Monday, December 13, 2010

Ho, Ho, Ho. I Don't Think So.

So, the housewife had to run some errands today. Dog medicine had to be picked up, human medicine had to be picked up, Christmas gifts had to be purchased, and outgoing items had to be dropped off at the post office.

If I had the teeniest drop of Christmas spirit in my when I went out this morning, it has been completely squeezed out of my circulatory system by now.

First, a trek across Siberia. Well, across the Target parking lot. A long way to go for medication I don’t want to take. Perhaps the man had already been in line. I don’t know. He came from out of an aisle and snuck up to the pharmacist’s counter in front of me. Could have been he had every right to do so. My possession of ovaries does not automatically put me in line in front of him. But, if you know you’re going to be asking a lot of questions, why not just hold back and let the little lady go first. She’s going to be getting angry later, so better to just let her have some peace for now. Or not.

It makes me deliriously happy to know that my prescription is going to cost more than 3 times what it did earlier. And no one is going to be able to tell me why. Its up to me to make the choice – pay up or die. So, calmly, I take out my wads of cash and change, and place it into the pharmacy cashier’s hand.

After jostling (jousting) for the shortest big box check out line, I reach the cashier and am given a not too pleasant look for having the nerve to supply my own bag. Makes a little extra work for the cashier. In return, she grabs the receipt, coupons for shit I don’t want on my next trip, green change and the jangly change, and, in a vague attempt to aim everything at once into my outstretched hand, misses by a mile and hurls most everything to the floor. “Oops,” I say as I chase rolling coins. I am able to catch the ones that rolled my way. I have to stare at her to get her to pick up the coins that rolled behind the counter. I try to gather my belongings as they are shoved along by the cashier to make room for the next customer’s purchases.

I think I shall attend the next big box chain board meeting and suggest that next to the register, a catapult should be installed for each cashier to launch receipts, coupons and change in a wide-ranging arc. Better than a piñata, and just as frustrating to the customer.

Outside the store, I attempt to reach my car in the parking lot. While passing through the crosswalk, a man swerves his car around me to save himself the inconvenience of slowing down. For some, it seems, picking skin, bones and purchases off of the front bumper is preferable than lightly applying the brakes.

Where to next? More Christmas shopping? Why yes. At the only other store in town? And would that be another big box chain store? Absolutely. What the hell else is left in town? Why not the little gift stores downtown. Well, they all went out of business. What about that furniture and gift store out by the mall? Well, now that’s a mattress center. What about that awesome music store that would have all kinds of neat things for the hubby? Well, they have downsized and eliminated most of the cool stuff. The other side of the store? Well, that was made into a mattress center? What about that store that was across the street? Well, now that’s a Chick-fil-A. Ok. Ok. What else? Say, what about Pier I. There’s neat stuff there. Like hell. It’s now a medical clinic. What about that cool party store across town. Nope. It’s now a medical clinic. Wait. That independently-owned toy store? Nope, walk-in medical clinic. WTF? Yep. Retail in my neck of the woods means mattresses, chicken sandwiches and medical clinics. How do I wrap up those crappy gifts? Wait! There’s still some retail left in town. Tanning salons! Nail salons! Melanoma? Nail fungus? Plenty of walk-in clinics for that!

Since shopping has been cut short, to be done at home from the computer, there’s just one more errand to run. The post office. Good God, there’s a looooong line. But, it moves quickly. The clerks are patient, calm and friendly. Joy! Postal Joy! Who would have thought?

The little bit of Christmas joy received today was furnished by the Post Office!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Little Disturbing

Last weekend, the family drove south to visit my mother, known as '"Moppie" to all grandchildren, in the hospital.

All kinds of things are happening to her body. The last 20% of the last remaining kidney decided stop functioning a few weeks ago. This pretty much f*cked up the rest of her body pretty good. Recovery has been slow.

As we were leaving the hospital, my mother requested we go to the drug store across the street to buy her some Depends undergarments. She did not want to ask the nurse for them. She wants to be in control and it upsets her GREATLY not to be. When one is undergoing dialysis 4 hours at a time, one can't just get up and waltz into the bathroom.

My daughter asked what we were going to buy. The hubby just said, "something for Moppie." I'm a bit more forthcoming about such things. I told her they were like pull-ups for grownups, and she needed them because she couldn't move for four hours during dialysis. My daughter, remembering her pull-up days, asked, "Do they have little pictures of Dora the Explorer on them?" I said, no, but maybe they had little pictures of Frank Sinatra on them. After a brief discussion of who Frank Sinatra was, and why old ladies liked him, she stated that having little pictures of Frank Sinatra on one's adult pull-ups would be A LITTLE DISTURBING.

Yes, it would be.

But one has to find a little fun in life among all the bad shit, right? And now I have a disturbing little marketing plan.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is it Really December 1st?!?!?!

Isn't it pretty? Yes. Lovely. But each year, when December 1st rolls around, it feels more like a shark attack. I get the feeling that this beautiful Advent house is perfectly capable of disemboweling me, leaving me writhing on the floor, desperately clutching at the air.

My husband's mother gave it to my daughter four years ago. She had it all filled and ready to go. My daughter loved it. When "Baba" laughingly told me that I would be filling it up the following year, I was excited. It was going to be fun.


My daughter hates chocolate. She does not need anymore of those little plastic Hallmark ornaments (not that she needed any to begin with). Most little trinkets I buy for this thing are just an eighth of an inch too big in one direction to fit in. No. She does not need any more hairclips (but they do fit nicely).

Today is December 1st. Not one single little compartment has been filled.

This damn thing has disemboweled me once again.

I did have a plan to go out and buy some bits and pieces today. My plans are falling down around me. I'm waiting by the phone for my mother to call me from the hospital. Ice has begun falling from the sky. I'm not feeling the least little bit festive.

Plan B. Look under sofa cushions for change and lost items that will fit behind those teeny, malevolent doors.

(actually, I am terrified to go out. I don't know what will happen to me or those around me if I hear the smallest snippet of that First Day of Christmas song.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Bang for Your Holiday Buck

Deck the halls with hooves and antlers, fa la la la la, bang, bang, bang bang
That is the favorite tune of Central Pennsylvanians’ this time of the year.

Yep. It’s shooting season. Grab your guns, your bows and arrows, your best drinking buddy and head for the woods.

It’s the time of year for the Centre Daily Times to photograph carnage for the front page. It’s the time of year to avoid the woods like the plague (unless your well-armed or drunk, or most likely, both).

Need proof? Here’s a recent story from our local paper: A 13-year-old boy with a lift-threatening illness gets a wish. What could that be? A trip to Disneyworld. Nope. To drive a race car? Not even that. What could a boy from Central Pennsylvania REALLY want? His big dream is to shoot a deer. A great big ol’ white tailed deer in Iowa. His dream came true. He got together his bow and arrows and headed out where the deer grow big. After killing a 153-pound buck, the boy gives his grandfather a call. Grandpa’s comment to the reporter: “That just gives you a nice feeling; he did good.”

So that’s what matters here in the hills and valleys of Central Pennsylvania. Killing deer. It’s built right into the trash and recycling pick schedules. Their list of fall holidays: Labor Day, Thanksgiving, First Day of Deer Season, Christmas. What, no Veterans’ Day? Nope. That’s been quite willingly given up in favor of gittin’ them deer the Monday after Thankgsiving.

Here at my house, we’re trying to decide when to go visit the far-away folks for Thanksgiving. Do we get the kiddo out of school on Wednesday, or do we leave Thursday morning? You see, school is in session on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, but closed on the Monday after. Doesn’t make much sense does it? At least not to those who DON’T hunt deer. Makes perfect sense to those that do. Why, if school were in session on the Monday after Thanksgiving, only girls would be in school. All the boys would be out in the woods with their daddies waiting to bag a buck.

When they talk about “the season” here in Pennsylvania, they’re not talking about the season where you bake a turkey, string the lights on the house, or a fat red-clothed man comes down the chimney. No, they’re talking about the season where you go out in the cold and wet, load your guns, and shoot away at a deer out for some lunch.

This season (as with others in the past), I will not be sharing the same joy as those fellows out in the woods. I’m sure it’s just a fault in my character, but I just don’t get a thrill by taking the life of an animal. Not that I’ve ever done it before. Intentionally. (Those two deer were accidental. They just got in the way of a car going 50 miles an hour. I can say that neither party was thrilled in the least.)

This year (as with others in the past), a bit of my discretionary income will go to Toys-for-Tots, not the taxidermist. My halls will be decked with greenery and white lights. My holiday preparations will not involve cleaning a gun and hanging out at the ammo counter at WalMart. The only thing I’ll strap to my car will be a Christmas tree, not a carcass.

Enjoy the beginning of your holiday season. Enjoy your friends and your families. And stay the hell out of the woods.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Catalog Hangover

Photo from Soft Surroundings Catalog

The 10 billionth Christmas catalog came this afternoon. Oooooooooh. All sorts of products are waiting out there for purchase. But I don't have any room in my home for new purchases. My home is already full of CATALOGs.

For every product you can imagine.

Trees (real and fake)
Bunion pads
Hardware (including floral patterned hammers)
Calendars (without squares to write information in. WTF?!?

and so on.

Those clothing catalogs have got me going though. If I purchase some of these items, I'll have a dang good time during the High Holidays of Consumerism.

I'll be just gorgeous hanging balls on a perfectly symmetrical tree. I'll be just stunning quaffing magnums of champagne (every third woman in this catalog is lifting a glass). If I purchase the above dress, I know I'll look just like this radiant reveler. (In truth, I'll look like a drunk with a faded tire around my neck.) That Soft Surroundings catalog makes the whole season look merry and bright. Just raise a glass, hang some balls, and be a beaming beauty with your purchases.

Champagne and balls not included. Void where prohibited. Frankly, lady (me), just wear that tired old skirt and pilled sweater that you wear every damn year no matter how many catalogs are shoved into your mailbox.

Now, I'm off to find some twine and tie up the 4,000 catalogs and set them out for the recycling truck.

I can't believe its only the middle of November. I've got a catalog hangover already.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mixing it Up for the Holidays

I’m going to be mixing it up this Christmas. Its finally time to buy myself a stand mixer. I guess to most readers, that would sound quite normal coming from someone who plays for the ovarian team, but for me, it is just a bit ridiculous.

I was expecting some flack from the hubby. Unpredictably, he did not say, “but you only bake twice a year.” He would have been pretty close to the truth. Instead, he inquired about the price, and only flinched just a bit when I told him, “About $300-$400.” I didn’t need my backup argument, “I would bake a lot more, if only I had a better mixer.” I do believe this.

Hubby gets a cake twice a year; once for this birthday and then Fathers’ Day. The kid gets one for her birthday. And each Christmas, I bake a few cookies. Other than that, the beaters remain silent.

About 15 years ago, I requested a replacement for my grandmother’s hand mixer. I’m pretty sure that appliance was from the 1940’s. 1950’s at the latest. It could handle only the thinnest cake batter. I guess batter was a whole lot runnier back in the olden days. My mother gave me a Cuisinart hand mixer. Oooooooooh, sounds good, I thought. It sat around until after the warranty expired. Then it was cake making time. I put some softened butter into a bowl with a couple of eggs, dropped in the beaters, turned the mixer on extra low, and was instantly measled with bits of batter. A vast portion of the kitchen was also measled. I’m one of those people who likes everything on the counter and on open shelves for easy access (could be a result of laziness). My utensils sit at the ready in lidless canisters, my silverware sits on the windowsill in vases, every plate and bowl is on open shelves next to the cooking area. I was not pleased. Months after a round of mixing, I will find flecks of batter on the window, the cabinets, and every utensil I use.

I’ve stuck with this mixer for these past 15 years. As a result, my baking has dropped off tremendously. My kitchen cleanup time has been drastically reduced, however. But, I do miss baking. And I refuse to do it again until I get a mixer that understands that I need several mixing speeds. Low should be low. Medium should be medium. High should be high. Not every speed should be extra high. Actually, I never attempted to run this mixer on high. I might not still be among the living. Or at the very least, I would no longer be a resident of this planet. Extra low should not resemble the Tasmanian Devil all hopped up on every amphetamine gathered on every college campus over the course of two semesters.

I’m dreaming of mousses and puddings, cakes and tarts, cookies and macaroons. Not batter measles. How quickly can I have this thing delivered.

p.s. I would appreciate any advice on which mixer to buy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yes, that does make your ass look big

Oh, that hot new trend of wearing shorts over tights!

Not good. Unless you are shaped (or rather, not shaped) like the twiglet shown above.

A weekend in New York City will turn up hundreds upon hundreds of "fashionistas" dressed in these chunky shorts (light) over tights (dark). Hmmmmmmm.

Fashion facts: Light colors make items appear larger. Dark colors make items appear smaller.

Unless you are a runway model, do not attempt this look. Unless you are a practicing anorexic, do not attempt this look. Unless you are under 25 and fall into one of the above categories, do not attempt this look.

Are you over 25? Are you over 95 pounds? Are you under 5'10"?

If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, then yes, your ass looks big in those shorts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Hostage

Tomorrow, I get to work at our local polling place.

I'll arrive at 6:15 am.

I'll take some catalogs and magazines to flip though while I wait for 30% of the 700+ registered voters in my precinct to show up and fill in their little dots.

I'll make small talk with any voter who wishes to chit chat. No matter if they are Republican or Democrat. I'll share my snacks with them and talk to their kiddies while they vote.

At 8:00 pm, we'll shut the doors and count the votes. And write down in quadruplicate all of the votes for Mickey Mouse and Al Gore.

At 9:30, I'll arrive home, and hopefully will not discover that the voters of this country have tossed out all the progress made recently in an attempt to elect right-wing nut jobs and pave the way for a Palin presidency.

I'm lucky in that I live in an area of highly educated individuals. In my little neck of the woods (approximately adding up to 16 blocks), many folks are professors at Penn State University. Dinner parties often include discussions on politics and religion (backed up with facts). These are voters that do their research -- well ahead of time, not just in the days prior to the election. Dream voters. Ah, yes. And most in this area are liberal. I'm loving that.

What I don't love are those damn fliers that are crammed into my mailbox each day. Often four of these things show up at a time.

Mr. Blah will raise your taxes
Ms. Blah will send all of our jobs to China
Mr. Blah might not be the most devout Christian of all time.
Ms. Blah will shut down our schools.
Mr. Blah will force homosexuality on everyone.


To put it bluntly, if you are getting any of your voting information from these fliers, don't bother to vote.

Its disgraceful that anyone would put their names on these fliers. I've heard better rumors from 3rd graders. And the photos! Each candidate looks as if they are on the receiving end of a phallic object.

Any questions about the candidates? Look for the answers on their websites. Can't find the answer there? Then it is unlikely that they have an answer at all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Nothing better than having a bottle of barium for breakfast.

And that yummy berry barium flavor. I'm still tasting it. Delicious.

Had me a CT scan this morning. The barium aperitif was to assist in the scan. And I had no idea that I was going to be injected with dye. At least I could have known ahead of time so I could have dreaded that needle last night. Could have been worse, though. Two lovely young men helped me out. I'm used to the hostile ladies with the "frosted" hair and tightly pursed lips. We're having a look to see if I have Conn's Disease. What's that?

The adrenal glands are located on the top of your kidneys, and produce adrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone, and other steroid hormones that enable the body to respond to stress. Conn's disease is a condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much aldosterone. It is frequently caused by a benign (non-cancerous) tumor of an adrenal gland.
If this is what I've got, there might be some surgery ahead. Nobody has cut into to me since I had my tonsils out at the age of 5. Except for those wisdom teeth.

So, I'll be hanging out at the house today and await the news.

I'll also be enjoying my barium. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Aint gettin' old fun?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Artist vs. Housewife

I don't think I've mentioned my artistic slump lately. I do know I've talked about my failed housewifery, though. The housewife side of me has told the creative side to get her ass to work so she doesn't have to make any more excuses for her sorry housewifery.

So where to start. I've got to come up with some ideas. I need a kickstart.

I find it interesting when reading about how an artist begins a series. I’ve read of overheard conversations being a catalyst. Or maybe a life-transforming incident (or accident). Or even an ordinary household item seen in a new light.

What around my house could inspire a series:

Sick cat

Stinky hand soap

Dog drool puddle

Dust bunnies

Pile of sticky notes

Unidentified squishy things

Bathtub ring

Netflix envelope (love that red)

Bruised apple

Seems like the creative side cannot divorce itself from the housewife side.

And I hear a dirty bathroom calling my name. I cannot resist the call of the washing machine. Those siren dust bunnies are singing out to me.

My arm reaches out toward the Swiffer. I cannot stop myself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Lovely Photos

So my new Uppercase Magazine arrived this week, packed full of stylish goodness.

As usual, it is full of luscious photos. And discussions of blogs which feature photography.

I am always impressed by someone who can turn a photo of a cup of coffee, gas pump, used condom, etc., into a work of art.

If a take a day of photos and hooch them up in Photoshop, will it make me a lovely and hip person too?

Doubt it.

Buy anyway, I ran around the house for 30 seconds with my camera and took a small handful of photos and piddled in photoshop (never done that before) and here is a look at my exciting day in the land of housewifery avoidance.

Laundry, with an added dollop of graininess and grit.

Very sick kitty. Can't remember what I did to this photo. Don't care.

Cure (ha) for migraine on large mottled leaf. I altered this photo, too. Don't remember what I did. Have headache. Don't care.

So now, I'm off to pop another pill into the cat, dress the resulting wounds, start the laundry, and pop another pill into myself.

And then I'll dream about my future in photography.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It was 21 years ago today . . .

that I and my big old permed head walked down that aisle and said "I do" to Grizzly Adams.

We've toned down on the hair since then.

Having dated, been engaged and lived together before this magic moment, we have been together for a total of 25 years. That's a quarter century of masochism for this man. I don't know how he has stood it. Checks and balances, perhaps. I'm not taking finances here.

I do recall after being together for about two years, but before our engagement, we had a discussion of who was going to do what in our relationship. He had just tossed his iron at the wall. I think I had just eaten my last meal in a cockroach-infested kitchen across town. He was never going to do laundry again, and I was never going to cook again. We've broken these vows just a few times. Once, after we had moved in together, he washed all of my nice white shirts that I wore to work (back in those office days). They turned out yellow. He's never told me why. When he went to get his doctorate and was gone a couple of evenings a week, I was forced have something on the table (food, not me) when he returned. Sheer torture. For both of us I think.

I've learned to change lightbulbs. He's learned never to turn on the clothes dryer when there's a bird stuck in the duct. He's never learned to rinse his cereal bowl. I'm forever clueless about what to do with shoes after I take them off.

I still get flowers though. From him. Sometimes they're yellow. I don't like yellow. I don't think he remembers. I don't think he ever will. And, frankly, I have no idea what color flowers he likes. Ah, the mysteries of marriage.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hey, Nobody Interviewed me for this video

I don't think I could have added anything else. This sums it all up.

It's not my goal to be overtly political on this blog. I'm usually so into housewifery instead, but I cannot be held back this time.

And while I'm feeling outraged. How about that fire department in bumf*ck Tennessee that let a family's house burn down because they hadn't paid a fee ahead of time? What? Is the mob now operating down in bumf*ck Tennessee?

Good thing I wasn't there to be interviewed for this video. I guess I would have been too busy toting buckets of water, and afterward, kicking some crotch.

I'm just having myself an angry Wednesday morning. However not as angry a day as the Bumf*ck Tennessee (former) homeowner is having.

Excuse me, I'm off to have a brain hemorrhage.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Necessity is the Mother . . .

Let's talk inventions.

And not just the big ones. Sure, the airplane is pretty cool (or was). The cotton gin sure was a big deal. The wheel, yeah, yeah, I know.

It's the little inventions I want to talk about today.

Last night was just a bit chilly. I have yet to put on those yummy, thick, flannel sheets. To keep my toes from turning blue, I slipped on a pair of socks. Good heavens, they felt good. I thought that socks were quite an amazing invention. Then I started thinking about others:

Clothes dryers


Toilet paper

Hole punches

Pill cutters

Those awesome wine bottle openers that allow you to remove a cork in a short series of fluid movements -- like a ballet.

What are your favorite not-so-big inventions?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Poem

Today's frame-of-mind poetry:

Hard around the edge

The good stuff falls in the holes

Life is a waffle

Monday, September 20, 2010

Missing Link

There it is, right in the middle, the missing link. Scientists have been searching for this forever!!! I think I should inform Richard Dawkins right now.

Both the grill on the left and on the right have evolved from this primitive form over the years. It's quite the (rusted) fossil!

This lovely display is in front of the house across the street from mine. I fortunately/unfortunately face the side and back of the house. All angles are equally bad I think. Penn State football weekends are not complete without a party at this house. The young, hairy-backed, knuckle-dragging primitive men who inhabit the house recycle their beer bottles from the upper floors. I wouldn't walk barefoot in their yard. I once saw a burning mattress being shoved out of a second-floor bedroom by a couple of firemen. I wonder whether someone was grilling in bed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

F School

So, Pennsylvania needs a new Governor. What fun. And once again we get to hear about education.

According to Republicans, we shouldn't bother fixing our broken educational system. Hell no. We should just trash it and start over. We really don't want to waste time and money to provide "certain people" with classrooms, teachers and textbooks, do we?

Republican candidate Tom Corbett, thinks its just too hard on the parents to have to deal with the complex issue of where to send their children to school. He also believes a child shouldn't have to bear the burden of being placed in a school with children whose intellect is superior or inferior to their own.
Corbett, the state attorney general . . . proposed assigning grades to schools -- A though F -- to make it simpler for parents to decide where to send their children.

WTF? You would think it would be easy for the parents to send their child to the public school in their neighborhood. Nooooooo. That's far too difficult. It's going to be really simple to know that their "non-gifted" child will be going to the "F" school. Probably across town. Their average child will need to go to the "C" school somewhere else in town. The genius child will go to the "A" school in the next town. That'll be easy for mom and dad. Right?

And why should we assume that the "A" school is going to be for those smart children. Let's shake it up a bit and put the gifted children in the "F" school and those backwards minorities and poor children in the "A" school. If we're going to label our children, we may as well have some fun at the same time.

Corbett is also developing a plan to shift tax dollars from public schools (where they apparently are flushed down the toilet) into charter schools, PAROCHIAL schools and other private learning programs.

Mr. Corbett, I think you are wasting your time and breath on these convoluted plans. I say, lets take the poor people, the challenged, and the darker folks and just teach them how to be maids, busboys, and field hands (easier if we just do on-the-job training). We'll let the gifted folks (rich and white, preferably male) go to those charter schools or the parochial schools and be taught science by God himself.

We don't want our "A" school students to be drinking from the same water fountains as the "F" school students during recess.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Packing Mule

Me, September 10, 2010

Friday morning, the family climbed into the politically-incorrect SUV and drove on down to Richmond, VA, to visit close friends. I should say, the hubby, child and dog climbed in. Here's what I did to prepare for this trip.

Laundry in preparation of travel.
Located 3 bathing suits (pool on premises, wheeeee)
Set up cat's things for cat sitter - all food (dry and wet) with accompanying bowls and plates, medicine, notes for each item.
Packed my suitcase.
Packed daughter's suitcase.
Packed daughter's sleeping bag and pillow.
Made sure hubby had packed allergy meds, wallet, gps.
Packed all meds and creams and shampoos for special needs (except for hubby's - his job, he just gets questioned about it).
Packed road snacks.
Packed dog items for kennel (food, blanket, toys, meds -- we're a bunch of sickos apparently).
Packed CDs for road listening pleasure.
Packed daughter's toys and books and stuffed animals in her backpack.
Pack sunscreen and sunglasses.
Watered plants.
Made sure that birds and squirrels would be fed in our absence.

Then, an hour down the road, someone had the gall to ask ME if I had packed their swim goggles. I said, "No. I did not." Someone said, "Mama forgot my swim goggles." I said, "No, I did not forget your swim goggles. You did. Your daddy did. But I DID NOT." Hubby says, "We all forgot your swim goggles." I recited the list above, and once again stated, "I did NOT forget your goggles.

Shit. Is it because I have tits and ovaries that I'm supposed to remember to pack all the above, including the damn swim goggles? I think not.

Next time, I'm putting my stuff in (and dog's I guess), and I'm climbing in and putting on my CD and screw the rest of 'em. They can wear soiled undies and sneeze from allergies and itch because they have the wrong shampoo and have nothing to read or write with and no stuffed animals and no wallet and nothing to eat but McDonalds (wait, the hubby did prepare sandwiches) no pillows no sunglasses burn from lack of sunscreen. And no freakin' swim goggles.

Packing mule is on strike.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today's Patriotism - Stupidity on Parade

I’m guessing that because yesterday was Labor Day in the U.S., that there was a parade somewhere. And parading will be folks that glorify in the stupidity that is rampant in this country. Somewhere, signs will be held aloft stating one’s believe in the Tea Party group. Others will insult our President, possibly calling him a Muslim or scribbled with a lightly veiled racist comment, quite possibly misspelled. When Americans gather to celebrate our country on national holidays, the voices of the ignorant ring out the loudest.

Why is it that Americans are encouraged, or even coerced, into equating patriotism with ignorance? The less we learn about or question our government, the more patriotic we become in the eyes of the flag-waving public.

Don’t believe me? Remember in the last presidential election, those who did their research on the candidates and wanted to ask them questions were called intellectuals in voices tinged with disgust. And the candidates themselves? Those who were educated and employed a varied vocabulary were also called intellectuals in voices filled with disgust and then equated with communists.

We are so quick to poke fun at other countries and laugh about their methods of mind control. In North Korea, loud speakers praise the Great Leader and countrymen are expected to believe every word. Many countries (attempt to) ban all media from outside sources and to trust their leader and their God at any cost.

We label those here who question their government as treasonous or communistic. We are quick to believe anything we hear in 20-second “news” reports without bothering to know or care who owns the news station. We sit in front of our televisions watching reality shows while eating genetically modified foods without knowing or caring how this food arrived on the non-recyclable, microwavable plastic tray in front of us. Our reading material is Us and People magazines. Our books, if we have any, are “self-help” books written by televangelists. If we are “connected”, we are embedding cute animal videos on Facebook.

I am fortunate to live in a Democracy. I don’t have to worship a Great Leader. I still don’t have to wear a Burqa. I have the freedom to write this blog. I have a brain and it has great capacity (less as I age, however). I am fortunate along with more than 300,000,000 people. We will, however, find ourselves much less fortunate in the near future if we shirk our duties as citizens. It is our duty to learn and contribute (not just financially) to our country, not just sit in our overstuffed recliners and let corporate government feed us soft drinks and Twinkies.

We’re not doing ourselves or our country any good by remaining complacent, ignorant, and running up our flags of patriotic stupidity on every national holiday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Yet Another (not so) Little Girl Crush

Stephen Fry, Atheist Hottie

Yes, another brilliant, British atheist.

While I am as impressed with him as I am Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, I would have to say, that of the three, I would most want to have dinner with Stephen Fry. I would have to expect to have partially-chewed food violently expelled through my nose and mouth. This is one funny man.

In my house, we have just started watching the Wooster and Jeeves series. There is nothing that cannot be improved by this man's charm and wit. It does seem that he has a bit of a bite, though. Good for him.

Check out his take on the Catholic church on YouTube.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can't Burqa This

One of the blogs I read periodically is written by the ever-cool Ricë Freeman-Zachery. Today's treat is a video by 90-year-old Ilona Royce Smithkin. Here is a fascinating woman doing things her way.

This makes me think of those ban the burqa debates I have been watching on YouTube (along with the videos of the atheist hotties). I won't state my opinion on this debate in this post. I do have opinions. They have wavered. They have been been becoming more concrete. This video helps to solidify my beliefs further.

I will strive to become more like her as I age, and believe in the rights of all women to do the same.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another (not so) Little Girl Crush

Christopher Hitchens, Atheist (or anti-theist) Hottie

Here is an addition to the list of crushes I've developed on a handful of British atheists. The engaging, contrary, and extremely well-evolved Christoper Hitchens.

I still love a man with a big brain.

I'm looking forward to my coffee break, when I can visit YouTube and hear him "share" his opinions (quite often known as facts).

His Letters to a Young Contrarian is on its way to my mailbox now. I'm not so young, but I could stand to be a bit more contrarian. I'll let you know how that works out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Housewife Returns

Bet you thought I'd been smote since I wrote that last post.

I've been hanging out with visiting family members. In-laws, nieces, sister, etc. I've cleaned my home several times (hence the housewife returns), and whipped the tops off of containers of processed foods for use appetizers (the anti-housewife part). I've scraped up hairballs and gathered spiderwebs. I've made beds and unmade beds and made beds again.

Today, I'm enjoying my brand spanking new washing machine. Wheeeee! The last one refused to run at all on one cycle, didn't drain on another, and smelled like potential fire on the one cycle that worked. The housewife is happy today.

I've also been on YouTube watching more videos.

And yes, I've also eaten lots of bonbons.

I've just been waaaaaayyyyy too busy to blog.

So far, I have not watched those daytime stories on television.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

(Not So) Little Girl Crush

Richard Dawkins, Atheist Hottie

Recently, I've developed crushes on a handful of British atheists, one of which is Richard Dawkins.

I love a man with a big brain.

Now, I'm off to YouTube to hear him talk about evolution. This is my idea of loads of fun.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heath Care Plan (Not)

Hubby comments after going to the first available convenience store after returning to the U.S.

"I know I'm back in the United States when I see a collection jar on the counter with donations going to a woman without healthcare coverage who needs treatment for ovarian cancer."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Side of the Road Sighting

He was scary-looking. He was far from clean. If I had been walking, I would have changed over to the other side of the street. Bad enough. Then I read his clothing.

His black T-shirt was emblazoned with white letters, large enough to read from a comfortable(?) distance.

I F*CK DEAD PEOPLE (the asterisk is inserted by me).

He was mighty close to the street.

Perhaps I should have quickly slapped on a bumper sticker that read:


Perhaps he picked this shirt out of a garbage bin. Could be that he cannot afford to purchase clothing. If I had nothing, and could not speak or read the English language, I still would be quite reluctant to wear this. If this were the case, wouldn't a sane person turn the shirt inside out so no one could read it?

Perhaps next time I will swerve and take out a nasty t-shirt wearing perv to save the life of an innocent person or people.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heading North

So now that the heat wave is finally going to break, we're going to head north.

Yes, the laundry from the trip south is still tumbling in the dryer. And when I flip the lid back down on the laptop, I will toss things back into the suitcase. But not the things I originally planned. I'm actually going to pack a long-sleeved shirt. I forgot I had those. Daytime temperatures up north in the 70s. Woo hoo.

This family is going to meet up with some other family members up in Toronto, eh. I'm guessing that I don't need to bring a pie.

I would love to see some sights and do some shopping. I always want to do some shopping. If I lived in a place that sold clothing that didn't have a college logo on it, I wouldn't be so desperate to do some retailing. One shop. Any shop. I don't care. I just want the pleasure of seeing items laid out before me.

The hubby plans to scout for medications and salami and bring them back.

Our vacation plans don't always mesh. In the end, we'll do whatever the kiddo wants to do.

Hope the folks in my neck of the woods can keep the sarcasm level up while I'm gone.

I'm off to pack way too many things and forget the items I need the most.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Goin' South

Today’s high is 86 degrees. Not so bad for somewhere in the US in high summer. Its going to be humid, too. The kind of humidity where you one might want to whip up a raft and float upon the humidity and not be down in it swimming.

While central Pennsylvanians will be simmering in mid-eighties heat this weekend, I will be heading down to Virginia to melt in upper-nineties heat. It’s going to suck. I’ll move through it slowly and probably come out of it alive on the other side. I will be traveling with two heat haters though. And they’re going to complain.

I grew up in Roanoke, VA. To a Pennsylvanian, that is considered down south. The old homestead is a little Cape Cod. As a youngster, my sister and I shared a small bedroom on the first floor, as the upstairs had never been finished. By the time I was 5 and my sister was 9, it was obvious we could not share a room that was only 6 x 9 feet. And so, the upstairs was finished and we climbed up there every summer night to lie still and breathe slowly. We did not have air conditioning. A window unit would not come along until I was in high school. We just learned how to deal with the heat. We knew the importance of well-placed wet washcloths and floor fans.

In my early adult years, the hubby and I lived outside of Washington, D. C. This is where humidity originated and still resides. After several years of sweltering (and commuting), we moved to Pennsylvania. Often, it is 10-15 degrees cooler here than in our old digs.

After being here for 13 years, I find myself fantasizing about the south. Not quite in a Gone with the Wind sort of way, but I find there is something down south that has never quite made it up north. No one here has ever made me a pie. Or a loaf of bread. Or a casserole (not sure I’d want that, though). Up here, I pass people everyday whom I spoken to at length at a party and they don’t even make eye contact when I pass them in the street. I could lay (lie, damn! I’ll never get it) dead in my house for days before the smell would attract attention. No pie bringer would ever rescue me.

I want people to know that I exist, even if that means I can see them peeking at me from behind their curtains. I crave porch sitting and want to have a view of others sitting on their porches. I want someone to tell me to drop in any time whether they mean it or not. And if I do drop by, they will be extremely nice to me for 15 or 20 minutes, even if they are missing a plane. By golly, I like it when people smile and wave. They might go off and talk shit about me behind my back. But people will do that anywhere.

Would I ever trade no pies for wet washcloths? How long could I last in the south? Would I quickly be itching to return to Pennsylvania? And if I did itch, would that be a heat rash?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Not a Happy Camper

Am I the only person in this world who does not like camping? I know I’m the only person in my (limited) circle of friends who does not.

I do like the type of person that is into camping. Campers are usually a somewhat liberal (I’m talking campers here, not survivalists) and laid back sort of people. These are the type of people with whom I’ll discuss politics, religion, education and the environment. I just don’t want to talk camping with them.

Camping discussions crop up frequently, especially at this time of year. Everyone and their brother is preparing to go out and live in the woods and I get to hear all about site selections, propane stoves, tents, tents to go over top of tents in case of rain, sleeping bags, etc. And I am the lone, quiet, voice that wants to scream “I don’t care!” I am not a snob. I am not an elitist. I just don’t want to pitch a tent, crawl in it, and declare myself on vacation.

I’ve got a nice bed at home. At the end of a very short hallway is a bathroom. I don’t have to put on shoes or take a gun to get there. My hubby is on the far side of our king-size bed and a fan is running so I don’t have to hear his breathing, muttering and flailing. My daughter is in the next room; close enough to know if she is sick, but not close enough to hear her muttering and flailing. I’ve got a lamp and a glass of water by my bed. Also a little fuzzy rug. I know if I get up during the night that the little fuzzy rug will not grab me, disembowel me, and leave me for dead.

And what if I want a late night snack? If I open a bag of Cheetos, everyone in the tent will wake up when they hear that rattle of plastic. The outdoor critters will get a whiff and come to investigate. What if that chicken cooked in a 20-pound iron skillet that I lugged to the campsite was still a hair on the rare side? I just might not make it to the outhouse (or hole in the ground) before that dinner tries mightily to make its way outside of me. I can just see myself soiling my camping jammies upon tripping over a log or sleeping bear.

I’ve never been fond of sardines in a can (is this what you eat when you forget the 20-pound iron skillet?), I really don’t want to pack myself into a tent with several others who have not had the ability to fully bathe in days. I don’t want to smell me. I sure don’t want to smell you.

I’m fond of the little things in life – hot water and other plumbing related niceties, sturdy tables that don’t have others’ grease stains and gum wads on them, dry pillows; dry socks, toilet paper, ceramic plates, wine glasses. Of course, there are little things in life that I am NOT fond of, and these things can usually be found at the bottom of a sleeping bag, the bottom of a creek, or flying up my nose.

I might not roll with the Rockefellers or pal around with the Du Ponts, but, like them, I might be just a bit happier in a hotel with a view and a well-stocked mini-bar. To me, a vacation means good food (cooked by someone else) with a candle on a table (sans used gum) and a chandelier over my head, a hot bath, and perhaps a chance to play with a bidet. I want a uniformed man to bring a shower cap to my door if summoned. I want little shampoos, soaps, and gels. And when the vacation is over and its time to go home, I want to leave my rumpled bed items, towels and garbage behind for the staff to deal with.

I’ll sum this post up by saying: Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes. But I don’t.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Underneath that fire is my birthday cake. I'm 47 today. Good God.

When I was 7, I thought that 47 was ancient. Anyone who was 47 wore thick glasses, was covered with liver spots, and required a walker just to get down the hall to the toilet. But most of the time, I didn't think about being 47. I preferred to think about Christmas, the tooth fairy, cooties, and Barbies.

At 21, I thought that 47 was pretty damn old. I thought that if there was anything I wanted to do with my life, I had better accomplish it before I was 45. I assumed life was all downhill from 21. Of course, at 21 I had huge hair; wore acid washed, pleated jeans that came up to my boobs, thought playing "quarters" was the heighth of fun and sophistication, and spent all my money on beer and posters.

So, here I am at 47. I still haven't figured out what to do with my life. My 19-year-old nieces have been smarter than I am for the past 6 years. My daughter stopped counting my gray hairs a couple of years ago. I'm starting to act like my mother.

What's next for me (aside from yet another birthday)? I feel like I'm in one of those old western movies -- plodding down the road, canteen empty, horizon empty, heat coming in waves off the desert sand (menopause?), buzzards circling.

Jeez. What is 48 going to look like? Will the buzzards have landed?

Hopefully I will be happier tomorrow once I've got a birthday dinner (and wine) under my belt.

Feel free to send uplifting greetings.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm experiencing one of the seven deadly sins.

I'm not much for greed. But some of the others I do pretty well.

Today (this week) is sloth.

Could be the heat wearing me down. I do hate to sweat (how many deadly sins involve sweat?)

Could be that Texans are rewriting textbook history. The thought of every Tom, Dick and Harry doing whatever the hell they want with history is wearing me down.

The thought of searching for a photo to top a youthful, patriotic Liberace is wearing me down too.

I'm going to go and be furry and hang from a tree. As long as that doesn't interfere with eating pizza, drinking wine and watching television.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Photo stolen from another blog.

I wonder if Liberace is dancing to the tune of "You're a Grand Old Flag"?

I love it!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Return of Book Piranha

Today, book piranha is out of the water and in a tree. Shredding another book. She's got a voracious appetite. Looks like another trip to the library will be necessary after the holiday.

Happy 4th!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blame it on the Weather

photo by John kerstholtsm

For as long as I can remember, my mother has blamed things on the weather. Things that have little or nothing to do with the weather.

All kinds of medical issues are blamed on weather. I'm not sure whether they are humidity or temperature related. I'm pretty sure that things such as ankle swelling and arthritis can be affected by weather, but some other things, well, I'm not so sure.

According to my mother, the following can result from weather:

cold sores
hemorrhoids (implied, but not discussed)
irritability (no doubt)
acid reflux
diarrhea (implied, but not discussed)
poor circulation

This morning, we are having our usual 8:30 check-in. She tells me what's going on down in Virginia. I say uh-huh a lot. Just like she did decades ago when talking to her mother. She has moved into the modern age just a tad -- she was using her cell phone. Every damn day, her cell phone cuts off. I try to call her back. Busy. I try again. Busy. I wait. Nothing. I try again. Busy. I wait. Finally she calls back. This usually happens again. Conversation. Uh-huh. Click. Silence. Today . . . conversation . . . uh-huh . . . click . . . silence.

She calls back. I tell her that I don't think it was my fault. She says, "Must be the weather."

I'm going to get on her weather bandwagon. I have lots of blame to lay.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'd Like to Make a Citizen's Arrest

Gigantic, flaming, stupid, arrogant asshole

A few minutes ago, I was driving home after completing my exciting errands. My Target bag was bulging, and I was still a tad irritated at my financial institution for not being able to cash a check in my business name (which I never use, but took written proof that it was indeed me). And stopped up beside me at a traffic light was a woman I just wanted to yank out into the street and beat senseless.

Was this a mom in her mini-van just having a cruise? Was it a glutenous, roiling, sweat pants-filled idiot? (Not that comfort in clothing is necessarily a bad thing). I'm going to assume the latter. Cigarette in one hand, beverage in another, God-awful music blaring. I mean, how is she going to be able to answer the phone with all of that going on? Should I have rolled down my passenger window and loudly explained that she could kill herself and others driving like that? It's not like she would have been able to take a shot at me unless she had an extra hand or two.

Can't I just keep spare set of handcuffs in my glove compartment for this purpose? How about several sets. I'll just jerk these damn fools out of their cars, slap on those handcuffs, and drive off before they can say "Starbucks and a smoke."

This is the kind of idiot that will eventually do damage to someone. Probably not themselves, unfortunately. If any member of my family is ever damaged by the stupidity of one of these f@ckers, bad bad bad things will happen to this person by my hand. BAD.

There's just nothing worse than driving with a combination of stupidity and arrogance.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Well Stated?

As an artist, I know that one of the most important things to do as an artist (other than create art) is to write an artist statement. To me, its about as much fun as a visit to the dentist for a root canal. But, these things must be done. I’ll redo mine one of these days. After I decide to stop procrastinating. I haven’t gotten around to making that decision yet.

If and when I redo my artist statement, I want my words to reflect myself and my work. I do not, DO NOT want to sound like a pompous ass. This does happen a great deal. There are words frequently used by artists to get the message across that they are pompous asses. As if pompous assery sold greater quantities of art. It probably does. Unfortunately.

I feel that an artist statement should avoid certain words. The use of one or two of these words is no great sin. But to combine them all into two unbearable paragraphs is a criminal act.

Today, I finally opened the book Masters of Collage, a compilation of today’s masters of collage. I kind of like the stating of the obvious. I hadn’t gone far when I came upon an artist statement that contained every word on the pompous artist statement list.

Want to hear it? Here it goes.


















I very much liked (I use simple person words) the artwork. But just a tad less after reading that string of the pompous artist words.

There has just got to be a stable middle ground between this and just saying “I like to create pretty pictures.” I haven’t found this middle ground yet.

Are there any pompous artist words that I have forgotten? And, if anyone has ever come across the perfect artist statement, I would love to read it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Business as Usual

As my daughter would say, "I see London, I see France, I see ______'s underpants."

This scene happens far too often for me. Hubby's clothes laid out and ready to be packed up. This time for a week. I'm seeing tennis shoes and a tie in this photo. Those scientists are sure whacky. He left last Thursday. It is Sunday morning. There have been tears already (on my part).

So, the kid had a friend here for a sleepover Friday night. Her mom was out of town on business (is there an epidemic or something?), and he was way busy, so could I take care of two kids instead of just one? Well sure. Those little cockroaches didn't go to bed until 10:00 (my darn bedtime). Those little cockroaches got up at 5:45. That's a.m. Since hubby is gone, I heard all sorts of noises and slept only a couple of winks. Then I got to cook breakfast for those early risers. The sight of me cooking ain't pretty. But I didn't cry. Not then.

I woozily entertained the young one yesterday. Lunch out. The library. The duckpond. Then mama, sleeping standing up, decided to have some coffee. It's hot and I'm crabby (understatement). We come home and I have my coffee and I walk the dog in the sweltering heat. I'm waiting for someone to call and perhaps return the favor of child-watching for a couple of hours. That doesn't happen. I bow to the DVD player and insert a disc. Ahhhhh. The Sound of Music is quite a long movie. At movie's end I hear a lot of sniffling. I figure she's seen this movie one too many times to be moved to tears. She dramatically clamps her hand to her forehead and declares she is ill. I get the thermometer. She is indeed ill. So we will spend our Sunday in exile. Sort of. While we can't go to the pool or have a play date, we will be sitting in the air conditioned comfort of the local movie bunker to watch the new Shrek. I'll load her up with Benedryl and we will have a dandy time.

Perhaps its the end of the school year stress. School will be out at 12:15 on Tuesday. That leaves several days of entertaining until summer camps start. Perhaps it is lack of sleep. Perhaps it is the fact that I broke the bedroom shade and now everyone in the neighborhood can see me reading in bed at night. Or maybe its the kitchen cabinet door that broke. Or maybe that I waited all morning for hubby to call in from Portugal and I left the phone in the attic and missed his call. Or the vomiting cat. Or the barking dog that is eating the cat vomit (could that be an advantage). Or the dog who vomits after eating the cat vomit. Maybe heat and neglecting to get the hubby to put in the window unit before he left. Or the fact that there is no food in the house and I don't want to take a sneezing snotting kid to the store. Could be that I'm just a whiner and don't like it when I whine. But I'm just driven to tears this morning.

I know what happens next. Happens every summer when the man leaves town. Bats. The bats come in. And I duck and scream. And I'm up to 2:00 am trying to shoo them out of the house. Will that happen tonight? Tomorrow? They're out there looking for way in. They'll find it.

Now I'm off to play cards with the kid. Then I'll employ my culinary skill for lunch (peanut butter sandwiches). I'll say bless you 435 times. We'll go to the movies. Eat something from the freezer. I'll crawl into bed in full view of my neighbor (is this why he is planting a hedge today), and lie awake listening to murderers creeping into the house. Then when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning, I'll be thinking of what medicines to fill my child with so she can go to school and hopefully reinfect the slimebucket that germed her up to begin with.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday.