Friday, May 27, 2022

We all know a *Betty*...

 



Betty is cranky.  Betty is a pill. Betty can be the reason why we opted not to have children.   

And what Betty needs isn't a product, she needs a parent. 

What Betty needs isn't sugar.  

What Betty doesn't need a diet drink, either.  

What Betty needs is a nap. 

Betty will argue that she is too old for naps. 

No, Betty is overtired, cranky, wearing down her auxiliary battery, and she is working everyone's last nerve. 

But sugar?  No. Oh, no, no, no.

Not today Betty.  Not today.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

If Cookie could name the horses in the Kentucky Derby

 The Derby is this week.  As is tradition, Cookie renames the horses to suit his whims. 



Place bets at your own peril.   But my sources tell me that Elmers Bound is running scared, or coming to a bottle near you soon.


Monday, April 25, 2022

Don't fuck around with SEPSIS...

 

So, Cookie's Friday didn't go the way that he had planned. 

Thursday night I came down with a 100+ fever out of nowhere.   I took some Tylenol.  At 3am, it was even higher.  Friday morning it was still higher.  And this wasn't just any old fever, this was a full-on Mrs. Lovett's radiating heat fever. Like the Husband could feel how hot I was from two feet away.

Friday morning I got in to see the doctor, who looked at me fading in and out of a stupor (like an idiot, I drove myself to the doctor's office), and said, "Yeah, I am admitting you, right this minute."  I was put in a wheelchair and literally pushed to the ER. 

Long story short, I had two things wrong.  1st, a medical condition that we thought we taken care of in 2014 with abdominal surgery was back, and 2nd, they diagnosed sepsis and had I waited another day, could have landed me in ICU.

Here's the good news, they got me in, drained enough blood out of me for tests that I might as well have been being bled by George Washington's doctor, sent me through a machine or six, and then hooked me up to a battery if IV's.  Test results came back fast.  In some instances, I had the results before the doctors did.  Of course, I had no idea what was going on, but I have never had labs in an ER come back that fast, ever.

The miracle is that in 24 hours I got to come back home.  How?  The executive summary is powerful drugs and I responded almost as quickly as the whole event started.   I am still feeling wonky, I am on multiple anti-biotics, one of which is Flagyl - which makes your mouth taste horrible - but I am without pain. 

Why tell you this? 

Well, you hear about people going into sepsis (your body going into an extreme state to fight an infection), you don't know what it is or why getting to the ER fast is vital to prevent damage or even death.  I am providing THIS LINK to the CDC.  Look at it, read it, take it seriously.

What I experienced was a swift onset of fever, my blood pressure dropped, my heart rate became irregular, I felt woozy to the point of passing out.  

How they treat it depends on what triggered it.  Because mine was in the gut, it was IV antibiotics by mouth and by IV. 

In my case, it was the high fever, sudden and unlike any other, that was the red flag for ME.  I knew something was very wrong and I should have been at the ER that night, but I kept thinking it would pass and it didn't.  

I feel lucky and I know I got very lucky.   And I also know what could have happened had I tried to tough it out. 




Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The things that are done

 What has gotten done in the Cookie house today?

Bitch, this isn't chaos for anyone but the guy in the wig.

1) The conversion to Windows11 is DONE.  And my recommendation to you is to do everything you can do to avoid it.  It is VILE and has left Cookie feeling defeated.  Jesus fucking christ, I hate what Satya Nadella and his wrecking crew have done to Windows.  And personally, he won't be getting any cosmic love from me. 

2) The TAXES are done.  And we get refunds from the Feds and our home state. 

3) The accountant's bills are paid for the taxes.  FUCK YES!

4) I told that bitch off in the genealogy group today who was whining about something that happened on a major genealogical website like 20 years. 
Bitch, "chaos" isn't what happened to that website just because it no longer finds it useful.  Chaos happens in an enemy bombing civilians trying to get away from a military attack.  Chaos happens when some criminal whips out a semi-automatic on a subway car.  Chaos is watching a highly sugared child running rampant in a meltdown while his parents do nothing to soothe that child and question their own abilities as parents.   What your problem is DRAMA, and nothing more.   And I am not buying a ticket to that show, is neither is anyone else.

So excuse Cookie while I go and take a valium, a couple of pieces of chocolate, and eat a nice juicy steak for dinner in my victory lap.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Before you clean up that tombstone...

 


...ask yourself, does it have to be cleaned?  Do I have a right to clean it? Do I want to be the person who destroys the tombstone?

Cookie is going down this rabbit hole because what used to be the history buff and genealogy nut thing to do is evidently becoming a "Pinterest" hobby for many people. 

And that scares Cookie. 

I have been a genealogy buff (aka nut) for 45 years, and in those 45 years I have seen too many examples of the "best of intentions gone horribly wrong."  Over time, preservation and conservation techniques change, evolve, and too often than naught, get discarded. 

And with the explosion of internet access, messages boards, Instagram, Facebook, Bloggr (yes, I know), and social media, there are way too many people watching videos and crowning themselves experts.   And many, many, many of these self-educated experts are doing real damage in our graveyards and cemeteries. 

It wasn't even forty years ago that people advocated tombstone rubbings as a way to preserve the writing on tombstones.  "Look!" they said, pointing at papers that they had dropped over stones.  "I'm persevering history!" 

But they weren't.  They were adding to the abrasion damage caused by chalking and crayons being scraped across the face of gravestones, which accelerated the decay.   Don't do it!

About three weeks ago, an attendee at RootsTech, the world's largest genealogy conference - which was free again and virtual this year - was pointing to all sorts of horribly abrasive and damaging technics that they claimed to learn about cleaning tombstones and then advocated making rubbings!

No. No. No, NO!

So if you find yourself with a bad case of the Tombstone Twitch, my best advice is as follows: 

1) Stop.  Seriously, don't act.  Don't do anything.  Really.  

2) Ask yourself "do I really need to do this?"  Are you the best person to do this? Are you professionally trained or self-trained?  Or are you just someone who watched a video and thinks that this is too simple to screw up?   Trust me, you'll screw this up.

3) Does the stone need to be just read, or is it imperative that it must be cleaned?  Many stones need to be recorded, but not all stones must be cleaned.

4) Should I be cleaning this stone?  Is that your family member?  Do you have the input of all of the people descended from that person and they have all given you all of the permissions needed?

5)  Can I afford this?  Can you afford the right tools? Can I afford a professional restoration should this stone break or be damaged?

6) What are the laws regarding this?  Did you even think that cleaning a stone could be classified as vandalism?  Will the cemetery association allow you to clean a stone?  If the stone is in a rural cemetery, is it owned by a local government?  Are you trespassing to get to the stone if its a private cemetery?

7) You've decided that the family has abandoned tending to the grave, or have they? Are you assuming, or do you know for certain?

8) Can you afford the correct tools?  Do you have the money for the soft brushes, the D2, the distilled water to rinse the stone?  (Never rinse a stone in chlorinated water!)

So...

Cookie's bottom line: do NOT clean a stone unless you have received proper training, do not assume anything, and understand that even the slightest mistake could be destroying history for future generations.  

And one other thing to think of - do you remember that woman in Europe who destroyed a fragile fresco of Jesus with her handiwork?  You don't want to be her.  Seriously.  No.  And it is not funny, it is not that no one cares.  She ruined a piece of work with the best of intentions and it went horribly wrong because she didn't know what she was doing.  

Don't be that person, OK?

In other words, don't clean that stone unless it's got your name on it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

This must be what Hell is like...


Cookie is aghast. 

Simply, aghast. 

Seriously, what the hell was in the water in Bryan, Ohio, that led the makers of Etch-A-Sketch down this path? 

The toy is not the issue.  It's a record player with an attached mic.  A white mic.   One that Mike Douglas would be comfortable holding. 

But the horrible sound quality of the commercial!  The stilted verbiage!.  The off-key singing!  The sugared-up children!

I mean what creative mind came up with "It's a record player with a microphone, but without the record."

Would it have been so hard to write "It's a record player with an attachable microphone," and at the end state "records not included"?

And in what pop tart powdered sugared world DJ need a Mike Douglas-styled microphone? 

Seriously, what the fuck?

Of course, now I must possess one...

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

They want me so bad. Well, their gonna have to wait, forever.

 


When we moved to Baltimore, we had to get a landline phone.  There were a variety of reasons, but it boiled down to two things.  First, the husband is on call 24/7 for work, so we have to have a guaranteed way for his coworkers to reach him.  The second reason is that we have owned two large houses, and Cookie refuses to become one of the people who carry their cell phones 24/7.   The cell phone only is in use when I leave the house for a period of time, or travel, period.  

As a result, we get all manner of whack-a-doodle robocalls all day long.  You learn to live with that. 

I also get a lot of odd calls from our old area code, which is where the cell phones have their numbers based, based in Central Ohio.  One caller, "Bob" from the "electronic company" that and that he was "coming to turn our power off in your Columbus abode unless you give me your credit card number NOW and pay the $3,000 balance this very minute."  I laughed.  "Thees is not humorous," said "Bob".  I told him I had a thick juicy steak to eat, and that he was free to knock his socks off while trying to cut my "electronic".

We don't get many spammy text messages because we don't give out our cell phone numbers. But this morning, which making coffee,  I got a very odd text message through the cell phone from a dealer who bills themselves as Ford Superstore.  And Son of a Tallahassee Bitch, the dealership is for real.  How about that?

"Mr. COOKIE COOKIE" it begins...
"We have buyers for your used Ford F-150..."

This gave me pause for a number of reasons.   First, they had my full name. Which I found odd.  Secondly, they had my full name with my correct cell phone number. Thirdly, I don't own a F-150. 

So I called said dealership and said: "Why am I getting these from you when I have no business relationship with you?"

The operator said she would connect me to the right person. 

Eventually, Mr. Right Person picked up and said "Mr. Cookie - Yes, we would like you to bring in your truck and give you a premium on your trade-in amount."

So she put me on hold and transferred the call to the person who was up next to be the Right Person. 

This guy explained that this was part of a batch broadcast fax (which I call SPAM) from customer profiles drawn from their service department.  "You brought your Ford F-150 in last fall to have the tires rotated. It had Ohio plates."

"Now that intrigues me," says I.  And then I explain to him why:

1) I do not own a currently own a Ford.

2) I haven't owned a Ford since 1982 when I junked a 1973 Ford LTD that the engine seized up on leaving me stranded at college.

2) I do not now own, lease, rent, or drive a Ford F-150 pick-up, now or ever. (I know who I am, and someone living in a big city has no need for such. Or for a fragile self-esteem reason that many men buy such trucks.) 

3) I have never considered owning such a vehicle.

4) Until today, I had never heard of this Florida town where said dealership is located.   And If I have never heard of it, it isn't possible for me to have been there last fall when we were in Baltimore - ALL FALL WITH NO TRAVEL because of COVID.

5) I would never take any vehicle to a dealership out of warranty and based on their text message said truck was way out of any new car warranty, for a tire rotation.

6) I haven't set foot in Florida since 2011 and have no intention of doing so in the future.

And finally: I haven't lived in Ohio for a decade. 

"So if  I have never been in the corner of the state where you are, or heard of the city where you are, or own the vehicle that I have never owned, leased, or driven, and thus I cannot rotate its tires, how did my name, and phone number get into your dealer's service logs on a vehicle that as far as I am concerned doesn't exist?"

Dead silence. 

Now, he did promise to take me out of their rotation of broadcast (SPAMMY) messages. 

Either this dealership has had a customer that used my name, my cell phone number, and someone else's VIN in their system. You'd think that would get kicked out, don't you? Or the person at the dealership made some fantastical (as in "I call bullshit") story up. 

Then the coup d' grace. I asked what number he had just taken out of the system.  He says "Well, the one you are calling from," and he rattles off my landline in Baltimore.  

"Guess again, son."

Now, I am not saying that this dealership isn't above board and all, but something here ain't right.  And had he just come out and said "Sir, I do not have any idea how this happened," it would be a closed book. 

But this story about me being someplace I was not, doing something that I did not do, and driving something I wouldn't drive, now that gets to me. 

And I will get to the bottom of it.  Because my question is, have other people fallen for this?  Or who in their right mind would want to be me.  (I should add that Life Lock hasn't ever sent me a warning that someone was trying to be me.)

But one thing is for sure, I'll never buy a car from them, new, used, leased, or otherwise made up.


Sunday, March 13, 2022

There two kinds of people. Which are you?

 Cookie begs the question, are you someone who looks at the obvious, or do you see the big picture? 



Because you could be missing out on the lie that tells the truth.

And someone could get embarrassed. 

Or Cookie could post the picture on his blog. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

A new computer means new angst...

 


Over the last several years, Cookie has been plagued with computer woes.  And its all my fault. 

Now, before you read further, do not comment by throwing Apple love at my bitterness. I too love Apple machines.  But they don't work well with what I work with. 

ANYWAY...In 2010 I built through Dell an amazing machine - in fact, I overbuilt it.  I did not want to go through the process of having to buy and then a couple years later, jettison a computer because it was struggling to keep up.  And this machine was the answer.  I loved it so much, I named it, Endora because it felt effortless, and like I could do anything.

I built it so well, that except for a bump in RAM, it ran beautifully for eight years - a record for me. Endora never let me down.  Alas, the processor was aging, and I determined it was time to say goodbye. 

So like an idiot, instead of doing my own homework, I listened to the sales reps at MicroCenter and bought a Dell that they had customized. (Normally, I love Microcenter, having never been led astray before this purchase.)  The operating system was on a small SSD, and the former C drive was repositioned as a "D" drive for my documents and pictures.  They claimed that I could load programs to the D drive and they would run just fine. Well, I had problem after problem after problem and the machines just locked up, so they replaced them. There were three replacements in a six-month period.   I was not happy with Microcenter and they were tired of me, but the fourth machine stuck, kind of.

First off, some programs didn't like being on one drive and the operating system on another.  Photoshop kicked up the worst fuss. But the other issue was that for whatever reason, there never seemed to be enough resources or cooling power.   And no amount of upgrades seemed to help.

Idiosyncrasies that we intermittent  - like the mouse freezing up for a second once in a great while, or the computer pausing like it had a momentary lapse in memory happened, but they were the rule, until...

Last year it started behaving wonky and when 32g of ram didn't help, we upped it to 64g.  But the performance was declining. It was like Esmerelda had taken control of the machine.

This past December things became dire, and we entered the AUNT CLARA stage right after Microsoft uploaded one of the pesky Windows11 updates, and I didn't install it.  That was when the mouse pausing went into overdrive, the screen started flickering and flashing, and Photoshop started crashing. 

We decided to replace it with another one built directly with Dell.  Then we would slip out the D drive and install it in the new machine.  Wouldn't that be easy? 

In the middle of February, New Dell arrived, shiny, nice case, and in a pleasant surprise, the 500mg SSD drive was upgraded by the manufacturer to a 1000tb SSD. 

Then I turned it on and there it was, Windows11 Professional.   That first couple of hours wrestling with the new operating system was pretty hellish. I developed one of my sick headaches, and we set the new machine aside. 

I started doing some homework and soon learned that Windows11 is a mother fucking pain in the arse, and I am not alone in my opinion.  So much so that a whole cottage industry exists making apps to make the thing work for you better, rather than you working on it as it demands. 

And don't even get me started on how "flat" (cheap) it looks.

One example is that Cookie does not "chat" through Microsoft, or other platforms.  I do use IOS messenger, but I have no need to "chat" unless you call me on the landline.  But you cannot get rid of the Chat button on the toolbar.  For that matter, the ersatz Apple IOS-looking toolbar takes up a bit of room on the screen, too.

But change is coming.  I have to get the new computer up and running, AND, I understand that Microsoft will be unleashing so many changes to meet with consumer complaints in the fall.  

Mid-March looks like a beast, but I'll make it.  Then after this machine is completely ended of anything usable, I reformat the C drive and take it to be recycled.  It's not that I dislike it, but no one else shall be burdened with it. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

"...Fauci wants you to be oxygen starved..." said the bird

 



Today, I drove up to Wegman's, Hunt Valley, to grab something for dinner.  When I came into the parking lot, and parked I noted lots of fluorescent orange fliers on the windshields of the cars.  And my first thought was the pre-pandemic "No! something else to throw away, damn it."

I park the truck, get out, mask on my face, and start walking to the store when the person (or one of the people) distributing fliers approached me.  Again, in my pre-pandemic mind, I said to myself  "Jesus just leave me alone."

No. Such. Luck.

The woman looked like a strung-out Blythe Danner, but she was wearing expensive clothing and a gorgeous fitted coat.  And into my hand, she pushed a flier.  And then she told me to "Take off that mask; you need to breathe."

Excuse me?

"You need to take off that mask and breathe.  Your brain is oxygen-starved for breath."

Yeah, someone is cuckoo for Coco-Puffs.

I continued to walk, her flier in hand.  And she continued to harangue me.  

"Talk off that mask and breathe.  Fauci wants you to be oxygen-starved so you will be complacent.  Vaccines are experimental.  They are rotting your ability to think for yourself.  You need to take off that mask and breathe..."

Oh, shit.  

By this point, people started starring and a couple people start yelling at the woman about the littering she was instigating.  

"You are big pharma's..." and I tuned her out.  She said everything to me and it was too much. 

I kept walking. 

She stopped before I crossed the traffic lane that separated the parking from the front of the store.  More people were starring at her. 

I went into the store, grabbed a cart, and headed for the front desk.  Then I thought, nope, I need to take this to the pharmacy.   Which is what I did. 

I handed it to the pharmacy employee - where customers can get a booster -  and told them what was up outside.  They said they would take care of it.  She called the store manager and was talking when I left.

I found my items, got in line, and paid for them.  

When I left the store the woman was nowhere near where I was walking, I noticed a security patrol for the shopping center out of his vehicle pulling the fliers from windshields. 

We have been going through this damned pandemic for two years because this virus is hard to smack down, and it's hard to smack down because of people like that woman.  Spreading misinformation, harassing people, lying, and spreading all sorts of conspiracy theories. 

And I thought about keeping the flyer to show others, but why?  To what end?   I mean I post a picture of that ransom note looking flier and it gets copied by someone and gets distributed, or worse I get a smackdown from Bloggr for distributing that crap.

On one hand, I am grateful she didn't touch me or try to go for my mask. 

On the other hand, FUCK HER, in the metaphoric sense only. 

But one thing is for sure if anyone needs Big Pharma, it is that bird. 



Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Things of my youth: Petrolagar

Cookie is getting old, and there is a milestone birth ahead in the fall that reminds him of that.  

Cookie is so old in fact that most of the things from his youth no longer exist.  And that might be for the better, too. 

Take Petrolagar.  A medicine that my mother fed me each night before bed.

Well, I took it, not by choice.  But did any child who was fed it by their parents in the hopes of avoiding constipation in their children back in "then"?  The answer is no - your parents poured and you opened up until you were big enough to say "NO!" and not get spanked. 

Petrolagar was a children's laxative filled with mineral oil.   When it was new from the factory, it came emulsified and uniform in a creamy white liquid with an inoffensive taste.  Most kids didn't mind it in this fashion - we'll get back to this in a minute - and parents only had to give it a little shake before they poured it out. 

Petrolagar
This was the only example of the bottle I could find.
The contents separated, but it wasn't gross, just white. 

The packaging was that of a milk or cream bottle - clear, wide mouth opening a white lid.  The label was sky blue with white.  I seem to recall that in the early 1960s, the font was different and the 'g' had one of those circle tails.  Anyway, it tasted better than that nasty crap Fletcher Castoria that children have been abused with for ages.

So this was part of my routine of early childhood. 

Until.

Until Mom brought home something different. 

First, the label said Cascara PETROLAGAR, according to my mom years later.  Secondly, the bottle was brown, the label orange.  And my mother said the dreaded words that children fear: "It's just like the other stuff, but in a different bottle."

So I opened up my mouth and in when the nastiest stuff in the world.  Christ that stuff was gross.  And if I could have verbally articulated it, instead of saying what must have been a BIG "Yuck!", the following words would have flowed from my mouth: "What is that nasty shit?"  

Reader, the taste was foul, the texture was off.  

It. Was. FOUL!

Well, the next day, I was getting ready for bed, and outcomes that nasty-looking bottle, and I refused.  Maybe I had a meltdown.  Who knows.  But no, I wasn't going to take that spoonful of muck. 

So my mother says, and even though this was 56 years ago I remember it clear as a bell, "Well I'll take a spoon just to show you it's good."  

So Mom opens up, that spoon goes in, and she spits it out.  

After that, the stuff in that brown bottle and the orange label went away and the daily dosing stopped. 

Now for the clincher - the ONLY place I could find an image of Petrolagar that I remember is this, which came from the Smithsonian's historic medicines collection. 

Now, the offshoot of all of this is that I continued to have gut problems for years, decades.  And then I had the lower third of my colon removed because of diverticulitis, and guess what? The stomach issues removed themselves. 

So there you have it.  Cookie is so old that his childhood medicine is in the Smithsonian. 



Friday, February 4, 2022

The beginning of the end for winter

 


Cookie is done with soothsaying and groundhogs. 

Look, winter is winter, and it's ALWAYS six month weeks of winter from Ground Hog Day to the first day of spring no matter how you slice it, right. 

So Cookie likes to find the silver lining wherever he can.  Well, here is something you can bank on: Today, February 4, 2022, is the first full day of the last half of winter. 

Come again? 

February 3, at some hour of the day, is the mid-way point for winter.  At that point, we cross over that mark that we are now closer to the Vernal Equinox than we are 2021 Winter Solstice.  That means that February 4th is the first day of that final half.  With each day, we get closer to Spring than we are the first day of this winter. 

Yes, Cookie is fully aware that Mother Nature is going to do what she is going to do.  But at least the beginning of Cookie's favorite season - SPRING! - is on the way. 

But Cookie, some smart ass is thinking, that only means that the first day of winter, 2022 is that much closer. Yes, true.  But you are not going to spoil this for me.  Spoil it yourself if you must.  But not me.

Cookie knows better than to wish away time.  So every day is precious.  Bask in the longer daylight each day delivers.  Do the winter things you have been wanting to do but have been putting off. 8

For surly, ten days from now is Valentine's Day. And March 1st is FAT TUESDAY.

And verily, the light is at the end of the tunnel. And before you know it, happy daisies will be here again. 


Wednesday, February 2, 2022

What we did to see them say "I Do"


So, you may be wondering how is Cookie and if he is still alive. 

Cookie is fine, and yes, Cookie is still alive. 

We made it to the Wedding in Cincinnati, although sporting events and the weather made it difficult at best.  And if you have every driven in Cincinnati you know that going from point A to point B is, except for downtown, twisty and turny, up and down. 

The reception dinner was in Northern Kentucky, in downtown Covington, which I guess is now a happening place. And the room was full of the most adorable young men in the world!  

The wedding was at this lovely Catholic church - and no, Cookie and the Husband were not struck down by lightning getting into the event.   Apparently this church as a big honking bell (nine feet wide across the open end) by seven feet tall.  They do swing this bell when they ring it because the vibrations during the first ringing were so strong that it caused damage to the church building itself.  So the bell is clapped by an external hammer for a less shocking effect. 

And let me say that the bride was radiant.  The groom, tall, lean, handsome. 

But it was the mother of the bride, one of my longest-running friendships (52 years) who stunned me with her dress.  

You know how frumpy a mother of the bride's dress can be?  

Not this one.  

Medium navy blue, beaded with a full skirt and tea length, the hem hit my friend's legs at the perfect point to slim and lengthen her legs.  The dress top hit her arms just at the top of her shoulders, and the straps did a wonderful cross in front and back.  Color matching pumps finished the look.  Made me want to tear up because while I have known said friend forever, this look on her was simply amazing.  And oh, the dress, custom-designed for her by her cousin's husband in his fashion house in Manhattan. 

The dinner reception was held at a building that Cookie first visited in 1985 - a former Passionist Brotherhood Monastery.  Back in the late 1970s, the monks moved on, and left behind was this former chapel and the ancillary building.  Back then, the ancillary building was being made over into offices, but finding a use for the historic chapel (I don't call it a church as it is not in the shape of the cross) was trickier.  I believe at the time we visited it was being used as a media studio.   Well, that didn't pan out, so the building owners struggled to find a use.  

Finally, it found its purpose as an event space.  And it was PERFECT!

During the dinner, the room was utterly breathtaking.  Lights up, shabby chic and all, the flowers, the well-dressed people (including this young Lesbian couple who dressed in the most incredible outfits that showed off their amazing curves.  Did  And the food, which I understand is prepared on-site was ungodly delicious.   Cookie had chicken and prime rib, and while I am a beef guy, that chicken was out of this world. 

Finally, the lights came down - see above -  and the dance floor opened up and the room transformed into a nightclub for the happy couple and their guests.

Thankfully, we took the wedding shuttle. Driving up and down Mount Adams at night isn't for the weak-hearted.  In bitter temperatures, and snow and ice, it was even more nail-biting.

The flights were all fine, Delta treated us royally in first class.  Normally we wouldn't bother with FC flying from Baltimore to Ohio, but we can no longer get there easily.  Thus was flew Baltimore to Atlanta to Cincinnati, and home was the reverse.  

Now we wait one more day to take our COVID tests just to make sure that we didn't catch anything. 

The only thing we didn't have at this wedding was a bridal flower toss.  Do they still do those?

Finally, we did not get the prize for the furthest travel to the event.  Not even close.  The winner was a friend of the family who flew from Germany to be there. 

So that is what we have been up to.  

Hope you all are well, stay healthy and safe, Cookie. 






Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Ugh of the moment: of wardrobe, COVID, airlines and uncertainty.

 

That feeling of not being in control. 


You know that you are old when what was a blazer becomes a sport coat. 

UGH!

The husband and I have a wedding that we have to attend this winter season.  We are friends of the family and we have to go.  The problem is, it is being held nowhere near where we are, and nowhere we would ever want to go.  So there will be flights - two in each direction.  Then there is the hotel.  Ugh.

The only good news is that we are flying First Class.   

And First Class makes everything better.

We were given a suggested wardrobe list, but given that we are traveling hundreds of miles, to a city that we don't know in frigid conditions, we are traveling light - two carry-ons, period. 

So the first thing to go was the idea of a suit of any kind.  Two reasons, one the last time we needed a suit was when my mother in law died, and since then, eight years and a pandemic have happened.  I love the bride and groom, but no, we aren't going to buy new suits for this.  

So we cleared the sport coat idea with the bride's mother and got the green light on that.  

But there is a problem - the stores have nothing in stock. 

Nothing.

I take that back.  I did find a sport coat for me, not the greatest, but it was in stock and it fit.  It was also on sale.  That's a win.

THEN we tried to find one for the husband.  We bombed on that.  Not one store had anything for him.  And it isn't like the old days when you could out and find locally-owned men's stores.  We did Banks and we did Men's Warehouse. Nothing. 

I did find him a gorgeous coat that would have fit at Nordstrom.  The problem is the price.  Macy's nothing. 

Husband has two fit challenges. First, he's tall. Secondly, we are no longer the lean young men we first met in college. 

Banks - two stores - had two coats.  Actually, one coat at two different stores.  A lifeless light grey coat that looked more like a misplaced suit jacket than a blazer or sport coat.  The material was poor, and it was uninspired. 

So this weekend we strike out again.  I sense bitter disappointment. 

And in the end, this may be for naught. 

With Omicron gathering steam and the airlines in a huge mess, and our inability to board our dogs, we may not be able to attend, realistically. 

What we told the mother of the bride is that if it gets to the point where one of us is sick, or my doctor forbids me to fly because of my lungs (severe asthma against the potential damage of Omicron), or the husbands work demands that he be on duty, all of this will go out the window. 

The good news is, we have had travel insurance.  So if the plans fall through, we're covered 100% less the cost of the jackets, is covered.

And the good news for the bride's parents is that listened to me when they booked the venues and bought insurance that would cover cancelation IF the COVID Crisis forces the event to be postponed or canceled and a smaller wedding is called for at a different time. 

The bad news is that a really sweet couple may not have the wedding the bride dreamed of.  And she is a wonderful young woman.  So we want all good things for them, and for her.

So send out positive vibes for the weekend.  If we can find a jacket for the husband, then we only have to deal with the uncertainty of travel.  

Ugh.     


 


Thursday, December 30, 2021

1,800th Image

"Malcolm, Farnum, and Gilbreth - Walnut Lake, May 1920"
Where is this Walnut Lake? Assuming that these are last names, what are their first names? 
And which are which?  
BTW, this is not the 1,800th hundred image.  Just an example of what I have to work with sometimes.

There is an old saying that everyone dies twice.  Once when the body and soul cease to exist, and the second time, the last time your name is uttered aloud. 

Cookie believes that in the last 170 years or that photography has been a part of people's lives, there are also a third, and a fourth death.  

The third is when the person's gravesite is lost. 

And the fourth, when there is no longer an image of that person or their markers. 

Today, at noon, Cookie uploaded his 1,800th image to Find A Grave.  Of that, about 300 are tombstones and grave markers. 

And 1,500 are pictures of the deceased person.

I write this, Not to brag, but to observe.   It's that whole "fourth type of death" that cookie wants to undo.

So that has meant spending years, pouring over pictures, comparing photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, then scanning, cropping, correcting, restoring, and uploading.  And when I couldn't find a memorial, searching records & census forms, looking at others family trees*, searching old books, registrations, and walking graveyards, then creating the memorials once they have been proven. Then I create the memorials for the descendants and upload that picture, or pictures, of people like you and me, people who never thought about fading from memory. 

Not all of the pictures are what I would call "winning" images.  Many were taken 100+ years ago using crude Kodak box and Brownie cameras, the film for which is horrible at the contrast.  Or they were taken with the color film other than Kodachrome, which presents its own horror as the dyes have long been broken down so that everything is PINK.

And to fix these, I have been teaching myself Photoshop CC.  No easy task because I was taught to use lighter-duty programs.  After two years I consider myself a beginner.   I still have a long, long way to grow. 

I should add that I have never once used an AI program to autocorrect an image, or worse, color it.  

For example, I just finished a photo album belonging to a long-gone cousin who made friends everywhere she went.  100 pages, 500 images of people, places, and events.  Only about 75 people be ID's right off the bat and found online.  Another 100+ had to be fully researched, traced, and their memorials created.   I still have approximately 175-200 people for which I only have first, or last names, like SMITH, TOUEY, McBRIDE, or SUSAN, AMELIA, JIM.  Some have nicknames like SPOTS, WINKIE, SIS, and something called the "The FARQUARTET" whatever that is.  The frustrating ones are the ones like this:  "My relative Suze" and "Liz's ex-husband, SPATS."

Not enough people named DUCKY, UNC, and SPATS.  Where oh where are you, SPATS?

I have a lovely photo of "Dickie in his new Nash" dated "September last".  Is it 1919, 1920, or 1921? 

DAMN IT, these people have names!  Help me, Jesus.  Seriously.  Enlighten me.

And so when I finish this post, I will dive back in, trying to jog something in my head between an early seen image and a later one.

My other push to do this is that while we live in a world of photography, the pictures are surviving as we think they are.  Polaroids are darkening, color snapshots are yellowing, their blacks fading, and CDV and Cabinet card images are slowly fading away for a variety of reasons.  So time is not our friend, my friends.

Mark those pictures, people.  Having something is better than nothing!

So I will do this until I can no longer do this. I will keep at this task.  

No one deserves to be forgotten.  And Cookie is doing his damnedest to make sure that I get through as many of these before the day comes when someone has to make a memorial for me.



Monday, December 13, 2021

The bestest present for a young Cookie

 



Children gather 'round.  The picture above is 1964/1965 PLAYMOBILE, the BESTEST Christmas ever for a young Cookie (I was but a dollop of dough in those years), and oh, how I loved it so. 

It served no purpose but to keep children with imaginations busy.  And how lucky I was to get one, one Christmas from my gentile grandparents (I had a set of gentile grandparents and a set of Jewish parents.)  

With batteries, you could make the turn indicators blink and I think the windshield wipers swept to and fro.   The dashboard was made from good quality Styrene plastic, which was stable, but the windshield was made from acetate plastic, which was the only fly in the ointment.  Acetate plastics over time warp - and like every other Playmobile set up like this I have seen since on eBay, the windshield developed a sunken sag along the top middle. 

Overtime, mine was tossed and I think my parents left it at our old house for the children of the buyers to play with. 

This is something that I never forgave my parents for.  

And I am not joking. 

Alas, now I am too old, and have too much fine art to accommodate one should I find one at an antique market. 

This makes me sad - not for me - but for children to come. 

Driving the Playmobile required a lot of imagination.  And that's something that I think children are being robbed of by all this new technology today.  On the other hand, I am sure what people in their sixties in the 1960s thought about those of us born in the 1960s.

In any event, whenever I see one of these, for a moment, I am again a three or four-year-old and I marvel at it.  And part of me really wants Santa to bring me one. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Meat PARTY!

 


This is from an ad for the American Meat Producers Association.  

The message?  Do you want a party that people will remember for ages to come?  Serve MEAT.  And plenty of MEAT. 

Because only MEATiest pieces of MEAT can give your guests the energy to get through an evening of square dancing.  A night of Pictionary.  A night of Disco. 

Only MEAT can help you throw a real barn burner, metaphorically, speaking.  Because burning a barn is probably illegal, and besides, that is where you keep your beef cattle.  

So maybe not a barn burner.  

But be sure there is plenty of MEAT to go-go around. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Cookie is done with "SCOTT"...

We have all been there, right?

There you are: you are living your life, and the phone rings CONSTANTLY with people in poor countries pestering you with robotically dialed calls.  They tell you their name is something hard to believe because it seems unlikely that someone from that part of the world would name their child "Darrell" or "Betty", but we knew that isn't their real name.   And they are constantly trying to sell you something that no one would ever buy over the phone, like Medicare coverage.  

This morning, it was SCOTT, and it was a doozy of pitch: 

"Hello, my name is SCOTT, and I am calling from the FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF VISA AND MASTERCARD." 

As if.  A "Federal Department" of Visa and Mastercard?  Seriously? 

Cookie was tempted to just hang up - after all, I once worked with financial institutions rolling out new credit card programs.  

I know how it works.  From the accounting to the "online or batch" processing, to even designing the face of your card.

I even remember the cardboard wheel of "chargeback" calculators we used to use.

But Cookie is a picker.  Pick, pick, pick, pick, pick. 

So Cookie said: "my, you sound important?"

"Yes," says he, "and I am calling to tell you that you must provide me with your credit card number now or I will discontinue and have you arrested."

Oh, SCOTT, do you have any idea that this isn't the way anything is done?

"YES! You must do this now as there are security police and the FBI on their way to arrest you for noncompliance!"

Reader, do you know what Cookie did?   Cookie said: SCOTT, Isn't this a bit like a ten-year-old screaming a threatening 'My father is going to sue you for being mean to me,' to another kid on the playground?

I mean, really, SCOTT.  Security Forces AND the FBI?   But there was SCOTT on the other end of the phone getting ready to have a seizure over this make-believe acting gig.

So, I hung up on SCOTT, even as he continued screaming at me into the phone. 

Cookie is so done with these people.  SCOTT needs some weed and mellow, because, dude, it wasn't working. 

But if they are going to keep calling, I am going to be irascible. 


Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Cuomo Affair: Missing the point.

 



UPDATE: CNN Terminated Cuomo's contract and his employment on Saturday, November 3, 2021.

As Cookie continues to mourn the collapse of American society and education, there is a growing roar that is proving to men that we are no longer a nation of the Free, but a Confederacy of Dunces. 

The latest kerfuffle is the shockingly high number of social media who feel that Chris Cuomo should be reinstated at CNN.  CNN put Cuomo into a permanent suspension mode after it came out last week that Cuomo used his position at CNN to do background workups on the accusers of his brother, former Governor Mario Cuomo Jr. who is facing legal action for his sexual harassing of women, including those on the governor's payroll.

Cookie is a former journalism student, and Cookie is a former HR professional.  My view is that Cuomo should be told to pick up the contents of his office and the contract canceled.  Why?   Because he more than likely breached his contract with CNN.  

Normally employment contracts between BIG name talent and their employees (in this case, on-air talent) who have signed employment contracts have two clauses that are pretty constant.  Under the breech section, contract employees can be dismissed for a variety of reasons, but of those varieties of reasons, two are pretty standard: misuse of company resources for personal enrichment, behavior, or acts that cast the employer in a negative light.   In Cuomo's case, he did both, according to reports.  And if he did those things, there is a very real possibility that he could be charged with gaining information for illegal purposes, and/or witness intimidation. 

NORMALLY, in these forums, you find members of the political extreme railing against the other side's media outlets, real or imagined.  However, on this matter, I am seeing a lot of accounts (or sockpuppets) on the left (or pretending to be) railing against CNN for suspending Cuomo.  

Well, of course, there are those who love Cuomo.  And there are the people who hate him.  But Cookie is finding the flimsiest of arguments emerging: He was defending his brother so he should be allowed on the air. 

Now the Constitution does make a provision for the spouse of an accused cannot be made to testify against a legal spouse.  A wife cannot be compelled to testify agist her wife, or her husband, and the same for a man testifying against his husband or wife.  But the legal doctrine of this nation provides no shield for siblings of the accused.  Never has, never will. 

Yet these idiots find what he did (breach of contract, and any misdemeanors or felonies) acceptable and excusable because he was helping his big brother.

Never mind that aiding and abetting, or the perception thereof, tarnishes his reputation, they find what he did acceptable.  And Cookie is very afraid of that concept. The law makes no provisions that allow a shield of protection to those who willingly or unwittingly do stupid things that infringe on the rights of others, period. 

But Cookie also suspects that there are a good number of very twisted ideologues who are championing his reinstatement because then they get a chance to undermine CNN by employing the type of people like Cuomo who have no ethics.  

NOW, the other end of this is that because Donald Trump has made such behavior acceptable by building an entire administration around this concept of "the ends justify the means" doesn't we that it OK for anti-Trump people to stoop to that level.  And yet that is another argument why Cuomo should be reinstated. "But what about Fox News? They do things like this all the time!" they complain. The problem with that is it's a false equivalency.  

(And Cookie should put the cards on the table about FOXNews - its dishonest propaganda, and it presents a very real threat to any democracy, conservative, moderate or liberal.)

If we do not fight for what is righteous, if we abandon our principles, then we have nothing left to fight for. 

So Cookie thinks and knows that CNN has to off-load Cuomo.  Once legal reviews this, he needs to go. 

As a warning to others, as a punishment to him.  

It has to happen.  And since I wrote this originally, they have terminated his employment. 


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Hello, it's been a while

 


And it has been a while - like six weeks. 

I wish I could report back and say that we have been on a madcap caprice around the world, but alas, Cookie is pretty much COVID precaution homebound here. 

And suffice it to say that the only excitement in the coming months is travel to Cincinnati for a wedding, ugh.  Luckily, my friend is the mother of the bride and the bride and groom are very loveable.  Still, no huggie wuggies of physical contact from any guest and full face mask on.  "Really aunt Trudy, so nice to see you, but let's not potentially pass on a deadly disease.

Cookie won't even partake in communion!

But I do wish it was someplace other than Cincinnati. Cookie has just never warmed to the place. Never will, either. 

If we were going to Columbus, or Cleveland, well then, Cookie has scads of things that could be done or friends visited.  So alas, we are literally flying in, and then turning around and leaving. 

On the plus side, Husband and I are fully vaccinated and boosted. 

I wish there was something earth-shattering to share, but maybe peace and quiet is a gift. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Those automatic washer ads from the fifties tell a story that is over looked.

Cookie has noticed that increasingly young know-it-all - the ones that know nothing about history, herstory, ourstory - have been dissing 1950s and 1960s appliance ads.  Some complain that these ads, promising appliance happiness are:

1) "Nothing more than the consumer indoctrination of archetypical females constructs designed by men."
2) "Machines designed to enslave the housewife" while "burying her under the weight of consumerism."  
3) "Products designed to transfer wealth from families to corporations..." and so on and on. 

If you want the long history of laundry and the caustic chemicals that people tried to get their clothes clean, look it up on Wikipedia.  Suffice it to say that it was a labor-intensive, often-dangerous, back-breaking affair.  That is unless you were well off enough to have a laundress on house staff or at least a laundry you could send your clothes to. 

"Electrified" clothes washers started emerging as commonplace after WWI.  They were nothing more than tubs, with wringers attached to them. 

If we speed up past the 1920s, and 1930s and into the late 1940s, most U.S. women were still using these beasts, that looked like this: 


Quaint, looking, ain't it?  But for those of you that never saw your mother, grandmother, or who otherwise used one of these beasts, let's go over what it took. 

First, laundry was done on a day of the week, usually by everyone changed with the duty.  And in most places that was Tuesday.  Why? People didn't burn their trash on Tuesdays, so the air was clear for laundry.  (And yes, Cookie remembers being at his grandparents in small-town Ohio and seeing people burning trash. But never on Tuesday.)

So a housewife has all day to do laundry, but at the same time, she has to cook, tend the children, and the husband.   So in the morning, the laundry got lugged to the machine.  These washer ringers were just that - they washed and they had ringers to squeeze the water and dirt from the fabric.  But they had to be manually filled.  So either that involved buckets of water or a hose run from the tap. And there was no cold water washing back then because there was laundry soap, not detergent, and you needed the hot water to melt the fats in the soap.  Once the soap was dissolved, the clothes were added in and the machine switched on, and the person doing the laundry would have to shut the thing down after a period of time was passed. 

All of this had to be timed because unlike modern detergents, laundry soap was harsh on fabrics.  And - this is important - at some point, the water starts to cool and the dirt that had been washed out could re-adhere to the cloth.  So you get careless, busy with something else, and get down to the basement with soap scum floating about and your clothes would need to go through the process a second time. 

Once the wash cycle was done and the machine turned off from just the washing, our housewife would remove one article at a time and run it through the wringer to squeeze out the water because these tubs didn't spin the water out - remember they have one speed, on and off.  The clothes were transferred to a dry sink basin or a basket.  A lever was manually thrown, and the tank drained, the drain closed and freshwater added, and the process repeated one or two more times, just for that load. 

But wait!  Grandma or great-grandma wasn't finished!  There was hand laundry - delicate that had to be washed, lest they get chewed up in that machine.  And poor grandma or great-grandma now has to lug the laundry to the line IF it isn't raining.  There could be snow on the ground and the laundry would still go out and the cold would freeze the clothes.  If you were lucky, you had your own basement to run a few lines for bad weather. 

And I haven't even brought up the cloth diapers that needed to be dunked and washed.  That was it's own nightmare.

Finally, while you are using this beast, IF it had four legs, you had to watch it to make sure it didn't tip over from the messed-up center of gravity.  Some manufacture over cam this by selling machines that five legs. 

Now imagine having to go through several cycles of this each Tuesday.  It literally robbed women of the day because it took all day.  And Cookie hasn't even brought up the ironing because none of these clothes were wrinkle-free.  It ALL hand to be pressed - nothing was wrinkle-free in those days.  Luckily, Ironing could be done the next day, because dinner back then had to be made, and cooking takes time. 

Now that we're exhausted by laundry, imagine what you will - in a post-war world where laundry could be compressed into a few short hours of one's time, without having to babysit the process and a fraction - not half, but a fraction - of the physical labor.  Sounds good, right?  That sounds like a freaking caprice! 


Well, this is what automatic washers and dryers brought to the housewives.  As advertised in the 1950 - even today, automatic washers and dryers delivered freedom from wash day drudgery.  Now laundry could be done any day of the week, or over the course of the week.  The machines took care of filling and draining the drums, agitating the clothes, and in some models (but not all) they would dispense bleach - something unheard of in their mother's day.

And now, with the advent of modern detergents, and multiple cycles, anything could be washed or dried.  On the Whirlpool model above, the gold buttons on the fronts of the machines were pushed to open the lid or the dryer door.   Fancy. 

And as tract houses went up, houses without basements, where did the builder put the laundry machines?  Some in mild climates went into the garage, while others went into the kitchen, on main floor utility rooms.  Hence the beautiful pastel colors.  I mean if the family is going to have to look at, why not make it as lovely as the rest of the kitchen.  And as technology improved, so did the features of the machines. 

And Cookie is just old enough to remember when his mother bought her mother her first fully automatic washing machine and my grandmother cried.  For the first time in her adult life, she had a day when she could do just about anything while the machine was doing the work for her. 

So while we may look over these old ads, trust me - may seem amusing - if the appliances seemed glammed up, there was a good reason: they were buying their freedom from the drudgery of the washday blues. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Oh, the Angst...

 

All is normal on Facebook, as you see.

Did you hear it, last night before 8PM EDST? 

Facebook came back online. 

For better or worse, it has become the dominant communication platform.  Cookie uses it for work, others depend on it far too much. 

But the ANGST!

And the loser through all of this yesterday? 

Zuckerberg, sure - he lost about 5% of his net worth, on paper.  And institutional investors started dumping the stock, too. 

But it's his flying monkey, Sheryl Sandberg who is really on the hot seat.  

If Zuckerberg is King, Sandberg is Machevelian Cardinal.  He has the ideas, and she executes the ones that will reap the greatest profit. 

Her latest idea? Instagram for little girls.  Weeks after learning that Instagram is affecting the well-being of millions of teens, they want to sew doubt, questions of body image, and make the lives of children harder than they are now. 

The leak from a former employee charging that not only does Facebook fails at the job of stopping the bull shittery by allowing the bullshitery, because the bullshitery engages more people.  This may explain why the profiles that get reported as spewing false news, insults, and thinly veiled threats are never dealt with. 

Then there was the Wall Street Journal coverage of the whistleblower, the interview on 60Minutes last Sunday, and her testimony in front of the U.S. Senate today.  

Then the system went down yesterday faster than a hustler earning money from a trick.

And it stayed down. 

And Facebook had to use Twitter to get the closely guarded, carefully worded statement out that "Some people" couldn't access the platforms affected. 

It really is time for the government to step in a break this monster up.  

The public wants it.  

But the collapse yesterday of Facebook, Facebook Messenger, What's App, and Instagram proves that Facebook is in trouble, and that spells out trouble for every user. 

Break it up.




Monday, October 4, 2021

Dude! Put that away!

 


If you know me, and I mean really know me, then you know that there is one thing in this picture that I "just can't even" over. 

The guitar. 

Cookie has a morbid aversion to guitars. They imply that one never knows where the evening will take you.  Even when you don't want to be taken for an impromptu troubadour's journey. 

GAH!

Not a guitar in the hand of someone who knows what they are doing with it.   Not a guitar in the hands of Lady Gaga, or Sting, or any number of talented people. 

I am talking about the casual strummer-type guitar.  Strum, strum, strum-strum, CHORD CHANGE. Strum, strum-strum...

The guitar that sits in a stand-in some home who is learning guitar.  

The guitar sits unused in someone's house until a guest asks about it and the host says "It's probably so out of tune..." and then the guest decides to tune it for them. 

The guitar that a coworker whips out a staff meeting and says "Let's all sing Micheal Row the Boat Ashore..."

The guitar that a neighbor takes out on their porch at night and starts to play Lay Lady Lay and instead thinks it is a song about Lady Elaine (Fairchilde) and butchers the words of differing worlds. 

The guitar that gets named "Michaela", "Jonie" or "Rose" and played as if the finger of the chords is to bring it to a musical orgasmic outcome. 

The guitar that a person who cannot sing "Pilot of the Airwaves" tries to play while they try to sing that song. 

So yeah, dude.  Put that pony where it belongs; put that pony in the barn.  

You are ruining my buzz.


Saturday, October 2, 2021

If it's October, it means the Pumkin Spice Girlbots are back

Be forewarned, they are ALL Libras. 


As is tradition, its that time of the year!  We have to get this image out and name everyone in it! (Girl Squeals!)

So this year its: Jane, Janey, Jean, Janette (who didn't check her Instagram to know that she should wear a *fun* hat), J.J., J'anne (he say, idn't day, read ray, nstagram Iay, ither eay), Jan, Jhanne, Jo Jo, and Joan. 

Conversation snippets:

"OMG, where did you get those boots? They. Are. So. Cute."

   "Aren't they the cutest?"

   "Adorbs!"

   "Hey, those look like the boots I lent you, but they are so much cuter on you!"

"Your baby bump..."

  "I know, but I am so ready for 'Hannah' to be born."

  "So ready."

  "And Devon will have a baby sister!"

  "So excited!"

"J'anne, did you know that Tyler has been sleeping with their gardener."

  "We all warned her not to marry a younger man."

  "Shhh...Hey Joan!  How's it going, girl!  What were we talking about? On the QT, what to get Janey for the baby shower, of course..."

Friday, September 24, 2021

Current Mood: SADD

That's me, on the right. 

 

It's the first couple days of Fall, the earth is now headed in the direction of the Winter Soltice in eighty-seven or so days and Cookie is having his annual onset of Seasonal Affective Disease Disorder or SADD for short. 

My version of SADD tends to begin in the waning days of August, picking up speed just in time to crash into November, the most dreaded month of months for Cookie.  Yes, I know that fall clothes are supposed to be the funniest, sweaters (jumpers) and all - including the scourge of our lifetimes, Pumpkin Spice - but to Cookie, fall will always mean the onset of the "grey" - that filmy cloud that descends over my senses and makes me feel horribly alone, blots out lasting happiness, and ennui strikes to my very marrow. 

It's not my first time in this rodeo. No, this has been going on since childhood.  1995 was the worst.  That was the year that I was being set up at work by a lousy boss who had me believing I was the problem.  That was the year that I almost drove my car off the road at a high rate of speed to end it all, and that was the year that a medical professional listened for once and gave me a diagnosis that made sense. 

There are many of us with this affliction.  But it strikes at different times of the low sun months, and at different levels of intensity.   As I said, my worst month is November.  Then I start climbing out of it.  By the Solstice, things are looking up.  My MLK Day, I know I can get through it, and by Ground Hog Day, brother it is s spring in my book because that is the season I love the most.  I have a family member who does fine until January and then drops into the abyss, only to reemerge in April.  A friend goes over the edge in October and then struggles until March.  It's different for everyone. 

Still, it's not a disability for me, like it can be for many.  I just become very bear-like. So I am more fortunate for most. 

Anyway, if I post Hood's poem, "November" you will know that I'm not in a good place.  I will summon up the will to be happy in a few days.  After all, November IS the month for dressing balls and other home-cooked delights.   So there are some good things to look towards!

You only need to be alarmed if I post a picture of me eating the turkey-shaped candle so traditional with Americans of my age.  

Friday, September 17, 2021

The trouble with a friend of friend, a friend of your cousin...

 


In this book, Hardy Boys examine it very closely.  "Sniff them, Frank," said Joe.

Is it me or is Nicki Minaj just fishing for attention?

My mother would play a similar game.  In it, whenever I did something she disapproved of.  So while she never compared anyone's balls, she invented a "friend" who was saying the awful things she was thinking. 

So, when I grew my goatee in the 1980s, it became "My friend saw you in Columbus and said she saw you and wondered why he would ruin his looks with the facial hair."

Mrs. Passive, meet Ms. Agressive. 

But back to Nicki.  

You know that your a bull shit artist when you tell a whopper about an unnamed friend of a cousin Nicki.  And your music sucks, too. 

Now, Cookie is going to sit back and ponder balls...

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The one where you can't schedule an appointment

 



So Cookie had a wee fall a couple weeks ago.  It really was my fault.  I was coming down our main staircase, I was pondering where, if anywhere, I could find membership records for the United Commercial Travellers organization from the 1890s, my gaze fixed through the front door at the dog playdate happening on our front yard and thought I was going to step off the stairs, and...

...the next thing you know I am "ass over kettle" falling towards the floor.  

I landed on my feet, and then legs.  The bottoms of my feet didn't touch the floor.  No, the top of one foot smacked the floor, the other foot touched with my toes curled under, followed by the crash of my left knee.   The nose was terrific and my husband came running in from the kitchen. 

Nothing was broken, thankfully.  A lifetime of being a milk drinker paid off.  But unbeknownst to either of us, the nail on my big toe must have drive into the flesh around it resulting in what became an infection near the edge of the toe.  So I went to my doctor over the weekend when Mr. Toe looked angry, and the doctor put me on antibiotics and then sent a referral over to the recommended podiatric medical practice.  

That was Saturday.  I made three calls to the practice, no one answered.  On the third call, after forty-five minutes on hold, I left a message with a callback number and explained the problem in the message.  

I was not surprised when the crickets of the evening, instead of the call, emerged. 

So "lather, rinse and repeat" I started anew today.  

On the third call, someone answered.   

"Are you an old patient, a current patient, ar a new patient?" she asked. 

"New.  Dr. Hemoglobin should have sent over a referral on Saturday," says I.

"I don't have that."

"Perhaps someone else has it," I asked.

"No. I get those but I was out yesterday," says she.

"Then perhaps someone else has it," I asked.

This went round and round before she asked me why I needed to see a doctor.

"Injury to a toe, infection along the nail line."

"Are you in pain." It wasn't so much a question as it was a perfunctory statement. 

YES!

"The soonest I can get you in is the first week of November at our Havre D' Grace office," she stated. 

I pointed out that if I wait that long, I could have lost my toe if the antibiotic alone doesn't fix it, hence the reason for needing to see the doctor sooner.

"I can do Columbia the third week of October 18th at 8:00am," she pronounced.

What about something that isn't an hour in down and back in rush hour traffic. 

She got me to Carney, then Eastpoint, but I stood my ground.  There is an office not 20 minutes away. 

"Fine. I can get you in tomorrow morning."

I took the appointment. I am grateful that she got me in. 

But why is it so damn hard to get an appointment?  I know, understaffed, overworked, blah, blah, blah. I know I should feel blessed that she finally went looking for something, but somehow I feel as if I was belssed*.

But there is something else - this sense that an urgent matter can wait.  If I were someone who treats a podiatrist like a chiropodist, well then fine, my toenails could wait a week or two.  But when someone states that they have seen an MD, they have a referral, they have an infection and are on antibiotics, a light should have gone off somewhere that this person has something that won't wait six weeks.

So tomorrow, most likely said the doctor will look and say "you have an injury to your toe..." or they'll be sticking needles in my foot and cutting away to get the puss sack out. 

I will survive, mostly intact.  But the scheduler won't be getting a thank you card for not doing her job.

*When someone finally comes through after wasting your time.  


Monday, September 13, 2021

Deep thoughts, #37 A Better Way


 At some point in your future, you may encounter a situation that has no accepted solution.  It's the clever person who thinks in creative ways, as long as you remain on topic. It's the shrewd thinker who can sell an idea to someone who can make it come true.  Above all, do be open to new ideas. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

No, really, you can't go here again.

 

Horseshoe Lake,1909. The wee house in the distance was built in 1908-09.

Let me take that back.  You can go here, but aside from the house in the distance, it's now, in the eyes of the government agency responsible for its upkeep, officially gone.

One of the draws to the land once owned by the Shaker sect east of Cleveland in the early 1900s was the series of man-made lakes created by members of the sect to drive their gristmills.  They dammed up Doan Creek and flooded the lower lands and created these magnificent lakes.  When the land was bought up, the City Cleveland got the lower lake and on, Horseshoe Lake.  Taking the lakes, the city promised to maintain the damns and care for the lakes, forever. 

Horseshoe Lake was first threatened by Cuyahoga County Engineer Albert Porter - a sociopath, without a single redeemable quality.  In addition to being an A-1 creep, Porter hated the heights area up on the plain to the east and south of University Circle.  Porter felt that they were too stuck up to accept a low life like himself, so he plotted to destroy Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights by running freeways through the area.  Had porter had his way, there would be a giant cloverleaf interchange where this lake was. 

Shaker housewife fought him back and the old creep (Porter was a bully within the Democratic party, he bilked his own employees for kickbacks on his wages, AND was accused of sexual harassment back in the 1960s) and Horseshoe Lake had a fifty+ year reprieve. 

The end of the lake started two years ago started when it was drained by the sewer commission that oversees Cleveland's sewers and drainage, including creeks, streams, rivers, and other bodies of water.  It was only a "temporary" drain to fix the ancient dam created by the Shakers almost 200 years ago.  But the damn was never "fixed" - studies they said - and the lake bed, once twenty feet deep was never cleared out of the sediment muck.  Residents in the large old homes - that paid good money for the view and their taxes started demanding answers. 

They came this year.  Evidently, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District board or commission in charge of the money, has decided that removal of the dam will take place and the stream bed naturalized.  "You'll love it - it's so much better for the community!"

Never mind there is a legal agreement that says that they have to maintain the lakes.  

Never mind that there is no funding to support a wetland with native species and with removing the invasive species.  

Never mind the generations that enjoyed walk around the lake.  

Never mind the Van Deusen Nature Center built on land that made Horseshoe Lake look like a vague horseshoe. 

Like the carnies they are, they claimed "but we're going to maintain the Lower Lake and dam."  Between the lines, it read more like "we love Shaker and Clevland Heights, and we're only robbing you of one lake,"  the greedy little piggies around the table claimed. 

The cost of removing 20+ feet of muck and replacing the damn to return the lake to a LAKE will run upwards of $36m, and they won't pay that.  So instead, they are willing to pay $28 to remove the damn, naturalize the area, claiming flood benefits.  The upkeep would fall to Shaker.  The downside to this is, of course, Cleveland remains in control of land that they have failed to maintain.   

There is more here at Cleveland dot com, and Shaker and Cleveland Heights both could rehab the lake on its own.  But what happens when Cleveland pulls the plug on the lower lake or some other shenanigans in the future.  You know where there is vacant land, there is someone, somewhere who wants to develop it. 

The other question is what is it going to go to the values of the residences whose laws overlooked the lake.  Yes, I know they have plenty of money, but the real estate was worth more because of the houses, the huge lots, and the lake view.  Are the people in those properties going to see a reduction in their taxes, which are extraordinarily high, even by Shaker standards? 

What Albert Porter couldn't achieve with the Clark Freeway is being done by the sewer board.  

It's all a sham, as well as a shame.