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Tchotchkes

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Location: Connecticut, United States

marybb1@gmail.com

Monday, February 28, 2005

Flus Blues News & Clues

They call it a virus. You tell them your symptoms, which change hourly. No matter what you say -- they say, you have that virus that's going around. Yes, it goes around and around and around right inside your own body.

Plan on two weeks of ailing.

It matters not if you take care of yourself or not; drink orange juice or not; take to your bed or keep on trucking. It's a stinky, stinky virus that likes to make your throat raw, your sinuses pulse, your eyes fill up with sticky stuff, your bones ache, your teeth throb, your skin hive-up or glow with rashes; it takes over your stomach making it queasy from morning to night but it also makes you terribly hungry even though you can't taste anything. You cough and blow your nose; you get the chills and sweat.

Once the virus is in full force, your head will pound and pound and pound. No over the counter or prescription drugs will really help unless you are the type to be affected by the power of persuasion.

Sometimes you will have a temperature; all the time you will be short-tempered. The multi-symptoms keep something hurting constantly and force short, sharp retorts to emanate from your mouth - even to questions like: would you like some ginger ale?

You can't stay home from work, you'll get fired. You can't stop cooking, cleaning, watching your children, oh no, and by now if you have it, so do they. Maybe they're the ones that gave it to you in the first place? If you got it from your sneezing, coughing co-worker you'll cold cock him!

You will maim who gave it to you -- unless it is your children.

You feel like holy crap and for once you are really happy you aren't a famous actor because if you were, you'd have missed the Oscars last night.

Remedies:

Gastro-intestinal: Pour two ounces brandy and one ounce Creme de Menthe over cracked ice - sip.

Sinus: Warm cloths over face, every couple of hours.

Headache: lie down in dark, quiet room. Sure, that's not going to happen so take two Excedrin and believe in their power of pain reduction.

Sore throat: suck on lollipops, drink tea with honey and a shot of whiskey or just drink the whisky. Gargle with salt, sugar and warm water or just whiskey.

Fatigue: Drag your butt around all day long. Who can nap during the day?

Chills: one large glass of red wine.

Hot and sweating: one large glass of ice-cold white wine.

You will notice a fair amount of alcohol in my remedies. The reason for this is if you can't get better no matter what you do, you might as well have a buzz.

Good luck! (Day 5 and counting...)

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Home Decorating Channel Makes you Hate Deborah*
(*Name has been changed to protect the guilty)

Last night, I decided to switch screens, computer for TV, and happened upon the Home Decorating Channel. I don't watch it very often, but sometimes the gutting and redoing of homes is very uplifting. I also enjoy people house hunting -- in my next life I might want to be a Real Estate Agent, I really don't know why I enjoy these shows.

Anyhow, there was a show on where three decorators vied for the job of renovating a house. The house looked great to me just as it was. But no, it wasn't good enough for Deborah the wife of Dan who already had a curvature in his back where his spine should have been.

Deborah wore a pinch-mouthed frown all through the show, even after the magnificent redo of her already magnificent house. Her hair was sculpted in a hanging helmut-- I think in the 1950s, they called this a Page Boy. It was lacquered and could withstand a tsunami I'm sure.

Dan, had a worried look throughout the show and was constantly invoking his wife's name.

"Deborah doesn't like earth tones. Deborah wants a soaking tub not a spa. Deborah doesn't like antique hardware. Deborah wants a chaise in the bedroom.

When Dan wasn't describing his wife's wants, the designers were.

"Deborah has communicated to us that she doesn't enjoy yellows. (Who enjoys a color anyhow?) Deborah has asked us to find a blue that will compliment her grandmother's tea cup. Deborah insists upon a large foyer. Deborah wants a mud room with a boot bin and coat rack. Deborah wants a powder room and a full bath on the first floor. Deborah doesn't care for texture in fabric. Deborah wants plantation shutters in the family room.)

Dan and the decorators spent a lot of time telling the television audience just what Deborah wanted. But she also nasally voiced her opinions.

"I don't like dark woods. I only like stainless steel. I want a wine refrigerator and it must be only steps away from my dining room. I don't like white...only off white. I'm not going to go up a flight of stairs for the laundry..the laundry room must be on this level. I want a marble fireplace I hate brick, I hate slate."

Once she was on the hate roll, she spewed out about two dozen hates in less than 5 seconds.

At one point she was telling the decorator that she wanted light white cabinets in her kitchen.

He had so had it with her he actually said something like: That's what you have now and I thought you wanted only off-white?

The decorators were getting testy with Deborah and she was beginning to scowl at Dan in a way that said: You just wait till these people leave Dan, you are in for big trouble!

After the redo was complete, Dan stuttered away on how happy he and Deborah were with their renovation. Deborah never cracked a smile. She looked as miserable at the end of the show as she did in the beginning. They showed her cutting an apple on the countertop and she held the knife as if it were the first time. (Does Deborah employ an apple cutter?)

I looked around my humble but happy home which could easily fit into Deborah's family room or her personal bathroom-sitting room-walk-in closet cum fainting couch, and thought to myself that what Deborah needed was a renovation of her spirit not her house.

Friday, February 25, 2005

World awaits Anglican Primates' Statement on Homosexuality in Ireland


What do I care about a bunch of English monkeys and their take on Irish gays or lesbians?

That headline – although using accurate language, just made me laugh. I know I’m a primate…and I’m not even talking about my last name: bishop = primate.

(Mary Primate might make me stand out in a crowd. It does have a ring to it…)

Accurate word usage or not, primate equals monkey to me, maybe too much Discovery channel from the old days before extreme makeover and forensic science shows swallowed up the channel.

When I look at that headline I see monkeys and hear an English accent -- a chimp saying Cheerio.

But all this primate talk reminds me that my last name does indicate that at some point in time some ancestor-in-law was some form of a religious person.

What a mean trick played on that poor soul! I am without a doubt the least religious person in the world.

Raised Catholic, I’d vomit up the host. Couldn’t bear swallowing it as it tasted like phlegm. I also fainted in church…hated the smell of incense and have never learned how to trust men in dresses with the exception of RuPaul.

The bloody agonized Christ on the Cross, made me want to clamp my eyes closed and never open them -- and to this day I still feel the same way.

If I go to church, it’s because someone I like a lot is getting married or died. I show respect. But inside I’m still a stomach-churning, teeth-clenching, scared-to-death child, wondering why all this talk about eating body and blood? Why the remains of a tortured man in a loin cloth at the front of the church for all to see?

My vision/version of a bunch of monkeys sitting around discussing the sex life of Irishmen works for me…it makes me laugh.

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa if you don’t like what I see.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Anyone out there ready to give a sheet?


Once upon a time, what counted was between the sheets – not the number of threads in the sheets.

In the past I have bought numerous sets of sheets, never once knowing or caring what the thread count was. I don’t think the manufacturer even knew or cared.

Since my last sheet buying experience, which I will admit was a while ago, thread count has become more important than color or style. Actually it is all about thread count now.

What’s the deal with thread count? I know the larger the number of threads, the more expensive the sheet, but why? Is this all about durability or is it about softness? How long do your sheets have to last – a lifetime? Are we to hand them down to our children and grandchildren? How soft is soft?

Who's counting the threads anyhow? How do I know that when I buy the 550 thread count sheet it isn't 549 and I'm being cheated out of a thread?

In my online shopping, I’ve found you can buy sheets for over $1000.00!! Is there a soft that’s so soft it’s a thousand dollars worth of soft? Does a stain (where do they come from?) look better on a thousand dollar sheet than on a Target special?

And what’s with Egypt. What kind of cotton do they grow that is so superior to USA cotton, you can tack on another couple of hundred dollars onto your purchase for sheets that bear the label: Egyptian cotton.

Why do we have to take out second mortgages now to buy a set of sheets? This is crazy. And, the more expensive they are the less detail they have. No embroidery, no ruffles, no lace, just plain white hotel sheets that cost as much as a used car.

Okay so I am over sticker shock, culturally literate on thread count and Egyptian cotton, and feeling like I can almost click on the BUY NOW button, when I realize: Full size sheets are all but extinct.

No one sleeps in a full size bed except maybe your grandmother and me. Ergo, they just don’t have sheets in size Full. My bed is an antique metal bed with curlicues and little brass ornaments and I adore it. I don’t want a Queen-size nor a King-size bed and I live in Connecticut not California so I certainly don’t want a California King-size bed.

I’m not getting rid of my bed, that’s final. So if your grandmother has any used, full-size sheets to sell, tell her you’ve found a buyer. Otherwise I'm sheet out of luck.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Are You a True Animal Lover?

Take the test below:


Question 1) Do you like cats?



That’s it. That’s the test.



Although there are many people who own exotic pets and love them, and others whose hearts melt for the less exotic pets like gerbils and parakeets, the majority of pets owned in the world are cats and dogs.

Loving dogs is no test of your level of animal love.

For the most part, they are easy to love and even serve a purpose like home security. They will come when they’re called. Most of them will come when called, although I’ve never had a dog this well-trained. The rest will come if you wave a treat in their view.

(This type of food-focused yet disobedient dog, I do have. Sometimes when my dogs are way back in the yard, I have to wave a frozen turkey or half a ham to get their eye.)

Dogs wag their tails. They want to lie on your feet. They follow you around the house and cry when you go out. They let you pet them for hours if you want and pant happily when you walk in the back door.

Dogs show you love and affection by stealing your socks and licking your toes – maybe not the most romantic display of affection, but by their standards pretty nice.

Then comes the cat.

Only if she wants to come. Only if you’ve opened the door seven times while she’s played coy kitty and run away from the door. Once you’re settled back on the couch under the quilt, she will mew pitifully for the eighth time – shivering on the porch as if you refused to let her in.

You feed a dog and he cleans his bowl with gusto, tail wagging away. He’ll drink from the toilet bowl if he can get to it, if not, the old water bowl filled with floaters is fine.

The cat, doesn’t like the cat food you buy. It doesn’t matter what kind you buy, it’s the wrong kind. The cat will sniff at the bowl and look at you as if you were serving dried maggots. No matter that this is Fancy Feast and cost you quite a bit of money considering that the cat, who doesn’t like to eat, can consume three of these tiny cans at one sitting.

But, remember, just like your fat friend who’s always telling you how much weight she lost while she nibbles on her salad, the cat will not allow you to see her enjoying her food either. She will wait till you leave the room to clean her bowl…or is that the dog who did that?

The cat most certainly won’t drink out of a dog’s water bowl – too slimy. She has to have her own dish of fresh water…she likes crystal the best but will accept fine pottery and silver…not plated. She likes Perrier.

If dogs had their way they’d sleep on your bed.

If cats had their way they'd also sleep on your bed, but you would be relegated to the floor. Not enough room for them to stretch out if you’re in the bed.

After you’ve left a dog for 4 or 5 hours, they are damn happy to see you and show it by licking, barking, jumping and tail-wagging. The cat wouldn’t notice that you were gone unless you took a trip to Europe, and even then they’d be fine with it all. Have fun, don’t let the door slap you in your ass, they think.

When a cat wags its tail, look out, move very very slowly away from the cat. Keep moving until the cat is out of striking range. A tail wagging cat is not good, not good at all.

So the test of being a true animal lover really boils down to how you feel about cats.

Do you love cats? Do you really love them?

If than answer is yes, you are in fact a true animal lover and, by the way, a masochist too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The mother-in-law gene

I believe that every woman born has a mother-in-law gene. Every infant baby girl is born with all the eggs she will ever have, but besides this biological truth, maybe even near the eggs, is the mother-in-law gene.

A female’s eggs reside in the ovaries and remain dormant until puberty.

The mother-in-law gene stays dormant in the female for years and years, through her teen years, through early marriage and child-bearing years and silently ticks away until her son is about to get serious with a woman. At this point the mother-in-law gene becomes active and stays active throughout the rest of her life.

One of the most unusual aspects of this gene is that it is not activated by female offspring. There is no correlating mother-in-law gene that is predisposed to disliking a daughter’s spouse. But, for a woman with male offspring, this gene starts to ripen on her son’s prom night and becomes fully functional at his wedding.

It is such a powerful gene it also reflects attitudes towards her grandchildren. The axiom being: no child birthed from her son’s wife’s loins will ever be as beloved as the children coming from her own daughter’s loins. As these children grow and develop, this inequality is often shown at gift-giving times where grandchildren from the daughter receive nicer presents than do grandchildren from her son.

Even though the woman, herself, may have had to suffer from the effects of the mother-in-law gene upon her own life, this does not stop the gene from developing until she too shows equal bias towards her son’s wife or son’s grandchildren.

No I am not a geneticist nor do I play one on TV. But I am sure that 90% of the married women alive would agree with me that this gene does exist and it’s only time before science will back up my claim.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I can't watch Oprah.

Where on earth does she get those women in the audience from? They all look like Stepford mommies, and their upturned faces with eyes of adoration-- do me in. All Oprah has to say is "girlfriend" and they roar as if it were the funniest word on the planet.

They look like mascaraed toadies and sound like fools. I've never even noticed an audience before, but on the Oprah show the audience stands out like a manicured thumb nail.

Those chuckleheaded chicks in the audience look like they'll swoon from the rapture of looking at Oprah's favorite things or reading one of Oprah's favorite books. Can't they chose a book of their own? Can't they have their own favorite things or do they need Oprah to tell them what to like or what to read?

They look like they've been bused to the show directly after a spa makeover and a frontal lobotomy. Not a single woman has a hair out of place or is missing lipstick. Not a single fleck of mascara on a single cheek, everyone dewy skinned, dewy eyed and in an addle-brained fog.

Every single one of them religiously devoted to Oprah as if she were the second coming.

It must take more than a ticket to get into the Oprah show.

Green pears, Gruyere cheese, Italian bread and Pinot Grigio.

Love love love that combination....

We had a nice break yesterday afternoon with the above goodies. Served on a bed of loose leaf lettuce, the pears and cheese looked gorgeous snuggling together. The wine was so inexpensive I thought it would be awful, but what a surprise. One can find a really decent wine for $5.99 I guess, since that's all it cost.

The subtle colors of the pears and the cheese made me want to paint my dining room pear green with Gruyere trim. This will pass.

Last week after a particularly delicious spaghetti sauce, I wanted to paint the dining room tomato red with reggiano parmegiano trim.

When our blueberry bushes are in season, I know that the dining room should be done in berry blue, with sugar white trim.

Last time we had lemon meringue pie I knew the only colors that would work for me in the dining room would be lemon-colored walls with meringue trim.

So the dining room stays tea-stained walls with french blue trim. No sense in changing it until I can settle on a color scheme. Somehow I have the feeling it is going to stay tea-stained and french blue for a long long time.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I'm slightly bizarre.

If I can't immediately think of the word I want to use, I will link other words together to get my point across.

For example: I wanted to say VCR - couldn't locate those initials in my brain so instead I said sideways movie toaster. I wanted to tell my husband that his snoring woke me up but when I couldn't locate snoring I told him he was sleep growling all night.

This same subject came up another time and again snoring was hiding, so I told him he had been blowing bugles through his nose.

Apparently my brain allows me to use these crazy phrases only once.

Others I've said are:

Fake air maker - Air-conditioner
Car Couch -Back seat of the car
Teleputer - computer
Tall cold shoes - Boots
Plastic Torch - Bic lighter

For someone who loves words as much as I do, it amazes me that I often have trouble locating the word I want to say when I'm speaking. But this minor disablity or tic has an upside. I am a whiz at crossword puzzles. I adore the New York Times Sunday puzzle and am pretty darn fast at finishing it, a talent I've acquired, perhaps, to make up for my can't-think-of-the-word syndrome.


I've heard about long distance runners getting in a zone and almost losing sense of time and space as their feet move, seemingly, without their will.

I get in a crossword puzzle solving zone. I'll look at the puzzle and see no answers and then I'm off and running. Answers just flow out of my pencil as if someone else is writing them down.
It is quite a high when it happens.

---------

I love Sunday mornings.

Only freshly ground coffee on this day. We pull out the electic juicer and the hand crank ice crusher for goblets of frosty fresh orange juice. Bird feeder filled with seed, I wait for my visitors: juncos and house sparrows, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, black capped chicadees and tufted tit mice.

Morning music like Elgar's violin concerto and a lit candle at the table...heaven.

Sunday is not an egg day.

So we have croissants or bagels, cherry pastries or big fat cinnamon doughnuts. Cloth napkins and my favorite blue willow cup with the big handle that's easy to pick up.

I'm an Owl married to a Lark so often my husband has to wait for the bakery to open the doors so he can buy our treats - it's not unusual to have a doughnut so fresh it is still warm when he walks through the door.

But, it is not the croissant or bagel or doughnut that I am most happy to see him bring home; it is the weighty Times, still smelling of ink or warm paper or whatever it smells like, that is my greatest joy.

The cover of the magazine section is so shiny it collects fingerprints. The photography inside usually spectacular! And best of all it contains my beloved crossword puzzle.

Some women may long for Jimmy Choo shoes, or Coach bags, but give me my Times crossword puzzle and I'm happy. I adjust the lead in my mechanical pencil, and away I go filling in blanks as fast as I can.

Sometimes I think the reason I can solve the Sunday puzzle relatively quickly is because of all the words I still have just sitting on the tip on my tongue.

Sweet Saturdays

My husband and I have started a game/routine/custom/ we call Sweet Saturday. Sweet Saturday is this: We do not speak of negative things nor do we speak in a negative way. We have Sunday through Friday to vent, kvetch, crab, criticize, lament, woe, offend or be offended.

Saturday is now a relief for both of us. We each catch ourselves or each other slipping into the world of negatives from time to time, a simple hey we can't talk like this, it's Sweet Saturday, stops us. The name Sweet Saturday is so insipid, it helps to keep positive thoughts swirling around us. We seem to laugh a lot on Saturdays now. Also, we tolerate the other's crabbing during the week much better. I've even found that some of Sweet Saturday lingers on to Sunday morning...

Driving home from breakfast this morning, the car in front of us was slowing up for no reason, weaving, not going when the light turned green. He would have elicited a comment like "asshole!" from my dear husband on any other day, but today he just grinned with gritted ( is gritted even a word??) teeth, but nonetheless...grinned.

Usually when we're in the car together it doesn't take long before we have our first confirmed sighting of an asshole. Today was no different, except we kept our pact of being a little more forgiving, generous, tolerant, peaceful and happy. You can force yourself to do this and it really does work goddamit! (I mean gosh golly!)

Friday, February 18, 2005

A Parody of
Ars Poetica
(left in comments but too good too hide there)
offered by Madam Nichon


A poem may boast bravado
Like a muted avocado

Shreik
Like old razor blades to the cheek

Respond like the moss-grown casements
Of flooded basements

But a poem to be audible
Must be inaudible

***
A poem should be hushed
As a bowl of mush

Leaving as the mush is swallowed
Mouthful by mouthful the spoon-entangled hollow

Leaving as the mush goes down
Memories of the lack of sound

A poem should be hushed
As a bowl of mush

***
A poem like a proper child
Should not be wild

Should clean its face
Should not mean all over the place

Should not be particularly present, should avoid
The regions of Cupid

Should be
A little bit stupid

-- Alan Ribback

Clear Skies Act Coming our Way



I am blue, just as blue as I could be

Ev’ry day is a cloudy day for me.


Then Bush's Clear Skies Act came a-knocking at my door

Skies are grayer now and won't be clear anymore


Clear Skies Act

Laughing at me

Nothing but gray skies

Will we see.

Bluebirds

All are long gone

Nothing -no bluebirds

All day long

Never will the sun shine all day long

Never saw things going so wrong.

Noticing the days giving me asthma

When you’re so sick, docs give you plasma.

Blue skies

All of them gone

Nothing but gray skies

From now on

I should care if the wind blows east or west

When it blows east, breathing's some test.

Global warming - they say it's not true

Our planet is dying and we will be too

for...

Clear Skies Act

Coming our way

Air pollution is here to stay.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Ars Poetica


A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where
the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon
climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the
night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by
memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon
climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a
maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the
sea -

A poem should not mean
But be
I posted part of this poem on another blog.
One of the many good things about blogging is the ease in which you can cut and paste - if I had to type out this poem to get it here I would probably not do it, preferring to type out my own words and thoughts.
The simplicity of the words MacLeish has chosen in juxtaposition with the profound emotions he evokes amazes me. I could go over this poem line by line, day by day and still not get over the impact of these oh so simple words.
I think my favorite lines are (a poem should be)
Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb
You can feel the smoothness of the medallion against the ridges of your own thumb. Your sense of touch is heightened as you seek the bas relief that once existed but now is only a faint impression.
This poem gets me two ways...in the sheer beauty of the words and because he is teaching you how to write a poem at the same time.
What is odd is that I have posted only two poems so far on this blog and both have been penned by lawyers!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Someone you love and admire is gay.
(I use the term gay to include gays and lesbians.)



If you preach hate or intolerance, you might not know who these people are. They are your father, your uncle, your aunt, your teacher, your co-worker, your neighbor, your pastor, your doctor, your police chief, your son or your daughter. Or maybe they're your grandchild, or grandmother, your husband or your sister--your very best friend in the world.

If gay people grew large blue dots on their foreheads it would be nice. Then you could "see" all these people and realize you have nothing to fear or hate.

I want everyone to know about the gay lifestyle.

It is your lifestyle - absolutely no different. Anti gays who use the words gay lifestyle are trying to imply something awful: dark smoky rooms with whips and chains and naked writhing bodies doing something different than the human body would allow.

Even I have trouble conjuring up just what horrors and perversions some people create in their minds when talking about the gay lifestyle. Bleck!

Gays work with you and live with you. They walk their dogs and feed their cats. You see them mowing their lawn and minding their nephews and nieces. They are next to you in the check-out line in the grocery store and kneeling beside you in church. They took your tonsils out and repaired the dent in your car. You've cheered them on the football field or bought their CDs.

They have as many lifestyles as heterosexuals - and blend into society so well you don't know who they are.

I do wish they had those blue dots.

Miss McKinley your most favorite grammar school teacher would have one as would that nice neighbor who jump-started your car and brought in your groceries. Your beloved grandson who calls you and says: "Grandma, I'm coming over to rake your leaves" would have one as would your four-year old curly-headed toddler who loves to climb up on your lap and give you sweet child kisses. Your favorite "maiden aunt" and "confirmed bachelor uncle" have them and so do your sports heroes and favorite authors. Blue dots are everywhere in every aspect of your life, neighborhood, church, workplace, and even in the bowling alley and nail salon.

Preference has nothing to do with being gay. It's just another anti gay buzz word.

Gay people don't prefer to be gay nor do they prefer to love the same sex. It implies choice. Do heterosexuals prefer to be heterosexual? Is this an active choice we straight people are making on a daily basis? No, of course not, and the same goes for gays.

You prefer vanilla over chocolate, but you don't prefer being gay over being straight.

Recently I heard someone comment: It might not be their choice to be born gay but it is their choice to live their lives as a gay person. I was astounded! Then we could say it's okay to be born female as long as you don't live as a female. It's okay to be black as long as you don't live like a black person, it's okay to be born disabled as long as you don't live as a disabled person, it's okay to be a redhead as long as we you don't live like a redhead.

The list would go on and on - telling us we can only be okay as long as we don't live our lives as we were meant to live them - again, not a choice -- just ask any disabled person.

"The freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the state," U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 ruling.

1967 wasn't that long ago when you think of it. It took our nation quite a while to understand that love isn't legislated nor will it go away, even with threats, violence or ignorance.


John, Garry, I can't wait for your legal marriage. I can't wait to toast you and rejoice in the fact that you finally have your rights --all of them for a change.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.


II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.


III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.


IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.


V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.


VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.


VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?


VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.


IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.


X
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.


XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.


XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.


XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.


-- Wallace Stevens

Since I love this poem, I've posted it here as a gift to all, those who also love it but until they see it in print aren't thinking of it, and for those who don't know it but might appreciate the beauty and complexity of this work.

I think love is a blackbird, it is all the things above and more. It is not something that's given on a specific day. And if there had to be a Valentine's day, I would choose a day in the warmer months, when love seems easier to find or feel. When sun warms the skin and the heart, and blue skies whisper with a sweet breath of flowers and ferns.

Even the blackbird itself is affected by climate and circumstance. "Songs of blackbirds produced in various locations have been compared to evaluate the influence of background noise on the structure of songs. The "twitter" part of the song is high in frequency and low in amplitude and therefore degrades rapidly. This component was shorter in duration in sites with high levels of anthropogenic noise."

The whirrs, swishes, beeps, chimes, rings, whistles, screeches, bangs, crashes that assault our ears every day alter the sound of the blackbird as they do the song of love.

Spend five minutes staring into the eyes of your loved one in a quiet space without saying a word. Let the blackbird sing its true song.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday Nights and Psychotic Serial Killers

I love Friday nights. The excitement of the weekend coming and all the anticipated fun makes it the day of days, night of nights.

Pizza! Thin, crisp, crust with blackened edges, sweet yet tart tomato sauce, whole-milk mozzarella cheese scattered with sweet Italian sausage...yummy. Add in a frosty pitcher of beer and you have my most favorite Friday night fare.

Tonight we are going out for pizza to our neighborhood pizzeria. Yeah!

(We are not dining with Condoleezza, had to say this because those two z's in her name bother the hell out of me, as opposed to the two z's in pizza or pizzeria. The word pizzeria bothers me in that I don't care for its spelling...why the E and not an A? Condoleezza's name with the double e and the double z looks to the eye like the name of a psychotic serial killer.)



Condoleezza



Stare at that name for 10 seconds and you can feel the mania inherent in the name. Your palms are probably beginning to sweat...keep looking at it...your heart beat is getting faster and faster...keep looking...you feel a tightness in your chest and your neck muscles start to quiver...okay you can stop looking at the name now.

......
We always order sausage pizza. A large one because they use the same size dough ball for either the small, medium or large pizza. If you like thin crust you have to order a large...if you like thick crust go for the small. One-size ball fits all.

Our local place has a most unusual waitress, she hates you the minute she meets you. No amount of tip will change her utter disgust in having to bring you your pizza and beer. No pleasant small talk will ever be exchanged and she wears one facial expression and one only: repugnance.

Why she loathes us I don't know. Oh, it's not just us, it's every single customer she has, and she is the owner's wife. You'd think she would realize that we repulsive, horrid, nasty pizza eaters are keeping her in bras, and if you saw her bazooms you'd realize that for her a bra is as essential to life as breathing.

She is not petite, but the protuberances in her chest area are the eighth wonder of the world. They come into a room about 10 minutes before the rest of her does. Her ass which is quite ample, is dwarfed by her humungous knockers, which untethered would have to reach all the way to the nether world.

She has one speed: low, to go with her one expression: hate.

Have your mind made up by the time she gets to your table, don't make small talk, speak clearly and slowly: One large sausage pizza and a pitcher of Bud lite please. Don't look her in the eye and don't for godssake ask a question or change your order. Don't ask her to bring the pitcher now, for you won't see it until after your whole pizza has been eaten. Don't smile at her, in fact just don't smile at all.

But, the pizza is just wonderful, so you put up with her. Once you learn the rules of behavior she won't punish you too severely. On a good day you might get the pitcher before the pizza, on a bad day, you might not get either until your ass is numb. But the pizza is really really wonderful, and cheap too.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ashes in the Middle of Your Forehead

Doesn't this strike you as asinine? What if you were asked to put on a clown's nose for Clown's Nose Wednesday? Where does thinking come in if you allow yourself to sport something usually found in an ash tray right in the middle of your forehead?

What the hell is the matter with you? Take a look in the mirror for crissakes! Are you by any chance, the same person who thinks burkas are ridiculous?

Oh come to think of it, you ARE that person.





Hypochondriacs are always happy to go to the doctors.

As Dr. Phil would say, they get something out of the experience beyond the normal "I don't feel good, can you help me, or I feel great but I have a yearly check-up anyhow" motivation that drives most visits.

For hypochondriacs there is a special feeling they get when whining about imaginary illnesses to a white coat. Is it attention? Whatever it is, I am not one of these people.

I consider a doctor's visit a necessary evil and only do it when all other methods of self-healing have been exhausted. I didn't always feel this way - and medical care hasn't always been run like big business under the scrutiny of even bigger insurance companies.

When my doctor and my dentist retired years ago, I was left in a sea of impersonal and self-righteous professionals who studied for years to become adored, well-paid health care providers, but ended up needing an MBA more than an MD or DDS, and an in-house attorney more than a sweet-voiced receptionist. Large chips grew on their shoulders because they felt duped.

Even twenty years ago, the dream of coming out of medical school or dental school with a promised large monetary compensation to make up for all the years of training and expense of setting up a practice, could be realized.

Today it's harder on all of us, patients to doctors. Doctors and dentists don't feel they are getting their due; patients suffer because it is harder and harder to get an appointment and often they fear the unnecessary testing imposed upon them because of the number of malpractice suits that rise yearly along with the number of vexatious or frivolous law suits in general.

As I said on another blog, the big bad wolf in this situation is not the patient and not even the doctor or dentist, for the most part, but the insurance companies that start the ball rolling when their profits aren't as high as they'd like.

Never feel sorry for an insurance company or a pharmaceutical company no matter what propaganda they throw out. Don't even feel real sorry for the MDs and dentists, they are doing quite alright - usually live quite well and although not compensated as lavishly as in the past- certainly well above all other professionals.

Please factor in the reality that medical professionals should want to be in the field, enjoy what they are doing and that they should have chosen this career because they believed they would be happy doing this type of work.

If it's all about money, then get thee to a financial services company and give up the Hippocratic oath for one that suits them better like: Shit, my stocks went down! Goddamn it the deal fell through! That bastard stole my account! etc.

I think the thing that bugs the medical professionals the most is that they aren't adored as they once were. As a class, they are no longer worshiped and suffer abasement each time an insurance company tells them what drugs to prescribe or what tests to push. As their skin gets thinner, their inability to communicate with their patients grows. I know now that if you ask a question to a doctor or disagree with something he or she says, you are in trouble.

They have to take it from the insurance companies but they damn well don't have to take it from you!

A rude 'tude becomes the norm and patients are then dismissed as necessary evils, which completes the circle as far as I'm concerned.

One thing I know --without patients there IS NO money.

Sorry your crown and robe have been stolen from you dear doctors and dentists, but alas, this does separate the wheat from the chaff. If you love what you are doing, even with malpractice suits, sue-happy patients, greedy insurance companies, and all, you will rise above these thorns in your side and find great satisfaction in helping others get or stay well.

Your patients will see this in you and love your for it and maybe you will earn back some of that adoration you once thought came right along with your diploma.






Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Would that my mother had named me Persephone, or Xandra or Zingou!

It's a tough thing to have a name so common that half my emails belong to some other Mary Bishop. There are even hundreds of Mary Bishops in Connecticut alone. If you were to ever Google Mary Bishop you would come up with scads of religious sites - Mary Bishop is actually a pretty holy name.

I would prefer the name: Hades Diabla to Mary Bishop, but I am stuck with it in all its mundane banality. It's hard to be beige.

Some of the Mary Bishops I am not:

Mother of 8 children/homeschooler
14 year old in love with Shawn
Soap opera star
Flower club president
Attorney at Law
87 year old ex teacher
Lonely housewife seeking afternoon delight
Engaged caterer
Yale student
Lounge singer
Dog breeder
Death penalty advocate

I could go on an on...just a quick look at this week's emails is enough to remind me of how easy it is for me or my email to be confused with all those other Mary Bishops out there...some honoring the name and some dishonoring it.

I hear tell there is even a "Mary Bishop Award" and if so, I give the award to me for my graciousness and good nature in dealing with how many me's there are in this world.







Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A word to Condoleezza Rice: Hair-do You definitely need a new one. Yours is a hair-don't. I can't quite put my finger on what that hair-do looks like...60s cheerleader? Perky helmet head? What is the purpose of those two flippy things by your ears? Why would an attractive woman go out of her way to look like an truncated version of Pippy Longstocking?

Speaking of hair-dos, where exactly on Donald Trump's head is his bald spot? His "do" is not exactly a traditional comb-over, it is a frothy confection of dyed locks swirling madly as if caught in a wind storm. How does he construct this Rube Goldberg type of invention and isn't he rich enough to buy some new hair?

Blogspot predicts I will have 0 visitors at my blog today. What a bummer. I take exception with Blogspot's prediction.

How do they know that I won't pay people to come to Tchotchkes? I'd visit a blog for $1 and I have 48 dollars in my wallet so I could pay 48 people to visit my site and prove Blogspot wrong.

I could also take an ad out in the newspaper and beg people to come to my blog. I could call up everyone I ever met who has a computer and whine and pule until they promised to visit my blog.

Truth is, although I am not anonymous, I am also not out with all family and friends. What would they think of me if they read my drivel? They might even come up with a formula on how many hours I spend on the computer by multiplying the number or words I write by my typing speed and dividing this number by the number of let-the-dogs-out breaks.

Still, it hurts when Blogspot tells me no visitors are expected today. Where do they get their knowledge? What if all of a sudden I am discovered by the blogging community? Will Blogspot apologize to me for their prediction or will they change it like the weather people do? Do they hold no responsibility for their statement that 0 visitors are expected today? What if I were borderline suicidal and this pushed me over the edge. What if the lack of people interested in my blog caused me to give up writing in general and instead I decided to grow ferns or pickle eggs? Who would be left to pick on people, huh?


Spoiled. How easily we get spoiled. I'm spoiled, but not rotten.

It is a snap to create an entry for one's blog-- you can spell check or change format or import photos etc. But, when commenting - you are SOL. If you comment, you are on your own, ass hanging out in the breeze. If you can't spell your comment will illuminate this fact. If you want to put emphasis on a word...you only have Caps as a tool.

I have the choice of deleting one of my comments or leaving it emblogged. I am humiliated that I am missing a parenthesis on my comment. Now I struggle with the dilemma, do I delete my comment and retype it adding in the missing parenthesis or do I allow it to remain in its state of one shoe off and one shoe on?

If this is all I have to worry about today I'm in good shape.


Monday, February 07, 2005

I have felt blog lately therefore I haven't blahed much. Okay, other way around but you get my point. My brain seems to be numb and my head seems to weigh more that it did last week. I keep checking in the mirror and it appears to be the correct size.

I am doing strange things in my sleep. I chewed off my nails one night..no memory of doing this. Also I woke up one day missing a part of an eyebrow...just about 1/4 inch of missing eyebrow hairs, but enough for my daughter to ask me if I'd joined a gang. Since I always have a terrible time finding my eyebrow tweezers during the day, I doubt I used a tool to accomplish this feat.

Last night I woke up at 1AM and watched a show about baking cakes. Very silly of me to watch this show...I also did it with the TV on mute.

Sleep demons are messing with me and keeping me from a good, contented, night sleep.

I think I save all my worrying for my sleeping hours. I have had bouts of sleep walking in the past and I sure hope I don't develop that little tic again. Nothing like waking up finding your hand in the cookie jar. (I know it could be worse.)

After reading Bel Canto I can't seem to get into any of the other books we have lying around. I love having a really good book waiting for me.

Bravo to the New York Times newspaper and Ken Glaser in particular for responding to my complaint that it is getting impossible for me to find a complete Sunday Times in my neighborhood.

Poor Mr. Glaser, he called this morning and I almost bit his head off as I assumed he was a telemarketer. I detest telemarketing and ask everyone to please never donate a cent or buy an item over the telephone! If you would all cooperate, telemarketers would have to find new careers and millions of people would be able to eat their dinners in peace.

In the BELIEVE IT OR NOT category, I once called the police on a person who kept calling me looking for someone (not me) who owed them money. I explained to this twit that the person he was looking for did not reside in my house. He didn't seem to care at all. He kept calling twice a day until I had a police officer call him back and tell him he was breaking the law.

Telemarketers are on the increase, but what is decreasing are heavy-breather phone calls. I assume Caller ID has taken this fun pastime away from the pervs. Makes you wonder what the heavy-breathers are doing now for fun.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Would you rather be closed up in a locked garage with 200 chain smokers or one Mini-Cooper with its engine running?

Eat your hearts out Health Nazis!

I knew someday the medical professionals would back me up. My lifestyle isn't all that bad, they now say.

Red Wine -- (had a bottle of Red Truck last night and I recommend it!) --drinking is a deterrent for lung cancer. So, I can smoke and drink my red wine and stay quite healthy. Also, new research shows that drinking alcohol of any sort can help stave off Alzheimer's disease. My mental state will not decline nor will my lungs grow tumors if I just keep up my very pleasant and enjoyable habit of a big fat glass of red wine and a most aromatic cigarette smoldering in the ash tray.



Screw you PBS


PBS, the U.S. network that carries the animated series, "Postcards from
Buster" has decided not to air an episode featuring a lesbian couple, following
complaints from the U.S. secretary of education, Margaret Spellings.


The series, co-produced by Montreal's Cinar Animation, centers on the encounters of Buster the bunny, during his travels. In this particular episode, Buster meets up with a girl living in Vermont who happens to have two mothers.

That has bothered Spellings. Her complaint is that many parents in the U.S. do not
want their children exposed to alternative lifestyles, especially when tax
dollars are paying for the programming. My feelings are:
    • You expect crap like this from Spellings, but not PBS.
    • You can bet your bippy PBS has seen the last of my donations.
    • Congratulations to Buster for his non-descriminatory ways.
    • Obviously everyone is afraid of King George and his crusaders.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Things that drive me crazy II

I happen upon other blogs and find some that are unreadable. No, not because they were written in a language that is foreign to me, but because they are composed of "kid code lingo" (I call this Wrong-Write) - born from text messaging and flourishing now as a written language of its own.

It is the opposite of the communication problems people have in China. The Chinese have a common written language (so they can always communicate by writing) but their dialects are so wide and so different, one to the other, they often cannot orally communicate.

Wrong-Write is unintelligible unless you are a kid and you spend your days text messaging. In most cases, though, that same kid can speak English well enough to get his or her point across.

Reverse China Syndrome. If this keeps up these kids will soon lose the ability to write anything that is readable by anyone other than a text-messaging-teen and soon to follow will be their inability to read anything other than this kiddish code.

I am not exaggerating when I say I cannot understand what they are saying.

According to my daughter, there are lessons on this Wrong-Write on the back of a a kid's cereal box. This slays me.

I am old enough to remember when most written words were spelled correctly. Spelling tests were weekly events and grammar was not optional but enforced. Then I saw how my children were allowed to write phonetically so that their creativity wasn't squashed. Bah. Now we are actively encouraging children to write in the text messaging style which should push these bad spellers over the edge to a place where books will have to be translated into Wrong-Write...that is if these kids will ever want to read a book. Sad.

If I had kids of text messaging age they would not be doing it. Brains hold onto wrong information as easily as right information. The wrong information never quite goes away and lurks in the background...just ask people who can't remember what the difference is between adapt and adopt or apprise and appraise or lay and lie. Of course the former mentioned bugbears will be nothing compared to dealing with graduates of Wrong-Write. Because of their inability to either read or write, they might just disappear from the planet.

Things that are making me crazy.

If I dwell on the fact that Michael Jackson has purchased three children to play with, I could gag.

Calling homosexuality a preference or choice and using the term "gay lifestyle" which means what?

How about the fact that the right-to-lifers believe that the value of life begins at the moment of conception but ends at birth. Ergo their disinterest in the actual living children begotten or their deep love for the death penalty and disregard for a woman's body as anything other than a vessel.

True facts about second hand smoke are being covered up by so-called scientists because they would rather push an agenda than the real truth.

Indoor air pollution is also caused by many things other than non-tobacco sources, including cleaning, cooking, consumer products like Raid and wood burning.

(A direct quote from Roger A. Jenkins, Ph.D., consultant to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Chemical Sciences division. )

A perfectly pure non-smoking home is teeming with potential carcinogens etc. Even the smoke from a recently snuffed candle can contribute to indoor air pollution. Other less talked about factors are: B.O., Aunt Celia's White Shoulder's perfume, litter boxes, and off gases from plastics.

When did smoking become a moral issue? Perhaps at the very same time that we decided to let our air go to hell. Or perhaps because the war on drugs is not a winnable war, but hounding smokers is okay and sanctioned.


red herring

Function: noun

Date: 15th century

1 : a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color

2 : [from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs] : something that distracts attention from the real issue