Friday, October 19, 2018

If you can't say anything...

I am sure that no expense was spared. 

Next week will mark one year since my father's last wife passed away.

In the Jewish tradition, the eldest child of the deceased will read the final Kadish, a prayer that they are supposed to read every morning for the date of death until the anniversary of their passing.  This is done in their mother's name.  In hardcore Judaic terms, the gravestone is unveiled, a life remembered, and life for the living goes on.

The woman, who was his final marriage, meant so many things to all of us.  Because she did so much, that we cannot forget her.  And her actions left an indelible mark on all of us.

Despite our history, I vowed that I would respect her passing for that year, not so much as mourning, but as the polite convention that my parents would expect of me.  I am, after all, their child.

In other words, I would refrain from saying anything.  That's right, anything. 

And for the most part, it looks like I am going to get a gold star on this one, folks.

Read that as you will, there is as much in what is written as there is in what is unwritten.

For now.

On the anniversary of my father's wife's death, I am released from that vow. 

I will be in Baltimore, observing that day with an exhale of gratitude that one has when you out swim a man-eating shark.  Perhaps I will treat the husband and myself to a good restaurant.

Send me your good energy.

Friday, October 12, 2018

You all have been warmed, Cookie is getting a mother fucking cold

Well, the husband came down with a cold two days ago cold, and it stands to reason that my cold is beginning. 

Today has been spent with watery eyes, sneezes and my body temperature has had a few spikes, tonight the snot is running.  My body is letting me know that I am about ready to become a miserable burden to mankind.

When a man gets a cold, we all turn into our version of Camille.  Misery loves company, but when we are sick we want ALL the attention.

I have been called for jury duty on Tuesday, and there is nothing I would love more than to show up in the jury pool, eyes red and weepy, hacking a lung up, harvesting lung butter into a tissue.  That to me is an automatic "Challenge!" from serving the system.

Be forewarned, if this a cold coming on, it ain't going to be pretty.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

And now a word from Melania, FLOTUS

I am not posing, the photographers make me look like I am being insouciant to mock me.

As I return to the country I love best, I Melania Trump do so as a woman who is the most bullied woman in the United States. 

Even, perhaps as the most bullied in the history of the nation.

I have been the target of shaming during my husband, your Maximum Leader's ascension into the office that the Founding Fathers had the foresight to create for a national savior like Donald Trump.

And yet, even with his powers growing as the mutant Super Hero that he is, I and persecuted unlike any other wife of a leader in the history of the world.  And here is my proof:

1) I have been mocked for my "Best Best" campaign's name and mission.  People ask me not about how to stop bullying, which is not the point, but how to Best Best at being bullied. 

2) People have laughed at my accent as if I am Zsa Zsa Gabor playing someone named Eva Gabor playing someone called Lisa Douglas on some sill American TV show called "Green Achings".

3) Unlike Eva Peron, who doesn't return my calls,  I speak eight languages and am taking a Berlitz course on "Mastering Conversational English."

4) I have been taunted for stealing Michelle Obama's speeches, and yet when she took the words from a dictionary to write those speeches, no one criticized her in the Fake Media for using words from the books of Webster's or Mr. Funkinwagnalls.

5) And I am attacked every time people say that my husband, a very smart man and with a godlike body modeled after Zeus himself married me for my looks and beauty.  Do not hate me because I am beautiful.  Hate yourselves by being best.

6) Following my most recent trip to Africa, I did not model or posed for the picture takers like you see here on this image.  This is the look that I have on my face, all of the time.

7) Like Vladimir Putin, my next husband, says "It is harder to govern when you have to watch your back," so the Donald will eliminate all resistance so he can maintain leading his nation.

And yet for everything I have been through, Anna Wintour has never had the courtesy to pay a call on me at the White House, or the Trump Tower building to beg me to return to my modeling to appear on the cover of Vogue.  Mrs. Wintour is a hateful, malevolent woman for not paying me the respect I am owed.

Let me reminds you that I was named "Muse" by the Secret Service for a reason.

In closing, I plan on being best First Lady of the Land, all of the land.  And once we catch and imprison people for not showing me the respect owed to me, my naturally pouty lips, flawless skin, and my MENSAesque great brain power, I can promise that America will make Melania Again.

In The Donald We Trust,


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Postcards from the Edge of Allentown

Margery would live here

Well, we have returned from prosaic Allentown.  So much better than Perth Amboy, but the same love of Jersey Barriers.

What Can I say but the Allentown Book and Paper Show lived up to its promise.  The Agricultural building was everything that we were promised, and more.

First, we stopped by a booth staffed by my friend "Squid" mother.  Squid and I go way back. 

Way, way back. 

Way back to January 1983 when we met one and other in the Journalism Semester program at American University.  That's how she got the name "Squid".  We were all sent out to do a story on something happening in D.C. (and who would ever imagine that Reagan era could be called the good old days) and she covered an exhibit opening at the Smithsonian on the Giant Squid.  The name stuck. 

I last saw Mrs. Squid at Squid's wedding 34 years ago in Allentown, so it was a warm reunion.

Then we were off to find fun stuff.

If you have never gone to a book and paper show they can either be fabulous experiences when you find something good for cheap (Original copies of "Drummer magazine from the 70's for THREE dollars apiece), or they can quickly turn into vicious elbow fights, where collectors of postcards jostle for position. 

I collect my 2nd hometown and/or the "Millionaire's Row" era of mega-mansions along Cleveland's famed stretch of Euclid Avenue that once had a higher per capita tax base than Fifth Avenue in New York.  The husband collects postcards of his hometown. Like me, he is "Bi-Collectible".  Unlike me who loves collecting period era gay porn, he is into stereopticon's from the Victoria Era. 

All was going really well until we came upon Mrs. Topogrosso and her motorized wheelchair which was lugging her up and down the aisles with her metal shopping cart in tow.  In the metal shopping cart were all of her postcard binders, and crumpled paper bags.  Because if you need assistance getting around, then you need to haul an additional 300 pounds of paper, too, right?

We encountered her on row one where she hogged the middle of aisles calling out to other shoppers to "hand me the second box on the right," which some unwitting idiot, me in this case, who was trying to be polite would do only to be told "This is too heavy for me to balance, hand me the third box from the left."  Doing so, because again, I was trying to be a good sport, she wheezed "No, I wanted the third box on the left of the second shelf." 

I returned the box and started to leave when Mrs. Topogrosso ordered an elderly woman. who was about to take the chair I was sitting in so she could look through the Alabama cards in their box, to vacate said chair.  "You know, I am disabled and if you sit there I can't see whats in that box in the rear row..."

Two rows later the husband and I were burrowing into some really good boxes when again we heard the whine of an electric chair and a rattle of a cart when Mrs. Topogrosso met up with us again. 

"EXCUSE ME!  I'm DISABLED and I can't reach for boxes, so I need someone to hand me the Kewpie Doll postcards."  This time I didn't even flinch, because the cards were nowhere near me (I was in "states and cities", her's were in "topicals and artists" when she wheezed loudly  "I NEED THE MAN IN THE GREEN SHIRT TO MOVE BECAUSE I AM DISABLED AND I NEED TO SIT AT THE TABLE."

I didn't even look up because my shirt was chartreuse, not green.

A woman got up to leave, finding her sense of smell offended by the rank of unbathed flesh, and she offered the woman her place.


The woman left and again, she barked an order for me to move and again, I ignored her.

"I NEED YOU TO MOVE BECAUSE I AM DISABLED..." two more men got up and left, leaving her plenty of room for her and her cart, "...and the man in the green shirt needs to move."  Now the dealer entered the fray. 

"I can move these chairs and..."

"NO!  I need to sit where that man is seated because that's where I always sit when I come to your booth."

Ah, finally, the real reason. 

It's not so much that she was disabled and pulling something akin to what Ricky and Lucy lugged around in the Long, Long Trailer.  It was because she wanted her way.  Like some drunk who claims the same bar stool every afternoon at the same bar while they get soused, she just wanted to sit where she always sat.

I picked up my ten cards - a steal at $24, as some rare enough that I could sell them for more - and got out her way. 

Three booths later the Husband leans in and says "she's creeping on you."

This time it wasn't the booth we were at, but the one behind us and off went the foghorn of "EXCUSE ME!  I'm DISABLED and I need....and I need the woman in the black top to move so I can get my wheelchair up and ..."

A woman cleared her throat and said clearly "Margery, you know my name.  And for all that I am concerned, you can wait your turn like everyone else.  Every show it's the same thing and..."  The gist of the verbal smackdown was that Margery evidently does this at every paper show, the woman said that pouting doesn't work for a three-year-old and it's going to work for her, here or at any show on the east coast.  Also, Margery could shit in her Depends for all this woman cared.

We heard the whirl of an electric motor as Margery continued down the row.

Later on, I encountered the woman, who was neatly dressed, had a Louis Brooks bobbed head of silver hair peppered with a few strands of black, and her reading glasses hanging from her neck in a wonderful beaded chain, who took on Margery and I asked what the deal was.

"It's not you." She put on her glasses and grabbed for another chunk of cards from the box. "It really is her. When I first started coming to these shows," she said while looking over the top of her reading glasses while flipping through postcards of 1939 World's Fair, "I used to bend over backward to try and be helpful, I felt bad for her.  But after six or seven years of her wanting that box and no, this box, and no, and never looking through them, I just had enough.  She uses people and her disability for attention.  All of us here, and at the New York City Clubs have had enough." 

What about New York?  "I mean it takes a lot to get banned in New York, right?"

"She always has that damned cart in tow and she keeps food in it.  The vendors don't like you eating Marshmallow Fluff from a jar while you finger the merchandise - I'll take these three.  Can you do ten instead of fifteen?  Twelve?  Sold - and it's unsanitary.  They would like to sell cards to pay for the booth rent. and not have her sticky sausage fingers all over their goods." 

She told me her name was Nell and she paid the vendor who bagged her cards in a vintage unused popcorn bag. 

"Are you going to York," Nell asked. "Margery goes on Saturday, so you'll want to go on Friday to avoid her."

She asked what I collected in postcards and I told her.  "I collect World's Fair, 1933 and 1939.  My sister is around here and she collects Oberlin, Ohio because that's where she went to school."

What does Margery collect, I wondered?

"Pure Misery: postcards with cats.  Anything with a cat.  Real photo, offset, linen, chrome, and 3D." Nell smiled and chuckled.  She went on to tell me that Margery really threw a fit a couple years ago at Brimfield according to one of the dealers because another person had his box that had 3D cat postcards and was going through them.  She barked out that she might want ones the man had taken out of the box. "I think he was doing it to vex her."

"She asked for Kewpie Doll cards at one booth."

"Then she's already been at the booth and knows that there are no cat cards that she wants. It's her second pass, and Rose O'Neill is her back up category."

How does she get around?

"Her husband.  He' sitting outside chain smoking.  His name is Darl and I'm amazed he hasn't left her behind at one of these shows and run off to Baja to get away from her.  He used to come in the show halls with her, but he stopped years ago because of her behavior."

For a moment, I envision that Margery and Darl Topogrosso have a relationship almost like Mr. Joyboy and his mother, Mrs. Joyboy, but instead of mother and son, its husband and wife.  I get a bit queasy.

"OH! There's a booth on the third row, and I think he has Ohio.  My sister Sally always has good luck with him.  Hopefully, we'll see one and other in York next month."  I thanked her and we went our seperate ways.

I found said booth, and while I didn't anything I didn't already have, I did find a category named "MISERY" and great fun going through that. Two-headed calf's, horses caught in floods, caskets that had floated to the top of the shores of reservoirs built over cemeteries.  Then I found the most brilliant card ever.  One to memorialize my encounters with Margery Topogrosso.  Not from Ohio, but of the "Home For The Friendless."  Bought it.

Evidently the York, Pennsylvania, show is even bigger than Allentown.  Forward and forewarned, I am going on that Friday, not Saturday. 

After all, I would HATE IT if Margery had to order me from the chair I was sitting in because it was in her "spot".

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Angry Young Computer

Read more About THIS Angry Young Computer, HERE

In the midst of the horrible national upheaval, Cookie has decided that now would be a good time for a computer.

Who am I kidding.

There is NEVER a good time for a NEW computer, right?

And being at my age, I find comfort in the lack of convenience that a desktop gives you.  But for an introvert, such as myself, a desktop, in your own home office, it gives you a chance to get some much needed "Me" time, and some peace and solitude that I require to recharge.

But this has not been an easy time.  No. It should be.  How hard is it to go to a store, drop a lot of money on a computer, come home and set it up.  Right?

It should work that way, but it didn't:

1) Cookie goes to the store that he trusts and buys a computer that he has been watching because the computer will be phased out because the new processors are coming out.  Cookie wants a deal.  There is the computer, there is the price and a dear, dear, long-suffering man named "Duke" has been patiently waiting for Cookie to buy the computer.   The months tick by and Cookie pulled the trigger and bought the computer, realizing a $900 savings that if I would have bought it in February.

2) Cookie gets the computer home, where it sits for a week because Cookie really doesn't want the trouble that comes with a new computer.  However a week later, the box is opened and...

3) is not the computer model that Cookie and Duke have been working towards.  Not only that, it is not the computer that matches the model on the box!

4) Cookie takes the wrong computer back, Duke checks stock and they are out.  The store outside DC has the computer but Cookie is not into DC traffic.   Duke offers Cookie a deal:  Cookie can but a returned, reconditioned model of the computer in the back, at a substantial discount.  Duke promises that the computer, which has a 256 SSD for the operating system and a 1Tb for everything that is Cookie's to store on it is warrantied exactly as if it is new.   Cookie accepts Duke's proposition, happy that he has been able to get an additional $300 off because it offsets the feeling of owning a cast off.

4) Cookie brings the new computer how, loads the AV onto the system, begins a week of setting up the main programs.  BUT Cookie is confused as to why the SSD is labeled drive "D" and the SATA drive is labeled "C".  So Cookie calls COMPUTER COMPANY TECH SUPPORT PRO, which cost Cookie and additional $300 so he is not shoved into a long queue in a Bangalore.  So the technician in Barbados looks at the computer, and in his wonderful accent says: "I believe that your computer has a significant issue."

Quelle horreur!

What indignity will be cast my way?

Technician says that the previous windows installation didn't happen completely, so apparently, someone who wasn't doing their job didn't reformat the SSD "C" drive.  INSTEAD there swapped the drive names and installed the system on the SATA drive - but here is where it gets scary, peeps: they left all of the previous owner's information on the computer.  This is why I can see all of "MrMatt" and his docs.

"If it were me?  I would take it back," says the support person.

5) Bother.

6) With our chest tightening, our blood pressure climbing and two steps from the ER, we return the computer - nay, we return the BAD computer and this time, Duke brings his manager in, Hottie.  Now Duke is adorageek, but the manager is ripped, young, melt in your mouth adorbs.  Manager has conferred with Duke, and he would like to get this fixed for me...uh huh...and we'll find something equal or better...uh huh...and the angels sing.  I ask Duke, who by this point the Husband and I are planning to adopt if he's cool and he is.  But I made sure that management knows that Duke has been a prince, and my issue isn't with Duke, my issue is with the employee who screwed the pooch on the computer reinstallation.

7) Manager find a terrific machine, but alas it is not a business machine, but a consumer machine, which means it is loaded with all types of crapola. He gives me $750 discount on this machine meaning that I am getting a $2,100 dollars machine, for what I paid for the first machine.  AND it has the latest processor.

I could drone on, but suffice it to say, said the new computer is up, and its running and we seem to be on the way towards some sense of normalcy.

As my husband said, "Your personal Mars is retrograde this week."

This morning I awoke to find that "Angry Young Computer" has transferred over a terabyte of my work and imagining files.  So it's feeling more familiar.  We'll get through this, eventually, and then we'll forget the pain and angst.  We have to install a third hard drive and we are home free.

Mr. Husband and I have a full weekend of events which involve sharp elbows, lots of ephemera, some old friends and fine dining.  AND some of it involves travel to the Toledo, Ohio, of Pennsylvania, in a madcap escapade.   And let me tell you, Allentown did not disappoint us.

Will touch base when I rest and recover.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Quickie Post

Warren Beatty, 1968.  He was a god.
I threw Warren up because it has been a week since I last posted, and tomorrow I shall tell you why.  So just look at his perfection and thank God for creating someone so perfect.  Jesus, I almost want to have children with this Warren.  Not the Annette Benning Warren. This one. Toned body, nice biceps, strong hands, and that face!  Those eyes, and those lips.  Can lips on a man, aside from Englebert Humperdink, get any better??????

BACK IN REALITY, the Blue Angels are roaring over our house, an indicator that Baltimore's Fleet Week has started.

Adventure and madcap escapades await!  Sailors are in town and Cookie must go.  The racket is terrific.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

I need a diversion

DHTiSH's official Geisha, Shigecko aims for the sweetspot.

It has been a grueling day.

It really has.

Yesterday it was that Trump Shit Storm in NYC where he bragged that Chinese think that he has a very large brain.  Where he called the Turkish Ambassador to the UN "Mr. Kurd".

As my mother would say about my father, "Don't pray for any harm, just a little stroke.  One severe enough that it makes his arms useless and his ability to speak melt away.  It's the humane thing to have happen."

Today, Orrin Hatch called Dr. Ford - during a break from her testimony - "a very attractive witness."  He then had to clarify that statement.

But come on people.  HE MEANT JUST THAT.

It's Orrin "Funny Underwear" Hatch, for the love of Joseph Smith.   He's been wearing his collars to damn tight for too many years and that raisin of a brain he has still is stuck in 1901.

Calling her attractive simply means that Dr. Ford is not a real person with feelings, but an object.

Cookie is disgusted.  Cookie will go make himself a Nespresso, and stir the coffee in the cup with a zenlike "TING" of the silver spoon striking the side of the teacup.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The things you remember while the world changes around you

I have instructed the husband to put a bag over my head to keep from this from happening to me.

Look, let's face it, with this fakakta President in the White House, and people angry and just so fucking ass rude, sometimes, Cookie is one to sit back and stare at the T.V. set like they are here at Shaker Heights Haven Rest Home and Final Stop.

I remember the house on Sherrington Road, and digging a hole in the flower bed with Jeffery Landau.  We wanted to make a swimming pool for ants. Two problems, the ants didn't want to swim - drown actually - and the soil was a rich loam that sucked the water right down.  This meant if we weren't scooping ant's towards their watery deaths, then we were filling the hold with the hose.

I remember the time we were driving in my mothers 1965 Impala, and I was maybe four years old, and the hubcap (my father felt full wheel covers were a waste of money because someone would just steal them and then you had to waste $20 for a set of four) flew off the car while we were going someplace.  It was the left front and for someone so young, I was certain that this was a badge of shame, a sign of impending bad thing.  People would think we were those kinds of people.  You know - the people who don't take care of their nice things, people who were poor.  I would ride on the floor next to the back seat lest anyone see my face and feel sorry for me. 

I remember when my father went to stay at Grandma Bess's apartment when Grandma Bess went to visit her younger daughter in California.  Grandma Bess never came home - she died out there.  Grandma Bess was my half brother's maternal grandmother.  She wasn't my grandmother by blood.  But she loved me and she took good care of me.  Anyway, my two brothers went with Dad to live in the apartment.  Things were peaceful, and then my father came home one day with the brothers.  What I didn't know was that my parents had divorced, they kept that from me.  They also kept that they reconciled from me as well. 

I remember that when after Dad was back from staying at Grandma Bess's things were OK, for a while, then it pretty took on a Hellish reality for the next 30 years until the old man died.  They divorced within five years or the reconciliation. But until he left the earth, it was pure Hell for everyone.

I remember my father taking me to vote at Lomond School.  They were wooden booths with orange draping.  He asked me who I wanted to vote for and being maybe three, I started listing off every adult I knew of.

I remember the horribly long visits with my father's parents, who I loved, but I was so young and there wasn't anyone my age around, and everyone was ancient.  My grandfather loved watching the Wild Wild West.  I didn't like it but I was transfixed by Robert Conrad with his shirt off.  And I knew it was shameful and naughty for me to stare.  I was maybe four years old, and I also wanted Bat Man's uniform to rip open.  I didn't understand why.  I just did. 

I remember the simple joy of dragging my wagon - again with Jeffery Landau, to the top of Glencairn at Newell, and then riding the wagon down the biggest hill in the world, the hard rubber tires hitting every bump and dislodged slate slab that forms the famous sidewalks in Shaker.  We would do this for hours, jarring are innards, first Jeffery and then me.   Eventually, our four-year-old bodies were simply too tired to make the trip again, and we would look for other things to do, like climb the hill behind our garage and find rocks to throw in a bag for our rock collection, which was nothing more than a sack of unspectacular rocks.

And then, after the rocks were too heavy to carry, we swing, run up to Jeffery's, run back down to my house, and then we would go back to doing stupid stuff that kids do, like making a swimming pool for the ants.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Where Cookie goes to a fundraiser

We were shocked, shocked I say by how we saw people behaving!

Last week, Cookie and husband went to a fundraiser for a good cause.  It was held at a very chic mansion in a very chic neighborhood.  The husband and I more beer and pretzel guys, so I have to admit that we encouraged to come by Nancy, our hostess, I bought the cheap tickets because I felt that they were reasonable.  The suggested donation was $1,000/couple - way out of our league.  But when you made the suggested donation, each of you received a gold pin and a private audience with some Broadway star that Cookie has never heard of or could tell you what plays she starred in.  Whatever, but unless you had that glint of gold said "Star" wouldn't talk to you, which I found silly.  I mean we forked over a few hundred dollars, she could have at least said "Hello," right?

The cause is dear to our hearts and we were looking forward to seeing how the other half lives - as our hosts are both straight and well to do old money.  But raising funds for this organization (Women's Reproductive Rights) is something that I must do in the memory of my mother who schooled me well on what happens when abortion becomes illegal.  And this who Trump in charge of the Supreme Court scares the living daylights out of us on several levels.

Anyhow, each of us dressed in suit and tie went, parked, went through security at said mansion (you never know what looney is going to try something stupid at an event like this) and signed in.  We received some slight directions for what was in which room and a briefing on the where certain foods could, and could not be taken because of the Kosher/Non-Kosher thing.

In the Drawing Room, there was a string quartet playing soothing music.  The conservatory there was the gentle murmuring of a fountain and a place for us to leave raincoats, umbrellas, etc.  Kosher Food was being served in the Living Room (on blue rimmed Lennox, which could not leave the living room) and the real food was being served on the gold-rimmed Lennox in the dining room.

This is important because 1) this was held during High Holidays in the Jewish Calender, 2) This is still Maryland and all manner of shellfish is always served.  The bar/cocktails were being served in the "Dressy Kitchen," while the Messy Kitchen was used for the Non Kosher food prep.  We noticed that the guest house was being used for the Kosher food prep "because the family doesn't keep Kosher and the Rabbi could bless the guest house after it was emptied of furniture."  We learned by listening in that the furniture had to be stored in the pool house,  and the structure scrubber from floor to ceiling.

For the love of chopped liver, right?

Being raised in a Reform Jewish household, and being that maternal grandson of a farmer known for his fine Poland China Hogs, this Kosher thing to me always seemed like a big to-do.  I mean really - with Donald Trump in the White House, Hurricane "Flaunce" wrecking havoc, that monster typhoon in Asia, Global Warming, etc., does God really care if you eat bacon? Or a crab ball?  God is bigger than that.

But at $1,000 a couple I guess you go the extra mile. Especially when you have 100+ people at an event.

Anyhow there were was chattering couple everywhere, but alas, Mr. Husband and I knew no one, and Baltimore freezes you out when you don't know people, or have the gold pin on the lapel.  We got looks, and cheap social smiles, but no one engaged us.

But Cookie was APPALLED at the table manners of some of the these Hottentots and Poobahs because I witnessed men and women shoveling food into their mouths over the buffet table.    Who raised these Rottentots?  Dr. Ph.D. was eating stuffed mushroom caps over the serving platter like it was his personal feeding trough!  This man had to be in his 60s, and he should have known better.  And it didn't stop there!  We witnessed others stabbing food with a toothpick, eating it off said toothpick and jabbing another in the chafing dish with the same pick!  Another woman could under why she couldn't take her gold-rimmed plate into the Kosher room and get some chopped liver.  Did she not get the tour?

At one point we were called outside where chairs had been placed in a semi-circle to hear Miss Broadway thank us for being there, especially those in the gold pin club who shared her "passion for the cause" (Really?), sing a song from her show, tell her personal story about choice and ask us to dig deeper and give more.  The husband leaned over and said "Katherine Hepburn did it better in Stage Door. And with calla lilies." The Host and Hostess thanked us.  A local politician talked too long about themselves, and when it was over ("everyone stay and eat, we have plenty of food and the bartender is here till midnight," we all stood up, thankful that was over.  I went into the house to get our umbrella, and Husband to stuff a couple fresh scallops into his mouth.

The husband pointed at the worse offense of the night - people had stuck their name badges to the Hepplewhite buffet like it was a trashcan.  They were also stuck on the door jams, fireplace mantles, and the marble fireplace mantles.   There was a young woman who worked for the organizers trying ever so carefully to remove these tags.  The husband and I gathered a few very carefully, and the host who invited us thanked us and took them.

"People are such pigs," she said, her breath hot with cigarettes and scotch.  "And it amazes me how these name badges won't stick to suit jacket but refuses to lift off a hand polished French commode."

We agreed - not that we have any antique French commodes with hand polished marble tops, mind you - in solidarity and sympathy.

"But," she continued sotto voce, "when you are shaking them down for money like this, you can't police them on the little shitty thing unless you see them stealing something."

Really?  Stealing something?

"Oh, yeah, We lock up the good stuff for these events now.  Just because they have money," She scrunched up face smiled and gave a kitten wave to an old woman waddling our way, "doesn't mean they are honestLY ANNETTE! I was afraid I wouldn't get to thank you for coming. I want you to meet Cookie and his Husband..."

After a minute or two pleasantries, Annette, who was huffing and puffing from her walk from the buffet table to the doorway where we stood froze us out and stole Nancy from us when she found out we weren't really Baltimorians.  ("So, you really have only lived here six years?"  Well, Nancy, I wanted to ask you...")

And with that, Umbrella in hand, we left while the diehards stayed behind.

Sometimes its good to do what you can.  Sometimes its even better to see how the other half lives.  But the only thing I would ever take from a part is maybe a mint on the way out and a few good stories tell.

And Annette really needs to eat fewer meatballs and go see her cardiologist.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Damn, Damn, Damn!

In Cookie's line of work, most of the time you are just performing a family "audit".  Person A is related to people B and C, themselves the children D & E, and F&G.  That's the way it works.  Pretty straight and forward delivery of the promised package.

"You mean I have no one interesting in my family," a client will ask.

They have plenty of interesting people.  What they want is SST: STARS, SCANDAL, and TITLES.

While we are all related to someone who is famous - Cookie is the fifth cousin four times removed from Bessie Wallis Warfield, but then again, ANYONE who has family that lived in or around Baltimore or Anne Arundel Counties in Maryland before 1750 can most likely claim he as blood kin - the simple fact is that most families are interesting, but not "James Michener" famous.


James Michener, the late great fiction writer (Tales of the South Pacific, Hawaii, etc.) would write these huge sweeping narratives.  In Hawaii, when it was published, the inside flaps included a family chart, which you needed because of the marriages and intermarriages of the families.

Most people have interesting stories in their families, but a lot of people want bragging rights.

I met a woman once - an optician - who asked what I do, and I told her - and then she said "WELL!  You never guessed that you would be fitted for glasses by a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln, did you."  It wasn't a question - it was a statement.

No, and I wasn't at that moment either.  This idiot had never bothered to look at her family, she just relied on stories told and passed down.  This was in the olden days, before the internet.  When you had to crawl through libraries and courthouses like a cobra looking for documents and indices that told you which book the documents were in. 

That woman's problem was that Lincoln's last surviving direct descendants at that time were old men with no children to pass it on.  Today, I could have asked this woman if she had DNA proof of such.

Then, yesterday, I came across something not good.  Not good, at all.

"Client" is someone close to me, someone, I am protective of,  and it is an adoption case.  I am, by professional standards and respect for said Client, unable to tell you what I found.  Suffice it to say, and no - this in no way involves anyone in the news - was one of those moments where you say to yourself: "damn."

Breaking bad news to someone is hard.  Breaking to a loved one that you have known for most of your life is really hard.

Damn!, Damn! Damn!

The news was don't go a step further on your mother's line.  Just don't.  You don't want to go further on this lead. Nope.  Just don't.

What was there was bad.  What I found just made it worse.

The news on her father's side was a bit more like Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched trying to explain something and it began with "Well...."  And it ended with "I can't tell you if you should move forward with this, or not.  It's up to you and you have my support."

Its all been verified, we just need to pull the legal documents.

That's the upshot of it.  Sometimes you don't find a winner.  You find what you find, and that is a win. And sometimes you don't find what you thought, and there is a win on that level, too.

In this case, just one of those things that have you uttering then yelling "damn, damn, damn!" like you are Florida Evans finding out that James has died.

I'm taking today off.  I need to get my shit together after what we found yesterday.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Your Kipplet, the Jewish Festival of Sand

Being the product of a mixed marriage, and being the half-breed, that's all I ever was, the whole bit of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has always perplexed me.  Why, I would ask myself, as a five-year child in Sunday School at Brith Emeth Temple (since disbanded), do Jewish People celebrate the New Year, and then pray to God to make it through the New Year on Yom Kippur?

So the holiday shakedown is this:

1) Most Jews have no idea when Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur will happen unless they read the Temple Bulletin and are DUES PAYING MEMBERS to get their seat tickets for the functions.  Yes, the High Holidays are ticketed events.  You just can't walk into a temple and get a seat.  The Holidays are set by the Jewish Calander, not the calendar that we use in the Western World.  So like shifting sands, one year to the next, the dates move about.

2) Rosh Hashanah - New Year's Day, Sunset 9/9/2018 through Sunset 9/11/2018.  This is a celebration of the close of the old and the opening of the New Year.

3) Yom Kippur - Sunset 9/18/2018 - Sunset 9/19/2018.  This is the day of atonement - the day that you atone for your sins and ask God to write your name in the Book of Life.

Here's the thing I never understood - you have two homework assignments, one in a class you hate - say Algebra, and another in a class that you love, say history.  To me, you get the Algebra done first and out of the way, then you start on the History because you can happily lose yourself in that?

So for me, I always thought that you should start off with Yom Kippur - atoning for your sins over the previous year and making peace with those who you have sinned against - and it's going to take at least ten days or so to track everyone down, and then slide into Happy New Year?

But that is not the way it works.  And as the days clock down to Yom Kippur, the angst runs higher and higher.

By the way, I should add to my non-Jewish readers, Yom Kippur is a very solemn day.  You can give someone a Rosh Hashana card - it's a nice gesture, but a noodle pudding would be a nicer Happy New Year gift, but who am I to argue - but it's unnecessary.  But never a Yom Kippur card.  It's bad form.

When I worked in Ohio, one of four non-blonds in the small company I worked for came up to me and say "Shelia in accounting tells me that your father was a "Hebrew" - and we are off to a bad start, thanks, Shelia! - "And a Jewish couple has moved in next door, and it's their New Year. What do I give them?"

I would say "It's enough to say 'L'shana tova'.  But a card isn't necessary unless you own stock in American Greetings."

They would get a confused look on their faces and say "Why am I calling them L'Shana Tova?  Their name is Brian and Sandra Appleman."

I would explain that "L'shana tovah" meant "may you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year to come," which always gave the Baptists a look like they had gas, and they would nod off with their basket full of good intentions ready to deliver a wish on a concept that they couldn't grasp.

(In Christendom, Jesus does the heavy lifting.  When you are Jewish, what you are carrying around isn't heavy enough.  Here, have some more guilt.)

Then in nine days or so that same woman hunted me down and "Well, I said Shania Twain to the Appleman's and they gave me a funny look.  I am in damage control mode thanks to you.  I have looked all over town for a "Your Kipplet" card, but Hallmark has never heard of that holiday, and you people have so many."

You know us Hebrews!  When we aren't running from the Cossacks, we're being chased by Nazis!  So let's have a holiday.  Right now.  Are you with me?

So I explained to this woman that "Your Kipplet*" was the Jewish Festival of Sand and it comes sometime while the wise men are wandering in the desert trying to find the Baby Jesus ("They traveled over a lot of sand in those days.), but that Yom Kippur is the holiest of holy days to all Jews.

"This is the twenty-four hours when you look back over the last year and tone for your sins in hope that God will write your name in the Book of Life for the year to come."


 "It's about reflection, and asking that God forgive you..."

"You mean they are accepting Jesus and he's saving your collective soul?  Jews are born again?"

No.  No Jesus. No.

"And we aren't born again. It's prayer for healing and renewal.  And no, you do NOT exchange gifts.  Hallmark should never create a card for this.  Not that kind of holiday."

I explained that should she happen to see the Appleman's that it was perfectly polite to say "I'm not quite sure what this Holiday means to Jews, but I hope you find the meaning and answers you seek."

Three days later Darlene hunted me down.

"You are the best.  The Appleman's thanked me with a smile, and Mrs. Appleman is going to teach me Mah Jong!  I just love playing that on the computer...."

Oh, boy.

"Darlene, just whatever you do, do not call her a Hebrew.  Hebrew is a language, not a person.  When you call a Jew a Hebrew, it's an insult."

"Got it!"

I didn't stick around to see how the Mah Jong lessons went.  Instead, we moved to Maryland.  I know if I had to explain robbing a Kong to go out that my Jewish head would explode.

And if you should run into a Darlene and they ask you when Your Kipplet is, tell them its sometime after Tisha B'av** and that you'll get back with them on that.

*This isn't a holiday.  It's nonsense from The Onion.  But we live in interesting times.
**A GREAT Drag Name for Jewish Drag Queen, pronounced "Tish Above".

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Hurricane "Flaunce" is on the way

Cookie is a bit perturbed.

It's hurricane season, and we all know what happens during hurricane season.

Plans get ruined.  The wind blows. Tree limbs come down.  There is flooding.  And people die.

That's what really sucks.

People die because they think they can ride it out in places too damn close to the shore.

The Husband and I will watch House Hunters where "Allison and Dick are looking for that very special forever home on the beach."


We all know that "Forever Home", a term that Cookie thinks sounds childish, and "on the beach" are two phases literally at war with each other.

"Allison" is the one who wants to kick off her shoes and go from bed to beach to shower.  Dick wants a dock for their boat.

State Farm sure as hell isn't going to insure them if they do this in Ocean City, Maryland.

Inevitably, Dick or Allison will - at some point in the future - be shown on the national news, picking up the waterlogged pieces of their lives and saying things like "It's all gone." And "oh, look, a picture."

And the worst part for Dick and Allison?  They voted for Trump because they too don't believe in climate change.  In their hearts, they know that Hillary did this to them.

No, they did it to themselves.  They bought the dream without even a clue that the reality could slam into them at 100mph sustained winds.

So Cookie gets angry because he understands the lure of sunrises over the Atlantic and the carefree beach lifestyle.

But Mother nature really hates it when you get in the way.  Remember Jennifer Lawrence in Mother? She wants you out of her house.

But I also dread hurricanes because they also wreak havoc with those of us inland.  Trees come down - in reality, most of these trees that come crashing down are the trees that are only standing out of habit - they are all rotted inside, and are a hazard.  Wires and poles come down as well.  And the dogs hate going outside to a pee.

I can't blame them.   I wouldn't enjoy taking a poop in fifty miles an hour winds either, especially if I were nine pounds.

The biggest inconvenience for us will be the run in the grocery stores, usually the 48 hours before the storm.  People panic buy - they are like a plague of grasshoppers on a grain field.  They will strip a grocery store of everything but Tang, pine nuts and capers.  Ugh.

And "since you all now live in the south," our neighbor Eva Mae Makenzie pointed out today at the market "it's not Florence, like the city; its Flaunce, like a lady, do."


"Y'all worry too much, and the weather after a storm is always delightful," she reminded us.  "The sky's are their bluest.  Hurricane's are Lady Nature's way of clearing the miasma of summa for crisp fall days to come."

Well, if you insist.

I'll have to haul out my favorite Hurricane movie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which means I get to spend time with Sister Woman.  Sometimes, you have to find the silver lining in every miasma choked cloud there is.

Then there are the people who will start with "Oh, LAW! Surely 'Flaunce' is a sign of end times!"

Still, my troubles are nothing compared to what all those Dick's and Allison's are expecting.  I hope they have enough sense to get out as soon as they can.  For as much as I love to hate them, I don't want to see anyone gets killed in this storm.

The second reason why I am perturbed?  because my favorite writer of all time, Florence King is dead and won't be around to enjoy this storm that shares her first name.  Miss King, a spinster and proud of it, would have enjoyed this moment.  "Spinsterhood," she insisted, "is powerful.  It is why men name their motorcycle's Virago, their luxury cars Cressida." 

Just remember folks: Things can be replaced, people can't.

Miss King, This is in your honor:

Friday, September 7, 2018

So tired of the Trumplestiltskins

Today, these are President Trump's biggest fans.

And they are out of their fucking heads.

I had a nut on Facebook threaten me today because I laughed at his promise that "one day you be grateful for the chance to beg at the feet of greatest President in United States history for your life. Donald J. Trump is GOD!"

"Are you fucking for real?" asked Cookie?  "Are you off your meds?"

Of course, I knew that every one of his bats in his belfry was rabid.

That's when he promised to use his "inside people" at the sheriff's office in some backwater place in Kentucky to hunt me down.   Then he told me the name of the place.  So I contacted said place in "Crotchless, Kentucky" (the name of the place is masked to protect the nice people on the phone) and gave them his name.  The nice woman there said, "You just have to wonder about some people."

Amen sister, AMEN.

Anyhow, after the shit storm of the past week, you just want to scream.

My husband says my biggest problem is that I like to poke at bears.  He's right.  I buy my ten foot poles by the gross.

But these crazy people who were running and between 2008 and 2018 screaming about "OBAMA IS A MUSLUM!!!!!" are now the same people who are backing a man who has just about "done broke" every commandment in the good book, and they are as dazed as the high school loser who has been kicked in testicles by the Home Coming Queen.

They have that same glazed look in their eyes when they talk about Trumpslestiltskin, too.  The high school loser is all dreamy eyed and muttering "She's the most beautiful girl in the school," even though she has sterilized his exploded gonads.

And these folks who follow Trump follow Jesus are the same way.

  • "Donald Trump is the Greatest President, ever."  
  • "Lincoln freed those black people, and that started this whole Black Lives Matter, so you tell me what's so great about Abraham Lincoln - he started this mess."
  • "Jesus will strike you down for not kneeling before President Trump."

Swear to God I am about to smack some of my oldest friends for this crapola.

It's not a Shaker thing.  Dear Lord no!  They're onto this bullshit.  These are my friends from North Central Ohio.

But yes, Cookie will be glad when this is over.  I need some peace of mind.  In the meantime, I'll have a Corona.

And trust me, when this over, there will be a whole lot of people who will be denying that they ever bought in this garbage in the first place.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The damned door

Damn this woman and her perfect set of French
Provincial doors!

So, we have this house.  Built in 1928, and only owned by three family's, the Architect, the Quaker Couple and Husband and I.

When you buy a house, you never want to make the mistake of having owned for that long of time by old people.  Face it, we get older and most people defer repairs, they may get sloppy with paint, etc.

Face it, when you are on the downward side of the great bell curve of life, those cataract lensed eyes miss the detail.  What you see as a small crack is a big crack twenty years later if you don't fix the cause of the crack.  Sure you can spackle and paint it, but if the cause isn't addressed, eventually that crack is coming back.

The house we have has a traditional Colonial Revival six panel door, which has no windows.  It's just a BIG door.

And over the years layer upon layer of cream, then white paint has been painted over the last layer until the paint hid all the details of the moldings, and it began to "check".

What is checking?

Have you ever looked as something that been outside and the paint is cracking in squares?  That's checking.  And checking happens for a couple reasons.  The first is that there are so many layers of paint expanding and contracting over the years that each layer is moving at a different rate.  The other thing is that there are so many layers that the actual weight of the paint begins to pull on it as well. 

And the previous owner's solution?  More latex paint and they glopped it on top of the lead white paint. 

So Cookie tried to strip the lead painted mess a couple years ago and it was such a miserable job, and the weather didn't cooperate, and then other things got in the way and it just stayed half door. 

And Cookie had gotten to the point where he said to the husband, let's just get a new, accurate for the house door made out of wood.  No fiberglas knockoffs that "sparkle" from the imitation lead glass Victoriana knockoff.  But something decent. 

The husband felt that we could get the door stripped.

Today, he gave it a whirl.  And after about an hour, he signaled surrender.

There is a good quarter inch of led and the wood underneath is just pine.   So Cookie is going shopping.  Bother.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Krab with a K is back

Well, Cookie has a secondary blog that has been languishing and has been revived. Krab with a K (or KWAK, as it is fondly known in my heart) was just too great not to do something with.

So I am beginning to post some stuff over there,  some material over there that is a bit flip a little cheeky and bit more on the Baltimore side of things.

So remember, that is "Krab with a K"

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What's the matter with Keds Today?

Those Keds on his feet have seen better days...

Cookie is in a mood.  So much to do.  So little time.  And I need new shoes, too!

Alas, it is not ennui that has set in, but procrastination.

What I really need is an assistant who I can delegate all this to and come back and have it magically all be taken care of.

It's nothing as mundane as paying bills - those get done when they come in.  The shoe thing is really driving me nuts because DSW seems to only carry "Sketchers" and I refuse to wear anything that can be found in a Kohl's store. 

And while my feet have not gotten wider, shoes have become narrower.  A Medium used to be fine, but now I am finding that the Brannock device says "M", but the shoe marked "M" is definitely not.

"It's not you," says my friend Mavis who works at Nordstrom.  "Manufacturers of realistically priced footwear are cutting corners like Nabisco does when the 'NEW SIZE'  Oreo costs just as much as before, but you get fewer cookies, with less 'stuff' in the middle."

Mavis then called the name "Mondelez" stupid, and the people who run the company "Mutha Fickahs".  You gotta love people from New Jersey.

And on another note, there is our penthouse guest suit, on the third floor. 

It needs to be painted, but the walls really need replacing.  And the floors need sanding and refinishing.

Husband and I decided to paint the existing masonite paneled walls and to make a headboard for the master bedroom on that floor.  You know, "save money by being crafty" and all that crap.

Let me tell you, it's not cheap to do it the right way.  You have to get a plywood board ($30 for an 8x6 that has to be cut down to a 65x30) batting for the cushion ($20), fabric - in this case, a nice beige with big vivid purple, green, and blue dots - trust me its fab, and at $15 it was a steal for upholstery fabric.  And then the nailhead trim - $50!  And oh, you need a hanging system - $25.  Luckily, we have the electric staple gun.  And the staples.

Had I known it was this much I would have not done anything.   And just now a family member calls up and says "Blutto and I will be in town for an unplanned trip. Any room at the in?"  Ugh.  They can have my office, but they have to be gone on Thursday; Friday more guests arrive.  Cookie Manor isn't Downton Abbey.

But, having been a guest at the home of other people for extended stays (Funerals, research trips, seminars, etc.) I can tell you that a nice guest room makes guests feel special.

Still, the load would be easier if I could snap my fingers and have an assistant do the work, or at least take my mind off of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Are you a guy who craves "Golden Nectar"? Tant pis.

Why yes, my mind has joined Norma's in the gutter.  Seriously, you mention "golden nectar" in gay circles and ice cold Kool-Aid is not the first thing that comes to mind.  No, the nectar that they are noodling about is warm.

It's not my thing to drink but to each his own.

There are advocates for its ingestion.  There are also those who enjoy eating eel.  Both give me the cold willies.  Trouser snake is my preference.

Growing up, I never would have tried this beverage, the Kool-Aid kind.  I never drank anything this color unless I was running a fever, barfing up everything and the doctor told my mother to ladle Vernors Ginger Ale down my throat.  To this day, it reminds me of being deathly ill and my parents trying to make me even sicker.  Nasty business, that.

All this comes up because I was reading today and the phrase "tant pis" came up.  It isn't often that it does, but it did.   And English teacher taught us the phrase because some classic had the phrase in it and one of the boys in class want ed to know "What's wrong with Horatio?  He can't piss."

For those of you who don't know, "tant pis" (taun pee) is a French phrase "Oh, well" as in "You can't get me a table for seven at eight? Tant pis."

 It's inverse is "tant mieux" which means "so much the better."

"You can't get us in at eight, but you can at 8:15? Tant mieux!  Excellent!"

There, I have given you two new phrases, and some vivid sexual things to think about.  Now go out and use "tant pis" and don't piss it away.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Personal hygiene is everyone's business

So today, Cookie was confronted by two indignities.  The first was being in the Towson, Maryland, Home Goods store, where things are supposed to be a bargain, but they are not.  I was looking for a toothbrush holder because toothbrush handles have become entirely too big around to fit in the holder that we have had for the last 20 years.

First, it was the fancy toothbrush heads, but somewhere along the way the geniuses that design this utilitarian tool they decided that the handles needed to be bigger.  "More" is, after all, MORE in consumer goods.  Our toothbrush handles are as fat now as Sharpie brand markers.  I shudder to think where we will be in twenty years. 

Anyhow, because there are few stores left in the middle, I looked at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and not seeing anything to my liking I decided to schlep across Prince Avenue to HG, which is a fancier version of TJMaxx.  I found one, under seven dollars, and while its design is uninspiring, it is not offensive, either. 

Towson University is getting ready for its Fall term, and the students are back.  So a store like Home Goods is lousy with them. 

So I walk down the aisle to queue up for the cashier.  Thier is an odd, off-putting smell that is strengthening. It's not mass of candles, each fighting for the dominance in the scent department. It's not gift soaps, with their strange melange of scents - Truffle-Lemon, Cherry-Mint, Corriander-Bubble Gum. It's not sour, like puke.  Not ammonia-like bladder control issues.  It's not "loaded diaper", and by the way, there were no mother and infants about.  It was just off-putting.

And as I walked towards the next person, the odor became stronger, but it wasn't B.O., either. The person I am walking towards is a young woman, smallish, dressed in jeans that were too tight, appears to be a student.  So I walk up and stand about five feet behind, and WHAM, the odor hits me full on.  The woman seems oblivious and is starring at her phone, scrolling, tapping away no sign of anything amiss, and I am beginning to feel queasy.

In fact, the odor was so bad, I had to back up.  Way up.  And as I backed away the musky, earthy, slaughterhouse the day after butchering smell started to fade.

That's when it dawned on me what the smell was.  It was, what they used to call in 1950s advertising the "one unforgivable sin of un-daintiness."

That was when I stepped on another woman's foot.

"I apologize for not looking ma'am," I heard myself saying, "I think that I might have forgotten everything I came in for and I was not paying attention."  I looked into the racks of crap that Home Goods thinks you will think that you need (Twist Tie Collector: 'Never be without another twist tie again!') and then I said: "You go on in front of me while I look at these decorative wine stoppers!"

The woman smiled, worriedly, and advanced while I looked over my shoulder and back up a few more feet.  The line was not moving because there was one cashier and the back up was having a hard time getting his machine up.  The woman advanced to the denim-clad young woman and then turned around with an ugly look on her face. 

She smelled it too.

Another woman came up behind me and asked: "are you in line?" 

"Yes, but, go ahead of me - I just have this one item. You have a whole cart!"

She made it up to the next woman - the one I let go in front of me, who turned and said: "You go next, I want to look at that Halloween wreath over there."

As she passed me she screwed up her face and exhaled.   I saw her stick her face into the pumpkin spice scented wreath and take a deep inhale.

Finally, the line started to move and the young woman was called up.  A tall good-looking man started to asked her if she found everything then the expression on his face changed.  Her curse was visited upon his olfactory nerves. 

The woman with the cart was called up and sped past the young woman like a sprinter to the finish line.

Then it was my turn, but the young woman at the center of the storm finished up and we almost collided.  Thankfully I was holding my breath and made to my cashier.  The young man turned to my cashier with a "WTF was that all about"look, and my cashier shot him a "Not in front of the customers" type of shade.

We concluded the transaction, she said she hoped my experience was a pleasant one, I smiled and thanked her.

Outside, I breathed in the stench free air. 

Students come from all over, with all different background.  Maybe she was from a different culture.  Maybe her smelling skills were attuned to other things.  Maybe in her mind, I smelled like "red meat" - and I actually had a Korean Exchange student say that me back in high school.  Actually, she was saying that about everyone in the whole school.

Still, I can't help but think about that poor Mrs. J----, the one who never gets invited over a second time.  The one whose husband is drifting away from her.

I did come home and take a shower.  Oh, Hell, yas I did.

When my husband comes home, I want him to find me clean and handsome.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Filling Out My Arbor Day Survey

The husband and I have been told that we live in a prestige zipcode, so we get a lot of requests for money.

There are a whole lot of legal charities that have their hands out, and we get them all.   They all want your money.  Some do it with straightforward letters of appeal.  Others are simply manipulative.  There are those that you read and you can hear Sally Struthers in your head, pleading with you to "sending your twenty-nine dollars a month will help feed and cloth Rita and her fifteen siblings.  Ask yourself could you go without shoes, down thorn laced trails that are filled with snakes towards the only school in a 150-mile radius?"

Some of the plaintive pleas for money send gifts in the mail to get you to give.  We received lots of return address labels decorated with the art of shoeless children, while some include cliche images of the flag, kittens or puppies.  The puppies and kittens have plaintive eyes that say "How could you use these stickers if you don't donate to us?"

This year, we received a very special message from the Arbor Day people.  Despite cutting down a 100-foot tall pin-oak because it was a threat to the safety of our house and the neighbors.  Big trees, planted ten feet from your house are a hazard.

Still, the husband and I love trees.  After the oak was removed we planted four good sized birch trees.

So the Arbor Day people know we're a soft touch.

The packet included the requisite return address stickers - clearly, we really need to start writing more letters which requires more trees being cut down and more paper to be used, but who needs to worry about that at a time like this, right?

They also included vouchers for free trees, which are about two inches tall when you get them, but they are trees and they are free, but not from guilt.  But packet also included a "survey of vital importance."  We know this because it said so on the envelope.

In addition to asking our age, our level of educational attainment, blah, blah, blah, in the first four questions, section two is where we get down to the nitty-gritty:

5. "Have you ever climbed a tree?"  It had been so long since I had done this - fifty years or so - that I had to answer "no" as I have not tried to haul my 55-year-old hulking self up a tree in a number of years.

6. "When you were a child, did you ever play under or amongst trees?" Verily, I did.  And as an adult, I played with men amongst the trees as well.

7. Did you collect leaves, acorns and pine cones for a school project - or just for fun?  Maybe a school project, once.  But for fun?  I am neither "Krafty and Kreative" or a squirrel.  But since these are all yes or no questions, I felt that this required that I consult with my childhood friend Sharon who said "Seriously, Cookie.  What the fuck is this about."

8. Do you relax in the shade of a tree?  Folks, you can make this shit up.

9. Do you think that White Oak is the appropriate choice for the state tree of Maryland?  It is? You tell me.

10. Do you think, in general, that the people of Maryland care about trees more than the people in other parts of the country?  How the fuck should I know?  These are people that when you need to get around them and say "Excuse me," lash out at you for not waiting your turn while they waddle down the cheese danish aisles at the grocery.

11. WHICH one of following, would you say is the most important function of a tree?  Being a source of beauty is definitely more important than slowing climate change.

I could go on, but it was more of the same until you get to the backside and complete question seventeen, (which, I am disappointed to say was not "If you could be a tree, any tree, which tree would you be?") was the statement:

NOW... It's time to redeem all your FREE gift vouchers!  
[ ] I'm enclosing all my FREE GIFT vouchers and my donation of...

If the vouchers are free trees, why do I need to include a dime?  Yes, I see where if I donate an additional ten dollars I also get a free calendar - again, made from living trees that were cut down and destroyed that we are supposed to be worshipping - and two crepe myrtles.

Seriously people, what they hey.  Not a question, but a point.  You are creating a ton of carbon dioxide to raise ten dollars.  How does that help anyone?  It certainly isn't helping any trees that perhaps I may come upon (Mind out of the gutter, Norma) and admire, only to have you come along, cut it down to make paper pulp so you can make paper to do a mailing to raise money to save a tree, washing rinse and repeat.

Hells bells, there isn't even a recycled paper stamp on the damned quiz!

So, since my housework is done and the weather could behave today I could lie about outdoors, but truth be told, Cookie is an "indoor person".  Less chance of an asthma attack, skin cancer, and ticks.

I think that you shall never see, Cookie resting under yonder large tree.  
Poems like this are made by fools like thee 
But only Cookie can make Cookie haul his ass out
And plotz it down under yon flipping tree. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Feminine Hygiene Minutes in History

Yes, Nurse Margaret Kissack, with her greying hair and jet BLACK eyebrows has all the answers, because she just not a "nurse" or some actress who plays advertisements.

Margaret Kissack was a real registered nurse, motha fuckas.

She has been trained to be helpful, non-judgemental and objective.  And there is no SHAME in going to comely Nurse Kissack because she was a professional.  And an employee of the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.

Impressed?  You should be.  This nurse, this disciple of Florence Nightengale no less, gave her life to helping women through every serious medical moment imaginable that nice people can't discuss in public. At the dinner table. Including how and what to look for when you chose the correct hygienic travel syringes.

"I recommend Faultless Rubber brand travel syringes.  The people that work at Faultless Rubber understand that "purity of product" is important to the American Woman."

Moreover, Nurse Margaret Kissack was a native of the Isle of Man, who became an American Citizen and lived in 1940 at 2670 East Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio.

We know this because the 1930 U.S. Census tells us so.  Yes, she gave up a fun-filled and fulfilling life on an island full of men, where Peel automobile was built.

We also know that caring Nurse Kissack died in Cleveland in 1977.   Shame on you for not caring and not sending flowers you ungrateful sots.

So when you have a question about how to keep your secret lady place dainty, say to hell with the stranger on the street, to hell with your friends and fuck the Hell off to every LPN there is: seek out your own Margaret Kissack, R.N. and step out of the shameful shadows of secret lady place odors.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A place I would not go to

Not our old house

To me, houses are emotional objects.  They are homes, buildings, structures, and places of shelter.  So some of the houses that I have lived in are very personal.

Our first house in Baltimore meant nothing to me when we discovered that it was freezing in the winter, like a kiln in the summer and that it lacked any place to put anything.  It was head over heels charming on the outside, but inside it was a terrible waste of spaces.   So when we moved, I was glad to leave because it was never a home, just a house.

The house in Columbus was also another place that started out just like a house.  It was my first house.  And it was full of problems.  I was only going to keep it for two years, and then flip it.  But before you knew it, I was there almost ten when I left my prior partner and the husband moved in, and it's started feeling like a home.  By the time we were transferred to B-more, we were just shy a full twenty for me at the place.

And we left a gorgeous house behind.  The young couple that bought seemed thrilled with it.  The landscape was something that he was going to have to learn, but that comes with time, I thought.

Because we are still very close friends with our former next-door neighbors, we soon learned that the couple dug in, but in every way harmful to the house. 

First to go were the year-old canvas awnings that provided the house with a wonder filtered light in the summer and kept the upstairs from becoming too hot.  Next were the 100-year old wood windows that we had painstaking restored.  Next, they killed the roses - one of which, a Red Masterpiece, was over 60 years old and produced the most magnificent long-stemmed red roses.  Evidently, the roses were too needy.

They pulled down the original lights, removed the antique drape rods, and stripped the house of every ounce of character we had restored, and then they "West Elm'd" fucking shit out of every room.  Everything was painted with various shades of grey, linen, and charcoal.  Drum lamp shades popped everywhere.  They even removed the cork flooring system from the kitchen that had been featured in a magazine and replaced it with tiles.

In the backyard, they removed all the stonework, the large pine tree, and replaced it with a sand pit that has become the toilet for every free-range cat in the neighborhood.

Then they removed the stucco from the upper half;f and concrete board sided it, making the house a "non-contributing" structure in the historic neighborhood I helped to get listed.

And now, six years later, they are putting it on the market, ready to move into the next house and rape it in the name of "West Elm" and "HGTV".   AND, because real estate right now is tight, they have priced it $100,000 over what they paid us.

Look, Cookie understands that everyone has a different style, and a wants to make their home theirs.  I can't fault them for that.

But when you buy an "Arts and Crafts" era house and try and make it look industrially modern loft - maybe you should have bought the loft in the first place.  When you buy a house with a yard, you know you are going to have to take care of it, not turn it into a litter box.

I really hope they sell the place.  They have been aloof to our old neighbors, who we introduced them to, and have treated their invitations with disdain.  The only couple they have bonded with are, apparently, Frigid and Frigida, the Scandinavian autocrats who used to shove the "Middle of the Street Committee" around.   And they didn't honor the house, instead, they modelled it after a commercial ideal of what they should have bought, to begin with.

So I really want these people to sell and GET OUT.  GET OUT NOW.  Good luck.  Bon voyage, happy home ownership.  B'bye.

I hope the next owners will be kinder and gentler to the place, and nicer to the neighbors.   And not rent to college kids.

I have also asked the old neighbors not to send me links to the listing. I have no intention of wanting to see the full extent of the damage beyond what I know about.

Simply, I want to remember it the way it was - a lovely house, one that was carefully tended and respected for what it was, our home and part of the neighborhood fabric.

Friday, August 3, 2018

It was all just a facade.

Secretly she wanted to be a Supreme. 

Or an oboeist.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

It's got a hold over me

I know nothing about it other than I am mesmerized by it every time I look at it.

Who is/was this woman?

Was she dancing or just doing the moves?

What music did they play, or was it done in silence?

Did she ever see the image?

Did she find her body movements mesmerizing or grotesque?

Could she have wondered if she could have chosen something better to wear? Something different?

A great photo makes you think, it haunts you.  It's something that you just cannot let go of.  It haunts you.  And every time you look you find something new.

This picture has a hold over me and it's not likely to leave me now, or in the future.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A child's salon on the rocks

I shudder to think about this crew

Yes.  It really was real.  Wife Swapping was a "THING".

Back in the 70s, as I remember it.  In the 1950s, it would have been a bit avant guard.  But in the seventies, all sorts of stuff was happening in homes with shag carpet.

When I was in or about fifth grade, Wife Swapping, however, was all the rage.  Or so the magazines would have you believe.   My friends and I would go to Campus Drug and pick out our dime candy bars and our quarter (.25) cans of cold pop and stop off look at magazines to see what we weren't supposed to know about.  The covers talked about all sorts of things that we were clueless about.  "Weed".  "Giving yourself permission to look at your vagina."  "Premature ejaculation" and "How to make him feel like a potent man."  All of it, in the seventies, was on magazine covers.

But, according to Cosmo, Wife Swapping was empowering. "It's a BLAST" the headline read.  Playboy's cover was all IN for girlfriend swapping.  There was even an article on one cover that asked "Why Swap? Orgy Instead!"

My friends and I would take our candy bars to the vacant lot across Fairmount Boulevard and sit on a pile of rocks left over from some house that never got built, eat our .50 cent horde of pure sugar when one of the boys in the neighborhood wondered aloud about the topics we were reading in the headlines.  The Wife Swapping topic proved to be as puzzling to our uninformed minds as any other topic.

But we knew from the word "Swapping" that this somehow involved trading.

"Why would you want to do that?"


"Swap your wife?"

"Because you're tired of her.  It's like trading your car with a friend because you want to drive his convertible, but he needs your station wagon."

"Hey," said Ann Douglas to Beth McClatchy, "You aren't going to mix pop rocks and Pepsi together are you?"  Beth, her mouth full of pop rocks, wide-eyed, nodded 

"It's certain death," admonished Ann.

Ann was such a buzz kill.

"What if she's tired of him?"  Colin, Beth's younger brother asked.

"In our house my parents just sit in different rooms, sleep in different rooms and grumble about going places together."  Brad Silverman said.

"Why don't they get a divorce?" asked Colin.

Sally Wilson said "Because stupid, they are staying together for the sake of the children.  So Brad and his sister's can come from a happy home.  Don't you know anything?"  Beth nodded in agreement.

I chimed in reminding them that my parents were divorced.

"But my mother says your father is a "hound" and a skirt chaser."  Sally had a point.  My father loved women.  He didn't love my Mom.  But women, yes.  My father loved women in every shape and flavor.

Ann Douglas, who was a sixth grader who "knew" things said, "I think they do it to spice up their marriages and love lives.  It's like watching every episode of the Walton's and expecting something different at the end and always getting "G'night John Boy."  Sometimes you wish someone asked, "Who farted?"


I asked, "None of our parents would do that, would they?"

At that point all everyone else's parents became suspect. Every last lawyer, accountant, den mother, and housewife could be into "Wife Swapping" and we would have no way of knowing. It was my first and only Mexican Standoff.  The crinkle of candy bar wrappers stopped.  All was silent as we look at each other, asking in our minds "would Chuckie parents have sex with Colin's parents, or would they peel off with Ann Douglas' parents?

Then, someone broke the tension.  "NO!"



One friend from Colby Road said to me "Your parents are divorced, so they can't swap.  Your mother could become a Swinger, I guess.  Then again, your father remarried so he could be a wife swapper."

Secretly I knew that my father's wife was promising men sex in bars because both of my parents had first names that began with the same letter (M) and my mother was in the phone book as "M Cookie, and my father was in the phone book as MA Cookie.  So drunken men were calling the first "M. Cookie" house asking to speak to "Bessie" because "Bessie promised to masturbate me off."

The first time it happened, I went to my mother said "there is a man on the phone who wants to talk to Dad's wife."

My mother replied, "Well, she's not here, give them your father's phone number.  He ought to enjoy taking that call."  It seemed like the thing to do.  So I did.

Mom came back into the room and asked "What did the guy want?"

"He said that Bessie was going to mastersomething him off.  I don't know the word or what it means."

My poor mother.  She was expecting that.  "What did you say?"  I started to repeat what I had said but she cut me off.

"I only said it because you asked what the guy on the said it."

"Don't say that word again."

"What word?"  Needless to say, Mom sat me down and she gave me the talk.  I was appalled.  I was appalled that I had spoken to the guy, I was appalled that my mother had to explain "masturbation" to me, and I was just appalled, but curious...

But back to my mother being a swinger.  We all knew that was as unlikely as mankind exploring Pluto because my mother would never have sexual feelings. Or muss up her hair.  None of our mothers would, well, because they were our mothers and that would be gross.

"Do you think that anyone in our neighborhood would become a Swinger?" I asked.

Beth chimed in and said: "I think it could happen, but if the membership committee at their country club found out, then they could kick you out."

"Why would they do that?" I asked.

"Because you can't get in until they judge you.  Getting into a country club means you have a good reputation, and someone is willing to sponsor you into the 'the club'.  And getting caught sleeping with someone else's husband or wife is not the kind of thing that looks good.  That's how reputations are ruined."

Ann had a point. 

The Rosensteins went to Israel and came back raving about living the Kibbutz lifestyle.  They gave their house a name: "Kibbutz Rosenstein" and became vegetarians.  They even had their son oldest Gary enlist in the Israeli army.  But Beechmont Country Club kicked them out when they insisted that they help with the day to day operations of the club in lieu of annual dues, which they felt was a capitalist concept.

"If," my friend's sister started to say, "anyone in this neighborhood is going to swing, it's going to be the Shipley's.  Mr. Shipley is, according to my mother, 'handsome like a news anchor' and Mrs. Shipley can wear hip-huggers."

John Wise added in "And she has big boobs."

We all talked about Mrs. Shipley's boobs until Ann pointed out that damning bit of evidence: "They have that modern house."

Well then; That was the key to everything.  They looked the part, and they lived it, so they had to be honest God real wife swappers.  The nail in the coffin though to securing our decision that they were both on the road to living the lives of a Jacqueline Susann character lifestyle was the house.  It was big, and bold and had an all-white interior with huge plate glass windows.  And they had no children.

"So they can swap without worrying about finding babysitters."

"And they ski. There's a lot of drinking and sex at a ski resort."

How would you know, I asked - never having been skiing myself.

It was, of course, a foolish thing to ask.  "Chuckie Turner's father reads Playboy, and the evidence was under the mattress in his parent's room.  Playboy was a magazine of nude women and cartoons showing escapades at ski lodges that took place on bearskin rugs," said David Wright.  David was mostly silent, so when he spoke up it was something.

After deciding that all wife swappers could be swingers, but not all swingers would be into wife swapping, I asked - having my our silent yearnings even at that age and wondering what Mr. Shipley looked like without his shirt - "Why do they call it 'wife swapping'?  Why not 'husband swapping?"  Now I could see a couple of the male camp counselors at Weehawken doing it.  But I was smart enough not to say that.

And the answer my friends proclaimed was one of major importance:



"Can't happen. Because men are men, duh!"

This is when they told me that it was OK for two women to do it together because that was hot, and men got off on that.   But two men having sex was "totally homo."

"So women never think about two guys together?"

Beth let out one of those pre-adolescent girl growls - "GAH!"

And with that, Sally put an end to the salon on the rocks having finished her Pop Rock's, and moved on to Hubba Bubba, the absynthe of eleven-year-olds.  "Look, you guys are just gross," which is kid speak "Oh, fuck for fuck's sake."  And thus our enchantment, our kiddie salon, ended.

"What are we going to do now?"

I announced that my father gave me a tape recorder.  "We can go to my house and swear into it?"

Ann Douglas proclaimed that as something she wanted to do.  "I love saying fuck. And now I'll be able to hear myself fucking say it.  Fuck, I mean."

And that's what you did when I was a kid in the 70s. You made up life as you went along.  From candy and cola to solving the question on Wife Swapping, and the answer was "gross" to swearing into tape recorders, that was a summer day in Shaker Heights.

And I still have those old cassettes with us swearing on them.