Sunday, February 28, 2010

Someone Said There Are No Coincidences

This is meant to be just a quickie....I wanted to pass on this idea while it was still hot in my brain and before I lapsed into that dreadful...."hmmm, what did I come in here for" condition that seems to come upon me from time to time these days.

There are some life lessons that are so powerful they seem to bubble up in minds scattered all over the place.  I have always felt that there are a certain number of important truths we are meant to learn in our lifetime.......we learn them not always in the same order and some of us don't learn many of them at all.   In fact, I believe there are too many to be learned in one lifetime.   My hope has been that we get other chances to learn the ones we missed this time around, but I guess  all we can do is the best we can.

Anyway, one of life's secrets came to me in a blinding flash during one of my most miserable times...... that that there are two words or concepts that can make the difference between a life of relative joy and one of pain and misery........very simply the ideas of ACCEPT and LET GO ALREADY.  Sounds easy.....NOT.....but, oh my, the difference it makes when you finally get it.  In fact, even knowing that it is the secret to happiness doesn't mean you can always keep a firm grip on has the habit of being elusive sometimes until you can unclench your teeth and your fingers and allow some long clutched but faulty idea to drop from your clawed fingers.  Then the relief can set in again.

Affirming the same idea, I found a wonderful quote on another blog today.......the writer is a gal named Lyn and her blog is called "Minny Blue".  Here is the quote:

               "Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past".

Which brings back the memory of my Eureka moment above and that of a friend who had hers around the same time.    She was also a gal named Lynn (actually Marlyn), a childhood friend,  lost for years and then re-encountered when we were in our 30's.  The whole story about that will make a blog of its own, but that is for another time.  We were sitting in my studio and comparing notes on the parts of our lives that had transpired while we were out of touch and she looked me piercingly in the eye and said,

     " Don't laugh but my biggest insight during the time I was in Therapy was when I finally realized and accepted that I would never have a Happy Childhood."

I didn't laugh.......I just got up and hugged her. 

The photo was taken on
my 13th Birthday in the back yard
of our home in Philly.  This was my
childhood gang of BFF's but the only
relevant ones are the girl 3rd from the right, back row....that is Marlyn whom I quote above.  For the record, I am  the pudge seated in the center of the front row.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Family Stuff

I am going to try to bring forth from my files a newly scanned document using my new Canon Printer (which seems to have been a lucky find, so far at least).  (see previous blog for my rant about printer malfunctions.)

This is a handwritten record of Sarah and Louis  Blumenthal's childrens' birthdays plus the awesome statement: "1890 May 27 - Came to America".  My Grandma Mamie wrote it and I found it in an old purse of hers when I was tidying things up after she left us at the ripe age of 95.  In examining the birthdays I came to the conclusion that my great grandparents must have only had sex in either May or August of any given year since all their children seem to have been born either in May or in February.  Of course, that is purely idle speculation.

If they all came here together, then the boys were grown men or teen-agers and the girls were still tender sprouts of 10 and 7.

On the right are the Matriarch and Patriarch, Sarah and Louis Blumenthal.  I think these must have been taken in Philadelphia after the family came to America from somewhere in Russia.  I am just guessing but I would think they are probably in their 50's or 60's here.  I love these photos.

The photo below appears to have been taken in the kitchen, probably in a house in the neighborhood called Strawberry Mansion......I think it was near the Art Museum and the River Drive..........Great Grandpa has hand resting on what looks to me like a pillow...I suspect he may have had a stroke........of course it could also be a small table top....I can't really tell for sure.  (my Mamma always talked about living on Euclid Avenue in Strawberry Mansion and I would guess that most of the family members had houses in the same neighborhood.  I think they probably all moved to West Philadelphia around the same time too..... My Mamma and Grandparents to 6106 Christian Street and Aunt Jenny and family including Sarah and Louis to 62nd and Christian Street.  At this point I think my Mom was in High School (Girls High) and I suspect that Sarah and Louis needed to be taken care of so Aunt Jenny volunteered to have them live with her and Uncle Bill.  I think Bud was probably a toddler and Lew was not yet born.  He was born about the same time that Great Grandpa died.

Great Grandma lived well into her 90's and was an invalid devotedly cared for by the blessed Aunt Jenny.
She was still alive when I was born and when I was a toddler I remember my Mamma taking me by the hand and walking me up the street to visit her in the back bedroom of Aunt Jenny's house........she was bedridden, but still knew who I was and used to shoo me to the windowsill where there was a box of sugar cubes for me to help myself to a sweet treat.  I remember thinking that she must have been a gazillion years old........tiny, frail wrinkled and wizened but with a sweet smile still.

I do not know what business my Great Grandpa was in......I think it may have been Retail in some way.  I have been told that they were quite well off until the Depression hit in 1929 and then they were much poorer.  Uncle Harry was at this point in New Bedford Mass. with a department store called Bloomingdale's.  (He changed his name to Bloomingdale when he moved to New England probably because Jews were not particularly welcome there........and, when he married he chose a lovely Goy.....a wonderful lady named Essie who was a fine addition to our family regardless of religion.)

Uncle Barney was a Cutter in the Fur and Menswear  business....I think he may have even been a pattern maker.  I have no idea what Uncle William did for a living nor Uncle Jake who had moved to New York and was rarely seen.

All of the above is for benefit of my cousins and is probably boring the hell out of anyone who is not interested in the family history.  However, to jazz things up a bit I will mention that the black sheep of the family came from Uncle Jake and His wife (also a Sarah, I believe).....besides their daughters Ruth and Sylvia they had a son named Marcus who apparently had what they called light or sticky fingers.  I used to hear whispered stories of rings and various pieces of jewelry disappearing after Marcus had visited and, apparently after he honed his skills with practice on the family he took his nimble fingers elsewhere to work on richer strangers and ended up in jail for theft...(the family, of course, would never report him to the police).....I do not know if it was of the petty variety or Grand Larceny but he provided a bit of titillation for sure.  Every family needs a jailbird, I figure and I am grateful to Marcus for the whispered stories I used to overhear while I was hiding under the kitchen table to eavesdrop when my aunts visited us.  The rest of the family were Heart-warming Chicken Soup........Marcus was the spicy Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Rating System for Absolutely Everything Electronic

In skipping merrily around the blogosphere I notice that many bloggers are impelled to vent their spleens via their blogs........there is quite a bit of ranting and raving going on and I think that is possibly a good thing.  The human race desperately needs an outlet for its rage that doesn't harm the environment, animals or, I guess, humans.    And on a more personal level, I, particularly, need an outlet for my rage because, not having a husband or children to take things out on, and not wanting to harm my precious kitties, I seriously require some way to keep from bursting a blood vessel in my brain and having a stroke or a seizure.

I say this because I am "mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more!"   Yeah, yeah, so what are my options???  Screaming it out the window does not seem to satisfy me any more, and, sadly, each day that passes brings more insults and blows to my delicate what's a poor infuriated person to do?
I am proposing a new rating system to be appended to the price and description of just about everything even remotely electronic...........and I am calling it the FFFF rating..  That stands for the Fucking Fear and Frustration Factor. (the fear part comes from the fear that if you can't immediately get your hands around the throat of the imbecile responsible the top of your head is going to blow off)   No longer can manufacturers hide behind low prices or 4 Star ratings.  Once it is revealed how much fear and frustration their products inflict on us they may have to consider changing their miserable ways.  An item that is tagged with an FFFF rating might just as well be branded as loaded with lead, full of the Ebola virus and friendly to Hamas and the Taliban.

What brought this particular rant on is the fact that after several years of faithful and sterling service my Dell 942 All-InOne Printer lost a piece of its color cartridge bracket and, though it continued to print in black I got fed up with having to give it permission to do so every time I hit "Print".  All my fixit methods failed and I innocently decided I would spring for a new one.  Only trouble with that approach is that they don't MAKE the 942 any more and I was given a choice of bigger, bulkier more complicated units, none of which appealed to me in the least.  In desperation I picked the one that seemed the simplest (and the least expensive) and ordered it.  After receiving and installing it I quickly discovered that I had purchased a large mechanized package of horse dung.  The control panel was so complex I could barely figure out which button to push in which sequence, the screens which offered me various options were poor and the options were even worse.  And, even the simplest print request took forever for the order to be translated into Swahili or something and forwarded to the various elements which required goosing to cause the page to actually be printed. In addition. about every 3rd request to Print caused a snotty message telling me that my ink cartridges were not properly installed and I should immediately reinstall them. My heart was heavy, I can tell you, when I realized what I had lost........much like the stalwart lad your young foolish self  dumped because he was a bit unexciting and whom you longed for wistfully for the rest of your life.

However, the unkindest cut of all came when, after just a brief time of usage I noticed that my printed pages were becoming paler and paler till they finally consisted of nothing but a few blue streaks. Both ink cartridges had run out in a mere twinkling.   Grrrrr.  Sigh.  Time to get out the ink refill kits and the rubber gloves.  For years now I have been refilling my ink cartridges from a DIY kit and have been hugely successful, thereby saving at least a gazillion dollars if not more.   (One of the things which makes me totally livid with rage is the ridiculous price of those dare they ?!!!)  Snapping the refilled cartridges back into their brackets I attempted to print a test page only to be advised by some supercillious piece of software that the cartridges were no longer virgins and were unacceptable to this persnickety piece of junk daring to call itself a Printer. 

I have been stewing about this situation for several days trying to decide what to do.  Because I hate this unit with a passion I decided there was no use spending the small fortune to buy new cartridges.....I would just as  soon put the money toward  a new unit.  Two days of research on my computer led to little enlightenment......I read the user reviews of all printers in my price range and found that even the ones who got mostly rave reviews also got a few pans which indicated the presence of quite a few faulty Lemon-y machines out there.  Finally in desperation I settled on a Canon AO1 from Walmart ....on Huge Special.....which hardly cost more than the price of replacement cartridges.....I may live to rue the day, but I figured it was worth a try.  Hardly anything can be worse than the Dell that I am relegating to the trash barrel..........did you all get that....
                     Dell V515w ........ rating FFFF on Lois' Fucking Fear and Frustration Factor scale.

Take that you rotten manufacturers of shameful, ridiculous  garbage !!

There.....I think I feel better now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Family Photos and Some Boring Details

I promised to put some of my precious collection of family photos into my blog and I am doing my best to keep that promise.  Trouble is, my photo files are so disorganized that I can't find anything, but I was lucky today and found at least one or two pics that I want to share.

The family starts with my Great Grandma and Great Grandpa, Sarah and Louis Blumenthal.  I will try to copy their pics into my photo file later today.

Meanwhile, this is one of my favorites ......a photo of the 3 young Blumenthal daughters at the beach in Atlantic City.

Left to right are Aunt Jenny,  my Grandma, May (Mamie) and  Aunt Mary.  Married they became Jenny Kapnek, Mamie Kauffman and Mary
Goldman.  (This is so that my young cousins on the Kapnek and Goldman sides can identify their Grandmas or Great Grandmas.)

Aren't those outfits smashing?  I was hoping to add another pic, but I am having trouble placing it under this image so I think I will simply save it for another posting.  Incidentally, the two older aunts were twins, but during Aunt Jenny's lifetime it was forbidden to mention that because she insisted that she was younger than Aunt Mary.    I think that was because she was older than her husband (Uncle Bill).  Aunt Mary, on the other hand, didn't give a damn about age but she was a good sister so she went along with the harmless ruse. 

Incidentally, the girls were not the only children of Sarah and Louis......there were four surviving boys, Jake, Harry, William and Barney, all older than the girls, and it was an incredibly close knit family.  They all lived near each other in the same West Philly neighborhood and were constantly in touch and appearing in each others homes to gossip or help.  No, that is not quite accurate.....Jake moved to New York City at a young age and Harry moved to Massachusets, changed his name to Bloomingdale and established a department store in New Bedford.  (I would love to be able to say he was the begining of Bloomingdale's of today, but I doubt if that is true.....just a coincidence I fear)    Of the 7, only Jake did not visit fact I never met him...... but one of his daughters, (Ruthie, of the chicken soup which got strained down the drain)  picked up the flag and was very close to the rest of fact, when my parents and I moved to California,  Ruth was the only person we knew here and the only family out here.  Her presence saved my Mamma and me from dying of Family Deprivation.

This generation of the family was one of the most potent forces in my life because I realized at a very early age that they were an amazing entity and I felt so lucky to be a part of it.  They really CARED about each other and the spirit and connection among them was so strong that you felt enclosed in a warm, tender, healing embrace just by being with them and observing their love for each other and for all the family members, even the young sprouts.........I can still feel the warmth to this day even though it is over 40 years since I have seen any of them. (they are all, of course, long gone)

What a fantastic inheritance ! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Excuse for Blogging

Now you must understand, this whole blog thing was meant to be more than a casual and frivolous indulgence....when originally considered it was intended as a kind of legacy to describe and explain the older generations of the family to the younger ones and, in another way, my only chance at a kind half-assed of immortality.

Should any of the newly born  (my youngest cousin, Noa Belle) or even so far unborn ever ask, "Who was cousin Lois?", these fragments of musings and occasional  bits of family history  (if preserved) will, I hope, be able to provide a somewhat 3 dimensional flesh and blood picture of me, the family worshiper, booster, cheerleader, defender, historian and the Family Oddball  (if I do say so myself). It is intended also to provide some real idea of who the older generations were and what they were like as real people, not just names and funny old photos.  (I will produce some of the funny old photos in due time. and lots of narrative too, I promise.)

The very sad fact is that I am the last of my generation and sadder yet is the fact that I have no offspring so I am the end of this particular branch of the family.  (When I chose to not have any children I did not think about those ramifications....though I know I could never have managed to raise a child just for the purpose of continuing the gene pool.  And the choice was not purely selfish....I was definitely considering the well being of the potential  child as well.   I joke that never having been able to be a child I have no basis for relating to them now.....I hope that is not too off-putting to my readers......I am not an evil person....I do not HARM   children.....I just can't bring myself have anything to do with them until they are at least about 25, self supporting, with decent table manners and in full comand of language and particularly of logic. 

If that be a character flaw, so be it.  I try to make up for it by being extra kind to the environment, all  animals and some adults.  You must admit that a person who can clean 6 kitty boxes daily while singing "Sunny Side of the Street" cannot be all bad.

As I often promise at the end of  my emails...........More Later.

Just Your Every Day Front Door.....NOT

In an effort to brighten up my offerings with a picture or two I have gone into my disorganized files to see what I could find and, sadly, I have not been able to find any of the smashing photos I was looking for, so I finally settled on these two which you must admit are
not your every day photos.
In fact, I defy you to come up
with another blog displaying pics
of a front door.   Oh, hell...I guess there very well may be one somewhere.  But not like mine!!
This happens to be what I consider one of my greatest design     achievements.  I have mentioned in an earlier blog my inability to conquer my character flaw of                  Packratting.This is a prime example of same along with a demonstration of what can be achieved by putting  together a bunch of disparate collectibles and salvaged items into a unique production.   By the way, I am totally at a loss to control the placement of the type in this effort........I do not know where my next word will fall and it is extremely disconcerting so forgive me if I end up with a page that is an utter horror.                                                                

Anyway, the story that goes with these illustrations is that when I was having a bit of remodelling done on my beloved house I decided that I wanted a front door that I could see out of rather than just a lovely slab of wood.  That the balance of the wall in which the door was set consisted mostly of glass was beside the point.
I started  to cast my mind over items that were living in my garage just waiting to be resurrected into some thing of beauty and remembered a set of wooden shutters that I had built to close off a door to my living room  in  an old apartment.  When I dragged them out and dusted them off I found that parts of them     would  do wonderfully well but there was not enough to make a complete door so I did what any red-blooded  packrat would do....I went to Ebay and found a few wonderful wrought  iron items to complement my fragments and came up with what you see above.   I have rarely been so happy with one of my revamped creations and folks have been known to come from blocks around to view my magnificent effort.    

Of course things like this are what make it all the more difficult to give up packratting....just one success can set you back months or years in your efforts to break a                                                                                bad  habit.   Sigh.                                                              .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No, No. Don't Take Back My Award

I just realized that I have one more task to complete in order to qualify for the Bloggers list or describe 7 things about myself that have not already been revealed.  (is it possible that I have any secrets left??)  Let me peer into the barrel and scratch around a bit at the bottom.

1.  In my lifetime I have probably lost about 500 pounds. (no not all at once...just the same 40 lbs. over and over and over again).
2. One unfulfilled dream of mine was to live for a while in England, France or Italy.
3. Another one was to go to New York City, become a huge success at something or other and live in Manhattan.
4. My very first serious boyfriend asked me to marry him and then jilted me practically at the altar.......Tenks Gott !!!!  ( Though it was a tough blow to take at the time I am grateful to him to this day)
5. I would sell my body or even kill for Red Licorice Twizzlers.
6. When I had to replace my beloved Toyota Camry after 18 years I went for a jazzy red Saturn Ion with a spoiler and I love the funny looks I get in it.
7. When I was about 12 I suddenly realized to my horror that I would soon be too old to roller skate in the street and cried for 3 nites.  (they didn't have rinks in those days and by your teens your roller skating days were over.)

Hmmmmm, what a strange assortment of confessions.  I can hardly wait to see some comments about them.
C'mon you guys.

Persian Proverb and other Quote References

I recently read a quote which, in my usual fashion, I can't remember precisely, nor can I remember where I saw it.......(yes, I think I can remember my name, but don't ask me to come up with it too swiftly, please.)

However, I think it dealt with the fact that one should try to be aware of what you know and what you don't know which reminded me of one of my own favorite quotes.  It was an anonymous Persian Proverb and it smote me between the eyes the first time I encountered it.

                HE WHO KNOWS NOT
                            AND KNOWS NOT THAT HE KNOWS NOT
                                       IS A FOOL -
                                                             SHUN HIM.

                HE WHO KNOWS NOT
                           AND KNOWS THAT HE KNOWS NOT
                                       IS A CHILD - 
                                                            TEACH HIM.

               HE WHO KNOWS
                          AND KNOWS NOT THAT HE KNOWS          
                                      IS ASLEEP -
                                                             WAKE HIM.

               HE WHO KNOWS
                           AND KNOWS THAT HE KNOWS
                                        IS WISE -
                                                              FOLLOW HIM. still knocks me out.  Years ago I lettered it calligraphically over a small water color I had done and it has been hanging on my bathroom wall ever since.  Sadly I have encountered many an example of the "He-Who #1" in my lifetime........and probably #2 as well (even though I am known  not to have much to do with children) , but  I am still looking for a real, well rounded #4. Needless to say, I have never been able to figure out how to identify a #3.

And while on the subject of quotes, I must report that my incredible British pal, St. Anne of Devon, has come up with the author of one of my favorite quotes, one  that I mentioned in an earlier blog......I don't know how she did it, but I am ever so grateful and am thrilled to be able to give credit where credit is due.

"Man is born protesting, lives complaining and dies disappointed."  
                                                                                                                                      Thomas Fuller

Quotes are great for can fill an entire blog using other peoples' words embroidered all around with a just a few of your own.  What more could a tired blogger ask?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Loose Ends

I am still trying to cope with the requirements for having been nominated "Beautiful Blogger" by CatLadyLarew.  Before I continue I must apologize to CatLady for having misspelled her name these past many George, I think I've got it is Larew not Larue!

Next I must see if I can figure out how to link to her blog......I wonder what will happen if I click on the word
"Link"  in the goes.

Ah, so!  Making progress.  One of the stipulations was that I thank my benefactor and I have already done that in an earlier blog, but in a case like this repetition does no harm so thank you again, CatLady, for your kind words and actions.

Next I think I am supposed to nominate 7 of my favorite bloggers for the award and that will not be easy because I have discovered so many incredibly talented and interesting people during this adventure.  However, I will give it a go and will honor some of my other favorites next time I get the chance.
1. I.B. Grumpy           Dr. Grumpy In The House
2. Kelly                      Kelly's Kvetch Of the Day
3. Nathan (?)              Mr. London Street
4. Pearl                       Pearl, Why, You Little....
5. Anna                       Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder
6.     ?                         UberGrumpy
7. Alan                        News From Nowhere

I believe that now my final obligation is to notify my "winners" of their prize.  That will be a pleasure.

This highlight to my short blogging career has been a fascinating experience.  I actually feel like I am a part of a greater entity and it is wonderful.  For the first time in my life I think I have found a group to which I am happy to "belong".  Never was a joiner till now......see, take note all you young 'uns....... you are never too old for new thrills and adventures.  Thank you fellow bloggers....I love ya all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ta Dah !!

Ah, I have just remembered how to get images onto my blog and have
successfully managed to coax the beautiful blogger award onto the page.

Isn't it loverly? 

I am still quite overcome.

Thanks again, CatLadyLarue

P.S to "Who?? Me??"

In my haste to go and put cold cloths on my head after the confusion and exhilaration of being nominated for a blogging award, I failed to post the most important thing about the event......the blogsite of my wonderful benefactor, CatLadyLarue. Without further ado, here it is and, by all means rush, do not walk, to sample her delightful musings.

Who??? Me???

I am flabbergasted! The wonderful CatLady Larue has nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Not only am I flabbergasted but I am nonplussed.

I know from reading her blog that there is a whole plethora of things I have to do in order to successfully accept this honor....the only one I am fairly sure I know how to do is to thank CatLady from the bottom of my heart. As for linking......If I type "consider yourself linked" will that perform the link step?? I can see I need lots of guidance about this.....among many other things.

For instance, I have been trying to copy the pic of the award and plunk it down here for all to see but after a hundred or so failed attempts I think I will just give up for the moment and go put cold cloths on my forehead.

Sometimes I think I am getting the knack of using this here computer thingy and other times I can see I have been deluding myself. However, I am still basking in the glow of being chosen for an award, even if, a lot of the time, I really don't know what the hell I am doing.

Huzzah, CatLady, you are a darling!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

more kitchen faux pas

When I finished up my elegy on chicken soup the other day I realized that I had several other choice bits of nonsense dealing with food and cooking that I could have included had my brain been working properly.  (recent attacks of Bloggers' Brain, Pollyannaism  and Depression had rendered  my instrument feeble and impaired, don't forget).

Before I go rambling onward I guess I should confess that I consider Food to be a sacred Gift of the Gods fact it is eligible to be worshiped all on its own as far as I am concerned.   My earliest memory deals with the incredible power of food and the impact that it has had on my life.  I remember reclining in a toddler size canvas chair in the kitchen back in West Philadelphia riddled with anxiety about life and what my crazy father would do next and what might be expected of me as a result of same.  I must have been somewhere around 2 (and yes, I thought those kinds of thoughts at that age) and I was waiting for my afternoon bottle.  When my Mother handed it to me and I applied it to my mouth my entire being was suffused with a warm glow, every muscle relaxed and for a few wonderful moments I was floating on a cloud in an azure sky and the world was a beautiful, safe place.  (Many years later I discovered that booze had the same magical properties as milk, not counting the hangover, but that is again another story). 

From that day forward food remained , shall we say......important.  I can remember nearly every memorable meal I have had in my life. especially my very first restaurant meal at about age 6 or 7 at Hackney's in Atlantic City.  Now, you must understand that in those days children did NOT get taken to restaurants except on very rare occasions.  Adults went out to dinner and the kids stayed home with Grandma or Baby Sitter and had meatloaf or mac and cheese and that's just how it was (and, frankly, how I think it should be, but that may be another blog).  However, once we went to the Shore for the weekend there was no one to leave me with so I had to be schlepped along,  hence my ecstatic outing at Hackney's.  And what a virgin experience it was......I had Lobster drowned in butter !  Oy, words fail me.  But I also remember that my father had Lobster Thermidor and my mother opted for Crab Maryland, both of which I was allowed to taste.  My next exalted restaurant meal did not happen for another 5 or 6 years and it was a Chinese Restaurant that my parents frequented, but that will be another blog too.  The simple fact remains that I find food to be true ambrosia, a mood altering, mind boggling, heart soothing and tummy satisfying blessing.  (naturally, I mean when it is decently prepared and particularly when it is exquisitely prepared, though sometimes, just straight out of the box, depending on the urgency of the need for solace.)

Well, all that being said, whatever follows is bound to be anti-climactic, but I wanted to get it established for future reference where food sits in my hierarchy of important things.  Now, back to my reminiscences.  And, since I have blathered on so lavishly I think I will just offer you one tidbit and save the others for a later blog.....don't worry, I promise I will tell all in due time.

When I was in my early teens I began helping Mamma with the cooking.  Mostly I just measured, chopped and stirred but, for some reason I can't recall I was, at some point, assigned the task of making biscuits from scratch all by myself.  And many a batch I made, tender, flaky and crying out for the butter, marmalade or gravy.  It got to the point where I felt I could have made biscuits in my sleep and so, one day when Mamma decided at the last minute that we needed biscuits, I dove into the process on "cruise".......didn't even bother to take out the recipe.  Now, I haven't made biscuits in a gazillion years but I remember that the recipe called for both baking powder and baking soda.  Tearing through my task I assembled all the ingredients, threw them into the bowl, potched the dough and rolled it and cut biscuits like an automaton.  They baked up looking a bit strange but everything appeared hunky-dory until we took the first bite.  I will NOT tell you what my father said.  My Mother just looked at me with a pained, puzzled  expression while I took one taste, gasped, "faugh", and indelicately spat the half masticated morsel onto my plate.  I can't adequately describe the taste, but suffice it to say that it was mostly hugely bitter and to a monstrous degree salty.  As for the other characteristics, I really don't remember.   Badly shaken I went back into the kitchen and pulled out the recipe and examined it and suddenly it dawned on me what I had done.  As I recall, the recipe called for something like 6 teaspoons of baking powder and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of baking as everyone knows, baking soda is Bicarbonate of Soda which is a great cure for indigestion...........I had simply reversed the dosages and provided a built in cure for indigestion in case my bicuits afflicted anyone  with same......  6 teaspoons of Bicarb should certainly cure even the worst case, dontcha think?   That is, if anyone could possibly eat the damned things.  Sigh.

favorite quotes

In perusing other blogs I notice that many of my co-bloggers sprinkle impressive quotes liberally all over their pages to jazz things up a bit.  I must admit I am duly impressed and occasionally a bit intimidated.

I don't know how I could have gotten so far along this blogging trail without mentioning several of my very favorite quotes. 

One of them will probably inspire a whole blog of its own, but I find it one of the most succinct and sad but true expressions of the human condition ever uttered.  The worst part is I haven't a clue who first uttered it and I would so love to be able to give credit.  If anyone knows the author please tell me  However, without further ado, here it is:


The next one was one of many brilliant utterances on a Murphys Law Calendar I once had and what quote number 1 doesn't cover this one does.


Did I hear you call me a misanthrope?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

chicken soup and other kitchen faux pas

Before I even begin to blog I must make a few things perfectly clear.  When it comes to chicken soup there are probably as many recipes as there are practitioners, but the basics remain the puts your chicken in a pot along with celery, onion, carrots and water, toss in some salt and pepper and a sprig of parsley and simmer the hell out of it.........result, ambrosia, Jewish Penicillin, comfort food supreme.  If you needed just chicken broth you would strain the veggies out at the end, but otherwise after an hour or two of simmering you had a gorgeous pot of the real stuff. It should be easy, right?  So how come so many things can go wrong?

For instance, when I was a very little girl I always had my eye out for some goodie I could sneak from the magic spells my Mamma and Grandma were performing around the kitchen.  Often I would find a spoon, carelessly left unmonitored, which had just finished stirring a cake batter or bowl of frosting.  Oh, the delicious joy of it, moreso I think because it was a stolen pleasure.  However, once in a while my gluttony would outpace my caution or critical the time I came upon the monster Stirring Spoon sitting on the drainboard with what appeared to be some unidentified but frothy looking stuff that I took to be a kind of whipped cocoa icing.  It was not till I had devoured most of it that I realized I had made a huge mistake.  "Ugh", I said with trepidation gripping my heart,  "what was this stuff in the spoon?"  My Mother sighed the sigh of all mothers approaching the end of their tether.  "I've told you to ask first, haven't I?", she responded........."your Grandma just finished skimming the fat and scum from the chicken soup and it serves you right."  Not a drop of sympathy didn't kill me but it taught me that chicken soup was not such totally wondrous stuff through its entire its early stages it was a thing to be avoided like the plague.

Tha reminds me of another time my haste caused me to escape death from poisoning by the skin of my teeth.  It doesn't deal with chicken soup but I'll tell it anyway.   You may not believe this, but there was a time on this earth that water was something that came  out of faucets and hoses but never appeared in a bottle that one carried around..  Consequently, I would often come home from school totally parched and rush to the kitchen sink for a drink, sure that I would die of dehydration before I could guzzle down enough water to slake my thirst.  One day my condition was the worst it had ever been and as I staggered with swollen tongue to the sink I noted that the water glass that always sat there was already about a quarter full.   To save time I grabbed it, added a bit more water from the faucet, slogged down the contents and once more was seized with the wave of trepidation that follows one's ingesting of a substance that was not actually what one was expecting.  My mother and I both started talked at the same moment.  "Mamma, what was in this glass on the sink?", I gasped. "Lois, be careful not to use that glass on the sink.....I was saving some Clorox to bleach the drainboard tiles.", my mother warned.  Omigod,omigod....I drank the Clorox.....will I die??? Omigod.  After both of us ran around the kitchen for a while like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off my Mother had a brilliant idea.  We would call Mr. Simkins. my best friend's father who happened to be a pharmacist, to find out if there was an antidote to ward off certain death.  I described the situation to him as best I could, considering I had only a few more minutes to live and he took in every word, interjected a few grunts and paused before answering.  (In fact, afterward I was convinced that the strange choking noises I heard over the line was not phone interference but actually Mr. Simkins trying not to laugh uproariously.)  "Do you have any pain or burning sensation in your mouth, throat or stomach?, he inquired.  When I told him that I did not he sighed and said, "Well, Lois, I guess if you could drink it you can probably digest it."  And so I did, but I burped Clorox for about 6 hours afterward and I can tell you I never want to drink Clorox again.  But, I digress.......back to chicken soup........

When I was young I vividly remember my cousin, Ruth, sitting in our kitchen wringing her hands over a recent culinary disaster.  Now at this moment in time she was no longer a young woman and probably had made at least a half a gazillion pots of chicken soup for her family so it wasn't that she didn't know how.  Apparently she simply lost focus for a few moments, daydreaming about running away to Paris with Clark Gable  or Rudolph Valentino as women were known to fantasy in those days.  With tears in her eyes she told us, "I made a double batch because I wanted a lot of chicken broth for a recipe I wanted to try.  I carried the pot over to the sink and got out my big strainer, poured the whole potful in and then realized I had forgotten to put a container under the strainer.  I didn't know what I had done till I saw the last drop disappearing down the drain.  Omigod, omigod,  do you think I am going crazy??"  It took a good part of the day to convince her that she wasn't going crazy, but it is possible that Alzheimers was beginning to set in (though we had never heard of Alzheimers in those days......the men in the white coats with the strait jackets was what everyone feared.)

Anyway, the other day I went through all the steps to create a huge caldron of chicken soup and when it was simmering properly I came into my study to check my email and perhaps browse through some blogs.......I even brought my cooking timer with me because I have been known to forget pots simmering on the stove till the contents were unrecognizable and certainly inedible. It's a good thing I did because I got lost in cyberspace but when the bell went off I rushed in and checked out the soup......perfect, so I turned it off and scampered back to my browsing. 

Some time later I was overcome with the scent of chicken soup gone wrong and I rushed into the kitchen to see what could possibly be happening.........lifting the lid I peered into a pot that contained not a trace of chicken soup, just an unidentifiable sludge, not quite burned, but certainly reduced to hell and gone.....It seems that what I actually did was turn the burner up to Hi rather than to Off.....sob.  I pray the possums may not notice the slight tinge of scorch.......they are SO forgiving.

Another Flaw Exposed- Oh The Shame Of It

After I finished my most recent blog I realized that, in making light of the attack of Bloggers' Brain from which I was suffering, .....(actually the truth is that I had fallen into a very deep spell of depression from which I am just now emerging)  I had once again relapsed into the dreaded Pollyanna Mode. For those  of you who haven't a clue as to what that is I can only shake my head sadly in recognition of your pitiful  deprivation and do my best to enlighten you.

Pollyana was a poor l'il ol' orphan girl in a novel from the 20's or, perhaps the 30's.  She had the odd habit of never accepting disaster for what it really was and always making it into something for which she could be disgustingly grateful.   i.e.  the most glaring example I recall was early on in her life as she was looking forward to receiving some wonderful Christmas gift from the Church Gift Barrel and when her turn came all that was left was a pair of crutches.  Instead of tearing her hair, rending her flesh and screaming, "Not fair....why me?" and a few choice epithets, she drew the ragged tatters of herself together and bravely opined that she could be Glad, Glad , Glad that she had received the crutches because the wonderful thing was that she didn't NEED them.  She became known as the Glad Girl and was, of course, outwardly admired and probably secretly detested because, how the hell much of that saccharine crap can a small town take without having to find some spacious place for everyone to frow up.  As I remember, I guess that town could actually take a lot of that crap because I think there were a number of sequels and 3quells after the original book.  However, I cannot tell you why or how it happened, but apparently the Glad, Glad, Glad message must have wormed its way into my psyche at a very tender age because I have found myself, at many wretched moments in my life, falling back on a somwhat similar philosophy. 

Often I am not even aware of what I am doing, but when I catch myself at it it always shocks the hell out of me to find myself bravely making brownies out of what is obviously nothing but a pile of bull pucky.   I have always felt that I have been so damned lucky in so many ways that it is shameful of me to protest, rant, rave and wail when things happen to come out not so hunky-dory now and then.  It seems so mean spirited and immature to complain so I find myself resorting to what I call the Pollyanna mode and finding some rather far out reasons to be Glad rather than to let fly with what I consider the perfect response to any disaster.....something I learned from my dear friend Dorothy which has served me well for ever so many utterance perfect for the complex occasion such as when accidentally applying hammer to thumb instead of nail or the simple case of stepping into doggie poo........the exquisitely crafted and  so satisfying phrase, "Oh, Shit, Piss, Fuck !!." 

If Pollyanna had ever known Dorothy, I have a hunch she might never have become known as the Glad Girl, and consequently, neither would I.  So, for the record, even though I may have made light of my plunge into the dark pit of Poor-me-ness what I really meant to say was....Oh, Shit, Piss Fuck !.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Unpublicized Dangers of Blogging

As my loyal followers know, I have been afflicted with a strange blogging paralysis recently which has seriously impeded my ability to blog. Being a neophyte to the Sport I have had no tools to cope with this malady and no understanding of what might be causing my condition.  Today while browsing among other high class blogs trying to get either inspired or enlightened I found a number of fellow souls who have been afflicted with a thing they are all calling Bloggers Brain.  The description of the symptoms are rather ambiguous, but they sound a lot like mine so I unearthed my flogging device from under the couch, where the cats seem to have dragged it, and have been applying it to my plump backside forcing myself to research this situation in order to find a way out.   Hmmmm, flogging for blogging....that was purely accidental...I wish I could say that it was might indicate that the pitiful thinking organ might be reviving a bit.  No such luck, I fear.  Sob.

As far as I can determine, Bloggers' Brain seems to be a dumbing down or damming up or general deconstruction of the mind and, more important, the funny-bone which can leap upon unwary Bloggers at any moment and render them helpless , hapless and blogless.  Well, it is SOME comfort to know that I am not alone in this abominable state, but I am devastated to note that I found lots of company but no solutions.

Damn and phooey is all I can say.  The pursuit of happiness is a breeze compared to the pursuit of about elusive, it does not bear even thinking about because, like Lot's wife, the mere act of casting your gaze back onto the will-o-the-wisp of humor can end up turning you into a pile (yes I know, it was a pillar, wasn't it?) of salt  or, more likely in my case  s..t.

So here I sit, a person who normally can find something to giggle about in the most mundane or unfunny situations,  going through my emails, many of which are prefaced with "LOL's", "this made me laugh",  "really funny" and so forth and finding not one reason to show my dimples......all entries destined for the Delete key immediately, because there is not much worse than finding yourself totally unamused by stuff that is causing everyone else is to wet their bloomers.  (Being an ancient person that particular subject is a bit delicate and will possibly be dealt with in a later blog when my sense of the ridiculous has returned.)  Anyway, I do see a glimmer of some hope in the simple fact that when the word "funny" no longer has any meaning, the words Gripe, Complain, Rant, Rave, Whine, Groan and Growl are still viable options in the blogging world.  So brace yourselves, dear ones,  for what you may have to put up with until humor is revived in this sadly afflicted mind.  You can denounce me, vilify me or even stone me for depriving you of your fun.......just don't abandon me, please.........this sudden stupidity is not really my fault...... blame it on an attack of Bloggers' Brain.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Worst Fears Realized

Ever since I had the flu I have been strangely lacking in the urge to blog.  Each day I think about blogging and decide I am still too weak and frail.  A few times I gingerly pushed the blogging button and not only did nothing emerge, but the damned machine did not even make any protesting noises...nothing but eerie silence.
I have been coddling myself and telling myself that the need and desire (and the ability) will surely return, perhaps by tomorrow, but I fear that the antibiotics may have cured me of more than my fever and congestion........horrors..........could this be how it ends?  Not even with a whimper, but with a cough and a sniffle?  What a bummer.

Friday, February 5, 2010

not plagarism...just admiration

Today I found a wonderful blog written by an 82 year old woman named  Helen to her friend of 60 kind of people, obviously, and she has a multitude of fans..... one of whom wrote the following comment.  It is so much of an "oh, gawd, I wish I had said that" that I simply must pass it on.  I will have to go back and see if I can find the name of the commenter in order to give proper credit.  Ah, the name is "Hillbilly" .....don't know whether it is a male or a female, but my hunch says is is a woman......not the kind of thing a man would think of  doing , I explosions, five alarm fires or mass devastation.....just taking care of things effectively and quietly.
Huzzah, Hillbilly, whoever you are.

Here's the quote:

"A little confession, when I was in Kmart the other day I hid all of Glen Becks books behind other books so that they were not on display. Petty I know, but it made me feel better."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where are all the Commenters ?

One fascinating thing I discovered during my perusal of other people's blogs was the frequency with which the blogger whined and complained about the fact that nobody commented.  Now, this was not true of all of them....many blogs had more comments than content......(I don't quite know what to make of THAT.)  But since I have been guilty of begging and pleading for comments to my blog I was heartened that this loathesome neediness is apparently a common flaw among us bloggers.  I am pretty sure that the Bloggers' Lament is not motivated by the need for fulsome praise as much as a wistful wish for a bit of dialogue, some feedback, even criticism........anything to indicate that someone has paused and tasted before passing through the room.

AND to carry the thought a bit further, apparently the resistance, reluctance and downright stinginess  to comment is somewhat universal among the followers of blogs.  I wish I could understand this rather selfish withholding of any acknowledgement .........the widespread indulgence of taking everything offered as Freebies........the act of gobbling up all of the goodies without so much as offering even a satisfied burp in response.  Sigh.  I guess we must forgive them, for they know not what they do.....or don't do....or, oh, hell, you know what I mean.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I nearly forgot.....during those days when I have been perusing other people's blogs, being too weak and infirm to work much on my own, I made a promise to you to point you toward some of my wonderful discoveries. Without further ado I want to direct your attention to one of the funniest blogs in the world, for sure.    (my opinion, of course)

This gem is written by a young man named Justin, age 29 who claims he simply reports on pearls  of  wisdom and humor which fall from the mouth of his 74 year old father.  I am goggle eyed with admiration and envy and weak with laughter.

If you haven't already discovered this wonder, go forth and enjoy:


You can thank me later.  (and be sure you do....)

Dr. Freudenstearn Will See You Now

Everyone who knows me will tell you that I have theories up the wazoo about everything related to the Sweet Mystery of Life.  I have always been a prodigious ponderer and I have shouted "Eureka" so many times during my life that I feel I have wrested ownership of the phrase away from that Greek who first uttered it. (can't remember his name, but you know who I mean.)  At a certain point in my 40's I felt I had finally figured it all out......everything seemed perfectly clear.........that pinnacle lasted all of about 10 minutes before I detected a few weak spots.  From then on things went downhill rapidly and since that moment the more I have learned the less I feel I know and understand.  Consequently, at my current advanced age I usually feel like I know absolutely nothing for sure, understand life not at all and people and the world in general even less. At least you could say I am not deluding myself.....

  However, I recently have had a few moments of clarity during which a few things seemed to come together to make some sense after all....... At this moment my character flaw as a Hoarder of epic proportions has paid off since I never actually discard any of my theories when they crash and crumble.....just toss them into the Broken Theory Closet in the back of my mind and periodically take them out, ponder them and try to fit some of the pieces together in a new structure...........

Ah, that all sounds so promising, doesn't it?  The only trouble is that, since I first started making these notes  for a new day's blog I have forgotten where I intended to go with this. (!)  I can promise you, no one is more disappointed over this fact than ME.  I was so looking forward eagerly to what fascinating morsel of the truth I was going to reveal.   Oy vey........the trouble with being long winded AND ancient is that lately I sometimes find myself approaching  the end of a sentence having forgotten where the hell I was going when I started it.  Obviously, that curse infects blogs as well as casual conversations.  I wonder if there is any hope for a cure????  Sob. 

Oh, well.....I guess for the time being  I had better put those broken theory fragments back into the closet and restate my current condition as being one in which I don't know anything for sure and understand  life even less so don't look to me to explain anything..  Too bad......just when it looked like true enlightenment might be just around the corner Senior Dementia has to set in.......what a bummer.  To all of you out there who are laughing or trying to conceal the fact that you are laughing, go ahead........laugh.......the day will come when you too will get to the end of the joke and realize you have forgotten the punch line.    And for those of you who aren't laughing but are shifting your fannies uneasily in your chairs with uncomfortable recognition........bless you, my poor dears.......cuddle up a little closer and let's at least all keep warm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When In Doubt, Reconnoiter

I have just spent another exhausting ( and expensive ) week coping with computer troubles and, since I am still recuperating from my bout with the flu I am really a shoddy, mangled mess all in all.  For some reason, in my weakened and uninspired state, I decided to do a bit of investigating of other blogs to see what the vast world of blogging had to offer.  I am overwhelmed and a bit intimidated.......holy moly there are a lot of blogs out there !!  And some of them are even quite good.....lots written by professional writers who not only blog, but give us amateurs tips about the right and wrong ways to do it.  The one tip that I found most useful at this moment was the advice that, when your brain turns to cream of wheat and you can't blog worth a damn you should simply dash off a humble little piece to keep the thing alive.  Great idea !  That is exactly what I am doing herein.  When my strength returns I will hopefully resume my carefree blathering and will even mention a few of my favorite new blogsites but for the time being this poor excuse is all you are going to get from me.  Sorry about that..........migawd......that reminded me of a line from so far out of the past I am not even sure I am remembering it from this lifetime.   When I was very young there was a weekly radio program called "The Easy Aces"......all I am sure of is that it was about a married couple, had considerable humor and my Mother loved it whereas she had no time at all for the much more popular "One Man's Family"....definitely no humor there, just boring melodrama.  Anyway, there was an ongoing saying on the Aces which went something like, "Ya gotta take the bitter with the better".  Out of context it does not have much punch, but it does apply to my followers and the definite up and down-ness of this blog.  In case you didn't know, in cyberland as everywhere else, you takes your chances........