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!!!