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Tchotchkes

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Location: Connecticut, United States

marybb1@gmail.com

Thursday, June 30, 2005

What I did on my Summer Vacation


All the boob talk yesterday reminded me of when I got mine.

It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I was one of the very last girls in school to acquire the bumps, and by the time they came, I’d endured many years of being called flat-chested and boobless. I had remained dateless too.

There wasn’t a boy in high school who had any interest in me – I can’t blame them. I had the physique of a 10 year old even though inside my head, I was at least 21.

That summer, things really popped. Rapid developments occurred and when I returned to school in September of my junior year, I had acquired a decent set of breasts in just two months. It was the closest thing to a miracle I’d ever experienced. It was like time-lapse photography…only it was real flesh and blood.

What a gift! I just loved them and still do to this day.

That summer, an older sister also helped me become “attractive” by showing me how to put on make-up and fix my hair. When I returned to school I had actually become cute. I didn’t think it was possible that the mirror would ever show me anything but a skinny, shapeless, unattractive girl, but this new reflection was quite nice in my mind.

It took the boys a few weeks to realize I wasn’t that same flat-chested girl they once teased unmercifully. I noticed how the teasing slowly stopped and approving glances became more prevalent. “Sexy!” one of the popular boys shouted out to me in the hall.

I blushed purple but loved it.

Another important thing happened that summer prior to the full bloom of the boobs. I met a guy who was a college sophomore -- somehow he could see the future “me” in that skinny, artless girl. We'd run into each other at the library and talk and laugh - very quietly of course or we'd have been thrown out by the stern straight-backed head librarian. His eyes would sparkle when he looked at me and for the first time in my life I knew what it was like to feel desirable.

The first big dance of the school season was the Halloween dance; one I’d longed to attend in the two prior years, but had never received an invitation.

Everyone in high school was abuzz about the dance; snippets of conversations could be heard in the halls about who had asked whom, what was going to be worn to the dance, and where everyone would meet up later.

I knew I’d made it as a “woman” when on one day I got three invitations to the dance: one from a “nerd”, one from a “jock” and one from an all around mucho-popular guy who, incidentally, had also led the pack in picking on my pre-puberty body.

So do you want to know which invitation I accepted?

None of them.

I had to turn down all three invitations because I already had a date for the dance with that college boy who could see into the future.

And I’ve been “dating” him ever since.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Gratuitous Modesty No More

Nor more erotic than Porky Pig without his pants, two statues that grace the floor of the Great Hall in the Justice Department in Washington D.C. have been unwrapped.

When new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales replaced John Ashcroft in this position, he also undraped the two statues, The Spirit of Justice, created with one breast exposed, and the bare-chested male Majesty of Law.

These statues have been on display for 70 plus years, but Ashcroft took exception with the aluminum-cast breast displayed on The Spirit of Justice, and for good measure, covered up the same male chest you see on the beach or at the ballgame – which is exposed on the Majesty of Law statue.

Tit for tat, so to speak.

It only cost $8000 for these modesty drapes, a mere drop in the bucket to Ashcroft, but the covered “chests” cost Ashcroft in other ways: he was the butt of jokes for his puritanical prudery about statue nudity.

To many Americans and most of the world, he was the one that looked like a boob.

Apparently Gonzales does not share the fear of the mammary gland and the statues are free once again to be as they were created.

Let us all raise our voices and our shirts high that we are now back again to the 1930s!

8- )

Monday, June 27, 2005

Odd Saturday Observations

Saturday morning I had to pick up husband from the car repair shop and offered to take him to get a much needed haircut at the barbershop. This isn’t a salon, but a barbershop that probably looks identical to when it was opened 50 plus years ago.

I sat in a “waiting” chair reading an article in the New York Post about Paris Hilton (ugh), while husband sat in one barber chair and a bald headed man sat in the other.

That’s when I saw a haircut that was more performance art than an actual haircut.

The man who had no hair, did have a small fringe of growth that adorned his pate in the manner one might think of as a “Monk’s hair-do”. Just a two inch curve of hair at the very bottom of his hairline.

The old barber…took out his clippers and within 30 seconds had shaved the fringe down to a short, very short, buzz. Done.

Wow, I thought, and that poor guy has to pay 15 bucks for a 30 second haircut!

No, the barber was not done.

He then took out a pair of scissors and started to open and close them, snip snip snip, metal smacking metal, over and over around the man’s head. I mean around his head. He never got near the actual hairs that were left on this guy’s head, instead, the snipping scissors were held a few inches from the man’s scalp.

I was stunned. I kept watching. This was an example of the Emperor’s new clothes.

The scissor-snipping was either a way to make the guy feel like he really got a haircut for his money, or a way to extend the time of the haircut (you can snip a lot of imaginary hair and not do any damage at all) or just a kind act by the barber to make the bald man feel like he had so much hair it was going to take a lot of snipping to get it all cut.

I kept wondering why the bald man didn’t realize the ruse, or why the barber would not be embarrassed to keep scissoring the air wildly when others could see he was only snipping at the air? I’m still amazed.

-------------

Then off to the cleaners. The week before, husband had dropped off a vintage skirt of mine to be cleaned for the winter and we needed to pick it (and his shirts) up. This skirt is a mini-skirt, from Ann Taylor, probably 15 years old? Not sure. I got it in Goodwill. It is very tiny, very short…I wear it with black tights and it’s really cute – a gray wool flannel with black velvet appliqué.

So he goes in to pick it up and the owner, who doesn’t speak English very well, says: I don’t know-- to charge – who skirt this Sharl skirt? Fooman skirt?

Husband thinks Sharl skirt? Fooman skirt? Hmm

He wonders if that’s the name of a certain style skirt or fabric…he’s a guy after all. He repeats our last name in case the owner is looking for this information. Nope, not what he’s after.

The owner is adamant he must know before he can add up the bill. Husband asks what’s the difference? Owner says Sharl skirt cheaper.

Husband gives up and says: it’s a Sharl skirt. Owner nods and rings it up on the cash register.

When he returns to the car where I’m waiting, he asks me about my skirt…straight-faced he wants to know if it’s a Sharl or Fooman skirt. He tells me about the conversation with the owner.

First, I look at him like he’s nuts…repeat in my mind what he’s just said and burst out laughing.

I finally got it; the owner wanted to know if it was a child’s skirt or a woman’s skirt.

Frankly I don’t think that should matter. It’s a damn small skirt is all I have to say.


------------------------------------------------------

Saturday night I’m having a cigarette outside a very classy restaurant located in the middle of an urban area which is undergoing renewal, but currently has broken down buildings, bums and debris everywhere, except right in front of this elegant restaurant.

Even the sidewalk in front of the restaurant is a lovely herringbone brick, bedecked with flower boxes and turn of the century faux lamp posts. Inside the huge windows you can see a tuxedoed piano player making lovely music on a full-sized Steinway.

Outside, while I puff, I see a young man, homeless for sure as he’s got so many items of clothing wrapped around his waist, it looked like he was wearing a skirt…a large, Fooman skirt at that.

He has the train tracks of fresh stitches on his eyebrow, crusted over with a reddish black scab, a backpack and a canvas tote.

He scuffles over to me and tells me he has $1.68 in his pocket and wants to buy me a drink!

I had left my purse inside the restaurant and had nothing to give him other than a smile and a no thank you for his invitation, but the contrast between what was inside and what was outside the restaurant’s window made me reflect on the haves and the have nots.

This time I was lucky to be admitted to the haves side of the window, even though I was standing in the area of the have nots. I wish I could have done something for him.

Without a face, homeless is just a word.

It’s going to be a while before I stop thinking of him and wondering: drugs, alcohol, mental illness? What put this young man on the streets and what as a community can we do to help?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Burned Up About the Flag Amendment


It’s a grand old flag, but it’s only fabric.

It’s a symbol or emblem or banner.

It’s a Nike swoosh, or a red, white and blue Pepsi can. It’s the Chihuahua in the Taco Bell commercial; it’s the Golden Arches. It is not the sneaker nor the beverage nor the burrito nor the hamburger.

It’s THE American logo that can give us goose bumps by just looking at it -- but it is not America.

It still is just fabric. (And, what I really hate, it is now sometimes newspaper quality paper!)

Still, the current administration and the fanatics who support suppression of freedom want to revisit the old so-called flag burning constitutional amendment. Actually the wording says desecration of the flag. If they had their way the constitution would have more amendments than the Oxford English Dictionary has entries.

There’d be an amendment on flossing if they could get away with it.

That slap happy congress, ready at any moment to pass any amendment they can think of, has approved this misguided amendment and passed it on to the Senate.

Here we go again: Attempting to pass an amendment that amends the first amendment of the constitution.

Well, if that happens the first person I’m going to turn in is my neighbor who desecrates the flag by never taking it down, keeping it up in the dark, rain, snow so it is now tattered and bleached pink from the elements.

That is just as much a desecration of the flag as any idiot who’d take a match to it.

(Speaking of which, just how many flags have you seen burned in your life? Me? Not a one. So we are going to add a brand new amendment that would affect how many people? A super small group of crazies with a Bic, a flag and a bug up their butts?)

If that were the case, I might not care about this amendment to the first amendment – but that’s not the case. Once freedom of speech is eroded, so follows other freedoms. History proves this out.

Current history in the making, like the Patriot Act, shows how Bush et al wants to know what books we are reading. Wants public libraries and book stores to tattle on us.

Things have to be pretty bad when a bunch of peace-loving, soft-hearted, librarians get militant about such invasions of privacy and loss of freedom.

To me, the loss of freedom couched in the name of patriotism is one of the single most unpatriotic acts upon our people, our country and yes, our flag that could occur.

So, if the amendment passes I will demand that all flag facsimiles be banned from clothing, causing Ralph Lauren’s stock to plummet. I will insist that no 99 cent flags be sold at Memorial and Independence Day parades. No little toothpick flags for holiday cupcakes or hors d’oeuvre trays either.

I’ll scour my community pointing out the tattered abused flags that are left outside to brave the elements of the oh so patriotic people who own the pole.

And certainly no freaking paper flags in the Sunday paper. After all, how could we respectfully get rid of these things? We’d be breaking the law. So our homes would have to be littered with paper flags from the cellar to the attic. A fire hazard I might add.

I get tears in my eyes when I hear The Star Spangled Banner. The hairs on the back of my neck twitch. I get goosebumps when I see the American Flag. I am just as much a patriot as anyone in blog land or anywhere else. My relatives fought for freedom – in both World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam and in the mid-east. Some of them never came home.

My freaking heart beats red, white and blue too.

But this amendment stinks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Assault with a Deadly Grocery Cart


My looks are deceiving.

I am a mere 5 feet tall, 100 pounds. I’m small boned and often called “tiny” which I hate. I wear pink glasses. I look like a push over, I guess.

So maybe that’s why the woman in the grocery store thought I’d fold when she continually rode her grocery cart up my ankles and into my toes, while waiting in line to check out.

First time I didn’t acknowledge the bump. Heck, anyone can make a mistake. Second time I turned around and looked down dramatically at my ankle, now glowing an unnatural cerise. Third time I turned around and looked her in the eye and said: Excuse me but you are pushing your cart into my foot. Please stop.

Confrontation.

I was polite, but I’m sure my face had a look. I’ve been told I can stop a truck with some of my looks. I have perfected a look that can stop a misbehaving child mid-naughty-deed or warn a husband who’s taking a joke too far to back peddle immediately.

I could not move up to get away from her, for every time I opened up an inch of space between her cart and my body, she pushed her cart closer to fill in this small, safety gap.

The cart pusher was tall. Not only was she tall she was wearing high heels. She was decked out in a business suit and talking on a cell phone. She was obviously rich, important and in a hurry.

I was in jeans and a tee shirt, flip flops, which I won’t wear to the grocery store any time soon.

Her hair was highlighted and professionally coiffed; her nails long and polished and her ears held diamonds as big as gumballs.

My hair was pulled back into a loose pony tail with the red, rubber band from the morning newspaper. My nails, never to be touched again by a manicurist, were short and uncolored. My ears were sparkle free. It must have appeared to her that I was not in a hurry and I (and my body) was not important.

Fourth bump I turned quickly and said loudly: Look, you’ve got to stop running your freaking cart over my feet. (This one really hurt.)

She was still on the phone, but the volume and tone of my voice could not be ignored.

She looked at me as if I had anger control problems. She blinked once or twice in rapid succession, raised her eyebrows and then continued with her conversation.

Price checks, arguments about sale prices, coupon expirations dates etc, were keeping me in this line much longer than I would prefer, but I wasn’t assaulting the woman in front of me with my cart just so I could move up a half inch.

Then the fifth and final cart contact came.

I had two choices which ran through my mind as if on fast forward. I could turn around, take her cart and give it a big two-handed push right into her hip bones or I could feign a dropped item and bend over to pick it up.

I chose the latter, hoping not to get arrested for cart rage in the grocery store.

I accidentally on purpose dropped a package of Cello sponges and then bent over to pick them up, using my gluteus maximus muscles to send her cart sailing backwards and into her abdominal area with a thump.

She almost dropped her cell phone.

I’m not proud that I stooped to such a low (yes, I wanted to use that pun) that I used physical violence on her, but it worked. She kept her distance, after that, and the check out girl gave me a wink and a “thumbs up” hidden behind the cat litter bag she was going to scan.

If the cops were called, at least I had a witness.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cravings and Cranberries and Objects of Unknown Origin

Note: This is a double post day because I have to have some answers here and now. I've got a severe cranberry problem and I need help!



I’m a craver.

I also pine for and have a yen for.

I’ll be living my life just fine and it will hit me, just like it did last week: “You must have some dried cranberries” an inner voice will say.

My sane self will tell inner voice I’ve never ever bought dried cranberries in my entire life.

Inner voice comes back at me, “Well, how about canned cranberries or frozen cranberries, or at least cranberry juice don’t you want some cranberry juice for crissakes?”

Sane self says no, of course not, I don’t drink cranberry juice. Too tart. I have no need for cranberries of any sort. I buy cranberry sauce when I make a turkey. It’s 80 degrees out and I’m not roasting a turkey thank you very much.

Eventually the inner voice wins and I tell husband to stop and buy dried cranberries on his way home from work.

He does and I’m reading the label and it says it might contain “earthen objects”.

Okay…never saw that before on an ingredient list. Yum yum.

Why can’t the cranberry driers wash the little suckers so they will be free from “earthen objects.” I don’t want any “earthen objects” in my cranberries.

I crave cranberries..not dirt.

Not stuff you might find in dirt either.

Then it dawns of me, worms are earthen objects. Is the label telling me I might be eating worms if I dare to eat any of these shriveled up yet wildly coveted dried-cranberries? Egads, what about the hated and detested bugs that can be found in earth, are they considered earthen objects?

Why can’t the ingredient list just say cranberries. Nothing else.

Earthen objects? – would you want to eat anything that disclosed the information that what was in this container might have some of that in it?

And how come when I did a google search for “earthen objects’ nothing, zero came up.

What kind of dried cranberries did he find in Stop and Shop? Did some creature from the bog rise up from the muck, grab a handle full of cranberries stick them in the sun, wipe his butt with them, then pack them in a solo container and sell them to S & S?

What am I going to do with my craving and my cranberries? Shall the twain ever meet?

Anybody got a recipe that calls for “earthen objects?”

I need help before I turn into a craving maniac!

Righting a Wrong...I never speak of fruit without linking to the glorious Spurious Plum.

She is the beauty of the bog, the chief or the orchards, the princess of the patch and true apple of my eye. Yes, when thinking fruit, I should have instantly linked to the woman known world round for her Fruit Facts. I apologize!

Notes on a Party

It was a great outdoor party on a most beautiful, almost-summer day. The hostess had done everything she could to provide comfort and joy for all those that attended. It was a no-present-giving party which made it even more spectacular.

Now some thoughts:

The hostess had about 25 percent more food than necessary – that was because 25 percent of the people who said they would attend – didn’t. Nice job to those who screwed this nice woman by forcing her to buy way more than she needed, costing her much more than she needed to spend, and then making her take all this extra food and dump it in the garbage as her punishment for inviting them.

One woman showed up with her dog.

She announced that her dog “Raffie” was her date. We all laughed-- thought that was a cute introduction to both the woman and her dog. But soon we realized she meant it.

If you sat next to her for any length of time you knew more about Raffie than you would ever care to know. Raffie drinks from a water bottle. Raffie loves beer. Raffie gets indigestion from hotdogs. Raffie only will sleep in her bed. Raffie and she are going on vacation together – all dog friendly hotels. Raffie loves to travel etc. etc. etc. Every week she bathes, brushes, grooms, snips and polishes all parts of Raffie.

Okie Dokie.

Then there was the woman with Tourettes.

I don’t know if she actually had the syndrome or what her problem was – but she managed to blurt out things that people think but do not say out loud at a party.

“She’s in love with that dog and I’m not sitting next to her. That’s all she talks about is that damn dog. Boring.”

“I don’t want a small paper plate. I don’t like small paper plates. You’d think she’d have some big paper plates. There’s too much food to put on this small paper plate.”

“Some of that food up there – I don’t know what it is but it doesn’t look good. There are some gray flat things that look like moldy fish. Do you know what those gray flat things are?” (eggplant)

“I’m engaged. I’ve been engaged for years and I don’t think he’s ever going to marry me. I’m too fat now for that wedding gown I bought a few years ago.”

Okie Dokie times two.

Another woman I spoke with did the “guess my age” game which I hate. Unless you say 20 you know you’re in trouble. To me the woman looked like she was pushing 60. Maybe older…I’m not good at age. I can’t say she looks 20 because that would be ridiculous…so I remove ten plus years and say: late 40s? (Thinking I’m safe and complimentary at the same time.)

She says, 50…I have not said what she wants me to say…

Okie Dokie times three.

I watched the water wasters. They grab a bottle of water, open it up, take a slug, put it down, eat a chip or shake a hand, go back to the table…look at their water bottle, shrug and go get another one because they’re not sure which one is theirs. I must have thrown out 25 full water bottles when I was helping clean up. Ridiculous. I tried to give one to Raffie as he was looking thirsty but his date said she didn’t want one that had been already opened and took a new one.

Okie Dokie times four.

The great divide: Work friends, family, neighbors, other assorted friends. Ever notice how parties always seem to fall into these groups? I attempted to infiltrate a few of the groups in which I didn’t belong by pleasant chatter and friendly hellos, but basically the vibes were: stick to your own kind. Only Miss Dog Date and Miss Tourettes seemed successful in breaking into groups other than their own – and I think that was because they were already so socially inept they didn’t feel the iciness of the new group and probably had been encouraged to leave the group they were with prior to moving on.

My final thoughts are why do people even have a party anymore with so many rude and wasteful guests? Whatever happened to “treat others as you would want to be treated”?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day!


Dear Fathers,

You mean so much to us. Your importance in our lives is immeasurable. We love you so. Enjoy your special day.

With all our love,

Your Wives and Children

Friday, June 17, 2005

You Reap What You Sow

It reared its ugly head yesterday. But this is only the beginning. There will be more problems when the six, huge blueberry bushes start to yield fruit.

It goes like this.

Every year when husband starts turning over the garden, I remind him that a garden is fine, but this is his hobby and not mine. I do not like bugs. I detest bugs. If I find one crawling on me I freak. Therefore I won’t “pick” a damn thing from the garden ever.

I will not enter into the fencing surrounding the garden even if a hundred dollar bill is pinned to a tomato plant.

It is off limits to me due to my fear of bugs. I refuse to willingly and with sound mind and body, enter into an enclosed space teeming with bugs. I don’t even like the things I think are bugs that turn into small leaves sticking to my leg. I still shiver and freak out…even after I know it’s not a bug.

I’ve got a big bug phobia and that’s that. So bug off on getting me to pick vegetables…I’m not doing it.

Once, a bug of some sort fell down my blouse and onto my body. I couldn’t find it. I started ripping clothes off like a stripper on a timer. I didn’t care that friends and relatives were able to see parts that had never before been exposed to their wide open eyes. If I hadn’t found the damn thing when I did and where I did, I would have kept tossing off clothing until I was buck nekkid.

Modesty goes out the window when a bug flies down your blouse..or my blouse that is…

Every year husband forgets how much distaste I have for anything that resembles gardening due to the bug fear factor.

I love flowers. I’d love to plant more and have a cutting garden, a perennial garden and an annual garden. If this could be done without coming across a single bug – I’d do it. But, it can’t – so I give up the joy of having a flower garden to protect myself from coming across a bug, that might crawl up my leg or down my front and cause me to take it all off, until I can find it.

So yesterday he says: The lettuce is ready for picking. Can you pick some tomorrow?

What?

Yet again, we have the “it’s your hobby” talk and while I’m at it I remind him not to pick and instantly dump into the sink. When he does this the bugs are all over the sink.. Earwigs, that make my skin crawl and light green things that hop and have eyes big enough to stare me down. Yuck

I hope husband understands, especially after last night’s “chat” that I mean what I say.

He’s got to reap what he sows, because I’m not.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Paradise Lost


Natalee Holloway – where are you?

Why were you allowed to go on this trip to Aruba when you were described as a naïve, straight-A student; a church-going girl who hadn’t dated very often?

Who thought that would be a good idea?

Only seven chaperones for how many young, naïve, island-unwise Alabama teens?

One-hundred and twenty four unsophisticated, unmonitored, teens raised on the buckle of the Bible Belt, were let loose in paradise where drinking and gambling are legal at 18.

But then again, who’s checking?

Someone wasn’t thinking very clearly when they set up this trip which would allow a young girl to stay out half the night at a bar, get into a car with three male strangers and take off into the dark in a strange country.

No bed checks even though the return flight was the next day? No one noticed that Natalee was gone for hours and hours until oops she’s not at the airport?

Mind boggling.

According to Caribbean Net News “there is a 'shark's den' on one side of the island and FBI agents have developed an interest in the area. The sharks are reportedly fed daily in that location to keep tourists safe on the other side.”

Someone should have explained to Natalee, long before she was allowed to go on that trip –not all sharks have fins, and the other side of paradise is hell.

There’s a trend today where the Senior Prom has become as expensive as a wedding used to be, and class trips resemble honeymoons. These events have been supersized with the help of well-off parents who want to relive their youth.

They are financing and approving of situations that would allow someone like Natalee to come in contact with danger and not even smell it or see it coming.

I know Mountain Brook, AL where Natalee was raised. I lived not far from there. It is a community that is almost Stepford-like with its perfect homes, trees, flowers, streets and inhabitants.

Everyone she came in contact with was a God-fearing, church-going, respectable member of the community with few exceptions. Everyone was financially sound, in this Yes Ma’am, No Sir town.

I’d bet her parents wouldn’t have allowed her to go one city down to the heart of Birmingham. I’d bet they’d cautioned her about Five Corners and the freaks, flakes and nuts that hang out by the Fountain.

Somehow, though, the Caribbean was okay. Cool to say your kid’s in Aruba celebrating her graduation.

Natalee could never have imagined what danger might lie ahead in the beautiful island called Aruba.

But her parents? Why didn’t they?

Natalee Holloway – where are you?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

NOTE: I took this from Susie then screwed around with it and came up with this post. It isn't exactly following the rules, but come to think of it, neither do I.


I Am


I am beef stew, Budweiser and baseball.

I’m the wrong side of the tracks with the right kind of values.

I am denim and lace, sweat and perfume. Tough as shoe leather, my father would say.

I'm a mix of Irish Catholics and Parisian pragmatists, with a pinch of Algonquin and a dash of Canuck.

I am sentimental and cerebral, hedonistic and hell-raising.

I’m hard-headed, soft-hearted, thick-skinned and even-tempered.

I’m as lazy as an old cat; I’m never bored.

I am from humanists and thinkers, pantheists and philosophers. I was encouraged and hugged but left alone to grow.

I'm a small-town, big-dreamer with a taste for champagne, a love of limos and rose gold. I’ll save for a year for a bottle of Dom Perignon.

My childhood exists in a handful of photos.

I’m that little girl in the picture with blond curls and a sprig of Lilies-of-the-Valley pinned to my hair. I’m the one at the beach with the pail of water, the sandy thighs, the skinned knees, the missing teeth.

In this one, I’m dressed like a bride but only seven years old. Yellow braids can be seen beneath the ludicrous veil. I am so uncomfortable in this garb it leaps off the old, faded photograph.

Even now I squirm.

I want to go back in time and rip off those clothes. Put me in blue jeans and a tee shirt or a thin cotton dress with cherries and checks. Unbraid my hair.

I want to hug the girl in the ugly Confirmation dress; little breast buds, bad hair-do, another religious rite that feels wrong.

I want to play with the girl who seems so confident on her roller skates holding a doll in one hand and chalk in the other.

I want to put these photos away now and create my own.

Here I am in high school. Look at all my friends. This boy here wants to take me to the dance. Look at my stylish clothing; my silky hair. We all have our arms around each other. We are all smiling. After this photo we are going to hang out at my house. Blast the stereo. Be cool.

Then I take that mental picture and rip it up, because it is not true.

There is no attic containing my favorite doll nor a picture I drew nor even a single report card. My parents did not covet things.

They came from nothing. They saved nothing.

They died too young.

Yet still, I am.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Barf

Three celebrities on trial -- OJ, Robert Blake and Jacko -- three acquittals.

It looks to me like justice is for sale.

If you’re rich enough and also have a public persona that has reached celebrity status, juries will find a way NOT to convict you. That old “beyond a reasonable doubt” which I still don’t understand...(really, I could never serve on a jury simply because I don’t understand what is meant by beyond a reasonable doubt) –gets them off every time.

I need to know, someone please explain. What is beyond a reasonable doubt? What’s out there in the beyond? Is it an unreasonable doubt? Does that mean no doubt whatsoever? It’s not clear to me what they mean…but it seems like this catch phrase allows people to be acquitted all the time…unless…

You are Joe Schmoe. You sleep with little boys. You get your ass hauled off to court and get convicted and that’s that.

Smoking gun?

It would have been lovely if Jacko had videotapes of his sexual adventures with little boys, but even he isn’t that wacko…

Now each jury member, bathed in the afterglow of a celebrity trial, can make their rounds on the talk shows, seal their book deals and ride around in limos for a few months.

They’ve traded a young boy’s future molestation for their 15 minutes of fame.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I Scream; You Scream

There’s an art to eating an ice-cream cone.

I love to watch how people attack the process of ingesting a cone filled with a substance that melts at a rate just a few seconds faster than one’s ability to consume it. There seems to be a contest or race to see if one can lick up every single drip before it spills over onto the cone, or worse, one’s hands, shirt, lap etc.

My least favorite way to eat an ice-cream cone, and my husband’s favorite, is the open-mouthed munch. Hold cone upright, open mouth wide and bite down into the ice cream as deep as one’s teeth allow. I can feel the instant brain freeze as I type this. My teeth are not suitable for being submerged into freezing substances without howling in pain.

I could never eat an ice-cream cone in the same manner I would eat corn-on-the cob, but it is one common method of cone consumption I’ve noticed in my exhaustive studies on the subject.

I have also noticed that few women attack a cone in this manner, but it does seem to be a favorite of the male cone-eaters.

My second least favorite way to eat an ice-cream cone, or see someone eat a cone this way, is the” tongue out/cone spin” style. Open mouth, let tongue extend as long as that little sucker can protrude, hold cone at a 45 degree angle and spin it over the surface of the tongue…round and round and round. Once in a while, it is necessary to pack down the top of the ice-cream scoop until it flattens --usually three or four tongue taps will do, then quickly tongue out as far as possible and start the spinning again.

People who eat ice-cream cones in the tongue/spin method seem more tense than the average cone eater. They have a job to do, and they must do it quickly and efficiently. I wonder if the tonguers taste the ice cream at all or if it’s just neatness that counts?

The head bob/tongue flicker method of eating an ice-cream cone seems to be typically a female style of cone eating. Holding the cone upright, the head bobs up and down upon the cone, with the smallest of pink triangular tongue flicking at the ice cream, holding only a small dollop of ice cream per flicker. Cone rotation is done slowly and only when one side of the ice-cream scoop seems close to becoming concave and therefore structurally unsound.

The side-show of ice-cream cone-eating methods is the cone swallower.

This person attempts to insert as much of the ice-cream cone as is humanly possible into the biggest, “say ah” mouth they can physically create. Simultaneously, as they turn their mouths into an open O reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, they press the cone up and into their mouths, attempting to surround the circumference of the ice-cream scoop with their mobile stretched lips.

These people are fun to watch. Like the tonguers they have unique abilities that the average person doesn’t have. They can unhinge their jaws, I think, in order to accept all of the ice-cream scoop in one open-mouthed swoop.

In the “born-to-lose,” ice-cream-cone-eater category are those people that experience the compulsion to bite off the end of the cone. Why do they do this? They are going along eating their cone, in whatever manner they’ve chosen and as if god whispered “ do it now” in their ear, they raise it up and bite off the bottom…setting up a gravitational dripping of the ice cream that keeps them licking furiously from top to bottom.

Also in this category is the tongue-thruster. This person uses their tongue to push into the ice-cream often catapulting the ice-cream scoop off onto the pavement, the car seat, their shoes, etc. while they seem quite confused as to how this could have possible occurred.

When I’m at an ice-cream shop, I forego the cone for a sundae. I’ve never been able to master a single cone-eating style that works for me. Plus I’m addicted to the cherry on the top.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dysfunctional Erectile-Dysfunction Ads


The Levitra woman makes me crazy. What’s with her?

That insipid smile; coquettish eyelash-batting; and that baby-voice that seems to be stolen from a preteen cheerleader – all make me want to lunge for the remote and press any button on the thing that will remove her from my sight.

Ugh.

How about her outfit? She’s standing on the porch dressed in nothing but a large men’s shirt, drinking her coffee, while still maintaining the-cat-who-ate-the-canary smile.

The obviously exaggerated, post-coital glow and doltish expression on her face repulse me. Her constant reference to her “man” makes me wonder if this is the only man she’s ever biblically known. Ain’t you been with a man before lady?

Ugh.

The Cialis and Viagra ads seem more palatable. You see two people dancing, or two chairs side by side and two gray heads, and think…yeah, once in a while these people still want to get it on…okay.

But Ms Levitra is a turn off and this ad is probably responsible for 25% of all cases of erectile dysfunction by its sheer stupidity and the asinine portrayal of Levitra users and their kittenish overly-happy, vapid, aging, women.

The other 75% of erectile-dysfunction cases are caused by advertising any erectile dysfunction medication during sports events.

Picture this: a group of hairy, muscled, testosterone-filled, beer-drinking men sit down in front of the TV to watch a game. They’ve got their chips, Buffalo wings and peanuts.

They’re talking stats and players, ripping open flip-tops and boom! Someone gets on TV to tell them that “Willy the one-eyed wiggley worm” might not always work.

It’s proven that the fear of Willy not working causes Willy to collapse in shame. Resuscitation is sometimes impossible. Willy shrinks into the shadows and refuses to budge. All because he’s now painfully aware of the fact that at any time he could fall into a dead faint and there’s no smelling salts to bring him out of it.

Just in case the ads don’t drive home the fear of a dysfunctional Willy, the billboards surrounding the field or court are plastered with reminders. LEVITRA CIALIS VIAGRA – in letters 6 feet high.

I’m surprised they don’t have cheerleaders shouting:

Woo Woo -- it could happen to you!
Don’t be saps; It could collapse.
For a guaranteed thrill; You must take the pill!

That’ll be next.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

how do i stop myself from committing murder



---------------
Chilling and blood curdling to find that someone came to my blog after putting those words into a Google search. (Page 2)

Yes, I did write about commiting murder once when I had been up all night due to my own snoring and my words were coated with grandiloquence and hyperbole and just plain old tale-telling exaggerations and rowdy rhetoric.

On the off chance that this person is serious and would possible return to Tchotchkes, I say please don’t do it. You can contemplate murder all you want – I do it on a daily basis, usually directed to my dogs which drive me crazy or sometimes my mother-in-law, but I am not serious in any way.

Am I being over sensitive? Were you just kidding around when you typed those words into Google? I sure hope so. But you’ve got my panties in a bunch this morning, just contemplating what you were contemplating or appeared to be contemplating at 4:54 this morning.

You read some other entries, you stayed a while at my blog, what does that mean? I usually try to elicit a laugh or two from readers, did I make you laugh at all?

If you were serious, then I can see you really don’t want to do anything hurtful. Murderers don’t bother with Google, unless they’re looking up poisons or places to dump bodies.

I sure hope you were joking around; hope you were just being curious as to what would pop up on Google. Sure hope you know that nothing is ever resolved by bad acts and the results of bad acts come back to bite you in your ass every time, one way or the other.

Sure hope that you know that by contemplating murder you are not a bad person…it can be a knee jerk response to situations where you feel there’s no other option – but there always is an option that is safer and better for you.

In school? Talk to a guidance counselor or trusted teacher about who and what is hurting you so much. An adult? You have many choices, many therapists, doctors, organizations that can ease your pain and get you on the right road, safely and show you that what you feel this moment is temporary – all things change. The good and the bad change all the time and absolutely nothing stays the same.

If this is a joke, then you sure got me, but I’m not chuckling, I’m very upset.

Email me at any time if you care to discuss this question, why you wrote it and what I can do to help you. I mean it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Jabberwocky*

It’s dawned on me that half the important documents in my “important document” box are not understandable. I don’t know what my credit card is actually trying to tell me in the latest letter it sent out about changes in its policies.

I read a paragraph and the words turn into geometrical patterns while my brain goes into a deep freeze.

I also don’t know what the heck is covered or not covered in my recent home and auto insurance policies. They sent a whole book of gobbledygook that makes no sense to me. If I were Echria or lawbrat, someone skilled in legal terms and legal argot, I’d be fine. But I’m not smart like they are.

Besides, micro-mini print is enough to turn me off at sight. I can’t do teeny, weenie, little letters that I have to strain to see.

Next are the medical insurance papers, booklets and forms. They have their own box because there are so many of them and each new additional document is always changing the previous set of rules, regulations, commands and demands sent from my caring, loving, medical insurance company.

Warrantees: I save them all but why I don’t know.

The one time I tried to use a warrantee I was told that it didn’t apply to the whole refrigerator, but only to the compressor. Great. Nothing like having a wonderfully working yet guaranteed compressor on a refrigerator that’s operating at a temperature of 80 plus degrees and water’s dripping everywhere and the inside of the fridge smells like a morgue.

Reports come monthly on our 401K savings plan. Lots of words and numbers -- but they might as well just send a Post-it that says: Down again this month! Keep up this savings plan and you’ll be owing us money by September.

I don’t know why we loose money every month; I don’t know where they’ve put our money and I don’t know why we call it a savings plan when it seems to work like a debit card, only I’m not buying anything.

Most of the papers that I’m supposed to save, that are supposed to help me in some way, inform and educate me, save me money or keep me out of jail, are nothing more than doublespeak in my mind.

At least the title poem was meant to be unfathomable…so I pay it tribute for its honesty and euphony and who knows, maybe by rereading it I’ll understand a little more about all those papers in my “important paper” box.

*Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mame raths outgrabe.
'Beware the Jabberwock, my son,
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch.
Beware the jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious bandersnatch.'
He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought.
Then rested he by the tum-tum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One! two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snickersnack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.'
And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjious day! Calooh! Calay!'
He chortled in his joy.'
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Outgrabed in Connecticut

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Envelopes Please…!
(No thank you)


The stories you are about to read are true. The names have been changed to protect the greedy.


My phobia for going to the mailbox is relatively new. I didn’t always feel this way. I live within my means, so it isn’t bills I fear.

It’s those envelopes; the ones with the real full-strength stamps on them. Hand addressed.

The hairs on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about them.

The big fat ones are the worst but usually you get a small one first to warn you. The small ones are bad also. When one trip to the mailbox yields three of these I want to scream. When a weeks worth of mail yields 4 or 5 of them I want to join a witness protection program.

Ah yes. Let the invitations begin!

Baby shower, bridal shower (which let’s you know one of those big fat wedding invitations will soon follow) graduation parties, christenings, birthday parties, and on and on. A quick estimate of minimum gift expenditure per invitation, and I’d be out a grand this week if I attended all the weddings, parties, showers, etc. that I’m invited to.

It’s one thing if you get an invitation from someone who’s near by – but how about if you live thousands of miles away and still get: Joshua is graduating high school! Please help Joshua celebrate his graduation by attending a picnic at our home…

Sorry, yes, 4 years ago you lived next door and three times we talked over the fence, but no I’m not traveling from Connecticut to California to attend a picnic at your home. (Besides, Joshua was a nasty little prick who teased my dogs, toilet-papered my yard and urinated in my bird bath for fun. He’s not getting a cent from me for any reason.)

Or the most recent big fat wedding envelope I received.

Alison and Wesley Morgan and Mame and Henry Farquist request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children Carrie Laura Morgan and Tyler Franco Farquist…blah blah blah.

Not a single name looks familiar. I’ve never heard of these people, so I wait till husband comes home and show him the invitation. He is rubbing his chin and his brow is furrowed. He’s not sure, but maybe its the new guy who works in accounting – he might be Tyler Franco Farquist…husband thinks he heard someone call him Ty or maybe not…maybe it was Sy – not sure, but he’d check on it.

Really, you just start working for a company and you sweep all departments with a mass mailing of wedding invitations? By the way, six “suggestion” cards fall out of the envelope about where Carrie and Tyler have a wedding registry.

A quick look on the internet shows me that Carrie or Tyler or both, have expensive tastes. They don’t want a damn thing under $100 – one item on the list was $99.99 and that was for one espresso cup rimmed in gold…yeah sure, I’ll put off getting my washing machine fixed so I can send you a teeny tiny cup…not on your life baby.

Or my all time favorite from a super tight-wad ex neighbor who was giving her daughter a wedding shower. (No stamp on the reply envelope, by the way.)

Wedding Shower for Carol Lawson
given by Faith Lawson (mother)


After the who, came the what, where and why.

But then came the special requests:

A note from Faith:

“Hi friends and family!

Since I’m hosting the shower at my home, I’m accepting donations for the buffet table. Currently, I’m looking for the following: brownies, cupcakes, or any other yummy dessert. Casseroles or salads: whatever you make the best. Rolls and bread.”

Also please bring a printed recipe of one (or more!) of your favorite recipes.

We will be having a wishing well for Carol; please bring a kitchen gadget as an extra little gift to put in the wishing well. (Notice how she said “extra” – making sure no one would think a kitchen gadget would qualify as THE real present.)

Best part of all, still in the note from Faith, the mother of the bride:

As you know, Carol was married before and has all her basic linens, towels, sheets, and other typical shower presents. Therefore she has compiled the following list of suggestions for attendees.

Gift certificates to restaurants
Gift certificates to:
Victoria Secret (call me for sizes!)
Home Depot
Borders
Nieman Marcus
Circuit City Electronics

And don’t forget, cash is always welcome! "


I was a bit surprised she didn’t say that she took Visa, Mastercard and American Express.


Obviously I was busy the day of that shower. If I’m going to bring the food, a gift, an extra gift, and write out a recipe, I’d rather stay home.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Get a Horse

As of October 1, 2005, you won’t be able to drive a car and talk on a hand-held cell phone in Connecticut.

Our legislators have been very busy this session thinking up new laws; ones that will be harder and harder to enforce-- and ones that are becoming more and more ludicrous.

No matter what they do, they will never be able to pass enough laws to create a state full of good drivers. But dammit, they're going to try.

A responsible person can talk on a cell phone and drive, just like an irresponsible person can cause a five car accident while having two hands on the wheel (at “ten” and “two”) and wearing their Good Driver’s Medal on their lapel.

Good judgment cannot be legislated.

But since they are trying to do this they will have to pass a few more laws about what drivers can and cannot do.

1) No coffee cups, soda cans, or burritos can be held by hand while the car is moving.

2) No smoking cigarettes, and no putting on make up.

3) No turning around, even for a second, to see why your infant is choking in the car seat, that by law, has to face the back of the vehicle, leaving the driving-mother with no view of her child.

4) No holding a Mapquest printout as you drive to a location you’ve never been before.

5) No glancing over at your sweetheart while driving, even if your favorite song is playing on the radio. In fact, no radio. Some songs can cause you to lose your concentration.

6) No heating systems or cooling systems in cars, as occasionally you might glance at the levers to adjust them.

7) No fuel gauges, speedometers or odometers in cars as they too become a distraction if you check to see if you need gas, or how fast you're going, or how many miles you’ve driven.

8) No combing hair, smoothing an eyebrow with your pinky finger, or checking your teeth while driving.

9) No fuzzy dice, baby shoes, Mardis Gras beads or graduation tassles hanging from your rear view mirror.

10) No nose-picking, now I’m not saying that only men do this…nope won’t hear me say that.

(Personally, I’ve never known a woman to believe she was invisible once inside a car, but I have known men that pull right up next to me, insert finger and go at it as if no one could see.)

11) No pets in the car. Especially no big fat Golden Retrievers who like to hang their heads out of the window and slobber down the side of the car. (Distracting for the driver and distracting for other drivers.)

No toy poodles, ferrets or parakeets perched on the drivers lap, shoulder or the wheel itself. No cats, anoles, turtles, hamsters, or gerbils, actually, even though it doesn’t fit in the pet category, NO CHILDREN allowed in cars at any time.

Children are a major cause of accidents; they cry, laugh loud, fight with siblings, throw-up and kick the seat – all reasons for taking the driver’s attention away from the road.

12) No ball-adjusting or panty-hose adjusting while driving. No sneezing, blinking, chewing, coughing or laughing while driving.

13) And if they really want to keep the streets safe, go for broke and pass the law of laws that will keep Connecticut roadways the safest in the nation: no driving period.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Manicure

Yet again I had another problem with using a gift certificate. It’s fine and lovely when someone buys one – but don’t dare try to use it or you get second-class citizen treatment or worse.

I cashed in one free manicure at a nearby nail salon, and got looks as if I’d come in there with a Glock and a ski mask.

The Free Manicure Certificate was examined by a tiny Asian woman who must have had advanced degrees in forensic science. It was read, reread, and both the certificate and I were scrutinized from every angle.

It was not with a happy-face that she “okayed” my manicure by a quick head nod and finger-point to an empty chair.

I knew why this manicurist was available, after about two seconds. She was the salon sadist. Kee was her name but pain was her game.

There was a language barrier as Kee spoke very little English and I don’t know any Korean. This fact didn’t help matters.

First Kee, the diminutive dominatrix that she was, slammed down a box containing items that looked like they’d be more useful in the operating room than a nail salon: Big metal clippers, scalpel-like tweezers, and a metal nail file. When’s the last time anyone ever used a metal nail file? It looked more like a rasp than a nail file and I’m sure it could saw through jail bars like butter.

But these torturous tools were meant for me.

She asked me something – I could tell by her inflection and the OK? at the end of her sentence.

I replied OK. I mean I’m in a nail salon getting this relaxing treat of having my nails done for me...so whatever she was asking couldn’t have been too dangerous…one would think.

Without much ado she was taking these mammoth clippers with their mighty metal jaws and clipping my fingernails lower than they’d ever been or were meant to be. Ten snips and they were guillotined down to the quick, a millimeter away from drawing blood.

(What could she have asked me? I’m going to take your nails down so low you’ll look like a nail-biter, OK?) or (We don’t like honoring gift certificates here, so I’m going to give you the most painful manicure of your life so you won’t forget that, OK?)

After removing any hint of nail beyond the nail-bed, she pulled out the metal nail file and started filing away as if she had a bionic hand that was capable of speeds so high she could manually power an airplane. I swear I saw smoke coming up from my nails and felt heat burning through my fingertips.

I was ready to scream "uncle" when mercifully she stopped – but then Kee pulled out cuticle scissors sharp as razors and started plucking at bits of my cuticle -- then she moved on to bits of flesh near my nail that must have offended her. Snip, grab, pluck, snip, dig, snip...until I was polka-dotted with poppy-seed sized blood spots on each finger.

Once I was through this part I thought I was home free. Phew! I’d made it without crying. Hopefully without any permanent scarring too.

Then the hand massage came and she systematically attempted to dislocate each joint of each finger on each hand -- pulling so hard and for so long, I figured she wouldn’t stop till she had a whole finger ripped off , metacarpally speaking.

I was a yellow-bellied coward. I wanted to tell her military secrets; where the bombs were hidden; when the invasion was coming…anything to make her stop -- but I had no such knowledge... so all I could do was endure until I was back to the point of screaming out loud.

Again…she knew exactly when I could take no more without audibly crying out and causing a ruckus. And the pain stopped again.

After dabbing some alcohol-based solution (probably mixed with ground glass and Kosher salt) on each finger making sure to hit each miniature wound, she said something which again I couldn’t understand, and brought out a nail-polish bottle in a color I’d call stinky pink but I wasn’t going to complain. I nodded and smiled figuring soon I’d be out of there with my throbbing fingers and my stinky pink nails. (What was left of them.)

In approximately one minute she’d applied one base coat, three stinky pink coats and one top coat to my nail stubs.

Wow, I sure looked like something else, but it was over with…I thought.

Then she led me to a drying table where you stick your hands into a slot and air blows over them drying your polish. She stood behind my chair and said something that I ignored as I would never say OK to her again for love or money.

Once my hands were positioned flat in the narrow slot and the air was blowing, she delivered her first blows to my neck. Karate chops from neck to shoulder and back to the neck again. Then kneading hands grabbed me in the same way Steinbeck’s Lenny “hugged” the mice in the barn, and she started squeezing the living bejeezus out of my poor neck and shoulder muscles.

This folks was not fun.

This hurt like a sonofabitch.

This wasn’t a massage, it was a massacre!

I’d thought the nail drying time could be peaceful and relaxing but no – she kept squeezing and pounding until she had thoroughly beat the crap out of my upper back. I felt lucky I could still feel my legs, so I knew she hadn’t broken a vertebra and I’d soon be able to walk out of there.

I was waiting for her to haul off and smack me on my cheek if I made a peep, so I endured. I had already given her a generous tip, (30%) said thank you when I left, but I got the point.

Flush those two other Free Manicure certificates down the toilet, or give them to someone I hate.

So, never, ever, ever, ever use a gift certificate from Crystal Nail Emporium unless you want some of the same.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Blog Get A Cat


Remember back to your very first foray into blogging? Remember the very first entries on your blog? Many of us can look back to something similar to this:

September 3, 2003

Hi. This is a test. This is my first attempt at blogging.

September 4, 2003

Hi. Guess no one stopped by to comment.

September 5, 2003

I was late for work today. Why no comments?

September 6, 2003

I forgot to put my garbage pails out by the curb.

(And I wondered why no one commented?)


Remember how you felt as a neoblogger?

I remember thinking: this is my blog and I can write about anything I want.

Then not a single thing came to my mind except things like it’s raining outside and the house smells like wet dogs. I’d purposely put in an anti-Bush comment or a fuck – just to see what would happen.

Would I be arrested by the Secret Service? Would the curse cops come and wipe my blog away for profanity? Nothing happened...it was great – no censorship, at an age when censorship has become more and more prevalent.

I do remember feeling totally free. I could write anything at all because not a damn soul was visiting my site. I had no idea how to comment on anyone’s blog, had no idea what a blogroll was, had no idea about any unspoken or written rules about what to do or not do while blogging.

As time’s gone on, I have started to see patterns of politeness that permeate the blogosphere, have increased my comments on others’ blogs and have had more comments on my own blog.

One day I woke up and felt like blogging was becoming a job. I wasn’t visiting all the blogs I liked; I was forgetting about blogs I had visited in the past because new bloggers were coming to my site, so I was visiting their sites.

I remembered the saying: Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.

I tried to get up earlier so I could hit more blogs with more comments and not let anyone think I had abandoned their blog.

I was starting to sweat when I logged onto blogspot…oh god, people were now putting me onto something called a blogroll. It was an honor. I would have to learn how to make my own blogroll. Then I wondered: do you ask permission before you put someone on a blogroll? Can you just blogroll like a maniac without telling the bloggers you’ve linked to them on your page?

More questions arose. Um, how come I put Franksfingers on my blogroll and he didn’t put me on his? Hey, doesn’t he like me? Should I feel affronted?

More angst when I realized, Franksfingers was commenting on other peoples’ blogs but wasn’t commenting on mine. Egads, it felt like a middle school popularity contest and I was losing! There were not enough hours in the day to blog correctly and make sure everyone in blogland knew I liked their wit, writing and photos.

Then I saw comments on blogs like this: Great! Ew! Super! – one word touches allowing the commenter to reach more blogs quicker and use less blogging hours. I just can’t do that. (OK, so I do it once in a while but it isn’t my modus operandi.)

I didn’t blog for a week or so, then I came to grips with this whole blogging concept and made my own rules of etiquette for me and my blog – so here they are:

I wish I’d never started a blogroll. It would be much easier to never have linked to a single person than to try to keep up with the many people I am meeting in blogland who write like angels and who have so many interesting things to say on so many subjects.

If you aren’t on my blogroll it isn’t because I don’t love you. If I’m not on your blogroll I won’t be hurt. I can barely keep up with plain old blogging never mind an ongoing list of favorite bloggers because my list is now reaching astronomical proportions.

I’m glad I included my email on my blog because it’s fun to get email from fellow bloggers – except the ones like: Marybishop, you didn’t write a blog entry today. Why? Are you okay?

Or, Dear Marybishop, please don’t add anymore people to your blogroll or I’ll lose points on Blogshares. (Huh, what the heck is blogshares? Why do they care how many people are on my blogroll…I still don’t know the answer to this question.)

My rules say that I can blog at will. I can make five blog posts in one day or one in five days. Right? I mean it is my blog.

Censorship: On my blog you will never be censored even if you call me all kinds of names and accuse me of having sex with my mother. Your comments will stay there forever and ever and live on in caches all around the world.

Commenting on comments: I try to respond to what people write on my blog. I want to respond. If I missed your comment I’m sorry…Unless my popularity soars, I intend to respond to every comment I see…sometimes I miss a few though.

I love it when one commenter starts talking to another commenter and I can just sit back and watch a conversation grow. Anyone can comment to anyone about anything on my blog. (I never realized until lately that this might be a no no in the blogosphere…but not here at Tchotchkes.)

Without the help of winks, and nuances of tone, and facial grimaces or gesticulations, some times the written word can be misinterpreted. It is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings but I’m not going to pussy foot around what I want to say either.

Memes: I still can’t figure out if I like these things or not. But, again, if I don’t tag you it isn’t because I don’t want to know your favorite books, for example, but because I put down bloggers names that come to mind immediately or bloggers who I know haven’t been tagged yet. Everyone who comes to my blog and sees a meme is tagged…that’s my rule.

If I haven’t visited your blog lately, leave a comment on mine, then it jolts my memory that I haven’t been to see you recently.

Most importantly remember there are NO rules on my blog;

There’s no censorship; no you don't have to agree with me; I don't mind if I'm not on your blogroll; I don't care if you don't respond to my comments on your blog; you will be just as happily greeted if you visit once a month or 20 times a day at my blog. You can leave a one-word comment if you want – or write six pages – no length requirement.

If you see I came to your site but didn’t comment it’s because I had nothing witty to say or husband was calling me to please come downstairs and spend some time with him, not because your post wasn't commentworthy.

I love you guys. I am never bored because I know I can come up here and with a few clicks on the keyboard read some of the most amusing, interesting thought-provoking and heart-wrenching stories in the world.

Blogging has to be fun or I just won’t do it. I, like all of us, have enough of the not-so-much-fun stuff to do, so blogging for me is 100 percent fun – a wonderful way to spend some of my free time doing something I adore doing, reading and writing. (Notice no arithmetic is mentioned…unless we want to get into Blog Counters!)

And that my friends is my interpretation of proper Blog Etiquette.

Since I let the cat out of the bag on blog-get-a-cat, I’d love to hear what you think about blogging rules…do you have any for your own blog? What’s bugging you about blogging or bloggers?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What's in Your Reading Corner?

I was tagged by Along to complete the following questions: (thanks Along!)


1) Total number of books I've owned:

Couldn’t count - thousands…up here in the office I just counted 48 books sitting on top of one bookcase! I have numerous full collections: Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Henry James, Rita Mae Brown, Thomas Wolfe, Iris Murdoch, James Joyce, Edith Wharton, John Fowles, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Hesse, E.L. Doctorow, Aldous Huxley…etc. etc.


2) The last book I bought:

I just bought Girls Lean Back Everywhere : The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius by EDWARD DE GRAZIA.


3) The last book I read:

The Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy.


4) 5 books that mean a lot to me:

a) The Real Mother Goose – because I never tire of the rhymes and rhythms of the poems I read (and were read to me) as a child. The watercolor and pen illustrations are magnificent. The simple verses seem to hold all the truths of the world. Ex: Don’t let other people affect your mood or infect your happiness with the germs of discontent --as in the following poem.

DAME TROT AND HER CAT

Dame Trot and her cat
Led a peaceable life,
When they were not troubled
With other folks' strife.

When Dame had her dinner
Pussy would wait,
And was sure to receive
A nice piece from her plate.

b) The Random House Dictionary of the English Language because it is so beat up from use that it has become more special to me through the years. The cover is torn, some pages are almost ripped through and then taped. I love this huge old tome of knowledge and interesting words with its fingerprints and smudges and broken spine. It's precious to me, and one of the things I'd try to recover if a fire broke out in my home.

c) The Portable Dorothy Parker because it’s a small but solid book that sits nicely in a woman's hand. It's filled with the unsophisticated but oh so funny poems and stories of a most interesting woman with a slightly twisted take on life:

Superfluous Advice
by D. Parker

Should they whisper false of you
Never trouble to deny.

Should the words they say be true
Weep and storm and swear they lie.

d) Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss because I would love to believe that the people we love will not disappear forever from our lives, but instead their souls will return to us in the form of new people to love. I don’t really believe this, but I would like to believe it – so every once in a while I pick this book up and read a chapter or two, it’s comforting.

e) White Palace, a novel by Glenn Savan only because the main female character and love interest is much older than her young suitor, she’s from a different class, he’s a lawyer and she’s a waitress at a hamburger joint…and mostly because the author describes her butt in great detail – lauding, not laughing at the size of her huge behind. Never in my life have I read so many words about one ass.

5) Tag 5 people and have them fill this out on their blogs:

Summer
Laurenbove
Weetzie
Echrai
Doc Nos
(even though he never accepts the challenge I will continue to name him until he does!)

Anyone else who wants to share their favorite books would be most appreciated. You can't judge a book by its cover but sometimes you can understand a person better by knowing what books they own.







Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Fucking Books

There must be sex organs hidden somewhere inside my books.

Perhaps in front of their spines. Perhaps kept in the book’s gutter The gutter is where the pages are attached (either sewn or glued) .

I don’t know where the sex organs are, but I do know, my books are procreating. They are spawning and begetting more and more books. I did not buy all the books in my house, they are the progeny of other books, I’m convinced.

Nine large bookshelves filled to the gills, with books piled on top to the ceiling should be sufficient for a small Cape Cod home with two resident readers. Add in a whole attic where we store other books, ones we hate to throw out but don’t have room for on the shelves. Then add in the book piles that appear like anthills, one day no pile, next day, out of the blue, huge teetering pile on every flat surface in the house.

Night stands once easy to dust, evolve into more piles of books – a coffee table that on Monday held a lovely Architectural Digest magazine and a vase with flowers, on Tuesday looks like a tag sale table stacked with books, some I’m sure I’ve never seen before – books no one has ever seen before and no one knows where they came from.

Double copies – can’t tell you how many double copies of books I have. Would I purposely go out and buy 4 copies of the same book? I think not.

That has to be an example of book cloning or asexual reproduction…which I think is also happening between the sheets of paper-- making up the pounds and mounds of books I find everywhere.

Or, like my original premise, the book explosion is due to unseen genitalia, discretely hiding under the covers of books…doing what genitalia does -- which is follow its drive to mingle with other genitalia and many times, procreate – leaving me with hundreds of descendent books inhabiting my home like locusts on the plains.

Yes, I’m sure that’s what’s happening here.