Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


The Ghost Host is Dead

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 7:16 am

My heart is breaking. I don’t know why it took me so long to hear the news, but May 22nd, Thurl Ravenscroft died.

The Blog of Death – Thurl Ravenscroft

He was the voice of The Ghost Host on the Haunted Mansion. He was the voice of Tony the Tiger. He sang, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!” The human voice is one of the unique things about us that is irreplaceable and we lost a great one last month.


The Red Chair

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 7:21 pm

The Red ChairWe moved out of Stonehedge Apartments in 1996, so we’ve had the chair for almost ten years now. It was sitting by the dumpster. The owner hadn’t been willing to just toss it in the garbage. Whomever they were, they loved the chair too much. Mike wasn’t home. Kathleen Bennett was with me and the two of us hauled the chair into the apartment. I loved it instantly.

The cats loved it instantly. It was obvious that it had been a favorite scratching post at its previous home and our cats furtively tried it out. They very quickly learned that it was ok to scratch it if Mike was watching. Only Laura would scream at them for scratching the red chair.

Mike, and everyone else who has ever seen it, has thought of the red chair as a joke. “She pulled it out of the dumpster.” The truth was that I found it lovingly set by the dumpster, but the image of Laura pulling the ratty thing out of the dumpster was funnier, so I let the slip go. “It’s horrible. Put it back!” No matter how much I tried to convince them, they couldn’t see how fabulous it is.

When we moved to Sugarhouse, we went from 3500 square feet to about 900 square feet, so a lot of our furniture ended up in storage. That was two years ago. In that two years, we paid $2400 to keep that furniture in storage. We could have bought a house of new furniture with the money that we spent to keep our old stuff, so we have decided to give it all away to save money, including the red chair.

The huge pile of our personal items was sitting on the driveway, waiting for Deseret Industries to come pick it up. We allowed our neighbors to pillage the pile for whatever they wanted. They took the imitation Tiffany lamp. “Don’t you want this red chair? It just kills me to let it go.” They looked at it in disgust. “We don’t have room for it, sorry.” I sighed and hoped that someone would find it at the DI and love it as much as I have.

“Did the DI pick up the stuff?” I asked Mike, hoping that they took everything. “They took everything but one. Guess what they left.” I cringed at the thought of trying to dispose of that huge, broken treadmill on my own. “The treadmill?” “Nope.” “The red chair?” “Yeah,” Mike laughed, “They said it was too crappy for them.” We laughed because we have seen the wreck of furniture that they WILL take. If they left the red chair, it must truly be horrible.

“It’s a sign! I need to keep the red chair.” I didn’t want it to go to the DI and I breathed a sigh of relief that they wouldn’t take it. I could hear Mike shaking his head on the end of the other line. “No, Laura. It’s a sign to throw the chair away.”

As of right now, the red chair is in front of my computer desk, taking the place of the ergonomically correct computer chair. I have plans of recovering it and changing it from a cat scratching post to a unique and interesting piece of furniture that will be the envy of everyone who sees it. Why am I the only one who can see how beautiful it is, right now?


Goodbye, Pedro… and Ezzy…

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:17 pm

Goodbye EzzyOur next door neighbors , Rick and Tracy, are moving and I’m grieving the loss of them. Their three dogs greet me each time I come home. Their cats have been more loving to me than some cats that I have considered my own pets. They always gave me a friendly hello and a little bit of conversation.

I’m going to especially miss Pedro, their black cat. He loves to sit on our porch and sit on my lap. He will shed his thick, dark hair all over my clothes and hands. Based on his behavior, you would think that Rick and Tracy gave him no attention, but I know they fawn over him as much as we do.

When we first moved to Sugarhouse, we had to give up our black cat, Ezzy. She was a feral cat that had we adopted. She never was tame enough to be enjoyable, so we gave her up when we moved. I felt guilty and lonely for a black cat and Pedro filled that sadness for me. Now that he’s moving away, I feel like I’m losing Ezzy all over again.

Note on Picture: This was originally a photo of Ezzy. She used to just sit on the couch, drooling and sticking out her tongue. Mike got a really good picture of it and I played with it in Photoshop. I can’t find the original…

The Red Chair Redux

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 7:24 pm

The Red Chair ReduxI just finished covering the Red Chair. It matches the couch and the living room but it seems a little more bland to me. Something about that red velvet that makes it just look over the top fabulous to me. Sage chenille just makes it seem… I don’t know… boring, somehow.

It’s a nice comfortable chair for sitting at the computer typing my fingers off. I’m sure the DI will take the fashionably ergonomic chair that used to be in front of my computer. Mike is willing to live with the sage green version of the red chair, so it seems that all of us are happy now. I just need to make sure the cats don’t use it as a scratching post, though…


Illustration Friday: Summer

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am



Skewed News

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Since I don’t watch the news on television and I rarely even bring CNN.com up, I have a very strange and skewed view of the news. It actually started to make me angry the other day until I realized how limited my exposure to the outside world is.

I don’t like to let anything negative into my life. That’s why I cut the news out of my life. It’s not apathy; it’s self-preservation. I steer clear of anything that affects me negatively. So, I read blogs that are supposed to be fun, like the Disney Blog.

I don’t know if you heard, but a four year old child died on a ride at WDW in Florida. Because of this, the Disney blog talked about ita lot. It’s big news when someone dies at Disney World and even bigger news when it’s a seemingly healthy four year old child. After reading all the entries about what Disney should do about their Mission Space ride, I started to get angry.

There are hundreds of kids dying in Iraq. They are a little older than four, but they are still kids in my book. I don’t see warning signs about that anywhere. I felt like the whole world was ignoring the war in Iraq just because one child died in Florida.

Of course, that’s because I don’t read the news. I have tried to shield myself from all the horror that our boys are experiencing overseas. In effect, I have ended up thinking that the world is ignoring the shameful and deadly events that happen every day and are focusing on a single, tragic, unexplained death.

I suspect that the news stations are filled with depictions of the war that we have wrongly been involved with. I bet that the American public is bombarded every day with images of our boys dealing with terrorists attacks. The regular news stations aren’t obsessed with this event at WDW or the Michael Jackson verdict, right? They are covering the war, right? Anybody…


CCR: Couch Couch Revolution

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:52 am

Click to see full size Joy of Tech

I’d Like To Buy a Vowel Part II

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:03 am

The Ford Mustang was lime green. That’s the only reason it caught my eye. Not quite the limey goodness of my Volkswagen Beetle, but limey enough for it to draw my eye to a car without German Engineering. The license plate read:


You all were so good at deciphering the license plate for me last time that I thought you could shed light on this one.

All I can think of ends with the word “turd” and none of them make any sense.


Illustration Friday: Black and White

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Black and White


Lunch Outside On The Grass

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’m sitting outside at lunch right now. The sun has been going behind the clouds and peeking back out. There is a dull roar of traffic from I-215 and a pretty strong breeze playing with the wispy hairs that have escaped from the knot I’ve tied my hair into. It feels so good to be out here. I’ve taken off my sandals and my bare feet are enjoying the cool green grass. I’ve finished eating my lunch and I have that full, warm feeling from eating the exact right amount of food.

The clouds in the sky look like a painting. There are huge puffy clouds close to me and a large array of the silvery cirrus clouds further away. The sky is mostly white with them. The wind is playing with them just like it plays with my wispy hair. They flow and change and move between my sentences.

If I were wearing white, I would worry about grass stains. Instead, I turn my body and lie on my stomach. I can feel the cool plants touch every part of my belly and legs. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend a lunch hour: relaxing and writing to the roar of the traffic.


MIT Survey for Bloggers

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

MIT is performing a social networking and blogging survey. It only took me about 5 minutes to complete it. If you are a blogger, be counted.

Plus, it’s MIT. Who doesn’t want to be able to say they participated in a study by MIT?



Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Chug-A-LugI was at the Utah College of Massage Therapy, waiting for them to call out my name. I rode my bike here and I was a little winded from the ride up the hills and happy for some water and a seat to rest on. It felt good to write and listen to their relaxing music.

I just heard some one say the words, “chug-a-lug” to someone else. It was the brown-haired girl manning the computer. That was the name that the kids in elementary school made fun of me with. It hurt a little to hear it. I looked up and identified the girl who said it. She hadn’t been talking to me. She hadn’t even noticed the glare I threw her. Of course, she had no idea that I had been tortured with that name for years.

(Continue Reading…)


I Feel Gagged

Filed under: I Love Makeup!,Manicures and Pedicures — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My Pampered FeetThe most enjoyable thing that I have been indulging in lately is something that I feel like I can’t even talk about right now. I feel like I have a gag around my mouth. I fear talking about it, but I learned long ago that if I do what I fear, I achieve more than I could have hoped for.

Every weekend, I have been getting a pedicure and a manicure. I found a lovely nail shop within walking distance of my home. It is family-owned and I love going there every week. The technicians don’t talk my ear off while they work on me, so I am able to relax and truly enjoy the pampering.

The reason why I have been reluctant to write about this weekly delicious pleasure is because of an entry I wrote long ago (Todd Oldham Update). In that post, I mentioned my pampered feet. Back then, I pampered my own feet, but I have to tell you that it’s much better to have someone else take care of me. That post is the cause of at least one email a month from someone wanting to get a picture of my feet.

They are polite emails, but they scare the bejeezus out of me. They scare me so much that I haven’t talked about my favorite weekly reward for months now. I never respond to the emails. I file them, hoping that the police won’t need them for evidence in the future.

The funny thing is that allowing that one gag into my writing makes the act of writing about other things harder, and I have many of those gags. I don’t write about my feet. I don’t write about sneezing anymore because one entry (Sneezing) attracted another group of scary emails. I don’t write about my full time job because I signed a non-disclosure agreement when I started there. I don’t write about my relationship with Mike. There are things that I don’t write about that I’m not even willing to mention the existence of.

With so many things gagging me, it’s a wonder I am able to write at all. Sadly, everything I write when I feel gagged feels like it’s not the full truth. For weeks I have enjoyed a happy ritual every Saturday morning, but I felt like I couldn’t tell you.

The truth of the matter is: no matter what I talk about, there are people who are going to get weird about it. There is no way to escape small groups of the strangely obsessed on the Internet. The world is so large that I can’t hide without removing myself from the blogging world and I’m not about to do that.

So, today I take off the foot gag. Today, I take off the sneezing gag (though I really have nothing else to say about sneezing, but if I wanted to, I could). Two less muffles stifling me. The other gags fill most of my day so I refuse to collect any more.



Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This week’s Illustration Friday is “Heroes.” The most recent heroic act I’ve experienced in my life happened when I was playing softball a couple of weeks ago. I joined the company softball team because they are in constant need of girls. I told them that I hadn’t played since grade school. They didn’t care. As long as I was female, owned a mitt and was willing to show up at the park every Thursday, they were happy.

A couple of weeks ago, they were really shorthanded and pulled me out of right field to put me in the catcher’s position. The team captain was pitching and I was throwing the worst balls back to him. I was terrified of the batters taking my head off; I was lousy at catching the ball when it looked like it was coming straight for my face. I felt embarrassed and apologized for every errant ball.

The team captain pulled me aside after it was our turn to bat, “Don’t worry about throwing the ball to me. Just do your best and I’ll get it.” It was at that moment that I became a team member. I’ve never felt so good about playing with a team before.

It seems like the heroes of the world are the people who say or do little things. They are so important to the people who received them, but the heroes think nothing of it and go about their day as normal. At some time or another almost everyone is a hero and we don’t even know it.

After so much derision and scorn I experienced for being a fat kid in grade school, having the guy in charge say something nice was like water on parched lips. All of us are just dry sponges wishing that a nice word would come our way. I’m a permanent member of the team now because he didn’t mind me throwing a few stray balls or having to run after the ball when it slipped away from me.

I’ve never seen a super hero. I’ve never met anyone who has saved a life. I’ve only seen the every day heroes that say the exactly right words to save the day. I’ve only met the every day heroes that show up when all is lost and say two simple sentences.

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