Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An end to era, kinda of, the beginning of an era anew

This week I sold my share in the family farm that has been in the family since 1822.  My uncle bought my share.  The way the agreement was written up if I got hit by the bread truck tomorrow, the husband couldn't inherit my share because we aren't married in Ohio, it has to convey to family members.  Never mind Maryland, our home state, recognizes our marriage, Ohio does not.

Kinda sad, but it was a lot of headaches.  When my grandmother died it was divided between my mother and her three brothers and it lead to all sorts of bad feelings towards each other.  Then they drove a new freeway smack through the middle of it and it stopped being a "farm" and was just "land".

Anyhow, glad to be rid of it, and the cash in hand before the tax rate goes up. Now I'll invest it in something terribly droll, and boring, and safe until we know what happens when the nation falls over the "Fiscal Palisades", as I like to call it.

So that is the end.

This is the beginning anew:

My other project was that we got the love seat (actually, it's a real Federal era settee) out of the basement.  Now that we have room for it, it was time to remove it from storage and get it up and back to the living.

This poor piece of furniture has been resurrected so many times that I've started calling it "Jesus Christ".

My mother's great great great grandparents brought it with them in wagon when they crossed over the Cumberland Gap and headed to Ohio in 1804.  Somehow it made it to our branch, and it was used an abused for generations.  At some point, my great grandmother stored it in the old farm house at the farm that my mother grew up in.  Then in the 1960s, Mom drove down to Marion, and sick of seeing it and the house it was in crumbling before her eyes, she threw it in the back of the convertible Impala and transported it to Shaker Heights.

My father took it to one of his famous "friends", an upholsterer with a rap sheet, who ripped off the original fabric (mostly threadbare) ruined the finish, stripped the gold leaf from the carved arms and "antiqued" it baby shit brown.  And why did people "antique" antique furniture in the 1960s?

When Mom heard about that, she was p-i-s-s-e-d.  She drove that Impala down there, put the down the top in the dead of winter, and had them put in the back of car and she drove it home where the frame, complete with the horsehair stuffing, sat for years.  My father was mad too.  He sold the Impala and bought her a Riviera - a car with a fixed roof that she couldn't haul crap around in.

In the 1980s, she finally had it recovered, and used it for years, and when she and my step father married, the husband and I rented a van and schlepped it back down to Columbus and it lived in our basement because we didn't have any room for it. Then my friend Simina needed furniture for her home, so lent it to her.  She and I got in a fight (and we haven't spoken in years) and when I went to reclaim it, she had left her cats use it for a litter box and sharpening station for their claws.   So into our basement it went for 10 years until last week when we brought it up.

Here's the before and the after:



I thought the upholstery was cheeky.  Not the greatest job, but it works.  We'll sit on it for a few days, then I'll pull the staples out, re-stretch it and put on the French gimp.  Something nice to draw visitors into the Sun Room. 

So its the end of the old and beginning of the old made new again...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I've been thinking, and that can be dangerous...

...because my mind tends to wander.

I had a shrink appointment over the weekend and that meant driving back to Ohio, 16 hours round trip in a car. It's cheaper than flying and it would give me a chance to run some Columbus errands.  I had a whole list of them but somehow that was the one thing that I forgot when I left the house.  So when I hit the city that I had called home (with great annoyance) I was a bit like a butterfly wafting on the winds.

I was staying with two of our best friends - Mike and Mo, and I did remember to take them the case of Natty Boh and a couple bags of UTZ chips, but I forgot their Christmas present which I left on the Dining Room table with my list of things to do, so I guess it was two things that I forgot to take with me. Thank God I remembered by meds.

So Mike and Mo asked what I wanted to do for dinner and I opted for something that we don't have on the east coast - Der Dutchman.   Der Duchman (aka Der Starchfest) is a chain of vaguely Amish restaurants that serve home cooking.  You can either order off the menu, or you can go through the Buffet and engorge yourself on all manner of things that would appall David Zinczenko into a fit: homemade chicken and noodles, mashed potatos, gravy, sweet potatoes, chicken, beef, corn, cornbread...  You get the idea.  In fact we all ate so much (and the three Sidecars before dinner didn't help) that when we got back to Mike and Mo's, Mike ended up going into a starch coma and headed to bed at 7PM.

Is any of this making any sense?

My point is, and I do have one, is that the whole way out to Ohio gives you a lot of time to think about stuff. And I got to thinking about me because today, I am 50, and its an age that I never considered making.  And let's be realistic, I have, maybe, twenty really good years left the God Lord willing and the creek don't rise.  When you tell people that you are trying to plan for the end of your life they think you are going to do something to hurt yourself.

But when I hit the door at the shrink's office (and this man is very good at what he does) and I told him that I wanted to better plan out the next twenty years or so that the end of my life isn't filled with regret when I am old and feeble in human terms.  That he said, was a sign of maturity, and he said it was a sign of a man who has passed through a midlife crisis, which I thought was interesting, because I am still panicking over all the wasted time in my life and wonder if the mind I lost so many years ago was more lost than anyone thought.

 Back to my point, on the way back to Baltimore, it hit me.  I had forgotten to ask Joe if he thought I was ADD.  Damn.  AND I found my list, so I still am functioning within the maxim of always forgetting ONE thing before a trip. That made me feel better.

Now then, did I leave anything out?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A case of gratuitous flesh


You all know that I never post gratuitous flesh on DHTiSH, but as my birthday is Thursday  and I will be FIFTY, and how did this ever happen, I figured I was allowed ONE lapse in my policy.

But note, no nudity - not even a glance at naughty bits - and we all know how Mr. Peenee love him some naughty bits.  This blog is still PG.

Think of this just as a centerpiece for the moment. Never had anything like this on Thanksgiving. Usually it was carnations and greenery, sandwiched between two turkey candlestick holders that my aunt made "at Cermanics".

And frankly, I've looked all over the manscape and can't find one just like Mr. Yummy here.  If you are having him, the husband and I would love an invitation to seconds.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Massachusetts Caprice & A Game

And how does Cookie celebrate the end of election season?  An eight hour car ride to the greater Boston area to spend time with the in-laws.  Yay.

My in-laws are lovely, loving people.  But their health is declining - something that happens when you cross over into your 90s.  The difference between them since we last saw them in the spring and now and today is marked.  

My mother in law is now tentative, forgetful and has adopted a nervous chortal that she uses whenever she forgets what words to say. 

My father in law is profoundly deaf, unsteady on his feet and has gotten involved with telemarketers who try and rip him off on get rich quick schemes.   Its gotten so bad that he uses lulls in conversations to ask us "Who wants to be a millionaire - it can happen if you are willing to take the risk."

All of this is stressful.  It's hard to see people that you love in this state. 

When I was very young I used to think that people who would say "if you have your health, you have every thing that you would ever need to be happy," were out of their gourds.  Now that I approach a landmark birthday, I regret not heeding that advice sooner. 

These are the life lessons that you learn as you become a little older and a little wiser. 

And when you have these visits, your time is not your own. No real fun side trips.  Although I did steel away yesterday for an hour visit with a dear friend from my college days and his lovely wife who live about three minutes from the inlaws, where I learned that his brother in law lives, literally, around the block from us in Baltimore.  

Thats the beauty of life; you never know where you'll be when Kismet finds you.

Anyway, now its time to play the game of moldering decay run amuck  "What did Cookie find in the in laws fridge?"  

You each get to look at this picture and guess not what it is, but how old it is.  In this picture we have a mummified avocado.  It is in a stage of decay.  HOW OLD IS IT?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winners, Losers and Assholes

I am trying to enjoy today and savor it because it isn't often that the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, Homophobia, Misogyny and the Koch Brothers are dealt a great big FUCK YOU!

FIRST, while I am happy that our President has won another term, I am proud to say that Maryland (that's us), Maine and Washington citizens stood up against bigotry and fear to make US history by approving same sex marriage measures and make it an equality for all night.   In Minnesota they didn't go that far, but they did keep safe the language of the state constitution from language that would have forbidden same sex unions.   Instead of living in a state where progress is a bad word (Ohio) we are proud to call Maryland our home.

SECONDLY, the President won the election.  YAY!

THIRDLY, Mitt Romney conceded graciously.  Had the Mitt Romney who appeared last night in the concession speech been the Romney who was running for President, he would have been giving a victory speech. I wouldn't have voted for him, but he would have connected with so many other voters.

Brian WIlliams got the line of the night when he said "There's a whole lot of weed on the ballot."

In other matters, there was loads of good news...

Elizabeth Warren, WON

Marcy Kaptur, WON


Todd Akin, LOST

Allen West, LOST

Joe the Plumber, LOST

Linda McMahon, LOST

Koch Brothers, LOST

Tea Party, mortally wounded.  Seriously, the rage filled Tea Party was dealt what I think is a death blow.  Outrage can win mid-terms, but it can't carry national elections.

And then there was:

Rush Limbaugh, in SHOCK

Karl Rove, in SHOCK and begging FOXNews not to call Ohio for Obama

Brian Williams mocking Donald Trump for being irrational (Look for NBC to announce that the March 2013 season of Celebrity Apprentice is the last, or they move it to USANetwork.)

Ann Romney now has to go back to grocery shopping with "you people" when she isn't knitting the names of people people who turned on her husband Willard.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I have voted in the "Anything Goes Chapel"

Well, I got up with the chickens at half crack this morning and I went to vote.  If you have not voted by the time you read this, shame on you.

My first memories of voting came when I was very, very young.  I was with my father and went to Lomond School in Shaker Heights, where we went into the gym.  We were led to a wooden voting booth with a golden rod curtain around it.  I asked who he was voting for and he said "Shhhh."  I started rattling off name of the people I knew - I wanted him to vote for Mommy and Miss Frances, my nursery School teacher. When you are three, anything is possible.

Anyway, back to today.  We could have early voted, or mail voted, but as this is a first time in Maryland vote, the Husband and I decided to do it in the flesh.

We vote in a very nice, very posh United Methodist Church near our house.  At 7AM, I was 200th in line.  But I stood in the cold breeze and hoped to God that the line would start moving.  It took a half hour to get to the door, and then another half hour to snake our way through one memorial hallway after another.

Stops were made in the Carl and Alice Hunt Memorial Hallway, the Jack and Jen Phillips Fellowship Hallway and the Mary McCaskin-Wright Memorial Atrium.  We passed that William Mitchell Porte Cochere and Vestibule, and then went down some unnamed stairs; evidently no one wants to memorialize or sponsor staircases because you can't make them sound more important than they are.  They can never be a "Stairitorium", they are just "stairs."

At the bottom of the sad, unloved staircase, two lines formed, based on your precinct.  Precinct 40 was directed toward the "Art and Soul Hall" to vote, and our precinct, 41, voted in the "Anything Goes Chapel".

This of course led my mind off on all sorts of tangents as years of anti-depressents have pickled my attention span.

Was this a room where cabaret singers sang Cole Porter numbers, or was it really a room where any "thing" - like Quasimoto - could go for a moment of reflection?  Was it a room of debauchery, or a room where odd groups (Baltimore Washboard Philharmonic) could practice?  Even more perverse was the idea that this is where fine upstanding by-the-book Methodists would go to dance, or worse: play cards?   Since this is a welcoming church and courts the gay population, was this a room where Dykes On Bikes met? Or what about Gay Square Dancers and their dosy-doe's and and away we go, girrrl?

When I finally got into the Anything Goes Chapel, I was really disappointed to see that it was a blank multipurpose room suitable for anything, and not much more. It didn't even have an altar or any real purpose than to be anything to everybody.  It had all the charm of a white basement room with an off white tile floor. Nothing to note, and even less to offend, unless you can't stand bland neutral spaces, and then it would enrage you.  It seemed like the room where things were assigned when everything else with a purpose was in use.  It did have a fleck of color here and there: gray.  It was a room that could be anywhere. If it had been in a Harry Potter novel it would have been The Room of Flex Space.

I voted on a Diebold machine, which means I have a fifty fifty chance of having my vote count for who and what I voted for, or my vote being recorded as being straight line Republican.  I didn't vote for the judges because I had no idea who any of them are, and being her just sixty days meant I had no idea that they were going to be on the ballot.  My bad.  I pushed the "VOTE" button and got my "I Voted" sticker, which I am wearing because it makes me feel superior to everyone else.

As I left, I ran into another neighbor from south of the precinct line and he asked me how the "Anything Goes Chapel" was, and I imparted that it was probably underwritten by the "Bland Family".  He shared that the Art and Soul Room, as well, was neither.

"Typical Church basement room.  White ceiling, white walls and an off white floor.  But we had an unloved spinnet piano off in the corner." And I bet him it was hopelessly out of tune.  "It probably draws untalented children to who start playing their version of Heart and Soul," he added.

So it is done.

Now we wait.  And I still think the world would be a better place if Miss Francis Kochkowski were on the ballot.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ralph Giles, my hero

I would like to introduce you to Ralph Giles, my new hero.  If I still had rose bushes, I would cut the flowers, collect the rose petals and throw them at his feet.

Why do I love Ralph Giles?

Giles, who is head of product design for Chrysler has finally had enough of Donald Trump, and told Trump off.

After being ignored by President Obama (Trump proclaimed that "I will donate $5 million dollars to the charity of President Obama's choice blah, blah, blah..."), Trump had to get involved with Mitt Romney's false claim that Chrysler was getting ready to shift Jeep production out of Ohio and send it to China and that it was Obama who sold Chrysler out to the Italians who doing this dastardly deed, and said the following from his Twitter account:

"Obama is a terrible negotiator. He bails out Chrysler and now Chrysler wants to send all Jeep manufacturing to China--and will!"

Anyone with an ounce of brains and Google could look up and see that Chrysler has been building products, like Jeep, in China since the 1990s.  And we know that the Chinese love buying products with American names, and that China is a huge market.  But if one looks further, they would also see that Chrysler plants are now at full capacity in the U.S.

Giles, evidently was as sick and tired of Donald Trump as the rest of America - seriously, is there anyone who can even look at him scowling anymore without thinking that he's an asshat - and tweeted back:

@realdonaldtrump you are full of shit!

And that is why I think that Ralph Giles needs to be my hero.  Because he speaks the truth.