Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Turtle

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal it's sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile!

~Ogden Nash~

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another Duh Moment

Well, it's happened twice in two days: headlines that really don't surprise me. I can't quite decide which of the two is more obvious. Is it the news piece about how cats control us? Or could it be the bit about how swearing makes us feel better?

Let's start with cats. Cat's use a specialized meow/purr combo to control us. I can tell you, from my vast cat/human interactive experiences, that it's not just the meow/purr that gets us moving. My cats control me in the kitchen just by sitting and staring at me. That's it. That's all they have to do. I go in the kitchen to fix food. Cat walks in. Cat sits. Cat looks up at me. I see cat looking at me and respond with food. It's that simple. Pay me now for my valuable insight, please!

As for swearing? Well #*!## yeah it makes you feel better! According to what I read some researchers took it upon themselves to study swearing and pain. I'd like to see a video of that experiment.

"Hey Bob! I want you to say the first thing that comes to mind when I smash your thumb with this hammer..."

It seems swearing triggers our 'fight or flight' response, which in turn increases our pain tolerance. When Bob's thumb gets hammered, bad language spews forth from his emotional right brain rather than the language producing left brain. Huh. What do you know. I can just imagine what sort of people these researchers are.

Interestingly, the researcher and his colleagues also made a connection between swearing and aggression. Well, yeah! Hurt me to study my swearing response and I'll get aggressive too!

You know, I could have combined both topics in one bit of research. Cat scratches/bites human. Human swears. Cat gets fed. Everybody feels better.

So, where do I sign up for a research grant?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Change Is Good - You Go First . . .

I saw that little quip on a sign the other day and it gave me a good laugh. I don't think I make changes too easily - little ones, yes. I have made some hairstyle changes on a whim a few times, but hair grows out. You mess up your hair, you regret it for a few weeks and eventually it gets good again. I did cry once after a particularly bad perm, but other than that the hair changes I regretted were not particularly overwhelming. Bored with the color of the towels? Pick a new color and redecorate the bathroom. Buying new dishes? Well, that one took more thought but still nothing too difficult. But the bigger the change, the more time I take about it - I just won't do a thing until I'm darn good and ready. I've got to shop around, think it through, psyche myself into making a change - even when it would be in my best interest to go ahead and just make the change. A big decision can't be made unless I've agonized my way through it. Yeah, I procrastinate on the big stuff.

There are times when changes are forced on us in a hurry and we can't sit back and watch while someone else goes first. Being a middle child you get to see your older siblings grow and change and do things first and that takes away some of the scariness factor of growing and changing. But sometimes we don't have the luxury of thinking things through or waiting to wrap our heads around a new idea. Sometimes we can't wait while someone else goes first because it's our turn to be first. Sometimes we just have to go with the flow or be dragged kicking and screaming to the next destination in life.

Lately I've been thinking about making changes. I've grown complacent in some ways and I need to shake things up, get out of the rut. It's time for something new, like.... dating. Ouch! That one's tough. Here comes the kicking and screaming. I've been single for four years now, so certainly it's time I dipped my toes back in the water. That's no small feat for someone who imagines alligators and poisonous snakes in the water. Various people have been after me from time to time to get out there and start dating but I've successfully ignored them. There's just too much scariness factor and I could spend the rest of my life wrapping my head around the idea of dating again.

Well, I think that's about to change as I've been talking with someone lately that I just can't seem to ignore anymore. Seriously, this guy has been my neighbor for about a year now and it's taken me this long to really talk to him. You know, like having a conversation that lasts more than, say, thirty seconds. In fact, we've gone out walking together a couple of times now and had actual conversations! Really! I'm not even making this up! "Danger Will Robinson!" says the voice in my head. But what do you know, the earth didn't open up and swallow me. I didn't insert my foot in my mouth (that I know of), and I didn't keel over with a heart attack. Somehow I don't seem to have scared him away. Apparently I still know how to make conversation. Ok, so there's a big difference between talking and dating, but talking is a start. Change is on the way...and it looks like I'm up to bat.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My First Blogiversary!

Well what do you know, it's been a year since my first post on Significant Snail! Last year I was a Blogutante, making my debut. Today, after a trip around the block, I'm still something of a newbie. Amazingly, I am still posting, though not always as often as I would like or have planned.

Let me take a minute to give credit where due, to my younger daughter. You see, I was looking for a template to begin my blog and had found two that I liked. One was a relaxing scene of a hilltop at sunset with a large shade tree and a bench. I thought it looked like a suitable place to sit and talk and tell a story each day. Kind of predictable.

The other template was a snail. A rather attractive looking snail, I thought, but I wasn't sure what a snail had to do with storytelling, or anything else for that matter. Enter my daughter, who immediately said I had to choose the snail. I flipped back and forth between the templates for a while, and with her urging chose the snail. But still, I wasn't sure what a snail had to do with anything. This isn't a nature blog. I'm no biologist for Pete's sake. What could be significant about a snail? Turns out the snail was significant in his own right, and so a blog was born. I'm so glad my daughter forced convinced me to go for the snail.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

~Robert Frost~

This blog has certainly proven to be an enjoyable hobby for me, and as such has made a difference to me. It has been a place to share and a place to take a break from the complications that crop up in life. I'm looking forward to another year of the same and I hope you'll all tag along for the ride!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Road Games

I love a good road trip now and then, and my children do as well. It's always an adventure, even if the destination is someplace we've been before. The subject of road trips came up recently, more particularly the subject of avoiding boredom on a road trip. Years ago, my brother joined me on a road trip that spanned southern Arizona and southern New Mexico. At one point he began to keep a 'journal' of road kill. Pavement pizza, if you will. The journal read something like this:

3:10 p.m., November 11th, 1986, great tufts of fur sprouting from the pavement in the right-hand, southbound lane of I-10. The next entry was perhaps a deer pizza, bunny biscuits, or some other flattened beast.

When the girls and I travel we, a) bring stuff to entertain ourselves or, b) make up games to entertain ourselves. When all else fails there's always sleep. Well, unless you are driving. At any rate, my girls are old enough to be good at road trips. The first couple of hours aren't a problem: music, sleep, nintendo, toys, conversation. It's after those first hours, and especially as more time goes by, that things get difficult. Counting games are always good. Sometimes we count how many times we hear a particular song during our drive, like Poker Face, by Lady Gaga (if you are young or have teens you know this song). A few years ago we were driving through a particular county in Mississippi and we kept seeing red trucks. Everywhere. So we began counting red trucks. We stopped counting after 200. Seems everyone in southern Mississippi had a red truck. After that we always referred to that region as Red Truck Country.

Sometimes things get downright interesting. In the not-too-distant past one of my daughters brought a couple of beanie babies along. She also brought some clothes for them to wear and various accessories. You haven't lived until you've seen cross dressed beanie babies taking part in a shotgun wedding. Ahem. Yeah, that'll make time fly!

On our most recent trip the girls and I invented a new game which we simply refer to as, "The Cat". I don't know how it even started but the idea is that one person begins by making a statement involving 'The Cat', and then each of us takes turns coming up with new 'things' regarding 'The Cat'. The statements can be random or can be linked by a common thread, such as the cat's emotional state: 'The Cat' is sad, perturbed, elated etc; or each statement has to use a verb: 'The Cat' is jumping, playing parcheesi, eating kibble etc. Eventually 'The Cat' became unstable and condensed, and there was a deflagration. Of course the statements become more ridiculous as you go, with each person trying to think of something more obtuse than the last. The game went on for over an hour. I don't know how we thought of so many statements to make about 'The Cat', but we did.

How about you? Got any road games?

By the way, how do you wake up Lady Gaga? Poker face....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

O'er the Land of the Free. . .

This is a photo of the actual flag that Francis Scott Key saw flying over Ft. McHenry. This flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes and originally measured 30x42 feet. Damage from the battle that Francis Scott Key witnessed reduced the flag to 30x34 feet. It has been kept since 1912 at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

It is a tradition that when a new flag is designed for use by the United States, it is first flown over Fort McHenry, over the same ramparts referred to in the National Anthem. Our anthem began as a poem entitled Defense of Fort McHenry, and was eventually set to music. The song quickly became accepted as our National Anthem. During the World Series of Baseball in 1917 it was sung in honor of our armed forces fighting in the Great War, and was so moving that it was repeated for every game thereafter. The Star Spangled Banner was officially declared our National Anthem in 1931.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

~Francis Scott Key~

Wednesday, July 1, 2009