Friday, December 31, 2010

AARRRRRGGGGH ! * See Below for Translation

Well, old dears, I somehow seem to have made it to the final day of 2010
and what I would really like to say is something like "Good Riddance"  or "Tenks Gott, Not a Moment to Soon" but I will be dignified and grown up and won't say those things...........

Instead I will report on the funniest and most absurd piece of junk mail I have ever received......I tried to scan it and put it into my file to be extracted and down (or is it up) loaded to this  blog space, but I cannot locate the effing thing so I will simply reprise it for you. 

It was a promotion from one of my  credit cards (an airline) and it offered me an opportunity to earn enough miles to fly free anywhere in the world AND take a companion with me if I would only charge $30,000 in purchases to my card before December 31, 2010.

Needless to say I haven't tried,  but I am sure that even if  I had given it my best effort I would have failed miserably.  In fact, if I had a loose Thirty Thou lying around I can think of a number of things I would rather do with it than buy stuff so I could fly free to anywhere in the world......unless, of course they can promise me that the companion I would  be allowed to take with me would be my secret crush, (are you ready for this?)  Mark Harmon.........or possibly Hugh Laurie.

So, instead of trying to spend  all  that gelt on frivolity I have decided to save my strength and merely tell you all one more time how much I appreciate your loyalty and cyber-friendship.  You all were the  bright spot in my 2010 and I love you for it.  May you all have a lovely holiday and a warm, safe, healthy and love-filled 2011.

*  Happy New Year !

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Brief Note from the Grinch

Before I begin to muse about my feelings about this time of the year I have to make one thing perfectly clear. My feelings for the abomination which has come to be called the"holiday season"  are beyond words for me.   A nice idea totally ruined.

Now,  I have never  been a  big fan of holidays in general.....of course when I was going to school or working I loved having a day off but mostly I would go around muttering, "Bah, Humbug"  even on the 4th of July and Labor Day. It wasn't the idea of what the days commemorated..........I always felt that the ways they were celebrated demeaned them.  And I  REALLY dislike the year-end holiday is not good enough.....detest, abhor, loathe are better words to describe it.  For one thing,  I hate the ends of things......even when they are followed by a beginning of something.  The ends create a definitive mark in the saga of your life and rub your nose in it.  No more ignoring how much of the journey, the adventure, the struggle, the whole wonderful effing thing is behind you.  No more just shuffling along happily procrastinating about everything and pretending that you'll take care of it tomorrow.  At the "ends of things" you must face your shortcomings and acknowledge your failures.  And then go on....... somehow........

And the "beginning of things"  is even worse"..........a measured span of time during which you have the obligation to try to correct the flaws and committed disasters.  I used to falsely promise to do better before the next "end of things",  a ghastly charade I have abandoned in my old age.  NO, NO- No more resolutions for me......they simply set a person up for more failures.  I much prefer to see time as an unmarked span .......a road of ups and downs during which I try to do the best I can.  I have been doing that for the past gazillion years or so and am still working on getting it right.  The quality of my "best" varies a lot ............sometimes it is more like my worst, but I have been working on the lesson of trying to accept my "best" whatever the degree of quality.

At this moment my "best" has consisted of some  very strange undertakings.  I am convinced that I must apply instantly for membership in  marvelous Ms. Mary Moon's (Bless Our Hearts) Church of Batshit Crazy.  If ever anyone deserved to be a congregant it's gotta be me.  The recent downpours in Southern California found me cutting apart plastic gallon milk cartons to make teensy awnings for the hummingbird feeders that are not protected from the rain.  Can't have the little monsters getting drowned while trying to sip their 93 or so meals a day, now can we?  And then, of course, when the concrete around the pool developed puddles as deep as lakes I had to construct a makeshift  bridge of some 2 x 4's I had in the garage so that Baskin, my crazy cat who chooses to live outdoors and eat indoors, could enter the house through the door I leave open for him to dine on kibble without being up to his kitty knees in water....(I don't think they make galoshes in sets of 4, especially in such a tiny size).  The best thing about such bizarre projects is that no standards have yet  been established....consequently I can bask in the glow of having really done my  best.

All of this reminds me of the most wonderful compliment I have ever received.  One of my dearest friends (now gone) was Bob, a brilliant man I worked with for many years during my days as a starving artist.  He founded the little greeting card company for whom I designed cards and subsequently ended up as Art Director and my boss when we worked at UCLA designing and producing all their publications.  When I was struggling against a deadline  to produce a poster for one of the Theater Arts projects and groaning about  being unable to come up with anything I felt was acceptable, he stopped what he was doing, turned to me, looked me in the eye and said, "Lois, believe me, your worst is good enough". 

Happy Holidays  and God Bless Us Every One!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Were You Ever So Happy You Had to Cry?

Ladeeeze and Gen'mun  ...............Step right up an meet the cat who finally had  enough sense to come in out of the rain!  Well, not literally "meet him" but you faithful readers will know that I am referring to Baskin, my mentally challenged orange kitty.

This is the third day of our rainstorm and as I sloshed out to the far corner of the garden to feed the  birds and squirrels I saw the dry little orange shape tucked cosily inside the garden shed where I have fixed a bed for him and left a bowl of kibble.

Sigh........Sob..........rejoice work here is done!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever....But What About When It Is Raining?

 Well, I'd better take care of first things first...........I am thrilled and grateful to report that my vision is coming back!  Those blurry white smudges on the keyboard of my computer seem to be letters and the same goes for the blurry black spots on the white page of this blog.  Damn.....I guess that means I am going to have to start correcting my typos again.    That's OK.....I'll accept that task for the blessing of being able to see them.

Not all of the fuzzies are gone, but I am hoping that they will sharpen up in the next few days.  They'd better.  After all, tomorrow is 12 hour Sunday football day and there is hardly anything worse than staring at a TV screen that is supposed to  be showing 3 football games in a row  when, obviously, what is really going on is that some blurry red and blue or black and white spots keep bouncing around aimlessly on a green pool table.   I have no idea what the hell sport that is, but it ain't football and, take my word for it, it'll never catch on.......worse than Curling even.  Only a blithering idiot would watch THAT for 12 hours......and speaking of the mentally disadvantaged........

I certainly hope that none of you other people out there have the misfortune of  being owned by a mentally challenged cat.  I have often spoken about my dear orange tabby, Baskin, who doesn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain......    As it happens, today it is raining in Southern California, a thing that occurs far too infrequently.  However, for some of us it presents some unusual problems.

For instance, Baskin has decided that, no matter how luxurious the accommodations are in my Elite Cathouse,  he would much prefer to sleep in the dirt under a tree.  This despite the fact that I have created a nice cosy "camping out" environment for him in the shed in the back yard since he refuses to come inside to sleep.  So one early morning chore is to rush to the back door where he is usually waiting stoically to be let in to have his breakfast.  (Can't leave it outside for him because the raccoons gobble up everything both front and back when they visit).   I say "stoically" but the truth is I have no idea what goes on inside that little orange head.......he could be furious, bored, plotting revenge, fantasizing about a bird or a mouse,  reviewing his stock portfolio or "to do" list for the day or, as I suspect, thinking of absolutely nothing..  I can sometimes guess what one of the other cats may be thinking, but with Baskin....never.

So, when I pry open my eyes and see that it is raining I picture a soggy, bedraggled Baskin and rearrange my schedule to make letting him in priority #1.  The hummers will just have to wait.  And so it was today.  I flung open the door and he waited the prescribed number of moments for me to retreat be3fore daring to enter the house and munch his kibble.  By the way.....this cat gets offered the finest of canned gourmet catfoods but spurns them all in favor of dry kibble.  Then I watched him leap  the puddle outside the door and stroll casually toward the back of the garden.  Sob.  However, when I went out later with the birdseed and nuts for Squirrel I discovered, wonder of wonders,  there was Baskin lurking in the nice dry garden shed and I thought for a moment I might have misjudged him. I left a bowl of kibble for him inside the shed thinking that perhaps he had a bit a smarts after all.  Sadly, I think not, because after I was back in the house I looked out and saw him hunching himself up under the oleander bushes which used to provide him fair shelter before I had them and all the heavily foliaged (is that a word?) trees and bushes pruned for the winter.   Sigh.

Damn, damn,, I am not cursing over Baskin's IQ, I am desolate because I had another large paragraph typed and ready to go  and I must have hit the key marked "disappear"  "cause it is gone.     I  have just decided that perhaps I am tempting fate by blogging on without my breakfast so I will just hit "post" and continue this ramble later.  Raisin Bran, here I come.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is That a Light I See at the End of the Tunnel .....(or an Oncoming Train???)

I think I can almost see the light at the end of the's not a metaphor.....not a simile.......I mean the actual light!

I am down to wearing a mere 3 pairs of spectacles  and using only one or two magnifiers.  (You can tell I am somewhat better because I have compulsively attended to my typos,,......)

This has been 3 weeks I intend to blot out of my memory even if it takes a lobotomy.  Urgh!

Don't give up on me, dear ones..,,,,,,I WILL be back.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

wednesday update

Just a qwuickie.............eyeballs are muich betrter,,,,, vision not so ggfood yetr.

i am purposwelly nbot correcvting my typos so you cn see whatrr you are spared normllyt.

who klnowsa.....maybr I am funnier this wayr.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Update

Still in a fog but I think it is clearing a bit.  My eyes look better.....they just aren't seeing much better, but I do believe things are improving.  My opthamologist is sure he has made the right diagnosis and says I am much improved.  Glad one of us is optimistic.  But today I discovered that things are much clearer before I put the eye meds in..........I guess if I really want to recover I can always stop using the meds .........

I intend to attempt to "watch" 3 football games today......I am SO glad they describe what is happening verbally............

Friday, December 10, 2010

All 3 Cats Fail Typing 101

Nope ........teaching is not my long suit nor is learning to type the cats' strength, obviously.  Oh well, it was a good idea.

Still struggling with my eye ailment. Seeing (?) doctors almost one agrees about quite what it is or how to fix it.  Am slightly better in the left eye but I really need it in my right.  Am just slogging onward, hoping for the best.

Thank you all for your good thoughts and  prayers.  I luv 'ya.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Hi darlings.....just a quick line  to let you know how much your encouraging words mean to me.  Thank you all a million or more times.

I think I am a little better...of course, both eyes have now got it, whatever the hell "it" is.  Two high class eye specialists are  still scratching their heads and prescribing more and more "cures".....Ha!

There is some improvement........going to doctors almost will probably cure itself before they figure it out. I am in some misery but not as bad as before.......oddly, my spirits are not too  low.....I must really be crazy but I am hopeful.

Will keep you updated.  Am teaching the cats to type.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lo Finally Kvetches

Beware my darlings......You may not want to read any further.   I am getting close to the end of my rope.

I have frequently mentioned, with tongue in cheek, (how did that expression ever get started?)  that it  becomes a full time job for us old folks to tend to all the body parts that keep breaking down.  No longer have tongue in cheek.......I need it protruding slightly to enhance the decibels of my scream and shriek....eeeeeeeeeek........aaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggghh.........shit, piss fuck!

I have fallen into the clutches of yet another ailment........a severe eye infection.  The good news is that it has stricken me in my bad eye.  The baaaaad news is that  it can spread and  I suspect that it may be  settting up housekeeping in my good eye too.   Sigh.     If that should happen I will not be able to blog till it clears up enough for me to pry the eyelid open so I can sort of see the monitor.  I am  already on so many meds lined up here, left and right, that I cannot see the table top on which my laptop rests and unless they really begin to work  soon I fear I am doomed to a blogless spell of undetermined length.  And, of course that means that you all will suffer because of my malady......what a bummer.  There actually is a disadvantage to the internet.........A hundred people or so may be feeling deprivation  because of my malaise.  Sob.

So sorry.  (however, there are a gazillion other blogs out there to keep you tittilated so I don't feel too guilty).

I will try to keep you posted.   If necessary I will dictate a few words for Florence, my caregiver, to enter for me.

Too bad I don't have Seeing  Eye Cats.........

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monumental Frabjous Blog Day

Can a person be proud, grateful, amazed, sheepish,  tickled, embarrassed, pumped up  and humble all at the same time? 

It seems one can because that is how I feel on this amazing day which happens to be :

         *          the one year anniversary of my timid and feeble entry into the blog world


       *            the day I acquired my 100th follower

I am too overcome by emotion(s) to blog today.  The only words in my vast vocabulary which come to mind are

Thank you All so much..........I love you dearly...........
      and aw shucks........

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Failure Too Monumental to Bear

Horrors, horrors !  I thought I had learned to accept the occasional failure with wry humor and grace, but really, this is too much.

The awful truth is........My thanksgiving cookery efforts turned out to be so vile that I can hardly believe that I was the one who perpetrated that inedible mess.  And yet, the cats can neither chop, mince, slice nor reach the stove controls (nor, in truth, would they be bothered to do so even if they could) and, since there is no one else here, I guess I must accept the  blame.  Sigh.  Like that wonderful guy, Pres. Harry Truman, said....long  before most of you were born,....."The buck stops here."

I have been making turkeys and dressing and cranberry relish for more years than......well.....than most people.......during good times and bad, weathering Thanksgivings tinged with both depression and ecstasy, and somehow things always turned out OK. (not always delectable and to die for but generally somewhat yummy)  So where did I go so wrong?  I can only assume that it happened  because I attempted to be flexible and try doing a few things differently.  (This must prove that it is indeed better to be immovable, stubborn as a mule and totally resistant to change........see, I always knew those self-help gurus were full of crap).

Anyway, many moons ago, a little while after man had discovered fire, I decided to try one of those "cook-in-the-bag" methods to make my turkey, and it turned out tasting like a stewed creature, hardly recognizable as a roasted turkey, though I must grudgingly admit it was certainly moist as promised....sort of like a soup chicken. Ugh. (Don't is fine for a soup chicken to taste like a soup chicken, but not for a supposedly roasted turkey.)    It ended up  being the basis for lots of enchilada casseroles, pierogies, turkey salads and feasts for the neighborhood cats whose mothers had obviously not ruined their taste buds by providing them with the real thing at an early age.  I cannot tell you what could have possessed me to decide to try it again after such a definite disaster......but then, I cannot always explain my actions, even to myself.  I figured that if I used the Bag method for the first 2 hours and then removed it and allowed the creature to roast in a normal fashion and brown and crisp up nicely for the last hour it might come out both moist and tasty.  Faulty logic.  My ingenious thinking managed to produce a turkey that not only tasted stewed but was so dry it stuck to the roof of one's mouth like peanut butter.    No amount of applying the juice from the bottom of the pan seemed to help much but I figured that at least the cats would have a feast for weeks.

Faulty logic again.  My own spoiled- rotten cats obviously felt sorry for me and humored me by eating some of it while it was fresh out of the oven and liberally ladled with juice.  But, the second day  they looked at me as if I were a crazy person and at the plates of turkey as if I were trying to poison them and demanded their canned cat food.  And this morning I received the unkindest blow of all.  When I awoke and went out to the porch buffet to take in what normally are empty dishes licked clean by stray kitties and possums I found, to my utter horror and shame, the hardened lumps of minced turkey virtually untouched.  So lovingly cruelly rejected !

To make this tragedy even worse,  I ruined the stuffing that I normally make which is so delicious that I usually prefer it to the turkey itself.  Having tasted a wonderful stuffing made by a friend last year which contained sausage and mushrooms I decided to include those additions to my plain seasoned bread, onion, celery recipe and threw in some wild rice for good measure hoping to create a masterpiece.  I could hardly  believe it when it came out tasting like nothing much on the fabulous scale and highly revolting on the "don't ever make this again" side.  Instead of putting containers of this into the freezer for future delectation I dumped it into the garbage this morning.......some things obviously cannot be saved.  Sob.

However, I think the piece de resistance to this whole horror story is the fact that the fresh cranberry-orange orange relish that I usually make also came out  barely edible because the orange that I used was oddly sour and I put in too much sugar trying to compensate for this flaw.  However, God was good to me in this slurs or rebuffs to be bravely borne.......the jar slipped out of my hands as I was putting it into the frig and festooned the entire kitchen floor with glass and cranberry colored sugared fruit and it only took me about an hour to gather it all up and wash to floor 17 times to get rid of the stickiness.  I must assume that Escoffier personally oversaw the imposition of this punishment on me for having committed such a crime in the name of a culinary effort.  At least I did not have to personally empty the jar into the ended up there without my having to overcome my usual reluctance to waste food.

So what is the lesson this effing, bleeping, experience has taught me?  I am not sure, but I know one or two things.....tenks gott I did not try also that new pecan pie recipe.........and I am fucking thankful I do not have to eat my home cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for a whole week.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Crazy Person Celebrates Thanksgiving 2010

It always strikes me as strange and quite sad that there should be one day in the year reserved for giving thanks for blessings received.

I know, I are having to cope with that creepy Pollyanna Stearns again today, but in my old age I have developed a peculiar desire to express my enormous gratitude (aloud) every time I escape a disaster or have a good thing happen.  For instance I am not just paying lip service when I say. "Thank you God (*)" every time I trip but do NOT fall  down, each time I break a glass and no fragments fly into my good eye, whenever I am chopping veggies with my wicked looking cleaver (my favorite chopping tool) and I clip a corner of a fingernail but escape removing the first joint of the finger, etc., or on the more positive side, when I gaze awestruck out into the little hummingbird feeding area outside my kitchen window ( incidentally, that is where I slipped last March and broke my hip.....(**)) and see 6 or 8 of those incredible creatures zipping around like jet planes, fencing with each other and gobbling nectar within a few feet or inches from my fascinated gaze.  There is hardly anything I am NOT grateful for these days and I cannot help acknowledging it every damned minute.  It seems totally vile and insensitive not to. 

* ( When I say, "Thank you God" I am addressing not an ordinary  religious icon, but that ineffable spirit that permeates every tiny particle in the universe and keeps them from either crashing together or flying wildly apart (even faster than they are already doing that).)

** (When I fell and broke my hip I did NOT say,  "Thank you God"  but,  so help me, I realized     later how lucky I was that I did not hit my head on the bricks and end up a vegetable in a coma).  

So what does all of the above have to do with anything? may well ask since it obviously takes me forever to get to the effing point....... which is that I am not doing anything special in the way of giving thanks on Thanksgiving.  In fact, due to the onset of a spurt of insanity, I actually made my turkey, cranberries and stuffing yesterday since, for the first time ever, I had taken the turkey out of the freezer on Monday and it was nearly completely thawed in the frig.  What the hell, I told myself, if you do all the stuff today you can really relax and enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow, and so I did!

Today all I have to do is eat, feed all the neighborhood kitties with turkey and watch the NFL football game later, in total comfort.  It all makes me thankful that I am crazy enough to have done what I did.  And that's a fact!

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Defense of Cat Ladies, Very Old People, and (particularly) Very Old Cat Ladies

Oh, hell, you all know I have been a sad excuse for a blogger these past weeks (or is it months?) but, as I told my  beloved cousin, Jessica, at lunch today, sometimes the Flame of Life burns  brightly in me but occasionally it flickers a bit and causes me to rest quietly, nurture the spark and send out for more kindling.........which is where I have been lately.

However,  as it happens, I am not the only crazy Cat Lady on Califa Street..........I have a neighbor (let's call her Marge) who is even a bit older than my 83 years and is, if possible, even crazier than me when it comes to trying to save every critter on earth.  As of this writing she is the sole support of Emily (her own kitty), Blackie (her porch resident for nearly 20 years), Whiskas, a gorgeous tuxedo who has been deigning to grace us with his presence twice a day for going on 8 or 10 years, an unnamed new gray arrival, and Pookey whom we share custody of,  sort of, plus many more too numerous to mention over the years.  These so called strays who visit her carpeted garage or sheltered front porch several times daily are treated to fresh water, endless kitty kibble and impeccably fresh canned cat food daily and then there are the days when she rushes to our nearest supermarket to purchase the freshly roasted chickens offered up in their hot food section because, as she firmly believes and as we all know, cats cannot live on cat food alone.

Without digressing too much I must mention that she is also dogsitter for a neighbor whom we shall call J who is owned by a huge brown Lab named Jackson.  Perhaps I had better let Marge tell the rest of this story since I am not sure I can do proper justice to it in my enfeebled condition.

"Well, Lois,  you know I love that Jackson and I am happy to bring him treats and fresh bones from the butcher and take him into my yard and  baby sit him whenever J finds it necessary, but sometimes I wonder about that boy.....I don't know how he manages to get the correct left and right shoes on his feet each morning and I worry about the fact that he is a husband and father as well as a dog and fish owner when he acts sometimes like he needs to be baby sat himself.

Now, I told you that he has given keys to both his Mother (who lives only 2 blocks away) and to me so we can take care of Jackson  (and the fish) when he and the family go on a little vacation and that has worked out just fine mostly, but yesterday was the absolute limit let me tell you.......(sigh).  Well, they went off on  vacation for 3 or 4 days (I do not understand how they can afford to take so much time off especially after the fortune they must have spent redoing the bathroom and painting the whole outside of the house and the new front door and all, but I guess that is none of my business....)  so his Mother called me and asked if I could feed Jackson this morning and she would come by later and give him his dinner and feed the fish, so of course I said yes and then after I hung up I remembered that when they put in the new front door they probably changed the locks and he never gave me a new key and she called me back a minute later about the same problem and we both wondered what we were going to do and I was so mad at J that I could have killed him then and there. (uttered in a smothered shriek)

Anyway, so I went next door into the back yard and gave the dog fresh water sure enough my key did not fit the new lock, but I noticed that they had installed a new doggy door in the back door and it was the super 3 XXX size so I figured maybe it would fit me and I managed to get down on my hands and knees and you know how hard that is for me what with my artheritis and the polymyalgia and all, and by gosh I managed to crawl thru and was able to get the dog food and shove it outside.  And then I realized that I couldn't get out head first  because the back steps were too steep going that way so I had to turn around and crawl out feet first and that darned dog just stood there and watched me the whole time like he thought I was out of my mind....which maybe I was.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you......while I was in there, just to be safe, I fed the fish with a couple of cubes of fish food in case we couldn't get back inside later.

So I filled his bowl and got him all fed and then I called J's mother back and told her what I had done and, can you believe it, when she came over that nite for the evening meal she did the same thing and managed to crawl in thru the doggy door just like I did...of course  she is a lot younger than me, but it is a good thing she has kept her girlish figure  because she was able to fit thru the hole too.  Well, Lois, I'd still like to kill that boy, but I think we did pretty damned well for a couple of old biddies.......what do you think ?" ........(proud as punch of course and rightly so).

Marge.......I think you were fantastic and I have only one other thing to say on the subject.

Dammit, I wish to hell you had called me so I could have watched it all.

Moral:    Don't ever underestimate the power of a determined  crazy old Cat Lady.

Friday, November 12, 2010

To Share a Real Treat

This is not intended to be a proper blog ..............(I do not consider any posting in which I do not offer at least 100 of my own words to be acceptable as a blog entry......that or a photo or a sketch at least).

I have just been pointed to a blog of such monumental wonderfulness that I am not only shamed by my own pitiful efforts in comparison, but I am at the same moment blown away by the profundity and exquisite style of the offering.  Of course,  the blog is by a professional journalist and writer and that makes me feel a little less defensive so it's OK.  

We can all go forth and glory in the blog of the wonderful film critic and human being, Roger Ebert.  Below is the post that had me fainting with joy, appreciation and admiration.  And the subject is one sure to be close to the heart of every blogger, I think........Loneliness.

       Go !

(Many thanks to Delia Lloyd of The Real Delia for this tip)

A Sin or Merely an Error In Judgment ?

What I am talking about is making promises that you are unable to keep.....I think I recently promised to have one of my cats write my blog for me on days when I was not up to doing so. 

Bad idea! 

It has become disgustingly obvious to me that my children cannot be counted on to blog for me when I am ensconced in the Rubber Room.  I made the rounds this morning,  whispering pleadingly into each furry ear,  and I might as well have been talking to the wall for all the good it did me.  All I got for my efforts was a view of  the usual furry long johns, private parts and waving tails departing with considerable haste up the garden path toward the south 40......... one set orange and white (Baskin), one tortoise shell (Winnie) and, the fuzziest ones, grey and white with a hint of beige (Gussie).  And not a meow of excuse or apology from any of the ungrateful wretches.  I know, I know, I have spoiled them is my own fault.........what was it that guy Shakespeare said?   Something like, " How sharper than a serpent's tooth is a thankless child."  I can vouch for that.

Anyway,  before I retreat into the shelter I thought it only fair to report that the cortisone shot my surgeon injected into my gimpy knee seems to be working........Huzzah !  Only trouble is that now I am aware that the other knee is complaining bitterly ............I wonder if I should have asked for BOGO or 2 for the price of one?  I am still pondering my options but I feel I have bought some time to make the decision about whether to go for the knee replacement.  Meanwhile, it is lovely to not be hurting so much.

As for the Rubber Room......I have my Father to thank for inspiring the idea.  A man of enormous suppressed (and expressed)  rage and frustration, he could often be found hitting his head against the nearest wall.  When asked why he was doing this he would reply in a strangled voice, "Because it feels so good when I stop." 

I always say that many of the most important things I have learned in this life I owe to my a very young age I found that my best course of action was usually to do the opposite of what Pappy did or suggested I do.  Consequently, the first time I had occasion to hit my head against the wall in rage and/or frustration I found out how much it really did hurt and decided immediately to develop a better way.  I found many less painful alternatives........cushioning the blows with a pillow between head and wall or floor worked well for much of my young life.  Then I discovered that symbolism had its uses and I could often vent my feelings by visualizing an act rather than actually performing it..........hence I could often be found in a sort of trance with a beatific smile on my face, eyes cast upward, while I envisioned (for instance) knocking Pappy to the ground with a vicious knee tackle and then simply beating HIS head repeatedly against the asphalt until I felt better. 

As you can see, a healthy imagination can save you thousands in psychiatric fees later in life, not to mention wear and tear on the cranium, fists, feet and other body parts.  Thus evolved the virtual Rubber Room where I go when I sense I have become a danger to the world in general or, more importantly, to myself.  Believe it or not, it usually works. they say about a dose of Chicken Soup for whatever ails you......."It couldn't hoit."

Now, you will have to excuse me while I retire to my padded cell and envision whirling a bunch of ungrateful, non-blogging cats around by their tails. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

89 things I Am Grateful For

All of You......that's who !

Reading your sweet, encouraging, sympathetic and sensitive  comments on my recent post describing my melancholic excuse for not blogging has touched me to the core of my being and made me realize again how lucky I am to have you all in my life.  It is mind boggling to realize that it only took me 83 years to have found as many as 89 incredible people whom I really love to talk to and listen to.....or rather, to have had 89 of you find me.........the word "miracle" is overused, but I can't think of another one as fitting.

To properly show my appreciation I have just come up with a possible  way of coping with those days when I am not fit for blogging and am out turning over rocks searching for my lost sense of humor...........I have had a brief consultation with Gussie, Winnie and Baskin and they have agreed (somewhat grudgingly) to take over for me when I am not fit for anything much less blogging.

I really do not know which of them, if any, has the talent to tattle on me, ramble on about practically nothing and keep you posted of what shenanigans I am up to when I have locked myself in my Rubber Room but we will undoubtedly find out.........won't we  ?  If they fail I will simply have to send them for lessons to the incomparable Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys).........I am sure you all know who I mean but, in case you have missed this delightful experience, run, do not walk, to the blogsite of one of my favorite bloggers and browse till you find one about Liza Bean :

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is 83 Too Old for A Replacement Knee or Should I Just Limp Quietly Into the Sunset?

Decisions, decisions.........oy, am I sick of making them........however, the alternative does not appeal  to me one bit so onward I go with Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe-ing it.

Actually, I made one decision over the weekend  that sort of made me feel liberated and almost blogworthy again.   After weeks of suffering I decided to consult my Wonderkind orthopedic surgeon who did such a great job on my hip about what he could offer me as a fix for the latest joint to cop-out. 

I was gimping and groaning around the garden trying to reposition all my pots for the winter and finally had to laugh at my less than gazelle-like state.........If I were limping because of my recently mended broken hip I figure it would be perfectly one (not even I) would dare judge me harshly for that.  But nooooo, it's my partially reconstructed left knee that has decided to deconstruct and keeps threatening to deposit me on my tush or worse. And that worries me because I do not want to have to retake Broken Hip 101 .......I already got at A in that course and feel there is nothing more for me to learn on that subject.

So off I schlepped today to consult my hero the Surgeon .  After xrays were duly taken I was informed that the joint was in the grip of arthritis (so what joint in my bod isn't??) and had little cartiledge left to speak of.

It seems there were still  several options:

1.  Just suffer.    (feh !)
2.  Cortisone shot to relieve pain and mega-knee brace (yuk)
3.  Knee replacement surgery , excruciating rehab and 6 months recovery period.  (aaarrrrrggh)

Number 1 I rejected with disdainful expression and curled lip.    (I could do that without a doctor's advice)

Number 2 I half rejected....hated the mega brace part but found the cortisone shot somewhat appealing

Number 3 had been my favorite going in, but I now was not sure about the sound of the rehab and 6 months of big time pain in the recovery process.

However, the part that did me in was when this formerly brilliant, handsome Jewish Doctah suddenly transformed himself into a nerdy nogoodnick  by turning a beady eye on me and saying, "I don't know if the knee replacement is worth it........after all, you are 83 years old......"

Naturally  I gave him my most penetrating, turning-strong-men-to-stone  Medusa stare and reminded him that I was 82 1/2 years old when I graduated Cum Laude (sp?) from Broken Hip 101, but I ended up opting for just a cortisone shot and the name of the top surgeon for knee replacements for me to ponder.

Now, everyone knows that for anyone with even a drop of Jewish blood, the Doctor is next to God of course.  But,  I must confess, when I left this doctor's office the pedestal on which I had placed him had shrunken considerably.  I am not quite sure, but I think I was grievously insulted...... I am considering suing for malpractice, slander and possibly even non-sexual harrassment......

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It 's Been A Dark and Stormy Night......

Hi, my darlings...........I have made yet another unsettling discovery about myself.......sob.

I am nothing but no-good Fair Weather Blogger. (As opposed, for instance, to being a Foul Weather pals know that I may not always be available to them when things are going well for them, but if they stumble into a pot hole or a chasm that is the time they can count on me.)

It seems that I cannot write.....period.....without my sense of humor and, horror of horrors, I seem to have misplaced or lost that most precious item somewhere in the last several months.  I have been blaming my resistance to writing on a strange melancholy or some kind of depressed state, but I realized today that the problem is neither of those things.  It is simply my skewed view of things that I have lost.

All my life I have been able to see something to giggle about in even the worst situations or at least been able to invent something.    For instance, at my cousin Lew's funeral several years ago a bizarre situation arose.  My beloved cousin, Rabbi Avi Bruce would not or could not relinquish his belief that it is the duty of the family to fill the grave.......totally.  (this may be an acceptable practice while there are a gaggle of strong armed young relations still around, but at this point we have lost all such.)  When the prime Mourners, Lew's children and their families, departed after the ceremony along with the non-relatives, that left only a few of us in our 60's thru 70's with the task.  Rabbi Avi (nephew) and niece Debra both with bad backs), her hubby, Steve (always willing even if not totally physically  able) and  cousin Lois (near 80 and losing muscle mightily with each passing second) to do the shoveling......does anyone know how many shovels of earth it takes to fill a grave hole????? ..  at least a gazillion, I can tell you.

I pooped out less than half way but those other stalwart, loyal, awesome if bedraggled members of my family finished the whole job while the grave diggers, whose job it really is, loitered around and shuffled their feet in amazement, probably laughing inside and wondering what could be possessing these insane non-union shovellers.   As I stood gasping and trying to keep from falling down in exhaustion I must admit that I had to swallow a giggle at the strange spectacle.   It was an Edward Gorey moment to perfection.  Well, folks, if it were happening today I could never have managed to find that giggle.

(To extend the family weirdness even further, I have to confess that I picked  and hid in my pocket a foot sized rock  which now resides on my kitchen windowsill with the label "Blumenthal Rock"...........I now feel that my entire family is always with me whenever I chop veggies or do the dishes.)

I must also confess that, now all of a sudden,  nothing seems funny anymore and my imagination has failed me  at digging out (you should excuse the expression)  laughable stuff). 

So there is my weakness and my dilemma exposed.  If I can't find the funny bits I can't write,  hence my absence from Blogland.  Hopefully, all is not lost.......I am feeding the plant like crazy by indulging in chocolate at  every provocation and I think I feel the stirrings of some new roots of funny-bone developing.  Let us all pray (and while you are at it, please pray that my chocolate cure does not result in another 5 lbs.......

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can You See the End of the World From Where You Are?

I have been going through a period of deep melancholy.....quite different from what I used to experience as depression so I have avoided blogging for fear it might be contagious.  

However, yesterday I received an email from a dear friend who shares many of my values, loves and hates and she was so weighed down with the state of things that I realized my own deep Ultramarine blue condition was not that bad after all......I. at least,  have recently developed a few tools to deal with "whats-the-use" and I decided to try to cheer her up with Lois's methods of coping with the End of the World.

So  I wrote her this email...........

I keep thinking about your most recent letter and your worries about the fate of the world and realized one significant difference between us.  I used to wring my hands just as you are doing and then, not too long ago, I realized that the world is indeed going to hell but, even if I should live another 10 or so years, it won't be completely rotten in my lifetime !!   (probably not even in my young cousins' lifetimes that is, and beyond that is not for me to worry)  I think it might take a pretty long time for the Extremists and the Mongol Hordes to gallop in and completely destroy all signs of civilization.

 So, with that thought in mind I have really been able to shrug most of it off is too bad that the world has to slip back into another set of the Dark Ages or go up in a huge bang or whatever, but as long as I don't have to experience it at its worst I don't really give a damn anymore.  I wish you could adopt my makes things so much easier.

I used to be something of a control freak too and would get frantic when I looked into the future (based on how things were going at the moment).  Now I feel that I have tried  to do my utmost to keep Complete Disaster from overtaking the world and have not succeeded  (up to the age of 83).......that is quite long enough I think.  And after all, it is not my personal failure .......lots of others have failed with me.  Conquering pestilence is apparently easy compared to trying to win over insanity and stupidity.
(I do not know why the rest of this page is in smaller type face nor do I care.........see, my new philosophy is actually working.)
  I will be damned if I will waste my remaining moments grieving over what might happen after I have shuffled off this mortal coil. (Yes, I CAN be that selfish, finally) 

By the way, dear....I can follow your dreadful scenario and see it in 3 D.......  can certainly envision an Extremist Muslim takeover of the world happening and the downfall of civilization as we know it, but, as I was falling asleep last nite I suddenly thought of something......Do you really think that China is going to allow that to happen????   (or  the Extreme Right Wing Republicans for crissake? )  Not bloody likely,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, so your scenario is not necessarily the only possible one......there may be worse.

I also had a moment of extreme clarity when I saw the SOLUTION...........and why no one has thought of this before is beyond me,     All our scientists have to do is stop whatever nonsense they are working on and concentrate  on inventing an odorless, tasteless gas that would render everyone who breathes it INFERTILE................drop a few cannisters all over  the "enemy"( whoever we determine them to be) and wait a few generations for things to improve.

Now.....won't that help you to sleep better ??

Love, Lo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dammit...Dumped Again by a Guy.....

Waaaaaaah !  I have been keeping a stiff upper lip for several weeks now, but today was the day my wonderful caregiver, Mickey, hugged me and walked out the door for the last time.   Sob.

Actually, it wasn't me he was running away from.  He claims he is just a country boy and just couldn't stand another moment of living in the big city, especially LA.  He is escaping to a little town near Sedona, Arizona  where the air is clean and the trees and mountains are all around and where his dog can run and he may again be able to have his own horse again.  Yep, that may be the nadir of my assorted rejections......dumped for a horse.

Of course I understand his needs and a wish him nothing but good luck, but I  will miss him fact I already do.  Aside from how much he helped me,  Mickey had become a real friend and I am feeling a huge hole in  my life.  I feel like an overinflated balloon and if you are holding any kind of  sharp implement like a pin please don't get too close.

Well, tomorrow I get a  new caregiver and, hopefully, we will develop a fine relationship.  Her name is Florence, she is a friend of my first caregiver, the wonderful Consolee,  and perhaps she will want to learn how to crochet.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Not Today, Darling......I Have a Headache

Sorry.  Just reporting the facts, ma'am.

I have been consulting with various practitioners of the Medical profession but no one yet has come up with the answer for my headache.  Trouble is, it has caused my Blogging switch to be  stuck in the "off" position again, dammit.

I am working on a repair.  Don't give up hope.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Seen Everything? Been There? Done That? Wanna Bet?

So you've got this here roly poly 83 year old female shlepping an aching, used up body out of bed on a Sunday morning, wondering if the 3 Sunday football games on TV is enough reason to go on living...........mutter, mutter,  grumble, mumble, shit, piss, fuck.   Why should  a person bother to go on?

But  what can one do  but  ignore the broken hip (mostly healed), the gimpy knee (supposedly fixed by surgery....ha.......) the non working left eye, the arthritic spine and a few other disasters and stagger into the kitchen to check out the hummingbird feeder status.   (yes, yes,  of course it's me.....who else feeds hummingbirds  before having juice or a sip of  coffee even)    Oy!

The little alcove outside my kitchen window has 5 feeders most of which are empty..........a whole passel, a veritable squadron of hummers (is a squadron bigger than a passel?) are doing their whirling dervish dance in the space  between the feeders and the noise is amazingly like a jet plane.   I already have 2  filled feeders on the sink waiting from pre-planning the night before so I fling open the atrium door and rush out,dripping sticky sugar water on naked toes, and hang them in the most preferred locations.  Gathering the empties  I reenter the atrium to find my worst nightmare is realized......there is a jet plane INSIDE the atrium, 19 or 20 feet up where the skylight is located above the spiral staircase to the guest suite.  Sadly there is a gene all hummers carry which tells them that when the sky solidifies above them they must just flap those wings harder and faster till  one of 2 things happen:
                                     1.  the sky unsolidifies
                                     2.  the hummer runs out of gas and faints

I need not tell you that I have never observed the first possible result,  while I have often witnessed the second one.  Consequently, several years ago I purchased a sturdy 6 foot long handled fishing net (suitable for scooping huge fish out of the water into the boat) and keep it handy for possible humming bird invasions. 
Only trouble being that usually they invade the sun room where the skylight is only 8 feet above the floor and quite reachable with the net......what I have here is a near impossible situation...........sigh.

So I retrieve the net from the sun room and grab a stepstool along the way and drag  my aching bones up the spiral staircase to the tippy top landing and find I cannot quite reach the top of the skylight without climbing up on the step stool.  Carefully checking to be sure I have my "Mobile Alert" pendant firmly around my neck, I climb up one step and there I totter, sweeping back and forth with the net in the skylight trying to net the bird while the creature, undoubtedly more adept than myself, manages to avoid every swipe, still flapping frantically and waiting for the  sky to unsolidify.  Finally, after about 3 or 4 minutes of this I decide that if there is one thing in the world I don't want it is another broken something from a fall off of a stepstool and the top of a spiral staircase.  My one remaining active braincell flickers and I descend to a solid stance on the top step just at the same moment that Mr. or Ms. Hummer faints.  Tenks gott.

To take you out of your misery I'll make a long silly story shorter and report that, after a frantic search, I found my victim lying on the window sill halfway up the stair, gently enclosed the precious creature in my hand, carried it outside and shoved the open beak into the feeding hole of the nearest feeder and just waited, praying that I would not have to resort to the drop of brandy I administered in an earlier rescue.  In a few seconds I felt the wings gave a few tremors and I opened my hand to see the victim dash off into the sky which, fortunately, did NOT solidify over him.

At this point I was the one who needed the brandy...... (Damn I wish I could still drink the stuff).......and as I sank limply into my recliner I realized that I had just managed to save a hummer AND live through a brand new adventure.............maybe it is too soon to cash in my chips after all.   Guess I'll stick around and see what happens to morrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Sky Is Falling....or Has the Roof Just Fallen In ?

Well, the dreaded thing has of my devoted followers  (Betsy) has abandoned polite patience and has burst out with direct demands that I reactivate the ol' blogging machine.  She didn't exactly say "or  else" but it was implied and I, being a devout coward about abandonment, am scrambling to find the right button to there one labelled "Resume Blogging"?  ......oh damn, why are there so many buttons on this thing and none of them have identifying labels?

Oh, sorry....... THAT machine is the new mobile phone I just purchased, which has visible numbers, tenks gott, but the letters that go with them are so tiny that I need my strongest magnifier to even see that they exist,  not to mention needing  my page magnifier to read the instruction booklet which, in my opinion, is just like all the technical manuals I encountered during my computer career.  In order to understand what the manual is telling you to do you must already know how to do what you are asking it how to do.

How in the hell do those kids text so rapidly when I have been practicing for hours to memorize which letters go with which digits and have only been able to enter about 4 phone numbers and names into my Contacts List????   I,who used to pride myself on doing hexadecimal arithmetic (base 16) almost as fast as decimal (base 10), am totally defeated by a stupid gadget that 5 year olds are adept at using....while they are not even standing still, but walking around hopping up and down and/or dancing , no less............"what IS the world coming to?",.  I ask bleakly.  Obviously, I am not fit for it. Sob.

To put  into words  the most ridiculous understatement I can conjure up, this has not been my best week.  It began when I tried to access my old mobile phone account with ATT (as Shakespeare would say, "A pox on them!"  before he fainted dead away at what the world has turned into)  and was rebuffed unceremoniously with "incorrect password".  Since I was staring at my notes in my password book I see that I have entered the correct password......(yes, of course I have a password book.....doesn't everyone?    I mean....when I started out with my own computer I was warned about the advisability of using different passwords for different applications so that the  boogeymen wouldn't get me.  I know better now, but it is too late to change all of them to "abc123".....)

I next endeavored to simply retrieve my password from ATT.  That didn't work because 326 tries resulted only in several holes in the wall nearest my head.  Each time I came close to being able to read the password they were revealing to me on my phone screen the screen went black and I failed miserably at this so called simple process.  Next, several hours were spent on the phone with  both robotic and live calling partners in various departments of ATT, punching in interminable lists of numbers and choices for both robotic and supposedly live personages and getting nowhere except back to the  beginning.  At this point the walls nearest my head resembled a bombed out village in Iraq and I had to move my position many times to find a fresh wall to beat my head against.  I also was having difficulty hearing any directions that came to me from the phone due to the bells ringing inside my head.

I next tried to simply change my password.  None of the supposedly simple automated methods worked.   After waiting for 42 minutes to be allowed to speak to a live tech person in the correct department and hearing, "Hello, this is Janet" followed by the dial tone, I gave up this fruitless self torture and hied me to the nearest Walmart to try to purchase a new, uncomplicated cell phone.  That, my dears, may be the 2nd most difficult thing in the world to achieve next to World Peace.  After several hours I finally settled for one which has a camera but no keyboard and staggered home a bloody and totally beaten human specimen.  Which brings you up to date on where I was when I began this post and pretty much where I have  been while NOT blogging lately..

 During the 24 hours since the above carnage the bells in my brain have quieted and I have been slowly attempting to subjugate myself to this new infernal machine, but I must confess, progress is slow and I am not sure if I will ever  be completely whole again.  However, I am thrilled to report that at least I can remember my new cell phone number.........or is that the one I had before the last one....?  Sob.........

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Confession Time

You really should thank Qandlequeen  at "A walk Through My Little World"  for rousing me from my zombie like state to post a few words today.  I hope she will not hate me for stealing her stuff.

She asked, "What was the latest thing you fished out of your trash ?"
Below was my comment and I find the idea so intriguing that I will continue her challenge.  And do go visit her blog....she is great.

Confess if you dare.

 Comment left by yours truly:

OK......I'll tell you, but you must promise not to tell anyone.

After I brushed my teeth this AM I tossed the mostly used tube of toothpaste into the trash basket and then I was wrestled to the ground by my Depression Era mentality. It still had about a half dozen squeezes left in it and I hate waste, so........sigh.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Inner Voice Says, "Shut Up and Just Listen"

"You cannot learn much of anything when you are doing all the talking."
                                                                                Lois Stearns Daily     

You lovely devoted followers have undoubtedly noticed that my blogging habits are a bit irregular and undependable.  Sorry about that.  When I started this  blog I was naively under the impression that I could sit down every day of the week and blab incessantly on any subject providing my audience, if not fascinating. at least readable fare without ever developing a cramp in my blabbing muscles.  WRONG.  I had completely forgotten an aspect of my being that I thought I had overcome but that occasionally pokes its ugly head out of the water and spits mud in my eye.  Sometimes I feel  that I have nothing worthwhile to say.  At those times I would rather listen than talk.  It is then that I wend my way through all of your lovely, profound, irreverent  blogs and am both inspired by your brilliances and soothed and reassured by your simplicities. 

 When I was a child I had absolutely no social skills. (can you believe it?)  Even worse, I was in no way cute or adorable in feature or form, an unlovely child, short, pudgy, clumsy,with no graceful ways and with a brow constantly furrowed with worries wondering what bolt of lightning was going to come out of left field and set my bloomers on fire next.  I was agonizingly,  painfully shy and so thin skinned that if a passing dog looked at me unkindly I would want to hide myself behind a tree and weep.  I had one or two neighborhood friends but we related almost accidentally and I still had not a clue about how to engage in the art of conversation.  Thank heaven there were games which required little conversing except for the times when bitter arguments broke out and everyone went home mad.

I got through my young years in the most blundering fashion, sort of staggering down the long hallway of life first bumping into the left hand wall and then crashing into and careening off the right one. It was a painful  sort of existence only lightened and cushioned  slightly by my luck in having an invisible asset.....a fairly extraordinary intelligence.  Once I learned to read my world changed and I had access to as many wonderful friends as I could gobble up from those amazing things called books, but sadly, these friends demanded no interaction on my part so I still did not have a clue about how to relate to real people.

In books, people always seemed to know exactly the right thing to say to each other......and, no matter how I examined the pages and the words, I never could figure out how they could all be so damned clever.   During rare moments when I would fantasize and  timidly interject myself into the plot, just like in life, I could never think of anything worth saying and got myself out of there as quickly as possible, mind blank, trembling and panting with terror.

My education, both High School and College did little to improve my skills.  There were a few times when I could exchange words with someone comfortably on a subject on which I was informed  and passionate about, but generally I found myself half listening to what was  being said while desperately trying to come up with something clever or funny to interject and my success rate ranged from awful to abysmal......consequently I was more or less tolerated because I was a "good kid" or because I was the only one who had a car but not highly rated in the "Life of the  Party" department.  I suffered terrible pangs of insecurity and felt an abject failure as a social being.  And so it went until my 25th year when  I entered into a project that would change my life in innumerable ways......I went into partnership with a ceramist, my new friend Peggy, and joined her in her studio, thereby exposing myself to a completely new (for me) segment of the population.....the Wild Artist Colony of  Los Angeles.

I cannot explain exactly how these new people differed from those I had known up to this point in my life but different they were and, since we always had a succession of drops-ins and kibbitzers, I was even more at a loss about how to shine or even  be accepted as a member of the clan than ever.  I felt like I knew nothing, had nothing worth uttering to contribute and the only way I could prevent exposing my ignorance, lack of sophistication, deficiency in judgment, dearth of talent and general worthlessness as human  being would be to simply shut up and say nothing..........Which I put into practice immediately if not sooner.  My only option was to listen ardently and carefully  to what everyone else said......... to possibly learn something and meanwhile, if I kept my mouth shut, except to ask a pertinent question occasionally, perhaps I could keep anyone from discovering what a schlubb I was. 

The results of my desperate plan were amazing and totally unexpected.  It seemed particularly true when single individuals popped in for a chat seemed they did not mind at all being forced to talk about themselves for hours as long as I kept asking sensitive questions.  I needed to know NOTHING to participate in these chats....I did not need to utter clever phrases.......I did not even have to be funny.......just attentive.  And,to my amazement, a line formed around the  block.

I had found the Sorcerer's Stone.....Though I did not think I was really dead, this was obviously  heaven.  I had discovered a way to fool the public into the illusion  that I was wise without having any wisdom whatsoever,  without any risk of making a fool of myself and without having to expend  any effort since I found that I really WAS interested in what the person was saying.  Because, by some further miracle of miracles, no matter what else they said, they all revealed to me that they had the same agonies, the same or similar demons and the same kinds of insanities that I suffered from. Up to this point in my life it had appeared to me that the rest of the world was completely normal and I was the only one who  was lost and crazy.   Not only did I feel no longer an outcast but I felt that I had finally found a place where I belonged..........I could hide among the crazy, brilliant and unconventional Artists forever and not have to wonder for a moment what I should say next.   "Nothing" was not only acceptable but seemed to be much preferable to "yatayataya"............who knew?

Sadly, I found that this profound truth  does not work when you are confronted with someone who is so insecure and fearful of their image (as I was)  that they cannot risk revealing a morsel of what they have been struggling for years to keep stuffed  in the back of the cupboard.  In such cases it is necessary to do a quick reversal and be the one who confesses and shares bravely.  Two people trying to employ the same strategy makes for unspeakable discomfort not to mention unbearable boredom.  Oy, does it ever.

Unfortunately, over the years I have gotten quite a bit more blabby but I have never forgotten the Main Mantra.....When in Doubt -  Shut Up!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

camels I have known

These, of course are Turkish camels.......I have also known some Egyptian camels, but can't find their photos right  now.    I am assuming that camel # 3 in the bottom row is wearing a muzzle like device to keep her/him from biting the patrons.   Of course, I could be wrong....that may simply be the latest chic fashion in camel wear.

No more tonite.  Happy dreams everyone.                                                                             

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Turkey Anyone?

I think I downloaded a few more shots of Turkey yesterday....if I can find them I will post them.    The top shot is of some amazing    hot spring baths which have formed natural pools among the limestone stalagmites (or is it stalactities?)   When we visited the weather was very dry so the pools were scant but the terrain is really            amazing.   We met this  incredibly beautiful calico cat among the ruins of Finiki I believe.   And the squirrel  I met somewhere along the way  even though I did not    have a peanut in any pocket.       Dammit, I had one more set of pics but I cannot locate them right now so I will just send these off and follow up later.      No, that is a lie.....I have located them, but somehow they got zipped and      blogger does not seem to have the technique to deal with that so I will have to download them again being sure that no zippers are anywhere around.  Sob.                                                                                                               

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Stroll Down Memory Lane in Pictures

I am so preoccupied with trying to rid myself of various kinds of debris deposited upon me during my worst years of hoarding and pack-ratting that I cannot concentrate on creating blogs with words so I will resort to pictures again.

I just downloaded an odd selection of pics from some of my trips, Turkey, Lake Como, Italy, Paris.  Let's see if I can locate them in my files and offer you a nosh.  To see them better just click on the photos.

At the left is the courtyard of the Louvre with the original building in the rear and I.M.Pei's glass pyramid in the foreground.  I am still not sure I really like the pyramid next to the palace, but then nobody cares what I think.

Top right shows a ritual I always go through when I am in France ( and elsewhere, if I can do it).  Once located in my hotel room I go out and wander the streets till I find a Flower Shop, buy myself a bouquet to brighten my room.  This was a very modest but comfy little room 2 blocks from Notre Dame with a lovely view outside beyond that gorgeous wrought iron window grille railing.  I couldn't have been happier at the Ritz.  In fact, at their prices I would not have been happy there at all.  I hate ostentation and overspending.

Bottom left.....couldn't resist one of the tyical black cats of Paris in a Paris doorway.

Bottom right......I am not absolutely sure this belongs in my pics of Paris....for all I know it might have been Greece or Turkey, but I fell in love with this Lion wherever the hell he is.  Please don't sue.

These 3 shots were taken in one of the most glorious places in the world, Bellagio, Italy on  Lake Como.

There is Lois, sleeves rolled up, getting ready to tuck into a meal.....from the angle of the sun I would guess breakfast or maybe lunch on the balcony of our hotel overlooking the lake.  The photo on the right is from the same vantage point showing part of the view from the cafe balcony looking across the lake (navigable by frequent ferries which docked right next to our hotel.....sooooo convenient.)

Same cafe balcony.  Of course, I always manage to find some critters to feed and the wonderful water fowl on the lake did not disappoint.  Not a bad turnout for just some crumbs,.

These 3 pics were taken along the Turquoise Coast of Turkey.  This is another glorious part of the world.  I believe they were shot near the town of Pamukale.  The ruins on the right were fascinating.....amazingly well preserved.  As you can see they had been carved right into the cliff and represent a good part of a town.  Awesome. 

The falls were encountered on a lovely boat ride we took up the coast......I wish I would have been able to kayak around there like those lucky folks....well, maybe next time.

Ah, this is a sight that makes me faint with assortment of Turkish homemade breads on the buffet.  The food on this trip was incredible.....I love Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine and the meals were mind boggling and waistline destroying.

Well, that is enough for one offering.  I have made myself so hungry that I must rush off and stuff my face with something delectable.  I suggest you do the same.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Michael Moore on 9/11 and the Mosque

I am not sure that what I am about to do is legal or kosher but I don't much care.

I received the post below in an email this morning from Mr. Moore.  I once sent a worshiping fan letter  to his old email address and, though he did not answer me, he obviously saved my email address and I am SO glad
For my money he writes about the things I care about passionately better than almost anyone else and this is so beautifully done that I feel I must do my part to spread it around.

By the way, I am NOT asking that you send any contributions to anything (unless you really want to.....I did).

Just read and weep or smile or maybe a bit of both.
God Bless you, Michael Moore.   

If That 'Mosque' ISN'T Built, This Is No Longer America
OpenMike 9/11/10
Michael Moore's daily blog
I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero.
I want it built on Ground Zero.
Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.
There's been so much that's been said about this manufactured controversy, I really don't want to waste any time on this day of remembrance talking about it. But I hate bigotry and I hate liars, and so in case you missed any of the truth that's been lost in this, let me point out a few facts:
1. I love the Burlington Coat Factory. I've gotten some great winter coats there at a very reasonable price. Muslims have been holding their daily prayers there since 2009. No one ever complained about that. This is not going to be a "mosque," it's going to be a community center. It will have the same prayer room in it that's already there. But to even have to assure people that "it's not going to be mosque" is so offensive, I now wish they would just build a 111-story mosque there. That would be better than the lame and disgusting way the developer has left Ground Zero an empty hole until recently. The remains of over 1,100 people still haven't been found. That site is a sacred graveyard, and to be building another monument to commerce on it is a sacrilege. Why wasn't the entire site turned into a memorial peace park? People died there, and many of their remains are still strewn about, all these years later.
2. Guess who has helped the Muslims organize their plans for this community center? The JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER of Manhattan! Their rabbi has been advising them since the beginning. It's been a picture-perfect example of the kind of world we all want to live in. Peter Stuyvessant, New York's "founder," tried to expel the first Jews who arrived in Manhattan. Then the Dutch said, no, that's a bit much. So then Stuyvessant said ok, you can stay, but you cannot build a synagogue anywhere in Manhattan. Do your stupid Friday night thing at home. The first Jewish temple was not allowed to be built until 1730. Then there was a revolution, and the founding fathers said this country has to be secular -- no religious nuts or state religions. George Washington (inaugurated around the corner from Ground Zero) wanted to make a statement about this his very first year in office, and wrote this to American Jews:
"The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy -- a policy worthy of imitation. ...
"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens ...
"May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants -- while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."
3. The Imam in charge of this project is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Read about his past here.
4. Around five dozen Muslims died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hundreds of members of their families still grieve and suffer. The 19 killers did not care what religion anyone belonged to when they took those lives.
5. I've never read a sadder headline in the New York Times than the one on the front page this past Monday: "American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?" That should make all of us so ashamed that even a single one of our fellow citizens should ever have to worry about if they "belong" here.
6. There is a McDonald's two blocks from Ground Zero. Trust me, McDonald's has killed far more people than the terrorists.
7. During an economic depression or a time of war, fascists are extremely skilled at whipping up fear and hate and getting the working class to blame "the other" for their troubles. Lincoln's enemies told poor Southern whites that he was "a Catholic." FDR's opponents said he was Jewish and called him "Jewsevelt." One in five Americans now believe Obama is a Muslim and 41% of Republicans don't believe he was born here.
8. Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?
9. Let's face it, all religions have their whackos. Catholics have O'Reilly, Gingrich, Hannity and Clarence Thomas (in fact all five conservatives who dominate the Supreme Court are Catholic). Protestants have Pat Robertson and too many to list here. The Mormons have Glenn Beck. Jews have Crazy Eddie. But we don't judge whole religions on just the actions of their whackos. Unless they're Methodists.
10. If I should ever, God forbid, perish in a terrorist incident, and you or some nutty group uses my death as your justification to attack or discriminate against anyone in my name, I will come back and haunt you worse than Linda Blair marrying Freddy Krueger and moving into your bedroom to spawn Chucky. John Lennon was right when he asked us to imagine a world with "nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too." I heard Deepak Chopra this week say that "God gave humans the truth, and the devil came and he said, 'Let's give it a name and call it religion.' " But John Adams said it best when he wrote a sort of letter to the future (which he called "Posterity"): "Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it." I'm guessing ol' John Adams is up there repenting nonstop right now.
Friends, we all have a responsibility NOW to make sure that Muslim community center gets built. Once again, 70% of the country (the same number that initially supported the Iraq War) is on the wrong side and want the "mosque" moved. Enormous pressure has been put on the Imam to stop his project. We have to turn this thing around. Are we going to let the bullies and thugs win another one? Aren't you fed up by now? When would be a good time to take our country back from the haters?
I say right now. Let's each of us make a statement by donating to the building of this community center! It's a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and you can donate a dollar or ten dollars (or more) right now through a secure pay pal account by clicking here. I will personally match the first $10,000 raised (forward your PayPal receipt to If each one of you reading this blog/email donated just a couple of dollars, that would give the center over $6 million, more than what Donald Trump has offered to buy the Imam out. C'mon everyone, let's pitch in and help those who are being debased for simply wanting to do something good. We could all make a huge statement of love on this solemn day.
I lost a co-worker on 9/11. I write this today in his memory.
"The man who speaks of the enemy / Is the enemy himself."
                                                                        -- Bertolt Brecht

Thursday, September 9, 2010

1939 Saturday Evening Post

This is an Oldsmobile ad from the August 5, 1939 Saturday Evening Post.  The Post used to be a quality weekly magazine and featured many famous authors, cartoonists and illustrators.  They are probably best remembered as a promoter of Norman Rockwell who did many wonderful covers for them each year.   As a matter of fact, this issue has a Rockwell cover too, but it is not the editorial content I am blogging about here.  

As you may remember I am the world's #2 worst Packrat (these days we are called Hoarders).  I say #2 because I always figure there must be someone somewhere who is even worse than I am.   Recently when I glimpsed a featured Hoarder on the TV show of the same name I was appalled to see that I am actually nuthin' compared to a real live reality show fact my mediocre little messes, junkpiles and inexplicable collections are so feeble by comparison as to make me feel ashamed that I use the word to describe myself.  

However, I was assiduously going through a carton of stuff I have saved since my Dad died with the hope that I could bring myself to find at least one scrap that I could make my clutching fingers dispose of and I found the Post.  When I saw the date I showed it to Mickey and he wanted to look through it before I tossed it out.  He is the one who found this incredible ad for the new 1940 Oldsmobile with the price starting at $777.  Yep, that is seven hundred and seventy-seven dollars, folks.  But don't forget, the minimum wage in those days was probably 35 cents an hour.  I know when I had my first job after school during high school....probably was 40 cents an hour and I was thrilled to pieces to take home $8.00 a week for after school and Saturdays. ( During the summer when I could work full time it was the grand sum of $16.00 a week and I felt rich as Midas.)

Anyway, I am having the devil of a time getting my sticky fingers to let go of  this magazine and it occurred to me that someone out there might want to look through it so I'm making an offer with no strings.  I will be thrilled to mail this rare item  free to anyone who might like to have it  (first come first served).  Now, don't expect mint condition......some of the pages are loose and the edges of some are tattered, but the content is legible and will amaze the hell out of you.  And,  if no one wants it I will not be fact it will make it easier for me to toss it away.   

Of course, if  I get one or more takers it will simply validate my theory that everything that I have saved IS valuable and that there is probably someone in the world that would be happy to have it, but I will not let that corrupt my newly found drive to lighten my load.  Feel free to respond promptly my dears........... going, going, gone.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

OK,OK I took some photos......

I am a bit tentative about posting these because I shot them this morning and did a very quick and sloppy job of editing in my eagerness to get some of them blogified..  I love taking photos but am very insecure about my camera skills.  However, you, my beloved readers,  actually demanded visual evidence of my recent activities and the effing chest that nearly ruined my life, not to mention my hip joints, knee joints and assorted spinal connectors. 

I am also uneasy that I may have generated unrealistic expectations and that you will view my exhibits with jaded glances and remark something derrogatory like, "Patuiy" or the ever reliable "WTF".   Worse yet,  you will scribble "unreliable" in the margins of my profile.   However, I have learned that Blogging is not for Cowards......for fools, certainly, but not for the faint-of-heart so here goes.

Here is the highly touted and much dragged hither and yon Chest  with painting by Peggy Nagel and Mexican Glass vase.  Please forgive the intrusive wires....I plan to do something about them soon.  I also intend to remove or camouflage various bits of mess around the bottom edges.  By the way, the software seems to have cropped off the left side of this photo, but if you  click on it you can see it in its entirety.

This is the Mexican china cabinet which houses my collection of ceramics from my world travels.  The plates hanging above the cabinet are all from Turkey. The rest of the contents are from Greece, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Indonesia, Mexico and even California.

The large Majolica plate on the top shelf is from Taormina, Sicily.
The vase in front of it is from Ravello, Italy above the Amalfi Coast across from the Isle of Capri.  A glorious part of the world....I am salivating as I recall that wonderful trip.  Wish I could send you all there for a week of R and R.  Nah, maybe would all hate me when you had to come back to wherever you were.....

Believe it or not, all of these were brought back by me in my suitcase. (a few at a time, of course)   My method is to wrap the delicacy in all my dirty clothes and be sure that it is centered in the case and protected on all sides.  Amazingly, I have never had a about being lucky .......

This is the cabinet that used to live where new Bombay Chest now resides.  This is the one that contained over 250 bank statements complete with checks going back to took poor Micky more than 4 days to shred all the ones I scuttled.  I think I kept 2 years worth, just in case.  (well...once the IRS demanded that I produce a copy of a check I had sent in with my income tax and I was able to do it so don't laugh too loud)

It appears that Gussie has found a new favorite place to recline (totally ruining my careful arrangement of objects) and Winnie also seems to like it where it is now.  I am sorry I could only get half of Winnie into the shot.  I also notice that I only got half of Gertie as well.  In case I never mentioned it, my menagerie also includes a dog....well, sort of.  My cousins sent me the most charming doggie sculpture by an artist near their home in Long Island, NY.....I will try to get a full view of it and post it in its entirety some day.

To end on a slightly different note,  this is just one of the many abominable piles of flotsam and jetsom which occupies most of my abode now that everything has been uprooted for relocating.  We will all  now pause to say a silent prayer for my strength and resolve to hold out during that infernal process.

Well, I hope y'all have enjoyed the picture show.  I will post more pics bye and bye.  I will go away now and put cold cloths on my forehead.