Friday, August 31, 2018

Krab with a K is back

Well, Cookie has a secondary blog that has been languishing and has been revived. Krab with a K (or KWAK, as it is fondly known in my heart) was just too great not to do something with.

So I am beginning to post some stuff over there,  some material over there that is a bit flip a little cheeky and bit more on the Baltimore side of things.

So remember, that is "Krab with a K"

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What's the matter with Keds Today?

Those Keds on his feet have seen better days...

Cookie is in a mood.  So much to do.  So little time.  And I need new shoes, too!

Alas, it is not ennui that has set in, but procrastination.

What I really need is an assistant who I can delegate all this to and come back and have it magically all be taken care of.

It's nothing as mundane as paying bills - those get done when they come in.  The shoe thing is really driving me nuts because DSW seems to only carry "Sketchers" and I refuse to wear anything that can be found in a Kohl's store. 

And while my feet have not gotten wider, shoes have become narrower.  A Medium used to be fine, but now I am finding that the Brannock device says "M", but the shoe marked "M" is definitely not.

"It's not you," says my friend Mavis who works at Nordstrom.  "Manufacturers of realistically priced footwear are cutting corners like Nabisco does when the 'NEW SIZE'  Oreo costs just as much as before, but you get fewer cookies, with less 'stuff' in the middle."

Mavis then called the name "Mondelez" stupid, and the people who run the company "Mutha Fickahs".  You gotta love people from New Jersey.

And on another note, there is our penthouse guest suit, on the third floor. 

It needs to be painted, but the walls really need replacing.  And the floors need sanding and refinishing.

Husband and I decided to paint the existing masonite paneled walls and to make a headboard for the master bedroom on that floor.  You know, "save money by being crafty" and all that crap.

Let me tell you, it's not cheap to do it the right way.  You have to get a plywood board ($30 for an 8x6 that has to be cut down to a 65x30) batting for the cushion ($20), fabric - in this case, a nice beige with big vivid purple, green, and blue dots - trust me its fab, and at $15 it was a steal for upholstery fabric.  And then the nailhead trim - $50!  And oh, you need a hanging system - $25.  Luckily, we have the electric staple gun.  And the staples.

Had I known it was this much I would have not done anything.   And just now a family member calls up and says "Blutto and I will be in town for an unplanned trip. Any room at the in?"  Ugh.  They can have my office, but they have to be gone on Thursday; Friday more guests arrive.  Cookie Manor isn't Downton Abbey.

But, having been a guest at the home of other people for extended stays (Funerals, research trips, seminars, etc.) I can tell you that a nice guest room makes guests feel special.

Still, the load would be easier if I could snap my fingers and have an assistant do the work, or at least take my mind off of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Are you a guy who craves "Golden Nectar"? Tant pis.

Why yes, my mind has joined Norma's in the gutter.  Seriously, you mention "golden nectar" in gay circles and ice cold Kool-Aid is not the first thing that comes to mind.  No, the nectar that they are noodling about is warm.

It's not my thing to drink but to each his own.

There are advocates for its ingestion.  There are also those who enjoy eating eel.  Both give me the cold willies.  Trouser snake is my preference.

Growing up, I never would have tried this beverage, the Kool-Aid kind.  I never drank anything this color unless I was running a fever, barfing up everything and the doctor told my mother to ladle Vernors Ginger Ale down my throat.  To this day, it reminds me of being deathly ill and my parents trying to make me even sicker.  Nasty business, that.

All this comes up because I was reading today and the phrase "tant pis" came up.  It isn't often that it does, but it did.   And English teacher taught us the phrase because some classic had the phrase in it and one of the boys in class want ed to know "What's wrong with Horatio?  He can't piss."

For those of you who don't know, "tant pis" (taun pee) is a French phrase "Oh, well" as in "You can't get me a table for seven at eight? Tant pis."

 It's inverse is "tant mieux" which means "so much the better."

"You can't get us in at eight, but you can at 8:15? Tant mieux!  Excellent!"

There, I have given you two new phrases, and some vivid sexual things to think about.  Now go out and use "tant pis" and don't piss it away.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Personal hygiene is everyone's business

So today, Cookie was confronted by two indignities.  The first was being in the Towson, Maryland, Home Goods store, where things are supposed to be a bargain, but they are not.  I was looking for a toothbrush holder because toothbrush handles have become entirely too big around to fit in the holder that we have had for the last 20 years.

First, it was the fancy toothbrush heads, but somewhere along the way the geniuses that design this utilitarian tool they decided that the handles needed to be bigger.  "More" is, after all, MORE in consumer goods.  Our toothbrush handles are as fat now as Sharpie brand markers.  I shudder to think where we will be in twenty years. 

Anyhow, because there are few stores left in the middle, I looked at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and not seeing anything to my liking I decided to schlep across Prince Avenue to HG, which is a fancier version of TJMaxx.  I found one, under seven dollars, and while its design is uninspiring, it is not offensive, either. 

Towson University is getting ready for its Fall term, and the students are back.  So a store like Home Goods is lousy with them. 

So I walk down the aisle to queue up for the cashier.  Thier is an odd, off-putting smell that is strengthening. It's not mass of candles, each fighting for the dominance in the scent department. It's not gift soaps, with their strange melange of scents - Truffle-Lemon, Cherry-Mint, Corriander-Bubble Gum. It's not sour, like puke.  Not ammonia-like bladder control issues.  It's not "loaded diaper", and by the way, there were no mother and infants about.  It was just off-putting.

And as I walked towards the next person, the odor became stronger, but it wasn't B.O., either. The person I am walking towards is a young woman, smallish, dressed in jeans that were too tight, appears to be a student.  So I walk up and stand about five feet behind, and WHAM, the odor hits me full on.  The woman seems oblivious and is starring at her phone, scrolling, tapping away no sign of anything amiss, and I am beginning to feel queasy.

In fact, the odor was so bad, I had to back up.  Way up.  And as I backed away the musky, earthy, slaughterhouse the day after butchering smell started to fade.

That's when it dawned on me what the smell was.  It was, what they used to call in 1950s advertising the "one unforgivable sin of un-daintiness."

That was when I stepped on another woman's foot.

"I apologize for not looking ma'am," I heard myself saying, "I think that I might have forgotten everything I came in for and I was not paying attention."  I looked into the racks of crap that Home Goods thinks you will think that you need (Twist Tie Collector: 'Never be without another twist tie again!') and then I said: "You go on in front of me while I look at these decorative wine stoppers!"

The woman smiled, worriedly, and advanced while I looked over my shoulder and back up a few more feet.  The line was not moving because there was one cashier and the back up was having a hard time getting his machine up.  The woman advanced to the denim-clad young woman and then turned around with an ugly look on her face. 

She smelled it too.

Another woman came up behind me and asked: "are you in line?" 

"Yes, but, go ahead of me - I just have this one item. You have a whole cart!"

She made it up to the next woman - the one I let go in front of me, who turned and said: "You go next, I want to look at that Halloween wreath over there."

As she passed me she screwed up her face and exhaled.   I saw her stick her face into the pumpkin spice scented wreath and take a deep inhale.

Finally, the line started to move and the young woman was called up.  A tall good-looking man started to asked her if she found everything then the expression on his face changed.  Her curse was visited upon his olfactory nerves. 

The woman with the cart was called up and sped past the young woman like a sprinter to the finish line.

Then it was my turn, but the young woman at the center of the storm finished up and we almost collided.  Thankfully I was holding my breath and made to my cashier.  The young man turned to my cashier with a "WTF was that all about"look, and my cashier shot him a "Not in front of the customers" type of shade.

We concluded the transaction, she said she hoped my experience was a pleasant one, I smiled and thanked her.

Outside, I breathed in the stench free air. 

Students come from all over, with all different background.  Maybe she was from a different culture.  Maybe her smelling skills were attuned to other things.  Maybe in her mind, I smelled like "red meat" - and I actually had a Korean Exchange student say that me back in high school.  Actually, she was saying that about everyone in the whole school.

Still, I can't help but think about that poor Mrs. J----, the one who never gets invited over a second time.  The one whose husband is drifting away from her.

I did come home and take a shower.  Oh, Hell, yas I did.

When my husband comes home, I want him to find me clean and handsome.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Filling Out My Arbor Day Survey

The husband and I have been told that we live in a prestige zipcode, so we get a lot of requests for money.

There are a whole lot of legal charities that have their hands out, and we get them all.   They all want your money.  Some do it with straightforward letters of appeal.  Others are simply manipulative.  There are those that you read and you can hear Sally Struthers in your head, pleading with you to "sending your twenty-nine dollars a month will help feed and cloth Rita and her fifteen siblings.  Ask yourself could you go without shoes, down thorn laced trails that are filled with snakes towards the only school in a 150-mile radius?"

Some of the plaintive pleas for money send gifts in the mail to get you to give.  We received lots of return address labels decorated with the art of shoeless children, while some include cliche images of the flag, kittens or puppies.  The puppies and kittens have plaintive eyes that say "How could you use these stickers if you don't donate to us?"

This year, we received a very special message from the Arbor Day people.  Despite cutting down a 100-foot tall pin-oak because it was a threat to the safety of our house and the neighbors.  Big trees, planted ten feet from your house are a hazard.

Still, the husband and I love trees.  After the oak was removed we planted four good sized birch trees.

So the Arbor Day people know we're a soft touch.

The packet included the requisite return address stickers - clearly, we really need to start writing more letters which requires more trees being cut down and more paper to be used, but who needs to worry about that at a time like this, right?

They also included vouchers for free trees, which are about two inches tall when you get them, but they are trees and they are free, but not from guilt.  But packet also included a "survey of vital importance."  We know this because it said so on the envelope.

In addition to asking our age, our level of educational attainment, blah, blah, blah, in the first four questions, section two is where we get down to the nitty-gritty:

5. "Have you ever climbed a tree?"  It had been so long since I had done this - fifty years or so - that I had to answer "no" as I have not tried to haul my 55-year-old hulking self up a tree in a number of years.

6. "When you were a child, did you ever play under or amongst trees?" Verily, I did.  And as an adult, I played with men amongst the trees as well.

7. Did you collect leaves, acorns and pine cones for a school project - or just for fun?  Maybe a school project, once.  But for fun?  I am neither "Krafty and Kreative" or a squirrel.  But since these are all yes or no questions, I felt that this required that I consult with my childhood friend Sharon who said "Seriously, Cookie.  What the fuck is this about."

8. Do you relax in the shade of a tree?  Folks, you can make this shit up.

9. Do you think that White Oak is the appropriate choice for the state tree of Maryland?  It is? You tell me.

10. Do you think, in general, that the people of Maryland care about trees more than the people in other parts of the country?  How the fuck should I know?  These are people that when you need to get around them and say "Excuse me," lash out at you for not waiting your turn while they waddle down the cheese danish aisles at the grocery.

11. WHICH one of following, would you say is the most important function of a tree?  Being a source of beauty is definitely more important than slowing climate change.

I could go on, but it was more of the same until you get to the backside and complete question seventeen, (which, I am disappointed to say was not "If you could be a tree, any tree, which tree would you be?") was the statement:

NOW... It's time to redeem all your FREE gift vouchers!  
[ ] I'm enclosing all my FREE GIFT vouchers and my donation of...

If the vouchers are free trees, why do I need to include a dime?  Yes, I see where if I donate an additional ten dollars I also get a free calendar - again, made from living trees that were cut down and destroyed that we are supposed to be worshipping - and two crepe myrtles.

Seriously people, what they hey.  Not a question, but a point.  You are creating a ton of carbon dioxide to raise ten dollars.  How does that help anyone?  It certainly isn't helping any trees that perhaps I may come upon (Mind out of the gutter, Norma) and admire, only to have you come along, cut it down to make paper pulp so you can make paper to do a mailing to raise money to save a tree, washing rinse and repeat.

Hells bells, there isn't even a recycled paper stamp on the damned quiz!

So, since my housework is done and the weather could behave today I could lie about outdoors, but truth be told, Cookie is an "indoor person".  Less chance of an asthma attack, skin cancer, and ticks.

I think that you shall never see, Cookie resting under yonder large tree.  
Poems like this are made by fools like thee 
But only Cookie can make Cookie haul his ass out
And plotz it down under yon flipping tree. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Are we having fun, yet?

Not much here - its a dreary day in Baltimore.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Feminine Hygiene Minutes in History

Yes, Nurse Margaret Kissack, with her greying hair and jet BLACK eyebrows has all the answers, because she just not a "nurse" or some actress who plays advertisements.

Margaret Kissack was a real registered nurse, motha fuckas.

She has been trained to be helpful, non-judgemental and objective.  And there is no SHAME in going to comely Nurse Kissack because she was a professional.  And an employee of the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.

Impressed?  You should be.  This nurse, this disciple of Florence Nightengale no less, gave her life to helping women through every serious medical moment imaginable that nice people can't discuss in public. At the dinner table. Including how and what to look for when you chose the correct hygienic travel syringes.

"I recommend Faultless Rubber brand travel syringes.  The people that work at Faultless Rubber understand that "purity of product" is important to the American Woman."

Moreover, Nurse Margaret Kissack was a native of the Isle of Man, who became an American Citizen and lived in 1940 at 2670 East Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio.

We know this because the 1930 U.S. Census tells us so.  Yes, she gave up a fun-filled and fulfilling life on an island full of men, where Peel automobile was built.

We also know that caring Nurse Kissack died in Cleveland in 1977.   Shame on you for not caring and not sending flowers you ungrateful sots.

So when you have a question about how to keep your secret lady place dainty, say to hell with the stranger on the street, to hell with your friends and fuck the Hell off to every LPN there is: seek out your own Margaret Kissack, R.N. and step out of the shameful shadows of secret lady place odors.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A place I would not go to

Not our old house

To me, houses are emotional objects.  They are homes, buildings, structures, and places of shelter.  So some of the houses that I have lived in are very personal.

Our first house in Baltimore meant nothing to me when we discovered that it was freezing in the winter, like a kiln in the summer and that it lacked any place to put anything.  It was head over heels charming on the outside, but inside it was a terrible waste of spaces.   So when we moved, I was glad to leave because it was never a home, just a house.

The house in Columbus was also another place that started out just like a house.  It was my first house.  And it was full of problems.  I was only going to keep it for two years, and then flip it.  But before you knew it, I was there almost ten when I left my prior partner and the husband moved in, and it's started feeling like a home.  By the time we were transferred to B-more, we were just shy a full twenty for me at the place.

And we left a gorgeous house behind.  The young couple that bought seemed thrilled with it.  The landscape was something that he was going to have to learn, but that comes with time, I thought.

Because we are still very close friends with our former next-door neighbors, we soon learned that the couple dug in, but in every way harmful to the house. 

First to go were the year-old canvas awnings that provided the house with a wonder filtered light in the summer and kept the upstairs from becoming too hot.  Next were the 100-year old wood windows that we had painstaking restored.  Next, they killed the roses - one of which, a Red Masterpiece, was over 60 years old and produced the most magnificent long-stemmed red roses.  Evidently, the roses were too needy.

They pulled down the original lights, removed the antique drape rods, and stripped the house of every ounce of character we had restored, and then they "West Elm'd" fucking shit out of every room.  Everything was painted with various shades of grey, linen, and charcoal.  Drum lamp shades popped everywhere.  They even removed the cork flooring system from the kitchen that had been featured in a magazine and replaced it with tiles.

In the backyard, they removed all the stonework, the large pine tree, and replaced it with a sand pit that has become the toilet for every free-range cat in the neighborhood.

Then they removed the stucco from the upper half;f and concrete board sided it, making the house a "non-contributing" structure in the historic neighborhood I helped to get listed.

And now, six years later, they are putting it on the market, ready to move into the next house and rape it in the name of "West Elm" and "HGTV".   AND, because real estate right now is tight, they have priced it $100,000 over what they paid us.

Look, Cookie understands that everyone has a different style, and a wants to make their home theirs.  I can't fault them for that.

But when you buy an "Arts and Crafts" era house and try and make it look industrially modern loft - maybe you should have bought the loft in the first place.  When you buy a house with a yard, you know you are going to have to take care of it, not turn it into a litter box.

I really hope they sell the place.  They have been aloof to our old neighbors, who we introduced them to, and have treated their invitations with disdain.  The only couple they have bonded with are, apparently, Frigid and Frigida, the Scandinavian autocrats who used to shove the "Middle of the Street Committee" around.   And they didn't honor the house, instead, they modelled it after a commercial ideal of what they should have bought, to begin with.

So I really want these people to sell and GET OUT.  GET OUT NOW.  Good luck.  Bon voyage, happy home ownership.  B'bye.

I hope the next owners will be kinder and gentler to the place, and nicer to the neighbors.   And not rent to college kids.

I have also asked the old neighbors not to send me links to the listing. I have no intention of wanting to see the full extent of the damage beyond what I know about.

Simply, I want to remember it the way it was - a lovely house, one that was carefully tended and respected for what it was, our home and part of the neighborhood fabric.

Friday, August 3, 2018

It was all just a facade.

Secretly she wanted to be a Supreme. 

Or an oboeist.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

It's got a hold over me

I know nothing about it other than I am mesmerized by it every time I look at it.

Who is/was this woman?

Was she dancing or just doing the moves?

What music did they play, or was it done in silence?

Did she ever see the image?

Did she find her body movements mesmerizing or grotesque?

Could she have wondered if she could have chosen something better to wear? Something different?

A great photo makes you think, it haunts you.  It's something that you just cannot let go of.  It haunts you.  And every time you look you find something new.

This picture has a hold over me and it's not likely to leave me now, or in the future.