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Location: Connecticut, United States


Monday, November 28, 2005

After Thanksgiving Fatigue

Wow – I feel like I usually feel the week after Christmas – extra tired, extra full, socially scheduled to the max and longing for a night to hang out in front of the fire and do nothing.

This has been the busiest of Thanksgiving holidays ever.

I’ve been a guest and been a host.
I’ve ingested, digested and indigested-- all the while being congested.
I’ve had over-nighters and all-nighters.
I’ve put out turkey decorations and cut down a Christmas tree.
(I didn’t cut it, but watched the process with hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps – which is quite nice!)
I’ve consumed more champagne this holiday than I normally do at Christmas time.
I’ve consumed more TUMs this holiday than I normally do at Christmas time.
I’ve visited more friends and relatives than I normally do at Christmas time.

Does this mean I’m going to have a lonely, boring Christmas holiday?

Somehow that idea sounds pretty good right now.

But give me a few days to get back to normal life and I’ll be grateful for the hustle bustle of the next holiday.

I hope.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Thanksgiving She Ended up Scraping Mashed Potatoes off the Wall

Although our Thanksgivings certainly don’t resemble that iconic illustration done by Norman Rockwell, we manage to get through the day happily with few if any problems.

We’re lucky.

I have a friend who detests Thanksgiving. She hates it so much that she cooks the whole dinner on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as if cooking the day before will ward off the evil spirits that caused, in her words: “The Thanksgiving I ended up scraping mashed potatoes off the wall.”

I don’t know all the facts about this Thanksgiving from hell; she never really got into detail about what happened.

But, I do know that besides serving the typical roast turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potato type of Thanksgiving dinner, she also served a drunk uncle, a weeping mother, a foot-stomping aunt and a fit-throwing teenager.

It had to be one heck of a traumatic event, but it isn’t my story to tell, and I can only list some of the words she used (in no particular order) in describing to me the vile events of the miserable meal, the horrid holiday and the repulsive relatives that made it that way.

Dull knife
“Chunked” turkey
Lumpy potatoes
Tattoo debut
Mother’s china
Stolen crystal
Aunt Jean’s B.O.
Wine-stain on Grammy’s Irish-lace tablecloth
Removal of false teeth at the dinner table
Sneaking shots in the kitchen

My guess is the fight occurred over someone’s inheritance or lack of inheritance.

It must have been bad if it ended up becoming a food fight.

I know her dining room wallpaper had to be replaced because of wine stains and gravy splatter…I also was informed that mashed potatoes can harden onto wallpaper like cement.

I wish I could tell you more about this Thanksgiving horror story, but as I said before this isn’t my story to tell.

So, this year, like many others, when I sit down at our Thanksgiving table with my family, I will be very thankful of that fact.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blood Brothers

In the last three weeks, 79 more American troops have died in the Iraq war bring the count to 2079. Many more have been injured and maimed.

Who knows how many Iraqi civilians have died. Is anyone counting?

A recent article in the Hartford Courant says that 30,000 Iraqi men, women and children have died, but the number is just an educated guess based on media reports.

Today, drinking my coffee and ready to start a day that can be either a good one or a bad one, depending upon how I choose to look at it, I mourn the deaths of 32,079 human beings caught up in a deadly game that has done nothing to advance peace or contain terrorism, but has brought the innocent together to bleed side by side.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Grandma and the Fine Young Gentlemen

During the depression, Grandma took in boarders to help make ends meet. Both of her kids were jammed into one bedroom so that the two upstairs bedrooms were available for rent. The rooms upstairs weren’t very large and were sparsely furnished, but quite adequate considering the pittance that Grandma charged her boarders.

Along with a clean bed with an upper and lower sheet and a 100% virgin wool blanket with a satin binding, the boarders also got their laundry done, their shirts ironed and 3 square meals a day.

She had nicknames for the men who rented from her, like the “odd duck” the “hoity-toity man” and the “fine young gentlemen.”

The “odd duck” wore a toupee that Grandma said looked like a dead cat permanently asleep on his head. He never smiled or said thank you and would try to sneak food upstairs which was against Grandma’s rules; Not where the food was going, but that it had been removed from her icebox without her permission.

The hoity-toity man would growl, “Heavy starch” as he handed her his dirty shirts and he always wore fancy tie pins and owned cufflinks that looked like the planet Saturn.

He would tell you at every opportunity that although he was a little down in his luck now, he would soon be a millionaire when he got a patent for his invention. He was always sketching his invention on scraps of paper attempting to improve his design. “Counting his money before he’d made a cent,” Grandma said, adding, “How much money is a man going to make when his invention is nothing more than a stick with a shoe horn on one end and a back scratcher on the other?”

The “fine young gentlemen” were Grandma’s favorite boarders. Kenny was tall and slim with an almost imperceptible lisp that added to his quiet, gentile charm. Dan was burly and hairy but gentle to all living things, from the neighborhood pets to the occasional spiders he’d find on a windowsill and gently bring outside rather than hand-slap them dead like Grandpa would do.

Kenny and Dan had asked Grandma if they could share a room. Cut down on expenses as both men had meager jobs which paid little and both were trying to better themselves by going to night school.

Kenny was barely out of his teens and Dan was just 22 years old when they came to board at Grandma’s. Grandma was a young woman herself, just turning twenty-six when the fine young gentlemen came to stay.

Before long, Grandma was playing Rummy with the guys on the long evenings when Grandpa was working at his second job.

Soon Kenny and Dan were more than boarders, they had become friends. Kenny would offer to iron all the shirts, his own shirts, Dan’s, Grandpa’s and the Hoity-toity man's who happened to be living upstairs when Kenny and Dan moved in.

Dan would take on all home repairs that needed to be done and also made terrific home made bread and chocolate graham cracker pies.

Kenny and Dan would offer to baby-sit the kids so once in a while, Grandma and Grandpa could go out to see a movie or just go down the street to the local gin mill for a draft beer and a hamburger.

“I hated taking money from them,” Grandma said. “They always helped out so much and were such a pleasure to spend time with. Both such nice young men. Both so good hearted and kind. Always telling me how good of a cook I was, even when all I was serving that night was creamed peas on toast.”

Although Grandma hardly ever went into the boarders’ rooms, one day an unexpected rain storm threatened and Grandma knew the windows upstairs were open. She went into the Hoity-toity man's room and closed his window, but not before the angry wind had blown his invention sketches all over the floor. She tided up and went on to Kenny and Dan’s room.

When she opened the door she was shocked.

Kenny and Dan had bought a beautiful bedspread for the old double bed, -- shiny like satin, quilted and a beautiful yellowish-gold color. On the bed were three throw pillows of a similar fabric, the one in the middle was shaped like a heart and had long fringes. They had also bought a reading lamp, curved, etched, glass with a fringed shade.

A square cutglass candy jar with lid sat on one night table, filled with hard candy and next to it was a book of poetry, simply titled Favorite Love Poems.

Grandma hurried to close the windows before the rain did any damage, but felt her cheeks grow hot as if she’d seen something she wasn’t meant to see.

That room upstairs had been gussied up in a way that Grandma knew wasn’t natural for two young men. Heck, her own bedroom wasn’t as pretty with its old patchwork quilt and five-and-dime lamps.

That night, when she and Grandpa were in bed, she turned to him and said: Honey, I’m a bit worried about the boys. (How she referred to Kenny and Dan.) I think they have a little bit of woman in them and went on to explain the additions to the upstairs bedroom.

Grandpa harrumped and said, “Just because they’re gentle souls and like pretty things don’t mean they got any woman in them.”

But Grandma said she knew she got Grandpa thinking.

After a year and a half of living with Grandma and Grandpa, the boys moved out to their own place. Grandma cried when they left and packed them a big shoe box filled with chocolate chip cookies to take with them.

Grandpa shook hands and offered them a whiskey for a good luck toast.

While the men were drinking their whiskey, Grandma thought about the boys’ satin bedspread and the pillows, especially the one in the shape of a heart. She thought about them moving into a house together. She watched how casually Kenny touched Dan’s arm while laughing with Grandpa.

That’s when she knew for sure that Kenny and Dan loved each other. And, it was a kind, clean, good, caring love.

Years later, Kenny and Dan were visiting in town and stopped by to say hello. Kenny had gone to war but Dan had asthma too badly to go. Kenny had a limp from a war wound, and Dan had his own small dry goods store. They were still together and still in love.

Kenny worked up the nerve to ask Grandma, “Did you know, back then, that Dan and I were gay when you rented us your room?”

Grandma sighed, “No, I didn’t know gay from schmay back then. Obviously, it didn’t matter, now did it?” Grandma said. “You boys were good boarders. You helped out a lot and always paid on time.”

“Not even one little suspicion? Dan asked.

“Well,” said Grandma raising her eyebrows in thought, “there was that bedspread you boys had and those satin, fringed throw pillows…”

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An Asinine Arrest

I am not a prude by any means. But I am tired of looking at fluffy midriffs, hiney cleavage and thong strings. Low rise pants and skirts coupled with tummy-showing tops expose a ton of rippled flesh, especially when one is bending over.

My guy friends tell me that even they don’t think this is an attractive look. A few years back we’d call this look the refrigerator repairman style of dress.

Yet a recent walk through the mall, even in this colder November weather, indicated that young women especially -- are wearing jeans that barely cover their pubes, and flashing upper bun bumps and multicolored thong strings all over the place.

Today, you can see more flesh at the mall than Grandpa did on his wedding night.

Apparently it’s all good if a woman is showing her butt to the world, but not if it’s a man.

At a nearby mall, a man was arrested for indecent exposure for bending over to look at various items and in the process, exposing his upper buttocks and thong string, according to the local newspaper.

He says he was just shopping.

They say he was purposefully lifting up his shirt and bending over with the intent to expose his upper derriere and underwear to the eyes of female shoppers. The paper also reports that the man’s thong appeared to be “women’s underwear” as it was described as a black, sheer thong.

Wow. I feel for this guy. He not only has to prove he was just wearing his typical low rise jeans, bending over to try on a pair of shoes with no intent to shock or titillate – he’s also got to stand up for his choice of underwear and prove that even though his thong was made out of a transparent black material, it was indeed sold in the men’s department and not purchased at Victoria’s Secret.

What is the deal with this important news article? Why can’t a guy wear the same type of clothing that women are wearing?

Is a guy’s ass more indecent than a woman’s ass?

Cleavage is cleavage, thong strings are thong strings. How is it that “man butt display” gets you handcuffed and booked while “female butt display” gets you a wink and giggle?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thirty Lashes for Revlon

Do not buy Revlon COLORSTAY, Overtime, Lash Tint --Couleur Pour Cils, -- mascara. As annoyingly long as the name of the product, is the length of time this “couleur” stays on your lashes.

You can’t get rid of it.

I tried every product I own that is a makeup remover and nothing happens. The color stays and stays and stays, while the lashes clump and clump and clump until you look like Tammy Faye Bakker.

If you are extremely lucky or unlucky, eventually your lashes commit suicide and jump off your eyelids. The aggregate weight of the product causes a heavy burden for lashes. Apparently the mascara is impossible to remove and lasts so long it gets dusty and tacky to the touch – until eventually one’s lashes become thick spider legs – ugly and foolish looking.

I have found only one way to get rid of this crap from my eyelashes, and that is to scrape it off with my fingernails, hoping I don’t pull out the lashes during this tricky feat.

I’ve found a plethora of “coulered cils” on my pillowcase in the morning, but the lashes that are still attached to my lids are also still quite black, thick and horrid.

My eyelashes now look like miniature starfish and I’m doomed to have them look like this until they fall out or I pull them out.

Who would I recommend this product to? Men with thin, dark mustaches that are turning gray and they want to look youthful and dye their mustache black – forever.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Crazy Things I Think About

A good pastrami sandwich is better than a good steak, but not better than an excellent steak.

Slippers are inherently ugly things. They always have spots and stains and only look nice and fluffy the first day you wear them.

There should be no metal parts in a bra. There are no metal parts in an undershirt or boxers, ergo men will never know what it’s like to have metal next to their skin, unless someone starts making jock straps with underwires and metal clips. They still sell those gym slings, don’t they?

Watching old people I’ve noticed that there are two schools of thought as to where to put a waistband. One group likes over the bump and up into the armpit area while the other group favors the low slung under the bump style. Under the bump is definitely the way to go in my opinion. (Occasionally you can find someone who can get that belt to stay around the equator…which is the Humpty Dumpty look, another look I’d not select if I were them.)

The uglier the shoe, the more comfortable it is and vice versa.

Women with long, beautiful, polished, nails, touch things in a funny manner with all their fingers straight as if in invisible splints. These are the same women who you’d never ask to do anything that would require the formation of a bend in those perfectly straight fingers. Which is probably the reason why their fingernails look so pristine.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I’ve been early morning, late night, Christmas shopping.

I do most of my Christmas shopping on the Internet. I would prefer to shop in jammies with coffee at my side, so Internet shopping works great for me.

I’ve noticed that Internet shopping is a lot like the old game show, “Let’s Make a Deal” -- there is a great variety of prices one can find for the very same article. If you choose to look around, search for coupon codes, put in “free shipping” in your google search, check out Ebay, you can pay a lot less for the very same item.

I spend a lot of time researching my gift ideas.

When you are out in the store, you can’t check prices. You have to make the decision right that moment and hope to hell you won’t buy the item, come home and on that same day see a circular advertising your recent purchase at a huge savings.

Which is another reason why I like to shop at home leisurely with a coffee cup or a wine glass to keep me company.

Which brings me to my latest problem.

I shopped at home with a thrice-filled, wine glass by my side and now I have no idea what I bought.

I wasn’t totally schnockered, just mellow and loving everyone on my shopping list so much a quick click here and there and I’d racked up quite a few purchases. But what are they? When are they coming and who are they for?

I could look in my computer’s history and retrace my clicks to find out exactly what I bought, but feeling sheepish this morning, I think I’ll just wait for the UPS driver to deliver these surprises to me.

I guess I’m feeling a bit “Oh No!” about my Ho Ho Ho!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lucky Men - Sometimes Not So Lucky

Yesterday I thought a lot about how guys are so lucky when it comes to bridal showers versus stags. I was stomping around the house, bitching and moaning to myself about how guys had it all, when I remembered something that many of them don’t have: their foreskin.

When is this going to stop? When are we going to stop chopping off a piece of a normal, infant male for religious purposes, cultural purposes or any other reason?

A botched circumcision done to local baby boy…resulted in removal of most of his penis. He will never be normal. And why? Because his parents wanted him to look like all the other boys in the shower.

First of all, all the other boys are not necessarily circumcised. Secondly, we have placed huge pressure on third world countries to stop circumcising female babies, why not put some of this pressure upon people here? Why is it fine and dandy to snip away at a boy baby and not a girl baby?

Religious people who believe that man is made in the image of god, should be the first people to say no more ritual mutilation of male infants.

Religions that require circumcision of male infants might want to rethink such an act. What might have been a cool rite way back when and may have served a purpose could very well be barbaric and sadistic today.

(I don’t think that penis tops and religion should be that enmeshed for any reason. But, remember I am not a religious person so I have no idea what following a religion can make a person do willingly and with righteousness.)

I do wonder though why a symbolic circumcision couldn’t be done rather than a physical removal of perfect baby flesh? Would god be less pleased? Couldn’t the baby be allowed to grow to manhood and then decide for himself? (One sure way of reducing circumcision!)

I know that religions that call “communion” the body and blood of jesus do not use real blood or flesh– just wine and some sort of flat bread.

Couldn’t the symbol replace the actual in the 21st century?

I think of the exquisite beauty of a new born baby and wonder why anyone would want to alter this perfect being in its first few weeks of life. Or why any parent could decide for the man-to-be that he shouldn’t have or wouldn’t want his foreskin.

The old idea of “cleanliness reasons” is the same reason females of third world countries have been circumcised for years. So if that really were the case, both male and female infants should be snipped, scraped and formed into new “easy-to-clean” genitalia at birth.

The American Academy Of Pediatrics is against routine circumcision and states: "Circumcision is not essential to a child's well-being at birth, even though it does have some potential medical benefits," said task force chair Dr. Carole Lannon.

Other task force members have stated that this was a difficult issue to tackle due to religious and cultural feelings about circumcision.

Well, it isn’t difficult for me to tackle.

While musing how men had it all, it reminded me that if I were a man, and someone without my permission removed part of my penis for any reason, I’d be mighty pissed.

Worse, I’d wonder my whole life what it would have been like to be exactly as I was born before such surgery.

A friend once said to me: “Circumcision is just something that people do and we can’t stop doing it mid-stream. Sons of circumcised men have to look like their fathers and younger sons have to look like their older brothers so it will never end. It’s not good to look different.”

I say stop looking at your father’s penis or your brother’s penis or penises in the shower at school -- and it can be stopped. Of course it can.

As a woman, I can’t imagine how I’d feel if before I could speak someone had decided to tidy-up, alter, sculpt or refashion my vagina for any reason.

I guess at least in this country vaginas are safe, and for that reason I’m glad I’m a woman, even if I do have to go to a boring shower.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Know I'm a Woman, But Could I Go To the Stag Instead of the Shower?

The Sunday after Thanksgiving I have a wedding shower I have to attend.

I don’t want to go, but I would hurt a friend’s feelings greatly if I didn’t show up. So, I’m resigned that after a nice Thanksgiving holiday, I will end the weekend by being holed up in a VFW hall with a bunch of women I don’t know, eating cookies and drinking Kool-Aid, watching a woman I also don’t know open presents, pretending to blush at the see-through nightie given to her by her mother, even though she’s been living with the groom-to-be for over a year.

Yeah, sounds great doesn’t it?

What I resent even more is that while the little ladies are making ribbon bouquets and eating frosted almonds, the men will be watching a game, drinking beer, eating hot wings and chips at a local pub. Exactly where I’d choose to be if I had a choice.

Hell, I’d rather go to a stag and play poker, watch a grainy porn flick and eat meatball grinders than sit in the hall on a folding chair, pretending to be interested in the gifts, the crappy food and the woman sitting next to me whoever she is, although I’ll bet she will have way too much perfume on.

I am not a woman’s woman, I’m more of a man’s woman. I love sports and beer. I do not like showers and never have. The only shower I ever enjoyed was a Jack and Jill shower I once went to; they had a keg and a bocce court, lots of great food and it was held outside so everyone wore jeans.

Now that’s a shower I wouldn’t mind attending.

The rest make me want to stick a fork in my eye.