Saturday, September 23, 2017

Into and out of Seattle



So, where was Cookie last week?

On another madcap caprice - this time to Bainbridge Island, and Seattle, Washington.

Having never been there, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Growing up it was "Here Come the Brides", then it became "Sleepless in Seattle" and then it morphed into Seattle and then simply "Grunge".

I can tell you this - the second best part of the trip was hanging out in the Delta Sky Lounge's in Detroit, Seattle and Minneapolis/St. Paul before and in between flights.

The best part?  Family.

The purpose of the trip was to go and meet the grandchildren of my first cousin, three times removed, the great Banker.  Bo and Peep and Peep's husband, Bob.  We'd never met, but they said - come for a visit, we have some stuff for you.  So we went. We scheduled a couple days with them, and then a couple days in Seattle.

 From the airport, its about two hours by car, via Tacoma.  Otherwise, you take the ferry, which takes about half hour of travel but on a Friday afternoon, about an hour and a half to line up and wait for a ship that will carry your car.

My first impression of Bainbridge Island was that its a wee bit like Cabot Cove, without Jessica Fletcher, and without the highest murder rate in the state.  Charming, woody, lodgelike, with scrumptious views of boats and Puget Sound.  I loved it.

It isn't often that you get so amazingly lucky as we did.  Sometimes in genealogy trips, you end up with American Gothic where the conversations are nothing more than "Ay-up" and "Don't see what you find in all of this."

But this trip - we had a totally wonderful experience!

All three were delightful, wonderful people.  Generous to a fault.  And they had a puppy.  Peep and Bob had a house and Bo decided to retire, they invited her along.  So she built a lovely cabin on their land.  We were given a guest house room.

We ate, we laughed and I learned a great deal about their mother, who was - in her own right - an amazing person of kindness and accomplishment.

On the second day they invited us to the basement of Bo's house where boxes and boxes of family "stuff" were located.  I found pictures of my 4th great grandparents I never dreamed existed.  Every box yielded something amazing - jaw dropping - in fact.

And they were never once they types to say "Mine, Mine Mine!"  It was always there to share.  And my heart was filled - and long time readers know that this is an uncommon thing for Cookie to admit - with pure love and joy that cannot be built into words.

I opened one box and I was stunned silent.  Marriage licenses for ancestors from the 1820s and the 1830s.  I looked up and Bob said "Something good?"  My husband replied "He's either having a stroke or so overwhelmed that there are no words to express how excited he is."

And that was the truth.

We had originally planned to leave on Sunday, but spent an extra night cleaning up for them when they were at a charity event.  Monday morning was spent packing up boxes that were shipping home to us filled with pictures from the 1850s to the 1940s.  We were simply dumbstruck at their kindness!

To say I was exhausted at that point was an understatement.

But we said our goodbyes and headed to the ferry where the car and the of us were taken back into Seattle for two nights.

More on that in the next post.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chip and Joanna Gaines: What Formulatic Fuckery Is This.

This Fuckery Will Run It's Course.


So in the last post I detailed our upcoming addition to the house.  And the things we will not have in the addition.

But we also touched on the subject of HGTV's dreadfully unimaginative "Fixer Upper" staring the Gaines', Chip and Joanna.

Now, I am going to say this up front.  A former blogger tells us that they have met said Chip and Joanna and that they are as warm in person as they are on TV.  So I have no doubt that they are decent people.

They also "show well" in the dog and pony show that is HGTV, which should really be renamed since there is no more gardening to be found on the network.

In fact HGTV is now nothing more than Buy 'N Sell Real Estate TV, because in addition to some decorating, its mostly all programming about people looking for their "Forever Home" in United States, or selling their old home to buy a "Forever Home" in Canada.

Into this mix come the Chip and JoJo, who get people to buy houses and remodel them in Waco, Texas.  And they have been good for Waco - because it is no longer the site of the Branch Dividian Tragedy, but now its a place to visit "Magnolia", their enterprise.

So here is Cookie's beef with the show:  Every. Week. Its. The. Same. Damned. Thing.

And every week it looks the same damned thing.

Now we all know that everything in the decorating world has a limited life span.  No style is forever.  Bean bag chairwere in and they are out.  Polished chintz?  The same.  Mission Style furniture?  For as much as I love it, the lodge look is out.

But right the hottest things in home decorating are also the ugliest things in a very long time.  Everything is either "inner city" West Elm industrial, or down home and "country" industrial.

Into this walks the Gaines'.  And every episode is the same because they all contain:

1) Harvest Table.
2) Bare metal ceiling lights and pendents that feature very bright bare light bulbs - or - bare light bulbs in clear glass shades.
3) Exposed brick that was never meant to be exposed.
4) Wacky mixed up discarded commercial letters on the few walls that they don't rip out that spell "HOME" and/or "FAMILY" just so you know where you are and what you are.
5) Painted furniture that needs to be stripped, or perfectly beautiful wood furniture that needs chalk painting so it looks old and distressed.

Now let's see - what could I have left out?  Could it be the mid century modern ranch houses that are remade in to Texas farm houses?  Could it be the the 1970s french provincial ranch houses made into Spanish haciendas?  Could it be the turn of the 20th century formal colonials that are turned into informal colonials?

Well, there are those, but I am thinking of something else.  Something that is shabby and chic.

You know what it is?

All that FUCKING ship-lap.

Now for those of living under a rock, ship-lap is a board of wood.  Now back in the good old days, in better houses, the walls were covered in lath (narrow strips of wood with gaps) and plaster applied over the lath in layers to build up a finished interior wall.  In "less formal" houses, they would use these boards to cover the wall.  It wasn't a material with bragging rights.

But thanks to this show, fucking ship lap is everywhere, so we all get to live like crackers and trash. This is the show that made the ship-lap industry BOOM.

To me it's fugly and a fire hazard.

But to some people, it is squeal inducing pure hillbillies in a haunted house marvelous.

And every week its the same damn thing.  It's become a show where women binge drink when they hear ship-lap.  It is the same old same old.

So Joanna, if you are reading this - you are becoming as predictive as the trains that run on schedule in a country with a dictatorship.

Girl, you need to stop being afraid of color.  Add in a high quality antique - the antique industry will thank you*.  Add in some funk.  And how about not tearing down ever interior room because one day all these young families are going to find themselves with surly, moody, stanky teenagers and the parents are either going to want a room for the kids to trash, or a place for the parents to go and hide from the kids.

Seriously Jojo, your relaxed look is becoming too structured for a your own good, and as cliche as a composite ribbon that reads "Live, Laugh, Love" at WalMart.

To grow your brand, you need to broaden your appeal.


*Hell, even Harriet Craig had a real antique in her cold humorless house.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Yes we are, and oh Hell no: we are not


Mr. Cookie and I have made plans to put on a small addition that will have a large impact of Cookie Manor, which is a center hall colonial - elegant and formal.  

While our house was built in the era of Calvin Coolidge, the architect and first resident designed a formal house that made the most of the public rooms by making them a wee bit larger at the expense of the hallways and stair halls.

Things are to the point where "If it were any tighter, I'd marry it," tight, but it creates some issues that impacted the former residents ability to sell the house for top dollar and quick, both of which worked to our advantage.  This included the world's smallest master bath, and the worlds smallest family bath on the second floor, which we call the "Crab Walk Room," because that's the only way to get from the door past the tub and the sink to the "loo".

But now that we are owners, and plan on leaving Maryland one day for retirement, and a ranch style house, we realize the minor faults of the 1920s are big issues in the 2010's and beyond.

This means we have to make a few adjustments to the manor, which involve moving three bathrooms and redoing the kitchen, which mean that we're in for a big project.  The end result, we hope and know after consulting with numerous real estate agents, will double the value of our house.  And that, is a good thing.

One of the by products is that we'll gain a new back hall, the removal of an inside corner of our living room to permit circular flow, a new front closet, a second floor sitting area and a laundry shut while doubling the size of both second floor baths and a kitchen that will be spacious, simple and functional. And the installation of a vintage telephone niche, because we have one that we bought from a Habitat store and it is SUPER cool.  And yes, that will also mean a candlestick phone.

Still people ask questions.  Usually its the why, and what.  "You're making the house bigger for just the two of you?"  Yes, because one day, the house will be sold to another family that may be LARGER and need the house to function better.

Other questions and answers are as follows:

QUESTION: Are you going to put in a barn door?  (Usually followed by a statement about how much they love barn doors.)

ANSWER: No. Why?  Because Barn Doors belong on BARNS.  I left farming when we moved to Maryland.

QUESTION: For the lights over the kitchen island, are you going to do clear mason jars and those "olde tyme" (emphasis added) bulbs?

ANSWER: No. Why? Because 1) it's 2017 and there is nothing attractive about a bare light bulb, and 2) mason jars are for canning and the occasional cliche substitute drinking glass for outdoor dining.

QUESTION: What kind of Granite are you choosing for the counter-tops?

ANSWER:  We're using stainless steel for the sink area, and laminate or quartz.

QUESTION:  But aren't buyers looking for granite?

ANSWER: They are.  But granite off gases RADON, which causes and abets lung cancers.

QUESTION: Are you installing a vegetable sink?

ANSWER: The vegetables will have to share the only sink in the kitchen with the pots, pans and other foods.

QUESTION: Will the toilets have their own little rooms?

ANSWER: No. They are going to be in water closets, because that's what the little rooms are called.

QUESTION: How much is this going to cost? 

ANSWER: Millions. Millions and Millions.

QUESTION: Are you doing the walls in ship-lap?  What about a harvest table?

ANSWER: Oh. Fuck. No. On both.

What it all boils down to is making the house more livable, and honoring its integrity.  What it is not going to be is some kind of Chip and Joanna Gaines bullshit special.  I am sure that they are lovely people.  But this remodeling is going to be all Hillary from Love it or List it.

And frankly - if it came down to a cat fight, my money is on Hillary.  She'd kick Joanna's ass.

When will this happen?  Well the plans are on the table downstairs, right next to the architect's bill, so the soonest that I think its going to happen is about a year from now.

Making yourself an easy Target



There are somethings that you do, my mother taught me.  A lady never smokes on the street. Never clear a garbage disposal with your hand.  Never jab a knife into an electrical outlet.

I am here to add, never wear a red shirt into a Target Store.

Trust me on this, people.  All sorts of hapless people will see you, tell you to come to them and demand that you show them where the 3M Command strips are located.  Or where the Swiffer's have been relocated to when the store was rearranged.  Worse still "You must be new here..."

Today a woman of a body type that I will call luscious told me to show her which freezer case had the plastic tubs of rainbow sherbet.  And she wasn't nice about it.  And her cart was filled with crap.  And her her Louis Vuitton was a fake.

"Do you really think that's such a good idea?"

She gave me a dirty look.  She was about to speak to my supervisor.

"C'mon. You deserve better. Häagen-Dazs, instead?"

She got all kittenish and said "You crazy. It's for kids at a party.  They can eat that shit."

I offered to find someone who worked at the store. "This shirt?  Bad fashion and shopping planning."

We both had a moment, giggled and went on.

But yeah, don't wear a red shirt to Target.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

More than likely, no, your female ancestor was not a full blooded Cherokee



Most of y'all know that Cookie suffers from the tombstone twitch - genealogy is my hobby, my profession, my passion.

And it being the 2010's, that means you have to have some level of comprehension when it comes to DNA, because DNA Testing is the latest fad in genealogy.  Like cocaine in the 80's, everyone is doing DNA testing to find their "roots".

Minus the white powder on their noses, some people get addicted to DNA.  Some of these people check and recheck their results every flipping day, multiple times a day, even though the results get updated multiple times throughout the week.

When I work with people, or am a meeting or a seminar, or even on Facebook, inevitably some well meaning soul will say something like:

"I got," (NOTE: Cookie hates the "I gots" but you see it everywhere these days.) my DNA results in and it's wrong.  My grandmothers grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee and the result don't show that."

And these people have no idea which grandmother had the grandmother - we have two - that this legend supposedly affects.

Then there are the people who say:

"I am asking for a friend of mine* who just received their results, and they seem to be wrong.  His great grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee and it's not showing up in the results."

*Which, by the way, means "I am hiding behind this facade, this ploy, this convention, this charade because I don't want to embarrass myself by sounding stupid."  Sorry Buttercup, but you have outted yourself.

Anyhow, there is a long answer to this Cherokee problem and a short answer.

I will give you links to the long answer below, but in the short answer, its simple: Somebody has been lying to themselves and lying to you, Buttercup.

The Myth of the Cherokee Princess, as we call it, has been an ongoing piece of genealogy lore in the South for generations.  It was used to explain away a lot of stuff.  Darker features on children of light complected people.  Mixed race offspring.  High cheek bones. Etc. and so on.  It was handy, it was used a great deal and its been passed on and accepted without question.  It adds an air of the mystical.

Why?

Let me ask you this.  What child in their right mind is going "sass" their parents and ask them if they are lying.  Not a question.  That kind of sass will get you knocked into next week.

Cookie's Axiom: "that most people who don't know, and are too lazy to know are fond of making shit like that up."

But there are somethings you should know about this myth:

1) It almost always involves a female ancestor.
2) It almost always involves at least a grandmother, a great grandmother, a great great grandmother, etc.
3) The records have been destroyed.
4) The only proof to be had is what someone older than you told you.
5) And no, no one has any way of knowing why that person would lie to you.
6) They most likely were not lying to you.
7) They are telling you what they were told, so they believe it to be real, an undeniable truth.
8) They want you to stop looking where you shouldn't be looking.
9) You cannot use this lie to get to the head of an Indian Nation owned or operated casino buffet line.


The simple fact is DNA tests - when done correctly, by the instructions, and by a reputable firm do not know what you family "lore" is, and it doesn't care what your family lore is.  But the results are the results, Buttercup. Your ancestor is your ancestor, not your token Native American to brag about.

Now there are very real results that show that you could be Native American.  This always happens in families where there is Native American blood.  See what I am getting at?

So if it happens to you, if it happens to family members and even if it happens to some idiot shooting his mouth off about how those DNA labs make stuff up, someone needs to set aside their preconceived notions.

And you can test all you want, but the results are going to be pretty much what they are.  BTW, if you don't like my links provided below, go look for your own, Buttercup.  The truth shall set you free.

Links

Cherokee by Blood

Genealogy.com - Takes on the Cherokee Princess

Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?

Friday, September 8, 2017

I'm sorry, but you have reached an incorrect number



So, what has Cookie been up to of late?

The latest fresh Hell is that our house phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to volunteer in training therapy dogs for wounded U.S. Veterans.  And just not a couple calls - lots and lots of people want to volunteer.  And who wouldn't want to - puppies and wounded vets.  Everyone wins.

Evidently, a good hearted volunteer in area code 440 (Ohio - naturally) incorrectly put their number in as 410-XXX-XXXX.  The problem is all those X's are our exchange and number.

So we have been getting calls like:

Person: "I am calling about the volunteer opportunity to work with...."
Cookie: "I hate to tell you, but there was a misprint in the paper that put the wrong number in."
Person: "But I dialed 410-XXX-XXXX like the ad said."
Cookie: "I understand that.  It's why we are talking, but..."
Person: "Can I speak with someone who knows what's going on?"
Cookie: "You can if you hang up and call 440-XXX-XXXX."
Person: "Can you just connect me, I'll hold."
Cookie: "I'll try, but if I lose you, you'll need to direct dial them yourself."
~CLICK~

If the calls were coming in looking for One Million Mom's then I would hang up.  But who am to question the steely resolve of people who want to clean out dog crates so that others can rehabilitate canines into service dogs.

Sometimes they call back and tell me that the mailbox is full on the other end, or that their voicemail's aren't being answered.  I tell them that I'm just the answering service, and all I can do is pass on their complaints, but I would be happy to do so the next time they call in for them.

The calls are slowing down, which tells me that either they fixed it, or the paper it was published in has become stale news.  They should update the column next week.

Until then, it'll be Cookie playing Ernestine on the phone.  Complete with snappy come backs and snorts.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Call it what it really is: a Fetish

This no longer exists.


So this past week, Baltimore City government swooped in and removed four sculptures dedicated to the Confederacy.  Included is this one, Gloria Victis - Glory to Vanquished.

Now it is vanquished, hidden under a plastic tarp in some city owned lot.

Now if you live in the south, and you live near a city, there is probably one or more monuments to the Confederacy.

They do not honor a native son.  They do not mark a battle spot.  And they most likely were erected between 1880 and 1960.

They are, however not statues.

Let's get that clear, right now.

Rodin's Thinker is sculpture.  Lincoln has a Monument.  The statue of Jefferson stands in the Jefferson Monument.

But Glory to the Vanquished is not, I said NOT, a statue.

It is a FETISH.

Say what?

Fetish, but not a sexual thing, right?

Wrong!  Look in Webster's and you'll see that it means more than something prurient.

Fetish: "an object in which magical power is present or in which it believed to exist.  An object of worship imbued with trans-formative meaning, or luck." Etc.

This is why I call them Fetishes.  

They are Fetishes because they were designed, crafted and erected to honor the Confederate leaders, soldiers and people, and reform their reputations and their "cause" into something that was noble to fight for.  They were erected to change the shame of defeat for cause that sold, traded and abused human beings from something shameful into fight for "The Cause" of honor.

Organizations like the Daughters of Confederacy, etc., raised funds and paid for these Fetishes in order to redeem the actions of their fathers, grandfathers, husbands, sons and other family members, transforming them losers and traitors into the "glorious vanquished".  They became symbols that would, over time, rewrite the perception that the Confederate States of America could be forgotten and in place, "The South" became a code word for the CSA, and thus more dignified.  

These bronze Fetishes, were to reform those who committing treason, racism and murder, and perpetuated slavery and the slave trade.

And they did have that transformative power.  As the years passed, White America saw them as -oh, yes -  public art!

"Oh, look!  Sculpture!" I heard a tourist say one day in Wyman Park. Looking at the statue of Lee on a horse that didn't look like General Lee at all.

But these Fetishes had another meaning to Blacks.  And that message was "We may have lost the war, but we control the politics, the wealth, the business and you futures, here.  Don't even think of trying to better yourself."

And that message was clear.

And then Barack Obama was elected President and change couldn't come soon enough, and it didn't.  For as much as I loved President Obama, there was never the resolution of the race problem, there were never discussions that needed to happen.

Then a minority voters, in strategic states elected the current President.  And race erupted after a White woman was killed by a White Supremacist. And when the President failed to guide the nation on this matter, these Fetishes in the south became the focus of the national debate.

They are not great works of art.  They should not be on public lands.  They honor people who sought to tear the nation apart.  They need to go.

They need to go because we need to be free of their powers over some who see these fetishes as keys to their White domination of others.

Let me be clear - getting rid of these monuments is a small step.

Their removal will not make life for Black America easier.  They will not free White Americans from their duty to understand what it really is like to be Black in this nation.   And their removal will not end the segregation of society.

In fact if all that is done is to remove these Fetishes and things go back to "normal" then racism wins.

We will not be free of this burden that every American carries until we move beyond the fits and starts of moving this country forward.

We cannot be a united country until every man, woman and child is valued for who they are, their experiences are heard, validated, and we remove the prejudices we subconsciously commit everyday.

And to those who argue back that we are allowing our history to be rewritten, remind them that when these Fetishes were erected that was when history was rewritten.  And now we are correcting that record.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Calls, Cookie gets calls and SPAM emails...




We still have a landline into our house because the Husband's job (on call, 24/7), and because the cell reception in this house is pretty bad.  My friends who have abandoned landlines and know how to reach me.  And frankly, I don't like giving out my cell phone number, because I don't want any calls on it that aren't necessary, or from people who would bother me with calls like "Hello, this Rachel from Card Member Services," and "Hi, this Cindy, calling from the Car Warranty Center."

Call me old fashioned, but I don't mind being tethered to a desk for an old fashioned corded phone because it means that I can focus my attention on who is calling and what we are talking about.  We have cordless phones as well, but I like that feeling of being connected to the dying art of simply taking a phone call on a real, honest to gosh telephone.

One advantage to having a landline is that is that during hurricanes, and power outages, the copper lines seem to work while cell phoneaholics are desperate to save battery power, or running about looking for some place with power so they can charge up.

I still have my cell phone, and I carry it when I leave the house.  But if I am home, I don't answer it.

Technology is fine, and even great.  But it has its downside.  People think you are always accessible.  And there are sometimes when you are not accessible, or shouldn't be, like when you are in the bathroom.

A couple years ago, I had two feet of colon removed to end my life long suffering with diverticulitis.  This was the good type of technology, because before I met with the doctor, I was convinced it meant a colostomy.  But no.  Today they do it with a combination of laparoscopy and a two part tool, one piece goes into into your rectum and and the other piece is placed in the remaining colon and they staple and glue you back together.

In the old days, it would have a week in the hospital and weeks before food, losing pounds on liquid diets of consomme.

With this new procedure, you're eating a turkey sandwich the next day and home the day after.  Heck, the night of the surgery, I was walking the halls of the hospital, albeit like a ninty year old man.  But dammit, I was up and walking.

The surgery indeed worked like a charm. But it comes with one major side effect.

The problem is, I have two feet less colon than everyone else, which means that, in the doctors words "You may suffer front an immediate need to evacuate your bowels."  This brought up images in my mind of the evacuation of Saigon one moment, and then me in a diaper the next.  "But," he continued most patients are able to adjust to the new signals in their gut and take offensive measures.  No pun in tended, of course."

Of course.

I have figured out those signs, but still, wherever I go, I have to know where I can "go", every moment I am away from the house.  And there much of any warning.  Eating seems to set it off, so if I am out shopping in the morning, it has to be after my morning toilet, but before my lunch.  If I can't make it without food, because the world starts to spin about, I can eat, but again, you never know when a forceful act of nature is coming.

This, of course, means that I am often using a public toilet, and that means I am using a public toilet  in a place where some man is also using the facilities, and talking on their cell phone.

This is the bad end of technology.

I don't mean to listen in, because that would be rude.  But public bathrooms, made of tiled floors, walls and lacking anything that could absorb sound tend to echo and amplify sounds bouncing off of the glazed surfaces.  And being confirmed to a small booth, unable to see the world around you tends to amplify every sound as your eyes signal you ears as if to say "Hey, buddy, you are driving this car now that I can't see a thing but this graffiti."

Making matters worse is that people think that they have to SHOUT every word on a cell phone.  They can't hear the caller, but everyone in a 30 foot radius can hear what they are saying.

So you get drawn into the conversations if the guy is unaware that his VOICE IS A LOUD AS IT WOULD NEED TO BE IN A CROWDED BAR, and that EVERY WORD HE IS SAYING IS CARRYING ALL OVER THE ROOM FOR ALL TO HEAR.   And if you are going to BE THAT LOUD THAT I CANNOT AVOID YOU.

A couple weeks ago, I was the restroom of a local big box electronics store.  After I was settled in, some man came into the john, walked over to an area not by me, which is usually the urinals.  He was on his cell phone, and to convince his wife that he was in the car on his way home after not showing up when he said he would.

"Doreen, look honey, I am driving as fast as I can but the roads are really clogged.  I am so in the car.  What do you mean it sounds funny?  Maybe the connection is bad, but I am on my home.  No, I did not stop at the computer store to buy more junk."

He wasn't lying, if you want to get technical about it.  He wasn't in the computer store's sales floor, he was in the computer store men's room.  Being the son of a lawyer - and yes, I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say - but you learn to listen to what lengths most people try and get away with something based on what they say.

Technically, the man wasn't lying, but he wasn't being truthful.

This is when the conversation took an interesting turn.  The man forgot that the toilets had automatic flushers.  So when he stepped back, the urinal flushed with a loud WOOOSHHHHHH.

"Doreen, what did you say?  No, I am not at the computer store, honey.  No, I am not in bathroom talking to you while I am on the can.  That sound?  That was a semi blowing a recap tire, now look, I have to get going so I can concentrate on driving...." and he left the men's room.

In my mind I would call Doreen, and in an evil voice say "Yes, Doreen.  You man was lying to you and he was in the men's room with me.  I'm on your side Doreen.  That's right honey, men can be pigs."

Hopefully he had better luck on the sales floor of sounding like he was in the car.  He probably told her that sounds she heard were the radio.

Still, the idea of handling a cell phone in a bathroom - any bathroom - gives me the creeps.  Its bad enough having to use one for the intended purpose, but using your phone?  That's down right gross.

When I am home, Cookie is always amazed by the SPAM and Robo calls that we get here at Cookie Manor.  They interrupt my day while I am at work, either doing house-husbandly things, like the laundry or cleaning, or working on a project and sometimes, while sneaking an episode of the British show of the moment on ACORN TV.

Today I had three hang ups and and one piece of noteworthy SPAM emails.

The SPAM messages tat come through email are annoying.  Unlike the calls, you can easily train your email program to weed out the bad ones.   Usually, they are from people who want to sell you pills for erections that you don't need pills to get.  And even if you did, would you buy them from someone in Nigeria who would send you messages like this:

"Mr. Cookie, You know that you need V_I_A_G_R_A to obtain the hardness that you know she likes and demands.  Men like you, who rely on our quality product have comfort in knowing that the best price to be obtains is through our International buying power making womans wet around the world wide..."
You have to admire their staying power in promoting erection pills at "best competitive USD prices that no one can undercut..." unless you have a health plan that will pay for you to get a six hour erection, but refuses to pay for your colonoscopy.   Either way, you know you are going to get screwed.

Today's SPAM was different.


This was one of those SPAMessages that reads like it was run through a translator in Nairobi, Kenya, or some other far off nation where the "writer" is the wife or husband of a dead leader and "find my self with an amount of money equaling $1 million dollars in U.S. funds that I must find safe harbor for..."

This one was a bit more strangely worded:

Dear Mr. Cookie Husband:
Here is to inform you of this incident knowing me as Anthony Gomez a legal representative to a late client Mr. Harry Allan Husband, who had the same surname with yours. He died leaving a valuable amount in one of our local banks here. Please get back for more important details.
Respectfully,
Mr. Anthony C. Gomez.
[Senior Attorney]


Normally I would toss this aside, but this one got to the side of me that can hear this being read, and because my father was an attorney.   The other thing is that I am genealogist, and since the Husband and I are married, I use his last name, not my birth surname.  So in addition to the poorly worded, it raised my ancestry hackles.

So I wrote back:

Dear Mr. Senior Attorney Anthony C. Gomez.,
This day, to you, I am writing, because of the email letter that you wrote to me in which you detail the death of Mr. Harry Allen Husband.  News of his passing has a certain finality to the story of life.  In order for me to to help you solve this matter, I will need the name of Mr. Husband's parents, for surly you understand that if they are the General Nassar Husband and his mother is Mrs. Lady Jane Husband, there can be no mistake. I would also like a family tree, for surly you understand that this must be a certaintude to be true.
Most respectfully,

Several hours later, around 11 am I received a reply.
Dear Mr. Cookie Husband,
This morning I am over-joyed to discover that in fact Mr. Harry Allen Husband, the gentleman about which you wrote is in fact the son of the people, with which you sent detailed correspondence with me earlier.  It is most urgent that I obtain your bank account authorization ensuring that the transfer of funds to you.
 Mr. Anthony C. Gomez.
[Senior Attorney]

 This of course that I needed to respond.

Dear Senior Attorney Mr. Anthony C. Gomez.,
Whilst awaiting your most recent missive, a most amazing event happened.  I went to the other room, and when I returned, who should be sitting on my guest chair, but my relative with the same name as mine, Mr. Harry Allen Husband!  Mr. Harry Allen Husband tells me that you "have done a fine job as agent for his holdings, and thanks be to you, Senior Attorney Mr. Anthony C. Gomez."  My relative with the same name as I has indeed brought a large suitcase full of USD and he would like to send you half. Therefore, he has asked me to obtain your most high valued account so that we can ensure the transfer of USD appears for transfer.  Please get back with me with the details.
 Yours truly,

Around noon, the email from Senior Attorney Mr. Anthony C. Gomez arrived.
Dear Mr. Cookie Husband, 
There can be no mistake on the finality of Mr. Harry Allen Husband.  Because you seem to show a great amount of uninterest in his funds, I must continue on to seek another living member of the Husband surname with which to shower these riches.  I thank you for corresponding with me and bid you farewell
Mr. Anthony C. Gomez.
[Senior Attorney]

I am sure that this account will get hit with many more SPAM emails, and that the phone will continue to ring with hang ups, clicks and calls from robo dialers wanting to sell me car warrenties for cars that we sold long ago.

We live in a world right now where nothing seems like it is, just as Harry Allen Husband sits in my living room, speaking in a form of pigeon English that my mind cannot escape from.  So I'll need therapy, or at least counting my USD and wait for the next message in which someone will seek my bank account numbers to so I can receive a fortune from a far away land.

But at this moment, now if you will excuse me, but I have to get the phone.  It's Rachel from Card Member Services and you know how insistent she can be.



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Really? "Getting Acquainted with Jewish Neighbors"



I shit you not.

As if you thought that Gentleman's Agreement was a trifle, I offer this book by Mildred Eakin from 1944.

I know, right?

Cookie must have a copy of this.

Why?  Because I saw this and hair on the back of my head bristled.

And. Oh. Bitch. PLEASE!  Read through the chapter descriptions!  Every WASP's greatest social fears, addressed!

Getting acquainted is a whole lot more different that "Let's be friends."

Yes, Mildred. Those people, in your neighborhood.  Get over it.  

Getting acquainted says "Let's say hello, but not go any further."

And in Chapter IV...



WE GET TO LEARN A PILGRIM SONG!

No Alice, its not about "Squanto Friend of the Pilgrim" as the sign reads on the statue in Plymouth, Mass.

But in reading up on Mildred Eakin, apparently she was an academic in comparative religions and education and she was very concerned about America's inability to shake its old hatreds as society progressed.  She was also very concerned with public school educators who could not adapt their curriculum's to be more open to matters of race and wrote books and papers on how to do that to help all students, regarding of race.

This book was one of pieces that she wrote trying to help Americans to bridge the gap.

But 73 years later, we are still dealing with that divide.  Its better.  But old hatred and suspicions die hard.

But yes, this book is something that Cookie must find because I need to read it and see it for my own eyes.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kings and Queens


Surly you have heard about the Burger King.


But what of her Majesty, the Burger Queen?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Catch up



So, what has Cookie been doing...

Digging and poking in a grave yard, for one thing.

I have been heading up a statistical project to look at a series of Midwest grave yards and the effect of agricultural Anhydrous Ammonia on marble gravestones.  "AA" which is a nitrogen based fertilizer and soil softener,  has been sprayed on fields since the advent of "no-till" planting took root over the last forty years.

The problem is that its sprayed, and its too often sprayed by equipment that isn't maintained correctly.  So a good amount can become airborne if its sprayed in the wrong weather, in too high of winds, if the equipment isn't set correctly, or if the farm machinery is driven too fast on dry ground and creates a dust cloud.

Normally, you wouldn't think of until you look at a marble building or a marble tombstone.  Marble is a porous stone and and the chemical hits the marble, and then airborne spores come into the nitgrogen laden stone and you have a recipe for disaster.

Black mold loves marble because its the perfect rooting surface, and it stains the stone, while the growth finds every microscopic pore to root itself.  Over time, this allows water into the areas and the stone begins to spall (the polished face begins to degrade, leaving a rough surface and damaging the carvings of names and dates.

Then you come across people who *think* they are helping out by cleaning these surfaces with wire brushes and solvents that hurt the stone.

In effect, we are ruining our history and the history of fore bearers.

So while we walk the cemeteries, we record what we see and compare that to archived images.  We also verify the data on the stones.

Fun stuff.

Of course all of this also requires permissions.  Mostly the township trustees that oversee the graveyards could care less, but we are extra super careful to have the least amount of impact, so no chalking or rubbings.

We can "Foil" the face of a stone, which means you lay a piece of foil over the face of stone and then you carefully press into the valleys created by the letters.  I leave this to the pros, but it does look a bit odd if you come upon people doing it.

Whats up with y'all?


Monday, July 17, 2017

I have survived



You know how family visits can go when you are dreading them.

They can go good.  They can go bad.  They can go completely off the rails.

We had the husband's family in for Thanksgiving in May, and it went like Thanksgiving in November.  They are good people, and I am happy to be in the family.  But they are different.

When something bothers them, they push it down.  Deep, deep, down.  They put it in a vault, they lock it away and it disappears.  Well, not really, it's always there.  But it isn't brought up.  They are very WASP in that regard.

My own family is somewhat divided.

I have my mothers people - Methodist Episcopalian's who I only hear from when they want something.

I have my father's people, who I hear from even less, save the brother and the nieces and two second cousins.

My problem is that my mother's family would just as assume that they have no kin. In that respect, there has to be a real reason why they are contacting you.  You'll never get a call saying "Cookie, how are you."  Nope, that doesn't happen.  What does happen is you get a message.  "Aunt Cleo wants to know if you have her grandfather's date of death. So I guess I should ask how you are."

Then there is my father's family is a different dynamic.  We have family.  We just don't see them, but they are there.  Plus, because they are Jewish, it comes with it's own emotional levers that are different from my mother's family.   With them its:


"Just so you know, Debbie and Deborah aren't speaking because Deborah took Debbie's seat at the Rosenblatt wedding."

How is that a problem?  Can't the Debbie's figure it out on their own?

"Debbie wanted to sit with the Plotnick's, and Deborah switched the placecards.  So she and Morton ended up at a table with the Goldfarb's.  She was trying to avoid Danny Goldfarb because they had that thing at camp in 1971, and now Danny always brings it up."

Couldn't she just sit someplace else?

"Like where?  The kiddie table?"

Deborah has always been a bit...

"And at seventy you expect her to change?  I mean she is always going to pain in the ass she's always been...anyway we need to keep them at separate tables."

Suffice it to say that the husband was along, thank God.  I mean we've been together for 20 years, and they were going to have to meet him sooner or later.  

So, what happened at the reunion?

Well, I am not going into details, suffice it to say that we had our own versions of what happened. Our sturm and drang is on a individual basis.

What I will say is that I had a perfectly wonderful time.

No, seriously.  It was totally fun.

Trust me, no one is as surprised as I am, but having the husband there really made the trip pleasant.

That our relationship has exceeded any of my father's million marriages, well, lets say that the best revenge in life is to be able to love and accept love.

As for the family, they have their issues and charms.  None of them are my fault.  At all.

For years I denied my father's family access into my life. I was not them, and they were not me.  Look what it got me.  Not much but thirty years of psych bills.

But, what I have learned in my own way is that you can't chose one side over another; you have to embrace who your people are.

Now had someone other than my father pulled me aside years ago and told something like "Look, I know that life seems like it sucks.  And I know that you just want to belong to some normal family.  But you have to navigate the world with what you have.  And while you don't feel like now, trust me, in thirty or so years you are going better rounded, happier and more successful because you are different from the rest.  Hang in there - it'll turn out fine."  Well, then, wisdom comes with age.

That might take years of therapy, and some ranting and raving, but somehow - when you know who you are - you can be happy when the people the who are regretting the decisions they have made in their lives are miserable with the outcomes when their mortality rears its head, because they haven't figured out who they are.

Would I go to another?  Oh, hell yes. And this time I am bringing the genealogy.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

In the meantime, things overheard...




Well, Cookie has made it through the family reunion and I am still processing the feelings of confusion, bemusement and annoyance following the get together.   Once I process everything, I shall enlighten you.

IN THE MEANTIME...

Going back a post or so I wrote about the man complaining about his nipples (tits, if you are a woman, in his eyes), and so I have been doing my fair share of observing people and listening in.

One of the former bloggers posted on their Facebook account about about the battle that still rages in the region - are you a Duke's Mayo person, or are you a Hellmann's person.

Last week, the hotel was full of Southerners back up north for family reunion time.

Overheard at the Giant Eagle in Beachwood, Ohio was a southern woman in the condiment aisles.  (Honey and I were there picking up cookies to nosh on.)

"Where is the Duke's?  All I see is Satan's* mayonnaise."

AT THE WAITING ROOM...

Husband had to have a bad molar removed.  We got to the oral surgeons on time, but waited close to an hour before they called him back, so after five days in the car ALONE and the hour in the waiting room, things were getting kinda quiet.

In walks a woman who looks like "Dougie" (on Life in Pieces) and her Mama. Dougie sits down, Mama checks in, and then they start picking on each other:

Mama: "Good Lord.  Look at those feet of yours - toe jam and what have you done to your toenails?"
Dougie: "Wha..."
Mama: "You need to cut those toenails.  Why are they sharp and pointed?"
Dougie: "That's the way they grow, naturally..."

AT Barnes and Noble...

"Where do the books that have titles beginning with "The" start?"

"I am looking for a book.  The cover is pink and it was on Dr. Phil a couple of months ago.  Where is it?"

Do you have a title?

"No, it was written by a woman...No, I don't remember what it was about, just that the cover was pink and title begins with "The".

Huh?

IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE...

This morning I was watering the flowers when a fellow Shakerite who lives in this God forsaken hotter than Hades place called Baltimore walked by and stopped and we chatted.  We chatted about this and that, and we chatted about Van Aken Shopping Center in Shaker, which is no more.  We parted, vowing to get together, and I went to get the hose reeled in.

An older woman, also walking her dog "You-Hoo'd" me and I walked over.

"Your flower garden is very colorful," says she.  I thanked her.

"The colors are very vivid," says she.  I agreed.

"Are they perennials?" she asked.   "No, annuals.  Annuals give you color season long."

"It's so unusual to see a house with so much bright vivid color.  I only plant perennials.  Why pay for the flower more than once?  We're not used to such bright, vivid, floral displays.  How do you ever sleep with all this loud color going on?"

Blink.

"You know when Walter and Trudy lived her, their yard blended better with the rest of the houses.  What is going on in that garden?"

She crept closer to the beds and I crept along with her.  The flower bed was, as it is every morning, buzzing with dozens of types of bees.  Which is great.  She seemed gobsmacked.

"Well! This is where all the bees are in the neighborhood!  These flowers are distracting them from other parts of the neighborhood!"

DING, the crazy bell went off.

"Doubtful," came out of my mouth.   I dared not tell her about the copious numbers of lightning bugs, the dragonfly's and the worms in the back garden.  Or that we have hummingbirds, gold finches and downy woodpeckers. That would have sent her over the top.

To get away from the daft old woman, I said "well, if you excuse me, I need to get this hose wound up."

"They are lovely but very loud," and off she went.

ON THE PHONE...

"Hi!  This is Judy!  Someone in you household called us mobility devices, and we're calling you back."  Click.

ME, IN A BAR TONIGHT...

"A Manger's Pear, please."

*Hellmann's Mayonnaise

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A yard sale in the future, but my mind can't get into it.



We have a yard sale upcoming and frankly, I cannot get into it.

For some reason, instead of a reasonable May date, the neighborhood chooses what is historically the most miserable day of the year to deal with the most miserable people - yard sale shoppers.

Last year the heat was brutal.  Not even my biggest Big Edie hat with the floppy brim helped.  The sun refused to yield, turning plastic to jelly.

I am good for about two hours, then it falls to the husband to carry on.

Still, we have these tubs of stuff unsold from last years yard sale and some other stuff that needs to go.

There are some items that frankly, we no longer need. Wide screen LCD monitors, computers without the drives, towels for bathrooms in colors that don't work in this house, and won't work in the house once we redo the bathrooms.

I have been buying up good quality pots and pans at resale stores for pennies on the dollar, restoring them and selling them to people at a considerable markup.

Books are increasingly a problem because 1) People want you to give them to you for free, or 2) They look at the bins and say "I read everything on my iPhone."  My standard response to that last one is "But you can read books without worrying about running your phone battery down after the hurricanes knock the power out for days on end."

We have no Lego to sell, so right off the bat the "Do you have any Lego to sell" guy will be disappointed.  As will the Mid-Century modern guy, because we have none that we want to get rid of.

Last year we had a woman who tried to slip a couple trinkets into her purse and try and walk off with them.  We're all on the look out for her as well.

Part of our problem is that now that all of parents are deceased, no one is reading the Harriet Carter catalog and ordering stuff for us like pencils trimmed in maribou, phone address books, cord hiders, or book lights.

Last year we sold the plastic flower pot lamps that an uncle sent to us as a house warming gift.  Essentially, they were giant white plastic flower pots that he drill holes into in a design, then glued these colored clear plastic light bright pegs into the holes.  He would drill a hole in the top and attach a chain and socket.

"It'll look great on your mobile home patio."

When we move to a "mobile home" in twenty years, well then, maybe.  But right now we live in the heart of Mercedes Benz country and have no need for them.  We made twenty a piece off of them.

The husband and I are going to have to sort this out or sit it.  I am for the later, not the former.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Farewell thee, my friend



There comes a time when all things out grow their usefulness.  When a peony first blooms and smells sweet, and you cut it, plunge it into cold water and then take it inside, where for a day of so it smells wonderful.  Then it loses that beautiful scent, and the petals begin to go, and finally it wilts.

Into the trash it goes.  Fare thee well, sweet one.

Or a car, once shiney and news is driven until it becomes unreliable, or driven until one grows tired of it and its time to say "How much can I get for it?"

To the auto auction, old friend!  Hope they don't make a taxi out of you!

Or Cookie.  Once so slim, head full of hair and a sex drive that could not be put asunder.  Now, on the downside of the bell-curve of life, he has become invisible to the next generation, and it could be in as little as twenty years before his husband says "You leak, you smell bad and I am tired of looking for your teeth.  To the nursing home for you!"

Enjoy the soft food, and the coming of the grim reaper in the warehouse of the old.

Well, I am not near there, yet.

But alas, today we went to the grocery and ended up with a brand new Dyson Ball vacuum.

We have owned Dyson's since 2000, and loved every one of them. Our first was the "low reach" model, geranium in color, with a special floor attachment.  Loved it!

Then in 2011, it was replaced by a Dyson Animal Ball.  Loved it as well.  It was perfect of the house in Columbus, but it was too small for the houses in Baltimore.  The canister needed constant emptying, and the cord was too short to do multiple rooms.  And the extended hose was way too short for the stairs.

So today we wanted to pick up some K-Cups for the coffee maker and the husband wandered past the Dyson display at Bed Bondage and Beyond and there was one hell of deal.  The new larger model, Animal level, essentially, $120 off, PLUS and extra 20% off of that.

We talked about, hmmm, hoooo'd and hawed about it, and agreed, lets do it.

It was more vacuum for less than what we paid for the current one.

Still, this being the third Dyson, we have noticed that there are some things have changed over the years, and one of them is that not all of the changes are for the better.  The plastic seems cheaper, and the way things connect isn't quite as elegant.

And we can sell the current Dyson for a good price.   While walking the dog we stopped and chatted with a few neighbors we knew and new one we hadn't met.  I did mention to one of the neighbors that we were selling the older model Dyson and that it would be priced very fairly and her response was that she would ask the women that she worked with.  Another neighbor said that "Consuelo uses our Electrolux and our Kirby...maybe she needs a vacuum for her hacienda.  I'll ask."

Seriously?

Walking away I said to the husband "Could that have been anymore..."

"...all that was missing are the siesta's and the taco truck," quipped my man.

We're having a yard sale this month, so it might end up being in that if it doesn't sell on NextDoor.

Still, its going to be one of those partings where you say good bye to something that has cared for you and you have taken care of it.

I wonder if Consuelo is looking to ditch the neighbor for someone who who values her above a stereotype....


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Seen, and cannot be Unseen, and heard to the market.



So, yesterday, and FAIR WARNING - this post contains a serious medical condition and suggestion, we are headed over to E****'s, our local market, when I swing the new car over to the furthest part of the parking lot, which is also the least likely place for it to get dinged up, we spot a couple, in the 70's by their car.  The man whips open his belt, pulls out his shirt tail, and sticks his hand up there and starts feeling himself.

Now, these are well to do people who look like they have been out on the golf course, or are dressed for something fairly nice and summery.

We park, and as wel open the door we hear the following because he is almost yelling it:

"Jesus my nipples really hurt, they're so sensitive!"

Alright, then.  This is not an everyday thing that you see or hear at this market.  It's somewhat a well healed place.  Depravity or this type of activity is not something that they stock and it certainly isn't anything common.  In fact, it made Cookie very uncomfortable.

Head down, past them we go because if we want to go into the market, we have to pass them.  As we pass and get a couple feet beyond them, the man, again begins to bellow "How do you girls live with tits that are this sensitive!?"

We continue walking, faster pace, and go into the market.  As we tool up and down the ailes, we see this guy, walking about with his belt undone.

We exist, we go home.  Still shocked.

This morning I get up, and there is a message from an elementary school friend.  He is being treated for recurrent male breast cancer, which is something that men can get, and do get.  And it can be as lethal in men as it is for women.   And my friend is not doing well on this second go round.

And then it dawned on me that unless the guy in the parking lot had one hell of sunburn, one of the early warning signs of breast cancer in men are painful nipples, and a discharge of what looks like breast milk from the nipple.

Now my friend found a lump while taking a shower.  He was a runner, lean build.  He's been married to his wife forever and they have two daughters.  It was a fluke that he found it.

So here is the thing.  Men can get this, and it is just as devastating a disease.  Men are also more prone to developing breast cancer if they have a condition called Gynecomastia that arose during puberty, or have the BRCA2 gene.  This is the gene that also makes men candidates for prostate cancer.

So this is just not a girl thing, OK?

And here is part of the problem in getting is disease treated - men are less likely to check than woman for lumps because most men don't know that they can develop breast cancer.  We get freaked out by the "breast" word when applying it to guys.

You need to get over that, now.

It's word, period, and words cannot kill you.

But cancer is a disease that can kill you.

Had I been thinking, I should have walked up to the guy and said, "excuse me, I heard you in the parking lot and I have to encourage you to talk to your doctor about this."  It wasn't like I was listening in to a whispered conversation.  This guy was BELLOWING about his nipples.  But yeah, he should see his doctor and he probably won't.

You, my readers, on the hand, can do something about this.  When you shower men, after you check your nads for anything off, check the tissue in your chests.  Call it a breast or a pec, but check it.

You shouldn't have to go through what my friend in Cleveland is going through.  But if you find something, TELL THE FREAKING DOCTOR, NOW.

I love you all to death, but this is something that is unlikely but possible.  Do the right thing.  Take care of yourselves.

As for the guy in the parking lot, I really am hoping that he'll see a doctor.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Ten Things I Don't Get, Blog Edition




So on my Facebook page the other day I posted ten things that simply escape my understanding.  Nothing deep, but the list was sanitized because, well it is Facebook and you never know what will set der Zuckerburg and der Censor-bots off.

Then, dear Muscato, took up the mantle on his blog. And I learned never to feed him vegetarian scrapple, which I just learned is called the Amish call "panhaas", which literally means "pan rabbit".  Trust me, there is no rabbit in it.

So I came with this list and I am going just offer it up with no explanation, no justification, no rationalizations.

Anyway, here is where I publish my blog edition of the list of "Ten Things I Just Don't Get".

1) Self-Humiliation Porn.

2) Corvettes and the over fifty year men who drive them.

3) People who use the words shit, cunt, fuck, asshole and cock-sucker like they are substitutes for who, what, where, when and how.

4) Why every room has to painted gray these days.  

5) How everything from the end of WWII through to 1990 somehow ended up becoming "Mid Century Modern".

6) Men and women of a certain age who get so much botox in their faces that they look damaged.

7) Potted Meat Product.

8) NBC Today's 9-10AM program.

9) Restaurants loading dishes down with scorching hot peppers.

10) Mime's.

So my challenge to the other bloggers are to come up with your own lists and post them on your own blog.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Missing those sleepy summer afternoons

Source: ODOT

This is my second hometown, Marion, Ohio, on a lazy summer afternoon in the late 1960s.  If you went there today, you would find a six lane roadway, bumper to bumper cars heading to the Wal Mart that now stands on the far side of trees on the left hand side.

Welles (Explore the Wonder World of Welles!) is gone.  Kroger has moved twice and is building a Super Kroger.  The Clark station - as are all Clark Stations - is gone.  And of course, Minnie Pearl's buttermilk battered fried chicken is gone, too.

Back in the mid 1960's we had a bustling downtown and this was the far east side.  But Wal Mart and ODOT, combined with changed shopping habits, moved out town out this way about ten years ago.

Heroine has wounded the rest of the city, with blight spreading, even the streets that I used to bike through aren't as safe as they once were.

We all know about Ying and Yang, how the universe balances itself.  You gain something, you give something up.  You lose something, you find something else.

One of virtues of age is that you gain wisdom that is lost on the young.  One of the curses is that what you remember is gone forever.

Riding in the back seat of the convertible, my mother smoking a Kent, running errands for my grandparents, the relief of being hours away from my insane father - its all gone.  Left behind in a cloud of road dust and smoke.

Excuse me in my melancholy.  It embraces me today.

 

Friday, June 23, 2017

So what was that secret message about the other day?



The other day, in a post, I had message about saying goodbye to three friends.  Someone PM'd me and asked "Cookie, whats the deal with that third message?"

Since it sounded mean, it was.  Here is the scoop and the poop:

I have had this friend from my high school days and we used to hang out together in small town, Ohio.  I adored him.  I wanted to be his boyfriend, but, he was very, very closeted.  How closeted - he became a rabid Republican.   Talk about suppressing his inner self.

Anyhow, around 2006, he lost his job in DC, and came out with a vengeance.

Peter came out of the LGBTQA birth canal guns blazing and rainbow flags flying.  Everything with him was gay, Gay, GAY, So GAY GOD DAMN IT THAT I WILL NOT BE IGNORED gay.

The problem is he forgot that many of us had been out for a while, and had turned into actual people in our forties.

Not Peter.  Oh, no.

Peter became the worst person that Peter could become.

Instead of finding himself a nice guy, he finds himself these old men, sleeps with them, coo's sweet things, and they pay his way.  He'll admit it and see nothing wrong with it.   In other words, he's become whore.  Peter has slept his way to the middle.

He is "over" everything.

He hobnobs with celebrity wanna bee's and talking heads, and treats them like the are Washington Royalty.

"Of course I am a whore.  We're all whores," he's been known to say.  He says he's "getting back at all the Republicans" that used him politically in DC, and now he is using them in bed.

But he has also assembled quite a following of equally vapid toadies on line.  Facebook is great for that.  The problem is, Facebook isn't real life.  Its existence.   No one will ever remember him as a biting wit online, or as he was in our youth, young, good looking and genuinely funny.

Peter's problem was that he that he thinks of himself as Holly Golightly, when in fact he's really better than a Mag Whitfield.   He has become an insufferable boar, and more importantly, a dick.

Our mutual friend Carol said "He reminds me of the hangers on who went to Studio 54 on someone else's arm and lived liked the ropes were dropped for him and him alone."

The straw that broke the camel's back is that he showed up at his father's house in teeny tiny town, Ohio looking as if he was arriving in Milan.  According to his sister, he wasn't kind to his father, who is in late 80's and was a wonderful adopted Dad to all of us in our social group.  He called his child home a dump.  Two hours later he was "out of here" and left.  His father was heartbroken.

When his sister asked me to find out where was up with Peter.  "When Dad asked him to go pick up his prescription at Wal-Mart, Pete told him that he should have arranged for delivery.  Delivery from Wal-Mart? My brother is a douche bag."

So I sent him a message, and his response to me was flip, cold, and frankly something from a stranger telling me to butt-out.

Evidently all those perfectly tailors suits that his "mentor" pays for have cut off the circulation to his head.  It seems to have killed his heart years ago.

So, there comes a times in your life when you can't continue on the same path with someone.  You have to cut your losses.  I am tired of his drama.  I am tired of his abuse of our friendship and I am tired of being associated with the creep he has become.

In the coming weeks I will be going to the Ohio's for a reunion and will stop by and see Mac and do for him what his asshole son refused to - visit with him.

Some times, the cancer can't be treated.  Sometimes, you have to cut the cancer out.  Peter is out of my life.  I wish him well. And I wish him a long life.  What comes around goes around, Pete.  Remember - you are 56 and the hunter.  By the time you hit 60, you'll be the old man and the hunted by the type of hangers on that you once were.  Such a waste.

Pete, grow a pair.  Grow up.  Do something for someone because its the right thing to do, not because you want something out of it.

And THAT was what that comment was about.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"It looks like a clear sack, filled with yellow cheese"



So last week there was no posting because I was off my game, as the week got off the a somewhat strange start.

The Husband, handsome as he is, had this thing, a lipoma, in his left facial cheek.  Having had one in my arm when I was younger, I knew it was nothing. These things usually start of off as a hard ball of fatty tissue that forms, and the older you get, the body isolates it in a sack filled with fat.   Over time, the fat continues to grow, and at some point, it becomes unsightly.   I had mine removed.  The doctor let me see it.  It wasn't pretty, but hey, it was my creation, so to speak.

Well, his was more or less the same over the last thirty five years that I have known him, but after our trip to Salt Lake in February, it grew much larger.

So I pestered him into seeing the doctor, he did.  He gave him the name of a dermatologist, called for an appointment the soonest one was in June.  In the next five months, I swear the damned thing got bigger.

Finally, two weeks before the appointment, the dermatologist's office calls to cancel the appointment because the doctor himself needed hip replacement surgery.  Referrals were given and a plastic surgeon got him right in.

Apparently the guy walked in, looked at Husband, said "Yeah, let's get that out this coming Monday.  See my scheduler."

In the meantime, he had an appointment with the Endodontist for a follow up after a procedure.  Endodontist walks in, looks at husband, looks at the chart and says "Did I do that you?"  Husband explained, and then opened up for the examine, but Endodontist was less about doing the checkup on the gum surgery and started to poke around the Lipoma, which according to the Husband.  Evidently Endodontist found the thing fascinating.

"I would love to see the pathology report on it after its removed."

So last Monday morning Husband shaved off his chin whiskers and off we went.  And an hour after getting there, he was done.

"Well," he starts to tell me, "they had me lay on my side, they covered my head with a blue sterile cloth and..."

I wanted to cut to the chase.  Get to the meat of the issue.  You know, dig in and find out what it looks like.

"They didn't show it to me."

What do you mean?

"They took it away."

Didn't you demand to see it?

"No.  The doctor didn't think it was anymore than what he thought..."

Damn it man: WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?

"He said it was larger that I would have imagined, a clear sack filled with what looked like yellow cheese," said the husband.

See, if were me, I would have made it clear that I would have wanted to see the damn thing because it was mine to begin with.   But the husband and his family tend to take people at their word, and they lack the morbid curiosity that our family has.  I mean, I have my great grandmothers gall stones in a box from 1920.

Or so I thought.

That night we called Husband's Sister and Brother.  After the hello's and how do you do's, Husband said that he had the surgery, and...

"Did you see it?" Asked my sister in law.

No says my husband, to which she responds "What do you mean you didn't see it.  I would have wanted to see it."

The Brother walks in and asks if Husband had the surgery, and sister in law says "Yes, but he didn't see it after it was out."

"Why didn't you see it?  I would have wanted to know what it looks like," say brother in law.

Husband tells them the description - a clear sack filled with what looked like yellow cheese.  Brother in Law says "And you didn't ask to see that?  I would have wanted to see that."

Needless to say, it had to be sent to the lab, so we didn't get to take it home in a jar.  It was probably incinerated.  A perfectly good lipoma, turned to dust.

We had the same "Did you get to see it," discussion with a couple of the neighbors.  Their reactions were just like mine.   Actually one went a bit further.

"I would have demanded it back and had it encased in acrylic for a paperweight."

Anyway, the husband is fine, and the doctor did beautiful work.  The stitches come out first of next week.
If you are feeling ghoulish, here is a brief video of how the procedure was handled and what came out.

But the husband's was larger than this one.   Never mind me, just bragging.

But yeah, I would have liked to have seen it.  

And I bet Endodontist will be disappointed, too. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Our civic duty



Sunday was our civic association's annual meeting.  In the past, these have been miserable hours, spent in a sweltering church auditorium, and they were always scheduled for the hottest, most uncomfortable day of the year.  

And the agendas were long.  Dear mother in heaven were they long.  Blessedly this year, the rule of thumb was "be brief".  Kudos to our President for keeping it quick and lively.

We go to these meetings because Cookie loves to be in the know.  But we also go lest any get the bright idea to do something stupid, something that seems like a good idea at the time, but brings misery into the neighborhood.

There was a lot of that in Columbus, being so close to the University.  They were always coming up with cockamamie ideas to change traffic patterns, outlaw charcoal grilles, institute grass heights of yards and the such.

"I think we should use the lot at BlahBlah Street, where the meth lab house burned down, and turn it into a Zen Garden and improve its 'chi'."  Really?  Before or after the EPA comes in and does their thing?

The Zen Garden was ultimately built, and within weeks we noticed a lot of feral cats in the neighborhood - more than usual prowling about.  Late night brawls, howling, it was horrible.

It turned out that the Zen garden was drawing them in - a fifty by sixty foot litter box. The smell was unbearable.

Then it was a vegetable garden, although the city health department posted signs that food crops were not allowed because of the issue of fly ash, and residues from the fire, etc.

Here, we have relative calm.  The bat shit insanity of this place is limited to a few bad actors, for the most part.  In general this peaceable neighborhood, eccentricities and all.  And this year, the Church was air conditioned, so the hall was very nice.   And the business portion was conducted in an orderly fashion.

Missing from this year's meeting was the elderly man who would mishear something over the fans of previous years.  A police discussion about general crime was hijacked by the old gentleman after an update on a suspected house of prostitution in another neighborhood a couple miles away caused him to stand up and pledge his support for anyone who wanted to have a hen house on their property.

Also missing was his wife, who has never been the best health.  If you addressed the "body" with a concern, she would speak up, point at you and she would demand your name and address and state that "I'm keeping my eye on you."  She was our own Madame Dufarge.

The other person missing was the woman who took it upon herself to become the unofficial architecture committee who would demand that residents replace shutters, repaint their houses a more reserved palette and the like.  I got to put her in her place after doing some archival work, and finding that her house was not painted the color that was approved in 1926.  "How can you point a finger at other people when even you got it wrong.  Your house isn't "white with green blinds, is it?"

Well Missy?  If you are going to point a finger at others, better make sure that there is nothing anyone else can point at you, first.

She sat down.

Our only architecture issue is that we have a review process and one house failed to get their project cleared.  There was nothing wrong with the project, they just didn't make an adjustment for rainwater run off.  They are fixing it, problem solved.

The only kerfuffles that got brought up came from a woman who is distaff (wife) of a retired military officer wants to make us install speed bumps, to which there was a gigantic groan.  Then she insisted that we turn one street one way (second groan), and given the response, I think it will go no where faster than the cars on the street.  If she wants the bullshit that happens in Homeland, she needs to move to Homeland.  Guildford even, where they are all up your ass over the slightest thing, like changing your house numbers.  We don't live there for a reason, people.

Other than that, it's hot.  Ungodly hot.  So we'll be at home, behind the hum of the air conditioners.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Men with power tools.



So Cookie got a power washer, because, you know, we have this big ass house with a big ass deck and miles of sidewalks and that damned basketball half court.  I know, what in the name of God do we do with a half basketball court?

Its been two years and the only thing I can think of is set up a badminton net and invite the neighborhood kiddies to play pretend French Open.

Anyhow, I researched, I read and I went out and I bought what I thought was an adequate power washer that put out a stream of water like one of those European fountains of a cherub peeing than a real POWER WASHER should put out.

It was a bitter disappointment.  Consumer Reports lied, again.  And the Lesbians down the street laughed at Cookie and this piddling power washer.

"Get a new toy," they taunted.

Disgusted, I returned it, got in my car and went to Ace Hardware and said "I want a big honking manly power washer."

The butch woman helping me said "Are you sure you want the the BIG model?"

Yes.

And then I saw it.

And it was large.

So I bought it.

And I brought it home.

And I lugged it indoors.

And I assembled it.

And the husband walked in and said "What they fuck did that cost us?"

Well, says I, we just bought the biggest honking power washer for under $500, and it came with a second helping of manly dignity."

"Besides," says I "it's Pride Month, right?"

So we read the instructions, noted the number of times that the instructions said "WARNING: Using the HIGH INTENSITY settings can cause damage to flesh is subjected to the discharge of...."

Not just "yeah", but "FUCKING AYE! Molly Hatchet Aye!"

So this morning, we gassed it up - oh, yes - this thing has a ENGINE, no pissy plug in for us, and went to work on the sidewalks.

Now I normally advocate the gentlest cleaning methods available, but like Joan Crawford, I was not mad at Helga...


...I was mad at the dirt.  And wouldn't you know it, but like Steve Rubell to poppers, like moths to a flame, like drag queens to a pride parade, the Lesbians down the street heard a power tool sound and came out to have a look see.

We were half way down the walk and they cornered the husband to talk about pounds per inch and pump size while me and my chicken wing arms worked a square at a time.

They were impressed, but once started, the walk had to get done.

And frankly people, it was hard work.  A lot harder than one would think.

The husband and I took turns down the walk, filled the gas tank three times.

We now have the cleanest walks on the street.  Our arms, shoulders and backs are killing us, but damn it, those walks are clean.

________________________

In other news, I said goodbye this week to three friends.  Two of which I will miss very much, because I loved their sass.  They have found other employment, elsewhere.  Danielle and Christina - I wish you well.   I miss you madly.

The other friend, well, I just got tired of the bullshit and the constant need for approval and the imitation of life they are living.  Do something that matters.  Feed the poor, read to the blind, or invent a cure for something, write a book, do SOMETHING greater than yourself.