Sunday, August 31, 2008

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, Not Christmas, although that's also the Most Wonderful Time of the year. And not Easter, although that, too, is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...


When summer is gone and it's oh, so mellow! When August is about half over I start to get that longing for the changing season. When you get that certain tang in the air like the bittersweet is about to start popping out in the hedgerows and the leaves are going to turn the most glorious shades of fall. When you start to think of decorating in fall colors, and buying pumpkins and gourds and Indian Corn.

In Sacramento, however, the days still evoke this: Bright White light pouring through the window on a warm breeze.

Even so, I couldn't help myself. I had to go ahead and change the table decor into an autumn theme.And if you don't just adore that crow perched on the shoulder of that scarecrow...well, you are just not from this galaxy, is all I have to say.

Happy September everybody!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It Don't Mean a Thang!

Well, this has not been the most pleasant of weeks as far as work goes. I truly love my job but, like all jobs, it has it's down days.

But with the elderly you never know what's going to hit you! It's not like when the french-fryer goes on the fritz and the customers start walking out on you. Which is why I'm seriously thinking nostalgically about going to work in some truck stop somewhere. I know how to sling hash! I don't always know how to care for my clients.

This week one of my ladies had a melt-down temper tantrum on the sidewalk outside her dentist's office. She refused to use her cane and wanted to hang off my arm like a monkey. I told her to take her cane and start walking and she grabbed my arm and dug her hand into my flesh with all her might and screamed at me that I was MEAN! I was being MEAN to her. Like that will look good on my criminal record rap sheet. Elder abuse or in this case, caregiver abuse!

The other lady insisted that I was using someone else's broom vac and that there was squash in the fridge and I had better cook it for her. She insisted that the smoke alarm went off for 2 days in a row and nobody would help her. (She's never without care so that's just not possible.) Then she asked me if I had ever gotten a new tenant and when I told her I owned no rental property she got a little huffy with me. Because I'm, like, hiding my assets or something.

The worst part was when my third clients daughter called and asked me what happened to the bag of marshmallows that were in the cupboard? I had thrown them out. They were congealed, had melted and then solidified into a solid mass. Not the healthiest of snacks in my opinion. But noooo...I was told in no uncertain terms that if her mother wanted stale marshmallows I was not to interfere. It was her house and her rules. "If mom wants to leave an open can of cat food on the counter covered in ants, that's her prerogative."

After that phone call I wanted to crawl under the bed and hide my shame. What was I thinking to presume I could throw away bad or rotten food?

So it is just a little glimpse of happy to think about when my other lady tells me this story:

It was WWII and there was gasoline rationing, so my lady had to ride her bike 2 miles each day to prepare a little house she and her husband had purchased for her bonkers mother to live in. She had one sibling, Flora Jean, who lived far away so she was not able to help in this endeavor.

I say her mother was bonkers because she threw herself into the ocean and several other suicidal feats. In today's world we'd say she was manic depressive schizophrenic but back then she was referred to as 'a tad touched'.

Anyway, my lady prepared this little house with paint, wallpaper, soap and beeswax polish and on the day she took her mother to present her with this amazing gift of a home of her own...her mother walked in the front door, glanced around and said, "It doesn't mean a thing without Flora Jean."
And although it was meant to be a very pathetic story, it cracks me up every time she tells it.
I want to change the grammar around a little bit and make it into a country western song.
"It don't mean a thing without Flora Jean
not my pickup my dog or my gun...
Since Flora Jean went on the run..."

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Secret Life of Paper

Okay, I guess if I can bare my soul and confess I'm a glutton I may as well confess something else...

I'm a USER. Yes, I use them. I use them ALL. And when they are done for, I throw away their empty shell and start over on different ones.

Magnetic Notepads.

Can there ever be enough of them? Can I ever have enough of their efficient, pretty, handy, delightful presence in my life and on my fridge?

It's not like it's a REAL addiction. I can stop anytime I want to. It doesn't affect my job performance. My relationships are not suffering because of it...Okay, my bank account is, just a little bit, but I don't binge on buying them. I can buy just a few at a time or even just one and nurse it while I listen to the band.

There is nothing obsessive, compulsive or hoardish about it, either. I have it under control.

But wait, there's more of them:

I know what you are thinking. One of these days I'll hit rock bottom. There will be no more options for me; no space for my little habit, and then I'll have a meltdown. You are thinking maybe you should plan an intervention for me. Like maybe a Tupperware party to confront me with my need and try to get me to diversify a little bit.

You are thinking, "Can't she just stick with refrigerator magnets like the rest of us? Why does she have to be so out there with this excessive indulgence?

But I won't hit rock bottom. I have a contingency plan.

I'm already planning where to put a second refrigerator.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Decide

As always, my pictures are viewed best when clicked on and enlarged. (Because, frankly, the batteries in this camera are almost totally dead, which makes the photos bland.) Is this for me? Really?Sniff
Last night at work as I was cutting a muskmelon, my lady and I were talking about eating habits and food. She is a voracious eater, but in little amounts.

I on the other hand am a 'stuff it in and reach for more and as soon as a meal is finished, start looking for something to peck on until the next mealtime' type.

I told her I was afraid I suffered from the Deadly Sin of Gluttony.

She thought about this for a bit and said, "Oh, that's nothing. You could be an alcoholic. You could be a drug peddler."

Well, when you look at it like that... it puts a new spin on it. I should start thinking about it in a new way.

Obese Glutton or Chubby Nibbler? You Decide

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Blair Recipe Project

Having lost my pancake recipe 5 times in a row because it was just tucked into my recipe book any which way, I decided it was time to tackle the Dreaded Recipe Book Organization Project... You all know what I mean. Recipes jotted onto scraps of paper, on index cards neatly typed but ancient with flour dust and spilled liquid spots, torn out of magazines, downloaded from cooksdotcom on full-size sheets that have to be folded up and therefore never get used.

We have every intention of getting them into some kind of binder, neatly typed and readily accessible by category if not downright alphabetized.

Once upon a time, I had taken one of those pretty blank diary type notebooks that everyone has but nobody uses, and had painstakingly copied out about 20 of my 2,000 recipes in pretty markers, color-coordinating the types of recipe...cakes, cookies, breads, cookies, meat dishes, cookies.

And then my hand wore out. So that project never got finished. Over time those pages became indecipherable because the ink bled all over the place and was eventually blotted out entirely.

Since Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop, I decided I had nothing better to do than get that recipe book into shape once and for all. That meant NO cheating such as gluing the old recipe onto a new page.

Of course I decided to document this awesome task because nobody would believe me if I didn't.
Except the pictures kept turning out blurry. And dark. And gloomy. Are there darker forces at work? Trying to keep me from being the only person on the green Earth --except for possibly Martha Stewart-- who has her ducks all in a row and her recipes neat, tidy and organized?

I want to tell those petty Gods of Clutter and Mayhem that they need not fear me. I've already glued several long drawn out recipes right onto the pages, and I've even gone ahead and simply hole-punched the existing old recipes and stuck them in the binder.

In fact that may be what I'll do! Just hole punch everything, as is, ink blots, globs of dried cookie dough and all!

P.S: A friend suggested that I get those nice plastic page protectors that fit the ring binder and you slide the recipe down into a pocket. Neat idea! Except those only come in full-ring size binders! But next time! For sure!

Don't It Make My Brown Eggs Blue

How do you designate which eggs in your fridge are boiled and which are raw?

It seems that everybody does this differently. For instance I know people tend to keep them in different compartments. Or the raw ones in the egg holders built into the fridge door and the boiled ones in a bowl or the original egg carton. Or vice versa I don't know which.

Cousin Pearl Baker-Snell-Forbes-Jackson-Rowe-Tackett (she's been married 5 times) peels them all, which to me seems to defeat the entire purpose of boiled eggs which is to make them last forever in your fridge without spoiling.

When I was growing up my best friend Eliza's mother put a big black X on the boiled ones. I still think a black X is repetitious and depressing.

So I always make my boiled eggs blue. Always.

And since I keep all my eggs in one basket, I think that makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Maiden of the Corn

Well, it's been a while since I ran into any nutcases out there in the universe, but maybe it was because the God of Nuts was on vacation? Or saving up for a big whammy?

Last night, as I was cruising the produce department at the local Save-Away, I heard this frantic shredding and tearing sound. I turned around and saw a seemingly normal young Japanese woman in medical assistant scrubs shredding the heck out of about a dozen ears of corn. She had a bag of cleaned corn in her cart and was tearing, shredding, peeling away like a madwoman. I was so puzzled I was almost stunned.

She was throwing the shucks back into the bin with the other ears of corn, making a huge and to my way of thinking rude and inconsiderate mess of the corn she was leaving behind.

I wanted to say something SO badly. I circled the melon kiosk trying to get my courage up enough to approach her and say, "Is that how your mother taught you to shop for corn?" Or I wanted to say, "Can't you do that at home?" Or further, "Does the hovel you live in not have a garbage receptacle?" Or "Are you terrified of corn silk and wish to leave it all in the store rather than risk taking it home with you?"

I started to get actually pissed off about it, after pushing my cart around the potato bin a few times. I searched for the usually ubiquitous produce clerk to lodge a complaint but none was to be found.

I even tried to imagine that she was just checking to see if the ears were good. Of course, the rest of us just peel back a little corner of the top, but maybe her culture is different? Like maybe they don't have corn on the planet Slorgon? But no, she wasn't checking anything. She was furiously, frantically and downright viciously stripping and processing that corn right there in the produce aisle.

As I glared at her and swooped my cart around the peach and nectarine cases I was muttering pithy and devastating remarks to her under my breath. "What the Eff is wrong with you, Jap Bitch?" was probably the low point of my tirade.

It was then, steeped in a fugue of fume, that I noticed a nice young Soccer Mommy with her wee tot in her cart, staring at me with fear and trepidation. It was clear to me that she thought I was the nut! She thought I was the Crazy Lady in the Plaza de Produce!

I raced to the middle of the store and buried myself in the frozen food locker, counting on the frosted-up glass to cool me down and hide my shame.

I don't know why it is I didn't just run and tattle on her. I also don't know why I didn't say something pithy or even snarky right to her face. What do I care? I could take that little chick in a brawl. But noooo! I have to be all polite and scared and reserved. With the unfortunate upshot that I fret about it and fume for all to see.

Next time? Should I ever be so lucky as to see some fool peeling corn in the store and leaving a mess? I'm going to walk right up to her and say..."Shuck Off, Lady."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sea Meth

Last night my subconscious, while I was sleeping, revealed to me the reason all those skiers, jet-skiers, motor-boaters and surfers are so amped up all the time. It's because of the Sea Meth.

Yes, it's a naturally occurring methamphetamine found in saltine sea water, which enters the body through the nasal passages every time you fall in and get a snortful.

In my dream, I was handed a pamphlet while at the beach with the words SEA METH emblazoned on the front in shiny red letters, warning of the hazards of inhaling too much salt water while partaking of aquatic diversions at the seashore.

So I had to tell everybody. Some folk might want to rush right down there and dive in, but some might want to sell their snorkels and swim fins on eBay and take up a less drug-laced form of recreation.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by the Dream State of Miss Pink Ponsonby.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I'll Be the Xylophone Waiting for YOU

It's August, and a new month means a new table-top decor. It's one of my personal pleasures to arrange my table with a few of my likable things so it's the first thing I see when I walk into my kitchen each morning that puts a smile on my face. The fridge is the next thing, with the coffee pot or tea kettle being next.

Inside the pitcher is my collection of old wooden shoe trees for women. Some of them have little cloth covers on the tree part. I rarely see these anymore but for the most part I bought them for a quarter apiece. My antique stoneware gravy boat doubles as the butterscotch disk holder.

The book I am rereading for the umpteenth time is "An Hour Before Daylight" by our President Jimmy Carter. He is an amazing writer and this book reminisces all about his childhood days growing up in Georgia. It is funny and sweet and takes me back to the days when I, too, peed in outhouses, chamber pots, or back behind the barn when necessary.
When I'm sitting at my table having breakfast and reading, I can see this view. It's my favorite collection of the Wade Figurines. This is the Nursery Rhyme set and I don't have all of them but I keep looking. I want the gingerbread man, but he must have run pretty far away because you can't find him anywhere. Those old nursery rhymes were weird but they are a part of our cherished past, as well, aren't they?
And then I ran across this little family portrait from the olden days and had to put it up here. You won't know it if you are a 'yung-in' but this couple were the height of fashion and all that was glorious and most desirable, back in the day. Some of my cousin's still wear their hair this way.

The world needs it's fashion time warps.

And the world always needs another mis-heard lyric. I was bopping down the road the other day singing to my heart's content to an old song on the radio...

Why dont you build me a buttercup Baby
Just to let me down (Let me down)
And mess me around
And then worst of all (Worst of all)
You never call baby When you say you will
But I love you still...
And I'll make you happy
I'll be home
I'll be the Xylophone Waiting for you.