Saturday, December 29, 2007

Treasures within Treasures

One of my original clients had a horror of garage sales and thrift stores. She often told me that the very idea of pawing through someone else's discards was abhorrent to her. I remember looking at her with pity, scorn and delight. Pity and scorn because she didn't know what she was missing, and delight because that's just one less person getting the goods that I treasure so much.

The whole point of thrifting, in my view, is the thrill of the hidden treasure. It's like hunting for Easter Eggs or digging potatoes. You are looking for something, you know it's there, and suddenly, There it IS! A delightful thingee! Your Heart Leaps! And it's only 50¢ !!!!

A few of my aunts and cousin's have this same hunter/gatherer urge coded deep within their DNA. We simply cannot pass up an opportunity to go thrifting (or junking as it used to be called), forage at the dump or find somewhere to dig up old bottles.

Some of my most prized possessions are not the new things I've acquired, but rather the thrift store treasures that I've collected over the years.

For instance, my collection of Baby Jesus Orphans.

How did they get separated from the rest of the Manger Gang? Who in the world loses a Baby Jesus? And why would anyone bother to put it on a thrift store shelf and charge 98¢ for it? How did it escape being thrown in the trash? I don't know the answer to those burning questions but I have 4 Orphan Infants that come out every Christmas and have a place of pride on my mantle piece.

Or this butter yellow indigo star quilt that I found for 5 bucks. It was wedged between a dismal polyester comforter and a decrepit, stained electric blanket.

I think about the woman who made it, day after day adding another star to the pile until she had enough to start piecing the top together. I love old quilts. Finding one in a junk store is like finding the Golden Fleece as far as I'm concerned.

Very rarely I will find something that is so delightful it is beyond price. Like this framed print of the Beatitudes. It has gold leaf and beautiful calligraphy. It was at the bottom of a pile of framed prints and it was only 75¢. When I saw it I snatched it up and looked around furtively to see if I had just taken the one item that someone else was longing for with all their heart. I couldn't believe my luck! Nobody seemed the least bit interested besides myself.

Then I turned it over and saw the back. And all the little old ladies of religious sensibilities longing for a gold leaf copy of the Beatitudes to hang in their foyer or stairwell could have attacked me at once and torn at my flesh to get their hands on it, and NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING could have pried it from my hands.

Not only was it backed with vintage Rose wallpaper that was the Apex of All that is Shabby Chic, it had a hidden treasure even more delightful than the glorious, decorative back. Something so amazing that I never hang the Beatitudes on my wall. Instead, I hang this picture backwards.

Because along the edge of the old style handwriting...someone had written...

Exceedingly glad

And it just doesn't get any better than that, now does it?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Creation Station

It's been a tradition of mine for the past 20 years or so to take Christmas Afternoon and make my Holiday Thank You cards. It reminds me of when I was a kid and we spent the rest of the day playing in the mess of Christmas wrapping with all our fancy loot.

Dad didn't like us to clean up the paper and ribbons until the day was over. He said it made the Christmas feeling last longer. And I agree! So I create a little chaos and disarray of my own in the afternoon after the Ham and Creamed Peas have been devoured.

I call it a Creation Station. Isn't it a delightful mess? It is my work area for writing my after-Christmas Thank You notes and cards. I make the card and decorate the envelope and include a hand written note inside each one. I feel that if someone has taken the time, in all the holiday bustle, to select a wonderful gift for me, just me, then I can take the time to write a Thank You of the First Order. And I like doing it. Much more than I like shopping!

And this year I had so many things to be thankful for! Good company, friends and family calling from far away to wish me a Merry Christmas, and then get a load of this Loot!!!!!

This candle set spells Noel and you can't see it here but in the back it throws out a field of stars. It came with a bag of pine scented candles, too!

But Wait! There's More!

You can STACK them!

This is an antique soap dish from Cousin Bobbity Jane. I collect them so this was just a blissful present for me. The glaze is cracked and crazed and utterly stained with the patina of age and use. It is just the way I like my antique porcelain.

But Wait! There's More!

Get a load of these kitchen towels! They are made from thick old feed sacking and have a row of 3 different coffee pot/kettles along the bottom. I plan on refolding them every chance I get so I can see all the designs in rotation. Cousin Skeeter Jean, THANK YOU!

But Wait! There's More!

The Q's gave me this set of embroidered pillowcases, which are another weakness of mine. They are PINK flowers with tiny green leaves on a thick, old-style cotton pillowcase and it just doesn't get any better than that.

So even though I don't have a big tree and torn wrapping paper to wade through for the rest of the day, I still get to bask in the glow of opening such gifts as I write my Thank you Notes!

Merry Christmas to All! And to All a Good Night.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Unlocking the Key to Obesity

It is Scientific Fact...

Studies have shown...

And Experts Agree...
That Obesity is caused by an unhealthy obsession with food. Oh, and overeating. And I think I must agree with them because....I had a wonderful Christmas Party on Saturday afternoon, filled with lovely people and all kinds of Holiday Cheer....and the only thing I took pictures of was the FOOD!
Bon Christmas Appetit!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clone Sheep

One of the things I've always wondered about the Sheep Cloning how in the world could you tell if a sheep was a clone or not? I mean. Think about it. They all look alike anyway. I think someone was just trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Whenever we would see a Nativity scene that had the sheep on either side of the manger, my Grandma would always say, "Those sheep would be bleating their fool heads off from being separated!" and I always think of that. Every time I see a creche with the sheep apart from each other I want to put them together so they don't baaaaaa and wake the baby.

Incorrect Sheep Placement

Correct Sheep Placement for Peaceful Nativity Viewing

So, DO, please, run over and put all your sheep together in a clump! Then relax and have a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Attention Void Syndrome

Patience Onslow suddenly forgot where she was or what she was holding.

Luckily, the children where there to point the way.

I'm here to talk about AVS. Attention Void Syndrome. Different in scope and depth from ADD--Attenion Deficit Disorder--which affects mostly children on a sugar high who've never had any discipline whatsoever and whose brains have been wired to ultra-speed processing by video games and Intendos and X-boxes and stuff, AVS affects women of a certain age whose bodies are busy elsewhere rebuilding the system, leaving the brain in the precarious position of simply shutting down or short-circuiting.

It is important for women with AVS to have an awareness of 'mindfullness' so that mishaps, mistakes and driving fatalities do not occur.

I'd like to use two examples from my own life which occurred only yesterday.

As I was heating some wonderful Tuscany Tomato with Basil soup, I was also preparing a glass of ice so that I could have some chilly ice water to drink. This may have been my first mistake: multi-tasking is a road paved to hell and everybody knows it but are too prideful to admit it.

Suddenly, the AVS set in and all awareness fell into the void. I had filled the water glass full of hot steaming soup before I realized that something was amiss! I had to make the split-second choice of rinsing the ice to salvage it or just saying "To Heck with it!" and dumping the whole mess into the sink and starting over.

This time I was careful to make the ice water and take it Far, Far, far, far faaarrrrr away from the soup.

The second Dreadful Occurance of AVS came about when I realized that Jeff had called me while I was in the powder room and left a message for me to call him back. Since I was just about to reheat my cup of tea in the microwave, I thought I should get that started before calling him.

And do you know what I did? In a fit of complete and utter AVS, I dialed Jeff's phone number onto the keypad of my microwave!

Fortunately I came back to full consciousness before I hit the 'Start' button, otherwise I would have boiled my tea for 555, 4755 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Time for the Yearly Newsletter, Y'all!

It’s a Wonderful Life
Dear Family, Friends, Acquaintances and Total Strangers:

It’s time once again for the Annual Update on me and my family. As you know, it is a Great Pleasure to send you these yearly reports in a chatty newsletter format. Even though my family and friends talk on the phone daily, this letter is mostly for those of you who don’t really know or care what the heck happens to me all year long but at Christmas Time you really Can’t Escape!

Well, it was a good year for my dear departed husband. Denzel Jamal just turned 50 and that means only 40 more years left on his sentence! He also completed his GED after just 3 tries!

Speaking of successful graduations, our son Remy Daniels Martell successfully completed 30 days of Rehab right before his 16th birthday! I asked him if he met any famous people while he was in there and he looked moody for a moment and then left with his friends to go pick up the 9 mm I promised him for Christmas.

Our daughter, Bane Marie hit the news last summer when she delivered a 12 lb. 9 ounce baby boy in front of the beer cooler at the Arco Quickie Mart. She and little Bubba are doing well. As soon as she gets her figure back, she and Billy Hicks plan on having a Big White Wedding at the Barbecue pit down by the lake. Everyone is welcome to come: the price of admission is a case of beer, but you know I think these young folks could use some cash so don’t be shy.

As for me, well, the Meth got my teeth this year but it sure kept my weight down. And I painted the house TWICE! Of course the Landlord didn’t care for that Orange color I picked with the purple trim even if it was off the back of a truck and dirt cheap so he made me do it over in a color that blended with the neighborhood. I guess all that graffiti does show up better against the lighter Lavender.

Well that’s all my news for this year. I’m doin’ fine trading my cash for food stamps at double the value and hitting up the Food Bank using several different ID’s courtesy of one of Denzel’s buddies on parole. He and I have a thing goin’ on but don’t any of you tell Denzel! He won't get out until he's 90 and a girls' got to have a little fun!

Have a Happy New Year and I’ll see you Next Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Newspaper Drama

For some reason, everyone in Miss Kitty's world has a name but is called something else entirely. Today she told me all about Gerry her podiatrist. "His name is Alphonse." She has more occurrences of name switching in her vicinity than I've ever seen before in my 51 years! She also, as I've stated before, has more BIG people, babies, and dogs in her world. Just today, as I was changing out the bug light for her on the front porch, she told me that her ex-sister in law had a 15 lb. 27 inch baby. "That girl was big and I don't just mean BIG, I mean BIG".
Yes, I'd say that was extra-big.

On an entirely different subject, I received the copy of the article in the paper about the guy I almost ran over last week. I thought the article was hysterically funny for some reason! The reporter REALLY made it dramatic. Or was that me when I told it to him? Here it is:

Here's what ran in the paper today. Thanks for your help.

Everyday occurrences: After a fruitless search for a Supercuts in Natomas Marketplace recently, midtown resident K**** S Ponsonby made the turn out onto Truxel Road north and nearly ran over a body in the road. "My eyes saw something I interpreted as a Wal-Mart bag," she said. Then it registered. "It was a human." She stopped her car to prevent drivers from hitting the man, put on the flashers and went over to check a guy whose face was bloodied. She doesn't know whether he stumbled or was hit there, but she marveled that people waiting in the turn lane next to him hadn't appeared to notice. When law enforcement arrived, she was too shaky to even notice whether it was police or the Highway Patrol asking for her ID. "I was ill and dizzy and ready to pass out." She told the officer, crying, that it was the most bizarre thing that had ever happened to me. "He shrugged and said, 'Maybe for you, but this happens to me every day.' " ... Postscript: Police report they still don't know what happened. The victim -- once he came to -- remembered nothing.

Carlos Alcala Sacramento Bee (916) 321-1987

And that is my 5 minutes of Fame! Merry Christmas Everybody, I hope it's a BIG, no, I mean BIG, REALLY BIG day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

BIGGEST Baby of All

Ah, that Miss Kitty! She is definitely on a roll with the BIG things. Today we were discussing her nephew who is shacked up with a girl who just gave birth to baby #2. Neither 'parent' is over 21 years old, and are planning on having a very big wedding in a few months.

Miss Kitty wonders if the bride will wear white.

Tea stained is the color I'd pick for her. But then I said I thought it was a moot point as to the color, since she'd be wearing a topless gown so she can walk down the aisle with a babe on each breast and not interrupt their feeding schedule.

Miss Kitty said, "Oh, that's nothing! Do you know how Bob and Betty Bore's boy Bobby got married? His girlfriend had the baby first and it was a BIG baby. I mean, a really BIG baby. I've never seen a baby that BIG, have you? BIG! B I G Baby! Bob Bore is BIG so I guess it's in their bones."

"Well, how big was that baby, Miss Kitty?" I asked.

"The Bore Baby was SO BIG it wouldn't fit into a stroller. They had to wheel it down the aisle in an American Flier Wagon!"

The Failed Horticulturist

Conversation overheard while out and about:

"Why did my plant turn this color?"
"Because it's dead."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Practically Perfect in Every Way

If you've been reading me for a while, or if you've read all the archives, you know that I am a caregiver for Senior Citizens in their homes, and that I love my job. You also know that it is a thankless job, subjecting me to all kinds of abuse: emotional, physical and financial.

It can be amusing and fun, a learning experience and sometimes a real Joy; but what it rarely is, is a job of acknowledgment. If you are doing a good job, you don't even get noticed most of the time. Certainly not by the family who hired you to take their addled Mom or Dad off their hands. And rarely by the company I work for who doesn't really interact with me unless it's time for a Service Call or an In-Service meeting held quarterly.

So you can imagine how utterly delighted and thrilled I was when the placement coordinator in the office told me about my new Client and the daughter who was asking about me before I was placed.

"Is she a good caregiver?" asked the daughter.

Miss Pearl at the office replied, "She's one of our best. It's like if you were hiring a nanny and Mary Poppins showed up."

Now, that made my entire year! Miss Pink Ponsonby: Practically Perfect in Every Way

Friday, December 14, 2007

Apron Pockets

It's all about aprons, right now. Because it's Christmas Time and that means Holiday Baking, and that means donning an apron.

And what Christmas Cookie Marathon would be complete without a new apron? I had purchased some very nice funky Christmas Tree fabric last year at the dollar sale and when I ran across it while digging through a box for something else entirely, I knew I had to get it out and make an apron. With the help, of course, of my Trusty Sewing Apprentice.

Checkin' each seam, Checkin' it twice!

Finding the Straight of Grain is important to keep the apron from bagging inappropriately.

I wish I had taken an 'all finished' photo, but this apron has already been given away to the friend who helped me with all the baking. Hope she's not allergic to cat tails.

Oddly, and delightfully, while I was up late last night completing a few other baking tasks, I noticed that there was something in the pocket of my apron.

Dog Biscuits!!!!!?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Very Tall Baby

Today at lunch Miss Kitty was talking about her family tree and who all would be coming to Christmas Dinner at her place. This went on and on until she got to the cousin of John's sister who had two children and they got married and they had a baby...

"That was a BIG baby. Really. A TALL baby. You've never seen a baby that tall. That baby was TALL. I mean it. Have you ever seen a baby that tall? That Baby was TALL. A really, really, REALLY big baby. REALLY Tall. Really. Have you ever? I mean, it was a Tall Baby."

"How tall was that baby, Miss Kitty?"

"Taller than his Dad!"

Dylis Dials In

Ages and ages ago I posted about my incarcerated friend's mother named Dylis. (One of these days I'll learn how to insert a link to the post of which I am speaking.) She was supposed to ride up here on the bus and then accompany me to the prison to see her son whom she had not seen in ten years.

But first she needed to go to Las Vegas and Texas.

Time passed and Dylis was still busy, and the plans for her visit just faded away.

Yesterday, the phone rang, and Lo and Behold, it was She! Here is a snippet of our wild conversation:

Girl! Let me tell you, I've been smoking since I was 8 years old. Yes, 8 years old! We used to go out into the streets and pick up cigarette butts and smoke them. It was considered cool. In those days you could buy cigarettes from the corner store 3 for a nickel. We'd buy them and then one of the neighbor lady's would let us smoke at her house. Of course she let us do that because she was stealing them from us!

Stealing cigarettes from an 8 year old! How low can you sink?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O! Christmas Ham O! Christmas Ham

O! Christmas Ham

O! Christmas Ham

O! Thou were Chosen by a Zombie!

I ran to the store this morning to buy my Christmas Ham. I had to wait about a week for them to get a shipment of the spiral cut glazed hams, which are the kind I like. I saw them the other day at the Other Safeway but the store I frequent had not gotten any yet, so I decided to wait until now to get one.

But this morning I couldn't find any spiral cut hams. Just a huge deep freezer bin full of those water processed ones which are so salty I can't eat them without swelling up like a...well, like a ham.

I asked the Meat Produce Girl where the spiral cut hams were and she said she'd go check for me. And she never came back! Never! I stood and stood and stood, and frankly I realized she must have either warped into an alternate reality or was taking a break, and wasn't going to return.

Another Meat Produce person, a Young Man this time, came out the door where she had disappeared and I asked him what happened to her. "Was she ABSORBED?" I asked.

He looked at me and kind of went goggle-eyed. For a moment there I thought, "Oh, No, English is not his First Language and he will neither know nor care about the amazing, and hilarious nuances of my wit."

Without answering that particular salvo, he said, "I'll go check on her."

And he never returned. Not Never! I tooled down the meat aisle, over to produce, picked up a bag of chocolate chips from the Spice and Baking Aisle and wandered back to the meat counter just as he emerged from the depths of the back room.

"She's wrapping up your ham right now and pricing it." He said.

I freaked! "SHE CAN'T DO THAT!" I shrieked with rising hysteria in my voice, "She cannot just pick some random ham for me! She has no idea what size I want or what price I want or anything. Picking a Ham is a Highly Personal Thing, No One can do it for you! It must be done personally, by me! She's just supposed to be checking whether there ARE any, not CHOOSING one for me!"

How can a meat produce person not KNOW this? Picking a Ham is like choosing a turkey. It's like selecting fruit. You can't just have one handed to you lackadaisically. It's not like getting a pound of hamburger or a package of chicken, this is a Holiday Hunk of Meat. You get the wrong ham and the whole meal is off. The holiday is ruined. Civilization as we know it would come to an end. Entire Cultures have toppled for less. Chef Gordon Ramsey would understand this. He would know. He would feel my pain.

Am I wrong about this? Am I wrong to feel this way? I was babbling "NO! No!, NO!" to the young Meat Produce Man, no doubt sounding like Amy Winehouse singing "They want me to go to rehab, I said, No, No, No!" Only my lyric would be: "They want to choose my ham for me, I said No, No, No!"

He just stood there. "Am I not speaking English?" I asked him with a perky yet strained smile.

"So you don't want the ham, then?" he asked nonchalantly.

American Meat Producers: Lost to All Sense of Propriety.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

All in a Day's Work

My Dad was a Master Gunsmith. This was back in the day when guns were considered to be tools, works of art, part of life. Not like today where they are viewed with fear and seen as implements of death.

In his basement workshop, my Dad would turn out exquisite pieces of craftsmanship with hand-rubbed finish on the stocks, shiny bluing on the barrel and precision aim.

Downstairs he had two lathes, a huge workbench full of exciting gizmo's, a small target range, and a cluttered pile of greasy, ominous looking tools. Except they weren't ominous, they were fun; and my brothers and I spent hours perched on the work bench tightening various hammers, screwdrivers, files, rasps and pliers into the vice grips.

My Dad, unlike most of my friend's fathers who were scary and aloof, really liked hanging out with us and teaching us things and harassing us. He was a stickler for good grammar, proper manners and enlarging our vocabularies. In fact before my mini-stroke, I had the largest vocabulary of anyone I'd ever met. Also, I had Very Decent manners and could edit a manuscript for grammatical correctness in seconds flat, too.
I also have fairly perfect teeth. And this is because of the Tooth Extractor, and my Dad's cunning use of this implement of torture, pain, and horror.

One of my more delightful memories of childhood is this nasty pair of pliers, which I absconded with as part of my inheritance when we were breaking up and dividing Dad's property after he died.

Anytime one of us kids had a loose tooth, he would race into the basement, dig around in the filing dust and grease and reappear with these scary things in his grip. He would brandish them before our wee, frightened little faces and click them open and shut, cackling with evil glee.

"I can take care of that loose tooth for you. Why should I spend good money on a dentist for you kids when this Dental Extractor would do the trick in no time? Just a little pain, some blood and guts and think of the money I would save!"

We would then scream "DAAAaaaad!" in utter panic and race around the kitchen table half a dozen times as if that would help us escape.

He would then capitulate and sigh in total, mock despondency, "You win this time, but sooner or later I will get to pull one of your teeth."

My Dad, Master Gunsmith, Amateur Dentist.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

That'll Stunt Your Growth!



And Gunplay

The Perfect Childhood.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dead Body, Much?

Well, here is a mid-day emergency post! I've had quite the morning! Hog-tie me to the sofa and lock the front door if I ever act like my life isn't interesting and decide go out in search of a non-mullet haircut in a new place.

Here's what happened:
I looked up the closest Supercuts and saw that it was in the Natomas area right near the Walmart. I had to return something anyway so I drove there and looked around for the Supercuts but didn't find it in the same shopping center as the Walmart. So I headed back out onto Truxel Blvd. and took a left hand turn. I was in the far left lane, and I had to cross 4 or 5 lanes of traffic in order to make the turn. Which means I really couldn't see what was around the corner until I was right up on it.

I was looking off into the distance, over to the side, everywhere trying to spot the Supercuts sign when my eye caught what I thought was a white plastic bag full of something laying directly in front of me on the road. In an instant I saw that it was actually a DEAD BODY in a white sweatshirt. I SLAMMED on the brakes and came within about 2 feet of running over this poor man.

I threw on my emergency blinkers, praying that a car wouldn't swoop around that corner behind me and smack into the back end of me, and ran out of the car towards the man. I stood there jumping up and down holding my hand to my mouth and ear in the universal sign for "Call 911, SOMEBODY" and then I knelt down to check this guy out.

He was laying face down, flat out on the pavement, and his face was seriously bashed in. He looked like he had been shot or hit by a car and there was flesh hanging everywhere and a TON of blood. There was a dollar bill laying by his side so I picked that up and held onto it and later gave it to the cops. By then the other people who had been right beside me turning in the other 3 lanes had pulled over and came running across all the lanes of traffic to join me. I was still kneeling and I noticed the guy was burbling blood and trying to breathe.

I rubbed his back a little bit and was patting him gently saying, "Don't move, buddy, don't try to roll over or lift your head, just lay there, okay?"

A man from one of the other cars came over and knelt down and kind of shoved me out of the way and started rubbing the man's back and saying, "Don't try to move, buddy!" I don't know why that should bother me at a time like this, but I was super annoyed by it.

Suddenly there were tons of people running over flocking to check it out and none of them were direct witnesses so I guess they were what you might call the vulgarly curious.

After what seemed like forever the cops showed up, and it was the most nonchalant officer I have ever met. I gave him the dollar and told him what happened and he knelt down and asked the guy if he knew where he was or who he was. The man was non responsive and I just hated to have him try and move his head because there was a ton of raw meat hanging where his cheek and lips used to be.

The cop dug in his pockets for a wallet and some ID but the guy had nothing on him. It was pretty obvious he was indigent or homeless. When the paramedics showed up they totally cut every strip of clothing off his body and loaded him up and took him away, leaving behind his shoes, and the shreds of his belt, jeans, shirt, undershirt and white jacket.

I kept saying, "Oh, please don't cut all his clothes off, he might not have any other clothes!"

Right about then I felt my legs get rubbery and I started to shake. I thought I might pull a Marie Osmond right there in the middle of the busiest intersection in Sacramento, so I told the officer I needed to sit down and fast. He said, "Go sit in your car, I'm going to need your driver's license." So I trembled over to my car and sat there shaking while Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland played merrily on the radio, with tears running down my cheeks.

When the cop finally took my info I told him this was the most bizarre thing that had ever happened to me and by that time I was crying outright. He shrugged and said, "Maybe for you, but this happens to me every day." Mr. Callous then handed me back my license and said I was free to go, they'd call if they needed anything.

I pulled cautiously into traffic, went to the next intersection, and turned into where I needed to be for the Supercuts...and proceeded to get the absolutely worst, ugliest, fugliest haircut of my life. Which I guess doesn't really seem that important to me right now.

Call'p Me!

I really should write song lyrics. I have such a knack for rhyming things to make them fit. I was bopping down the street in the car yesterday, singing at the top of my lungs to the tunes on the radio. Tom Jones and I were singing:

She's all I ever want

She's the kind I'd like to Call'p

And take to dinner.

You know! On the phone.... Call'p.... Call-up.

Why shouldn't Tom Jones call'p a woman if she is all he ever Wanted?

Of course then it dawned on me! After 25 years of hearing that song and thinking it was 'call'p' I finally saw the aural light. He is actually saying...

She's all I ever Want

She's the kind I'd like to FLAUNT

And take to Dinner...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thank GOD those Pesky Bloombergs Moved Away!

Here it is! My favorite Christmas Carol the way I always THOUGHT it was sung. Brought to you by the Coalition for the Lyrics Impaired.

Sleigh bells Ring, are ya Listnin?

In the Lane, Snow's a Glistnin'

A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland.

Gone away are the Bloombergs

Here to stay are the Newburgs

We sing a happy song as we roll along

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a Snowman

And pretend that he is Parched and Brown

He'll say "Are you married?"

We'll say, "No, Man! "

But you should get a job when you're in town.

Later on, We'll perspire

As we scheme by the Fire

And Fake, unafraid, The Hams we have made

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland...

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

(Have Yourself) An Airy Little Christmas

When I was a girl (back when Grover Cleveland was President) people mostly hung a single string of lights across their porch for decorations at Christmas time. Occasionally an intrepid man with a band saw would make a wooden cut-out Nativity Scene that got planted in the front yard and was soon buried in deep snow, never to be seen again until the spring thaw in Mid-June.

These days, along with everything else, Christmas has become commercial and of course, utterly over the top in all categories. Taste has gone out the window and been replaced with Gigantic Inflatable Santas tethered to the lawn with Mobile Home Tie-Down Straps. Not content to just have a single Macy-Day Parade Giant Float on their lawns, folks seem to want to have Several of them, without regard to theme or placement. Huge Snow Globes jockey for position beside Frosty the Snowman, Snoopy as the Red Baron, Rudolph and Santa in a Golf Cart or Nascar.

Call me old fashioned, but there's something about a 4 foot inflatable Baby Jesus in a Manger that freaks me out!

Yesterday, while on my way to work I saw the tell-tale signs of the Inflatable Blight all over the lawns of the posh neighborhood where Miss Kitty lives. Deflated plastic blobs in red and white were everywhere, waiting for the moment when the air pump arrived to make them spring to life.

I was telling Jeff about this later in the day. I told him, "Everywhere you look people have their blow-up dolls on their lawns."

There was a horrified silence. "What kind of neighborhood were you driving through?"

It took me a moment for his meaning to sink in. "Not THAT kind of Inflatable Doll!" I said.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Love/Hate on the Squeaks and Creaks Highway

There is a love/hate relationship going on around here and it's with my spray can of WD40. I love the stuff! It loosens bolts, unlocks doors, greases and degreases, and it smells good, too.

In this old apartment where I live, the cabinets have long ago lost all their closing mechanisms. But I've never had any problems with keeping the doors closed; they just seem to stay shut by gravity or the tilt of the building or perhaps centrifugal force.

But because I am an early riser (like 2 or 3:00 am early) I am aware that when I go puttering around in my kitchen at that time of the morning my hinges squeak and grown and shriek! I live in fear that the Partying Dykes next door will report me for infringing on the 'loud and raucous' clause in the lease.

So the other morning I just decided that I wasn't going to skulk around any longer and live in fear: I was going to take the WD40 to every hinge in the kitchen.

It required bending, stooping, reaching, climbing on rickety chairs and scootching across the counter top on my agonized kneecaps, but I got the job done! And Viola! Not a screeching cabinet hinge to be heard. I love you WD40!

When Suddenly! In the middle of the night or the light of the full noon day when I stand in my kitchen and turn in any direction I can decapitate myself, put out an eye, slice open my scalp or break a leg because now all the cabinet doors swing open just for the silent fun of it! All through the kitchen the cupboard doors swing open with nary a care and with total abandon. WD40 I hate you!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Shredding Miss Kitty

Yesterday was my day for Driving Miss Kitty. I called her in the morning to see if we were going to the mall for Christmas Shopping--a task I dread as much as mopping the floors. (I hate dealing with floors.) Because if we were going to the mall it would require entirely different shoes and a warm coat because it's an outdoor mall. It would require steeling myself for a grueling day of carrying packages and running around like a madwoman to retrieve her abandoned credit card only to discover it was in her wallet all along.

And she has this thing where if she buys something for one of her kids she has to buy it for the rest of the family. Two children and Two Spousal Units equals 4 of everything: 4 containers of butter brickle. 4 containers of caramel corn. 4 oven mitts with brownie mix inside. 4 pairs of Santa Socks, even though they were in women's sizes. I feel bad for the dudes. What does a guy want with a snowman oven mitt containing a package of brownie mix and a pair of women's knee socks with a bright red reindeer pattern?

Anyway, instead of the mall we went to Target where we purchased yet another pair of nail and cuticle scissors and an emery board. Since this new obsession is much more fun than Bug Lights I haven't yet pointed out to her that we've bought at least 5 pairs of scissors and 6 or 7 emery boards in the last 2 weeks.

Then we had to go find a shredder. I haven't blogged about the shredder before because it has shredded my nerves too much. You see, her last live-in caregiver made the Colossal mistake of shredding an ENTIRE PIECE OF PAPER thus ruining the blades and destroying forever the sanctity of her shredder. Miss Kitty tears everything up into TINY PIECES before she puts it into the shredder. Because otherwise you might wear it out.

Indeed, the shredder had seen it's last days. It was probably the original model of shredders and it weighs a ton. I don't personally see why she needs a shredder with that much capacity and a motor that is the equivalent of a Hemy or a Mack Truck but hey! In a household where even the medicine bottle prescription labels must be carefully peeled off the empty bottles and shredded I guess its important.

However, I don't think Target is the best place to buy a shredder. Since she lives a mere 2 blocks from an Office Depot/Max, I tried to encourage a trip there to look at quality shredders at affordable prices but no. Her son had gotten his at Target and her sister had gotten one for 25 dollars so the case was closed.

I don't recommend a 25 dollar shredder, but her sister is the same person who decided that Miss Kitty really didn't need to fix the air conditioning in her house since she wasn't sleeping upstairs anymore and the only super-hot place in the house was upstairs. Cheap is the word I think I'm looking for. Frugal. Thrifty. Bonkers.

After at least 10 minutes of dithering over the Target Shredders, we picked one and I loaded it into the cart. Well, in case you haven't shopped for a shredder, I think I should tell you that it is as heavy as any other major appliance like a fridge or a washing machine.

We hauled it home and into the house. I had to pull the old useless shredder out of the cubby it was in and put the new one in there. On a whim, I decided to TEST the new shredder to see if it worked.

And the battle was engaged. I got one notebook piece of lined paper to feed into the shredder. Miss Kitty had a meltdown. She ran and tore her name and address off of an envelope and handed that to me for shredding. Anything larger was going to break the new shredder, she was sure of it! I tried to explain that such a small piece of paper was not going to trigger the auto-feed mechanism that turned on the blades.

Should I cut this story short? The new shredder didn't work. Not with big paper, not with small paper, not with any paper. I had to box it back up, heft it out to my car and return it. I also had to heave the old shredder back into it's cubby, even though it is broken, because otherwise there would be an empty space and that is not to be tolerated.

I put my back out. I don't know at what stage I did it, but I did it good. I felt that telltale ping as if I'd pulled a muscle entirely off of it's anchoring bone, and I still had to hoist that thing out of the trunk and into the store.

As we were parking Miss Kitty noticed we were right next to a very large SUV that had a nice big Boxer dog leaning out the window and slobbering happily at the passers by. And I was taken aback to hear, "Look at that tall dog! Have you ever seen a dog that tall? That is a TALL dog. I mean, really, really tall. I've never seen a dog that tall, have you? Really. It's a TALL dog."

And it was then that I realized, for all the inconvenience and hard work and struggling over unneccesary purchases and rigid methods of doing things, I loved my job. As I sit here with an ice pack on my lower back, thoroughly bombed on pain meds and shredding entire REAMS of full-size paper in my own shredder, I must admit that I love driving Miss Kitty.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Got Something For Your Punk Ass

During a recent convivial dispute with a hoodlum friend of mine, I was told, "Don't make me send my homie's after you!"

To which I replied, " Don't make me go through the Proper Channels!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Memory Malfunction! Must Recharge!

I was comparing memory loss stories with my friend who just had breast cancer. She said that chemo brain is just as bad as fibro fog, and I believe her! Chemo would tend to kill off those vital little critters called brain cells.

She said that the worst is when you are supposed to remember something in a pinch but your brain just won't cough it up.

"That's when I implement my most vital survival skill, " she said. "It's called Guess and Go!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Got Gold?

While talking with my friend Jeff about our mutual, unending, soul-grinding poverty, I said that having friends you can laugh with makes up for all the gold in the world. Well, almost. He just shook his head and said it reminded him to go buy a lottery ticket.

"What would you do with all that money if you did win?" I asked.

He replied, "I would finally have the money to buy the one thing I've always wanted."

"What's that?"

"The Best of the Accordion Masters CD"

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey for Breakfast

Well, I hope all of you had a Great Thanksgiving. Mine was pretty good, I made a ton of food and enjoyed every bite of it. I've had a house guest for the weekend, who is a lot of fun but whom, upon entering the house, seems to explode in every direction. Clothing and shoes on the floor, luggage in every room, paperwork and paraphernalia on all the surfaces and wet towels all over the bathroom rods and floor.

Which makes my head want to explode and that is why I have nothing in particular to say.

Plus, I need to sleep off the triptophan.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fabricating Imaginary Infrastructure

There I was at the grocery store, just chatting away and all excited about getting what I need for Turkey Day. "Do we want to do the homemade cranberry sauce or the canned stuff" "Do you like marshmallows on your sweet yams?" "Yes, I love that! So let's get some marshmallows." I was having a high old time when I suddenly became aware that this entire dialogue was actually a monologue. I was talking to myself. And ANSWERING.

I've been doing it for years and years. It's my dirty little secret and a habit I'm afraid I may not be able to break. I will be an old biddy in a poorhouse yapping away all day long and they will think I am totally demented. What they will fail to realize is that I was that way all along.

If I'd had a family and children and a rewarding career, maybe I would not have had to develop such a companionable inner life. But I never had that so what I have instead is a Jolly Time all by Myself.

It's just so embarrassing when I get caught! Like I really like to TALK in the shower. Sure, ORDINARY people just sing in there, but I have entire murder mysteries. I speak in foreign accents, too. "Thatsa Right, Guiseppe, I buried-a the body in-a da Olive Grove!" British Poufs and Aussie Croc-Wranglers chat back and forth about silly and inconsequential things. Jimmy the sniveling lickspittle likes to chime in with this bizarre statement, "Oh, NO! Not the BIG LOG, Eddie!"

Once I was in the shower and I caught myself saying, "Blood and Gore! I'll rip him from limb to limb and kick his dead body all the way to the ocean! AND I'll come to his funeral in a RED DRESS!"

It was then that I realized the neighbors can hear every word through the hollow echoing tile walls and floor. It even dawned on me that although I make fun of Invisible Guy and Obsessive Compulsive Girl and Night Terror Guy, they may just be saying the same things about me..."There goes Imaginary Friend Girl!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You Can Call Me Al

Yesterday some pompous style-windbag was saying, "The look of layering is soooo important in fashion right now!" I just wanted to shout at the tv, "Well I don't THINK so! I beg to DIFFER! My layers of Fat and Flesh are NOT sooooo important!" But then I retracted that imaginary statement because, Hell to the Yah! It's winter! Starting with a thick layer of adipose tissue before donning the thermals, the polar fleece socks, the jeans, the sweaters, the coat and the scarf just makes Good Sense.

Yesterday the amusing Miss Kitty came up with another stunner. She was telling me some meandering story about how all the guests at her son's wedding are connected to each other. She said, "Her name is Sylvia but they call her Jean."

"Is her name really Sylvia Jean, then?" I asked.

"No, it's because her mother's name was Agnes."

It's time to start the pre-Thanksgiving prep. I like to make my cornbread stuffing up ahead of time. This year they were out of Jiffy Mix so I had to make my cornbread from scratch.

I used to just dice up the celery and the onions and toss them in but later on I learned to simmer them a bit first in the chicken broth.

I love my gigantic bread bowl. You can mix mass quantities of stuff in it and it never overflows.

Here's a question to ponder for the ages: Why is it that you can take perfectly soft fluffy marshmallows and harmless, easily-dissolved teeny little Rice Crispies and when you combine them together into Rice Crispy Treats they make this lethal concoction that cuts up the inside of your mouth into shredded flesh strips?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nature Abhors a Vacuum Cleaner

I had the same vacuum cleaner for about 18 years. It was a little Hoover Upright Devil and it worked just fine. It didn't have any attachments, though, so the baseboards, drapes and upholstery just continued to develop layer after fine layer of Old Cat Hair.

When it finally sucked its last breath, I bought a very nice Eureka The Boss Smartvac. Except I don't see what's so smart about it. In fact it doesn't seem to be the least bit intelligent. And it has the weird habit of popping the front panel open and projectile shooting it across the room every time I turn off the power. I can only figure that this is to remind me to check? if the bag? is full?

I spend just about as much time fitting the door back and latching the hinge as I do with the actual vacuuming. However, my drapes, baseboards and upholstery are looking spiffier than ever before.

Yesterday, I did a good, thorough cleaning and used every attachment that the Smartvac has to offer. I noticed that I didn't seem to have as much suction as I thought I should have, though. It had an odd sounding noise as well, sort of far-away sounding. After vacuuming the entire living room and bedroom, I noticed that I had left the dial on the hose option rather than the floor option. But I couldn't tell that much difference in the quality of the vacuuming either way. So I think it might just be a dummy dial. Just something to make me think I have a very Smart Vac. If it was so smart, it would have TOLD me in PLAIN ENGLISH that I needed to change the dial back to floor when I was finished with the hose.

I've already picked out my next vacuum. I'm really going to upgrade next time. It may take a while, but my next vacuum cleaner is going to be a MAID.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


We never had any dogs when I was growing up. My Mom had an incident with a dog that went mad, once, and the neighbors had a little black nasty thing called Corkie that barked incessantly until it turned up shot in the head. It wasn't us! We were away that day on a trip to Mongo. I still cannot stand the sound of a barking dog to this day, because of the stress that ran through our spinal columns from that dog yapping all day and all night long. It's so interesting, but dog owners themselves never seem to notice that their dogs never shut up!

Another bad thing about dogs is that they don't live very long. 6-8 years is a short life span, and what that means is your beloved pet is going to DIE right in the middle of your childhood. Why do people do that to their kids? All they think about is a cute puppy. They don't look much further forward than the beaming faces of their little ones when they bring it home for the first time.

What we had was Cats! Or rather, One cat for our whole lives. Before we kids came along, Mom had been given an old Siamese named Cougar. Here he is:

By all accounts he was very crabby, but he loved my brother Paul! Cougar he lived to a ripe old age and when he died, we got another Siamese just like him. And named him Cougar. I suppose we would have named every cat Cougar through the ages but it just happened that we never had another Siamese after Cougar #2.

Here is Cougar, a mere kitten. He was so mellow. We were taught to pet him so the fur didn't go against the grain; how to brush him and pick him up so his feet were supported. He had lots of respect; in fact in our house you weren't allowed to boot a cat out of a chair just because you wanted to sit in it. You chose another chair or asked the cat if you could join him. You did that by picking him up and putting him on your lap. Cougar was so mellow he'd always share! Of course I am exhibiting none of the proper cat care techniques in this photo. I appear to be giving him quite a mauling.

This was the first day of school. Paul is demonstrating the proper foot-support cat holding technique.

I have no idea where we were headed, but this was our Sunday Best. My little brother Jimmy must have been sooo excited, his hands are clenched in sheer joy. Cougar is getting older and filling out, but Paul still does the holding.

This was a lazy Christmas afternoon, Cougar is taking a nap with a visiting friend. Why, oh WHY are those pictures so askew?

Paul was about 21 in this picture and his lap is still the favorite choice for Cougar. I still think about him. He lived to be almost 20 years of age and I still have a soft spot for Seal Point Siameses.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Live Long and Prosper

Around about Halloween I read somewhere on somebodys blog that she saw this little tiny girl all dressed up for trick-or-treating. She had on an embroidered peasant skirt, a Mexican blouse with a shawl, and her black hair was wound around her head in an old-fashioned braided crown.
When the child turned around the blogger could see that she had painted a black unibrow on her forehead.

She was dressed as Frida Khalo!

I loved all the unique and homemade costumes, much more than those icky plastic and shiny rayon ones that came from the five and dime. The masks were sweaty and your mouth always got wet, and the costume itself never had any FIT to it. I was a big one for having things as realistic as possible. Somehow an icky knee length thin nylon Princess Dress with glued on sparkle flakes just wasn't REAL enough for me.

I wish I had pictures of all my Halloween costumes through the ages, but I don't. In digging around I did find this one:

That's me; a Dice. With my faithful sidekick Spock.