Friday, July 29, 2011

My Blog Title Says It All

Hmmmm.......just when I had reconciled myself to the sad fate of gimping around in pain for the rest of my days due to my bum knee, the logical, organized bully who lives in one corner of me dragged me off to consult with a knee specialist.  While my hip surgeon had been somewhat dubious about my having a knee replacement at my age, this guy pooh poohed that and told me that knee replacements had originally been developed for people in their 80's and 90's who still had enough oomph to want to be mobile and they were so successful that younger and younger people have been taking advantage of them ever since.  That was heartening to hear and I left his office gung-ho to have the surgery in September.

Unfortunately, as soon as I got home and thought about the week in the hospital after surgery with the pain and the relentless physical terrorists and the two weeks in a rehab facility with same  plus the technician who comes each morning at 5 am and drones mournfully, " I have come to take your bloooood" like a paid vampire,  (before I left she had taken almost all of my blooood)..... the coward in me grabbed the reins back and is forcing me to reconsider.  I imagine I will probably still go ahead with it, but I realized I have to finish off a few items before I return to being an invalid for a while.

I have suddenly lost all my enthusiasm and am considering hiding out somewhere under an assumed name.  Unfortunately, I know that my knee is only going to get worse and I am only going to get older so it does seem like it should be done as soon as possible.......shit, piss, fuck! 

What I need is someone who is able to put me in a trance for, say, 3 months and bring me out of said trance as the home visiting therapist departs for the last time........ If any of you have such skills, I will be very interested in talking to you and making tempting offers.  Meanwhile, I cannot vouch for the tone or quality of my will have to visit this site at your own risk. 

Of course, it will be a good time for afghans.........

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aw Shucks......All My Own Work

I have finally summoned up enough courage and energy to take some photos of my afghans and post them for your delight/approval/criticism.  I have been trying for years to shoot proper photos of these things.....for some reason, when you lay them flat they look accurate but bleh.  When you drape them tastefully on a chair they are more interesting, but you cannot really see the whole pattern.  Oh, hell and oh goes. 

Actually, if you will forgive my lack of I took them out of the bags into which they were stuffed I could not help but exclaim to Florence,"Ohmigawd, they are beautiful'......some I did not remember til I saw them.  Definitely feel they were worth the time and the question is, Do I buy a bigger house or just turn the whole thing into closets and move into a hotel?.  Don't forget to click on the ones you really like to see them enlarged.


OK folks........that's a fair sample of what I do when I am ensconced in Crochet Corner.
Now I am thinking of creating a site on  Ebay to see if I can unload any of them before I have to move.

I will definitely need your help doing THAT.                                                     

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I KNOW I Will Probably Regret Publishing This

I have  been playing/struggling with my newest camera today trying desperately to read the instruction booklet online.  So far I can call up the first page of the topic I am interested in but cannot manage to make the pages turn.  Does that make the glass half empty or half full?  I dunno.

I have been experimenting with the features that should enable me to take closeup pix of things like flowers and hummingbirds.....I think I may be on to something because there is one setting which allows for self portraits, and being shameless I turned the camera around and without being able to see what was in the viewfinder snapped this from a distance of about 12 inches.It appears to be a picture of someone I used to know.  I cannot imagine what she is looking so tickled about but one should not question apparent happiness even when it is probably about something as silly as a non-blurry photo.

The only thing I can think of to say is.......I want you to know that those are all my own teeth.

So are the wrinkles and the age spots, but I am delighted that they came out so sharp......I may be on to something here.

Dare I Tell the Truth or Is It Blogger Suicide?

I may regret this till my last day on earth, but I cannot keep it in any longer.  If you love me perhaps you can attribute it to an attack of advanced senility.  And once I have unloaded the thought I am not going to hang around and be pelted by rotten  vegetables, so this will be short and not so sweet.

Like all the other bloggers whom I follow and admire hugely, I have always held Erma Bombeck in the highest of regard.  The epitome of the female humor writer.......the  guru of all of us who struggle through the mud while worshiping the pristine, glowing image on the mountaintop......hell, I think even the male bloggers may feel the same way unless they have replaced Erma with Dave Barry........but that is a different simile (or is it metaphor ) altogether.

What I am trying to say is, I recently ordered 3 or 4 of the Sainted Erma's books thinking I had not read her in years and perhaps a serious submerging of my muse into a bunch of Bombeck might make my blogging sparkle a bit.  The truth is......I am finding myself very disappointed!  There, I have uttered the words.  You may stone me now.

What I am going to say next is even more sacreligious.........I do believe that some of my favorite bloggers are better reads than dear Erma.    Now I must go and sit by the window to await the arrival of either the Mad bomber, the Death Squad or the Wagon from the Funny Farm.  Farewell all.....remember me as I was, not as I am now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Two Cats Worth of Lo

I am feeling so lazy today I decided to just plop a few photos on the page for your entertainment. Yeah, yeh.
Anytime I get inspired to blog pictorially it generally ends up with my head bloody and bowed.  Today is no exception.....but I do believe I have managed to upload a photo taken of the Stearns family last month.  It shows us in the wonderful recliner that I practically live in when I am not sitting in front of the computer.

And speaking of the computer......,mine is having the incredible effrontery to tell me that I have misspelled my the hell does this machine know that my father changed the spelling from
Stern to Stearns????  I will never understand these infernal appliances.......

Well, as I was saying, from left to right you should be able to make out Lo in her favorite position (horizontal).  Perched on my boobs is Winnie the tortie and sprawled on my abdomen and thighs is Gussie, the eternal conversaationalist.  This is one of the very few times they both have claimed territory on me at the same time and have positioned themselves so that I can manage to pet both of them without getting a hernia.  This is also the part of my vast estate that I call crochet corner, and if I am not mistaken, I believe there is an afghan or two behind my head, stuffed into the kibble basket.  One of these days I will take some photos of the afghans which do them justice and will publish the pics so I can prove that something productive is being accomplished as I loll about watching the telly and performing abominable acts like forcing cats to purr.

Another photo I want to show you is of the amazing red trumpet vine which grows outside of my kitchen window....can you blame me for enjoying washing dishes with this magnificent thing to observe while I watch the hummingbird floorshow?

 I planted this vine 2 or 3 years ago and it has thrilled me with its display every year since.  It now stretches
along the fence and has migrated as far as the garden shed in the back yard.  Oddly enough, this is supposed to be a hummingbird favorite, but since I installed the 6 feeders outside the kitchen the birds seem to prefer my homemade nectar.......I make it really flower can really compete.

The final photo is one I tried to take close up and I fear I did not use the zoom shouldn't be that blurry.....Oh well.....I had better go back and read the instruction booklet yet another time. 

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my feeble efforts.  I WILL try to do better.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brain Dead But Scavenging Madly

 Everyone else is doing it so why should I not blame everything on the heat?  (Even though in my case it is a beloved house has A/C and, if a bead of sweat should ever have the nerve to develop on my brow, I can rip off my sleep shirt.....which has become my live-in shirt......and plop myself into the pool.  However, I feel the need to blame something for the fact that my blabbity bloggyness has diminished to a paltry trickle. 

I just checked my notes and found a few items which, at the time, I felt were worthy of they hardly elicited a twitch of the lip, but, hell, what do I know?  Maybe someone out there will be amused or enraged or inspired to rant.  I feel I should show that I have good intentions if nothing else.

At least I have graduated from writing ideas on tiny scraps of paper and tucking them in various corners of the table or under the laptop or in my use following Sarah Palin's brilliant ploy of writing things on my hand.......unfortunately, unless used at once, such notes wash off.  Consequently I have created a Blog Draft file where I can store fragments of ideas.  Now, I have something new to worry about......the day my fumble-fingers accidentally hit the Publish button instead of the Save and I post a mess of garbage that only I can interpret or translate.  Anyway, my darlings, consider this the Tapas of Blogdom........a menu with no real nourishment but with lots of teasing appetizers.

When I am really desperate I can always toss out a few favorite quotes.

This is a gem by one of my favorite bloggers......Pearl at
Pearl why you little......

"You see, while not as old as I hope to become, I am no longer as young as I was."     Oh,my...... Yeah!

Then there is one that stuck in my mind after I forgot who thought it up.  Sorry I cannot give credit but I acknowledge their brilliance.

"There is no one in the world who needs a mink coat other than a Mink.

And one of my favorites from a Murphy's Law Calendar some years back......this seems to be particularly poignant and  true the older one gets.

"Nothing matters very much and hardly anything matters at all."


And now I am going to follow my beloved cousin Ken's advice and confess to an escapade of a few years back which always makes me laugh and beam with pride even now as one of the weirdest stunts I ever pulled off.  I have a funny feeling that I already blogged about this, but I have no intention of reading back through hundreds of these things to find it.......even though I must confess that sometimes I do enjoy reading some of my old blogs........I wonder if any of you other bloggers have the same strange experience.....sometimes when I read an old blog I do not recognize it as MINE!  I swear with all humility that I find myself giggling over the words and wishing I could write like that.  OY.....I am afraid to pursue that thought so I will just leave it at that. 

This subject, by the way, is sort of timely since I just recently babbled of my experiences at getting my Driver's License renewed and this tells of the first time I had to come up with a brilliant solution to fooling the public.

Anyway, a number of years back when I first began to have real problems with my left eye, my Drivers' License was about to expire and I doubted if I could read the eye chart with the bad eye so extreme measures were called for.  (at that time I did not know that they would give you a license,albeit grudgingly, with just one good eye.  I made several tours of the premises of the DMV casually pretending to be there for some worthy purpose while having dastardly intentions.  When I discovered that all of the eye charts which were on display at many locations contained the same series of letters I had one of my flashes of genius.  If I could somehow capture the details of one set of the charts and could memorize them it didn't matter to which window they sent me.....there was hope after all.   (Incidentally this was way before the era of digital cameras and especially cameras in telephones so I did not feel as if I could march in and just shoot 3 or 4 photos with my old flash camera.  Instead I did a bit of research and slunk off with a plan.  

I  returned on a Sunday morning when the office was closed and the parking lot nearly empty with my best pair of binoculars and a notebook.  I marched up to the door that had a huge mail slot about 18 inches of the ground, got down on my knees. shoved the binoculars thru the slot and zeroed in on the closest set of eye charts whereupon I proceeded to copy them into my notebook.  When I finished I did a little dance of triumph, totally confounding a young couple and their offspring who had parked near me in the lot in order to go to a restaurant across the street......I think they were already confounded by the binoculars in the mail slot maneuver......the dance was just icing on the cake.  They put their arms  protectively around the kids as I passed by and watched me with grave suspicion till I got I my car and drove away.  I should care ???!!!   I had the secret of driving life in my notebook.

Once home I got out some poster board and made several sets of the charts and hung them tastefully around the house including places like the bathrooms.  Then I realized I was only part way to heaven.........there were 3 charts in the set.....each chart had 5 lines.....they used mostly the same letters, but in different sequences.  Consequently, it was my task to memorize 25 letters in at least 3 different combinations and be able to know which of the 3 charts had which sequences.  OY. This was no assignment for nerds or sissies.

What could I do with   

so I could remember them in 3 different combinations?    Obviously mnemonics was the answer.....the sillier, the better.  So the first set of charts above became :

                                    Can People Eat Zero Donuts
                                    Zero Boys Tell Da' Facts
                                    Tall People Eat Out Lots
                                    Few Tent People Eat Out
                                    Does Ziggy Fail To Pee

And it was also necessary to know which of 3 charts I was going to be looking at since they were labelled "A". "B" and "C" and the examiner would ask you to read the third line on chart "B".  So I made a mnemonic of the first letters of each chart.
                                     Chart A:                Count on Ziggy To F*** Diane.

Within a month I could recite all the lines in all the charts perfectly.  When the time came I performed flawlessly and passed the eye test and did NOT have to take the driving test to get a 4 year renewal.  Oh frabjous day.  The kicker was that I discovered that my bad eye was still able to actually read the chart, perhaps with the help of my exercise, so I was not really endangering any lives or committing some sort of fraud. In  my most recent encounter with the DMV this was no longer possible and I really did not want to commit fraud, hence my noble struggle with passing the driving test while more than half blind.

Actually, I feel this recent accomplishment outshines the earlier one, but I still have a fondness for the memory of that Sunday with the binoculars and the mail slot.  Am I a problem solver or what????

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photos of Bruno - a Promise Kept

A few weeks ago  (on 6/21 actually) I published a blog about my friend, Bruno Bozzetto, the Walt Disney of Italy......about the amazing way we "met" via the internet and became friends........and promised to find some of the photos we took when we actually did meet in the real world in Milan in 2005.  I have been making ineffectual searches ever since and have despaired of finding the album with those photos, but today, another miracle, I reached out my hand and pulled a book from my bookshelves and it turned out to be that very photo album in the totally wrong place.  Huzzah!

 I have managed to pull the images onto this page I am going to try publishing it.

 There we are in all our glory

He was quite tickled to see how short I was.....his daughters, I think, are quite tall.

There they are ......Anita and Irene (not necessarily in that order)......aren't they gorgeous?

Well, I have had quite a struggle getting these pix to you so I think I had better hit Publish and be done with it.  I actually had help from Iggy of Intense Guy who took pity on me and tried to do some cropping for me.....(thanks, Iggy).  I  fear I will never be dominant in the Computer/User struggle.  Sob.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Pox on You and Your Damnable Invention - Alexander Graham Bell

Well, no, not really.  The telephone as Bell invented it was a marvelous, wondrous is what it has morphed into that I must rant against and I'll tell you why.

I remember the days when the telephone was considered a miraculous, blessed , mind boggling gift, and, by God,  when it rang you answered it!  Of course, there was only one such instrument in the house and it was always located where you weren't.   If you were upstairs in the bathroom brushing your teeth when it rang, you dropped the toothbrush in the sink and clattered down the stairway, mouth foaming with toothpaste and grabbed the receiver frantically from it's location near the kitchen (or in the hall)  before the calling party hung up.  If you were in the basement doing laundry and the phone rang upstairs you dropped the washboard and everything back into the tub and rushed madly up the steps dripping suds and water all the way and if you were out in the yard weeding or gathering Japanese beetles from your rose bushes you galloped inside wiping your muddy hands on the back of your pants in order to snatch up the receiver and find out who was  calling.

Missing a call was tantamount to spending hours in the first circle of hell wondering who it was and what they might have wanted to say.........  Oh, the misery and the mystery of the missed phone call.  Agony.
But, my recollection is that most of the time somebody answered  when you called them and obviously vice versa. It was a very satisfactory arrangement.  And there were no area codes.....GRAnite 4226 was all you needed to remember and to dial.  Life was good.

Fast forward 75 or so years to early this morning when I needed to call my visiting Florida cousins to cancel an appointment I had made with them to visit me.  There were at least three adults in the house I was calling and at least 4 different phone land line (which I knew in advance that no one ever fact they had the ringer shut off so that it didn't wake the baby so, in effect, it was useless as a contact vehicle except for them) and three cell phones, 2 of which had Florida prefixes and one of which had a West LA prefix rather than a SF Valley one making all of them long distance for me.  Well, what the hell......I can aford it.

But, who can remember all those damned 11 digit numbers......a few, yes, but not all by any means.  So first I have to schlepp out of bed (via the inconvenient left side because my kitty, Gussie, is sound asleep glued to my right flank) and lurch around to the right side to get my cane off the door knob because in the mornings my limbs have forgotten that they are supposed to hold me upright and transport me from here to there ......and thence to the dining room where my phone book lives and subsequently back to bed  because I am performing this phone business way before my normal arising time in order to enable my cousins to make other plans if they want to.  Next I must find my glasses by the bedside, find the switch of  the reading light and find the proper phone numbers.   Tenks gott they are all under "K".   

I call the first one, it rings endlessly until the bright, cheery mesage voice chirps the usual crap that Oh yes, they do want to talk to me and etc., etc., etc.  So, I search out the 2nd number and call it with the identical results.  I am down to my last chance so I call the 3rd number belonging to the resident....the daughter whom the Florida cousins are visiting......dammit, she should be up and should have her cell phone turned on, wouldn't ya' think?   Sure, when pigs fly.  So I leave three messages and go back to sleep whereupon, of course, the phone rings and I, who was raised to answer phones if at all possible, pick up and speak to my cousin and the situation is taken care of.  And I am too pissed off to go back to sleep again.  Not at my cousins whom I love dearly, but at the bastardization of a perfectly wonderful system.

This marvelous invention intended to facilitate communication has turned into an instrument of torture and frustration.   On the one hand there is half the world's population (those you have no wish whatsoever to EVER  talk to) who spend what must be 23 hours of every day with their cell phones turned on, glued to their ears and in constant use, talking into same at the top of their lungs regardless of where they happen to be at the moment....on street corners, in elevators, in doctors' waiting rooms, in supermarket lines and particularly at the table next to you in restaurants.......deluging your ears with their inane chatter and forcing you to hear the disgusting details of their innermost boring lives.  Urk and Faugh..

As upsetting as this may be, the other side of the coin is worse.....involving the other half of the population to whom you MAY possibly want or desperately need to speak.  They of course, to a man, have their cell phones turned off and are totally unreachable until they damned well feel like it.....usually after you have gone to bed, or after the business day is concluded or perhaps several days later in the week if they feel so inclined.  Meanwhile, you have the privilege of listening to their goddam recorded answering messages and, if you feel so inclined, of hitting your head against the nearest wall in quiet desperation.

Can this  be what dear old A.G. Bell had in mind for his brilliant invention?   I think NOT!

And if you are going to ask me what I suggest to solve this wretched state of affairs, all I can say is call me tomorrow and if I don't answer leave a message.  I may or may not get back to you.   I will be in the corner playing with my precious old rotary dial phone saying things like, "Hello, Central, give me a line....."and thanking heaven that Mabel, the operator, is a live person who doesn't chirp or tell me to leave a message.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Laughs and Titters at my Own Expense

Sorry I cannot give proper credit for this wonderful cartoon...I did not draw it but I have loved it from first sight  and I will tell you that I was sicker than that doggie looks..

This was me yesterday......I knew when I could not get out of bed in the morning that I must have the latest version of the 24 hour Flu. Everything hurt and the..... uh..... frowing up I had done during the nite gave me a further clue. Worse yet, I knew my cats had no intention of or talent for curing me or giving me comfort....

Today I am delighted to report that it probably WAS the 24 hour flu because I am considerably better.....tenks gott.   (10 hours in bed and 14 hours on the living room couch moaning piteously seems to have taken care of most of the I am back with the assortment of  familiar unenhanced aches and pains with which I started )

I don't know why I am inspired to write today about a muddle of things where the joke was on me.  Like, for instance,  my feeling of  incredible ignorance when I first  realized that there were plants other than the ones you ate.

When I was a child we lived in a  typical red brick row house in Philadelphia.....semi detached is what they were called, which meant that you had only one common wall and, on the unattached side, the walkway led to a small back yard where you hung the laundry on Monday, Wash day and in the middle of it was a small  patch of lawn lawn   (Tuesday was, of course, Ironing guys with washers and dryers simply won't understand....)    What you did with it the rest of the time was up to the individual and in my Grandma's world it meant browsing the Burpee's Seed Catalog all Winter and spending every spare minute of the rest of the year on one's knees digging in the dirt.  Come Spring she would take out a bunch of little paper envelopes, some Burpee's and some handmade holding seeds from last years blooms,  and she and my Mamma would begin the kneeling process.   For  all I knew or cared they might have  been praying to the Plant Gods.....I thought they were crazy to be scrabbling in mud when they could have  been playing Street Ball or jumping rope. Flowers were pretty, match for jumping rope.

However, when June came around I did admire and enjoy the plethora of gorgeous blooms of every kind which sprang up like magic and obscured what had once  been just muddy beds and made my Grandma's back yard the envy and talk of the neighborhood..   Of course, the downside was that I would be summoned  to water the flowers once in a while and, worse yet, when the Japanese Beetle Plague happened one year, I was instructed constantly to go out and find those wretched little hard  shelled monsters that were eating up our roses, pluck them off the plants and deposit them in the beetle traps that hung from every wrought iron Laundry post in the yard.  I really hated that job (not  because I was a caring person with kind thoughts for the  beetles) but because the little creatures tickled scrabbling inside your closed fist and made me a bit uneasy and queasy.   I tried not to think about it, but I knew what I was doing was no favor to the beetles......

Fast forward about 30 years to when I bought my first "property" and I discovered that houses other than those in Philadelphia had lots of muddy beds around the back yards and, yes, even the front and side yards too.  And California was worse, in one way, than Philly had  been, in that "stuff" seemed to grow almost all year round, not just in April through September.  What was a person who got no great turn-on from mud to do?  Before I knew what was happening to me I had bought a bunch of 6-pack growing plants from the Hardware Store   (who knew from Plant Nurseries?)  and found myself one June day on my knees in front of a stretch of dirt.   It was that moment when I realized that my fate was sealed.  First, I remembered that I had forgotten to find out what the prayer was that one had to utter in front of every bed of dirt to turn it Green and, worse yet, I did not have a clue about how to grow things.  As  I squatted there pushing Petunia plants into little holes in the ground I heard someone behind me laughing derisively.  I turned and found a lady on the sidewalk observing me and shaking her head.  Oh, God, was she going to tell me that the flower part was supposed to go above ground?   Well, not quite, but she gave me a bit of advice about how far apart seedlings should be planted and left still shaking her head and saying over her shoulder.....It is better to plant young plants when it isn't 101 in the shade at noon."   "Too  bad", I thought, "they will just have to deal with it."  Amazingly, the petunias survived and thrived and I was smug and arrogant and thought I knew the secret of  The Green Thumb".  Yeah, sure.

Fortunately, my comeuppance did not happen with an audience.  I had secretly snapped off a few springs of a neighbor's huge geranium bush and shoved them into a pot of earth as I had seen my Grandma do with all sorts of plants, and, miracle of miracles,  I found that they grew.  My smugness and arrogance knew no bounds.  A few weeks later the geraniums even blossomed!    Merciful heavens, that thumb thing must be heredity in the genes, I might  be well not to get too cocky.

But, when I saw some little black seedy looking things on my geranium plants I decided I would snatch them up and reserve them for planting when I had more time. Who needed  Burpee's?   I did not bother to make a little paper envelope....I used a  Baggie.  Several days later I collected a bunch more of the little black seedy looking things and when the weekend came and I was off work I planted some of them in a pot and set them on the railing of the porch balcony.  Each day as I left for work I examined the pot I had put on the  balcony  beside the pot of flourishing geraniums looking for my first born.  Nothing.  As days stretched into weeks and the flourishing geraniums began to look just a bit peaked I began to wonder.  Maybe it wasn't a gene thing after all.  Then I examined the geranium plant more was still producing those little  black seedy looking things.....but it definitely did not look happy doing it........and the stems were looking absolutely....well strange and lumpy.  I bent down and looked closer as one of the lumps moved forward a millimeter and left behind it a little black seedy thing.   A Eureka Moment.  The End of my smugness and Green Thumb arrogance.  All I can say is, tenks gott the seeds I planted didn't grow or I would have ended up with a huge crop of Geranium Worm Turds!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thanks !

Just a few words to thank you all for your sweet thoughts and prayers for my dear old buddy, Stel.  Glad to report that she is out of the hospital and in a rehab facility.  I haven't been able to reach her yet today but will talk to her shortly, I hope. Meanwhile....keep thinking good thoughts and I will report in later.

Love you all.