Sunday, July 17, 2016

Shakey Shenkman Alert: Amazon really does sell everything, almost.


So, I get a message from my friend, Susan, and it says: "Cookie, what would you do if you found this Christmas morning under your tree?"

So I clicked the link to Amazon and this pops up:



So I look, I rub my eyes, and I verify this is for real.

And reader, it is.

"It comes with six shmeckles, says my friend.

"For this price?  It should come with more."

I respond to to Susan: "Well, under the Hanukkah bush yes, but this Christmas tree?  Isn't that a bit much?  I mean the Christ child has theoretically just been born.  So I could use the seven days for practice, but..."

Susan responds: "Would you like it in "White" or in "Medium"?

Evidently, "Medium" equals "brown" which means "black".

Reading further, I found a one line description: "Manufactured with care by Nasco in the United States, this Infant Circumcision Trainer, White is an excellent addition to your classroom! Shipping weight is 5 lbs."

"But I don't teach," I reminded Susan.

"The description says it also makes an excellent door stop," she replied.  "Besides, if David Sedaris has a 200 year old medical model of a vagina inset with real pubic hair, why can't you have this?  Think of this of it as a conversation starter."

I thought.  She had a point.  But what kinds of conversations could be started with this thing?

Guest: "What in the world is that?" they would ask, or maybe they would ask if E and I were taking up the art of circumcision like some couples who take up stamp collecting, or bridge.

And I would reply "Oh this?  This is an infant circumcision practice model."

I could then regale them with tales about my own bris.  "According to my Godmother, Rabbi Sol Shenkman did my bris.  He was known in Cleveland Jewish circles as 'Shakey Shenkman' because he was aged and had a tremor."

I once asked my mother who she could have handed me over to an old man at the beginning stages of Parkinson's to handle something so delicate.

"Sol," she began, "did beautiful work," as if he made draperies, or was a master painter.  This was followed by silence.

"And," I asked in a leading way.

"And," my mother replied "nothing.  He asked for the business, brought me flowers and was known for his talents."

"Talents?" I asked.  "Spinning a basketball on one's finger is a talent.  Selecting the right fabrics to get a total design in a room is talent.  Talent is playing Bach by ear.  SKILL is what you want in a moil, not people with Parkinson's."

"Of all the men you've "seen", who has the nicer circumcision, you or they."

This conversation drifted where I certainly didn't want it to go.  But she did have a point.  The Cookie Monster is well done, while some of the men that I have found myself with had messy work done.  The worse seems to be with men who were circumcised by the military when they were in the army, navy, air force or Marines.

Still, I didn't think anyone would want in on this story when they dropped over to collect money for the progressive dinner door prize, or over cocktails (until much, much later) in the evening.

I told Susan that while her offer was generous, that the trainer would be more fitting in her house, a house that had a Mezuzah  in every door into every room.  "It would part of your theme."

And now Susan waits for her knicknack, and she promises to save me one of the six penis that comes with the model.

Oh, boy! Hours of fun await.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I am still here, just on summer break...



You may have asked, what is Cookie up to?

Well, the sad, simple truth is not much.  Mother Nature has settled her great big fat ass right on top of Baltimore and it is HOT AS FUCK.

As my mother's mother would say, fanning herself in the stiflingly hot house that she and my grandfather lived in, "The weather today is 'close.'"  Never mind that she had an air conditioner that would have dropped the whole first floor to meat locker cold, she's sit in her chair with a fan from Denzer's Funeral Home and just rock in her chair.  Or, she'd be cooking over the stove, with that same fan in her hand, suffering in silence.

But in the Mid-Atlantic, it is not a dry heat.

OH FUCK NO.

This morning at 9AM it was 80 degrees and 87% humidity.  Yesterday it was so miserable that air was 90% humidity, and when that happens, and its hot, something's gotta give.  So ever hour or so the skies would just release heavy rain that came down in huge droplets for a minute or two and stop, and then a half hour later, it would repeat. And again, and again.  Finally at about two it just rained for about a half hour as the worst of it got it out of its system.

Still, its gross.

So we hide indoors.  With the AC.  And the dogs.

Just as you know that you are fat when the crotch on your caftan is tight, you know that the dogs want no part of this weather.  The dogs charge out the door gallop halfway through the back yard, pee and then gallop right back in, and they lay on the floor as if they have been at play all afternoon.

In other news, I am planning a solo trip to the Ohio's in August.  If you don't know why I call it the Ohio's plural, it's because while it is a legal state, Ohio is no longer homogeneous.  Cleveland, Youngstown, Toledo and Columbus are wonderfully liberal - which makes me scratch my head as to why the RNC chose it instead of Cincinnati for their dreadful convention - which the rest of Ohio is red as a raw steak.

Simply put, I need a break, a chopped liver infusion and SHHS is planning a 35th reunion, so I will actually be doing Hard Time in Shaker Heights for  a couple days.

After that, I will be schlepping down to Columbus to be surrounded by friends.

The husband, meanwhile, will be "bach'ing" it here, missing me.

And when I get back, I will be even more appreciative of all the blessings in my life.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Obergefell: One year on



So it has been one year, June 26, 2015,  on since the Supreme Court decided that marriage - that most personal of rites that we can share with the person we love - is guaranteed to all Americans.

Now Cookie and the Husband have been together since May, 1997, had our commitment ceremony in May 1999 and were married on May 5, 2008 in Massachusetts, and when we moved to Maryland on September 1, 2012 were officially recognized by our state, even though marriage rites equality didn't happen her until voters approved it until November 2012.

But on June 26, 2015, Honey, we all got the green light!

And the doomsayers on the nutty right had lathered their people up in a frenzy saying that all manner of Hell would break loose if this happened, because that is what ignorant non-thinkers were told to believe.

So lets go over what HASN'T happened since the court voted in Obergefell, shall we?

1) God did not smite down the United States.

2) God has not abandoned the United States.

3) God has not sent a plague of frogs upon this country, either.

4) No straight couple's marriage disintegrated on the spot over gay marriage.

5) No church has been forced to host a same sex marriage against its will or against it's canon.

6) A disappointed Rick Santorum has yet to find anyone who wants equal rights so they can marry a barn yard animal.  (Yet the idea seems profoundly exciting to the former Senator, no doubt, as he was found of bringing this up, a lot.)

7) A disappointed Rick Santorum also cannot find any sign of a movement to bring back polygamy, except in his supporters who live at the former Warren Jeff's compound.

8) No, we, as a people have not encountered a slippery slope - or ANY slope as far as any social issue yet.

9) No, it doesn't offend God.  If it did, wouldn't she have smitted us by now?  (See Number 1)

10) And no, it has not caused an immoral sexual tidal wave to hit the U.S.

What it has done, that is bad, is:

1) It gave us Kim Davis.

That's it.

So Cookie has decided that hence forth, June 26th is our day of true equality.  Take it, savor it, and never forget that there will always be someone or some group that wants to take it away from us.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Margaret Vinci Heldt, 1918-2016

                                   


Cookie is going to admit: this has been a horrible couple of days for the LGBT community amd the American people.  

So today, let us also add to our plate of grief,  by observing the passing of a Hair Style Goddess, Margaret Vinci Heldt, who has died at the age of 98.

According to the June 14, 2016 Washinton Post, Heldt is the credited inventor of the Beehive hair style.

Born in 1918, Margaret Vinci Heldt decided that she wanted to be a hairdresser at age seven.  When she went for Board examination, her mother sacrificed her long tresses for her daughters future.  While her father wept for his wife's lost locks, Mrs. Heldt said her mother took (her) hand and said " 'my child, I want you to know that you are one of God's chosen people' - in Italian it sounds wonderful."

The Beehive was invented as a challenge for the "hair design"  for the future decade made by Modern Beauty Shop magazine in 1959 and the result was published in February 1960.  Mrs. Heldt said she was inspired by a black Fez that she kept her combs in.  Her Design was Fez shaped soft cone on the top of her styling model head.  At the last minute Heldt included a stylized "bee" shaped clip on the back of the design.  The magazine endowed the design with the name Beehive.  And an icon was born.

                                   


Over the years she was taken aback at how large the beehive became in the name of fasion.  "The became more like hornet's nests."  But she also acknowledged that the style, which soared in popularity partly becuase if it was wrapped carefully before bed, it could last a week plus intact, "wouldn't have been possible without hairspray."

Her advice to her clients with the style?

"I don't care what your husband does from the neck down, but I don't want him touching you from the neck up."

Mrs. Heldt, who was widowed in 1998 was survived by her children, grand children and great grandchildren.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Seriously, WTF.



OK, so you know how I just said that we were going to get the bush roots out and deshrub?

Well, things didn't exactly go as planned.

Husband hired the landscapers to remove said stumps so we could then roto till.

Well, they chopped.  They used a pry bar.  They brought in a pick axe.  A chain saw.  A second chainsaw.  Two new chains for the chainsaws.  Nothing would budge.

Take a look at the picture above.  To give you an idea on how big these stumps and roots are, see that dot on the root?  That is a quarter.  We're talking some big shit.

Soooooo, they had to come back for a second day.

This time they brought BIG saws.  Industrially BIG saws.  Lumberjack saws.  And a stump grinder.

On day two they also brought in 12 men, three trucks and a ATV and cart.

When they were done, six hours later. Three trucks groaned out of the neighborhood, heavy under tons of roots, piles of branches, and overburden from the scraped down back yard beds.

We have a clean slate on which to plant.

The down side of this?  Not one guy had a decent body or a full set of teeth.

But we have a clean slate to plant in.  Take your wins where you can.




Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Back to a normal, of sorts. And then more horrible, horrible news!



The Joan Crawford's face says it all: "FUN"  Not "FUN!", just "FUN".

Whoo Hoo.

There is something to be said for calm quiet.  Yup.  Sure is.

The husband went back to work on Monday and is playing catch up with the tasks left hanging.  The dogs, too are exhausted from their disrupted schedules.

But I feel a bit out of the loop.  It's been hard for me to get into my routine since its been four weeks back that I was last in it.  Back then we were in the midst of stalled "Omega" weather front that nearly drowned us in a foot of rain over a month (Yes, folks in California, I know that you are still in a drought) and yes I am thankful for the rain.

So I have been getting caught back up on life, just not relishing the change in the family dynamic.

I did put MIL's listing on Find A Grave, and linked her to her parents, sister and brother.  I ALSO added her birth family onto the site - you remember them, the New Yorker's that dismissed us with a shove down the stairs and snap in the air.

And here on the home front, the husband "deshrubbed" the 80 year old taxus bushes in front of the house last weekend, and he was "bushed" afterword.  The landscaper is supposed to be here tomorrow to rip out the trunks, which, and I am not kidding, are eight inches around.  Those were some big ass bushes.  So hopefully, "hopefully", we rent a rototiller this weekend and make those flower beds our bitches this weekend.

And OH! HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE NEWS!!

You know "Il Duce", that nice guy who has the blog Suffering Fools Badly?   Well the poor dear was biking yesterday and was hit by a bus!  They had to operate on his leg.  And he's laid up no weight on the leg and then next week they are going to decide if they have to do more surgery on him.  Stop by his blog and wish him well, poor dear.  He is the nicest and cutest man imaginable.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Loved One, Part II: The Rent A Minister



My MIL was raised a Unitarian.

She was not a High Church woman.  She embraced all things, all people, all viewpoints in which people could be themselves.

She believed in the good that science could create, but she understood that science could also create things that were not good.

My MIL saw God in a daffodil, in a hot air balloon and in the artwork of all the continents of the world and all of the peoples of this earth.

She also love cooked shrimp.

When my father in law died, we asked the sister of a dear friend, who is a minister to run the service.   It was beautifully handled and masterfully guided.

So when it came to find someone to preside over the service, being that we had a holiday weekend, our options were limited.  We settled on Fortesque and Son's go to guy, "Pastor Mike".  I changed his first name, because we have no idea what his last name is.  It never came up.

We explained that MIL was a woman of faith, but that her faith was not derived from an old or new testament, but from the laughter of children, the prism of a crystal reflecting on the wall or a kousa dogwood in bloom.

What we got at the graveside, which happened before the service, was Psalms and "Biblisms".

So the husband pulled Pastor Mike aside and explained, less evangelicalism, more in the faith of mankind.

And when the service started after calling hours...

What. The. Fuck.

We got psalms.  We got passages.  We got sermoned.

My sister in law, a forty year old, 6'4" tall man named Matthew - who is married to my brother in law,  leaned over and said whispered "Sweet smoking Jesus...this is toned down?"

I spoke, my sister in law spoke, MIL's step brother spoke, MIL's sister spoke, all of it was lovely.  None of it was Churchy.  We were hoping that Pastor Mike would have gotten the message.

He did not.

"And, oh, what a friend we have, in Je-sus..." crapola started anew.

And every time he said Jesus, a bit of me winced inside.   I could hear my mother saying "I hate it when these bumpkin ministers throw around Jesus' name like he's their bowling buddy.  It is Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ after the first, and Jesus Christ, thereafter..."

From behind my husband, I could see his shoulders hitching up with each preachy word.

As we were leaving, Pastor Mike kept asking how he had done.  And we said that he was certainly on his message.

Trust me people when I say this: bargain ministers at a bargain price are no bargain.

Sometimes, I wonder if men of "God" stop believing that this is about helping people and just go on autopilot.   Actually, none of the funeral home rental ministers I have ever seen have ever been any good.  Maybe that's the price you pay for not having a relationship with an organized body.  On the other hand, we should have done a Jewish service.  Simple.  To the point.  Let's go and eat.

In the end I think that a minister at a funeral is simply about having someone who can do and say something so the family of the deceased don't have to do much.

As for me, keep mine, when the time comes, short and sweet.  Then everyone should go and eat - a big meal.  And maybe a movie.  Something to make people laugh.  Hang a crystal in the window.  Think of me when the light refracts.

Just as I will when I see the same and think of my mother in law.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Loved One




Today, Cookie finds himself on the otherside service and burial for our Loved One.

If you have seen the Loved One (1965), the black comedy movie based on the book by Evelyn Waugh, then you are familiar about that, which I am going to write and you to read.  If not, well then, You'll just have to watch it, and then write a 150 word theme on why Mrs. Joyboy's eating habits were very poor.

But, let's get back to me.

When I tell you that I really thought I found myself inside the movie in preparing for my MIL's funeral, then you have a idea of what kind of surreal nightmare where one is simply appalled, and yet one cannot not help but snigger and shoot looks at the others to see if they too are holding their outrage in.

We arrived at Fortesque and Son's the morning of our Loved One's passing.  Young Mr. Fortesque, a fourth generation Funeral Director, was going to handle my MIL's funeral.  His father, Old Mr. Fortesque had handled my FIL's funeral.  At that time, and among the lies that we were told was that FIL chose to be cremated, and therefore we had to buy a casket.

"But, why?" we asked?

"The Loved One is cremated in casket," began Mr. Fortesque.  "Shall I show you our Ebony Master, a casket made of only the finest woods harvested from pristine Amazon basin...."

I interrupted.  "Did you just say that you cremate the body in a retail casket?"

"Yes, Commonwealth law," he said, "and over here we have heartwood cherry, resplendent with a seven coat finish..."

Now Cookie has been around.  And as a genealogist, Cookie knows funeral homes and the funeral business.  Cookie's former husband was a licensed funeral director (although he was not in the business at the time we were together) so I know the scams.

So I decided to fuck with him.

"And this one," says I, pointing at a $20,000 bronze model with a triple seal lid.

"A wise choice..."

"And you cremate with this?"

"Yes, We.."

I called bullshit by saying "I call bullshit.  No one on earth has a crematory for that unless you are a alchemist."

So I called my mortician in Ohio and I asked him what was going on.  He called bullshit, too.

So back in, in front of my in-laws I said "Pine cremation casket."

He gave me a very disgusted look.  But he knew I was onto him.

Well this time, MIL wanted to be buried, so we had to buy a casket.

Husband asked about price and Young Fortesque (who is in his mid 60's) said its all one price, $9,500.

He then took out five envelopes and began writing on them.  "These are for the outside costs we cannot control..."  $500 for the weekend dig.  $750 permits and the vault.  $250 for the rent-a-minister.   "$110 for the town clerk for the death permit and the ten certificates."

"You need a permit to die?  Couldn't we have gotten that in advance and saved a couple dollars?"

That got me a dirty look.  "I don't set the outside costs, sir..."

Then, when the minister and the cemetery personnel were secured, then we went casket shopping.  That took us down, down flights of stairs into the dank recesses of what looks like a rumpus room from the early 1950s. There were three rooms.  The front room, the middle room, and the "value line" room.

I figured that Ebony Master would have marked down, given that the model was three years old, but no.  Now we had the New Ebony Master Supreme.  "In addition to the improved seals, the Loved One now rests on a memory foam and gel mattress for eternal comfort."  And the cost?  $21,000, includes all of our services of limo, room rental...excludes outside costs."

Then were were shown:

"Eternal Ironwood, with a pure silking...2k gold plated hardware...down eternal rest mattress that is also coated for waterproof durability... $15,000 includes all services..."

"Cherry Hill, pure silk...bronze hardware, and the departed's name is laser etched in the lid...$14,500..."

"Eternal Rest Bronze, now with a four lid seal, with two inner lids and two inner lids...$18,000..."

So the husband asked "What happened to $9,500, all costs included?"

He took us to the very back of the Value Line room, back to an area where the carpet yielded to a painted concrete floor, flipped on a buzzy fluorescent shop light.  There, on the lowest display level was the "Ticonderoga".  The Ticonderoga was shiny battleship gray - everything.  Casket, hardware, lift handles, everything.  He opened up the lid, which sounded hollow.  the interior was upholstered in "poly tricot with a fiberfill pad."

He let the lid down and it sounded like the door to a Toyota Echo.

"20 gauge steel, same as car panels.  Comes with a three year leakproof guarantee.  We sell this model mostly to budget minded families and next of kin.  I would suggest a closed casket viewing with this model."

"Of course," Mr. Fortesque intoned, "She was a longtime resident of our community, so she understood our local customs and standards..."  And with that, the Ticonderoga slipped off into the distance.

At this point I stepped aside.  This was a decision for the husband and the siblings.

When we were done - and they went with the "Roselle", which MIL would have liked.  But it wasn't $9,500.

THEN it was time for the vault.

"Of course, we don't sell the vaults," said the undertaker.

"Of course," said I.

 The vault is sold by the Commonwealth Vault Company.  He pressed a button and in a minute we were joined by "Jonathan" who worked for the vault company.  "We have an office on premises and the Fortesque's said that you would visiting.  We then went on the grand tour of vaults.  For this, they settled on one and a price was named, which was not covered in the funeral estimate because the vaults were sold separately.

Unioffically, we were on the BOHICA plan.

After the funeral my husband and his family rode off in the limo, and my sister in law Matthew and I went to the market to pick up some food for the after visitation.  When Matt's phone went off.

"It's you husband, and you haven't answered his calls," I turned the phone off, " he wants to know if he tips Tim the limo driver from Fortesque's.

I said, tell him to tell Tim that that the tip was already settled with Young Mr. Fortesque.

"It was included in the price."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Farewell, dear woman




We used to laugh about how much my mother in law (MIL) loved her "buttah" with her "lobstah".

Or how she would tell the same stories about her friends from her childhood.

Or how she would say "We thought about moving to Cahn-card when we moved back from Colorado, but it's so swampy and 'they'* had lost several children in the swamps..."

Or how she told the story of when Van Johnson was in Boston once and dining at the same restaurant she and friend were eating at, and the movie came over to compliment her on her hair.

You couldn't help but love her.  She was an amazing woman, with an infinite capacity to love and accept everyone she met.

She was also a woman who stood by you.  Through thick and thin.

And she was also ardent supporter of LGBT rights and equality.

At her core though, was her faith in humanity, in facts and in everyone around her.

I will miss her.

And, as I keep telling myself, a lady knows when leave and leave others wishing that she had stayed longer.


*We never did find out who "they" were.





Friday, May 27, 2016

Noted Authority Figureheads: Valeria Hopkins Parker, M.D.



Words of Wisdom: "Your problems are your problems," says Dr. Parker.

On how you found yourself with a problem: "You created it," explains Dr. Parker

On how to solve them: "The answer lies within you," Dr. Parker reminds us.

For fun she likes to: "Relax by working on Hardanger Embroidery."

Thank you, Dr. Parker.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Back on watch



What, you may ask, has Cookie been up to lately?

Well, besides the usual bullshit of life, Cookie is sad to report that the Mother in Law is now under hospice care.

Which has me bummed.  Very, very bummed.

MIL was and is an incredible woman with an expansive heart, and undeniable style.  I adored being in her family and it really has me upset that instead of the kind of passing that she deserves, quietly, in the middle of the night, leaving on a sweet dream, she is in the hospital as her body begins to wind down.

You just feel so damn helpless.  Being several hundred hours away doesn't help.

Two weeks ago we spent a weekend visiting with her.  We bought her a new lift chair to replace the one that had stopped lifting.  The assisted living community found her another recliner no longer needed by a former resident, but it was one of those enormous overstuffed chairs that they sell in cheap furniture stores, and honestly, with her so small and frail, she looked like a confused child as Hernando, one of her twenty-four hour care givers, gently lowered her into the monster chair.

After consulting with Hernando ("I don't the chair gives precious mother the kind of comfort that she seeks.") we agreed and found another one, smaller, better support and with a power footrest and recline.

But now she is in a hospital bed.

The annoying thing is that we can't really schedule anything, because we don't know when we'll need to travel to her side.  So we wait.

And the worst part of it for me is that when it comes to funerals, Cookie is doer.  Give me the authority and a funeral, calls, thank you notes, everything gets done.  But because I am an inlaw, not so much.  You have to kind of stand to the side.  But trust me, I could orchestrate an Imitation of Life style funeral.  The only difference is that Mahalia Jackson would be on a memory stick and we would be mulatto-less, but I could do it.

We are supposed to host the progressive dinner cocktail hour at our house, so I met with the "Event Captain" (as she calls herself) and we discussed back up plans.

Event Captain was happy that we had "reached out so far out," from the event and taht we already had three backups for her to choose from.

She liked options one and three.  "But not the J----'s.  She lets her dog drink water from the toilet."

Then she looked right at me and said "Never let that dog lick you." She scrunched up her face.  "That's just so gross.  She wants to have a dog play date with Mitzi and I refuse.  Mitzi is prone to picking up bad habits."

Never let that dog lick you...that's just gross...


Mitzi is a six pound Yorkie.  "You think that she would consider drinking from a toilet?  It would be a reach."

"I have a squatty potty - SWEAR BY IT," she sang out, "and I don't want Mitzi to think that's her stepping stool to a drink or a drinky poo."

All right, then.

So to get ready for this event we removed the basketball pole and hoop from the basketball court, and weather permitting, we'll stage that court as an outdoor living room.

So for now we wait.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Listen to this here album...


I seen this album and I decided that I need to show you so you could say you had seen it too.

Hulda looks like a perfectly lovely woman on this album cover.

But to today I had to deal with another woman named Hulda who had hired me to scan a few of her cherished family photos that she refused to leave her house.

A delightful woman, Hulda also possessed the absolute worst language skills I have encountered in a while.

Among the phrases that caused my fillings to vibrate were these:

1) This here is my Momma.

2) The cancer got her.  

3) The cancer took her to a heavenly place where she met Daddy.  

4) Jesus called her home.

5) That is Sister.

6) That little black baby was Rolly.  Don't know his real name.  Momma called him Rolly.  He did something with himself.

7)  You crave Dr. Pepper?

8) Why is it that?

9) House come?

10) All them pictures is in this stick thing?

I learned that Hulda was from "Oakland" the biggest city in the furthest reaches of Maryland.  "We come here when Daddy got a job in the ship yards during the war."   The family stayed.  Hulda's house was a town home over by Loch Raven Boulevard.

She talked about "the cancer" like it was an octopus out in the bay, its tentacles reaching out and taking her Daddy while he slept and her mother while she was in a nursing home.  She drank a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper while I was there.  "The doctor says it's a miracle that I ain't got no sugar.  I'm as healthy as a mule."

"When we moved here it was white folk like us.  Now it ain't.  But they'll have a bad time getting me outta here because I ain't going till Jesus calls me home."

She paid me my money, in cash.  "I don't trust them bankers in New York."

I asked her what she was going to do with the electronic images that I had made, but I knew the answer.  She was taking them to Wal Mart.

"Sister's great grandbaby is doing a family tree for her school project and she wanted something for people to look.  So this way she gets the pictures and I don't have to worry about them going missing.  WalMart's got the best prices and they make them while I shop.  You been to the WalMart in Towson.  It's fancy.  Has escalators like the big stores downtown used to have."

She asked me if I had gone to college and I explained that I had.  "Me too," said Hulda.  "Daddy made me go to Goucher."  This surprised me, because Goucher has never been an inexpensive education.   "I learned a lot, but none of it other than the music stuck with me.  They weren't my kind of people."

I asked what did she study.

"Music.  I love to play piano.  The classics mostly. I could have gone on with it, but with the world being what it is I didn't want to leave Pa and Momma.  I gave lessons for a lotta years.  You know, when you play, no one gives two shits about how you sound.  They only care if you hit the right notes and the piano is tuned."

She thanked me and walked me to the door, undid the six locks and I left.

And I left too ashamed to ask about the baby that did something with himself.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Comes with dresses that SPARKLE!


Comes with its own paper Sam Giancana.  

List of Hits for the sisters, and Giancana printed on the back, inside cover.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

So how was your May Day?



May Day means one of two things for you.

It is either a day for nymphs to dance around a May Pole in a pagan ode to spring.  Or...

...It is the day that Lenin chose to honor the proletariat of the world in honor of their sacrifices.

For me it is the day that brings both.  Back home, a local college that is tied to our family through 19th century donations holds a weekend honoring the family name, and features young women who partake in this ancient right.

But it also reminds me of the day the Internationale invaded my work life.

In the winter and early spring of 2008, Cookie was doing temp work at a union.  My placement person had told me what was up, that this guy had been through a couple temps, would I give it a try?  Sure.  How bad could it be?

Well, I soon found out. I was working for a little troll of a man that everyone called Golem behind his back.  By the end of the first week, I understood why the other temps left after a day or so.

He was Golem.  He looked like Golem.  He treated others like they were going to take his precious.

Paranoid and protective of "treasurers" he was an obnoxious little tyrant.  Making chit chat one day in his office I noticed a picture of his son and an a toddler.  Cookie is smart enough to ask the obvious question which was "Is that your son?"

That, he grumbled that they were indeed his sons.  "The older boy has been ruined by his mother who is a miserable wretch.  The younger is my son by my second wife.  She wanted a baby so I gave her one."

What man sees his act of fathering a child as "giving her one."  Why not just say "The young one is my son, too."

No, he "gave her one," which was code for "She wouldn't shut up so I poked in the bush, got her pregnant, and now she's my personal housekeeper for life."

To myself I said "If you really loved her maybe a diamond ring, or you should have jumped off a bridge and left her a big insurance policy," but the smile on my face said "Super!"

IN ANY EVENT, I tell you this because it was at that job, that on May 1, 2008, while seated at my desk, one of the Union's staffers gets on the over head page and says:  "Today is May Day, the day designated by Lenin to honor the workers of the world!  So please stand for the playing of the Internationale!"  And through the speaker came a crackly LOUD online version of the Soviet anthem. The type of loud that over taxed the tiny speakers in the ceiling tiles.

Of course no one was standing that I could see in my general cube farm.  Frankly, I was stunned.  I called my husband and told him what was going on.  He was stunned as well.

All around me, people were working.  No one thought about participating.  No one blinked an eye.  But in their office, one solitary worker was standing, teary eyed.  It was a bit surreal.

The woman whose job I was performing was out sick with vertigo.  At least that what she told them.  On her appointed day to return she came back, spent half a day debriefing me and dealing the Golem, and then left saying that she would only come back if another job opened up.  They offered me an extension, and Golem was sweet as sugar, but two months later even I was done with him.

I adored the job, loved working there and would have stayed if I could have, but that would have meant working for Golum instead of the temp agency.  And they (everyone BUT Golem) loved me.  I was given two goodbye lunches, which Golem hated.  But even the idea of benefits working for Golem were not enough to entice myself to bind my professional self to him.

Shortly thereafter, I decided to exit.  I could have left that night and called the agency and never gone back.  I gave them a months notice hoping they would find a real employee that Golem could have abused, and thus filed a grievance against.   But no, as my final day approached, no job posting.

On my final morning, Golem brought me into his office with his personal flunky and preceded to try rip me an asshole and tell me what a terrible human I was.  I interrupted the grinding of my bones for his ego's meal, I stood and I said "Super!"  I mean if this guy hated me, hated my work and thought I was this despicable, then I must be a decent human being.  And besides the protocol is that he tells HR how horrible the temp is, HR calls the agency and tells the agency how terrible the temp is, the temp is called by the agency and told "they won't be needing you in the morning."

No this was Golem telling  me that I couldn't have his precious, even if I had wanted it.  This was about degrading someone - a worker - who was doing their job and decided to move on.  In his mind, I had betrayed him. Another knife in the back.  It had nothing to do with me.  It was this tiny, small little ego lashing out.  Yawn.

I went out, sat down at my desk and did the job I was paid to do.  That's what a dedicated worker does.  They do their job to the best of their ability.  Even when their supervisor is a sub human worm who clipped his toenails behind his desk.

Golem slunk off in the middle of the day to golf, and my remaining four hours were great. My temp contact called me with another job placement that would start the following Monday, so I was set.  I called his flunky in, explained where every project was left off, and I shook her hand, and I left.

And as I left the building that day, the whole surreal Internationale thing aside, I knew that Golem was the embodiment and reason why there were unions in this world.

To protect workers from management fuck-wit's like him.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Steroids, not as much fun as they used to be.



So I am on Prednisone, again.

If you have been on a steroid under a doctors care, it is either sheer Hell, or the most productive time of your life.

First couple times, I thought I was Superman.  I had focus and the most amazing stamina.  Sleep be damned.  I would want to start painting the garage at 11pm IF I had a garage to paint.  This made me consider painting my next door neighbor's garage, you know, just to be nice, but at night, when they were asleep because asking for permission just wastes ALL THIS ENERGY AND VALUABLE TIME!

Then the third time, something went wrong.  Gone was the energy, which was replaced by a voracious appetite, and I could not sleep.  All I could do was eat for 23 hours and try to sleep for at least one.  I put on close to fifty pounds and that started a trend that hasn't been easy to revert.

So I have avoided them for obvious reasons.

Well about five months ago, my eye sight started to fail.  I went to the ophthalmologist that was highly recommended, and he claimed there was nothing wrong.  "Floaters..." and he dismissed me.  Its been getting increasing bad with blurred vision.

I knew, from my cataract surgery, that the surgery could result in too much tear production.  So I went back, insisted that it was something different than floaters, which kind of sail through the fluid inside your eye.  These were the huge splotchy patches, you could feel them going over the eyeball surface. And I had excessively watery eyes.   And when your eyes water, they are the wrong type of tears that you eye needs to function properly.

Well, Dr. Crabass was insulted that I had returned, and that I was second guessing his his scholarly opinion.  This man has no personality.  Think Andrew Dice Clay without the charm.  This guy is wound tighter than a two dollar watch.  Anyway, he again says "I have told you what I think, but if we must..."

This time he gave me a Rx for Pataday, and we tried that.  No luck.

So with things going down hill and the ability to read all but gone I called my doctor and was referred to a hospital practice.   So on Tuesday I met with Dr. Singh, and Dr. Singh was very nice and he listened and he asked me all other manner of questions.

The inside of my eyes were healthy, save for the lack of pigment on my retina ("You find sun light painful - bright days cause squinting..."  Why yes.) but we've known that for 20 years, and then he says "You are describing eye mucus, which is a sign of the wrong type of tears are being produced and both of your eyeballs are really under stress.  We need to get them calmed down."

So now I am on Prednisone to get the eyeballs calmed down.  Four times daily.  Cool compresses.

Now its not a lot of Prednisone by any measure, still, we are watching the pressure in my eyes because this drug can raise that, and that came be very bad.  I go back in two weeks and they'll recheck the eyes.  "You might have a plugged tear duct, or you might need a stronger allergy drop."

And miracle of miracles, the eyes are seeing better.  Things are readable.  ANd my eyes don't have 'roid rage.

But guess what side effect came back?

I can't sleep.

Can't fall asleep.

And if I do, I don't stay asleep.  

I called the office and spoke with Margie and she said it could have an impact, but not likely.  "So doctor would like you take your final drops for the day no later than 6pm."

So here I am, wired, hungry and wondering where someone finds a pair of bed reading glasses.

And man, do I need some sleep.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's the matter Blanche, don't you like your din din?


I mean I love my Aussie's, but seriously.

First it was Vegemite, now this shit?

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Chips are a snack.  But this?  Vienna Sausage and blocky vegi's?

Ugh.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our door is always open.



First off, no, the Husband and I have not broken up.  We are as happy as two men can be, and from the way we look into each other's eyes, we'll be together until we are both quite old.

It's taken a year for me to get over this.  But last year, I was dumped by by our best friends.  They ended our friendship in a way that may seem very "modern" but was very hurtful.

We have known this couple for 18 years - they were our best friends.  We saw them socially very frequently and we had many hours of good heartfelt friendship.  When "Tom" lost his mother I drove to his hometown to be with him.  When my mother died, both Tom and Ed were with us.

At Christmas, we'd give them a gift and Tom would be giddy and Ed's response would always be "I thought we agreed not to give gifts this year."  And that was a statement that you kind of pushed aside because Tom loved it, even if Ed felt like we had had a conversation that we had never had.

They were invited to all of our parties and our friends adored them.  And over the years, we all grew as people are won't to do.  They seemed to drift towards wine, and all the accessories needed to drink wine. 

"Accesories?" I asked?  "You need accessories?  You have a bottle, there's a glass; what else do you need."

"Well, you need to aerate the wine so you use this aerator, and you decant it into this crystal decanter, then when you are done there is this cotton wand that fits in the decanter..." And Tom went on and on.

Since neither the Husband and I drink wine except maybe once or twice a year, we figured it was natural that we wouldn't understand this zeal.  And there were other places where we drifted in different directions. 

Of the two, Tom was the more gregarious, Ed was the one more likely to be rigid in his outlook.   And whenever they stepped over the line into the grey area of things that hurt, which wasn't often, we looked the other way as we hoped they would with us.  We would take them out to dinner, and pay, but Ed always insisted on separate checks.

Still, we always had fun with them.

When we told them that we were moving, though, something very definite happened.   They seemed to detatch from us.  

They would say that they were coming down and then never show.  They would make plans and then cancel. Phone calls stopped being returned.  We were hurt, and I let them know it.  I mean if you say you are going to be someplace and one of you is postponing an eight hour drive so he could enjoy sometime with your best friends only to have them not show up, wouldn't you communicate that hurt? Things got better before we left and we were offered the chance to stay with them whenever we were in town.  We had gotten over the hurdle.

After we moved, we took them up on that.  We brought them treats from Baltimore, supplied our own food, replenished the coffee we drank and left the bedding in place as instructed by Ed.

When they came to visit us, though, things seemed off.  On the Saturday noon of Memorial Day Ed announced that they wanted to drive to the Ocean City to poke around, I told him that was a really bad idea.  The roads to "The Shore" are notorious on holiday weekends, and the bridges back up.  If you are heading east and don't want to lose two or three hours, you have to leave early in the morning because traffic is unbearable.   "If you want to go, you can try it, but you'll spend more time in traffic than at your destination."  So they stayed, and we found things to do.   We showed them the city and the things we had found.

In subsequent visits, things seemed off, calls started not getting returned.

In December, 2014 when I knew I was traveling back home in April, I called to see if I could hang out at their house.

No return call.

In February, I called again to see how they were.  No return call.

The husband called in March because he was concerned.  No return call.

With the trip coming up and my hotel booked, I called one last time to Ed, said that I hoped his mother was OK, that we were concerned.   I wanted to take them out to a nice meal - pick the place and the night.   There was no return call.

There was a text message in which I was admonished for being a horrible person.  Over and over, Ed called me rude.  Ed said since I hadn't understood the message of their silence he was going to spell it out.  They had hated their trip to see us.  For three years they were losing patience with me. Both he and Tom found me unpleasant, in three different statements, Ed convicted me of "rudeness".  They no longer thought of me as a friend.  "That is our decision."

My immediate response was "If there was something wrong, why didn't you say anything. And if it went on for three years, why didn't he say something?"  I also said  "You are still our friends.  We love you.  The door is always open."

And that message generated silence that spoke loudly.

The husband was so hurt that he came home from work early.  We both cried.  It was like like being dumped.  Like someone killing you pet.  Like some you loved dying.  We both felt horrible for days, weeks and months. 

At my next psychologist appointment, I showed him the text.  His expression was one of astoundment.

"This isn't about you.  This is about this person.  This is about this person being unable to express himself to other people.  This about this person thinking it is easier to walk away than try and resolve a difference.  Frankly, this is a damaged person.  But I can honestly say that this is the first time I have seen this done in a text message. And it stinks."

Shrink went onto explain what would drive a person to do this, like this.  But this post isn't placing all the blame on Ed and Tom.  Relatiosnhips are tow-way streets.  Between two people, there is a fifty fifty split in who is responsible for the dynamics.  And when its a couples friendship, that is a four way 25% split.  But the one thing I know from years of therapy is that a big part of emotional maturity is being able to accept criticism while being able to discuss the other side of the equation takes calm, proper approach.  Telling someone who is your friend that they have offended or hurt you is a risk because it can hurt people.  So I can understand why someone would rather walk away than expose themselves to risk.   

So when I went back to Ohio and our friends welcomed me back, first question on the tip of their tongues was "How are Tom and Ed?"

And honestly, I just showed them the text.  I figured that Ed 's words could speak for themselves.  People seemed universally shocked.  But I never bad mouthed either of Tom or Ed.  What could be gained?  It was their decision.

One friend said "Well we like them, would you mind if we stayed friends?"  You know, my immediate internal reaction was why would you after you've seen how they treated us?  But then the truth came out of my mouth "We don't hate them, we didn't cut the cord, Ed did.  That's between Ed and I, not you and them."  I mean you like to think that your friends are on your side, and the truth was these folks were on my side, but they were alos on Tom and Ed's side. "It's not like junior high where you can be their friends and not mine or vice versa.  And you should never have to ask of one friend approves of another."  Frankly, if they had become hostile to Tom and Ed, that would hurt Husband and I more.

"What if I talked to them about this?"

I liked that she wanted to fix it, but I her not to say a word.  Please, say nothing.  Do nothing.  This is something that Ed and Tom and Cookie and Husband need to work through. "Enjoy their company, don't ruin it with bringing us into it."

It's been a hard year.  When it came to sending Christmas Cards, we did, again with a note saying we hope that they were OK, that our door was still open.

A year later, the door is still open, but the hurt has never left.  They're still our friends to us.  And our other friends have asked if we have heard from them, and I shake my head and simply say "We would love to; our door is always open."

I could say that I don't miss them, we do.  But at the same point, they know the door is open.  And when they choose to knock, we'll embrace them.  And if not, well, that's the way life worked out.

And when I go back to Ohio for our summer visit and we see them, it will be "Hi," and "just so you know, the door is always open.  When you're ready to make a date, call us.  Take care, we have to meet our friends, B' bye."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Quelle Horreur: Love It of List It is an alleged sham cum canard

Quick Agador Spartacus, get Hillary and David a Perin tablet!


My chickens, what can I say but I have spent the day sneezing up an absolute allergy attack.  This is what happens when you plunk a midwest boy down south of Mason Dixon Line.

But did you hear the news?  No?  Then I am a harbinger of news then!

A North Carolina couple alleges that Love It or List It is a fake, and they do sloppy work, too.  A fraud. A scripted show in which the principles are actors.  A carnie show! Yes, good old fashioned alleged chicanery!

Quelle Horreur!  An alleged canard*? Clutch the pearls!

Here's a link to the first article on the dust up.

Apparently, David isn't a licensed real estate agent in North Carolina, where the alleged unhappy people are.  Allegedly, there are questions about how monies were spent.  Allegedly, the work was sloppy.  Allegedly, this couple never would have hired the contractor that was contracted by the production company. 

I am sure that Petra Donovan is pissing in her pants.  She's the one who outed the show as being a scripted sham in this blog four years ago, which kvetching about my critique.

Click to embigify
(Sucks to be you, Petra - I did a screen shot of your brutal comments just in case you thought you could delete the comments.)

Well seeing as I got them to admit it back then, *poof* my work here is done.   If you need me I will be searching for FLONASE®


*canard is such a great word.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

No update, no, not for today



The weather is FINALLY too nice for a blog post!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quelle Shocking



How could it come to this?  Liza Minnelli's ex-husband, dead you know.

The news came yesterday.  We were shocked.  Shocked I say.

It's about time - he's looked embalmed for years.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Time in a Bottled Up



Cookie has a confession.

I am an introvert, and I am about to lose my mind.

Here's why.

I tend to be a bit of an disciplined loaner.  I have patterns that I follow and they comfort me.  They give me a sense of accomplishment.  If I go to the store, I go in the morning.  If I clean, I clean in the morning.  My afternoons are designed to be a bit more freeform.  I have my daily routine, but sometimes, when the "gotta do" things of life are done, I need to go do things that I normally wouldn't do.  Like go down a street that I normally wouldn't go down.

As my mother would say "Take a new path every day, because one day you'll be dead and you won't be able to go down that street you hope to get to travel down."

Call it small scale wanderlust, but it's something I am compelled to do.  I need to see different things, go different places.

The problem is that two weeks ago I came down with that horrible bacterial bug that's floating around.  And in no time, my husband got it.  We had planned to go to Boston to visit my mother in law, but when you are as sick as we got, the only places we went were to the couch or to take a nap.  And we were down with said bug for a solid week.

That's a lot of togetherness for a loner.  A lot.

THEN, he had his hernia surgery first of this week.  So again, we have spent a great deal of time together while he has healed.  Tuesday morning I had to get out and go to the store.

But it's now Friday, and I am as tense as can be.

My husband is a kind, loving, wonderful man.  Yet I am about to lose my sanity.

He's going back to work on Monday, and I will be lonely when he is gone.  I will worry about him.  I will rejoice when he returns from work Monday evening.

But at this moment, I am on the verge of crumpling like a piece of reused foil.

Alone time for an introvert is like having your battery recharged.  

If I were an extrovert, all this togetherness would recharge me.

Right now I feel drained, unmotivated, unaccomplished.  And my brain feels exhausted.

And you feel guilty when you are like this.  I cannot imagine my world without him.  So when I get like this I feel like I am crazy.  God forbid that one day I will be alone.  And then I will wonder what the fuck was wrong with me for not revelling in these languid hours.

But, right now, I think I may need to scream.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The one where Cookie discovers Chatterbate



Yes, it has come to this.

My husband is asleep, I sat down at the computer to catch up on reading scientific journals on advances in DNA and Genealogy and and I find a message from my cousin Clyde in Ohio saying that his wife Vonda has kicked him out because she caught him on "Chatterbate".

"I thought I could make some money to buy Vonda that patio set she's been wanting for the trailer.  Can I move in with you in Baltimore?"

Two things race through my mind.  The first is how quickly I could type "No - you are better off living in the hen house until she cools down," and what in the world is Chatterbate.

Now, you know that I am a man of the worldly ways of the world, but Cookie has no reason to delve into social media any further than one has too.  So things like Grindr, are alien to me.  Why shop for widgets if you don't need widgets, I always say.

So I went to Chatterbate and reader, I was appalled.

I understand that you get what you pay for, and it's free, but for God's sake.  Imagine, if you will, "The People of Wal-Mart" in various states of undress, mouth breathing on cam and demanding that you pay them to see their pieces parts.

Chatterbate is the obscene phone call of sites, and none of these people should be seen with the lights on and their clothing off.

What they need is help.  Help with their production values.  Help with their wardrobe choices.  Help with their diets.

But more then that, none of these dolts is selling themselves very effectively.  They just sit there, lumpy, pale, and expecting someone to tip them into action.

And there ages seem to be chosen at random, or they type in 60 and 30 pops up in their profiles.

And they look like this.

"Candy", a "30" something housewife who is located in "Pussylandovia" sits in a recliner looking all the age of 60 plus.  Her bio says that she enjoys meeting "Men, women and couples" and that she will rock your world if you tip her 30 credits.  But until you do, she'll just sit there eating cheese doodles and reading the latest Lillian Vernon catalog.

"Miguel", a 20 year old male from Mexico City says he "loves the ladies" and will flex for 10 credits, show ass for 25 credits, and will cum for 250 credits.  Until someone coughs up the dough, though, he'll just answer your questions in the most painfully incorrect English.

"Private Soldier"  is a 23 year in West Virginia that claims to be on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corp and he says that "Currently serve in the military. Ill do whatever it takes to pretect the US and my family."  But thank God he will "pretect" us all by masturbating online for tips.  You can link an Amazon account to your Chatterbate account.  I am almost tempted to send him a used copy of "English for Dummies."

"Gramps", in Soledad, however seems to get the award for honesty.  "Too old for a hard-on, I'm the dirty old man that you mama warned you about."  Now if he were cruising down your street in a creepy white van passing out candy, well then, you'd call the cops.  So I guess as long as he's sitting naked on cam in some trailer in California with a 3D picture of the last supper over his head and waiting in tips so he can wave that wet noodle around, it seems safer.  Besides, you have to admire his attitude for thinking that somewhere out there there is someone for him lurking in the ether.

In any event, Clyde could be in for a long cold spring bedding down with the chickens.  I can imagine seeing him on Chatterbate, but I wouldn't want to see him.

"She'll come around.  Wait till you can get out in the field and get yourself a farmer's tan.  She's a sucker for farmer's tans," I message him back.  "And stay off that damn site.  Get a job at Wal Mart instead."

Now if you all will forgive me - I am too disturbed to go back to DNA articles.  I'm going to drag out some of Cookie's favorite porn - old house porn.  There is 80 years of lead paint from the front door of our house and I need to commit an act of penance.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The husband ain't crabby no more!




YES!  Yesterday it was the flu, and today the husband had a little outpatient hernia surgery that has been scheduled for WEEKS in advance of the flu.  The doctor said that our little flu shouldn't dampen the husband's appointment with the knife, so here we are.

The husband seems to think that he'll be back to his old self in no time.

Yeah, right.

So I was up at 4am so we could get him to the doctor at 5:30am for a 7am. procedure.

I planned to exact some level of revenge for getting me up at an ungodly hour.

In the past, I usually exacted said revenge when he's coming out of the anesthesia by telling him something outlandish.   After his wisdom teeth, I told him our dogs had puppies.  On another occasion, in the midst of a heatwave, I announced it was snowing.

Today, I told him that I love him in spite of "the vagina that the doctor accidently installed" instead repairing the hernia.

Yeah, I am that kind of bastard.

I do this not to freak him out - he played along.  I do this to get the nurse's reaction.   Why?  Because I am that type of bastard.

So now bully boy is sleeping it off.

My big job will be to keep the dogs from crawling all over him.

So he may not be crabby no more, but Cookie plans to be crabbie for the rest of the week.

Hopefully, though, in a month or so he'll be in fine form working in the garden.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I opened up the window and in flew Enza...



Well, what have Cookie and the husband been up to?

The truth is, we haven't been "well" - either of us.  Both the husband and I got our flu shots in the fall of last year, and then last week, we both got the "flu" or something that looked and felt like the flu.  Both of us were deathly ill - fever, coughing, high fever, more coughing, and you get the picture.  It was so bad that I ended up in urgent care of Easter Sunday, and the husband ended up in urgent care on Tuesday.

We have spent the last week literally on the couch or in the big squashy chair, bemoaning the pain in our every joint.  Our hair hurt, our gums ached.

What felt like the flu, was, according to urgent care, not the flu.

"Your flu tests are negative, but you have bronchitis," the doc in the box said, forcing Z-Packs into each of our hands.

In the 19 years Cookie and Husband have been together we have never been sick like this.  And it took up both down at the same time.

Well, I'm here to say that damned flu test was WRONG.  Or it was looking for the wrong thing.

In any event, we are fine, or as fine as you can be before the second act of the Cookie Household Sick Follies kicks off tomorrow.  More about that later.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Twenty years ago...

...I was leaving work and had the most amazing feeling of good energy running through my very soul.  It was like having infinite power, like the yoke of a burden I had been carrying around for my entire 33 years life had been lifted in one second.

Then not five minutes later, my cell phone - a big clunky work issued bag phone - went off.

It was my eldest half brother calling.

Our father had died alone, by a pool in Florida.

And suddenly, I was lost.

I got home, parked the car and got out, got into the house and took BBWT, my Jack Russell for a walk.

And thus began my life without out being held captive by my emotional terrorist.

And these have been the happiest 20 years of my life, bar none.  Well, the time around my mother's death is the exception.

When I tell people that I hated my father but loved him, most people can't grasp that concept.

Yes, I loved him.  But he was extremely manipulative, he could be very cruel and violent.  And we did not enjoy being in each others company.  I despised him from the first time I remember him hitting my mother onward.

Yet I always wanted his approval.

What I try to explain to people is that relationships are complicated.  It's hard to be honest about how we feel, but being honest with yourself is the first step in the road toward sanity.

So when they hear these stories about him - they become very uneasy.  Especially if they knew him.  He was terrific and would do anything in the world for you if you weren't his son.  But he was a real piece of work if you were his family member.

What I tell people is don't say you're sorry.  I know you are sorry.  Every child of a madman (or madwoman) knows you don't know what to do when you hear of these horrible things that went on.

We never really imagine where we will be when an anniversary swings around.  In those dark days that followed his death, I was certain that I would never be sane again.  But twenty years is a lot of time to put between you and the man who loved you in every wrong way, every day of your life.

For me, be happy that he is gone.  I am.

Life with father was was a confusing, emotional rollercoaster of  all sorts of bad things.

Life without father is much better.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Ah, Cleveland. City of Light. City of Magic.


Ah, Cleveland.  The city poetic!

If you have never been to Cleveland, I have to say that you are missing a wonderful city filled with wonderful people.

But Hopkins International Airport?  The airport prosaic.

Or put another way, an airport clusterfuck.   Seriously, Cleveland.  I know you can do better.  I mean BWI-Thurgood Marshall is simply Tits compared to this dreary mess of an airport.

Its being remodeled again, but it is a nightmare.    It was a nightmare arriving, and it appears that it will be a nightmare going as only one security checkpoint is operational.

And it didn't get better when I went to Budget Rent A Car and discovered that the Budget is more about bilking people.  The first car we got had a flat tire in the lot.  The second car smelled like loaded diaper, which came from the loaded diaper in the back.  Then on the third car, there was only 1/4 tank of gas.

Tonya, the Budgetess at the counter rolled her eyes when I came in a third time, and she doubted my word until I showed her a picture of the tank reading.

"Oh, just bring it back with a full tank and we'll reimburse you."

Cookie doesn't like to be played.

Suffice it to say that it took every fiber of my being to be nice to Tonya, who was having a bad day and had six other people screaming at her for more of the same in her lot. 

Anyhow, with that fixed, we were off.  Off to Cleveland.  City of mirth.  City of Madness.

But I digress.

I am in this fair city to do more hard time in Shaker Heights, albeit incognito.  This is a super fast ninja trip to check in on my last "Aunt" on my fathers side - a woman who is actually an extended cousin, but an aunt, at least to me.

Aunt had a fall and at 91 had hip replacement surgery.  You know, broken hips 50 years ago were the gateway to certain death.  People died from blood clots and such while trying to recover from broken hips.  But Aunt sailed through the surgery which was done with a nerve block, a heavy tranquilizer, and anterior incision.  So today I got to see her up and moving about.

Afterward, we had a two hour visit in which I had to work with her to remember me, which she did, and remember many people who were in her life many years ago.

So tomorrow, we do it again, and then home to Maryland.

You know we have been in Baltimore for four years, but it is still strange to think of it as "home", but it is.

Now, I will drift off to sleep as I prepare for yet another day of doing hard time in Shaker Heights.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What to serve on Saint Patty's Day?

Yes?

"Ham steaks in aspic" with celery and Spanish olive garnish

Drink enough DAB and anything will look good.