Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mixed Messages:

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

Now, they want to drop them in your car.

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

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

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

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

Keep your windows up, for safety, of course.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

For A Special Lady

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

This is one such image: 

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Of course.

But it is this scene...

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

She the croaks "What time is it..."  

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

You have a choice in really do.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

And then my grandfather dies.

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

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

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

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

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

Phyllis and I in her backyard, ca. 1966

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

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

And we go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I am stunned.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dishwasher, an Update

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

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

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

And this morning? Radio silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, it gives one pause to reflect.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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

Today was not a good day for Cookie.

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

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

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

It's a Kitchen Aid.

It's got everything on it.

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

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

Am I sure?  Motherfucker of course I am sure.

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

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

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

Well, someone did something wrong.

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

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

"Just try," respondeth Cookie.

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

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

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

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

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

And then Darvon delivers the crushing blow.

"Where is the wrong dishwasher?"

I sent it back, why.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Appliance redo redux

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, handles.

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

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

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

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

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

Yup. You read that correctly.

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

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

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

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