Friday, December 28, 2007

Packaging-American Style

OK, it's December 28 and I'm sitting at this computer with smoke pouring out of my ears. I've just spent the better part of an hour trying to remove all the stickers, plastic tabs, plastic bubble wrap, molded plastic coverings, boxes, string tags, price stickers, cardboard labels, sticky labels, size chart labels, size labels, and anything else I had to remove to get to the thing inside or under the offending wrapper.

It's nuts! I'm trying to remove all the crap off of the new Christmas clothes in order to wash the stuff prior to wearing it. What? you say....why wash before wearing?You see it's like this....If I wear the stuff before washing it I, or my family, will get all kinds of little red bumps from the probable toxic waste the manufacturer dips the clothing in before it gets shipped to the stores.

For years I've tried to figure out what the stuff is, and I've come to a bunch of conclusions. The best of the conclusions is: the manufacturer had to figure out a way to get rid of the toxins we, the US, probably sent to them for disposal.

Here's how I see it. The US has all kinds of garbage to dispose of, and has no way to get rid of it, since no one wants to make the Grand Canyon into a landfill, so we send it to China. China doesn't know what the Hell to do with it either but they know how to make things out of nothing so they put all the garbage into a compactor to excrete all the liquids out. The liquid has some kind of property that makes clothing stain proof, so they dip all the clothing that's being sent back to the US in the liquid, therefore, giving it back to us.

People like me and my family have sensitive skin so we have to eliminate some of the toxic waste from the clothes prior to wearing. BUT I think the clothes themselves are made out of the garbage we send to China.

After the liquid is removed from the compacted garbage, the solids are then doused with acid to break down the fibers. What is left is a sludge that can be dried and made into cloth. I think this makes perfect sense.

Moral: Wash the new stuff before wearing it. Swear at all the tags, etc as you nearly cut off your fingers removing all the little crappy tags. And be happy....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Happy Holidays...I received my first holiday letter...I'm so pleased....
I'm sending out this:

Happy Holidays to one and all
This year will be such a great Holiday season for us since everyone has been released and no one is on trial at this time. This will be the first year we don’t have to bring the specialty Holiday desserts we all love to the prison for Larry’s cousin.
It’s especially nice to have another member of the family to be able to join us at dinner on Christmas. It’s too bad he has to come with the anklet on. At least this year we don’t have to set an additional place for the cops that he had with him last year. They were nice but some of the family felt they had to watch what they were saying and they didn’t like having to go out back to toke up. It’s a good thing I remembered to whisk away the needles on the buffet before someone else saw them. I try to keep everyone on an even keel during this time of year and I have to remember to remove temptation.
Larry Sr. has finally conquered the last bout of syphilis. It was touch and go there for a while but the new dosage of penicillin finally kicked in, which we are thankful for. He had such a bad time before the last diagnosis since we weren’t sure where he picked up the bug from. We think it came from a bathroom he was using at a rest stop in Vermont. But you never know about those things, you can’t be too careful these days. I think he’ll finally agree to bring in the antibacterial wipes from now on.
The weeping sores on my legs and arms have finally subsided. I no longer have to wear the nylon netting and thank God, I don’t have to wear the sign around my neck anymore. I had many people come up to me and run away after reading the sign that said, “Contagious, please do not touch”. The CDC people from Atlanta told me that I would be incarcerated if I didn’t keep the general public informed and therefore safe, so I really had no choice but to wear it. It was really a drag as I walked around dripping; so messy, with no animals around anymore to clean up after me.
Speaking of animals…We had to put down the last of our beloved pets this year. Spotty got loose and tangled with a rabid raccoon. He was fine for a long time, and then we noticed his whole demeanor changed. He started to chase his tail, but more than the normal stupid dog stuff. He would circle until he collapsed. If anyone went near him he would lunge, teeth bared as he went for the offending jugular vein. I tried to tell everyone he was only being friendly, but when he bit the little finger off the mail lady, we knew something was wrong. I don’t know why she made such a fuss, it’s not like she needed that little finger to deliver the mail. The cops took Spotty away and both Larry and I had to have a series of rabies shots. They don’t hurt like they used to, and bonus! when you get them in your stomach, you don’t want to eat much afterwards, so it’s a great weight reduction method. We try to look on the positive side at this time of year.
This year we have both cars. Neither one of the cars was repossessed, so we have been able to get to our Parole offices with little or no trouble. After the house fire in March, we realized how important it was to have two vehicles. Larry’s vehicle we used as our bedroom. My car was used for all the rest of the daily needs. In the summer, we were finally able to fill in all the holes we had dug for the outhouses we had to have during our homeless period.
The house is finally finished. It took several months to get all the insurance people to agree and get us back into the house. We still don’t know what took so long. The insurance company said they’d fulfill the contract and paint the charred remains.
We hired three different contractors. The first one came to the house with his “partner” (wink, wink). The only thing we think they did was in one of the bedrooms. We found them in a compromising position one day and they never came back. They had received a rather large chunk of change from the insurance company to do some of the work, and they took that with them too.
The second group of contractors didn’t speak English, which wasn’t bad until I realized they were speaking some Arabic tongue and every time I entered the room, they spit at my feet and screamed, “Infidel, whore woman, scum of the Earth”. I tried to engage them in conversation a couple of times telling them that I too was an immigrant and I knew how difficult it was in the US as a new immigrant. They didn’t seem to want me around. I noticed they had plans laid out on my dining room floor. I guessed they were trying to figure out how to put my kitchen back in order, but I wondered why I needed a gun turret in the back wall. Oh well I guessed they knew what they were doing. I sure didn’t; funny though, a car came the following day and they all got in and the drove off shaking their fists at me. I still don’t know what that was about. The FBI says not to worry; they will get it straightened out.
All in all, the year has been uneventful. Larry and I hope to be able to leave the country in the next few months, before someone finds out what we did with the robbery money his cousin gave us.

We hope this finds all of you happy, healthy and looking forward to the next year with gladness and goodness in your hearts.

Love to you all,

Suzanne and Larry

PS Our prayer for this holiday is:
“Drop kick me Jesus, into the goal posts of life” Amen

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Day Dilemma

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Normally I am in the throes of cooking and cleaning since the next day the family will be here. Not so this year. This year my kids are at their in-laws and we will be at another family member's home.

In a way, it's kind of nice not to have to do all the cooking and clean-up that's required in order for the family to come in and devour everything in 10 minutes flat. In another way, it's sort of sad. The times change so does the family dynamic. I'm bringing the veggies to the feast tomorrow, consequently I've been making our regular veggies: squash, turnip, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, Cole slaw, applesauce, pretty much everything except the bird. This is my choice since I like all the winter veggies and I eat very little of the bird thing. (It's not that I dislike turkey, it's just that I like all the trimmings more). Of course, I ran out of something and had to go to the market, not the best idea the day before a major food fest.

As I knew it would be, the market was crammed with people trying to do all the shopping they should have done last week but didn't, on this day, the day before the feast. As I walked around the store with my list of 5 items I needed, I watched and listened to the frenzied conversations all around me. I finally stood in one place and listened to what I think is one of the most prevalent complaints I hear from folks about the holidays, or for that matter, any large family gathering. The husband (obviously not at all happy to be in the market pushing a cart around as he followed his wife), "Hey, why do we have to get this jellied cranberry stuff? None of us like this, right?" His wife's reply, "We have to get it because Uncle Jerry and Aunt Selma are coming and they always have this at Thanksgiving". He replies. " Yeah, but we don't, and it's at our house so how come we have to have it?" She says, "I told you why". He says, "That's just stupid. What's that round purple-y thing in here." He's picking up a rutabaga or turnip as he's saying this. She replies, "That's the turnip we always have." He says, "Is this the thing, that when you cook it the house stinks like garbage for days afterward?" "No" she says, "that's the cabbage you're thinking about. The turnip isn't that bad and anyway you only get it once a year so what's the big whoop?" He looks at her and says, " I gotta look at all the stuff in here. We don't need all this stuff, nobody eats all this crap". She looks at him (I can see the disdain in her face-she knows this guy she's married to is going to keep this up and she's going to have to defend everything in the cart unless she stabs him in the heart right now before he grabs one more thing in the cart-but no, she knows she can't do that in the middle of the market-it would be too messy) and says, "Your Mother always had that on the table at holidays and YOU were the one that said you wanted to have all the same things your Mom served, since SHE knew how to cook. That's why we have all this stuff in the cart. Do you want to change the menu for tomorrow, and cook it?" (In my estimation this was the gauntlet being thrown down-there was no way in Hell I was moving from the vantage point where I could hear this very interesting conversation. I wanted to see if this guy was going to pick up the gauntlet and accept the challenge so carefully orchestrated by his wife. I could see he was going over thoughts in his head. Obviously, this guy had been married a while, he knew better than to pursue the challenge. His thoughts were almost tangible to me. I could almost feel his brain trying to come up with some kind of plausible way to extricate itself out of this mess the guys mouth had put them in. His face was a mass of emotion. I was holding my breath, hoping that I was far enough away from possible explosion, if this guy was too dumb to realize that he was walking in a minefield. Now don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about, because you know you do....We've all been on both sides of this kind of give and take and we all know how to tread water when we need to. (or else we'll drown) . I waited with bated breath, unsure of the outcome of this potential disaster I was about to witness, when I saw the guy put down the thing in his hand, look up at his wife and say, "No, hon, I think you probably know best about this dinner thing." She was standing at attention as the man of her dreams, backed down in submission. I could see her eyes, seconds before shooting flaming arrows out of the pupils, quieting to a more humanly look. I finally took a breath knowing how close I had come to being in the middle of a mini mine field ready to blow.

As I left my vantage point, I turned to look at the guy. He was standing still, sweat beaded on his forehead, lips pursed blowing cool air up toward his brain. He too knew how close he came to losing the life he knew and loved in those few moments.

I walked on into the freezer section of the market, just to get a breath of cool air. All around me I could hear mini battles being waged, lost and won. I thought at that time how much a market, the day before a holiday, was much like a battlefield. There were little army's all over the place trying to control other little army's.

Why DO we put ourselves through all this?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The New Demographic

For years this household has received numerous phone calls from everyone, and just about anyone, wanting to know how we thought about political ideologies, what TV programs we were watching, what paper products we used, and all sorts of marketing research.

Over the years we've tested products then given our opinions on the products or the services. We were the "typical" American family, Father, Mother, girl kid, boy kid, dog, cat, house in the 'burbs, yes, that was us.

As time has marched on we have changed our demographic. The kids have grown up and moved out, the dog died, the cat died, but we still live in the 'burbs. We still do some of the marketing research things but something has changed in the last few years.

The last time the phone rang I picked it up and the party on the other end said, in the very familiar voice, "Hello, this is Mark from XYZ Marketing. How are you today?" I responded very cordially, " I'm fine, Mark, hope you are as well."

I sat down on the chair waiting for the questions I usually am asked about some consumer thing or another. I waited for several seconds before "Mark" came back on the phone and said, "Whoops, I'm terrible sorry Mrs. Canell, but I see you and your husband are over 60. Is that correct?" "Why, yes, Mark that's correct." " Well, I'm sorry but you are too old for this survey. We're looking for people that fit the profile of the "average" American family, and I guess that's not you anymore. Sorry". He then hung up before I could say another word.

I sat in stunned silence for a while, looking at the phone in my hand. I thought to myself how much had changed over the last few years. No longer was I, or my family, the demographic needed to give the opinions to the advertisers. No longer was my opinion of any use to them. Apparently, when you hit the age of 60+ you are pushed on to the iceberg of advertising and sent out to sea.

When my husband came in, I told him of this strange phenomena that had occurred. I said to him that I didn't remember a time when I felt this "out of it". I didn't feel as though I was "out of it", but then maybe I haven't really spent time looking around at the things I see now, I didn't see before.

My mailbox is filled to the brim most days with advertisements about Medicare, Medicare supplements, what to do with my estate, how to survive grief, how to spend my money in retirement, how not to spend my money in retirement, who I should send donations to, who I should see to increase my libido, what vitamins I need at this advanced age, what I should do to avoid falling, how Medicare will pay for my "scooter", where I should go to retire not to mention what type of dwelling I need now that I'm in the "Winter of my years". The list goes on, but apparently I am no longer needed to tell the advertisers what and how their products are.

The worst slap in the face came from some snot-nosed creep who called from Mini USA. We have a Mini Cooper and we had one of the original ones as well. When we bought the new one we were constantly being sent information about the Mini and what a great car it would be for us. The car supposedly would bring back "fun" into our lives. (How these folks knew were down trodden and "fun-less" is beyond me, but then again maybe it was because they knew of our advanced age, old age=fun-less). Anyway, we were invited to all sorts of adventures and did many of the Mini trips. The Mini folks didn't seem to object to taking our money for the adventures. Somewhere, somehow, things changed. Now the Mini is a "young, sporty fun car" and the demographic age group that is needed to sell this vehicle is not a couple in their 60's.

I started to look at the folks on the commercials as well as in magazines. It seems to me that I may as well just find a hole in the ground, jump in and fill it in with dirt. The products I see on the TV are not for least a majority are not (there's still the incontinence stuff, erectile dysfunction pills, and an assortment of liniment things I guess I'm supposed to be buying).

So I wonder if anyone else feels as though time has marched on and decided to leave them behind.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Who's your Daddy or whatever.....?

I read the paper faithfully everyday. I stopped watching the news on TV because it's so damned depressing to watch all the same stuff over and over again. I tried to watch on other channels and they're doing the same stories. Isn't there any other news to report in the world other than the few same stories carried by every channel?

I find it a bit strange, in the whole world there are only four or five news worthy stories to report. Well, maybe I'm wrong and there are only four or five things going on in the world on any given day. But I don't think so.That's why I stopped watching the news reported on TV, I get more information from the newspaper. I read the whole thing, sometimes though, I read the headline of a story and decide whether or not to pursue it.

I've taken to reading the little write ups under the engagement photos as well as those under the baby photos. I'm not so sure I could keep up with who is who unless I had a score card for some of these folks. Let's talk about the engagement ones first.

You know what I mean, you see a lovely couple standing or sitting on top of each other with smiles plastered all over their faces. The photo is usually a professional one so you see them probably in the best light. Under the photo it says, "Joe Smith and Amanda Small engaged". It goes on, the parents of Joe Smith, Jim Smith, his wife Annabell Carling-Smith of Cassenova and Courtney Alveres-Smith-Porter and her husband Elijah Porter of Syracuse, step-father Rodrigo Alveres and his wife Sophia Johnson-Alveres and Sharon Coe-Small-Stanhope and her husband Jacob Stanhope, and Michael Small and his wife Elizabeth Cosby-Tryon-Small would like to announce the engagement of their son, step-son, daughter, step-daughter. I get lost after the first two and who the Hell cares anyway?

The babies are ever worse. They name the parents, the step parents, the grandparents, the step grandparents, the other step parents the god parents, sometimes the Aunts, Uncles, the brothers, sisters, step siblings, the whole gamut. I understand that everyone is elated at the new arrival but honest to God doesn't it seem that you could get your name into the paper in a better way than as a laundry list tagged to the diaper of a baby?

When I first started reading all bits of enlightening information in the "Society Column" as it was once described in another life I thought that these lists of names after the baby or the engaged couple was uncommon. However, in the last few months I realize that I have been sadly mistaken. It seems that everyone today has multiple names to add to their family tree. Now, don't misunderstand me, I do believe it takes a village to raise a kid and all that, but do I need to know everyone's name who wiped the nose or the butt of a kid?

I recently had the opportunity to attend the shower of one of my young relatives. There I was in the presence of a bunch of folks I had never set eyes on before. These were people that were going to become part of my extended family, sort of. I looked around the room trying to figure out who was who. I realize at these affairs there are many folks you don't know, that's why we have them, so people can get to know each other, but honestly this was more than I could grasp.

The soon to be groom had: a natural mother, a natural father, a step-mother, another step-mother, a step-father, another step-father, 2 grandmothers,great grandmother, 2 step grandmothers, 2 grandfathers, great grandfather, 2 step grandfather's, 6 full blooded aunts, 4 full blooded uncles (they're from both sets of natural grandparents) , 12 half aunts, 5half uncles (still paying attention?), 3 sisters,2 brothers, 5half brothers, then there was the adopted lie.

Just family alone, there were over 150 people from the one side. I sat with my daughter and we looked at each other in astonishment. I kept looking over the crowd and all I saw were warrens of rabbits. I had to physically close my mouth with my hand.

Honest to God, I know that I live differently than some other folks, but I venture to think that this was a bit excessive. I started to wonder about all the women that had sex with the groom's Dad. I thought, "Man I can't wait to see this guy. He's got to be something special"...(NOT---by the way).

As I was looking around I thought about the ages of the group. The great grandparents didn't look like the visions I had of great-grandparents. I thought of a great grandmother's as wizened old sages, rocking away the hours, not so this bunch. The one great (it might have been great great) grandmother had on a pair of fuchsia Capri pants, a pink and fuchsia low cut top with a gold belt, platform (albeit low heels) shoes with a fuchsia bow on the front. Her hair was piled high atop her head with a pink bow holding it all precariously in a bunch at the back, small tendrils of curls cascading down her back. Go, Granny go! She was not alone in her youthful appearance. A couple of the "older" women looked and dressed younger than their daughters and granddaughters. Bizarre...

This was at the shower, I sat in wonder at what I might see at the wedding when the "men-folk" would be in attendance..... to be continued....

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Failure is not such a bad thing

I'm a creature of habit. One of the habitual things I do is read the Sunday papers. I especially like to read the opinions page. Usually I read it, sit in the chair and make silent comments about what the writer is focusing on. However, today as I read the opinion page, I found myself sitting up straighter and reading an article with a bit more concentration.

The article was written by an English teacher. He was writing about his annual apprehension regarding the beginning of the school year. He went on to say that every year he starts out with a bit of trepedation, not knowing who or what the upcoming year will be for him. He laments about a past event that seems to have tortured him for the last twenty years.

Apparently in one of his classes he had to fail a young woman. Since that time he has wondered if he did the right thing. The girl was, what today we would call learning disabled, in those days was classed as "slow". She was able to do her homework, but testing was a trial for her. In order to graduate she needed to pass the final exam. The teacher had two students he was concerned about; one was the typical "Jock" and the other the shy, timid girl. He offered both of them extra help and waited the next day for them to take advantage of his offer. Neither of the two showed for the additional help. The "Jock" barely passed, but the girl failed. Because of this failure she was not able to attend the graduation ceremony.

He still feels guilty over this. He wondered if by failing her he was somehow on some kind of "power trip". I was OK with the article up to that point. When I read how he thought that failing her was wrong I jumped up from my comfy seat and went to the computer and wrote a response to the newspaper.

See what I wrote and tell me what you think about this subject:

Reaction to a “Viewpoint” on Sunday, September 9, 2007

I haven’t finished reading the paper yet, but I felt compelled to write a response to one of the articles in the “opinion” section. The article I’m referring to is the Jack Rightmyer article titled, “Failure can stay with student and teacher for life”.

When I read the title I thought, “Yes, failure can stay with someone, no doubt”. I went on to read the article and as I neared the end I sat up straighter in my chair as I read the subtitle, “Right was Wrong”. Rightmyer wrote “What purpose did it serve to fail her” Was it some power thing?” At that point, I put the paper down and thought about the words he wrote. I jumped up from my chair and here I sit in front of my computer in response.

First of all, I think it is not “wrong” to fail, even in this case. As the article states, Rightmyer gave additional opportunity to the student for extra help in the subject matter. The fact that she was a “nervous, shy kid” is a factor, but none the less, she was given ample opportunity to get the help she needed. I applaud Mr. Rightmyer for maintaining the failing grade. It is my opinion that many students today are allowed to glide through when they should be failed, due to the feeling that failure is a permanent scarring on the emotional well-being of the child. Not everyone succeeds in the real world and I believe that should be learned from an early age. In that way, young people learn how to pick themselves up, brush themselves off and start anew. They learn how to become resilient. Yes, it’s hard but anything worth doing is usually hard to do. I think we’ve forgotten that in this society.

I realize I’m probably in the minority with these thoughts about failure, but I think it’s about time that all of us look around and see what’s happening in today’s society. I see folks on a daily basis who feel someone owes them something just because they’re breathing. I see people buying things they can ill afford because they feel they “deserve” it and they have some sub-prime lender offering them the loans to buy what ever it might be. Are you asking what this has to do with failing? If someone understands that it takes hard work and effort to succeed maybe there will be less of these folks that feel they’re “entitled” to things because they want it. Just say, “No”, shouldn’t be the mantra for drug use, say it when it’s necessary for everything. I don’t think we say it enough, for fear that someone will feel, slighted, unworthy or a failure.

Let’s go back and think about “Kris”. She may, as Rightmyer says, still be “living in that little New Hampshire town” and that may be fine, she may be happy as a clam. However, she may not be living in that town, she may have gone to summer school struggled through, gotten her diploma, decided she needed something more and moved away. Perhaps, she went to a community college and went on from there to become a teacher, like Mr. Rightmyer, knowing that hard decisions must be made, for a reason, for the good of all concerned.

What ever happened to “Kris”, I think Mr. Rightmyer made the only ethical and principled decision that could have been made given the circumstances. I only wish there were more teachers around like Mr. Rightmyer.

Just my opinion…

Thursday, August 16, 2007

White and Black

Who’s who?

By what right does a person have to take the life of another human being?
When does a person become a fanatic?
Can anyone become fanatic?
Does it just take a certain type of person?
A certain religion?
A certain skin color?
Who’s wearing the white hats and who’s wearing the black ones??
I can’t tell anymore…I should be able to tell who the good guys are, shouldn’t I?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Breaking news.....for whom???

Do you really care if Nicole Ritchie is pregnant? I don't, and I think most people feel the same way. Why and when did all the crap that's Hollywood become the end all and be all for the news? And why is it on all kinds of TV, radio and newsprint? Who cares? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe everyone in the country was waiting with bated breath to hear about my pregnancies and I disappointed the general public. Was Larry King waiting for me to call him and tell him how I vomited out the door of my car as I was going to work? Did Jay Leno want to know about my fainting spells with the pregnancy of my son? Maybe they did and I was to selfish to "share". Forgive me if I was uncaring of the feelings of America.

To tell you the truth I find it difficult to believe that America really cares about someone other than itself. The way I see it is, if it doesn't directly affect someone they don't care about it. So what if our kids are dying in Iraq. Who cares if people are starving? I'm not, so why should I care. That seems to be the attitude I'm seeing all around me these days.

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to get a prescription filled for my grandson. He's 19 months old and he had a fever and an ear infection. The kid clearly didn't feel good. He was flushed, hot and wanted to sleep, but I needed to get the meds for him before getting him into his bed. As I was standing, waiting to pay for the meds with a very understanding pharmacist helping me, an older lady literally pushed me aside (and in turn pushed me so the baby was squashed against the metal shelving). She leaned over the counter, where the pharmacist was completing my order, and said, "I haven't got all day. You have to do this script immediately. I'm late for an important luncheon." I, being the person I am, a grandmother, holding a baby who's sick and has just been jostled against something that hurt him, brought my foot up and slammed it down on top of her toes with my whole weight. I was ever so sorry, I had lost my balance as I was trying to protect my grandson from being continually hurt buy the metal shelf...

I thought she was going to grab me as she called me a number of disagreeable things. I smiled and said very quietly and with my eyes never leaving hers, "I'm ever so sorry, but if ever you push me again and it causes my grandson to cry because he's being hurt, I'll do more than hurt your toes. Got it?" She stepped backward and walked to the other side of the counter. The Pharmacist said, "Are you and your grandson all right?" I said, "Yes, I think so, and I thank you for asking".

I bought the stuff and waited until I was sure the "lady" was ready to leave. I went out just before her, turned to her and said, "Next time you're in here I hope you're a bit more careful." Her face was bright red, as she stammered, "I'm very sorry." I looked at her and said, "I'm not".

I noticed she was limping a bit...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One good turn-this is reality

There's a slogan out there that says, "One good turn deserves another". I think it should be " One good turn shall not go unpunished".. It seems that every time (or at least most of the time) when I do something for someone else I end up getting the short end of the stick. Something invariably happens that causes me to ponder why in Hell I did the "good deed" in the first place.

I had an opportunity to help out two people. One person was in need of money and sold me something that another person I knew desperately needed. I paid the person and asked for help transporting the items that needed to be moved to the person who needed it. Of course my vehicle was about 1 inch too small to do the moving so an alternative method had to be found. This is where the problem has become a nightmare. I am now the person that is in the middle of a bunch of folks trying to find a vehicle that this thing will go into. I guess it's my fault for getting involved in the first place, that's why I say "One good turn shall not go unpunished".

The party that is getting the item is happy that they're getting the thing but the logistics of moving it is becoming the problem for others. In retrospect I should have checked out if I had a vehicle that could carry the thing but to be honest I didn't think about that. My concern was getting this thing, giving the person who needed the money, the money, and getting the thing to the person who could use it.

I seem to have alienated folks by doing this. At the same time I'm trying my best to resolve problems that are affecting others by listening and keeping out of their business. Keeping out of their business is difficult to do, since they seem to keep trying to pull me into their stuff.

I have several thoughts on this and this is the correct forum to write them out.

We are not islands. We all need others, whether or not we admit it, or like it. Those of you that are trying to be loners are nuts if you think you can be a freaking hermit and live off in the woods on your own. I bet there's less that 1% out there that could make it without the help of others. Think of your sustenance alone. If you buy food, there were tons of others who helped you to get that food, the farmer, packing plant,packers, truckers, all the people in the store where you bought the stuff from. If you grow your own food you had to get the seed from somewhere and more than likely you bought it from someone who packaged the seed. You get the picture. To think that you can live without help from someone else is pretty shortsighted.

Since we've concluded that we need to have someone other than ourselves to exist, normally, let's put this into perspective, shall we. Suck it up and deal with it. Don't get all upset because you have to ask for help. When you do ask for help be courteous about it. If you're the person who's giving the help, if things don't go smooth, don't go back to the person that asked for the help and give them additional problems by yelling and carrying on about how they should have done this.....or that..... That's why they asked for help in the first place. The last thing the person needs is more anxiety over what ever they asked for help with. The person knew they couldn't manage alone that's why they asked for help in the first place.

I think I'm going the hermit route. Geesh...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

City Chickens? Give me a break

Unbeknown st to me, there's apparently some folks who live in cities that are raising chickens. At least that's what I'm hearing. I guess the idea is to have them as pets. The benefit being, they pay (at least in part) for themselves, by providing eggs for their owners.

OK here's how I see this. I imagine somebody who lives in a co-op ( that's co-op, not coop) wants to experiment with livestock because they think it's the cool thing to do. They decide a pig, cow, horse, or goat won't really be the best thing in an apartment setting (probably up on the roof) so the next best thing is a bunch of chickens. Now, I have to tell you, most of my experience with "city folk" from down state (read New York City) is, they think anyone who lives north of Westchester county lives on a farm and sits on porches chewing bits of hay. So I can't imagine what in Hell they think they'll have to do to keep chickens. They've probably read some "how to" book and now they're "experts" in all the whys and wherefores of chicken rearing.

As a kid I lived on a chicken farm. Yes, it was a hundred years, or so, ago, but I have friends now who live on a chicken farm and things have not progressed as much as you'd think over the years. They still have to clean out the coops, keep the chickens, warm or cool, depending on the season, check the perches, watch for avian diseases, (not to mention Avian Flu today). If they go away for more than a day they need "chicken sitters". They must check feed daily, put those cackling things outside during the day and back into confinement in the night. It's work, hard work... What? For freaking eggs? Go to the store and buy them, or better yet, find a farmer or farmer's market and buy them from the poor guy that's trying to make a living doing the work that you, in your city, shouldn't be doing. These city folk are quite literally, nuts.

Get a cat.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Free Will-no Free Willy

Ok let me preface this with saying that I don't really care what you think of me for writing this. You would write it too if you had the nerve. Don't go on about it's not the polite thing to do or any of that BS. Truth be told if you're honest with yourself you will see yourself in what I'm about to talk about. And don't give me that, " God wouldn't want you to say that. He/She/God/Goddess wouldn't have thought up "free will" if he/she/them, whatever, didn't expect some fireworks.

Did you ever know someone from your past that you just didn't like? You know the type, really pretty/handsome, self assured, always smiling, seeming to have everything you aspired to, but you couldn't quite get there. The one I knew was a couple of years older than me and she drove me nuts. Luckily I didn't see her often, and when I did it was from afar. But none the less, she was in my sights at times and I really didn't like her. I kept my feelings silent because everyone else thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I would watch her in school and think to myself, " I don't think she's what she is. I think she's fake. Fake hair, fake smile, fake cute little body, fake friendliness, fake, fake, fake". She was in all the prestigious clubs, she sang like an angel (that wasn't fake) so she was the darling of the:Drama Club, Select choir, Chorus, Music Department ( even the mean old accompanist that hated being there, hated all the kids, hated the piano she was using and hated all the plays and performances she had to attend because that was her job, really liked her). I didn't. I was envious, jealous, whatever, I know, but I didn't like her and I wasn't ashamed to admit it to myself. So what? She didn't know or care if I existed and as I said, our paths seldom crossed and when/if she looked at me she saw nothing. That's not any psychological, lacking of self-esteem on my part, it's just an accurate observation about the situation as it presented itself. Again , don't get all weird on me, this is my blog, I can say what I want, so there! ( I've never really grown up don't you know?)

She graduated with all kinds of accolades and honors. She marched across the stage, turned to the audience, blinding most of us with her dazzling smile ( at one point I thought I truly did go blind in one eye). She was going places and would be, "someone to be reckoned with in the future". All the rest of us finished High School a few years later, graduated, and we were going to go into the world in the shadow of the ,"girl with the golden voice, smile, personality and looks".

I didn't think much about her until a few of years after I graduated, so it must have been 5 years or more until I saw her again. I was dating my future husband and he wanted me to meet his best friend and his wife. Yep, I walked into the apartment, all cute and perky, and lo, and behold, who stands in front of me but, "Fake Girl", the one I had taken such a dislike to in high school. There she stood, hair, still fake, smile, not quite so bright ( hee hee), cute little shape (even though there were kids crawling all over her body as we stood there).

We shook hands to say "hello", and sat down on her cutesy little dollhouse furnishings, in her pink and pretty living room. (Gag, gag) I had all I could do not to say, " What the Hell happened? Why aren't you a star or a CEO or something other than, Mommy?" (Don't get all uptight here, there's nothing wrong with being "mommy" this is just an expectation thing I was dealing with, and I was absolutely amazed, not criticizing just amazed).

It was obvious she didn't care for me in the position I was in, on the arm of her friend, my future husband. She had met another "potential" ( at this point I was unaware that I was being posed as the "potential" by the way) and liked that girl better. The other girl was Chinese and apparently gushed at "Fake Girl" (I'll be referring to her as F.G. from now on-those quotation marks are getting to me).

I have never been one to "gush" over things, so I guess she thought I was too simple minded or something. She was pleasant to my date, but I guess I was invisible to her because she didn't extend pleasantries to me the way she did to my date. I must admit she was preoccupied with the gloms, called her kids, so perhaps I should've given her the benefit of the doubt. No, she ignored me.

The evening finally came to an end as she stood, smiled the not so brilliant smile she once had, gave my date a hug and said, " Come back again, Larry for dinner and some wine and we'll talk about things we all did in the past". I thought, "Hey, wait a minute, I never did anything in the past with you guys, so I guess I'm not being invited back...hmmm...I don't think she likes me". ( I'm a little slow, I have to say I found her a bit intimidating on her home turf).

Larry and I married later that same year and his friend, F.G.'s husband was his best man. F.G. didn't attend the wedding, citing some unfortunate reason why she couldn't attend. I didn't think much about it the day of the wedding, but I did think about it later and I was miffed ( that's not as angry as being "pissed" but pretty damned close). I don't think I mentioned it to Larry but I guess I never really forgot about it.

Years went by and we didn't see them anymore, as a matter of fact we never saw either of them again after the wedding. Larry wanted to get in touch with his old friend several times over the years, but couldn't locate him. It was as if they dropped off the face of the Earth. We tried to find them by normal channels, phone book, last place they lived, friends of friends, to no avail. I often wonder how bill collectors can find so many people when I can never find a tenth of the people I look for at times. Obviously, I don't have the resources (or nerve) they have.

We did hear from time to time about them and still were unable to locate where they lived or how to get hold of them. The things we heard made me smile (ok...not a nice smile...more like a..."ohhhh, toooo bad" sort of smile). We heard that F.G. , after High School got a job in a coffee house in Boston (where I think she was going to college) and sang for a while, then left the place for some unknown reason. She came back home after a very short time in Boston and got pregnant and married Larry's friend. She had a couple more kids and became a stay at home Mom, complete with rules and regulations and she lorded over everyone with an iron whip. Her kids were perfect. They were only allowed to watch, "Family Affair" (remember that? Mr. French, Sissy, Buffy and Jody) and named her kids after the characters in the show. (How weird is that?)

I wonder what life has brought them. Years (40 at that) have gone by and with that many years under your belt you're bound to change (sometimes for the better, then again I've seen some go the other way as well). My wish is that she got fat( I know this is probably a pipe dream for me but maybe, somehow, her thyroid went bad on her and she gained a ton of weight and is now struggling to lose the last 50 pounds.....), her hair is no longer pretty, it's now straw like( so many years of peroxide takes it's toll you know), she has dentures, (ok they're not so bad if you have to have them, but I'm being nasty so I hope she had to get them because she had some periodontal disease she got from using some artificial teeth whitener in the past, see I told you she was "fake"). The reality of the whole ting is, she's old, just like me, and no matter what, she can't change that (or fake it for long) so I think I have a pretty good idea that life and time is the ultimate equalizer.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Garage Sales a.k.a.Anthropological Studies of Modern Man

Let me tell you about Garage Sales...

For the last few weeks I have slaved over junk in my cellar and everywhere else I have junk, to ready myself for a Garage Sale. I made the mistake of choosing a date for the thing and telling folks about the impending fiasco, so I was committed to do it.

I went through boxes that had been packed away years ago when we thought we were going to make a move...We didn't move, and neither did the boxes of stored stayed where we packed it and I forgot about them.

I closed an office in October 2006. At the office I had lots of things that I quickly boxed up as we were shutting off the lights and leaving for the last time. The offices boxes were sent to the cellar to become neighbors of the other boxes I had stored.

Opening the stored boxes for the first time in years brought about memories of times past, both good and bad. The items in the boxes reminded me of things I had stored in the recesses of my mind and I'm not sure I wanted to revisit at this time...but too late... I had the boxes opened and the memories came flooding out, along with the "stuff". Looking into the first box I realized this Garage Sale was a good idea. Why do we keep stuff that we're not using? The stuff in this box could have been tossed in the garbage the day I packed it and I would never have felt the pain of the memories the stuff unleashed. It did give me some merchandise to sell however, so it was kind of a good thing, I guess.

The office stuff, now that's another story. Why I packed the things I did is beyond me. Again though, it gave me some more merchandise to sell.

The night before the sale I remembered past sales and the number of people who showed up at my door hours before the actual sale. I wrote, in very large letters on poster board, "GO AWAY UNTIL 10:00" and " Nobody gets to see the Wizard, Not no time . Not no how...before 10:00", and plastered it on my garage door. This was supposed to deter the "early birds". It did it's job...sort of.

At 9:30am the cars started to appear at my driveway... The cars were running and in each window of every car were pairs of eyes. I could see them peering at my house and the garage door. I slipped out the back door to put some things in the car port and nearly died of fright as I turned the corner and walked into a tall stranger looking through my fireplace wood pile. I asked him what he was looking for and he said, "How much do you want for the wood under this tarp?" I looked at him and said, "The sale doesn't start until 10:00 and the wood's not for sale. Go away and get a cup of coffee for a half an hour please". Wow...I thought, I think I'm in for some fun today...No truer words were thought or said...

The day was overcast and I feared I'd have to contend with rain. I had hopes it wouldn't start to rain until later in the day. This was Friday and I hoped that most of the stuff would sell this first day so on Saturday I could mark everything down and practically give things away just to get the stuff out of my sight.

I had signs on the outside doors telling people when the sale was to start, but as noted before, apparently some folks can't read. I guess there's a certain number of folks who cruise garage sales trying to be first so they can get the best pickings. They remind me of the buzzards you see in the desert overhead, waiting for something to die so they can sweep down and get the juiciest pieces of carrion. It's kind of creepy when you think of the folks that come first as the "pickers of flesh".

The first guys ( and they were men, which floored me) came looking for tools, old cabinetry, guns (gees, I never would think to put guns in a garage sale, what its this? the Wild West?), fishing equipment ( I later found out that fishing lures were heavy duty collectibles...Boy would my Dad be mad...he threw away a veritable fortune in old lures over the years). I stood by and watched them as they surveyed the junk, whoops, I mean good stuff. You could tell what they wanted to buy and what they wanted you to think they wanted to buy. It was like watching a mating game with birds. They would kind of preen around the stuff they wanted, but then walk away quickly, hoping I wouldn't realize they wanted a prize on the table. (In reality I wouldn't have cared if they pocketed whatever it was, I just wanted it out of my sight!). They would then pick up something totally different, turn it over and over, inspecting it for, who knows what and put it down. The next thing was to go back to the original treasure and do a side glance at it, look it over again, pick it up, hold it up and say, "How much did you want for this?" Knowing full well the price was on it. It was really interesting.

Some people were happy to get things for the stated prices, but most wanted to wheel and deal. I didn't give a cat's whisker, just give me something so I could say I didn't waste all my time doing this stupid sale...

The ones really got to me were the ones that told me their whole history before getting to the crux of the matter, which was buying something from me at a lesser price than I was asking. Then there were the ones with the kids in tow. That was quite a trial. Kids touch everything; they drop things, they try things out, they take things apart ( that aren't supposed to be apart). In general, they're a pain in the neck at a garage sale. I also think they act as the distraction when some unsavory characters come to steal from you ( and yes, that does happen, not a lot mind you, but it happens).

I had folks tell me my stuff was junk. I had one lady who was angry with me because I sold something she wanted to someone else before she could get here. (That was weird...) One man told me that he'd take everything in the garage for $50.00. (That included the stuff that wasn't part of the sale: snow blower, lawn mower, rototiller, motorcycle helmets, strollers, highchair, etc. I politely sad, " What? Are you nuts?Get out of here!" One lady said I'd do better if I served tea breads and coffee as the shoppers walked around ( I think she thought she was in some Rodeo Drive store or something...I offered her a glass of water....). One man wanted a chair to sit in while his grandson took apart all the toys and undressed all the dolls...That lasted about three minutes... One man walked into my house through the back door looking for furniture that I may be selling. (Honest). It was a nightmare.

Finally Friday was over...just Saturday to look forward too...NOT!!!

Saturday, the rain started to fall at 10:00am sharp, just as I was opening the garage door. In front of the door stood three people. They were very polite but wanted to know if they should immediately reduce all the prices on the merchandise in half since it was raining. I thought about it for a minute, then said, "Nope, if it doesn't sell I'm donating everything that's left to the Childrens Hospital in Beijing China", turned around and smiled all the way to the back of the garage.

Saturday was nasty. Missy (daughter ) and Kelly ( 3 year old granddaughter) came over to help and open a lemonade stand ( it would've been better if they made hot chocolate, it was freezing, raining and miserable). People bought lemonade and rice crispie treats (Kelly wanted to make those for the sale as well, I wondered where that lady that wanted the tea bread and coffee was, she would have been happy with little Kelly's contribution to the sale).

People did buy stuff and I made a profit, so I guess it can be said the garage sale was a success. I can't retire on what I made but when I figured out what my hourly salary was it came to just over minimum wage...1n 1965.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What to wear, What to wear

You know guys have it great. They can pack for trips in no time at all. They need a pair of jeans, a pair of Khaki's ( or something like that), a button down shirt, golf shirt or tee shirt, a couple of pairs of underpants, socks, shoes, a light jacket and maybe sneaks. With that assortment they can go and do almost anything. Yes, of course they need their toiletries, (what? deoderant, a razor, toothbrush and toothpaste? Big whoop...) but they can get along with these few things and be away for a week or two. Women on the other hand have a bit more difficulty. Now don't get all worked up and tell me: 1. That I don't know how to pack. 2. That I don't need so much stuff. 3. That I don't need all those shoes...Let me explain what I, and many of my friends who have discussed this with me at length, say about this topic. We have to wear things that are comfortable but at the same time these items must conform with the culture we're visiting. (and yes I'm talking about all the cultures we have in this world including the bunch we have in this country the south you wear brighter, lighter clothing. The north, you wear duller warmer clothing on top of other duller, warmer and bulkier clothing, The midwest you wear matching outfits, the west it's denim and rhinestones, the far west...well you know, just about anything goes out there. Once you determine where you're going then the fun really starts, figuring out what to pack.As a woman of substance, both in stature and age, there are things I don't wear, no cutesy thongs, tube tops, bikinis, short shorts, ripped denim jeans, tops cut to the navel, or dresses that look as if they're made for my three year old granddaughter. That's just stupid to wear that stuff at my age. ( Oh stop... you know as well as I that a fat woman doesn't look great in a bikini nor a tube top, and don't get me started about butt floss....). My wardrobe is not considered conservative by any means but it's not on the edge either.

For this trip I'm taking I want to be sure to bring enough clothing to handle all the events I may be going to but not so much that I won't be able to carry anything. It's difficult to make decisions on clothing when I'm not sure what I am going to be doing. Consequently, I will more than likely bring too much but who cares....

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Has anyone had this experience or am I overly sensitive. Let me explain: I had to go to pick up some jewelry at a very nice private jewelry store in a town a distance away. I was dressed very well. I had come from a training session at work where I was the trainer. I walked into the store. There were four (4) clerks ( customer service people, whatever) in different parts of the store, all in sight of the door I walked through. One was on the phone talking about the car he was trying to buy. Two were talking about what they were having for lunch or dinner that day. One was lounging against a display case FILING HER FREAKIN'NAILS. I walked to the service desk and stood as the guy on the phone turned around to continue his bargaining with, I suppose the dealership. I stood for a minute (full minute) I looked at my watch and walked to the woman filing her nails. I said, "Excuse me, I wonder if you could help me?" Honestly, she looked at me as if I wasn't there and continued to file her nail. For a split second I thought, "maybe I died on the way in here and I'm a ghost and I don't realize I'm dead...they can't see me". Then I remembered a program on TV about people who were overweight complaining about the lack of service they received in stores, boutiques, etc. They thought it was because the clerks didn't see them because they didn't fit the profile of what a customer was supposed to look like. So I gave this twit the benefit of the doubt and again very nicely said, "Excuse me is there someone I can speak to so I might purchase this 16 Karat diamond tennis bracelet ?????" Amazingly, everyone perked right up, and seemed to be delighted to see me... At that point I asked to see the manager.. After a moment he came out and greeted me with glee...I lit into the jerk and told him exactly what had happened. My husband does his jewelry purchasing there...but noootttt anymore dammit. I picked up my pearls that I came for and had them erase our names from their data base. I will never set foot in the place again. This has happened to me in the past in other places and I've let it go assuming that people are busy etc. But not anymore....I'm done being Mrs. Nice Lady and I'm going to be extremely noticeable when I enter dammit, even if I have to trip and fall into the damned store....I will NOT be dissed!! Ahh... thank you for the forum to vent.... Suzanne The bold and brazen!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I souldn't go out alone

I can see the headlines now:

60 year old woman charged with indecent exposure

let me 'splain. Larry and I went out to Stewart's for his morning walk and to get the papers. I decided to continue on a walk listening to one of the tapes a friend sent me. I went to the bank then continued down Hutchins Dr a to walk back home via the Crest. It's about a 4 mile hike over all. Honest to God as soon as I start to walk more than my usual amount my bladder decides it's full and starts to protest...painfully and loudly.

So here I am on Hutchins Rd by the woods and I think....I'll just nip into the woods a do a quick pee....(how hard is that? people have been doing that since time started for God's sake). I forget that I'm not as spry as I once was so I climb over this bank, over trees, through mud and muck to an area that I think is secluded, tripping and nearly falling at every step. I go to pull down my pants and I hear in the far off distance, a sound. Now mind you I have my pants pulled down and my bare ass is stuck out in back as I'm trying to balance while doing the deed without splashing all over the place....This is not as easy task for women....Men have it easier, just whip it out and hose down the area.

The sound is getting closer, I'm not stopping the flow, it keeps coming and coming as the sound gets closer. I envision everything, including someone with a gun, camera or a group of reporters coming towards me. Still the stream flows from my body. Finally I stop and attempt to pull my pants up and I turn around, there just barely behind me is a deer looking at me like I'm totally nuts.. I wasn't sure if I should move or what. We stared at each other and the deer finally took off running. Honestly I shouldn't be allowed to go out by myself....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What to wear?? What to wear?

You know guys have it great. They can pack for trips in no time at all. They need a pair of jeans, a pair of Khaki's ( or something like that), a button down shirt, golf shirt or tee shirt, a couple of pairs of underpants, socks, shoes, a light jacket and maybe sneaks. With that assortment they can go and do almost anything. Yes, of course they need their toiletries, (what? deodorant, a razor, toothbrush and toothpaste? Big whoop...) but they can get along with these few things and be away for a week or two.

Women on the other hand have a bit more difficulty. Now don't get all worked up and tell me:
1. That I don't know how to pack.
2. That I don't need so much stuff.
3. That I don't need all those shoes...

Let me explain what I, and many of my friends who have discussed this with me at length, say about this topic. We women have to wear things that are comfortable but at the same time these items must conform with the culture we're visiting. (and yes I'm talking about all the cultures we have in this world, including the bunch we have in this country the south you wear brighter, lighter clothing. The north, you wear duller warmer clothing on top of other duller, warmer and bulkier clothing, The Midwest you wear matching outfits, the west it's denim and rhinestones, the far west...well you know, just about anything goes out there. Once you determine where you're going then the fun really starts, figuring out what to pack.

As a woman of substance, both in stature and age, there are things I don't wear, no cutesy thongs, tube tops, bikinis, short shorts, ripped denim jeans, tops cut to the navel, or dresses that look as if they're made for my three year old granddaughter. That's just stupid to wear that stuff at my age. ( Oh stop... you know as well as I that an old fat woman doesn't look great in a bikini nor a tube top, and don't get me started about butt floss....). My wardrobe is not considered conservative by any means, but it's not on the edge either. I am what my kids call, "modified Hippie". That being said, I have to agree with them. Many of my friends just look at me and shake their heads. I can't help it if I like Hawaiian Print shirts as over shells, they're bright and cheerful and you can wear a multitude of sleeveless different colored shirts under them. To me they're like a basic black dress, you can wear it almost anywhere...OK maybe not a funeral...unless you're in Hawaii, I bet there you could wear the shirt.

So knowing what I like to wear I determined I could probably get away with a couple of pairs of shorts, a few sleeveless "shells"( you know what they are...nondescript scoop necked, sleeveless, knit shirts that can be worn under just about anything.), a pair of jeans, and something dressier to go out to dinner, sort of business casual with a scarf, possibly a thin jacket as well. I thought that could take care of almost anything that I might need.

I don't know how you pack, but I do things this way: First I wash everything I even remotely think I'll be taking, then make sure everything is in "company condition", no holes, threads hanging, tears in seams, stains on the boob area...(yes I do have that problem...dropping stuff down the front of my shirt. I have a friend that puts an appliques on all her "dribbles" then says she's "personalized" her clothing...she just camouflages everything...she's not fooling anyone anymore, but it's not a bad idea...) no ripped out hems. When I've determined that I have all the best of the best, I lay anything I think I'm going to take on the couch in the living room and decide what looks the best on the couch. I eliminate most of it, put it away then look at the pile again. Although by this time I have put the outfits together so I can really see how I think the items will look when I wear them.

Now comes the fun part. I try on the stuff I think I'm going to take, to see if:
1. it still fits(this is a biggie for me. I never know if something I wore 6 months ago will still fit me or maybe it'll be too big-not usually-this is what is known as a "pipe dream")
2. it looks like I thought it would look like on me
3. I don't look like: The Bride of Frankenstein, The Cookie Monster, Swamp Thing (I did have an outfit I called "Swamp Thing". It was Army green in color and had strings , like fur, all over it. It had a "shell" and a jacket. Every time I wore the "thing" old men would come up to me and want to touch it....sometimes I didn't mind that, but at other times it freaked me out...) or the Loch Ness Monster (I"m Scottish).

When I've determined what is the "chosen" I start to do the packing. Usually this is the time my husband says, "Hey, Suzanne, do you think I need more than one pair of pants and a shirt? I'm packed." ( Even after 40 years he honestly has no idea how many times he's been close to death).

I get the underpants, bras, night attire, socks, shoes (another biggie- women need more shoes than men and that's the absolute truth...even my husband agrees...We can't bring one pair. We need the shoes to match the outfits, culture, agenda and weather. No brainner, right? Well the damned shoes take up a lot of room. I wear the "average" size 8, so don't think I have huge feet. My heart goes out to the women that have larger shoe the Hell do you pack your shoes?? My own take up the whole bag, consequently I don't pack them in the suitcase...If I have to pack them I pack in, around and on top of them. After the determination of the shoes ( this is pretty tough to do, believe me I'm not making light of this. This shoe dilemma can make or break the vacation....don't kid yourself about that... Ever go to a place that's all cobblestones in a pair of soft calf leather flats??? Not a pretty sight ( and I mean the feet) after a day of trying to walk without crippling yourself... There is absolutely nothing worse than having shoes that don't fit your needs on vacation. Forget about the thought that you can buy something where you are... My experience has been when I figure out I have the wrong type of footwear I'm in a place that either: doesn't understand my dilemma, or doesn't carry the type of footwear I need. (Example: I was walking on Edinburgh's Royal mile. The rain was falling horizontally and had soaked my feet and socks, the wind was blowing gale force winds, the sole of my shoe decided at that moment to disintegrate ( these were new shoes I bought for the trip-leather,small heels, very proper walking they said...they were not...). My first thought was to find a pair of Nikes, Addidas, Saucony...something that would afford me the comfort I was seeking, the dryness I desperately needed, and a sole that wouldn't die as I was walking on it. I went into a shoe store prepared to spend any amount of money for a pair of freaking sneakers. The salesman was ever so polite as he assured me he didn't think any of the shoppes on the Royal Mile sold "active wear shoes". They were more into the "fashion wear" shoes. I looked down at my, dead "fashion wear" shoes and looked up at him and said, "Can you repair these? or maybe, just give me some plastic bags and a few rubber bands and I'll fashion my own "active wear" shoes out of the remains of these "fashion wear" ones." That's the experience I've had, so I don't leave anything to chance any longer...)

I start to pack all the stuff I'm going to need, and some that I think I'll need, maybe. This is when Larry walks in and says, "What? You're not packed yet? What have you been doing?" Let me tell you it's a damned good thing the knives are far away from the living room. I would plunge one into his chest if they were nearer... I look up and him and he realizes that, perhaps he shouldn't be near me at that particular moment. He retreats to the "Man cave" in the cellar, leaving me to continue my task.

By the time I have everything assembled into a huge rolled pile (rolling keeps the clothes from becoming a wrinkled mess...that way I can eliminate the need for the stupid little travel iron. The one that has left scars on my hands over the years. It's a deadly device, invented by someone from one of the death camps during WWII, I'm convinced.) I place the roll into the suitcase. If I'm lucky, I can get it into the case I've chosen for the adventure in traveling I'm about to do. Usually, I have to adjust my thoughts about the case or the items to put into the case, sometimes both.

By the time I zip up the case, (what ever case I finally decide on) I've changed my mind several times about the contents. I have a rule I try not to break. When the case is closed, I don't go into it again until I get to the destination. It's my way of eliminating those last minutes additions or subtractions of clothing that would mean repacking the whole case again.

My objective is to wear everything I've brought with me on the trip at one time or another. I'm pretty good at packing what I'll use, but it isn't something I can do in 10 minutes , like the other person that lives with me.

The moral of this blog is: " Stay away from the other people who are packing at the same time. Don't watch them and don't remind them what they need to take. Laugh your ass off when you get to the destination and they realize they forgot their underpants".

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Jeans Talk

I went into "Chubette Bryant" today (a.k.a. Lane Bryant) to see what kind of cutesy stuff they might have for the upcoming trip to Hawaii. I'm not looking for much, I have enough stuff right now to clothe a small (maybe medium) third world country, but I'm always looking for something cool and different.

Chubette's has changed somewhat in the last few years. Apparently all this talk about the "Obesity of America" got to their buyers and they actually started to find clothes that weren't something out of 1950. The kind of stuff they used to sell was really bad. Honestly, I wouldn't wear it to the proverbial dog fight ( where is that dog fight anyway? Has anyone been to a dog fight recently? Probably not since our relationship with our dogs has changed so much in the past few years. Dogs are now up there with kings, queens and super powers. They are held in higher regard than most people today. Look how much of the news has been spent on the "poisoned food" of late. Don't get all up in arms, I love dogs but they're dogs, not people for God's sake. When you here about a kid getting abused it's a story once, maybe twice, but if it's about the abuse of a dog, or any animal for that matter, this country goes berserk-what's that all about?)

I digress, sorry. As I walked through the aisles of my neighborhood Chubette Bryant I couldn't help but overhear a couple of the other "chubette's" in the store talking about the way they buy jeans. Man, you have no idea ( or at least it was news to me) what some people do to a pair of jeans.

The one woman, who was a good 250lbs was telling the other she found a way to get into the jeans that were clearly too small for her. She went on to say how she stepped into the legs of the jeans, then grabbed hold of the dresser in front of her, leaned over the dresser to brace herself. She then proceeded to try and do a split from side to side, then one foot in front of the other, all the time stretching the denim. (I felt sorry for the fabric). She went on to say as she stretched the bottom of the jeans she pulled the pant leg up further on her legs continuing to do this shimmy routine the whole way. She stretched and strained until the pants were under her substantial buttocks then she would do some deep knee squats. Deep knee squats! If she did more of them she wouldn't have to do the splits and shimmies I thought. (I'm fat so I can be critical about this- you can't if you're not fat too). This woman did more exercising putting on these pants than I've done in the last three months. Listening to her I was calculating how many calories she was burning as she attempted to become sausage filling in these jeans. I thought about the scenes I've watched as sausage was being squeezed into casing and the comparison was weird but it was similar.

I walked behind them listening at the same time pretending to be really interested in the 48 DDD bras I was looking at. (Man those things have to reinforced like crazy) . The young woman continued her explanation on the final stages of this amazing exercise routine.

She said after she had the pants about half way up her rear end she then fell backwards onto the bed and pulled her legs up to her chest. (Can you see this?) She would then wiggle back and forth and pull the waist until it pulled the back of the pants over her buttocks and the waist band was almost at the correct place on her waist. She then lifted her rear into the air and pushed her stomach in, kneading the flesh and whatever into the spaces she could find in the jeans. ( What spaces? She's probably pulled the fabric to the breaking point by this time, I would guess) She pulled and tugged at the waist band to button the top of the pants at the same time pushing the flesh and fat into the casing, I mean jeans. She grabbed the zipper tab and started to pull it up slowly as she sucked in all her breath, lifted her butt, and compressed her thighs, legs and stomach. She pulled until she got that sucker up to the top, then dropped her butt back on the bed and tried to breathe. She said she would lay there for a minute or two to rest ( freaking right! rest! she's lucky she didn't have a stroke or a heart attack!). When she was rested a bit she would stretch her legs and pull her knees up to her chest again to continue the stretching of the fabric.

Now, listen, I have to tell you after going through all that don't you think that when she stood up she'd have a huge roll of fat falling over the waist of the pants? I know I do if I put pants on that are too tight. Apparently her friend thought the same because I heard her ask about the excess flesh that she had squeezed up and out. The woman laughed and said she wore big over blouses and no one knew what was under there. Want to bet?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Dead or Alive

I think I've finally lost it. When I can't seem to get myself to sleep at night I sit at this computer and play. I look on sites that have information, and I find things about stuff I never knew existed and to tell you the truth I didn't care if they existed or not but I found out about them anyway.

Tonight was one of those nights where I just couldn't settle down to sleep, so I thought I would go to the computer and find out about a new website I read about in a magazine. It's called and it's for the "more mature" person. So it's for old folks, OK?

They have all sorts of information on the site and one of the things seemed to be intriguing. It's called brain games or something to that effect. They list a bunch of games you play and the way you respond measures your brain capacity in some way.

I figured I'd see what games they list. I played some word games ( I'm in the "expert" category on these, probably fifth grade, games). It was fun, so I continued to navigate through until I hit on the game called, "Dead or Alive".

I don't know what brain function this game measures but I really don't care. I got sucked into this game and then I realized it was much like the gambling people do at the beginning of the year when they make up the "Dead lists". They bet on who they think will die during the next year and at the end of the year the one with the most, "deads" wins the whole thing. A bit macabre but healthy fun, I guess.

I continued to play the game until I realized that most of these folks weren't much older than me and then I felt the game wasn't all that great anymore. I looked at the faces who were dead and tried to remember how old they were when they died. Yes, they were older than me but not like 20 years older. No, some were only a couple of years older than me, some were even younger than me. I decided to play the fifth grade version of the word games and leave the dead or alive to someone else to play.... I think I'm getting a bit too serious about these games...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Flaming E-Mails

You know it's one thing to turn on the TV and see some news or weather person trying to scare the Hell out of you by telling you about the Armageddon that's about to over take everyone. I know I've become desensitized by the hype. I listen and think, "Oh well it looks like tomorrow is going to be the end of the world...yawn..ho..hum". I can turn the stinking thing off and go on my merry way. But sometimes you get sucked into the thick of all the hype very innocently.
Case in point:

Who in the world is writing all these e-mails that tell us all about the horrible things that can happen to your kid in a bouncy ball play yard? I received one that had all kinds of warnings about what can happen to your kids if they play in the balls at McDonald's or Burger King, or anywhere that has one of them. It scared the crap out of me and I immediately panicked thinking about all the kids in my life. I was going to forward the e-mail and I thought better of it. I'm not sure how much is gossip, how much is hype and to be honest I'm afraid if it isn't all true it might give some nut case some additional ideas to do some of the things that this e-mail contained( that's not to say the folks I'd forward it to are nut cases but you know how fast things spread over the Internet).

I remember as a kid all the urban legends (although we never heard the term "urban legends") we heard about. I still think they started out as someones Mom telling someone to stop doing something and other Moms took the thought and added to it. You know like that game "gossip or telephone". One person whispers something in someone elses ear then that person whispers what they thought they heard in the next person's ear. By the time it goes around the message is so messed up it's nothing like the original. I think that happens with e-mails. It's the cyber game of "Gossip". Now don't get up on your high horse and tell me that these e-mails are doing a service to help us. Maybe one out of a hundred, but really think about all the stuff that's being hawked as, "truth". The e-mail usually starts with a disclaimer about whether or not it's real ( that should be our first clue that we need to really check this out). There's usually a part that tells us where to check on the basis of the story (that's usually true BUT there's usually more information about the event printed after the initial story and you never get to see that- so who knows what they find out how, what and why something happened. In the mean time all of the USA is panicked into thinking their neighborhood fast food joint is a haven for terror- it is but because of trans fats not usually a "nest of copperhead snakes" (yep that was part of the e-mail). AND don't get me started on the "trans fats".

So in conclusion ( aren't you glad) I'm going to try to hold off sending all this stuff to everyone I know. First of all, why should I scare the Hell out of them when it might be hype, and secondly I don't want to be the one who's promoting all this hype. I want to leave that to the television folks, they're much better at it.... watch the nightly news and you'll see what I mean....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mind clutter

I keep reading and seeing all kinds of things on how to "de-clutter" your life. Apparently that means every part of your life, not just the part you see, but the way you think and act. I read one article and it told me the first thing I had to do was to sit down with paper and pens and write down pros and cons about things in my life.

I got the pens, paper and a hi-lighter,( knowing I would want to emphasize some of the items I would be writing in yellow). I sat at the kitchen table and looked around me. My eyes rested on the wall in front of me. On that wall I saw picture frames with little affirmations written on them. One said, "To thine own self be true". I thought about that for a minute and decided that little statement was what I needed to read at that moment.

Here I was sitting at the table, pens and paper in hand ready to make some kind of list that someone else told me to do to clear myself of my clutter. Who was that person that wrote the article and how do I know that they're correct. Yeah I have too much stuff and I should get rid of lots of it, but why should I let someone I don't know put the guilt on me to do something that I'll get around to in my own time? Who are they, my Mother?

That got me thinking about all the other things I've done because "someone" said I should do it for my own good. Why? I read articles about how I "must" eat five vegetables and fruit everyday or I'll get sick. Do people who live in third world countries who don't eat five fruits and vegetables every day get sick because of that? Or do they get sick because of something else? What about the hype from the dairy industry that says if we drink more milk we'll lose weight. I've been drinking milk everyday all my life and I'm fat. For years scientists said it didn't matter if we went outside with wet hair, we wouldn't catch a cold because colds were caused by virus's not wet hair. My Mother told me that if I went outside with wet hair I was going to get a cold. I didn't listen to her, because I could spout back, "the scientists say something different Mom..ha ha..." Guess what? The scientists are now saying that maybe our resistances are a bit compromised when we go out with wet hair making the cold virus get us.... Mom was right after all.

I could go on, and so could you. We all get sucked up into the junk that's thrown at us. It's amazing, we go to school to learn how to think for ourselves learning the knowledge of our teachers and we end up falling victim to the hype and Madison Avenue press releases and advertising.

I don't know what's to become of us. ......

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Yesterday Larry and I were trying to figure out what we would do for the day. Since he's been retired I'm his main source of entertainment it seems. When ever we have free days he's not satisfied to do things around the house or even do nothing (which is what I like to do sometimes-you know sit and catch up on reading, or even napping). No, not Larry he wants to go out and have an "adventure". Now I have to tell you we're rather famous for some of the strange things that we've gotten ourselves into in the past. For example, we don't know if it's safe yet to go to IHOP because of something that happened (not really our fault) years ago. We're also pretty sure that we won't be welcome in Kingston Ontario sometime soon...(this was another thing that really wasn't our fault). I'm not so sure that we should go back to Scotland any time soon either...The list can go on and maybe some day I'll write about our adventures, but not today.

Anyway, we decided since it was such a beautiful day we'd venture out to a Farmer's Market in another city not far from here. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. It's spring time here and the left over snow is starting to get that dirty, muddy look about it. When you step out of your car you're liable to land your foot in either a mucky puddle, or go ankle deep in mud. I got the puddle this time. Oh well such is the time of year. You have to take the bad with the good. At least it wasn't snowing like crazy, which can happen here in the spring.

We arrived in the city and found the parking lot we always use when going to this place. This is a town in northern New York that's seen better days. It was once a vibrant place with all sorts of specialty department stores that I shopped in when I was a teenager. To go to this town to shop at that time was like going to New York City on a smaller scale, but with many of the same stores with better prices.

It's not the same town. Now you have to be diligent and watchful while you're walking the sidewalks. The people you walk by look as if they're waiting for an opportunity to pounce. It's scary and if not for this great Farmers Market that makes use of an indoor facility I wouldn't go near the place. It's really a shame. When I walk down the familiar streets in my minds eye I can still see the stores with their gorgeous window displays. I can see the towns folks milling about carrying packages and scurrying to get their shopping done. If I close my eyes ( which I don' t for fear of getting hit over the head) I can smell the roasted peanuts from the Mr. Peanut shop on the corner. When reality hits I see the truth. No longer are the department stores vibrant. They've moved to the suburbs and into the Mega Malls. The Mr. Peanut shop is boarded up. If you look through the slates of wood into the shop you can almost make out shapes and things that may have been shelves that held the yummy treats in that shop. If you take a deep breath there's a faint smell of that old familiar smell of roasting peanuts.

I know you can never go home again, that life is a constant changing being, but we can wish. We can hope that what we have now is enough, and in the future our kids will look back with remembrances of the good times they had. They won't know what they could have had so they won't miss what they never had.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Where's her parents!

Look I know I'm old but this is getting ridiculous.

I'm filling in for someone at another office. I don't know the staff, nor do I know the clients so I figure I'm pretty safe in this office. Whatever I say or do to anyone has really no relevance since I may never see them again ( or at least by the time I do see them they'll have forgotten what it was I said or did). I gotta tell you though this has been an exercise in restraint for me. This office is in a middle class, no, maybe lower middle class area. The majority of the clientele are working people, not a huge number of professional folks are clients in this office. It does a good business mind you, but you don't have the rich, very rich and ultra rich frequenting the office that you might see in other offices not too far away. Keeping that in mind I've tried to be open minded but today was an eyeopener and to be honest it probably has nothing to do with the socioeconomic status of the area.

As two young women walked in to the office, I noticed that my co-worker seemed to suck in her breath and went into the back room. I wondered what was up but I let it go I had to take care of these two women. One young woman looked at me, smiled, said ,"Hi" and sat down. The other girl who had business to do with me grunted. She sat down and proceeded to toss onto my desk a note written by her mother about the payment she was about to make. I picked up the note (which had powdered sugar on it...for a minute I was concerned about the white powder-I wasn't worried about anthrax, I thought it might have some extra cocaine she might want....sorry) . I looked at the note then I looked at this girl/woman, no kidding I thought my jaw was going to drop to the floor. This young woman had on a skin tight, slit down the middle (to the waist) top on with a "balcony bra" ( the kind that the boobs look like two globs of milky (in this case) white jiggly mounds of flesh held up with a couple of stringy straps and some lace). She leaned over and I was sure those globs were going to drop into my business card holder. The temperature outside was 10, it wasn't summer for cripes sake. This kid was 17. She came into this office directly from school. I thought, "Wow I bet she's popular". I know, I know I'm bad.

I looked up at her and noticed she had some sort of smudge on her cheek. When I looked closer I realized it was a small black ink tattoo. OK, a tattoo on your face isn't where I would put one, but then I don't have any of them anywhere on my body so who knows, maybe this is a new trend. Above the tattoo was a piercing with a stick like thing with a skull at the end of it. He eyebrows were pierced in three places. (Each of them)Her ear lobes, I lost count of how many piercing were in those. Her hand, the one that she tossed the paper at me with, had some birds tattooed on the space between her fingers ( you KNOW that had to hurt). Honest to God I had all I could do to stay seated as I looked at this kid.

When she was finished with her Mom's business she said to me, " Oh yeah I have to give you this". Another toss, another paper. I looked at the official paper in front of me and realized it was her transcript. This kid was an "A" student, member of National Honor Society and probably she 's going to be the administrator of my nursing home someday, or better yet, maybe the administrator of your nursing home.

She stood up and I got a full view ( and an understanding why my co-worker beat feet into the back room) of this Mommy and Daddy's darling. She was a tiny thing( except for the boobs, I might add) with the shortest skirt I've ever seen that was able to cover a rear end, platform shoes (man I'm really out of it, I didn't know they were back in style again), and bare legs. She had on a teeny, tiny little jacket over the top I described before. It was 10 degrees outside. I swear to God, I thought about telling her how sore she'd be if her boobs got frostbitten.

She walked out of the office and into her car. My co-worker came back into the office, sat at her desk and said, "I'm sorry I couldn't stay in the room as you were going to work with her. I knew you'd be in shock and if you looked at me I'd lose it and it would've been bad".

Where's her parents? How the Hell do you let your kid dress like a two bit 'ho and sleep at night. I'd be in a frenzy every time the kid went out for fear she'd be grabbed and taken somewhere so she could ply her wares..... When I was in school, believe me the folks in National Honor society didn't look anything like this kid....I'm definitely out of it...and you know what, I'm kind of glad.......

Friday, March 16, 2007

Strange but true

You know I don't try to get myself into controversial arenas, but it seems no matter where I go controversy, or less than normal incidents follow me.

I had reason to go to the headquarters of Domestic Violence this week. For those of you that don't realize this, Domestic Violence can use you old, out of date cell phones. They rehab them and give them to women (and men, I suppose) that need them to call for help).

I had a phone that I've been meaning to get over there for months, finally I had the time to go to the office. I was going to do my good deed for society. As I walked in to the lower level of one of the city's old buildings I couldn't help but think that the Domestic Violence office could have picked a better place than in this very spooky cellar. My mind was wandering thinking of all the mystery scenarios I could write using this place as the "scene of the crime" etc.

Walking into the office I was surprised to see a woman sitting on the couch in the waiting room. She had a telephone stuck to her ear as I see so many people these days have attached to themselves. I'm beginning to wonder if babies will have mutated ear lobes in the future. Maybe they'll be born with ears with extra skin on the top where you can fold the flap of skin over the ear piece and it will hold without any wires or extended holders.

Aside from the perpetual phone stuck in her ear she looked pretty normal, until she realized I was in the room with her. Why is it when someone is near the person holding the phone to their ear the start to talk louder? At least that's how it seems. Point in case, when I walked into the room I couldn't make out her conversation at all, but as soon as she came to the realization I was in the room her voice became several decibels louder. When I sat down I could hear her side of the conversation and to tell the truth I wish I hadn't heard any of it. I had no place to go. I was waiting for someone to take the phone from me. ( You can't just leave anything there, you must hand it to someone. I'm sure they're afraid that someone might leave a bomb or something-no kidding.. After hearing the half conversation of the woman waiting with me, I can understand why).

I sat there, on a very uncomfortable, lumpy couch, and I could tell my eyeballs were probably about to fall out of their sockets, as the woman on the other side of the room said, "Well I have the gun with me, so I don't have to worry about him coming after me with it..." "Yes, I have it here and it is loaded...." "I don't think he'd be stupid enough to follow me down here..." That statement made me get up and go to the locked door and window and knock, ever so gently... While my heart was doing a quick step in my chest. I turned back as I heard, "No, I'm not alone. There's another woman who just came in".. ( that would be me....) "Yes, I think she's OK". ( that would be me again , I think)

I have to tell you I was a bit uneasy, shall we say, as I tried to calmly walk to the door so I could get the Hell out of the place. The woman stood up, and started to walk toward the door at the same time. She put her head down and leaned against the door. She was intensely listening to the party on the other end of the telephone. She had no idea I was about to swing my leg to pull her legs from under her so I could make an escape. Then I remembered the "loaded gun" she had with her..... I thought, "where could the gun be? She has a little purse, surely it's not in there? Oh God, I have no idea if guns can be that tiny, but I'm not taking any chances".

I decided to get a magazine and sit down again to keep everything calm. The woman's voice was beginning to take on that high pitched, pinched sound, typical of folks who are under too much stress. I noticed her hands were shaking as she continued her conversation to persons unknown, " I tried to reason with him". "He picked up the bat, honestly..." " Yes, I called his brother, that made the whole thing worse.." The biggest problem I was facing now was, did I want to stay to hear more or did I really want to leave before I heard more. I find this is a dilemma we all face in these situations. We're all ticked off when we hear someone on the cell phone but we can easily get sucked into their life if we listen to their side of the conversation. I pretend to answer what I think the other party is saying. Sometimes I'm sure I'm right.

Finally the person from the inner office came out and took the phone from me. I stood there when she went back into the inner sanctum and tried to decide if there was anything else I could give her so I could stay a little longer and listen to more of the conversation ......Then, thankfully, sanity returned. I got up smiled at the tortured woman and left the office. I leaned against the outside of the door and breathed a sigh of relief, tinged with a little regret....