Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Away in a manger...

Found this through linkification and its BRILLIANT.  27 Really Horrible Manger Scenes at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another connection

This has been an exhausting day.

I've spent the better part of the sitting in shock, and greiving.

But I have also been wondering about the probility that the connections between those that are here amongst us, and those that have left us may cross over into each others realms.  And today we have another instance where I think it has.

At the time that my father died in Florida, I had this incredible feeling of power and rage wash over myself while driving.  I immediatly wanted to beat someone up, which is not something I would think of, or do.  I found out her died an hour later when I got the call from my brother.

When Mom died, I was with her, but the drive back to the house took about an hour.  Two hours after her death, at 2Am when I was getting something to eat and being comforted by our dog, the phone rang once, twice and then nothing.  Her signal to me that that I hadn't called her to let her know I was home after leaving her place was to ring the phone twice.  I was suppossed to ring her back twice - why waste the expense of a phone call, right?  I always thought that phone ring was her way of letting me know that she got to where she was going and that she was OK.

Last week I installed new smoke alarms in our house as the old one were 18 years old this past October.  The new alarms are pretty slick, and more substantial than the ones they built in 1993.  They also use two AA batteries instead of the old 9 volt batteries.

So last night I went to bed, then the husband came to bed afterward after locking down the house.  After 3AM the new smoke alarm in the livingroom ran a test cycle - two series of three ear piercing electronic chirps.  Of course it woke us up, but it stopped and we went back to sleep.  At 3:20 it did the same thing - this time we woke up and wandered around the house trying to find what was making that noise. At 3:25 while standing under it, the thing went off again.  So we pulled it and disconnected the batteries.  We had inspected the house and found nothing wrong.

This morning was the news that Lucille had died.

This evening at 6PM a mutual cousin called to say that they think that based on the condition of the body, the acid levels in the body and the amount of rigor mortis in the body that Lucille had been dead 7 to 8 hours, which tied to estimated time of death to the 2:30 to 3:30AM time period.

Now my task is trying to track down Pam's errant husband who's been missing for eight years.

It's going to be a hard week.

An after shock.

Yesterday I wrote about the passing of my cousin Pam and how her mother had seen everyone in her family before her eyes either witness tragedy, or their deaths.

Now more shocking news - they found Pam's mother's body this morning.  She died in her sleep in the middle of the night.

Incredibly sad for myself - I have lost another connector to my past.  I wanted to spend time with her.  But also incredibly relieved.  She didn't have to suffer on earth any longer.

While we were at the hospital, waiting for the moment to be right to make the decision to discontinue Pam's life support, her mother said that on Monday night, at about 3AM she woke up and looked out the bedroom window to see a girl about ten, with light brown hair "standing there in one of those white dresses like we used to wear when I was young."

She called out to the girl, thinking it was Pam in her dazed state, but the girl drifted into the fog.

She got up and "put my robe on and then went and check on Pam and she was sound asleep, so I went back to bed.  I don't know who that was because Pam always had darker hair."  She seemed to ponder the moment - half afraid to said who it was that she saw.

So I asked, "was it Mary that you saw?"

"Yes, it was her."  She started to cry.  Mary was the sister who died in the car accident back in 1937.

She went onto say that Mary came to her in her dreams, every night after she died until Pam was born.  And then it stopped.

Pam's episode was Tuesday afternoon - now this.

I'm glad that I spent those hours with Lucille at the hospital - it's her legacy to me.

She's now with Pam, and in Mary's company as well.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Well - my Thanksgiving didn't work out as planned Darling's - did yours?

Everything was going grate guns a fire.  The meal was good.  So was the company.  And the dogs were on their best behavior.

Then I got an email from a distant cousin from back home that sent me directly to the ICU unit of Riverside Methodist Hospital. No joke.

Apparently, the daughter of another mutual relative/neighbor from my mother's childhood had what the doctors called an "episode" back home and collapsed.  Her heart stopped pumping for 11 minutes before they got it going against, and by that time, it was pretty hopeless.

So we did what people from back home do - we stood by the family, because you never leave your friends in a time of need.

It was a very long two days and nights, but Pam was removed from the ventilator yesterday and died this morning. 

Now I stand by with Pam's mother - a woman of amazing misfortune and strength. She lost a sister in a tragic car accident that left her other sister paralyzed from the neck down. Then both of her parents lost their battles with the infirmities of old age after tending to their paralyzed daughter for the remainder of their lives. Then that sister died. Then her son - born profoundly retarded after his mother was exposed to measles in the first tri-mester.  He husband passed, and now this - losing your last living child who was only 54.  My cousin has seen everything and everyone wiped from the earth. 

I don't understand sometimes why God does these things.  Why weigh a person down with all of this?

And now I'm giving the eulogy.  Pam's mother seems grateful that I have accepted the job, which I undertake with love and gratitude.  To say kind things about Pam is an honor, because she was a kind person with a gentle heart and a gentle soul.

Gives new meaning to Thanksgiving; I am thankful I was able to support their family in their time of need.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My gift to you: the Butternut Squash recipe

Well my darlings, I know it's late, but I also know that the markets are still open this evening for most of you, and will be open in the morning for last minute needs, so I am gifting to you my family's butternut squash recipe, which is to die for, and a nice alternative to mashed potatoes.

1 Large Butternut squash, halved and the seeds removed
2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4oz Parmesan cheese, grated
4oz of Gorgonzola (or other blue) cheese, crumbled.
1 large onion
some sage
salt and pepper.
some room temperature butter

1. Halve the butternut squash lengthwise with a sharp knife.  Place the squash on a jelly roll pan (like a cookie sheet, but it has and 1" lip all the way around) face down and hide a clove or two of garlic under the squash in the cove where the seeds used to be. 
2. slather the outside "skin" of the squash with some butter.
3. Pop that in a 400 degree oven for 60-70 minutes.

4.  Dice the onion.  Heat up a skillet with a blob of butter in it and when the butter starts to turn brown, throw the diced onion in and sauté.  When the onion begins to wilt, throw in a pinch of sage, and some salt and pepper and continue to sauté until you think they cooked through.

5. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes or so. Then scoop the cooked squash into a big bowl.  Discard the skins. Seriously, throw them out because you don't want to eat them - yucky!
6. In the bowl mash up the squash and the garlic, add the cooked onions, and the two cheese together.  You can either mash it all together or blend it, however you want the texture to be.
7. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with a little sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese.


You can make this ahead and substitute an oven ready dish.  Just stick it in the fridge and then reheat for an hour at 350 before you serve.  (I don't recommend using a microwave because it can blob and splatter all over.)


You can buy frozen puff pastry - following their instructions for thawing and filling and use this recipe in the filling.  Great for cocktail parties.

Simple and TASTY!  And I guarantee you that no one else will bring this like they will that green-bean casserole.


Whatever your tradition, hope your holiday is a good one!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Memories, of my father: the red light bulb

As long time readers of this blog know, I had a real love hate relationship with my father, that was mostly hate. He was a deeply troubled man, with a life spinning out of control.  In the process of trying to make sense of it, he made us all miserable.

In another forum I moderate for people  from my adopted hometown, the subject came up about the town madam.  A woman named Gracie who ran a "house"; not a brothel, or a house of prostitution, just a "house".  Its what we called it, what my mother's generation call it, and what my grandfather's generation called.

One of the group participants remembered that when she was in high school, the kids would drive by the "house" and if the shade went up, and then the shade went down, Gracie's girls were accepting callers.  Another woman added in that a woman on her street would put out the "red light bulb" whenever her husband left for work.

And the story about the red light bulb reminded me of my dad.

Every Saturday morning, I had to go with my father, an attorney in Cleveland, when he went to visit his "clients".   I went kicking and screaming because I hated spending time with the old man and because I wanted to watch cartoons - my parents were still married so I was younger than ten.

Dad's clients were a miserable lot.  Some of the men answered the doors with faces that looked like raw meat - bruised and swollen.  Other clients tried to give me candy, but their overall hygiene and look in their eyes told me not to touch their candy.  One woman, who worked at a produce stand in the West Side Market, would give me a pumpkin every Halloween while my father would try and talk some sense to her son - black Irish brawler with a taste for booze and cheap women.

Of course all of this freaked me out because 1) we didn't have people like this in Shaker Heights, and 2) I was dealing with personal issues of my own and 3) I was like eight or nine and these people threatened my fragile sense of security.

What I didn't know was then was the reason why we visited those clients was because he had either bailed them out the week before or they were on probation and he checked up on them to make sure they weren't doing something stupid that would hurt themselves and end up back in jail.

On one of the trips we drove about five minutes from our house to a street west of Lee Road, into Cleveland proper, down in what my father called "browntown".  Dad grew up in this neighborhood when it was predominately white and eastern European in the 1920s, but by this point in the 1960s it was referred to as the place that grandparents were lucky to have "Gotten Out Of" when they sold their house and moved into Shaker proper. 

For those of you wondering what kind of neighborhood it was, the commercial district on Kinsman Road was rough and boarded up.  When the blacks rioted in the 1960s all over this country, they were rioting against this level of poverty.  Most of the houses looked rough as well, but we pulled up in front of a duplex house that by this neighborhood's standard was respectable and tidy, and there wasn't a broken down car in the driveway.

And it had a red light bulb glowing in the coach light next to the front door, and it wasn't Christmas.

And when my father saw that, he was steamed. 

"What the HELL?" he said.

In Yiddish terms, he was having a conniption fit before the car even stopped moving.

Since he was convinced that I would break something on the Cadillac, and God forbid anything should anything happen to the CADILLAC, I had to go in with him.  I don't think the thought ever crossed his mind "God forbid anything should happen to my son"; it was all about the Cadillac.

So we go up and ring the bell and this black woman wearing a short nighty answers the door.  We got in there, Dad started yelling at this woman to get the "God damned" light bulb turned off and replaced with a normal one.   While that was going on, I looked around noticed that the house smelled of cheap cigarettes -  and badly at that.  It was so strong it had a sickeningly sweet smell, and it made me queasy.  The shades were pulled, and stained with cigarette tar, so the light filtering in made everything golden and hazy.  The furinture was old, the fireplace was drapped in old crepe paper like their had been a party there once.

My father and the woman were screaming at other and my Dad was telling her that she was headed back to the tank if the county saw that bulb. "Jesus KEY-rice!" Dad was screaming.  "If Judkins sees this you are going back to jail even before you answer the door!" 

Boy, was Dad mad, but I kinda thought the red light was cool and I wanted one for our house.

Finally some man came from down the hall and wanted to what the problem was and Dad calmed down some and told him.  He looked like he had just gotten out of bed.

The man told the woman "go and put some pants on."  When she was gone, dad and the man talked.  The guy smiled at me - he was black as night and had yellow teeth - one was missing - and said I could sit down "while me and your daddy talk some stuff over." 

No fucking way was I sitting down in this place.

We were there for all of five minutes and the woman finally came down the hall in a pair of shorts and a top, she waddled into the kitchen and came back with a regular light bulb.  Dad and the man finished their business and dad took the light bulb, and on our way out changed the bulb with is handkerchief and gave me that red light bulb to hold.

"Hey, Mr. K - THAT MY LIGHT BULB!" the woman screamed before the man pulled her back in the house. 

Afterward in the car he explained that she wasn't at all to have a red light bulb on the light because it "upset the neighbors." Why?

"It's like when our neighbors don't pick up their leaves in the fall," he said.  "It imposes on people - makes them feel uncomfortible because they don't have a red light bulb, too." That made sense me.

He gave me the bulb, but made me promise never to use it on an outside light. When my mom saw it, it was her time for the conniption fit because she was furious that he gave it to me.

"I don't want him bringing that in here," she screamed.

"What?" he said, "it's just a light bulb that happens to be red!"

All this over a red light bulb?

"Dad said I can't show it to anyone because they might not have a red light bulb of their own," I voiced.

My mother looked at my father and said "You told him that?  That people would be jealous of that thing?  Did you all tell him that a hooker was a person who liked to fish, too?"

One of their fights ensued.  I took the lightbulb in seach of someplace to screw it in and turn it on.

Over the years of my childhood I would periodically pull the red light bulb out of it's various hiding places and then screw it into a lamp where it glowed for five minutes and then I would unscrew it and stick it in a drawer until I was bored again.  Such is the mind of a child - things in small doses bring great appreciation, but lose their draw after the wonderment wears off.

I eventually found out what a "red light" bulb meant while watching a movie one weekend.  This was after my parents were divorced and I asked my Mom it it was true.  She confirmed that it was.  Wow. I got a great souvenir.  But if I had known that in second grade I could have really made a hit at Show and Tell.

Such is my life - a day late and a penny short.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Time to shift gears. Cunt Cupcakes

I read someplace on another linkified blog that the blogger was going on hiatus, but said Blogger left a number of links to other blogs that his faithful should follow. 

Mine was described as "Conservative, touching and mostly safe for work."  All I can say is that I was at once touched, and shamed.  You will never see total nudity on DHTISH, because that would be very unlike me.

So instead, today - two days after my life hurdle was cleared - I'm serving up Cunt Cupcakes for all!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

At 11:45PM, it'll have been a whole year

Cookie's Mom
10/1/1924 - 11/9/2010

A year ago, Mom died. I miss her more than words can say.

It seems like forever ago.  It seems like yesterday.  

Being with Mom when she died was one of the greatest gifts ever given to me while on this earth.  Between us there was nothing left unspoken. No anger.  No regrets.  Just a big hole in my heart.  Nothing left to the imagination.  She brought me forth into the world, and held her hand as she left it.

As she said about a month before she died, when we knew the end was coming, "We sure did have a lot of fun, didn't we."   And how we did, indeed.

But this is the one year mark, and it marks the end of mourning.  Her headstone is in place, the estate is closed. The year has come to a close.

I could not have gotten through this past year without all of you.  Whether I read you blogs and laughed, or you commented on mine, thank you for being there when I needed it.

Life has to go on, and now so do I.

Strangest episode of Hollywood Squares I ever watched

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar announce baby 21 is on the way.

I am not stretching the truth. Apparently Jim Bob labored over his wife and the result of his efforts was announced on the Today Show today.  These people need a hobby.

Monday, November 7, 2011

We become more like our parents every day

Over at Infomaniac, MJ asked the question: What is the Gayest Thing in your house. Having been out of the closet since the time before Mondale challenged Reagan for the White House I am way past decorating our house with things that the Pupate Homosexual is drawn to. 

Truth be told I think we have a pride flag that we fly in June during Pride, and we have a deck of cards with the pride rainbow on it.  Oh, I forget with DVD's of every Doris Day-Rock Hudson flick made, and we have a copy of The Ritz.  But other than that, we lead a tasteful life.  But if you are even thinking of coming to our house in hopes of seeing a collage of handcuffs, or either of us lilting about in an evening gown, you are going to be disappointed.

But back to MJ, who by the way was inspired by my mother's glitter sunglasses, she asked us to dig even deeper to find the the gayest thing on our homes.

So I went deep, deep into a closet in our guest room and pulled out this:

 Doesn't get more gay that this in our house, folks.  So how did Ken come to live in a closet in our house?

You know, when I was eight or nine - 1970/1 or so, it wasn't OK for boys to play with dolls but God I loved Barbie. You could dress her up and she could do things. I was obsessed with Barbie, and I wanted my own.

But that was in 1968-69 and boys didn't dolls back then.  You got action figures: cowboys, soldiers and spacemen.  The problem is, I didn't want any of them.  I wanted BARBIE.

My mother begrudingly finally gave in and bought me a Ken Doll provided that I hid it from everyone. Since I was mostly alone because I had no interest in being around football or baseball or anything else like that, playing with "Ken" was no issue.  But then one of our family friends gave me their son's entire G.I. Joe (the old kind) and it had a mechanical Jeep and all the military clothes. I also ended up with a BIG JIM Sports Camper, which was exactly like Barbie's camper but made for Mattel's "Big Jim" doll.

So for years I would play with Ken and G.I. Joe, as they were the same scale. G.I. Joe would go out in the jeep and kill dinner and Ken would stay back at the camper and make the beds and get the fire going, etc.  G.I. Joe and Ken would kiss and sleep in the same bedding, which I made myself from old dress handkerchiefs.  Ken and G.I. Joe had it pretty good, but like all happy endings, this was not to be.

No one showed me this in the media, no one influenced me by taking advatage of me, The mind that dreamt this up at age nine in 1971 was a mind that was who I was at my essence.  And that mind couldn't comprehend that I was the one with a problem, and that they felt that problem reflected badly on them.

One day I came home and found that my father had had enough and threw it all away.

It's was so hard being a kid whose parents were ashamed of you. It's even harder to hear people who say that this is how you choose to be, when it is so impossible to be anything but who you are.

There is the part of me that still twinges with real pain because we came just a bit too late to be young enough to imagine that we could be parents. I mean back in the late seventies and early 1980s that was a remarkable thing for gay person to want enough to climb those barriers. I would have loved having a child that I could embrace and provided the type of parenting that would have allowed them to grow up to become what their essence directed them towards. It would have been nice to be able to pass on a sense of perspective, and hope that when they became parents they too would do the right thing.

So instead of buying my son or daughter a Ken doll, or giving them this one - mint in the box, I just keep this one tucked away.

Maybe one day he'll be worth something. The irony is that is what my parents probably thought of me - something better left behind by itself, away from thought. 

But on another level, it's a reminder that the older we get, the more we start morphing into the parents who we promised we'd never become.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Report of the Middle of the Street Committee

A dark cloud has descended over our bucolic neighborhood and that same dark cloud was the topic at the most recent meeting of the Middle of the Street Committee.

Because the weather was cold that night, the meeting was conducted in conjunction with our two sister groups, the evening Walking of The Dog’s group and the Personal Evening Constitutional Speed Walkers.

So the group was larger, and the wind much more “Blowier”, according to “Storms A Brewing Corliss” who chairs our ad hoc “Neighborhood Weather Watchers” sub-committee, and a bit more chaotic with our dogs getting all tangled.

The group was abuzz because one of the newest households, The Non-Acknowledgement Family (you can wave at them, you can say good morning you can even ask how they are doing and get little to no response in return), on the street was unhappy because a car of theirs was ticketed because it hadn’t moved in a week, and she used the neighborhood Facebook group to express her frustration with her neighbors.

“I don’t want to point fingers, but…” began her missive to the neighbors on the Facebook group.

“The minute I read that I thought, oh, God, here we go: she pointing fingers,” I remarked.

And point fingers she did. She feels like everyone is out to get her. She's mad that the police showed up at her door (they did? when?), that code has been on her and her Lavender House like shit on a pig and that people are subscribing her to magazines that she would never consider buying.

“Has either of them ever talked with you?” asked Just Call Me Judy of the group. "I haven’t been able to introduce myself to them - you know, so they know that they can just call me Judy – because everyone does, but these two duck in and out so quick, I never get the chance.”

“What’s going on?” asked Helicopter Sandy who was late to the party.

Pot Smoking Phil took it upon himself to update Helicopter Sandy. “One of the women living over there,” he pointed, and we all turned around and looked at their house, “feels that…”

“GUYS!” said Just Call Me Judy, “What are you doing? Turn around. Remember, one of her beefs is that she feel like she’s being watched. Go on Phil.”

“One of the women who lives in that house that we’re all not supposed to look at like we did, feels that the neighborhood isn’t welcoming, and that we aren’t supportive, and that someone narc’d on her and called in that car.”

“What car?” asked Helicopter Sandy.

“That heap that was parked down the street that no one knew anything about,” I said. The one with the fender ripped off of and had two different sets of doors – one was green and one was silver.”

“And she thinks that getting a ticket on that piece of junk is a problem,” said I Don't Have a Sphincter Audra. “I’ll tell you I don’t have a sphincter and that is a real problem to go through life with.”

“She doesn’t think we’re a neighborhood,” stated my husband. “She feels that in a supportive neighborhood whoever had the issue with the car would have gone door to door instead of calling the cops to write the ticket.”

The Bob Wolf(e)s jumped all over that.

“Oh, bitch, PLEASE! I read that message from her and it certainly shit all over my day. Go door to door?” commented Bob Wolfe. “Who has that much time? And if Bitch is suggesting that, did anyone suggest to her that maybe she should have gone to her neighbors and told them that was her car?” pointed out Bob Wolf.

“Has either of them ever talked with any of us?” asked Just Call Me Judy of the group.
At this point the committee broke out into a general babble as various members commented at the same time on their various interactions, none of which seemed to indicate that that couple received any overture from any of us with any pleasure on their part.

Bob Wolf asked if they could be Separatist Dykes. “They hate anyone with a penis.” Bob Wolfe read the face of confusion on Just Call Me Judy’s face and added in “they feel that the Penis is the ultimate symbol of the male dominated patriarchal society in which they are damned to live. “

“So, they eschew anyone male because they are a symbol of domination, and prefer instead to associate themselves only with women,” said Bob Wolfe wrapping it up for us.

“Maybe they have a light sensitive disease that causes an allergic reaction to the sun,” Apologetic Abbey added, in hopes of trying to find some medical reason behind their behavior.

The group was joined by One Tooth Bit who, being into all things Facebook, and female, found the whole thing stupid.

“So I got the message and went over to her and asked what this was all about, and she says that she feels like we should have gone out and tried find out who owned this car.  But I asked her: 'did you tell anyone on the street that this heap of shit belonged to you?'  And you know what her response was? 'I was too busy with a personal issue.  And going to the next door neighbors never crossed my mind.  I shouldn't have to go do to door and tell people that the car belongs to someone I know.' And then she adds, 'If this were a supportive neighborhood ...blah, blah, blah and I'm like thinking 'Christ on crack,'” she said. Then, with her blood pressure rising,  Bit added a “What the fuck,” for good measure.

“Potty mouth!” said Storms A Brewing Corliss to Bit. Oh, what a cathartic release that must have been to get that off her chest, but truth be told who knows what brewing in that diseased mouth of her’s. Makes my blood run cold.

"Don't start on me Corliss.  Look this broad thinks that someone on this block has been calling code on her.  So I tell her that all that remodeling they were doing - did they have a permit and she says no, that they shouldn't have to pull a permit.  And I say 'but you ripped out the sidewalk - the city notices things like that when you rip out a fucking sidewalk - especially when they own the flipping thing.'  Jeez - my blood pressure sky high." 

"I sense some inter-Lesbian conflict," said Jamaican Betty. Betty was holding her toothless Yorkie, Manny.

"Just because we both like women doesn't mean we like all women," said Bit. 

The group was then joined by the couple that lived on the other said of these neighbors, Itchy Herb and Facilitator Mary, both professors of psychology at the local community college, and the self appointed leaders of any group meeting.

“Well when I read that message I knew it was a cry for help, so I went next door and asked what I could do. The blond one said ‘Nothing’ and the other one said that she wanted the neighborhood get behind her and form a community, as if we've been living in a desloute vaccum.”

“And that fat bitch down the street who hosts ‘Home Church’ in her house three nights a week,” said One Tooth Bit, “is riding their shirttails and claiming that she is in on forming a community with these two because she feels marginalized.”

“The fat bitch who hates gay people…” asked Bob Wolfe, “…is getting behind the Lesbians?” said Bob Wolf.

“No good can come of …” Pot Head Phil took a hit, “this. It’s like matter and anti-matter.”

"Hold on there people - do you not see what this woman is trying to do?" said Helicopter Sandy. "Look, she wants to be the center of everything.'

"Helicopter Sandy is right," said Itchy Herb.  "I think we're dealing with some who wants to be the sun, and she wants all us planets to revolve around her."

"No dear, I think what you meant is that this woman is the earth and she wants everyone including the sun to revolve around her. That would be a more illogical analogy." Score 1 for Facillitator Mary, Itchy Herb, 0.

The group decided to lay low and watch what happened. Fortunately, with winter around the corner, things tended to cool down a bit, figuratively and literally.

Middle of the Street Committee also noted that the Cruel Filipina Dominatrix, who also didn’t associate with anyone on the street, has pulled her self-listed house off the market and instead listed it with a real realtor.
“Thank God she is out of the loop or we could be looking at a triumvirate of evil involving whips,” said Pot Head Phil as we were breaking up the meeting.

“Somehow, said my husband, “I think that idea excites Phil. And that scares me.”

Anyhow, now when we walk our dogs, or talk our post dinner walks, we're always looking up at the windows on their Lavender house.  And every now and then, we see a lace curtain twitch in a dark window, or the orange glow of a cigarette as well walk by...

Ah, the French.