Friday, June 29, 2018

Vagabond Cookie!

I told Arlene when I left not to keep an eye out for me.  Arlene never listens.

So, you have all been wondering what Cookie has been up to, haven't you.   Not a question.  I can read your minds.

Well, where have I been?   I have been traveling.

Like a contestant who has won the prize package of a lifetime, I have been visiting all of the most exciting places in Illinois and Ohio.

FIRST, we were flown, coach, with one layover in each direction, to the fabulously overcrowded O'Hare Airport.  Big but small, There is nothing good going on at O'Hare.  The Delta Airlines packed us on one of its flying pieces of shit - an ancient MD-88 and flew us from Baltimore to Atlanta.  Once at ATL (What are they calling it this time?  Maynard Jackson International? Pheff!) they crammed us onto another MD-88 but I got the special seat!

What is the Special Seat?  It is the seat that cannot be locked in the upright position because maintenance wasn't on the ball and the lock was broken. During take-off, my seatback flew backward into the lap of this very handsome man from India, who flying with his charming wife and baby that so cute I could have squealed.   Luckily the wife was holding the baby or I could have clobbered the kid.
Our Airline attendant came right to my seat - it was like watching a mountain goat climbing up the Matterhorn - and scolded me.  When she listened to what I had to say and verified that she couldn't lock the seatback herself, she didn't even apologize to me, or the couple behind me.  Delta thanked me with 5,000 SkyMile points for my trouble, but the point is that my life flashed before my eyes as a passenger being forcefully carried off the plane for doing no wrong.  So on flight changeover back to Baltimore, I made a beeline for the Sky Miles Club for free food, snakes, drink and clean bathrooms.

Upon arriving in Chicago, we got a rental car and hiked up and west to sensational Deerfield, Illinois. And let me tell you, they really do roll up the sidewalks in Deerfield, Illinois they roll them up at 9 P.M., sharp.

What followed was two days and three nights family festivities as we celebrated Thanksgiving in May in June.  The idea is that we gather with my inlaws family once a year for a meal, or two.   Since I was working on my family union, and because my "almost" sister (long, long story) live literally a 1,000 feet from my sister in law's, I had a great breakfast with her while the Husband his family tried to get out of an escape room.  Aside from seeing the family, we also went to the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Oak Park which is totally for you if you are GaGa for FLW.

While there and short walking tour that followed, I got to show off my knowledge of architecture and FLW techniques.  The family was positively slack-jawed while I discussed water table's and why they are important to a building.

On the way home, we flew through Detroit, and then home first class.  You guessed it, the longest leg on a miserable MD-88.  But it was first class.  And that's all that matters.

Once back on terra firma, it was back in the car to The Ohio's for the monster event - the HUGE first time in a 115 years reunion that I put together.

Our route took us first to beautiful SHAKER HEIGHTS, OHIO, for a hard time fun time.  Geraci's Pizza on Sunday night, seeing my oldest friend's new house, seeing that Van Aken Center is no longer there, but under construction.

I stopped by the original homestead and knocked on the door with photos of the place and the owners literally invited me in for a tour. Usually, people say that they find their childhood homes smaller than they remembered them.  This was not the case.  My old bedroom was positively HUGE.  How did that happen?  Well, the bathroom was smaller than I remember.

The next day, I went and had breakfast at Corky and Lenny's, of course.  Then I went to the cemetery to visit the grave of my Step-Mother* who departed this world in October.  She's crammed in there at Bet Olam Cemetery - "The Cemetery Where Ever Square Inch Matters".  Jesus, Mary, AND Joseph, but they really have a lot of people shoehorned in that cemetery.

I went, in quiet repose, to contemplate the finality of death and the temporal nature of life.**

What I found was her grave, next to her first husband.  In cemeteries like these, you don't get broad vistas of greenery and scenery.  You get row after row graves packed so tightly they might as well be Yodels in a box.  And her grave was especially so like her, a filmy hard yellow clay covering a barren area, devoid of any pleasant signs of life.  How very much like her.

The real joy is that she's going to be buried under the name of her first husband, because the stone was already paid for.

Once I said what needed to be said, I left a gift, I put a rock on her marker, and then I did the one thing she will never be able to do in her memory: I left the cemetery.  A better person, of course, for paying my respects.***  But reader, I walked out of those gates on Richmond Road.  Then I had to walk back in because my car was still on their lot.
Nevertheless, Cookie persisted.

THEN it was back in the car and own to Columbus for the great big family reunion on my mother's side. I had 48 hours to myself, and then I picked up the husband and we had two days to ourselves, and then we two amazing days with the extended family.

The one HUGE mistake that we made was to hop in the car and drive back to Baltimore that Sunday.  When you have been running on adrenaline for a month trying to get the show on the road, the last thing you should do after the show is done is getting on the road yourself.

I was just was absolutely ragged.  Like my head was socked in with fog.  And reader, I had a beer and a glass of wine that entire trip to Ohio. I couldn't afford time wasted modeling lampshades on my head.  But the trip was grueling on both Cookie and the husband.  In fact, it took until yesterday (Thursday) to return to my familiar dyspeptic self!

So I am now able to get centered in my own space until the next BIG convention in Pittsburgh coming up.  So this has been Cookie, over and out!

* I am being nice out of respect for her children for a one year mourning period.
** I am being REALLY nice until October 23, 2018.  Because I respect her children during this time of great emotional sorrow that they are most certainly feeling.
***She would have wanted it that way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dear Poppy Harlow, Kate Spade was NOT hung by her neck

Dear Poppy,

Poppy, I wanted to touch base with you regarding a huge mistake that you made on air this morning, June 6, 2018, while covering the tragedy of Kate Spade's suicide.

Because you work for one of those companies that follow the odd and unhelpful protocol of employing operators who claim they cannot connect you to anyone but a voice mailbox, I am sending this out into the ether.  You may or may not ever read this, but I am hoping it gets through to you on some level.

While I was watching you on your show on CNN, you made a grammatical speech error in what you said, and it is the type of error that is akin, to my ear and the ears of others, to dragging one's nails across a chalkboard.

Today, you stated quite clearly, several times, that when Kate Spade committed suicide that she was "hung".

You probably chose "hung" because it sounds like the past tense of "hang".  Its one of those things that are, and isn't.  But in the case of people who commit suicide, it is grossly incorrect. 

Essentially, what you said meant that at the least Kate Spade was found to have a large, as in long, penis.  Hung is to people, a word regarding genitalia.

Yes, we know that people can be hungover after a night of drinking.  And yes, in Auntie Mame, the line is spoken by Patrick imitating his late father is "Pipe down sonny, the old man is hung."

And when a person has an issue or is disturbed by something, they can be hung up on that matter.

One can also say, so I am told, that "Over the weekend, I hung out with my friends."  I prefer a good game of bridge or a good museum.  But if hanging out with a friend is "your thing", better with friends than it applies to your décolletage.

But the correct past tense word to describe someone who commits suicide (or murdered by some fiend, for that matter) by hanging is always "hanged".  Always.  No exceptions, ever. 

Yes, I understand that it sounds stilted.  But sometimes English is a bit off.  Like when the accused enters his or her plea to charges, and it is later reported that the accused "Pleaded not guilty."  One wondered, why did they just say that the person "pled not guilty."  Why indeed.  Well, its because one does not "pled" to the court (or one's spouse for that matter) one's status.  One "pleads" and in that case the past tense of "pleads" is "pleaded".

English is one of the most imperfectly perfect languages.  Unlike romance languages, we need not assign a sex to a "thing", instead, a belt that wraps around your waist and holds up your pants is just a belt, whether you are a man or a woman.  In French, a belt is masculine, which mean that Mr. Belt not only keeps up a man's trousers but Mr. Belt also holds up a woman's slacks as well.

Well, in English we have some quirks too:

1) After a meal, people are finished; it was the meat that they ate that was "done".

2) When asking about whether or not one indulges in a cookie, it is "May I have a cookie," versus "Can I have a cookie."  The answer to the former is going to either be "yes" or "no", while the answer to the later could be "I don't know, can you?"   How does that work?  To your host, or parent, or your superego, the question is "May I?"  To your doctor who is trying to get your blood sugar down, "can I" is the proper question.

3) You can most certainly spread out a blanket in Key West and lie on the beach.  But if you lay on the beach, you should be arrested.

4) A well-known news anchor used to mispronounce the word "puberty" as "pooberty" and seemed surprised when I called him on it.  My mother worked as a nurse for his uncle.  I know he knew better.

But when you say that man who is "hung by the neck" until dead, he most certainly was popular with the women (and/or some men) in the village.

A woman who is hung is most certainly either leading a life of masquerade or is a hermaphrodite.

So remember: Meat is hung, people are hanged.

And that isn't what you meant to say about Ms. Spade.  I know that.  But getting it right means getting it right.  It also means being able to respect the dead, for whatever reason they saw no other way of carrying on.

Kate Spade was an incredibly talented business leader, designer, a wife, and a mother.  And it pains all us to think that she felt there was no other way forward but to end her personal pain by suicide.  At moments like this, we all wonder if we could have saved her or any loved one from committing the act that ends their life.

We owe her that one final dignity of getting it right.


Mrs. Edwin Smith Standish
Shaker Heights, Ohio

PS - I had a friend at Miss Porter's who we called "Poppy".  She is now a Viscountess. ESS

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How I almost ended up in Dermatology Detention Hall

Cookie has this icky problem that only seems to bother Cookie.

What?  Yes.  I know its hard to concentrate with "Thing" giving masturbation lessons to the women's book club - "Where the only thing we read is the wine labels!"

Anyhow, Cookie, FOCUS, has this skin issue and it really has been bothering me for the past 30 some odd years.  Now that I have a dermatologist, who I adore, I love going to see her because even she can make wart removal seem like fun.

So the reason why we have "Thing" with us today is that this problem has to do with my hands.   It's a hand "thing", and the thing is, every spring, my fingers get covered in these wee-tiny blisters that look like athletes foot, but it's not.  And its only during the months of May and June.  Then it goes away.

Medical doctors just sniff at it, but I figured, what with the established relationship with the dermatologist, you can go and ask her, right.

So I stopped by the office and spoke with Connie, who works the front desk - who I would love for a best friend - and Connie looked and said, yeah, I can get you in next Monday at 10:30.  Because I have a horrible sense of time since that wee-small TIA I had back in 1992, she printed it off for me.

Well, into Cookie's head comes the idea that the appointment is at 1PM.  How did that get planted? I had no idea.  Its been stressful here in Maryland with all the rain and the mud and the silt and sand and we live miles to the nearest creek.

Anyhow, I fucked up.

So I called IMMEDIATELY and tried to mea culpa my way out of it because you know how doctors offices can be, especially with specialists.  The woman who answered was Connie, and she was very serious, as she had every right to be.  And I was about ready to cry because being told not to come back to a specialist office is like one of the worst sins in my mother's book of common guilt, when Connie said: "Normally, you would be put into Dermatology Detention Hall with all the other appointment scufflaws.  But you called, you apologized, we can work this out.  How about tomorrow at 9AM?"

And the stress came down, way down.
                                                 Like way down here, d

So I went in today, tail between my legs, and Adrienne is at the front counter and she is like "NAME? TIME OF APPOINTMENT? Oh, you're the one who missed yesterday!  Its Dermatology Detention Class for you!"

Connie, walks out of the billing area and she is cracking up and then Adrienne starts laughing.

"We put a sign on the supply closet where patients can't go, and its now officially the Dermatology Detention Hall.  You must have had some weekend."  I told her what was going on and she was telling me what was going on.

Long story short is that I get back to see the doctor, who is WONDERFUL, and she asked her questions, then got out a pad and wrote down what it was.  "I'm writing this down because I understand you have a hard time remembering things... This is not bad, its common."

I think that I blushed embarrassed because she said: "Now that is what I call a super flushed look!"

The diagnosis is that I have a very common form of eczema.  Evidently, lots of people have this.  "And there is no cure.  Just don't pick at them.  They'll disappear in a few weeks.  They may come back in the fall.  Probably allergy related.  Here's a script for some cream that will help with the sloughing of the dead skin."

And like Santa Claus, with a wink of her eye she said, "no charge for yesterday, but let's not have it happen again, K?" and up the chimney, she was gone in a flash.

On the way out Connie was like "Remember, use your navigator in your car so you get home."

I love Connie.  And the Dermatologist.  Cookie is a lucky guy to have such great peeps watching over me.