Thursday, May 31, 2007


I for one do not know what all this hoopla is about with HDTV. We had that when I was a kid, it was called 3D. And you got to wear neat paper glasses with one green lens and one red lens for your viewing pleasure. I am not going to pay top dollar for something that has been around for so long. And besides, every time I hear it advertised I think they are saying "subscribe to High Deaf". Like I would pay for more hearing problems! Sheesh!

After work today I called my hours in to the work line as I always do. There is always a nice message from the management, and usually an update on the office proceedings or an announcement about the quarterly meetings, etc;

Today, the message said, "Caregivers! In order to reward you and thank you for being such valuable employees, we are holding a barbecue in your honor. Please R.S.V.P. and be sure and tell us what dish you are bringing to the potluck."

I just fell out laughing because that is so disgusting! That's like saying, "I'm taking you out for your birthday, don't forget your checkbook!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Walking on Teapots

Every once in a while, just to be arbitrary and annoying, Google signs me out of my account so I can't access anything, including my blogger dashboard. And then it's like pulling teeth to get logged back in again. Today was one of those days, so not only have I forgotten how to log in, I have forgotten what I was going to say that was clever enough in the first place to make me want to write a post.


I had to go over to the Primary Care Clinic to pick up yet another prescription and so I FINALLY remembered to take a picture or two of the mosaic entryway to the clinic. I think this is so amazing. I mean, most clinic's have sterile, ugly floors, and certainly nothing pretty, feminine and welcoming like this!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jesus Would Share His Cherries and Forgive the Garbage

“Cause to-morrow’s Sunday, and it would not do to be sellin’
human heads about the street when folks is goin’ to churches.”
~~Moby Dick

Good Morning! I just returned from the farmer’s market where I didn’t see anyone selling human heads, but I did manage to pick up some strawberries and a few tomatoes. The Marine Layer was upon us, and the Delta Breeze was blowing so cold it actually had the feeling of snow in the air. Like an arctic breeze or maybe just San Francisco. I had meant to spend a leisurely morning puttering around the market stalls, but it was so frigid that I had to beat it out of there.

All the farmer's have potted plants for sale right now: herbs and tomatoes and peppers. I'm longing to have a patio garden, but of course I have no patio.

I can't quite remember why I took it into my head to read Moby Dick, but yesterday I went to the library and got a copy. I also went to Trader Joe's and while I was waiting for it to open I snapped some pictures of flowers. I think I am too wobbly and trembly to get clear close-up shots.

I had stopped at Safeway first, and picked up a bag of cherries! Oh, I could pour myself face first into a vat of them and come out still wanting more! So after I'd taken lots of blurry flower pictures I sat in my car and chomped on cherries. A lady walked by and smiled at me and I had a moment's desire to offer her a cherry but then I clutched the bag closer to myself and had an imaginary conversation with her, saying, "Back OFF, Lady. I don't even KNOW you! Why would I share my precious cherries with a Total Stranger?"

And then because I can't help myself, I thought, "I'm so glad JESUS doesn't have that attitude!"

This morning, because it's just so summery and the sun is so hot once it rises, I made some sun tea for the window. It was still quite early, then, and as I was setting the mason jar in the window, I saw the guy from Apt. #2 skulking out to the dumpster with his garbage. As I was on my way there myself, I waited and then took the opportunity to see where he had set his bags of trash. Sure enough, he placed it BESIDE the dumpster instead of inside of it. So I've caught the culprit, and you can believe I lost no time in calling the landlord. I don't want the wrong guy punished and up to now we've been thinking it's #5 with the trashy habits.

#2 is not on the lease, and he regularly gets into screaming matches with his girlfriend for surfing porn on her computer while she is at work. He's a lowlife and I wouldn't share my cherries with HIM, either.

And now it is time to fill a glass with ice and enjoy a refreshing glass of freshly brewed sun tea! The marine layer Delta Breeze has blown itself out and I'm going to sit in the window with Moby Dick and enjoy the sun!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nocturnal Emissions

The crows are badgering me again! I don’t know what they want. They sit outside my window on the telephone line and caw. They fly by my window and caw. They wheel in the sky above my apartment and several of them at once are cawing. I love crows! I think they are Big Medicine! I just don’t know how to figure out what they are telling me.

Here’s a burning question for you: When those tattoo fanatics have used up all their available body space, what do they do? Especially when every inch of them is covered in colored ink, with tattoos so old they don’t care about them anymore, and always newer and better art just around the corner.

Yesterday's episode of Dr. Phil was about bad stepmothers and bad ex-wives battling each other over the kids, Tne husband was so miserable, I looked at him and thought, “He’s married at Both Ends, Poor Man!” I love Dr. Phil. I especially like it when he nails someone with the question, “And how is that working for you?” It gets me every time! It never fails to please the audience and stun the stupid person with the destructive and repetitive behavior.

You know I don’t mind my downstairs neighbors that much. We aren’t friends or friendly, probably because they are half my age and also because their scheduled comings and goings never coincide with mine. But they aren’t particularly noisy and other than the Chicken Grill Fanatic male half of the couple driving me nuts for a while there with his grilling every night outside my window until the landlord made him stop because of fire Marshall regulations, I don’t really have any complaints about them.

Until last night….(enter scary strains of creepy music…)

Grill Guy, whose bedroom is directly below mine and whose bed is in the same exact spot as mine so that I sometimes feel we share a pillow, must have been having Night Terrors. Because as I was lying there trying my hardest to stop being a jitterbug insomniac, I heard this deep booming voice say, The Spawns! The Spawns! The Spawns have arrived, standing right there behind me!”

I think he’s played one scary Sci-Fi video game too many.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Nappy Headed Ho's! Oh My!

In honor of not losing anymore days, I want to start blabbing, I mean blogging more of the minute details of my day. This morning I got up around 4:30. I'd been awake much longer than that but finally decided I wasn't going to go back to sleep so I packed it in and got up. I had a list of things to do but at 4:30 in the morning, there was a while to wait before the bank opened!

So I channel surfed! And at that time of morning, there were actually more interesting things to watch than on a Saturday Afternoon!

I watched a documentary on Isaak Dineson/Karen Blixen. It was awesome! She lived on oysters and champagne exclusively because of a stomach surgery. Of course she practically starved to death but what a fun way to go! If she'd just added caviar and blini's she'd have had a well-balanced diet!

She's one of my favorite authors. She wrote, of course, Out of Africa, about her life lived as a coffee plantation owner, Karen Coffees, Ltd. I love that name! She was Danish, and she had such a lovely lyrical style to her writing. It was she who said, "I felt as if it was a certainty. As if I'd been promised it." The very definition of Faith! I loved that!

After that show was over, I watched Buffy and Angel on early morning tv, took my shower and then took out the garbage! It was then that I snapped the pictures for the "Garbage Nazi" post. Finally, it was 9:00 am and I was off to the bank. From there I scooted over to the clinic to drop off the cholesterol prescription. My pills won't be ready until Tuesday. Will I remember to pick them up? Will I remember to write myself a note to do so? Will I remember I wrote about the pills being ready in this blog post? Darn!

I for certain sure forgot to take a picture of the mosaic teapot on the floor of the clinic! I WILL remember it, I WILL! Then I swung by Trader Joes to eat 3 pieces of cooked spicy sausage and a Dixie Cup of their Carrot Juice blend which tasted like water through which a carrot was briefly passed, get a carton of eggs and a container of scottie dogs which I MEANT to eat slowly over the week but which I devoured in ten minutes flat and got a belly ache. So much for the anti-depressants curing my cravings and my appetite...

When I got home I had to stand for a long minute holding the carton of eggs before I could 'click' on what they were for and where I was supposed to put them. Oh, yes, these go in the fridge.
As I was stuffing the plastic bag into the bag sock, the phone rang and it was Jeff and he came over for an omelet! I think he is starving. He's a school teacher and gets paid only once a month and it's not June yet! He brought over a cool sci-fi animation movie, which is a delight we share. This was the old Heavy Metal movie that I had never seen. It's cool, although too many silly gaps in the story for me. I still love Princess Mononoke the best.

As I was preparing the omelet, Jeff had the regular tv on until I could get there to watch the movie together and he must have been watching COPS or one of those live arrest shows, because I was half listening to scuffling and chasing and a very heavily ghetto-accented female voice cussing out a police officer. Suddenly I heard Jeff say, "These really ARE nappy-headed ho's! The Real Thing!" Sure enough, I peeked around the corner at the tv and saw two very badly coiffed African-American street prostitutes under arrest. He can crack me up like nobody else sometimes.

One time he was saying it was time for him to go home and he just didn't have the energy to go. We were standing by the front door when he pointed his face to the sky and sort of stiffened like he was straining upwards. "What kind of face is that?" I asked him and he replied:

"Rocket Lift!"

And then he looked a little sadly at his feet, "Except my power foot packs didn't ignite."

And then I watched Rachel Ray. (You know I hate her, right?) and once again she irritated me by calling everyone in the general audience 'guys' and the chopped chicken 'guys' and the scallions 'guys' and the red peppers 'guys' and all I could think was, if she can't differentiate between a live human being and a boneless chicken breast, why would I ever be alone in a kitchen with her and a butcher knife?

I realize I've been scant on fun food, teapot and decor pictures lately. All I can tell you is it's still all packed away! Someday I'll either move or I'll just dig it all out again and start living with my possessions! I do miss the tea things!

Garbage Nazi!

You'd think what with my fibromyalgia and my memory problems (for instance: I can't find Tuesday. It's totally GONE. I know what I did Monday and I know what I did on Wednesday. Tuesday is just...Bye-Bye!) (Oh, and I couldn't figure out how to lock my own front door yesterday. It just looked foreign to me, and I didn't know which way to turn the key! Creepy, huh?) I would have bigger things to do with my time other than snark about garbage. But it seems it's not just the whale-watchers garbage that is troubling me, it's the new guy at the end of the building who thinks the patio near the laundry room is his OWN PRIVATE SPACE. Which it's not. We all used to share it.

He moved in, put up a table chair and ashtray, and from that day forth it's his smoking patio. Recently, it's become a lumber yard.

And, as soon as he moved in, the garbage started to end up BESIDE the dumpster instead of INSIDE the dumpster. Arrrgggh!
How can people live like this? It's a mystery to me!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Delta and Dawn

I feel I would be remiss in my duties as a venting blogger if I left out any mention of the big THING that's been going on right here in the Sacramento River. I am talking about the surprise visit of two humpback whales, 90 miles from the Ocean, in the Freshwater shipping channel in Sacramento, California. This has been unbelievable for everybody. Thousands of people flock to view this Momma Whale and her 50 foot baby boy flip around in the river!

You can see how close they are to the shore! No wonder people are just coming in DROVES.

The whales are apparently wounded from a propeller, and also their sonar does not work in such close quarters, so they may be unable to navigate back home. Nobody knows for sure, but there is no food for them in this freshwater channel and the water is hurting their wounds rather than helping them! Apparently the saltwater in the ocean helps in some antiseptic way that fresh water does not.

This is a mystery and so exciting.

People care about the environment and the safety of these huge, wild sea beasts. So it is just amazing to me that all these people are leaving behind PILES of TRASH!!!! That's right! Water bottles and sandwich wrappers and orange peels and just thrown on the ground. I never can understand this! A water bottle is heavier when it is full, and you managed to carry it all the way from your car to the river bank, so what is the problem with carrying the empty bottle back to your car? Well, ALAS, I was not able to find a picture on the net of the junk floating near the riverbank or the crap left all along the shore, but the local news carried pictures of it and even said that a special crew would have to come along and clean up this mess. It just baffles me, is all.

In the meantime, I feel badly for these lost whales. I think the Momma came inland to protect her baby from sharks and predators while they were injured. And now they cannot find their way home!

A Series of Unfortunate and Annoying Events.

Yes, Gentle Readers, I am still here, fraught with annoyance! It's been one of those days or weeks?

My printer blew up. Died its last gasping breath. I feel for it, I really do. Mackie, who will not harm a living creature, takes all his bottled up hunting instinct and applies it to the life-long mission of killing my printer. Or any other electrical device that makes noise and has movement. Back in the day when I had an IBM Selectric Typewriter (gosh, that dates me!!!) he destroyed it because he would lay along the back of the body and fish his paws into the guts and stop the ball from moving. I used to have photographic proof of this but it seems to have dissapeared. But take my word for it, it happened!

My old printer died a similar death. When Mackie hears the little motor start to engage he comes out from wherever he is and like lightning he attacks the printer. He shoves his paws in there and grabs the ink cartridge mechanism and snags it.

Over the years I've learned to be furtive and sneaky. I print when he isn't at home! I print when I have the air conditioning running so the noise drowns out the printer noises! I've also learned to catch him, mid-vault, as he dives pell-mell for the death blow. I'll hold him and soothe him, and he just glares at that printer, tail twitching, whiskers straining to kill! kill! KILL!

Of course I think it's adorable. I have a unique cat. One time he sat outside and protected a little baby bird that had obviously just learned to fly so that the other neighbor cats couldn't kill it. I heard the bird parents screaming like crazy so I went outside to see Mackie guarding the bird, and the 2 other cats mad as heck.

And one time Mackie brought me a baby mouse. Totally unharmed and he didn't bring it home to kill it and provide fodder for the pride. He just brought it home so it would have somewhere to live. Because that damn mouse got into the cupboards and Mackie would just sit there and PURR!!! He would not try to chase it and catch it or anything.

And of course I still think he told those possums to come over for some chow. Nice and friendly like!

And now my expensive HP5550 series photo quality excellant printer has made it's last print. The carriage, which had been screaming for weeks now, really screaming (making ME want to jump in there and kill! kill! KILL! myself!) finally moved to the side of the printer and refused to budge.

It was a good printer, and I'll never be able to afford to replace it! So now I must make do with a $29.95 special from Walmart. And try to keep Mackie out of the works!

I don't know how I got off on such a tangent, but what I started to say was, that my printer died, and I was going to tell you a bunch more stuff that went wrong, and now I've forgotten WHAT IT WAS!

I do remember this, however: Remember those checks that came in the mail last week and I had to go round and round with the Phillipino Customer Service Department to see that I didn't get charged for those checks? Well. I got charged for the checks. $25.00 whopping dollars for just the ONE SET of checks, and although it hasn't shown up yet, it will be $30.00 for the second set! And Customer Service cannot do anything about it because they do not have in their records that I ever ordered the checks. He said they could petition the check company but it would take ten days for a refund!!!!! I don't know about anyone else, but I cannot afford $55.00 in check fees I never ordered! Yikes!

Oh, and I got turned down for disability, but that's another story.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Werewolves of London (Again)

If the only thing that can kill a werewolf is a silver did they die before guns were invented? Maybe they didn't. Maybe there were thousands of them.
Why does Rachel Ray talk baby talk to her food or address it like it's a person? She's always saying, "these bad boys are good to go!" The other day she said, "You little critters can go right into the veggie car wash!" as she was running some artichokes under the faucet. I HATE Rachel Ray.
You can have a happy life, or a life of meaning, but not both. Happiness means being able to delude yourself that there will never be a tomorrow and yesterday doesn't matter. You have to live in the moment to be totally happy. A life of meaning, on the other hand, is a life of endless questioning, learning, stretching, and is more about endurance and bewilderment than happiness. Which would you rather have?

Monday, May 21, 2007

None the Worse for Wear

Yesterday, Mackie started sneezing repeatedly and rapidly for a LONG time. I thought it was a wake-up sneeze or something tickling his nose, rather than a cold or feline eneritis or something serious.

But the sneezing kept on going and going and I thought I'd better check him over just to see if something was irritating him like a feather or a piece of fluff. When I said his name and he looked at me, I could see what looked like a PINE NEEDLE sticking out of one of his nostrils! Ewww!

So I pulled on it to get it out of his nose and it was a 3 INCH BLADE OF GRASS!!!!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes! It must have been all the way to his BRAIN, practically! I've never seen anything like it, and how he got an entire blade of grass shoved up his nasal passage is beyond me.

Of course he stopped sneezing, so problem solved, and he went back to being a very happy cat.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I'd Like to Buy the World a Random Coke!

Probably most of you are familiar with the Nigerian 419 Scams. You'd have to be, if you've been around the internet for any time at all. Those Poor Nigerians! So much money in their Ministry of Finance, and always trying to give it away to people in America!

To find out more about Nigerian 419 Scams and to read lots and lots of funny tales of plain folks like you and me who decided to 'scam the scammers' go and check out . She has been a delightful source of fun for me!

Yesterday, along with phone calls from people I had no desire to talk to (old neigbhors from 7 years ago, some female in Kansas that I knew once for 5 minutes but who still has my number in her phone book and calls when she gets bored), I got the most wonderful winning offer from the Coca-Cola Company! I was so excited! I just have to share it with everyone. You have to put up with the bad spelling, odd phrasing, and repetitive/bad cut and paste job on this thing. These people are nothing if not sloppy! Enjoy:

Dear winner,We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded season final draws held on the (2nd May, 2007) by United Kingdom Coca-Cola Company Worldwide Promotion, your email was among the7 Lucky winners who won £1,000,000.00 each on the THE COCA\'COLA COMPANY PROMOTION.

However the results were released on the 19th May, 2007 and your
email was attached to SERIAL NUMBER (7PWYZ2006), REF. NUMBER :#952368 and BATCH NUMBER (BT:12052006/20) The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses from an exclusive list of 29,031 E-mail addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet.

However, no tickets were sold but all email addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy. The selection process was carried out through randomselection in our computerized email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a database of over 1,000,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world.

In other to claim your A �£1,000,000.00 prize winning, you are to contact the Promotion manager of THE COCA COLA COMPANY who will direct you on the process of your claims.

Name: Agent Bertron Hill(Mr)

Yours Sincerely, Management

What I want to know is, was I from the exclusive list of 29,031 along with
all the corporate bodies or was I drawn from all the continents of the
world in the 1,000,000 wide database? And where do I get me one of them thar TOPAZ advanced automated random selection computer machines?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Holiday Tamales

While I'm on the subject of culture bashing (sorry about that, People of the Perky, Partying Philippines) I may as well tell the story of Jorge the Pool Boy as told to me by Miss Kitty, my client. As some of you know, I am a caregiver to senior citizens in their homes. I love my work and although the pay sucks, I get to go to rich people's homes and hang out and cook for them or take them places. It can be a lot of fun.

Currently, I spend every Thursday Driving Miss Kitty. I go to this nice lady's house and load her and her wheelchair into my car and drive her all over the place for things like nail appointments, hair, shoe shopping, lunch, and then to Target. She has a thing about Target. And light bulbs. Every week on her list is written 'bug lights'. I always show her that she has 3 or 4 packages of bug lights in her supply cabinet, but she tells me that she might need more than that.

You never know. There could be a bug light shortage. Or all the bug lights could just suddenly burn out on the front and back porch, leaving her buggy and in total darkness. Even so, that's a total of two bug lights so the stockpiling of extra bug lights is something that her son frowns upon, and it is one of my duties to quietly cross 'bug lights' off the list of things from Target each week.

Rich people are funny like that. They can obsess over little unnecessary expenditures while being utterly oblivious of how expensive and grandiose the rest of their lives are conducted! For example, the lady I cared for up in Lincoln who lived alone in 4000 square feet of vaulted ceilinged splendour and drove the biggest honkin' gas guzzlin' SUV I've ever seen and yet couldn't bear to have a pine needle wind up in the regular garbage can instead of the Green Barrel. She was DETERMINED to save the Environment, one grass clipping at a time.

This week Miss Kitty told me about Jorge the Pool boy. Jorge was an undocumented alien from down in Old Mexico. His mother carried him on her back all the way from Guadalajara to Sacramento. I think he was about 16 at the time. Obviously the strength and grit that this lady exhibited was passed down to Jorge, because although undocumented until his dying day, he still managed to go to school, city college and obtain a driver's license all without EVER having a green card, an Identification Card of any kind or applying for citizenship.

We have this huge illegal alien problem in this country. We can no longer afford to support the tired, the poor and the huddled masses indefinitely. I think most Americans don't mind that they COME here, as that is how we ALL got here: from somewhere else; but it's the idea that OUR forefathers went ahead and buckled down and applied for citizenship and just paid their damn taxes. The illegals from South of the Border are flocking here in droves to take advantage of the free medical care but not contributing any tax dollars to support that medical care. So it's a touchy subject, especially here in California where lawns are so important. Lawns and Pools.

Because God Forbid we should not have a tidy lawn and a clean pool! So although people like Jorge are undocumented and downtrodden and possibly uncomfortable or even permanently damaged from having been carried upon someones back for thousands of miles across the border, we really do NEED them. For menial labour.

"How do they manage to get educations when they are undocumented?" pondered Miss Kitty.

"I don't know" say I, "Because I can't even buy a beer without showing my driver's license!"

"And Mexicans really like beer." ponders Miss Kitty. "So how do they buy it?"

"It's a mystery," say I.

"And Jorge even went to City College! How did he enroll for classes? How did he purchase his truck?"

Just then the loud gasoline engine noise from the leaf blower rounded the corner of the house and out the window we saw large dust clouds of leaf detritus whipping in the air.

"Oh, the lawn guys are here." says Miss Kitty. "I think they are all undocumented, too!"

We shake our heads because, what can we do about it? The lawn MUST be blown! What would the neighbor's say if the leaves were allowed to just gather and rot?

"One year for Thanksgiving, Jorge brought us some tamales his Mother had made." says Miss Kitty. "I felt so bad for him. I mean, they don't eat Turkey for Thanksgiving! Can you imagine that?"

Suddenly I understood it all. I saw the wasted years of endless tamale eating south of the border, the total lack of Holiday Food. No Turkey for Thanksgiving? No Standing Rib Roast for Christmas Dinner? No Lamb for Easter? No burgers and corn on the cob for the 4th of July? How bleak! Just day after day of tamales. No wine, no dessert, just tamales.

"Now, I happen to like Mexican food," says Miss Kitty, "But I don't want to eat Holiday Tamales!"

"Do you think we've misjudged them?" I ask Miss Kitty. "Instead of coming here for better opportunities, free health care, and menial labor jobs, do you think they are all really here for the TURKEY?"

Miss Kitty seemed to really, really like this thought. "Does this mean that the entire illegal alien crisis could be solved by merely SHIPPING TURKEY'S TO MEXICO?"

"Yes," I said, "and Jorge's Mother could carry them on her back!"

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Checks in the Mail. The Checks in the Mail.

I recently closed out my savings account with a well-known bank because it was costing me more to pay the service charge than I actually had in the account. Realizing that this means they'd be transferring the 4 dollar monthly service fee from my checkbook automatically and causing mayhem and madness for me, I closed the account.

The young buckaroo who processed this request, although adorable, didn't seem too savvy about what he was doing and the results were that he closed out a few other things of mine, as well. Such as online bill-paying. And overdraft protection. Oops.

It took a call or two to the Customer Service Center, which by the way is in the Philippines where they have even LESS savvy about what they are doing. I'm sorry but when I spoke with a representative and told her my dilemma she said, "Cool it lady, cool it!" I was so shocked! I thought this was some kind of Beatnik Throwback! She appeared to have a smile in her voice as she was saying it so maybe she was just stoned.

Anyway, my online bill pay faculties were restored and that seemed to take care of the rest of the problems.

Until Wednesday when I got a package of checks in the mail. Which I hadn't ordered, and which were the wrong style of check from what I use. And which were numbered incorrectly from the sequence I already have. Since these checks cost about 9 bucks a box, there is NO WAY I wanted to pay for them, and besides I'm just paranoid of the way the world works these days to think this was a harbinger of bigger doom to come.

So, back to the Philippines where I was told that they had no such record of me ordering checks (that's what I'm trying to tell you!) and there was no charge on my account for those checks so 'no worries, lady.' (Do I perhaps have the Philippines all wrong? I thought they were hyper-active over-achievers always waiting to stab you in the back, but it appears they are a sea-loving people with many beach parties.)

The young man of the Islands told me to return the checks to my branch so they could credit my account for them. (didn't he just say I hadn't been charged for them?) so that is what I did.

The bank teller herself was totally confused and wanted me to keep the checks. No thanks! I'd have to shred them myself and have you ever tried to destroy a set of checks? You have to tear them apart with your bare hands before you can shred them. It's slow work and you end up with visions of squatting over a primitive fire and gnawing some rawhide to make sinew to sew your mukluks, at least that's the kind of thing I think when I'm trying to tear phone books in half.

Well, guess what? Yesterday, which was Thursday, I opened the door to the UPS man who delivered me a package of...can you guess? Can you? Can you? CHECKS!!!!

Another Box of Checks!

Only these are the kind that come in a big book like a receipt book and are for businesses to use. Along with a giant package of mail-in deposit envelopes. Which of course I did not order and which sent me down another fantasy train in which at the end of the month I was buried alive in my apartment underneath a giant pile of boxed checks.

I quickly called the Customer Service number and was of course routed to the Philippines again and this time I was told 'you are crazy, lady, but I'm going to try and help you anyway.'

So this morning I am off to return the strange boxed set of checks to my branch and PROVE I am not crazy. What do they think, I'm manufacturing these in my kitchen like a little mini meth-lab? For what purpose? So I can write myself bad checks? So I can mess with their minds? So I can overthrow the Philippino Government? None of it makes sense, I tell you. And there is no record of these checks being ordered whatsoever. They just seem to be creating themselves at the check factory and shipping themselves to me. But WHY? WHY? WHY?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LIVE PERFORMANCE! (Recorded Earlier)

It has come to my attention that the word "Live" doesn't really have the same meaning that it used to have. It has gone the way of the word FREE. You remember when things were free? Free book markers at the library come to mind. But now, the word Free is usually followed by the small print that tells us just how much it's going to cost us if we accept the free offer.
Free with a 30 day money back guarantee...Buy one get one Free at twice the price! Free with Purchase. Free when you sign up for $14.95 a month. Free when you mail in the rebate offer. Free when you sign your life away.

Live used to mean Real and In this Moment Happening. Now it just means loosely, "originally performed by live beings not robots". For instance, in the case of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, two 'live' television broadcasts, the shows are 'taped live' in front of a 'live' audience and then edited for content, camera angles and language/obscenity slip-ups. None of us are fooled, however. WE know that Live doesn't mean Live. We own TiVo's, after all. We can watch a 'live' broadcast a week after it was 'live' and it will still be 'live' to us!

I just wonder how this translates down into how we view our Real Lives. Do we live our lives in the current, real moment or are we always on some kind of delayed-play-back loop? When I see someone walking down the street with a cell phone glued to their head, desperate to stay hooked up to whoever is on the other end so they don't have to be alone and vulnerable in 'real time', I just shudder. Wolves should eat those people, or coyotes. That would wake them up to the real, live moment all righty!

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is going through a rough spot. He said he does as much as he can do and then he just quits and watches television, because there are some things that just can't be done. Stretching one Happy Meal to last 3 months or filling your empty gas tank on 20 bucks, for instance.

I don't have those answers, either, but I somehow still want my live performances to be live. I'm not ready to give up and eat stale TV. Unless it's free.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Garden tea

It's 90° out today and hot, hot hot! Instead of talking about food I thought I'd just post a pretty picture of a summer dream. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Poverty Cooking Show!

I got up this morning and made the most glorious turkey meatloaf! I don't know why I take pictures of my food but I do. Well, yes I do know why, it's because my entire family always takes a picture of the holiday spread before we dig into it. Just to preserve the glorious bounty that the Good Lord has provided. And Dad's Paycheck, of course.

So although I live alone with my cat and rarely cook for masses of people, I still like to take a quick snapshot of what I've made. Because if I don't, once it's gone, I always think, "Gosh! I wish I'd taken a picture of that before I ate it all!" Maybe I am just trying to convince people that I really can cook! Ha ha! Here's Proof!

Because I still wish I had a picture of the fillet Mignon mini-pizza with cheddar cheese that I made the other night. It was so pretty!

When I am preparing my meals, the ones that take a lot of slicing and dicing, I like to talk to myself in the accent of the nationality of the food itself. This meatloaf was assembled using my Midwestern, natural accent: "Now, Vidalia, you get onto this chopping block so I can dice you'ins into fine pieces for the pot."

The other day when I made this succulent dish of shrimps scampi in caper-butter sauce I cooked with an Italian accent the entire time!

"Thats-a Riiight, Capers. I'm making you an offer you-a cannot refuse-a!"

I decided that what I would be really good at would be hosting a cooking show on the Eating Network (Otherwise known as the Food Network, I believe) called Poverty Cooking! It would feature great recipes using only ingredients I got from the free food bank. For instance, what do you do with those pesky packets of Top ramen that keep piling up? I ditch the powdery and unpalatable noodles and keep the spice packet for use in other things. And the 3 or 4 loaves of really, really, really, really stale bread they always give me, a family of one? Bread pudding, of course!

I figure they could give me the late night slot after everyone but the crank-ho's and party animals had gone to bed and I'd be a hit in my own little poverty world.

Although do crank ho's and party animals watch cooking shows? Sometimes my flights of fancy end up smashed on the turf of common sense Earth.

One thing for certain, life is filled with little inconvenient truths like that. I recently spoke to cousin Tivo-Jane who also has fibromyalgia, and she offered me some advice about handling my meds to alleviate the hangover effect of one of them. She suggested cutting the sleeping pill in half and taking half at night and half in the morning so that I would ease myself out of the shores of sleep rather than spending half the morning face down with sand in my mouth feeling like I'd been beaten by Undersea Thugs.

So I raced right out and bought myself one of those little pill cutters. It works just like a wee, Lilliputian guillotine! I was tickled to death until I realized I now owned a geriatric device.

The first of many, I'm sure. Once you are fifty you stop dreaming of romance and living large, and start contriving to manage bifocals, pill cutters and low-sodium diets. It's okay. It's the Tilt-O-Whirl ride of life. You can't have the long, free-flying swinging spin of it without the gut-wrenching, neck-jerking, slow-down of it.

Unless you are a cat. And then it's all good, all the time!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dutch Oven, will you marry me?

Last year I saw these dutch ovens at Walmart for a mere 6 bucks each. I soooo could not pass up having a dutch oven in this deep turquoise blue color enamelware. You folks can keep your black speckled granite ware, I just can't bear going around in black! (that's a line from Gone With the Wind, in case anybody didn't catch that.)

This morning I made baked rice and veggie casserole:


Oh, Dutch Oven! You nurture me, entertain me, you are visually pleasing to the eye. You are filled with substance, and even on your empty, shallow days, you can perk me up with a twinkle of your blue enamel eye as I pass you by. You are tidy, self-contained and don't clutter up my kitchen with your unnecessary possessions.

Will you marry me? I think we are a match made in heaven and nowhere else on earth have I found anyone so delightfully compatible as you! I would be so proud to call myself Mrs. Dutch Ponsonby-Oven. Let's just not tell the Cuisinart, okay?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

All the King's Horses

All the King's Horses could not hold my attention when there is the splendid display of the Queen's Hats upon which to gaze! You will never convince me that this woman is stuffy because you can always judge a woman by her hats! And her hats get more fun as the years progress. I don't believe for an instant that in the privacy of her royal boudoir, she sniffs disdainfully with boredom when these hats are unpacked from their tissue!

By all reports, Queen Elizabeth is shy, reserved and of course always aware of the awesome responsibility of her office. In England, the Monarch is not only the head of the country, she is the head of the Church of England!

Times may have changed for the rest of us. Indeed, we live in a world where the word f**k is commonly heard on every street corner. We regularly get bullied into hugging total strangers and a handshake is scorned or ignored. Children are indulged and rarely taught manners. Respect for the elderly has all but disappeared. (When was the last time you offered your seat to an older person or stood up when they entered or exited the room?)

In our Free Society we have come to scorn manners, pomp, decorum and awe. We sneer at our President's and Statesmen, and refer to everyone by their Christian names. We have taken 'casual' to the extreme, and it has become the norm to look for scandal rather than good in the people we celebrate.

In fact the only people we seem to admire are living firmly in the debauched demesne of the gutter. People like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are our version of Royalty, and we seem to enjoy being shocked and repulsed by them.

So if you are caught up in the trend, then you must not be able to understand what a comfort it is to know that there is one Royal Lady out there who will not be grabbing people and hugging them, exiting limousines without her knickers in full view of photographers, getting drunk and disorderly in bars and on street corners, or behaving in a way that would diminish her office or besmirch the image of the monarchy.

I was delighted to have her visit us again, and utterly charmed by her grace and sweetness. In spite of the speculation about the stuffy royals and their supposedly stiff lives, I believe you only have to look at her delighted and happy smile to see that she is a woman of great interest! I would love to know her! Really know her.

So that maybe I could borrow some of her hats!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Two Queens

I recently indulged myself with renting two movies that probably every one else has seen but I'm going to give my pithy reviews anyway.

The first was The Queen starring Helen Mirren. I think this movie should have actually been named "The Prime Minister" because it was really all about Tony Blair and his non-curtsying wife, wasn't it? Don't get me wrong, Prime Minister Blair is one of my hot-pick faves for men in power in the world, but the movie The Queen should have been Less Tony, more Lillibet. I would have liked to have seen more discreetly managed images and insights into the Queen herself. Where were the scenes where she actually comforted her grandsons William and Harry? What about a scene where she interacts with the rest of her family and grandchildren? We barely even got to see the CORGI's who are her constant companions.

If they were going to go into Fantasy with that ridiculous mini-arc about the stag that gets shot and beheaded, why not go into LaLa land and show us a scene between Diana and the Queen giving a little insight into why she was so despised by them? I didn't get the significance of the stag and I didn't get the point of the loathing for Diana.

If the stag was supposed to represent the dying British Monarchy then why were all the Royals so keen to kill it? Of course that explains Philip's peeve at it being gotten by some commoner on the next estate! But if the Stag was supposed to represent Diana then...well, then none of it makes sense. It was just too silly and contrived, I thought.

The writer/director/producers obviously wanted to make a movie of discretion and good taste, that attempted to show a sympathetic and true portrait of Elizabeth Windsor, but they really held back a little TOO much in my opinion. The movie was too short, so they could have made it longer by adding a little substance...and some HATS!!!!!!!!

My main beef with the movie, aside from the lack of content and the silly distancing techniques, was the sheer lack of HATS. This tells me that the movie was designed by men. Men who make movies have no concept of how important costuming and accessorizing are in the telling of a story and the depicting of a character. They just ignore those things. Women who watch movies NEVER ignore those things. We like to see what people are wearing. Especially HRH Elizabeth the II because she does have the worlds loveliest jewelry and the best hats in the Empire.

The queen was recently seen at an archaeological dig in Jamestown wearing this delightful creation:

And later she wore this stunning, modern and brilliant confection:

If this hat was made of frosting I would EAT it, it's so delicious looking!

I found it silly and nonsensical in the movie that they gave her that black patent leather purse to carry INSIDE her home while greeting the Prime Minister and yet failed to do service to the fact that when she is outdoors in public, she is required to wear a hat.

More Hats, less Stag Hunting, that's my verdict on The Queen.

Another movie guilty of Too Much Stag Hunting and darn near too much accessorizing is the second of my two movie pics.

Marie Antoinette as seen through the eyes of Sophia Coppola definitely did not lack in the costuming department. But where was the plot? Where was the dialogue? Someone needed to pry the crack pipe out of Sophia's hand and the I-pod from her ear, because the movie was both hyped up on speed and so over-dubbed with modern BAD music that it really ruined what could have been a lovely dreamlike movie.

I think that not everyone who is ABLE to make a movie should be ALLOWED to make a movie. Or at least there should be other's there to rein in the nonsense of the director. Ms. Coppola just got too carried away with silly cotton candy visions and forgot to tie the pretty balloons to a solid foundation of plot, character development and story line.

Of course she did the same thing in Under the Tuscan Sun. That movie could have been great but it was just ridiculously self-indulgent and had 4 or 5 different endings that she left in because she couldn't decide which to use! At least Marie Antoinette had an ending, even if Sophia didn't show it.

The scene on the balcony where the Queen of France bows her head to the crowds actually happened, and it was one of the more poignant and powerful scenes in the movie. But what was with the endless riding around in carriages while hard rock music plays loudly? You could never make out the dialogue in the film because the soundtrack kept getting in the way.

I was very puzzled by the fact that although Sophia seemed to want to show the human and youthfully ignorant side of Marie, and to dispel some of the more horrible myths about her by showing what a cocoon she lived in so far removed from the realities of the political fury in France, she chose to develop the relationship between Marie and Count Fersen rather than show the Episode of the Diamonds. Maybe she didn't want to interrupt her fun?

Unfortunately the Queen never had an affair with Count Fersen! He was a close and life-long friend, as was the King's younger brother with whom it was also rumored she was sleeping. Count Fersen is the man responsible for almost rescuing the royal family from prison. He arranged for their flight into Austria and it was only because of delays on the road that they were recaptured and then eventually beheaded.

So I was annoyed that Sophie chose to show a sexual liaison with Axel Fersen rather than show us the really lovely sweet budding relationship between the Queen and the King. She did go on to bear him 4 children (the first Dauphin and the second princess die, leaving only Madame Royale and the youngest, Charles-Louis who suffered horribly at the hands of torturers, being forced to publicly call his Mother a Whore.) and after the first awkward years of not knowing what to do with what was between their legs, they became a good, happy, married couple with a healthy sex life. Their devotion to each other was very real and very touching, and I'm sorry that Ms. Coppola went for the adulterous sex instead of with the truth.

I did love Kirsten Dunst in the part. She had the right girlish quality, and came across genuinely sweet and nice. Marie was very young when she became Dauphine of France (that's the French equivalent of becoming the Princess of Wales, married to the heir to the throne) and became Queen at 19. She was a little girl wanting to play and with the wealth of France at her disposal, she lived a life of gaiety, frivolity and heedless pleasure. But once her children were born, she devoted herself to them almost exclusively. She was a devoted and attentive mother. Most of all, she grew up. She outgrew the extravagences of youth. Too bad the French people could not see past the negative propaganda against her. It might have saved her life!

Okay, I adored the lighting, the costuming and the edible props. I even loved the little doggies frolicking about. I only have one bone to pick with the entire wardrobe department, and that is the scene in which we are first introduced to the young Dauphine-to-be. She enters the room with her hair looking like Alice in Wonderland, stick-straight, side-parted with bangs, and a silly ribbon in it. Nonsense! Here is what the young Marie Antoinette looked like at 12 years of age:

As you can see there was none of that sloppy hang-down hair going on in those days! This was her official portrait, of course, but rest assured on an everyday basis hair was worn coiffed and off the face.

Although I loved the visuals of Marie Antoinette, I simply couldn't watch it over and over again unless I muted the sound. I'm sorry that there was not more dialogue and plot, because that movie could have been GREAT, rather than just rich.

Okay, that is my take on The Two Queens!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sink-O the Mayo!

Today, boys and girls, is the famous Mexican Independance Day Holiday known as Cinqo de Mayo. It's like our 4th of July only instead of picnics, sparklers and fireworks displays, they put huge dollops of mayonaisse into vats of tequila and then lob limes into it, to try and sink the mayo. It's a big deal in California, and most Mexican restaurants have Cinqo De Mayo parties featuring 2 for one margaritas all day long, with a free side of mayo with thier chips and salsa.

Yesterday, which was Quattro De Mayo, also known as the day all the Mexicans gather up all their quarters and use them to buy the big jars of Mayo they will need for their holiday fiestas, I had an appointment at the County Clinic to FINALLY find out the results of my MRI.

You may remember back into the dim past of the First Week of April when I had an MRI. I never found out the results! After a while I got tired of waiting to learn if my head was going to explode I went into the clinic to see if I could get an appointment. I was told that I had an appointment scheduled for the 30th of May and I asked that it be moved up sooner. So the lady kindly gave me an appointment for the 4th of May to find out the results of my test. That was back in mid-April and I duly noted it on my calendar so I would be sure and remember to show up for my appointment.

Yesterday I had to stand in line behind several people toting giant grocery bags full of Hellman's, but eventually it was my turn at the window to check in for my appointment. Except I was not allowed to check in for my appointment because my appointment did not exist! It had been miraculously expunged from the computer, just like the blood of the martyrs was expunged from the cloth of Our Lady of the White Mantle. American Catholics won't have heard of her, but she's a famous Mexican Saint. Long story, but you pray to her when you want things to dissapear without a trace and never blemish your character or your clothing again. Great for tomato sauce stains and sneaking across borders undetected.

Anyway, the lady behind the 3 inch thick bullet proof plate glass told me that I must be mistaken, I did NOT have an appointment for yesterday because that doctor isn't even in on Fridays. I told her I had the appt. card to prove it, and she pettishly said, "Well, I don't know where you got that card but you are not in the computer." I wanted to snark at her that I conjured it like a miracle out of my own ass because I was bored and lonely and just LOVED to hang out in the county health clinic for hours at a time for no reason whatsoever but I decided to let it go.

So I asked if it would be possible to schedule an appointment to find out the results of my MRI before Feliz Navidad of 2009 and she said, "Hmmmm. It says here that you are scheduled on the 30th and the 23rd for appointments. The one on the 23rd is to see the results of your MRI and the one on the 30th is for MRI follow-up."

I don't know why I got double booked and neither date coincides with the one I was given but she was not happy that I had two appointments in the month of May. I told her to confirm the one for the 23rd and we'll just see if, when I show up on that day, I am told to come back on the 30th de Mayo.

So I wish you all a Happy Mexican Independance Day and I'm off to the store for a quart of tequila and a large jar of Mayo, some chicken breasts and some limes. I'll post pictures later of my El Pollo Limon de Mayo in Tequila Salsa dish!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Nekkid as a Jailbird

WARNING: This post contains graphic depictions of nudity, indecent exposure, a glimpse into the seamy underbelly of the criminal mind and one count of lewd and lascivious behavior. Not for the squeamish, prudish, or humorless!

Now that I've scared you all to death or else made you salivate...Let me introduce you to one of my many, many prisoner pen pals:

As you can see, I am dressed as conservatively and as seemly as befits a visit to a prison. They have rather strict dress codes and codes of conduct, and it's always best to err on the side of caution or you can get turned away at the door.

Not so at the county jail! My friend, Tracy was recently OTC* and housed at the Sacramento County Jail just up the street from me. *prison lingo for Out To Court* While registering there for my visit, I noticed that any and all street attire was allowed. Young wives and girlfriends were scantily, even provocatively clad.

The rare occurrence of my friend being transported to the city for a court appearance afforded me the opportunity to pop down and visit him without quite so much hoopla and preparation as when I go to the Prison.

The way it works is that you drag yourself out of bed and heave off to the jail by 7am so you can get in line for the first available appointment. The first time I visited, the appointment was set for 8:45PM and it was eerie and dark and solitary downtown that time of night. It did, however, have the upside of offering tons of free parking and no worries about feeding the meter or driving around for ages finding a spot. Which for some reason served to short circuit my common sense when it came to my next visit which was scheduled for 8:45 AM. As in: peak traffic time and serious parking mayhem.

Excuse me for now talking about my undergarments. I know it's simply not done in polite company, but it's important to this story. For if I had not yielded to vanity and worn my 18 hour Playtex Granny Bra, none of this would have happened. Instead, I opted for my superior quality and superior comfort Victoria's Secret Under wire Push-Up Bra.

Just like this only with more fat.

I threw on Capri's, a tank top and a nice blue sweater. And I drove downtown and in a frantic muddle had to drive around for 20 minutes looking for parking. I ended up blocks and blocks from the jailhouse and with moments to spare, I had to race like the wind. Of course when you are 50 and 50lbs overweight that translates more into a lumbering sweaty jog of heaving and huffing and puffing to make it to the jail on time.

I whisked through the security portal, past the busy administration kiosk and up the elevator to the visitation area. I was buzzed into the glass booth and sat down, hair askew and dripping with perspiration.

Dear Tracy came into the dayroom and I saw with satisfaction that he broke into a big grin when he saw me. As he was seated and reaching for the phone I noticed that his eyes fell to my chest area and remained glued there for the duration of our greeting. Since he is normally a polite and gentleman like fellow, I thought this was a bit out of character. I let it go, though. After all, I am only a feminine human, and it's flattering to be thought still worth a glance!

Except that Tracy was doing more than glancing. His eyebrows were decidedly rococo and his normally pleasant smile had something of the salacious about it.

I decided to look down and see what all the fuss was about, and as you have already guessed, what I was staring at was a completely exposed, fully-flopped out left breast! Swinging in the breeze! Au naturel! Starkers!

You've never seen anyone move so fast in your life. I'm sure I was a blur of Super Woman Speed as I adjusted my clothing and covered my shameful nudity.

Tracy was at this point falling off his seat with laughter, and I was falling off mine with mortification. I cringe at the thought of what would have happened if one of the guards had seen this display! NO WAY would anyone believe this was an accident!

"But officer, I was nowhere near it when it happened! It jiggled out of it's own accord!"

And THIS, dear ladies, is why we must never run. Why we must not perspire or jog or jounce around. Unfortunate clothing mishaps can occur and the consequences could be dire. One could end up Nekkid as a Jailbird and serving time of one's own!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

E-lated to be Di-lated

Okay, I'm typing this blind and isn't that the greatest excuse ever for typos? I FINALLY got to see the Opthamalogist today, about my cataract in my right eye. It has gotten so much worse than a year ago and at that time it wasn't ready to be removed. My Big Fear was that he was going to tell me it needed to go a little longer before it could be removed.

But after all the preliminaries like checking for glaucoma and dilating my pupils and all that, when he shone the light in my eye he muttered, "SHEESH!"

Did you just say Sheesh? I asked.

Yes, he said. I cannot even get the light to shine through the membrane! Needless to say I got the 'cataract surgery is safe but you've got a 2 percent chance of blindness and dementia, etc; lecture, along with a strong recommendation that I take the chance and have the surgery. I told him I'd take that chance and how soon could we do it?

I should back up for a moment here and mention that I've worn contact lenses since I was about 14 years old. My eyesight is so poor that normal glasses just don't work for me. For one thing, pop-bottle bottom lenses are nothing compared to the -9 power myopia I have. So when I go in for an exam and they have me take my contacts out, I am literally in a blind fog. I have no idea what the room looks like, where any objects are located, and I can only figure out what is what because I am not color blind and can discern gradiations and shapes.

It's an odd truth that humans do most of their listening with their eyes. No kidding, we need to read lips in order to get full comprehension of most things, especially new information. So when Dr. Peabody started to explain the surgery options to me, I excused myself and put my contact lenses back in so I could hear what the hell he was saying.

And, Lo to my wandering eyes should appear but the spitting image of Steven Colbert!

Right down to the quirked eyebrow and the sarcastical turn of his lip. I was enchanted, of course!

With every good there must first be a whole lot of bad that precedes it, that is what I'm coming to believe about life, and the bad that comes before the good of having my eyesight restored in at least my right eye is that for the next 3 weeks I must be blind entirely. I need to take my contacts out to let the cornea resolve itself into it's natural shape in order for the surgery to get the best measurment and best eyesight possible for my future vision.

And believe me, you don't know vulnerable until you've wandered around blind. It's a freaky experience.

One thing is for certain would not be a good time to hop in the car with a plastic baggie full of white flour and another of green tea up on the dashboard.