inflammation of the sciatic nerve which runs through your hip and down into your legs, since December of last year. It would flare up and then go away, depending upon how much I was moving. Aspirin would help, occasionally, but I can't take a lot of aspirin due to the other drugs I take for RA. By April, the pain was affecting how I walked, sat, slept. It hurt to roll onto my side at night to fall asleep. Sitting for a day at the computer, writing reports, was painful but getting up and moving around was worse. It just seemed to be a spiral.

Dr. Francis ordered x-rays of my lower back. I have severe arthritis in my lower back and sciatica. She ordered a regimen of physical therapy. A lot of people have PT because I couldn't get my first appointment until after I came home from my Minnesota vacation. It hurt. I have a bunch of exercises designed to strengthen muscles around my "core" and then around the hip. I found that as I did those exercises, the occasional problems with my knees eases. The pain eased. On one day, when I had PT scheduled, I was half-way through the day when I realized, I wasn't in pain anywhere, not my hands, not my feet, not my knees or hips, nothing.

That weekend, an amazing thing happened.

I mowed the entire lawn without a break, the whole thing, front and back, without stopping other than when I ran out of gas. I swear I filled the mower, but, obviously, I didn't. Not only did I mow the lawn in one pass, but I ran errands after a shower, all without pain. I decided I had earned lunch so I stopped at Culver's and brought it home.

I wound up taking a nap 2 hours after coming home from running errands, but, hey, I'll take it.

Since that weekend, I've had some achy days. The drive back from my vacation to Virginia was long. I didn't get a car with cruise control and I realize that's kind of key to my comfort. That may mean I have to pay more for a rental, but that's the way it goes. My left index finger is swollen in the morning and "clicks" when I bend it. I've had minor achy joints in both hands and my knees. The sciatica is back, but it is very mild compared to where I was when I walked in that first week of June.

You know what? I'll take this. It makes me happy not to have the pain I had in my joints. Is it all from the Humira and drug combination? Is it simply the result of physical therapy? I don't honestly know. I just know that I'm feeling better than I've felt since 2010 and these little aches are easy to dismiss. Dr. Francis is talking about a change in my medications so I'm hoping it will be a reduction. I"m okay with that.

Beverage:  Coca-Cola