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Tchotchkes

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Location: Connecticut, United States

marybb1@gmail.com

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Putting the Fun in Funeral

My husband’s cousin’s aunt died last week (husband’s uncle’s sister – no matter how hard I try to spell it out it still sounds confusing!) Anyhow, I ended up hosting a variety of visiting family members at my house for a day of post funeral talk while I waited on everyone hand and foot.

I don’t mind being the hostess; don’t mind chopping, broiling, baking, grilling, mixing, pouring, stirring, setting the table, clearing the table, making coffee, finding a DVD for the young relative, opening the wine, opening more wine, doing the dishes and starting all over again at dinner time to repeat the whole process, except….one of the family members was (drum roll) my mother-in-law.

She could try the patience of Job. She can make a normal human being turn matri-in-law-cidal. Twelve hours with this woman probably took twelve years off my life.

I don’t know how it is possible that I could do everything wrong but here’s a short list of her complaints:

Coffee too cold
Wine too warm
Hotdog too rare(?)
Roll too toasted
Macaroni salad – too much onion not enough mayo
Chair uncomfortable
Cloth napkin – polyester and a cranberry color while MIL likes white cotton napkins
(I have white cotton napkins but I’ll be damned if she’ll wipe her cranberry colored lips on them…ergo why she got the cranberry colored napkin.)
Chocolate cake too chocolatey
No ice-cream to go with the cake
Peach not ripe
Dog breath on her elbow

This is what I can remember off hand while I’m typing here – many of the complaints and comments have been blocked from my mind so that I could go on to serve her another meal which had the following faults:

Steak cold
Potato too big
Salad had tomato chunks when MIL likes cherry tomatoes
No Thousand Island salad dressing – (what the hell is that stuff??) (Only six other choices none of which she wanted because she really felt like Thousand Island dressing)
Mixed greens when she really likes plain old Iceberg lettuce
Green beans not her favorite
Salt came out too quickly
Pepper mill grind is too big
A different but still uncomfortable chair
A different dog breath on her ankle

Add in: I think your litter box needs to be changed…about ten screeching: “The cat is on the counter”s and at least four inquiries into how many glasses of wine I’d consumed plus one accusatory: What’s in that glass you’re drinking??? My response “water” was greeted with a notable lip wiggle of distrust.

Plus, which has to be the worst part: Almost twelve hours of non-stop repetitive comments about her daughter (husband’s sister who wasn’t there) all which start with “Poor Cathy”.

Poor Cathy – she couldn’t go to the funeral because SHE has to WORK.
Poor Cathy had to go on yet another vacation because she can’t stay alone in the house when her ex husband has the kids.
Poor Cathy got a new dining room set and one of the light bulbs in the hutch isn’t working.
Poor Cathy’s new car has a spot on the seat where her coffee spilled.
Poor Cathy has to go to New York City for her job to have dinner with a client.
Poor Cathy works her head off.
Poor Cathy ballroom dances three nights a week because she has to do something other than work her head off.
Poor Cathy had to go out shopping for a new suit because she was going to be dining with the client.
Poor Cathy didn’t even have time to get her nails done or her hair done and had to do her own!

I am not kidding you, if Cathy won the lottery, she’d tell me with the preface of Poor Cathy.

Another favorite saying from my MIL is Poor Cathy works her head off AND has two little kids.

Cathy’s son is 18 -- 6 foot 5 inches and her daughter is 16 – and almost six feet so trying not to break into laughter is rough when MIL digs up the two little kids talk.

I am telling you all this because I am still emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted from being in her company for twelve hours in a row.

At one point in the day, my cousin whispered to me: The funeral was a hell of a lot more fun than hanging out with her all day.

Yup, that lady is single-handedly responsible for putting the fun back into funerals.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Falling feathers and Falling in Love


During the depression, Grandma married a man she didn’t love.

Grandpa was an orphan who’d left the orphanage at 18 and was working as an embalmer in a distant relative’s funeral home.

The distant relative had taken Grandpa under his wing, taught him the trade of fussing with the dead and given him a room to live in -- next to where the bodies were kept.

Grandma says that Grandpa was a “sorry soul” who had no one that loved him. He was short and cocky, Irish as “Paddy’s pig”, freckled and feckless; he’d spend his paycheck on booze and gambling and had no idea how to love himself, never mind love a woman.

But she married him anyhow, because he asked.

And because she didn’t want to be one more person in his life who’d abandoned him.

Grandma says they were married at least three months before the marriage was consummated. Why so long-- we all asked?

One, she didn’t love him. Two, they were living in the room above where her mother slept and Three, she had been trained by the nuns that any sexual activity was bad, and this thought was stronger in her mind than any desire she might have for her new husband; the man she married only because she felt sorry for him.

The marriage was eventually consummated the very first day they moved into their own apartment. It was an attic apartment with no bathroom. They had to go down a flight of stairs and use a shared bathroom that was used by two other families.

Their apartment was either too hot or too cold. The roof leaked and the wind howled through the numerous openings in the clapboard, but it became their home – the first home Grandpa ever had.

Within six months of moving to the apartment, they found themselves penniless. Grandma had to have an emergency appendectomy and almost died. They had no insurance. Grandpa had been fired from his job as embalmer for sleeping somewhere other than next to the dead bodies. (His relative insisted this was part of the job description. If he’d be willing to sleep with the dead, he could get his job back, but not until then.)

Bills mounted and they were three months behind in the rent. Grandpa couldn’t find a new job. Grandma was still recovering from major surgery. They had bare cupboards and empty wallets and had no choice but to discuss separating.

He would go back to his embalming job and she would go back to living with her mother. They would try to save money. She would find a job when she was feeling better. He would use his spare time to hunt down another job; one where he could sleep at home – if they could find another place to live someday and have food to eat and pay their rent.

The separation would be temporary…

Plans were made to break up their little home. They had so few material possessions they wouldn’t need a truck or even an extra pair of arms for lifting or packing. Wasn’t much they were taking with them as the ripped sofa and worn table and chairs came with the apartment. So did the chipped china and jelly glasses.

The very weekend before they were to split up – Grandpa struck a bargain with the landlord. The landlord would take some money off the last month’s rent if Grandpa would clean out a storage area in the eaves. Anything in there was left by a former tenant who had died and the landlord insisted there was nothing in there he wanted and it all should be thrown out.

Grandpa opened the little door to the crawl space and peeked inside. It was hot and he was damp with perspiration and hopelessness, but he crawled inside and looked around.

Inside the attic he found two down pillows, stained and ancient – hand stitched closed, and he retrieved them. The casings were so dusty and dirty, they couldn’t be used, but he decided he’d take them outside, save the feathers and Grandma could sew up two new pillows they could each take with them to their new sleeping places – a reminder that even though they were sleeping apart, they were both putting their heads down on matching pillows. Maybe this would help them live through the separation, and besides, the pillows they had were filled with cotton scraps and were lumpy and uncomfortable.

So Grandpa filled a bucket with soapy water and split open the pillow cases, dumping the feathers in the water to be cleaned while Grandma stitched up two new rectangles of blue and white striped pillow ticking she had found at her mother’s house.

The first pillow tore with ease and the feathers were picked up by a slight breeze and lifted into the air. Grandpa scurried trying to catch them and pull them down into the water and was able to save most of the feathers.

The second pillow case didn’t tear as easily, so he took out his pocket knife and split it open like a watermelon (Grandma’s description.)

The air was still this time as he dumped the contents into the soapy water.

The feathers floated to the top but so did something else.

Bills, dollar bills and five dollar bills and ten dollar bills and at least six fifty dollar bills. The former tenant had used one of the pillows as a safe place to store her fortune. Now it belonged to Grandma and Grandma.

They were rich!

It was a miracle and Grandma says Grandpa promised he’d go to church every Sunday for the rest of his life for such a blessing, although he never did.

The 487 dollars was a true windfall. They used the money to pay up their rent and had enough left over to open a savings account and that night, went out to a local Italian restaurant for a large bowl of spaghetti and a bottle of Chianti.

They sat in a darkened corner clinking their wineglasses, starry-eyed with happiness and hope for the future and it was at that very moment that Grandma says she fell “head over heels” in love with Grandpa.

She also says they were never that poor again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fruit Rules


I was 13. Sitting in the school cafeteria, I was finishing up my lunch. Mom had packed a particularly lovely banana which I’d saved for last.

Life was good. Like the banana, I was on the brink of maturity and I’d also made it to this point -- bruise free.

I remember slowly peeling the thick, yellow, leathery skin down on all sides until the banana looked like a lily of sorts. I remember picking off the strings that stuck to the vanilla flesh of the fruit. I remember taking a bite, anticipating the way my teeth would sink into the soft, sweet, banana pulp.

I remember the laughter. Screams, howls, guffaws.

I remember munching off another bite, still holding the banana in my hand as if it were a nosegay.

More laughter, louder and longer.

What in hell was so damn funny? I looked around and saw fingers pointing my way. Boys were jumping up and down holding their sides, pretending to be weak from laughter. Girls were giving me a scowling look like I’d just broken into my little sister’s piggy bank.

What was going on?

The cafeteria had turned into a room filled with laughing hyenas – all looking in my direction.

I had no idea what was so funny and why the joke was obviously on me. All I was doing was finishing up my lunch.

A student teacher, young, freckled and wholesome-looking, noticed the hullabaloo and came over to where I was sitting. I didn’t say a word, still munching but now with small tears welling in my eyes.

I remember what she said to me: the simplicity yet profundity of her words.

Girls don't eat bananas in the lunch room.


-------

For information on fruits of all kinds, please visit Ms. Plum.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A open letter to my dentist or why he probably won’t be seeing any of my money again.

1) I will not have my “pockets” probed one more time ever again. Each time you probe you make my “pockets” deeper and it’s not necessary. Leave my pockets alone. I like them fine the way they are.

2) I will not pay you for dental hygiene instruction. I don’t want any instruction or need any instruction on brushing my teeth. I refuse to gaze upon your plaster of Paris model of a tooth-filled mouth with an articulated jaw. You obviously love playing with your mock mouth but please do it on your own time.

3) Until you get rid of the hag with the sharp scraper tools and the chip on her shoulder, I won’t have my teeth cleaned either. She’s got poor eyesight and shaky hands which results in a bunch of injuries to my gums which don’t need polishing or scraping thank you very much, but would prefer not to be lacerated and hemorrhaging blood all over the place.

4) Don’t look in my mouth and say Hmmmm, shake your head, walk away to the window to collect your thoughts and then tell me I need a dozen root canals and 44 crowns. I don’t even have 44 teeth. Yes you want a Jag but no I'm not paying for it.

5) Stop hyper-ventilating about my TMJ. Nothing hurts, okay? So you hear a click and I hear a click and maybe people in the waiting room hear a click, but the truth is nothing hurts so it must be functional. Which leads to number 6.

6) Stop referring me to every form of dentist known to mankind. What, do you get some kind of a cut? A referral fee?

7) Stop with the euphemisms. It isn’t a little pinch, it’s a huge needle going into my gum. You aren’t polishing my tooth, you are taking a commercial sized sander to the tooth. It doesn’t “sting” a little, it hurts like a sonofabitch!

8) Pretend I have NO insurance. It seems if you say you have insurance, that makes every tooth in your mouth in severe need of drastic, costly and bizarre treatments. Drill and fill and that’s it.

9) Don’t be so stinking stingy about pain pills. Hand out a few when you know you’re doing something inside my mouth that will make it ache for hours.

10) Stop telling me that every single filling, root canal and crown I’ve ever had done is no longer viable and must be removed. I like Mercury. I like decay if it is under a cap and doesn’t hurt.

11) Use some damn breath mints!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Menage a trois at the birdfeeder


The say mourning doves mate for life and if one dies, the other will mourn the death for a long time before finding a new mate. The haunting hoo hoo sound they make can bring you to tears in its soulful sadness and is responsible for the name mourning dove.

They say a lot of things that apparently aren’t true.

My male mourning dove is a philanderer, a roué, a rake, a lady’s man, a play dovelet.

He travels with two women and loves them both. He is not faithful at all, but prefers his ménage a trois -- showing off in his clumsy way, perched on the top of my bird feeder, flapping his wings until both matronly looking ladies crash land on the feeder by his side.

Mourning doves are a foot long and look like they need gastric bypass surgery. They also look dumb, even for a bird. They have pop-out eyes that remind you of the “runaway bride,” and their feathers are the colors of ash and dung.

(Go right now to Lauren Bove's post on Mindful Things...hurry! I asked her if she could come up with a photo of a mourning dove and one of the "runaway bride" and see what she posted. This is a warning though - you will kill yourself laughing!)

They eat huge amounts of seed and are becoming a financial burden. Keeping them in seed is a costly proposition.

The male dove must like plump women as he seems to lead them to the trough to gorge while he flies off into the trees. Maybe he’s looking for another young female to join his harem? Whatever his problem is-- it is obvious he hasn’t read a single bird book, because he’s not mating for life with anyone.

My dogs who are self-trained to attack the window with the bird-feeder, at the first sight of a squirrel (sorry squirl) – are flummoxed by these birds. The dogs commence an attack and then skid to a halt evaluating the situation. “Are these things by any chance squirrels in bird costumes or are they allowed to eat at the feeder?”

That’s what I think my dogs are thinking.

Maybe these particular mourning doves are members of a Mormon sect that believes in multiple mates, or maybe the male mourning dove is just a sexy dude with too much virility and too much time on his wings, but I’m telling you I’ve put in the field work on this: this guy has two wives and he likes it that way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

House Hunting Ain’t Fun

I don’t like it but he likes it.

Or, I like it and he doesn’t like it.

Or we both like it and can’t afford it.

Or we like it and can afford it but it’s missing something major like a garage, fireplace, driveway, front door, steps, toilet, roof, title etc.

Or we both like it and can afford it and it isn’t missing anything but it’s too far a commute.

Or we both like it and can afford it and it isn’t missing anything and it’s not too far a commute but the neighborhood isn’t good.

Or we both like it and can afford it and it isn’t missing anything and it isn’t too far a commute and the neighborhood is good but the taxes are ridiculous.

Or we both like it and can afford it and it isn’t missing anything and it isn’t too far a commute and the neighborhood is good and the taxes aren’t ridiculous but the yard is too small.

Or we both like it and can afford it and it isn’t missing anything and it isn’t too far a commute and the neighborhood is good and the taxes aren’t ridiculous and the yard's the right size but it doesn’t exist.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Cherry Pastry You Could Die For


The cherry pastry is as big as a dinner plate. It weighs about a half a pound. In the center is a half pint of cherries and there must be at least 500 calories worth of glaze drizzled over the top.

This pastry is over the top.

If Americans wonder why they are fat, all they have to do is look at how the sizes of simple items, from muffin to hamburger have burgeoned over the past 20 years.

Who can stay thin when it takes two hands to lift a hamburger or a muffin?

A bakery croissant in the US is about 3 times larger than the flaky treats served in Paris. Twelve ounces of beer isn’t enough anymore, they are jamming in 16 ounces in numerous bottles, never mind the 40 ounce monsters that are sold as single servings.

If you order a Coca Cola in Italy, chances are you will get a seven ounce bottle, exactly like the ones people bought here in the 50s.

The best Coca Cola I ever had was in Italy, and I think the size had a lot to do with it. Speaking of Italy, they use small juice glasses or small stemmed glasses to serve their wine, while here we buy humongous balloon glasses that will hold a half bottle of wine, then get schnockered and have the audacity to say: I only had two glasses of wine.

Gluttony thy name is American food and beverage portions. Even our coffee cups are big as spittoons for crissakes.

When ONE pastry, like the one husband brought home this morning, could feed a family of four, it is time for bakeries to rethink portion control.

I wonder if he put this pastry on the four easy payment plan or did he charge it?

I think if I did consume this monster pastry I would double my weight. So I ate a quarter and wrapped the rest up. A partially eaten cherry pastry, even wrapped in pink Saran Wrap like mine is (someone bought this by mistake) still looks gross.

I am sick of oversized pastries, muffins, hamburgers and the like. Someone somewhere is trying to stuff us silly and it smacks of a conspiracy.

Maybe the terrorists are planning to feed us to death…

Friday, July 15, 2005



Going Crazy

When we moved into this house, a crazy lady lived across the street.

She was more crazy than we realized. Following her death, the health department had to “condemn” her house and we were told she had been urinating in jars, which she was storing in her basement, and defecating in the toilet, which was non-functional but filled with kitty litter.

She was neither poor nor without family. But the mental disease she lived with was so severe that she lived like a pauper and wouldn’t open the door to anyone, including immediate members of her family.

When we first moved in, she would talk to us a little.

Her skittish demeanor, run-down house and odd beliefs and behaviors made us aware she was not normal. She showed me a tooth she had whittled out of birch and jammed into her gum. She said it worked great and hadn’t fallen out since she installed it. She burned all her garbage in her fireplace. Sometimes the stench coming out of her chimney was enough to make you gag. She had cases of Ensure delivered to her house and I believe that’s the only thing that passed through her lips.

Still, my numerous calls to social services and other town and state departments went unanswered. Nothing I said seemed to matter. Her mental health deteriorated daily as did her house.

We live on a dead end street and she was obsessed with keeping people from using her broken-down, double driveway to turn around. She created a series of barricades made out of “found” orange cones, cement pieces, wires, bricks, ribbons, rope, paper cups and once small plastic American flags.

The town said there was nothing they could do. Husband and I learned to live with the crazy lady and her crazy barricades; the house that was rotting from the inside out and worrying about the living conditions of someone who seemed to desperately need some kind of help.

We planted a huge island of trees, shrubs and flowers to block our view of her house but I always knew what was behind the plantings and it disturbed me if I let it. I had tried in every way possible to get someone to help her out but I was told it was okay for people to be nuts or not mow their lawn or not paint their house. I think I understood, still not sure about it.

Anyhow, to make a long saga condensed, she died, someone bought the house and started to remove debris in hazmat suits. From there it was cleaned and painted; an attempt at growing grass was made. Next the house was rented and the new people made a few more improvements. They moved and the next renter concentrated on the yard. The house kept looking better and better.

Last year the house was sold to a very nice couple who told me they were going to polish this jewel in the rough until it shown. And they did. New windows, gutters, roof, sidewalk. Lots of perennials and annuals tastefully planted. A breezeway turned into a kitchen extension. A new patio and new garage doors. Lovely!

Then our main, view-blocking tree died and had to be chopped down. I was sad, but it no longer served its original purpose which was blocking the view of the broken down house or sightings of the crazy lady walking around in 90 degree temperatures in a coat and scarf.

This spring I noticed a problem developing across the street. They started bringing home lawn ornaments: Little boys with fishing poles, squirrels, ducks, swans, babies in carriages, all cast out of stone.

Then came the wooden tchotchkes: the birdhouses and bird feeders, the pinwheels and large painted wooden flowers. Buckets and pots filled with flowers multiplied like the stone rabbits that were also scattered around the front yard --and-- they had their driveway redone -- a slick-black replacement for the gray, gouged ruins that once served such a purpose.

The driveway looked great; the lawn ornaments were a bit over the top for my taste, but still okay with me. After all, I had lived with the crazy lady for quite a few years and really couldn’t complain.

***

It has been over 6 weeks since the driveway was redone and the lovely people across the street have kept up the “crime-scene” tape across their driveway preventing anyone from turning around in it. I thought this was a temporary barricade to allow the new driveway to set properly. But, six weeks? I'm beginning to understand --it will be a permanent and the ultimate tchotchke on their property.

I watch how they religiously undo the driveway crime-scene tape to get their cars out, and then tie up the tape before they leave. I’m afraid the crazy lady left “crazy” in that house and it’s contagious.

These people started off normal and are now sinking into a new form of the neighborhood nut.

So, looks like husband and I will be out tree shopping again real soon.

Crazy, isn’t it?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Car Crazy and VW Vanity

If you asked me my two favorite material possessions I would say the gold bracelet husband gave me when we were forced to live in two different states and areas of the county for seven months, and my VW Cabrio.

These are both luxury items that I could easily live without; they are both luxury items that I am insanely fond of…

If you asked my friends and family if I am vain, they would resoundingly say: Hell no! I’m the girl that is never late. Can get ready in 5 minutes to go anywhere at any time. I never say “put the window up my hair is blowing” or “I need a new dress to go to that party.”

I don’t stare in the mirror and worry about crow’s feet and spend little on “beauty” items, because I’m comfortable looking at my face and body just the way they are – fresh out of the shower, unmake-uped, hair wet in a scrunchy…fine with me. I wear makeup but don't have to have it on to leave my house.

Where my vanity must lie is with my car. It is not a family car. It won’t fit dogs and kids. It is my little jewel, my beauty, and even though it’s five years old now, it still remains a thing of beauty to me.

I fret over its paint job, tires, the mark I found on the front seat, when it was last washed, why there’s a scrape mark on the back fender. I worry about it all the time. My love for it is so deep, I don’t drive it much. I want to keep the mileage low. I want to keep it running forever as it is irreplaceable. They don’t make Cabrios anymore (the damn fools.)

When they came out with the Beetle convertible they stopped making my car. Shows how much they know. The new Beetle isn’t doing very well and people are going to great lengths to find a used Cabrio.

Where love and vanity intersect for me, is at my little car.

Now the reason why I was up half the night crying – and I almost never cry. (Some women are criers and some aren’t. I’m a no crier.)

Yesterday I left my baby at the VW dealership to have two problems looked at and to see if they fell under the warrantee. I definitely had some kind of exhaust system problem and also the rear window defroster had two lines that weren’t working.

I waited all day to hear the verdict. My driveway looked so lonely without my baby parked in its spot. Finally I call and find out an $800 muffler problem is not under warrantee but they fixed my rear window defroster as that came under the warrantee.

Warrantees are great. You pay for them and when something goes wrong it is never under the warrantee so you pay some more. I felt very happy that one of my car’s problems was fixed for free but decided to have the muffler part done at my regular repair guy’s place. He’s cheaper by hundreds, family friend and does a superb and careful job.

So I pick up my car to drive it to the new shop to have it fixed, not looking at the rear window.

When I get to repair shop B I park it and then notice what they did. They leaked glue and other substances all around the two lines that weren’t defrosting, maiming and scarring my baby. Ugly looking!!!!!!!!!!!!

How the hell could they do that without asking me or warning me? I even told them that if the rear window defroster was not under warrantee, do not bother to estimate the cost as I’d leave it as is. I don’t drive my car in the bad weather very often and also, the lines that didn’t defrost would eventually clear from the warmth of the other defrost lines. Nice to have it fixed (right) but not necessary.

So now my baby is marked for life. The dealership, like most, is very very nice pre-buying the car, and less and less nice as times goes on.

My heart is broken but I can’t tell too many people or they’d find me shallow and superficial. I just keep thinking if this were a brand new Beetle with the problem, would they muck it up like that? Or was their sloppy, ugly way of fixing the problem the way you fix an old used car under warrantee? A car not valued for beauty, in their eyes.

Repair shop B says they’ll look into seeing if they can scrape off some of the gunk, pen marks, glue drips etc. and make it look better.

Somewhere deep inside my soul I am tremendously offended, affected and disturbed.

I’m struggling to figure out why I’m so bothered but it centers on the following:

Car because it’s old, not worthy of a proper replacement or repair?
Warrantee not meant to be used EVER so give a cheap, sloppy fix if you don’t get paid?
The vulnerability of loving an inanimate object so much?
The vanity I have in my car but don’t have for myself?
The feeling of getting fucked over yet again by some car repair shop?
Or
All of the above?

Actually my sorrow seems to go even deeper than all of the above.

Think I'll have to go over to Susie's place and lie on her couch for a while... (sniff sniff)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Pump Your Ride


We just paid $2.44 per gallon for gas…what are you paying?

After this roll call we can do 1/2 gallons of milk, haircuts, boneless chicken breasts...

Kidding...but I wanna know...are you paying more or less than I am for a gallon of gas?

Monday, July 11, 2005


Our House
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young -


I'll light the fire, while you place the flowers
In the vase that you bought today.
Staring at the fire for hours and hours,
While I listen to you play your love songs
All night long for me, only for me.

Our house, is a very, very, very fine house.
With two cats in the yard,
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy 'cause of you.
Come to me now, and rest your head for just five minutes,
Everything is done.

Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated
By the evening sunshine through them,
Fiery gems for you, only for you.
I'll light the fire, while you place the flowers
In the vase that you bought today.

------

I think we are officially house hunting. I say think, because we go through this phase from time to time. The impetus for this current search is our taxes in town…astounding! We aren’t getting our money’s worth. Also recent additions of large big box stores not too far from where we live have made travel less friendly.

We’re just done with this place and although I do love our little home, it could be arranged better…we’re looking for an open floor plan, lower taxes, and a few upgrades that we either can’t put into this house or just can’t bear the thought of living through the renovation period to acquire.

House hunting is probably one of my all time favorite activities. I love to be let into a home of someone I don’t know and see how they live. The homes we viewed yesterday showed me that most people don’t own the amount of books we own. It is one of our concerns: where will the books go? The realtor was shocked we’d discuss this more than where friends and family would sleep or eat or watch TV.

One house was almost perfect, but the driveway was so steep we’d need to install a rope tow to walk up the driveway to get the mail. All I could think of was ice and snow and cars slipping down that driveway right into the dining room’s big windows. Or the opposite, trying to drive up that hill to go get milk – no way. So that house was xed off the list.

It did have one feature that I’d love in a future home. One of the extra rooms being used as a den of sorts, had a big, deep double closet with wooden shutter doors. Inside this closet sat a huge TV and the guts of the sound system. How nice not to have to look at the glaring face of a TV all the time, and be able to shut the doors and have a neat looking room. The alternative, as we have, is an armoire that just ends up looking like a huge box – with most of the back cut out to accommodate the rear area of the TV and stereo components.

I don’t like plasma TVs…at least not what I’ve seen of them. I would hate one mounted over the fireplace…I don’t watch enough TV to have one. I don’t watch enough TV to have that huge armoire either…loved that closet idea.

The house with the steep driveway had a baby grand in the living room. I saw husband’s eyes mist over as this is one of his dreams – to have a baby grand, even though I’m the piano player in the family. It must represent something to him…what? Elegance? Old-world civility? Or maybe it’s just the shape and presence of a baby grand piano.

This same house also had a secret garden I adored…old wood steps leading up to a terraced perennial garden reminiscent of a cultured English garden, only hidden by trees and shrubs – making it truly secret if you cared to keep it that way.

This house had a brook? Stream? Some form of water in the back of the property but down another steep slope. A waterview, as they called it, is stretching the truth, but I would have loved that element just because I would wonder what new birds I’d see at my feeder.

When we came home and pulled in our own driveway, my house looked mighty good to me. No waterviews and no open floor plan exactly. High taxes and all.

So the new house I’d buy will have to be better than the one I own now. Also, I will have to maintain my interest in moving or I’ll just look around and say: Our house is fixed up the way we like it. Decorated the way we like it. Wired for sound, AC’d and new furnaced up just recently. It has the brick sidewalk *I* laid…in 90 degree weather, brick by brick and it also has my local bird families that I can recognize and know from year to year.

Changing where you live is a big step, especially if it isn’t necessary but optional.

Looking for a new house does bring dreams with the search though. It will be interesting to see if we can find a house that will pry us out of the one we live in now, our house.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Seeing is believing....


09/07/2005 23:20:00
anorexic bulging tummy (Google)

09/07/2005 19:27:59
euphony bad experiences (Google)

09/07/2005 17:18:12
waxed testicles (Google)

09/07/2005 17:13:25
someone new to love + baby shower inivitations (Google)

09/07/2005 10:32:56
identical skirt natalee (Yahoo)

09/07/2005 10:27:49
"diamonds as big " princess (Google)

09/07/2005 07:02:38
swollen toe dog (Google)

08/07/2005 23:14:25
caiphirina (Google)

08/07/2005 21:12:40
"mary bishop is" (Google)

08/07/2005 10:51:43
aruba toothpick flags (Google)

08/07/2005 07:56:06
irina skinny absolutely (Google)

07/07/2005 16:42:35
alan ribback (Google)

07/07/2005 16:08:08
tchotchkes (Yahoo)

07/07/2005 13:35:46
babay shower games (Google)

07/07/2005 12:06:37
tchotchkes definition (Google)

07/07/2005 12:00:51
teeny tiny short micro skirt (Google)

07/07/2005 03:00:35
nail fungus from vietnamese manicurists (Google)

06/07/2005 22:10:06
glenn savan (Google)

06/07/2005 15:50:30
turd makers (Google)

06/07/2005 14:54:26
tchotchkes (Yahoo)

Friday, July 08, 2005

I don’t know why I care…but what’s the deal with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? Why say they aren’t together and then fly together to Ethiopia to pick up Jolie’s new baby girl? Come on…this is more than a friendship. Spill. Give it up. Confess!

I am certainly glad to hear that Jolie has given up wearing Billy Bob’s blood in a vial around her neck for her do-gooding adoption mania. Hope her interest for her new children will last longer than her interest in her old loves did.

According to Access Hollywood, Jolie's three year old son wanted a baby girl from Ethiopia. Well is he a precocious little bugger?

For a variety of reasons including the aforementioned, I’m putting her first on my list of celebrities I’m sick to death of.

1 Angelina Jolie
2 Brad Pitt
3 Paris Hilton
4 Tom Cruise…(maybe he’s 1A)
5 Katie Holmes (mouth sores and funny toes et al)
6 P. Diddy
7 All major league athletes who throw chairs, punches or fits.
8 The Olsen twins..scroom
9 Michael Jackson ( maybe he’s also 1A)
10 Lance Armstrong ( he dumped his wife)
11 Demi Moore (accent on either syllable of her first name – I don’t care)
12 The Simpson Sisters..simply simpering…scroom times two.
13 Any form of Ben and Jen

Want to add to the list of people in the news you are sick to death of?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Recent Google Searches that Led People to my Blog
(and my comments)


nail fungus from vietnamese manicurists

Dear, it isn't the nationality of the manicurist that causes nail fungus. It's improper sterilization of manicure tools. Irish Catholic manicurists can pass along a nail fungus if they don't sterilize their tools. There is no specific Vietnamese Nail Fungus. There is however a wonderful Vietnamese recipe called: Crab, Shrimp, and White Fungus Soup (Sup Nam Trang)

self amputation glenn wannabe

I have no idea who Glenn is. Did he really amputate a part of himself? Who would wannabe Glenn? Don’t do it.

i hate the pores on my nose

I’m sorry to hear that. They speak so highly of you.

rectal lice why?

I ask myself that question too. Rectal lice, why? – does that bring you to my blog since I never spoke of rectal lice once on my blog, but those two words were once typed in a comment.

Why does my dog’s breath smell like fish?

You must have a cat. When my dogs’ breath smells like fish it’s because they’ve either eaten the cat food or sampled some litter box bon bons.

marie calendars pot pies, how long to cook


Look on the box. The answer is there somewhere…a lot easier to find than blog searching I would think.

Should I have a Vascillectomy?


That was a word I made up imitating a friend who always screwed up words. You are safe, there is no such thing. If you mean vasectomy I think yes, based on your spelling, I say yes.

stinky sinuses help

Sorry, don’t know what to tell you about stinky sinuses. I have had my fair share of sinus problems lately and that stinks. But, do my sinuses actually stink? I think not.

dog "red swollen toe" red

Since you say red twice in your search I am worried. It’s obvious your dog needs to go to the vets because its toe is quite red…hope you’ve done that by now.

geno auriemma a perfect piece consignment

I can see how this search brought you to my blog. Your search terms make no sense. When search terms make no sense, Google automatically sends you to my blog, just for the hell of it.

Marybishop breasts gif


Yes, I have them and have written about them. There are no pictures though. Sorry. If you meant gift but forgot to type in the T...then I'm sure they'd like some new Victoria's Secret bras...preferably silk with hand-sewn seed pearls.

ear crud

Crud is everywhere, including in ears. Since this is so nonspecific - I can only say, if you have it, get rid of it. If your dog has it, get rid of it. If your boyfriend has it, get rid of him.

Looking forward to hearing from you...hope I've helped. And a special thanks to Google for sending so many people to my site. (oh yeah...)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Is the Fourth of July a Religious Holiday?

Just wondering, because a miracle did happen.

I actually got along quite well with my mother-in-law. I managed to spend a whole day with her without wanting to tear my hair out (or her hair out).

It’s never fun to be forced to hang out with someone who doesn’t like you. But for some reason, she decided to be nothing short of lovely to me and mine.

Two other family members, that in the past have made me crazy, also brought their best behavior with them on the holiday. (They came on time, they didn’t bitch, they didn’t get drunk and they didn’t damage any property – on purpose or by mistake!)

These small changes in behavior made everyone’s holiday very enjoyable. Small changes can make a big difference.

Now I must clean up my house from my weekend guests and enjoy this special time alone after a very busy but fun holiday.

Hope your holiday was as successful!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy Fourth of July


Hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans...or whatever's on your menu...enjoy eat hearty and have a happy Fourth of July.