Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Back on watch



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

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

Which has me bummed.  Very, very bummed.

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

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

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

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

But now she is in a hospital bed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All right, then.

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

So for now we wait.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Listen to this here album...


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

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

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

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

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

1) This here is my Momma.

2) The cancer got her.  

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

4) Jesus called her home.

5) That is Sister.

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

7)  You crave Dr. Pepper?

8) Why is it that?

9) House come?

10) All them pictures is in this stick thing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I asked what did she study.

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Comes with dresses that SPARKLE!


Comes with its own paper Sam Giancana.  

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

So how was your May Day?



May Day means one of two things for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

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



So I am on Prednisone, again.

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

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

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

So I have avoided them for obvious reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But guess what side effect came back?

I can't sleep.

Can't fall asleep.

And if I do, I don't stay asleep.  

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

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

And man, do I need some sleep.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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


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

First it was Vegemite, now this shit?

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

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

Ugh.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our door is always open.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, we always had fun with them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

No return call.

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

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

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

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

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

And that message generated silence that spoke loudly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What if I talked to them about this?"

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


*canard is such a great word.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

No update, no, not for today



The weather is FINALLY too nice for a blog post!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quelle Shocking



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

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

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

Friday, April 8, 2016

Time in a Bottled Up



Cookie has a confession.

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

Here's why.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The one where Cookie discovers Chatterbate



Yes, it has come to this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they look like this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 4, 2016

The husband ain't crabby no more!




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

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

Yeah, right.

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

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

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

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

Yeah, I am that kind of bastard.

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

So now bully boy is sleeping it off.

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

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

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

Sunday, April 3, 2016

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Twenty years ago...

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

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

It was my eldest half brother calling.

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

And suddenly, I was lost.

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

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

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

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

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

Yet I always wanted his approval.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life without father is much better.


Friday, March 18, 2016

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


Ah, Cleveland.  The city poetic!

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

But Hopkins International Airport?  The airport prosaic.

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

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

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

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

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

Cookie doesn't like to be played.

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

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

But I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What to serve on Saint Patty's Day?

Yes?

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

Drink enough DAB and anything will look good.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Let's get the inside story on Dinettes


From True Story magazine - the only place where under educated girls could get a (mostly) True Story, we have this shock two page spread by "Esther Foley", True Stories Home Editor.

From the looks of the pictures, Esther is visiting a back alley Dinette Shop, filled with dismal additions to your mother's kitchen, all photographed in that bad lighting.

As you can tell, Esther, here at right is not amused.  She prefers the large old clunky formica and wide banded chrome sets.  She doesn't care for these modern sets.


And by the text, she thinks that they are flimsy.




Here are the full pages:





Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Naked. And the Nude.


Raped by Moon Maids?  Please, it's ones from Uranus you have to look out for.

So, what can't Cookie go into, but after seeing this, he cannot stop himself from doing?

The bit about the "Piano Recital in the Nude."

That shook a memory loose.  Not of a piano, but about a lady and a her double pedal action concert grand harp.

There was a woman in our neighborhood - a bit of an eccentric who lived on our street in Shaker Heights.  She had a large, formal harp.  And she had a picture window.

Said woman had attended Juilliard, and had arrived in Cleveland after scoring position with the Cleveland Orchestra as a harpist.  (NOTE: Cookie's step grandfather was concertmaster under George Szell for the Cleveland Orchestra.)  She stayed a bit, met a guy named "Guy", gave up her position to become a mother.

She was a bit bohemian in that she was into organic before it was chic and if you mentioned Woodstock she would recount a lovely day spent in Woodstock, New York in the early 1950s in which she had a picnic in a field with a handsome boy who attended Colgate with her.

I, of course, being in that seven to eight year old age range had no idea what Colgate was, other than a toothpaste.

She was brilliant, but a bit off.  Enough off that she simply ignored housework, a pack rat husband and her two sons and two daughters just enough.  She told my mother "I send them off in the morning and if they come home at night, I have done my job."

Mrs. X was also had an annoying habit of showing her agreement with someone while they were speaking of softly saying "Truth" after every statement she believed.  She dressed in folk dresses while the rest of our mothers were still shopping at Bon Wit Teller and Halle's.

And there was her cat, named Katz, named after her rabbi, Rabbi Katz.

But her harp, in the window, overlooking the thoroughfare we lived on was magnificent, and it's golden skin sparkled in the winter sun when she would open the drapes.  For all the chaos around her, the harp was the one thing nice thing that she owned.   We all had pianos.  But only they had a harp.

And when she retreated into her harp, for a couple hours each day, everyone was banished from the house.  Outside it sounded lovely, but as son number three would point out - "It gets on my nerves."

One day, my mother, out of the blue, said that I wasn't to play with the children from that house.  I tried the usual childlike debate tool of "why? why? mommy, why?" which was met with "Because, that's why."

Well, since ignoring one's mother is what children do, I continued to go over to their house, I just didn't tell my mother where I was going.   I was smart enough to know that if I went too often, verily, my mother would be onto me.

One winter's day, I went to the house of the children on the other side of the harp lady.  And we were shooed outside and a game of tag with snow balls commenced.  The snow in their yard had been compacted by the thundering feet of children in the neighborhood, while the harp lady's yard was pretty much untouched.

So I went into her yard to gather some snow for the game.  And I heard the music from inside.

And I looked up.

And in the window, there was Mrs. X, seated on her stool, playing her harp.

Without anything on.

Nada.

I stood there transfixed.

Soon, another child joined me.

And another.  And so forth and so on.

We could see her boobs.  And she was cold.

In retrospect I would like to think she was playing Beautiful Dreamer or some other like song that she had lost herself in.  But when she finished and came back to earth, instead of the after glow or a performance instead of serenity, there were about ten of us, just staring.

She smiled, then reached for a robe, which she draped over her shoulders.  She disappeared into the dark part of the room and the shear curtains closed, just like at the concert hall.  Minus the standing ovation.

Well then.   Us kids had to talk this one out.

"We shouldn't of looked."

"Is she going to call our parents?"

"But she was naked and we saw her boobies."

"She wasn't naked," said the eldest amongst us - a fifth grade girl who had just gone to see the Red Shoes with her mother, and who was wise beyond her years as all ten year girls who have seen the Red Shoes are.

"She was nude, in the classical sense."  Well that didn't make any sense to me.

And we never once considered that we had had intruded on her.  Sure, she was sitting in the window with the harp, and the curtains were open.  But maybe the idea of her being seen by others never crossed her mind.  On the other hand, the light was on in the room, and cars were flying down the street.

After a great deal of discussion, and an increasing level of discomfort by what we had witnessed, we decided to each go to our respect homes.  We were all certain that she was going to call our parents and complain, and woe to us when they found out.  But the phones were silent.

Several days later I saw the kids from that other family as they made their way home from Catholic School.

"Did she call your house?"

"Just my grandma called yesterday, and Mrs. X doesn't know her.  Did she call your house?"

"Did she call your house?"

"How would I know," said the worldly ten year old girl.  "I've been in the school all day."

She never called our house, and I certainly never told my mother.  But then I stopped playing with her children, because, well, I saw their mother, naked.

How do you face your friends when you see their mother in the midst of rapture playing her harp in the nude?  And because they went to private schools, I never had to encounter them in the halls of our local school.

As time passed, I wondered if my mother knew but didn't say anything.  You know, the old lets pretend that the parent doesn't know to see if the kid will confess and redeem themselves?  Nope, not a thing.  I even got so bold as to asking my mother what the difference was between "naked" and "nude".

"What in heaven's name brought that up," my mother asked.

I shrugged.

"Well," said she, "Venus, the greek goddess is nude, and that is art, and art is beautiful.  Naked is is what's in those magazines that your father hides under the mattress."

Still, I couldn't figure out if Mrs. X was naked or nude.  If she was nude, in the classical sense, that was beautiful.  If she was naked, well that was something that made you pull the curtains.  And why would anyone put a magazine under a mattress?

By the third grade, the woman, her husband and their sons moved on.  They sold their house and good Lord knows what happened to them, but they were gone.  Their home was purchased by a family from India.  And the mother was as far from naked or nude as you could get - she was dressed in yards and yards of brightly wrapped silks and gauzy materials.

A year later we moved out of the neighborhood as well to Fairmount Circle, on the northern edge of Shaker.  From my new bedroom window, I could see John Carroll University, and that fall students at the college joined their brethren nationwide in the "Streaking" craze.

When I was in my forties, and this had faded long into the past, one night we were finishing dinner at our house in Columbus.  My mother - in town for one of her many doctors appointments - had consumed an entire glass of wine.  She seldom drank anything, so the wine got her extra tipsy and talkative.  The conversation got a bit nostalgic, and I asked her why she laid down the law years ago and told me to stop playing down at the X's house.

"Well," she said, "the kids were good kids, so it wasn't anything that they did.  Evidently, Rabbi Katz had come to call, on the 'X's' one day and as he walked up the front walk, there was Mrs. X, playing the harp without a thing on.  Rabbi X had told his wife, and his wife had told one of her friends, and she told to friends, and so on," and evidently it got back to my mother.

"And," she continued, "I didn't want you around that weirdness," said my mother sipping from her wine glass.  "We had enough weirdness in our own house."  My mother never drank, as a rule, but a little wine loosened her up a bit.  "I thought Nancy Gallagher," (the mother of the worldly fifth grader who is now a talking head on the national Sunday News programs) "was going to have an utter stroke when she found out."

"So was she naked, or was she nude?" I asked.  "I mean did she play it naked, or was she playing it in the nude, in the classical sense?"

"What difference does that make?  She was sitting in the front window without any clothing playing that harp, Cookie.  Nothing that the vice squad would be interested in, but if word got out it could hurt the property values. And your father would have had a fit had he ever seen her do it.  He was convinced that woman was a member of Jews for Jesus."

A sip of wine and she continued.  "I'm not saying that she did anything immoral, like seduce the rabbi, but I bet the postman didn't have to ring twice at that house; he just had to stand on the porch..."

Another sip and her eyes narrowed. "Did you ever see her do that?"

"Did you?" I asked.

She pointed out that she had asked me first.

I denied everything.  "No, I had just heard rumors."  In my mind I could still see her sagging bosom.

"Besides, what effect would it have on me?"

So alas, I will never know if she was naked, or she was nude.  But she was certainly without her clothes.

But everytime I see a harp, I think of that day, forty some odd years ago, and imagine in her mind she was nude, playing for the gods.  "Beautiful dreamer, wake unto to me..."

Unless a Satyr happened by; then she was most definitely naked.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mixed Messages:


You know those little books that the looney Evangelicals like to leave in public bathrooms, on cafe tables and on your doorstep?

Now, they want to drop them in your car.

As if you would ever read one and see "the light".

The bible tells the faith to spread the good news.  But leaving unwanted crap in someone else's vehicle isn't spreading anything but trash.

To me, this is more than proselytizing, this is littering.

If any of you are thinking about doing this, and I know that none of you are, because I know that you are more likely to leave other things in other peoples cars (NORMA), but still, don't be like "Evan the Evangelical".

Keep your windows up, for safety, of course.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

For A Special Lady


The thing about blogging is that many of us find our pictures and images and inspirations in other places.  A few bloggers will post original art.  But in fact, many of the images come from other places and other users.  We see them, and we transfixed by them in any number of ways.  So we share them.  

This is one such image: 




I'm not sure where it came from, and the art isn't really that good.  But, it is the message and execution that captivate me.

I would assume that a Special Lady is a woman who has title.  And why is he waking her up with a Winston and full goblet of Paul Masson.  What is so special about that?

In my mind - its a scene from a movie, entitled "For A Special Lady", from American International Amalgamated Pictures, and shot at Pinewood studios.   Of course it never was, but certainly should have been.

It's a 1970s dramedy cum mystery about an American actress on the downside of the stage bell curve. This woman who falls for and marries an aging British swinger, with visible signs of support.

Lots of cigarettes are smoked and brown booze is drunk in copious quantities.  There are endless conversations held about her fading career, and his attempts to get her that one last leg up she needs to reclaim her place in cinema.

Starring:



Peter Wyngarde as Cyrille St. James - a one time bon vivant at the end of his career as a swinger who needs to find a cash cowm and quick before the government takes his family's country estate.

and



Brenda Vacarro as Deborah Gordon (born Annamaria Annalouisa Furlenghetti, from New Jersey) who is forced to sign a contract to do some British Slasher film where she is second billing (for the first time in ten films, but because of falling box office revenue) to an ailing has been on the comeback played by:




Evelynn Brent.  Of course, Brent dies while the film is in production - no seriously she really died in 1975 - and to make the film work it's rewritten to make "Deborah Gordon" go after Evelynn's part because an out of character role is sure to land her in Oscar territory.

Of course.

But it is this scene...


After their marriage on their honeymoon where Wyngarde brings his awaken wife a goblet of chianti and her morning cigarette so they can discuss "my special lady and her comeback role" that is captured.  She being cheeky, and hung over, grabs the cigarette with her lips, draws in a drag, and then without missing a beat or using her hands, places the cigarette back in the ash tray using just her lips.   

She the croaks "What time is it..."  

To which he says "It's six in the morning in Bangladesh..."

The whole thing could easily go in the dumper when Jan Michael Vincent shows up, uninvited, as Wyngarde's former lover, demanding a role in the movie as payback for "Being tossed aside for that has been cunt."

Now, the music for the movie - I offer this:



And this plays when Wyngarde first sees her at the discoteque, when she emerges nude from the boudoir, and in the final credits as they fade to black.

Of course I cannot tell you how its ends - you'll have to use your imagination for that.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

You have a choice in life...you really do.


You can either be miserable because your shoes don't go with your dress - or - you can choose to be fabulous in spite of it like Lady Flounce, here above us.   Look at her - bitch is working that dress on carpet that neutralizes those shoes and their do nothing color.

Honestly poppets, if you are going sulk about because everything in your life isn't the tits envy of everyone else, life is going to be nothing but one's self brought about bitter disappointment after another.  

No one can throw a pity party for you like you can throw for yourself.  And guess what, no one but you will RSVP to attend that pity party but you.

So get out there and remember life really is about making the most of what you are on the inside, and not about whether or not the shoes match the dress.*



*But really, the carpet should always match the drapes.

Friday, February 12, 2016

You never know who you'll meet, and you've never guess who you met



So I am 7 and half.  And this is what I remember:

My home life is a violent mix of physical and emotional terrorism.

I loathe my father, and I cannot understand why he won't go away.

And we live in a big house, on a hill and death is all around us.   My father's first wife, the mother of my half brothers, dies and leaves them without their mother.  My mother's sister died some years before my birth.  My brother's mother's mother, my third grandmother, grandma Bess has died.  All of this is with us before the age of seven.  Death lives with us.  It isn't shocking when it comes.  It just is a fact of life for us.

And then my grandfather dies.

This is my father's father, who I liked very much.  This is the grandfather who taught me how to drive a nail, albeit a small one into a piece of wood without smashing my fingers.  This is the grandfather who was my hero.  My other grandfather is a good man, but he is old and sick and seldom speaks.

My grandpa Max is dead.  It is July 30, 1970.  And I am unprepared for what is going to follow.

And I don't understand why I am being relocated to my Aunt Marilyn's house on Winchell Road.  But I am being sent there because my grandfather's shiva will be held in our large house and I would be under foot.  They are expecting hundreds of people because my grandpa Max was a man of stature in the Cleveland Jewish community.  And my father's six brothers and sisters have many friends.  A small child would just be under foot.

And I am terrified because I have never been away from my parents, and my house over night before.   I have gone away with my parents.  I have been left at our house with my beloved Leatrice who cared so much for me.  But I have never been taken from my parents and my house, both at the same time.

My Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Kenny are kind, wonderful people.  They have a daughter, Phyllis that I adore and they have a son Eddie who is very kind.  But I am scared and I am out of my routine and I don't get it.   They do their best - we have fun.  But I can't go home, and I want to.  Still, Phyllis is good to me and I adore her because we get to do different things - like race to the mailbox, put on shows in the basement.

Phyllis and I in her backyard, ca. 1966


By Monday, I am beyond words homesick, and there are still five more days of Shiva to hold.  And on Monday morning my Aunt is going to my house, and she isn't taking me.  Aunt Marilyn wasn't a blood Aunt, more like a second or third cousin, but she was the best aunt you could ever hope for.  But she knows that my mother needs help because the crowds have been growing.  So Phyllis and I are sent down the street, just for the afternoon, to the house of two girls and their father.

My Aunt explains that Mr. Jim is a very nice man, and that he has two daughters.  I am told not ask about their mother, because she died in a car accident.  Mr. Jim has a limp and bad back and I am not to ask about either thing.  Phyllis tells me that I will like the girls and that they are fun.

And we go.

They live in a duplex, just a few doors down, that looks like a house, but it has two apartments - more like one house stacked on another.  The house is lovely.  They have a fairly new car.  Phyllis tells me as we walk down (she is older than I, almost ten) that Mr. Jim's wife was killed in a car accident and that their other daughter died in that accident.  She says that I will like Mary and Molly, his daughters who survived.

We go in and Mr. Jim is very nice.  His daughters are very nice.  The youngest daughter, Molly is very animated and funny.  She wants us to have fun, and we do.  We play games, we explore, we just do what kids like us would do.  And I am having a great time.

In their house is a window fan, that is installed in the actual window.  But the window is closed and I don't understand how it works.  The fan is bolted to the window frame, but my literal mind hears window fan and I think its attached to the part of the widow that goes up and down.  "Can we turn it?" I ask.

No, says Mary.  Her father wouldn't like it. "We'll get in trouble."

"And if we did," says the younger Molly, "And the window is closed, the window would EXPLODE!"

Now I am confused, and like my exile, things aren't making sense.  So we move on and play with another neighbor named Karen.  Karen has a play house tacked onto her parents garage.  But we're all having a good time, just making things up as we go along.

Mary and Molly's father asks if I would like to go swimming and I say yes.  So we all get in the car and go to Thornton pool, except I have no trucks to wear.  "Can he swim in his shorts?"  No - he needs trunks, says the life guard.  "Would you like to wear one of the girls bottoms and swim," asks their father.  NO! Because I'm a boy and they are girls.  So we all pile in the car. "If Stuart can swim, we'll do something else."  And we head back to their house and we go back to playing - making the rules as we go.

By this time, Aunt Marilyn is at the door to their house, she has returned from my parents house and says that my brother is coming to get me, and that he'll watch me during the Shiva's.  And soon he comes by and picks me up and I go home.  He tells me that Marilyn told my mother that I really wanted to go home and that it was OK. For the rest of the week there is no fighting.  No threats from my father, things seem normal like on TV.  Just lots and lots and lots of people, and food, and caterers.

And then it over.  Slowly things return to normal - the real normal.  The Hellish day to day that we live in.  The fights.  The screaming.  The yelling. My mother and I against my father and my brothers.  Us against them.  Other kids don't know what's wrong with me - they won't be my friends.  I act as I have been conditioned to.  My best defense is simply to cry because their is nothing to look forward to.

1971, 1972. Death continues its visits onto our house.  First my nanny, Leatrice (Who I have called E since I was a baby) dies, and then my mother's mother dies, and my Aunt Miriam gets sick with cancer.  By 1972, my parents marriage - at least what's left of it does as well.

And we are kicked out of our home by my father. My mother has to find us a place, and life goes on as thing in the past get pushed down, and the memories of just surviving take over.

Slowly, the memory of that week when everyone tried to make me happy fades into the place where thoughts of upsetting times go.

And the memory of the man named Mr. Jim and his daughters Molly and Mary, and their kindness towards me, get buried deeper, only to remain tucked away.

Until today.

I have lunch with with another one time Shakerite who lives in Baltimore.   We talk about where we lived.  I say Sherrington Road and South Woodland.  She says Winchell Road.

"There was a mailbox that Phyllis and I used to race down to the street to.  One was for letters, the other was green and had no shute," I recall.

Those were the mailboxes at Scottdale and Winchell, where this person used to catch her bus to school.  She is five years younger than I.  So we start tossing out names.  I mention Karen (she knows her, but it's been years), I mention Phyllis and Tony who lived across the street.  She says well you know that Molly Shannon was from Shaker.  I knew that.  Just like Paul Newman was from Shaker.   nd we talk about different schools, and why I left Shaker, and why her family moved on.  Lunch is delightful.

We go back to Winchell Road, and she texts her mother my aunt and uncle's last name.  Did she know the Mann's?  The Fromson's?  The Wietzner's? I mention the two girls and the father who were so kind and patient with me 46 years ago when I was small, scared and homesick.

"Yeah, that was Molly Shannon and her sister, Mary."  She tells me the story of their family.  I am stunned.  It all comes flooding back.  Even the fan in the window.

I look confused, because I was.  Molly Shannon?  Mary Shannon?

"Molly Shannon from Saturday Night Live grew up on Winchell.  Her mother died....."

I had known that Molly Shannon was from Shaker, but could it have been?

I call my friend Sharon, who knew and knows everyone and everything.  We've been friends since second grade.

"Yeah, I knew she grew up down there....Mary was the quieter of the two..."

And I am stunned.

And for a minute, I am seven and a half, and these people are taking care of me.  And all I want to do is go home.  And then, I am 53, and all I want to do back again and give these people hugs for taking care of me.

In retrospect what concerns me, in reliving this, and I have kept almost all of this bottled up for a very long time, is that I was so afraid of losing my own mother that I lost sight of Molly and Mary losing theirs.  My temporary trauma was nothing compared to their real, painful loss.  Their loss was real and it was permanent and it hurt far more than anything I would ever endure.  My failing is that I was too immature to understand that my familiarity with death was nothing like theirs.  Death lived with us, but death never robbed me of anything before it should of.  At the same time, I was 7 and a half; and children aren't always the quickest to pick up on what the right thing to do is for someone other than yourself.  It's the 53 year old me that has the understanding that I do today.

Names can fade after all these years.  But your emotions and feeling never really do.  I am still scared of being away from home.  I am still afraid of being outside my routine.  But the emotions and feelings of safety and gentleness never leave.

You never know who you will meet in life, and you'll never guess who you've met, or passed on the street.

But sometimes, the best part of encountering them is knowing them before everyone else does.  So to Molly Shannon and Mary Shannon, thank you for a day that I still remember, thank you for being a friend for the day.   And forgive me for never telling you how much it meant.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dishwasher, an Update


I am not evil.  The milk of human kindness flows through my veins just as sure as sap is going flow through the sugar maples in Vermont this month!

Still, yesterday, I was feeling a bit battered by Karma over the dishwasher.

And last night, no one from the store called on an update.

And this morning? Radio silence.

Finally at 11:45 I had to leave for a luncheon date with another fellow Shaker Expat living here in Baltimore.

We went to an absolutely charming place called Paper Moon for lunch.  If you ever wonder what it would look like if Pee Wee's playhouse exploded inside another building, then you understand the decor.

The food was lovely, the company completely charming, and a piece of my past (watch this space in the next couple days) was revealed in only what can be a moment of goosebumps!

Then my phone rang, it was the appliance man.  I explained that I was busy and would call him back.

Instead, after fellow Expat and I parted, I went all the way up to the store.  I sat down with the manager.

When I left I came away with a $150 credit and promise of delivery and installation on Saturday.

Still, it gives one pause to reflect.

Would I have gotten $200 for being just a tad bit evil.  More like it would have gotten me a poke in the eye.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I'm having one of my sick headaches, again! Or, So much for the new dishwasher



Today was not a good day for Cookie.

First of all, the grit who was supposed to install the dishwasher today called at 6:30am and said he would be there at 7am to do the install and that I was to have the kitchen sink cupboard cleaned out.

When he got here he had a fit about the dishwasher hookup because unlike new build houses, our dishwasher has its own water supply and drain system.  Well, that was a problem.  I, channel Tim Gunn and told him to make it work.  Well that set him off because it was different and he's a evidently not a man who can go off script.

But I told him to get it done, and removes the old dishwasher, bitching about it the entire time, bring in the new dishwasher and starts to install it except something isn't right.

It's a Kitchen Aid.

It's got everything on it.

But it's WHITE and Cookie and husband didn't buy a white dishwasher.

So I tell the install and the Grit looks at me and says "Are you sure?"

Am I sure?  Motherfucker of course I am sure.

"Well it says right here this is what it is," says the Grit.

I explain that we bought a Kitchen Aid, stainless steel.

"The warehouse doesn't make mistakes," says the Grit.

Well, someone did something wrong.

Problem is its SEVEN in the morning and the store isn't open.  So the Grit starts to leave and I said, oh no you don't - put the old one back in.

"I'll have to charge you," sayeth the Grit.

"Just try," respondeth Cookie.

So I worked that out with his home office, and they ate the cost because Grit was not to remove anything until I approved the unit.

So I had to go to the store, which opened at 10 to iron this mess out.

And that's when I got to the car to find one tire nearly flat and the windshield wiper on my car broken.   (It wasn't the Grit - I had my eyes on him.)

So I limp the Prius to the mechanic, get my wiper and tires looked at, and the big old screw removed.  And an oil change.  Because I had some time to change.

I get to the store and my salesmen is off for the day and I get Darvon - like the pain medication - and Darvon is fine.  Dark skinned.  Broad shoulders. Bubble butt.  And all charm.

And then Darvon delivers the crushing blow.

"Where is the wrong dishwasher?"

I sent it back, why.

"Well we can't schedule your installation until the wrong dishwasher is returned to the warehouse over the weekend."

Evidently, I was supposed to hold onto the wrong item so they could bring the right item from the warehouse.

"The same warehouse where the bad one is supposed to go?" asks I.

So tomorrow I have to contact Darvon's boss, Durell, and Durell will try and speed this along.

So if you will excuse me, I am going enjoy my sick headache.  I've earned it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Appliance redo redux



Now that the saga of the stove is behind us, Cookie and Husband have been shopping for a dishwasher to replace the 30 year old Kitchen Aid model that doesn't wash dishes so much as it rinses them.

Built in a time when Phosphates did the dirty work of cleaning plates, its cycles are terribly short.  A regular cycle washes the dishes and rinses them in 15 minutes and then dries them for another 15 minutes while producing enough noise that you can hear it all over the house.

The problem is, without the phosphates to eat the dried on food off, the plates get wet and covered in detergents, and then rinsed too quickly to get things cleaned.  And new dishwashers can take up to 120 minutes to run their cycles in a far more energy and water efficient fashion than the old, out of date model in our kitchen.

So like the stove, we have been looking and looking.   And we made a decision that dishwasher was not something we wanted to skimp on.  The more you spend, the more you really do get.

We looked at American brands (Kitchen Aid, GE Monogram, GE Cafe, Viking, Frigidaire Professional, Maytag, Jenn Air, etc.) and we looked at foreign made including DCS, Asko, Bosch,  LG, Samsung, etc.

We looked at drawer models and full size.  We looked at settings, features, racks, and we looked at repair issues, warranties and we spent a surprising amount of time on handles.

Yes, handles.

We honed our list, down to Kitchen Aid verses Kitchen Aid.   Thats right, we discarded nearly every brand for a variety of reasons.  Bosch and Asko because they don't offer heated dry settings, Viking because they license their name to another manufacturer, Samsung because their repair and parts departments have bad track records, etc.

One by one they fell by the way side until we kept coming back to Kitchen Aid (which is a Whirlpool built product, but far better than Whirlpool), but which Kitchen Aid was a struggle.

Kitchen Aid has a new wash arm system that looks like the old amusement park "Scrambler" ride.  We liked that.  It had the third rack for utensils, we were in different about that.  And the racks just worked better.

The icing on the cake is that it has not one, but two dry settings - heated dry or "Pro Dry" which uses less heat and a vent fan.

However, Cookie, in a weak moment fell in love with the newest feature that no one needs: A door with a window and a light inside the dishwasher.

Yup. You read that correctly.

Fortunately, my husband was keeping a clear vision of what we wanted and needed and pulled me away from the siren sound of gadgetry.

I didn't go quietly, though.  I kept repeating what the real estate agent said about home improvements, which is to keep them "sexy" to raise your home value so when you do decide to sell it, you get the max for your investment.  And the windowed dishwasher wasn't that much more.

However, in the end we went with what we needed to go with, and we got one heck of a deal by bundling points, credit card points, coupons, and the President's Day sale.  So in addition to the dishwasher, on sale, we got free install, free haul away, free five years Kitchen Aid extended warranty and we still paid less than if we would have paid cash.

So, good Lord willing, Wednesday we get an install.   I'd post a picture of it, but it looks like a sheet of stainless steel.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cookie, post Snotorious B.I.G.


Let us say that Cookie and Husband have weathered the storm, our sanity intact.

For the most part.

We knew it was coming well over a week ago when the Husband returned home from his job at National Amalgamatics and Stove Works (NASW, for short) and the NASW one staff meteorologist, Mort, evidently made an appearance in the Hamster Wheel division and in a coy way hinted that "come the weekend a ruler won't do you any good - you'll need a yard stick."  Then he took a donut from the coffee counter and left.

Husband texted me this, and I hit the grocery store, laying in staples, snacks and chocolate.

On Thursday, old Morty breezed in and announced that the snow would start at three PM the next day, and that when it was done, minus the drift, that we could expect 21-27 inches in our area, but that the official total at the airport would be 30".

This meteorologist is never wrong.

So I hit the store again.

By this time panic in Baltimore had set in.  People were buying things just to buy them.  Baltimore grocery stores emptied out of Campbell's Tomato Soup, Capers and soda crackers.  Wine stores also reported brisk sales.  Bread? Not on your lifetime for the next six days.

The look on these mothers faces, while they stood in line at the Giant food, was clearly panic.  It wasn't the snow, or lack of power that scared them. Nor were they even pondering the loss of heat.

No. These were women terrified of two things.  The first was running out of wine.  The second was being trapped in their too small house with their children.   I guess the wine numbs the senses, making children more tolerable.  But how do you keep kids today entertained for days?

My big fear was losing power.

However, the new house performed well enough.  No leaks in the roof during the storm, so far, no weeping basement.  And the power stayed on.

The only mishap happened on Saturday during a lull in the storm.

The husband, brave, strong and handy decided that even though the wind was blowing, that we needed to clear off the front stoop, and shovel six inches off the forty foot walk that connects us to the street.  So, out he went, dressed for the Iditarod and shovel shovel shovelled away.

I went into the kitchen to figure out how to cook a pork roast that was supposed to be a pork loin when the house began to shake and a very loud train sound enveloped the atmosphere.  I should point out that there are no trains anywhere around us.  As I looked through the kitchen to dining room windows there was nothing but WHITE for a brief moment.

Then silence.

Our house has a steep pitched slate roof.  And slate roofs when they are wet are slippery.  So they install these things called "snow stops" on the roof to keep the snow pack from releasing and hurting someone on the ground.  When the snow pack becomes too heavy, no snow stop is going to halt a "release".

And release is what the roof did.  So imagine a few hundred square feet of snow, two feet thick falls on a considerably smaller footprint.  When the powder settles you have four feet of compacted snow in a small area running in a mound the length of the house.

And you have my husband, luckily out of the avalanche's way, standing thirty feet out from the house that he just dug through.  Now to get back to the house, he has ten times the work ahead of him moving hundreds of pounds of snow to get back in.

My husband was agog.  He had not gone outside planning to become Sisyphus, but Susyphus he was, for that moment.

The next day and the next, we dug out - hours of time spent driving a shovel into the warming snow and then hauling it to a place where it was safe to drop it.

The condition of the city on the other hand is not to be believed.   You see, Baltimore is notorious for panicking when it snows, yet it's city government, normally clueless when it comes to dealing with snow as an impotent as Noel Coward in a room full of writhing, nubile, Spanish Fly hopped up 18 year old female virgins demanding to be serviced.

How driven to hysterics are the good people of Baltimore when even the mere mention of the word snow creeps into the forecast?  They close the close schools on speculation of snowfall.  Thats right.  It doesn't have to snow, but they'll close the schools just in case it does snow.

As of tomorrow, we will be at one week since SnOMG hit and they are still operating out of a command center.  And the roads are at one lane, and the intersections are at pure right angles.  That lane your driving in?  It could disappear at any moment into a pile of snow that got dumped in the middle of the street.

Come Wednesday, February 3rd when the temperature climbs to a January Thaw-like 64 degrees, trust me, the elected officials and bureaucrats will be slapping each other on the back, congratulating one and another for making those snow clogged streets their bitch.

How clueless are the people about how to deal with this?  The local paper has a city columnist who opines about problems in his column.  He lives around the corner.  He's been through these storms before.  So what was his column the other day, bitching about the city that is never prepared for these types of events when they know it happens.  He wraps up his column about his neighbor who lived through the dual storms that dropped a whopping 36+" on the city in 2010 and being a smart man, went out and bought a monster snowblower, saying at least this guy was a smart man, why couldn't the city have learned its lessons?

So Sunday, I see this same Columnist grumbling - why?  Because he can hear snow blowers around him, but none of his neighbors have offered to help him out.  And of course, he doesn't have a snow blower because "it wouldn't get much of a workout, so why spend the money?"

See the irony.

See the mentality.

They are not questions.  They are a point to be made.

It isn't the snow that these folks need to fear.

It's their own selves.