Thursday, December 25, 2008

Deck Us All!

In honour of Dear Old Dad:


Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

***********
Keep your head down low
and take a run in the snow
And never give up...never give up...That good old Christmas Spirit!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And Since We've No Place to Go...Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Well, I had a routine doctor's appt. this morning and while I was there I thought I'd mention I've been hacking up a lung for more than 5 days, so Dr. Lu listened to my lungs...and she listened to my lungs...and she listened to my lungs...and then in her non-alarmist way informed me that I have a partially collapsed lung!

"You are squeaking!" she said, and gave me a Z-pack.

So, since I've no place to go, I'm in my Christmas Pajamas early, lights lit, candles burning, fully relaxed just me, Mackie and my Collapsed lung, ready for a very lovely Christmas! And I Hope you all have one, too!

God Bless Us, Everyone!

I like how it appears Mackie has miniaturized himself and is sniffing the end of my red snowflake sock, when in all actuality he is across the room just walking past the tree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

I'm still busy with the Snot Factory. I've produced several barrels of the stuff just today, and I sure wish I could find a buyer because I'd be rich in no time. Sure hope my strength holds out.

This is my annual Christmas Letter. I know, I know, I've published it before but I'm to sick to use vital brain cells making up something fresh. Besides, this is still funny, right?

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. He 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 but he just looked moody for a moment and then left with his friends to go pick up the 9 mm I promised him for Christmas. Kids these days!

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 pony up, people!

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 Solid
Black I picked even if it was off the back of a truck and dirt cheap so he made
me do it over in purple with Orange trim which I must admit are colors that
blended better with the neighborhood.

So 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 thang goin’ on but don’t any of you tell Denzel! Have a Happy New Year and I’ll see you Next
Christmas!

Keep it Hangin’
Mae Hem

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flu Break

Just a wee break for a few days until I get this 2000 pound troll off my chest and the hammers beating upon my sinuses to stop their clanging. It hurts and has a temperature!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Percentages

This whole percentage thing started back in the 90's when employers expected you to give your 110% on the job. I always had a problem with that...because I was all like: Will you be paying me 110% of my wage? Dude?

And frankly?

I need at least 70% of myself for myself. Heck, I need 30% just for peeing. Eating takes up at least 45%. Watching Netflix gobbles up the rest of it and somewhere in there I still manage to wedge sleeping, travel time, and updating this blog.

That whole 110% business pretty much went by the wayside. Now they just close the plant with one day notice and don't give you your severance package.

However, percentages started creeping into other areas and once again, nobody but me seems to find this annoying and unfair. Let's take milk, for instance.

Life was so simple when you had MILK, half and half, heavy cream and buttermilk. You could figure out easily what strength milk you needed. Plain milk for cereal, half and half for your coffee or tea, and heavy cream for whipping. Buttermilk was used for something but since I equate it with Eggnog I don't know and don't care.

But now. Some fool or fools out there decided that MILK wasn't any good for you anymore, even though they also tell us that we need a gallon a day or our bones will turn into dry kindling. So they came up with Percentage Milk.

You've got Vitamin D Whole milk. 2% milk. Reduced Fat milk. 4% milk. Lowfat milk. Nonfat milk, and Fat Free milk. I can never figure out what order they come in so I just get half n half and use it for everything; that way I can pretty much avoid having to learn what percentage everything is. For my clients I just go by the color coding on the milk carton. Miss E goes with the yellow carton, Miss B uses the blue milk, etc;

But now. Right here at Christmas Time when life should be joyous and contain lots of baked goods, I've run up against a Percentage Problem. One that required me to pin a poor Trader Joe's employee up against a stack of boxes while I laid out an assortment of chocolate bars and asked her to put them in order. Fortunately she was really sweet about it, and even showed an interest in my chocolate dipping experiences.

You know what I'm talking about. We used to have Milk chocolate and Semi-sweet chocolate. As far as I knew, semi-sweet and dark chocolate were just interchangeable terms. Well, maybe they were different. Semi-sweet are for baking Toll House cookies and the dark chocolate was for avoiding in the Whitman Sampler.

But NOW! We have percentage chocolate! There is Milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, 54% chocolate, 62% Cacao, 73% Milk Solids, etc; For all I know there are even chocolates in the 90 percentile range. Each brand has it's own variety of percentages, too. So if you are looking to blend a Guittard with a Ghiardelli, you'd better know their different percentages.

I have learned that the higher the percentage, the nastier the chocolate. You'd think that more percent would be more yum-factor but it's just the opposite. Like with employers, I'm not willing to go with the 90% chocolates. I bought an 80% chocolate bar one time and it ended up in the trash. Chocolate is supposed to be sweet and melt in your mouth, not taste like burnt rubber tires.

As far as I know, no one has yet come up with 110% chocolate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Hatred Confession


Everyone who reads this should know by now how weird I am. It's not a secret. I freely share my odd quirks and opinions; that's what a blog is for.

And for the most part you all tolerate it. I got nary a rebuff for declaring I hate Frank Sinatra. My opinion that unwed mothers should be FINED not rewarded with welfare and all kinds of medical benefits probably just stunned folks into silence, but whatever the reason I didn't get any guff about it. Even my disclosure that I HAVE CRACK was accepted with some tolerance.


But now, today's revelation? Bound to set me beyond the pale. It will place me firmly in the ranks of those who are on the outside of enough. Those to whom the boundaries of polite society are forever closed.


I HATE EGG NOG.
That's right. I've said it. Cast me out, oh my people! I don't care. I hate it and that's my Final Answer.
What is it, anyway? A glass of milk with raw egg, 2 cups of sugar in each glass and a sprinkling of gritty nutmeg on the top. Purchased in a carton that cleverly disguises itself as normal milk. Thick enough to be liquid pudding. BLECH I say! Disgusting.
I've been told there is a grown up version, though. Loaded with booze. Very tasty. And yet the idea of combining dairy, sugar, alcohol and raw egg seems to me to be sheer insanity. Who ever dreamed this stuff up? Russians who ran out of goat yogurt?
Well, there you have it. My True Confession. Shun me if you must in public, but try to be kind at the Christmas parties. You can be happy because it means there will be all the more eggnog for you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It wouldn't be Christmas without a dish of wooden spools.


All these pictures would look better if I knew how to shut off the flash.Little Wade Nursery Rhymes and a Santa jar with cotton ball snowballs!

Almost enough popcorn balls... and good china and lots of fruit and when the table is heaping with food, then it's Christmas time!


Noel! With those cool fake tea light candles!



A tree full of lace doily snow!

Friday, December 12, 2008

O! Holy...SHIT!!!!

O! Holy Shit!
The Box was brightly shining!
It is the night of my first plastic treeee
The Thrill, the Hope, the Weary Brain revolting
Yonder lay a pile of dark green sticks.
Assembly Required!
O Hear the mental Anguish...
O Tree Divine
O Tree. Oh plastic Tree....






This really worried me. The instructions kept telling me to refer to the printed instructions for further instruction. I'm not kidding!




Almost there...
Mackie is exhausted!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wild and Sweet the Words Repeat

I have to admit it: I'm one of those geeks who cries at Christmas carols!

Not the silly ones like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" Or "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", but rather those old, deep, wordy ones from olden times.

The radio seems to play the newer ones over and over and you rarely hear the old religious ones. Oh, wait, that's because it's the New World Order of Generics to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Bah-humbug to that, I say!

And even when we do hear the old ones, perhaps they are too familiar to strike us anew. They just play like old tapes in our head, without meaning. But there are such beautiful phrases and images in the older carols. When I am listening and I really hear them, I get goose bumps.

For instance:

Repeat the sounding joy...!

Fall on your Knees....O hear the angel voices! O Night Divine...

Happy golden days of yore...

Hearts will be glowing...

This sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am.

Constant faith and hope sublime lend strength and comfort through all time...

We're riding in a wonderland of snow...

A song, a song, high above the trees...with a voice as big as the sea!

Let loving hearts enthrone Him...

Glad tidings of Great Joy...

But there is one that has always driven me nuts! It goes down in the list of 'misheard lyrics'

"Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we..."
That is such a mouthful that when you hear it it sounds like, "grateful Coaras-Rayhee" which I always thought was some mystical phrase in a foreign language like Catholic.

On this new and glorious morn I'm going to bake some Christmas cookies. May all your Christmases be white!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saving Elvis

I really hate the way Frank Sinatra sings. His music is creepy and kind of depressing. He is always hitting flat notes and off-key notes and I think he ruined every song he ever sang... ESPECIALLY the Christmas carols.

Jazzing up Silent Night and snapping your fingers with Congo drums playing in the background is just wrong. It's wrong, I tell you!

Dean Martin was ten times the singer that Sinatra was. He had more soul and nuance in his voice and even when singing like a drunk his music was melodious.

AND! I'm fairly certain he was never recorded singing off-key, unlike Frank, whom I think recorded every song and never took advantage of the 'instant do-over' option of being in a recording studio.

And then there was Elvis. I love Elvis. Especially his early music. He was dreamy and he had such a lovely voice

I was talking to a friend about Elvis and he said, "I always thought I could have helped Elvis."

I was stunned! Because I always thought I could help Elvis! It was MY idea!

I wanted to become his best friend, whisk him away to boot camp or 'Outward Bound' or just some remote cabin somewhere and dry him out. And then re-wire his mind with Wayne Dyer tapes. So that he could have stuck around much longer, and not faded. Not diminished. Someone to look up to, adore, enjoy, as he successfully navigated the shallows and shoals of this life.

I hate marathons. I hate the Sacramento Marathon because they block off all the streets and I can't GO HOME. It took me 45 minutes to go 10 blocks today. Why can't those marathon people run around a TRACK somewhere? Why can't they run around the block on the sidewalk and not cross any streets at all and not tie up traffic? Why do they have to be pampered and petted and spoiled? All traffic stops for them, and WHY? Sure, it's always for a good cause, and I support their causes, but how did RUNNING ever come to be associated with charity?

Why not a sit-athon? People could sit inside the Arco Arena for hours and hours and let the rest of us GO HOME.

Around here, it's a marathon about once a week. They just had a marathon on Thanksgiving. And today is another one. I just want to cross the street! There is nobody coming! Just let me pop across the street so I can GO HOME.

The cops are like Nazi Pro-Marathon supporters, too. Every single block has a cop pulled across the intersection with his lights flashing. And, they've taped off all the alleys, those bastards!

I got out of my car in the freezing cold and begged a copper to let me cross when nobody was coming.

"No, Ma'am" he said. "But in 30 minutes this street will be cleared because they will all be past this checkpoint and then you can go. So you can just sit there and wait."

So I did. And this was when I really, really, really wished someone had saved Elvis. So he could have made more records. Maybe a Christmas album every year, the way we all hope Josh Groban will do!

And that way I would not be stuck in traffic, year after year, waiting for the marathon to end, and forced to listen to...you guessed it...FRANK SINATRA on the radio.

Friday, December 05, 2008

O! Holy Bauble

I remember Christmases of the past! Those golden holidays of yore. Driving around at night to look at the lovely decorated houses. Oohing and Aaahing when someone had gone over the top and strung lights not only on their roof top but all down their sidewalk and around every tree in their yard! Wow!

Christmas lawn ornaments were mostly of the Nativity Scene: cardboard, wooden cut-outs or 3D hard form plastic. Some of them lit up from inside.


There were Santa's and sleighs with reindeer on the roof. Candy canes stuck in rows up the border of the walk. Snowmen. Sometimes you'd see a Christmas Angel or We Three Kings.

And always there would be that goofy neighbor who went overboard and slipped from the pretty category into the tacky category. The consensus was always, "It's just too much!"





And then some jolly soul invented the Inflatable Lawn Ornament.

Which for some unfathomable reason didn't spend even a moment in the 'too much' category, but instead, shot to the top of the list for most popular 'must have' of the season.

I don't understand the appeal! Sure, a snow globe is a cute idea, but a 30 foot one? Check it out:

There is more square footage inside this snow globe than in the house!

I did a quick google on 'inflatable Christmas ornaments' and the list was mind boggling:

Santa with Rudolph

Santa in a race car with Elf Pit crew

Cowboy Santa

Cammo Santa (for Stealth Christmas, I guess)

Santa getting a ticket. (That really screams Christmas, doesn't it?)

Santa on a John Deere. (At least the John Deere is a green tractor. Kind of Christmasy.)

The list goes on and on but the one that really got me...the one that grabbed me and wouldn't let go:

7 foot alligator in a Santa hat.

It makes no sense. It is not even remotely relative in any way to the furthest reach of Christmas imagery. There are no Christmas songs featuring an alligator. No Bible stories. No merry bands of alligator-y traditions. No Choir of Heavenly Alligators. No Alligator we have Heard on High. No Hark the Harold Alligator. No Little Town of Alligator how still we see thee lie...

Oh wait, maybe it's a Crocodile. I get them confused. It would make more sense if it was a Christmas Crocodile, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One Molecule Away

Learning how to make fudge has become almost a full-time job for me.

Selling my jewelry on the black market to purchase more sugar to keep this fudge-making habit alive has become my secondary job.

Sneaking down side streets and alleys looking for unlocked dumpsters in order to furtively dispose of the disastrous hardened failed-fudge results takes up the rest of my time.

I've been getting 2 hour phone tutorials from my Aunt Sandreen who is the Queen of Successful Fudge, and I am sure my fudge is improving because of her sage advice!

Proper ingredients, timing, boiling temperatures and even the weather are factors that can make or fail a batch of fudge.

"And don't use margarine" said Aunt Sand, "Only butter will do!"

"I don't use margarine" I said, "I always use butter."

"Good!" she said, "As far as I'm concerned, margarine is just one molecule away from plastic!"

I also like to use real milk or cream in my fudge attempts. If it says it's milk but then has a % sign on the carton, it means they've taken out the good stuff to use for themselves and have found a way to market the remaining pig swill to gullible consumers by telling them it's healthier for them.

"Percentage" milk is one molecule away from sidewalk chalk.

AND! As I was preparing some ramen noodles for lunch, I realized those noodles are just one molecule away from being recycled paper!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mapeline Dreams

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merrry Mapleine! I got this box of the long-desired maple flavoring from my friend Pamela-la-la.

And then...

I got this box from my cousin Deets! And THEN...

I got THIS box...


And THIS box from my cousin Blissful Morning.
My peeps are awesome! They have enabled me to ruin many, many batches of fudge and fondant this Holiday Season!
Thank You All and God Bless Us, Everyone!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thieves and Laundresses

The day before Thanksgiving was my usual Wednesday Laundry day. I threw in a load of whites in the laundry room at the end of my building. As I was coming back up the walk, I saw this girl standing by the mailboxes and she seemed agitated or drugged or both, so I asked her if there was anything I could do to help her.

I said it in my best authoritative voice so that "May I Help You?" really sounded more like "You had better feel me depressing your pretensions and get out of here."

She answered that she was trying to get her sister's mail out of box #8 but that someone had punched the lock out. She was so distressed and I could see the telltale signs of Methamphetamine use in her face. I also saw that she had a very nice linen fabric scarf wound around her neck and one of the nicest big satchel style cloth bags at her feet. Because I was looking at her bag, I didn't really take a good look at the rest of her.

I told her that she should call the Landlord and he could get her mail for her, or talk to her sister.

I then left and came upstairs to grab my other basket of clothes. I noticed she was still down there, banging around at the mailboxes and muttering. I had to sign for a package from UPS and then I went downstairs...and immediately perceived that the laundry room door was standing wide open.

Yes, the Crank Ho in the nice scarf and the lovely satchel had stolen my load of whites from the washing machine. She made off with pounds of white granny panties, size XXL, half a dozen pair of very soft nice cotton socks, washcloths, bras, white cotton feed sack dishtowels and my very lovely white silk kimono with the embroidery, which was inside a very nice mesh zippered laundry bag for delicates.

Gone, all gone. I came inside to call the landlord and the police and noticed that she had thoroughly trashed the mailboxes. She had punched the locks out of them and torn the mail into shreds and stuffed it willy-nilly into the cubbyholes for flyers and magazines.

Because this was no longer a robbery in progress, I called the non-emergency police phone number and got...of all things...an East Indian gentleman dispatcher.

Let us pause for a moment to consider the outsourcing of our police department phone calls to people who know English as a Second Language. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: I am calling to report a theft of laundry and a vandalism of the apartment complex mailboxes.

He: Did you see who did it?

Me: Yes, a woman with a Meth face, she was about 30 but looked 60, wearing a scarf around her neck and carrying a large, paisley cloth satchel in pinks and oranges with leather and cloth gusset handles.

He: You say she had scars on her neck?

Me: SCARVES, I tell you, SCARVES not scarfs.

He: And you say she could be anywhere between 30 and 60?

Me: No, I mean she had a Meth Face. You know, a Meth Face? She had that Meth User look to her. The cop will know what I mean.

He: So we have a female between 30 and 60 with scars around her face?

Me: SCARVES. Not Scars, SCARVES.

Suddenly, my brilliant brain kicked in: I have been an Indiaphile all my life. I watch Bollywood movies and Bollywood music videos. I wear Salwar Kameez. I own some sari's. What we had here was a translation problem, and I knew the exact word I needed to exchange for scarves.

Me: A Dupatti! She was wearing a Dupatti wound around and around her neck.

He: A DUPATTI! I understand! She had scars on her neck and was wearing a Dupatti to cover them!

Sigh.

Somewhere out there is a skinny crank ho in a duppati scarf toting around my wet underpants in a very lovely cloth satchel.

The police will never spot her because she does not have scars on her neck.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What To Do While the Guys Watch Football

What do you do if it's Thanksgiving afternoon and you don't watch football?

The food has been eaten, the dishes washed and put away and since I didn't have a turkey this year, I didn't need to take a nap! Amazing what that lack of triptophan can do!

I got out my supplies and made my own Christmas Wrapping Paper, that's what I did!


I started with leftover packing paper from my near-moving-experience last year, and I thought I would use it as a somewhat crinkled base for my design.

I used a tessellation stamp I have that always reminded me of a Christmas ornament.

Thanks to the Dollar Tree, I had some glitter glue to use.

I made a few sheets with different color ink and different color glitter. I had to drape it all over the furniture to wait for the glitter to dry. I did some with glitter and some without, and I like it without better, which is a good thing because it took forever for it to dry.

Here is a sneak peak at the results:
I like to use fabric ribbon that I make myself by trimming off the selvages of fabric. I think it looks neat! Because I like 'real 'ribbon not that plastic stuff, I get a bag of assorted ribbons from Hancock's Fabrics. They are usually a couple bucks for a huge bag of all kinds of different silky and grosgrain ribbons. Usually a bag will last me more than a year.

As you can see, I don't spend a lot of money on Christmas, but I get so much joy and glee out of making my own stuff. Luckily the friends and loved ones that receive these hand-crafted packages love those things as much as I do.

Time to stuff on leftovers! Happy Thanksgiving Afternoon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgifting


I don't know about you all, but around here they seem to have totally squeezed out Thanksgiving in a mad rush to get us all started on Christmas Shopping a little earlier.

Back before they had completely sold out the Halloween Stuff, as a matter of fact!
Two full weeks ago, the local Christian station, "the Fish" had started 24 hour a day Christmas Music instead of their usual programming.


I guess since Thanksgiving is the tradition of Giving Thanks and Family Gatherings and can't conceivably be drummed up into a Commercial Enterprise, it's not worth the bother as far as major marketing companies are concerned.

If they could just tweak it so Americans would start calling it Thanksgifting! It could then take it's place with the Big, BIG BIG holidays like Easter, Christmas and now Halloween.

Instead, we are just left with sappy old illustrations by Normal Rockwell and that annoying cartoon turkey you see here and there. You know, the one wearing the Pilgrim Hat and carrying an old blunderbuss.

Still, there is no denying that we get the Holiday Spirit revved up and good things start to happen.

Such as the local Channel 3 having a turkey drive for the food bank, and asking for 500 turkeys to be donated. And getting 5000 instead! No kidding! I swung by there on Monday when they started giving them away and I saw easily 3000 people standing in line. The line went totally around the block and halfway down another block. The cops were there to block traffic because of the long lines.

I decided to forgo getting in the back of the line because I assessed the situation and realized that by the time I found parking, I'd be person number 5001.

No turkey for YOU!

Well, I don't have enough money to buy a turkey and that's all there is to that.

But WAIT!

I was at the Safeway yesterday picking up a bag of potatoes and exchanging pleasantries with the check-out clerk. She asked if I was all ready for Thanksgiving and I said, everything but the turkey which I can't buy this year.

The person standing behind me said, "I'll buy you a turkey."

Really, I'm not kidding. The person behind me bought me a turkey, paid for it on the spot and told me to go pick it out.

I gave Thanks for that!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Give Thanks! Gift Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back Before the Microwave Was Invented

I was cooking a hunk of meat and some fried potatoes yesterday when my friend Jeff came for a visit. He wanted food which is a request dear to my heart so I made more potatoes. As I was chopping the potatoes somehow the name Mr. Potato Head came up and Jeff, recoiling with true or mock horror said, “NO! He makes me feel so SAD! Look what they did to him! They cut off his BODY! They left him with only a HEAD! And they stuck those little prosthetic legs onto his HEAD!!! With nothing but little plastic HANDS sticking out where his EARS should be!!!!”

I was laughing so hard, I could feel his compassion for the amputee Mr. Potato Head. But it didn’t stop him from eating the rest of the Potato Family.

I always loved Mr. Potato Head. I think that was one of the genius toy ideas of my generation. Some thousands of people, I would suspect, don't know that we used a REAL potato for the Head of Mr. Potato Head. Yes, we used to PLAY WITH POTATOES!!!

It was the whole point of the toy. When you use a real potato you can stick the ears on anywhere you want and the mouth around to the back...the combinations are endless and FUN. Now, everyone thinks of Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story and he's made of plastic and there is only one hole for his mouth, eyes, etc; With no room for variation or creativity, it makes it kind of a dumb toy, doesn't it?

I also loved Cootie. How I LOVED cootie!!! We could entertain ourselves for an hour playing for body parts to assemble a Cootie and win.



And nobody died in those games except I guess the jury is still out about the body of Mr. Potato head.




Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lottery Dreams

I think everyone ponders what it would be like to win the lottery, even if they don't buy a ticket.

My idea of winning the lottery would be not to tell a single soul, and then set about doing amazingly good deeds to the people I think badly need a good deed done!

And then I would buy a couple of houses so I could decorate them. Then I'd buy a couple more. Because decorating is my Sign!

When I was standing in line at the food bank last week, talking to the girl who said the stale bread baguettes were like baseball bats, we discussed the topic of winning the lottery.

And she said if she won the lottery she would buy a cul-de-sac. I thought that was very novel!

I had to ask her why she would buy a cul-de-sac and she explained that she would give all the houses in the cul-de-sac to her family and that way they could all live together and have picnics and barbeque's and parties in the middle of the cul-de-sac and then afterwards all go home to their own houses.

I thought that was so wonderful! And different from anything I would have thought up on my own. What are your Lottery Dreams?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Watching the Defectives

I think instead of saying I was going to start watching for defectives I should have said I was going to start looking for 100 dollar bills.
Because talk about manifestations! I managed to manifest 3 really annoying defectives in my own life right away.
First, I got a little tape applicator that lays down a line of dry adhesive for card making. It is totally defective! The tape is dry and has no sticky on it at all! It's worse than a very old post-it note. (and you know how annoying those are--they never stick on ANYTHING, has anyone but me ever noticed that?)
Then, the nozzle on my bottle of natural non aerosol orange room spray got stuck in the down position and so it's totally defective.
AND!!! This is the worst! I saw this wonderful recipe portfolio from Lang (the people who make all the calendars that are upscale and take up aisle after aisle in the bookstore around this time of year). I wanted it sooo badly! I had just finished my own Blair Recipe Project and quickly realized that the small binder I had used wasn't big enough to hold all the recipes I really NEED much less the ones that I accumulate all the time. It was only 14 dollars but I had to save up and use my birthday money and wait until I had enough for the postage (which was such a rip-off at 8 bucks for postage and handling. How much handling do they plan on doing to it?)


After 3 or 4 long weeks, it arrived last night and I was so happy! Isn't it pretty? Well, I opened the book to discover THIS:
The pages had been torn out of the ring binder! Before it ever even got to me!
Here is a close up:
And here:



All I could picture is that one of the Handler's whom I just paid 8 dollars to had dropped the binder on the floor and the weight of it had torn out all the pages. Well! Talk about defective!

So I literally LOST SLEEP over this! I had to wait until customer service opened up at some weird time like NOON, back east on the coast, and all night long I obsessed over what to say and how to say it. In my mind I planned every word and lay out my careful battle plan of how I was flat-out going to have to REFUSE to pay for that handling business! I had read in the fine print that they will refund your money but not the shipping and handling charges.

You know I've said this for years: if you stuff something into an envelope with bubble wrap and take it to the post office and mail it, it costs about a nickels worth of time and about 3 bucks in postage. And yet these places already charging exorbitant prices for their merchandise have the audacity to charge almost 10 bucks for 'shipping and handling'.

I really hate confrontations of this sort. You are ALWAYS WRONG if you are the customer, and there is always some little piss ant on the other end of the line and you can hear him gloating at your frustration.

However. Not this time! When I called this morning a perfectly reasonable person answered and when I told her I was calling about a defective item she was instantly VERY sorry to hear it! Oh, NOOooo! She said! I am SO SORRY that happened. We will ship you out a new item right away and you don't have to return the ruined one."

@@@Boing!!!!!@@@@ I couldn't believe it. She just simply took my name and addy again and asked for a daytime phone number just in case and said it would be sent out standard mail by the end of today.

I was so stunned and happy I went right in and baked some cornbread!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Defective

I was washing this 96 year old woman's hair this morning and she said to me as she was submerged in bubbles, "You know those commercials that say if you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours?"


I'm sure my hands paused in action for a moment but then I recovered and said..."Yes."

"Wouldn't he be bludgeoning things?"

I don't know what's scarier. That or the realization that this means he is effectively without a functioning brain for those 4 hours.

She likes to tell long stories and one of hers features a former caregiver who had 2 defective children. "Not Down Syndrome" she tells me, "But defective."

I've decided to keep my eyes peeled for defectives every since. Because I can't wait to use that word in a sentence!

Today was a good day for defectives because I had to go to the food bank. I'm out of money and food stamps until the 5th of next month so unless I want to eat peanut butter for the next 17 days I thought I should make the trip.

I am always astonished and disgusted at the kinds of things people decide to donate to a food bank. And I was not alone in this sentiment because the lady behind me kept muttering, "Please don't let it be bread! Please don't let it be bread!"

I knew of what she spoke! Last time I went I came home with 4 or 5 grocery bags stuffed with very hard loaves of French Bread. She and I started chatting about the dreaded overabundance of stale bread.

She said, "I told my boyfriend I come to the food bank for food and walk away with a bag of baseball bats!"

I told her if I got any milk she could have mine. I did get milk but I also got 4 loaves of bread. It appeared that she got about 8 loaves of bread. I also got out-of-date yogurt and a package of something in Spanish. It was a picture of some mussels and they were covered in chocolate sauce. The package which was one of those cardboard kind like juice boxes, said, "Mole!"

That is so defective. Who puts mole sauce on mussels for one thing. Who EATS mole sauce for another. I also got about 5 containers of yogurt but not normal yogurt: I got Jalepeno Bean yogurt and Parsnips Yogurt.

And this:


Is not this a prime example of defective thinking? To give a package of raw, uncleaned fish to the homeless who have no refrigerators, no cooking facilities and probably don't own a fillet knife?

But wait! It's Rainbow Trout.

And thus we have today's tutorial on how to do a defective job of cleaning and filleting a trout.


Number one: cut the head off and clean out the guts. See that red line in there? Scrub that out with the edge of your knife it will make a difference in the taste.

Number two:

Realize it is impossible to hold a camera in one hand and fillet a fish in the other especially when you don't own a fillet knife. Do you own a fillet knife? I do not own a fillet knife.

Cut to a plate of already cleaned, semi-quasi-defectively filleted trout:

Number Three: Prepare a large pan with very hot olive oil.

Number four: coat the fish in flour and cornmeal with lots of salt and herbs.

Number 5: Realize that life is bliss as long as you've got a skillet and a stove and a hunk of fresh fish.
Yum!
P.S: If you've had an erection lasting more than 4 hours, do not call me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Popcorn Flats: The Sequel


Oops! Forgot to take a picture of the finished product.

Popcorn Flats


Start with a heavy bottom pan. That is the one essential. It also helps to have an accurate candy thermometer but you need to double check with a bowl of cold water to make sure you are at the soft ball stage. I don't know what the soy sauce is for...kind of scary if you think about it. I could so easily have grabbed that rather than the vanilla. But I didn't.
Another tip is to sift your popcorn and get out all the uncooked kernels, which I forgot to do and so if you look at the popcorn balls very closely you will see tons of unpopped kernels like little Death Land Mines for cracking your teeth.


*Popcorn Balls for Christmas*
THE BEST!!!
(but you still need a heavy and I do mean heavy bottom pan or it will just scorch.)

1 ½ cups white Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 t. water (what good does one teaspoon of water do? I have no idea.)
1 T. butter
2 big batches unbuttered popcorn. You can use the microwave stuff, in which case you need about 4 bags. Try to get the plain popcorn.

Boil until softball stage 232-234° don’t quit until you reach this stage and don’t quit until you’ve been AT this stage for a good bit. Watch it constantly anyway and don’t stir. If you undercook it the popcorn balls will fall apart and never firm up.

Remove from the stove and add
1t. vinegar
1 t. vanilla

Stir it into the popcorn while still hot.

Butter and Water your hands to keep them from burning and the mixture from sticking. It’s messy but it’s worth it.

Form mixture into balls without crushing the popcorn and place on wax paper to cool and set.

You need a lot of room for this recipe so have a big kitchen table.

When balls are firm and completely cool, wrap in saran wrap individually and tie up with Christmas Ribbon.

Make sure you have a very good soft ball stage to your syrup mixture or else you will end up with GOO-balls. Still delicious but very messy to eat.