Categories: KGB Family
Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing.
(Grandma and Edie, 1972)
My paternal grandmother, Esther Schotting, passed away on this date in 1979. She and my grandfather raised me for the most part; they and the late Earle Wittpenn are mainly responsible for the person I am today. I remember her watching me as I walked home from elementary school in the afternoon, or crossing Eighth Avenue to go to Isaly's or McCrory's. She was always at a window, always looking for me.
In her last years, when I was changing buses to go to my job in Pittsburgh, she was there in the window in the apartment on Ann Street. I probably looked like an idiot, waving in the dark to no one visible. But I knew she was there.
The only time I ever saw my grandmother in a church was when I got married. She claimed she was an "old-time Baptist" and liked listening to Mahalia Jackson records and watching Billy Graham on the tv.
The local Baptist minister graciously agreed to conduct her service. I was holding up pretty well during the service, until he ended his eulogy to a woman he never met with a poem by Margaret Widdemer that precisely described her:
She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.
And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.
Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.
Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.
Pixie, the strange, insane, dog-like creature:
1. Communicates telepathically with her masters from deep space, the Dark Overlords of the Universe;
2. Really likes having her butt scratched.
"Ah. Familiar that pose is."
A picture of granddaughters Joelle and Leanna from their vacation cabin.
Pixie the Shih Tzu (Klingon for "small, insane, dog-like creature") attacks: a) invisible bunnies under the comforter; b) my socks; and c) her older "sister," Sassy.
If you live in the greater Pittsburgh area and, like me, rank the experience of taking your dogs to the groomer just above getting a root canal, you're in luck.
Just call the lovely Shauna Caudill, a certified groomer and owner of Bow WOW! Mobile Bath and Grooming, and she'll bring her spiffy specialized vehicle to your home and work her magic.
To be honest, taking the shelties to the groomer was never a problem, other than spending a week trying to get all the fur out of the interior of the car.
But Pixie the Shih Tzu (Klingon for "small, insane, dog-like creature) was another story. Within five minutes of leaving the groomer's, Cindy received a call telling her to return asap and retrieve the wee beastie. They couldn't handle her. I imagined it went something like this:
Our experience with Shauna was decidedly different:
Sassy is ready for her close-up.
Before Shauna, Pixie looked like a rabid tribble with legs.
Shauna abandoned a successful but unsatisfying career and decided to take a chance and do what she truly loves. Her drive and dedication are estimable, and her skills are obvious.
We've already scheduled our next appointment.
On the left, granddaughter Leanna beginning fifth grade in September, 2013.
On the right, granddaughter Leanna today, on her last day of fifth grade.
She's a high honor student and this fall will attend Pittsburgh Classical Academy (PCA), a magnet middle school in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She's also in the district's gifted program.
PCA's unique approach features interdisciplinary units organized around ancient civilizations: Egyptians, Greeks and Romans in grade six, the Middle Ages and Renaissance in grade seven, and U.S. History in grade eight.
In addition to "modern" courses like communications and computers, the core classes include health, library, mathematics, science, social studies, and Spanish.
Or, as we used to call it, "school."
Categories: KGB Family
Pope Francis will bring a rabbi and a Muslim leader with him when he
travels to the Holy Land this week. Or as bartenders put it, 'We've been
Godzilla, in happier times.
Quote of the week:
Don't force stupid people to be quiet. I want to know who the morons are.
BBC says Senators have called for a new name for the Washington
Redskins. They suggest the Washington Powerful Old Honkies.
The outstanding problem of cryogenics isn't whether future advances in
technology will enable you to be unfrozen and brought back to life
10,000 years from now. The outstanding problem of cryogenics is whether
250 consecutive generations of security guards earning $6.50 an hour
will remember to check the thermostat every night.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)
Skies over Chicago, Wednesday evening, May 21:
b) they crossed the streams
c) Dr. Jenning is summoning the Dark Overlords
(Photo by Andrew Chase)
There's a certain satisfying irony in the fact that the speed with which same-sex marriage is being adopted is due not to states passing bills in favor of it, but in the courts ruling as unconstitutional the bills prohibiting it. An excellent example of the law of unintended consequences. Interesting trivia: John Jones III, the federal court judge who ruled Pennsylvania's defense of marriage act unconstitutional, was nominated to the bench by then-Senator Rick Santorum.
Hate to say this, but because of Pat Sajak's awful remarks, I will no
longer look to game show hosts for moral guidance.
"Oh my God, we're all gonna die! You know this is serious if someone on Fox News just said 'climate change is real.' I believe that is a sign of the Apocalypse."
-Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
It seems that trying to fix stupid just makes it worse.
Daugher-in-law Angela, granddaugter Joelle and son Doug celebrating the at the little one's first birthday party. (It was a WonderPets theme, hence the cape and tiara.)
I was rinsing out a plastic Dairy Queen cup which had contained one of their "milk" shakes, and one minute of full-force hot water failed to melt or otherwise remove all of the residue. I don't know whether I should throw it in the recycling bin or call a hazmat team.
And... the desktop is clean.
Granddaughter Joelle all tired out after a fun day with her cousins.
Granddaughter Joelle gives me the look I get from most young ladies...
Just a couple buds hanging out on the couch.
It took an hour, mild sedation, three Milk Bones, my beard trimmer, two adults and an oven mitt, but we finally trimmed the hair around the eyes of the small, dog-like creature (aka Pixie the Shih Tzu).
Pumpkin turns 17 today and retains the title of oldest non-human mammal in the house.
Her nickname for the longest time was "Demon Cat From Hell." She does not suffer fools gladly, and she pretty much considers herself to be surrounded by fools.
Fortunately, she's mellowed somewhat in her old age. Treat her with respect, and you'll get it in return.
As long as you feed her.
Granddaughter Joelle has the official Star Fleet wardrobe, is working on the Vulcan salute...
YouTube video: 3,965-day-old Leanna and 296-day-old Joelle hang out.
Categories: KGB Family
Doug, Joelle, and Angela
My son Doug turns 38 today.
Despite having what can be most charitably described as a semi-feral übergeek as a dad, he somehow managed to thrive. He's an independent, responsible adult with a droll sense of humor; the ability to write complex yet accessible biographical narratives; possesses impressive typing skills; loves animals; is a scholar of the works of the giants (Python, Landis, Ramis, and Cameron); is a great uncle; and last year became a father.
That last achievement is what I find most impressive. When I was 38, Doug was a junior in high school; he graduated before I turned 40.
I remember being a dad when I was a strapping youth of 21- the dense fog of sleep deprivation; the indescribable aroma of baby powder, loaded diapers and regurgitated oatmeal; the sleepless nights due not to a crying infant, but worries about the future. I try to think of dealing with that as a late thirtysomething, and my mind seizes up and goes blank.
One thing I do know- Joelle is lucky to him as a dad, and I can't believe my good fortune to have him as a son.
Happy birthday, Doug.
My son Doug and I meet for the first time.
He is not impressed.
Categories: KGB Family
I can communicate through a series of short & long groans & sighs. It's
called 'morose code'.
-Robb Allen, @ItsRobbAllen (h/t David Kifer, alt.quotations)
Somewhat alarmed to discover some teens don't recognize "Uncle Sam," I checked with my daughter about my soon to be 11 year old granddaughter's status:
KGB: Does Lea know who Uncle Sam is?
Sara: Oh, I think she would.
KGB: Ask her when convenient.
Sara: She said yes, it's the guy pointing and saying "I want you."
KGB: Excellent. Our nation is in good hands.
Sara: She said "Yes. Yes, it is."
Can't argue with that...>
"I give them a year."
-Ray Bloch, musical director for "The Ed Sullivan Show," on the Beatles, when they made their first live appearance on American television 50 years ago.
"Ah, hell. Let's call Froot Loops what they really are: Gay Cheerios."
Those who feel that humans are essentially good and altruistic have never read the comment sections on YouTube.
I actually used to date a girl named Christie Benghazi, so it's funny
for me now when I flip between those two channels.
The Star Trek Facepalm collection, although I don't think Spock actually qualifies.
“If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?”
Let me ask you this: If you came from parents, why are there still parents?
"Fortunes have been lost underestimating Jay Leno."
THREE DOG NIGHT- Although, with Pixie the Shih Tzu puppy, it's probably more accurate to call it a "Two Dog and One Small Dog-Like Creature Night."
The President said we must stay vigilant against foreign threats...yet
Justin Bieber remains a free man.
Damn. I just wrote year of the snake on a check.
St. Peter can tell which new arrivals are from Pittsburgh because when they go toward the light at the end of the tunnel they slow down.
I wonder if clouds ever look down on us and say, "Hey look. That one is shaped like an idiot."
Daughter-in-law Angela with my granddaughter Joelle.
Maybe if we all e-mail the Constitution to each other, the NSA will finally read it.
In the depressing gloom and cold of mid-winter, February 2 is an important day, and I'm not talking about some farcical ceremony involving a large rodent or steroid-enhanced millionaires giving each other concussions.
Had they lived...
Eva Cassidy would have been 51...
(YouTube video: Eva Cassidy, "Fields of Gold")
My dog Beanie would have been 20...
And my dad, Raymond Francis Barkes, would have been 90. Here he is with my son Doug, watching airplanes at the Allegheny County Airport in 1977. It's a sobering thought that I'm six years older than my father was when this photo was taken. He died in October, 1994.
I'm sad they're no longer here, but I'm glad they were in my life.
I haven't "lost" them; they're with me all the time. And memories are like fine wine. They improve with age.