Friday, June 30, 2006


I spent hours and hours changing THIS:

to THIS:

Only to realize I don't like it at all and PLUS....I ran across the can of pink wall paint I had originally purchased so I could accent paint that now I am going to take it all apart again and paint the wall.

Perhaps. Because my powers of energy and decorative inspiration are waning.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

99% Shabby, 1% Chic

As part of the New Movement towards Essential Living ( a term I just invented on the spot) I've been getting rid of mass quantities of stuff that I no longer need, want, have room to store, wish to commit a lifetime to dusting or maintaining.

I like to get rid of stuff anyway, more than the average person, and certainly WAY more than the Poster Child for Hoarders should be! But I think I won't soon lose the crown, after all I'm still intending to accumulate MORE DISHES and more teapots and tea cups as time and finances allow.

But does a person really NEED 50 tablecloths?

So I ask myself these few important and life altering questions as I go along sorting through drawers and rummaging through rubbish:

Is this item ESSENTIAL to my well-being?

Is this item ESSENTIAL to the maintenance of my life or my lifestyle?

Is this item ESSENTIAL to maintaining the flow of hereditary keepsakes for the history of my family? (This question is asked in the case of things like the ratted-out and shoprag-worthy quilt that belonged to my Great Aunt Lula and was discovered discarded in a trunk in her spare bedroom and salvaged by me and used and patched and bleached totally white over 40 years.)

It is the most freeing feeling to get rid of stuff!

I am working my way through my entire place, room by room, and getting rid of non-essentials. I have a goal in mind, too. I want to make enough room so that everything in this cabinet can be put elsewhere and this cabinet can GO!

Harsh, I know. Those of you who worship at the alter of Shabby Chic are going to think I've gone totally bonkers. Rest Assured, an IKEA Yuppie has not taken possession of my body! It's just that this old thing seems to create dust from WITHIN itself, in some kind of transmutation of decaying wood particles, and I am tired of having to sneeze and wipe a cloud of dust off of myself everytime I open the doors.

So I'm going to sell it on the local craigslist and then be very happy when it is gone. Because eventually, a thing no matter how beloved, slips over the edge from shabby chic into the doomed realm of Simply Shabby. And at that point, it is no longer Essential to my well being.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Things that make you go Hmmmmm....

Why is bird poop WHITE?

Is there any other creature on the planet that has WHITE poop? Think about it. I've been thinking about it since I left my apartment to get a haircut and had to go by the car wash first because my car was totally covered in white. I actually thought the painters had sprayed it with white paint. But no.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Painted Wall

I'd rather be nibbled to death by ducks than paint walls, believe me! And yet there are times--for instance, after having lived in the same apartment with the same off-white walls for 14 years--when an accent wall can save a life.

And so I painted an accent wall.
The paint color is Behr's RENEWAL.

This came upon the heels of a thorough house-cleaning and now this place feels furbished up enough that I can bare to hold on living here for yet a little while longer. Not that I really WANT to move, but I've run out of space, and the things that used to be mildly inconvenient now sometimes seem beyond enduring.

Now here is the living room all rearranged and with lots more space for summer. I LOVE the light pouring in my huge front windows. Having grown up in light-deprived northern Indiana, you won't hear me complain about sun-fade or curtain blight. Well, maybe the curtain-blight since I see that the sun has already started to deteriorate my pretty sheers but oh, well!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mackie by Mackay

Here is the portraint of my cat taken by the cleaning lady on her little Blackberry thingee. The house didn't get done but the cat got a portrait. How does he swing it?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hydroponic, Schmydroponic!

Well! I went to the farmer's market this morning....Happy First Day of Summer, everyone!

In Sacramento, you can go to the certified farmer's market every day of the week. The one I like that is close and convenient is under the freeway on Sunday Mornings. That is a large, full market with lots of diversity in people and products.

My REAL favorite, though, is the one on Wednesday's in Famous Mexican Park right across from the main library downtown. They have the food vendors as well as market stands, so you can get teriyaki chicken, kettle corn and other yummy-smelling foods wafting on the summer air.

Today, I wanted to get out and stop being so housebound and glum, with the main wish of getting some zinnnias, tomatoes and cherries!

I did good, didn't I? (Actually, that bowl of fruit was a lot FULLER, earlier on.)

It's still a little too early for tomatoes, however. They had some colossal ones at one produce stand but those things are always suspect. Just how much fertilizer does it take to make a tomato the size of my head? I asked the guy about them and he admitted they were hydroponics. I told him they looked lovely, but I could get those in a store! (at frankly half the price!)
Just now, at the beginning of summer, I always wish I lived in a little cottage with a white picket fence and a field of cutting flowers in my own garden next to the free range chickens and the tomatoes and lilacs. But then I remember the heat, the bugs, and the dusty toil of gardening and I am just as content to get my things in a shady park on a Wednesday morn and never even get my hands dirty!

Deaf as a...(blog)

Yesterday, I had a visitor who came unexpectedly dragging her teenaged (14) year old daughter and her friend (15). Since the visitor was 4 hours late in arriving and was supposed to be giving me an estimate on deep-cleaning my apartment (sorry folks, I'm one of those women who likes to have a cleaning lady whenever possible. Finances since my stroke haven't been so great but it's reached critical mass of disgustingness now and I want a one-time nooks-and-cranny cleaning service. I simply cannot see well enough to do my own nooks and crannys, anymore!) I was less than thrilled at the arrival of two bumpish teens whose sole job seemed to be to plant themselves on my sofa and text-message each other, while the mother proceeded to talk me to death for several hours but not do so much as a lick of work.


Yesterday I had my new cleaning lady show up, accompanied by her delightful, sweet, and totally deaf daughter and her very darling, funny, lively deaf friend. These girls were so charming and funny, and awfully good at pantomime for the non-deaf, which would be me, since the Mom can sign quite well and of course these girls are very high-tech and use those little ipod things or blackberry's or whatever they are called to speak with each other. They are boarding students at the Fremont School for the Deaf, and are home for the summer. Those two are joined at the hip much like I was with my cousins at that age, so they just automatically go everywhere together.

The girls were good at eye contact (obviously necessary for lip reading and absorption of nuances in a non-hearing world.) and ready with bright smiles. They were interested in my teapot life and asked all kinds of questions and were curious about my life. You certainly don't find that in hearing teenagers!

The 15 year old asked me if I had any pictures of myself. She is a photography buff. Lucky she! I dragged out my box of pics from my whole life and they entertained themselves quite well pouring over those.

The Mom was signing to them that I lived alone with one cat and no husband and was very independant, and the 15 year old signed back, "Is she happy?"

Well, I loved that question! Who thinks to ask a person they are just learning about if they are happy? I was happy to tell them that I am. I left out the rider, "For the Most Part" because I could see the Mom wants them to contemplate an independant, rich, happy-filled life of their own without recourse to boys, drugs or tattoos. They even learn to drive and be responsible for their own travel arrangements at 14 so I think they are going to do well in life!

It was a totally neat and unexpected day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pet Peeve #9

People who do not show up on time, or call at the last minute to reschedule.

Monday, June 19, 2006

New Levels

I know you've all been hanging out on the internet waiting to hear what my new levels are.

Well, not too bad and not too good, I guess. Higher than what they outta be but lower than what I expected after a week of unbridled Indiana-style eating.

Cholesterol: 211
Tryglycerides: 201

And my good old Doctor wrote me out a prescription to put on the fridge. It reads: lose 6-12 lbs in 6 weeks. That's 1-2 lbs. a week. CHICKEN FISH VEGGIES and Cheerios. He told me he personally hates oatmeal so he won't prescribe it for me.

He also prescribed something for my HEART and more exercise. I don't know what is worse. Doctor mandated dating or forced aerobics. He said I will be healthier and less depressed if I had a guy in my life. I thought that was what MACKIE is for, but apparently it's not quite enough.

So I'm back on the diet, because he said if I lost the weight but did not lose the extra numbers in my levels, that he would PERSONALLY get me free meds. Now, you can't beat that, can you? I guess it is because he knows I really can lower my levels with diet and exercise and love if I'd just give it the old College Try.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Love's Labors Lost

Oh! Why did I get out of bed today? I spent all morning painting this cute little spice rack I found at the thrift store yesterday...I had to go to 3 different places to even FIND a spice rack. I could have had a high-tech chrome and black rubber one that held about 9 bottles on a counter-top turntable kind of thing, but around here, counter top space is at a premium! I NEED my counter top space for things like more clutter. Decorative clutter. Counter tops are not to be used for SERVICABLE APPLIANCES or COOKING ACCESSORIES.

So I just wanted one of those cute little wall mounted spice racks. Currently, my spices are taking up one whole cabinet, and I've decided that now I need that cabinet to hold my teacups.

I found two of them at the thrift store. I decided to buy both of them because I couldn't decide between the two. And this morning I painted both of them and then a little while ago I put the cuter one up on the wall. Because the uglier one didn't FIT IN THE SPACE. And of course I didn't discover that until I had painted the whole thing.

Here is the cute one, and believe me, it's not THAT cute. Those leaves were a pain to paint.

I like these little projects, but they do tend to eat up loads of time. So I am at least glad that I got this thing wall-mounted and spice-bottle ready in about half a day.



Who in the freakin' hell designs a spice rack that won't hold spices?????

Feline Sleep Disruption Syndrome

Mackie, now fully recovered from his separation anxiety from my trip, has swung into full-on Sleep Disruption Syndrome. This happens in the summer months, and never in the winter when it is cold and wet.

It manifests itself in an hourly yowling fest that wakes me up out of a sound sleep. It's purpose is to make so much ruckus that I HAVE to let him in or let him out. He just wants to ram around at night and he sees no reason why I can't comply with his every whim. I don't mind letting him out once during the night, but last night he went in and out more than 3 times.

I guess there is just too much excitement in the summer air. And I, stodgey human that I am, just want to SLEEP through it all.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Toy Gun Soiree

At the graduation party, I saw an old friend from childhood/high school/whole life. Her parents live next door to my parents. She married late and had a baby at about 46 years of age. He's a cutie, but a bit...hyper to say the least. He hit the toybox like an addict on crank and went straight for the wind-up toy train and all the toy guns he could find. We've got some very nice toy guns in the toybox. Pearl handled. Cast iron. Very nice! Hand guns that held snaps at one time, or pops. What were those things called? You put a cap in the back end of it and it went BANG and left an ominous and satisfying scent of sulfur in the air.

Ah, those were the days! Different times!

Later in the day the teens that hang with my teen nephew took over the living room. Not too far removed from the food table but socially removed from PEOPLE other than their own tribe, ya know?

These are the coolest group of young guys and one girl, by the way. They make up the Jazz/Concert Band and they had to play Pomp and Pomp at the graduation ceremony, which they thought was a major waste of their time and talent.

At one point I wandered into the living room and saw that each and every one of the boys was holding a toy gun while they sat and watched a movie. I just cracked up! A little later I heard my good friend Pam puzzledly ask her son, "Is that yours?" and his impishly sarcastic reply: "Yeah, Mom! I bring my own toy gun with me, wherever I go!"

Thursday, June 15, 2006


One of the 97 things I love about visiting Indiana is going to Shipshe. It's like no other shopping mecca anywhere, and TOTALLY not what you'd expect in Indiana, Land of the Outlet Mall. Shipshewana was originally a one-horse town with a nice big grain processing place and a Tuesday Horse Auction by the Amish. We used to go there and buy our ponies for 5 and ten dollars a piece when we were kids. The Amish not having much use for ponies, they were dirt cheap.

Shipshewana Library. (Not large. The Amish are not big on reading.)
The auction grew to be a farmer's market and then it grew to become a giant flea market and now it is two days, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Because of the boom, the town of Shipshe has also grown into this neat shopping mecca. Lots of candy stores, fabric stores, gift shops, wood-craft shops (like hand-made Amish furniture, etc), all of them inside of old Victorian era houses on Main Street and all the side streets. My favorite is the Davis Mercantile which burned down a couple years ago but has been rebuilt very nicely. It is 3 stories like the inside of a barn, with shops, restaurants, park benches and big-wide farmhouse staircases. VERY cool!

This picture doesn't really do it justice, it has a very rustic aspect.

The other favorite shop is Yoder's Hardware. We used to make the mecca to Shipshe in the spring to get fabric for our Easter Dresses!

Of course all the Amish have cell phones, now.
And, of course, there is this disclaimer:
As always, out of respect for our religious heritage,
shops and attractions are closed on Sundays

Meander Indianer

Yep, there it is, the Crossroads of America! Except that you darn near can't get there from here.

This is what I mean by the view that just goes on forever. Lots of morning mist and stark white Amish farms in the distance.

There are 102 lakes in the county I grew up in. I don't know if they included the ponds in their count, but there are ponds like this or wide bends in slow rivers almost everywhere you look. Great for fishing holes or skinny-dipping when we were teens. Also great for breeding swarms of mosquitoes that can trace their ancestors all the way back to the original Plagues of Egypt.

Which is why anyone who is Anyone has a screened in porch of some kind:

Aunt Iggey, with her eye on a fly, or perhaps just contemplating the future.

The Graduate on her Big Day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Church of Snark!

Well it turns out that the one thing I really needed for this trip was not something I could get at Walmart in a pinch. It was my email PASSWORD!!!! Unbelievably lame of me, but I should be used to me by now. I spent a week unable to access anything of my own, but I quickly got over the withdrawels because I was so busy.

I had a great trip. It had some bad parts, which were very, very bad, and some good parts which were really quite neat and fun.

The worst part was sitting in the kitchen after my niece's graduation party while her estranged mother, my Ex-sister in law, held court on the breezy, pretty, screened in porch with her Christian Friends. We just wanted her to go HOME. She had the unmitigated GALL to bring her new husband to our house for the party. This is the "Christian" she ditched my brother for. They both go to the same church, I think it's called Church of Christ Sanctioned Adultery, or maybe it's Church of Christ Let Man Put Asunder. Either way, one of her cronies was sitting with her, and she's the very one who told all and sundry that she was Sooooo happy "Bicky" found a good CHRISTIAN man to marry, and that she got divorced and married this new guy right away so that now she can be Right with the Lord.

Of course this pariah of Non-Christianity, my dear brother, was the only person who went over and shook the new guys' hand and sat with him while he ate so that he would feel welcome. Really. I'm not kidding.

So that was the low point but the high point was laying in bed at my cousin Deet's house in the country listening to a marvelous summer thunderstorm. I was in bliss, I love the rain. They just don't have rain like that in Sacramento. You can't make up in quantity of all-winter-long-pouring rain what you can get in one Quality Lightening and Thunderstorm with the fresh, green, renewed smell of happiness right after.

I spent the night at Deet's and we had a Martha Stewart feast on her screened in back porch, with a full-surround sound view of nothing but fields and woods for as far as the eye could see. Then I happened to notice a little row of baby pine trees cutting a swathe across the path of the eye just a few feet from the porch. I asked Deet if she had intended for those trees to grow up and ruin her view, and she said, "well, there is a story to that." It seems that they had planted a good bit of their acreage in pine trees and the guy who rents their fields from them came along in the night and scythed them all down by mistake. As a gesture of sheer embarrassed redemption he also came along in the middle of the night and replanted new pine trees, and she didn't get to have much say in how they were spaced.

The Other Wonderful Moment that happened was as I was standing in Mom's kitchen during the graduation party, feeling a little overwhelmed by all the people I was trying to avoid (The Church of Christ Backstabbers came in droves, you see) when my uncle Ejay entered the room. Now, this guy is 6'5" tall, lanky, slow-talking and as funny and sweet as you can get. He is a lay minister and a deacon at the Methodist Church. He is also the ONLY boy smack dab in the middle of 8, count 'em, 8 sisters. You can imagine he is just as easy-going as they come...he has learned to tune out any female voice in a 30 mile radius. We spotted each other at just about the same moment, and hugged long and hard. I pulled back and said, "Oh, I am going to cry!" I was so happy to see him! And he said, through misty eyes, "Well, then. Let's just take a moment to be teary-eyed. Let's just stand here and do that."

I saw a ton of old friends and had so many little meaningful encounters, and plenty of laughs. It was hard, though. When families are shattered and those who do the shattering don't seem to have to pay any price at ALL for their selfishness. The new guy that 'Bicky' married is by all accounts a very nice man.

Nicer than me. I had a list of things I wanted to say to him but of course I was forbidden on pain of death to be anything but kindly or at least neutral.

I would have liked, upon being introduced, to have said:

a) Oh! Are you the Nice Christian Fellow that broke up our home? I didn't recognize you without the Scarlet Letter you should be wearing on your chest.

b) I feel soooo sorry for you! You have NO IDEA what you are getting yourself into, you poor, poor man!

c) I am SO happy to meet you! THANK you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking that shrew off our hands! We are all SO grateful to you! Now could you please take her away and move to Florida forever?

However, instead of any of those snarky remarks I just about broke my ankle trying to get away from them anytime she approached me with him in tow in order to introduce us. I could be found gibbering in the laundry room arranging the Plyley's Mints by shape and color.

I went and had blood drawn today, and the girl who stuck me with the needle was some kind of brutal torturer, I've never had a simple blood-drawing be so painful before. And now I have what looks like a blood blister or two of them side-by-side in the crook of my elbow. She must have hit a nerve AND an artery.

Blogger is having one of it's usual hissy fits, and won't let me upload any pictures. It did that all last week, too! So I guess you'll just have to IMAGINE all the things I've had to say!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Indiana Wants Me

Well, here it is, the last possible day that I will have in which anything even remotely blogworthy could occur. After today, I will be spending most of Sunday attempting to get my luggage closed. I have actually been able to remove ONE tee-shirt and the third pair of pajamas, but am losing the battle of replacing those items with even thicker and more useless stuff like my pink gym shoes (like I'll actually be doing any exercise in Indiana! HA!) and a thick fluffy sweater (like the humidity will not be at 98% with 98 degrees Fahrenheit in Indiana! HA!).

I just don't like to not have the ONE THING I NEED THE MOST with me while I am gone. I've done things like: copied and printed my entire email address book so I can email from my brother's attic computer if I can figure out the secret combination to get into the room and can prod the electrodes and diodes awake that power up his pre-Windows home-made computer thingee.

I've packed my own oatmeal. They don't sell thick cut oats back there. I've also got my own teapot and travel teas. They all drink coffee and coffee consumption is a no-no for me. I'm taking at least 5 movies and lots of CD's and 3 boxes of See's Chocolates as gifts for friends and family. I comfort myself that removing these items will make my suitcase have oodles of room for the return trip, so I can stuff it with yet more stuff I acquire while home.

In any event, you'd think I was going to Outer Mongolia for a 6 month all-seasons Trekk rather than a mere 7 days in Northern Indiana. After all, they do have a Wal-mart! And if my feet hurt while I'm stomping around the Shipshewana Flea Market I can just buy a pair of Inflatable Amish Footwear, right?

In the meantime, it has come to my attention that although my counter tells me I have about 50 views to my blog a day, I am still not ever getting any comments. I feel bad about this. Am I so boring? Not controversial enough? Do folks feel shy? I'm always reading blog comments on other blogs and they seem mostly to be made up of die-hard regulars who just like to check in sometimes. I think this is the problem. I have no fan base. Or if I do, they are a silent minority.

So, let me just say it out loud on paper: I REALLY love comments. It makes me feel heard. I'm begging you! All my best blogging efforts seem empty if I don't get to hear some kudos once in a while. PLEASE, gentle readers, post comments!

In the meantime, I'm off to the land of horse and buggies, mullet hair cuts, redneck accents, and not a crisp fresh raddichio in sight.

Friday, June 02, 2006

So, you think you can Vomit?

PLEEAAAASE! Television Network People! PLEASE bring back censorship!

Let's go back to the days when Rickie and Lucy shared a bedroom but not a bed! Where Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore had the cutest little twin bed set, and their son Robbie appeared like magic with not a hint nor a glimmer of sweat on Laura Petrie's Brow. Just some cute maternity tops for an episode or two and then Viola! Here's baby Robbie.

Nowadays, even on "FRIENDS", we have to sit and watch some charming, glamour-puss celebrity actress grunting and panting with her legs in stirrups while she gives birth to the obligatory olive-oil and ketchup smeared infant. It's disgusting, it's in bad taste, and if you complain about it, you are considered some kind of commie pinko who is against Nature. Because, you know, childbirth is NATURAL. So we should WATCH it a LOT. So we can celebrate our natures.

But it wasn't like that in the old days. You were not expected to be NATURAL. You were expected to have manners, decorum, and keep private things private. People did not swap spit and swallow each other's tongues upon greeting their beloveds. The bedroom was off limits to the camera, and all body functions were not even alluded to, much less shared with the television audience. You never even SAW a bathroom on a television show!! Ladies had powder rooms and vanities, sure, right next to their twin bed, but that was as far as they went.

And never, not once, not never, not no-how, were we ever subjected to someone PUKING on national television and then standing around afterwards talking about it!

I'm speaking about the episode of So You Think You Can Dance which I had the misfortune to catch last night. Where that poor chubby girl in the tutu and greasy smeary black eyeliner (who did she think she was, Britney Spears????) reenacted the Dance of the Pink Hippos from that old Disney Movie, Fantasia. Where the network, not content with showing her vomit just one time for shock value, decided it would be BETTER if they use that shot in the trailer, in the promo, in the segway, and at every station break for the duration of the episode. So that we got to watch her puke....what? 5 or 6 times before it was all done? What's next, people? Now that we've broken the projectile vomiting taboo in our society, are we to go ahead and just let it all hang out?

Well, I won't go into graphic detail about what they could start showing us next. You can figure that out for yourselves. I'm frankly suprised that they didn't give us a CLOSE-UP and a fade-out on the puddle of nervous vomit that poor soul left behind. But apparently someone must have thought that was tacky. Someone thought that might be pushing the envelope! Taking it a little too far.

I shudder to think how desensitized we have become. I think I am going to try and cash in on this trend for 'outing' it all and making it for our viewing pleasure. I'm going to propose a television show called "So you think you can DIE?" and then go around and film a bunch of people dying. There could be a panel of judges giving their remarks after the person is dead, and then a nice shot of the family members dragging the corpse off stage and complaining about how ignorant and unfair the judges are. The best DEAD PERSON could win a prize and go on tour.

You think I'm being over the top here? You just wait. It's the next thing! After the 6 or so Seasons of America's Top Puker, of course.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Farewell to Fletcher

I just want to say that nobody is more fond of cats than me, I never met a cat I didn't like, and I can't say that about people or dogs or children. I've met plenty of them I didn't like, and for many varieties of reasons.

But although there have been many cats I truly loved, loved with a full heart and with true joy and laughter and kindness, there has never been a cat like Fletcher. And he wasn't even mine! He belonged to my cousin Bobbie, and she just had to have him put down at about 20 years of age.

Farewell, Fletch. You gave the best hugs of anybody, man nor beast.

Now you see it, now you Don't!

Aunt Flambe`, otherwise known as "Auntie Frostie", has been in the hospital for the last few days while they look for the tumor on her pancreas that has turned up missing all of a sudden. The tumor, I mean, not the pancreas. They seem able to locate that, but the giant golfball sized gall stone, the inflamed gall bladder and the tumor the size of a grapefruit or possibly a guava has gone missing, along with the stint they put in there to keep the ducts open when they found the tumor in the first place.

She's crying Halleluiagh and saying the word "Miracle" a lot but I think she has bile poisoning and the word she is looking for is the OTHER "M" know.... MALPRACTICE.

Her daughter, my cousin TiVo Jane has not called me cussing a blue streak and blaming everyone including the president and all the other aunties for this odd occurance, so I find that even MORE STRANGE than the case of the missing tumor.

I just hope it's not migrating out here towards me. 4 days and counting until I walk the green, green grass of home.