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.

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.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Assholery on Facebook



Cookie is not talking about political assholery on Facebook.

But in the groups.  The groups that are supposed to be fun.

Yes, we all seem to know that Facebook is a perfect place for people without a clue to act up and act out.

Here's the thing, when you are in a group that is a picture dump for say, "Fabulous 50s Interior Pictures" (which I am making up) it's pretty clear what the group is about.  Members post pictures of 1950s fabulous interior pictures.  The group moderator asks that the picture be copies of originals, and no duplicates.

It's not rocket ship science.

And while the group stays a manageable size, everything is copacetic.

THEN the group starts to grow and grow and grow in membership, and the more pictures that get posted, the harder it is to find the ones that haven't been shared.  Let's face it - unless you have access to an original source, sharing images that OTHER PEOPLE have uploaded and surface on Google image searches, Tumblr, et. al., start getting very hard to come by.

Members who have been looking for fabulous fifties interiors and want to be in on the joke start posting bullshit that isn't what the group is about.  They start posting shit pictures:
  • Turkish cozy corners from the 1890s.  
  • The Brady Bunch kitchen
  • Memes that are neither original in concept or in verbiage, etc.
  • Someone publishes the fake Pontiac ad.  You've seen it.  It's been around the block more often than an aging Himbo at a piano bar.  It was a real vintage photo from part of a 1956 Pontiac.  The woman is seated in the back seat of a fabulous four door hard top, featuring what Pontiac called the "off the shoulder" look in upholstery on the seats, and the man is standing outside the door, looking over her shoulder and smiling.  Then some "clever" person added in - in some 2000's cliche font that is supposed to mimic the 1950's - copy reading "Plenty of Room To Spread Your Legs In."  It wasn't funny the first time it got posted, and the 20th time someone posted it, it still wasn't funny.  
After all of the above, then the sex images from the 1950's start rolling in.   First they are flirtatious.  And from they they descend, first boobs, then the comments go lower, and then... 

The wheels come off the bus.

And the group ceases to have a reason for existing.

Try and remove the offending images and the person who posted it calls you an asshole.  Never mind that they are the ones at fault, you - according to them - are the one with the problem.  Then their friends call you an asshole, and so one and so on.

I have been called "Hitler".  I have had my personal safety threatened.

I have been told to "lighten up and stop ruining everyone else's good time" - a phrase used by people who have come too late to the party, don't give a damn about why there is party, and could care less about anything other than their own comfort.  

Remove the abuser, and then their friends take their place and continue the abuse.

Frankly, I am done.

When it gets to the point that the thrill is gone baby, as an administrator in such a group, you have two options.  a) You either shut the group down and dismantle it, which is a pain because you have to kick out all 3,000 members, then close it down, or you have to just have to hand the group over to someone else. b) You just walk away and let it turn into the wild west of the Cimarron territory.  

One of the groups moderated has always had a maximum number of members pinned at 250.  Never had a problem with the group.  A minor tweak, a once in an eight month caution to a member.

So Cookie is done with these picture dump groups as far as hosting them.

The Jump the Shark moment will be when people start acting like assholes, I am out of there. 

  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's another rainy Memorial Day



Well, its raining in Maryland for Memorial Day.  It's been raining every day this month, save one or two.  Honest to God I feel like we're living in Newcastle on Tyne, moist, humid, cool.

I half expect Vera Stanhope to come a knocking at the door to ask me some questions and offer me "a cuppa, pet?"  If she does, I didn't do it.

The block is gathering together for a little cookout.  Nothing fancy, but it with what going on, it'll be more cook-in than out.

Spending my Memorial Day working on Cemetery records.  It seems that we have found a cemetery in the Ohio where records were not kept, it's fallen into disrepair and some families moved out the kin but left the stones.  This is creating all manner of problems with submissions for societies, Find A Grave and the like.

So my memorial day will actually be spent working with the records of the dead, wondering who they were, where they are and if any of their descendants is thinking of them.

OH!  I forgot, there is an homage to the most frightening of hot dog dishes, the Frankfurter Crown Roast over at Krab with a K.  Seemed most fitting for that site.

Have a good and safe weekend.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Krab with a K

Because I have too much to do, and I need another blog to maintain, moderate, be involved with like I need another hole in my head, I have created "Krab with a K", which is a place for me to deposit my bitterness about Baltimore, and living here.

What can I say.  Seriously.

Quite a lot, evidently.

Krab with a K

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Perfection


Look at her.

Just look.

She has so much going for her that you fail to notice the 1960 Dodge Dart Phoenix, the 1966 Olds Cutlass, and the 1960 Cadillac.

Why?

She is perfection.  And she is there to make an entrance.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dicky has a problem



Dicky has a problem.  His pocket was bulging with lollipops.  But that's not the real problem.  The real problem is:

1) Dicky stole the lollipops.

2) Dicky is headed towards a bad case of "The Sugar".

3) Dicky still had a pocket bulging with lollipops when he was 60 and driving a creepy white van.

4) His friend Peter's "Mom shorts".

Discuss.


Friday, May 5, 2017

We have returned from The Ohio's


So we are home from our latest trip to The Ohio's.

The project that had lead me to the brink of insanity, teetering over the edge of despair, has been delivered safe and sound into the hands of my cousin.  For the first time since last summer - I am project FREE.

I was, again, shocked to find Columbus, the city where I had lived for 30 years, has changed beyond all imagination.  Sometimes for the good.

Mostly not for the best.

But there is major construction going on, everywhere.  Everything is being widened, elevated, exploited.   Ohio State is the worst of them.  What used to be a University with endless fields for agricultural research is becoming as congested as the main campus.

There are hipsters everywhere, and they are all living in these cheap, banal, mid-rise wooden structured apartment buildings that seem to spring up like Lesser Celadon and mated to concrete parking garages that grow like Bitter Watercress.

The major downside to this is that the city is becoming cluttered with the bland.

And there is even a news source, Columbus Underground, that has become nothing but a pimp for developers, publishing one sided pro development stories.

I am beginning to better understand Chrissy Hynde's song, My City Was Gone, a bit better.

The roads were good and the new Prius delivered good mileage.

But I have found that the trip seems to take longer because I tend to stop more frequently to stretch my legs and walk around a bit more.  Two and three hours behind the wheel tend to make my joints ache.   So I am hunkering down for a couple days of rest before the invasion of the in laws commences, on this coming Thursday.

You are getting old, Cookie.  And life goes on with you, and without you being there, too.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

More stuff you shouldn't have to eat


Today we present another issue of MORE stuff you shouldn't have to eat. 



JELL-O'hell you don't.  But it's the soup, er, salad course.  Better thing are surly to follow, right?



And just what is that second layer.  Congealed tallow?   



This is so menage a tois.  First of all, the layout caused the descriptions to get all screwy, so the Moussaka is mated to the Corned Beef Loaf, etc. indicating that someone in layout had to be drinking at lunch.  And speaking of that Corned Beef Loaf, a spinal cord in your dinner is never a good idea. 



QUICK!  The Ham Mousse fortress, surrounded by the ham joints ("Dude."), is under attack by deviled eggs and ham.  Note that the hard boiled egg vessels are piped in TWO colors.  Not one.  Not three.  But two, for two is the magic number.  


And for dessert, this.  Whatever it is, it looks bad.  So whip it.  Whip it real good.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Everything But the Cottage", but a buyer without manners

No, this would never be in Cookie's house.  It's too Shaker Rococo for my tastes.


So there is this web site, which I shall not name, but will call called "Everything But the Cottage".  Think of it as a online tag sale without the pleasure going through someone else's former home and gasping about how terrible the wallpaper is.

I don't buy from the site often, unless its something that 1) I like and 2) They misidentify, which happens more often than you think.

A couple years ago I scored some 1920's mantle lights, iron frames with the original mica shades, which were not perfect but one of their employees described as torn paper.  $15 dollars and I got lights that are beyond fabulous and would have been $300 in a shop.

So they had an auction, and I scored a 1980's style block print rug that will look fabu in our 1980s style guest room.  Trust me, by 2025, the 80's will be BIG again.

Part of the deal is that they will ship it to you, OR, you go pick it up.  Since the warehouse was close by, I schlepped to get it.

Well, the rug is a monster and they rolled it lengthwise instead of width wise.  So it really was difficult to wrangle.  It was so big, I had to throw it off the loading dock.  One person couldn't carry this thing down a flight stairs without either the jute backing or my neck breaking.

At the same time, an Eastern shore grit couple had backed their truck up to the dock and the husband was having one hell of a time picking up a lovely Mitchell Gold sofa by himself, while the wife gummily said "Don't be ripping that fabric or Trevor is (air quotes, here) *gonah* have a fit."

So Cookie, that is I, offered to help him load the sofa.  And I helped him load the two chairs.  He thanked me.

Then as he was tying all down, I was left to wrangle the rug into the Prius.  It not only wasn't easy, but it was a Sisyphean effort.  It would get in so far and then get stuck.  You could push, you could pull.

So there I am wrestling with the rug like he was wrestling with the sofa and do you know that kind man did?

He smiled, bellowed "Thanks again!" and then drove off.

Mother fucker.   Or is that Motherfucker?

Still, considering what I paid for the rug - which is going to look FABULOUS once its cleaned and installed, it was a small indignity to pay.

But still, this is what makes me nuts about this place.

Meanwhile, said site just sold a "Dress Up Baby Jesus Statue" on its site.  Sometimes you just wish you had symbols to clang on someone's head to get their attention and scream "IT'S THE GOD DAMN MOTHERFUCKING INFANT OF PRAGUE you ASSHATS!"

Well, there now.  I feel better.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Overheard at the grocery: From the mouths of *babes*



Overheard this at the grocery store, yesterday:

Young woman 1: "It cray-cray that I gotta take an English test to see how well I speak English. I mean, its England. Don't they speak the shit we do?"

Young woman 2: "Bitch, who you kidding. Nobody here in Bawlimore understands you either. And you wanna be nurse there? Bitch that mouth of yours, over there, gonna kill someone."

Today, I had the same cashier, Danielle, and I asked her if she remembered the conversation from yesterday. 

"Oh, yeah.  The one who was bitchin' about having to take a test on her verbal skills was applying for a nursing position in England."

OY!  Mates!  You've been warned. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Oh Cannibal, My Cannibal



So you know with the advent of smart phones, everything has changed?

In the good old days if you were with someone who was a bit of a wolf, their eyes would drift and oogle a dame, or a broad?  And I don't mean someone with a peerage, or someone that is as wide as they are tall.

Even I, Cookie, appreciates a handsome guy and in my mind image him throwing himself at me, for a second, but that's the "Walter Mitty" in me.

Well, being a bit slow to notice, I have just witness the creepiest thing yet, more creepy than Donald Trump kissing a strangers baby.

People who use their phones to stalk other people and take candids of them to leer over.

I know, it's been going on for a while, but I probably turned a blind eye to people doing it until I had to have lunch with son of friend who did it in front of me.

Now said son is older than I am - his mother, my friend, is 95.  Sonny boy is 60+ going on 12.

We get seated, the server takes our drink order - water for me, scotch for him, and he spots a woman and young guy - under 20.  I figure its just mother and son out for lunch.

Sonny boy sees something different, a target for his "newest obsession" - he's filming the guy.  Now the target of Sonny boy's is well over 18.  But still, Sonny boy was really overt.

"Isn't he delicious," and smacks his lips.

"What are you doing," says I, shocked by what I think he's doing.

"Oh, just want to add him to my gallery of future husband's."  Then he shows me on the phone - he has galleries of these guys.

"That's kind of creepy, Sonny," I point out.

"Oh, it's not hurting anyone.  You need to loosen up.  Look at this hottie - yummeee!  Don't you think that other's do it to us?"

Now I am old enough to remember the women in the diet Coke commercial oogling a guy named Lucky for his yummy body.  And yes, that was objectification.

And no - no one is objectifying this 1962 model man.  And it makes me ill to think that anyone would be objectifying Sonny, unless it was a cannibal looking for his next meal.

But this was kind of sick.  His reasoning was kind of sick.

Turns out, this is now a sport for some people.

I ordered salad and having no way to get out of this lunch now that it had started, and ordered a salad and prayed that the prey and his mother would leave soon, which they did in 15 minutes, I was trapped.

After they left, Sonny boy returned to his same lurpy self.

"He's so alone," said said his mother Reva.  And he'll only be in town a day or two.  Can't you take him to lunch?"

Yeah - now I know why Sonny boy is alone:  Sonny is a pervert.  Sonny is the type of guy who sees nothing wrong in this creeping behavior.

The whole thing made me feel dirty.  Remember, I'm the guy who looked at Chatterbate and found it sad.  I wanted to help these people with their sets, lighting and production values.

"No, no, no RandyRandy123, you just can't sit there looking bored and expect people to start throwing tokens your way..."

"RandyRoughGuy, I love the leather, love the big fatty cigar, but it conflicts with the lacy curtains and the six cats parading through the room.  And can we either close the curtians or move your crystal animal collection to the other room?"

"Now, now, SitOnMyFace69.  We need for you the sun to be coming in the window to be behind the camera and move you over here so the sun is on you.   Now that I see you in the light, I think we need to go back to the old set up and make you mysterious..."

Sonny and I finished up lunch, he paid - put it on his expense account.  That made me feel even dirtier, then said "If you're even in DesMoines, let me know.  The men are all corn fed and delicious."

Oh cannibal, my cannibal, find Sonny and eat him.  Drive the devil from this earth.

Not that I am pure as the driven snow.

The slush, sure.

But the snow?  Nah.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nextdoor: Something foul is afoot

What we have is a breakdown in society!


So, how many of you belong to Nextdoor©?   If you do, then you'll understand the following, with the names regrettably changed to protect the dimwits in the neighborhood to our north.

For those of you who do not know what Nextdoor© is, its site/app that acts as a listserv for one's neighborhood.  There are neighborhoods that you are referred to join, then you also get included on information and posts from other area and regional neighborhoods, but nothing too far from where you live.

People sell things on the site and buy things.  They look for contractors.  They share safety messages.  Its all like a listserv, but with a site/app and all the pretty pretties that modern design can do.

But people also make horses asses out of themselves on Nextdoor©, like the residents in one established neighborhood that declared war on their neighborhood association Board, then proceeded to air their opinions of the board in the group. Sort of like KFC people discussing the secret recipe in Board Room of Popeye's.  Savvy?

Yesterday, amongst the ISO's* and LTB** and the ALTGROAPBMS's*** there was this thread:

"Something Foul is Afoot"

Angie: "I don't know what this world is coming to but I hung a down comforter on the line behind my house to air it out, and someone snuck in and stole it. What is wrong with people?  

Well.  Society is defiantly breaking down according to this person.   But the responses also mimicked this sentiment.

Michael: "Who would do such a thing?"

Andrea: "This is why I don't let me children play outside unless I can supervise."

Tomiko: "Some people just need to be slapped upside the head."

Steven: "I think we need to start a neighborhood watch.  For what we pay in taxes, this has got to be stopped!"

Gwynn: "We need to take our neighborhood back!"

Todd: "I can arrange a meeting at St. Somethingorother's Community Room and demand that the County Chief of Police attend."

Cookie: "Sounds like a case for Miss Marple.  Oh, wait.  She only does murders.  Pity."

Marilyn: "Angie, I found your comforter, it was laying in a heap between our houses - it's a bit muddy. The wind might have picked it up and carried it if you didn't clip it to the line.  I put it on your back stoop."

Thom: "Last week someone stole two new planters from my friend's front door over in Edgewater."

Gerri: "My husband and I are installing deadbolts.  This world is cracking up. And just so everyone knows, we have a gun."

Angie: "Thanks Marilyn, I feel kind of foolish.  I never thought that the wind could pick it up, but that seems more rational than someone stealing it.  It's my daughter's so it has sentimental value.  And the dry cleaners have it."

Gwynn: "We need to take our neighborhood back!"

Michael: "Steven, I know the Rector at the church.  I can make arrangements for the meeting."

Estelle: "What kind of sicko would steal a child's blankie?"

Marilyn: "Estelle, we had gusty winds yesterday.  No one stole it.  It blew off the line.  Let it go."

Guy & Susan: "This is why we lock and arm the alarm on our house."

Tomiko: "Gwynn, just who do we need to take our neighborhood back from?"

Gwynn: "Evildoers - they are everywhere.  This is why President Trump is going make us all safe again when the budget comes out."

Cookie: "SQUIRREL!"

Gwynn: "I think someone needs to mind their own business."

Tomiko: "Gwynn someone needs to keep their politics off this board, and mind her own business before shooting off a back handed comment to someone else." 

Allen: "Can the moderator shut this thread down?"

Tomiko: "If Gwynn hosts any part of the progressive dinner, I am not going."

Moderator: THREAD CLOSED

Strangly, Tomiko doesn't even live in our neighborhood.

But know that I have seen her spunkiness, I think she'll be our guest at our neighborhood's progressive dinner in June.

Take that, Gwynn.

* ISO: In Search Of
** LTB: Looking to buy
*** ALTGROAPBMS: Anyone Looking to Get Rid of a Pottery Barn Microsuede Sofa - I KID YOU NOT.  This was a post from some twit in Roger's Forge, as in "Would anyone be looking to get rid of Pottery Barn sofa in good condition, no rips or tears, from a pet free house.  Looking to spend less than $200.  Thanks!" Bitch PLEASE! ~ Cookie.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Burnout and Reflection

Receptionist desk, GM Technical Center.  Designed by Eero Saarinen. 


You know, there are times that you get so buried in a project that you feel alone at your desk - quite alone.  And that is how Cookie has been feeling of late.

In January I took on a HUGE family scanning project for a cousin in Ohio who is dying.  I literally got in the old Prius and hauled ass on a whim, and came back with cartons of his mothers and grandmothers images.  Since January I have scanned thousands of pictures, back and front.

Not dozens.

Thousands.

I used to love scanning images, but my mind can only take so many at a time.  But with thousands of them my mind has grown numb.  I am unable to think things through.

I feel like this woman sitting at the reception desk.  Isolated.  Alone on an island.

The project is coming to an end.  Really, I have one album of cart d'viste pictures to do and then code in the meta data and Cookie is finished until September.

In September we have been invited to stay for a long weekend at the home of my third cousin and view her collection of family images.

That I find in joy in this is a blessing.

Though it has me a bit concerned.  In my mind are thousands of names, stories and facts.  And though I am fifty four, and not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.  I am getting concerned about what will happen to what I know, what I don't know and what I long to pass on.

When you work on researching a family so thoroughly that you get to know the people you are researching, I feel as if I need to keep on doing this because I don't want to let them down.  They all have stories that need to be told.

"Well then," people will say, "write a book!"

As someone who has written books and seen them published by a real honest to gosh publisher, easy said than done.  I can write.  But I don't enjoy writing.

It leaves me feeling like this woman - alone and isolated.

And I am feeling that at fifty four, I need to look to other things so when my time does come at a ripe old age, the funeral home isn't empty because I spent so much time documenting and doing for dead people when maybe I should be doing more for the living.

Something to ponder.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Cars, an ugly fact of life

The Goddess of Canadian Mobility is lacking from our automobile. 



While I love automobiles, I hate cars.

Automobiles take you places, allow you mobility and let you see the world.

A car gets stuck in traffic, requires insurance, belches pollution, and have to be replaced.

When my mother died, I decided to simplify.  I sold my Maxima SE, sold the Highlander she left me, and I bought a used base Prius, because it made a lot of sense.  No car payments, great mileage, the feeling of superiority that you get with owning a Prius.  And it came with that lovely new sense of superiority over other drivers.

When you own and drive a Prius, you know you are better than everyone else, because you are better than everyone else.  And you are getting 50 mpg.

Well, nothing lasts forever, and come seven years of owning said Prius, the husband got the new car bug.  First, he wanted a new car.  His employer was offering a huge deal on loaded, 2017 Nissan Leaf's - an all electric car.  The numbers for the car came to half of its actual sticker price.  $17,000 out the door.

Then we started looking into it deeper. We'd have to put in a driveway.  That is $12,500.  Then we'd have to install a charging station, another $900.  We got free charging at the husband's place of employment, but he likes driving his SUV because driving in Baltimore is like driving in Baghdad, and you kind of like seeing what incoming.  That meant that I would be left with a car that has a one hundred mile range before recharge.   And since we hope to break ground on an addition in 2018 or 2019, that would mean repairing the driveway damaged in the remodeling.

All of sudden, the good idea looked a whole lot less.

Still, the husband was convinced that the Prius needed to be replaced.  "What about a new 2017 Prius?" asks he.

Well, to be honest, they are fugly.  They look angry.  Prii (that is the plural) have never been beautiful cars.  Their form follows function.  But this new batch is nasty ugly.   Now you may think they are lovely.  But you are wrong.  They are fugly.

So I promised to keep an open mind, and we looked.  But seriously, what they hey, Toyota. These cars are are fugly.

Instead, we looked across the lot and saw a 2017 Prius V trim level 4.  The V is the station wagon version of the Prius.  The level four is the bells and whistles level.  There are five levels.  Levels two and three are not as nice as the four.  The five, well, that would ostentatious.

The Japanese have never great about naming cars.  Nissan had the "Fair Lady".  Diahatsu had the Charade.  Isuzu has the Esteem.  And Suzuki, bitches, and I am not making this shit up, had the "Every Joypop Turbo".

But we bought a Toyota Prius V.  First of all, it's a Prius V, as in "VEE".  Not as in the Roman numeral V, for five.  Never mind that the the thing has five doors, no.

"Do you know what the "V" stands for, the dealer asked?

Vigilante? Vampire, Viper, and "Vavavavoom?"

"No, 'Versatile'"

"Like Gypsy Rose Lee?"  When I said that, he looked at me odd and you could hear crickets.

So we settled the price, and I said farewell to my old friend, who will become a taxi cab in Washington, DC.

I like the new car.  I am fortunate to have a new car. But somehow, getting 50mph no longer makes me feel as superior as it once did.

It's hard  get juiced over a car that is a "Prius V Level 4".  I could get juiced over a Every Joypop Turbo, though.

There is something to be said for the ability to push a button and have Miss Toyota ask, "How may I help you, Cookie?"  And I say "Find me the closest grocery store."  And Miss Toyota says, "there are three within two miles, Acme, Ajax or Dented Cans R Us.  Which would prefer?"  I answer Ajax, and Miss Toyota says "Good choice.  Let me set up the navigation."

And if I push another button, she answers me in English (United Kingdom), Japanese, Spanish and French.  I tried the French, but her voice lacked the disdain and ennui that I felt I deserved.

Still, when I slide behind the wheel, seated on the vegan pleather seats, let my hand glide over the application station and HVAC controls and push the START button, resulting in total silence, and pull away from the curb, I really better am better than the people next door.

Not because of the Automobile.

But because they are Republicans.  


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Things you should never have to eat.



Wilson Franks suggests that a stewpendous suppers start with Wilson Franks and the Dippy-Do Dinner.  Not Dippity Do.  Dippy-Do.  A hot dog chowder, it claims.  Yurp.



CALLING ALL CATS!  A taste treat for everyone who loves a tuna smoothie mixed with animal gelatin and most French sounding of condiments: mayonnaise.  Add in some A1 for color and call it Salmon Aspic. 



Need something for the waist watcher's in your house?  How about baked beans supreme, made with rubbery canned mushrooms.  That an appetite killer in anyone's house.



Golden Meatloaf, anyone?  Anyone? Hello?

And what the fuck, really.  Has no one at Musselman's ever heard that presentation is everything?



Thankfully, this has never been an issue for me.



Really?  The baby pukes on a pancake and its haute cuisine?



Who is Star Kist fooling.  No child will eat this.  No adult would eat it.  Would you?  Didn't think so.




Ham and pineapple loaf?  It's actually really good.  Don't judge me.





Saturday, April 1, 2017

TMI Time: A spoonful of sugar doesn't stop the backdoor trots



So you may have been asking, where has Cookie been and what has he been up to.

Well, my dears, no sooner than clean up from Winter Storm Stella began when I became horridly, horribly sick with a stomach thing.

And it's not for the squeamish.

If you will remember, the doctors removed two feet of colon from me in the fall of 2014 because of diverticular disease.  And when they perform that operation, they reconnect all that plumbing, but they also remove the ligament that the squatty potty is supposed to help you stretch so you can poop like a prince.

One of the side effects is that without that ligament, your need to go becomes, shall we say, urgent and wildly unpredictable until you learn to listen to the body and figure out the triggers.

All well and good when everything is rosey, but when something stops interferes - like a stomach flu or something you ate or continue to eat becomes an issue, well then, all bets are off.

About two weeks ago, I change something in my diet, and the culprit did a number on me.

 So I started an elimination diet, basackwards as usually.  In an elimination diet, you stop eating everything but a single, bland, low waste food, like baked chicken breast for a week, and then slowly add in one thing, then the next, each time looking for the foods that make you sick.

Well the way I do it, you continue eating everything, except one item, which goes away every couple days until you start to get better.

Well, three days ago, we hit paydirt, so to speak.

And you will never guess what it was.  Something good for you, and something I have used for over two years without a single problem: Mega Red Krill Oil supplements.  Within 24 hours the problem cleared up.

Still, it bothered me - why now, why after all these years - that's over 720 pills.  I mean I love the product.

The husband looked at the bottle, and it was in date.  "Didn't you start using this bottle about two weeks ago?"

Yup.

Then the husband opened up the bottle and a smell unlike any other came out from the opening.  It smelled of rotting fish.  But this bottle is rancid.  "Smells like Lake Erie, before the EPA."

You see I started on the Mega Red because it had no smell, no fishy burps.  But it has done wonders for my cholesterol numbers.  Jeez oh Pete!  Dropped me well below the unhealthly threshold.

So when we go to the store tomorrow, we're buying a different bottle, a different lot, and we're going to see if it goes down without a hitch.  If the other bottle is bad, then we'll call the maker on Monday.

As a public service, I should tell you that you should eat more fiber.  The fiber crisis in our diets has been a terrible thing - it is over 100 years old.  No shit.  So really, eat more fiber.  It really could save your life, and keep you from a semicolon life like I lead.

So remember what the doctor says "Fiber makes it Fluffy!"

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stella goes "Pfffft" for us.



Well we seem to have survived "Winter Storm Stella", aka, the perfect storm that wasn't.   If it were the perfect storm, it would have been named  "Winter Storm Shelly".  Like the actress with great potential, it never lived up to its promise.

I should have known better.  These Baltimore meteorologists  have been chomping at the bit for a weather event and when looks like it could happen, it was "Oh, LAW! THE WHITE DEATH IS COMING!"

Turned out to be a normal winter's day for us.  Northwest in Carroll County and into the Appalachians got snow.  So did everyone else up into Nova Scotia.

But the people around here PANIC when you mention snow.  And with some good reason:

  1. Noreaster's can be brutal weather fronts.
  2. Noreaster's can dump a ton of snow on you. 
  3. No one in the mid Atlantic knows how to cope with snow.  They don't know how to plow it, shovel it, drive on it or dress for it.  


I knew last night that this wasn't going to be much of anything because the two tiny four-footed weather forecasters in our house, Kevin and Rocky, where up and about and seemed rather nonplussed.

Usually when there is a storm to be had, they hunker down, are not perky and are more sleepy than anything.  But these guys were, at seven, like "Let's go for walk!" and playing tug-o-war. At eight nothing had started.  By ten something was coming down - fine dust-like snow.

Not even bad enough for board games.
When a storm doesn't start until two hours after the expected time, something was up, and the mammoth storm appeared to be going down for us.

So, all told, we have less than six inches on the ground, and some icy spots.

The worst part of the nonevent happened at 1PM today when the glacier and snow pack on the roof of the house decided it too was done with it and released.

If you have never been in a house, with a slate roof, when the ice and snow on the roof decides to let go, you are really missing something.  Unlike an asphalt roof which has a gritty texture, slate roofs are relatively smooth.  They also suck up the UV light energy, and the heat from the house below and layer of water forms from the melting snow, and that acts like a slip and slide.  Normally, things called "ice stops" are supposed to keep everything together, but the fact is, unless they are brand spanking new, they're no match for the glacier's weight.  And when that happens, the noise is like a train is approaching your house and the building shudders, followed by silence.  Outside, there is fresh pile of snow.

Awe, you shouldn't have, House.  No, really...

Anyway, it always catches you by surprise, and because the weather here is not Siberian, we kind of forget about these events until they happen and you have an "Oh, yeah," moment.

I have a roast in the over and now the dogs have crashed, which is their normal routine.  I spent the day scanning pictures (160 done, BOOM!) and making a roast.  My two new Flip and Folds arrived so there was a folding festival!

The silver lining is that we don't have to put up with Baltimore lousy snowplowing.  It is really pathetic.  It's like they hire blind people to drive the plows, or trained the seeing ones on a game of "Tickle Bee".

The husband is working from home today and goes back in tomorrow.  And it is back to normal tomorrow for Cookie, too.