Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cookie tells his cousin she needs to just stop. Stop it now.

Cookie has a Cousin Wendy.  And everyone knows it's Wendy when Wendy storms into town and loudly announces herself.   She literally will stand outside my house and bellow: "COOKIE!!!  COME OUT HERE AND GIVE YOU COUSIN WENDY A BIG OLD HUG."

It's Wendy's style. 

You can't take this woman to a professional sports game because she will want to run out on the field and BELLOW out the Star Spangled Banner.

Anyway, Wendy was driving through Baltimore on her way from visiting her daughter Jazzmin (I know, I know, but no one listens to Cookie) who attends school at Catholic University, and she calls me up to say that she is driving up 95 to New York to see her old college friend Midge who is in from some European country where she moved to blah, blah' blah and could I meet Wendy at a Panera near exit blah, blah, blah for a cup of coffee and pastry.

So I drop everything, literally, because its either Wendy or it's folding laundry and if I have to go to a Panera, it might as well be to get out of folding laundry to see Wendy.

So we meet and she bellows out to everyone in the store that "THIS IS MY COUSIN COOKIE AND COOKIE IS MARRIED TO A NICE MAN AND THEY LIVE HERE."

People look at me like "Huh?" I look back at them with a "Yeah, I know - I want this to over too."

But the girl has to do what she has to do because Wendy is a force of nature.

Folks, this has been going on since I was a kid.  I am used to it. 

The only thing louder than Wendy's mouth is her heart, which is huge and full of life and love.  Sometimes, you just need to let the people you love be who they need to be.

Except on my Birthday, because Wendy is never allowed to spend any time with me in my birth month because it will end with her standing up and BELLOWING "HEY EVERYONE, IT'S COOKIE'S ANNIVERSARY OF HIS TRIP THROUGH THE BIRTH CANAL, and then a mariachi band will appear.   And the restaurant doesn't have to be Mexican for that to happen.  Trust me on this.   I have lived through it, twice.

Anyhow Wendy is all about all things gay, Gay GAY.

So this Olympic season, she is all about the whole Adam Rippon/Gus Kenworthy kiss. 

"Did you see it?  It is so fabulous to have a same-sex couple not only kiss but fall in love at the Olympics!"


The first openly gay hook up at the Olympics!

No - no.

"Well, what would you call that passion."  Now she's looking like Kathy Najimy in Sister Act.

Wendy, STOP.

I explain that it was done for the camera, but that Gus Kenworthy has a man, and Gus is most likely a big old bottom. 

The look on her face is one that you would expect when a Christian Woman sees one of the LOLCats memes that reads "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten."

"Gus is cheating on Adam?"

I have to explain to her that Gus is cheating on no one.  Gus and Adam are not anything to each other except Olympic buds who happen to share a love for cock.

Well, "QUELLE HORREUR" comes over Wendy's face and she slaps the table in disbelief.

"But they make such a cute couple!"

The balloon is burst. 

I show her a picture of Gus and his man/boyfriend/husband/hunk and still, Wendy is crushed.

"But what about Adam?"

I put my hand on hers and remind her that there will always be Stars on Ice, and then Dancing with the Stars, then porn for Adam. 

"And you need to stop.  Seriously."

Later that night I get a text from Jazzmin who said that she spoke with her mother, she made it to New York, but that she was crushed that "Adam and Gus will never be together."

I text back "What advice did you give?" 

"I told her that Sally Field is trying to fix up her son with Adam and it will work its way out.  And to have another bottle of wine.  And I told her that no, Gus and his boyfriend will not break up so Adam and can move in for the kill."

Thank GOD these Olympics are coming to an end.  Between the Curling team getting gold, and this Gus and Adam thing, I just can't take it anymore. 

And Wendy needs time to go through the five stages of grief.

And I need to fold the damned laundry.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mother nature is just 'effing with us

No Norma, we're having a heatwave, you're having the heat flash.

Mother Nature (who will forever look like Dena Dietrich to me - you remember Dena as Mother Nature in the Chiffon commercials?  Chiffon Margarine? You don't?  Well fuck you for being so fucking young.)

It got up to SEVENTY-SIX today, and it's only February 21st!  Oy!  It was so hot I have to think cool thoughts and not turn on the AC.

Cookie started out the day in jeans and mock turtleneck, and by noon I was in a tee-shirt and shorts.

Well, thank the green goddess that tomorrow we slide back into bleak, wet, cold February, again.   I love a warmish day in February, but 76 and sunny just fucks with you. 

By the way, I have no idea what Miracle French dressing is.  I think it went onto become Catalina brand dressing.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This ain't my first time at the rodeo, Shirley

So the Husband and I were at the Late Late Early Late Winter Cocktail hour the other night chatting and drinking and looking over the gay boy couple's addition (learn by seeing the mistakes of others) and we bumped into Shirley, the neighborhood busybody.

"I was talking with LaVaughn and she tells me that you are planning an addition," Shirley states.

Shirley *thinks* that she is the self-appointed committee on architectural review for the civic association.  Make her a couple Manhattans, and she becomes the design Stassi.   She has created numerous headaches for people and scared off a young couple that we met at our local watering hole who said: "She started telling us that we had to buy all new closable shutters for every window and all of sudden the house got more expensive than we budgeted for."

And she has no authority to do this.  Nothing but her big old nose.

The husband and I knew that this was coming and we had been keeping the plans under our hats until we knew exactly what we are doing.  Now that we know, we are waiting for the money to make it become possible - hopefully before 2022.

It's a modest remodel.  A small (120 square feet small) with a small area with a new foundation, but we're building up, not out.  Doing that will allow us to reconfigure three bathrooms and redoing the kitchen remodel.   So we are only adding a wee small area of the new roof.  Nothing near the 1,000+ of new structures being tacked onto the houses around us.  We are building up, not OUT.

Shirley started lecturing us on runoff - if anything, this will fix the current runoff problems around our foundation and it will not impact any neighbors.  We explain that we have had the expected runoff calculated and would love to show her the figures.

Then she states that the design will have to be reviewed for its appearance to verify that it conforms to the style of the house.  We explain that the architects are known for their work in Homeland, Ruxton, and Guilford, and we would love for her to see the plans.

Then Shirley - clearly getting frustrated that we are neither afraid or rattled by her says that the neighbors will have to sign off.  Done.

Finally, Shirley states that the design will have to be approved by the Board, and this is the kicker.  Shirley isn't on the Board.   Husband is, and of course, he has to recuse himself for the vote.

Shirley waddles off, perturbed and Jack, the Chair of the Board, comes up to us and knows my background in historical architecture and preservation and says "Man, she was hammering you and you were ready."

This, I explain, ain't my first time at the rodeo.  "I have doing battles with her ilk for decades."

Then Jack lays something on me. "Hey, you know that David and Molly are moving, and David has been the architecture committee since Shirley got booted.  How would Cookie like to become the review committee?"

I ask if I can appoint some helpers to aid me, and the answer is yes.

I smile.

Here's my thing, when you live in an older neighborhood that has design standards you can do one of two things.  You can either become Shirley and turn off everyone to the point where they start getting defensive, or you can use it to educate people and make suggestions to help them to help them see what makes good design and will enhance their property.

The idea is to help people become excited so they do the right things, and hopefully steer them away from doing things that will present them with headaches later on.

"A pool? Great?  Have you looked at the increased price of liability insurance and the fencing costs?  Have you formulated a plan on what to do during a water restriction or drought?"

"Great fanlight for the front of the house.  But have you considered using a thicker molding around the outside with a keystone or another design to make it stand out instead of making it look skimpy?"

One of the other duties is to go out and measure the site to make sure the 10-foot buffer by the property line stays in place.

I can live with that.

As for Shirley, I'll invite her down for some Manhattan's and let her feel included.   Isn't that what we all want - to be included?

Like I said, this ain't my first time at a Rodeo.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

February Blahs

You know, there comes a time every winter where Cookie says "I really have had quite enough of winter."  Today, February 17, 2018, is that day.  Normally it happens earlier in winter, around the first week of January, but I was distracted by the week in Los Angeles.

I am just at the point where I am tired of the cold, I am tired of the wet, I am tired of snow, and I am tired of people hunkered down in their homes finding something to do other than listen to more and more news about the mess in Washington, or children being slaughtered by guns and Wayne LaPierre.

About the only thing that polite people can talk about these days is the Oxford Comma, in support of, or against.

Really, this is getting to us all.  We need the first of March, the second official day of spring in Cookie's Calendar of Annual Events to happen. (The first, if you missed it is Ground Hog Day.)

I keep telling myself that you only have 12 more days to March, less than two weeks.  Anyway, tomorrow is Sunday, then Monday and so forth and so on.  "Never wish away time," my mother would say. 

But Cookie is looking forward to his (gulp) 56th spring on earth. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Anger and Charges of Elitism: Thursday was not my day

Thursday morning was not my day.

I am knee deep in my HUGE project for the year when two shoes dropped.

Shoe number one involved a young woman in a Facebook group (isn't always in a Facebook group) who called Cookie an elitist for wanting to know what we could do to get more people involved in an online discussion on Shaker's foreclosure blight.  Following the collapse of the real estate markets in 2008, Shaker's Lomond and Moreland neighborhoods were dealt a blow as houses went into foreclosure and Cleveland economy as a whole went into the toilet.

Cookie contended that the discussion online was well and good, but that more people needed to be heard and give opinions.  Young lady, fresh from a shaker education and college found that idea to be "Elitist" and "none of (your) business whether or not people participate."

The young lady who called me an elitist then went on to:

1) Announced that not only did she receive a Shaker Schools Education, but that her education was superior to mine because "You didn't even graduate from Shaker." (This is true. But she knows not why. It had nothing to do with IQ, but everything to do economics and personal safety) and,
2) Announced that not only had she graduated from SHHS, but that she had graduated from Sarah Lawrence, and,
3) Stated that her sister held a high ranking position within city hall and that her sister had also been a Shaker graduate and graduated from Yale, and,
4) Her other siblings had graduated from Shaker, etc., and,
5) Moreover, her parents still lived there.

All of this meant one thing to the young woman, she, not I, was better able to judge what was best for the discussion.

Here's the thing about this young woman: she may have learned a lot at Shaker and at Sarah Lawrence, and how nice for her that she could attend such a school, right?  But the one thing that she didn't learn was that you don't call someone an "elitist"  because they want more people to be involved in a discussion.  And if you do call someone an elitist, don't lord your imagined superiority over them.


Because the Young Lady was outing herself as a bully, and an ignoramus who IS the true elitist.

This was followed by others jumping into the fray, which resulted in the young lady shucking her elitism and 1) calling Cookie a loser, and 2) doing victory posts - "Samantha  (not her real name) shoots and scores over Loser Cookie and "Samantha is on record that Cookie is a loser."  In other words, the ignoramus proved her point about herself. 

Evidently, she was never cursed with self-awareness.  But she was embarrassing herself.

In any event, a moderator defenestrated her from the group.  I received a message from Mickey saying that "Samantha was removed for violating the rule on bullying, and being a total douche bag."

This was good news as I don't have time for people like Samantha, and it answers the question that indeed, women can be douche bags. which I thought was a male-only club.  "Women are never "douchenozzles" - that is a male thing."  Thank you, Mickey!

Shoe number two involved a distant cousin who sent Cookie a package between Christmas and New Years that arrive at Cookie Manor about a week before I went west for the week to work.  The package contained two booklets, written by the distant cousin - the second set she sent.  Somewhere, things got mixed up and Thursday there was a little Facebook (again with the Facebook) note asking if I got the envelope and I acknowledged it through the Car's system while driving by speaking two short sentences "Yes, I got them.  But I don't think I'm ready to write my own just now."

This was followed shortly by a great amount of unpleasantness, and the accusation that I am self -serving. I understand and admit that I breached the thank you note.   But self-serving?  Hardly.  In fact, I am rather offended by this.

I care about this distant cousin, and I own my mistake.  But this huge project that I have been working on has come out of my time and money. I have never asked for anything in the way of money to help propel me into archives on the West Coast, and I have never asked for money for anything related to the family in anyway.  I have always shared whatever I have found with whoever asked for it.   I am not in this for glory, I am in it for the benefit that everyone receives.  And I have never gone around and thumbed my nose at anyone, or giving anyone a "Nanny nanny bo-bo" and stuck out my tongue.

I am hoping that we can get beyond this.  I forgive her for being purposely mean, my hope is that she forgives me.

So I hid under a rock this weekend.  To the young woman who is really named Samantha, I wish you well, but until you grow up, and after you get some life experience under your belt, I hope we never cross paths.  Once you get a few years of practical adulting under your belt, I'll buy you coffee at McDonald's, because that is not at all an elitist place. 

And as for my cousin, I hope that you can forgive me because I do miss you, and I know that you truly carry the weight of your world on your shoulders.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Well, that was an ugly little surprise

Norma has been possessed by the spirit of my mother.
But not my mother's sense of good taste.  Pity. Mother
would never dress up like Fred Flintstone in drag. 

Dear Reader: If you are a Mac user of a certain type who loves to pile on the misery by reminding PC users that Mac's and you are superior, and get through my daily twaddle and think that leaving a smarmy note like "You wouldn't have had this problem is you were using a Mac," you don't want to go there.  My MacBook really is my other computer and I can regale you with hardware and software issues on that machine, including a crapped out hard drive after three years of use and the night before my brothers funeral. So keep your piehole closed on this one.

Well, now that we got THAT out of the way, we,  I mean I, Cookie, got a nasty surprise when we turned on the workhorse computer today!

No, not ransomware, thank the gods and thank the actual one true G*d whose name is so perfect that one dare not write it out.

EVIDENTLY, a year and a half ago, when Cookie updated the le Machine to Win10, a toggle got flipped to include "FILE HISTORY" onto my "Z" drive, which is where I back up stuff to anyway, I thought "How great is this?"   I set must have set it and thought, gee, this is nifty - automatically backing up my files and only my files.  Meaning my documents, my pictures, my music, etc. and so on.

And the great thing about file history is that it catches pretty much everything.  Create a graphic and save it, and then you edit it and save it again, only to open it later and decide that the last edit really did muff it up?  File History to the rescue, because it has a copy of the image is held at multiple time points.  Nifty, see?

So I have been working on this horrifically HUGE project for the archive in California and I had to do some image file conversions.  Since my main drive - at 2TB is over half full,  And Cookie hates a half full main drive, anyway, I decided to move the non-converted original project files over the Z file. 

But when I brought up "My Computer" and saw I got a bit sick to my stomach.  The "Z drive" was a few mega bites away from being totally full. 

Quelle horreur!

How in the hell did that happen?

I called my friend Missy, and Missy said "You know, that happened to me right before Christmas.  It was like being handed that looked like Chief Wiggam....So I pulled the secondary, took it to MicroCenter, bought a bigger drive and had them migrate it for me.  Poke around and let me know what you find out."

So I poked around, and did some digging around and discovered something.

When I installed Windows10, it must have asked me about this setting to make a "File History" auto backup - which creates a file called "File History" (duh) and I never set it to a time limit on how long to keep the files before the program would overwrite them. 

So for the past 18 months, it's been creating file after file after copy after copy and suddenly we have 800MG of files, which are getting updated every hour.

That is critical mass on a grand fuck-up scale.

So today I reset the options to a reasonable 90-day limit because, by that point, I forget that there ever was another version like the current one.

So that raised another point.  What to do with the 800mg of stuff it created? 

See Cookie is not the type of data swashbuckler who cavalierly just deletes stuff like that just because you can.  I want to make sure that everything continues to run for a few days and boots up without a problem.  Once I am certain that everything is running fine, THEN I'll delete the stuff.

So what that meant was moving this data elephant to another drive - the server, which was started at 8am today and is still chugging away at 3:25pm and looks to wrap up in about an hour.

SO, use my pain and suffering to make sure you go and check your settings on this program. Make sure you didn't do something stupid like Cookie did. 

Better I should suffer, than you.